TopTens, Yearly Reviews

#BookRecommendations Briar’s Favourite 2021 Reads – Part 1

2021 was a busy year! I read over 300 books, finished my degree, got a brand new job in my area of study, and managed to get so much done! It was also a very sad year, losing friends to various illnesses, losing relationships, but all in all… It’s time to rebuild and renew.

In 2022 I have so many goals, but one thing that was at the top of my list was sharing the books I absolutely loved in 2021. I was silent for a fair amount of the year as I processed, grew and, learned from 2020 and 2021 (so much was thrown at me, ohmigosh!). Like any good reader or educator, it’s time to learn, share, and grow – together.

So if you’re wondering, “I wonder what Briar actually liked in the last year because she definitely did not post over 300 books on this blog,” then come along for this multiple part storytime of all of my favourite 2021 reads!

  1. Favourite Manga: Spy V. Family by Tatsuya Endo
    I love a good graphic novel, and this one has been on my hit list for years. Many years ago, someone showed me this book and I had been anxiously waiting for it to come out in a book form… and VIZ picked it up! This small family of spies are forced together to complete missions, in the most comedic and sweet ways. This is a PG rated book that will make you smile and giggle throughout. It’s one of my all time favourite mangas.
  2. Favourite Middle Grade Horror: Pumpkins by Kevin Miller
    Halloween and spooky is my aesthetic, so Pumpkins was a hit in my world! I absolutely love Kevin Miller’s middle grade (and sci-fi) books, which made this book all the more pelasurable to read. Spooky pumpkins are popping up all over the city and appear to be enchanting people… Jeremy and Roxanne are going to have to come up with a solution to save the town, and quick! This ranks as one of my top middle grade reads EVER so I highly recommend taking a peek at this marvelous book.
  3. Non-Fiction Delight: Secrets of the Force: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Wars by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman
    Star Wars was a big part of my childhood. Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Lei Organa were constantly on my television screen. The sci-fi, the fantasy and the intrigue of that universe sparked something in me that has never left. This book goes through four decades worth of history of the Star Wars franchise, from the initial indie days and all the way up to The Rise of Skywalker (and a pinch of The Mandalorian). If you’re looking for a non-fiction book with all of the nerdy acclaim, this book is it!
  4. Perfect Poetry and Prose: Produce Poetry or Die by Narada Voux Sanders
    If you’re looking for some sweet poetry that will take you on a very different kind of trip, this honest take is a must read. Narada Voux Sanders honest and real take on life, love and loss will open your eyes and make you feel seen. I felt so many things reading this book, and it sits high up there on my fave poetry shelf.
  5. Canadiana Reads: Goth Girls of Banff by John O’Neill
    This collection of short stories set in the good ol’ Canadian Rockies is a fantastic read. Each story will take you on a surprising journey, with each being a little more intense than the last. I love grabbing anthologies and short story collections, and this book met all of my expectations for a fantastic, Canadian read.
  6. Mystery and Crime: In the Dark by Cara Hunter
    Cara Hunter has been one of my fave mystery and crime writers for a while, so it was no surprise I grabbed another marvelous book by her. In The Dark continued DI Adam Fawley’s crime stories and made it even darker and intriguing. The mystery of the missing, captive woman goes viral… But it’s not all it cracks up to be… Something more sinister is going on here, and you won’t be disappointed with the ending.
  7. Hospital Romance: No Cure for Love by Victoria Grant
    This addition to Victoria Grant’s Calderone Family series is the hospital romance meets sexy business man that I didn’t know I needed, but obviously did. I’ve been binging my way through Victoria’s books all year (and well into 2022), but this one topped my list! I would recommend all of the books to you, but I will just include this delicious, little nugget here. Carefree bachelor + Ambitious Doctor = romance of the ages.
  8. Picture Book Delights: Pugtato: Let’s Be Best Spuddies by Sophie Corrigan
    Pugtato is a marvelous little children’s picture book series that makes my heart so warm and fuzzy. The illustrations are adorable, the puns and goofiness it top tier, and it’s all about being friendly and fun. Who doesn’t love fantastic books like that? As an adult, it made me smile so wide and want to share this with all of the littles. I highly recommend!
  9. Christmas Cheer: Creeping Up on Christmas by A.J. Kormon
    A.J. Kormon has a fine selection of middle grade reads that are filled with friendship and mystery. I seriously love the Halloway Hills series and I can’t stop recommending them. As I didn’t get too many holiday reads in to spike my festive cheer, this book did top that small list. If you want something light and fun, this series brings it. It reminds me of the joy of friendship and family, with a dash of cats and mystery.
  10. LGBTQ+ Awareness: Unmuted by Stephen Knipp et al.
    To finish off this first part of my fave 2021 reads, this anthology/collection of short stories is a must read. It brings forth many tales of members of the LGBTQ+ community in one fine collection. Your heart will ache in some stories, but you’ll never feel alone. Powerful fiction like this is important. Remember that.

And with that, I conclude part 1 of my fave 2021 books. There are ten different books across different genres to start adding to your TBR (if it’s like mine, it will be neverending and have a lot there). Let me know what’s on your top book list for the year, or if you grabbed any of the books above. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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