Top Ten Best Fictional Couples

So Friday (7/6) was International Kissing Day or something like that, so I got thinking about the best fictional couples, the ones I adore reading about the most.  I feel like this is different from my favorite fictional crushes because there is different criteria for this.  For example, when it comes to my crushes, I’m looking for the characteristics that mesh the best with mine.  For the couples, I’m looking for the ones whose personality traits mesh well together.  I’m looking for couples that balance each other well, the ones that I fight for to stay together through every hardship.

Will there be some overlap?  Undoubtedly.  But I think it’s going to be enlightening nonetheless.

And if you’re not into series or if you’re looking for a standalone contemporary romance, I made sure to include those on my list as well.  Hopefully you can find something you haven’t read before!

Top Ten Best Fictional Couples

1. Henry and Kate, The Goddess Test series by Aimee Carter

So, this is one of my favorites series to reread (in large part because of the Greek mythology, I won’t lie) but also because of the level of emotion I feel from Kate.  Kate is sweetness and despair, constantly intertwined.  Henry is completely closed off, seemingly emotionless, hopeless all because he lets fear rule his life.  I love that Kate never really gives up on him and that he has a lot more depth than he ever shows anyone else.  It’s awesome.

2. Rhys and Feyre, A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas

Y’all, let’s not even pretend to be surprised that these two are on the list.  Besides the fact that Rhys made it onto my swoon-worthy crush list AND I just did that spotlight on Maas books on Friday, it was pretty much certain that these two would show up at some point.  These two are the perfect counterpoints to each other.  They both have a lot of bravado and snark, but they feel pain deeply.  They both strive to protect others until their dying breath and they are utterly vicious toward anyone who wants to hurt them.  Their similar personalities also mean that arguments are explosive.  It’s delightful fun to watch them fight and make up.

3. Anna and Etienne, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I don’t think I give this book as much credit as it deserves.  I adore these two because when I first read this book, it was like they were speaking to me.  Anna was me. But what I like about these two together is that they’re encouraging.  They see what the other’s hopes and dreams are and they listen and push them to reach it.  It’s not an easy beginning to their relationship, but I think it makes them stronger for it.

4. Penryn and Raffe, Angelfall series by Susan Ee

I debated a little with this one.  Like, were they actually a couple of epic proportions?  But considering the story involves explosions, death, and dismemberment, I’d say it’s pretty epic.  We’re talking angels, so everything is on a massive scale.  The danger level is high, which means the emotions run that much stronger.  They’re both bitter about the life they now lead, but they find someone who understands in each other.  And while that maybe doesn’t lead to a perfect life, it does show exactly how far they’ll go to save the other.

5. Scarlet and Robin, Scarlet series by A.C. Gaughen

Ok, this couple right here needs to stop being so freaking adorable.  The life Scarlet’s running from is absolutely awful, so awful that she’d rather live dressed as a boy than let anyone even guess who she really is.  The fact that she trusts Robin means a lot because she no longer trusts anyone.  And Robin, while being understanding and sweet, is undeniably fierce when it comes to protecting her.  I really enjoy reading about these two.

6. Kate and Matt, Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally

Do you ever have a book that you read and you just can’t get it out of your head, no matter how much time has gone by?  That’s this book for me.  This couple is different from many other couples.  Kate is religious and quiet.  Matt is silly and a nerd who grew up into all his delicious glory.  It was so much fun to watch these two try to understand each other, to learn from their mistakes, and to finally acknowledge their feelings.

7. Charlie and Braden, On The Fence by Kasie West

I think this is easily my favorite Kasie West book.  Charlie is a tomboy.  She hangs out with her brothers and plays all the sports.  Braden is her neighbor and best friend of her brothers.  They’ve known each other forever, so when the feelings start becoming more than that, it runs the risk of making everything awkward.  But I loved that Charlie really doesn’t fit the mold of a typical romantic lead and that there is this that friendship between them before it becomes something more.  It’s sweet.

8. Christian and Elyse, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

When we’re talking about two characters that balance each other out, I don’t think there are two better characters than these.  Elyse is from the Caribbean, a talented singer who lost her voice in a freak accident.  Christian is a rich boy who lives on the coast with his family and is pretty much spoiled.  They’re complete opposites in so many ways, but Christian sees Elyse in ways that no one else does.  He’s the only one who treats her normally, not like she’s broken.  She’s the only one who sees the pressure being piled on Christian’s shoulders.  I adored that balance.

