Here, have a Christmas romance book to go with your favorite holiday song

Give me all the Christmas songs this time of year, and what goes better with a holiday tune than a cozy romance? Check out our recommendations of what to read based on your favorite carol. And yes, there are two Taylor Swift songs on the list — let me live! It’s Christmas!

Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison

Song: Christmas Tree Farm by Taylor Swift

In an effort to save the Christmas tree farm she’s loved since she was a kid, Stella enters a contest for a $100,000 cash prize — but she lied on her application and said she owns Lovelight Farms with her boyfriend. Only…there is no boyfriend. Enter best friend Luka Peters. Fake dating his best friend might end up being the best Christmas present he’s ever received.

Kiss Her Once For Me by Alison Cochrun

Song: Last Christmas by Wham!

One year ago, Ellie had her dream job and a Christmas Eve meet cute. But after a betrayal the next morning and the loss of her job soon after, she finds herself adrift, alone, and desperate for money. She’s just getting through the days until Andrew, her sort of boss, proposes a shocking plan: a marriage of convenience that will give him his recent inheritance and alleviate Ellie’s financial woes and isolation. But when Andrew introduces his new fiancée to his sister, Ellie is shocked to discover it’s the mysterious woman she fell for the year before. Now, Ellie must choose between the safety of a fake relationship and the risk of something real.

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

Song: This Christmas by Donny Hathaway

Vivian Forest is tagging along on her daughter Maddie’s work trip to England to style a royal family member, but she doesn’t expect to become instantly attracted to a certain private secretary, his charming accent, and unyielding formality. Malcolm Hudson is intrigued by Vivian the moment he meets her and finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her. When flirtatious banter turns into a kiss under the mistletoe, things snowball into a full-on fling. They are completely fine with ending their short, steamy affair come New Year’s Day…or are they?

How To Excavate A Heart by Jake Maia Arlow

Song: Make You Mine This Season by Tegan and Sara

It all starts when Shani runs into May. Like, with a car. She was supposed to be focusing on her monthlong paleoichthyology internship, not thinking about how she was unceremoniously dumped days before winter break. But when a dog-walking gig puts her back in May’s path, the fossils are pushed to the side — along with the breakup. They’re then snowed in together on Christmas Eve. Is Shani ready to try a committed relationship again, or is she okay with this just being a passing winter fling?

A Merry Little Meet Cute by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone

Song: All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey

Bee Hobbes has a successful career as a plus-size adult film star. But when Bee’s favorite producer casts her for the squeaky-clean Hope Channel, Bee’s career is about to take a more family-friendly direction. And her co-star is none other than childhood crush Nolan Shaw, an ex-boy band member in desperate need of career rehab. Things heat up quickly when Nolan recognizes his new co-star. Now Bee and Nolan are sneaking off for quickies on set. And if Bee and Nolan can’t keep their off-camera romance behind the scenes, then this merry little meet cute might end up on the cutting room floor

Season of Love by Helena Greer

Song: Underneath the Tree by Kelly Clarkson

Miriam Blum’s beloved great-aunt Cass has passed and left her part-owner of Carrigan’s, her (ironically) Jewish-run Christmas tree farm that is at risk of going under. To have any chance at turning things around, she’ll need to work with the farm’s grumpy manager — as long as the attraction sparking between them doesn’t set all their trees on fire first. But saving Carrigan’s requires trust, love, and risking it all.

Whiteout by Nicola Yoon, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone

Song: Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! by Dean Martin

As the city grinds to a halt, 12 teens band together to help a friend pull off the most epic apology of her life. But will they be able to make it happen, in spite of the storm? No one is prepared for this whiteout. But then, we can’t always prepare for the magical moments that change everything.

