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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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Celeste’s Top 21 Books of the Year (2021)

Celeste’s Top 21 Books of the Year (2021)


At last, 2021 is drawing to a close.  Or, as I like to call it, 2020 part 2.  While the year wasn’t the best, I did have a pretty great reading year.  According to Goodreads, I read 110 books this year.  According to my own spreadsheet, I read 192.  That 82 book difference is comprised largely of various long, spicy romance series that I didn’t want to have to review because I was consuming them so quickly, so I made the decision to not include them on Goodreads.  But I wanted to acknowledge them here.  This was the year of the romance novel for me.  Romance has never been my genre of choice, but I found so much solace in it this year.  For the first time, I truly understand why there are so many dedicated romance readers out there, and now I happily consider myself one of them.  Four novels on this list are romances, in fact.

While I read a metric ton of romance, I think I read fairly widely this year.  This list includes fantasy, mystery, thriller, horror, sci-fi, and literary fiction.  One of the biggest common denominators on this list is actually Greek mythology.  I’ve always loved mythology, and this year I read some amazing books retelling some of those myths in fun and refreshing ways.  This is something I hope to find even more of next year.

As always, I’m following Petrik’s example here.
– One entry per author. (But not always only one book.  I’m cheating this year.  You’ll see what I mean.)
– Rereads aren’t included.
– The books on this list were new to me, not necessarily new. They might not have been published this year, but this was my first time reading them.
– All of these books were either 4.5 or 5 star reads for me.

Links to my Goodreads reviews of each book will be included below. And now, without further ado, here are my favorite books of 2021!


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Book Review: Sword and Pen (The Great Library, #5) by Rachel Caine

Book Review: Sword and Pen (The Great Library, #5) by Rachel Caine

Sword and Pen by Rachel Caine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Series: The Great Library (Book 5 of 5)

Genre:  Young adult, alternate history, historical fantasy, fantasy

Published: Sept 2019 by Berkley Books (US) and Allison & Busby (UK)


Much to my delight, Sword and Pen delivered a truly satisfying and emotional conclusion to The Great Library, a spectacular YA series that has earned a spot as one of my favourites.

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Book Review: Smoke and Iron (The Great Library, #4) by Rachel Caine

Book Review: Smoke and Iron (The Great Library, #4) by Rachel Caine

Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Series: The Great Library (Book 4 of 5)

Genre:  Young adult, alternate history, historical fantasy, fantasy

Published: July 2018 by Berkley Books (US) and Allison & Busby (UK)


The best book in the series so far, Smoke and Iron gave me more than a consistently fantastic continuation in The Great Library.

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Book Review: Ash and Quill (The Great Library, #3) by Rachel Caine

Book Review: Ash and Quill (The Great Library, #3) by Rachel Caine

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Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

Series: The Great Library (Book 3 of 5)

Genre:  Young adult, alternate history, historical fantasy, fantasy

Published: July 2017 by Berkley Books (US) and Allison & Busby (UK)


Immensely engaging and intense, Ash and Quill was mid-series perfection.

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Book Review: Paper and Fire (The Great Library, #2) by Rachel Caine

Book Review: Paper and Fire (The Great Library, #2) by Rachel Caine

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

Series: The Great Library (Book 2 of 5)

Genre:  Young adult, alternate history, historical fantasy, fantasy

Published: July 2016 by Berkley Books (US) and Allison & Busby (UK)


Another close-to-perfect read, Paper and Fire was a superb sequel in The Great Library series, one that is on track to become a favourite.

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Book Review: Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1) by Rachel Caine

Book Review: Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1) by Rachel Caine

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

Series: The Great Library (Book 1 of 5)

Genre:  Young adult, alternate history, historical fantasy, fantasy

Published: July 2015 by Berkley Books (US) and Allison & Busby (UK)


Ink and Bone is a fantastic entry in The Great Library series that enthralled me right from the very beginning and didn’t let go.

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