21 fantastic books you're going to fall in love with this Valentine's Day
The most loved-up day of the year is just around the corner.
And while many prefer chocolates or flowers for Valentine's Day, we're all about the idea of books being the best Valentine's gift out there.
Whether you're looking for a gift for your loved one or for yourself (because, hey, why not treat yourself?), we have rounded up 21 amazing books to fall in love with this Valentine's Day.
Eleanor & Park: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she's never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.
Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and - in Eleanor's eyes - impossibly cool, Park's worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by.
Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose.
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
This is the extraordinary love story of Clare and Henry who met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty.
Impossible but true, because Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future.
In the face of this force they can neither prevent nor control, Henry and Clare's struggle to lead normal lives is both intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.
Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey
Rosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be anyway. Now Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with ten years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp.
Never in a million years did Rosie believe her stoic, too-manly-to-emote husband would actually agree to relationship rehab with a weed-smoking hippie. Dom talking about feelings? Sitting on pillows? Communing with nature? Learning love languages? Nope. But to her surprise, he’s all in, and it forces her to admit her own role in their cracked foundation. As they complete one ridiculous—yet surprisingly helpful—assignment after another, their remodeled relationship gets stronger than ever. Except just as they’re getting back on track, Rosie discovers Dom has a secret... and it could demolish everything.
When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri
Katie Daniels, a twenty-eight-year-old Kentucky transplant with a strong set of traditional values, has just been dumped by her fiancé when she finds herself seated across a negotiating table from native New Yorker Cassidy Price, a sexy, self-assured woman wearing a man's suit. At first neither of them knows what to make of the other, but soon their undeniable connection will bring into question everything each of them thought they knew about sex and love.
When Katie Met Cassidy is a romantic comedy about gender and sexuality, and the importance of figuring out who we are in order to go after what we truly want. It's also a portrait of a high-drama subculture where bar rooms may as well be bedrooms, and loyal friends fill in the spaces absent families leave behind. Katie's glimpse into this wild yet fiercely tight-knit community begins to alter not only how she sees the larger world, but also where exactly she fits in.
The Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren
Carey Douglas has worked for design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and - more than anyone would suspect - has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There's only one problem: America's favourite couple can't stand each other.
James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn't all he thought it'd be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.
Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses' secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along - and start playing for keeps - they may have the chance to build something beautiful together . . .
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Keiko is 36 years old. She's never had a boyfriend, and she's been working in the same supermarket for eighteen years.
Keiko's family wishes she'd get a proper job. Her friends wonder why she won't get married.
But Keiko knows what makes her happy, and she's not going to let anyone come between her and her convenience store...
Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
Available on Kindle now; available in paperback in March.
A wedding planner left at the altar? Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials.
Marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning—absolutely off-limits—ex-fiancée. And she loathes him.
If they can nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own.
Soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again...
Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?
The faire is Simon's family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn't have time for Emily's lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she's in her revealing wench's costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they're portraying?
This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can't seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.
Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal
It is a truth universally acknowledged that when a family's fortune is destroyed by scandal and rumour, they must look to their daughters to marry well. Alys Binat, however, loves life as it is: teaching English literature and encouraging her female students to aspire to more than society expects of them. She is resolute: she will not marry.
However, her mother thinks differently and when the family receive an invite to a big wedding, Mrs Binat immediately coaches her daughters to snag rich, eligible bachelors. There, Alys's eldest sister, Jena, catches the eye of Fahad `Bungles' Bingla, a successful entrepreneur, but Alys is irked when she overhears Bungles' friend Valentine Darsee's snobbish assessment of her.
As the festivities unfold, the Binats hold their breath, waiting to see if Bungles will propose. And Alys realises that Darsee's apparent rudeness and contempt may conceal a different man from the one she first judged him to be. An essential guide to marriage, class and sisterhood in modern-day Pakistan.
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
Available for Kindle now; available in hardcover on March 3.
Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They've been together for almost a decade, and Lydia thinks their love is indestructible. But she's wrong. Because on her 27th birthday, Freddie dies in a tragic accident.
So now it's just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob 'til her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to live her life well. So, enlisting the help of his best friend and her sister Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world and starts to live - perhaps even to love - again.
