The Best Romance Novels of 2021 that Every Romance Book Lover Must Read

Discover the best romance novels of 2021 that stand out as the best of the best of the year, and which every romance book lover must read.

Check out which new romance book releases in 2021 made the cut for this book list and which books earned my elusive 5 star rating!

*Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Affiliates program so if you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

The best romance novels of 2021 book list.

With the year halfway over already, it’s time to take stock of the best romance novels of 2021 so far.

As a romance book lover, it’s my mission to find the best romance books worth reading each and every year. There is no shortage of new romance book releases to choose from but I want to only read the best of the best.

And lucky for you, I pass along my recommendations for the best romance novels so you too can read the best and skip the worst in my monthly booklist posts and my year end best romance novels lists.

*Don’t miss my list of the best romance novels of 2020!

This year there has been a steady trickle of AMAZING romance novels for 2021 with a few even garnering my elusive 5 star rating that I rarely give to books.

These books are MUST reads for any fellow romance book lover. I know you’ll love them as much as I do.

Variety in the Best Romance Novels of 2021

I’m a romance book reader who loves many sub-genres and romance book tropes. The romance books that made this best of list span a wide variety of tropes and categories as well so I’m sure there’s something for everyone to love.

The best romance novels of 2021 to make my list include the following categories and tropes:

  • enemies to lovers
  • opposites attract
  • friends to lovers
  • second chance romance
  • fake relationship
  • historical romance
  • sports romance
  • fantasy romance

If you’re a fan of any of these tropes, there’s a book for you!

Ready to check out which books are the best romance novels of 2021 so far?

Add these to your must read lists and then check back at the end of the year when I give my wrap up for the best romance books of 2021.

The Best Romance Novels of 2021 That Earned 5 Stars

The Finish Line by Kate Stewart is one of the best romance novels of 2021. Check out the entire list of best romance novels of 2021.

The Finish Line
by Kate Stewart

Published January 2021
Second Chance Romance Book

5 Stars

My life has been full of secrets and lies for one purpose—revenge. To enact my revenge I had to deny my heart – until her.

Giving in, we exploded together but we’ve both paid the price. I tried living without her but now I’m back to claim her once again and hope that my past doesn’t get us both in the end.

THIS BOOK. OMG, it’s hands down one of Stewart’s best and definitely earns its spot as one of the best romance novels of 2021. It also made my best romance novels of all time list it’s that good!

Originally set to be an extended epilogue, Stewart expanded The Finish Line to be a third and final book to her Ravenhood series and it is everything I didn’t realize I needed to cap off this amazing series.

You must read Flock and Exodus first, then bask in this amazing conclusion. I can’t recommend it enough.

Related: Best Second Chance Romance BooksBest Romance Novels of All Time

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

Act Your Age, Eve Brown is one of the best romance novels of 2021. Check out the entire list of best romance novels of 2021.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown
by Talia Hibbert

Published March 2021
Opposites Attract Romance Book

5 Stars

Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, things always seem to go wrong. Case in point when she accidentally hits the owner of the bed and breakfast with her car, breaking his arm.

Jacob may have turned her down for the head chef position during her interview, but with him laid up and understaffed Eve is everywhere he turns trying to help.

Eve’s chaotic nature is the complete opposite to Jacob’s need to control everything, so why is he starting to get used to her being around and liking it?

This is definitely one of the best romance books of 2021 so far and totally deserved its spot on my list of Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2021. It’s so good that I added it to my best romance novels of all time list as well!

I adore Eve and Jacob. Like, love, love, love these diverse characters and I was completely surprised that this book had some HOT moments which I totally didn’t expect. It’s an opposites attract romance at its finest.

Related: Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2021Best Romance Novels

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

People We Meet on Vacation is one of the best romance novels of 2021. Check out the entire list of best romance novels of 2021.

People We Meet on Vacation
by Emily Henry

Published May 2021
Friends to Lovers Romance Book

5 Stars

Alex and Poppy have been the best of friends ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago. Despite being complete opposites and living far apart, every summer they have vacationed for a week together until two years ago when things were ruined.

