ZeZee’s Disappointing Reads of 2021

With my favorites and most memorable books of 2021 out of the way, it’s now time to focus on the disappointing ones, because they need some attention too.

I know many people shy away from making lists of books that disappoint them, but I don’t. This is a blog about what I read and what I like and dislike. It’s a blog for readers. Plus, I often get recommendations from lists like these. After all, just because someone disliked a book doesn’t mean I will too.

My ratings for these books are middling and aren’t exactly low. I mostly rate based on my enjoyment of what I read, because I read to be entertained, but I also consider how well-crafted the book, comic, or picture book is. 

These are listed in the order that I read them.


The Conductors by Nicole Glover ★★☆☆☆ ½

Aww man, I really thought this would be one I’d like. It’s a debut historical fantasy that mostly takes place in Philadelphia shortly after the Civil War. The story focuses on Hetty and Benjy, a married couple who used to work as conductors on the Underground Railroad but now help Black people in their community to resolve dire situations — like finding someone who’s gone missing. I think the story has a lot of potential, but it fell flat for me. I think the world building, magic system, and characters needed more development and the plot needed to be ironed out a bit more to make it flow more smoothly. However, there’s enough potential here to make me curious about the second book, so I might give it a try.

Continue reading “ZeZee’s Disappointing Reads of 2021”

Zezee’s Most Memorable Reads of 2021

I get a kick out of doing these end-of-year lists, so of course I found an excuse to do another one after posting my favorites list a few days ago.

The following are the most memorable books I read last year that didn’t make my favorites list. These are stories that lingered with me long after I completed them either because of their great storytelling, strong characters, impressive worldbuilding, beautiful prose, or a combination of those qualities. These are stories I couldn’t help thinking about at odd times or considered returning to in the new year.

They are listed in the order I read them.


The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw ★★★★☆

This one was a surprise because I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. (Actually, the same is true for many of the books on this list.) Philyaw’s Secret Lives of Church Ladies is a book of nine short stories exploring the lives of Black women. I enjoyed several of the stories for how they are written, the snarky tone used in a few, and the variety of topics covered, such as grief, sexuality, and mother-daughter relationships. If I should reread it, I intend to do so by audiobook. I initially began the book on audio but loved the prose so much that I had to read the physical book. The narrator’s (Janina Edwards) voice is so soothing and mellow that I’d like to listen to it again, so I have to find something else she narrates, whether it’s this or another book, to listen to.

Continue reading “Zezee’s Most Memorable Reads of 2021”

ZeZee’s Favorite Reads of 2021

It’s January, the beginning of a new year, and one of my favorite times of a year because of the “best of” lists everyone posts. I’ve very behind on visiting blogs and things, but I fully intend to catch up this weekend because I’d love to see what’s on everyone’s Best Books of 2021 or Favorite Books of 2021 lists. I get many book recommendations from such lists and have already added a few to my Goodreads TBR.

Below is my list of favorite books read in 2021, which I’ve managed to quickly cobble together. These were all outstanding, highly entertaining books that left me wanting more when I was done. They aren’t listed in any particular order.


Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey ★★★★★

Carey’s series is shaping up to be one of my favorites. Kushiel’s Chosen is the second novel in the Phèdre trilogy, a fantasy story that focuses on a courtesan who’s also a spy. The story begins in a land where the people are said to be descendants of angels. I enjoyed the first book, Kushiel’s Dart, but I loved this one more. Kushiel’s Chosen was more exciting to me than the first book, and I loved that the actions of the gods were a bit more apparent in this one. It was more obvious that they were effecting events to help Phèdre. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Continue reading “ZeZee’s Favorite Reads of 2021”

Top 5 Tuesday #68: Top 5 New Authors of 2021

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Shanah, the Bionic Book Worm, and now hosted by Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.


This week’s topic:

Top 5 new authors of 2021

(Tell us all about your favourite new authors, either debut authors from 2021 or new-to-you this year.)

I met some great new-to-me authors this year who I’d love to read more from. Here are my top five.

Camilla Bruce

At the top is Camilla Bruce whose In the Garden of Spite I read earlier this year, thanks to Mogsy and Tammy. The novel is a historical thriller about a female serial killer in the late 1800s. It’s slow paced but such a riveting read. Both my aunt (who I made read it) and I want to read more from Bruce, and I need to get another copy of the book to let my mom read it too (I gave my copy to my aunt).

Continue reading “Top 5 Tuesday #68: Top 5 New Authors of 2021”

Top 5 Tuesday #67: Top 5 covers of 2021

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Shanah, the Bionic Book Worm, and now hosted by Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.


