Tis the Season! Fall Is Almost Here and So Are Your Next 9 Book Obsessions

And just like that, summer has come and gone in the blink of an eye — as September shuffles in. While the new month ushers in sweater weather, the PSL season and more quintessentially autumnal activities, it also means a whole new season of book releases. So you know what that means: Miranda’s Book Nook is back to share a handful of fall 2022 book titles that I’ve been devouring of late that should be on your radar. Happy reading, y’all!

Husband Material by Alexis Hall

The highly anticipated sequel to Boyfriend Material is *finally* *finally* here, and let me tell you, it completely lives up to the hype of book one and asks “what happens after the HEA in the final chapter?” Luc and Oliver are just as adorable as ever, as this novel proves to be one for the fans of Boyfriend Material 1 million percent.

This follow-up is set two years after the conclusion of Boyfriend Material and Luc finds himself under enormous pressure to propose to Luc after four weddings, a funeral; and a rainbow balloon arch.

True to the author’s style, Husband Material is well-written, dividing up Luc and Oliver’s next chapter in a series of milestone moments ala Four Weddings and a Funeral-esque story. That in itself is an interesting premise and juxtaposition: to see commitment-phobic Luc set in the background of so many happy wedding days. It reads quite quickly with banter that I’ve gotten so into this one and barely wanted to put the book done. And by the end, it’s a perfect reminder that love is love though doesn’t always look or manifest the same.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: Now


A Hundred Other Girls  by Iman Hariri-Kia

With comps including Devil Wears Prada and The Bold Type, I already was primed to like this book because that’s my world but the actual content completely took me by surprise, which I think is what I liked it so much.
Here, Noora is an aspiring who lands her *dream* job as an executive assistant to the legendary editor-in-chief of a fashion and culture magazine that she grew up reading. Which, like, story of my life! What she thinks is the perfect foot-in-the-door turns out to be a complete nightmare because her boss, Loretta, is an unhinged nightmare. As Noora balances a hectic work life amid raging print vs. digital clashes, there’s also a misguided crush on I.T. guy Cal. (Side note: Why do men, nay boys, have to have such audacity??)
It’s told in such a rich, compelling first-person narrative that feels like the main character Noora is talking in real life. For a story I know all too well, Iman Hariri-Kia adds a brand-new lens and perspective that I have seldom seen in the industry that feels so natural and authentic. This novel is legitimately straight-up funny in parts, just like the real world in others of a zillennial New Yorker living her professional dream. I came to this book because it’s a tale I know so well and I’m leaving intrigued to find out what this author will write next.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: Now


The American Roommate Experiment by Elena Armas

A slow-burn, forced proximity, only-one-bed romance set in the same universe as The Spanish Love Deception that’s equally fun, indulgent and enjoyable. Fresh off of Lina and Aaron’s HEA, Elena Armas is back to tell Lina’s best friend Rosie’s story — with Lina’s cousin, Lucas, as the one stealing her heart.

Here, Rosie has since quit her high-paying engineering gig to pursue her secret life as a romance novelist. Except now, she’s got a serious case of writer’s block and a major deadline on the horizon. Plus, her apartment ceiling caves in and she needs a place to go. Lina, who is away on her honeymoon to Aaron (!!!), had given Rosie her spare key, so she heads there. However, unbeknownst to Rosie, Lina had allowed her cousin Lucas to stay at her place while he’s in town. As one can expect, hijinks ensue as these two share a studio apartment in Brooklyn … andddd Lucas somehow agrees to help fake-date Rosie so she’ll have some book inspiration.

This read was told in compelling first points of view that had me so enthralled to keep reading both sides. It was so fun, cute, and frothy with plenty of banter from the very first chapter. While, of course, there are teeny nods to Lina and Aaron, this is really Rosie and Lucas’ independent story. And honestly? I think I dug this one a tad more than Armas’ debut novel; it delivered on everything I love in a romance! Plus that ending, oh, it made my heart just SOAR!

Rating: Four Stars

Available: Now


A Merry Little Meet Cute by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone

At a first glance, I already knew A Merry Little Meet Cute was my type of book because Julie Murphy is an auto-buy author for me, plus it’s got a holiday rom-com setting and it’s a former boy bander finds love story, so SIGN. ME. UP!

Here, Bee Hobbes is a well-known plus-size adult film star. While her two moms are accepting of her career, she’s hoping to branch out as an actress. When her favorite producer Teddy hires her to headline his squeaky-clean Hallmark-type Christmas movie, they decide to keep her profession and stage name under wraps. Bee arrives in Christmas Notch, Vermont, to film and is shocked to learn that her costar is the one-and-only Nolan Shaw, the former boy band star she used to crush on as a teenager. Nolan, for his part, needs to rehab his image after the band split and he got into a series of tabloid pickles, shall we say.  While he promised to deliver a good clean movie, he’s equally shocked that his favorite adult entertainment creator is his costar. We’ve got a secret romance trope, so much holiday romance goodness and so much more.

Told in dual perspectives, it is full of compelling language that is so intriguing that makes for such a fun Hallmark-esque holiday romantic comedy. The spice content is a lot higher than Murphy’s YA past as it is an adult romance read, so fair warning. It’s fun, indulgent and enjoyable. Plus, a sex-positive and body-positive rom-com? What more could you want in a modern romance?

Rating: Four Stars

Available: September 20, 2022


Drunk on Love by Jasmine Guillory

Jasmine Guillory has become an auto-buy romance author for me, and I was beyond excited to learn that she was writing another novel (whether set in her existing book universe or not), which Drunk on Love ended up fully matching my expectations. It’s told in such a relatable first-person point of view, back and forth between eventual love interests Margot and Luke, that fully drew me into its compelling prose.

In this novel, Margot Noble is the CEO of a family-owned vineyard and winery in Napa Valley, who’s in desperate need of some stress release. After making small talk in a local bar, she meets the sexy and charming Luke Williams, with who she quickly has undeniable chemistry. After an unforgettable night (and morning), they quickly discover that Margot’s brother has hired Luke to work in their winery’s tasting room for the season. Plus, considering Margot’s level of professionalism, she’s hesitant to pursue anything but that doesn’t stop her thoughts from wandering…

While, yes, Drunk on Love does exist in Guillory’s preexisting literary universe (!!!), it does feel like a standalone entity with a teensy cameo from a few beloved, post-HEA favorites. Margot and Luke’s story is very distinctly their own and exists on its own instead of being a sequel or so-and-so’s sibling, which I enjoyed. Though the callout to the Guillory MCs past was super fun and cute as an aside that doesn’t take away from Margot and Luke’s moment in the spotlight.

All in all, it’s just fun, cute and so enjoyable, which made it even easier to get sucked into this one. Plus, that epilogue, GAH! Seriously, Drunk on Love was so cute and sweet and I just wanted, like, 10 more pages of that HEA bliss!

Rating: Four Stars

Available: September 20, 2022


Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle

As a reader who fell in love with Sarah Hogle’s You Deserve Each Other novel the first second I began reading the initial pages of my ARC, she fast become an auto-read author for me, and Just Like Magic does not disappoint! It’s a holiday romantic comedy but fully imbibed with quirky magic throughout.

Here, Bettie is an heiress and influencer who’s lost all her money and status and is searching for a way to hide her financial struggles from her family over Christmas. After she ends up housesitting at a stranger’s Colorado cabin, she plays a Christmas song backward on vinyl and accidentally conjures Hall the Holiday Spirit. Hall arrives in the form of a charming, optimistic, merry, and quirky man whose goal is to teach her how to lift her holiday cheer. She invites him to join her family for Christmas, where he can pose as her [fake] fiancé.

Hogle, much like in her previous books, is not one to dawdle on backstory and jumps right into the action which I like. This magical romance is, like, seriously the ultimate grumpy-sunshine story and I loved it with my whole heart. It’s different from her previous novels but still so intriguing as a reader. It’s a quick read that I barely wanted to put down and will definitely make the perfect addition to your holiday reading list. All in all, it’s an interesting, oddball, bonkers story that weirdly works and ends up being so much fun for such a lovable holiday vibe.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: October 4, 2022


All I Want for Christmas by Maggie Knox

After devouring Maggie Knox’s The Holiday Swap, I was automatically intrigued by what their latest novel would be about. I was very pleasantly surprised to learn it’d be about two enemy musician/reality TV contestants forced to fake date and set around the holly jolly holidays.

Here, Sadie and Max are rival budding country musicians both competing on a hit reality TV competition, which culminates in a big holiday-themed finale. After the pair, who are both desperate to win and get their big Nashville break, team up during the show’s duet week, fans clock their instantaneous and inimitable chemistry on the stage. Hoping to capitalize on the “Saxie” buzz, the show execs enlist Sadie and Max to team up for the remainder of the competition *and* pretend to be in a romantic relationship too. The only problem? These two do not get along.

Told from dual points of view across multiple timelines during the holiday season, this book features cute and compelling language that just drew me in and read quite quickly. All in all, it’s light and fun and indulgent to create a truly sweet holiday romantic comedy.

Trigger Warning: Assault

Rating: Four Stars

Available: October 4, 2022


Built to Last by Erin Hahn

While this book had a lot of exposition and background to sift it into, it eventually became a completely adorable and sweet romance novel. Much like the author’s previous YA novels I’ve read, this book was full of compelling language that drew me in and I couldn’t stop myself from smiling so wide.
Built to Last is a second-chance romance between two former child stars who’ve moved on from their lives in the spotlight. Shelby, once a party girl, has turned over a new leaf as a home restorer back in Michigan following her tumultuous relationship/split/meltdown with fellow tween star Lyle. (My HGTV-obsessed heart is soaring!) Lyle returns into her life as the EP of a home renovation pilot that she’d star in. The catch? Her costar would be Cameron, the third member of the childhood crew and her self-proclaimed “the one who got away.”
It’s a positively, adorably, heartstoppingly, sickenly sweet romance, like, I mean. By the end, it was a completely fun read that further solidified Erin Hahn as an auto-buy author for me. It was literally so flipping adorable. And, can confirm, that Cameron is one great book BF, like seriously, I’m swooning. (Literally, he’s the quintessential good guy who’s so mad for Shelby that he’d do anything.) Also, OMG that ~little~ connection to her Must Be Mine YA novel, IYKYK.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: October 18, 2022


A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

The next Bromance Book Club book is finally here, and it’s Colton’s story and a holiday romantic comedy, like, did Lyssa Kay Adams read my diary? This book had such witty and funny banter and starred the same lovable dorks of the Bromance Book Club, IYKYK. (And yes, if you peeped my bookstagram account, this was the book I read pre-Harry Styles concert.)

