I’ve been procrastinating on writing this post for days now as I truly hate picking favorites, especially when it comes to the books I read.
2021 was a great reading year and I truly read so many books that I adored. However, I do think one book stands out in my mind as being my top favorite this year. I accidentally added it twice to my list while I was pulling this together so I take that as a sign that it deserves special recognition.
With the exception of the first book on this list, the rest of the list is in no particular order.
Most, if not all, of these books were 5-star reads, but not all of my 5 star reads made it onto my favorites. I was pulling this list together I was thinking of the books that stuck with me the most and that I tend to recommend frequently as must-reads. If you follow me on Instagram, I don’t think any of these will come as a major shock.
Okay, enough babbling! Here’s my top 10 reads of 2021:
The Duchess Hunt by Lorraine Heath
There is no question in my mind that The Duchess Hunt by Lorraine Heath deserves the title of my favorite book of 2021. This book was one of my most anticipated books of 2021 after I read and loved Scoundrel of My Heart in April, and boy did it surpass my wildest expectations.
This book delivered on the emotions! So much PINING and YEARNING! Watching Kingsland and Penelope fall for each other was the best. This book hit every note and the epilogue literally had me in full-on tears! I don’t think I’ve read an ending quite like this book as it was so beautiful and romantic and I’m getting misty-eyed just thinking about it.
As a side note, do check out the content warnings on this as Heath doesn’t shy away from tackling the harder subject matter.
Scoundrel of My Heart by Lorraine Heath
Scoundrel of My Heart is the first book in Once Upon a Dukedom series and the precursor to The Duchess Hunt so obviously it’s also one of my top reads of this year. I think this series is completely underrated and if you want to read and appreciate The Duchess Hunt, you need to read Scoundrel of My Heart.
I swear Lorraine Heath is a witch or something as she has a magical ability to make everything work perfectly. Despite the fact that the reason Kathryn couldn’t marry Griff was weak, I still loved everything about this book! The emotions in her were top notches and the chemistry between Griff and Kathryn was electric!
If you haven’t read this yet, add it to your TBR immediately!
Bombshell by Sarah MacLean
I’ve been a big fan of Sarah MacLean since her first novel, a YA historical romance The Season, was published! Ever since we met Caleb and Sesily in The Day of the Duchess back in 2017, I’ve been dying to get their romance.
Going into 2021, Bombshell was one of my most anticipated reads and I thought it totally lived up to the hype. Sesily was such a badass and Caleb had more depth than I expected. This book literally had everything from a tavern brawl to a cabinet bang. Also, we got some hardcore pining between Sesily and Caleb which, if you can’t tell, is something I live for in my romances.
I’m really excited for the rest of the books in the Hell’s Belles series and book two, Heartbreaker, is definitely on my list of most anticipated 2022 reads.
Check out my review for Bombshell by Sarah MacLean to see why it was one of my top reads this year.
The Lady Gets Lucky by Joanna Shupe
This was one of the last books I read in 2021, but boy, did I love it! I was not the biggest fan of the first book in The Fifth Avenue Rebels series so was a bit hesitant going into this one, but Kit and Alice were perfect for each other.
This book had a little bit of everything and lessons of seduction is one of my favorite tropes as it always leads to some hardcore mutual pining (I’m sensing a theme!). I literally couldn’t read this book fast enough as I stayed up waaaaay too late two nights in a row to finish it as it was that good.
Also, that cover is my all-time favorite cover from 2021. It’s so gorgeous and sexy and steamy! Let’s stick with covers like this for historical romance novels instead of illustrated covers, okay?
Check out my review for The Lady Gets Lucky by Joanna Shupe to see why it was one of my top reads this year.
It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas
The Wallflowers series has been around for years and is a classic historical romance series, yet I only just got around to reading it in 2021. Overall, I truly adored the series as the friendship between Lillian, Daisy, Anabelle and Evie was beautiful. However, my favorite book of the bunch was It Happened One Autumn focusing on Lillian and Westcliff.
