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About Books Monthly Wrap-Ups Spotlight

2021 Wrap-Up + The Book, Cover, and Author of the Year

Happy Friday & Happy New Year’s Eve!

Whew! We did it. We made it to the end of 2021. I am forever grateful to books for getting me through this challenging year. I had a lot of great and profound reading experiences throughout the year. Good times I’ll remember fondly. Plus, the blog has grown and achieved a few new milestones, which I’m very happy about.

Without further delay, here’s my 2021 wrap-up along with my top favorite reads of 2021 and the cover/author/book of the year.

2021: Goodreads Reading Challenge

As of this post I’ve read 132 books (maybe 133 if I can finish this final read – A Dragon for Christmas by Zoe Chant – before the ball drops).

Screenshot of completed Goodreads Reading Challenge widget of 132 books of 100 goal for 2021.

December Reviews Posted

I posted 26 reviews this month of mostly 4-star reads. All in all, a good month for books.

Getting His Game Back  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wife by Wednesday  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I Am Enough  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Good Egg  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Cool Bean  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Sunny Makes A Splash  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Only Mostly Devastated  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Introvert Doodles  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Strictly No Elephants  | ⭐⭐⭐
The Suite Spot  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2
Falling for Zeke  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2
Welcome to the Ballroom (Volume 1)  | ⭐⭐⭐1/2
Gratitude is My Superpower  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Red: A Crayon’s Story  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Garden We Share  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
House of Beating Wings (excerpt)  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I Am (Not) Scared  | ⭐⭐⭐
We Are (Not) Friends |  ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Awakened  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Damaged Goods  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Dragon’s Breath  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I’ve Loved You Since Forever  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodnight Moon  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wildfire Griffin  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
All Systems Red  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Restart  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Favorite December Reads

My favorite December reads were Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales, The Suite Spot by Trish Doller, and All Systems Red by Martha Wells.

Favorite Blog Posts I Wrote

Below are posts I wrote from the past year that I had a lot of fun making and sharing.

Top Ten Tuesday: Purple, Gold, and/or Green Book Covers (Happy Mardi Gras!)
Book to Movie Adaptations I’d Love To See
Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Whose Job I Wish I Had
Top Ten Tuesday: Colorful Book Covers
Outfits On Book Covers I Want In My Closet
My Favorite Book Mentors
Top Ten Tuesday: Older Reads I Loved and Will Always Recommend
Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Love An Update On

Top 12 Favorite Reads of 2021

My top 12 favorite reads of 2021 were Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune, At Summer’s End by Courtney Ellis, Set to Music by Negeen Papehn, Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston, Float Plan by Trish Doller, The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison, Brothersong by TJ Klune, Celestial by Olivia Wildenstein, Spy x Family (volume 1) by Tatsuya Endo, Thanks A Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas, Rock Hard by Nalini Singh, and Feel the Fire by Annabeth Albert.

I highly recommend all of these 5-star titles!

Honorable Mentions:
Bloodsworn  ●  Unplugged  ●  Drawn Together

Covers of the Year

I chose Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune, You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao, and Bloodsworn by Scott Reintgen. for Cover of the Year. These stunning, beautiful covers took my breath away. I would gladly have these as wall art decor in my house.

Authors of the Year

For this category, I chose authors whose works I especially enjoyed and really want to read more from.

B.B. Alston  ●  TJ Klune  ●  Whitney D. Grandison

Nalini Singh  ●  Trish Doller  ●  Danielle L. Jensen

Courtney Ellis  ●  Annabeth Albert  ●  Chad Lucas

Book of the Year

This was probably the toughest choice I had to make this year but I chose two books that really wowed me, left a huge impression on me that still lingers, and brought me to tears. Book of the Year went to Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune and At Summer’s End by Courtney Ellis!

Final Thoughts – Farewell 2021

While 2021 was a good reading year for me, it’s also put into perspective what I want for myself and this blog going forward. I’ve been slowly making changes in all aspects of my life and 2022 will see the beginning of those wishes implemented. But more on that in an upcoming January Happenings post.

I want to thank you all for reading, commenting, and liking my posts. I am so happy to be in this space, blogging and gushing and reminiscing about all things books. You are the best!

I hope you all have a splendid weekend and a happy New Year!

 

Sincerely,

Christina


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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About Books Spotlight

The Best of the Best Books of 2021: here are my favorites

Hello, again! Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! It’s been a busy while relaxing, reading, and just enjoying my time off work. This break was much needed for everyone.

