Happy New Year!
*dusts off blog*
It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
I may not have been blogging but I certainly have been reading… and re-reading – so much so that I’m dividing my 2021 favourites into new-to-me reads and re-reads for the first time ever. There’s something comforting about reaching for the familiar, and comfort was something much needed in 2021.
So here are my favourite books of 2021 – first up, the new ones (in no particular order):
Megan Whaler Turner’s RETURN OF THE THIEF (fantasy): A note-perfect ending to the series.
Victoria Goddard’s THE HANDS OF THE EMPEROR (fantasy): Competence-porn would probably be how I’d describe this book – a hugely satisfying read.
Karan K Anders’s THE BOOK OF FIRSTS (new adult): A book I enjoyed so much that I actually wrote a review on Goodreads after I read it (this was the only review I wrote all year, so that probably tells you all you need to know). Another competence-porn type story, come to think of it. (Also this is a pseudonym for Andrea K Höst, who, you know, is an autobuy author for me.)
KJ Charles’s THE GENTLE ART OF FORTUNE HUNTING (romance): Pure escapism and exactly what I needed in 2022.
AJ Demas’s SAFFRON ALLEY (romance): This is the second in her alt-historical Sword Dance trilogy, and my favourite of the three – there’s something about found family that always gets to me.
AJ Demas’s SOMETHING HUMAN (romance): A perfect grown-up type of romance. Why yes, I did do a mini Demas glom in 2022.
Rachel Neumeier’s OF ABSENCE, DARKNESS and AS SHADOW, A LIGHT (fantasy): I don’t think I’ve ever read a Neumeier I’ve not enjoyed. THE YEAR’S MIDNIGHT was a solid prequel and these two books (really one very long story) just sucked me in. Don’t be put off by the slightly dark slant in the series name and blurbs – it’s not grimdark at all and I can see myself re-reading these in the future.
Sarah Rees Brennan’s FENCE: DISARMED (young adult): SRB’s voice is unmistakable and this book was somehow both super-angsty and laugh-out-loud funny. I love how this series mixes up graphic and prose novels – it definitely adds something to the reading experience.
And the re-reads:
Sharon Shinn’s READER AND RAELYNX and FORTUNE AND FATE (fantasy): I re-read Shinn’s Twelve Houses series in the space of a couple of weeks over summer, and it was just as good as I remembered, if not more. Reading the books back-to-back made me realise how central the theme of friendships is to the whole series. Like before, I felt R&R was the perfect ending to the main arc, and this time around, F&F also stood out for me – Wen’s path to forgiving herself isn’t the most flashy of storylines so maybe I needed a re-read to really appreciate it.
Rachel Neumeier’s THE FLOATING ISLANDS (fantasy): Neumeier (who is an autobuy author for me) released the sequel this year, so obviously I had to refresh my memory. It was worth it – another book that I enjoyed much more upon re-reading. Grief is such a strong theme in this book, but so is recovery and hope.
Debra Doyle and James D MacDonald’s BY HONOR BETRAY’D (SF): I first read the Mageworlds trilogy in 2013, which was just under 20 years after the final book was published. It’s still huge fun in an old-school space opera kind of way, and everything comes together perfectly in this final book. Basically, I stand by everything I said when I first read it.