Thursday, January 13, 2022

Best Books of 2021 Pt. II: 2021 Releases! (and two backlist titles I forgot!)

Today I'm excited to share with you all the second and final part of my favorites books of 2021 list! I have split this list up into 2021 debuts and 2021 releases from authors who are not debut authors (and apologies if any of the debut authors are not actually debut.. I tried my best to research and this is what I came back with). I'm also apparently a huge mess this year and thought two backlist books were actually 2021 releases so forgot to include them in my part one post... so you can find those at the bottom of this post! As with the previous post, these are listed in no particular order. I read some really fantastic books this year and also had a lot of fun putting this list together. Let me know if you've read any of these books and what you thought of them, as well as what some of your favorite 2021 releases were!

If you'd like to see part one of my favorite books, which includes backlist titles and two 2022 releases, you can check it out here. 

As mentioned before, my annual yearly stats post with all the fun stats about my reading (# of books, genres, sources, etc.) will be up in late January, so stay tuned!

2021 Debut Novels:
(in no particular order)

The Witch's HeartWinter Counts


1. Malice by Heather Walter: I'm still surprised that I don't see this one around more because it was just so good. I love a villain origin story and this one delivered. It was deep, complex, and had a truly wonderful descent that I was fully understanding of. I was ecstatic to see that this will get a sequel this year! Review

2. The Witch's Heart by Genevieve Gornichec: This was even better than I could have hoped for! I adored Gornichec's depiction of Loki and Angrboda and htink she developed their relationship in such a gradual, beautiful, and deeply complex way. Absolutely loved this one and can't wait to see what's next from this author. Review

3. Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden: This was a completely unexpected and unpredictable favorite. I saw this on sale on Audible one day, thought it sounded interesting, and subsequently decided to try it out. I think it was a mixture of the characters, story, and narration that really made me love this book as much as I did. Review

4. Sistersong by Lucy Holland: This was a truly beautiful and rather heartbreaking story of three sisters and their experiences as they and their fellow people undergo some major changes. I didn't expect to be as taken in by this story as I was and really can't wait to read Lucy Holland's upcoming release. Review

5. Ariadne by Jennifer Saint: When I started this book, I really didn't expect it was going to end up a favorite, but as the story progressed I began to fall more and more in love with Saint's depiction of this myth and the characters involved. It really felt well done and was so tragic and captivating, it became an easy favorite. Review

2021 Releases (from established authors):
(in no particular order)

Sidewinders (The Fire Sacraments, #2)A Thousand ShipsMother Pig (Houndstooth, #2)

Jade Legacy (The Green Bone Saga, #3)The Fall of Babel (The Books of Babel, #4)The Bone Shard Emperor (The Drowning Empire, #2)

1. Sidewinders by Robert V.S. Redick: Was there really any risk of this sequel not being on my favorites list?? Sidewinders was probably one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it lived up to my hype and surpassed it. Redick is a master and if you haven't started this series yet, go check out Master Assassins and then pick up Sidewinders. Review

2. A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes: I finished reading this via audiobook in the last couple weeks of December, but I knew it was going to make it on this list by the time I was halfway through. I am floored by Haynes' depiction of these Greek women and I really feel like she did her research and has a strong level of personal interest and care towards creating them in an authentic and compelling way. This book was pretty heavy throughout and I always felt like I needed to take a deep breath before picking it up again, but it was absolutely gorgeous and so worth the read. 

3. Mother Pig by Travis M. Riddle: Mother Pig was another one of my most anticipated releases of this year and I'm so happy to say that it was even better than I hoped! I have been loving this trilogy from Travis Riddle and you should absolutely go check out Flesh Eater if you haven't started the trilogy yet (and the third book will be out soon!). These characters are absolutely the best and so well-written, and the world is so much fun to explore. Review

4. Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee: What an ending! I am so sad that The Green Bone Saga is now over, but I'm so satisfied (and a little devastated) with this ending and can do nothign but applaud Fonda Lee for writing such a truly incredible series. I would love to see this adapted one day, I think it would work really well on screen and I think would work to draw even more people to the books! Review

5. The Fall of Babel by Josiah Bancroft: Another outstanding series ender! This series felt like a real journey for me and it felt like one that I'd been on for a while, so I honestly felt a little sad for it to end. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think Bancroft ended this series perfectly and exactly how he should have (and still entirely unpredictably for me!). Review

6. The Bone Shard Emperor by Andrea Stewart: I didn't honestly expect this to end up as a favorite simply because I didn't love the first book, but wow did this book blow me away! I had so much fun with it and am so glad I decided to give it a shot. I think I may need to re-read the first book again because maybe I was just in a bad mood or something when I read it?? Regardless, The Bone Shard Emperor was a fantastic sequel! Review

...and I sort of messed up and thought these were 2021 releases, but they actually came out in 2019/2020 and I still want to include them, so... here's two more backlist favorites!

Into the JungleTender Is the Flesh

1. Into the Jungle by Erica Ferencik: I was really excited for this book and hoped to love it, but it ended up being something very different from what I expected and I loved it far more than I expected to as well. It was so much more heartfelt and meaningful than I realized it would be and I think the journey of our main character was really something special. 

2. Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica: Whew, I still feel unsure what to say about this book. I am obsessed with how deeply uncomfortable it made me because it takes a lot to make me feel weird or eeked out by something, and this book did just that. I wouldn't say I loved this book in the same way I love other books, but it's one I think about more often than I'd like to and that I would still recommend all the time (with some very strong warnings!). This book was insane and horrible and I loved it so much. 

Have you read any of these books?? What were some of your favorite 2021 releases?


  1. So many pretty covers! Ariadne is on my TBR.

  2. I'm not familiar with most of the books on your list, but I'm glad to see that you enjoyed Jade Legacy! I've been meaning to pick up the Jade City series. One of my favorite books this year was My Year Abroad by Chang Rae Lee :)

    claire @ clairefy