Top Likes & Dislikes in Bookish Romances

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

*rolls up sleeves* Now THIS is my kind of Top Ten Tuesday topic. You know that I am ALL about this ships. Usually, I would choose one or the other, but this time I’m doing both. Wheeee!

Likes are on the left-hand side of the banners and dislikes on the right.


The fact that hate to love is my very favorite shipping trope is NO secret. Lizzy/Darcy and Benedick/Beatrice is what my shipping heart grew up on. The other romance things that get my shippy heart beating tend to lend themselves VERY well to hate to love. The evil opposite of hate to love is instalove or instatrust. What’s great about hate to love is that they have to learn to like each other. It’s not going to be quick or easy. There will have to be time to form that connection. I don’t like romances that happen too easily or without real conversation happening first. It’s not really about the time it takes, but how that time is spent.


And how do you know characters have a connection? THEY BANTER. I know this isn’t how all relationships are for all people, but that’s how I relate with others in real life, and it’s no different when I read books. Snarky joking and teasing convince me of love connections in a way that the words “I love you” do not. Most of the time, love confessions turn me off to the romance, unless it comes a long way into a banter-filled connection.


I blame A Room with a View for this. I love love love when the first kiss comes out of NOWHERE. There’s something so hot about that. Yeah, I love the slow burn too, where you’re waiting and trying to shove the characters’ lips together. But OH MAN when just all of a sudden BOOM HOT KISS and they have to react to it. There’s a brilliant one of these in Every Breath by the way. However, these are ONLY hot if they’re consensual. Obviously there’s an element of it not being consensual, since there’s no asking, but both parties lean in and participate. The forced kiss happens a lot in manga and romance, but I’ve seen a few in YA too. Usually it happens when the hero with a crush is pissed at the heroine for being interested in someone else, either in addition to him or instead of him. I do not ship the kind of guys who do this.


As you can tell, I love romances that don’t follow traditional gender roles. I’m sick of guys that smirk while their innocent loves blush. Books with sexually experienced heroines and innocent, blushing guys = YES. Part of why I love genderbending so much is that it automatically overthrows a lot of the usual gender roles. Of course, this only applies if the other side of the romance doesn’t KNOW about the genderbend, which, to my mind, is a wasted genderbend. I also love to see girls initiating the physical relationship and guys wanting to move more slowly. Romances following more traditional gender roles can be good, but if it hits them all, I’ll probably not be thrilled.


In YA romances, I don’t necessarily want to feel like they’re setting down for all of their lives at sixteen. Not that there aren’t a few of my YA ships I could see making it, but I also really love the ones that are clearly going to expire at the end of high school. Meant to Be, for example, is a romance that isn’t going to last too long, but it’s so sweet while it will last.


Okay so this hasn’t really happened yet that I’ve found, but I’m over love triangles. I’d like to see OT3s instead. Basically, again, I’d like romances that deviate from the standard formula and show that different forms of love are totally legit.


Bad boys in romances are so boring 99% of the time. YA fiction would have you believe that all bad boys are fluffy marshmallow bunnies on the inside, who fall in love in five minutes and proceed to spout the cheesiest dialogue. If I’m going to like a bad boy, he should be a convincing one. But I would take a nerdy guy or gal any day over that.  Dorky jokes ftw.


As everybody knows, I do not like baby plot lines, whether it’s pregnancy or an actual baby. However, I love when romances include cute animal companions. Janet Evanovich does a bunch of these and they totally up the cute level.

Do you guys like or dislike any of the same things?

19 responses to “Top Likes & Dislikes in Bookish Romances”

  1. Loving your list. I think OT3 is a really interesting one. I’m over love triangles as well.
    Chrissi Reads recently posted…Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances In BooksMy Profile

  2. Carrie-Anne says:

    I actually love when a romance includes a baby or child. It adds such an interesting dynamic to the story.

