#TBR Challenge: The 2016 RITA Rundown

For last year’s “award winners” TBR Challenge, I read three RITA-nominated inspies, and found a new auto-buy author (Stacy Henrie). I tried the one historical inspie on this year’s RITA list, but DNF’d it because it was sugary wallpaper — and OF COURSE it won.

Here’s this year’s rundown….


Historical Romance: Long

Bella and Beast by Olivia Drake

Bella and the Beast by Olivia Drake

Not available at my library in any format, not available on Scribd, and I couldn’t justify paying $7.99 for a new-to-me author — ESPECIALLY when the mmpb is priced lower than the ebook. Get your shit together, St. Martin’s Press. I want to read your books, make it easy for me.

Grade: N/A

Earls Just Want to Have Fun by Shana Galen

Earls Just Want to Have Fun by Shana Galen

Library. Fluffy fluff and blatantly unbelievable hist-rom wallpaper with no outstanding qualities. But damn if I didn’t read the whole damn thing in one sitting.

To quote myself:

“I…grudgingly admit that I was maybe slightly charmed in a grumpy sort of way.”

Grade: C+

If the Viscount Falls by Sabrina Jeffries

If the VIscount Falls by Sabrina Jeffries

I adore Sabrina Jeffries. I own and frequently re-read her entire backlist, and there’s not a dud in there. The Duke’s Men series is a great mix of drama, suspense, angst, snark, and swooniness. Viscount wasn’t my favorite in the series (Lady Zoe in How the Scoundrel Seduces for the win), but it’s a great second-chance romance.

Grade: B+

NOTE: If Jeffries’ The Study of Seduction isn’t a finalist next year, I will be VERY PUT OUT. One of my top reads this year.

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist (winner)

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

I had a major case of Book Anxiety over this one. The ARC sat on my Kindle for months and months and months. I finally got the audiobook earlier this year and kicked myself for waiting so long. It was beautiful.

To quote myself again:

“Gist can take a tiny thread from a historical newspaper article or, in this case, a Chicago World’s Fair brochure, and spin it into glorious layers of character and relationship building. And then she surrounds it with an almost touchable sense of place.”

Grade: A-

Tremaine’s True Love by Grace Burrowes

Tremaine's True Love by Grace Burrowes

I downloaded it from the library. Twice. Still haven’t read it. The blurb just wasn’t compelling enough to compel me to un-break-up with Burrowes.

Grade: N/A


Historical Romance: Short

Falling into Bed with a Duke by Lorraine Heath

Falling Into Bed with a Duke by Lorraine Heath

Library again. I tried. I really did. But…no. Just…NO. The heroine’s name was MINERVA DODGER and I still couldn’t do it. I think I made it to about 60% before I gave up.

The summary from this review capsulizes my dismay:

“The manwhore hero, Ashebury, develops a leg and foot fetish after his parents die in a train crash, an event for which he wasn’t present. His PTSD is then miraculously cured after he sees the legs of the heroine, Minerva, once.”

NO LIE. What. The. Ever. Loving. Hell.

Grade: DNF

It Started with a Scandal by Julie Anne Long (winner)

It Started With A Scandal by Julie Anne Long

I read it when it first came out. And when I saw it on the RITA finalists list, I couldn’t remember anything about it. And I didn’t feel like reading it again because I’d rather re-read To Catch a Thief and Like No Other Lover for the umpteenth time.

Grade: C

Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare

Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare

I have this gif for permanent exclusive use with Tessa Dare reviews:


I read Marquess when it first came out and was charmed, and then I got the audiobook and was charmed all over again.

I did not buy into the wedding-planner plot device AT ALL, but WHO THE HELL CARES because Dare makes me love all her characters unreservedly. Every time.

Grade: B+

Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa Romain

Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa Romain

I am now a Theresa Romain auto-buy fangirl. I have one more ARC I’m hoarding and then I will have read all her books and then I will start all over and wallow in them again.

