Swoon-worthy Books

cutetiptoesI’m not interested in the tawdry genre romance novels of heaving bosoms and shirtless beefcakes.  Give me a real guy with real faults any day.  Here are my “swooniest” picks:

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
“I’m here because of you. You’re my priority. Your happiness, in some fucked way, is tuned in to mine. Get that through your thick skull. Would I like it any other way? Hell, yes, but I don’t think that will be happening in my lifetime.”

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
“Oh, I wouldn’t mind, Hazel Grace. It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.”

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
“‘Kind of interested in you,’ he laughs, as if he can’t believe what he’s hearing. ‘I’m kind of interested in calculus and Ancient Roman warfare. You don’t use words kind of interested to describe how I feel about you.’”

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
“He smiles and takes his index finger and presses it to my lips, leaves it there until my heart lands on Jupiter: three seconds, then removes it, and heads back into the living room. Whoa – well, that was either the dorkiest or sexiest moment of my life, and I’m voting for sexy on account of my standing here dumbstruck and giddy, wondering if he did kiss me after all.”

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
“Lifting my arm, he presses his lips against the inside of my wrist. I’m utterly still; I feel my pulse tap several times against his lips, and then he releases my hand.”

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
“Do you remember all of your audiences?” Marco asks.
“Not all of them,” Celia says. “But I remember the people who look at me the way you do.”
“What way might that be?”
“As though they cannot decide if they are afraid of me or they want to kiss me.”
“I am not afraid of you,” Marco says.”

Divergent by Veronica Roth
“I feel his heartbeat against my cheek, as fast as my own.
“Are you afraid of me, too, Tobias?”
“Terrified,” he replies with a smile.”

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
“Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.”

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme over at The Broke and the Bookish

Image credit: couldn’t find the original owner of this pic!

5 Favorite Moments in Narnia

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!  (P.S. If you have not read these books yet, what is wrong with you?!!!) 🙂

5. The end of the world in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
The lilies!  The stillness!  The water so sweet and the lamb on the shore.

After that for many days, without wind in her shrouds or foam at her bows, across a waveless sea, the Dawn Treader glided smoothly east. Every day and every hour the light became more brilliant and still they could bear it. No one ate or slept and no one wanted to, but they drew buckets of dazzling water from the sea, stronger than wine and somehow wetter, more liquid, than ordinary water, and pledged one another silently in deep draughts of it. And one or two of the sailors who had been oldish men when the voyage began now grew younger every day. Everyone on board was filled with joy and excitement, but not an excitement that made one talk. The further they sailed the less they spoke, and then almost in a whisper. The stillness of that last sea laid hold on them.

4. The celebration in Prince Caspian.
I love that even the trees got their own food:

They began with a rich brown loam that looked almost exactly like chocolate; so like chocolate, in fact, that Edmund tried a piece of it, but he did not find it at all nice. When the rich loam had taken the edge off their hunger, the trees turned to an earth of the kind you see in Somerset, which is almost pink. They said it was lighter and sweeter. At the cheese stage they had a chalky soil, and then went on to delicate confections of the finest gravels powdered with choice silver sand. They drank very little wine, and it made the Hollies very talkative: for the most part they quenched their thirst with deep draughts of mingled dew and rain, flavoured with forest flowers and the airy taste of the thinnest clouds.

3. The creation in Magician’s Nephew.
Singing it into creation.  Yes.

The Lion was pacing to and fro about that empty land and singing his new song. It was softer and more lilting than the song by which he had called up the stars and the sun; a gentle, rippling music. And as he walked and sang the valley grew green with grass. It spread out from the Lion like a pool. It ran up the sides of the little hills like a wave. In a few minutes it was creeping up the lower slopes of the distant mountains, making that young world every moment softer.

2. The resurrection in LWW.
So mighty!

“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.”

1. The reunion in The Last Battle.
Every bit of it.

The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.


