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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: Where the Drowned Girls Go (Wayward Children, #7) by Seanan McGuire

Book Review: Where the Drowned Girls Go (Wayward Children, #7) by Seanan McGuire


Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an advance copy of this novella from the publisher, Tordotcom, in exchange for an honest review.

“There are worlds where death itself is malleable, where anything can be rewritten, be undone, if the right approach is taken. Worlds where the air bleeds words and lightning can rewrite the past.”

Reading McGuire’s newest Wayward Children novella has become something of a Christmas tradition for me over the past few years. While my reading experience has varied book to book, it’s always cozy and enjoyable and transportive. I request very few ARCs, but this series is top among them and I’m always elated to receive the next installment. I was cautiously excited about Where the Drowned Girls Go, as it’s a pretty direct followup to my least favorite novella in the series, Beneath the Sugar Sky. However, this newest novella was absolutely fantastic; so much so, in fact, that it made me want to go back and reread Beneath the Sugar Sky to see if my opinion of it had changed. Where the Drowned Girls Go was a thoughtful, different addition to the series, and builds on and links every single one of its predecessors.

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Book Review: The Becoming (The Dragon Heart Legacy, #2) by Nora Roberts

Book Review: The Becoming (The Dragon Heart Legacy, #2) by Nora Roberts


The Becoming by Nora Roberts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nora never disappoints. There are so many trilogies and series where reading the second book is something of a doldrums experience; it’s giving you a lot of background and filler to get you to the main event in the third book. I’ve read a bunch of these, some of them in series that I consider to be favorites, especially in the fantasy genre. But that’s not at all what I got in The Becoming, book 2 of Nora’s The Dragon Heart Legacy trilogy. This book was impactful and engaging from first page to last, while still providing the setup needed for the final installment. I thoroughly enjoyed every single scene in The Becoming, and I will absolutely be rereading it and its predecessor before the aforementioned final installment, The Choice, is published in November of 2022. I’m incredibly thankful for Nora’s schedule and work ethic, because I would hate to have to wait any longer to get the end of this story.

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Book Review: Black House (The Talisman, #2) by Stephen King and Peter Straub

Book Review: Black House (The Talisman, #2) by Stephen King and Peter Straub


Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For some reason, I wasn’t expecting much from Black House. While I really enjoyed The Talisman, the first novel in this duology, I feel like I’ve heard a good bit of negative commentary about this particular book in the past. Can I actually pinpoint any of said comments? Nope. Not a one. Maybe I was thinking about a different book. Because Black House was everything I should have expected: scary, moving, and vital to the Dark Tower.

“I must not be so bad if I have a friend like that.”

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Book Review: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

Book Review: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly


The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I have always been fascinated by fairy tales. From an early age, any book I could find filled with fairy tales or fables, myths or legends or fables, immediately drew me in like a moth to flame. I have well over two dozen collections of such stories in my physical library, and I’m scared to even count those on my Kindle. Something about these stories, from the morals they attempt to convey to the questions they seek to answer. about the ways in which the world works, tells readers just as much about the society they come from as an historical text. And I’ve always had a soft spot for more modern tales inspired by these stories. Because of this, I’m not really sure why it took me so long to pick up The Book of Lost Things, but it was every bit as whimsical and melancholy and lovely as I hoped it would be. Some fairy tale retellings, or stories inspired in some way by fairy tales, can come across as too saccharine, but that was certainly not the case here. There was a charm to the story, for sure, but it was by no means sweet.

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Book Review: Across the Green Grass Fields (Wayward Children, #6) by Seanan McGuire

Book Review: Across the Green Grass Fields (Wayward Children, #6) by Seanan McGuire


Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, Tor.com, in exchange for an honest review.

Over the past few years, I’ve come to love Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series fiercely. And thanks to the wonderful people at Tor.com, reading the newest installment a bit ahead of its publication date has become something of a Christmas tradition for me. These novellas are all beautifully written and poignant and full of heavy topics handled with a light but respectful touch. Across the Green Grass Fields is no exception to this rule.

“Girlhood wasn’t destiny unless you wanted it to be, and she had accepted her destiny wholeheartedly. Anything to be normal.”

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Book Review: The Awakening (The Dragon Heart Legacy, #1) by Nora Roberts

Book Review: The Awakening (The Dragon Heart Legacy, #1) by Nora Roberts


The Awakening by Nora Roberts
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I know of no medicine better than a Nora Roberts book. Whenever I’m feeling down or overwhelmed or just in need of something comforting, her books are always a welcoming escape. The Awakening, the first installment in her newest series, is no exception. If the rest of the Dragon Heart Legacy is as great as The Awakening, it promises to be one of her best.

“You have to look to find. You have to ask to have the answers. You have to awaken to become.”

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Book Review: Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, #4) by Stephen King

Book Review: Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, #4) by Stephen King


Wizard and Glass by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Dark Tower has completely captured my heart and mind. I feel as though I am part of the gunslinger’s ka-tet, making the trek right along with them. And so far, it’s one of the most fulfilling literary journeys I’ve ever embarked upon. Wizard and Glass did nothing but reinforce that feeling.

“And now, all these years later, it seemed to him that the most horrible fact of human existence was that broken hearts mended.”

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Book Review: The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower, #3)

Book Review: The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower, #3)


The Waste Lands by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

And the award for creepiest train in all of literature goes to…

“Don’t ask me silly questions
I won’t play silly games
I’m just a simple choo choo train
And I’ll always be the same.

I only want to race along
Beneath the bright blue sky
And be a happy choo choo train
Until the day I die.”

Stephen King has had a place among my favorite authors for 3 or 4 years now. But over the span of this book and its predecessor, The Drawing of the Three, he’s edging remarkably close to becoming not just one of my favorite authors, but my hands down favorite. Right now he’s in a three-way tie with Brandon Sanderson and Nora Roberts, but Wizard and Glass might actually change that if it holds a candle to The Waste Lands. I’ve heard that the back half of the Dark Tower series pales a bit in comparison to the first 4 books, so I’m trying to keep my expectations low, but this is shaping up to be my favorite series of all time.

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Book Review: The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub

Book Review: The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub


The Talisman by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been reading a lot of King lately. Very rarely do I binge read a particular author. I feel the need to mix things up in my reading life or I find myself burned out and unable to appreciate a book I should love because I’ve consumed too much of the same thing in a row. I might love pizza, but I would find it far less palatable if I had to eat it for every meal. I feel the same way about my literary diet. So I’m a readerly butterfly, flitting from author to author and genre to genre as they grab my attention. However, this is my fourth King novel in a row, and it’s the fourth in a row I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I think that’s because each of these four novels, whether King penned them alone or with the aid of a co-author as with this book, vary drastically from everything else I’ve read by him. And yet what makes them so incredible is the way they tie into each other and refer back to things King wrote before them and foreshadow books he would write after.

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