Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Recent Reads: Short & Sweet Reviews of An Ember in the Ashes, The Winner's Crime, A Darker Shade of Magic, Made You Up and More

I have some thoughts on these six reads to share with you today:) 

An Ember in the Ashes
by Sabaa Tahir
April 28, 2015
464 pages
Source: ARC courtesy of publisher

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.
 (Goodreads Summary.)

An Ember in the Ashes is, without a doubt, one of my, and I'm betting yours, most anticipated debuts of 2015. I'm pretty sure it had me at "terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world." And I am here to tell you that this book TOTALLY lives up to that and all the other hype surrounding it. I'm not going to give a play by play of this book--why ruin it for you?-- but let's just say that I'm about 90% sure it's going to be a hit. A BIG one. 

First off its genre blending at its finest. Part fantasy, part dystopian, and part historical fantasy,  there really is a little bit for everyone when it comes to this book. Plus I see it being marketed as a crossover for the adult readers too--it's brutality and examination of numerous moral issues pretty much insures that. 

Ember is told in dual narration-- we meet Laia, the scholar girl (the lower, oft enslaved class) and Elias, a soon to be elite soldier in the ruling Martial Empire. Both of these characters are well formed and complex. Both grow and evolve as the book moves along--outwardly and inwardly. But there are a host of other characters that play important roles--Helene, Elias's fellow soldier and best friend being the first in line. I absolutely adored Helene--just as much as the two main characters. In fact every character I encountered spoke to me in one way or another: from Laia's fellow slaves to Elias' fellow soldiers. 

There is an evil villain in the form of the Commandant who is, awesomely enough, a small-framed woman (!) and there is also a supernatural element in the form of a group of mystical augers, or seers of prophecies. 

The book is vividly written, its a dark, dark story, and a great example of a not so virtuous Resistance pitted against an evil kingdomEmber also features themes of slavery and oppression; power and its inherent good AND evil side; as well as destiny and fate vs. free will. 

I know some readers are a little miffed and wary about the mention of a love triangle--and I'm not going to sugarcoat it--it's left open to the possibility. But I actually think that it falls more in the realm of the complicated  "love square" as there are four definite parties which may end up romantically involved in one way or another--should this move forward as a series. 

And that's another question. I've seen indications online that this is a standalone and on the other side of the coin, that the author has envisioned this as a series but it will hinge, I'm guessing, on sales of this first book. Honestly I can't see how Penguin or any other publisher could not pick this up as a series--there is just too much left unsaid, too many unresolved aspects of this story to warrant it ending here (See this? See what I'm doing here? This is me subtly begging and pleading for a sequel/ continuation of this as a series...) 

Basically I loved this book. I was completely swept up it as I read, and I really think it's  one of those books that everyone will be talking about come this April when it publishes. Go ahead and pre-order your copy now. 

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)
by Marie Rutkoski
March 3, 2015
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
416 pages
Source: Won in publisher giveaway

Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.
 (Goodreads Summary.)

What an intense read! Especially the last few chapters which barreled toward a monster cliffie I had already been forewarned about! Still, this is another winner (pun definitely intended.) It's a different book in many ways when compared to The Winner's Curse but I have to say, the fact that it shifted dramatically in tone (this one feels darker, more menacing, and yes, more heartbreaking) and focused even more on the alliances, secrets and betrayals between Kestrel, Arin and the rest of the cast made it a seriously strong follow up and, dare I say, even a better book than it's predecessor? 

Yes, I do dare say it and say it loudly-- it's got decidedly less kissing (though still brings the swoon) but boy do we get DEEP inside Arin and Kestrel-- and sometimes it's not a fun place to be. Both are complex characters, sharing admirable and not so admirable traits. It's hard watching these two dance around each other and their feelings, it's hard witnessing their bad decisions and poor judgement. It's hard to bear witness to some of their actions and the guilt that follows. It's hard to watch them let their pride, loyalties, and self righteousness blind them to what is so obvious to us. 

But even though watching all this play out is hard it never once made me lose my sympathy for these characters. It never once made me change my mind about them, even if it sometimes made me think less of them. Does that make sense? There were times I REALLY disliked what Kestrel was doing or saying but damn if I don't feel I understand her reasons-- and even admire her more in the end because of them. Pretty amazing that the author has been able to do this-- it's not easy taking your mc's and showing them in a rather unpleasant light but still have the reader's full support by book's end. Brava, Marie Rutkoski. 

