Top Ten Things I Like & Dislike When It Comes to Romances in Books

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of SS Readers Corner.

Tuesday is my favourite day to blog because of #TopTenTuesday. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so this week’s topic is all about ❤ – ‘Top Ten Things I Like & Dislike When It Comes to Romances in Books’.

Things I Like When It Comes to Romances in Books

  • Great character growth

A great example of a romance novel that features this point is ‘Kiss An Angel’ by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. At the start of the book, Daisy Devreaux was a flighty socialite who had money problems. To solve the problem, her father coerced her into marrying a brooding circus worker named Alex Markov. As the story progressed, her views on hard work & money changed:

“I found all kinds of thrift stores and second-hand shops in the towns we’ve visited. Do you know I’d never been in a Wal-Mart until two weeks ago? It’s amazing how far you can stretch a dollar if you’re careful, and-“

Alex too changed over the course of the book. The no-nonsense and uptight hero started to lighten up and became affectionate as he spent more time with his wife.

“It figures,” she grumbled through her own smile. “Alex Markov finally laughs, and it’s at my expense.”

I cannot stop raving about this book so I collect relevant pins. If I’m in mood for a familiar love story, this is my go-to book.

One of the many covers for ‘Kiss an Angel’

  • Tender/intimate gestures

When there are many intimate gestures in a love story, it makes the romance more believable. I was pleasantly surprised by Cora Reilly’s ‘Bound by Honor’ because of emotional intensity of Aria’s and Luca’s love. There was a sexual tension between them but they took time to develop their relationship. Ms Reilly used many non-sexual gestures to build up their romance, for example:

I wasn’t sure why but I reached out and put my hand on his leg. His eyes snapped toward me briefly, then he covered my hand with his until he needed it to shift gears again.

He traced my lips with his thumb, then brushed my cheek.

I just swoon whenever these gestures are present. I try to find relevant pins for my Pinterest board about this novel.

‘Bound by Honor’ by Cora Reilly

  • Successful heroines

I grew up listening to Destiny’s Child and one of my favourite songs is ‘Independent Women, Pt. 1.’ I love a romance book or movie that features a successful career woman. One of my favourite established heroines is Anne Calhoun‘s Lacey in ‘Liberating Lacey’.

“I take care of me, Hunter.” Now she sounded as flat as he did. “I make my own money. There are very few men in this city who out-earn me and I have a very large trust fund, leaving me with a very small pool from which to choose if my goal were a man who could support me. I married for love the first time and if I marry again, it will be for the same reason. Never for money.”

I feel empowered just by reading that paragraph.

‘Liberating Lacey’ by Anne Calhoun

  • Witty banter

Sharp wit is another item that would increase my enjoyment of a book. Julie James always writes the best dialogues in romance. If you are looking for witty banters, check out ‘Just the Sexiest Man Alive’. When Ms James first introduced Jason Andrews to Taylor Donovan, I was mind-blown by the fast-paced dialogue. I don’t want to give away too much but I’ll share the beginning of battle-of-the-wits:

“Good, now that that’s settled . . .” He stepped away and gestured grandly to the courtroom as if issuing a command. “Why don’t you show me something . . . lawyerly?”

He looked around as if trying to get familiar with the environment. “The script has several scenes where I have to cross-examine witnesses. Start by showing me an example of that. But not the crap you see on TV—I want to look real.”

Taylor bit her lip and peered down at the floor to keep from laughing out loud. He was so ridiculously arrogant, it was almost amusing. Unable to conceal her smirk, she looked back up at him and folded her arms across her chest. “I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

‘Just the Sexiest Man Alive’ by Julie James

  • Brilliant writing

In my humble opinion, Pamela Clare is the best author in romantic suspense category. I was completely engrossed in her novels because her writing was utterly brilliant. She was an investigative journalist before becoming a full-time author so her experience certainly contributed to the story lines. She also always dedicates her books to real-life victims of similar crimes (the dedication comes before the prologue).

Out of 4 books that I’ve read, my favourite is ‘Unlawful Contact’ (book #3 in the series). The plot, characterisation, prologue/epilogue, emotional intensity and the romance are just perfect. My ❤ for this book led to me create a special Pinterest board.

‘Unlawful Contact’ by Pamela Clare

  • Friends to Lovers

I really enjoy reading romance novels that feature couples that start out as friends first. I believe that this type of romantic relationship, in most cases, would last longer. One of my favourite friends-to-lovers books is ‘Bad Things’, the first book in Tristan & Danika series by R.K. Lilley. Tristan and Danika become fast friends, best friends even, who trust each other no matter what.

His hand moved from its death grip on the steering wheel to softly cover mine where it was gripped in my lap.  “I’ll always stick around for you, Danika.  I mean that.  You’re my best friend.  No matter what, I’ll always be there for you, if you want me.”

This is one of my favourite romance novels. My Pinterest board about this book has the most pins. Check it out here!

‘Bad Things’ by R. K. Lilley

  • Love proclamation in the middle of the novel

When you read romance novels, you sort of expect the love declaration to come near the end of the story. When the hero and/or heroine professes their love in the middle of the story, I get excited because I couldn’t predict the next act.

I simply love ‘Paradise’ by Judith McNaught. The first time Matthew Farrell and Meredith Bancroft profess their love is epic! Their story didn’t end there; they still had obstacles to overcome.

This book is in my top 5 romance novels. I haven’t done a Pinterest board for this book yet – I need time to re-read this book and find suitable pins.

‘Paradise’ by Judith McNaught

Things I Dislike When It Comes to Romances in Books

  • Bat-shit crazy “love”

Drama is good but a never-ending drama exhausts readers. One example is ‘Undeniable’ by Madeline Sheehan. The hero and heroine hurt each other too many times that by the end of the book, I believe they deserve each other.

‘Undeniable’ by Madeline Sheehan

  • Crybaby heroines

I cannot stand heroines who cry a lot throughout the novel. Ellie Johnson of Kelly Elliott‘s ‘Wanted’ is one fine example.

‘Unwanted’ by Kelly Elliott

  •  Assumes too much

I don’t like it when one half of the couple assumes too much, which would later to a fight or a big misunderstanding. Sorry Katie Ashley, I just don’t like Mia. She was about to approach AJ but saw him with another woman. She judged the situation quickly without knowing the context and decided to ignore him even though she had an important news to tell him. She’s 28 years old, for god’s sake!

‘Beat of the Heart’ by Katie Ashley


What are your likes and dislikes when reading romance? Do you have a list? Would you like to recommend your favourite romance novels? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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6 thoughts on “Top Ten Things I Like & Dislike When It Comes to Romances in Books

  1. That’s a great list! I love how you’ve analysed the way a book works or not. I haven’t read the Judith McNaught novel, but now it’s on my list. Thanks so much for the recommendations!

  2. Hi Helena. Thanks. I wasn’t sure how to illustrate my points so I gave an example (and in some cases I borrowed quotes) for each point. If a visitor doesn’t understand my point, s/he could search for the book example to find out more.

    Do you have a list of like and/or dislike?

  3. I like a successful heroine too! I hate when they expect the man to do everything for them. Grow up! Lol.

  4. Successful heroines are the best! 🙂 Great list!

  5. I love the friends to lovers progression, and witty banter never goes out of style! Great list!

  6. Love a friend to lovers storyline, especially in YA, so cute! Great List 😀
    – Annette

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