[Top Ten Tuesday] Top Ten Book (Scenes) That Will Make You Swoon

top ten tuesday Top Ten Tuesday is a meme started by The Broke and the Bookish. Each Tuesday a new list is posted, highlighting a variety of topics.

This week’s topic is Top Ten Books That Will Make You Swoon, but since most of the books I read are not wholly swoon-worthy (I enjoy angst and drama and action and emotionally traumatizing books, like anyone else), I’m going to discuss instead

Top Ten Book Scenes That Will Make You Swoon
(in no particular order)

1. Delirium, Lauren Oliver

For a while we just lie there in silence. His chest rises and falls with his breathing, and after a while the motion starts to lull me to sleep. My limbs feel impossibly heavy, and the stars seem to be rearranging themselves into words. I want to keep looking, to read out their meaning, but my lids are heavy too: impossible, impossible to keep my eyes open.
“Tell me that poem again.” My voice doesn’t sound like my own; my words seem to come
from a distance.
“Which one?” Alex whispers.
“The one you know by heart.” Drifting; I’m drifting.
“I know a lot of them by heart.”
“Any one, then.”
He takes a deep breath and begins: “‘I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart. I am
never without it. . . .’”
He speaks on, words washing over me, the way that sunlight skips over the surface of water
and filters into the depths below, lighting up the darkness. I keep my eyes closed. Amazingly, I can still see the stars: whole galaxies blooming from nothing—pink and purple suns, vast silver oceans, a thousand white moons.

Simple, sweet, stars, and my favorite e.e. cummings poem. How do you not swoon?

2. The Distance Between Us, Kasie West

So I have a thing for banter and hot chocolate, but I’ll confess that part of what makes me swoon about this scene (and several others in this novel) is that Xander reminds me of one of my favorite Degrassi characters of all time. (Anyone venture a guess?)

“Hello, Dolls and More.”
“A week ago someone warned me not to buy the blueberry muffins at Eddie’s, but I didn’t listen and bought them anyway. Now at odd hours I get these insatiable cravings.”
I’m so relieved at who’s on the line that I let out a weird laugh/sigh combo then quickly clear my throat. “They’re laced with addictive substances.”
“I believe you now.”
I smile.
“So are you going to let me in? It’s kind of cold out here. I’ll share.”
My eyes dart to the door.
“I think this muffin might even have your name on it….Oh no, sorry, that’s my name.”
“You wouldn’t want me to die of hypothermia, would you?” he says.
“I don’t think it gets cold enough here for that.” I shuffle on my slipper-clad feet to unlock the door then hold it open for Xander.
“Hi.” His voice echoes in the phone I’m still holding to my ear. I push the Off button.
It’s been so long I had almost forgotten how good-looking…and rich he is. But it clings to him along with the cold air as he walks inside. I relock the door and turn to face him. He’s holding a brown Eddie’s bakery bag and two Styrofoam cups with lids on them. “Hot chocolate… Or coffee? I only took a tiny sip out of each so it doesn’t matter to me.”
“Hot chocolate.”
“I thought you might be a hot chocolate girl.”
I take the hot chocolate from him and try not to register my shaking hand as I do so…My gaze travels the length of him. It irritates me that this early in the morning, Xander can look so…awake. If I saw him in the middle of the night with bedhead and sleepy eyes, would he still look so perfect?
“Your stare can make a guy insecure.”
“I’m not staring. I’m observing.”
“What’s the difference?”
“The intent of observation is to gain data and form a theory or conclusion.”
He tilts his head. “And what theory have you formed?”
That you’re at least one step removed from normal.

3. The Truth About Forever, Sarah Dessen

The Truth About Forever was one of the first swoon-worthy books I’d ever read. It’s hard not to fall for Macy and Wes as they fall for each other through honest games of Truth, random conversations, games of Gatcha, sculpture, running, and World of Waffles. I don’t think ‘Sa-woooon’ quite describes how cute this book is.

