Ten Quotes I Liked from Books I Read in the Past Year

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. I like taking note of passages that I like (I highlight them when I’m reading on my Kindle) whenever I read books. So this was a fun topic for me to put together. In no particular order, here are some of my favorite quotes from books that I’ve read in 2015:

Learning to FallLearning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra

In theory, blogging shouldn’t take a lot of time. Read a book, then write about it. Simple, right? Obligation fulfilled to the publisher or author who sent the book, to the readers who read the blog.

Not quite.

Blogging found me at a time when I needed people. I knew this, didn’t need a therapist to tell me. Moving to another state, starting college, figuring out how to be a fully functional adult and artist… there was so much comfort in being friends with people who liked the same things. Believe me, I tried being friends with real people, but the friendship offers stopped coming when I missed one too many dorm parties.

_____________________________________________

Choco Chip HipsChoco Chip Hips by Agay Llanera

I looked at the mug of thick, hot chocolate, like I was seeing it for the first time. The sides of the cup were smudged with dark brown liquid, dotted with grains. To get this thick consistency, you had to melt the tablea in water with milk, stirring the pot tirelessly with a wooden molonillo. You whisked and whisked until your arms protested, until the ingredients melded in a rich and silky brown. It was a labor of love.

I pulled the mug closer, bowed my head, closed my eyes, and inhaled. It smelled – what was it, exactly? – full. It smelled so many things: dark, earthy, and fruity. I held the rim to my lips and took a long, thoughtful sip.

“It’s not as sweet as you’re used to,” Dad said apologetically.

It tasted a hint of the sweet, a hint of the bitter – the way life always had been.

_____________________________________________

Loveless Childless CluelessLoveless. Childless. Clueless. by Miren B. Flores

The sea is for me. I make this declaration silently, standing chest-deep in the water, staring at that point where the horizon meets the sea. I close my eyes and revel in my favorite natural sound in the world – the waves. It’s a hypnotic rhythm, a soothing rhythm, the sweetest, I’m-so-glad-I’m-alive rhythm.

_____________________________________________

I'll Meet You ThereI’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

In my essay for San Fran, I’d written about how I’d always felt like there was something magical about taking bits and pieces of the world around me and creating something whole. It gave me hope: if you could make a beautiful piece of art from discarded newspapers and old matchbooks, then it meant that everything had potential. And maybe people were like collages – no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.

_____________________________________________

Once Upon a RoseOnce Upon a Rose by Laura Florand

She took a deep breath, and that sense of nothing shimmered like a mirage before all the things that filled her lungs. An air rich with scents and with the vitality of the man beside her. Cliff-hills rose and narrowed around them as they headed into the pass that led out of the valley. All the rest of the world seemed so far away here. Songs lurked in the scents of rosemary and thyme and pine and roses in this car, teasing at her to hit the right note and distill their essence into words and melody. That would be fun, to capture a scent in song, and nobody else but her might ever even realize what perfume teased through the notes.

_____________________________________________

A Wish Upon JasmineA Wish Upon Jasmine by Laura Florand

Sexy and sophisticated required so much work and attention to unimportant things, like how much you ate and how you fixed your hair. It was a particular skill, requiring a certain amount of luck in your genetics and then, exactly like most other accomplishments, at least seventy-five percent hard work, practice, and persistence.

And she’d chosen to practice something else, something that mattered to her more. Those models who looked so great as they marketed her perfumes to the public could no more have made a perfume than she could have looked that sleek and alluring. They worked in symbiosis, she and those models, but she was the secret element of that symbiosis, the elusive magic, and they were the glamorous show.

So naturally, it made sense to assume that the elegant Damien Rosier might prefer the glamor.

And yet… here they both were. Together.

_____________________________________________

Bone GapBone Gap by Laura Ruby

She closed the book and smoothed the quilt on her bed. Unlike the girl in the novel, she hadn’t made it herself, knew little about quilting or sewing or craftiness. And unlike the girl in the novel, she understood heat and wind more than ice and snow, and had no intention of breaking anyone’s heart, except maybe her own. Even Get Real had said nothing about this, about sitting on your bed in your room, stomach and head buzzing, nerves thrumming, heart beating in your earlobes and your toes, hoping so hard that there was one boy out there who wanted you as much as you wanted him, because you wouldn’t know what you would do with yourself if this were not true.

_____________________________________________

Archivist WaspArchivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace

Find the girl with the knife in her belt and the scars on her face, they told me. She’s different from the other girls who’d come before her, even though they’d carried the same knife, worn the same scars. She helps the dead, when she can, even when the living punish her for it. She probably will not want to be found. But she is worth finding.

