Literary Swoon: Jessica Spotswood + Box of Romance giveaway

February 9, 2013 2013, giveaway, guest post, jessica spotswood, literary swoon, Wendy 62

jessica spotswood born wicked star cursed cahill witch chroniclesGreetings, friends!

As we head into Valentine’s Day, we’re tickled to be bringing you the 2013 edition of our popular Literary Swoon series, in which we invite some of our favorite young adult authors to share books that have made them positively faint with pleasure.

We asked two questions: What is your favorite romantic quote or scene? Why has it stayed with you?

We’re kicking off the feature today with Jessica Spotswood, author of the popular Cahill Witch Chronicles. She told us she got so into this idea that she even skimmed through the book she chose all over again..although we all know that was probably just an excuse for a re-read. ;)

Fair warning that some spoilers may follow!

Jessica Spotswood’s Favorite Romantic Book

chime fanny billingsley

I love Briony and Eldric from Franny Billingsley’s Chime, which is one of my all-time favorite books ever.

Actually, it would be assumed that the young lady had no such impulses at all, but I’ll tell you something: Chocolate melts on my tongue too.

In this scene, Briony drinks rather too much wine and obliquely questions Eldric about whether he’s had sex. Basically, he says that he’s a man of 22…and she calls him out on the assumption that young men of 22 are expected to act upon such impulses, while young ladies of 22 are not — are in fact meant to pretend they haven’t such impulses. But she does! I love their banter, the way that she never hides her cleverness from him — and that he admires her for it. 

“I love a person for communion, communion with wine and coats and help and trust–even if that person feels he’s doing all the trust and gets grumpy. I love a person for knowing I’m the Amazon of the Swampsea, and for helping me be even more Amazonian, although he oughtn’t to deal out those little butterfly punches, because that’s cheating. I love him for making me laugh, and I love it that I make him laugh

This is my favorite bit in Briony’s declaration of love. Eldric earns her trust, even though she starts out awfully damaged and secretive. He makes her laugh. He encourages her to run wild in the swamp and teaches her to box, and she calls him on pulling his punches. In turn, she encourages him with his art. They are partners, and I love that.

Word magic. If you say a word, it leaps out and becomes the truth. I love you. I believe it. I believe I am loveable. How can something as fragile as a word build a whole world? 

This is a quote at the very end. Briony starts the book demanding to be hanged. She reminds herself: What, above all, mustn’t you forget? You mustn’t forget to hate yourself. 

And yet, over the course of the book, Eldric helps her put aside her self-loathing and remember she is worthy of love. (There’s also an absolutely swoonworthy first kiss on Blackberry Night – but I won’t spoil that for anyone who hasn’t read it yet!)

Have you read Chime by Franny Billingsley? What do you think of Jessica’s choice? 

jessica spotswood born wicked star cursed cahill witch chronicles

About the Author
Jessica Spotswood is the author of the Cahill Witch Chronicles, which includes Born Wicked and the upcoming  Star Cursed (June 18, 2013) from Putnam Juvenile. She lives in the Washington, DC area with her playwright husband and a cuddly cat named Monkey. You can find Jessica online on her website, blog, Twitter,  and GoodReads.
Photographs courtesy of the author and Anne Chan.

Check out the rest of the Literary Swoon series & win a box of romance!

A new author will be featured daily until Valentine’s Day, when The Midnight Garden bloggers will share their favorite romantic scenes.

Jessica Spotswood
Amy Garvey 
Sarah Rees Brennan
Sarah Fine
Marissa Meyer 

Talk to us about what you think of the romantic choices daily–we’ll choose our favorite comment for each day, and the 6 finalists will be entered into a drawing to receive a box filled with romantic books! The box will includes recent releases featuring love-struck couples.

ironskin pushing the limits romance ya


62 Responses to “Literary Swoon: Jessica Spotswood + Box of Romance giveaway”

  1. Rebecca

    Yay!!! Literary Swoon! I loved this event last year:) Well now I have to go find a copy of chime for myself. I got to meet Jessica this week. She is so sweet! Awesome post.

  2. Tanja - Tanychy

    Oh Chime is something new for me. I haven’t read it or heard of it before but after reading this scene I think I must check it out. I’m really curious about it. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Beth

    I have been a fan of Billingsly since I read The Folk Keeper when I was much younger. I loved Chime. It was quirky and Briony was so prickly, I loved her. Those last lines made me sigh and gave me “that feeling” upon closing the last page. I don’t get that feeling with every book, but when I do, I know it’s a keeper :)


  4. fishgirl182

    i actually haven’t read chime yet and bought it just recently. it sounds like a good pick though and i can’t wait to read it.

  5. Jasprit

    If Wendy asked me this question I would totally sit there re-reading my favourite books too, I don’t think Wendy would ever hear back from me again! But as I mentioned before I love reading favourite scenes from books that I’d never heard of or wouldn’t have thought of picking up. Chime for me definitely falls into both of these categories for me, but after much enthusiasm from Jessica and a mention of a swoonworthy first kiss, Chime will definitely going onto my tbr pile asap! Thanks again ladies for sharing yet again another wonderful post! :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Hah hah, well–I’m rather glad I didn’t ask you that question, then. ;) I love features like this since there’s always a good chance that an author whose books you appreciate will recommend a book you’ll end up falling in love with, too. Happened to me last year with Gail Carriger and her pick of a totally obscure, out of print fantasy title.

