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Books I Read and Reviewed in 2021 #BookReviews #NonFiction #YA #Memoir #TuesdayBookBlog

Books I Read and Reviewed in 2021

2021 was yet another year where I didn’t get to read as many books as I would have liked. However, the books I did read certainly entertained and inspired me.

I thought it would be fun to share a summary of what I’ve been reading over the last twelve months, and I’m going to start with my BOOK OF THE YEAR for 2021.

River Kings by Dr Cat Jarman


River Kings was by far my favourite book of the year! It felt like I had one foot in an insightful and fascinating non-fiction book and the other foot in a fictional saga.

Instead of being a string of facts, which can often be the case with historical non-fiction, Jarman builds a compelling story around a small Carnelian bead. She takes you on a journey of discovery as she tries to work out who the bead belonged to, where it came from, and how it ended up in a Viking grave in Derbyshire. The book may begin in Derbyshire, but the story reaches as far as Russia, India, and Constantinople.

Read my full review here:

I Am a Woman Who by Sandra Garlick MBE


To celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8th 2021), Woman Who launched their fourth book, highlighting women’s inspirational stories across the network.

There are thirty-one powerful stories in this edition, all from women in business willing to share their journey; the highs and lows, the lessons, and the wins.

Read my full review HERE.

Something Wicked by Tom Williams (#RBRT)


Something Wicked is well written with plenty of atmosphere. For me, it was a bit too deep into police procedure over vampire action. I had hoped for blood and gore, but instead, there was a hefty amount of ‘crime novel intermingled with historical fiction and politics’.

Read my full review HERE.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins


I loved this prequel to the Hunger Games as we got to understand Snow better and begin to piece together the reason he was the way he was. An interesting story with plenty of action.

Meet the Squibbles by Jay Stansfield


Meet the Squibbles is a riot of colour and quirky characters that any child will love. As this is volume 1, the book is more of an introduction to the range of characters rather than a story book. It starts with an overview of where the reader can find this eccentric cast of characters (at the bottom of Mr Pumpnose’s garden!), before bringing them all to life with colourful illustrations and interesting facts.

Read my full review HERE

Wild Shadow by Martha Dunlop

Fiction/Paranormal Romance

Wild Shadow is a standalone title by author Martha Dunlop. After reading Martha’s debut novel, The Starfolk Arcana, and loving the mystical and spiritual context, I was excited to see how the author would explore astral projection in this title.

Read my full review HERE.

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna


Strong female protagonists are a joy to read about, cheer for, and encourage. My own daughter has solid values and beliefs that have developed over time thanks to books like The Gilded Ones.

When I started reading, I could see the similarities to Margaret Attwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale with a strong theme of oppression and submission. It clogs your throat and adds pressure to your chest as you read the horrific acts done to young girls.

Read my full review HERE.

Writing Success. Unleash Your Potential by Susie Kearley (#RBRT)

Non-Fiction/Writing Resource

A great little non-fiction title that will become a helpful tool for writers interested in submitting freelance articles. There is plenty of information about tailoring your pitch, finding foreign markets, and a detailed chapter on how much to charge.

Read my full review HERE.

Paranormal Warwickshire by SC Skillman


When I started reading Paranormal Warwickshire, I was delighted to find the first entry was Guy’s Cliffe House, a beautiful ruin where my headshots were taken some years ago. The day I visited, we enjoyed a photoshoot and networking, and I was delighted to listen to the staff talk about the spooky happenings around the site. In this book, Skillman expands on the history of Guy’s Cliffe House and shares some of the stories that make this place so magical. I loved the inclusion of all the glossy photographs throughout.

Read my full review HERE.

Bolan Enjoys Music by Phaedra Elson


A beautifully illustrated children’s book that will bring joy to children and adults alike.

Bolan the T-Rex is an adorable dinosaur with a passion for music. He wants to have a go at all the instruments, but his tiny arms cause him a few issues!

All the illustrations are stunning, and Bolan is adorable. The images pop off the page and are full of character and fun. You can’t help but fall in love with Bolan and his friends.

Read my full review HERE.

8 Steps to Side Characters by Sacha Black

Non-Fiction/Writing Resource

Another cracking book in a series every writer should have on their bookshelf!

As with all the books in this series, I find myself skimming back over my published novels and analysing what I could have done better. Not in a (excuse the cliché), ‘head in my hands’ kind of way, but to grow as a writer and develop my craft.

Black has helped us decipher the anatomy of prose and held our hand as we took multiple steps towards understanding our heroes and villains. It was, therefore, a logical choice to include a book devoted to our side characters.

Read my full review HERE.

Go: One Woman. One Van. A New Beginning by Stacy Fischer


The author takes her reader on a physical journey as she navigates across 20 states and an emotional one. When she cried, I cried. I felt every emotion, fear, and excitement.

I live in England, so it was fascinating to see how different the US campsites and regulations differ from the rules and etiquette we have over here. I might have talked myself out of the entire trip if I’d had to wait for plates for my camper! The bear boxes would also freak me out a little. However, I could relate to that sense of freedom when driving on the open road and admiring the glorious views from a lakeside pitch.

Read my full review HERE.

The Unfakeable Code by Tony J Selimi


Anything that promises to help harmonise my world, free myself of judgement, and inspire me to live life on my own terms was always going to make it onto my must-read list.

The Unfakeable Code is no exception. Selimi delivers a fully rounded approach to life from a personal and professional aspect. As a fan of holistic living, this book was a delight to read.

I know my limiting beliefs come from my childhood and school years, but reading about the levels of thinking has helped me understand this better.

Read my full review HERE.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera


This title should come with a warning to invest in boxes of Kleenex. It’s well written with beautifully crafted characters. You already know the ending, but you hope with all your heart that it’s a lie.

Mateo and Rufus know they will be dead by the end of the day, but they don’t know how they’ll die. They both log on to the Last Friend app, designed to help deckers find someone to spend their final hours with. Some app users are also dying, and others donate their time to help support those who received the call from Death-Cast.

Read my full review HERE.

Hoglets’ Christmas Magic by Lynette Creswell


Who doesn’t love a heart-warming Christmas tale The author creates a beautiful story with delightful little characters. The themes include being helpful and caring, and there are stunning illustrations to accompany the text and delight the reader.

Read my full review HERE.

I’ve just completed Mini Habits by Stephen Guise and am now reading Dare to Do Nothing by Amy Minty which will be my first two reviews for 2022.

Let’s hope the New Year brings an abundance of fabulous stories and adventures. Stay curious and happy reading!

Wishing all my wonderful blog followers a delightful, safe, and healthy Christmas and New Year. Thank you for your ongoing support. Shelley x

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