My 5 Favorite Books of the Year

It’s the end of 2021. And I literally cannot believe that I’m writing these words so soon.
It feels like just yesterday that I posted my massive January of 2021 wrap up, reading 26 books and talking about how the new year has just started. This entire year has gone by way too fast, and so many things have happened, some good, some bad. But one constant is that I still read a lot and that I’m still bad at keeping track of my books.

Last year, my first end-of-year in the blogging community, I remember being so impressed with all the graphs and charts and lovely posts that everyone rolled out talking about their spreadsheets they kept of the books they read, and how much data they had, and everything like that. It was something I really really wanted to do, and I started a new spreadsheet for 2021 immediately, looking forwards to creating those lovely graphs at the end of the year.

I got exactly 4 books into the spreadsheet before I gave up.
So, unfortunately for both me and everyone here who’s reading this and really wanted to see some pretty graphs, there will be none in this post. Instead, I will do my best to talk about my favorite books of 2021 without the aid of graphs, using simply my own terrible memory for help.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender was without a doubt my favorite book of 2021. I read this book right at the beginning of the year, back in January when I had that phenomenal reading month (26 books, I truly do not understand my own power). And wow, I remember loving this so much. I just talked about it over and over on my blog, to my friends, to everyone.

I do not remember books. I’ll read one book, and the next week, the plot will have totally slipped from my mind. But Felix Ever After is a book that I remembered. It was just such an amazing book that brought to light so many issues, gave so much amazing representation, and just wove a totally awesome story, that I’ve thought about this thing ever since I read it, even asking for it for Christmas despite the fact that I’ve read it before (this is a rare occurrence; if I read a book from the library, I almost never then request to own it).

Loveless by Alice Oseman

This book, you guys. Like honestly, just this book. It is so amazing, so beautiful that I just don’t know what to say. Loveless, by Alice Oseman, follows Georgia as she starts University and learns some new terms, and begins questioning her own sexuality. Throughout the book, she realizes that she is aromantic and asexual and comes to terms with this.

Loveless is such an important book to the aroace community (okay I can’t speak for everyone, but at least for me). It is so hard to find aroace rep of any kind in books, and to have this one come out and not only have an aroace main character but to follow that main character’s questioning journey and journey with coming to terms with herself is just so important to have in books. And not only was this book great for the representation, but the characters were the literal best, I mean Oseman went above and beyond with all the side characters in this one, and the plot was extremely interesting throughout the whole book.

Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth

Not only was Not My Problem one of my favorite’s of the year, but it was probably also the funniest book that I read all year. There are books whose plot is funny, but then there are books whose character is actually funny, the main character actually has that type of personality that makes you laugh, and actually having that woven into the character and making it authentic is not something that many books are able to pull off.

Humor aside, this was an awesome book. The characters–I feel like I’ve been talking about characters a lot–were absolutely amazing, they each had their own unique personalities and did their own things and it all felt very real. Besides, there was some more great representation in this book (seems like representation=favorite books) and another thing that was interesting to read about was how Aideen, the main character, was poor because really, this is not at all something that is addressed in YA books, and it was good to see.

A Clash of Steel by CB Lee

When I started A Clash of Steel, I did not expect it to make it onto my favorites of the year list. The thing about this book is that it starts out slow. It’s a bit over 400 pages I think (I actually don’t remember, it could be anywhere from 300 to 500 for all I know, but goodreads says 432), but the inciting incident, which is mentioned in the synopsis, doesn’t happen until over 100 pages in.

But wow, once this book picks up, it certainly picks up, and while I don’t read many pirate adventures, this one was certainly one of the best. A Clash of Steel is a Treasure Island retelling, and I actually have not read Treasure Island before, nor do I know much about it (I assume there is some kind of treasure involved, correct?), I’m beginning to wonder if I should pick it up. It’d been a while since I last read a full blown adventure book, and I do believe that I forgot how much I enjoyed these kinds of things.

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

I read Perfect on Paper at the peak of my realistic fiction reading binge, and if any of the books that I read stood out, it was this one. It had a really unique plot and the characters were great and the representation was great and EVERYTHING WAS GREAT (you’re welcome for that 10/10 analysis).

