Tag Archives: Marie Rutkoski

The Midnight Lie (The Midnight Lie #1) – Marie Rutkoski

The Midnight Lie (The Midnight Lie #1) – Marie RutkoskiTitle: The Midnight Lie (The Midnight Lie #1) by Marie Rutkoski
Publishing Info: March 3, 2020 by Macmillan
Source: Scribd
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: March 4, 2020
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Curse #1), The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Curse #2), The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3)

Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.

Nirrim keeps her head down and a dangerous secret close to her chest.

But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possesses magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.

Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, beloved author Marie Rutkoski returns with an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us—and the lies we tell ourselves.


Okay, I’m going to be a little harsh on this because The Winner’s Trilogy is one of my all-time favorite series, full of cleverness, intrigue, and romantic tension that is a killer. While THE MIDNIGHT LIE is a very different feel than the original Winner’s Trilogy, that’s not what I had a problem with.

I’m pretty tired of naive, in-the-dark main characters and that’s what Nirrim is to me. She was “rescued” from an orphanage and taken in by a woman who pretends she’s nice to her but is actually awful. She tells a boy she loves him and sleeps with him because it makes HIM feel good so it makes her feel good (barf). She’s told what to do and she does it. It was just super cringe-worthy on a lot of levels and yes, it happens. A lot. But I’m just tired of seeing characters who are kept in the dark (by the author) on what’s going on in the book and end up being so submissive to everyone around them because of it. Part of the reason I loved The Winner’s Trilogy is because both Arin and Kestrel are so clever and determined that it was fun reading about their story. I didn’t really know why this was Nirrim’s story until the end of the book.

Speaking of which, almost nothing happens throughout the beginning of the book. We get little hints to the actual plot, but it’s basically Nirrim meeting Sid (which their whole meeting scene was pointless as far as location and how it happens) and then some character development until the plot finally kicks in. I love character-driven books. Heck, The Winner’s Trilogy was incredibly character driven with some awesome underlying political plot, but I didn’t like Nirrim and therefore, I had a hard time finding her chemistry with Sid or really with any character at all. I would be happy to experience that awesome character-driven side of the book but the whole first half was basically Nirrim being a lower class and Sid being the higher class. Sid had the WAY more interesting story in this book and even with what happens in the end, I would have much rather seen the story from Sid’s POV. We could have even kept the secrets about who she is throughout that book somehow. I just really couldn’t care less about Nirrim because SHE made me not want to care about her LOL.

I loved the connections to the original trilogy and honestly, that’s what kept me interested throughout the book. Without it, I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed the book as much as I did (which was just okay anyway). There were a couple of “shocking” moments that I felt were for shock value and weren’t really necessary (one specific reveal in mind regarding Nirrim’s family history). The ending was actually really interesting and very cool, but I wish we had gotten to see more of that sprinkled throughout the book instead of it being shoved into the end for a huge blow-out. Things changed too quickly and I didn’t even get to spend time with some cool magical reveals, moments, and characters. I also get that it was supposed to be different than The Winner’s Trilogy but the inclusion of the magic and the showiness of some of it made it almost feel like the Capitol in the Hunger Games –way over the top — going from a trilogy that only had the slightest nod to god-magic with Arin and his god to a huge inclusion of magic here. I just wish for a little more consistency throughout the whole book, I guess.

I’m probably curious enough to continue on in the series but I wish I had been able to be more invested from the very beginning. I was expected to be but man, I really didn’t like Nirrim and she was boring. Sid was awesome and I loved her. I’m kind of hoping the second book is from her POV or at least includes it.


Kept Me Hooked On: The Winner’s Trilogy universe! Wait — what even is this universe called? Do we know? Regardless, I looooved that this book took place in the same world AND that it was even connected to the original series too!
Left Me Wanting More: World-building and development along the way. There was a LOT that happened in literally the last chapter of the book. I would have loved to see a little bit more of that along the way.

Addiction Rating
Try it

Some people loved this but it fell a bit flat for me. I’m not sure if you’d love it right off the bat without knowing the original trilogy but I would still recommend reading them first, mostly because it kind of spoils some things if you don’t. It’s not really critical to understanding THE MIDNIGHT LIE but it would affect your read of The Winner’s Trilogy.




