2016 Series Enders Challenge--Jan-April Wrap-up


So I've been a wee bit forgetful in my wrapping up the series I finish by the month! I know I joined the challenge a bit later than January, but I'll just do a quick recap of all the series I finished since I started the challenge!

January:

NONE


February:


Dark Angels Series by Keri Arthur


March:




Splintered Series by A.G. Howard



April:

The Orphan Queen Duology by Jodi Meadows


The Winner's Curse Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski
 


Follow Friday

This is a weekly blog meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read

 
The Rules:

  • The goal is to increase blog followers, make friends and have something to post.
  • You create your own post using the post prompt.
  • You leave your link and thumbnail in the linky list that links back to your post prompt.
  • Once you have your post up and linked, visit other posts and tell them hi. The point is to FOLLOW them not just comment.
  • If you see a post that just hit it to the moon, or just want to show appreciation to a fellow blogger friend, like their name on the linky list to show some appreciation.
  • The person with the most likes gets chosen as the next Feature (you can be chosen every 90 days unless we are in need of features)
  • It is required that if you participate that you have to follow the FEATURE. It is a big no-no to participate and ignore the feature. They are the special snowflake in this little blizzard.
  • As a participant it is up to your discretion on how you want people to follow. Please post RSS, GFC etc if you have a follow of choice.

Specific RULES:

  • Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
  • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
  • If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed FOLLOW as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
  • Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
  • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
   

This week's prompt is: Three Favorite Heroines, Books They're In, and Why You Love Them


MY ANSWER:
CAT
The Night Huntress Series by Jeaniene Frost

Cat's always been one of my favorites! She's though and sassy, she's got a good sense of humor and she knows how to kick some vampire butt!


YELENA
The Study Series by Maria V. Snyder

Yelena is a fighter. She's so strong (metaphorically) and she's been through so much, yet she still can get back up again! She's got a family that loves her and goes to great extents to help her and equally amazing friends as well!


KATY 
The Lux Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Katy is like my favorite YA heroine! Not only is she a book blogger and loves books, but she's incredibly brave. She doesn't let Daemone be an ass to her without payback (hello spaghetti!) and she's just brave! She faces some seriously creepy things and gets into dangerous situations, and while she's scared she never runs away!






Random Thursday

I have an extra special treat to share with you all today! Awhile back I found this article and related video on Yahoo and found it to be quite intriguing! It depicts what was practically the "real" first Disney princess, only she wasn't so much a princess but demigod, you would say!

Apparently, Disney made a short film called Persephone. This was wayyy back in the day Disney did their own cartoon shows. Think Looney Tunes, but with Mickey, Goofy, Donald and all the rest! Only this one doesn't have the iconic characters, but instead tells a glorified story of Persephone and Hades.

Though I did find the short to be grossly inaccurate with the actual myth, but I suppose that's expected. I mean the movie Hercules pretty much depicts all the characters in the opposite form. Or at least with the whole subject of Zeus and Hera and even Hercules birth itself. But that's a rant for another day!

Despite there being gross inaccuracies to this little cartoon, it was still pretty entertaining. I found the lack of Demeter a little odd though. At least in the myth version that I remember reading, she was very much there and being the advocate to getting Persephone back to her and such.

Here you will find the full article written by Anna Gragert and below is the video itself that depicts the entire cartoon. It's around 10 minutes long and it actually gets a little dark in some bits, but like the article says, in a true Disney fashion, all endings are happy!


Waiting on Wednesday

*Side note, when I saw this gif from my friend's blog, My Thoughts...Literally! I knew I had to upgrade my WoW look! Since this depicts EXACTLY the moment in the movie I was forming in my head with my WoW theme!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blog post by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights releases we're eagerly awaiting.


For Immortal Huntress and cunning private investigator Nikki Glass, vengeance trumps all in the final novel in acclaimed author Jenna Black's addictive urban fantasy series!

What happens when fertility goddesses go on strike? Nothing much—except maybe the end of the human race.

