Thursday 28 February 2019

February Wrap-Up.

February, the shortest month of the year and boy did I feel it! Still, though my reading went a little off track, I managed four great reads!

  1. 'Proud' cur. by Juno Dawson. I loved this collection! The cover is a perfect representation of how this book will hit you, and I honestly believe it should be in every school. This anthology of short stories, mixed with art and poetry from some well-known YA contributors has a dash of everything. 4/5 Stars.
  2. 'Ash Princess' by Laura Sebastian. Why did I put this read off for so long? It was fantastic! A badass, strong heroine was my favourite aspect of the book, but I also appreciated the brutal, dark world-building and plot that kept me guessing. 4.5/5 Stars.
  3. 'Pride' by Ibi Zoboi. I think that this is probably the best contemporary 'Pride & Prejudice' retelling I've ever read and it was full to the brim of what I wanted - culture and diversity. The dialogue was a little choppy, the timeline too condensed, and the MC had the worst personality ever. But I still liked a lot of elements of this story. 3.5/5 Stars.
  4. '[Dis]connected' cur. by Michelle Halket. 'Tis the month for anthologies it seems! I knew I wasn't getting through any more big reads this month so wanted something shorter from my NetGalley pile. Amanda Lovelace's name caught my eye - I'd been meaning to read something of hers. I was not disappointed here, and there were some gems in these short stories. 4/5 Stars.

This month I read three books for the Beat The Backlist Challenge, making my yearly total six.

- Ash Princess
- Pride
- [Dis]connected

This month I read one book for the New Release Challenge, making my yearly total two.

- Proud

This month I read zero books for the Finishing The Series Challenge, making my yearly total zero.

As I move up the ranks I will change the badge accordingly, though I technically haven't earned this one yet...

This month I read four books for the Diversity Reading Challenge, making my yearly total six.

- Proud
- Ash Princess *Mini Challenge: (Black/African American)*
- Pride *Mini Challenge: (Black/African American)*
- [Dis]Connected

2018 Release I Missed: Ash Princess; Laura Sebastian
Features Tech: The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet; Becky Chambers
Pink Cover: Feminists Don't Wear Pink; Cur. by Scarlett Curtis
Romance: Glimpse; Kendra Leighton
Male Main Character: Starfighter (Ch. 2); Hamlet Machine
Set In Europe: The Last; Hanna Jameson
Co-Authored: [Dis]connected; Cur. by Michelle Halket
Freebie: --
White Cover: Proud; Cur. by Juno Dawson
Book Was A Gift: Useless Magic; Florence Welch
Spin Off: Stars Above; Marissa Meyer
Religious Minority MC: Sisters Of The Winter Wood; Rena Rossner
Author Of Colour: Pride; Ibi Zoboi

Book Review: [Dis]connected; Cur. by Michelle Halket.

I actually started reading this by accident - I'm trying to be a little more easy-going about my reading habits, and not feel like I have to follow a schedule. Seeing as there was no way I was going to read everything I planned for February in such a short space of time, I decided to just pick something from my NetGalley list hat intrigued me!

SOURCE: NetGalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: [Dis]Connected
AUTHOR: Cur. by Michelle Halket
SERIES: [Dis]connected (#1)
PUBLISHER: Central Avenue Publishing
PAGES: 256
GENRE: Contemporary, Poetry, Short Stories, Fantasy

RATING: 4/5 Stars

Humanity exists in a hyper connected world, where our closest friends, loves and enemies lie but a keyboard stroke away. Few know this better than the poets who have risen to the top of their trade by sharing their emotion, opinion and art with millions of fans.Combining the poetic forces of some of today’s most popular and confessional poets, this book presents poems and short stories about connection wrapped up in a most unique exercise in creative writing. 

Follow along as your favourite poets connect with each other; offering their poetry to the next poet who tells a story based on the concept presented to them. With poetry, stories and art, [Dis]Connected is a mixed media presentation of connection, isolation, love and loneliness.

