How to Dress Like Your Favorite TV Characters: ‘Julie and the Phantoms’ Edition

So, I’ve been seeing this trend all over TikTok where all sorts of fans dress up as their favorite TV show characters. And since, I’m a JATP fantom, I’ve managed to see a lot of iterations of this based on Netflix’s Julie & the Phantoms. These videos are so incredibly clever, all about how these users manage to find some pretty close representatives of the show costumes in their own wardrobes. So, as the proper fangirl I am, I decided to jump on the bandwagon too.

With garments that have been pulled from my color-coordinated closet (TY for your inspo, The Home Edit), I’ve attempted to replicate six key show looks for everyday wear. Sure, not all are exact matches because I don’t have the show’s stylist, wardrobe closet, or budget at my disposal. But, I do have a packed closet of my own and a keen idea of my personal style. So, keep reading to find out how to dress like your fave Julie & the Phantoms character IRL, just as I’ve done.

Standing on the Edge of Great Like Julie

Yes, I’m holding a box of “girl stuff” and a notebook perfect for writing songs. #incharacter

Julie was a tad tricky for me because, usually, I don’t dress like a  “cool teen” like the JATP lead singer, so I had to improvise a bit. Paired with some ripped skinny jeans, I added this off-the-shoulder green, leopard-print, flowy blouse from Kenzo x H&M to complete my look. Then, I threw on some white sneakers from Keds to match. I thought this look is quite similar to the vibe of her “Edge of Great” butterfly look, which too has a whimsical, cool aesthetic.

What You Need to Replicate It: Jeans, off-the-shoulder printed blouse


Embracing My Inner Rockstar Ala Luke

Luke was an easy one to replicate, with his casual, wannabe musician look. To give it a Miranda Touch, I matched a pair of black jeans with a sleeveless concert tee. Alternatively, he’s the one band member to wear a Sunset Curve (hey, tell your friends!) tee on the daily, so I have that included too. I added a sleeveless Calia hoodie over it because that hoodie aesthetic is so Luke. I finished off the look with a pair of black booties to give it some edge.

What You Need to Replicate It: Sleeveless band tee, jeans, sleeveless or sleeved hoodie, beanie hat


I Wish I Had a Puppy, Pizza … or Outfits Like Reggie

Yes, because I was deeply in character, the middle photo is an homage to Reggie’s wish scene.

Bassist Reggie was another effortless look to put together. To do so, I paired some dark jeans with a white tank top and a black moto-inspired blazer. However, since I don’t have any flannel shirts, I found tying my faux Burberry scarf around my waist achieved a similar look. To complete the outfit, I added a pair of black booties to fully edge this ‘fit out.

What You Need to Replicate It: Jeans, white tank top, motorcycle jacket, flannel-like shirt


Taking Fashion Inspo From Alex AKA the Purest Ghost Ever

The sweetheart ghost himself brings such a casual vibe to the show, so I tried to emulate that. In order to make it a reality, I paired a plain pink tee over a denim jacket and jeans. To finish off the look, I added a black, backward-facing cap, naturally. Now, I don’t have a fanny pack to work with, but I do have a crossbody bag. Switching his fanny pack for my crossbody helps make this look even easier to wear modern-day because I don’t look like I’m perpetually stuck in 1995 like Alex on the show. Then, I added some sneakers on my feet since the look is quite casual.

What You Need to Replicate It: Pink tee, jean jacket, black hat, black crossbody or fanny pack


All Eyes Are on Me … as Carrie

Embracing my inner diva slash Carrie, even doing *that* “All Eyes on Me” head move.

While some of Carrie’s Dirty Candy ‘fits were v v cool, they are v v unlike anything I own. So, I went with a version of her preppy, all-pink ensemble from the school scenes. I matched a pink miniskirt with both a sleeveless, hot pink blouse and a pale pink sweater. I believe it achieves a similar look that Carrie could have rocked if she was in her mid-twenties and working in the corporate world. For my shoes, I added a pair of silver ballet flats. Then, for accessories, I went with a sparkly headband, a chunky jeweled necklace, and either a Lilly Pulitzer wristlet or Kate Spade purse.

What You Need to Replicate It: Pink blouse and skirt, any sparkly baubles


No One is as Cool as Flynn

Now, Flynn’s the most adventurous dresser on the show, IMO, which scared me a bit. So, hesitantly, I found a leopard-print sweater I owned and tucked it underneath a Minnie Mouse overall dress, and added some black booties underneath. It was a look I wasn’t sure about, but felt so cool and very fall while I was wearing it. It was my version of her “Flying Solo” getup. Alternatively, I wore a chunky black sweater underneath the overall dress and brought the leopard pattern with some Kate Spade flats instead. Also, since we mostly see Flynn at the school on the show, I added a chic brown leather backpack to accessorize the look. Sure, it’s a bit out there for my usual tastes, but I feel closer to Flynn’s style already and feel that much cooler.

What You Need to Replicate It: Overalls, leopard or chunky sweater


There you have it! Six different ways to bring Julie & the Phantoms to life based on clothes you already own! Stylish, edgy, casual, preppy, or cool — whatever your style, the JATP crew would think you’d rock their styles! And sure, these looks took me out of my comfort zone, but that’s the great part. These looks gave me all the confidence that, sure, I could rock any of these looks in my usual day-to-day activities.

11 New Fall and Winter Book Releases That’ll Inspire You When You’re Stuck at Home

Fall can often be dreary. Cold, isolating, and boring — plus a global pandemic and an unknown government situation can only add to those feelings. So, I like to curl up with a blanket and a book and shut out the world by escaping to my array of fictional worlds from my personal library. Anyone surprised?

So, settle in for another installment of Miranda’s Book Nook as I share even more new book titles that coming out this fall and winter that just I can’t get enough of. Happy reading, y’all!

Dearly by Margaret Atwood

In this brand-new book of poetry from acclaimed author Margaret Atwood, there’s an assortment of compelling and impactful poems, each that tells a story full of compelling language. These poems aim to make you think, feel, dream, desire, yearn — basically all of the feels.

There are some wanderlust motifs inside that make me just want to be able to travel again. Plus, messages about being remembered, which from story to story, we will definitely remember everything that Atwood has shown us long after we’ve closed the book’s pages.

Each poem effortlessly flows from one to the next and the book is impeccably organized, where I can see how poems and stories are related to each other with its seamless, well-positioned transitions. The tones and points of view are very realistic to the modern world, and while most are less doe-eyed optimistic, it skews on the darker side. There are rhyme schemes that just flow so well when you read these poems aloud. There’s definitely a motif of sisterhood and women sticking together in their fight for survival, forgiveness, love, and strength. Would you expect anything less from Atwood’s work? Because she does feminist writings very well and with covering such meaningful themes. The poems have such rich language and captivating word choice that tells complex stories that capture the readers due to strong symbols and metaphors. This is definitely a poetry collection I need to add to my personal library as soon as I can.

Available: Now


I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are by Rachel Bloom

This book of essays is by Rachel Bloom, who’s the creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a show that I was a huge fan of. Her TV series was full of witty dialogue, which prompted my initial interest in this nonfiction read. First off, the cover gives me throwback The Babysitter’s Club book cover vibes, which is so much fun in itself.

Then, inside, the text is composed of relatable, conversational language that’s both funny and impactful. It’s focused on a bunch of different stories chronicling everything from childhood, selling the CXG series, falling in love, and more. Sure, these stories may be full of funny language and jokes, but they all have deeper meanings with plenty of heart. The read is told through first-person accounts, make-believe stories, original scripts, her actual childhood diary entries, and even Harry Potter fanfiction! Bloom’s tone of voice in this book of essays is very relatable, which makes me laugh out loud because, like, I GET IT. After reading, it makes you realize, ‘Oh, hey I wasn’t normal either and who cares because being me is much more rewarding and fun.’ It gives hope to all us theatre kids out there about our futures and that things will get better. It’s a one-sitting read because it was enjoyable, funny, relatable, honest, and authentic.

Available: November 17


It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne

I had loved Holly Bourne’s novel Pretending earlier this year and her compelling characterizations and perspectives. So I was instantly excited to read this new book and its fun premise. Here, British teen Audrey is currently dealing with the aftermath of her parents’ divorce, her own breakup, and her changing friend dynamics, all of which have made her cynical about the concept of love and romance. However, she soon finds herself falling for the ever-charming playboy Harry from her part-time job at the local cinema, even though she knows she shouldn’t.

From the prologue alone, I was hooked. Full of compelling and relatable language and a fresh perspective, I just couldn’t put it down. I had to keep reading. Then, the first chapter dives right into the action rather than pages upon pages of exposition and background, which I appreciated. So, Audrey’s working on a school project about the unrealistic behaviors in romance movies and is starring in Harry’s own movie as the love interest character, where she’s facing whether or not she still believes love is hopeless. This book is just so easy to get sucked into and I just didn’t want to put it down. It’s a quick, fun, and engaging YA read. The lead character of Audrey, by the ending, is so vulnerable and full of heart that reads as authentic. By the end, I just couldn’t stop reading, it had me enthralled and hooked to find out the rest of her story and what she actually wants.

Sure, the ending was cheesy and cute, but I’m glad that it didn’t just end on a romantic HEA, but rather a self-love HEA, which I find even more impactful and empowering. It made me happy to see her realizing her worth and becoming stronger because, hey, real life isn’t the perfectly curated movies, and I admire this book bringing that realism.

Available: December 1


Teddy Spenser Isn’t Looking for Love by Kim Fielding

This quick, fast-paced romance read was absolutely adorable, chock full of enemies-to-lovers, business trips with a shared hotel room, and opposites-attract tropes that made it just delightful to complete.

Here, Teddy Spenser and his work rival Romeo Blue are assigned to collaborate on a big work project that could save the fate of the company, a tech startup in Chicago. Teddy is quite cynical about love at first, but cannot deny that Romeo is very dapper. This book is full of funny, relatable language that makes Teddy such an authentic, engaging protagonist. The men are complete opposites, yet both seem to have been pining for the other a bit. But, it isn’t until their work trip in Seattle where they discover each other’s true selves: mind, body, and soul. This read is so quick and engaging, which makes it so easy to get sucked into. The writing is witty and sharp in this slow-burn love story. It’s just so freaking adorable, like audibly squeal-worthy.

Available: December 29


West End Girls by Jenny Colgan

I was really excited to read Jenny Colgan’s newest book, however, this seems to have fallen a bit flat and wasn’t my exact cup of tea. Not that it was terrible, it just wasn’t my favorite.

Here, 27-year-old twins, Lizzie and Penny are complete opposites from Essex, yet are tasked with moving to London together to watch their paternal grandmother’s flat in Chelsea who was just moved into a nursing home. It’s confusing how the chapters abruptly change from the perspective of Lizzie, Penny, or artist Will who likes Penny. It took me a while to get into with all the perspective jumping, and because of that, it took longer for me to really dig these characters, which is a shame because typically Colgan does such a great job at characterization. Both girls want to find where they belong and their purpose, so this book follows their journey living in Chelsea, with jobs, love, family, and friends. It’s fun and cute, but just kind of like, eh, here’s a few months of their lives living in the West End. That’s all.

Available: January 5


The MeetCute Project by Rhiannon Richardson

This YA romance was utterly delightful and adorable, the perfect one-sitting read to get sucked into on a cozy Sunday, because, guilty, that definitely happened.

Here, teenager Mia has a jam-packed schedule between classes, friends, and her growing extracurriculars. Thanks to all of that and how nervous she gets around boys, she’s single. For her older sister Sam’s upcoming wedding, Mia is instructed to bring a date to help balance out the wedding photos since she’s the only one sans a partner. To do so, her three best friends play matchmaker and arrange a series of meet-cutes to help Mia meet a prospective date.

It’s such a cute premise and the characters and language are so authentic and relatable, I can’t help but get sucked into this book. In addition to the blind dates, there’s the jerkish Ben who she has a crush on but her besties don’t approve of, and also Gavin who works at the community garden she starts to volunteer at, so this love triangle gets a bit bigger. She and Gavin have a completely organic meet-cute all on their own and made me scream out, several times, to just tell each other how they feel because it was so painfully obvious and I just wanted that be endgame here. As all of her friends’ setups go awry in different ways, she turns to Gavin like a Cyrano-type to ask for advice from a boy’s perspective. This book was so captivating that I just couldn’t put it down and ended up finishing it in a single sitting. This quick read is absolutely and positively cute, and that ending, however predictable, was just adorable.

Available: January 12


Everybody (Else) Is Perfect by Gabrielle Korn

This memoir slash collection of essays from the former EIC of Nylon Magazine shares her own experience escaping the hamster world of the corporate world and success, especially as a journalist. She notes how, since resigning, she’s been able to focus on her personal wellbeing, which isn’t tied to work success.

Through a series of essays, Korn shares memories about her place in life at work and covering articles she believed in, and her personal identity journey. This book handles such raw, vulnerable topics in a way that’s well-written, compelling, and authentic. There’s definitely some very empowering scenes that encourage us readers to remember that while we all may be insecure, we shouldn’t be and instead embrace our authentic selves fully. She reveals her internal struggles, personal identity journey and growth, and how she got where she is today both personally and professionally. Now, as a journalist and lifestyle writer/editor myself, I came for the professional advice and guides to help further my own career goals, but I ended up reading something that was way more, with lessons about embracing my entire self with confidence and not just sacrificing my personal life for the sake of the job of my dreams.

Available: January 26


Love is a Revolution by Renée Watson

First, I always love to see both racial and body diversity in a book, especially with YA and a romance, which historically doesn’t have the best reputation for it. But seeing that change is so great to see. This book takes place the summer before senior year, where Nala loves making lists and dreams of changing her hair, hanging with friends and family, and falling in love on this school break. Then, she meets a new boy in town, Tye, and she has a big crush on him. He’s very involved with the same community organization as her cousin, and so Nala tries whatever it takes to keep his attention even if it involves little fibs about also being a vegetarian and a volunteer because now he’s interested in this fake version of her. These lies pile up and get bigger and bigger as they start to date and she keeps pretending, and it’s almost like he tries to get her to be what’s she’s not and so, while there is a romantic love story, the main focus is on a self-love journey.

There’s such an authentic teen point of view and compelling language that makes me want to keep reading right off the bat. It’s a quick read that I could polish off in a single sitting because I just couldn’t put it down in the middle, and I was just so invested. In the end, it was just so adorable and I loved how it was more than just a romantic love story, but rather a focus on her journey to self-acceptance and confidence.

Available: February 2


How to Date Your Wardrobe by Heather Newberger

In this short guidebook, stylist Heather Newberger aims to help you reinvent your wardrobe and learn tricks to become more confident in your own skin. It’s all about inspiring your self-confidence, and less about what clothes to specifically wear through her helpful strategies and processes honed through her years as a stylist.

The quick book has an informative, yet conversational tone that feels approachable, realistic, and yet is still seen as an expert here to help. It’s a book for those readers who are seeking a way to upgrade your style and closet with pieces that speak to you and make you feel like a million bucks. She offers handy pop-up pro tips throughout with specific examples of how to put her strategies into action to really focus on how to figure out your own personal style and harnessing that. She brings further tips about shopping, including where to go, mixing things up, and how to navigate the online marketplace. Want to know what this book is really like? It’s like Marie Kondo or The Home Edit or other types of similar organization shows where I immediately get super inspired to redo everything I own right away. It’s like that. All in all, it’s mostly about inspiring you to think critically about clothes so that you only have and wear what you love, need, and make you feel like a star.

Available: February 9


First Comes Like by Alisha Rai

I’ve been waiting to read and review this book for so long, like you don’t understand how excited I am to actually have this baby in my hands right now. As you know well by now, I devoured Alisha Rai’s first two books in her “Modern Love” series: The Right Swipe and Girl Gone Viral. In both swoon-worthy contemporary romances, we were briefly introduced to Rhi and Kat’s third roomie, Jia, who’s a mega-popular beauty influencer. Now, it’s Jia’s turn for some love, and hopefully, get a quick update on how our fave HEAs are doing up in Santa Monica after their books.

