The Blog Brew Collaboration: Romance Book Recommendations for Valentines!

Welcome to another instalment of The Blog Brew Collaboration! Stay tuned for updates with our collaboration, we are wanting to re-brand and redesign as a group so this may be my last post as The Blog Brew! Exciting times ahead!

So I’ve decided to write my post about good romance books for Valentines day. Valentines in lockdown means that not many of us are heading out anywhere or have any plans in the mix, but for some, just cuddling up with a good romance book or some reading downtime in the day before lockdown valentines evening plans commence is definitely a must, SO here are 10 Romance book recommendations!

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary.

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…
 

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. 

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

The Fault in our Stars by John Green.

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love. 

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire.

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand. 

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match

The Kiss Quotent by Helen Hoang.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic… 

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang.

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

One Day by David Nicholls.

15th July 1988: Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways.

So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that?

And every year that follows?

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James.

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

This book is intended for mature audiences.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.

Set amid the austere beauty of the North Carolina coast begins the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner recently returned from the Second World War. Noah is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories…until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again.

Like a puzzle within a puzzle, the story of Noah and Allie is just the beginning. As it unfolds, their tale miraculously becomes something different, with much higher stakes. The result is a deeply moving portrait of love itself, the tender moments and the fundamental changes that affect us all. It is a story of miracles and emotions that will stay with you forever.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Award for Most Popular Book.

An atmospheric, gritty, and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932, by the bestselling author of Riding Lessons. 

When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, drifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her. 

Beautifully written, Water for Elephants is illuminated by a wonderful sense of time and place. It tells a story of a love between two people that overcomes incredible odds in a world in which even love is a luxury that few can afford.

P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern.

A novel about holding on, letting go, and learning to love again.

Now in paperback, the endearing novel that captured readers’ hearts and introduced a fresh new voice in women’s fiction Cecelia Ahern.

Holly couldn’t live without her husband Gerry, until the day she had to. They were the kind of young couple who could finish each other’s sentences. When Gerry succumbs to a terminal illness and dies, 30-year-old Holly is set adrift, unable to pick up the pieces. But with the help of a series of letters her husband left her before he died and a little nudging from an eccentric assortment of family and friends, she learns to laugh, overcome her fears, and discover a world she never knew existed.

The kind of enchanting novel with cross-generational appeal that comes along once in a great while, PS, I Love You is a captivating love letter to the world!

Day 1 – Rhiannon over at Mrssleejones
Day 2 – Karalee over at talesofbelle
Day 3 – N/A
Day 4 – Kim over at chimmyville
Day 5 – Jessie over at wandererandtraveller (Me!)
Day 6 – Haley over at introvertedcreativity
Day 7 – Luce over at perselem
Day 8 – Beth over at thoughtsofarealredhead

My 2020 Reading Round Up!

My 2020 reading journey was a ride and a half. With Lockdown coming into play in early 2020 I’d already picked up more books as a means to keep myself busy. What was even better was when my boyfriend, our friends and I decided during lockdown to get a book club going. It really varied up my reading and as we were all really interested in different types of genres it was interesting to read something different!

My reading goal for 2020 was 50 books. I ended up reading 53 books, so I was really happy to have reached my goal and then some! You can find some of the books I read this year below, as well as my top 10 books from the year. Top 10 was not easy to choose thats for sure, but it definitely made me realise every once and a while you should pick up something you’re not used to reading!

My top 10 below! Let me know if you’ve ready any of the books below in the comments and your thoughts as well!

My Top 10 from 2020!

Choosing my top 10 was the hardest thing I’ve had to do this year (so far!), but please enjoy these recommendations in no particular order! I did also throw a few series in here which were amazing but will definitely tell you the best book from the series.

The Wayward Pines Series – Blake Crouch

The most excitable series I’ve read so far, futuristic, thrilling and absolutely terrifying all in one. The best book was without a doubt Wayward #2, the second book in the series. I was gripped from start to finish and didn’t take a minute between books before I was moving onto the next.

The Lunar Chronicles – Marissa Meyer

This entire series was phenomenal from start to finish and the final book was the longest book I read all year. Winter #4 was 827 pages and I finished this book as I came into the new year for 2020. BUT the best book of the series personally for me absolutely had to be Scarlet #2. I thoroughly enjoyed learning abut Scarlet and Wolf, I remember their story, minus Cinders, more than any of the others in the book. Including Levanas story and that was pretty crazy.

A Court of Thorns & Roses Series – Sarah J. Maas

I finished this season quite recently and although I enjoyed all the entire series the best book was without a doubt the first one, A Court of Thorns & Roses #1. The way this book ended and meeting the characters and seeing how they change throughout made me so excited to see how the story was going to progress.

The Secret Race – Tyler Hamilton

This was a recommendation from our lockdown bookclub and not something I would usually read. I know absolutely nothing about the Tour De France, Lance Armstrong or doping. But this book by Ex-Cyclist Tyler Hamilton definitely changed all of that and in a really great way. Tyler Hamilton tells his story of the cycling scene in Tour De France, how the doping happens and where, and what Lance Armstrong is really like. I LOVED this book, totally addicted. Especially as this is a topic I didn’t know much about I found it so so interesting to read and learn about!

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kay

A comedic and eye-opening revelation of what happens in our hospitals and the challenges faced with becoming a doctor. Another recommendation from bookclub too! I read this book in 2 days, it made me chuckle but it also made me cry with loss and heartache. So well written and incredibly well done. Not tasteless and a really insightful.

