Posted in Books and Shows

December Books +TOP 5 Books of 2021

Hello! Today is one of my favorite posts of the year. I’m sharing my Christmas reads in December as well as the Top 5 books that I read in 2021.

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To me, there’s nothing better than a good book. With the hustle and bustle of each day, I try to find some quiet time to read. It’s a gift to find that time and so special to find a book that I enjoy.

December Books:

As with the past couple of years, I read Christmas books in December. I really enjoy doing this, and I think reading these types of books helps me appreciate the holiday season.

This month I read:

{As always, book summaries are from Goodreads…}

Per usual, I’m sharing the summary, but as far as the “quick comments” are concerned, really, I enjoyed all the books I read this month. They are all 4 or 5 stars! I do think my order of preference would have to be: The Holiday Swap followed by The Twelve Dates of Christmas and then A Nantucket Christmas.

A Nantucket Christmas:

Summary:

Holidays on this Massachusetts island are nothing short of magical, from the jolly decorations on the Brant Point lighthouse to the much anticipated Christmas Stroll, in which merrymakers promenade through quaint streets adorned with Yuletide cheer. The season’s wonderful traditions are much loved by Nicole Somerset, new to Nantucket and recently married to a handsome former attorney. Their home is already full of enticing scents of pine, baking spices, and homemade pie.
 

But the warm, festive mood is soon tempered by Nicole’s chilly stepdaughter, Kennedy, who arrives without a hint of holiday spirit. Determined to keep her stepmother at arms’ length—or, better yet, out of the picture altogether—Kennedy schemes to sabotage Nicole’s holiday preparations. Nicole, however, is not about to let anyone or anything tarnish her first Christmas with her new husband.
 
Nancy Thayer’s wonderful tale reminds us that this is the season of miracles. Before the gifts are unwrapped, surprise visitors appear, and holiday joy comes to all, both naughty and nice.

Rating:

The Holiday Swap:

Summary:

When chef Charlie Goodwin gets hit on the head on the L.A. set of her reality baking show, she loses a lot more than consciousness; she also loses her ability to taste and smell–both critical to her success as show judge. Meanwhile, Charlie’s identical twin, Cass, is frantically trying to hold her own life together back in their quaint mountain hometown while running the family’s bustling bakery and dealing with her ex, who won’t get the memo that they’re over.

With only days until Christmas, a desperate Charlie asks Cass to do something they haven’t done since they were kids: switch places. Looking for her own escape from reality, Cass agrees. But temporarily trading lives proves more complicated than they imagined, especially when rugged firefighter Jake Greenman and gorgeous physician’s assistant Miguel Rodriguez are thrown into the mix. Will the twins’ identity swap be a recipe for disaster, or does it have all the right ingredients for getting their lives back on track?

Rating:

The 12 Dates of Christmas :

Summary:

When it comes to relationships, thirty-four-year-old Kate Turner is ready to say “Bah, humbug.” The sleepy town of Blexford, England, isn’t exactly brimming with prospects, and anyway, Kate’s found fulfillment in her career as a designer, and in her delicious side job baking for her old friend Matt’s neighborhood café. But then her best friend signs her up for a dating agency that promises to help singles find love before the holidays. Twenty-three days until Christmas. Twelve dates with twelve different men. The odds must finally be in her favor . . . right?

Yet with each new date more disastrous than the one before–and the whole town keeping tabs on her misadventures–Kate must remind herself that sometimes love, like mistletoe, shows up where it’s least expected. And maybe, just maybe, it’s been right under her nose all along. . . .

Rating:

Recap of Books 2021:

This year, felt like a weird reading year. I did read so many good books…It’s more that I think I spent so much of this year feeling tired. There were nights that I couldn’t even keep my eyes open or the school day was so crazy that I just wanted to watch mindless TV instead of sitting down with a book.

That being said, reading is still one of my favorite past times, and I still enjoy having an ongoing “to be read” list!

