Blogmas: Top 7 Books of 2021!

Hello!

This is my final post of 2021, and I thought the only way to end out the year is talking about all of the books I read this year, plus give you my all-time favorites at the bottom. This may turn out to be a chunky blog post so get ready for the rambles I’ll be doing throughout this thing.


For my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2021, I decided to read over 30 books, since that is the age I turned this fall, and I was particular surprised on my speed at which I hit the yearly goal. On October 28th, I finished my last book to hit my goal, but of course I couldn’t stop reading in general. I ended up taking reading five other books of different genres and length afterwards; that is another thing that happened, towards the beginning of summer I started reading novellas and I know they helped me get over that hump a whole lot faster, but I learned quickly to live with it because I have really enjoyed the last two months since I’m not rushing to finish out the rest of the year.

It’s actually kind of hilarious when I look back to my reading plan at the start of the year looked fairly cool, as I was going to continue various series and then I watched Chelsea Palmer’s haul within two days of scheduling that post and I found out that Scarlett St Clair’s Hades x Persephone series was on Kindle Unlimited on my original idea quickly went to hell and I did not finish the four books I initially bought for myself as a late Christmas present! If I had the control to stay off of KU, I think I would be able to get into those books, but I couldn’t get over the pull and that’s why I’m leaving them for 2022 now.

When the month of August came around, I went through a small phase of thinking I could complete four book series this year. I had already gone threw one series a couple of weeks earlier so I began to feel a little overzealous with confidence in my reading ability, and honestly, I probably could do it, but not this one. I still have the final book in “Me Before You” by JoJo Moyes and “Sinners On Tour” by Olivia Cunning series and I hope to make time for them because I truly adore those characters and want to see how they all end within their stories.

I did add on to last year’s limit because I made my own goal bigger, and I thought it would also ease the pressure of giving every book a spot if I truly believed they deserve it. I didn’t want to do like I did in my previous post and make my two favorite books of the year share the same number when I could just add on to the list itself.


1. This Is War by Kennedy Fox

I was in thick of my romance craze when I got to this book, I didn’t even plan for it to happen but was fairly glad for the amount that came my way in the end.

For my first Kennedy Fox book ever, this was amazing! I found out something interesting about myself and what I love about explicit romances and that is, I really enjoy funny banter between the characters: the enemies to lovers’ kind of topic. It was a thing I searched for while sticking to the goal, and I’ve only found three others that could rival the antics of Travis and Viola big time. It has become a bit of a standard in my choosing future books, especially for the new year. I have yet to get the next book in its duet series but maybe I can persuade Santa Claus to grant me this one.

2. Highland Blood by Melanie Karsak

After completing Jenny Han’s “To All Of Boys I’ve Loved Before” series, I wondered what the next batch of would be, and if I had kept reading “After You” by JoJo Moyes in January, this might have an even more confident spell in my brain but instead I wanted to chase my Scottish roots a little bit more and ended up finding the “Celtic Blood” series by Melanie Karsak. These books were available on KU and made the whole process of reading go very quick. Once I got the first book, I was gone! There wasn’t a moment I’d take back because I just adored the story of Gruoch so much.

I did have somewhat of a hard time picking between Highland “Raven” and “Blood” because I loved them equally, but I had to give it to this book because of the number of emotions I went through along with Gruoch. I enjoyed almost everything about it. I became interested in Celtic mythology, witchcraft, etc. for the majority of the year. I’ve been learning a lot about their beliefs, and I think seeing Gruoch become a strong woman in this story was amazing! I loved her relationship with Gillacoemgain, and wanted to stay in that Castle of Moray with the two of them forever, but then the ending came and she and I cried together in those last couple of chapters.

3. What Passes as Love by Trisha R. Thomas

By the time I came across this one, I was coming through a small slump. I had just finished the fourth and final book in the CB series, so I felt very lot and sad, but I went looking through the books in the genre historical fiction since I had a great turnout before, and I found this gem and it made me stay off KU for at least a week or two because I didn’t need to look for books, this was what got me through to the finish line.