Not having spoken since, Poppy realizes she needs to fix things and asks Alex to take one more vacation with her so that they can lay everything out on the table and make it right.

This romance novel totally deserves all the attention it’s been receiving this year because it’s just that good.

It also deserves a spot on all best romance novels of 2021 book lists and has already been selected as one the 48 best books of the year so far according to Goodreads readers

I loved it so much that I added it to my best romance novels of all time list and am now a huge Emily Henry fan.

Her writing was incredible, completely sucking me in from the start and keeping me glued to the page and these characters.

I can’t describe how much I love Poppy and Alex. I loved their humor and just how real they are with each other. Despite being total opposites, they are each others’ person.

This book made me legit ball my eyes out. I kept wanting to read faster to get to that fateful summer and yet I also wanted to slow down so this book would never end.

A must read, friends-to-lovers romance that is all that and more making this truly one of the best romance novels of 2021.

Related: Best Summer Reads of 2021, Best Friends to Lovers Books

Amazon | Goodreads

Yes & I Love You is one of the best romance novels of 2021. Check out the entire list of best romance novels of 2021.

Yes & I Love You
by Roni Loren

Published March 2021
Fake Relationship Romance Book

5 Stars

Everyone knows Miz Poppy, the reviewer of New Orleans nightlife, but no one knows Hollyn, the real face behind the media star. When her boss tells her she needs to add video to her blog, she’s forced to seek help with her fear or lose her job.

Enter aspiring actor Jasper Deares, who realizes he has a perfect opportunity to help his acting career while helping the shy reviewer come out of her shell.

This was my first Loren book and I could not put it down. This book has it all from fantastic writing to unique, diverse characters struggling with social anxiety, Tourettes and ADHD to fantastic dialogue and an engaging storyline that hooked me from start to finish.

I have a feeling the entire series is going to make this list of best romance novels of 2021.

Related: Fake Relationship Romance BooksRelationship Coach Romance Books

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

The Perfect Catch is one of the best romance novels of 2021. Check out the entire list of best romance novels of 2021.

The Perfect Catch
by Meghan Quinn

Published June 2021
Sports Romance Book

5 Stars

As the most hated player in baseball, I had two options: either clean up my image or pack my bags. That’s why I’m now working with Kate Chapman, the Chicago Bobbies newest PR Manager.

It was supposed to be simple. Book some PR events and be done, but this woman has me opening up to her unlike any other. Now I want her and I know she wants me but neither of us can afford to lose our jobs. Too bad we also can’t seem to keep our hands off each other either. 

Oh Walker…be still my heart with your grumpiness but it’s your dirty talking mouth that I’ll never forget and which earned you a spot on this list of best romance novels of 2021.

Meghan Quinn continually amazes me how she keeps this series so fresh with each unique story, but it’s her signature hilarious banter that comes through in every one.

I loved it and highly recommend this forbidden, office romance.

Related: Best Sports Romance Books, Best Series to Binge Read, Best Office Romance Books

Amazon | Goodreads

Hit Me With Your Best Scot is one of the best romance novels of 2021. Check out the entire list of best romance novels of 2021.

Hit Me With Your Best Scot
by Suzanne Enoch

Published February 2021
Historical Romance Novel

5 Stars

Coll MacTaggert, is not a happy man. The Highlander is being forced to find a wife or lose his family’s land. The trouble is the one woman he wants has no interest in marriage. But when Persephone’s life is threatened, Coll will do anything for his lady.

This book made my list of Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2021 and it did not disappoint!

I totally fell for Coll who is this big burly Scot who is not happy about his predicament to marry. There were so many lines he spoke that just gave me all the feels which is honestly why I gave this historical romance 5 stars.

This historical romance is a standout of the year, earning its spot as one of the best romance novels of 2021.

Related: Best Historical Romance NovelsHistorical Romance Series to Devour, Best Scottish Romance Novels

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

Hard to Lose is one of the best romance novels of 2021. Check out the entire list of best romance novels of 2021.

