January is coming to a close and I am fully invested in building a February TBR full of fun and love! The five below are all at the top of my mind. I can’t wait to dive in!
If you’re looking to pick up a few light romances in February, take a look at the list below and let me know what you pick! Be sure to share with me on Instagram!
1. The Reunion by Kayla Olson
Read it, loved it so much! This will be The Bookcase Beauty Book Club’s read in February. Come join us! When two former teen stars reconnect at the reunion for their hit TV show, they discover their feelings for one another were not merely scripted in this charming and heartwarming novel perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne. Read the full synopsis here.
2. The Man I Never Met by Elle Cook
In addition to a love story, this book also portrays heavier topics of illness. Is it possible to love someone you’ve never met? A young woman finds out in this sweeping will-they-or-won’t-they love story that begins with a chance wrong number dial. . . . Read the full synopsis here.
3. The Sweet Spot by Amy Poeppel
Hold the Valentines, maybe you need more of a Galentines read?
A wise and joyful novel that celebrates love, hate, and all of the glorious absurdity in between. In the heart of Greenwich Village, three women form an accidental sorority when a baby—belonging to exactly none of them—lands on their collective doorstep. Read the full synopsis here.
4. Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens
Chance encounter, when stars align kind of love? Yes please.
From the New York Times bestselling author of This Time Next Year comes a heartwarming and hilarious tale that asks: What if you pick up the wrong suitcase in an airport, only to fall head over heels for its unseen owner? Read the full synopsis here.
5. Do I Know You? by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
I love that the main characters are a married couple working on their relationship. It’s refreshing to see some real life love, here folks! When a couple starts to feel like they’re married to a stranger, a flirtatious game of pretend becomes the spark they need to reignite their relationship. Read the full synopsis here.
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It’s no secret that ‘22 was a transforming year for this space. I said “goodbye” to what I thought was my lifelong career and jumped off the deep end into social media and content creation. It was a year of exciting highs and vulnerable lows, but when I asked for your most memorable shares you showed up in a BIG way.
Thank you for your input on your favorite things found on The Bookcase Beauty in 2022. It was an incredible year made possible because of YOU.
I’m looking forward to an even better 2023, but before I hit the ground running, I’ve rounded up all of our favorites from the past year!
If you find anything you love, I hope you’ll consider using my embedded links! I will earn a small commission from the brand at no additional cost to you!
Shadows of Pecan Hollow – Favorite book of the year! I raved about it for the majority of 2022. It’s all over my page! Grab a copy and read this amazing book please!
Lessons in Chemistry – Holy moley, talk about developed characters! On top of being a phenomenal story on strength, carving your own path, and love through difficult times, Bonnie Garmus made my personal reading experience even better when she joined our book club discussion. I could have listened to her talk for hours. I’m so glad this was a favorite of yours too! If you haven’t gotten a copy yet, now is the time!
The Book ornament – This was the highlight of the season for me! Never did I think that sharing a template would catch such fire. It was honestly thrilling and very fulfilling to see how many people found a tool I shared helpful. I’ll be making a few adjustments to this blog post before next year.
Finding new favorite authors like Katherine Center – I LOVE KATHERINE. She has such a kind heart and is so open and genuine. She is one of those people you feel like you’ve known for years. No surprise her books are filled with joy and love and all things good! You can find all of her books and others I love right here.
DNFing a book! – Say it louder, “LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO READ MEH BOOKS.” Meh meaning it wasn’t for you and that’s okay!! Not every book is for every person. That doesn’t speak badly to you or the book. Put it down and go find something you enjoy!
Drink pairings – I had so much fun crafting cocktails this year! My original source of enjoyment was to pair my favorite reads with some of my favorite drinks. Since, I’ve taken the approach that you don’t have to be a mixologist to make yummy drinks at home! I’m excited to share more with you in 2023!
Embroidery – Embroidery has become one of my favorite ways to relax. Pair it with an audiobook and I’m set for hours. I plan to share more of my passion for embroidery this year! If you’re interested in learning, I suggest trying some kits from @andotheradventuresco and @lemon_made_shop. Both are Texas-based embroidery artists and I love their work! You can also dip your toe in with a simple kit like this from Amazon.
The Brie Bites – Y’all, I do not take credit for these, but I sure do love sharing them! They are insanely delicious and now that I’m typing this I’m craving them. Here’s a recipe from Delish! I make mine without the pecans.
Cushionaire slides – These shoes are like walking on clouds! Even after several months of regular wear, they still feel as good as they did on Day 1.
