7 Early 2022 Books I’ve Been Loving

Another year has come and gone, and I’ve already been hyper-focused on 2022’s book releases because there are just, like, SO many good ones coming (and SOON)! While these reads drop throughout this winter and early spring, consider this book blog a must-need teaser when it comes to building out your January/February TBR lists and starting off your annual reading goals on just the right foot.

So, without further ado, I’d like to welcome y’all back to the first Miranda’s Book Nook of the new year and take a peek at some of the early 2022 book titles that I truly can’t get enough of and should totally be on your radar this upcoming year. Happy reading!

When You Get The Chance by Emma Lord

After devouring Emma Lord’s first two novels, I was instantly excited about her next one, and to learn it was centered around a theater kid? Needless to say, I was pumped to start reading.

Here, Millie Price is an NYC teen who dreams of being a Broadway star, and no one can get in her way — not her lovable but dorky single dad, drama club rival Oliver or the overbearing flood of emotions she refers to as “Millie Moods.” She’s on her way and headstrong to make it. After finding her dad’s old LiveJournal (I know, I know, feel old yet??), she decides to track down her birth mother from three possible choices.

From the first chapter, I was immersed into MC Millie’s head in this fun, upbeat read. It’s like an IRL Mamma Mia, which I’m into, and the concept itself is totally original to me. It’s so compelling, and I’m hooked by the storytelling premise and just needed to keep reading. In the end, it’s just so cute, well-written, indulgent, and fun! Like, it made me want to smile the whole darn time; it’s that cute and precious.

While I don’t think this was as good as You Have a Match, in my own opinion, I did enjoy it all the same and think it was compelling, fresh, contemporary, and so absolutely precious. I loved the cute romance storylines too, but even more that they were just side stories to the main journey of coming of age and finding yourself.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: January 4, 2022


One True Loves by Elise Bryant

After devouring Elise Bryant’s Happily Ever Afters, I was instantly so stoked to learn that she was writing a follow-up to Tessa’s story about her bestie Lenore. Oh, and it takes place while traveling the world. Um, yes, please!

Lenore’s family is set for a high-seas adventure on a Mediterranean cruise to celebrate her high school graduation which gave me all the wanderlust feels, and as they do, they met their dining companions: Fellow high school graduate Alex and his parents. While Tessa (eep, she’s back!), ever the romantic optimist, is sure her bestie’s trip will include love in her future, Lenore’s not so sure. And then, she meets Alex. He’s a golden boy with the ten-year plan and she’s, well, the exact opposite. But, as their parents start to bond, they are stuck together for the duration of the cruise. So, what else? They get to know one another.

Alex and Lenore couldn’t be more different and yet, they find themselves drawn to one another in this absolutely adorable YA rom-com. The language is so witty and relatable that I was drawn into the story from the get-go and couldn’t put this quick read down. Absolutely precious and that HEA/conclusion left me grinning from ear to ear.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: January 4, 2022


How to Win the Bachelor by Chad Kultgen, Lizzy Pace

This nonfiction read is a funny, witty look at The Bachelor that ends up like a parody account of how to win this reality TV juggernaut. I call it a parody because the writers lay out instructions and numerical odds of winning the show as if this search for love is nothing more than a game, which, I guess, isn’t technically wrong.

It’s described as a nonfiction deep dive into this popular franchise and what it takes to find love, or more accurately fame, as written by a pair of fans and journalists.

The writing is casual, fun and witty and there’s a couple fun graphics throughout, too. Plus, the final chapter does rightfully address the show’s racial injustice problem and its lack of action. If only the ABC show could actually as well…

Rating: Four Stars

Available: January 18, 2022


Good Girl Complex by Elle Kennedy

After reading Elle Kennedy’s full Off-Campus series (well, thank you #booktok), I was intrigued to see NetGalley that had an ARC of her newest read available for review. And you know what? Color me interested…

Here, we follow Mac, who’s a chronic people pleaser and reluctantly starts college at a prestigious school in the South. Alongside Mac, we meet Cooper, the bad boy townie that she finds herself drawn to. While Mac seemingly has it all — the prep school friends, the well-off life, parents who give her everything, and a devoted longtime boyfriend — something seems off. All she wants to do is grow her internet business but her folks have insisted she get a degree first. So, she enrolls at Garnet College in the beachfront town of Avalon Bay. While she’s used to repressing her wild impulses, something about local Cooper inspires her to let go and be free. Cooper, then, for his part makes a She’s All That-inspired bet with his friends to make Mac, the girlfriend of the boy who humiliated him, fall for him and subsequently break up with that jerk as revenge. What he didn’t expect was to actually fall for her, realizing she’s not like the rest of the snobby Garnet students.

Told in dual perspectives, it’s chock full of juicy, compelling, and fun language that completely drew me in because, let me tell you, I was hooked. And sure, while there is some *spice* here (much like the Off-Campus books), this New Adult read seems more grounded and story-driven with vulnerable characters who have heart, dreams, and goals. Then, gah, that ending! While I appreciate a good HEA in my romance reads, I just wanted more to the story because it seemed to abruptly wrap up and I desperately wanted to see where Mac and Cooper were headed next!

Rating: Four Stars

Available: February 1, 2022


Lockdown on London Lane by Beth Reekles

Beth Reekles, who’s known for her Kissing Booth books, has seamlessly stepped into the adult/women’s fiction game with this novel. Here, various residents in the London Lane apartment building get a note from building management that they are expected to quarantine for a week amidst the beginning of the pandemic. With nowhere else to go, these various characters end up confronting their current lives and situations. We get a variety of leading players, from longtime couples confronting the future of their relationship, newly dating couples diving into that next stage very quickly, a bridal party who cannot stop fighting while prepping for upcoming nuptials, and a one-night stand that unexpectedly lasts a whole week.

So, there’s longtime couple Ethan/Charlotte who are quarantining apart but FaceTiming daily, Zach/Serena who embark on a no-holds-barred fight about their future after a seemingly mundane debate, Liv who’s hosting her fellow bridesmaids after an off-the-rails bachelorette party, Isla/Danny who’ve been dating for one month and put their relationship to the test, and Imogen/Nate who only met the night before after matching on a dating app. Told in multiple perspectives, we see how their different friendships and romances are tested in a series of quick novellas.

While reading, I absolutely couldn’t put this book down thanks to its catchy language that’s just so much fun and draws me in. Not only that, but this quick read features an array of equally lovable yet authentic characters that I’m invested in each of their journeys. It did read like mini-vignettes or something since each story was quite separate until one cute scene towards the end that really brings everyone together as a community. Plus, that ending (minus one heartsick twist) had me grinning so wide at this adorable and fun read.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: February 2, 2022


Lease on Love by Falon Ballard

I was enthralled and captivated by this romance novel from the very first page until the very last. It wasn’t just a sweeping romance that totally had my heart from the get-go but it also shared insight into a pair of flawed, vulnerable individuals who find their own identity and dreams along the way.

This book picks up when Sadie gets passed over for a long-overdue promotion in the finance sector of Manhattan, so she does what any millennial in the midst of a quarter-life crisis does: She gets drunk and tries to seek a date. However, when she accidentally mixes up a dating app and a roommate-finding app, she stumbles upon Jack, the owner of the most beautiful Brooklyn brownstone she’s ever seen. Knowing she’s not interested in Jack romantically in any way but rather lusting over his gorgeous apartment, she rents a room in his place for a tiny sum. After losing her job, she decides to start a new career as a BK-based florist.

