What a difference a year makes! As 2021 comes to a close and I start thinking about my favorite books of THIS year, I thought it’d be nice to look back at LAST year’s best books and see if my opinions have changed. So, the list below is my complete Best of 2020 list, updated with my thoughts from 2021! Over the next few week’s, I’ll be compiling lists like this for 2021’s best romances.
You can find links to ALL of my 2020 reviews here
Last year, I released my Top 20 list in five rounds, so you can click on the link to each round for my full reviews!
Round One – here
2021 Update: It’s been far too long since I’ve read a new book by any of these authors! Hoover and Sivec haven’t released new books in quite awhile, but both of these picks from last year hold up well. Heart Bones is one of my top picks from 2020, and Kiss My Putt kicked off an excellent series of rom coms. Kiss My Putt was my introduction to Sivec’s work, and I’m definitely happy that I checked it out. Pippa Grant (who I can always depend on for quirky rom coms) has had a very light release schedule in 2021, and I don’t think I’ve read a book better than Real Fake Love from her since. T.K. Leigh actually released a sequel to Royal Games that follows the couple after their HEA began, but I’m a reader who doesn’t want to hear about the drama after the HEA, so I’m pretending it never happened, lol.
Round Two – here
2021 Update: This is a great group of books! Hard to Hold is my favorite in a series of excellent sports romances, but Bromberg kept delivering some stellar additions to the series in 2021. On the flip side, I haven’t read a better book by Helena Hunting since – all of her 2021 releases were disappointing to various degrees. Boss in the Bedsheets was my introduction to Canterbary’s work, and she’s got another new book releasing at the end of the year that I’m very excited for. Revved to the Maxx remains my favorite from Moreland, though I’d love to carve out room for more of her work in 2022.
Round Three – here
2021 Update: Three of these authors will have books on 2021’s list as well! I shared my author spotlight on J.T. Geissinger a few weeks ago because her work is so good, and there are THREE books in contention for 2021’s list. You Deserve Each Other was such a memorable debut from Hogle, and she certainly did not suffer a sophomore slump – Twice Shy will definitely be on 2021’s list. Faked was my introduction to Karla Sorensen, and she’s delivered some other great books since. The Cruelest Stranger remains my favorite recent release from Renshaw, though she had a few other solid releases in 2021.
Round Four – here
2021 Update: We’ve got some repeat offenders in this group as well – Meghan Quinn has two books in contention for 2021’s list, Liese will almost certainly be included, and Loring is definitely in the running. Meghan Quinn had an awesome 2021, and – while I still adore The Change Up – her new books might be even better. Loring also had a great 2021, with several 5-star releases that kept me laughing and swooning. I still love Bossy Christmas most of all. As for Liese, Always Only You remains one of my top picks from her, but the sequel, Ever After Always, was also very very good. Madden-Mills has had a light release year in 2021, and I am eagerly anticipating whatever she writes next.
Round Five – here
2021 Update: This is an interesting group of books! Max Monroe’s 2021 releases were disappointing for me until the newest, The Pact, which I liked just as much as Single Dad Seeks Juliet. Jasinda Wilder’s 2021 releases were complete misses for me, almost feeling like a completely different author. Annika Martin hasn’t recreated the sunshiney goodness of Fake Fiancée in her recent releases, but the newest was another solid addition to the series. And J. Saman remains one of my favorite up-and-coming authors – her 2021 releases were also very good.
Top Picks by Trope
Who doesn’t love a good trope? Everybody’s got a favorite, from tense enemies to lovers reads to playful fake relationship romances. I’ve always got certain expectations when I start reading a story that plays up a trope, and the books on this list all exceeded those expectations.
I’ve selected the book that I think best represented each trope in 2020 – at least out of the 350+ romances I’ve read this year! I’ve got a note about each book, as well as the blurb and links to Amazon for easy addition to your collection. They’re each 5-star reads that fulfilled my trope-tastic cravings.
Check out the complete list here.
2021 Update: I’m happy with this list! I would not hesitate to recommend any of the books above, even a year later.
My Favorite Covers
We all judge books by their covers, don’t deny it. I will wholeheartedly and enthusiastically admit that I’ve added countless books to my TBR based almost entirely on their cover. Sometimes that works out in my favor… and sometimes it doesn’t, lol. But I love me a good cover.
The 20 books on this list feature the covers that stopped me in my tracks. They’re all gorgeous in one way or another, and 100% memorable. Whether there’s a shirtless dude or an adorable illustration, these covers make an impact.
Check out the complete list here.
2021 Update: It’ll be interesting to see how different this year’s list looks! The illustrated cover craze definitely kicked into high gear during 2021, though a gorgeous photo cover is still what typically stops me in my tracks. I’m very curious to see how this year’s list looks, though these are all still awesome covers (not necessarily reflective of the quality of the content inside, lol).
The Good, Bad & Ugly: The 2020 Releases I Can’t Stop Thinking About
I don’t want you to think this is a recommendation list – it isn’t. This is a list of books that I could think about for hours and still not be satisfied. We’ve all got them: books that made an impact on us, in one way or another. Whether it’s a great hero, crackling chemistry, or a devastatingly terrible ending, there are elements to certain books that make you emotional just thinking about them. There are a couple of books on this list that I’m still angry about months later, and there are others that I can’t wait to re-read with fresh eyes. Whatever the scenario, these books have all made a lasting impression on me.
I absolutely loved some of these. I hated others. And there are some where I loved them until something changed that. While I don’t offer up explicit spoilers in my commentary, I do talk about the things that caused each book to make this list. So fair warning.
I’ll leave you with this: the worst thing I can say about a book is that it’s boring. Why would I want to waste my time reading something that I’ll forget about the next day? I’d much rather read something that angers me, that incites emotion – even if it’s not in a positive way. And that’s exactly what each of these books accomplishes. I loved some of them, others ticked me off. But they’re all unforgettable.
Check out the complete list here.
2021 Update: Oof. A few of these still make my blood boil! Roxie Noir is a very good rom com writer, but her angst-fest of a read, One Last Time, still gets under my skin. She hasn’t released a new book since, and I think that’s because readers’ visceral reactions to that book (which was billed as a rom com) were intimidating. I also still get upset when I think about the disappointment of The Setup, a book which I’m going to pretend my beloved Meghan Quinn didn’t write, lol. I’ve stopped supporting L.J. Shen in 2021, but I can easily remember the gag-inducing introduction to The Hunter. I also had to quit M. Robinson, whose recent releases are cringeworthy. I still have strong feelings about Our Way (I really wish that man hadn’t crossed some of those lines), but it mostly makes me want to pick up another book by TL Swan!
Mostly, this list gets me thinking about the books I read in 2021, and I’ll be compiling some lists to share all of my thoughts!
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