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?

Retro Friday: Unsticky by Sarra Manning

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 dare you to read Angie’s review of Unsticky and not be convinced to read the book as soon as you can. I believe several other bloggers were persuaded to do just that. Ari of Emily and Her Little Pink Notes (who is on a blogging hiatus) has also been recommending Sarra Manning’s YA books but I haven’t had a chance to read them yet and I thought Unsticky would be a good introduction to the author’s work. Thank you so much to the lovely Celina of Celina’s Books and Magazines for tracking down a copy of this for me. 😀 I was so excited when I received the package that I started reading it immediately.

Here’s the summary from Sarra Manning’s website:

Money makes the world go round – that’s what twenty-something Grace Reeves is learning. Stuck in a grind where everyone’s ahead apart from her, she’s partied out, disillusioned, and massively in debt. If she’s dumped by another rock-band wannabe, squashed by anyone else at her cut-throat fashion job, or chased by any more bailiffs, Grace suspects she’ll fall apart…

So when older, sexy and above all, wealthy art-dealer Vaughn appears, she’s intrigued against her will. Could she handle being a sugar daddy’s arm candy?

Soon Grace is thrown into a world of money and privilege, at Vaughn’s beck and call in return for thousands of pounds in luxurious gifts, priceless clothes – and cash. Where’s the line between acting the trophy girlfriend, and selling yourself for money?

And, more importantly: whatever happened to love?

Whenever my girlfriends and I talk about our jobs, there’s always a point where we share our frustrations about how hard it is to get a decent salary in a third world country. This is why so many of our friends go abroad to work. There’s always one person who concludes the discussion with, “we should just look for a rich boyfriend/husband so we wouldn’t have to worry about money anymore.” And this is what happened when Grace met Vaughn in Unsticky. He’s a rich, older man who needs a female companion to handle the social aspects of his job as an art dealer. She’s a fashion assistant with huge amounts of debt and no idea how she’s going to pay them off. But both of them are so much more than that. They’re two flawed people who don’t even know the real meaning of love so they’d rather have an arrangement than risk involving their hearts in the process. Here’s a quote from Grace that perfectly describes their relationship:

“We’re broken. It’s like we have all these jagged edges that scare other people off, but when we’re with each other, our jagged edges fit together and we’re almost whole.”

Grace is a much more believable shopaholic than Becky Bloomwood ever was. You don’t ever get to a point where you want to shake her and say, “stop buying stuff!” because her urge to buy something to make herself feel better is understandable. There’s not much in her life that makes her feel good. I know I indulge in retail therapy from time to time although I’m not and never will be into designer items. Why would I buy a handbag worth thousands of dollars when I could buy books instead? Grace’s problems don’t magically go away the moment she strikes a deal with Vaughn. She still had to go through so much and this is probably why the book is so long. I didn’t mind though because it kept me absorbed. It was so much fun watching Grace and Vaughn get to know each other. I’m not a big fan of May-December pairings but it just worked with these two. Vaughn’s own issues worked well with Grace’s and they understood each other. Can I just say that it’s so funny that Vaughn has a thing for desserts? Both main characters are far from perfect and I think that’s what makes Unsticky so good. Unsticky has made it to my best of 2011 and now has a permanent place in my list of favorites. I’m so glad that I already ordered You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me. I’m going to read it as soon as it arrives.

Pink nails to match the cover of Unsticky! I get my nails done approximately once a year so this is a pretty big deal 😛

Other reviews:
Emily and Her Little Pink Notes
Angieville
Book Harbinger
Janicu’s Book Blog

Want Books: Unsticky

Want Books? is a weekly meme hosted here at Chachic’s Book Nook and features released books that you want but you can’t have for some reason. It can be because it’s not available in your country, in your library or you don’t have the money for it right now. Everyone is free to join, just grab the image above. Leave a comment with a link to your post so I can do a roundup with each post.

I know I usually put up my Want Books posts on Saturdays but the internet connection at home was acting up yesterday so I wasn’t able to go online. So here’s my Want Books pick for this week: Unsticky by Sarra Manning. Emily of Emily and Her Little Pink Notes (who is on a blogging hiatus) has been recommending Sarra Manning’s YA books but I haven’t had a chance to read them yet. Then I saw Angie’s review of Unsticky; and knew that I had to read it. Read what Angie had to say and I’m sure you’ll be convinced as well.

Here’s the summary from Sarra Manning’s website:

Money makes the world go round – that’s what twenty-something Grace Reeves is learning. Stuck in a grind where everyone’s ahead apart from her, she’s partied out, disillusioned, and massively in debt. If she’s dumped by another rock-band wannabe, squashed by anyone else at her cut-throat fashion job, or chased by any more bailiffs, Grace suspects she’ll fall apart…

So when older, sexy and above all, wealthy art-dealer Vaughn appears, she’s intrigued against her will. Could she handle being a sugar daddy’s arm candy?

Soon Grace is thrown into a world of money and privilege, at Vaughn’s beck and call in return for thousands of pounds in luxurious gifts, priceless clothes – and cash. Where’s the line between acting the trophy girlfriend, and selling yourself for money?

And, more importantly: whatever happened to love?

What about you, what book is in your wishlist?