Top Ten Tuesday #120


Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good weekend, mine was pretty cool, I got to go and see Mamma Mia with my friend Ellie on Saturday, it was so much fun! However this week I’ve had to start packing to go back to Uni, so not so much fun, as I loathe packing! Anyway, it’s Tuesday, which means another Top Ten Tuesday prompt and this week, the lovely ladies from the Broke and The Bookish have rejoined us, with official prompts once again, can I get a hooray? The first prompt of their return is Top Ten Recommendations For X. I’ll be honest, I was struggling to decide what to fill X with because I always do Fantasy and end up recommending the same ten books, I wanted to do something different this time, so I’ve decided to do Top Ten Recommendations For Those Who Like Books Without Romance. This might be a tricky one to do, but as a reader who frequently grows weary of the fact that every YA book has to have romance in it, I feel like I should share some of the gems I’ve found that show you don’t have to have romance to be a good YA book. So here we go:

  1. Code Name Verity-Elizabeth Wein

If you like female friendship and women generally being awesome, then Maddie and Verity’s story is definitely the one for you. It has female pilots, female spies, an unreliable narrator and absolutely not even a whiff of romance.

2. This Savage Song-Victoria Schwab

Whilst not my favourite of Schwab’s books, this story about humans and monsters and the blurred lines between the two is still pretty darn engaging, and the main characters are a boy and a girl with a platonic friendship. Platonic male/female friendships people! It can be done!

3. Challenger Deep-Neal Shusterman

This is a beautiful, heartbreaking story about mental illness, and the book is entirely focused on Caden and his journey, there’s no romance angle because the book simply doesn’t need it.

4. The Book Thief-Markus Zusak

Sure, there are inklings of first love between Liesel and Rudy, but they’re pretty tame and honestly the book is more about family and war and friendship and death than it is about romance!

5. Magnus Chase and The Sword of Summer-Rick Riordan

The second book dives a little bit more into the romance plotline, but this book is all about the action, there is no love interest for Magnus, he is simply trying to stop the end of the world with his best friends, one of whom is a girl and they have a totally platonic relationship and it’s awesome and can we have more of this please?

6. A Darker Shade of Magic-VE Schwab

The second and third books in the trilogy do delve deeper into the romantic storyline (which I actually liked because it was done well and the characters have a real connection. I feel like I rant about romance so much that people don’t know that I actually do like it when it’s done well, I just don’t think it’s always necessary), but this first book, has no real discernible romance to speak of, Kell and Lila are just friends, there is the occasional kiss but it doesn’t go further than that, it’s all about the action!

7. Skulduggery Pleasant-Derek Landy

There is romance later on in the series (isn’t that always the way?) but in this first book, Valkyrie is 12, and just diving into the world of magic, so it’s all about her and Skulduggery’s friendship and her discovering magic and learning to be a detective and no romance to be seen! In fact the entire series is pretty light on the romance in general, it’s only really in the later books that there is any kind of romance and even then it’s pretty light, so if you’re someone who prefers action and magic and friendship to romance, I would definitely recommend this series.

8. Artemis Fowl-Eoin Colfer

I think there might be a smidge of romance or at least hints towards it in the later books, but that was around books 6-8 in the series and really isn’t that prominent at all, in the first book and for most of the series, there is no romance whatsoever, it’s all about Artemis being a criminal mastermind and him and Holly Short working together to bring down the bad guys, in a platonic relationship, she actually kind of hates him at first (which is fair enough since he kidnaps her in the first book). If you like books with criminal masterminds, antiheroes who redeem themselves, and all variety of magical creatures and basically no romance, then this series is definitely one for you.

9. Asking For It-Louise O’Neill

No romance whatsoever in this one cause you know, RAPE IS NOT ROMANTIC PEOPLE (I get very tired of non consensual sex being portrayed as romantic as you can probably tell). It’s a very important story about consent and slut shaming and sexism and rape culture and I think it’s a book that all teenage girls (and boys too) should read.

10. A Series of Unfortunate Events-Lemony Snicket

It’s been a long time since I’ve read these books, so I can’t remember if there might have been some hints of romance towards the end of the series, but for the most part, the Baudelaire kids are far too busy evading Count Olaf, trying not to die and getting into one scrape after another to have any degree of romance.

That’s all I have for this week, it was hard to even come up with ten books that had little or no romance in them! Have you read any of these books? What are your favourite books with little to no romance in them? Let me know in the comments!