Here, it’s country superstar Colton Wheeler’s time to step into the spotlight (pun intended) as he falls for notorious holiday Scrooge/grump Gretchen Winthrop, an heiress turned immigration lawyer. Despite a magical night together, one year later Gretchen’s moved on — until her family needs her to get Colton to be their spokesman for the brood’s famed whiskey brand. If she can broker the deal, a seat on their foundation board is all hers. The catch? Colton wants a date (or three) before Christmas before he’ll seriously consider the offer. With the BBC in his corner (all reading a holiday romance, naturally), Colton is determined to prove their one-time spark is still there and burning brighter than ever.

Adams writes with such compelling language that has me *dying* to keep reading. Told in dual perspectives, this has shaped up to be a super-cute holiday rom-com with a grump/sunshine twist. It’s so much fun with so much banter, and I dug it SO FREAKING MUCH. Like, I seriously did not want to stop reading or the book to end.

This book has second-chance, grumpy/sunshine, holiday, famous person and average person tropes, which is everything, so yes please!

Rating: Four Stars

Available: November 1, 2022


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

Summer Is Here With These 10 New 2022 Book Releases

Better late than never, but, hey summer’s not over yet! I’ve had this sitting in my drafts for a little bit (back when most of these ARCs had not been released), but summer procrastination is real, y’all. So, without further ado, welcome back to Miranda’s Book Nook as I share some new summer 2022 book titles that I can’t get enough of and that should be on your radar this year. Happy reading!

Fireworks by Alice Lin

This book is described as a K-Pop teen rom-com, which already has my heart. It gives me girl-next-door meets Shine by Jessica Jung vibes to create an all-around adorable, sweet and wholesome YA romance read.

Here, Lulu is 17 and getting ready to head off to college after one final summer at home. However, she doesn’t expect her neighbor slash childhood best friend Kai (Kite) to return home after several years away, where he’s been working in South Korea as a K-Pop superstar. Lulu’s equally starstruck about seeing her former friend, post-stardom, and rekindling their all-encompassing friendship. What she doesn’t expect is that there may be some unexpected types of feelings brewing underneath the surface.

It’s super, super cute and sweet, innocent too. The main character is so authentic, real and raw, and together Lulu and Kite make a super-cute and sugary-sweet pair.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: Now


Meant to Be Mine by Hannah Orenstein

I’ve savored Hannah Orenstein’s previous novels and even by the plot summary alone, I knew this one was primed to fit right in.

Here, Edie is a native New Yorker, millennial and fashion stylist who grew up believing in the concept of true love and soulmates. In fact, it’s an old wives’ tale that her beloved grandmother Gloria had predicted the date she would meet her future husband — and then the dates for every single family member. Edie has long known her date fell on June 24, 2022, at the age of 29. On that day, she was flying to attend her twin sister’s surprise engagement. So, when she sees that a handsome indie musician, Theo, is sitting beside her, she’s ecstatic thinking this is fate. However, fate comes at a price when deep down her gut thinks something is off.

While it’s a romantic love story on the surface, it ended up primarily being a women’s fiction story that highlights other types of love too, and for that, this read had my heart. It was about more than just finding romantic love but also about family and traditions. As someone who lost a beloved grandparent, parts involving Edie and her grandmother hit very close to home, so potential trigger warning there.

I was truly intrigued by the premise, captivated by the writing and just instantly — and I do mean instantly — hooked. It’s fun, cute and so darn enjoyable that I just needed to keep reading and could barely put it down. Loved this one!

Rating: Four Stars

Available: Now


The Heart of the Deal by Lindsay MacMillan

This was a cute, fun and emotional women’s fiction read that I could barely put down. Any twentysomething or millennial who’s navigating a work-life balance in New York City can relate to Rae’s story because it’s so timely and authentic.

Here, Raelynn “Rae” is a Wall Street banker, who’s feeling adrift in both her career and potential dating prospects by the age of 25. Realizing her biological clock is ticking faster, she vows to get married by the age of 30 so she has time to have multiple children. However, life is what happens when you’re not making plans? I think I read that somewhere. Anyway, so with her encouraging group of friends, she starts swiping on dating app after dating app not really meeting any real contenders until Dustin comes along. While she thinks he’s another poetic soul trapped in a finance suit, she can hear wedding bells chiming in the distance, though his story is a complicated one — and his future is uncertain.

It’s more a women’s fiction novel than a straight-up, true-blue romance just since it’s not all hunky-dory about love, but hey, life’s not always like that either. It’s the tale of a hopeless romantic who learns to stop chasing expectations and live in the moment. Even more so, I really liked its honest and vulnerable account about a woman chasing her dreams even if there are no set plans to get you there.

Content Warning: Mentions of depression, mental illness, and self-harm

Rating: Four Stars

Available: Now


The Sizzle Paradox by Lily Menon

After devouring the author’s previous YA and adult romances, I was instantly intrigued by her next novel’s premise, especially with a woman in STEM protagonist, fresh off of the success of The Love Hypothesis. Told in dual perspectives, there are so many good friends-to-lovers slash forced proximity tropes at play.

Here, Lyric is a Ph.D. candidate studying sexual chemistry in romantic partners though hasn’t had any worthy options in her own love life. To complete her thesis, she needs a personal connection to connect to her “sizzle paradox” and so, she enlists her BFF and roommate Kian’s help. Kian, for his part, is an engineering doctoral student with a lengthy dating record as he offers to tutor Lyric in all things love to better apply it to real suitors. However, as one can expect, their fake-dating scenario opens up their eyes to something that they didn’t see before after years of platonic friendship.

True to Menon’s style, it is full of well-written and compelling language, yet something was just off for me. Maybe that it was very, very, very sweet, like, saccharine almost. That being said, it is a cute and fun romance that’s you’ll particularly enjoy if you liked The Love Hypothesis or The Roommate.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: Now


How to Fake It in Hollywood by Ava Wilder

Told from dual first points of view, this romance novel weaves compelling accounts with a fake dating story at its finest.

Here, former teen starlet Grey Brooks is desperate to keep her career afloat after her long-running series ends. In order to secure a life-changing audition for a big-time role, she agrees with her publicist to enter into a fake relationship with another star: Oscar winner Ethan Adkins. Ethan, for his part, has been disgraced and reclusive after his public divorce and sobriety struggles. If he wants to get his next film financed, he needs a PR makeover, STAT. Enter: the perfect fake relationship agreement, signed contract and all. Though, it’s apparent that these two have some sizzling chemistry that becomes too hard to just fake their way through.

It’s a cute, fun romance with some spicy content, however, it is not one I’d read again and again. One and done is perfectly satisfactory for me. It’s fine. The epilogue feels cute, HEA-worthy that makes me smile, and more importantly, earned after all these two flawed characters went through to get it.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: Now


Love & Other Great Expectations by Becky Dean

I didn’t have any preconceived notions of this book before I started reading other than it looked like a sweet YA novel, it was set in the UK (my Kryptonite) and it potentially had a bookish theme per the “Great Expectations” part of the title.

Here, Britt is a California-based high school senior who is solely focused on her budding soccer career and future collegiate scholarship. However, an unexpected ankle changes everything and forces her suddenly change course. Luckily, she gets the chance to head to England for 10 days this summer and compete for a life-changing prize that could cover the tuition she needs for school. The catch? It’s a literary-inspired scavenger hunt and she’s not the best in English class. Ever-competitive and in need of the cash, Britt signs up and is on her way. Then, she bumps into bookish and British Luke who takes a liking to her, even offering to join her time along the way.

Well, I was immediately drawn into this story, so richly told with such an authentic, vulnerable and relatable MC in Britt. It is completely, totally, wholeheartedly cute, fun and bookish, which just stole my heart. It’s a travel book with a bookish quest, like yes please, I want one too! (Seriously, I want to be in her shoes so bad, I’m literally living vicariously through this book.) I’m so into this read from its unique and fun premise to its compelling language that makes it unputdownable. It’s just so so so cute, fun, enjoyable and sweet. I just feel so warm and happy right now.

Rating: Five Stars

Available: Now


Lucie Yi Is Not a Romantic by Lauren Ho

By the summary and the cover alone, I was curious about this women’s fiction novel. I was intrigued by this pragmatic yet authentic main character, so much so that I didn’t want to put the book down and just wanted to find out what would happen next!

Here, Lucie is a business consultant based in New York City, who is tired for waiting for the perfect partner, but she wants a baby. So, she looks into a coparenting website to find a stranger partner. (Think Tinder but for finding a platonic coparent.) Collin ticks all of her boxes and then some, but she’s unsure if her conservative family back in Singapore will approve. Once the pair learn they are expecting, they decided to move back to Singapore to be closer to family. And as expected, the family’s not on board. And then, there’s Mark: Lucie’s ex-fiancé who reappears in her life as unresolved feelings bubble up.

This read has a compelling hook, full of rich language that pulled me in and intrigued me. I dug it, I think that’s fair to say. It does read quite quickly that I hardly noticed the novel’s sheer length. It was definitely difficult to put down, I was completely sucked in. It’s compelling yet authentic and fun — with a dash of romance.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: Now


How Maya Got Fierce by Sona Charaipotra

After devouring Sona Charaipotra’s novels with Dhonielle Clayton (Tiny Pretty Things, Shiny Broken Pieces, and The Rumor Game), I was instantly excited about her next YA novel — especially considering it was described as Younger meets The Bold Type. As a fan of both those shows and a magazine alum myself, that storyline already won me over.

Here, Maya is a 17-year-old farm girl, set to attend “Cow Camp” outside NYC for the summer. The camp, an agricultural training program for aspiring farm managers, is not what Maya would prefer to be doing. She would much prefer traipsing around the city and working as a magazine staffer for her beloved Fierce magazine. While staying with her older cousin Roop, Maya discovers her cousin’s girlfriend actually works at the mag! It seems like fate when Maya is offered a chance to visit the fashion closet and apply for a coveted internship — which she miraculously got. The twist? It turns out she wasn’t hired as an intern but a full-fledged assistant editor because no one knows she’s still in high school. Considering this is her dream, Maya starts to live a double life to balance an adult job and her teenage reality.

