2021 End of Year Book Survey: Part I

It’s that time of the year again and I’m keen to look back on my year of reading with The End of Year Book Survey originally created by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner. Since this is a bit of a longer recap I’ve split the survey into two, combining parts 2+3 but that’ll also be going up later this week! And on that note, let’s dive straight in:

Screenshot of My Year in Books - 2021 from Goodreads. Image shows an open book with the text My Year in Books below it. Followed by: 62,038 pages read, 199 books read

Number of books read: 199
Number of pages read: 62,038
Number of re-reads: 3 (Illuminae, Gemina, Aurora Rising)
Genre(s) you read the most from: Romance and Fantasy

This is the first time I’ve checked the details of my reading stats on Goodreads but I love to see it! Interesting to see just how few 5-star reads I had in 2021—I know I had a few but I didn’t realise it was so few either! 😅 Despite that, my average rating was 3.7 this year, which is a surprisingly minor difference from 3.8 last year!

Goodreads status: 2021 Reads, ranking tier from 5 stars to 1 star and unrated reads.

Best book you read in 2021?

I really don’t think I can pick one for this prompt. I’m sorry! I made a Top 10 list but if I had to narrow it down to a Top 3 I think I’d pick: Jade City, The Goddess of Nothing at All, The Death of Vivek Oji, The Love Hypothesis and The Ones We’re Meant to Find.


Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t?

I buddy read Jade Fire Gold with Becky and unfortunately, we both didn’t end up loving it. It had potential but it fell short; the whole time I wanted more and sadly, we didn’t get it by the end.


Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? 

I decided to look at a book that surprised me in a good way! I struggle with anthologies/short story collections but I really enjoyed Up All Night: 13 Stories Between Sunset and Sunrise. Lots of fun, feel good, nostalgic YA stories that gave me the warm fuzzies 🥰


Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)?

Hmm… This is a tough one. I’m not sure that I managed to convince anyone to read anything that I gushed about? 😂 But the books I’m quite sure pushed the most were these three: Jade City, The Goddess of Nothing at All, and Sing Anyway! All were brilliant. *chefs kiss*

Book cover: Jade City
Book cover: The Goddess of Nothing at All
Book cover: Sing Anyway

Best series you started in 2021? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender of 2021?

Six Crimson Cranes

Book cover: Six Crimson Cranes

I love Lim’s writing and world-building and I’m so happy this story was gorgeous as its cover!

Jade War

Book cove: Jade War

I didn’t think it could get better than Jade City, but this sequel blew my mind!

Subtle Blood

Book cover: Subtle Blood

This was a great ending to an amazing series. I adore this queer historical mystery/ romance!


Favourite new author you discovered in 2021?

Ooh, there are so many new favourites including: Fonda Lee, Martha Wells, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Holly Jackson, KJ Charles, Brighton Walsh, Ali Hazelwood, Lucy Parker, Anita Kelly and Danielle L. Jensen.


Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Kept from Cages

Dark SFF is not usually my jam but this had a compelling mystery, intriguing powers and awesome characters! 😍

Shards of Earth

I don’t read much adult sci-fi but this book was wow! The world-building was amazing and the characters grew on me quickly. I became very *invested* 👀


Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The Bridge Kingdom series was one of my more recent reads and I sped through this so quickly I surprised myself! The action steadily escalated, the romance became deliciously angsty and I adored every moment of it. 😍


I think I’d re-read Silver in the Wood before starting the next book in the series.


Favourite cover of a book you read in 2021?

So so many but here are a few:


Most memorable character of 2021?

Art by: C.J. Merwild

Just like last year, this year’s favourite is not just one person but one family from The Green Bone Saga! After craving fan art all year, I’m so glad so much exists now. This family portrait by C.J. Merwild is my favourite. Everyone’s just so freaking stunning—I can’t 🥲


Most beautifully written book read in 2021?

There were two books tied for this but A People’s History of Heaven won by a small margin. The prose flowed like magic. Subramanian really knows how to give life to her words because I was able to vividly picture everything!


Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2021?

Hmm… Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say that Before the Coffee Gets Cold was life-changing but it did make me think a lot about time and life, changes and chances. This hit really deep emotionally!


Book you can’t believe you waited until 2021 to finally read? 

I honestly can’t believe I didn’t read A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder before this year! I loved Poppy and the mystery had me hooked until the very end!


Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2021?

“Everyone loses their way at some point, and it’s not just because of their mistakes or the decisions they make. It’s because they’re horribly, wonderfully human. And the one thing I’ve learned about being human is that we can’t do this alone. When we’re lost, we need help to try to find our way again.”

T.J. Klune, Under the Whispering Door

Shortest & Longest book you read in 2021?

