Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Romance Novels

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. If you want to join or find out more information about the weekly themes check out the Goodreads page! In honor of Valentine’s day, the topics for February have been centered on romance. I was particularly exited when I saw today’s theme because I am shamelessly addicted to romance novels. I think there’s a lot of negative stigma surrounding romance novels and therefore the genre is severely under appreciated. This is unfortunate because there are a lot of great books out there! I tend to stick to to the sub-genre of historical/regency romance, but I’m really excited to share my favorites with you all! If anyone is hesitant about trying a romance book, or not sure where to start, I would highly recommend trying any of the following on this list!

P.S. After putting together my list, I realized most of these books all have a common theme: hate-to-love. I guess I have a type when it comes to romance books 😆

861326THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME – This is the book that got me hooked on romance novels. The banter and competitiveness between Anthony and Kate is amazing and so is their obvious chemistry and underlying tension. I’ve read this multiple times and I think I love it a little more each time. This is probably my favorite romance book and if there’s just one book you want to try, make it this one; you will not me disappointed, I promise.


23617709THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN
– This takes all of my favorite tropes and combines them into one glorious book. Enemies to lovers? Check. Witty banter? Check. Forced road trip together? Check. Fake relationship? Check. In addition to all those marvelous tropes, we have smoldering chemistry, slow-burn feelings, and steamy scenes. Sophie is one of my favorite romance heroines and I think you’ll love her story as much as I do. [review]


6561363IT HAPPENED ONE AUTUMN
– Another wonderful book featuring hate-to-love romance, an uptight British lord, and a rambunctious (American!) heroine. Westcliff and Lillian cannot stand each other, and a majority of the book is Lillian finding ways to get under Westcliff’s skin, and Westcliff struggling to avoid the American hellion. This leads to a tempestuous relationship between the two, marked by heated arguments, wonderful banter, and lots of sexual tension.  

 

31307650THE DAY OF THE DUCHESS – If you enjoy having your heart ripped to shreds, then this book is perfect for you. Unlike the previous books of this series, which are fun and lighthearted, this is full of angst and heartbreak between Serafina and Haven. Sarah McLean did something in this book that no author has ever been able to accomplish with me before: she took the “villain” of the first book and turned him into a swoon-worthy, redeemable hero in this one, without excusing the infamous mistake. Haven’s transgression would have been a deal-breaker for me in any other book/movie/real life situation, but I forgave him and that says something about this book and the author’s ability as a writer. Be prepared for a heart-wrenching, emotional read. 


27067876DO YOU WANT TO START A SCANDAL
– Tessa Dare is the queen of historical romance, and I will fight you on this. I have more of her books on my shelf than any other author (with the exception of J.K. Rowling, of course) and there have only been a couple times when I’ve been disappointed by one of her books. You really can’t go wrong with any of her series. This book follows the same pattern of all of her books: vastly entertaining, supremely funny, and definitely sexy.

Top 5 Wednesday: Hidden Gems

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. If you want to join or find out more information about the weekly themes check out the Goodreads page! This week’s topic has us talking about books in our favorite genre that don’t have a lot of popularity. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres to read and there are quite a few books that I think deserve more hype!

6581303MISTRESS OF ROME – Of all the books on this list, this one probably has the most ratings and notoriety. Nevertheless, it still doesn’t have the popularity and hype that it deserves. Kate Quinn is an amazing author and the Mistress of Rome series is impossible to put down. The historical aspects are well researched, the characters are complex and lovable, and the plots are intriguing and intricate. Mistress of Rome is one of my favorite books ever and if you pick just one book from this list to try, I highly suggest this one!

 

25060062THE WEDDING SHROUD – I stumbled upon this series when I needed another ancient rome fix and I’m so glad I did! It’s incredibly well-written and full of great characters and complex relationships. I loved reading about the different political and religious aspects of the Etruscan and Roman cultures during that time period and the conflict between the two civilizations.

 

27343696FROM ASH AND SAND – Amy Harmon has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Her writing in From Ash and Sand is excellent and her portrayal of WWII is so realistic you can feel the terror and pain along with the characters. Not to mention that the story between Eva and Angelo is one of the most heart-wrenching and angst-filled that I’ve ever read. 

