The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski | Review

        Title: The Winner’s Kiss

       Author: Marie Rutkoski

      Release Date: March 24th, 2016

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, this does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review in any way.
Description from Goodreads:
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?

I feel like I’ve been on a long and extreme emotional journey at the hands of Marie Rutkoski. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, The Winner’s Trilogy is one of my favourite series of all time. I fell in love with Arin and Kestrel in The Winner’s Curse, my love continued to grow in The Winner’s Crime (which you can read about in my review) and it grew some more in the final instalment of the fantastic series, The Winner’s Kiss.

The Winner’s Crime had an oh my gosh cliffhanger, it left me with so many feels that I had to try and sort out! All I wanted from The Winner’s Kiss was some sort of resolution! Obviously I wanted Arin and Kestrel together, but it got to the point where I just wanted Arin to stop hating and denying his love for Kestrel, and Kestrel to get out of the work camp.

Because yes, Kestrel is in a work camp, where she is drugged into a shadow of her former self. And for anyone who’s read the previous books you’ll know that Kestrel is witty and intelligent, while not capable in battle she uses her intelligence and brain to outwit her opponents. This makes her a really interesting character, the political intrigue within all of the books within the trilogy makes them highly enjoyable, and there’s always an element of what the hell is going to happen next.

The Winner’s Kiss is a low fantasy, there isn’t magic or fae like some fantasies that I’ve read, but the relationships and the world building in these books are just something else! Throughout all three of the books Marie Rutkoski has crafted a vivid world, and I’m not sure I’m ready for the series to be over!

Arin and Kestrel are possibly my favourite OTP of all time, and I think it’s safe to say that I ship them!! My love for The Winner’s Trilogy has had me telling everyone left, right and centre to read these books! It’s got to the point I hands down want to play Kestrel in any adaptation (a girl can dream!)

In my opinion The Winner’s Kiss was the perfect end to the trilogy, everything got wrapped up and I was not disappointed by this fantastic conclusion!

Have you read any of the books in the series? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

‘The Winner’s Kiss’ by Marie Rutkoski
5 Stars


Waiting On Wednesday | The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

‘Waiting On’ Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine.

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Release Date: 1st March, 2016

Description from Goodreads:
War has begun. Ari is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognise: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people – and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks.

But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?

The Winner’s Curse quickly became one of my favourite books when I read it in May last year, and The Winner’s Crime followed when I read it at the beginning of this year (read my review). I can’t express how much I loved these books, I’d have to say that they’re probably my favourite series! It’s safe to say that The Winner’s Crime finished with a rather large cliffhanger, and I’ve been waiting patiently since February to find out what the hell is going to happen!
Kestrel and Arin are my favourite OTP, so I really want to read the final instalment in the trilogy. And let me just say that I’m really hoping that things start going right for them in this book! And by right I mean, they end up happily ever after, because I love them together.
This synopsis sound so good! In my review of The Winner’s Crime I point blank stated that Arin needs to get his sh*t together, and after reading the synopsis of The Winner’s Kiss again, I’m reminded all too well of those feelings! 
I honestly don’t think that a book series has caused so many emotions as what I’ve read of The Winner’s Trilogy has.
March can’t come soon enough!
What book are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments!

What’s My Cure? | Feature and Follow Friday

Feature and Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee’s View and Alison Can Read. It’s all about increasing followers and making new friends! If you want to take part just answer the question and add your post to the link, follow the hosts and featured blogs, and hop from blog to blog!

This Week’s Question

How do you cure a book hangover/blogging slump/reading slump?

I suppose this is one of those questions where you pick one of the options, but I’m going to go ahead and answer all three.
My cure for a book hangover? Well, first of I all I just need to sit and contemplate what the hell just happened and soak it all in. When I finished The Winner’s Crime I sat with tears streaming down my face while I tried to come to terms with what the author had just done. Then I put on The Princess Diaries 2 because I just needed Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews to cheer me up. And Chris Pine, can’t go forgetting him. I don’t go and read another book straight away if I’m in a book hangover, I need time so I’ll catch up on YouTube or any TV series that I’ve missed. 
Now for the blogging and reading slump, I’m lumping them together as the answers are pretty much the same. If I’m in a slump, whether it be blogging or reading, I need to step away from the keyboard and Kindle, stop overthinking everything and sit down and (as before) watch YouTube. It may sound crazy but watching the beauty gurus of the internet world really relaxes me and helps me just zone out. It’s then after a few sessions of this that I’ll pick up a new book, one that I know I will love. I’ll go to a favourite author that I can always depend upon, or a series that I’m in love with. I can guarantee that the little reading pause will have done the world of good, for both reading and blogging.
So they’re my answers to this week’s question! How do you cure yourself of these terrible ailments? Let me know in the comments!

Monthly Wrap Up | March 2015

March has been a very busy month! It’s been the month of assignments and end of placement stress, so I was surprised to find that I actually read six books last month!  Here’s the lowdown on the books that I read in the month of March! As always, click the picture to read my review.