Then, there’s the mysterious Jack, who’s been grieving the death of his parents and unexpectedly finds himself drawn to the vivacious gardening enthusiast who brings him out of his shell. These two are complete polar opposites stuck in the same orbit, which gives me The Roommate by Rose Danan vibes, with opposites attract and forced proximity tropes at work. And side note, dang, Jack is one great Book Boyfriend, like, um, good work there because I’m melting. Oh, hot damn, oh boy, oh boy.

It’s such a quick read that I could not put down, nor did I want to. I was that desperate to know what would happen next in this story of a relatable millennial trying to find her way. These characters are so vulnerable, authentic and just have so much heart that I truly feel for them and want them to grow as individuals and in love. Also, yes, there’s some *spice* content in here, but the passion is almost described with an air of love to it rather than being a completely smutty/raunchy type of scene.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: February 2, 2022


One Night on the Island by Josie Silver

After One Day in December came out, I loved it. End of story. So, the moment I learned the author had written a new book that was set in Ireland, a tale of forced proximity and finding oneself, I was all-in.

Here, we follow Cleo, who’s a London-based dating columnist who heads to the remote island “Salvation” for her 30th birthday at the insistence of her magazine editor. When she arrives at the luxury cabin for her solo retreat, a mixup sends Boston-bred Mack into her orbit, who came to the town to explore his roots while staying in the exact same cabin. Thanks to the booking mishap and the lack of a boat to the mainland, the pair are stuck sharing the one-room space together for a while. Instantly at odds, the pair try to ignore one another, however that plan soon goes out the window. As expected.

Told in dual perspectives, this women’s fiction novel combines forced proximity and enemies to lovers/opposites attract tropes with a tale of finding oneself. This book reads quite quickly, full of compelling language that just draws me in. For nearly the first half of this read, it was more of a women’s fiction slash slow burn type of story and then we get into the frothy, indulgent holiday romance cuteness that had me smiling wide. It’s a cute, compelling novel, end of story.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: February 15, 2022


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

The 21 Best Books I’ve Read in 2021: Year in Review

And another year has come to an end! So, you know what that means, my loyal blog readers: Another TBR log and reading goal has been met (and then some, let’s be real) and so, I’m back to recount the 21 best books I’ve polished off this year. Ones that earned an impressive (and coveted) five whole stars upon a first read, a sweet re-read that I couldn’t get out of my head all year long, and so much more. So, keep reading for my favorite books that I’ve completed this year, and hopefully, at least one of them gives you TBR inspiration when you need it.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

You may remember how I gushed over this read back in January, and truly, I don’t think out of the 150+ books I managed this year that any topped this one. Sorry not sorry.

This book is like a  mix of genres between historical fiction, contemporary, fantasy, romance, and literary fiction. There’s so much vulnerability about life, love, and being remembered. Here, we start in a small town in France in 1714, and we meet a young girl named Adeline. She dreams of a life and real love. She soon meets a mysterious stranger who offers her a Faustian deal for immortality. In doing so, she’s cursed where no one can remember her after they first meet. We travel with her from century to century and continent to continent, through various historical and artistic moments. Then, some three hundred years later, everything changed. When, in New York City, Addie meets Henry in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name. We follow her relationship with Henry and with Luc, the devil she made a deal with, all as she struggles to make her mark on the world when she’s destined to be invisible. This book is just so so so so special, a five f**king star read in all its glory, no doubt about that.

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You Have a Match by Emma Lord

Well, I technically read this last year (and included it in that’s wrap-up post), I had to order a finished copy after its pub date and have since re-read it a few times.

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.

This book is so much 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.

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The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

After literally devouring this ARC, I knew I wouldn’t be forgetting about this fan-freaking-tastic novel any time soon.

In this work of fiction, a virus circulating around the UK sweeps the world and takes out most of the male population, leaving women to pick up the pieces of society as Sweeney-Baird posits what would happen to the world without men. The book starts in 2025 when a mysterious virus shows up at a hospital in Scotland. Only men are carriers and are affected, and as the virus grows into a global pandemic, it’s up to women to save the future of humanity while also dealing with their own loss and grief. This book is the immersive first-person account of the women rebuilding the world, including Amanda the doctor who treated Patient Zero, Catherine a social historian documenting everything, scientist Elizabeth working on a vaccine, and others around the world. It aims to chart how the absence of men changed society both personally and politically in this prolific and prescient novel.

I just poured over the text, the language, the story, the vulnerability, and the heart. This gripping modern thriller slash literary fiction read is so poignant and timely about the world’s new normal. It’s so relevant, raw, and vulnerable, and just like, wow. The language just enthralled me, captivated me, and drew me in. I loved the ending about how these women found the strength and power in this new world, while also dealing with what they lost. In the end, this had to be a five-star read for me, it’s just so poignant, well-written, and prolific.

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Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

Nicola Yoon’s a master at creating contemporary YA novels and this latest read fits in perfectly with what she does best.

It starts with the main character Evie, who doesn’t believe in love anymore after her parents’ divorce. The girl who once devoured romance novels now can only see how couples’ love stories end instead of the actual loved-up parts. After some fated encounters, she ends up at La Brea Dance Studio and finds herself learning to dance with the spontaneous, adventurous X. Xavier (who goes by the nickname X) is the total opposite of Evie, but the two of them are thrown together as a pair for a local ballroom dance competition. As they practice together and get to know each other, Evie has to confront if love is worth the risk.

It’s a beautifully written book and so authentic because, hey, not everything lasts forever except that feeling and association of love sometimes can. This book is romantic, fantastical, authentic, vulnerable, bittersweet, and heartfelt. I loved it so darn much. Yoon effortlessly blends the contemporary with the fantasy in this sweet YA read about the power of first love. This book is just so flipping good, she’s done it again.

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This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith

This book took me completely by surprise but in the absolute best way as its told in alternating perspectives over the course of one weekend.

Here, we follow Tallie and Bridge/Emmett who meet when she finds him about to jump off of a bridge when she drives past. As a therapist, she can’t just let him do this and so, she gets out of her car and starts talking to him. This book has such compelling language that pulls you in from the very first page. It reads quite quickly and features impactful writing, touching on important subjects like grief, suicide, race, and mental health. It’s so captivating and the plot twists were truly unexpected, which I loved that I didn’t see it coming. This book, wow, just so mesmerizing.

 

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If The Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy

Julie Murphy, who’s killed the YA game with her Dumplin, Puddin, and Pumpkin novels, kicked off a new “Meant to Be” series, which reimagines a bunch of Disney fairytales with modern romances featuring body-positive leads.

This book was so juicy, engaging, unputdownable just by the first couple of chapters! Here, Cindy’s just graduated with a degree in shoe design and trying to get her career off the ground. So, she takes a job working for her stepmother, the executive producer on the popular reality show “Before Midnight.” When a spot on the show opens at the last minute, Cindy volunteers hoping it could help jumpstart her fashion career or give her something to do while her classmates land high-fashion jobs. But being the only plus-size competitor on a dating competition show makes a big splash and her a body positivity icon. The only thing she didn’t expect was to find inspiration and love in this crazy process. 

Next up, romance legend Jasmine Guillory is set to tackle a freaking Beauty and the Beast adaptation and you know it’s already on my 2022 TBR list.

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The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman

For a dash of something different, I wanted to include some other genres on here, like poetry. I read a copy of this young poet’s Inauguration Day poem and it was just so, like, poignant and electric to talk about her dreams for the country moving forward and what the country is now.

