Saturday, January 1, 2022

Favorite Books of 2021

Every year, one of my favorite posts to do is where I discuss my favorite books of the year. Usually, it's a very tough list for me to make when I have to narrow down all the dozens of books I read to my top 10 or so. However, this year I was actually struggling to fill this list. 

Throughout most of the year, I was in a reading slump. While I read 43 books overall, a lot of those were rereads or just mediocre reads in general. Additionally, I don't count multiple books in a series as separate items on my favorites list which made it a bit sparse this year. I have 8 books and series to discuss today. Like I mentioned, I do keep series confined to just one list space and talk about them altogether, otherwise this list would be a bit longer. 

I do think I was a bit pickier with my list this year. Instead of just taking the top 10 of the year and putting them in a list, I decided to pick books that have ended up on my all-time favorites list. Keep in mind, I'll be working up to my top favorite at the end of the post as well. Now...without further are my favorite books of 2021. 

Coming in at number eight, we have Dear Love, I Hate You by Eliah Greenwood. This is a romance I discovered through TikTok and absolutely adored. It's quite long but I ended up reading it in one sitting. This was everything I wanted Punk 57 to be and more. The entire book just kept me engaged throughout reading it and I think that's why I loved it so much. After struggling with reading so much recently, the books that pull me in to make me forget I'm reading are the ones that I've loved the most and this one was no exception. If you'd like my full thoughts, check out my review here
At number seven, I have Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I was hoping to finish off at least the sequel as well this year but, sadly, my reading slump isn't fully gone yet and my binge-reading skills aren't quite up to par. However, I was blown away by this book. I was scared the simultaneous hype and criticism was going to make this book disappoint but I was surprised (and happy to be). This book was nothing like I expected and I was so intrigued by a modern fantasy society with both science and magic. I'm very eager to head into the rest of the series (despite already being spoiled for the final book). You can find more thoughts and a complete review here

For number six, I have the first three books in the Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout: From Blood and Ash, A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, and The Crown of Gilded Bones. I've been a fan of Jennifer since I started my blog and got back into reading all the way back in 2015. I was around when From Blood and Ash was surprise dropped but I didn't get around to reading it until the third book released earlier this year. These books surprised me. They were definitely different than what I expected and very different from anything else Jennifer has previously written. However, I loved every moment of them despite the fact they're objectively not masterpieces. I do not have reviews for these, though, because I was also in the midst of a blogging slump when I read them (oops). 

Coming in at spot number five is Ace of Shades and King of Fools, the first two books in the Shadow Game trilogy by Amanda Foody. I'd been wanting to read Ace of Shades since it first came out but never managed to find a suitable copy or time. This year, after reading another of Amanda's books I'll be discussing a bit later, I finally had the urge to dive in and I'm so glad I finally did. I absolutely loved these books and how unique they were from anything I'd ever read before. I don't want to end up on a long tangent, so I'll leave it by saying here are my reviews for Ace of Shades and King of Fools

At number four, I have These Violent Delights (TVD) and Our Violent Ends (OVE) by Chloe Gong. Now, I'll be honest, if it weren't for OVE then I'm not sure this duology would have made the list (based on TVD alone). I enjoyed the first book, but it was definitely difficult for me at times during my reading slump due to the slower building plot. However, OVE blew me away and I read it very quickly. This duology is supreme and I love OVE with my entire being. I cannot wait to reread it in the future but also to get into Chloe's future books. For more thoughts, here are my reviews for Our Violent Ends

Picking up at number three, I have The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody. This is Amanda's middle-grade debut and the first book I read by her. I was hoping for a light middle-grade to help with my reading slump at the time (that didn't go away but at least this book was a shining light in the dark). I absolutely fell in love with this one. I read it in one sitting and became fully invested in the characters, world, magic system, and story. This book truly was what I needed at a very difficult time and I still often think about how much I love it (in fact, I'll be rereading it in a few weeks for the release of the sequel). At this age, middle grade books are hit or miss since I'm not the target audience but this one blew me away more than I ever expected. You can find my full review and gushing here

Coming in at number two, we have A Broken Blade by Melissa Blair. This was surprising to me because I hadn't even heard of this book at the beginning of December and had no idea it would pop into my life and shove every other book out of the way. This book simultaneously pulled me out of my reading slump before shoving me right back in. I was initially interested due to the hype surrounding its release on BookTok, but then I picked up a copy and annotated as I read and absolutely fell in love. This book was so good and everything I wanted in an accessible, easy to read way. I cannot wait for the sequel and I highly encourage everyone to pick up a copy. To prevent myself from gushing too much here, though, I'll drop the link to my full non-spoiler review

And, lastly, my number one book of 2021 should come as no surprise...A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas. This was everything. While I can objectively say it's not a masterpiece, it was exactly what I wanted (well, almost). I can acknowledge there were aspects I didn't like and found lacking, but overall I just loved this book so much and never wanted it to end. I wanted angst, I wanted bitchy characters, I wanted tension and fighting and messiness. This book delivered. It ripped me (and the character) apart and put me back together. It was so different than what I was expecting but so amazing in all the ways that mattered to me. I think about it constantly and look forward to hopefully rereading it soon. As always, here's my full review if you want more of my thoughts. 

So, those were my favorite books of 2021 and some books that have made it into my top favorites list. While I read a lot of good books this year that I ended up loving, there were also a lot of mediocre books. I'm hopeful for 2022 to be a better reading year with a lot more new favorites from my backlist TBR and (hopefully) completed series. 

What was your favorite book of 2021? 

Thanks for reading!

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