This week’s topic:

Top 5 covers of 2021

(What are some of your favourite covers that you have seen this year? Maybe these were reprints, redesigns or alternate covers that came out this year, or maybe they are brand new books.
Whatever they are, tell us all the pretties you have been coveting.)

I love a meme about book covers 😊 and I’ve been looking forward to one like this all year, lol! My favorite thing about December is looking back on all the things I read in the year and chatting about the best of the best.

Well, here are my favorite covers of books I read this year.

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry is a gaslamp fantasy novel about a poor fire witch who lucks into the chance to make some money by serving as a bodyguard, along with other women, to protect a young lady from being assassinated before her wedding. I read this early in the year with Millie from Milliebot Reads and really enjoyed it. The protagonist is one of my favorites that I’ve encountered this year.

Continue reading “Top 5 Tuesday #67: Top 5 covers of 2021”

Top 5 Tuesday #66: Books on My Wishlist

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Shanah, the Bionic Book Worm, and now hosted by Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.


This week’s topic:

Top 5 books on my wishlist

(No matter what you celebrate in December, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Hogmanay, Jolabokaflod, Koliada, Kwanzaa, Krampusnacht, Nikoldjan, Pancha Ganapati, St Lucia Day, St Nicholas Day, Winter Solstice, Yule, Erastide, Hogswatch, Festivus, Kaldoran, Snoggletog, Yulemas, Decemberween or Chrismukkah, tell us what books are on the top of your wishlist!!)

I have several books on my wishlist, but here are the ones that are at the top.

The Deep by Mayur Vayeda & Tushar Vayeda (illus.)

It’s a beautifully crafted picture book created using the Warli style of painting. The creators are from the indigenous Warli community in western India. I believe the book is about their experience travelling from the familiarity of their home all the way to Japan, and it also explores how water connects all life.

Continue reading “Top 5 Tuesday #66: Books on My Wishlist”

Six for Sunday: The Orange Ones

Six for Sunday is a bookish meme created and hosted by Steph at A Little But a Lot.

I’ve often seen posts of this meme over on Corner of Laura and have always intended to join in, so I’m doing so now for the month of November.


This Sunday’s topic:

Orange books

The November topics seem to be fall themed, so we’re kicking things off with the bright color associated with autumn. Here are some orange books I own and probably haven’t read… yet.

Continue reading “Six for Sunday: The Orange Ones”

Top 5 Tuesday #65: Creepy Covers Coming 😱

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Shanah, the Bionic Book Worm, and now hosted by Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.


This week’s topic:

Top 5 creepy covers

(Let’s chat about all those book covers that give you super creepy atmospheric vibes!!)

Brace yourself. This is about book covers, so naturally I went overboard with the pics.

I haven’t read any of these books, so I’ll link to the Goodreads page.

Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom (illus.)

This cover is one of the creepiest to me. I try not to look at it and will quickly scroll past whenever I glimpse it because it’s the type of image that annoyingly sticks around in my mind long after I see it.

Continue reading “Top 5 Tuesday #65: Creepy Covers Coming 😱”

Top 5 Tuesday #64: Spooky Worlds I’ve Seen

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Shanah, the Bionic Book Worm, and now hosted by Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.


This week’s topic:

Top 5 spooky worlds

(Spooky worlds are a THING. Let’s talk about all the places you never want to go… Or maybe you do want to go, if you’re into that sort of thing!!)

Yes, indeed. I’ve visited some spooky worlds in books and TV shows.

Here’s one I’ve visited often:

Supernatural

I love the show, but I wouldn’t want to live in the world Supernatural is set in. Too much drama. Too many battles against supernatural creatures. And the world is always ending because someone — the Winchesters, usually — is always doing something to fuck it up.

Continue reading “Top 5 Tuesday #64: Spooky Worlds I’ve Seen”

Top 5 Tuesday #63: Umm… Zombies Don’t Scare Me 😨

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Shanah, the Bionic Book Worm, and now hosted by Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.


This week’s topic:

Top 5 horror/thriller tropes that don’t scare you

(Let’s talk about horror tropes that you are brave in the face of… or that you find mildly ridiculous to funny.)

Well, if I stick to this week’s topic, I’ll have a very short list because I’m a bit superstitious and scare easily, so just about all horror tropes scare me. Exceptions are only for slasher films and zombie movies because zombies are funny.

So, continuing on that zombie thought, here are some zombie books I’ve read/are on my TBR.

Feed by Mira Grant

Continue reading “Top 5 Tuesday #63: Umm… Zombies Don’t Scare Me 😨”