Yes, the titles are of the wallpaper variety. But these are not Romance-O-Matic stories. Heiress was set in Bath and had intriguing main characters with Deep Dark Secrets and I WANT THIS ON AUDIOBOOK PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

Grade: B+

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn

I suppose a Quinn nomination is obligatory for the RITAs. But this one was just dreary. I wanted to punch Sir Richard in the face and tell him to just STFU already. My second-least favorite Quinn. Bleah.

Grade: C-

Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt

Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt

When I saw this on the RITA list, I realized how far behind I was on the Maiden Lane series and I didn’t even own this one. So I bought it. And then I had to binge-read all the previous Maiden Lane books and now I’m all caught up and it was kind of exhausting.

I liked Scoundrel because it gave us a break from the often-eyerolling Ghost of St. Giles schitck, the theatre setting and villain(s) were vividly memorable, and the chemistry between Eve and Asa was…feral.

I haven’t decided where I’d rank it in the series or among Hoyt’s full backlist, but it’s definitely RITA-worthy.

Grade: B+


Other categories

Best Inspirational

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter (winner)

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter

Yawn. Did not hold my interest in any way — ditched it around 20%. Grade: DNF

Contemporary Romance: Long

Brokedown Cowboy by Maisey Yates (winner)

Brokedown Cowboy by Maisey Yates

This was the only Yates I’ve liked. Her style or voice or something just rubs me the wrong way and I have no idea what it is or why. I enjoyed this one, but I’ll probably never re-read it. Grade: B-

Redemption Bay by RaeAnne Thayne

Redemption Bay by RaeAnne Thayne

I DNF’d the ARC of this. I think I requested it because Grumpy Brooding Hero, but the squishy holiday goo was just the typical Small-Town Schlock from the HQN imprint. They’re all exactly the same. Grade: DNF

Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length

Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

It’s really good, in the straight-girls-writing-new-adult-m/m-for-other-straight-girls kind of way. It wasn’t Riptide Good, but I’m a little biased. Grade: B

Contemporary Romance: Short

One Night with Her Bachelor and Three Nights Before Christmas by Kat Latham

On Night with Her Bachelor by Kat Latham  Three Nights Before Christmas

I love love love Kat Latham and I will read anything she writes. Bachelor was a typical rom-com, but Christmas deserved the category win for Latham’s fantastic ex-con heroine. Grades: B, A

Erotic Romance

For Real by Alexis Hall (winner)

For Real by Alexis Hall

Yeah. All that hype and squee? All of it 100% earned. Read this. If you don’t think it’s utterly effing brilliant, we can’t be friends. Grade: Can’t because of conflict of interest so you’ll just have to trust me.

Romance Novella

Toward the Sunrise by Elizabeth Camden

Toward the Sunrise by Elizabeth Camden

This prequel is soooo much better than the novel it’s prequeling. There are goats. Lots of goats. I haven’t re-read it since the scathing SBTB review pointing out some egregious romanticizing of colonialism, but from what I remember the surface was enjoyable. Grade: TBD

Paranormal Romance

Nada. But Must Love Chainmail is purchased and queued up at the top of the list.

Romantic Suspense

Nada. But I bought the category winner Flash Fire because I love Dana Marton.

Young Adult Romance

Nada. But I moved The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett out of whatever “Someday/ARC Guilt” folder it was lingering in and moved to the PROBABLY SHOULD READ THIS SOONISH list.

TBR Challenge: Good Time Bad Boy by Sonya Clark

  • Good Time Bad Boy by Sonya ClarkTitle: Good Time Bad Boy
  • Author: Sonya Clark
  • Published: Self-Published, June 2015
  • Source: Purchased
  • Length: 316 pages
  • Tropes: Good Ol’ Boy, Smartass Heroine, Small Town, Music, Dysfunctional Families
  • Quick blurb: Country singer on the skids has to make amends for getting hometown barmaid fired.
  • Quick review: New-to-romance author needs to write more romance.
  • Grade: A-

This month’s TBR Challenge theme is Recommended Reads, and boy howdy, do I choose my friends wisely.

I bought Good Time Bad Boy last year when everyone else (e.g., Sunita and Janine at Dear Author and others) was raving about it. And of course it got buried pretty quickly because I rarely make an effort to keep contemporaries at the top of the queue.

