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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Ceaseless

I can't believe I'm here with another review about a last in a series. It seems to me that I'm ending a lot of them on a short time. This time it's the end of a series that's been on my to be read-list forever. By now you all know how long it was on that shelf and how hard it was for me to get them into my possession. Even though the first book did disappoint me, the rest of the series really surprised me and made me swoon! Another last in a series: Ceaseless by Abbi Glines.

 WARNING For the ones here that haven't read the first in this series, I recommend you not to read on since there will be further developments to the characters and to the plot. This will create a less pleasant read of Ceaseless because you know more information than you already should. Therefore, I recommend you not to read the review of Ceaseless but to read the review about the first in the series: Existence. If you're interested in the second book, Predestined, I also wrote a review about that book. Just clicking on the title will open a new page with the review on the first book.

Meeting death and fighting Voodoo spirits was nothing compared to what Pagan will have to go through now. Pagan lost all the memories of her time with Dank Walker, not remembering who he is or why she fell in love with him. Dank is left miserable, watching Pagan act as if her life hasn't changed at all. He has never felt so alone as he does now. As if feeling this isn't enough, Pagan's real soulmate is back, trying to get her attention. They complete each other's destiny and are meant to be. Knowing this Dank only has one mission left: make Pagan choose him over her soulmate. If he can make her fall again for him and make her pick him, he'll get to keep her once again. The only question is, who will Pagan pick: Death or her soulmate?

Dear book gods this is one heck of a ride! I absolutely enjoyed this book so much. Especially because of the plot, but let's first talk about the character's a bit. Starting with Dank this time because holy alien babies everywhere I adore him! Especially in Ceaseless we'll see the fight and insecurities of Dankmar and how can we not love this? The last two books really show off how Death is Death and everyone fears him and how strong he is and protective. Now he has lost something he loves and it brings out all the insecurities he has. This time he's on his knees to whatever power made this happen and Death isn't as terrifying anymore. 

This is once again another side of Dank that we get to see and really deepens his character even in book 3! Even though he's having a lot of insecurities, we'll also see how far he's willing to go to fight for who he loves. It's absolutely a nice twist to his character to see how he is terrified of something and has to work harder to get to something. The last two books really concentrated on Dank being Death and how he's indestructible and this time there might be something to get him on his knees, defeated. How his character evolves and how he'll suffer and work with his insecurities is amazingly written. However I absolutely loved the fight he gave during this book and how much effort he did. It really shows us who we fell in love with in Existence and who we absolutely can't resist. A very swoon-worthy character that has deepened through the trilogy: from being Death to being a guy who isn't terrifying at all. 

As for our lovely Pagan, this is so strange. Her character still is the same, however we see so many changes. For one there's a change with her ability (I can't tell more because spoilers!) and two hello, she lost her memories! I can't believe this is actually happening. However her memory loss won't affect her personality at all and I really loved that. Pagan still is the person who shows strength and will step up when she needs to. This time her heart is the focus and her head really messes with her, which brings encounters where she's feeling a little lost and lonely like Dank is feeling. I absolutely adored to see how this character will choose a path to follow without realizing what's at stake, but at the same time she doesn't know what she'll be losing or missing so why should she realize it. This character has always showed the best of herself and even now, with her memory loss it doesn't change. Still, she'll be up for quiet the challenge without even knowing it. I want to tell so much more about this character but feel like I can't because the littlest thing might spoil things. So forgive me for my little paragraph about Pagan, but hey you'll have a better read because of it! 

Now the plot! I really enjoyed this book because of the plot, although I have a few remarks. First off, I have to say the book really starts abruptly. There's no indication that something has happened to Pagan and the readers will have to find out that she's suffering from memory loss. I think that was something that I enjoyed less. You just fell into the book and was left without any information to what, who, where and why. I think I would have enjoyed the beginning of the book better if there was more information on it or if the book started with Dank who explained things.

I do have to admit that not knowing why she's suffering from this memory loss is very mysterious and also adds to readers their curiosity. That is something that I see as a very positive element of the story. It's only as you read further that things are told and explain why this happened and I loved that Abbi Glines made us guess to what must have happened to Pagan. However I still wished that we knew why this happened in the first place. Therefore I can conclude that the memory loss is a bit double: I wished there was more of an prologue to it so we were lead into the new story better instead of having to find out ourselves. Then again the mystery that comes with it is absolutely fantastic and highly enjoyable.

Another aspect that I love in this book is the fact that Pagan is going to be in a conflict: her soulmate or death? Our main character doesn't know that the one person is her soulmate and that the other is Death. To her those are just two guys, both fighting for her attention. Then add the jealousy of Dank Walker, his effort and his miserable behavior and you're in for a ride full of emotions but also swoon-worthy moments. I really love how for the last book there is this conflict and we'll really see who's meant to be. It was very thrilling and yet emotional to see all of this turn out the way it did. If anything this part of the story also really gives us the feels we've all been waiting on.

Another and last remark I want to point out is that I wish Ceaseless incorporated more of the past two books. I feel like this is important because it really makes the characters who they are in the next book in a series. Although a little part of the Voodoo Spirit came back, I didn't think it was nearly enough to get full closure on Predestined in Ceaseless. This story more felt like a one-book-story and not as if it fit into a series. I think if more elements of Existence and Predestined were incorporated more and this story had more of a prologue that connected with elements from past books, this would have been even better. I'm not saying that it isn't a good plotline because of it, because the whole idea of Death losing what he finally got back is really intriguing and something I had never expected in a last book of a series.

One thing I did see incorporated and loved is the fact that there have been certain changes with Pagan and the Pagan we saw in the first book. This also provides us answers that connects all three books which also brings this series to a wonderful end. Speaking of the end... I was surprised with how things ended due to the surprising element I had never thought would be told. I know it's pretty vague, but once you read it you'll remember what I said here!