We start off with a nervous Jia about to crash a Hollywood party to meet her crush Dev, an international actor, whom she thinks slid into her DMs a year ago and continued to chat with her. However, he doesn’t recognize her and she realizes that she was catfished. Like the previous two books in the series, we see back-and-forth perspectives to get insight into both Dev and Jia’s inner thoughts. While he doesn’t recognize her, Dev is quite mesmerized by her beauty and confidence from the moment he saw her at that party. Also, it was great to see that Rhi and Kat both still have their HEAs with their love interests. That made me squeal, once again, because I love to see that.

This book was a tad slow to start, especially in comparison to The Right Swipe and Girl Gone Viral, and I was just waiting for more than one hundred pages for that heat and action to pick up. And honestly, I’m just not as invested or feeling the butterflies as I was reading the first two books, this feels a lot slower. Back to the story, Dev wants to make up for the catfishing and agrees to her terms to fake date each other to appease her parents, but at the same time, they keep getting to know each other and the feelings deepen. There’s a lot of build-up, but then during the road trip scene, that’s the turning point for them and the book because that’s where things start to pick up.

The POVs flip midchapter in some parts, which can be a bit abrupt at times. However, this book is still cute and true to Rai’s style. Yes, it’s less steamy and more romantic compared to her other books in the “Modern Love” series, but once again, I couldn’t put it down. This book makes such a sweet addition to the series with a cute HEA and a similar style to the other books — as soon as the pacing picked up halfway through.

Available: February 16


Jew-ish: A Cookbook by Jake Cohen

Think: A recipe book for all the modern millennial Jews because that’s pretty much what we have here.

In this cookbook full of “reinvented recipes from a modern mensch,” it’s the perfect way for modern millennials to up their cooking game and put their own spin on the classic Jewish dishes they were raised on. The cookbook features loads of helpful tricks and tips told through first-person experiences from the author. Cohen includes recipes for everyday dining and meals to serve for the big holidays too, organized by meal, holiday, and beverages. Each category has such a variety of items included too. Each recipe gives you detailed instructions so that even the most basic of cooks, and non-cooks like me, can follow along and execute the steps. Each page features conversational language, that’s relatable and authentic to the reader. Then, each recipe has a little intro about the dish’s origin and history, plus the author’s tricks to modernize it and make it taste delicious with its step-by-step detailed instructions.

The book features some of the most gorgeous food photography I’ve ever seen, and I swear my mouth is watering already. Seriously, I’m not much of a cook or baker, but there’s a whole host of recipes that even I cannot wait to try.

Available: March 9


Advance reader copies of the books listed were provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Indulge in Self-Care With the LUXSB Perfume Subscription Box

Fall is in the air and so is our collective desire to break out our best cozy sweaters, riding boots, pumpkin spice-flavored anything, and watch the leaves changing on the trees. As we dive deeper into the colder weather season and the enduring pandemic rages on, any forms of self-care are so very welcome to keep us sane during our favorite season.

It was a few weeks ago when I found an email in my inbox about LUXSB, an online perfume subscription service, with its monthly deliveries of more than 600 fragrances, including a few new scents that give me all the fall feels. From that initial message alone, I was instantly intrigued to learn more and test out some beauty goodies for myself. After all, self-care is needed now more than ever and that’s just a fact.

A little background for y’all: LUXSB (Luxury Scent Box) is a women-founded company owned by sisters, which it’s always so so so so amazing to see other women thriving and succeeding on their own as they disrupt the patriarchal nonsense of the world we live in (ugh) to shatter glass ceilings and make their dreams come true. After debuting its first brick-and-mortar shop back in 2010, thanks to COVID and lockdown, the brand pivoted to focus more on home deliveries and online orders. What separates this brand from other competitors is its vast beauty experience and deep knowledge to offer custom fragrance suggestions that are perfect for you and what you are looking for in a fragrance.

Each monthly box, starting at the reasonable price of $15, offers a selection of perfumes, in a luxe perfume case, which includes a personal choice of your favorite designer or scents. LUXSB partners with many iconic brands for niche and exclusive perfumes and once you find your new signature scent from the monthly miniature bottles in your order, you can order larger sizes when you find the scent of your dreams. I was lucky enough to receive a box of several of the brand’s newest fall scents from the company and was excited to try it out for myself!

Testing 1, 2, 3

Upon unboxing my shipment for the first time, I found four handheld, travel-sized perfume samples in total. Each came in a handy, interchangeable travel case in metallic red, teal, purple, and gold colors. What’s great is that as soon as you run out of one vial, you can swap it out with fresh ones super easily, not to mention that it’s the perfect size to carry in your purse or travel luggage. It also comes with a velvet drawstring bag that can hold one container for easy transportation.

In general, it’s super easy to use. All you have to do is twist open the colorful top and the spray top pops up almost like a tube of lipstick. Then, to close and seal you just twist it back up. Super simple to apply your new go-to scent over and over! Now, if you want to check which travel case has which fragrance insider or even to replace empty vials, it can be a little more difficult. But the box’s instruction card reveals that’s, in reality, quite simple. After you’ve twisted the top open, you can pull the black-colored top straight up and out of the case to reveal or replace what’s inside. Then, to put it back in, you just have place it back inside the container and twist to close again. In the end, there’s no need to stress that you can’t get it because it was a fairly simple procedure.

Now, onto the main event: the exclusive Eau de Parfums that were made in France or England and are just delightful for a quick spritz.

Quintessential Fall Scents

Now, my box sample came with four new fall arrivals that are each different but equally perfect for this crisp autumn season, so keep reading for my two cents based solely on my lil’ nose and its power.

Juliette Has a Gun – Lipstick Fever: Right off the bat, this name gave me serious badass slash strong females only vibes, which I’m always here for, every time. With a spritz and a sniff, I can tell it’s a very strong (that’s a hard yes, lol) but light scent. It’s not bad at all, in fact, I quite like it. It seems like a nice, basic perfume for those consumers who typically don’t wear much perfume, but yes, it does smell lovely with a slight floral tone.

It’s definitely a pretty feminine scent, naturally focusing on the historic notes used in lipsticks with aromas of iris, violet absolute, and raspberry, plus woodsy notes to give it refinement.


Shay & Blue Salt Caramel: Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, this was not 100 percent my cup of tea for my nose. It was very spicy and all those caramel smells come out strong here. It definitely could be a unisex scent because it’s less floral and almost cinnamon-y with such a rich caramel smell. It’s not totally my style, I’d much prefer Juliette Has a Gun – Lipstick Fever of the two, but I definitely feel all the fall vibes with this one.

This rich Eau de Parfum brings the flavors of glossy caramel, sea salt, tonka bean, and sandalwood for an indulgent, deeper, and darker scent.


Etat Libre d’Orange – You or Someone Like You: This makes me think of a traditional perfume that you’d smell at a makeup counter and was always envious of your mom for having when you were growing up because this hits all the notes of what you’d think a perfume should be. In terms of scent, this one is quite minty and smells of pine-ish. This light perfume is nice, and I definitely like this one the most for its subtle scent. It gives off winter vibes, thanks to its minty smell, and that’s when I’d want to wear it the most. Like, it’d be perfect for any holiday parties you attend, you know, if Corona doesn’t cancel them all.

This light perfume brings a fresh and crisp aroma to your skin when you spritz this on yourself. Its primary notes include mint, anise, bergamot, and grapefruit, all of which come through tenfold.


Mancera – Jardin Exclusif: This strong scent reminds me of some big-name designer perfume, which isn’t awful and I actually like the aroma. It has a little floral smell to it, and in general, it’s the type of perfume I’d choose to wear to work slash the office and feel like a strong, powerful woman and a total girlboss.

This perfume brings a bewitching citrus scent that’s just delicious and indulgent. The fruit scent contains notes of pear, caramel, lemon, peach, black currant, and green apple. Plus, sprinkling of notes of jasmine, rose, violet, grey amber, sandalwood, and vanilla that complete its lovely package and final smell.


All in all, my order of favorites would likely be Etat Libre d’Orange – You or Someone Like You, Juliette Has a Gun – Lipstick Fever, Mancera – Jardin Exclusif, and Shay & Blue Salt Caramel to round out the quartet. Each scent gives me *all* the fall vibes, and I can’t wait to wear these fragrances all season long while I don my coziest sweaters and drink copious amounts of hot cocoa. That being said, while these are great fall scents, I’m not still totally sure if I found my ideal scent just yet, but I guess there’s always next month to make sure…

Get Ready for 2021 With These 8 Hot New Winter Book Releases

With the dumpster fire that is 2020 almost in our rearview mirror, it brings all the hope and promise of a new year. One reason I love a new year is thinking of all the new books that will be released that I can read! Ahh, sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?

I’ve started on my 2021 TBR list a bit early (thanks a million, NetGalley!), and I can already tell my little personal library is going to be overflowing with new titles this upcoming winter. Settle in for another installment of Miranda’s Book Nook as I share some of the 2021 book titles coming out this winter and just I can’t get enough. Happy reading, y’all!

You Have a Match by Emma Lord

It’s time to start off with a five-star read, y’all! After the adorable cheesy teen romance that was Tweet Cute, I’m already looking forward to Lord’s follow-up novel. Oh, and this one is set at a SLEEPAWAY CAMP. Instant interest from me. (#CampGirl 4 Life!) Like, I loved all the camp activities and friendships (Savvy, Mickey, Finn, and Leo know there’s nothing like camp besties, and now I just wanna call my BW sisters!) because it reminded me of my best days as a BW girl and how those days at camp with my fellow camp sisters were some of my all-time favorite memories.

Okay, to be quite honest, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this book at first because I thought the author’s first book, Tweet Cute, was just alright and not *totally* my type of read. But, now I can’t imagine not having read You Have a Match, and in a way, it’s made me feel closer to my grandfather, who’s my own version of the character Poppy. And after every single page, it’s clear this book rightfully deserves this five-star rating and a coveted place on my must-buy TBR list once it’s published. Here, we follow 16-year-old Abby, who in a bet with best friend Connie, takes a DNA test to find out her ancestries along with their other best pal, Leo. This book brings an engaging point of view that feels both authentic and current for a teen girl with really fun and relatable language. So, the DNA test revealed that Abby has a secret full sister, Savannah, an 18-year-old Instagram star. The two are polar opposites to their cores, but want to get to know each other. To figure things out and get to know each other, Savvy invites her new sister to attend the camp where she’ll be a junior counselor. It’s seriously like a modern-day version of The Parent Trap, and I’m here for it.

Then, there’s also a precious slow-burn romance between Abby and her best friend and neighbor, Leo. At the opening of the book, she’s still mortified about her almost-kiss with him months ago because it turned out, he didn’t feel the same and she was crushed. Then, it turns out, he’s working in the kitchen at the same camp and seems very excited they’ll be spending the time together, like in a certain eyes-twinkling, heart-fluttering way?? But because boys are stupid, Leo makes my head spin as it’s evident he does like her but is either pretending or hiding it really well, and gah, I don’t know what’s going on here. Then, also at camp, we meet Finn, the bad-boy camper Abby’s age who has a Hot Boy Name, so love triangle, here we go.

This book is just so much fun and I actually cannot put it down, staying up way too late in two nights just to finish it. Then, we get so much juicy drama and a big family secret that overshadows romance for a bit, and things escalate that make me actually want to ship Abby and Leo at screaming and squealing levels, because that definitely happened. Things get super heartwrenching, and gut-punching emotional that I’m legitimately in tears when it’s revealed all their grandfather did for the girls. It actually makes tear up because Poppy really resonates with me to my core about my late grandfather. I just want to say that books typically do not make me cry, but this 100 percent did because of Poppy and my own life. But enough about me, back to this read. That ending was absolutely precious and so darn cute that my cheeks still hurt from smiling so much. Like, Leo’s big monologue at the end had me literally squealing at 2 in the morning over its sheer adorableness! I wasn’t sure about Leo as a love interest and a book boyfriend to start, but by the end, we got to see inside his heart and he won me over and proved to be good enough for Abby. So, I approve. And gah, that epilogue was so damn cute.

Overall, I’m not quite sure how to put this book into words. It’s more than a teen romance, more than a summer camp adventure, more than a familial drama, more than a story of friendship and sisterhood, more than a comedy, and more than a deep emotional novel. It’s a book in a class all its own and had me captivated until I read that very last word on the final page. Seriously, it’s totally worth those five stars because now I have to buy and I just can’t imagine a world where I haven’t read this, and it also made me feel closer to my grandfather who’s passed away, my own Poppy, which I needed now more than ever. Like, with all that, this has to be five stars and I have to buy it once it’s released this January, I have to.

Available: January 5


Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

Here was another YA romance that I was looking forward to prior to reading, and boy, did this read deliver! I mean, I still can’t stop smiling now that I reached the ending. The book follows Tessa, a diverse romance writer whose family just moved to Long Beach with her parents, and her older brother who has disabilities. One day, just after the move, her brother Miles intends to prank their neighbor, but when she has to clean up the mess, she meets the dorky, not fashion-savvy Sam wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and it turns out they’ll both be starting at the same art school, and he cooks! (Which, side note, I want those lavender donuts he made for her SO SO SO bad. My stomach is growling right now.) So, it’s clear he’s the dream guy right, because he cooks, huh? Hm, or am I projecting a bit? Oh, well.

It’s such a fun and engaging YA novel that I enjoyed and really got sucked into. I also loved all the YA callouts to classic works from the genre, such as TATBILB, The Hate U Give, and mentioning Sarah Dessen as a queen, like yes, I love my bookish references! Then, there’s the ridiculously handsome Nico in her writing class that is exactly how she pictured her latest manuscript’s love interest. So, love triangle trope time, please! She starts school and with all the anxiety of being the new kid, not knowing anyone, and not feeling like she’s a good enough writer, as the deadlines for her novel writing class pile up, it’s a terrible time for writer’s block, but of course that happens and leaves her feeling like a fraud. Her best friend Caroline, back in Sacramento, helps Tessa devise a plan to get her groove back by having her experience her first love and get a boyfriend, so she can get back to writing her romances.

This book is shaping up to one super cute slow-burn romance, and I’m digging it. We definitely get a fun love triangle, and as she gets closer to the previously unavailable Nico, Sam gets a little makeover moment where Tessa sees him in a whole new light. She and Sam just have such an effortless connection, while Nico is more of a suave, smooth operator who flirts with her, so obviously I’m team Sam, bad Hawaiian shirts, zip-off cargo shorts, and all. After a few introductory chapters, the plot finally picks up and moves faster. Like once I’m into this book, I’m so obsessed and just can’t stop reading until I finish it thanks to its captivating, authentic language. The real romance at the end is just so cute and dear, sweet Sam is just so pure and precious. I mean that homemade ice cream, I swooned. Then, yes there’s a HEA, because of course, but what I loved was that it was more than a romantic love HEA, but also her own self-love and growth, her becoming the best writer she can be, and ahhhh, then she makes her own grand gesture which was just so adorable. But that ending, gah I just wanted more!! The cover’s cute and dreamy, and I love how the ending was more about her self-love and confidence, finding her own voice.

Available: January 5


Love Songs for Skeptics by Christina Pishiris

When I first requested this NetGalley ARC, I suppose I hadn’t thought too much of it, and thought it’d be just a fun, indulgent, and a bit basic for a romance read. But, it definitely wasn’t and I surprised myself with how into this book I was, to like can’t-put-it-down until the wee hours of the morning, it was that surprising, fun, humorous, engaging, cute, and enjoyable.

Here, Zoë is a music journalist and editor for a struggling music magazine in London, which, my surprise over its British setting and UK slang already nudged this read up one star. Hence the title and her bad luck in the dating department, she doesn’t quite believe in love, especially after she fell in her love with her bestie and neighbor Simon in her teen years, but didn’t get a chance to share her feelings before he left the country.

