Gift Guide 2021: Books

Let’s talk books to add to your list! Books make a great gift or stocking stuffer for yourself or those you love.


It’s November, which means it’s time for the many texts from my mom about giving her my Christmas gift list. If you’re like me, it’s a struggle to come up with that list of gifts that has both variety and a range of costs.

Now that I’ve gotten out of the continuous cycle of academic reading, I’ve been SO enjoying reading for fun. I’ve shared a bit on my Instagram stories and continually update my ‘books’ highlight, but I wanted to provide some of my favorite reads to add to your Christmas list this year! I tend to read romance, smutty romance, fiction romance, and historic fiction romance. I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic 😉

It Happened One Summer

This is my #1 recommendation. It’s a smutty romance with a great grumpy/sunshine trope and loveable main characters. It’s very unique and charming… you won’t be able to put it down!
A Court of Thorns and Roses Box SetA Court of Thorns and Roses [+ Series]

This series captivated me for DAYS. I’m recommending the box set here because it would have been cheaper for me to purchase the whole set right away. You’ll want to to blow through this fantasy romance series. High fae, world building, battles, female main character, found family…. trust me, give it a chance!
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A NovelSeven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I am a quick reader, so I’ve read many of the books on this list in one day… but this book was a full Saturday read during grad school, so definitely different than a summer day off or lake day read. This is an epic historical fiction romance that will take you on an intense emotional journey… I can’t say enough good things!
People We Meet on VacationPeople We Meet on Vacation

I read this so fast I wished that I had savored it more! Friends-to-lovers relationship told through time in sort of a back and forth style. It’s fascinating and the male MC is dreamy (as are all the men that Emily Henry writes!) I would say this is a romance novel with one slightly-spicy scene.
Beach ReadBeach Read

Don’t let the (terrible) title fool you, this is no average romance to read on a sunny morning. This is a beautiful college rivals to lovers novel about two people who are incredibly deep and thoughtful, falling in love while dealing with their own personal issues and grief. Thought provoking and beautiful. This is a romance book with little spice.
The Roommate (The Shameless Series)The Roommate

This was my spring break read in 2021. It was the perfect spicy novel to read alone in the hot tub…. this sex-positive smutty romance is SO unique and well done. It’s fun, flirty, stereotype-breaking, feminist, fabulous. Quick read that was oh-so-fun!
From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash Series)From Blood and Ash

After reading the ACOTAR series and coming down from the high that is that entire series, From Blood and Ash filled the void! It’s a fantasy romance with spice. While we fall in love with the main character quickly, we have much to learn and unravel about the world they live in as well as the ‘why’ behind it all. I’d recommend ACOTAR first, of course, but if you’ve read it and haven’t gotten into FBAA, add it to your list!
The Love HypothesisLove Hypothesis

This book had a TON of hype on the internet…. while it wasn’t my favorite romance novel of the year, I’d still recommend it! A very quick read with a fun fake dating trope and lovable MCs. It does have one very spicy scene so I suppose it classifies as a smutty romance. It has tons of STEM references, so that’s very fun and unique!
The Age of Light: A NovelAge of Light

Due to my list of romance novels continually growing, historical fiction has gone by the wayside. However, this book was one of the best I’d ever read. I loved the story of Lee Miller so much (she is a real person, although this is a fictional take) that I did a project on her during grad school. This book shows Lee’s journey from cover model to war correspondent, taking place mostly in 1930’s Paris. Very interesting!
The Paris Library: A NovelParis Library

One more historical fiction makes the list. The Paris Library took me a little longer for me to get through than other books, but it was a beautiful story about the librarians at the American Library in Paris during WWII and has a split narrative with her life 50 years later. The ending of the book was beautiful and thoughtful and sweet and the book itself holds many lessons.
The Ex TalkThe Ex Talk

Another enemies-to-lovers novel for you! This is a slightly spicy workplace romance. Honestly, it was like a spicier Hallmark/Lifetime movie. Nothing groundbreaking, but very fun and a quick read. I like a funny, warm, feminist novel as much as the next gal.

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did!

Here’s a bonus– a Christmas book that is on MY Christmas List.

Window Shopping by Tessa Bailey

I love Tessa Bailey’s books and she writes the perfect spicy romance novels of my dreams (see the first recc on this list!) and she wrote this stand alone Christmas novel with a male MC inspired by Ted Lasso for the ultimate grumpy/sunshine trope. I can’t wait to read it as soon as I open it. (Mom, if you’re reading this, this is one I really do want!)