Top 5 Reads 2021


I just wanted to use AJ in the name, sue me! That said, these are my Top 5 Favorite Reads in 2021.

*This doesn’t mean the book was written in 2021

But please feel free to follow me on GoodReads, so I can continue to fill my shelves with new and exciting books by learning what interests you!

The Troop Cover Photo


Nick Cutter

My rating:

5 of 5 stars


So, a friend recommended this book, and I was like, ‘okay I’ll read it,’ and I have to say, this is non stop suspense horror at its finest.

Immediately, the problem is set and the inciting incident arrives promptly as “The Hungry Man” worms his way into the isolated island campsite of our five protagonist Boy Scouts of Troop 52 and their scoutmaster. This horrifying slender man is not what he seems as he eats everything, and I mean, everything he can, in an attempt to quell the hunger deep inside him. But things escalate when Scoutmaster Tim, the only doctor from the mainland, and the only adult on the island, determines that our slender man is ill and needs medical attention.


This is where SHIT HITS THE FAN!

Genetically engineered tapeworms become the center of readers’ nightmares, as these biological weapons eviscerate character after character from the inside out. But they’re not the only monster on the island as there is a budding sociopath amongst the boys. Quickly, his torment of animals and insects won’t be enough and his fellow campers become the target of his little games.

Unfortunately for our surviving campers the sociopath amongst them finds himself infected after having already murdered one scout. Now, whoever is left has to survive the monster that is our infected serial killer in training.

Even if any of the boys can survive the tapeworm, who’s to say the military that has blockaded the island will allow anyone to leave the island alive.

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Salem's Lot Cover


Stephen King

My rating:

5 of 5 stars

This is [was] by far my favorite book I’ve read in a while! It starts off as a bit of a slow burn through the first act, but by the time you reach act two it becomes clear that this book is not what it seems (the same could be said for the little Maine town of Jerusalem’s Lot). The second act was absolutely riveting and produced so many great characters, but the third act. . . I couldn’t put it down. It was absolutely thrilling, suspenseful, and devastating. I’ve only read four of King’s novels and despite only ever being his second novel in production, it’s be far one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. 100/10 would recommend.


VAMPIRES?!?! I truly did not see them coming, and although this was written long before the vampire craze of the early 2000s, I love how original it was, while staying true to the mythos of the monsters. I was absolutely heart broken by some of the characters deaths and loved how King tied Ben and Mark together in the end, and I would have read more of their adventure, honestly.

Susan’s death, devastating. Jimmy’s death and the way it was written, heart wrenching. And so many others . . . You knew after Susan’s death, no one was safe, there would be no happy endings, and I couldn’t put it down for the last 200-ish pages.

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#3 The Bone Collector

Bone Collector Book Cover

By Jeffery Deaver

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

TW: Violence, Blood, Explicit Language, Suicidal Ideation

What first drew me to this book was definitely the cover. Its visceral colors on the orange spectrum, and muted details, invoked horror and mystery before I ever had a chance to crack the spine.

After scanning it in with the faithful Goodreads app, I searched Jeffrey Deaver because the name felt familiar. Turns out we are both graduates of good ole Mizzou. So, of course I’m going to give this guy a fair shake. M-I-Z.

I’m still a bit new to the Detective genre as a whole, with my primary exposure coming from Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes stories. That said, I know that a trope has somewhat evolved around this idea of a ‘Wheels & The Leg Man.’

What our injured protagonist has lost, can only be brought back by the plucky naïve detective thrust into the situation. Only together, can they solve the mystery, and, more importantly, fill the voids of what the other has lost.

Something like that.

Now, let’s be VERY clear. I have no problem with this, but it is a trope I’ve seen in pop culture, even to the extent of gags about it (see Rick & Morty as well as American Dad). Don’t believe me? This one book alone, which has spawned a series of sequels, has been turned into a flub of a movie (1999) and a TV show (2020) that was canceled after 10 episodes.

Okay, let’s move on. You’re here to hear about this book, and let me tell you, it is a good ‘un.

Read the full review

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Visual Themes of Sharp Objects


Gillian Flynn

My rating:

5 of 5 stars


I feel required to give immediate praise for Gillian Flynn’s debut manuscript, Sharp Objects right off the bat. This masterfully cringe-tastic adult mystery whittles away at any sense of reader’s common decency in the search for answers to not only the ‘whodunnit,’ but one family’s disquieting secrets.

That said, the ending – I have mixed opinions about.

I’ll get there. For now, let’s synopsis-ize this electric plot, and if you’re curious – no. I have not watched the HBO series.

That said, I can see Amy Adams doing a killer Camille Preaker.


Meet Amy Ada – I mean – Camille Preaker, thirty-something mid-level journalist at Chicago’s FOURTH largest newspaper, The Daily Post. She’s almost exactly what you’d expect. She’s a “urine yellow” depressed. She’s plagued with millennial generalized anxiety, and has the self-confidence of an acne-riddled teenage girl with a lisp and an overbite.

Thankfully, her father-figure of an editor, Frank, gives her a Pulitzer-worthy assignment.

Go back to the ole hometown of Middlanowear, Missouri (i.e. Wind Gap) where everyone is either Old Money or Trash – or in Camille’s case, “I’m trash. From Old Money.” Stay with said trashy old money family since, ya know, she just got released from a 12-week Psych Hold. And, uh, oh yeah, report on the whole two murdered little girls’ story.

Camille nonplussed about the assignment wonders why she can’t cover Chicago’s horror stories, lord knows there’s plenty. But the paper needs this, and maybe Camille does too.  So, she heads out. With no attachments in Chicago, she leaves her sad apartment behind and heads for Wind Gap.

. . .

For the Full Review Click Here

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Cover for Behind Her Eyes

By Sarah Pinborough
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say that will do this book the justice it deserves, while trying to limit spoiling anything? The story is SO well written as it bounced between two characters in first person almost like they’re writing down in a journal, but then we get doses of the past told as a third person narrative. It’s a bit slow if you’re not into the romantic love triangle story, but the writing is too well done to ignore. However, by the last 50 pages the book is IMPOSSIBLE to put down.

At face value the story concerns Louise and her ensnarement in the convoluted web of Adele and David Martin’s crumbling marriage. She becomes Louise’s best friend while he becomes Louise’s lover. But all isn’t right beyond the affair. Someone is manipulating things to go their way, someone is trapped, and nightmares become a heavy dose of reality. What a wild ride and the ending is just… you’ve got to read it.

My only criticism is the supernatural themes don’t have any explanation. However, they are supernatural and if you can’t accept that, then maybe this isn’t a story for you, in fact, I’m sure based on the ending it very much won’t be.

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