2021 has been quite a year full of ups and downs, a few achievements and also a few downfalls, but it’s always good to say it was another great year of reading under my belt too. I’m definitely noticing a pattern with some of my book choices and it is definitely ENEMIES-TO-LOVERS, which is definitely the most popular romance trope out there, so no surprise there! I’m also glad to be able to find a lot more M/M romance too, both those kinds of stories are totally my weakness…
Below is my list of the top books I read this year, and they are in no particular order, so enjoy!
1. The Zodiac Academy Series by Caroline Peckham & Susanne Valenti
First thing I can say is WOW, these books sucked me in like a black hole, because while I was reading these back to back to back, I honestly couldn’t tell you what else was going on in my life because they were the only thing on my mind. If I was at work, I was thinking about these books and the characters, and if I wasn’t bathing or sleeping, odds are I was reading these books. The story itself is alright, but it’s the characters and all the intertwining relationships that really drive the whole series for me, along with the two forbidden romances also happening. What a whirlwind of a series, I can’t believe the final book already is coming out…
To see my review of book #1 – The Awakening – Click HERE
2. A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns & Roses #4): by Sarah J. Maas
It should absolutely not be a shock that a Sarah J. Maas novel made it onto this list, but SJM is that author where I don’t even have to read the blurb or even know what it is about and she can take my money. I know the bookish fandom is really torn on her, and that’s cool, but this reader is on the side that absolutely loves her stories! Besides, the inner struggle that Nesta faced was absolutely astounding, mental health was a big theme of this book, and the romance was SJM’s spiciest yet! Absolutely loved this addition to her ACOTAR series…
To see my review of A Court of Silver Flames – Click HERE
3. The Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood and Ash #3): by Jennifer L. Armentrout
By far one of my most anticipated releases this year, it absolutely did not disappoint, and JLA really impressed me with how she’s made every book in this series bigger than the previous one in this series. I was floored with that tremendous final chunk of the book that had me in what has to be the biggest reading hangover I ever experienced in quite awhile! These books are such a bookish obsession for me, I can’t recommend them enough…
To see my review of The Crown of Gilded Bones – Click HERE
4. The Bridge Kingdom (Bridge Kingdom #1): Danielle L. Jensen
This book honestly surprised me the most out of this list because I was not expecting to like it as much as I did! The enemies-to-lovers dynamic between the two main characters was done so well and I wasn’t expecting how strategic and militaristic the author got with the politics and dueling kingdoms in this fictional world. Definitely a lesser known title to check out…
To see my review of The Bridge Kingdom – Click HERE
5. Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1): by Kerri Maniscalco
I’m very curious about the world this author has created, plus I do love the spicy and spooky vibes this book gives off mixed in with a murder mystery of the witch and demon variety. The demon prince, Wrath, is way too hot for YA Fantasy so I’m glad that Kerri Maniscalco revealed that the second book—Kingdom of the Cursed—will be even more spicy, which makes me definitely interested, and I had to include an image of the Fairyloot edition because I own a copy and it’s probably one of the most gorgeous books on my personal shelf…
To see my review of Kingdom of the Wicked – Click HERE
6. Iron & Fire (Silk & Steel #2): by Ariana Nash
I’m loving how intense these books and how morally grey the characters are, it’s like a queer romance Game of Thrones—so Gay of Thrones?—especially Lysander! He’s easily the best character out of these books so far, and even better that he’s a dragon-shifter prince. The romance was more apparent and absolutely scorching in this 2nd installment in this series, and with all that happens, I gotta get the third book on my kindle ASAP…
To see my review of Iron and Fire – Click HERE
7. It Happened One Summer (The Bellinger Sisters #1): by Tessa Bailey
As soon as I heard that this was a “Schitt’s Creek” inspired romance, I knew I had to get my hands on it and read it! This was just a light, fun, and even a little spicy romance that I really enjoyed and of course recommend. Piper and Brendan made an adorable couple, and I’m even looking forward to the sequel coming out in 2022!
8. Kingdom of the Cursed (Kingdom of the Wicked #2): by Kerri Maniscalco
Okay, but I was not expecting Kerri Maniscalco to go so hard on this sequel, but I am oh so glad she did! She did such a spectacular job that I had to include KOTC as it’s own entry. The story continues with Wrath and Emilia traveling back to Hell, and it’s taken a steamier and more New Adult direction that really makes the story even better!
To see my review of Kingdom of the Cursed – Click HERE
9. The Hating Game: By Sally Thorne
There has been a lot of hype around this enemies-to-lovers office romance novel, and theres even a movie with Lucy Hale and Austin Stowell out now, so I decided I had to read this at least once. It was cute, it was funny, and it even had a little spice which I always appreciate! I thought it was a fun book that is perfect to fill in time waiting for a darker and heavier installment to any series you may be reading, or if you’re just looking for a light romance to enjoy.
To see my review of The Hating Game – Click HERE
10. A Kingdom of Shadow and Light (Fever #11): by Karen Marie Moning
The crazy ride that is the “Fever” series by Karen Marie Moning had come to an end with the 11th installment, and things certainly end with a bang with Mac, Barrons, Cruce, and company as Mac has many, many, many things all going on at once while she’s coming to terms with her new powerful position! A good ending that could’ve been great, but still a fitting end to an extraordinary story!
To see my review of A Kingdom of Shadow and Light – Click HERE
Try (Temptations #1): by Ella Frank
Wicked (A Wicked Trilogy #1): by Jennifer Armentrout
A Shadow in the Ember (Flesh and Fire #1): by Jennifer Armentrout
Four Letter Word (Dirty Deeds #1): by J. Daniels
A Touch of Darkness (Hades and Persephone #1): by Scarlett St. Clair
One Time Only (One Time Only #1): by Lauren Blakely
Collide (Blackcreek #1): by Riley Hart
Fake It ‘TIl You Break It: by Meagan Brandy
Crosstown Crush (Sins in the City #1): by Cara McKenna
The Play (Briar-U #3): by Elle Kennedy
The Dare (Briar-U #4): by Elle Kennedy
Well, there you have it!
What a year it was with so many great titles that released, and it reminds me of how there are already a few titles set to release in 2022 that I am MAASively looking forward to! If there’s not a link to some of the books above, it just means I haven’t posted a review YET. Thats a goal for me going into next year: getting back on top of trying to post a review or post an article more often than I have this past fall and into winter. It’s a crazy time of year, but once the holidays are over and done, and things begin to calm down, I’ll have more time to get caught up on a few reviews that I’m behind on!
Have a wonderful holiday season, stay safe and have fun with your loved ones, get plenty of sleep and drink plenty of water, and we’ll hear from each other in the coming new year!
Thanks for Reading!
— Nick Goodsell