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The Books I Read In 2021 with Mini Reviews

London, UK
nine-perfect-strangers-2021-book-reviewThis post contains affiliate links marked with [*].
My 2021 reading goal was to read 30 books and whilst I didn't reach it - I managed a total of 24 books over the past year, which is still an achievement in my opinion. I wanted to share a short recap of the books I read, similarly to last year (read my blog post: All The Books I Read In 2020 with Mini Reviews) with mini reviews of each.

To follow my reading journey this year, add me on Goodreads.

This was a book I started in December 2020 (with every intention to finish in 2020) but I only ended up finishing it in early January. I found this story so compelling - it was different to any other thriller I had read previously and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. At times I found it quite graphic and slightly uncomfortable to read but it made the story all the more compelling.

I didn't know what to expect from Dolly's first novel but I loved it! Ghosts showcases how life can differ between individuals who, despite being the same age, are at such different stages in life. Without giving too much away, I just loved how real this book felt and the lack of a traditional happy ending (which I often feel is too cliché) really swung it for me so I had to give 5 stars!

I found this story quite whimsical and magical in some ways as the book dips in and out of the main love story and ancient prophecy. To be honest, I didn't enjoy the whimsical aspects of this book as I found it confusing at times but I understand that it was an integral part of the storyline. Nonetheless, I loved the relationship between Isaiah and Samuel and how it developed throughout the book and I would recommend this book.

I enjoy reading YA, especially if I'm after something quick and easy to read. I appreciated the way this book varied between normal story writing, diary entries, emails, IM's and more (which I think can be attributed to the fact it's a YA novel). A somewhat predictable storyline which still leaves room for imagination, I finished it in a short space of time.

You get to the happily ever after pretty early on in this book (15 short chapters in) which ruined some of the romance aspect for me. It reads a little bit like a backwards romance. There was so much happening with minimal build up, particularly in the last few chapters, so much happened that wasn't expanded on which felt rushed and a shame. 

If you're from London, or have ever lived in London, then I think you will really enjoy and relate to this book. It captures the less glamorous aspects of life in London and serious issues like the rise in knife crime, whilst navigating through relationships, raising children and building a life in the city as a Black person. I enjoyed so many aspects of this book, it wasn't quite a 5 star for me but I would highly recommend it - especially if you're a Londoner.

Honestly, this wasn't for me. Made up of a compilation of short stories, this book talks about womanhood in a dark and at times false reality. 8 Bites was the story I enjoyed (for lack of a better word... the topic itself wasn't enjoyable but I understood and could somewhat relate to this). I wouldn't hide the fact that maybe I didn't quite grasp the perspective of these stories but I really struggled to get through them.

This novel is about two young girls, whose lives are completely turned around following the unexpected death of their father. Prior to reading this, I didn't realise just how much grief played a part in this book, it is addressed very early on and remains a constant theme throughout the book. Grief can be hard to write about and equally hard to read so I think Elizabeth Acevedo writes about it in a detailed yet bearable way.

A difficult read depicting the Me Too movement from a different perspective. Before My Dark Vanessa, I had never read anything from this perspective which is why I found this book so interesting yet harrowing at the same time. This book will make you think hard and question so many things.

At times I found myself struggling to grasp the fact that this was real, an auto-biography based on Tara's growing up - such an incredible woman who faced multiple hurdles growing up and despite all odds, made it through the barriers.

Having loved reading *Normal People back in 2019, I was looking forward to reading Conversations with Friends for such a long time and it did not disappoint. I rated this a 4 initially but I changed my mind and ended up giving this a 5 a few days later because I kept thinking about it! This book felt relatable and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

When there is a lot of hype surrounding a book, I often have very high expectations so if it's not brilliant, I'm disappointed which is what happened when I read My Sister The Serial Killer. After hearing so many people rave about this, it was high on my to-be-read but I was underwhelmed. It is gripping and I finished it quickly (partly because it's so short) but I expected more from it.

Telling the story of three generations of daughters living in the Middle East. As we trickle down the family tree, we begin to see how the lives of each daughter through each generation changes leading to every woman striving for something that the women from the previous generation didn't. Sounds confusing (blame my poor attempt at briefly explaining the storyline...) but it's an excellent read which I would highly recommend, especially if you haven't read books in this setting before.

A very slow start with this one and I feel like this story was just slow in general. Despite not being my favourite read, this book delved into topics and territories which I was mostly unfamiliar with and found interesting to read about.

I put off reading this because it's quite a big book (especially the hardback copy which is what I have) but once I got into it, I was hooked. This story sifts through family dynamics as the characters discover many hard truths about one another. I've heard differing opinions about this book but for me personally, I thought it was a brilliant read. 

I read this over the summer holiday thinking it would be a good, light read for the summer but I didn't enjoy it. I found this story to be too intense. However, I definitely want to read more books with same-sex relationships at the forefront as I haven't read many.

Predictable. You can pretty much guess where the story is going from the get-go and this continues after every cheaper. Nonetheless, if you're after a quick and easy read, this is perfect - just not the most gripping...

Friendship, love, unanswered questions and rekindled romance - this book has it all. It follows two Black novelists as they meet again unexpectedly and begin to rekindle their relationship. This story is about love, friendship and trauma. It navigates through the lives of both protagonists past and present.

I wanted to read this before the series adaptation was released so it was high on my summer TBR. Having later watched the series, I have to say I preferred reading the book so if you're torn between the two then I would go for the book!

Starting with a podcast, the main protagonists' life appears to be falling apart but she becomes obsessed with solving a true-crime. Fairly easy to follow along with this storyline although it did at times seem quite farfetched.

This was excellent. Profound. Heartbreaking. I actually find it hard to read and understand the struggles portrayed in books like this but honestly, this story was in equal parts heartbreaking and heartwarming. Whilst I may never understand the hurt and turmoil, I grew to love the main character, Adunni, and felt so sad for her struggles growing up and all that she went through from such a young age. 

This is a novel about the highs and lows of friendship. The three women lead different lives but continue to try and work on their friendships as they grow older and life inevitably changes. I find that I can relate to the women, whether it be directly or indirectly, which is why I enjoy reading books centred around female friendships like this one.

This was a fairly predictable storyline from the start but I thought it was really heartwarming to follow along on the journey. With that said, I'm not rushing to finish off the trilogy and I'm quite happy leaving Don Tillman (the narrator and main character in the book) here.

After a slow start, I sped through the final few chapters of Homegoing. I definitely enjoyed part two more than the first part which is why I gave this a slightly lower rating (it probably gets a 4.5 to be honest). I would recommend this to anyone who wants to widen their reading.

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I've set my reading goal for 2022 to 30 books again so we'll see how I do this time!

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