I finished it in one night.

I haven’t read Liz’s review yet, but I’m sure she’s done her typically smart things with it. I’ll just do my usual thing because otherwise we’ll be here until next Tuesday.

The premise is pretty simple – the heroine is a small-town barmaid who puts the smackdown on a handsy drunk customer, who just happens to be the hometown celebrity. He gets his shit together enough to make amends and there’s an HEA and a crap-ton of angsty-yet-fun goodness in between.

The meet-cute…

She walked around him, headed for the coffee urn stationed at the entrance to the kitchen. He mumbled something as she passed then slapped on her the rear, hard enough to sting and make a cracking noise that seemed to echo in the nearly empty restaurant.

Somebody said “oh shit.”

…“So I guess you won’t be giving me your phone number,” Wade said to her back. She slipped her hand behind her back and responded with a raised middle finger.

I loved Daisy. I really loved Daisy.

Wooing with music….

The crowd fell away and Wade sang directly to Daisy, only to Daisy. It pleased him to see that it stopped her in her tracks, empty beer bottles balanced precariously on her tray. She brought a hand to her throat and bit her lip. He smiled to her as he sang and he told himself that the heat he knew must have shone in his eyes was just part of the performance. If it affected her, well, that was just an unfair advantage singers sometimes had.

That’s just one. There’s more.

The chapter endings….


“Yeah?” “I just. I like it that all those holy relic instruments are the constellations that guide you. That’s really nice.”

Emotion clutched at his heart and clogged his throat. “That’s…that’s the most amazing thing anybody’s ever said to me.”

“I’m so tired, I was afraid it wouldn’t make any sense.”

“It makes sense to me.”

“Good.” Daisy smiled and waved, then went inside the trailer.

He listened for the sound of the door being locked before turning back to his truck. He sang more Gram Parsons to himself all the way home.

The guitar constellation thing? OH MY GOD *~*swoon*~* <thud>

The angsty bits….

This was the closest Daisy got to prayer anymore. She closed her eyes briefly, picturing a smiling, happy mother and child, then blew out the candle. She sat in the dark for a while, her hands folded in her lap and thinking of nothing and everything.

Some of angst was pretty uncomfortable to read, but in a good way — absolutely wrenching, but never manipulative or melodramatic.

The quiet moments….

She said nothing for what felt like a long time but was probably not even a minute. Just stared at him with her eyes full of emotion. “I feel like I’m about to walk a tightrope without a net here.”

“If it helps, you won’t be alone.”

And there’s an utterly lovely grand gesture disguised as a quiet moment. You’ll just have to read it yourself.

The smartass females….

…“What are besties for if not to make you feel good about your boobs?”

…“For God’s sake, just pick a George Strait song.”

…“Do you think she’s talking dirty to him?” Jillian sipped her drink. “I hope she’s talking dirty to him.”

The overcoming poverty thing….

A twenty-eight cent difference between generic spaghetti and a brand name should not have made a difference to her. She didn’t want it to make a difference to her. Her gaze ping-ponged back and forth between the two price tags for nearly ten seconds before she finally put the generic in her cart. Pasta was pasta. She’d spend that twenty-eight cents on decent sauce. Maybe one of these days she’d try making her own sauce, with tomatoes from the farmer’s market and whatever the hell else went in spaghetti sauce. Generic labels and dented cans, birthday cupcakes bought from the red tag sale cart full of stuff about to go out of date. Boxes from the food pantry. Fast food burgers if her mother had a little money for a change. That’s what Daisy grew up on, and that’s why she was working her ass off going to school so she could buy some fucking brand name groceries without having to skimp elsewhere or debate whether it was worth it or even look at the price. She didn’t need to be rich. She didn’t even need to be full-fledged middle class. She just wanted better than generic spaghetti and a rusting rental trailer.

Did I mention that I loved Daisy?

One more that I don’t have a single good except for….

The small-town southern vibe — to which I usually give good side-eye — was completely genuine. Clark neither vilified nor idealized the setting, and by the end she managed to make the tight-knit community a character of its own, quietly supporting the main characters and nudging them to their HEA.


Only two niggles that made me add the minus to the grade…

  • Use of the analogy “mushroom head” in the middle of an otherwise scorching scene. STOP WITH THE MUSHROOM THING FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
  • Some noticeable typos, increasing in frequency in the last few chapters. All are easily overlooked homophone and apostrophe errors, but it needs a good proofreader.



Re: Your next romance novel….


Are you done yet? How about now?

Audiobook Adventures: More Wallowing

It’s Friday afternoon and I’m bored at the dayjob. Go figure.

Another fun fact: It’s so windy here on the open prairie (well, a barren cornfield north of the airport, but whatever) that the facilities guy put himself on call to HELP US OPEN THE DOORS. True story.


Current read: Until the Dawn by Elizabeth Camden

Narrated by Stina Nielsen

I’m retitling this Until the Yawn, because I’m clever like that. I’m about halfway in, and the pacing just ….keeps …..slowing …….down. I expect great things from Camden because I’ve unreservedly loved all her previous books; Against the Tide and Into the Whirlwind are both DIKS.

Until the Dawn by Elizabeth Camden

Sadly, Dawn has “meh” all over it, partly because the narrator is noticeably lackluster, but mostly because the main characters are both completely insufferable. He’s a Cranky Crankhole and she’s a Sunny Sunbeam and ALL RIGHT THEY’RE OPPOSITES WE GET IT MOVE ON ALREADY FOR CRIPES SAKE. The heroine is described as “nice” at least 1,486 times.

A bunch of scientists just showed up at the cursed mansion, so I’m hoping there’ll be some ghost action or a dog unearths buried treasure (I like dogs) or Mr. Crankhole breaks his other leg falling off a cliff or something to get this story moving.

HOWEVER. The prequel novella, Toward the Sunrise, was really good. It had GOATS as a primary plot device and I still liked it.



Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

Narrated by Rachel Botchan

Gist gave me a dud with her last book, which gave me Book Anxiety for this one. But I sucked it up and got sucked into her world-building once again. I stayed a while to wallow.

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

Gist can take a tiny thread from a historical newspaper article or, in this case, a Chicago World’s Fair brochure, and spin it into glorious layers of character and relationship building. And then she surrounds it with an almost touchable sense of place. Tiffany Girl has the same Grumpy vs. Perky pairing as Until the Dawn, but this time it works beautifully.

I don’t necessarily recommend the audiobook over other formats; the narration was serviceable but nothing outstanding. Just read it. Trust me.


The Bride by Julie Garwood

Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

I wanted to like it. I really did. Garwood’s The Prize was my first audiobook ever, and I hated it so much I put the narrator (Anne Flosnick) on my Never Again list. Then I tried Ransom and loved it, so I figured what the hell.

The Bride by Julie Garwood

Hell indeed. I hated The Bride. I thought it was irredeemably stupid. I know it’s a classic and it has a million copycats. I still hated it. I yelled “OH FOR GOD SAKE” approximately seven times per chapter. We won’t even discuss the eye-rolling.

Me and Garwood were just not meant to be.


The Parfit Knight by Stella Riley

Narrated by Alex Wyndham

Me and Stella Riley, on the other hand….

The Parfit Knight by Stella Rilery

Nearly perfect in every way. A noble but insecure hero. A strong but vulnerable heroine. A bad guy I still want to punch in the face. If someone had punched him in the face, and then had him press-ganged, this would have been perfectly perfect instead of just nearly perfect.

The narration was perfectly perfect. Wyndham is brilliant.


A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Narrated by Angele Masters

So, some people loved this and other people didn’t. I — because it’s all about ME — loved it. LOVED IT. I struggled with the Book Anxiety again; Raybourn’s foray into more “upmarket” chick lit didn’t impress me, and I read the first three chapters of this three times over three months.

