Do I completely suck at following TBRs? Yes! But do I love making them anyways? Also, yes! We officially have 57 days left in 2021 and I think its ample time to strive for greatness for the next 2 months. As you all have noticed (or not have noticed–I don’t know your life), I have taken a keen interest and obsession with audiobooks and reading along with them. It has since become my main way of reading (and I highly recommend this!) and I think this will be the quintessential key to me completely dominating this year’s massive end of year TBR.
However, just like in a good fantasy novel–the one with the great power also has a great flaw. Mine just so happens to be my mood reading. I am notorious for being on track with something and then completely going left field because I saw something shiny and want to explore that avenue more. If you need a visual, think of me as the dog from UP when it comes to reading. Cute, loveable, but oh so easily distracted.
I’m hoping that my new found obsession with audiobooks will keep me on the straight and narrow and finish more books (where is my 3x speed people at?!) before end of year! So grab your popcorn, ready your goodreads TBR (and maybe your wallet–sorry, not sorry), and let’s check out what I’m striving to read before the clock strikes 2022!
Riley Thorn & The Dead Guy Next Door by Lucy Score
Just when things can’t get worse, a so-hot-it-should-be-illegal private investigator shows up on her doorstep looking for a neighbor…who turns up murdered.
Nick Santiago doesn’t play well with others. Unless the “others” are of the female persuasion. Wink. He’s a rebel, a black sheep, a man who prefers a buffet of options to being stuck with the same entrée every night, if you catch his drift.
When the pretty, possibly psychic Riley lands at the top of the list of suspects, Nick volunteers to find out whodunit. Only because he likes solving mysteries not because he wants to flex his heroic muscles for the damsel in distress.
All they have to do is figure out who pulled the trigger, keep the by-the-book detective with a grudge at bay, and deal with a stranger claiming he was sent to help Riley hone her psychic gifts. All before the killer discovers she’s a loose end that requires snipping.
I have been meaning to read this one since its release and even more so when the second book came out earlier this year. But as always, I got twisted with my mood reading, and just never got to it. It has become a staple in my bujo’s monthly TBR almost every month so far and I’m so ready to clean out my ledger.
It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey
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.
Tessa Bailey is back with a Schitt’s Creek-inspired rom-com about a Hollywood “It Girl” who is cut off from her wealthy family and exiled to a small Pacific Northwest beach town… where she butts heads with a surly, sexy local who thinks she doesn’t belong.
I just want to read this one because 1) the hype is obscenely huge and I have a bad case of FOMO and 2) I absolutely adore Tessa Bailey and everything she does. I’ve heard it pitched as a romance inspired by Schitt’s Creek; and if that isn’t enough to sell me (which it totally was) it has been told to me that contrary to the illustrated cover, it is PACKED with spice that will make me clutch my pearls and call my mom to tell her I’m going to church on Sunday.
I would like to see if that is true.
The Bastard’s Betrayal by Katee Robert
Rose Romanov is a mafia princess, and everything that entails. Violently over-protective parents. A giant extended family, all ready to kill anyone who looks at her wrong. Learning to run a business that isn’t exactly on the right side of the law. So, naturally, when she meets a nice guy who isn’t in the life, she falls hard… Right up until the she discovers her new boyfriend isn’t a civilian at all.
But he betrayed her.
When Dante Verducci was sent on an undercover mission to evaluate the Romanov family for weakness, he never expected to have an instant connection with their unlikely heir. There’s something fierce and feral about Rose that calls to him. They’re alike, even if they’re both lying to each other during the months they date. Before he could figure out a new plan, Rose finds out who he really is, dumps him, and immediately enters an engagement with the heir of a rival family. Yeah, no, that’s not going to work for Dante.
Now he’ll do anything to reclaim her. Even go to war.
Author’s Note: For all tropes, tag, and CWs, please check the author’s website.
It’s Katee Robert. I’m trash. This is all the reasoning we need. I just got the audiobook for this, so I’m hoping I can fly through this next generation, mafia romance! According to Katee Robert’s Tiktok this is suppose to be an enemies to lovers, kidnapping as a love language, and revenge filled mafia romance that will have me panting. To which my only response is:
Kingdom of the Cursed by Kerri Maniscalco
She vows to do whatever it takes to avenge her beloved sister, Vittoria… even if that means accepting the hand of the Prince of Pride, the king of demons.
The first rule in the court of the Wicked? Trust no one. With back-stabbing princes, luxurious palaces, mysterious party invitations, and conflicting clues about who really killed her twin, Emilia finds herself more alone than ever before. Can she even trust Wrath, her one-time ally in the mortal world… or is he keeping dangerous secrets about his true nature?
