good morning, cyberspace!
It’s that time of year again, folks! December is the perfect time to reflect and review the year behind us, and all across the blogosphere, posts are popping up of everyone’s favorite (and least favorite?) reads of 2021.
So naturally I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and join them! I read some INCREDIBLE books this year–
one of which isn’t even published yet, and I am MAD because it would SO have made it onto my top 5…–and I just really want to squeal about them for five billion years, okay. XD Don’t judge me, please. But DEFINITELY read these books if you haven’t already, because y’all. They were GOOD.
*while numbered, these are not listed in chronological order of favorite to least favorite. I unfortunately have a painfully hard time choosing among my children, and therefore they are numbered simply for ease of reading
MY FAVORITE READS OF 2021
THE LIGHTNING THIEF – Rick Riordan
Y’all. I am so excited to finally be reading this series! I’ve heard SUCH good things about it for years and years, but I never thought it was one that I should pick up and dive into.
But I’ve never been more happy to say that I. WAS. WRONG.
A very good friend of mine somehow convinced me to give this series a try earlier this year since he was–at the time–re-reading it, and I’ve honestly been hooked ever since. I breezed through The Lightning Thief within a single day, snagged Sea Of Monsters from my friend and devoured that one, too, and now I’m on Titan’s Curse! It took me a little longer to get into the third book with the same enthusiasm that I had with the first two, but I’m happy to say that after reading some other books begging for my attention, I’m fully invested in Titan’s Curse and am well on my way to finishing it before the week’s out!
UPDATE: Titan’s Curse has been completed. I am now resorting to bribery to get the fourth novel from said aforementioned friend.
AN ECHO OF THE FAE – Jenelle Schmidt
I think I’ve mentioned this book on the blog sometime this year, but since I can’t remember which post it was in, we’re mentioning it again! An Echo Of The Fae was quite honestly one of the sweetest, gentlest stories I’ve read in a really, really long time. It has all the soft magic you could possibly ask for from a Middle Grade, while also diving into deep truths such as faith, family, and never letting go of those we love.
This book is beautiful in so many ways, both inside and out, and I HIGHLY recommend this one to anyone looking for a soft, whimsical read.
HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE – Diana Wynn Jones
I HAVE FINALLY READ HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE, GUYS!!! I’ve been screaming at myself for YEARS to read this book–and quite honestly I’ve had people (gently) screaming at me to read this, as well–but it wasn’t until this year that I actually picked it up and read it from front to back. And, once again, I realized just how much I’d been missing out on.
Howl is one of the funniest, quirkiest, cleverest books I’ve ever read. There’s a fantasticalness about the story and its characters that sucks you in and refuses to let go, and even now, months after finishing it, I’m constantly reflecting on bits and pieces of this story. How soon is TOO soon to reread a story which has stolen your heart, by the way? Two months? Three? I’m suffering from Howl withdrawal over here, folks. XD
(I mean I know I could read the sequels but it’s not the sammmmmmmeeeeee)
GEMINA – Jay Kristoff and Amy Kaufman
…I honestly don’t know if I have any words for this book. It was everything that Illuminae was–creepy, horrifying, edge-of-your-seat-and-nail-bitingly soul-snatching–and yet… somehow it was so much more…?
If you’ve never read this series, I literally cannot recommend it enough. It takes a second to get into the swing of the storytelling–especially if you’re not used to an epistolary format–but trust me when I tell you that once the story grabs hold of you, there is quite literally no letting you go. Ever. You’re on the Illuminae ship for life, and there is no better place to be.
Also there’s t-shirts.
THE GRAVEYARD BOOK – Neil Gaiman
This book has been on my TBR for FOREVER, but I finally managed to get to it this year! And by golly, what a wonderful book it was.
Not gonna lie, the prose was a LITTLE slow at times, making it a little bit of a mellow-paced read compared to, say, Gemina (a.k.a. one that I binged in two days), but the gentleness of this story almost makes it that much more spooky once you start to read it. I absolutely LOVE Gaiman’s writing style. In fact, it’s kind of what I want to do with my own stories. It has a sort of Tim Burton flair to it that I wasn’t necessarily expecting, and the fact that this book was essentially The Jungle Book but in a graveyard just made the whole thing so much better. XD
IT WILL JUST BE US – Jo Kaplan
This book was… interesting? I never thought I would be a lover–let alone READER–of Gothic Horror. In fact, had you told me five years ago that I would willingly pick up a book that looked like it was going to give me nightmares for days, I probably would have laughed and stabbed you in the toe with a spork. BUT. Here we are.
It Will Just Be Us was–again–a bit of a slower read.
apparently 2021 was a year for slow-paced books?The prose was a little too purple for my taste at times, but more often than not, the writing pulled me in and made this eerie hollow tale even more chilling.
Of course, with this book technically being considered “adult”, there was some swearing sprinkled throughout (*insert intense eye roll here*), but for the most part, this book was captivating, haunting, and–more often than not–had me hanging on the edge of my seat. Nothing prepared me for that ending, either. I don’t know what I was expecting to happen, but it… decidedly was not that. Aha.
CONTENT WARNING: If you have a queasy stomach, I would highly recommend letting this one slide. This book is not for the faint of heart, and it definitely made me squirm uneasily more than once. There was also some cussing throughout, which was annoying. But other than that, this book was definitely among my favorite reads of the year, and a huge recommend to anyone who loves creepy mansions, ghosts, and mysteries behind locked doors….
Despite not making it in my list of Top Favorites, these three Honorable Mentions made my reader heart so happy this year!
ENTWINED – Heather Dixon
A reread, but still one of my favorite books of all time! I’m obsessed with the Twelve Dancing Princesses, as well as Bramble and Lord Teddy and just ALL of the members of this adorable cast… It’s also equal parts adorable and horrifying, and I love the complexity of that.
ROMANOV – Nadine Brandes
This was my first Brandes, and, might I just say, I am hooked. Nadine’s writing style picks you up and transports you seamlessly to another world, and learning the true story behind the Romanovs (followed shortly by Nadine’s excellent interpretation of what may have happened later) was both sweet and sad all at the same time. I loved this book dearly, and I’m VERY excited to read more of her work in 2022!
A GOOD GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER – Holly Jackson
This book was definitely a surprise for me! I bought it on a whim (yay Barnes and Noble!) and maybe sorta kinda binged it within three days… (oops?) I honestly don’t know where my enthusiasm for murder mysteries and gothic horror came from this year, but I am LOVING the eeriness of it all…
This book, while definitely staying true to its fast-paced, page-turner YA brethren, was a wild roller coaster ride from start to finish, which was just what I needed to get out of my reading slump in October! I also wasn’t able to predict the ending, which was a bonus, AND, despite there being a small romance that blossomed in the middle of the book, IT DIDN’T TAKE OVER THE PLOT!!!
GUYS! FINALLY A YA BOOK WITH A GOOD PLOT THAT DOESN’T GET RUINED BY ROMANCE!! Do you realize how happy this makes my heart? DO YOU REALIZE????
It was incredible. I’m amazed. 10/10. 5 stars.
(actually only like 4 stars, but who’s counting. not me, clearly.)
talk to me, peasants!
what sorts of stories did YOU consume this year? any genres you weren’t expecting to fall madly in love with? what’s a book you would highly recommend to literally everyone? (*cough* percy jackson *cough*) and most importantly of all…
have you read any of the books on this list?
Specifically Illuminae/Gemina and Percy Jackson. I need people to squeal with, apparently…
As always, let’s talk about ALL OF THE BOOKISH THINGS! down in the comments below! And until next time…
* flings cookies in the air and disappears *