To complete this review all I want to say is: this was amazing! I have to say I'm so relieved I read this series after all, because damn I would have missed out. Even though I feel like this one might be a little bit more corny than the others, I absolutely adored it. The characters once again will have to suffer through things that this time around isn't as easy as a Voodoo Spirit. Talking about Voodoo Spirits I am a little disappointed that the book didn't reopen that part. I feel like Ceaseless is a total new story where the last two books aren't processed in too much... which I think is a little silly because they are supposed to be the past that made the characters who they are now. 
Another remark I have concerning this book is that the beginning was very abrupt. You really fell into the story and had to find out for yourself what the heck was going on, while it was already unrolling in front of us. However this also made sure that the intensity of mystery was very high in the book. So it's a double feeling! Once we do know what's going on though, we're in for a swoon story with so many feelings it was hard not to get addicted to it. A very special twist to the overall story, I had never expected for the last book to go as it went. The problem that's sketched is very unique in my opinion and played out very well! A successful last book in a series.

“What if she never remembers?"

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Ascend

The time has come to end yet another series! I still remember the first time I had the first book in my hands... I saw it and it was mine. And here we are, to the third and last book in this series that has surprised me and took me on a great adventure. It's always sad to close a series, however I am absolutely happy that I picked this one up. The only thing I can already say though is that this was totally different from what I had expected to happen and it did disappoint me in the beginning. But I have come to terms with it and I am absolutely in love with Ascend by Amanda Hocking.

WARNING For the ones here that haven't read the first in this series, I recommend you not to read on since there will be further developments to the characters and to the plot. This will create a less pleasant read of Ascend because you know more information than you already should. Therefore, I recommend you not to read the review of Ascend but to read the review about the first in the series: Switched. If you're interested in the second book, Torn, I also wrote a review about that book. Just clicking on the title will open a new page with the review on the first book.

The weight of the world is on Wendy's shoulders. After realizing that only she can safe the kingdom by sacrificing herself, Wendy is up for a great task. Above that not everyone in the kingdom stands behind her, which results in many disputes where Wendy can't defend herself. Only learning to be a future queen, she's has save the kingdom and wants to save everyone she loves. The treat of the Vittra is suffocating them all, but how does she get people to trust her and to fight this battle with her when all they do is ignore her and not see her as their future queen? 
If that isn't enough yet, Wendy also struggles with her feelings for both Finn and Loki while being married to Tove. It's time for her to finally pick someone, but her fear of losing either one of them is too hard to bear. Next to losing one of her loved ones, her mother isn't doing well either. Wendy finds herself on an emotional roller coaster while training to be the future queen and saving her kingdom. Will she be able to stand or will she fall under the weight? The ultimate question remains: will she'll be able to save everyone? 

With this series coming to an end, I have to say I'm absolutely happy with our main character Wendy. Over the course of 3 books, we really saw her grow. From first being someone totally different from who she thought she was to now being on her way to become the queen of the kingdom, I have to say this character has never ever disappointed me.

If there's one thing I can say it's that it's amazing to see her make this progress over a longer course. It just adds to the realistic side of the character. Everything takes time, and her becoming the woman she was destined to be was something that takes time. Amanda Hocking therefore did a great thing from making this doubting character into a strong, independent one. It might have taken us 3 books to finally see her being ready or close to ready, but the end result in the last book is fantastic.

If there's one thing I admired in this character it's her courage. Wendy has this hard task on her shoulders: rescuing the kingdom from the Vittra treat. By now we all know what's going on and what the history is between both Trylle and Vittra (Bonus: we'll get a few more answers during Ascend!) and know what role Wendy plays in this part. The fact that she's also in the process of becoming the future leader of the kingdom makes sure that she'll have a great challenge. The courage and strength this character shows therefore is very admirable. 

And strength she'll need. The people in the kingdom are having a hard time with standing beside her and agreeing to whatever she proposes. This creates an even more difficult situation for Wendy. It might be the last book, but if all it really gives our main character one last chance to prove herself. And prove the readers that she really is in fact this amazing, strong, independent woman that grew over the course of this series.

Above that Wendy is struggling with a few problems of her own. Being the last book of the series, we'll have to get answers on that. Once again this character shows how strong she is by leading and trying to figure out where her heart is really at. This will of course make sure that a lot of feelings will be directed to the readers and makes it easier to connect with the character. 

If I can say anything about all the characters in general it's that I absolutely think the author did a fantastic job with writing them. Each and every character has its individual characteristics, strengths and weaknesses that made sure we got a very varied range of characters. Each of them really added to the story and influenced it so that we came to this one coherent story that really takes us on an adventure. Above that I'm amazed by how well each of the grew and changed, some taking a different path than readers might have expected. Amanda Hocking really writes beautiful characters that still surprise!

For the plot I have to admit that I was stunned by it. We all know that Wendy is having some personal trouble and I had expected that that would really take up the plot as a whole. However that really wasn't the case at all. Of course we'll get a close-up on these problems as they'll still be of major importance for our character's personality and for the readers (because we want answers!). Yet I did notice that the story really concentrates on Wendy becoming the woman that she needs to become to save everyone.

We know that she's still learning to be this future queen and Amanda Hocking really took us onto the trip where we saw her grow in this individual, strong person. She's totally transforming in front of us by making us live through moments of her reigning. With her mother being really ill, it's therefore logical that Wendy takes her spot for now. This learning process will be added with making us sit through meetings and moments where fights have happened and the kingdom needs to make a statement or visit the surviving. 

I feel like the author really took time to set apart all the responsibilities Wendy will have to carry to amplify the weight on her shoulders, as well as really show us, through the plot, how she becomes the woman she's always destined to be. I really enjoyed being in those meetings as a reader and get to know their plans and train of thoughts. It just didn't shut out the whole task that Wendy would have to take when she's a future queen. I'm absolutely thrilled that the author didn't only talk about the personal affairs, but also put a lot of attention on what this is all about: the threat. 

Speaking of the threat we're in for a lot of action in this book. Even though we are seeing a lot of meetings and battlefields, the book takes time to present scenes where Trylle and Vittra will meet. These scenes in particular always gave me chills because of the nature of the Vittra. That's something I have always admired with this series, the author made such a great representation of the Vittra and when they meet each other on the battlefield or in either ones kingdoms, we're in for action and thrill. Once again these emotions will make us get ready for what will come. The tension between the two was also something that got bigger, which I had expected because it is the last book, nonetheless it was something I really enjoyed!