The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy #3) – Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy #3) – Marie RutkoskiTitle: The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkoski
Publishing Info: March 29, 2016 by Macmillan
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 1, 2016
Related Posts: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Curse #1), The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Curse #2)

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?


THE WINNER’S KISS was simply outstanding. I’ve been anticipating the finale to this series ever since I read THE WINNER’S CRIME (five months before it came out… That only added to my wait!) and I can say that I was completely satisfied and overjoyed with how this series concluded. Everything came together brilliantly and Marie Rutkoski really gives readers a book with a bang to finish off this trilogy!

This series is possibly best-known for the level of angst and tension in the most gut-wrenching way. THE WINNER’S CRIME was full of “almost”s and “could have been”s and it was excruciating in the best possible way. My heart has ached for these characters and I’ve been dying for them to finally get together and just be happy! While I won’t give away details of what happens in THE WINNER’S KISS, I will say that I loved the consistency of the trilogy, maintaining that ache and pull until the very end. There are several things that Arin and Kestrel still need to overcome if they want to be together and THE WINNER’S KISS throws even more obstacles in their way (if you can believe it)! Every situation and scene is really so well done and Marie Rutkoski does a great job of maintaining conflict but still giving her readers that inkling of hope that things will work out for these two in the end.

I feel like Marie’s writing has grown exponentially throughout the series! I’ve found each book beautifully worded but it was something that I specifically noticed in THE WINNER’S KISS. Every scene appeals to multiple senses and really draws the reader right into this world. I could picture each setting, imagine the smells, and draw upon character’s feelings. The structure of everything came together just perfectly and I was so impressed with how lovely this book was to read!
I also loved the alternating POVs from Kestrel to Arin not only from chapter to chapter but within each chapter as well. It was great to be able to see the appropriate action when it was needed and not wait for the next chapter to catch up on the next character’s POV. This was especially noticeable during the battle scenes (YES, war! You knew it was coming) and it really kept the action moving forward!

The romance is, of course, amazing. Arin and Kestrel are a fantastic couple with an incredible bond and a whole lot of things to overcome. It was great to see their dedication to each other and each character has such quiet strength, especially when things get rough. There are moments of rage, passion, fear, and comfort and every single scene between the two of them was just amazing. I always love a good “forbidden love” story and this was perfectly crafted in every way. Both characters are incredibly strong and smart but each have their own strengths. I love the two of them and THE WINNER’S KISS was such a satisfying conclusion for Arin and Kestrel.

I also have to note how much I love the secondary characters in this series! Roshar became an absolute favorite and I just adored his friendship with Arin as well as his role throughout the rest of this series. He becomes a really crucial part of this book and really enhanced every scene that he was in. The other secondary characters really came to life as well and were a great supporting cast to Arin and Kestrel. It’s always wonderful to see such well-developed minor characters and how they enhance a story.

I’ve loved watching the characters grow over the series and Marie Rutkoski’s writing has only gotten more beautiful along the way as well. It’s so rewarding to really see a series blossom and grow and The Winner’s Trilogy only got better with each book. THE WINNER’S KISS was my favorite of the series and I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed by this conclusion. It was positively stunning, epic, and satisfying.


Kept Me Hooked On: Fantasy without magic. This was a really interesting concept, crafting a fantasy series that didn’t use magic, when it seems to be such a given for fantasy lately. I loved this new world, characters, war, setting — really everything about it — and the plot ended up being much more romance and strategy based rather than building a world around a magical concept. It’s done so well that it’s not even something you miss!
Left Me Wanting More: X factor. So this is more of a series note than specific to this book but I wish I had found that extra oomph that really flung me head over heels into this series. I wasn’t IN love with the first book and although I did love so much about the second and the third, it never quite came together as a series that I was fangirling over. While I was reading, emotions were high and I was having an amazing time reading these books and yet I don’t find myself gravitating towards them after finishing. I’m not quite sure why that is!

Addiction Rating
Buy them!

These books are just wonderful and fan-favorites for so many. Really everything is so well-done and Marie Rutkoski knocked this trilogy out of the park!