I loved the conflict, I was shocked by the betrayals, I loved the new setting(s), I loved the new characters, I loved the direction it's taking, I loved the clever plotting, awesome surprises, and the masterful writing. 

Yes, it will be a long wait for Winner's Kiss but I'm not sorry I got to experience The Winner's Crime a little early. It's definitely one of the best I've read in a long while. 

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)
by V.E. Schwab
February 24, 2015
Tor Books
400 pages
Source: Finished copy courtesy of publisher for blog tour purposes

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.
 (Goodreads Summary.)

Guys there is a LOT to love about this book. It's an epic fantasy set in a magical world with not one but three alternate London's: Grey, Red, and White. And then there is that mysterious fourth London, Black, that isn't spoken about too much...The hero is Kell who is AMAZING. He's that incredible mix of good yet is also slightly immoral. Thoughts on Kell: as an Antari (or Traveler) a person able to travel through all the alternate London's by way of blood magic, he's revered yet feared, loyal and duty-bound but also manipulated and used as both a tool and weapon. Most of all he is the quintessential Man of Mystery and I think I'm kinda in love with him. 

But wait! There's MORE. Because alongside Kell there is Delilah Bard, and holy shit, I KNOW that I'm in love with her. If I could switch places with ANY character for a day it would totally be Lila. She's a wannabe pirate, a pickpocket and a cutthroat but she's also unbelievably clever, brave and not afraid to get her hands dirty in order to get what she wants. Is she a little on the immoral side? You bet she is.  She'd much rather steal what she wants than pay but I love her tenacious spirit, her will to survive, and her overriding belief in justice. Lila is fierce and a force to be reckoned with. Favorite character I've read this year, hands down. 

All the characters are stand outs: Holland and Barron, Rhy and the psychotic Astrid and Athos. There are just so many more wonderful things about this book--the story's awesome, the world-building magnificent, the action is gritty and at times VERY dark. In short it is JUST the kind of story I love and I can't recommend it enough. GO READ IT PEOPLE. :) 

**FYI: I'm giving away a copy of A Darker Shade of Magic! More info on that HERE :)** 

Seeker (Seeker #1)
by Arwen Elys Dayton
February 10, 2015
Delacorte BYR
448 pages
Source: ARC courtesy of publisher

Quin Kincaid has been put through years of brutal training for what she thinks is the noble purpose of becoming a revered ‘Seeker’.

Only when it’s too late does she discover she will be using her new-found knowledge and training to become an assassin. Quin's new role will take her around the globe, from a remote estate in Scotland to a bustling, futuristic Hong Kong where the past she thought she had escaped will finally catch up with her. (Gooodreads Summary.)

This is one of those books that has gotten some bad press at Goodreads-- when I first was introduced to this title a few months back it's summary had one of those dreaded, sure-to-crush-your expectations book comparison's written in. I think it  was compared to Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games. Wow. That's not a lot of pressure for a book to live up to, is it? (Game of Thrones?! Really? That's like being compared to The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, for God's sake!) Well, if you check out Seeker now on GR you'll see that that the comparison is nowhere in sight. Smart move, publishers. But I'm not one of those readers that lets those comparisons make or break a book for me. I ended up really enjoying this book. Is it perfect? No. There are weaknesses like the pacing and the disjointed, oftentimes jerky structure. But do those things spell the kiss of death? Not even close. This book has oodles and oodles of good things and even more potential for great things as the series progresses. 

What I loved: The story. It's a fantasy but not like every other YA fantasy out there. It's pretty dark and horrific at times--and I DIG that in a book. It's got some fabulous, complex characters and is told from multiple points of view. I enjoyed Quin, John and ESPECIALLY Shinobu--the three main characters. But there are surprises in this book: both in plot and in characters. In particular I'd say watch for the Young Dread because guys, she is a TOTAL SCENE STEALER. I would seriously continue this story just to get more info on her--she's that mysterious and compelling a character. 

The setting is awesome--globe hopping from from Scotland to Hong Kong (which was my favorite) and England. And then there is the romance. A lot has been said about a love triangle--and I'll admit, in the beginning it looked like it was definitely heading in that direction. But I am happy to tell you that it never materializes and by book's end it's just one boy and one girl. And there is no serious cliffie either--it ends in a good place with a lot of unresolved plot strings that will surely be expanded on in the sequel.

