2021 YEARLY WRAPUP
Note: All mini reviews are spoiler free!
Is it bad that I always have more books that I absolutely detested each year than books that I absolutely loved?!
Oh whale 🐳
Top 6 Least Favorite Books of the Year:
Top 2 Favorite Reads:
There were only 2 series that I truly loved this year. I gave 5 star ratings to only 3 books in 2021 and all three of them are from these two trilogies:
Plus, this book is basically Miraculous Ladybug (but better because MLB in recent seasons has went sooooo downhill. Which makes me sad since I’ve been a huge fan of the show since 2017 and now the show treats Chat as a sidekick most of the time, the romance is even more cringy than it used to be, I’ve somehow grown a huge dislike towards Marinette and Ladybug, etc. Ok whoa I just went on a huge miraculous ladybug tangent. Back to Renegades 👉 ). If you’re a fan of Miraculous, you’ll LOVE the Renegades trilogy because it also has a love square and superhero romance! Plus the main boy character’s name is Adrian (only difference is that its spelled differently but close enough), so what else are you waiting for?! GO READ IT.
2. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (5/5):
Also Pip is literally an icon. If she could donate some of her highly intelligent brain cells to me, that would be great 😩 🤲 . She’s SO smart and I love that. And RAVIIII!!! He’s AMAZING!
Note: I'll be releasing a detailed review for this trilogy on Feb 27th so stayed tuned for that!
Favorite Characters of the Year:
Note: Spoilers in this review!!
Book: The Hunger Games series
Author: Suzanne Collins
Age: For readers 11 and up
Page turning plot? Check! Best characters EVER?! Check! Amazing writing style? Also check 😌 The Hunger Games has it all!
But seriously, words can’t comprehend how much I LOVE these books! They’re the best written series I’ve ever read. Ever. Even after my fourth reread, this series never gets old! The plot is so creative and unique and the characters are well developed, which for me are the two most important criterias a book should excel in. I literally can’t find ONE thing wrong about this series (which is actually very hard for me to do since I ALWAYS find something to complain about in every series I’ve ever read lol).
Top Four Characters Ranked:
Peeta and Katniss’s Relationship(Featuring me fangirling over my otp 😁 🤩 ):
Hands down THE BEST book ship ever!! Literally no one will ever come close to these two 😌 Peeta and Katniss are both so comfortable with each other and it’s like they’ve been together for years. There are so many subtle ways this is expressed in the books:
“From the bag I pull two fresh buns with a layer of cheese baked into the top. We always seem to have a supply of these since Peeta found out they were my favorite.”
OK THIS IS SO CUTE?! The idea that Peeta constantly buys cheese buns and stocks them up in Katniss’s house, so she never runs out of her favorite snack, is just SO adorable to me 😫 .
Obviously the Catching Fire and Hunger Game’s version of Peeta and Katniss is very different from Mockingjay’s version of Katniss and Peeta. In the first two books, their relationship was more of a sweet, young and playful kind. In Mockingjay, it takes a more somber tone with Peeta’s hijacking complications and Katniss’s true realization that she loves Peeta. I prefer Katniss and Peeta’s relationship in the first two books because it was SO CUTE! Yet, Mockingjay version of Peeta and Katniss is still too good to be ignored 😌
Like when Katniss came to realization just how far her feelings for Peeta extend:
“‘[Finnick:] ‘After your first games, I thought the whole romance was an act on your part. We all expected you’d continue that strategy. But it wasn’t until Peeta hit the force field and barely died that I-’ Finnick hesitated. (...) ‘That I knew I’d misjudged you. That you do love him. Anyone paying attention could see how much you care about him,’ he says gently. (...) ‘Convince me,’ Snow said. It seems, under that hot pink sky with Peeta’s life in limbo, I finally did. And in doing so, I gave him the weapon he needed to break me.”
‘What's wrong with her?’ Plutarch says under his breath.
‘She's figured out how Snow's using Peeta,’ says Finnick.
Several sets of arms would embrace me. But in the end, the only person I truly want to comfort me is Haymitch, because he loves Peeta, too. I reach out for him and say something like his name and he's there, holding me and patting my back. “It's okay. It'll be okay, sweetheart.” He sits me on a length of broken marble pillar and keeps an arm around me while I sob.
‘I can't do this anymore,’ I say. (...) ‘All I can think of is—what he's going to do to Peeta—because I'm the Mockingjay!’ I get out.
“I know.” Haymitch's arm tightens around me.
