My Top 10 Reads Of 2021! // in which i run out of words to describe these books

Ho Ho Ho! (ok my Santa imitation needs work)

Merry Christmas to all humans and elves alike! Let there be cheer! And presents! (you’ll never guess what i got! but maybe in another post) And candy! And more candy!

What better occasion than Christmas to flaunt my favourites (aka my obsessions) of this year? I read a total of 70 books in 2021, but only some of them are truly special to me. I’ve chosen the 10 books I liked the best (+ some honourable mentions of course), books that own my heart and soul, books I’ll never stop recommending till the day I die (atleast i’ll get prizes for the drama? no?)

I have also done the heart-wrenching task of actually ranking these books (believe me, it only looks easy) however I’d also like to mention that all of them have an equal place in my heart, but some more equal than the others (yes that was an Animal Farm reference). To keep the suspense rolling, we’ll go in reverse order; that means we’ll start off from number 10 all the way to number 1 (with #1 being like the best book of the year), and NOW I’M SO EXCITED I CAN’T WAIT ANYMORE LET’S STA–

~ #10 The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Choksi ~

“’You and your secrets.
‘Secrets keep my hair lustrous,’ said Severin, running his hand through his curls.”

I’d been hearing about this all over the bookish community, and though I read so many mixed opinions, one thing that I found common in all the reviews was the comparison to six of crows. Obviously, I knew I had to give this a try. And I wasn’t disappointed. Sure, it was a lot like the soc duology, but it put a different twist into everything. And not to forget, the author is an indian (like me!) and believe me the desi vibes were up to the mark (“laila-majnun”? i’m dying) and of course I adored the moral greyness (is that even a word?) of the characters. The banter was *chef’s kiss* and don’t even get me started on the found family.

~ #9 Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth ~

“I dug deep down into my empathy store and found a dried-up old raisin.”

To say that this book made me laugh would be an understatement. It had me snorting and chuckling and giggling (in the most embarrassing way) and basically a lot of people around me thought I’d finally lost it so there’s that. There was Aideen, aka the best narrator ever. There was the perfectly accurate description of students in a high school. And then there was Meabh. Sweet, perfect Meabh in whom I saw so much of myself that I think the author somehow based her off my personality. But. The whole point of those graphics were to stop me from boring you to death with essays, so we stop here.

Why I picked this up: It’s no coincidence that I started reading this a couple of days after reading Anoushka’s review! I was feeling the contemporary vibes anyway, so after reading her review I was sure I needed this!

~ #8 We Are Not Free by Traci Chee ~

“Is this what life is like? People coming together and drifting apart, coming together and drifting apart, over and over until there’s no one left?”

The award for “Most Tears Of The Year” (yes I just made that up) goes to We Are Not Free by Traci Chee! 14 POVs brought out the individuality of each character beautifully, and while this was not my first Traci Chee book, it was definitely the most impactful. And I’m sure it will also leave a lasting impact on you (and those poor tissues that’ll get wet in the process)

Why I picked it up: I decided to give this a try after reading Cherelle’s review!

~ #7 Supernova by Merissa Meyer ~

“Some people were always meant to be heroes.
Just like some people were always meant to be villains.”

Superheroes. And supervillains. But not the cheesy kind, I promise.

The third and final book in the Renegades trilogy, Supernova was the best of the lot. It was filled to the brim with action and anguish and secrets and I couldn’t have hoped for a better ending.

Why I picked it up: It was because of April’s review of the Renegades trilogy that I decided to read it. (though April, I do realize that you liked the first two books better?? but anyway.)

~ #6 Sands Of Arawiya Duology by Hafsah Faizal ~

A thousand leagues and a thousand sands. For you, a thousand times I would defy the sun.

I swear there’s some sorcery involved here because Faizal straight off picked all my favourite tropes, topped it with mind-blowing writing and humour, and named the result the Sands Of Arawiya duology. That’s how good this book is.

If you’re curious about the tropes in question, we had enemies to lovers, knife to throat, slow burn and plenty of witty banter. Still need convincing? Read the epic showdown of WHTF against the hype-o-meter!

Why I picked it up: I read Cherry’s and Kaya’s reviews, and it was then I knew that I needed to read this duology!