I feel like I've done nothing here but try to convince readers to give this book a chance--to try it and stick with it most of all--it really does end on a strong, strong note-- but guys, I really did enjoy this one. The characters and story have stuck with me months after finishing, and that is always a great sign in my opinion. 

Made You Up
by Francesca Zappia
May 19, 2015
Greenwillow Books
448 pages
Source: ARC courtesy of publisher

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn't she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal. 

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up. (Goodreads Summary.)

Made You Up absolutely hooked me from page one. Narrator Alex has a very engaging, quirky voice--and Zappia's writing style felt realistic and true to heart. It's definitely got that it factor--the thing that makes a book extremely readable (maybe that's not a real term but you readers KNOW what I mean.) So this is a book about a girl struggling with mental illness--schizophrenia in this case. And you will spend the majority of the book right along with Alex wondering what is real and what is just in her mind. Mental illness themed books are touch and go with me--on the one hand I'm deeply curious but on the other I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the illness--obsessive compulsive disorder books in particular affect me this way. But I felt quite the opposite while reading Made You Up. I certainly sympathize with Alex but her illness didn't overwhelm me at all. I never had to take a break from the reading--I read this book from start to finish in just a couple of days. The characters really stand out. Alex is amazing--she'll garner your sympathy, but her attitude about life and her illness will make you want to high five her, and to top it all off she'll make you laugh at the same time. 

But I think it's Miles that really stole my heart. Miles is a most unusual character--and love interest. He and Alex have a tempestuous romance--the kind that starts off nearer to the hate than love end of the spectrum--and then it slowly turns around (don't you love those types of romances?) By book's end they are the perfect complement to each other in every way. 

Made You Up isn't without it's hiccups. There is a plot line involving another student and school administrator that wasn't my favorite but its a minor distraction. There are some surprises in this book, and one big twist. But what I loved the most was the ending. I won't spoil but I will say that it was, in my opinion, the most perfect ending for this book. Love good contemps with unusual characters? Love books that feature a mental illness storyline? Love books that make you laugh out loud? Made You Up is all of those things. 

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5)
by Marissa Meyer
January 27, 2015
222 pages
Source: Purchased

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now. 

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series. (Goodreads Summary.)

If I had to describe Fairest in a single word  it would be DISTURBING. As in, that Levana is one disturbing chick. You thought she was a whack job in Cinder, Scarlet or Cress? Well in Fairest you get to see WHY she became a whack job. And you get to meet her extended family of whack jobs. And friends, it is one DISTURBING picture, trust me.

In Fairest we meet Channary, Levana's older sister and heir to the Lunar throne. We also get a peek at the politics of the Lunar court, we meet Everet the man that Levana is obsessed in love with, and we are introduced to Winter, who is of course, the star of the final book in the Lunar Chronicles.

Fairest is more like a mini-novel than novella--its 200 pages and is exactly the right length in my opinion. It's got meat to it--it's not some flighty little glimpse at some of the side characters leading up to the final book in the series. People have asked me if it's necessary to read Fairest before Winter and I have to say...yeah, I think it is.  And not just for readers like me who have been dying to learn more about the Lunar people, their gifts,  and its deranged queen. And it's not just because you get a sneak peek at the first 3 or 4 chapters of Winter. You should read Fairest because it will forever change your view of  the Lunar Chronicles uber villain. 

We all know that Levana is one hell of a bad guy.  But it's not until you discover what her upbringing was like, what it was like to grow up as the sister of Channary *shivers* that you can completely understand why Levana is as she is. And just when you think you might actually be developing-- GASP!-- sympathy for this woman, BAM! Meyers swings the story, and your emotions, in the opposite direction. And what you are left with at book's end is this truly horrific and, yes, I'm using that word again, DISTURBING insight into what might be one of the scariest, evil villains to hit YA since he who shall not be named... (Oh no! I just made one of those dreaded  book COMPARISONS! My bad...:) 

So. Should you read it before picking up Winter this fall? A resounding YES my friends. Yes. 

There you have it.
Are any of these six books on your TBR list? 
Or have you read any of them-- and if so, what are your thoughts on? 
Hit me up in the comment section below:) 

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab Blog Tour & Giveaway Stops HERE!