This was a printed version of the monumental poem that she read at the POTUS’ inauguration ceremony back in January and it was so hopeful and captivating whenever you need a dash of motivation, which, let’s face it: We all could use at some point in our daily lives.

 

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It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

So after seeing my fellow #bookstagram and #booktok people rave over Colleen Hoover books pretty much all year, I had to check them out for myself, including November 9 and Ugly Love, though nothing could compare to this read, my first foray into CoHo books. I literally devoured and sobbed my way through this emotionally charged contemporary romance novel.

After a challenging upbringing and past heartbreaks, Lily has moved from her Maine hometown to Boston and even started her own business. Soon, she meets gorgeous neurosurgeon Ryle and it seems like her life is almost too good to be true. But, then she somehow can’t get her ex Atlas and their troubled past out of her head when he comes spinning back into her orbit. This book was so poignant, vulnerable and heartbreaking. Plus, it’s literally like the book personification of Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version).” It tracks.

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Live Your Life by Amanda Kloots

After following Amanda Kloots’ and Nick Cordero’s heartwrenching coronavirus story and her inspiring positivity last year, I was so interested in reading her memoir about the ordeal. She reflects on love, loss, and life with her husband, Broadway star Nick Cordero.

It’s the story of their life together and his fight against COVID-19. It’s a beautiful, heartfelt, and emotional story of her entire journey with Nick, from the first time they met, their wedding, the birth of their son Elvis, through COVID and her unimaginable loss. It’s such a poignant and honest first-person account that makes your heart break even more than it did while reading the news stories. You can feel all her raw, vulnerable emotions from this period come through while reading. With Kloots’ positive spirit, her memoir shares an unplugged look at this awful period along with her strength, support from loved ones, and it provides a tribute/lasting memory for Cordero to assist with her grief.

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Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton; Tiffany D. Jackson; Nic Stone; Angie Thomas; Ashley Woodfolk; Nicola Yoon

These authors individually are some of my favorites and together they created a masterpiece. By the first few chapters, I already loved every page and each character’s story! It’s so full of heart, authenticity, representation, and adorable teen love stories.

Here, these authors came together to write an interlinked novel about Black teen love through heartwarming and charming coming-of-age stories. Each author writes a short story, focusing on one of six different love stories that all take place in New York City during a heatwave and blackout, on the same day. Each tale reads like a short story that’s compelling and adorable on its own (plus is well-written, obviously) with interconnected settings and characters to tie it all together. These are seriously adorable and cute teen love stories, plus I love to see all the representation done so accurately and relatably. Each chapter introduces a side character or background that effortlessly leads into the next story and chapter. It’s a YA novel and a romance read, unlike anything I’ve read before, which is what made it so great. Plus, the Obamas are set to adapt it for Netflix and I cannot wait.

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No Words by Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot has continued to prove her status as the queen of romance with her third “Little Bridge Island” book and it is equally adorable and engaging watching a new pair of characters fall in love.

Our main characters are Jo Wright, who is an acclaimed children’s book author with serious writer’s block, and Will Price, an arrogant novelist of literary fiction who lives in LBI. The duo are both set to attend and speak out the island’s first-ever book festival, yet they have an intense history and rivalry between them and so Jo doesn’t want to associate with the British-accented, good-looking author whatsoever. Yet, he desperately wants to prove to her that he’s changed and hopes to make amends during the course of the weekend festival. From the summary alone, I can tell we’re going to get a delicious enemies-to-lovers trope and a fun vacation romance from Cabot, which instantly excited me about this book — and it totally delivered on all fronts. Loved loved loved it!

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The Party Crasher by Sophie Kinsella

I requested and started this ARC on a complete whim because of the author, a clear instant-read for me. Once I started, I just couldn’t stop because it was so captivating and fun as a novel and as a women’s fiction novel specifically.

Here, it’s been two years since Effie’s parents divorced which has completely destroyed her idea of a happy, perfect family and relationship. Since then, she’s been estranged from her dad, in a feud with his much-younger girlfriend Krista, and learned her childhood estate has been sold. When Krista hosts a “house-cooling” party before they hand over the keys, Effie is left off the guest list, leaving her fuming. At first, she isn’t bothered about skipping the festivities until she remembers a childhood treasure is left at the house that she wants, and so she plans to sneak in during the party, grab her trinkets, and get out sight-unseen. But, as she does, she catches her siblings and dads in their hidden secrets and figures out all aren’t as she suspected. Then, there’s her ex and first love, Joe. While he broke her heart years ago, he’s finagled an invitation to the gathering, and when she sees him, it’s honestly as if nothing has changed.

This book, honestly, feels different from her other straight-up romance books, as this is more about familial drama and individual growth. Despite its differences, Kinsella stays true to her style and delivers compelling language that has me hooked and curious from the jump. So much so that I really didn’t want to put this book down and ended up devouring it in a single sitting. This book reads quickly and the hijinks of hiding/not getting caught juxtaposed with the vulnerable, heartfelt family dynamics and adorable first love/second chance trope makes a completely unputdownable novel. Plus, that epilogue was so darn adorable and precious that I’m still smiling just thinking about it.

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The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

This Christina Lauren novel is another delightful romcom read from these two authors.

Here, single mom Jess is barely holding it all together to make ends meet. She lives with her grandparents, who helped raise her, and who helps raise her seven-year-old daughter Juno. She’s a statistician who loves data and crunching numbers but hesitates to get back in the dating game. As a statistician, when she and her best friend discover GeneticAlly, a DNA-based matchmaking service, she’s skeptical but intrigued. On a whim, she signs up and spits into a tube. Soon, she’s discovered that her results have matched her with Dr. River Pena at a freaking 98 percent compatibility, a nearly unheard of score. Oh, but she already knows River and doesn’t really like him after some initial, unfriendly meetings. The company has a proposition for her. To pretend to date, or actually just get to know, River and they’ll pay her a handsome sum that could really help her day-to-day. Since she needs the cash, she reluctantly agrees. They’re trotted out at all sorts of public events as the rare, elusive Diamond Match in order to help his company succeed, but eventually, they realize there might be something to each other than they initially thought.

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Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra

I’ve always been a huge Little Women fan ever since childhood, and when I heard Virginia Kantra wrote a modern retelling of itI knew I’d like it just as much, which I did. Now, I’m even more besotted with the lives of the March sisters than ever before.

Here, we follow modern and grown-up versions of the March girls, here focused on Meg and Jp. While Jo has moved to NYC to become a journalist, things haven’t gone as planned, and Meg, for her part, has lived her so-called dream life as a wife and mother. However, “getting everything you’ve ever wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.” After a family emergency forces the girls to return to North Carolina for the holidays, they rediscover what really matters.

 

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Beth & Amy by Virginia Kantra

After writing Meg & Jo, author Virginia Kantra put a fresh spin on the modern versions of sisters Beth and Amy as they get their chance in the spotlight.

This book is all about Beth’s and Amy’s coming-of-age stories: Amy’s an ambitious up-and-coming handbag designer in New York, whereas good girl Beth is a singer-songwriter working to overcome her anxiety and stage fright on tour with country superstar Colt. When they both return home for Jo’s wedding, they must confront their lives and what they actually want it to be.

As a reader who’s enthralled with the March sisters, while we all adore Meg and Jo, who doesn’t secretly love Beth and Amy, so, it’s exciting to see their perspectives and get inside their heads as they grow up, especially since in the original novel, they were children. This story alternates between the point of view of the two sisters, much like Meg & Jo, but also includes chapters focus on Marmee/Momma/Abby’s sides too, which is another intriguing perspective to understand. True to form, Kantra’s novel features rich storytelling and language to draw you in. Set three years after Meg & Jo, I loved seeing Beth and Amy shine, expressing vulnerability and complexity in both past and present timelines. As expected, I really dug this book and just didn’t (and couldn’t) want to put it down.