I am one of those people who is attracted to the cover than anything else. The day I found this book was very boring, I had been searching for something to get me out of the slump for a while and it wasn’t long before I found “What Passes as Love” on Kindle Unlimited. I remember looking at the cover and thinking, this is really pretty, and clicking to see what it was about, and after learning about it, I thought it sounded great but I was still so unsure I was ready for it so I left it and could not stop thinking about it for two whole days! They always say, if you can’t stop thinking about it, get it and that’s what I did and I did not look for another book until I finished it about a week later!

4. A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St Clair

At the end of 2020, I came across the Hades x Persephone series through Chelsea Palmer’s YouTube channel. It was new and steeped in Greek mythology, and this is how I ended up getting into the Celtic Blood series as it is somewhat centered in Celtic mythology as well, but this series is a modern take on those stories of the Underworld God, Hades and The Goddess of Spring, Persephone.

Anyways, I kind of cheated when I started reading the first book, which is “A Touch of Darkness” because I began reading it a week or so before the first day of 2021. I couldn’t stop myself from diving all-in with it and I didn’t. I’m glad I read it because it gave me a chance to really enjoy the prospect of another set of goals within the new year. I want to say it me over a week to finish this book and probably two months to complete the first three books between the two characters before I started on my CB journey.

5. Rough by Renee Rose and Vanessa Vale

I had the most difficult time figuring out which of my erotica books I loved the most, I could have done a Top 5 post of just those books honestly!

You might have noticed, Vanessa Vale was another big author for me as I read four books in total but my absolute favorite out of all those was Rough, and she wrote it with Renee Rose. Before this one, I had never read anything by Renee, but I loved the book so much that I literally got her “Holiday Gift Box” that has The Director (Chicago Bratva), Alpha’s Temptation (Bad Boy Alphas) featuring Lee Savino, King of Diamonds (Vegas Underground), His Human Slave (Zandian Masters) and of course Rough (Wolf Ranch) as an early Christmas present for myself. Technically it was free, so it wasn’t like a big deal on that part.

Back to this though. I go back and forth on whether I love cowboys–and it’s only with Vanessa Vale’s books that I really question it because they are always so damn dreamy! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I’m still embarrassed about the fact that I confused the male character’s last name “Wolf” to be for his ding-a-ling, but it was actually because he is a wolf…

6. Queen of Oak by Melanie Karsak

If the name Melanie Karsak seems familiar to you, well oddly enough, I read five books by Melanie this year. I’ve only had four other authors in total hook me with multiple books and/or series, and they are Kennedy Fox, Vanessa Vale, Jasinda Wilder, and J.K. Rowling.

This book is about Queen Boudica and her journey, and by the time I was able to read it, I was going through withdrawl because I loved the CB series so much! It was nice to come back into that world again and even though it wasn’t Gruoch as I’ve gotten to know her, I still enjoyed Boudica as a whole, but she actually wasn’t my favorite in the book though. I really enjoyed Don and Ula the most as they reminded me of “Gramma” from Moana, she was in my head for the character Ula, they are a little weird, but you never doubted their power as a woman. As for Don, she came across to me like, the Northuldra leader Yelena from Frozen II as she was very stoic but laidback too. They were two different personalities, but I just loved them so much.

7. The Boleyns at Hever Castle by Claire Ridgewater and Owen Emmerson

Shockingly, I only read a handful of nonfictions this year. I started out my reading journey with two distinct genres: historical fiction and biographical/memoirs. As I’ve mentioned above, I had a fairly good selection of the historical fiction but only three memoirs though!