  6. Maji Bookshelf

    CHOCOLATE? *looks around* I NEED TO GET THIS BOOK. Especially since I am fasting right now and haven’t eaten for a while so ignore my min psychotic breakout because of the mention of delicious chocolate. I have seen Chime before but didn’t know it was that good of a romance. Another book to add to my list. and my god, the new covers of Spotswood’s books? so freaking beautiful.

    – Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  7. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    Oh wow this is such a neat feature, Wendy! I haven’t read Chime but Jessica definitely made it jump right quick onto my TBR! I also still need to read Born Wicked, I’m so behind on series that I want to start and when I sit and think about it, it’s so daunting with all the sequels coming out this year. Anywho, love the feature!

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks Jenni! We did this last year and the picks are always so interesting. :) We always see great books featured and the conversations the posts start are always so fun.

    • Wendy Darling

      Aw, sorry to hear that, Z. It sounds like you either love FB’s writing, or you don’t. I’m looking forward to seeing what the fuss is about myself.

  8. euphqueen1

    I ADORE Chime. I was so thrilled when it came out because I had read the Folk Keeper and Well Wished and then just moped around for YEARS waiting for Billingsley to write another book. She is fantastic. Love, love, love, love, LOVE her!

    • Wendy Darling

      I love the sound of FOLK KEEPER, too–I mean, selkies! Love the idea. I’m glad to see you’re such a fan of her books, I really need to take Jessica’s advice and read CHIME asap.

  9. Livvy

    I’d never actually heard of Chime, but it sounds rather interesting.

    I liked the part about banter between Briony and Eldric. It’s always my favourite part of a romance the little quips between couples that make me smile.

    Eldric’s quite an usual name too.. Kind of makes me think of Elves.. haha.

    I’m looking forward to your run up of Valentine’s Day! :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh yes, you can sometimes see so much chemistry when you read dialogue between a strong couple–absolutely agree.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the series!

  10. Rachel

    I haven’t read or heard of Chime but the romance sounds lovely. I love it that Briony doesn’t feel she needs to hide her cleverness and that Eldric appreciates that about her. Thanks for putting Chime on my radar. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Those are the best partners–the ones that don’t want to change you, but help you grow.

      I’m so glad Jessica helped put CHIME on your radar!

    • Wendy Darling

      Sure thing! We’re so grateful to Jessica for picking such a great book, you can see why we chose this one to kick off the series. :)

  11. readingdate

    I adore Chime. What a lovely choice on Jessica’s part! Born Wicked has some memorable kissing scenes as well. Looking forward to hearing about more swoon-filled reads :)

  12. Mary Preston

    I haven’t read CHIME. In fact this is the first I have heard of it. I’m loving the love though.

    BORN WICKED was my number one book for 2012. I devoured it.


    • Wendy Darling

      Sounds like CHIME might be made for you, if you love BORN WICKED so much, Mary! Adriana was just saying a few posts above yours that the two books were her favorites from last year. :)

  13. Sam

    Despite all the great reviews I have read for Chime, I still haven’t picked it up yet! I’m definitely interested again now after this post. I’ll have to make sure to reserve a copy at my library this time. :) Thanks for sharing!

  14. Adriana (BooksOnHerMind)

    Are you kidding me!? Her favorite romantic book was Chime!? Last year my favorite witch stories were Born Wicked and Chime. I couldn’t choose between them. Chime is truly wonderful (:

    I really was more drawn to her individually than the romance so unfortunately I can’t say much about it.

    • Wendy Darling

      Wow, what an awesome coincidence that CHIME and BORK WICKED were your favorite books from 2012, Adriana! There’s some sort of book magic going on there in Jessica choosing to feature it here, hah. :)

  15. Liviania

    The thing I love about posts like this is Chime would’ve never leapt immediately to my mind, but the romance is very swoony and admirable.

    “I believe I am loveable.”

    I remember that moment, because what really sells romance to me is character development. Not that they have to change for love, but that love changes them.

    • Wendy Darling

      That’s why I love these, too! I read TAMING OF THE FOREST KING because of Gail Carriger’s guest post last year, a book I normally never would have picked up–but I ended up loving it.

      Love that quote. And character development can be a huge part of getting invested in a couple, too.

  16. Christina Fiorelli

    I have Chime but I haven’t read it yet – after this post and the romantic quotes I know I have to and I’ll love it:)

    What’s striking about all these swoony snippets is that love gives you hope. Hope for something better with someone better that in turn makes you better too.

    And what’s so so important with Briony and Eldric is that this hope is a two-way street – his love helps her heal and her love gives him strength to go after his art. They help each other be stronger.

