• Laurel Anne

Books of 2021

My goal every year is to read at least one book a week--this year I just barely managed to finish my 52nd book on December 31st! Here's a roundup of every book I read in 2021.


Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson


This was my favorite book in the series so far. I cried about every 200 pages. Brandon's a wonderful world builder and his character development was incredible. He's also the king of plot twists! I loved every minute of it.


My rating: 10/10

Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie


There's a reason she's called the Queen of Mystery! I always appreciate it when I am actually surprised by something, because I see things coming a mile away. And it was fun, taking place during Christmas.


My rating: 8/10

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy


I expected something different when I originally read this--something with more of a storyline. Instead, this read like a collection of beautiful poems. It wasn't what I thought, but my thoughts have changed over time as I've processed it. I love the illustrations and quotes, so I think I like it more than I did when I first read through it.


My rating: 8.5/10

Godmothers by Lisa Bevere


I enjoyed it! It didn't actually fit the title, though, which made it a little confusing. I didn't feel like it was about or for godmothers as I read through it, other than the questions at the end of each chapter. But it was a good book about who God is and who we are in Him.


My rating: 8/10

Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie Hill Perry


I've been listening to and learning from Jackie for years, but this was the first time I'd read a book of hers. Her writing is gorgeous and her story is incredibly raw and powerful.


My rating: 10/10

That Sounds Fun by Annie F. Downs


I always love Annie's writing. One fun aspect of this book was that her followers were able to write in and she featured some names and short quotes in the cover pages of the book. Mine may or may not be in there! I really do love the way Annie tells stories, and her writing inspires.


My rating: 10/10

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce


I enjoyed reading this one! It was a fun, pretty easy read filled with action scenes and some interesting concepts. I do wish the author expanded on some things and answered a few more questions for the readers, but overall it was a super entertaining book.


My rating: 8/10


Winter: White and Wicked by Shannon Dittemore


It took me a while to decide what I thought once I finished this. I had the hardest time visualizing anything the author described, especially anything spatial. I personally didn't think she did that well. I did enjoy some of the world and mythology building, and the storyline was pretty cool (no pun intended). I'm not sure if I'd read a sequel, though. So it's not high on my recommendation list, but I didn't dislike it!


My rating: 7/10

The 3D Gospel by Jayson Georges


This was a quick but fascinating read about the Gospel and how it looks in different culture types throughout the world. The three main examples they gave were fascinating and I feel like I learned a good amount about culture as I read it. Really enjoyed this one!


My rating: 9/10


Queen's Shadow by E.K. Johnson


Y'all know how much I love Star Wars! When I saw the cover, I fell in love. Once I read it, however, I fell out of love. There were some plot points and world building I disagreed with as a SW fan, and it didn't fit in the universe. I enjoyed some imagery, what part of Padme's story could've been, etc. Just won't read it again!


My rating: 6/10

Dearest Josephine by Caroline George


I think I had different expectations for this book than what it ended up giving me. We read this for book club, and I was a little bit disappointed in the end. It was entertaining in some parts, but really fell apart in others. I won't read it again, and I'm not sure if I would recommend it to most people. That cover is gorgeous, though!


My rating: 7/10

The Mystwick School of Musicraft by Jessica Khoury


I think this was such a cute book! I heard about it during a writing conference my friend and I virtually attended, and I knew I had to read it. Loved the world and its magic system, the characters were so cute, and it had a fun storyline. Definitely read it if you're looking for a good middle grade book! I'll be reading the sequel when it comes out.


My rating: 9/10

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho


As written in the photo, this one was a little underwhelming for me. It was talked up so much by so many people that I expected something incredible. Instead, I felt like it was just fine. It wasn't awful, just not life-changing like everyone else said it was!


My rating: 7/10


Saga: Volume One by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples


I wasn't sure how I wanted to rate this! It's definitely for mature audiences, I wouldn't suggest under 18. Even then, it was incredibly graphic. The story is fantastic, but I did skip some pages. I was interested in the world building, but wasn't sure how much of the series I'd read.


My rating: 6.5/10

Saga: Volume Two by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples


So intense. This was too much for me! Lots of blood and gore, and several explicit scenes. They kicked the intensity up a notch. I honestly loved the storylines and wished I could have just read that, but the graphic novel format for this particular story was just too much for me.


My rating: 5/10

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill


I finished this book crying! It is the most lovely book, I absolutely fell in love with the story. It captivated me from the beginning. This book is going on my list of books to buy--and I don't currently buy that many due to space shortages! So that's saying something. Not like, love.


My rating: 10/10

Maybe by Kobi Yamada


Kobi Yamada is my favorite current children's book author! It's a wonderful tory that will make you want to cry. The illustrations, by Gabriella Barouch, are superb. Overall, in all aspects, this book is just wow. It was recommended to me at a local bookstore and I'm so glad I found it!


