The Winner's Kiss Discussion

The Winner's Kiss The Winner's Trilogy Book Three
Written by Marie Rutkoski
Fantasy, Dystopian, Romance
Published March 24th 2016
484 Pages
Thanks to Bloomsbury Australia via Netgalley
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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? 
Nick and I both found ourselves reading The Winner's Kiss, so naturally I suggested a fabulous review discussion.

But I didn't take no for an answer. After much discussion about eyebrow waxing, Nick's hostility and the challenge of a knife fight, we decided it was a brilliant idea and it was selfish to not to share our fabulousness with the blogging community and thus, a discussion was born. 

For the girl who is Ernie to my Bert, please welcome Nick from Nick and Nereydas Infinite Booklist and our discussion review of this epic finale. 


Best. Finale. Ever.

I must admit, I'm always wary of finales. Usually I end up pissed that I've invested so much into a reading a series and only to have an author write a half assed conclusion. But The Winner's Kiss was fucking epic wrapped in awesome. The intensity, the romance, the sexual frustration! I wanted to jump onto the page and rub Kestrel and Arin together at one point just so they'd get it on with all that friction.

Was the finale what you expected?


What I expected? No! It went far far far beyond what I wanted. I'm like you in that I'm always worried about how a book ends. With the events in The Winner's Crime, I was even more nervous, but wow! Rutkoski took my heart, punched it repeatedly with her stunning writing and all the damn feels, and in the end left me sated. Like you said, there is just so much of everything in this finale and undeniably my favorite was the epic EPIC! romance between Arin and Kestrel. I was ready for them to get it on from very early on! Haha!

So... Are we going to have to fight for Arin, Kelly?


He's right up there, but I prefer my book boyfriends more villainous. Arin reminds me so much of Chaol from the Throne of Glass series. The same gruffness, the inner turmoil and seriousness that makes them both seem much older than their years. I was heartbroken during The Winner's Crime as well. But that heartache lead to such a delicious tension between the two. Let's talk about Kestrel and her character transformation. I loved her in book one, but seeing how selfless she was in Crime made me warm to her even more so. But shock horror, some readers don't like her. Are they clearly barking mad or just want Arin for themselves?


YES! More Arin for me! You know I don't have much love for the Throne of Glass series anymore, but I can definitely see why Arin reminds you of Chaol. That quiet intensity he possesses is so sexy. I don't know what it is about me and rough-around-the-edges boys in books. I think his roughness really balances out Kestrel's own intelligence and one of the many reasons why they are such a great couple.

WHAT? How can anyone not like, Kestrel? I'm going to assume it's because they want Arin for themselves because why else? Is it because she's not the typical fantasy heroine a.k.a physically badass? I think one major reason I love Kestrel is the fact that she's not physically strong (which was also why I was so against those US covers being changed), but yet, she is an important player and is Arin's equal when it comes to the story. I connect better with characters like Kestrel who are cunning and use their heads to solve problems. There's one particular scene in The Winner's Kiss, that really highlighted that for me and it's one I sadly can't talk about.


It's that quiet determination and intellect which drew me to her character in the first place too. She doesn't need to be a fighter to show her tough she is and I love young adult that isn't afraid to create characters that can't wield a sword, but can use words as weapons just as effectively. I don't understand why they would change the covers only months before the finale is released. From what I gather, the series is selling well and I don't think we need another Throne of Glass type cover, which is iconic to that series and not The Winner's Trilogy. Even stranger that they are under the same publisher too.

What did you think about the support characters, namely Roshar?


I wasn't sure about Roshar at first, what with his not-so-serious behavior and also the fact that he physically resembled Voldemort (plus, who can you even trust this trilogy?), but he grew on me in The Winner's Kiss especially. I loved how he and Arin had this bromance and how he was always pulling Arin's leg, but was also not afraid to speak his mind when he didn't approve of some of his decisions. His growing bond with Kestrel was also delightful! I'm glad that she was able to make some friends with this new life of hers. I also really enjoyed Kestrel's relationship with Sarsine. I'm always up for a good female friendship in YA books, and theirs was most certainly that.

What were your thoughts on her?


I liked her and I think her character helped give Kestrel a softness and humility that we haven't seen before. The bromance between Roshar and Arin had me second guessing their alliance at times, there was something about Roshar that felt as though he may have had ulterior motives and left me nervous that he might turn on him, especially with his sister pushing for greater influence during the conflict. The war seemed to have taken a backseat to it's characters though. You see brief snippets of conflict, but it felt a little anticlimactic overall. We have to talk about the romance.

