Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Can't-Wait Wednesday: A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Can't-Wait is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released! This meme is based off of Jill @ Breaking the Spine's Waiting on Wednesday meme.

This week's upcoming book spotlight is:
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (Teixcalaan #1) 
Publication Date: March 26th, 2019
Tor Books
464 pages

A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan, #1)From Goodreads: 

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn't an accident--or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court. 

Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan's unceasing expansion--all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret--one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life--or rescue it from annihilation."

The reviews for this already have me so curious to find out what this book is all about. It seems ike it's going to be a really exciting and clever sci-fi and I just love the sound of it. 

What do you think about this upcoming release? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Great Books that have Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book blog meme now hosted by Jana over at The Artsy Reader Girl!

This week's topic is:

I remember doing this same topic for a Top Ten Tuesday post a while back, but fortunately I've read a lot more books since that post and have many more books to choose from. I have to say that I was really surprised by how many books were under the 2,000 mark, as I assumed quite a few of these would be far over it. Were any of you as surprised as I was about some of the books you found (or the ones I've posted belo) under 2,000?

(And I can count, I promise, I just chose to feature eleven books because I'm indecisive.) 

The Tower of Living and Dying (Empires of Dust #2)
The Tower of Living and Dying by Anna Smith Spark
# of ratings: 161

"Marith Altrersyr – father-killer, dragonlord, leader of the blood-soaked Amrath Army – is keeping his promises. He is determined to become King of all Irlast and take back the seat of his ancestors. 

Only Thalia, once high priestess of the Lord of Living and Dying, the holiest woman in the Empire, might stop Marith and his army’s deadly march. But she is torn between two destinies – and if she was to return home, what would she fi nd there? A city on the brink of ruin: diseased, despairing, dying? 

Crawling through a tunnel deep under the ruins of her city, Landra Relast vows vengeance. Her family has been burned, her home destroyed, and now Marith – once her betrothed – must die." Goodreads

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

The Confessions of Young Nero (Nero, #1)
The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George
# of ratings: 1,862
"Built on the backs of those who fell before it, Julius Caesar's imperial dynasty is only as strong as the next person who seeks to control it. In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman or child.

With impeccable research and captivating prose, The Confessions of Young Nero is the story of a boy's ruthless ascension to the throne. Detailing his journey from innocent youth to infamous ruler, it is an epic tale of the lengths to which man will go in the ultimate quest for power and survival." Goodreads 

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

The World of Tomorrow
The World of Tomorrow by Brendan Matthews
# of ratings: 783
"Three brothers caught up in a whirlwind week of love, blackmail, and betrayal culminating in an assassination plot, set in prewar New York.

From the smoky jazz joints of Harlem to the Plaza Hotel, from the garrets of artists in the Bowery to the shadowy warehouses of mobsters in Hell's Kitchen, Brendan Mathews brings prewar New York to vivid, pulsing life, while the sweeping and intricate storytelling of this remarkable debut reveals an America that blithely hoped it could avoid another catastrophic war and focus instead on the promise of the World's Fair: a peaceful, prosperous World of Tomorrow." Goodreads

Soul of the World (The Ascension Cycle, #1)
Soul of the World by David Mealing
# of ratings: 343
"It is a time of revolution. in the cities, food shortages stir citizens to riots against the crown. In the wilds, new magic threatens the dominance of the tribes. and on the battlefields, even the most brilliant commanders struggle in the shadow of total war. Three lines of magic must be mastered in order to usher in a new age, and three heroes must emerge.

Sarine is an artist on the streets of New Sarresant whose secret familiar helps her uncover bloodlust and madness where she expected only revolutionary fervor. Arak'Jur wields the power of beasts to keep his people safe, but his strength cannot protect them from war amongst themselves. Erris is a brilliant cavalry officer trying to defend New Sarresant from an enemy general armed with magic she barely understands. Each must learn the secrets of their power in time to guide their people through ruin. But a greater evil may be trying to stop them." Goodreads

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Miranda and Caliban
Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey
# of ratings: 1,379
"We all know the tale of Prospero's quest for revenge, but what of Miranda? Or Caliban, the so-called savage Prospero chained to his will?

