Helloooo everyone! It is finally the last week of 2021 and I can’t believe we’re already approaching 2022. I hope that all of you had a great December and Christmas if you celebrated! I spent this last month of 2021 reading absolutely nothing, but I was able to get to The Hating Game movie, which I count as an absolute win. We also got news for the next season of Bridgerton March 2022, which should be exciting because I totally forgot that there was even going to be another season of this series. I’ve had friends tell me that the sequels are better than the first book, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with it!
Anyways, I was super far behind on my reading goal this entire year basically, and I’m still only like 60% through. I always set my goal really high every year hoping that it will give me a shred of motivation, but *lesson learned* it did not work. Even Goodreads’s little 18 books behind schedule could not make me read any faster.
On the bright side, I did have some books I really enjoyed this year! I’m usually fairly picky when it comes to giving books a 5 star rating, but I had three of them this year. I absolutely LOVED From Blood and Ash, People We Meet on Vacation, and Our Violent Ends.
I’ve never really liked vampire books, and I was pretty reluctant to pick up From Blood and Ash. It gave me flashbacks to all the Twilight stuff from 2012 or whatever. I swear, I watched the first twenty minutes of the first movie with a friend, and I was so unsettled that we just quit and watched a rom-com instead. The lighting, the atmosphere, and the Cullens literally felt like I was watching a horror movie that was going to jump-scare me in the next few minutes.
But anyways, I was tired of being left out on all of the hype and with everyone excited for the release of A Crown of Gilded Bones, I decided to pick up the series and loved it?? Okay, so maybe I wasn’t the biggest fan of the second book or the first 20 pages of the third (that I accidentally got distracted from and DNFed), but the first book was *perfect*. You got the enemies-to-lovers dynamics, the witty banter, and the fun plot twists. Plus, I found the world-building so interesting and detailed. It took a bit to get started, but once you were into the story, everything happened rapid-fire and it didn’t feel like such a long book anymore.
About a month later loving From Blood and Ash, I was graciously gifted an ARC of People We Meet on Vacation. It was definitely one of my biggest life accomplishments. I had LOVED Beach Read by Emily Henry (as in my favorite book of all time) and I was like yes PLEASE give me this When Harry Met Sally inspired rom-com I will sell my soul for a copy. I nearly jumped in excitement once Netgalley told me that my request was approved. And it did not disappoint! I loved reading about Poppy and Alex and they were so cute together AHHHH.
Finally, in the last half of the year, I got yet another ARC, but this time for Our Violent Ends! I had read These Violent Delights in December last year, but for some reason, the sequel wasn’t really on my radar. HOWEVER, when the publisher contacted me about reading this one early, I had some extra time on my hands, and I was like yes of course! And I was so surprised by how much I liked this one.
This book ramped up the enemies-to-lovers so hard and inflicted severe emotional pain on me with that ending. There was the knives-at-each-others throats cliche too which ended me. I physically cannot describe how much I love the romance in this book. Roma and Juliette would quite literally destroy the world for each other, and while it is totally dramatic, I am absolutely here for it. Where is Roma for myself? Besides that, there is such good political intrigue and world-building with the gorgeous 1920s Shanghai setting and I could not have asked for more. I’ve always been a big fan of retellings, and this is yet another one on my list of favorites. I’ll just be *impatiently* waiting for the spin-off to this series now.
Besides these three books, some other honorable mentions for books I loved include The Song of Achilles (THAT ENDING), Defy the Night (such a fun fantasy), and Kingdom of the Cursed (yet another enemies-to-lovers book that has stolen my heart).
As for some other stats courtesy of Goodreads’ Year in Books review, my shortest book this year was Into the Wild! I had to read this one for an English class, and it was surprisingly better than I expected (unlike Bel Canto, which I read later in the year for another one *cough cough*). It was a fun non-fiction read, and uncovering the whole mystery of what happened to McCandless when he disappeared was intriguing.
On the other hand, my longest book this year was A Court of Silver Flames! And, unpopular opinion time, it disappointed. I just felt like there wasn’t any substance to it! I felt like SJM tried so hard to extend a plot that concluded so perfectly in ACOWAR and I just didn’t like the characters enough to read a whole book about. There was so much romance and ASDFKDJ I just didn’t feel enough of a connection to Nesta or Cassian to care. I do agree with a lot of people that Nesta’s growth in the story made her a much better character, so it did get that right!
Overall, I think that I did have a good reading year with some new favorites even though I didn’t reach my goal! There were only one or two books that I hated, and most of the ones I read fell somewhere in-between. I’d say that it wasn’t too bad of the year, and I’m excited for what’s to come next year (Crescent City 2 I need you)!
Anyways, I hope you all have a FANTASTIC end of 2021, and cheers to the new year! Feel free to let me know how your reading year went below 🙂