I will have a new TTT for you guys next week, as Broke and The Bookish are back to their regularly scheduled topics, no more scrambling to come up with topics, yay! Next week is a Back To School Freebie, so you’ll have to wait and see what Back To School related topic I choose! In the meantime, I have a discussion post that I’m hoping to get up at some point this week, so stay tuned for that.



85 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday #120

  1. JoBeth @ Blue Binding 15/08/2017 / 3:22 pm

    I like your idea of finding books without romance. That’s a tough one though, but you’ve got a lot of good ones on here!! 😀

    • iloveheartlandx 15/08/2017 / 11:13 pm

      Thank you! Tell me about it, I got to number 7 and was just like what? I’m stuck now! With a little help from Goodreads though, I managed it!

    • iloveheartlandx 15/08/2017 / 11:12 pm

      I don’t hate it, I just tire of it! Yes, The Book Thief is awesome 🙂

  2. Amber 15/08/2017 / 4:32 pm

    These are really awesome suggestions. It is nice to have a book uninterrupted by sappy googley eyes sometimes! The Book Thief is one of my Top Ten so 100% on board with that! AND IT IS SO NICE TO SEE SOMEONE TALKING ABOUT ARTEMIS FOWL!


    That series does NOT get the love it deserves. And the romance in it is sooooooo subtle and not take-over-the-plot-ish I really had to think about it before I remembered.

    Love it.

    • iloveheartlandx 15/08/2017 / 11:11 pm

      Thank you! Yes it is, it’s refreshing to read battle scenes and not have to yell because the characters have suddenly decided that is the perfect time to kiss. The Book Thief is awesome, one of my favourite books. I LOVE Artemis Fowl, it was one of my favourite series when I was a teen! I feel like no one remembers it, because it’s quite old? At least I hope that’s it because if people remember it and don’t want to read it? Not cool! Yes, I actually barely remembered there was romance in there either, it’s so subtle and not even really a fully fledged thing, it’s more of a crush on Artemis’ part as far as I remember? Such a good series!

      • Amber 15/08/2017 / 11:52 pm

        I think the main problem with it is that it started quite a long while ago, and got overshadowed by Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. I think publication spanned over almost 12 years for the full series. I wish they would turn it into a television show – it’s quirky and imaginative and fun and I think it would do quite well and honestly, who wouldn’t love Foaly and Mulch?

      • iloveheartlandx 16/08/2017 / 11:22 am

        I didn’t even think about that but yes you’re right, it did take a long time to be fully published and did coincide with both those big series. It would make a fantastic TV show. Foaly and Mulch are the best!

  3. Book Twins Reviews 15/08/2017 / 4:54 pm

    I loved the Book Thief and I’m currently reading Conjuring of Light and hopefully will get to Savage Song afterwards. I agree with you that not every book needs to have romance to be captivating. 😉 Fantastic choices!!!

    • iloveheartlandx 15/08/2017 / 10:57 pm

      The Book Thief was amazing. Ooh ACOL has been my favourite read of the year so far, are you enjoying it? Coincidentally, I read them in that order as well! Yes, I think so often we think that books need a romance in order to capture our attention, when actually most of my favourite books are not romance focused (or at least the romance is not what I remember most about them!). Thank you 🙂

      • Book Twins Reviews 16/08/2017 / 1:22 am

        I like a thread of a romance in books, maybe a possible interest, but outside of an official romance novel, a romance is not necessary to make a great book. I really started enjoying the series with ACOL, it took me quite a while to connect but now it’s fabulous.;-)

      • iloveheartlandx 16/08/2017 / 11:18 am

        I don’t mind it, I just think it’s too often shoehorned in without actually being necessary to the story. Yay, I’m so glad!

  4. alicerosesimmons 15/08/2017 / 5:14 pm

    I really like your topic choice for this week! Personally, I quite like having a little bit of romance in books, but still think its quite nice to read a book that completely romance free. The Book Thief is also one of my favourite books, and A Darker Shade of Magic is currently on my TBR.
    My TTT

    • iloveheartlandx 15/08/2017 / 10:53 pm

      Thanks! I don’t mind romance, I’m just quite picky about it, it has to be done well and be relevant to the story and so often it’s just not, so I tire of it a little. The Book Thief is just stunning. Ooh I hope you enjoy ADSOM!

  5. Run Wright 15/08/2017 / 5:15 pm

    Agreed. What happens between Leisel and Rudy can barely even be called physical attraction so I would definitely say this is a book without romance. The war overpowers everything except friendship in this story.

