Spring is Here With These 7 New 2021 Book Releases

After reading some 26 books in the month of January, I have no clear plans to slow down the rest of this year. Some of these books I’ve already discussed or plan to speak about later, so be sure to follow for the latest updates, but I’m here to talk about some adorable and engaging spring releases that should definitely be on our TBR if you enjoy reading the same genres as I do. So, without further ado, welcome back to another installment of Miranda’s Book Nook. Happy reading!

The Love Square by Laura Jane Williams

This was a truly lovely, easy romance read that I quite enjoyed. Set in London, Penny is single and quite unlucky in love. Suddenly, she meets three remarkable men one after another, which like meh they are just okay in my mind TBH, that all want to date her.

She must decide if any of these three dudes are The One for her, what she wants, and even confront if she’s truly as unloveable as she believes she is. This rom-com story is full of relatable language that draws me in from the beginning. It’s sweeping and cute. While there’s no need to reread this again, it’s perfectly lovely as a first read. It does become more of a women’s fiction novel than a romance where she must decide what she, and she alone, wants and I’m okay with that self-realization and empowering story arc.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: February 9


The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan

This was an absolutely fun romp of a romance that enthralled me and captivated me, so much so that I just couldn’t even put it down. Here, Naomi aka The Roommate’s protagonists’ Clara’s and Josh’s best friend and business partner is ready for her own love story.

Naomi, as a former sex worker turned CEO of a sex-positive startup, pretty much always goes against the grain. The book starts as she wants to extend the Shameless service into an educational platform with lectures. However, higher ed won’t hire her despite her long list of qualifications for the gig. That’s where Rabbi Ethan Cantor comes in. He’s searching for a way to boost membership to his congregation before closure and thinks a modern intimacy slash dating seminar is the way to go. Together, they join forces to host a buzzy seminar series while dealing with their mutual attraction.

So, while Rosie Danan’s first novel was uber-popular in the romance community, I hadn’t read it, but after recalling its popularity and the high reviews of this book, I was intrigued to give it a shot. And now, I’m ready to go back and dive into the world which started it all, especially for more background on Shameless because I felt I was missing some crucial details by just diving in with the follow-up. And if you have read its predecessor, you’ll enjoy seeing Clara+Josh and Shameless once more for more post-HEA goodness. This book, told in dual perspectives, features fresh, fun, and engaging language that reads quickly, draws me in, and made me laugh right from the start. Here, it’s very interesting and intriguing to see the correlation between sex slash intimacy and religion that’s well-thought-out and interesting. Then, having two Jewish leads is such a refreshing bit of diversity rarely tackled in the romance genre, and also the queer representation, which you really love to see it. This fun romp of a book features such sizzling, delicious banter that kept me on my toes. It’s empowering and sex-positive, yet vulnerable and romantic. Danan also delivers a super precious ending that had me up until two-thirty in the morning because I couldn’t put this book down. Now, usually, there’s a second book curse for authors, but Danan’s broken that with this delightfully fun romance.

Rating: Four Stars

Available:


Hooked on You by Kathleen Fuller

This was a cute, wholesome whirlwind romance read. Here, artist Riley had left her small hometown of Maple Falls, Arkansas right after her graduation to live in New York City and pursue an art career.

Although, after her grandma, aka Mimi, breaks a leg in the church softball game, Riley agrees to come home for the first time in nine years to manage the family yarn store until Mimi is back on her feet. Meanwhile, Hayden’s been stuck in town working for his dad’s hardware store after an injury ended his pro baseball career. He’s in a rut but slowly discovering what he wants out of life, from working at the store, coaching a new church softball league in town, or fixing up a house in town. These two went to high school together but ran in different circles, and so they never talked, although there were definitely some unresolved and unrequited feelings back then. After Mimi plays matchmaker to get Riley to stay in town that continues to put Hayden in her granddaughter’s orbit, and they catch feelings.

This clean, wholesome small-town romance is told through dual perspectives mostly, but there’s also a brief section or two told through Mimi’s eyes. All in all, it’s cute but not all that extraordinary. I liked it just fine, but that’s about it. Also, several plot points or backstories that were mentioned in the book summary do not occur in the book at all, which is a little bit of a misnomer.

Rating: Three Stars

Available: May 11


The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

This Christina Lauren novel is another delightful romcom read from these two authors. Here, single mom Jess is barely holding it all together to make ends meet. She lives with her grandparents, who helped raise her, and who helps raise her seven-year-old daughter Juno. She’s a statistician who loves data and crunching numbers but hesitates to get back in the dating game.

