Hi everyone and welcome to my final post of the year 2021!
What a year, huh? Just when we thought the worst was over, 2021 kind of dragged it out. But now we’re here, once again at the end of a year, and readingwise it wasn’t too bad. In fact, I read quite a few great books, discovered new favorites and fell in love with a ton of different characters and worlds. So let’s wrap it up with the lovely 2021 end of year book survey!
(Technically there is still one day left, but to be fair I won’t be reading anything new, so this list will most likely not change anymore)
This survey is hosted by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner. All banners below are also hers.
**2021 READING STATS**
Number Of Books You Read: 80
Number of Re-Reads: 10
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy
1. Best Book You Read In 2021?
I could cry because I love this book so much (just like last year and my never-ending adoration for Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea).
Under The Whispering Door is a profound, touching and heartwarming story about love and loss. The story flows beautifully and is filled with both laugh-out-loud moments and emotional, teary ones. It’s heartwarming and poignant and will stay inside your heart long after reading it.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Honestly, I think this book was hurt by my decision to try and read it in the mid of a major reading slump. It was one of my most anticipated reads of the year (Halloween – witches – revenge plot with 3 spurned women working together but has 2 of the women falling for each other instead!) but it took me about 5 weeks to even finish this book. I just had to force myself through it. Even though it had everything going for it, the Halloweeny vibes, the cozy little town, the sizzling f/f romance and all the witchy goodness. So I think it’s really a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
This smutty blue alien sci-fi romance book (and series) was super hyped on Booktok, which is where it caught my eye. The first times I saw it, I quickly scrolled past, maybe laughed at it a bit. Because to be honest, normally I would NOT pick this up. The cover is just awful and the premise felt like it was just too weird for me. And yet…
And yet my curiosity got the best of me (as well as my quest to step out of my reading comfort zone). So I downloaded book one, fully prepared to laugh my way through it. And I did laugh, but in a good way? Actually, this was a really fun and entertaining read! While definitely not for everyone and while you should not expect award-winning literature either, if you go into it expecting a quick, fun and smutty romance featuring blue, horned aliens? It’s a pretty solid read!
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Just like last year, I’m not sure how many people picked this up because of me, but I do know I’ve been raving about The Guild Codex so much this year (and the year before that… and the year before that…), and if there’s one series or author my fellow bloggers would connect to me, I’m pretty sure it would be this one.
That said, please read The Guild Codex by Annette Marie. You won’t regret it 😉
5. Best series you started in 2021? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender of 2021?
The best series starter is definitely The One and Only Crystal Druid by Annette Marie. I love this world already so much, but I’m now super excited for Zak and Saber’s story!
My favorite sequel is Gleam, the third book in The Plated Prisoner series by Raven Kennedy. The first book in this series is admittedly a little tough and a lot of people have stopped there, but I’d highly suggest to keep reading! Book two, Glint, and book 3, Gleam, are AMAZING and you’ll be in love.
And my favorite series ending has to be Up From The Grave by Jeaniene Frost. Though it’s not the end in the world, as there are a lot of spin-off series, it is the end of Cat and Bones’s POV and I already miss them so much.
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2021?
I fell in love with Raven Kennedy‘s books this year! The Plated Prisoner Series is a (currently unfinished) dark retelling of the legend of King Midas (read my review of the series so far here) and the Heart Hassle Series is a hilarious (finished) series about a Cupid who ends up with a body for the first time (read my series review here)
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Though I’ve always been a romance reader, I’ve never actually ventured into the realm of dark romance. But a few books have peeked my interest and one of those was the Hades/Persephone inspired Neon Gods by Katee Robert. Because it’s still fairly light on the dark romance spectrum, it was a perfect first try and I’ll definitely try to expand my dark romance reading in 2022. Starting with the sequel to Neon Gods, Electric Idol, of course.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
I was afraid to start A Shadow in the Ember by Jennifer L. Armentrout because I was in a reading slump and thought it would take me forever to finish. But in the end I tore through this book so fast it was like my reading slump didn’t exist for a little while, it was that unputdownable!
9. Book You Read In 2021 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Did I just finish If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich?
Do I already want to re-read this book?
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2021?
Look how absolutely beautiful this cover of XOXO by Axie Oh is!
Also, the story itself, about a girl who falls for a kpop idol, is pretty cute as well.
11. Most memorable character of 2021?
No one can deny the amazing character development Nesta had in A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas. I think that most readers went into this book hating Nesta, but came out loving her.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2021?
The writing in The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab was at another level. Every sentence, every paragraph, had this atmospherical quality to it that felt both magical and whimsical and dark. As is evidenced by the fact that I highlighted almost every single quote in the book as a favorite.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2021?