 Random 5 Friday is a weekly meme over at A Rural Journal.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

jellicoeI just recently re-read Jellicoe Road for the trillionth time, and you need to read it too.  For the last couple of years, this has taken the spot of my #1 most suggested book.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Jellicoe Road is a hard book to summarize, but let me give it my best shot:

There’s a territory war happening between the boarders (at the Jellicoe boarding school), the townies (from Jellicoe/Jellicoe High School), and the cadets (the military academy students who are camping on the boarding school property for the next six weeks).  While the three “factions” negotiate, Taylor Markham– the leader of the boarders– is trying to work out where Hannah, the woman in charge of her boarding school house, has disappeared to, using Hannah’s disorganized manuscript for clues.  The manuscript tells the story of five teens– three boarders, a townie, and a cadet– and Taylor is starting to wonder just how much of the manuscript is fiction.

There.  I know, I know: my description probably doesn’t make you want to run out and read it, so you’re just going to have to trust me.  Let me lay out my reasons why you should read this book:

1) The characters.

Taylor, the vulnerable leader of a boarding school community; Jonah, the cadet with whom she has strange history; Chaz, the townie enemy with a soul; and Raffaela, who sustains them all with her strong beliefs.  Not to mention Ben, the violinist; the Mullet Brothers; Anson Choi; Jessa and Chloe P.; and Richard, who wants to stage a coup.  (And beyond that … the five fascinating teens in Hannah’s unfinished manuscript!)

2) The dialogue.

Melina Marchetta is a master of teenage dialogue.  It’s so funny and spot-on and meaningful and good.

jellicoe23) The masterful writing.

A couple, non-spoilery quotes for you:

‘Guess what?’ Fitz said.
‘I don’t know,’ Jude said. ‘What? Narnie smiled?’ He glanced at her for the first time.
‘When you guys see a Narnie smile, it’s like a revalation,’ Webb said, gathering her towards him.
Jude stopped in front of her and, with both hands cupping her face, tried to make a smile. Narnie flinched.
‘Leave her alone,’ Tate said.
‘I need a revelation,’ Jude said. ‘And you’re the only one that can give me one, Narns.’ 

What kind of freak is this kid who’s giggling hysterically with the girls in the neighbouring beds, each with a crush on the other for being the same age when the rest of the world seems so old?

For reasons he couldn’t understand a sadness came over him and it was then he saw the girl standing on the other side of the dirt road, her eyes pools of absolute sorrow, her light brown hair glowing in the splinters of sunlight that forced their way through the trees.

jellicoe34) The mystery & the way it all fits together like a puzzle.

This book is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, so at first you won’t understand just how everything fits together.  But it does.  Oh, how it does.  In fact, after you read it once, you might do what my sister did, and immediately re-read it to catch everything you missed the first time.

5) Did I mention it’s funny too?  

There are parts that will make you want to laugh aloud!

So, all in all, Jellicoe Road is deep, funny, sad, poignant, fascinating, original, and well-written.

What are you waiting for?

Hope Begins in the Dark



I love when my worlds collide.  This quote from Anne Lamott’s brilliant book Bird by Bird can be seen through every lens of this blog: faith, OCD, creativity.  Here’s the full quote:

“I heard a preacher say recently that hope is a revolutionary patience; let me add that so is being a writer. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”

Best Kisses in Literature!

lipsTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme over at The Broke and the Bookish.  Today’s topic is a FREEBIE!

So, in light of my recent 7 Favorite YA Romances post, I decided to blog about my


*Blogger reserves the right to include more than ten.  Also, she may change up the format a little.

“Our tongues have fallen madly in love and gotten married and moved to Paris.”
Jandy Nelson, The Sky is Everywhere

“He bent down, his lips against her cheek, brushing it lightly—and still that light touch sent shivers through her nerves, shivers that made her whole body tremble. ‘If you want me to stop, tell me now,’ he whispered. When she still said nothing, he brushed his mouth against the hollow of her temple. ‘Or now.’ He traced the line of her cheekbone. ‘Or now.’ His lips were against hers.