_____________________________________________

UprootedUprooted by Naomi Novik

He looked at me, baffled and for the first time uncertain, as though he had stumbled into something, unprepared. His long narrow hands were cradled around mine, both of us holding the rose together. Magic was singing in me, through me; I felt the murmur of his power singing back that same song. I was abruptly too hot, and strangely conscious of myself. I pulled my hands free.

_____________________________________________

Girl Before a MirrorGirl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer

What do I want?

I want to be happy and not feel guilty about it. I want to be curious without being called indulgent. I want to be accepted regardless of what I look like, what I do for a living, my marital status, whether I have kids, or whether you think I’m nice enough, hospitable enough, or humble enough to measure up to your impossible standards. I want purpose. I want contentment. I want to be loved and give love unreservedly in return. I want to be seen, I want to matter. I want freedom.

_____________________________________________

What about the rest of you, what are some of quotes you’ve liked from books that you’ve read this year?

Author Matchmaker: Liza Palmer and Laura Florand

So this conversation happened on Twitter:

I love several things about this conversation on Twitter because
– I’m excited for these two new releases. I’ve finished Once Upon a Rose and loved it. Currently in the middle of Girl Before a Mirror.
– it’s always awesome when authors respond to readers on social media
– it’s great when favorite authors read each other’s work

Just something random to be happy about this week. 🙂 Have you had a similar experience with some of your favorite authors on social media?

Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer

I have been meaning to read another Liza Palmer novel ever since Seeing Me Naked surprised me by how good it was. So many other titles have distracted me and I wasn’t able to get back to her writing until I recently picked up Nowhere But Home. I was feeling a little homesick and thought it would be a good idea to read a book about coming home. I found it funny that the main character is named Queen Elizabeth because this isn’t the first time that I’ve heard of someone with that name – Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao chose that name for his second daughter. I had a feeling it would be interesting getting to know Nowhere But Home’s Queenie and I was right. Also, how pretty is that cover? I like the vintage, nostalgic design of it and I think it goes well with the story even though the picture portrayed in it isn’t an actual scene in the book. Nowhere But HomeHere’s the summary from Liza Palmer’s website: After Queenie Wake is dismissed from her restaurant job, she returns to North Star to cook meals for death row inmates. Hopeful that the bad memories of her late mother and promiscuous sister (now the mother of the captain of the high school football team) have been forgotten by the locals, Queenie discovers that some people can’t be forgotten — heartbreaker Everett Coburn — her old high-school sweetheart. When secrets from the past emerge, will Queenie be able to stick by her family or will she leave home again? A few pages in and I knew Nowhere But Home will be a very good read. Right from the start, I kept highlighting lovely passages that stood out for me. Queenie and her sister Merry Carole, grew up with the stigma of being daughters of the town slut. Nothing much was expected of them and Queenie wanted nothing more than to leave all of that behind. Which is why she has been flitting from one city to another, doing any kind of work that would let her stay away from her hometown. My heart went out to Queenie and Merry Carole for the difficult life that they’ve had, for everything that they’ve had to go through because of their mother’s reputation. I used to think small towns must be charming with how close-knit and warm everyone is but there’s an ugly side to it. Queenie is such a prickly character at the start of the novel but I liked her right away. She has more than enough reason to be like that. I might not have had the same experience that she did but I understood her reactions. Here’s a passage early on, before Queenie decides to go home, that resonated with me:

“I can’t be the only one faking it. I’m not the only lonely small-town girl drowning in this big city. I’m not the only refugee feeling invisible and alone. I’m not the only one who wants to scream, “NOTICE ME! I MATTER!” Maybe everyone is faking it. Maybe they’re just better at it than I am.”

THIS. Even though I was born and raised in a city instead of a small town, I get what Queenie feels. Maybe that’s why home is such a comforting place – it’s where you don’t have to feel invisible or alone. Even if being visible means being judged by others, like in Queenie’s case. I loved that each chapter heading was about a meal – either one that Queenie just had or one that she cooked. Seeing as I’m a big fan of food, I was able to appreciate this. Queenie is passionate about the meals that she cooks, she believes in the comfort that food is able to provide. When things get too much for her, she also turns to cooking:

“I need to cook something. I need to lose myself in something else besides the fractured light of my own memory.”