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Then I tried the audiobook, and I was there. As Joanna Bourne said (yes, I’m name-dropping, shut up), Raybourn is brilliant at texture, and the world-building was stellar with this one. The heroine is, admittedly, very…odd, and the actual romance doesn’t show up until the last chapter, but the melding of action and suspense was everything I’ve wanted since my last (umpteenth) re-read of Lady Julia. I did not see the twisty bit coming at all, and I’ve read at least five books attempting that particular twist.

I am eagerly awaiting the next installment.


Ruined by a Rake by Erin Knightley

Narrated by Alastair Stephens

Knightley is a new auto-buy for me, and I grabbed her two novellas on Audible as soon as I saw them.

Ruined by a Rake by Erin Knightley

I…squeed. I think I honest-to-god squeed. A solid A grade – FIVE BIG FAT STARS – because this completely charmed me and I’m going to listen to it again and again. I’m…using a lot of italics.

The other novella, Scandalized by a Scoundrel, was more of a B-/C+ read; it really needed the same narrator as Ruined.


The King’s Man by Elizabeth Kingston

Narrated by Nicholas Boulton

Everyone else squeed, which usually scares me off. I should trust you guys more.

The King's Man by Elizabeth Kingston

I got to the part where the disguised-as-a-boy heroine whips out her bow and shoots the smarmy hero in the foot to shut him up and then I was all OH HELLS YES.

And then the end killed me dead. Actually, just mostly dead, but I still haven’t fully recovered.


The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

Narrated by Faye Adele

Yes, I’m the only person in Romland who hadn’t read this yet. Steampunk intimidates me. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea. I had a Scribd credit to use so I girded my clockwork loins. Or would clockwork loins already be girded? I’m still a noob at this kind of stuff.

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

While I was listening, I was all “yeah, I see why everyone likes this, it’s pretty good.” And then after I was done, I kept thinking about it. And thinking about it. Random scenes pop into my head and they’re vivid. So I’m keeping my Scribd subscription for a few more months.


All the Loretta Chases

Narrated by Kate Reading


Mr Impossible by Loretta Chase

I love Daphne and Rupert SO MUCH.

I also listened to the Scoundrels series and I still think Rupert would just ignore the blow-hard Marquess of Dain until he got fed up with the endless blustering and threw him out a window.

Chase’s earlier novels — Devil’s Delilah, Viscount Vagabound and Knave’s Wager — were kind of uneven. I liked Vagabond a lot, but the other two didn’t do much for me.


Next up….


Who started me on audiobooks anyway??? I may have a problem. Damn you all.

Audiobook Update: The Kearsley Binge

The binge is done. I have no more new Kearsley audiobooks. *sob*

I started my re-reads even before the binge ended. I listened to Winter Sea again first, because I had to prepare myself for the re-read of Firebird.

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

I love this book. I have I mentioned this before?

Firebird was even better the second time, because I allowed myself to just sink in and wallow in it.



Wallow: to indulge in an unrestrained way in
something that creates a pleasurable sensation.

My facial expressions while reading this book are even dopier. Except when I’m ugly-crying, and no one needs pics of that.


Also, I really need to go to St. Petersburg.

ANYWAY. Back to the first round. Every single book will be a re-read. A quick breakdown:

More must-reads….

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley   Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley   The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

I am not kidding about this. Your life is incomplete without these books. Trust me.

Time-Travel for Serious Time-Travelers….

Mariana by Susanna Kearsley   The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

Only Kearsley can invalidate all my cynical skepticism about Serious Time Travel. These are full-on “sucked into the past unwillingly” stories, and she makes them work.

The ones I’m slightly iffy on, so I need to read them again….

Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley   The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley

These are more straight-up suspense that are almost…Hitchcockian with the MacGuffins and red herrings and bizarre dreams and whatnot.

The narrators….

Katherine Kellgren (Firebird, Desperate Fortune) sounds exactly like Lady Mary from Downton Abbey. Perfection. I am coveting the entire Bloody Jack middle-grade series.

Barbara Rosenblat (Splendour Falls) is one of my “I’ll Listen to Anything” narrators. LOVE HER.