Next up are the emotional and personal problems, or challenges, Wendy will have to conquer in the last book! We've come a long way and we also know that Wendy's heart is torn up between different men. Now the series is coming to an end, we'll see how this will turn out. Therefore the author gave us all the options and so many things to feel through different scenes. It is time to find out if your ship survives people! I absolutely enjoyed this challenge, especially because Wendy had to find an answer. Above that the pressure she's now feeling will influence her relationships and make it an even bigger mystery to who she might pick. 

This book is just a great story with the emotional factor and the political one! There's action, there's thrill, there's romance, and so much more! Also the family aspect will come forward even more in Ascend and I really fell for that more than I had expected. Even though it isn't discussed too much we'll still be able to live through it and feel connected to it when it is discussed and get a few answers we were dying to get.

One thing I'd love to point out however is the fact that Amanda Hocking twisted this story so much. It came as a huge surprise to not see the story go as I had first anticipated. I think we can all agree that when you read a book, you know how the author will try to maneuver it. There's always that thread that connects the characters to each other and to the events. I really had not thought that this story could end up so much more different. I have to say that this caused me to be so disappointed, because I had really high expectations of the story to go and end this way. The author really showed great courage with twisting it and making the characters go another way. After coming to terms with it and accepting it, I did actually love how it went. And I absolutely want to applaud the author for making this change of course.

Lastly I want to point out that there's a prologue to the story and it was included in my copy of the book because it's bonus content. If it's not included in your copy of Ascend, I think you can find it online as an e-book type but I'm not sure. What I can say about Ever After is that I absolutely loved the bonus content. It was absolutely amazing to see how this series had ended and how all the characters have moved on from it too. It gives us one last look to each and every one of them and to feel like this is really the end. It just really gives the readers more closure by giving us a glance in their happily (?) ever after! 

Although I had expected a total different ending, I did enjoy this book as the end of the Trylle series. The characters have grown so much over the course of 3 books and I really adore how Wendy became the strong independent woman she was destined to be. I really admire that the author dared to change the story up and turn another way with some characters so that the readers are left with a total different outcome. I do admit that I was a little disappointed it didn't go the way I wanted it, however I did come to terms with it since it's a beautiful ending. Also the big concern that's been hovering over this series is finally resolved and I have to say that I absolutely loved it! The author took time for a plan and then action and let me tell you... action it is! Even though I didn't enjoy this book as much as I did the first one, I'm still really happy that I picked up the series and finished it! Bonus points for Amanda Hocking to change it up and leave us with a book and ending that's so different from what we might have expected since book one.

“I will make this world a better place, whether they like it or not. That’s the fun of being Queen.” 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Predestined

A little while back I remember saying that I was a little disappointed in the first book of a series. It had been a book series that was on my shelf for what feels like eternity. Above that it was hard to find those books, and eventually I got my hands on the first one! Even though I was disappointed I was really willing to read the rest of the series and hope things would be getting better! Well, update! I read the second book, Predestined by Abbi Glines, and I have to tell you: it got better! 

WARNING For the ones here that haven't read the first in this series, I recommend you not to read on since there will be further developments to the characters and to the plot. This will create a less pleasant read of Predestined because you know more information than you already should. Therefore, I recommend you not to read the review of Predestined but to read the review about the first in the series: ExistenceJust clicking on the title will open a new page with the review on the first book. 

With Leif being gone, everything seems to get back to normal. Nobody knew what Leif really was, not even Death himself. Him being a soulless creature could have been a lot of trouble for their little town. Even though Leif has gone missing, Pagan still sees him frequently. Her memories are catching up with her in the form of dreams. Ever since she was a little girl Leif has been around her, trying to help her and to protect her. Now she sees him in every dream and every memory, making sure that she never forgets who was with her first.
Meanwhile Dank starts to understand there's no way that he can't ignore Leif's influence on Pagan's dreams. Finally finding out that Pagan's soul has been marked by something even Death doesn't want an encounter with, Dank realizes that saving her will be a hard task. But not as hard as having to live without her for the rest of his life. 


This book really made me believe that I did the right thing. I'm so happy that I didn't put this series aside and not read on! Predestined has surprised me in such a good way and I'm also really happy with how the characters evolved!

Speaking of the characters, let's talk about Pagan. I feel like this character still really amazes me. Just the confidence this girl carries is absolutely outstanding for a main character, however I did feel as if we saw a more tender side of her during Predestined. During this story we'll see how old memories will resurface for Pagan and this will be having dramatic changes. She'll feel less strong and stressed. This will also immediately be reflected in her behavior.

Did I hate seeing this in her character? Absolutely not. Even though I know she's a very confident person and stands up for herself, it was nice to see that sometimes she also has moments where she feels less confident and needs others to help her out. This isn't something where one of her friends will be able to help, so she'll automatically go to Dank for that but I mean... I'm not complaining! Also, the dreams will bring some action into the story which will also show us how Pagan reacts on danger and risking her life. I absolutely loved to see the fight in her and how she protects the people she loves! The ability we first saw with our main character in book one will not be addressed as much anymore but I absolutely didn't mind that because the story brings other elements to keep us connected and into the story. Overall a great character that shows a lot of courage. 

As for our sweet, beloved Dank! Gah, I absolutely adore him. His protectiveness that we saw in Existence hasn't changed at all and I just love how he is around Pagan. This time around he even gets his own chapters which I am so happy about! Overall I also feel like Dank really has become more mature and I loved to see that in this character. What I always noticed though was his sweet side and once again the readers will see this. He just brings very strong emotions to the story and that also makes sure that the readers will not be left without feelings. 

Did I see a dramatic change in Dank? No, he's still very protective and pro Pagan. That only made sure that he'll go to the ends of the world to help her and that's the spirit we'll need during this read. One thing I did notice about Dank is that we'll get to see more of his position in the universe and his influence. Readers will be pushed into his world of what his obligations are and I really did enjoy to see that happen, especially because it's told in his perspective. It brings us a bigger understanding of who he is and just deepens his character more. 

With seeing more of Dank's obligations, we'll also see that Dank's away from Pagan a lot more. That while she's struggling with the dreams and her memories. A certain danger is forming under their noses but neither really sees it. Their relationship will therefore be put to the test. Both really need each other and their love is sweet so it was very interesting to see how these factors influenced their relationship.