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a slow, character-driven book. It’s not a book to dive into when you are looking for a quick, easy read that’ll make you feel good. Not that there is no hope to be found within these pages, because there is. But this is a book to be savoured, slowly, page by page. Preferably on grey or dark days that add to the atmospheric effect. And be ready to have this story stick on your mind and thoughts throughout your reading journey.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2021 to finally read?
A coworker lent me Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and I have to admit that I put off on reading it because I thought it was gonna be a heavy book to get through (I mean heavy compared to all the rom-coms and light fantasies I’ve mostly been consuming for the past year). But then I felt guilty for taking too long with a borrowed book and so I picked it up one Sunday morning… only to have finished it by Sunday night. That’s right, this was a one-sitting read that was impossible to put down. The writing, the setting was absolutely gorgeous and the mystery kept me entertained and guessing throughout it all. Absolutely recommend!
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2021?
I love quotes about friendship, and this quote from Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane really stood out to me.
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2021?
The Guild Codex Comic Collection
A Court of Silver Flames
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout, the third installment in the From Blood and Ash world, was once again epic, edge-of-your-seat and full of shocks and revelations and had a major cliffhanger that will have me utterly frustrated until the next one releases!
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun revolves around the newest season of Ever After, a popular reality tv dating show in which one man plays the part of Prince Charming and a group of women compete for his love and a proposal. Romantic right? But when Prince Charming falls for his producer instead this story went from romantic to OTP-level for me.
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Look, it’s clear how much I love The Guild Codex series, and especially the characters of Kit and Zak. BUT when you throw Kit and Zak together, like what happened in Rogue Ghosts & Other Miscreants by Annette Marie and Rob Jacobsen, you basically have the recipe for the best bromance of all time!
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2021 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
If you love a good slow burn romance, Mariana Zapata is the author for you! All Rhodes Lead Here focuses on Aurora De La Torre a women moving back to her childhood home when she needs to start over. Her landlord (whose name is Rhodes, get it?) across the driveway is pretty grumpy at first, but both he and his son soon start to warm to Aurora’s warm sunshine personality. I loved the slow burn between Aurora and Rhodes, but also Aurora’s connections to everyone else in town, and her friendship with Rhodes’ son, Amos. This was just such a heartfelt book and I highly recommend it if you love slow-burn romances, the sunshine/grumpy trope, single dad trope, small towns and found families.
21. Best Book You Read In 2021 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:
I discovered Let’s Get Textual by Teagan Hunter thanks to Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse and when I found out it featured one of my favorite tropes ever, the penpal trope, I knew I needed to try it. In the story, Delia gets a text one day from a new number. She assumes it’s her brother with a new number and texts back, but it turns out it was a wrong-number mix-up. However, she keeps texting with this wrong number (who turns out to be called Zach) and the banter and chemistry between the two is undeniable and hilarious and so good. I love when two people fall for each other without ever having met in real-life yet and this story delivered!
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2021?
Alex from People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry is pretty much my biggest fictional crush of 2021, and that’s a fact.
23. Best 2021 debut you read?
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood was absolutely ADORABLE! It had fake dating in a STEM environment, the grumpy/sunshine trope, amazing banter, great friend groups and demisexual representation. It felt like a warm hug and definitely a comfort read. Highly recommend.
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
I finally dived into The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker, the story about a city girl who travels to Alaska to spend some time with her estranged, sick dad and ends up falling for an Alaskan pilot. It’s an enemies-to-lovers with a huge focus on family and forgiveness and of course, with the amazing setting of Alaska!
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
The premise for The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren was so fun and exciting and different that I had so much fun reading the book. A single mom and statistician, Jess, has no interest in dating but in a moment of desperation she tries a new matchmaking app. This app, called GeneticAlly, uses DNA to match people. Jess is skeptical but still intrigued by the science. However, she’s still taken aback when she doesn’t only get a match, but with a score of 98% she gets a very rare diamond match. Only problem: it’s with the founder of the app, River, and a guy Jess can’t stand. However, they both still want to find out if the app could be correct or not and agree to “date” so they can not only figure that out, but also mutually benefit them both: promote the company for River and get helped out of a financial tight spot for Jess.
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2021?
Just Last Night is my third Mhairi McFarlane book (the previous two being Don’t You Forget About Me and If I Never Met You) and just like my previous reads, this was another straight hit. That said, it’s also heartbreaking and will have you bawling your eyes out. Don’t be fooled by the colorful cover, this is not a rom-com. Oh sure, there is humor and there is also romance, and both aspects are wonderful, BUT this is first and foremost as story about loss and grief.
