Staff Picks

Fall in Love

It’s hard to believe it’s cuffing season in Illinois when temperatures are 70 in November.

Despite the gorgeous warm weather, we are well into fall.

Now is still a prime time to break out the toasted marshmallow hot chocolate and cozy socks.

If you aren’t familiar with cuffing season, it’s essentially a term where single people look for partners to help pass the cold, long months.

It begins in October and usually lasts until Valentine’s day.

Winter can be a bleak time for many; it’s pitch black at 5pm and nobody wants to be outside because it’s freezing. It can make people feel lonely, and the idea of a relationship seems very appealing during this time. 

I’m here to tell you that you don’t need a relationship to get you through these long, cold months.

It’s totally fine if you want one, but you can still be perfectly content with just yourself and the things that bring you joy (like a good book).

You can still experience longing, heartbreak and love through rich characters and interesting stories. 


Romance gets a bad rep sometimes.

Many people stay away because they think the plotlines are too silly, cliche, or downright boring.

Most romance doesn't have the thrill of a Ruth Ware novel or the astounding worldbuilding of a Brandon Sanderson book.

But did you know romance is currently the bestselling fiction genre?

The stories of ordinary people trying to tackle the many facets of love is something that resonates greatly with readers.

Yes, sometimes these tales have werewolves or 18th century dukes, but the universal message remains the same:

love is the most powerful feeling on Earth, and many of us long to experience it. 

That's why I've compiled a list of romance stories that debuted this fall that ignite those giddy feelings and butterflies in our stomachs.

The feelings that make us laugh, cry, and still think optomistically about the world.

So if you don't have a partner for this winter, grab your hot cocoa anyway and check out some of these fun romance picks that will make you fall in love. 



Written in the Stars

By Alexandria Bellefleur

After a dreadful blind date with Elle Jones, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her brother from playing matchmaker ever again. So she lies to him and calls the date a success, when in reality Elle is way too free-spirited for her analytic and serious self. However, when Darcy's brother becomes Elle's new business partner, the lie comes back to haunt her. Darcy begs Elle to keep up the ruse, and Elle agrees on the condition that she helps her navigate her own overbearing family during the holidays. As they spend more time together and invest in a fake relationship, Darcy discovers the feelings might not be a sham after all. 


Ties That Tether

By Jane Igharo

At a young age, Azere promised her dying father that she would marry a Nigerian man and preserve her culture. After immigrating to Canada, her mother has been as vigilant as ever in helping her stay within the Nigerian dating pool. But when another blind date goes wrong, Azere ends up at a bar enjoying the company of Rafael Castellano. Rafael is tall, handsome, and...white. When their chemistry turns into something serious, Azere is hopelessly caught between her feelings for Rafael and the need to honor her father's dying wish. Can she be with him without losing her family forever?


In A Holidaze

By Christina Lauren

Maelyn Jones hates her dead end job and the fact that she's still living with her parents.The only joy she finds this year is spending Christmas at her favorite place in the world, a snowy cabin in Utah with her parents and two other families. However, this will be the last year she gets to spend here, and it breaks her heart. She throws out a plea to the universe as she's driving home from the cabin, begging to show her true happiness. The next thing she knows, tires screech and she crashes her car. When she awakes, she finds herself on a plane heading back to Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. Stuck in a strange time loop, Maelyn must figure out how to break free while coming to terms with her true love.


Simmer Down

By Sarah Smith

After quitting her dream job, Nikki DeMarco finds herself helping her mother with their Filipino food truck. The competition is cutthroat and gets substantially worse when a rude truck owner named Callum James steals their coveted beach spot. He's taking all the customers, but an enraged Nikki isn't going down without a fight. The upcoming food festival will be the ultimate judge of their fates, and as their rivalry simmers, Nikki sees an unexpected side of Callum that makes her question everything.


A Rogue of One's Own

By Evie Dunmore

Lady Lucy is seething. She and her Oxford suffragists can finally take over one of London's major publishing houses and use it as a coup against Parliament. However, there's one thing standing in her way, and he goes by the name of Lord Tristan Ballentine. An old nemesis and London's lord of sin, he won't give Lucy what she wants unless she abides by his conditions. Appalled at the mere thought of agreeing to his terms, Lucy clashes with him at every turn, and this battle of wills and words won't be won easily. 



By Alexa Martin 

Elliott Reed has just landed her dream job as a Strategic Communications Manager for the Denver Mustangs. Things are going smoothly until star quarterback Quinton Howard Jr. becomes the first player to take a knee during the national anthem. As the son of a former athlete, Quinton knows all the good and ugly sides to the game. He has worked his entire life to gain his own recognition, and now that he has it, he wants to make a lasting difference in the league. This causes tension with Elliott who has been assigned to manage him. With her job and his intergity on the line, there is not a clear winner in this battle.


Well Played

Jen DeLuca

Stacey is jolted when her two friends get engaged. She put her life on hold to care for her sick mother, but now she feels like she has to play catch-up. She loves spending her summers working at the Renaissance Faire, but she also wants something more out of life. Stacey vows to have it all figured out by the time her friends get married, and she wants to find 'The One.'  She never imagines that her summetime fling, Dex, could fit that bill. Stacey has never felt connected emotionally to him, but that changes when he sends her a surpisingly sweet email. When the Faire returns to her town nine months later, Stacey comes face-to-face with who she's been exchanging hundreds of emails with, and to her surprise it isn't Dex. 

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