Emilia will be tested in every way as she seeks a series of magical objects that will unlock the clues of her past and the answers she craves…
Two sinful princes.
Infinite deception with a side of revenge… Welcome to Hell.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author of Stalking Jack the Ripper Kerri Maniscalco comes the sizzling, sweepingly romantic sequel to Kingdom of the Wicked!
This is low key a cheat to make me feel like I accomplished something on this TBR if all else fails and I fall victim to my mood reading again. But KOTC is my weekend Buddy read with Jamsu @ Jamsu dreams and by the time this goes live, I should be a little more than half way through the book! The continuation to the Kingdom of the Wicked series, KOTC is suppose to have more adult/new adult elements to it, so if you’re thinking about gifting this series to someone for the holidays, I’d keep in mind that its more in the upper YA/new adult range than purely young adult!
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.
Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.
Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.
As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.
With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.
I’m Maas trash, and I miss her writing. Like the Lucy Score book, this has been a resident to my monthly TBRs in my bullet journal since its release; but I just haven’t taken the leap to it yet. Honestly, I have no clue what’s it about to entice you to put it on your TBR but it’s fantasy romance and SJM’s first adult series. So I’m prepping for some spice.
Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”—the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was . . .
Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion—and that the animal in him is fascinated by her.
Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities—or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation . . .
Okay, real talk! I literally own an ENTIRE shelf of Nalini Singh books and I have not read a single thing from her. I would like to blame FOMO for this, but honestly I have no clue what I could blame for me actively searching and buying entire backlists and series from her when I don’t even know if I like her work. Here’s to hoping I don’t regret my life choices!
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.
Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
I feel like everyone and their mothers has read this series, and I’m the only one sitting in the “not read yet” corner. I’ve heard mixed things about this series, but most of my friends enjoyed it so I’m willing to take the risk!
Make It Sweet by Kristin Callihan
Life for Emma isn’t good. The world knows her as Princess Anya on Dark Castle, but then her character gets the axe—literally. The cherry on top is finding her boyfriend in bed with another woman. She needs a break, and sanctuary comes in the form of Rosemont, a gorgeous estate in California promising rest and relaxation.
Then she meets the owner’s equally gorgeous grandson, ex–hockey player and current recluse Lucian Osmond, and she sees her own pain and yearning reflected in his eyes.
He’s charming when he wants to be but also secretive and gruff, with protective walls as thick as Emma’s own. Despite a growing attraction, they avoid each other.
But then there’s an impromptu nighttime skinny-dip, and Lucian’s luscious homemade tarts and cream cakes start arriving at Emma’s door, tempting her to taste life again…
In trying to stay apart, they only grow closer—and their broken pieces just might fit together and make them whole.
I’ve been making my way through my Callihan backlist, and this is my next read! Callihan has quickly become a favorite author of mine and I’m anticipating her to become an auto-buy one after I finish this one. This is a forced proximity, grumpy/sunshine romance that is promised to make me swoon and have a hardcore book hangover. Its been a long time since a contemporary gave me a book hangover (looking at you All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata) so I’m excited to experience that sensation again soon!
Immortals After Dark Series by Kresley Cole
In New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Kresley Cole’s sizzling series, a fierce werewolf and a bewitching vampire become unlikely soul mates whose passion will test the boundaries of life and death.
After enduring years of torture from the vampire horde, Lachlain MacRieve, leader of the Lykae Clan, is enraged to find the predestined mate he’s waited millennia for is a vampire. Or partly one. Emmaline Troy is a small, ethereal half Valkyrie/half vampire, who somehow begins to soothe the fury burning within him.
Sheltered Emmaline finally sets out to uncover the truth about her deceased parents—until a powerful Lykae claims her as his mate and forces her back to his ancestral Scottish castle. There, her fear of the Lykae—and their notorious dark desires—ebbs as he begins a slow, wicked seduction to sate her own dark cravings.
Yet when an ancient evil from her past resurfaces, will their desire deepen into a love that can bring a proud warrior to his knees and turn a gentle beauty into the fighter she was born to be?
This is another cheat because I’m guaranteed to read this by the end of the year. I mentioned in my October Wrap Up that I was participating in an IAD read-a-long in prep for Munro’s release in late January. Each week we are reading one book in the series, so I’m suppose to get to Dark Skye (Book #14) by the end of the year!
Alexa Riley Backlog
However, when an angel in the form of a woman named Fia appears before him, his world as he knows it is turned upside down.
