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Squadpod Squadpod Recommends Year In Review

Squadpod Recommends: 21 Favourites of ’21

As many of you know, I’m part of a wonderful group of bloggers known as the Squadpod. Over the last eighteen months these women have become not only my friends but a much-needed support network and my chosen family. It started with books and became much more. This year we have expanded our group to go beyond our WhatsApp Chats and you can now follow us on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. We have started our Squadpod Book Club, organised blog tours and even cake blasts (the one for Evie Epworth was one of my favourite moments of 2021).

Last year, I shared a list of each of the Squadpod’s 20 Favourite books of 2020 so I’m doing it again. Though this year it is obviously our 21 favourite books of 2021. So, buckle up because there a quite a few of us. But please keep reading to the end so that you can find out what book the Squadpod recommends overall in 2021…

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Becca at Becca Kate Blogs

  • For When I’m Gone by Rebecca Ley
  • The Push by Ashley Audrain
  • Keeper by Jessica Moor
  • Shiver by Allie Reynolds
  • The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor
  • The Long, Long Afternoon by Inga Vesper
  • Everything Is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray
  • The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
  • Space Hopper by Helen Fisher
  • Dog Days by Ericka Walker
  • Lost Property by Helen Paris
  • The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  • The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
  • The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
  • The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent
  • The Island Home by Libby Page
  • Another Life by Jodie Chapman
  • The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain
  • The Pact by Sharon Bolton
  • The Ends of the Earth by Abbie Greaves
  • Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian

BOOK OF THE YEAR: The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

Follow Becca on Instagram, Twitter and her Blog

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Beth at Beth’s Booketlist

  • The Missing Sister by Lucinda Riley
  • Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Last Library by Freya Sampson
  • Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie
  • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  • Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
  • Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce
  • The Arctic Curry Club by Dani Redd
  • The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper
  • Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
  • Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
  • The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward
  • The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
  • Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zarfon
  • Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare
  • The Switch by Beth O’Leary
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune
  • The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  • Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
  • Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Missing Sister by Lucinda Riley

Follow Beth on Instagram

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Cara at Welsh Book Lover

  • Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney
  • The Christmasaurus – Tom Fletcher
  • Johnny Be Good by Paige Toon
  • The Unhooneymooners by Christina Lauren
  • The Whisper Man by Alex North
  • Chasing Daisy by Paige Toon
  • Is This It? by Hannah Tovey
  • How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie
  • If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin
  • The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor
  • Throttled by Lauren Asher
  • Girl A by Dan Scottow
  • The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse
  • All My Lies by Sophie Flynn
  • People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd
  • It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
  • Once Perfect Summer by Paige Toon
  • The Midnight Man by Caroline Mitchell
  • Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams
  • The Minute I Saw You by Paige Toon
  • The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

BOOK OF THE YEAR: Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

Follow Cara on Instagram, Twitter and her Blog

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Ceri at Ceri’s Lil Blog

  • Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray
  • She’s Mine by A. A. Chaudhuri
  • The Post Box at the North Pole by Jaimie Admans
  • The Art of Loving You by Amelia Henley
  • The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
  • All My Lies by Sophie Flynn
  • Shiver by Allie Reynolds
  • An Ordinary Life by Amanda Prowse
  • All You Need Is Love by Jessica Redland
  • Midnight Ladies Swimming Club by Faith Hogan
  • The Story of Our Secrets by Shari Low
  • The Islanders by S. V. Leonard
  • The New York Secret by Ella Carey
  • The Night We Met by Zoe Folbigg
  • The Queen’s Dressmaker by Meghan Masterson
  • Until Next Weekend by Rachel Marks
  • Freckles by Cecelia Ahern
  • Lies Like Wildfire
  • The Little Duck Pond Cafe Series by Rosie Green
  • The Blood Brothers Series by Heather Atkinson
  • Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent

BOOK OF THE YEAR: Everything Is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray

Follow Ceri on Instagram, Twitter and her Blog.

