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T5W: Favourite Bromances

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Lainey of gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam of ThoughtsOnTomes. Every week, I will post my top 5 of that week’s theme. If you’d like to learn more about it or join in the fun, head over to the Goodreads group where all the discussions take place here.

This week’s topic is favourite bromances in literature. I love, love, love platonic relationships in fiction, and think that they are seriously underdeveloped way too often. However, here is a list of my favourite friendships between male characters in literature.

1. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley (Harry Potter)

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Ron and Harry became friends by chance, arguably. They simply sat in the same train carriage, how could they have known how strong their friendship would become? They go on adventures, fight battles, win the war. This is the ultimate YA bromance. Fight me.

2. Frodo and Sam (Lord of the Rings)

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“Come, Mr. Frodo!’ he cried. ‘I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you.”

I can’t speak much about this pair because I’ll just cry.

3. Tyrion and Bronn (A Song of Ice and Fire)

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This friendship is so much fun to read, mainly because both Tyrion and Bronn are  so reluctant to admit that they are friends. Of course, they both have ulterior motives (Brown wants money, Tyrion wants protection) but the chemistry and humour between them is undeniable.

4. Darrow and Sevro (Red Rising Trilogy)

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The friendship between these two was my favourite part of this series, and Sevro’s wellbeing was a major concern for me throughout the books. Seriously, whenever Sevro was in danger, I feared for him and the effect it would have on Darrow, because these two have to be together. Also, who can resist the humour between this pair?

5. Darcy and Bingley (Pride and Prejudice)

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This is the best kind of friendship to read. These two could not be more different, Darcy is grumpy and cold, Bingley is open and friendly to everyone. They put up with their differences and probably even appreciate those opposite qualities in the other.

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T5W: Books From Before I Joined the Online Book Community

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Lainey of gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam of ThoughtsOnTomes. Every week, I will post my top 5 of that week’s theme. If you’d like to learn more about it or join in the fun, head over to the Goodreads group where all the discussions take place here.

This week’s topic is about the best books from before joining the online book community. I have been posting reviews here for a while, but I first properly joined the online book community on Instagram. It has introduced me to many excellent books, many of which have become firm favourites. So, here we go!

1. I’ll Give You The Sun – Jandy Nelson

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This was recommended to me by an Instagram follower, and it honestly changed my life. That may be a slight exaggeration, but this book is amazing. It is always in my top 5 favourite books, and I still remember how long it lingered in my memory after I had finished it. Jandy Nelson has a way with words, and I don’t think I would have picked up her books if it wasn’t for other book bloggers. So thank you, Bookstagram!

Full review here.

2. Throne of Glass – Sarah J Maas

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This was my first foray into YA fantasy for a long time, and it opened up a whole new world for me. I loved Sarah J Maas’s world and characters, and YA fantasy, with its multitude of female protagonists and interesting magical worlds, has always been a favourite genre since.

3. The Sin Eater’s Daughter – Melinda Salisbury

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Another YA fantasy series that had already begun before I joined bookstagram, this book was recommended to me by a friend, and it is another world that dragged me in. I loved its quiet protagonist, and the way she slowly woke up to the injustice and lies of the world around her.

Full review here.

4. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han

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YA book bloggers love Jenny Han, and although at first I thought that I wouldn’t like this book – I don’t typically go for ‘fun’ contemporaries, this book was too much fun to deny. You just have to give into it. Jenny’s writing was lighthearted but still strong, and Lara Jean feels like a real character, as do her family. This is another book I would not have given a chance if it weren’t for book bloggers, and yet again, I’ve been proven wrong about my prejudices!

5. All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

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I really enjoyed this book, despite (again) having some concerns about going into YA contemporary – basically, the online book community has broken down all my YA fears. I loved the characters and the writing, and the book made me cry. That’s always a score in my books (pun intended.)

Full review here.