As for the plot, I have to say I was absolutely amazed by it. Especially because the author made enough time to write out Pagan's dreams that are actually memories from her childhood. This really brought a new sense of mystery that I absolutely enjoyed. Above that in the beginning of the dreams there are flashbacks of Pagan's friends as well and I really loved to see how that relationship started to grow and how it influenced their future. 

The thing with these dreams was that they started to form the story. The dreams really lead to this one big revelation that we need to know to understand what kind of danger our characters are now in. I think it was a very great thing of the author to reveal this through dreams, because it took some time to piece everything together for the characters as well as for the readers. Above that it really brought a great deal of mystery and tension which I could absolutely enjoy. This element of the story was very well written as it absolutely builds up the tension and leads to a big revelation that's mind blowing


As this is the second book and we already know Pagan's ability, Predestined doesn't make a lot of time to get into it anymore. She still sees souls, but the plotline won't be focusing on that anymore. There will be a new darker element that comes to the story. It's something totally new and also a new kind of character that'll bring this story some action. I have to say that I am more satisfied with this than with Pagan's ability in book one, because the author made more time to specify and describe this new element in the story with it's own unique powers and behavior. Abbi Glines really took her time to build this out better than she did with the ability in my opinion and I really appreciate that.

However this new aspect will bring answers that have to do with Pagan's ability which then again was something I was looking forward to. I never had expected to get these answers and they also come as a big surprise. The author really thought this through and made sure that the readers will be thrilled as well as in shock. Never had I ever anticipated to get answers to Pagan's ability or to ever know why she is the way she is, so it's safe to say that's a big asset!

A thing I hadn't expected in Predestined was the emotional rollercoaster that we'll be on. There are a few aspects that really surprised me and will mark the readers to feel sad. Of course there are also cute scenes between characters and other scenes where we'll have to brace ourselves. In comparison to Existence, I feel like Predestined just really deepened its story by creating all these scenario's where other emotions besides love could be felt and I absolutely appreciated that. Just know what you'll be in for, and be ready! Mark my words.

Lastly we will see some action as well, the only remark to the plot is that I sometimes wished the action would stick around longer. Even though I feel like the plot is a lot better, I did wish that the pace of these scenes weren't as high paced as they were. A bit more danger, risking and fighting for the things you want would have been better in my opinion. Now it felt rather done fast and quick so we could move on. Other than that I really don't have any remarks to this book so that also means I can conclude this review!


I absolutely adored the second book. Comparing the first book to the second book, Predestined, was a lot better and didn't disappoint me at all. The only remark I have is that some scenes were written on a fast pace not leaving enough room to feel the action and tension because it ended so soon. Other than that I really loved how what we learned at the end of book one was now a major influence. Above that the two main characters finally felt like a lot closer so us readers could enjoy it more. And boy, did I enjoy it... The plot was really well written and always up for a twist and a surprise I bet half of us didn't see coming. And the characters really showed a big change and evolved in a better way in my opinion. I absolutely enjoyed the second book, and let me tell you the ending is so sweet! Interpret that in any way you want... I can't wait for the 3rd and last book in this series!

“He's already proven he'll defy Heaven to keep her. If Hell wants a piece of him too, then bring it on.” 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Winner's Kiss

Dearly beloved, the time has come to say goodbye. Goodbye to amazing characters, an amazing trilogy. Goodbye to an amazing story that now has come to an end. It pains me to say that we will close a book-series, one that I have grown to adore from the first few pages. One that I totally absorbed and got absorbed by. With the last book in the series, The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski, we will be left but not without a phenomenal ending. A review about the last book in a series that has become my favorite this year!

WARNING For the ones here that haven't read the first in this series, I recommend you not to read on since there will be further developments to the characters and to the plot. This will create a less pleasant read of The Winner's Crime because you know more information than you already should. Therefore, I recommend you not to read the review of The Winner's Crime but to read the review about the first in the series: The Winner's Curse. If you're interested in the second book, The Winner's Crime, I also wrote a review about that book. Just clicking on the title will open a new page with the review on the first book. 

War has arrived and it will not be easy to defeat. 
Arin is making strategies to defeat the enemy together with his new allies. Even though he tries to convince himself that he no longer thinks about Kestrel, his mind and heart often go back to those sweet times. Trying to forget about her for good, he throws himself into a battle that might become his death.
Meanwhile the woman in his heart is somewhere in the Tundra. As a prisoner for her betrayal to the empire and her own father, Kestrel has time to feel the pain. The pain of her father letting her go. The pain of losing Arin. Kestrel starts fighting to keep her conscious and tries hard to escape what might become her death. 

This book! This book! This book! I can't believe how the author keeps writing these amazing books. If you haven't picked up the first one... what are you doing here? This is going to spoil all of this fantastic series! Also instead of reading this, go pick up the first book! Hurry!


The thing I noticed about the characters and actually the whole book in general, is that our focus changes. In The Winner's Crime we really saw how Kestrel was protecting Arin but this time she can't protect him. Kestrel is in a prison and is now suffering. In The Winner's Crime we saw how Arin suffered through her actions and now she's suffering from her actions. I really love how the characters focus changes but still has this element that attaches the change to what we already saw before.


The thing with Kestrel is that I feel it's one of the first times we really see her suffer. Yes, we saw her feel bad and suffer but this is different. She's imprisoned. Her father let het get taken away because of his beliefs. We really see how the prison feels like and how everything works in the world Marie Rutkoski created. But most of all we see how Kestrel's feelings finally catch up with the past two books. Her heartbreak is ginormous and that makes her level of suffering far worse than what we have seen before. The once strong Kestrel now seemed like a totally different character, a person without the fight inside of her, a person without her strategies. I really loved to see this side of Kestrel because it brings more dept into her character and shows the readers that she's more than a strong strategist. 


Also what I really admired with this character is that she eventually will fight. The prison tries to make the prisoners calm and without any emotion so they work harder. The battle between wanting to forget everything because of her obvious heartbreak and the will to break free is therefore a big element that'll be important for this character. We'll really see how Kestrel is fighting to be strong again but also wants to give up the fight because she lost Arin and her father. A very strong character that gives us new insight in her personality. Even though we only see it in the last book, I didn't mind that too much because it was an amazing turn.


