T.V. Shows I’ve Watched Recently

I’ve watched way more television than normal in part because I had a free trial of Hulu. I’ve watched old favorites like Drake and Josh and Sonny with a Chance, plus Fixer Upper and Jeopardy, but I thought I’d feature the most notable items.

Boy Meets World . . . and this is why I don’t usually like television series. Can you get any more repetitive?!!! So, after making myself sick of Parks and Rec (whenever I watched that, two years ago?), I thought that I’d do better, so I planned to selectively binge, picking what I wanted from each season based on the Wikipedia summary. Yeah, that didn’t work for this show. The same types of events happened every season: Cory and Topanga break-up (and these break-ups followed the same one or two formulas), Shawn has drama (again, a few formulaic types), etc. Also, Shawn’s life mimicked Cory’s in a boring, pathetic, generic way. Come on, he’s got a totally different situation and personality, why does he have to do everything Cory does? Eric was my favorite character (actually favorite part of the show, really) later on; he was the only person who I wasn’t totally sick of (and he’s hilarious). I actually disliked Shawn by the end. Anyway, the writing/plot etc. of the show is really repetitive to the point of disbelief plus it’s not as funny (at least at the end) as I was expecting (which always seems to be the case, since I learn about a lot of television shows from highlights).

Full House. I decided to pare down my watching even further for this show by looking at some best episode lists, so basically I just watched few episodes per season (and none for the last, I think), and sometimes I didn’t even watch all of the episode. I quickly realized that this show isn’t all that interesting (and Joey is simply awful) although it has a ton of sweet moments (Uncle Jesse moments). I was essentially watching it for Jesse (John Stamos) who is all around gorgeous (especially after Stephanie cuts his horrible mullet off) and has such and attractive voice and attitude. A super attractive man with his cute ways with kids?!!! I mean, wow.

The Olympics. Well, we thought we had a handle on recording (we are not the most tech-savvy people), but we didn’t really. So I missed a lot of ice-skating (which is the main/only event I care about), and I just kind of wasn’t really feeling it. I did get some of the skating, but really, it isn’t as interesting when almost all of the American skaters are terrible (except for the Shibsibs).

Movies I’ve Watched Recently

Since I must have sickened myself on Hallmark, I haven’t watched many since Christmas (thankfully). The last year or two had an embarrassingly large percentage of these movies. I have too big a TBW list to waste time like that. On to the new-to-me movies of recent months:

Star Wars. On a whim Dad took Flowerchild and I to see this the day after our last family Christmas celebration. I’m still not a Star Wars fan-girl (I’m not sure I really am a fan-girl on much period, I usually get sick of things that I over-watch/over-read and hear too much about) although I left rather infatuated with Kylo Ren for a time (and no, it wasn’t solely on account of the shirtless scene; he was the only whole MAN in the film: complex, confident, intriguing). The Kylo-Rey parts were the only good parts to the movie. The rest was decidedly dull, manufactured, and absurd. Mom asked Dad and I if we liked it and when we said we thought it was “okay,” she asked why we went, and we decided we’d fallen for the Star Wars hype (Dad was a Star Wars nerd in his day, and I think he’s embarrassed about that, lol).

Penelope. This is quite funny. And baby James McAvoy is SO cute. However, part of the end freaks me out (kind of like when I look too closely at the Beauty and Beast story). Comparing perhaps ugly (unusual I think, unless a person makes themselves ugly, most people are plain, rather than ugly) people to animals with this inside/outside beauty plot, um, NO. A PIG okay!!!!!