Holaaaa! Guys, I was BEYOND excited to receive an invitation to be a host on V.E. Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic Blog Tour. 
I was hooked on this book from the moment I read the excerpt last fall. Here's what I wrote on Goodreads afterwards: 

"This preview was SO good-- but wow do I wish I had the rest of the book! Time travelers; blood magic; parallel London's; thieves and pick pockets; wannabe GIRL PIRATES (loooove it); rakish princes; gruff bar keeps with hearts of gold; mysterious, lost cities and people; frightening villains-- what more could you ask for in a fantasy? How about Schwab's trademark prose? "

I stand by that initial review--if you are a reader who craves intricate plotting; complex; multi-layered characters; incredible world-building; ambiguous heroes and villains; and incredibly beautiful descriptive writing then my friend, this book is for YOU

A little more information in case this book is new to you:

 A Darker Shade of Magic
V. E. Schwab

Step into a universe of daring adventure, 
thrilling power,
and multiple Londons.

* * *
Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes, connected by one magical city.
There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad king—George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered—and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London—a please where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. 
But no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cutpurse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

So this Blog Tour is a little different than the norm. All of the participating blogs have been "sorted" and placed in one of the three London's Schwab writes about in A Darker Shade of Magic: Red, Grey and White. Fun, right? We here at The Flyleaf Review have been sorted into Grey London-- which is described by Schwab having "no magic but one very mad King." Hmmmm.

I'm actually thrilled to represent Grey London because this is the London where one of my favorite characters resides: Lila! Who's Lila? Well she's a total scene-stealer, that's who! She's also a pickpocket on the surface but longs for adventure underneath. My kind of girl:)

V. will be blog hopping through these different London's along the tour and has graciously agreed to answer one question at each stop.
Let's do this!

The Flyleaf Review: I'm currently reading your previous adult novel Vicious and I love that there is no "true" hero or villain in the book, Victor and Eli are neither black or white, but something in between. I think it's this "grey area," this place between wholly good and wholly evil, that makes them so compelling and allows readers to better identify with them. Would you say that the same holds true of Kell, Lila and other characters in A Darker Shade of Magic?  

V.E. Schwab: Oh, good question. I would say that the characters in ADSOM exist along the entire spectrum of good and evil, but none so truly grey as Victor and Eli. Instead, the characters exist on the alignment system (lawful good, neutral good, chaotic good, lawful neutral, true neutral, chaotic neutral, lawful evil, neutral evil, chaotic evil). Kell is ‘neutral good’ whereas Lila is ‘chaotic neutral’, and the rest of the cast span the entire spectrum from lawful good all the way through chaotic evil.

Having now read A Darker Shade of Magic in it's entirety I wholeheartedly AGREE.  Everyone you encounter in the book is complex and multi-layered. If you are a lover of well developed, complicated characters you are in for a treat!

Are you on board yet? How about a chance to win a copy of A Darker Shade of Magic and a signed poster 
featuring both of the beautiful US and UK covers of the book?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is international and ends on March 24
All my standard rules & policies apply,
read them HERE.

Best of luck to all who enter!

Be sure to visit all the stops along the A Darker Shade of Magic Blog Tour:

February 17 — Vampire Book Club — Red London
February 18 — The Eater of Books — White London
February 19 — Icey Books — Grey London
February 20 — Effortlessly Reading — Red London
February 21 – Cuddlebuggery – White London
February 22 — JessBella Reads — Grey London
February 23 — Istyria Book Blog — Red London
February 24 — Stories and Sweeties — White London
February 25 — Please Feed the Bookworm — Grey London
February 26 — The Nerd Herd Reads — Red London
February 27 — Novel Heartbeat — White London
February 28 — The Flyleaf Review — Grey London
March 1 — Addicted 2 Novels — Red London
March 2 — Books, Bones, and Buffy — White London
March 3 — My Friends are Fiction — Grey London
March 4 — Super Space Chick — Red London
March 5 — The Midnight Garden — White London
March 6 — Amaterasu Reads — Grey London
March 7 — Fiction Freak — Red London
March 8 — The Escapist — White London
March 9 — Addicted Readers — Grey London
March 10 — Bookish Antics — Red London
March 11 — The Social Potato — White London
March 12 — Young Adult Hollywood — White London
March 13 — The Modge Podge Bookshelf — Red London
March 14 — A Dream Within A Dream — White London
March 15 — Fandom Monthly Magazine — Grey London
March 16 — The Nocturnal Library — Red London
March 17 – Reading with ABC – White London
March 18 – Moonlight Gleam Reviews – Grey London
March 19 – Book Munchies – Red London
March 20 – Poisoned Rationality – White London
March 21 – Blood Bookaholic – Grey London
March 22 – Live to Read – Red London
March 23 — There Were Books Involved — White London
March 24 — My Bookish Ways — Only time will tell…