My rating: 10/10

40 Days of Intentional Living


I really loved this 40-day devotional. From the passages to the prompts and the practical ways to implement things into your daily life, it was all wonderful. Bonus: two of my dear friends helped write and create it! Definitely will go through this one again, maybe even as a yearly Lent study.


My rating: 10/10

Are You Protecting Your Greatest Asset? by Tom Rasmussen


I had to read this book for work, so it wasn't the type of thing I'd generally gravitate towards. While I did learn some things about the topic, it wasn't what I would suggest to others. It was mildly interesting if you needed some questions answered, but that's about it!


My rating: 6/10

The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar


One of my favorite books of 2021! We read this one for book club and all 7 of us really enjoyed it. I think we all might've used the word "love!" I'm not always the biggest fan of romance novels, but I would recommend this one to everyone. I even recommended it to a friend who didn't love romance and she thought it was incredibly sweet! I'm also changing my rating slightly from my original because it's just such a lovely book.


My rating: 10/10

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


It was a fun read! But I called every single thing that happened right from the beginning. So, there were no surprises for me. I also felt like it was a little anti-climactic. But I will say, it was a fun one and I'll read the sequel when it comes out.


My rating: 7/10


Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey


This was my first audiobook ever, and it was so weird. I only enjoyed some of it because Matthew narrated it himself, rather than actually enjoying the story in its own right. He's entertaining, but if it had been another reader, I'd have given up on the book.


My rating: 5/10

The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff


My gracious, did this book take me a long time to get through. I like Rosemary Sutcliff, so I was excited for this one, but it wasn't my favorite of hers. I had to skim a lot of war scenes, but overall it was good.


My rating: 7/10

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen


Read this one for book club! It felt pretty uneventful, for the fact that it had a "huge" mystery in it. Maybe it was because the book was so short, but I felt the story didn't hit as hard as it could've. Nothing really stood out in this book at all, for me. But I'm not upset that I read it!


My rating: 7/10


How To Talk About Jesus by Sam Chan


I really enjoyed reading this! There were a lot of good points that were made and I would have underlined and made notes, if it wasn't from the library. I probably want to give it a deeper dive sometime, so I'll eventually buy it!


My rating: 9/10


Captives by Jill Williamson


Definitely an interesting read. Jill is a Christian fantasy author so the way she weaves in truth into her stories is interesting, but I'm not sure if I enjoy the way it's being done in this particular dystopian setting. But I am interested enough that I'll read the sequel!


My rating: 8/10


Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson


This is an amazing book. But I will warn potential readers that it is incredibly deep and difficult to read at some parts. I mean, even just the premise. But it's such a worthwhile book. I cried reading it, and I'm glad I own it because I'll read it again. Not for younger readers, but great for adults. We read this for book club and I'm so glad we did!


My rating: 9.5/10



The Queen's Rise by Laurel Burlew


This is a working title as a placeholder, but it was good to read through the first draft of this WIP of mine. I've been trying to get through editing it for a while and a read through was just what I needed. It's novella length and a companion to a series I'm writing. As it's unpublished (and mine), no rating!


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


This is actually one time I prefer the show over the book! I watched Shadow and Bone before I read it, and I just love the visuals created in the show. Her writing is okay, and her story is interesting, but the book fell a little short for me in some ways. I think it's just because the story is better told visually. I'll read the rest of the series and we'll see how I feel about it from there.


My rating: 7.5/10


The Prince of Achilles by Michelle N. Hagood


I'm always so proud of this girl for finishing another book and we'll talk about it more one day when it's published!

Seaglass: A Short Story by Kara Swanson


Fun, quick read! I got access to this by signing up for the author's newsletter, which I thought was a really cool thing to do. I was sold right from the beginning! From what I've been reading, I am really really enjoying Kara Swanson as an author. I'm excited to read more by her in the future.


My rating: 8/10


When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi


This book did a number on me. It's got a lot of surgery scenes and they're too detailed for my queasy self, but the story itself is incredible. It's autobiographical, by a neurosurgeon diagnosed with cancer. Powerful story, beautifully written. If you like non-fiction, I would recommend it! I'd rate it higher if it weren't for the blood.


My rating: 8/10

Persuasion by Jane Austen


I love me some Jane Austen! And this is my favorite novel of hers. I think it's her best work. I love the characters she created, the story she told, and the underlying issues she's discussing throughout. Love it. Love her. That's all.


My rating: 10/10

Fable by Adrienne Young


This book was different than what I expected when I picked it up. It was entertaining, but also very predictable. That made it a little bit boring, for me at least. I'll read the sequel, but I don't think I'll be buying them! The sequel might also influence what I think of this book in hindsight, but we'll see.


