All Booked | Entering my Romance Era

Finding the Words for Life Lessons

This edition of All Booked was originally emailed to subscribers on December, 2022. To receive our literary newsletter in your inbox, sign up at independent.com/newsletters.


Hello, book lovelies!

I did something this past weekend that I haven’t done in quite some time — read a book! It’s been awhile since I finished one whole book in a weekend, but the weather was rainy and I had the perfect book. After a few weeks of reading some pretty intense memoirs, I decided I needed to pick up something light, fun, and festive, so I picked up my first holiday romance. And let me tell you, it was a great time. I have dipped my toe into romance over the years, but I think I may be entering my romance era.

What I’ve enjoyed most about the few romances I have read are the life lessons. Romance authors have a tendency to put into words feelings I have felt so deeply but haven’t quite known how to articulate. To see characters experiencing something similar makes me, and I’m sure many others, feel seen and not alone in those feelings. It also doesn’t hurt that you are guaranteed a happy ending.

The book I read this weekend was Kiss Her Once For Me by Alison Cochrun. It’s a sapphic romance with a fake dating trope. The couple has their meet-cute in Powell’s Books in Portland Oregon in the middle of a snowstorm. I mean come on! What’s not to love? I should also note that Powell’s Books is one of my favorite places on Earth. I am currently drinking my coffee out of a Powell’s mug. And on a three-day trip to Portland in 2017 I visited the bookstore five times. So I may be slightly biased, but you all are reading a book newsletter, so I think you may be biased too 🙂

Since completing this book last night, I have been looking into some more romances that I’m considering picking up next. Some I found digging around Goodreads, and others came from my friend Molly who works at the library. Below you will find which romances I’m thinking about reading next.

I am a big believer in going into a book knowing as little as possible. I try not to read too much of the synopses or reviews, since most of them over-share. My pitches below are short and sweet just for that reason.


Credit: Courtesy

I will most likely be picking up Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Jenny Bayliss next. This holiday romance follows a London bookshop owner who travels to the English countryside to spend time with her old private school friends. She runs into an “enemy” from back in the day and things go from there. I don’t know anyone who has read this before, but I do love a good enemies-to-lovers love story, and of course, the London bookshop didn’t hurt.


Credit: Courtesy

The Charm Offensive is Alison Cochrun’s first romance. After reading Kiss Her Once For Me this weekend and loving it, I am definitely interested in picking up another book from her.

This romance novel follows Dev who produces a reality dating show. The shows casts Charlie as the season’s star. Charlie is a closed-off, awkward tech guy who isn’t naturally good at dating 20 women on camera. As Dev tries to get Charlie to connect with the women, he starts to discover that they have a connection.


Credit: Courtesy

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood has taken the internet by storm. I feel like I’ve been seeing this romance novel all over the place for the past year or so. Now that I’m reading more romance, I think it’s time I pick it up.

We follow Olive, a Ph.D. candidate who is trying to convince her best friend that she is happily dating. In doing so, Olive kisses the first man she sees, who happens to be a “young hotshot” professor. The professor agrees to go along with Olive’s fake-dating plan and things go from there.


As always, I would love to hear from you. Please send me your romance recommendations at emily@independent.com. What kind of tropes do you love (or hate) in romance novels? What do you think I should I pick up next?

Your smitten bookworm, Emily


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