Best Books I’ve Read So Far: January – March 2021 Edition 

Aside from reading all the amazing books, one of my other favorite things to do is talk about all the great books I’ve read. Today, I’ll be sharing my favorite books of 2021 so far, aka favorites from the books I read in January, February and March. I read a total of 30 books over the first 3 months of 2021! I’m beyond content with that amount, given my hectic IRL schedule, but I’ve really prioritized reading over anything else (sorry TV) when I do have free time. While quantity can feel rewarding, I also just genuinely enjoyed most of the books I’ve read, as there’s only been maybe a handful that I’ve felt mixed about. This amount also sets me up quite nicely for my my reading goal of at least 100 books in 2021. 

I thought about sharing a post with just my favorite books of January and February, and then saving my March faves for my spring best books… but I honestly read so many of my favorite books so far in March & I didn’t want to wait any longer to share. I’ll likely end up doing another best books post in June to discuss the best books I read in spring/April & May. 

We Came Here to Forget by Andrea Dunlop – As you go through my favorites, you may start to notice that books set abroad from my native US is a theme with some of my favorite books, including Andrea Dunlop’s We Came Here to Forget. The book switches between Katie’s past as an Olympic skier and her present as a tour guide in Buenos Aires, putting together the pieces of her sister’s mysterious behavior and the downfall of her skiing career. I loved both settings and this book’s plot & mystery was really unique. 

Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli – I feel like I’m cheating a tiny bit here because Kate in Waiting doesn’t come out on April 20th, but I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy of Becky Albertalli’s upcoming release. This book reminded me so much of my favorite Becky Albertalli book, The Upside of Unrequited. I loved the focus on friendship & personal growth. 

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes –  Evvie Drake Starts Over screams quiet contemporary read. There was a perfect blend between light and warmness, as Evvie rents out her spare bedroom to an ex-major league baseball player hiding away from the spotlight, while dealing with heavier themes surrounding loss and grief. This book also made me want to rent a house in Maine ASAP. 

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman – If you want a fun read that screams wanderlust, look no further than The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany. Emilia accompanies her estranged aunt on a trip to Italy to help reunite her with the love of their life, while trying to override a curse placed on second-born daughters in their family. I was little hesitant going into this one because of that ‘curse,’ but the book really had nothing to do with ‘magic.’ Instead, Emilia learns how to break out her shell and the expectations set by her family…while maybe she’s not cursed to never fall in love after all… 

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas – This is likely one of the least surprising favorites on here, if you know me as the huge SJM fan that I am. Nesta and Cassian were my two favorite characters from ACOTAR even before they got their own installment, so I loved both of their journeys and relationship development in this one. ACOSF made me so much more intrigued about what SJM will be doing in the rest of the series! 

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Spring 2021 Most Anticipated Releases: YA Edition

Spring time often has so much to look forward to for me: warm weather, summertime prep, and new books! Spring and fall often compete as the best seasons for new YA releases, especially when it comes to YA contemporaries. Today I’ll be featuring the YA books I’m most looking forward to coming out this March, April, and May. 

There are a few repeats on this list from my Most Anticipated YA Books of 2021 guide – I tend to have more spring releases on my annual guide each December because we usually know more about spring releases than fall books – but I did add some more titles since then, thanks to  friends’ recommendations and fellow bloggers’ anticipated lists. 

It’s Kind of a Cheesy Love Story by Lauren Morrill | RD: March 9 | Add it on Goodreads

Combine YA contemporary with pizza and I’m already there (with a slice or two of pizza near by). Lauren Morrill’s It’s Kind of a Cheesy Love Story sounds like it is going to be so cute and fun – sixteen year old Beck starts working in the pizza parlor she was born in 16 years ago and while reluctant to start the job thanks to her local celebrity fame, finds herself way more at home at Hot n’ Crusty than she’d like to admit. 

Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau | RD: April 6 | Add it on Goodreads

Since travel is still a no-go for most of us right now, the next best way to picture an adventure abroad is by reading about one of course. I’ll personally be escaping to Paris through Kisses and Croissants, as Mia spends her summer at an elite ballet training program and discovers the city with a cute French boy in tow. I think having a croissant or two by my side will be necessary as I read. 