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz

Song: ‘Tis the Damn Season by Taylor Swift

Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to spend the season with her family. Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one-night stand. But can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren

Song: I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Michael Bublé

Maelyn Jones is living with her parents, hates her job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions. But worst of all, this is the last Christmas she will be at-the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Show me what will make me happy. The next thing she knows, everything goes black. But when Mae wakes up…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. Mae must figure out how to break free of the time loop — and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

The Holiday Trap by Roan Parrish

Song: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love

Greta Russakoff loves her tight-knit family, but they can’t seem to understand what it’s like to be a lesbian living in such a small world. Truman Belvedere’s heart is crushed when he learns that his boyfriend has a secret life that includes a husband and daughter. Enter a mutual friend with a life-altering idea: Swap homes for the holidays. Greta and Truman will have a chance to experience a whole new world…and maybe fall in love. But all holidays must come to an end, and eventually these two transplants will have to decide whether the love (and found family) they each discovered so far from home is worth fighting for.

You’re A Mean One, Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky

Song: You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch by Thurl Ravenscroft: (I know, this is like cheating, but it’s a perfect fit, obviously!)

Matthew Prince is young, rich, and thoroughly spoiled, but one major PR misstep later, and Matthew is cut off and shipped away to spend the holidays in his grandparents’ charming small town hellscape. He has to share space with Hector Martinez, an obnoxiously attractive local who’s unimpressed with anything and everything Matthew does. Even a Grinch can’t resist the unexpected joy of found family, and in the end, the forced proximity and infectious holiday cheer might be enough to make a lonely Prince’s heart grow three sizes.

The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo

Song: Winter Wonderland by Bing Crosby

Lila Santos is ready for her last winter break of high school, but her perfect holiday plans crash to a halt when her boss’s frustratingly cute nephew, Teddy Rivera, becomes her coworker. The two of them can’t stop butting heads, but when they accidentally switch phones one afternoon, they realize they’ve both been hiding things from each other. Will their secrets — and an unexpected snowstorm — bring these rivals together?

Middle-grade fantasy books that are fun for adults too

My 6-year-old is so excited to go see Wish at the end of November, and I’m right there with her! I love when a movie is a great fit for both of us, and there are a bunch of books in the same group! Here are some we recommend for fantasy adventure stories that work for middle grade readers and their parents.

Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch by Julie Abe

A young witch must pass a coming-of-age quest or risk losing her magic forever.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

A breathtaking, enchanting story about a cursed girl who escapes death and finds herself in a magical world but is then tested beyond her wildest imagination.

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Thirteen-year-old Min, who comes from a long line of fox spirits, is on a quest to clear her brother’s name and meet gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts on her journey. 

Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron

Twelve-year-old Maya’s search for her missing father puts her at the center of a battle between our world, the Orishas, and the mysterious and sinister Dark world. 

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Aru Shah unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston

Amari’s search for her missing brother, Quinton, leads her to a ticking briefcase containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs and a surprising magical talent.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

A community that sacrifices children to a forest witch each year doesn’t know that she is kind. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, and nurtures the children with starlight.

The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton

Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend a magic school in the clouds where Marvellers from around the world practice their cultural arts, but when a dangerous criminal escapes prison, Ella becomes the target of suspicion and must find a way to clear her family’s name.

Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor

Nnamdi vows to avenge his father after a mysterious nighttime meeting, the gift of a magical object that enables super powers, and a charge to use those powers for good changes his life forever.

Bestsellers Galore: Books Forward November 2023 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter featuring our award-winning authors and industry news. This issue features upcoming book releases, recent media coverage and much more!

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Top Book Recommendations to Celebrate National Adoption Day

National Adoption Day is marked on Nov. 18 to bring awareness to the more than 100,000 children waiting to be adopted from foster care in the U.S. We’ve put together a list of books showcasing adoption; it’s the main plotline in some of them, but just a footnote in others, and they cover many aspects of a sensitive subject.

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung

Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hope of giving her a better life, that forever feeling slightly out of place was her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as Nicole grew up — facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and as a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from, she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.

Twice a Daughter: A Search for Identity, Family, and Belonging by Julie Ryan McGue

Julie is adopted. She is also a twin. Because their adoption was closed, she and her sister lack both a health history and their adoption papers, which becomes an issue for Julie when, at 48-years-old, she finds herself facing several serious health issues. The twins talk things over, and make a pact: Julie will approach their adoptive parents for the adoption paperwork and investigate search options, and the sisters will split the costs involved in locating their birth relatives. But their adoptive parents aren’t happy that their daughters want to locate their birth parents ― and that is only the first of many obstacles Julie will come up against.

