Best Books of 2021: I read 83 books this year with 33 of the books being published this year. I will post my top ten books published this year and my top 5 of books that were not published this year.

Top Ten of Books Published in 2021:

1: The Four Winds by Kristen Hannah is a special book and my front runner from the day that I read it.  No book made me more emotional. This book made me think of how I would of handled living in the time of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.  This historical novel uses real events and puts its character’s through tragedy and triumph. This novel can easily get compared to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, but tweaks it giving it a new perspective, what if Tom Joad was a single mother with two kids; this fresh perspective changes everything. You will want to thank your mother after for all that she has sacrificed for her children’s happiness after reading. This book will make you teary eyed as you go on a journey looking for a living wage. The story based on true events will make you mad at how our fellow men and women were treated and some still treated this badly. The Four Winds drew me in right at the building as I connected with young naïve Elsa and her fairy tale visions of love.

2: Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica had me at the uniqueness of it’s story telling.  It hooks you so deep in the beginning and doesn’t let up until you the reader know everything. Local Woman Missing is a uniquely told mystery because it is told in reverse, but you still don’t know all the facts making it very compelling. There are some big twist that will make you change your whole theory of what is going on. The writing was good with just enough description to let you visualize what is going on. The narrative is told at three different times by four different people in the story, at first this is a little dizzying, but then starts to fit in to place. The way the story is told makes it brilliant, if it was told the normal way it would still be good but they way it is told makes you question and doubt everything.

3: The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig  This book is both entertaining and super scary, itis a refreshingly original horror novel that mixes genres with a lot of gore. Chuck Wendig wrote my favorite novels of 2019 with The Wanders which again was totally original horror that mixes genres, so I was very excited when netgalley picked me to receive an advanced readers copy. The Book of Accidents is original but there are two books that I will use to compare to put you in the ballpark Blake Crouch’s Recursion meets Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. If those books had a baby you would have The Book of Accidents. The Plot is crazy the best thing is to not know too much going in.

4: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker was a book not even on my radar but a lot of my friends and people I follow had it as their best mystery in the Goodreads Choice Awards, so I had to check it out and so glad that I did.  We Begin at the End is a slow burn mystery that looks at how one mistake can define a future of hurt. This mystery balances  being heart breaking, yet so so full of a beating heart that drives the narrative. You feel every death and every reveal will change your perception. This is a mystery that is character driven, I feel like if there was no mystery I still would have been interested in the characters. The characters and circumstances will give you chills and it gave me an ugly happy cry. There’s a lot of Darkness in this story but a light at the end of the tunnel that burns bright with hope.

Concrete Rose Angie Thomas

5: Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas is a prequel that feels like a sequel. It is a story that is so good, even if it was not connected to The Hate U Give this story would still be 5 stars.  Concrete Rose is a prequel to The Hate U Give. This story follows a lot of storylines that were backstory in The Hate U Give and the Carter family, like how Star got her middle name, and the tricky parenting of Seven. I feel you did not have to read The Hate U Give to enjoy this but you will enjoy The Hate U Give even more. Where The Hate U Give was more about race relations and the Black Lives Movement, this novel is more about responsibility and self ownership. I think this is an important story about teen pregnancy, stepping up and being a man, the gang culture, and LGBTQ acceptance. This book is at times corny, hard hitting, raw, and emotional, it will leave you with hope an moral story for working hard does pay off. 

6: The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward, A great horror/mystery that is insanely good. The book has a twist that will change you world and open yourself to a new way of thinking. This is one of the best well rounded stories that I have read in some time, everything fits and it does not feel forced. The big twist is explained and all the loose ends are tied up so well. What is cool about the big twist is if you pay attention and open your mind you can figure it out, I was back and forth on what was coming guessing some parts but not all.

7: The Apocalypse Seven by Gene Doucette is my favorite Science Fiction of the year hands down, I was not expecting to like this books so much but was pleasantly surprised.  The Apocalypse Seven is a fantastic science fiction thriller with a clever ending you will not see coming. This book is The Wanders by Chuck Wendig meets Contact by Carl Sagan. A really good mix of the apocalypse meets alien involvement. The characters are unique only a couple are annoying, by most in a quirky sort of way. The plot moves pretty fast and the more you find out is pretty interesting, every chapter digs more into the mystery. The finale is was really clever in what it means, I was kind of disappointed in the direction it was going but the book has a twist that totally redeems its self.

