The 49 books I read in 2021
& things I learned about myself while reading these books.
I surpassed my goal of reading 44 books this year! Go me. I'm super excited to have fallen in love with reading again, and have kept up my avid reading (and listening) the past few years.
Here are a few things I've learned from reading in 2021:
I’ve fallen in love with fiction all over again. I was very much someone who read every single self-help book, setting aside fiction. But I learned more about the world, and myself in reading fiction than in spending the year reading self help. I was reminded that I want to, above all else be a novelist, and move people in the way so many of these authors did to me. Not only captivate and entertain, but the best stories are the ones that live so deeply in my heart, inspiring me, breaking me, showing me pieces of me in a character, understanding humanity, and being reminded that we don’t know what’s going on in others’ heads. Everyone has a story, everyone has wounds or traumas. We don’t always agree with the characters, we don’t always agree with what happens in life. But we learn, survive, and thrive despite it. I won’t stop reading self-help books, but, I just am reminded that so many of the characters I loved so much were deeply flawed, so very imperfect. That I force myself to live according to these perfect nearly unattainable standards, and that that isn’t the meaning of life.
I found that most of my favorite books were books I never thought I’d like. So I tried all new ones. Recommendations from articles, from book clubs, from my team. This was a fantastic reminder to try new things, to step out of your comfort zone as you might fall in love with something unexpected! I don’t stick to books, or force them if I don’t like quickly. If they don’t grab me, then it’s onto the next. There are so many books to fall in love with. Life is too short to be uninspired by what you read.
Audiobooks are lifeeee. Especially for a busy girl like me. I would absolutely been unable to read this many books if it weren’t for audiobooks. So thanks to Libby and Audible for being the best invention ever.
On Women’s Lit aka romance. I began to read a lot of romance (but not like the Fabio romance or Romance they sell at the grocery store) as it’s a big part of my job. Before, I would only allow myself to indulge in that kind of reading when I was on vacation. (I’d only let myself read literature * that sentence should be read while holding a cup of tea with a pinky out.*) Now I find that the genre has changed, or maybe has had a negative stigma around it, and there’s a lot of great written romance stuff out there. It’s not my favorite genre, but I do really enjoy it. Moral of bringing this up. Do, read, be whatever makes you happy!
⭐️ 1 star means it was okay, and I wouldn't read it again.
⭐️⭐️ 2 Stars means it was good but not my cup of tea.
⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 means I enjoyed it and recommend it for fun.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️4 stars means it was powerful and you should read it.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️5 stars means it was life changing, I loved it, and you must read it.
So here, without further ado, are the books I’ve read from most recent to least!
49. Lucky – Marissa Stapley fiction
It’s an interesting premise, and is well written, it held my attention, but to me this book was over raided. I totally wanted more. Everyone’s reading and raving about it, and don’t get me wrong there’s nothing bad or wrong with the book, but it didn’t move me in the way I normally want when reading.
48. The Healing Code - Alexander Loyd and Ben Johnson
I feel I manifested this book into my life. I’d wanted a miracle “something” that could heal me, thru faith and energy, and this is just it. This book is pure magic. Everyone should read this to heal.
47. Three Women - Lisa Taddeo fiction
Goodness gracious, when I tell you that a story moved me… Reading both of her books this year had a powerful impact on me. Not only is she an incredible writer, but she’s able to transform subjects with great sadness with captivation, truth, and beauty. Three Women, was a non fiction story told about women who endured different forms of abuse. Really mind opening, and you can really feel for these women. As a reader, you understand these women, and though maybe you may not always be able to relate to these victims, you feel for them. Powerful story. Couldn’t put it down.
46. Just Haven’t Met You Yet - Sophie Cousens fiction
A rom com in the truest sense of the word. It’s good, it’s cute. Slow start, but I recommend it. Well, written structurally, and I didn’t want to put it down. It’s worth it. I enjoyed it way more than I expected.
45. One True Loves - Taylor Jenkins Reid fiction
The premise is good, you feel for the characters as you always do in her books. I wasn’t left entirely over the moon like I am with her other books, but it doesn’t mean it still wasn’t written well. Which it was. It’s like the notebook turned on its head, plus maybe just as heartbreakingly bittersweet.
44. Maybe in Another Life -Taylor Jenkins Reid fiction
I love the kind of story structure with two alternate realities happening simultaneously. I very much enjoyed it. Worth the read.
43. One Last Stop - Casey McQuiston fiction
This story was well written, but it took me months to read. It had captivating info, but I think it took too long to get to the point. I just prefer a faster pace. The story is worth reading, cute woman on woman love story, with interesting concepts.
42. The Love Hypothesis – Ali Hazelwood fiction
Um… Okay super cute love story. I love both characters. And the setting around a science lab gives it a different feel. Cute debut novel, I enjoyed it so much. I’ll definitely be buying her other novels!
41. How to get what You Really, Really, Really, Really Want by Dr. Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra
Yes, this is actually the title. Amazing and life changing, and I love it.
