Recommending you my favorite romances of 2021! (+ mini-reviews)

I’m certain I’ve recommended these books to everyone and their mother on bookstagram, but other than one or two reviews I’ve barely talked about them here. It was fairly easy to make this list, all of these books and authors popped into my head as soon as I decided to do it. (Arguably, it was also easy to do this since I consume the most romance through the fantasy romance subgenre as opposed to just contemporary romance – otherwise, this list would include at least seven other books).

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Review: The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

book cover of "the Ruin of Kings" by Jenn Lyons

Summary // What if you weren’t the hero? Kihrin grew up on tales of long-lost princes and grand quests – despite being raised in a brothel, making money as a musician and street thief. One day he overreaches by targeting an absent noble’s mansion, hunting for jewels. There he witnesses a prince performing a terrifying dark-magic ritual. Kihrin flees but he’s marked by a demon and his life will never be the same again.

That night also leads to him being claimed as a lost son of that prince’s royal house. But far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family’s power plays and ambitions. He must also discover why his murderous father finds Kihrin more valuable alive than dead. Soon Kihrin attempts to escape his relative’s dangerous schemes but finds himself in far deeper waters.

He becomes tangled in a plot to kill the Emperor, rob the Imperial Vaults, claim a god-slaying sword, and free bound demons to wreak havoc across the land. Kihrin also discovers the old tales lied about many things: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love – and the hero always winning. But maybe Kihrin isn’t fated to save the empire. He’s destined to destroy it. 

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Reading Challenge: 22 Romance Novels to Read in 2022

One of the few reading challenges I set myself for this year was to read even more romance, by exploring certain tropes or discovering new authors. I took the typical “X books to read in 20XX” type of challenge and just modified it slightly to fit my needs and I’m actually really excited about doing this, though I hadn’t had the chance to share it until now.

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Review: It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

Summary // Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington.

Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.

Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart.

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Review: The Spanish Love Deception

Summary // A wedding. A trip to Spain. The most infuriating man. And three days of pretending. Or in other words, a plan that will never work.

Catalina Martín, finally, not single. Her family is happy to announce that she will bring her American boyfriend to her sister’s wedding. Everyone is invited to come and witness the most magical event of the year.

That would certainly be tomorrow’s headline in the local newspaper of the small Spanish town I came from. Or the epitaph on my tombstone, seeing the turn my life had taken in the span of a phone call.

Four weeks wasn’t a lot of time to find someone willing to cross the Atlantic–from NYC and all the way to Spain–for a wedding. Let alone, someone eager to play along with my charade. But that didn’t mean I was desperate enough to bring the 6’4 blue-eyed pain in my ass standing before me.

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Cover Reveal: The Liar’s Crown by Abigail Owen

I’ve partnered with Entangled Teen over on IG to help with the cover reveal of Abigail Owen’s new YA fantasy The Liar’s Crown!

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February TBR: my possible reading list for next month!

Post header that says "February TBR" and shows a few graphics and a picture of a book stack.

I am starting off this month with something that I haven’t done in a long time – a TBR list! Though I’m trying to keep in mind it’s more of a possible-tbr than a definite one to minimize the stress! These are the books that I will be actively trying to read but there are a few others from my anticipated releases list that I might read as well (or instead) depending on my mood, like the two middle-grade fantasy books that were released yesterday, but we shall see how it goes…

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January Wrap Up 2022

It’s already looking like 2022 will be yet another great reading year for me, though I realize now that I still haven’t posted my yearly wrap-up of 2021 where I say it was one of my best reading years of all time, if not the best.

This month I read a total of nine books. I was mostly obsessed with the Wheel of Time series. The way I’m basically binging this series, even though books are 600-1000 pages long!? It’s just too good, I can’t get enough of it. If this continues I’ll probably finish this series by March and continue to neglect the rest of my tbr. All the other books I read were pretty great as well, there was nothing bad.


  • The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
  • The Great Hunt – Robert Jordan ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
  • The Dragon Reborn – Robert Jordan ⭐⭐⭐.5
  • The Shadow Rising – Robert Jordan ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Fires of Heaven – Robert Jordan ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
  • It Happened One Summer – Tessa Bailey ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • ARC: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea – Axie Oh ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
  • Before the Coffee Gets Cold – Toshikazu Kawaguchi ⭐⭐⭐
  • Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow – Jessica Townsend ⭐⭐⭐.5
also on my bookstagram: dragonsandpaperbacks

I also bought 8 used books (from awesomebooks and some still haven’t arrived, so I’ll do a book haul post later) and unhauled 6 books. I didn’t stick to my book buying ban at all, it’s almost funny but considering how cheap they were, I’m not mad about it.

I also received a book from a Portuguese publisher and it’s a sort of unofficial guide to Squid Game! It will be part of my February tbr and I’m very interested in seeing if I missed any hidden details or possible foreshadowing while I was watching.


Review: Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Synopsis: What would you change if you could go back in time?

In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.

In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-traveling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early-onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.

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My Most Anticipated Releases of 2022: January – March

Today I’m bringing you 12 of my anticipated releases for 2022! Last year I tried a more comprehensive format, encompassing six months’ worth of new releases with a focus on the ones I was most likely to read. However, I missed so many gems that I only discovered much later on! This time I decided to limit it to a 3-month period – and not only focus on the ones that are at the top of my tbr like sequels, but also the ones that I’m most curious about and are on my radar, if not in my actual GR tbr. This year is looking really good for new books hitting the shelves!

I’m also trying to use notion more this year to keep track of my new releases, arcs to be read, among other things that I had trouble keeping organized last year so hopefully, this year won’t be such a mess for me…

Note: if one of the short summaries sounds boring, you guys should really check out the official synopsis because it’s hard summarizing a book in two or three sentence! I just wanted to give you a general idea of what the book is about…

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