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell was one of my most anticipated 2021 releases. It’s a queer sci-fi featuring an arranged marriage and a murder mystery. Though the beginning of the book was a little slow and I had some trouble getting into the world and learning all the different characters, I soon ended up loving it and the second half just flew by in a blur of action and emotion.
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Like I said above, Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane was absolutely heartbreaking and soul-crushing and had me bawling my eyes out. It is deeply emotional and moving, yet also witty and uplifting with characters that you’ll love so much that they will stay with you long after finishing the book. An ode to friendships, in all their messy gloriousness.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2020?
I loved One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston and thought it was such a unique f/f romance featuring a girl lost in time. Our main heroine August meets our other main heroine Jane on the subway. She always meets her on the subway, in fact. Turns out, Jane is stuck on the subway since the seventies. So naturally, this provides a mystery August just has to solve.
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
I really liked Rosaline Palmer Takes The Cake by Alexis Hall, but the book also made me so mad. Specifically, the character of Alain. Ugh. I’m sorry but I hated him from the very start, and I just couldn’t see what Rosaline saw in him (I mean, I understand her thought process, but still, ugh). And then he just stayed around for too long and I wish Rosaline had seen through him a little earlier.
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2021 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2022?
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2022 (non-debut)?
Uh hi, a sequel to my favorite, Boyfriend Material? YES, PLEASE!
3. 2022 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
This just sounds like such a fun, feel-good summer read and I am already so excited to read it!
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2022?
Another anticipated sequel! House of Earth and Blood was easily one of my favorite 2020 reads and I’m so excited for the sequel (though I’m thinking a re-read may be needed first, because my memory is awful)
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2022?
I struggled a bit with a reading and blogging slump in 2021, so in 2022 I want to focus on keeping the fun and enthusiasm strong, so I can keep blogging for a long time still to come!
I wanted to read that Ice Planet Barbarians book but I forgot so I’m gonna write it down for 2022! I’m so glad you “pushed” me to read The Guild Codex books so now I’m “pushing” other people to read it. I also picked Zak and Kit as one of my favorite non-romantic relationships. I just love it when they’re in a scene together.
Happy New Year, Lindsey!
Hope you’ll have fun with the Ice Planet Barbarians book! It was definitely a surprise for me 🙂
I’m so, so happy you loved The Guild Codex books! It’s definitely fun to be able to rave about those books with someone 😀 Zak and Kit are so amazing together, I could read about them all day long!
Happy New Year and best wishes, Stephanie!
This end-of-the-year wrapup is wonderful. I love seeing the highlights of everyone’s book year.
Happy New Year!
It is indeed such a fun wrapup, I always love reading it 🙂
Happy New Year!
I loved reading this! We both have Ice Planet Barbarians on our lists. Haha. I was surprised at how much I liked that one. I am happy I could recommend Let’s Get Textual to you and that it was a hit. I hope 2022 treats you well and brings you lots of amazing books.
Haha yes, Ice Planet Barbarians was definitely one of the biggest surprises of 2021 🙂 This year I definitely want to continue the series.
Thanks again for the rec of Let’s Get Textual! Another series I hope to continue in 2022 🙂
Thanks and best wishes for 2022 as well!
I tried dark romance for the first time this year, too! The Simple Wild was such a great read, it was fun to “travel” to Alaska!
Glad I’m not the only dark romance newbie haha 🙂
I loved The Simple Wild so much, not sure if I’d ever visit Alaska in real life, but it was so nice to discover it fictionally 🙂
Everyone’s been commenting on the beautiful writing of Addie LaRue — that’s one of the things that makes me most excited to read it.
I fell in love with the setting of The Simple Wild, too.
Believe it or not, One Last Stop is not the first book I’ve seen about a modern-day person meeting a girl from the 70s on a subway! That honor goes to Subway Love by Norah Raleigh Baskin (though there are various plot differences beyond that).
The writing of Addie LaRue was indeed so beautiful – hope you’ll love it too when you try it!
Ooh, guess it’s not such a unique plot after all haha 🙂
I liked Rosaline Palmer, but yes, I hated Alain so much!!!!
Loved The Charm Offensive. Have Addie LaRue but still need to read it. I did enjoy One Last Stop!
I need If This Gets Out. It sounds wonderful.
I’m curious about Neon Gods – might need to give it a go.
Lauren @ http://www.shootingstarsmag.net
Ugh, Alain was the worst!
Hope you’ll enjoy both If This Gets Out and Neon Gods if you decide to try them.