40. The Midnight Library - Matt Haig fiction
Ah! The concept was so incredible. But it was a bit sad throughout. And I’ve read a lot of sad novels that really moved me. This one definitely had a solid ending. Though I still think it’s worth the read, and I’ll definitely read the author’s other book. I’d give it a 3.5 stars
39. Apples Never Fall - Liane Morarity fiction
One of my favorite writers. This book was good, but definitely not her best. It was intriguing, I enjoyed it, but I felt it had a slow start. I find a lot of her other stuff to be better. I enjoyed it, and am still looking forward to reading her other novels. Admittedly, I’ve read most of them and look forward to them.
38. Hemingway On Writing
I got one bit of great advice, that I felt might have been worth the time I spent reading the rest. But it felt a little boring for me to read.
37. You Can Heal Your Life - Louise Hay
Incredibly insightful. Written by the queen of self help. I find myself returning back to it often.
36. Manifest Your Destiny – Dr. Wayne Dyer
I call him Dr. Grandpa because I’ve adopted him as my imaginary grandpa. His stuff is probably the most insightful and profound, and easy to understand that I’ve ever read. Yes, he’s incredible. Be like me and read all his stuff.
35. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid fiction
Favorite author alert. I’m actually obsessed with Taylor Jenkins Reid. I fell in love with her books starting when I read Daisy Jones, more on this book later, but she is just such an incredible writer. Her story takes place in the Hollywood golden era, and writes setting beautifully and masters her characters. Must read.
34. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid fiction
This is maybe my second favorite book of the year. After another book by her. It was such a beautiful love letter to LA, specifically Malibu. But her stories are so enjoyable, and sweet a beautiful mixture of what it’s like to be in LA, and the destruction of what fame can do to a person, a family. Reid beautifully handles language, family trauma, burdens, and resurrections in such a captivating way. I could read this book over and over again. Just marvelous.
33. The Ex Hex - Erin Sterling fiction
I liked it at the beginning, and felt it had potential, but the execution wasn’t the best.
32. We Were Never Here - Andrea Bartz fiction
WOW talk about spooky. This was a really good. Two besties, traveling the world together… until dot dot dot. You must read it! A suspense, thriller. Couldn’t put it down.
31. There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem - Dr. Wayne Dyer
This man can do no wrong. I'm reading all of his books because he's so brilliant, and I feel like he has all the secrets to the universe.
30. What The Hex – Alexis Daria fiction
Cute and fun, lots of romance.
29. A lot Like Adios – Alexis Daria fiction
Her books are so much fun! I can't wait for the next one to come out! Such a fun rom-com, with a couple that you just want to be together. It's also so rooted in Latinx culture, and family values, I totally felt I could relate to that. Made me so happy to see that, FINALLY! THEY'RE LIKE ME! Loved it. SO good. This is why representation matters. And also, it was so well written!
28. LA Weather - María Amparo Escandón fiction
It was nice see an affluent Mexican American family. Because I often feel that often Latinx aren't portrayed in that way, then I can't relate when it's a story filled with financial struggle, since it wasn't my truth though it may have been my parents. Anyway, the book followed three daughters and their parents and the dramas of their life, and how vastly different each of their worlds are. I want more books about this family. It was so well done, just thinking about it makes me want to reread it.
27. 10 secrets for success and Inner Peace – Dr. Wayne Dyer
1) Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing
2) Don't die with your music still in you
3) You can't give away what you don't have
4) Embrace silence
5) Give up your personal history
6) You can't solve a problem with the same mind that created it
7) There are no justified resentments
8) Treat yourself as if you already are what you'd like to be
9) Treasure your divinity
10) Wisdom is avoiding all thoughts that weaken you.
And his explanations were pretty great!
26. Animal – Lisa Taddeo fiction
OH MY. I love books that move me. And this one was just so captivating and super sad. But still so brilliant and thought provoking. Based in LA, which it seems many of my favorite books are. Beautifully written, and I loved every second of it.
25. 4 Pathways to Success – Dr Wayne Dyer
24. Daisy Jones and the Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid fiction
Favorite book of 2021. Imagine following a beloved rock band, and hearing every perspective of the story told through all band members. Written all in dialogue and somehow still you can see everything so vividly. I wanted to do nothing else until I finished this book. Normally, this isn’t my type of book, when I read the description, I really didn’t think I’d like it. I LOVED it. It’s a book I’ll forever carry in my heart. The book hang over was brutal, as in it was all I could think about for at minimum a week. I fell in love with the characters, with the music scene, it was just so perfectly done. I felt heartbroken about this one, and oh so moved and fulfilled. Fantastically done. Incredible novel.
23. Of Women and Salt – Gabriela Garcia fiction
Just devastating, but still captivatingly beautiful. A peek into a life of an unknown world of another country. I felt a physical pain in my chest from the heartbreak I felt while reading it. Made me sad. Stories like these need to be told. It was still brilliant.
22. People We Meet on Vacation - Emily Henry fiction
Cute, I love her books, not as good as her other one. But still, I really enjoyed this.