Hard to Lose
by K. Bromberg

Published March 2021
Sports Romance Book

5 Stars

Chase Kincaid is thrown when she receives a letter sent to her family’s sports agency that was sent five years earlier from a baseball prospect that never came to be because he enlisted in the army.

Something about that letter pulls on Chase so she’s off to find the mystery ball player – and possibly pull some good PR from him for her company. She just didn’t expect to fall for him.

Just when I think this series can’t get any better, Bromberg does it again – and I think this is now my new favorite!

Let me just say that this book had me from the first moment Chase and Gunner meet. Their flirting was so much fun to read and the sparks were jumping off the page.

Honestly this entire series is one to binge read but this book is a clear winner as one of the best romance novels of 2021.

RelatedBest Sports Romance Books

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

Blindsided by Victoria Denault is one of the best romance novels of 2021. Check out the entire list of best romance novels of 2021.

Blindsided
by Victoria Denault

Published February 2021
Enemies to Lovers Romance Book

5 Stars

Tate Adler and Maggie Todd were never meant to be anything more than sworn enemies given the longstanding feud between their neighboring family farms. Yet when Maggie discovers Tate’s secret, a side hustle that could jeopardize his hockey scholarship, their face offs give off sparks that could blow everything a part.

I absolutely loved this book and can’t recommend it enough! I adore enemies to lovers romance books and this one hit the spot.

It has a Romeo and Juliet vibe where two families are at odds with one another with a hate that passes from generation to generation.

Tate and Maggie were the best characters to root for with some highly combustible chemistry! A must read and a book that clearly deserves to be named as one of the best romance novels of 2021.

Related: Enemies to Lovers BooksCollege Romance Books

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

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Best Romance Novels of 2021 to Add to Your TBR List

The Crown of Gilded Bones is one of the best romance novels of 2021. Check out the entire list of best romance novels of 2021.

Crown of Gilded Bones
by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Published April 2021
Fantasy Romance Book

4 Stars

Poppy is the Chosen, the Blessed. The true ruler of Atlantia. She carries the blood of the King of Gods within her. By right the crown and the kingdom are hers and now she must choose to either forsake her birthright or seize the gilded crown and become the Queen of Flesh and Fire.

But as the kingdoms’ dark sins and blood-drenched secrets finally unravel, a long-forgotten power rises to pose a genuine threat to her and Casteel. 

I fell hard for Poppy and Casteel in the first two books of this series which were AMAZING. This continuation is just as good and is definitely deserving as one of the best romance novels of 2021.

The standouts in this book were the many great conversations between Poppy and Cas, plus I never get tired of Kiernan’s interactions with them.

I have no doubt that this entire series will be one of the best of all time if the first three books are any indication! Be sure to read From Blood and Ash (book one) and A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (book two) and then definitely pick up this one.

Related: Best Fantasy Romance Books

Amazon | Goodreads

To Sir With Love is one of the best romance novels of 2021. Check out the entire list of best romance novels of 2021.

To Sir With Love
by Lauren Layne

Published June 2021
Enemies to Lovers Romance Book

4.5 Stars

When Gracie Cooper’s father passed away, she put aside her own dreams to take over the family-owned Midtown Manhattan champagne shop. But Gracie has her hands full trying to keep the shop in the black out and warding off Sebastian Andrews and his big corporate proposal for a buyout.

Not wanting to admit her troubles to friends or family, she turns to “Sir” whom she’s connected with on the blind dating app where matches get to know each other through messages before exchanging real names or photos.

Although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has no idea she’s already met him in real life.

This book is Lauren Layne at her best earning it a spot on my list of best romance novels of 2021.

It is such a lovely, slow burn romance that I devoured in one sitting. Layne’s story was the perfect, modern twist on the iconic romantic comedy, You’ve Got Mail.

I loved the instant connection between Sir and Lady in their email exchanges because they were so honest and open with one another. But it was the growing connection between Gracie and Sebastian that tugged on my heart strings.

This is definitely one of the best romance novels of 2021 and may just be my most favorite Layne book yet.

Related: Best Summer Reads of 2021

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

Show Me is one of the best romance novels of 2021. Check out the entire list of best romance novels of 2021.