(Click the cover to see my review!)


Blog Tour: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski | The Winning Kiss

Blog Tour: The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski | The Winning Kiss

Welcome to the blog tour for THE WINNER’S KISS
by Marie Rutkoski!

I am thrilled to be today’s stop on THE WINNER’S KISS blog tour to share my favorite kiss *booming announcer voice* in ALL OF LITERATURE!!! A big, big thank you to Gina and Brittany from Macmillan for inviting me to be a part of this epic tour! It’s quite the honor to be a part of this blog tour and to be able to read THE WINNER’S KISS early (no spoilers but it’s just as achingly beautiful as the first two books)!

Before we jump into my favorite kiss of ALL TIME, let’s take a second to talk a little about the book! I’m sure if you’re checking out this post, you’re already a fan of The Winner’s Trilogy (or maybe you’re here for the kisses — I don’t blame you) but here’s all of the vitals about THE WINNER’S KISS!

Blog Tour: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski | The Winning KissTitle: The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkoski
Publishing Info: March 29, 2016 by Macmillan
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 27, 2016
Related Posts: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Curse #1), The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Curse #2), The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3)

War has begun. Arin 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 recognize: 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?


Marie Rutkoski is the author of The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders and The Marie-Rutkoski-credit Tobias EverkeCelestial GlobeThe Cabinet of Wonders, her debut novel, was named an Indie Next Kids’ List Great Read and a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, among other honors. Rutkoski grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She attended the University of Iowa, where she took Writers’ Workshop classes and studied with Pulitzer Prize-winner James Alan McPherson. After graduating, she lived in Moscow and Prague. Upon receiving her Ph.D. from Harvard University, she held dual appointments as a lecturer there in both English and American Literature and Language, and History and Literature. Rutkoski is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children’s literature and creative writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and cat.


If this post had come pre-WINTER, I would have had to spend a lot of time debating which kiss winter marissa meyerwould take the cake for me. Before I read the book, people were raving about pages 601 – 603 and I was like, “Okay, I hear you, friends, but I’m not there yet.” I had some theories about what it could be but if possible, the kissing scene on those pages was even better than I could have imagined!

Not only was this an incredibly kissing scene, but it was between my OTP, Cress and Captain Carswell Throne (who you know I swoon for hard anyway)! Things had been building up and building up and you can tell that there’s a huge miscommunication about feelings here and then when THE KISS finally happens, it’s just absolutely glorious. Check it out:

She started to not, but was surprised when Thorne pushed away from the door. Cress blinked and stumbled back, started by the sudden movement. Three, four steps. The back of her thighs hit one of the desks.
“What –?”
In one movement, Thorne lifted her onto the desk and pressed her back against an enourmous potted fern and — oh.
Cress had built a thousand fantasies around their rooftop kiss, but this kiss was something new.
Where before, the kiss had been gentle and protective, now there was something passionate. Determined. Cress’s body dissolved into nothing but sensation. His hands burned her waist through the skirt’s thin fabric. Her knees pressed against his hips, and he pulled her closer, closer, like he couldn’t get her close enough. A whimper escaped her mouth, only to be swallowed by his. She heard a moan, but it could have come from either of them.
And where, on the rooftop, the kiss had been cut too short by the battle raging on around them, this kiss went on, and on, and on…

I mean… *fans self* MAJOR SWOONS, am I right? I simply adore Thorne but that kiss, man. Whew boy. That goes down in history as one of my all-time favorites.

Bonus Question: what kiss do you hope will occur in Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Kiss?

Oh gosh, obviously Kestrel and Arin but seeing as I’m about 20% in so far, these two are constantly killing me. The kiss I’m hoping to see in THE WINNER’S KISS is the one where they finally reunite and see eye-to-eye again… and this better be one hell of a passionate kiss! (I mean, I really have no doubt. THE TENSION in these books….) I am all about those passionate kisses.

Thanks again for checking out my stop on THE WINNER’S KISS blog tour! So tell me — what’s your favorite kiss in literature? Does the Cress/Thorne kiss make your favorites list? How excited are you to read THE WINNER’S KISS!?