I am Dragon. This blogger reviewed this movie and mentioned that it was on Amazon Prime (I also had a free Prime trial recently). Because I was having trouble finding much on Prime to watch and because I thought the movie sounded intriguing, I watched it. It started out scarier (I’m a baby) than I anticipated but then didn’t end up being as scary as the beginning led me to expect. The plot and feel is like an old folktale or fairytale which is really fascinating. All the elements are so foreign (it’s a Russian film) and it all works together to evoke that aforementioned feel (except for some jarringly modern music in one part, and I thought that some of the scenery looked tropical, which didn’t fit at all although it was beautiful), to a Westerner anyway. These elements include: the archaic, guttural sounding Russian language; the old, un-Western clothing, fabric, and music; the look of the landscape and colors; the look of the people, especially Arman. The film is hauntingly lovely and mysteriously foreign (also, Russia is just so . . . strange . . . and rather disturbing, even the very few less disturbing periods; I’m reading Brothers Karamazov as of this typing, btw).

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. I keep forgetting that I watched this . . . and I think the film deserves that. Whoever has written and directed these latter two of the PotC series has been severely lacking in the genius of the writer/directors of the first three films. The fourth I thought far too dark and not as interesting as the former three, and Jack is not himself, he isn’t in this one either. I anticipated this one being terribly frightening, but it was ludicrously not so. The bad guy was played and talked about as being terrifying, but he clearly wasn’t. And the British were knocked off like a joke. The girl seemed more of a main character and Will’s son (WILL’S son) nothing, and she was stereotyped, one-dimensional, and obnoxious. Actually, so many characters were trivial, as were the various plot threads, and yet the first three movies had multiple characters and plots lines and all of them were well-developed and none developed at the expense of others. A disappointing film.

This Beautiful Fantastic. I’d read about this on two blogs which got me interested. I found this movie on Hulu during my trial, so I watched it then. Both reviewers mentioned shipping Vernon and Bella (so I was prepared to do this as well especially since I didn’t care for the looks of the actor who played Billy), so I expected a love triangle. The movie didn’t have one (which is good, these are almost never done well); Bella and Vernon (who was almost old enough to be Bella’s father) didn’t flirt, had no chemistry, and no displayed no interest (expect I thought I saw a flicker of what I thought was hurt, possibly only because I was looking for it, on Vernon’s face after he learns of Billy, and this look could be interpreted many ways), and Vernon was fatherly, older brotherly in manner. I didn’t ship them, you can’t when there is nothing to ship. However, I didn’t care for the love story. The way the filmmakers handled it, I felt took away from the movie, from Bella’s journey. And it didn’t fit. The relationship between the main three characters, the setting, Bella, etc. were all complex and intertwined and quirky. The library life didn’t seem as “real” or as solid a part of Bella’s life. Billy didn’t fit in the inner circle, didn’t come into it; that would’ve needed a sequel to feel finished and right. He was not a full participant, so that either should have been developed in another movie or the filmmakers should have lengthened this movie to include it. That was my loquacious explanation of issue #1 with the love story. #2 is the absolutely absurd stock drama of seeing Billy with another woman. Come on, come up with something that that is 1) Fitting to Bella personally (the rest of the story is unique, Bella is different, why such a stock storyline that would be terrible for a movie with a more average character?), 2) More fitting to the timeline and situation (she barely knows him), and 3) More believable and believably forgivable (“I’m a triplet” Are you serious? Don’t be absurd, don’t come up with ludicrous, cheap, tricky twists). This is terrible, cheap plot manipulation. I just felt that this was so out of sync with the rest of the movie. I’m not even sure that romance fit at all with the time frame of the film. I loved the development, plot, resolution, and depth of the rest of the film and characters. I definitely think it is worth watching.