I Liked:
  • There were some really enjoyable stories in this collection, based upon poems written out for them by the other contributors! My stand-outs included: 'Parietal Eye' by Nikita Gill was a wonderful story about grief, loneliness and dragons; 'Terra Firma' by Sara Bond followed a group of post-apocalyptic travellers looking for a safe haven; and Amanda Lovelace's 'Small Yellow Cottage On The Shore' was a favourite containing Selkies, sea magic, f/f relationships, and feminist themes!
I Disliked:
  • There were of course stories in this collection I didn't enjoy quite as much, though each was still good enough that I could follow and appreciate it. I think my least favourite thing about this otherwise well-executed creative writing exercise was the challenge to include lines from the poem in the story. Most of them felt very shoe-horned in, like they didn't belong.
Overall Conclusion:
This was an unusual exercise that I think worked quite nicely. Each contributor was challenged to include some art, three poems, and a short story - all of which were based upon each other's work. Everything was tied nicely together with the central theme of 'connection'. I liked that most of the stories included references to something otherworldly, and I enjoyed the diversity in characters and contributors.

Wednesday 27 February 2019

Book Review: Pride; Ibi Zoboi.

It's been so long since I read Jane Austen's 'Pride & Prejudice', but it always stays with me! It's one of my favourite classics! This retelling brought the story into the 21st century.

TYPE: Hardcover

TITLE: Pride
AUTHOR: Ibi Zoboi
PUBLISHER: Macmillan Children's Books
PAGES: 285
GENRE: Young Adult, Romance, Retelling, Contemporary

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood from becoming unrecognisable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

What I Liked:

  • The promise of diverse cultural references really drew me to this book, and I definitely got what I wanted here! Zuri, the MC, is a Haitan-Dominican and fiercely proud of her afro-latino roots, while Darius was born in London and his behaviour and upbringing raises a lot of interesting reflection on race and class.
  • I found a real sense of comfort and fun in finding the numerous references to the original story. In fact, Zoboi follows the plot very closely and it made me smile to rediscover my love for the original novel while reading this!
What I Disliked:
  • I suppose my biggest issue with this book and what turned me off from a super high rating was the fact that I really didn't like Zuri, the MC. In the original story, despite her pride, I LOVE Elizabeth Bennett. She represents a fierce woman who refuses to fit the path laid out for her by her gender and position in society. Zuri is selfish, bratty and rude. On every page. I could not understand why Darius liked her AT ALL.
  • The timeline here, compared to the original novel, is super condensed. This means that the romances, especially the sub-plots, were a little too instantaneous for my liking. Ainsley and Janae really didn't excite me in the way that Bingley and Jane did in the original novel, and that was a bit disappointing.
Overall Conclusion:

This was a likeable read, full of diversity and culture, and I really liked it's contemporary setting. It drew some great reflections regarding race and class, and also included a ton of poetry which was actually really good! The problems with it were a little hard to overlook though - an MC that made me roll my eyes every page, insta-love, stilted dialogue and a slightly rushed ending. But I'd definitely recommend this to be one of the better contemporary retellings of 'Pride & Prejudice'.

Monday 25 February 2019

Last Week's Shenanigans (18th February - 24th February)...

Another week goes by, and another week of wedding planning. We've done so much leading up, but there are some things that it wasn't worth doing until now and the stressful side of things is starting to show itself. Nevertheless, I'm still really excited! Mat and I visited the Florist together on Monday to clarify some bits, and then on Saturday I had my first alterations appointment and my hair and makeup trial! I was so happy to get to wear my wedding dress again and to get an idea of what I'd look like on the day. It was so exciting!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'Last Bus To Everland' by Sophie Cameron: NetGalley (21/02/19)
- 'Lady Smoke' by Laura Sebastian: NetGalley (21/02/19)
- 'Step Sister' by Jennifer Donnelly: NetGalley (21/02/19)
- 'Things In Jars' by Jess Kidd: NetGalley (22/02/19)
- 'Dark Shores' by Danielle L. Jensen: NetGalley (22/02/19)

I Posted...

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed That Have Under 2000 Ratings On Goodreads [Part II]

Saturday 23 February 2019

Book Review: Ash Princess; Laura Sebastian.

Whenever My Kinda Book send me an ARC it normally goes to the top of the priority list, but for some reason this one remained overlooked. Now that I've read it though, I see that I was missing out on so much!

