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

Book Review: One Day by David Nicholls

Blurb: “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?”

Page Count: 435

Goodreads Rating: 3.80/5

Genre: Romance

My Rating: 4/5

THIS REVIEW DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS


I really enjoyed this book because I was always curious to see if Dexter and Emma ended up together, I really enjoyed how each chapter was the same day of each progressive year as well! But I definitely felt a certain way towards the characters, so let’s get into it.

The way the book is written for me, each chapter the same day of the following year, was really fantastic. I absolutely LOVED the catch up. Learning about what Dexter and Emma had managed to achieve and how their lives had changed year on year. They still lived, developed, moved on, moved out, moved jobs, had other partners, lived different lives but the same? They would still continuously meet each year (until the argument), and because of this I felt like even with their own lives and stories they still lived through each other. Still writing letters, trying to keep something alive that wasn’t exactly there. Thats where my next point comes into play.

One thing I got from this book was wrong time, right place. And then finally, right time, right place. For the two of them at the start, it wasn’t right and you could see that. And admittedly as they got older I firmly believed there would never be a right time (mainly because of my dislike for Dexter). BUT when the time did come and they got together I breathed a sigh of relief because I was like FINALLY. RIGHT TIME, ABOUT TIME. I knew I needed their relationship, I just didn’t realise how much.

One of the things that I really noticed was that I was really thinking about the characters Dexter and Emma. For starters, I didn’t like Dexter through pretty much the entire book. There wasn’t a single moment I sympathised or felt sorry for him, even when the ending happened. Even though he drank and partied himself into oblivion, I still couldn’t sympathise. I just honestly thought he was a knob, even when he and Emma ended up together I always thought she was too good for him. But with that said, I also really couldn’t warm to Emma either. I felt like she was really miserable all the time, as much I enjoyed seeing her progress and develop in her life without Dexter after their argument, she STILL didn’t seem to get any happier in the personal sense! It made me sad as it was almost like her happiness depended on Dexter, a man who wasn’t even bothered about her 85% of the time.

But the biggest twist for me, was the end.

I borrowed this book from a friend and at NO POINT, DID HE WARN ME. So when Emma DIED. I WAS LIKE WAIT. WHAT? It was finally the RIGHT TIME for them to be together. Finally they realised it was meant to be and then BANG. I was gutted, even though I wasn’t Emma’s biggest fan I still didn’t dislike her so much she needed to get hit off her bike and die. I just didn’t expect it and I guess thats what made it so good.

The ending really kind of put everything into perspective for me and I realised this book was actually really unfortunate. Two friends, two lovers, and never the right time. And when it finally is the right time, something this huge and drastic happens. It changes the dynamic completely. And even so, I still, couldn’t sympathise with Dexter. He lost so much, including his mother, throughout the book. And yet he was still unpleasant. Him and Emma could have had so much, so much sooner if he hadn’t been such a wanker. But then if Emma also hadn’t been so elitist and so critical about everything maybe Dexter would’ve felt more inclined sooner to make a move. Their whole relationship just baffled me and I actually felt they were really bad for each other.

The characters I did sympathise for were their partners, Ian who was with Emma, and all of Dexters girlfriends who I can’t possibly name. These partners I firmly believe, especially Ian, were caught in the middle of this whirlwind. I sympathised with Ian the most, he was so lovely and I’m so glad that him and Emma did get together, but It made me sad that she just wasn’t that into their relationship because of DEXTER.

But, none the less with this absolutely crazy rollercoaster of feelings, I really loved this book. I kept me hooked, I just didn’t know what was going to happen next with either characters and I feel like the chapters helped with that curiosity by setting the dates and time in-between. I expected so much and was never disappointed and always shook to the core. Hence why I gave this book 4/5.

I would recommend this book to all my friends and family, in fact I did recommend this to my mum!

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.

#StayHome TV Recommendations – Blog Brew Collab

With everything going on and being in isolation/quarantine lockdown during Covid-19, its a good opportunity to catch up on some shows you may be halfway through, wanting too watch or are wanting to join in with the Tiger King memes!

Ive never really taken the time to watch shows until now, its been really refreshing and I’ve watched SO MUCH MORE than I could have ever anticipated. So here are some recommendations from Netflix, Amazon Prime and more!

TOP BOY; Summerhouse Season 1 & 2 and TOP BOY Season 3 – NETFLIX

If you’re into gritty behind the scenes action of the London drug scene then this is definitely one for you. Sully and Dushane are the main characters and I enjoyed these seasons form start to finish. There is certainly never a dull moment and it keeps you on your toes. How all the storylines link is very clever, insanely action packed.

