It’s that time of the year again and I’m keen to look back on my year of reading with The End of Year Book Survey originally created by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner. Since this is a bit of a longer recap I’ve split the survey into two, combining parts 2+3 but that’ll also be going up later this week! And on that note, let’s dive straight in:
Number of books read: 199
Number of pages read: 62,038
Number of re-reads: 3 (Illuminae, Gemina, Aurora Rising)
Genre(s) you read the most from: Romance and Fantasy
This is the first time I’ve checked the details of my reading stats on Goodreads but I love to see it! Interesting to see just how few 5-star reads I had in 2021—I know I had a few but I didn’t realise it was so few either! 😅 Despite that, my average rating was 3.7 this year, which is a surprisingly minor difference from 3.8 last year!
Best book you read in 2021?
I really don’t think I can pick one for this prompt. I’m sorry! I made a Top 10 list but if I had to narrow it down to a Top 3 I think I’d pick: Jade City, The Goddess of Nothing at All, The Death of Vivek Oji, The Love Hypothesis and The Ones We’re Meant to Find.
Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t?
I buddy-read Jade Fire Gold with Becky and unfortunately, we both didn’t end up loving it. It had potential but it fell short; the whole time I wanted more and sadly, we didn’t get it by the end.
Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
I decided to look at a book that surprised me in a good way! I struggle with anthologies/short story collections but I really enjoyed Up All Night: 13 Stories Between Sunset and Sunrise. Lots of fun, feel-good, nostalgic YA stories that gave me the warm fuzzies 🥰
Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)?
Hmm… This is a tough one. I’m not sure that I managed to convince anyone to read anything that I gushed about? 😂 But the books I’m quite sure pushed the most were these three: Jade City, The Goddess of Nothing at All, and Sing Anyway! All were brilliant. *chefs kiss*
Best series you started in 2021? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender of 2021?
I love Lim’s writing and world-building and I’m so happy this story was gorgeous as its cover!
I didn’t think it could get better than Jade City, but this sequel blew my mind!
This was a great ending to an amazing series. I adore this queer historical mystery/ romance!
Favourite new author you discovered in 2021?
Ooh, there are so many new favourites including Fonda Lee, Martha Wells, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Holly Jackson, KJ Charles, Brighton Walsh, Ali Hazelwood, Lucy Parker, Anita Kelly and Danielle L. Jensen.
Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Dark SFF is not usually my jam but this had a compelling mystery, intriguing powers and awesome characters! 😍
I don’t read much adult sci-fi but this book was wow! The world-building was amazing and the characters grew on me quickly. I became very *invested* 👀
Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
The Bridge Kingdom series was one of my more recent reads and I sped through this so quickly I surprised myself! The action steadily escalated, the romance became deliciously angsty and I adored every moment of it. 😍
Book you read in 2021 that you would be most likely to re-read next year?
I think I’d re-read Silver in the Wood before starting the next book in the series.
Favourite cover of a book you read in 2021?
So so many but here are a few:
Most memorable character of 2021?
Just like last year, this year’s favourite is not just one person but one family from The Green Bone Saga! After craving fan art all year, I’m so glad so much exists now. This family portrait by C.J. Merwild is my favourite. Everyone’s just so freaking stunning—I can’t 🥲
Most beautifully written book read in 2021?
There were two books tied for this but A People’s History of Heaven won by a small margin. The prose flowed like magic. Subramanian really knows how to give life to her words because I was able to vividly picture everything!
Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2021?
Hmm… Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say that Before the Coffee Gets Cold was life-changing but it did make me think a lot about time and life, changes and chances. This hit really deep emotionally!
Book you can’t believe you waited until 2021 to finally read?
I honestly can’t believe I didn’t read A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder before this year! I loved Poppy and the mystery had me hooked until the very end!
Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2021?
