17 Books to Read Based on Your Favorite Songs From Taylor Swift’s ‘folklore’

As I previously mentioned, I’ve basically been listening to Taylor Swift’s “folklore” and “evermore” on repeat all lockdown long. There’s something so special about these albums from its pretty melodies, lyrics that really tell a story, and the catchiness of literally every single song. And since each song tells such specific stories, I couldn’t help but think that many of the “folklore” songs remind me of some of my favorite books, just as “evermore” did. So, just like Mamma Mia, here we go again! Keep reading for all sorts of my personal book recommendations based on each track off of “folklore.”

Writer’s Note: In case you were wondering how on earth I put this, and its sister post together, I was meticulous in my choices. I listened to each track while simultaneously studying the lyrics. From there, I went to my digital and physical bookshelves, plus my Goodreads read list, and aimed to search for at least one book I’ve read that at least somewhat fits the song’s lyrics or stories. Now, not all are perfect matches, of course, since they are both original works. But, I tried to pull books with a similar plotline, character, love story. Something quite similar to one another. And that’s what we have here.

If You Like: “the 1”

Try: The Code for Love and Heartbreak by Jillian Cantor

If this song was set in high school, it would perfectly describe how I envisioned this YA read. Where, in the song, the main character is pining for their crush who doesn’t notice them, hell, that’s basically George about Emma. Then, Emma’s coding club project is a matchmaking app that goes awry because none of the couples last, which reminded me of the part of the song about wishing for love and their crush to fall for them despite the real couples not having a chance. Also, Emma just wants to do “cool shit” AKA make a rockstar app and find her niche in life and at school. The parallels just fit so well.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “cardigan”

Try: Hot Mess by Emily Belden

Now, this one took a bit of imagination to put together. The song is all about looking back on an old, messy relationship. So, as I looked back at my bookshelf to find a comparative option, my eyes flitted over Emily Belden’s debut novel. I imagine this song would be representative of main character Allie some five-ten years in the future looking back at that messy AF relationship with reckless Benji and the hell she put herself through to open his restaurant she invested in, while he ran off in a drunken haze with another woman.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song

 


If You Like: “the last great american dynasty”

Try: Heiress Apparently by Diana Ma

OK, this was an easy one considering it’s all about an outrageous, fabulously wealthy family’s life and their crazy shit. I went with this first book in the “Daughters of the Dynasty” series, because, technically this family is something like that. Plus, the song starts with Rebecca arriving into town on the train and the book picks up with Gemma arriving in Beijing via plane to film a movie despite getting mistaken for massive influencer and her newly found cousin Alyssa. There are so many family secrets and drama, and it just fits this song so very well.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song

 


If You Like: “exile”

Try: Once And For All by Sarah Dessen

The whole “I think I’ve seen this film before and I didn’t like the ending” part was my main inspiration. With that line, I think of someone looking at someone and knowing what’s going to happen, understanding fully it won’t be good. That reminded me of Louna at her part-time job at her mom’s wedding planning business in the latest Sarah Dessen book. She’s so cynical about romance that it affects her perspective in front of clients after watching years of poorly behaved weddings. Then, the “I can see you starin’, honey” line reminds me of how new hire Ambrose would always show up at her side at each event, like he’s always there and around, and she “didn’t even see the signs.”

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “my tears ricochet”

Try: The Night We Met by Zoë Folbigg

For one of the most emotional songs, I knew I needed one of the books that left me reeling. For a song that speaks about ashes, how the lover will love ’em till their dying day, and how the day they leave is the worst day of their life, yea that reminded me of this ARC I recently finished. Here, this vulnerable women’s fiction novel follows young mum Olivia on hospice, dying of cancer, as her husband (who’s been so scared to give up) writes the story of their romance to tell their young daughters. Even though it predictably ends tragically for her, 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. And that reminds me of this song.

Read the Book starting February 11 | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “mirrorball”

Try: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

The chorus of this song says “When no one is around, my dear, you’ll find me on my tallest tiptoes. Spinning in my highest heels, love, shining just for you.” And, I swear, if that doesn’t directly relate to HRH Prince Henry and Alex then I give up!! It tracks so well since most of their relationship is in secret and in private. But, also it fits since Henry really helps Alex learn who he is because they see each other like they are looking through a crystal ball.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song

 


If You Like: “seven”

Try: Eyes On Me by Rachel Harris

To me, this song focused on being scared to try something new, and that’s Lily Bailey to a tee. Here, valedictorian Lily gets so stressed out that her dad forces her to take salsa dance classes for fun. Of course, she needs a partner. So, enter popular jock Stone Torres who steps in to help at his mom’s dance studio. When her dad offers him extra cash to be Lily’s permanent dance partner, he can hardly refuse. They spend more and more time together and create a beautiful love story, err, dance together.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song

 


If You Like: “august”

Try: Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe by Sarah Mlynowski

This song completes the teenage love triangle story off the album, with Sam becoming the “august” girl in her story, and it just fits so well. So, the “august” girl is the summer fling, who will be nothing more than a good time, hidden from anyone even when real feelings develop on her end. Here, in this book, Sam spends her summer (already perfect timing!) as a camp counselor missing her boyfriend. Meanwhile, Gavin is also missing his girlfriend for the summer. So, the strike up an inevitable friendship bond commiserating, however, that quickly turns into a bona fide summer fling “twisting up in bedsheets” through the duration of camp. Then, when their S.O.’s show up at the camp’s visiting day, she realizes her boyfriend isn’t her future and maybe Gavin is, however, he’s still stuck on his girlfriend because he was never Sam’s. Just like “august.”

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “this is me trying”

Try: Pretending by Holly Bourne

This song definitely fits April very well. In the song, our narrator is tired of her current life and just trying to move forward, feeling regretful about her past and wasting her potential. This reminds me of April in this novel, as she was tired of heartbreak and ghosting, so she wanted to try something new and be someone that people and guys would like because obviously, her real potential isn’t doing her any favors. So, she’s just trying to see if this brings her vengeance or confidence. And the chorus where the narrator reveals her intentions rings familiar to the moment Joshua finds out the truth about “Gretal.”