Rosalyn Landor does a great job with Winter Sea, but she’s the voice of so many romances (Balogh, Kleypas, Garwood, Quinn, Milan), I wasn’t quite as enthralled on the second listen.

I did have some issues with Carolyn Bonnyman‘s narration of Season of Storms and Mariana. The performances are great, but her softer delivery and intonation make it really difficult to hear while I’m driving — I have to crank the volume to full blast to cut through ambient noise.

Good, but not rave-worthy until I listen to more from them: Jill Tanner (Named of the Dragon), Sally Armstrong (Shadowy Horses), and Nicola Barber (Rose Garden).


A huge round of applause for Kearsley’s design team, because these are truly beautiful and evocative covers.


Just in case Ms. Kearsley might see this…. I am being patient waiting for your next book. No, really. I’m not even going to email or tweet you.

I’m just going to leave these here, so you know that I am WAITING PATIENTLY.




The Classic Movies List: A Rec for Every Romance Trope

Here’s the work-in-progress list— The Google doc is always open for more!

Kelly’s Must-See List

Because it’s All About Me. Watch these and report back.


 It Happened One Night The Shop Around the Corner How to Marry a Millionaire


 Drama_TheClock  Drama_BestYearsOfOurLives Drama_RandomHarvest

Note: I would have included Casablanca, but that’s just a given on any list.


Suspense_Notorious  Suspense_Rebecca Suspense_Gaslight

  • Notorious — I’ll just be over here curled up in a ball yelling things at the television.
  • Rebecca — Perfect casting of a perfect adaptation of a perfect novel.
  • Gaslight — Your skin will crawl until the beta hero saves the day.

Note: All the best suspense movies have one-word titles.


Friends to Lovers

  • Holiday
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • Gigi
  • Born Yesterday
  • It Should Happen To You

Enemies to Lovers

  • QuietManThe Quiet Man
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • The Shop Around the Corner
  • Bringing Up Baby
  • His Girl Friday
  • Desk Set
  • Kiss Me Kate
  • Notorious
  • Ninotchka/Silk Stockings
  • The Band Wagon
  • The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

Whirlwind Romance

  • The Clock
  • On the Town
  • Anchors Aweigh
  • Bringing Up Baby



  • To Have and Have Not
  • The Clock
  • On the Town
  • Anchors Aweigh
  • I Was a Male War Bride
  • The Best Years of Our Lives
  • Since You Went Away
  • Casablanca
  • The More the Merrier
  • Tender Comrade
  • A Foreign Affair

Reforming the Rake

  • Love in the Afternoon

Obsessive Love

  • Laura
  • Double Indemnity
  • Leave Her to Heaven
  • Dragonwyck

Unrequited/One-Sided Love

  • Little Women
  • It Should Happen to You
  • The Apartment
  • Easter Parade
  • How to Marry a Millionaire
  • Footlight Parade


Some of these aren’t HEA, but all are must-see!


  • I’ll Be Seeing You — streaming on YouTube!
  • The Clock
  • Brief Encounter
  • Kitty Foyle
  • Random Harvest
  • Love Affair/An Affair to Remember
  • Enchanted Cottage
  • A Place in the Sun
  • Splendour in the Grass
  • Butterfield 8
  • Waterloo Bridge
  • Casablanca
  • Dark Victory
  • Now, Voyager
  • The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

Marriage In Trouble

  • Barefoot In the Park
  • The Bishop’s Wife
  • Adam’s Rib
  • State of the Union
  • Barkleys of Broadway
  • The Palm Beach Story
  • Wife Vs. Secretary


  • Random Harvest
  • Spellbound

Secret Babies

  • Bachelor Mother/Bundle of Joy
  • It Started In Naples

Love Triangle

  • Holiday AffairHoliday Affair
  • Sabrina
  • Casablanca
  • Holiday
  • My Favorite Wife
  • Rachel and the Stranger
  • A Foreign Affair
  • The Vikings

Sibling’s best friend/Best friend’s sibling

or sibling/best friend’s love interest

  • Holiday

Road Trip

  • It Happened One Night
  • The African Queen
  • Some Like It Hot
  • Sullivan’s Travels

