2021 Year In Review & 2022 Reading Goals

2021 My Year in Books from GoodReads
Genres read in 2021 from Storygraph

2021 has been another strong reading year! I may not have read as many books as last year, but that’s okay. Life happens. Here were my goals for 2021:

  1. Continue to enjoy what I read and embrace the mood reader in me! 
  2. Be more selective and mindful of the books I receive/request that I will be reviewing.
  3. Buy less books and use the resources I have to attain books, e.x. library, current book subscriptions I’m actively using.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. Reading my favorite genres help me enjoy reading. I found that sticking with my favorite genres (romance and thrillers) actually gave me comfort and helped me get out of reading slumps.
  2. Stepping up my audiobook game! Audiobooks have been a wonderful option during those times where I want to read but I don’t have the time to sit down and read a book, need to multitask or my eyes are tired from staring at screens all day.
  3. Mood reading is ok. I’ve noticed that whenever I’ve forced myself to read a book because of a deadline or whatnot, I don’t appreciate it as much. That isn’t to say that I’m going to throw deadlines out the door but to give myself a better mix of books I need to read and ones I feel like picking up. 

After reflecting my reading habits this past year, I decided to focus on these 3 goals for 2022:

  1. GoodReads Challenge: Put at 1 for fourth year in a row to continue to enjoy what I read.
  2. Read more books from South Asian authors.
  3. Finish the rest of Jane Austen novels this year.

How was your 2021 reading year? What are your 2022 reading goals? 

Favorite Books of 2021

Here are my 12 favorite reads of 2021! These are only in the order of when I read them this past year, but no indication on what my ranking order is as all of these were 5 star reads! The way I considered this what I read this year regardless of when the pub date is – whether it was before 2021 or an anticipated 2022 release.

🎉 Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

🎉 Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

🎉 Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian

🎉 What We Carry by Maya Shanbhag

🎉 Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

🎉 Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

🎉 The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

🎉 Knot My Type by Evie Mitchell

🎉 How Stella Learned To Talk by Christina Hunger

🎉 The Guncle by Steven Rowley

🎉 Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez (releases April 2022)

🎉 The Fastest Way to Falling by Denise Williams

Also here are a few of observations of my favorite reads this year:

✨Many thanks to the tagged publishers for giving me the opportunity to read some of these books which I may not have discovered on my own! 😍

✨ There are NO thrillers! 😱 I’m a bit disappointed there isn’t, but lately I haven’t found any thrillers that I’ve truly loved. Hoping I have better luck with thrillers next year!

✨Half my favorite reads this year are romance. Romance has been such a comfort read lately. I’ve also liked how the writing style in romance has shifted to discuss heavy subjects in a delicate but relatable way as romance gets bad rep for being fluffy and predictable.

Have you read any of these? What is one of your favorite reads this year?

Review: Reckless Girls

Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pub Date: 1/4/2022

GoodReads Synopsis: When Lux McAllister and her boyfriend, Nico, are hired to sail two women to a remote island in the South Pacific, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Stuck in a dead-end job in Hawaii, and longing to travel the world after a family tragedy, Lux is eager to climb on board The Susannah and set out on an adventure. She’s also quick to bond with their passengers, college best friends Brittany and Amma. The two women say they want to travel off the beaten path. But like Lux, they may have other reasons to be seeking an escape.

Shimmering on the horizon after days at sea, Meroe Island is every bit the paradise the foursome expects, despite a mysterious history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, and even rumors of murder. But what they don’t expect is to discover another boat already anchored off Meroe’s sandy beaches. The owners of the Azure Sky, Jake and Eliza, are a true golden couple: gorgeous, laidback, and if their sleek catamaran and well-stocked bar are any indication, rich. Now a party of six, the new friends settle in to experience life on an exotic island, and the serenity of being completely off the grid. Lux hasn’t felt like she truly belonged anywhere in years, yet here on Meroe, with these fellow free spirits, she finally has a sense of peace.

But with the arrival of a skeevy stranger sailing alone in pursuit of a darker kind of good time, the balance of the group is disrupted. Soon, cracks begin to emerge: it seems that Brittany and Amma haven’t been completely honest with Lux about their pasts––and perhaps not even with each other. And though Jake and Eliza seem like the perfect pair, the rocky history of their relationship begins to resurface, and their reasons for sailing to Meroe might not be as innocent as they first appeared.

When it becomes clear that the group is even more cut off from civilization than they initially thought, it starts to feel like the island itself is closing in on them. And when one person goes missing, and another turns up dead, Lux begins to wonder if any of them are going to make it off the island alive.

Review: Reckless Girls is the second book I’ve read from Rachel Hawkins. I loved The Wife Upstairs so I was really looking forward to reading this one. This thriller takes place on a deserted island and explores theme of trust, troubled pasts, and survival. I had mixed feelings about this book. I really loved the trapped on a deserted island vibe, but the ending was so predictable. I was able to guess the twists and predict the ending from the beginning. In my opinion, the pacing was too slow and I felt that things were repeated multiple times. I’m not sure if I had high expectations for this novel since I loved The Wife Upstairs. However, the book did have me turning the pages since I liked the atmosphere. If you like locked room mysteries, you’ll enjoy this one.

2021 Reading Check In: October 

This year has seriously been flying by! With only a couple of months and some days left of 2021, I thought I would do a reading check in to see how my reading this year is going.

Overall, I’m reading way less than I did the previous years which is totally okay with me. One main factor has been raising my pup.

In terms of my goals, I originally had 3 goals. 

