Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: things I love/hate about romance novels

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week we’re discussing our favorite things (and biggest pet peeves) in the world of romance novels! I don’t actually read romance as a genre per se, but I have read a lot of YA and other genres in which romances feature prominently in the plot, and there are definitely some things I love and hate about the romance in those books. So here you go:

1. I HATE insta-love. I think this is going to be a common complaint this week. YA seems to be the worst offender for this one. I get having a spark or being instantly attracted to someone, but love takes time to grow…even if you’re 16 and trapped in a dystopian novel. (Or perhaps especially in that situation.)

2. I LOVE the slow burn that takes forever to build. The first thing that leaps to mind is actually not a book, but a TV show: Fringe. I know some people hate waiting forever for two people to get together, but I love seeing how a relationship slowly progresses. And it makes it all the sweeter when they finally admit their feelings to each other. See also: Brooks and Braun from The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. I’m sure a lot of people are peeved to go through multiple books and still not see these two hook up, but I like that things are moving slowly. I think it would be out of character for Eliza to rush falling in love.

3. I HATE one-sided love triangles. You know the kind I mean: where it’s really really stinkin’ obvious who will win the heroine’s heart. Biggest example that leaps to mind: Gale/Peeta/Katniss in The Hunger Games. (And I do love those books, I really do. But come on. You know Peeta is going to win in the end!*)

4. I really HATE cheesy sex scenes. I mean, c’mon, if it’s going to be in there, make it good. I stumbled over all the really cringe-worthy scenes in the last Outlander tome. It felt like the author was getting bored and didn’t know what she was writing.

5. I HATE, HATE, HATE controlling boyfriends in books. Why is this considered sexy? The worst one I read was Hush, Hush (see the full review here). I just don’t get it. Someone who is controlling or physically threatening to you is not a good pick for a mate.

6. That said, I do LOVE me some bad-boy boyfriends. Think about Damon from The Vampire Diaries. He’s basically an asshole. But he’s hilarious about it. And when the chips are down, he quits joking around and gets serious. Also, I like that he’s protective of Elena without being a controlling jerk. There’s a fine line there.

7. I HATE characters that are considered desirable solely based on looks. Sure, being attractive in a physical sense is going to catch someone’s eye, but when that’s all the MC thinks about…even after several chapters or several books? Does this person not have a personality? Or do you just not care about it because you’re too focused on their body? I just can’t fall in love with someone based solely on their looks–I need that person to be smart, funny, etc.–so it’s hard for me to buy into a romance and get emotionally invested in it if all I know about the love interest is that they have really great hair.

8. I HATE it when characters change as soon as they fall in love. I think you do change a little bit for the person you’re with (as in, you pick up your socks off the floor and don’t tell dirty jokes in public), but characters–especially slightly villainous characters–who suddenly become mushy and soft once they’re in love drive me nuts. That person I liked so much to begin with is now gone.

9. I HATE heroines that constantly need to be rescued by their love interests. Why can’t they be evenly matched? Why can’t she save herself once in a while? Helpless girls drive me nuts.

10. I LOVE love. I can’t help it! I love love. I love shipping characters. I love cheering for them to overcome their struggles and be stronger on the other end. Books without are fine, but I do love seeing characters meet, fall in love, and develop as they go. I may love villains and dark mysteries, but the softer side of me loves a sweet, sappy ending, too.

What are your biggest love/hate points for romance novels? What are some of the best romance novels you’ve read, or novels in other genres that featured really great love stories? Leave me a comment and let me know! (And if you did TTT this week, leave me a link so I can check it out!)

*Apologies to anyone living under a rock for the past several years for whom this revelation was a spoiler. Sorry.

Top Ten Tuesday: top ten classic books I can’t believe I haven’t read yet

Top Ten Tuesday

I wouldn’t say I avoid classics, but I definitely wouldn’t count myself as “well-read” in this genre, either. Here are ten classics that, somehow or another, I have not yet managed to read (but definitely plan to in the future):

1. Emma, by Jane Austen–I loved the movie with Gwyneth Paltrow, so I figure it’s high time to read the book!

2. The Picture of Dorian Grey, by Oscar Wilde–currently reading this on my Kindle.

3. Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace–I feel like this is sort of a “modern classic”. I’ve just always been put off by the sheer size of it.

4.-5. The Time Machine and War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells–I think this entry is especially bad, since I devoured The Map of Time and The Map of the Sky (which feature Wells as the protagonist).

6. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger–I feel like this is one of those classic coming-of-age novels that everyone is supposed to read as an angsty teen. I never did so.

7. Walden, by Henry David Thoreau–my husband actually just had to write a paper on Thoreau, so maybe now is a good time to pick this one up?

8. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller–I use the phrase all the time, so I should probably read the book.

9. The Thousand and One Arabian Nights–I tried to start this when I was younger and never finished it. I’d like to pick it up again–maybe one of the beautifully bound hardcover editions from Barnes & Noble?

10. Grimm’s Fairy Tales–I read part of this last year. This is another classic that I think I’d like to purchase in a beautiful hardbound edition.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

Ooh, goal-setting time! I’m going to be honest: New Year’s is probably my favorite holiday of the whole year. I love that ritual of starting fresh, the feeling that you have a clean slate and can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Of course I have a whole separate list of goals and resolutions for the new year, but for this post I’ll focus specifically on my book-related goals.

1. Finish some of the series I’ve started. I think at last count I had about a dozen in progress (cringe). I really, really need to finish some of these before starting any new ones.

2. Read daily. I do try. But sometimes I watch TV instead, or I waste time on the internet, and other days I’m just busy with life. It’s not that those are bad things, per se, but I’d like to get in a habit of reading a book every single day, even if it’s just a few pages–it makes me happy when life is chaotic and stressful, and it’s much better than scrolling through Pinterest for an hour.

3. Read a few classics. I’ve ignored this genre lately, but I have a few on my shelf I’d like to tackle.

4. Read more nonfiction. I rarely read nonfiction. But I’d like to try reading at least one nonfiction title each month.

5. Start reviewing books on my YouTube channel. This is something I’ve thought about for a while, and I’m going to start doing it in 2015! I want to do short reviews, maybe two or three minutes tops, on some of the books I read each week. I might not film a video for every book I read, but I’d like to do several each month.

6. Work through my owned TBR shelf. I have a huge TBR shelf on Goodreads, obviously. But I’ve been accumulating books on the physical bookshelf in my living room all year, and I haven’t read any of them because I keep loading up on titles from the library. Which is fine…but a) I have some really good titles on there waiting to be read, and b) we’re running out of shelf space, which means it’s time for a cull. So once I’m done with my current library batch, I’m going to start digging through my owned pile.

7. Blog about books on a regular basis. I’ve even been neglecting my monthly roundups–for shame. It’s time to get back in the habit.

8. Be more active in the book blogging world. I have a few things I’m working on now, including my YouTube project. Connecting with other book bloggers gives me new titles for my TBR list and exposes me to books I might not otherwise hear about or be inclined to pick up.

9. Get my bookshelf organized. It’s a mess.

10. Read more, period. Books, magazines, blogs about books and magazines–I just need to read more, period!

 

What are your bookish goals (or goals in general) for the new year? Share them with me in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday

Oh, the to-be-read pile. It looms over my head…literally. And that’s just if you stack the TBRs currently in my house. My total TBR list, according to Goodreads, numbers somewhere around 700 books and counting.

Well. It looks like I’d better get busy then!

Night Film, by Marisha Pessl

1. Night Film, by Marisha Pessl. This is actually a re-read. It’s one of my favorite books EVER, though. It’s just…dark and creepy and amazing and…(flails)…and also very hard to review without disclosing any spoilers. But I said it was amazing, right? That’s enough to make you go peek at it, right? (Be warned, the blurb on Goodreads doesn’t make it sound that special. I almost passed it over because of this. But it is really AMAZING if you skip the blurb and give it a chance.)

Mortal Heart, by Robin LaFevers

2. Mortal Heart, by Robin LaFevers. I mentioned last week how excited I am about this book. I think the cover should easily explain why. Assassin nuns? Hell yes.

The Troop, by Nick Cutter

3. The Troop, by Nick Cutter. I almost bought this on sale, passed it up, ordered it from the library, realized that their only copy was lost, and then FINALLY found a $2 used copy online that I’m now impatiently awaiting via the postal service. I loosely gather that it’s about zombies and Boy Scouts, which sounds like a great combo to me.

Will Not Attend, by Adam Resnick

4. Will Not Attend: Lively Stories of Detachment and Isolation, by Adam Resnick. Because…well, look at the title. How “me” is that?

The Paper Magician/The Glass Magician, by Charlie Holmberg

5. The Paper Magician and The Glass Magician, by Charlie Holmberg. I love stories about magicians. The Night Circus, The Prestige, The Illusionist (movie)…all awesome. I have to admit here I totally thought Charlie was a dude, so finding out these were written by a lady with an unconventional name somehow makes me want to read them more.

