I would love to say that 2021 was an improvement over 2020 but that would be a lie… still, it wasn’t all bad – there were some good things to be had (such as some great books, shows and films!)
2021 End of Year Book Survey
It’s time for the annual End of Year Book Survey. I haven’t seen this on Jamie’s blog this year but I decided to keep the tradition going anyways… hope no one minds!
end of year survey: 2021 reading stats
number of books you read: 190
number of re-reads: 63
genre you read the most from: contemporary
This year marks the third year in a row that my genre of choice is contemporary (though not by as much of a large margin this year!) It also appears to be the year of the re-reads!! It would seem I have been seeking the comfort of a familiar and loved book quite frequently (guess it’s been that kind-of year).
1. Best Book You Read In 2021?
This is a tough one because there have been so many great reads but I’m going to have to give it to Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell for bringing to a close my favourite YA trilogy of recent years. It was emotional and the end of an era but I’m glad I got to spend time with Baz, Simon, Penny, Agatha (and Shepherd!)
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
I had high hopes for Not Quite Out by Louise Willingham but ended up only rating it 2 stars. The writing itself was fine (good even, hence the 2 stars) but there were some problematic themes I found hard to get past (and I’m, like, the least triggered person in the world so that speaks for itself). I will definitely check out the author in the future as this was their debut so don’t want to make a solid judgement as yet.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
I was totally blindsided by Cruel Prince by Ashley Jade (and the rest of the Royal Hearts Academy series). It’s not normally something I would go for but I gave it a shot and loved it (while still being mindful of the fact that the main love story in the first book was pretty toxic). I was hooked despite myself and loved the subsequent pairings that emerged in book two and four (book three – well, not so much but this made sense later on).
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
This is a hard one because I haven’t really been seeing my friends in a face-to-face capacity at all this year (what with lockdowns and shielding) but I have pretty much been singing the praises of the Vicious Faeries series by Natalia Jaster across social media and gotten quite a bit of interest so that totally counts!!
5. Best series you started in 2021? Best Sequel of 2021? Best Series Ender of 2021?
Best series I started this year was The Lamb and the Lion by Gregory Ashe. I had been putting off reading this series (well, since last year when the first book was released) so that I still had something by this author to look forward to reading and I finally caved and read it. Best. Decision. Ever. Such a great and underrated series and Tean and Jem are right up there with Hazard and Somers as my favourite of Ashe’s characters.
Best sequel I read this year will have to go to Hunt the Fae by Natalia Jaster. Puck and Juniper are couple goals! I just loved their story so much.
Best series ender has got to go to Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell. I really did not know how this series was going to be finished off and it was done so in a way that was satisfying but still left me desperately wanting more. So yay?
6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2021?
An author I discovered this year who has swiftly become a new favourite is C.E. Ricci. I read (and loved) the River of Rain duology and the follow-up These Vile Secrets (book one in a new series) but it was the standalone Head Above Water that gripped me the most and is one of my favourite reads of this year.
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Before the last few years, I didn’t really read strictly romance novels (they were always something like romantic suspense or super angsty or the like) but I have branched out a lot and read stuff that was not on my radar before. The best one this year was probably You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle.
This book was a romance but was very different to offerings I’ve tried in the past. It’s about an established couple for one and they are due to be married and pretty much hate each other at this point (or do they?) The premise is that they are both trying to get the other to be the one to pull out of their upcoming wedding (and therefore not be left with the bill!!) It was deliciously petty and funny watching them twist themselves into knots and falling in love all over again.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
It’s got to be Relative Justice by Gregory Ashe. This book didn’t just pack a punch – it packed a wallop. There were so many twists and turns to the central mystery not to mention the turmoil in Hazard and Somers’ lives (like a boy claiming to be Hazard’s son!) It’s a wild ride and it’s great to be back with these characters again.
9. Book You Read In 2021 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I really loved Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon and I’m already planning a re-read in the New Year so it’s got to be my number one pick here haha! 😀
10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2021?
I’m trying really hard not to mention this one in multiple answers but I just have to pick Any Way the Wind Blows (again!) I was torn between this and the US cover of Winterkeep but I love this art style so much (Kevin Wada rocks!) so it was a no-brainer really. 😉
11. Most memorable character of 2021?
Baz. It’s always Baz. Every year. Seriously though, it’s Mr Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch – he is always going to be my choice in a year where a new Simon Snow book is released (so unless there are more books planned, this will be the final time he gets to grace this topic *sobs*). Puck from Hunt the Fae was a strong second choice though…
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2021?
I’m choosing All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata because it nails grief so well it made me gasp out loud. It’s not a total tear-jerker (there are a lot of mushy romantic bits to even it out) but a certain part is so completely brutal it is a gut-punch. It’s hard to hit me in the feelings like that so it was a clear winner in my book.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2021?
The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon was another book that gutted me (in a good way). I am someone who enjoys (eh, wrong word but you know what I mean) angst so this book went for the gullet and stomped me good.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2021 to finally read?
Who’s That Girl? by Mhairi McFarlane was a book that came out ages ago that I only got to this year. I should have read it sooner because it’s a crack!
15. Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2021?
““It’s not your fault,” he repeated firmly. “It’s your burden. But it’s not your fault. There’s a difference.”
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2021?
Shortest: What Happens In The Dark by Ashley Jade – coming in at a measly 141 pages, this is the shortest full-length book I’ve read this year (I’m not counting short stories or novellas).
Longest: Wait for It by Mariana Zapata – again, I’m not really surprised at this because Zapata’s books are beasts – this one is 670 pages long!