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T5W: Characters’ Fitness Routines You Want

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Lainey of gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam of ThoughtsOnTomes. Every week, I will post my top 5 of that week’s theme. If you’d like to learn more about it or join in the fun, head over to the Goodreads group where all the discussions take place here.

This week’s topic is about characters’ fitness routines that I want. The description says this can be anything, whether the character is super fast and agile, an athlete, or a foodie. It is “inspired by those routines you see in magazines for actors, but with more of an open mind and less body shaming”. Now, I am already pretty lazy, so I decided to think about physically strong characters that I wish I had the energy to be like. Maybe, one day, I will manage to get out of my bed and follow their fitness routines.

1. Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

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Often in my short 21 years of life have I thought, ‘Oh, I should start running.’ I have even tried it – usually once a year in summer – but I just can’t. I don’t know if it’s lack of mental motivation, physical laziness, or the fact that I don’t have an imaginary dragon and lioness to keep me going, but I wish I could run like Wing.

2. Arya Stark – A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin

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Water dancing. Wouldn’t you love to be able to do it, too? I loved Arya from the very first book. She just jumped off the page and spoke to me, and ever since, I’ve not only wanted her to live (please, GRRM, please) but I’ve literally wanted to be her.

3. Celaena Sardothien – Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

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Much like Arya, it’s not that I want to be an assassin, but I wouldn’t mind having the skills. I always get a rush when I read the passages where these characters are spinning around, swishing their swords about, hitting every target, and getting out of their opponents’ reach just in time. I think I can probably track this back to the first time I watched Lara Croft as a child. I just want to be badass.

4. Piglettes by Clementine Beauvais

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Just how I’ve always wanted to be someone who runs like Wing Jones, I have also often imagined cycling. Not only am I too lazy (as I’ve already mentioned) to do this, but I’m also a complete coward, and someone as clumsy and unfocused as me would have to have a death wish to cycle in London where I live. Nevertheless, I was inspired reading Piglettes to follow these three girls on their journey to Paris, cycling the whole way, and lugging an entire food cart behind them.

5. Ginny Weasley – Harry Potter

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Ginny is such a babe in the Harry Potter books. Not only is she a great quidditch player, but she can also conjure a mean Bat-Bogey Hex. Good at sport and hexes? What a girl.

 

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T5W: Books Without Romance

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Lainey of gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam of ThoughtsOnTomes. Every week, I will post my top 5 of that week’s theme. If you’d like to learn more about it or join in the fun, head over to the Goodreads group where all the discussions take place here.

This week’s topic is books without romance. Sometimes, romance plots can follow certain cliches, and are, by their nature, usually quite predictable in their endings. For that reason, I don’t typically love romance novels, and prefer the romance to be a secondary storyline, or play a minor role, if any at all. Sometimes I love the cliches, and sometimes I want something new. This can be difficult to find, but it can be refreshing and if done right, can bring to light different themes that aren’t always explored as much, as well as exploring other relationship dynamics that characters have, whether they are friendships or family bonds.

Here we go!

1. The Red Abbey Chronicles – Maria Turtschaninoff

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When does this series not feature in one of my T5W posts? I don’t know if it ever won’t be here. I will find every opportunity I possibly can to talk about this. Romance is completely absent in the first novel, Maresi, and features slightly in the second, but never in the way that you expect it. Turtschaninoff’s writing is completely new and different, and so her exploration of love and romance is as well.

Read my reviews for the first two books in the series here and here.

2. American Gods – Neil Gaiman

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Romance features briefly at the start of this novel, but not for long. Before the story has even got going, Shadow Moon discovers that the love of his life Laura has died. From then on, he embarks on an adventure with the mysterious Thursday, discovering that gods are real, and that they are going to war. Although this isn’t a book devoid of romance, much like the Red Abbey Chronicles, this is not a story that is driven by romance.

Read my full review here.

3. The Way Back Home – Allan Stratton 

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The most important relationship in this novel is that of Zoe and her grandmother, who she runs away from home with to protect. I thought at one point that romance would feature, but it turned out to simply be a red herring. It was so satisfying to see a YA novel adventure that focused solely on the family relationships of the main character.

