Favorite Literary Couples III

Image from We Heart It

Listing down my favorite fictional couples has become a yearly tradition that I do it every Valentine’s Day. You can see my choices in 2010 and 2011 by clicking on the links. I highlight five favorite couples from books that I’ve read starting mid-February of last year until today. It’s always hard to narrow down my choices because I’m a big fan of romances when they’re done well.

Harper and Jake from Saving June by Hannah Harrington – Harper and Jake’s love story is the most swoon-worthy out of all the contemporary YA novels that I read last year. It’s the perfect kind of slow burn romance that develops through a road trip, both of them trying to handle the pain of losing a loved one.

Grace and Vaughn from Unsticky by Sarra Manning – From contemporary YA, we shift to contemporary adult with these two broken individuals. A relationship based on convenience between two people riddled with imperfections could go wrong in so many ways and yet it works for Grace and Vaughn.

Sean and Puck from The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – Sean Kendrick is a quiet young man but when he chooses to speak his mind? Oh how he slays you with those perfect lines. Sean and Puck’s relationship starts with a friendship based on mutual interests and subtly develops the more time they spend together.

Karou and Akiva from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – Karou and Akiva’s romance might seem like instant love at first glance but as you go through this lyrical novel, it becomes obvious that there’s so much more to it than initial attraction. It was the back story that I loved, finding out more about their past and what made them who they are when they meet again. I cannot wait to read more about them in Days of Blood and Starlight.

Kate and Curran from Magic Slays and Magic Gifts by Ilona Andrews – I may be cheating a bit here because I already listed Kate and Curran as a favorite couple last year but I can’t help it. I love how their relationship develops and it’s not the least bit boring even though they’re an established couple. Both of them still have issues that they need to work out and they go through all of that together.

I love that these couples are from books that fall under different genres (contemporary YA, contemporary adult, YA fantasy, adult urban fantasy). Yay for varied reading choices! I also listed down five runners-up in the previous years so I’d do the same here:

Hazel and Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Claire and Venturo from Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews
Julie and Finn from Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park
Willa and Colin, Paxton and Sebastian from The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Carly and Ryan from Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Who are some of your favorite fictional couples from the novels that you’ve read the past year? Any recent romantic reads?

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews is the fifth installment in the Kate Daniels series and one of my most anticipated reads for this year. I always thought I was more into epic fantasy than anything else but Ilona Andrews changed my mind and this series has become my favorite when it comes to urban fantasy. This review will contain spoilers for the previous books so don’t proceed unless you’ve read the others. Even the book’s summary is spoiler so pick up the other books in the series first before you read this one, I promise, you won’t regret it. Reading order of the books: Magic Bites, Magic Burns, Magic Strikes and Magic Bleeds.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be — now that the Order is disparaging her good name, and many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.

So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price…

I devoured the first four books in this series last year and proceeded to read everything that Ilona Andrews has written. I read Magic Slays as soon as I can because it feels good to be back in Kate Daniels’ world. Everything that I loved in the other books is present in this one: the detailed worldbuilding with a different set of villains and mythology in each book (in this one, it’s Russian mythology), the characters who change and develop throughout the course of the series and the witty banter that had me laughing out loud. There’s also the magic vs. technology situation that’s always interesting.

What I really liked about Magic Slays is how the authors keep building on the world that they created, slowly revealing information to move the story along. We get to know more about Kate’s past but there’s still enough mystery to make readers speculate. I’m sure there will be more (and probably bigger) revelations in the next book. I also really enjoyed seeing the development in Kate and Curran’s relationship. Yes, it’s been established that they’re mated and we all know that they’re meant to be together but I loved seeing them work through the problems that rise up because they’re both complicated people with a lot of issues. Just when you think you couldn’t love Curran more, he goes off to do and say things that are unexpectedly sweet. Kate’s tendency to be a lone wolf makes it difficult for her to connect with anyone – her mate, her best friend, her ward and friends from the pack – and even though she’s mellowed out in this installment, it’s still not easy for her. Add to all that the usual amount of butt-kicking action than can be expected from someone like Kate Daniels and her circle of friends and you’re in for a book that you wouldn’t be able to put down.

The other day, I was telling friends who are also fans of the series that maybe it would have been a good idea to wait for all of the books to be out before I started reading them. But then I realized that I wouldn’t want to miss out on all the fun and I enjoy discussing these books too much not to read them as they’re released. I just need to learn to be patient and wait for the next installment after reading this. At this point, if you’re an Ilona Andrews fan then there’s nothing more that I can say because you probably have this book in your TBR pile already. If you’ve never heard of the series or you’re thinking of reading it (boo, you’ve seen the spoilers!), I hope you get to do so soon because the Kate Daniels books are awesome. I gobbled up Magic Slays and it still left me hungry for more. I think the stage is nicely set for the next two books in the series and as always, I can’t wait to read them.

Other reviews:
Lurv a la Mode
Angieville

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This book is one of my entries in the Once Upon a Time challenge.