1. Continue to enjoy what I read and embrace the mood reader in me!

I think I’ve been pretty good about this one so far! Even though my quantity of books has gone down, I like that I’ve been trying to embrace being a mood reader. Also if I’m not enjoying a book, I DNF or get back to it if I feel like I just can’t read it at the moment.

2. Be more selective and mindful of the books I receive/request that I will be reviewing.

I think I’ve been okay about this, but definitely need to get better about being more selective.

3. Buy less books and use the resources I have to attain books, e.x. library, current book subscriptions I’m actively using.

Oh boy! Over the summer, I did buy a few books beyond my book subscriptions, but overall, I’ve been pretty good at reading books I own and books I receive for subscriptions.

How are your reading goals going? Are you adjusting any of them?

5 Summer Romance Books I Can’t Wait To Read!

It’s officially the first week of summer! Below are some of my most anticipated romance reads that will be releasing in the next month or two that I can’t wait to read.

While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory
Publisher: Berkley
Pub Date: 7/13/21
How Sweet It Is by Dylan Newton
Publisher: Read Forever
Pub Date: 7/13/21
Isn’t It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams
Publisher: Berkley
Pub Date: 7/20/21
The Dating Playbook by Farrah Rochon
Publisher: Read Forever
Pub Date: 8/17/21
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
Publisher: Berkley
Pub Date: 8/31/21

Are these books on your list as well? What upcoming releases are you excited to read this summer?

Review: The Good Sister

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pub Date: 4/13/2021

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press and an advanced listening copy from LibroFM and Macmillan Audio in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: From the outside, everyone might think Fern and Rose are as close as twin sisters can be: Rose is the responsible one and Fern is the quirky one. But the sisters are devoted to one another and Rose has always been Fern’s protector from the time they were small.

Fern needed protecting because their mother was a true sociopath who hid her true nature from the world, and only Rose could see it. Fern always saw the good in everyone. Years ago, Fern did something very, very bad. And Rose has never told a soul. When Fern decides to help her sister achieve her heart’s desire of having a baby, Rose realizes with growing horror that Fern might make choices that can only have a terrible outcome. What Rose doesn’t realize is that Fern is growing more and more aware of the secrets Rose, herself, is keeping. And that their mother might have the last word after all.

Review: The Good Sister is the second book I’ve read from from Sally Hepworth. This book felt more like mystery than a thriller to me. The storyline is intriguing, more character driven and it’s a slow burn. Though I picked up on a couple of clues in the beginning, I found it to be an enjoyable read. All the characters were well thought out. I really enjoyed reading the perspectives of past vs. present perspectives from the twins, Rose and Fern. I kept switching from reading the physical book and the audiobook. I really liked the audiobook narrator as I felt like she made the story come alive. Highly recommend picking this up if you’re looking for a domestic slow burn mystery!

2020 Year In Review & 2021 Reading Goals

2020 has been a wild year! I’m a bit surprised that I didn’t read as many book as I did last year since we had a pandemic and needed to be home, but I did attain my goal in enjoying the books I read rather than the number.

My 2020 reading goal was simply to enjoy what I read. Here is what I learned this year:

1. Reading outside of my comfort zone: I’m proud of myself for stepping it of my comfort zone and exploring genres that I typically wouldn’t read like fantasy, horror, and sci-fi. Fantasy has become one of my go-to comforts besides contemporary, romance, and thrillers.
2. Mental Health: If there was one thing I had to take away from this year, it is definitely the importance of mental health. This also correlates with reading because sometimes I would pick up a book and I may not enjoy it as much because I wasn’t in the right headspace. There were a few times this year where I picked up a book, started reading, and then put it aside because I wasn’t emotionally ready for the book. Then a few days or a few weeks later, I would pick up that same book I put down and would enjoy it so much more.
3. DNF books: This year I noticed I DNF’ed way more books than I have last year or the year before. I’m glad that I’ve been more selective on what I read especially since I’ve been wanting to focus on reading what I enjoy instead of being forced to read something.

After taking a step back, I figured that I’m going to have two goals in 2021:
1. Continue to enjoy what I read and embrace the mood reader in me!
2. Be more selective and mindful of the books I receive/request that I will be reviewing.
3. Buy less books and use the resources I have to attain books, e.x. library, current book subscriptions I’m actively using.

What are your 2021 read goals?

Favorite Books of 2020

As we wrap up 2020, reading has certainly been different this year. There were times where I could binge through book after book. Then there were times I have hit reading slumps. Here are my top 12 favorite books in no particular order – these include books published in 2020 and backlist titles that I read this year. I hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I did or that you consider adding these to your TBR list!

Books Published in 2020
Romance: The Trouble with Hating You by Sajni Patel
Fantasy: Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz
Thriller: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin
Contemporary: The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons
Nonfiction: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
Fantasy: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Swab
Fantasy: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Backlist Books I Read in 2020
Fantasy: The Graveyard House by Neil Gaiman
Classic: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Fantasy: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Young Adult Contemporary: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Young Adult Fantasy: A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir

What was one of your favorite books of 2020?

4 Sequels Better Than The First Book I’ve Read This Year

The second book in a series is usually difficult to write if the first book was so successful. There’s also the added pressure of the second book making or breaking the series. Below are my top 4 sequels I loved better than the first book that I’ve read this year.

A Torch Against The Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
First Book: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters #2) by Talia Hibbert

Genre: Contemporary Romance
First Book: Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
First Book: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams

Genre: Contemporary Romance
First Book: The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams