Serena’s Favorite Reads of 2021: Picks 10-6

Another a year, another almost impossible task trying to each choose our Top 10 Reads of the year! For me, the word “favorite” is an important part of this list. As I go through the last year’s worth of reading, I often found that some books would strike particular chords within me more deeply than others, even if, quality-wise, another book might be stronger. Of course, this just makes it all that much harder to put them in any order. But here it goes! Today I’m going to countdown my favorites reads, ten to six. And since it’s the end of the reading year, don’t forget to enter our 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!

10. “The Bone Maker” by Sarah Beth Durst

“The Bone Maker” Review

I really enjoyed this book by Sarah Beth Durst. This author has been fairly hit and miss for me, but when she’s on, she’s on! One of the things I liked most about it was the fact that it featured a main character and side characters all who were solidly middle-aged. It was a very most “post Chosen Ones” storyline, exploring what happens to the heroes after they have conquered the all-powerful source of evil in their world. Of course, for there to be a story, there is some question about that last part. But the book also explored a lot of bigger topics like grief, loss, vocation, and found families. It’s a great stand-alone fantasy novel.

9. “Dustborn” by Erin Bowman

“Dustborn” Review

It’s always the best when I get to include a new author who I just discovered in the last year! This list often includes many long-time favorites (they’re favorites for a reason!), but it really illustrates the unique joy of reading to know there are always new favorites out there to be discovered! “Dustborn” is really everything its cover would have you believe: a post-apocalypic “Mad Max” style YA novel. That said, it’s also nothing like what you would believe, having some of the best surprise twists that I’ve seen in quite a while! The story follows a young woman who sets out to find salvation for a world that is tearing itself apart. This was another stand-alone story, and I enjoyed the heck out of it!

8. “Silence in the Library” by Katharine Schellman

“Silence in the Library” Review

Those who read my review for this book will know how near a miss this was to getting on this list, purely because I lost track of when this book was released! But luckily I was able to rectify this oversight quite quickly, and here we are. This was an excellent new mystery for Lily Adler and co. We saw many familiar faces, but also met a new cast of characters including Lily’s villainous father. And, of course, an entire host of suspects for the most recent murder Lily stumbles upon. This series also continues to do excellent work in casting a diverse cast of characters into a historical setting.

7. “All of Us Villains” by Amanda Food & Christine Lynn Herman

“All of Us Villains” Review

I almost didn’t pick up this book due to my unenthusiastic initial impression of the cover art. Good thing I dismissed this and let myself be talked into it by a few trusted sources, because I really enjoyed this! It’s very much “The Hunger Games” fantasy edition, but it does many things right that other wanna-be similar stories failed to do. Not least of all, it’s been long enough since “The Hunger Games” released that the similarities were fun instead of annoying. On top of that, the authors did great work in creating a fully fleshed-out world in which this type of magical battle royal makes sense (as much as kids fighting to the death ever can!). They also peopled their world with a cast of character who were all distinct and interesting. It’s a rare thing that a book can have four POV characters and I can enjoy them all! I definitely recommend this one to YA fantasy fans looking for something new!

6. “Murder on Black Swan Lane” by Andrea Penrose

“Murder on Black Swan Lane” Review

This was a book/series that has been hanging out on my TBR list for years now. There are several books out, that’s how long it’s taken me. I have all the regrets!!! I loved this book when I finally got around to checking out the audiobook from the library. The narrator was excellent, something I always find really elevates these British mysteries. And I also really liked our two main characters. We get to know them slowly as the book unfolds, but the author also wisely doesn’t show all of her hand in this first book and it still feels like there is more to learn about both of these leads in future books. The mystery was also interesting, and the story was surprisingly action packed! I’m planning on diving into the second book soon and I fully recommend this to fans of historical mystery novels.

So that’s ten through six. Next time I will give a countdown of my top five. What have been some of your favorite reads of 2021?

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