What’s Not to Love by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka | RD: April 20 | Add it on Goodreads

I’m super excited to see Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka’s take on the enemies-to-lovers trope in What’s Not to Love. The book follows high school senior rivals, Allison & Ethan, as they compete to plan a ten year reunion, in hopes of getting a Harvard recommendation letter from their principal.

Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock | RD: April 20 | Add it on Goodreads

I don’t read too many anthologies or short story collections, but I am beyond excited for Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock’s Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town. Her The Smell of Other People’s Houses is one of the most beautiful and well-written books I’ve ever read, and I expect nothing less from the book connecting the stories of young people from small towns in Alaska and the American West. Read More »

Spring 2021 Most Anticipated Releases: Contemporary Romance

Over the past few weeks, I might’ve spent just as much time adding books to my TBR as I did actually reading the books on my TBR! I’ve recently been going on mini TBR-adding sprees, thanks to book recommendations on Instagram stories and more 2021 anticipated releases lists. In case you were wondering, authors Emily Henry and Hannah Orenstein are two of my go-to IG book recommendation sources. I had a decent amount of spring contemporary romances on 2021 Most Anticipated Releases: Contemporary Romance Edition list – I’ll be sharing some of the same titles today – but I honestly might’ve added double the amount of spring romances on my TBR since then. Today, I’ll be featuring the romances I’m most looking forward to coming out this March, April, and May. My YA Spring 2021 Anticipated Releases guide will be coming out next week!

Accidentally Engaged by Farah HeronRelease Date: March 2 | Add it on Goodreads 

Match-making is one of my favorite romance tropes, which led me to Farah Heron’s Accidentally Engaged, following Reena’s parents’ attempt to match her with an eligible Muslim bachelor. The book seems like it’s going to have so many other elements that I love in a good romance, including a fake engagement, a sweet love interest (with a British accent??)and tons of cooking & bread making. 

Float Plan by Trish DollerRD: March 2 | Add it on Goodreads 

Below Deck has become one of my favorite guilty pleasures over the past year, so I’m ready for any romance that takes place while sailing. Float Plan follows Anna, who has recently lost her fiancé and after a rough night at sea, hires a professional sailor to help her during her voyage.

The Dating Plan by Sarah DesaiRD: March 16 | Add it on Goodreads 

I really enjoyed Sarah Desai’s The Marriage Game because it was one of the funniest rom-coms I’ve ever read and the match-making premise was done so well. My love for that book alone makes me excited to pick up The Dating Plan. The book follows one of the main characters from The Marriage Game, Daisy. The synopsis sounds like a mix of match-making and a potential marriage of convenience. 

Second Chance Impressions by Sally Thorne | RD: April 13 | Add it on Goodreads 

Like many readers, I LOVED Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game, but felt pretty meh about 99 Percent Mine. I have high hopes that Second Chance Impressions will bring back some The Hating Game feels because it sounds like it has slight enemies-to-lovers vibes – Ruthie works at a retirement center and the son of the retirement center’s property developer comes on as a personal assistant to two of the most eccentric residents. 

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle | RD: April 6 | Add it on Goodreads

Sarah Hogle wrote my all-time favorite contemporary romance, You Deserve Each Other, which means that I need more of her work immediately!  Twice Shy has been described in early reviews as the sweetest romance – a hopeless romantic inherits a house in the Smokies from her great aunt and must share it with the grouchy and gorgeous grounds-keeper. Read More »

2021 Reading Goals

I wasn’t going to publish my 2021 reading goals because until last week, it didn’t feel like I had any.  I was writing my winter 2021 recent TBR additions post, when I realized I mentioned at least 2 reading goals and figured it was time to formalize them. I didn’t rush to formalize or even create goals for 2021 because let’s be honest, everything is in such a weird fluctuating state right now both in the world and even in my personal life. I’ll get more into this below when I talk about the amount of books I want to read this year, but I’m currently in my last semester in a fairly intense graduate program and by the time I settle in for the night, I’m often too tired to focus on reading – I find that I have the most energy to read right when I get home if I don’t have to do work or attend a remote class.