I was quietly shitting myself that Marie Rutkoski was going to balls it up.


I was so nervous about that too! Part of me worried because I was unsure as to how they would fix their relationship but the romance was my favorite part of this finale. I feel like I could go on and on about it but I won't because I want readers to experience it on their own. The tension between Arin and Kestrel was at its peak in The Winner's Kiss and while it took some time to become emotionally open with each other, the wait was so worth it. I don't know how Rutkoski does it but every scene between the two of them was infused with so much intensity and chemistry. I loved that The Winner's Kiss was so romance driven because after the torture that was The Winner's Crime I needed this. They had a lot to work through but I feel like they came out stronger than ever and by the end, I believed in the power of their love.

How about you, Kelly?


I love them as individuals and even more so together. One of the best pairings in young adult. Ever.

I feel as though that connection Kestrel and Arin has is almost a dying breed in young adult. Two characters both with an amazing amount of inner strength and likability, who are just as strong individually as they are together. The last couple that had that same connection were Celaena and Chaol and I think that's why fans have flocked to this series too.

I'm sad it's over though.


I am too, but I love how everything wrapped up and I especially loved that Kestrel was the one who gave the final blow.

This series has never been the most action-packed, but it was still able to keep me on the edge of my seat with its strong world building and twists and turns. In The Winner's Kiss, we were finally able to get a glimpse at Marie Rutkoski's more plot-driven side, with the intense battle scenes, the politics and the climax of the book. It's not an easy ride for readers emotionally, but it's one that I believe people will love. The Winner's Trilogy is brilliant in its execution, luscious writing and ability to leave readers drowning in their feelings and for that this is a series I will revisit over and over again. I just don't see myself ever tiring of Kestrel and Arin and everything else this book has to offer.

Find Nick via her Blog Twitter Instagram her Romance Blog or Goodreads

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

The Witchlands: Book One
Written by Susan Dennard
Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic
Published January 5th 2016 by Tor Teen
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In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.


Kynndra's Thoughts

My dislike for this book is actually very high. I'd use the word hate, but I think that should be reserved for things that actually deserve hate. It was quite honestly nothing but a huge disappointment for me due to the fact that months prior to its release date, it was already receiving rave reviews. Everyone and their mothers had seen or heard of the infamous Truthwitch, it was praised in every direction on nearly every bookish platform. To be blunt, I just don't understand why it received such an astounding amount of praise. If I hadn't been buddy reading it, I would have dropped it at 5%. And I understand, we all have our opinions but hell this one was genuinely not all that great for me.

This is a fantasy novel, which means there should be a fair amount of worldbuilding. You should know where you are in the novel - you should know the important chunks of history. But you don't get that with Truthwitch. Perhaps I just wasn't paying attention (unlikely, but hey I'm only human). Perhaps I missed something. But I felt completely and utterly lost in what is known as the Witchlands.. I didn't know where the hell the characters were for about 60% of the novel. I didn't know why the world was the way it was. We get some unestablished factoid about some twenty year truce and some starving land and that's just about it. It was the most underdeveloped world I have yet to read in fantasy.

ASDFGH. THE CHARACTERS. Okay first off, let me say that these characters have such complicated names. I just called them by the breed of witch they were. I deleted the book off my ereader (I disliked it so much I had to free up the memory, whoops) But for the sake of this review I might seek out their names. First off: the MC, Special Snowflake herself, Safiya was a carbon copy of all those destined for great things kinda girl. She was bland. She was forgettable. Even her ability was lame as frick. She can tell when someone tells the truth and when they lie. Her magic purrrs to her guys. SO LAAAAME. I'd ask for a refund on my witchery tbh.

Speaking of witches and their abilities - THERE WERE SO MANY FUCKING TYPES OF WITCHES. Yet little to no information on what they can actually DO. Seriously. If you're going to have magical beings, actually have a concrete basis on their powers. Such little info actually hurts my fantasy loving soul. The only wicked or even slightly interesting character was the Bloodwitch (yoo no idea what his name is - Auden? Auiadan?). Other than him I personally didn't find Merik or Iseult engaging whatsoever.

The writing itself wasn't half bad, though it wasn't anything I would consider unique. I enjoyed a few of the action scenes, but due to some contract our special snowflake Safi can *never* get hurt which made my ability to suspend belief blow out the window. The plot however, was poorly established and.. unexciting? I can't begin to imagine how this will become a four book series. Which brings me to the ending of the book. It was rushed, confusing and all around baffling.

