December was a mix of hectic times and relaxing times. My New Year’s Eve plans with friends have unfortunately been cancelled again this year, but I am actually looking forward to staying in with my family, watching some movies, and maybe finishing another book before midnight. I did my most amount of reading in December since the summer, as of right now having read 13 books and 1 novella. Over the past week or so, it’s been super nice to unplug from work and the screen and just dive into reading & relaxing. I’ve included some of my thoughts on the books I read this month – so many must reads!
I read a few holiday books this month, like Jenny Bayliss’ A Season for Second Chances (very cozy & cute) and Kara McDowell’s One Way or Another – this one is in my classroom library, and one of my students recently loved it, so I wanted to give it a read to). My favorite holiday read of the month was definitely Jean Meltzer’s Hanukkah inspired romance, The Matzah Ball. I remembered the day after Christmas that Rainbow Rowell’s e-novella following Reagan from Fangirl is available for free. The novella is also Christmas-themed, set in 2020 and 2021. There was a lot of covid/pandemic talk involved, but I loved being in the Fangirl world and loved Reagan’s banter & personality . I also read Elin Hildebrand’s entire Winter Street series in December, her holiday/Christmas series set on Nantucket. I wouldn’t necessarily say that they’re my favorite Elin Hilderbrand books, but they all had such a binge-worthy & cozy quality.
I also finally read the first book in the Bridgerton series. I found myself rewatching season 1 this month, and I think I’m going to continue on with the book series closer to season 2’s March 25th release on Netflix!I also found myself reading some adult fiction picks and was heavily addicted to them, specifically Lisa Patton’s Rush (following a fictional sorority at Ole Miss) and Minor Dramas and Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West (following a high school English and a stay-at-home mom caught in school scandals).
The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer | 4.5/5 Stars
The Winter Street series by Elin Hilderbrand: Winter Street, Winter Stroll, Winter Storms, & Winter Solstice | Overall Series Rating: 4/5 Stars
As I’ve been writing & researching for my 2022 most anticipated releases, I have been really enjoying scouring Goodreads, Instagram, and book blogs to gain some insight on the Young Adult books coming out in 2022. Although contemporary romance has become my favorite genre over the years – I shared my most anticipated 2022 contemporary romance & adult fiction releases on Monday-, I am still often in the mood for a good YA contemporary (or royal-inspired read or historical fiction or fantasy). SO many of my favorite YA authors are coming out with new books in 2022!
When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord | RD: January 4
I have basically been anticipating Emma Lord’s 2022 YA release, When You Get the Chance, since it was announced – I’m SO excited for this Mamma Mia meets Broadway inspired read!
I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys | RD:February 1st
I am a huge fan of Ruta Sepetys’ YA historical fiction books, as they are always so well-written and extremely well-researched and often center around a neglected or forgotten about part of history. I Must Betray You is set in 1989 Romania, following a teen who is forced by the secret police to provide the dictatorship with information about everyone & everything he knows and loves.
My annual anticipated release posts are some of my favorite blog posts to write & share each year. I use Goodreads and Instagram as my go-to new/upcoming book sources , as well as keeping an eye on my favorite authors and seeing/knowing that they have new books coming out in the year.
I’ll continue to publish seasonal anticipated release posts throughout the year (I always, of course, end up having more books to share as more get announced), but today I’m sharing the contemporary romances and adult fiction releases I’m most looking forward to. I decided to combine these two genres because there is some crossover with some books & I didn’t want to make another post with just a handful of adult fiction titles. I’ll be sharing my most anticipated YA books in a separate post. The books below are ordered by release date.
Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon | Release Date: January 11
Rachel Lynn Solomon is one of my favorite contemporary authors, both YA and contemporary romance. Like her contemporary romance debut, The Ex Talk, Weather Girl has a really unique workplace premise, following a TV meteorologist and sports reporter trying to reunite their divorced busses – it kind’ve reminds me of Always Be My Maybe on Netflix!
The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka | RD: January 25
I have been anticipated Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka’s contemporary romance debut since it was announced, The Roughest Draft. I feel like this book is Emily and Austin’s writing partnership life meets Beach Read meets friend-to-lovers.
Today, I’m back with my third & final favorite books post for 2021! I read so many fantastic books this year that didn’t (necessarily) fall into contemporary romance or Young-Adult, like non-fiction, contemporary (some with a thriller or mystery twist), & of course, the adult fantasy that everyone read this year (aka Sarah J.Maas). I’m going to use a little bit different of a style for this favorites post by just sharing the covers & listing my ABSOLUTE favorites.
It’s time for one of my favorite posts of the year: my annual favorite contemporary romance list! Whether you’ve been following me for a short time or my near five (!!!) years of blogging (my five year anniversary of Fangirl Fury is in February!), you know that I am a huge contemporary reader, with most of my focus on contemporary romance. Today I’m going to be sharing my FAVORITE contemporary romance reads of the year and my honorable mentions. There’s a chance I may do some re-reading this month to decide my #1 pick, but you’ll find out below which two books were my absolute favorites – instead of building anticipation, I decided to just list them at the top!