 

23014749NAKED: A NOVEL OF LADY GODIVA – This is such a wonderful take on the story of Lady Godiva. I’ve always been intrigued by the lore of her story (and the beautiful paintings) and so I was pleased when I found this book. The romance between Godiva and Leofric was swoon-worthy and I really enjoyed the political aspects that were essential to the story. The legend of Lady Godiva is brought to life in an amazing book that’s totally worth the read.

 

28186322A CURIOUS BEGINNING – If you like Victorian-era England, murder mysteries, a slow-burn romance, a brooding hero with a tragic past, and a smart, independent protagonist then this series is for you! These books are seriously so good and they need more hype. 

Top 5 Wednesday: Books You Love to Hate

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. If you want to join or find out more information about the weekly themes check out the Goodreads page! This week’s topic is going to be both fun and polarizing, as the theme is books we dislike but love to discuss. I tend to rant a bit when talking about books I hate so I will try to keep it short and coherent! We all have books that we don’t like, but the books that I seem to really dislike (okay, hate) also happen to be some of the most popular books. I even have a dedicated bookshelf for them on Goodreads. So I thought I’d add a little warning for this week: unpopular opinions ahead.

18006496THRONE OF GLASS SERIES – The first three books were great. Throne of Glass had such potential to be a great series. And then Queen of Shadows happened. Somewhere between the publication of Heir of Fire and writing Queen of Shadows, Sarah J. Maas developed amnesia. She threw away three books’ worth character developments and plot, all to make way for a new ship. That’s unforgivable and it’s Writing 101: Things You Shouldn’t Do As an Author. SJM changed the direction of the series to write her self-insert fantasy/hot fae fanfic and destroyed everything that was written previously. After HoF, the series become ripe with inconsistencies, abusive love interests, and gross, toxic relationships. I could literally write an entire blog just about how much I hate this series and everything wrong with it but I’ll force myself to stop now. If you want more of my thoughts on this series and this author you can check out the anti- tags on tumblr, they all pretty much sum up my feelings. 

17927395A COURT OF MIST AND FURY – Maas must suffer from a severe case of inconsistency or something because otherwise I don’t understand how she can go from writing ACOTAR to ACOMAF. The fact that she turns one of the villains from the first book into the love interests is horrible enough as it is, but the fact that she has to do it at the expense of another character’s development is not only unforgivable, but really says something about her writing. It should be disheartening to everyone that young women/girls read these books and are influenced by what they read. The fact that I see so many people call Rhysand and Feyre “couple goals” and find Rhysand’s abusive and problematic behavior “romantic” is what’s wrong with Young Adult books these days. 

10818853FIFTY SHADES OF GREY – If you haven’t noticed, there tends to be a theme with all these books that I hate vehemently: they feature toxic, abusive relationships. When Fifty Shades of Grey first became popular with all my friends (and the rest of the world), I checked it out. I only skimmed the first book but that was enough for me. All I kept thinking was: what the f*ck, people actually like this trash?! I tried to explain to my friends why I hated the book, and how it’s a terrible representation of a BDSM relationship, but it fell on deaf ears. And here’s the thing, it’s not just the portrayal of an abusive relationship as romantic that’s the biggest problem: the writing is so, so bad. Every time my close friends bring this book up I always tell them I can suggest a whole handful of erotic books that are ten times better, but alas, they never take me up on the offer. 

10429045SHATTER ME – Getting through the first two books of this series was like dragging glass across my eyes. The biggest issues for me are the writing style, Juliette, and yes, *gasp* Warner. First of all, it took me three tries to get through the first book because I could barely standing the writing style. I literally could not stand it and almost DNF’d three times. I don’t remember if I actually finished the second book or not because they made zero impression on me other than I thought there were terrible. I also really disliked Juliette. I thought she was super boring as a character and I couldn’t stand her. Again, the fact that the male lead’s past abusive behavior is excused so he can become the love interest is so gross to me and a trope that I’m frankly tired of seeing in Young Adult books. Authors, please stop this. It’s 2018. 

