TTT: Best Books I Read in 2021

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. There is a new topic each week for bloggers to join in with their own top ten. If you’re looking for some new or different book blogs to read, hop on over to her site and check out some of the links.

I read a lot of amazing books in 2021, so this week’s Top Ten Tuesday was quite the assignment. There was no way I could whittle down the over 20 books I rated as 5 stars to just 10. There were some authors that popped up multiple times so I decided to only feature one title from each 5-star author, which still left me with 15 books. That’s the best I can do people!

Here they are, listed in the order I read them so as not to complicate my life even more. Click on the title of the book to take you to my review if you’d like to see more about any of these stories.

One Night with a Cowboy
(Silverado Lake book #2)
by Sara Richardson

Rodeo cowboy Wes Harding left his family ranch after one reckless mistake cost his loved ones everything. But when his sister needs help, Wes agrees to come home and take the reins of their ranch’s big charity event. However, he didn’t plan for his distracting, stubborn co-hostess. One kiss with Thea throws his world off balance . . . and has Wes craving the family he’s never dared dreamed of.

Single mom Thea Davis doesn’t have time for an inexplicable, toe-curling attraction to Wes Harding—no matter how well he listens or how sweetly he treats her children. Her focus needs to be on holding her fragile family together. But the more time she spends with Wes, the more attached she—and her kids—become. With the week drawing to a close, can Wes convince her to give love a chance before she leaves Silverado Lake—and him—behind for good?


Cup of Joe
(Bold Brew book #1)
by Annabeth Albert

Sometimes an ordinary Joe is all you need…

Newbie barista Levi Miles is having a bad day in the middle of a bad month. He’s trying to figure out post-graduation life, and a recent breakup hasn’t helped. The one bright spot? The charming blue-collar customer with the simple order and reassuring voice.

Electrician Joe Simmons can make anything light up—except his love life. As he gets older, he remains unsure about what he wants from a relationship. But an innocent flirtation with the fresh-faced barista is exactly what his ego needs.
Levi doesn’t need a boyfriend. Or a Daddy. But bantering with Joe feels so good, and when their tentative friendship takes a turn for the sexy, a summer fling seems fun. Exploring long-held desires brings them closer with each steamy night, and the idea of parting gets harder.

But Levi’s only in town temporarily, and the end of summer is approaching. Both are reluctant to disclose their feelings, but pushing past their fears may be the only way to keep this special thing going. Can they order up a happy ending before time runs out?

*Note: Another 5-star read from this author I read in 2021 was Sailor Proof


Demon from the Dark
(Immortals After Dark book #9)
by Kresley Cole

A DANGEROUS DEMON SHE CAN’T RESIST
Malkom Slaine: tormented by his sordid past and racked by vampiric hungers, he’s pushed to the brink by the green-eyed beauty under his guard.

A MADDENING WITCH HE ACHES TO CLAIM
Carrow Graie: hiding her own sorrows, she lives only for the next party or prank. Until she meets a tortured warrior worth saving.

TRAPPED TOGETHER IN A SAVAGE PRISON
In order for Malkom and Carrow to survive, he must unleash both the demon and vampire inside him. When Malkom becomes the nightmare his own people feared, will he lose the woman he craves body and soul?


The Wicked Aftermath
(The Wickeds: Dark Nights at Bayside book #2)
by Melissa Foster

When the person you blame for your grief is the only one who can save you from the pain…

Tank Wicked lost his sister and has since vowed to save everyone else in his path. He lives by the creed of the Dark Knights motorcycle club, sworn to protect and respect his community. He selflessly saves lives as a volunteer firefighter and treats the men and women who work for him at his tattoo shop like family. But life isn’t a balance scale where good deeds negate bad things to come, and one foggy night life guts Tank once again. When a car careens over the side of a bridge and into a river, Tank springs into action, plunging into the water to rescue the passengers. Four people go into the river, but only three come out alive.

Leah Yates is just trying to make it through each day. When the man she blames for her grief becomes the only one who can pull her from the depths of despair, she discovers that even hope comes at a price. Maybe this time she won’t have to face it alone.

*Note: I also rated this author’s Running on Diesel a 5-star read in 2021.


In the Middle of Somewhere
(Middle of Somewhere book #1)
by Roan Parrish

Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in.

Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people.

When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.

*Note: I adore this author and rated another three of her books as 5-star reads in 2021: Best Laid Plans, The Remaking of Corbin Wales, and The Lights on Knockbridge Lane.


Alibi
(Brantley Walker: Off the Books book #5)
by Nicole Edwards

Travis Walker has been battling dark urges since the day Juliet Prince kidnapped his six-year-old daughter four months ago. Although Kate was returned safely, the woman responsible vanished.

When their attempts to find her keep coming up empty, Travis let his need for retribution consume him and it nearly cost him his relationship with his family. Thanks to help from Gage and Kylie, Travis came back from the brink and passed the case back where it belonged: with the Off the Books Task Force.

What they don’t know is that, despite their best efforts and repeated failures to find her, Juliet doesn’t intend to run forever. She’s coming back to Coyote Ridge to settle the score once and for all. And this time, she intends to bring Travis to his knees by taking what means the most to him.

