Soul Ripping Romance Tag

I am skipping Top of the TBR this week because I only had three books to talk about today anyway, and more importantly because there’s an Amazon protest going on until the 16th and I don’t want to log into Goodreads (which is Amazon-based) in the meantime.

Which means this is the perfect time for a tag- and thanks to the kind and wonderful Naty (who nominated me for this one; check out her post here!), I have the perfect tag in mind!

“It feels intellectually unserious to concern himself with fictional people marrying one another. But there it is: literature moves him.” -Sally Rooney, Normal People 

The Rules

  • Thank the person who tagged you and create a pingback to the original author ā€“ Nel at Reactionary Tales.
  • Share at least 5 (but more are welcome) romances that tugged your heart strings. They can be from books, movies, TV shows, manga; anything you can think of! They can be examples of sad tears, angry tears, happy tears or a combination of all three.
  • Nominate 5 (or more) people to share their emotional traumas
  • (Note: Try not to spoil the story for your readers in case they would like to check out these romances on their own)

The Romances

  1. crookedkingdomLeigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows. Romance-driven fantasies don’t often work for me, but when the romance is a background detail I tend to love it. Romance is definitely not the Point of Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology, and for that reason I think the relationships feel so much stronger. There’s also the fact that they’re friendship-based, which is excellent. I particularly love the way Kaz and Inej skirt around each other (though Jesper and Wylan are also adorable and Nina and Matthias are clearly meant for each other). I desperately want Kanej to have an honest conversation about their feelings, but I do not want the eventual third book in this series cheapening the romance with too much wish fulfillment. *fingers crossed for subtle greatness*
  2. theblindassassinMargaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin. I use this book in tags as often as I can, because though the pace is a bit slow the payoff was huge for me, (and it fits so many prompts!). It’s a genre-bending novel by one of my favorite writers, part family saga, part fantasy- and completely, utterly tragic. The chapters switch in and out of a mysterious ongoing affair throughout most of the novel, but the heart-wrenching love story comes in a bit later. It all fits together so incredibly, I doubt I’ll ever forget this one.
  3.  Margaret Mitchell’s gonewiththewindGone With the Wind. This was one of the first classics I ever read, and I was young enough at the time that reading it opened doors for me, so it holds a special place of honor in my reading life. This is another tragic romance, in my opinion. Scarlet O’Hara was the first unlikable character that I ever really appreciated. She’s so set on having what (and whom) everyone else seems to want that she can’t see what’s in front of her, which might be a better match. Her love life was always destined to go awry because dissatisfaction with her lot (even when everything is grand) is her modus operandi, and frankly, that’s why I found her choices so compelling.
  4. conversationswithfriendsSally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends. Naty already used Normal People, so I have to go with Rooney’s other novel because I can’t refrain from including one! The relationships in Rooney’s books are just brilliant- awkward, difficult, somewhat inappropriate, and completely captivating. Though Normal People resonated with me more, Conversations with Friends was delightful to read. It gave me a lot of anxiety because as usual the characters repeatedly make poor decisions without learning from them, but the intensity of emotion that Rooney manages to invoke- all kinds of emotion- is only further proof of her skill.
  5. Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever. thetruthaboutforeverI figured that with this being a romance tag, I should at least pick one book that’s an actual romance novel. Here is a YA contemporary romance that I first fell in love with at age 12, and reread (for the first time in a long time) in 2017 only to fall in love with it all over again. Sarah Dessen is one of my most nostalgic tween/teen authors, and I was so relieved to discover upon the reread that I enjoy her work just as much as an adult. The Wish Catering crew in this novel is probably my favorite fictional friend group of all time, the romance is a slow-burn built on honesty, and underneath the banter are heavier themes like handling grief, finding a self-identity separate from what others expect of you, and refraining from judging others because there’s always more to them than you see on the surface. I am not a YA contemporary romance reader anymore. But I will 10/10 read this again and love it just as much.

