Seven Books on my 2021 ‘to be read’ list

I thought I’d read a lot in 2020, whizzing my way through 17 or 18 books in 12 months. But the UK’s third national lockdown hit me hard, and I found myself turning to books to escape reality, and to fill the time where I was unable to see friends, family, or my boyfriend. I got into a steady routine of finishing work and picking up a book, instead of continuing to stare at a laptop screen. At weekends, I’d use daylight hours for blog photos, and when it got too dark to shoot, the books would come back out.

I read seven books between January 1 and January 24, and have found it a therapeutic way to spend my free time. Some of the below reading list books have been sat on my bookshelf for a while, others were Christmas gifts, and others were purchased by friends and followers from my Amazon Wishlist. 

As I continue to find solace in the pages of paperbacks, here are seven books I plan to tick off my reading list this year.

Ghosts – Dolly Alderton

I’ve seen a lot of love for Dolly Alderton books over the past 12 months, and Ghosts’ cover really hooked me. Described as ‘funny and tender’ I’m excited to dive in to the novel about relationships, family and memories. I’m sure after reading I’ll be picking up Everything I Know About Love, too.

The Blurb

Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he’s going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan.

A new relationship couldn’t have come at a better time – her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone’s moving to the suburbs. There’s no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who’s caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.

The Glass House – Eve Chase

I’m constantly scouring the Richard and Judy book club for titles to add to my to be read list – they often have some brilliant choices. I spotted The Glass House in Sainsbury’s and was certainly intrigued by the blurb. I’ve been reading a lot of crime and thriller books, and this story of life and death and mystery will absolutely satisfy that itch.

The Blurb

Outside a remote manor house in an idyllic wood, a baby girl is found.

The Harrington family takes her in and disbelief quickly turns to joy. They’re grieving a terrible tragedy of their own and the beautiful baby fills them with hope, lighting up the house’s dark, dusty corners.

Desperate not to lose her to the authorities, they keep her secret, suspended in a blissful summer world where normal rules of behaviour – and the law – don’t seem to apply.

But within days a body will lie dead in the grounds.

And their dreams of a perfect family will shatter like glass.

Years later, the truth will need to be put back together again, piece by piece . . .

Domina – L.S. Hilton

Can you believe I picked this up in Poundland? They have a surprisingly great range of books and CDs. I picked up The French Girl in there too. Set in Venice, I’ll be passing this one on to Ginger Girl Says when I’m finished. It’s been dubbed ‘sharp, sexy and intelligent’, with a Da Vanci Code vibe. I’ll be setting aside a quiet Saturday to read this in one sit.

The Blurb

Judith Rashleigh has made it. Living in luxury amidst the splendours of Venice, she’s finally enjoying the life she killed for.

But someone knows what Judith’s done.

Judith can only save herself by finding a priceless painting – unfortunately, one that she’s convinced doesn’t even exist.

And she’s not the only one seeking it.

This time, Judith isn’t in control. Outflanked and out-thought, outrun and outgunned, she faces an enemy more ruthless and more powerful than she ever imagined.

And if she doesn’t win, she dies.

Leopard Is A Neutral – Erica Davies

I don’t read a huge amount of non-fiction, but Leopard is a Neutral is a motto I’ve practically lived by for about three years. Plus, I love a great cover which sits nicely on shelves and in flatlays. It’s multi-functional. I like to call this kind of book a ‘coffee table book’ – the kind I won’t rush to read like I do with most. It’ll likely sit on the coffee table looking pretty whilst I dip in and out of it when in need of style inspo, stuck in a fashion rut or fancy a chapter between novels.

The Blurb

Erica Davies is here to help you reignite your love of clothes reclaim your style and ditch the archaic fashion rules and language that hold you back from your happiness. Grounded by personal stories and twenty years of career learnings as a fashion editor and journalist, Leopard is a Neutral offers practical advice on how to make bold, assured style decisions, harness the power of dressing and curate a wardrobe of joy. Erica unpicks the damaging framework we use to think about our bodies and confronts the negative pressures placed on women – encouraging us all to explore and celebrate our sense of self every day.

The Guest List – Lucy Foley

There appears to be a crime thriller theme going on…  Set at a wedding on an island, there’s no escape from the murder and the inquires that ensue. According to reviews, the victim’s identity is kept secret for most of the books, so as well as a whodunit, it’s a bit of a who is it, too!

The Blurb

On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.

Old friends.
Past grudges.

Happy families.
Hidden jealousies.

Thirteen guests.
One body.

The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.

All have a secret. All have a motive.
One guest won’t leave this wedding alive . . .

The Rumour – Lesley Kara

At this point, you’ll probably think I’m obsessed with books about murder. You wouldn’t be wrong. The Rumour explores the damage that can be done by gossip, full of suspense and paranoia, after a child killer is being hunted by a small town. What’s interesting is no-one knows who the killer is, but the reader will have insight into their internal monologue. As an inherent ‘solver’, I really enjoy these types of books as I work to try to decipher the information to get to the twist.

The Blurb

When single mum Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back . . .

Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in their sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea.

Sally McGowan was just ten years old when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.

So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives among them? How dangerous can one rumour become? And how far will Joanna go to protect her loved ones from harm, when she realizes what it is she’s unleashed?

Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid

A book about race, class and privilege at the very heart. Jojo Moyes said she ‘couldn’t put this down’, and I’m sure I’ll say the same after reading Such a Fun Age.

The Blurb

When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she’s actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer Alix, a feminist blogger with the best of intentions, resolves to make things right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix’s desire to help. When a surprising connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know – about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege.

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