When the unthinkable happens, Travis’s need for vengeance is renewed and he will move heaven and earth to avenge his family.


Jett
(Arizona Vengeance book #10)
by Sawyer Bennett

Jett Olsson isn’t looking for anything serious and she’s not looking for anything at all, so why does it seem so hard to keep it professional?

I love my life—the thrill of being on the ice as part of the Arizona Vengeance, the rush of winning, the adoration of the fans. And if that adoration means I don’t have to spend the night alone, well even better. I’m content being single and always ready to mingle.

But the day Emory Holland walks into a Vengeance team meeting my attention is caught like never before. I can tell right away she’s full of smarts and sass, and the fact that she’s hot as hell sure doesn’t hurt either. She immediately shuts down my advances, so I opt for the road less traveled—straight to the friend zone.

My approach works like a charm, and when she invites me into her bed for a no-strings, friends-with-benefits arrangement, I vow to give her everything I have. She’s been hurt before, and if I’m able to help her heal while giving her a spectacularly satisfying time *pats self on back*, then I’ll be happy.

Or at least that’s the lie I keep telling myself as the time ticks down on the final buzzer of our “relationship”. Now the real question is, can I score the winning goal in a game neither of us realized we were playing?


Spun Out
(Blacktop Cowboys book #10)
by Lorelei James

Years in the Army equipped Bailey Masterson for many things: target shooting, rappelling off cliffs, dodging grenades. She’s lived through horrors that still give her nightmares. But nothing in Bailey’s life-or-death training prepared her for caring for the tiny terror that is five-year-old Olivia Hale. Or how to control her raging attraction to Olivia’s father, Streeter, the rugged, green-eyed cattle rancher who undermines her every move even when he stars in her dreams.

Streeter Hale has room for only two things in his life: his daughter and his job. He doesn’t date. He doesn’t get attached. Not anymore. So not only is Streeter stunned by Olivia’s improved behavior after just a few days with Bailey, he’s downright floored by his immediate attraction to the woman. But with secrets in her eyes and a body that doesn’t quit, Streeter begins to worry that Bailey Masterson might just be the one woman to heal his fractured family and broken heart.

One thing’s for sure–these two wrecked souls are spinning out of control as they desperately try not to fall in love… 


True Love Cowboy
(McGrath book #3)
by Jennifer Ryan

Cowboys live by their word, their wits, and their loyalty.

Jon Crawford has returned to Montana, determined to take over his father’s ranch and raise his daughter in Big Sky Country, leaving the big-city life behind once and for all. He doesn’t have time to fall in love, but he doesn’t count on stubborn but beautiful Trinity McGrath, who arouses his protective instincts even as she tries to push him away.

Life hasn’t always been easy for Trinity, but now she has everything she needs—her family, friends, and a safe and secure life. With a business to build, Trinity doesn’t have time for romance…until Jon comes barging into her life and all her intentions are turned upside down! 

Still, an attraction like theirs is too powerful to deny, and sometimes true love comes along when you least expect it. But when someone from Jon’s past comes back with a vengeance, Trinity and Jon will have to do everything they can to save themselves and their new love… 

*Note: Another 5-star book I read from this author in 2021 is Tough Talking Cowboy

Rebel’s Karma
(Dark Protectors book #13)
by Rebecca Zanetti

There’s no denying destiny . . .
For too long, Benjamin Reese has masked his deadly skills and temper with loyalty and humor. A vampire-demon hybrid, he fiercely protects his family, guards his brothers, and destroys the enemy without mercy. But when he discovers one fragile, beautiful blonde—a woman once mated to a Kurjan, no less—every primal instinct he has buried for centuries roars to life. With the mating mark she roused on his hand entwining their fates, no one will prevent him from keeping her safe and making her his, forever . . .

Or desire . . .
Karma wishes she could remember her last name. Or if she even had one. All she has in this confusing new world is a desperate duty to save the innocent. That means destroying the dark, dangerous, and desirable Benjamin Reese and everything he loves—an impossible task even before his touch arouses a passionate hunger she can’t afford. She’s certain a deadly enemy watches her every move, but it’s not until Benny kisses her that she tastes true danger…

*Note: Another author with multiple 5-star ratings from me in 2021; Hero’s Haven and Vixen are the others.


The Heartbreaker of Echo Pass
(Gold Valley book #12)
by Maisey Yates

Shy Iris Daniels is on a mission to shake up her life. She’s sick of being underestimated, and she’s got a new business plan to prove it. The one thing she didn’t factor in is her new landlord, Griffin Chance. The gruff mountain man isn’t what she expected, but Iris recognizes the pain in his eyes. Yet the attraction he ignites is much more unfamiliar…and might be the perfect chance for Iris to embrace the adventure she yearns for.

Griffin Chance knows firsthand how senseless the cards dealt in life can be. He wouldn’t have isolated himself on a remote mountain ridge if he didn’t. Innocent Iris craves excitement, and he’s a man who thought he’d forgotten how to feel. But when their connection grows deeper than either of them anticipated, Griffin has to decide if he can put down the pain of his past and step into a love he never believed possible.