8: Later by Stephen King is a really fun ghost story, about a boy who can see ghosts and talk to them is it a gift or a curse. I would say it is the Sixth Sense meets combined with a short story he wrote in if it bleeds Mr. Harrigan’s phone, this story went in another direction and it was good. Later was part of the Hard Case Crime series, that not really a series but more of a style of books. This is my fourth so far and favorite. Later is a good fun ride that gets exciting and a little gruesome.

9: The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix is a slasher mystery, that uses a mash up up all our favorite final girls from the movies. It was fun to find out the girls origins and from what movie franchise they were from. The movie slashers depicted in this book are Halloween, Friday The 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Scream, and the outlier is Silent Night, Deadly Night. I like what was done with each character, and how these events were eventually made in to Slashers themselves. The dialogue is really fresh and flows so well. There’s a good deal of humor that lands for the most part. The mystery is good I don’t know if everything lined up, but it was fun.

10: Star Wars: The High Republic, Vol. 1: There Is No Fear by Cavan Scott is a lot of fun and high stakes adventure. This graphic novel makes up for one of my complaints in most books in the High Republic little to no action. This book is filled with action and light saber duels. This graphic novel is a page turner and over way too fast. One of my favorite characters from Light of the Jedi, Avar Kriss, who has been in the background of all the other books, finally gets back into action in this book and it was great. The heart of this book is Keeve and Sskeer and their padawan / master relationship is explored.

Top Five Books that Were Not Published this Year:

1: The Thief of Always by Clive Barker became one of my instant favorites books it is a wonderful modern day fable, yet the writing feels timeless. This story has so much heart, you can’t help but feel for the characters. The writing is really good very poetic, one of the best first lines to a story in a long time. When I read that first line, I knew this was going to be a special story and I was not wrong. This story is very fast paced I read it in two days but could easily finished it in one sitting. The illustrations for this book are pretty perfect, they compliment with the descriptions perfectly, it made me think of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and illustrations done by Shel Silverstien

2: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune is wonderful, I only wish I had read this book sooner.  If Four Winds was my most emotional then this book was a close second. The House of the Cruelan Sea is a heartwarming Young Adult novel about intolerance in magical creatures the world misunderstands. This story is the themes of intolerance in the X-men comics by Stan Lee and Chris Claremont meets the odd yet lovable characters from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Rasom Riggs. This book is mainly Young Adult, but it brought up some adult themes that were refreshing, body image, LGTBQ issues, and Christianity. the LGBTQ characters are handled with care and love like I haven’t seen before, being gay is not a huge revelation and the book gets that gay people are actually all shapes and sizes.

3: Network Effect by Martha Wells a hilarious science fiction that delivers in action and comedy. Network Effect is Murderbot Diaries number five. This is the only full novel in the series with the rest being novellas. I have read and loved the character of Murderbot for 4 previous novels. The series has had highs and lows, I felt the formula was getting a little predictable, then Network Effect came out and changed the narrative making this book my favorite in the series so far. It took the best parts, intense action, witty dialogue, human interaction, and character growth, and expand them. The pace of this book is pretty fast it slows down a little in the middle but after intense scene after intense scene I welcomed the slow down.

4: The One by John Marrs is great science fiction, where a scientist has found a gene that links you to one over person on the planet that you’re supposed to be with, your one and only love. That scientist of course cashed in and makes it a website that you send your DNA to get the results. This premise gets black mirrored showing the horrors and doubt that can arise with this technology. It gets you the reader to wish this technology exist then shows the horrors that go with it. We follow five people that use the website, some with reluctance, some eager, and some with trepidation. What I enjoyed is that the stories all have twist some come right at the beginning, some in the middle and some at the end. So as one story will slow down another will have a huge twist and totally change it.

5: Basketful of Heads by Joe Hill is a great person at the wrong place and wrong time revenge thriller, with an added supernatural element. This graphic novel is bloody, gory, funny, and thrilling. The mystery of why the victims are chose is captivating, as our hero finds out every one who is involved in this murder plot of is it all about the money heist. The element that makes it interesting is the murder weapon, an axe, holds a power that no matter what is severed the person can live and speak, there’s a lot of decapitations where people keep talking at first it is horrific, but then it turns humorous.

2 thoughts on “Best Books of 2021

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