What to Read & What to Skip: My December 2021 Romance Book Reading List

At She Reads Romance Books, I’m all about helping my fellow romance book readers find the best books worth reading.

Check out which romance books I read in December 2021 to see which books I recommend you read and which books I suggest you skip.

*Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Check out which romance books you should read and which you should skip based on romance book blogger, She Reads Romance Books' December 2021 reading list.

December was a CRAZY month for me, but then again with the holidays, when isn’t it for anyone?

Despite that I actually read quite a few books!

My December Romance Books

This month I couldn’t resist reading a number of Christmas romance books, including two from my most favorite authors. Plus, since holiday romance was the December 2021 Romance Book Reading Challenge, it was a win-win.

I also did something that I actually haven’t done in a long time and that was binge a romance book series!

I was so grateful to get paperback copies of Elle Kennedy’s Off-Campus series with their new covers featuring the lovely ladies of the books. Since I had only read book one of the series, I decided to dive right in and read the rest. So fun!

This month also rounded out with quite a few, marriage of convenience romances which I’m a big fan of reading as well as some reverse harem romances.

Did I Reach My 2021 Reading Goal?

Year-end always gives me time to reflect back on the entire 12 months of reading. I typically set a reading goal in Goodreads as just that – a goal – but not one that I force myself to meticulously stick to.

That being said, I set a goal of reading 150 books in 2021, and I came in at….148! Just two books shy but alas I’ll take it.

Start Your Year Off Right with the Romance Book Reading Journal

January also gives you a chance to really get organized and plan out an entire year of reading. To help you, why not grab your own copy of the Romance Book Reading Journal?

Grab your copy of the Romance Book Reading Journal - the only journal made exclusively for the romance book reader.

It’s perfect for us romance book lovers because it’s designed for us and all that we love about the genre. Plus, it comes as a printable pdf so you can print as many copies of your favorite pages that you need.

I personally love the monthly reading tracker which helps me to create these book lists!

With over 75 pages, you can also track your favorite book boyfriends, your favorite quotes, your favorite series and plan your next month’s titles to read.

Don’t forget to grab my Reading Log and Favorite Book Boyfriends tracker– two of my favorite pages, for free!

Romance Books to Read & Skip: My December Reads

Exposed is a new romance book release for July 2021. Check out all of the new romance book releases to read this month in this book list.

by Kristen Callihan

Rock Star, Friends to Lovers Romance
Published July 2021
5 stars

Rye, the bassist for Kill John, the biggest rock band in the world, and Brenna, his publicist are like oil and water. But everything changes when he overhears something he shouldn’t: a confession made in a moment of weakness.

Now the man Brenna’s tried so hard to ignore is offering her the greatest temptation of all—him.

To say that I loved this book is an understatement. It has been quite long time since I read the VIP series, but I fell right back in with the band though this was truly and utterly Ryland and Brenna’s story.

I just loved their back and forth that set their chemistry on fire. The fact that they’ve known each other for 10+ years made their connection so believable and real. Callihan’s writing is superb which is another reason this made my list of best romance novels of all time!

Amazon | Goodreads

Related: Best Rock Star Romance Books

Electric Idol is a new romance book release coming January 2022.

Electric Idol
by Katee Robert

Marriage of Convenience Romance, Greek Myth Retelling
Coming January 18, 2022
5 stars
*ARC received

Psyche knew she’d have to face Aphrodite’s ire eventually, but she never expected her literal heart to be at stake…or for Aphrodite’s gorgeous son to be the one ordered to strike the blow.

Eros has no problem getting his hands dirty. But when it comes time to take out his latest target, he can’t do it. Confused by his reaction to Psyche, he does the only thing he can think of to keep her safe: he marries her. As they try to find a way out of their mess, lines blur and loyalties shift and two hearts are at risk.

I loved this book so much and can’t recommend it enough. Talk about scorching chemistry between Eros and Psyche! I loved Neon Gods but this one was just WOW.

It definitely deserved to be on my Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2022 list! Read my full review to learn more about this amazing read.

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

Related: Best Fake Relationship Romance Books, Best Marriage of Convenience Romance Books

Shared by Her Bodyguards is a reverse harem romance book worth reading, according to romance book blogger, She Reads Romance Books.