*Note: A wonderful 5-star short story from this author and this series that can easily be read as a standalone is Solid Gold Cowboy.


Fake
(West Hollywood book #1)
by Kylie Scott

He walks the red carpet. She’s more familiar with vacuuming one.

When a scandal tarnishes the reputation of hot as hell A-lister, Patrick Walsh, he needs a reputation rescue, pronto.

Enter waitress Norah Peers–a nobody who’s average with a capital A. She’s available, dependable, and has sworn off men for the rest of her natural born life. In other words: the perfect match for a no-strings fake romance.

For the right amount of money, she can avoid waitressing and play the part of his dependable down-to-earth girlfriend. What she can’t avoid–dammit–is the growing steam between them.

But being hounded by the paparazzi and having your life dissected on social media is a panic attack in the making. And while Patrick might be a charming rogue on screen, in real life he’s a six-foot-two confusing, gorgeous, brooding grump, who keeps her at a distance . . . but also makes her feel like this bond between them might be more than just an act.

Being dumped on cue should be no big deal. Except being fake with Patrick is the realist relationship Norah has ever had. What’s a girl to do, but flip the script, and ask for a rematch made in Hollywood? 


When Stars Collide
(Chicago Stars book #9)
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Thaddeus Walker Bowman Owens, the backup quarterback for the Chicago Stars, is a team player, talented sideline coach, occasional male underwear model, and a man with a low tolerance for Divas.

Olivia Shore, international opera superstar, is a driven diva with a passion for perfection, a craving for justice, too many secrets—and a monumental grudge against the egotistical, lowbrow jock she’s been stuck with.

It’s Mozart meets Monday Night Football as the temperamental soprano and stubborn jock embark on a nationwide tour promoting a luxury watch brand. Along the way, the combatants will engage in soul-searching and trash talk, backstage drama and, for sure, a quarterback pass. But they’ll also face trouble as threatening letters, haunting photographs, and a series of dangerous encounters complicate their lives. Is it the work of an overzealous fan or something more sinister?

This is the emotional journey of a brilliant woman whose career is everything and a talented man who’ll never be happy with second place.  Tender and funny, passionate and insightful, this irresistible romantic adventure proves that anything can happen…when two superstars collide.


Heated Rivalry
(Game Changers book #2)
by Rachel Reid

Nothing interferes with Shane Hollander’s game—definitely not the sexy rival he loves to hate.

Pro hockey star Shane Hollander isn’t just crazy talented, he’s got a spotless reputation. Hockey is his life. Now that he’s captain of the Montreal Voyageurs, he won’t let anything jeopardize that, especially the sexy Russian whose hard body keeps him awake at night.

Boston Bears captain Ilya Rozanov is everything Shane’s not. The self-proclaimed king of the ice, he’s as cocky as he is talented. No one can beat him—except Shane. They’ve made a career on their legendary rivalry, but when the skates come off, the heat between them is undeniable. When Ilya realizes he wants more than a few secret hookups, he knows he must walk away. The risk is too great.

As their attraction intensifies, they struggle to keep their relationship out of the public eye. If the truth comes out, it could ruin them both. But when their need for each other rivals their ambition on the ice, secrecy is no longer an option…


Misadventures of a Curvy Girl
(Misadventures book #18)
by Sierra Simone

For the first time in her life, Ireland Mills is happy with her body. No more fad diets, no more hiding from every camera in the room, no more low self-esteem. She’d rather be alone than with someone who’ll only love her if she’s skinny.

Caleb Carpenter and Ben Weber are everything Ireland and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce dreamed of when conceptualizing the “Real Kansas” promotional campaign. They’re handsome, young, educated, and totally dedicated to their small prairie town.

When Ireland’s Prius gets stuck on a Kansas dirt road and a massive storm rips through town, she’s left stranded with nowhere to turn but to Caleb and Ben. These two hunky country boys are impossible to ignore, but could they ever be interested in her as well?

Caleb and Ben are more than interested…and they’re willing to share. After their first night together, they know this has to be more than a one-time thing. They need to make her theirs forever. But can they convince Ireland they love her, curves and all?

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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8 Responses to TTT: Best Books I Read in 2021

  1. masterspj says:

    There are some seriously steamy covers on this list!!

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!
    https://readbakecreate.com/the-10-best-books-i-read-in-2021/

  2. lydiaschoch says:

    It sounds like 2021 was a wonderful reading year for you. 🙂

    My post: https://lydiaschoch.com/top-ten-tuesday-best-books-i-read-in-2021/

  3. I’m glad you found so many awesome books. I can relate to the challenge of whittling down the list. There are too many good books in the world!

  4. Wow! This looks like a bunch of great books. I’ve read a couple of them and several of these authors. You made good choices!

  5. bitchbookshelf says:

    Wow, lots of awesome sounding books!

  6. Susan says:

    Having too many favorite books to be able to narrow it down to ten is a great problem to have! Glad you found so many good ones this year.

    Happy TTT!

    Susan
    http://www.blogginboutbooks.com

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