    My favorite swoony book is Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Anna and Etienne’s love gives them both hope for the future and it makes them stronger both as a couple and as individuals:)

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

    • Wendy Darling

      I love your interpretation of Briony and Eldric’s relationship, Christina! I do think the strongest couples are the ones where the people complement each other and help each other grow.

      Anna is pretty swoony, too. :) Love that pick.

  17. Christina Fiorelli

    I have Chime but haven’t read it yet – after this post and the little quotations I know I’ll love it!!

    What’s most striking about all these swoony love snippets from Chime is that love gives you hope. It’s a promise of something better, with someone better who in turn makes you better. And with Briony and Eldric, it’s a two-way street. He helps her heal, she gives him courage with his art.

    My favorite swoony book is Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins for the same reason – Anna and Etienne’s love gives each other hope and makes them stronger both together and as individual people:)

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  18. greenduckiesgirl

    Will definitely need to check out both of these books. I do so love a good romance.

    I’ll have to think really hard about what my swoon book is – I know that there’s been a few where you just clasp the book to your chest and think “Wow.”

    • dreamsofawalrus

      Yes! Yes yes yes! It doesn’t happen as often anymore (sadly) but I remember as a thirteen year-old when I finished reading Crown Duel. I couldn’t reread the good bits because I was late for school but I hugged it and cycled to school with the biggest smile stuck on my face, replaying romantic moments from the book over and over in my head for the full half hour it took me to get there. Such a great memory.

    • Wendy Darling

      YES! The books that move me the most are the ones that physically hurt or cause giddy amounts of excitement, too. I remember exactly how I felt the first time I read each book that I’d call a romantic favorite.

  19. erin

    Thanks for the fun post! I haven’t read either Chime or Born Wicked. Definitely need to change that :) Thanks for sharing!

  20. Bookworm1858

    I have read Chime but struggled a lot with the writing style. This little snippet was much easier to read and very swoonworthy.

    • Wendy Darling

      I’ve heard it’s a little tricky, Bookworm–maybe a book you need to be in the right mood for, too. Love those snippets, though!

  21. Keertana

    Gosh, I just LOVE Chime! It’s not for everyone, but I was so blown away by it. I loved Briony’s voice and Eldric is an amazing hero. Truly, his romance with Briony was incredible and the novel as a whole is SO GOOD. I’m glad it’s getting some attention! :)

    • Wendy Darling

      “Not for everyone” seems to be the key–a lot of mixed reactions to the book, but also a lot of raves from friends with more eclectic taste. :) It sounds wonderful, and your vote for it means it gets bumped up higher on my TBR!

    • Wendy Darling

      Wow, you loved it too, Jen! And that word “haunting” is like catnip to me.

      Just a few more months until Star Cursed, too! :)

  22. Beatriz Lins

    Oh my, Chime sounds SO GOOD. I haven’t read it yet – unfortunately – but these quotes just made me swoon! *-*

    Great post, and great giveaway as well :D

  23. karasacc

    What a fun idea for Valentine’s Day posts! I love me a good swoon; although, lately, I’ve found a lot of YA novels are seriously lacking in the swoon department – even the ones that are supposed to be swoon-worthy. I will have to check out Chime – thanks for the recommendation!

    On an unrelated note, but I daresay a fun fact nonetheless, Tiger Woods’ real name is Eldrick.

    • Wendy Darling

      Yes, I don’t get swoony over most of the supposedly swoony YA romances, either. So it’s always like a hunt for hidden treasure, hah.

      That bit of trivia weirds me out, hah. I am going to try not to think of it when I finally read CHIME!

  24. Lauren @ Love is not a triangle

    What a fun feature! I will definitely be back for more. And great choice. I loved Chime. What a fantastic and unconventional fairy tale. Briony and Eldric’s relationship is so subtle but I agree, it’s beautifully written amidst a haunting tale.

    I haven’t read the Born Wicked series, but I keep hearing about it so will have to add it to my list.

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks, we always get a great response to this feature! “Beautifully written amidst a haunting tale” sells me on this book even more, Lauren.

  25. Shirley

    HISUAHDISAHDIUAIH WHY HAVEN’T I READ CHIME YET!?! I’m quite literally swooning over the romance and chemistry between Briony and Eldric right now! (Oh, and how HOT is the name Eldric? I wish I knew someone named that…I’d probably annoy the hell out of him by calling his name every second of the day :P)
    Definitely going to read this now :) I’ll have to visit my local library again!<3

    Oh, and I CAN’T WAIT FOR STAR CURSED!! I absolutely LOVED Born Wicked & I’m desperate to find out what happens in the second book!<3
    heheee Anyway, great post ladies<3

    • Wendy Darling

      SAME HERE. I feel ridiculous that I haven’t read this yet, but this must be fixed immediately. According to one of our friends below, Tiger Wood’s real name is Eldrick, though. @_@

  26. Vegan YA Nerds

    I haven’t read Chime, but now I am interested in it for sure!

    And, this reminds me that I have had a copy of Born Wicked for a year and still haven’t read it, must get on that!

    • Wendy Darling

      I haven’t read this one either, although so many friends have told me I’d love it, Mandee! It sounds pretty swoon-worthy. :)