Okay, but if you’d like me to be a little bit calmer: probably the best thing about this book was the deep dive it takes into biphobia, especially internalized biphobia. There have been more or more books recently that have bi characters, but rarely does a book look so deeply into the way that bi people are sometimes treated by the rest of the LGBTQ+ community (particularly gay and lesbian people, more specifically).
But while this book does have stellar representation, I mean it’s also just a great book. Like I mentioned before, the characters are really well written and they all have their own personalities, the plot stays interesting and progresses nicely and, of course, there’s plenty of banter.

Well, that’s it for my 2021 books of the year! Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What are some of your favorite books of this year? Let’s talk in the comments!

5 Reasons I’m So Grateful for Blogging

I said that I’d write a post like this when I did my blogiversary post, but then the terror that one calls school started and I got nothing done blogging-wise. By now, I’ve been blogging for an entire year (and a little more) and I honestly can’t believe it. It feels like yesterday that I published my first post but it also feels like I’ve been doing this forever because blogging is such a big part of my life now.

This is a list of reasons that I am so grateful for this platform that I have figured out through my year of blogging

1. I’ve been able to read better books!

I was on Goodreads before I started blogging, and yeah, there’s a lot of books there (surprising everyone, I know). But while I did and still do love goodreads, starting a blog has helped me discover so many more and so many amazing books. I’m able to follow blogs of people who read the same kinds of books as I do, so find more books that are the kind of things that I read, and all in all, it’s easier to discover books through blogs than it is through goodreads!

2. I’ve met so many amazing people!

How could I possibly write this list without mentioning the people? You all, anyone who reads my blog, anyone who has a book blog, are amazing. Just being able to talk books with someone in the comments, freaking out about the same book (there are people who have read the same books as I have, here!!!). To see people leaving comments on my blog after I write posts, just to chat about what I’ve written, it’s nice. I’m gonna be honest, I do love blogging and writing these posts, but I probably wouldn’t have continued this long without all of you. So thank you. So much.

3. I’ve begun paying attention to upcoming releases.

One day, maybe April or May of 2020, I heard of a book via goodreads. And it sounded like a very good book! I wanted to get it immediately. It wasn’t until a month or so later that I realized that book wouldn’t come out until September of that year. I honestly just had no idea about books that were going to be released but weren’t yet, it was very surprising to me that this book was already on goodreads! I didn’t pay attention to these kinds of releases until I made a blog and suddenly people were talking about books that they were looking forwards to, making lists of books that were going to be released in the upcoming year. I was able to learn about books before they were out in the world and see which ones I was looking forward to, and it just added a whole new layer of excitement (and also impatientness) to books!

4. I know how to do so many wordpress blog-type things

I am not tech savvy. Like, at all. I still don’t know how to do several elements in blogging and have begun losing faith that I ever will (I’m pretty sure I’ve been taught how to hide text in the little spoiler thing about 4 times and have never managed to do it in an actual post?). BUT I know a WHOLE lot more about using wordpress, as well as doing things like graphic design, now. Over my year of blogging I’ve slowly been changing what the graphics look like and how many I use (seriously, go back to my first post, you’ll definitely see. Actually, wait, don’t) and I think that they are much better than they were. Also, they actually exist. Much better than they were. WordPress itself is still much of a mystery, but eh. Some things are meant to remain mysterious (I’d really rather this one not being one of them, though).

5. I’ve learned so much! And I have a platform, myself.

Blogging, while amazing for learning about books and making friends, has also taught me a lot about so many important issues that aren’t taught other places and are so necessary to talk about! Plus, I myself have been able to talk about the things that I want more people to know about (other than books. And baseball. Pretty sure you guys don’t want to hear me talk about baseball all the time). In June I posted about why aro/ace spec characters are so important in books and it was just really nice to have a place to talk about things that I care about! I think that a platform for these kinds of things, helping to educate others on things that we don’t usually hear about in every day life, is really important and I’m so glad to be able to use it myself and to read about the things others are saying!