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, by David Foster Wallace

6. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, by David Foster Wallace. Well, come on. With a title like that, you have to peek inside. I’ve never read DFW but I’ve been promised that his writing is amazing, so hopefully that turns out to be true. Also, he apparently lambasts cruise ships in this book, and as someone with a firmly set fear of boats, I applaud this inclusion.

People I Want to Punch in the Throat, by Jen Mann

7. People I Want to Punch in the Throat, by Jen Mann. Admittedly, if the blurb is accurate, Jen Mann and I would not get along very well; she’d want to punch me in the throat because I treat my pets like children. Guilty as charged. But come on, that title! I can almost always think of someone I’d like to punch in the throat. Depending on the day it might *cough* be several someones.

Pretty Little Liars, by Sara Shepard

8. All the rest of the Pretty Little Liars books by Sara Shepard. I know, I know. These are pretty trashy. But so addictive! Kind of like eating sugar out of a jar.

Shift/Dust, by Hugh Howey

9. Shift and Dust by Hugh Howey. I can’t wait to see how the Silo Saga plays out. Wool caught me off-guard and now I’m hooked on Howey’s world. When I first started reading I totally thought that the protagonist would be male, and then suddenly this strong, stubborn female stepped in to take the reins, and that was just the end of that. I’ve barely been able to lay it down. (Nothing wrong with a male protagonist, BTW–but Jules is awesome.)

The Fever, by Megan Abbott

10. The Fever, by Megan Abbott. I’ve heard high praise for this book, so even though I don’t really know what it’s about (I’m not necessarily a big blurb reader), I grabbed it from the library. Here’s to hoping I’m not let down!

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 sequels I can’t wait to get

Top Ten Tuesday

Ooooohhhhhh, sequels. I have a love-hate relationship with sequels. Sometimes I find a book so great that I can’t wait for the sequel, and then…it disappoints. Other times I kind of want to know how the story continues, but the book wasn’t good enough to drive me through additional installments. Nonetheless, there are a few sequels I’m eagerly awaiting and probably won’t be able to procure fast enough for my tastes!

1. The Winds of Winter (A Song of Ice and Fire #6), by George R. R. Martin. Seven Hells, man! I know you have a writing “process” and I get it that you don’t want to rush the story. I don’t want you to rush it either, per se…I just kind of want you to get the damn thing written so I can read it. Preferably before I’m 87.

2. Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3), by Robin LaFevers. I’ve been waiting for the conclusion to this trilogy for months. At least it’s finally on hold at the library.

3. The City of Mirrors (The Passage #3), by Justin Cronin. Another trilogy wrap-up that I’ve been waiting for way too long. This was supposed to be out this year, but now it’s apparently been pushed back to October 2015. A WHOLE ‘NOTHER FREAKING YEAR. Gaaaaahhhhh.

4. Dawn’s Early Light (The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #3), by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris. It’s steampunk, and also, it has Tesla. Oh yes please. I’d hoped the library would get around to purchasing this so I could borrow it but they haven’t, so it looks like I’ll have to cave and buy it for my own self.

5. Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), by Brandon Sanderson. Once again, waiting until freaking 2015 for the next book! I decided I wouldn’t start this series anyway until all the books were out, because a quick flip through told me I’d probably race through them. They look really good. I guess to be fair, I do have plenty of other books to read in the meantime…

6. Dust (The Silo Saga #3), by Hugh Howey. I’m reading the first book, Wool, right now, and I’m already impatiently tapping my foot waiting for the third book to arrive from the library so I can complete this trilogy uninterrupted.

7. All of the rest of the Pretty Little Liars books by Sara Shepherd. I know, these are so trashy. I’m not even going to pretend that they constitute anything other than vapid, gossipy, guilty-pleasure reading, and I should probably feel terrible for enjoying them. But goodness, they’re addictive.

8. Whatever the next book in the Trilogia Victoriana is going to be. Felix J. Palma has become one of my favorite authors, even though he’s only got two books out. They’re AMAZING. Or maybe that’s just me. (There’s a small chance that it’s just me.) Anyway, I have no idea what the third book in this trilogy will be called or when it will be released, but I need it. Badly.

9. Forged (Taken #3), by Erin Bowman. This trilogy surprised me. I like the inversion of the typical love triangle (there’s one guy and two badass girls, instead of the typical helpless girl torn between two guys). I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s one of the best YA series I’ve ever read, but I’m really curious to see how it ends.

10. The Master Magician (The Paper Magician trilogy #3), by Charlie N. Holmberg. I have the first two books on my Kindle now, and as eager as I am to read them, I dread waiting another year for the third and final installment.

 

So…any sequels you just can’t wait to get your hands on? Any that disappointed you once you finally read them? Tell me in the comments!