21. The Secret to Health – Rhonda Byrne
Audiobook. Powerful. I should have this on repeat.
20. Secrets of Your Own Healing Power – Dr Wayne Dyer
Dr. Grandpa does it again. I read this twice in a row, and it was just so incredible. Maybe top 2 favorites of his.
19. The Power of Intention – Dr Wayne Dyer
Maybe his best book ever? Hard to say.
18. Such a Fun Age - Kiley Reid fiction
SO GOOD. So many twists. Incredibly unexpected. A modern portrait on race.
17. Your Sacred Self - Dr. Wayne Dyer
Enlightening. All of his work is so life changing to me. I was reading The Power of Intention by him and he recommended reading this book. It was a quick read so I finished it first.
16. Beach Read - Emily Henry fiction
Best Rom-com I've read in a long time. Maybe ever? It was so well done. Two authors, two beach houses, two heart wrenching paths, one happy ending.
15. Everything After - Jill Santopico fiction
I liked it, I just wish the ending would have been different. I believe most women would have liked the ending. But I don't like traditional or safe women characters. I want us to risk it all!
14. Northern Spy - Flynn Berry fiction
IRA. Yes as in Irish Republican Army. It was good, made me want to explore more fictional titles on the IRA. Funny, I wanted a bit more romance in it because you get a glimpse of an opportunity with the main character and an agent where it seems there could be something more. But this is more of a sisterly love, love of the country. Still worth the read.
13. The Girls are All So Nice Here - Laurie E Flynn fiction
Such a great book! The murder, the intrigue, flashes to college life then the college reunion. GAH! I loved it. It was so well written.
12. Empty out the Negative - Joel Osteen
One can never go wrong with Joel.
11. Untamed - Glennon Doyle fiction
The whole world was raving about this story. I loved her first memoir, and thought I'd give it a shot. Definitely one of my favorite reads this year. Such a sweet and real human. I learned oh so much from it.
10. Conversations with God Part 3
Must read. That is all.
9. How to Do the Work - Dr. Nicole LePera
One of the best books. Must read. I need to read it again. It's all about healing childhood traumas and how we're shaped into who we are by our traumas. Oh was I triggered? For sure, but I released a lot, and I have learned to embrace others and see them as their child self, in their wounds and loving and accepting them for it. Great, phenomenal read.
8. The Client List - Lucy Foley fiction
LOVED IT! Was captivated the entire time. Endings are hard. It's hard for everyone to feel satisfied by an ending. I'm an especially tough critic so though I may have done something different with the ending, there were many twists. And it's so worth the read. Actually, I know what my issue was with the ending... it felt rushed and I wanted to stay in the moment longer. So this one I applaud.
7. The Magic - Rhonda Byrne
May have already read this at least two or maybe three times this year. It's a 28 day gratitude practice. It's beautiful and life altering in every positive way.
6. The Secret to Relationships - Rhonda Byrne
She has the secrets of the universe and she wishes to share them with us. It's marvelous.
5. The Greatest Secret - Rhonda Byrne
By the woman who first got me into metaphysics. It's all about awareness, which is a theme of this year for me. If you're open to the idea that we are all connected to the source, then this will make a lot of sense to you. If not, you might find yourself stumped. Be patient with it, she gives valuable information on it. I think it's worth everyone reading. (I believe I need to re-read it!)
4. Didn't See That Coming - Rachel Hollis
I really enjoyed her other ones. This one all I could remember was thinking, "How could she not see it coming?" in her first book it sounded like all she made excuses for her boyfriend turned husband who didn't seem like he treasured her in the beginning and instead she forced it... and this one is about her divorce and how she could choose herself, and how to handle things that are thrown at you. (I did learn to follow my gut with men from this because I felt it when I was reading the first book!) I don't think I'm in the target demographic for this one, but I think an older audience would relate to it more than I did. (But hey! I still learned something!)
3. This Time Next Year - Sophie Cousens fiction
A super cute Rom-com. A British Rom- com which reminded me of Brigette Jones Diary. It was fun, cute and quirky. A tale as old as time, however, it was done well. I was entertained, and found myself rooting for the main characters. Many times I have my issues with books-- after all I am a writer, and I create stories all day long, every single day-- so I am a tough critic. This one was very enjoyable!
2. Conversations with God Part 2
Never has a trilogy moved me as much as this one. (I didn't read Lord of The Rings, I only watched it... so my statement still stands. I feel that everyone should own all three of these books, and go through them with a highlighter and post it notes. Oh so many gems. I have notes all over my phone that I pulled from these books. I guess I can only describe it in one way; Life Changing.
1. Think Like a Monk - Jay Shetty
I had to really be open and receptive for this one. It took me a while to get into it, which only told me one thing: it wasn't my time to read it. You'll often time that when you can't read something, or grasp something-- don't force it. Instead allow yourself to move onto something else until you feel called to read that. It just means you weren't aligned, aka not supposed to read it at that time because you weren't going to grasp all of its treasures. I highly recommend it.