LIST: 2021 reads that emotionally WRECKED me

2021 was…something that happened yet I also cannot believe it’s almost over. I was hit by persistent reading slumps as well as a lack of time this year particularly; it’s very sad. But! While I had a lot of mediocre reads this year, I also had a lot of reads that emotionally wrecked me, more so than last year’s list. It didn’t help that a lot of my recent favorite series ended this year either.

As usual, this list only contains books that I read for the first time this year, no rereads. Actually, I’ve been rereading far less this year, which probably explains why I’ve read less since those usually account for much of my reading challenge.

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LIST: if you like these violent delights

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As you well know, These Violent Delights is one of my favorite duologies of all time, and I’m still crying over Our Violent Ends. And next week, everyone gets to experience the pain that is book two! In preparation of Our Violent Ends‘s release date, I thought I’d celebrate by giving some book recommendations, especially as it’s been more than a full year since I’ve done an “if you like” book rec post. So, if you’ve already read Our Violent Ends or are still waiting for it, here are some book recommendations that I think you’ll like if you love These Violent Delights!

I’m doing something a little different in this post; there are still quizzes for you to take to narrow down your choices, but the recs and quizzes are split between the six main characters of the series. The books are all fairly similar to These Violent Delights in terms of vibes / character dynamics if not plot.

And if you like this post, please share it and/or give me a follow to see more like it! I’d love to know if you like these recs!

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REVIEW: The Bone Shard Emperor by Andrea Stewart

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

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Book: The Bone Shard Emperor (The Drowning Empire #2) by Andrea Stewart

Release Date: November 23, 2021

My Rating: 3 stars

Rep: lesbian main characters; (Chinese-American author)

Summary: The Bone Shard Daughter was hailed as “one of the best debut fantasy novels of the year,” (BuzzFeed News), an “amazing start to a new trilogy,” (Culturess), and a “richly told, emotional, action-laced debut,” (Library Journal, starred). Now, Andrea Stewart returns with The Bone Shard Emperor, the second installment of this unmissable, action-packed, magic-laced fantasy epic.

The Emperor is Dead. Long live the Emperor.  

Lin Sukai finally sits on the throne she won at so much cost, but her struggles are only just beginning. Her people don’t trust her. Her political alliances are weak. And in the north-east of the Empire, a rebel army of constructs is gathering, its leader determined to take the throne by force.  

Yet an even greater threat is on the horizon, for the Alanga – the powerful magicians of legend – have returned to the Empire. They claim they come in peace, and Lin will need their help in order to defeat the rebels and restore peace.  

But can she trust them?

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REVIEW: The Wedding Ringer by Kerry Rea

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Edelweiss. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

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Book: The Wedding Ringer by Kerry Rea

Release Date: November 9, 2021

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Rep: bisexual side character, wlw side character

CW: panic attacks

Summary: A woman who wants nothing to do with love or friendship finds both in the unlikeliest ways in this hilarious and heartwarming debut by Kerry Rea.

Once upon a time, Willa Callister was a successful blogger with a good credit score, actual hobbies, and legs that she shaved more than once a month. But after finding her fiancé in bed with her best friend, she now spends her days performing at children’s birthday parties in a ball gown that makes her look like a walking bottle of Pepto Bismol. Willa dreams of starting fresh, where no one knows who she used to be, but first she needs to save up enough money to make it happen.

Maisie Mitchell needs something too: another bridesmaid for her wedding. After a chance encounter at a coffee shop, Maisie offers to pay Willa to be in her bridal party. Willa wants nothing to do with weddings–or Maisie–but the money will give her the freedom to start the new life she so badly desires.

Willa’s bridesmaid duties thrust her into Maisie’s high-energy world and into the path of hotshot doctor Liam Rafferty. But as Willa and Maisie form a real friendship, and Liam’s annoyingly irresistible smile makes her reconsider her mantra that all men are trash, Willa’s exit strategy becomes way more complicated. And when a secret from Maisie’s past threatens to derail the wedding, Willa must consider whether friendship–and romance–are worth sticking around for.

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REVIEW: Hollywood Heroine by Sarah Kuhn

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

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Book: Hollywood Heroine (Heroine Complex #5) by Sarah Kuhn

Release Date: October 26, 2021

My Rating: 3.75 stars

Rep: Chinese-American protagonist, biracial (Japanese, white) main character and side character; (biracial (Japanese, white) author)

Summary: The fifth book in the smart, snarky, and action-packed Heroine series continues the adventures of Asian-American superheroines Evie Tanaka, Aveda Jupiter, and Bea Tanaka in a demon-infested San Francisco.

Over the years, the adventures of superheroines Aveda Jupiter and Evie Tanaka have become the stuff of legend–and now they’ll be immortalized in their very own TV show!

