Discover the absolute best romance novels of 2021!
Since I read more romance than any other genre, I love looking back through my ratings to find the absolute best romance novels of 2021!
This list is designed to introduce you to the must-read romance books that you don’t want to miss.
You’ll find plenty of tropes represented below: friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, fake dating! There’s something for every romance reader below.
Since there are countless books published each year, this will help you narrow down the best romance novels of 2021!
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Best Romance Novels of 2021
Life’s Too Short
by Abby Jimenez
First up in this collection of the best romance novels of 2021 is potentially my favorite read 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’s easily my favorite of Abby’s books.
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 and a strong start to the best romance novels of 2021!
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 has all the sexual tension and steamy scenes that Tessa Bailey is amazing at writing! I completely fell for these characters and was rooting so hard for them and their relationship!
How To Fail At Flirting
by Denise Williams
An incredible love story with a powerful message about how to recover from an abusive relationship.
When Naya decides it’s finally time to step out of her shell, the charming man she meets at the bar is a perfect candidate to help her check a few items off her to-do list. However, a disastrous attempt at a one-night stand instead turns into a budding, real relationship. However, she eventually discovers his career and hers may be at odds.
Naya and Jake are the epitome of a cute couple and I adored all the flirtatious texting and chatting. This is a step above the usual contemporary romance book as it dealt with standing up to an aggressor and learning to heal.
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…
Talk Bookish To Me
by Kate Bromley
With a title like “Talk Bookish To Me” it’s hard not to have high expectations going in. Thankfully, this book lived up to every one! Kara is an established writer and bookstagrammer (!!!) who is struggling to meet a deadline for her latest novel. When her ex steps back into the picture, the tension they build up seems to flow directly into her book.
I adored the history in this former lover’s relationship and how they worked through their issues over time. The added bonus of bookish content and the writing process made this one of my favorite rom coms of the year!
The Dating Playbook
by Farrah Rochon
This was one of my most anticipated romance new releases of 2021, since I adored The Boyfriend Project last year. Luckily, it lived up to every expectation! I can’t say I ever expected to adore a football-related romance, but here we are 🙂
Taylor is passionate about fitness, but she’s struggling to turn that passion into revenue for her personal training business. A chance of a lifetime to get a former NFL player back into the game is exactly what she needs. But she’ll have to keep her crush on him completely under wraps if she hopes to turn this opportunity into legitimate exposure.
This story contains all the delightful banter and strong female energy that I’ve learned to count on from Farrah!
by Lucy Parker
Tell me, is there anything better than a dessert-themed romance novel? I’m willing to fight off suggestions in the comments! Battle Royal has everything I could possibly want: a competition that suspiciously mimics the all time best Great British Bake Off, a royal wedding cake, and rival bakers turned lovers!
Now, I’m not always a fan of the enemies to lovers trope, but this romance was handled with care and respect. These two actually developed a real foundation to turn their enmity into something more. And I ate up every minute of it 😉 A scrumptious addition to the best romance novels of 2021!
What would you add to this list of the best romance novels of 2021?