Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten things I like or dislike when it comes to romances in books

Top 10 Tuesday new

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is all about the LOOOOOVE. What works in a book romance? What sets our teeth on edge? I’m finding it a bit easier to come up with dislikes at the moment, but I’ll give it all a go:


Starting with dislikes:

1) Love triangles: Been there, done that. I think we’ve seen enough.

2) Insta-love: I just can’t buy these mad, passionate, yours-for-eternity love stories where the characters have seen each other once and maybe exchanged five words. Love needs to build. I won’t believe it’s there just because the author said so. Show, don’t tell!


3) Good girl saves the bad boy with her awesome superpower of LOVE. Redemption stories are so yesterday.

4) Rudeness as a sign that he’s really, really into you. If he’s name isn’t Darcy or Rhett, then I’m not buying it. Guys who are worthy treat their love interests with respect.

5) Perfection: Why do male romantic leads always have to have the perfect abs and faces and eyes and everything else? Can’t a love interest be less than gorgeous?

6) Money: Does Mr. Perfect always have to come with heaps of money? It would seem so, based on quite a bit of fiction.

Okay, turning to the positive…



1) A relationship between equals. Sass, snark, and witty banter are great, so long as it’s two-sided. I love reading about two strong and intelligent people who find a connection.

2) Slow burn. Maybe the attraction is there from the start, but the most convincing love stories in fiction are the ones where feelings build over time, until they just can’t be denied any more.

3) Standing together against a common enemy: If the whole book is just about the gooey-eyed faces they make at each other, it gets boring pretty quickly. I like a romance where the love gets a chance to sizzle, and then there’s some sort of harrowing adventure or danger that unites the couple and lets them fight side by side. (There’s a chance that I read too much urban fantasy. Sorry.)


4) Interesting lives: For me to sustain interest in a fictional romance, the people involved also have to have something in their lives besides their relationship. I like reading about strong, smart people who do cool things and ALSO find love. Is that asking too much?

5) Love that lasts. Weddings aren’t the end of the love story; in the best of cases, it’s just the beginning. Oh look, I haven’t mentioned Outlander once in this post. So here goes: One of the things I love about the Outlander series is that Jamie and Claire remain in love, passionately and physically, throughout their lives together. Their love story isn’t only about getting together; what makes it beautiful is everything they go through to stay together and nurture their commitment and passion throughout their lives. *swoon*

Yes, I know that 6 + 5 = 11. I’d finished writing my top 10 list before I remembered #6 in the dislikes, and I couldn’t leave it out!

So what are your pet peeves about romances in fiction? And what do you really love about love stories?



If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out my regular weekly feature, Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!


Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!


20 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten things I like or dislike when it comes to romances in books

  1. Yay for slow-burn! You know a brilliant writing when the author writes a well-developed love story.

    I agree with you on money – I hate it when the hero is a billionaire while the heroine is one financial-status lower than him or even worse if the heroine is broke & relies on the hero to financially support her. Why must the women be helpless?!

    I have points that are different from yours. Feel free to check out my list.

  2. I actually find redemption stories dangerous, to a point. Constantly reassuring the idea that you can change a person who in the mean time can be dangerous not only to themselves but to others’ …not a healthy mentality to take.

    • You’re absolutely right, and I didn’t really think beyond the likes/dislikes to the behaviors that are just plain bad to hold up as examples of a positive — especially in YA fiction when the target audience is still figuring out romance and relationships. That applies to the whole stalkery behavior as a sign of love too, which drives me nuts. You make a really important point — thanks!

    • Me too! I look at some of the more ridiculous situations in books, and then try to plug women I know into those scenarios… and they would definitely not be all swoony and lovestruck!

Comments... We love comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s