The first month of the year has gone by and I can’t believe it’s been an entire month of 2021 already. I sometimes feel like time flies and other times I think it’s still march and we are never going to get over this virus. At least we have books.
January was a pretty good reading month for me personally. Since I’m trying Kindle Unlimited, I read a bunch of romances and I had the time of my life. I don’t see the romance mood shifting any time soon and I’m not mad about it. Since I didn’t work during the month, I spend a lot of my time reading which explains the 12 books I’ll be talking about today. 12 is the biggest number of books I ever managed to read in a month, I think the only other time I achieved this same number was a couple of years ago. Regardless of reading one book or a hundred, as long as you read because you like to you’re a reader. And I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up this high number in the months to come so don’t expect this long ass wrap-up from me again 😅😅
Enough rumbling, let’s get into the post:
I started my year with one of my favorite comfort reads: the Winston Brothers series. I’ve reread the first three books so many times, and I was in the mood to revisit these characters and their love story and so I did exactly that. I have a review for the first three books on the series, click here to check it out if you’d like to.
This is the last story from a contemporary romance series that I picked up during December following an interracial couple. It completely destroyed me. I had no idea I would end up bawling my eyes out in this story, it was incredibly emotional. I loved the progression of their relationship, how much they mature and grow as a couple and how well they communicate and trust each other. It’s one of the best romance stories I’ve ever read in my life and Kennedy Ryan has solidified as a new favorite author. You can expect a review for the entire series very soon.
I read this romance at the beginning of the month because I wanted to hold on to the Christmas season a little bit longer and this was available on Kindle Unlimited. I didn’t know before reading it that it’s actually part of the Hoops series, which I haven’t read yet. But that didn’t affect my reading experience at all, I didn’t feel lost or like I was missing anything so I would recommend this if you want a holiday romance but you’re not interested in the series (although since I loved this so much, I definitely will read the series).
It’s not very Christmassy, it takes place during the holiday but it doesn’t really focus on it, which was fine by me honestly. I loved the love story these two characters undergo. It was such an incredibly tender and emotional romance that I did not see coming. It deals with harder subjects (trigger warnings for: suicide and depression), but it did so with a lot of care and respect, and I really appreciated it. Probably my favorite seasonal romance I’ve ever read.
Ate by Rilzy Adamas ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is actually a novelette, not even a novella since it’s only 45 pages long. It’s basically a smutty encounter between a badass business woman and the chef she hires to cook a celebratory dinner. I can’t say any more about the plot, but I will say that I loved it, I found it super fun and steamy and I had the time of my life. It was my first time reading from this author, but it won’t be the last.
This is the fourth book in the Wayward Children fantasy series, which is a series of little novellas and each follows a child that belongs in a magical world. Sometimes the novellas focus on when the child comes back to Earth and so it deals with them coming to terms with the fact that they are no longer home, and other times like this one, we explore the world they belong to and it is absolutely incredible.
I can safely say that this is my personal favorite of the entire series that I’ve read so far. I adored the world out MC Lundy finds herself in. I adored Lundy so so so soooo much, the magic system and the whimsical feel to it all. I adored the friendships explored, the complex family dynamics and the horrible but fascinating magic system.
This is the first book in a YA fantasy duology about a girl who pretends to be a boy in order to enter the competition to become the Imperial Taylor. It is heavily influenced by Chinese mythology and has beautiful imagery. That’s what I personally loved more about the story: the myths, the magic and the adventure.
I thought the overall story was fun, fast-paced and entertaining, but it also felt very low stakes. I never feared for the safety of the characters, I didn’t grew attached to the characters and the romance developed too quickly for me to get fully onboard.
Overall, I would definitely recommend, but I haven’t made up my mind yet on whether I’ll continue with the next book or not.
Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is an incredible contemporary story written in verse about a black boy who is wrongly convicted and incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. It explores the struggles our MC undergoes while in prison and how through his art and poems he was able to survive the incredibly difficult situation he finds himself in.
The author note at the end of the story made me tear up. Simply one of the most important and impactful stories I’ve ever read.
Hyde and Seek (Hyde #1) by Layla Frost ⭐⭐
This is another KU romance that follows a 20 year old girl who goes to this mechanic business where they tune cars because she needs to do some adjustments to her vehicle for work purposes. While there she talks to one of the men working and has an instant attraction to him, although he is older than her (35 I believe) and she is 20. Sparks fly and the story unfolds from there. I didn’t love this. I think the premise of this is really neat, I like the age gap, I like the broody, tattooed man and the Rockstar, baker lady dynamic they have going on, and I also liked the idea of all of the gang working at the shop being really tight. But, in my opinion, the execution of this was disappointing. I didn’t like the male love interest at all, which really brought the story down for me. Overall, it was an entertaining read but I won’t be picking up the sequel.
