12 Modern Ways to Dress Like Your Favorite Disney Princesses

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

Ariel

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

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


Belle

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

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


Elsa

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

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


Anna

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

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


Tiana

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

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


Rapunzel

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

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


Jasmine

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

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


Aurora

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

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


Merida

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

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


Cinderella

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

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


Mulan

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

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


Snow White

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

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

The 20 Best Books I’ve Read in 2020

This crazy, insane, bizarre year is finally almost over. And as you well know by now, I’ve coped with that time and everything I was dealing with by reading more and more books. Between purchasing books I was looking forward to or reviewing new ARCs (courtesy of NetGalley), I read so many new books that I can barely fit them on my bookshelves and much less count how many of them I completed during lockdown. While it’d be way too long of a post to recap each new book I read, I narrowed it down to the top 20 (get it, 20 in 20??). So, keep reading for the best books I’ve read in this freaking insane year, and hopefully, at least one of them gives you TBR inspiration when you need it.

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

Ever since I read this ARC and then purchased a print edition after its pub day, I’ve been hooked. It may be my penchant, err fine, obsession for all things Bachelor Nation and reality TV, but this book was so intriguing about the behind the scenes of such a production. It also stars a plus-size, body-positive lead, which is such a new change for adult fiction, and a long time coming one at that. This book was so refreshing, endearing, honest, authentic, sweeping, and fun. Hey, it was even a five-star read from me! I just couldn’t put it down and absolutely adored it. 

The book followed plus-size fashion blogger Bea Schumacher, who becomes the new show lead of the hit Main Squeeze reality show after her tweets and blog post about the show’s lack of diversity goes viral. And after a major breakup that left her reeling, this is the perfect chance to get over that and up her brand all at once. While she claims she’s only here to promote better beauty messages and not to fall in love, things get complicated when she meets some dashing, charming suitors who may help her find the real-life HEA she didn’t know she was missing. This book is funny and witty; equal parts empowering, glamorous, and indulgent. It’s very juicy, and was I just so intrigued and hooked.

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Beach Read by Emily Henry

Everyone was talking about this book this summer, and for good reason, because it’s so darn cute and impactful that I just devoured it in mere days. Here, romance writer January Andrews and acclaimed literary fiction author Augustus Everett are living in neighboring beach houses for the summer, both broke and suffering from writer’s block. One evening, the two opposites place a bet that they can each write something different: Augustus will pen a story with a happily ever after, while January must take a stab at the next Great American Novel. The plan is for each of them to finish their book and for no one to fall in love. She takes him on inspirational field trips worthy of a rom-com, and he takes her to investigate some backwoods death cult. While embarking on these field trips and sending inspirational ‘beat that writer’s block’ notes from their respective windows, it’s obvious that the only place they want to be is with one another.

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You Have a Match by Emma Lord

This was another five-star read that I just couldn’t get enough of, and just made me positively sob. It’s set at a summer camp, and I adored all of the different 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. 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, I can’t imagine not having read You Have a Match, and in a way, it’s made me feel closer to my late 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. So, the DNA test revealed that Abby has a secret full sister, Savannah, who’s 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. Then, there’s also a precious slow-burn romance between Abby and her best friend and neighbor, Leo. 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.

Read the Book starting January 12


The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

So, in all honesty, I had seen this contemporary romance on bookstore shelves for a while now but had no real pull to pick it up. Then, I saw something on Instagram about the movie starring Lucy Hale, who side note is the perfect casting for main character Lucy. Seeing that inspired me to check out the summary for this enemies-to-lovers romance, which had me hooked. I pretty much immediately Amazon’d a copy to my front door. And boy, am I glad because I couldn’t put this fun, engaging read down. Here, Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman are rival executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. When news of a promotion is on the table, their hating game ramps up a notch as their daily battles hit a fever pitch. However, all this tension between the two has reached its fever pitch too and they discover maybe they don’t hate each other after all. It’s such a fun E2L romance read that I cannot wait to see play out on the big screen.

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Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

After devouring the Netflix adaptation, I knew I had to check out the book. And guess what, it definitely lives up to the holiday and bookish goodness of the TV series. This is definitely the best of all three of the books in the D&L series, but they are all great with such a fun, dreamy meet-cute premise and gah, it’s beyond adorable. Here, when Lily is all alone for the holiday, her brother helps to create a scavenger puzzle in a red Moleskine, to be left at The Strand. Which, side note, this is like all I want in my serious lack of a love life, just saying. So, a surly teen Dash finds the book and accepts its dares. Soon, they start trading dares, hopes, dreams, and desires all over New York City, oh and feelings too. It’s beyond cute, every bit as adorable as the show, and gives me all the fun butterflies while reading.

