Posted in book tags/memes

Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Book Couples

This is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week, there’s a theme and you choose ten books that fit it. Check out upcoming topics here.


This was so hard. I don’t care a ton about romantic relationships in books, usually. I mean, I care, but…the romance is way less important to me than world-building, individual characters, etc.

After searching my shelves for days, and going through some of my old reviews, I finally came up with 10, whoo! (I kind of cheated by using 10 books/series, so there are actually 12 couples, shhhh.)

In no particular order, as usual…


Under the Lights (Daylight Falls, #2)

Bri and Van from Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler– I barely remember this book now, but I do remember absolutely freaking loving Bri because she was a bi girl, she was out, and also spoke about bi-erasure.

The Shades of Magic Series (Shades of Magic, #1-3)

Two couples from the Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab– I’m not naming these two, just in case there are people who haven’t read them/been spoiled for the couples. I loved both of them, but loved one more than the other.

Six of Crows Boxed Set: Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom

Two from the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo– Pretty much everyone probably already knows who these are. But I’ve been spoiled for pairings from posts like this before, so I’m trying to not do that to someone else. I loved both of these couples, together and as individual characters. Well, I didn’t necessarily love one, but that character grew on me.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1)

Ari and Dante from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz– It’s been a few years since I read this one, but I still love these two nerds. Do I really need to say more about it? I feel like everyone was talking about this book a few years ago, so I’m not sure what I could add.

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)

Alexia Tarabotti and Lord Maccon from The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger– Ok, these two had some issues at one point, and I’m still pissed about that thing that Maccon did because he’s a moron. But, overall, I loved these two so freaking much. (I almost went with a different couple from this series, but it’s still too painful.)

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy

Mik and Zuzana from the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor– Yep, that’s right. I’m not going for the main couple from this trilogy, but a couple of side characters. Why? Because they’re better. I was fully invested in their relationship, their happiness, etc. throughout the entire trilogy. They. Are. Perfect.

Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse, #4)

Sookie and Eric from the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris– I have been Team Eric from day one, sorry (not sorry). Yes, Eric is an asshole. I love him anyway, and I wanted Sookie to end up with him from the first time they really interacted with one another.

Pride and Prejudice

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy from Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen– Even though I didn’t absolutely love P&P when I read it, how can I not include these two? The evolution of their relationship is just great.

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)

Rose and Dimitri from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead– I was so, so late to the party with these books, but they are so freaking good! I love the relationships (platonic and romantic) in them, and Rose and Dimitri are probably one of my favorite couples ever.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

A pairing from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers– I’m not naming this couple because spoilers? Maybe? But holy crap, I loved it so freaking much ❤ So. Damn. Cute! I was shipping it way before it actually happened, which was a little weird for me because I’m not really a shipper.


Who are some of your favorite couples from books?

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Posted in book tags/memes

Must Read Mondays: August 28th

must-read-mondays

Must Read Monday is a weekly thing I do here to recommend books I’ve read and enjoyed. I might sometimes throw in something I gave 3 stars to, but for the most part they’re books I gave a 4-5 star rating to. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily amazing literature, but it does mean I liked them enough to recommend them to other people.


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Garden Spells; links to goodreads

When I read it: July 2014

Genres: magical realism; fantasy; romance

Recommended for: If you liked the movie (or book), Practical Magic, or if you generally enjoy magical realism, check this out.

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

 

 


What it’s about:

In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it.…

The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.

A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants—from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys—except for Claire’s rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before.

When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire’s quiet life is turned upside down—along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy—if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom—or with each other.


I adored this book, and I think it was my first Sarah Addison Allen read. I actually put off reading any of her books for a while because they were compared to Practical Magic, which I liked, but didn’t love (I thought the movie was better, I’m sorry). In my opinion, Sarah Addison Allen’s books are way better and I recommend them anytime I come across someone else who enjoys magical realism.

It’s been a few years, so the specifics of this book are kind of faded in my memory, but I still think about the Waverly family all the time, and I’ll probably re-read this at some point.

 


If you’ve read this one, what did you think of it? And if you’ve read some of her other books, what’s your favorite?

 

Posted in book tags/memes

Must Read Mondays: May 15th

must-read-mondays

Must Read Monday is a weekly thing I do here to recommend books I’ve read and enjoyed. I might sometimes throw in something I gave 3 stars to, but for the most part they’re books I gave a 4-5 star rating to. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily amazing literature, but it does mean I liked them enough to recommend them to other people.