Show Me
by Neve Wilder

Published March 2021
MM Romance Book

4 Stars

Jesse is tired of being friend-zoned so he’s ready to take on senior year with a bang – or at least a lot of hookups. But when his straight, football-playing roommate asks him for a favor to film some adult videos, he’s in and can’t help catching feelings.

Sam is just trying to make some extra cash with his videos but he needs to change things up a bit. He’s comfortable with his roommate Jesse so why not have him shoot his videos and maybe perhaps even star in some?

Turns out maybe Sam isn’t so straight after all but is this all just an experiment and for fun or is it turning into something more?

As someone who loves MM romance books, I can’t get enough of this series by Wilder. Show Me is similar to the other two (Want Me and Try Me) in that it surrounds two college guys – one gay and one not so straight.

I loved the take on this story – a look into voyeurism and exhibitionism – and how it brought Jesse and Sam together.

It was a sweet love story with great writing and with just the right amount of steam earning it a spot on my list of best romance novels of 2021.

RelatedBest Erotic Romance NovelsBest MM Romance Books, Best College Romance Books

Amazon | Goodreads

Roommate by Sarina Bowen is one of the best romance novels of 2021. Check out the entire list of best romance novels of 2021.

Roommate
by Sarina Bowen

Published January 2021
MM Romance Book

4 Stars

Kieran has a secret that he needs to keep only it’s becoming more and more difficult ever since his new roommate moved in.

He can’t stop thinking about Roderick, the only person who knows the truth – tempting him to lose everything. 

Honestly if Sarina Bowen is writing a MM romance, I’m going to read it, which is why this was one of my most anticipated romance books of 2021.

She just has this way of making me fall for her characters, especially in those moments when I just want to reach into the story and give them a big hug.

The chemistry between Kieran and Roderick was hot, and I loved their quasi-history from high school which gave it a unique spin. Plus, I’m a sucker for roommates to lovers stories.

Bowen knocked it out of the park again with this one earning its place as one of the best romance novels of 2021.

Related: Best MM Romance Books

Amazon | Goodreads

Call Me Crazy is one of the best romance novels of 2021. Check out the entire list of best romance novels of 2021.

Call Me Crazy
by Melanie Harlow

Published February 2021
Fake Relationship Romance Book

4 Stars

It was the perfect plan. Enzo needed a wife to inherit the family company and Bianca wanted a baby. Why not draft a business contract to marry each other so they’d both get what they wanted? But even with a no-touching clause, things don’t always go as planned.

Could I ask for anything better than a romance book that combines three of my most favorite romance book tropes? Melanie Harlow did not disappoint with this third book in the Bellamy Creek series which I think is the best yet.

Enzo and Bianca had the best chemistry as enemies who agree to a fake relationship and marriage of convenience. This book has great story pacing and was just a delight to read. One of the best romance novels of 2021 for sure!

RelatedBest Enemies to Lovers BooksBest Marriage of Convenience BooksBest Fake Relationship Books

Amazon | Goodreads

The Ex Talk is one of the best romance novels of 2021. Check out the entire list of best romance novels of 2021.

The Ex Talk
by Rachel Lynn Soloman

Published January 2021
Enemies to Lovers Romance Book

4 Stars

Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade. She loves her job but lately it’s one big headache due to her newest colleague, Dominic Yun.

Now she’s paired with him as her co-host for the new show, The Ex Talk, posing as exes, and sharing relationship advice live on the air. The show is an instant hit but as the show’s popularity grows, so does their deception as the two start to fall for one another.

It’s such an incredible feeling to check out a new author and fall absolutely in love with the book. I took a risk adding this to my list of most anticipated romance books of 2021 but man did it pan out.

Fantastic story, amazingly diverse cast of characters and great writing made this one of the best romance novels of 2021.

I loved how these two opposites start to fall for one another, but I also enjoyed a look into the world of public radio as well as the themes of love and loss that were explored.

I highly recommend this one.

RelatedBest Enemies to Lovers Romance Books

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review

Which romance books would you bestow the title of best romance novels of 2021? Share in the comments below!

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