SOURCE: Publisher Sent ARC
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Ash Princess
AUTHOR: Laura Sebastian
SERIES: Ash Princess (#1)
PUBLISHER: Macmillan Children's Books
PAGES: 448
GENRE: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Retelling

RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. 

Ten years later, Theo has learned to survive under the relentless abuse of the Kaiser and his court as the ridiculed Ash Princess. When the Kaiser forces her to execute her last hope of rescue, Theo can't ignore her feelings and memories any longer. She vows revenge, throwing herself into a plot to seduce and murder the Kaiser's warrior son with the help of a group of magically gifted and volatile rebels. But Theo doesn't expect to develop feelings for the Prinz. 

Forced to make impossible choices and unable to trust even those who are on her side, Theo will have to decide how far she's willing to go to save her people and how much of herself she's willing to sacrifice to become Queen.

What I Liked:

  • The characters were the biggest thing in this list - especially the MC Theodosia! She was strong and capable, smart too, but also not emotionless or totally cruel. Sebastian carefully crafted a balance with her and it was refreshing to read a character loosely based on Cinderella be more than just a princess in need of rescuing. I also liked Cress, a character I completely underestimated to begin with, and the Prinz, who was absolutely adorable yet still morally grey. They all provided some great twists!
  • I was pretty hooked while reading this and I think that the plot was well executed. It kept me on my toes and though I could feel some connections to 'Cinderella', it felt like a completely different story! I loved the political complexities and court intrigue especially - it's probably my favourite fantasy trope and Sebastian did a great job while adding some originality too.
What I Disliked:
  • I have to say that while I loved Theodosia/Thora, the romance element (especially the love triangle) felt a little forced. There was absolutely no chemistry with Blaise in my opinion, and while I liked Soren better as a love interest, everything felt a little rushed there too. There was an element of manipulation there though so I'll forgive that one a little more readily.
Overall Conclusion:
I really liked this first instalment in Laura Sebastian's debut series, and I'm really looking forward to reading book two! There were a couple of wobbles and tropes I'm less keen on - love triangles, insta-love and villains that are evil for the sake of being evil. But I did love the twists and turns this story provided, the thought that had been put into the character crafting and world-building, and the wholly badass, refreshing take on 'Cinderella'. 

Tuesday 19 February 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Books I Enjoyed That Have Under 2000 Ratings On Goodreads [Part II]'.

Oooh this is a great idea! I did this category before and pushed some really great books that need more love, so I can't wait to do that again!

1) 'The Woman In Black & Other Ghost Stories' by Susan Hill.

119 Ratings.

This one is cheating a little bit, the ratings are probably only low because of the edition as this is a very popular ghost story generally. But this hardback is so stunning and combines all of Susan Hill's amazing ghost stories, so I think more people should read it!

2) 'The Goblins Of Bellwater' by Molly Ringle.

349 Ratings.

I adored this book and it was definitely a book that I could see wasn't getting all the love it deserved! I mean, an NA retelling of Christina Rossetti's 'Goblin Market'? Amazing! I liked the interpretation of the curse, the relationship between the two sisters and the goblins!

3) 'Goodbye, Perfect' by Sara Barnard.

1113 Ratings.

This book was so good! In fact, all of Sara Barnard's books are, but I really think this one deserves a lot more love than it has. The plot references a teacher-student relationship, but is about so much more than that and I really liked that about it.

4) 'The Corset' by Laura Purcell.

1176 Ratings.

A very recent read for me that I adored, and I was actually surprised at the low amount of ratings considering that. If strong female characters, historical fiction and murder are your jam you should definitely read this!

5) 'Memories Of Ash' by Intisar Khanani.

1233 Ratings.

I will always maintain that Intisar Khanani writes some of my favourite fantasy YA and her books are severely underrated! I would love for more people to read them! She has the power to make every novel she writes feel like an epic, with amazing world-building and complex, likeable characters. I'll stop fan girling now!

6) 'Heartstopper [Vol. 1]' by Alice Oseman.

1507 Ratings.

I really don't anticipate this being below 2000 ratings for long as Oseman's work is so popular, but this little LGBT+ web-comic is so adorable and fluffy and deserves a spot on this list!

7) 'Fragments Of Femininity' by Olivier Pont & Laurence Croix.

