I haven’t had time to share last year’s recommendations until now, so I’m sorry if I made you wait. To sum up, last year was even worse than the previous one for me, so I haven’t read as much, but I was more careful about the books I chose. This was my seventh year reading Romance with LGBTQ+ characters, so I hope you like my recs.
And here you have 2021, or year seven, in no particular order:
- If It Ain’t Love: Another book by Tamara Allen, whose “Downtime” I recommended some years ago, when I published my third list. This short story is also historical and very sweet. The main characters belong to different classes that have become even more distant during the Great Depression. But this is a story with a very hopeful ending that will make your heart feel warm and cozy, so there’s no need to be intimidated by the setting.
- Seducing the Sorcerer: You know I helped beta-read this Fantasy Romance, but I couldn’t not add it to this list. I’ve read it at least twice and it was a wonderful experience every time. It even made me enjoy reading again after one of those horrible months in which I couldn’t, so I wanted to share that feeling with you all. This book has magic, political intrigue, some light BDSM, older protagonists and many horses.
- The Cabots: I was surprised when I learned Cat Sebastian was going to release a couple of books set in the USA during 1959 and 1960 (and one of them a road trip, even), but I’d never doubt this author. I knew I would love them, and I wasn’t wrong. The Cabots are a political family, but these books focus on the black-sheep members of the family. Both stories are super sweet and will make you believe in mankind once more.
- Honeytrap: A Historical Romance that starts with a soviet agent and an FBI agent falling in love during the Cold War? Sign me up! This love story that spanned several years had a lot of angst, a VERY slow burn, and too many goodbyes, but it was also so delightful it’s already on my To-Be-Reread list. You’ll find realistic portrayals of very charming characters, amazingly detailed writing and some historically accurate content warnings in this novel.
- Play It Again: The first Contemporary Romance in this list, so you know it has to be good! I really enjoyed this sweet, low-tension, fluffy romance. I love reading novels with gamers, youtubers or ace characters, and this one had everything. Some light reading about a blind youtuber who talks about accessibility, his hilarious sister, and an adorable gamer with anxiety was exactly what I needed during this terrible year.
- The Will Darling Adventures: If you’ve ever read my blog, you knew this was coming. KJ Charles is an evergreen in all my lists, both because I love all her books and because she publishes so many per year. This wonderful series is set in the 1920s, right after the war and the pandemic. The main characters are a mysterious aristocrat with too many secrets and a bookseller with PTSD that always keeps his emotional support knife at hand.
- Boyfriend Material: This Contemporary Romance will soon have a sequel, and I’m looking forward to it. You know I really like Alexis Hall, so I was curious to see what a Fake-Dating romcom by him would look like, and it didn’t disappoint. The characters are fun, charming and have family issues. Some content warnings may apply.
- The Pride: Another author I always recommend. This new series is related to the Hexworld books I mentioned some years ago. Both series belong to the same universe, but while Hexworld was set in an alternate 1890s New York and focused on the Metropolitan Witch Police, The Pride takes place in 1920s Chicago and focuses on the underworld gangs controlled by familiars. I was looking forward to learning more about the familiars that are deemed dangerous, and this answered many questions.
- The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting: I’m not really complaining about KJ Charles publishing so many amazing books, but I worry that one year she might take over the whole list. I’d have to make two lists then, because I’m unable to choose between her books. This Regency Romance is hilarious, and the characters are SO relatable. Who hasn’t tried to protect a niece from a fortune hunter only to end up falling for him instead? No one? Well, you can still read about it in this enjoyable novel.
- Game Changers: It’s been a while since I last read an Ice Hockey Romance series, and I really liked this one. So far, each book features a different couple, and the series keeps getting better and better. Since each couple has a different dynamic, everyone will be able to find their favourite tropes sooner or later. But please, do read the books in order. The characters know each other, so you will spoil the previous books if you don’t start with the first one.
- Hamilton’s Battalion: I think this might be the first anthology I’ve recommended among my favourite books because it’s almost impossible to love every story in an anthology, but Hamilton’s Battalion manages to do just that. It might help that it only has three short stories, but why would you need more when this book is just perfect as it is? Three Historical Romances with diverse characters that help Eliza Hamilton collect the stories of her late husband’s soldiers. If you liked the musical, you should read this one.
- Proper Scoundrels: In my previous list, I recommended the Magic in Manhattan series, and I’ve been looking forward to the release of this spin-off since then. I managed to read it just before the end of 2021, and I realized I had to add it to this list, even if it would take me a bit longer to post it. In this Paranormal Romance, you’ll reencounter two survivors who will find each other. They seem to be too different to be able to find common ground, but they’ve survived family expectations, traumatic experiences and the Great War. Are they so different after all?
I hope you liked the list. Last year, I didn’t try to sail into uncharted territory because my brain wasn’t up for it. In fact, there were several months in which I wasn’t able to read at all, but I did manage to enjoy new books by my favourite authors and other series that some friends recommended. Fortunately, I’m now able to read books I know I will like, so friends and reviewers I trust are invaluable. I seldom start a new book without their approval these days, so I’d like to thank them all.
Just a reminder that these are 12 books or series I’ve read and enjoyed during this last year, but they might have been released before 2021.
As always, let me know if you need any particular CWs, or if you want more personal recommendations.