Last year in my round-up of my top reads, I wrote that it was one of my worst reading years ever. I’d read 26 books. Well, this year was MUCH worse! I only read 14 books. I’m pretty sure that’s the fewest books I’ve read since I was born if you count the ones my parents read to me, and I’m not exaggerating in the slightest. I’m not going to beat myself up about it (what would be the point in that?) but I am going to be better in 2022 because reading makes me happy and I love it. Plus, my TBR pile is pretty much a mountain at this point.
With just 14 books under my belt, I haven’t got 10 to recommend this year, but after publishing a round-up every year for eight years straight I couldn’t let the ninth go by without sharing something. So I’ve got six to recommend, all of which I really, really enjoyed.
If you want to see my previous top 10s, check them out in the list below:
Onto this year’s now, and I’ve sorted them in order of preference, with number one being my absolute favourite of the year, but they were all brilliant.
Also, it’s really surprising to see that my top three are all fantasy! I say this every year and every year there’s a fantasy or two among my favourites, but I find fantasy so hit and miss. I’ll either fall in love with them or massively dislike them, I’m rarely anywhere in between. I’m also very picky about which fantasies I choose to read for this reason, which probably means I’m missing out on some I’d love.
6. The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker
I’m not sure what it says about me, but alongside dystopians, apocalyptic novels are my favourites. In this one, Edgar and his family survive devastating asteroids that wipe out most of the UK. When he is torn apart from his family he must travel across the country to find them before it’s too late. It’s not the best apocalyptic novel I’ve ever read, but it’s brilliant nonetheless and I read it within days. It starts off really strong and slows down a bit but managed to captivate me until the very end.
The End of the World Running Club is the only ‘adult’ book in my round-up this year. Even at the age of 31 the YAs always get me. As I always say, if you don’t read YA because you think you’re too old to, you’re missing out!
5. The Next Together by Lauren James
I read this in the space of one weekend and immediately ordered the second book (although admittedly I’ve yet to read it, I’m terrible at doing that). I loved it so much. Follow Katherine and Matthew through ‘time landscapes’ ranging from 1745 to 2039. There are elements of sci-fi and dystopian, there’s a swoon-worthy romance that spans centuries, there’s adventure and period drama. What more could you ask for? There are some moments towards the end that get a little complicated, as is inevitable with time travel stories, and some of the romance is a little fluffy. I also thought the end was a bit rushed and sudden, but even with those flaws I loved it and I can’t wait to read more. It’s my favourite of Lauren James’ novels so far.
4. Wishbones by Virginia Macgregor
Surprisingly, this is the only contemporary I’ve got in the list. I love a contemporary, but despite my earlier comment about YA always getting me I’m definitely a bit too old for some of the contemporaries these days. Anyway, this one was gorgeous. It’s about Feather, whose mum is morbidly obese, so much so that she can’t leave the house or even really the living room. It’s an emotional, heartfelt, wholesome story that follows Feather as she uncovers why her mum is the way she is, and attempts to help her overcome it.
3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
It took me forever to read this, but I blame Love Island because despite the time it took I really enjoyed it. It’s a fantasy with a first person narrative split between two characters on opposite sides of the war. Elias is training become one of the evil ‘masks’, ruled by his estranged mother. Laia is a rebel spy trying to save her brother after her grandparents were killed by masks and her brother was taken. It’s unpredictable and fast-paced with brilliant characters. I can’t wait to read more.
2. Cinder by Melissa Meyer
Another fantasy now, and this one I had a feeling I’d enjoy. Cinder is a cyborg, living on a futuristic Earth among humans and Androids. She’s a mechanic, nothing particularly special, but soon she becomes tangled up in an intergalactic war that uncovers mysteries of her past. It’s loosely based on Cinderella, hence its name, complete with an evil stepmother and somewhat evil stepsisters.
Cinder is a brilliant character and I can’t help but enjoy a forbidden romance, especially when it involves a handsome prince!
1. Carve The Mark by Veronica Roth
Divergent by Veronica Roth is one of my all time favourite reads (shame about the movies) but fantasy isn’t my strong point as I’ve mentioned, so I had no idea whether I’d love this as much as I’d enjoyed Roth’s dystopian series.
It’s safe to say I loved it, and it sits firmly at number one for me this year. I’d say it’s more of a fantasy for beginners, with world building just intricate enough to offer vivid imagery but not so complex you have to reread to keep up. The romance is perfect and while I think it could have been just a touch shorter, it had me hooked the whole way.
I’ve missed books and book blogging so much, I am considering writing book reviews again. Not for anyone else, just for myself and if someone else fancies reading them that’s great. I used to review every book I read and that was too much, but I think from time to time if I have something to say about a book I’ll say it, and I’m quite excited about it.
What were your favourite reads of 2021?