Summer 2021 Book Recommendations

summer 2021 book recommendations

 Summer 2021 Book Recommendations

At the beginning of every summer I like to put together a list of the books I recommend. Many of us have more time to read and lounge in the summer months than throughout the rest of the year. As an empty nester I am able to read year round, so I make my Summer 2021 Book Recommendations list from the books I have read in the last year.


For more book recommendations:

2022 Summer Book Recommendations

Summer 2020 Book Recommendations

10 Best Books for Empty Nesters

summer 2021 book recommendations

Summer 2021 Book Recommendations


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Pretty Things by Janelle Brown

Pretty Things by Janelle Brown

Pretty Things was one of my absolute favorite books this year. I listened to it on Audible. The readers were SO GOOD. It is a thriller with two strong female characters. I will definitely be reading more books by Janelle Brown.

the dutch house by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

I also discovered Ann Patchett this year. I LOVED The Dutch House. The book covers the lives of a brother and sister over five decades as they fight to regain everything they lost after their father died. I also recommend Run by Patchett, where a freak accident leads a family to a huge new truth.

The extraordinary life of sam hell

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell is the only book I read this year where I cried at the ending. It weaves faith throughout the book in a way that is raw and genuine. There are no pat answers for Sam. I did find out it is medically inacurate, but I am totally willing to forgive that for the amazing story.

Harry Potter

The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

I confess. I had never read the entire Harry Potter series. Years ago I read the first book and also watched all of the movies with my kids. I asked a lot of annoying questions like, “So Snape was Harry's Dad????” I never completely got what was going on from watching one movie every few years. So in 2020 I read all 7 books and I watched all 7 movies. The Harry Potter series should be on everyone's book reading bucket list.

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Anxious People by Fredrick Backman

Fredrick Backman is becoming one of my favorite authors. He writes characters so realistically. I always feel like I know the people he writes about. What is more amazing is that the people live in Sweden and his books have been translated from Swedish. I am amazed at deep down how much we are all alike no matter where we live on the globe. (If you  did not catch the HBO series of his book Bear Town, it is must see tv. The story absolutely could have taken place in any sports obsessed town in America.)

well behaved woman

A Well Behaved Woman by Theresa Ann Fowler

A Well Behaved Woman is a fun read about Alva Vanderbilt, who married into the Vanderbilt family. The marriage is arranged to aid the Vanderbilts in acceptance to New York Society and to keep her family from everyone realizing they were actually broke. This book is historical fiction, but gives many of the facts surrounding her life and the lives of the members of this infamous family.

Race against Time

A Race Against Time by Jerry Mitchell

If you like True Crime, A Race Against Time is the book for you. (It should totally be a podcast. ? ) An investigative journalist goes back and SOLVES and helps get prosecuted murders from the Civil Rights era. It's also kinda cool that Jerry Mitchell is also an Abilene Christian University alum. I am proud to share that with him!


A fatal grace by louise penny

A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny

I was looking for something light after finishing a big project and doing some other heavy reading (not included in this list), so I turned to Louise Penny. I had read the first book in the series several years ago. It delivered a solid “who done it.” Not my favorite characters, but a light, easy mystery read.

the four winds by kristin Hannah

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

I listened to the Audible version of  The Four Winds. I loved the main character and her life story, but the book was entirely too long and belabored and seemed to promote Communism??? I was driving on a trip with my husband and our rule is driver chooses what we listen to, so I turned this on. After about 20 minutes, he said, “So the point is they're poor?” Yes. Hours and hours of descriptions of their poverty. It is also kind of a rip off of The Grapes of Wrath.

the hunting party by lucy foley

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

I read two of Lucy Foley's books this year, The Hunting Party and One by One. They are both murder mysteries and follow the same pattern – a group of people is stranded together by the elements and one or more of them are murdered. And, of course, the murderer has to be among them. I did not figure out the murderer in The Hunting Party, but knew from the first few chapters who the murderer was in One by One. Not the best books, but good for a light mystery read.


As with any year of reading there are going to be a few books that were merely so-so. Here is my list: When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O'Neil, The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, High Achiever by Tifany Jenkins, and The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton (so disappointing since Next Year in Havana was so good).

What have you read in the last year that you LOVED? Let us know your Summer 2021 Book Recommendations in the comments below.

Summer 2021 Book Recommendations 1

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Welcome to Almost Empty Nest! I began this blog in September 2014 after leaving my oldest son at college and realizing that my nest was emptying. Join me on this journey as we explore the path of guiding our children to adulthood and rediscovering ourselves beyond the mom years.


  1. Laura, so glad to have the book list– my favorite read lately has been “The Authenticity Project” by Clare Pooley. Also, any books by Richard Paul Evans, such as “Grace” and the walk series.

    • Thank you for these recommendations. Always fun to share our favorite books!



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