Today’s post is a rewind, reminiscing about all the books I read this year and sharing the ones that stood out and left big impressions on me.

This year seems harder than past ones because I read so many good books! It was difficult to choose just one for some of the categories I’m using below. But we’re book lovers. Choosing just one book rarely is an option.

In 2021, I surpassed my reading goal of 100 books and read 27,146 pages across 131 books.

I’m still reading “Operation Sisterhood” but will be able to finish before the year is over. That review will be posted January 4 (its release day).

Through much deliberation, here are the best of the best books of 2021:

Best Picture Book was:

Drawn Together by Minh Lê, Illustrated by Dan Santat

Honorable Mentions:
Eyes That Kiss In The Corners Bedtime Bonnet

Best Middle Grade was:

Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston

Honorable Mentions:
Thanks A Lot, Universe ● Unplugged

Best LGBTQIAP+ Fiction was:

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Image via NetGalley

Honorable Mentions:
Ana on the EdgeBat BoyBrothersong Feel the FireOnly Mostly DevastatedOne Last StopThanks A Lot, Universe

Best Young Adult Romance was:

The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison

Honorable Mentions:
Radha & Jai’s Recipe for RomanceYou’ve Reached SamOnly Mostly Devastated

Best New Adult Romance was:

Celestial by Olivia Wildenstein

Honorable Mention:
Bat Boy One Last Stop

Best Adult Romance was:

Set to Music by Negeen Papehn &
At Summer’s End by Courtney Ellis

Honorable Mentions:
Feel the FireRock HardFloat PlanA Lowcountry BrideHome to MeWaiting for YouAll Night Long with a CowboyGetting His Game Back

Best Paranormal Romance was:

Brothersong by TJ Klune

Honorable Mentions:
Wildfire Griffin The Boss

Best Fantasy was:

Bloodsworn by Scott Reintgen,
Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston, &
Celestial by Olivia Wildenstein

Honorable Mentions:
Roar A Swift and Savage Tide These Feathered Flames Gilded Serpent

Best Manga Volume was:

Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo (Vol. 1)

Honorable Mention:
An Incurable Case of Love

Best Standalone Novel was:

At Summer’s End by Courtney Ellis
Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune, &
Set to Music by Negeen Papehn

Best 2021 Release was:

*For this, I’m listing all my favorites because there were too many new releases that I absolutely loved. This year I read more new releases than any other year.*

All Night Long with a Cowboy    Amari and the Night Brothers  ●  Ana on the Edge  ●  Be Dazzled  ●  Bloodsworn  ●  Celestial    Eyes that Kiss in the Corners  ●  Float Plan  ●  Gilded Serpent  ●  Home For A Cowboy Christmas  ●  A Lowcountry Bride  ●  My City Speaks  ●  One Last Stop  ●  Open Your Heart  ●  Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance  ●  The Right Side of Reckless  ●  Set to Music  ●  The Squire  ●  At Summer’s End   ●  A Swift and Savage Tide  ●  Thanks A Lot, Universe  ●  These Feathered Flames  ●  Trashlands  ●  Truly Tyler  ●  Unplugged  ●  Under the Whispering Door  ●  Wednesday Wilson Gets Down to Business  ●  You Can Go Your Own Way  ●  You’ve Reached Sam

 

So those were some of my top favorite reads from the year. It’s been another amazing reading journey that I’m going to remember fondly. Tomorrow I’ll be posting my wrap up along with my favorite book, cover, and author of 2021.

See you then!


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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Anticipated Book Releases Bookish Lists Spotlight

💙 July-December 2021 Book Releases I Can’t Wait For! 💙

July 6
Snow White with the Red Hair (Volume 14)
Capture the Crown by Jennifer Estep
Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian
Mashle: Magic and Muscles (Volume 1)
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
Forever This Summer by Leslie C. Youngblood

 

Image via Goodreads

July 12
Dragon Mine by Donna Grant

July 13
Flash Fire by TJ Klune (arc review)
The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison (arc)
Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance by Nisha Sharma (arc)

July 20
Isn’t It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams
Weird Kid by Greg Van Eekhout
These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan

 

Image via Goodreads

July 27
Open Your Heart by Cheris Hodges
Men Are Frogs by Saranna DeWylde
A Void of Magic by Sandy Williams

August 3
Yona of the Dawn (Volume 31)
Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood edited by Kwame Mbalia
The Plentiful Darkness by Heather Kassner
A Dragonbird in the Fern by Laura Rueckert
The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee

August 10
Rise Up from the Embers by Sara Raasch & Kristin Simmons
On These Black Sands by Vanessa Rasanen
How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