What I’ve Read

Make Me Up by Avery Flynn
All Fall Down by Ally Carter
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Southern Perfection by Casey Peeler
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Currently Reading

The Hooker and the Hermit by L. H. Cosway and Penny Reid
Death Wish by Megan Tayte
Girl Online by Zoe Sugg
I know, I know. Girl Online‘s been sitting under the currently reading banner since December, and it’s getting embarrassing. I’m halfway through The Hooker and the Hermit and I’m enjoying it, I’ve highlighted so many funny passages, and you never know, one or two may find themselves in the review.
April looks to be a calmer month, so hopefully lots of reading will take place!
What books did you read during March? Let me know in the comments!

The Winner’s Crime by Maire Rutkoski | Review

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, this does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review in any way.
Description from Goodreads:
Lady Kestrel’s engagement to Valoria’s crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust…

While Arin fights to keep his country’s freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.

Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner’s trilogy.

Oh holy holiness. What just happened?
Marie Rutkoski just took a dagger and plunged it through my heart, that’s what happened. I thought the ending to The Winner’s Curse was bad, but boy it got nothing on the ending to The Winner’s Crime
I’ve taken a reading break while I try and wrap my head around the feels and events of The Winner’s Crime. It’s a serious task, The Winner’s Crime has, as we said in school, knocked my socks off.
Let’s start at the beginning, Kestrel is going through the motions of being engaged to the Prince while battling heartbreak, and what I can only surmise as depression. Arin is no better, but he’s got the luxury of doing it at home. There was so much longing and heartbreak going on, and it actually didn’t irritate me, a very pleasant surprise. 
Kestrel loves Arin, and I mean true-let’s-get-married-and-make-babies-love. And Arin loves Kestrel in exactly the same way, plus some I’m-going-to-kiss-you-untill-I-can’t-breathe and I-need-to-touch-you-all-the-time love. I loved it, especially because it didn’t rule the book and wasn’t droned on and on about. It was there though, lurking in the background as a backdrop to everything that both characters did. Because of that the whole thing felt very genuine, it didn’t feel like I was reading a piece of fiction. So props to Marie Rutkoski.
I remember finishing The Winner’s Curse and sitting with my jaw basically on the floor, I wanted (and still do) Kestrel and Arin to get together and live happily ever after, but that clearly wasn’t going to be happening any time soon. I couldn’t fathom how Marie Rutkoski was going to get the characters out of the situations they were in, and once again I’m in that same position.
Kestrel sets herself up as a spy for Herran, adding even more secrecy and deception to the novel. Obviously making it a very interesting read. But then what happened happened, and there were tears and an outraged exclamation or two. So basically I now really strongly dislike one of the characters (because how could they do that?!) and want Arin to get his sh*t together ASAP. 
It sounds like such a cliche but I genuinely cannot express how I felt about The Winner’s Crime. It was everything I wanted it to be and more, so much more. I have nothing negative to say about The Winner’s Crime, I would and will recommend it to everyone.
When is the next one out? I need it now!
Have you read The Winner’s Crime? I’d love to know what you thought! Let me know in the comments!
‘The Winner’s Crime’ by Marie Rutkoski
5 Stars

First Impression Friday | The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

First Impression Friday is a weekly feature created here at Alexandra Florence Books. I’ve been finding that what I think about a book changes a lot from beginning to end, so I thought it would be really fun to share my first impressions of a book, and hopefully read yours too! If you want to join in all you have to do is link your First Impression Friday in the linky, grab the picture, and make sure you link back to me!

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
I’ve only just started and I’m in love all over again. I say again because The Winer’s Curse blew me away, it was my stand-out novel of 2014. Kestrel and Arin are the perfect couple, they didn’t quite get together, but the build up was oh so sweet and INCREDIBLE!
I’m pretty sure I sat with my jaw touching the floor after I finished The Winner’s Curse, just wanting to know how they were going to get together! Because, let’s face it, Kestrel and Arin are about as far from being a couple at the end of the first book as possible. And I still don’t know what’s going to happen.

So far The Winner’s Crime lives up to my expectations and the first book. So that’s a big deal, how often do you start the second or third book in a series just to be completely underwhelmed? Marie Rutkoski is continuing to blow me away.

The writing is once again incredible, I love the world building and the character descriptions. There has been some serious swoonage and I’m only 37% into the book!

I could go on and on about my love for Kestrel and Arin, because I do love them. They just need to finally get together, but how?!

I am going to devour The Winner’s Crime, so expect a review early next week.

What are you currently reading? Leave me a link below!


Waiting On Wednesday | The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine.
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Release Date: 12th March 2015 (Paperback)
Description from Goodreads:
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 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.
I can’t put into words just how much I ADORED The Winner’s Curse, although I did try in this post and this post! It’s a book I’ve already read multiple times, and I’ve recommended it to SO many people! Therefore it’s only natural that I’m RIDICULOUSLY excited for the release of the sequel The Winner’s Crime. I fell in love with Arin and Kestrel in the first book, I can’t wait to find out what happens next, and how Marie Rutkoski will overcome the barriers set up at the end of The Winner’s Curse.
Also, is the cover not one of the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen?
I don’t think I can manage until next year!