Spider Man: Homecoming. When I first heard that The Amazing Spider Man series was ending, I was disappointed because I enjoyed those movies, and I wasn’t happy with the new actor or his portrayal in Civil War. Eventually, I got over my pique, but I didn’t know what to expect/didn’t have expectations except that it was good because it had been so long since most bloggers mentioned it (and I don’t like reading reviews of movies I intend to watch until after watching them). Musicalmiss, Flowerchild, and I watched it one day in February. I LOVED it. Later that week Flowerchild, Babysister, and I watched it again. I want to own it, and I can’t wait for the next one to come out. Whispers, I think I might like it better than The Amazing Spider ManThis movie is SO well-written and well acted. So much cuteness and hilarity. I can like both this story line and The Amazing Spider Man; actually, I think that the Spider Man/Peter Parker story line is simply my favorite superhero story line. I loved that Peter always did the right thing despite all his temptation to cheaply try to win attention; I hope that never changes. Peter is so precious and adorkable, and his friend is hilarious, and I love the hints of M.J.’s interest (won’t they make an awesome couple?!). I didn’t like Peter with Liz, and I didn’t know the other girl WAS M.J. until the very end, and I couldn’t really tell that she liked him the first viewing, but I definitely saw it the second time around; I like that she isn’t puppy-dog pining for him, and that he isn’t being an insensitive jerk, he just doesn’t really know her plus he is such a baby, plus his little fan-boy crush on Liz. Oh, and that prom pick-up scene, what ACTING!!!! Oh, I could watch that movie again.

February Goals and Winter Fun List Completion

Well, I think I will just focus here on what I did accomplish especially since I’m not in a position and don’t the personality to make everything concrete.

~I finished sweater dresses for the little girls of a family friend and mailed them off (I’ll get pictures up soon).

~I was good with my money/spending, and I’ve got some good plans in place which I will probably discuss more next month (after I implement them).

~One big school accomplishment (not public yet).

~I got a temporary job for a few weeks (the nicest job I’ve ever had and the only one that I don’t dread going to, in fact I would almost say I look forward to going to).

~I read 7 books (5 new to me, 2 re-reads, and one of those was a borrowed book).

~I am (as of 3/4/2018) at 43% on Duolingo (I think I got up to 46% this month which is 4% from my target . . . and then I let it slip down).

~I already did some puzzles and game days when I made my Winter Fun List, but I didn’t do much after, and I think the only thing I really did was watch the Olympics.

What I Read in February

This was NOT a good reading month.

The Elusive Pimpernel. Okay, well Marguerite is one of the most obnoxious, stereotyped, selfish, stupid, and one-dimensional characters in literature. I was really struggling with most of this book; I almost put it down. I’m glad finished, all the good happens at the end even though we still get too large a dose of Marguerite. The best writing involves the Chauvlin and Percy scenes. The prose and plot in these books are SO tedious, but glimmers of decent writing appear in the aforementioned best scenes. I think the author could have been a decent writer if she valued quality over quantity (she has so many Pimpernel books) and left out romance which she clearly cannot do well.

The Ordinary Princess. I adore this book, you can read more about my thoughts here.

New Reads
Old Town in the Green Groves: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Lost Little House Years. This I read for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge. It was okay, I haven’t read the originals (just the draft Pioneer Girl) in ages, so I don’t know if I’m right, but this didn’t feel as charming as the originals.

The Problim Children. I didn’t like this near as well as Lloyd’s other books although I do want to read the rest of the series. I feel that less effort went into this, certainly less charm. And the scatological humor, people, please!

Farewell to the Island and Return to the Island. I HATE love triangles. This is so clearly a ploy to add drama and spin out the series. Wow, the main character really turns into a shallow, self-serving brat in these.

Leave it to Psmith. This is funny although a bit more subtle than the Jeeves and Wooster stories. I thought that it dragged a bit, but I also was in suspense and cannot bear that, so that is probably why I felt that way.

Link Love: Culture Clips

Strategies for using social media well.

This short film (I can only recommend this particular one; there is another I don’t recommend)

This and this. These are poetry videos (I can only recommend these I post here; there are others I don’t recommend). I really struggle with poetry, perhaps I should see if mixed media poetry forms will help me. These are the same people who did the above video and Kissing in the Rain (which, if you need a semi-sweet respite, is just the thing). I just love their work.

Perhaps we need to be more interesting (otherwise known as “having a life”).

And because I’m contrary, here and here are humorous takes on essential oils (though to be honest my main issue is . . . I don’t really like smells, like almost NONE).

