I *think* this is the very last “Best of 2021” list left that I just received, and it’s from my fellow Canadian, who’s one of our frequent contributors when it comes to recommendations. And let me say I am so thrilled to get her list! Ana too!
Ana: I can’t wait, when can we see Mony top books of 2021
I’ve included some of her fun past comments for some of her favorites below, as she was reading or recommending them 🙂
BUT FIRST!! A little look into her “slice of life” comments in 2021:
1. We finished the second episode of The Beatles- Get Back. An exceptional TV documentary. Tonight’s the last episode – among other things, we’ll see up close their final concert on the Apple bldg. 🎶🎸
2. I’ve decided that the three things I hate buying the most are… (in this order)
a. bra, b. bathing suit, and c. eyeglasses (cause I get older cause I have to look at my aging face in the mirror)…still I got an a new pair today. LOL 🤓
3. Just organized my grocery order to make my beef & pork tourtières and and mom’s Christmas cookie recipes. 🥧🍷
LOL Sometimes I make a soup just so I can use my immersion blender. I think it’s the thing I like the most in my kitchen.
I’ve been MIA for a while…we had that flu that never seemed to end. Then off to help daughter in another city. Toddler sick, high temp, tested for covid. She was already sick with her pregnancy & then got nasty flu & also lots of work deadlines. S-i-l, same flu, just started job. Yikes. took care of the little one 8-10 hrs/day + suppers. (I am no longer 30 – so not a great match) However, he was wonderful & kept holding my hand.☺️
1. Watching The Chair on Netflix these days. Quick, witty, great acting. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11834150/
The whole family is watching Squid Games – one of fussy watchers in the fam says a top ten show. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10919420/
2. My daughter called me today about a couple things on cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. My 18 month old grandson had a meltdown – another call to talk to grand-maman. Yay!
3. Taking evening walks these days…warm breezy weather & very quiet.
No judgement – I was asked to moderate an October group read for Goodreads called Monster Love for Hallowe’en. Campy, crazy & lots of fun. This book was voted in. Other crazy nominees were: Ensnared (The Spider’s Mate #1), The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break, Contagion (OCD Alien), Morning Glory Milking Farm, King Cobra, Claimed by the Goblin King, Warm Bodies (Teen Zombie), Dances With Raptors (Dinoverse #1), I Married A Lizardman.
Craziest book thing I’ve ever done…but worth all the laughter. 🤦♀️
FAVOURITE READS IN 2021
Another interesting reading year. Reading more Indies, and stories that take the reader to other places in the world…AUS, NZ, Africa, China, Japan, EUR. Still looking out for books that are unusual, off the beaten quirky. Not always easy to find.
This year, I joined a discussion group to explore dark reads/erotica. Well, that certainly streeeetched my range of romance books from what I’d read in the past. 🙄 Some of the BOTMS are below… 🙂
INDIES & SLEEPERS 😎
The Love Act by Zara Bell (British) – Loved J.C.this one! Fabulous enemies-to-lovers story about a grumpy, rude arrogant British star & smart sassy production assistant. Special. 5★
J.C. and the Bijoux Jolis by Katy Regnery – A favourite! Strong, nuanced, intelligent writing. Banter. Dynamite characters. Sexy suave French player and a smart, feisty NY gallery owner. Killer banter & wit. Refreshing. 5★
Mony: J.C. and the Bijoux Jolis – Katy Regnery’s strongest book so far. Strong, nuanced, warm, intelligent writing with great banter. Dynamite characters. Sexy suave French player Jean Christian. Smart, feisty NY gallery owner Libitz. A 5++★ hidden gem.
“You must be the famous Libitz,” he’d opened, flashing his sexiest grin. After all, if she was his chosen conquest for the weekend, there was no time like the present to work his wiles.
L: “…It’s not cold enough.”
L:“It’s not cold enough in hell for me to fall for someone like you”.
Jan: I agree about JC and the Bijoux Jolies – for me it’s her best book too. JC and Libitz are great together. Enemies-to-lovers trope, and the player reforms trope. It also has a lovely little mystery about an old painting. I’ve reread this one several times and always enjoy it.