Although, I am not totally put off by this book. Near the midsection there were a few bits that kind of made me want to read the sequel when it comes out. I like to know what happens in a story, even if I'm not the biggest fan of it. We shall see, maybe I'll have forgotten I cared a year from now.

In Conclusion

I wish I never read this book. Imagine you couldn't swim. You were never taught. But one day, someone grabs you and throws you in the deep end and expects you to understand whats going on. That's how I felt when I read this. It felt more like a second or third book. I believe if Dennard had fleshed out her world, the witches and made the characters less generic I and Truthwitch may have gotten on better. But alas, that is not so and this book was sadly a waste of my slow turtle-like reading time. But hell, it's gotten so many praises that it seems I'm the odd man out ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Kynndra is currently sad because it has snowed, but she's sure it'll melt soon.


Glass Sword... Red as the dawn

Contains spoilers for Red Queen. See my review here

Glass Sword Red Queen Book Two
Written by Victoria Aveyard
Dystopian, Fantasy
Published February 9th 2016
320 Pages
Thank you to Hachette Australia
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If there's one thing Mare Barrow knows, it's that she's different.

Mare's blood is Red, the colour of common folk, but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from the prince and friend who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by the Silver king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red and Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?
On the run from the new empire, Mare Barrow and the disgraced Prince are now seen as traitors to their kingdom. Mare has placed her trust in the Scarlet Guard to stop the bloodshed of Newbloods, those with silver abilities that bleed red. With only Julian's legacy to guide her, Mare plans on finding the Newbloods before Maven can end their lives.

"Hundreds of names, hundreds of Reds with abilities. Stronger, faster, better than they are, with blood as Red as the dawn."

With Shade and Kilorn beside her, Mare plans to track down each name but before she can enlist the help of the Scarlet Guard, Prince Cal is taken from her grasp as a pawn to be used by the newly in charge Lakelanders and securing freedom for the red population who would otherwise be used as soldiers, sent into battle against their own.

Kelly's Thoughts

I absolutely adored Red Queen, a wonderful mix of fantasy and dystopian elements from some of our favourite young adult series. While Red Queen was uplifting and at times, brutal, Glass Sword is a much calmer read, the focus being on developing it's characters and relationships while edging towards what seems to be the next civil war.

Mare is still coming to terms with the deception she experienced at the hands of Maven, a point that readers are constantly reminded of. She feels betrayed, but longs for the quiet and reserved young man she believed Maven to be, a gentle fighter who believed in the rights for all.

The biggest difference between Red Queen and Glass Sword besides the shift from fantasy to dystopian, is Mare Barrow herself. She was fierce in Red Queen but is incredibly self doubting and seemingly feeds on her lack of self worth and guilt. She's now killed, but also has the deaths of others who aligned themselves with her on her hands and spends her quiet moments of reflection torn between bringing the Newbloods into battle or protecting them from Maven's Silver army.

If I am a sword, I am a sword made of glass, and I feel myself beginning to shatter.

She just felt... Hollow. Her inner thoughts were contradictory and seemingly didn't want the responsibility of being the Lightning Girl, but also relished in her title of power. Prince Cal is a character that I need more from. He was so overshadowed by Mare's catchphrases and indecisiveness that he felt like little more than a background character, rather than her potential love interest. I feel his character deserved much more development, especially seeing his life has been ruined by Lightning Girl entering his world.

And Maven?

Sadly he's mysteriously absent as is Queen Elara. Both characters make brief, cameo appearances which sadly is why I felt disappointed by Glass Sword. I love a well written villain, especially after audiences see the character transformation from good to... Not so good. The storyline needed to focus less on Mare's self pity and more on the kingdom who were hunting her and the Newbloods. Dual points of view may have ensured Glass Sword to be more widely praised by the reading community. It needed a point of difference and personally, I needed a break from Mare who seemed to be masquerading as Katniss Everdeen.

Some know what I am, and they have written it across the posters for all to see. Red Queen. The lightning girl. She lives. Rise, red as dawn. Rise. Rise. Rise.

I love the series, even though I wasn't as engaged with Glass Sword as I had expected. Apart from Mare, I loved the introduction of new and wonderfully sassy and moody characters none more so than Cameron. Her ability far outweighs Mare's ability to create and control electricity and she's lived to escape her confines under King Maven. She not only refuses to abide by Mare's rules but she challenges the Lightning Girl, merely a breath away from being able to take her life. I adored her, but there is more to Cameron beyond her abrasive facade and I can't wait to discover who she truly is.