Ever since that moment, she’s definitely bitter towards the whole concept of love, however, one day in the present storyline, some twenty years later, Simon has officially moved back to London, newly divorced, handsome and charming and ever, and it seems he may have some feelings for our girl Zoë? Between this new relationship on the horizon, Simon’s once-famous ex-girlfriend popping up in their lives, a cocky music publicist blackmailing and flirting with Zoë, and her brother’s upcoming big Greek wedding; man, there’s a lot happening at once. (I would just like to point out that Zoë first describes Nick as “sexy AF,” so obviously there’s gotta be something there to that potential romance story.) Despite all this happening in the story, I still enjoyed this read. It was fun, relatable, engaging, made me laugh and cringe, and also want to scream out ‘what the heck is happening??,’ much like dating IRL. And seriously, boys like Simon are why I have trust issues and they just do my f***ing head in, geez! There are so many funny, relatable quips that keep me wanting to read more. I just got so wrapped up and invested in this story, so captivated by all the characters and the drama.

This book had a compelling and relatable point of view. We also get plenty of tropes between two love triangles, enemies to lovers, and falling in love at a wedding. It was just so hard for me to put it down because I just wanted to continue it until I finished this fun romp of a romance book. It’s all good fun, until about a hundred pages from the end where things unexpectedly get super heavy and dramatic, adding turns that were anything but predictable, but I was captivated by everything. It’s also clever how the chapter names are all applicable song titles, which make sense in a full-circle moment at the end. It’s not just a romantic love story, but a self-love story as Zoë figures who she is and what she really wants. Like, she may be a skeptic when it comes to love, but within an hourlong scene, she’ll have two men dropping L-bombs at her. Then, by the end, things it super soapy and messy, but it was plain, good fun. In her HEA, once she figures out her own desires, we do get that grandiose, sweeping romantic moment that was so darn cute, I couldn’t stop smiling. It’s more than a romance book and that’s what I was drawn to about this read. Also, she and Nick definitely have so much freaking chemistry and banter that I love to see in a romance and it is so dang amusing as a reader. In the end, it was just so entertaining and fun to read.

Available: January 19


Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon

In this steamy romance novel set in LA, Annika and Hudson (which, hello Hot Boy Name alert) are work rivals after they both develop dating-centric apps, and just by that core detail, it’s evident we’re about to get a delicious enemies to lovers romance here. Menon’s novel features witty language and smart female protagonists, which like yes, please! So, Annika is the CEO of her app “Make Up,” which specializes in helping couples stay together, while Hudson is the CEO of his already-more-successful app “Break Up,” which hires terminators to break up with your partner on your behalf. With her business on the verge of failing, Annika’s last hope is to win a pitch competition for a major influx of capital. Which, surprise, he needs that money to continue growing his firm. Also, it turns out these rivals already met, when they spent the week at a conference the year prior, hanging out and hooking up. The plot thickens as she believes Hudson stole and tweaked her app idea after the Vegas conference, and then rented the office down the hall from hers on purpose to drive her out of business.

In the workplace, the pair starts to play silly pranks on one another, but you can’t ignore how freaking flirty this dude is to Annika, like come on, this boy’s got a massive crush and then, on the flip side, she can’t stop thinking about that night in Vegas. It turns out Hudson’s just a good guy that likes the girl and less of an enemy, which like, it’s so predictably cute. He’s basically a lost puppy dog following her around, just blindly in love. And this book is Annika attempting to catch up to him.

The book’s slow-burn and banter are paced exactly right that’s teasing, but still intriguing that you want to keep reading. Speaking of their love story, man, Annika and Hudson have so much fiery chemistry and that massive spark, even when she goes on another date, it’s clear what these two have together. That spark’s on fire and it’s electric. It might be predictable in terms of plot and tropes, but I loved it all the same, in part to these dynamic characters. It’s a quick, all-consuming, can’t-put-it-down romance read that I finished in one sitting.

Towards the end, this book does get super emotional and vulnerable, and full of heart. But in the end, I don’t know why, but I was literally laughing out loud at the real reasons they both made their apps. But yeah, that was such an engaging, witty romance that I definitely, very much enjoyed. The HEA was just adorable, but I just wanted more. A flash-forward, an epilogue, something more.

Available: February 2


Love in English by Maria E. Andreu

First off, Balzer + Bray is fast becoming one of my favorite new publishing imprints for telling witty, compelling, and diverse YA stories about complex teen protagonists with adorable first love tales, so I’m already excited about this read from the get-go.

Here, Ana and her mom just moved to the US from Argentina to join her dad who had already gotten settles. The book picks up on the 16-year-old’s first day of school, and she’s nervous and homesick. Ana is a poet who just hasn’t found the right words in English since immigrating. Immediately, we meet Harrison, a cute boy from her math class who’s like “Netflix series cute,” she’s smitten because of his dashing looks, and of course, he’s in a band. Also, he needs a math tutor and she excels in math, so it’s a perfect fit. Then, she meets Neo from Cyprus in her ESL class. who also knows very little English, even less than she does, and he’s mysterious but slowly they bond over first-time viewings of classic American teen movies and New York City. So, it’s clear there’s a love triangle brewing.

This book is slow to start, but I just want to know more because it does have such an intriguing point of view that we seldom think about as native-born Americans. Ana’s inner thoughts about the English language are amusing and relatable because English is a weird, funny, and complicated language. It’s neat how the author used repeating pound signs in the middle of sentences to show what Ana’s perspective is like and how she knows some words but not all the words we often say in a conversation. As Ana gets to know both boys, she and Neo are just so pure and beyond precious, like it’s adorable. Now, things may get lost in translation with him, but they have a lot in common. This book is not just her love story with a boy or two, but her love story with America, trying new things, and embracing a new culture. It’s absolutely precious and adorable.

Available: February 2


Hot British Boyfriend by Kristy Boyce

NetGalley didn’t have a summary for this book listed when I first requested this ARC, and I didn’t need one to know I had to read this. The title is Hot British Boyfriend, which, like, that’s easily one of my all-time favorite types of love interests, so, um, yes, please. Being such a massive Anglophile and a fan of British love interests, this book immediately had my attention.

And boy, was this quick YA read just as adorable as I could have imagined. Here, Ellie is new to DC after she and her mom just moved to town. The high schooler has an extremely embarrassing, viral moment at a party and her only way to escape that memory for the duration of her senior year is to take the last-minute, open slot on the school’s study abroad trip to England.

As a reader, it is super easy to get insider Ellie’s head and feel deeply for what she’s going through. Now that she’s England-bound, Ellie is dreaming of finding her own British prince charming, which like join the club, girl. Once she arrives at the Manor where the class is studying, she has a meet-cute moment with Dev from her school and he helps her unload her massive suitcases and carry them up the four flights of stairs, and lets her into his inner group of best mates. Then, she meets Will at a flea market in town, and he’s sophisticated, charming, British, and they hit it off and he gets pretty flirty with her. Like, Will is so charming that IDK how, but I really want a British boyfriend now, lol sorry not sorry. So, her friendship with Dev is complicated as she enlists him to tutor her to impress Will, but he doesn’t approve of this snotty boy. It turns out Ellie’s pretending to be a lot of different things to impress Will rather than embrace all her quirks and dorky interests that make her happy. One day, she stumbles upon Dev playing Quidditch and she realizes there’s more to him than just studying, so we get a slow-burn romance with the two of them and a love triangle between the three of them. With the love triangle, both boys like her, however, Dev is the only guy who sees and understands all of her, which makes him too pure for this world.

This read is very captivating and downright adorable, it’s absolutely precious, and I cannot stop smiling. In addition to love, she’s made some very good friends here and had excellent travel adventures, and now I feel all the wanderlust and miss London so freaking much. By the end, once Ellie stops thinking about what she thinks she wants, she realizes what she actually wants and needs, in terms of love, friendships, and her plans. It’s so cute! Also, where do I sign up to get a Hot British Boyfriend now, because I really want one?

Available: February 9


The Night We Met by Zoë Folbigg

This was a sweet, vulnerable, and emotional women’s fiction novel. Set in England, we start in the present when 43-year-old Olivia is in the hospital, on hospice, where she has cancer. While she knows she’s dying, her husband Daniel refuses to give up hope and isn’t ready to lose his wife. Time’s running out for his fashion designer wife and he has been frantically working to find a solution that’ll save her. Knowing she doesn’t have much time left, she asks her journalist hubby to write down their love story so he can tell their two daughters when she’s gone. So, based on that alone, this book starts off super heavy but definitely captivating.

Most of this read is told in flashbacks as we see the story of how they met. In the past, over the course of several years, Daniel kept seeing her around while traveling post-graduation in Australia and New Zealand, when she was in college in London, when he visited her in Milan when she went back home. Over and over again, he was mesmerized every time he saw her in a bunch of near-meetings. We also see Daniel starting off his career after Australia and NZ, plus years earlier when Olivia first got sick and started her treatment. This book features such rich language that plays out like a movie in my head and I can totally see their story unfold. However, all the back-and-forth between 2017, 1996, and 1998 is really abrupt, and it should have been in chronological order rather than just jumping around.

In the book, Daniel was always captivated by this elusive, wild creature that she was and in the present has a deep fear of losing her and will do anything to make sure he doesn’t. The book is written in the third person, but it’s primarily Daniel’s point of view, however, occasionally it switches to Olivia’s or her friend Mimi’s, which comes almost out of nowhere and a bit choppy. Even though it’s a really slow-burn love story, you can tell Daniel always just had eyes for Olivia. Even though, predictably, it ends tragically, the epilogue aims to put a meaningful, optimistic spin on this unexplainably sad moment and show how they’ll always love Olivia as they move forward because she accomplished so much she loved in her short life.

Available: February 11


All Girls by Emily Layden

This is an honest coming-of-age story, full of captivating and descriptive language. This novel is set in the middle-of-nowhere Connecticut at an elite, all-girls boarding school called Atwater. The book starts on the opening day and continues throughout the year, all the way up until graduation and covering all of the school’s important traditions.

Starting on the first day at the school, a former student’s rape allegation starts to get media traction, and it seems like the school is covering things up to save the reputation of a beloved, accomplished teacher by discrediting this alum. The book follows a group of girls starting the school year, from freshman to seniors, and each of their different perspectives and backgrounds as they try to find out the truth that their school’s been hiding for years. We follow various girls from different classes, cliques, who all have different coming-of-age journeys. There, we start with the student newspaper as they try to figure out what happened and how the administration is handling everything. Then, one student hacks into the school newspaper and Instagram pages to post these anti-assault messages that the school tried to censor. Which, like, boo to that school. It’s a captivating mystery trying to deduce what happened and how each girl can relate the alum’s story to their own life and how big of an issue assault and rape is as young women.

Available: February 16


Advance reader copies of the books listed were provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My First Impressions on 40 Women Who May Date Matt James on ‘The Bachelor’

Yes, you read that correctly. Just a week before we started Clare’s (er, and Tayshia’s? Maybe? Who knows?) Bach journey on TV, the reality TV juggernaut dropped a handful of 40-plus women who may end up vying for the first black Bachelor’s (the extremely eligible nonprofit founder and former footballer Matt James) affections on TV next year.

So, per tradition, I’m back on this blog to dig into my first impressions, and all I can hope and pray that the producers did, like for Clare, bring us more relatable, diverse, and right-reasons people. Now, that producers have granted us access to the names, ages, hometowns, and headshots of these future influencers in training, let my first impressions blog post commence. Obviously, I’ll be basing this post off of first impressions from a photo and whatever info I can Google about each lady for now. But, once we get closer to a premiere and get an official bio and some fast facts from the network, this post may be amended to include more up-to-date deets that they’ll tell us.

Abigail, 25

A bit young on the age scale, but this Salem, Oregon native is giving me all sorts of wholesome vibes. Also, that picture looks like it was definitely her graduation photoshoot from college.

She lives in Portland and works in finance.

 

 

 

 

 


Alana, 26

Hailing from San Antonio, Texas, I get serious Victoria Fuller vibes from the trainwreck that was Pilot Pete’s season.

She supports BLM, so she has a soul. That’s good to know.

 

 

 

 

 


Alicia, 24

She’s from Morgantown, West Virginia, and definitely is on the younger age bracket of Matt’s contenders. Like, the cropped sweater, wrist scrunchie, and leopard belt all illustrate that. (She said, typing this while she had a scrunchie on her own wrist.)

She’s a professional ballerina, no, for real. So cool!

 

 

 

 


Amber, 30

Right off the bat, we’re starting off strong in the appropriate age bracket with this Rialto, California lady. From what I can see, she definitely looks like a model slash wannabe influencer with the long blonde locks, big lips, that one-hand-in-her-hair pose, cutoff jean shorts. But, do my eyes deceive me or does she not have a thigh gap. WHICH LIKE PLEASE, finally, at least one contestant who’s not Barbie-thin! All I want to see.

Oh dear god, she’s an actress. Ugh. Producers, why. Stop doing this.

 

 

 


Anna, 24

A girl from Owatonna, Minnesota who looks young. Fresh-faced and authentic, sure, but baby-faced too. She seems friendly, like she’ll be able to make friends with most of the girls in the house.

She lives in Chicago, has a bubbly personality, and works as a copywriter. She also does improv and sells her clothes online.

 

 

 

 


Bri, 24

Woo, they do seem to be serious about more racial diversity! That’s a huge first step, but only a first step. The San Antonio, Texas girl may also be on the younger side, but looks very polished and maybe a bit timid. Which, timid is not the best because shy people go home on Night One.

Shy may be right, because I cannot find any deets about her online.

 

 

 


Brittany, 23

Another baby for the class! Hailing from Chicago, she looks like any typical college student or recent grad. She looks like the girl who claims not to wear makeup, but actually wears 12 different products that make her look like she’s not wearing any cosmetics.

A model, DJ, and athlete. Of course. I’m rolling my eyes. Gah, producers, real people! That’s what we want. Not influencers in training.

 

 

 


Carolyn, 30

An East Coaster all the way from Newburyport, Massachusetts is on the way! She’s clearly got an edgy streak, what with an arm of different tattoo designs. IDK, there’s something here that I can see could be compatible with Matt, just thinking of the two of them side by side. One FB commenter remarked how at 30, she’s too old for Matt. Hun, she is only two years older than him. Why are we being ageist here??

She actually lives in LA, natch. And she’s a journalist by trade.

 

 


Casandra, 25

OK, here’s clearly an aspiring model, but someone Matt would be into maybe?? The Lodi, California gal looks very naturally pretty and I think Matt will definitely see that too.

She works in healthcare in Long Beach, and yea, def beachy vibes here.

 

 

 

 

 


Catalina, 29

Oooh, she’s from Caguas, Puerto Rico. Have we had a PR resident on the show before? She definitely looks like she’s a professional working girl with a real job and benefits, which yay, score one. Ooh, interesting, apparently she’s a past Miss Universe. I wonder what Matt thinks about beauty queens.

In addition to being a beauty queen, she’s an author and an attorney, which impressive.

 

 

 


Chelsea, 29

Short hair alert! Apparently, do we need to note this now, because that’s just a rarity for the show, ugh. She hails from Marietta, Georgia and looks personable and normal, and like yea, I’d root for her and Matt.

She’s a model living life in NYC, per IG.

 

 

 

 

 


Corrinne, 22

Oof, another freaking baby? Producers, what’s going on?? But, this girl, another Corrinne is clearly a model or wannabe model. She’s from Pomfret, Connecticut and I’m getting popular girl vibes for sure.

Going in blind here, can’t find much else.

 

 

 

 

 


Emani, 25

She’s pretty and, like, she would look gorgeous standing beside Matt at the end. That’d be one good-looking couple. She’s from Albuquerque, New Mexico and looks very sweet and genuine.

She works in DC as a realtor, per LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

 


Illeana, 25

This girl, first off, needs a better photo because terrible lighting and she’s in shadows. But, also, I can deduce she’s a certain type of snooty, preppy girl because she has a golden cursive name necklace. She hails from South Salem, New York, and everyone remarks how she looks like Colton’s ex Cassie. Which, yikes. Bad flashback, sorry.

She’s a model, an NYC realtor, and co-founder of some healthy snack company. It debuts in 2021, which so does this season, and is so convenient, darlin’. I’m sorry, hun, but there will only be one CORN on the franchise.

 

 


Jessenia, 27

Catherine Lowe lookalike alert! She’s from San Antonio, Texas and she seems sweet, genuine, and like she’s here for the right reasons. I’d root for her too.

Apparently, she likes photography and works as a social media manager, thank you LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 


Kaili, 26

This San Diego, California girl gives me big-time Hannah Ann snooty vibes and like, crap. I don’t want that again. She looks like a mean, popular girl and far too materialistic.