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “illicit affairs”

Try: Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory

It’s a song about a clandestine romance, so that reminded me of the newest Jasmine Guillory book. Here, lawyer Olivia strikes up a relationship with popular senator, and eligible bachelor, Max. But, since his career is in the public eye, they hide things. It’s quite similar to the song, except he uses a baseball cap and not a hoodie to shield his face! Their chance meeting soon sparks a whirlwind affair and relationship with plenty of heat, passion, and emotions. After concealing everything, like “they don’t even exist,” she realizes this hiding a part of her life isn’t what she wants.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “invisible string”

Try: The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman

This beautiful track is all about the invisible little things that tie people together, much like these recipes that literally connect Sam’s family ties.  Here, we follow Sam, a busy sous chef for a hot New York bakery, Her life isn’t going as she planned, so she returns home to her small Michigan town to take inventory of her family’s orchard and pie shop. There, she discovers secrets and memories of her family, one recipe at a time in the heirloom recipe box. Through this family heirloom, she realizes hidden truths about her family and feels so much closer to her mom, grandmother, and so on.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “mad woman”

Try: The Boys’ Club by Erica Katz

This song is all about a woman’s twisted life, all about “striking to kill” and “getting more crazy when you call me crazy,” “mouthing f*ck you forever instead of smiling,” and how “no one likes a mad woman, you made her like that.” Much like that haunting tone, I thought of this upcoming, thrilling novel and main character Alex, a woman trying to rise through the male-dominated field of Mergers and Acquisitions and all the misogynistic crap she deals with on the daily, plus how that shapes her career and life. The book is less about romance or friendship but more about a woman’s drive to succeed on her own terms yet play by the “boys club” rules of the legal profession to get there. You aren’t rooting for Alex and a partner but rather her succeeding at shattering the glass ceiling for future female attorneys to come. It’s inspiring and empowering to see that as the primary theme of the story, and that reminds me of this track.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “epiphany”

Try: Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

This was a trickier prompt to fill, but instead, I focused on a certain stanza. The lyrics are: “But you dream of some epiphany. Just one single glimpse of relief to make some sense of what you’ve seen.” This seemed especially fitting considering Pru’s new superpower “she can’t speak about.” Don’t you think? 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. 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 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.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “betty”

Try: The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

The third part of Swift’s “folklore” teen love triangle follows James’ perspective who tries to do everything to win Betty back after breaking her heart and his summer fling in “august.” This seriously reminded me of Samson Lima from Alisha Rai’s first “Modern Love” book, and especially how this book was all about Samson attempting to win back Rhi and give in to her feelings when he always wanted to know more about it because dude was falling deep. Here, we follow 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 any feelings. 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 still has eyes for Rhi. A temporary work truce and friendship soon reveals an intimate bond that is too precious to miss. Like seriously, Samson = James and you cannot convince me of anything else.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “peace”

Try: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The following lyrics from this track reminded me so much of Lucy Gray Baird and Coriolanus Snow and their relationship: “Our coming-of-age has come and gone. Suddenly the summer, it’s clear I never had the courage of my convictions as long as danger is near. And it’s just around the corner, darling ’cause it lives in me. No, I could never give you peace.” This section, from Snow’s perspective much like the book, really resonated with me about these two Hunger Games characters and how he couldn’t give her the peace and freedom again once she was chosen as a tribute.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “hoax”

Try: A Spy in the Struggle by Aya de León

This one was one I really struggled to find a recommendation for, pun not intended. I finally went with the concept of a hoax, a mystery, and her leaving “a part of me back in New York” because, hey, that was Yolanda. 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. 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. The FBI sends her on an undercover mission with a black extremist activist group in California. As she spends more time with the organization and new friend and college professor 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. There’s a bunch of similar aspects to this song, not an exact match, but similar characters and big pictures.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “the lakes”

Try: Beach Read by Emily Henry

This song is all about going to a lake, a romantic and poetic setting, for inspiration. And that’s exactly what lead Augustus and January to their neighboring beach houses. Here, she’s a romance writer who no longer believes in love and he’s an acclaimed novelist who’s stick in a rut. They agree in a summer-long challenge to write what the other does so well to help combat their writer’s block. She takes him on inspirational field trips worthy of a rom-com, and he takes her to investigate some backwoods death cult that’s eerily close to “the lakes where all the poets went to die,” just saying. While embarking on these field trips, sending inspirational ‘beat that writer’s block’ notes from their respective windows, it’s obvious that the only place they want to be is “right here” with one another.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song

15 Books to Read Based on Your Favorite Songs From Taylor Swift’s ‘evermore’

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been listening to Taylor Swift’s “folklore” on repeat ever since it came out. Then, as of late last week, dropped everything to give her ninth album “evermore” its due diligence. There’s something so special about this album from its pretty melodies, storytelling lyrics, and the catchiness of literally every single track. And since each song tells such specific stories, I couldn’t help but think that many of the “evermore” songs remind me of some of my favorite books, and then I saw similar trends going around on TikTok. So, here we go! Keep reading for all sorts of my personal book recommendations based on each track off of “evermore.”

Writer’s Note: In case you were wondering how I put this together, I was meticulous in my choices. I listened to each track while simultaneously studying the lyrics. From there, I went to my digital and physical bookshelves, plus my Goodreads already-read list, to search for at least one book I’ve read that somewhat fits the song’s lyrics or stories. Now, not all are perfect matches, of course, since they are both original works with their own stories. But, I tried to pull books with a similar plotline, character, or love story; something that is quite similar to one another.

If You Like: “willow”

Try: Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter

This is probably one of my favorite songs off the album with its totally ethereal vibe. After hearing the lyrics, I really kept picturing a story of two people in the middle of nowhere, in the snow, falling in love again. That brought me to Ally Carter’s Not If I Save You First. Here, Maddie and Logan used to be best friends. You see, Logan’s dad was the POTUS while Maddie’s was a Secret Service agent, so they were always around one another. Then, suddenly, Maddie’s life turns upside down when her dad moves her to a remote Alaska town without any word from Logan. Then, one day, Logan shows up in her remote town and a mystery assailant is after them. Sure, she’s not happy their friendship dissolved without a word uttered, but she has to save him before they can hash any feelings out.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “champagne problems”

Try: Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

For fans of the glitzy yet dramatic song, I’d recommend Kevin Kwan’s latest, Sex And Vanity, about a glittery world and all sorts of drama. Here, Lucie Churchill is torn between two men: Her influential WASPy fiancé Cecil and George Zao, the man her family’s tried to keep away from her since she was a teenager. It’s so indulging, decadent, juicy, and dramatic — much like the Swift song. When the ruggedly handsome yet cultured George reappears in her Upper East Side world, she does everything in her power to dissuade him from permanently occupying his own place in her carefully curated world.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “gold rush”

Try: Shine by Jessica Jung

When listening to this track, I heard a story all about someone who appears to have it all on the surface. That premise reminded me of Shine by Jessica Jung. Here, seventeen-year-old Korean-American Rachel Kim is a K-pop trainee who works her butt off to make it into the rose-colored world of K-pop girl groups and fame. Throughout the book, she wonders and dreams — much like the song — what it’ll be like to have this fame and the world to know your name and love you.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song

