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  • Writer's pictureAshley Mongrain

2021 End of Year Review | Reading Goals

Every year, many book readers set goals for themselves to complete by the end of the year, and I am no different. Looking back, there were quite a few goals I set out to accomplish, some with varying degrees of success. I don't have much preamble, so I am just going to get right into it.

Here we go!



This year I wanted to read more new releases, so I set a goal for myself to read at least one newly released book per month, preferably in the month it was released. This is also a great way to keep track of how many new releases I read overall.

Even though I did end up DNFing some of the books, I did manage to successfully read at least one new release per month. Here are all the new releases I ended up reading, and whether or not I read them in the month they were released:


  • Crown of Bones (not in month)

  • The Effort (in month)


  • Eyes that Kiss in the Corners (in month)

  • Rise of the Red Hand (in month)

  • This Golden Flame (not in month)

  • Four Lost Cities(not in month)

  • Fireheart Tiger (not in month)

  • The Witch's Heart (not in month)


  • Down Comes the Night (not in month)

  • The Conductors (not in month)

  • The Lost Apothecary (in month)

  • Lost in the Never Woods (not in month)

  • House of Hollow (not in month)


  • The Last Divide (not in month)


  • The Ones We're Meant to Find (in month)

  • The Blacktongue Thief (in month)


  • For the Wolf (not in month)

  • One Last Stop (not in month)

  • The Jasmine Throne (in month)

  • A Dark and Secret Place (in month)

  • Stronghold (not in month)


  • We Have Always Been Here (not in month)

  • A Psalm for the Wild-Built (not in month)

  • She Who Became the Sun (not in month)


  • The Dead and the Dark (not in month)

  • A Dragonbird in the Fern (not in month)

  • The Endless Skies (not in month)

  • In the Watchful City (not in month)


  • Under the Whispering Door (in month)

  • The Lighthouse Witches (in month)

  • The Liar of Red Valley (not in month)


  • Vespertine (not in month)

  • In Another Light (not in month)

  • Crossbones (not in month)

  • The Keeper of Night (not in month)

  • Far from the Light of Heaven (in month)

  • Gastro Obscura (not in month)


  • Sinopticon (not in month)


  • A History of Wild Places (in month)

Total New Releases Read: 39

Total Books Read in Month Released: 12



What really helped me accomplish my new release goal was the fact that I started requesting ARCs, which was a great way for me to engage with new releases.

Here are all the ARCs I received, courtesy of NetGalley and the publishers (click the arrow to minimize):

The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman The Treasure of the King and the Cat by You Kajika For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten Stronghold by Kesha Bakunin A Dark and Secret Place by Jen Williams The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri We Have Always Been Here by Lena Nguyen A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould A Dragonbird in the Fern by Laura Rueckert The Endless Skies by Shannon Price Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (DNF) In the Watchful City by S. Qiouyi Lu Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune The Liar of Red Valley by Walter Goodwater Gastro Obscura by Cecily Wong, Dylan Thuras, and Atlas Obscura The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker In Another Light by A.J. Banner The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson Crossbones by Kimberly Vale Far from the Light of Heaven by Tade Thompson Sinopticon 2021 by Xueting Christine Ni The Ice Lion by Kathleen O'Neal Gear (DNF) My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones (DNF)

Total # of ARCs Read: 23



Although I did a good job this year when it comes to reading new releases, mainly thanks to the ARCs I've received, but there was no way I could get to all of them. The year before I hadn't yet started to receive ARCs, so I read less new releases, which is what this goal is for. While this wasn't completely unsuccessful, I definitely could have read way more.

Here are all the books I read:

  • The Seventh Perfection by Daniel Polansky

  • I Hope You're Listening by Tom Ryan

  • The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

  • The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho

  • The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

  • Vampires Never Get Old by Zoraida Córdova

  • The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Total # of 2020 Releases Read: 8



Like this new year, I made a list of the top books I wanted to get to during the year and I was...kind of successful at getting to them. It does happen, as the year goes on your interest can shift and what you wanted to get to at the beginning of the year is no longer at the top of your priority list.

Here are the list of the books I wanted to get to, and whether or not I was successful:

  1. The House in the Cerulean Sea ✔

  2. Gideon the Ninth

  3. Storm Front ✔

  4. Starsight

  5. The Poppy War ✔

  6. Robin Hobb

  7. Foundryside

  8. Illuminae✔

  9. Six of Crows ✔

  10. A Darker Shade of Magic

  11. Brandon Sanderson

  12. All Systems Red ✔

  13. Storm of Locusts

  14. Master of One

  15. The Lies of Locke Lamora ✔

  16. Bone Chase ✔

  17. From the Dark We Came

  18. To Be Taught, If Fortunate ✔

  19. The First Law ✔

  20. The Witcher

  21. The Eye of the World ✔

Books Read: 11/21



My want to read more books of the graphic medium rose exponentially this year, especially towards the end as I started to delve into manhwa and manhua. While I will try and devote more time towards them this year, I still did pretty good this year.

