Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

Danielle J. Dresser | New Beginnings

January 11, 2021

I have a love-hate relationship with the New Year. On the one hand, it’s a brand-new time—full of possibility, a fresh start, and a time to plan and think about all the things that could happen in the coming months.

On the other, we live in a society where the New Year signifies a time of intense diet culture (which is really just body shaming and misogyny), insecurity, and whatever else deemed wrong and in need of change.

And let’s not forget we’re still in the middle of a world-wide pandemic and political turmoil. Thanks, 2021!

In spite of all of that, however, good things have been happening (more on that later), and by good things, I do very much mean GOOD BOOKS. Here are a few of my favorite opening lines from some of my fave books of 2020, as well as a few from the 2021 books I’m looking forward to coming out!

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa (2020)

My phone’s text tone chirps like a robin—which fails to prepare me for the clusterfuck on the screen.

ANDREW: Everything you said last night made sense, M. Thanks to you, I can see the truth now. I can’t marry Lina. Need you to break the news. Don’t worry, she’ll handle it with class. Going to disappear for a few days while I get my head straight. Tell Mom and Dad I’ll call them soon.  

I’m too young and hungover for this shit.

The Roommate by Rosie Danan (2020)

When the man of her dreams ran a hand across his devastatingly handsome face and said, “I have to tell you something, and I don’t want you to freak out,” Clara Wheaton considered, for the first time, the alarming possibility that she could get dumped by someone she’d never managed to date.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert (2020)

The moon was high and full, the night was ripe for witchy business, and Danika Brown had honey on her tit. The left one, specifically.

 “For fuck’s sake,” she muttered, and swiped it off.

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria (2020)


The word glared at Jasmine in bright yellow letters, emblazoned directly beneath a picture of her own face. All caps, of course, and below it: Exclusive details from soap star Jasmine Lin’s humiliating breakup with rock star playboy McIntyre.

Daring and the Duke by Sara MacLean (2020)

There was nothing in the wide world like his laugh.

It didn’t matter that she was unqualified to speak of the wide world. She’d never strayed far from this enormous manor house, tucked into the quiet Essex countryside two days’ walk northeast of London, where rolling green hills turned to wheat as autumn crept across the land.

Confessions in B-Flat by Donna Hill (2020)

September 1963

Jason Tanner Loosened his tie as soon as he walked out of Paschal’s Restaurant, still caught in the spell of the past two hours. This was the first time he’d been invited to literally sit at the table with the major leaders of Dr. King’s non-violent movement.

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers (February 2021)

In Las Vegas, they sell cheap replicas of the love locks from the Parisian bridge for $25. You can buy them on your way out of a chapel, drunk and giggly and filled with champagne bubbles. There is someone on your arm, a girl whose name you cannot remember, or perhaps never knew.  

She says, “Let’s get one of these,” and points to the locks.

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon (January 2021)

Dominic Yun is in my sound booth.

He knows it’s my sound both. He’s been here for four months, and there’s no way he doesn’t know it’s my sound both.

The Conductors by Nicole Glover (March 2021)

May 1871

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

When the wagon rolled into view, Hetty took another small step along the tree branch. Lookout was not a role she would have chosen, but Benjy had argued a trap was useless if it wasn’t sprung in the right moment. Someone needed to watch the road, or trouble would be the only thing they caught.

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton (May 2021)

I am surrounded by forgotten women.

They rail against their jailers, beat the iron bars with their fists until their knuckles are bloody, sit in the corner of the cells and rock, soft cries from their lips, their arms wrapped tightly around their bodies.  

I find myself in prison.


Aren’t these all great? These books grabbed me from their opening lines and held my attention until their last pages.

So, on to more good things happening! First, the next Boozy Book Broads chat is this coming Friday, January 15 at 7pm CT/8pmET and we’re chatting with the owners of Love’s Sweet Arrow, Marissa and Roseann. Angelina M. Lopez, Melonie Johnson, our wonderful guests, and I will wax poetic about 2020, what we’re looking forward to in 2021, what it’s like to own and operate an independent bookstore during the pandemic, and so much more, all while we sip champagne! Hope to see you there—more details can be found on Eventbrite.

In personal news, I sold my book! Actually, my amazing agent did, and she’s the best! My contemporary romance novel will be published by Berkley in Summer 2022. I’m so thrilled to share my book with all of you soon. Here’s the official announcement that ran in Publishers Marketplace last week:

Publishers Marketplace Deal Announcement reading: "Fiction: Women's/Romance. Danielle Jackson's ACCIDENTAL PINUP, an #OwnVoices rivals-to-lovers romance about a plus size Black boudoir photographer unexpectedly becoming the model for a new lingerie brand campaign and the rival photographer who may be after her job, to Cindy Hwang at Berkley, with Liz Sellers editing, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer 2022, by Ashley Herring Blake at Rees Literary Agency (world). Posted: January 5, 2021 at 10:32 p.m. Eastern.

So, for 2021 (and beyond), I hope all of you read great books and take care of yourselves—CHEERS!


Fresh Fiction Editorial Manager Danielle Dresser is a contemporary romance author (her debut novel with Berkley will be out in 2022!), an avid reader, lackluster-yet-mighty crafter, and accomplished TV binge-watcher. Once upon a time, she was a publisher publicist and continues to cultivate her love of books and reading by chatting with the best authors in the business. She lives in Chicagoland with her very own romance hero husband, darling daughter, and two tempestuous cats. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @dj_dresser.


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