 

Image via Goodreads

August 17
Black Butler (Volume 30)

August 19
He’s My Mom!: A Story for Children Who Have a Transgender Parent or Relative by Sarah Savage, Illustrated by Joules Garcia

August 24
All Night Long With A Cowboy by Caitlin Crews (arc)

August 31
The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson

September 7
Snow White with the Red Hair (Volume 15)
Narwhal’s School of Awesomeness by Ben Clanton
Partly Cloudy by Tanita S. Davis
Yusuf Azeem Is Not a Hero by Saadia Faruqi
The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
Portrait of a Scotsman by Evie Dunmore
My City Speaks by Darren Lebeuf, Illustrated by Ashley Barron

 

Image via Goodreads

September 14
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Before We Were Blue by E.J. Schwartz
Battle of the Bands edited by Lauren Gibaldi & Eric Smith (anthology)

September 21
Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune (arc review)
Maya and the Return of the Godlings by Rena Barron
When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting
Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds by Samira Ahmed

September 28
Steelstriker by Marie Lu
Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales by Soman Chainani
Her Renegade Cowboy by Lora Leigh (arc)

 

Image via Goodreads

October 5
Dust & Grim by Chuck Wendig
Luminous by Mara Rutherford
Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper

October 12
The Sweetest Remedy by Jane Igharo
The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy by Anne Ursu
The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker

October 19
Carefree Black Girls by Zeba Blay (arc)
Well Matched by Jen DeLuca
The Circus at the End of the Sea by Lori R. Synder

 

Image via NetGalley

October 26
Home for a Cowboy Christmas by Donna Grant
The School Between Winter and Fairyland by Heather Fawcett

November 2
Snow White with the Red Hair (Volume 16)
The Fastest Way to Fall by Denise Williams
Escape From Falaise by John Flanagan
You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao
Dreams Lie Beneath by Rebecca Ross
You Can Go Your Own Way by Eric Smith
Another Beast’s Skin by Jessika Grewe Glover

 

Image via Goodreads

November 4
Wolf Taken by Heather Renee

November 9
The Righteous by Renee Ahdieh

November 16
The Singles Table by Sara Desai

November 23
The Becoming by Nora Roberts

November 30
A Swift and Savage Tide by Chloe Neill


What are your most anticipated reads for the second half of 2021? Which books are you hoping to add to your bookshelves?


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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About Books Spotlight

COVER REVEAL: Scorched Earth by Danielle L. Jensen

Happy Sunday, Bookworms!

Yesterday, one of my favorite authors, Danielle L. Jensen, shared the cover for the fourth and final book of the Dark Shore series: SCORCHED EARTH.

This stunning work of art was designed by @coverdungeonrabbit. (exact post link)

I highly recommend this one of a kind, Roman inspired, YA fantasy series. It’s amazing and action-packed, sweetness and feelings!

THE BOOKS

TARNISHED EMPIRE (#0.5) – a sorry-not-sorry punch in the feels with extremely high stakes and everything to lose for the MCs (full review)

DARK SHORES (#1) – brilliant; had me on the edge of my seat (full arc review)

DARK SKIES (#2) – an extraordinary tale of atonement and courage to do what’s right even when you back’s against the wall (full arc review)

GILDED SERPENT (#3) – devastatingly good; prepare to be amazed (full arc review)


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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About Books Anticipated Book Releases Spotlight

My Most Anticipated 2021 Book Releases (Jan-June)

Royalty Free image via Pixabay
Image via Goodreads

January 5
Unplugged by Gordon Korman
The Fate of Crowns by Rebecca L. Garcia
Snow White with the Red Hair (Volume 11)
Celestial by Olivia Wildenstein
An Incurable Case of Love (Volume 6)
Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

January 12
The Frozen Crown by Greta Kelly

Image via Goodreads

January 19
Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston
Shipped by Angie Hockman
House of Bastiion by K. L. Kolarich

January 26
Tarnished Empire by Danielle L. Jensen
The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

 

February 1
Heart of Gold by Donna Grant

February 2
Love Is A Revolution by Renée Watson

Image via Goodreads

February 9
One Jar of Magic by Corey Ann Haydu
The Iron Raven by Julie Kagawa (ARC)

February 16
Blood Sworn by Scott Reintgen (ARC)
Cathedral of Bones by A.J. Steiger

February 23
Love at First by Kate Clayborn
A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

 

Image via NetGalley

March 2
Snow White with the Red Hair (Volume 12)

