What a year it’s been… Don’t we always say that? But it applies to 2021 even more! Fortunately, we have our favorite and best Romance audiobooks to distract us. And 2021 had some all-time highlights in that regard!
Some of these books were among my most anticipated releases of the year. And even though I went in with dangerously high expectations, they managed to exceed my hopes and just blew me away. Other books were completely unexpected finds that I fell in love with and that I simply can’t stop talking about!
Act Your Age, Eve Brown
Talia Hibbert (Author), Ione Butler (Narrator)
Act Your Age, Eve Brown was one of my most anticipated Romance books of the year and it was even better than I had hoped! Talia Hibbert can write Romantic Comedies like nobody else. This book is like the warm and cozy blanket on a beautiful, comfy sofa, in that adorable inn… wait, where was I going with this? Anyway, Eve and Jacob are both utterly lovable, real, believable, and they make such a perfect match! Jacob is grumpy, Eve is sunshine, and she secretly lives in one of his rooms. Is this the best Romance audiobook of 2021? Well… yeah. Yes. It really is. Also thanks to the absolutely wonderful Ione Butler who narrates this audiobook.
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The Queer Principles of Kit Webb
Cat Sebastian (Author), Joel Leslie (Narrator)
The Queer Principles of Kit Webb is one of the latest releases by one of my favorite author/narrator teams, Cat Sebastian and Joel Leslie. This was another highly anticipated release for me. Kit Webb is a retired former highwayman who might or might not have some quite revolutionary ideas about society and the distribution of wealth. Percy is the aristocratic son of a very questionable character and tries to hire Kit for a job. The chemistry between these two is insane! And their adventure is entertaining, captivating, and fun. This Historical M/M Romance is all-around wonderful and for me one of the best audiobooks of 2021!
The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting
KJ Charles (Author), Cornell Collins (Narrator)
The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting was KJ Charles’ pandemic surprise book for us and I most certainly appreciated it! This is the story of a brother and sister who enter the London season to find good matches and “marry up”. The siblings are not what you would expect, and neither is the man who uncovers their secrets. Marrying a lord is also discussed in much more realistic ways than we usually see in Historical Romance. This is such a fascinating, gentle Historical M/M Romance and Cornell Collins really brought the characters to life!
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Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake
Alexis Hall (Author), Fiona Hardingham (Narrator)
In Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake, Alexis Hall has given us the bisexual single mom in a love triangle and on a baking show that we all wanted and needed! I love Rosaline and her little chosen family. And the baking show, Bake Expectations, is ridiculously entertaining! It’s a beautiful, tender love story but the book also doesn’t shy away from discussing serious issues without coming off as preachy. And this doesn’t take away from how insanely funny Alexis Hall is, quite the opposite actually. It’s these depths that make this story more relatable and realistic. Fiona Hardingham perfectly brings these characters to life and has a big part in making this one of the best Romance audiobooks of 2021!
Cara Bastone (Author), Lidia Dornet (Narrator), Chris Brinkley (Narrator)
Sweet Talk was such a surprise hit for me! This title is included in Audible Plus and has a fantastic audiobook production with duet narration and small sound effects. Cara Bastone’s book is incredibly funny, cute, and simply delightful! This is the perfect Romantic Comedy when you need light, fluffy, and sweet entertainment. And I adored the theme of hero and heroine only talking through texts and on the phone for a long time before meeting for the first time face to face. Definitely one of the best Romance audiobooks you can listen to with Audible Plus!
Life’s Too Short
Abby Jimenez (Author), Christine Lakin (Narrator), Zachary Webber (Narrator)
Life’s Too Short first breaks your heart and then gently mends it. This is such a beautiful, emotional Romance that manages to feel both raw, brutally real, and at the same time, funny and hopeful. The characters are complex and insanely lovable. Abby Jimenez treats the topic of illness and death with a lot of care. And Christine Lakin’s and Zachary Webber’s narration manages to bring you to tears and make you laugh out loud the next moment. A truly wonderful book!
Hana Khan Carries On
Uzma Jalaluddin (Author), Ulka Simone Mohanty (Narrator)
Hana is without a doubt one of my favorite heroines of the year! She is such a wonderful main character and I was very invested in her journey. Hana Khan Carries On is a fantastic Romance / Women’s Fiction novel and I loved her family and community. The story is so captivating, warm, and light-hearted, and it has the internet love trope I enjoy so much. This brings such nice elements to the story because the characters really get to know each other’s personalities first. Ulka Simone Mohanty did a perfect narration with a great range of voices. And you can’t help but feel like you are right there in Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, the family’s restaurant.