~ #5 Aurora Cycle duology by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff ~

“He asks for nothing, this boy. No favor. No quarter. He lives every moment of his life is pain, but still, he lives it. And he stands, where others would have long ago fallen.”

Full of complex and well-developed characters, found family vibes, and cool spaceships, the Aurora Cycle duology (now a trilogy) has to be one of the best space operas I’ve ever read! And WOULD YOU LOOK AT THOSE COVERS??

Why I picked it up: Madeline convinced me to pick up this one through her constant ramblings about this series on her blog! Ashmita also recommended this to me!

~ #4 These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong ~

“You know me. Running around. Living life. Committing arson.”

Ok this was another one of those instances where I got carried away by the hype and am glad I was. Because #ownvoices historical fiction! set in asia! blood feuds! morally grey characters! badass girl and soft boy! enemies to lovers at it’s finest! and whatever else I mentioned in the graphic of course, but tell me, do you still need a reason to go bury your nose in These Violent Delights right now?

~ #3 Rule Of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo ~

“The world might crumble, but Nikolai Lantsov would be holding up the ceiling with one hand and plucking a speck of dirt from his lapel with the other when it all went to ruin”

I’ll have you know that this was the book that pushed These Violent Delights out of the top 3 at the very last moment. I finished reading the duology (but I put only rule of wolves here because i found it even better than king of scars) just yesterday evening, it doesn’t get any more last-minute than that. Also please do understand that because of the reason stated above, my feelings for this one are very fresh. So. ASJHDFHFGSJK MISS BARDUGO YOU DID IT AGAIN I LOVED THIS SO SO MUCH IT’S BRILLIANT. And did I mention I’m obsessed with Zoya and Nikolai’s characters? And the Six of Crows references were EVERYTHING.

~ #2 House In The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune ~

“Sometimes, he thought to himself in a house in a cerulean sea, you were able to choose the life you wanted. And if you were of the lucky sort, sometimes that life chose you back.

With dry sarcastic humour, out of the world character development and found family vibes, The House In The Cerulean Sea is in short, AWESOME. It will tug at all your heartstrings (note the use of “will”) and make you laugh and cry and then smile through watery eyes and much more including staring at the wall trying to process how a book can be so beautiful.

~ #1 Six Of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo ~

““Greed is your god, Kaz.”
He almost laughed at that. “No, Inej. Greed bows to me. It is my servant and my lever.”

At this point, I am 200% sure this doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone, given the amount of SoC references there are in my posts. And there have also been posts specifically dedicated to this duology (apart from the review), the latest being Books I’d Use As Weapons // aka books i’d throw at jesper if i was david.
I am wholly and truly OBSESSED with everything that has to do with this duology. I don’t even have words (turns out, i do) to describe the sheer PERFECTION this duology is – it’s captivating, it’s brilliant, it’s… perfect. (yeah I’m running out of synonyms here)

Why I picked it up: Well because it is so massively hyped and everyone was raving about it. But I first came to know about it from Cherelle’s blog last year, so shout-out to her!

A quick little vote of thanks before we move one- THANK YOU Anoushka, Cherelle, April, Cherry, Kaya, Madeline and Ashmita for recommending these fantastic reads to me because it’s very likely i never would have read these without your persuasion!

I had to include an Honourable Mentions section because I am afraid of the wrath of the bookish gods even though these books couldn’t make it to my top 10 because of ~competition~, nevertheless they cannot be left out as they were also absolutely amazing books that deserve all the love they can get.

Cemetery Boys
Perfect on Paper

Soo I feel like I’m supposed to make an eloquent speech at the end of this post so here goes *ahem * GO READ ALL OF THESE BECAUSE TRUST ME, YOU NEED THESE IN YOUR LIFE OKAY?! Ok not quite the eloquence I was hoping for but it gets the point across.

How was your Christmas? Candy? Gifts?? Which were your best reads in 2021? Have you read any of mine? Thoughts?
Oh and before you go, let’s scream it together – NO MOURNERS, NO FUNERALS!!

