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My Progress:

10 / 30 books. 33% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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My Progress:

22 / 51 books. 43% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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15 / 50 books. 30% done!

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Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

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42 / 50 books. 84% done!

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25 / 40 books. 63% done!

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9 / 25 books. 36% done!

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20 / 100 books. 20% done!

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55 / 104 books. 53% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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42 / 52 books. 81% done!

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54 / 165 books. 33% done!
Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: The Best Novels I've Read So Far This Year

I'm not much for book boyfriends—I've been married to my real-life sweetheart for 24 years as of yesterday and that's better than any fictional romance!—so I was going to skip this week's Top Ten Tuesday.  Then I realized that as tomorrow is September 1, we're official 2/3 of the way through 2021.  With only four months left in the year, I started thinking about what I've read so far and what I still want to get to before 2022.  Of the 135 books I've read, only a handful have been really stand-out reads.  So, I decided to share with you the ten (well, eleven) best novels I've read so far.  Since I'm not feeling very inspired by next week's topic either, I'll post my ten non-fiction picks then.  

Before we get to that, be sure to click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl and give Jana, our lovely TTT hostess, some love!

Top Ten (Okay, Eleven) Best Novels I've Read in 2021 (So Far)

- not including re-reads and in no particular order - 

1.  The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian—This historical novel set in 1920s Mississippi features two young women living hardscrabble lives who must team up to cover up the unintentional murder that brings them together.  Absorbing and atmospheric, this is a beautifully-written debut.

2.  The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny—No surprise here.  I adore the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series and this installment, the 11th, is particularly intriguing.

3.  Bluebird by Sharon Cameron (available October 5, 2021)—I've enjoyed all of Cameron's books, but this YA World War II novel is my favorite.  It has everything I love in a good hist-fic read: an atmospheric setting, a compelling plot, lovable characters, and excellent writing.

4.  Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty (available September 14, 2021)—I was thrilled to get a paper ARC of this up-and-comer from an author whose books I've enjoyed.  Not gonna lie, her last few have not been up to snuff.  This one, though?  It's a gem.  A family saga + a mystery + a funny, upbeat plot.  What's not to love?  

5.  The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs—Another no-brainer.  The long-running Tempe Brennan series is one of my favorites.  This installment, the 20th, has our intrepid heroine digging into the mystery of a storage container with two corpses stuffed inside that washes up during a South Carolina storm at the same time a horrifying flesh-eating bacteria is rearing its ugly head around the U.S..  It's another riveting page-turner from Reichs.

6.  If It Rains by Jennifer L. Wright—I just finished this debut, which tells a rich, powerful story about the Dust Bowl.  It's technically a Christian novel, but the religious elements are well-woven into the tale and never get preachy or cheesy, at least in my opinion.  It's moving, hopeful (in the end, at least), and faith-promoting.

7.  The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman—This middle-grade novel was one of my first reads of the year.  I loved the story about an adopted, mixed-race girl who has to learn to come to terms with her different ethnicities, cultures, and families.  

8.  Dark August by Katie Tallo—Also read early in the year, this gritty mystery/thriller set in a mysterious ghost town, kept me turning pages late into the night.  I just saw that a sequel is being released in 2022.  Can't wait!

9.  The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner—This historical, about an Irish immigrant who travels to San Francisco to become the wife of a man she's never met and finds herself in the middle of the famous 1906 earthquake, is another atmospheric, absorbing read.  I've enjoyed lots of Meissner's books, but this one is my favorite (I think).

10.  The Lion of Mars by Jennifer L. Holm—I tend to read mostly darker, more serious fiction, so it's always nice when I come across a book that's just a fun, feel-good read.  That's exactly what this middle-grade gem is! 

11.  A Distance Too Grand by Regina Scott—This historical is also on the lighter side.  It deals with a female photographer who is determined to take her dead father's place on an 1871 expedition to the Grand Canyon.  Along with proving herself as a photographer, she also has to survive the treacherous trip and guard her heart against an old flame.  Also a Christian novel, this one is clean, uplifting, and compelling.  It's a fun start to a series I'm very much enjoying.  Thanks to Lark for the recommendation!

There you go, eleven of the best novels I've read this year.  Have you read any of them?  What did you think?  What are the best books you've come across in 2021?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!

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