First Comes Like
Alisha Rai (Author), Saira Ayers (Narrator), Neil Shah (Narrator)
First Comes Like is the warm and romantic story that we all needed in 2021. And I loved that this Romance novel has its entirely own theme. While Alisha Rai touches on different tropes, they never dictate the story. Jia and Dev get their entirely unique love story that is just them and that is absolutely wonderful! Saira Ayers and Neil Shah are the perfect voices for this wonderful dual point of view love story. First Comes Like is one of the best Romance audiobooks of 2021 for me!
Kacen Callender (Author), Commarrah J. Yochanan (Narrator)
I loved Felix Ever After and was very intrigued by a Kacen Callender Audible Original. And it completely exceeded my expectations! Sunset Springs is a raw, yet beautiful Adult Trans M/M novella. And even though this is a quick listen, this Friends to Lovers Romance is completely captivating and emotional! I enjoyed the narration by Commarrah J. Yochanan very much. The perfect voice to bring this story to life! This was one of the most touching books I have listened to this year and it is definitely a new favorite!
Related article: What is Audible Plus?
The Hellion’s Waltz
Olivia Waite (Author), Morag Sims (Narrator)
The Hellion’s Waltz was one of my most anticipated Historical Romance novels of the year. And it was even better than expected! This is a fast-paced adventure with two wonderful main characters who have insane chemistry. I adored Maddie and her crazy plan. And Sophie makes the perfect match for her. The two have such a wonderful relationship! But I also loved the side characters who all bring their own skills to the plan. And Morag Sims brings them all to life! A completely captivating story and definitely one of the best Romance audiobooks of 2021!
An Earl, the Girl, and a Toddler
Vanessa Riley (Author), Bahni Turpin (Narrator)
You could listen to A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby first, before starting An Earl, the Girl, and a Toddler so you can better understand and fully appreciate the amazingness that is The Widow’s Grace, a secret society that protects women. But it also works perfectly fine as a standalone. I absolutely loved this book! Even more than the first in the Rogues & Remarkable Women series. An adorable toddler, a righteous barrister, and a reckless woman with a very mysterious and worrying past are in the center of this gripping story. There are lots of secrets and mysteries, and the ending is absolutely beautiful and made me tear up a little bit. The audiobook is narrated by the amazing Bahni Turpin!
Kim Hartfield (Author), Abby Craden (Narrator), Angela Dawe (Narrator)
I adored Flipcup so very much! Kim Hartfield’s book was an unexpected hit for me. The story is adorable and fun with a bisexual party girl, who falls for a woman for the first time, and an androgynous bookstore employee. And the narration was incredible! Angela Dawe and Abby Craden did such a beautiful job copying the other narrator’s voice during dialogue scenes. They really brought these two women, their emotional depth, and their connection to life. And that really made this one of the best Romance audiobooks of 2021 for me! It is such an immense pleasure to listen to this story.
Suleena Bibra (Author), Jeed Saddy (Narrator)
Two Houses was a surprise hit for me and is one of my favorite enemies to lovers Romance audiobooks of 2021! It made me laugh out loud a lot and the two main characters have a very believable rivalry going (with some hits under the belt). I also loved listening to a Romance set in the world of art auctions. That was super interesting and it was so nice how Priya and Gavin both appreciated art and history. The narration by Jeed Saddy was fantastic and really brought out what a badass Priya is!
The Fastest Way to Fall
Denise Williams (Author, Narrator), N’Jameh Camara (Narrator), Teddy Hamilton (Narrator)
The Fastest Way to Fall quite literally made me fall hard and fast! Britta tries out a fitness app that assigns her an online coach, Wes, and the two hit it off pretty quickly, moving from the app to chat to text messages. Britta and Wes are so meant for each other, it made me swoon! I loved their story. Wes and Britta keep some pretty profound things from each other, but they are surprisingly, refreshingly good at communication. Teddy Hamilton was an utter delight as Wes, and I loved N’Jameh Camara as Britta! Such a wonderful, wonderful Audible book and one of my favorites of 2021!
The Perks of Loving a Wallflower
Erica Ridley (Author), Moira Quirk (Narrator)
The Perks of Loving a Wallflower is an incredibly entertaining, exciting story with a beautiful happy ending! Since this is a Historical Romance, the characters don’t use current terms they identify with. But Philippa seems to be a demisexual lesbian, and Tommy appears to be nonbinary and sapphic. The Wynchesters are a crazy family and completely lovable! So is bluestocking Philippa who loves books and just wants to read in peace, while her rich parents are set on marrying her to a man with a title. Tommy has been crushing on Philippa since the first time she saw her, and is always in Philippa’s orbit in some disguise or other. It’s such an adorable love story! Moira Quirk is a wonderful narrator and this was an immense pleasure to listen to! The Perks of Loving a Wallflower is not only a must-listen for fans of Olivia Waite, but also a great choice for people new to queer Romance.
