Bookish List · End of the Year Post · Uncategorized

The Best Books We Read in 2021

Hi there! Today’s post is another for the end of the year and it’s a good one because we are celebrating our favourite books of 2021! We are so excited to share with you the books that stood out to us and earned our love over the year and we hope you’ll enjoy hearing about them! Let’s get into it!

Sabrina’s Favorites of the Year

I mentioned this in our last post, but this year I have had a higher percentage of five star reads compared to previous years – which has been a very welcome change! So, not including rereads, I’ve listed here all the books I gave 4.5 stars or above along with a few books that still made my favourites list despite not reaching that rating for me or not getting a rating at all. I couldn’t bring myself to leave them out!

🀎 Take A Hint, Dani Brown is the first Talia Hibbert book that I fell truly in love with – I could not get enough of the characters and their adorable romance. I especially loved Zafir’s journey over the course of the story.

🀎 The Marrow Thieves took me by surprise on multiple occasions, particularly with several scenes that had me tearing up (from both “positive” and “negative” emotions!) because I had become so invested in the main character’s life. This is a fantastic survival story that I couldn’t help but love.

🀎 Anxious People was my first Fredrik Backman and hopefully won’t be my last! It was truly an emotional rollercoaster with an intriguing mystery at the centre of it all. I also appreciated that it was ultimately a hopeful story.

🀎 The Lost Man was a welcome reminder that I still have the capacity to enjoy adult mystery/thrillers after having a bit of a bad run with them. I slowly but surely grew to care for the characters in this one and the atmosphere established was impressive.

🀎 Plain Bad Heroines is a marvellous blend of genres: historical, horror, contemporary, mystery – there’s even a bit of romance in there. It never failed to hold my attention and it was well worth the time it took to read it.

🀎 The Girls I’ve Been is a YA thriller full of heart and hope – something I was definitely not expecting going into it! I loved every aspect of this book, but the relationship between the three main characters was easily the best.

🀎 Even If We Break, another YA thriller, is a book I enjoyed so much that I wrote an entire post about it. I especially loved the cast of characters, the incorporation of their gaming hobby and the scary, horror elements.

🀎 The Bone Shard Daughter immediately captured my interest and didn’t let me go until well after I turned the final page. I was totally absorbed in this multi-character story and I’m itching to read the next in the series!

🀎 The Yield is a beautifully written and cleverly structured story. I loved the focus on language and the main character’s journey of reconnecting with her family and community.

🀎 Peter Darling is a novella I couldn’t put down! I was so in love with the characters that I found myself panicking about whether the story would have a happy ending or not – and I was only a third of the way through!

🀎 Act Your Age, Eve Brown is a delightful romance that was constantly making me laugh and smile and simultaneously made me devastated for the two main characters – particularly by how their experiences growing up have shaped the way they see themselves. An amazing book.

🀎 Damaged Goods, the third Talia Hibbert in my 2021 favourites, was everything I was hoping for and more – especially considering it is only a novella! I quickly became wholly invested in the relationship between the main characters and I loved reading about their lives.

🀎 Spin The Dawn has interested me ever since I heard about it because I like fashion and I’ve always loved Mulan – two things this book does involve, but it is also so much more than that. I was blown away by the complexity of this story and I can’t wait to read the sequel.

🀎 Crier’s War won me over with its two main characters – Crier in particular I would protect with my life. The relationship dynamic is simply so good and I am excited to see where the story will go from here. I need to read the sequel to ASAP!

🀎 Monstress Volume 3: Haven + Monstress Volume 4: The Chosen are both fantastic additions to the Monstress graphic novel series, and though I can no longer distinguish between them in my memory I know they both had amazing storytelling and stunning artwork.

🀎 In The Dream House is absolutely gorgeously written, and it was such an incredible experience to listen to the author narrate the audiobook – I strongly suggest that method of reading this memoir, if you can access it. Despite being nonfiction, this is a highly creative work of art.

🀎 The Mermaid The Witch and the Sea is a book I’ve talked about many times on the blog because I just haven’t been able to get it out of my head! I was captivated by both the story and characters.

🀎 The Stone Sky was the perfect end to an unbelievably great trilogy. Not only did it wrap up everything in a satisfying manner, but it also added some cool new elements to the story. I can’t wait to reread this series.

🀎 Drowned Country is the immersive, imaginative sequel novella to Silver in the Wood and I enjoyed it a whole lot. The setting in particular makes this book stand out and I am also quite fond of the main characters.

🀎 The Wicker King (novel) + The Legend of the Golden Raven (novella) are both stories I always expected to love, but it was nice to be proven right. The writing style and the characters are my favourite parts.

