Design a site like this with
Get started

Top 10 reads of 2021

It’s the hardest time of the year. Picking just 10 favourites from all that I read in 2021.

In 2021 I read 155 books. 43 of these were five star reads. Although in choosing my top 10 there were initially two four star reads on the longlist – two books which stayed with me more than some of the ones rated five stars at the time of reading. Neither of those remain on the whittled down top 10 though.

I also excluded books I read in 2021, but which don’t come out until 2022. That seemed a fairly easy way to painlessly exclude some of the longlist, and they’ll get a chance for 2022’s top 10. I can definitely say watch out for No Less the Devil by Stuart MacBride, You Never Say Goodbye by Luca Veste and One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner though. All strong contenders.

The list below is only in the order I read them this year. Whittling down my longlist of 21 books to only 10 favourites was hard enough without also putting them in any kind of order, so consider this a joint first place group of 10.

5/5 Girl in the Walls by AJ Gnuse

I read this book back in March and it has stayed in my head since. As the pandemic has seen us stay at home more than ever before this idea of someone secretly living a parallel life to a family unseen within their walls feels even more powerful. My review.

5/5 Boys Don’t Cry by Fiona Scarlett

This is such a beautiful story. The writing was so rich I could hear the characters’ voices in my head. I really loved that despite the sad subject matter there is so much warmth and laughter in this book. My review.

5/5 Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz

Such a powerful message about focussing on who people are rather than their victimisation and not making their story about the person who killed them. My review.

5/5 The Forevers by Chris Whitaker

Also known as the book you’ll most likely have seen me recommending this year. As lots of people have been discovering and sharing their love of Chris’s We Begin at the End I’ve been suggesting they read The Forevers next. The powerful writing of We Begin, but with more humour and a more uplifting feeling (despite being about the days before the world ends). My review.

5/5 The Devil’s Advocate by Steve Cavanagh

So good I bought it in ebook, hardback and audiobook so that I could keep reading/listening wherever I was. The Eddie Flynn series just gets better and better. My review.

5/5 Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain

I love this book cover design. The alligator’s eye is a lovely detail every time I spot it. The richness of this cover is a real reflection of the wonderful richness of this book. Magical realism and a sense of mystery make this a truly immersive read. My review.

5/5 1979 by Val McDermid

For someone who grew up wanting to be a newspaper journalist (and achieved that ambition) stories about young reporters are always going to appeal. But, 1979 outdid all of my expectations and I can’t wait for future instalments of this series. My review.

5/5 Before & Laughter by Jimmy Carr

The only non-fiction and pure audiobook to make it on to this list. I have the hardback too, but listened to this full book and I think Jimmy’s delivery was a large part of my enjoyment of this. Part-memoir, part-self help book, definitely my favourite listen of the year. My review.

5/5 The Killing Song by Lesley McEvoy

Both this and the prequel The Murder Mile made it on to my longlist, but given they’re by the same author and part of the same series it was only fair to choose just one. The Killing Song just pipped book one to the post because of the advantages of reading characters you’ve come to know. My review.

5/5 The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone

Last read of the year and what a brilliant one to end on. Book two of the Skelfs series and the funeral director/private investigator clan are better than ever. Warmth, humour and excellent plotting. My review.

%d bloggers like this: