Top Ten Tuesday: Romance Novels

toptentuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about what we like and dislike in romance novels. I actually wish there was another term for “romance novel,” because it automatically brings to my mind those old Harlequin paperbacks with Fabio-esque characters on the cover. In reality, the romance genre is very wide and varied, and they don’t all feature Fabio.

What I Like in Romance Novels:

  1. Hilarious and often embarrassing situations.
    Yes, I love laughing out loud, but I also love the aftermath of embarrassing situations when characters make amends and you find out how likable they really are :)
    Fiance muchado
  2. Pride-and-Prejudice-types of romances.
    Lizzie and Darcy’s relationship is classic, and I don’t care how often I see it repeated in other romances. If it’s done well, there’s a high probability that I’m going to love it.
    NorthandSouth AoGG
  3. Unrequited love and tragic situations.
    I don’t care how sad these types of books are, I love unrequited love stories (especially if it’s no longer unrequited at the end). I also feel the same way about tragic books, when a fictional couple faces a dramatic conflict and they have to recover from it. I learn a lot of lessons from those types of novels.
    senseandsensibility janeeyre
  4. Letters! (or emails or text messages)
    I think Jane Austen said it best: “Let us never underestimate the power of a well-written letter.”
    attachments meanttobe Persuasion
  5. Character growth.
    I always enjoy a story with deep and well-developed characters. One of my biggest bookish pet peeves is trying to suffer through a novel, especially a romance, when the characters are utterly flat and unmotivated. (these books definitely show great character growth!)
    lastbestkiss sisterhoodeverlasting
  6. Deep themes and serious issues.
    I love books that make me feel those deeper emotions. When it comes to romantic books, I really enjoy the ones that deal with sad, and even dark issues unrelated to the central romance. Also, maybe I just like books that move me to tears because that means it’s some pretty powerful writing.
    secondchancesummer mara dyer Redeeming Love

What I Dislike in Romance Novels:

  1. CHEESINESS.
    I can handle one or two clichés, but a whole book full of them? Not so much.
  2. Explicit descriptions and foul language.
    Nope. I don’t finish any book, from any genre, that is overtly explicit/graphic or that includes too much foul language. Nothing turns me off quicker than seeing a dozen curse words splattered across a single paragraph, especially when they’re the weirdest and rarest ones I’ve ever heard. If an author can put THAT much creativity into which curse words their characters spew, surely they can come up with some less abusive vocabulary? (ok, rant is over–see, I told you it bothers me!)
  3. Unrealistic characters, plot lines, or dialogue.
    If it’s unbelievable, it’ll be unenjoyable for me too.
  4. Characters who are obsessed with their significant others.
    I’m talking New Moon Edward and Bella obsessed. I don’t want to read books where characters mope around and don’t know how to survive when their significant other leaves them or is gone for one day. It’s pathetic, dangerous, and in the case of Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, just plain creepy.

What’s your favorite romance novel? Do you share any of my pet peeves or favorite motifs when it comes to romances?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite 2014 Reads

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish, is all about the best books we read in 2014! I am very happy that my Top Ten is filled with so many classics! It’s not surprising, because I love classics and they usually fill up about half of what I read, but this year I read so many young adult books that I wasn’t able to read as many classics as usual. I guess this just means that I picked a few really good classics ;)

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

robinhood secondchancesummer muchado sisterhoodeverlasting littlewomen

10. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle: Robin Hood, my love <3 Your tricks and mischievous ways never fail to entertain me :)
9. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson: This book made me bawl like a baby, and only the best books can make me do that. This was the third Morgan Matson book I read, and before that I was already convinced that I’d preorder her future books because they’re that good.
8. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare: Usually I prefer Shakespearean tragedies, but Much Ado was so funny and suspenseful that I found myself really enjoying it despite its “shallowness.” The recent film version is great as well.
7. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares: I just read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series for the first time this summer, and I loved the four sisters so much! When I went to read this 5th, more adult book, I knew it was going to be a lot different from its predecessors. It’s darker and sadder, but also so much fuller than the other four books. Several chapters made me cry, but not just out of sadness. There’s one scene in particular involving my two favorite characters that is giving me butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it <3
6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: The beloved March family! I so wish I had read this book as a young adult. It would have gone well with Anne of Green Gables, but in any case I loved it so much when I read it earlier this year. And of course, the Winona Rider/Christian Bale movie is spot-on. I could watch that all day, AND it’s a Christmas movie so that means I will be watching it soon!

 

tokillamockingbird sinceyouvebeengone meanttobe NorthandSouth attachments

 

5. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: This is one of those classics that is usually assigned in school, but it wasn’t for me, and after reading it I totally wish it had been! But maybe not, actually, because there’s always that dreaded assigned reading curse that can destroy books for us =P It doesn’t matter what age you are, this book will touch your heart.
4. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson: This book is perfect for summer reading. It made my heart smile with giddy happiness and it’s a Morgan Matson book so obviously it’s amazing.
3. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill: This book was so cute! I seriously could not put it down. I love books that mix in multiple communications platforms, and this one deals a lot with texting mishaps. Plus, if you love travelling, especially to the UK, you’ll love this one. The whole book takes place in London and Lauren Morrill makes you feel like you’re actually there. I’ve been dying to see all the places that were mentioned in the book ever since I read it.
2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell: I just finished this book a few days ago and I am still on the book hangover. Some people might think it’s weird to rave about a book that’s been around for over 150 years, but right now all I want to do is rave about North and South. The last time I felt like this was when I read Jane Eyre for the first time last September. My best friends can attest to it, I talked their heads off about that book (but I even converted my BFF into liking it after she HATED the movie!).
1. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: This has been my favorite read of the year so far. I’ve talked about it so many times, I don’t know what else to say besides IT’S WONDERFUL!

 

There you have it! That was a lot easier than I thought it would be, actually. I rated all of these books 5/5, and there were around 6 other books I also gave a 5 star rating this year. It’s been a good reading year for me :)

 

What has been your favorite read of the year?

October Highlights

October was a big month for me. I dealt with a lot of different transitions as my husband and I entered our second month of living in the States. I revamped my blog, I discovered a lot of things about myself, and I came to some conclusions about where I want the future to take me.

Here are some of my highlights from the month of October:

I read 10 books this month!
thegeographyofyouandme dearmrknightley Adobe Photoshop PDF peterpanannotated
   lola isla grimmlegacy grimmmemories
I have now exceeded my 2014 reading challenge goal of 45 books by reading 65 total.

Favorite Read:
secondchancesummer

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

As always, Morgan Matson’s writing impacted me deeply. This book more so than her other two. It’s one of those books that I label as “life-changing.”

Least Favorite Read:
theoneandonly

The One and Only by Emily Giffin

Normally I don’t post negative reviews, but I couldn’t even finish reading Emily Giffin’s latest book. It’s really long, slow-moving, and morally questionable.

Favorite TV Show:
As hinted at by this post, my husband and I started watching Supernatural and we’re hooked! We’re already halfway through the second season. I love Sam & Dean!

But on a lighter note, Green Gables Fables is my favorite current YouTube series and a couple of weeks ago they released this video which has been my favorite of the series so far. If you’re not familiar with Anne of Green Gables, this is the follow-up to my favorite scene from the book.
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/r732LUuTiEk” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Most Popular Post:
Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Totally Want To Be For Halloween
But my post on Sleepy Hollow last year was also really popular this month.

Favorite Memories From October:

  • Trick-or-Treaters!! This is probably the first Halloween I was able to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, and I never thought I would enjoy it so much! At first I was worried we wouldn’t have any kids come by, because this neighborhood is fairly small and out in the middle of the woods. But we actually had quite a lot! And they all had such amazing and cute costumes. And Solo was there to greet each kid that said “Trick-or-Treat!” and I think they were more into petting him than getting any candy :)
  • This month I also got to spend a lot of time with my family, which I really needed. Even though we didn’t do anything big or exciting, it as a lot of fun just watching football with my dad and brother, going shopping with my mom, and going to the movies or out to dinner with everyone.
  • Earlier in October Matt finally received his green card! Now if only we could find jobs…

November To Be Read:

thetroublewithflirting thebeautifulamerican waroftheworlds
                    loveunexpected amostinconvenientmarriage

Things I’m Looking Forward To In November:

  • This week I have a job interview! It’s my first positive result from my job search so far. I’ve applied to so many jobs and received a few negative responses, but yesterday I finally received some good news. I know nothing is guaranteed yet, but it’s still encouraging to make it this far.
  • Next weekend is YALL Fest! It’s my first book conference/event and I’m going with my friend Regina @ The Sunflower Pages. There will be several of my favorite authors there, but I think I’m most excited about Rainbow Rowell and Ann Brashares. I’ll post all about it afterwards!
  • This is the month of THANKSGIVING! Last year I did my daily 30 Days of Thankfulness posts, which I won’t be doing again this year, but I encourage you all to think about what you’re thankful for this month & to share those things with others :) I’m thankful for my family, because without them I’d be lonely, miserable, and homeless.