“Honestly,” I said.
“Come on. You have to admit, it’s sort of ridiculous.”
“What is?”
Now that I had to define it, I found myself struggling for the right words. “You know,” I said, then figured Kristy had really summed it up best. “The sa-woon.”
“The what?”
“Wes, come on,” I said. “Are you seriously not aware of how girls stare at you?”
He rolled his eyes, leaning back on his palms. “Let’s get back to the idea of you being perfect.”
“Seriously. What’s it like?”
“Being perfect? I wouldn’t know.”
“Not being perfect.” I sighed. “Being…”
As I tried to come up with something, he flicked a bug off his arm.
“…gorgeous,” I finished.
“Again,” he said, as the parking lot girls passed by, eyeing both of us, “I wouldn’t know. You tell me.”
“Donneven,” I said, in my best Monica imitation, and he laughed. “We’re not talking about me.”
“We could be,” he said.
“I’m not gorgeous,” I said.
“Sure you are.”
I just shook my head, knowing this was him evading the question. “You,” I said, “have this whole tall, dark stranger thing going on. Not to mention the tortured artist bit.”
“You know what I mean.”
He shook his head, clearly discounting this description. “And you,” he said, “have that whole blonde, cool and collected, perfect smart girl thing going on.”
“You’re the boy all the girls want to rebel with,” I said.
“You,” he replied, “are the unattainable girl in homeroom who never gives a guy the time of day…”
“I’m not perfect,” I said. “Not even close.”
“I’m not tortured. Unless you count this conversation.”

4. There You’ll Find Me, Jenny B. Jones

“You’re not too bad, Finley Sinclair.”
I couldn’t have looked away from this boy if the room had caught on fire. “You’re okay yourself. At times.”
“But we can’t get involved.”
“No.” I swallowed. “Definitely not.”
His face lowered a fraction of an inch. “Because I’m infamously bad.”
“And I’m staying away from trouble.”
His voice was rough, husky. “It would never work.” I took a step closer. “Impossible.”
He traced my cheek with the pad of his thumb. “We don’t even like each other.”
“I pretty much can’t stand you.”
And then his lips crushed to mine.

Beckett and Finley had one of the most natural love-hate relationships I’d ever read. The teasing, the fact that fate kept throwing them together, and of course, a million moments like this.

5. If I Stay, Gayle Forman

“All I can think about is how fucked up it would be for your life to end here, now. I mean I know that your life is fucked up no matter what now, forever. And I’m not dumb enough to think that I can undo that, that anyone can. But I can’t wrap my mind around the notion of you not getting old, having kids, going to Juilliard, getting to play that cello in front of a huge audience, so that they can get the chills the way I do every time I see you pick up your bow, every time I see you smile at me.”

If I Stay remains one of the most adorable and most beautiful(ly heartbreaking) books I’ve ever read. Though the cute parts most certainly made me swoon, it was this moment, when Adam pleads with Mia to stay, to live, even though he understands why she wouldn’t want to, even though he’s trying hard to be selfless. And in the end, while he wants her to survive because he loves her, it’s the rest of what he says, about wanting her to live a long, fulfilling life accomplishing her dreams, that really grabs my heart.

6. Princess Diaries X: Forever Princess, Meg Cabot

My cousin asked for this book the year it was published, and I gave into my curiosity and read it, even though I knew it was the last in a series of ten books. I was a fan of The Princess Diaries film (I have to watch it every time ABCFamily or Disney Channel air it), but this book had me sold on Mia/Michael since their first scene together. My favorite is this scene though because oh dear, the sexual tension! (My second option was the following horse-and-carriage scene but it was too long!)

“You’ll do the right thing,” Michael said confidently. “You always do.”
I just stared at him. “How can you even say that? I so do not.”
“Yes, you do,” he said. “In the end.”
“Michael, I screw everything up,” I said, laying down my fork. “You, more than anyone, should know that. I completely ruined our relationship.”
“No, you didn’t,” he said, looking shocked. “I did.”
“No, I did,” I said. I couldn’t believe we were finally saying these things…these things I’d been thinking for so long, and saying to other people—my friends, Dr. Knutz—but never to the one person to whom they really mattered…Michael. The person to whom I ought to have said them, ages ago. “I never should have made such a big deal over the Judith thing—”
“And I ought to have told you about it from the beginning,” Michael interrupted.
“Even so,” I said. “I acted like a complete and utter psycho—”
“No, Mia, you didn’t—”
“Oh my God,” I said, holding up my hand to stop him with a laugh. “Can we please not try to rewrite history? I did. You were right to break up with me. Things were getting too intense. We both needed a breather.”
“Yeah,” Michael said. “A breather. You weren’t supposed to go and get engaged to someone else in the meantime.”
For a second after he said it, I couldn’t inhale. I felt as if all the oxygen in the room had been sucked out of it, or something. I just stared at him, not sure I’d heard him correctly. Had he really said…was it possible he’d really…?
Then he laughed, and, as the waiter came back to pick up his empty salad plate (I’d barely touched mine), said, “Just kidding. Look, I knew it was a risk. I couldn’t have expected you were going to wait around for me forever. You can get engaged—or, what is it? Right, friendship-ringed—to whomever you want. I’m just glad you’re happy.”
Wait. What was happening?

