Love Stinks: Toxic and Unbearable Relationships in Fiction

12 Hilarious Anti-Valentine's Day Cards For People You Hate. Sending these to EVERYONE I know:

For some, today is to celebrate Valentine’s Day. For others, it’s Singles Awareness Day (SAD). (For me, it’s the day The Walking Dead comes back!) So to combine the themes of love and bitterness, I’ve come up with a list of some of the most Toxic or Unbearably Annoying relationships in fiction.

TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS

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Nick and Amy Dunne from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

They are probably the most toxic couple on this list. On their own, they can both be horrible people, together they’re a disaster. 

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Joe and Beck from You by Caroline Kepnes

These two are both sociopaths as far as I’m concerned. The stalking, the lying, the manipulation, the cage…

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Chloe and Oliver from Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Chloe was a seemingly nice girl until Oliver came to town. He leads her down a dark path and they ruin lives (even their own).

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UNBEARABLE RELATIONSHIPS

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Cole and Ali from The White Rabbit Chronicles by Gena Showalter

I started out shipping these two, but by the third book their romantic interludes were so cringe-worthy to me that I couldn’t even finish the book. There was so much back and forth and will-they-won’t-they and when they finally got together it was a constant how-far-will-we-go-and-when rhetoric. I found it boring and annoying.

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Hayley and Bryce from Blackmail Boyfriend by Chris Cannon

This could also probably go under the toxic category since Hayley is kind of a psycho. Hayley and Bryce agree to a public fake relationship, but she believes that still means he should do boyfriendy things when no one else is around. She’s insufferable, but along the way Bryce begins to fall for her and this book just made me want to through my Nook at a wall.

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Sang and ALL the Boys from the Ghost Bird series by C.L. Stone

Sang is young and naïve and unbearably annoying and she is befriended by a group of seven guys, all of whom have a thing for her. All of whom, at one point early on in the series, agree to share her, which is when I had to stop reading this series, even though it was an oddly addicting read.

This list could go on and on, but I decided to stop at three each. What are some fictional relationships that you find toxic or unbearable?

HAPPY VALENTIE’S DAY / SINGLES AWARENESS DAY / THE WALKING DEAD IS BACK!

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Happy Galentine’s Day! Celebrating my Favorite Female Authors

Galentine’s Day is the creation of Leslie Knope from one of the best tv shows of all time, Parks & Recreation. What is it exactly?

Start a Galentine's Day Tradition!:

This Galentine’s Day I thought I’d celebrate my Favorite Female Authors that I would invite to my Galentine’s Day Breakfast.

Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell

Of course one of my favorite authors of all time, Rainbow Rowell, would have to be there. It is no secret I wish she was my best friend. She is the author of one of my all-time favorites, Attachments, as well as gems like Fangirl and Eleanor & Park.

Jennifer Armentrout

JLA would be so fun to hang out with. She is the author of one of my favorite YA series, Lux, as well as popular series Covenant and Wait for You.

Allison Leotta

Allison Leotta

Allison Leotta is the author of the Anna Curtis series, which I love. She is also a former federal prosecutor in DC and would have LOTS of stories to share.

Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins knows a little something about romance, but also of some great female friendships, so she would be a great addition to our breakfast. She’s the author of the Blue Heron series, as well as many other cute romances and her recent foray into Women’s Fiction with If You Only Knew.

Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes could make us cry and then make us laugh. She’s written some of my favorites such as Me Before You and One Plus One.

Ovaries Before Broveries Card

HAPPY GALENTINE’S DAY

What authors would you invite to you Galentine’s Day Breakfast?

 

Review: Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation.

Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within.

A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.

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It’s not often that the sequel is better than the original, especially when the first is so good. But Golden Son did it. I loved pretty much every moment of this book. And then the end completely destroyed me.

I thought that Red Rising was intense, but Golden Son really ratchets up the pace, the action, and the stakes. There is just so much that happens in this book. Brown’s writing continues to impress me, utilizing the same style of small surprises and twists throughout the story that made me fall in love with the first book. There were so many times that something happened that disappointed me and then a few pages later it’s all revealed as part of the plan.

She balked at my plan in public, then then again, that was all our design. Plans within plans within plans.

The writing is just so clever. I found myself smiling through so much of this book just because I thoroughly enjoyed being surprised by things. So many books I read are so incredibly predictable, but that is not something I can ever say of this one. Even when some event happened that I might have predicted, it happened in a way I didn’t expect, or had unexpected results.

I love the characters in this book. They are well developed and all serve a purpose. A lot of old friends (and enemies) from the Institute return and I loved seeing how the relationships evolved in the real world. I loved meeting Pax’s family and, of course, seeing more of my favorite Howler, Sevro. We finally get to meet Ares, the head of the revolution, and I loved the reveal. I have to say it completely surprised me, but it made sense.

It’s hard to find any fault in this book, but I have to say the one aspect of the story that lacks for me is the romance. I don’t dislike Mustang, but I’ve never particularly liked her. I understand the friendship and even partnership between her and Darrow, but I’m not completely sold on their chemistry. I get that Darrow needs something else to live for besides the revolution, but a part of me almost wishes there was no romance in this book past Eo.

Overall, I just really loved Golden Son. It’s so well written and I really enjoyed reading about Darrow and all the strides he made for the revolution. Even though it was fun to read and had many humorous moments along the way, this isn’t exactly a happy book. The end of the book completely destroyed me and makes me so eager for the next book! While I can’t really believe it’s taken me so long to pick up this series, I am so happy that I do not have a long wait for Morning Star.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4.5 Stars

4.5 stars

Review: Cold Shot (Chesapeake Valor #1) by Dani Pettrey

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

In college, Griffin McCray and his four best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore PD. Declan Gray would head to the FBI and Parker Mitchell would go on to graduate school as a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world–and friendships–crumbled.

Now Griffin is a park ranger at Gettysburg, having left life as a SWAT-team sniper when a case went bad. The job is mostly quiet–until the day he captures two relic hunters uncovering skeletal remains near Little Round Top. Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott determines that the body is modern–a young social justice lawyer missing since spring–and all evidence points to the work of an expert sniper. When FBI agent Declan Gray takes over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he’ll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he–and those he cares about–are going to escape a downward spiral of murder that crosses continents.

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I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Cold Shot will be available February 2, 2016.

I enjoyed Pettrey’s Alaskan Courage series so when I saw she was starting a new series I definitely wanted to check it out. I’m very happy to report that I liked the start of this Chesapeake Valor series even more!

I have to say that one of the reasons I liked it so much is that it reminded me a little bit of the tv show Bones, which I loved during it’s early years. Griffin is a former sniper (like Booth) and Finley is a forensic anthropologist (like Temperence, aka “Bones”). When Griffin comes across remains in Gettysburg he calls upon Finley’s expertise when he suspects the body has been more recently killed than he expected. To assist in the investigation they bring in Griffin’s childhood friends Declan, an FBI agent, and Parker, a crime scene investigator (though Parker is no longer really a friend), Parker’s assistant Avery, and later their other old friend, Kate.

I liked the characters in the story a lot. Though the story mostly focused on Griffin and Finley, we get several different perspectives and they were all pretty distinct. I liked learning some of the backstory between Griffin, Parker, Declan, and Kate and look forward to getting even more in the coming books.

I also liked the romance in the book. I thought Griffin and Finley were well matched and they complemented each other well. They both had to overcome some of their own demons before they were ready for a relationship, and they both played a role in each other’s life to help them come to terms with the past and with God. I also liked the developing relationship between Parker and Avery. The one thing I didn’t like about the romance was that there was just a little too much of the “He/She’s so beautiful/kind/strong/special, but I’m not ready/don’t deserve him/her” inner-monologues going on for my taste. That’s not to say the romance wasn’t sweet, because it was, it’s just a problem I have with a lot of romances.

I thought the suspense was done pretty well, as there were several life-endangering situations and the plot moved along fairly quickly. The main mystery was just ok for me, though. There was a twist that kind of came out of left field and while it did work, it slightly annoyed me. It always makes me feel like I’ve wasted time trying to figure things out when the answer doesn’t even become a possibility until late in the game.

I really liked the way that Pettrey wove in issues of faith with the story. There’s an overall message of forgiveness and trusting in God’s presence that was very well done. Prayers and discussions on the subject were organic with the characters and it never felt like you were being “preached” to, so I think that even those who aren’t Christians would still enjoy the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed Cold Shot. I really liked the well-developed characters, the thoughtful way their faith played into the story, and the suspense. While I enjoyed Pettrey’s previous series, I think her writing has greatly improved with each new book and I think this one is her best yet. I look forward to spending more time with these characters when the series continues.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

4 stars