Have you read any of the fun and fast-paced books on my list of the best books of 2021 so far?!
With 50 books under my belt this year, it was tough to narrow down my favorites! While the majority of these books are romance/chick lit, I was also blown away by a few historical fiction novels and even one thriller!
All of these best books of 2021 were released this year, but don’t miss the very end where I add a few of my five star backlist books that I finally got around to reading in the past few months.
Best Books of 2021 So Far
People We Meet On Vacation
by Emily Henry
People We Meet On Vacation is an incredible love story about two friends learning to find what matters most in their lives. Best friends Poppy and Alex were polar opposites when they first met in college. However, a forced road trip to their shared hometown led them into a decades long friendship. Every year since college, they took one summer trip together. Until it all came crashing down two years ago.
The story of Alex and Poppy’s friendship is told both through their current summer trip and all their previous vacations. I adored the tension of current day and discovering their history at the same time. Although these friends had little in common, they truly brought out the best in each other and as a reader I could easily feel their connection.
The friends to lovers trope is easily one of my favorites and this whole relationship did not disappoint. They truly learned from each other and grew together as they realized what they wanted. I appreciated how real the ending felt, rather than a rushed, lucky happenstance or sudden burst of intense communication that fixes everything!
The Ex Talk
by Rachel Lynn Solomon
This book showed up all over bookstagram in the beginning of 2021, so I had high expectations going in. Well, it easily lived up to them!! Get a peek behind the scenes in public radio in this spicy romantic comedy.
Shay cannot stand newcomer Dominic, but she’s willing to put up with him to make her radio dreams come true. The only catch, this new show she pitched will require her and Dominic to pretend they’re exes. As their show takes off, Shay also realizes her fake relationship with Dominic may turn into something real.
This contemporary romance novel is FULL of terrific banter and spicy moments. I adored the connection between Dominic and Shay. A delight to read!
Mother May I
by Joshilyn Jackson
A stolen baby, life altering choices, brutal secrets from the past. All of these suddenly invade Bree’s little world on an unassuming day when she discovers her infant son is gone from her side. A note in his place leads her down a path where she’d do anything to save her son’s life.
Joshilyn does an incredible job writing a captivating story without making the reader feel the need to read through it at a breakneck speed. She builds tension so well while still maintaining a steady pace that ensures you read every single word.
Much of the novel takes place from Bree’s point of view, so we become intimately familiar with her thoughts and how every step affects her. As a mom, I could deeply understand the emotions and fierceness that took over in her impossible situation.
I loved every bit of this story and know it will be one that sticks with me for a long time.
The Soulmate Equation
by Christina Lauren
This author/best friends duo is back on their game with The Soulmate Equation! I simply adored this nerdy take on matchmaking and couldn’t get enough of the love story between the two characters.
DNADuo is a groundbreaking service that matches individuals based on their DNA. At the helm is brooding, devastatingly handsome River Pena who’s commitment to this project spans decades. On a whim, single mom Jess submits her data as part of their pre-launch testing. Neither of them expects an off-the-charts result to pop up…
Our Darkest Night
by Jennifer Robson
In a sea of World War II fiction, it’s sometimes hard to find a novel that stands out. Our Darkest Night easily jumps toward the top of any list.
What starts as a meandering story about a Jewish city girl who has to find her way posing as an Italian farmer’s wife turns into a harrowing tale of the horrors of war.
I couldn’t put this down. The story of Nina and her newly acquired family is incredibly moving.
by Angie Hockman
This contemporary romance came out in January 2021, but it’s the perfect summer read! It’s a super cute rom com that also deals with the important issue of conservation. Two rivals at work are forced to take a cruise together to experience their company’s offerings and come up with a brilliant new marketing plan. They both end up discovering more meaning than they planned about each other and the destination they’re visiting.
I loved the cruise setting and learning about the Galapagos Islands! There is so much meat to this story, both in the growth of the characters and the conservation efforts happening in the world.
ALLL THE STARS!!! A bookstagram friend sent me her advanced copy and I’ve since been telling everyone to go read it. It’s easily my favorite of Abby’s books and is absolutely going to be one of the best books of the year.
Vanessa has a successful business showcasing her travels on Instagram. She makes sure she enjoys every moment of her life, even when her sister abandons her daughter, leaving Vanessa to pick up the pieces once again. When her ridiculously hot next door neighbor steps in to help, she can’t help imagining a future life with a husband and kids, something that is never a guarantee.
This is emotional and bold and full of learning to live life to the fullest. Incredible.
It Happened One Summer
By Tessa Bailey
Schitt’s Creek fans – this book is for you! Tessa Bailey’s latest steamy novel is loosely based on the popular TV series. A Hollywood darling is cut off from her family’s wealth and essentially banished to a small beach town. She’s forced to run her late father’s dive bar in the hopes she’ll learn some responsibility, but immediately gets into a spat with a local sea captain.
This opposites attract romance promises all the sexual tension and steamy scenes that Tessa Bailey is amazing at writing! It’s one of my must read contemporary romance books of 2021 too!
The Lost Apothecary
By Sarah Penner
Travel back to eighteenth century London and explore this unique tale of a women apothecary who became known for dispensing deadly poisons.
I was completely captivated from start to finish! Although I preferred the portions devoted to the apothecary, I still enjoyed the back and forth between uncovering the mystery in current day and the developing drama in the past.
As a bonus, here are a few of my five star backlist books that I finally read in 2021:
- Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo (Own Voices Contemporary Romance)
- How To Walk Away by Katherine Center (Uplifting Women’s Fiction / Romance)
- Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano (Coming Of Age / Overcoming Grief)
What are your best books of 2021 so far? Share in the comments!