7. Heist Society, Ally Carter

“His arm was warm against hers. “I always wanted to do the Henley.”
“Can you be serious for a second?”
“Dance with me.”
“What?” she asked, but his arms were already going around her waist. He was already holding her tightly against him.
“Dancing. Come on. You can do it. It’s a lot like navigating through a laser grid. It requires rhythm.” He moved her hips to the beat of the distant music. “And patience.” He spun her out slowly and back toward him. “And it’s only fun if you trust you partner.” The dip was so slow, so smooth, that Kat didn’t know it was happening until the world had already turned upside down and Hale’s face was inches from her own. “Count me in, Kat.” He squeezed her tighter. “You should always count me in.”

Though the Heist Societynovels aren’t traditionally romantic, it is basically impossible to deny Hale’s swoon-worthiness, especially in scenes like this. I love ships that kick ass together, and adorable moments in the midst of the missions are an excellent bonus.

8. The Sweet Far Thing, Libba Bray

“Thank you for bringing me,” he says.
“You’re welcome,” I answer. “I’ve something else to share with you.”
I press our palms together. Our fingers tingle where they touch. His eyelids flicker and then they open wide in understanding of the magical gift I’ve given him.
Reluctantly, I take my hand away. “You can do anything.”
“Anything,” he repeats.
I nod.
“Well, then.” He closes the small distance between us and puts his lips against mine… I count the kisses—one, two, three, eight. Quickly, I pull away to catch my breath and my bearings.
“But…you could have whatever you wished.”
“Exactly,” he says, nuzzling my neck.
“But,” I say, “you could turn stones to rubies or ride in a fine gentleman’s carriage.”
Kartik puts his hands on either side of my face. “To each his own magic,” he says, and kisses me again.

Yes, this book made me cry for days, but before that, there were beautiful moments like this. (Even if they are the last things you remember about it.)

9. Love Irresistibly, Julie James

“Anyhow… we get to Champaign, which as it so happens, is where Kyle and I first met ten years ago. And the limo turns onto the street where I used to live while in law school, and Kyle asks the driver to pull over because he wants to see the place for ‘old time’s sake.’ So we get out of the limo, and he’s making this big speech about the night we met and how he walked me home on the very sidewalk we were standing on—I’ll fast-forward here in light of your aversion to “the mushy stuff”—and I’m laughing to myself because, well, we’re standing on the wrong side of the street. So naturally, I point that out, and he tells me that nope, I’m wrong, because he remembers everything about that night, so to prove my point I walk across the street to show him and—” She paused here. “—And I see a jewelry box, sitting on the sidewalk, in the exact spot where we had our first kiss. Then I turn around and see Kyle down on one knee.”
She waved her hand, her eyes a little misty. “So there you go. The whole mushy, cheesy tale. Gag away.”
Cade picked up his coffee cup and took a sip. “That was actually pretty smooth.”
Rylann grinned. “I know. Former cyber-menace to society or not, that man is a keeper.”

I strongly considered About That Night for this, but since that book basically always makes my TTTs (What? Kyle Rhodes is my favorite!), I had to go with this instead. I don’t even know how this boy can be real—that proposal is perfection.

10. Lola and the Boy Next Door, Stephanie Perkins

“Once upon a time, there was a girl who talked to the moon. And she was mysterious and she was perfect, in that way that girls who talk to moons are. In the house next door, there lived a boy. And the boy watched the girl grow more and more perfect, more and more beautiful with each passing year. He watched her watch the moon. And he began to wonder if the moon would help him unravel the mystery of the beautiful girl. So the boy looked into the sky. But he couldn’t concentrate on the moon. He was too distracted by the stars. And it didn’t matter how many songs or poems had already been written about them, because whenever he thought about the girl, the stars shone brighter. As if she were the one keeping them illuminated.
One day, the boy had to move away. He couldn’t bring the girl with him, so he brought the stars. When he’d look out his window at night, he would start with one. One star. And the boy would make a wish on it, and the wish would be her name.
At the sound of her name, a second star would appear. And then he’d wish her name again, and the stars would double into four. And four became eight, and eight became sixteen, and so on, in the greatest mathematical equation the universe had ever seen. And by the time an hour had passed, the sky would be filled with so many stars that it would wake the neighbors. People wondered who’d turned on the floodlights.
The boy did. By thinking about the girl.”

