Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Top 5 Tuesday: 2021 Releases I Still Need to Read

This week I decided to switch back over and participate in Top 5 Tuesday, originally hosted by BionicBookworm, now hosted by MeeghanReads!

This week's topic is: Top 5 books I haven’t read yet in 2021

This week's topic is all about those books we meant to read this year, but just haven't had a chance to get to for one reason or another. I've decided to split this topic up and share five 2021 standalone releases that I still haven't had a chance to read as well as five books in series that I still haven't read. I won't pretend that I'll manage to read these all by the end of the year, but I'd love to read at least a few.

The Betrayals
The Betrayals by Bridget Collins
I really enjoyed Collins' The Binding, and have no doubt that this book will be just as incredibly written. I actually have a copy, but for some reason I still haven't gotten to it... I think winter might be a good season for it.

"If everything in your life was based on a lie 
Would you risk it all to tell the truth? 

At Montverre, an exclusive academy tucked away in the mountains, the best and brightest are trained for excellence in the grand jeu: an arcane and mysterious contest. Léo Martin was once a student there, but lost his passion for the grand jeu following a violent tragedy. Now he returns in disgrace, exiled to his old place of learning with his political career in tatters. 

Montverre has changed since he studied there, even allowing a woman, Claire Dryden, to serve in the grand jeu’s highest office of Magister Ludi. When Léo first sees Claire he senses an odd connection with her, though he’s sure they have never met before. 

Both Léo and Claire have built their lives on lies. And as the legendary Midsummer Game, the climax of the year, draws closer, secrets are whispering in the walls…" Goodreads

The SplendorThe Splendor by Breeana Shields
This book checks so many boxes of things I love, I'm really hoping to prioritize this one for the next couple months. 

"The Splendor isn’t just a glamorous hotel, it’s a magical experience that gives its guests the fantasy fulfillment of their dreams. But The Splendor didn’t make Juliette’s dreams come true. It ruined her life. 

After a weeklong stay, Juliette’s sister, Clare, returns from the hotel changed. Her connection to Juliette―the special bond they once shared―has vanished. In a moment of hurt and frustration, Juliette steals their meager savings and visits The Splendor herself. 

When she arrives, she’s taken in by the lush and sumptuous hotel. But as she delves more deeply into the mystery of the place, and how they make their illusions work, she grows more and more uneasy. The Splendor has a seedy underbelly, but every time she gets close to discovering something real, she seems to hit a wall. 

Meanwhile, Juliette meets Henri, an illusionist who lives and works at the hotel. Henri’s job is to provide Juliette with the same Signature Experience he gives all the guests―one tailored fantasy that will make her stay unforgettable. As he gets to know her, he realizes that not only is he ill-equipped to make her dreams come true, he’s the cause of her heartache." Goodreads 

Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder
I can't get over how perfectly weird this sounds, and I absolutely need to read it. 

About"One day, the mother was a mother but then, one night, she was quite suddenly something else... 

At home full-time with her two-year-old son, an artist finds she is struggling. She is lonely and exhausted. She had imagined - what was it she had imagined? Her husband, always travelling for his work, calls her from faraway hotel rooms. One more toddler bedtime, and she fears she might lose her mind. 

Instead, quite suddenly, she starts gaining things, surprising things that happen one night when her child will not sleep. Sharper canines. Strange new patches of hair. New appetites, new instincts. And from deep within herself, a new voice... 

With its clear eyes on contemporary womanhood and sharp take on structures of power, Nightbitch is an outrageously original, joyfully subversive read that will make you want to howl in laughter and recognition. Addictive enough to be devoured in one sitting, this is an unforgettable novel from a blazing new talent." Goodreads

The Vines
The Vines by Shelley Nolden
Everything about this one calls out to me, and I love how eerie it sounds. This is another one I actually have a copy of given to me as a gift, but why haven't I read it??

"In the shadows of New York City lies forbidden North Brother Island, where the remains of a shuttered hospital hide the haunting memories of century-old quarantines and human experiments. The ruins conceal the scarred and beautiful Cora, imprisoned by contagions and the doctors who torment her. When Finn, a young urban explorer, arrives on the island and glimpses an enigmatic beauty through the foliage, intrigue turns to obsession as he seeks to uncover her past—and his own family’s dark secrets. By unraveling these mysteries, will he be able to save Cora? Will Cora meet the same tragic ending as the thousands who’ve already perished on the island? 

The Vines intertwines North Brother Island’s horrific and elusive history with a captivating tale of love, betrayal, survival, and loss." Goodreads

Firekeeper's Daughter
The Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley
This one grabbed my eye before it came out, and I feel like lately all I've been hearing are people raving about it, which of course only makes me more intrigued. I think the library wait list for this one will be pretty long, but I also think it'll be worth the wait.

"As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for her fragile mother. 

The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation. 

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, but secretly pursues her own investigation, tracking down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home. 

Now, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she'll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known." Goodreads

And series that I've (temporarily) dropped the ball on!

Hunting by Stars
Hunting By Stars (The Marrow Thieves #2) by Cherie Dimaline 
I absolutely loved The Marrow Thieves and was so excited to hear that Dimaline had not only another book coming out, but a sequel at that! I've also really enjoyed Dimaline's Empire of Wild and highly recommend her work.

"Years ago, when plagues and natural disasters killed millions of people, much of the world stopped dreaming. Without dreams, people are haunted, sick, mad, unable to rebuild. The government soon finds that the Indigenous people of North America have retained their dreams, an ability rumored to be housed in the very marrow of their bones. Soon, residential schools pop up—or are re-opened—across the land to bring in the dreamers and harvest their dreams. 