113 Ratings.

This was an interesting read actually, another graphic novel consisting of seven short stories with one loose connection - breasts. It's such a taboo topic (which is ridiculous) that it was kind of refreshing to see such frank drawings and discussion around them and what they mean to women.

8) 'Out Of The Blue' by Sophie Cameron.

751 Ratings.

Another great LGBT+ read that I definitely feel deserves more love. This story contains angels but it's totally different from anything else I've read with heavenly beings. They aren't the point of the story - which covers themes such as grief, friendship and family perfectly.

9) 'Fearless' by Tim Lott.

1169 Ratings.

I read this book when I was in school, though didn't remember it very well (other than that I loved it) so I read it again and still loved it! It's so unique in it's fairy tale style mixed with a bleak, dystopian outlook on the future.

10) 'Doing It!' by Hannah Witton.

1959 Ratings.

So close, but not quite at 2000! This book should, frankly, be in all schools as a sort of general guide to being a teenager and starting to tackle relationships, porn, sex, LGBT+ issues and masturbation. I honestly think that if people read books like this at the age where they start encountering this stuff there would be a lot less confusion.

Monday 18 February 2019

Last Week's Shenanigans (11th February - 17th February)...

This year is going so quickly, we're already halfway through February which means it's the week of Valentines Day! I had a lovely couple of days off with Mat, watching movies, playing video games and we also went out for lunch on the 14th at Zizzi's! He even bought me a Disney Eeyore toy to add to my collection!

I did also have a bit of a tough, stressful week in terms of my mental health, and I think it's the Wedding stuff starting to get on top of me. I'm seriously procrastinating in doing something about this, but it's so hard for me to find the time/motivation. 

On Sunday, I went Bridesmaid dress shopping with four out of five of my wonderful bridesmaids, and I'm super excited about their chosen dresses! It's definitely starting to come together and I'm looking forward to the actual day now. Hopefully everything runs smoothly!

I Read...


I Received...

- 'The Last Life Of Prince Alastor' by Alexandra Bracken: NetGalley (12/02/19)
- 'The Porpoise' by Mark Haddon: NetGalley (12/02/19)

I Posted...

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Couples Awards [Part II]

Tuesday 12 February 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Bookish Couples Awards [Part II]'.

Seeing as it's Valentines Day, the Top Ten Tuesday post was of course going to be centred on Bookish Couples, but I looked back over some old posts and came across the Bookish Couples Award post I did back in 2015! I thought it might be nice to give it an update (I've read so many more books since then) and add a couple of categories that I feel were left out!

Best Non-Romantic Duos:
Strong friendships, bromances, hilarious siblings, even rivals/frenemies. Anything goes here.

Kizzy & Jenks (WINNER)
'The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet' by Becky Chambers.

I only recently read this book but I loved this relationship, which perfectly demonstrated how guys and girls can be pals without any strings attached. They reminded me a little bit of Fitz & Simmons from Agents Of Shield (though, to completely destroy my previous point, I will ship those two until the day I die) but they cared for each other without having to say it.

Theo & Nim
'Wonder Woman: Warbringer' by Leigh Bardugo.
These two spent the entire 'saving the world' road-trip arguing with each other (and being possessed by minor Gods & Goddesses) and I lived for it. Their dynamic was probably the most interesting thing about the whole book! I'd love to see a whole story dedicated to their intense dislike for each other!
Regine & Tomasz
'More Than This' by Patrick Ness.

I read this book a while back, but I still remember these two! Feisty, hard-headed Regine was my favourite character of the whole book, and Tomasz, who was sweet and wonderful, accompanied her wherever she went. I really liked their dynamic and protectiveness of each other.

Fluffiest Couples:
So sticky sweet that they may rot your teeth, but I still kind of love it.

Steffi & Rhys (WINNER)
'A Quiet Kind Of Thunder' by Sara Barnard.

Sara Barnard's stories are all amazing, but 'A Quiet Kind Of Thunder' really stood out for me because of the romance! Steffi suffers from major anxiety and selective mutism, and Rhys is deaf, and it was so cute to read a book with those things in it, but also to see such an adorable pairing come out of it!

Jordan/Julian & Isaac
'Noteworthy' by Riley Redgate.