Redesign Reactions [4]: The Winner’s Trilogy


Welcome to Redesign Reactions, where we talk about books, covers, and what happens when new cover designs take over a series!

On this edition of Redesign Reactions, let’s talk about
The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

Hoo boy did things blow up with the reveal of the new cover for THE WINNER’S KISS, the final book in Marie Rutkoski’s Winner’s Crime trilogy. I don’t personally know the ins and outs of why the cover was changed after the initial reveal but obviously there was serious potential for the new covers and expanding to another market or larger audience.

Personally? It does irk me when covers are changed mid-series… But I really think some people did not handle it well. Keep in mind that a cover change is really almost always out of an author’s control and they’re probably stressed out about the book already much less when a new cover is revealed. I have to say, I wasn’t a fan of the way some people handled their frustration and it was a bit upsetting to see BUT I also understand being upset about a big, fan-favorite series getting a cover redesign on the last book.

I actually really like the new covers! I do think it’s a bit more “YA-looking” with the girl on the cover (although there was a girl on a cover in a dress before so that was even more “YA-looking”, I guess?) but I love how badass Kestrel looks and it really gets me excited to think about what’s in between those covers.

The good thing for readers is that Fierce Reads announced just yesterday that after everything they heard from fans of the series, they are now in fact keeping the original cover for THE WINNER’S KISS so apparently this is now a battle between the hardcovers and the paperbacks! Breathe easy, matchy-matchy friends. Your hardcovers are safe from change!

the winners trilogy covers

OLD COVERS: The original covers were clean and simple — just an image of Kestrel, obviously her dagger, and some lovely typography. I actually liked the dresses on this cover since it wasn’t just “girl in a dress” syndrome — Kestrel actually does wear nice dresses and I think they’re gorgeous to look at. Although let’s just say… I really, really did not like THE WINNER’S KISS original cover. That pose? HER FACE? It just all looks terribly uncomfortable and awkward. I can’t stand her facial expression there.

NEW COVERS: I really enjoy the general badass feel of these covers… But I don’t know that they give off the right impression to readers before they pick up the book. Yes, Kestrel is badass but she really is more of a strategist than actually heading into battle. The lines do blur there but I actually thought “girl in a dress” felt more accurate than badass fighter (as much as I love it). Also, I don’t know why but THE WINNER’S CRIME cover just looks off to me for some reason.

Which do I like better? I do think I like the original cover better for THE WINNER’S CURSE and THE WINNER’S CRIME and I frankly, I think I like the redesign more of THE WINNER’S KISS. In a perfect world, the covers would have matched with the dress theme and Kestrel would have just been in a different pose on THE WINNER’S KISS cover, but I’ll take the redesign here. I’m so torn on the change/change back with the covers that just happened because I really did like the new cover for THE WINNER’S KISS, even though it wasn’t 100% matching (the spine would have matched). I know it was hard for readers to swallow a change mid-series but I do understand a publishing house/marketing team has serious reasons to do so! A redesign also spends a lot of time, money, and resources to put together so I trust their reasons for pulling the switch. At least now everyone can keep their original matching hardcover and the paperbacks will still feature the redesigned covers so all of that effort isn’t totally wasted.
If I hadn’t seen the originals and this redesign was the first set of covers that I knew, I think I would still be excited and stunned, but knowing the first set of designs… I do lean more towards the originals. Especially for books one and two.

So tell me! Which design do you like better? Take the poll below and let me know in the comments which you prefer and why! I’d love to hear your reactions!

[bctt tweet=”Which cover for #TheWinnersTrilogy do you like better: Original or redesign? Take the poll at @bookaddictguide!” via=”no”]


Blog Tour: What’s Your Winner’s Curse? (Plus Giveaway!)

WinnersCurse BlogTour

What’s Your Winner’s Curse?

The ‘Winner’s Curse’ is an economics term that means you’ve gotten what you wanted – but at too high a price.  What would you pay too much for?

This is quite the interesting question posed to us bloggers by Macmillan and it really made me reflect on my life and see what my true “Winner’s Curse” would be. There really aren’t that many things that whip me into a frenzy, causing me to spend more money than I normally would (except, of course, books… which was the first thing that came to mind haha!) Ever since we bought our house and spent so much money on our wedding, my husband and I have gotten better about saving money… But the more I thought about it, there are two things that naturally are expensive and have me justifying the amount of money that I’d spend on them even if the cost is exorbitant: upgrades for my house and vacations.