Shortest: 52 pages (Surrender: An Erotic Short)
Longest: 672 pages (Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2))


Book that shocked you the most

Credence was pretty taboo and it definitely won’t be for everyone but it wasn’t the forbidden elements that shocked me. It was more how much I enjoyed the story! 😂


OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

I didn’t even have to take a second to think about it: Olive and Adam from The Love Hypothesis. They’re so precious and aah, I squee thinking about them! 😍

Honourary mentions: Sylvie & Dom (Battle Royal), Lara & Aren (The Bridge Kingdom), Will & Kim (The Will Darling Adventures), Gianna & Christian (The Maddest Obsession), Mac & Hudson (Captain Heartbreaker)


Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year

I loved the ride or die friendship between Olive and Lucy. Their relationship was my favourite aspect of this Love & Hate series.


Favourite book you read in 2021 from an author you’ve read previously

Chloe Liese is one of my favourite romance authors and I adored both books by her that I read this year: Ever After Always and With You Forever.


Best book you read in 2021 that you read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure/bookstagram, etc.

I’d seen a few of the Havenbrook series covers circulate on book Twitter throughout the year and all the threads gushed about how awesome they were so of course I had to find out for myself! It’s become one of my favourite small-town romance series and I can’t wait to read more by Brighton Walsh in 2022!


Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2021?

Ooh, this is a toughie. I read so many romances with swoontastic heroes that swept me off my love-drunk feet! I’m gonna do my best to narrow it down to a Top 5… I was a sucker for Zaf, Adam, Dominic, Hudson and Rahul! 😍😍😍😍😍


Best 2021 debut you read?

I still can’t believe The Hand of the Sun King was a debut with its immaculate world-building and stunning prose! The Love Hypothesis is also another stunner of a debut and I can’t wait to read more by Hazelwood ASAP!


Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year?

I only read a few fantasies this year but I would have to say The Green Bone Saga books had the best world-building. It’s so intricate and vivid that I felt like I was there experiencing it myself!


Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read?

Chef’s Kiss was one of the only graphic novels that I read in 2021 and I was constantly smiling as I read! It was so cute and relatable and ah, happy heart sighs. 🥰


Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2021?

I’m an emotional reader so once I become invested in characters and their stories, it doesn’t take much to make me laugh, cry, scream at all the injustice… Anyway, it’s safe to say I cry easily while reading but these are the books that made me ugly cry.


Hidden gem of the year?

I feel like I haven’t seen enough people talk about Skin of the Sea in 2021 and it’s a gorgeous YA fantasy debut that deserves all the love!


Book that crushed your soul?

The soul-crushing honour definitely goes to The Goddess of Nothing at All. This book absolutely wrecked me and I felt so bereft when it ended 😭 (and obviously I mean all of this in the best way)!


Most unique book you read in 2021?

I can’t remember the last time I read a story from an animal perspective and Pighearted was a heartwarming story about family and belonging, told partially through the eyes of J6, a little pig who thought he was human. So cute!


Book that made you the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

As Good As Dead took a turn that I really didn’t expect or wish for the main character and it frustrated me because why was she done like this?! I don’t mean it in a bad way either but just in a heartbreaking way, I guess?


And that’s a wrap on part 1!

2021 was a pretty weird reading year. I read more than I did in 2020 but I also feel like I read less impactful or memorable books too—or more like they left less of an impression on me? I’m still pretty happy with what I read though and I’m looking forward to (hopefully) more amazing reads in 2022!

How was your year of reading in 2021? Did you do the End of Year Book Survey too? What was your favourite book(s)? What about the book that surprised you the most?

Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

This Sunday I’ll be tucked in bed with The Wolf and The Woodsman by Ava Reid. I started this last night but didn’t get through much of it before I fell asleep at 15% cos I was so knackered. I did predict something that just happened but I’m really looking forward to what happens next! Also, this is surprisingly gruesome but I’m not overly squeamish but just a quick heads-up if you’re thinking of reading it and you’re squeamish!

In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.

But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.

What are you currently reading?

Continue reading “Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp”

December 2021 Monthly Wrap Up

Happy New Year, friends! 🥳

I can’t believe that it’s already the last day of December as I write this. How quickly time does fly! I’ve spent my month in Bali reunited with the parents in our newly renovated home. My sister has been with me and my brother recently joined us and for the first time in a very long time, it’s the five of us under one roof again. It’s been a little… overwhelming at times (lol) but it’s also been nice! 😊 We’ve been really lucky that the sun has been shining more than it has been raining which gives us time to soak up some vitamin D after a year stuck indoors.

This month was also my last month of work and… It was a bittersweet moment. Five years of my life with this organisation and its been tough a lot of the time but I know I’ve been lucky to have a well-paying job that allowed me to indulge in my pretty expensive love of books (especially pretty special edition ones)! 😂 Let’s hope 2022 brings something good my way on the employment front.

