~Can You Feel the Love Tonight?~ Favorite Book Pairings (Of All Time)

So, this is the first in my Love Week series of posts, and since it is Valentine’s Day and this is a mostly book-focused blog, I thought I’d go ahead and make a list of my favorite book pairings of all time. However, I wanted to do something to make these posts kind of special, so I thought, why not make a video to go along with it?

Without further ado, allow me to present : Can You Feel the Love Tonight? Favorite Book Pairings (Of All Time and In No Particular Order)

Beka Cooper and Farmer Cape (Tamora Pierce’s Mastiff): Beka and Farmer are a recently new addition to my favorite pairings list. When Farmer first showed up, I thought for sure that he and Beka would never get along, but by the time I was halfway through the book, I was rooting for them wholeheartedly, and I cheered when they finally got together. Farmer is such a sweetheart, and Beka deserves to have a lover who will a.) not crowd her and b.) still show her kindness.

Alec and Seregil (Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner series): This relationship starts out a friendship, and that is something I appreciate very much. It’s two or three books before they even kiss, and another short story before they have a sexual encounter, but the slow-burning tension and tenderness between them is palpable from the beginning. Despite the later books taking a much darker turn, Alec and Seregil stay very sweet and beautiful– friends in love, and bonded for life. Me like. 🙂

Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace Lancaster (John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars): And this pairing, which makes me completely incoherent 95% of the time. They are tragic, they are sweet, they are PERFECT. That is really all that needs to be said.

Daine Sarrasri and Numair Salmalin (Tamora Pierce’s Immortals series): I’ve come to the conclusion that Tamora Pierce has been almost solely responsible for raising my expectations in men. Numair was one of my first “book crushes”, and when I read Emperor Mage for the first time, I realized that there was a pretty real chance that Daine was kinda smitten with him too. As a pair, these two have a lot working against them: the age difference, the fact that Numair was a serial womanizer until he settled down with Daine, Daine having her own issues to work through. However, they manage to make it work. 🙂

Alec and Richard (Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint): This pairing is definitely my favorite of Kushner’s. The dynamic between these two is by turns amusing and heartbreaking, and this is possibly the only pairing to ever make fish romantic. 🙂

Cassel and Lila (Holly Black’s Curseworkers series): Here’s one for the angst. Cassel and Lila’s star-crossed romance is complicated by emotional manipulation, Cassel’s lost memories, and the fact that it appears they will be on opposite sides in Black Heart. I’m still holding out hope for a beautiful ending for them, though.

Jem Carstairs, Tessa Gray, and Will Herondale (Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices series): Yes, I know. This is a triangle, not a pairing. But I couldn’t resist, simply because I love them so much and — if I were pressed– I would say that the only good ending for ALL of them would be… well, being less of a triangle and more of a threesome. I sincerely doubt that will happen– this is YA after all– but a girl can dream.

Howl and Sophie (Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle and sequels): Howl and Sophie are the least romantic couple ever, but their sparring and playful romance (followed by an equally playful marriage) is dear to my heart. The movie plays up the romanticism of their story, but it’s still a lovely thing, in my eyes; they have seen the worst of one another and they love each other anyway. 🙂

What is YOUR favorite book pairing? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day! 😀

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That I’d Hand To Someone Who Says They Don’t Like To Read

When I was a kid, I devoured books. In first grade, I was already reading MG/YA  and classic novels as opposed to those little readers that they give you in school. Therefore, it was always anathema to me when my brothers or my friends would complain about HAVING to read books, because I was really interested in reading EVERYTHING EVER. As I grew and matured, I discovered to my shock and horror that this was not an uncommon attitude. Even now, there’ll be times when I run into people who say that they just don’t like to read, and give me a mildly dismissive shoulder shrug.

So I, of course, must rise to the challenge and recommend books to these people. When I saw that today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was Top Ten Books That I’d Hand To Someone Who Says They Don’t Like To Read, I just HAD to join in. 🙂

(Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke and The Bookish.)

Top Ten Books That I’d Hand To Someone Who Says They Don’t Like To Read

1. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone + sequels

This one is obvious. It got my brothers reading, it got my friends reading, and it started a wildfire in the world of young adult literature.

2. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett

This was the first novel I was able to get my youngest brother to read that wasn’t for school. Success!

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I’m guessing this is going to be on a lot of lists. Got my brother and three friends to read this one.

4. Anything by Patricia C. Wrede

Wrede’s witty, lighthearted style is sure to convert even the most hardened book haters.

5. Anything by Cassandra Clare

For that girl you know who says “I don’t read, but I did like Twilight.” Only, Clare is obviously tons better than Meyer.

6. The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

For that girl/boy you know who likes adventure and paranormal TV shows but doesn’t read.

7. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

For everyone. Ever. It’s impossible to hate this series.

8. Eragon + sequels

I am personally not as into these books anymore, but they do tend to get young people reading (and even writing!).

9. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Again, something of better quality for the Twilight-and-nothing-else chick.

10. The Amulet of Samarkand + sequels

This is a good one for boys or girls who are fond of The House of Anubis/similar shows but have a hard time finding something that suits their taste in books.

So, those are my (admittedly somewhat genre-slanted) offerings. What books would YOU recommend for reluctant readers? Let me know in the comments or link me back to your own Top Ten Tuesday post!

Book Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices, #1)

Title: Clockwork Angel

Author: Cassandra Clare

Available In: eBook for Kindle, eBook for Nook, Paperback, Hardcover, Audio CD

Warnings: PG-13 for violence, sexual content, and Magnus Bane’s existence.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS AND STRONG, HONEST OPINIONS. ALSO, DECLARATIONS OF LOVE FOR CERTAIN CHARACTERS.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

When I first picked up Clockwork Angel, I had not yet realized that this book was a prequel to The Mortal Instruments series. I’m kind of glad I didn’t; since I’ve only read City of Bones, my inclination would have been to put the book down and read the rest of TMI first. I kept going, however, and was pleased to discover that my very basic working knowledge of the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders was enough to carry me through this book.

The story opens with our heroine, Tessa, sailing from the familiar streets of New York City to the unfamiliar atmosphere of London Town at the behest of her brother Nathaniel and in the wake of her beloved aunt’s death. Tessa’s already nervous enough about leaving the city that has been her home, and when she is met at the docks by a sinister pair of women who claim to be acting on Nathaniel’s behalf, she is understandably perturbed. She goes along with it, however, thinking that surely Nathaniel knows best. It turns out, however, that the Dark Sisters are interested in her for their own reasons– particularly, her strange power to Change into others at will.

And when Tessa meets Will Herondale, a young Shadowhunter, she discovers that the Dark Sisters aren’t the only ones intrigued by her…

Overall, I really thought this book was much better than City of Bones. I liked Tessa more as a main character than I liked Clary—mainly because there is no reason for Clary to be as passive as she is given that she’s a modern gal. Tessa, on the other hand, is very much a classical Gothic heroine, bound by society’s expectations but determined to fight back, and towards the end of the book, she really has started to grow a backbone of steel. I am also completely in love with Jem, and the love triangle that Clare has set up is delicious. Throw in the lovingly researched alt-London setting and the demon-killing badassery that characterized TMI and we have a real winner here. I’m definitely looking forward to Clockwork Prince.

Pros

  • The clockwork angel pendant is such a lovely concept.
  • Henry. I adore mad scientists, and Henry’s ineptitude makes me snicker.
  • The fact that Tessa is a book lover. Rock on, bookworm girl. Unfortunately, the real world is not like the novels, which sucks.
  • JEM. ❤ I just cannot get over how much I love this guy. He’s just so sweet, and brave, and so DEAD at some point in the future. I always go for the doomed ones.
  • Sophie. I love her as a  character, and should Will/Tessa become a thing, I would love it if Clare threw in some Jem/Sophie—if it weren’t for the fact that Jem is so DEAD.
  • Jessamine’s killer parasol,  which is badass.
  • Henry/Charlotte. They are just so cute together, regardless of what people say about the reasons for their marriage. I do think they truly love one another, under all that—at least they’re happy.
  • The Institute’s family dynamic. I loved reading the bits where the “children” were spying on the Enclave meeting and Jessamine and Will’s brother-sister bickering.
  • Magnus Bane. Who needs no explanation. All I can say is, the Victorian era suits him. AND CHURCH! ❤
  • Jessamine clonking Nate. I was cheering for her. Out loud.
  • Tessa’s London is lovingly researched and beautifully portrayed. It’s a world I would love to take a holiday in, and I applaud Clare for her efforts to make it as historically accurate as possible while still adding enough twists to make it just a little bit steampunk.

Cons

  • Tessa’s kind of passive in the early parts of the book, almost in a bodice-ripper heroine sort of way, which always makes me cringe a bit. She gets better as the book goes on, though, so I’m hoping to see her gain even more awesomeness in book 2.
  • Occasionally, the exposition in this book is rather unwieldy, with long portions of dialogue that are nothing more than one character telling another how the world works.
  • Some descriptive words are used repetitively, i.e. Jem’s silvery eyes.
  • The prose could be made a little tighter and neater, by cutting unnecessary descriptors and sentences, especially when they do nothing but reiterate what a character has just said/done.

Star Rating on Goodreads: 4 stars out of 5.

Final Grade: A. Would reread, will definitely read other books in series.

(My review of Clockwork Prince is now live! Click to read….)

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