Last year was the year where I got even more involved in reading and this year, is when it became my safe haven. I used reading as a coping mechanism for my anxiety and depression; I used it as a way to turn off the television and put my phone down;

I used it as a way to engage in community. Books became my lifeline this year and I'm so happy about it! 

I went into 2021 wanting to read 60 books; I thought that was a good goal because I set a goal of 40 books in 2020 and read 50. Well, I hit my goal of 60 books on August 30th and am ending the year having read 86 books. 

I have never read that many books in a year and I did that all without listening to any audiobooks which are pretty crazy. I wasn't competing against anyone but myself but it feels like a big personal accomplishment. Most of the books, if not all, have been reviewed on the blog this year and I even started keeping personal records in a notebook right after I finish reading the book so I can review the books properly... it has helped immensely. 

Having read 86 books, it's very hard to narrow it down to my favorites.  There were so many books that thrilled me, kept me on my toes, and stayed with me long after I finished reading. I originally was going to make this a top five favorite book with some honorable mentions but I definitely think all of them are worthy of a spot on this list.

I won't be going into too much detail on each book since most of them have individual book reviews so I'll link them! 

Now I present, the top 10 books of 2021! 

The Family Plot by Megan Collins

I'm starting off very strong here...The Family Plot was by far, my favorite book of the year. It was released over the summer but I read it earlier in the year thanks to Netgalley. I flew through this crime novel and enjoyed every second of it. The plot is very meta: parents who are obsessed with true crime and named their children after victims of crimes, become victims themselves. It's mysterious, a little scary, and just kept me on my toes the entire time. Megan Collins is a genius and I loved her other book, Behind the Red Door

Read my review of The Family Plot. 

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

Alex Michaelides is the author of "The Silent Patient" which I read earlier this year (and loved!) so when his next novel, "The Maidens" was released this year, I knew it was going to be good. Well, I loved it even more than The Silent Patient! There are murders happening at in Cambridge and Mariana is convinced it's a professor, Edward Fosca. She is thrown into the investigation since her niece is friends with the victims. The journey Mariana takes besides Edward, Zoe and the other characters is outrageous and almost confusing -- you think you know everything until the rug is pulled out from under you at the last minute. 

One of my favorite parts of the novel was the realization that "The Maidens" takes place in the same universe as "The Silent Patient" and I lost my mind when I found out while reading.

Read my review of "The Maidens".

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

I was extremely late to the Emily Henry game and I have no one to blame but myself. "People We Meet on Vacation" is not overhyped -- it's hyped just enough! I read what it a classic 'beach read' in October but I loved it just the same. Centered around two best friends who are always taking vacations together, until one night, they crossed the line and now their friendship is fractured.... this book is about friendship, love, passion, travel; it has everything. It's also written beautifully and it was like Emily Henry reached inside my soul. Her writing feels similar to how Taylor Swift lyrics make me feel: how is it possible that someone I have never met knows what to say to me? With one book, I think Emily Henry is my favorite author.

*I cannot believe I didn't write a review of this... but I loved it so much and you need to read it1 

The Spires by Katie Moretti

Have you ever cried while reading a thriller? I have. Katie Moretti wrote one of my favorite books of 2020, "The Girls of Brackenhill" and she knocked it out of the park for a second year in a row with "The Spires". I received an early copy from NetGalley and couldn't stop reading. It hooked me from the moment it began and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire way through. There were twists, turns, multiple POVs, and old friends. Willa shows up on her old friend, Penelope's doorstep after not seeing her for decades... after someone died in a fire at the house they lived in (their house was a converted church). Throughout the novel, you see Penelope try to get a grip on who Willa actually is and why she's showing up now. Hidden identities, friendships, relationships... everything comes to the surface in The Spires and it was mind blowing.

I sobbed while reading the last few chapters and that has never happened with this genre of book and for that, I know this book is special. It's also one of the few 'thrillers' I think I would read again! 

*Ok, I realized I didn't write a review of this either!! What is wrong with me. I'm not a good book blogger, clearly. 

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Well, if this wasn't the book of the entire year! I don't know if a book has ever made me feel this way. I've read TJR before (Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, obviously) but I don't think I ever really 'got' her until Malibu Rising. I received an early ARC from Netgalley and once again, ate this book up in mere hours. It's the story of the Riva children and their parents, going back and forth from the 1980s and decades earlier. It's a story about family, depression, love... it's intense, light, and beautiful in so many ways. If you haven't read this yet, what are you waiting for?

Read my review of Malibu Rising.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

I put off reading "In Five Years" for a while and I'm not really sure why. It was a book that destroyed me from the inside out; I had dreams about it, it ruined my life in the best way. A lot of people don't think this book is worth the hype but I think it needs to be appreciated because it's a league of it's own. You start off thinking this is a fun romance where our main character gets a glimpse into her future but it definitely is not. It's mostly a story about finding your purpose in life, friendship, and taking a different path than you thought you would take. 

It's beautiful, perfect and hit me right in the feels. Rebecca Serle tends to do that to me.

Read my review of In Five Years. 

Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau

This is one of the first books I read in 2021 and immediately I knew it was going to end up on this list. I love anything French related, and whenever a book has ballet intertwined throughout so there was no doubt I'd love "Kisses and Croissants". It's a very simple, 'chick-lit', romance novel that felt a little YA focused but I loved it. It's an easy novel to read with a nice story about ballet, history, family, romance and life! 

Read my review of Kisses & Croissants.

The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

Megan Miranda is one of my favorite authors and she writes wonderful suspenseful, thriller novels. One of her more recent ones is "The Girl from Widow Hills" and I fell in love with it. There isn't too much gore and murder in this one but more mystery. Arden is the girl from Widow Hills who disappeared for a few days when she was younger and after the press seh got, she decided to change her name to Olivia and create a new life for herself... but now, something is bringing her back to Widow Hills and she can't figure out what. 

This is probably one of my favorite 'thrillers' of all time and my favorite Megan Miranda novel! 

His & Hers by Alice Feeney

I have not written a review of this book yet but I plan on it. I've had "His & Hers" on my TBR list for a while and finally read it a few months ago. It was the first Alice Feeney novel I read and now, I'm her biggest fan! This was a twisted book filled with murder, mystery and strangely enough, romance. When a young woman is murdered in a small English town, reporter Anna, is headed there to report on it... but then, things start to take a turn and everything goes awry.

The ending of this book is bizarre and the twists just kept on coming. I was surprised in the first few chapters when some hidden identities are revealed but the reveal of the true mystery and the ending threw me for a loop.

It is a definite must read! 

What were your favorite books of the year?
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