My bookcase is one of the first upgrades/big projects we did for our house. After saying adios to my apartment, I left the crappy (and falling apart) bookcases behind. As much as that pained me, I knew we would build a glorious bookcase in our new home… And we did just that! It was a large sum of money but my husband has a friend who builds homes for a living and was wonderful enough to do this project for us on the side. We stained it ourselves which was a TOTAL pain (and I will never do that again — because it was already assembled) but LOOK HOW GLORIOUS! The money and time and effort was totally worth it and I’d do it all over again. We’re also getting a pantry build in our dining room because we REALLY REALLY need the storage space so as you can see… money is already going into some flashy home improvements!

God forbid we ever move (we will eventually, I’m sure), we cannot take this built-in bookcase with us. Alas. We’ve spent a lot of money on it and as much as I would LIKE to try to take it with, that’s impossible. BUT we can always build a new one someday… In the meantime, I’m always pinning more bookcases and libraries on my Shelf Envy Pinterest board! We may have to use these for inspiration someday ;D





Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 3.39.04 PM

Shane and I got married this past November and we went to Aruba on our honeymoon. I’ve NEVER taken a trip like that before (we go on trips all of the time but usually always in the US and never quite so expensive) and I’ll be honest… we did not pay that all in one lump sum haha. I almost NEVER buy things if I can’t afford to pay for them outright (house, car, wedding, etc aside) so the fact that we took this very expensive (well, very expensive for us) vacation to Aruba was quite the splurge for us! We justified it because it was our honeymoon, but I’d also like to take some more expensive and/or “dream” vacations someday!

I think we’ll always love splurging on trips, though. It’s sort of become something that we do together and do often. It doesn’t have to be far but we’ll grab a hotel room up in Milwaukee for a weekend, take a stay-cation in downtown Chicago, or camp in the Snowy Mountains in Wyoming. No matter where we go, we always have a good time and our travel memories are some of my favorites! I love visiting new places (and some old ones too) with Shane and I look forward to doing this for the rest of our lives, even if it’s something that we spend maybe a little TOO much money on sometimes. These are the ways we treat ourselves!

I had SUCH a blast today on the blog tour for THE WINNER’S CURSE and THE WINNER’S CRIME! Thank you again to the always fabulous folks at Macmillan for putting this tour together. They’re always such wonderful hosts and they set up these fabulous tours so we can bring you wonderful books — and giveaways too!

Don’t forget that you can find out more about the tour as well as both books in the series so far at the links below! 

  • Check out the entire blog tour schedule to see the rest of The Winner’s Curse choices from other bloggers as well as their own personal giveaways!
  • You can check out everything about The Winner’s Curse series on The Winner’s Trilogy website!
  • You can also play Bite and Sting, the game in the book! (I’ve played the game myself and it’s a LOT of fun!!!)
  • Don’t forget to follow #TheWinnersCurse hashtag on Twitter as well!


Want to win a copy of THE WINNER’S CRIME? I bet you do! Enter the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win! This will be a finished copy — not an ARC. Winner must be 13 years of age or older and a resident of the United States. Good luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Curse #2) – Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Curse #2) – Marie RutkoskiTitle: The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Curse #2) by Marie Rutkoski
Publishing Info: March 3, 2015 by Macmillan
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 27, 2014
Related Posts: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Curse #1), The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3)

     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.


Um. Yeah. Marie Rutkoski? You broke my feels (probably everyone’s feels) with this book. Is it possible to be broken in a good way? Because I think this was it. I don’t usually put gifs in my reviews but let’s just say I’m lost somewhere in between “a little broken” and “shattered to pieces”… I’ll admit it — I was one of those people who felt like THE WINNER’S CURSE started out juuuust a bit slow (don’t worry — obviously I was totally captivated in the second half) but in retrospect, I think that was just because it was a non-magical fantasy and I wasn’t quite used to that. Immediately after finishing CURSE I was dying for CRIME so I picked this one up fairly quickly after I got it in the mail from Macmillan! Now that some time has passed, I girded my feels for what might happen in book two (wasn’t really possible), and I knew exactly what I was in for (I really didn’t), I threw myself head first into THE WINNER’S CRIME.