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Chloe at Reviews by Chloe

  • Hostage by Clare Mackintosh
  • The Judge’s List by John Grisham
  • The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse
  • Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney
  • The Chalet by Catherine Cooper
  • Mrs England by Stacey Halls
  • Seven Lies by Elizabeth Kay
  • Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal
  • Exit by Belinda Bauer
  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
  • The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili, Translated by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin
  • Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi
  • The Missing Sister by Lucinda Riley
  • The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton
  • The Heights by Louise Candlish
  • Not A Happy Family by Shari Lapena
  • Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
  • That Night by Gillian McAllister
  • My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
  • Yours Cheerfully by A. J. Pearce

BOOK OF THE YEAR: Hostage by Clare Macintosh

Follow Chloe on Instagram, Twitter and her Blog.

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Claire at Secret World of a Book

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Born of No Man by Franck Bouysse
  • Femilandia by Christina Dalcher
  • The Coven by Lizzie Fry
  • House of Hollow by Kristin Sotherland
  • Madame by Phoebe Wynne
  • We Go On Forever by Sarah Govett
  • Threadneedle by Cari Thomas
  • The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
  • The Women of Troy by Pat Barker
  • Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes
  • Underbelly by Anna Whitehouse
  • Circe by Madeline Miller
  • The Hiding Place by Amanda Mason
  • We Are Not Like Them by Jo Piazza and Christine Pride
  • Elektra by Jennifer Saint
  • The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • The Lighthouse Witches by C. J. Cooke
  • Matrix by Lauren Groff

BOOK OF THE YEAR: Ariadne by Jennifer Saint.

Follow Claire on Instagram, Twitter and her Blog.

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Clare at The Fallen Librarian Reviews

  • The Push by Ashley Audrain
  • On Hampstead Heath by Marisa Cobbold
  • Trobairitz: The StoryTeller – Ceila Mickenfield
  • The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
  • Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift
  • The Lip by Charlie Carroll
  • The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
  • Madame Burova by Ruth Hogan
  • The Island Home by Libby Page
  • Yours Cheerfully by A. J. Pearce
  • The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard
  • White Spines by Nicholas Royal
  • The Visitors by Caroline Scott
  • The Cove by L. J. Ross
  • A Woman Made of Snow by Elizabeth Gifford
  • Afloat by Diane Couchman
  • PAH by Orla Owen
  • Girl A by Abigail Dean
  • Dear Reader – Cathy Rentzenbrink
  • The Girl, The Crow, The Writer & The Fighter – George Patterson
  • The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

BOOK OF THE YEAR: Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift.

Follow Clare on Instagram, Twitter and her Blog.

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Ellie at Elspells

  • Panenka by Ronan Hession
  • The Smallest Man by Frances Quinn
  • Kolollo Hill by Neema Shah
  • What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson
  • Sybelia Drive by Karin Cecile Davidson
  • Boys Don’t Cry by Fiona Scarlett
  • Mrs Death Misses Death by Salena Godden
  • The Stranding by Kate Sawyer
  • Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal
  • Havana Year Zero by Karla Suarez translated by Christina MacSweeney
  • Catch The Rabbit by Lana Bastasic
  • My Broken Language by Quiara Alegria Hudes
  • Still Life by Sarah Winman
  • Assembly by Natasha Brown
  • The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper
  • Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
  • The Good Book by Iain Hood
  • Iron Annie by Luke Cassidy
  • Line by Niall Bourke
  • Somebody Loves You by Mona Arshi
  • Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter by Lizzie Pook

BOOK OF THE YEAR:  Iron Annie by Luke Cassidy 

Follow Ellie on Instagram, Twitter and her Blog.