As for Arin, also he's changing more and more. I felt like in the first book, The Winner's Curse, he was just a boy. Now, in the third and last book, we really see how everything has changed him. He's become this new man who has been through so much. Also his past will be something that's discussed in The Winner's Kiss which I think is a big asset to his character because it makes us understand more of his past actions. 


His character seems older and more mature because of everything that has been going on during this trilogy. Above that there's also the obvious heartbreak on Arin's part, however I feel like the heartbreak with this character was already obvious in The Winner's Crime. How Arin feels and what he'll do with his broken heart will take interesting turns though which I think is a good thing, but I can't tell more about that!


What I can say about Arin's character is that I'm really impressed with him. When you look at the past three books, you really see that he has evolved the most and that his thinking has become deeper and more mature. His personality is also very likable and swoon-worthy which we all know by now! I absolutely adored him, his bad sides included!


As for the relationship between our two characters, we've seen a lot of that happening already. The first book really focused on them meeting and how their relationship and bond starts to form, the second book then really concentrates on Kestrel trying to protect him and Arin trying to get her back. So as I already mentioned each book changes it's view and starts to focus on a change. It's therefore really interesting to see what the third and last book, The Winner's Kiss, is going to do with our two characters and how everything will evolve. If we'll get a happy ending or if these two will see each other again is a question you'll have to find the answer to yourself! All I can tell is that I'm really happy that the author made this evolve and have certain turns I hadn't seen coming! 

Now the plot! The story finally starts with the war. In the first book there wasn't really any case of war. Everyone lived peacefully but then of course, there was the rebellion which had set things in motion. In The Winner's Crime we then saw how the empire and strategists were trying to overpower each other and get the best out of their situation. And then we finally arrive at the last book and it's really time for war! 

I actually have to say that I really looked forward to this. Especially now we have a new game piece: the east. Arin had been trying to make them his allies and also succeeded in doing so. The thing I really love about the east is that they bring other habits and also new views on war. I just really adored their influence on the story. It really comes together as one coherent concept that's very realistic: every land has it's own habits, own strategies and own views. That's no different in this book! And I really loved that because the habits and the things they wore are so much different from each other. 


However with every war there are allies and when everyone works together they start to take over their habits. This is something Marie Rutkoski also took into account and also wrote out for the readers. If there's anything I'm really happy that the author really made detailed sceneries that we could then read and really view with our fantasy. The fact that she also paid attention to those habits and spend time making these differences was therefore very appreciated. 

Another element in the plot is that we'll also get some more action in this book. Although I think we already had some action in the past books, The Winner's Kiss' focus really is on the war between the Empire and the rest of the lands. With war I think we all expect more than one fight and more action than we've had before. The author came to our aid and also really brought us scenes of battle. Not only the good kind but also the loss and the new strategies! I've always been a fan of the strategies, and once again the author doesn't leave us without them.


The only thing we'll be seeing a lot less in this book is the betrayal and the games. This is probably because the war has already begun and everyone has taken sides. There's no need to betray people or to play games. Did I miss that aspect? Not really. I find that the book didn't really need it just because the war really takes up the plot and makes sure we've got enough elements there to keep us busy and entertained. 


Next to war we'll also see the two main characters be on their own path. Arin is already in the war, but Kestrel is imprisoned. I think it's an asset to the readers to also live through the sort imprisonment that the Empire sees fit. It really brings a lot of other and new details and characteristics that we can pin to the empire. As for Arin, as I already mentioned he's already in war but he'll make sure that the readers will get a good view on how the east will react and claim their space in war. Which is also a very nice thing to read about! Both characters will just make sure that more details and characteristics of other lands will become known. Even though it's the last book, I really enjoyed getting to know the other lands even better!


Another thing I absolutely adored in this book was the past of Arin that got a little bit more revealed. Arin will tell tales of his past and also his gods will be around. These little elements are things that really define Arin and make him who he is. Therefore reading into his past and getting to understand (at last) why he did the things that he did, is something readers will find amazing. Also the part of his gods will be more important in this book and really makes Arin's character even better.


As for Kestrel, we know her heartbreak and as I already said she's imprisoned. The Winner's Kiss is finally going to add more to the bond between her father and her. Some questions will be answered and readers will not be disappointed at all! Their relationship as well as both characters will be talked about and seen more so that we'll finally be able to understand what went wrong and why. I think that's a nice element to close this series off with because I think this was something that defined Kestrel's personality.


Does this mean that we won't be seeing some Kestrel and Arin action? Who knows. I can't really say much about that, especially because that's just the fun of the book. However I can really say that I'm absolutely amazed and happy with how the book ends and how the trilogy is closed off. After a long ride of 3 books with so much loss and games and betrayal, I think it's safe to say that readers will not be left disappointed. At least I really wasn't! 


And with this review, this series ends! I can't believe that it's over and it also really pains me to think of that! Marie Rutkoski has given me a new series to treasure and also and ending I never came close to. The Winner's Kiss has surprised me in many ways and the author has once again showed us that she can keep exciting us. This time I felt that the focus has changed once again and claims the war as theme. I have to say I respect the author a lot to refocus her theme in every book but still make it one coherent trilogy. As in all other books, we'll be able to enjoy strategies and see them being executed with it's effects as we get a closer look onto the war. 


As this is the last book in the trilogy, a lot of remaining questions get answers and new questions still arise which I think is an asset to the book. The author keeps making us guess and question certain characters but also certain situations. And speaking of characters, they surprised me even more! It's amazing to see them grow even further and play with their demons during the times of war. 



Lastly, there's still the part where the trilogy is written with an all-knowing-persona but once again the author won't give everything to us. There's still so much room to speculate or even to be surprised because things turned out totally opposite than what we might have expected. I absolutely loved that effect in this story. 

To conclude I think it's fair to say that this is an outstanding ending that's both thrilling but also very satisfying. Even after two books the author has given us a worthy last book that still gives us all the things we loved during the story. I am in tears! This book (and this entire series) is absolutely magnificent. A huge recommendation!