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
Mmm, there was a certain thing that happened in Redirection by Gregory Ashe that actually made my heart drop into my boots (not joking), North is definitely on the naughty list for this (it might take me a while to get over what he does – I pretty much rage-chucked my Kindle across the room (onto a soft surface – I’m not a total monster!!)
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Ha! Like this is even in any doubt at all – Baz and Simon from Rainbow Rowell’s Simon Snow trilogy of course! (#snowbaz for life!!) Puck and Juniper from Natalia Jaster’s Vicious Faeries are my number 2 (followed closely by Cove and Elixir).
19. Favourite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
I love how Aurora and Amos connect in All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata. Their friendship, that develops alongside Aurora’s relationship with Amos’ dad Rhodes, is lovely.
20. Favourite Book You Read in 2021 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore was the sequel I never knew I needed! I was very dissatisfied with the love interest in Bitterblue and this book makes up for that and more (even though it took an age to get that resolution!)
21. Best Book You Read In 2021 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.
I read Follow the River by C.E. Ricci because I kept seeing it on social media. I’m so glad I took a chance because I ended up swept up in this story and discovered a new favourite author!
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2021?
Oh, it’s got to be Puck from Hunt the Fae! This mischievous satyr is out there stealing hearts and minds, I just couldn’t help myself haha! I can see why Juniper is so drawn to him, that’s for sure. I wish I could share the teaser of art commissioned by Natalia for him (I think for the cover of the next book, maybe?), but it’s not my place… let just say – phwoar! 😉
23. Best 2021 debut you read?
The only debut I read that was released this year was Not Quite Out by Louise Willingham (and that didn’t go too well…) If books released in 2020 count, then the best debut I read this year was Follow the River by C.E. Ricci. 😉
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
I am obsessed with all things faerie so Vicious Faeries by Natalie Jaster has my vote. Hunt the Fae and Curse the Fae had such great settings (and very different despite taking place in the same world).
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
I’m going to pick something out of left field here but Fandom by Eden Finley made me smile the most (not because the content was super-happy – in fact there was a lot of heavy stuff in this book). However, I love the pairing so much and together they put a smile on my face!
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2021?
I don’t cry easily anymore, so books rarely make me cry, but All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata came the closest. The depiction of grief just hit me really hard.
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Definitely Stray Fears by Gregory Ashe! I loved reading a more supernatural themed book from this author – it was so, so good!
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Head Above Water by C.E. Ricci was definitely hard-hitting. The characters are taken through the ringer and manage to come out not exactly whole but stronger in the end.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2021?
The Son of David by Amy Harmon was definitely the most unique. It’s not often that the story is told from the perspective of the best friend of the couple whose romance is happening on page… though it does have chapters from one of the protagonists journal interspersed throughout (and the main narrator is the main male MC from the previous book The Law of Moses).
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Redirection by Gregory Ashe – North, son, we gonna have to have words… I was super-pissed at him in this book but the book itself was excellent (as expected from Gregory Ashe).
1. New favourite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2021?
I’ve been mainly hanging around Discord and Reddit these days, though mainly for gaming, but there are a couple of bookish places I visit on the regular…
2. Favourite post you wrote in 2021?
I did feel a sense of relief when I did a post on something that I’d been debating internally about for ages; you can view my post here: Confession Time: I Don’t Like Smut
3. Favourite bookish related photo you took in 2021?
I’m not the most proficient photographer by a long stretch but I do like my various ‘book haul’ posts (especially my vintage books) so I quite like this one!
4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, etc.)?
Again, I’m not a big joiner and in these times cons etc. are out for me but I do love the fact that I am on Natalia Jaster’s ARC Team and get the privilege of reading her books early.
5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2021?
Being able to smash my Goodreads book challenge of 100 books (I ended up reading 190 this year!) I probably could have pushed it to 200 but I didn’t want to stress out this week trying to fit them in so capped it at 190. 😉
6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
My blog security (I got hacked a couple of times last year and it was a nightmare). It costs a bit more but blog security is so worth investing in. I found out the hard way…
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
This post I did on my top Ten Favourite Characters From The Untamed has had twice as many views as anything else this year (although I did write the post last year, so…) If we are going solely with posted this year then it is my post on Celebrity Crushes (From My Teen Years) – I had a lot of fun with this but sad to see so many have passed…
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I haven’t really discovered anything new this year but as always the lovely ladies behind Prudence and the Crow have been awesome at choosing vintage titles for me each month, a lot I hadn’t heard of before which is amazing!
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I did smash my Goodreads challenge (originally 100 – upped to 150 then 190!) I don’t trust myself with other challenges these days haha! 😀
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2021 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2022?
I really wanted to read From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout in 2020 and listed it as my pick last year but didn’t get round to it in 2021 either! So I’m going to try and make it a priority in the new year (but we’ll see haha!)
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2022 (non-debut)?
I was looking forward to Master of Restless Shadows Book Two by Ginn Hale in 2020 (which was pushed back to 2021) but then didn’t come out this year either, and now has no fixed release date, but I’m hoping that it will finally see the light of day this year (please, oh book gods!)
3. 2022 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I’m really looking forward to Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan (I have it pre-ordered from Waterstones!) How gorgeous is the cover? I love both the UK and US editions!!
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2022?
I am so excited about Defy the Fae by Natalia Jaster – I can’t believe the trilogy has been extended – it’s such amazing news for fans of this series!!
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2022?
I really need to set (and keep!) a blogging schedule. Not saying I cannot take a break if I need one but I need some structure (at the moment my blogging is either a feast or a famine!)
6. A 2022 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):
I haven’t actually read any 2022 releases as yet (and not likely to now with such little time left in the year) but there are loads I’m looking forward to… 😉