The Fiamond Earrings – Such an affordable alternative with several stone sizes. I’ll say that these were worth every bit of the $38 I spent on them. I haven’t given them any special treatment. They’re my everyday earrings, they’ve been through chlorine pools, salt water oceans, and regular soap showers and they’re still in good shape! The gold plate on the tips of the prongs are beginning to chip, but for $38, I’ll buy another pair when it really starts to bother me!
Hobnail glasses – the best “treat yo self” upgrade! Also a fantastic housewarming or wedding gift. I love the quality to price ratio on these. Heavy duty, but don’t break the bank!
Glass container set – Are you tired of me telling you to put your fruit in glass?! This set has saved so much fruit from going to waste. Fruit lasts so much longer in these containers. Get them and thank me later!
All of this to say, thank you for being here. Thank you for giving my dreams a pulse. My goal for 2023 is to share so much more for you! I want my presence across platforms to be a place you come to for refuge and calm, joy and encouragement.
Let’s chat! Leave me a comment below or send me a DM on Instagram! I’d love to know if I helped you find any favorites!
If you’re feeling anything like me, you’ve been bouncing back and forth between holiday hangover and extreme motivation to get 2023 rolling. Wherever you’re at with this new year, I hope you’re taking strides to prioritize reading!
Speaking of prioritizing your reading, I recently released my 2023 Digital Reading Journal! It holds up to 100 books and is available in my Etsy shop along with some other fantastic reading trackers. Check out my Etsy shop here!
Here are 10 books publishing in January that you should pre-order now!
Think of these pre-orders as future presents to yourself. We know January can be a hard month, take care of your mind by lining up some fantastic reads!
If you purchase any of these titles, I hope you’ll consider using my embedded links. I earn a small commission from sales at no extra cost to you. Using affiliate links is a fantastic way to support creators at no additional cost and it really does make a difference!
1. Ms. Demeanor by Elinor Lipman
Love under house arrest?! This contemporary romcom has adorable hijinx written all over it. After a prudish neighbor catches Jane having sex on their apartment rooftop, she’s sentenced to six months of home confinement. Wouldn’t you know it, there’s another resident in the apartment complex who’s also rocking an ankle monitor.
This is the third and final installment in the Finlay Donovan series. It’s also one of my most anticipated reads of the year! See how the author-turned-hit-woman’s story ends! This is definitely one that needs to be read in order. Linking the first and second books here!
BIG FAN of Emma Lord’s over here! She writes the best YA titles! Her latest book, Begin Again, takes place at a community college. It has all of the found family, finding your own way, and Just Kiss Already vibes!
Talk about SWOON. This book is getting tons of buzz and is sure to be one of the top contemporary romances of the year. The Reunion centers on two former child stars who reconnect and discover that their feelings for each other were not just scripted. Perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne!
I LOVE wintery trapped thrillers. Something about the treacherous weather conditions and unreliable characters make me devour these novels. I’m extremely excited about Bartz’ newest release. I’ll be reading this one ASAP.
Strange markings inside a famous children’s book, secret codes, and an English teacher that disappears during a field trip… The Twyford Code takes us on a wild ride in this mystery thriller. Was she murdered? Was she mad? This book has my attention in a big way!
If there’s a book that’s going to take away the January blues, it’s this horror drama! It’s got 80’s Stranger Things vibes and a group of children as the main characters. I’m in for this supernatural thriller!
New Year, New You! If you’re looking to focus on more nonfiction reads this year, Jellyfish Age Backwards is a fascinating insight into how plants and animals already hold the secrets to immortality. From a 300+ year old shark to jellyfish that can literally age backwards and start their life process over again, this book feels like more magic than reality.
Hawkins is back with another twisty thriller! Two friends, both writers, take a writing retreat to an old villa turned holiday home. But, the Villa is holding onto secrets of its own. Inspired by Fleetwood Mac, the Manson murders, and the birthplace of Frankenstein, The Villa takes readers on a wild ride!
For fans of Mystic River by Dennis Lehane and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, Stephen Amidon’s Locust Lane is a taut and utterly propulsive story about the search for justice and the fault lines of power and influence in a seemingly idyllic town. Can anyone be trusted?
It’s no secret that I LOVE embracing all that the Christmas season has to offer. (Hello, viral book ornament post.) One way that surely gets me into the spirit each year is lining up all of the Christmas books I plan to read. Today, I’m sharing four holiday reads from HTPbooks that will have you baking cookies and singing carols in no time!