In this incredible retelling of the fantastical tale, Jacqueline Carey shows readers the other side of the coin—the dutiful and tenderhearted Miranda, who loves her father but is terribly lonely. And Caliban, the strange and feral boy Prospero has bewitched to serve him. The two find solace and companionship in each other as Prospero weaves his magic and dreams of revenge. Always under Prospero’s jealous eye, Miranda and Caliban battle the dark, unknowable forces that bind them to the island even as the pangs of adolescence create a new awareness of each other and their doomed relationship." Goodreads

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

The Empire's Ghost
The Empire's Ghost by Isabelle Steiger
# of ratings: 158
"The empire of Elesthene once spanned a continent, but its rise heralded the death of magic. It tore itself apart from within, leaving behind a patchwork of kingdoms struggling to rebuild. But when a new dictator, the ambitious and enigmatic Imperator Elgar, seizes power in the old capital and seeks to recreate the lost empire anew, the other kingdoms have little hope of stopping him. Prince Kelken of Reglay finds himself at odds with his father at his country’s darkest hour; the marquise of Esthrades is unmatched in politics and strategy, but she sits at a staggering military disadvantage. And Issamira, the most powerful of the free countries, has shut itself off from the conflict, thrown into confusion by the disappearance of its crown prince and the ensuing struggle for succession. 

Everything seems aligned in Elgar’s favor, but when he presses a band of insignificant but skilled alley-dwellers into his service for a mission of the greatest secrecy, they find an unexpected opportunity to alter the balance of power in the war. Through their actions and those of the remaining royals, they may uncover not just a way to defeat Elgar, but also a deeper truth about their world’s lost history." Goodreads

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

The Apprentice Witch
The Apprentice Witch by James Nichol
# of ratings: 1,417
Arianwyn has flunked her witch's assessment: She's doomed. Declared an apprentice and sent to the town of Lull in disgrace, she may never become a real witch-- much to the glee of her arch-rival, Gimma.

But remote Lull is not as boring as it seems. Strange things are sighted in the woods, a dangerous infestation of hex creeps throughout the town, and a mysterious magical visitor arrives with his eye on her. Goodreads

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Arabella of Mars (Adventures of Arabella Ashby, #1)
Arabella of Mars by David Levine
# of ratings: 1,596
"Ever since Newton witnessed a bubble rising from his bathtub, mankind has sought the stars. When William III of England commissioned Capt. William Kidd to command the first expedition to Mars in the late 1600s, they proved that space travel was both possible and profitable.

Now, one century later, a plantation in the flourishing British colony on Mars is home to Arabella Ashby. A tomboy who shares her father’s deft hand with complex automatons. Being raised on the Martian frontier by her Martian nanny, Arabella is more a wild child than a proper young lady. Something her mother plans to remedy with a move to an exotic world Arabella has never seen: London, England.

Arabella soon finds herself trying to navigate an alien world until a dramatic change in her family’s circumstances forces her to defy all conventions in order to return to Mars in order to save both her brother and the plantation. To do this, Arabella must pass as a boy on the Diana, a ship serving the Mars Trading Company with a mysterious Indian captain who is intrigued by her knack with automatons." Goodreads

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

The Queens of Innis Lear
The Queens of Innis Lear
# of ratings: 1,509
"The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes.

The king's three daughters—battle-hungry Gaela, master manipulator Reagan, and restrained, starblessed Elia—know the realm's only chance of resurrection is to crown a new sovereign, proving a strong hand can resurrect magic and defend itself. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align and a poison ritual can be enacted.

Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war—but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided." Goodreads

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Balam, SpringBalam, Spring by Travis M. Riddle
# of ratings: 64
"Balam is a sleepy town on the eastern coast of Atlua, surrounded by forest and sea. It’s a village where nothing happens and everybody knows each other. But now, people are dying. 

School is out for the spring, and schoolteacher Theodore Saen is ready to spend the next few months relaxing with his family. But when the town’s resident white mage falls ill and several townspeople begin to show similar symptoms, they must call on a new mage. Aava has freshly graduated from the nearby mage academy when she is swiftly hired to deduce the cause of the unknown illness and craft a cure before the entire town is afflicted. Aiding her is an ex-mercenary named Ryckert who keeps to himself but has grown bored with retirement and is itching for a new investigation when a suspicious young man appears in the local pub the same night the sickness begins to spread.Goodreads

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

ImpyriumImpyrium by Henry H. Neff
# of ratings: 915
"For over three thousand years, the Faeregine dynasty has ruled Impyrium. But the family’s magic has been fading, and with it their power over the empire. Whether it’s treachery from a rival house, the demon Lirlanders, or rebel forces, many believe the Faereginese are ripe to fall. 