When private investigator Nikki Glass became immortal as a descendant of Artemis, she never dreamed she’d find herself playing marriage counselor to the gods. But she doesn’t really have much of a choice when the crazed ex-wife of Anderson Kane—a god in disguise who just happens to be the son of a Fury—decides to enact revenge by wiping out all of humanity. Somehow, Nikki must convince the two to kiss and make up, but with Anderson now gone AWOL, she'll have to find him first. To top it all off, the cat’s out of the bag that Anderson killed Konstantin, the Olympians’ deposed leader. Now their new boss—Konstantin’s son—is out for blood.

With every mere mortal’s fate now resting in Nikki’s hands, can she outsmart the gods…or will she be doomed to spend the rest of eternity in a barren and desolate world?


The finale is nigh! Oh it's been ages since I last read from this series! Hoping there's a good recap of sorts when I start it!

TITLE: Divine Descendant
AUTHOR: Jenna Black
PUBLISHER: Pocket Star
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2016 


We’re here, then we’re gone, and that was true before they came. That’s always been true. The Others didn’t invent death; they just perfected it. Gave death a face to put back in our face, because they knew that was the only way to crush us. It won’t end on any continent or ocean, no mountain or plain, jungle or desert. It will end where it began, where it had been from the beginning, on the battlefield of the last beating human heart.

Master storyteller Rick Yancey invokes triumph, loss, and unrelenting action as the fate of the planet is decided in the conclusion to this epic series.






A finale that feels like it's taking eons to get to rather than two years! So excited!

TITLE: The Last Star
AUTHOR: Rick Yancey
PUBLISHER: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers 
GENRE: Sci-Fi/Dystopian YA
RELEASE DATE: May 24, 2016


They’ve left the cage—but they’re not free yet.

After their failed escape attempt, Cora, Lucky, and Mali have been demoted to the lowest level of human captives and placed in a safari-themed environment called the Hunt, along with wild animals and other human outcasts. They must serve new Kindred masters—Cora as a lounge singer, Lucky as an animal wrangler, and Mali as a safari guide—and follow new rules or face dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, Nok and Rolf have been moved into an enormous dollhouse, observed around the clock by Kindred scientists interested in Nok’s pregnancy. And Leon, the only one who successfully escaped, has teamed up with villainous Mosca black-market traders.

The former inhabitants of the Cage are threatened on all fronts—and maybe worst of all, one of the Hunt’s Kindred safari guests begins to play a twisted game of cat and mouse with Cora. Separated and constantly under watch, she and the others must struggle to stay alive, never mind find a way back to each other. When Cassian secretly offers to train Cora to develop her psychic abilities—to prove the worthiness of humanity in a series of tests called the Gauntlet—she’ll have to decide fast if she dares to trust the Kindred who betrayed her, or if she can forge her own way to freedom.
 

I still need to START this series!! It sounds rather interesting and I am anxious to get it up in my queue! 

TITLE: The Hunt
AUTHOR: Megan Shepherd
PUBLISHER: Balzer & Bray
GENRE: Sci-Fi YA
RELEASE DATE: May 24, 2016 




 

Review--The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Some kisses come at a price.

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?


