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21 Books to Read in 2021: Blogmas Day 8

Hello readers and welcome or welcome back to Blogmas day 8! Today, in no particular order, I will be giving you a list of 21 books that I really want to get to in 2021. Most of these books I have had on my TBR for a really, really long time, and I just haven’t got to yet. Others have been added just this year.

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No Exit by Taylor Adams

In 2020, I have dived into the mystery/thriller community head first. This is one I am dying to get to, but it is not available on Libby or Hoopla. I will have to buy myself a copy. I have heard only amazing things about it. I know it centers around a group of people stuck at a rest stop together. There is a kidnapped child stuck in someone’s vehicle inside a cage or a box and the MC has to find out who kidnapped them.

Synopsis: A brilliant, edgy thriller about four strangers, a blizzard, a kidnapped child, and a determined young woman desperate to unmask and outwit a vicious psychopath. A kidnapped little girl locked in a stranger’s van. No help for miles. What would you do? On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college student Darby Thorne gets caught in a fierce blizzard in the mountains of Colorado. With the roads impassable, she’s forced to wait out the storm at a remote highway rest stop. Inside are some vending machines, a coffee maker, and four complete strangers. Desperate to find a signal to call home, Darby goes back out into the storm . . . and makes a horrifying discovery. In the back of the van parked next to her car, a little girl is locked in an animal crate. Who is the child? Why has she been taken? And how can Darby save her? There is no cell phone reception, no telephone, and no way out. One of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper. But which one? Trapped in an increasingly dangerous situation, with a child’s life and her own on the line, Darby must find a way to break the girl out of the van and escape. But who can she trust?

One By One by Ruth Ware

This is one that I don’t really know what it is about. I know it is one of those mystery novels that takes place in an isolated location. I have read 2 of Ware’s book this year, and I am hoping to catch up on all her books in 2021.

Synopsis: Getting snowed in at a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world, especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a cozy fire, and company to keep you warm. But what happens when that company is eight of your coworkers…and you can’t trust any of them? When an off-site company retreat meant to promote mindfulness and collaboration goes utterly wrong when an avalanche hits, the corporate food chain becomes irrelevant and survival trumps togetherness. Come Monday morning, how many members short will the team be?

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

Recently, I read a horror sci-fi book by Seanan Mcguire/Mira Grant called Into the Drowning Deep, and I really loved it. In 2021, I am going to get to as many horror sci-fi books as I can. I heard this one is similar, because it takes place on water, or in water. I think sci-fi horror could potentially be one of my favorite genres of all time.

Synopsis: A thrilling, atmospheric debut with the intensive drive of The Martian and Gravity and the creeping dread of Annihilation, in which a caver on a foreign planet finds herself on a terrifying psychological and emotional journey for survival. When Gyre Price lied her way into this expedition, she thought she’d be mapping mineral deposits, and that her biggest problems would be cave collapses and gear malfunctions. She also thought that the fat paycheck—enough to get her off-planet and on the trail of her mother—meant she’d get a skilled surface team, monitoring her suit and environment, keeping her safe. Keeping her sane. Instead, she got Em. Em sees nothing wrong with controlling Gyre’s body with drugs or withholding critical information to “ensure the smooth operation” of her expedition. Em knows all about Gyre’s falsified credentials, and has no qualms using them as a leash—and a lash. And Em has secrets, too . . . As Gyre descends, little inconsistencies—missing supplies, unexpected changes in the route, and, worst of all, shifts in Em’s motivations—drive her out of her depths. Lost and disoriented, Gyre finds her sense of control giving way to paranoia and anger. On her own in this mysterious, deadly place, surrounded by darkness and the unknown, Gyre must overcome more than just the dangerous terrain and the Tunneler which calls underground its home if she wants to make it out alive—she must confront the ghosts in her own head. But how come she can’t shake the feeling she’s being followed?