A Ruthless Proposition by Natasha Anders (S. African) – Hot Boss Dante is a top notch asshat, attracted to assistant Cleo who struggles dealing with his rudeness, selfishness…and sexiness. At times, he was hard to take. But be patient. Because in the second half, we hit pay dirt. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say it was quite special. 5★
Mony: Ruthless Proposition by Natasha Anders*- Striking. From friend’s review…”the author should be dubbed the queen of 180’s or queen of grovel”.
First half: about Dante, a gorgeous “complete and utter waste of fictional human garbage” boss, and Cleo “a disgustingly accommodating” admin assistant. Second half is the pay dirt (so different from first half)
…don’t want to give anything away, but it made me cry. Loved it
Handle With Care by A.N. Verebes (Australian)- Gemma treats herself to a pop-culture convention on Australia’s Gold Coast, hoping to see her celebrity crush, Everett. They do meet up – trapped in hotel elevator. Turns out he’s not only hot, charming but also witty, real. Lots of sunny Gold Coast involved…mowhaha. Sweet & sexy. BBF 4.5★
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning (British) – A special slow burn romance between a hot manwhore & a shy nerdish woman. Neve runs into Max at a pub & hints about her struggles with her body & sexuality. While Max is the king of the one-night stands, he is listening… Loved losing myself in this long-ish book. BBF. 5★
❤️🔥 DARK/EROTIC READS
Stroke of Midnight (Cinderella, #1) by K. Webster– (Author of My Torin). A trilogy. Definitely keeps your attention. It’s dark, quirky, erotic, crazy. Great banter. Loved Ash & Winston! There are no words to really describe this one. BOTM 4-5★
Mony: OMG, I’m still recovering from this one. Stroke of Midnight (Cinderella, #1) by K. Webster (author of My Torin). I just finished the trilogy. Definitely keeps your attention. Dark, quirky, erotic, banter. crazy. Loved Ash & Winston. There are no words to really describe this one.
Second Best by Noelle Adams – Sean and Ash need a sexual interlude, away from their romance realities. They decide to meet every second week for sex with no strings. Yeah, right! We get sizzling chemistry, steamy scenes. Not just a hookup…there’s so much more. Natural, intelligent. 5★
Mony: A hidden gem …Story about two strangers who meet for sex with no strings attached. Handsome and wealthy Sean & beautiful Ash. Sean, the star of this book, is sexy, experienced, attentive. There is respect, talking, listening, which builds up to not only sizzling chemistry, great sex, but also deeper and meaningful intimacy.
This book was refreshing, natural, intelligent, no over the top dramas. Not just about a hookup but has depth. A sexy and wonderful romance.
Act Your Age by Eve Dangerfield (Australian) – Well done, cleverly written, quirky, emotional, hot hot hot erotica. BOTM 4★
Torment Me (Rough Love) by Annabel Joseph – Intense story about beautiful classy escort and hot wealthy man, and their meetings in rich NY hotels. Erotica, banter, hot, with some “what the hell?” thrown in. BOTM Considerations of dubious consent, elicits discussion. 5★
Dirty, quick & quirky (novellas)
🥂 CONTEMPORARY READS
The Love Interest by Kayley Loring – Emmett is a bestselling author of thrillers, and Fiona is writing her first romance novel. They meet walking NYC streets one rainy evening, meet up at unexpected place and then…bam. A fantastic book. Chemistry, amazing banter, smart dialogue, great story, spectacular writing! BBF. 5★
Mony: The Love Interest by Kayley Loring. I finally finished it and it was AWESOME – stayed with me for quite a while, actually still with me.
The H is witty, hot, loving, dirty talker/thinker, the h a lovable cool California gal. Some bits for HR lovers too. A re-read in the future, for sure.
Broken French by Natasha Boyd – Slow burn between a hot French billionaire and a sassy American nanny as they sail the Mediterranean Sea on his yacht. (Not just a great romance but we read about cool stops along coast.) Sexual tension is hot hot hot. 4.5★
Mony: Broken French by Natasha Boyd- I also loved this one. Lovely sensual slow burn romance between widowed, young French billionaire, Xavier, and young American Josie, whom he hires as a teacher/nanny. The story takes place on his yacht sailing the Mediterranean…Xavier is sexy, gorgeous, and closed off…lots of sexual tension. 🙂
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood – Adam, hot shot, tyrannical professor, agrees to help Olivia, a shy but sassy grad student, by becoming her fake boyfriend. A slow burn romance begins. Delightful to watch both characters change over time. Great writing & story, chemistry, emotions, killer banter. BBF 5★
Mony: Sampler was fabulous. Can’t wait to read.