Read my full review here.

4. Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng

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Another YA novel that focused on family bonds, Everything I Never Told You is one of the most interesting books I have read in this genre. In the very first page, we are told that Lydia, the favourite child of the Lee family, has died. Over the course of the novel, Ng explores not only the relationships between the characters, but the dynamics of interracial relationships, racial identity, the American dream, the pressures that children face, and guilt.

5. Uprooted – Naomi Novik 

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The whole way through this novel I expected there to be more romance. It just goes to show how conditioned we are to expect it. Although romance did feature, it only made an appearance two times, if I remember correctly. Other than that, there was so much more to the plot that it took a back seat, and it would have been just as good without it altogether, because the relationship between Agnieszka and ‘the Dragon’ is so complex regardless.

Read my full review here.

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T5W: Hate to Love Ships

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Lainey of gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam of ThoughtsOnTomes. Every week, I will post my top 5 of that week’s theme. If you’d like to learn more about it or join in the fun, head over to the Goodreads group where all the discussions take place here.

This week’s topic is all about ships where the characters started out hating each other but that hatred blossomed into sweet, sweet love. In my opinion, the will-they-won’t-they of a romance plot is much more interesting than the same romance plot after the characters have gotten together. I love the anticipation. That’s why this is one of those cliches that I really don’t think cheapens a work. There are some that I grow tired of, but watching a tense relationship between two strong characters change against the characters’ wishes is always so exciting and satisfying. It just goes to show that sometimes it doesn’t matter that a story is predictable, what matters is that it entertains you.

There are a lot of great relationships in this category, and I tried to choose examples from a wide cross-section of literature. So, here goes. My favourite Hate to Love Ships are:

1. Lizzie Bennett and Mr Darcy – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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It’s impossible to complete a post on hate to love relationships without paying homage to the most famous of all. Did Lizzie and Darcy begin this trope? I’m not sure, but they definitely are a prime example of it done perfectly. Each is certain that the other is absolutely detestable, and even make this thought public, and, as their feelings begin to change, they remain certain that the other hates them. They meet multiple obstacles, until finally, they see the light and come together. This pair have gone down in history as being an amazing hate to love ship because Austen’s  writing is so funny and light, and her characters are crafted so well that they come to life on the page.

2. Dimple and Rishi – When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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This incredibly fun read was only recently released, but it is making waves. It puts a modern twist on a classic tale. This is, at heart, a simple tale of will-they-won’t-they, where the pair clash at the start, and then come together. In this tale, the hatred is more one-sided than in others, but we still see the same changes in the relationship of the characters and the happy ending.

Click here to read my full review for When Dimple Met Rishi.

3. Amani and Jin – Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

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The scenes in this series which stand out the most to me are both in this book, and both involve high tension scenes between these characters. Amani and Jin spend much of this book at loggerheads, and then are thrust together against their will and have to stick together to survive, or get what they need. Their wittiness made their petty arguments fun to read, and the development of this tension to love made me feel all squishy inside like a good romance plot should.

Click here to read my full review for Rebel of the Sands.

4.  Cat and Griffin – A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet 

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Okay, I’ll be honest. I didn’t love this book and there were even bits of this relationship that I found a bit problematic. However, this is a great example of a great hate to love plot. The emotions between these characters are always strong, always raw, and always fun to read, despite my issues with the book in general.

Click here to read my full review for A Promise of Fire.

5. Louisa and Will – Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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Will is really mean to Louisa when he first meets her. He’s condescending, he teases her, and he frankly treats her like crap. However, the journey that the characters go on together makes for a really brilliant reading experience, and Jojo Moyes’s writing shows how both characters feel, why they act the way they do, and what makes them change.

Click here to read my full review for Me Before You.

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T5W: Side Ships

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Lainey of gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam of ThoughtsOnTomes. Every week, I will post my top 5 of that week’s theme. If you’d like to learn more about it or join in the fun, head over to the Goodreads group where all the discussions take place here.