9. Ali and Cole, the Alice in Zombieland series by Gena Showalter

Again, this is a couple that balances each other well.  When Ali and Cole meet, she’s almost afraid of her shadow because of what happened to her family.  Cole is tough as nails and definitely someone Ali should be running from.  But he gives her confidence and treats her like a person.  And Ali softens his edges.  Again, it’s a very cute couple, even though they’re quite terrifying at the same time.

10. Sydney and Adrian, the Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead

I have a very hard time deciding between Sydney and Adrian or Rose and Dimitri, from the companion Richelle Mead series, Vampire Academy.  But I ended up going with Sydney and Adrian because of their amazing character development.  And it’s not just that Adrian grows up–it’s Sydney too.  She finally starts to realize how important other things are in life, starts to question what she’s seeing.  But together, these two are magical.  There’s just something so compelling about how Adrian can pull out Sydney’s sillier side as well as see her in a way that she doesn’t feel like anyone else has seen her.  And there’s something wonderful about the way Sydney saw a spark of promise beneath Adrian’s sarcastic, self-destructive exterior.  They understand each other in a way that is simply beautiful.

Silver Shadows (Bloodlines, #5)

First Lines: I woke to darkness.  This was nothing new, as I’d been waking to darkness for the last…well, I didn’t know how many days.

I love love love Richelle Mead.  She’s one of my favorite authors and I’ve read well over a dozen of her books.  But I just fall off the bandwagon a little when I forget about the newest book.  When I went to a bigger library in my county, I made sure I looked for this.

*Definite Series Spoilers Ahead*

Sydney Sage is used to walking the line between Alchemists and Moroi.  But when she makes a heartbreaking decision, she’s forced to face the consequences of picking a side.  Trapped and surrounded by her enemies, Sydney struggles to survive day to day and stay strong in the process.  Meanwhile, Adrian clings to the knowledge that Sydney is out there somewhere and he will find her, even when everyone else tells him it’s a lost cause.  But it won’t be easy for Adrian either, especially once his old demons reemerge…

I think this was easily the darkest book of the series so far.  (And that’s kind of a trend with series.  The farther into the series you get, the darker they are.)  And there was a lot that I liked about it, and some I didn’t.

First of all, there is just something about Sydney and Adrian’s relationship that works, even though it doesn’t seem like it should.  Sydney is this straight-laced, knowledgeable Alchemist who acts like everyone’s big sister.  Adrian is artistic and given to flights of fancy.  But Sydney can be funny and imaginative right back at Adrian, and Adrian can think himself out of a problem just as well as Sydney can.  They’re different, but complementary.  I never would have expected this out of them, based on what I knew of them from Vampire Academy.  For that alone, I’m glad they got their own series.

There was a lot of action in this book, fight-action and intrigue/suspense-action.  I liked that.  It kept things exciting and interesting.

At the same time, there were a couple of things I didn’t like so much about this book.  One was Adrian in the first third/half of the book.  I completely understand why Adrian ended up doing what he did.  I get it.  But it didn’t make it easy to read.  It was almost painful watching his old demons pop back up.  I got frustrated because almost nothing happened in these chapters either, at least not compared to Sydney’s.  I got to the point where I wanted to start skipping parts of the chapter just to get back to Sydney and the action.

The second reason was that the ending lacked some oomph for me.  It definitely had action and suspense, and it was interesting, but the cliffhanger just wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be.  I guess I kind of saw it coming, so it didn’t surprise me too much.  I think at this point, it’s all just building toward the finale at the end of the next book, so there wasn’t much resolution or something here.

Still, it was worth the read.  Mead brings all of her signature elements back for this story: humor, awkward situations that turn out to be funny, and a beautiful love story.

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4)

First Lines: I won’t lie.  Walking into a room and seeing your girlfriend reading a baby-name book can kind of make your heart stop.  “I’m no expert,” I began, choosing my words carefully.  “Well–actually, I am.  And I’m pretty sure there are certain things we have to do before you need to be reading that.”

I recently went to the biggest library in my county and about cried when I saw how many books lived on those shelves that I had yet to read.  (You think I’m joking, but I quite literally shook like a junkie for every book I saw that I knew I couldn’t grab.  It took a lot of will-power to get me out of there.)

