Tag Archives: romance

Swoonworthy Reads

To celebrate Valentine’s Day here on the blog I searched my bookshelves and Goodreads reading list for stories that struck me as delightfully romantic. I’m leaving out category romance and trying only to include books that feature a pairing or a moment that really stayed with me–books that were unexpectedly or hauntingly romantic, where I melted into a puddle of yearning, blushed, or gasped “oh my!”

Young Adult Romance


Keturah and Lord Death, by Martine Leavitt. One of my favorite reads of 2017, this gorgeous fairy tale inspired LOTS of yearning as I read.
Graceling, by Kristin Cashore. This fantasy starts slow with a chunk of world-building, but your patience will be rewarded. The romance was unexpected and very swoonworthy.
Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins. I do love a good boarding school story, and this may be the most delightful YA contemporary romance I’ve read!

Yearning Romance


Gaudy Night, by Dorothy Sayers. It’s really not fair to include this one because you must have at least read the two prior Peter/Harriet books to fully appreciate it, or ideally have read all the Peter Wimsey books. I had to include it, though, because the romantic bits are so incredibly SWOONY.
Possession, by A.S. Byatt. Two romances–one between Victorian poets and the other between the modern scholars studying them. I’m getting myself worked up just writing this summary. So. much. yearning.
Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier. This often harrowing story of a Civil War soldier on a journey back to the girl he left behind beautifully epitomizes romantic yearning.

Sizzling Romance


Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters. This Dickensian tale of a young swindler who meets her match totally took me by surprise with its SPICY romance, and ever since reading it I’ve been a diehard fan of Sarah Waters.
Garden Spells, by Sarah Addison Allen. I’ve enjoyed all of Allen’s books, but this was my first and remains the most memorable. The emotional and physical intensity of the romance definitely inspired a few “Oh MY!” moments as I read.
The Haunting of Maddy Clare, by Simone St. James. For some reason, I didn’t see the romance coming in this ghostly mystery. I fell for the misdirection, and I’m glad I did because the first sexy scene was a STEAMY surprise.

Just for fun, I’ll add my husband’s offerings to the list: The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger; Atonement, by Ian McEwan; and The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks (although he really means the movie for the last option, and he says in particular he’s thinking of Rachel McAdams, but I know he’s really thinking of James Garner and Gena Rowlands.

So what novels have made you yearn, swoon, or blush? I’d LOVE to know!

TV Tuesday: Kurt Seyit & Sura

Recently I discovered Willow & Thatch, a blog that recommends period films and television series. That discovery alone was worth a blog post, but one of their recommendations particularly caught my fancy — a Turkish historical romance (with subtitles) about star-crossed lovers during WWI. All the episodes are available on Netflix, so I watched the first one out of curiosity.

And now (five episodes in) I can’t stop thinking about it.


I mean, really!

Before you go rushing to Netflix, however, I have to tell you a few things. Kurt Seyit & Sura is a SOAP OPERA, rife with heaving bosoms, extended reaction shots, soft-focus fantasy/dream sequences, and quite a bit of figurative mustache twirling from the baddies. (Petro has a mustache perfect for ACTUAL twirling, but thank goodness he is more subtle than that. I kinda love him.) Also, the heroine is the classic swoony, helpless female from Gothic romance. She has moments where I connect to her, but all too often she is staring dewy-eyed at Seyit or into the camera and I find myself wishing she’d get more of a life.

All that said, I am seriously becoming obsessed. The show is beautiful to look at, it has a lovely focus on family and friendship, the hero is gorgeous and intense (like a Turkish Chris Hemsworth with a little Chris Evans thrown in, maybe?), the history is fascinating, and I just want to devour it all whole. Apparently it’s based on a real story. And though it’s intensely romantic, it’s solidly PG–so despite all the romantic “heaving,” you don’t have to worry about the kids walking in and getting an eyeful of actual bosom or backside. 😉

Perhaps I should include a synopsis? This one from Wikipedia, though not elegantly translated, will do:

The adventures of two people in love who broke away from their magnificent lives in Russia and were dragged to Istanbul. The journey of Kurt Seyit (Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ), a lieutenant from Crimea, and Şura (Farah Zeynep Abdullah), the beautiful daughter of a noble Russian family, from the days of magnificence to the Carpathian front line, from the riots to revolution, from Alushta to occupied Istanbul, to Pera in the 1920’s, is in a sense the journey of their love.

If you want to know more and/or need more persuading, check out 7 Reasons to Watch Kurt Seyit & Sura, though I recommend skipping down to the actual list in order to avoid spoilers.

And finally, a little more of Seyit the Wolf to entice you:


Floppy-hair Seyit


Soldier Seyit