Book Reviews The Bookish Things

My 2021 in Books

Happy New Year!

To preface, I didn’t read many books this past year. I had a goal of 15 and only read seven. However, I still wanted to discuss them here, especially since I’ve posted about my reading goals for 2022. You can find that post here! Let’s get into the books I read in 2021! I’ll go in order by dates read!

Starting 2021 strong, we had The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. This book is about a town called the Protectorate. Every year, they leave a baby in the woods outside of the town to appease the Witch that lives there, so she doesn’t wreak havoc upon the town. In fact, there is a Witch. But she’s very confused at why these babies are being left out in the woods. She takes them to neighboring villages, feeding them on starlight to keep them full on the journey, so they might be adopted into a loving family. This time, however, she feeds the child moonlight instead of starlight, imbuing the girl with magic, and causing the Witch to have to raise her, so she’ll understand how to use her new power.

I actually listened to this one as an audiobook through the app Libby, which connects you to your local library’s inventory. Everything about this story was beautiful; the way it was written, the descriptions, the world, even the narration. I laughed out loud and cried (a little), and devoured it in just a few days, while I was doing errands and driving. It’s a middle-grade novel, so I was able to listen to it with the Witchling in the car, which was a bonus! I loved the book so much that I bought a physical copy of it, as well! I finished this one in January, and rated it 4/5 stars on Goodreads!

Next up, we have The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas, containing all five novellas that she wrote for her series Throne of Glass. Before the events of Throne of Glass, Celaena Sardothien, Adarlan’s most feared assassin, embarks on five different missions that will change her life forever. I won’t go into too much detail, because spoilers, but each of these missions end up affecting Celaena in a different way, and end up helping to shape the events in the Throne of Glass novels.

Let me tell you, I am here for literally anything written by Sarah J. Maas, and this book was no exception. I adore Celaena and leaped at the chance to learn more about her before she went to Endovier. This book, like most of Maas’ other books, absolutely destroyed me emotionally. I’ll admit it, I outright sobbed a couple of times. Sarah J. Maas has such a fantastic style of writing, and I love watching her characters grow and develop. I also finished this one in January, rating it 5/5 stars on Goodreads!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before follows the tale of Lara Jean, who wrote a letter to each of the boys she’s ever been in love with and kept them in a special box. Including one for her older sister’s ex. When the letters are mysteriously delivered, Lara Jean hatches a plot with all-around popular guy, Peter Kavinsky, to save face for both of them. Lara Jean needs to make sure her sister’s ex doesn’t still think she’s in love with him, and Peter is trying to make his on and off again girlfriend, Genevieve, jealous.

This is not a book I would typically gravitate towards. I don’t do Contemporary, normally. I would much rather read a romance with magic, dragons, and maybe even a bit of mortal peril mixed in with it. The Netflix movie, however, caught my attention and looked super adorable, so, of course, I had to read the book first. And I’m honestly glad I did. It had a rough start to it, and I almost DNF’d (did not finish) it. The book is written in first person, and I couldn’t stand Lara Jean at first, as she’s pretty juvenile and comes across as childish and near-spoiled. But I soldiered through, and ended up loving the book enough to buy the other two in the series so that I can finish the series! …someday. I read this one in February, and gave it a 3/5 stars on Goodreads.

Shadow and Bone follows the story of Alina Starkov, an orphan whose world is split in two by the Shadow Fold, an impenetrable wall of darkness that monsters call home. When her best friend is attacked, Alina discovers a power within herself, marking her as one of the Grisha, sorcerers with different inclinations that help protect the continent of Ravka. She is taken to the Darkling, the leader of the Grisha, and it is decided that she must be trained as one.

I wanted to do a full review of this one for the blog, because I binged the book and then binged the Netflix adaptation, and wanted to do a compare and contrast. I never got around to writing it, though, so here we are. When I say I binged this book, I binged this book. I was in a bit of a reading slump, so I didn’t pick this book up until the end of April, and I had it finished in about nine days. The world of the Grishaverse is rich and interesting, and masterfully created, and I adore Leigh Bardugo’s writing style. I finished this book at the beginning of May, and I gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads!

The next book I read was How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather. Samantha Mather is unhappy with her family’s move to Salem, Massachusetts, the site of the infamous witch trials in the 1600s. Moving is never easy, but it’s made hell for Sam because of the family she’s descended from. A group of kids known as “the Descendants” has decided to target and harass her, because her ancestor, Cotton Mather, was at the head of the witch trials. When Sam finds out she’s at the center of a centuries-long curse that affects anyone with ties to the trials, she’ll stop at nothing to find out how to undo it.

This is another one that I listened to on audiobook. For those that might not know, I’m fairly obsessed with the Salem Witch Trials, being a Witch myself. It was only natural that I pick up this book to read. The story was great, but the delivery was a bit juvenile. I gave the author the benefit of the doubt since it was written from a 16-17-year-old’s perspective, but some parts were just cringe-worthy. All in all, though, it was a fun read, and I did enjoy it. I finished this one in early July, and gave it 3/5 stars on Goodreads!

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas is the fifth and latest installment in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. This book follows Nesta Archeron, Feyre’s sister, who has fallen into a downward spiral after the events in A Court of Wings and Ruin and A Court of Frost and Starlight.

This one was the creme de la creme, guys. This was the best book I read in 2021, hands down. It’s nearly 800 pages and took me months to get through, but the trek through this book was absolutely worth it. The growth of the character and the events of this book wrecked me emotionally. While Feyre will always, always be my favorite, and one of my go-to comfort characters, I am more connected to and invested in Nesta’s character. I was not looking forward to this read, because I used to loathe Nesta. But this did end up being my top read of the year, I finished it in late July, and I gave it 5/5 stars on Goodreads!

That brings us to the last book I read in 2021. As you might have heard, I have been trying to connect more with the Gods that I worship. The best way to do that is to learn more about them, and the way they were worshipped back before the rise of the monotheistic religions. Pagan Portals: Raven Goddess is a sequel of sorts to the book Pagan Portals: The Morrigan, and is a deeper interpretation and discussion of the myths surrounding this brutal Goddess.

It’s difficult for me to rate non-fiction books, especially ones about Paganism and Witchcraft, because so much of these practices is subjective and left to interpretation. I think both the Pagan Portals books about The Morrigan are extremely informative, and if you’re wanting to learn more about Her, these are definitely a great place to start. I finished this book in early December, and gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads!

There you have it, folks! That is my list of books that I read in 2021. Have you read any of the books above? What was your top read of 2021? Let’s discuss below! And, if you like, you can also connect with me on Goodreads here!

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