    Agree about forever love not being realistic if the book is contemporary. Since I’ve always read mostly historical and old books, and seen old films and historical dramas, I honestly thought it was still normal and commonplace for childhood sweethearts to automatically marry during or shortly after their college years and never even desire another relationship.
    Carrie-Anne recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday—What I Like and Dislike About RomancesMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Haha, well, baby/child romances had to be written for a reason. *gives them all to you*

      That’s why I specified particular circumstances for forever love. Obviously historicals are a whole different ball game. Of course, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth will be in love forever. :-p

  3. I also love the “hate to love” type (<3 Lizzy/Darcy and Benedick/Beatrice!). I grew up on Han Solo and Princess Leia and have love those type of romances ever since! Great list!
    Here's my TT:
    SarahO. @ Between Bookends recently posted…Top 8.5 Things We Like/Dislike About Romances in BooksMy Profile

  4. christine says:

    INSTA LOVE IS INSTA HATE FOR ME. I hate it when they immediately fall for each other.

    My Top Ten Tuesday!


    THERE’S A SURPRISE KISS IN EVERY BREATH? GODDAMMIT. *reaches out to Amazon* *glances at wallet* *cries* NEXT MONTH.

    I totally forgot I could have put “kiss you to shut you up” on my list. That is seriously one of my favorite things, always and forever.

    I totally considered Nerdy Love for my list. But I couldn’t think of that many examples that I’ve really LOVED so idk whatevs. BUT YES NERDS RULE.

    Animals = I think of the pig. Duh.
    Debby (Snuggly Oranges) recently posted…Top Ten Romance Tropes I LOVEMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I mean, OBVIOUSLY, you are going to agree with me on this, because obviously.


      Oooooh. “I will shut your mouth” = forever shipping. GUH

      I JUST read an awesome nerdy ship. Seriously, the new Emery Lord, I’m telling youuuuuu.

      Ha, I was thinking of cats and dogs and a hamster.

  6. Meg says:

    1. “What’s great about hate to love is that they have to learn to like each other.” This, basically. I think the thing I love the most about hate to love is how it’s all about seeing past what you think you know about a person and discovering who they are and being like oh wait no I actually love them. So, a thing commonly found in hate to love but not hate to love specific.

    2. Obvs, this speaks to me. “I hate you less than everyone else” > “Omg you are the light of my life and I love you” Give me quips over earnest sentiment any day. (although earnest sentiment works too, ESPECIALLY if everything preceding it has been quippy banter and is coming from someone who is not inclined to be earnestly sentimental because then it has so much additional meaning)

    3. My train of thought utterly derailed when you brought up Every Breath but also yes, this.

    4. Very, very pro non-traditional gender roles.

    5. I feel weird cheering this one due to my own personal situation but also YES. Actually spending the rest of your life with your high school sweetheart is such a rare thing and something I do NOT advise anyone to plan on because it’s both unrealistic and probably (with exceptions) not generally a good idea anyway.

    6. MORE OT3S PLEASE. I get that YA has limits to how adventurous it can be in terms of non-traditional romantic entanglements (although, why? PUSH BOUNDARIES, TRY NEW THINGS, BE BRAVE AND BOLD) but oh god I would so much love to see more love triangles resolving themselves into OT3s or OT3s evolving out of close relationships between people that weren’t necessarily triangular to begin with. Basically I want complicated human entanglements because I think that’s fascinating and there’s so much to be explored there.

    7. I def. agree that bad boys are generally boring but I can’t write them off because a well done bad boy does things to me. That said, nerds are also A+ and I like them muchly.

    8. No babies.
    Meg recently posted…The Last List Blog HopMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      1. YES. Hate to love requires getting to know them. It’s not just lust, because even though they were lustworthy you wanted to punch them in the face with your fist rather than your lips. I just feel like authors are less likely to skip the important bonding phase.

      2. YES. I didn’t comment on this specifically, but I meant to. Being the person that I am, the confessions that are love confessions without being I love you really get to me because I feel that. Like, some people have trouble with sentimental claptrap, okay. AND THEN when those people manage a sentimental moment, my heart explodes in flowers and rainbows.


      5. You are the exception. I mean, it’s not a bad thing, but it won’t work out that way for most people, and teens should not go off to college feeling like they’re being put out to pasture because they failed to find the love of their life.

      6. SERIOUSLY JUST GIVE ME THIS. I mean, I know that it probably won’t happen for years in trad. pub. but my god do i want it.

      7. Bad boys should not be fluffy bunnies. I love fluffy bunnies and all, but there’s a time and a place.


      8. Never.

  7. Bekka says:

    I’m convinced that the world has forgotten what the bad boy archetype is supposed to be. And it’s so badly done in YA anymore that I just try to ignore it, like you. Also, in my experience, *high school* bad boy types in real life are actually just assholes. Nothing special about them at all.

