Hello to all my book lovers!!! It’s sometimes hard to pick out a book with SO many options out there, but I’m here to help & give you my true and honest opinions about the books I read in 2021!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I make a small commission if you purchase through my links. As always, I only recommend products or brands that I trust.
I started off the year reading one book a month, each from a different genre. I dabbled in fiction, mystery, autobiography, fantasy, self-help, and even finance!! By the end of the year, I somehow became a faster reader and started to read more books than one. And also, I kind of ran out of genres that I was interested in. So I just started picking out books that interested me and gave it a read!
The app Goodreads not only helped me explore books of all genres, but allowed me to easily track the books I read, rate them, and it kept them in a library for you to look back on. I also have a library for the books I’m currently reading and books I want to read! There’s a community aspect to it too, so if you have a Goodreads and want to connect, friend me at “Courtney Asbill”!
Below you’ll find all the books I read in 2021 with my review and a rating!! I hope you enjoy and find some inspiration on some good book recs!! 🙂
How To Love Your Life, Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze 3/5
The genre I picked for January was Finance. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Not the most exciting topic to start off the year with. But as a recent post grad, I knew I needed to educate myself a little on practical spending and saving tips. This book was perfect for that! It was relatable and laid out 7 clear steps to embrace your own life and have financial freedom. I felt like some parts were a bit far fetched and unrealistic as a college grad, but I liked the overall message and concept of the book.
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 3/5
I really wanted to like this book. While reading, I could see why other people love the writing, but for me it was just okay. The author has beautiful prose, captivating imagery and I liked the overall theme of free will and destiny versus choice. What didn’t work for me was how the novel switched from time periods and perspectives. For some books this writing technique enhances it, but with Doerr’s book it made it more confusing and felt like it dragged on. There are three different perspectives, and each one lacked complexity. We know at some point the characters would collide, but when they did it was quite anticlimactic. I’m glad I read it, and I know people who LOVE it, so I’d still recommend checking it out to see if it’s for you.
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey 5/5
Engaging, entertaining, educating, and hilarious!! Greenlights is Matthew McConaughey’s autobiography and it is worth the read!! I HIGHLY recommend listening to this one on audiobook since Matthew McConaughey narrates his own book. His storytelling is fantastic and the stories are nothing short of unique, funny and inspirational! I learned so much not only about Matthew McConaughey, but also about life through his eyes. Definitely recommend this book!!
A Way in the Wilderness by Victoria Becker 4/5
This book was gifted to me by the author, Victoria Becker. It is her debut novel and a self help book for the every girl. Becker uses her own personal experience to reveal the struggles of college stress, comparison and perfectionism, and how she turned them into purpose and peace. It’s a quick read filled with real first hand advice and encouragement.
28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand 4.5/5
Absolutely loved this book full of a slow burn complex romance!!! Set on the beautiful island of Nantucket, Mallory and Jake hit it off and soon become each others “same time next year.” The book follows their secret love affair for 28 summers… until Mallory’s son receives an unexpected note from his mother. This book seriously tugged at my heartstrings and left me feeling all the emotions. Hilderbrand is known as the queen of beach reads, and this one definitely adds to that title!!!
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides 5/5
I wouldn’t classify myself as a fast reader at all…. but y’all, I finished this book in 3 DAYS. And it is 325 pages!! It’s an intense and twisted psychological thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat the whole book. Alicia Berenson is a famous painter married to a professional photographer who have a seemingly perfect life. Until one night her husband comes home late from a photoshoot, and Alicia ties him to a chair and shoots in 5 times. Or at least that’s what they SAY she did, because from then on, Alicia doesn’t say anything (hint why it’s called the silent patient). She is put in a mental institution where criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber is obsessed with figuring out her motive. It’s shocking, complex and unputdownable!!
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman 3.5/5
I found this book incredibly entertaining and like no other book I have ever read. Labeled as a “poignant comedy,” Anxious People is a unique, unforgettable story about a bank robber, a crime that never took place and 8 anxious strangers that soon figure out they have more in common than they think. With a mix of hilarious and heartbreaking, Anxious People is sure to leave you feeling more compassion for the strangers that surround you.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig 3.5/5
The Midnight Library actually won Goodreads fiction book of the year! Anxious People came behind it in second place. I really enjoyed this read because the fantasy concept of it was fun and brought out my imagination. Nora Seed was miserable and depressed when she finds herself in the midnight library. Here, the books allow Nora to redo her regrets and live any life she can imagine. It started off slow and pretty dark, but then had a huge turnaround that I found uplifting at the end!
The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann 5/5
If you can breathe, you should read this book!!! Aka I think everyone should read this book at least once in their life. It’s a quick read with a very important lesson about the importance of adding value to others’ lives, which in turn will help you succeed in your own. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “Most people just laugh when they hear that the secret to success is giving…then again, most people are nowhere near as successful as they wish they were.”