As we’ve already established, throw in some star-gazing and a book full of adorable passages like this, and I’m basically sold.

Which books or scenes make you swoon?


[Top Ten Tuesday] Top Ten Books When You Need Something Light & Fun

top ten tuesday “Top Ten Tuesday” is a meme started by The Broke and the Bookish. Each Tuesday a new list is posted, highlighting a variety of topics.

This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Eleven Books When You Need
Something Light & Fun

(in no particular order)

I love reading books that make me think, especially books that deal with tough subjects and make me feel all the feels. But sometimes you just need to settle down with a light, fun book and take your mind off of things. For me, these books usually end up being romance novels or fluffy, contemporary Young Adult fiction.

1. Scribbler of Dreams, Mary E. Pearson

scribbler of dreams - may e. pearson

Kaitlin Malone knows what it’s like to date the enemy. She was raised to hate the Crutchfields, and absolutely does — until she meets Bram Crutchfield. It turns out he’s a great guy — one she could talk to, share things with… even love. But when Kaitlin gives her heart to Bram, her world spins out of control. Soon the Crutchfields are her friends and she’s a traitor to her own family.

To make things worse, Bram was raised to hate the Malones, especially Kaitlin’s father, who murdered Bram’s dad. Bram doesn’t know Kaitlin is a Malone. If he did he would hate her, too.

What’s a star-crossed lover to do?

Though it isn’t the best Mary E. Pearson novel, Scribbler of Dreams will always have a special place in my heart because it made me fall in love with Young Adult fiction again at a time when I was the pickiest reader imaginable (I used to attend book fairs and buy absolutely nothing because nothing would interest me at all). I’m not the biggest fan of “forbidden romances” anymore, since that plot has been done to death in young adult literature, but there’s something about Bram and Kaitlin’s story that I absolutely adore. I love the way they connected, I loved all of Kaitlin’s gorgeous, lyrical journal entries and Bram’s beautiful artwork (well, the descriptions of that artwork, since there are no images in this book), and the general theme of getting to know a person beyond their reputation or rumors or even their background. The book is also quite short, so it makes the perfect “light read”.

2. This Lullaby, Sarah Dessen

this lullaby - sarah dessen

When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn’t mess around. After all, she’s learned all there is to know from her mother, who’s currently working on husband number five. But there’s something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy’s rules. He certainly doesn’t seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can’t seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy’s starting to understand what those love songs are all about?

All of Sarah Dessen’s books would probably fall into this category, though some of them pull at my emotions more than others. The one book of hers that I always grab when I need something fun and cute is This Lullaby. When you have adorkable goofy boys singing songs about potatoes (of all things), and some very cute antics and all the flirtation, it isn’t difficult coming up with a book that will make you laugh and swoon all at once. (Confession: I sometimes randomly start ‘singing’ (even though I have no idea what the melody would sound like) some variation of The Potato Opus — yeah, I still know all the words.)

3. The Mediator Series, Meg Cabot

shadowland - meg cabot

Suze is a mediator — a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won’t leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn’t seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations.

But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it’s not that easy. There’s a ghost with revenge on her mind… and Suze happens to be in the way.

Every book by Meg Cabot tends to fall into this category for me because they’re usually cute, hilarious, and very quick reads. My personal favorite to revisit is the entire Mediator series. Jesse De Silva’s gentlemanly ways, Suze’s kickass-ness, and the light humor always come to mind when I think “light” and “fun”.

4. Audrey, Wait!, Robin Benway

audrey, wait! - robin benway

California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous!
Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can’t hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi.

Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.

The antics of the main characters, the dialogue, and the fictional song the novel is titled after made me laugh hard.