I ended up reading 26 books in December and all of them were romances. I’m not usually as a seasonal reader but apparently holiday romances have been my thing this month and I’m not mad about it at all! For the most part, I enjoyed most of the ones I read but there were a few duds that weren’t my jam or ended up being a let down (for me). I think this might be the most I’ve read out of any month this year and what a great way to end 2021, especially considering how weird my reading mood has been all year!

In terms of favourites, this month saw me reading two of my favourites for the year: The Love Hypothesis and Battle Royal! I loved these books so much and both book couples are some of my new favourites. There are so many feel good and swoontastic moments in these books and I can’t stop gushing about them! 😍

The Love Hypothesis

Battle Royal

Continue reading “December 2021 Monthly Wrap Up”

Mini-Reviews: Steamy Holiday Romances

I’m not much of a seasonal reader but the holiday romances have really worked for me this particular holiday season! Having spent the majority of my life living in the tropics, with a few years here and there in countries with four seasons, I actually do miss the cold weather and these reads have allowed me to immerse myself in both holiday cheer and snowy settings.

Dipped in Holly by Dana Isaly

Goodreads: Dipped in Holly
Publication Date: 17 December 2021
Genre:
Contemporary Romance, Erotica

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Holly was just dumped.
Less than a week before Christmas. In public. Dressed as a slutty Mrs. Claus.
All she wants is to hide in the bathroom and have a breakdown in peace.
But the Silver Fox who owns the bar has other plans.

The moment Nick takes in Holly’s grey eyes and sassy attitude, he’s hooked.
There’s no denying the attraction that has sparked between them.
And when that tension finally snaps, he finds himself taking Holly to bed.
A kinky one night stand later, and they’re left questioning if it was enough.

Continue reading “Mini-Reviews: Steamy Holiday Romances”

Book Review: The Plight Before Christmas by Kate Stewart

Goodreads: The Plight Before Christmas
Published: 19 December 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Clark Griswold was onto something, at least with his annual holiday meltdown. And since the last three weeks of my life have been riddled with humbug—another breakup, a broken toe, an office promotion I deserved and didn’t get—I’m not at all in the mood to celebrate nor have the happ, happ, happiest Christmas EVER.

When Mom insisted that we all gather at my Grandparent’s ancient cabin for an old school family Christmas, I fully intended to get into the holiday spirit with the help of the three wise men, Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniels, and Jim Beam. But those boys did absolutely nothing to offset the shock or temper the sting of seeing my EX on our doorstep the first day of our holiday soiree.

Apparently, Santa missed the memo, and this elf is pissed.
Stuck for a week with the man who obliterated my heart nearly two decades ago, I did the only thing I could do and put on my game face, thankful for the home advantage.

I knew better than to drink that last cup of eggnog.
I knew better than to get tongue tangled beneath the mistletoe with the only man to ever break my heart.
I knew better than to sleep with Satan’s wingman on the eve of the Lord’s birthday.

I could blame the nog. I could blame the deceitful light blue eyes, thick, angelic hair, and panty evaporating smirk…but mostly, I blame Eli because he always knew exactly which of my buttons to push.

I foolishly thought a family Christmas filled with nostalgia was going to turn my inner Scrooge around, but this year’s festivities went up in flames. Leave it to the ghost of my Christmas past to be the one to light the match.

Fa la la la la, la FML. 

TL;DR: It admittedly took me a little while to get into the story but I ended up really enjoying the Christmas vibes, the Collins family, the sibling relationships, and following along with Eli and Whitney’s second-chance romance after a gut-wrenching heartbreak and 17 years apart. This ended up being a bit more serious than I expected (CW/TW below) but the story was well-balanced with light-hearted moments of cheeky banter, swoony romance and steamy moments.

CW/TW: recounting of terminal illness (cancer), parental death, anxiety

Continue reading “Book Review: The Plight Before Christmas by Kate Stewart”

Book Review: Homecoming King by Penny Reid

Goodreads: Homecoming King (Three Kings #1)
Publisher: Cipher-Naught
Published: 14 December 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Rex “TW” McMurtry’s perpetual single-hood wouldn’t bother him so much if all his ex-girlfriends didn’t keep marrying the very next person they dated, especially when so many of those grooms are his closest friends. He may be a pro-football defensive end for the Chicago Squalls, but the press only wants to talk about how he’s always a groomsman and never a groom. Rex is sick of being the guy before the husband, and he’s most definitely sick of being the best man at all their weddings.

Bartender Abigail McNerny is the gal-pal, the wing-woman, the she-BFF. She’s dated. Once. And once was more than enough. Privy to all the sad stories of her customers, ‘contentment over commitment’ is her motto, and Abby is convinced no one on earth could ever entice her into a romantic relationship . . . except that one guy she’s loved since preschool.