This week’s topic is relationships that don’t involve the protagonist. I am a major shipper, so this was a lot of fun. There is some repetition in this post, as much as I try to avoid it, but I couldn’t help it! Here we go!

1. Dorian and Manon (Throne of Glass)

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I almost gave Manon her own entry here, just “Manon with herself” because Manon really doesn’t need another party to be whole, but her and Dorian are a great couple to read. I saw it coming a mile off, but their characters really do read together really well.

2. Lorcan and Elide (Throne of Glass) 

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It’s almost impossible for me to not fall in love with a ship where two people who initially hate each other are stuck together on a long journey, both pursuing different aims and possibly secretly each other’s enemies. It’s a recipe for great sexual tension and relationship angst, and Sarah J Maas really delivered here. If there is anything that Maas does well, it’s relationships!

3. Sevro au Barca and Victra au Julii (Red Rising) 

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Sevro and Victra are a power couple if ever I’ve seen one. I loved reading their relationship because they’re so different, they’re such bold characters, and they both hold their own. I almost couldn’t believe that they would get together!

4. Lupin and Tonks (Harry Potter)

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These characters’ deaths were some of the most painful in the whole series for me. Not only did it take forever for them to get together, but even once they got together they just couldn’t get a break.

5. Bill and Fleur (Harry Potter) 

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This pairing go through a lot, and to make things even better, all of their exchanges are told with a great written rendition of Fleur’s French accent, for example: “Bill, don’t look at me — I’m ’ideous.” How can you not enjoy them?

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T5W: Books For Your Hogwarts House

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Lainey of gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam of ThoughtsOnTomes. Every week, I will post my top 5 of that week’s theme. If you’d like to learn more about it or join in the fun, head over to the Goodreads group where all the discussions take place here.

This week’s theme is about books that represent your Hogwarts house. I am a proud Ravenclaw, and so I’ve tried to think of books and characters that remind me of the themes of knowledge and learning. Here we go

1. When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandy Menon

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Dimple feels like a Ravenclaw through and through. She wants nothing more than to focus on her passion, coding and computers. Her love of learning marks her out as a Ravenclaw from the very beginning.

Read my review here.

2. Maresi – Maria Turtschaninoff

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This book takes place at the Red Abbey, a safe haven for women escaping from all sorts of traumas and dangers, but it is not only that. It is also a community that is dedicated to learning and knowledge. The girls who come to the Red Abbey have opportunities and access to education that they often couldn’t dream of accessing elsewhere.

Read my review here.

3. Uprooted – Naomi Novik

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There are several aspects of this book that reminded me of Ravenclaw. When Agnieszka is taken to live with the dragon, she is understandably afraid, but we later see her grow to become inquisitive and eager to learn as much as possible about her powers and the forest in her land. She knows that her power and strength and the only way to defeat the forest is through learning how to hone her skills.

Read my review here.

4. Matilda – Roald Dahl

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Another character that I don’t believe we can deny has some pretty strong Ravenclaw traits. Matilda loves to read so much that she reads her way through the library, she loves learning so much that she asks to be sent to school, and she can move things with her mind! I hope she got her Hogwarts letter when she turned eleven cause she definitely belongs in the Wizarding World!

5. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

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Book are an escape for Liesel, and not only stories. The first book that she stills is a gravedigger’s guide, and she still reads it religiously. The books also bring together the characters in the book, who are united by the stories that they read to each other, and for Liesel and Max, language and vocabulary plays a significant role in their relationship. As a Ravenclaw, I loved the way that words meant to much to the characters in the book.

Read my review here.

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T5W: Authors You Want to Read More From

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Lainey of gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam of ThoughtsOnTomes. Every week, I will post my top 5 of that week’s theme. If you’d like to learn more about it or join in the fun, head over to the Goodreads group where all the discussions take place here.