More Explanations of the Sources of My More Obscure Couples

I intentionally mentioned a lot of obscure couples for my posts for Cordy’s Lovely Blog Party because I wanted to share some new books (I LOVE finding new books to read on blogs, in fact it’s how I found some of these). I thought I’d give more explanations for the more obscure sources (i.e.not the lesser known works from well-known authors).

1. Marcus and Cottia from The Eagle of the Ninth, Aquila and Nell from Lantern Bearers, and Owain and Regina from Dawn Wind. All these books are part of a loose series by Rosemary Sutcliff. The series is The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch, Frontier Wolf, The Lantern Bearers, (#5 is blank because it is an adult one with content and little to do with Marcus’ descendants, it only occasionally mentions Aquila and Flavian), Dawn Wind, Sword Song, and The Shield Ring. The series traces the line of an Italian soldier in Roman Britain all the way to his Norse descendants in the last Viking stronghold in Norman England. I just love the obscure time period and the lovely understated prose, and Sutcliff uses such lovely descriptive languages, for example, colors aren’t merely red or tan or yellow but crimson and tawny and saffron. I adore much of Sutcliff’s other historical fiction as well but be sure to check Wikipedia and make sure you are only reading those novels marked for children, the ones for adults can have some graphic issues.

2. Sophie and Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. This is a fantasy novel that includes a melodramatic, spoilt-childish wizard; a girl stuck in an old woman’s body; the titular wonky moving castle; a quirky tone; travel between worlds; and of course, romance. If that doesn’t sound fun, I don’t know what does. This is book one of a trilogy, but I didn’t much like the other two.

3. Spiller and Arietty are from The Borrowers series by Mary Norton. This series is about teeny, tiny people that live under the floor boards. They live off and create their homes from food scraps and objects “borrowed” from “human beans.” They live in fear of being “SEEN” by said “human beans” and if “SEEN” feel compelled to move immediately. I grew up on these charming stories and re-read them a couple years ago. They end rather abruptly though, almost as if there was supposed to have been at least one more book.

4. Azalea and Lord Bradford are from Entwined by Heather Dixon which is a re-telling of the fairytale “Twelve Dancing Princesses.” The tone of the book is spooky and mysterious, closer in this respect to older fairytales than Disney retellings (if you prefer a more Disney-esque re-telling, I also enjoyed Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George). I loved this retelling and the three romances, but Azalea and Lord Bradford are my favorite couple.

5. Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane are from Dorothy Sayer’s Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. This couple doesn’t exactly have mutual feelings from their first extremely unromantic meeting (she is being tried for a murder that he decides to investigate). But Wimsey persistently, obstinately, provokingly, and hilariously pursues her through several years and novels until she discovers that she loves him back. Lord Peter is what makes these novels for me, I couldn’t speak as to the quality of the mysteries, they are quite different from Agatha Christie mysteries, and rather dark I think (although so are some of Christie’s).

6. Jamie and Molly are from Keeper of the Bees and Philip and Elnora are from Girl of the Limberlost by Gene(va) Stratton-Porter. She was a naturalist who imbued her novels with a rich wealth of flora and fauna. Freckles is the prequel to Girl of the Limberlost although both can stand alone. I’m set to re-read both novels which are romances set in a forest called the Limberlost (a real place in Indiana although I don’t know how much is left). Keeper of the Bees is about a (seemingly) mortally ill WWI soldier who runs away from the military sanitarium and takes on a job as a beekeeper from a man he meets by chance. He then impulsively weds a girl to save her character and befriends a wild child. Things are not as they seem, and chaos ensues. I’d also recommend Laddie and The Harvester by Stratton-Porter.

7. Martin and Ivy are from Swift and Nomad and Rob and Linden from Rebel by R. J. Anderson. The Faery Rebels are Knife (Spell Hunter in the U.S.), Rebel (Wayfarer in the U.S.), and Arrow. These are followed by the duology of Swift and Nomad. The first two are the only ones available in the U.S. (I borrowed the first four from an acquaintance), but I bought all of them through Amazon.uk, so they would all match. These novels are about faeries (the ancient mythology type, not the cutesy Victorian or Disney type, and you can read more about Celtic mythology in Faeries of the Celtic Lands by Nigel Suckling) in the modern U.K. This concept of faeries and this type of story was new to me, and I found it mesmerizing. There are about four romances in these books, but my favorite couple is Martin and Ivy followed by Rob and Linden.