This line up includes some of my favorite holiday tropes: snowed in, family drama, second chance romance, grumpy/sunshine, big city/small town, and SO MANY more. Sprinkle in some Christmas magic and a cozy setting and I’m sold!
Snag these books to finish out your holiday TBR, trade in a book swap, or give as gifts to your mom, sister, or friend! These books are the perfect choice for all of your Christmas book lovers!
Holidays in Virgin River by Robyn Carr: Spend Christmas in your favorite cozy town, Virgin River, with these two adorably sparkly stories. In Holidays in Virgin River, you’ll read Under the Christmas Tree and Midnight Confessions. This book doesn’t stop at a cozy Christmas story, there’s a New Year’s Eve party with plenty of holiday magic.
Celebrate the holidays with this special edition containing 2 fan-favorite stories from the Virgin River series. Includes exclusive recipies inspired by the Virgin River characters.
Under the Christmas Tree
With snow falling over the redwood forests, secluded Virgin River is the ideal place to spend the holidays. Each year, the close-knit community gathers in the town square to decorate and light a massive tree. Carols are sung, hot chocolate is shared—and this year, a surprise is about to bring two special people together. When the townsfolk discover a box of adorable puppies under the town’s Christmas tree, they call on local vet Nathaniel Jensen for help. But it’s his budding romance with Annie McCarty that really has tongues—and tails—wagging!
In Virgin River, holiday kisses don’t end with Christmas—there’s still the New Year’s Eve party at Jack’s Bar to attend. Locals and newcomers alike find themselves eager for that special countdown…and that midnight kiss.
As the townspeople gather, two lonely revelers decide the best balm for their broken hearts might just be each other.
Home Sweet Christmas by Susan Mallery: This is the second book in the Wishing Tree series, but you can jump right into this sugary, heartfelt story without missing a beat. Big city gal, small hometown romance tropes have me putting this one at the top of my stack! Also, can we please take a moment to admire this *literal* sugar cookie sweet cover?!
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery comes a witty and heartfelt story of two friends who unexpectedly find the person-and the place in which-they belong this Christmas.
With twinkling humor and heartfelt Christmas spirit, two friends find love in a town called Wishing Tree…
Until Camryn Neff can return to her “real” life in Chicago, she’s in Wishing Tree to care for her twin sisters. She’s not looking for forever love, not here. But handsome hotelier Jake Crane is a temptation she can’t resist, so she suggests they pair up for the season. No golden rings, no broken hearts. At his side, she sees her hometown through Christmas-colored eyes. The cheer is cheerier, the joy more joyful. She thought she had put her future on hold…but maybe her real life was here all along, waiting for her to come home.
New in town, River Best is charmed by Wishing Tree’s homespun traditions and warmhearted people. When she’s crowned Snow Queen, she’s honored but wary. Dylan Tucker, her king, seems like the stuff of sugarplum dreams, but she can’t shake the feeling that he’s hiding something big. As they perform their “royal” duties—tasting cookies, lighting trees—Dylan’s good humor and melty kisses draw her to the brink of love. But she can’t let herself fall until she uncovers his secret, even if her lack of faith means losing him forever.
All is Bright by RaeAnne Thayne: You know I love a matchmaking trope and add in a grumpy/sunshine pair and I’m sold. This book takes us back to Hope’s Crossing, where Sage Mcknight is tasked with redesigning the home of a pro baseball player. Her hard work isn’t going to go unrecognized and thanks to the quirky locals, a sweet match is sure to be made!
Return to Hope’s Crossing this Christmas in New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne’s latest heartwarming story of matchmaking at the holidays!
Sage McKnight is an ambitious young architect working at her father’s firm who takes on her most challenging client in Mason Tucker. The former pro baseball player is still healing from the physical and emotional scars after a plane crash left him a wheelchair-using single dad, and he’s determined not to let anyone breach his emotional defenses. Sage knows her work on Mason’s new home in Hope’s Crossing is her best work yet, and she won’t let her grumpy client prevent her from showcasing her work personally.
With Sage’s gift for taking broken things and making them better, the matchmaking talent of the quirky locals and a generous sprinkling of Christmas cheer, Mason doesn’t stand a chance against the power of this magical holiday season.
Snowed in for Christmas by Sarah Morgan: Co-workers to lovers, trapped at home, and family drama all over Christmas?! This story sounds like the makings of a future movie. The Miller siblings are traveling home for Christmas, all with their own secrets, hoping to avoid their nosy family’s questions. Desperate to keep her job, Lucy Clarke arrives at the family home to deliver a business proposal to Ross. She’s mistaken for his girlfriend and by the time the confusion is cleared up, they’re snowed in. Soon, sparks ignite!