Read at least 75 books, with the ultimate goal of reading at least 100 – You can probably tell that there is a bit of an explanation to how many books I want to read in 2021. I do the most amount of reading in the summer months, reading 12-15 books a month between June through August. I then on average read anywhere from 5-10 books during the other months, based on school commitments and work. I definitely got a boost in 2020 due to the state of the world and that I was the type of person who looked (and still looks) to reading as a way to relax and be distracted.  I wasn’t commuting whatsoever, I wasn’t living with my friends (who are awesome but definitely distract me from reading), I worked and went to school from home, & had a ton of beach and pool days.

That all being said, I think I will be able to read at least 75 books in 2021, which I set as my Goodreads goal. The ultimate goal is to read at least 100 books, since I’ve been able to do so each year since 2018. The reach, REACH goal is to read more than 133 books in 2021, which was the amount of books I read in 2020. I think in order to do so, I would have to cut out a significant amount of TV time out of my life. I do ultimately read more than I watch… but then I get to my monthly wrap ups and am always astonished about how much TV I did ultimately watch. Also add in the fact that after a long day of work and school, I tend to favor TV over reading because I feel like I can’t focus as much. I’m always caught between knowing I want to read more but also feeling tired, but ultimately, reading is something that I forever want to be able to enjoy and not treat as a chore.

Read at least 1 non-fiction book every 1-2 months/ at least 6 non-fiction books total – 2020 was the year of non-fiction for me… okay, I think I only read 8 non-fiction books out of the 133 I did read, but that is the most amount of non-fiction I read any other year. I’m going to try to regularly incorporate non-fiction into my reading life in 2021 by reading at least 1 non-fiction book every 2 months. I’d like to beat my 2020 total by reading more than 8, but I find that a non-fiction book really has to grab me in order to read it and I generally don’t have many on my TBR (aka leave me recs in the comments).

Catch up reading popular contemporary books/contemporary romances – I somewhat started this goal in 2020, but I want to catch up on popular contemporary or contemporary books that I haven’t yet read either because of the hype scaring me away, I wasn’t originally interested in the book when it first came out, or I just haven’t gotten to them yet. Some priority books for me include The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes, The Friend Zone series by Abby Jimenez, Katherine Center’s books, and most of Christina Lauren’s backlist. Whenever I’m stressed IRL, I always reach for a contemporary book and I’m going to try & reach for these in those moments.

Actually reread books – Rereading is often a goal we all strive to do each year, and more often than not, I personally never reread as much as I’d like. I couldn’t tell you how many ‘rereading goals’ blog posts I’ve written over the past 4 years, but I could tell you that I most likely only reread maybe half of the books I listed. Between lockdown and my county library being closed for a few months last year, I ended up rereading 7 books, but once the libraries and bookstores opened up again, I basically kissed any rereading goals goodbye. I’d like to get back to my goal of rereading Rainbow Rowell’s contemporary books (I have Fangirl and Eleanor & Park left), Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Frost & Starlight and House of Earth & Blood before their respective sequels come out, Jenny Han’s Always & Forever, Lara Jean, and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series.

What are your reading goals for 2021? Do you have any contemporary romance or nonfiction recommendations? Share in the comments!

5 Star Predictions: 2021 Release Edition

You know that feeling you get before you even start reading a book that there’s a very likely possibility that you’re going to completely love it? That’s how I feel about the following 2021 releases! For the past two years, I’ve predicted what new books I would rate five stars as I read in the new year (mini spoiler alert but I went 4/6 for my 2020 new release five star predictions). Since I’ve talked about all the books below in my anticipated release posts for 2021, I’m not going to go into too much about the book itself. I’ll link to their Goodreads if you want to find out more about the synopsis, but I’ll be focusing on why I think it’ll be a five star read.

Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town by Bonnie Sue Hitchcock | Release Date: April 1

I have so much love for Bonnie Sue Hitchcock’s The Smell of Other People’s Houses that I expect to fall in love with this new book and its writing style just as much. I really like books and honestly stories overall that unexpectedly interweave characters and storylines, and I believe that’s we can expect in this book about the lives of teens in Alaska and the American west. Add it on Goodreads 

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle | RD: April 6

Sarah Hogle’s Twice Shy is another case where I think I’m going to absolutely love this one because I loved her debut, You Deserve Each Other, and the synopsis has me completely smitten – a woman inherits an estate from her great aunt and has to deal with the grumpy groundskeeper.  Add it on Goodreads Read More »

2021 Most Anticipated Releases: Contemporary Romance Edition

Contemporary romance took over my reading in 2020. I still have to analyze my 2020 reading stats and see if I did indeed read more romance than YA this year, but I feel like I was reaching for romance over other genres this year. This trend might stick around for me in 2021, given how many contemporary romances I’m anticipating in 2021! The main reason why I decided to split my anticipated releases into individuals posts for young adult and and romance this year because there are THAT many contemporary romances I’m waiting for in the new year. 