“Everyone loses their way at some point, and it’s not just because of their mistakes or the decisions they make. It’s because they’re horribly, wonderfully human. And the one thing I’ve learned about being human is that we can’t do this alone. When we’re lost, we need help to try to find our way again.”T.J. Klune, Under the Whispering Door
Shortest & Longest book you read in 2021?
Shortest: 52 pages (Surrender: An Erotic Short)
Longest: 672 pages (Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2))
Book that shocked you the most
Credence was pretty taboo and it definitely won’t be for everyone but it wasn’t the forbidden elements that shocked me. It was more how much I enjoyed the story! 😂
OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
I didn’t even have to take a second to think about it: Olive and Adam from The Love Hypothesis. They’re so precious and aah, I squee thinking about them! 😍
Honourary mentions: Sylvie & Dom (Battle Royal), Lara & Aren (The Bridge Kingdom), Will & Kim (The Will Darling Adventures), Gianna & Christian (The Maddest Obsession), Mac & Hudson (Captain Heartbreaker)
Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year
I loved the ride or die friendship between Olive and Lucy. Their relationship was my favourite aspect of this Love & Hate series.
Favourite book you read in 2021 from an author you’ve read previously
Chloe Liese is one of my favourite romance authors and I adored both books by her that I read this year: Ever After Always and With You Forever.
Best book you read in 2021 that you read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure/bookstagram, etc.
I’d seen a few of the Havenbrook series covers circulate on book Twitter throughout the year and all the threads gushed about how awesome they were so of course I had to find out for myself! It’s become one of my favourite small-town romance series and I can’t wait to read more by Brighton Walsh in 2022!
Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2021?
Ooh, this is a toughie. I read so many romances with swoontastic heroes that swept me off my love-drunk feet! I’m gonna do my best to narrow it down to a Top 5… I was a sucker for Zaf, Adam, Dominic, Hudson and Rahul! 😍😍😍😍😍
Best 2021 debut you read?
I still can’t believe The Hand of the Sun King was a debut with its immaculate world-building and stunning prose! The Love Hypothesis is also another stunner of a debut and I can’t wait to read more by Hazelwood ASAP!
Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year?
I only read a few fantasies this year but I would have to say The Green Bone Saga books had the best world-building. It’s so intricate and vivid that I felt like I was there experiencing it myself!
Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read?
Chef’s Kiss was one of the only graphic novels that I read in 2021 and I was constantly smiling as I read! It was so cute and relatable and ah, happy heart sighs. 🥰
Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2021?
I’m an emotional reader so once I become invested in characters and their stories, it doesn’t take much to make me laugh, cry, scream at all the injustice… Anyway, it’s safe to say I cry easily while reading but these are the books that made me ugly cry.
Hidden gem of the year?
I feel like I haven’t seen enough people talk about Skin of the Sea in 2021 and it’s a gorgeous YA fantasy debut that deserves all the love!
Book that crushed your soul?
The soul-crushing honour definitely goes to The Goddess of Nothing at All. This book absolutely wrecked me and I felt so bereft when it ended 😭 (and obviously I mean all of this in the best way)!
Most unique book you read in 2021?
I can’t remember the last time I read a story from an animal perspective and Pighearted was a heartwarming story about family and belonging, told partially through the eyes of J6, a little pig who thought he was human. So cute!
Book that made you the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
As Good As Dead took a turn that I really didn’t expect or wish for the main character and it frustrated me because why was she done like this?! I don’t mean it in a bad way either but just in a heartbreaking way, I guess?
And that’s a wrap on Part 1 of the End of Year Book Survey!
2021 was a pretty weird reading year. I read more than I did in 2020 but I also feel like I read less impactful or memorable books too—or more like they left less of an impression on me? I’m still pretty happy with what I read though and I’m looking forward to (hopefully) more amazing reads in 2022!
How was your year of reading in 2021? Did you do the End of Year Book Survey too? What was your favourite book(s)? What about the book that surprised you the most?