I know most people love Devil in Winter (I did not), but for me It Happened One Autumn was the best of the bunch. I loved Lillian as she’s not afraid to speak her mind and be who she is and then you have Marcus, the buttoned-up Earl of Westcliff, who is all that is proper. It’s a bit of an enemies-to-lovers situation with them, which I’m a sucker for as the chemistry is usually explosive.
The ending of this book was bonkers, but I honestly loved that and it feels like a staple of the Wallflowers series.
Check out my full review of It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas to see why it was one of my top reads for 2021.
A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
Pivoting away from historical romance, A Court of SIlver Flames was another top read this year. I didn’t dive into this right away as it was a beast of a book, but once I started reading it, I was hooked.
Was this book too long? Yes. Could it have been shorter? Yes. Did I care? No.
I truly loved the exploration of Nesta’s grief and PTSD and watching her learn to cope with her mental health issues. She’s one of Maas’s most complex characters in my opinion. Her transformation over the course of the book, with help from Cassian and the Valkeryies, was amazing to watch.
I know a lot of people loved this book because of the romance, which was great, but the character growth of Nesta was what really sold this one for me. I know A Court of Thorns and Roses is a popular series and for me, it does live up to the hype!
Check out my full review of A Court of SIlver Flames by Sarah J. Maas to see why it was one of my top reads for 2021.
An Unexpected Peril by Deanna Raybourn
If you know me, then you know the Veronica Speedwell series is one of my all-time favorite book series. This series is so underhyped and I feel like everyone needs to read it!
An Unexpected Peril is the 6th entry in the series and one that I truly enjoyed. A Murderous Relation was not my favorite in the series, but this one felt like a return to everything I love about the series. The mystery and adventure that Stoker and Veronica get caught up in this book were so fun. I also loved the progression of Stoker and Veronica’s romantic relationship as Stoker had me full-on swooning at points.
You Only Love Twice by Bec McMaster
First off, I have to shout out both the London Steampunk series and the London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy series as two of my favorite series I read this year. I binged all ten books across the two series in less than a month and Bec McMaster was one of my new favorite authors I discovered this year.
I loved almost every book in both series, but the one that standouts the most to me is You Only Love Twice in the London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy series. This book had everything I love. It was an enemies-to-lovers with a second chance romance thrown in, plus you get two kickass romantic leads and some big major actions scenes that progress the series plot even further! AND THAT ENDING! Ugh. This book was perfect!
I hope McMaster returns to this world again as I’m not ready to be done with it.
Check out my review of You Only Love Twice by Bec McMaster and my reviews of the books in the London Steampunk series and the London Steampunk: Blue Blood Conspiracy series to see why they were some of my favorite reads in 2021.
Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning
I struggled to pick just one book from the Fever series as my favorite as I read the first five back to back and books three through five were truly amazing. However, I think Shadowfever was the best of the bunch as it was the culmination of all the big plot points.
This book has me saying “oh my god” and gasping multiple times. I thought I had plot points figured out, but Moning managed to surprise me. I’m so glad I dove into the Fever series this year and look forward to continuing it in 2022.
Float Plan by Trish Doller
I loved Float Plan by Trish Doller, though I will fully admit it is not the easiest story to read as it does deal with Anna’s grief following her fiancé’s suicide. However, I still found the story incredibly worth it as it was a beautiful tale that seamlessly balanced the heaviness of grief with a heart-warming love story.
This story made me cry both happy and sad tears as I loved Anna’s journey. I’m anxiously looking forward to the companion/sequel The Suite Spot out in March 2022.
Check out my review of Float Plan by Trish Doller to find out why it was one of my favorite reads in 2021.
There you have it! My top 10 reads of 2021. This was not an easy list to pull together and I loved so many books this year, but these seemed to stand out the most.
What were your favorite reads in 2021? Did we have any of the same?