The book, much like a diverse adaptation of the short-lived Jane By Design, was so enjoyable and fun. It had so much compelling language that drew me in, desperate to learn how this average teenager could make it as a legit magazine editor. Alongside a precious summer camp-esque romance, it’s an authentic coming-of-age tale of empowering young women. So captivating.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: July 12, 2022


Accomplished by Amanda Quain

First things first, I love a good Pride & Prejudice retelling or contemporary adaptation, and this one hit that sweet spot. Imagine Pride & Prejudice but in a contemporary, YA setting and told from Georgiana Darcy’s perspective, and she was a marching band-playing, fanfiction-writing misfit and I’m into all of it!

Here, Georgiana “Georgie” returns to her boarding school junior year after an incident with Wickham nearly threatened expulsion and all she wants to prove is that she can live up to the Darcy name and her big brother Fitzwilliam’s legacy. To get Fitz off her back while she tried to do just that, she comes up with the ingenious idea to distract him with love and decides to secretly play matchmaker between Fitz and Lizzie Bennet. This book has such funny, witty language that just pulled me in from the start. Very, very cute.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: July 26, 2022


Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan

The moment I picked up Julia Whelan’s My Oxford Year, there was just something that just spoke to me (maybe it was my Anglophile side or just the book’s captivating nature, not quite sure). So, when I learned that Whelan had penned another novel *and* it had a bookish setting, I was instantly excited.
Here, Sewanee “Swan” Chester is an audiobook narrator who’s strayed a long way from her acting aspirations. However, her successful narration means it’s more possible for her to care for her ailing grandmother. When the book starts, Sewanee arrives for a last-minute appearance at a book convention where she spends the night with a mysterious stranger who’s gone by the next morning. After returning to her L.A. home days later, she gets the offer of a lifetime to return to romance narration and perform the final work of a late romance novelist — alongside Brock McNight, the hottest and most elusive male narrator. While Sewanee is nearly ready to let go of romance and audiobooks for good, forging a connection with Brock — whoever he really is — brings an unexpected connection she cannot shake.
As I started reading, I found it so easy to get drawn into this pen pal-like romance that was very fun, very cute and very adorable. While the chapters were pretty long and drawn out, it still read quite quickly.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: August 2, 2022


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

Spring Has Sprung With These 10 Spring 2022 Book Releases

Only four- and five-star reviews here! While I’ve been gone from here and my book Insta for a few weeks and months, I’ve been trying to power through my TBR goals to get back on track this year. And if I may speak honestly (which I’ll do anyway lol), these ten springtime releases totally saved my reading slump. So, without further ago, I’d like to welcome you all, my faithful readers back to Miranda’s Book Nook for some early 2022 book recommendations that I can’t get enough of. Happy reading!

Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

I was beyond excited to read Hook, Line, and Sinker after devouring its predecessor, It Happened One Summer. Here, it’s Piper’s younger sister Hannah’s turn in the spotlight. We’ve got a tale of a reformed playboy who’s secretly harboring romantic thoughts about his platonic best friend while giving her tips to land a different guy ala Cyrano. Taking place six months after IHOS concludes, local fisherman Fox and Hannah text daily since she left Westport three months ago. Every day, every night, all the time. When she’s in town for work, she crashes in his guest room but the more time she spends with Fox, the more apparent her actual feelings lie and the thin line between friendship and flirtation gets very blurry. Though they are both hopelessly against it because of his reputation around town and she doesn’t want to be just another notch in the bedpost. So, we’ve got forced proximity and friends-to-lovers tropes at play for a delicious romance read that I legitimately couldn’t put down. Plus, we get even more insight into the beloved characters that we first met in IHOS.

In the prologue, we see how their friendship has developed since IHOS through their daily texts, which is a nice introduction to their mindsets and inner thoughts because they are 1000 percent the same lovable characters we met in the first book. And yes, there is an adorable post-HEA check-in with Piper, Brendan, Opal, Sanders, and the rest of the Westport townies. Told in dual point-of-views, Tessa Bailey brings her signature style to this novel with her penchant for compelling language and relatable characters that enthrall me to keep reading.

As a rom-com pair, Fox and Hannah have tension and banter, which I love and is so adorable, but they also have so much heart, vulnerability, and emotional depths. I seriously couldn’t put this book down, which ended up being cuter and less spicy than IHOS. Don’t get me wrong, I still really really enjoyed it, it’s just comparatively, yes, there were fewer spicy moments. Still spice, just not as much as the first book in case your were wondering. Then, that epilogue, I don’t want to spoil, but eep, I love future HEA scenes. So much. Gotta move on for now, my cheeks hurt from smiling.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: Now


The Rumor Game by Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra

Fans of Tiny Pretty Things and its Shiny Broken Pieces sequel are sure to enjoy Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra’s next YA thriller, this time set in an elite DC prep school amid a plethora of scandals and rumors that have the power to destroy lives. Told in multiple perspectives (much like TPT and SBP), readers see the inner POVs of Georgie, Bryn and Cora through text, iPhone messages, emails and a Post-It note timeline of the events. This storytelling format helps make the plot feel modern and realistic as you see firsthand how these rumors started to spread in the first place.

Set at the uber-posh Foxham Prep high school for DC’s elite, we follow Bryn, Cora, and Georgie as they contend with potentially life-ruining rumors and gossip in their quest for popularity and future goals. Bryn, for her part, is the girl that used to have it all: devoted boyfriend, high school class presidency, close circle of friends and ultimate popularity until one mistake turned into a massive DC scandal that left her a pariah. As a result, she starts hanging out with neighbor Georgie more. Jashan “Georgie” is the new cool girl in school after a summer makeover turned her into a svelte, confident student instead of her formerly nerdy self. Her newfound popularity pits her against Bryn’s former bestie Cora, who’s the new Queen Bee after Bryn was dethroned from her post.

I was hooked on this book from the start, like, it’s so good and compelling, just chock full of twists I didn’t see coming at all. I legitimately couldn’t put this read down by the final chapters, there was just so much action that I needed to know what was going to happen next!

In this cautionary tale about bullying, there are definitely some content warnings surrounding topics of fatphobia, sexual assault, drug misuse, bullying, and cyberbullying.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: Now


Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma

After reading an ARC (thank you, NetGalley!) of Nisha Sharma’s adorable YA Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance, I was intrigued by this adult romance premise from the moment I (being honest here) saw a teaser on TikTok (haha long live #BookTok!).

Here, Kareena’s been dreaming of a true love story like her parents or her beloved romance novels though she is often found fixturing up her classic car instead of swiping on dating apps. After her dad reveals his intentions to sell their family home amid his retirement, she makes him a deal that she’ll buy the house from him if she gets in engaged … within four months. Soon after, she gets into a viral TV argument with Prem on his medical chat show when they seemingly dislike one another over their differing views on love and arranged marriages. Prem, for his part, is dedicated to building a local community medical center but needs funds to get it up and running, though his investor isn’t convinced. After Kareena’s meddling aunties convince them they are made for each other, they agree to fake a relationship until they both get exactly what they want — love out of the question.

Told in dual perspectives, this book has so much banter and I literally love it! In all its tropey, indulgent goodness, there’s also plenty of wit, humor, authenticity, and yes, even spicy content. Full of a fake dating trope and an enemies to lovers one, it was honestly equal parts adorable and authentic that I really did not want to put it down, especially as I neared the ending! Gosh, it was so sweet, indulgent and fun!

Rating: Four Stars

Available: Now


Being Mary Bennet by J.C. Peterson

Let’s be real: Any Austenian fangirl (which, hey, guilty!) dreams of being a protagonist of her own life ala Pride and Prejudice‘s Lizzie Bennet. Yet, Mary is the more authentic representation of us. Main character Marnie Barnes understands that all to well but decides that her new semester at her boarding school is the perfect time to design an all-new her, complete with a shiny new self-confidence.  As Marnie aims to reinvent herself with the help of her new friends, a cute new love interest and one adorable rescue puppy, she’s on a brand-new path to become a whole new person. This book had me by its “perfect for fans of Jenny Han, Becky Albertalli, and Jane Austen” description. Plus, I’m a sucker for a good P&P-inspired read.

This YA/New Adult read is fun and cute, like, totally smile-worthy. This Jane Austen-inspired novel features a compelling first-person point-of-view that pulls me in from the start. In this coming-of-age tale, nothing was really how I imagined it nor how I pictured it per the book summary yet that’s precisely why I liked it so much. It’s different yet still so compelling and less about love, instead focusing on self-growth and confidence to embrace your inner “Mary Bennet.”

Rating: Four Stars

Available: Now


Cover Story by Susan Rigetti

Okay, holy crap, this book! I literally was totally wrong in terms of what I expected, which made this book so good! Told through FBI transcripts, diary entries, emails and more, via four parts, it was so compelling, captivating and so freaking mysterious that I was desperate to learn more!

Here, Lora has landed a dream internship at ELLE Magazine, where she meets the elusive yet enthralling contributing editor Cat Wolff, who’s a total enigma. After Cat takes newbie Lora under her wing, our protagonist soon is offered a dream job to join Cat’s inner circle as her ghostwriter. Of course, there’s more to the story than you even know…

This book, much like a fictional portrayal of the Anna Delvey scandal, read super quick, and gah, I literally cannot stop thinking about it now that I finished it. Plus, that twist? Seriously, oh man, I think my jaw is still on the floor! Totally unexpected and mesmerizing. Seriously, this book is a special one. End of story. Period.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: April 5, 2022


Fool Me Once by Ashley Winstead

Described as a fierce and funny battle of the exes, this book follows independent Lee Stone “Stoner”, who runs the communications for a woman-owned electric car company by day and can drink guys under the table at night. However, she won’t let any potential relationships get further than one night in her bed.  After previous heartbreaks, she knows you can’t count on love, especially after she cheated on ex-boyfriend Ben. So, naturally, she’s totally shocked when he reappears in her workplace world five years later (still hyper-competitive) and they need to team up in order to pass a clean energy bill, that she’s uber-passionate about, on behalf of the Texas governor.

I was drawn into this novel’s storytelling from the first pages. Lee and Ben are the epitome of the enemies to lovers slash second chance trope, and as a result, they have such banter back-and-forth, which is so engaging and fun to follow. It reads quickly, and it’s so fun, cute, authentic and vulnerable that I really didn’t want to pause this read for even one minute. All in all, it’s equally fun, witty, romantic and relatable — balancing the sweet romance with an authentic finding yourself tale all wrapped up in one.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: April 5, 2022


I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

Casey McQuiston. Young Adult Debut. Is Here. Eeep! McQuiston is fast becoming an auto-buy author for me after I devoured Red, White & Royal Blue, One Last Stop, and now, I Kissed Shara Wheeler.