The pair head to LA for filming, but Aveda struggles to get truly excited. Instead, she’s preoccupied wondering about the fate of the world and her role in it. You know, the usual. Now that Otherworld activity has been detected outside the Bay Area, Aveda can’t help but wonder if the demon threat will ever be eradicated.

When the drama on set takes a turn for the supernatural, Evie and Aveda must balance their celebrity commitments with donning their superhero capes again to investigate. And when the evil they battle reveals a larger, more nefarious plot, it’s time for the indomitable Aveda Jupiter to rise to the occasion and become the leader she was meant to be on a more global scale–and hopefully keep some semblance of a personal life while doing so.

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LIST: 5 2022 debuts i’m unbelievably excited for


I know we still have a few months left in 2021, but naturally, I’m already looking forward to 2022…because of the books! There are so many great ones coming out next year. The debut list is looking particularly amazing, so here are 5 2022 debuts I’m unbelievably excited for!

Of course, there are other debuts I’m hyped for or still need to discover! These are just a few that I’ve been thinking about all year. This list also includes a mix of young adult and adult books from a span of March to September. As of writing this, September is a full year away, so there are still preorder links and covers to be revealed!

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REVIEW: Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee

**I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you, Orbit Books!). These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

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Book: Jade Legacy (The Green Bone Saga #3) by Fonda Lee

Release Date: November 30, 2021

My Rating: 5 stars

Rep: East Asian-inspired setting and -coded characters, gay biracial main character; (Chinese-American author)

CW: violence, gore, blood, torture, mentions of suicide and rape

Summary: The Kaul siblings battle rival clans for honor and control over an East Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis in Jade Legacy, the page-turning conclusion to the Green Bone Saga.

Jade, the mysterious and magical substance once exclusive to the Green Bone warriors of Kekon, is now coveted throughout the world. Everyone wants access to the supernatural abilities it provides, from traditional forces such as governments, mercenaries, and criminal kingpins, to modern players, including doctors, athletes, and movie studios. As the struggle over the control of jade grows ever larger and more deadly, the Kaul family, and the ancient ways of the Kekonese Green Bones, will never be the same.

Battered by war and tragedy, the Kauls are plagued by resentments and old wounds as their adversaries are on the ascent and their country is riven by dangerous factions and foreign interference. The clan must discern allies from enemies, set aside bloody rivalries, and make terrible sacrifices… but even the unbreakable bonds of blood and loyalty may not be enough to ensure the survival of the Green Bone clans and the nation they are sworn to protect.

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LIST: pick an emoji and i’ll rec you a 2021 release (pt. 4)

We’re in the last quarter of the year, so that means the last post in this series for this year: pick an emoji and I’ll recommend you a 2021 release from October through December! You can see the other posts from this year here: part 1 (January through March), part 2 (April through June), and part 3 (July through September).

As always, adult and new adult releases are marked as such; also, the emojis aren’t spoiler-y and are mostly attuned to the cover or the general summary of the book.

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REVIEW: Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Edelweiss. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

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Book: Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi

Release Date: October 5, 2021

My Rating: 4 stars

Summary: Once upon a dream, there was a prince named Ambrose
and a princess named Imelda who loved each other…
But alas, no more.
“What a witch takes, a witch does not give back!”
their friends and family warn.
They resign themselves to this loveless fate…
A year and a day pass.
And then their story truly begins…

Embark on a perilous journey with Imelda and Ambrose as they brave magical landscapes and enchanted creatures on their quest to reclaim their heart’s desire…But first they must remember what that is… Immerse yourself in the beauty of a highly unusual fairy tale by New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi.

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MINI-REVIEW: Love Scenes by Bridget Morrissey

**I received a review copy from a giveaway hosted by the publisher. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

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Book: Love Scenes by Bridget Morrissey

Release Date: June 22, 2021

My Rating: 4 stars

Rep: lesbian side character, bisexual side character, Black side characters

CW: mentions of death of a parent (mother)

Summary: Acting like she’s in love with her handsome nightmare of a co-star–in a movie directed and produced by her complicated Hollywood royalty family–is Sloane’s job. But what happens when the lines between script and reality get blurred?

Out-of-work actress Sloane Ford is in desperate need of something to do after losing her steady TV gig. When her famous family ropes her into working as a producer on their World War II-era romance, they neglect to mention that the film will be headlined by Joseph Donovan, her least favorite former co-star of all time. The roguish actor made her life a living hell the last time they worked together, using his movie star good looks and Irish charm to cover for his erratic professional behavior. On their new film set, he promises he’s different now, but Sloane is far from convinced.

As filming gets underway, it becomes clear that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. When the lead actress is abruptly fired, Sloane agrees to step in and take over the role, and she starts to remember why she fell in love with acting in the first place. On camera, she and Joseph share an electric chemistry. Off camera, they’ve been honing their characters and, much to Sloane’s surprise, growing closer. But playing the role of a woman in love with Joseph Donovan is a dangerous business, and the more time they spend together, the less Sloane can tell what’s real between them, and what’s just for show.

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