8 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


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.

10 Adorable New Reads That I’m Obsessing Over Right Now

It’s a crazy, scary, fearful time we live in and sometimes it feels hard to move forward. One way I cope is obviously through reading, and um yea, I’ve been reading a lot. Like, one book every day or every other day. (Hey, it’s the only way to get through my 15+ TBR!) In between devouring the new Hunger Games book, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, (which I don’t dislike teen Snow, but I don’t exactly like him), about 12 more new ARCs (thanks a million, Netgalley!), and keeping up with my daily responsibilities, I’ve certainly found ways to stay busy. And now, I want to share that knowledge with all you, my lovely readers. And so, welcome back to Miranda’s Book Nook with a handful of my latest book recommendations that are perfect to keep you busy and engaged during this crazy, anxious, and uncertain time. I hope you pick ’em up and fall in love with these rich stories just as I have.

Times Like These by Laura Carter

It’s the story of four different yet close friends, almost like sisters: Hannah, Rosalie, Andrea, and Sofia. They are each at different points in their lives both professionally and personally, and the book does a good job of getting into each character’s mindset.

Each chapter is about a different girl and all are very descriptive in its language. There’s quite a bit of British slang/terms, which sure, makes sense considering the author and publisher, however, the characters are American, which makes these terms all the more confusing and feel out of place. Other than that, I couldn’t stop reading once I was in the depths of it. Sure each character has problems, but they are written with such vulnerability and emotions. Seeing this bond between the girls and the enduring power of friendship is heartwarming to read as these pals must figure out how they fit into each other’s different lives and if their bond is strong enough to survive their different and changing worlds.

Available: June 29


One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

FIVE-STAR READ ALERT! OK, I don’t know if I can fit into words everything I thought about this book because it was refreshing, endearing, honest, authentic, sweeping, and fun. I couldn’t put it down and absolutely adored it, hence my rating. Before I started reading, I was initially intrigued about seeing a plus-size, body positive lead of a romance/women’s fiction book coupled with the setting of a dating TV show ala The Bachelor. All in all, it was set to perfectly align with my reading habits. And boy, did this book deliver. 

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.

Think: The Bachelor with a lead who was body positive and proud, because hey that’s reality, darling. This book is funny and witty; equal parts empowering, glamorous, and indulgent. It’s very juicy, like I just kept exclaiming ‘OMG’ out loud, sorry not sorry; I’m so intrigued and hooked. Then, the “show” ending is bold yet confident, because hey, a woman doesn’t need a man and shouldn’t settle for anything. The actual book ending was absolutely precious and so darn cute, and besides, now I need a Bea+Asher follow-up like right now. This book should be required reading for any dating reality show producer, because this is what we want and need. The book’s language is so fun and relatable; I just wanted to keep reading and couldn’t put it down! It’s chock full of dramatic twists and turns, and I loved every page of it. The book is told through tweets, blogs, contracts, articles, scripts, Slack messages, and texts which help move the time frame along from episode-to-episode.

It’s for sure a five-star read from me because when I can’t put a book down and need to know more, it’s because I’m so invested and captivated by the storytelling. While the title is One to Watch, you know who is the real one to watch? Author Kate Stayman-London. If this book is any indication, then I can’t wait to see what future works she could deliver that are just as witty, unique, and fun.

Available: July 7


Hello, Again by Isabelle Broom

If you prefer a romance where everything ends neatly in a sugary sweet HEA, then this is not the book for you. It’s more of a women’s fiction novel with its ambiguous, open-ended conclusion. But that shouldn’t take away from this book’s merits, because everything about this feels authentic, realistic, and genuine. This book starts on the anniversary of Pepper’s sister’s death, which hits her and her mom hard every year. When her friend, local widow Josephine, asks her to come along on her European trip as a companion, it’s the perfect chance for Pepper to try something new and do something her sister always wanted. So, in a quite predictable yet adorable meet-cute, Pepper runs into the German-accented dreamboat Finn on her first day, and immediately he only has eyes for our colorfully dressed protagonist. She definitely believes in fate and true love at her core, and I can already tell it’ll be a fun holiday fling/romance from those early chapters.

