Here are my best reads of 2021. As always, this list has all the books I read this year and my favourites are picked from these. It doesn’t matter when a book is published, as long as I read it this year, it has a shot at being the best of 2021.
I just finished my sixtieth book of the year and I don’t think I’ll finish another one (unless Seven Mercies has other plans). That’s fifteen books more than my Goodreads goal of 45 books. I’m going to set it to fifty next year since I still want to keep realistic. I can do fifty. I think. I hope.
The biggest booster for my reading has been taking part in the r/fantasy reading bingo. It gave me a chance to read my backlist books for about half of the prompts and I’m only two books short of having a full card. Since the challenge runs until the end of March, I’ll have more than enough time to finish those last two books. Expect a post on that shortly.
Another big reading event was the Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Award. This is my second year as a panellist and it has allowed me to discover so many new to me authors, some of them even becoming my new favourite author. More on that later. I’ve bought books that were semi-finalists and intend to read them next year. But earlier this year I was part of many of the book tours for the 2020 winners, which also added to my books read. I will do the same with this years’ winners next year.
Best Reads of 2021
My number one book for this year is Black Water Sister by Zen Cho because it touched me on a personal level. It didn’t make me cry my eyes out like Bookish and the Beast or destroy me like Nectar for the God did, but Black Water Sister has so many themes that mirror my own. Read my 1k+ word review (my longest review to date) to find out exactly why. It’s not a book I’d recommend to everyone but if you want to get to know me better, this is the one you have to read.
Nectar for the God by Patrick Samphire I already mentioned above. It’s the second book in the Mennik Thorn series and I loved it. The stories of both books in the series are fun to read and have incredible worldbuilding but it was Samphire’s writing in the second book that make me prefer the second one over the first. If you’re a fantasy fan, you can’t go wrong with this series.
Our Bloody Pearl by D.N. Bryn was a hidden gem (review coming soon). I thought it would be too dark for me as I read through the excerpts in the BBNYA contest and it became a favourite. The story written from a siren’s perspective is interesting and Bryn gave her an interesting voice.
The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman is something special. Not many books start in the afterlife, nor do they focus this much on a character’s growth. It’s on the slower side because of it, but I loved the build-up towards the climax. It’s so subtle, so sleek, and once it hits, you’ll feel utterly betrayed on so many levels. There’s an elegance in Bowman’s writing, and I’m sure that if I read it again, I’ll pick on even more subtext.
Judgement Day is Josie Jaffrey’s continuation of her Seekers series and I couldn’t put this one down. The first book in the series, May Day won first place in this year’s BBNYA and it is well-deserved. So when I say that Judgement Day is even better, it says something, right? Josie is just as unstoppable as her vampires. I’m looking forward to her next book.
Mentions from my half year post that have been topped
I read Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon for a blog tour but I would’ve bought the book anyway. I love dancing and had lessons for three years. So a contemporary romance about a dancing competition with a hint of magical realism? Yes, please! Yoon didn’t disappoint either. It’s one of the most emotional books I’ve read so far. I’m looking forward to the movie (hey, Netflix, are you listening?).
Another book that needs a shoutout is Stay Mad, Sweetheart. I don’t usually read thrillers so I wouldn’t put it on my most enjoyed reads list, but it’s definitely a great book. If you like thrillers, you’ll love this one.
Here’s the full list of books I’ve read so far and links to the reviews for the ones I already posted.
My Life As A Cat – Carlie Sorosiak
The Summoner’s Cry – Ana C. Reis
Scales Like Stars – DJ Russo
Nectar for the God – Patrick Samphire
Shadow of a Dead God – Patrick Samphire
Spellcloacked – Stephanie Burgis
Scales & Sensibility – Stephanie Burgis
The Ex Hex – Erin Sterling
Voice of War – Zack Argyle
Our Bloody Pearl – D.N. Bryn
Every Heart a Doorway – Seanan McGuire
Certain Dark Things – Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Witchmark – C.L. Polk
Children Thorns, Children Water – Aliette de Bodard
Reverie – Ryan La Sala
#TheRealCinderella – Yesenia Vargas
House of Shattered Wings – Aliette de Bodard
Far From the Light of Heaven – Tade Thompson
The Infinite Library and other stories – Victor Fernando R. Ocampo
Blood Work – Josie Jaffrey
Fireborn – Aisling Fowler
The Meeting Point – Olivia Lara
Bookish and the Beast – Ashley Poston
These Witches Don’t Burn – Isabel Sterling
Seven of Infinities – Aliette de Bodard
Hobgoblin Boots – Tansy Rayner Roberts
Tea and Sympathetic Magic – Tansy Rayner Roberts
A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking – T. Kingfisher
The Disastrous Debut of Agatha Tremain – Stephanie Burgis
Black Water Sister – Zen Cho
The Selection – Keira Cass
The Elite – Keira Cass
The One – Keira Cass
Shards of Earth – Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rosewater – Tade Thompson
Instructions for Dancing – Nicola Yoon
Fireheart Tiger – Aliette de Bodard
Kate in Waiting – Becky Albertalli
Heartstopper Vol. 1 – Alice Oseman
The Beautiful Ones – Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Infinity Courts – Akemi Dawn Bowman
Everlasting Rose – Dhonielle Clayton
Stay Mad, Sweetheart – Heleen Kist
The Midnight Bargain – C. L. Polk
Judgement Day – Josie Jaffrey
Ever Alice – H. J. Ramsay
Hush, Hush – Becca Fitzpatrick
Not Another Family Wedding – Jackie Lau
What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank – Krista D. Ball
Zen In The Art of Writing – Ray Bradbury
7 Figure Fiction – T. Taylor
The Beginning Professional Publisher – Leah R. Cutter
The Anatomy of Prose – Sacha Black
Talking As Fast A I Can – Lauren Graham
The Anatomy of Story – John Truby
Creating an Online Presence – Cat Rambo
Following – David Gaughran
The Fiction Formula – Sean M. Platt & Johnny Truant