And here are some additional links including stores where you can order A Darker Shade of Magic which is on sale February 24, 2015. -This is the book's official website and it is a veritable fountain of information. 
Check it out prior to reading and come back afterwards. 

     A fun Buzzfeed Quiz you can take that will sort you into a    magical London. I was, again, sorted into GREY London. 
(I think it was question #7 that sealed the deal:) 
Take it, see what you get!  

  And you MUST check out this video featuring V. E. Schwab exploring London and discussing the book. Watch it before you read then go back and watch AFTER you read. It's such a treat to hear V's thoughts on her story--and it gives me a serious case of WANDERLUST :)

E-Book KindleNookiBookseBooksGoogle PlayKobo

V. E. SCHWAB's first adult novel, Vicious, debuted to critical praise and reader accolades. Schwab is the author of YA novels The Near Witch, The Archived, and The Unbound, and the Everyday Angel series for middle grade readers. 

You can keep in touch with Victoria through the below links:

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

And Then He Kissed Me: My Favorite Bookish Kissing Scenes


Hola out there!
It's been a while:)

I've been thinking a lot about kissing lately.
No surprise, my Twitter profile even states that I am 
"mildly obsessed with kissing scenes" 
(okay, maybe mildly is putting it lightly.) 
And what better time to celebrate the power of the almighty kiss than Valentines Day? 

So, what makes a good kissing scene? For me its equal parts physical and mental description. The physical would be when all the senses are at work, in particular: touch, taste, and smell. The mental, or more specifically, the emotional, is what is going on in the brain of the narrator leading up to and during the kiss itself, and is outside of the physical. I think the examples below illustrate this balance between the physical and the emotional PERFECTLY.

Ready to do some reading?
Here are some of my favorite bookish kissing scenes, in no particular order. 
Enjoy :) 

by Gayle Forman

When he finally kisses my mouth, everything goes oddly quiet, 
like the moment of silence between lightning and thunder. 
One Mississippi. 
Two Mississippi. 
Three Mississippi. 
Four Mississippi. 
Five Mississippi. 
We kiss again. 
The next kiss is the kind that breaks open the sky.
 It steals my breath and gives it back. 
It shows me that every other kiss I've ever had in my life has been wrong. 

by Melina Marchetta

And when Finnikin grabbed her to him and buried his face in her neck and then bent down and placed his mouth on hers, the others pretended that there was something very interesting happening in the meadow. 
The priest-king even pointed at the nothing they were pretending to see. But Froi didn't. 
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. 

And Froi wondered what Evanjalin was saying against Finnikin's lips when they stopped because whatever the words were it made them start all over again and this time their hunger for each other was so frightening to watch it made Froi look away.

       by A.C. Gaughen  

"Scarlet." My eyes flew open and his were shut tight, his head bent. Hurting, I pushed my forehead to his. His hands came out and held my face, leaning as if he were about to kiss me. His eyes opened a sliver and met mine, and he let me go, swearing and turning from me.
"That's why, Rob," I told him soft.
"Why what?" he snapped, turning back around.    
"Why I went to Gisbourne. Because I need to kiss you, to touch you, to hold on to you through your awful dreams. 
Without us both wondering if we're doing a sin. "

He turned back to me and caught me, one arm around my waist pulling me off my feet and the other in my hair tugging my head back. I caught his eyes, fixed on me in a way that made heat rush over me in a breaking wave, and I couldn't breathe. Our lips touched. His were dry and rasped over me a bit,  like it were so chaste it weren't even there. Then his mouth opened and it weren't dry anymore. His lips were perfect against mine, more soft then I would have never guessed, and warm like the sun hitting the water. 