Age Gap

  • SabrinaSabrina
  • Love in the Afternoon
  • That Touch of Mink
  • Gigi
  • Daddy Long Legs
  • All That Heaven Allows*
  • Sweet Bird of Youth
  • It Started In Naples
  • The World of Suzy Wong
  • Funny Face

Second Chance

  • Philadelphia Story
  • Kiss Me Kate
  • Dishonored Lady
  • His Girl Friday
  • The Awful Truth


  • Love in the Afternoon
  • That Touch of Mink

Marriage of Convenience/Arranged Marriage/Forced Marriage

  • Love With the Proper Stranger
  • Crossing Delancey
  • Mrs. Skeffington
  • Come Live With Me

Lost Souls/Lonely Hearts

  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • Rocky
  • Marty

Big Misunderstanding

  • BellBookAndCandleBell Book and Candle (not a misunderstanding as much as magical intervention)
  • Christmas in Connecticut
  • The Shop Around the Corner
  • Love Affair/An Affair to Remember
  • Bachelor Mother/Bundle of Joy
  • How to Steal a Million
  • My Man Godfrey
  • My Favorite Wife
  • Without Reservations
  • Some Like It Hot
  • I Married a Witch
  • Indiscreet

Romantic Suspense

  • Notorious
  • To Catch a Thief
  • Gaslight
  • Key Largo
  • Charade
  • The 39 Steps

Opposites Attract/Unlikely Lovers

  • DesigningWomanDesigning Woman
  • Vivacious Lady
  • Platinum Blonde
  • Pygmalion
  • Woman of the Year
  • Tammy and the Bachelor
  • Guys and Dolls
  • African Queen
  • Royal Wedding
  • It Started In Naples
  • Bringing Up Baby
  • The Pirate
  • Ninotchka
  • The Sound of Music
  • Grease
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • The Lady Eve
  • My Man Godfrey

Class Differences/Family Objections

  • SwanThe Swan
  • You Can’t Take It With You
  • My Man Godfrey
  • West Side Story
  • Pygmalion
  • Duel in the Sun
  • A Place in the Sun
  • All That Heaven Allows
  • Made for Each Other


  • The Swan
  • Born Yesterday
  • Pat and Mike
  • Pygmalion

Witty Banter

  • ThinManThe Thin Man
  • His Girl Friday
  • It Happened One Night
  • I Was a Male War Bride
  • Kiss Me Kate
  • To Catch a Thief
  • Adam’s Rib
  • The Awful Truth
  • Arsenic and Old Lace


  • Pride of the Yankees

Straight-Up Rom-Coms

  • BallOfFireBall of Fire
  • The Lady Eve
  • How to Marry a Millionaire
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  • Pillow Talk
  • Some Like It Hot
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
  • It Happened One Night
  • More Than a Secretary
  • Singin’ in the Rain

Not genre romance but totally romantic

  • The Best Years of Our Lives
  • The Apartment
  • Destry Rides Again
  • From Here to Eternity
  • A Place in the Sun
  • Marty
  • West Side Story
  • Rebecca
  • Penny Serenade
  • All This and Heaven Too

Look like romance but totally aren’t  – The Anti-Romance

  • Doctor Zhivago
  • Love Story
  • The Way We Were
  • Atonement
  • Gone With the Wind

Kickass Women

  • Barbara Stanwyck
  • Katharine Hepburn
  • Maureen O’Hara
  • Rosalind Russell
  • Lauren Bacall
  • Myrna Loy
  • Irene Dunne
  • Ginger Rogers
  • Claudette Colbert

Beta Heroes

  • Jimmy Stewart
  • Gary Cooper
  • Jack Lemmon
  • Joseph Cotten
  • Gregory Peck

Alpha Heroes

  • John Wayne
  • Robert Mitchum

Suave and Sexy

  • Cary Grant
  • William Powell
  • Leslie Howard
  • Clark Gable

Best Kisses

  • The Best Years of Our Lives
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • The Quiet Man
  • The Shop Around the Corner