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Heiress Apparently by Diana Ma

This was an unexpected five-star read that I still can’t stop thinking about because I just want to read it again. It’s like Crazy Rich Asians meets American Royals, and since I loved both books, this was obviously a must. And every part of this lives up to that hype. It’s a coming-home story and one of pursuing her dreams. Once aspiring actress Gemma meets her doppelganger cousin when she arrives in China to film her first movie, she discovers a long-held family secret. The book is full of drama, secrets, dreams coming true, and it’s so captivating and engaging. It’s more than just a YA story, it is so rich and wow, I loved it. Every single page, chapter, and character. 

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The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

From the first moment I heard Shonda Rhimes was producing a TV series based on this juicy AF book series, I knew it was something I needed. But naturally, I had to read the books first. So, I started with this first one and was so hooked that I had to quickly order Anthony’s and Colin’s sequels soon after. If this Netflix is every bit as witty, indulgent, fun, and romantic as this book then it’s sure to be a winner. Here, we start with Simon and Daphne’s story. Daff is hoping to secure a suitable prospect by the end of this Season, someone who isn’t as horrendous as Nigel Berbrooke. Meanwhile, Simon, the Duke of Hastings, wants to avoid all the marriage-minded society mothers parading their daughters around him. So, they hatch a scheme to enter a fake courtship to boost her profile slash eligibility, and lower his. But, of course, fake dating only opens the door to real feelings. This quick read got me more into the historical genre and this series, and it’s just so fun, grandiose, salacious, and romantic.

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Meet You in the Middle by Devon Daniels

I’ve actually read my digital ARC some four times in completion already, and then just its sweeping HEA an additional 2-3 times when I want to feel that level of comfort all over again. This romance novel is just that cute yet grounded. A slow-burn can be hard to feel connected to, but Kate and Ben’s quick-witted, feisty, and playful banter makes it delicious. That, and you can’t keep me from a good enemies-to-lovers book starring these two congressional aides from opposite sides of the aisle and the office building; that makes the inevitable romance so much more earned and justified by the time the HEA does happen. I just can’t wait to order a physical copy, so I can read this story an additional ten more times.

Read the Book starting February 2

 


Pretending by Holly Bourne

From page one, narrator April is snarky, relatable, witty, and I just love this tone and language. It’s so relatable and fun that I just want to keep reading because April feels so honest and real. She’s vulnerable and genuine, making a stellar protagonist and I’m so invested in her journey and story. Now, April, at the beginning, hasn’t exactly had the best luck with dating, and she’d fed up with that. So, she’s after revenge on any guy that’s hurt any girl and made them worthless. She sets out to make a new dating profile and date (or catfish) men as Gretel, the girl in her head that she thinks men want and is the complete opposite of the real her. This way she can break their hearts like they so often do to her. She matches with Joshua, and their first date is super cute, except that she’s pretending to be someone else. But, this experiment is helping the real her because April is becoming more confident and not overanalyzing every little detail, but of course, she starts to see they are quite compatible even though she’s admitted that he’s not good-looking, not bad-looking, and not a good kisser.

All in all, this book is witty and captivating, and I can’t put it down; I have to keep reading.  I loved this read because I get it, everything April feels, and it’s real, authentic yet still frothy, light, and fun that keeps you turning the pages. So many women’s fiction nowadays revolve around a man or romance, and getting a man to fall in love with a girl, her needing or wanting love. And it’s refreshing to see that this book isn’t that because love and relationships are real, raw, and messy, just like life really is. 

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Shine by Jessica Jung

I’d heard a lot about this next read before I even picked it up off the YA shelf. Sure, the summary was intriguing: All about a teenaged K-pop trainee eager to live her dream and make it into a band. Oh, and the shiny love story with a fellow K-pop star didn’t hurt. But, in all honesty, I didn’t know what to expect when I’d actually start reading it, and OMG, this YA debut novel delivers! It was absolutely precious and a book I just couldn’t put down.