Apparently, she works in hospitality, but that’s all I can find.

 

 

 

 

 


Katie, 29

She looks like a tomboy and someone who’s athletic, and I’m not mad at it. From one tomboy to another! She’s from Lynnwood, Washington and looks wholesome and kind.

She’s a TikToker! She has nearly 233,000 followers that people seem to like.

 

 

 

 


Kennedy, 23

From Washington, DC, but I’m just sick of these lil’ snooty babies. Because this pose gives me wannabe influencer vibes.

She’s a cheerleader for Washington Football. Apparently, she’s a business and tech analyst too and loves tacos. Which, who doesn’t?

 

 

 

 

 


Khaylah, 28

This Bronx, New York native looks like she’s super confident and that’ll turn the other ladies against her. But, that means they are just jelly.

She’s a portrait and fashion photog in North Carolina, based on her website.

 

 

 

 


Kim, 28

She’s from Cypress, California, but doesn’t leave much of an impression on me based on her photo choice.

Her IG refers to herself as a “Professional Dumpling,” which um, PLEASE BE HER LOWER-THIRD CAREER, PRODUCERS.

 

 

 

 

 


Kimberly, 28

A bit #basic, yet still seems down-to-earth, relatable, and authentic. She hails from Lake Tapps, Washington.

Based on IG, she lives in Seattle and works in “corporate America” as a recruiter for Alaska Airlines, according to her LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

 


Kit, 21

It’s the class baby! She’s designer Cynthia Rowley’s daughter, so you know she’ll make it on the show and have killer outfits. She’s from New York City and I definitely get socialite-model-influencer vibes, for sure.

She’s already an influencer, thanks to what I see on her public IG, and she hosts a podcast alongside her famous mama. Ohhh, here’s some tea. She is still active on IG when Matt James already had his phone taken, which either means they haven’t taken her phone in the quarantine period, she got cut already, or someone else is posting on her account for her. I wonder.

 


Kristin, 27

She’s from Virginia Beach, and she seems confident, self-assured, humble, kind, and I want to root for her.

She’s an associate attorney based in NYC, specializing in “in sports, recreation, entertainment, product liability, and employment and labor litigation.” Well, she and Matt both live in Manhattan.

 

 

 

 


Lauren, 29

Is this photo a little blurry or…?? She hails from Miami and IDK, I just can’t get a good read on her from this average photo.

She’s a lawyer based in Miami, which, we stan a driven woman.

 


Madison, 27

She’s from Granger, Indiana and that makes sense. She gives me fresh-faced, All-American, small-town girl vibes from her friendly smile, modest outfit, natural curly hair, and low-key makeup look.

TEA TIME! Apparently, she already dated Matt last year. According to Reality Steve, the pair dated last summer when his best mate Tyler C. was seeing Zayn Malik’s current love Gigi Hadid. In fact, Madison and Matt were seen together at one of Gigi’s fashion shows, and they dated for a few months. Ooh, Kelley F. vibes anyone?

 

 


Magi, 32

Watch out, ladies, we’ve got a big-time contender here! IDK why, but I get good vibes from Magi. She’s like model-pretty, but still down-to-earth and approachable. She hails from Adwa, Ethiopia, and I just get the vibe that Matt would be lucky to date her. Also, M and M, how absolutely precious for future monograms.

According to her Insta, which thank heavens is public, she’s a pharmacist and started a nonprofit to “help [kids] get 1 pair of shoes to safely walk to school for the entire semester.” Wow, driven and impressive.

 

 


Mari, 24

Hailing from Luquillo, Puerto Rico, this young lady gives me serious influencer-in-training vibes. It’s the pose, the fake enthusiastic smile, the stick-straight hair, the huge lips that read as inauthentic to me.

She’s a former beauty queen, who won Miss USA 2019 just two years ago and she’s from or lives in Maryland.

 

 

 

 


Marie, 25

Now this Sandusky, Ohio is like a Hannah Ann lookalike, which, oh brother. It may be the matching facial structure, dark brown wavy hair, or cropped off-the-shoulder top. But with all that, she seems more genuine and down-to-earth. Like, I’d be interested to see her thrive in Paradise. If we’ll ever have BIP again? That’s up to COVID, though.

IG stalking bears no fruit, but based on her LinkedIn, she’s a speech pathologist in LA.

 

 


Marylynn, 28

Age is right on the money for this Huntington Beach, Cali girl. But, I just get influencer, model vibes again, which, like UGH.

Private Insta, lives in LA, blah blah blah, can you say basic? She’s on TikTok too, but not very active and just posts slow-mo walking vids.

 

 

 

 


Michelle, 27

Hailing from Woodbury, Minnesota, she seems friendly and natural-looking which makes her more approachable. However, I sort of get shy vibes. Which crap, because shy goes home on Night One.

Her IG, while public, only has two photos and she only joined this past April. Can’t find much else, so we’ll be going in blind on the premiere night next year.

 

 

 


MJ, 23

Baby, baby, baby! She may not be the youngest girl of the bunch, but she looks like one of ’em. She hails from Hudson, Ohio and this photo was definitely her sorority graduation picture, for sure. I mean, you graduate college during a pandemic in one of the worst job markets in history. What else are you going to do besides sit on Mom and Dad’s couch for seven months? Applying for The Bachelor at least gives you something to do, a place to go, and maybe even a future Insta career.

She’s a hairstylist, according to IG, working on “lived-in color + hand-tied extensions” for clients, and she also does spray tans too.

 

 


Nicole Remy, 25

OK, she looks like a catch that Matt would be lucky to date! She’s from Lakewood, Washington, and I get authentic, friendly vibes all the way. Like, I can see all the girls wanting to be her friend and Matt wanting to get to know her.

Her IG bio boasts she’s a web developer and a former NFL cheerleader. That’s true, according to LinkedIn, she danced with the Seattle Seahawks for two years. Her colleagues in web development mentioned she’s great at what she does. Which, we love to see a woman being successful at work.

 

 


Nicole Rovner, 31

Seriously, I guess do we need to start a Scrunchie Count this season?? They are all wearing one in their FB bio photos! Nicole R. #2 is from Wilmette, Illinois, but her lower-third will just say Chicago if she makes it on the show.

We’re going in blind here, because her IG is private with no bio and I can’t find anything else about her by Googling.

 

 

 

 


Pieper, 24

She’s from Happy Valley, Oregon, and has such a baby face. Like, she looks like a baby and also a wannabe influence. Like, she just thinks being an influencer is super cool and dreamy.

She is a model, because of course, based on some agency profiles. Then, according to her LinkedIn, she is a current grad student and is open to finding a new job. Well, maybe not until winter when the show’s done, right?

 

 

 


Rachael, 24

Oooh, she gives me Hannah Ann vibes. A Southern girl from Cumming, Georgia who’s quite young, up on the latest Gen Z fashion crazes, and dreams of being a #influencer.

Per her Facebook, I definitely get basic recent college grad vibes.

 

 

 

 

 


Ryan, 25

Hey, it’s definitely her repurposed LinkedIn headshot that she submitted to the producers. No questions. She hails from Mechanicsville, Virginia, where she seems like a young professional. And IDK, I just get the vibe that she’d be one of the early exits. Can’t deduce much about her personality, and also I think producers wouldn’t like that she looks like she’d stay out of drama.

Cool, she’s a dancer who was an Alvin Ailey Scholarship Program recipient and a performer on the show, POSE, according to her IG bio.

 

 


Saneh, 25

I get Alexis vibes from Nick’s season, aka the dolphin-shark girl. She’s from St. Augustine, Florida and looks like she’s empowered, confident, ready for love, and genuinely wants to meet Matt.

According to her Twitter, she lives in Denver where she works as a recruiter, and she went to the University of Florida for undergrad and her Masters. In case you were wondering, we are both connected to the Intern Queen herself, Lauren Berger, on LinkedIn.

 

 

 


Sarah, 24

OKAY, she has to be a model. For sure. She’s from San Diego, California, and she could easily be a doppelganger for Alexis Rose on Schitt’s Creek. 

Per her private IG, her bio indicates she’s a journalist, host, model, and podcast host of the “From Here to Where Podcast.” Her podcast just launched in January, so what a great promo opp this show is, huh? She lives in LA and is big into fitness and empowerment, I guess.

 

 

 


Serena C., 24

She’s from San Bruno, California and this young lady just has the most precious baby face. Like, she matches the 21-year-olds in terms of youthfulness.

Oh goodie, we’ve got a fashion blogger on our hands here, but she hasn’t posted in a year. Her style is self-described as “contemporary street-style with the occasional bougie but always a little EXTRAAAA.” So, oh boy. Oh, she has a real job too. She’s a flight attendant based in San Fran.

 

 

 


Serena P., 22

Another baby comin’ in hot! And our first lady from Canada. She’s from Markham in Ontario, and her outfit’s bringing the edge. She looks like she cannot wait to start her own “Serena’s Style” YouTube channel or something.

According to her LinkedIn, she’s a marketing intern who is looking for FT work in Toronto. She began her internship this August, so did she leave for Bach OR was it a summer thing that ended?

 

 

 


Sydney, 28

I’m getting so much Rachel Lindsay vibes for Lindsay’s lookalike! She’s a Southern gal from Franklin, Tennessee who seems like she has her priorities in order and knows what she wants, is settled in her career, and wants to find love.

Her IG is also private, but indicates she does marketing in Nashville for a local recruiting company, VACO Nashville.

 

 

 


Talie, 24

This Belmont, North Carolina girl is giving me troublemaker vibes. It’s her pose. It’s the one-hand-on-her-hip, the forced smile, and the tight yellow dress.

According to her private IG, she’s a “recruiter and esthetician.” Her real name is Nitalia, and is also a writer who’s been through some hard shit, according to her blog.

 

 

 


Victoria, 27

She’s from NYC and you can tell she wants to be a singer-songwriter. That’s clearly what this picture is from, right? Her demo tape that she sent to Nashville?

Apparently, she’s relocated to LA, natch, and has since deleted her IG page. How convenient, hmm.

My Definitive Ranking of Every Song From ‘Julie and the Phantoms’

In case you’ve been living under a rock this autumn, Kenny Ortega (the visionary director behind High School Musical and Descendants) has returned with his latest project. It’s a nine-episode Netflix Family series about a girl, Julie, who plays a CD of the tunes from ’90s boy band Sunset Curve (who sounds eerily similar to 5SOS, just saying) when the band — now [cute] ghosts — appear to her. So, naturally, they form a band together because they are all musically inclined. This show is one of my new favorite Netflix obsessions even though I’m way older its suggested demographics. But, oh well, it’s just that good. Part of the reason, I’m loving JATP is due to its bop-worthy soundtrack because all 15 tracks are massive hits, I promise you.

So, for all my fellow JATP-loving fans and unapologetic Sunset Curve stans, here’s my official, definitive ranking of the entire soundtrack.

15. “All Eyes on Me”

Sure, this track has a catchy beat that makes me want to dance like the girls of Dirty Candy, and Alex too, but that’s about it. Now, when the pandemic is over, who wants to join me and choreograph our own dance to this track and become our own version of Dirty Candy?


14. “I Got the Music”

Yes, these young ladies are absolutely, incredibly talented, but this just isn’t my type of music. It’s the hip hop-py vibe and yelling thing that I just can’t get into. But, it’s very upbeat and has me wishing I could be in a flash mob every day of my life.


13. “Wow”

Seriously, Carrie is poised to be a miniature pop star already. Girl has the drive, determination, and precision to be the leader of a girl group. Flawless, that’s right.


12. “You’ve Got Nothing to Lose”

What do you get when you put Broadway veteran Cheyenne Jackson in a musical TV show? A fabulous musical number, obviously. This track has a big-band feel that makes me want to get up and dance. Also, Dancing With the Stars producers are seriously lacking if they don’t give one of their couples a quickstep or something to this number. I need to see it.


11. “Wake Up”

Madison Reyes was born to sing and be a star, that’s for sure, and this track proves that tenfold. This is only No. 11 because it’s less catchy than some other tunes, and I’m less likely to have this stuck in my head, singing and dancing along at every aspect. It’s still incredible, because of her voice, just wow.


10. “Edge of Great”

Here’s pure proof that this band was meant to play together. Like, their chemistry as a group is just electric and gives me chills every time. Also, I just want to stand on all my furniture and belt out their tunes. Seriously, if there’s a concert, I’ll be first in line to buy tickets next to all the teenybopper fans.


9. “Flying Solo”

This ode to best friends is beyond precious, but also makes me wanna sing and dance along throughout my entire apartment. Next time you want to tell your besties how much you appreciate them for always supporting you, just send them this link and that alone will say a lot.


8. “The Other Side of Hollywood”

But this Cheyenne Jackson number is pure Broadway and I love this track for that exact reason. It has a 1920s-inspired groovy beat, and it’s everything us theater nerds love. It’s flashy, has killer vocals, and perfect dance breaks. Yes, please!


7. “Perfect Harmony”

This ballad is absolutely pure and romantic from the very first moment that Luke appears through the mirror to dance with Julie, and gah, I’m a puddle. It’s so freaking cute, my heart has melted for these two and this beautiful duet.


6.”This Band is Back (Reggie’s Jam)”

This feels like a backyard jam sesh and is just plain, good fun! It starts with my favorite line, “Come on, Reginald” which, of course, I say every time I listen to. It’s just such a fun, cute line because Reggie is so lovable and underrated as a character. This track is just for fun, I dig it.


5. “Now or Never”

The opening number of the entire show gives off so much 5 Seconds of Summer vibes, and as a 5SOS stan, I’m on board. It has that rocking boy band music type that makes me want to stan Sunset Curve as a massive fangirl (oops, too late). Now, excuse me as I go blast this track and dance around my apartment while I do my chores.


4. “Bright”

For the first time the band played together in front of a crowd, I have chills. Their chemistry together is electric, pure poetry, and I’m obsessed; just call me a Fantom already!! This band was just meant to play together, and then, uhh, Luke, his voice is like an angel.


3. “Finally Free”

I think the section where Luke and Julie share a mic, look deep into each other’s eyes, and repeat “I got a spark in me” is why I love this so much. They ooze chemistry and it just makes me melt, like gah, it’s so perfect. Other than that, it’s an upbeat track that makes me want to sing along and dance around. I love it. Also, I saw a TikTok theorizing that Kenny Ortega included this song as the follow-up to HSM‘s “Breaking Free,” which, ahhhh, that would be amazing.


2. “Stand Tall”

This song is now my go-to confidence-building, empowering track to power pose to before I have to do anything important. Seriously, hit play and then power pose for the duration of the track, it works every time. When the song ends, you’ll feel so freaking empowered and fierce, ready to conquer the world. Which, like, yes, we need more of that especially as women in today’s world. Plus, each of the guys’ solos make my heart race, and then Luke’s grand entrance, after nearly giving me a heart attack, was everything to see him get there and it made me smile.


1. “Unsaid Emily”

Here’s the big one. The all-time best. The one that makes me cry literally every single time I hear it. And if Spotify is on shuffle and this comes on, then I’m a goner. It’s so vulnerable and raw, but so beautiful and authentic that I’ll always stan Charlie Gillespie and his character of Luke because look at his range! Look at what this boy can do! Now, considering the emotional impact of “Unsaid Emily” and Luke’s backstory, I’m gonna need all the tissues when Season 2 (please, please, please renew this, Netflix!) gives us songs and moments about both Reggie’s and Alex’s backstories.

5 One-Sitting Reads That I Haven’t Stopped Thinking About

Hey, it’s me, and as you can guess from this title, I’m still reading a lot. I mean, that’s just me. C’est la vie. The other weekend, I ventured out to Barnes & Noble for a little book buying excursion, because second to reading books, buying them is another super fun hobby. And, I’ve already been reading the heck out of my latest TBR additions.

So, settle back into another edition of Miranda’s Book Nook for even more book recommendations that I’m absolutely obsessing over. (Side note: If only you could see me night after night, reading my latest novel underneath the teeny light of my flashlight. It feels like I’m 9 again, desperate to stay up later just to keep reading my book without getting caught by my parents for staying awake past my bedtime.)