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Emma at Emma’s Biblio Treasures

  • The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
  • Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker
  • The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
  • The Asylum by Karen Coles
  • Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal
  • The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea
  • Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
  • The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper
  • The Stranding by Kate Sawyer
  • This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech
  • The Tsarina’s Daughter by Ellen Alpsten
  • Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bulbitz
  • Mrs England by Stacey Halls
  • The Beresford by Will Carver
  • The Last Library by Freya Sampson
  • The Hidden Child by Louise Fein
  • The Maid by Nita Prose
  • Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult
  • The Imperfect Art of Caring by Jessica Ryn
  • A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington
  • Midnight in Everwood by M. A. Kuzniar

BOOK OF THE YEAR: This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter

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Hayley at The Lotus Readers Blog

  • The Stranding by Kate Sawyer
  • The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
  • The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone
  • Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult
  • Bad Apples by Will Dean
  • This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech
  • The Beresford by Will Carver
  • The Watchers by A.M. Shine
  • The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea
  • A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ni Ghriofa
  • The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell
  • The Spirit Engineer by A. J. West
  • The Lighthouse Witches by C. J. Cooke
  • The Return by Anita Frank
  • Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal
  • The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
  • Snow and the Works on the Northern Line by Ruth Thomas
  • The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward
  • Cold as Hell by Lilja Sigurdardóttir 
  • The Unheard by Nicci French

BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Stranding by Kate Sawyer

Follow Hayley on Instagram, Twitter and her Blog.

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Hayley at Shelf Lyfe

  • House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
  • Under the Rainbow by Celia Laskey
  • Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift
  • Botanical Curses and Poisons; The Shadow Lives of Plants – Fez Inkwright
  • Spirited by Julie Cohen
  • Assembly by Natasha Brown
  • The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain
  • Small: On Motherhood by Claire Lynch
  • The Harpy by Megan Hunter
  • Malice by Heather Walter
  • The Crossing – Manjeet Mann
  • Gold Fury by Keiren Westwood
  • The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  • The Charmed Wife – Olga Grushin
  • 100neHundred – Laura Besley
  • The Shadow in the Glass by JJA Harwood
  • Together by Luke Adam Hawker
  • The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
  • Cerebral Palsy: A Story – Ilana Estelle
  • The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper
  •  A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts: A Collection of Deliciously Frightening Tales – Ying Chang Compestine

BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Harpy by Megan Hunter

Follow Hayley on Instagram and Twitter.

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Jackie at Jackie’s Reading Corner

  • Kololo Hill by Neema Shah
  • No Honour by Awais Khan
  • The Art of Death by David Fennell
  • Blackstoke by Rob Parker
  • The Stonebridge Mysteries(Series, all 5) by Chris McDonald
  • Dead Ground by M. W. Craven
  • The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward
  • True Crime Story by Joseph Knox
  • Cave Diver by Jake Avila
  • The Wolf Mile by C. F. Barrington
  • Dangerous Women by Hope Adams
  • Cunning Women by Elizabeth Lee
  • The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea
  • One Ordinary Day at a Time by Sarah J. Harris
  • The Stranding by Kate Sawyer
  • She’s Mine by A. A . Chaudhuri
  • Black Reed by Rod Reynolds
  • The Spirit Engineer by A. J. West
  • The Man Who Made Them Happy by John Lawrence
  • Facets of Death by Michael Stanley
  • The Appeal by Janice Hallett

BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Kololo Hill by Neema Shah and No Honour by Awais Khan.

You can follow Jackie on Instagram, Twitter and her Blog

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Jen at Travels Along My Bookshelf

  • Together by Luke Adam Hawker
  • Cecily by Annie Garthwaite
  • Diamonds At the Lost and Found by Sarah Aspinall
  • The Dead of Winter by Nicola Upson
  • When They Find Her by Lia Middleton
  • Under the Mistletoe by Sue Moorcroft
  • The Hollow by Agatha Christie
  • The Maid by Nita Prose
  • The Last Library by Freya Sampson
  • The Law of the Heart by Boris Starling
  • Snow Country by Sebastian Faulks
  • When I Ran Away by Ilona Bannister
  • The Spirit Engineer by A. J. West
  • The Prison Healer (series) Lynette Noni
  • All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle
  • The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain
  • The Stranding by Kate Sawyer
  • The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  • Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd Robinson
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • Elektra by Jennifer Saint

BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Law of the Heart by Boris Starling, Together by Luke Adam Hawker and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Follow Jen on Instagram and Twitter

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Karen at Book Blogging Bureau

  • Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Appeal by Janice Hallett
  • The Smash Up by Ali Benjamin
  • The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jonasson 
  • A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington
  • Lullaby Beach by Stella Duffy
  • Leonard and Hungry by Paul Ronan Hession
  • The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent
  • A Taste of Home by Heidi Swain
  • On Hampstead Heath by Marika Cobbold 
  • The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
  • The Last Thing To Burn by Will Dean
  • A Single Rose by Muriel Barbery
  • Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz
  • The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
  • The Fair Botanist by Sara Sheridan
  • Common Ground by Naomi Ishiguro 
  • Dear Reader by Cathy Retzenbrink 
  • The Lip by Charlie Carroll
  • The Good Neighbours by Nina Allen
  • Shiver by Allie Reynolds

BOOK OF THE YEAR: Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Follow Karen on Instagram, Twitter and her Blog.

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Kate at Rutherford Reads

  • Other Parents by Sarah Stovell
  • Psychopaths Anonymous by Will Carver
  • The Christmas Dress by Courtney Cole
  • The Idea of You by Robinne Lee
  • Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult
  • Freckles by Cecelia Ahern
  • The Appeal by Janice Hallett
  • For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing
  • Always in December by Emily Stone
  • The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker
  • Let That Be A Lesson by Ryan Wilson
  • My Best Friend’s Murder by Polly Phillips
  • Invite Me In by Emma Curtis
  • Worst Idea Ever by Jane Fallon
  • Both of You by Adele Parks
  • The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  • When They Find Her by Lia Middleton
  • The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
  • The Promise by Lucy Diamond
  • The Downstairs Neighbour by Helen Cooper
  • The Pact by Sharon Bolton

BOOK OF THE YEAR: Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

Follow Kate on Instagram, Twitter and her Blog.

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Kirsty at Kirsty’s Book Buying Addiction

  • Someone I Used To Know by Paige Toon
  • Before I Saw You by Emily Houghton
  • On A Night Like This by Lindsey Kelk
  • Walking On Sunshine by Giovanna Fletcher
  • The Lock In by Phoebe Luckhurst
  • The Telephone Box Library by Rachael Lucas
  • The Village Green Bookshop by Rachael Lucas
  • A Taste of Home by Heidi Swain
  • Underneath the Christmas Tree by Heidi Swain
  • And Now You’re Back by Jill Mansell
  • The Promise by Lucy Diamond
  • The Woman in the Middle by Milly Johnson
  • A Cosy Countryside Christmas by Eliza J Scott
  • The Merry Christmas Project by Cathy Bramley
  • My Kind of Happy by Cathy Bramley
  • The Party Crasher by Sophie Kinsella
  • The Best Is Yet To Come by Katy Collins
  • The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary
  • Until Next Weekend by Rachel Marks
  • The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent
  • Lost Property by Helen Paris

BOOK OF THE YEAR: Someone I Used To Know by Paige Toon.

Follow Kirsty on Twitter and her Blog

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Sue at Brown Flopsy’s Book Burrow

  • The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor
  • Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift
  • Rites of Spring – Anders de la Motte
  • On Hampstead Heath – Marika Cobbold
  • The Wolves of Leninsky Prospekt – Sarah Armstrong
  • Summer in the City by Fiona Collins
  • The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
  • The Fair Botanists by Sara Sheridan
  • The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper
  • The Hidden Child by Louise Fein
  • The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman
  • Kings of a Dead World – Jamie Mollart
  • The Girl in the Maze by Cathy Heyward
  • The Arctic Curry Club by Dani Redd
  • Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Bone Shard Emperor by Andrea Stewart
  • Blasted Things – Lesley Glaister
  • Tsarina/The Tsarina’s Daughter by Ellen Alpsten
  • The Lip by Charlie Carroll
  • Space Hopper by Helen Fisher

BOOK OF THE YEAR: On Hampstead Heath by Marika Cobbold

Follow Sue on Instagram, Twitter and her Blog.