All in all, I think I did like this more than Meg & Jo because it’s partially a new story with previously hidden depths and vulnerabilities of these former minor characters that I loved so fiercely.

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The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

As the faithful #bookstagram and #booktok member I am, I had to give this read a spin after seeing y’all rave about it. And rave is right on the money.

Here, Greece in the age of Heroes as young prince Patroclus has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia. As a nobody, he’s living in the shadow of King Peleus and his memorable son, Achilles. After he takes Patroclus under his wing, the boys develop a strong connection and bond into something quite strong and beautiful, however heartbreaking that means for me as a reader of this Greek mythology adaptation.

 

 

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

As you’ve probably guess, I spent my far time this year obsessing over this entire franchise and its Netflix adaptation, even figuring out how to adapt the character’s look into modern-day outfit ideas. While all the books have been great, I included this one because Book One is where it all begins.

We follow the orphaned Alina Starkov, an ordinary soldier in the Ravkan Army who takes her first-ever harrowing trek across the Shadow Fold. After her regiment is attacked, it turns out some dormant magic may be the key to saving them all. As a newly discovered magical entity, Alina is thrust into the luxe world of the Grisha as she starts her training with General Kirigan AKA The Darkling. And once you finish Alina’s three books, check out the Six of Crows and King of Scars duologies. You won’t be disappointed, trust me.

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The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

This book is pitched as a Red, White, & Royal Blue meets One to Watch rom-com, and as a fan of both of those books, I was excited about that juxtaposition come to life in this totally original romance novel.

The story follows awkward tech wunderkind, Charlie, as he’s set to become the next lead on a reality TV dating show, called “Ever After.” Then, there’s his handler, producer Dev, who wholeheartedly believes in fairy tales though hasn’t had luck with his own. Charlie, who only agreed to go on the show to rehab his image to get a new job after the show airs, isn’t the typical show lead and is very awkward and anxious. It’s up to his producer Dev to jumpstart a massive “charm offensive” to get Charlie to open up, be a likable lead, and fall in love on the TV show. Along the way, Charlie starts opening up to Dev and vice versa, and the two realize they have the most chemistry with one another. But, reality TV shows have scripts to follow and unfortunately, a queer love story with a show producer isn’t what the executive producer had in mind for the season (though, I’d watch it!).

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In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström

This novel shares insight into what it means to be a black woman today, following three distinct POCs who are in some way linked to the same influential Swedish white man in Stockholm.

Kemi is a workaholic marketing executive who moves to Sweden to head up diversity for CEO Jonny’s company after a tone-deaf incident and partially looking to reclaim her social life in the process. Meanwhile, Brittany-Rae is a flight attendant who meets Jonny on a flight and is suddenly thrust into his luxury world. Then, there’s Mena, a refuge struggling to establish residency in a new country while working as a janitor for his company.

The book aims to tackle racism, classism, sexism, tokenism, and fetishization as these three women come to terms with what it means to be a black woman in a white-dominated society. Told in three point-of-views, this book reads quite quickly and is well-written, engaging, and difficult to put down with many complex characters sharing their stories and journeys.

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If This Gets Out by Cale Dietrich & Sophie Gonzales

Everything about this story intrigued me so much. Besides, as a massive boy band fan, I was super excited about this concept and a behind-the-scenes look at what that recording and touring lifestyle is really like.

Here, 18-year-olds Ruben Montez and Zach Knight are two of the four members of the hit boy band, Saturday, which is one of the biggest acts in America. Onstage, the four boys are teen heartbreakers, and offstage they are just four normal best friends. However, cracks are starting to form under the pressures of fame. Ruben even confides in Zach that he’s feeling smothered by their management’s pressure to stay in the closet. During a whirlwind European trip, while dealing with a busy schedule and minimal supervision, Ruben and Zach rely on each other more and more as their close friendship soon evolves into romance. Though the guys decide they are ready to tell their fans and live freely, they realize that their management will never support the plan. They question how to hold on tight to what they have when the entire world seemingly wants to come between them.

I would describe this book as Red, White & Royal Blue meets One Direction, which means it’s pretty darn close to perfect for my interests. Co-authors Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich, who are masters of their craft, have created such a compelling narrative that’s chock full of engaging language that draws me in from the very first page. Told in dual points-of-view, readers have the chance to get inside the mindsets of both leading men, who are equally vulnerable and authentic. Plus, they as a couple are 1000% precious and adorable, and I ship them. Facts are facts.

Read the Book


Lease on Love by Falon Ballard

I was enthralled and captivated by this romance novel from the very first page until the very last. It wasn’t just a sweeping romance that totally had my heart from the get-go but it also shared insight into a pair of flawed, vulnerable individuals who find their own identity and dreams along the way.

This book picks up when Sadie gets passed over for a long-overdue promotion in the finance sector of Manhattan, so she does what any millennial in the midst of a quarter-life crisis does: She gets drunk and tries to seek a date. However, when she accidentally mixes up a dating app and a roommate-finding app, she stumbles upon Jack, the owner of the most beautiful Brooklyn brownstone she’s ever seen. Knowing she’s not interested in Jack romantically in any way but rather lusting over his gorgeous apartment, she rents a room in his place for a tiny sum. After losing her job, she decides to start a new career as a BK-based florist. Then, there’s the mysterious Jack, who’s been grieving the death of his parents and unexpectedly finds himself drawn to the vivacious gardening enthusiast who brings him out of his shell.

Read the Book (beginning February 2022)

My First Impressions on the 30 Men Who Will Date ‘The Bachelorette’ This Summer

I’ve been falling off the Bach Nation wagon in recent years. First, Arie, Colton, and Peter bored me so badly I had to quit watching. Then, there was the hot mess that was Clare/Tayshia’s season, which was followed by the massive sex-shaming, bully-centric season that belonged to Matt James. And it’s all gotten to be too much to handle. Though, James’ contestant Katie Thurston (AKA TikToker @ventwithkatiee) was a beacon of light for anyone who had to endure his entire season with her funny quips and actions to stand up to the bullies. So, we were glad to hear the network made the only acceptable choice to cast her as the next lead.

Will I watch? I don’t know if I’ll make it past Night One again, but I guess for the sake of tradition, I’ll give it a try. And, speaking of tradition, I’m back on this blog to share my raw first impressions of the 30 men that were cast and vetted to date Katie on national TV. With the official cast bios out, keep reading below as I share what I think about each contender based on their headshot, name, age, hometown, job, and ABC’s definition of “fun facts.”

Aaron, 26, Insurance Agent

His bio calls him a “strapping young man,” which blech. Apparently, there’s more to the San Diego native than meets the eye — and bring on the cliches. He works in sales, but loves the outdoors, surfing, swimming, and lifting weights. All in all, I get a basic twentysomething dude vibe here.

He claims to be thoughtful, sensitive, and ambitious which all sounds great, but what guy wouldn’t say that try and land a girlfriend? Apparently, his only flaw is that he’s a procrastinator, but I’m sure with a little more time I could find more. *squints at this photo with intensity*

Also, he has a neck tattoo, but the ABC photo editing software seems to be quite adept at airbrushing because I don’t see it.

Can We Just: He fears an animal that’s extinct. Well, hun, good news, it can’t bother you.


