Literary Swoon: Sarah Rees Brennan + Box of Romance Giveaway

February 11, 2013 2013, giveaway, guest post, K., literary swoon, Sarah Rees Brennan 56

sarah rees brennan unspoken demon's lexicon literary swoon

Welcome to Day Three of our 2013 Literary Swoon series! We are celebrating Valentine’s Day here at The Midnight Garden by asking our favorite YA authors what they consider to be their most romantic scene.

Today, we welcome Sarah Rees Brennan, author of the paranormal romance/gothic mystery Unspoken. Being the writer of one of the most refreshing and charming romances to come in YA in the past year (or ever), we are more than excited to share with you Sarah’s own personal picks.  Yes, picks! Sarah chose not just one, but two romantic scenes. We understand the dilemma. So, without further ado…

Beware: spoilers ahead.


Sarah’s Favorite Romantic Scenes


I could not pick just one romance. So I picked two. Things always go in twos, right?

This is the third book in a series, The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. I do not want to spoil you any more than I absolutely have to, but the king and queen are married, the country hates him because they think he forced/conned her into it, the king is short, younger than the queen, shifty and unsoldierly in the country’s view, and the queen is tall, forbidding and murderous. The king is personally afraid of the queen, with good reason. So the king is in a vulnerable situation, and yet is lippy with the queen as is his sassy way, and then THE QUEEN DOES THIS.

She said, “I love your eyes.” She kissed him on either cheek, near the small lobe of his ear. “I love your ears, and I love”—she paused as she kissed him gently on the lips—“every single one of your ridiculous lies.”

Isn’t it great? Just turns everything else about the situation around: makes the narrator, who isn’t either one of them, feel like the world tumbled around his ears.

                                       * * * * *

I also really love Margaret Mahy’s The Changeover, which is a book about a young lady claiming her magical powers, and a boy who has them but shouldn’t (boys aren’t meant to be witches).

HEROINE: I’m in the BEDROOM of an ooolder man and he is wearing a black silk dressing gown like a teenage Hugh Hefner.

HERO: What did you COME here for, Laura?

HEROINE: Sorry, Sorry. (The hero’s name is Sorry and it is embarrassing for everyone.) If I, ah–HE’S COMING CLOSER!–disturbed you?


HEROINE: Time for the… romantic kiss!

HERO: *boob grab*


He also kisses her clumsily in front of his mum. He is basically a human disaster, and she is awesome, self-possessed and in charge, but very young and very distrait about other things (magical threat to little brother et cetera). They have to navigate a relationship and it’s so unromantic it’s comes all the way back around to romantic: they both try so hard, and genuinely care for each other.

As you can perhaps see, I have an UNTRADITIONAL taste in romance. But I think the crux of it for me is: surprise me, have characters I believe surprise each other, have them communicate and care for each other, let me see how they become unique to each other.

And I will fall in love, too.

About the Author

Sarah Rees Brennan is the author of The Demon Lexicon trilogy and with fellow writer Justine Larbalestier, the co-author of Team Human. Unspoken, the first book of her latest series was released in September 2012. (Read our review here!) The highly anticipated sequel, Untold, is set to be published in August 2013.

You can follow Sarah through her: website, GoodReads, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Photograph courtesy of the author.

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

Jessica Spotswood
Amy Garvey 
Sarah Rees Brennan
Sarah Fine
Marissa Meyer 

A new author will be featured daily until Valentine’s Day, when The Midnight Garden bloggers will share their favorite romantic scenes. Talk to us about what you think of the romantic choices daily–we’ll choose our favorite comment every day on each post, 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.

56 Responses to “Literary Swoon: Sarah Rees Brennan + Box of Romance Giveaway”

  1. Rachel

    I haven’t read Sarah’s swoon choice so I didn’t read the quote, but I loved Unspoken! What a fun read even if the ending killed me. Can’t wait to read the next one. :)

  2. Tanja - Tanychy

    Both books are new to me. The King of Attolia sounds like something I might love. Well if the author of Unspoken recommend this I’d most likely love to read it. :)

  3. Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue

    I haven’t read either of Sarah’s picks, but I have read some of the books she’s written. She’s wicked funny, and definitely knows how to write couples that will make you swoon, then break your heart in the next pages. I love that she brings her trademark commentary into this post.

    This is an AWESOME feature idea! Love it and can’t wait to see who the other authors are.

    • K.

