10 for 2010: Favorite Couples

I am a sucker for a good romance. Not a love triangle, mind you, but an honest to goodness believable romance. I was never a fan of the love at first sight thing, nor those romances where the two characters barely know each other and fall in love. I like my romances developed over time, and I like good friendships that serve as a foundation for those romances. Did that make sense?

So today’s 10 for 2010 are the couples that made my toes curl, made my heart beat faster and made me sigh with happiness as I closed the last page of their book (or the latest book, in case it was a series). Here are my Top 10 Couples for 2010.

1. Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth (Persuasion by Jane Austen) – Do I really even have to explain this? :P Austen really knows her couples and even if the language is old or there aren’t many breathtaking moments in her stories. There always seems to be an ultimate breathtaking moment in the story. I mean, how can Anne Elliot say no to a letter that tells her, “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago.” It’s no wonder so many people love Austen.

2. Anna and Etienne (Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins) – Probably my favorite couple of the year. :) These two deserve all the recognition they get because their relationship is one of the most realistic relationships I have ever read about. I like their friendship, I like their witty banter and I like how imperfectly perfect their relationship was. I know the road to getting to the end for the two of them is difficult and often painful, but I wouldn’t mind going through that if it meant having my own Etienne. :)

3. Fire and Brigan (Fire by Kristin Cashore) – Fire and Brigan are like Anna and Etienne in a fantasy world, and then some. Fire was apprehensive of Brigan, and we had no idea what was going on in Brigan’s mind. And then the two started talking. And talking. There’s a certain sweetness in how their relationship developed that makes me smile.

4. Lissa and Kaz (It’s All About Us # 6: The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth by Shelley Adina) – This was one of the couples I squee’d over at the start of the year. I love Shelley’s series, and I love that she ended the series with a full circle, going back to Lissa and how different she is from the first book. And I love how she wrapped up Lissa’s love life here — Kaz is simply perfect for her. Remembering them still gives me the tingles. :) It’s you. It’s me. It’s us. *sigh*

5. Kate and Curran (Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews) – This couple is just…well, hot. The sexual tension between them was sizzling from the moment they met! I love how Curran cared for Kate even while they beat each other up. I love how Kate denied that she liked Curran for a long time until finally giving in and admitting to herself that she’s interested (hmm, reminds me of someone!). I love how the authors take their time in building their relationship. I cannot wait to see what happens next. :)

6. Ellie and Lucas (Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra) – What’s not to love about this relationship? I like how they started out as friends, and how Lucas wasn’t a rebound guy for Ellie. I like how uncomplicated things are for them. I love that they’re both okay with themselves before they got together, and this goes to show that you need to be your own person before being with someone else.

7. Elle and Heath (Love Starts with Elle by Rachel Hauck) – These are two truly broken people: one grieving for the loss of his wife, the other hurt from a broken engagement. I love how these two became a part of each other’s healing and eventually fall in love. These two people are the most prayerful couple I’ve read this year, and even if it’s fiction, their love story has a lot of lessons. :)

8. Ally and Jake (She’s So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott) – This couple is fun. Snarky, and fun and cute. I want them to be together, and it was really good that the author gave us a chance to see both sides of the story. Their love story is cute and fun, and I look forward to the next installment of this series.

9. Eddie and Jane (Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde) – They are the probably the oddest couple in my list, true to Jasper Fforde’s quirky style. They’re not particularly sweet, but I love their team-up and I love how their relationship developed. :) That final twist at the end of Shades of Grey was awesome, even if it seemed like the two are going to go against all odds. Too bad the next book won’t be out anytime soon.

10. Dash and Lily (Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan) – These two almost didn’t make the list only because it took me a while to finish it. But I’m glad I did. They’re not as hot as Anna and Etienne, and their relationship seems highly unbelievable, but they’re such a cute couple that I cannot not include them. There is something so sweet, so fresh, so…innocent about these two that made me love them. And their book has so many quotable quotes that I think I dog-eared so many of it (and incidentally, that’s how Dash’s mom does it too). Super cute. :)

Check out my other 10 for 2010 posts!
10 Favorite Male Characters
10 Favorite Female Characters

Oh, and you do know I’m giving away some of my favorite books in 2010 in my Anniversary Giveaway, right? See why Anna and Etienne are such a lovable couple in Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Every comment you leave is one entry — the more comments you leave, the more entries you get! :) Click the image for the mechanics and the list of prizes!

The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth

The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth (Shelley Adina)

The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth by Shelley Adina
All About Us # 6
Publisher: FaithWords

Number of pages: 256
My copy: paperback, bought from Fully Booked

The girls of Spencer Academy are ready to take on life after high school . . . if they can make it through their last term!

Lissa Mansfield has come a long way since transferring to Spencer Academy two years ago. She’s made a great group of friends in Gillian, Carly, Mac, and Shani. She’s strengthened and grown her relationship with God. She’s even gotten over the Callum McCloud “incident” from her first term. Now she’s set to graduate and experience college life!

But with the girls about to separate and head in different directions, Lissa is faced with some of her biggest challenges yet. Her archenemy, Vanessa Talbot, has a shocking secret—one that could destroy her reputation forever. Can Lissa act on God’s prompting and reach out to her foe when Vanessa needs a friend the most? And with college on the horizon, will Lissa and Kaz finally come to terms with their feelings for each other? High school may be ending, but the excitement has just begun!

* * *

There are certain books that can wait before you actually crack its pages. They’re the types of books that you want, but are in no hurry to read, so they sit pretty on your shelf, waiting to be picked once you’re finished with what you’re reading, or once you feel like reading them. They wait patiently for you, never complaining, never taunting you to read the last few pages to see what would happen in the end, and it can wait for a long time before you actually read it without complaints.