Shine by Jessica Jung

I’d heard a lot about this next read before I even picked it up off the YA shelf, from both TikTok’s #BookTok crew, its NetGalley profile, and the fact that the author was once in one of the biggest K-pop bands of the decade. Sure, the summary was intriguing: all about a teenaged K-pop trainee eager to live her dream and make it into a band. Oh, and the shiny love story with a fellow K-pop star didn’t hurt. But, in all honesty, I didn’t know what to expect when I’d actually start reading it.

And OMG, this YA debut novel delivers! It was absolutely precious and a book I just couldn’t put down. Plus, my shipper heart was going crazy with everything between Rachel and Jason. Apparently, Jung’s team is adapting this into a film, and I can’t wait to see these rich characters and vivid stories play out on the big screen. Based on what I just read, any film version is sure to be huge, incredible, empowering, and feature one of the cutest teen love stories about two pop stars.

Here, seventeen-year-old Korean-American Rachel Kim loves K-pop and would do just about anything to be chosen for a group and live her dreams. Six years ago, she’s recruited by Korean label DB Entertainment as a trainee, where the rules are clear. Train and practice all the time. Be perfect. Don’t date. At first, the rules seem like no-brainers, but soon enough, Rachel realizes all the dark scandals of the controlling industry and the pressure to constantly be perfect, and she questions everything and if she has what it takes to shine and be the star. Plus, once she captures the attention of DB golden boy, K-pop superstar, Jason Lee, the rules get increasingly difficult to mindlessly follow. He’s the label’s big star, has the voice of an angel that blends in perfect harmony with hers, is flirty and charming, and only seems to have eyes for her. What could go wrong? You know, except for the controlling record label. But may I remind you, the book cover includes the phrase, “All’s fair in love and K-pop,” so I’ll just leave that there.

This book pulls the veil back on the glamorous, picture-perfect world of K-pop and K-pop girl groups, which is so interesting to get this behind-the-scenes viewpoint, plus an empowering protagonist, amazing sets, and a sweet-as-doughnuts (Writer’s note: If you read the book, you’ll get this line) teen romance.

Available: Now


The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

Alisha Rai’s been on my romance radar for a while after I devoured Girl Gone Viral in a single setting. I knew it was the second book in her “Modern Love” series and that her first book in it, this one, was beloved by romance readers, but I suppose I was so preoccupied by everything else on my TBR to pay due diligence to this romance read, and clearly that was a mistake.

When I was book shopping, I found this on the shelf, and everything I loved about Girl Gone Viral came back to me in a flash. I remembered everything I loved about that, and how Rhi and Samson were living out their HEA by then. Now, that her third book in the series, starring the girls’ other roommate Jia, is scheduled for publication early next year, I needed to go back and read this now more than ever.

Here, in the introduction to the series, we start with empowering and fierce Rhiannon Hunter. She owns and runs a successful Bumble-like dating app, and career is her main, and well only, priority. Occasionally, she engages in brief hookups, like when she matched with the one-photo-only Samson for a night of good fun on the beach. While their dalliance went well and she actually was willing to give him another chance, he ghosted her and she shut off her chance.

The book starts up, months later, when the cynical app founder heads to a tech conference and unexpectedly spots Samson there, on stage, discussing her competitor that he’s now an ambassador for. Turns out, Samson is the one-and-only former pro-football player Samson Lima and he still has eyes for Rhi. According to the summary “he won’t fumble their second chance” because, ahem, this dude has it bad for her. A temporary work truce and friendship soon reveals an intimate bond that is too precious to miss. 

Just like Girl Gone Viral, this romance book is witty, playful, fierce, and fun — that I could devour this read in a single sitting, feeling plenty of zings as I did for Jas and Kat. Now, I can’t wait to find out Jia’s love story even more when that’s released to the public.

Available: Now


Recommended For You by Laura Silverman

It’s a bookish romance, y’all! So, if you know me by now, I’m already sold. Quirky book nerd teens, working at a bookshop, set in the small-town South, and enemies to lovers. It’s like this book was made for my bookshelf. Plus, the summary describes this YA novel as “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets You’ve Got Mail,” which, like yes, please!

Here, Shoshanna Greenberg is working double shifts over her high school break for the holidays when she’s tasked with training new hire Jake Kantor for the gig. Their rivalry starts small when he seemingly is not listening to her and admitted he’s not a reader. Which, like GASP. Things are heightened when the Once Upon shop owner announces a bonus for the top bookseller this holiday. The ever-competitive Shosh sees this as the perfect chance to flex her skills in her favorite place (the shop!) and earn enough cash to fix her broken-down car. But, Jake also wants the dough for what is such a NJB, sweet reason, and I swear, I’m melting into a pile of goo over here once that reasoning revealed.

Soon, they’re neck and neck for the top seller honor and we get such a delish enemies to lovers trope for these two teens. Sure, she may despise him for actually working hard or not being a hardcore book nerd, but he’s like a Netflix teen movie BF type of cute and a fellow Jew, so like she’s smitten. As their competition ramps up, these two grow closer and closer and that spark burns bright. This YA romance was so cute and so pure, I can’t stop smiling now that I finished it.

Available: Now


Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory

OK, give me any Jasmine Guillory romance and I’m fairly certain that I can polish it off in a day and feel all the feels. And her latest novel is no exception.

Her initial romance book, The Wedding Date, first introduced us to Alexa Monroe when she met her now-hubby (in The Wedding Party) Drew. Now, it’s Alexa’s older sister’s turn. Olivia Monroe has just returned to the West Coast, and LA, in particular, to start her own law firm with dating being the last thing on her mind. However, one of her first days in town, she meets and strikes up a conversation with a cute, funny, and witty stranger named Max in a hotel bar. After spending the entire night flirting, she discovers the man she was flirtatiously discussing cake with, was the handsome junior senator Max Powell. Cut to weeks later, when she shows up at a fundraiser he’s speaking at, only now, he can actually ask her name and where she works because this dude’s got it bad and hasn’t been able to get her out of his head.

To get her attention and ask her out, this man sent her a freaking CAKE to her office along with his personal phone number on a note. I’d like to point out, if any prospective suitors are reading this blog, take note because you’d definitely get my attention with baked goods, and specifically, cake. So, yea, I’m liking Max already. This chance meeting soon sparks a whirlwind affair and relationship with plenty of heat, passion, and emotions. She’s caught off-guard that he, a U.S. Senator, is sweet, funny, and honest, and not just another privileged, rich white guy as she first thought. Due to his job in the spotlight, they start dating in secret full of clandestine excursions and random disguises to conceal their identities. However, once they are ready to go public with their love, the media scrutiny is a lot considering he’s one of LA and DC’s Most Eligible Bachelors and her rocky past. While they have such a strong connection, Olivia has to figure out if this life is what she really wants and if their love can survive the rocky media storm. 

OMG, this steamy romance read was absolutely adorable and had me rooting for these two from the jump and that HEA/epilogue made me squeal. Also, we got to check in with Alexa and Drew post-HEA, which that type of thing always warms my heart as a reader. Plus, considering the fact that many of Guillory’s books occur in the same universe with some of the same characters, I wouldn’t be opposed to a new book following Max’s roommate Wes falling in love in DC, and maybe even, we’d get a check-in from Max and Olivia there. Just saying, I’d buy that.

Available: Now


When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon 

I just finished reading an ARC of the author’s latest adult romance novel, Make Up Break Up, (be on the lookout for that review coming soon) and adored that read so much, that I immediately went to look up her other works because I was so captivated by that romance. So, I read this summary and was instantly intrigued by the premise.

Here, 18-year-old Dimple Shah is ready for a break from her overbearing family and their quest for her to meet and marry her future Ideal Indian Husband. Her first taste of freedom is at a pre-college summer program for aspiring web developers, her dream summer opportunity and future career. Turns out, her folks were in cahoots were their old pals and Rishi Patel’s parents to set up an arrangement for their two kids. The hitch he knows the truth and she does not. Rishi, oh sweet and pure Rishi, he’s a hopeless romantic and believes in fate and kismet about these two. And well, Dimple does not and, in fact, only sees all the ways they are fundamentally different and incompatible. But what happens when they are paired up for the program’s main assignment and they start to realize all the ways that maybe this is meant to be?

Now, this was a good and captivating read that I was sucked into and just couldn’t put down. That being said, however, something about Rishi just… I don’t know… he just tried way, way, way too hard and that freaked me out, let alone Dimple, and gah, I just wanted him to slow down. Once he did and they later embrace both their authentic selves, we do get a smile-worthy, cute yet predictable HEA to conclude this cute, sweet YA novel.

Available: Now

Here We Go Again: Judging Clare Crawley’s Suitors on ‘The Bachelorette’ on First Glance [Updated]

Now that many places are starting to come out of quarantine and resume somewhat normal lives, it’s time for Bach Nation to get back on track. The Bachelorette, now set exclusively at a California resort, is set to resume filming with Clare Crawley’s journey with 42 brand-new suitors (sans Matt James for obvious reasons). Right before filming kicked off, the show revealed a sneak peek of the men vying for Clare’s heart. A few things: They did *slightly* age up her men, which thank god. Hopefully, that means less drama and more right-reasons folks. PLEASE. But then, there are only 12 POC contestants. Twelve out of 42 is barely .2 percent. Also, there’s barely any other diversity besides race and age. Like, IRL not everyone looks like models. Come on, ABC.

OK, rant time over. Now, that we have the official names, ages, hometowns, and headshots of these guys, it’s time for my annual thoughts based on first impressions alone. Obviously, I’m basing this post off of first impressions from a photo and whatever info I can Google about each man for now. But, once we get closer to a premiere and get an official bio and fast facts from the network, this post may be amended. (Then, hopefully, I can bring back my favorite “Can We Just” segment.)

Update:  As of September 29, ABC has given us the official lineup of the men that will be on the show, post-COVID quarantine, and their official bios, so we’re back to update this post.

AJ, 28, Software Salesman

Now, this Irvine, California native may still be a bit too naive or young for Clare. But, they do live only six hours apart. Could that help jumpstart a potential future and real life? Based on his photo, he looks very All-American and a picture-perfect white dude.

He has a private Instagram account, so we can’t do much snooping. But his bio reads, “Likable Lothario” which yikes, but also “future stay-at-home-dad.” Huh. It also boasts that he’s a college grad and a current MBA student.

Can We Just: Apparently, he “doesn’t show up to anything without doing his research.” So, how much research did he do on Bach Nation and Clare?


Alex, 28

This El Paso, Texas guy also skews on the younger side of things. Which, IDK. Again, a basic All-American white guy. He does look quite sweet and cute. I can see him being a hit in Paradise.

Another dude with a private Insta, but his bio boasts his interest in health and fitness, “good livin'” whatever he means by that, and that he has two lil pups and is a “dog dad.” If that’s not the definition of basic. He is on LinkedIn too, but only has 63 connections, so I’m not sure if he’s that into his professional career or genuinely doesn’t know how to use LinkedIn. However, his name’s been in the limelight because some eagle-eyed fans spotted that he’s been arrested quite a few times. So, like, ABC, are we doing background checks anymore?

**Not listed on cast bios**


Ben, 29, Army Ranger Veteran (Now, a Personal Trainer)

We’re aging up just a smidge with this Indianapolis guy. (Hey, do you know Ben Higgins? LOL.) Giving me weird hair vibes and I’m not into it.

He also as a private Insta page, but his bio describes him as “your coach.” Excuse me as I go throw up. And apparently, he’s a fitness trainer. Blech times two.

Can We Just: He loves his new job as a PT, blech. Oh, and he loves an ice bath.

 

 


Bennett, 37, Wealth Management Consultant

Here we go, we’re getting the age right! Finally. More men that could be on the same page as Clare. Praise be. He’s from Atlanta and seems bubbly and personable, but for some reason, I’m getting a smarmy vibe that maybe he’s too perfect?

Insta gives us no clues, but LinkedIn does. He’s a professional living in NYC with a real-life adult job. So, one step already. I thought I saw a too-perfect vibe, and I was right. His LinkedIn headshot, a degree from Harvard, yea, I feel that I was definitely right. I’m just confused: he graduated in 2007, and then immediately became a Senior VP for a major corporation in finance? I just have questions or he has no clue how LinkedIn works and inputted dates wrong. I’d give him a chance though because this picture from Facebook shows kind eyes and a smile. So, I guess maybe you can’t always judge a book by its cover. But, not even if it’s a slick one??

Can We Just: He calls himself the total package and hasn’t pursued a girl since high school, and pass.


Blake Monar, 30, Grooming Specialist

Another Indiana guy and he is tatted up. Seriously, his arms are covered. His hair’s doing a weird swoopy, pompadour thing which, eh. And I just get a bad boy, drama-centric vibe. But thanks to the network for giving us his last name that makes my sleuthing job much easier. Turns out, he is the President and CEO (humble much?) of a men’s grooming business in Phoenix called Statum Style. Oh no, is he a Nick Viall 2.0? Oh, and he models. Great.

Thanks to his modeling agency in Phoenix, we know now his height, measurements, eye color, and shoe size too, LOL. Oh, and in case you cared, his company Statum Style is all-natural.

Can We Just: “Blake Monar loves pancakes.” Enough said.


Blake Moynes, 29, Wildlife Manager

No, we really have two Blake M’s??? Ok, he doesn’t have tattoos and is from Ontario. So, we have Tatted Blake and Canadian Blake. That helps. In a shock to no one, this tall Canadian prospect was apparently a hockey player in college. Thank you, Google.

He has no known Insta page, which makes my quest for info more difficult. So, I guess we’re going in blind here. He works with endangered animals, which is so cute and sweet. How lovely.

Can We Just: Ninja Turtles! Yea, he really loves ’em.

 

 


Brandon, 28, Real Estate Agent

Wow, he looks a little intense. This Cleveland, Ohio dude apparently doesn’t smile in casting photos and it makes him less than personable. Also, this is totally a photo you’d find on his Tinder. Oh someone, please come through and confirm this. Looks like a model or something, which, pass.

Based on his Insta, also private, he’s a luxury real estate agent and a model based in NYC. According to his firm’s site, he is interested in acting, art and architectural history, traveling, food, yoga, and skiing. I’ve read enough, I’m done.

Can We Just: “An Italian stallion in the prime of his life.” Ick. Oh, and he admits he has “abs of an A-list movie star,” ugh, can he go home now?


Brendan, 30, Commerical Roofer

No, and we have a Brandon and a Brendan? My head hurts already. The Massachusetts guy seems physically perfect and that’s really all I can gauge from a photo.

According to his Insta (still public!), he’s an artist, but like based on the photos, he’s also a model. Geez, we’re screwed then if most of her men are models. Aka classic wrong reasons types.

Can We Just: His friends call him “BMoney.” Just no. Oh, and he likes to rock turtlenecks.

 

 


Chasen, 31, IT Account Executive

He’s also from Cali, and just an hour from Clare. Good or bad, IDK yet. Looks like a model, so yea.

Based on his Insta, he’s into fitness and a tech consultant. Oh yea, and he models too. Because, obviously. But, he does seem to have a legit, real-person job, so there’s that.

Can We Just: He. Wants. A. Golden. Doodle. Puppy. Now, that’s what you put in a bio! Gah, I wanna see the puppy pics once he gets the lil guy.

 

 

 


Chris, 27, Landscape Design Salesman

He’s from St. Louis, Missouri. OMG, where did he go to high school? I need to know. That would supremely help out his first impression. He may bring the median age down, but like I just need to know about his background in my hometown. Would give me plenty of insight.

Other than that, I literally cannot find anything about him on social media. So, I guess, I’m going in blind here too.

Can We Just: He “loves camping, but won’t go for longer than three days at a time.” Um, okay, a bit of contradiction, but alrighty then.

 

 


Collins, 30

He’s from Midlothian, Virginia and his arms are massive and he has an intense (scary?) wide smile.

There’s nothing much I can find on this dude besides his Instagram account or a couple of weightlifting training videos. So, yea, my first impression doesn’t bode well from that. Although it seems like his grandparents were in the hospital four weeks ago, right before he left for ABC quarantine. I do hope everything will be okay, because my stomach would be in knots every day I’m on a reality show knowing something could happen back home while I’m on the opposite coast.

