In 2021, I’ve been trying to post every day. I’ve missed a few days, but been pretty successful given how busy I’ve been. Here are the ten most popular posts I’ve written so far this year based on number of pageviews. I hope you enjoy them!
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. Book Subscription Boxes for The Entire Family
There are loads of bookish subscription boxes across various genres and for all ages. Check out these book clubs for every reader, or scroll through this post with some highlights of awesome bookish subscription boxes.
9. You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes Review
Have you read the You series by Caroline Kepnes or watched the Netflix adaptation? I really enjoy both so I jumped at the chance to read an eARC of Book #3 in the series, You Love Me. This one follows Joe as he makes a new life for himself on a small island in Washington. Of course, he meets a new object of his obsession, and while this one may have not rated perfectly for me, I think it was my favorite in the series so far. I just can’t help but root for the hypocritical serial killer that is Joe Goldberg.
8. To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn Review
Eloise is feisty and fun, but she’s ready to settle. She planned to be a spinsters with her BFF, but that friend, Penelope, just married Eloise’s brother. Eloise loves to write letters and has been keeping up a correspondence with Sir Phillip, the widower of her distant cousin. When Sir Phillip proposes marriage, Eloise decides on a whim to travel to his house in the country to get to know him. Phillip had proposed this idea, but Eloise shows up unannounced, meaning he hasn’t procured a chaperone. Once her brothers find out, they’re forced to marry, even though they already had decided they suited well enough and had plans to anyway.
Phillip kept one small secret from Eloise, though, and entirely just from lack of thinking to mention it. He’s a father. He has two eight-year-olds, and they’re little terrors to Eloise at first, but quickly warm up to her. Phillip wanted to marry to find a mother for his children, but it helps that his chemistry with Eloise is one fire. The two quickly fall in love, and so the book is really about Phillip’s struggle to be a good father to his children. He loves them dearly, but had a poor relationship with his physically abusive father, and doesn’t trust himself (being a big, strong man and all that) around little ones who are so unruly. Despite Eloise not signing up to become a mother immediately, she falls in love with Phillip – and his two kids – and shows him that he already is an excellent father. He just needs to show that side of himself to his children more.
7. I Read Bridgerton So You Don’t Have To
I’m a huge romance fan, especially of historicals, so when I heard about Bridgerton, the Netflix show, I absolutely had to read the books first. If you want to know what might happen in future seasons and what’s different about the show than the books, then you’ve come to the right place. I read the Bridgertons series so you don’t have to – but if you love historical romance, you should!
6. When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn Review
This book deals with a lot of interesting and difficult medical topics. The most obvious is Francesca’s infertility. She lost a baby after John passed, and it took her a few years to conceive with him. She is very worried that she’ll never have a child. In the second epilogue, we do see that she is blessed with children eventually. It’s nice that she got her happily ever after, but I know that doesn’t happen for all couples and it would have been nice to represent that in this series. Throughout all of my second epilogue reading, all of the Bridgerton siblings reproduce. I know family planning was much more difficult in the 1800s, but realistically I don’t think eight siblings and eight spouses would all want at least two children.
The other medical issues touched on include malaria and an aneurysm. Both were exceptionally well-researched, and the author covers that in her note at the end.
I also want to note that this was by far the most sex-positive of the books. Francesca is a young widow who very much loved her first husband. She likes sex and knows what she wants. Our hero isn’t the only one in control.
5. My NetGalley Shelf
This week I’m giving you a tour of my NetGalley shelf. This is a prompt I gleaned from “60 Blog Post Ideas for Book Bloggers” by Jo Linsdell. NetGalley is a website that allows bloggers, teachers, librarians, and more to access ARCs of books, and it’s one of my favorite resources for finding new reads!
I wanted to share every single book on my NetGalley shelf with you, but truth be told – there are too dang many of them! Not only do I request books for personal reading and blog tours, but I also request books for my job as a children’s librarian. I decided to share the Top 10 I am excited to read with links to request them on NetGalley (if still available) and buy/preorder them on Amazon, as well as summaries.
4. My FAVORITE Underrated Historical Romance Series
As a bonus, what I really like is that there are books in this series about young people, middle-aged people, and even older people falling in love! One of the steamier scenes in the series takes place between the eldest couple. Willig also writes about her “comic relief” characters, and when I tell my friends who are just starting the series that some of the sexiest scenes are from funny and/or elderly characters, they’re always shocked! Willig does such a great job bringing all sorts of relationships to life.
3. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn Review
What I really liked about this book is that Colin and Penelope don’t have to work hard for their Happily Ever After. They have been friends for years, and Penelope always has loved Colin. Finally, Colin has grown up enough to see her the same way, and it isn’t long before they get married. The rest of the book deals with them helping one another through two struggles. Penelope faces the potential unearthing of a major secret of hers that could lead to scandal. Colin deals with his insecurities in that he wants to leave a legacy, and feels unsure about doing so through his major skill, writing. Colin is a little unreasonable dealing with Penelope’s struggle at times, but it all ties back to his own jealousy/insecurity. Because I’m used to reading romances about two people pining for one another and taking ages to be happily in a relationship, it was refreshing to read a book where two people got together, then worked hard to help one another succeed in life.
2. An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn Review
While I liked Benedict’s book so much, my hopes for the show are different. I really, really want a queer love story for show Benedict. If this boy doesn’t kiss another man in Season 2, I’ll riot. Personally, I find television Benedict much more interesting than I did in the books, and I wish we had seen more of his relationship with Eloise, for example, in Quinn’s version. Read my full thoughts on the differences between the books and the Netflix show here.
1. 18 Romance Tropes I Never Want to Read Again
So many of the tropes I mentioned above touch on this: “it’s okay when a woman does it,” kidnappers and victims falling in love, being treated like property, and potentially some of the other tropes as well! Abuse is never okay and an abusive character should always be portrayed as a bad guy, or potentially a reformed side character who doesn’t get a happy ending.
Thank you for reading my book reviews and other posts, bookish or not – and for supporting my blog!