My Best Reads of 2021

Also, my worst reads...

Anyone who knows me well knows I love books. Sometimes I will just stand and look at my bookshelves, I get so much joy from them. So I'm kicking off 2022 with a blog post about... you guessed it! Books!

Last year was a good reading year for me, with me hitting 20 books. I'd set myself a goal of 12, so I'm really happy with that. Not as good as the year before, where I managed 28 books, but it was a different year!

I'm going to share a full list of what I read at the bottom of the post, but for now, here are my favorite reads of the year...

  1. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - My first read of the year took me about 25 days to finish, and funnily enough my first read of this year is also a Bradbury! I loved this book, I was totally gripped by it. It was much darker than I expected, and I loved how it ended!

  2. XX by Angela Chadwick - I had this book on my shelves for years before I finally picked it up, and honestly I wish I'd read it sooner. I think I can safely say that this is one of the best books I've ever read. It's so well written, it's thought-provoking, and it brought tears to my eyes. I really wanted to be a part of this story, I wanted to be there for the main character Jules, she so desperately needed support but wasn't getting any from anyone. Superb writing!

  3. City Of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert - This is the sort of writing I fall in love with. The language is delicious. The main character is making mistakes, and she's growing as a person because of them. There's none of this doing bad things and just getting away from it because you're the main character. She makes mistakes, and there are consequences. And best of all is that she gets to choose a life she wants to live and not one that society says she should live. Gorgeous!

  4. Bird Box by Josh Malerman - This was painful to read in some respects, but also brilliantly written. I felt real fear and panic reading this. As a mother, the way Malorie fears for the children is relatable. The horror when she faces trying to protect them, and the trauma of them coming into the world - wow. Very powerful.

  5. The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix - I've always been a vampire girl, and I'll always be a vampire girl. Many of you will know I have a huge love for Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but it's more than that. Fright Night, Dracula, True Blood, The Lost Boys, and most recently Midnight Mass... I don't know what it is, but there's just something there for me. So as soon as I saw Grady Hendrix's novel, I knew I had to read it. I love a "Vampire next door" trope, and this one is perfect. It is filled with many plot twists and surprises. It has some shocking moments, and it has some absolutely awesome moments. And I never thought I would find a book about a vampire relatable - but I do. Because if you're a mother reading this, then you will recognize the mental mother load throughout these glorious pages.

I love to write about my favorite reads of the year, but how about some of my most disappointing reads? Well...

  1. Strange Ink by Gary Kemble - I'd been so excited for this, but what a letdown. I mean, the story was good, and I did want to know the outcome, but the ending felt so rushed and empty. I only read because I needed to know the why, but not because it was gripping.

  2. The Familiars by Stacey Halls - Not much happened for the most part, and the witchcraft part of the story was very minimal.

  3. Hell House by Richard Matheson - I did enjoy this but it wasn't at all what I thought it would be. It wasn't that scary, although it was disturbing in places, and like most books I mark as a letdown, the ending felt rushed,

  4. Lisey's Story by Stephen King - I hate to say this about a Stephen King book, but what a load of waffle. The first 100 pages or so were difficult. Then it was okay for a while, and I started to get more interested. Then she was attacked by Zack and the tin-opener and it got really dull and slow.

  5. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez - I nearly didn't finish this, and definitely skimmed the last 50 pages. It was funny in some places but for the most part uncomfortable, and it was hard to keep track of what was going on.

  6. Son of Rosemary by Ira Levin - What an unnecessary book. What an uncomfortable book.

I always try and do a few re-reads as well. I picked Dracula up and enjoyed that more than I did the first time I read it. It's gone back on my shelf for future reads. Angel's and Demon's on the other hand was not as enjoyable, and won't be read again. To end the year, I read 11.22.63 and I'll be surprised when the day comes that I love a book more than I love this one! I've read it probably about 6 times now.

Here is the total list of books I read -

  1. Rebecca & other short stories by Daphne Du Maurier

  2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

  3. Strange Ink by Gary Kemble

  4. XX by Anglea Chadwick

  5. The Familiars by Stacey Halls

  6. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

  7. Dracula by Bram Stoker

  8. Bird Box By Josh Malerman

  9. Hell House by Richard Matheson

  10. Lisey's Story by Stephen King

  11. Rose Madder by Stephen King

  12. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

  13. The Southern Books Clubs Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

  14. The Presidents Hat by Antoine Laurain

  15. Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales From The Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

  16. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

  17. Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin

  18. Son of Rosemary by Ira Levin

  1. Salem's Lot by Stephen King

  2. 11,22.63 by Stephen King

I did start Belgravia but I couldn't get into it.

I'm excited for what this year's reading may bring. I've signed up to a bunch of challenges on StoryGraph but I'm not focussing on them I am just going to see which books cross over with the challenges naturally! As always I've set up two jars from which I will pick the majority of my books. My to-be-read-jar and my re-read jar. Usually, I pick a selection for both of these, but this year I've just gone for it and put all of my books in!

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