I am so, so thankful and happy for blogging and I can’t wait to see what’s more to come. Thank you all for your unending support and for giving me a place to talk about the things that I love. I honestly couldn’t have done this without you. I can’t wait to see what else the blogging community has to offer and what else I can give you all as well!
As always, stay safe, and keep on reading!!!

Sports in Books: A List

This is post 2/2! I published my first post of this extremely short series a few days ago, and that was a discussion of sports in books. You can find that post here. In this post, I’ll be sharing some books I know that are about sports. These are books that revolve around sports or at least have sports as a large plot in them. All of these books are either queer or center around female characters (or both). I’ve read almost all of them, but not one of them, because it’s not out yet, so please forgive me if it’s not as much about sports as I think it is! (the summary is giving very very very strong clues that it is about sports, however).

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry

This is actually an adult book and so for me at least I found it really slow but it’s a great story about a girl’s field hockey team in Massachusetts in 1989. There’s a bit of a paranormal theme going on it, so it’s not a realistic fiction book, but it’s nonetheless very enjoyable. I loved the way it chronicled the entire team, and yet I was able to keep track of the characters, and I loved the way that the girls were super close and super loyal to each other.

Michigan Vs. The Boys by Carrie Allen

Anyone who’s been following my blog for about a month knows how much I love this book. It’s a story about a girl who, when the girl’s hockey team at her school gets cut, tries out for the boy’s hockey team. Michigan is such a strong character, she goes through so many things, and yet she just keeps going, because hockey is the sport she loves. This book is so empowering for anyone who’s been told they can’t do something because of their gender and I hope it inspires girls to continue with sports AND to speak out when they’ve been wronged for years to come.

A High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil Bildner

This book literally changed my life.
A High Five for Glenn Burke is about a sixth grader, Silas, who loves playing baseball. Silas also does a school report on Glenn Burke, the major league baseball player who invented the high five–and Burke was also the first openly gay MLB player. It’s Silas’s way of beginning to admit the truth about himself to others.
This book is absolutely amazing. First of all, Glenn Burke definitely deserves more attention and I’m glad that this book can teach people about him. But also, this is just a middle grade book that is SO well written, with such a great story and a great character. This book means more to me than I could say, it’s an extremely special book to me, and I would 100% recommend it to anyone looking for a book about sports.

Fence by CS Pacat

The Fence series is several volumes of graphic novels about, well, fencers. It follows the main character, Nicholas’s journey of getting onto his boarding school’s team, his (possibly one-sided) rivalry with his roommate Seiji, and the entire fencing team! Also, basically everyone is casually queer. It’s really nice to see a book about fencing because it’s not a sport you see as much as others, and for those who don’t know I actually fenced two years ago (the school year before the pandemic). I wasn’t very good at it, but it was still fun and I learned a lot about the sport.

The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons

My original draft of this post said that I hadn’t read this book but I quickly remedied it and this book is AMAZING. It’s about a trans boy who’s just moved to a new school and gets on the soccer team and it’s so sweet. I love the team dynamic in this book so if that’s something you enjoy, pick this up!!! It’s also very good to see trans kids in sports because that’s not something that there are books on very often.

Icebreaker by AL Graziadei

Long story short, I kinda flipped out when I learned this book exists.
It’s not actually out yet, and I haven’t read it either, but seriously, it sounds so good. It’s about two boys fighting for the top draft spot in the NHL draft but then they fall in love. I’m really excited because this is a book that it’s queer and deals with PROFESSIONAL sports, which I’m really interested to see how it goes.

Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu

I read this book pretty recently, and it’s a fun graphic novel about a college hockey team. The characters are really fun and it’s just an overall fun, easy book. There’s a great relationship between all the people on the team and you can tell that the author did a lot of research on college hockey, given all the little hockey lingo and the Haus, and everything else.

It was absolutely not my intention but four of these books are about some form of hockey and why are hockey books more often than anything else? (or maybe they’re just more POPULAR)

Have you read any of these books? What are some other books that you’ve read that follow sports? What did you think of this post? Please, let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!
Thank you so much for stopping by, and as always, stay safe and keep on reading!