Once & Future by A. R. Capetta and Cory McCarthy

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind. No pressure. 

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist: books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

Being the middle child has its ups and downs. But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including — Maya, her loudmouthed younger biological sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. 

No Names To Be Given by Julia Brewer Daily

1965: Sandy runs away from home to escape her mother’s abusive boyfriend. Becca falls in love with the wrong man. And Faith suffers a devastating attack. With no support and no other options, these three young, unwed women meet at a maternity home hospital in New Orleans where they are expected to relinquish their babies and return home as if nothing transpired. But such a life-altering event can never be forgotten, and no secret remains buried forever. Twenty-five years later, the women are reunited by a blackmailer, who threatens to expose their secrets and destroy the lives they’ve built. 

Shattered by Jenell M. Jones

Choosing to foster and adopt proves to not be an easy feat. Parents are in constant competition with societal influences and sometimes feel it’s an uphill battle. These same parents are often told they will be supported in the rearing of their children and that adequate resources would be made available. But what happens when you discover the system that promised to help you, would betray you? What happens when you decide to enter into another realm of difficulty — fostering and adopting children who come with mental and physical baggage?

You Have A Match by Emma Lord

When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie. But when the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, never mind the same parents — especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself. The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby’s parents gave Savvy up for adoption. 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over — and see everything anew.

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, Polly, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, goes to her job at a nail salon — and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her.

With his mother gone, 11-year-old Deming is left mystified and bereft. Eventually adopted by a pair of well-meaning white professors, Deming is moved from the Bronx to a small town upstate and renamed Daniel Wilkinson. But far from all he’s ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his adoptive parents’ desire that he assimilate with his memories of his mother and the community he left behind.

Accidental Sisters by Katherine Caire

Relinquished at birth to Catholic Charities in 1959, Kathe Linn Caire adores her adoptive family and has never considered searching for her birth parents. At age 52, though, a sudden pull to learn more about her medical history sends her on an unexpected journey. Kathe isn’t interested in learning her birth parents’ identities, just the details of their health. But what begins as a simple investigation takes a startling swerve when the social worker who sends the records fails to redact a crucial bit of information. Suddenly, Kathe has more information than she bargained for. 


Bestsellers Galore: Books Forward November BFFs 2023 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter for our Books Forward Friends. This issue features highlights of our BFFs, fun titles available for review, and special opportunities for our friends.

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Books Forward Authors in the Media: November 2023

What can we say, Books Forward authors are always going, going, going! We’re excited to feature some of our authors and their recent media wins.

  • Maya Golden’s article I Was Called ‘Little Black Girl’ and Treated Like a Gimmick was featured by Newsweek.
  • The New York Times featured Rudy Ruiz on a recent reading list of 6 Paperbacks to Read this Week.
  • George Franklin and his new book were covered by The Hill in this recent story.
  • Author Lyn Squire stopped by In Reference to Murder for an Author R&R.
  • Finding Genius had author Audrey Gale on to discuss novel writing.
  • Kosoko Jackson was interviewed by Nuvo News about his childhood and how it influenced his writing.
  • Culturess called Ava Reid’s new book a “dark, emotional and important gothic fantasy.”
  • Maggie Giles’ alumni outlet Western News featured her and her book Twisted.
  • Edward C. Green wrote an article for Spiritual Media Blog about living a life of low self-confidence.
  • GirlTalkHQ featured this article from Alison Levy about how her real-life experiences influenced her new book.
  • Chrissy Holm and her book Finding Sunlight were featured by Tagg Magazine.
  • BookLife says Wen Peetes is “transparent and fully vulnerable” in this review for Inner Child Healing.
  • S. H. Cotugno discusses ways that monsters and mad scientists can be empowering characters in this article for Writer’s Digest.
  • Marschall Runge wrote a piece for Real Clear Health on hackers attacking health care.
  • NBC Washington interviewed Kathryn K. Abdul-Baki about her book Dancing Into the Light.
  • Suzette Mullen talks about her new book in this feature for Out Front Magazine.
  • Mexico News Daily spotlighted Ann Marie Jackson and her book The Broken Hummingbird.
  • Sophia Kouidou-Giles was featured in the National Herald on how her latest book highlights the sorceress Circe.
  • Writer’s Digest ran this piece from author David Scidmore about using physics to explain characters and world-building.

