The 24 Books I Read in 2021’s Third Quarter

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I made a reading goal to read 40 books during the year. To keep myself accountable, I’ve been sharing the books I’ve completed on social media, keeping track on my Goodreads account and I’ve been working on this list. From July through September, these are the 24 books I’ve completed!

1. Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with Stuff by Dana K. White

If you need a little inspiration to kickstart some cleaning around your house, then this would be a jumping off book! It doesn’t share just tips and tricks, it teaches you how to change your mindset about clutter. Not that I really needed to read this book because I’m good at cleaning and finding a place for everything – I just am not good at it every day. So then things pile up! And this book is a good reminder to simplify.

2. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

This one was really good. McConaughey read for the audiobook, so it was nice to hear him speak his own words. He talked about how he started acting while being afraid to disappoint his father. He’s captivating to listen to and a beautiful human, flaws and all. There were a lot of reviews on this about how he is so self-centered, but this book is a memoir.

3. The End of Her by Shari Lapena

This book starts off with the main characters Stephanie and Patrick being sleep deprived because of their newborn twins. Then a woman named Erica shows up on their doorstep claiming that Patrick’s first wife hasn’t died accidentally. Erica begins blackmailing them through a twist of information. Stephanie spirals as her reality becomes distorted while she sets out to find the truth.

4. Influence, New and Expanded: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

A nonfiction psychology book that plays out the idea of influence by repetition throughout. It will make you aware of marketing tactics, so if you work in marketing this could help you. And if you don’t work in marketing, you can get wise to the weapon that is influence. I half liked it and half thought it was too repetitive, but that’s how you get a subject ingrained in your mind.

5. The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

This story was good after the getting through that last nonfiction book. This book follows Mariana on her journey to Cambridge when her niece Zoe’s closest friend is murdered. While offering her support, she discovers that a professor, Edward Fosca, has a lot more going on. She finds a secret society of female students and begins to insert herself into the investigation.

6. The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Loved this book. The story moves back and forth between the past and present – but between two different women. The past: a story about Nella and a secret apothecary in 18th century London that dispenses poison to women who have nowhere to turn. The present: Caroline found her husband cheating on her, so she ends up on their 10th anniversary trip to London all alone. This book was entertaining and I loved the historical aspect of the story.

7. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

This is a suspense mystery novel. The main character, Hannah, is delivered a note after her husband, Owen, disappears. The note says “protect her.” The “her” the note refers is Owen’s daughter, Bailey. The two pair together and set out to find out what happened to Owen. They travel to Austin where the begin to dig out the truth of Owen’s past and try to make the puzzle pieces fit together.

8. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The writing was beautiful and I really liked this story. Noemi’s father sends her to check in on her cousin Catalina. Catalina recently got married to Virgil, who’s family lives far away from Mexico City in a remote manor called High Place. While in this remote manor, Noemi experiences strange feelings, isn’t welcomed by Virgil’s mysterious family and not allowed to see Catalina due to her illness. The story checks in with a little bit of fantastical gothic horror as it unfolds. The descriptions are gorgeous!

9. The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Another mystery thriller story, The Guest List takes you to an island off the coast of Ireland for a wedding. The story is told around several characters as they interact with each other at various spots on the island and with other characters. There wasn’t a dull moment, but these were all loathsome characters – you love to hate them.

10. Eat, Pray, #FML by Gabrielle Stone

This was a funny personal account of Gabrielle’s experience through divorce then falling in love with another guy. She joins him on a romantic vacation to Italy, but he cancels on her two days before. So she went by herself a la Eat, Pray, Love. She stayed in several countries and met various people throughout her travels. I found her quite annoying at times, but, then again, she was very relatable.

11. We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz

Murder. Another Murder. These two friends went on two separate trips abroad that ended in murder. What the heck is going on. I didn’t read reviews going in, so I just rode the wave. And it was such a page turner. Kristen has a sketchy past and Emily isn’t a reliable narrator because she doesn’t seem to have a full recollection of past events. As the reader gets new information, how do we know what’s real and who to trust?