This week’s topic is 5 authors you would like to read more of, and it was actually very difficult to only pick 5! I tried to pick authors who have books out that I haven’t read yet, rather than authors I love who simply haven’t written more books yet, which made it a bit more challenging, but I thought it might be a bit more interesting to talk about the masses of literature out there already that I haven’t yet been able to experience.

1. Neil Gaiman

 

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I love Neil Gaiman’s mind. His work is always original, and he has this great way of mixing dark and funny writing together which I love. Even if I’m not head over heels with a book, I am always head over heels with the way his brain works. His settings and characters are always unique, and he can make everything feel new and different and slightly creepy. I’ve loved everything I’ve seen of his work, from novels to his Doctor Who episodes (The Doctor’s Wife is one of the best episodes ever – fight me.)

I admit, I am a little in love with Neil Gaiman’s brain. And the man.

2. Kazuo Ishiguro

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Never Let Me Go is one of my favourite novels of all time. I loved the delicate blend of different genres and Cathy’s voice as a narrator telling her story to the reader. Even though this novel isn’t exciting in the jam-packed-with-action type of way, I devoured this book in a day. I think that perhaps one of the reasons why I didn’t go straight to Ishiguro’s other novels is the fact that Never Let Me Go isn’t really a clear-cut genre story, so I don’t know whether the other books will be similar or not. I do know that I loved his writing and characters though, so I think I need to buckle up and give it a try.

3. George R.R. Martin

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I have read all of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels and it is one of my favourite series. I haven’t read anything as expansive and exciting as these books, with such a vast array of complex characters. I love the moral ambiguity of his characters. Maybe the sheer size of this series, and the way that it feels like it is sometimes taking over my life, is the reason why I haven’t tried George RR Martin’s other books, but I would like to give them a try. I own a couple already, and I know that there is a lot out there to read across different genres and formats, from novels to short stories. There’s a lot to keep me entertained, it’s just a matter of time.

4. Maria Turtschaninoff

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Maresi was beautiful in so many ways. I loved the setting and world-building, the characters, the story, and the writing. It reminds me a bit of Kazuo Ishiguro’s writing in Never Let Me Go, with the narrator telling you the story after the events have happened, and Maresi’s tone was calm and dream-like like Cathy’s was. It is so refreshing to find an author whose writing feels so comfortable and easy, so I can’t wait to read Naondel, the second book in the Red Abbey Chronicles. I also know that Maria Turschaninoff has other books in Finnis. So, what do I have to do to get these translated to English?

5. Victoria Schwab

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I’ve read Schwab’s This Savage Song and am excited to see what happens in the sequel. Even though this book didn’t blow me away, I was impressed by her creativity and I have heard so many good things about her adult fantasy books published under the name V.E. Schwab, in particular A Darker Shade of Magic. From what I’ve read about these novels, I feel like I might get some Neil Gaiman vibes from Schwab’s writing, so I can’t wait to finally get around to reading these.

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T5W: Books That Would Make Good Video Games

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Lainey of gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam of ThoughtsOnTomes. Every week, I will post my top 5 of that week’s theme. If you’d like to learn more about it or join in the fun, head over to the Goodreads group where all the discussions take place here.

This week’s topic is books that would make good video games. I’m not much of a gamer, but I’ve picked books that were filled with action and problem-solving from start to end. Here we go!

1. Rebel of the Sands – Alwyn Hamilton

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There is so much travelling, running, fighting, and sneaking around in this book that it made me feel a little bit like I was in a video game! I felt like I was jumping off trains and trekking through the desert with Amani, and I really think the adrenaline of this book would translate well into a video game. The landscapes are great, and I can imagine little mini-games with the different magical creatures and powers.

2. Throne of Glass – Sarah J Maas

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I think that the first book in this series would make such a great game because of the tournament that Celaena is a part of. The game would include her training so that she is the best of the other candidates, the tournament itself, as well as the underlying mysteries around the palace, like when she discovers the secret tunnel in her room. Celaena would make a great video game protagonist because she is smart, adventurous, and completely badass. The location of the palace would work so well in a video game as well, and I would love to be able to explore all its different corridors and rooms.