As a statistician, when she and her best friend discover GeneticAlly, a DNA-based matchmaking service, she’s skeptical but intrigued. On a whim, she signs up and spits into a tube. Soon, she’s discovered that her results have matched her with Dr. River Pena at a freaking 98 percent compatibility, a nearly unheard of score. Oh, but she already knows River and doesn’t really like him after some initial, unfriendly meetings. The company has a proposition for her. To pretend to date, or actually just get to know, River and they’ll pay her a handsome sum that could really help her day-to-day. Since she needs the cash, she reluctantly agrees. They’re trotted out at all sorts of public events as the rare, elusive Diamond Match in order to help his company succeed, but eventually, they realize there might be something to each other than they initially thought.

This book, in true Christina Lauren fashion, is chock full of compelling language that draws me in from the get-go and I hesitate to put this book down because it’s so intriguing and engaging. Overall, it reads quite quick because I just need to know where things go with these rich, relatable characters. It’s an authentic love story for this pair of skeptics, which makes it all the more romantic and sweeping in the end because the coupling up feels justified and earned. These authors did what they do best with this romance read and I’m already wishing I could read it all over again. Now, as an ARC galley, there were a few continuity errors and kinks that weren’t exactly logical, but that didn’t stop me from getting into this book, and I’m sure it’ll all be adjusted by its pub date. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and swooning over this book. Also, the ending’s a bit ambiguous, which I understand the narrative point, but as an invested reader I just wanted to know what we didn’t know, which is my way of saying I just wanted more content or just settle for a reread instead.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: May 18


Talk Bookish to Me by Kate Bromley

This contemporary romance read completely mesmerized me and had my heart. Wholeheartedly. Here, Kara Sullivan is a popular romance author and bookstagrammer. She’s dealing with her best friend’s upcoming wedding stress, her latest book deadline, and writer’s block. Then, her first love and ex-boyfriend Ryan shows up for the wedding to her surprise and he sparks some sort of writing inspiration in her that gets her book on track.

So, we get some good forced proximity and second chance romance tropes here that I became utterly obsessed with and couldn’t put this book down. Can she embrace Ryan, her unlikely and handsome muse, to get everything done and find her own happily ever after too? I’m always down for a fun bookish romance, and this totally fulfilled that niche for me, and that GAH, so freaking cute. Ryan and Kara have such a sharp, fun, and engaging banter, and it leads to such a cute romance read. I just couldn’t, nor did I want to, put it down before I finished this read. It’s so sweeping and cute. Then, even when the biggest freaking bombshell dropped, my heart ached, and I just wanted a HEA for our hero because I had fallen for this book and Kara+Ryan have such a connection and that spark. It’s so heartfelt, vulnerable, and emotional yet so sweeping and squeal-worthy. Author Kate Bromley didn’t just write one book that I need, but two because I also need Kate’s full manuscript IRL. Then, that epilogue is absolutely precious to boot. It’s so fun, full of compelling language, and an enjoyable romance read for all us bookish girls.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: May 25        


Pumpkin by Julie Murphy

It’s Dumplin’ part three! Eeep, I’m so stoked about this one already because I adored both of the previous books in this series, Dumplin’ and Puddin’!

Here, Waylon Brewer is a fat, openly gay boy in Clover City who’s just trying to bide his time until graduation when he can finally move to Austin with his twin sister and start anew, living authentically. However, once his sister Clementine deviates from the plan and he’s dumped, Waylon decides on a whim to audition for his favorite drag competition show. After his audition tape gets shared with the entire school, Waylon ends up nominated for prom queen as a joke, right next to Clem’s girlfriend Hannah as a prom king nominee.

Even though they believe they were nominated as a joke, they decide to go for it and campaign. Along the campaign, he discovers there’s a lot more to the whole prom queen ritual than he thought. Oh, and he’s been spending more time with fellow king nominee Tucker who’s equal parts cute and infuriating. The summary explains how Waylon needs to learn the best plan for tomorrow is by living for today with the help of some fellow queens. As a book, this has such a compelling and engaging tone of voice and language that really pulls me into his story right off the bat. It’s so much fun to see this new story and to check in on your favorite characters from CCHS during their senior year. Which, side note, I’d like to confirm that Bo is still one of my top Book BFs after *that* Dolly-inspired promposal scene, thank you very much. It’s real, authentic, and engaging, just like Murphy’s other reads in this series and I thoroughly enjoyed it, even polishing it off in a single day because I couldn’t put it down. This fast read is super cute and I absolutely loved seeing Waylon embrace his true self and shine, just like Maddie and Willowdean had the chance to do (and did) in their books. Then, that ending is absolutely precious and I couldn’t stop smiling.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: May 25