    • iloveheartlandx 15/08/2017 / 10:52 pm

      Yes, they’re so young, so it’s basically nothing at all. I think that’s right really, in a war, romance is not the most important thing, the bonds and ties you have with your friends and family far overpower that.

  6. Birdie 15/08/2017 / 6:04 pm

    I loved your selection for this weeks TTT! Very awesome twist. And something I don’t anyone else has done. I loved Challenger Deep too. I love all Neal Shusterman books.

    • iloveheartlandx 15/08/2017 / 10:51 pm

      Thank you! I wanted to try out something I hadn’t done before and it was fun to do. Yes Challenger Deep was great. Neal Shusterman is one of my favourite authors, I really need to read something else of his soon, it’s been a while!

      • Birdie 16/08/2017 / 12:10 am

        I need to jump back into his early stuff. I’ve read everything he’s written since Everlost, but nothing previous. Like Bruiser.

      • iloveheartlandx 16/08/2017 / 11:21 am

        I actually need to try some of his early stuff, I’ve only actually read the Unwind books and Challenger Deep! I keep meaning to get the Everlost books and Bruiser but I haven’t been able to find them yet.

      • Birdie 16/08/2017 / 1:23 pm

        Everlost was so unique. It was the first series by him I read. The world, just like Unwind, I sat and wondered how he had the capacity to imagine all of it!

      • iloveheartlandx 16/08/2017 / 6:00 pm

        It sounds great, I will have to get to it at some point!

  7. journeyintobooks 15/08/2017 / 6:25 pm

    Great list, while I don’t mind romance in books it’s always refreshing to read one without it every once in a while ☺

    • iloveheartlandx 15/08/2017 / 10:47 pm

      Thanks. I don’t mind it, I just don’t want it in every single book I read! If you can take away the romance, without it affecting the plot, it doesn’t need to be there.

  8. ChrissiReads 15/08/2017 / 6:38 pm

    Great list 🙂 I don’t mind romance but it’s nice not to have it sometimes.

    • iloveheartlandx 15/08/2017 / 10:46 pm

      Thanks! It’s not necessarily that I hate romance (I tend to be a tad overdramatic!), I just get tired of it being in every single book I read.

  9. readingwithjessica 15/08/2017 / 6:48 pm

    I’m huge on having romance in my reads but totally agree that books can be great without having romance in them. I haven’t read the book thief but did watch the movie. It was such a great movie!! Highly recommend it.

    • iloveheartlandx 15/08/2017 / 10:45 pm

      I just get tired of it after a while, I don’t think it needs to be in every single YA book ever. I like it when it’s done well, it just isn’t always and sometimes it seems to be shoe-horned in without actually being necessary. I have read both the book and watched the movie, the movie is amazing but the book is equally so!

      • readingwithjessica 17/08/2017 / 10:40 pm

        I get that. Sometimes I want to read without romance too (not very often but sometimes). Plus you can have a YA or Adult book without romance and it still be a great story.

  10. bookmuffin 15/08/2017 / 7:01 pm

    I absolutely love The Book Thief! I need to get to some VE Schwab books, I’ve great things, thanks for the recommendations!

    • iloveheartlandx 15/08/2017 / 10:42 pm

      The Book Thief is one of my favourite books! Oh you definitely should, I will push VE Schwab books on everyone, she’s one of my favourite authors, her books are so brilliant!

      • bookmuffin 16/08/2017 / 6:08 am

        I have Vicious on my shelf but I will get to the others very soon!

    • iloveheartlandx 15/08/2017 / 10:41 pm

      Thank you! Code Name Verity is a great book, it’s one of my favourites. Thanks, I’ll check your TTT out 🙂

    • iloveheartlandx 15/08/2017 / 10:40 pm

      Thanks! Ah so should I, but I borrowed all the books from the library when I read them and they’re quite old now, so don’t know if I’ll find them again!

  11. Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads 15/08/2017 / 9:13 pm

    I love this topic! I’ve tried to do something similar before, but I’ve always struggled with coming up with enough books for it, haha. Code Name Verity is a fantastic choice though. I loved that book and loved that the focus was on the friendship between the two girls rather than a romance.

    • iloveheartlandx 15/08/2017 / 10:37 pm

      Thank you! I’m not gonna lie, it was hard and involved a lot of Goodreads research! Code Name Verity is one of my absolute favourite books and the female friendship is the main reason why, it’s so rare to find a YA book with a strong female friendship like that!

      • Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads 15/08/2017 / 10:56 pm

        You’re more dedicated than I am, haha. Yup, I completely agree! It was so nice to see that in Code Name Verity 🙂

      • iloveheartlandx 15/08/2017 / 11:14 pm

        Haha, I just have a very strong love of non romance focused books! It was 🙂

  12. Greg Hill 15/08/2017 / 9:21 pm

    I like to get YA books w/o romance once in a while too, it’s a nice change up! I haven’t read any of these but have heard of most of them, and I still have to get to Riordan’s stuff, something I’ve been wanting to do.

    • iloveheartlandx 15/08/2017 / 10:35 pm

      Yes, I don’t hate romance in YA books (well not always!) but it is nice to read some without romance every once in a while! I would recommend all of these, they’re great books. Rick Riordan is one of my favourite authors, so I hope you enjoy his stuff when you do read it 🙂

  13. Essie 16/08/2017 / 1:00 am

    I definitely need to check some of these out. I can’t stand when books include romance just for the sake of it. The Book Thief is probably my favourite book ever and I recently read A Gathering of Shadows. I totally agree with you, the romance is really well done but I also like how there isn’t any in the first book.

    Wonderful post 😊

    • iloveheartlandx 16/08/2017 / 11:20 am

      Me either! I like a romance when it’s well done, but at the same time, it’s refreshing to read books without them. The Book Thief is one of my favourite books ever. Yes, I do love the romance in AGOS, but it was refreshing to have none in the first book. Thank you!

    • iloveheartlandx 16/08/2017 / 11:18 am

      Yay, I’m glad! Hope you’ve found some good books to read 🙂

  14. Louise ✨🦇 16/08/2017 / 1:35 am

    It’s so refreshing to read something without romance in sometimes! I’ll definitely be wanting to pick up V.E. Schwab’s books now that I know that two of them don’t focus on romance a lot.

    • iloveheartlandx 16/08/2017 / 11:17 am

      Yes it is! Honestly romance is very much secondary in all her books (the ones I’ve read anyway), it’s just those two specifically don’t have any at all, I would definitely recommend her books, they’re amazing!

  15. Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense 16/08/2017 / 3:27 am

    Great recommendations! I think it’s always nice to change things up and pick up a novel that doesn’t have a romance.

    • iloveheartlandx 16/08/2017 / 11:13 am

      Thanks! Yes, I agree, romance is so prevalent in YA, it’s nice to pick up a book once in a while that doesn’t have any at all!

  16. thebookishlibra 16/08/2017 / 10:04 am

    Great list and I agree about both of the V.E. Schwab books you included.

    • iloveheartlandx 16/08/2017 / 11:09 am

      Thank you! Yes VE Schwab is great about having romance either not present or as a backseat in her novels!

  17. everythingalyce 16/08/2017 / 10:21 am

    These are absolutely wonderful choices. I’ve recommended novels without romance before and our lists don’t overlap at all – that’s a pretty impressive amount of books that we’ve managed to come up with! This is why I’m always annoyed at people who say that YA is just romance. There’s so much more to it than that.

    • iloveheartlandx 16/08/2017 / 11:08 am

      Thank you! Oh cool, I’ll have to check out your list too. I found it really hard to come up with this list so I’m amazed (and thrilled!) that you managed to come up with a totally different one. I know, YA is about so much more than that, it’s a shame that that’s all people see.

  18. Nicole @whatadifferenceawordmakes 16/08/2017 / 12:06 pm

    This is a great idea for a list! I do like romance, but there have been a few times where I’ve read a book and couldn’t help thinking it might have been a bit better without the romantic plot line. I loved A Darker Shade of Magic! I haven’t read the second or third book yet but I can’t wait to!

    • iloveheartlandx 16/08/2017 / 6:10 pm

      Thanks! I don’t mind it, I just think that it’s not always necessary? If it has a point then fair enough but if it’s just shoehorned in for the sake of it, then nah, I don’t want it. Yes, A Darker Shade of Magic is so good! I hope you get to them soon, they’re so good.

  19. Poem Fanatic 16/08/2017 / 1:45 pm

    I really enjoyed Code Name Verity- but I preferred the sequel “Rose Under Fire”.

    • iloveheartlandx 16/08/2017 / 5:59 pm

      I haven’t read the sequel yet, but glad to know you liked it!

  20. lindseyhabets 16/08/2017 / 8:13 pm

    Great list! I love romance myself, but I do think it shouldn’t always be the main focus or even be present at all, so this list is perfect!