Fia has been working hard to make money so she can finish her last semester of school. A fire in her building sets her back to square one, but the fireman who saves her turns out to be more than she ever expected.
Once he gets his arms around her, there’s no letting go. Because when you’ve got your forever in your arms, nothing else matters.
Warning: This is hot and fast insta-love that ignites the pages. It’s burning heat that combusts into an inferno of lava. Okay, that’s all the fire words I could come up with. Now insert a pun about a big hose. It’s quick, dirty, and ridiculously over the top.
I found almost the entire backlist for Alexa Riley on Scribd, so I’ve made it my sub-goal to attempt to read through them all! They are super quick and steamy contemporary romance reads and from the ones I have read over the years I really enjoyed them! They are no longer on Amazon due to Bezos being an asshat, but you can find them on Scribd, their website, and almost all other platforms! 10/10 would recommend them!
Rage and Ruin by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Half-angel Trinity and her bonded gargoyle protector, Zayne, have been working with demons to stop the apocalypse while avoiding falling in love. The Harbinger is coming…but who or what is it? All of humankind may fall if Trinity and Zayne can’t win the race against time as dark forces gather.
As tensions rise, they must stay close together and patrol the DC streets at night, seeking signs of the Harbinger, an entity that is killing Wardens and demons with no seeming rhyme or reason. Forbidden to be with each other, Zayne and Trinity fight their feelings and turn to unusual sources for help—the demon Roth and his cohorts. But as deaths pile up and they uncover a sinister plot involving the local high school and endangering someone dear to Zayne, Trin realizes she is being led…herded…played for some unknown end. As anger builds and feelings spiral out of control, it becomes clear that rage may be the ruin of them all.
I don’t know why I have been taking my sweet time getting to this one, but alas I have. Maybe its because I’m finally reaching completion in my journey of reading everything JLA has written, or maybe its simply because I’m a lazy fart who always finds herself in the mood for something else when she gets time to read for fun. Who knows.
This is a YA fantasy romance sequel in the Harbinger series that follows Trinity after the drama in Storm and Fury. A tale of Forbidden romance, gargoyles, and pre-apocalyptic shenanigans that only the Queen herself, Jennifer L. Armentrout, can provide. 10/10 would recommend and suggest you add this series to your binge list. STAT.
Love In The Wild by Emma Castle
Eden Matthews stumbled upon the discovery of a lifetime while photographing wildlife deep in the heart of Africa…
A gorgeous god of a man living in the wilds of the African jungle among a family of gorillas…
When he saves her life she’s compelled to uncover the man’s tragic past and the fate which led him to grow up in the wild.
But Eden soon learns she can take man from the wild, but she can’t take the wild out of the man…
When her savage savior soon shows her just want he wants of her…her sensual surrender, she finds she can’t resist him teaching her how to love…in the wild.
Two reasons and two reasons only: 1. That COVER! (I mean look at that cover! Where is my fan?!) 2. It’s a Tarzan retelling with rumored slow burn traits.
Need I really say more?
The Swedish Prince by Karina Halle
I never believed in fairy-tales.
Never held out for Prince Charming.
Growing up poor in small-town California as the oldest of six siblings, I knew I would never ride off into the sunset with anyone. That was even more apparent when a senseless tragedy took the lives of my parents, forcing me to become the sole guardian of our dysfunctional household at the mere age of twenty-three.
Then a fateful encounter literally brought Prince Charming to my doorstep.
At first I thought Viktor was just your average businessman passing through, albeit obscenely handsome, six-foot-five, blue-eyed, and mysteriously rich.
But soon I discovered the truth behind Viktor’s façade.
Beneath his quiet, enigmatic gaze and cocky charm, is a man who is running away from who he really is. A role he’d rather not fulfill.
He is Viktor of House Nordin, His Royal Highness, The Crown Prince of Sweden.
Yet uncovering Viktor’s secret was only the first step.
I didn’t expect to fall in love with him.
I didn’t expect to have my whole life turned upside down.
When you’re from two different worlds, can your hearts meet somewhere in the middle?
Or do happily-ever-afters only exist in fairy-tales?
I’ve been missing and itching for a good royal romance and based on the voices flowing down the grapevine, Swedish Prince by Karina Halle is a great royal romance. Inspired by the movie Roman Holiday, it’s supposedly a age-gap and wrong side of the tracks type of romance. I am not only super intrigued to get to this (hopefully) but now I really wanna read this while eating Swedish fish.
What books are you hoping to get to before 2022?