The book follows their relationship across various cities and countries as they pursue a fast-paced relationship, the highs and the lows included. Finn is the perfect, sweet, admiring, and all-in love interest and while it’s charming, it feels a bit too perfect because there’s a big truth bomb on the horizon that’ll shake Pepper to her core. Once he reveals what’s going on, he immediately wants nothing to change and them to be okay, but it’s not just about them anymore, so that made me dislike him a tad, because I was starting to root for him.

So, obviously, there is some romance, but that part moves so quickly, and there’s a possibility that they won’t end up together by the time he drops his truth. Sure, he taught her to open up and be herself, but they do love each other and that’s all that should matter. Boo, that ending makes me sad because I wanted to invest in them together. Then, there’s an epilogue, but the two of them aren’t really addressed as the two of them, and like, I just want to know what happened to them. I mean, I hope hope hope that they found their way back to each other because his “first piece of love” title of her work may indicate that or if they both move on or if they never do. I just want more, more answers, more of the captivating story.

Available: July 9


A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee

Within a few pages, I can already tell this book is shaping up to be a sugary-sweet romance, and it didn’t let me down. One thing is that the book switches perspective between Landon and Aubrey abruptly at a new paragraph, which is confusing at first. Also, the timeline abruptly jumps in places, which this swap is too sudden and out of nowhere mid-chapter. But, all in all, it’s a fun and indulgent romance read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It gets juicy and dramatic, and I’m loving it!

In the book, Aubrey Choi is happy running her successful bakery Comfort Zone and doesn’t need dating to fill her days. She has her business and baked goods to keep her busy. Then, enter the gorgeous stranger Landon Kim. After a one-night-stand, maybe it’s time for Aubrey to reevaluate her priorities? Well, it turns Landon is a celebrity food critic and he published a scathing review of her bakery that may just ruin her business and the thoughtful memories of their night together. Once Landon realizes, ‘Oh crap, I just panned the girl I like’s business and the order I had was actually a custom cake for a child and not meant for me,’ he seeks a way to clean up his mess without mucking up his reputation. So, he offers her a spot on a new celeb cooking show that he’s producing. She agrees for the positive press, but soon the two of them are all alone in a California villa in wine country for three whole week. And yes, all that chemistry is certainly a recipe for something.

The two protagonists have such an undeniable chemistry that it made the read so engaging in this slow-burn, friends-to-lovers book. I couldn’t put this book down; It’s just an enjoyable, indulgent, and cute love story. The character of Aubrey is so raw and vulnerable, it’s real and makes it more appealing and authentic as a reader. It’s chock full of twists and turns, yet turns out to be pretty darn cute; absolutely precious. Then, when Landon has realized he’s been a total idiot at the end, it’s such a sweeping and swoon-worthy HEA. This story was so emotional, it just had my entire heart. All that raw, real emotion makes the HEA earned, justified, better, and cuter.

Since the book’s release, it was announced that actor Daniel Dae Kim will produce and star in a film adaptation. While we don’t have further details, now I really, really, really need to see him as Landon eating and choking on that PB, Chocolate, and Gummy Worm custom cake. I need that scene, and I will laugh.

Available: July 14


More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn

First off, I love a good British love interest, so this book got started on the right foot with all the slang. The book’s casual language feels authentic and relatable, even through its dual perspectives.  Luke and Vada are cut from the same cloth and a perfect match in this slow burn, cute Young Adult romance.

Our two protagonists of this book are podcaster and shy songwriter Luke and ambitious music blogger Vada. Luke’s been living in the shadow of his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, his outgoing twin brother Cullen. But he has a major secret: he’s been big-time crushing on Vada and always finds a way to stalk her blog, and just yearns for a way to chat with her. Meanwhile, Vada’s the girl with the big dreams to get into an amazing college program for music journalism, manage her mom’s boyfriend’s local music venue/bar, and get a dream internship. Falling for Luke was certainly not part of her plan, but hey, we are where we are. They have so much in common and when Cullen releases a new track of his brother singing a love song about a mystery girl, maybe she wishes it was about her. And perhaps, Luke feels the same???

It’s a quick, fun, and engaging read that you can polish off in a single setting. It’s a sugary-sweet, slow-burn romance that I couldn’t put down. By the end, it’s so darn cute and very enjoyable to read. Just like her first book, You’d Be Mine, author Erin Hahn perfectly melds the music world with teen romance for such an adorable YA read. Awww. But, I definitely think I preferred this book over You’d Be Mine. Everything just felt so authentic and genuine.

