Top Reads of 2021

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:

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ARC Review: Duke Gone Rogue by Christy Carlyle

The Duke Gone Rogue by Christy Carlyle
Duke Gone Rogue
Christy Carlyle
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: December 28, 2021
Series or Standalone: Love on Holiday #1
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating:4 Stars

MY REVIEW

Duke Gone Rogue is a charming start to Christy Carlyle’s new Love on Holiday series! The romance between Maddie and Will, the Duke of Ashmore, was sweet with relatively no angst. While lower on the sexy scale, I still found myself really enjoying this one as it was just so stinking cute how much these two characters came to care for each other.

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Review: The Lady Gets Lucky by Joanna Shupe

The Lady Gets Lucky by Joanna Shupe
The Lady Gets Lucky
Joanna Shupe
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 26, 2021
Series or Standalone: The Fifth Avenue Rebels #2
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
Rating: 5 Stars


MY REVIEW

CW: Alcoholism; suicide; death of a loved one; emotional abuse

The Lady Gets Lucky was literally *chefs kiss* – fitting as this book features a lady who wants to be a professional chef! Joanna Shupe is the master of the Gilded Age romance and this book is her at her best. Kit and Alice’s romance hits all the right notes, leading to a swoon-worthy, steamy read that I could not put down.

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Review: After Dark with the Duke by Julie Anne Long

After Dark with the Duke by Julie Anne Long
After Dark with the Duke
Julie Anne Long
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: November 30, 2021
Series or Standalone: The Palace of Rogues #4
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 4.5 Stars

MY REVIEW

CW: Sexual assualt; sexual harassament 

Once again, Julie Anne Long knocks it out of the park with the fourth installment in The Palace of Rogues series. If you like age gap romances and slow burns that turn super fiery, After Dark with the Duke is for you! I’m usually not an age gap fan, but this one works incredibly well as Long once again manages to write characters with incredible emotional depth and takes you on a journey you can only experience at the Grand Palace on the Thames. 

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Review: I’m Only Wicked with You by Julie Anne Long

I'm Only Wicked with You by Julie Anne Long
I’m Only Wicked with You
Julie Anne Long
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 24, 2021
Series or Standalone: <a href="/tag/the-palace-of-rogues/"The Palace of Rogues #3
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 5 Stars


MY REVIEW

I was a bit nervous going into I’m Only Wicked With You as it is the first book in the Palace of Rogues series that focuses on two guests at the Grand Palace of the Thames who we don’t know super well. However, this book was something extraordinary. Julie Anne Long knocked it out of the park with this one. I swear, each book in the Palace of Rogues series gets better and better. 

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Review: Angel in a Devil’s Arms by Julie Anne Long

Angel in a Devil's Arms by Julie Anne Long
Angel in a Devil’s Arms
Julie Anne Long
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Series or Standalone: The Palace of Rogues #2
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 4.5 Stars


MY REVIEW

I was incredibly excited to dive into book two in The Palace of Rogues series after Julie Anne Long teased the couple at the end of Lady Derring Takes a Lover. This book built on everything Long established in book one and made it even better. From the romance to the characters to the story, I enjoyed every minute of reading this book. 

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Review: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long
Lady Derring Takes a Lover
Julie Anne Long
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Series or Standalone: The Palace of Rogues #1
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3.5 Stars

MY REVIEW

CW: sexual assualt

I’ve been meaning to read more of Julie Anne Long for ages, and I have finally taken the plunge! I have an ARC of the newest Palace of Rogues book so I decided now is the perfect time to dive into this series. Lady Derring Takes a Lover is the series starter and introduces us to the lovely Grand Palace on the Thames, which serves as the central location for the books in the series. While I’m enjoying this series and the characters, the romance in this fell a bit flat.

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Review: Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare

Do You Want to Start a Scandal
Do You Want to Start a Scandal
Tessa Dare
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Series or Standalone: Castles Ever After #4 & Spindle Cove #5
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating:3.5 Stars

MY REVIEW

CW: Discussion of suicide; bullying

Do You Want To Scandal brings together two of my favorite Tessa Dare series: Spindle Cove and Castles Ever After. I originally read this book right when it was published and recently reread it as part of the But Do They Bang? Readalong. I somehow forgot a lot of the major plot points. Overall, I liked this one, but the ending stopped me from loving it. 

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Review: When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare

When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
When a Scot Ties the Knot
Tessa Dare
Publisher: Avong
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Series or Standalone: Castles Ever After #3
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 4.5 Stars


MY REVIEW

When a Scot Ties the Knot holds a special place in my heart as it was the first Tessa Dare book I read way back in 2015 when I first started getting into historical romance. It’s now one of my go-to recommendations for people new to the historical romance genre.

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Review: Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare

Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare
Say Yes to the Marquess
Tessa Dare
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: December 30, 2014
Series or Standalone: Castles Ever After #2
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating:4 Stars

MY REVIEW

CW: fatphobia, eating disorders, body shaming

Of all the books in the Castle Ever After series, this is the one I’ve reread the most. Upon rereading the entire series, I think Romancing the Duke might be my favorite of the bunch, but this one remains one that I adore. 

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