The guy who just walked into her bar.
The guy who doesn’t recognize her.
The guy who is drunk and needs a ride home.
The guy who has a proposition she should definitely refuse.

TL;DR: This was a delightfully binge-able fake-dating/marriage romance that I had a really hard time putting down. Abby and Rex stole my heart and their romance made me swoon and sigh with happiness! I’m eagerly anticipating the next two books in the series, which I’m assuming will be about Cyrus and Alaric(?) and I absolutely cannot wait 😍

Continue reading “Book Review: Homecoming King by Penny Reid”

#WWWWednesday: 29 December 2021

Hello, hello and welcome back to another episode of WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be answering these questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

Post divider: What did you just finish reading?

Since last week I’ve managed to finish six books. They were all romances, mostly holiday ones, and I loved almost all of them!

Homecoming King (Three Kings #1) by Penny Reid ★★★★☆
I wanted more the minute this book ended! I was hooked from the very first page and I loved Rex and Abby together. The sexual tension and (mutual) pining was intense! 🥵 I was sad Rex didn’t get a POV because that would’ve made it a solid 5-star read for me but I couldn’t be happier with their slightly cheesy but adorable HEA. RTC

Dipped in Holly by Dana Isaly ★★★★☆
Isaly delivers with a very steamy and kinky age-gap romance that admittedly had me hooked from the beginning. Even though there’s very limited character development, I really liked Nick & Holly together and I wouldn’t be mad reading more about them? If you’re looking for a fun and fast little holiday romance with a whole lot of steam, I’d recommend checking this out! RTC

Continue reading “#WWWWednesday: 29 December 2021”

#TopTenTuesday: Best Books I Read in 2021

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: Best Books I Read in 2021

I’m always terrible at answering prompts that ask for my “best” anything 😂 I know I’ve read some amazing books but it’s also been a very weird reading year? I’ve read a lot but I’ve had a hard time retaining much of what I’ve read but also, I’ve had a hard time focusing on reading, in general, this year! I’ve only had a few 5-star reads this year so it is a bit surprising that I’m having trouble picking a top 10… but in the end, I decided to not include series’ on the list and now, before I keep waffling on, let’s get to it!

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Book Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen

Goodreads: The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1)
Published: 09 June 2020
Genre: Fantasy Romance (Romantasy)

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

A warrior princess trained in isolation, Lara is driven by two certainties. The first is that King Aren of the Bridge Kingdom is her enemy. And the second is that she’ll be the one to bring him to his knees.

The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom enriches itself and deprives its rivals, including Lara’s homeland. So when she’s sent as a bride under the guise of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture its impenetrable defenses. And the defenses of its king.

Yet as she infiltrates her new home and gains a deeper understanding of the war to possess the bridge, Lara begins to question whether she’s the hero or the villain. And as her feelings for Aren transform from frosty hostility to fierce passion, Lara must choose which kingdom she’ll save… and which kingdom she’ll destroy.

I buddy read this with Julie @ One Book More and I’m so glad because I really needed someone to wail to when shit hit the fan and hit the fan shit really did! 🥺 We loved this first book so much and were so shook by that ending we immediately started the second book!

TL;DR: There’s a lot of hype around this book and it’s definitely for good reason. This was an extremely binge-able read that I had a really hard time putting down. I’d recommend this if you enjoy romantasy, but more specifically: vivid fantasy worlds, slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance, a plot full of deception and heart-pounding action, and a romantasy couple that will have your heart swooning with happiness and weeping with angst.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen”

Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp

🎄 Happy Christmas to those who celebrate! I hope you all managed to have a good time with your families despite the panorama circumstances! 🎄


We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

I’m still in a bit of a holiday romance mood so I’ve decided to pick up Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert. I’m just on Chapter 2 so it’s still early days but I always have fun with Hibberts’ romances and I have no doubt I’ll enjoy this one too! 😌

“There’s a beast inside of me. I keep it caged. You drive it wild.”

Cash Evans has come a long way since his troubled childhood, but all the wealth he’s earned as a tattoo artist can’t fix the hole in his heart. He knows that the sweet barista who haunts his dreams is off-limits… But life doesn’t always go to plan.

”There isn’t a man on earth who could ruin me.”

Bailey Cooper is determined to learn from her mother’s mistakes. She’s seen how cruel love can be, and she’s not about to sacrifice her self-respect for a relationship. But when a bad boy with a heart of gold comes to her rescue, she finds herself wondering if this beast might just be her Prince Charming.

Will these two lost souls find a happy ending under the tree this Christmas?
Or is their love doomed to wither with the mistletoe?


Merry Inkmas is a steamy Christmas romance starring a brooding, bad boy hero and a Black, BBW heroine. Be warned: this love is hot enough to melt any winter frost!

What are you currently reading?

Continue reading “Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp”