Book List: My Top Five Books of 2021

Book List: My Top Five Books of 2021

I won’t lie, I’m at a total loss for book list ideas these days! And it occurred to me this morning that I could present my five very favorite books ever…

…but then I realized that is a literally impossible task. Instead, may I present to you: my top five books of 2021!

2021 was actually a very slow reading year for me, so I don’t have much to pick from…and therefore it shouldn’t be as hard to pick only five, right?

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This one easily tops my list. I don’t typically read what’s new and popular (not in like, a hipster sense…I’m not snooty about it, it just usually doesn’t interest me the way my niche favorites do!) but Daisy Jones is quite the exception. And this 70’s band saga is even better on audio: the full cast, the added music – it’s a production, it’s art. I loved it. Not to mention, the Fleetwood Mac connection…I still recommend this gem to everyone who asks for recs! See my full review here and get your copy here (or from Libro.fm!).

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Hazelwood is easily my favorite debut author of recent times – she nailed the romantic comedy in a way I haven’t seen from other authors in years, easily. The Love Hypothesis drags in just about every awkward trope you can think of, and I couldn’t quite stop laughing or cringing or crying the whole way through. I read it in just one night; I couldn’t put it down (the same of her newest, Love on the Brain, coming in July). Love, love, loved it. See my full review and get your own here.

Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson

Nothing had me laughing out loud and simultaneously crying last year quite like Broken. This was my first ever Jenny Lawson read, but certainly won’t be my last – listening to this incredible book on mental health and the hysterical moments of Jenny’s life felt like listening to my ADD besties telling me a story. There’s a warmth and a wit to Lawson that simply cannot be replicated. Read my full thoughts on this one here and get a copy of your very own here (or listen on Libro.fm!).

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I know I was a little late to the party on this one, but I really, really loved everything about Mexican Gothic. The VIBE of this book is just, everything I want to exist in from approximately August-November (extended spooky season, for anyone who knows what’s up). And I loved Moreno-Garcia’s writing so much, I went out and bought Velvet Was the Night almost immediately after, and loved that one too. While it wasn’t quite the story of Mexican Gothic, I knew I was hooked. I’m currently waiting not-so-patiently for The Daughter of Doctor Moreau. Get Mexican Gothic here and read my full review here.

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen & Owen King

I know, I know – I’m shocking even myself with this one! This was probably my most surprisingly enjoyable read of last year. It had been sitting on my shelf for maybe three years, and I finally decided it was time to crack that puppy open (it’s a mere 702 pages…so…maybe you can see where the dread stemmed from). But once I started, I honestly couldn’t stop. While it was certainly the horrifying, gruesome scene I’m familiar with coming from King, I was more impressed by just how much it left me thinking about. The concept, the choices that have to be made were thought provoking and could even be explored deeper. I like to think this would’ve been a very different book written by a woman, too. Get a copy here and read my full review here.

And guess what? Lucky for you, I have full reviews on every. Single. One of these books! Check them out!

As always, I don’t get any kickback from the links in this article – if you don’t want to shop with my (admittedly fabulous) local indie bookstore, shop with yours! Have an incredible weekend, my dudes.

Book List: My Favorite Horror

Book List: My Favorite Horror

Naturally, my second book list had to be my favorite horror novels! I read that perfectly odd combination of romance and horror on the regular, so my two favorite genres had to be my first lists of recommendations. This list will hopefully give you a great combination of amazing classics and new favorites.

The Whisper Man by Alex North

I read The Whisper Man years ago, but it stuck with me because of the eerie feeling that follows you long after you finish it. I felt the same way about The Shadows, which I read earlier last month. There’s something so perfect about the way it’s crafted. Mid-read, I was sitting on my couch home alone in the dark, and I couldn’t even stop myself from checking over my shoulder. It just gave me the creeps! North also has the masterful combination of supernatural and a horrible reality – his villains are real, but the magic remains. You’ll see what I mean!

Grab your copy!

The Mist by Stephen King

I read The Mist mid-pandemic. Which was a mistake…or possibly smart as heck, because it made it all the more terrifying. No, I don’t mean to relate COVID-19 to the mist that overtakes the small Maine town, bringing with it creepy creatures that eat people. Very different scenarios. Buuut…the townspeople’s reaction to the mist? Not taking it seriously? Risking the safety of others to hold a certain bravado? That hit hard. Almost comical to read, if it wasn’t so horribly true. Glad to know it doesn’t matter what the national disaster is, there will always be non-believers and cynics.

While this is one of King’s shorter novels, it’s one of my personal favorites. King is a masterful writer, but the more pages you give him, the more he feels the need to drone on about things I tend to not think are important. His shorter books (Gwendy’s Button Box, Elevation, Carrie) are my favorites. It was awesome, don’t get me wrong, but omg it took me like a year, if I’m being honest.

Order a copy from Gibson’s…but prepare yourself to cringe.

Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson

Hangsaman is one of those really weird titles I can only recommend to people once I get a good feel for what they read. Jackson was under-appreciated in her own time, which is a shame, because her writing is absolutely incredible, and Hangsaman, in my opinion, is her masterpiece. When Jackson writes, you sense it’s personal. Her books are raw with a feeling of being an outsider, wronged by the world, and it’s even more tragic to know she was very depressed and these works were truly her release. Hangsaman haunts me to this day. It’s a wild ride but it’s something you finish and immediately want to pick up again and reread because you couldn’t possible have absorbed it all.

Jackson’s works aren’t horror in the typical sense, but you will reach the end and feel deeply disturbed. Particularly with this one, practice self care while reading. Grab a copy here (and as it’s one of my personal favorites, be sure to get in touch and tell me what you think).

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

I feel like the natural choice of Grady Hendrix for this list would be The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, which of course, you should also read. But no one picks up My Best Friend’s Exorcism first, which is a darn shame! The girl power, the perfect capture of an 80’s nostalgia vibe, and the utter creepiness of this novel are an amazing blend. It feels like Stranger Things meets The Exorcist, and I can’t recommend it enough. It was my first Hendrix, and sure as heck not my last. Hendrix is a master, and as we all know, one of my absolute favorite authors of both horror and just in general!!

Order yours here.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Did you like The Haunting of Hill House? The show, not the (also amazing) book by Shirley Jackson. Then you need to read Home Before Dark. It has the same vibe, and it made my skin prickle with the creepiness of it. I love a good haunted house, and this book does it perfectly. Sager has a knack for making you afraid of what lurks around every corner. I’m a pretty dedicated reader of his by now, and you can certainly catch me with every new publication. Home Before Dark was the book that got me hooked, and it still remains my favorite! Everything Sager writes reads like a horror movie you’re watching unfold on screen, and being a horror movie fan as well (of course!), I simply can’t resist.

Get your copy from Gibson’s here.

The awesome thing about this list is that I can easily recommend not just these titles but the authors themselves. If you’re a horror lover, of both the classics and these modern marvels, these are my go-to authors. Are you a horror lover? Have you read the titles on my list? What would make it on yours?

Have an awesome weekend, peeps. 🙂