End of the Year Book Review!

Eeeek! You guys! It’s BOOK DAY and I’m SO excited! If you’ve been with my since January you know that it was one of my New Year’s Resolutions to read more. I set a goal for myself to read 12 books this year and as of today… I’ve read 30! I’ve branched out and tried new authors, new genres and even a new way to read. (Spoiler Alert, I bought a Kindle and now I can read any time, any where!) I am so proud of myself for absolutely SHATTERING my New Year’s Resolution, and re-finding my love for reading again.

This book review is going to look a litter different than my past! Not only am I sharing all the books I’ve read the last few months, I’m sharing ALL THE BOOKS I’VE READ THIS YEAR. That’s right. You’re getting them all in one place so that in January, when you’re looking for something new to read, you’ve got them all in one nice little place!

I can’t wait a second longer to share everything I’ve been reading the past couple of months! But first, I know I said this is a quarterly book review, but I can’t count and did not understand the word “quarterly” when I wrote the first book review in April.  So for the sake of the series, I’m still calling it my Quarterly Book Review, but I’m just sharing books every four months with you… not every 3. It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine. hahaha

Okay, now that that is out of the way, let’s jump right in! Here is everything I’ve read since August of 2021! (You can click here to see all the books I read in the first four months of this year, and here to see all the books I’ve read the second four months of the year. OR you can just keep scrolling… because they’ll all be listed below!)

PS… some spoilers ahead!

Once Upon A Royal Summer

I LOVED this book. Once Upon A Royal Summer was a super easy read (I read it in three hours) that was so cheesy I literally could not get enough of it. The characters are so sweet and it combines two of my favorite things… “Disney World” and a royal family. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for something with not a lot of substance, and that will just make you smile. This has “Hallmark Movie” written all over it IMO, so read it now, before it inevitably becomes the newest movie on Hallmark Channel.

The Lucky Escape

Ugh. I wanted to love this book. The Lucky Escape has all the makings to be “my kind of book” but for some reason, I couldn’t find myself dying to know what happens next. This book took me a really long time to get through. I think my mistake was I read The Unhoneymooners right before I read The Lucky Escape and the concepts are kind of similar. And I just loved The Unhoneymooners so much that I might be unfairly comparing the two. In the end, the book was cute. But I didn’t love it.

The Spanish Love Deception

Guys… this might have been my favorite book I read this year. I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. I found it thanks to Tiktok. The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas was sooooo cute. I fell in love with the main characters. Catalina and Aaron, co-workers who pretend to be dating for Catalina’s sister’s wedding in Spain. It’s a classic grumpy/sunshine, enemies to lovers kind of book. And I promise you, you will LOVE it. Just go read it… and thank me later! Also, it’s sneakily spicy. Def rated R. (Also. This one is free on Kindle Unlimited right now!)

It Happened One Summer

Okay. I also loved this book. (Honestly, there was a stretch of time these last couple of months that I couldn’t pick a bad book!) It Happened One Summer is another grumpy/sunshine book (turns out I love this niche) and it was so fun to read. It’s about a Hollywood It Girl who gets cut off from her rich family and moves to Washington to try to fix up her late father’s dive bar with her sister. Where she inevitably falls in love with a local fisherman. Not only was this book SO GOOD, there is going to be a sequel and I literally can’t wait. (I’ve already pre-ordered it!) I’ve also just started Window Shopping by Tess Bailey (this same author) and I can officially say she is one of my new favorites!

The Ex Hex

Ugh. The book that ruined me for the month of October was The Ex Hex. I loved this book SO much that I spent the rest of the month trying to find another book like it because I loved it so much and it was so perfect for the season and nothing compared. (Seriously. I started 4 other books and couldn’t get past the 3rd chapters because it wasn’t what I was wanting.) This book gave me serious Good Witch vibes. It’s about Vivienne Jones who nursed her broken heart like any young witch would… with vodka, weepy music, bubble baths and an accidentally curse on Rhys, her ex boyfriend. Rhys comes back to town, and everything turns into a disaster that they must fix together. It’s SO FREAKIN GOOD. If you did not read this book this year, buy it now… and save it for October 1st. I promise you will not regret it. It will give you the best Halloween vibes ever. It’s so good!

In A Holidaze

 In A Holidaze was the first Christmas book of the season that I read, and I loved it! I know it has a super cliche plot but really… who doesn’t love a good cliche at Christmas time? This unexpectedly spicy Christmas novel was about a girl named Maelyn who is stuck in the same Christmas weekend over and over a la Groundhog Day. The end was super cute and expected but also a little surprising. I loved this one. Two thumbs up! 

The Holiday Swap

The Holiday Swap was my second favorite book I read this holiday season. It’s another Hallmark movie in book form. It’s got a cute charming small town bakery, a big LA star, all the Christmasy touches and twins! I loved this book. I thought it was so cute. And it was an easy read.