Playing the Palace by Paul Rudnick

Royal romances are generally one of my favorite tropes to read, and so, I was excited about this one mixed with the queer representation of the leads. However, this story wasn’t my type and its pacing was off for me. Here, American event planner Carter starts dating the openly gay Prince Edgar of Wales when a royal media uproar ensures in this rom-com read. Carter’s fresh off a painful breakup and no longer believes is in the cards for him before he randomly meets the prince. But, there’s a sizzling chemistry between the two of them, and that’s true, I was full-on shipping them together by just a few chapters into reading.

They set off on an international romance, setting off media fireworks everywhere they go. Between that and average guy Carter fighting this newfound pressure in the spotlight, things get to be a lot, and if they want a HEA, they’re going to have to fight. It felt like it was going to be an adult version of “Red White and Royal Blue,” however, it’s not, and nothing really like that. It’s more like other royal-average person romances. The writing is quite funny and engaging from the start that kept me interested, making this pair so freaking cute and adorably awkward. It’s a cute read, sure, however, the pacing is all off and just way too fast. We speed through literally every milestone that could have been milked and teased to enthrall us, but it didn’t. I also couldn’t really vibe with these main characters or get inside of their heads. Yes, the writing is good, however, this book wasn’t exactly my personal cup of tea.

Rating: Three Stars

Available: May 25


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

19 of My Favorite Book Boyfriends That Ruin the Mere Idea of Dating

I think this title pretty much says it all. As you may have gathered by now, as frequent visitors to Miranda’s Book Nook, I’m a big fan of romance books. Because, especially in today’s uncertain and disheartened world, these books and the sweeping HEAs never fail to put a smile on my face and make me feel happier.

But, these love interests are fictional. Like seriously, where on Earth are these soulmate types IRL? I mean, where’s a Peeta Mellark, Bo Lawson, or even a Drew Nichols in reality, and how’s a girl supposed to find him amongst the billions of people roaming around? Since these dream dates aren’t sniffing around in the real world, I guess I’ll settle to read about these picture-perfect matches where heartbreak isn’t a major concern. (Seriously, why don’t I see these types of devoted book BFs pop up on Hinge, huh?)

This is not a ranking per se, but rather a comprehensive list of all my favorite (recent and all-time) fictional boyfriends across my favorite romance, YA, and women’s fiction novels. These guys just take such an interest in the girl they are crushing on, truly caring about her wellbeing and happiness for who she is — baggage be damned. And in the end, we get a picture-perfect love story that, sure, doesn’t exist IRL, but they feel just right and genuine, which is everything that us single girls could ever dream of for a match.

Seriously, all my fellow single ladies, prepare to swoon.

Writer’s Note: This may be an embarrassing post, but you know what? F*ck it. After reading an ARC of Smash It! (review post coming soon), I want to be more fearless in my own life and less afraid to do anything and so, here we go. I wanted to write this because I thought it would be fun and good for a laugh. So, here it is. Whether you like it or not, this post for me and I enjoyed writing and compiling every entry. Bam. Enjoy.

Jas Singh, Girl Gone Viral

Come on, like, I was already crushing on him *before* he even professed his feelings for his boss Katrina. There was a definite vibe between the two and sparks and chemistry aplenty. Within 37 pages of the book, I was already hardcore shipping Jas and Kat together, before they even professed their feelings to each other! But, they’ve been pining over each other for years (and his abs certainly didn’t hurt). Kat wanted the zings when it came to love, and with Jas, she got them, from their deep chats, innocent flirt sessions, and other *ahem* steamy moments.

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Connor Markham, American Royals

One of my favorite parts about this book was Princess Beatrice (aka Bea)’s storyline, which heavily involved our next Book BF. While Beatrice needed a blue-blooded man to sit beside her on the throne one day, she can’t help but ignore her feelings for former friend slash crush Connor, who also happens to be her personal bodyguard. Meaning, he always just wants to see her happy and safe. I mean, come on! Like, when he proposed to Bea (not the queen-to-be, but the girl he crushed on back at school) with just a Sharpie drawing because he couldn’t afford a giant rock? I wept. Money can’t buy you love and he proves that tenfold.

