TOP 20 OF 2021: Forbidden by Karla Sorensen

As 2021 comes to a close, I’m revisiting my 20 favorite romance novels of the year, and that includes the swoony single dad romance, Forbidden! When I read Forbidden back in May, I was already pretty confident that it’d be making this list. I loved the dynamic between these two, and the book manages to be both light and tension-filled, pairing up two people who are perfect complements to each other. The hero is fantastic – sweet and loving, yet also strong enough to handle this heroine. They are so great together, and their forbidden romance had some seriously electric moments. Karla Sorensen is always an excellent writer, but this is easily one of my favorites from her. I’m looking forward to more of her unique sports romances in 2022!


Read on for my original review, details on the series, and plenty of quotes to give you a feel for the vibe!

I loved every minute of this, from the heartbreaking prologue, to the near-constant sexual tension, to the absolutely SWOONY conclusion. I knew this was going to be something special when I was holding back tears within 5 minutes of reading, and that turned out to be completely true. The immediate ZAP of connection between these two was just the start of the palpable chemistry between them. It’s sexy and intense, but also an excruciatingly slow burn, and I loved the push/pull dynamic. Isabel and Aiden are both fierce and strong, with vulnerabilities that leave them raw and exposed. Their chemistry was electric from the start, and it slowly simmered into something really beautiful by the end.

The story follows Isabel, the spitfire of a woman that we’ve met in previous books in the series. Though this will definitely read as a standalone, those who have been following the series will appreciate the truly great family moments. Isabel is the most stubborn, strong sister of the bunch, and she rarely lets anything get under her skin. But when a former fighter takes over ownership of the gym Isabel works at, it throws her completely off-balance. Ten years her senior, Aiden is a retired athlete whose poster graced Isabel’s teenage walls. She’s always felt a connection to him, but that’s nothing compared to how she feels once they meet in person. The problem? Aiden is a widower who is just trying to make a peaceful life for his daughter. And being near Isabel is anything but relaxing.

There’s seriously nothing sexier than a big, brute of a man who is so completely gentle around his daughter. Aiden is probably one of the kindest, most caring heroes I’ve read about, and the contrasts between his profession and his personality are positively swoon-worthy. I absolutely loved him. And Isabel is his perfect match; they are so similar in certain ways, yet vastly different in others. The found family element and shared heartache are strong elements here, as is the endless sexual tension. This is my favorite kind of slow burn, where the intensity is there from start to finish – but lines aren’t crossed until the perfect moment. I just devoured this, completely engaged in the relationship from start to finish. And it wraps the series up with a tidy little bow, while also leaving me wanting more. I was lucky enough to receive an early copy (then purchased it for my collection), and am voluntarily leaving a review of this forbidden romance.



No man has ever been able to rattle Isabel Ward. Until Aiden Hennessy walks in the door of her gym—ownership papers in hand. 

The former fighter is a lot of things- a devoted single dad, a widower trying to start over, and a watchful presence that knocks her off her very capable feet. 

To make matters worse, Isabel had a crush on him for the entirety of her teenage years. Doodles in her diary, and letters declaring her admiration—while never sent—haunt the absolute crap out of her now that she has to face him every single day. 

She’s not the only one affected. 

No woman has tempted Aiden to move on from the memory of his wife—until Isabel. But she’s too young, too feisty, too much of everything he should avoid. 

Working together makes avoidance impossible, and so is pretending like the blistering chemistry between them doesn’t exist. 

Now that the unshakeable woman is shaken and the un-temptable man is tempted, Isabel and Aiden have to decide what they’re willing to risk for a taste of the forbidden. 


Start the series today!

No worries if you’re not caught up on the series, Forbidden will definitely read as a standalone. The family ties these books together, and we’ve gotten peeks at each sister’s personality in previous books. Forbidden and Faked are my personal favorites, but Floored was also a very solid read.

Amazon Links

About the Author:

Well, let’s see … I’m a wife and a mother. If the things that I write bring a smile to someone’s face, then I’ve done my job.  I am obsessed with Outlander (both the books and the show). I’m almost exclusively a romance reader, which means some people will never consider me a literary snob. If I could meet one historical figure, it would be Jane Austen. I received my Bachelors in Public Relations and worked in health care marketing before I had my babies. I hate Twitter. I do it, but I hate it. Also, if you want to get on my good side, bring me wine and I’ll love you forever. 

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More of the Best of 2021!

Top 20 of 2021: The Complete List – here

Best of 2021: Top Picks by Trope can be found here!

Best of 2021: My 10 Favorite Romance Series can be found here!

Best of 2021: My Favorite Covers can be found here!

Every 5-Star Romance Novel I Read in 2021 can be found here!

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases


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