As I included novels rated 4.5 out of 5 for my #Bookvent countdown, I decided to create a series from now until the end of the year that will include my 4.75 rated reads (14 novels) and my 5.00 rated reads (4 novels). For the 4.75 novels, there is no particular order to their appearance on the list.
The Court of Secrets (Fate of Crowns #3) by Rebecca Garcia
Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune
Darkness can only survive in the hearts of the wicked.
I was brought back from the edge of death by Morgana so I could reign. But whilst there, something had latched onto me, and it had no plans on leaving. With each passing day, I feel my heart growing darker and it becoming stronger. Struggling to suppress the beast within, I lose myself in the scandals and politics of my kingdom. Caught between the high priest-Vahaga-and the lords of the land, being in power has never seemed more difficult.
The threats of war with Berovia looming on the horizon means I need to remain strong for my people. My coronation nears, but with the mystery surrounding my father’s death coming under scrutiny, being back at court has never been so dangerous. Especially for a queen.
When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.
Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.
But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.
When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days
Uncork My Love by Rich Amooi
The Ice Swan by J’Nell Ciesielski
Ivy needs a miracle and a drink—not necessarily in that order. With a struggling winery, the only hope of keeping her dream alive is snagging a gold medal at the annual wine competition. She’s determined to win, but would rather serve warm wine in sippy cups to the judges before ever accepting help from Ted Jacobs, aka Mr. Know-it-All.
Ted wants to catch lightning in a bottle and create the world’s greatest wine, but he’s smart enough to know he can’t do it alone. When he heads to Napa to keep his grandma from ending up in jail (don’t ask), he meets Ivy. She’s as complex and intoxicating as his award-winning cabernet, but as stubborn as the mule next door when she stomps on his offer to collaborate.
Ted knows it’s risky to mix business with pleasure, but if Ivy would only listen, they might just be the toast of the town.
Amid the violent last days of the glittering Russian monarchy, a princess on the run finds her heart where she least expects it.
1917, Petrograd. Fleeing the murderous flames of the Russian Revolution, Princess Svetlana Dalsky hopes to find safety in Paris with her mother and sister. But the city is buckling under the weight of the Great War, and the Bolsheviks will not rest until they have erased every Russian aristocrat from memory. Svetlana and her family are forced into hiding in Paris’s underbelly, with little to their name but the jewels they sewed into their corsets before their terrifying escape.
Born the second son of a Scottish duke, the only title Wynn MacCallan cares for is that of surgeon. Putting his talents with a scalpel to good use in the hospitals in Paris, Wynn pushes the boundaries of medical science to give his patients the best care possible. After treating Svetlana for a minor injury, he is pulled into a world of decaying imperial glitter. Intrigued by this mysterious, cold, and beautiful woman, Wynn follows Svetlana to an underground Russian club where drink, dance, and questionable dealings collide on bubbles of vodka.
Out of money and options, Svetlana agrees to a marriage of convenience with the handsome and brilliant Wynn, who will protect her and pay off her family’s debts. It’s the right thing for a good man to do, but Wynn cannot help hoping the marriage will turn into one of true affection. When Wynn’s life takes an unexpected turn, so does Svetlana’s—and soon Paris becomes as dangerous as Petrograd. And as the Bolsheviks chase them to Scotland, Wynn and Svetlana begin to wonder if they will ever be able to outrun the love they are beginning to feel for one another.
That wraps up my top reads for 2021! While I have fewer novels rated 5 out of 5 compared to 2020, I greatly enjoyed almost every single novel that I read this year either in written or audiobook formats. You can check out the first three parts of the series where I highlighted my top 4.75 reads by clicking on the link for each part (Part One, Part Two, and Part Three).
Happy Holidays/New Year and Happy Reading!