5. The Bridgerton Series, Julia Quinn

omancing mister bridgerton - julia quinn

Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend’s brother for… well, it feels like forever. After half a lifetime of watching Colin Bridgerton from afar, she thinks she knows everything about him, until she stumbles across his deepest secret… and fears she doesn’t know him at all.
Colin Bridgerton is tired of being thought nothing but an empty-headed charmer, tired of everyone’s preoccupation with the notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, who can’t seem to publish an edition without mentioning him in the first paragraph. But when Colin returns to London from a trip aboard he discovers nothing in his life is quite the same — especially Penelope Featherington! The girl haunting his dreams. But when he discovers that Penelope has secrets of her own, this elusive bachelor must decide… is she his biggest threat—or his promise of a happy ending?

Regency romance novels are my ultimate go-to books whenever I just want to read something that will distract me from real life, or take my mind off of things. Julia Quinn was my introduction to this genre, and I can’t resist the lovely world of the Bridgertons. (The Viscount Who Loved Me, and Romancing Mister Bridgerton are my favorites, mostly because I loved Anthony and Kate’s battle of the wits and their… unconventional courtship, and I fall for the unrequited-love-that-eventually-becomes-requited every time. My favorite Bridgerton will always be Colin. I think it’s because he’s so amiable and handsome and funny, and fits into my “James Potter Syndrome” quite nicely. (Yes, I am aware I have a problem. Shhh.)

6. Past Perfect, Leila Sales

past perfect, leila sales

All Chelsea wants to do this summer is hang out with her best friend, hone her talents as an ice cream connoisseur, and finally get over Ezra, the boy who broke her heart. But when Chelsea shows up for her summer job at Essex Historical Colonial Village (yes, really), it turns out Ezra’s working there too. Which makes moving on and forgetting Ezra a lot more complicated… even when Chelsea starts falling for someone new.

Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think that a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. But with Ezra all too present, and her new crush seeming all too off-limits, all Chelsea knows is that she’s got a lot to figure out about love. Because those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it…

Past Perfect was adorable prank wars, trampoline jumping, period costumes, and ice cream — is it any wonder that I’d look to it when I need a fun read?

7. U.S. Attorney/FBI Series, Julie James

about that night - julie james

Though Rylann Pierce tried to fight the sparks she felt for billionaire heir Kyle Rhodes the night they met, their sizzling chemistry was undeniable. But after being stood up on their first date, Rylann never expected to see him again. So when she finds herself face-to-face with Kyle in a courthouse nine years later, she’s stunned. More troubling to the beautiful assistant U.S. attorney is that she’s still wildly attracted to him.
Just released from prison, Kyle Rhodes isn’t thrilled to be the star witness in a high-profile criminal case — but when Rylann comes knocking at his door, he finds she may be the one lawyer he can’t say no to. Still as gorgeous and sharp-tongued as ever, she lays down the law: she doesn’t mix business with pleasure. But Kyle won’t give up on something he wants — and what he wants is the one woman he’s never forgotten.

This entire series helped me out when I was going insane from stress. I love court dramas and FBI thrillers, so throwing them in a romance novel with all the sexual tension was enough for me to finish this entire series as quickly as possible. About That Night is my favorite because Kyle Rhodes, like Colin Bridgerton, is a hilarious, adorable, ridiculously pretty (he has “shampoo commercial hair”, according to Rylann) dork. I couldn’t resist. (“James Potter Syndrome” — it’s a real thing, I swear!)

8. Heist Society, Ally Carter

heist society - ally carter

For as long as she can remember, Katarina has been a part of the family business—thieving. When Kat tries to leave “the life” for a normal life, her old friend Hale conspires to bring her back into the fold. Why? A mobster’s art collection has been stolen, and Kat’s father is the only suspect. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

The only solution is to find the paintings and steal them back. Kat’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history — and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

I actually reread Ally Carter’s books all the time (which is probably why they seem to find their way to all of my Top Ten Tuesday posts), but when I need a light book, I specifically grab the Heist Society series. (The Gallagher Girls books make me think too much, and freak out, and wonder what will happen next.) Kat and Hale’s hijinks, plotting, and romantic interludes never cease to carry me away and make me wonder what it would be like to do any of the things they do (not that I’d ever try).

9. Books by Stephanie Perkins

lola and the boy next door - stephanie perkins

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion… she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket — a gifted inventor — steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Although both of Stephanie Perkins’ novels have some romantic tension and angst, the overall cuteness of the stories, the gorgeous settings, and the fact that I’d automatically get transported into Lola and Anna’s lives, make me have to reread them all the time. I have no doubt Isla and the Happily Ever After will end up on my “fun, light, always reread” list as well.

10. Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine

ella enchanted - gail carson levine

At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the “gift” of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: “Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally.”
When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella’s life and well-being seem in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery, trying to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way.

Ella Enchanted was one of the first fairy tale retellings I had ever read, and is my favorite novel written by Gail Carson Levine. I’ve never really liked Cinderella, but I ended up adoring Ella and Char and the way their paths reunited countless times throughout the novel. Its fantasy elements and the romance are what make it the perfect book for this list.

11. Hana Kimi, Hisaya Nakajo

hana kimi (for you in full blossom) - hisaya nakajo

Mizuki Ashiya is no slouch when it comes to a challenge. She’s a star of track and field at her high school, after all. So when she falls for fellow athlete Izumi Sano, she figures out an ingenious plan to get close to him.

Now she’s moved to Japan, enrolled in the all-male high school Sano goes to, and become his roommate! How? She’s disguised herself as a boy! Whatever happens next, things are about to get seriously complicated!

I wanted to put Sailor Moon and Skip Beat! on this list because I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve reread those manga (Sailor Moon especially), but I would never call either of them ‘light’ reads (fun, definitely, but they also drag you into the pits of emotional hell, so I don’t think they can be listed regardless). Hana Kimi, however, is the one manga that has made me laugh all the way through, even when one of the characters was questioning his sexuality because he was attracted to a girl-masquerading-as-a-guy. It’s just a lot of hilarity, insanity, and awkward randomness, and it’s one of the best completed manga I have ever read.

Which books do you turn to when you need something light and fun?


[Top Ten Tuesday] Top Ten Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Pick Up A Book

top ten tuesday “Top Ten Tuesday” is a meme started by The Broke and the Bookish. Each Tuesday a new list is posted, highlighting a variety of topics.

This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Buy/Pick Up A Book
(in no particular order)

Though I try my best to give books a chance beyond the surface of their cover art or their titles, there are some key or “trigger” words in summaries and titles (or overheard through the grapevine) that make me instantly need to read a book. Sometimes it’s an entire genre, sometimes it’s a setting, sometimes it’s a particular type of character or relationship. Either way, the second I see these things, the more I want to find out about the book. Of course, the mention of such subjects is not enough for me to like a book, but pursuing some of these interests has led me to discovering some of my favorite young adult novels today. I don’t think I could stop reacting to these words or topics even if I tried…

1. England, France, Japan, Australia — Any Place I’ve Ever Wanted to Travel

the statistical probability of love at first sight - jennifer e. smith I have a bucket list of places in the world I’d like to visit someday, when the finances and time are on my side. These locations are all over the world, from Europe to Australia to Japan, so whenever I see a book based in any country that intrigues me, I have to give it a chance… as if I can absorb the culture, language, and all the sights through the pages until I can experience them myself. (Bonus points if the book has characters (read: cute boys) with foreign accents, especially if they’re British.) This is how I ended up reading Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith.

2. Strong Female Characters

the disreputable history of frankie landau banks - e. lockhart Nothing makes me want to read a book more than strong female characters. I love seeing women kick ass, and if they’re in a leading role, doing all the things ridiculous people think they’re too weak to handle, I love them even more. (Actually, if a book has weak female characters, I most likely will have trouble getting through it.) The Gallagher Girls novels, the Heist Society novels, the Gemma Doyle trilogy, Cinder, The Hunger Games, and a HUGE list of novels that would take me ages to name all interested me for their fantastic female characters. One of my favorite books in this category is E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks.

3. Fairy Tale Retellings

cinder - marissa meyer I love everything about fairy tales, the actual ones and their Disney counterparts, so fairy tale retellings, especially if they’re in a different setting or modernized, automatically grab my attention. I have a thing for castles, kingdoms, princes and princesses, and who can resist a romantic tale of Good VS. Evil? Considering Marissa Meyer’s Cinder has all of these things and an epic quest and an amazing cast of characters, is it any wonder I had to pick it up?

4. Regency, Victorian, All Period Stuff

the viscount who loved me - julia quinn I love period books – everything Regency and Victorian and elegant and lovely. There is something about that era that fascinates me (and the gorgeous gowns, the corsets, and the gentlemen dancing in ballrooms don’t hurt). Regency romance novels (I automatically think of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series) particularly enchant me, but the book I automatically bought from this keyword, no further questions asked, was A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. With such a gorgeous cover, completely indicative of its period, what else was there to know? (It’s actually one of my favorite fantasy-ish trilogies of all time, though that isn’t why I picked it up initially.)