      I agree with you Madeleine. I’ve never read so much in my life until I discovered the book community online. It’s opened me up to so much opportunity, experiencing books and genres and authors I don’t think I ever would have if I didn’t have this kind of guide. I hope you end up loving these books!

  4. Angiegirl

    *sigh* Attolia and Gen. ATTOLIA AND GEN. There are no words for the two of them and their place in my heart.

    I sent a friend home with the entire series this week and she finished the fourth one last night utterly in love.

    • K.

      Haha, that’s so like me to shove awesome books down my reluctant friends’ throats…hmmm…that sounded very violent of me.

  5. Mary Preston

    I can’t believe I’ve never heard of THE KING OF ATTOLIA before. This is the kind of book & series that I’d walk barefoot in the snow to read. Such a fabulous snippet you gave. I could imagine it.

    THE CHANGEOVER does not give me quite the same feeling, but I’ve added it to my reading list thank you.

  6. Shirley

    Awwwwww I think I’m in love with Sarah’s taste in romance<3 I would never have chosen the two scenes above BUT I'm so in love with those scenes now<3 Thanks for sharing!!

  7. Liviania

    I love both of these books so much! But my favorite of Mahy’s is The Tricksters, which doesn’t have a romance per se, but has this amazing scene where the protagonist realizes people will believe she’s sexy if she acts like she is.

    But I will forever have a soft spot for The Changeover because Sorry is ridiculous and Laura rolls her eyes and likes him anyway but doesn’t pay too much attention to it because SHE HAS TO SAVE HER LITTLE BROTHER’S LIFE. Laura is an example to all paranormal romance protagonists who forget they have to solve the mystery/save the world/rescue their McGuffin because a cute boy likes them. You can be into the cute boy and still get shit done.

    • K.

      “You can be into the cute boy and still get shit done.” Sigh! Now if more authors/publishers/editors would listen to this! I haven’t heard of The Tricksters but I’ll definitely check it out. Thanks Liviania.

  8. rabbitsfortea

    Hah, those choice are indeed very untraditional, but well, it’s Sarah Rees Brennan who wrote the amazing Unspoken. So I’ll definitely have to check those two books out of course :P

    Besides I’ve heard/read so many rave reviews for The Queen’s Thief trilogy, that I really do have to start reading it soon. The Changeover, I’m not too sure… (Although it does sound hilarious) But I do love Sarah’s reason for loving it.

    PS. I need me a copy of Untold. The wait is killing me.

  9. Candace

    OMG, Sarah Rees Brennan is flipping hilarious! I love her!
    I love her choices, totally made me giggle too. I’m not familiar with either book but am looking them up now!

    • K.

      She is indeed hilarious. She made me actually LOL, like actually L. O. L. when I read Unspoken.

    • K.

      Ooh, you got to meet her, Savannah? I’m not even going to try to hide my jealousy! I’m glad to know she’s as great in person as she seems to be through her characters ;)

  10. Bookworm1858

    Definitely untraditional taste but still good. I read the first two Attolia books a long time ago but think I need to revisit and complete the series now.

  11. Brandy

    GEN AND IRENE!!!!! There is no better literary couple. Anywhere. I love that scene she quoted too. But I like the other kissing scene in the book even more.

  12. Lauren @ Love is not a triangle

    AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH That is my girlie scream over how much I love the first pick: Gen and Irene. What a fantastic couple that I would have NEVER EVER thought could work. I love them to pieces. I love how unconventional they are and also how surprisingly well they work as a couple.

    I have not heard of the second book but will be checking it out.

    • K.

      I’m really going to have to read this book, haha! There seems to be a mega, gigantic fan base for this strange couple.

  13. Shelver 506

    Gaaaaaaaah, Gen and Irene. *dies* That entire book is just ridiculously romantic. They made my Top 10 Romantic Couples list for tomorrow.

    • K.

      Wow, that’s some high praise for this couple! Though I have to admit that the given quote doesn’t sound very YA…am I right to expect an adult-ish YA novel?

  14. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Huh–haven’t read any of those choices but they do sound pretty darned good! I’m going to have to check them out! Love is such a weirdo thing…which makes it so fun to read about!

  15. Wendy Darling

    I have had friends hounding me to read MWT for ages, but I just haven’t gotten around to her books. Knowing there’s a saucy romance in it definitely perks up my ears, though! And the second scene is hilarious, hah–I haven’t heard of that book before.

    • K.