Wow. Just wow. I finished Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Kiss and so close a chapter on yet another series. I can’t believe I almost didn’t want to read this series for some unknown reason. It was incredible! I realize it lacks the magic or paranormal that I am so fond of, that it was sort of more just fantasy-esque, but somehow, this worked for me. I think it was the incredible characters that kept me coming back! I adored Kestrel, Arin, and Roshar, and even Verex. They were all so amazing, that I just ate up the pages!
We had a monstrous cliffhanger at the end of The Winner’s Crime that I was wondering what on earth will happen in this one? Will things ever be repaired with Kestrel and Arin? And dear god, please tell me the emperor gets kicked in gonads or something and a good slap upside the head to Kestrel’s father would be nice as well! Lol!
We start pretty much where we leave things, Kestrel is being taken to the prison far away where no one will ever find her and Arin is back to planning his attacked against the emperor. There’s a lot of planning with Roshar involved. And it killed me to think that Arin truly believed all of Kestrel’s lies; the ones she told in order to protect him. Kestrel is in a prison where she’s drugged every day and forced to work and after one failed escape attempt, she succumbs to her fate. But before you know it, a glimmer of hope happens. Arin learns of Kestrel’s true actions and is racing off to rescue her from her prison despite Roshar’s warnings and reminders of the war that is afoot. I don’t consider this a spoiler, as it happens fairly early on, but those first few pages were a killer!
Arin though, gets his own surprise when Kestrel, legit doesn’t recognize him. And it’s not due to his appearance so much as that her memory had been addled by all the drugs, for she’s been a prisoner for a month. Arin and Sarsine end up taking her in and helping her heal and sober up.
This new Kestrel was quite surprising. She literally had no memories of her old life but for vague recollections. Arin was sadly, not a part of them either. But as time went on, and the war loomed ever closer, a bond was reforming between them. It’s sad in some ways because Arin does remember everything that happened between them and he still loves Kestrel despite it all. Yet, she has no inkling of who he used to be to her.
The Winner’s Kiss was most definitely an emotional read. Oh my God, all my heartstrings were being pulled in different directions! It actually became a relief when Roshar came onto the page, because despite being a bit prickly at the best of times, he provided some much needed humor! I loved his character and his actions in the book always continued to amaze me because…he’s just very surprising is all!
What to say about the romance? There’s been sooo much hardship between Kestrel and Arin. I’ve longed for them to get together and be happy for ages it seems. Binge reading is definitely a lovely thing when you decide to unknowingly wait for such a series! They’ve both broken my heart a time or two throughout and it seems heartbreak continues on in this one. Though, I will say, that they learn to grow with each other. They were given a new start and they don’t waste it, that’s for sure.
The last several pages, around 100, but a wee bit less than that, were all completely amazing and my heart was racing incredibly fast. There’s also a storm coming at the moment, so my anxiety was also up, but basically reading this made it race all the faster. Lol. Hoping to ride out the rest of this storm the next day still and hope for the best. But I am still left with completely gushy feels over this book! Because we do finally get to war by the end of this story. There were quite a few battles and they were all rather exciting and heart-pounding as well! This is definitely a read to get the blood running! And I adored every minute of it…minus the actual storm outside the increased my feels of anxiety.
Marie Rutkoski has written a marvelous story here! To think that I might never have read it shocks me! I am so glad I decided to take the dive into this world because though it’s very light on the fantasy elements where magic is concerned, it’s rich in other glorious elements such as characters, plot, suspense, and yes, even romance! The ending was one that pulled at so many emotions that I wasn’t sure how it would turn out or how I wanted it to turn out, what I will say is that it didn’t make me cry! So take that as you will! If you enjoy a fantastic read filled with all the aforementioned elements, then seriously, seriously, pick up The Winner’s Curse trilogy, you will not be disappointed!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars


 
 

Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by MizB of Books and Beat


Here are the rules:


1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a page
3. Pick out 2 lines that are SPOILER FREE
4. Name the title, author, etc.



"'Not exactly.'

'Then what are you afraid of?'

'Spiders,' he said gravely.

She elbowed him." p 164










TITLE: The Winner's Kiss
AUTHOR: Marie Rutkoski
PUBLISHER: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (BYR)
GENRE: Fantasy YA
RELEASE DATE: March 29, 2016




Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.



This week's topic is: Top Ten Bookworm Delights


*in no particular order 



1. THE JOY OF LEARNING OF A NEW RELEASE--there's no greater excitement than learning about new books...okay, well there are, but none can compare to when you learn about a new release from a favorite author or just that one release that sounds SO AWESOME!
2. SEEING A NEW RELEASE ON THE SHELF THE FRIDAY BEFORE IT RELEASES--this is a delight, but then I usually already have these books preordered, and then I know if I buy it early the sales don't really count in the best sense to the author...so this scenario is sort of a double ended sword (or however that saying goes!)!
3. COVER REVEALS--learning about a new book brings along one kind of excitement, seeing the cover is another thing entirely!! I LOVE when a cover gets revealed and then when the cover is just oh so beautiful, it also brings another kind of joy!

