Ksenia Murray’s Top Reads From 2021
My top five reads of the year was really hard to pick. I had to siphon all the books I’ve read in a blender and pick out my favorite ones! 2021 has been a crazy year for everyone and my reading had slowed down more than my normal pace. The books that are listed below arent in any particular order and were picked with care.. This list isn’t just books that came out this year but any book that I’ve read this year is fair game.
Prepare to Meet Thy God by Matt Starr (2020) – this book was actually the last book I read! When this book was sent to me I didn’t have high hopes of it based on the premise alone: a group of friends spend a weekend in a cabin in the woods. I feel as though the trope has been beat to death with a sledgehammer by this point and sighed when I got the book. But obviously it made this list so the boom is amazing in my opinion! It turns the cabin in the woods trope on its head and every page had me hooked and wanting more. I love how it delved into the pits of hell and the characters had to crawl their way out of it. Definitely a must read that’s for sure.
The Venue by T.J. Payne (2020) – this book I bought and chose to read on my own, with the rest pf the books in this list. The premise had me hooked: a woman is invited to a wedding for a distant and old friends but things get VERY bloody! It reminded me a lot of the movie Ready or Not. The guests showed up to this fancy wedding ready to see two people who they barely knew get married at this fancy all-inclusive resort that ended up in an absolute bloodbath.
The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker (1991) – of course I would be remiss if I didn’t include this book in my list. Hellraiser has always been my favorite 1980s horror movie and I decided to go ahead and give the original book a read. It blew me away with how closely the book resembled the movie. I loved the characters, the extra background information, and the Cenobites. The Cenobites scared me more in the book than they ever have in the movies! A definite must read if you love the original movie.
Uzumaki by Junji Ito (1998) – yes I know I know this isn’t a traditional novel but a manga but I don’t care! I’m including it in this lost anyway. And yes, it took me this long to get to read the manga. The premise is a town has been taken over by spirals which are making the inhabitants go crazy and really weird things happen to them. I loved the imagery, the plot, the characters, and just about everything about this manga. I have zero negative comments to make about it and that is honestly very rare for me. If you like to read mangas this is definitely the best horror manga on the market right now.
The Third Parent by Elias Witherow (2017) – this is absolutely my favorite indie horror book to date. The premise is so simple yet so unique: a family has sat down for dinner and a mysterious person knocks on the door claiming to be the families Third Parent. This book is graphic, twisty, and overall weird, which is something that I crave. The weirder the premise, the better it is, in my opinion. The parents in the book are realistic, the kids believable, and the stranger pure evil.
All in all I think that even though this year has been a slow reading year for me, I was still able to pick up some absolute gems of novels. I hope you enjoyed this list and are able to add them to your reading lists for 2022. Happy new year and happy reading!
Ksenia Murray hails from Oklahoma but moves around constantly. She’s currently writing another novel after having published The Cave and Compendium of Creatures. You can find Ksenia tucked away from the madness of the world with her husband, Chris, and her two pets Cricket and Citrus.
You can follow Ksenia on Twitter @kseniamurray