🀎 The Last Butterflies is a nonfiction I was not expecting to enjoy as much as I did, (especially considering I found the introduction quite dry, lol), despite my fascination with butterflies and interest in wildlife conservation. However, the way this was structured (using species case studies) worked perfectly and added a lot of depth to the book.

🀎 Sitting Pretty is an engaging memoir that both entertained and informed me through my reading of it. The writing style was enjoyable and easy to read, plus I think the author was really clever with her approach to sharing her story.

🀎 Piranesi is an enigmatic book featuring a protagonist you can’t help but love. The story is incredibly compelling and the setting is one-of-a-kind.

🀎 The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein was an unexpected new favourite, putting a unique and constantly surprising spin on the classic. I loved all the new elements added to the story and the way it was told.

🀎 The Dead and the Dark is a highly entertaining read, both spooky and mysterious with characters and relationships you can root for, including some uncommon family dynamics.

🀎 The Witch King gave me a good feeling in the beginning – and through to the end, I never stopped adoring it. The parallels between the fantasy world of the book and our own are super interesting and I feel very protective over the main characters!

Vera’s Favorites of the Year

I already shared a small breakdown of my reading year in our least favorite reads post, so let me just quickly say that my reading year was pretty good. Yes, there were some disappointments, but the vast majority of my reads were great. To avoid sharing tons and tons of books in this post, I’m going to be focusing on the books I rated five stars. I’m not the strictest person when it comes to ratings, so I actually rated a lot more books five stars then what you can see below – these are just the best of the bunch.

🀎 Iron Heart, the much-awaited sequel to Crier’s War, took me quite a while to get to (to my shame) but it was a worthy sequel and a strong conclusion. I can’t recommend this duology enough.

🀎 They Never Learn is a thriller about a sapphic university professor who murders sexual-assaulters, and honestly, do you need more than that to pick it up? It’s a marvelous novel and it deserves more hype, imo.

🀎 Dowry of Blood is a lyrical, historical fantasy that focuses on Dracula’s brides, especially Constanta, our main character. It’s told in a long-letter format and is so beautifully written and captivating that it was a struggle to put it down even for a minute.

🀎 After Only Mostly Devastated, I had high hopes for Gonzales’ next novel, Perfect on Paper… and it did not disappoint! Flawed, multi-dimensional characters and a fantastic story overall.

🀎 I feel like some of you may already know that I adore Fredrik Backman’s novels and that Anxious People is my favorite work of his. It’s both entertaining and touching, which is a tricky combination to master, but Backman has done it over and over again.

🀎 I read Strange the Dreamer (and its sequel) based on Sabrina’s recommendation, and I was so, so, so impressed by the characters, world and story Laini Taylor crafted in this duology. Laini Taylor is an excellent storyteller, no question about that.

🀎 Not My Problem is another novel that manages to be both funny and emotional. I’m definitely going to be rereading this one in the future because I had such a good time the first time around.

🀎 Tokyo Ever After was marketed as a combination of The Princess Diaries and Crazy Rich Asians, and this might be the only time when I agreed with comp titles wholeheartedly. I loved how fun and engaging this novel was and I can’t wait for the sequel.

🀎 Know My Name is just as exceptional as everyone said it would be. Chanel Miller shows us her pain, her strength, her vulnerability, and her perseverance through the process of reporting the sexual assault she suffered.

🀎 Sweet Little Lies, and the whole Cat Kinsella series took me on a twisty and thrilling journey. I loved how invested I was in the mysteries in each book, as well as in the characters, particularly in our morally grey heroine.

🀎 The One is one of the best thrillers I’ve ever read. It’s a bit like an anthology, as we follow multiple characters whose lives never really cross each other’s. I was so satisfied with the characterization as well as with the reveals and surprises along the way.

🀎 Given how much I love Schitt’s Creek, I was really excited to read It Happened One Summer, as it was inspired by the tv show, in particular by Alexis’ character. I’m happy to report that this romance did not disappoint at all.

🀎 Clown in a Cornfield is one of the first titles that comes to mind when I think of my favorites from this year. I love it when an author dares to use popular tropes, and does so in such fun, creative ways.

🀎 When Villains Rise is the third and final novel in the Market of Monsters trilogy and you all, it did not disappoint! Our villainous protagonists were more interesting and (dare I say) lovable than ever, and I had a blast reading this book.

🀎 Inspired by Get Out, Ace of Spades was a YA thriller / horror that has been on my radar since I had first heard about it. After the positive reviews, I became even more excited for this story and it was actually even better than I expected. One of the most captivating reads of 2021.

