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TS’s Best Reads of 2021

TS’s Best Reads of 2021

This is my journey in books for 2021!

Hi everyone, TS here!  Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge that I’ve been inconsistent in my blogging/reviewing on Novel Notions this year.   I couldn’t find the energy or will or brain-power as I found myself in a new expanded role at work that has a challenging learning curve, and discovered that I enjoy cooking and baking (even embarked on sourdough) so much that I started spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

I did manage to meet my reading challenge of 100 books this year regardless, and it’s probably the most diverse year of reading that I’ve had in my entire life.   While fantasy remains my favourite genre for its sense of wonder, I found myself gravitating a lot towards mysteries this year, and also reading a lot more non-fiction.

I’ve decided to organise my best reads of 2021 a bit differently from prior years, somewhat thematically instead of the usual parameters and rankings.

And we’ll start with….

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Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2021)

Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2021)

This list is also available on my Booktube Channel if that’s what you preferred: https://youtu.be/wZY-JG9HUgQ

Click here if you want to see the list of all the books I’ve read so far this year: Petrik’s Year in Books (2021)

It’s that time of the year again, y’all. 2021 is ending in a week. This year, I managed to read 130 books. This number includes 72 traditionally published books, 21 self-published/indie books, 37 manga volumes (I’ve read so many more manga volumes but I’ve decided to only include 37 here.)

In comparison to the previous years, whether it’s by pages count or the number of books, this is my lowest reading performance so far. There are details behind this reason, but really when it comes down to it, it’s because this is the first full year I became a Booktuber. In addition to reading and writing reviews, now I also record, edit, and upload videos to my YouTube Channel. My reading “performance” definitely suffers because of it, but not going to lie, I’m happy to make that sacrifice. As for the quality of the books I read, this is another incredible reading year, so let’s get to it immediately. As usual, I will be applying a few rules into this list:

Please read this first. There will be three rules I set in this list in order for me to give appreciation to more authors rather than having only a few authors hoarding this list. These rules allow me to highlight more authors, and at the same time, I’ll also be able to include both new and older books (many of them still need attention) that I read within this year.

  • Rereads aren’t included.
  • One book per author.
  • The books listed here are not all exclusively published this year; the list consists of the top books I read for the first time within this year. Non-2021 published books on this list will have their first date of publication included.

Do note that although there’s a rank to this list, I HIGHLY recommend every book/series listed below because I loved all of them immensely, and they received a rating of 4.5 or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here are the top 20 books I’ve read in 2021! (All full reviews of the books listed can be found on Novel Notions and my Goodreads page

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Book Review: Jade Legacy (The Green Bone Saga, #3) by Fonda Lee

Book Review: Jade Legacy (The Green Bone Saga, #3) by Fonda Lee

ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.

Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Green Bone Saga (Book #3 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Published: 30th November 2021 by Orbit (US) & 2nd December 2021 by Orbit (UK)


Devastatingly brilliant, Jade Legacy is a triumphant finale in Fonda Lee’s emotionally powerful character-driven masterpiece.

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Book Review: Jade Legacy (The Green Bone Saga, #3) by Fonda Lee

Book Review: Jade Legacy (The Green Bone Saga, #3) by Fonda Lee

ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.

Cover designed by: Lisa Marie Pompilio

Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Green Bone Saga (Book #3 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Pages: 736 pages (US Kindle edition)

Published: 30th November 2021 by Orbit (US) & 2nd December 2021 by Orbit (UK)


Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best books I’ve ever read. Jade Legacy is an all-around masterpiece that certified The Green Bone Saga as my top favorite completed trilogy of all time.

“Good men are remembered with love by their friends… Great warriors are remembered with awe by their enemies.”

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Book Review: City of Miracles (The Divine Cities, #3) by Robert Jackson Bennett

Book Review: City of Miracles (The Divine Cities, #3) by Robert Jackson Bennett

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Divine Cities (Book 3 of 3)

Genre: Urban fantasy, fantasy, post-apocalyptic

Published: 2nd May 2017 by Broadway Books (US) & 4th May 2017 by Jo Fletcher Books (UK)


With its stunning denouement in City of Miracles, Robert Jackson Bennett’s masterful genre-redefining trilogy is now one of my all-time favourites.

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Book Review: City of Blades (The Divine Cities, #2) by Robert Jackson Bennett

Book Review: City of Blades (The Divine Cities, #2) by Robert Jackson Bennett

City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Divine Cities (Book 2 of 3)

Genre: Urban fantasy, fantasy, post-apocalyptic

Published: 26th January 2016 by Broadway Books (US) & 7th January 2016 by Jo Fletcher Books (UK)


City of Blades was one of the best sequels I’ve read; it has everything I could ask for that expands upon an already fantastic start to a trilogy.

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Book Review: City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

Book Review: City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

(This is a repost of an old review I wrote in May 2018)

Cover art illustrated by: Sam Weber

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series:The Divine Cities (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Urban fantasy, Post-apocalyptic, Horror

Pages: 452 pages (US paperback edition)

Published: 9th September 2014 by Broadway Books (US) & 2nd April 2015 by Jo Fletcher Books (UK)


A truly wonderful start to a trilogy and one of the most original world-building I’ve ever had the chance to experience in a novel.

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Book Review: City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

Book Review: City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Divine Cities (Book 1 of 3)

Genre: Urban fantasy, fantasy, post-apocalyptic

Published: 9th September 2014 by Broadway Books (US) & 2nd April 2015 by Jo Fletcher Books (UK)


It had been a while since I’ve come across such a magnificent start to a series or trilogy; City of Stairs was a fine example of genre-redefining for urban fantasy.

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Manga Review: Death Note All-in-One Edition (Death Note, #1-13) by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata

Manga Review: Death Note All-in-One Edition (Death Note, #1-13) by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata

I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

(This is a repost of an old review I wrote in December 2017)

Death Note: All-in-One Edition by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Death Note (#1-13)

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Pages: 2400 pages

Published: 5th September 2017 by VIZ Media LLC


Death Note is a masterwork that eventually will become a classic in the manga/anime industry; in my opinion, it already did.

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One Good Dragon Deserves Another (Heartstrikers, #2) by Rachel Aaron

One Good Dragon Deserves Another (Heartstrikers, #2) by Rachel Aaron

One Good Dragon Deserves AnotherCover art by Anna Steinbauer

One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron

My rating5 of 5 stars

Series: Heartstrikers (Book 2 of 5)

Genre: Urban fantasy

Published: 1st August 2015 (Aaron/Bach, self-published)


One Good Dragon Deserves Another is simply a sublime sequel.

I thoroughly enjoyed book one in The Heartstrikers series and was eagerly looking forward to more of the same with Rachel Aaron’s follow up book, One Good Dragon Deserves Another. Lucky for me, the author not only delivered on this expectation, but she also blew it out of the water! This book has every chance to be in my top ten at the end of the year! I LOVED IT.

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