 


If You Like: “’tis the damn season”

Try: In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren

For this holiday song, you definitely need a cute holiday romance book to read next. In the latest Christina Lauren novel, we head to a cozy Utah mountain cabin and a Groundhog’s Day-type tale. Here, Mae visits the family cabin with her family and their longtime friends. A love triangle brews when, that first night, she kisses Theo but has always had a crush on his brother Andrew. After that embarrassing encounter she and Theo try to forget, she gets into a car wreck trying to escape the secluded cabin. From there, she enters a Groundhog’s Day-type of situation where she gets to relive the whole trip to the cabin and get it right and fall in love with the right guy for her. With every injury and wrong turn, Mae gets a fresh chance to relive it and get things right. Eventually, she learns that change isn’t necessarily a bad thing and to stay true to herself as her many reboots buck tradition and allow her to be her true self.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “tolerate it”

Try: Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella

For this song all about a polar-opposite couple coping with one another, I realized that it fits this new Sophie Kinsella read so well. Here, Ava meets “Dutch” at a writing retreat in Italy. Without knowing each other’s real lives or names, these two form such a connection in their vacation flirtmance. With such an undeniable pull and connection, it’s clear they want to continue whatever this is back in London as they head back to their vastly different real-world lives. There are dogs, jobs, exes, family drama, friends, and apartments in the way and, outside of their retreat bubble, it’s almost as if they are just tolerating their lives rather than trying to join them. This song perfectly captures their London relationship journey to a tee.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “no body, no crime”

Try: The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

For a mystery story song, you’ve gotta read a thrilling murder mystery. After about two or three listens (and the countless times in my head because it won’t leave my mind), I couldn’t help but think of the ARC of The Girls Are All So Nice Here that I just finished. Here, former best friends Ambrosia and Sloane (aka Amb and Sully) are summoned back to their college with some mysterious letter. The letter forces them to reunite to find someone who wants to get revenge for some dark deed these ladies did ten years ago, sans proof. Sure, there’s no body or proof, but these girls have to revisit everything to find out what happened and who is behind this revenge. Plus, the end of the book and its eventual epilogue are very, very similar to this track. Just you wait and see.

Read the Book starting March 9 | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “happiness”

Try: Majesty by Katharine McGee

Okay, the first time I heard this song, it immediately reminded me of Bea and Connor’s love story from American Royals and its follow-up, MajestySo, to clarify, this song is best for just their love story. Here, we pick up with Bea becoming queen after her father’s somber funeral and the royal family’s grief slash her trying to figure out her next steps as the reigning queen. Without anyone alive knowing about her relationship and engagement to Connor, they all try to push back to Teddy. She tries to do what’s right and push Connor away and tries to get to know Teddy, but little details here and there, especially his nickname for her, also force her to remember their relationship as she figures out who she is as a woman and a monarch. The song’s first stanza sum these two up the best: “…But now I’m right down in it, all the years I’ve given is just shit we’re dividin’ up. Showed you all of my hiding spots, I was dancing when the music stopped and in disbelief, I can’t face reinvention I haven’t met the new me yet.”

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “dorothea”

Try: Four Days of You And Me by Miranda Kenneally

This song focuses on looking back on a relationship (or friendship) from when they were younger. That reminds me of Four Days of You And Me as Lulu looks back on how her relationship with her first love Alex on the same days, four years apart. We follow where their relationship (both the good and bad parts) has taken them on the end-of-the-year class trip between freshman and senior year, and throughout the school years in between.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song

 


If You Like: “coney island”

Try: Most Likely by Sarah Watson

This song talks of looking back on a memory and if a “lifetime of achievement” is even worth it without that one special relationship. That gave me similar vibes to this debut novel from Sarah Watson. Here, we follow four best friends throughout their senior ear of high school, and one of them will eventually be President of the United States — except you have no clue who it is. Ava, CJ, Jordan, and Martha have been a foursome for their entire lives, but by senior year start to take divergent paths as they grew up. They are all interesting, smart, and engaging characters on their own. And together? They are a powerful force to be reckoned with in this tale of four best friends who have each other’s back through all the highs and lows of high school and beyond.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “ivy”

Try: The Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

The setting of this song reminded me of this holiday read. Here, it’s Christmastime and for the first time in years, the whole Birch family will be together at their aging country estate. Within seven days, the family’s locked down in quarantine and are “forced into each other’s orbits” once again. They each have their own secrets and lives, but one may disrupt everything they know and change everything.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song

 

 


If You Like: “cowboy like me”

Try: The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

This is a song about a “dangerous game” of a romance and having plenty of tricks up one’s sleeves to win. That reminds me of The Love Interest as these two teen spies use all their tricks to get the girl to fall for them and ignore their own feelings for one another. Caden and Dylan are “Love Interests” spies tasked with getting close to people destined for great power to obtain and protect their secrets. When these boys both are sent to the outside world for the first time, they may be highly trained to win, but new feelings start to bubble and could threaten everything and their safety.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “long story short”

Try: By The Book by Julia Sonneborn

In this song, the main character looks back on this grand literary-like relationship, but can’t stop thinking about it even when they’ve moved on. Actually, that reminds me of this bookish romance. Here, Anne is a literature professor up for tenure at a small college making do, until her ex-fiance shows up as the new university president. She’s forced to wrestle her current and former feelings for him and her new boyfriend while still keeping her head above water at work and with her family.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song

 


If You Like: “marjorie”

Try: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

This song starts off with a hateful tone and being so clever to best one another, much like the beginning of this contemporary novel. Here, it starts like an anti-love story where engaged couple Naomi and Nicholas cannot even stand one another or even remember how they met and fell in love. But, with time and pages, you get to see firsthand how Nick and Naomi slowly warm to each other again as accomplices, teammates, best friends, and lovers to become even stronger. It’s not a romance where you expect the lead couple to be together without any problems, but Nicholas and Naomi have to work for love and to open up, discovering who they are as individuals in the process. By the time they reclaim their love, it feels earned and justified.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “closure”

Try: Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

This song gave me such “the one that got away” and first love vibes, so I was looking for a similar type of book, which led me to this Mhairi McFarlane one I read as an ARC a few years back. Here, Georgina is reeling after being fired from her job and learning her boyfriend cheated on her. Trying to move on, she snags a job at the first job she finds as a barmaid for a new pub that’s run by the first boy she fell in love with at school, Lucas McCarthy. Where she’s done nearly nothing with her life, he’s been way more successful and grown-up. Seeing, and working for, him again throws her present into disarray and brings a secret from her past back up again. 