***Not listed on cast bios**

 


Dale, 31, Former Pro Football Wide Receiver

He’s from Brandon, South Dakota, and is that a first for the show?? He seems nice and normal. While his IG is private, turns out he’s VERIFIED already. He’s actually a former NFL player and now is a model and a host, plus an ambassador for the Special Olympics. He’s giving me Clay vibes but like I’d actually root for him. That smile and he doesn’t seem too cocky, just the right amount of normal. Yea, I’m on his team. If Clare doesn’t pick him, can he be the Bachelor lead after Matt James? I’d watch that season.

Can We Just: His favorite game is Hungry Hungry Hippos, well, I didn’t know that.

 

 


Demar, 26, Spin Cycling Instructor

Hey, look a baby for the class! He’s from San Diego and I just get a feeling that he’s still in that party, going out stage of life. Based on his IG, I was a little nervous about the @djfromsocal handle, that he’d be a tool or a cocky DJ but it’s just his initials. He’s educated with a Bachelors and a Masters. Yay, we stan driven contestants! Except hold your horses, his bio advertises something called the Madison, which is a “Party on a Bike: partying you won’t regret the next day.” Oof, I retract my previous affirmative stance. Oh, and he models too. Ugh.

Can We Just: Dream job is a DJ on the Vegas Strip. Cough cough, wrong reasons.

 


Ed, 36, Healthcare Salesman

Age-appropriate, yes. But, geez, his arms. They are massive and the veins are popping out. Good lord. So clearly, this Pittsburgh guy works out a lot. I can’t seem to find any other deets on this dude, but my gut is saying no. I’m getting like a Chad meets Jed vibe, which is like the biggest red flag EVER.

Can We Just: He loves all-inclusive resorts, so I guess this is the perfect season for him, huh?

 

 

 


Ellis, 26

Oh, look at lil’ ginger baby Ellis. The 26-year-old from Libertyville, Illinois has quite the baby face, which hinders me from seeing him as someone ready for marriage and a lifetime commitment. You know, Ellis, it’s hard to stalk, erm you know, research you when your name is the same as a street in your town. Gah, whatevs for now.

His IG presence is private, yet gives me a first and last name so I can find out his LinkedIn deets and previous college basketball record. Lol and in case you were wondering, I’m third connections with the Dallas-living sales executive hahahaha.

**Not listed on cast bios**


Garin, 34, Professor of Journalism

Age is definitely in the right zone with this Fort Lauderdale, Florida dude. Giving me Kenny vibes from Rachel’s season. They look alike in the faces.

Based on his IG bio, Garin is an Emmy-nominated journalist who writes for THISISRNB.com, and is also a host, director, and professor at USC. He’s a freelancer in LA, but hey, same state as Clare. It does say he’s a “nice guy finishing first,” which okay, hun, I can roll with that.

Can We Just: Also, he’s a part-time DJ!

 


Gary, 29

He’s from Cleveland, Ohio, and seems like a professional. Also, the provided Facebook photo looks blurry and I can’t tell much else. Have no strong opinion on him with a blurry photo and no social clues to search.

**Not listed on cast bios**

 

 


Ivan, 28, Aeronautical Engineer

This Dallas guy seems fine, a bit basic. Meh. And definitely on the skinnier side. He’s an engineer, as it said on his private IG’s bio. We’re also third connections on LinkedIn, LOL, but he’s wearing a cute pair of glasses in his headshot and he definitely needs to wear those full time. Glasses can make most guys more attractive. What, it’s true.

Can We Just: “Recovered Croc Enthusiast” should have been his career. Tsk, tsk, producers.

 

 

 


Jason, 31, Former Pro Football Lineman

They are really delivering on the age thing, which thank god. He’s from Rutland, Vermont, and is he our first one? He’s got some large ink on his bicep, so we’ll see what Clare thinks of that. But, he seems genuine and honest, like he’s looking for something real. I’d vote for him to get a couple of roses from Clare.

Another verified Insta dude for Clare. His bio reads, “A regular at Wegmans buffet line and WaWa. URI alum. Former fat guy for the NFL/CFL player.” So, we’ve got another former footballer. He seems basic but a good friend and family guy, which bonus points, man.

Can We Just: He can have fun anywhere he goes. Hm, I’d like to test that, sir, because actually any situation is the question I have for you.


Jay, 29, Fitness Director

He’s from Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and seriously he’s like a Tyler C. clone. I cannot unsee it. Apparently, he’s private on Insta with no real bio and ick, I get bro-y vibes based on his profile photo.

Can We Just: PT, blech. Also, he calls every Drake song a “banger.” So, there’s that.

 

 

 

 


Jeremy, 40, Banker

What? They actually found someone in their forties?? Gobsmacked. He’s from Virginia Beach and aside from the weird Facebook photo seems normal-ish. They better not send him to Paradise with the 20-year-olds from Peter’s season, please no.

His Insta tells me nothing, legit nothing. Just that it’s the same guy because his headshot looks like him, and oh, that he has a little line or something tattooed on his arm. Oh, turns out, he’s got a real job. Score one.

Also, he hates Insta models and his love language is witty banter, so I’m on TEAM JEREMY. Well, for T*****, because Clare rumors.

Can We Just: The producers literally mentioned he’s the oldest contestant ever on the show, so eye roll.


Joe, 36, Anesthesiologist

Dr. Joe! He’s from North Woodmere, New York, and just seems decent and like he’d be mature.

Thanks to a local news article, they’ve already dug up this dirt on this suitor. He’s an anesthesiologist, which like, a real grown-up job! IDK if Clare’s gonna fancy him but he seems like a stable, mature contender.

Can We Just: He fought and survived COVID. Hero status. And he hates girls who litter. Just a good guy. Just going to leave this here: “He once was voted Top 20 Most Eligible Doctors and Medical Professionals in New York City.”

 


Jordan C., 26, Software Account Executive

He’s from Southington, Connecticut, and he’s got glasses. A four-eyed friend! I think that’s a show first? You know, someone wearing more than just readers in the early hours?

Based on his IG, I’m definitely getting bro vibes. Oh yea, that’s for sure. He’s a big sports guy apparently, which like join the club, man. Meh, nothing else noteworthy to report.

Can We Just: Wants a girl to go to the gym with, man, oh buddy, just when your glasses were starting to win me over…

 

 


Jordan M., 30, Cyber Security Engineer

Geez, how many Jordans too? He’s from Deerborn, Michigan, but there’s something about his vibe that I don’t 100 percent trust right away. He just looks menacing and like he’s mean-mugging. I wish he’d smile, then I could get a better vibe/read off of him.

Different from his mean mug photo, his LinkedIn looks more personable and friendly. Meh, not bad. His official cast photo also looks way better.

Can We Just: His favorite Sunday activity is cleaning, he’s already a winner!

 


Josh, 31

I swear, there’s something in this Minneapolis, Minnesota-based dude’s face that reminds me of a guy that lived on my dorm floor my freshman year of college. Well, I cannot unsee that now. But, dimples alert! OK, back to the real him. He seems normal and basic, a bit too slick, I think. Also, another man with a legit job. Thank god. His Insta claims he’s a doggy dad, and his doggo Kingsley is a precious lil pooch. I mean, he’s a cutie doggy.

**Not listed on cast bios**

 

 


Karl, 33

I’m pretty sure this Miami guy lives in a high-rise, or at least has a friend in one that lets him take photos there. He also has massive arms.

While his IG is private, I’m getting bad vibes because he put a freaking rose emoji next to his name! Like, he wants to be recognized from the show. No no no! #NoMoreWannabeInfluencers. Aside from that, he’s a speaker and a “success coach” who’s founded his own firm and passionate about that, which you do you, hun.

**Not listed on cast bios**

 


Kenny, 39, Boy Band Manager

Nope, buh-bye. This dude from Oaklawn, Illinois gives me so many red flags, from the muscle tank, tattoo sleeves, shiny forehead (one word: skincare!), huge muscles, and a gelled-up hairstyle. Please, don’t do it, Clare. Consider this my official warning for you. Also, you know this photo was ripped straight from his Tinder profile.

According to his IG, he’s got a bad-boy-looking headshot and he’s a talent buyer, a “band maker,” and a model. GAH, why why why. Also, would like to point out that Chris Harrison has presumably admitted that he saw Kenny naked on the show, so, um just gonna leave that there and run.

Can We Just: He hates cheese, just … just leave right now, sir.


Mike, 38, Digital Media Advisor

Okay, I like this guy from Calgary in Canada. He seems sweet and kind, has nice hair, and a lovely smile. Ohh, Canada. I hope slick former fiance Benoit doesn’t spring to her mind when she meets him. But, I really like this one.

I swear, no critiques here because he’s my top pick and sorta reminds me of Tanner Tolbert, just like a wholesome and nice guy type. His IG doesn’t reveal anything. Wait, noooo, he apparently has a profesh Insta as a “Digital Media Content Creator” with a website that doesn’t exist. Shit, I hope he’s not here to build a brand. Crap, I need him to be a good one and prove my picker is not broken.

Can We Just: He’s a Shania Twain fanboy, haha, yas. We love to see ’em embrace the fangirl life.


Montel, 30

He’s from Hingham, Massachusetts, and has a lovely, very white smile. Almost, distractedly so, like blinding. And damn, he’s a personal trainer. Big into fitness and lifting weights, which makes sense because arms, but like, pass.

**Not listed on cast bios**

 

 

 

 


Noah, 25

Oh, here’s our little baby of the group! In fact, that’s literally his Insta handle. He’s from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is definitely here to head to Paradise to meet either Hannah Ann, Madison, or Hannah Brown. Guaranteed.

So, he’s a travel nurse, which like good for him. And apparently, he’s got a twin. In case you wanted to know. He’s um, very religious and kinda preachy.

**Not listed on cast bios**

 

 


Page, 37, Chef

I’m getting Evan Bass vibes from this Sante Fe, New Mexico guy. I just, but you know, it all worked out for Evan in the end. So, I’m keeping my mouth shut on that. Also, he has a lot of tats and a weird Evan-like slicked-back hairdo. Definitely an artsy, hipster vibe.

Hold the phone, he’s a chef? And like, an acclaimed one at that. Damn, can we get a cooking date? Please, ABC? Also, he’s one of the two single dads this year.

Can We Just: He likes both pizza and caviar, just not together. Um, well, duh.

 


Peter, 32

Another perfect-looking Peter here! Is that a rule or something, like if you name your kid Peter then he has to be perfect-looking?? #PerfectPeterStrikesAgain. He’s from Everett, Massachusetts, and just wow, that is so much physical beauty, objectively. He’s clean-shaven and his hair is coiffed to perfection, different from many of these rugged, tatted-up guys he’ll be living in the resort with.

Professionally, he’s a real estate advisor and very confident in his profesh accomplishments. Like, I can’t look at him because he’s just like too handsome.

**Not listed on cast bios**

 


Riley, 30, Attorney

I just love this Detroit lad’s name. Also he seems down-to-earth and normal. He seems approachable, friendly, and chill. Like he’d have your back. No further deets to report other than he’s got a real job and multiple degrees. He seems decent like he’s here to find love, but is also a decent friend to the guys. Good on you, hun.

Can We Just: He “knows all the lyrics to ‘Call Me Maybe'” which, um is that impressive or embarrassing?

 

 

 


Robby, 31, Insurance Broker

I’m getting Blake E meets Tickle Monster vibes for this man from St. Pete Beach, Florida. IDK what it is, but yea, it’s there. And meh, not much of a fan. Also, seriously questioning the photographer’s skills because it’s framed poorly.

I’m getting all sorts of bro vibes from his Insta, which like I’m gonna pass on this one. He was a frat bro and works for what I assume is a family company which like, is that good family values or nepotism, IDK. Also, he’s a model who cites his biggest accomplishment as posing for GQ mag, so there’s that. Cough cough, wrong reasons.

Can We Just: According to Chris Harrison, Nick Viall referred him to the show. LOLOLOL I need more answers.


Spencer, 30

This dude from La Jolla, California looks like Trevor from Listen to Your Heart. Very visually pleasing physically and wow, what a busy and distracting shirt. But, like piercing eyes. I mean, piercing, wow.

And we’ve got another bro out here! His Insta tells that story all too well. But with only sixty posts, I can’t get too much of a read on him.

**Not listed on cast bios**

 

 

 


Tien, 36

He’s from Great Neck, New York, and quite the skinny dude. But, also dimples. This coloring of this photo looks like one of the OBC of Hamilton‘s star portraits of the Schuyler sisters in the sepia tone. Can’t unsee that one.

No Insta, but a real job. So definite benefits and someone who doesn’t wanna be an influencer.

**Not listed on cast bios**

 

 


Tyler C., 27, Lawyer

Another Tyler C.?? He’s from Gassaway, West Virginia, and just seems like a basic, muscly guy. Totally average Bach suitor, for sure.

While he used to be a professional boxer, now he’s an attorney. Which, like, yay, real job alert! Ohhh tea time, Chris Harrison says right off the bat on Night One, he’s got some dirt on another dude and reveals it. I can’t wait.

Can We Just: A Matthew McConaughey stan. Well, I’m not sure why you admitted that you are a Stan.

 

 


Tyler S., 36, Music Manager

Tyler No. 2 is here, y’all! He’s from Dallas and went to the same high school as Chris Harrison. He has a lil’ baby face, so he looks a lot younger. Apparently, his brother is Granger Smith, a country singer? Hm, need to do more digging on this. Yea, and he’s also his bro’s manager and a proud uncle. Thank you, detailed Insta bios. So, I’m sensing like a Jordan Rodgers vibe. He’s cute, seems normal and friendly. Yea, I can see something happening with Clare and some chemistry. But, LOL, could they get his bro to sing on a date for them? Even if it’s just over Zoom! I mean, he manages him, so wouldn’t it be his job to bring this chance to his brother, I mean, client?? Aww sweetie, because Chris Harrison called him well-liked and so polite. Aww.

Can We Just: His mom has to approve any girl he dates … by looking at said girl’s Instagram. Um, okay???


Uzoma “Eazy”, 29, Sports Marketing Agent

He’s from Dallas and is suave. I just get Lincoln vibes, which I hope not, because he was gross. And oh dear old, yet another former NFL player who’s verified on Insta?? I mean, sure he’s good-looking but IDK if he’s right for Clare, ya know?

He’s looking for a queen, which aww, but also, hmm is that a line, sir? Also, he’s seen every episode of Grey’s Anatomy, which, like good taste. But, I see you sneaky ABC producers, trying to link the show page to this one…

Can We Just: “No one hypes Eazy up better than himself.” ‘Nuff said.

 


Yosef, 30, Medical Device Salesman

He’s from Mobile, Alabama, and I’m getting model vibes. But also, what does his accent sound like? I need to know. But, I swear if this isn’t a modeling photo. Because that’s all I see here.

I can’t get a good read on him. His IG is private, save for his profile photo which is him with a cute little girl, which is presumably his daughter or niece or sister or something. Confirmed, his daughter, a 4-year-old called Zara. So, family’s a priority, I guess. Which, like that’s nice. But oh man, he also gets into drama this season, ugh.

Can We Just: “As a kid, Yosef loved his Velcro sneakers.” That’s the fun fact Adult Yosef is gonna go with?

 


Zac C., 36, Addiction Specialist 

Oh, I like him and can see him going far. He’s from Haddonfield, Pennsylvania, and just seems normal and authentic. Ok, Team Zac C. for now.

Can’t tell much but apparently he’s got a nice, emotional backstory, so he’ll likely appear when the show airs. He’s overcome a lot and aww, I hope he gets the love story he deserves. “Tremendous story. Great guy,” according to Chris Harrison.

Can We Just: He’s a sneakerhead. Oh lord, why are we admitting that?

 

 


Zach J., 37, Cleaning Service Owner

He’s from Yakima, Washington, which reminds me of iCarly. Hey, I’m a young Millennial! Big guy with big, veiny arms, tight tees, and hair that sticks straight up.

He’s got his hands deep in his pockets! Which of course reminds me of the camp song “Turtle Song” about the turtle with his hands in his pockets and his pockets in his pants? Sorry, my brain is weird. So, now I’ll be singing that every time I see Zach on screen this season.