Here are all the manga/manhwa/webcomics I read this year (click the arrow to minimize):

▪ Hinekure Shisho no Mikaiketsu Jikenroku Vol.1-2 by Kinashi Runamu Azuke Honya by Shiori Sakurai The Boy & The Wolf by Z-Pico The Knight's Unfulfilled Dreams by Kim SuJin Gods X Myself X Brides by Cyouko Kurashi The Wolf and the Hungry Boy by refrainbow Uncomfortable Roommates by DUDU Playboy Beast by 桃ノ木みのむし Dear Signal by Machi Suehiro Pairing Names by Do Mong The Delicious Bakery's Part Timer by 일차 Tsukiyo no kurage wa koi ni naku by 桃尻ひばり Romantic Box by Gaeggi Cinema Next Door by Jongpil Gwak Biting the Tiger by Mindal Park Boku no Hero Academia Vol.1-22 by Kohei Horikoshi Angel Buddy by MasterGin Tale of the Yellow Dragon by Brothers Without A Tomorrow Gorani Jeon by chychy Kanya mo Nemurenai Vol.1-3 by Kotetsuko Yamamoto Kimi to Kore Kara Vol.1-2 by Kotetsuko Yamamoto Mother's Spirit by Enzou Keep Holding On by Kom Magic Soup by Kimpeacock The Unquenchable Mr.Kim by Morak Sugar Dog Life by Yoriko