The book starts off pretty much where THE WINNER’S CURSE left us. IN AGONY. No, but really. The plot picks up a little ways where we last left Kestrel and right from the first page I was hooked. I don’t really want to go into the plot (of CURSE or CRIME) because I don’t want to start spilling out spoilers but let’s just say Kestrel put herself in a compromising position in order to try to help Arin and then these two… This is the most tension and frustration I’ve felt since I read JUST ONE YEAR. It KILLED me to see these two constantly sacrificing something to help the other and that plan backfiring, or missing opportunities to finally say something to each other, or almost giving in to what they want and pulling away. GAH.

One thing I really loved was how twisty everything got at the end of THE WINNER’S CURSE and CRIME surely follows in the same vein as well. Kestrel and Arin constantly killing us with all of their clandestine meetings and emotional self-torture, but obviously they both have their reasons to do so. THE WINNER’S CRIME is a sort of constant volley back and forth between Kestrel’s plans and Arin’s plans and witnessing how close they are and yet how far they are is just torture. If these two could just communicate… but they can’t. And the readers go NUTS.

Okay, trying to move away from the feels here… Once again, Marie Rutkoski does a fantastic job with making these characters just leap off of the page. The new characters that are added are just fantastic and I really connected to them in a short time span, getting immediately invested. I had a love/hate relationship with the emperor because he was just awful but like, an amazing evil (think Umbridge) that I just loved to hate him. I also love the way this world grew. I got to know more about neighboring regions and the imagery in my head was just gorgeous. The descriptions were so wonderful that I could really picture everything as it was playing out. Just fantastic.

I honestly want to say so much more about this book, but like its predecessor, THE WINNER’S CRIME is one you just want to experience for yourself. It’s a great balance between character and plot and when things start to escalate in the end, I assure you that you’ll be on the edge of your seat! Just don’t say I didn’t warn you when you finish and want book three immediately…


“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

The Winner's Crime reading updates


Kestrel // Character Obsessions: Her wedding day, secrecy, plotting, Arin, her father.
MAN, Kestrel is so badass. I love how she’s plotted and schemed her way into this… well, terrible situation, but she’s always planning one step ahead. That’s not always a good thing when other characters have plans too *cough*Arin*cough* but she is always thinking and I just love her brilliance and ferocity.
The Emperor // Character Obsessions: Plotting, control, dominance, torture.
This guy is one SCARY DUDE and I love it. I mean, I totally hate him but I’m also fascinated wondering where he ends up in the plot the whole time and what he’s planning while others are planning too. He’s very smart and he always knows what’s going on. So scary.


Kept Me Hooked On: Non-magical fantasy. I do love magic systems in most of my fantasy books but I love that this is high fantasy without magic. World building is honestly one of my favorite parts and I totally feel like I can envision this entire world.
Left Me Wanting More: Kestrel/Arin interactions. I mean, obviously. These two KILLED me. In a good way? I’m glad that things happened the way they did because it was SOOO good but I also just wanted to lock the two of them up together so they could talk. And kiss.

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

These books are great. I feel bad that I wasn’t AS invested in the beginning of THE WINNER’S CURSE and that kind of affected my overall love for the series (at first) but CRIME totally knocked it out of the water. It was so incredibly captivating and I cannot wait for book two!



(Click the cover to see my review!)


The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Curse #1) by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Curse #1) by Marie RutkoskiTitle: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Curse #1) by Marie Rutkoski
Publishing Info: March 4, 2014 by Macmillan
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 13, 2014
Related Posts: The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Curse #2), The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3)

    As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.
    One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.
    But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 
    Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.


THE WINNER’S CURSE is easily one of the most-anticipated reads of 2014 so far… And it’s only March! I have to say, I can easily see why there was so much excitement for the new fantasy series from Marie Rutkoski. Just nine pages in and I was already getting a feel for this colorful and history-rich fantasy world (and had a few things feel reminiscent of A Song of Ice and Fire!) so I knew I was going to easily fall into the setting of this book.

