I threw basically all of the rules out the window this month and just read because it was fun and utterly delightful. I enjoyed my time so incredibly much, I can’t even explain to you. I just read what I wanted and tried (and succeeded) to finish #SnowInLoveBingo for the first time through with all of my myriad re-reads, my Laura Florand spree, and a few holiday romances. I had an absolutely marvelous time and I feel a little more reset and ready to dive into 2021 and reading and reviewing ARCs again. But I’m definitely going to have to remember that reading is FUN and not to let reviewing bog me down at times, even if that means DNF’ing books I’m not loving. Anyway, happy 2021! I hope you’re as pleased as I am to leave 2020 in the past and here’s hoping this new year is everything we’ve been begging the universe for.
A Visual Overview of the Books I Read this Month
A Written List of Every Book I Read and the Star Rating
- Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh – 4 stars (Reread)
- Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh – 4 stars (Reread)
- Archangel’s Consort by Nalini Singh – 4 stars (Reread)
- Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh – 4.5 stars (Reread)
- Archangel’s Storm by Nalini Singh – 5 stars (Reread)
- Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams – 4 stars
- Archangel’s Legion by Nalini Singh – 4 stars (Reread)
- Archangel’s Shadows by Nalini Singh – 5 stars (Reread)
- Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh – 5 stars (Reread)
- Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh – 4 stars (Reread)
- Missing Christmas by Kate Clayborn – 5 stars
- Noelle the First by Nicole Falls – 4 stars
- Home for Christmas by Brookelyn Mosley – 5 stars
- Santa’s Helper by Shae Sanders – 4 stars
- Archangel’s Viper by Nalini Singh – 4 stars (Reread)
- Off-Limits Attraction by Jayci Lee – 2 stars
- Archangel’s Prophecy by Nalini Singh – 4 stars (Reread)
- Archangel’s War by Nalini Singh – 5 stars (Reread)
- Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai – 5 stars (Reread)
- The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand – 5 stars
- The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand – 4 stars
- The Chocolate Touch by Laura Florand – 5 stars
- The Chocolate Heart by Laura Florand – 4 stars
- A Rose in Winter by Laura Florand – 3 stars
- Party Favors by Erin McLellan – 3.5 stars
- Hurts to Love You by Alisha Rai – 5 stars (Reread)
- Spirit Bound by Christine Feehan – 3 stars
- Air Bound by Christine Feehan – 3 stars
- Mediocre by Ijeoma Oluo – 5 stars
- Snow-Kissed by Laura Florand – 5 stars
- Wrapped by Rebekah Weatherspoon – 4.5 stars
- A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant – 3.5 stars
- Widow in Emerald by Scarlett Peckham – 5 stars
- Turning Up the Heat by Laura Florand – 5 stars
- Troubles in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand – 3 stars
- The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn – 5 stars (Reread) (KATE)
- Burnout by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski – 5 stars
- Love’s Serenade by Sheryl Lister – 3 stars
- Wrapped Up in You by Talia Hibbert – 5 stars
- Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai – 5 stars (Reread)
Total Books Read: 40 (13 novellas/short stories)
Rereads: 16 rereads
Format: 11 physical, 22 ebooks, 7 audiobooks
Owned vs. Borrowed: 24 owned, 16 borrowed
Authors of Color: 23
Favorites of the Month
If we take out the rereads so my favorite new to me aren’t competing against my favorites from the past, here are my top five:
The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand
“If you love someone, you have to make room for that person every single day.”
This book has 13 highlights if that tells you anything about how much I enjoyed it. I absolutely love Laura Florand’s writing. Please pretend that she is included in that Top Ten New to Me Authors list from several days ago. This is what I get for trying to be ahead of the game. Anyway, this book follows Magalie, a young woman who desperately wants to feel like she belongs and like she is needed. I think that might be a theme of some of my favorite romances are ones that explore the desire to be needed. Anyway, Magalie thinks that her place in Paris with her aunts is being threatened by Philippe Lyonnais opening a new chocolate shop right down the street. The two of them get off on the wrong foot, but it doesn’t stop Philippe from being incredibly intrigued by Magalie. This book is just… really great. I loved the characters, I loved the hints of magic, and I desperately want to visit Paris now.
Wrapped Up in You by Talia Hibbert
“I told you last night, and I’ll tell you today, and I’ll tell you tomorrow: if you’re scared, Abbie, I just want to hold your hand.”
I loved Abbie and Will so much. I listened to this on audio and honestly, the narrator’s were not that great, but I got swept up in the story like I always do with Talia and I adored it. I laughed, I gasped, I almost cried. Talia is honestly just one of my favorite authors for a reason. She’s incredible and I love how well she portrays anxiety and fear because those are absolutely things people struggle with, but not something that is always so well done. Abbie is convinced that she’s too much for people and she thinks she has proof that if she really lets her whole self show, people will leave. I loved how well that was done. Anyway, this is sort of angsty childhood friends to lovers with mutual pining and it’s really fantastic.
Missing Christmas by Kate Clayborn
“She knows I love a challenge. But what she doesn’t know is that I’ve always loved a chance to break the rules, and I’m so, so tired of following this one. The most important rule I’ve made for myself.”
So, a very niche trope that I love is when a person has a rule that they can’t fall in love or they can’t go for this person or whatever it is that you just know they’ll break and come undone over. Missing Christmas absolutely delivered on that, which is not at all surprising. Kate Clayborn does emotion so well and this is just the cutest snowed in romance with Kristen and Jasper who work together. It’s just so brilliant.
Mediocre by Ijeoma Oluo
“And yet we have, as a society, somehow convinced ourselves that we should be led by incompetent assholes.”
