Mae Clair’s Top 10 Reads of 2021: Six Through Ten

Soft cuddly tabby cat lying in its owner's lap enjoying and purring while the owner is reading a book

Hello! It’s time to select my Top 10 reads from last year. If you’re someone who loves to devour books, you know how dreadfully hard this is. In my case, the first five were easy, but six through ten were tougher to decide. I was going to list all ten books in a single post, but they’re all so good I decided to spotlight them in two separate posts.

Each book is linked to Amazon where you can read the blurb and explore reviews. I gave every one of these fives stars and have included a few thoughts on each. Before I get to the results, I have a few cool stats to share.

I read 115 books in 2021. My original goal for the Goodreads challenge was 60, so I almost doubled that. Consider me jazzed. Or chuffed (shout-out to Fraggle and Harmony!)

The shortest book was 11 pages, the longest 530, with the average 245 pages.

January and July were my two top reading months with 12 books each. September saw the fewest with six.

Here’s a look, counting down from number six through ten, on my top list!

A twisty mystery that involves three different time periods, all of which converge for a spectacular finish. The present timeline plays off the board game Clue with guests gathering in an old mansion as test-run for a new business that hosts murder mystery parties.

9. THE GUEST LIST by Lucy Foley
An isolated location, treacherous weather, and a group of characters with plenty of skeletons rattling in proverbial closets. I’m usually pretty good at fingering the culprit, and although I had suspicions that eventually proved correct, the whys and wherefores completely blindsided me.

8. BLOODLESS by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Combining the mystery of D. B. Cooper with a series of odd murders in which the victims are drained of blood? Only Preston & Child could pull off a plot like that, and they do it exceptionally well in this latest outing for FBI Special Agent Aloysius X. L. Pendergast (whose cases always flirt with the supernatural or bizarre). I’m a diehard fan!!

7. SURVIVE THE NIGHT by Riley Sager
Cat-and-mouse suspense combines with well-plotted fiction in this slick, edge-of-your seat thrill ride. The operational word here is TENSION—with a capital T. It wasn’t until the end when everything falls into place that I realized how deftly I’d been played.

6. HOME BEFORE DARK by Riley Sager
A good old-fashioned ghost story. No gore or horror, just plenty of eerie happenings that deliver goose bumps, shivers and chills. Numerous twists and turns near the end had me trying to pick up my jaw from the floor. This is mind-blowing storytelling at its best, especially if you are a fan of ghost stories that twist like a corkscrew and prickle your skin. 

I’d love to hear if you’ve read any of these and what your thoughts are. Tomorrow, I’ll be counting down books five through one, but in the meantime, let’s chat about these titles. Do any of them appeal to you?

87 thoughts on “Mae Clair’s Top 10 Reads of 2021: Six Through Ten

  1. You read almost ten books a month, two and a half a week. That is wonderfully impressive, Mae! I haven’t read any of these books. The sound of Survived the Night is intriguing. The way you described it, cat-and-mouse, caught my interest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’ll enjoy The Guest List, Sharon. It’s a great mystery whodunit.
      Congratulations on exceeding your reading goal. I think any amount of books read is awesome. I read most every night, but this year I did more than usual. Last year I failed in meeting my GR challenge total. I guess it all depends on the what we have going on during the year, LOL!


  2. I’m so impressed by your reading prowess, Mae. Incredible. Thank you for sharing five of your top ten. They all sound amazing, and with your recommendation, must-reads for me. More for my bursting kindle! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL, Gwen. I know all about that bursting Kindle. Even with the amount of books I read, I am so far behind on my TBR. I have so many books piling up, it’s insane!
      I’m glad you enjoyed the recommendations. These were all fabulous novels!


    • I’ll be looking forward to reviews when they surface on your TBR, Tessa, especially Survive the Night. A friend of mine didn’t really care for it, but I was blown away. It’s always interesting to see both sides of the coin in book reviews, so I’ll be curious where yours fall. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Survive the Night is amazing, Mischenko. I’ll be looking forward to your review when it surfaces on your read list. Glad you’re curious about my top 5 too. There were some really great books this year!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I knew Riley Sager would be on your list. (I could sense how much you loved the books when you wrote your reviews.) And I knew Preston and Child would be there, too. What I didn’t know was that you read less in September than you did during NaNo. That’s stunning.