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “evermore”

Try: Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

It may be all the writing and time passing mentioned the song, but I get such *Polin* vibes from this Bridgerton book. Here, the charming Colin Briderton returns to London after years abroad and sees his sister’s best friend, the aging spinster Penelope Featherington is different from what he remembered when they were kids. Meanwhile, Penelope has had a crush on Colin for ages and thinks she knows everything about him. Soon, they each discover one another’s deepest secrets and fears as they find solace in one another.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song

9 New Books I Can’t Stop Thinking About

We already got a peek at some of my latest 2021 reads already on here, and guess what? That’s not even half of it! Welcome back to Miranda’s Book Nook as I share some of the 2021 book titles I can’t get enough of and which ones should be on your radar through the end of this year and into the next. Happy reading, y’all!

The Fangirl’s Guide to the Universe by Sam Maggs

OMG, this handbook for geek girls is so much fun!! It’s a fun, uplifting guidebook is for all the unapologetic fangirls out there, no matter what you stan. This book is for the fangirls and guys that are living their best stan lives passionately and free.

Author Sam Maggs writes from her own fangirl experience, which makes the book all the more realistic. With her first-person essays and lists, the book is chock full of empowering and informative language, plus fun, cute illustrations and graphics. Lololol, like, I love this book already. It’s all about finding your geek tribe and then embracing this weird, wonderful geek life. Then, Maggs also interviews some of the top geek girls who use fandom in their careers, which is so cool to see their takes on the fandom world. All in all, it’s all about embracing your inner fangirl loud and proud, which I love to see it. This cute and fun nonfiction book focuses on being a geek girl feminist and how to bring change to the geek world, which I loved to see too. Fangirls unite, it’s time to suit up and change the universe!

Available: Now


A Royal Disaster by Jennifer Bonds

I was looking for a happy regal romance to transition my TBR and this book was exactly that. The book follows Elena (aka Lena), a nickname that’s used interchangeably, who’s sworn off dating following a bad breakup and undercover prince Liam in dual back and forth perspectives.

After a disastrous meet-cute, it’s clear these two have so much heat and banter between them. When paparazzi pictures of the two of them go viral, he proposes a fake dating scheme to get the press off their backs and get his parents off of the idea of an arranged marriage right now. Ok, so like Lena repeatedly says “Ay Dios Mio” throughout the book, and that’s the only applicable reaction to reading this steamy romance novel. It’s a fun and quick one-sitting read, and boy, does it bring the heat because there’s so much tension between them, like things had to explode, and damn, did they! It’s smutty and good fun for a romance. I did get so wrapped up in the story that I just couldn’t put it down and ended up devouring it in one sitting. Sure, it’s predictably cheesy but it’s just so darn cute as is. And then, that HEA gave me so many damn butterflies in the pit of my stomach. Like, in general, I do love a good royal romance, it’s truly my favorite trope, and this was the perfect addition to that squad of books. It was so cute, and I just need a full freaking series with the continuation of their love story. Right now.

Available: Now


Survival of the Thickest by Michelle Buteau

This book of essays from comedian and actress Michelle Buteau is all about her life and journey, peppered with a conversational tone and language as almost like if she’s in element doing a standup routine.

I’ve found her comedy bits from The Circle or 2 Dope Queens to be amusing, so I was intrigued by the prospect of her own book. It’s an authentic memoir of essays, where everything she writes and experienced is quite funny because it’s relatable as heck. A fun, lighthearted celebrity memoir read.

Available: Now

 


Mr Right Across The Street by Kathryn Freeman

I was looking for a fun, contemporary British romance, and I got that. Here, Mia has recently moved to Manchester for a fresh start from her disastrous dating life. Then, she notices her hunky neighbor across the street has begun to leave her notes in his window since both their spare rooms face another. He’s Luke, a bar owner with his own issues but by helping to show Mia the town sights, he sees what real romance can be. Because he’s just besotted.

The book is told through back-and-forth dual perspectives, and the two of them have such banter down pat. Soon, they start exchanging messages through the windows, and a friendship develops. It’s a cute slow-burn romance full of fun language and fun, delicious banter that I can’t get enough of. Sure, this book is a bit slow to start and really get into, but it does get a lot better and cuter. I love a good “nerd and cool kid” romance story, and this one is just positively cute and fun. The ending is very sweet too, like giving me butterflies type of good.

Available: January 22


You Were Made For Me by Jenna Guillaume

This YA romance was delightful, fun, and just plain cute. Here, less than popular Katie and her best friend Libby sort of, accidentally, sculpted and baked a perfect teen boy replica who then magically came to life. And it turned out that, once real, he was a super devoted boyfriend to the never been kissed Katie.

It’s described as a modern, feminist retelling of the eighties cult movie Weird Science, and just by the description, I could tell this would be super cute and fun. Which it was. The book’s written like a post-experiment diary from Kate, with interjections by Libby, as they recount this story in the first-person perspective. Sure, it’s a bit slow to start before the boy they make, Guy, comes to life. But once he does, it ramps up and I just find myself so compelled by the language that I have to know what happens next. Sure, this premise is completely off-the-wall bonkers, but I’m actually into it. It’s just a fun and cute YA. A great one-sitting read. Then, there’s Theo, the boy next door who definitely, positively has a crush on her but she doesn’t see it, and also the most popular boy in school who she’s always liked. So, there’s a whole bunch of things happening here. But in the end, it was such a cheesy, cute teen romance, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Available: April 1


Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron

Before I started this read, I was in the mood for an adorable, fluffy contemporary romance with a little steam as a transition read for my TBR, and this book delivers on that front.

Here, the main character Reena sets up a fake engagement with her new neighbor Nadim in order to enter a couples’ only baking competition. So, we’ll get that ole reliable fake date trope to keep us occupied. Nadim is instantly described as a “brown Captain America” which, like, what a solid description lololol with a British accent. He moves to Canada to work for her father and they’re set to have an arranged marriage, which she’s not interested in. Each chapter reads quite quickly with tone and language that pulls you in. It’s captivating and relatable, a book I could hardly put down. It’s a fun, indulgent romance read with a number of laughable scenes. Also, OMG the Buffy jokes were on point at the end. LOL, unexpected but, like, well done.

Overall, this book was juicy and dramatic that I got so invested in the storyline and these characters. Then that HEA actually gave me butterflies in my stomach, so yes, it is darn cute. It’s just so precious and so much fun.