41865TWILIGHT – Okay, so when I first read these books I liked them. To be fair, I was in middle school. And then I read them again when I was older and the movies were set to come out soon and I realized how bad they were. The writing is barely mediocre, Bella is a complete Mary-Sue and actually really, really dumb, and Edward is super creepy. 

Top 5 Wednesday: Books Set Outside the Western World

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. If you want to join or find out more information about the weekly themes check out the Goodreads pageThis week’s topic is about books that are not set in the Western world (i.e. North America/Western Europe). I really love reading retellings, so I decided to focus more on fantasy stories that were based on mythologies and fairy tales, but whose settings were obviously not of the Western World.

18798983THE WRATH AND THE DAWN – A very popular fantasy retelling of A Thousand and One Nights that seems to be either hit or miss with most people. I absolutely loved it. Renée Ahdieh proves herself to be a marvelous storyteller and I loved the romance between Shahrzad and Khalid. 

 


29939047A CROWN OF WISHES
– This book seems to be on a lot of my lists lately, but who can blame me when it was just so good. Roshani Chokshi is such a talented writer and vivid storyteller. A Crown of Wishes is dark fairytale-esque story with elements of Hindu mythology and two wonderful protagonists. If you want to hear more of me gushing about this book, you can check out my full
review!

 

23308087THE FLAME IN THE MIST – Mulan is my absolute favorite Disney movie. I wish so badly that they were more retellings of this story, or stories similar to it. Renée Ahdieh does an excellent job creating a wonderful retelling of Mulan and I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series.

 


21396155THE FORBIDDEN WISH
– Jinn are on of my favorite aspects to read about from Islamic mythology. Jessica Khoury writes a fabulous retelling of Aladdin with a strong, female protagonist, wonderful side characters, and a beautiful forbidden romance.

 

 

28375641SPINDLEA retelling of Sleeping Beauty, with a few elements of Rapunzel, but in a middle eastern setting. The story is a very well-crafted fantasy full of magic, adventure, and romance. I ended up liking this way better than the first book, A Thousand Nights.

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Hate to Love Relationships

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. If you want to join or find out more information about the weekly themes check out the Goodreads page! This week’s topic is all about our favorite hate to love relationships. This is honestly my favorite trope ever, and I just did a similar post not too long ago for Valentine’s Day! Historical romance novels have recently become a not-so-guilty pleasure of mine, and since the hate to love trope is pretty notably in that genre, it’s no surprise where a lot of my choices come from!

23437156MATTHIAS & NINA (SIX OF CROWS) – How could these two not be on this list, considering they’re one of my favorite ships. Their relationship is the very definition of enemies to lovers and I adored them. Just thinking about these two makes me want to weep a river of tears. It’s for this very reason that I refuse to finish reading Crooked Kingdom: my poor little heart will not be able to take it. How dare you, Leigh Bardugo.

 


861326ANTHONY & KATE (THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME)
 – This is the book that got me hooked on Historical/Regency Romance novels, and so it happens to be the standard I compare all others to. The banter and competitiveness between Anthony and Kate is amazing to read and I couldn’t put it down. I think I read this one sitting. Even if you’ve never read an HR book before, I highly suggest trying this one! 

 

23617709KING & SOPHIE (THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN) – So many of my favorite tropes, wrapped into one wonderful book. Hate to love? Check. Witty banter? Check. Fake relationships? Slow-burning romance? Injured MC requiring the care of the love interest? Check, check, and check. It’s really not surprising how much I love this book.

 

 

23367265MAGNUS & CLEO (FALLING KINGDOMS) – Like a few others, I was trash for Magneo before it was even canon, way back in the first book when I thought it was never even a possibility of happening. And now look how far we’ve come. Morgan Rhodes has indeed been good to us, and let’s not forget the fact that they’re both on the cover for the last book. #blessed

 

29939047VIKRAM & GAURI (A CROWN OF WISHES) – I mentioned in my review of this book that the relationship between Vikram and Gauri was one of my favorite things about it. The banter between them is on a whole other level and I couldn’t stop laughing.