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December 30, 2021

MK's 10 Favorite Reads of 2021

by MK French

Going through the year's books made me realize how much I actually read. It's a lot! Here are my favorite reads this year.

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The Mask of Mirrors by M. A. Carrick

The Mask of Mirrors

The Mask of Mirrors
is the first book in the Rook and Rose trilogy. There is exquisite world-building here, with different nations wielding influences over the people, and accurate ways of showing how mixed heritage can help or hurt peoples' goals. So much happened in this book and so much will happen in the next two, and I want to read them all right away! Read my full review.

Buy The Mask of Mirrors at Amazon

Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard

Fireheart Tiger

This is short, probably best called a novella. That's not necessarily a bad thing, because you can easily devour the book quickly. At the same time, you devour the book quickly and I was left wanting to know more in this universe. Read my full review.

Buy Fireheart Tiger at Amazon

Birds of Paradise by Oliver Langmead

Birds of Paradise

The concept behind Birds of Paradise is fascinating. As creatures that existed before death, Adam, Eve, and all the original animals remain alive. The animals can shapeshift, so that they have their animal forms and human forms, and they are astoundingly resilient. This is a beautifully lyrical book, with a perfect final line. Read my full review.

Buy Birds of Paradise at Amazon

What We Devour by Linsey Miller

What We Devour

The magic system in this book is fascinating. Generations ago, the people literally devoured the gods responsible for the Noble (healing, creation) and Vile (destruction) forms of magic and banished them behind a Door of impenetrable magic. However, keeping it closed requires sacrifices. Read my full review.

Buy What We Devour at Amazon

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova

The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a tale where magic is real, laced throughout Orquídea and her family, the children and grandchildren and great-granddaughter. Zoraida Córdova paints a magical place for this book, weaving Orquídea's past through to the present as well as her descendants. The pages flow, and the characters really grab hold of you to make you love them. Read my full review.

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

Iron Widow

The pages of Iron Widow burn with the fierceness of Zetian's willpower. From the beginning, she chafed against the restrictions of her gender, the anguish and pain of foot binding, and contortions she had to do to make herself seem palatable to the men in her life. This novel is amazing, tautly written, and emotionally intense. I was drawn into Zetian's story from the first pages, and the plot seized me by the throat and refused to let go. Read my full review.

Buy Iron Widow at Amazon

The Goddess of Nothing At All by Cat Rector

The Goddess of Nothing At All

In Norse myth, Sigyn married Loki and spent eternity keeping venom from falling onto him when he was punished. Most stories put Sigyn into a passive role, relegating her to a victim that the gods around her abuse. The Goddess of Nothing At All is now her story retold. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the retelling of Norse mythology that gives agency back to the victims of fate. Read my full review.

Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco

Wicked As You Wish

In a world where magic is real and the kingdoms we know from fairy tales and stories actually exist, the Snow Queen attacked Avalon and froze it. Rin Chupeco has amazing worldbuilding in all of her novels, and this one is no different. Read my full review.

Buy Wicked As You Wish at Amazon

The Lighthouse Witches by C. J. Cooke

The Lighthouse Wirches

In 1998, single mother Liv is hired to paint a mural in a decommissioned lighthouse in Scotland. She sees it as a new start with her three daughters Sapphire, Luna, and Clover. The Lighthouse Witches is fantastic and hooked me in from the beginning. The different voices and the timelines are richly done, and I enjoyed every moment reading this. Read my full review.

Buy The Lighthouse Witches at Amazon

The Liar's Knot by M. A. Carrick

The Liar's Knot

I started my year and this list with book 1 in the Rook & Rose series and I ended my year and this list with book 2 in the series. As with the first book, the exquisite worldbuilding is front and center here. Holidays, theater, music, and secret societies are all present, each adding to the layers of secrecy for our characters.  I can't wait to see how it all happens in the next book. Read my full review.

Buy The Liar's Knot at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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