What happens if the only Christmas celebration you want to attend is one you haven’t been invited to? USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan delights with this hilarious and heartwarming Christmas cracker of a novel!
A family gathering
This Christmas the Miller siblings have one goal—to avoid their well-meaning family’s endless stream of prying questions. Ross, Alice and Clemmie have secrets that they don’t intend to share, and they are relying on each other to deflect attention.
An uninvited guest
Lucy Clarke is facing a Christmas alone and the prospect of losing her job. Unless she can win a major piece of business from Ross Miller, the season promises to be anything but festive. She’ll just deliver her proposal to his family home and then leave. After all, she wouldn’t want to intrude on the Miller family’s perfect Christmas.
A Christmas to remember
When Lucy appears on the Miller family’s snow-covered Highland doorstep, she’s mistaken for Ross’s girlfriend. By the time the confusion is cleared up, they’re snowed in—she can’t leave, even if she wants to! But does she want to? As secrets spill out like presents from an overstuffed stocking and the chemistry between her and Ross ignites, this is going to be either Lucy’s worst Christmas ever or the best mistake of her life.
These new release titles from HarperCollins are the perfect selections to gift this holiday season, but don’t forget to treat yourself to some Christmas magic too! These titles all have my stamp of approval!
White Elephant who? Out with the tacky junk, in with the raindrops on roses and balloons on bookcases. Here’s why my new tradition is a Favorite Things Party!
I’ve wanted to host a Favorite Things party for a long time and my dream finally came true last week when my friends came over for a Christmas party with a twist. I had to explain to all of them what a Favorite Things party entailed, but by the time I was finished, they were SOLD.
One thing about me is that I live for a vibe. To help bring a little extra Christmas charm to the night, my friend Vivian from @shopjoyza was so kind to donate a balloon arch! In addition to local installs, she offers custom 6-ft DIY Balloon Garland Kits that can be shipped all over the country! Her balloons are distinctly different from the ones you’ll find in party stores. They are thick, quality material that will last up to three months indoors!
Although the kit comes with detailed instructions (seriously, anyone can do it!), she’s local and brought over a custom kit with classic Christmas colors so I could learn in-person! We had the best time making it!! Definitely recommend an air pump like this one or this one to speed the process along.
Check out her website and Instagram for more amazing custom creations and kits! Keep @shopjoyza in mind next time you need balloon decor! Tell her I sent you! 🙂
I also bought a record player and two Christmas records to play during the party. I’m obsessed with the coziness of hearing old tunes come through such analog technology. Do I sound like a superficial millennial? The vibes, man, the VIBES.
Everyone brought a food dish of some kind and I offered two large-batch drinks: a Blood Orange Margarita and a non-alcoholic Apple Cider Sangria. Both were hits! I’ll share recipes soon!
Okay- on to the party!! Here’s how you play the Favorite Things Game.
Favorite Things Game:
Set a price range for your item (we chose $5-$10).
Decide how many items you want everyone to bring (we chose 5).
Each person then buys five of the same item within that price range.
You don’t need to wrap the items!
Write each person’s name on small pieces of paper five times (or the same number as items bought) and collect in a bowl. Don’t forget to add your name too! (I made a table in Google Slides so that I could type a name once and copy/paste. Saved me time and the names looked nice and fancy!)
At the party:
Collect all items on a table with easy access.
One at a time, someone shows the item they chose and explains why they like it.
That person draws five names (or the same number of items bought) and those people each get to take home the item!
If a name is drawn twice or if the person who brought the item’s name is drawn, replace the name and draw again.
At the end of the night, each person will leave with five of their friends’ favorite things!
Not required for the game, but I purchased paper gift sacks and labeled them with each guest’s name so they would have a place for their items and bags wouldn’t get mixed up throughout the night.
We gave items like, fuzzy socks, facial toner, small bottles of wine and spirits, body scrubs, car coasters, coffee gift cards, earrings, cross-stitch ornaments, and earrings!
My friends LOVED this game. We all agree that it’s way more fun than a White Elephant gift exchange. No stealing, you don’t have to struggle with ‘is it a serious or funny gift’, and no one ends up with junk they don’t want. 🙂
We are going to make it a tradition! This was a wonderful way to spend some quality time together, and give gifts that have a little meaning!
I’d love to know if you host a Favorite Things party! Do you do anything differently? What are some of your favorite gifts?
I’d love to hear from you! You can respond directly to this blog post or find me on Instagram!
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