My blood ran hot and fast and I felt more than human, like I were powerful beyond every measure. His mouth opened more and his tongue ran against my lips, and my whole body sparked like tinder. I bare had a thought, but I wanted more of him, so much more, and my hands were desperate for it, fingertips running like they could keep up whatever they touched. 

My back nudged up against a wall somewhere shaded from the sun and prying eyes, but I didn't never remember moving. His head twisted and our lips broke for a bare instant before he touched them back again, twisting his head the other way. His lips pressed my bruise and I jerked. 

His arms went tense and hard around me, and the kiss broke apart. His nose nudged me like a dog giving orders, and I obeyed, moving my face to one side. Hot hands running my sides, his mouth touched impossible gentle to the bruise by my mouth from Gisbourne. Rob's lips left, then dropped soft small kisses on the bruises that he had laid. He kissed my closed eyed and without wanting it, water dripped out from my eyes. He kissed that away too.

by Stephanie Perkins

He’s so beautiful, so perfect. I’m dizzy. My heart pounds, my pulse races. I tilt my face toward his, and he answers with an identical slow tilt toward mine. He closes his eyes. Our lips brush lightly.

“If you ask me to kiss you, I will,” he says.
His fingers stroke the inside of my wrists, and I burst into flames.
“Kiss me,” I say.
He does.

We are kissing like crazy. Like our lives depend on it, his tongue slips inside my mouth, gentle but demanding, and it’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced, and I suddenly understand why people describe kissing as melting because every square inch of my body dissolves into his. My fingers grip his hair, pulling him closer. My veins throb and my heart explodes. I have never wanted anyone like this before. Ever.
He pushes me backward and we’re lying down, making out in front of the children with their red balloons and the old men with their chess sets and the tourists with their laminated maps and I don’t care, I don’t care about any of that.
All I want is Etienne.

The weight of his body on top of mine is extraordinary. I feel him—all of him—pressed against me, and I inhale his shaving cream, his shampoo and that extra scent that’s just…him. The most delicious smell I could ever imagine.
I want to breathe him, lick him, eat him, drink him. His lips taste like honey. His face has the slightest bit of stubble and it rubs my skin but I don’t care, I don’t care at all. He feels wonderful. His hands are everywhere, and it doesn’t matter that his mouth is already on top of mine, I want him closer closer closer.

by Tahereh Mafi

He moves closer, just an inch. 
His free hand reaches up to cup the other side of my face.
He’s holding me like I’m made of feathers.

He’s holding my face and looking at his own hands like he can’t believe he’s caught this bird who’s always so desperate to fly away. His hands are shaking, just a little bit, just enough for me to feel the slight tremble against my skin. Gone is the boy with the guns and the skeletons in his closet. These hands holding me have never held a weapon. This hands have never touched death. These hands are perfect and tender.

And he leans in, so carefully. Breathing and not breathing and hearts beating between us and he’s so close, he’s so close and I can’t feel my legs anymore. I can’t feel my fingers or the cold or the emptiness of this room because all I feel is him,
 everywhere, filling everything and he whispers.

He says “Please don’t shoot me for this.”
And he kisses me.

His lips are softer than anything I’ve ever known, soft like a first snowfall, like biting into cotton candy, like melting and floating and being weightless in water. Its sweet, it’s so effortlessly sweet.

And then it changes.
“Oh God—“
He kisses me again, this time stronger, desperate, like he has to have me, like he’s dying to memorize the feel of my lips on his own. The taste of him is making me crazy; he’s all heat and desire and peppermint and I want more.

I’ve just begun reeling him in, pulling him into me when he breaks away.
He’s breathing like he’s lost his mind and he’s looking at me like something has broken inside of him, like he’s woken up to find that his nightmares were just that, that they never existed, that it was all just a bad dream that felt far too real but now he’s awake and he’s safe and everything is going to be okay and
I’m falling.

I’m falling apart and into his heart and I’m a disaster.
He’s searching me, searching my eyes for something, for yeses or nos or maybe a cue to keep going and all I want is to drown in him. I want him to kiss me until I collapse in his arms, until I’ve left my bones behind and floated up into a new space that is entirely our own.

No words.
Just his lips.