I am considering making an anticipated releases post for adult fiction as well – I began drafting the post, but I only have two books on it so far while crossing my fingers we’ll get Leigh Bardugo’s second Alex Stern book and potentially Sarah J. Maas’ second Crescent City novel (or The World of Throne of Glass finally). 

Most Anticipated Contemporary Romances

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon | Release Date: January 26

Rachel Lynn Solomon’s The Ex Talk is for sure among my MOST anticipated books on this list (if, not my #1 most anticipated read). I absolutely love her YA books and I’m so excited to read her take on my other favorite genre. The book follows two exes who start a new public radio show, where together they give relationship advice. Add it on Goodreads 

Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon | RD: February 2 

2021 is seriously the year for my YA favorite authors to enter the adult romance game, including Lily Menon (known in the YA world as, you know, SANDHYA MENON) with Make Up Break Up. The book follows rival app developers, Annika and Hudson, as the compete in a major investment pitch contest. Add it on Goodreads

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle | RD: April 6

Sarah Hogle’s debut, You Deserve Each Other, is one of my absolute favorite books of 2020 and made her one of my new auto-read authors. Twice Shy follows a woman who unexpectedly inherits a stately old manor from a great aunt, only to discover that the place needs some serious work and she has to share the place with the grumpy groundskeeper. Add it on Goodreads

The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan | RD: April 6

I finally read Rosie Danan’s The Roommate last week. Although it definitely met the hype for me and I loved it’s unique premise (adult entertainment), I wasn’t super in love. However, the hype once again sent me to check out Rosie Danan’s upcoming release, The Intimacy Experiment, and I’m super intrigued by the synopsis. The book follows one of the female main characters from The Roommate, Naomi, as she teams up with one of LA’s most eligible bachelors (who also happens to be a rabbi) on a sex education seminar. Add it on Goodreads Read More »

2021 Most Anticipated Releases: YA Edition

The time has finally come for my annual anticipated releases posts! As the year comes to a close, this is prime time for favorite lists and anticipated releases posts, but I ALWAYS end up forgetting a few books or find out some more upcoming releases right after my list goes live. Fortunately, I write seasonal anticipated releases, so if there’s a book you thought I’d include here, odds are it’s probably not on my radar just yet. 

Today, I’ll be focusing on my most anticipated young-adult books slated to release in 2021. I’ve searched through round-ups, Goodreads, bookstgram, fellow bloggers’ lists, and bookish Twitter for this list. I’m so excited that some of my all-time YA favorite contemporary authors and some new-to-me favorites from 2020 are coming out with new books this year. However, as we all especially know after 2020 pushed so many release dates back, I do want to include a small disclaimer that some of these books’ release dates may change. 

Most Anticipated YA Releases 

You Have a Match by Emma Lord | Release Date: January 12 

Honestly, I don’t know anyone who DIDN’T fall in love with Emma Lord’s debut, Tweet Cute, last year. You Have a Match just might top my love for Tweet Cute because it screams so many things that I love in my books & in life in general: sisterhood, romance, summer camp, and a slightly Parent Trap inspired synopsis?? Add it on Goodreads

The Project by Courtney Summers | RD: February 2

I said that I would read more of Courtney Summers’ books after really enjoying Sadie two years ago… which hasn’t happened just yet, but at least now I have The Project to look forward to! I love Courtney Summers’ writing style, and I think her writing will bring something super unique to this book about a girl whose determine to figure out the true intentions of a cult that her sister joined years ago. Add it on Goodreads 

Anna K: Away (Anna K #2) by Jenny Lee | Release Date: April 27

Anna K: A Love Story swept me away this summer for its modern-day Anna Karenina re-telling. It was all just so glamorous and mature, not to mention that it’s ending left me craving MORE. I might just have to reread book #1 before picking up Anna K: Away, which takes place during the summer after book #1’s ending. Add it on GoodreadsRead More »