I thought the book about The Duke of Windsor was interesting, but I felt it just dragged on and on as it continued that I almost gave up on it twice! After I was done, I took a very long break and then I saw this while on Goodreads earlier in the year, as it was being released to the public and I put it on my TBR list but figured I’d never get it, so imagine my face, the day a few months later when I discovered it on Kindle Unlimited! I was so happy that I literally stopped whatever I was doing to read it. I think it took me three days to finish it. I still don’t like the beginning of the book as Claire and Owen explain Hever’s medieval blueprint and how it changed up until The Boleyn family lived there. Other than that, I really enjoyed this book. It was different from what I normally read, and I hope I can find more books like it in the new year.


Later today, I have a little countdown of this list going up on my blog’s Facebook page. I had specifically made this banner for that video but I forgot to put it in so I thought I would share my thoughts on my favorite recent reads on the last bit of this post.

The first book I read after completing “Queen of Oak” was Mario Escobar’s “Auschwitz Lullaby” and it was a beautiful disaster. I always have a difficult time explaining how much I love a book about stories from World War II and the aftermath of the Holocaust, so that is why I called it like that. Anyways, this tells the story of what happened in the Gypsy camp of the Auschwitz II camp from 1941-42. I explain more in my mini review on Facebook if you’d like to check that out afterwards.

Secondly, we have Melissa Gilbert’s memoir “Prairie Tale” and I just finished it a few weeks ago and I am still reeling from it. I was a casual watcher of Little House on the Prairie growing up, and even as an adult, I’ve never seen it all the way through so when we got to certain parts like talking about her close relationship with Michael Landon really took me by surprise because I would just start bawling on myself and Chapter 21 definitely kicked my ass, but really, the entire book is so much fun and even a little hilarious here and there!

And finally, my most recent read, which if you enjoy holiday centered books, you should definitely check out “A Very Bossy Christmas” by Alexis Winter. Not only did I find out how much I adore Christmas books, but apparently like everything else, I liked the steamy romance books more than anything else, as you may noticed in last Friday’s blogmas post. I am in love with this book so this might be a worthy purchase after Christmas for me.


I’m officially done with all of my blogmas posts. I hope you have enjoyed everything I’ve published this month, and I already have some ideas coming to me for 2022 blogmas.

I do have a slight plan on what I want to do for the upcoming year, but I will not talk about it until I come back for the end of January as I am going to continue my blogging schedule, I’ve done for the last two years because it works very well for me. I will say I have an idea to do something different for the new year though, so I hope you have a lovely Christmas and enjoy the rest of your weekend too.

How did you go about your reading for 2021? What were all-time favorite book(s)? And do you have an idea on what you’re doing goal wise for the new year?

Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag!

Hello!

Originally, I had another post I was going to do today but I couldn’t motivate myself to finish it for this month, so it’ll (hopefully) go out in July, along with some other interesting things too! I did this tag last year and really enjoyed it, but I didn’t post it at the right time of the year so I was determined to do this one along with everyone else, because it is huge with other book bloggers and YouTubers too. If you would like to see what I had mentioned in the first post, click here. If you end up doing the tag on your blog or YT channel, I would love to see your answers too, so please leave a link down in the comments section for me to check out later.

I do want to mention before I officially start; I am only going to talk about the books I’ve finished already so that it goes into the reviews that I will be publishing later this week and possibly next week too. I am also including the reviews to each book that is mentioned below.

Best book you’ve read so far in 2021?

This question is always so difficult to answer, especially so early in the year, but for the sake of the tag itself, I think it is a three way tie between A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St Clair, This Is War by Kennedy Fox, and Highland Raven by Melanie Karsak, What I find interesting about all three books is that they are all in different genres and for once I have a book focused on two characters but found the male character more compelling! Honestly, Viola really drove me crazy, which in a way worked out great for the banter between she and Travis, but I found it absolutely annoying!

ATOD and HR mean a lot for me, mainly because they were the start of their series I didn’t expect I would fall in love with earlier in the year but I’m forever thankful I found them! The myth behind both Persephone and Lady Macbeth generally perceive these ladies as weak and despite the fact I have only heard of little things about these characters in the past, I really believe the authors are giving them a voice to their stories. It is focused on them where most of historical knowledge is focused on their counterparts instead. However, in the defense of the God of the Underworld Hades, Scarlett has made him out to be as ruthless as you’d expect anyways but full of compassion and very loving towards Persephone!