8. Creel and Luka are from Jessica Day George’s Dragon Slippers Trilogy. These are middle grade fantasies, and I found them adorable when I read them years ago (I’m probably due for a re-read), and I loved that the heroine made magnificent embroideries for a living.

A Miniature Review of The Ordinary Princess

I’m posting this review as part of Cordy’s Lovely Blog Party.

The Ordinary Princess is a sweet little story that is part a blend of fairy-tales and part a fairytale in its own right. I don’t want to have too many spoilers, so I will keep it short, sweet, and general. The basic plot is this: Princess Amethyst receives an odd gift at her christening and goes on an adventure under an assumed name and meets a young man. Of course the story has tons of delightful details, but like I said, I don’t want to spoil things in my synopsis (although there are spoilers at the end of the post relating to my comparison of this book with Cinderella (2015) which you can avoid).

This princess story has some similarities with a few fairytale re-tellings including the basic Sleeping Beauty story and the 2015 live action Cinderella. It has of course, the proper fairytale elements which includes everything from obscure kingdoms to woodland wanderings to animal friends. This fairytale elements are sometimes exaggerated for comedic effect. This story also has an intentional overlay of the modern and mundane that, when juxtaposed with the exaggerated fairytale extravagances, makes for a quirky, humorous, tone. For example, an absurd amount of bureaucracy is involved in inviting fairies to a christening . . . who would have thought of the words “fairy” and “committee” in conjunction?!

***********SPOILER WARNING***********

Because of a few noticeable similarities I have The Ordinary Princess and Cinderella (2015) together in my mind. Both stories include:

~The leitmotif of the folk song Lavender’s Blue

~The couple meeting under assumed names and positions

~Said positions are the same or similar: Cinderella and Amy are servants, and Kit and Peregrine are an apprentice and man-of-all-work, respectively

~The genuine sweetness and candidness of the members of the couple

~Quaint, tiny, happy kingdoms

~An overall magical loveliness, brightness, and joy

And I just know that Phantasmagoria is as beautiful and charming and quaint as Kit and Cinderella’s kingdom in the movie

Ten Lesser Known/Lesser Loved Couples from Movies

I’m writing this as part of Cordy’s A Lovely Blog Party.

1. Nick and Nora from The Thin Man mysteries (murder mysteries made in the 30’s and 40’s centered around a “retired” detective and his heiress wife and their escapades). Oh, my. Another blogger mentioned the films and the two protagonists and their chemistry, and I knew I had to see them . . . and now my sisters and I are hooked. Nick and Nora are so perfect; I love their constant banter that covers their deep caring, how he always tries to protect her in the goofiest ways, how she always tries to tag along on his mysteries, and I love their total trust and confidence in each other. #Relationshipgoals as one sister said.

2. Simon and Nicole in How to Steal a Million (a hysterical 1960’s movie starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole; I know the film is famous or it used to be, but I haven’t heard much about it from my blog groups). From their first half-joking, half-real kiss to his insistence on irritating her and his pretended aloofness to his clear jealousy of the art connoisseur oaf to her “aha” moment which leads to their broom closet romantic moment, I love every bit of this romantic, absurd, adventure. Their chemistry and comedic timing are perfect.

3. Guard and Mattie in Friendly Persuasion (a 50’s movie about Quaker life in Civil War era Indiana starring Gary Cooper and Dorothy McGuire as the parents). These two are but a part of the entire adorable story of this movie, but such a cute, funny part. Mattie is very young and absurdly sentimental and childish, and Guard is older, suave, and manly and yet he loves her so genuinely.