🀎 An Artist of the Floating World is my third book by Ishiguro and it’s another hit. I love the way Ishiguro’s novels feel so quietly thoughtful and well-crafted and they always leave me with a lot to think about.

🀎 I was particularly excited for the father-daughter relationship of The Dead and the Dark because I heard great things about it from Caro, and so it’s not surprising that it ended up being my favorite aspect of the novel. (But just to be clear, I loved everything else too.)

🀎 Nalini Singh always delivers when it comes to the Psy-Changeling Trinity series and she did just that with The Last Guard. The novel nicely builds on the on-going plot while introducing a wonderful romance between two characters we haven’t yet met.

🀎 She Drives Me Crazy is a fantastic example of a well-crafted opposites attract and enemies to lovers romance. I loved seeing the main characters slowly get to know each other better and realize that they might have more in common than they originally thought.

🀎 Talia Hibbert is one of the few authors who, even after many-many novels, has never disappointed me. Act Your Age, Eve Brown is one of her best titles to day – it’s an entertaining romance novel with an incredible cast of characters.

🀎 In the Garden of Spite is a historical fiction novel based on a real life, black widow female serial killer so of course I had to buy it, and it did not disappoint. The idea to show the killer from her own and her sister’s perspective was brilliant as it allowed me to get multiple perspectives about her kills.

🀎 I found out about Here the Whole Time from Caro, and it was exactly as good of a YA Contemporary as she said. A nice combination of funny and emotional, this novel is bound to impress lovers of Contemporary novels.

🀎 Yes, murderous women were one of my favorite topics of 2021, sue me. In Bloom is the third novel in the Sweet Pea series and it brings the same level of awesomeness as the rest of the series. I would not like to meet Rhiannon in real life, but I do love her as a character.

What do you think?

Have you read and loved any of these books too? What was your absolute favourite book of 2021? Be sure to let us know!

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37 thoughts on “The Best Books We Read in 2021

  1. Aaah I LOVED Not my Problem so much too, it has to be one of my favorites of the year!! I’m SO, SO GLAD to hear you loved it!! And strange the dreamer too!! The writing is marvelous, and LAZLO!!! Great list!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “Yes, murderous women were one of my favorite topics of 2021, sue me.”
    πŸ˜‚

    I want to read Piranesi, and Clown in a Cornfield maybe, though I’m not the biggest fan of slashers. But if it’s creative…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I read Get a Life, Chloe Brown this year and I’m excited to see that you loved the sequels, I’ll definitely read them next year! I loved The Dead and the Dark, so I’m very happy to see it on both of your lists! Also very happy to see Here the Whole Time among the favorites, it’s one of mine as well ❀️ Even If We Break, Spin the Dawn, The Witch King, Strange the Dreamer, and Tokyo Ever After are still on my TBR πŸ₯°

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So many books here. I’m so glad you both found so my favourites and sadly I’ve read so few of them πŸ™ˆ but many are on my TBR that I hope to get to very soon. The Bone Shard Daughter, Here The Whole Time, Piranesi, Anxious People to name a few. I am even more excited to get to them now. I hadn’t heard of They Never Learn before but that is going straight on the TBR so thank you 😍 Hope you both find lots of favourites next year ❀ My favourite of this year has to be the green bone saga series *I'm obsessed* !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’re so glad to have found so many too! Haha, well there is always time πŸ˜› I hope you enjoy all those books when you get to them!
      I hope you find a lot of favourites in 2022 too!
      Ahhh yeeessss The Green Bone Saga is so good!! So glad you’re enjoying it. I’m so upset that the final book isn’t being released in my country until March 😭

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You’ve mentioned some of my favourites like Perfect on Paper and A Dowry of Blood and sooooo many I want to read (I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said I need to read Plain Bad Heroines). Also, I’m glad we can all agree that Talia Hibbert’s books are fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahh this is such a fantastic list and I’m spotting so many books I love, this makes me so happy! Crier’s War and its sequel are two of my favorite books of all times, I was so surprised to fall in love with these books so much. And Tokyo Ever After! Such a gem and the comps were on point, I agree! πŸ™‚

    Like

  7. What a great mix of favourite books from you both! I approve of any and all Talia Hibbert being a favourite (which is funny because I DNFed my first book from her) so I’m happy to see her featured here. And you’re making me realise I have missed so many new releases since a lot of these books are on my TBR but I never got to buying them. I seriously need to catch up on reading but at least I can use your favourites to help me choose which books to prioritise reading.

    Like

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