    It’s funny because recently I’ve been getting SO MUCH MORE into the romance line of books when before I used to hate it. But now? GIMME ALL YOUR LIKES.
    Bekka recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Things I Like When It Comes To Romances In BooksMy Profile

  8. Lauren says:

    This is the best list! I can appreciate a good genderbending too.

    Check out my TTT.
    Lauren recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Dislikes When It Comes To Romance In BooksMy Profile

  9. Ellie M. says:

    Ahh yes, the banter. I love listening to those conversations, they are so fun! Great list 🙂

  10. Trisha says:

    I agree about preferring animals to babies. I’d rather not have kids in my books unless it’s at the very end. Even then, it doesn’t always work. I especially love when the animal doesn’t die, because that sucks.
    I also found I have a think for Native American culture can characters. Like the Gives Light series by Rose Christo, which is awesome. I love seeing how accepting they are of gay couples and the whole two-spirit thing is just awesome. 😀

  11. Brigid says:

    I just read the DUFF and I can so relate to hate to love. I ship it way more than friends to lovers. I think it’s more common for friends to lovers to automatically turn into instalove. Ironically. I love when they just rage hate each other. You get to see them build the relationship.

    That’s exactly why I loved the DUFF. Bianca never mentions that she thinks she’s in love. There’s something more integral and significant in the relationship that shows you love or at least strong feelings for each other. I don’t care if they don’t tell each other THE WORDS. It’s in the actions of the characters that tell you.

    Fuck yeah. Consent.

    Question: What is OT3? I could get on board, but I don’t know what it is.
    Brigid recently posted…Review: The DUFF by Kody KeplingerMy Profile

  12. Love to hate is my favorite too! It goes hand in hand with my other favorite troupe: slow burn. And OT3? Please tell me more!
    Shannon @ Rex Robot Reviews recently posted…The Secrets of Lily Grave by Sarah Strohmeyer [Review]My Profile

  13. Maya says:

    Wooow this blog is wonderful!:) So many books I’ve been wanting to read are mentioned here!
    The Elizabeth and Darcy hate-to-love situation is a classic which I’ll always love! There’s always that moment in which the reader can see them view the other differently and hate them a little bit less and like them a whole lot more;) On this point, have you heard of The Storied Life of AJ Fikry?:) The characters have a meet-cute in which they utterly detest each other but slowly grow to appreciate the other!
    The banter and I love you point is very true for me too! Banter shows us chemistry and an irresistible connection between two characters (and its so lovely to read) while too many overly dramatic confessions of love can be frustrating because they make the romance feel fake.
    The genderbend idea always makes me think of an adorably dorky and kinda shy guy who blushes and sweetly smiles and says the loveliest things. This combined with the Nerdy guy (totally agree on that one!) point reminds me of Life In Outer Space by Melissa Keil because the romance fits your descriptions exactly!
    I’m a known animal lover but I don’t think I’ve read enough romance books with animal companions so I’ll be looking up Janet Evanovich!
    Awesome post!
    Maya recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: RomanceMy Profile

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Love this list!!!! I changed mine up a bit check it out 🙂
    Elizabeth recently posted…Top Ten TuesdayMy Profile

  15. Ooh I love how you formatted your post with the banners! It looks great! And they’re such good foils to one another.

    Hate to love is obviously the best thing ever, never more apparent than after I watched North & South again last weekend! Ahhhh. And it goes so well with all that delicious banter that I love.

    HAHA I was going to mention Every Breath! Best surprise kiss 😀

    Genderbending can be fun but I don’t feel like I read a lot of books featuring it. Will have to seek out more.

    Animals! I loved Persis’ pet sea otter in Across a Star Swept Sea (genderbend also!).

    Loved your list, I agreed with a lot of it 🙂

  16. Lyn Kaye says:

    First of all, how you set up this posting is F-ing brilliant. Your creativity never fails to amaze me.

    And yes to the nerd boys. I can’t wait for the day when the crush looks like Stephen Colbert. He can have just regular hair and regular eyes, and it would all be okay.

    LOL, babies. yeah, animal person here.

    I am so happy that you pointed out the different between surprise kisses and forced kisses. That trend needs to DIE AWAY.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Challenge: Burn, Rewrite or Reread?My Profile

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