      Me neither, Wendy! I was really confused when I’d first read it but now all I am in intrigued!

  16. Sunny Duvall

    I keep seeing such great things about Sarah Rees Brennan (like Jen’s comment above) so I really have to get on it and read her books! I know Shelver will be whooping and hollering over her Megan Whalen Turner pick. Great post!

    Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf

    • K.

      In my humble opinion, Sarah Rees Brennan deserves all the hype times 100! Read it as soon as you can, Sunny! You won’t regret it.

  17. Jasprit

    I much prefer reading about untraditional favourite romantic scenes than stumbling across scenes that I have already read. I think my favourite would have to be from The Changeover, it’s so awkward, yet ridiculous at the same time, but I think it would be something I would enjoy reading? Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with us ladies! :)

    • K.

      At first, I didn’t get that particular scene from The Changeover but I suppose all it takes is to actually read the book, huh? If its quirky and undeniably cute…well, I love those.

  18. Livvy

    I’ve heard so much about Megan Whalen Turner, but I’ve actually never read one of her books. She seems to be this huge author that everyone has read. I feel left out. I loved the quote.

    Sounds like quite the handful of a romance!

    Oooh, Unspoken is a book I have still yet to read.

    • K.

      You feel left out, Livvy? You and me both! And please, please read Unspoken already. It is worth every dime.

  19. Keertana

    KING OF ATTOLIA! :D Seriously, I loved SRB enough without her having to pick one of my favorite books, but I’m glad she did! ;) I’ll have to check out the other novel she mentioned, though…it sounds too amusing to pass up!(:

    • K.

      King of Attolia is one of your favorites, Keertana? I am seruously beginning to think I’ve been missing out!

  20. Maji Bookshelf

    oh wow I need to get past a not appealing book cover from time to time to find gems like the ones Sarah just recommended. I must get my hands on one of these books!

    great post!
    – Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  21. Sam

    Ahh see, I LOVE Sarah’s untraditional taste in romance. Being surprised by a romance just as much as the characters are is a wonderful thing. :) This is my favourite literary swoon post to date! It also reminds me that I need to read some Megan Whalen Turner! :)

    • K.

      Aw, thank you Sam. I was so excited to see what Sarah’s choices and while at first I thought they were a little too out there (maybe perhaps because I had almost no knowsledge of either books), the response from you guys have slowly but surely been changing my mind ;)

  22. Leannessf

    One of my favorite series is the Thief/Attolia series by Megan Whalen Turner! I totally agree that this is an unconventional romance, but moving just the same. The fact that you have a third POV narrating the story adds to the mystery as we find out about their marriage through his eyes (and he hates Gen in the beginning!).

    You seriously have to read the second book, The Queen of Attolia, to get the full impact of the third as big things happen to pit Gen against the Queen!

    BTW, Unspoken was an amazing read – definitely one of my favorites of the year! Loved the quirky, heroic Kami and the brooding, dark Jared! The ending just shattered me and I have to read the sequel, Untold!


    • K.

      Hmm…maybe I really should give the series a try. I’m always up for surprises and if the romance is different yet still gives the “feels” then I’m in! I cannot wait for Untold. I am literally counting down the days.

    • Leannessf

      It’s definitely more of a fantasy series, so if you like Kristen Cashore’s Graceling series or Tamora Pierce’s Lioness Quarter series, you should enjoy the Attolia books!

      Happy reading!

    • K.

      I’ve heard good things about the series but I haven’t really given it a good look…maybe it’s time :)

  23. JenE

    Wonderful swoon pic with The King of Attolia! I fell in love with Gen last summer and have reread the series a few times now. Off to do it again.

  24. starryeyedjen

    LOVE this! Sarah Rees Brennan is absolutely one of my favorite authors BECAUSE she surprises me at every turn. And now I really want to read these two books because SHE loves them. I promise…I am not an author-stalker. I just pretend to be one. :)

    • K.

      Unspoken is definitely one of the best YAs I’ve ever read. It was refreshing and just brimming with kick-ass awesomeness. No shame about being an author stalker!

  25. erin

    Thanks for the great post! I’m definitely going to have to check out Sarah’s choices, they sound very interesting! I also agree with Sarah… give me something unconventional, throw in a bit of snark and a strong heroine and I’m yours! :)

    • K.

      I also haven’t read either one of Sarah’s picks so I’ll have to check them out, too. And your formula for a great book…I agree completely!