Next week we will begin running the first of many Best of 2021 columns. In anticipation of that, I thought it would be fun to look back at the books we loved from 2020. Did you read any of these? What was your take?


Caroline:

Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan

This book not only took on more than any other book I read this year – religion! step-parenting! race! politics! infertility! – but it stuck the landing on every single one of them. Kimba and Ezra’s story is realistic, powerful, and unforgettable.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local independent bookstore

Caz:

I am rubbish at picking “the best” of anything, and my answer to such a question usually varies on a daily basis. So choosing my favourite romance of the year is hard.  Loretta Chase’s Ten Things I Hate About the Duke is unquestionably the best historical romance of the year, and Alexis Hall’s Boyfriend Material is without doubt the best contemporary/rom-com. But right now, I’m finding so much to love in m/m romantic suspense, so it’ll be no surprise when I go for The Same Breath by Gregory Ashe, a superb blend of clever mystery and slow-burn romance featuring two flawed but intensely loveable characters who couldn’t be more different – or more perfect for each other.

Buy it at: Amazon or your local independent bookstore

Charlotte:

The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez

In this year of things going terribly awry, I recommend to you as my Best of 2020 a book about everything going right: the right woman (painter Sloan) meets the right guy (musician Jason) and they get a HEA that goes 4/4 on both of them getting everything they wanted re: career, house, marriage, babies. It topped my heart right up to the edge of its capacity.

Buy it at: AmazonAudible, or your local independent bookstore

Dabney:

What is my favorite romance read of the year?

Well, that’s tough. Loretta Chase’s long awaited historical romance, Ten Things I Hate About the Duke, is a delight. Maria Vale’s The Legend of All Wolves series rocks as does Milla Vane’s A Gathering of Dragons books. But I think the book I enjoyed the most – I’ve reread it twice! – is Julianna Keyes’ Bench Player. This is a story that pulled me out of my (mostly crap) year and made me remember all that’s good in the world. And, given that I don’t like baseball – So. Dull. – and find a lot of contemporary romance facile, the sheer pleasure this book gives me is a glorious surprise. I’m a sucker for older protagonists, redemptive storylines, and powerful women. This book has all this and more.

Buy it at: Amazon 

Evelyn:

It’s tough to pick just one, but I’m going for TJ Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea.  I loved many books this year but this is the one that I’ve recommended the most (and bought as a gift the most!). It was a wonderful book – I was entertained and moved and inspired – just what I want when I pick up a story. The romance was low key but the love was rich. It’s a book that will be revisited many times!

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local independent bookstore

Jessica:

How to Start a Scandal by Madeline Martin

I discovered a love of Harlequin Historical romances this year and this title was my favorite of them all. I adore the Beauty and the Beast trope, especially when it’s something like PTSD, which the hero suffers from. The heroine was also fabulous, trying to make a life for herself without resorting to marriage. This title is on my read-again shelf because it was just too good to only read once!

Buy it at: Amazon or shop at your local independent bookstore

Lisa:

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

What a romance, what a novel, and what a piece of work! No one encourages a reader to fall heedlessly in love with her characters like Hibbert, and no one makes the process quite the dance that she makes it.  A delight from start to finish.

Buy it at: AmazonAudible, or your local independent bookstore

Maggie:

Party of Two by Jasmine Guilory

I absolutely adored the relationship between Olivia and Max, which was honest, poignant, funny, flirty, sexy and involved deserts. I also deeply appreciated the balanced look at politics this author took and how well she detailed what the life of a senator would actually look like. Easily my my favorite romance of the year.

Buy it at: AmazonAudible, or your local independent bookstore

Maria Rose:

A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane

Picking one book out of all the books I read in a year is always a difficult challenge, but I’ve settled on A Heart of Stone and Ashes by Milla Vane. It’s complex worldbuilding, fascinating characters and fast paced action combined with an enemies to lovers romance makes for a page turning read from start to finish.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local independent bookstore

Rachel:

The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan

This book was a sweet, fluffy read with a really amazing leading lady. Both of the main characters are such fun people to read about, and the central conflict is high stakes without being anxiety-inducing. I would recommend this book to any reader who is looking for a swoon-worthy, gentle book.  

Buy it at: Amazon or Audible

Shannon:

My favorite romance of 2020 has to be The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon. Not only is it a spectacular love story featuring mature characters who know what they want in life, but it’s also a love letter to female friendship. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect story. It’s a book I enjoyed from start to finish, and although I’m not someone who does a ton of rereading, I’m pretty sure I’ll be revisiting this one in the not-too-distant future.

Buy it at: AmazonAudible, or your local independent bookstore

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Dabney Grinnan
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Impenitent social media enthusiast. Relational trend spotter. Enjoys both carpe diem and the fish of the day.