Hazel, the youngest member of the royal family, is happy to leave ruling to her sisters so that she can study her magic. But the Empress has other plans for her granddaughter, dark and dangerous plans to exploit Hazel’s talents and rekindle the Faeregine mystique. Hob, a commoner from the outer realms, has been sent to the city to serve the Faeregines—and to spy on them." Goodreads

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Have you read any of these books? 

Monday, February 18, 2019

Review: The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

The City in the Middle of the Night
The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders
Tor, 2019
Hardcover. 368 pages.

About The City in the Middle of the Night:

"''If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams... And from there, it's easy to control our entire lives.' 

Set on a planet that has fully definitive, never-changing zones of day and night, with ensuing extreme climates of endless, frigid darkness and blinding, relentless light, humankind has somehow continued apace -- though the perils outside the built cities are rife with danger as much as the streets below. 

But in a world where time means only what the ruling government proclaims, and the levels of light available are artificially imposed to great consequence, lost souls and disappeared bodies are shadow-bound and savage, and as common as grains of sand. And one such pariah, sacrificed to the night, but borne up by time and a mysterious bond with an enigmatic beast, will rise to take on the entire planet--before it can crumble beneath the weight of human existence."

It's been a hard time trying to collect my thoughts around this book. On the one hand, it's a really fascinating look at a new planet and what it means to be human and a majority female cast, but on the other hand... it's at times a dry, uninteresting story about some highly unlikable characters. 

The world-building in The City in the Middle of the Night is one of the most interesting parts of the book. I actually wish that there had been more of it because although there is a good amount of explanation, there were still some pretty big gaps in my understanding of the world, and I wish I could have explored it further. Despite that, I still found it extremely intelligent and well-crafted and I certainly commend Anders on creating such a fascinating world.

The second most interesting aspect of this book are the 'crocodiles' that most people are frightened of, but that Sophie befriends and the subsequent events that follow. I think this exploration of humanity and the desire to advance society and technology is a truly captivating topic and I wish this book had spent more time on this area than it did on some of the characters and their relationships.

If this book was to be judged solely on the two above things I mentioned, it would probably get close to five stars from me, but unfortunately I didn't enjoy other aspects of this book, such as with the characters and their storylines. In general, as I've mentioned in numerous reviews, I have no problems with unlikable characters or narrators. I actually love some books with unlikable characters because, for me, there's something extra special about being engaged in a book and story when you don't even like the protagonist, but you still want to know what they will do and what will happen to them. Sadly, the unlikable characters in this book had very few redeeming factors and were instead rather bland, frustrating, and altogether uninteresting.

Before I jump into specifics about some of the characters, I do want to point out that the main characters in this book are all women, and I think that's something worth noting because it's rare when male characters are in such a small role that they aren't even part of the core cast, so I really appreciated that aspect. However, my biggest issues with the characters was their frustrating relationships with one another and their actions. The characters with the biggest roles are Sophie (the first POV we follow), Mouth (the second POV we follow), Bianca, and Alyssa. Sophie acts as one of the main protagonists and is exceptionally difficult to connect with. There are plenty of moments when I can mostly follow her thought process and understand her choices, but there are just as many--if not more--where I cannot for the life of me grasp what she could possibly be thinking when she makes the most horrible decisions. I know characters make dumb decisions sometimes--half the books out there wouldn't exist without that--but Sophie is too unpredictable and hard to follow. 

The next character is Mouth, who I would say is probably the most relatable and potentially likable character of the bunch. I don't have a lot of frustrations with her overall, but in spite of that I still didn't feel overly connected to her. I cared about what happened to her, but not that much. Still, I appreciated her strength and no-nonsense attitude when it came to some things she did or did not want to do. Mouth's closest friend--who could also potentially be her lesbian partner though it's never explicitly stated--Alyssa, is a character whose strong loyalty to Mouth is something I admire. However, she also seemed very flighty in other regards and her opinions and actions seemed to flip easily. 

The last brief character I want to mention is Bianca, and that's mainly to say that I couldn't stand her. To be fair, I don't particularly think we're supposed to like her, but since Sophie was so obsessed with her it made it almost unbearable to follow someone so insufferable, ignorant, and selfish. There are other characters in this book that range quite a bit in personality, and some that I liked more than others, such as Barney and Ahmad, but otherwise the remaining characters do not particularly stand out.

