Awesome alternative Valentine’s Day reads

Not feeling Valentine’s Day this year, or perhaps any year? Maybe you’re not into the commercialisation of telling people you love them, would rather go out for dinner with your Mum or spend the evening in watching Netflix with absolutely no mention of heart-shaped chocolates or confessing your undying love to your secret crush.

For me, Valentine’s Day is a bit of a non-starter. I’m not a teddy bear kind of girl, and I tell the important people in my life that I love them all the time. Whether you hate Valentine’s Day in general or you’re just not feeling the ooey-gooey, lovey-dovey vibes this year, this list has lots of awesome Valentine’s Day reads that celebrate all of the love in our lives every day of the year, romantic or nah.

Recommendations from Bookshelves & Biros:

What’s A Girl Gotta Do? (The Spinster Club #3) by Holly Bourne

There’s a little bit of romance in this book, but What’s A Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne is really about the bond between friends and how our interests and passions can be just as fulfilling and satisfying as our relationships. This is a love story, but not in the traditional sense. It’s about leaning on our friends, learning to love ourselves (even with all of our contradictions and flaws) and finding joy and purpose in the things we do outside of our relationships: the things that make us us. 

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda is one of Roald Dahl’s best-loved and most famous books, and for good reason. The story of a super-smart young girl with a talent for telekinesis and truly awful parents, Matilda shows us all that true love and affection doesn’t always have to come from our families or relationships. Sometimes our friends and the people outside of our blood relations become our real families, and Matilda’s wonderfully sweet and honest relationship with Miss Honey, a teacher who celebrates her for everything she is, makes this book one of my all time favourites.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White 

Usually dog is man’s best friend, but in E.B. White’s classic middle grade novel, it’s all about Wilbur the pig. Love can come from the most unlikely of places, and I can’t think of many books that celebrate the joy and tenderness of true friendship in a better way than Charlotte’s Web. Also, gotta appreciate a spider who has such a vast vocabulary, right?

Recommendations from some of my wonderful book blogger friends:

Amanda at Cover2CoverMom suggests…

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

“A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman has many different themes, but friendship is a big part of this book.  Ove, a curmudgeon is mourning the loss of his wife when he gets a set of new neighbors.  Ove is very stringent and thrives on order and routine.  When a pregnant “foreign woman,” her clumsy husband, and two daughters show up on his doorstep, it is safe to say that Ove is thrown for a loop.  It isn’t long before Parvaneh and her family force their way into Ove’s life and heart.  I love how A Man Called Ove shows us that friends can show up very unexpectedly in our lives and fill a void in our lives that we didn’t realize we had.”

The One-In-A-Million Boy by Monica Wood

“The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood includes the unlikely friendship between an 104-year-old woman and a 11-year-old boy.  Neither one has many friends as Ona has outlived many of her friends and the boy struggles to relate to other children his age.  There is just something so sweet about their relationship.  Both got so much out of their relationship.  This is a very heartwarming read.  The One-in-a-Million Boy teaches us that we are never too old to make a new friend.”

The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

“The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel is about a boy named Fielding who befriends “the devil.”  Do I have your attention now?  Good!  This book tackles so many tough topics like racism, homophobia, domestic violence, child abuse, etc. but it also includes a beautiful friendship between Fielding and Sal. Sal teaches Fielding a great many things over the course of their friendship, and Fielding’s life will never be the same.  The Summer That Melted Everything highlights the fact that some friendships can impact the rest of our lives.”

Jess at The Mud and Stars Book Blog recommends…


Wild by Cheryl Strayed

“Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, about her experience of hiking the Pacific Crest trail, all by herself, after hitting rock bottom, is my pick. It’s a gripping, emotional read about an awesome lady facing an enormous challenge, and kicking ass on her own! It’s one of those life-changing books which makes you feel empowered, inspired, and fills you with hope.”

Bonus alternative V-Day recommendations to bolster your ever-growing TBR

Featuring unlikely friendships, man’s best friend, family ties, unbreakable bonds, girl power, self-love and lust for life, these books are your go-to for awesome non-gushy Valentine’s Day reading.

  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (DUH)
  • Winnie The Pooh by A.A. Milne
  • Skellig by David Almond
  • Unbecoming by Jenny Downham
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • Vicky Angel by Jacqueline Wilson
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  • Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
  • The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares

Which books do you turn to celebrate love in all of its different forms? Let me know all in the comments!

Also, a huge thanks to Amanda and Jess for sharing their recommendations for alternative, non-romantic Valentine’s Day books with me! If you don’t already follow them, what are you waiting for? They’re both seriously great, trust me.




9 Valentine’s Day reads to give you all of the feels

For the romantics of us, Valentines Day is one day in the year where you get to express in the gushiest of ways how much those we love mean to us. For everyone else, it’s a commercialised mess of saccharine sentiment, too much chocolate and teddy bears that will be relegated to the loft come the 15th February.

I fall somewhere in the middle. I’m not averse to the idea of Valentine’s Day, but by no means do I want stuffed toys (unless its this cuddly Buckbeak, obvs) and I think its silly to dedicate just one day out of 365 to expressing affection for those that we love the most, whether that’s a partner, a friend, a relative or even a pet.

To celebrate this divisive little day, I’ve got two swoon worthy lists for you. For anyone who can’t get on a good ship fast enough, or wants to snuggle down with a fluffy, tingly YA romance then this list is your bae. For everyone and anyone that feels mildly nauseous at the thought of slow dancing under the stars or sharing spaghetti, check out my alternative list of Valentines Day reads, coming next week! 