While they had to keep their relationship trysts on the DL because he’s her bodyguard, what they did share was romantic and cute as hell. I just can’t wait for the sequel Majesty to drop this fall just to get more Bea+Connor swoon-worthy content.

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Ben Mackenzie, Meet You In the Middle

Geez, where do I find a Ben Mackenzie that treats me like his own Kate IRL? Like, gah perfection. I mean, I may act like an ice queen to protect myself from getting hurt, but even I know that, damn, deep down I’m such a romantic Pisces girl, who’s just wanting and yearning for true love to be real and just so full of hope that someone can think you, quirks and all, is perfect.

I’ve since read my ARC of this book at least three times and swoon over him every time. Sure, like Kate, Ben and I fall on opposite political ends, but he proves how compatible the two are in so many other ways regardless and how much he’s willing to support her no matter what. Plus, he’s more excited for her own victories than his own, which is just so precious. Sure, they have physical chemistry and all that jazz, but they also have banter and wit, and that in itself is like dream guy material.

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Jay Shah, The Trouble With Hating You

Jay is absolutely head over heels with Liya, truly accepting and supporting her for who she is. By the time they admit their feelings for one another, the romance feels justified and earned. Even when Liya tries to push him away, he still sticks by her because he cares so deeply about her. Hell, he’ll even move away from his family if it means they’ll be together. Gah, it’s authentic yet sweeping, and is a Jay too much to ask for IRL??

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Alex Rouvalis, Four Days of You and Me

It’s the classic ‘popular boy is a jerk to a girl, but that’s only because he likes her’ trope, but as we get to know Alex better, we see he’s more than just a pretty-boy jock. Regardless of where he and Lulu stand personally, he always does what it takes to make her happy, from planting a garden, skipping school trips, risking injury, even if he gets in trouble, because his consuming love for her is worth it. They just have such a strong connection that can’t be broken.

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Derek Darcy, The Wrong Mr. Darcy

Derek may seem like the stereotypical rich professional athlete, but actually, he has so much heart in this novel. Just look at the storm scene, and everything he risks to help Hara and her new friend get to safety when things looked fatal and really bad. Then, he was willing to confront the basketball team owner over his misdeeds to help protect Hara and her family. He’s such a stand-up guy with the best heart around. I mean, I guess he is a Darcy after all.

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Nicholas Rose, You Deserve Each Other

While, at first, we as readers are poised to dislike Naomi’s Prince Charming-esque fiancé Nick, once their battle of wits heats up and their walls tumble back down, they re-warm to each other as accomplices, BFFs, and lovers to become even stronger. Soon, we discover the lengths he’s gone to save them, the real them; not the society couple they are supposed to be. From the cabin, the little notes, and teaming up against his controlling mother, it’s so clear they are meant to be. And that’s why he makes this list because his authentic self loves hers. They have to fight for their love and he doesn’t ever give up, because he knows the real Naomi is his person. To have someone fight for you when you’ve all but given up hope? Gah.


Ryan Nicholson, Head Over Heels

First, Avery’s childhood crush offers her a job and friendship once she moves back home following a traumatic breakup. So, they start to work together as gymnastic coaches. And I’m not kidding because, within ninety pages, I’m sitting here squealing over the prospect of them becoming the hottest new couple and co-coaches ever. I’m definitely getting ahead of myself, but that’s because you want to root for these characters. Soon enough, the sparks start flying. It’s never that easy when a massive scandal rocks the gymnastics world and could threaten to pull them apart. But, of course, he believes her and supports her.

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Prince Nicholas, The Royal We

He’s definitely a favorite book boyfriend, first off, because he’s basically Prince William but fictionalized. Then, once he and Bex give into their crazy chemistry and connection, all bets are off. Even when they are apart, he cannot stop thinking about her. Ugh, and like the whole British Prince + American Commoner trope is just straight out of a fairytale, even before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle started dating.

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Fitzwilliam Darcy, Eligible

Another Darcy? So, obviously, he needs to be on here. While he and Liz don’t exactly get off on the best foot, soon enough their banter translates into crazy, unexplainable chemistry. Even when Chip reveals himself to be the real jerk, it is Darcy who shines as the man who really cares for her and her family. It just goes to prove that first impressions are rarely as they seem.

