‘Country Heaven’ – Ava Miles

I love it when you find a new book series that you really lose yourself in! That is exactly what happened when I came across book one in the Dare River series. This is one of those books that makes you smile. It is easy to read and really enjoyable. It also has recipes throughout which I can’t wait to try!

Tory is a cook with crippling debts to pay off. When she meets Rye, a country singer, he gives her an offer she can’t refuse. Cook for him when he’s on tour and be paid. Perfect! Apart from the fact that Rye’s PR team decide she is perfect to improve his image…

Before they know it Rye and Tory form a bond over her food and his family. Tory helps Rye become the man he forgot he was. But nothing is ever that simple…

Tory is a brilliant character. She’s strong, kind, loyal and honest. Exactly what Rye needs. Rye begins as a typical bad boy but soon becomes a strong, family man who they can depend on. 

After finishing this I immediately bought the rest of the Dare River series and I can’t wait to get stuck in!

Definitely found a new favourite author. 

‘The Final Empire’ – Brandon Sanderson

The Final Empire

Where to begin. Wow. Just wow. I love this book. A friend recommended it to me just after Christmas and told me to buy the box set. She was so confident that I would love it that she said she would buy it off of me if I didn’t. Of course, that didn’t happen because I fell in love with this book and it is now one of my favourites of all time!

The Final Empire is the first in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy. It tells the story of Kelsier, the Survivor of Hathsin, who is hired to start a rebellion against the Final Empire. It also follows Vin, a new recruit, who learns she is a Mistborn and powerful Allomancer like Kelsier. The story is brilliant, it is gripping and once you start you don’t want to stop. You get invested in the characters and root for them and the fall of the Final Empire. The Allomancy is really interesting too and Vin’s training with Kelsier is one (of many) of my favourite bits. This was my first real fantasy read and it has opened a can of worms. I have so many more I want to read now that I have discovered this genre.

There are so many great characters but Vin and Kelsier and my favourite and my ship. I was rooting for them throughout the book. They have such a great relationship. Kelsier teaches Vin how to trust again.

The ending almost killed me. No one warned me how emotional it would make me but I am warning you. The ending is… Just be prepared. This is a must read. I could ramble about it forever but I honestly cannot recommend it enough. My first Brandon Sanderson novel but by no means my last.

‘Pride and Prejudice’ – Jane Austen

Where to begin? I should warn you that I am a massive Jane Austen fan and love all her books. Nothing makes me feel better after a tough day then to curl up with an Austen novel, or to put an Austen adaptation on.

Pride and Prejudice is a classic. It is a story about love, social status and pride. Elizabeth Bennet is a strong, independent young woman who knows what she wants. Mr Darcy is a very proud man who slights Elizabeth at their first meeting. As the title suggests, both characters overcome their pride and prejudices to be together. It is humourous at times, sad and sweet. All women want their own Mr. Darcy, a perfect gentleman who overcomes his pride for the woman he loves.

Jane Austen mocks society, the very first line illustrates this perfectly: ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’ Her writing is witty, emotional and just brilliant.

My favourite adaptation has to be the BBC version with Colin Firth. It is long and incorporates as much of the book as it can. It is faithful to the book and the cast are brilliant. (Of course it helps that Colin Firth is a gorgeous Mr. Darcy!)

If you haven’t read a Jane Austen novel I highly recommend that you do. This may not be the easiest one to start with, but it is the most well-known. Perhaps try Northanger Abbey first.

‘The Color Purple’ – Alice Walker

This is one of those books that you will never forget. I first read this as it was a set text for my University degree. I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about reading it; I hadn’t heard of it before. However, I found that once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down.

The protagonist is Celie, a young girl. She writes letters to God which is how we hear her story. Her father beats her until she is married to a man we know as ‘Mr’. He also beats her. Celie meets Shug, a glamorous singer, whom she looks up to. Shug helps Celie find herself and God. It is a story of hope and finding oneself.

It is so emotional and inspirational. It leaves you wanting to be a better person, or at least that is how I felt when I finished it. I felt like I had learnt something and that I was somehow different after having read this story.

The film adaptation by Steven Spielberg is also incredible. The brilliant cast includes Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey. It is well worth seeing, although I would advise you read the book first. Goldberg does a fantastic job of showing Celie’s naivety, innocence and sadness.

Another of my favourite books. If you haven’t read it, now is the time!

‘One Day’ – David Nicholls

Where do I start? I love this book! It is just incredible. Forget the film, forget the hype, just read it. You won’t regret it.

Dex and Em are clearly meant for one another and the reader knows this from the start, unfortunately they don’t. Each chapter represents the same day on a different year. We see where they are when they graduate and follow them as they live, love and have their hearts broken.

Dex and Em are both strong characters and I found myself getting attached to them early in the book. Sometimes you want to shake Dex and say ‘wake up and see what is right in front of you’ but you still love him. He is charismatic, if not arrogant most of the time. I fell in love with him pretty quickly. As for Em, I think we are all Em to a certain extent. She has no confidence in herself, doesn’t know where her life is going and feels trapped.

Whilst the film adaptation starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess was great, as with most adaptations, it just wasn’t as good as the book. So much has to be cut to make a book into as film, not to mention so much of the narration is lost when it is translated to the big screen. It is a good film, but don’t let it put you off reading the book. There is so much more to the book.

I love the relatable characters, the honesty, the emotion and the sheer brilliance of the writing and the plot. I was in tears at some points reading this book. It is beautifully written, emotional and unique. One of my favourite books of all time. If you haven’t already, please read it. I am sure you won’t regret it. I certainly didn’t.

‘Jane Eyre’ – Charlotte Brontë

I love this book. I read it for my University course and fell in love with it. It is beautifully written, has great characters and you get lost in it.

You can sympathise with Jane and find yourself praying that she finds the happiness that she deserves. She speaks her mind and is an independent woman ahead of her time. The relationship between Mr. Rochester and Jane is beautiful. The ups and downs in the plot keep you on the edge of your seat and make the book impossible to put down.

Brontë has written an incredible book that will stand the test of time. It is a classic and everyone should read it. Beautiful!