March 9
Starfish by Lisa Fipps
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

March 16
The Dating Plan by Sara Desai
Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs

March 22
Dark Alpha’s Obsession by Donna Grant

March 30
The Accidental Apprentice by Amanada Foody

 

Art by Billelis / Cover design by Lesley Worrell

April
Fairytales from Verania by TJ Klune

April 20
These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy (ARC)

April 27
A Cowboy Kind of Love by Donna Grant
Gilded Serpent by Danielle L. Jensen (ARC)

 

May 4
Blade of Secrets by Tricia Levenseller

Image via Goodreads

May 6
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

May 11
The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga
Thanks a Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas (ARC)

May 18
Shipped by Meredith Tate

 

June 1
A Pack of Storms and Stars by Olivia Wildenstein


What books are you most looking forward to in the first half of 2021? Are any of these releases on your list?


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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About Books Spotlight

BEST OF 2020: Author of the Year, Book Series of the Year, Cover of the Year, Book of the Year

This year I read books by many different authors – some for the first time – which made picking just one for today’s post particularly hard. So I chose multiple that I equally loved.

 

For Author of the Year, I’ve chosen new-to-me authors whose masterful storytelling wowed me beyond belief. I’m really excited to read more books by these wonderful authors in 2021! 😀✏

Rebecca Ross

Lucy Score

Tracy Deonn

Casey McQuiston

Jasmine Guillory

Talia HIbbert

Marie Lu

Nora Roberts

 

BOOK SERIES of the Year

This was the easiest choice out of all the categories. I highly recommend this YA Fantasy duology. It’s epic and amazing and feelings and magic! 😊📚

 

A ton of books I read this year had beautiful covers, but these three stuck out to me the most. Cover love times a million 💙😍💙

 

The pinnacle of my awesome reading year can be summed up within the books below. These are 100% must reads you’ll want to add to your TBRs 📚🙂❤ My Top 10 Favorite Reads of 2020 are (in no particular order):

Honorbale Mentions: Heartsong by TJ Klune, The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross, Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory, One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London

BONUS! (Also In) Top 26: The House In the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala, The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh, Defy by Sara B. Larson, Ten Rules For Faking It by Sophie Sullivan, Dark Skies by Danielle L. Jensen, Thirteen Rising by Romina Russell, Breath Like Water by Anna JarzabRaised By Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Ashlords by Scott Reintgen, Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron


*images via Goodreads and NetGalley*


As Always, Happy Reading!!!
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About Books Spotlight

BEST OF 2020: 2020 Releases

 

The Awakening
by Nora Roberts

Becoming Brianna
by Terri Libenson

The Bright and Breaking Sea
by Chloe Neill

The Damned
by Renée Ahdieh

Dark Skies
by Danielle L. Jensen

The Extraordinaries
by TJ Klune

Feather
by Olivia Wildenstein

The House In The Cerulean Sea
by TJ Klune

Legendborn
by Tracy Deonn

One To Watch
by Kate Stayman-London

Party of Two
by Jasmine Guillory

Set Fire to the Gods
by Sara Raasch & Kristin Simmons

Skyhunter
by Marie Lu

Take A Hint, Dani Brown
by Talia Hibbert

Ten Rules For Faking It
by Sophie Sullivan


As Always, Happy Reading!!!
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About Books Spotlight

BEST OF 2020: Main Characters & Couples

 

Nick

Image via Goodreads

 

Bree

Image via NetGalley

 

Everly

Image via NetGalley

 

Brienna

Talin

Image via Goodreads

 

Breen

Elisabeth

Olivia

Image via NetGalley

 

Gemma

Image via NetGalley

 

Kit

Maya

Image via Goodreads

 

Raffy

Image via Goodreads

 

Brienna 💙 Cartier

Alex 💚 Henry

Elisabeth 💙 Nathaniel

Robbie 💚 Kelly

Nick 💙 Seth

Lincoln 💚 Mackenzie

Everly 💙 Chris

Kit 💚 Grant

Dani 💙 Zaf

Olivia 💚 Max

Raffy 💙 Luca


*images via Goodreads and NetGalley*


As Always, Happy Reading!!!
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About Books Spotlight

BEST OF 2020: First Book of A Series & Standalone Novel

 

 


*images via Goodreads and NetGalley*


As Always, Happy Reading!!!
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About Books Spotlight

BEST OF 2020: Fantasy, Young Adult Fantasy, Contemporary Romance

 

 

 

 


*images via Goodreads and NetGalley*


As Always, Happy Reading!!!
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