Here, seventeen-year-old Korean-American Rachel Kim loves K-pop and would do just about anything to be chosen for a group and live her dreams. Six years ago, she’s recruited by Korean label DB Entertainment as a trainee where the rules are clear. Train and practice all the time. Be perfect. Don’t date. At first, the rules seem like no-brainers, but soon enough, Rachel realizes all the dark scandals of the controlling industry and the pressure to constantly be perfect, and she questions everything and if she has what it takes to shine and be the star. Plus, once she captures the attention of DB golden boy, K-pop superstar, Jason Lee, the rules get increasingly difficult to mindlessly follow. He’s the label’s big star, has the voice of an angel that blends in perfect harmony with hers, is flirty and charming, and only seems to have eyes for her. This book pulls the veil back on the glamorous, picture-perfect world of K-pop and K-pop girl groups, which is so interesting to get this behind-the-scenes viewpoint, plus an empowering protagonist, amazing sets, and a sweet-as-doughnuts teen romance.

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Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

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

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Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Sittenfeld’s newest novel reimagines Hillary Clinton’s life and political career stemming from one question, “What if she hadn’t married Bill Clinton?” The fact that this compelling novel was based upon one of my feminist heroes and was authored by one of my favorite authors, I was initially drawn to this book. Then once I started it, I just couldn’t put it down! The beginning feels a bit like Hillary Clinton’s biography, but that just proves how well researched it was on Sittenfeld’s part. Then, you get into her fictionalized portrayal of relationships, career What Ifs, and more.

It’s so cute, interesting, feisty, and fierce at the same time, I honestly couldn’t stop reading. Sittenfeld’s portrayal of Hillary is everything a young Miranda wanted to be and to see that woman can be strong and powerful without the help of a man was inspiring. This book is like the empowering twist of history we’ve needed and yearned for since 2016, and I’m so glad to have read it.

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Act Like a Lady by the Ladygang

The hosts and besties behind the “LadyGang” podcast wrote this advice-filled, self-help, and humorous guidebook about what it means to be a woman in the twenty-first century. It’s a fun yet relatable book of essays that’ll inspire just about any girl to rise up and be a powerful force to be reckoned with. From taking on lessons with dating, friendship, career, self-confidence, and more, it’s all the message we all need to hear more. It’s empowering as heck and something most women should have in their arsenal to remember. These pearls of wisdom make a perfect coffee table book for any millennial apartment. You can read this in a day, you can read it again and again because it’s evergreen, it’s timely, it’s what you just need to hear every once and a while. 

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Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli

A close runner-up is her cowritten Yes No Maybe So novel, but this ARC just bewitched my soul as a reader. The summary sounded so intriguing and fun on its own when I first saw it. Also,  as a former theater kid and current theater nerd slash fangirl, this plot seemed right up my alley.

Here, best friends Kate and Anderson do literally everything together, even share communal crushes that don’t go anywhere. But when they both have huge, deep crushes on their theatre camp friend Matt, who just so happens to be new in school, everything goes crazy. This quick, one-sitting read is so easy to get sucked into from seeing Kate’s confidence grow, watching things with her brother’s best friend Noah blossom, and seeing her relationship with Anderson evolve as they all get older. It’s so much fun, and so cute for a YA novel, and like, eep, I definitely, actually, audibly squealed at one part. Bravo, Ms. Albertalli, you’ve done it again.

Read the Book starting April 20


Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve been reading other books by Miranda Kenneally for years, so drawn to the strong characterizations, friendships, and of course HEA and love stories. And her latest YA novel has not disappointed me. It’s teeming with dramatics, yet feels grounded and relatable, and I love it no matter how many times I restart it.

It’s so juicy yet grounded, I absolutely love it. From the very beginning, I just want to know all the gossip and I couldn’t stop reading; I needed to find out what happened next. The book takes place across Lulu’s four years of high school, based around the class trips at the end of the year, which somehow always brought her and Alex closer and closer. Of course, not all was revealed during the present timeline, the book seamlessly wove in flashbacks to fill in the missing gaps of Alex and Lu’s love story. It’s absolutely adorable and so easy to get sucked into.

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The Fangirl’s Guide to the Universe by Sam Maggs

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. 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. Fangirls unite, it’s time to suit up and change the universe!

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Together, Apart by Erin A. Craig

This was everything I’ve needed to stay sane and happy during lockdown. Nine acclaimed, witty, and popular YA authors did what they do best and wrote short stories starring diverse and complex teens facing the pandemic, lockdown, and adorable first love stories. Each story was equally compelling and told a complete story with an interesting protagonist who learns that love always finds its way. The characters and storylines are all relatable, endearing, and engaging which makes the story so much fun, authentic, and beyond precious.

