Mini-Reflection of 2021 PLUS My Top 10 Reads of the Year

Featured Photo by Cristian Escobar on Unsplash

How is it possible that this year is… over?!

This year, I rekindled my love for reading. I ended my years-long reading rut!

I started 2021 with my husband being deployed, working a dead-end job as a coach at OrangeTheory Fitness, and being addicted to social media. My mental health was not in a great spot.

My word of the year was focus.

And I definitely did just that! I focused on myself for once. I got serious about what I wanted out of life, what I didn’t like about my life, and what I would like to do more of.

I’m ending the year with my husband by my side and feeling so thankful that he made it home safely from Afghanistan; I got a very fulfilling full-time job helping nonprofits and there is plenty of room for growth; I spent my year focusing on being present in the moment instead of viewing everything from my phone screen. Sure, I don’t have many photos of this year because of it… but I have some damn good memories.

I made it a goal to read 20 books this year. I’m finishing this year with over 50 books read.

In honor of that, I want to share with you all my top ten books that I read this year!

#10: The Temporary Roomie by Sarah Adams

Genre: Romance

What I loved: the prank wars between Jessie and Drew; Sarah Adams once again making me laugh until I practically peed my pants; the relationship between Jessie and her grandfather; and a happy ending.

#9: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Genre: Romance

What I loved: Poppy and Alex being polar opposites; lots of traveling and feeling like I was on a trip, too; conversations about mental health; a happy ending.

#8: The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

Genre: Romance

What I loved: reading a book about Hanukkah and Jewish traditions; how Rachel had a chronic illness and it wasn’t romanticized; imagining Rachel in a matzah ball costume; the character growth; Toby; and a warm and fuzzy ending that made me want to cry happy tears.

#7: The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

Genre: Romance

What I loved: Quan; a focus on mental health and challenging families; character growth, especially involving self-love.

#6: You’d Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow

Genre: Young Adult

What I loved: a powerful young adult novel that really examines the things teenagers face in high school; a raw story about addiction; a very impactful life lesson.

#5: Sisters in Arms by Kaia Alderson

Genre: Historical Fiction

What I loved: a fictional story based on true events and people; powerful Black female characters; did I mention some serious female power?

#4: The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams

Genre: Romance

What I loved: friends-to-lovers trope; Bree and Nathan as best friends; Bree and Nathan as a fake couple; Bree and Nathan as an actual couple; conversations about mental health; Nathan showing us how men should treat women; and a hilarious scene involving a Tide To-Go pen.

#3: Instructions For Dancing by Nicola Yoon

Genre: Young Adult

What I loved: a huge life lesson that I will never forget; BIPOC characters; one of the few books I’ve finished and been totally speechless.

#2: The Acts of Life by Kristen Mulligan

Genre: Romantic Thriller (yup)

What I loved: very steamy scenes; an epic plot twist that gave me huge chills; that this book nearly made me stay up all night questioning everything!

#1: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Genre: Historical Fiction

What I loved: California-in-the-80s vibes; that rock’n’roll lifestyle; family drama; how TJR demonstrates through her characters how our past can shape us, make or break us, and how it’s never too late to start again.

Happy New Year, everyone! Let’s make 2022 amazing!

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