4. MEETING OTHER BOOK LOVERS--yeah, this feeling NEVER gets old! Growing up, I adored Paranormal YA books--the few that there were--and yet none of my friends ever read them. I was teased (in good humor) about reading my "vampire" books, and I never really had anyone to gush over the books with until I started blogging. So really, truly THANK YOU EVERYONE!
5. MEETING AUTHORS--I love meeting the authors who write the books I adore! Of course I usually get tongue tied when meeting them! And then it's usually been a length of time since I read their books I can't quite remember things I would want to gush or ask them about. I just remember loving the book! LOL!
6. BOOKMARKS--yeah it's a weird thing to gush about! But I love bookmarks! I like the simple ones, but I love how colorful they can be! And then finding Disney ones or even BOOKISH ones brings on a whole new joy!

My current bookmark collection! Hard to make them all out, but I wanted to get them all in one picture!


7. BUYING NEW BOOKSHELVES--when you learn you have room for another bookcase...oohhh there's sooo much excitement! Do you fill it with ALL the ones in the closet shelf or use them for new books...what to do what to do?! There's an exciting joy in that dilemma!


8. DISCOVERING BOOKISH SHOPS--with all the awesome sites like Society6 and Etsy that all have bookish shops and sellers...it's a booklover's dream!! To finally have merchandise that showcases the love of books is a dream come true!
9. HAVING A QUIET HOUSE TO YOURSELF--the perfect atmosphere for reading a book!
10. FINDING SPECIAL BOOKS--this is a weird one, but what I mean is when you go to places like Half Priced Books or Book Sales and you find that ONE special book! One you've wanted or didn't realize you needed! Or like me when you go to HPB and find that coveted international edition cover of beloved book!!






ARC Review--Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen

The thrilling conclusion to the breakout Malediction Trilogy by Goodreads Choice finalist Danielle L. Jensen.

Cécile and Tristan have accomplished the impossible, but their greatest challenge remains: defeating the evil they have unleashed upon the world.

As they scramble for a way to protect the people of the Isle and liberate the trolls from their tyrant king, Cécile and Tristan must battle those who’d see them dead. To win, they will risk everything. And everyone.

But it might not be enough. Both Cécile and Tristan have debts, and they will be forced to pay them at a cost far greater than they had ever imagined.






I received this eARC from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.


Danielle L. Jensen brings the Malediction Trilogy to a conclusion with Warrior Witch! I remember really enjoying the first two books of this series and I was excited to see how it all ended. The problem? I had zero memory of what had already happened! I swear this is the CURSE of the reader! I hardly ever have time for re-reading anymore, so a re-read was not possible. I basically just read over my review for the second book to get some idea of what happened, but I could only recall the faintest details. And worse yet, there was next to nothing with a recap within the story. There’s none of that helpful So-and-So, my best friend, faithful companion…some other weird descriptor to give you an idea of who said character is to help jump start your memory! Nothing!

I basically read this book totally blind! I had no idea what was really going on with the upcoming war. So many names were dropping left and right, and I didn’t know if they were friend or foe! It was horrible, in a sense! I had really hoped that there would’ve been some sort of recapper, something that helps to remind you of who was who and what had started to go down towards the end of Hidden Huntress, but there was seriously nothing!

If you at all want to read this series, I still recommend it, because I gave the first two high marks. They were incredible fantasies, but my lack of memory sorely affected my mood for this one! When you don’t truly understand what the characters are fighting about or for, how can you enjoy yourself with their story? Nothing makes sense if you don’t understand what had motivated them.

I was basically a great mess of confused for the entirety of this novel. I felt so disconnected from everyone. All the characters I grew to love when I read the first two books were strangers to me! It was dreadful in a way, the book itself is not bad. But I was just hoping for some spark of memory to come about, something to help remind me of what had happened…but it never came!