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Vikkie at Little Miss Book Lover

  • When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins
  • I Know What You’ve Done by Dorothy Koomson
  • Love and Other Mushy Stuff by Lyndsay Gallagher
  • Love at First Sight by Mary Jayne Baker
  • All My Lies by Sophie Flynn
  • Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker
  • The Last Thing To Burn by Will Dean
  • I Have Something To Tell You by Susan Lewis
  • The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting by Evanna Lynch
  • The Locksmith by Linda Calvey
  • Trust Me by TM Logan
  • The Art of Loving You by Amelia Henley
  • Worst Idea Ever by Jane Fallon
  • Three Weddings and a Proposal by Sheila O’Flanagan
  • When They Find Her by Lia Middleton
  • Look What You Made Me Do by Nikki Smith
  • That Night by Gillian McAllister
  • No Honor by Awais Khan
  • The Beresford by Will Carver
  • Isn’t It Bromantic by Lissa Kay Adams
  • Is This It? by Hannah Tovey

BOOK OF THE YEAR: When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins

Follow Vikkie on Instagram, Twitter and her Blog.

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Zoe at Zoe’s Book Nook

  • Still Life by Sarah Winman
  • Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff
  • Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
  • You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry
  • The Upper World by Femi Fadugba
  • Assembly by Natasha Brown
  • Lean, Fall, Stand by John McGregor
  • Luster by Raven Leilani
  • The Haunting Season: Ghostly Tales for Long Winter Nights by Various
  • The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
  • Fault Lines by Emily Itami
  • The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa 
  • Chasing the Boogeyman by Richard Chizmar
  • Cecily by Annie Garthwaite
  • 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard
  • Girl, 11 by Amy Suiter Clarke
  • Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski
  • Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson
  • Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain
  • Before the Ruins by Victoria Gosling
  • It’s Behind You by Kathryn Fox

BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff and Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Follow Zoe on Instagram, Twitter and her Blog.

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One of my favourite parts of putting together the Squadpod’s lists of favourite books is seeing how diverse they are. And this year that was even more evident. We had a lot of books that appeared on two or three of our lists, but only seven that appeared on four or more lists. One was even on many of our lists last year and very nearly took the title of overall favourite. So, here’s our ultimate Squadpod Recommendations for 2021:

Some debut novels that just narrowly missed this list but were clearly loved by many in the Squadpod were Shiver, The Last Library, The Last House on Needless Street, The Summer Job, The Appeal, When They Find Her, The Lip, Assembly and All My Lies.

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Squadpod Book of the Year

We had a tie for Book of the Year, with The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot and The Wolf Den both appearing on six of the Squad’s lists.

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What do you think of our choices? Do you see books you’ve loved this year on our lists? Let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to follow us.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles! Wishing you all a Happy New Year ☺️Emma xxx

Categories
book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Year In Review

21 Favourites of 21

It’s that time of year where we look back on the books we’ve loved most this year.

In 2021 I’ve read a total of 170 books (well, I will have by the end of tomorrow lol) so you can imagine that narrowing it down to just 21 was no easy task. I went back and forth over this list for weeks, struggling to get it down from 30 and then 25.

Thirteen of these book are by new-to-me authors, eleven are debuts and two are part of a series. Three of the author, Stacey Halls, Ellen Alpsten and Jessica Ryn, have had all of their books in my list of favourites in the year each was released and were all in my list of 20 favourites of 2020.

I plan to do a stack of the books that almost made it in the coming days so keep an eye on my social media for that. But for now, here are the 21 books I loved most in 2021:

The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex

The Lamplighters is a truly accomplished debut. Haunting, mesmerising and atmospheric, it tells the story of the disappearance of three men and their warring widows. Drenched in mystery and with a hint of the paranormal, it is a vividly told and addictive read that I devoured quickly. I loved that it was based on a true story, adding even more intrigue to this already fascinating tale.

Published March 4th 2021 by Picador. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker

This crazy psychological thriller still vividly lives rent free in my mind almost a year after reading. Like the author herself, this is a vivacious, darkly funny and compelling debut that I loved. It tells the story of every parents’ worst nightmare come true, of how longing can become twisted into evil, and the ripple effects of trauma and pain. Mummy remains one of the most terrifying creations I’ve read, mostly because I understand her and why she became who she is. If you love a well-written thriller then read this book.

