I haven’t written a book post for quite some time, and I apologise. In fact, I feel like all my book blogs start that way, so that is something to change this year.
My last book blog was What I Read In Lockdown. So quite literally years ago. I had to remind myself of what I read back then because the time has all blended together. Some of those books still stand out to me so much as if I had read them yesterday. If you’ve just read that post for the first time then I strongly recommend The Rumour by Lesley Kara, and If You Could Go Anywhere by Paige Toon. Totally different, but equally as brilliant.
This latest book blog has been sat in my drafts since early 2022. So for way over a year. In 2021 I set myself a reading challenge to read 15 books in the year. This isn’t many to some, but for me, fitting in 15 books would be great. I managed to read 12. Still thrilled with that. And since then I have wanted to tell you all about them & recommend my favourites.
I can only apologise for the length of time I’ve been putting this post together, I promise the new book blog isn’t too far away.
What I read in 2021
Here are all the books I read in 2021, and my top 5 picks.
- Who Did You Tell by Lesley Kara.
- The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon
- Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- Shirley Ballas – Behind The Sequins
- The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
- The Magpie Society by Zoe Sugg & Amy McCulloch
- Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
- The Boy At The Door by Alex Dahl
- The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood
- In Case You Missed It by Lindsey Kelk
- The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman
- The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
The Boy At The Door by Alex Dahl
I loved this thriller based in a beautiful suburb of Norway. Not only did the descriptions of Norway draw me in, so did the unravelling plot. The main character Cecilia has her life turned upside down when she’s asked to drop a little boy off at home, whose parents didn’t collect him after a swimming class. When she turns up at his address and sees it is an abandoned house she’s left with taking in this boy to her home. The more time she spends with him the more she feels like he is opening doors to her past that she has fought so hard to keep closed.
There are plot twists and turns. New characters come and go. At some points you can’t even guess where the story is heading. When I finished the book it really did stick with me in my mind for weeks. Not only did I find myself googling trips to Norway, I loved talking about the plot with anyone else who had read it.
Highly recommend if you like a plot twisting thriller.
The Secret of Strangers by Charity Norman
Another book that once I had finished it wouldn’t leave my mind is this. It’s based in a coffee shop in London, that early on a busy work day is held up by a gunman. The people hostage inside are regulars who have spotted each other every now and then, but never taken the time to give each other even a nod of the head. Trapped in this life or death position they start to open up to one another, and the gunman.
It is a fast read and moves along the story at a good pace, which adds to the drama of the book. Once I started this I couldn’t put it down. When I am reading a book that I am loving I just hope that the ending is spot on. The ending of this book broke my heart. It didn’t disappoint and turned what was a dramatic thriller of a book into a story that tugged at so many of my emotions.
The Magpie Society by Zoe Sugg & Amy McCulloch
I was so excited to read this book on release. Not only to support the lovely Zoe and her co writer Amy, but because I haven’t really read any Young Adult novels in some time. I guess the last YA books I loved were The Hunger Games.
The Magpie Society is based at an elite boarding school on the coast of England. It is rocked by the discovery of a body of one of the popular students after a night of end of term partying. The new school term brings not only sorrow, but more drama. A new American student, Audrey , becomes roommates with the dead girls best friend and is pulled in to solving the mystery of her death.
I really enjoyed the book. I could visualise the settings really well which I always love. It was the right mix of drama, suspense and mystery to make this an appealing YA novel to any older generation wanting to read it too.
The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon
Every year I fall in love with another Paige Toon book. Whether that is a new release or one from her back catalogue. I said in my lockdown reading post that her book If You Could Go Anywhere was a stand out favourite read for me. The Longest Holiday was another book I read of hers that came to my life just as I needed it. I read this on holiday in 2 days, I couldn’t put it down.
Paige has a unique way of writing chick lit that makes these books not only romance novels, but so full of substance. The Longest Holiday takes place in Florida. After Laura discovers that her husband of only seven months cheated on her a week before the big day, she is whisked off by her best friend to a luxury resort in the Florida Keys. Laura needs a distraction while she’s trying to decide what to do with her life, queue meeting scuba instructor Leo.
It’s always hard to not fall in love with Paige’s leading men, she writes them so well. Leo is no exception. For a summer read this really is perfect escapism.
Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
I had to end this blog with Crawdads because not only was it my stand out favourite read of 2021 but one of my favourite books I’ve ever read. Where The Crawdads Sing took over the reading community by storm last year. I’m usually weary of reading books that are massively popular. Most of the time they don’t live up to expectations. However, Crawdads went above and beyond any expectations.
Where The Crawdads Sing is about the life of a young girl called Kya. Kya has lived out in the marsh of North Carolina her whole life. As she grows up she meets people from town who shape her life. Not only is the book a tale of self discovery, and love, it’s also a murder mystery. I loved this aspect to the book as I didn’t know about it before starting. It reeled me in right away.
This book is so beautifully written. It reads in part like a love letter to nature. The descriptions of the marsh and wildlife make you feel like you are there. They also offer real moments of calm & full immerse you in the story. I totally switched off from everything around me when I was reading this. I don’t often read books more than once, but this one I really would.
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I’d love to know if you have read any of these and what you think of them. My next book blog is already in my drafts, I have a lot to add & recommend for you. As always, if there’s a book you think I should read ASAP then get in touch here or on my Instagram.