Now before I get to the third and final part of my round-up, I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone that reads and supports The Black Book Blog.
We’ve had such a rollercoaster year from launching this brand new site, to being featured in a print magazine, Breathe, for the first time and being nominated/shortlisted for Blogosphere’s Book Influencer of the Year 2021.
It’s truly been something special.
Not a single part of it is possible without any of you. I know I’ve been very inactive towards the latter part of the year. Life tends to throw curveballs at you and it took me a while to adjust. However, I love blogging.
I love reading.
I don’t think that’ll change. I’m going to be more realistic with myself about what I can post.
Regardless this year, I read over 90 books and I spent ages agonising over my Top 10 books before deciding to make it 15. There will be honourable mentions to a few books that I feel deserve some love.
*All books that were gifted/sent to me will be marked by an asterisk. Please check out our disclaimer policy for more information*
So let’s get into it:
15. This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron
“Legacies are a complicated thing...especially when something of value is involved…“
Kalynn Bayron really surprised me with this one. She had me ridiculously hooked throughout from the extensive knowledge of plants to Greek mythology. A YA Fantasy that is well worth the read. I can’t wait for This Wicked Fate coming out next year in July. *gifted
14. The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr
“It seemed that it had always fallen upon the women to be the head or the heart, to throw the spear, to shoot the arrow, to clear the first path, to live the first life…”
It seemed so incredibly powerful that this book was the very first book I finished reading in 2021. I guess it’s a testament to how beautiful the writing is that it made my Top 15. The writing is flowery but the author clearly has a gifted way with words. It felt like a lost piece of history – a monumental realisation.*
13. Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
“I am the only storm that matters now, and there is no shelter from what I bring.”
I really enjoyed this epic fantasy novel by Rebecca Roanhorse. It’s the first in a series about pre-Columbus Indigenous culture. I am extremely excited for Fevered Star coming out next year in April. From vengeful Gods to magical sea captains…this book has all that and more.
12. The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
“If our stories survive, we will not die, even when our bodies are no longer here on this Earth.”
This was incredibly beautiful and moving. A deeply emotional story about a girl and her grandmother during the Vietnam war. It left me completely touched and delves deep into familial love more than anything.
11. Allegedly by Tiffany D Jackson
“Hard to celebrate the day you were born when everybody seems to wish you were never born at all.”
That ending. THAT ENDING. I’m still reeling from it. I remember staring at the blank page trying to figure out how I missed it…how I had been misled. All I can say is that Tiffany D Jackson deserves the applause.
10. Know My Name by Chanel Miller
“You are allowed to be cautious but you don’t always have to be afraid.”
I am still moved by this memoir. Chanel Miller’s writing is beautiful and deeply emotive as she describes her horrific experience. It’s a memoir that I highly recommend but please do check out all the trigger warnings listed in my review.
9. The Space Between Worlds – Micaiah Johnson
“It is only one world in infinite universes where this impossible happiness exists, but that is what makes it so valuable.”
I think the fact this was the first Sci-Fi book I enjoyed in a really long time, means it automatically made my top books of the year. Exploring the multiverse through Cara and the intersection of race and class should be impossible and heavy…but it wasn’t. I can’t recommend this book enough!
8. The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton
“An illusion that I was unstoppable, that I was supreme, that I could play as white and as male, as any of them who wanted a thing and set out to have it.”
Now the first 100 pages or so are incredibly slow. However, I became so hooked that I genuinely believed this was about a real punk-rock duo until I looked them up! Opal is an icon. A true inspiration. A fictional story told through interviews…it’s something remarkable.*
7. In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lola Ákínmádé-Åkerström
She needed balance. Her own moon that would rise and fall with her, keeping her equilibrium, loving her unconditionally.
I became addicted to this book – there’s no other word for it. I even spent ages on google translate carefully copying out the Swedish so I could truly understand what was going on. This book explores the lives of three different Black women all brought together by one rich white man.*
6. Reel by Kennedy Ryan
“We are artists…when there is no joy to be found, we have the power in our hands…”
I read this at the height of a fever and only realised how bad I felt when I’d finished reading. Canon and Neevah were everything. A Black love story between an actress and a director focused on theatre and movies – I can promise you won’t be disappointed by this story at all.
5. Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
“And maybe that was what real, adult love was. Being fearless enough to hold each other close no matter how catastrophic the world became.
I won’t sit here and pretend that being in love with Shane Hall hasn’t played a part in this decision. However, this is one of the most beautiful Black love stories I’ve read this year. Brutally painful, real and loving. This is a second-chance romance that will move you.
4. Beach Read by Emily Henry
“The only promise you ever had in life was the one moment you were living. And I was. Happy for now.”
I knew from two chapters in that I had fallen in love with this book. I think this was just one of those rare instances where you pick up a book and it’s exactly what you needed at that given moment in time. There was so much about this book that just spoke to me. I cried. Twice. (I don’t even think it was that emotional looking back). However, Emily Henry confirmed so much for me with this book.
3. Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
“If the burden is too much and stays too long, even love bends, cracks, comes close to breaking and sometimes does break. But when it’s in a thousand pieces around your feet, that doesn’t mean it’s no longer love.”
I went into this book cautiously but wow. This is truly a work of art. I can’t even begin to express how beautifully written this book was. The themes that weaved into it…the way it makes you feel. If you needed any further encouragement to pick this book up…this is it.
2. The Mothers by Brit Bennett
“Maybe you didn’t know who you would be in the world. Maybe you were a different person everywhere you lived.”
For the second year in a row, Brit Bennett has made my top 10 books of the year. If this isn’t your sign to pick up her books, I don’t know what will convince you. I loved The Mothers. It was so much more than a love triangle. Nadia lives in my head rent free.
1.Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney
“I’m the girl who learned to stand up for herself. I’m the girl who faced all her fears…”
Is anyone surprised by my no.1 book of the year? If you’ve been following me for a while, I’m sure you won’t be. This was such a cute heartfelt story. Quinn and Carter had my heart from the very first chapter. If Ms Goffney decides to write a book from Carter or Olivia’s POV, she can take all my money.*
And that concludes my 2021 reading year. I had a goal of 100 books this year and I didn’t quite reach it. But that’s okay. Life happens. I’m proud of myself for even picking up one book. I’m super excited about 2022 and will be releasing my most anticipated sometime in January!
Of course, my honourary mentions go to: