In January 2021, I got a little ambitious with my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal. While I unfortunately did not reach that goal, I did have the pleasure of reading a bevy of wonderful books—new releases, backlist titles, and forthcoming new works. Here are some of my favorite reads of 2021:
Disclaimer: Paring down to the Top 5 was super hard because there were a TON of great books this year. I’ve kept this list to titles that released in 2021 just to try to even the playing field some.
(For a full list of 2021 publications from yours truly, read this blog.)
NEAR THE BONE by Christina Henry (April 12, 2021)
Henry may have departed from her usual style of twisted fairy tale retellings in this chilling story, but she nails it. I can’t even write this recommendation without tripping over spoilers, but trust me: you need to read this book.
RABBITS by Terry Miles (June 7, 2021)
When a publicist from Del Ray Books approached me with an advance copy of this book, I was skeptical. I mean, a technothriller for me to read—really? A few pages in and I Was Hooked. This sucker is so full of twists and turns and absolute mindf*cks that I could NOT put it down (and I’m STILL wondering what K’s real name is, TERRY).
THE FINAL GIRLS SUPPORT GROUP by Grady Hendrix (July 12, 2021)
Lord knows I’m a Grady Hendrix fan. I didn’t think I could love something more than Horrorstör. Then I didn’t think Southern Book Club... could be outdone. And then THIS. With final girls making their way back to the top of the reading lists again lately (as they should!), I loved Hendrix’s take and the dynamism he brought to our girls here.
PEARL by Josh Malerman (October 12, 2021)
I’m never gonna look at piggies the same way. EVER. Neither will you. That’s it. That’s the recommendation. Read the dang book.
THE LAST HOUSE ON NEEDLESS STREET by Catriona Ward (September 28, 2021)
Cats, killers, and a whole lot of WTF is what you’ll find in the pages of this book, and trust me, you’re going to love every word of it. Also, when you think you’ve figured it out…you don’t. That’s what make Ward’s writing so special—the punches keep on coming.
Need more recommendations? I got ‘em!
For a super dark and twisted story that mixes serial killers with truly terrible nightmares and still makes you cry, check out Glenn Rolfe’s AUGUST’S EYES.
In the mood for an LGBT+ horror story that blends ancient curses with new loves, Lee Mandelo’s SUMMER SONS is the book for you!
Looking for a spooky YA read that involves severed feet and ritual sacrifices. Try Tom Deady’s THE CLEARING.
Lindy Miller Ryan is an author, editor, and spooky things enthusiast who occasionally makes crafty things and bakes.