    • iloveheartlandx 17/08/2017 / 1:46 pm

      Thank you! It’s not that I hate romance, I just tire of it sometimes, so I thought this list might be useful for other people who have romance burnout 🙂

  21. novelcravings 17/08/2017 / 4:24 am

    Love all the Schwab ❤ 100% Proof you don't need romance to fall in love with a book!

    • iloveheartlandx 17/08/2017 / 1:40 pm

      I’m all about the Schwab love! One of the many reasons why I love her is for that, romance is not an essential part of her stories 🙂

      • novelcravings 10/09/2017 / 3:39 am

        So true, I love that love (haha) takes a back seat in her books.

  22. Lori 17/08/2017 / 1:17 pm

    I loved Code Name Verity. I still need to read a bunch of these. I’m hoping to get to Asking For It soon. It sounds like a really important book.

    • iloveheartlandx 17/08/2017 / 1:22 pm

      Me too! Oh you’re in for treat, these are all great books. It is, has such an important message. Not an easy read, but definitely something I’m glad I read.

  23. Georgiana Teglas 17/08/2017 / 4:06 pm

    Yes, thank you for this! There are times when I don`t mind a good romance, but I am annoyed by the fact that most YA books have them. There`s so much going on and you want us to focus on love? Hell no.

    Carmen / Carmen`s Reading Corner

    • iloveheartlandx 17/08/2017 / 4:43 pm

      No problem! That’s exactly the way I feel which is why I did this post 🙂

  24. Katrina Southern 17/08/2017 / 4:45 pm

    This is definitely a good list for me! I feel EXACTLY the same about romance – I like it in small doses when it’s done well, but grow tired of constant YA romance! V.E. Schwab is definitely a great author for this! ‘Beautiful Broken Things’ by Sara Barnard is another great story that completely focuses on friendship! Also, I adore that you’ve included ‘The Book Thief’ here, it’s one of my favourite books of all time!

    Great choices, feel free to check out my TTT list on unreliable narrators 🙂

    • iloveheartlandx 17/08/2017 / 5:11 pm

      I’m glad! Yes, it does get tiring when every single YA book out there has romance. I totally agree, Schwab is a nice break from the constant stream of loved up YA couples! I haven’t read that one, but I’ve heard good things about it, will have to add it to the TBR, thanks. Yes, The Book Thief is one of my favourite books of all time too. I will check out your TTT 🙂

  25. Jaime 18/08/2017 / 1:17 am

    Ahhh so many good books on this list. And I love when books don’t focus heavily (or at all) on romance or relationships. It gets tiring to read about insta-love or mushy gushy YA love. But these. These are both GOOD books AND books that have more important things to do than find someone to kiss. I love it.

    This Savage Song and A Darker Shade of Magic are my favorite of this list, but I love love love A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Book Thief as well. And Magnus Chase. I’ll take anything by Riordan at this point. A few others I need to read… soon…

    Thanks for the recommendations!

    • iloveheartlandx 18/08/2017 / 9:00 pm

      Thank you! I love it too, every so often, I need a break from the heavily focused on romance YA’s. It was really important to me to find really good books that didn’t have a huge romance focus just to show that it’s possible, so I’m glad you agree!
      I love both of those as well (so excited to read Our Dark Duet) and yes Series of Unfortunate Events and The Book Thief are great too (The Book Thief’s one of my favourite books). Yes me too, he’s one of my favourite authors! No problem, I hope you enjoy 🙂

    • iloveheartlandx 23/08/2017 / 3:09 pm

      It is a great series! Hope you manage to read it one day 🙂

  26. Helia Reads 28/08/2017 / 3:19 pm

    I’ve read and loved so many of these books and I hadn’t really thought until now about the lack of romance in all of them. Books definitely need more friendships in them, particularly male and female friendships (I get tired of books putting two girls together and dubbing them as best friends with no development as though friends or rivals are the only two things girls can be). Great list!

    • iloveheartlandx 28/08/2017 / 9:05 pm

      I don’t think I noticed with the older books on here, but some of the more recent ones I definitely did just because YA is so saturated with romance, it’s hard to avoid. They definitely do, and I would especially love more platonic male/female friendships. Yes, it does get irritating that there seems to be a lack of nuance in female friendships often.

  27. alilovesbooks 29/08/2017 / 9:57 pm

    Some great books on this list. I do love a bit of romance in my reads but it is nice occasionally to have a break.

    • iloveheartlandx 30/08/2017 / 1:42 pm

      Thanks! I don’t mind it. it just gets tiring having romance in every single book I read.

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