Reading this was like reading a combination of Shakespeare's play 'Twelfth Night' mixed with Glee or Pitch Perfect. At first, the romance felt like an unnecessary subplot, but these two characters were so adorable that it ended up being one of those rare moments that I loved it anyway!

Luke & Norah
'Under Rose-Tainted Skies' by Louise Gornall.

I'm always a little wary of romances in books that focus on mental health, because often they end up being 'the cure' which is absolute nonsense. But this book span that in a totally different direction - the romance created new obstacles for Norah to overcome and served a big purpose in this story, and Luke was so cute.

Funniest Couples:
There are always couples that, when reading them interact, make you laugh out loud.

Don & Rosie (WINNER)
'The Rosie Project' and 'The Rosie Effect' by Graeme Simsion.

Don & Rosie have been the subject of two books now, and they never fail to make me laugh. Their interactions are hilarious comprising mostly of Don totally not getting why his responses are so funny.

Cath & Levi
'Fangirl' by Rainbow Rowell.

I was actually expecting these two to be a little more fluffy than they were when I first started reading this. But actually, largely thanks to Levi, these two were so funny! I really need to read more books by Rainbow Rowell, her stories are a hoot!

Natasha & Daniel
'The Sun Is Also A Star' by Nicola Yoon.

I think the thing that struck me most about this book, aside from its unusual style, was how funny it was. Especially in the interaction between Natasha and Daniel! The book covers serious issues, but in a humorous way.

Most Badass Couples:
This is the spot for couples that manage to find the time for sizzling sexual tension between ass-kicking fights and thrilling escapes.

Kate & Jesse (WINNER)
'Vengeance Road' by Erin Bowman.

*Plays wild west music* This book totally revealed a new YA genre for me to love, and it was mostly down to Kate & Jesse who were badass. Especially Kate. Which made it even cooler. 

Kaz & Inej
'Six Of Crows' by Leigh Bardugo.

Kaz, the cold and quick-witted leader of a group of criminals and Inej, his best spy known as 'the Wraith' just about made me die of the feels they made me feel. I want them to be together so much and I'm waiting and hoping that my dreams will come true in 'Crooked Kingdom'.

Zelie & Inan
'Children Of Blood & Bone' by Tomi Adeyemi.

These two. I loved them so much! I especially adored Inan whom I want so badly to turn against his awful Father and accept himself. Again, I'm hoping 'Children Of Virtue & Vengeance' will bring me everything I need in that regard.

Most Tragic Love Stories:
Not all couples get a happy ending. It hurts, but they deserve their own category at least.

Catherine & Jest (WINNER)
'Heartless' by Marissa Meyer.

This whole story absolutely broke me. I mean, I knew it was coming, because it was the origin story of the Queen of Hearts from Lewis Carroll's 'Alice In Wonderland', so it was never going to end well. But my heart was still broken into a million pieces.

Sabine & Ethan
'Between The Lives' by Jessica Shirvington.

I remember finishing the end of this book and crying my eyes out. Seriously. Sabine and Ethan's relationship developed so naturally and I loved watching them fall for each other so much, that even though the signs were there, I was devastated when that plot twist dropped.

Yael & Luka
'Wolf By Wolf' & 'Blood For Blood' by Ryan Graudin.

Their love story starts in 'Wolf By Wolf', an alternate history novel in which Hitler won, but it really blossoms in the second book of the duology, 'Blood For Blood'. It's also here where their story becomes super tragic and I shed a few tears, I'll be honest!

Best Non-Lead Couples:
Those couples that you are sort of rooting for more than the 'main' couple of the series? They go here.

Despina & Jalal (WINNER)
'The Wrath & The Dawn' & 'The Crown & The Arrow' by Renée Ahdieh.

I wouldn't say I liked it more than the main couple necessarily, but as soon as I learnt that Despina & Jalal were even considering being a thing, I was 100% on board. They were the funniest characters in the book and I loved the idea of them being together!

Josef & Francois
'Wintersong' by S. Jae-Jones

There really isn't enough of these two in this book but I really adored Josef & Francois. Their love of music and how that developed into something between them was super cute, and they were a nice side note from the main plot which I think will ne explored even more in 'Shadowsong'.

Alec Lightwood & Magnus Bane
'City Of Bones' by Cassandra Clare.