“Did you see? How weird he acted? What are they—doing to him?” I'm gasping for air between sobs, but I manage one last phrase. “It's my fault!” And then I cross some line into hysteria and there's a needle in my arm and the world slips away.”
I kid you not, I could not stop sobbing at this part. I cried three times in Mockingjay and this was one of them 😭 This part was heartbreaking. I cried along with Katniss while she broke down in realization that her actions translated into Peeta’s harm. This passage is proof of Katniss’s love for Peeta. I don’t mean to get all sappy and romantic but…. It’s so rare to obtain instances where Katniss’s love for Peeta is undeniable. Usually we see all the romantic actions done by Peeta. But this is one example where Katniss shows that she equally loves Peeta back.🥺
Oh shoot I’m supposed to be talking about Haymitch and Katniss…. Hehe ok back to topic.
Haymitch accepting Katniss with open arms is so comforting to read about 😭 Even if they were in the middle of a very intense fight, none of that matters anymore. They both bicker constantly, but are there for each other when needed. No one understands Katniss like Haymitch does and it’s clear to see when Katniss wants no sympathy from anyone else except Haymitch’s. Also, usually it seems like Haymitch is aloof to Katniss and Peeta. But in Mockingjay, Haymitch’s feelings of love and guilt for Peeta’s capture ring true as well as his affection for Katniss.
“At the hospital room door, I watch Johanna for a moment, realize that most of her ferocity is in her abrasive attitude. Stripped of that, as she is now, there’s only a slight young woman, her wide set eyes fighting to stay awake against the power of drugs. I cross to her and hold out the bundle. ‘What’s that?’ she says hoarsely. Damp edges of her hair form little spikes over her forehead.
‘I made it for you. Something to put in your drawer.’ I place it in her hands. ‘Smell it.’
She lifts the bundle to her nose and takes a tentative sniff. ‘ Smells like home.’ Tears flood her eyes.”
4. Finnick and Katniss: Their friendship was meh until halfway through Mockingjay. Finnick and Katniss could relate to each other and their struggles were similar. Katniss refused to acknowledge this and shut him out until District Thirteenth went under lockdown. That’s when Katniss opened up to Finnick about her concern for Peeta and she came to the realization that Snow was using Peeta to break Katniss.
But still, other than a few moments here and there, I can’t remember there being much substance in Katniss and Finnick’s friendship so that’s why I am placing it a bit lower than the others.
5. Katniss and Buttercup: No. Because WHAT WAS THIS SCENE: 😭
“She's not here," I tell him. Buttercup hisses again. "She's not here. You can hiss all you like. You won't find Prim." At her name, he perks up. Raises his flattened ears. Begins to meow hopefully. "Get out!" He dodges the pillow I throw at him. "Go away! There's nothing left for you here!" I start to shake, furious with him. "She's not coming back! She's never ever coming back here again!" I grab another pillow and get to my feet to improve my aim. Out of nowhere, the tears begin to pour down my cheeks. "She's dead." I clutch my middle to dull the pain. Sink down on my heels, rocking the pillow, crying. "She's dead, you stupid cat. She's dead." A new sound, part crying, part singing, comes out of my body, giving voice to my despair. Buttercup begins to wail as well. No matter what I do, he won't go. He circles me, just out of reach, as wave after wave of sobs racks my body, until eventually I fall unconscious. But he must understand. He must know that the unthinkable has happened and to survive will require previously unthinkable acts. Because hours later, when I come to in my bed, he's there in the moonlight. Crouched beside me, yellow eyes alert, guarding me from the night.”
Stabbing my heart a million times would have been less painful than reading this… I’M IN MY FEELS. NO ONE TALK TO ME 😭 THIS PAGE WILL GO DOWN AS THE SADDEST PAGE IN BOOK HISTORY. NO JOKE. THIS IS WHY I HATE REREADING MOCKINGJAY. THIS BOOK HURTS ME MENTALLY WAY TOO MUCH.
Ok but it’s so sad to see the two of them, who were at each other’s necks for YEARS be the only ones left to comfort each other at the end. STOPP I’M MAKING MYSELF SAD AGAIN.
6. Gale: Ok I know that everyone hates Gale but I honestly don’t mind him. He was very opinionated, stubborn and only saw the world through his point of view, but I don’t believe he was a bad person. That being said, I hated Katniss and Gale’s friendship halfway through book 2 and 3. I loved it in book 1 but after that it just felt awkward (which I guess was a result of Gale’s unresolved feelings for Katniss). It’s a shame since I really loved their friendship in book one!! Gale had Katniss’s back for YEARS and kept her family alive when she went away for the games. He was a beacon of loyalty in the first book but not so much in book 2 and 3. It wasn’t Gale or Katniss’s fault in particular, but both of their personalities just clashed too much, making it hard for their friendship to last.