Available: March 2


The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

This psychological thriller and women’s fiction novel follows former best friends Ambrosia and Sloane (aka Amb and Sully) as some mysterious letter forces the two girls to reunite to find someone who wants to get revenge for some dark deed they did ten years ago at their college reunion. It starts with an intriguing, mysterious hook that has me so curious from the get-go that had me so interested to keep reading. This book flashes between the reunion in the present day and Amb’s freshman year when the incident went down and what led to its occurrence. Once Amb and Sully get letters summoning their attendance at the reunion, they find out they’ve been stuck in the same room but who did that and is stalking them, or what do they want? This book has so many juicy bombshells and insane reveals that had me on the edge of my seat. It’s so mysterious and I was just so desperate to find out more with all of its unexpected and unpredictable twists that gave me such can’t-put-it-down vibes at nearly 3 in the morning. Whoopsie daisy.

Then, that epilogue. Like, what the heck, it seriously had the biggest twist of them all and I just wanted to scream at ****** for their lack of trust and not believing the truth, and what actually had happened was just so freaking messed up and ***** was so freaking bonkers and bizarre to do this whole thing, like geez, hun, why didn’t you just move on rather than basically try to Single White Female anyone, eesh. But wow, that’s a pretty damn good mystery novel then. I mean, as a non-mystery fan, like holy freaking hell, I can’t believe all that went down and that was so surprising, and also the language was just so captivating that I got so into it.

Available: March 9


The Flipside of Perfect by Liz Reinhardt

I had no earthly idea what to expect when I first was approved for this book on NetGalley, and now that I’m on the other side of this read, I was quite surprised with how cute and realistic it was, and how much I enjoyed it! Here, the main character Adelaide has divorced parents, and when she splits her time between their homes across the country, she takes on opposite personas.

With her mom, stepdad, little sisters, and school friends in Michigan, she’s the proper, perfect, good girl AJ. Then, with her dad and older siblings down in Florida over summer breaks, she’s the more free-spirited and fun Della. These separate worlds, while both her, do not have any overlap whatsoever, until the summer after junior year. While she’s at her dad’s, her younger sister Marnie unexpectedly comes to stay with them, and she must realize who she actually is and how to merge her separate lives. It’s almost as if she lives parallel lives and doesn’t know who she really is or how to merge her complete self into one.

This book has such an engaging, compelling, and relatable point of view, and it’s a quick, fun YA read that I couldn’t put down. I just had to know what would happen next! Then, there’s Della’s former childhood nemesis Jude, who works for her dad in Florida. And the two of them are so dang precious with their little crushes and feelings. Like, awww!! Also, he was the only one to know about her two halves and separate personalities, so clearly she trusts him on a whole other level. Seriously, this book was just so flipping cute.

Available: April 6


To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters

I’m not usually one for historical books, but this was giving me, like, Pride & Prejudice slash Elizabeth-Darcy and Bridgerton vibes, so like, it’s clearly worth a shot. If you are a fan of the Bridgerton series at all, you’ll definitely fall head over heels for this new Regency-set romance.

Here, Diana and Jeremy are enemies of sorts in their upper echelon of English society. They banter and poke each other quite a bit. So much so, that they agree to a wager that the eligible playboy bachelor must marry within the year or she’ll forfeit one hundred pounds. However, he has a counterproposal for her. Embark on a no-strings-attached, secret affair during his fortnight-long party so she can prove he’s not bad in the bedroom after a former paramour yelled at him that he was. Hahaha, oh I love this book already.

The widowed Diana and Jeremy have so much banter that’s so delicious as a reader. This whole book is so freaking juicy, like, by the prologue alone, I was so into this story! Told through back and forth perspectives, this very enjoyable book is full of witty, captivating language and all the tropey romance goodness. These two characters have a certain level of tension between them, told through all their banter, that’s so delicious to watch play out on the page. It’s a compelling read, and one I just couldn’t put down. Sure, it all ends quite predictably but it’s still fun and cute nonetheless.

Available: April 6


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

13 Ways to Up Your Style Game by Taking a Cue From Your Favorite Book Characters

After finding new ways to reinvent my wardrobe based on Julie And The Phantoms and other popular TV characters, I decided to continue my momentum. So, I compiled a list of some of my all-time favorite book characters and figured out how I could modernize their looks for myself because, after all, I’m a huge freaking book nerd. 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 iconic fictional book characters.

Lara Jean Song Covey, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

There’s no better bookish romance lead than Lara Jean, and that’s a FACT. To pay homage to her iconic look, I aimed to recreate her signature style with my denim skirt, long-sleeved striped tee, black ankle boots, and a scrunchie to tie up my high ponytail. Now, if only there was a Peter Kavinsky or John Ambrose sniffing around…

What You Need to Replicate It: Denim skirt, long-sleeve striped shirt, black boots, scrunchie


Eloise, Eloise

When I was growing up, all I wanted to be was Eloise. Seriously. So, I decided to take cues from the legendary Plaza resident with my next ‘fit. Here, I paired a black skirt with this sleeveless white button-down shirt and accessorized the look with a bow headband, because duh, and black ballet flats. And since Eloise has some of the cutest pets ever, I brought along some stuffed animals as props.

What You Need to Replicate It: Black skirt, sleeveless or short-sleeve white button-down, black ballet flats, hairbow or headband of some kind


Tris Prior, Divergent

Divergent was hands-down my favorite dystopian YA series back in the day, and Tris my favorite heroine. So naturally, I had to replicate her popular Dauntless look. To do so, I matched a pair of black skinny jeans with a black V-neck tee and moto blazer. Alternatively, I swapped the moto-inspired blazer for my faux-leather snakeskin-print Wonder Woman 1984 motorcycle jacket from Her Universe. The look’s completed with a pair of black sneakers, you know, in case I gotta go jump onto a train or rappel off a building into the arms of Four. What, it could happen??

What You Need to Replicate It: Black skinny jeans, black tee, motorcycle jacket, sneakers


Hazel Grace Lancaster, The Fault in Our Stars

As you might be aware by now, Augustus Waters is one of my top book boyfriends of all-time. But, he’d be nothing without his Hazel Grace. So, this look is in her honor. I put together a gray tee-shirt with some faded jeans and sneakers to feel very Hazel. The look needs some props to polish it off, so I brought in my gray Calia backpack and a worn book copy (an older version of a Sarah Dessen novel I’ve had for ages) to assist.

What You Need to Replicate It: Gray tee, jeans, book, backpack


Nancy Drew, The Secret of the Old Clock

I’ve always loved Nancy Drew as this fierce AF female protagonist who could go on adventures and save the day all on her own and didn’t need a boy to save the day. She’s been one of my favorite bookish heroes forever, so obviously, I wanted to pay homage to her too. To replicate her style, I coordinated this preppy-looking J.Crew dress with a black headband, pearl earrings and coordinating bracelets, some gold ballet flats, and a cardigan. Then, in true Nancy Drew fashion, I finished off the look with my long tan trench coat and a flashlight for some quintessential Drew-worthy props.