All the Feels
Olivia Dade (Author), Kelsey Navarro (Narrator)
Aw man, All The Feels by Olivia Dade is so good! For me, it is without a doubt one of the best Romance audiobooks of 2021 and a must-read for Romance fans, seriously! Alex is a popular and successful actor, but he also has ADHD and is prone to making decisions that aren’t necessarily best for his career. That’s why Lauren is hired as his “babysitter”. The two are so utterly, heartbreakingly sweet together. It melted my heart! This book had me laughing out many times, but it also goes into topics that are not so easy to deal with, literally “all the feels”. One thing I particularly appreciated about this book is that Lauren is not in any way presented as a stunningly beautiful heroine. She isn’t. She is overweight and she has a crooked nose. But it is still completely believable that Alex is attracted to her and falls for her. Such a wonderful, wonderful book with two utterly lovable people! This is an all-time favorite for me and Kelsey Navarro brought Alex and Lauren to life perfectly.
The Love Hypothesis
Ali Hazelwood (Author), Callie Dalton (Narrator)
The Love Hypothesis was one of the most hyped Romance books of the year. And for me, it really lived up to that! I’m sure not everyone will love how Ali Hazelwood handled certain sensitive topics. But the characters drew me in completely. Olive and Adam are so cute and romantic together and the fake relationship trope was so much fun! Callie Dalton did a fantastic job with the narration and this was a real feel-good listen for me. This is not only for me one of the best Romance audiobooks of 2021!
Sarah MacLean (Author), Mary Jane Wells (Narrator)
Bombshell is a Historical Romance with one of my favorite new tropes, a secret society of women protecting women! Sesily has built a scandalous reputation for herself which she uses strategically to take down bad men, together with her crazy gang of women who have mad skills and a taste for vengeance. When someone has a secret, they will find it – and use it if necessary. When Sesily encounters Caleb, she needs leverage over him, even though she is so very attracted to him. This is such a fun, captivating audiobook and I absolutely adore Mary Jane Wells. She is hands down the best narrator for Historical Romance audiobooks!
Rachel Reid (Author), Cooper North (Narrator)
Role Model is one of the best M/M Romance audiobooks of 2021! Troy is a Hockey player who chose to stay in the closet. The homophobic slurs he encounters in games put him off any thoughts of coming out. But Harris, the out-and-proud social media manager of his new team, is too fascinating. So, Troy keeps seeking Harris’ company. This book made me tear up because it was so insanely sweet! I loved how the two guys talked with each other. How carefully Troy approached Harris and just couldn’t stay away. Their relationship journey is insanely sweet and moving. Troy is the kind of tortured hero I just can’t help but love. He comes so far in this book! Cooper North is a wonderful narrator and the perfect fit for this audiobook!
The Dating Playbook
Farrah Rochon (Author), Rebecca Lee (Narrator)
The Dating Playbook is a wonderful, captivating Sports Romance! Taylor is building her fitness business, but things aren’t exactly going smoothly. When former football star Jamar offers her a position as his personal trainer, it sounds like the perfect way to boost her career. And it’s such a shame when her great plan is screwed up by the rumor that Taylor and Jamar are a couple. While the two have insane chemistry, Taylor wanted to keep her distance and stay professional. But hey, everybody knows that a fake relationship will solve all your issues, right? Right! I love Farrah Rochon’s writing. She has such likable and relatable heroines! And the narration by Rebecca Lee is absolutely amazing, making this one of the best Romance audiobooks of 2021!
What If You & Me
Roni Loren (Author), Desiree Ketchum (Narrator)
The cover of What If You & Me didn’t make me think I’d find a sweet and sexy Romance behind it. But, is it ever! This is a wonderful neighbors to lovers story with a tiny bit of suspense and a fantastic narration by Desiree Ketchum. Both protagonists struggle with mental health issues and I appreciated very much how it was represented here. Andi has anxiety and PTSD, Hill has depressions after losing part of his leg. The effects of this on their lives felt very real, and they still get to be 3-dimensional people who are so much more than their diagnosis. This is such a heartwrenching, captivating, and witty book and one of my favorite Romance audiobooks ever!/