 

Married With Zombies 7716140(book 1 in the Living With the Dead series) by Jesse Petersen

When I read it: June 2011

Genres: sci-fi? horror? paranormal and/or fantasy? (What are zombie stories classified as, anyway?); romance

Recommended for: If you like things like the movies Zombieland, Dead Snow, Fido, Shaun of the Dead, etc. (think zombies, but with humor), and you don’t mind some romance mixed in, give this series a try.

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


What it’s about:

A heartwarming tale of terror in the middle of the zombie apocalypse.

Meet Sarah and David.

Once upon a time they met and fell in love. But now they’re on the verge of divorce and going to couples’ counseling. On a routine trip to their counselor, they notice a few odd things – the lack of cars on the highway, the missing security guard, and the fact that their counselor, Dr. Kelly, is ripping out her previous client’s throat.

Meet the Zombies.

Now, Sarah and David are fighting for survival in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. But, just because there are zombies, doesn’t mean your other problems go away. If the zombies don’t eat their brains, they might just kill each other.


This might have been my first zombie book (if not, it was one of the first), and I loved it.

It’s fairly short (about 250 pages), and I devoured it in about a day, which was impressive back then when I had a much smaller child demanding my attention most of every day. This series definitely helped me become a zombie lover. (I wasn’t afraid of them at any point, I just never watched many movies with zombies or read many books, which was weird considering what a horror movie buff I was/am.)

I still haven’t actually finished this series, but I read the first three and thought they were a ton of fun. Warning, though, there is a lot of strong language if I remember correctly, and maybe some sexy times.

It’s been forever since I read this (my copy disappeared with a friend), but I’m hoping to get a new copy so I can re-read them at some point. They’re just hilarious, light, fun reads, and if I were a beach-goer, something like this would be my beach read.


Have you read this one? If you, too, love zombies, let me know some of your recommendations for books and movies, please!

 

Posted in book review, books

ARC Review: The Romance Reader’s Guide to Life by Sharon Pywell

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Genres: historical fiction; romance; mystery; magical realism(?)

Why I read it: The cover caught my eye on Net Galley, and the description sounded really interesting.

Who I’d recommend it to: Historical fiction fans (around WWII era), people who enjoyed The Lovely Bones, maybe fans of The Princess Bride, and probably romance lovers who like romances that aren’t just romances.

Publication date: April 4th, 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Pages: 304 ebook | 320 hardcover

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


What it’s about:

Neave and Lilly Terhune couldn’t be more different. Lilly is a beauty who runs through men like water. Neave, having been told at an early age by their mother that she will not be able to get by on her looks, always has her head in a book. Her favorite is The Pirate Lover, a romance novel about a young woman who refuses marriage to the highest bidder and instead escapes to the high seas where she meets the love of her life.

During WWII, when the men are gone, both sisters start working. But when the servicemen return and take back their jobs, Neave and Lilly are left with few options besides marriage. But they have other ideas. They start to build a makeup business (think Avon in its early days) and soon have a hit on their hands. But just as their business is truly taking off, Lilly disappears and Neave must figure out what happened. Luckily, she has Lilly’s assistance helping from above, even if she doesn’t know it quite yet.

Alternating between the sisters’ story and that of Neave’s beloved Pirate Lover book, Sharon Pywell shows how all romantic relationships have dark undercurrents, how even the most cerebral amongst us can enjoy a swashbuckling, page-turning romance, and how sometimes the guiltiest of pleasures might contain essential kernels of truth.


Review:

I almost skimmed on by this one (having seen the word “romance” in the title) while I was browsing Net Galley, but the cover hooked me. I saw the (possible) pirate ship, became curious, then I read the description and I knew I had to read it. I’m going to preface the rest of this by saying that I am not much of a romance reader. I can enjoy romance in books, and I like a few romances I’ve read, but it’s not a genre I read much of.

This story reminded me a lot of The Lovely Bones (well, what I remember of it, at least, because I read it about 13 years ago), which doesn’t bother me because I enjoyed that book as well, but maybe this won’t be for you if you hated everything about The Lovely Bones. The similarities are there, but this didn’t read like it was trying to imitate anything else. It was unique and strange, a little confusing at times, but ultimately quite enjoyable. I’m not always a fan of stories told from multiple points of view, but this is an example of it being done well.

I think this could have been a five star book for me, but I didn’t love any of the characters. I wanted to, but I didn’t connect much to any of them, and at times I just didn’t like any of them. I related to Neave in some ways, with her bookish and headstrong nature, but sometimes she didn’t seem quite real enough for me, like there was something missing. By the end, I felt like she was finally starting to stand on her own two feet more, but before that, it felt more like she was living in her sister’s shadow. She was independent, and capable of taking charge, but I think she lacked the confidence she needed until close to the end.