Back to Zach, he’s a business owner and values his family, which thank ya, Instagram. Oh, yea, his company as already promoted his Bach appearance. Cool beans, Mr. Wannabe Influencer. Apparently, He has an explosive Night One entrance that earns him a nickname that sticks. Yikes.

Can We Just:  He once broke his nose walking into a glass door. Hahahaha, I mean, thanks for the laugh, but I don’t get why you feel the need to share that Mr. I Hate Jazz Music But Am Obsessed With Chapstick.


And that’s the ball game! What did you think of Clare’s official 31 guys and who will earn the First Impression Rose or steal her heart? And more importantly, will things be less dramatic and more earnest so I’ll want to keep watching? Also, are the rumors all true, and if so, what is in store coming up this season of the “most dramatic” season of The Bachelorette??

9 End-of-the-Year Book Releases That’ll Have You Obsessed All Fall/Winter Long

As fall has swept in already, I’ve been trying to keep busy by updating my personal library with all sorts of new books, organizing my bookshelves in a color-coordinated rainbow order, ordering a personal library stamp and affixing it on each novel on my shelf, and of course, reading every day and night. Some of these books have made me weep, scream, smile, and, well, feel all of the feels, both good and bad.

So, welcome back to Miranda’s Book Nook with even more of my latest book recommendations that’ll keep you company as 2020 winds down. I hope you find these books as engaging and comforting as I have. Happy reading!

Majesty by Katharine McGee

As you may recall from a previous post or my endless social posts, I was absolutely obsessed with American Royals. So much so, in fact, that I finished the chunker of a royalty YA novel in a single day. A couple hours, even. (Which, I’d like to report has occurred yet again with this follow-up.) After the first novel ended on such a freaking cliffhanger, I knew I needed to read the eventual sequel, like, immediately just to find out what happened and to make sure that my beloved ship of Connor and Bea were still motherf***ing endgame, or I was prepared to literally throw something. Sure, they may be from different stations in life, but that doesn’t matter because it’s love. They needed to be together, and I demand that courtesy as such a fan. We’ll get to that later.

The YA sequel picks up pretty much where we left off and takes us to the king’s (their dad’s) somber funeral. Then, we jump ahead a mere six months later as the royal family attempts to grieve slash move forward, and Bea attempts to figure out her next steps as the reigning queen. Since no one in the book even knew about my beloved ship (which, like, boo!), they kept trying to push Bea’s wedding to Teddy sooner, because god forbid we have an unmarried queen! Also, please god no, I need her not to do the “proper” thing and not shut the door on Connor and their love story, as he’s done nothing but support, love, and be there for his longterm love. Also, I was super ready to have some flipping words with Connor as the reader, because, dude, you need to get your girl, however, you need to. Not the queen, but his Bee. He needs to snap her out of this pretend world she’s attempting to go through the motions and woo her all over again, for them and their true love. And boy, he flipping better. Or, I swear. (Seriously, he’s just so precious and perfect, all this sh*t between the two of them is killing me! Bea, ugh, if you don’t marry him then I will!)

The book still features the same multiple stories, but I’m still primarily drawn to Bea’s perspective because that’s the one love story and journey that rang the most heartfelt, genuine, and long-lasting to me from the first book. However, ugh, Beatrice is acting so dumb. She’s the queen, like she shouldn’t have to get married and spoiler alert, she could change the rules of the game, because she’s in charge. I just want her to do something and follow her heart. Like, how can she govern a nation if she can’t follow her own desires? I’m pissed at both her and Connor by now. Thank gosh for our other perspectives and leading ladies to fill in on the true love department.

I literally couldn’t stop reading, as I was onto chapter six within about twenty minutes of starting this novel on pub day. I just couldn’t put it down until I found out what would happen next. I’m just so captivated, even if Bea doesn’t rightfully realize she wants and needs Connor in her life. So, the book continues and we see the other ladies too: Sam is embracing her role as The Spare since her love Teddy is still marrying her sister and so she starts partying more, her bestie Nina wants to move on from her breakup with Jeff, and Daphne still will do whatever it takes to marry Jeff and secure her family’s status. Sam gets her own love story this time around with her unexpected pairing with new character Marshall, but hey, that old fake dating trope always works! It’s beyond cute, and the same with Nina and Jeff’s pal Ethan. However, Bea and Teddy are a thing here. I just cannot deal because I’m such a hardcore Bea+Connor shipper and like, all their history and passion can’t just disappear overnight to me, at least. I just feel that their story just isn’t over and I just can’t move on.

So, the ending (beware of spoilers, but the book’s already been out for a hot minute, so likely you could’ve already read it for yourself). I am glad that Bea called off the wedding because she didn’t need to be married at 22 anyway just so she can be queen, but like, I’d be very happy if sometime in the future, she and Connor could somehow find their way back to each other because I can feel that their story isn’t concluded just yet. The whole book just felt like the author was trying to force Teddy on us by making Bea fall for him, but that wasn’t the book I wanted and yearned for, because Connor was everything to her. Also, she didn’t even like Teddy, and until she was like “well, better get to know my fiance because me leaving him killed my dad and we need a royal wedding,” and like no, that’s not a good enough reason for me. But, I guess American Royals was Bea’s big, shippable love story and Majesty is the place for Nina and Sam to be the stars and find love, which I enjoyed as well, but, like it was harder to enjoy because at the same time I saw my beloved Connor+Bea ship sinking hard and deep, which you can’t get over that so quickly. However, the writing was plenty captivating and there was tons of drama and intrigue that kept me reading.

Available: Now


My Therapist Says: Advice You Should Probably (Not) Follow by @MyTherapistSays*

This Instagram account is one of my favorite meme IG accounts out there because it’s so dang relatable. So, upon hearing the brains behind the account were writing a book, instantly, I knew it belonged on my TBR list. Initially, I was excited to read it as a follower of the @MyTherapistSays Instagram page, often liking memes about reality and anxious moments of life that we all go through.

From the get-go, the brand’s signature sense of humor and tone is on point with the book’s fun, humorous tone that you can immediately deduce from the title alone. The book is designed to provide advice about this crazy journey of life from the Insta-famous ladies and interjections from their real-life therapist. Seriously, I couldn’t stop laughing for the first half of this read, because everything is one hundred percent accurate. Underneath all the humor and jokes, there really are some lovely, deep messages and advice about how to live your best life. Each essay reads quite quick, and who knows, maybe this isn’t the type of read I shouldn’t have started at 11pm at night, because here we are midnight and eighty pages in. Well, we are how we are.

While I enjoyed this ARC, will I read this again? Meh, probably not. Not to say it wasn’t captivating for a self-help, advice book because it was. It had some good tips, and if you follow the girls on Instagram, then you’ll likely get their humor and tone too. For those of you who do follow them, you’ll also likely want to read this, whether you need their advice to help you cope or more often just for a laugh, because hey, life’s quite the dumpster fire now, we need any chance to laugh and feel joy. It’s definitely a book geared towards their followers and millennials like them (and me too). I would have loved an introduction upfront that introduced who’s writing this and their qualifications, but it dives straight into everything and assumes the reader already knows them. So, their existing followers is definitely the sole target audience. On that note, the IG page is notoriously run by a group of friends, but here, it’s written in the “I” tone, which is addressed at the end but not the beginning, which is a bit confusing. For me, as a reader, I was confused who’s viewpoint the essays were about throughout the book.

I thought this book would be like a collection of their IG, but it’s not. It’s the same commiserating tone, sure, but there’s no real way to improve yourself or no research to back up any of their claims. Which, it all comes out a bit preachy to me. However, I did think the language was funny and the designs/graphics/journal pages were cute, but that’s it. That being said, the goal-setting part was actually decent for self-growth and the anxiety checklist is helpful, but that’s about it. And I do appreciate the section on addressing insecurities, but nothing actually motivates me to attempt to better myself just from reading. The self-care lessons of this only really work if you’ve already done the work on yourself, but by no means should this be a starting point for self-improvement. Overall, it’s pretty negative and, like, just pointing out all you’re doing wrong without offering any real self-improvement messages.

Available: October 6


The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss*

Even though it’s late summertime as of reading this galley or fall at the time of publishing this post, this romance book has me yearning for winter, hot chocolate, and cozy sweaters! By page one, I knew this was a book that was right up my alley. I mean: British setting, romance, and the holidays? Check check and check! Here, Kate and Matt have been old friends since childhood, and like, it’s clear they have to fall in love, right? But, the timing’s not quite right. Tired of her horrible dating luck, she (at the urging of her best friend) signs up for a matchmaking dating service, and hence the book’s title, she’ll go different blind dates before the holiday. The primary focus of the book is all about her bad dates and horrible dating luck, which, like, Kate, you are preaching to the choir on that one!

As I kept reading, it was already shaping up to be a fun, indulgent, and very cute holiday romance read. The concept is quite a good idea, however, the execution fell a bit, I don’t know, meh. It’s cute and all, but that’s pretty much it. And then, it is a super, super slow burn for the HEA in a romance. Like, I just wish the pace was quicker because it felt like some parts kept dragging on. It’s a predictably cute holiday romance and that’s the whole book basically. Nearly approaching the end of the story, after all her bad dating luck over and over again, it’s clear that best pal Matt is her only decent option even if they don’t know it yet. It all becomes painfully clear for the reader that they are meant to be, but the slow pace means we’re not there yet, and you are just hoping for some type of HEA to make all her troubles and heartache worth it, even if it is just self-worth and friendship. Besides, Matt is really the only decent option that could potentially give her love (Soz, Richard. You gave me such offputting and smarmy vibes any time you were on the page. Blech!), and that’s painfully clear. TBH, I was quite cynical going into this read and reading about these trash dating options and how predictable everything was, but I can’t deny that the ending made me smile because it was just so damn adorable.

Available: October 13


Fangirl, Vol. 1 by Rainbow Rowell, Sam Maggs*

For anyone that used to obsess over Rowell’s Fangirl back in the day, which, um, guilty, this manga adaptation is the perfect way to reinvent the novel. The graphic novel features all sorts of detailed pictures that really bring the story to life and tells the vivid story we all know well by now, and this way you can actually see these characters face to face and not just in your head!

In case this concept is all new to you, here’s a brief summary. The main character Cath is a huge Simon Snow fan, like the world, but she just can’t let go of the fandom and even is a popular fanfic writer. Now that she and her twin sister Wren are in college, she must decide if she’s ready to start living her own life, and if she does, will she leave the world of Simon Snow behind? She’s far outside her comfort zone now, as she meets all sorts of new people, including a moody roommate with an overly charming boyfriend, a writing professor who doesn’t like fanfiction, and a cutie-pie new writing partner.

This read is definitely for fans of the original novel and not newbies to the book. But that being said, it’s definitely fun to see Cath’s story and her fanfics with my own eyes and not just in my mind. It reads very quickly, and you can definitely finish this edition in a single setting slash day. It just fun and enjoyable! This Vol. 1 does end on such a cliffhanger, and I just want the next editions like now!

Available: October 13


Together, Apart by Erin A. Craig; Auriane Desombre; Erin Hahn; Bill Konigsberg; Rachael Lippincott; Brittney Morris; Sajni Patel; Natasha Preston; Jennifer Yen*

This was everything I’ve needed to stay sane and happy during lockdown. Nine acclaimed, witty, and popular YA authors did what they do best and wrote short stories starring diverse and complex teens facing the pandemic, lockdown, and adorable first love stories.

In short, each story was equally compelling and told a complete story with an interesting protagonist who learns that love always finds its way. The characters and storylines are all relatable, endearing, and engaging which make the story so much fun, authentic, and beyond precious that I just want more content and updates to each one!

There’s one about a cute pizza delivery boy who gives the new girl in town a free book and cake which like winning already; one where a girl is desperate to impress her crush on TikTok; two dog walkers getting closer; a new boy in town who can’t stop thinking about the girl next door; an enemies-to-lovers sitch from across apartment balconies; an unexpected romance that stems from a fortune reading and a take-out order; a flirty exchange begins over two balcony herb gardens, a roommate enemies-to-lovers journey; and a mask-making entrepreneur and her famous crush. There’s something for every romance fan, and it’s just absolutely adorable and heart-melting. They are all so freaking cute in their own way between the love stories and the HEAs, and I’m obsessed and just want more of each story. Like, for example, Erin Hahn’s story had me literally jumping up and down on my bed at the big, sweeping, and romantic as hell reveal and HEA, like, OMG, that’s so freaking cute!

After reading all nine, it’s like, ugh why couldn’t that have been my quarantine? Lol, I’m so single over here. But, hey, I’ll settle for getting sucked in and reading about these quarantine love stories rather than wishing for one of my own. Probably a lot easier to manage my expectations if I’m reading about someone else’s experiences than dreaming of that in mine. Also, a lot of these characters’ parents are essential workers, so this short story collection is a nice shoutout to the true heroes of the pandemic. Woohoo, three cheers!!

Available: October 20


Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer*

Okay y’all, this was one of the absolute cutest YA romance reads that I’ve picked up in a while, and wow, now that I finished it, I just can’t stop smiling because that was beyond adorable! Here, Quint and Prudence are biology lab partners sophomore year, and she’s been so annoyed with him over his lateness and unwillingness to contribute to their final project (or any assignment all year, really). So, initially, I’m thinking we’re about to get a delish enemies-to-lovers teen novel right here. And boy, did this book deliver on that front!

Quint is cocky, relaxed, and very attractive, so it’s evident he’ll be her love interest, and bingo! But, it’s a slow-burn love story that makes you savor every single early flirtatious moment. Plus, after a nasty bump on her head at karaoke night, Prudence now has some magical, mystical power to enact karma on random people, both good and bad. She can magically give off “instant karma” when people do something as an immediate reaction, like if someone litters, talks rudely about her twin brother, or helps take care of wounded sea animals. All in all, everything about this makes for an absolutely precious YA book that’s so easy to get sucked in and just keep reading. The book takes place during summer break as she’s determined to get Quint to help redo their science project for a better grade, and he only agrees if she’ll volunteer at his mom’s marine life rescue center for a few weeks and actually split the project work with him, since she hadn’t all year long. Then, all this karmic justice gives her such a power trip, juxtaposed with spending more time with Quint at the center to teach her about his world and other perspectives in this book.

It’s a quick, easy, and fun YA romance read about the power of fate. The romance part is quite the slow burn, where you wonder if either of them will actually make a move, but in a cutesy teen love story way that’s sweet and endearing. Then, that ending was like beyond f***ing cute, and like awww, my heart is most definitely melting from that HEA. So sweet.

Available: November 3


The Cul-de-Sac War by Melissa Ferguson*

Unfortunately, this book missed the mark for me as an absolute favorite, which is a shame because based on the summary, it felt like one that was right up my romance-loving alley. In this novel, Bree moves to a small town in Virginia to pursue a career as an actress with a local theater company in her grandma’s hometown. There, she meets Chip during a show while she was having a wardrobe malfunction. She ran off the stage to fix it, where she stumbled into his arms and he heroically duck-taped her costume in place for the remainder of the show. He’s already saved her within a few minutes, so obviously she becomes infatuated with him.

Her BFF is Cassie from The Dating Charade, the author’s previous work, which is always fun to see old characters return after their HEAs and see they’ve still got them. After the show, she gets pissed that a truck is tailgating her, and follows her home. Naturally, she gets road rage only to discover that the driver is her new neighbor, and it’s construction worker Chip, as in the dude she just met at the show that saved the day. The book is told in back and forth perspectives between and Bree and Chip, who’s just come back to town and is desperate to build his new business and finish his home renovation quickly. The two spend most of the book at odds as his renovation interferes with her house and life, and so they play juvenile pranks on each other. Then, these two definitely warm to each other after expressing similar types of grief they are both dealing with. This book is super slow to start and hard to get into, and as much as I wanted to like it, I just couldn’t find my interest in it, and it didn’t seem as if our two protagonists had any real interest, spark, or chemistry. So, it just fell flat in my eyes. This book was okay, nothing more and nothing less. It’s a sweet, wholesome slow-burn romance, so if that’s your thing, this book is perfect for you.

