2021 Reads/ Book Lists

Favorite Reads from 2021

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So I didn’t complete my Reading challenge last year like I had planned. I ended up playing too many video games instead, and my reading fell on the back burner. But I did read some, and thought I’d share some of my favorite books I read in 2021

What Jo Read in 2021

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

This book was so beautifully written. The prose was lovely, and I loved reading it. This is a slow paced adult fantasy with a multitude of characters and beautiful scenery. I loved the ambiance and atmosphere of the circus, the illusions, the magic, and enchantments. This is a slow read, but in this case it worked for me. I gave this one 5 stars.

This was a fun book to read, kind of a beach read. I was intrigued by Evelyn’s story. I loved her as a character. She has lived in the public eye, made some scandalous decisions, used her body to her advantage, and I still liked her as a character. I wanted to know the details of her life and why she chose Monique to write her story.
I did leave the book feeling a bit empty and forlorn. But overall I enjoyed the writing, the story, the characters, and I had a good time reading it. I gave this one 4.5 stars.

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.
But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

This was such a fun read! This was a mystery/thriller that kept me turning the pages to unravel more of the story. There was always something new to find out and keep me guessing or doubting. I enjoyed the characters. I liked reading of Pip’s perseverance, doubt, self discovery and triumphs. I enjoyed her and Ravi’s conversations and interactions. I listened to the audiobook version, and highly enjoyed it. The different cast and format makes it sound like you are listening to actual phone interviews and recordings. I did get some strong Serial vibes from this as it reminded me a lot of the podcast. The ending was satisfying to me and I am looking forward to more installments. I gave it 5 stars.

The Light Brigade: it’s what soldiers fighting the war against Mars call the ones who come back…different. Grunts in the corporate corps get busted down into light to travel to and from interplanetary battlefronts. Everyone is changed by what the corps must do in order to break them down into light. Those who survive learn to stick to the mission brief—no matter what actually happens during combat.

This was a fun, fast paced Sci-Fi novel. After a bad jump, Dietz starts living the war in a non-linear timeline. This causes Dietz to start questioning a lot of things about the war, time, and insanity. It’s a thrilling ride and I had to know where it was going. I gave this one 4.5 stars.

Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?

I didn’t truly know what I was getting into when I picked up this book. I was expecting a little more of a sci-fi/fantasy type feel, and I love reading books about parallel universes and such
What I got was something deeper and more emotional, and I should have probably read more of the reviews that mention trigger warnings of depression and suicide, because reading parts of it in the beginning were difficult.
As someone with depression and a history of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, this book was hard to read and brought up a lot of emotions in the beginning, and I almost couldn’t continue, because reading the first part of it left me in somewhat of a slump and hit a little too close for comfort. Some of the ways Nora uses to describe how she feels about herself are things I have felt about myself.. “I’m not useful to anyone,” “I’m a waste of a carbon footprint,” “I hurt people,” etc.
But ultimately I’m glad I stuck with it. It does end up being more uplifting as the story progresses. I liked the message conveyed through Nora trying to find that “perfect life,” each one she tried was appealing at first, but in each one she would end up wanting something more. That there is no perfect life, but there is beauty in the chaos. Parts of the story reminded me of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” but overall I liked reading about the things Nora learned along the way and glad I stuck through it. 4 stars.

Sometimes the only way to learn, is to live.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.
In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

This was an exciting read, and hard to put down. It’s thrilling, dark and gory. It’s a story of survival and magic, and the ugliness of an ultra patriarchal world. Handmaid’s Tale meets Hunger Games meets Lord of the Flies. Some of the things that happen in the story are horrifying and harsh.
The plot was gripping and fast-paced, and did a great job of making me feel various emotions throughout the book. I felt excited, frustrated, angry, giddy, apprehensive and horrified. There was a great mixture of characters throughout. And there were some things that ended up surprising me.
There was a little bit of a lack of world building and character building. The world building I didn’t think was as needed in this case, but I would have liked a little more character building. And the plot was very fast-paced, so some parts in the middle seemed a little rushed. But overall, the entertainment value was high for me and I enjoyed this one a lot. 4.5 stars.

I hope you enjoyed, and Thanks for Stopping by! Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts? What were your favorite reads from 2021?

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