Hello my lovely lemons! You may remember from last year that I set myself a TBR challenge and a book buying ban. Well, it turned out pretty awesome for me then, so I’m doing the same thing this year. The goal is simple: I must read every book I owned at the start of the year, before the end of it. My owned TBR (across both digital and physical) also has to stay below ~15 books at all times. I can’t buy a new book without first finshing one I already own.
So, to keep me accountable and just because it’s fun, I’m sharing my 2021 TBR with you! There are 17 books on it this year, which I know is over the 15 limit I just mentioned, but it was just Christmas and I had book vouchers to make good use of. So, I’m starting the year with a decent new haul alongside the books I acquired over the course of 2020. There’s hardbacks, paperbacks, ebooks, audiobooks, ARCs, and even a couple of books on my phone. Let’s have a look at them all!
Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff 🍋
Aurora Rising was my most anticipated release of 2019. Then, in true bookworm fashion, it took me until December of that year to read it, and now it’s a year later and I haven’t read the sequel. This is why I prefer completed series! Forget binge-watching, I’m a binge-reader.
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers 🍋
Another sequel I have waited waaayy too long to get to. It was 2018(?) when I read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet* and I’ve been recommending it ever since. I was blown away by the quiet beauty of the first novel, and I’m hoping the sequel lives up to it. Each book in this series is a standalone story within the same universe, so I know it’ll be different to the first book, and follow other characters. I’m a bit worried, but at least the standalone format means I can skip right on to the next book if I’m not a fan!
*I can’t help sharing that while typing this post I misspelt it as Small, Angery Plant 😂
When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore 🍋
I have this on Audible, but since I very rarely use that app (I much prefer Scribd) I tend to forget about the books I have on there. Magical realism isn’t a genre I’ve read much of, but people have been recommending McLemore’s work to me for years and I can’t wait to dive into their writing. I really want to read more books by and about trans folk, and this book ticks both boxes.
Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine 🍋
Rachel Caine has been my favourite author since my very early teens, but only last year did I finally start reading her newest YA series The Great Library. Rachel’s passing hit me hard last year, but I think the best way to celebrate her life is through her work, and I can’t wait to continue this amazing series. It’ll remind me of why she meant so much to me. Plus I need to find out what my chaos library children get up to next!
Cinder by Marissa Meyer 🍋
Well, if it isn’t the book series I’ve seen recommended 3rd most often since joining the book community! (The 1st and 2nd are Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses, if you’re wondering.) The gorgeous cover redesigns finally convinced me, and now I’m ready to dive into the first of these sci-fi fairytale retellings. I don’t tend to go in for really hyped books, but I’m actually super excited to get to this one! It’s been a while since I got deep into a series and found a new set of characters to love. Hopefully it pops out of my TBR jar soon!
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann 🍋
This was the first book I ever saw about an asexual main character, which is something really close to my heart and I’ve been wanting to read it ever since. I love that it features an asexual character who experiences romantic attraction, and looks at how her sexuality affects romantic relationships. Plus she’s working at a library, which screams ‘swoony bookish romance’ to me.
Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales 🍋
It’s queer, it’s a Grease retelling, and I got it for 99p on Kindle. I am helpless in the face of a bargain, people! This is a short (under 300 pages) contemporary and sometimes that’s just what you need. I must admit I’m more excited for Sophie’s upcoming novel Perfect on Paper, but I’m quite happy to give this a try first!
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo 🍋
I’m so keen to get to more books in verse, and this is at the top of my list! It’s about grief, secrets, and newfound sisterhood. I know it’ll wreck me emotionally, and I can’t wait. I loved With the Fire on High when I read it in 2019, but I know Acevedo’s poetry will hit even harder.
On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden 🍋
This is a super sapphic sci-fi graphic novel which involves fish shaped spaceships. I mean??? What more could you want? It’s all about finding lost love and it sounds pretty sweet and emotional. Also, space fish. (That sounds like such a cool tattoo idea.)
I’ve tried to order this post chronologically based on how long I’ve owned the book, and we’ve just hit the point in the year where I requested a bunch of ARCs. (The next three books were kindly provided by the publishers via NetGalley.)
Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power 🍋
Along with everyone else, I was sucked into the hype of Rory’s debut Wilder Girls last year, and I really enjoyed the gritty story. I’m very keen to see what she’s written next! Just as a side note, I liked the hot pink font on the UK version of the Wilder Girls cover, but I really wish they hadn’t used it again on this one.
The Witchling’s Girl by Helena Coggan 🍋
I have BookTube to thank for the fact I even know this book exists. I saw Piera read it and cry about it, so decided to request a copy myself. I’ve seen virtually no hype for this title, but it sounds dark and magical, with apparently beautiful writing.
One Day All This Will Be Yours by Adrian Tchaikovsky 🍋
Okay, this one just sounded fun. The premise is: humanity invented time travel, used it for war, and destroyed themselves. The man who ended it lives alone at the end of time, with the mission to prevent it from ever happening again. Essentially, he’s a grumpy guy living alone on a farm at the end of time, disposing of any errant time travellers who come across him. It sounds like absurd and entertaining sci-fi, which I absolutely love.
Grimoire Noir by Vera Greentea and Yana Bogatch 🍋
Years back I followed the illustrator of this graphic novel on Instagram, and I distinctly remember watching Twitch streams of the panels being drawn. The art is absolutely stunning, and I’ve wanted to read the story ever since. I was lucky enough to get a copy for Christmas and I can’t wait to get through this noir-styled magical detective story.
I said this post was chronological, and these next books are from the big bookstore shopping trip I managed to go on before the end of the year! I timed it really well actually, as on the evening of the day I went another lockdown was announced. (I’m in the UK, so the lockdown nightmare never seems to end.) But, positive thoughts, I managed to go book shopping and treat myself to a stack so big it was hard to carry to the tills!
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton 🍋
THIS BOOK. I have wanted to read this book since the start of 2018. I downloaded a sample, loved it, then never bought it. This happens to me a lot. Well, I got several book vouchers for Christmas and decided to finally change that. A YA fantasy about a gunslinging girl in the desert. It sounds like the classic adventure/romance YA series that I adore, and I can’t wait.
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson 🍋
This is a BEAST. I went in planning to get this one, but I was expecting to find the paperback copy which is split into two books. (Y’know, for when your book is too many pages to function as a standard paperback.) Instead, I found the new edition which uses super thin paper and contains all 1124 pages in a single volume. It is a huge epic fantasy, it has great reviews, and I can’t wait to devour it.
Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh 🍋
I stumbled across this one by accident online, but I’ve been thinking about it ever since and decided to finally pick up a physical copy. This storyline gives me really Small, Angry Planet vibes – a slow, quiet journey, very character-oriented. It’s about a team of 10 astronauts on a journey to an Earth-like planet. I’ll just share the part of the description that really sold me:
Twenty-three years locked in close quarters.
Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other.
Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong.
And something always goes wrong.Synopsis
The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons 🍋
Another book I have to thank Piera for over on YouTube. It came up in a video about queer adult fantasy books, and was described as having “one of everything,” so naturally I was sold. It’s an epic fantasy with magic, prophecies, royal politics, and footnotes. Also, there’s dragons.
Well there we go, all the books I need to read by the end of the year! This is a lot more manageable than the pile I started 2020 with, and I’m actually excited for everything on this list. I’m hoping I won’t have any DNFs or unhauls from this lot, but I guess time will tell.
Do you have any books you want to read by the end of the year? Do you set yourself TBRs? Let me know in the comments!