4. Ingrid and Zeke from That Darn Cat (a 1960’s mystery/comedy; it is a scream). So they are barely a couple, but they start off so hilariously badly while he is so much more amazing than her joke of a first boyfriend that it is amazing to see the small steps to the start of what you know will be a romance.

5. Derek and Odette from Swan Princess. I only occasionally hear or read people mentioning this movie, but it is one of my family’s favorite animated movies. Ok, grown-up Derek and Odette are a bit boring, but the build-up to their relationship is wonderful, and they have a such a beautiful love song. And the movies is worth watching for all the parts, although the comedy is the best.

6. Nancy and Nick in Nancy Drew. This movie is so cute, and Nancy and Nick’s relationship made up of their teenage shyness and insecurity with Corky’s absurdity thrown in is hilarious and adorable.

7. Ray and Livvy from The Magic of Ordinary Days (a Hallmark Hall of Fame WWII era historical fiction). This is so sweet, he is especially sweet and selfless; the story is about a temporary arranged marriage to save the woman’s character, but they end up falling in love (he falls in love first which adds some bittersweet moments). I haven’t seen this in too long.

8. Algie and Cecily from The Importance of Being Earnest (and In Earnest which is an awesome, under–appreciated web series). I know the play is pretty famous, but I don’t think these two get enough attention. I love their bantering chemistry.

9. Mira and Arman from I am Dragon. I first heard about this film from this blog review. It is so unique, and the story is very much a fairytale that mixes a bit of the old traditional dark with a bit of the modern happiness.

10. Belle and Mr. Davinier from Belle (18th century historical film loosely based on the story behind a real painting of a biracial girl and her cousin). I love their relationship: the rocky beginning, the secrecy, the friendship, but oh the best part is when he is shouting, with tears in his eyes, “I love her!” to her adoptive father.

Many of these aren’t from proper romances. I do love romances, but I also love when stories that aren’t categorized as romances have romance in them.

A Lovely Blog Party Tag

I’m joining up here.

Jo and Laurie: Name a couple that should have stayed friends…or did stay friends…
I disagree . . . most emphatically on the Jo and Laurie friendship point. And I’m not coming up with anything; I feel that I usually agree with couples or I dislike a first couple but they break up/don’t work out, and I like the next couple (you know like Roger and Cynthia changes to Roger and Molly or Charlie and Rose changes to Mac and Rose). Or I feel that if I don’t like a couple I don’t like the book. I mean there may be ones that fit this question, but I cannot think of any right now.

Jane and Mr. Rochester: Name a couple that looked like the chances of a happily ever after were next to none!
Owain and Regina in Dawn Wind. Paul and Knife in Knife.

Jane and Mr. Bingley: Name a couple that is just sooo happy!
Creel and Luka in the Dragon Slippers Trilogy.

Mattie and Guard from Friendly Persuasion (a favorite).

Kit and Ella: Name your favorite fairytale couple
Um, Kit and Ella or their literary doppelgängers, Peregrine and Amethyst from An Ordinary Princess.

Azalea and Lord Bradford from Entwined.

Molly Gibson and Roger Hamley: Name a couple where the woman is basically ignored by the suitor until the end of the story (frustration at it’s finest!! 😛 :P)
Well, Tom doesn’t exactly ignore Polly in An Old-Fashioned Girl, but he is stuck and oblivious to his and her feelings until the very end.

Philip is totally clueless as to Elnora’s feelings (and stellar comparison to his idiot girl) in Girl of the Limberlost.

Sarah and Jacob Witting: Name a couple that found love later in life
Sir Tristram Shield and Sarah Thane from The Talisman Ring. Well at least HE is old and decrepit according to HER. They were the best part of this book.

Lucy Snow and her French professer in Villette.

Don Lockwood and Kathy Seldon: Name a couple from a musical
Margy and Pat from State Fair.

Adam and Millie in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (one of my favorites).

Phil and Judy in White Christmas (oh, yes, they ARE a couple).