Published February 25th 2021 by Viper Books. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot

I’m a sucker for a multi-generational friendship so I was immediately on board for a story about a seventeen-year-old girl and eight-three-year-old woman. Lenni and Margot are residents of the hospital’s terminal ward and build a friendship in the art room, telling their stories through paintings that illustrate the many highs and lows of their shared one hundred years. Hypnotic, mesmerising and heart-rending, this is a book that reaches into your soul and changes you forever. A story of life, death, all the magical moments in between.

Published February 18th 2021 by Doubleday. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Asylum by Karen Coles

Claustrophobic, haunting and addictive, The Asylum is a spectacular debut that doesn’t get enough love in my opinion. Exquisitely written, it transports you to the bleak, shadowy rooms of the asylum and the anguished recesses of Maud’s mind. Fans of historical and Gothic fiction will not want to miss this book.

Published April 1st 2021 by Welbeck. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal

Once again Elizabeth Macneal has created a masterpiece. Captivating, illuminating and consuming, I was under the spell of this story from start to finish. This is a story about the outcasts, about finding your place in the world and what it is to be human. Circus of Wonders is dazzling piece of historical fiction that is not to be missed.

Published May 13th 2021 by Picador. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea

Oh, my heart. When I think of this book that is my first thought. A story about love, sacrifice, fear and survival set against the backdrop of a remote Scottish island during World War II, The Metal Heart is a breathtakingly beautiful story that I will never forget.

Published April 29th by Michael Joseph. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Atmospheric, lush and evocative, Ariadne is a rich tapestry that swept me away. In this glorious debut, Jennifer Saint brings to life many of the familiar Greek myths through a new lens, tells them from the perspective of the women who were previously relegated to the sidelines. And it is utterly spectacular, sparking my obsession with Greek mythology. I loved it so much that I not only bought the beautiful hardback, but also the Waterstones special edition. This is a book that I recommend to everyone, whether you’ve previously been interested in Greek myths or not.

Published April 29th by Wildfire. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper

If Ariadne ignited my obsession with Greek mythology, The Wolf Den solidified it. The first in an exciting new trilogy, it tells the story of Amara, a former Doctor’s daughter sold into slavery and now one of the she-wolves at Pompeii’s infamous brothel. Lush, evocative and atmospheric I was transported to the doomed city’s dusty streets and immersed in Amara’s fight for survival and freedom. I am counting down to book two in May so I can find out what happens next.

Published May 13th by Head of Zeus. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Stranding by Kate Sawyer

The Stranding is a story about the end of the world. About humanity, love, hope and survival. Imaginative, original and utterly magnificent, it surpassed all my expectations. I still find it hard to believe this is a debut. Exquisitely written and beautifully observed, this was a masterclass in storytelling. I will certainly be buying anything Ms. Sawyer writes in the future.

Published June 24th 2021 by Coronet. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech

This is the book that I always recommend when anyone asks for a 2021 book they might not have read. A truly astonishing novel from an extraordinary talent, I think this book deserves to be on everyone’s reading list. It is a story about the nuances and complexities of being human that is full of heart, warmth and wisdom. A story that is unflinchingly honest and achingly real. I have a son with autism and am so thankful to Louise for writing a book that doesn’t show us a cliché, but a real person who is as individual as anyone else. Please read this book.

Published June 24th by Orenda Books. Buy here.
Read my full review here.

The Tsarina’s Daughter by Ellen Alpsten

Another masterpiece in the Tsarina series by Ellen Alpsten. Her debut novel, Tsarina, was one of my favourite books of 2020 and I am not surprised that the follow up was every bit as good. This time she tells the story of Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great, following her highs and lows after Russia is torn apart and her fortunes drastically change. The Tsarina’s Daughter is dazzling piece of historical fiction that I couldn’t put down and left me eagerly awaiting book three.