12. The ADHD Advantage by Dale Archer

Nonfiction book where Archer dives into non-pharmacological strategies to help people with ADHD. Archer believes that Big Pharma overdiagnoses children in the United States and he’s trying to push back. He dives into how medication should be a last resort for doctors, not the first.

13. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

This is a quick beach read if you need one! There’s a wedding and every guest gets sick – except for the sister of the bride and the brother of the groom. The bride and groom insist that they take their Hawaii honeymoon together otherwise no one goes on the trip. So they do. And its a cute love story.

14. The Turnout by Megan Abbott

Two sisters, Dara and Marie, run their mother’s ballet studio. Dara’s husband, Charlie, also helps run the business end. As the current season of The Nutcracker performance is looming, tension run high when a fire destroys part of the studio. After they hire a contractor to fix, Marie begins a relationship with him. Tensions grow even larger with a stranger poking and prodding into the lives of these three.

15. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

This book started out with a the mystery of a missing daughter and the falling apart of a family because of it. Years later, the daughter’s body is found and they can finally begin to grieve. The twist at the end was not expected!

16. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I really enjoyed how this story unfolded. A mother passes away leaving teenage Nina to care for her three little siblings. Their father walked out on them at a young age, so Nina figured things out. This book had sadness to it just like the characters.

17. A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

This is a murder mystery, crime thriller novel. I definitely like it better than The Girl on the Train. I had to put on Gone Girl after finishing this. A young man is found stabbed to death on a houseboat. The story moves back and forth in time as the characters stories are revealed.

18. The Husbands by Chandler Baker

This one really reminded me of the Stepford Wives and it kind of was. Nora, a successful attorney who’s expecting her second child, wants to move her family to this exclusive neighborhood. As she begins meeting the neighbors, she discovers that most of the women are ultra successful with great families. A perfect place to raise their little family. Or so she thought…

19. Legend by Marie Lu

I had to pick up another YA novel this summer. Legend was a fairly quick read. It reminded me of the Hunger Games – just a little bit. It had the dystopian future, the division between the wealthy and the poor, and government coverups and experiments. The heroine is being groomed to because a military star, but then her brother is murdered. She heads out on the path to avenge her brother, but when she meets the supposed killer, she finds clues that lead her to question everything she knows.

20. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

I think I started and stopped this book several times, but kept it on my list to finish whenever I felt like going back to a nonfiction. The overall theme is about how habits shape our lives and how to identify what cues you into a bad habit.

21. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

This book is a historical account of the Great American Dust Bowl and the people who lived through a major depression. There was a lot of hurt that these people lived through. This was written well and was a page-turner – don’t let the history deter you. The Dust Bowl happened less than 100 years ago and is very much part of our American history. When human actions can cause such an environmental disaster in a short amount of time its truly heartbreaking.

22. Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy

I finished this book in only two days. It went by quick and the story had me hooked! I didn’t read any reviews before, I went in blind. The story is a psychological thriller with two twists. TWO. A husband goes missing and a sociopath does some manipulating and plotting, but the ending was not what I expected.

23. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

I finished this book very quickly. The story of Lilly reading her teenage diary was a nice way to unfold that part of her life with her first love. Now, she’s navigating her current relationship with an abusive partner. She grew up with a father who was abusive to her mother and would never stay in a relationship like that. It proves difficult for her to choose to stay or walk away as their relationship deepens. But then her life is turned around when her first love walks back into her life. Some of the relationship nuances of the story seem a little frail, but the decision-making skills of the characters make this book a worthwhile read.

24. The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

This book only took me 4 days to finish. The story was a little bit broken up in the beginning, so I got a little lost, but then it kind of evened out. I think the chapter switches for the timeline confused me at first, but then the parts got progressively longer. The story is full of sex, lies, and rape. The story revolves around the main character, Elle, who vacations to their old house, The Paper Palace, in Cape Cod. The chapters intertwine Elle as a young girl and then again visiting as an adult with her own children. Some may find some parts disturbing, but the trauma is real.

You can find the 11 books I read in the previous quarter here. And you can see a list of the 13 books I read in the first quarter here.

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