The Tags

I’ve tagged a bunch of specific people in my last few tag posts, so I’m going to open it up in this one instead, to whoever wants to participate. If you’ve read this far and your heart has ever stirred for fictional characters, consider yourself tagged!

What’s your favorite romance of all time?


The Literary Elephant


9 thoughts on “Soul Ripping Romance Tag”

  1. Wait, is there definitely going to be a third Six of Crows book?! Oh god, I do not want that. I thought the ending to CK was perfection. I love Kanej as much as the next person but yes, if Bardugo indulged that more it would cheapen the insanely good dynamic she created.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bardugo has announced that she intends to make it a trilogy eventually, but I think that’s as far as it goes, officially. I would be intrigued to see where she takes the overall story, but especially after the lukewarm reception of King of Scars, which seems basically to have fed into everyone’s obsession with Nikkolai, I am definitely worried about a third book taking things too far. I honestly even thought SoC would have been great as a standalone, though I also loved the CK ending.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh god, that fills me with dread! I totally agree that SoC could have been a great standalone, but admittedly I preferred CK because I loved the way she fleshed out everyone’s backstories (mainly Kaz, I’m really just here for Kaz). But I really don’t think we need more of these characters at this point. I hate how there’s so much pressure for authors to expand on books they’ve already written instead of creating new material. SFF needs more standalones and duologies. I didn’t read KoS because I never read the Grisha trilogy but the reception was very lukewarm indeed… I wish she’d just abandon this world and write something new.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I preferred the plot of SoC, but I did appreciate the depth given to the characters in CK as well. It really is great as a duology. Too much of a good thing is still too much.
        I did read the Grisha trilogy, so I was planning to read KoS, but I ended up canceling my library hold because of all the disappointed reviews rolling in in the meantime. I like Nikolai, but not enough to read a book that long that basically just serves to give him more page time. I would also be much more interested in seeing new worlds and characters from Bardugo at this point; Iā€™m looking forward to Ninth House!

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      3. I’m really looking forward to Ninth House too!

        Do you think I’d like the Grisha trilogy? I’ve mainly been told ‘it’s probably too YA for you’ but I’m still tempted to give them a try at some point. Though my excitement about that idea waned a bit when all the lackluster KoS reviews started coming in.

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      4. Hmmm the Grisha trilogy is definitely more standard trope-y YA fantasy. I don’t think you would get nearly as much out of it, but if you know that beforehand and are more interested in Grisha lore and politics than finding a new favorite series, you might be able to enjoy the world and characters without getting dragged down by the mediocre plot. Looking back, I did have a couple of 5-stars from the trilogy, which I don’t feel the same about after SoC, but still at least shows that I had a pretty good time with a couple of the books. You could definitely do worse in YA fantasy. Ultimately I think it would depend mainly on your interest level in the world building and Grisha magic.
        I think if the second KoS book is met more enthusiastically I might try reading that duology back-to-back eventually; if not, I think I’ll pass on those altogether.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. One book that had me sobbity sobbing at the end because there was such a sweet, soft romance is called IN & OZ by Steve Tomasula. It’s clearly a post-modern novel that plays with expectations. No one has a name, they’re all called whatever their occupation is, such as Mechanic. However, Mechanic decides that he doesn’t like fixing cars and wants to disassemble them instead, making autos into works of art! It catches on, and other characters do the opposite of what they’re meant to. The book ends with Mechanic realizing why there is always a tiny pile of dirt in front of his door, and who has been leaving it there. The simple gesture, which fit with the character who was leaving the dirt, nearly broke my heart for its simplistic sweetness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow, that actually sounds really appealing. I’ve just looked up the synopsis and it seems like just my type of bizarre. And, it’s short. One for the TBR! Thanks for mentioning this. šŸ™‚


      1. I read this author because my master’s thesis adviser taught Tomasula’s books VAS: An Opera in Flatland. After I graduated, I applied to the MFA program in which Tomasula taught. He’s a very nice, wacky man.

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