Here, Chloe Green moves from southern California to small-town Alabama for high school with her eye on the prize of valedictorian upon graduation. However, her biggest academic rival is Shara Wheeler, the principal’s daughter and all-around teachers’ pet. One month before graduation and finding out which student will top the class ranking, Shara vanishes on prom night — just hours after kissing Chloe for the first time. On the hunt for answers about her kiss-and-dash, Chloe follows a trail of pink letters that her rival left for boyfriend Smith, neighbor Rory and herself. Which, hello, Paper Towns by John Green vibes, so I’m into it! For most of the book, the unlikely trio follow Shara’s series of pink-colored envelopes full of intricate clues to decode to find her location in time for their high school graduation.

True to style, McQuiston weaves her signature compelling, witty language to tell an engaging story full of diverse and authentic characters. By early chapters, I’m already so intrigued to learn more and find out what actually happened! This book is that unputdownable, truly, and adds a unique twist on the rom-com genre thanks to the added ‘Where is Shara’ mystery we have going on here. Main character Chloe Green, just like the side characters, is so authentic, honest and relatable as they all come of age in a small Southern town. All in all, this book is so, so, so good and intriguing, like I just loved it. Then, it does feature a cute rom-com and HEA, not just for our heroine but also the whole senior class too, which is equally sweet and cute.

Rating: Five Stars

Available: May 3, 2022


By the Book by Jasmine Guillory

When I tell you I legitimately screamed when I got approved for this ARC *and* found out this novel was a thing. True story. One of my top reads of 2021 was the first book in the Meant to Be series (If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy) and considering Jasmine Guillory is also a master of romance novels and wrote a literal Beauty and the Beast-inspired novel, like, SOLD. Instantly.

Here, Isabelle “Izzy” is a publishing house editorial assistant, yearning for her next step. Looking for her next career move, she volunteers to travel to a reclusive former child star to find out why is memoir manuscript is late. Upon arriving at his Santa Barbara, California mansion, she meets Beau Towers. He’s equally lost and withdrawn, unable to pen even a chapter of his book. Izzy is determined to hand-hold him to actually write his story and, along the way, they discover all they have in common.

I adore Beauty and the Beast and bookish romances, so naturally, I found this book completely charming and was fully drawn into the story immediately. There are tons of little Beauty and the Beast Easter eggs and nods to the original which were super fun and I loved that touch. The book is well-written, chock full of compelling language. I was so intrigued by the story and very much wanted to keep reading. While the main character Izzy is very a sugar-sweet, cookie-cutter good girl, I found myself more drawn to her love interest Beau, who was just so authentic, vulnerable and so interesting to see him shed his hard layers. Overall, it is a slow-burn romance that once it gets going, is very cute that had me swooning. The ending? Gah, it was just so precious and bookish and I loved it with my whole heart.

Content Warning: Stockholm Syndrome (which I guess can be said about Beauty and the Beast in general.)

Rating: Four Stars

Available: May 3, 2022


See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book but I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome and how much I really liked it. The story, much like a college/New Adult version of Groundhog Day, follows Barrett and Miles who have somehow gotten stuck in a time loop and are forced to relive their disastrous first day of college.

Here, Barrett is forced to relive her embarrassing, fateful first day of college over and over, including an encounter with her physics classmate, Miles. In an unforeseen twist, she learns that Miles has also been stuck in the same loop for nearly one month longer. The pair decide to team up to figure out a way out of the time loop, with everything from science to magic, as they go on various wild adventures around their college campus.

It’s full of compelling language that intrigued me and sucked me in. I was just so curious to learn more about what happened and how they could possibly fix it. The protagonists are equally authentic and vulnerable as leading players.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: May 17, 2022


American Royals III: Rivals by Katharine McGee

The Queen is here — literally. I nearly *screamed* when I learned one of my all-time favorite contemporary YA/NA series would have a third sequel. After devouring both of author Katharine McGee’s prior novels (and wishing I could be a combination of all of her leading ladies, let’s be honest), I was completely stoked and thrilled to revisit the Washingtons once more. And let me tell you: It completely lives up the hype of the Washington sibling’s regal world that I first fell in love with from the first books in the series. I am so grateful for this ARC, because, let’s be honest, I just couldn’t way another minute to find out what was next for Queen Beatrice, Princess Samantha, Daphne and Nina. While Majesty let me down slightly after watching my beloved Connor+Bea ship crash and burn, I am pleased to return that my fandom has returned in full force with this one.

Here, it’s a meeting of the monarchs as Beatrice (fresh off her canceled nuptials to Teddy from the last book) is set to preside over the prestigious Legions of Kings meetings for global regents. There, she’s representing America at the convention and desperately trying to get her first initiative past, all while balancing her fragile relationship with Teddy (whom she did postpone their wedding!) and meeting a glamorous international French princess who invites her into her elite inner circle. Meanwhile, Princess Samantha and beau Lord Marshall are still going strong (eeep!) but navigate difficult future plans considering the title differences. Then, there’s Daphne and Nina who are forced to (gasp!) team up to take down a new rival in town, equally vying for Prince Jefferson’s affections.

True to McGee’s style, this book brings her signature witty and engaging language that had me both yearning to find out what happened next but also wanting to savor every last morsel of text and storytelling. Told in 4 points of view, I’m quickly drawn into each leading lady’s head and become so desperate to learn what would happen next. And seriously, I just didn’t want this book to end!

It makes the perfect addition to the American Royals series, and selfishly, I hope it’s not the end of this series because I have so many questions left after that ending. Basically, I just need more content, like, right now. Or I’ll just re-read it, one, two or ten more times in the meantime.

Rating: Five Stars

Available: May 31, 2022


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

7 Early 2022 Books I’ve Been Loving

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

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

When You Get The Chance by Emma Lord

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

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

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

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

Rating: Four Stars

Available: January 4, 2022


One True Loves by Elise Bryant

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

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

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

Rating: Four Stars

Available: January 4, 2022


How to Win the Bachelor by Chad Kultgen, Lizzy Pace

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

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

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

Rating: Four Stars

Available: January 18, 2022


Good Girl Complex by Elle Kennedy

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

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

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

Rating: Four Stars

Available: February 1, 2022


Lockdown on London Lane by Beth Reekles

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

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

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

Rating: Four Stars

Available: February 2, 2022


Lease on Love by Falon Ballard

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

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

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

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

Rating: Four Stars

Available: February 2, 2022


One Night on the Island by Josie Silver

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

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

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

Rating: Four Stars

Available: February 15, 2022


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

7 Summer Book Releases I’m Loving Right Now

Once again, it’s time to get bookish. By the end of June (and early July too), I was starting a new job and completely focused on getting settled, so my reading goal took a big hit. That being said, I did still manage to read 11 books (and counting) for these two summer months. So, I thought it was high-time for another Miranda’s Book Nook book update! Check out some of the summer 2021 book releases that I just can’t get enough of and should totally be on your radar when looking for the best beach reads this year. Happy reading!

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

I was beyond pumped to receive an ARC of Blackout by some masters of the YA game: Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon. By the first few chapters, I already loved every page and each character’s story! It’s so full of heart, authenticity, representation, and adorable teen love stories.

Here, these authors came together to write an interlinked novel about Black teen love through heartwarming and charming coming-of-age stories. Each author writes a short story, focusing on one of six different love stories that all take place in New York City during a heatwave and blackout, on the same day. Each tale reads like a short story that’s compelling and adorable on its own (plus is well-written, obviously) with interconnected settings and characters to tie it all together. These are seriously adorable and cute teen love stories, plus I love to see all the representation done so accurately and relatably. Each chapter introduces a side character or background that effortlessly leads into the next story and chapter. You can clearly tell this book was meticulously organized and planned to be this interconnected which works to tie it all together so seamlessly. It’s a quick read that was hard to put down and is so engaging, well-written, and adorable. It’s a YA novel and a romance read, unlike anything I’ve read before, which is what made it so great.

Rating: Five Stars

Available: Now


The Girl Least Likely by Katy Loutzenhiser

This YA novel is billed as To All the Boys meets The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel meets Dumplin, which made it an automatic read for me. Yet, I only got the teen Maisel vibes located in the contemporary setting similar to TATB or Dumplin.

Here, aspiring comic Gretchen is learning to be herself as she balances school, family, first crushes, and trying her hand at stand-up comedy. While she’s always been the “least likely” girl (which I didn’t fully get here, tbh), she finds herself living out every major rom-com trope (BFF crush, makeover, bad boy love interest) which is the perfect cover for her double life trying out comedy. It seemed that this rom-com thing didn’t quite mesh with the double life/comedy thing to me.

Casting expectations aside, this was a very cute teen coming-of-age story with funny, engaging language. However, it took nearly halfway through this book to get there. I enjoyed the different chapters following a variety of classic rom-com tropes, which it was fun to see how each related to the characters and the bigger story. Plus, it’s full of well-written and authentic characters.

So, yea, it took a while to pull me in. It was slow to start, and I had struggled with getting into it and wanting to keep reading. You see, it didn’t have any real exposition and just dived right in, which (to me) felt like I was missing something as I didn’t get much (or any) true introduction to meet these characters before the story starts. I was struggling to muster enough energy to pick it up daily and was seriously debating DNFing before I even reached the halfway point of my galley copy. I’m glad I did stick with it because the story does pick up soon after that and it gets funnier and more engaging. So, if you can stick with this read, you’ll end up smiling over its absolutely precious rom-com-worthy ending.

Rating: Three Stars

Available: Now


Pretty Little London by Sara Santini, Andrea Di Filippo

As the massive Anglophile that I am, I needed this book no matter how short or picture-heavy it would end up being. Based on, and curated by the creators of the Instagram page of the same time, this nonfiction read provides a seasonal guide to the UK city’s most Instagrammable sites, the blog/IG page history, and plenty of advice to take the best Insta snaps.

There’s helpful text and gorgeous pics that make this read so fun and gives me so much wanderlust! (Gosh, I miss London!!) It reads like a friend giving off travel advice for little-known places you have to visit in order to up your IG game. With such gorge snapshots inside and on the cover, this book would make a perfect coffee table book for your living room. Facts.

This book advises you on the best places to visit by seasons, and the best ones to see, what to know or order, and why it’s so ‘grammable. It’s so much fun and gives me serious wanderlust while reading about the best hidden gems to check out. Plus, the IG-worthy snaps are breathtaking and only add to my wanderlust. You’ll read about various categories of places, from hotels, restaurants, day trips, cafes, and more. It also gives helpful maps and nearby tube stations.