Christmas in Dixie: A Sweet Southern Romantic Comedy

Okay. I hate giving bad book reviews.  Because I know someone poured their heart and soul into said book and I never want to take that away from them. However, I did not like this book. It went from bad to worse. I picked it because it was described as Sweet Home Alabama meets National Lampoons Christmas Vacation with a touch of Hart of Dixie. Three shows/movies I LOVE. However, this book felt like a cheap knock off of it.  I was sad… a southern Christmas sounded like the exact kind of story I’d love to read. I did finish it, but even the ending couldn’t save it for me. Now, according to Amazon reviews, I am in the minority of not liking this book. So if it sounds like something you might like, you should try it for free with Kindle Unlimited!

A Holly Jolly Diwali

I LOVED THIS BOOK. It was my favorite I read this holiday season! I chose this book because I wanted to learn more about Diwali (I love seeing Diwali pictures on Instagram… it looks like the most beautiful holiday celebration!) A Holly Jolly Diwali was a love story but also about a girl finding herself and not like compromising who she was for love. It wasn’t a “swoon worthy romance. But it was festive and had twists and turns that kept me wondering what would happen next. And I finished it and immediately wanted a second book because I feel like I need to know what happened to them when *spoiler* they started their new life together in LA. 

A Cross-Country Christmas

A Cross-Country Christmas was cute. It’s about a girl who has to travel across the country with her brother’s best friend who she had a huge crush on growing up. I loved the adventure they went on together and the places they saw on their road trip. I loved that they got together in the end. But I HATED the reason behind why the road trip was happening the way it was. It made me SOB. Like ugly cry in my bed at 12 am as I was finishing the book. I like my Christmas books to be strictly happy… not involve a dying grandparent.

The Christmas Pact

This book was not a memorable book for me. It’s about two people that have the same name (Riley Kennedy and Kennedy Riley) and meet because of it. And then they go home for Christmas with each other as fake dates. It was a fine story. But not one of the ones I truly loved this holiday season.

I’ve still got a few Christmas books I’m trying to finish! Lucky for me, I have next week off. So I’m hoping to get through them! Currently, I’m reading Window Shopping, The 12 Dates of Christmas and I still haven’t read Christmas in Peachtree Bluff!

Andddd because this is my end of the year book review… here are the rest of the books I’ve read this year!

The Entire Bridgerton Series

Sooooo let’s start with the biggest chunk of books I’ve read this year. I fell in love with The Bridgertons while watching Bridgerton on Netflix just like everyone else. I was not satisfied with the ending, I needed more and I needed it immediately. I read the entire Bridgerton series in the first two months of the year. And I loved it. Some books more than others, but overall it was fantastic. It swept me away just like the Netflix series did!

If you aren’t familiar with The Bridgertons book series, each Bridgerton sibiling has their own book and their own love story to tell!

