I wanted to read 12 books in 2021. I made a list of to-do items (i.e. a list of goals but named differently to trick myself into thinking of them NOT as goals) with it smack dab at the top of this list. I may have outdone myself with this one. There are just a few days left to the year and I’ve read over 60 books. Welp. I lean towards new fiction, historical fiction, and romance. These are the best books I read in 2021 and ones you HAVE TO READ. I wrote the descriptions shortly after I finished each book to keep everything fresh, so no months old thoughts here. If you end up reading one (or all of them!) definitely let me know what you thought!
From Blood and Ash Series by Jennifer Armentrout
This is a series that will live in my head rent free for years. I took BookTok’s recommendation on this one without really knowing what the series was even about. The first book took a bit to pick up, but once the rising action hit its peak, it’s been a roller coaster ride ever since. You have to read these. I won’t even bother telling you what they’re about. You just have to trust me on this one.
A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas
I thought for sure this series would make it to the tip-top of this list without a single contender fighting for number one. That is until I read Blood and Ash. Now it’s a toss up on any given day which series I love more. They both are in the fantasy realm, but all of my non-fantasy friends LOVE them. Another book series I didn’t read anything about before diving in. It may just be my favorite form of reading these days. No back cover reading for me. Just diving straight in.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This book follows the life of Evelyn Hugo and her seven husbands. A famous old-time movie star, Evelyn Hugo made quite the stir. With so many twists, turns, and a look at bisexuality that I’ve never experienced in a novel before, this novel will be one I recommend for years to come. Definitely if I cannot convince them to read Blood and Ash or A Court of Thorns and Roses…
One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
This book completely took me by surprise and I had absolutely no idea how much I was going to love it. It follows a plus-size fashion blogger named Bea as she gets starred as basically The Bachelorette. I’ve always found “reality” tv to be a bit silly, but this book somehow managed to get me incredibly invested.
You get to see behind the curtain, what it must be like to actually star in something like The Bachelorette, with a lot of twists and turns thrown in. There’s discussion of body shaming as well as asexuality (something I’ve never seen talked about in a novel before). It’s a 10/10 for me.
The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Graves
A beautiful story about love, growth, and change. A fantastic twist to the girl meets boy story mixed with an honest portrayal of autism. It kept me constantly invested in the characters, their backstory, and how everything is going to pan out for them. Plus there’s a twist that completely threw me for a loop and had me reading faster than ever to find out what happened next.
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
This one has been on my reading list for ages and I even checked it out once before and never got around to reading it. Man was I sleeping on this one. It’s a fantastic, clever, thought provoking story with a great twist. I saw my younger self a lot in this novel and found myself turning pages quickly to see what happened next. Definitely one you need to add to your list if you haven’t read it yet.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
This book was a Christmas gift and it came into my life at just the right time. I’ve tried self-help books time and time again without much avail, but this one didn’t seem condescending or obvious. The entire book had fresh, new ideas without beating them over your head constantly. It’s inspiring, honest, and realistic. Definitely a book I’ll reach for once a year for many years to come.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
After a life of seemingly wrong choices and missed opportunities, our protagonist finds herself in the Midnight Library. A place full of books that hold the infinite possibilities of choices not taken. This is such a creative story of hope, second chances, and appreciation. I loved how it tackled such interesting concepts while doing it in a unique way.
It made me want to see what my Midnight Library is like…but trust that I’m not in a hurry to get there anytime soon!
I read this in one sitting. I just couldn’t put it down.
Beach Read by Emily Henry
Now I tend to roll my eyes at cartoon covered books while secretly devouring them. This one is definitely one of my absolute favorites of the year. It takes place in Michigan (where I live) and is just a charming as ever love story between two writers. It doesn’t get too heavy, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and should be on your must read list.
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Firmly in the sunshine/grumpy friends to lovers trope, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is a light-hearted story about two friends who are trying to set each other up with other people on dates. Hazel is a goofball with no filter, Josh is too serious for his own good. Add a bit of spice and some great dialog and you’ll finish this book in no time.
Now I just need to decide on a reading goal for 2022. I’m thinking maybe 52 for each week of the year? What is your reading goal going to be? This is your friendly reminder to check out your library to rent any of these awesome books rather than spending that hard earned money.