Andrew M, 31, Deputy District Attorney

We’re already off to a good start with a right-reasons age and a stable job for this Cali boy, based in Newport Beach. Yada yada yada, he loves his job but is more than just a DDA. He coaches youth water polo because he used to play pro in Hungary (who knew they were great at water polo?) and loves adventure. Oooh, he “LOVES” to play pranks: all caps. And at age 31? Red flag.

Oh, spoke too soon: He actually “Tebowed” on the stage at his college graduation. Oh, Katie, please save yourself.

Can We Just: He openly admits that he “loves to sample men’s fragrances from magazine inserts.” One, why would you admit that? And two, how is that a “fun” fact?


Andrew S, 26, Pro Football Player

Coming all the way from Vienna, Austria (by way of Chicago), fans have already noted Andrew No. 2’s cousin is none other than footballer Clay from Boring Becca’s season. Sooo, Dale vibes? Or wrong reasons ones? Too early to call on this one.

He is open that he really wants to get married and have five children. Excuse me, your poor future spouse; I hope she’s okay with that. He’s close with his 96-year-old grandma, so cue the hearts of Bach Nation women melting, I guess?

Can We Just: His go-to party trick is “imitating accents from around the globe” and eesh that could go south real quick, hun.


Austin, 25, Real Estate Investor

This is one of our class babies, and he’s from Mission Viejo in Cali. He’s a house flipper with lofty aspirations. He’s described as smooth, funny, and handsome, which like who actually says that about themself?

He’s openly admitting that he’s dated “many” women, but none serious enough for him. Poor girls, I hope they didn’t think so. And like most basic AF dudes, he just wants to find his Queen Bey to his Jay-Z. No. Just no.

Can We Just: He really loves his white shoes and fears something spilling on them. Oh, please, capture this on the show??


Brandon, 26, Auto Parts Manager

First off, producers really did him dirty because that is one awful hairstyle. I don’t even know where to start. Anyway, he’s from Queens and is “quirky, intelligent, and unapologetically himself,” which that’s nice. You do you, hun.

IDK what his bio is, but “He attended Northwestern University where he says he learned to outgrow behaviors that limit his progress as a person” and “He currently spends most of his weekends at home working on a new skill he’s trying to develop.” Where do you think you are?

He does want an equal partner in life, but he *needs* a woman who “understands the importance of putting in effort.” Like with her appearance? I’m making a face right now since you cannot see me typing this.

Can We Just: He loves an *occasional* rave and riding a motorcycle, but really hates overpriced restaurants. Which like, he wants effort but won’t take you to a nice dinner? I’m confused.


Brendan, 26, Firefighter Trainee

He’s our token Canadian this year! Hailing from Toronto, he loves enjoying life to the fullest, and oh hello, more cliches. He’s training to be a firefighter if you couldn’t tell because he wants to make a positive difference in his community, which that’s sweet. Cannot deny that.

He wants a partner with banter, which don’t we all, hun, and who’s adventurous with an open mind. He loves being clean and organized, which dude is racking up points quickly in my notebook.

Can We Just: He really doesn’t like vegetables. Um, how is that a fun fact?


Christian, 26, Real Estate Agent

This Boston boy is a big-time romantic and family-oriented. But, not humble. Oh no, he revealed that he’s quite the professional success, having sold more than $25 million worth of real estate. Yea, he does look a little slick like many agents. Blech.

He just wants to find his best friend and someone to go through life with, which like who doesn’t? His ideal girl can keep a promise. That’s your main thing?

Can We Just: He loves parades! Fun fact how? Also, he boasts that he “rocked” a fauxhawk as a kid. Dude, you’re an adult move on from the past, yea?


Cody, 27, Zipper Sales Manager

First things first, what is a zipper sales manager? Does he just sell zippers or is Zipper the name of the company he does sales for? Need more information, please.

So, Cody’s from San Diego, has a six-pack, surfs, and is a romantic gentleman. Blech, please don’t talk about your abs already, I hardly know you. He’s an Eagle Scout, which that’s nice. Oh, oh no: “When Cody falls, he falls hard.” I foresee a rough, clingy journey ahead for Katie.

Can We Just: His favorite TV series is The Jersey Shore. Which, a real fan would know there’s no “the” in the title. Also, out of every single show??


Connor B, 29, Math Teacher

Hailing from Nashville, Connor with two N’s is lovable, quirky, and charming who teaches math in middle school: how adorable. He has a master’s in medical physics and has previously been a nuclear engineer, which, like damn: he’s smart and nerdy. I like it.

OK, I’m surprising myself because I don’t see a single red flag??? He wants a partner who can share his zest for life, is genuine and kind, is accepting and open-minded. He owns his own tux, which, like, cutie. Like, where is he hiding? Why haven’t I met someone like him? Katie, don’t let him go. He’s the one man out of 30 (including a box, see below) that I actually like as a competitor. He’s the Ivan (my birthday twin, just saying) of this year’s crop of suitors!

Can We Just: He claims “he can eat cereal faster than anyone,” which how and why do you want to know that?


Conor C, 28, Former Baseball Player

Apparently, one Connor isn’t enough because we have two, except this one has only one N in his name. He lives in Costa Mesa, Cali and is a *barf* “athletic stud with a heart of gold.” He loves the beach but wants to move back home to Oklahoma with his wife by his side. He’s looking for a “giver” and is always up for a good time, whether it’s bowling or an intimate night at home. *coughs* Those are the only options for date night?

Religion is important to him, and growing up he loved wearing puka shell necklaces. I’ve seen enough.

Can We Just: He shares a birthday with Matthew McConaughey. What? He didn’t do anything for that, that’s by chance.


David, 27, Technical Product Specialist

He seems normal. He lives in Nashville but is from New York, and is a first-generation American. He’s looking for a driven and intelligent woman with quiet confidence.

He did debate in high school, is an *NSYNC fan, and digs NYC pizza. All relatively normal.

 

Can We Just: If you’re such an *NSYNC fan, you should know how to stylize it in print. Just saying.


Gabriel, 35, Entrepreneur 

He looks like some suave Frenchman, which I’ve yet to decide if that’s a good thing. He’s based in Charlotte and is quite the “Renaissance man,” apparently.

Well, he has a lot of passions, including finding forever love, which blech. He says he’s introspective, creative, and confident. He’s looking for a woman who’s stimulated by intelligent convos and knows herself.  Eh, seems fine?

Can We Just: He “doesn’t understand the concept of athleisure” and believes that “people should respect elegant styles of the past.” Which, WTF does that mean? So, ladies, red alert because you can’t wear your leggings around this man.


Garrett, 29, Software Marketing Manager

We can’t have The Bachelorette without one Garrett! He’s from Salinas, California, and loves his marketing career. He wants a woman who is caring, intelligent, and is a critical thinker.

He has a five-year-old German Shepherd named Archer and describes him as a “very good boy.” Awww, pics please???

First red flag: He claims to be a “YOLO type of guy.” If you say, ‘YOLO,’ that’s the red flag part, sweetie.

 

Can We Just: He’s not a fan of tangy food. How is that fact fun??


Greg, 27, Marketing Sales Representative

This New Jersey dude is also suffering from a Bad Hair Day, eesh. And oh no, do I see the words “Greg is the full package?” Oh, good lord. So apparently, he’s handsome, kind, vulnerable, and serious about settling down.

He calls himself a hopeless romantic, like every other dude here. His perfect first date is something active (hard pass, hun) like “riding bikes, dancing, or going to a concert.” HOW IS GOING TO A CONCERT ACTIVE???? Also, he wants at least SIX kids, good lord.

