Friday, January 7, 2022

End-of-Year Book Celebration 2021!

Hello, hello, hello, my friends! The time has COME for me to review the second half of my 2021 reads! As you may remember, back in June, I rebranded these posts as End-of-Year (and Mid-Year) Book CELEBRATIONS. I mean, I'm not freaking out, but I am getting very exciting and celebrating all the goodness. If you want the short and sweet version, head over to my other blogs for my Top 5 Reads of the second half of 2021. Otherwise, for all the details, read on!

2021 End of Year Book Celebration

As per the usual, let's get the statistics out of the way first. I read 122 books and 37,923 pages in 2021, well over my goal of 77 books and only a little under my total for last year (126). 78 of those have been read since my mid-year post, so it's safe to say that the second half of 2021 included a lot more reading than the first half did. In all fairness, the first half of the year also involved much longer books than the second half. If you want some additional stats, you can check out my Goodreads Year in Books. As for my more specific goals:

  • Starting at the end: I have successfully kept a book tracking spreadsheet for the last few months! Making sure it was bookmarked in an easily-visible location helped quite a bit, since it served as a little reminder every time I saw it. Plus, once I built up enough momentum, I didn't want to give up on it. (I am very much a completionist, haha!)
  • I read 7 books published before 1975, which is a bit short of my goal of 12 such stories. Part of the problem is that I intended to read more C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton, and then I just . . . didn't.
  • We get a cheerier result in books that aren't speculative fiction. Out of my goal of 12 books, I've read either 11 or 12, depending on whether or not I count Isle of Swords. Eight of those are even nonfiction, which I feel I can be reasonably proud of.
  • On the flip side, we have my goal of 1 epic-length Tolkien or Jordan fantasy novel every two months, which . . . did not happen. On the upside, I did finish rereading The Lord of the Rings, and I started rereading The Wheel of Time, which was the point of making the goal, so I count that as a win.
  • 1 epic-length Tolkien or Jordan fantasy novel every two months, which . . . did not happen. On the upside, I did finish rereading The Lord of the Rings, and I started rereading The Wheel of Time, which was the point of making the goal, so I count that as a win.

And now, let's get to the bit y'all are probably interested in: the highs and lows of the second half of 2021's reading! As a note, I am adjusting the list of questions to remove the ones I don't really have an answer for or tend to answer the same way every year. They'll come back if I have a good answer for them.

1. Best book you've read in the second half of 2021:

HELLO Vespertine (Margaret Rogerson)! I was so hyped for this book (hyped enough to buy the OwlCrate special edition, even), and it absolutely did not disappoint. It had big-time Sabriel vibes, some magnificent antagonist-to-friends dynamics, and LORE, all wrapped up in an excellent storyline. I haven't been the best about keeping up with new releases, but I'm so glad I caught this one.

2. Best sequel series you've read in the second half of 2021:

(It's my post, I can change questions if I want to.)
The City Between series by W.R. Gingell was absolutely one of the highest points of my reading year — maybe even the high point, even if I read it at a time when I was feeling rather low otherwise. The books are short-ish and highly addictive in both how fun they are and how thoroughly the characters make themselves at home in your heart and then give you all kinds of emotions when tragedy strikes. (I wasn't being dramatic when I said I was undone by the ending of some of the books, y'all. Well, ok, I was, but it was necessary drama.) The last book releases at the end of the month, and I don't know what I'll do without my magnificent Aussie urban fantasy now that I've discovered it . . . thankfully, the author is going to write spinoffs, so hopefully I won't have to find out!

3. New release you haven't read yet but want to: 

 Of Fire and Ash by Gillian Bronte Adams just came out earlier this month, and I haven't read it yet, but I'm looking forward to doing so! (We'll see if I end up buying it myself or if the library will come through and get it.)

4. Most anticipated release for next year: 

Apparently we're getting The Lost Metal next November, so I'm definitely hyped for that! I'm also looking forward to Kendra E. Ardnek's Crown and Cinder, which is Pride and Prejudice crossed with Cinderella.

5. Biggest disappointment:

T. L. Huchu's The Library of the Dead is a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy mystery set in Scotland, and it had so much potential — something like a cross between Jackaby and Sabriel. Instead, it was just frustrating and disappointing and vaguely confusing. Alas.

6. Biggest surprise:

Romance-heavy, slow, character drama with light enough fantasy elements that, were it not set in a somewhat different world than our own, it could pass for magical realism? Not the type of book I'd expect to fall in love with. But I loved W.R. Gingell's Lady of Dreams and its sequel Lady of Weedsintensely, and I look forward to when I get to reread them.

7. Favorite new-to-you author:

I'm not sure if this counts, since I've only read one of her books, but I did love Sarah K. L. Wilson'sHeart of Shadow, and I'm looking forward to both reading the sequel and picking up some of the author's other works!

8. Newest fictional crush/ship:

Just . . . all the W.R. Gingell couples, but the ones I love most are spoilers and therefore cannot be spoken of.
Also, on a related sidenote, I would rather like a sword like the one in Heart of Shadow. That is all.

9. Newest favorite character:

Too many to list! Most of them, again, from W.R. Gingell books. But since we said newest: Artemisia and the Revenant from Vespertine are both fabulous, and I love them.

10. A book that made you cry:

Between Casescry isn't quite the right word, but there was internal wailing and undone-ness (as I believe I've mentioned).

11. A book that made you happy:

I read the full version of The Story Girl (Lucy Maud Montgomery) for the first time this year, and it was absolutely delightful. I don't know why more people don't love it.

12. Most beautiful book you've bought/received this half of the year:

I mentioned I bought the Owlcrate edition of Vespertine, yeah? It is very pretty. That is all.

13. Any other books you want to babble about for any other reason?

I did a ton of rereading in the last six months, and the highlight of that was probably revisiting Bryan Davis's Dragons in our Midst series. It used to be one of my favorite series, but I haven't read it in ages. It is just about as good as I remembered — though it took until now for the realization to hit that several characters probably do have a West Virginian accent, which is just kinda . . . huh.
Well, there's my celebration! How about you? What were the highs and lows of your last six months, reading-wise? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!


  1. That's quite the reading year, I'm impressed!

    I may have to add some things to my endless Goodreads wishlist now. Vespertine even SOUNDS cool, I must read it. Also, The City Between series looks fascinating.

    I really want to read more series this year. I tend to get too intimidated and then by the time I get to a series I wanted to read, there's like 10 books in it...

    1. Thanks!

      YESSSSSSS read The City Between and Vespertine! They're both SO GOOD.

      That's fair. (Though in the case of City Between, all the books are pretty short, so it's not really overwhelming.) If you need recs of shorter series, let me know and I'll put together a list for you!

    2. Thank you :D

      For now, I think I'm okay. FOR NOW. I also want to get through all of the Blades of Acktar books because I'm only on book 2, haha.

      That's true if they *feel* short it makes all the difference. I think before I start anything else I need to finish Patrick W. Carrs Staff & Sword, as it's a trilogy and I only have one book left ;)

    3. Heh. Fair enough. The offer will still be there if things change!

      Oh, definitely. It's been a bit since I read those, but they're good.


I'd love to hear your thoughts! But remember: it pays to be polite to dragons.