The Final Verdict

As much as I enjoyed Glass Sword, I couldn't help but feel it was stretched a little too thin. Be prepared for character soul searching, an uprising, indecision and absolute heartbreak. The crescendo has me excited for book three in the series, let's just hope Mare gets her shit together in time.

Earth's End by Elise Kova

Earth's End
Air Awakens: Book Three
Written by Elise Kova
Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Published February 11th 2016 by Silver Wing Press
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A woman awoken in air, a soldier forged by fire, a weapon risen from blood.

Vhalla Yarl has made it to the warfront in the North. Forged by blood and fire, she has steeled her heart for the final battle of the Solaris Empire’s conquest. The choices before Vhalla are no longer servitude or freedom, they are servitude or death. The stakes have never been higher as the Emperor maintains his iron grip on her fate, holding everything Vhalla still has left to lose in the balance.

Vhalla Yarl has evolved over the past year. She has gone from a small, mousey library apprentice to a revered and admired Windwalker - a one of a kind sorceress. It is her time to make well on her binding to the Emperor. The Solaris army is months away from war in the North, and the only being who can bring them victory is Vhalla. However, greater things are in store for young Vhalla. She is in love with the crown prince, Aldrik.

Together the two must not only prepare for battle with an outer enemy, but also within their own walls. The Emperor will do anything to assure that his son does not end up with the likes of Vhalla, even if it means killing her - but not before she has proved useful in winning the battle between the Northern people. Aldrik swears he will see no harm come to her - no matter the cost. But the cost may come at a higher price than either of them ever imagined.

Kynndra's Thoughts

Okay, first and foremost - let me elaborate that I LOVED Air Awakens and Fire Falling with every fibre of my being. I adored the story and the characters to a T. Everything about the series to the covers ensnared me. I was absolutely thrilled when I got my copy of Earth's End. I was looking forward to it for a few months, and thankfully the wait went by faster than I thought it ever would.

Unfortunately, I found Earth's End to be slightly disappointing. I can't help but wonder if I'd grown unattached to the story or the characters within those eleven weeks between books two and three. I don't think that's the case. But somehow, it just felt different than when I'd began this series. That's not to say the book was awful o- it really wasn't, I just believe it lost something it had in the beginning.

I really think where it went wrong for me is the fact that book three was 85% sappy romance. It was no longer that slow burning, dark and alluring relationship we had between Vhalla and Aldrik. Aldrik was what really got me. He used to be this intimidating, snarky and attractive guy we all know and love as the common trope in YA Fantasy. Mr. Dark and Mysterious suddenly did a 360 into whipped and annoying ville. He was clingy and needy - and most of his dialogue resorted to "my lady, my love" or some rendition of that. It really just came out of nowhere - this sudden change of personality. I genuinely hope in the next books we return to a much more interesting Aldrik.

Vhalla too, I found changed - though not as drastically as Aldrik. Her's was more growth than anything. Instead of being a terrified, untrained sorceress fledgling she was now a badass Windwalker who could thoroughly use her powers in such a way that made for a few exciting action scenes. When she wasn't enamoured by Aldrik, she was entertaining and made for a fun banter between secondary characters (even though they rarely made an appearance this time around).

In general the writing and the plot were done very well and still gave the book the push I was looking for. Elise still amazes me how she's able to push out books faster than any other author I know of. I cannot wait to see how Vhalla and Aldrik move forward in the upcoming installments - it will without a doubt be a ride. I'm so thrilled by the many routes the story can now go.

In Conclusion

Despite the disappointment that the book revolved around a unsatisfying romance (only in my opinion), I still enjoyed the magical world Elise has built. The powers that the sorcerers wield were intriguing - something I'm looking forward to exploring in the upcoming books. The plot developed well and made me lurching for the next chapter - and after that ending, I'm dying to continue as it was left on a HUGE cliffhanger. Once again, can we do a round of applause for the cover artist? She never ceases to amaze me. I'm envious of such talent!

Kynndra is waddling her way through life trying to figure stuff out.



Written by Helen Chebatte
Contemporary, Australian
Published February 1st 2016
240 Pages
Thanks to Hardie Grant Egmont
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What happens when you mix teenage boys, a fight club and ethnic rivalries? You get war.

Romeo Makhlouf knows the rules. Stick with your own kind. Don't dob on your mates or even on your enemies. Respect the family. 

But even unwritten rules are made for breaking. 

Fight clubs, first loves and family ties are pushed to the limit in Helen Chebatte's explosive first novel.
At Christian Boys College, the rules are simple. You never stray from your own group, you never make a move on a girl someone else is already interested in and you never tell. Take the fall yourself if need be. Sixteen year old Romeo Makhlouf knows how the system works. He attends school, does enough homework to get by and he and best friend Diz relish lunchtime, where they can escape the Lebanese dishes of home for half an hour. They know their place within the school hierarchy. Lebanese boys are tough, honourable and never back down from a challenge.