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021?

I’ve read 14 books in the last six months and the only one I can say for certain that I think was the best sequel is, Highland Blood by Melanie Karsak. At first, I had written out “Highland Vengeance” but honestly, the second book was WAYY better!

This book really took me on a ride just as much as it did was our main character Corbie! It was full of twists and turns but I truly loved the bond between Corbie and Gillacoemgain. I didn’t really know I loved that relationship until I got to the third book and I started noticing that everytime she would bring him up, I had tears in my eyes. It totally threw me for a loop but nevertheless I don’t regret my decision on continuing the series.

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

For some odd reason, I have yet to actually start reading A Touch of Malice which came out in late May. It is the third book of the series and I’ve done a really good job of staying away from various spoilers, so I feel pretty good about that but I am hoping that once I finish my current books I will make the switch because I desperately want to know what the hell has happened to Hades and Persephone.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

I guess this post is mostly about Scarlett St. Clair and Melanie Karsak because they each have a book coming out after the summer. Scarlett is up first with the second book of the events that happened in both A Touch of Ruin and A Touch of Malice. The title is A Game of Retribution and I’m not exactly thrilled that both of these books will be in one storyline because that means it’ll either be well over 400+ or some things will be left out of the whole thing; honestly the only thing that is keeping me excited is we get to hear Hades say “fucking fates” again…

As for Melanie, she is releasing a historical fiction about the warrior Queen Boudicca in “Queen of Oak” and since I am nearing the end of the Celtic Blood series, which discusses Boudicca quite a bit in the first and three books, I am very ready to see the spark I enjoyed so much in Corbie again. Trust me, I will be very happy to read this book after I’m done with her story! I’m going to need something to help get me through the grief but I am slightly troubled because I would also like to read a historical biography about Boudicca as well, and I had planned on reading it once I finished with Highland Queen but I don’t know if I should wait until I have read QOO first. I don’t think I would do a lot of comparisons between them but I am sort of torn on what to do now…

Biggest disappointment

To be perfectly honest, I’ve had some good luck lately but there was one book that I was very excited to get into at first but I was so irritated about what the hell I was seeing on my Kindle that I ended up being in a tiny slump for a few weeks. The book in question was Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel. I knew it was about King Henry VIII and his court but that was about it, I wasn’t familiar with the other stuff going down on the sidelines and I think this was my issue. I wanted to hear a story about a courtier at Hampton Court either during the end of Catherine of Aragon or start of Anne Boleyn’s days.

Biggest surprise

Truthfully, I didn’t expect how much I would end up enjoy reading Twilight at the beginning of the year. I was really into the movies early on but I had made my choice when they started becoming more and more popular with my family and friends, because I was knee deep in love with The Vampire Diaries, I didn’t want to basically guide me away from my favorite characters and show overall. So, being able to read it with fresh eyes as an adult was interesting! I was able to enjoy Bella a lot more than I ever did with the films. Bella isn’t as dull and quiet toward the Cullens or friends in general and I think that was made it enjoyable for me!

Favorite new author (Debut or new for you)

If you have never read any of my reviews, you might find it curious that I rarely read about what the book is actually about, and no book has ever made me do a double take in the middle of the chapter, as Rough” by Renee Rose and Vanessa Vale did. As you might have seen this spring and last year, I have become a fan of Vanessa Vale’s books, but before finding this one, I had never heard, much less read anything by Renee Rose.

The series itself is called Wolf Ranch, and my first thought was, “this sounds cool, let’s go!: and then I began to read it and Boyd had explained that when he saw Audrey for the first time, his “wolf” caught sight of her and wanted her. I thought this was his nickname for his junk. It never dawned on me he was a shapeshifter, because Vanessa normally doesn’t write about them in her books, just mostly gorgeous cowboys and sex! So, once I started putting two and two together I made the assumption that this must be part of Renee’s influence and in the end, I was right. She has written several paranormal books in the past.

