Ah, so we meet again! We all need some light in our lives, particularly as we’ve been living through a lot these past years. The holidays can be boisterous, fun, a time to reconnect, to see loved ones we haven’t seen in a while. But they can also be difficult, reminding us of those we’ve lost along the way. I want to start there with my first rec.
I absolutely adored LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY by Bonnie Garmus. It was amazing, and deserves all the accolades. But all the promo I’ve seen, and the cover itself, leans into the humor. And it is humorous. Oh, so funny. I laughed out loud throughout. But it’s also about loss, and bias, and it should perhaps come with a trigger warning. What I’m saying is absolutely buy this book, read this book, but know what you’re getting into, because it will affect you, as all the best books will, but perhaps more than you anticipate, and I want you to be ready. Then, strap in and enjoy one of the most satisfying books of the year.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • Meet Elizabeth Zott: a “formidable, unapologetic and inspiring” (PARADE) scientist in 1960s California whose career takes a detour when she becomes the unlikely star of a beloved TV cooking show in this novel that is “irresistible, satisfying and full of fuel. It reminds you that change takes time and always requires heat” (The New York Times Book Review).
WINNER OF THE GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD • A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Oprah Daily, Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, GoodReads
“A unique heroine … you’ll find yourself wishing she wasn’t fictional.” —Seattle Times
Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.
But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.
Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.
The Reluctant Royals and Runaway Royals series by Alyssa Cole
While we’re talking about chemistry, you absolutely have to check out Alyssa
Cole’s Royals series, starting with A PRINCESS IN THEORY!
From acclaimed author Alyssa Cole comes the tale of a city Cinderella and her Prince Charming in disguise . . .
Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.
Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.
The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?
Selected as one of the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2018!
Other Novels: A PRINCE ON PAPER, A DUKE BY DEFAULT, HOW TO CATCH A QUEEN, HOW TO FIND A PRINCESS and stories: “Once Ghosted, Twice Shy”, “Can’t Escape Love”
I know, I know, everyone has already read or recommended BOOK LOVERS by Emily Henry, but I can’t help myself. How could I resist a book with an agent protagonist? And I loved it. Really and truly. My only quibble was that I couldn’t quite believe that an agent with a bestselling author could give up her salary for that of an editor or that an editor would have the time to focus so completely on one author (see, for example, what’s going on with the HarperCollins strike), but, we all make allowances for fiction!
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by Oprah Daily ∙ Today ∙ Parade ∙ Marie Claire ∙ Bustle ∙ PopSugar ∙ Katie Couric Media ∙ Book Bub ∙ SheReads ∙ Medium ∙ The Washington Post ∙ and more!
One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn’t see coming…
Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.
Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.
If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.
And, if you’d like to binge a wonderful and witchy rom com series, look no further than Ann Aguirre’s Fix-it Witches, starting with WITCH PLEASE!
Practical Magic meets Gilmore Girls in this adorable witchy rom-com by New York Times bestselling author Ann Aguirre, with a bisexual cinnamon roll hero, a commitment-averse heroine, and a chemistry between them that causes literal sparks.
Danica Waterhouse is a fully modern witch—daughter, granddaughter, cousin, and co-owner of the Fix-It Witches, a magical tech repair shop. After a messy breakup that included way too much family “feedback,” Danica made a pact with her cousin: they’ll keep their hearts protected and have fun, without involving any of the overly opinionated Waterhouse matriarchs. Danica is more than a little exhausted navigating a long-standing family feud where Gram thinks the only good mundane is a dead one and Danica’s mother weaves floral crowns for anyone who crosses her path.
Three blocks down from the Fix-It Witches, Titus Winnaker, owner of Sugar Daddy’s bakery, has family trouble of his own. After a tragic loss, all he’s got left is his sister, the bakery, and a lifetime of terrible luck in love. Sure, business is sweet, but he can’t seem to shake the romantic curse that’s left him past thirty and still a virgin. He’s decided he’s doomed to be forever alone.
Until he meets Danica Waterhouse. The sparks are instant, their attraction irresistible. For him, she’s the one. To her, he’s a firebomb thrown in the middle of a family war. Can a modern witch find love with an old-fashioned mundane who refuses to settle for anything less than forever?
Praise for Witch Please:
“The start to Aguirre’s Fix-It Witches series is a delightful, laugh-out-loud small-town tale…Ann Aguirre’s sexy, sweet, funny, and oh-so-fulfilling witchy love story will leave readers hungry for Clementine’s story”—Library Journal, starred review
“Readers will be enchanted.”—Publishers Weekly
Other Titles: BOSS WITCH, EXTRA WITCHY
Forthcoming: THE ONLY PURPLE HOUSE IN TOWN (July 2023)