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Bo Larson, Dumplin

Seriously, he has to be one of my top book boyfriends, like ever. Sure, Luke Benward does a great job portraying him in the Netflix film, but there was a lot to his backstory that was excluded. And that was the best part and why I took a liking to him so much. You think he’s some stuck-up private school kid and athlete, but actually he’s there on scholarship, dirt-poor, a great big brother, and a helpful son. That, and he likes Willowdean as she is, without even a care that she doesn’t have a typical Barbie-girl physique. He’s honest and lays his heart on the line to her and he’s legit one of the best YA romantic love interests I’ve ever read about.

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Oliver, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

I think I have a British boy infatuation problem? Oops. Anyway, ever since I first read this YA book back when YA was age-appropriate for me in technicality, I loved it in part to how sweet Oliver was to our heroine. He was heroic and charming, but still vulnerable and grounded, and just sought to be with her and be present in the moment. I mean, how many times did I secretly wish I was seated next to a handsome suitor on a flight?? Countless. How many times has it happened? A big fat ZERO, zilch, nada. So, I’ll live vicariously through these two.

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Adam Martinez, By the Book

While this story picks up some 20-odd years later, their relationship actually began while college students. Adam and Anne spent so much time together, he met her family and her college mentor, and then gave her the most incredible literary proposal of all time. Then, he does it a second time! He builds her a dream library, aims to do whatever it takes to make her happy and I just *sigh.*

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Nick Young, Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend

Of course, you can’t think of the best book boyfriends without thinking of the doting, handsome, intelligent, and family-orientated Nick Young. Sure, the movie definitely makes him even more lovable, but I’m focused on him as a love interest in the books. Even by the end of the first book, when they aren’t even together, he still wants to do what is right by here, give her the time she needs to wrap her head around her own life and goals before giving her all in a relationship. He lets her do exactly that at her own pace, no rush. And seriously that book proposal in the second book from the trilogy blows the movie’s airplane proposal out of the water, because it’s so sweeping and romantic, and I’m gonna swoon. I mean, the movie viewers are definitely robbed of seeing that incredibly romantic scene play out in the sequel film. I’m fine, it’s not like I’m bitter or anything, whatever.

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Alex Claremont-Diaz & Prince Henry, Red, White, & Royal Blue

They both make the list because they are both wonderful love interests. What starts off as a fake friendship turned real friendship to real love is every bit as authentic, genuine, and cute as imagined. They see each other as more than just the supersized public personas from the tabloids and get to know the charming and honest men underneath. And I mean, the fact that one’s a royal prince certainly doesn’t hurt.

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Josh, Younger

He proves that age, et cetera, doesn’t matter when it comes to love and two souls that belong together. I loved how sweet and caring he was in the book and on the show, and what more could a girl want? He’s perfect, I’ll even make an exception for the tattoos. OK, I can’t help it: the book made it so easy for me to be a #TeamJosh supporter, especially since the novel has no Charles. But in her follow-up Older, I definitely swayed a bit more towards Team Hugo. Hey, it’s where Liza is out now, some five years later since the first book.

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Eli Stock, Along for the Ride

Honestly, he was one of my first book crushes once I started diving into the world of YA. (Thank you, Sarah Dessen.) Sure, he’s mysterious and a loner, but he’s someone Auden can count on and open up to. Oh, and he’s good with babies too. He helps her embrace her fears and to see the world in new ways. They help each other grow and if that’s not real love, then IDK what is.

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Oliver Blackwood, Boyfriend Material

He’s not just the perfect fake boyfriend in this book, he’s pretty much the perfect boyfriend in general. He has banter, is nice and normal with a good job and a good fashion sense. Also, he’s a vegetarian because of his strong ethical code and he’s never had a scandal in his life. Seriously, that’s boyfriend material. Hence, the book title. It’s just precious as can be to see Oliver’s adorableness as the world’s most perfect boyfriend. It’s just like so much perfection. But, you’ll learn that he’s actually not perfect, and between him and Luc, they make each other better, and it’s even sweeter and cuter.

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Augustus Waters, The Fault in Our Stars

OK, I’m pretty sure Gus here is like the OG Book Boyfriend from any YA novel. Sorry, I don’t make the rules, he just is. Everything about him and who he is as a survivor is just so strong and kind, and I can’t help but melt every time I read the book (or watch the movie). He helps Hazel Grace cope with her own diagnosis, help her fulfill her dream with a romantic trip to Amsterdam, and helps her meet her favorite author. Plus, their flirty “okay” text conversations still gives me goosebumps.

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Well, maybe I’ll never find my ultimate, perfect prince in real life, but at least I know him in my imagination through these books. Hey, it’s something right?