Top 10 Books of 2021!

Here we are! The final post for 2021! THAT IS SO CRAZY! We have all finally completed another whole year. We should all be extremely proud of ourselves as this year was not easy!!! Now this year was a mix of some amazing books and some pretty awful/boring books but today we are just focusing on my absolute favourites.

Now for the first time on this blog. I actually will be ranking my Top 10 list. I have been keeping this list and amending it over the year so I have an actual order this time round! Let’s jump right in!

10th Place

  • Title: Miss Abbott and the Doctor
  • Author: Maripaz Villar
  • Series: Standalone
  • Format: WebToon
  • Age Rating: YA+
  • Genre: Historical Fiction and Romance

Plot: Doctor Andreas Marino loves his quiet life, filled with work and simple amusements, and when the strange Miss Abbott arrives in his town he decides he doesn’t like her at all. Unfortunatelly she’s funny and quirky, has an uncommon past and seems to enjoy getting him in trouble.

I started reading this comic all the way back in January, nearly a year ago! This was part of what WebToon call a daily pass where you can only read one episode a day. It ended becoming a major part of my morning routine where I literally could not start my day properly without reading the next episode.

This comic was a beautiful ray of sunshine and a great way to start the year. The highlights from this comic included the beautiful art style. The art was drawn mostly in black and white sketchbook style with colour used only to accentuate special moments and that was super powerful and I loved it. The romance was one of the healthiest I have seen in literature ever and I really enjoyed watching the main couple get together and even when they finally got together my interest in their romance didn’t fade like it has done with other literary couples. Another highlight was the varying characters and representation. What made this meaningful to me is a lot of the characters and extras in this series are inspired by real-life readers of the comic so it just added that extra bit of connection and love for the comic. It was also very very funny!

9th Place

  • Title: Lore Olympus Season 1
  • Author: Rachel Smythe
  • Series: Lore Olympus
  • Format: WebToon
  • Age Rating: Adult
  • Genre: Romance and Re-telling

Plot: Witness what the gods do…after dark. The friendships and the lies, the gossip and the wild parties, and of course, forbidden love. Because it turns out, the gods aren’t so different from us after all, especially when it comes to their problems. Stylish and immersive, this is one of mythology’s greatest stories — The Taking of Persephone — as it’s never been told before.

I think at this point in time. Many people know about Lore Olympus. A webcomic re-telling Persephone’s rise to Queen of the Underworld and her marriage to Hades, King of the Underworld. I love this re-telling. It’s exhilarating, hot, beautifully illustrated and doesn’t shy away from tougher topics. The book I am referencing here is not the graphic novel which came out not that long a go but a culmination of all the 150+ episodes in Season 1. The graphic novel only contains the first 25 episodes. I binged this season in less than 24 hours and I am currently reading Season 2 as I am writing this.

I really enjoy Smythe’s take on the myths within this world. How she perceives the Gods and the tales we know so well. I have even learnt more about Greek Mythology through this comic as well which is exciting. This comic is all about interpersonal relationships, power, drama and love. If you want big intense and dramatic moments/reveals, a great and exciting relationships and beautiful and poignant moments this comic is for you.

8th Place

  • Title: Orange (Full Series)
  • Author: Ichigo Tanako
  • Series: Orange
  • Format: Manga
  • Age Range: YA
  • Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age and Romance

Plot: On the day that Naho begins 11th grade, she receives a letter from herself ten years in the future. At first, she writes it off as a prank, but as the letter’s predictions come true one by one, Naho realizes that the letter might be the real deal. Her future self tells Naho that a new transfer student, a boy named Kakeru, will soon join her class. The letter begs Naho to watch over him, saying that only Naho can save Kakeru from a terrible future. Who is this mystery boy, and can Naho save him from his destiny?

Now this book as I explained in a previous post was something that on paper I would not have picked up let alone enjoy. A contemporary setting with romance as the key focus and a lot of discussions about mental health/suicide. But what I ended up reading was a beautiful and poignant story about friendship, support networks, childhood romance and learning to overcome pain and sorrow with the help of your friends. I don’t know whether it was the best representation on mental health, depression etc. but I think it was a good start. The highlight for me was 1000% the friendships. The friendships in this were so lovely and supportive.