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard


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Featuring a romantic relationship that is in turn totally cute and utterly realistic, A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a love story that is totally fit for the 21st century. I defy you not to fall in love with Rhys and Steffi as they navigate their lives, their disabilities and their relationship.

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson


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Packed with sparkly writing, gorgeous metaphor and two love interests to faint for, Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You The Sun is as swoon-worthy as they come.

Haunt Me by Liz Kessler 


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Ghosts, bullying, grief and drugs. Sounds romantic, right? Seriously though, this book manages to balance powerful subject matter and great character development with the sweetest paranormal romance. Think Ghost for the Instagram generation.

How Hard Can Love Be? (The Spinster Club #2) by Holly Bourne


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Holly Bourne tells it how it is. Amber is a British girl at a summer camp in the USA who falls for a quintessential American dude. It’s touching, slow-burning and laugh-out-loud hilarious.

The Next Together (The Next Together #1) by Lauren James


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Lauren James really had her work cut out with this one. A mash-up of the historical and sci-fi genres, The Next Together is a sweepingly romantic adventure set against the backdrop of major historical events and futuristic technology. In a fun twist, you can even find out what time period from The Next Together you should really live in. Thanks, Buzzfeed. We love you.

Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren James


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If you like your love stories with a dystopian flavour, then Delirium is a good place to start. In a society where people are ‘cured’ for life of being infected with ‘deliria’ aged 18, one girl does the unthinkable: she falls in love.

Noughts and Crosses (Noughts and Crosses #1) by Malorie Blackman


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Noughts and Crosses is one of the original and best YA dystopia books. It also features one of the most heartbreaking, soul-shattering, beautifully rendered love stories I’ve ever come across. This THE book to read if you’re a) a fan of the most powerful writing and social commentary and b) (on a more Valentines Day-friendly note) if you’re a fan of forbidden romance in a big way.

The Bone Gap by Laura Ruby


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The Bone Gap isn’t obviously romantic at first glance, but the writing and the development of the relationships between the main characters is so heady that you can’t help but become invested. Finn and Petey’s romance isn’t conventional, but it is beautifully and achingly realised.

The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare


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SWOON SWOON SWOON. Cassandra Clare, Queen of Ships, brings another two ultimate book boyfriend candidates to the table in The Infernal Devices series. Torn between her love for two very different boys, Tessa must decide to which her heart truly belongs whilst y’know, saving the world and slaying demons and being a general book-loving badass. If there was such a thing as a perfect love triangle award, this would win every time.

What are your favourite romantic reads? Is there anything that is crying out to be included in this list? Give me your swoon-inducing, book boyfriend/girlfriend-creating recommendations in the comments!


Happy New Year! My Most Anticipated Books for the First Half of 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR TWIGLETS! I hope you all had the most sparkly of Christmases and that your 2017 has gotten off to a wonderful start. ❤

There are few nicer feelings than the blank slate of a New Year, and I intend to put it to good use by getting right back on the blogging train after the crazy busy period that was the end of 2016. The dawn of a fresh 365 days means one thing and one thing only to a bookworm like myself: more sequels, new beginnings and hotly anticipated endings to fangirl over in all of their papery glory.

Here are my most anticipated releases for January through to May. I’ve used UK release dates here where possible, so there may be some discrepancy if you’re living elsewhere in the world.

Have I missed something awesome? Don’t forget to let me know what you’re waiting for this year!


Warding off the inevitable January blues are two debut novels. The much-hyped fantasy/magical realism beauty, Caraval, and YA murder mystery, City of Saints and Thieves, which is set in Kenya (Omg a YA book, set in Africa? FINALLY!). They both sound totally unique and utterly enthralling, and I’ll definitely be keeping some of my Christmas money back so I can get my hands on these babies.



Just how pretty is that cover?! I read The Lies We Tell Ourselves (Talley’s first novel) in 2016 and I wasn’t overly impressed, so I’m hoping that this one will be a bit more up my street. Either way, the plot sounds great and I’m digging the focus on LGBT+ relationships and specifically lesbian and bisexual characters in 2017 YA. Long may it continue!


Cover love is becoming a bit of a recurring theme for 2017, but SERIOUSLY JUST LOOK AT THEM. Queens of Geek is another LGBT+ focused story that takes place at a ComicCon style convention, which really speaks to my inner nerd. I’ve heard great things about Laini Taylor’s writing, so hopefully Strange The Dreamer will hopefully fulfil my fantasy quota for March. There’s not much information out there yet, but there is a suitably dreamy blurb on Goodreads that has certainly piqued my interest.


April is another month shaping up to be a good’un, with two much-anticipated diverse reads and a dreamy sounding fantasy retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I’m hoping to read some more #ownvoices books this year and challenge myself to break out of my comfort zone and read more diversely, so I’m excited about The Hate U Give, which is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.


This is the month where I can already taste my tears. A new Maas and a new Clare in one month?! The book gods are spoiling us. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you’ll probably be surprised to see a Renee Adieh book on the list since I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Wrath and The Dawn, but I’m so in love with the idea of a Mulan retelling that I’m going to give her writing another chance. In all fairness though, I would be lying if I said this month is about anything other than Rhysand. *fans self*

What’s on your most-anticipated list for 2017, lovelies? Is there anything epic-sounding that has flown under my radar? Tell me all in the comments!