"Some kisses come at a price."

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hopeless | Audiobook

A book that's been on my to be read shelf for over two years has finally been picked up because I was going to Luxembourg! Yes, that sounds weird right? Let me explain: what do you do on a 2 hour and 45 minute drive that became a 5 hour drive because of traffic jams? You listen to an Audiobook because you can't read while driving without getting sick. So that's exactly what I did: I picked up the Audiobook: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover and listened for the entire drive to Luxembourg and back. My third book by this author and I have to say I'm not disappointed.

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It takes one encounter with a total stranger for Sky to finally feel something real. It's the only boy she ever has had any attraction to. The one worst thing about it? The guy is hopeless and totally arrogant and strange. Feeling things she never has felt before for a guy, Sky is terrified that he has so much control over her. Yet he makes her feel fireworks and nostalgic, bringing up memories she wished wouldn't ever be revealed. But he has some secrets he hasn't been sharing either and Sky feels torn between the past and present while feeling so many things for this hopeless boy. The question is is he really who he says he is and why does he keep things from her? Totally hopeless herself Sky is in for the ride of her life finding out truths she never thought were lies before... 

Being a book that's been on my to be read shelf for so long, I have to say it was even more surprising as I had first thought it would be. I read two other books by Colleen Hoover by now so I like her style enough to dare and go into another book by her. I have to say it stayed on my shelf for so long because I didn't know if I would really like it as much as it seemed but having listened to it now I can safely say I'll read, or well listen better yet, the sequel!

The first thing I really want to get into are the characters, especially because they brought a deepness and surprise I never thought would happen. To really be honest, I had never expected that the characters or even the plot would have turned out as it did. First we have Sky, she seems like a normal teenager when we first get to know her. The only thing that's "wrong" with her is that she doesn't feel anything when there's a boy around. She just feels nothing at all and watches her stars on her ceiling. I guess that was something that intrigued me with this character from the start. This just made me think that the story would be about Sky having to find her first true love to make her feel things but soon enough we'll notice that a lot more things are going on with Sky. The book makes time to let us know what she dreams. These dreams aren't even just dreams they're memories from when she was little and still lived with her biological parents who put her up for adoption. 

At the first memory we get we have this feeling there's a lot more to the story than we know. That Sky isn't only this teenager that doesn't feel anything but that something else is going on. However Sky's personality isn't one that worries a lot. She's very confident and tends to just go with the flow. The only insecurity she has is when she's with boys and doesn't feel anything. That all changes when she meets the second main (male) character in the book, Holder, and she starts to feel so much more. He brings a lot more memories at night which readers will immediately absorb into their minds and hold onto. It's also from that moment on that we see Sky turn into another part of her. From the beginning we knew she wasn't very emotional, she's strong and independent and most of all she's confident. The moment she meets Holder and her memories come more frequently, she becomes fiercer and stubborn. Especially when she sees Holder or is talking with him. I really loved to see this stubbornness and fierce part in her although sometimes I think both Sky and Holder were being angry for nothing!

However the more memories she gets and the more Holder makes her feel, the more insecure Sky is becoming and even though this seems like too big of a change, I really enjoyed seeing her turn into this Sky. It brought more softness to her personalty and didn't make her seem like she knew everything better and was so confident you couldn't get to her. It brought a deepness and even more understanding to this character and made the reader notice that something was going on with this character and it wasn't only not feeling anything for boys. Something in her past was haunting her and Holder is triggering things even she doesn't know anything about. It's also from that moment, where Sky becomes this more insecure and bomb of emotions that we start to question everything, starting with Holder.

Holder's very alike Sky, he's very confident and sure of himself. Although he always, from the start, had this softness that Sky didn't have. He was the gentler person and always knew when things weren't going the way someone else wanted them to. He's always there for them, even though he's that confident. It's not as if his confidence becomes arrogant and I liked that a lot. In the beginning I thought Holder would be this cocky character in the book but Colleen Hoover really surprised me with making him this soft person. Readers will also really notice how fast he can lose his temper which was also a surprise when he's such a gentle person, however I loved that he could also be so fierce about things. But as I mentioned before, sometimes I thought both got angry over the smallest things and I just wanted them both to get over it a lot faster than they did. 

The thing between these two characters is that they both are so much different when they're together and it brings Sky this nostalgic feeling and Holder is keeping things which obviously makes this combination as exciting as dangerous for the readers because we don't know enough to make a verdict. However I think both characters were very easy to love, especially together. They brought the best from each other, ones they stopped being angry for nothing. The combination of Sky's big personality change and Holder's softness but strength really made this amazing bond between the two that's both swoon-worthy and suspicious for the readers. 

Even though the memories triggered by Holder make the plot make interesting turns, I think everyone who read the book will agree with me that we wouldn't be able to hate or resist Holder at all. The characters were really well written with more dept and softness than I had expected and also were a lot different than I had thought and that's all because of the influence of the plot.

Why? Because the plot really turned my whole view on this book upside down. I thought this was going to be this classic romantic and predictable story well I was wrong all along. Yes there is something going on with Holder and how he's triggering all these memories of Sky's past but still the author keeps the reasons why and what has happened then so well hidden! It really leaves a lot of room for the reader to make wild guesses and maybe, just like me, be totally wrong about everything you thought this was about. 

I think it's a very interesting thing to see this story turn into something so much more deeper than I had expected and that's really all I can tell about it. What I first thought to be a typical romance about a girl finding a boy, them arguing, breaking up and getting back together, was totally not the case. Although this book also contains a high amount of sweet romance which really isn't anything that's going to bother the reader, this book will really start to fall apart. The plot line will start making sudden turns and reveal memories that open a way to memory lane. And boy, let me tell you that neither of the two characters had ever imagined that.

This book really contains a lot of mystery and when you think you finally know what's going on and what is linking these two characters together, there's even more! I have to admit that the author, Colleen Hoover, has really surprised me in a good way. I had never thought that a book could be so different from what I had ever expected! And that's not even all because when you finally know every part of the truth and people are ready to confront it and open up for it something happens that will leave you so speechless. Damn I wish I could tell but I absolutely can't. I can however say that once again Colleen Hoover made a surprising move and really turned all of our worlds upside down for the 100th time in this book.

