Good morning people! (Welllll, it’s almost noon, but you know what I mean.)
It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, this week’s topic is Top Ten Favorite Romances.
I’m splitting my ten into two categories – Favorite Romance Novels, and Favorite Love Stories. What’s the difference, you ask?
- Romance novels are usually shorter, super cheesy, formulaic, fluffy, and kind of forgettable. They usually feature one male character and one female character who meet, are attracted to each other, overcome some sort of obstacle to be together, and voila! Happy ending. There’s often several steamy sexy scenes. The novel usually ends with them happily together, possibly married (with or without kids), and there’s usually never a sequel. They’re almost always sold only in mass market paperback.
- Love stories are fiction novels in which a love story is the focus, but there’s a lot more story going on as well. They’re often longer than romance novels, not quite as cheesy, have more plot, and aren’t necessarily fluffy. The writing is what most of us would consider “good” writing, or literature. The characters are ones you really grow attached to and they are memorable. The love story in a fiction novel doesn’t necessarily end at the end of the book – there might be sequels in which you see the characters grow together or live their lives together. Whereas romance novels are good for a quick fluffy read, fiction novels with love stories are the books that you end up loving and coming back to. They stick with you a little more. They can be hardcovers, trade paperbacks, and sometimes mass market paperbacks.
Is this making sense? Maybe some examples will help!
My Top Five Favorite Romance Novels
1. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie - I LOVE Bet Me. It’s not just my favorite romance novel, it’s one of my favorite books ever. It’s unique in that the characters are really memorable, there’s a lot of humor, there’s a great cast of secondary characters, and the sexy bit doesn’t happen until the end. Min and Cal are awesome, and I there are so many quotable lines. It’s one of the only romance novels I’ve ever re-read.
2. Comanche Moon by Catherine Anderson - Comanche Moon is a historical romance set in old western times when violence between cowboys and Indians was a real thing. It’s about Loretta and Hunter and they have to overcome racial barriers and there’s some violence happening during the story because of the turmoil of the times.
3. Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn - This is one of the first Julia Quinn books I ever read, and I really liked it. Julia Quinn makes her historical romance novel REALLY funny, and I like that. This book is a good example of forgettable characters though – I had to look at the back of the book for the characters names, and honestly I don’t remember a LOT of the story. I just remember really enjoying it because it was a great fluffy read.
4. The Tattooed Duke by Maya Rodale - This was a really great historical romance. Sebastian and Eliza were a fun match, and isn’t quite as insta-love as most romances. They actually had conversations! Gasp! And Eliza carries a knife, which was awesome. It’s definitely unique for romance novels, which is apparently a big deciding factor for whether or not I consider it a favorite.
5. Truly, Madly by Heather Webber - This could actually count as a contemporary romance or a mystery, because it’s a little bit of both. But I need a 5th pick, so this is it! This is actually the first book in the Lucy Valentine series – Lucy has a magical gift for finding lost things, which is the focus of the books and usually the main plot point revolves around that. But she has a love interest named Sean, and their romance takes a while to build up, which I like. I actually want to re-read the first three books because I want to read the fourth the it’s been a while.
My Top Five Favorite Love Stories
1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - I love Jamie and Claire. This is the start of the Outlander series, and it has adventure, history, romance, time travel, and so so so much more. Jamie and Claire have a seriously epic love. I acutally miss them when I’m not reading the series.
2. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons - The Bronze Horseman is fantastic historical fiction. It’s in Russia at the start of WW2, and it focuses on Tatiana and Alexander and how they have to go through absolute HELL to be together. I cried a lot. They’re my second favorite epic couple.
3. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell - The main storyline of this book is about adorable Lincoln falling in love with Beth, because it’s basically his job to read all the emails of employees at this newspaper and Beth stands out. This is set in Nebraska back when the internet was a relatively new thing, and it’s SO FUN. I root for Lincoln and Beth to get together throughout the whole book.
4. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness - I love forbidden love stories. Witch Diana and vampire Matthew aren’t allowed to be in love – it’s against the rules for two different kinds of creatures to be together, which just makes their romance all that more awesome. Don’t let the paranormal aspect throw you off – the author has created a world of witches, demons, and vampires that’s really unique. It looks at the world of creatures from a historical, scientific, and philosophical views and I really enjoyed the intellectual approach.
5. My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares - Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. He has “the memory”, the ability to remember all of his past lives and to recognize reincarnated souls he knows. Across continents and throughout many lives, Daniel has been in love with Sophia and now here she is, reincarnated as a girl in his class named Lucy. Will they finally be able to get their happy ending? You should read to find out! (Also, there really should be a sequel to this but annoyingly the author hasn’t announced any plans for one yet.)
So there we have it! My favorite romances and love stories.
What are some of yours?