I only wish I had this guidebook before I last went to London, oh well, there’s always next time…

Rating: Four Stars

Available: July 13


So We Meet Again by Suzanne Park

After I devoured the author’s latest YA novel (Sunny Song), I was pumped to learn about her newest contemporary romance story. And let me tell you, it’s fun and lighthearted, making it perfect for your summer beach bags!

Here, we begin with investment banker Jessie as she’s laid off from her boys-club Wall Street firm in a virtual meeting. After packing up and moving home to Nashville with her parents, she has no idea what to do with her life. She decides to reboot her old Korean cooking YouTube channel with fresh hacks and meal prep tips, and it’s actually quite well-received. All the while, she runs into her childhood nemesis and all-around golden boy Daniel who helps her launch her new business venture and even perhaps opens her heart along the way.

In this romance novel, there’s plenty of banter and wit between leads Jessie and Daniel, and a boatload of chemistry to boot. It’s very fun, engaging, and quick to read. The romance is very very very very slow-burn, so much so that Daniel is barely in half the book which makes this more of a coming-of-age women’s fiction novel rather than a straight-up romance book. Nonetheless, it’s very cute and I’d like a post-epilogue HEA update, like, now please, thank you.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: August 3


The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee

Set in the same world as the author’s first novel (A Sweet Mess), now it’s Aubrey’s best friend’s and Landon’s little brother’s turn to find love. Tara Park has one rule when it comes to dating: nothing serious. Between her past heartbreak and a laser-focus on the family’s brewery, there’s no way she could even entertain the idea of dating.

When Landon’s brother Seth waltzes into town, he’s a massive temptation to her and she may be willing to bend her rules for a few dates with the well-known fashion photographer. Seth is only in town for a month because he’s moving to Paris soon after. While he’s in town, he challenges Tara to a four-date no-strings-attached dating “dare” that could be a nice distraction for them both. But the more he sees of her, the less willing he is to let her go when the dare’s over.

As I read the dual-perspective book, I found it had banter and spades that had me hooked. It’s an easy, quick romance read that you can polish off in a day. The romance is cute, the characters are dynamic, and all that leads to a cute and fun romance read.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: August 3


The Man Ban by Nicola Marsh

I was very excited to start this read, looking forwards to a fun enemies to lovers novel, and this read delivered on that front. Here, Harper has been on a self-appointed “man ban” for a year after a really bad breakup, and instead, focuses on her growing career as a food stylist.
 
Her latest gig is styling dishes at her best friend’s traditional Indian wedding, where she meets the best man Manny who belittles her work the entire night. In retaliation, she decides she’ll lead him on during the event so she can later humiliate him. Well, things don’t always go as planned. Manny (as seen in the author’s The Boy Toy) is a handsome Anglo-Indian doctor who immediately feels an inimitable pull towards Harper.
 
One week later, he shows up at the same New Zealand resort where she’s working on her next job. After a work catastrophe, he offers to help her and she notes his chivalry has gotten under her skin. She’s ready to lift her “man ban” for a vacation fling. He agrees, after all, he’s not looking to get married despite his grandmother’s dying wish for him to do so. Yet, he can’t help but fall under Harper’s spell. Told in dual perspectives, this enemies to lovers novel is full of compelling language that draws me in, plus so much freaking banter that makes me fall for this read even quicker.

Rating: Three Stars

Available: July 27


Palm Beach by Mary Adkins

This book isn’t my usual happy-go-lucky YA or romance read, but nonetheless, its vibe intrigued me to try it out. Here, married couple Rebecca and Mickey move from their teeny Queens apartment and freelance gigs to Palm Beach, Florida (hence the title) with their young son when Mickey gets a job as the estate manager for a multimillionaire. As he works to manage the household of this influential businessman, Mickey soon gets a job offer to work in the same role for a more powerful businessman, making even more money. At the same time, freelance journalist Rebecca gets the chance to ghostwrite Mickey’s boss’ wife’s memoirs (that’s right, plural). As a wealth inequality writer, this is Rebecca’s chance to peek inside this incredibly wealthy world. As time goes on, Mickey and Rebecca become more reliant and dependant on money and their bosses’ help until a big secret could topple everything.

This literary fiction novel captures the divide between the haves and the have nots in the wealthy enclave of Palm Beach. From the start, it has such engaging language and strong storytelling that pulls me in and compels me to keep reading. Then, the big twist reveal gets soooo juicy and I just *have* to keep reading. However, there’s a ton of exposition and background that feels a touch too long in certsin parts. But overall, it’s compelling and intriguing.

Rating: Four Stars

Available:


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

11 Books to Read If You Can’t Stop Listening to Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘SOUR’

Even though I’m a millennial and not a cool Gen Z’er, I’ve still been listening to Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album, “SOUR” ever since it dropped earlier this spring. What can I say? Music that slaps, slaps; no reasoning necessary. Just like my posts on here that gave you personalized book recommendations based on Taylor Swift’s “folklore” and “evermore” albums, I’ve decided to do that for Rodrigo’s newly released album, too. Just like those two previous posts, I combed through each song off the album for core messages, lyrics, themes, and stories to see if any reminded me of some of my favorite books. So, keep reading for an assortment of book recommendations based on each “SOUR” track.

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

If You Like: “brutal”

Try: Tiny Pretty Things by Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra

This song has such an angsty feel, plus lines about insecurities, exploitation, and even “I’m so sick of 17. Where’s my f*cking teenage dream?” From the moment I first listened to it, I felt my eyes drift over to my Tiny Pretty Things copy. This book follows a gaggle of girls at their prestigious ballet school in New York, who would do anything to be the star, no matter how dark. These girls are willing to play dirty to tear their competition down, which reminds me of the grit and angst in the song. Plus, much of the song is Olivia being insecure which I can see bits of Bette, June, and Gigi coming out.

Here, I’ll show you:

I feel like no one wants me (Gigi being the new girl at school)
And I hate the way I’m perceived (June, totally June)
I only have two real friends (Gigi, but also June)
And lately, I’m a nervous wreck (June!)
‘Cause I love people I don’t like (Bette)
And I hate every song I write (All three with all their insecurities)
And I’m not cool and I’m not smart (Again, all three with all their insecurities)

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “traitor”

Try: Heartbreak for Hire by Sonia Hartl

The twist, oh, the twist! When I listened to this track, I thought of that giant twist about halfway through. In this enemies-to-lovers story full of witty banter,  twentysomething Brinkley works at “Heartbreak for Hire,” a Chicago-based company that helps women take back their power and get revenge on the men that jilted them. This undercover gig helps her earn enough money to eventually open her own gallery, while still getting her frustrations out on her ex and helping to empower other women. When her boss reveals her plans to hire male employees, she questions whether or not she’s in the right field. She learns her former target Mark, with who she had a brief flirtation, is hired to work on her team. As she trains him, they get closer and she falls for the nerdy professor. Yet, the big twist comes when she realizes he’s ********** [potential spoiler has been redacted]. And because of that, he’s sort of a traitor to her and the company alike. Sure, he didn’t cheat, but this book was full of their “twisted games” and betrayal that hurt her.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “drivers license”

Try: One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

From the first stanza, I kept going back to Bea and her ex slash old crush, Ray. From the lines, “I got my driver’s license last week just like we always talked about ’cause you were so excited for me to finally drive up to your house,” I felt a similar tone to where Bea was at trying to move forward after all the things Ray always said to her about them. But then, “today I drove through the suburbs, crying ’cause you weren’t around” because he was with that blonde girl his fiancee. The whole book is built around the premise of Bea coping with her broken heart that Ray smashed into a million tiny pieces, which is pure Olivia to me. Plus, the line about insecurity and “how could I ever love someone else” is totally where Bea’s head is at. 100 percent.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “1 step forward, 3 steps back”

Try: Hot Mess by Emily Belden

While Allie was dealing with an addict ex-boyfriend that leads her in different directions, that push-and-pull gave me a similar vibe to this track. With the lines, “And maybe in some masochistic way, I couldn’t find it all exciting like which lover will I get today? Will you walk me to the door or send me home crying” that really reminded me of the beginning of this book, where some days Benji is this talented genius who’s head-over-heels in love with her or the tortured addict who walked out on her. Benji definitely “got [her] f*cked up in the head” this entire book. The back-and-forth of this read does show how she ends up doubting if she can run a restaurant after he bails and their “one step forward and three steps back” relationship that has her so confused. Allie meet Olivia and Olivia meet Allie, you girls have a lot in common.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “deja vu”

Try: Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally

The whole premise of this book gives off serious déjà vu, truly. The whole concept is that it follows the same couple on the same day (and end-of-school-year trip) each year for the four years they are in high school. Whether Lulu and Alex are together or apart, the book mimics the same day.  Then, there’s the line, “So when you gonna tell her that we did that, too? She thinks it’s special, but it’s all reused. That was our place, I found it first,” which to me goes back to Lulu spotting her ex Alex at Six Flags with his new girl giving her a Jolly Rancher candy, just like he used to gave to Lulu between classes. So much tracks. So much.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “good 4 u”

Try: Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon

Just focused on the very beginning of the book, it does somewhat resemble this angsty AF song. The whole premise is that the one who broke your heart has completely moved on when you are still a mess. That reminds me of the post-Vegas hookup between Annika and Hudson when they disappear from each other’s life. Then, he reappears in her office building and is a total work success while she’s struggling. The lines “Well, good for you, you look happy and healthy … Good for you, you’re doin’ great out there without me” seems to fit that for me. Especially as Olivia continues on, “Well, good for you, I guess you’re gettin’ everything you want. You bought a new car and your career’s really takin’ off. It’s like we never even happened.” Then, from the flip side, once we learn about the purpose of Hudson’s app: This song applies to that too.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “enough for you”

Try: Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella

This song reminded me of Matt and Ava once they returned from their whirlwind vacation/writer’s retreat. After they returned home to London, they discovered they were quite different and she “tried so hard to be everything that you liked” even if it wasn’t true to herself. She stayed in his modern apartment with his slobby roommates, slept on his uncomfortable bed, rarely went to her own house, let his parents drone on and on about his ex who’s so much better than her. The line about “I wore makeup when we dated ’cause I thought you’d like me more if I looked like the other prom queens I know that you loved before” and “maybe I’m just not as interesting as the girls you had before” really stood out to me about that part involving her insecurity about his ex-girlfriend. She tried to change herself so much just to be enough for this man she loved, which was just like what Olivia sang about.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “happier”

Try: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

While this wasn’t an exact match, something about this book stuck out to me while I listened to “happier” and read through the lyrics. The whole concept of the book is that Naomi and Nick are unhappily engaged and searching for a way out, without getting stuck with the massive wedding bill. As they try to get the other to back out first and start in on their childish pranks back-and-forth, I felt the chorus sort of captured Naomi’s mindset as she realized one day he will marry the societally accepted woman that his mom would love and she’d be alone or with some fling. So, the lyrics of “Oh, I hope you’re happy, but not like how you were with me. I’m selfish, I know, I can’t let you go” kind of reminded me of that, where she knows they aren’t right for one another at this point yet can’t seem to walk away first. Plus, their whole cat-and-mouse games reminded me of the part of the song that goes, “So find someone great but don’t find no one better. I hope you’re happy, but don’t be happier.” Just as heartbreaking!

