Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Things I Like When it Comes to Romance in Books

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is: Top Ten Things I Like When it Comes to Romance in Books.

Book cover for When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen1. Love triangles – I know there are plenty of readers who are sick of love triangles, but I’m not one of them. I blame this on Twilight; if it weren’t for Jacob Black and Edward Cullen, I doubt I’d have discovered the allure of reading about three people involved in a complicated relationship. Then again, maybe that’s not true; I could still have been won over by the triangles in The Infernal Devices series, When the Sea is Rising RedCurses and Smoke, etc.

2. Forbidden love – I love me a forbidden romance. Regardless of the reason – your families are mortal enemies, you’re in different social classes, your kiss will kill your true love, etc. – if you’re in love with someone you’re not supposed to be in love with, I want to read about it.

3. Love interests who are also friends – I don’t need my characters to be long-time BFFs, but I do want there to be more to their relationship than just getting all googly-eyed and mooning after one another. I like when love interests can hang out and have fun together, make each other laugh, work on things together, and be not just lovers but companions.

Book cover for Legend by Marie Lu4. When love interests start as adversaries – If the transformation from foe to more-than-friend is done believably, it can be a great plot device. Think of all the excellent books where the characters start off as enemies and end up falling in love: Perry and Aria in Under the Never Sky, June and Day in Legend, Valek and Yelena in Poison Study

5. Bad boys – I don’t like assholes or abusive guys, but I can appreciate a boy with a bit of an edge. A few of my favorites? Nico from Nameless, Cole St. Clair from Sinner, and Abel from The Storyteller.

6. Good guys – As much as I get a kick out of those feisty bad boys, I also swoon when the sweetie pies come out to play. Caring, kind, and well-mannered boys deserve some love too, right? Especially ones like Levi in Fangirl, Peeta in The Hunger Games, and Gansey in The Raven Boys.

Book cover for Graceling by Kristin Cashore7. When characters are great as individuals as well as a couple – I really appreciate characters who are interesting and strong in their own right. If they’re great independently, chances are they’ll be even stronger together. Some of the best examples of this that I can think of are Po and Katsa in Graceling and Mustang and Darrow in Red Rising.

8. Humor and banter – When love interests can tease each other, joke around, and get a clever repartee going, I’m delighted to no end. Cassandra Clare is the master of this – when Will and Tessa in The Infernal Devices series and Jace and Clary in The Mortal Instruments series don’t have me swooning with desire, they’re making me laugh until I cry instead.

9. Hanky panky  My characters better be gettin’ some action. This is one of the reasons why I’m wary of certain historical fiction, Victorian novels in particular; some of them can be pretty straight-laced, and I need something more spicy than just hand-holding and a stolen kiss or two. My favorite steamy YA book has got to be Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi. Chapter 58 has me fanning myself every time I read it…

Book cover for The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay10. Original date ideas – It kills me when I see the same tired date scenes and romantic gestures used over and over again in books. Show me something new and original, please! The winner in this regard is The Sea of Tranquility, hands down. The ice cream, the bucket full of pennies…is there no end to Josh Bennet’s dating creativity? *Sighs dreamily*

 What do you look for in your fictional romantic relationships? Or, on the flip side, what are your romance pet peeves?

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