~ Rachel


58 thoughts on “My Top 10 Reads Of 2021! // in which i run out of words to describe these books

  1. Merry Christmas Rachel! WHTF is SO GOOD YESSS! I’m so happy and humbled to hear that you read it in part because of me lol! And six of crows and the gilded wolves are BOTH so incredible in their own special ways. also i clearly need to get on reading the nikolai duology lol! wonderful post💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. aha your reviews are always so convincing i couldn’t not read it!! exactly, I love both!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ho ho ho to you Rachel in my equally terrible imitation of Santa haha! Gosh ranking favourite reads is no easy task indeed, but your post is so polished, I’m in awe (and my heart soared at the Animal Farm reference haha!!). Oh my gosh, We Are Not Free!! Cue the tears, but I’m so heartened my review encouraged you to pick it up, sorry for the pain it caused hehe. I’m so happy to see the We Hunt the Flame duology here too, I’m honestly too scared to get to We Free the Stars, what is Hafsah Faizal going to do to our precious characters argh?? AND SIX OF CROWS OMG I’M HONOURED, yes keep the references coming – NO MOURNERS!! Sorry for amount of fangirling here haha, but it’s definitely a testament to your great taste in books, thanks for sharing all of these… great post as always, Rachel! <33

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A very hearty ho ho ho you’ve got there lol! yes I wasn’t prepared for the amount of stress ranking my favourites would cause, its no easy feat!
      Aha no worries, i think I am now habituated to the inevitable pain some books cause, though We are not free took it to a whole new level 😭
      Fair warning, we free the stars is going to be an emo rollercoaster because apparently Faizal likes messing with our hearts.
      thank you so much for the lovely comment Cherelle ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. these violent delights and we hunt the flame – YES. i haven’t read we free the stars and i’m terribly scared about what hafsah faizal has in store for all the characters. Although i felt really complacent reading six of crows (crooked kingdom was good though) and rule of wolves, i’m so glad you enjoyed them!! also, this reminds me that i should pick up we are not free sooner than later.
    great post!!!


    1. ok see i don’t want to scare you or anything but We free the stars is going to be intense, like really intense.
      on a less ominous note, yeah i can see how the king of scars duology might be a hit or miss, I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy them as much.
      thank you Jan ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad to see Six of Crows and The House in the Cerulean Sea at the top of this list! 🤗🥰🤗 That sort of restored my faith in my reading tastes, because I didn’t like The Gilded Wolves or Rule of Wolves much at all **runs and hides** (Maybe I just have something against wolves in book titles? 🤔) But anyway, I loved seeing your favorites of the year, Rachel!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha that actually restored my faith in MY reading tastes since yours are obviously superior lol.
      but seriously though, are you sure you were not cursed as an infant by a jealous witch to always dislike books with wolves in the title?😂
      Thank you so much Naemi!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I also loved The Gilded Wolves!! The found family is so good and I loved all the banter between the characters 🥰 The House in the Cerulean Sea is a favorite of the year for me as well 💕 I still need to read Supernova (I loved the first two books, but never got around to reading the finale) and I’m glad to hear that you liked the ending 😊 Same with Rile of Wolves, I really need to pick it up, as I loved King of Scats!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes the banter in tgw was EVERYTHING and made the book for me! Yay happy to find a fellow cerulean sea fan *hi-five*! oooh i think I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed by supernova, who knows, you might like it even better than the first two!!
      YES please read RoW asap, it’s amazing amazing AMAZING haha! thank you so much for the comment Caro ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. All of these are on my tbr and I’m majorly hoping to get to some of them soon. I can’t wait to finally start the Grisha books and honestly can’t believe that I haven’t done so yet. I’m also really looking forward to reading Gilded Wolves sometime and really hope to get the sands duology read before Tempest Of Tea comes out later this year.
    My favourites of last year included All Of Us Villians, Chain Of Iron & Addie LaRue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. amazing, i hope this post pushed those books further up the tbr haha! ahh i’m really anticipating the release of tempest of tea too.
      i’ve heard fantastic things about all three of those, so glad to hear you enjoyed them!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It has (: finally read one of them too!! And I’m not sure if that’s been moved to next year now 😭 although Rin Chupecos vampire book is possibly this year now?? I never know as everywhere says differently.
        Thank you 💗


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