There’s one about a cute pizza delivery boy who gives the new girl in town a free book and cake; one where a girl is desperate to impress her crush on TikTok; two dog walkers getting closer; a new boy in town who can’t stop thinking about the girl next door; an enemies-to-lovers sitch from across apartment balconies; an unexpected romance that stems from a fortune reading and a take-out order; a flirty exchange that begins over two balcony herb gardens, a roommate enemies-to-lovers journey; and a mask-making entrepreneur and her famous crush. There’s something for every romance fan, and it’s just absolutely adorable and heart-melting. They are all so freaking cute in their own way between the love stories and the HEAs. It was something to make me smile during such a freaking hard time.

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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.

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’s definitely a motif of sisterhood and women sticking together in their fight for survival, forgiveness, love, and strength. The poems have such rich language and captivating word choice that tells complex stories that capture the readers due to strong symbols and metaphors.

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The Trouble With Hating You by Sajni Patel

Seriously, re-reading this gave me all of the zings and goosebumps, even more than the first time. Like, every time I read this, and Jay and Liya realize their feelings, I swear, I can feel my heart beating so loud. This romance read is sweeping, romantic, and adorable. It’s hard to resist.

This novel lives up to that and is 100 percent adorable and totally squeal-worthy. I love how independent our protagonist Liya is and how cute Jay is as he’s head over heels in love with her, even when she tried to push him away. Their love story feels so real, authentic, and earned as these two people break past their boundaries to eventually find love and acceptance. The book starts where headstrong engineer Liya walks out the door of a dinner party set up with an eligible bachelor whom her folks are trying to marry her off to. It’s a shock to both of them when Liya keeps spotting her one-time suitor around town, and it’s Jay. Jay has everything right on paper, but after Liya’s behavior during that first meeting, he’s embarrassed and infuriated to see her. Although, that tension is too much to resist in this second chance love story.

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The Boys’ Club by Erica Katz

I was intrigued from the get-go while reading thanks to its relatable language that feels like you are in the main character’s head. It reads very quickly and is really intriguing. In this women’s fiction novel, high-achieving Alex Vogel accepts a job at a prestigious law firm in NYC as she soon finds herself seduced by the firm’s promise of glory, money, and powerful energy. She finds herself succeeding in the hyper-competitive Mergers & Acquisitions division and neglecting what we originally thought was a settled, happy personal life. Soon, a scandal rocks her corporate world and reveals the dark reality at the firm, she soon understands all the ways women are told to act to succeed and she cannot stand idly by anymore.

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.

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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.

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.

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

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

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

Majesty by Katharine McGee

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

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

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

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

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

Available: Now


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

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

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

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

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

Available: October 6


The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss*

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

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

Available: October 13


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

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

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

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

Available: October 13


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

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

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

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

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

Available: October 20


Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer*

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

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

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

Available: November 3


The Cul-de-Sac War by Melissa Ferguson*

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

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

Available: November 10


Truth, Lies, and Second Dates by MaryJanice Davidson*

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

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

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

Available: December 15


A Spy in the Struggle by Aya de León*

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

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

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

Available: December 29


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

Releasing my inner fangirl at a One Direction concert in London

So, last Monday was the day I went to the ONE DIRECTION concert in London!!! (Can you hear my inner fangirl shrieking?) It was so incredible to see the boys live for the third time, and this time in their home country! 🙂  It was a great night. Now, on to some of the great highlights from their fourth show in London:

  1. Harry told Karen Payne (Liam’s mum), who was there with his older sister, to “stand her pretty a** up” during the show. And they were seated in the same side of the stage as me. No biggie. But, what Harry said was so him and absolutely hilarious.
  2. When reading signs, Liam and Harry found a couple there on their anniversary and they said they had their first kiss watching Elf, to which Harry said, “nothing like… to put you in the mood.” Oh, that’s so Harry…
  3. Liam spoke of how all of his lyrics are about skinny jeans, hospitals and drinking… Well, he’s not wrong… I wonder what a psychologist would say about that one? (And yes, Liam: psychology is a real word. Note: this is a reference to an interview they did with Ellen Degeneres.)
  4. Liam asked if his mum and sister were liking the show. Awww, he’s too cute.
  5. During WMYB (and the whole encore really) Liam and Louis had a huge water fight, chucking entire contents of several water bottles at each other while Harry/ Niall were singing their parts… It was hilarious.

There were so many amazing moments, songs and it was so awesome to be able to see them at their real height and see their faces! 🙂 Ready for some pictures?

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View from my seat! So close to the stage!

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Boys on the main stage.

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Niall and his guitar.

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Liam.

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Harry mastering the “tip the mic stand” move.

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Awww, buddies Liam and Niall…

Side note: who’s looking forward to the release of “Made in the A.M.” next month??

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