The gist of what I could understand happening was a war was coming. There are many enemies left and right. They all have their own agendas and it’s seriously mind boggling trying to figure out who might come out on top! And then, yeah, the confusion over who these people are! So aggravating! I wish authors could truly realize that not all readers have time for a re-read. And not nearly all readers have the most detailed of memories. Therefore, I really, really wish that they could be better at incorporating recaps into their current novel. It doesn’t have to be a straight up “here’s what happened” but when the characters already reflect on this or that…have them reflect on what just happened in the last book!! Because I was seriously lost for the majority of this novel!

Then there’s that ending…oh my goodness…that ending!! I hated it. Just as I am trying to gather my emotions over this book and dealing with the confusion of no memory and foreseeing the ending going one way and then having it go in the opposite direction! It was heart-wending!

While I couldn’t quite enjoy this final installment in the series, I still recommend it if you’re looking for a good fantasy read! Plus, trolls! Something new and different for us readers! But I highly, highly recommend binging the trilogy back to back. I think the author intended readers to do this. But as I said, I rarely ever have time for re-reading anymore and the fact that it’s necessary for this series, kind of bummed me out. That’s the reason for my lower rating.


Overall Rating 2/5 stars—and again, this means it was just OKAY! It was not terrible, but OKAY!


Warrior Witch releases May 3, 2016





It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It's a fun meme where we gather to share what we've read last week and our reading plans for this week.


Last Week I Read:

The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows (3 stars)
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (4.5 stars)
The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski (3.75 stars)


Review that was Posted:

The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (ARC) (2.5 stars)


Currently Reading:

The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski


What I Plan to Read this Week:

Forest of Ruin by Kelley Armstrong
Other Posts of Interest:







COVER ART REVEAL--The Immortal Throne by Bree Despain

It's almost here it's almost here IT'S. ALMOST. HERE!!!

That's right! Bree Despain's conclusion to Into the Dark trilogy is almost here!! Okay, we have to wait until October, but THERE IS A RELEASE DAY IN SIGHT!!! HALLELUJAH! 

And now for the awesome cover reveal...which is all we have for the moment! Dying for that cover description! And naturally POSITIVELY DYING for the book itself!! Did I mention I read The Eternity Key as an ARC and I'm itching to read the final book like eons ago???!!! Well...I am! ;)

And without further ado, the cover...

I like how the new publisher did their best to keep within the theme of the previous books. As you know, the first book went through a LOT of changes. Three of them, with the third being the winner that set the current theme!! I cannot wait to read this one!!

Is it October yet?


The Immortal Throne releases October 1, 2016






Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!

I got books this week!! I did get my dates mixed up and thought this would be a week with a LOT of books. But that's next week! Of course I was away yesterday by driving to Naperville, so I don't know if anything came while I was away (as I write this post on Friday night) or what all I might have bought when I went to the bookstore!

But anyway, here's what I got:

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead--SIGNED!!


For review I received:

Night Shift by Charlaine Harris


THANK YOU Ace!!


Then I finally spent the Society6 gift card I won awhile back and basically bought this beautiful print for $3 and change!

Once I get time (and help--it sucks being short!) I plan to redecorate my wall hangings. I will miss my movie posters, but I will enjoy all my book posters as well!! This one will go above my laptop and hopefully give my butt the kick it needs to get back to writing!


And that was my haul this week! What did you get?






MIA

I'll be MIA today because I'm driving up to Naperville to meet FELICIA DAY!!! I am SUPER excited! Mostly because I adored her as Charlie in Supernatural...I haven't seen any of her recent work, but still! I'm stoked to be meeting her! I mean...she's met Sam and Dean (Jared & Jensen!!!)!!! This is probably the closest I'll ever get to those two! LOL! 

So I'll be driving a lot today and won't be around, but I'll be back tomorrow! So see you later!!




Review--The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Following your heart can be a crime

A royal wedding means one celebration after another: balls, fireworks, and revelry until dawn. 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: that she agreed to marry the crown prince in exchange for Arin's freedom. But can Kestrel trust Arin? Can she even trust herself?

Kestrel is becoming very good at deception. she's working as a spy in the court. If caught, she'll be exposed as a traitor to her country. Yet she can't help searching for a way to change her ruthless world...and she is close to uncovering a shocking secret.

