Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TOP TEN TUESDAY (26): Love Stories


As anyone who reads my blog on a semi-regular basis, I love romance and I seek it out in almost all the books I read.  I never got to do this topic when it was originally scheduled so, for this week's rewind, I'd thought I'd try it.  I am basing my choices on my opinion of the romance itself, not just whether I adore the couple.

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
[Jamie Fraser/Claire Randall]

I will admit that I have only read the first three books in this series and don't have immediate plans to finish it anytime soon.  But, despite those feelings, I couldn't leave off the beginning of Jamie and Claire's adventures.  I have read or listened to Outlander at least ten times and find myself transported everytime.  Everything about the first book works for me from the couple's unconventional meeting to their haphazard wedding to their growing love for one another.  It is a truly epic love story that transcends time and place. 

2. Persuasion by Jane Austen
[Frederick Wentworth/Anne Elliot]

This is my favorite Austen story and one of my all-time favorite romances.  I just love the maturity that Austen shows in her depiction of Anne and Wentworth.  It also helps that I am a sucker for the former lovers reunion theme.  These two lovebirds make me smile and sigh with happiness especially when I read Wentworth's letter to Anne about how he has hidden his feelings for so long.

3. Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer
[Will Parker/Elly Dinsmore]

This is an Americana historical (early 1940s Georgia) that makes the reader feel every type of emotion possible.  While reading, and re-reading this, I've laughed, cried, and practically hugged the book in pure joy.  The story of a recently released convict and a plain, pregnant widow sounds like it could go straight into cheesy, but it never does.  The situations that Will and Ellie find themselves in at the beginning are heartbreaking which makes the slow development of their feelings for each other that much more enjoyable.  My personal favorite parts are the letters that Will and Ellie write to each other while Will is fighting in World War II.

4. Between Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton
[Jaime Marshall/Levi Binder]

This is a contemporary male/male romance that shows the true power of friendship, family, and love.  It tells the story of a promiscuous Miami bartender (Levi) who meets a shy massage therapist (Jaime) and helps him overcome the aftereffects of a devastating childhood tragedy.  What I love most about this story is the way that Sexton shows Levi and Jaime becoming friends before adding romance to the mix.  There is a deep respect and appreciation for her characters' situations that helps her avoid the insta-love that can be found in so many romance novels.  Even if you aren't a fan of m/m romances, I recommend this book with its beautiful writing and mature outlook on finding a one true soulmate. 

5. Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh
[Wulfric Bedwyn/Christine Derrick]

This is a historical romance that is heavily influenced by my second favorite Austen book, Pride and Prejudice.  In the final installment in her popular Bedwyn family saga, Balogh gives her stoic, ever-proper Wulfric, Duke of Bewcastle, a wonderful love story.  Throughout the series, readers have seen signs of Wulf's love for his family, but it is always in random glimpses.  Slightly Dangerous shows Wulf meeting and falling head over heels for a woman (Christine) that he considers to be the exact opposite of what he needs in a wife.  There is nothing better than watching a straight-laced gentleman become completely flustered when he falls in love.

6. Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost
[Bones/Cat Crawfield]

My favorite supernatural love story!  Bones and Cat also happen to be my favorite couple of all-time.  I love everything about them and their chaotic romance.  How can you not want to read about a half-vampire and her bounty hunter husband?  Their initial meeting is full of danger and humor and provides a hint of the fun that is to come.  They have to deal with some major obstacles like lengthy separations, potential death, and jealous ex-lovers, but they always make it through and come out stronger than ever.  After all, as Bones says, "Time has no dominion over love. Love is the one thing that transcends time."

7. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
[Etienne St. Clair/Anna Oliphant]

A wonderful teen romance that, for me, transcends the typical high school love story.  Anna and Etienne's relationship begins as a close friendship that shows they actually enjoy each other's company.  Then, readers slowly see their friendship evolve into something deeper and much more romantic.  Add in the background of modern-day Paris and you have the perfect recipe for a great love story!

 8. Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
[Dimitri Belikov/Rose Hathaway]

Another supernatural couple that provides readers with plenty of awe-inspiring and dramatic moments.  Their relationship starts off in a difficult situation with Dimitri as Rose's mentor for becoming a proper bodyguard/protector for her vampire best friend.  Despite their teacher/student status and age difference, they are attracted to each other.  Dimitri and Rose also connect on a personal level and find many things they have in common.  I don't want to spoil this amazing series for anyone who hasn't read it, but the drama that these two have to go through is gut-wrenching and completely engrossing.

9. It Had To Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
[Dan Calebow/Phoebe Somerville]

A hilarious romantic comedy between two unlikely people: a family-oriented football coach and a blonde bombshelf who inherits her father's professional football team.  Dan and Phoebe are attracted to each other from their first meeting, but they refuse to acknowledge those feelings and continue to needle one another at every opportunity.  Through the rigors of the NFL season, they are forced to interact on a regular basis and come to find out the truth behind their outer shells.  This is one of my favorite contemporary romances with its sense of humor, sports background, and an abundance of tender moments.

10. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
[Dexter Jones/Remy Starr]

This is not my favorite Dessen book, but I think it is her best romance.  Remy is the daughter of a romance novelist who seems to have issues keeping her own marriage intact while Dexter is a clumsy, carefree musician.  Remy's determination to make her summer fling with Dexter just that, but finds it much more difficult than she anticipated.  I adore Dexter and his quirky view on life and how it contrasts with Remy's no-nonsense ambitious nature.  This love story is an absolute joy to read and so rewarding especially at the end.



  1. Love Night Huntress and Vampire Academy! :D

  2. I love Rose and Dimitri, too. I feel like I have to read Outlander; so many people with similar taste to mine love it.

  3. There are so many on this list I haven't read yet, but I totally agree with Anna and the French Kiss and Vampire Academy!

    My TTT this week

  4. Outlander! Anna!! YES to both of these!

    I'll have to pick up the others on your list (except Vampire Academy, which you now know that I didn't like) and get on these great love stories!

  5. The only ones of these I've read are Anna & the French Kiss and That Lullaby, and they were both FANTASTIC reads. :)

  6. Great list! Persuasion is BY FAR my favorite Jane Austen book. Crazy, I know. So I'm always excited to see others who appreciate that romance!

  7. I agree with Cat and Bones! They might be two of my fav couple ever!

    Beth ^_^

  8. Anna, Vampire Academy, and This Lullaby.. Definitely agree on those three. They're the only ones I've read, but I'm sure the rest of your list is great as well. (:

    Top Ten Tuesday

  9. Of the books on your list that I HAVE read, I agree wholeheartedly! Sigh, Anna and Etienne! Too cute!

    Here’s my TTT

  10. Great choice for a topic! I haven't really read any of the books on your list, but, I'm dying to read Anna and the French Kiss. I did try and read Vampire Academy one time, but, I just couldn't get into it. Thanks for visiting my post! :)

  11. I agree that Anna was really well done, I liked that they became good friends before anything else happened between them. I haven't read Sarah Dessen's This Lullaby, but I am reading Just Listen at the moment, and I like how she develops the relationships between characters. Great list!


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