Breaking Bad – NETFLIX

If there is any time to watch a 5 season series it is now. With phenomenal ratings, a prequel series call Better Call Saul and a MOVIE, This show is a hit and not one to be missed! Underground meth labs and an incredible cast and storyline to go with it, no doubt those who have watched it have definitely told you about it.

Hanna – AMAZON PRIME

For this there is the Film and the TV Series. I would definitely recommend watching the film as it is fantastic. AS IS The Amazon Prime TV Series, consisting of 7 episodes the film only covers so much of the storyline. The TV Series however keeps the storyline going and it is just endlessly action packed and gripping. Definitely another one to binge watch.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness – NETFLIX

NOW THIS ONE, WOW. A documentary rollercoaster of animal rights, misery, mystery and murder. Focusing mainly on GW Zoo in Oklahoma, Joe Exotic runs on of the largest big cat zoos with over 200+ Tigers and other animal, not forgetting THAT BITCH CAROLE BASKIN. I highly recommend as some of the twists and turns within this docu-series are WILD.

Louis Theroux’s Most Dangerous Pets – BBC iPLAYER

If you enjoyed Tiger King and couldn’t get enough of it, then you’re in luck. in 2011 Joe Exotic did an episode with the AMAZING Louis Theroux. You can enjoy Joe Exotic and Louis Theroux all in the same place!

The US Office – AMAZON PRIME

It’s safe to say the US Office will never ever, ever, let us down. The greatest comedy sitcom with Steve Carrell, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer and so many more iconic actors and actresses I could binge watch this show for hours and hours. Definitely one to lighten the mood with this series for some light watching!

Hunters – AMAZON PRIME

Now this one I would advise that you look into first, I personally thoroughly enjoyed this dive to the way it was filmed and the actors, although it has a lot of reviews for being distasteful and glorifying the holocaust. The main premise is those who survived the holocaust targeting those nazis able to live in the US after everything that happened. Those who mistreated them the most, would most probably end up dead. Personally, I would recommend a watch, especially with Logan Lerman as one of the main stars.

The Staircase – NETFLIX

Another docuseries based on a woman who died from falling down the stairs. Although, the series highlights how, this definitely isn’t the case. Focusing solely on her husband this is another series which makes you THINK. I am highly excited to watch this as I am hugely into scandals and how the story being portrayed is definitely not what happened.

MTV’s (Celebrity) Ex On The Beach – SKY+ / NOW TV

I can safely say after keeping up with this explosive TV show from the start, the seasons just get better and better. What better concept of sending sexy singles to a villa to then watch them crumble as their Ex’s appear out of the sea. Highly recommend this series if you’re wanting something easy going, explosive, entertaining and sometimes some big celebrities (For example the season out at the moment is Celebrity Ex On the Beach, but sometimes on normal seasons they’ll have the occasional celebrity ex appear).

Hannah Montana, That’s so Raven, Suite life of Zack and Cody, etc. – DISNEY+

The Disney Original shows, what more do you NEED in this time? Binge watch all the OG shows from your childhood, not to mention all the big school music films. AND A HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL TV SERIES? What more do you NEED WOW. This one is definitely a childhood pleasure. Not to mention all the incredible movies and the Star Wars original from Disney available also!

Jack Ryan – AMAZON PRIME

This series staring John Krasinski is apparently incredible. 2 seasons are available on Amazon Prime and it is explosive and I have heard nothing but good things and good ratings for it. Action packed and a great storyline also! Another one to add to your watch list.

White Gold – NETFLIX

An amazing comedy staring Ed Westwick from Gossip Girl and Inbetweeners stars James Buckley and Joe Thomas this is the greatest laugh. Based in Essex, 3 double glazing salesmen trying to make money. I personally found the series absolutely hilarious. The characters, the storyline, the cockiness go of Ed Westwick’s character just seals the deal. A great and comical watch with 2 seasons available.

Noughts + Crosses – BBC iPLAYER

A recent adaptation on Malorie Blackman’s book series Noughts + Crosses on BBC iPlayer, I definitely recommend the books and the TV Series! The first season is 6 episodes long, its gritty and covers so many topics which are usually not discussed, its action packed and the storyline is awesome, its incredible really and also features Stormzy in the last episode! The books are also amazing, I’ve read the 5 book series twice!

There are so many more great shows and films to watch out there but these are just a few of my favourites / ones that have been recommended not to miss!

What have you watched / Been watching during your Isolation? Let me know!

This blog post was part of a wonderful Series by myself and 9 beautiful girlies known as The Blog Brew, Find all the girls websites below and what they have posted about within this series!

Bloggers Participating in this collaboration!