It’s not surprising that I loved Mediocre because So You Want to Talk About Race is one of my favorite nonfictions about race that I’ve read. Oluo has a remarkably accessible style of writing and I’m so grateful for that because my brain and historical nonfiction always struggle. Anyway, I learned so much from this book and was continually angry about how we seem to have frequently dismissed people with really good ideas if they came from women and/or people of color. I just really loved this one and I think it’s another must read. Also, a full review will be posted soon since I did have an advanced copy! (I listened to a purchased copy though because my eyeballs were like, you want me to read what?)
Burnout by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
“The moral of the story is: We thrive when we have a positive goal to move toward, not just a negative state we’re trying to move away from.”
I wasn’t actually expecting to read this book this year, but my sister and I were almost out of data and we needed an audiobook I already had downloaded to listen to. I had already downloaded this one because I was planning to make it one of my first reads of 2021. Instead, it was one of my last reads of 2020 and it was brilliant. I loved this idea of completing the stress cycle, adored that they specifically addressed ways to do that if you didn’t want to exercise because so often that’s avoided, and also just… I thought they way they incorporated science while trying to explain how to make your life better for you was brilliant. It is likely to be a book I wind up rereading because I think there was a lot in here.
Honorable Mentions: Home for Christmas by Brookelyn Mosley, Snow-Kissed and Turning Up the Heat by Laura Florand
But since I did re-read so many, I wanted to take some time to talk about these just briefly.
Guild Hunters Re-Read
“Just because a person was broken didn’t mean they had no value, no right to live.” – Archangel’s Viper
Nalini Singh consistently helped me save my mental health throughout the hell-scape that was 2020. I was reminded that I love Raphael’s Seven so much and almost ever book from one of the Seven has been a five star for me. I didn’t re-read Archangel’s Sun quite yet, but that re-read is definitely coming in 2021. This was also the first time I re-read Guild Hunters from the beginning and it was a glorious ride. I had forgotten so many of the tiny details and it was really amazing to re-read them and to pick up on some of those. Nalini has said she doesn’t have a murder wall and I am AMAZED because like… how? She weaves her plots and characters together so well. It’s amazing.
Forbidden Hearts by Alisha Rai
“You don’t just decide to love and suddenly everything is fine. Love takes practice. Love isn’t passive. It’s active. A verb.” – Wrong to Need You
This series is arguably my favorite contemporary romance series. The angst that threads through this trilogy is so perfectly executed and I love all of the characters so much. I love the way Alisha writes mental health and I just… I really, really love it. All of them are brilliant and beautifully done.
The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
He knew well the singularly strange sensation of loving one’s family to distraction, and yet not feeling quite able to share one’s deepest and most intractable fears. It brought on an uncanny sense of isolation, of being remarkably alone in a loud and loving crowd.
Anthony’s book holds up so well. I really enjoyed watching Bridgerton, but season one comes complete with all of the flaws of The Duke and I and adds a couple more besides. In complete contrast to The Duke and I, I think Anthony’s book holds up and left me floating on cloud 9, had me laughing out loud so much, and I cannot wait to see Anthony brought to his knees by Kate. CANNOT WAIT.
Posts of Mine I’m Particularly Pleased By
- Book Recommendations for Sagittarius People
- Venus in Sagittarius + Book Recommendations
- #Top10of2k20: Top 10 Contemporary Romance Books
- Most Anticipated Books of 2021
Posts from Around the Internet I’ve Loved
- Rebecca’s #SnowInLoveBingo Recommendations
- Melinda’s Favorites of 2020, Amber’s Favorites of 2020, Hannah’s Favorites of 2020, Mel’s Favorites of 2020, Kini’s Favorites of 2020, Tej’s Favorites of 2020
- Charlotte’s brilliant close reading favorites of 2020. This is an excellent post!
- Suzanne wrapped up 2020 and talks about the future of Love In Panels.
- Alyssa Cole wrote a brilliant post for Oprah Magazine about how romance is, and has always been, political.
- This really brilliant thread from Melissa Blue about writing sex scenes.
- Mishma wrote this article for We Need Diverse Books about how we specifically need more of a variety of South Asian representation.
- The #ReadRChat Awards are posted!
- This helpful spreadsheet of 2021 Releases from The_Book_Queen!
- FYI, Courtney Milan’s box set of five books in The Worth Saga is on sale until January 5th.
- Enchanted Reader’s evermore book tag
- I loved this 2021 Most Anticipated Books post from Anita Kelly.
- Ash Reads Books made this really awesome graphic for where to start with Black Romance.
- The #MyRomanceBook2021 chat that Beth and Sil hosted is an excellent tag to peruse.
- Nick made a 2021 South Asian Adult Fiction list!
- The #Top10of2k20 tag on Instagram was really lovely and the #SnowInLoveBingo tags everywhere are wonderful. I love seeing what people are reading. I am sure there are other posts I’ve loved this month, but I didn’t do as good of a job at tracking those this month. So I’ll just leave it there.
I am so grateful for a few things from 2020, but mostly I am so relieved to be leaving it in the past. But regardless, I read a lot of really wonderful things in December. What about you?
4 responses to “December Wrap Up”
Wow, that’s so many books! I’m happy to see so many 5 stars on your list, it looks like it was a great month for you.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you!! I was extremely surprised to discover how many books I read. Lol. I was just having so much fun!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Wow you did amazing Jen! I told myself that I was going to read nothing but my backlist in December and then didn’t.
LikeLiked by 1 person
There was something about throwing all of my rules out the window that just gave me such a rush, Amber! I don’t know what happened, but it was so much fun.