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “jealousy, jealousy”

Try: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

This was another song I just couldn’t quite find the right book recommendation that matched. Before I landed on Dumplin, I was stuck on the lyrics about confidence versus insecurity especially in terms of looks and relating to the whole body positivity movement. I saw the lines “I kinda wanna throw my phone across the room ’cause all I see are girls too good to be true with paper-white teeth and perfect bodies. Wish I didn’t care,” “But it feels like that weight is on my back and I can’t let it go,” and “Comparison is killin’ me slowly. I think, I think too much” and thought about Will’s struggles with her body images, not believing a boy like Bo could want her as she was or that she could enter or win the beauty pageant.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “favorite crime”

Try: Lore by Alexandra Bracken

While I definitely clocked the song relating to a romantic couple, I thought Lore related to the same story just not in a romantic way. I compared this track’s message to the twist after Lore decided to bind her fate to her so-called mentor in an attempt to save the world. If you listen to the lines “Know that I loved you so bad, I let you treat me like that. I was your willing accomplice, honey” or “And I watched as you fled the scene, doe-eyed as you buried me,” I saw a similarity to how she blindly decided to follow her mentor of sorts, Athena. Then, there’s the part about “you used me as an alibi” and how “I crossed my heart as you crossed the line,” which definitely could be the soundtrack to that big twist/reveal scene.

Read the Book | Listen To the Song


If You Like: “hope ur ok”

Try: This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens

As I listened to these lyrics, I heard Olivia sing about how she once knew this boy and sort of watched him from afar, wishing he’d just be okay even if they never saw one another again. That sort of reminded me of this book I read as an ARC last year when Quinn and Minnie kept randomly meeting once a year. From the lines “I knew a boy once when I was small. A tow-head blond with eyes of salt,” that reminded me of this read. Plus, even though they “fell out of touch” and didn’t “know if I’ll see you again someday,” they still wanted everything to work out with them each time met and tried to make their day/night better each time they re-met.

 

Read the Book | Listen To the Song

Hey, Look! 7 More New Books That I Devoured This Spring

The end of the month has been hectic for me, to say the least. And so, unfortunately, my March TBR took a hit and wasn’t as productive as earlier months this year. Well, those work deadlines have passed and I’ve gotten all settled into my new apartment (including setting up my bookshelves and new book cart!), so I’m ready to dive back into my April reading list. In the meantime, here are a few of the books that drop this spring that I haven’t been able to get out of my head. Welcome back to another installment of Miranda’s Book Nook as I share more 2021 book titles that I can’t get enough of for your TBR lists this year. Happy reading!

You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes

Years ago, I was captivated by the pilot of Lifetime’s drama You (way before Netflix picked it up, in case you were wondering). After just one or two episodes, I immediately hit the library to read the novel the show was based on and was equally captivated. Then, I tried to read her second novel, Hidden Bodies, before Season 2 and after the first season ended on Lifetime, but alas, the library had a long waiting list and then lost the copy that should have been rented to me. So, over time I just forgot about it. Then, I saw a description for this third book on NetGalley recently and instantly recalled how much I loved the first one. Plus, the premise sounded interesting and unique.

Here, Joe has moved away from LA post-Book 2 and has settled in the Pacific Northwest, ready to start over. He intends to volunteer at the local library, where he’s enthralled with single mother and librarian Mary Kay. He intends to woo her over, the right way and not resulting in any of his past tricks. As I read, I’m immediately drawn back into Joe’s world and mind thanks to Kepnes’ fantastically well-written prose. There are many bombshells in this slowly drawn-out novel. It’s chock full of compelling language, and I just wanted to know what would happen next!

Rating: Four Stars

Available: Now


Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price

One thing about me: I’m a sucker for a good Pride & Prejudice story, whether it’s the original text, a movie or TV adaptation, or a modern retelling. No matter what format, P&P is a classic in its own right and one I will watch or read any time I can. So, when I saw this book’s description on NetGalley, my eyes went wide. Literally. It’s like P&P, but a murder mystery and thriller. Ooo, yes, please!

Here, Lizzie Bennett is an aspiring lawyer who’s trying to prove innocence for her client and Mr. Darcy is the opposing counsel and the heir to the prestigious Pemberley Associates firm. It’s a teen mystery novel, full of compelling language and juicy dialogue. It’s a thrilling twist on a story we know and love, and that twist changes everything you thought you knew about the ending. A quick, engaging YA Regency mystery novel.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: Now


Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne

Ever since I first found and devoured Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game, I was hooked on her compelling writing style and language with its delicious trope, witty banter, and fun dialogue. Then, I ordered a copy of 99 Percent Mine as soon as I hit the last page and soon devoured that one too. Upon hearing her latest release was coming out this April, I was instantly excited to read this next story.

The wealthy yet eccentric Parloni sisters are back searching for an assistant to help them with various errands throughout the days. The job seems easy yet, somehow, most male employees can barely make it through a week. Ruthie Midona works at the front desk at the retirement home and is forever at the sisters’ beck and call. She is yearning for a managerial promotion, so she’s focused on proving to her boss she can handle running the place on her own without any hijinks or hiccups. And perhaps she can easily keep her happy little place safe from the new owner, Prescott Development. And even find a nice boy to date, if there’s time. One day, someone dazzling rolls into town on a motorcycle, covered in tattoos, and he spins Ruthie’s world upside-down. Enter Teddy Prescott, who’s dedicated his life to sleeping, tattoos, and avoiding seriousness. Looking for a place to crash, he makes a deal with his developer father to stay in one of the villa’s on-site maintenance cottages (right next door to Ruthie) if he agrees to work there and start to grow up. Ruthie has just the job opening to satisfy the elder Prescott, keep this selfish rich boy out of her hair, and only around for about a week.

I was beyond pumped to start this book and see what this forced proximity and opposites-attract romance had in store. While it was a bit slow to start for me (much like 99 Percent Mine), I did find the writing compelling and engaging that kept me willing to continue on the characters’ journey, true to Thorne’s style of her past works. Seeing how Ruthie and Teddy’s connection grows deeper with time was fun and lovely. While it’s no enemies-to-lovers story and they’re no Joshua & Lucy, it is Ruthie and Teddy; a fun love story that’s all their own! As I got into this slow-burn romance, things eventually start to develop thanks to plenty of rich language and authentic characters that I couldn’t help but get sucked into it. Then, oh baby, it picks up steam about halfway through. While it does get steamy, much like her first novel, but it’s not that raunchy, and I’d call it “tamely sexy” for a romance novel. Then, the ending was absolutely precious in terms of a love story/HEA but also for Ruthie as an individual finding her path. Yay for self-growth storylines!

Rating: Four Stars

Available: April 13


The Break-Up Book Club by Wendy Wax

This was a quick, women’s fiction read that I devoured in just a few days and quite enjoyed. Here, four women have little in common but attending a weekly book club in a vintage Atlanta-based bookshop, which brings them together as they bond over reading and the notion that their lives aren’t turning out how they planned. There’s former tennis star Jazmine who’s a top sports agent who’s balancing work and single motherhood, empty nester Judith questioning her marriage, Erin who’s engaged to her high school sweetheart before he proclaims he has cold feet, and Sarah whose husband works out-of-state which leaves her home alone with just a difficult mother-in-law as a companion.

Through books, laughter, and friendship, these women learn how to navigate new chapters in their lives. From reading, I was equally drawn into each woman’s perspective and voice, all have compelling and relatable sides I enjoyed learning more about. It’s a compelling read, and I didn’t want to put it down as there are some juicy bombshells that I needed answers to, which heightened the raw and emotional drama. It reads quite quickly, and I liked it with all the engaging yet relatable language. I loved seeing how this book club brought them together in this novel about friendship. Then, the ending: While, I liked it to a degree and felt it did wrap things up in an empowering way, I just wanted more and to see where these characters’ journeys continued.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: May 18


Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park

I was so excited to start this read based on the cover design, author’s past work, and summary, and reading it totally lived up to the hype! It’s such a fun, cute, yet authentic and diverse YA novel.

Here, Sunny Song is a small influencer based in LA, but when she accidentally goes viral, her parents put their feet down. They send her to a digital detox camp on a local farm in Iowa. She absolutely doesn’t want to go, but instead comes up with ways to grow her social following. While there, she ends up making unexpected friendships and meeting a cute farm boy that teaches her all about the connections she can make while disconnecting.

While reading, I found this novel has so much engaging, relatable language that draws me in, as well as authentic characters that leave me curious. It’s a fun, easy, and light YA adventure set at a summer camp, so like score one for this book. Then, there’s the precious and cute farm boy Theo who makes my heart melt, too. All in all, I couldn’t put this read down and it’s just so adorable.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: June 1


The Marvelous by Claire Kann

I had few expectations of this book before starting, other than the premise sounded interesting. But as I started reading, I soon couldn’t put it down!

Here, an elusive heiress and social media app founder Jewel invites four of her site users to her estate for some “Golden Weekend.” There’s megafan Luna and her best friend Alex (since she’s 15), Nicole the big influencer with thousands of followers, Stella the user no one knows but she has very strict parents, Harlow the last girl invited no one really likes, and Francis who’s the mysterious late arrival with secrets of his own.