7th Place

  • Title: Ace of Spades
  • Author: Fardiah Àbíké-íyímídé
  • Series: Standalone
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Range: YA
  • Genre: Contemporary Thriller

Plot: Welcome to Niveus Private Academy, where money paves the hallways, and the students are never less than perfect. Until now. Because anonymous texter, Aces, is bringing two students’ dark secrets to light. Talented musician Devon buries himself in rehearsals, but he can’t escape the spotlight when his private photos go public. Head girl Chiamaka isn’t afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone will know the price she has paid for power. Someone is out to get them both. Someone who holds all the aces. And they’re planning much more than a high-school game… 

This was an incredible novel that I read after hearing amazing things on social media. I read this book in 2 days it was super easy to get into the story, I loved the multiple POVs and I felt that the author kept you on the tenterhooks with each chapter. The plot was incredible and it took a turn that I did not expect at all. The main 2 protagonists in the book are really interesting as they are super layered and not exactly likeable in the beginning of the novel but the amount of detailed character development that happens is amazing.

The themes and messages within this novel are written so amazingly. There is the exploration of what it’s like being black in a predominantly white institution. As well as exploring the message with the additional layer of what that experience is like while being mixed race as well. How does being in white dominated spaces affect black teens growing up and the way they view themselves was one of the main takeaways for me and I learnt a lot reading this book.

6th Place

  • Title: The Poppy War
  • Author: R. F. Kuang
  • Series: The Poppy War #1
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Genre: Fantasy

Plot: When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising. But surprises aren’t always good. Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school. For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

I know this book is highly influenced from 20th century China’s history so I did research a bit before reading just for some context regarding events that occur in this book. The amount of culture, history and world building that goes into this novel is immense. I was reading a full formed world, there is no vagueness to this story, I enjoyed getting lost in all the details of this world. The world feels rich in history and I just want to read and learn more about it.

The themes detailed in this book like classism, colourism, drugs, war are written so incredibly well in the most raw and honest way. The way she described about how the system is set up to make certain people fail but still making them feel like they have a chance to succeed was really really powerful. Rin is such a great character. Her ambition was one of the stand out things I was drawn to. It was also super enjoyable to read a morally grey protagonist. Especially a protagonist who is a woman as well. I have not met any female main characters where they are not super good. So watching her move through this story and make some pretty serious choices was super exhilarating to read because she was the kind of character where I had no idea what she would do next.

5th Place

  • Title: The Alloy of Law & The Shadows of Self
  • Author: Brandon Sanderson
  • Series: Wax and Wayne #1&2 / Mistborn #4&5
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Genre: Fantasy and Mystery

Plot for Book 1 (The Alloy of Law): Centuries after the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is on the verge of modernity – railroads, electric street lights, and skyscrapers. Waxillium Ladrian can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will. After 20 years in the dusty Roughs, in the city of Elendel, the new head of a noble house may need to keep his guns.

I decided to include both books in this place because I couldn’t choose between either one. I was nervous going into this series because I loved the original trilogy so much. But I thoroughly enjoyed this new series. It’s very different from the first series which I think works really well. I loved how different it is. From the newly technological inventions to the way they use the magic system now due to societal changes. This series has more of a crime/detective thriller focus over an intense high fantasy setting which I also love because I am a massive mystery fan.

You still get throwbacks and Easter eggs to the original series which I also really love and makes you feel like you are apart of some greater world.

4th Place

  • Title: The Devil and the Dark Water
  • Author: Stuart Turton
  • Series: Standalone
  • Format: Hardback
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Genre: Historical Fiction and Mystery

Plot: It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Traveling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent. But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered. And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel. Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes? With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent can solve a mystery that connects every passenger onboard. A mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.

This book was one of the ones on my highly anticipated list for this year. I was so nervous reading it as I loved the author’s debut novel so much! This ended up actually being my favourite of the two books he has out at the moment.

I love a historical mystery and I really enjoyed spending time on this boat and uncovering the evil that lurks within its depths. The plot was super interesting, there were a couple of times where I was adamant who the culprit was but boy was I wrong!! I also loved the setting. For some reason, when it comes to murder mysteries I am drawn to settings like boats, trains, secluded manor houses. I like the idea of everyone being stuck in one place, tensions rise, emotions are high and it makes for great storytelling. I felt this setting worked really well for this type of story.

I felt Turton did a brilliant job in setting up the character dynamics and all the varying backstories really well as well, I didn’t feel overwhelmed with too much information. I also enjoyed the exploration of class and gender in this book, I can’t delve into to much as some of it leans into spoiler territory but I love the feminist tones of the book as well as discussions of what it’s like to be noble and a woman and poor and a woman.

THE TOP 3!!!!

3rd Place

  • Title: Mexican Gothic
  • Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Series: Standalone
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery and Horror

Plot: After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region. Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí. Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place.

