I love starting the new year off on the blog with a final recap on my previous year reading with the End of Year Book Survey, created by Jamie of The Perpetual Page-Turner. This survey takes an in-depth look at some of my favorite (and not-so favorite) books of the year, books I’m excited about in 2022, and blogging life in general.
2021 Reading Stats
Number of Books You Read: 162 Books ; 3 Novellas
Number of Re-Reads: 4
Genre You Read the Most From: Contemporary/Contemporary Romance
Best Book You Read in 2021: Tie between People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry and The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? Mom Jeans & Other Mistakes by Alexa Martin
Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Good Way:Rush by Lisa Patton – was way more addicted to this book than expected
Bad Way: Controversial opinion time! – From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)? Can I count the fact that I made my friends watch Bridgerton (The Duke & I by Julia Quinn) on Netflix??
Best series you started in 2020? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender of 2020?
Best series started: Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano
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.
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!
As we’re now fully in the last two months of 2021 (!!), it’s time to slowly but surely begin wrap-up season. December is always filled with posts about my favorite books of the year and my anticipated books for the new year, but I’ve kicked off the reflective season with the End of Year Book Tag for the past few years. This book tag is always a great way for me to think back on what I read this year (and yes, start forming my favorites posts) and do a little goal-setting for the rest of the year.
Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?
Since I’m publishing this post on a Monday morning, I thought it’d be fun to share the books I’m currently in the middle of and that I will finish by the end of this week (which means this year, haha) – I’m currently reading My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan – this contemporary romance had been on my TBR radar for a while since it’s written by audiobook narrator star Julia Whelan and it was recently mentioned twice in two of my favorite bookish podcasts, Bad On Paper and Friends to Lovers. I also have Dolly Alderton’s memoir, Everything I Know About Love, on my nightstand because I immediately needed more of her writing after finishing Ghosts two weeks ago. I’m sure this question will be a bit more pressuring during the week in between Christmas and New Years, as I hope to do a lot of reading since I’m off from work then. As always, I *try* to finish any book I’m currently reading by New Years’ Eve so I can start the new year with a fresh read, but sometimes that plan doesn’t work out depending on my NYE plans and my desire to always being currently reading something!
Summary (from the publisher): As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.
That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding…six-pack abs.
Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Ali Hazelwood’s The Love Hypothesis has been EVERYWHERE (& as you’ll find out in this review, VERY deservedly so) in the second half of 2021. I’ve had a very busy start to the fall with back-to-school season, so I admittedly have been sleeping on some new anticipated releases and have been just putting them on hold from my county library. And with publishing and printing delays, new books have been taking even longer to come in. The Love Hypothesis had been especially hard to find with the supply chain shortage & Ali Hazelwood even shared on Instagram that the book was way more popular than her publisher could have imagined, which meant they need to print more copies ASAP. That all being said, between having a quiet weekend and my local Barnes & Noble finally getting The Love Hypothesis back in stock, I decided to get my hands-on the most popular & BEST contemporary romance this fall.
I knew I was likely going to enjoy The Love Hypothesis just for its fake dating meets academia synopsis, which I had shared in my Fall 2021 Anticipated Releases post, but I recently discovered before reading that the book is loosely based on Kylo Ren & Rey from Star Wars…which made even more sense considering the male lead, Dr. Adam Carlsen, looks a lot like Adam Driver on the cover & in the book… and is also named Adam. Anyways, The Love Hypothesis follows biology Ph.D. candidate, Olive, who in hopes of convincing her best friend that she’s really over her ex so said best friend will just go for it & date him, kisses the closest guy in sight…whom happens to be young hotshot professor who’s known for d making grad students cry, Dr. Adam Carlsen. Olive is not only shocked by Carlsen going with the kiss, but even more so when the two decide to fake date to help Olive out & convince Stanford that Carlsen has no plans of leaving the university so he can keep his research funding.
My 23rd birthday is tomorrow & I plan on of course celebrating on the beach with a good book. It feels crazy to think that I’ve been book blogging since I was 18 aka meaning I’m coming up on my five year blog anniversary in early 2022 (!!). I also just readmy 22nd birthday postfrom last year and it is crazy to think how much has changed – since then, I’ve graduated from grad school, had more ‘normal-life-like’ hangouts with friends & family, started & finished my first teaching job at the high school level, and will begin teaching middle school English Language Arts full time in the fall!
To bring some birthday celebration to the blog this week, I’m going to be sharing 23 of my favorite books of 2021 so far. At the time of publishing this post, I’ve read 104 books, which is the most amount of books I’ve ever read at this point in the year. In favorites posts, I usually sharing some thoughts on the books I’ve chosen, but I’m just going to share the books by cover, since I’ve already talked about my spring favorites& my summer favorite reads will be coming in September. I’ve semi-categorized the grid by YA, contemporary romance, and contemporary reads.. and the 2 mysteries, 1 nonfiction, & 1 fantasy I have here.
What have been some of your favorite books of 2021 so far? Have you read any of my favorites? Share in the comments!
I love the Anticipated Releases Book Tag because it lets me spotlight some of the books I’m the most excited for during the fall & let’s be honest, helps me somewhat selfishly get more organized for my most anticipated Fall 2021 books posts that I usually share in the second half of August.
If you love going back in time & revisiting some highly anticipated books in the past, I’ve also done the Anticipated Releases Book Tag in 2020 & 2019. The Anticipated Releases Book Tag was created by Ellyn of Allonsythornraxx.
Most Anticipated Release
I am beyond excited for Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn. Erin Hahn, one of my favorite YA authors & author of You’d Be Mine & More Than Maybe, has been sharing so much about the book on Instagram each week. The book is quite personal and deals with questioning religion and faith. The book’s main protagonist, Meg, was raised by conservative parents & after finding out a shocking family secret, takes a gap year to meet the family she’s never known existed and meet the son of a pastor, Micah. Never Saw You Coming comes out on September 7th.
Most Underhyped Release
I’m really looking forward to It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi. This YA romance follows Muslim American teens Kiran & Deen, who once dated in secret and then broke up when Deen ghosted Kiran & are now forced to help plan their older siblings’ wedding. It All Comes Back to You comes on September 14th, 2021.
A Book You’ve Been Waiting On Forever
I wasn’t necessarily waiting on it forever because it was recently announced, but I have been wishing for quite a while for an Off Campus sequel. That being said, I’m really looking forward to Elle Kennedy’s novella collection, The Legacy, which will contain novella/where are they now? stories for each couple in the Off Campus series. The Legacy comes out on September 21st.