Can We Just: I think it might be that he thinks going to a concert is an “active” date or doesn’t know how grammar works.


Hunter, 34, Software Strategist

Hunter’s from Houston and is one of two single dads on this season. He’s described as expressive, passionate, and outgoing and something about him gives me Evan Bass vibes. He has two kids and is a romantic. He claims to be known for writing love letters and give his crushes mixtapes or flowers. That’s sweet. What will he bring Katie one for Night One then?

So, he’s never ridden a horse, but “REALLY” wants to. So, like he wants a horseback riding date? Or at least a cowboy-themed one?

Can We Just: He’s openly admitting his favorite pastime is people-watching. Why would you admit that you basically like stalking?


Jeff, 31, Surgical Skin Salesman

OK, let’s get this over with. I understand that he sells artificial skin for surgeons to use in the O.R., but, like, surely he has an actual job title that sounds less creepy??

IRL, he’s from Jersey City and comes from a big Italian family. So apparently, he’s energetic, outgoing, and loving. He’s seeking an adventurous woman with a sense of humor. IDK, I’ll think I’ll pass on this guy, Katie.

Can We Just: He calls himself an “exceptional lover,” which like NO HE DID NOT. OH, HE DID. WHAT. That’s a bold statement, which, also makes me want to gag. Can we get an ex in here to corroborate then?


John, 27, Bartender

Oh brother, we do not need another pilot on this show. John’s from Pacific Beach in Cali and is quite the thrill-seeker, who’s even studying for his pilot’s license, surfing, hitting up EDM shows, and jumping out of planes. Ew, nope.

He’s a vegetarian and is also a romantic looking for someone genuine, honest, and willing to challenge him to be a better version of himself. Oh, we’re going there with turn-ons, too, ooookay then.

 

Can We Just: Loving the smell of fireplaces? Weird fun fact, right?


Josh, 25, IT Consultant

This Miami-based baby of the class is embracing his inner Matt James (AKA he’s wearing a turtleneck here). So, he claims to love hard, is humble, and is kind-hearted yet goofy.

We have another hopeless romantic in the bunch who’s very in touch with his emotions. How many times will we see him cry then this season?

My red flag things: He starts celebrating Christmas months early in October. No. Also, he’s so inflexible that he has to sleep on the right side of the bed at all times.

Can We Just: He *has* to sleep on the right side of the bed.


Justin, 26, Investment Sales Consultant

This tall and handsome painter is a self-proclaimed catch, which like blech. He hails from Baltimore and is specifically looking for a girl who’s passionate about fitness. Hahaha, nope. Thanks for playing, hun.

Oh, what do you know? He’s also a romantic and wants to find a meaningful physical and emotional connection with our girl Katie.

IDK, don’t have much of an opinion on him.

 

Can We Just: He doesn’t like to dance at all. But, will he dance though?


Karl, 34, Motivational Speaker 

If you remember, he was supposed to go on Clare/Tayshia’s season but was cut. So, welcome back, I guess?

Karl’s based in Miami and is quite charismatic and confident, who’s still “looking for his forever love.” Oooh, red flag alert: commitment-phobic because work’s outweighed personal life.

Meh, IDK quite the boring bio if I’m being honest.

Can We Just: His favorite holiday is New Year’s Day, and I think he’s the only one?


Kyle, 26, Technical Recruiter

So, Karl and Kyle are both Floridians, so my memory is going to be scrambled trying to remember both of them just by name.

He’s looking for a rom-com love, which I see why you are here now. He’s also a hopeless romantic and is ready to settle down and start a family. At 26? Maybe it’s my skewed sample in NYC but like do those guys actually exist at that age?

 

Can We Just: He hates mayo and mustard, which that is not a “fun” fact.


Landon, 25, Baseball Coach

Hailing from Dallas, apparently, he’s a kind, handsome, and outgoing guy who’s ready to settle down. LOLOLOL this line, “After a very successful collegiate basketball career, while working hard to receive his master’s degree in global business, Landon is finally ready for marriage and children.” Like, school’s done? Time to pop out some babies? Also, is that code for he has no real ambition?

Noo, oh, no: He’s also a “strong lover,” guys, BLECH. Why would you say this???

Can We Just: He’s a Belieber hahahahah! Do we still say this word?


Marcus, 30, Real Estate Agent

He’s from Portland, Oregon, so he’s the closest to where Katie is. But, proximity doesn’t always mean anything. So, he’s sweet with a calming presence, which that’s nice.

He’s successful in business yada yada, looking for someone smart and ambitious, that tracks. He loves board games, and Monopoly is his favorite. Oh sweetie, red flag, that’s like the worst and most annoying one.

Can We Just: He’s an “amazing” lover too. Why would you want to put this out to the world? Also, can we get an ex to actually answer if it’s correct?


Marty, 25, Dancer

What type of dancer is this Reno-based dude? Like Broadway-caliber, a Chippendales situation, or like a club patron-goer? I need answers, people.

So, he apparently has lots of energy and confidence, and a necklace just as long too. Oh gosh, he “loves to show off his rockin’ bod,” which, NO.

 

Can We Just: He has a self-declared tagline, which is “Marty brings the party.” Double red flag.


Michael, 36, Business Owner

Here’s our second single dad of the bunch and it’s Michael from Akron, Ohio. He mentioned his kid’s age and name, which like no, you don’t care about his privacy? Oh ok, just checking.

His life is apparently fulfilling and he is ready to find someone to share it with. He’s looking for someone witty with a sense of humor and is compassionate and resilient. Good qualities. Definitely get a right-reasons vibe from him, that’s for sure. Also, please bring Dino Nuggets for Night One.

Can We Just: He “makes a mean plate of Dino Nuggies.” And either if that’s because he’s a dad or he just like nuggets, I can roll with that.


Mike, 31, Gym Owner

We’ve got a Michael and a Mike. Mike is from San Diego, is apparently religious and (red flag alert) owns a gym.

So, he’s a former baseball player in the MLB, like the one-N Conor! He’s definitely very into his faith, evident from his bio and cross necklace. So, he’s quite easygoing, social, and goofy yet disciplined. He wants a woman who likes to stay active (buh-bye) and make him laugh.

Hahahah so he calls himself basic, well, I’ll call you basic, too. For sure.

Can We Just: He doesn’t like dessert AKA a monster. That’s all. You may see yourself out, hun.


Quartney, 26, Nutrition Entrepreneur 

He’s from Dallas, and I’m not sure what a “nutrition entrepreneur” is and how that’s different from like a gym owner, but you know, I’m cool not knowing.

So, he’s apparently ready to put it all out there for love, well, have you seen the group dates? You’re in the right place for that. He’s called compassionate, caring, and honest who likes making big romantic gestures. But what will his limo exit be??

Oh wow, so he “loves to daydream about having a family and says that the number one thing he is looking for is someone to be an amazing mother to his future children.” But, um maybe don’t bring that up Night One. Just a helpful hint. It does say “idea of a perfect nightcap is a robust bonfire with s’mores, music and dancing,” which does sound good, so you get one point for a good idea. I’ll give you that.

Can We Just: “Scuba diving is at the top of Quartney’s bucket list.” That’s not a fun fact about you, that’s what you’d like to eventually do one day.


Thomas, 28, Real Estate Broker

Hailing all the way from Poway, Cali, Thomas believes everything happens for a reason, and oh good, we’re back to an excessive use of cliches. Cool cool.