What You Need to Replicate It: Preppy dress, headband, pearl baubles, cardigan, ballet flats, trench coat


Prince Henry, Red, White, & Royal Blue

For any contemporary YA or romance fans, RWRB has fast become one of our favorite reads as Alex and Henry become some of the best book BFs we’ve ever read about. So, I decided to find a royalty-approved outfit that the bookish prince could rock. To do so, I paired these wide-legged black trousers with my royal blue sweater, with a white Oxford button-down underneath, its collar peeking out around my neck. Then, as the perfect prop, I brought out my gorgeous hardback copy of Little Women because props are important and he loves to read flowery literature like that.

What You Need to Replicate It: Wide-legged black trousers, white Oxford button-down, colorful sweater


June Claremont-Diaz, Red, White, & Royal Blue 

Alex’s sister is described as a bonafide fashionista slash impressive journalist, so clearly, I need her tutelage to up my own fashion game. Just like the FDOTUS, I put on this pencil skirt and pink sleeveless blouse with some matching ballet flats and a headband. Then, naturally, as a prop, I’m reading a magazine.

What You Need to Replicate It: Pencil skirt, sleeveless flowy blouse, headband, ballet flats


Nora Holleran, Red, White, & Royal Blue 

Nora’s the quirky one of the White House Trio and so, I really wanted to play that up in this next outfit. So, I fall-ified my Her Universe Minnie Mouse overall dress with this white long-sleeve tee and a pair of tights underneath. Then, I paired the outfit with some white Keds, or alternatively, black ankle booties for either a more casual or dressy look.

What You Need to Replicate It: Long-sleeve tee, overalls, tights


Massie Block, The Clique

If you were a tween girl in the aughts and didn’t read The Clique series, first off, I’m so sorry about your deprived childhood. And second, as readers, did you also try to dress and act like Massie all the time? Because, guilty. So, here’s your chance. I brought out this H&M dress that I purchased in London for the British Fashion Awards and accessorized it to be more Massie-like. I jazzed it up with some heels, a black blazer, a Kate Spade handbag, and a diamond-encrusted headband to tie the look together.

What You Need to Replicate It: Formal or couture-adjacent dress, blazer, clutch bag, headband, heels


Claire Lyons, The Clique

Don’t lie, fellow Clique fans. I know you, like me, also practiced your best Claire monologue when you heard news of an official movie adaptation. Now’s your chance, girls. My best modern Claire look takes this pair of white skinny jeans, a graphic tee (I chose this Her Universe x Disney one), and topped off with a pair of white Keds. This look is totally, say it with me, KUH-LAIRE.

What You Need to Replicate It: Keds, white skinny jeans, graphic tee


Bex Porter, The Royal We

OK, real talk, I may be a tad obsessed with royalty romances, especially contemporary ones like The Royal We. So, naturally, I needed to put together my best Bex ‘fit. You know, the one that first made a freaking prince notice her? If somehow this look can do that too, then god bless it. My look pairs this casual striped long-sleeve shirt with some jeans over my Victoria Beckham for Target black jacket and some sneakers on my feet. As a perfect prop, I wheel out my go-to luggage so that I can pretend I just got off a plane at Heathrow, took a cab to Oxford in the rain, and just happened to run into a royal prince. What? What? Hey, it could happen, alright. Right? Right?

What You Need to Replicate It: Striped long-sleeve tee, jeans, sneakers, light jacket


Duchess Rebecca, The Heir Affair

But since I dressed as Bex, I had to also switch things up once she got the Lyons Emerald and was bestowed a duchess title in the sequel. Like the new Duchess of Clarence, I found a prim and proper ‘fit in my closet. I matched this striped wrap dress with some kitten heels. To top it off, I sport my amethyst ring (on my right hand, calm down y’all, because I’m still a single pringle lol) since I don’t have an emerald one. Alternatively, I put on this emerald-green, long-sleeved blouse with a black pencil skirt with some nude pumps. Queen Eleanor would definitely approve of these looks, err, well, I hope she would.

What You Need to Replicate It: Formal dress or skirt and blouse, kitten heels, gemstone ring


Delilah McPhee, Between the Lines and Off the Page

It may have taken me nearly an entire year, but I’ve finally gotten into the right headspace to read this Jodi Picoult YA novel. It might be the possibility of seeing the musical heavily weighing on my brain as soon Broadway reopens. Anyways, now, that I’m here and very much a Delilah-type of MC IRL, I definitely had to recreate her look for myself. To do so, I paired some jeans, a white or black tank top (as seen in the book’s chapter header illustrations), and my white Keds together. Alternatively, like some clips from the musical demonstrate, I change out the tank for a chunky sweater. I already have glasses, so that’s done, and I toss my hair up in a low ponytail down my back. Plus, as a prop, I carry a book, because, obviously! And, since Delilah has a worn stuffed panda on her bed and both she and Oliver have faithful dogs in Humphrey and Frump, I brought out my 20-year-old stuffed animal pup as a prop too. What? It’s called authenticity.

What You Need to Replicate It: Jeans, Keds or Converse sneakers, tank top or chunky sweater, and a book (duh!)


Annabeth Chase, Percy Jackson & The Olympians

Okay, don’t hate me fellow book nerds, but I came late to the PJO fandom. I had obviously heard of it back in the day, but I was too focused on the likes of the Hunger Games, Twilight, Gallagher Girls, The Clique, and Divergent series to start anything else. So, it wasn’t until I heard songs from the musical, saw it off-Broadway, then on Broadway, and heard the cast speak at NYCC that I became a legit fan. But, now that I’m here: OMG, Annabeth. What a fierce, badass demigod! I wanna be her when I grow up. So, step one, outfit. I pair a striped tee with jeans, a choker necklace (like this one from Gagged Chokers!), and a crossbody bag. Now, IDK about you, but I’m ready to take on any monsters that cross my path!

What You Need to Replicate It: Striped shirt, jeans, crossbody, choker


There you have it! Thirteen different ways to bring your favorite book characters to life based on the clothes you already own! Yes, 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.

Keep Your Head Up: Personal Reflections

I don’t often share my personal thoughts or get deep on here, but rather, primarily sticking to fun and upbeat topics from wardrobe upgrades, book recommendations, or my random musings about various lifestyle topics and trends. Yet, the pandemic had changed everything for me, my career, and my perspectives, which has gotten harder to compartmentalize everything as I try to cope with changing realities. I know I’m hardly alone in that respect, and for all those people in similar situations, this post is for you.