The thing with the plot is that I think it really does a great job with influencing both the readers and the characters. The characters personalities and behavior will really vary on what's going to be revealed. Especially because there's a big part Sky doesn't even know anything about. These memories are all new to her as she doesn't even remember anything. This of course brings a lot more feelings and a lot more changes to her story and personality which I think was amazing to witness. How such a strong character can change so much due to the things she now learns, is also something that's a big part of reality. We also change a lot when things happen or when things we didn't know are revealed and I think that's a great asset to the book: the realistic part. 

To conclude I can say I was so scared to finally start this book, but heck I shouldn't have been! Once again Colleen Hoover really surprised me with her book by giving it an amazing twist. This book totally turned out different that I thought it would be and when I thought I finally knew how this was going to turn out, it surprised me with another twist! The characters were so well written and the book contained a deepness I hadn't thought to give it when I read the synopsis. So many elements of the past, present and secrets come together to create a plot line I absolutely enjoyed and couldn't stop listening to. If you're looking for a surprise read then this is absolutely your book. You'll be pulled into a world of a normal teenager who's world will be turned upside down because of secrets and her past. You'll be thrilled by all the twists and turns and fall in love with the character's amazing personalities and softness! A deep read that really made me feel so much and made me fall in love once more.

"The only thing that matters to me with you are the forevers."

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Winner's Crime

For the love of all the Book Gods, I am lost for words! I finally dared to open the second in a series. And when I say dare, I really mean it because I was so scared to start this book. I shouldn't have been! If I thought this book was going to disappoint me, I was absolutely wrong. I said it with the first book and I'll say it again: this is probably the best book I've read in 2017 so let's make this statement right: this will probably be the best series I've read this year. The second book in The Winner's-trilogy is ready for it's review: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

WARNING For the ones here that haven't read the first in this series, I recommend you not to read on since there will be further developments to the characters and to the plot. This will create a less pleasant read of The Winner's Crime because you know more information than you already should. Therefore, I recommend you not to read the review of The Winner's Crime but to read the review about the first in the series: The Winner's CurseJust clicking on the title will open a new page with the review on the first book. 

Now Arin is free and has his country back, it's Kestrels duty to keep him safe and free. However everything comes with a price and Kestrel is paying it. Being the Prince's finance, she feels as if she's living in a cage going from one celebration to the other. All this time her heart is longing for someone else but she's made it her job to protect the one that lies closest to her. But with every day that day of the wedding approaching and every moment Kestrel has to live through the torture, she's aching to tell Arin the truth about everything and tell him how she sacrificed everything because of him and so he would be safe. 
Arin however tried everything to win Kestrel back and to make her tell him the truth, but the God of Lies loves Kestrel and all this time she tried to protect him. Some truths should have been told earlier and some lies should've never been said in the first place. Kestrel becomes the goddess of  deceit as she becomes a spy all the while Arin is fighting to keep his country's freedom. When the truth finally will come out, hearts will be cut open and left to bleed...

This book has left me speechless! The reason why I was so scared to begin the second is the series is because of the ending in The Winner's Curse. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved the first in the series and also loved the ending because it wasn't typical and as I had thought it would end. 

By now we all know that (SPOILER ALERT if you're reading this review and haven't read the first book!) Kestrel and Arin aren't together and left each other. We also know there's been made a deal and that Kestrel didn't get engaged because she was madly in love with the prince. All of us that read The Winner's Curse know that sacrifices have been made and that one of the parties doesn't know anything about it. My ship was totally wrecked at the end of the book because my love for Arin and Kestrel is too big for words. My thoughts immediately thought that The Winner's Crime would make sure that Arin and Kestrel would be far away from each other and that the book would begin to develop a plot where both don't or barely see each other. However the author really made sure that both characters were still linked to each other and would develop the plot while also coming across each other in different situations! 



So the thing that scared me to start The Winner's Crime was really nothing to be scared of and even though the characters will not be like they were in the first book, due to circumstances and lies, I still absolutely enjoyed the atmosphere they brought the book and how, independently, they twisted the story to what is has become! 

What I really feel with these characters is that each of them is growing on a rapid pace and have now fully stepped into the world of deceit and lies. Although The Winner's Curse also really focused on this, I felt like the second book did an even better job on this! Especially because the lies are the main thing that split our characters apart from each other and might keep them that way or might bring them together like this.

The role with deceiving and lying and being totally focused on the game was really Kestrels and I absolutely loved to see how she was going at it. From the first book we knew that Kestrel has a very strong mind that's smart and knows how to makes strategies. We wouldn't expect less of a general's daughter. However in The Winner's Crime, Kestrel did an even better job especially because she felt the need to. This need was very clear for the readers and also made it very pleasant. 

Once again we saw a very strong and determined Kestrel that always explained her motives to the readers but never let anything get obvious to the other characters that she was deceiving them. Her strategies were totally new and also amazing to see. The author really made sure that we could follow every step through her mind and that we knew her motives and which strategy she preferred over the other. The thing with Kestrel in this book was that I really felt like she was balanced out. Her longing to protect Arin was so strong that it made her mind games even better and her strategies excellent. 

The last thing I really want to say about Kestrel is that she might look very strong and of course, she is! However we really see her suffer in this book as well, because she can't have what she wants so badly. Her need to protect is bigger which I think is a trait from this character that came out a lot stronger in the second book than it did in the first. The things she wants and where she's currently at because of her protectiveness also really reflects how caged she feels and how it's making her rot from the inside out. Above that Kestrel doesn't only want to keep Arin safe by helping him and give information through someone else, she also wants her father to love her and respect her. 

That's something that Kestrel always has wanted, even since the first book and I have to say that my questions about if this was going to be resolved and how are now satisfied. The author will also concentrate on her inner conflict: getting the love of her Father and being with the man she loves. There's a lot in store for Kestrel and she'll be walking on a very thin line where she'll have to be careful not to make any mistakes. The verge of danger she's in and what her heart wants will really make this character amazing and magnificent!