Characters are perfect & writing is subtle, well-timed, sexy. Plus it’s about a woman working on STEM issues. 🙂 I wanted the hard copy cause it’s a keeper but they’re sold out on Amazon.ca. Kindle will have to do.
The Worst Guy (Vital Signs, #2) by Kate Canterbary (Australian)- Enemies-to-lovers. Intense, sexy, dirty talking ER doctor. 4.5★
Mony: Publication has been anticipated for months. I loved book #1 in that series, Before Girl.
Mony: Just finished The Worst Guy by Kate Canterbary. It was fabulous!
🥀 SENSUOUS HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Mony: To Have and To Hold by Patricia Gaffney – 5⭐
The story starts off slowly – you’ll need patience with the first 4-5 chapters. It’s a lovely complex slow burn romance between Lord D’Aubrey, an unrepentant and sensual rake, who rescues and hires Rachel, a recently released convict. She becomes his housekeeper at Lynton Great Hall where he becomes obsessed in controlling and seducing this beautiful “bruised” reticent woman.
The story is not only about how he changes Rachel over time – but about his own transformation and his intentions toward her.
Mony: Black Silk by Judith Ivory 5★
It’s hard to describe this one. Complex & well-developed characters, unusual relationships, seduction & sensuality, some elegant story meanderings. And I just loved it…
Lord Ruin by Carolyn Jewel (bit controversial)
Mony: Lord Ruin by Carolyn Jewel. A fabulous, very steamy read with a badly behaving (really), intense, handsome lord. (There is some some controversy with this book) 5★
…is there time for history when there’s a bed in our room: Lord Ruin by Carolyn Jewel
🎩 FAVOURITE HR
Mony: Just finished What I Did for a Duke (Pennyroyal Green #5) by Julie Anne Long – loved it! Clever & witty, sexy read. Hit the spot. 5★
The Duke of Falconbridge, observing a painting: …
“Mars is entirely clothed and down on his knees in front of her (Venus), and it looks as though Mars is about to give her a pleasuring.”
Genevieve: And what on earth constituted a good “pleasuring”?
🗝️🔮 FAVOURITE PNR
The Headmaster by Tiffany Reisz (novella) – A hidden gem. Blown away by this story. Reads quickly – a short powerful novella. Plus well written. (fantasy – not erotica) 4.5★
Land of the Beautiful Dead by R. Lee Smith – Not just a book, an experience. For the brave. Zombie romance. 🙂 5★
Mony: I was surprised I liked The Land of the Beautiful Dead…That one was about zombies. 🤦♀️ But her books are so intense that it may take me a while before I can get back at it.
…So eerie. Never thought I’d read a book like this!
King Among the Dead (Hell Theory, #1) by Lauren Gilley – Loved this book. Supernatural / horror / suspense / romance / dark. Unique. Beck is an anti-hero, both kind and evil, while Rose begins as a shy heroine but then things start to happen. (…there will be blood…chuckles) 5★
Mony: Just finished first 2 books of Lauren Gilley’s Hell Theory series books, King Among the Dead & Night in a Waste Land. Unique for sure. Am loving them! Supernatural/horror/erotica. Beck is an anti-hero, both kind and evil, while Rose begins as a shy h but then things start to happen. mowhaha. Powerful books.
…LOVED this book…haven’t read such a great PNR in a while…5★
😊🔪 ANYBODY SEEN MY SANITY?
Mindf*ck Series by S.T. Abby – Hard to categorize this one. Murder/ mystery / suspense / romance / craziness. Protagonist Lana is amazing. 5★
FLT (First Line Thursday)
“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.
My mother was a Confucius woman when she needed some motivational words.”
Sidetracked (Mindf*ck series) by S.T. Abby (a C.M. Owens pen name)
Loving & binging on this series.
Like Mony’s book style? Check out more of her favorites:
➔➔➔ Looking for more of our favorite recommendations? Browse our “Ultimate Favorites Lists” here. Are you in the mood for a certain kind of story? Browse our favorite “genre/trope categories” here and our reader favorites lists too.