Then something unbelievable happens, and Lydia gets another chance at her old life with Freddie. But what if there's someone in her new life who wants her to stay?
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
On the eve of his ex's wedding festivities, Drew Nichols is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend...
Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is not something Alexa Monroe would normally do. But Drew's proposal proves hard to resist.
After their wedding date turns into a whole weekend of fun in San Francisco, Drew and Alexa return to their all-consuming careers - his in LA and hers in Berkeley. Too bad they can't stop thinking about each other...
It could be the long-distance dating disaster of the century - or Drew and Alexa could be just a flight away from what each of them truly wants.
Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls
For film projectionist Nick, love should mirror what he sees on the big screen. And when he falls for Ellie on the eve of the 2008 presidential election, it finally does.
For four blissful years, Nick loved Ellie as much as he loved his job splicing film reels together in the local cinema. Life seemed... picture-perfect.
But now it's 2012, Ellie has moved out and Nick's trying to figure out where it all went wrong.
With Ellie gone and his life far from the happy ending he imagined, Nick wonders if their romance could ever again be as perfect as the night they met.
The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
Gavin Scott's marriage is trouble. The Nashville Legends baseball star has recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. His reaction to the revelation is the final straw for their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he's let his pride and fear get the better of him.
Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville's top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency called Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it'll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his beloved wife.
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
Award-winning journalist Dolly Alderton survived her twenties (just about) and in Everything I Know About Love, she gives an unflinching account of the bad dates and squalid flat-shares, the heartaches and humiliations, and most importantly, the unbreakable female friendships that helped her to hold it all together.
Glittering with wit, heart and humour, this is a book to press into the hands of every woman who has ever been there or is about to find themselves taking that first step towards the rest of their lives.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Narrated by Kathy, now thirty-one, Never Let Me Go dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world.
A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.
Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other's sentences. They have a happy marriage and believe they know everything there is to know about each other. Until it's casually mentioned to them that they could be together for another sixty-eight years... and panic sets in.
They quickly decide to create little surprises for each other, to keep their relationship fresh and fun. But in their pursuit of Project Surprise Me - anything from unexpected gifts to restaurant dates to photo shoots - mishaps arise with disastrous and comical results.
Gradually, the surprises turn to shocking discoveries. And when a scandal from the past is uncovered, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all. . .
It Started With A Secret by Jill Mansell
The trouble with secrets is that you can't guess what the consequences will be...
Lainey has lost everything. Luckily one little fib (OK, quite a big fib) helps nail her dream job. Soon she's living in a stunning house by the sea, fending off obsessed fans for a retired - if far-from-retiring - actor and organising his charming but chaotic family. It's definitely worth the challenge of keeping her secret.
At least Lainey isn't looking for love. It's time for a break from all that. And yet...Seth, the actor's grandson, really is rather attractive. There's growing chemistry and a definite connection between them. But how would he react if he knew she hadn't been honest with him?
Lainey's not the only one with a secret, though. Seth has one of his own. And everything's about to start unravelling...
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
Noah Calhoun has just returned from World War Two. Attempting to escape the ghosts of battle, he tries to concentrate on restoring an old plantation home to its former glory. And yet he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met there fourteen years before, a girl who captured his heart like no other.
But when these distant memories begin to slide into reality, the passion that had lain still is ignited once more. Though so much is in their way, the miraculous force of their love refuses to fade.
My Coney Island Baby by Billy O'Callaghan
On a bitterly cold winter’s afternoon, Michael and Caitlin escape their unhappy marriages to keep an illicit rendez-vous. Once a month, for the past quarter of a century, Coney Island has been their haven.
These precious, hidden hours are their only nourishment. But now, amid the howling of an angry snowstorm, the shut-down, out-of-season resort feels like the edge of the world. And their lives, suddenly, are on the brink – with news of serious illness on one side, and a move to the Midwest on the other. And so, after half a lifetime spent in secret, certain long-avoided facts need to be faced, consequences examined, decisions made, and – perhaps – chances finally taken.
Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
Pepper is the swim team captain, a chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming — mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.
Jack is the class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.
All’s fair in love and cheese — that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life — on an anonymous chat app Jack built.
As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate — people on the internet are shipping them?? — their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.
The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary
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...