Published July 8th 2021 by Bloomsbury. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bulbitz

A murder mystery with a twist, this startling debut tells the story from the perspective of the victim rather than those investigating the case. And this creative author goes even further, also highlighting what it is like to be the person who discovers the body, a person we rarely hear more than a passing sentence or two about in most thrillers. Timely, brave and thought-provoking, it stands out from the crowd of other thrillers. A must read for fans of the genre.

Published July 15th 2021 by Sphere. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Mrs England by Stacey Halls

Stacey Halls once again shows why she is a Queen of historical fiction and one of my favourite authors with this slow-burning novel. Atmospheric, eerie and full of menace, it follows Ruby, a Norlander Nurse, on her latest job caring for the four England children is West Yorkshire. But all is not quite what it seems with Mr. and Mrs. England, and secrets are slowly revealed in this haunting and twisty novel.

Published June10th by Manilla Press. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Beresford by Will Carver

Will Carver is an author with a quirky, twisted and original style that is all his own. And The Beresford is another outstanding example of his creative genius. It opens with a murder then follows the residents of The Beresford, a halfway house for the disillusioned and vulnerable that has a life of its own, living and breathing as much as the physical characters of the story. Seductive and unsettling, The Beresford is my favourite Will Carver book to date.

Published July 22nd 2021 by Orenda Books. Buy here.
Read my full review here.

The Last Library by Freya Sampson

The Last Library is my favourite uplit of 2021. A bibliophile’s dream, this is a hug in book form and is now one of my favourite books of all time. It follows a varied cast of characters as they fight to save their beloved local library from closure. It is a celebration of books and the power of stories, but also of community, friendship, kindness and courage. A charming, funny and uplifting story that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Published September 2nd by Zaffre. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Hidden Child by Louise Fein

A perfect family is fractured and torn apart when illness invades their lives and not only tests their strength, but makes them question their core beliefs and values in this extraordinary piece of historical fiction.  Powerful, moving and thought-provoking, this beautifully written story is one you won’t forget.

Published September 2nd by Head of Zeus. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Maid by Nita Prose

I was lucky to be selected as a VIP for the Tandem Collective readalong of this highly anticipated debut. A murder mystery that was also a balm for my soul, this book exceeded all expectations and was like nothing I’ve read before. I adored Molly, the heroine of this wonderful story. Quirky and endearing, the world would be a better place if we were all a little more like her. Nita Prose is an author with a bright future ahead and I have no doubt that this book will be a sensation when it’s released next year and I can’t wait to see the movie adaptation that is already in the works.

Published January 20th 2022 by Harper Collins UK. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

A book about the pandemic doesn’t sound like something that would be on my list of top books, but Jodi Picoult has added her magical touch to make that so. A story about resilience, hope and survival that explores the fear and trauma of the pandemic and the limitless potential of the human mind. Beautiful, heartwarming and absorbing, I got lost in this book. I thought I knew what I was getting when I started reading, but I had no idea. When that twist comes it blows your mind and shakes you to the core. This is one of Ms. Picoult’s best books to date.

Published November 25th 2021 by Hodder & Stoughton. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Imperfect Art of Caring by Jessica Ryn

Sometimes you pick up a book and it is exactly what you need.  That was the case when I decided to read this book on a whim. Uplifting, heartwarming and hopeful, this is a beautiful story of friendship, community and forgiveness. Just as she did with her debut novel, Jessica Ryn has given us another everyday heroine to root for and I was behind Violet every step of the way. Ms. Ryn has solidified her place on my list of auto-buy authors and I can’t recommend her books highly enough.

Published November 25th by HQ. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington

One of those books that is just as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, A Girl Made of Air is a mesmerising and magical tale. It tells the story of an nameless and unwanted protagonist, following her from the days as a neglected child living in a circus in England then all the way to New York, where she found fame as the greatest Funambulist of all time. For this dazzling debut, Nydia Hetherington merged Manx folklore, fairy tales, circus freaks and fiction to create a story about the strange and the extraordinary. My only regret is that I left it to languish on my shelf for so long. Pick it up now.