Lilly annoyed me, but eventually she grew on me a little. I still don’t love her, but I like her more. In some ways, I understood her more than Neave, even though I’m more like Neave. I’m not sure if that was because of how she was written, or if she reminds me of people I’m close to in real life, but I feel like she was a bit more fleshed out than Neave. Lilly’s perspective was strange, and there were some things that were not really explained. That would usually annoy me a lot, and feel lazy, but in this particular story, I think it worked. I would still like to know more about “Where she is now,” but I’m not too bothered by it.

Their other siblings and the rest of the minor characters had enough development to fit into the story, but I wish we’d gotten a bit more time with some of them. I really wanted to know more about Ruga, in particular.

While I know that the 1930s-1950s was a drastically different time in many ways, and people thought differently about a lot of things then, Neave and Lilly’s parents really annoyed me. There were a few things they said about certain things (that I won’t say because spoilers) that made me so angry, and I was glad to see my feelings reflected in Neave’s reactions and thoughts. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I felt like this book also functioned as social commentary on present issues concerning gender roles and expectations, and the way women are treated. This was set decades before I was even born, but from what I know based on TV, things I’ve read, and anecdotes from people who were around then, it seems reasonably accurate, and the fact that women today are experiencing the same issues they were dealing with 60 years ago is disturbing.

But, on the more positive side of things, the independence Neave and Lilly had was refreshing. It was nice reading about two driven women who built their business from the ground up and were successful, whether they were married or not, at a time when it was pretty much unthinkable for women to be so independent. The way they used it to help empower other women and help them was also great.

Woven throughout Neave and Lilly’s story is that of The Pirate Lover, a fictional romance novel Neave has read and re-read many times and loves. It’s full of typical romance tropes (the distressed heroine, the rakish and wealthy hero, the abominable villain, blossoming love, fighting evil, etc.), and it’s wonderful. It’s meant to be very trope-y, and because of that almost satiric storytelling, it’s delightful. (I wouldn’t mind reading it if it were a real book.) The events of The Pirate Lover are reflected in Lilly and Neave’s story in increasingly more unsettling ways throughout the book, and I think Sharon Pywell did an amazing job with entwining these two narratives.

I had a difficult time trying to nail down some genres to categorize this one as, because it’s a bit genre-defying. While it does use a lot of romance novel tropes, there’s also some drama, crime, mystery, magical realism, and probably others. It’s definitely not a book I’ll soon forget, and I’m so glad I managed to get an ARC. This isn’t really relevant, but I have to say that I actually squealed when I read the title of the final chapter. I thought that quote would make an appearance somewhere in the book, and I was so happy to see it!


I have to recommend this book, even if you–like me–are not a romance reader. It was such a unique story, and I think it could appeal to a lot of different people.

If you read it, I would love to know what you think!

Posted in book tags/memes

T5W: Favorite Angsty Romances

top-5-wednesday

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

 

March 22nd- Favorite Angsty Romances
–This topic has been much requested! Talk about your favorite ships that have a healthy side of angst. (definition: adj.: describes a situation or literary piece which contains dark, depressing, angry, and/or brooding emotions from the participating characters.)

 

This might be the most difficult T5W topic I’ve done. I just…don’t love a lot of popular angsty romances (whether they’re romance books, or some other genre with an angsty romance in it), so I’ve been looking through my read books all month trying to find good picks that A) were angsty, and B) I actually liked. I’m still not 100% sure these all count, but here we go, in no particular order…


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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte– Ok, this one I really liked. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books, and definitely one of my favorite classics, but the romance between Jane and Mr. Rochester was just so…well, angsty. I love it though.

 

 

 

 

 

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Easy by Tammara Webber– I read this a few years ago and liked it, but I’m not sure how I would feel about it now. I do remember it was an emotional roller-coaster of a book, though, and stuck with me for a while after I read it. I reviewed it on my tumblr if you’re curious. (I think this was angsty…)

 

 

 

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Unteachable by Leah Raeder/Elliot Wake– (AKA “The ship I loved to hate to ship”) So. Much. Angst. This was not an easy, fluffy, fun book, but I read it in about a day and a half because I couldn’t put it down.

 

 

 

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Clockwork Prince (actually, all of The Infernal Devices) by Cassandra Clare– (AKA “Which ship should I ship?”) I hated Clockwork Angel, but I liked the other two books in this trilogy, so I’m using Clockwork Prince. I don’t even know what else to say about it :/

 

 

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Six of Crows (and Crooked Kingdom) by Leigh Bardugo– Uuugh, my children. I’m not talking about who this is about so I don’t spoil anything, but if you’ve read both books, you know (and you probably know if you’ve only read the first).

 

 


Do you have any favorite angsty romances?