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

This is a book I didn’t think I would ever read. I don’t remember what I thought it was about, but I learned it was about something different than I thought before. Based on the synopsis, it sounds like nothing I have ever read before, and I can’t wait to try it.

Synopsis: Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye’s decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into the spaces of her fantasy. In a complete metamorphosis of both mind and body, her now dangerous endeavor will take Yeong-hye—impossibly, ecstatically, tragically—far from her once-known self altogether.

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

This is an author I have wanted to read more books of for a long time. I have only read the original Shatter Me trilogy by Mafi, and I have wanted to get to Futhermore, the first in her middle grade series, for a long time. I am not a huge fan of the flowery writing in Shatter Me, but I don’t know if that translates to her other novels.

Synopsis: Alice Alexis Queensmeadow 12 rates three things most important: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. Father disappeared from Ferenwood with only a ruler, almost three years ago. But she will have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is Oliver whose own magic is based in lies and deceit. Alice must first find herself—and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Bashardoust is the author of Girl, Serpent, Thorn, which I read this year. This is her previous novel, which is a retelling of Snow White. I haven’t really read that many retellings of classic fairytells, but the ones I have, I have liked quite a bit. I really loved Girl, Serpent, Thorn, which is also a retelling, and I suspect I will love this one, too.

Synopsis:Sixteen-year-old Mina is motherless, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

Cinderella is Dead by Kaylynn Bayron

I first wanted to read this for the Brown Girl Book Club, but I couldn’t get the book anywhere. My library doesn’t carry many books by authors of color, and I couldn’t get the audiobook. If I still can’t get it there in 2021, I will just buy myself a copy. I get most of my books used or from the library in some form.

Synopsis: It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .

This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

I found out about this book a month or so before it came out. I was trying to search some POC authors who write mystery or thriller novels. Cole usually writes romance, but has published a thriller. The parts of the book community that talk about thrillers, horrors, and mystery novels, don’t talk about POC authors enough. I really want to get a copy of this book in 2021, as I think I will really love it.

Synopsis: Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo. But Sydney and Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, and the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised. When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney and Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil Degrass Tyson

I remember when the show Cosmos came out, not the original, but the NDT version, I watched every single episode. I recently decided I wanted to read some of his books. I think it might be interesting to learn a bit more about something new.

Synopsis: What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.

But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.

Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay

I have been thinking about reading this book and the next one back to back all year. I will eventually do this in 2021. I honestly do not read enough non-fiction, and I have wanted to try Gay’s books for a long time. Non-fiction is something I enjoy, but I don’t read that many in any given year.

Synopsis: In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman of color while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years and commenting on the state of feminism today. The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.

Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

I think this book is more centered around white feminism, and how POC women are commonly forgotten within it. As a person with a child, I am always looking to learn more so I can teach more. I think learning these type of things start in the home. Both this book and the last one is available at the library, but I want to own some copies, so I can tab them as I read.

Synopsis: Today’s feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. That feminists refuse to prioritize these issues has only exacerbated the age-old problem of both internecine discord and women who rebuff at carrying the title. Moreover, prominent white feminists broadly suffer from their own myopia with regard to how things like race, class, sexual orientation, and ability intersect with gender. How can we stand in solidarity as a movement, Kendall asks, when there is the distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others?

Apple: Skin to the Core by Eric Gansworth

I didn’t really notice how much non-fiction I have added to this list until now. This one is a memoir written in verse. I am starting to really love books told in verse. This one is by and about a Indigenous person. I need to read more Indigenous authors in 2021, and this is one that stood out to me the most.

Synopsis: Apple: Skin to the Core, is a YA memoir-in-verse. Eric Gansworth tells the story of his life, of an Onondaga family living among Tuscaroras, and of Native people in America, including the damaging legacy of government boarding schools—and in doing so grapples with the slur common in Native communities, for someone “red on the outside, white on the inside,” and reclaims it.

Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

I have recently been getting into adult fantasy, and this one has been calling my name. I know this fantasy has dragons, and I am intrigued to read it and see what it is like. I am still learning what I do and don’t like in adult fantasy, and I am ready to try this one out. I found out in 2020 that I need to physically read fantasy books like this, so I just need to get myself a copy.