Anne and Gilbert: Name a couple that didn’t start out on the right foot
Jamie and Molly from Keeper of the Bees started in a very odd way, and then had a quite a bad time for their first “real” moment.

Anna and Declan in Leap Year. Oh, my word do they get off on the wrong foot . . . and remain off-kilter for quite a while which of course leads to a TON of funny moments.

And of course, Simon and Nicole in How to Steal a Million (one of my favorites). Shooting and meeting a burglar, that doesn’t sound like a great start.

Faramir and Eowyn: Name a couple with the sweetest love story
Ray and Livvy in the Magic of Ordinary Days. A couple that wasn’t supposed to be real, that wasn’t supposed to work.

Ivanhoe and Rebecca: Name a couple that should have been together
Laurie and Jo!

Jo and Anya from Roman Holiday (another favorite).

Max and Liesel from Book Thief.

Spiller and Arietty from The Borrowers series (wow, those books left off in a very unsatisfactory way; I’m not sure that was supposed to be the end or that is how bad it felt).

Ten Lesser Known/Lesser Loved Couples from Books

I’m joining in with Cordy’s Lovely Blog Party here. I love this, its basically a couples freebie for all of February, so low pressure. I’m going to include my Top Ten Tuesday post, write another one of these for movies, and do the tag Cordy made. And anything else that I feel like doing (I might do a small post on The Ordinary Princess and how it reminds me of the live-action Cinderella). I love learning about new stories, so if you have any unknown/under-appreciated couples to add, let me know in the comments.

  1. Martin and Ivy from Swift and Nomad. I loved Martin when he appeared in the first trilogy (Faerie Rebels), and Ivy is the perfect girl for him. I love their relationship and its complexity and progression. Martin doesn’t woo her (he isn’t like that and they have far more serious issues to think about), but he waits until she “gets” it. Rob and Linden from Rebel (the second Faerie Rebels book) are in second.
  2. Azalea and Lord Bradford from Entwined (I also love her next two sisters and their suitors; I’m trying to spoil too much here). Simple sweetness.
  3. Sophie and Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle. If you haven’t noticed, I don’t really care for sappy romances in which one or both characters are soppy, weak, and gushy. No thanks, that isn’t real romance. I need humor. And this is hilarious.
  4. The ordinary princess and her apprentice from An Ordinary Princess. I LOVED that connection to Cinderella although it is probably accidental. Friendship first, the romance, and then the revelations (actually this reminds me a LOT of the live-action Cinderella).
  5. Nell and Aquila from Lantern Bearers. My sister said they did not love each other. I’m sorry but yes, yes they did. I just love understated and intense. Their story is small in the huge picture of Aquila’s tortured life, but it is important. Another of my favorite elements to romance is intense and understated, and Rosemary Sutcliff does this well.
  6. Perry and Ilse from the Emily of New Moon trilogy (I cannot be happy about Teddy and Emily because I want to strangle them, mostly Teddy for his unmanly cowardice and weakness; that last book HURTS unbearably, I had to put it down for my last reread). I just love a child-hood based romance and besides these two are HILARIOUS individually and together.
  7. Marcus and Cottia from the Eagle of the Ninth. In the beginning Marcus is grown-up (although barely) and Cottia just a girl, so he takes a friendly interest at first, and I love that their friendship is the foundation for their romance. When he gets back, they are both thinking, “yes.” And that’s that.
  8. Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane from the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. Oh, my stars how I love them. His persistent wooing, her persistent resistance makes for a multitude of hilarious, and later, romantic scenes. Their romance combines intensity with laughter.
  9. Peter and Donna from A Tangled Web. From their absurd love at first site, to their awesome breakup to Donna’s illness and Peter’s absurd reaction, I love these two together. I also, in a quieter way like the quieter romance between Roger and Gay and their sweet little love scene after her realization.
  10. Judy Abbot and Jervis Pendleton from Daddy Long-Legs. The build-up. The unreasoning and hilarious jealously exhibited (unbeknownst to Judy) by Daddy Long-Legs. The reveal.