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Top 7 Book Recommendations for Fans Anticipating the ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ Series

We are eagerly awaiting the Netflix adaptation of the historical fiction favorite, “All the Light We Cannot See” on Nov. 2, and obviously we have some book recommendations that we think you’ll enjoy if you’re a fan!

If you like an epic that teaches you about another time period, read Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

An “extraordinary epic” of four generations of a poor Korean immigrant family as they fight to control their destiny in 20th-century Japan.

If you like visiting a period of French history, read Les Misérable by Victor Hugo

This sweeping tale travels deep into the Parisian underworld, immersing readers in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose.

If you like historical fiction with a sense of adventure, read Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

A gripping historical narrative exploring both the bounds of slavery and what it means to be truly free.

If you like historical fiction focused on a forgotten part of WWII, read Salt to the Sea by Ruth Sepetys

Four refugees in the middle of winter 1945 are each born of a different homeland; each one is hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies and war. 

If you like examining complicated characters, read The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The narrator, a communist double agent, is a “man of two minds,” a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who arranges to come to America after the Fall of Saigon, and while building a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles is secretly reporting back to his communist superiors in Vietnam.

If you like stories about survival against the odds, read How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C. Pam Zhang

Two siblings are on the run during the twilight of the American gold rush, trying not just to survive but to find a home in a novel that explores race in an expanding country and the question of where immigrants are allowed to belong.

If you like writing that immerses you in a past world, read A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.


Reunited + A NYT Bestseller: Books Forward October 2023 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter featuring our award-winning authors and industry news. This issue features upcoming book releases, recent media coverage and much more!

Read the October 2023 newsletter here!

Books Forward Authors in the Media: October 2023

What can we say, Books Forward authors are always going, going, going! We’re excited to feature some of our authors and their recent media wins.

  • Heather Dixon wrote a guest post for In Reference to Murder.
  • BookLife called Kathryn K. Abdul-baki’s new book a “richly described memoir of a mid-century Arab-American childhood in the Middle East.”
  • Liz Kinchen chatted with Hippocampus Magazine about her new book “Light in Bandaged Places.”
  • My SA featured local author Rudy Ruiz.
  • Audrey Gale hopped on the Murder, Mystery & Mayhem Laced with Morality podcast for an interview.
  • Thushanthi Ponweera’s new book was reviewed by Bookworm for Kids.
  • Kveller featured author Bridget Hodder and her new book “The Promise” in this recent article.
  • Kosoko Jackson’s newest book made this Book Riot list of 9 YA Novels from the Horror Renaissance You Need to Read.
  • Indie Crime Scene interviewed author Maggie Giles about her recent release “Twisted.”
  • KSQD’s The Dream Journal hosted an interview with Roberta Kuriloff.
  • Author T.C. Morrison wrote about writing legal satire in this piece for Robot Butt.
  • Citywide Blackout interviewed Lyn Squire about his new book.
  • Rob Long and Andrew Dolberg were featured in Punxsutawney Spirit for their book “The Great Weather Diviner.”
  • Sanctuary Magazine featured an excerpt from Suzanne Marriott’s book “Watching for Dragonflies.”
  • American University alum Sid Balman Jr. was featured in this piece from The Eagle.
  • Ava Reid and Kosko Jackson made this TOR reading list of Most Anticipated Young Adult SFF/H for September & October 2023.
  • Cartoon Brew interviewed S.H. Cotugno about their new book “The Glass Scientists.”
  • Leisl Kaberry describes how she started her writing journey in this article for Book Club Babble.
  • BookLife named Lynn Slaughter’s “Missed Cue” an editor’s pick in this review.

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Your Next Fav Read?: Books Forward BFFs October 2023 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter for our Books Forward Friends. This issue features highlights of our BFFs, fun titles available for review, and special opportunities for our friends.

Download the October 2023 newsletter here!