I’ve been trying to think, over the last week, how exactly I wanted to write up a reading wrap-up. I even went to Twitter, with a poll, to ask if I should list every book I read, only discuss my favorite books, or only discuss my favorite authors of the year.
As I read 106 books, this year, I can understand why no one chose that option in the poll. I was surprised however that all votes stood firmly in the “discuss favorite books” and no one wanted me to discuss my favorite authors of the year.
With all that being said below I will discuss my favorite reads of the year. There are also a few authors who I may gush about, as I’ve fallen in love with their writing. I’ll list the books in the order I read them this year to make it easier, as I’m terrible at putting books in order of how much I love them.
I didn’t really read many YA books this year so all my recommendations below will be 18+ either because of a sexual nature or because of gore.
Just a reminder, ALWAYS LOOKUP/CHECK TRIGGER WARNINGS!
I try to list potential triggers in all my reviews but I may miss some.
If you need a place to quickly check for triggers go to:
First up is “Get a Life, Chloe Brown” which I read back in February. I’d heard a lot of positive talk about this book in 2020 and knew I needed to dive in…and I was not disappointed!
I LOVED the way Talia wrote both Chloe and Red. Chloe, who’s a plus-size spoonie, who had a “whole life flashing before your eyes” moment which led to her creating a list of things she wanted to do/accomplish in her life. Enter sexy, bad boy (but really a cinnamon roll) Red. Who better to help you check items off your list than a big burly, motorcycle riding, man like Red? A man who also caters to you physically and emotionally in flare-ups and health? (I was going for a “sickness and in health” vibe there…did I hit the mark? *nervous laughter*)
If you’re looking for great plus-size/spoonie/multi-racial relationship representation…snag a copy of this book from your local library or bookstore!
Next up we have another fantastic February read “Recipe for Persuasion.” This is a book where you need to check triggers before diving in, it’s an emotionally doozy! This book is the sequel to “Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors” and we get to know more members of the Raje family.
Sonali Dev has quickly become one of those authors that I happily pay to emotionally devastate me. Both Raje books I’ve read so far (PPaOF and RfP) are full of complicated families, strong emotions, with a dash of romance. Don’t let the cartoon covers fool you…tissues should be a requirement for these books.
This was a second chance romance between Ashna and Rico who, 12 years later, still aren’t over each other. Both Ashna and Rico have a lot of family baggage that they need to get through. What I loved about this book was that we also see Shobi, Ashna’s mother, as she was younger and her in the here and now. Being able to see Shobi’s life, perspective, and experiences truly helps us understand the trauma that shaped her and ended up affecting Ashna’s entire life and perspective of her mother.
If you’re a fan of second chance romances, complicated families, and acknowledging past traumas in order to start the healing process…grab some tissues, check triggers, and grab a comfy blanket before diving into this beautiful, and emotionally devastating, story!
I was lucky enough to be approved for an ARC, through Netgalley, of “Nothing but Blackened Teeth” back in February (the book released October 19th). This book is a very fast read, at only 128 pages, but it will continue to haunt your thoughts long after you finish reading.
I made the mistake of starting this book late at night, only making it halfway through before passing out, and then finishing it the next afternoon. Had I read this all in one sitting, I feel the impact would have been even better.
When you think of your dream destination wedding…do you instantly think of an aging haunted, remote, location? Well, that’s exactly what the bride and groom of this wedding party wanted…and got more than they bargained for.
This short story will have you re-reading to pick up on all the subtle changes and shifts that you missed during your first read. Months after reading this story I still think about it. I personally messaged the author with a theory that I had and was told there were still some breadcrumbs I missed…I will re-read this story until I discover all its secrets!
If you’re looking for a quick, spooky, and gory story that will have you questioning everything…look no further!
If you read and enjoyed, the “Crown of Shards” trilogy you’ll know how excited I was to get my hands on this ARC, through Netgalley, in March ahead of its July release.