What were some of your favorite highlights from October?

Top Ten (Thurs)day: Summer Reads

toptentuesdayThis post was meant for Tuesday, but I have been pretty busy this week between my job wrapping up, taking a day trip to Lyon (fun!), and watching 3 matches of the World Cup every night, so Top Ten Tuesday has become Top Ten Thursday for me this week :)

Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR List:

 Here are the books that I’ve already started and hope to finish this summer :)

robinhoodThe Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle – I have always been a big Robin Hood fan, I even dressed up as Robin Hood once for a British-themed costume party, and last month we went and saw a Robin Hood musical that’s touring France at the moment (it was really cool!). So since then I’ve been on a bit of a Robin Hood kick and I’m in the process of reading Howard Pyle’s version of my favorite legend :)

littlemenLittle Men by Louisa May Alcott – I read Little Women last month (review still on the way) and loved it! I knew the story since I grew up watching the 1994 film version, but the book was so much better. So after I finished it I started reading the sequel, Little Men, but I’m still in the beginning chapters. The reason for that is because I started the book below…

lesmisLes Misérables by Victor Hugo – About a month and a half ago I posted on Twitter about how Les Misérables was a book that had been on my TBR/Classics Club list for a while, but because it intimidated me so much I had been procrastinating on reading it. Well, someone else had been feeling a little similar to me, and so we decided to read it together this month :) I really had been wanting to read it in French, but this book is massive, and I am maybe 2% finished with it right now. We’ll see if I can persevere in le français, or if I’ll have to switch to English.

Books I want to start this summer! (Click on the titles for the Goodreads links)

heartandsoulHeart & Soul by Lee Strauss – Lee Strauss (sometimes Elle Strauss) is one of my favorite contemporary YA authors. I’ve read two of her other series, Clockwise (a YA time traveling series) and Perception (a YA futuristic sci-fi series), and loved them both. So last week when I saw she was giving out ARC copies of her new novel, Heart & Soul, in exchange for reviews, I jumped on board :) I hope to be reading this one within the next couple of days so check back for my thoughts!

ifistayIf I Stay by Gayle Forman – I recently saw the trailer for this upcoming book-made-film and instantly became intrigued. It looks like a major tear jerker, but I love stories that make me cry (it’s a powerful emotion) so I can’t wait to delve into this one.

secondchancesummerSecond Chance Summer by Morgan Matson – I’m in an online book club, and last week we read Morgan Matson’s most recent book Since You’ve Been Gone, and I fell in love with her writing style. That book had me laughing, sighing, and even holding back tears. So now her other novels Second Chance Summer and Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour are now on my TBR list, SCS being a hopeful summer read since, you know, summer is in the title ;)

openroadsummerOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord – Another book with the word summer in the title, this book seems similar to Since You’ve Been Gone, and I’ve heard some good things about it, so I’m excited about reading it for myself. I’m thinking a Kindle download to keep me occupied on our 8 hour drive to the west of France next month.

journeyJourney to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne – Two French novels on my Summer TBR list! I plan on reading this one next month. For those of you who actually know me, you know that I have a lot of national pride for my two countries. I am glued to the television watching the Olympics and now the World Cup, cheering on the U.S. and France, and for both national holidays I like to celebrate by doing American and French things. Last year for Bastille Day I read Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days to celebrate. This year, my husband and I are going to read Journey to the Center of the Earth (hopefully in French!). We both love Verne’s novels, and the fact that my husband likes to read his books really says something since Matt doesn’t really like to read anything ;)

senseandsensibilitySense and Sensibility by Jane Austen –  I put this book on my previous Top Ten Tuesday post about Spring Reads, but I didn’t get a chance to read it. I read Northanger Abbey instead, since that was the only Austen novel I still hadn’t read. I haven’t picked up Sense and Sensibility since high school, though, so I think I’ll be reading it later this month when all the Austen in August events reappear :) In any case, every season is a good season to read Jane Austen.

northandsouthNorth and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – I read this book for my Victorian Lit class in college, but after watching the miniseries a couple of years ago, I’ve been wanting to reread it (and then rewatch the miniseries because it’s so good). Also, knowing me, if I read any Jane Austen novel, I’ll immediately be stuck in a Regency/Victorian reading pit (a pit of lace and ribbons and chivalry, that is), and I’ll be looking for some more classic female masterpieces to read.

What are some books on your Summer To-Be-Read list? Do you have any other suggestions for my list?