Synopsis: The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine. Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

I have been wanting to read this book and series since I was a young teen. I didn’t really get into reading until I was twelve. I honestly don’t know why I have yet to get to it, but I have decided I WILL get to it in 2021, no exceptions. There is a boxset of the whole series on Amazon for less tan twenty dollars, and I want to get it.

Synopsis: Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal–including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.

Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want–but what Lyra doesn’t know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I really need to get to this series and King of Scars early on in 2021. I wanted to be caught up before the TV show comes to Netflix, but I am not sure when it is coming, and it might be at any moment. I read the Shadow and Bone trilogy back in 2019, and it is time to get to the rest of the books! Also, I know the sequel to King of Scars comes out in 2021, so that is another motivation.

Synopsis: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow

One of my goals in 2020 was to start reading a book by or about each president of the US in order. I still have yet to start doing it. I didn’t have a end date for it, I just wanted to start. I recently found a Presidential readalong, hosted by Rajathon, that starts in January doing this exact thing. Hopefully, I will actually do the readalong.

Synopsis: The celebrated Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of America. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one-volume life, he carries the reader through Washington’s troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian Wars, his creation of Mount Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention and his magnificent performance as America’s first president.

Despite the reverence his name inspires Washington remains a waxwork to many readers, worthy but dull, a laconic man of remarkable self-control. But in this groundbreaking work Chernow revises forever the uninspiring stereotype. He portrays Washington as a strapping, celebrated horseman, elegant dancer and tireless hunter, who guarded his emotional life with intriguing ferocity. Not only did Washington gather around himself the foremost figures of the age, including James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, he orchestrated their actions to help realise his vision for the new federal government, define the separation of powers, and establish the office of the presidency.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

I have no idea what this book is actually about, but I have had it on my TBR on Goodreads since 2012 or 2013. I think I added it because I liked the title. I feel like most people cover buy, but I title buy. If I like a title, I will read the book.

Synopsis: A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship–the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

A year or so ago, I saw the movie of this book. It follows a girl whose dad can read characters in and out of books and he accidently reads his wife into a book. This book within a book trope has become a quite common in books in the last couple years, but this book came out almost two decades ago. I can’t wait to read this book, and more books like it in the future.

Synopsis: One cruel night, Meggie’s father reads aloud from a book called INKHEART– and an evil ruler escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books. Meggie must learn to harness the magic that has conjured this nightmare. For only she can change the course of the story that has changed her life forever.

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

I started the audiobook for this one a year or two ago, and I just never finished it. I really don’t remember how much I read, but I know it wasn’t much. It is a middle grade historical fiction. I do remember the main character’s sister joining the Hitler Youth, but not much else. I would also love to get to her book Esperanza Rising next year, too.

Synopsis: Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.

Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

I am not big on sci-fi, but I have wanted to read this based on the mixed media aspect. I have yet to read a book like that, which I didn’t like. I have just yet to get a physical copy from a library or buy a copy myself. I will, hopefully, get to it in 2021.

Synopsis: This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra — who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

In 2019, I took a world literature class in college, and I discovered that I really love French classics. I have owned a copy of Les Misérables by Hugo since 2013, and I never thought I would read it. In the last two weeks of 2019, I smashed through that book and intended on reading more his books this year, but I haven’t. This book is less than half the length of Les Mis and I need to get to it in 2021!

Synopsis: This extraordinary historical novel, set in Medieval Paris under the twin towers of its greatest structure and supreme symbol, the cathedral of Notre-Dame, is the haunting drama of Quasimodo, the hunchback; Esmeralda, the gypsy dancer; and Claude Frollo, the priest tortured by the specter of his own damnation. Shaped by a profound sense of tragic irony, it is a work that gives full play to Victor Hugo’s brilliant historical imagination and his remarkable powers of description.



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