5. Strong Platonic Friendships, Strong Female Friendships

bishoujo senshi sailor moon - naoko takeuchi I fall for romantic relationships all the time (hell, I have more fictional ships than I know what to do with), but what really pulls me to a novel are strong platonic friendships that survive over time, especially when these platonic friendships are between women. More often than not, female relationships in fiction are petty and superficial, even when they start off strong. For some reason, these books seem to think that something ridiculous, like a boy, can easily pull apart the strongest of friendships because women can’t react to other women, even those whom they hold dear, without some kind of jealousy or rivalry. This is why I adore Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series so much. Cammie, Bex, Macey, and Liz are a team, and they truly care about each other. In a life crisis, whether it’s life threatening or just something of a more personal nature, they have each other’s back. (This is also why Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi is one of my favorite manga. The senshi’s strong friendship is beautiful.)

6. Mythology, Lore, or Legend-Based (including Retellings)

avalon high - meg cabot I majored in Classics in university, so I’m a huge fan of anything mythological, whether it’s mythology-based, mythology-inspired, or an actual retelling. The novel doesn’t even have to be centered on mythology to pique my interest, as long as the elements are present. One of the biggest series I’ve fallen in love with for this reason is the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, though of course, when I started reading the books at the age of eleven/twelve, I had no idea how rooted in mythology the novels actually were. I also love the Arthurian legends (I’m actually making my way through BBC’s Merlin, Series 5 right now), which is why I was intrigued by Meg Cabot’s Avalon High when I first heard about it.

7. Diverse Ensemble Cast of Characters

heist society - ally carter If I’m not a fan of the characters in a novel, the chances are that I won’t enjoy it much. At all. So when I hear that a book has an extraordinary range of characters, diverse culturally and personality-wise, that will make me fall in love with each of them, I have to check it out. This was the case with all of the Ally Carter novels (Gallagher Girls and Heist Society) I currently adore.

8. Road Trips

two way street - lauren barnholdt I like road trips. Mostly because I would like to one day go on a road trip (or backpack across Europe, whichever seems more feasible at the time). The locations, the cooperation and relationship needed to be able to travel with another person for an extended period of time, and the issues these characters usually need to resolve along the way are what make these books for me. The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour and Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt are two of my favorites.

9. Ancient Latin

two way street - lauren barnholdt As a huge Classics nerd, any use of the Latin language (correctly) makes me automatically want to read a book. The Harry Potter series, of course, uses Latin everywhere, from its spells to some of its names, but the book that I had to read the second I discovered how significant a role this beautiful semi-dead language played in the story was Robin Wasserman’s The Book of Blood and Shadow. A Latin mystery in which the protagonist must translate documents for hints? Instant buy. (This book also featured Prague, which is one of the most beautiful places in the world and a city I’ve actually visited and fallen in love with, so this book really was a must-buy for me.)

10. Magic

once a witch - carolyn maccullough The fantasy genre is a hit or miss for me. It was once easy for me to find so many YA books in this genre that interested me, but now it’s become so… “diluted” that it’s difficult for me to find any that don’t disappoint me. Supernatural/paranormal things tend to make me wary, especially after how popular the genre has become in recent years, and I rarely find dystopian series that are well done beginning to end. But the word ‘magic’ — maybe it’s because I’m a Harry Potter fan — rarely fails me and continues to grab my attention. I couldn’t tell you what it is about “witches and wizards and magical beasts”* that I love, or why books rooted in magic make me want to read them so much. They just… enchant me. Maybe it’s the way magic comes with a new series of problems, that they’re an aspect of the characters but these characters continue to face adversity as we do in the real world. I love adventurous novels, I love novels of mystery, and novels with magical elements tend to include both. They also usually have romance, but unlike the supernatural genre, most of the novels I’ve encountered (or maybe I’ve just been lucky) dealing with magic don’t let the romance overpower the task at hand… (Basically, the actual plot.) Harry Potter and the Gemma Doyle trilogy both fit this category, but this keyword is actually the reason why I read Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough.

*“Witches, wizards, and magical beasts” is taken from A Very Potter Musical‘s “Get Back to Hogwarts”.

Which words or topics make you instantly pick up a book?


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