Capture the crown is set 15 years after the events of the “Crown of Shards” trilogy and focuses on Gemma Ripley, who we met as a child in the original trilogy. In the original trilogy, the story focuses on the life of Everleigh as so we only see the cameos of Gemma as she pops into Everleigh’s story.
After reading the original trilogy I had so many questions as was ecstatic when I found out there was going to be a spin-off that centered around Gemma.
This story is full of political intrigue, manipulation, family (both blood and found family), forbidden love, and growing into who you’re meant to be. I thoroughly enjoyed this first book and cannot wait for the next installment so I can see more of Gemma and Leo!
Another ARC, through Netgalley, that I was able to get my hands on before release (it released: August 3rd).
This is one of those stories where the cartoon cover and summary have you thinking it’s going to be a sweet romance when in fact most of the story revolves around family trauma. Definitely check triggers and grab tissues before attempting to read this book.
Through this story, we’re able to get to know not only Soraya but also her mother. We go back and forth between Soroya’s current time and her mother’s past (when she was the age Soraya is in the present). We’re able to see how both of these women were shaped by experience and their families. There is a sweet love story between Soraya and Magnus but the bigger focus is on Soraya and her mother and the baggage both Soraya and Magnus are fighting in order to be together.
It’s not often I read emotionally devastating books, which happen to be my BFF’s favorite kind to read, so I was excited to tell my BFF about this book as one to watch for when it was released in August. Sure enough, though she had a full-time job as well as finishing up her master’s degree…she devoured this book within a few days.
If you’re looking to read a book about a mother and daughter each battling their own past hurts and trauma and beginning to heal and understand each other better…check your triggers, grab some tissues and a comfy blanket and jump right in!
This was one of my favorite July reads, as I was lucky enough to get the ARC (through Netgalley) ahead of its September release.
A story about self-discovery, finding love for yourself, and finding that special someone who makes you feel valued and seen is what you get when you dive into “The Charm Offensive.”
This MM romance has such amazing mental health representation (OCD, depression, anxiety) as well as asexual/demisexual representation. The way in which both Charlie and Dev truly see each other and just support each other through random OCD/depressive/anxiety episodes that pop up.
Both Charlie and Dev feel they’re undeserving of love due to their battles with their own mental health. Charlie, who’s been made to feel like an outsider countless times due to his OCD and anxiety, and Dev who’s random crippling depressive episodes have let him believe no one would want him if they saw him at his worst.
I love that when they meet they don’t think much of the other person but slowly slip into a comfortable friendship and slowly realize their love for the other and the desire to spend the rest of their life together.
If you’re looking for a book that has amazing mental health representation, self-discovery, and self-love, and finding someone who completes you…look no further than this amazing MM romance!
I read and enjoyed, the first book to this trilogy (Hate to Want You) back in May but really fell in love with these families in “Wrong to Need You.” This entire trilogy by Alisha Rai is worth a read, with book one we got a 2nd chance romance between children of rival families, the 2nd book gives us falling for your brother’s widow, and book 3 gives us falling for your brothers best friend.
Out of all three books, in the trilogy, this seems to have the most taboo of the forbidden love tropes Alisha features but it also had the couple I was rooting the most for.
Sadia has never felt like she fit in with her family, as she’s the only non-doctor in the bunch. Since being widowed she’s focused solely on providing and caring for her growing son.
Jackson, who battles with social anxiety, has tried his best to always remain out of the spotlight. And though he fell in love with Sadia as a child he never had the courage to tell her how he felt. Although childhood best friends, he ends up ghosting her for years including when she needed him the most when his brother died. These two are brought together by Sadia’s need to save her struggling business and Jackson’s need to finally be there for Sadia.
So far I’ve loved each and every Alish Rai book I’ve read and will continue to snatch up any of her books I see.
If you’re looking for a romance between a single mother and a “looks like he could kill you but is a cinnamon roll” man then you need to get your hands on this story!
I read the first Singh family book back in May but reading “The Legal Affair” in August is where I really fell in love with Nisha’s writing. I love that so far this trilogy has had equally powerful women and men rather than having some kind of power imbalance that a lot of CEO/billionaire romance stories have.
