Ten Favorite Fictional Couples

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is a love freebie.  I like a little romance in the books I read, but I’m not always a huge fan of the characters or the relationships.  But the couples I’m listing today have stuck with me through the years or are newer favorites that I can tell will remain in my mind in years to come.

EDITED TO ADD: How could I forget about Katniss and Peeta in the Hunger Games series!?!
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Alana & Marko in the Saga series  by: Brian K. Vaughan
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Inej & Kaz in the Six of Crows series by: Leigh Bardugo
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Jane Eyre & Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre  by: Charlotte Bronte
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Hanna & Nik in Gemina  by: Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman
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Elizabeth Bennett & Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice  by: Jane Austen
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Louisa & Will in Me Before You  by: Jojo Moyes
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Hazel & Augustus in The Fault in Our Stars  by: John Green
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Sorcha & Red in Daughter of the Forest  by: Juliet Marillier
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Beauty & Beast in Beauty by Robin McKinley
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Yelena & Valek in Poison Study  by: Maria V. Snyder
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Rhapsodic

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Rhapsodic

By:  Laura Thalassa
Published:  2016
# of pages: 
326
Series: 
The Bargainer (#1)
Challenges: 
A to Z

3Stars

Goodreads description:

Callypso Lillis is a siren with a very big problem, one that stretches up her arm and far into her past. For the last seven years she’s been collecting a bracelet of black beads up her wrist, magical IOUs for favors she’s received. Only death or repayment will fulfill the obligations. Only then will the beads disappear.

Everyone knows that if you need a favor, you go to the Bargainer to make it happen. He’s a man who can get you anything you want … at a price. And everyone knows that sooner or later he always collects.

But for one of his clients, he’s never asked for repayment. Not until now. When Callie finds the fae king of the night in her room, a grin on his lips and a twinkle in his eye, she knows things are about to change. At first it’s just a chaste kiss—a single bead’s worth—and a promise for more.

For the Bargainer, it’s more than just a matter of rekindling an old romance. Something is happening in the Otherworld. Fae warriors are going missing one by one. Only the women are returned, each in a glass casket, a child clutched to their breast. And then there are the whispers among the slaves, whispers of an evil that’s been awoken.

If the Bargainer has any hope to save his people, he’ll need the help of the siren he spurned long ago. Only, his foe has a taste for exotic creatures, and Callie just happens to be one.

My opinion:  I originally rated this 4 stars, but I changed it to 3 after thinking about it for awhile and starting the second book in the series, A Strange Hymn.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun read, but too many things didn’t make sense and there was too much repetition.  I can tell that when the author didn’t quite know what to do, she just had the main characters think loving or dirty or insecure or unsure thoughts.  I wish that there had been a little more action and real progress in the book.

The story follows Callie, who is a human, but a supernatural human.  She’s a siren and is able to glamour other humans and make them do whatever she wants them to do.  Her entire life changed as she found herself in trouble 8 years earlier.  She met the Bargainer, a Fae creature, and soon after that she went to a school for supernatural humans.  Now that she’s out of school, she puts her abilities to good use as a private investigator and tries to ignore the fact that she owes hundreds of favors to the mysterious Bargainer.  However, her life is once again disrupted as she becomes reacquainted with the Bargainer.  He says he needs her help so he must claim the favors she owes him.

This sounds like a really cool story, but like I said earlier, it’s mainly just Callie obsessing about the Bargainer.  At the end, the reader discovers that perhaps he didn’t really need her help and that explains why she didn’t ever really do anything the entire book.  Callie is a fun narrator so I’m disappointed that her physical appearance is always more appreciated than her wit and intellect.  If you don’t mind graphic sex scenes and want a fun read that doesn’t require much thought, I would recommend this, but otherwise I think there are books with similar plots that are more worth reading.

Why I gave this book 3/5 stars:  Fun narrative, but not enough substance or action.

The Shell Collector

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The Shell Collector

By:  Hugh Howey
Published:  2014
# of pages:  282

4Stars

Goodreads description:

The ocean is dying. The sea is growing warmer and is gradually rising. Seashells have become so rare that collecting them is now a national obsession. Flawless specimens sell like priceless works of art. Families hunt the tideline in the dark of night with flashlights. Crowds gather on beaches at the lowest of tides, hoping to get lucky.

Supreme among these collectors is Ness Wilde, CEO of Ocean Oil. Ness owns many of the best beaches, and he keeps them to himself. It’s his fault the world turned out this way. And I aim to destroy him.

My name is Maya Walsh. You might be familiar with my shelling column in the Times. I was working on a series of pieces about Mr. Wilde, when out of the blue, he called. He says he wants to talk. But I don’t think he’s going to like what I have to say.

My opinion:  This is my second Hugh Howey book to read this month.  Last week I reviewed Beacon 23, which I loved.  I’ve also read the Wool series and Dust.  However, I just discovered that Howey grew up in the town right next to mine.  When I read the author’s note (while I’m thinking of it, there’s more to the story after the note so make sure to keep reading) for The Shell Collector he mentioned visiting Figure Eight Island in NC when he was a kid, which is the island my husband went to every summer as a child and that I’ve visited several times myself after my husband and I started dating.  I got excited and we looked him up and found out he’s from just down the road.  Pretty cool!

All of that said, I didn’t enjoy The Shell Collector as much as the others I’ve read, but it was still a very interesting concept for a story and a good read.  The story is about Maya, a reporter in a future where the sea levels have drastically risen due to environmental pollution.  Maya has spent years writing a story about the Wilde family, who for generations have controlled the oil drilling industry.  The Wildes have grown rich by polluting the planet and causing the temperature of the oceans to rise, which has killed off many species as well as causing flooding throughout the world.  Maya’s family collected shells to sell when she was a kid because the animals who live in the shells were going extinct and prices for the shells rose.  Maya still loves shelling, a passion shared by Ness Wilde, the current owner of the company he inherited from his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

When Maya has the opportunity to personally interview Ness, she jumps at the chance to confront the man she blames for the destruction of all the oceans.  When she meets Ness face to face, she’s surprised by his seeming to be genuine.  But Maya knows he’s hiding something and she’s determined to find out what.  Her determination leads her on a journey of a lifetime where nothing goes the way she expects.

My main issues with the book are Maya’s all-about-me attitude and the fact that not much really happens in spite of all the adventures.  The future world and society are fascinating and I wish we could have learned more of the science behind it all.  Also, I would have liked to have learned more about Ness’s thoughts and experiences instead of just Maya’s.

Overall, it’s a book worth reading, but nothing super amazing.  I’d also not recommend it as the first book of Howey’s to try.

Why I gave this book 4/5 stars:  Cool story concept and world building, but the main character was kind of annoying and the story didn’t go as in depth as I would have liked.