I read 198 books this year in a split of: 39 ARCs, 59 audiobooks, 85 manga volumes, 9 physical copies, 2 light novels, and 6 eBooks. As my boyfriend said, “That’s a lot of things, Jo.” It is that time of year where I want to share my favorites, so please enjoy my top 20 2021 books, top 20 books from before 2021, and, a new feature, 5 manga.
I realize that I make lists for books I’m excited for and book I want to read, and failed on both those lists. So, my lists for 2022 books is mostly about boosting others works regardless of if I personally get around to reading them. That’s just how it is when you’re employed and vastly mis-measure what kind of focus you’ll have as the year goes on. Moving also robbed me of a bunch of my focus, which should not have been as surprising as it is. On top of working full time. On top of being in a relationship and trying to participate in the communities I’m a part of.
Excuse me, but where did April go? This month went by so quickly, I cannot wrap my head around it. And what a roller coaster of a ride it was.
The big thing that happened to me was that my beloved Eclectus parrot, Investor, had to be put to sleep due to poor health. He was in our family for 20 years. I try to smile through the happy memories, but mostly it’s just tears.
Genre: Adult Fantasy Year Release: 2020 Source: Audible
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Listened to the audiobook Content warning: Vomiting, gore, blood, body horror, incineration, death of a parent
It took a whole bunch of self-control to not immediately dive into book 2 of the exceedingly epic The Burning series.
Anyway, this book picks up immediately after the first book ends. Tau finds himself at the queen’s side, getting more and more involved in strategy and politics as they prepare to take back the capital from a traitor while also preparing to clash swords with the Xidda. This book is so fast-paced, even more so than The Rage of Dragons. Queen Tsiora wasn’t really a presence in the previous book, but wow, does she shine in the sequel. She and her mostly female advisors had such depth, and Winter takes great care in highlighting all kinds of strength, not just physical brutality.
If you want huge dragon battles, dragons, complex female characters, and multiple moments that make you almost scream “Holy shit,” just keep reading The Burning.
March was my first full month of dayjob. I also took a small break from writing after a major breakthrough in the revision. Unfortunately, that means rewriting the entire thing. In spite of that, I did get a lot of reading done. I even read my first physical copy of the year.
To be fair, I am finding a lot of solace in manga right now, and I can’t quite articulate why. When I figured it out, I will definitely let you know. I have also gotten majorly into buying earrings from indigenous creators. More details about this can be found on my Instagram.
The interview I did this month with C.L. Clark to celebrate their debut, The Unbroken, is one of my favorite interviews yet. I also posted a personal-feeling advice piece on beta reading and giving feedback in general (Writing is Hard Part 8).
Genre: Adult Fantasy Year Release: 2019 Source: Audible
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Listened to the audiobook Content warning: Vomiting, gore, blood, body horror, incineration
Since this book came out, many people whose reviews and tastes I respect encouraged me to read it. But they didn’t tell me why, and for that, I am miffed at them (not really, not at all).
In a world ravaged by war, Tau loses his father and vows revenge on those who betrayed him. To do this, he enrolls in a battle school to become the greatest swordsman who ever lived. The challenges along the way include battles against women who can call dragons from a demon dimension to Enrage warriors into becoming horrific beasts of battle quite literally and the nobility who sneer at him for his caste and underestimate him at every turn.
This book is an absolute treat for anyone who enjoys giant battles, big stakes, heart-wrenching personal tensions, and, of course, dragons.