But she had reached up and pulled him down to her, and the rest of his words were lost against her mouth. He kissed her gently, carefully, but it wasn’t gentleness she wanted, not now, not after all this time, and she knotted her fists in his shirt, pulling him harder against her. He groaned softly, low in his throat, and then his arms circled her, gathering her against him, and they rolled over on the grass, tangled together, still kissing.”
Cassandra Clare, City of Glass

“Lightning. Once it has forked, hot-white, from sky to earth, there is no going back. It’s time. I feel it, I know it. My eyes on him, his on me, and both of us breathing, watching, tired of of waiting. Ky closes his eyes, but mine are still open. What will it feel like, his lips on mine? Like a secret told, a promise kept? Like that line in the poem– a shower of all my days– silvery rain falling all around me, where the lighting meets the earth?”
Ally Condie, Matched

“He just watched the way Finnikin’s hands rested on Evanjalin’s neck and he rubbed his thumb along her jaw and the way his tongue seemed to disappear inside her mouth as if he needed a part of her to breathe himself.”
Melina Marchetta, Finnikin of the Rock

BEST LEAD-UP TO THE KISS: Froi and Quintana
“Our bodies aren’t strangers,’ he said, his voice ragged. ‘Our spirits aren’t strangers’. He held her face in his hands. ‘Tell me what part of me is stranger to you and I’ll destroy that part of me.’
Melina Marchetta, Quintana of Charyn

“What do you think would happen if we kissed right here, right now?” he asks, digging his hands into the pockets of his khaki pants, grinning right back at me.
“I think it would cause a riot.”
“Well, you know me,” he says, lowering his head towards me. “Causing a riot is what I do best.”
Melina Marchetta, Jellicoe Road

“Will Trombal sees me from the other side of the room and he grins and he makes a beeline for me and my mind is buzzing with the best opening. Hi. Hey. How’s it going? Great party. Love your shirt. Great music. Crap music. And he’s coming closer and closer and the way he’s looking at me makes me think that I’m going to have the most romantic night in the history of my life. I open my mouth to say something and he sticks his tongue down my throat. We’re in a corner, pashing, and I don’t even know what’s got me to this point. A look in a corridor? A flirt outside my nonna’s house? All I know is that no one exists around us. I don’t know whether we’re kissing for five minutes or five hours and my mouth feels bruised, but I can’t let go. Because it feels so good to be held…Will’s arms tremble as they hold me and his heart beats hard against me and I know that whatever I’m feeling is mutual. For a moment I taste the alcohol on his breath, and it brings me back to reality. ‘Do that sober and I’ll be impressed,’ I say before walking away.”
Melina Marchetta, Saving Francesca

SADDEST KISS: tie between Liesel and Rudy and Lir and Amalthea
“She leaned down and looked at his lifeless face and Leisel kissed her best friend, Rudy Steiner, soft and true on his lips. He tasted dusty and sweet. He tasted like regret in the shadows of trees and in the glow of the anarchist’s suit collection. She kissed him long and soft, and when she pulled herself away, she touched his mouth with her fingers…She did not say goodbye.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“The unicorn bowed her head, and her horn glanced across Lir’s chin as clumsily as a first kiss.”
Peter Beagle, The Last Unicorn

“As he kisses her, the bonfire glows brighter. The acrobats catch the light perfectly as they spin. The entire circus sparkles, dazzling every patron.”
Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

“He kissed her slowly. Everything went slowly so he could follow her temper, and search into her eyes. When they joined, her scent was brave and strong and certain. Perry took it into himself, breathing her breath, feeling what she felt. He’d never known anything as right.”
Veronica Rossi, Under the Never Sky

SWEETEST KISS: Eleanor and Park
She didn’t move, so he thought it was probably okay to touch her face. Her skin was as soft as it looked, white and smooth as freckled porcelain.
“I’ll just say, ‘Eleanor, follow me down this rabbit hole…'”
He laid his thumb on her lips to see if she’d pull away. She didn’t. He leaned closer. He wanted to close his eyes, but he didn’t trust her not to leave him standing there.” 
Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor and Park


I don’t understand people who don’t re-read.*

rereadingTo me, re-reading my favorite books is like spending time with my best friends.

I’d never be satisfied to limit myself to just one experience each with my favorite people.

* Please note that I’m not judging these people.  I just quite literally do not understand.