Published September 3rd 2020 by Quercus. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Midnight in Everwood by M. A. Kuzniar

I am so glad that I saved this spellbinding story to read over Christmas as it is on Christmas Eve that most of the magic happens in Everwood. Marietta dreams of being a ballerina but her high society family have another path for her life that she must follow. As she prepares for final performance, Marietta discovers a hidden magical world full of wonder hidden in the scenery.  But this enchanting place holds magic darker than she ever imagined and Marietta soon finds herself fighting to find a way to break free of Everwood’s hold and return home.  A mesmerising debut sprinkled with magic, this is the perfect winter read.

Published October 28th 2021 by HQ. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

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BOOK OF THE YEAR

I have agonised for weeks over what book should be given the title of Book of the Year. I had two main contenders: Ariadne and This Is How We Are Human. It was only now, while writing this post and putting together my thoughts about the books, that it became clear which book would get the title. It is a book that lives in my heart and soul, one that I am passion about having other people read and that I truly believe has the power to educate and change minds. That book is This Is How We Are Human by the incomparable Louise Beech. If you’ve not read it, please do. And let me know your thoughts.

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles Happy New Year and I will see you in 2022. Emma xxx

Categories
Year In Review

Top Ten of the Year So Far

2021 has been a fantastic reading year so far; I’ve discovered some great new authors, found a passion for Greek mythology, and started some exciting new series’. As of June 30th I had read 78 books, most of which were four star and above, so it wasn’t easy to put together my 10 favourites. But, after a lot of consideration, I’m ready to share my top ten reads of 2021 so far, with links to my reviews where relevant.

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Have you read any of these books? What are some of your favourite reads so far this year? Let me know in the comments.

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx

Categories
Year In Review

My 20 Favourites of 2020

I can’t quite believe that 2020 is over! It’s been a strange year and I think we’re all hoping that 2021 brings better things and that we can soon get back to a new normal.

It was my second full year of blogging and once again I read more than I had even hoped to. I had set my Goodreads challenge at 120 and managed to read 177. That’s 27 more than in 2019.

As you can probably imagine, reading so many books made putting together my favourite twenty books of the year a difficult task. That last spot in particular had four other books that I really wanted to include and it was a real struggle to know which should make the final spot.

Here is my list in the order that I read the books:

  1. Firewatching by Russ Thomas
  2. The Foundling by Stacey Halls
  3. Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior
  4. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
  5. The Switch by Beth O’Leary
  6. What’s Left Of Me Is Yours by Stephanie Scott
  7. What Lies Between Us by John Marrs
  8. Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten
  9. The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith
  10. The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  11. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  12. All The Lonely People by Mike Gayle
  13. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  14. Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You by Annie Lyons
  15. The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey
  16. The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby
  17. The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor
  18. The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn
  19. The Smallest Man by Frances Quinn
  20. The Last House On Needless Street by Catriona Ward

Out of the final twenty, sixteen are by new to me authors, nine of them debuts. I found that 2020 was a strong year in terms of fantastic debuts, with others such as The Phone Box at the Edge of the World, Pine, The Memory Wood, The Wreckage, The Holdout, If I Can’t Have You, Dear Child, The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon, Shiver, The Push and The Thursday Murder Club standing out in particular.

So what almost made it? Contenders for this list included Three Hours, Pine, The Memory Wood, In Five Years, The Phone Box at the Edge of the World, If I Could Say Goodbye, The Push, Strangers, Dear Child, The Ice Cream Girls, All My Lies Are True and The Thursday Murder Club.

My favourite book of the year was not a difficult choice. Though there were many that were good enough to take the title, What’s Left Of Me Is Yours is the standout book of the year for me. I can honestly say that I’ve thought about this stunning debut every day since I read it in April. Do yourself a favour and read it if you haven’t already. I’m just hoping it’s not too long before I can read another book by the talented Stephanie Scott.

Did we have any of the same favourites? What was your book of the year? Let me know in the comments.

Keep an eye out for a post tomorrow with the top 20 lists of some other bloggers and which 2020 book we recommend most of all.

*Thank you to the tagged publishers for my #gifted ARCs.