  • The Duke and I (Daphne’s Story) was good, but a lot different than the series. Once I got past the differences, I really liked this book, but it wasn’t my favorite from the series. The book was witty and fun but I felt like the character of Simon was not as good as he was in the show. I mean, I fell in love with Simon thanks to Rege Jean Page’s potrayal of him, and in the book he felt a bit arrogant and honestly, kind of like a jerk. So I was bummed about that. The first half of the book was SO good, but the second half fell really flat for me.
  • The Viscount Who Loved Me (Anthony’s Story) was my favorite of this series… until I read some of the later titles! This book was so good! I was worried about reading this one, because Anthony was not one of my favorite characters in the series. However, you get to know him in this book and he is amazing. I loved his character and equally loved his love interest Kate. Their story is funny and charming and totally swoon-worthy. I can not wait to see this story play out in the next season of Bridgerton.
  • An Offer From A Gentleman (Benedict’s Story) is your classic Cinderella story, and I absolutely adored it!
  • Romancing Mister Bridgerton (Colin’s Story) was my favorite book from this series! Colin is easily my favorite Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington is probably my favorite character in the entire series. I love their story. It’s classic girl loves boy, boy doesn’t know she exists type story. I also love that Penelope shines in this book. This is the book when *SPOILER AHEAD* you find our Penelope is actually Lady Whistledown. Now if you’ve seen the show, you already know this. But I loved finding it out here, along with Colin.
  • To Sir Phillip, With Love (Eloise’s Story) was honestly not my favorite book. I was sad because Eloise is my favorite Bridgerton sister. I love her spunkiness and couldn’t wait to read an entire story from her perspective. I felt like she deserved a much grander love story. In this book she basically is writing letters to her dead cousin’s husband and decides to go meet him and marry him. It’s all very odd to me, and it just didn’t feel like a very Eloise thing of her to do. I was bummed because Sir Phillip didn’t seem like the kind of guy that Elosie Bridgerton should end up with. It felt weird to not be in London, away from everyone else in the series we love. It also includes some darker, heavier undertones that made me sad… and I don’t like to feel sad when I’m trying to escape into a novel. So overall, not my favorite book.
  • When He Was Wicked (Francesca’s Story) was the book that surprised me the most. I didn’t know if I’d like this book because I didn’t really connect with Francesca. I feel like she is the least mentioned of the Bridgerton siblings and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I however, was pleasantly surprised. Like To Sir Phillip, With Love, this book doesn’t take place in the London social scene. However, Micahel, out knight in shining armor makes up for this. I LOVED this character and he carries this book. This book is also rooted in some heavier themes and it didn’t feel quite as charming as the other books. But I’d read it over again because I adored Michael and Francesca’s love story, although it was a very unusual one.
  • It’s In His Kiss is Hyacinth’s story and I liked it but I didn’t love it. (Are you sensing a theme?! It was just impossible to top Romancing Mister Bridgerton IMO!) Hyacinth and Garret are a fun couple to read about. I like their story. I liked their her siblings all made appearances in this book. I liked that there were nods to the past books. It was a very likeable story, but it’s not one that I would feel the need to read again.
  • On The Way To The Wedding (Gregory’s Story) is the last of the Bridgerton siblings stories. Gregory was so romantic and so opposite from his brothers… and I loved him for it. I thought this was a perfect story to end the series with. It had a little bit of the same Bridgerton magic the rest of the stories had, it was sweet and it had a happy ending.
  • The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After was a book that I didn’t need to purchase and didn’t realize it until too late. Basically it’s a second epilogue of each characters story which are published at the end of the books now if you have the newer versions. It includes a sweet little story about Mama Bridgerton too. But not worth spending the extra money on if you already have the second epilogue at the end of each individual book!

Overall, I really liked this entire series! (Especially the first half.) If you couldn’t get enough of Bridgerton like me, and want spoilers for the upcoming season, you will love this series too!

Troubles in Paradise (Paradise #3)

This was the first book I read this year! I have loved all the other books in Elin Hilderbrand’s Paradise series and this one did not disappoint. I’m really sad that this series is over, because I loved the characters and the descriptions of the Virgin Islands had me feeling like I was on a tropical vacation when really I was sitting on my couch in snowy Michigan. I know this series has a lot of mixed reviews, with people missing the Nantucket setting that most of her novels have. But me? I loved it. And I thought this book had the perfect ending!

The Idea of You

I took a break between reading Bridgerton books because everyone I follow on Instagram was talking about the “Harry Styles book”. Okay. This book was SOOOO good. I feel like if you’re in a reading rut, or want to get started reading more but aren’t sure where to start, this is the book for you! It was the kind of book you can’t look away from. It’s about a boy band star, Hayes, who falls in love with one of his fans moms. It has beautiful settings, amazing characters and a devastating ending. (But an ending that needed to happen.) I loved this book. If you ever want to know what it would be like to date Harry Styles you should just read it. You’ll thank me later 🙂 Oh. And this one is def NSWF.

Kisses and Croissants

This book was cute but not what I was expecting. I know you aren’t supposed to judge books by their covers, but that is why I bought this one. The title got me and cover was so cute! I didn’t even read the description or notice that it was a young adult novel 🤦🏽‍♀️ I liked it because it was like reading my favorite Meg Cabot books when I was a freshman in high school. It’s about a 17 (I think) year old ballerina who is in Paris for the summer for an elite summer program with The Paris Opera Ballet. But she ends up falling in love with her instructor’s son. It was so sweet. And I loved that I felt like I was in Paris while reading it. It would be the perfect beach read for younger girls. But, if you’re an adult like me, don’t waste your money. It’s a sweet story, but not the kind of book I like to read now.

And because I got a taste of Paris but wanted to read a book I really enjoy set in the same setting… I re-read an old favorite, The Art of French Kissing by Kristen Harmel! I have read this book probably about 30 times since I bought it YEARS ago. I think I bought it in 2009? It’s so good, so if you’d like a more grown up option to transport you to Paris, I recommend this one  Also Italian for Beginners by Kristen Harmel is amazing too!

Red, White & Royal Blue

This Book! This book was probably my favorite book I read this year. You will fall in love with Alex and Prince Henry. I promise you. It’s about the son of the president being forced into a fake friendship with the Prince of England and they end up falling in love. Their love story is so sweet, and made me smile from ear to ear. I also got choked up at the end. I did not want this book to end and I need a sequel and a movie version ASAP. If you read any book from this list, this is the one. I promise you, you will love it. (Also, I heard this was going to be a movie! I want Tom Holland to be Prince Henry. And I want Dan Levy to be Alex. I just feel like it’s the perfect casting.)