Deep and urgent like he can’t afford to take his time anymore, like there’s so much he wants to feel and there aren’t enough years to experience it all. His hands travel the length of my back, learning every curve of my figure and he’s kissing my neck, my throat, the slope of my shoulders and his breaths come harder, faster, his hands suddenly threaded in my hair and I’m spinning, I’m dizzy, I’m moving and reaching up behind his neck and clinging to him and its ice-cold heat, it’s an ache that attacks every cell in my body. 
It’s a wanting so desperate, 
a need so exquisite that it rivals everything, 
every happy moment I have ever thought I knew.

by Hannah Harrington

My eyes water, my breath catching in dry not-quite sobs. 
Jake moves toward me, but I wave him off.
“I’m fine,” I insist, swallowing hard, trying to shove the emotion down again.
He says, “You’re not fine. And that’s okay.
 No one is expecting you to be okay right now.”
“It doesn’t matter, okay?” I whisper. “How I am—it’s not important. It doesn’t matter.’
One of his hands falls across the inside of my knee. I turn my head to see his face, hovering inches from mine. His expression is so open and understanding and sympathetic that my throat closes up just looking at it.

He leans close and says, “It matters to me,” right against my mouth, 
and then he kisses me like he means it.

I’ve thought about what it’d be like to kiss Jake over the past few days, way more than I’d care to admit. But I don’t even have the time to register the firm press of his lips against mine, without breath, before he pulls back. His face freezes, eyes wide with oh shit written across them. Maybe I’d be offended if I wasn’t so sure that my own expression matches his perfectly.
“I shouldn’t have done that,” he blurts out. “I’m an idiot.”
“Yeah,” I agree, “you really are.”

I grab the collar of his shirt and tug him back to me. He makes a muffled sound of surprise in the back of his throat, hesitating for a heartbeat before his mouth opens against mine. Suddenly we’re kissing for real—clumsy at first as we feel each other out, but then I shift forward into his lap, fall against his chest and tip my head down, and it’s like two puzzle pieces snapping into place.

He tastes exactly the way I thought he would, of cigarettes and citrus and salt. The ocean. And he kisses like I thought he would, too, hard and hot and urgent, and way better than anyone I’ve made out with before. Not that there’s a long list or anything, just a few sloppy hookups at parties I can count on one hand with guys who used too much tongue and didn’t know what to do with their hands.

Jake knows exactly what to do with his hands. One cups my jaw while the other wraps around my back to pull me in flush against him. I grab at his neck, and one of his legs accidentally knocks into the bag of clementines. A few roll out across the floor.
He falters for a second like he’s contemplating reaching for them. I shake my head, mumble against his lips, “Leave it,” because I don’t want him to stop, and then he’s pressing back, hands moving to fit around my hip bones. 
He uses them to push me to my feet.

We stumble through the door to his room, never breaking contact, and he shoves me up against the wall, kisses me as hard as he can. I think I’ll float up out of my body, being kissed like that, but he anchors me down with his hands pinning my wrists to the wall, 
his hips pressed against mine.

I push back, break my arms from his grip so I can wrap them around him, pull him even closer. God, I love his mouth, his hands. 
I’d climb inside his skin if I could. 
We kiss like we’re drowning, gasping and desperate. 

by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

We are on the edge of Times Square with its beacon of lights and we are swaying as the sky is opening, and I reach out for her to be my dance partner and she accepts. So that leaves us on the sidewalk, my arm around her body. She presses close—is just staring at me—and even though I don’t know what the question is, I know the answer. So I say “This,” and I lean in and I kiss her right there on the edge of Times Square, the way people kiss good-bye on the street, only this is more like a hello. This.

I open my mouth and she opens my mouth and it’s like she’s breathing right through me. And her body is wet and it’s right against mine and I want, I want, I want. She pulls back to look at me and her eyes are laughing and her eyes are serious and I know exactly how she feels. It’s another question and I offer another answer, and this time her hand curves around the back of my neck and 
this time her body presses tighter and mine presses even tighter back.

Some of my other favorite kissing scenes can be found in these runners-up:

Vampire Academy and The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Fangirl  by Rainbow Rowell
Ignite Me and Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
House of Sand and Secrets by Cat Hellisen
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Shiver by Maggie Steifvater
Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Just One Night by Gayle Forman
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

What do you think?
Any of these make YOUR best bookish kissing scenes list?
What should I be reading to find my next favorite bookish kiss? 
Hit me up in the comments below:) 

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