Seventeen-year-old French lost his family to these schools and has spent the years since heading north with his new found family: a group of other dreamers, who, like him, are trying to build and thrive as a community. But then French wakes up in a pitch-black room, locked in and alone for the first time in years, and he knows immediately where he is—and what it will take to escape. 

Meanwhile, out in the world, his found family searches for him and dodges new dangers—school Recruiters, a blood cult, even the land itself. When their paths finally collide, French must decide how far he is willing to go—and how many loved ones is he willing to betray—in order to survive. This engrossing, action-packed, deftly-drawn novel expands on the world of Cherie Dimaline’s award-winning The Marrow Thieves, and it will haunt readers long after they’ve turned the final page." Goodreads

The Exiled Fleet (The Divide, #2)
The Exiled Fleet by J.S. Dewes
Considering how much I loved The Last Watch, I'm really surprised at myself for not having read the sequel yet. I think it just came out so much sooner than I expected and I haven't seen it at my library, but hopefully soon!

"J. S. Dewes continues her fast paced, science fiction action adventure with The Exiled Fleet, where The Expanse meets The Black Company--the survivors of The Last Watch refuse to die. 

The Sentinels narrowly escaped the collapsing edge of the Divide. 

They have mustered a few other surviving Sentinels, but with no engines they have no way to leave the edge of the universe before they starve. 

Adequin Rake has gathered a team to find the materials they'll need to get everyone out. 

To do that they're going to need new allies and evade a ruthless enemy. Some of them will not survive." Goodreads

The Fall of Koli (Rampart Trilogy #3)
The Fall of Koli by M.R. Carey
I feel so bad for not having read this one yet–especially since the publisher sent me a copy!–but I just hadn't been in the mood for it for some reason. I'm hoping to get to it soon!

"The Fall of Koli is the third and final novel in the breathtakingly original Rampart trilogy - set in a strange and deadly world of our own making. 

The world that is lost will come back to haunt us . . . 

Koli has come a long way since being exiled from his small village of Mythen Rood. In his search for the fabled tech of the old times, he knew he'd be battling strange, terrible beasts and trees that move as fast as whips. But he has already encountered so much more than he bargained for. 

Now that Koli and his companions have found the source of the signal they've been following - the mysterious "Sword of Albion" - there is hope that their perilous journey will finally be worth something. 

Until they unearth terrifying truths about an ancient war . . . and realise that it may have never ended." Goodreads

We Cry for Blood (The Reborn Empire, #3)
We Cry for Blood (The Reborn Empire #3) by Devin Madson
I also feel horrible for not having read this one, either. I read the first book as an author review request back when it was still self-published and hadn't bene picked up by Orbit yet and absolutely loved it. I also read the sequel right before it was picked up by Orbit, and then there was a bit of confusion on my part on whether or not I should re-read the first two books or not in case of changes, and then I just sort of let the confusion cause me to lose momentum and, well, here we are. Love this trilogy though, and hope to finish soon!

"The empire has fallen and another rises in its place in the action-packed third book of Devin Madson's bold and bloody epic fantasy quartet. 

Ambition and schemes have left the Kisian Empire in ashes. Empress Miko Ts’ai will have to move fast if she hopes to secure a foothold in its ruins. However, the line between enemies and allies may not be as clear-cut as it first appeared. 

After failing to win back his Swords, former Captain Rah e’Torin finds shelter among the Levanti deserters. But his presence in the camp threatens to fracture the group, putting him on a collision course with their enigmatic leader. 

Assassin Cassandra Marius knows Leo Villius’s secret—one that could thwart his ambitions to conquer Kisia. But her time in Empress Hana’s body is running out and each attempt they make to exploit Leo’s weakness may be playing into his plans. 

And, as Leo’s control over the Levanti emperor grows, Dishiva e’Jaroven is caught in his web. To successfully challenge him, she’ll have to decide how many of her people are worth sacrificing in order to win." Goodreads

A Song of Flight (Warrior Bards, #3)A Song of Flight (Warrior Bards #3) by Juliet Marillier
This has been such a beautiful trilogy, full of so much heartbreak and hope, and I'm really hoping this finale doesn't bring me even more heartbreak... but I still can't wait to read it!

"Bard and fighter Liobhan is always ready for a challenge. So when news arrives at Swan Island that the prince of Dalriada has gone missing after an assault by both masked men and the sinister Crow Folk, she's eager to act. 

While Liobhan and her fellow Swan Island warriors seek answers to the prince's disappearance, the bard Brocc, Liobhan's brother, finds himself in dire trouble. His attempts to communicate with the Crow Folk have led him down a perilous path. When Liobhan and her comrades are sent to the rescue, it becomes clear the two missions are connected--and a great mystery unfolds. 

What brought the Crow Folk to Erin? And who seeks to use them in an unscrupulous bid for power? As Liobhan and Brocc investigate, it will take all their strength and will to continue pursuing the truth. With the safety of their loved ones in the balance, the risks they must take may cost them everything.Goodreads

Have you read any of these books? What are some 2021 releases you still want to read?


  1. I am so bad about keeping up with new releases!

  2. The Firekeeper’s Daughter looks amazing.

    Happy TTT!

  3. I really want to read Nightbitch too! I've been meaning to buy a copy, thanks for reminding me😁

  4. I say you need to pick up Firekeeper's Daughter ASAP! While it's a big book, you will be surprised how quickly you read it.

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

  5. The Exiled Fleet and Nightbitch (that one sounds wild) are both super interesting. I hope they are awesome!

  6. I have so many books I'm trying to finish before the end of the year. Don't know if I'll get through even a portion of them. The only one from your list I've already read is The Firekeeper's Daughter and I thought that one was really good. I also agree with Pam above that even though it's a large book, it goes by quickly.