2021 Reading Challenge Completed And 12 Short Book Reviews

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2021 Reading Challenge Completed and 12 Short Book Reviews

Who else did not open a book in 2020? Just me? Okay.

2020 was like a nightmare. I couldn't even bring myself to read a book then.

So I made a promise that I'll go back to reading again this year.

Thus, my "Read one book or one series in a month for one year" Reading Challenge started.

I joyfully and proudly completed the task I gave myself at the start of the year. 😄 Oh, the commitment it took and the feeling of accomplishment after. 

You should try it. 

I'm sharing my short reviews for the books I read in twelve months in 2021. 

Hope this helps you decide which book to choose and not to pick for your next reading challenge.

This post contains affiliate links, so we'd get a commission if you purchase through the links at no additional cost.

2021 Reading Challenge Completed & 12 Short Book Reviews

1. January 2021 - Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James

Rating: ⭐⭐ 

I'm not saying this to diss the author because I can only imagine the time, effort, sleepless nights, coffee, and glasses of wine involved in writing a series. High respect.

But about the book...

You'd know right away that it's written by a woman...

A drop-dead gorgeous young multi-millionaire who wants to give you the world, a sex god who just happened to have a big heart for the needy, with an equally kind-hearted family...

Reading Challenge Book Reviews

Anastasia Steel is supposed to be an English Lit student who later became editor-in-chief. But can she have a more boring train of thought? 

There are so many lines that I wish were deleted as it made me cringe and want to throw the book across the room.

I will never understand why the first book outsold JK Rowling's, Harry Potter

JK Rowling on Fifty Shades of Grey

Okay, maybe I do. Sex really does sell. 

No matter how jejune the narrative is, no matter how gray the characters are (pun intended), it will sell if there's crazy sex involved.

2021 Reading Challenge - January - Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James

I also read Fifty Shades as Told by Christian Trilogy: Grey, Darker, Freed, and I would say it's better.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Maybe because Christian is a successful young entrepreneur, his everyday life is more exciting. 

His past is also colorful, to say the least. He's a complex human being, so there's a curiosity in trying to figure out why he is the way he is and what's going on in his mind.

It's less torture to read as Christian doesn't have an inner goddess who annoyingly bounces, spins, pole vaults, and pirouettes. It's more tolerable.

Whatever you think about this series, I'd say I started my 2021 Reading Challenge with a bang. 😄

2021 Reading Challenge - January - Fifty Shades

If you want an honest trailer about the movie adaptation and have a good laugh, you should watch this:

2. February 2021 - The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I didn't know this was a part of a series when I picked it up at the bookstore. 

It reminds me of Hunger Games and Divergent. 

In this novel, their society is divided into Silvers and Reds. The Reds are the inferior community, and the Silver possesses superpowers.

Lo and behold, they discover that Mare, the story's protagonist, is a Red with extraordinary gifts.

Though I predicted who the real villain was, I like how it was written creatively. 

The battle scenes are thrilling. And there's still an element of surprise.

I can't wait to finish the whole series soon (it's currently out of stock in the bookstores here).

And I also wish that this would be made into a movie or series. 

Hi, Hollywood. Please?

2021 Reading Challenge - February - Red Queen (Red Queen, 1)

3. March 2021 - Thy Brother's Wife by Andrew Greeley

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

It's intriguing but not as engrossing as I expected it to be. 

Two brothers - a senator and a priest - fell in love with their adopted sister.

They both thought the other one deserved the woman better, but they lived out their lives according to how their father planned them to be. So again, it's about the struggles of being human.

Struggles of children who follow their parents' dreams instead of following their hearts.

The struggles of siblings who want the best for each other are willing to risk their own morality and principles.

Struggles of humans seeking God's answers and looking for signs when going through a dark time. 

Struggles of a young priest.

This novel also reminded me about how things could grandly change if only we learn to say what is really in our hearts.

2021 Reading Challenge - March

4. April 2021 - Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Eleven Minutes is about discovering love from unconventional people in the most unexpected place and how far a person is willing to go for ambition or dreams.

It's the first Paulo Coelho novel I read so fast I finished it in days. It didn't lull me to sleep. :D 

I love that airport scene. It's the least I expected from this character, so it's a pleasant surprise. 

I literally had to stop reading and squeal like a high school girl. I've not done that since Eleanor & Park.

It made me wonder why Maria the prostitute's thoughts are more eloquent, poetic, and sensible than English Lit major Anastasia Steel's. 

I wouldn't have predicted why it's titled Eleven Minutes. So that's another great discovery.

2021 Reading Challenge April

5. May 2021 - After Series by Anna Todd

Rating: ⭐⭐

Another book that sold probably because of all the sex involved. 

My friend warned me that it's hard to read (too wordy), and I should have listened.

I was reading fast to get it done and over with. I want to know if Tessa finally realized her worth and allowed herself to find the healthy love she deserves.