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid 5/5
TJR has quickly become one of my favorite authors, and this book might even be my new favorite by her. Set in 1983 Malibu, the book surrounds the 4 famous Riva siblings and their legendary end of the summer party. Full of shocking secrets and scandalous drama, by morning the house is up in flames. Literally. I really connected to the 4 Riva siblings and the motherhood aspect of this book… maybe even too deeply. TJR had me crying so much!!! It’s fast-paced, compelling and captivating from start to finish with lots of twists and turns. I didn’t want it to end! TJR is an incredible storyteller and I cannot recommend her books enough.
#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso 2.5/5
This book was just eh for me. I found myself wanting to finish it fast midway through. Girlboss is an autobiography/self help/business advice book about the founder of the clothing brand Nasty Gal, Sophia Amoruso. It is a rags-to-riches story of how Sophia turned her wild childhood into being a accomplished girl boss. She is funny, her stories are interesting, but I felt like this book just wasn’t for me. She has some great advice for a certain target audience, but I didn’t feel like I gained anything from it except for entertainment and learning more about Sophia’s life which was quite entertaining.
The Defining Decade by Meg Jay 5/5
I recommend this book to any and everyone in their 20s!! It’s split into three parts: Work, Love, and The Brain & the Body. Meg Jay is a clinical psychologist who helps a lot of patients who are in their 20s. With TONS of research and statistics, Meg Jay brings insight from her personal experiences and her clients to explain how important your 20s are and how to make the most of them! And it’s not too late!! She answered so many of my questions and I still find myself referring back to this book for answers. Highly recommend!
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid 4.5/5
An glamorous and heartbreaking story that follows Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo and her rise to fame in the 1950s-1980s. I really enjoyed this book!! TJR did an incredible job of developing Evelyn Hugo as a character and truly made her into the continual fighter and intricate heroin she is. It was so fun reading about old Hollywood and all the behind the scenes of the juicy secrets. I gave it 4.5 instead of 5 because it was a little slow-paced at times and the twist at the end felt rushed when it needed to be developed more in my opinion. But overall a compelling and emotional story that kept me turning the pages!!
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover 5/5
I went into this book blind not knowing anything about it, and I recommend you do the same!! It was alluring from the start, powerful and profound, a mix of heartbreaking and heartwarming and just unputdownable!! Hoover writes in a way that I could just visualize it as if it were playing a movie in my head. I felt like I was in the book at times experiencing everything with the characters (which only made it more emotional for me!!). An unforgettable and moving story that I recommend to everyone. “Just keep swimming.” <3
Legacy by Nora Roberts 2/5
Wellll, I did not like this book. This was my first Nora Roberts book and it did not live up to the hype. I felt like it took foreverrrrr to get through and dragged on minus the last 50 pages… of a 430 page book. What I thought was a romance suspense story turned out to have only a few pages of romance and very little suspense. It ties in health and fitness which I thought I’d like, but it was portrayed pretty toxic and pushy. Ahhh sorry this review is so harsh, this book just wasn’t for me!! I gave it 2 stars seriously just for the last 50 pages of romance and suspense.
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah 5/5
This is Kristin Hannah’s newest 2021 release, and WOW it is powerful. This book was heavy, but equally astounding. It so beautiful portrays the struggles and hardships of the 1930s Dust Bowl era in Texas. I loved this book so much even though it drained the tears from my eyes and hurt my mama heart. A profound, heart wrenching, poetic, and unforgettable story that is WORTH the read.
November 9 by Colleen Hoover 3.5/5
A cute, quick and enjoyable read!! The concept of this book was similar to 28 Summers where two infatuated characters meet on the same day every year. I liked the captivating drama, passionate love story and Hoover’s ability to hook you into a book, but didn’t quite give it 4 stars for a few reasons. I found it more cheesy than romantic at times, and the writing sometimes felt jumpy and not realistic. BUT it was still a very entertaining, angsty and heartfelt read that I couldn’t put down!
The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand 3.5/5
This book was everything I was looking for! A little romance, a little scandal, a little mystery, all set on the beautiful island of Nantucket. With an unfolding murder mixed with juicy family secrets, this book kept me wanting more!! A whodunit story line combined with captivating writing made for a satisfying story. The only thing that I found confusing was how many characters and different POVs there were. I think Hilderbrand did that on purpose to aid in the murder investigation, but it was a bit hard to follow. I’d still recommend this book from the queen of beach reads!!
WHEW! That was a lot. 18 total books!! Thanks for sticking with me if you made it this far. I’d seriously love to know your favorites book(s) you read in 2021 in the comments below!!