My rating: 7/10


Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson


Y'all know I love Sanderson, so of course I enjoyed reading this one again. I suggested it for book club, and I think most of the others enjoyed it. It's not my favorite of his series, but I do still love it! He created a fantastic dystopian world, the characters are multifaceted, and the storyline is fascinating.


My rating: 8.5/10


Firefight by Brandon Sanderson


Obviously, I love this sequel. I actually tend to like Brandon's second or third books the most in each of his series. So I thought it was really well done! It wasn't exactly a book club book, but those of us who read and enjoyed Steelheart decided to finish the series while we were at it!


My rating: 9/10

Calamity by Brandon Sanderson


After reading this one again, I think it's actually my least favorite in the series! Still good, but I think Steelheart and Firefight just take the cake. But, I do love the ending to this one and the way some of the events happen.


My rating: 8/10

The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


This is the sequel to the Inheritance Games. I have all the thoughts, and I'm not going to say them all. But, I will say it was poorly done in my opinion. Things didn't even make logical sense, and the story felt all over the place. I was constantly rolling my eyes. It was disappointing for me, so I won't recommend the series.


My rating: 6/10

The North Tower by Michelle N. Hagood


Got to read this one as a beta, and I'm excited for the future of what's to come for this story!


The Cruel Prince by Holly Black


I have so much to say about this book. Mainly, don't read it. I have never read a book so gross before. Mainly because it masqueraded as a young love, coming of age adventure type of book. Instead, it showed us disgusting examples of abuse and toxicity, thinly veiled as romantic tension. It was not good and I was incredibly disappointed.


My rating: 3/10


Book 41 of 2021 No photo or description of book 41 because it's a WIP and I have

been sworn to secrecy. But when others can one day read it, I'll

gladly talk all about it!

The Wingfeather Saga: On the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson


This book took a lot longer than I expected to read through, just on my end I had a hard time concentrating. But I was so into it. Definitely am excited to read the whole series, and I might buy the books eventually!


My rating: 9/10

The Wicked King by Holly Black


Yes, I did read the sequel to The Cruel Prince. Yes, it was just as horrible. This book focused on the same characters who were abusing and being abused in the first book, and actually switched roles so one abuser was now being abused and the victim was victimizing. Disappointed.


My rating: 3/10

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black


I have so many things to say about the way this series ended. It was incredibly twisted, but the author tried to paint it in a way that made things "okay." Which was not okay with me. I'm so sad that people actually read these books and thought what was being portrayed was okay. Not okay.


My rating: 3/10

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis


I haven't read this since high school, but I read it during the semester with a small group and it's been wonderful. Some parts, you really see the 1940's coming out. But a lot of it is applicable today, and there are some great, deep thoughts about who God is and what Christianity is. Definitely would recommend it!


My rating: 10/10

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury


It's a fun take on a story we all know, Aladdin and the jinni! This was from the jinni's perspective, which was fun. It had some pretty cool characters and the story was good. It was also a very quick read. I enjoyed it and would buy it sometime!


My rating: 8/10

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal


What an interesting book this was. It had some great highlights and some bummer lows. Great world building, poetic writing throughout, and an intriguing plot. But it's a weird romance, and there were a lot of times I was confused by her sudden scene transitions. Overall, it was a fun read, and I'd read the sequel. But I won't buy this one!


My rating: 7/10

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis


Love C.S. Lewis! I haven't read most of this series for a long time, so I decided to read some of them towards the end of the year. This one isn't particularly my favorite of the series, but I do love it and all of its allegorical messages.


My rating: 9/10


The Wingfeather Saga: North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson


I am absolutely loving this series. I finished the book and immediately wanted to pick up the next one, but I'll have to wait a little while. Y'all know I'm a sucker for a good middle grade read! And this is definitely one of those. It's written by a Christian author, so there are some really good underlying messages throughout.


My rating: 10/10

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis


I skipped the Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and went straight for this one because I hadn't read it in so long. Glad I read it, because it was a fun read! It's not perhaps my favorite Narnia book, but it is a classic so it's good to go back once in a while.


My rating: 8/10

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis


I really did enjoy reading these books over the holidays! I hadn't read this one since probably high school, so it was good to reacquaint myself with the story. It's interesting, I think Lewis' way of writing these is very unusual for even the genre, which I'm not sure if I like it or not.


My rating: 7/10

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis


I finished this one just in time, on December 31st at the end of the day! As soon as I closed the book, it was time for a New Year's Eve party and that was a fantastic way to close out the year. The Last Battle is a weird end to the series, but I'm glad I finished it!


My rating: 8/10



Reading 52 books in a year takes a lot of effort for me, but I'm always glad to do it and there's never enough time in the day to read all of the books I would love to read! In 2022, I hope to read even more books than last year, but we'll see how that goes.








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