Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish!
This is a really fun topic this week, because it's more like a book discussion, rather than a list of books that fit a category. So I'm really excited to start talking about it! This week's topic is things we like/dislike when it comes to romances in books. And since I rarely read anything with zero romance, I was so excited to do this post! I'm going to do 5 dislikes, and 5 likes, so let's get started.
5. Reincarnation/soulmates: This is the most specific trope on my list, but I just can't stand it. This is when two characters have been in love in all of their past lives, so they keep finding each other with every reincarnation because they're "soulmates." I mean, even if a soul is reincarnated several times, they're going to have a different life each time. Their life experience will be different, personalities will develop differently, and it's just so unlikely that the same two souls would make perfect matches every time. Maybe I'm just a major cynic, but this always seems so far-fetched.
4. Isosceles love triangles: I'm not a big fan of love triangles in which it's extremely obvious which love interest the main character should/will end up with. In these instances, the other love interest essentially serves as a temptation for the main character, an obstacle on the way to the Happily-Ever-After with her one true love. When this happens, I often fall in love with the secondary love interest, so I'm annoyed when the MC inevitably ends up with the one I can't stand. *cough, cough, TWILIGHT, cough cough*
3. Perfect characters: I can't stand it when both characters in a romance go on and on and on about how good-looking the other character is. Like, I get it. You love them, so you think they're the most attractive person on the planet. But really, there are so many people in the world that are not perfect creatures of heavenly sexiness. No more "His hair was perfectly tousled, and his clear blue eyes pierced my soul, and his smile lit up the whole room." No one is ALL THAT. Except maybe Tom Hiddleston.
2. Abusive love interests: Sometimes, a book romanticizes the abusive boyfriend, which is so dangerous and damaging to teenagers who aspire to have a romance like the ones they read about. A guy may be extremely overprotective, but the MC thinks it's cute. Or a guy may get a little violent when he's angry, but he's crying about how sorry he is the next second, so the MC thinks he's tortured and forgives him. It makes it seem like this kind of relationship is okay, and it's not. We shouldn't be romanticizing it for teenagers out there to read about.
1. Insta-love: I think this one is pretty much a given. Is there anyone out there who likes insta-love? I've never even been a fan of the "love at first sight" idea, so insta-love really rubs me the wrong way. I'm a firmly believer that in order to love someone, fully and truly, you really have to know them down to their core, and that's impossible when you've just met. Sure, there may be an instant connection, but it can't be love that fast. Even if some teenagers think that it can be...I don't want to read it!
5. Equilateral love triangles: In which both love interests are equally wonderful for different reasons. This is less about obstacles, and more about really making choices in life and love. In these instances, the MC must decide which person makes THEM the better person. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas does this really well. Celaena's relationships with both Dorian and Chaol evolve in very organic ways, and the endgame is not immediately clear, but both love interests affect Celaena's personality and actions in very different ways.
Or quadrangles. Those can be good, too. Siege and Storm, by Leigh Bardugo...I'm looking at you.
4. Angst: There's gotta be some conflict in my romances. There's nothing worse than a romance in which there are no problems. Real relationships are messy; people mess up, people do things they regret, and even the most stable relationships go through rough patches. Somewhere along the line, there has to be a problem that the couple has to fix. That's why I hated the movie When in Rome so much. Because as much as I love Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel, there was no real conflict there, so I didn't feel like the happily-ever-after was really earned. Bonus points for man tears, because if there's anything almost guaranteed to make me feel something, it's when the love interest cries.
3. Bad boys: As much as I hate abusive love interests, I do love me a bad boy. This is probably a holdover from my personal life because I'm a sucker for tattoos and sarcasm in real life, as well. There's just something about bad boys. You never know what they're going to say or do. And some of my favorite moments occur when a bad boy love interest gets to be vulnerable in front of the MC when we've only ever been shown his tough side. For examples, read the Mara Dyer trilogy by Michelle Hodkin (review here) and the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi (review for book one here.) Bonus points if the MC is just as sarcastic and witty as the love interest.
2. Hate to love: They say the line between love and hate is a thin one, and I ADORE stories that explore that barrier. The two emotions are so closely intertwined that sometimes it's easy to confuse them. I love reading these because the MCs often have the best interactions that just leave me flailing with emotions. It's so obvious to the reader that they belong with each other, so it's incredibly satisfying when the characters realize that, too. So delightful.
1. Slow-burn romances: In direct opposition to the insta-love point above, I LOVE relationships that really take their time to develop. These slow-burn romances take the tension, the will-they-or-won't-they, to the next level. It's always so deliciously torturous waiting to see what is going to happen, and when! The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer (reviews found here, here, and here) do this really well. Over the course of three books released so far, all of the relationships continue to grow and develop, and they're not done yet!
Tell me: what are some of YOUR likes and/or dislikes when it comes to romance in books? Let me know in the comments below!