This book TOYED with my emotions but definitely in a good way. I was intrigued right off the bat, but admittedly, with all of the hype I found myself waiting all-too anxiously to see where this story would go. I wanted to blame hype for that, which it really did factor in to my nervous anticipation a little bit, but sometimes with fantasy I just find myself too impatient in the beginning when everything is getting laid out because I KNOW things are about to go down and I just cannot wait to see what they are. I feel like their was a fair amount of world-building towards the beginning as we get to know Kestrel and Arin as well as the fantastic world created here, but I was so hungry for more information that it was hard to push all my questions and theories aside!

The beginning was definitely captivating, but the middle and the end just simply blew me away. I felt like every time a situation presented itself, I totally got knocked over with the directions the story took. Each conflict had so many possible outcomes and I was never quite sure in which direction the story would go and somehow it always ended up being the thing I least expected! I was truly impressed with Marie Rutkoski’s ability employ plot twists and keep the reader on their toes because I felt like I never knew exactly what was going to happen — and as soon as we hit that roller coaster, the book was on an unstoppable path of back-to-back-to-back surprises!

I really came to love both of the main characters. I loved Kestrel’s ferocity and of course I can’t resist Arin’s strong, silent, smoldering personality. I felt like they both played off of each other really well too. It took me a while to fall into the groove of the romance but there came a certain point where I was totally hooked. A forbidden romance… It just kills me every time. I really loved the relationship that Kestrel and Arin ended up building but in a way, I wish it had been built up just a bit more.  I still loved their romance and it broke my heart and put it back together many times, but sometimes in a non-contemporary setting (even in contemporary too), I need just a tiiiiny bit more of establishing that relationship before I fall in love with. That’s just the most minor of concerns though because I really did fall in love with this romance too!

Marie Rutkoski’s writing was just beautiful. She has a fantastic knack for stringing words and sentences together so melodically that the prose just sang to me (which intentional or not for the music theme throughout the book, I don’t know but it totally seemed to fit perfectly). The book was just such a pleasure to read and as well as the prose, the plot seemed to flow incredibly well too. I think one of the only other (minor) qualms that I had was that I was so, so anxious to learn so much more about this amazing world that Marie Rutkoski had created and I felt like I didn’t see a lot of the history until much closer to the end when we got more into the war games and politics. Then again, often times world-building is something I can never get enough of!

THE WINNER’S CURSE was a fantastic first installment in this new fantasy series from Marie Rutkoski. As soon as I finished, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on book two…. Which was a shame since technically book one wasn’t even out yet!! This is definitely a thrilling and captivating read and you can bet I’m in this series for the long haul!




Kestrel // Character Obsessions: War, fighting, love, honor, piano.
I loved Kestrel’s strength, courage, and determination. When forced with the decision to either fight in her father’s army or choose a man to marry, Kestrel wants to do neither and is (not quite hopelessly) caught in the middle. This story starts off with Kestrel purchasing Arin as a slave at the auction in town and… she’s really not 100% sure why she did it. She was quite a puzzle to figure out and I really enjoyed getting to know her character as the story progressed.
Arin // Character Obsessions: Obeying Kestrel, war, strategy, motives.
Arin was even harder to figure out than Kestrel… and I LOVED that. There were so many different things going on with Arin at all times and it took a while for the reader to also be clued in as to what those things were. I loved his air of mystery as well as his passion which usually lingered beneath the surface.


Kept Me Hooked On: High fantasy. Sigh. I just love high fantasy. I love the setting, I love the character development, I love the world building. I love the war, the fighting, the history. I love the romance, betrayal, deception. IT’S JUST SO GOOD.
Left Me Wanting More: Early reveals. I didn’t want everything to be given away in the beginning of the book, but I always appreciate a few little clues or reveals or MOMENTS in the beginning. I won’t say it was a “slow” ending, but it did take a while to pick up for me.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I think this is going to be a fantastic series and I am so excited to keep reading it. From start to finish I was definitely captivated and with that ending… I honestly just need book two as soon as humanly possible. (No pressure, Marie.)



(Click the cover to see my review!)