Beach Read

So the first book I read in June was Beach Read! I had heard from SO many people how much they adored Emily Henry and this book and that I needed to read it. And everyone was not wrong. This book was so so so good! It is exactly what it claims to be, a cute summer beach read. It was light, it was funny, a little cheesy… it was everything I love in a book! Plus it takes place in my home state  It’s about two authors who knew each other from college and kind of hate each other and end up living next door to each other and they are both struggling to write their next book. It has a cute, predictable ending and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Definitely pick this one up before the summer is over if you haven’t already read it!

People We Meet On Vacation

I finished Beach Read just in time to pick up a copy of Emily Henry’s newest book, People We Meet On Vacation on it’s release date. And in no surprise to me, I liked this one too! It’s similar to beach read in that it’s light, funny and cheesy, but this one is like taking a vacation with the two main characters. It’s one of those opposites attract/friends to lovers type romance stories and you can’t help but love the two main characters, Alex and Poppy. The only thing that bugged me a bit about this book was the title. They didn’t really meet anyone new on vacation… the story was entirely centered around the two old friends. I really liked this book, but I loved Beach Read more! (You should still read this one too though!)

American Royals

After two summery books I decided to read America Royals. I saw it randomly on Amazon one day and was like huh… what a crazy concept. I should read it. And I’m still not sure how I feel about it? I love the concept of this book. Basically, after the Revolutionary War, the American people offered General George Washington a crown. And instead of becoming the president, he became the King. Two and a half centuries later, we catch up with the royal family. The heir (Beatrice), the spares (Samantha and Jefferson). I loved the glimpses into this alternate universe of America. I loved the “royal” theming. (I’m a sucker for anything royal.) The story was fun. I liked the characters. I liked rooting for the princesses and the prince to find love. It was a sweet story that my YA self would have probably loved and re-read 47 times had I found it in my early teens. I liked it enough to read the second book… but I wouldn’t read it again. (It’s no Princess Diaries or Red White and Royal Blue!)

Majesty (American Royals, #2)

So of course I had to read the second book in the series after I finished the first one. And I did not like it. I was pretty mad honestly. Why? Because EVERY COUPLE YOU ROOTED FOR IN THE FIRST BOOK WAS BROKEN UP IN THE SECOND BOOK AND THEY WERE ALL WITH NEW PEOPLE. Do I see why the author did this? Yes. Did they fall in love with their new person? Of course. Was I happy about it? Absolutely not. It also left off feeling not finished, so I would assume there is going to be a third book, but I’m not sure. If there is, I’ll read it just to see what happens.

The Summer Job

The Summer Job was the BEST surprise of all the books I read this year. I adored this book. This was another one I saw scrolling on Amazon. It caught my interest for two reasons. 1, the main character’s name is Birdie. (So cute, right?) 2, this summer job takes place in the Scottish Highlands. When I think of books that take place in the summer I think of sun soaked beaches in places like Nantucket or The Hamptons. I think of beach dates and drinks and sunsets and bikinis. This book had none of those things. And it was perfect none the less. The story is about Birdie, a 31 year old that seems a bit lost in life. She is kind of impersonating her best friend Heather because she doesn’t have anywhere else to go. Thinking that the job she’s taking as Heather will be an easy one, she’s thrown into the world of a wine sommelier. And she knows nothing about wine! It’s a fun story with a cute ending. Highly recommend this one!

Malibu Rising

I really liked Malibu Rising, but I wasn’t obsessed with it. I think my expectations might have been too high because everyone and their mother was reading this book. It’s a story about adult siblings but also about their parents. It goes back and forth between their stories. It’s unlike any book that I’ve ever read, and I really enjoyed that about it. I really liked all the characters and all of their stories. I liked going back and forth between their parents love stories and their current dramas. It was a very good book. But it wasn’t my favorite book that I read these past few months.

The Unhoneymooners

I ADORED this book. The Unhoneymooners was so cute and everything I love about a light summer read. It took me far away from real life and I loved every second of it. The books starts out with a horrible circumstance at a couples wedding… causing the bride and groom to not be able to go on their honeymoon. Instead, they decide to send their siblings. The problem? They HATE each other. This book was funny, cute, easy to read and not as predictable as I thought! In fact, about half way through it took a turn I didn’t really see coming. However, it had the happy ending I hoped for! This one is definitely a beach bag staple.

You guys. I READ 30 BOOKS THIS YEAR. I’m so proud of myself. And I picked really, really, really great books! (There were only a few duds!) Thank you for reading with me this year. What was your favorite book you read? Are you planning to read more in 2022? My goal is to keep up my pace and read 30 more books next year!

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