Top 10 Tuesday

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I don’t do memes very much, but I’d like to get into them as I think I might get more readers over here. This week’s them is Favorite Couples in Books. It’s hosted by That Arty Girl. Although it isn’t specified, for this list I’m going with couples in the romantic sense. These are in no particular order.

Princess Sarene and Prince Raoden, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

elantris What happens to a society when their gods become monsters? 

I love the slow way that this romance develops. They become allies first, then friends, then more. Individually they are such strong, caring people, but as a couple they are so much more powerful. Knowing he is cursed, Raoden wants to hold back from loving her and revealing his identity, but Sarene just won’t give up. And I love Raoden’s determination to find a way to live instead of just existing. This book is a stand alone, (except for a short story), so if you’ve been wanting to try Sanderson’s writing, this is a good place to start.

Steris Harms and Lord Waxilium Ladrian, Mistborn Adventures, by Brandon Sanderson

24357485 I swear I do read other authors besides Sanderson! But this couple just grew on me so much. It’s meant to be a political match. He’s got the money; she’s got the influence. But they grow on you! I felt like I just didn’t get Steris at first. I kept expecting they would split up. But Sanderson does the unexpected, and instead of putting them with someone more suitable, he revealed the way they really were meant for each other. Steris grows so much over the series that you almost can’t believe she’s the same woman! I love her so much. And Wax learns to let go of his guilt and betrayal over his first wife’s death and realize that he can’t picture life without Steris. It’s just so perfect! Hard ship, right here.

 

Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase, Percy Jackson series, by Rick Riordan

Going in a totally different direction here, but I mean, come on, you can’t  help loving these two. Percy is a little slower to get there, but when he does, he is 100% on Annabeth’s side. They went through Hell for each other, literally, and if every a young couple deserved a chance to settle down and build a new life, it is these two. All the hearts.

Sir Percy Blakeney and Marguerite St. Just, The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy

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So swoon-worthy! I love the book and the movie version of this couple. Marguerite is passionate and fiery, Percy is daring and brave, and they have to overcome all these obstacles to find true love! The book and the movie have different ending, but each one has Percy rescuing Marguerite from the French Revolution. And they both look fabulous the whole time!

Annis Wychwood and Oliver Carleton, Lady of Quality by Georgette Heyer

I had to put a book by Georgette Heyer in here, as she is my favorite romance writer of all time. Finally I chose these two. Annis lives in Regency Bath with a companion. As a lady in her late twenties, she’s obviously a spinster, doomed to a life as a single woman. (How times have changed!) Oliver is a gentleman with reputation as being rude and unconventional. It is, if not quite love at first sight, a definite attraction. They share the same sardonic sense of humor, and that’s kind of my thing, because anyone who makes me laugh has already stolen half my heart. These guys are made for each other.

Amaranthe Lokdon and Sicarius, Emperor’s Edge series by Lindsay Buroker

Trigger warning for attempted sexual assault and torture.

She’s in the Imperial law force. He’s an assassin. She’s sent to bring him in. But it turns out, they both want the same thing – to protect the Emperor. This is definitely a slow burn. Sicarius has a really dark past and he’s very slow to trust. But Amaranthe just won’t give up on him.  I love this series, and it needs more love. If you like found family stories, with lots of humor and plenty of heist action (plus a little steampunk-y goodness), you should totally check it out.

The Entire Cast of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

OMG OMG OMG. I loved these ships so damn much. Wylan and Jesper, Nina and Matthias (my heart!), and especially Kaz and Inej. What makes these work is that each of them is broken in their own way, but they become someone better when they’re together. I don’t need to elaborate too much on this one, because so many people have read these books. If you have, then you know what I mean! Love these guys.

Scarlet Benoit and Wolf Kesley, the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

This one was hard, because I also love Thorn and Cressida, but I think Scarlet and Wolf are a teeny bit better. Scarlet is so feisty and so protective of her family. Once she decides that Wolf is part of her family, they become an unbeatable team. And poor Wolf – he’s been through so much, never dared to hope for anything better. Once he finds it though, he would do anything for Scarlet.

Capt. Cordelia Naismith and Admiral Adal Vorkosigan, Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold

Trigger warning for attempted sexual assault.

Cordelia, you badass. They are both amazing characters, but I love that Bujold really gives Cordelia a chance to shine. They’re not a traditional couple – she’s a career officer and he’s the Butcher of Barrayar. But once they decide they love each other, Cordelia especially will let nothing stand in her way of getting a life with the man she loves. Sure, there’s some fun sci-fi stuff in here, but it’s this relationship that makes the book worth reading.

Sarah Agnes Prine and Captain Jack Elliott, These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

Trigger warning for sexual assault, death of a child

It’s been a while since I’ve read this one, but they were so amazing that I have to give them some space here. Sarah and her family are on their way to new home when their wagon train is attacked by Indians and her father is killed. This is not a spoiler, it’s literally in chapter one. That’s your warning right there that this book is not going to be an easy ride. Stuff happens, and it’s hard reading sometimes. What makes it worth it is watching the relationship grow between Sarah and Captain Jack. It was so sweet and tender, and  he was so patient and kind. I just love this series so, so much.



So what do you think? Do we share any favorites? Who’s on your list? Let me know in the comments.

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Review: Along Came Jones

This book was received in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. My opinions, however, remain my own. Thanks for the chance to read this book!