This dazzling follow-up to The Winner's Curse reveals the high price of dangerous lies and untrustworthy alliances. The truth will come out, and when it does, Kestrel and Arin will learn just how much their crimes will cost them.


The Winner’s Curse trilogy is quickly becoming my undoing! Marie Rutkoski seriously knows how to enthrall her readers. And best yet? The tragic cliffhanger that had me screaming and near tears will be avenged just as soon as I finish writing this here review! By the time it’s posted I’ll already be reading the final book! Phew!
The Winner’s Crime picks up roughly where we left off in The Winner’s Curse. Kestrel has made the ultimate sacrifice; her life and happiness with Arin forsaken if she marries the emperor’s son, Verex, and in return Arin can govern Herran and “report” to the emperor. It all seems like a fair trade, yet no one is happy. Except for the emperor. But as we already know, he’s a bit of a douche, so his happiness doesn’t count.
I will admit, this one was paced rather slow. Though it was never enough that I wanted to put it down. I had heard this one falls in middle book syndrome and it kind of does. But there’s still plenty of exciting moments splashed in between the slower ones. Kestrel is doing everything she possibly can to help Arin without the emperor knowing.
But first, there’s heartbreak and then more heartbreak to be dealt with. Arin doesn’t understand why Kestrel made the choices she did and Kestrel cannot tell Arin the truth. I get it, but then I don’t. Mostly I get it because the emperor has plenty of his own spies lurking about and really no one can be trusted. And sadly, Arin decides to leave Kestrel’s side for a great deal of the book. And in the meantime, Kestrel is playing her own game of spy by working with the Herran representative that’s visiting the emperor’s castle.
This one has far more political intrigue than its predecessor and since the book I read prior to this series was filled with it as well, I was worried I would fall into that same confusing heap I turned into beforehand. But luckily that wasn’t the case. True, all the politics sort of bogs down the story, but it does lead to new happenings and further dangerous plots.
Arin has his own plotting going on as well. But in case that treads into spoiler territory, I’m not going to mention what he was doing while he went away.
Verex was an interesting character to add to the story. I didn’t for a minute think we’d enter love triangle territory. I mean, when Kestrel basically took it upon herself to accept an arranged marriage, I pretty much knew there’d be no love between them. At first, Verex was a bit prickly. He wasn’t an easy guy to like, but eventually he and Kestrel form a friendship of sorts. They don’t love each other, in fact Verex has his own girl he loves, though that girl doesn’t know of his feelings. Verex turns out to be a decent guy and though the marriage will lack love, he thinks he and Kestrel can do right by the country once it’s their time to rule.
I’m always amazed when an author can make me hate a character. It’s seems like it’s easier to love a character than hate one. Sure we all dislike the villain. We never root for him, but to actually loathe one and detest him as soon as he comes up on the page? That takes skills! And Marie definitely has that! I hated the emperor! He was such a…you can basically choose any insulting word here and it will fit his character. I had been hoping that he would see his bloody end in this one, despite whatever fallout that might have for the characters, but alas…all good villains must stick around for the finale it seems!
And what an ending!! Oh my gosh! There were soooo many shocking reveals in this one! I didn’t think my jaw could drop any further after the first few, but man!! And then there’s all the secrets still!! So many things one character knows and not the other…that kind of thing always drives me insane!! Especially those situations that involve a doppelganger and no one knows that it’s not the real person they are dealing with! Thankfully, THAT particular situation doesn’t happen here, but there were still enough things left unsaid between certain characters that had me screaming!! Seriously glad I waited to read this trilogy because now I can happily pick up the final book and read to my heart’s content! I hope!
The Winner’s Crime was a decent follow-up to its predecessor and while it wasn’t the nonstop exciting read I was hoping for, it was still a decently paced read filled with a few heart-racing moments that made up for the areas that were lacking! I cannot wait to see how this thrilling trilogy comes to an end and at the same time fear it, because you never know when an author might decide to break your heart.

Overall Rating 3.75/5 stars—yeah that weird rating again! It was sooo close to a 4 star, but I just remembered being bogged down a bit with the pacing, though it did pick itself back up occasionally.