In the grand tradition of December, let’s do some wrapping up. Wrap some presents. Wrap-up your post-holiday shopping. Write lots of wrap-up lists. Wrap-up small, misbehaving children Krampus style to mail to . . . haha . . . ooops. Don’t do that. Got carried away there.

But seriously, kids. I’m always watching.

Number Of Books I Read: A very respectable 174

I kept my goal of 200, despite knowing that was stupidly unrealistic with me going back to work full time. And indeed, my reading amount went WAY down after the job started. But I had most of the first part of 2021 to read and that got me to 174. 2022 will be the year of reasonable goals.

Number of Re-Reads: LOTS

Re-reading is my comfort zone. When the job started to stress me out and I was hamster-wheel-thinking about it all night, I turned to re-reads. But I didn’t count them. This year I’ve been focused on taking it easy on myself, reading what I feel like, and not worrying about counts.

Genre I Read The Most From: Romance again

Yet again, I let my horror reads go. I have a big stack of them waiting, including the latest Chuck Wendig release (Book of Accidents) and Paul Tremblay (Survivor Song). But for the second year in a row I was not in the mental headspace to read horror, and mostly stuck to my comfort re-reads. Ruby Dixon. I read a LOT of Ruby Dixon.

I expect my horror TBR to join together, grow sentient, and murder me any day now. Stay tuned for that.

My TBR, watching me reach for my Kindle AGAIN

Best Books I Read In 2021:

The satisfying conclusion to Honey Phillip’s Cyborgs on Mars series: The Outlaw Cyborg.

A bunch of Tessa Bailey, which were all stellar, but Worked Up was my favorite.

Grace Goodwin came out with some awesome new books and Cyborg Seduction was my 5 Star selection. I’m a sucker for a good stepparent plot, and apparently cyborgs.

Then I fell down the Jessa Kane rabbit hole and pretty much read every single book on her backlist. The Fighter’s Prize and Hefty are two of my favorites.

Victoria Aveline came out with the third book in her Clecanian series, which was worth the wait: Saving Verakko

Ruby Dixon came out with a kind of spin-off series, Bad Guy and Worse Guy, which my beauty and the beast loving heart ate up with a big spoon.

And Honey Phillips released three more books in her alien abduction series, of which Kate and the Kraken was my favorite.

Favourite new author I discovered in 2021:

Definitely Jessa Kane. She writes this very niche kind of novella which not everyone will be a fan of. Like, it’s an incredibly specific set of tropes she doesn’t stray far from and she writes pretty short, between 30 and 40 pages. But if you’re a fan of books you can pop one after the other with insta-love, obsessive alpha heroes, daddy and breeding kink, and incredibly filthy dirty talk, Jessa Kane is your author. There are sports plots, bad guys, stepsiblings, stalking, childhood friends to lovers, bully romance, billionaire romance, and virgin heroes galore, all packed into little bombs which go off in your face with tons of sparkle and a side of eggplant + water emojis.

Book I can’t believe I waited until 2021 to finally read:

Tessa Bailey’s Made in Jersey series. She’s a fantastic author who writes emotional, steamy, gorgeously tense plots, and the first book in this series came out in 2015. I completely missed it then, but I have repented of my sins and read the whole thing. Very much recommend!

OTP of the year:

Kerrigan and Maksim from A Little Dark Magic, Isabel Wroth.

Kerrigan is a badass necromancer who was forced to kill her own mate by a dark coven. She’s spent almost a decade trying to summon his spirit, desperately trying to reunite, until one day she finds out he might not be dead and someone might have tricked them both . . .

I loved how these two were very much ‘us against the world’. There was no blaming or drama, miscommunication or internal problems trying to keep them apart, it was all external and they both fight against it with everything they have. Once the deception is found out, they go after the source together with zero mercy and much murdery magic. SO satisfying.

Book that stomped all over every emotion ever:

For satisfying tension, a rescue mission, adorable twins, an incredible beta hero who knows when to take charge, and the most adorable happy ending ever, A Home for the Alien Warrior by Honey Phillips and Bex McLynn takes the prize. All the sweet squeezy heart feelings.

Book(s) that I wanted to throw against the wall the hardest:

Taken by the Orc Warrior by Tanya Anders. I am all for orcs, don’t get me wrong. #MonsterRomanceLover over here.

But Sherrine, the heroine, is in a completely awful situation (TW for serious sadism and abuse) and Narag, the orc, saves her from it. Not only saves her but treats her with kindness and gets himself into some serious shit with his own clan in order to defend her. He is BANISHED from his clan for refusing to force Sherrine into anything. Banished. And she repays his kindness and caring by running away (and landing right back in her previous abuse situation, meaning the hero has to save her AGAIN), flat out calling him a filthy monster who she’s ashamed to want, and acting very immature at every turn. Definite misuse of the daisy-petal trope (I love him? I love him not. I might love him. Wait, no I don’t. Yes I do).

I just . . . could not with her attitude. If you don’t want this giant muscly monster who treats you like literal gold, step aside ma’am, and I will take it from here. Byee.