Hey everyone! Today I’m here to talk about my favorite things to read or see in books. This is a follow-up to last week’s 10 things I hate in books blog post.
If you thought I was too picky last week, this will shed light on my reading taste and I’ll give you some examples of books that did these things well. I think this list will kind of show you why I’m willing to give most books a chance even when they contain other elements I’m not particularly fond of.
As I mentioned last week, this post is inspired by Kayla from BooksandLala. I hope you enjoy!
➤ Close siblings/protective siblings 💕
If I see sibling relationship in the synopsis or if someone tells me its in a book, I’m likely to pick it up or add it to my TBR because this is my number one favorite thing to read in books. I’m the oldest of four and I’ve looked after my sisters practically my entire life so I’m a sucker for books with close sibling relationships, siblings that look out for one another, take care of each other, or have a strong bond/friendship. Nothing inappropriate.
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare is one of my all-time favorite books (and series) because it does this trope really well. The family bond in that series literally fed my soul. It’s…*chef’s kiss*
Other examples: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Pride by Ibi Zoboi, The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer.
➤ “squad goals” AKA a strong friend group/duo 💕
I love books with strong/loyal friend groups and found families. I consider my best friend family so I love seeing that in books as well as healthy friendships.
Books with my favorite squads: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan (my favorite friendship duo), The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi, and Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.
Other examples: On The Come Up by Angie Thomas, Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson, Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds, and The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
➤ unlikely hero from humble origins 💕
I know the book community is tired of this trope, but the child in me who always dreamed of being the heroine in her own story will never tire of unlikely heroes.
Examples: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, Matilda by Roald Dahl, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, The Hobbit or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien,
➤ morally ambiguous/complex characters 💕
I love complex and morally ambiguous characters because they make stories interesting and show us that life isn’t black and white.
Examples: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, and Sherlock Holmes.
➤ romance (fake dating, forbidden romance, hate-to-love, angst) 💕
I don’t read romance often, but when I do I love fake relationships, forbidden romance (nothing inappropriate like teacher/student), hate-to-love and angst. I don’t like when authors drag out emotional angst because I tend to lose interest in the romance, but it’s an element I love in books when done well.
Examples: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena, and The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen,
➤ thoughtful/sensitive male characters 💕
I love soft male characters and I don’t think there’s enough of them. They’re always a breath of fresh air because publishing is oversaturated with broody (read: low-key jerk) characters.
Examples: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang, The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, .
➤ revenge plot 💕
Whew. I love a good revenge plot and vengeful characters set on wrecking havoc because they’ve been wronged.
Examples: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
➤ world-building 💕
I’m always in awe of the human mind when authors create intricate fictional worlds with a rich cultures, unique magic systems, languages, history, etc.
Examples: The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
➤ AI characters 💕
I don’t know why but I love books with AI characters, especially when they’re snarky and sarcastic. The AI characters in Scythe by Neal Shusterman, Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, and Skyward by Brandon Sanderson were a treat.
➤ fantasy with a little romance subplot 💕
I know a lot of people don’t like romance in their fantasy, but I actually don’t mind it when it’s done right. I love it as a subplot or something that happens slowly throughout the book or series. As long as it doesn’t overtake the main plot, I’m cool. My definition of this is different from fantasy romance, which is romance with fantastical elements.
So there you have it folks. 10 things I love to see in books. Keep in mind that this list doesn’t mean I like these things all time. I’ve picked up books expecting to love the sibling relationship and ended up rating it low or DNF’ing. I’ve picked up fantasy books with romance subplot that I ended up hated. But I’m always excited to discover new books that have these elements.
What are your favorite things to read in books?
Thanks so much for reading!