*Series Spoilers Ahead, if you haven’t read the earlier books in this series!*

The Indigo Spell ended in a way that took fans by surprise, and now Sydney has to live with the consequences.  In the aftermath, she’s still trying to be true to herself while being pulled in many different directions.  Her sister Zoe has arrived to help out and learn how to be a true Alchemist.  Sydney wants to be closer to her sister, but how can she when she has to hide so many things from her?  Marcus has forever changed the way Sydney sees the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread carefully if she doesn’t want anyone to discover her new magical abilities.  Sydney will fight to keep her life as secret as possible while the threat of re-education looms over her head, coming closer with every passing day…

This was really good.  I do enjoy Richelle Mead’s writing style, and I always have.  I think I’ve read something like 14 of her books by now.  She makes every story exciting and heartfelt and hilarious.  I love it.

Alright.  So this story does something really interesting: the chapters alternate between Sydney and Adrian.  With some stories, I don’t think it affects the story as much as the author would hope, but this pulled it off.  There were definite benefits of seeing the story from Adrian’s perspective.  First of all, he is so sarcastic and clever that nearly every scene had something funny in it.  Also, there’s a lot of Adrian that we really didn’t know before, about how he thinks and feels.  That was really nice to see how he really feels, when he covers up so much with sarcasm.

The pacing for this book was a lot slower than most of the others.  It wasn’t constantly action, action, action.  In fact, at times, it felt too slow.  I’m probably just used to her other books when I say that.  But it did spend a lot of time focusing on normal life at school for Sydney and the gang.  I think part of the slow-down comes from the dueling perspectives in this one.  Sydney’s action would have to wait until we were done reading about Adrian and vice versa.  So for that reason, this book focused more on emotions and secrets rather than action and battles.

And what is up with these VA/Bloodlines cliffhangers?  Sigh.  I suppose I’m used to them at this point.  On the upside, I usually never forget how the previous book ended.

Overall, I found this to be an entertaining read that showed a lot of character growth and emotions.  The pacing was a bit slow at times, but it worked for the story.

My 10 Favorite Fictional Crushes, Book Edition

For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to make this one all about my favorite crushes from books.  Perhaps sometime soon I’ll get around to doing a movie edition.

It was actually harder than I thought it would be to come up with a list.  While I’m reading, I typically develop crushes on every main lead, but it takes something special about them for me to remember them months or even years after I’ve read it (and for some of these, it has been years).  And, surprisingly, I could only come up with 20 characters I loved enough to want to put on this list.

10. Tucker from Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Why I Love Him: Tucker’s a cowboy in Wyoming and I’m a sucker for cowboys.  He’s sharp as a tack when it comes to wit and humor, which I especially love.  He’s just a simple guy, who loves what he loves and he’s not afraid to let you know it.  He’s not going to hide who he is because you don’t like it.  That makes him epically amazing in my book.

9. Alex from Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Why I Love Him: Alex is…well, Alex.  How do I explain?  He’s tough as nails and willing to do whatever he has to in order to protect those he loves.  That’s how he grew up.  But he’s also insanely sarcastic or sincerely sweet when he wants to be.  He’s used to sacrificing things for a greater good and in Perfect Chemistry, we get to see him take a few moments for himself, without having to give anything up.

8. Kaleb from Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Why I Love Him: Kaleb is one of two people on my list who isn’t the lead male.  Kaleb is one of those blatantly flirty guys who have an internal repertoire of pick up lines and come ons.  But he’s also extremely sensitive and selective about who he lets into his life.  I couldn’t help but hope he got the girl.  And if she doesn’t want him, I will gladly take him.

7. Shane from Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Why I Love Him: In a town of vampires, you’ll take whatever safety net you can find.  And it happens to be Shane.  At 19 years old, he’s had a rougher life than most people, even those who’ve lived in Morganville their entire lives.  But that’s led to him being fiercely loyal and protective of those he loves and a big softy to the girl who has his heart.

6. Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Why I Love Him: He’s French.  Is that enough of a reason?  It’s totally sexy.  He’s incredibly funny when he wants to be and very caring.  He’s also just so…normal.  He’s like the boy next door.  He doesn’t always make the best choices, but does anyone?

5. Ethan from Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill

Why I Love Him: Ethan is the kind of hot that curls your toes, turns your insides to mush, and turns you into a giggling girl.  He makes me melt.  Being the leader of a house of vampires, Ethan is normally very stoic, very reserved around others.  And more than a little sarcastic.  I loved being able to see the other side of him, the one that wants to woo the girl.  I think most girls like the rugged man with a softer side.