There are some similarities with Fifty Shades of Grey, or at least with the characters. 

Tessa is also a bibliophile and a virgin. Hardin is an enigmatic guy with a complex past who fell obsessively in love with this naive girl. 

Both men don't have a problem when it comes to money. 

Neither seems to make an effort; Hardin is in school, and Christian is in his Forbes 500 business but is thriving anyway.

Both have aggressive or violent tendencies.

Though when it comes to red flags, Hardin is the winner.

"Toxic" is an understatement to describe their relationship. 

Their story is about trying to fix someone who doesn't want to be fixed and suffering through a toxic cycle. 

If you want to know what red flags to look out for and what happens if you meet them head-on, instead of dodging them, read this book. 

2021 Reading Challenge - May

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

It's exciting to read how the brilliant mind of Sherlock Holmes unravels mystery after mystery, but I would say the TV series and the movies are better.

There were cases that I thought were easy to solve, and there were plot twists I didn't see coming.

A great break from the previous romance books I've read, that's for sure.

2021 Reading Challenge - June

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I've always believed in the power of written words

My thoughts and plans get more organized when I see them written down on paper. 

Heartwarming, inspiring, and astounding sharing of people who have turned their dreams into reality by writing them down is waiting for you in this book.

It renewed my faith and reminded me just how powerful we are in creating our destinies and shaping our future.

2021 Reading Challenge - July

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Another novel I'd like to be made into a movie. 

I love how the story is plain and simple but full of suspense. I seldom see plots wherein the heart of the action climaxes and (almost) ends in one location.

Not everyone loves a happy ending, but I do. 

Needless to say, I closed this book with a smile on my face.

2021 Reading Challenge - August

9. September 2021 - Forced Rest

That's not the title of my September read. 

I got sick this month and didn't have the energy to read a book. 

So I took a break and read two books for October instead.

2021 Reading Challenge - September

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Greer and Eben. The two characters in this book were a breath of fresh air from Christian + Anastasia and Hardin + Tessa. 

Eben is uncomplicated, genuine, and honest. Greer is no-nonsense, especially when it comes to her job.

I love how the story happened in one place - the Beach Town. The simple way they live in Cypress Key reminds me of my old hometown. 

I miss going to the beach, and this book makes me want to live near one.

It's not a complex story - no suspense, action, heavy drama, and, most importantly, no mysterious boyfriend with a heavy baggage to carry.

But it makes me look forward to what will happen next, especially where Greer and Eben's relationship is going.

It brought me that pleasant summer vibe even though I read it in October.

This book is an excellent come-back read for me after struggling with my health. 

2021 Reading Challenge - October 2021

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I'm not a fan of book flashback scenes, but I don't mind it with The Distance Between Us. 

It's highly relevant to the story and effective in piquing your curiosity. 

Why do these sisters have this unique bond? 

Why does Stella keep seeing this man or think she did, and why is he making her feel this way?

What is she running away from?

How in the world is she going to meet Jake when he's halfway across the globe?

How will they work things out when they seem to live in different worlds?

How is Jake going to make peace with his past?

Questions that keep adding up as you read along but, in the end, were answered satisfactorily. 

Jake and Stella didn't have a good past, but you'd know they'll have a promising future.

2021 Reading Challenge - October

11. November 2021- The Road Home by Rose Tremain

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

It's raw and moving. A story about a man who once became homeless in hopes of providing a better life for his family back home.

It's good to be reminded of how kindness, even from people we barely know, can change our lives. And that we really have no idea what the other person is going through.

I love how Lev did not let his present circumstances hinder him from dreaming new dreams.

He worked hard and persevered to save his family and turn his dream into reality. To give the people in their small town another chance.

There's also a part about the wrong love he chose that still haunts him but makes him more human.

And that's what I love about this story. It doesn't shy away from the reality of life. 

Only four stars, though, because I wish he's found peace in his heart and allowed himself to move on and be really happy.

2021 Reading Challenge - November

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I read this book as a requirement from our club. It was reading out of obligation at first which was no fun, but I eventually enjoyed it.

Enlightening, perceptive, and sometimes funny.

As someone who's been working with customers for about 18 years now, I have many eureka moments here.

Not only are the insights helpful for work or business, but they also gave me an idea of how to create powerful moments in an otherwise ordinary time, build a stronger relationship with others, and turn something unpleasant into an opportunity for an epic moment.

A must-read, especially for entrepreneurs or those who want to improve their career in customer care.

2021 Reading Challenge - December

2021 Reading Challenge Takeaway

When I was a few pages away from completing my 2021 Reading Challenge, I had an incredible sense of pride and satisfaction.

This year was far from perfect, but at least I've been productive and learned more than I did last year.

I hope my picks for my 2022 Reading Challenge will be much better.

What's on your reading list for 2022? Recommendations are welcome.

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