War Doctor – David Nott

Another recommendation from our glorious bookclub which I never would have thought of reading. Straight away I was sucked in. To be a doctor in a war zone sounds like carnage and I was so upset with a few of the stories and how devastating they were. It was just incredible learning what its like volunteering in a war zone, the risk of being kidnapped, murdered, tortured. But being able to save so many lives who had been involuntarily affected by the wars surrounding them must be SO rewarding.

10 Minutes & 38 Seconds in this Strange World – Elif Shafak

I picked this one up from one of the night manager at work. It was left in the hotel I work in and eventually we can take the books for ourselves if they go unclaimed. So I decided this was mine and it made me want to go to Istanbul and explore. This book also really highlights the essence of true friendship, love and traditions and really made me feel warm inside. Even if the story was based on murdering prostitutes.

The Kiss Quotent – Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotent is #1 of the series and I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it was from a perspective I had only ever once read before. The Curious incident of the Dog In the Nighttime, the main character has Aspergers. In this story the main female character is Autistic. It was so lovely but also a learning curve to see this love story come together through their difficulties. The second book was also fantastic, I am now patiently waiting for book #3!

The Choice – Dr Edith Eger

I LOVE Holocaust books, I find them so interesting and insightful and I feel this is why I also enjoy Dark Tourism as I take a lot of interesting in learning about something I could not ever imagine having to experience. The Choice is based on Dr Edith Eger, Mengeles Little Dancer, and her experience and memoir of her time in the holocaust. Moving and truly inspiring on EVERY account.

The Flat Share – Beth O’Leary

I laughed and I cried and I wanted this love story SO MUCH. It was so lighthearted and constantly kept you wondering and wishing. I really really loved this book, the storyline and the way it came together. So much so that I recommended it to my boyfriend and even he enjoyed the humour it offered. I thought it was too much of a chick flick book for him but he loved it.

June Reading Round Up

I haven’t managed to read as much in recent months as I have in the past few months which makes me sad, but I’ve still managed to get through a couple of books! I’ve upped my reading goal to #35 for the year and I am currently on 34 books! So I might have to up it again! Here is what I managed to read this June!

The Kiss Quotient (#1) – Helen Hoang

This was such a beautiful love story, I especially love the POV from Stella who is Autistic. I always find books like this really informative as well. As a person who doesn’t suffer from Autism its really good to know boundaries like how she doesn’t like being touched, loud room and crowded places and other points throughout the book. That made me love this couple even more, how gentle he is with her. but GOD DAMN is it one SAUCY book. I was not prepared for the amount of sex but it was definitely welcomed. I also enjoyed the cultural aspects which made it all the more interesting for me!

The Bridge Test (#2) – Helen Hoang

In this second book of the series you meet Esme from Vietnam and Khai who was introduced to us briefly in the first book, he is also autistic and it was good one again to learn his different needs and boundaries once again. Another beautiful love story and I love that it entwines well with book one and the characters and storyline from the previous book. I was hooked all the way through dying for everything to work out how it should do. I loved both of these books so much.

BUT IMAGINE FINISHING THE BOOK TO DISCOVER THE THIRD BOOK ISN’T OUT UNTIL MAY 2021, I AM GUTTED, And I also can’t wait and absolutely have it on pre-order for my Kindle already!

Two Brothers – Ben Elton

Based in Nazi Germany an absolutely heartbreaking story about a Jewish family in Berlin. I really really loved this because I love the historic aspect. I have a real morbid fascination about Holocaust books, I find them so informative to read. This story really is heartbreaking and shows the things young people will do for love, especially in such a difficult time. But I love the friendship dynamic between the 4 main characters, The Saturday Club. But if there is anything I hate, it’s Dagmar. She a bitch.

Finding Emma (#1) – Steena Holmes

I’ve been waiting to read this book for so long! And it was worth the wait, constantly something happening and I was totally hooked and waiting for the next huge thing. I Felt so sorry for Megan throughout the whole thing especially for her marriage. The ending was also everything I could have possibly wanted and more and made me really happy. I can’t say at any point I warmed to Dottie. I thought she was nasty the whole way through even though I know she was suffering.

Emma’s Secret (#2) – Steena Holmes

This book was a little more disappointing. Emma didn’t really have a secret. Well she did, but it wasn’t huge enough to name the book Emma’s Secret. I felt it was still interesting and kept me reading but I wasn’t overly impressive.

Dear Jack (#3) – Steen Holmes

Extracts from Dottie’s journals as she journals throughout the whole book. It was interesting to read her POV especially as I was always so apprehensive of Dottie and I still don’t like her very much. Although this short and sweet book made me sympathise with her more I just felt more sorry for Jack more than anything.

Less – Andrew Sean Greer

This was a book club suggestion and oh my GOD did I LOVE this. Following Arthur Less’s travel journey form country to country and as a writer and ex lover of a famous poet, not to mention the scandal that came with that, I was totally hooked by this book. It was written so well and beautifully, I just wanted to give Arthur Less a cuddle but also follow him on all his adventures.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

I’ve read this book already before but I think its just SO good that I had to re-read it. Not only is the storyline phenomenal but I love all the maths equations and the way Christopher describes things. its clear that the book isn’t about Aspergers but about being an outsider and different. I also love Toby, his pet rat.

Heres to another month of reading more books, I would LOVE some suggestions, drop me a comment for some good books!