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
The Love Hypothesis completely blew up and is still deservedly doing so and the hype is 110% worth the hype. As a Star Wars fan, I loved the Kylo Ren & Rey inspiration (look at the cover alone!) and this book nailed every single element. I loved the academic premise and slight enemies-to-lovers trope.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Yes, Emily Henry’s People We Meet on Vacation is tied with The Love Hypothesis as my FAVORITE book of 2021. There’s something that just clicks with me and Emily Henry’s writing style right from the get-go that makes me know that I’m going to love the book. I don’t read too many best friends-to-lovers romances. Poppy and Alex’s dynamic was so pure and funny, and I love the story-telling, alternating between their current vacation gone-wrong and their past trips together. And I’ve heard from early reviewers & Taylor Jenkins Reid’s advance blurb that Emily Henry’s 2022 release, Book Lovers, is her best yet.
I feel like I did not (& probably did not) read as much YA in 2021 as I have done in years past. Not that I purposely didn’t reach for YA, but more so into contemporary romance and adult contemporary fiction. However, the length of my favorite YA books of 2021 is proving me wrong!
With just 2 weeks (!!!) left of 2021, it’s time to bring in my annual favorite & anticipated releases post, starting with my favorite YA books of 2021. Aside from the one mystery/thriller series here, it’s no surprise either that the rest of these books are all contemporary! I’ll be sharing some thoughts on my favorites and have also included honorable mentions below.
Favorite YA Books of 2021
Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson
Morgan Matson is one of my all-time FAVE YA authors. I go into all of her books knowing that they are going to be pure gems, like Take Me Home Tonight. This book following two best friends’ 24-hour NYC adventure was so much fun and I loved the focus on female friendship & growing pains.
Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter
If there’s one book here that I wish I could throw into every reader’s hands, it’s Lynn Painter’s YA enemies-to-lovers rom-com, Better Than the Movies. If you’ve been craving a book with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before vibes, you absolutely have to pick up this book about a girl who teams up with her neighbor and childhood nemesis to score her dream prom date.
We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Another no surprise that Rachel Lynn Solomon’s 2021 YA release, We Can’t Keep Meet Like This This, is a favorite! The main character, Quinn, and her family run a wedding planning business, so I really enjoyed exploring that premise and their complicated family dynamics. This book had so much that I always love about Rachel Lynn Solomon’s YA books, from romance to relationship develop to discussions on mental health, identity, & religion.
The Inheritance Games & The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Probably the most TikTok famous book/book series on the list, I like many other readers devoured the first two books in Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ The Inheritance Games series in 2021. It’s been a while since I’ve found myself so invested in a YA mystery read, following a sixteen year old girl whose inherited a billionaire’s fortune and has to contend with his family for the rights to his empire.
Anna K: Awayby Jenny Lee
Jenny Lee’s Anna K series is among one of the most well-written (and not to mention binge-worthy) YA series. I love the rich & elite teen vibes meets Gossip Girl meets Anna Karenina retelling premise, and this sequel was the perfect escapist reads.
The Marvelous Mirza Girls by Sheba Karim
I will keep throwing all the hype & praise at Sheba Karim’s The Marvelous Mirza Girls. I love the book’s writing style and maturity so much – definitely a great read if you’re someone who normally reaches more for new adult & contemporary romance but want something a little more YA. The book follows a mother-daughter duo who have after experiencing a loss in their family, temporarily relocate to New Dehli.
XOXO by Axie OH
I’ll be the first one to admit that I am not a K-pop fan, but if there’s one book that I LOVED that has a somewhat K-pop inspired book, it’s Axie Oh’s XOXO. I DEVOURED this book in less than a handful of hours, following a girl who has a meet-cute with a K-pop star….and then soon temporarily relocates to a performing arts school in South Korea and is reunited with said star.
It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi – It All Comes Back to You is another book that I really want more & more people to pick up. The book has such deep focus on complicated family and sibling dynamics, and me being me, yes there is a slight enemies-to-lovers storyline, as former couple Deen and Kiran must deal with one another again as their brother and sister respectively get engaged to one another.
You Have a Match by Emma Lord
I absolutely loved Emma Lord’s sister-centric YA contemporary, You Have a Match, following two biological sisters who meet for the first time ever at summer camp.Between You Have a Match & Tweet Cute, Emma Lord is for sure a go-to YA author of mine (and I am SO looking forward to her 2022 release, When You Get the Chance.
Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau
Indestructible Object by Mary McCoy
As If on Cue by Marisa Kanter
The Lucky List by Rachel Lippincott
It’s Kind of a Cheesy Love Story by Lauren Morrill
Between You, Me, and the Honeybees by Amelia Diane Coombs
You can also check out my favorite YA books of 2020, 2019, & 2018.
As the year begins to come to a close, thank you so much for supporting Fangirl Fury in 2021. I hope you unwind with some great books by your side over the next two weeks. Have a happy & safe holiday season, and I wish you a happy & healthy new year!
