Favorite Literary Couples II

Image from We Heart It

Last year, I did a post about my favorite literary couples for Valentine’s Day and I thought it would be good to make this a yearly kind of thing. Without further ado, here are my favorite couples in fiction since February of last year:

Taylor Markham and Jonah Griggs from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta – These two literally came from opposing camps in their local turf wars so you can say that theirs is a love-hate relationship. Both of them have also experienced heartbreaking moments in their young lives which makes their romance sweeter. The love story between these two isn’t even the main plot of Jellicoe Road but it still resonated with me, especially because I believe what they have is also based on friendship.

Kate Daniels and Curran from the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews – The Kate Daniels series is my favorite urban fantasy series and I love how Kate and Curran’s relationship developed. I enjoyed the witty banter and the uncertainty of whether they’d ever end up together. You have to read the whole series to appreciate what goes on between these two.

Gabriel and Rachel from Archangel by Sharon Shinn – When the Archangel Gabriel came looking for the wife that the god Jovah picked for him, he didn’t expect to meet vehement resistance from the feisty Rachel. Another turbulent relationship that I really enjoyed watching unfold. What I liked about Gabriel and Rachel is that they both had to work hard for the relationship even if the god mandated that they should be together.

Liadan and Bran from Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier – I had to include a pair from the Sevenwaters series because all of the books in this series have love stories in their plots. I admire Liadan for fighting for the love that she believed she deserved, even if it goes against the wishes of other people.

Ellie and Lucas from Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra – I bought this on a whim because I wanted to give Filipino chick lit authors a try and I’m so glad I did. I could really relate to Ellie – her twenty-something, corporate lifestyle in the Philippines and her wish to get her own fairy tale romance. I wish I had my own Lucas.

If I decided to list ten couples instead of just five, I would’ve included these pairings:

Sorcha and Red from Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Meg and John After from Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Laura and Sorry from The Changeover by Margaret Mahy
Anna and Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Cameron and Jack from Something About You by Julie James

Do you agree with my choices? Who are some of your favorite literary couples? Happy Heart’s Day, everyone. 🙂

Retro Friday: At First Sight by Elizabeth Chandler

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie over at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.

What better book to post about this Christmas Eve than a favorite holiday read? At First Sight and I Do by Elizabeth Chandler are my favorites in the Love Stories series published by Bantam Books. I loved them when I was a teenager and I’ve reread them so many times that I know the story by heart. My copies of both books are already yellowed with age. If only these books were readily available, I’d get new copies.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Allie Parker is dreading Christmas break. She’s leaving boarding school to go home to watch her twin sisters and their superficial friends. So when Allie meets Ben Harrington on the way there, things are looking up – until she discovers that he’s a basketball star and one of her sisters’ crowd. Allie writes him off. How could he be interested in a serious girl like her. But the more she sees of Ben, the less he seems like the jock type. Is there more to Ben than meets the eye?

I love rereading this book during the holidays because it’s a fun read and it’s set at Christmastime. Allie has spent most of her school years at Fields School, a boarding school exclusively for girls in Maryland. Her parents travel all over the world for her dad’s job so the kids were sent to boarding school for some stability. Once Allie’s parents decided to settle in one place for good, her twin sisters, blond and beautiful Sandra and Julia opt to leave Fields to study at a regular high school. Allie isn’t looking forward to going to their new home for Christmas. All her friends are in Fields and she always feels self-conscious around her sisters. She knows she looks nothing like them, she’s not popular and she doesn’t spend hours fixing her hair or choosing her outfits.

At 208 pages, this book is a lightweight but I really like how well-developed Allie and Ben were as characters. As Allie learns more about Ben, she realizes that he isn’t like the rest of the popular crowd, he’s not superficial and is actually very sweet, especially when it comes to his younger brother, Tim. I loved all of their scenes together because you can really feel the tension between them. All throughout the holiday break, they keep dancing around each other, unsure of the other’s feelings and not willing to risk their new-found friendship. And it all leads to a satisfying New Year’s Eve conclusion. The entire Love Stories series is already out of print. Most of my copies have already been passed on to a younger cousin (and I hope she enjoyed reading them as much as I did) but I kept a couple because I just couldn’t let go of them. At First Sight made an impression when I was young so it will always have a special place in my heart. If you get a chance to read this, I’d love to know what you think.

That’s it for today, I hope you’re all enjoying the holidays. 🙂 Merry Christmas, everyone!

I Do by Elizabeth Chandler

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie over at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.

I’m going old school this week by featuring one of my absolute favorites back when I was in high school – I Do by Elizabeth Chandler. Teens are so lucky nowadays because they have so many YA books to read. When I was a teenager, there weren’t a lot of choices in terms of reading material. I remember collecting as many books as I could in the Love Stories series published by Bantam Books because those were the only YA romance books that I knew about. My favorite books out of that series were the ones written by Elizabeth Chandler. It’s funny because Angie was just talking about “make me feel better books” and this book is a comfort read for me.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Weddings are the perfect place to fall in love…

Jane is not looking forward to being the maid of honor in her cousin Stacy’s wedding. To make matters worse, Adam, the biggest jerk at Tilson High, is going to be the best man! The last thing Jane wants to do is walk down the aisle with him. But the more Jane gets to know Adam, the more she realizes that he’s actually a very cool guy. And now she finds herself wishing that the wedding would last forever…

Based on the summary, you can totally tell that it’s a love-hate relationship, right? I’m such a sucker for those when it’s done well. Jane is a sports writer in the school newspaper and her snark is in full force when she writes about the male varsity lacrosse team. She’s frustrated that the team isn’t maximizing its full potential and she doesn’t understand why. Enter the team captain, Adam. He proves that he isn’t a dumb jock by writing a letter to the editor in response to Jane’s articles. Needless to say, these two don’t get along. The fun starts when Jane suddenly gets drafted to become her cousin’s maid of honor and it turns out that Adam the is best man. Sparks fly, swoon-worthy scenes turn up and there’s even a one-on-one lacrosse match between these two. I also liked the secondary characters in this book, which is saying something considering that it’s such a slim book and there’s not a lot of room for development. Here’s a conversation between Jane and her grandpa that I really liked:

“Things change when someone special comes into your life. Both sides have to give up things. The one thing you don’t give up in a good relationship is you – whatever makes you most you.”

“It’s been my experience,” he continued, “that when you’re with the right people, you feel more like yourself than ever. There’s a happiness, and a feeling of coming alive to yourself and the other person, that’s like nothing else.”

I don’t know if I’m biased because I read this when I was younger and it’s been a favorite ever since but I really love this book. While reading this, I didn’t even know what lacrosse was. Well, I know it’s a sport played in the States but I’ve never seen a game. I’ve reread my copy so many times that it’s not just yellowed with age, it has become battered. I want to get a better copy but sadly, the book is out of print and it’s not that easy to find copies. I tried to look for reviews from other book blogs but it looks like no one else has reviewed this. If any of you get a chance to read this, please let me know because I’d love to know what other people think of this book. Oh and if you’ve read this, did you like it as much as I did? 🙂