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Title: Along Came Jones

Author: Victoria Bernadine

Summary: Benjamin Ferrin Macon-Jones has it all: a luxurious lifestyle in Toronto and the love of an intelligent, ambitious woman…until that same woman refuses his marriage proposal, tells him he’s a detriment to her career, and leaves him. Unable to deal with his cantankerous family trying to be supportive, he quietly slips away into the Canadian countryside.

Lou Upjohn has problems of her own. She’s a recluse and agoraphobic, staying safely within the walls of her ancestral home in small town Saskatchewan and depending on Ike, her best and only friend, to deal with the outside world.

Only Ike’s just married another woman and now he’s moving to Vancouver. Before he leaves, he hires the new guy in town, Ferrin Jones, to run her errands and do her yard work. Lou isn’t happy, but even she has to admit the stranger looks mildly interesting.

Both their lives could be changed forever if she only has the courage to open the door. 

My thoughts:

I don’t read much contemporary romance, like, at all, so I was a little surprised to be approached to review this story. However, I am pretty open about my mental health issues, and I found that angle intriguing enough that I said yes. I’m so glad I did!

I am really not a fan of the insta-love that substitutes for a real relationship in so many new books. Maybe that’s because it’s primarily YA, but I *so* don’t want to read about a couple who meet, fall in love, and fall into bed. I’m not into those books. If you are, hey, good for you, but I want real people who have time to get to know one another before they fall.

So this book was a breath of fresh air for me. I loved the MCs – Ferrin was just so appealing, with his crazy family and optimistic attitude. I can see why Lou fell for him – he’s just a great guy. And Lou, she’s so real and so much stronger than she has given herself credit for being. I liked that she didn’t magically overcome her panic attacks. The pacing felt pretty realistic. The bad guy is just human garbage and I was glad to see them get what they deserved.

If you are looking for a good romance with a great small town setting, I would definitely recommend this one. The author says she’s been writing for a long time, and it shows. Recommended.

Valentine’s Romance

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It’s Valentine’s Day.

I know, I know, not everyone is into Valentine’s Day. Call it Singles Awareness Day, Galentine’s Day, Aro Awareness Day, whatever, I love a little romance in my life. Not always, not in everything, but once a year, what’s wrong with the hearts and flowers? What’s wrong with sending the message that true love does exist, that it endures and grows stronger over time? It’s not about the instant attraction, in my experience. It’s about the kind that survives challenges and keeps you together though thick and thin. My sweetheart and I are at 27 years together, and he still sends me sweet text messages and buys me flowers. My favorite part of every day is when he’s home.

Enough mush! You want to know about the books, amirite? Here is my list of 5 romances swoon-worthy enough for the most desperate romantic.

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More romantic stuff.
  1. The Scarlet Pimpernel  by Baroness Emmuska Orczy. Love AND the French Revolution! The movie version even has pre-Gandalf Ian McKellen and a fabulous Jane Seymour. The costumes are to die for! The hats alone – seriously, wow!

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Sir Percy Blakeney is a fantastic hero, although if you’re watching the movie, the disguises need a little modern updating, and the lovely Marguerite St. Just is a great heroine. The movie and the book have different final scenes, but both are very exciting. And even though this one is over 100 years old, it’s still easy to read.

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Enough lace yet?

2. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. Another old-style romance. And by old style, I mean 1865! Molly is our main character and her new stepsister Cynthia is her new best friend. Her new stepmom, on the other hand, is well, not. Fear not, because true love awaits Molly and Cynthia. Hold on, you may be saying, I heard this book didn’t have an ending.

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We like hats too.

Well, you’re right. It doesn’t, not exactly. The author died before she got that far. But the movie – it has the perfect melt your heart ending. Should I just watch the movie Bite your tongue! There’s plenty here to love. It’s not as quick a read, but it’s so well written it draws you right in.

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Time for more hearts

3. Mrs. Mike by Nancy and Benedict Freeman. Wow, Cindy, I hear you saying, what’s with all this period drama? How about something modern? Fine, try this one, which is set in 1907, which practically happened yesterday. Katherine Mary O’Fallon falls in love – hard – with a dashing young Mountie. He wants to marry immediately and set off north. She doesn’t know what she’s getting into when she says yes. This one will rip your heart right out, but put it back in and you’ll be so freaking inspired you’ll want to read it all over again. I think there’s a movie of this one too, but I haven’t seen it so you can just imagine your Mountie looking like, well, this:

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“I’m heroic.”

Sorry, I couldn’t find a better photo without adding “hot Canadian mountie” and I just didn’t want to deal with what I’d find. So use your imagination. But seriously, read this book!

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So sweet!

4. The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer. These are great suggestions, I think some of you are saying (really, you’re all so chatty!), but I like a little humor with my romance! And maybe some mystery too. Got ya covered! It was hard to pick just one by Georgette Heyer, who is admittedly, my favorite romance author of all time, but this one has not one, but two heroines, one saved from the guillotine and one with a bit of sarcasm to match her beauty. The mystery is more of an adventure than truly mysterious, but dashing all the same. No movie here, or pictures either, so imagine whatever you like.

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All the hearts!

5. Persuasion by Jane Austen. You knew she was going to make it on the list eventually, didn’t you? I tried to include some more modern books, I really did, but I guess when it comes to true love I like it old school. Anne Elliot is the heroine I really want to be. Sure, Jane Bennett is wittier, and Emma Woodhouse is richer, but Anne is patient and loyal and she gets her man in the end. And what a man!

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At last!

There is a movie of this one, and it’s perfect for your Valentine’s Day. Hooray for true love! Tomorrow we can go back to every day life, but once year, believe in Happily Ever After.