Shared by Her Bodyguards
by Cassie Cole

Reverse Harem Romance
Published March 2019
3.5 stars

When a young senator is threatened, she needs to be protected. Why settle for one bodyguard when you could have three? A Capital Policeman, a Secret Service agent and a man with whom she already has a secret history – what more could a presidential hopeful want?

I prefer reverse harem books with an actual, good story and this one fit the bill. Plus, I liked the political angle to the storyline. You go girl running for president and getting it on with three hot men.

Amazon | Goodreads

8 Seconds to Fly is a reverse harem romance book worth reading according to romance book blogger, She Reads Romance Books.

8 Seconds to Fly
by Grace McGinty

Reverse Harem Romance
Published August 2020
3.5 stars

Tessa May Everett had grown up loving four things in life; bull riding, her father and her best frenemies, Branch and Beau. But in less than eight seconds, she’d lost all four things.

Four years later, Tessa May is back and ready to reclaim her dreams. She was going to be the first woman to compete on the professional bull riding circuit, and nothing was going to stop her. Not the Boys Club that already held her to a different standard, and certainly not the reappearance of her former crushes and now rivals.

Tessa May is going to ride rank bulls in front of cheering crowds. And if she happened to ride a few cowboys on the way? Even better.

This is one of the better reverse harem books I’ve read. I loved the strong heroine and her drive to ride bulls despite it being a male dominated field. She sure had some amazing men in her corner too- lucky duck. Plus, this cover is delicious!

Amazon | Goodreads

Related: Hottest Romance Novel Covers

Homecoming King is a new romance book release coming December 2021.

Homecoming King
by Penny Reid

Holiday Romance, Marriage of Convenience
Published December 2021
1 star
*ARC received

Rex “TW” McMurtry is sick of being the guy before the husband, and he’s most definitely sick of being the best man at all their weddings. He may be a pro-football defensive end for the Chicago Squalls, but the press only wants to talk about how he’s always a groomsman and never a groom.

Bartender Abigail McNerny is the gal-pal, the wing-woman, the woman who tried dating once and found it more than enough. Embracing contentment over commitment, Abby is convinced no one on earth could ever entice her into a romantic relationship . . . except that one guy she’s loved since preschool.

Well, this book was the disappointment despite being one of my most anticipated December 2021 romance books as it just did not click for me. I love Reid’s writing but I didn’t care for the characters and I just kept scratching my head with the story and really pushed myself to continue.

Perhaps if we got Rex’s point of view and less of Abigail’s inner monologue, things might have been a bit more clear, but I’m not sure. If it was written by anyone else, honestly, this would have ended in my DNF pile. I suggest you skip this one.

Amazon | Goodreads

Related: New Christmas Romance Books of 2021, Best Marriage of Convenience Romance Books

Western Waves is anew romance book release from Brittainy Cherry coming December 2021.

Western Waves
by Brittainy C. Cherry

Marriage of Convenience Romance
Published December 2021

Damian Blackstone didn’t care about my existence. He came into my world for one reason only. He came to find answers about his past.

Which was why I couldn’t understand my step-father setting it up in his will for Damian and me to be married. If we didn’t wed, all of my family’s inheritance would be donated to charity.

I wasn’t certain I’d be able to live with a man like Damian, but make no mistake, he wasn’t the monster in this story. Damian danced with the darkness, but I submersed myself within it.

I ended stopping this one halfway through. Damian is compelling but I’m just not feeling Stella and I’m over the negativity from her boyfriend and the step monsters. I don’t know if my expectations are just too high but I was getting bored and there are just too many books to read to continue with something that I wasn’t enjoying. 

Amazon | Goodreads

Related: Best Marriage of Convenience Romance Books

Saint is a new romance book release for September 2021.

by Sierra Simone

MM, Forbidden, Second Chance Romance
Published September 2021
4 stars

I can’t have Elijah Iverson. I may have broken my older brother’s best friend’s heart five years ago but now he’s engaged to someone else.

Me, I chose God and I’m determined to do this monk thing right but I’m no saint. And having Elijah join me on my European monastery road trip is making it extra hard to keep my vows.

I really sunk into this book as Simone wrote a very compelling character in Aiden. It’s honestly more than just a MM romance and even more than a second chance romance. To me it explores true love.

I think I’m mostly in awe of Simone’s writing but I’m not sure the story would appeal to everyone. She must have done a ton of research on monasteries and monk life plus I get the sense she wrote from experience regarding depression. If you’re a fan of this series, I highly recommend it.