This book wasn’t one of them.

When I read the first book of the It’s All About Us series for the first time, I wasn’t really pleased with it. I liked it, yes, but I didn’t feel like it was a favorite because I couldn’t really relate to it, and all the name and brand dropping kind of got to me. I mean, the characters were Christian; why are they spouting off brands and such? Don’t they have better things to do than concentrate on designer brands or something? I wouldn’t be surprised if the girls started complaining about nose blackheads there given the way they were so brand conscious.

I could have given up on the series then, but I have this obsessive thing on finishing what I started, so when the next few books came out, I got them and read them. Slowly, I started to fall in love with the characters and understand where they were coming from, even if I couldn’t relate too much. I found myself rooting for them, and even if I don’t really wish for the kind of life they have, I wished to find friends like Lissa, Gillian, Carly, Shanni and Mac — friends who would stick by you through and through and pray with you and be there for you like real God-given friends are.

I have to remember that these books were written to cater to a specific kind of group: the Gossip Girl/insert book series name here generation. I like watching Gossip Girl on TV, but I never picked up any of their books because I never felt interested in it. A friend told me they’re good, but they were kind of scandalous, especially for the audience it was written for. The It’s All About Us series counters that, and shows us that girls can love God and still have fun. The books focus on the real important things: friendship, love, family, following God’s will and growing in God’s love. It’s like a breath of fresh air for all young adult books, and it’s something that parents wouldn’t be afraid to let their daughters read. :)

I’m blabbing about that because I’m trying to avoid spoilers for this book. I got this book yesterday, and I was trying to resist reading the book because I told myself I’d finish Persuasion first. I failed miserably, picked the book up last night and read it until way past my bed time, and it was so worth it. I slept with a huge smile on my face knowing that was the ending, and even if I wanted a bit more, I’m okay with how this series ended. I really liked Lissa in this book, much more than I did in the first book. I like how she had matured from the girl who wanted to be popular to a girl who loves her God and her friends and is happy with that. I like the other conflicts in the story, too, and it was nice to see more of Vanessa even if I don’t know what else will happen to her. It was really nice to read more of Kaz, too, and I wouldn’t mind having a best friend like that. :) I just kind of feel off about how Lissa was depicted in the cover — I don’t know if it’s just me, but Lissa there (the blonde) looked a bit too old to be the Lissa I imagined. Carly (I think it’s her, the one on the right), looks gorgeous though. :)

What I love about the entire series is it never really wraps up everything nicely — the consequences of their actions are still there and they can’t turn back from their mistakes. They just have to learn to forgive themselves and others and ask forgiveness and trust that God knows what He’s doing. It doesn’t sugarcoat any of the issues, but instead connects it with practical lessons and teachings that could be applied in everyday life.

If you haven’t read the series yet, I recommend that you start with the first book because it’s really where the story started, and this book concludes the series in a really romantic and satisfying way. :) No regrets in buying this yesterday or staying up late to read this. I’m going to miss the girls, but I’m happy to know I can always visit them on my bookshelf.

It’s you. It’s me. It’s us. – Lissa Mansfield

Rating: [rating=5]

BTT: Unknown Favorites

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is interesting, and a bit hard — at least for me:

Who’s your favorite author that other people are NOT reading? The one you want to evangelize for, the one you would run popularity campaigns for? The author that, so far as you’re concerned, everyone should be reading–but that nobody seems to have heard of. You know, not JK Rowling, not Jane Austen, not Hemingway–everybody’s heard of them. The author that you think should be that famous and can’t understand why they’re not…

Okay this is just kind of hard. I feel like most of my favorite authors are known authors, but maybe it’s because I’ve been reading them for so long and I found some people who also love the books that I love to read, so it feels like a lot of people read it. Did that make sense?

But I think it would be awesome if more people read:

  • Frank Peretti – author of This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness to name a few, and one of the best Christian fiction that I’ve ever read. I’d like to think his books are not only for the Christian people, because it’s really awesome. :)
  • Camy Tang – I only discovered her about two years ago, and her chick lit books remain a favorite on my shelf. I always recommend her to friends who are looking for good, quality (and clean) chick lit, and she’s a really nice person, too. :)
  • Tosca Lee – I was blown away by her book, Demon, and even if I haven’t finished Havah, yet, I know from the first few pages of it that it’s also a beautiful book. I can’t wait for her third novel that comes out in 2011 — the story of Judas Iscariot. Don’t you think that’s just yummy?

I think that’s it. More people should read their books, really. It would make the world a better place (and maybe I’m not kidding there hahaha).

On another note, not really related to BTT. Earlier today we dropped by at Fully Booked during afternoon break just for kicks, and I got caught in a book splurge again. *headdesk* I was only intending to look for Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth to make sure it’s still there, waiting for me to buy it next Friday. (It’s not.) What I found instead, was Shelley Adina‘s final book in the It’s All About Us series, The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth. And there’s only one copy left.

Ugh. I hate it that I could have bought Carrie Ryan’s book last Friday, only I didn’t because I wasn’t in the mood to buy a hardcover book. I wanted to buy it last Sunday, but I didn’t because I was waiting for the sale in Eastwood. AND NOW…it’s gone. :(

Alas. Maybe the paperback is meant for me.

But I’m happy to find Shelley Adina’s book because that meant my collection is complete. My wallet isn’t so happy, though, and this means I may have to bring lunch to work for a week to compensate. :P But I can’t wait to see what happens to the protagonist and the antagonist, and if she and the guy from the first book will finally get together. I was planning to read it after Persuasion, but alas, it cannot wait. So sorry, Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth, you’d have to wait a bit. This won’t be long. :P