3. Maresi –  Maria Turtschaninoff 

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When I read this book, I loved reading about the simple lives of the women in the Red Abbey. I imagine that this came would be less action-packed than my previous two choices, and instead would be a chilled out simulation game. We would play the role of a new arrival, learning the ropes around the Abbey, helping with chores and tasks, with the harvest and learning new skills. Then, we would become a novice and even a sister. Maybe this sort of game isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it might sound a bit boring to some, but I grew up playing Sims and the Red Abbey sounded great to me, so I would love it!

4. Red Rising – Pierce Brown

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There is so much to this world that I would love a chance to really be a part of it. Maybe we could be young Golds at the Institute, or a rebel infiltrator like Darrow, leading warships in space.

5. A Song of Ice and Fire – George RR Martin

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Okay, this is a bit of a cop-out, because I actually played a ASOIAF game once on my phone but didn’t get very far because my phone was too crappy to handle it. The graphics were so great, and you got to decide what house you were in, whether you were rich or poor, and make different choices along the way. The world in these books is so diverse that it really would need to be a story that you craft yourself, whether you want to be leading an army into battle like Jaime or Robb Stark, a schemer like Littlefinger, royalty like Cersei or just someone trying to get by like Sansa.

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T5W: Favourite Angsty Romances

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Lainey of gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam of ThoughtsOnTomes. Every week, I will post my top 5 of that week’s theme. If you’d like to learn more about it or join in the fun, head over to the Goodreads group where all the discussions take place here.

This week’s theme is Favourite Angsty Romances, so without further ado, let’s jump right in!

1. Gus and Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

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I don’t think you can get much more angsty than John Green generally, and especially not this novel. While I think Looking For Alaska is definitely much more angsty, the romance in this novel captured my heart from the start. Gus and Hazel are so cute, and I’m sure you don’t need telling where the angst in this comes from. I’ll just end by saying that this was one of my first experiences at truly heartbreaking YA.

2. Jude and Oscar from I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson 

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This book is my favourite. Everything about this novel is angst, from beginning to end, but not in an annoying, eye-roll kind of way, but in a gushing, make you want to cry and laugh and scream and punch something all at once. Jude and Oscar are so angsty that it made my heart feel like it was being squeezed at times. I mean, you can’t get much more angsty than: “I gave up practically the whole word for you…The sun, stars, ocean, trees, everything, I gave it all up for you.”

3. Twylla and Lief from The Sin Eater’s Daughter – Melinda Salisbury

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Twylla is the human embodiment of the goddess Daunen, the Queen’s executioner, and her touch is fatal. As if that isn’t enough to make her relationship to her new guard Lief risky to say the least, she is also engaged to the Prince. There is so much standing between Twylla and Lief that their romance is already angsty enough, and that’s before the main story of The Sin Eater’s Daughter even begins. Once the trilogy gets going, this relationship only gets more and more angsty.

4. Maddy and Olly from Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon 

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Another great romance story that makes you not only squeal with excitement and butterflies but also squirm in apprehension at what might go off. Not only is the romance in this novel heightened by the fact that Maddy could literally die from an allergic reaction to anything and everything, but she can’t even be safe with Olly himself.

5. Celaena and Sam Throne of Glass series – Sarah J. Maas

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At first I chose Chaol and Celaena, then I chose Aelin and Rowan, then I decided to not choose any in particular, then I remembered that there are also all the other relationships, from Dorian and Sorscha to Elide and Lorcan. This series is so filled to the brim with angsty, steamy romances that I couldn’t choose for ages, but in the end I chose Celaena and Sam because they are the sweetest of the lot in my opinion and have the most dramatic end. I don’t think anyone can quite fit angsty romance into epic fantasy like Sarah J Maas can, and even though sometimes I am a bit fed up with the prevalence of romantic pairings in the series, I still get obsessed with them.