Here’s a quick and dirty countdown of my top ten romance-ish releases of the year, and shockingly, most are debut novels! So, sit back. Relax. Scroll down. Read what other Bookstagrammers are saying. And if you missed any of these, you won’t think twice about tacking them onto your 2021 reading list!
FORCED PROXIMITY AND SEX EDUCATION
The Roommate by Rosie Danan
A ridiculously entertaining raunch-com that will leave you blushing and laughing out loud, The Roommate is surely a must-read!
“I loved The Roommate because it was unique, melt-the-pages steamy, and basically unputdownable!” -Vanessa, @bookscallmyheart
“The Roommate was the most refreshing contemporary romance of the year; with that unexpected comedic aspect, steamy tension, and body/sex positive message, it was the full package for me!” -Kimberly, @the.bookish.brunette
CELEBRITY ROMANCE WITH UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTERS
The Makeup Artist by Sophie Sinclair
I can’t rave enough about the fun-loving characters in the entire Coffee Book series. But, the second book is my absolute fave. You will feel invested—so invested, you’ll think these characters are your friends by the end of it. Plus, you won’t help but fall in love with the sultry lead guitarist, too.
“The chemistry, the friendships, and all the little moments between Lex and Sarah made me fall in love with this book; the sexy, tattooed Irishman didn’t hurt either.” -Alison, @alisonsoverbooked
NOT YOUR AVERAGE HATE-TO-LOVE
The Trouble with Hating You by Sajni Patel
This debut is p-a-c-k-e-d with Indian culture, courage, love, patience, and kindness. And, it contains my first ever book husband! If you haven’t picked this one up, I highly recommend.
“It was much more than just a hate-to-love story; it dove deeper to real life issues.” -Ashley, @abc_ashleysbookcuriosity
A MODERN FORBIDDEN ROMANCE
Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo
A debut novel that stems from Nigerian culture, fused with American culture, Ties That Tether brings on all the feels in a romance story. Forbidden love, a biracial relationship, aiming to please versus finding own happiness—all are intertwined beautifully.
“Although I am a second-generation Indian American, I love how I was able to relate to the way Azere was trying to keep ties with both of her cultures. The romance and rom-com references were brilliant, too!” -Tej, @readaholic19
AN EPIC FRIENDS-TO-LOVERS
Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams
The third book in The Bromance Book Club series, the exploration of romance between best friends couldn’t be any more evident. It is a sweet and uplifting story where communication could be the main issue, but there are a fair amount of hilarious scenes that will literally make you LOL.
“Another win from the creative Lyssa Kay Adams. In this friends-to-lovers trope, I appreciated that the love between Noah and Alexis was visible from chapter one.” -Chase, @thebookend.diner
FIRST LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP
The Best Laid Plans by Cameron Lund
This is a heartwarming, sex-positive friends-to-lovers story that will leave you wondering where your Andrew was when you were in high school. If you aren’t much of a YA romance reader, think again. This is my most recommended YA title of the year. So, if you haven’t read it, grab a slice of pizza paired with your beverage of choice, and enjoy. You’re welcome.
“I absolutely loved The Best Laid Plans—the chemistry between Keely and Andrew flew off the pages.” -Alexa, @themrsbookclub
FINDING THE PERFECT MATCH
The Marriage Game by Sara Desai
A debut featuring a modern spin on the arranged marriages and starring colorful main characters. Apart from the witty retorts and sexual innuendos, the cultural roots and internal conflicts complement the characters and the story well.
“It was a witty and steamy enemies to lovers romance filled with funny banter and yummy Indian food!” -Wendy, @lovelibooks
MORE THAN A LONG DISTANCE LOVE AFFAIR
How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams
Prepare yourselves. Just when I thought I had my favorites lined up, this contemporary debut sneaks its way in, snagging a spot on my list. The chemistry, the nerdy banter, the mature love story will have you smiling the entire time.
“A smart, steamy, and funny rom-com with a hero that made me swoon!” -Emily, @emmyloves_books
SCANDALOUSLY SUSPENSEFUL WITH A SIDE OF ROMANCE
The Lion’s Den by Katherine St. John
Ok, I cheated. The Lion’s Den is not a romance at all, BUT there is a romantic aspect. All the intrigue though? The suspense? The skanky girl drama? It is the perfect, and I mean PERFECT, summer binge. Though I must say, it’s a great Mediterranean escape during the winter months.
“A book I did not know I needed to read and could not put down once I started—completely captivating in every way.” -Molly, @mollysreadingadventure
A ROMANTIC RIVALRY
Beach Read by Emily Henry
A Goodreads nominee for Best Romance, Beach Read is more than just a beach read. Its layers of complexity, quick witted banter, and unique premise make for a cohesive and wonderful story.
“It was the perfect millennial read—it had all the quick whit and a plot so relatable and honest; it was much deeper that it looked.” -Annette, @bookworm.babe.xo
What’s on your top 10 list this year?