Beautiful wording, right? Another instance where I could relate to Queenie – just replace cooking with reading because I lose myself in books all the time. The reason why Queenie cooks is the reason why I read. Nowhere But Home is filled with the heartaches of Queenie’s life but all that pain is soothed away by a strong sense of family and belonging. Plus there’s such a beautiful, bittersweet romance that I was more than happy to devour. If anything, I would have loved for there to be more romance in this book. As it is, I loved spending time with Queenie as she tries to battle her demons and figure out what she’s meant to do with her life. Queenie’s hometown, North Star, is also very big on football (one character mentioned that it’s like Friday Night Lights with how serious everyone is about the sport) and that’s something that I’m NOT familiar with and yet it didn’t affect my reading experience. I only mention it now because I know some readers might be drawn to the book because of that aspect. I feel like Nowhere But Home is contemporary romance (or literature for women? I’m not really sure what to call it) that has more depth than chick lit. It is more emotionally layered and complex, and can make readers ache and feel for the characters. I would love for more readers to pick up Liza Palmer’s novels because I feel like they aren’t getting the attention that deserve. Nowhere But Home is one of the best books that I’ve read this year, I feel like it was exactly what I was looking for when I picked it up. I look forward to reading the rest of the author’s back list. I think Nowhere But Home has the same tone and feel as Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols and All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield, it just has older characters instead of teens. I recommend that fans of those two books give Liza Palmer’s latest a try. Other reviews: Angieville Ivy Book Bindings write meg!

Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer

Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer was a book recommended by Angie of Angieville and my copy was sent as a gift by Nomes of Inkcrush when I won her giveaway. I was craving for some contemporary romance reads along the lines of Unsticky by Sarra Manning and What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty so I asked Angie for suggestions and this was one of the titles that she mentioned.

Here’s the summary from Liza Palmer’s website:

Elisabeth Page has big shoes to fill. She’s the daughter of living legend novelist Ben Page, and the sister of literary wunderkind Rascal Page, and her career as a pastry chef is decidedly not up to her family’s snooty standards-even if she works at the hottest restaurant in L.A. Elisabeth hopes no one will notice that her five-year plan to run her own patisserie has morphed into an eleven-year plan to nowhere. Her personal life is also frozen in time: she’s still involved with her family-approved childhood sweetheart, a journalist whose constant jaunts leave her lonely. Enter an exciting career opportunity and even more terrifying, Daniel Sullivan, a beer-drinking basketball coach who is everything her family is not. Addicted to control and bred to criticize, can Elisabeth finally embrace happiness? Only if she has the guts to let others see her naked and let them love her, warts and all.

I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that Seeing Me Naked is so much more than its flirty title and cover. I have the UK edition with the white cover but I think I like the US edition with the yellow cover more because it’s understated and less smexy. I was expecting a light and fun book crack that will go down just as easily as the milk tea drinks that I’m currently addicted to. What I got was something more complicated. Elisabeth’s story deals with some weighty issues tied to her relationships with the people around her – her unusual family, her inconsistent childhood sweetheart and a guy that she just met named Daniel. Added to all that are her problems balancing her hectic schedule as the pastry chef in L.A.’s hottest restaurant. I have a cousin who’s a pastry chef in L.A. and I know hard that kind of job is – staying on your feet the whole day while cooking delicious treats, not having holidays because those are actually the busiest days for restaurants and thriving in a highly competitive industry. Elisabeth’s situation is no exception. She chose this career path because she wanted to stay away from her father’s literary shadow. I’m a huge fan of pastries and desserts in general so that’s one of the reasons why I was curious about this book.

I love that while Elisabeth’s romance with Daniel is an essential part of the story, it doesn’t necessarily take center stage. It’s actually more subtle than the other relationships in Elisabeth’s life. What she has with Daniel is what keeps Elisabeth calm and steady in an otherwise turbulent existence. It doesn’t mean that their relationship is easy because they still had to resolve some issues but it was nice to know that Elisabeth could rely on Daniel. Even though Elisabeth tried to stay away from her father’s profession, her whole family still has a huge influence over her. She craves for her dad’s approval, she finds comfort in her mother’s love and her brother Rascal is actually her closest friend. My favorite scene in the book is actually a pivotal moment for their family. I’m not going to spoil it but let me just say that it was the banquet towards the end of the book and that particular scene had me in tears. Like I said, I didn’t expect to get emotional over Seeing Me Naked but I’m glad that it surprised me. For me, the mark of a good book is when it can make you feel like you’re right there with the characters. I think it’s great when you get to laugh and cry with them. After finishing this, my first thought was that I want to read more books like this. I’m going to look for Liza Palmer’s other novels and I’m hoping that they will be just as good as this one. If you have similar suggestions, please let me know. Highly recommended for contemporary romance or women’s fiction readers.

Other reviews:
Angieville
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
4 Girls and a Book