Let me start this story by saying that before the pandemic struck, I couldn’t even fathom changing and pivoting my professional career at that moment in time. After years of freelancing and straight-up hustling trying to make it as a writer in the city after I graduated from college, I had finally landed a full-time position that I loved. I then spent nearly two years there and was so dedicated to both my and the company’s growth, without any immediate plans to find a new adventure. I enjoyed the content, the team, I was good at my role, everything. Then, the pandemic came and changed everything. I was completely blindsided when suddenly, almost out of nowhere, I was out of work and back job-hunting full-time just like millions of others this past April. When you’re already trying to cope with the new never-leaving-home reality when you’re all by yourself, adding in unemployment woes takes it to a whole other level of sorrow.

So, after eight-nine months of pivoting everything, taking freelance gig after freelance gig just to be able to make ends meet to cover my rent, plus endless job applications, interviews, and rejections, it was hard to see an end in sight. It was hard not to get dejected, fretting and imagining what my career path could look like moving forward or if I should give up and start over again in a more practical field, and all that without leaving my apartment because we were still in lockdown mode during what seems like a never-ending pandemic.

It’s discouraging as all hell, especially logging onto sites like LinkedIn or Twitter, and seeing everyone seemingly thrive while it seems like you’ve been left in the dust. Oh, this connection got a new job? New promotion? Your old companies are thriving just fine business-as-usual without you? All that makes everything sting even more. All that hurt, disappointment, rejection, and boredom boils up inside of you, and sometimes it feels like too much and you start to question if this path you’re trying to follow is even worth it. But, you know what, don’t give up. If that’s your dream, you cannot let rejections or lack of jobs stop you. If you want to write, start a blog, social media profiles, or find freelance hustles. Or even just write on a Word or Google Doc just for you. Do whatever you have to do to keep up your craft and passions because passion never abandons your soul, it’ll always be there however dormant o shoved down it may be. So, it’s not worth quitting what you love to do just because you can’t find a full-time gig right now. If it’s what you love, find a way to make it happen because your happiness and sanity are not worth giving up.

Now, I personally believe everything happens for a reason and refused to give up even when it was hard as hell. I tried to remember that every writer has experienced tens of thousands of rejections, and very rarely do succeed on a first try. However hard that was, I refused to let that deter me and wouldn’t allow myself to sit and wallow. So, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps after each templated email rejection. I then booted up my Word Doc and started to come up with pitches for different sites I contributed to, applied for new freelance opportunities, developed a slate of posts for this blog, and started writing a new novel and short story. I did what I needed to keep my passions alive and spirits high. Each morning, I’d apply for three to five new job opportunities and then spend the rest of the day writing, editing, and more writing — even if it was just a fictional story draft for me or some post on here. I refused to give up or wallow while indulging in another Netflix, daylong binge. I made sure to keep regular working hours Monday-Friday, where I’d sit at my desk and churn out writing for some platform or another all day from 9-5. That structure saved me from excessive wallowing and hosing a pity party after all the rejections. This was my dream, and what type of coward would I be if I let some little medical pandemic stop me? I’m no coward, and I refused to stop trying or fighting. I was going to do what I needed to do.

From there, I became even more determined not only to find a full-time job, but one doing something I truly loved and could create the content I absolutely adore. I’m so grateful not only to have my side hustles and personal projects that creatively fulfill me and helped cover my expenses, but as of mid-December, I just received an actual offer. I’m so grateful and humbled to continue my dreams and career, while still creating and editing the content that I fiercely love. And to everyone in similar positions who still searching for work or yearning to make a change from where they are: Just remember that the tide will turn and something will come your way when it’s meant to, and so, it’s not worth giving up will things are hard right now. If you want it, work your butt off to make it happen. And the right time will happen exactly how and when it’s meant to. Just keep the faith and stay strong

Well, thanks for reading my rambling words. I know it’s probably not what you followed Quite Simply Miranda for, but I appreciate you taking the time to read. And everyone in a similar position, I see you. I understand you. And just remember, everything will happen as it’s meant to, and so, if this is your dream, don’t give up or abandon it.

16 Ways to Dress Like Your Favorite TV Characters And Update Your Fashion Game

After finding new ways to reinvent my wardrobe based on Julie and the Phantoms and matching new outfit pairings that I’d typically be too scared to wear, I wanted to continue my momentum. So, I compiled a list of some of my all-time favorite TV characters with the best style. I took that list and then aimed to replicate their looks for myself. 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.

Betty Cooper, Riverdale

To pull off the Riverdale gal’s “iconic and beyond reproach” look, I knew I had to create something extraordinary. I paired a pale pink sweater, like this Topshop one I own, with some dark jeans to take on B’s iconic look. And, of course, I tied my hair up in a classic high pony because, after all, it’s Betty we’re talking about.

What You Need to Replicate It: Pink sweater, dark jeans, ponytail holder


Veronica Lodge, Riverdale

While Betty is all about pink, Veronica looks a bit more mature with all of her black-colored formal dresses and skirts. To embrace my inner V, I paired this black, knee-length dress and Topshop handbag with a classic pearl necklace. Although not real ones from Daddy Hiram, my pearls are fakes from J.Crew. Easy, yet polished and business-ready.

What You Need to Replicate It: Black dress, black handbag, pearl necklace


Lizzie McGuire, Lizzie McGuire

While Lizzie’s looks are the sorts of things I wore back in middle school, I’ve come along way from that style. So, this ‘fit was seriously like bringing back Little Miranda and getting her thoughts on what I should wear. She helped me pick out a fun graphic tee (yes, that does say Little Women on it), patterned jeans, a jean jacket, and hairclips. No major loser award for this girl! Sure, it’s a look that’s certainly out there with all the prints and whatnot, but I had so much fun going back to a simpler time with this look.

What You Need to Replicate It: Graphic tee, patterned pants, jean jacket


Emily Cooper, Emily in Paris

Oui oui, Emily’s so stylish and avant-garde in her fashion tastes, and so, I really wanted to include her here as a way to boost my confidence and try something new. I pulled together this floral, flowy midi skirt from Ann Taylor with a black Who What Wear blouse from Target a few seasons ago. I then completed this look with a red hat, matching lipstick (currently wearing Little Snow from Colourpop’s Frozen II Elsa collection), and a red Kate Spade handbag with a bag charm pom (like a true ringarde) clipped onto it. I would like to point out that my Kate Spade bag did NOT come with the brown pom and I clipped it on myself for this shot.

