Top Ten Tuesday: Ten books with romances that won't make you want to hurl

top ten tuesday                lurve

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No sugar-sap or insta-love here, my friends     

c.j.'s selections                         ten ten ten

History is All You Left Me - Adam Silvera 

Adam manages to make you fall in love with like FOUR different pairings between three boys--and a few extra, just to snag the heartstrings.  He makes you love a love that's impossible (and you're rooting for it, even remembering one member is dead) and then makes you love something new and hopeful. He makes you love life. 

All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven 

Finch and Violet are eternal OTP. Their affection grows out of shared experiences and shared understanding.  It's messy and complicated and tragically beautiful. It's real. 
A Crown of Wishes - Roshani Chokshi 

The chemistry between Vikram and Gauri is scalding.  There's snarky banter, genuine understanding, two people lifting each other up. And it's embedded in a mystical fantasy plot because THEY HAVE OTHER STUFF GOING ON YO. 

Something Strange and Deadly - Susan Dennard 

Eleanor and Daniel will live in my heart until it beats its last.  It's the perfect hate-to-friendship-to-love slow burn and it kills me every time.  Their story is embedded in a breakneck Victorian supernatural mystery that could stand without a romance, but is just that much better with this pair. 

The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater 

Blue and Gansey are endgame.  Period.  Partly because Gansey is my awkward nerdy soulmate and partly because they balance each other so well.  Next best ship is Adam and Ronan because they smooth out each other's edges and have each other's back. The romances unfold over time, with a lot of magic, murder, and mystery taking up the most space. 

Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones 

My original OTP.  Howl falls for Sophie before he even knows what she looks like.  Their love grows from familiarity, an acute knowledge of each other's faults and strengths.  A deep understanding that's stronger than instant passion.  
The Wrath and The Dawn - Renee Ahdieh 

Shazi and Khalid are thrown together by fate.  By a curse.  It's a gorgeous Arabian Nights retelling where the monster king isn't what he seems, and the storyspinner is even more badass than her namesake.  They're two fierce people you can't help but root for. 
Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo 

In case you didn't know, Bardugo's duology features a twisty heist, magic, murder, and a lot of people doing brutal things to each other.  Within it are Kaz and Inej, the dark gutter prince and the guarded wraith.  Their love is difficult and fraught and so worth it.  Plus Jesper and Wylan and Nina and Matthias because SERIOUSLY THEY ALL ROCK. 
The Winner's Curse - Marie Rutkowski 

Kestrel and Arin spend more of these books apart than together, because they're caught up in struggles that are larger than their two lives.  Games of politics and freedom and war.  Through it all, through pain and gritted teeth, they come to know and understand each other. 

*Note: Problematic issues with Arin being a slave in Kestrel's household, be forewarned. 
The Girl from Everywhere - Heidi Heilig 

Nix and Kash are ridiculously swoony but not in a gross way. They've been friends for ages. Kash is monstrously flirty. But most of the time, they're off time traveling and foiling evil plots, so the romance ekes out slowly and sweetly. 

Your turn!  What books have romances that aren't too gushy and sappy?  Unless you like that kind of thing.  


  1. YES! Ilove all your choices! Especially Six of Crows and The Winner's curse as also HIAYL by Adam Silvera. :)

  2. I love this post! But, um, I have to say, I never find a romance too gushy. I just love them so much!