So this book was a little bit out of my comfort zone in the fact that I don’t read too much horror but I had heard such great things I had to read it! I loved the way Moreno-Garcia balanced writing a setting and atmosphere where it’s all normal but something in the back of your mind is telling you something is off. My favourite part was Moreno-Garcia’s descriptive writing the way she is able to describe a setting or a building etc. was incredible and that really helped the horror elements in her novel because you picture so clearly what is happening on the page thanks to her incredible writing.

The plot is something that I have never read in my life. Many theories were circulating through my head in how the ending was going to pan out and while I was on the right tracks no-one and I really mean NO-ONE would be able to predict where the second half of this story goes. I love things that are super out of the box and unexpected and this was all of that!

My favourite character by far was, of course, Noemí. She was the bright light in the dreary, depressing house that is High Place. She was a breath of fresh air in this novel. I loved her determination, the steadfastness and her willingness to break the rules. Her love for her family is super strong through this novel and I really enjoyed that. I mean there are more things about this book that I could praise but that would be entering spoiler territory.

2nd Place

  • Title: We Hunt the Flame
  • Author: Hafsah Faizal
  • Series: Sands of Arawiya #1
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Range: YA
  • Genre: Fantasy

Plot: Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the sultan. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both Zafira and Nasir are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya–but neither wants to be. War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the sultan on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds–and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Now, I am not saying this book reinforced and saved my love for YA fantasies but that is also exactly what I am saying. ere written really well and I felt that points of tension were done super well as well. I really liked the lengths of the chapters, they weren’t too long and were a good mix of medium to short which was one of the main reasons of why I couldn’t put the book down. Every time I felt like pausing I would check how long it was until the next chapter, realising it wasn’t that many pages, I would read more and next minute I know I’d read another 5 chapters. What I think Faizal did the best was portraying the complex emotions both the protagonists were feeling. I felt like you really got to understand and connect with both Zafira and Nasir in different ways because of how open and vulnerable her writing is. You learn so much about them not just through the events of the novel but through their internal monologues, they are such layered and intricate characters. I tend always be a side character fan but I was super invested in these two main characters.

The world was super beautiful and I loved learning about how ti functions and what the magic is like.



  • Title: The Appeal
  • Author: Janice Hallett
  • Series: Standalone
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Genre: Contemporary Thriller

Plot: Dear Reader – enclosed are all the documents you need to solve a case. It starts with the arrival of two mysterious newcomers to the small town of Lockwood, and ends with a tragic death. Someone has already been convicted of this brutal murder and is currently in prison, but we suspect they are innocent. What’s more, we believe far darker secrets have yet to be revealed. Throughout the Fairway Players’ staging of All My Sons and the charity appeal for little Poppy Reswick’s life-saving medical treatment, the murderer hid in plain sight. Yet we believe they gave themselves away. In writing. The evidence is all here, between the lines, waiting to be discovered. Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth?

For those who don’t know this book is known as an epistolary novel. This means that the book is made up of letters and other varying documents to tell the story rather than using prose like we are all accustomed to. This book in particular uses emails, text messages, audio transcripts and online articles to tell the story and I was super engaged with this kind of storytelling.

The plot was by far one of the most engaging and exciting mystery plots I have ever read. This book is marketed as a murder mystery but the murder doesn’t happen until after the halfway mark. Normally, I would be struggling with a book like this as the murder is the main draw of the story but the amount of interesting and engaging content that is in the book is so big and super juicy that I forgot a murder was even meant to happen. I was so engaged in figuring out other elements of the story and character intentions that it didn’t matter if the murder didn’t happen I would be purely satisfied just following this beginning storyline. When the murder does occur it just adds a whole other level to the plot with all the additional information you are given in the first half.

The characters themselves are so varied and interesting. You have super naive Issy and takes no fools Sarah-Jane. What I like about this book is you are really able to tell the different voices apart and I love watching these characters interact with each other. Just from the way they send their emails, who’s super chatty and who just sends a one-liner. Who ends their emails with kisses and who sends their emails with their official signature. Despite not knowing how these characters look or what their gestures are you can tell a whole lot through their speech which was super interesting. My favourite character had to be Issy, I found her to be super intriguing.

My favourite element of this book is how you’re promoted to play detective. You are implored to go back and re-read elements of the story with new information that you are given. I actually annotated this book, highlighting important passages and writing down my thoughts and theories. It is the most fun I have had with a book and I loved trying to guess what was going to happen at the end.

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