What You Need to Replicate It: Fashion-forward skirt and blouse, bold red lipstick, hat or beret, handbag with bag charm (for maximum ringarde status)


Zoe Hart, Hart of Dixie

I’ve always loved Dr. Zoe Hart’s style from The CW comedy, although I can’t always pull off her “shorty shorts” on my petite frame, so I tweaked her style. I paired this leather midi skirt with a leopard-print sleeveless blouse, and a pair of impossibly chic embroidered Sam Edelman booties I’ve been obsessed with for years now. Now, if only there was a Wade Kinsella or George Tucker sniffing around my neck of the woods to compliment me on how good and stylish I look, but I digress…

What You Need to Replicate It: Leather skirt or shorts, leopard-print sleeveless blouse, heeled booties, ponytail holder


Blair Waldorf, Gossip Girl

Whether B was at Constance Billard for classes or strutting around one chic city or other, she had her own standard uniform and rocked it. To match Queen B’s flair, I chose a black skirt, a white Oxford button-down shirt, a classic black blazer, and a pair of black ballet flats. To finish off the look, I added a pair of tights underneath and chucked on a statement necklace and a headband, of course.

What You Need to Replicate It: Black skirt, Oxford button-down, blazer, tights, ballet flats, statement necklace, headband


Serena Van Der Woodsen, Gossip Girl

While I don’t have many pieces like S’s boho or couture looks, I can recreate one look where she paired a hat and blazer over a formal-looking dress. I have a red Topshop dress that’s normally reserved for formal occasions, but I remixed it to wear with my red floppy hat and a black blazer. Then, in true Serena fashion, I added a black pair of riding boots on my feet and slung my gray Zara handbag over my shoulder. I think GG herself would surely approve of my newfangled fashionista status.

What You Need to Replicate It: formal dress, hat, blazer, riding boots


Jess Day, New Girl

Who’s that girl? The quirky teacher is so much like me IRL, so this look should be a breeze to craft. I found this floral wrap dress in my closet and wore it with some ballet flats. Alternatively, I swapped out the floral dress for this hot pink one and wore it with a white cardigan over the top. Then, thank god for my poor vision this once, because I already had glasses like Jess!

What You Need to Replicate It: Printed sundress, cardigan, ballet flats


Carrie Bradshaw, The Carrie Diaries

I was nervous to pull off Carrie’s style from the SATC prequel because it’s set in the eighties and Carrie wears all sorts of prints, layers, shoulder pads, and accessories. Her adventurous style had me, a typically shy dresser, worried. I found this few-seasons-old, printed Trina Turk strapless sundress in my closet and knew this was so Carrie. To winter-fy it, I layered it underneath a white, long-sleeved tee. I completed this work with my favorite purple purse AKA my version of the Carrie bag and a statement necklace.

What You Need to Replicate It: Printed strapless sundress, plain long-sleeved tee for layering, large handbag, statement necklace


Samantha Jones, The Carrie Diaries

Carrie’s NYC bestie rocks a printed jumpsuit in many promo shots for the second season, and so, that was my inspiration. I threw on this Lilly Pulitzer for Target palm-leaf-printed jumpsuit with a pair of wedges and feel just as cool as Samantha. Plus, I decided to toss on a white vest at the last-minute for a layered look.

What You Need to Replicate It: Printed jumpsuit, wedges


Rachel Green, FRIENDS

Calling all nineties babies! There wasn’t a time during FRIENDS‘ tenure when we didn’t wish we could dress like Rachel, and guess what! It’s actually pretty easy to attain. Case in point as I paired my quilted leather skirt, fitted sweater, and riding boots together. If only there was a real-life Central Perk near me that I could go and show off my new ‘fit.

What You Need to Replicate It: Leather skirt, fitted sweater, riding boots, tights


Hanna Marin, Pretty Little Liars

Hanna was one of the few Rosewood girls that always looked so put together with flair. I found an easy way to replicate a classic Hanna look with this sleeveless pink blouse, printed floral military bomber, and dark jeans. I finished off the look with a long necklace and some heeled booties, and voila: Rosewood chic!

What You Need to Replicate It: Sleeveless blouse, printed blazer, dark jeans, long necklace, heeled booties


Jane Sloan, The Bold Type

Considering I’ve actually been told that I quite resemble the Scarlet writer IRL (true story, y’all) and since she has my dream job, obviously, I have to dress like her for this challenge. To do so, I put together this Who What Wear layered black skirt with a sleeveless, black button-down blouse tucked into the waistband (left). To finish off the look, I add some heels, threw my hair up in a high pony, and grabbed a black handbag. Alternatively, I created a different outfit that’s equally perfect for the Scarlet office (right). Here, my Kenzo x H&M off-the-shoulder blouse is paired with some ASOS pleather leggings, heeled booties, and a black purse. Then, of course, I needed a notebook as a prop to complete the shot, so I grabbed this marble-print one that reads “building my empire” because, on-brand.

What You Need to Replicate It:  Leather leggings or pants, off-the-shoulder or cold-shoulder blouse, booties, handbag


Kat Edison, The Bold Type

Just like Jane and their other bestie Sutton, Kat has an enviable wardrobe of her own. Taking inspo from her, I paired this multicolored Missoni for Target dress with a jean jacket and brown wedges. All together you get a professional yet casual look that just suits Kat to a tee.

What You Need to Replicate It: Printed dress, jean jacket, wedges


Kelsey Peters, Younger

The former Empirical publisher is such a fierce badass with a killer closet. And hey, I found something in my closet that reminds me of her! I put together this ivory, printed blouse (with a bow tied around my neck in true Kels fashion) with this matching tan miniskirt, some nude heels, and a colorful purse. Alternatively, I can swap out the tan skirt with a black pencil skirt for a different office-worthy look. I then brought in my iPad as a prop for the shoot, since Kels is always reading manuscripts on hers. Hey, I take my characterization very seriously!

What You Need to Replicate It: Peasant-style blouse, mini or pencil skirt, heels, colorful purse


Liza Miller, Younger

Kelsey’s friend and co-worker Liza also has a unique sense of dress that I think I can emulate. I pair another Missoni for Target shift dress with some black riding boots and a black purse hanging off my shoulder, and TBH, I feel just like Liza. Of course, I’m reading my beautiful hardback of Little Women as the ultimate Liza prop. (Side note: As I wrote this entry, Sutton Foster singing “Gimme Gimme” popped up on my shuffled Spotify playlist which is just so perfect considering she is Liza.) Then, I threw on a denim jacket to give it a layered look and transition this dress into a fall ‘fit.

What You Need to Replicate It: Printed dress, riding boots, black purse


There you have it! Sixteen different ways to bring your favorite TV characters to life based on the clothes you already own! Yes, these looks very much 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, and I think I well.

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.