Quotes that made me sob (I get very sappy and try to act all deep in this part 🤪 ):
“‘And.. you in Thirteen…’(...)’Dead by morning!’(...) The camera knocked down to record the white tiled floor. The scuffle of boots. The impact of the blow thats inseparable from Peeta’s cry of pain. And his blood as it splattered the tile.”
Moral of the story: Don’t reread Mockingjay unless you want your heart to be physically crushed and trampled on 🤠 Oh and also that Peeta and Katniss are the best book ship ever 😎
Note: This review is spoiler free (spoilers are all marked and have warnings)!
Book: The Selection series
Author: Kiera Cass
Age: For readers 13 and up
I hate all books that are solely focused on romance… butttttttt the Selection series is the only exception. 🥰 I don’t care how cringy this series is, I will never stop loving it lol. IT”S JUST SO FUN TO READ OK?! I know I’ve trashed on a lot of books throughout my blog that honestly are no worse than the Selection series in terms of cringiness, but YOU KNOW WHAT? I still love this series. 😌 It’s fine. I’m a hypocrite. I admit it. 😖 Actually, that’s funny for me to say because in two paragraphs I’m going to rant about how much of a hypocrite America is…. Oh whale 🐳 it takes one to know one I guess! 🤷♀️
Anyways, is it really a Bookconfessionssecrets’ book review if I don’t rant about a book?? So even if I love this series, I’m going to rant about it. Here we go:
What I disliked about this series:
Eikko: Hello your Majesty. How are you feeling today?
Eadlyn: Not that great. The Selection is so stressful.
Eikko: I understand. I can’t imagine that amount of stress you’re feeling…
HOW DRY OF A CONVO IS THAT??? How did those two even fall for each other when almost all of their conversations were like this?! 💀
4. Queen Amberly: Why is Queen Amberly praised so much? She doesn’t seem confident nor poised. Instead, she seems cowardly and demure with no spine or self respect. She doesn’t really do much anyways. We just see glimpses of her in the Women’s room or in the dining hall. But every time she appears, everyone praises her queenly behavior. What queenly behavior? For what?? Eating dinner?
What I was confused about:
What I loved:
If you haven’t read this series yet, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Drop whatever you’re reading and go read the Selection series NOW. Sure, it has it’s cringy moments but the addicting storyline more than makes up for it.
Disclaimer: This review is spoiler free
Book: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Author: Suzanne Collins
Page Number: 517 Pages
Age: For readers 12 and up
Rating: 4.5/ 5 stars
“Nothing you can take from me was ever worth keeping.”
Synopsis: Ambition will fuel him. Competition will drive him. But power has its price. It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. However, the odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favour or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.
Before reading Abosbas, I was absolutely TERRIFIED of starting it. The mix reviews of Goodreads and the lackluster response to this prequel was overall upsetting to me because this is THE Hunger Games series! THG is my precious little baby! My second favorite series of all time, the one I reread every year! I fell in love with the original series and the characters within it (Katniss and Peeta could run me over and I would thank them hehe). So here I was ready to get my bow and arrow, all Katniss style, trying to see if I would need to fight Suzanne Collins for ruining the precious Hunger Games series with this prequel. Turns out I didn’t need to! I had a few problems here and there but overall I thought it was a nice edition to the Hunger Games series.
“And he wanted to keep her. Safe and close at hand. Admired and admiring. Devoted. And entirely, unequivocally his.”
Without further ado, here is what I love about Abosbas:
The Worldbuilding: We got to experience the Hunger Games back when it was a shabby, run down version of the games we are used to. I loved viewing the process where the mentors and Coriolanus brainstormed ways to make the Hunger Games more interesting and we slowly saw those games transform into the games we’re more familiar with. Minor Spoilers: I’m still confused on how we went from keeping the tributes in the zoo to keeping them in five star hotels during Katniss and Peeta’s games loll.
Writing Style: I love Suzanne Collin’s writing style! It’s so free flowing and so easy to read!
