I just love books. Reading is my favorite hobby because I love stories, and it’s not unusual for me to be reading multiple books at a time. I always have a TBR (to be read) stack of paper books, and digital and audiobooks in my queue. I set my loftiest reading goal this year — to read 50 books in 2021. With summer well under way I am excited to share the best books of 2021 (so far)!
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My Best Books of 2021
Anxious People — Fredrik Backman
#1 New York Times bestseller, the new novel from the author of A Man Called Ove
I listened to this entire book in one “sitting,” (while I walked and completed two puzzles) because it was THAT good! The audio talent was an absolute joy to hear. I thoroughly enjoyed this.
This is a story of how a group of strangers, who are taken hostage during a real estate open house, band together and overcome a variety of emotions and baggage to become unwitting allies during the police stand off.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue — V.E. Schwab
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
USA TODAY BESTSELLER
NATIONAL INDIE BESTSELLER
THE WASHINGTON POST BESTSELLER
This novel has gotten TONS of praise and made many “Best of” lists from Oprah to BuzzFeed to NPR.
“France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever―and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.” This novel is unique and covers the adventures and perils a young woman experiences over the centuries she encounters a variety of characters, experiences and continents. And then one day, she meets a young man who actually remembers her…
The Four Winds — Kristin Hannah
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
USA TODAY BESTSELLER
WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER
“Wow. What a powerful and gut-wrenching story. I cried at nearly every turn. “The Four Winds” may be my favorite of author, Kristin Hannah, to date. She certainly thrives at historical fiction, and even with the small liberties taken in regards to event dates, Hannah paints a vivid picture of what it must have been like to live through one of the most difficult times in America – the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and subsequent migration from Texas to California in search of work.” *I received an ARC in exchange for this review.My GoodReads Review
The Nature of Fragile Things — Susan Meissner
Set in 1906, and centered around the San Francisco earthquake, Meissner’s book touches on the bonds of female solidarity and how love can help overcome great hardships.
Follow me on Good Reads
As you may be able to tell, I gravitate towards books that cast a strong female lead and share stories of overcoming adversity and I am a sucker for good historical fiction. If you enjoy these genres too, I encourage you to friend me on GoodReads where we can share reviews and book recommendations. I am always looking for books to add to my “To Read” pile.
My 4 Star Book Choices
I couldn’t leave you with just 4 books, now could I? The books listed above are my absolute favorites for this summer. In addition, I am loving these these 4-star picks on my best books of 2021 list as well.
The Music of Bees — Eileen Garvin
This book is getting lots of attention and making many lists for good reason. A great read about friendship (and interesting facts about bees) that will make you want to hug your own friends.
I loved The Music of Bees! This was Eileen Garvin’s debut novel and now I’m interested in reading her memoir as well. I feel like I learned a lot about bees and beekeeping in a way that was not overwhelming, but made me empathetic toward them in real life. The characters in this story were messy and endearing — I cheered for them the entire way through. This was a great summer read and I’m looking forward to future novels by Ms. Garvin! *I received an ARC in exchange for this review.My GoodReads Review
Jo & Laurie — Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz
A whimsical and fun re-imagination of Little Women focusing on the friendship (and maybe more?) of Jo and her neighbor Laurie. If you’re a fan of the Louise May Alcott classic, don’t miss this retelling.
I am side-eyeing everyone rating this book without reading it. 👀 I, like so many others, LOVE Little Women and have read it many times. I think the cover and description of this book is a bit misleading. It’s not so much a retelling as a fun examination of what could have happened in the middle of writing Little Women. I don’t like spoiling anything but I thought this was so well done. It was a fun reimagining and I enjoyed it!My GoodReads Review
The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba — Chanel Cleeton
A captivating novel inspired by real-life events and the true story of a legendary Cuban woman–Evangelina Cisneros. This one fed my love of historical-fiction with Cleeton putting a lot into her research. Part of a terrific series (to which I have read or listened to all!) and strong enough to stand on its own as a novel.
This may be weird but as I’ve listened to all the audiobooks in this series, I was missing Kyla Garcia’s voice in The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba. I listened to this book in one very long sitting (a flight from Atlanta to Hawaii) and enjoyed it. Though it wasn’t my favorite in the series, I enjoyed it very much and thought it was also good as a stand alone novel. I would’ve given it 3 stars but the historical accuracy and research Ms. Cleeton put into this book earns her an extra star. I look forward to more stories from this author.My GoodReads Review
Atomic Habits — James Clear
This book is NOT a novel but I found it so helpful I had to include it on the list. This book offers concise, applicable, and digestible tips for creating and breaking habits. I loved it and have already purchased two more copies for others.
This book offers concise, applicable, and digestible tips for creating and breaking habits. I loved it and have already purchased two more copies for others.My GoodReads Review
If you are looking for even more additions to your reading list, don’t miss these posts:
2020 Summer Reading List, 30+ Books to Read in 2020 and 2019 Summer Reading Book List. Or you can just click the BOOKS tab under Lifestyle above. In addition, keep an eye out for my larger “Books to Read” post, coming soon.
Thanks so much for visiting Love, Joleen today! Be sure to PIN this to your Books or Reading Board for when you need help choosing your next book.