My Purrfect Boss! by Cuke Soap

Painter of the Night S1 by Byeonduck

Vanitas no Carte Vol.1-4 by Jun Mochizuki

Tokyo Revengers Vol.1-8 by Ken Wakui

▪ Persephone by Loïc Locatelli-Kournwsky

▪ Annarasumanara by Ha Il Kwon

▪ Jujutsu Kaisen Vol.0-7 by Gege Akutami

▪ Moriarty the Patriot Vol.1 by Ryōsuke Takeuchi

▪ The Treasure of the King and the Cat by You Kajika

▪ Pilu of the Woods by Mai K. Nguyen

▪ Fire Force Vok.1-11 by Atsushi Ohkubo

▪ Kimetsu no Yaiba Vol.1-23 by Koyoharu Gotouge

▪ Raining Knives by mothtrap

▪ Long Exposure by Kam Heyward

▪ Somari and the Guardian of the Forest Vol.1 by Yako Gureishi

▪ Wandering Island Vol.1-2 by Kenji Tsuruta

▪ The Promised Neverland Vol.1-5 by Kaiu Shirai

▪ A Walk Through Hell #1-3 by Garth Ennis

▪ Bungo Stray Dogs Vol.1-4 by Kafka Asagiri

▪ Pretty Deadly #1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick

▪ Tomie by Junji Ito

▪ Fullmetal Alchemist Vol.1-5 by Hiromu Arakawa

▪ The Black Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky

▪ Infinite Dark #1 by Ryan Candy

▪ Children of the Whales Vol.1 by Abi Umeda

▪ Love Advice from the Duke of Hell S1+ S2 by unfins

▪ Watersnakes by Tony Sandoval

▪ Jim Henson's Labyrinth: Coronation #1 by Simon Spurrier

▪ Deadman Wonderland Vol.1 by Jinsei Kataoka

▪ The Disastrous Life of Saiki K Vol.0 by 麻生 周一

▪ Islandia Vol.1 by Marc Védrines

▪ reMIND Vol.1-2 by Jason Brubaker

▪ Fairy Tail Gaiden Vol.1-3 by Kyouta Shibano

▪ At the Mountains of Madness by I.N.J Culbard

▪ Spirit Photographer Saburo Kono by Kaiu Shirai

▪ Kono Oto Tomare! Vol.1 by Amyuu

▪ Bloody Mary Vol.1 by Akaza Samamiya

▪ American Vampire #1 by Scott Snyder

▪ Vampire Knight Vol.1 by Matsuri Hino

▪ Bloom by Kevin Panetta

▪ Heavy Vinyl #1-4 by Carly Usdin

▪ The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

▪ Giant Days #1-3 by John Allison

▪ Chi's Sweet Home Vol.1 by Kanata Konami

▪ The Graveyard Book Vol.1 by Craig P. Russell

▪ Neonomicon #1 by Alan Moore

▪ Queen of Bad Dreams Vol.1 by Danny Lore

▪ Blacksad #1-4 by Juan Díaz Canales

▪ Slaine #1 by Pat Mills

▪ The Comic Book Story of Beer by Jonathan Hennessey

▪ Assassination Classroom Vol.1-2 by Yūsei Matsui

▪ Saga Vol.1 by Brian K. Vaughan

▪ The Wicked + The Divine Vol.1-9 by Kieron Gillen

▪ Aquicorn Cove by Kay O'Neill

▪ Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Vol.1-2 by Kieron Gillen

▪ Black Clover Vol.1 by Yûki Tabata

▪ Phoenix Without Ashes by Harlan Ellison

▪ Paradise Kiss Vol. 1-5 by Ai Yazawa

▪ Little Witch Academia Vol.1-3 by Yoh Yoshinari

▪ Black Torch Vol.1-5 by Tsuyoshi Takaki

▪ All You Need Is Kill Vol.1-2 by Ryōsuke Takeuchi

▪ Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho

▪ Deep Dark Fears by Fran Krause

▪ The Creeps by Fran Krause

Total # of Series Read: 90

Total # of Volumes Read: 208



Short stories are something that I feel aren't talked about enough by reviews, probably due to the fact that there isn't much to really talk about compared to a book (and you don't want to spoil anything). Because of that, I wanted to delve into them in order to find some worth recommending. I also just wanted to read something on the shorter side when I didn't want a full blown story.

Short stories, unfortunately, aren't updated very much on Goodreads, so a lot of what I read on magazine websites such Beneath Ceaseless Skies can't be tracked and added to my count.

Here are all the short stories I read this year (click the arrow to minimize):

▪ Placed into Abyss by Rachel Swirsky

▪ Listen by Karin Tidbeck

▪ Sinew and Steel and What They Told by Carrie Vaughn

▪ That Game We Played During the War by Carrie Vaughn

▪ A Terror by Jeffrey Ford

▪ Red by Ramsey Shehadeh

▪ Poison by Roald Dahl

▪ Angel Season by J.T. Petty

▪ In the Cave of the Delicate Singers by Lucy Taylor

▪ Come Back to the Sea by Jason Vahee

▪ Though Smoke Shall Hide the Sun by Lee Mandelo

▪ Everything's Fine by Matthew Pridham

▪ Daughter of Necessity by Marie Brennan

▪ On Safari in R'lyeh and Carcosa with Gun and Camera by Elizabeth Bear

▪ Two Truths and a Lie by Sarah Pinkser

▪ Shards by Ian Rogers

▪ The Case of the Somewhat Mythic Sword by Garth Nix

▪ An Explorer's Cartography of Already Settled Lands by Fran Wilde

▪ Judge Dee and the Limits of the Law by Lavie Tidhar

▪ All the Snake Handlers I Know Are Dead by Dennis Danvers

▪ Solution by Brian Evenson

▪ Swift, Brutal Retaliation by Meghan McCarron

▪ His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light by Mimi Mondal

▪ Eyes I Dare Not Meet in Dreams by Sunny Moraine

▪ Nine Last Days on Planet Earth by Daryl Gregory

▪ Tear Tracks by Malka Ann Older

▪ About Fairies by Pat Murphy

▪ First Kill by Jennifer Fallon

▪ La beauty sans vertu by Genevieve Valentine

▪ A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djèlí Clark

▪ Fire Above, Fire Below by Garth Nix

▪ The Library of Lost Things by Matthew Bright

▪ The Cat Who Walked a Thousand Miles by Kij Johnson

▪ Seven Birthdays by Ken Liu

▪ Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss

▪ Angel of the Blockade by Alex Wells

▪ The Night Cyclist by Stephen Graham Jones

▪ A Visit to the House on Terminal Hill by Elizabeth Knox

▪ Waiting on a Bright Moon by J.Y. Yang

▪ Lullaby for a Lost World by Aliette de Bodard

▪ Little Free Library by Noami Kritzer

▪ Loss of Signal by S.B.Divya

▪ Who Goes Against A Waste of Waters by Eleanna Castroianni

The Honey of the World and the Queen of Crows by Dimitra Nikolaidou

The Augur and The Girl Left At His Door by Greta Hayer

The Night Bazaar For Women Becoming Reptiles by Rachael K. Jones

Wooden Boxes Lined with the Tongues of Doves by Claire Humphrey

Through the Doorways, Whiskey Chile by S.H. Mansouri

The Heart That Saves You May Be Your Own by Merrie Haskell

Girls With Needles and Frost by Jenny Rae Rappaport

As the Shore to the Tides, So Blood Calls to Blood by Karlo Yeager Rodriguez

The War of Light and Shadow, In Five Dishes by Siobhan Carroll

The Science and Artistry of Snake Oil Salesmanship by Timothy Mudie

Quintessence by Andrew Dykstal

When Your Being Here Is Gentler Than Your Absebce Hard by Filip Hajdar Drnovsek Zorko

The Black-Eyed Goddess of Apple Trees and Farmers' Wives by Erin Eisenhour

An Account of the Madness of the Magistrate, Chengdhu Village by Richard Parks

The Silent Flowers of the Magician's Garden by Eleanna Castroianni

Parchment Sky by Stephen Case

Dead at the Feet of a God by Izzy Wasswestein

Do Not Look Back, My Lion by Alix E. Harrow

Total # of Stories Read: 61

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