A Game of Thrones     Graceling


I read this book along with my other friends in The Selective Collective for our monthly read along! Check out their posts featuring the book below!

Tee @ YA Crush  Casting Call: The Winner’s Curse
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA  Freebie
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks  Roundtable: The Winner’s Curse
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan  Interview with Marie Rutkoski + Giveaway!



Novella Mini-Reviews: The Little Android, Bridge of Snow, Warm Up

I’ve been reading some AWESOME books lately that also has some great novella/companion stories. I don’t really write full reviews for novellas, so here’s a quick round up of what I thought and if they’re worth your time!


Title: The Little Android (The Lunar Chronicles #2.5)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Completed: January 27, 2014
Source: I read it for free on Wattpad and you can too! [The Little Android]
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Related Posts: Cinder (#1) || Scarlet (#2) || Glitches & The Queen’s Army: Novella Reviews ||  My Latest Bookish Addiction: The Lunar Chronicles || Quiz: Which Lunar Chronicles Character Are You? || Cress (#3)

The Little Android is an adaptation of The Little Mermaid and can be read out of sequence/in any order/independently of the rest of the books in The Lunar Chronicles series.


  • The Little Mermaid parallels. Definitely interesting and fun to spot!
  • The characters. They definitely caught my attention and kept me on my toes!
  • The ending. I really appreciated what Marissa Meyer did with the end of this short story. I think not a lot of people were expecting that! (Or were they? I wasn’t.)


As most short stories for me go, it was a just a little short. Whereas with the other Meyer shorts, I was dazzled and impressed, this one didn’t QUITE grip me as much… Maybe because I was coming down off of CRESS which is quite a tough act to follow! Anyway… Loved the adaptation of The Little Mermaid and just the ticket to hold you over until you can get your hands on WINTER!


Title: Bridge of Snow (The Winner’s Curse #0.5)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Completed: February 20th, 2014
Source: I read it for free on Tor.com and you can too! [Bridge of Snow]
Genre: Fantasy

Bridge of Snow is a short prequel/tie-in to THE WINNER’S CURSE. It can be read before or after the full-length novel. The story covers Arin (one of the main characters in THE WINNER’S CURSE) as a child, being told a bedtime story of the legends and mythology of their culture.


  • I love stories that come up with their own mythology/gods/creation history. I think it’s incredibly fascinating and just adds a real layer of depth for the entire world-building aspect.
  • Seeing Arin’s history. You don’t have to read this book before THE WINNER’S CURSE but I like to read the novellas after the main story. Why? I just like getting to know the characters in the full-length novel first and then seeing more about their past and history in the novellas. I feel like reading the novella first and getting that kind of history is easily lost on me because I don’t get to know the character well enough in such a short period of time. Just a personal preference!
  • It’s not afraid to be dark. Yes, this is a bedtime story to a child, but it does have a certain darkness to it. The story itself felt very reminiscent of The Tale of the Three Brothers in Harry Potter!


Really not a lot. I thought this was beautifully done and so impressive! I loved almost everything about it and I highly encourage readers of THE WINNER’S CURSE to read it!


Warm UpTitle: Warm Up (Vicious #0.5)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Completed: February 22, 2014
Source: I read it for free on Tor.com and you can too! [Warm Up]
Genre: Sci-Fi, Paranormal (Adult)
Related Posts: On the Same Page features Vicious

Warm Up is a short story connected to VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab. It can be read independently or in any sequence but personally, I think it makes much more sense if you read VICIOUS first! It follows the story of David, a man with an unexpected new power that he obtained after a life-threatening accident.


  • The ability. One of my favorite things about VICIOUS was getting to know all of the different abilities! I find it incredibly interesting as well as how that ability ties into the life-threatening event.
  • David. I really felt for him! I liked his character a lot and felt really bad for him and his situation.
  • Cameos from VICIOUS main characters. I don’t really want to say too much about it but it DOES tie into the main story!


I loved it! Wasn’t missing much. It was short, dark, and held my interest. If you’re unsure about reading VICIOUS, this short story lets you test out the waters because the feeling was exactly the same.

Have you read any of these novellas? Did you think they were worth your while?