Books saved me in 2021. I don’t think I’m the only one who would say this. While it took me longer to read books this year, the books I did read were my salvation during a tumultuous time. The books that I read were a lifeline that offered me comfort, adventure and escape and I didn’t have to leave the comfort of my home.
The year was full of so many good reads, too many for me to get to, but these are the ones that stood out for me in 2021. They run the gambit from romantic to adventure, fantasy to horror. Each one of them left me moved in some way and quite often when I finished them, I just sat there trying to hold on to the words I had just read, and I felt enriched by them.
Just like every year that I’ve done this, the books on my Best Books list have to have been published in 2021. These are the books that stood out for me out of the forty-five books or so that I’ve read. I hope you enjoy discovering them as much as I enjoyed reading them.
Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell
All I can say about this book is WOW. As the third in the Simon Snow trilogy, Any Way the Wind Blows was everything I could have hoped for in every way. It was compulsively readable and the story just pulled me along for an incredible ride. I love how everything in all three of the books led up to the ending of Any Way the Wind Blows and that everything I went through with Simon was part of this incredible journey. This was my favourite book of the year and so worth the wait.
Clare at Sixteen by Don Roff
Everything about this book was such a delightful surprise. A sixteen-year-old girl who is a serial killer? Sounds kind of gimmicky but this novel surprised me with its depth, its fantastic characters and a killer (ha!) plot that doesn’t go anywhere where I thought it would. I thought that a novel about a serial killer kid would be a fun read and that was it. I didn’t expect to be moved by it and to be left waiting for the next one with glee. Clare is one of my favourite characters ever created and I would hate to piss her off. This novel left me enraptured!
A Postcard from Paris by Alex Brown and A Cozy Christmas at Bridget’s Bicycle Café by Alex Brown
I couldn’t possibly choose between the two books that Alex Brown gave us in 2021. I love her work so much as it goes beyond what chick lit is normally considered to be. What I love about her books is that she pulls you in with her fabulous characters and by the end I find myself rooting for them to find their joy and find where they belong. In one story, a journey to a new country leads a woman to discover what she really wants in life. In the other, a woman’s journey to a place she used to know helps her find herself. In both stories, we’re given characters that feel like real people, so much so that they feel like friends in the end.
Juniper Wiles by Charles de Lint
It was so good to be back in Newford. I hadn’t realized how much I missed it and the characters that this city held. Jilly Coppercorn led me on a journey that filled me with so much joy and I felt like I was reclaiming a part of myself that I had left behind years ago when I read the last Newford book. There is magic in this novel of course but there is so much heart and characters that are friends from long ago and new ones that also become friends. I love the fact that this novel could have been just any story set in Newford and I would have been happy, but it’s a story that added to the mystery and the fabric of the city. I was thrilled to be back in Newford and this time I was ready to say goodbye.
Chasing the Boogeyman by Richard Chizmar
I had no idea what to expect when I opened this book, but it felt like so much more than a book. It was a story that I lived as I read it. It’s part autobiography, part mystery, part true, part not so true and I was left wondering where the truth ended and where thee real began. I’ve never read anything like this book and it thrilled me in so many ways. I finished it off in three days and it’s already back on my to be read pile so that I can give it another go. It’s horror at its finest and was an absolute joy to read. I was pulled into this mystery and left wanting to keep the lights on as I read into the night. With characters that leap off the page and feel so real, this was a story that I didn’t just read; I lived this book.
Hell Bound by Marie Bilodeau and Princess of Light by Marie Bilodeau
Once again, it was impossible to choose between these two novels. They are both so different but they are both incredible. In one, we are given the third book in a series featuring Tira Misu, badass and wielder of darkness. In the other, the first in a trilogy and we are given the Princess Cassara, unwilling to just merely accept the life she is supposed to lead. In love the journey of growth that both of these characters will go on. They are both so drastically different books, but both are filled with a light and a heart that beats on the pages of the story. Both of these stories moved me and I found myself cheering both Tira and Cassara on as they found themselves and where they belonged.
The Oracle Creator by Steven Bright
What a brilliant book! I’ve been wanting to make my own oracle/tarot deck for years and this book is full of so much knowledge. Steven Bright brings you through the whole process and the whole book acts like a workbook of sorts so that you can take the idea that you have for your deck and give it focus. Even better, Bright gives you the tools you need to make your dream a reality. I’ve been through the book once already and am now on my second read through and I’m making notes. 2022 will hopefully see my dream become a reality. Thanks Steven, I couldn’t be happier with The Oracle Creator!
Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark by Cassandra Peterson
As a child of the eighties, I fell in love with Elvira. After reading this book, I fell in love with her a little bit more. I loved the journey that Peterson takes us on and it goes so much deeper than a mistress of the macabre. We’re given the journey of her life and it’s a wonderful one. Peterson is so much more than a big pair of boobs, she is a woman who has lived a life that few of us can even dream about and I loved following along with her journey towards ultimately finding herself. As I read about her life in Hollywood and the wins and losses she had to endure, it is told with the candor and honesty that you’d expect from Peterson and Elvira herself. I loved reading about the journey that the character and the actress went on and it just made me want to delve right back into everything Elvira. A fabulous, glitzy, wonderful read.
White Lightning by Melissa Yi
I love Melissa Yi’s books. They always go beyond a typical mystery plot. When she goes off on what she hopes will be a romantic getaway, Hope Sze finds herself embroiled in a plot involving prohibition, a convention and bones that once belonged to a human being, this is one incredible mystery. I love how nothing is as it seems and every time, I think I have it all figured out, Yi tips the story on its side and takes it to places I never dreamed possible but by the end, I am wondering why I didn’t think of that in the first place. Yi gives us a mystery that forced me to confront a villain that is so meticulous that it gave me chills. Yi has given a mystery that made me laugh out loud and left me actually frightened for Hope and the other characters in this incredible book. I love the Hope Sze mysteries by Melissa Yi, they always go beyond what I think is possible and leave me wanting more.
These were my favourite reads of 2021! I can’t wait to see what 2022 will bring and can’t wait to get reading!