Overall, my conflicted feelings over this book continue. Parts I genuinely loved and parts I couldn't stand. Because of this, I've ended up somewhere between three and four stars, though probably closer to the three. If you enjoy big themes and the exploration unprecedented worlds, then this might be worth a look for you. I only wish the characters' and their storylines were more interesting.

*I received an ARC of The City in the Middle of the Night courtesy of Tor Books in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the book.*

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Friday, February 15, 2019

Book Recommendations: If You Like...You Might Also Like... (Part 3 of ?)

I'm back with another installment of my 'if you like x, you might also like x' recommendations posts! I always love reading these types of posts, and they've been just as fun to make as well (if you'd like to check out a past one, you can find it here!). As usual, I tried to make the initial book a more popular one that people have more likely read than others and then paired it with a possibly lesser known novel. And if you have any of your own recommendations to pair with any of these, let me know! :)

There are a lot of differences between these two books, but also a lot of overarching similarities. If you loved the gritty city setting of Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett, then I guarantee you'll enjoy the extra gritty and unpredictable city of The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan. Both casts of characters in each book are compromised of a variety of different people (and a few not-so-human characters) from different backgrounds that end up having to work together to combat a greater threat against each respective city. 
The Gutter Prayer: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound
Foundryside: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

I absolutely love sci-fi books that either take place in space or are about exploring a new planet, so I'm always looking for more of those--which is something that both The Martian by Andy Weir and One Way by S.J. Morden seem to do very well. Both books showcase the desperate struggle of survival on the hostile planet of Mars and evoke many of the same ideas and obstacles. Both protagonists have a rather dry sense of humor as they learn how to navigate their new homes and stay alive. If you enjoyed The Martian's dangerous Mars setting and the insight into what it might be like to survive there, you'll love the increased stakes at play in the same setting in One Way

There are some pretty big differences between these, such as one being set on earth and one being set on what is decidedly not earth, but both explored concepts and ideas in magnitudes that left me feeling mindblown and extremely impressed. If you like books such as Rosewater by Tade Thompson that deal with alien-type species, humanity's relation to them, and other thought-provoking topics, then you should really pick up The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders.  
The City in the Middle of the Night: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Although Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones has a strong plot and storyline, it is really much more of a character-driven story that explores a lot of dark themes, which is something that The Demon Race by Alexandria Warwick also does. Both books have a dark, ominous tone that permeates the entire story and also feature two incredible female protagonists that must constantly face and struggle with their inner demons. If you loved the atmospheric style of Wintersong and the way in which the author explored human emotions and desires, then The Demon Race should definitely be the next book you pick up.
Wintersong: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound
The Demon Race: Amazon 

To round this recommendations list off, I though I'd share some middle grade books. I've seen Small Spaces by Katherine Arden mentioned around here and there--likely because Katherine Arden is a widely loved adult fantasy author--and I think that if you're someone who enjoyed the spooky vibe of that book, you might just like Nightbooks by J.A. White as well. Although the two have vastly different settings, both explore some darker ideas for middle grade books and showcase some awesome kids overcoming their fears and learning to work together to save themselves and their friends.
Small Spaces: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound
Nightbooks: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

Have you read any of these? What are your thoughts?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Review: The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy, #3)
The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) 
Del Rey, 2019
Hardcover. 384 pages.

About The Winter of the Witch:

"'Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen. 

Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, stronger than ever and determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasya will uncover surprising truths about herself and her history as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all."

*Although I will have no spoilers for this book itself, this review will have potential spoilers for the previous two books in the trilogy. 

I've been struggling a little to write this review because all I want to do is gush and ramble all over this book, but I'll do my best to be coherent. Hands down, this is one of the best trilogies I've read in a long, long time and it will stay with me for a long time. It will be one I recommend to anyone and everyone and that I will continue to re-read over the years (probably during the winter months, of course).

The Winter of the Witch is heart-breaking in every sense of the word, in both positive and devastating ways, and it's full of captivating prose and such a tight plot that it's impossible not to be completely sucked into the story. Arden's world-building is phenomenal and it seems as though just when I think I've seen as much as I can about this world or the magical aspects, there's always more and I'm constantly learning about the lore and hidden magical elements and characters at play. I honestly could not put this book down. The action is incredible and written in such a way that I was never bored or weary of the more excitement-driven parts of the book.