These users all get a GW invitation to spend the weekend at Jewel’s mansion, but there’s a catch. They have to play some game full of riddles and challenges for a cash prize. This story is all very mysterious but intriguing, thanks to some dishy and engaging language that has me hooked. While it may be a tad confusing at first to keep up with all the shifting viewpoints that aren’t easily labeled, I still really enjoyed this one. I don’t think I’ve read a single book like this one and I liked it for precisely that reason. All in all, it’s so captivating that made it unputdownable.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: June 8


We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon

After recently finishing her adult romance, The Ex Talk, I was definitely excited to read Solomon’s latest New Adult/Young Adult book, made more exciting by the premise. Here, Quinn is a teenaged wedding harpist who’s disillusioned with love and helps out with her folks’ wedding planning business, while hopeless romantic and king of the grand gesture Tarek works for his family’s catering company. So, naturally, their paths keep crossing.

Last summer, Quinn confessed her crush for her longtime pal in an email but never heard back before he went off to college. When they see each other again, they clash for sure. After they keep getting thrown together at wedding after wedding to save the day from potential disaster, Quinn realizes her feelings might not be over him just yet. It’s such a quick, fun, and cute read that gives off Sarah Dessen vibes to me. It was a tad predictable at the end only, to get the HEA, but other than that, it wasn’t too much for a teen romance, and I did quite enjoy it.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: June 8


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

Bring on a New Year With These 8 New 2021 Book Releases

Now that we’re weeks into the New Year, that’s certainly plenty of time to start your 2021 TBR challenge with a bang! For me personally, I’ve already polished off 14 books this month, currently in the middle of another one, and about to head out to the library this weekend to pick up another hold that’s ready. So, suffice it to say, once I finish my daily work duties, I pretty much spend all my time reading. I mean, it’s still a pandemic and a lockdown, so like, what else is there to do instead? From my first five-star read of the year, sweeping romances, impactful guidebooks, and powerful literary masterpieces, my Recently Read list has been absolutely packed with winners. And so, welcome back once again to Miranda’s Book Nook! Keep on reading for eight more 2021 book titles that I can’t get enough of this month that should be on your radar this year. Happy reading!

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

I know, I know, I’m late to the party on this read. And, I’m kicking myself for not picking this book up earlier, however, you can’t change the past and we’re here now. So, a bit of backstory: After seeing TikTok after TikTok where readers proclaim it one of the best, I immediately looked up a book summary and was floored by what I read. It sounded so good, so I immediately went to find a copy. While, unfortunately, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the library didn’t have a copy readily available as soon as I wanted to read it, Target did. And so, within three days of ordering, my book mail was shipped and arrived at my house.

Okay, so, GAH, I didn’t even realize that I polished off this four hundred-plus page novel in a single day. I just couldn’t put it down, as I read it early Tuesday morning at midnight, then slept until my alarm, read some fifty pages as I ate breakfast, worked my normal hours at my new job, and then picked up this book again as I cooked and ate dinner, and then kept on reading until 11 at night when I finished this read. That’s how good and enthralling this was because I just couldn’t put it down.

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

Rating: Five Stars (I’m adding a new section for all my 2021 book reviews and recommendations from here on out, where I’ll be including my rating out of five stars here.)

Available: Now


Ballet Orphans: A Prequel by Terez Mertes Rose*

I have a soft spot for books about the behind the scenes world of dance and ballet, and this read was a lovely addition to that genre. Here, it is 1990 and April is a ballet soloist in New York when her mom dies just two years after her dad’s death.

She’s trying to rebalance her life when she gets a principal offer at a struggling San Francisco ballet company. A new life in a new city seems like an exciting prospect to her, but the other dancers are wary of both a new dancer and a new artistic director. Then, there’s a troubling former dancer with an explosive past. While technically this is a prequel novel, I found it easy to get into as a newbie to the series. Here, she realizes the sacrifices that are necessary to make her professional dreams come true and her desire to be loved and protect her chosen family.

This reads quite quickly with engaging language and tone. It’s a fun read about the behind-the-scenes world of ballet. It’s vulnerable, authentic, fun, and engaging that I very much enjoyed.

Rating: Three Stars

Available: Now


Enjoy the View by Sarah Morgenthaler*

Sarah Morgenthaler continues her popular Moose Springs romance series with this adventurous new addition. Here, Hollywood starlet River Lane is in need of a career facelift, so she heads up to Moose Springs, Alaska with her film crew to make a tourism-boosting documentary about the area and this charming town. However, the locals are less than accommodating.

She’s determined to prove herself with this movie both for her career and to everyone that gets in her way, oh, and none of the quirky locals want anything to do with her. Except one. Easton Lockett, a side character in the author’s previous books, is a survival expert and mountain guide, who’s a big pile of mush underneath his rugged, outdoorsy facade. He’s tasked with getting River and her crew up and down the mountain safely as they film the journey along the way. However, falling for her was not part of his plan and makes his job a lot tougher, but ultimately he can’t shake their inevitable connection.

I picked this book up right after finishing the all-consuming drama of Addie LaRue (see above) because I wanted something light, easy, frothy, cute, and fun. And, this book gave me just that. For those of you who loved the author’s previous books in the series, you’ll enjoy returning to Moose Springs and getting a deep-dive into the beloved side character, plus seeing both Graham+Zoey and Rick+Lana still have their HEAs is fun. Or if you, like me, are just jumping into the series, it totally stands on its own as a cute, wilderness-y romance book. River and Easton start off at odds, which of course, but that allows for such fun banter. It gives me similar vibes to Not If I Save You First because they both need to survive physically but also learn to be open when love is right in front of you. It has dual perspectives and is full of easy, relatable, and indulgent language that draws you into the story. Trust me, once you get sucked into the action, you’re all in on this read. These two have the sparks and banter, and it’s beyond cute. Then, the ending is absolutely precious, sweeping, and cheesy romantic as all heck.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: January 19


The Divines by Ellie Eaton*

I was excited to begin this highly anticipated literary fiction novel, which just completely enthralled me and I couldn’t put it down. It’s set in present-day LA with flashbacks to a British boarding school in the ’90s and this coming-of-age novel explores the destructive relationships between teenage girls.

In the flashback, the girls of the elite St. John boarding school are notorious for pushing boundaries, their sharp tongues, and chasing boys. Now in her thirties, Josephine hasn’t spoken to any of her former peers in fifteen years ever since the school closed in the wake of a mysterious scandal. During her honeymoon, she takes a detour to the old school grounds, which brings up all sorts of memories of that time and the horrid things they got away with. This visit provokes all sorts of recollections about the school’s final weeks, leading up to the big scandal, and her violet secret at its center. As she remembers more and more, her life, her sense of self, and her marriage all crumble around her. Eaton looks at adolescent sexuality, female identity, social class divide in this suspenseful novel. This book is full of rich, exciting language that draws you in. Josephine has such an intriguing first-person point of view and voice. It has such a compelling tone, and it gets so engaging that makes this read hard to put down.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: January 19


David and Ameena by Ami Rao*

This read was such an unexpectedly poignant and moving romance story starring American-Jewish aspiring jazz pianist David and British-Pakistani painter Ameena. This story is set in New York City, and their journey begins when they meet in a crowded subway car, which, like, don’t I wish that was realistic hahaha.

While hailing from vastly different upbringings, beliefs, and experiences, they are both torn between their dreams versus their families’ expectations, which connects them. after their fated initial meeting. The book shows how they navigate their relationship amidst ambitions, careers, and the city they live in and love while they must deal with and confront the challenges and struggles of today’s world. This book, told in dual perspectives, features very descriptive language that feels very romantic for me as a reader. Everything is timed just right to draw me in, except for a few sections that out of nowhere tell the story of Ameena’s dad or brother. These tales almost feel out of place in this story, leaving me confused at its purpose because it doesn’t seem to make sense or intersect with this romantic story until the very end, which was almost too late for me.

There is one other thing that struck me as inauthentic. So, I get the author, Ameena, and the publisher are based in the UK and use British English, however, David is American and the primary setting is in the US. So, the use of British English for his sections, or her boss’ scenes, for example, doesn’t exactly make sense because American English is quite different. I liked this read and its authentic, vulnerable portrayal of the characters, the hard moments, and the story, but it does take quite a bit of time to get into it.

Rating: Three Stars

Available: February 4


Yes & I Love You by Roni Loren*

While this book initially took me a little bit to really get into, by the end, it was an all-consuming, sweet romance read that I could barely put down. Here, Miz Poppy is a popular and vibrant reviewer who covers the most exciting nightlife options in New Orleans, but little do crowds know, is that Hollyn Tate is the girl behind the online persona.

After her boss tells her to start adding videos to her reviews, Hollyn is fearful of people finding out her true self and finds help to conquer those fears where she least expects. That’s where aspiring actor Jasper Deares comes in. After he realizes that the girl who orders coffee from him is Miz Poppy, he thinks a review from her about his improv troupe will be his chance at fame and media attention to jumpstart his acting career. All he needs to do is help her overcome her stage fright so she’ll write a review of his troupe. But, things soon get complication as their connection deepens, she overcomes her fears, and he realizes what he actually wants to do in life and how to get there. Told in dual perspectives, this book is full of realistic and authentic character. Oh, and the representation is so nice to see in this friends with benefits trope read. And that ending is just way too cute to put into words!

Rating: Three Stars

Available: March 2


The Rejection That Changed My Life by Jessica Bacal*

After everything many of us have gone through during this tough and unprecedented time, this timely book provides just what we need to look forward and move on.

This self-help book deals with rejection, failure, and searching for work. It features all sorts of interviews with more than 25 women in a variety of fields all about their experiences, providing you with new ways to think and cope with career changes, challenges, and triumphs. All these empowering, diverse stories serve as confidence-building inspiration to help facilitate your own growth and coping mechanisms. So, obviously, this is far from my usual type of read, but after everything that’s happened post-COVID, I want to grow more, and this book is a huge help full of advice to pick yourself up and keep going.

It makes you realize that your feelings of rejection are far from unique, and it is OK, but that doesn’t mean you should give up because of it. The format per interview includes an intro about their background, a first-person account of their rejection story, and then their key tips. This book, now more than ever, is so important to show women that nothing is worth giving up on our dreams and to stay strong. The end also features a workbook of seven exercises the reader can complete to help deal with and process their feelings. before moving on. To me, this book promotes strength and confidence.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: April 6


Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle*

I absolutely adored this author’s first book, the five-star You Deserve Each Other, and so, I was instantly excited about picking up her second novel. Here, Maybell is a big-time dreamer and a hopeless romantic, who often thinks of a romanticized AU to cope with her disappointing and struggling reality.