Available: November 10


Truth, Lies, and Second Dates by MaryJanice Davidson*

No summary, book cover, or book title could have prepared me for this read because I didn’t see any of this story coming. And I loved that. It wasn’t too predictable that made me yawn, but kept me on my toes to desperately find out what happens next. This book is a mystery slash romance that follows commercial pilot Ava Capp, who reveals that her best friend Danielle was brutally murdered a decade ago, and became one the of biggest cold cases back in her hometown in Minnesota.

In the present, Danielle’s twin brother and Ava’s former crush, Dennis, is on her flight back to MN with his (distant) cousin-slash-girlfriend. He asks her if she’s going to Danielle’s memorial service, which she doesn’t want to but goes anyway. After a crazy day, she and Dennis go out on the town where she meets Tom. Dennis disappears for the night, and later, she and Tom get cozy and share an intimate makeout sesh, naturally. Turns out, the next day there was an incident at the funeral home, so she and Dennis are called in to check out the scene. And who’s there but TOM, our new leading man, who’s a whip-smart medical examiner and has taken an interest in Danielle’s cold case and solving her murder. (Only thing that gave me pause from this book was that Tom has a niece who repeatedly calls him “Uncle Tom” which like IDK if that was the best way to go with naming characters, but that just struck me as odd.) This book is told in back-and-forth perspectives, which were a little jumpy because we didn’t see Tom’s point of view until after 13 chapters of Ava’s, so it felt a bit jumpy, and I wish it was less abrupt and made more sense chronologically.

I really liked this read because it wasn’t too tropey or predictable for a romance. But, that romance was quite cute as they try to, albeit terribly, hide their feelings. Once there’s a relationship, it’s pretty lukewarm on the hot-and-steamy scale, well, until the buzzer and the final chapters. There’s a few deep makeout moments, but nothing too smutty until the very end. It’s a very intriguing mystery novel and a cute romance that was fun to dive into as well. By the end, obviously, the murder was resolved in a way I didn’t see coming but maybe that’s because I just didn’t remember the person who did it from the earlier chapters. By the end, I just couldn’t put this read down and was desperately waiting to find out what actually happened.

Available: December 15


A Spy in the Struggle by Aya de León*

This was a compelling read that I couldn’t put down and just had to find out what happened next. Here, Yolanda Vance is a junior attorney in Manhattan for a big, fancy corporate law firm, which was under investigation for security fraud, according to the FBI. Instead of shredding papers as her boss asks, she keeps them and becomes a whistleblower for justice. We definitely stan a woman who’s unwilling to throw away her hard-earned career because some man told her to go down with a sinking ship!

She then joins the FBI as a backup plan because she needs a job after she’s blackballed from corporate law for not shredding the papers. This book’s tone is very clear and engaging which gives me all the information about the protagonist yet still makes me need to keep reading. I love Yolanda as a protagonist because she’s strong as hell, like YASSS! Yolanda is just so strong and fierce, which I love to see. It’s so endearing and I just want to keep reading and find out all the action and drama. Back to the story, she’s sent on an undercover mission with a black extremist activist group in California. The book also has a few other perspectives, including a mystery agent who was taken off this case and thinks Yolanda’s not the right fit to take over, plus cop Rodriguez who finds a black woman dead after an OD. These two other viewpoints are a bit much and didn’t add much to the overall story, you honestly could have just had Yolanda’s side and the book would be just fine. But this SA sends redacted emails, which I just want to know all the juicy details.

Outside of all that, Yolanda meets college professor Olujimi aka Jimmy, and the two start flirting, and soon enough, love blinds her to her real job and purpose here. As she spends more time with the organization and Jimmy during the height of the BLM movement, she soon begins to question her values and career, her legality here and ethics, when she realizes she’s on the wrong side of what she wants to be. Also, Jimmy. Let’s talk about him for a bit. He’s so sweeping and romantic, but I can’t tell if it’s a ‘too good to be true’ thing or if he’s completely innocent in all this, I would have loved more backstory and insight into him. Overall, this read was so compelling and full of emotions, that wow, I thoroughly enjoyed that.

Available: December 29


*Advance reader copies of several of the books listed were provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

7 New Books I Can’t Get Out of My Head This Fall

Holy cow, it’s almost autumn already?? Where has the time gone so quickly? Like, holy crap. Speedy indoor summer, ugh. Well, I’ve kept busy by reading, reading, and oh yea, more reading. I mean, is anyone surprised? And these books are sure to keep you all busy as you stay home and socially distanced from others.

So, welcome back to Miranda’s Book Nook with more of my latest book recommendations that’ll keep you company all autumn long. I hope you find these books as engaging, fun, and comforting as I have.

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

The second I first learned that Kevin Kwan was coming out with his first new book since the worldwide phenomenon that is the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, I was stoked. Here, we get a brand-new tale of a young woman torn between two men: her influential WASPy fiancé and George Zao, the man her family’s tried to keep away from her since she was a teenager. Y’all, let me just say that this book was so indulging and deliciously decadent that I just couldn’t put it down and had to devour it in a single setting. Sorry not sorry, it’s so juicy, dramatic, and engaging.

Available: Now


Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

Yes, I used to be a Twihard, and yes, I read this new Twilight book within days of its initial publication release. Duh. I mean, was that ever a question? If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that fandom never really goes away (thanks Hunger Games, Jonas Brothers, and One Direction); it just lays dormant for a bit — and can come back with a vengeance, just as strong as ever.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Stephenie Meyer went back and rewrote the first book in her bestselling saga from Edward’s angsty teen boy slash vampire perspective. After the first draft was leaked and posted online years back, now, she’s finally finished it and it is here! So, what’s it about? It’s the same time frame, plot points, and characters first seen in Twilight, just flipped around and told from Edward’s side aka the lion’s instead of the lamb’s. This companion novel takes on a darker side as vampire Edward attempts to stay away from Bella or if he’s meant to kill her and drink her blood rather than fall in love. It’s definitely a lot darker and angstier than the original, and I definitely was intrigued by this darker version.

Reading this book seriously felt like I was back in middle school, in the heyday of my Twilight obsession, staying up way too late each night just to finish another chapter. Because, that’s been me for the week it first was out. Now, it’s nearly 700 pages, which like what a chunker, and I could barely hold it, LOL. But, it’s so much fun to go back to this beloved franchise and see it from a different perspective. I liked that it was Edward’s, one because he was the other main character besides Bella, and two because as a mind reader, that means we also get to see the viewpoints of the other Cullens (and their backgrounds!) and Forks students. That part was super fun. Plus, Edward had some zingers, like when he retorts “no blood, no foul” about himself in response to a question about being hurt. Literally made me chuckle out loud.

Available: Now


CLUELESS: A Totally Classic Picture Book by G.M. Berrow, Illustrated by Heather Burns

Yes, you read that correctly. Amy Heckerling’s totally tubular, iconic ’90s cult classic has been reworked into a children’s picture book, and I’m totally buggin’ out about it. Like, obviously the movie is a classic that I can still quote every line and then I had to see the original musical years back because I love this 90s-style world so much. A book about it, like yes, please! The book, out just in time for the movie’s 25th anniversary, reimagines the Bronson Alcott students as pint-sized fashionistas living their best lives in elementary school. This is an awesome way to share your love of this tubular flick with your little ones and introduce them to a good teen movie.

This illustrated children’s book features all the classic nostalgia, Easter eggs, characters, fashion-forward ensembles, but all kid-friendly, obviously. Here, we follow precious tots Cher and Dionne who meet newbie Tai at Bronson Alcott Elementary. Tai, much like her film counterpart, is a fan of skateboarding and baggy clothes. Cher and Dionne are determined to help make their new bestie fit in with the stylish Beverly Hills crowd as these popular kiddos try to tell her how to dress or what hobbies she should like. But in the end, they realize that everyone’s different and that what makes them so flipping awesome!

We have Cher’s classic home, the same like way-classic language from the film, her computer program to match outfits (which I’m still waiting on IRL, plaid matching outfits (!!), all her rad friends, epic fashion looks that are exactly as we remember from the movie, and a sweet story about fitting in, standing out, and friendship. Just the romances are missing, after all, it is a book for kids. It’s precious and you’d like totally be missing out if this wasn’t added to any young kiddo’s reading list. Missing this picture book? OMG, as if! Thanks to a physical advance copy, courtesy of Hachette Book Group, I’ll definitely be reading this to my young cousins every time I see them. Sorry, but they need to be educated about the iconic world that is Clueless.

Available: September 1

Image Courtesy: Clueless TM & © 2020 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.


Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe*

First off, nearly every single Netgalley review for this new YA novel gives it either four or five stars (out of five), which to me indicates that it has to be something special. And after reading the first few pages alone, I can confirm it most definitely is. After only a couple pages, I desperately want and need to keep reading because the narrator Henri’s point of view is just so relatable, authentic, engaging, and completely captivating.

This diverse teen romance (yes, this is what we need more of in the genre!!) is whip-smart, fun, and relatable for many readers. Henri “Halti” is a NYC native, the first-generation son of Haitian immigrants, and who is the epitome of a charming, well-liked teenage boy. He’s smart, a good kid, an entrepreneurial dog walker. He started his own part-time dog walking site/brand as a way to help pay for college tuition for next year, and his eyes are set on Columbia University. At first, he doesn’t notice Corinne Troy as anything but the hyper-smart, annoying girl from school. She’s sort of his school rival as they push one another’s buttons. She’s a very Type A student and seems perfect to him. After she moves into his building on the Upper West Side and her mom hires Halti to walk her new pooch Palm Tree, she soon discovers his scheme and blackmails him to help her become popular with their school peers (and seem less intense about academics) in exchange for her silence about the truth of his business. (Side note: I love Corinne, hahaha she’s a gem and quite a fun character!)

It’s a quick, fun YA read that I have a hard time setting down because it’s just so enjoyable, even so early in the book. Philippe’s tone of voice for Henri is so witty and genuine, which makes this book even more captivating. There’s such a precious, innocent slow burn romance that’s perfectly timed with the book’s pace which was absolutely adorable and I can’t stop smiling, it’s that cute. By the ending, Henri did a stupid, stupid, dumb thing because he was so desperate to get into Columbia, and it made me so so pissed. But, in the end, that’s a good thing for this book because I could feel his emotions and it made me feel things as any good novel should. In the end, wow, it’s so raw and vulnerable, but then the epilogue delivers the cute HEA we all craved and that made me Smile.

Available: September 8


The Key to Love by Betsy St. Amant*

This was a sugary-sweet romance, and honestly, that’s really all I could say. It’s wholesome and pleasant, but sometimes you just need that. Here, pastry chef Bri hails from a small town in Kansas and she’s ever the romantic, willing to wait however long it takes for her own HEA and prince to show up. In contrast, gruff travel writer Gerard is anything but, and a past relationship has made him jaded to the ideas of love. He’s assigned to cover the bakery where she works, which has gone viral thanks to a love lock wall in the backyard, the owners’ matchmaking schemes, a European theme, and a “cute blonde who works there.” And by the first page, I’m already dreaming of macarons.

It’s clearly set up to be a cutesy, wholesome opposites-attract trope, and it doesn’t get off to the best start for this reader. It’s told in back and forth perspectives and it’s a super slowww slow-burn and enemies-to-lovers romance with banter. Like OMG, them quoting Pride and Prejudice to each other in French is so adorable and funny. It’s fun, sweet, and cute. That’s about it. Then, it gets very emotionally charged by the end with a reveal about her parents and a big bombshell, however, all that feels like an at-the-buzzer revelation that could have been teased or started earlier.

The writing is good and captivating, but there’s no extra oomph to make this book shine, and it ends up as another cutesy baking romance story. Then, each chapter ends with a cliffhanger that’s barely addressed in the next section or from the other point of view and it feels abrupt and catches you off guard because there are so many lingering questions left as a new time frame, event, or something is revealed. Then, the ending gets super religious, which almost comes out of left field because religious beliefs and God-talk wasn’t even addressed until the tail end. It caught me off guard because religion wasn’t really mentioned as a guiding factor at any point beforehand. Then, the end of the book didn’t address her final actions before they got their HEA, and to me, it feels like part of their, and her, journey is incomplete as individuals and as a pair. 

Available: October 13


The Transatlantic Book Club by Felicity Hayes-McCoy*

First off, the Irish setting gives me so much wanderlust and the bookish storyline makes me happy! In this multicultural Irish family fictional story, the story follows communities across both a small Irish town and an American town chock full of Irish immigrants.

It starts off with Cassie, who moves back to Ireland to be with her grandma after her grandfather passes away, and soon after that, the duo heads to this small US town where her Gran Pat had once visited her cousin as a teen. Once back in Ireland after the trip, Cassie takes a part-time job at the local library, which like, yay, I love bookish themes in my novels! Immediately, there are several narrators between Cassie, Pat, librarian Hannah and her mom Mary, all of whom can be a bit difficult to discern who’s who with so much happening all at once; The novel’s very ambitious in that way. Plus, in the beginning, several chapters are purely exposition and intros, and it’s very, very slow to get into the main story. The main idea is that Cassie sets up a transatlantic book club for the both the towns of Lissberg and Resolve, where they’ll chat weekly, at one time, via Skype about a book, or just a social call. This book features so much descriptive language that plays out like a movie in my head, but having too many points of view is making things difficult to keep track of, along with barely any transition between flashbacks and the present-day setting. That part feels abrupt and confusing as a reader. However, something clearly happened in the past and I’m very curious to find out what. There’s not a ton of action throughout and it wasn’t easy to get into.  I wanted to love it so badly because books and travel are my weakness, however, I just couldn’t get into this one, unfortunately. It was fine, but nothing more than that.

Available: November 10


Pretending by Holly Bourne*

OK, this latest ARC! I loved it, now I don’t think it’s five-star worthy because one, that’d hard to achieve and two, it’s something I’d go to reread actively. But, I did thoroughly enjoy this women’s fiction (which should just be fiction in general, but I digress) novel. From page one,  narrator April is snarky, relatable, witty, and I just love this tone and language. It’s so relatable and fun that I just want to keep reading. Then, it’s set in London, which is my ultimate guilty pleasure as an Anglophile, so yay, score one. I’m like super into this novel from so early on, mainly because April feels so honest and real. She’s vulnerable and genuine, making a stellar protagonist and I’m so invested in her journey and story.

Now, April, at the beginning, hasn’t exactly had the best luck with men (join the club, girl, join the club), and she’d fed up with that shit. So, she’s after revenge on any guy that’s hurt any girl and made them worthless. She sets out to make a new dating profile and date (or catfish) men as Gretel, the girl in her head that she thinks men want and is the complete opposite of the real her. This way she can break their hearts like they so often do to her. She matches with Joshua, who just seems so endearing and sweet, like I keep saying ‘aww precious’ about everything he does, that, and their first date is super cute, except that she’s pretending to be someone else. But, this experiment is helping the real her because April is becoming more confident and not overanalyzing every little detail, but of course, she starts to see they are quite compatible even though she’s admitted that he’s not good-looking, not bad-looking, and not a good kisser, like eesh. DM conversations help show the passage of time and recount different days and dates to move things along. It’s just so vulnerable and open, which makes everything feel so real and raw. Josh is so endearing yet a bit clueless, so I’m not sure if they really have this connection and he’s The Guy because he is falling for the fake her and he’s super clingy.

All in all, this book is witty and captivating, and I can’t put it down; I have to keep reading.  I loved this read because I get it, everything April feels, and it’s real, authentic, yet still frothy, light, and fun that keeps you turning the pages. So many women’s fiction nowadays revolve around a man or romance, and getting a man to fall in love with a girl, her needing or wanting love. And it’s refreshing to see that this book isn’t that because love and relationships are real, raw, and messy, just like life really is. I just want more content, and have so many lingering questions about where her story goes from here. There’s an epilogue that is quite ambiguous, so you can’t help but wonder who is that man at the end she speaks of, like is it Josh or someone else? I have so many questions left and I just want to know and keep reading more!

Also, the book definitely needs a trigger warning as April discusses and deals with her past sexual assault. But, I think it’s brave that she’s acknowledging and searching for a way to move forward, but it could definitely be triggering depending on your past.

Available: November 17


*Advance reader copies of several of the books listed were provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.