Should I really add my two cents to all the discourse about the Goodreads Choice Awards? Probably not. But am I going to? Yes. Here’s the thing. I’ve read 100 contemporary romance books this year, of which 53 were published this year. I’ve read 102 romance novels of other sub-genres this year, a good many of which were also 2021 releases. Have I read every romance book that was released this year? Absolutely not. Have I read all of the ones listed for the Goodreads Award? Also no. Do I still have opinions about it that are at least somewhat informed by an overall understanding of what’s come out this year? I think so. And therefore, I’m still sharing my thoughts.
So, first, I’m going to talk specifically about what I’ve read and enjoyed from the Goodreads nominees, then what I still want to read, and what I’m not really interested in (and why). Then, because the Goodreads list was so contemporary heavy and is the main subgenre I read, I’m going to provide you with my list of books I’m nominating (as of right now) for The Swoon Awards. I probably won’t nominate until late December because I want to finish up some other books on my TBR first so this list isn’t final, but it sounds fun to me so I’m doing it anyway. Now let’s get started!
Goodreads Choice Awards: Romance
As the graphic reflects, I’ve read eight of the twenty nominations, which, honestly is surprising in and of itself considering I have usually read at least half already. I read a lot of hyped romances, if we’re being honest. I’m pretty on top of new releases. But for the most part, I can understand why each of these eight nominees are on this list and I don’t necessarily disagree with their placement, even if not all of them will wind up on my nominations list for The Swoon Awards. We’ll talk about that more when we get there though.
Next, let’s look at the Goodreads Nominees I actually have on my TBR and want to read.
In an ideal world, I’ll actually return at some point after having read each of these books with some sort of brilliant deduction, but we’ll see how that goes. I do own several of these and have the ability to borrow even more from my library and Kindle Unlimited.
This final graphic reflects three books that I am just not particularly interested in and one book where I know the content warnings and my headspace are just not compatible right now at all.
I absolutely understand why How to Fail at Flirting is on this list. I mean, it came in second for Best Debut in last year’s Swoon Awards. Unfortunately, I truly am not in a head space to consume literature with domestic violence plot lines. We’re lucky I made it through the All Too Well: Short Film, tbh. Anyway, the other three I haven’t heard anything spectacular about and just haven’t been particularly inclined to pick up. I’m not saying they don’t deserve their nomination because I don’t think I can say that, but I can say that I’m confused because I don’t feel like I’ve heard a ton of people (or anyone really) raving about these books.
Anyway, as y’all can see, the vast majority of these books are contemporary romance, which is why I thought it would be fun to share my current list of nominations in the Contemporary Romance category for The Swoon Awards. And then, aside from the ones that you saw in my Want to Read graphic, I’ll share a few of the other contemporary romances I’m trying to squeeze in before finalizing my list. The next graphic is based on when I read the book I’m nominating rather than being based on some sort of ranking, just so we’re clear! I also want to mention that I’ve loved a lot of contemporary books this year. The books on this graphic are books that received a full five stars. This year I feel like I handed out a lot of 4.5 stars so, this list could also still change substantially by the time I actually nominate, but here’s where we are right now.
So, as you can see, there are five books that overlap from my list with the Goodreads Choice nominees, but if I’m being honest, if I was forced to choose my top romance book of the year at this moment, I would (a) have a real hard time choosing and (b) would really wind up stuck between Reel by Kennedy Ryan and The Belle and the Beard by Kate Canterbary, neither of which were even nominated. So, I’m a little salty. But I do love the books that overlap a lot and I hope that one of those five takes the prize home.
Anyway, I also mentioned that there are some books that I feel like I really need to get to by the end of the year before nominations are due, so let’s talk about those, shall we? Three of the books that I feel like I really need to get to before the year is out in case they need nominated (contemporary only and not already mentioned in the Goodreads section) are Isn’t It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams, Exposed by Kristen Callihan, and Sweethand by N.G. Peltier.
What other contemporary reads do you think absolutely need to be nominated, whether for The Swoon Awards or that Goodreads missed out on nominating? Are you voting in the Goodreads Choice Awards? If so, what book did you choose? Let me know your thoughts on all of this!