After she learns she has inherited an estate and surrounding land in the Smokies from her late great-aunt, Maybell sets out to make a new start in this house aka the only happy memory from her childhood. However, when she arrives, she learns the house and grounds are falling apart and that she’s actually the co-inheritor alongside the grouchy yet gorgeous groundskeeper Wesley. It’s hard for her to get Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise on how to fix up the house, all while trying to attend to Great-Aunt Violet’s dying wishes. These two slowly let their guards down, open up to each other, and get out of their comfort zones to find something totally new together. It sounds very cute, and now that I finished it, that holds up.

This cute, precious novel is full of very descriptive language and details that pull me in. Also, Hogle portrays a genuine, vulnerable portrayal of anxiety which is so authentic and real, yet still so rare in many books out there, and this level of care added such a depth and a raw, authentic layer to Wesley, However, it’s quite a really, really slow slow-burn story that at times, I wished the pacing was accelerated a tad. Then, there’s a couple of sudden jumps between reality and Maybell’s AU scenes, which can be confusing at times. That being said, this one-sitting read is very romantic, indulging, and sweet. It kept me alert and intrigued to just find out what happens next immediately after I started. While in my eyes this can’t top my love for Hogle’s first book, I still very much enjoyed this cute romance.

Rating: Four Stars

Available: April 6


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

Get Ready: 2021 is Here With These 8 New Book Releases

Have you already set your reading goals, found a challenge, or made a tracking spreadsheet to chart your bookish endeavors for the new year? I just made mine last weekend too! After completing around 140+ books for the entire year, I’ve decided to up the ante for 2021. I made a Google Doc spreadsheet, where I’ve listed out all the books on my TBR with its title, author, pub date, whether it’s an ARC or a purchased copy, and my rating. Then, I have additional tabs for books to buy and any reading challenge prompts to partake in. And of course, I’ve set a goal book amount that seems totally obtainable to my bookish soul. Now that I’m ready to roll on my bookish challenge for 2021, I want to help y’all finish yours.

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 in this new year. Happy reading!

Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala

I read this upcoming read in an audiobook format, and GAH, it was so cute and the audio format just totally immersed me in the characters. This audiobook, narrated by Pete Cross, is so entertaining and I’m obsessed by the first chapter alone. This book reminds me of Red, White & Royal Blue meets Ashley Polston’s geeky fangirl slash cosplay YA romances, and that’s what has my heart before I even started. It’s described as Project Runway meets Comic-Con to make an epic queer love story, and that is one thousand percent an accurate description.

Here, we follow Raffy who has a passion for fashion and design and yearns to make his mark at this big cosplay competition to help jumpstart his future in the business. In the present timeline, his main competition is his ex-boyfriend Luca. As seen in different flashback chapters, they were the perfect team until Luca’s insecurities and Raffy’s perfectionism imploded everything. Back to the present, they are forced to team up once more on the most impressive cosplay comp yet, juggling unresolved romantic feelings, self-doubt, and working to build their most ambitious build yet. This book is chock full of funny, witty, and relatable language that reads as so authentic and engaging. This language is just so witty and rich, and I’m obsessed. Then, the narrator really nails each emotion and tone of every character. This audio version brings listeners the perfect way to envision every scene and feel every single emotion and vulnerability. The narrator brings so much personality to each character’s dialogue to differentiate and sells everything to me. Each character is so distinctive, rich, complex, and dynamic, and this audio version truly shows that. We jump back and forth between the present day competition and different flashbacks to demonstrate these boys’ journey to the current timeline. This couple, boy, are they absolutely adorable! Even from the beginning where they were hiding their relationship because Luca’s not out or the beginning of their feelings and craft sessions, or even openly pining present day at the competition, just, GAH, precious. These two just have such a precious banter and are just so dang cute, like totally squeal-worthy. This book’s pacing feels just right and authentic, which keeps me engaged and wanting to read more.

Available: January 5


A Pho Love Story by Loan Le

Here, Linh and Bao are both Vietnamese American teens who’ll fall in love amidst their families longstanding feud and competing pho restaurants. Bao is described as a quite average, yet handsome teen, whilst Linh, well, she’s quite the firecracker and an aspiring artist. To me, this already feels quite When Dimple Met Rishi-esque.

The teens both work part-time in the parents’ neighboring pho restaurants, who are age-old competitors of one another. So much so, in fact, that these two are barred from speaking ever since the age of 5 or so. A chance encounter, aka a moment of chivalry, brings these two together and despite their and their families’ best efforts, there are sparks amuck. It sounded like such an engaging premise and a fun YA read based on the summary, plus it is always lovely to see diversity in the genre more. It’s told in back-and-forth dual viewpoints as their slow-burn love story develops. It was a fine read, just fine, especially after its lengthy exposition. In my opinion, Bao’s sides were far more captivating and engaging to follow. He seemed to be a more fully formed character with more quippy, witty lines. It was definitely more of a challenge for me to get interested and invested in, but once further details about a family secret and history develop, there’s such a compelling storytelling aspect that I just demanded to know what was to happen next.

Available: February 9


Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

This women’s fiction novel was captivating and compelling for a one-sitting read. Here, Grace has just completed her doctorate in astronomy and heads to Vegas to celebrate with her friends. She’s the typical high achieving, good girl who always follows the rules.

Yet, one night in Vegas and she drunkenly marries a woman whose name she doesn’t even know and who leaves bright and early the next morning. That all happens in the first chapter, so most of the book she’s dealing with grad school burnout, a rough job market, and parental expectations. To avoid all that, she flees her home in Portland to live in New York City for the summer with her stranger wife, Yuki, a late-night DJ, who discusses all things mythological and supernatural on air. Of course, this period brings them closer, enough to fall in love, but summer can’t last forever and so she’ll flee again in order to discover her own inner truths and desires. This book is full of authentic language that leaves me so curious to find out what happens next. However, this book is quite slow to start with a lot of exposition up top, but once you get like five chapters in, you finally want to start rooting for these complex characters, who are trying to figure out their own journeys.

Available: February 23


Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau

This book already had my attention from the jump. Just by reading the summary, we know it’s a romantic novel, set in Paris, starring an American ballet student and a charming French boy, and it’s ideal for fans of American Royals and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Well, that’s like 100 percent my brand, so welcome, dear book, to my TBR shelf right now.

To start, it’s a book about an aspiring ballerina living in Paris for the first time, plus with an adorable love story peppered in. What isn’t there to love, because I’m like obsessed already. It reminds me of Bunheads by Sophie Flack in a way, as it shows a BTS look at the real, authentic life of a ballerina-in-training who wants an apprentice contract so badly and is willing to sacrifice everything to get it. Here, Mia is an aspiring ballerina from New York, about to spend her summer in Paris training at an exclusive ballet intensive summer program. Soon, she discovers there’s more to the city when she meets a charming French boy Louis in an adorable meet-cute moment. He wants to be her tour guide as he takes her on all sorts of adventures in the city together. In a first-person account, we see Mia’s a dreamer who works her butt off to dance and wants this as a career so badly. As a former dancer, I can totally understand that, it’s part of what makes her such a relatable narrator and character. The book is chock full of rich language that makes me feel like I’m there too, right there with these characters. Her relationship with Louis gets complicated due to his father being her ballet instructor and mentor, plus she’s battling with roommate Audrey to be the best in the class and earn the main role in the end-of-program production of Swan Lake, and she’s desperate to meet her great-aunt and discover if a story from her grandma about an ancestor and the artist Degas is true because that’s part of her reason for dancing. There’s so much going on, and it’s just so interesting and fun. This one-sitting read makes me want to be in France right now so badly and have my own journey like Mia’s. Also, OMG, that HEA and epilogue was darn adorable and precious. It’s a super cute YA romance book for fans of dance, Paris, and love stories.

Available: April 6


Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli

Becky Albertalli is like YA royalty, and upon hearing her new book would be published by one of my new favorite YA imprints, Balzer + Bray, I’m getting super excited to actually read this. Plus, the summary sounds so intriguing and fun on its own! Also, because 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. Like, think Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List because we get sort of a similar situation. From the prologue, I was already so intrigued and desperate to find out the whole story. It’s full of relatable and authentic language and characters that I’m so into it. 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.

Available: April 20


The Happiest Girl in the World by Alena Dillon

This was a poignant, sharp, witty, and well-written fictional look at the world of competitive and elite gymnastics. Here, Sera is training to be an Olympic gymnast in part to her work ethic and skills, but also to appease her mom Charlene, who’s hungry for her daughter to have the glory she never got.

When Sera hears the USA Gymnastics team doctor is reported to the authorities about his so-called treatments, laced with abuse, she denies anything happened as a way to salvage her chance at success and all she’s dreamed of. This book has such compelling language that really draws me in from the prologue and makes me just want to learn more. This book is Sera’s truth in a firsthand look at the world of elite gymnastics and truly eye-opening if you’re on the outside. The book also switches to her mom’s perspective too and shows off her sacrifices and side of this journey. The writing is so sharp, witty, compelling, and well-written.

Available: April 20


The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser

I’m always down for a good bookish tale and a UK setting, so I was intrigued by this right away. Here, Thea is on the precipice of change when she’s fired and her husband leaves her. She then discovers her long-lost ancestor has left her a house in Scotland and an expansive book collection. So, she leaves Sussex for the coastal Scottish town. There she meets and butts heads with the gruff bookshop owner Edward.

The book is chock full of relatable characters and language, plus very descriptive wording that helps sell the second-chance story. The book has quite long chapters and is quite slow to start and dive into the action. It’s a fine read, but the ending is absolutely very, very, very cute and I cannot deny that.

Available: May 4


A Special Place for Women by Laura Hankin

After I thoroughly enjoyed the witty and insightful Happy and You Know It by this author, I instantly knew I wanted to read her next book. Here, it’s set in an exclusive women’s-only social club in Manhattan that’s presumably focused on smashing the glass ceiling, however, the secretive members are caught up in a dark business that no one outside the group knows.

Enter down-on-her-luck journalist Jillian, who needs a big scoop to pivot her career after getting laid off. So, after meeting the group’s head at her friend Raf’s restaurant, she decides she wants to write an expose of the club from the inside. It turns out she also has a vested personal interest in taking this group down, and the more she learns, it turns out there are more consequences for speaking out against these insanely influential and powerful women. This book has such descriptive language and relatable contemporary characters. Like, it’s just so juicy with plenty of secrets as the book chronicles Jillian experiencing this club with fresh eyes as a newbie. Then, holy heck, what a freaking bombshell! I didn’t see any of that coming, and like OMG! These bombshells were so unique, and nothing was truly predictable or tropey aside from her romantic relationship drama, but that was mostly a side plotline. Wow, just so engaging and enthralling.

Available: May 11


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

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.

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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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