I love Vasya more than I've loved a character in a long time. It initially surprised me at times by how much I was drawn to her because she has a lot of qualities that I generally become tired of in books--impulsive, makes rash decisions, etc.--and yet I wanted nothing more than to keep her safe and happy. Vasya is incredibly impulsive and consistently does things that seem completely irrational and unsafe, but the reason she does all of these things is due to her own strong morals, which is what truly cements her character. She has a strong will that refuses to be pulled into darkness or evil; she has a desire to protect people and to instill justice and goodness into the areas she visits. It's not that she's someone who is steadfast and follows the rules, because she certainly does not follow the rules, but rather she will do whatever is necessary to follow the things that she feels are right and just. I have loved watching her grow from this awkward, unhappy child that saw no future for herself  because she didn't want to get married and into her own independent person and who refuses to let anyone take away her freedom and values.

Morozko continues to be a fascinating figure, and his relationship with Vasya has been one of the most compelling and unpredictable ones I've read in some time. There are so many different components to their relationship, and Vasya and Morzoko's own personalities even have a very basic trope element at their core, but somehow this ends up being so much more developed than one could hope for. Morozko himself is a very complex figure that constantly tugged at my attention and I loved that I was still able to explore more about him, even in the last book. We also get to see more of Vasya's brother, Sasha, and I appreciated his character arc so much in this book. Arden made me go back and forth between liking, disliking, and being unsure of him at so many moments, but by the end of it he stayed as true to character as I always expected of him and I was immensely pleased with that.

A minor thing that I also want to comment on is the dialogue, which I've found particularly well done throughout the entire trilogy. The historical tone is consistent at all times--something that many authors tend to struggle with--and it still remained fresh and captivating at the same time. Arden's usage of Russian terms also felt natural and expected and never felt as though it was forced just for effect as some books tend to do.

Arden's writing is something so rare and so deceptively perfect. She is not overt or obvious in her descriptions or prose, but there is an elegance and quiet beauty that accompany each and every line of the story. The themes that are interwoven throughout the events of this book are thought-provoking and carefully done, from dealing with the struggle of figuring out who you are to more contemporary themes and those associated with traditional folklore. The blend of true historical fact with the magical is something that I love.

Also, I need to talk about the horses. Solovey is everything to me and my heart was in such an emotional state throughout this book because of events surrounding him. I also love Pozhar and am so pleased that Arden never turned her into something she isn't, which also speaks to the respect that Arden has for all of her characters and their desires.

Overall, it's an obvious five stars from me. I could continue reading about these characters and this world forever, but I'm more than satisfied with this trilogy and cannot recommend it highly enough. If you haven't yet started it, be sure to do so! It's a perfect winter read.

*I received a copy of The Winter of the Witch courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the novel.*

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Early Riser by Jasper Fforde

Can't-Wait is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released! This meme is based off of Jill @ Breaking the Spine's Waiting on Wednesday meme.

This week's upcoming book spotlight is:
Early Riser by Jasper Fforde 
Publication Date: February 12th, 2019
416 pages

Early RiserFrom Goodreads: 

Every Winter, the human population hibernates. 

During those bitterly cold four months, the nation is a snow-draped landscape of desolate loneliness, devoid of human activity. 

Well, not quite . 

Your name is Charlie Worthing and it's your first season with the Winter Consuls, the committed but mildly unhinged group of misfits who are responsible for ensuring the hibernatory safe passage of the sleeping masses. 

You are investigating an outbreak of viral dreams which you dismiss as nonsense; nothing more than a quirky artefact borne of the sleeping mind. 

When the dreams start to kill people, it's unsettling. 

When you get the dreams too, it's weird. 

When they start to come true, you begin to doubt your sanity. 

But teasing truth from the Winter is never easy: You have to avoid the Villains and their penchant for murder, kidnapping, and stamp collecting, ensure you aren't eaten by Nightwalkers, whose thirst for human flesh can only be satisfied by comfort food, and sidestep the increasingly less-than-mythical WinterVolk. 

But so long as you remember to wrap up warmly, you'll be fine."
I love Jasper Fforde and I only found out about this book a few weeks ago! This sounds like classic Fforde and every single thing about it sounds amazing--I've been waiting for a new release from him for so long now. It just came out yesterday actually, but since my library has a decent hold list on it, it might be a while before I can read it so I figured it would still work for this week's pick.

What do you think about this upcoming release? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Couples

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book blog meme now hosted by Jana over at The Artsy Reader Girl!

