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!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Underrated Authors or Books

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is: Top Ten Underrated Authors or Books in X genre. I’ve decided not to limit myself to a certain genre and will include authors and books.

Dangerous Girls   Dangerous Boys

1. Abigail Haas – Dangerous Girls, Dangerous Boys
I’ve just read these books and became obsessed with them. I hadn’t even heard of them until I won Dangerous Girls in a giveaway. More people need to read these.

The Dead Will Tell (Kate Burkholder, #6)

2. Linda Castillo – The Kate Burkholder series
While I originally read this series because it’s set in Holmes County, it really is a great mystery series, with an interested setting of Amish country. Plus, I’ve met Linda Castillo and she’s awesome.

Triptych (Will Trent, #1)

3. Karin Slaughter – The Will Trent series
I love this series, but I haven’t really seen anyone else I follow in the blogosphere read her.

Never Look Away

4. Linwood Barclay
Barclay is a master storyteller who writes great mysteries with amazing character development.

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

5. Sarah Rees Brennan – The Lynburn Legacy
This is my favorite new series I’ve read this year so far. More people need to get on it!

All the Truth That's in Me

6. Julie Berry – All the Truth that’s in Me
This was such a unique book and another one I haven’t really seen around the blogosphere.

The Best Man (Blue Heron #1)

7. Kristan Higgins
She is by far my favorite romance author. I love her writing style and her quirky characters. More people need to read her.

Mind Games (Mind Games, #1)

8. Kiersten White – Mind Games duology
I love her style and the characters in this series. More people need to give this a try!

Attachments

9. Rainbow Rowell – Attachments
Rainbow Rowell is definitely not underrated, but her first book, Attachments, is by far my favorite of all her books but is the least recognized.

Northanger Abbey

10. Jane Austen – Northanger Abbey
Northanger Abbey is one of Austen’s lesser known books, but it’s definitely one of my favorites.

Have you read any of the above books? What books/authors do you think are underrated?

Review: Dangerous Boys by Abigial Haas

Dangerous Boys

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder? Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…

I recently lent a book to a co-worker -an adult mystery from a series that I really like. It’s a good mystery with well-developed characters and includes some (though I didn’t think a lot) graphic details of a serial killer. She gave it back to me saying that I’m more dark and twisted than she ever thought.  I wonder what she would think of me if I handed her a copy of Dangerous Boys.

I’ve become a fan of Abigail Haas in the same way I am a fan of Gillian Flynn. In awe of her writing and a little bit terrified of her. Both are masters of writing psychological thrills and ca-razy psychopaths.

I expected this book to be similar to Dangerous Girls, but with male protagonists. I was a little disappointed at first that it wasn’t, but that disappointment didn’t last long. Dangerous Boys gives us the story of Chloe, a teenage girl looking forward to heading off to college. Those plans derail when her father leaves and her mother begins a downward spiral of depression. Chloe finds herself putting off college so she can pay the bills and take care of her mother until she’s better enough to go back to work.

Ethan Reznick is new to town and falls hard for Chloe. While she’s not interested in any more attachments to this small town that she hates, she is interested in a distraction. Ethan proves to be a good distraction and she falls into an easy life with him and his parents. When his older brother, Oliver, sweeps into town unannounced, everything changes.

Oliver is smart and charming and worldly. He accepts no responsibility and offers no apologies. He seems free in a way that Chloe never has been. Though she knows it’s wrong, she finds herself increasingly drawn to Oliver, who leads her down a dark path she never thought she was capable of, but embraces it along the way.

This is a pretty dark book, guys. Way darker than Dangerous Girls was, for sure. There isn’t any one big shocking twist, but there are small, subtle continual shocking moments that lead us to the end of the story, which is really just the beginning for Chloe.

My biggest complaint is that Chloe is the only really well developed character. I would’ve liked much more of the Resnicks. Not just crazy Oliver and seemingly perfect Ethan, but of their parents, as well.

Overall, Dangerous Boys is another compulsive read from Abigail Haas that will creep you out and keep you turning the pages. I enjoyed the use of multiple timelines that helped build the suspense throughout the story. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of Haas, Gillian Flynn, and other psychological thrillers.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 3.5
Characters: 3.5
Readability: 4.5
Enjoyability: 4
Overall Rating:  3.875 stars