Other than that, he’s looking for companionship and really loves food. Like really loves it. A lot. A lot a lot. Have you gotten the memo yet? Just really want to drill home that Thomas loves food and considers it his love language. He can even dedicate an entire half-paragraph to talking about it.

Oh no: He used to “rock” Ed Hardy back in high school. I don’t like the sound of that.

Can We Just: “Thomas often wonders if The Rock really can eat everything he posts on Instagram for his cheat meal days.” THIS IS NOT A FUN FACT. A FUN FACT IS SUPPOSED TO TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOU.


Tre, 26, Software Engineer

Tre’s coming to meet Katie all the way from Covington, Georgia as the “handsome catch with the huge heart.” Have we heard that line already? Can’t recall but sounds familiar.

So, he’s family-oriented, kind, outgoing, and open-minded. Nice qualities. He wants a strong woman and someone to be spontaneous with. So, his favorite activity is going to brunch with friends and book club. Which, YES. Do they go together? Either way, yes.

Can We Just: He loves the harmonica. Interesting yet odd fun fact. But is it fun?


??????, ??, Box

Everything is literally described with “??????” I know we saw someone wheel this in on Night One, and presumably, a person is in there. But, like, who thinks they are a present for Katie? Gross, I just threw up in my mouth a little writing that line.

Can We Just: We have no information. Who thinks they are, like, God’s gift to women and this show? Because NO. Hard pass.

9 Modern Ways to Dress Like ‘GrishaVerse’ Characters

After finding new ways to reinvent my wardrobe based on Julie And The Phantoms, other popular TV and book characters, and Disney princesses, I kept thinking about how else I could reinvent the clothes in my closet. Then, I started the Netflix series Shadow and Bone (and began to read the books soon after, obviously). After I saw a few similar videos over on my TikTok feed, I was intrigued to see if I could take characters from the Ravkian army, the Second Army, and the Crows, and figure out how to twist their outfits into something I could wear here in the 21st century and to modernize their looks to spruce up my wardrobe staples. Check out a few outfit pairings based on these iconic characters and how you can recreate similar ‘fits in your own closets.

Alina Starkov

Alina is the ever-powerful Sun Summoner, yet she’s still quite down-to-earth who won’t forget her humble orphan and cartographer beginnings. So, I wanted to pay homage to all of that with my look. Since Alina explicitly told Genya and The Darkling she wanted a blue kefta to better fit in with the other Summoners over one in his signature black hue, I chose a blue dress to fit that. I went with this blue-and-white strapless maxi dress paired with a denim jacket. I chose this jacket as a nod to Alina’s days in the First Army. Then, to complete the look, I added this J.Crew diamond choker necklace as a modern homage to her stag amplifier collar. Then, for fun, I’m holding up a black dress from Zara and discarding it because Alina doesn’t want to dress like the villain, duh.

What You Need to Replicate It: Blue dress, casual jacket, choker necklace


Mal Oretsev

After reading Book 1 and watching Season 1, I understand what fans mean by not liking Mal on the page but thanks to Archie Renaux’s portrayal on the show, it’s a totally different story. I get it. Now back to the task at hand, since Mal is a tracker and a soldier in the Army, I wanted a practical-looking outfit. I paired black trousers with this white peasant blouse and a black bomber jacket (mine’s from Calia by Carrie Underwood), and some black boots on my feet.

What You Need to Replicate It: White peasant blouse, black pants, black bomber jacket, black boots


The Darkling/ General Aleksander Kirigan

Fine, go ahead and make me your villain because I’m downright obsessed with this next ‘fit. Inspired by the Darkling himself in all his powerful and wicked glory, of course, I had to pull together an all-black look to pay homage to his signature color, even if Alina won’t wear it. I decided my high-low Maleficient dress from Her Universe fit this vibe well, and even finished off the look with matching tights, boots, bow headband, and moto-inspired blazer.

What You Need to Replicate It: Black dress, black tights, black moto jacket, black headband, black boots


Kaz Brekker

For the strategic and morally grey Kaz, I went with a simple look to show off my peacoat and gloves. I chose a pair of black trousers and a black-and-white blouse that I wore underneath a dark navy peacoat that just screamed KB to me. Then, I added a pair of black leather gloves (can’t leave fingerprints at a crime scene, I’m not a rookie!). Total badass vibes, yea, I see it.

What You Need to Replicate It: Black trousers, white and black blouse, black or navy peacoat, leather gloves


Jesper Fahey

So, I haven’t read Six of Crows yet as I wanted to finish the S&B trilogy first. But from the show, Jesper was definitely one of my favorite characters. He and Milo make the perfect pair, don’t you think? So, for my Jesper-inspired look, I paired this pair of jeans with a navy top and a long trench coat (collar popped, naturally). Then, to represent his emotional support goat, Milo, I brought out my old stuffed animal puppy for a similar look (hey, I love my props!).

What You Need to Replicate It: Jeans, navy top, trench coat


Inej Ghafa

Oh, Inej, is anyone more of a badass? I highly doubt that. To take fashion inspo from the acrobatic assassin, I wore this pair of skinny pleather jeggings and layered two tops together (one short-sleeve turtleneck and one flowy leopard-print tank over it). For a pop of color and increasing the badass vibes, I added my Her Universe moto jacket on top. I tied my hair up in a high pony, too, and decided to pose with a knife (just for the photo because, after all, it is Inej).

What You Need to Replicate It: Black skinny jeans or leggings, layered black (sheer?) tops, moto jacket


Nina Zenik

If I could have any Grisha power, I’d totally choose to be a Heartrender and specifically one like Nina who’s off doing her own thing in Ketterdam and with Matthias. So, obviously, I have to dress up like her; no-brainer. For Nina, I couldn’t decide between two outfits. For one, I went with the off-the-shoulder peasant top route with my H&M x Kenzo off-the-shoulder blouse paired with a leather skirt and a chunky necklace. Alternatively, I wanted to showcase the color red, since she’s a heartrender and works with hearts. For that ‘fit, I paired this red blouse with a different leather skirt, chunky necklace, and red lipstick. The look’s a bit flirty and totally as fierce as Nina. Now, where’s my Matthias? Is he still in a Ketterdam prison?

What You Need to Replicate It: Off-the-shoulder peasant blouse or red top, leather skirt, chunky necklace, red lipstick


Genya Safin

For these next two looks, I mostly took inspiration from the Netflix series with a sprinkle of inspo from the books. For the duplicitous Genya, I went with her Tailor look. I matched this cream denim skirt with a white sleeveless Oxford blouse and a cream quilted vest. To finish off the look and for the perfect prop, I decided to pose with one of my makeup palettes (I used this Making Mauves one from Colourpop). After all, she has to help Alina get ready for another day at the Little Palace.

What You Need to Replicate It: Cream skirt, white blouse, cream vest or jacket


Zoya Nazyalensky

While Zoya may not get the best rep from the book or most of the Netflix series, but I was still interested to replicate her Summoner kefta style with clothes in my closet. Since she’s a Summoner Grisha, she wears a blue one, which is why I went with this navy dress. I chose navy to provide a difference between her and Alina’s shades of blue since they are very different characters and often rivals. Then, I added a silver bangle bracelet to represent her amplifier.