As for Arin, I really felt that his character struggled a lot as well and was in an inner conflict just like Kestrel. Arin is also longing for everything in the past and that made it hard for him to move on and be a man. The plot will keep referring to Arin fighting between the little boy from the first book and the man that he's now in the second book. Arin does play well in the games at court, however he's less of a game player in The Winner's Crime. While Kestrel really is fighting for something close to Arin, Arin is trying to keep his land and busy with other political influences that can help him keep Harran. 

Although he might be busy with other things, Arin will still think of Kestrel a lot. And Kestrel's strength of strategy has been rubbed off on him in this book. The author really showed how much more Arin can do and how much he can think like Kestrel which I think was a great asset to the book because that was something that linked the two characters, now split, together. 

Speaking of the two linked together, both will see each other on multiple occasions through the book where we see their personalities develop and grow stronger. Kestrel being deceiving to protect but also being a source of information for Arin without him knowing and Arin being smarter, stronger and more developed. Both of their characters are going to be very strong and stubborn which will form multiple clashes between the two and the readers will be left with frustration because we know everything but they don't! 

A last thing about Arin though, is that I feel like he isn't only struggling with the whole past and present but also with seeing the lies and conspiracies. Throughout the book we'll see that Kestrel has the advantage because she has a stronger mind to make conspiracies, strategies and to lie. Arin is strong in that part too but not as strong as Kestrel which causes Arin to struggle a lot with seeing the truths when he thinks she's lying. Both play a very convincing role in pushing and pulling each other which will have different effects that will leave the readers with feelings all over the place! 

The relationship between the two isn't like we saw it in the first book which I think is an asset to the story. The plot has developed in many ways so we can't expect for them to be the same. However since it's written in an all-knowing-persona we do really see what they both long for but how things have changed and what made the change. Meanwhile we'll be left with feeling and wished we were the Gods of love so we could interfere! The characters really showed a big development that left me lost for words but really happy. Their personalities are just so much stronger, kind of the same, which makes it hard for them to interpret and understand each other like they did before, even if their feelings speak the same language. Absolutely outstanding once again!

As for the plot there's a game to play so make sure you're ready! Even in The Winner's Curse I noticed that the author had a gift to make these conspiracies and to trick the readers even if it was written in an all-knowing-persona. Also in the second book the conspiracies and games will play a major role. Especially because it's these games that Kestrel needs to protect the person she's wanted from the start. 

In the first book the author focused on the empire of Valoria and how Herran was colonized by them. Even then there were conspiracies and rebellion which caused the ending of The Winner's Curse as we all know it now. In The Winner's Crime the focus of war will be less on Herran and more on the East: Dacra. This doesn't mean that Valoria and it's players won't keep Herran in their sight. The book really has a higher political aspect than it had in The Winner's Curse but I actually loved to see that because it made sure that we could see our characters form strategies which I absolutely adore. Being that the focus of war has changed also brings Arin to the table. 

As I mentioned the eyes won't leave Herran because many Valorian people are not happy that it got it's independence. Kestrel will do anything to make sure it keeps it and therefore will also start playing an even more dangerous game. For the first time Kestrel changes her ways and will turn on her own nationality because of Arin. Even though he doesn't know, Kestrel will be feeding information and she'll be everywhere when it comes to the political games. Why? Because the emperor of Valoria knows how strong Kestrel is when it comes to war and making moves and he wants her to take over when she's ready. I really loved how the plot turned this story so much in the second book. Although The Winner's Curse also contained this political aspect, I feel like it didn't concentrate on it as much as it did in The Winner's Crime. The danger is real because Kestrel turned on her people and will now have to be extra careful. The author also really shows what happens when you do that and how dangerous it can get.

The plot really needed all these wars and strategies to make the plot evolve the way it did. I can't really tell more because that would spoil but just know it's not a boring thing at all! Many might think this will be dragging on but in fact it made things a lot more interesting and also a lot clearer. You really got to be in the character's head and see how every move is written out and why they chose things the way they did. The war is now everywhere. Valoria is turning onto Herran and Dacra which makes things very interesting for the main characters and will develop a lot of things.

The plot is one big game where the players have to trust their gut to see through lies and deceit. I think that was also the thing that made me love this book the most: even though our characters aren't close all times both still play the game to favor the other and to find out the truth. The lies are big and important and the reader really needs to read carefully which also makes us feel like we're into this book. It really gives a lot of freedom to think for ourselves and to search for motives of other characters such as the General, the emperor, the queen of Dacra and even old friends. 

Even though we think we know everything because of the all-knowing-persona we keep being presented with these unexpected turns that make us suffer or encourage the characters to go on and that's really what a book should do: be unexpected when it seems like we know everything. If you loved the first book and really fell in love and made Kestrel and Arin your ship, then you'll also be on fire when it comes to feelings. It's really as if we're part of this game where we see our characters go away from each other because of everything that's happening: the war, the upper hand in the game, the players and the conspiracies. It's easy to feel lied to in this book and to have to guess if you're right or wrong which adds to the feels in this book and made the characters as they are now! 

For short the plot is absolutely amazing: it's a big game where it doesn't only resolve around Kestrel and Arin anymore, many other characters will find their way into the story and play along with the game. You'll be lied to, you'll be seeing people disappear and deceive and you'll see how much people long for things they can't have. Above that the plot really influences the moves of the characters and made them develop as they did.

Once again Marie Rutkoski brought an amazing story that followed up on the first book in this series. I was so pleased with book one and finally got around to read the second. I have to admit I was scared to start The Winner's Crime, because I didn't know if I'd like to see my two main characters in a situation they got in at the end of The Winner's Curse. However I'm also really happy to admit that this book turned out to be even better than I had expected. The characters grew and fight against what they see as lies and truths. I really loved how the author played games with us and made us doubt these lies and truths. Above that this book is filled with conspiracy that still involved both characters and therefore kept them linked together even if they weren't near each other. It's an outstanding book that really keeps you on your toes, even though we know almost everything since it's written in 3rd person. I absolutely loved how the plot evolved and how the author played with the characters. A great book (and so far series) if you're in need of a game that's played with lies, conspiracy and so much more!

“If you won’t be my friend, you’ll regret being my enemy.”