This week's topic is: Favorite Couples

This topic ended up being more fun than I expected. There are a lot of great pairings out in the literary world, so only picking ten can be tricky! I also decided to include a few platonic couples as well that particularly stand out to me.
That being said, I'd like to note that this post, by nature, might contain a few semi-spoilers surrounding couples in books that don't feature immediately obvious pairings. Because of this, before I jump into my list I'll post some of the series mentioned in this post that might be considered to have slight spoilers in them. All of the others feature pairings that are not really considered spoilers. 

Did anyone else have trouble only picking ten couples? Who are some of your favorite couples?

The following books with potentially non-obvious pairings will be mentioned: The Stormlight Archive, Shades of Magic, Senlin Ascends, Throne of Glass, Heartless, and The Great Library series. The rest are all more obvious ones, so no worries. :) 

Strange the Dreamer
Lazlo & Sarai
From: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I don't know a more perfect couple in literature than Lazlo and Sarai. Even independently from one another, Lazlo and Sarai are both incredible characters with such great personality, strength, and motivations, so together they are even better than I could have imagined.
Amazon | Book Depository

Navani & Dalinar
From: Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive) by Brandon Sanderson
I really grew to love these two as a couple in Oathbringer and find their devotion so lovely and refreshing. I loved seeing Dalinar slowly open up to her and learn to love someone new; it felt like a very pure relationship forming.

Amazon | Book Depository

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Arthur & Molly Weasley
From: Harry Potter  by J.K. Rowling
Who doesn't love Arthur and Molly Weasley? These two are easily the best couple of all the Harry Potter books. I can't imagine how much stress and work goes into having seven kids and then still finding the time to have so much love and happiness together. These two are the real deal.

Amazon | Book Depository

A Darker Shade of Magic
Rhy & Alucard
From: Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab
Rhy and Alucard are a beautiful couple and I just love them so much. The tension between them was so strong and led to some really great relationship growth between the two. I'd love to read more about their future together.

Amazon | Book Depository

Senlin Ascends
Voleta & Iren
From: Senlin Ascends series by Josiah Bancroft
This is one of my favorite platonic relationships because as much as these two drive each other crazy, Iren's compassion and over-protectiveness towards Voleta is so pure and admirable. I truly feel like these two women would do anything for one another and it's one of those 'we fight all the time but if anyone hurts a hair on your hand I'll destroy them' sort of thing and I love it.
Amazon | Book Depository

Throne of Glass
Aelin & Rowan
From: Throne of Glass series
I almost feel silly including these two on my list, but I can't lie--I'm a sucker for them! I think Aelin and Rowan are so wonderful together and I know so many people ship Aelin with Chaol or Dorian more, but I think Rowan is fantastic. They have such a strong level of respect for one another and each individual's independence. Aelin will ask Rowan his opinion on something or he wants her to do something, and his response is always something along the lines of "I will never allow/tell you do anything" and I think that's such a healthy relationship example. I'll defend this pairing all night.
Amazon | Book Depository

Kandri & Mektu 
From: Master Assassins by Robert V.S. Redick
Another platonic relationship in the form of two brothers. They have a very, very complicated relationship that teeters between hatred, annoyance, fierce love, and everything in between. At the end of the day, I love their bond and find them some of the most compelling siblings in literature.
Amazon | Book Depository

Khalila & Dario
From: The Great Library series by Rachel Caine
These two make me so happy for so many reasons. Both come from such different backgrounds--Khalila is a faithful, independent, strong-willed Muslim woman who is truly an incredible woman, and Dario is a man raised in luxury and who is not religious or nearly as virtuous as Khalila. Despite their differences and Dario's annoyances, his love for Khalila is beautiful and I can't get enough of how much he respects her beliefs, customs, and her own pacing choices. I need more of these two.
Amazon | Book Depository

Cath & Jest
From: Heartless by Marissa Meyer
I love Jest so much and I think he and Cath make such an exciting, unpredictable duo. If you've read this book, you know how things don't exactly end as expected, but that's part of why I like this so much. It's a very conflicting relationship, but they certainly earn a spot on this list.

Image result for i love lucy
Lucy & Ricky Ricardo
From: I Love Lucy!
This is just a fun bonus because this will forever be my favorite couple of all time. I can't not include them. Just thinking about them and this show makes me so happy. I'm someone who sort of believes that if I'm never annoyed by my partner or irritated by small things they do, I'm not having a real relationship. I cherish all aspects of a relationship, from the good to the bad to the downright trivial things, and I feel like Lucy and Ricky exemplify this so well. 

Who are some of your favorite literary couples?

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