Amazon | Goodreads

Related: Must Read MM Romance Books, Best Second Chance Romance Books

The Grump Who Stole Christmas is a new Christmas romance novella published in 2021 from S. Doyle.

The Grump Who Stole Christmas
by S. Doyle

Christmas Romance Novella
Published November 2021
3.5 stars

Kristen Kringle is driven to become a CEO one day, so she really doesn’t have time to return home for the holidays. Only her dad broke his leg hanging the family wreath, and she just found out the family business, the Kringle Inn, is failing!

The last thing she needs is a mysterious new guy, who runs the Kringle tree farm, interfering. He’s big, bearded and grumpy. They can’t agree on anything other than saving the business, and possibly kissing under the mistletoe.

I loved Doyle’s novella from last year, Santa Baby Maybe, so I had to check out this year’s release. This was a cute novella that I recommend as the grumpy lumberjack turned quite hot! A fun, quick read to get in the holiday spirit.

Amazon | Goodreads

Related: Best Christmas Romance Novellas

The Plight Before Christmas is a new romance book release from Kate Stewart releasing in December 2021.

The Plight Before Christmas
by Kate Stewart

Second Chance, Christmas Romance
Published December 2021
5 stars
*ARC received

Whitney Collins has had it rough the last month but she’s on her way to her grandparent’s cabin to spend the Christmas holiday with her family. She did not plan on also spending it with her ex whom her brother happens to bring along.

Now she’s stuck with Eli for the week, the man who broke her heart nearly two decades ago. Between memories that resurface and the way he’s looking at her, Whitney’s not sure her heart is going to survive the holiday.

I just LOVE Kate Stewart’s writing and she delivers the best Christmas romance book that I couldn’t put down. It was the perfect pick for the December Romance Book Reading Challenge.

This book made me laugh so hard but it also pulled on my heart strings as only Stewart can. Whitney and Eli had the best second chance romance arc and the Collins family is AMAZING. I want to spend my next holiday with them. A great holiday romance I will reread every year!

Amazon Goodreads My Review

RelatedNew Christmas Romance Books of 2021Best Christmas Romance Books

Joey is a reverse harem romance book by JA Huss.

by J.A. Huss

Reverse Harem Romance
Published July 2019
1 star

Six years before my phone rang and changed my life forever, I made a mistake. I met a girl, we had some fun, and then we had a baby. And then her mother disappeared and took my baby with her.

And now she’s done it again. Because that call that changed my life was from my five-year-old daughter asking me if I knew where her Mommy was.

I don’t live a traditional lifestyle and I’m not in a traditional relationship. But I can pretend if I have to. And that was the plan when my two “best friends” and I decided to hire “professional liar” Brooke Alder to be my fake fiancée.

This started off well with a fun fake relationship which turns into a FMMM relationship but then it got really repetitive and then went off the rails with the story around 80%. Wald and Huck seem interesting, Joey is kind of a dud and Brooke is just grating so I’d skip this one.

Amazon | Goodreads

Related: Best Fake Relationship Romance Books

Written in My Own Heart's Blood book cover.

Written In My Own Hearts Blood
by Diana Gabaldon

Historical Romance Novel
Published June 2014
5 stars

It is June 1778, and the world seems to be turning upside-down. The British Army is withdrawing from Philadelphia, with George Washington in pursuit, and for the first time, it looks as if the rebels might actually win. But for Claire Fraser and her family, there are even more tumultuous revolutions that have to be accommodated.

In the 20th century Claire’s descendants face even more desperate turns of events. Her daughter Brianna is trying to protect her son from a vicious man, while her husband Roger has disappeared into the past.

I decided to reread this so that I would remember where things were left with the Frasers before I tackled Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, but this time I decided to listen to the audiobook, which is a rarity for me.

This book is one of my most favorite in the series. SO much happens to EVERY character that this book is truly epic though that’s not surprising given the book’s length.

I had forgotten how much I enjoy Gabaldon’s writing style. Her attention to such detail without her story being needlessly wordy is amazing.

As far as the audiobook, I love the narrator’s voice, but listening to such a long book took forever. 🙂 I highly recommend either reading or listening to this one! 

Amazon | Goodreads

Related: Best Historical Romance Novels, Best Historical Romance Series

The Mistake by Elle Kennedy is a college romance book worth reading.

