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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: The Bone Ship’s Wake (The Tide Child, #3) by R.J. Barker

Book Review: The Bone Ship’s Wake (The Tide Child, #3) by R.J. Barker

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

The Bone Ship’s Wake by R.J. Barker

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Tide Child (Book #3 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Pages: 543 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: 30th September 2021 by Orbit


I’ve completed two series by R.J. Barker now, and Barker stuck the landing in both Kings of Assassins and The Bone Ship’s Wake.

“Of all the people on the ship, the courser knew most what it was to be alone. And Joron, as Meas had once said, had found command was the loneliest place of all.”

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Book Review: The Bone Ship’s Wake (The Tide Child Trilogy, #3) by R.J. Barker

Book Review: The Bone Ship’s Wake (The Tide Child Trilogy, #3) by R.J. Barker

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

The Bone Ship’s Wake by R.J. Barker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Tide Child (Book #3 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Published: 30th September 2021 by Orbit


Highly satisfying and achingly emotional, The Bone Ship’s Wake was the unforgettable conclusion that I was hoping for in this phenomenal trilogy.

How did this even happen – a seafaring fantasy story becoming one of my favourites? Hats off to R.J. Barker as he did something truly extraordinary. His excellent debut trilogy, The Wounded Kingdom made me eager to try whatever he writes next, and now The Tide Child shot him up to become one of my insta-buy fantasy authors.

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Book Review: Call of the Bone Ships (The Tide Child Trilogy, #2) by R.J. Barker

Book Review: Call of the Bone Ships (The Tide Child Trilogy, #2) by R.J. Barker

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

Call of the Bone Ships by R.J. Barker

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Tide Child (Book #2 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Published: 24th November 2020 by Orbit


An excellent sequel filled with brutal and bloody seafaring adventures, Call of the Bone Ships elevated the story with remarkable character work.

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Book Review: Call of the Bone Ships (The Tide Child Trilogy, #2) by R.J. Barker

Book Review: Call of the Bone Ships (The Tide Child Trilogy, #2) by R.J. Barker

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

Call of the Bone Ships by R.J. Barker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Tide Child (Book #2 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Pages: 482 pages (UK paperback edition)

Published: 24th November 2020 by Orbit


A great sequel that doesn’t shy away from developing the characters through harsh circumstances.

“We are nothing, Shipwife… If we do not try we are nothing. You are right there. Better to lose it all for what is right than to live in fear.”

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Book Review: Call of the Bone Ships (The Tide Child, #2) by R.J. Barker

Book Review: Call of the Bone Ships (The Tide Child, #2) by R.J. Barker

 

 

The Bone Ships by by R.J. Barker

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

Series: The Tide Child (Book 2 of 3)

Genre: High-fantasy

Published: November 24, 2020 by Orbit (UK & US)


A superb sequel that elevates the series.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of RJ Barker’s Wounded Kingdom series, and when I recently reread the first book in the Tide Child trilogy I was once again reminded how much I love his stories and I kept on thinking about the story and the characters long after that reread. So when the time came around for myself, TS and Petrik to resume our buddy read with the Call of the Bone Ships I was more than excited to plunge into this world again and I was overjoyed to find that it was every bit as good as I’d hoped.

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Book Review: The Bone Ships (The Tide Child, #1) by R.J. Barker

Book Review: The Bone Ships (The Tide Child, #1) by R.J. Barker

The Bone Ships by by R.J. Barker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Series: The Tide Child (Book 1 of 3)

Genre: High-fantasy

Published: September 26th, 2019 by Orbit (UK) & September 24th, 2019 by Orbit (US)

Audacious storytelling, with an original, captivating world.

RJ Barker wrote one of my favourite fantasy series of all time, The Wounded Kingdom trilogy. So, when I heard that he was writing a brand-new series called The Tide Child trilogy, I was excited. And by excited, I mean I might have shouted about it to one or two, or seventy random people. I am a huge fan. That said, on my first read I struggled with the start of this book and that influenced my initial rating quite a bit. I still thought this was a very good book in the end, but felt it took slightly long to get there. On rereading this though, I was pleasantly surprised by having an absolute blast of a time and I am happy to say that I misjudged this book a bit.

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TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2019

TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2019

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 20 List.


Hello everyone!  This is the first time I’m listing my top reads for the year 2019.  Initially, I wanted to opt for Top 10 but having read 100 books and rated a lot between 4.5 and 5 stars, I felt that I would struggle to limit it to ten.  The parameters for my list are as follows:

  • Rereads don’t count
  • One book per author
  • Not limited to books which are released this year.  Those not published in 2019 will be specified.

With exception of #1, none of these are ranked.  I’ve merely listed them in the chronological order of when I’ve read them this year.  I’ve also included my favourite classic read of the year as we’ve started the Novel Notions Classic Club in July. All of these have been reviewed by me on Novel Notions and Goodreads.

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Book Review: The Bone Ships (The Tide Child, #1) by R.J. Barker

Book Review: The Bone Ships (The Tide Child, #1) by R.J. Barker

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

The Bone Ships by by R.J. Barker

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

Series: The Tide Child (Book 1 of 3)

Genre: High-fantasy

Published: September 26th, 2019 by Orbit (UK) & September 24th, 2019 by Orbit (US)


Bold and inventive, R.J. Barker sailed through new, uncharted waters with The Bone Ships and emerged with a brilliant tale of seafaring adventure and deeds of derring-do.

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