Honestly, months after reading this book I still randomly find myself thinking about the Ice Palace…
With how much I loved getting to know Hemdeep and Mina…I cannot wait for the final book to be released! Hopefully, we’ll see book 3 drops next year!
If you’re looking for a brown billionaire romance between equally strong/independent/powerful people that’s as spicy as it is sweet…look no further than this trilogy!
I RAN to Netgalley to request this ARC as soon as I finished “Spoiler Alert” and luck was on my side because within a few days I was approved!
I thought I loved “Spoiler Alert” but found my connection to Alex and Lauren in “All the Feels” was just so much stronger. The fact that they started out misunderstanding each other and slide into a friendship before realizing they both might want more… *chefs kiss*
Although mostly a fluffy romance novel do check triggers before reading so you aren’t caught off guard by anything.
The way in which Olivia writes her plus-size ladies is so freaking amazing. Honestly the best plus-size rep I’ve read so far. I plan on buying up her entire catalog and pre-ordering any books she has yet to release.
If you’re looking for a sweet romance between a sweet man with ADHD who’s ecstatic when he realizes they may play out their very own “only one-bed” trope and a strong woman who knows her worth and will fiercely protect those she cares about…then hit up your local library or bookstore to get your hands on this incredible book!
I have devoured this entire series since reading “Brutal Prince” in late August. Out of all 6 books, this one remains my favorite.
We get true enemies to lovers, rival families who arrange a marriage of convenience to end the long-standing feud, Irish and Italian mafia families, and so much more.
If you’re looking to dip your toes into the dark mafia romance genre where the bride almost burns the groom’s house down and then tries to kill him on their wedding day…then run, don’t walk, to get your hands on this book!
I read “The Duke Heist” back in September and loved the historical, with found family, romance she created and knew I needed to see what else she had. I was approved for the ARC (through Netgalley) for this book the week before its release.
I love how Erica tackled this WLW story in a historical setting. The way in which she wrote it made it so easy to see this story unfolding in a time when same-sex love wasn’t socially accepted.
How are two women, who fall in love, able to be together in a time when it’s not something that society approves of? If you want answers, along with a wonderful found family, and disguise shenanigans, dive into this wonderful world Erica Ridley has created for us!
When it came to getting into the holiday spirit I knew I needed a good Christmas romance…and this one did not disappoint.
Noel is deeply affected by the loss of her parents when she was a teen, and that is brought up a lot through the book so if you already struggle with loss during the holiday’s this may not be the book for you.
This is one of those BFFs since diapers and didn’t notice each other, romantically, until now. There was one brief moment where there was a spark but neither explored it and so they missed that moment, now years later they’re about to discover just how right for each other they are.
If you’re looking for a romance between two BFFs, one who hasn’t enjoyed the holidays since losing her parents as a teen, and one who believes in love and the spirit of Christmas, that also gives all those small-town romance vibes…look no further!
My other holiday stand-out would have to be this sweet second-chance romance between two childhood BFFs.
This is one you’ll want to check triggers for as Sorcha deals with OCD and anxiety and Ryan grew up with a deadbeat bio-dad and his stepdad battled through opioid addiction.
Unlike my previous Holiday rec, Sorcha and Ryan have crossed from friends to lovers a few times over but neither took the step to DTR into something more…until now.
I think I love the BFFs to lovers romance trope so much because there is so much shared history and both characters truly know and trust each other, even when they think they don’t.
If you’re looking for a fun romance between childhood BFFs who’ve both trended with their own individual hashtags…who’ve always been perfect for each other it just took them until now to see it…then read this book!
I want to thank all of you who’ve followed me as I navigate my way through blogging my book reviews.
As the new year starts I may start adding more random blog posts, still book-related, but maybe mid-book thoughts/ramblings as I’m still working through the mysteries of whatever I’m reading.
My full reviews will remain spoiler-free but I may add spoilers into mid-book thoughts, either way, I always make sure to let you know at the beginning of the post whether or not there will be spoilers.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and I look forward to seeing what we’re all reading and getting into when the New Year begins!