What You Need to Replicate It: Navy/dark blue dress, silver bangle

12 Modern Ways to Dress Like Your Favorite Disney Princesses

After finding new ways to reinvent my wardrobe based on Julie And The Phantoms and other popular TV and book characters, I kept thinking about how else I could reinvent the clothes in my closet. Then, it hit me, and additional inspiration popped up on my TikTok feed. Hmm, what about Disney princesses too? So, I compiled a list of some of my all-time favorite Disney characters because I’m a big Disney nerd as well, and I figured out how I could modernize their looks for myself to spruce up my wardrobe staples. So, here we go! Keep reading for some of my new favorite outfit pairings and how you can recreate something similar in your own closets to render looks just like some of the iconic Disney characters IRL.

Ariel

Look at this look, isn’t it neat? To dress like the littlest mermaid, I sought inspiration from her day-to-day “Under the Sea” look. I chose green jeans ala her tail and a magenta/purple blouse in homage to her seashell bra because I don’t have one in the back of my closet (Lol, I know *shocking*). Then, at the last minute, I grabbed my red flippy hat to somewhat represent her ruby-red locks since mine are naturally dark brown. Since Ariel lives in the water, she’d be barefoot, but since I have to leave my house most days because reality, I opted for a pair of sandals. Oh, and peep the dinglehopper in my hand (actually a themed makeup brush) because I’m nothing if not committed to a theme.

What You Need to Replicate It: Purple blouse (or crop top if you’re feeling confident, which you do you), green pants or skirt, red accessories (headband, barrette, hat), dinglehopper for brushing your mane out (obviously, lol), sandals


Belle

Belle’s my favorite princess for somewhat obvious reasons (1. She was the only one to remotely look like me and 2. Books), so obviously I had to pay homage to her and two of her iconic ‘fits. For her daytime provincial look (middle image), I choose a navy cap-sleeve blouse with a pair of white skinny jeans. And of course, I’m holding a stack of books that focus on royal romances or hidden royalty since that’s what she reads in the “Belle” song. (Books include An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn, A Royal Shade of Blue by Aven Ellis, Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, Prince Charming by Rachel Hawkins, and The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan) The second look swaps out the navy top for a marigold Victoria Beckham x Target scalloped halter in a similar hue as her iconic ballgown. I set my hair in a half up half down style, added some ballet flats on my feet, and grabbed hold of my enchanted rose water bottle. Oh, and my eyeshadow and blush are the Belle shades from Colourpop’s Disney Princess collection.

What You Need to Replicate It: Blue cap-sleeve blouse, sleeveless yellow top, white pants or skirt, books as the quintessential prop (of course, duh), ballet flats


Elsa

For this ice queen, I wanted to accomplish a “queen off-duty” look. To do so, I paired my gray, printed H&M formal dress with a diamond-encrusted headband. To give it a more street-style look, I added a denim jacket and some white Keds. I feel fierce, like a queen, but one who’s not one to be messed with because she just wants to relax and hang out for the day.

What You Need to Replicate It: Formal gray or white dress/gown, denim jacket, diamond tiara or headband, white slip-on shoes or ballet flats


Anna

While Elsa was an easy outfit to put together, I struggled more with her younger sister. I knew I wanted something badass that showed she was ready for any adventure. Enter: my Her Universe faux snakeskin motorcycle jacket. Underneath, I added a long-sleeve, cotton wrap dress that’s nice enough for a princess yet comfortable that I could kick someone’s butt as needed. Then, I chose a pair of matching ankle boots.

What You Need to Replicate It: Long-sleeve flippy cotton dress, fierce AF moto jacket, ankle boots


Tiana

For the self-made girl turned princess, I knew I wanted to pay homage to her signature green hue. I took this long-sleeve blouse from Ann Taylor Loft and wore it underneath my Her Universe Minnie Mouse black overall dress and paired it with some black flats. Now, I don’t have a pet frog (stuffed or real), so I gave a quick peck to my miniature Yorkie plush. Although, it’s yet to turn into a real pup or a prince. Oh, what a pity…

What You Need to Replicate It: Green top, overall dress, a mini pet to kiss (duh), black flats


Rapunzel

For Rapunzel, I wanted something bright, fun, and whimsical. That reminded me of my Lilly Pulitzer x Target floral-printed, strapless maxi dress and a pair of ballet flats. I couldn’t for the life of me think of a good prop for the photoshoot other than a hairbrush (which, like boring and expected) until I exclaimed “FRYING PAN” from my living room, so here we are. And any potential suitors out there: here’s your word of warning not to mess with me. Hahaha I kid, I kid. Besides, there are no suitors sniffing around at all; I was just trying to complete the joke.

What You Need to Replicate It: Multicolored maxi dress, a frying pan or hairbrush as a prop, ballet flats


Jasmine

For Jasmine’s ‘fit, I also started with a Lilly Pulitzer x Target piece. Wearing a blue and white printed strapless jumpsuit, I paired it with a jean jacket, a blue headband, and some slip-on white Keds.

What You Need to Replicate It: Blue jumpsuit, denim jacket, blue headband, slip-on shoes


Aurora

While Aurora’s look is likely the simplest to achieve out the twelve looks I put together, it made me feel chic, beautiful, and confident regardless. I paired this pink dress with my diamond-encrusted headband, wedges on my feet, and a pillow to snuggle in case I’m suddenly under a lengthy sleeping curse.

What You Need to Replicate It: Pink dress, headband/tiara, a pillow for a prop, wedges


Merida

I loved Brave so fiercely, from the soundtrack, strong heroine, and lovely familial bond. When it came to Merida, I wanted to put a modern spin on her signature color and woodsy outfit. I paired the same green peplum top I wore for Tiana’s ‘fit with an open, cream vest and a pair of ripped jeans. I tied my hair in a side pony using a scrunchie and slid on some black sneakers. (Yes, the second photo is me pantomiming shooting a bow and arrow because I’m committed.)

What You Need to Replicate It: Green top, ripped jeans, cream-colored vest, scrunchie or hair tie, sneakers


Cinderella

For the classic princess, I wore a blue and white printed, strapless maxi dress and a gray headband. On my feet, I chose a pair of nude heels. Plus, since Cinderella arrives at the ball en masque, I chose a face-concealing pair of oversized sunglasses since I don’t have a masquerade mask handy. Sure, I could have used one of my pandemic-friendly masks, but that’s not as Cindy or fashionable enough.

What You Need to Replicate It: Blue maxi dress, headband, heels (only one if you’re going for true authenticity), sunglasses or mask


Mulan

While I’ve always loved and inspired Mulan’s fierceness, I had no intention of appropriation with this blog, and so I went with similar vibes or colors that seem to emulate the character’s spirit. I chose a pair of jeans and a red top with my hair tied up in a clip. I couldn’t decide which top I preferred, so I just included both on here. (Hey, it’s my blog, I can make the rules up as I go!) So, in one instance I chose this Ann Taylor Loft (left) flowy blouse. Then, on the right, I picked up this red peasant-style blouse sent from my aunt (If you’re reading this, I told you I’d find a purpose for it! And thanks!) and paired it with my moto-inspired black blazer. To finish off the look, I throw on a pair of black sneakers.

What You Need to Replicate It: Jeans, red blouse, moto jacket, hair clip, sneakers


Snow White

For the lovely Snow, I chose this navy, polka-dot cap-sleeve blouse because that’s so this next princess. On the bottom, I sought a little edge and fun. So, I went with this leather miniskirt with silver zippers and matching ankle boots. In the image on the far left, I added a black headband to pay tribute to her ribbon. But in the image on the far right, I chose my red flippy hat in honor of her classic red lip color. And, of course, I needed an apple as a prop to complete the look.

What You Need to Replicate It: Blue cap-sleeve blouse, black leather miniskirt, red headband or hat, black ankle booties, apple (don’t forget your Five-a-Day!)