Newest fictional crush

Ooooooh boy.

This one always gets me because I tend to fall for the majority of the characters, but there are at least two that I just cannot stop thinking about and the first is the Lord of Moray, Gillacoemgain. It’s always the ones who you think are going to be the worst of the bunch that you basically fall over heels in love with, and then by the end of the story, that person is gone. I am still grieving over him because he just made me so happy.

I’ve just finished reading the first book of the Badd Brothers series by Jasinda Wilder, and I am in love with Sebastian! Bad boys who can’t express their feelings are usually not my thing but he threw me for a loop and I kind of liked it. No pun intended of course!

Newest favorite character

I am really torn between Lulach, who is the son of Corbie from Highland Blood. You get a glimpse of him at the end of that book, but he doesn’t start to have a bigger role for everyone in the series until Highland Vengeance–he goes from being a newborn to around five or six years old from start to finish so everything that comes across Corbie’s way, she’s not doing it for herself, she’s doing it for him.

And since this question is asking for newest favorite character, I think I should probably add Sebastian Badd to the mix! I’m actually shocked that I like Bast more than Baxter, since I read out of order of the Badd Brothers series. I don’t know why but I prefer Bast at the moment. He seems like a really good guy, but not saying Baxter didn’t. I just find him a little more attractive while reading Badd Motherf*cker by Jasinda Wilder.

Book that made you cry

Now I know I may not have the review out yet but since the film continues to make me cry, I knew it happen again while reading the book too. I just didn’t think it would affect me that much, but you know it happens. Oh, and the book I’m talking about is Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire.

Book that made you happy

I’ve basically talked about all of the books I’ve read so far except for me and I have to say, I am not adding it here because of this reason, but because it did make me happy in the beginning: Before Wallis: Edward VIII’s Other Women by Rachel Trethewey. I love reading historical nonfiction and if it’s about royalty I will probably be drawn to it, and I think King Edward VIII before he met Wallis Simpson was totally different than what he became later on, and it allows you to understand a tiny bit of why Prince Harry would want a normal life away from the royal family.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year

Heh, funnily enough, I really haven’t bought a book since December–well except for that one series Mafia Brides by Measha Stone, but in my defense, I swore I was clicking for the Kindle Unlimited but I ended up purchasing a trilogy series and as much as I am not loving it, I feel like I have to complete the series because they were not cheap, as they were $15.99! So, if you are a Kindle Unlimited looking for a series to get into, please watch what you’re clicking or you’ll feel so guilty that you force yourself to read it anyways!

However, the ‘most beautiful’ book cover would have to be A Touch of Darkness. Honestly, the first three books have gorgeous covers, but the fourth cover is a bit different compared to the others as it has roses and vines instead of that iron design.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Apparently the Lost Pharaoh Chronicles by Lauren Lee Merewether is pretty long; the final book will be coming out soon but I would like to at least three more from that series before the end of the year. I would also like to do the same for the Twilight series, but we’ll really have to see what happens with those books.

I still have a lot of different books on my Kindle that I could knock out before the start of 2022 and here is on my to-do list as of now.

  • Still Me by JoJo Moyes (3%)
  • One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus (15%)
  • After Alice Fell by Kim Taylor Blakemore (22%)
  • Roping The Cowboy by Kennedy Fox (4%)
  • Wicked Beat by Olivia Cunning (38%)
  • Crown Of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
  • Elizabeth Woodeville: Mother of the Princes in the Tower by David Baldwin (20%)
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (4%)
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

The main reason why everybody is so low is because I have a real problem with staying away from KU and looking for freebie gems! Like with my Harry Potter books, I am also casually reading Gone Girl. I will get through it eventually, as I will with all of these books too.

So, what do you think of my answers? Are there any books you think you would like to read listed above? If so, which ones are calling out to you and why?