The Mistake
by Elle Kennedy

College Sports Romance
Published May 2015
4 stars

College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. While life is a parade of parties and hook-ups, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he’ll be forced to walk after graduation.

A hot encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he’s worth a second chance.

I received paperback copies from Bloom Books of this series with its new covers and decided to dive into the books I had yet to read. I flew through this book and loved it.

Logan and Grace were hot and heavy from the start. Just a fun, well written book. The storyline progresses as you expect without any surprises but I enjoyed it!

Amazon | Goodreads

Related: Best Romance Series to Binge Read, Best Hockey Romance Books

The Score is a college romance book from Elle Kennedy.

The Score
by Elle Kennedy

College Sports Romance
Published January 2016
4 stars

Allie Hayes is nursing a broken heart thanks to the end of her longtime relationship. A wild rebound is definitely not the solution to her problems, but gorgeous hockey star Dean Di Laurentis is impossible to resist.

Dean always gets what he wants, and he’s yet to meet a woman who’s immune to his charms. Until Allie. For one night, the feisty blonde rocked his entire world—and now she wants to be friends? Nope. Dean is in full-on pursuit, but when life-rocking changes strike, he starts to wonder if maybe it’s time to stop focusing on scoring…and shoot for love.

This book may be my favorite of the series. I LOVED Dean and I’m so glad Kennedy made him more than just your typical playboy. Allie was awesome too and I’m glad she acknowledged that she’s a relationship kind of girl.

These two were SO hot, so compatible and so fun. Such a great read to a fantastic series!

Amazon | Goodreads

Related: Best Sports Romance Books, Best Hockey Romance Books

The Goal is a college romance book from Elle Kennedy.

The Goal
by Elle Kennedy

College Romance
Published September 2016
3.75 stars

College senior Sabrina James has her whole future planned out: graduate from college, attend Harvard Law, and land a high-paying job at a top notch firm. Her path to escaping her shameful past certainly doesn’t include a gorgeous hockey player who believes in love at first sight.

One night of sizzling heat and surprising tenderness is all she’s willing to give John Tucker, but sometimes, one night is all it takes for your entire life to change.

I didn’t rank it as high as the other books because of personal preference. I’m not a fan of heroines like Sabrina although she is one driven woman who you have to admire for all she deals with. I thought Tucker was a great match for her who showed such patience and insight to his woman.

I’m also not really a fan of the surprise pregnancy trope, however I thought Kennedy did such a good job portraying the realities of it. I do think the story overall could have been a bit shorter and tightened up in spots though I do recommend it if you love this series. 

Amazon | Goodreads

Related: Best College Romance Books

The Legacy is a romance book from Elle Kennedy.

The Legacy
by Elle Kennedy

Novella Collection
Published September 2021
3 stars

Four stories. Four couples. Three years of real life after graduation…

A wedding. A proposal. An elopement. And a surprise pregnancy. This book is a compilation of four novellas featuring the Off-Campus characters as they navigate the changes that come with growing up and discovering that big decisions can have big consequences…and big rewards.

I’ll never turn away getting “more” about my favorite book characters. I love that Kennedy graced her fans with these continued stories of her Off-Campus hockey hunks.

My favorite couples of the series were Dean/Allie and Garrett/Hannah though I found their stories in this one a bit disappointing to be honest. Tucker and Sabrina’s story however had me chuckling and the Alexander storyline was pretty funny too.

I definitely recommend reading it if you loved this series just to get more of these great characters.

Amazon | Goodreads

Read These Books with Kindle Unlimited!

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Looking for More Romance Book Recommendations?

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Here’s to finding your next book boyfriend!

What book did you love (or dislike) this month? Share in the comments below.

Leslie Murphy is the owner and writer of She Reads Romance Books.

Why Trust She Reads Romance Books?

Leslie is the founder, writer, and producer of She Reads Romance Books (and the She Reads Romance Books Podcast), an online book community focused on romance books and the readers who love them because life is better with a love story.

Leslie reads 150 romance books a year and has been called a "book expert" by CNN. Reading romance is her passion and she cultivates her book lists with the best books worth reading in the genre. Leslie graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College where she honed her writing skills and also holds two Master's degrees. Join her community in the She Reads Romance Books Reader Lounge.

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She Reads Romance Books helps romance book lovers find their next book boyfriend because life is better with a love story.