Coriolanus Snow’s POV: I admit I was a bit skeptical about Suzanne Collin’s decision to choose Snow as the main character when she could’ve chosen Johanna’s, Finnick’s or Haymitch’s story to write. But I did not need to worry because Suzanna Collins is amazing and even made evil Snow’s pov amazing. I loved seeing Snow as a young teen who is conflicted with both his dark side and his good one. His battle for good vs. evil rages throughout the book. Coriolanus wants to care about others but he also wants his reputation intact. Suzanne Collins did an awesome job with the development of Coriolanus’s character. SPOILERS: The transition from when he was an innocent teen to when he became evil is spot on! The amount of guilt felt over his first kill, Bobbin, wasn’t transferred when he killed for the second time. By his third kill, Coriolanus got used to killing and had no problem dealing with the nonexistent guilt afterwards.
Sejanus: SPOILERS (skip this entire paragraph): Suzanne must really enjoy me crying huh…. WHAT was that?! His last words really sent me into a crying fit…. “Ma”. This was the turning point to Coriolanus’s character, when he purposely involves himself in the death of his friend. He is responsible for his murder and somewhere the lines get blurred and by getting used to killing others, Snow has transformed into the villain we all know and hate. Thank goodness…. Coriolanus was getting a little too likeable in this book… I had to keep reminding myself that he’s pure EVILLLL.
The Ending: SPOILERS Skip the entire paragraph: I knew this was coming. From the beginning I knew that Snow would eventually turn on Lucy. But wow… I was not expecting the bucket of tears. Suzanne Collins…. You did it again. You’ve made me cry over fictional characters yet again (I actually don’t cry for books often.. Only for my top 6 favorite books series). I grew so attached to Lucy that I wasn’t ready to accept the fact that she was gone. When I started this book I imagined that at the end, Dr. Gaul would give Snow an ultimatum: either kill Lucy Gray and inherit a lot of power by becoming president of Panem or keep her alive and become a nobody. In a way that’s what happened, Snow chose power over love and human decency. I’m still shocked at the ending and want answers NOW. Is Lucy Gray alive?! Ughhhh I need to knowwwwwwww! If someone filmed me right after I finished this book, they would get footage of me staring at a wall for hours crying about this ending…
Lucy and Coriolanus: I liked them together! Sure, they were nowhere near the power couple (Katniss and Peeta-my otp) and their pairing did seem a little forced at times, but I thought they were cute! SPOILER: You should have seen how big I was grinning after Lucy won the Hunger Games and Coriolanus was so happy that he could see her again!
“What are lies but attempts to conceal some sort of weakness?”
What I didn’t like:
The Third Point of View: It should have been from first point of view! There was no need for the 3rd pov with the way it was used in this book. It could have been done better if the pov was used correctly. Instead of the constant povs from Snow during the Hunger Games, why didn’t we get at least one pov from Lucy Gray? I wanted to hear her experience during the games rather than read about what Coriolanus is having for lunch in the dining hall. If it was from 1st pov, then Suzanne Collins couldn’t have written from Lucy Gray’s perspective. But this book is in 3rd pov so there is no excuse there.
Lucy “Belonging” to Snow: Anyone else get a little creeped out when Snow constantly says that Lucy belongs to him? *Raises hand*. I know it’s because she’s district and he’s Capitol, but I didn’t like how he referred to her like that when she was supposedly the love of his life.
The Pacing: This is the main thing Abosbas struggled with. There were many points where I couldn’t put down the book and then there were times where I couldn’t force myself to read another sentence. There was no in between. I also felt like the most important and action packed scenes were written for only a little bit while the uninteresting aspects of this book had pages upon pages of writing on it. Suzanne should have focused more on the Hunger Games action parts of the book.
The Hunger Games: Don’t get me wrong, I loved this Hunger Games but at the same time I couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed once I compared it to the 75th Hunger Games in the original trilogy. It just seemed a bit too easy after SPOILER: all the tributes were killed before the games. There were only 14 tributes actually in the arena?! Uhhhh easy much? And most of the time the tributes just hid in caves or such instead of having action packed scenes.
Yet I still loved these games, it was still fun to read about. SPOILER: Did anyone else think that when Snow went into the arena to retrieve Sejanus, he would be stuck in the arena somehow and forced to compete in the games? And then the winner would come down to either him or Lucy and he would turn evil and kill her just to win the games and stay alive? Just me? Ok haha!
“The show’s not over until the mockingjay sings”
Overall, this book was awesome! It might not be for everyone but I certainly enjoyed it! It was not a (Kat)astrophe (haha get it? Katniss? Katastrophe? Ok ok I’ll keep my jokes to myself). It also made me so happy to be in the Hunger Games world once again. The Hunger Games and one other series (The Unwanteds) are my two most treasured series and I’m so glad I got to experience another book in this world again!