I had trouble with various areas of this book, but while I really didn't care for the MC's main love triangle, I really cared about the growing attraction between ancient warlock Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood, a closeted shadow-hunter. They might be one of the few reasons I'd consider picking this series up again!

LGBT+ Pairings:
I added this couple, but it's important. I've read so many great LGBT+ romances that I wanted to show them off!

Nick & Charlie (WINNER)
'Solitaire' & 'Heartstopper Vol.1' by Alice Oseman.

These two almost ended up in the previous category because I adored them so much in 'Solitaire', even though they didn't make much of an appearance. But when they got their own comic and I read 'Heartstopper', I realised that they were pretty much my favourite LGBT+ pairing of all time. So here they are!
Sarah & Linda
'Lies We Tell Ourselves' by Robin Talley.

This book was so much more than just an LGBT+ romance, and the first few chapters from Sarah's POV of just arriving in school were absolutely terrifying to read. But I loved the f/f pairing here too and the way that they both began to choose tolerance as a result.
Ash & Kaisa
'Ash' by Malinda Lo.

This fantasy f/f retelling of Cinderella was absolutely perfect and I adored it! No more helpless maid and Prince Charming. Instead, Ash meets the King's huntress in a world where no one bats an eyelid at an LGBT+ relationship. There's also a great 'fairy godmother' twist!

Paranormal Pairings:
Vampires, spirits, aliens, fae. Just because I didn't like the 'Twilight' series doesn't mean I don't like the odd 'otherworldly' romance!

Vasya & Morozko (WINNER)
'The Bear & The Nightingale' & 'The Girl In The Tower' by Katherine Arden.

Who doesn't love an attraction between a magical girl who sees spirits, and a gorgeous frost demon who is trying really hard not to fall for her. I loved them in 'The Bear & The Nightingale', and loved them even more in 'The Girl In The Tower'.

Eli & Oskar
'Let The Right One In' by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

An odd choice, but something about Eli & Oskar's relationship really struck me in this book. It might be because Eli is a genderless vampire? Or perhaps because they were young?

Jude & Prince Cardan
'The Cruel Prince' by Holly Black.

Oh my, the tension between these two is just ridiculous. I think human/fae is probably my favourite paranormal pairings and this is a wonderful example of one! I can't wait to read 'The Wicked King' and read more of these two!

The Interfering Third Parties Award:
Almost every book I know has one of these, but these examples particularly stood out for me.

The Duke Of Selburn (WINNER)
'The Dark Days Club' & 'The Dark Days Pact' by Alison Goodman.

Possibly one of the most annoying book characters in history, the Duke Of Selburn's very name on a page is enough to make me feel irritated. He is in love with the MC, Lady Helen and absolutely hates Lord Carlston and his role in The Dark Days Deceit left me absolutely fuming!

The Summer King
'Hidden Huntress' & 'Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen.

Okay, the audacity of this character. I had no idea when he first popped up in book two, 'Hidden Huntress', just how much I'd hate him by the end of the trilogy.He absolutely ruined the ending. Ruined it.

'Three Dark Crowns' by Kendare Blake.

Does poor Jules really count for this? I felt sorry for her throughout most of the book because she was the betrayed victim of the relationship that Blake is obviously trying to push, but towards the end of the book her jealousy got a bit out of control and I didn't appreciate that. It's a shame because she's such a strong character otherwise!

Favourite Couples Overall:
*Drum Roll* and the winner is...

Captain Thorne & Cress (WINNER)
'Cress', 'Winter', 'Wires & Nerve' & 'Stars Above' by Marissa Meyer.

My love for these two will never die. They've withstood so many other close contenders since reading 'Cress' all that time ago and I loved reading them again in the other books that Meyer wrote from that world. 

Mitch & Jonas
'Long Exposure' by Kam 'Mars' Heyward.

I mean, I love these two. I was a little concerned about the bully/victim dynamic incase anything turned out to be non-con, but Mars has done wonders with plot, character development, and the nature of the relationship here.

Amar & Maya
'The Star-Touched Queen' by Roshani Chokshi.

I really liked this relationship a lot! It reminded me of the Hades & Persephone dynamic but drawing its inspiration from Indian and Hindu folklore and culture instead!