4. Eric from Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Why I Love Him: I admit, True Blood does play a part in this decision.  Eric is just so sexy.  Much like Ethan, he is also a leader of vampires and that comes into play as to who he is as a character.  It makes him more vicious, edgier.  It’s startling.  But at the same time, he can also be sweet.  I’ve always wanted Sookie to be with him instead of Bill.

3. Derek from The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Why I Love Him: Derek, for lack of a better term, is huge.  He’s described as being taller than everyone else.  Tall guys=sexy.  While he can be gruff and unemotional at times, I’ve seen moments when he’s the sweetest guy in the world.  Another fiercely protective guy.  He’s also so smart it’s intimidating, and that’s something I don’t say often.

2. Dimitri from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Why I Love Him: With Dimitri, it seems like this list never ends.  He’s smart, funny, tall, protective, loyal, sweet, loving, a brilliant fighter (a “badass”, as Rose describes him), and very sensitive.  I fell in love with this Russian cowboy back in the first book and he’s had a grip on my heart ever since.

1. Peeta from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Why I Love Him: From the very first interview he had before the games began, I knew I was putty in his skilled baker hands.  He’s the rose to Katniss’s thorn.  He’s so sensitive and smart.  He’s modest to a fault at times, and he’s fierce enough to save Katniss from herself when he has to.  Oh, and there’s kind of this gorgeous looking actor playing him for the movie.  Want to see some pictures?

Whenever I see him, I feel like a *squee*ing school girl again, just like used to do whenever a new Harry Potter trailer would come on TV.  *Sigh*  Peeta…

Spotlight Friday (3)

Spotlight Friday is a weekly segment where I pick three books I’m looking forward to coming out and discuss why.  It’s super fun and you should totally check out the others while you’re here.

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

Release Date: September 27, 2011

Summary (from Goodreads): On the night of Skye’s seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites–like fire and ice–Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye’s life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move–only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past. 

In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can’t help falling for, and Devin, who she can’t stay away from, the consequences of Skye’s choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.

What’s To Like: The love triangle!  I think I speak for every girl when I say that we’ve all met boys like Asher and Devin.  Asher is the stereotypical boy we know we shouldn’t like because he’s going to break our hearts and Devin, who is the kind of  guy who slowly worms his way into our hearts until we don’t want to be without him.  Also, this cover is simply gorgeous.  I have no idea what actually happens in this story, but I’m definitely interested in finding out.

Goliath (Leviathan, #3) by Scott Westerfeld

Release Date: September 20, 2011

**Keep in mind ,this is the final book in the trilogy, so if you haven’t read the first 2, the summary may be confusing/give away points in the story.  So just skip it and go to “What’s To Like.”

Summary (from Goodreads): Alek and Deryn are on the last leg of their round-the-world quest to end World War I, reclaim Alek’s throne as prince of Austria, and finally fall in love. The first two objectives are complicated by the fact that their ship, the Leviathan, continues to detour farther away from the heart of the war (and crown). And the love thing would be a lot easier if Alek knew Deryn was a girl. (She has to pose as a boy in order to serve in the British Air Service.) And if they weren’t technically enemies. 

The tension thickens as the Leviathan steams toward New York City with a homicidal lunatic on board: secrets suddenly unravel, characters reappear, and nothing is at it seems in this thunderous conclusion to Scott Westerfeld’s brilliant trilogy.

What’s To Like: If you keep up with my Next Big Thing segment, I mentioned Goliath in my latest installment because of the super awesome illustrations in it.  I’m fascinated by this story because it’s a historical fiction/sci-fi that takes place in WWI.  And one of our main characters, Deryn, is a girl disguised as a boy to serve in the army.  If that wasn’t awesome enough, the other main character, Alek, is an Austrian prince.  I love seeing what kinds of trouble they get into and I’m very excited to see how this saga ends.

My review of Goliath.

Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1) by Richelle Mead

Release Date: August 23, 2011

Summary (from Goodreads):

The first book in Richelle Mead’s brand-new teen fiction series – set in the same world as Vampire Academy. 

When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning. 

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive – this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.

What’s To Like: Vampire Academy fans rejoice!  The wait is almost over!  So, VA was like my life for a few years there and when Last Sacrifice came out, it was like Harry Potter ending all over again.  But we have a spin-off series that will (hopefully) feed our VA addiction.  The same great characters are back (I’ve heard Adrian plays a larger part in this one, but I can’t say whether or not that’s actually true or just rumor), but there’ll also be a whole new cast of characters to fall in love with.  I’m so excited!

My review of Bloodlines.