It’s a brand new year! I’ve been blogging actively this year after taking a hiatus in 2019, and as of June 29 I was posting every weekday. In 2021, I decided to post every day of the week! Six months ago, I rounded up my most popular posts of the year so far, so now it’s time to check out the most popular posts for the second half of 2020.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. When you click on and/or purchase from some links, I make a portion of the sale. This helps keep Bitch Bookshelf running.
10. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas Review
The representation of Latinx, trans, and gay characters as well as youth experiencing homelessness in this YA novel is so important. I also loved that we never see anyone bully Yadriel or any of the other characters, though it’s evident that they have experienced poor treatment in the past. I think the representation of Yadriel’s dad and some other family members not fully understanding or embracing Yadriel and his gender/sexuality is realistic. These characters are not outright cruel to Yadriel, but have hurt him nonetheless.
Finally, I loved the author’s stylistic choice in the Spanish text. Usually in a book written in English with Spanish-speaking characters, we see Spanish in italics to differentiate. A translation is often provided, too. The characters in this book are bilingual and switch in and out of Spanish (though a majority of the dialogue is in English). Even as someone whose Spanish is limited, it made for seamless reading. I don’t think this should deter folks who don’t speak Spanish, as contextually they should be able to figure out what characters are talking about. My favorite quote from this book was:
Hay niñas con pene, niños con vulva y transfóbicos sin dientes. / There are girls with a penis, boys with a vulva, and transphobes without teeth.
9. Flirtation and Folly by Elizabeth Rasche Review
Marianne is such a great character because she can see the truth about everyone, but she wants to believe the best about them anyway. She is able to befriend even her worst enemy. I also loved that while she can decode others’ motivations and personalities remarkably well, she struggles throughout this novel to discover herself and finally falls for someone who is not only able to see her for who she is, but calls her out for it just like she calls him out.
This was a really fun read that reminded me of a classic romance. Lovers of the genre who prefer proper romances to steamy ones (or, like me, enjoy proper romance too) will adore this one. As the romance is more of a subplot to story of Marianne really discovering herself, I think even non-romance readers will like Flirtation and Folly.
8. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover Review
Every now and then you read a book that sweeps you under like a wave in the ocean. For me, a book like that needs romance, strong characters, tough topics (handled well), and a great plot. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover was just that. This book made me laugh and cry. It made me want to throw my Kindle across the room at times, but only because I loved the narrator so much and wanted the best for her. And after it stomped on my heart, it put it all back together again. This was my first CoHo read, and she may have made a devout fan out of me already.
7. Top Ten Tuesday: Books for My Younger Self
This week’s topic is books for my younger self. This could mean “books you wish you had read as a child, books younger you could have really learned something from, books that meshed with your hobbies/interests, books that could have helped you go through events/changes in your life” or something else that fits the prompt. I decided to focus on children’s books I’ve read in the past two years that, had they been around in my childhood, I think I could have benefited from reading or would have enjoyed.
6. The Bachelor Duke by Cecilia Rene Review
What I really liked about The Bachelor Duke was that it was mostly a happy story. In the very last fifty pages, there’s a climactic, dramatic arc, but most of the story is about the blissful romance between Remington and Livie. Remington has his guard up about marriage due to a troubled past, but he quickly moves past his hesitations when he falls in love with Livie. There are many romantic and a few steamy scenes between the two, and I liked that for the most part, their story was a positive one. So often in romance novels, there’s a lot of angst. I liked that this one was mostly low on the inner turmoil and heavy on the love story!
I also liked how body positive Livie is. She does have her doubts at times, because society talks behind her back about her size. But Livie doesn’t let the negativity affect her for more than a few fleeting thoughts, and she ignores advice to diet. In their sensual scenes, it is clear that both Remington and Olivia love her body.
5. How I Rate Books
The simplest and perhaps most important part of book reviewing is rating. Every book reviewer rates differently for their own unique reasons. For example, some book reviewers only will give five stars to a favorite book. That’s not the case for me, though. My system for rating books is unique to my experience as a reader and my ethical duty as a librarian.
4. August 2020 Stitch Fix Order Review
I have been using Stitch Fix for a few years now and love it. Stitch Fix is a clothing site where personal stylists pick out items just for you. You set what price range you are interested in, like and dislike clothing choices, and send them links to your social media for inspiration. Then, you pay a styling fee and are sent five pieces of clothing and accessories. The styling fee is applied to whichever pieces you choose to keep.
What I like about Stitch Fix is that my stylist get to know me better and better. My first box was just okay – I kept three of the five items. But after that, every box was perfect! I loved almost everything, and the pieces I liked I ended up keeping because a discount is applied if you buy all five items, making that last item practically free most of the time. You can even check their app or website for more items that go with clothes you already bought from them, or that they think you will like, and have them sent to you individually. Stitch Fix offers sizes up to 24/3X, and their plus size selection is also phenomenal.
3. Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2020
This week’s theme is my favorite books of 2020. I decided to go with my favorite reads this year overall, not just books that were published in 2020. I did not count rereads, and also included one picture book, because I read so many excellent ones this year and this one made the Top 10 for me. I attempted to rank from 10 to 1, though it was a tough call.
2. A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore Review
This was just such a gorgeous read. In addition to the awesome romance and explosive erotica, there’s this fabulously feminist main plot, beautiful portrayals of friendships between women, and cameos from historical figures. I also must note that our hero is queer, which I don’t see a lot of in man/woman romances. I really loved the representation. Tristan is totally my latest book boyfriend.
1. 18 Romance Tropes I Never Want to Read Again
This week I’m talking about romance novel pet peeves. This is a prompt I gleaned from 365 Days Of Writing Prompts For Romance Writers by Kim Knight. Read my review here and check it out on Amazon – it’s free with Kindle Unlimited. Here are tropes I never want to read in romance again!
Thank you for reading my book reviews and other posts, bookish or not – and for supporting my blog!