What were your favorite YA books of 2021? Have you read any of my favorites? Are they any books you think I would like based on my favorites? Share in the comments!
And just like that, it’s time to share my five star prediction results for2021. Each January, I look at my most anticipated releases lists and predict which books I believe I will rate 5 out of 5 stars. My picks are usually based on my books whose authors are some of my all-time FAVES, a highly, highly anticipated sequel, or an author whose previous book I loved. And like nearly every time I make my five star predictions, there’s a book or two that I haven’t quite read yet. Out of the 7 books I predicted, I read 6/7 (the only one I didn’t get to is Kelsey Rodkey’s Last Chance Books). I’ve separated this post into my correct predictions & not-so correct predictions.
If you’re interested, here’s my Five Star Prediction Results for2020 & 2019.
My Correct Predictions
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry – Like most readers, Emily Henry’s contemporary romances are PERFECTION. I still don’t know which Emily Henry contemporary romance I prefer, Beach Read or People We Meet on Vacation, but I still think about the banter between PWMOV’s leads, Alex & Poppy. The setting, the friendship, the plot, and the romance were again, pure perfection. Slight spoiler alert for my favorite posts of 2021, but People We Meet on Vacation is a contender for my #1 favorite book of 2021.
I’ve read 150+ books in 2021 (the most I’ve EVER read in a year & I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be able to top this amount, unless this is my new reading normal??). That being said, as much as I’ve really made an effort to read books I have a very good feeling that I’ll enjoy (hence why most of my reading in 2021 were contemporary books), I’m not going to love or even enjoy EVERY single book that I read. Today I’ll be discussing my most disappointing reads of 2021. I think the theme of most of the books below & why they’re on this list mainly has to do with that I wasn’t expecting MORE from them.
As always, I want to include a disclaimer that my disappointment in the following books has nothing to do with anything other than the fact I simply didn’t enjoy the book or that it didn’t meet my expectations. Additionally, just because I may have not enjoyed a book, doesn’t mean that you won’t or doesn’t discredit your love for it!
I always say that I read more than I watch TV, which might be true…but then I compile my favorite TV shows of the year and somewhat doubt myself. I always talk about what I watched in my monthly wrap ups, but today I’m sharing the best of the best of my 2021 TV watching. You’ll likely notice that most of my favorite shows come from streaming platforms, and I also recently started subscribing to Hulu (Only Murders in the Building is on the top of my Hulu list). I’m highly anticipating this week’s release of Just Like That, the Sex & the City spinoff, on HBO Max and here’s to hoping that Bridgerton Season 2 makes a surprise release over Christmas – I can so see it dropping during the holiday break, if not in early 2022 (sidenote that I finally bought the first book, the Duke and I, to spread some good karma & hope!).
Anyway, I decided to forgo descriptions of each show and separated the post into my absolute favorites & honorable mentions – I’ve mentioned nearly all of the shows included in my monthly wrap-ups. If you are fortunate enough to have some extra time off around the holidays, I hope this list helps guide your TV watching decisions!
Summary (from the publisher): Piper Evans: elementary school teacher by day–avid romance reader and anonymous podcaster by night. She lives a quiet, reclusive life, taking care of her mother, who struggles with mental illness, avoiding her regrettable ex, who bartends in town, and trying to make inroads in the tight-knit island community that still sees her, five years in, as an outsider.
And she’s happy with how things are–really–until British royals rent the property next to hers and their brooding bodyguard decides she’s a security threat. Piper quickly realizes that one person’s fairy tale is an ordinary woman’s nightmare as a media frenzy takes over the island and each run-in with Harrison Cole is hotter and more confusing than the last. But beneath Harrison’s no-nonsense exterior lies a soft heart, one that could tempt a woman who’s sworn off attachments into believing in white knights.
But when Piper finds herself smack in the middle of a royal scandal that rocks the island she’ll need more than Harrison’s strong arms to shield her–she’ll have to do a little rescuing herself. With careers, hearts, and friendships on the line, Piper and Harrison will have to decide what they’re willing to give up for a chance at their own happily ever after.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Give me any royal-inspired back & I’m already there – not to mention one with a protagonist who is a teacher and runs a romance novel podcast!
I 100% admit that the cover of The Royals Next Door totally grabbed my attention a few months ago, and I couldn’t also help but love the synopsis. The book follows Piper, an elementary school teacher and romance novel podcast hosts who lives on a small-town island in British Columbia. Piper doesn’t tend to socialize, after leaving her ex-fiancé at the altar years ago and living with & taking care of her mother who struggles with mental illness. Piper’s life definitely gets more interesting though when the British royals Prince Edward & Duchess Monica (picture Meaghan and Harry) move next door, along with their broody and attractive bodyguard, Harrison. As Piper and Harrison adjust to having each other as neighbors and doing their best to protect the royals’ privacy, they soon find themselves trying to have their own happily ever after admins royal scandal.