My 2021 Reads:

January:

  • American Dirt
  • Make Life Beautiful
  • What Happens in Paradise
  • Piece of My Heart

February:

  • The Lies that Bind
  • A Hope More Powerful than the Sea
  • Troubles in Paradise

March:

  • We Were the Lucky Ones
  • Layla
  • The Giver of Stars

April:

  • The Push
  • Firefly Lane
  • Little Disasters

May:

  • The Wife Upstairs
  • The Hurricane Sisters
  • Where the Red Fern Grows

June:

  • Good Apple
  • The Good Sister
  • Girls of Summer
  • The Last Thing He Told Me
  • Here’s to Us

July:

  • Open Book
  • We Were Liars
  • The Cave Dwellers
  • The Summer House
  • Malibu Rising

August:

  • Local Woman Missing
  • Golden Girl
  • The Four Winds

September:

  • Yoga Pant Nation

October:

  • The Wrong Family
  • One Day You’ll Thank Me
  • Of Mice and Men

November:

  • Not a Happy Family
  • Christmas in Peachtree Bluff
  • The Girls in the Stilt House

December:

  • A Nantucket Christmas
  • The Holiday Swap
  • The Twelve Dates of Christmas

Top 5 books of 2021:

I really had a hard time choosing some of my Top 5 books because quite a few stood out to me on my initial list.

Before I share my Top 5 reads of 2021, these deserve honorable mention recognition:

Here are my 5 favorite reads of 2021 in the order I read them…

American Dirt:

I started off 2021 with this (after light hearted Christmas books, I typically want to read something more serious in nature). I could not put this book down. I was on the edge of seat the entire time. This book had violence, tension, difficult decisions, and so much more. I guess I was reading this entire book thinking about myself as a mom. I can’t imagine what Lydia experienced on a daily basis while trying, above all, to keep her son safe and start a new life for them.

We Were the Lucky Ones:

This was another powerful read. I don’t typically read historical fiction, but this book hooked me from the first page. Set in Poland in 1939, I was immediately invested in what would happen to each member of the Kura family. This was a book of strength, of hope, of loss, and of survival.

The Giver of Stars:

My mom recommended this book to me, and I can’t believe I waited so long to read it. This was another historical fiction novel, set in Kentucky during the Great Depression, I loved getting to know this fierce group of women. Margery leads the pack horse librarians, and this book isn’t without sadness and strength, heartbreak and triumph.

Malibu Rising:

Those who read Malibu Rising seemed to either love it or hate it. I was clearly “Team Love It.” I read this book in July, and it was the perfect summer read. What’s not to love about California in the ’80s? The Riva siblings were all so different, and I love how the plot moved between the past and the present. This was a quick read for me, and one that I would definitely recommend.

The Girls in the Stilt House:

Well, The Girls in the Stilt House sure was a pleasant surprise. I hadn’t even heard of this book until Shay and Erika shared it on their podcast. It was available at my library, and I was excited to dive in. This story is set in Mississippi in the 1920s. I loved reading from the point of view of both Matilda and Ada. As I said in my November review, “This book had the loneliness of Crawdads, the heartache of Four Winds, the solidarity of The Giver of Stars, and the empowerment of all.” And I meant it 😉

This year…

This was the first year that I used the Good reads app to track what I read. I set a goal to read 40 books, and, well…that’s exactly how many I read!

I think I will set a similar goal for 2022. I never want reading to feel like a chore or something I have to do. Reading about three books a month is a good pace for me, knowing that I will probably read more in the summer months.

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Previous Top 5 Books:

In case you’re interested, here are my Top 5 books posts from the last two years.

I have one more post for 2021. I’m taking a look back on 2 0 2 1, and I will share that on Friday. Only a few more days until 2 0 2 2! That’s so hard to believe.

We’ve been having a great break. I’ve enjoyed sleeping in a bit, catching up on shows and movies, reading, and just having a more easy going schedule!

See you back here on Friday!

16 thoughts on “December Books +TOP 5 Books of 2021

  1. I think of the ones I read from your list my fave was Giver of Stars. I may record mine in 2022 but I think I read about 20-30 a year. I can relate to the being tired and choosing mindless tv.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It was. I loved American Dirt, too, but it is a hard and sad topic. Also, it’s too much like my day job. I want reading to be true escapism mostly. I think there will always be seasons where we read more and read less.

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  2. Oh wow, always great to stumble across someone whose reading list differs from mine. This way, I get to explore new genres that’s backed by good testimonials. I myself only remember two books that stand out to me this year (to be fair, I read slow), and that’s Project Hail Mary and A Little Hatred. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s a great list of books! I go back and forth about my goodreads challenge. I never need encouragement to read and I don’t read to hit a number, but I love the stats and the way they share your reading year with you. I have The Girls in the Stilt House on my shelf for January. I can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I started using it just to be organized with my lists…so this was the first year I did the challenge. I didn’t know what to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised to see some stats

      Like

  4. Clearly you and I have the same taste in books and so I will have to keep following along with your posts 🙂
    In fact, you listed a couple that I had previously put on hold and then never got around to reading so I will be happy when they circle back around in my library queue.

    Liked by 1 person

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