TTT-Best Books I Read In 2021

Well Hello! It’s funny, I was going to do this post anyway. So, when I saw the Top Ten Tuesday topic for the day, I was all “Hey, this is fortuitous”. Cause it is. Two birds, one stone. But not really. I’d say save the birds, but all the birds were replaced by robots in the 80s.

Thanks for that TikTok. And no, I don’t actually believe that. It is funny though.

But anyway, it’s Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and originally created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week it’s all about the top ten books of the year! Huzzah!

So here are my Top Ten Books of the Year, in no particular order.

A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers

It’s been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.

One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered.

But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.

They’re going to need to ask it a lot.

This short novella asks some big questions, which I have noticed that Becky Chambers is very good at. But this book is gentle in asking and doesn’t expect you to have the answers right away. Its whole purpose is to make you question what it means to be human, and it does it very well. And, bonus, there is a sequel coming out next year. I may have already pre-ordered it.

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire — and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

I couldn’t put this book down and read through the first three books in a few days. I still need to finish this series. That would be a good idea. But still, I can recommend the first three books. Also, they are a little spicy. So be prepared for that. If you want to see my more in-depth thoughts, click here.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

This book tells the story of Nora, and there is a trigger warning here, she tries to take her own life. What follows is a crazy look into all the what might have beens of her life. And it was great. I really enjoyed the different lives Nora gets to live. I wrote a review on it, and you can read that here.

Broken (in the best possible way) By Jenny Lawson

As Jenny Lawson’s hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In Broken, Jenny brings readers along on her mental and physical health journey, offering heartbreaking and hilarious anecdotes along the way.

With people experiencing anxiety and depression now more than ever, Jenny humanizes what we all face in an all-too-real way, reassuring us that we’re not alone and making us laugh while doing it. From the business ideas that she wants to pitch to Shark Tank to the reason why Jenny can never go back to the post office, Broken leaves nothing to the imagination in the most satisfying way. And of course, Jenny’s long-suffering husband Victor—the Ricky to Jenny’s Lucille Ball—is present throughout.

I will never stop raving about the wonderousness that is Jenny Lawson. This book made me laugh so very hard. If you want to read my full review, you can click the link!

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery—and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone.

Or does he?

Um. Yes. This whole book. It made me laugh. It made me angry. It made me cringe. It made me write a review on it. I swear this whole post is just ending up with me plugging my reviews.

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Welcome to Charon’s Crossing.
The tea is hot, the scones are fresh, and the dead are just passing through.

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead.

And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead.

But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

So this book made me cry, but in the best possible way. It was my favorite book this year, and I read House in the Cerulean Sea by the same author. I might have had a problem choosing between the two. But yeah. This was better. And yes, I also wrote a review on this one!

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

A young royal from the far north, is sent south for a political marriage in an empire reminiscent of imperial China. Her brothers are dead, her armies and their war mammoths long defeated and caged behind their borders. Alone and sometimes reviled, she must choose her allies carefully.

Rabbit, a handmaiden, sold by her parents to the palace for the lack of five baskets of dye, befriends the emperor’s lonely new wife and gets more than she bargained for.

At once feminist high fantasy and an indictment of monarchy, this evocative debut follows the rise of the empress In-yo, who has few resources and fewer friends. She’s a northern daughter in a mage-made summer exile, but she will bend history to her will and bring down her enemies, piece by piece.

This short novella had an excellent story to tell, and it told it well. The characters were engaging and the plot was captivating. I recently picked up the sequel and I know I’m going to enjoy that one too. No expectations, at all. Also, this book is available on Kindle unlimited at the moment, so go check it out.

This Place: 150 Years Retold forward by Alicia Elliott

Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through Indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.

This graphic novel made me cry ugly tears! These stories are all about the Canadian Indigenous experience, but a lot of the same things happened to Indigenous persons here in the States. There were heartbreaking stories and hopefully stories. And in between each was facts about the Indigenous laws and experience, including things that still happen to this day. Read this!

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

So I rated this entire series 5 stars. And it was a re-read for me. I love the story, the writing, the pacing, the world, and the characters. And yes, I wrote a review. But warning, the review is for the whole series…because reasons.

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson is a shapeshifter, and while she was raised by werewolves, she can never be one of them, especially after the pack ran her off for having a forbidden love affair. So she’s turned her talent for fixing cars into a business and now runs a one-woman mechanic shop in the Tri-Cities area of Washington State.

But Mercy’s two worlds are colliding. A half-starved teenage boy arrives at her shop looking for work, only to reveal that he’s a newly changed werewolf—on the run and desperately trying to control his animal instincts. Mercy asks her neighbor Adam Hauptman, the Alpha of the local werewolf pack, for assistance. 

But Mercy’s act of kindness has unexpected consequences that leave her no choice but to seek help from those she once considered family—the werewolves who abandoned her…

If you’ve been hanging around here recently, you’d know I was doing a re-read of this series. I particularly love this first book in the series. It makes me happy. Which is pretty much why it gets five stars from me. Is it a book that is going to change the world? No. But is it hella entertaining? Absolutely.

11 thoughts on “TTT-Best Books I Read In 2021

    • I was surprised by how much I loved A Psalm for the Wild Built! It was such a soft and gentle book. And Project Hail Mary was just amazing.

      A Discovery of Witches is very dense, so I can see needing to step away from it for a minute.

      Like

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