Full review here!
The Revenge Pact (Kings of football #1) by Ilsa Madden-Mills ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is the first book in the new-adult, romance series Kings of Football. They are all companion novels, they all take place at the same time, they all follow a different character and they are all written by a different author, so you can read them in any order you want.
I really enjoyed this particular installment. We have a sports, enemies-to-lovers romance between football athlete River that has been pinning over our heroine since he first met her. However, one of his friends from his fraternity started daiting her before he could act up, so he has being avoiding any sort of interaction with her since he does not want to get in between them. Meanwhile, we have the heroine who, seeing how River flies the room whenever she enters, has come to the conclusion that River does not like her. This also has another trope that I personally love: when one characters tutors the other. In this case River is dyslexic, and also has dyscalculia and ADHD. Also, this does touch on some heavy topics such as cancer, homlessness, sexual assault and abuse, so keep that in mind if you want to read it.
The Romantic Pact (Kings of football #2) by Meghan Quinn ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The “second” book in the series is my favorite by far. So much so that I have added a ton of books by this same author to my TBR. In here we have a road trip, the forced-proximity trope, the one bed trope and also childhood friends-to-lovers. Honestly, what else could you ask for? The hero of this story, Crew, was so incredibly sweet. He was constantly showing affection and being very verbal about his feelings. There is no miscommunication at all between him and Hazel (the heroine). I loved the progression of their romance, I loved the setting (Germany during Christmas time) and I also really appreciated how the author handled some darker topics (content warnings: grief, loss of a loved one). I’m so impressed by this author and this story, and it has now become a new favorite.
The Relationship Pact (Kings of football #3) by Adriana Locke ⭐⭐
The last story from this series is unfortunately a huge let down for me. At first I was really enjoying the setup of the story: the hero Hollis is spending the holidays alone in a new town when Larissa (heroine) stumbles upon him in a bar and asks him to be his fake boyfriend before even knowing his name, because her ex is approaching and she doesn’t want him to think she’s alone for the party. They really hit it off in that first interaction and I really enjoyed their dynamic. However, as the story went on it felt really rushed. The themes the story tackled were so brushed over that didn’t have any depth, and therefore it felt underdeveloped. Once again, I liked the idea better than the execution. Even the romance felt rush which is such a shame because it started off really strong but it quickly turned very insta-lovy and superficial.
The Change Up by Meghan Quinn ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Finally, the last book I read in January is another book by Meghan Quinn. I told you I loved her writing and I now want to read her entire backlist. I started with this one because Bri from In Love & Words mentioned it her wrap-up as a new favorite from the author. I would recommend picking up The Trade first because even though they aren’t technically categorized as a series, I believe they follow different guys from the same Baseball team, and there were two side characters that already had a relationship and there were hints about their love story that I would have liked to read first. Nonetheless, I adored this book. Just like the other one by this author, this one is also a sports romance featuring childhood friends-to-lovers, forced proximity and the one bed trope but, the characters and the story is so different that I hadn’t even picked up on this fact until writing it down. The heroine Kinsley is vegan and really passionate about living an eco-friendly and sustainable life, which came at the perfect time because this is a goal I’m working towards. I loved, loved, loved their love story, the mutual pinning was great, the sex scenes were incredibly hot and once again they communicate! I’m just so happy to have found another favorite romance author.
Fadwa made an extensive lists of her Most Anticipated 2021 Releases and I added so many to my tbr thanks to her post.
Noura wrote an incredible review from a book I’m eagerly anticipating: The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga and I cannot recommend enough that you check it out.
Rebecca has one of my favorite blogs ever, and I usually feature her blog on my wrap-ups but I can’t help it. This time I wanted to highlith her review of Make a Scene by Mimi Grace.
Alice wrote a post about 3 Easy Legal Ways to Read Books For Free, and as an international reader, SHE CHANGED MY LIFE. The first option she feautes on her post had me completely shook. I don’t know how I’ve managed to live without knowing about that. I cannot recommend her blog more, please check it out.
Anniek made an incredible Guide to Verse Novels, and if you didn’t know I love reading novels written in verse so I finished their post with many recommendations.
Ash wrote an amazing post Recommending Books Based on Songs, which I thought was a wonderful idea and I loved all of her recommendations!
How was your reading month? Did you read any faves? Let me know!
Until next time,