Available: July 21


The Switch by Beth O’Leary

This was a super-sweet, comforting novel for such a weird, strange, and scary time in this world. It focuses on the two Eileens, a grandmother and a granddaughter and their special bond. During a time where each woman is at during this crossroads in their life, both need a break and plan to swap lives and cities, just like the movie The Holiday. Before the swap, the book moves very slowly and every action is long and drawn out with each chapter feeling way too long. But soon enough, the pacing quickens and I got wrapped up in the storyline.

We follow overachiever Leena Cotton who takes a two-month sabbatical at her grandma Eileen’s cozy cottage in Yorkshire after she blows a massive presentation at work. Meanwhile, her 80-year-old grandma is looking for a second chance at love after her husband left her. Since there are more options in London, her granddaughter suggests a switch. While Eileen wines and dines across London and experiences casual dating, Leena heads off to the country to look after her grandmother’s local neighborhood projects and her cottage.

So, my issues with Leena start almost instantly. How can Leena be so insistent to help Betsy with her abusive S.O., yet she’ll believe her cheating boyfriend over her beloved grandma?? Like, no girl, you need to cut him loose: he doesn’t deserve you. Thank god for the ending, phew. 

Eileen’s parts read as far more engaging, she’s so vibrant and fun, and I loved it. Plus, there’s not really a conflict for most of the book, things sort of just happened. Leena wasn’t exactly my favorite protagonist because she didn’t exactly know who she was or saw that nothing wrong with her always-working life or cheating boyfriend. Eileen’s spirit, free and kind, was much more engaging and interesting. Also, Rachel Brosnahan is slated to star in the film adaptation and IDK, but like, surely she’ll be Leena, which isn’t as an interesting part, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see how that’ll shake out. But, in the end, it was an adorable, comforting read.

Available: August 18


Far From Normal by Becky Wallace

It’s the story of a new intern at a posh Chicago sports marketing agency, and a classic fish-out-of-water tale. Maddie is the typical YA protagonist of a normal, All-American, awkward girl but she’s very driven to succeed and follow her passions.

The book uses captivating language, that you really feel for Maddie’s point of view and it’s easy to get sucked in. Soon, intern Maddie is tasked with managing Italian, bad boy soccer star Gabe’s social media, a guy who she’s already had an embarrassing (for her) yet flirty exchange with days prior. He’s the bad boy and it’s up to her to keep him on the straight and narrow path. As we go on, fellow intern Mara is the vindictive office nemesis, which I’m not a fan of this storyline because women need to champion other women. (How in the heck can we shatter glass ceilings if we are too busy fighting and being catty and petty for one seat at the preexisting table?? No, we should be working together to make more space.) So, that characterization irked me.

Overall, I couldn’t stop reading this fun, slow-burn YA romance between a regular girl and a superstar yet misunderstood athlete. Then, once Gabe starts to open up because he honestly likes her, you can see his walls tumble down and his raw, real self emerges just like any ordinary crush, and that’s the love interest I want to root for. It’s a quick read that you get so wrapped up in that you cannot put it down! By the ending, the story is very raw and vulnerable for Maddie, who realizes she can blaze her own trail and not follow anyone else’s.

I was hesitant to read based on the summary, but I took a chance on this book, which completely won me over with its authentic language, sweeping romance, and the vulnerable moment at the end where she’s forged her own path ahead without knowing the end result.

Available: September 22


In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren

A Groundhog’s Day-type holiday romance from the skilled romance mind of Christina Lauren that’s set in a cozy mountain cabin? Call me intrigued immediately. As I started to read, the background on the characters is unclear and just dives right into the story now. It starts with Mae, who visits a Park City, Utah cabin with her family and longtime family friends. So, immediately a love triangle starts when Mae kisses Theo, while she’s had a longtime crush on his brother Andrew. (Reader’s Note: Initially, the book lacked a clear character backstory, because it seemed like both Theo and Andrew were her cousins. Can confirm that they are not.) After a super embarrassing night and morning (I was legit cringing for her, eesh) and then a massive surprise threatens to change everything.

Soon after her mess of things and a horrific car accident, Mae enters a Groundhog’s Day-type of situation where she gets to relive the whole trip to the cabin and get it right. I don’t know, I don’t get the same vibe and interest as I did while reading The Honey Don’t List, meh there seems to be a lot happening and it’s unclear if it is a dream or she’s in a coma or something else. Everything seems so odd and out of context, but I can’t help but be so curious as to see what happens. The 300+ pages don’t feel so long because you get so entrenched in the story and just can’t put it down. 

With every injury and wrong turn, Mae gets a fresh chance to relive it and get things right. Eventually, she learns that change isn’t necessarily a bad thing and to stay true to herself as her reboots buck tradition and allow her to be her true self. In this new alternate timeline, her flirtmance with longtime crush Andrew is so cute, but like I just want to know more details about this time travel situation. Seriously, Andrew and Mae falling is having me believe in soulmates and fate and aww, it’s just precious. Their relationship (and book) starts off slowly and then, whew, things ramp up hot, hot, hot.  (I mean, that closet scene, ahem.) Oh wow, I’m so darn hooked and I cannot stop reading, I just need to finish the story and get resolution about so many things.

I thought this book would end up predictably with the actual reality being the car crash inspiring her to change her life, but no, her final re-done chance was real because she was true to herself, and ahhh that HEA. I loved that super-duper cute happily ever after, awww it’s everything. All in all, it was such a cute holiday romance read.

Available: October 6


This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens

This book follows Quinn and Minnie, who meet on New Year’s Day in London, which also happens to be both their birthdays. It turns out while he’s always been lucky, she’s been unlucky, which her family attributes to having their lucky name choice (Quinn) stolen by a baby boy who was born on the same day at the same hospital. The story is told through flashbacks on different New Year’s Eves and New Year’s Days, and somehow Quinn and Minnie always ended up at the same place at the same time; as well as a present-day timeline that chronicles how things go since they officially met in 2019.

It’s such an engaging and fun story, I just want to know what’ll happen next. It’s an easy romance read to get wrapped up in, and I couldn’t put it down and ended up devouring it in one sitting. It even reads quickly for 400+ pages. In the book, it’s all about how fate kept entangling their lives from the beginning, so love seems inevitable. OK, it’s pretty darn cute from beginning to end. It’s just fun, sweet, and cute. Then, the ending is giving me all sorts of sweeping *zings* and feels that I could actually feel fluttering in my belly.

Available: October 15


Heiress Apparently (Daughters of the Dynasty) by Diana Ma

Another five-star read, coming at ya! This was such an unexpected yet thoroughly enjoyable YA read. It’s sort of Crazy Rich Asians meets American Royals, when American aspiring actress Gemma Huang books her first acting gig as the lead in an upcoming rom-com movie. The film, shooting on location in Beijing, is Gemma’s first experience in China and almost instantly, she’s mistaken for big-time influencer and heiress Alyssa Chua. Turns out, there’s more to the story and family secrets galore because Alyssa is her actually cousin and they are both descendants of royalty.

At first, we meet Gemma, who’s busy with auditions for toothpaste commercials and bit parts in a movie as the ex-girlfriend, and doing anything it takes to pay her rent and follow her dreams. She meets a gorgeous Asian-American boy and their romance was like cheesy cute, except he’s totally jealous of her immediate success in the field. (Buh-bye!) Her parents immigrated from China before she was born and haven’t gone back nor allowed her to visit, which adds a curious bit of mystery for Gemma’s backstory and the plot. This book reads quickly with its relatable tone and language. It’s a coming-home story and one of pursuing her dreams. Once Gemma meets her doppelganger cousin, she begins to discover a long-held family secret. This book is so intriguing, and if a full series is actually coming, then I CANNOT WAIT!

Of course, what YA contemporary book wouldn’t be complete with a sweeping romance? Enter Eric Liu, a college graduate who literally rescues Gemma from hoards of screaming fans, and also the grandson of her grandpa’s political rival. The book is full of drama, secrets, dreams coming true, and it’s so captivating and engaging. It’s a meaningful story about a family’s (and specifically that of sisters) bond in this coming-of-age and coming into one’s own story. It’s more than just a YA story, it is so rich and wow, I loved it. Every single page, chapter, and character. Now, where can I get some of Mimi’s fashion collection IRL???

Available: December 1


Advance reader copies of each book were provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.