    Great list, Mae. Looking forward to the top five.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Whenever I do NaNo, I always leave reading time at night to unwind. I just checked, and I read 11 books in November. I have no idea what happened with September and only 6. Probably because of vacation.

      You know me too well with my love of Pendergast books, and of course, my devotion to Sager. I’m looking forward to new releases for both in 2022!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’d love Sager, Teri. He’s an auto buy author for me. I read Survive the Night from NG, but loved it so much I bought a Kindle copy. I have everything else he’s written, so I wanted that one, too.:)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The list sounds great, Mae, and you’ve reminded me that I STILL have Bloodlessawaiting me! I’m bumping it up to the TOP of my TBR list, so I can finally compare notes with you, my Penderpal. I’ve missed A.X.L. Pendergast hugely, and it’s definitely time for me to get busy reading this one. So glad you enjoyed it.

    I’ll be checking out the rest of your recommendations, too, though it might be a while before I have time to actually read them. A.X.L. MUST come first!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these, and I look forward to seeing what’s on the rest of your list. 😊💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m VERY curious to hear your thoughts on Bloodless, Marcia. I have a feeling you’re going to have strong opinions about it. Strange as it was, I loved it. Especially, the set-up for the next book.
      And next month, the new Nora Kelly/Corrie Swanson book, Diablo Mesa releases. I’ve pre-ordered, and can’t wait!

      Liked by 2 people

      • While those two aren’t as beloved to me as A.X.L., I still want to read this one. Thanks for letting me know. Will also pre-order. And don’t worry. I’ll be sure to let you know what I think of Bloodless. I will probably be able to forgive any strangeness, as long as they don’t pull a Jim Butcher on me. (After all these years, I don’t think I can read the next Dresden book. I’m not over being furious about the last one. What he did was, for me, unforgiveable! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.)

        I’m actually very much looking forward to Bloodless though. I’m braced for it being different or strange. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

    • This was my best reading year ever, Fraggle. I’m not sure I’ll ever hit such a high number (for me) again, but it made for a lot of good books. I hope you find some on my top 5 list that sound good, too. I think you’ve probably already read one or two of them. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A great list, Mae. I’ve read two of these – both by Riley Sager. One I loved (it made my top list for the year). The other one I was neutral about. Looking forward to seeing the other books on your list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read a ton of indie authors this year, Balroop, as usual for me, but I also read as many traditionally published authors as well. I hope you post a list of your favorites. I would love to see it!


  6. Oh my word, Mae, I’m so jealous of your reading accomplishments this year! 115 books is awesome!! I’m glad to feel more focused this year. I can’t wait to read and get some movement on my tbr list. The books you have named here, I’m sad to say I don’t recognize them. But they are all going on my list. They sound like great reads and the covers are beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mar, I was really lucky this year. Last year I didn’t meet my Goodreads challenge, but I guess I found extra hours to read this year. Not sure I’ll ever hit 115 books in one year again. That’s the most I’ve ever read.

      I’m glad the titles appealed to you, and I agree about the covers. I thought they were all exceptional. Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing reads 1-5, and there are some amazing covers in that group as well (plus outstanding stories)!
      I’m always glad to add to someone’s TBR, LOL. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think I’ve ever properly kept up with the books I’ve read. This year though, is a whole new game and I’m stoked! I’m looking forward to your next set of book recommendations.

        Liked by 1 person

      • YAY!
        I use Goodreads (and my cell phone) to track what I’ve read. It’s fun looking back over the year, and I like to do the GR challenge, though I don’t always win.


  7. Pingback: Mae Clair’s Top 10 Reads of 2021: One Through Five | From the Pen of Mae Clair

  8. A great list, Mae. Home Before Dark is definitely on my radar and I’m not surprised to see two of Sager’s books on your list as well as Preston & Child. Thank you for sharing and here’s to another great year of reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 115 was the most I ever read, Robbie. I’m not sure I’ll ever hit that number again, but I’ll give it a while, LOL. I do so love to read, and I know you do too. I’m sure you read a large amount of books as well (although Dante might have slowed you down).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Mae, I do read a lot and the longer bulky books do slow me down as to number but they are so worth reading. I read some big tomes last year, including Jeff Shaara’s To the Last Man (WW1), Gone With the Wind, Divine Comedy, and Testament of Youth

        Liked by 1 person

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