Australian, Asian, Maori or Lebanese, the boys stay within their social groups until a shared kiss at a party has Romeo being challenged by Luke Palmer, an Aussie who sees Romeo as a threat and makes former girlfriend Stefanie the heated whispers of conversations. Defending his honour, Romeo ends up a YouTube hero, taking Palmer down and embarrassing the young Australian. But that's not where this story ends.

It ends in heartache. It ends with wanting to unite and end the social segregation. It ends with a threat of expulsion, an illegal fight club and changing attitudes of a group of young men that will come to understand that violence is never the answer.

Kelly's Thoughts

I apologise now for the rant.

I grew up in the nineties when I was a teen. The Northern suburbs of Melbourne were a diverse and cultural blend, where your street may have resembled members of the United Nations. I attended a same sex school, much as the same as the connecting school of Saint Adele College and Christian Boys where the storyline takes place. Bro could have been my teen experience. It could have been the same stereotypical cultural groups that continued the trend of segregation. If you were an Aussie meaning Caucasian Anglo Saxon, you were friends with other Caucasian Anglo Saxon teens, the same if you were Maori, Asian and Lebanese as seen in Bro. My high school had a large Lebanese community and we experienced the same segregation and even being a girls college, there were physical fights and weapons used. Back then, we didn't question why, that's how it worked. You stayed within your own group and it took a strong individual to stray from their own group and befriend others. It didn't happen often.

Anyone reading Bro that sees the issue of the us verses them mentality as being unrealistic, has never lived in working class and diverse suburbs. It even happens as adults. We may not involve ourselves in physical conflict, but even our close social circles tend to be formed from the same basis. Like attracts like and I find that incredibly sad that as Australians, we still find ourselves drawn to the same friendships with those who share our cultural beliefs and backgrounds, rather than expanding our circles. In Bro, Romeo finds himself torn. He was born in Australia to a Lebanese father, an Caucasian Anglo Saxon Australian mother, but lives what he sees as the Lebanese culture. Even as he identifies as being Australian, society still sees him as being Lebanese due to his heritage and the colour of his skin.

Apart from the islander teens or Fresh Off the Boat as they're known, the basis of Bro is Australian teen boys and those with a Lebanese background facing off in bouts of physical violence. A Fight Club is established where boys are pitted against one another for sport or entertainment. It's barbaric, but realistic. Less than a week ago in Melbourne, this happened. Teen violence is alive and thriving and the police aren't listening, nor are these mostly young men heeding the warning from authorities. Bro drives home the message of how we can't all grow up being raised in ivory towers. We share different cultural beliefs, socioeconomic backgrounds, skin colour, language, sex, race, ability and the cycle never ends.

But through tragedy, Bro breaks the cycle of violence and rivalry and although the solution to violence in our communities isn't that simple, it does highlight the need for change in our attitudes and mentality.

The final Verdict

Bro is such an important read not only for teens, but for Australians to understand the issue of teen violence within society and to discuss at a national level. Bro should be part of our schools curriculum, in every school library and addressed within youth groups nationwide. As Australians we need to openly discuss not only violence but diversity, our religious and cultural differences, grief, gender roles and the role they play in our history. But more importantly, how we can change and educate ourselves and Bro is a brilliantly written insight into diverse teen life of our suburbs.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You
Written by Jojo Moyes
Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Published December 31st 2012 by Pamela Dorman Books/Viking
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★★★★★ + tears for days
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.
Will Traynor used to be a man of adventures - climbing the highest mountain to jumping from the most jagged cliffs. He lived a life full of meaning - until he didn't. One day, Will's adventurous life was stolen from him in a freak accident which left him paralyzed. From that day onwards, Will lost his desire to live, relinquishing to the idea that with no movement to his limbs that there was no point to living. There was no longer a point to his existence if he could not be free.

Louisa Clark is a peculiar girl. At the ripe age of twenty-six she still lives at home with her parents, grandpa, sister and nephew. She's worked the same job for nearly seven years, unfortunately for her that ends when the cafe is shut down. Louisa is jobless with little no experience to her name. With the stress of having to provide for her low-income family, she's willing to take just about any job that comes her way - including the care and companionship of a disabled man. Little does Lou know, Will is about to change her life forever - and may even she his.

Kynndra's Thoughts

Let it be known that no book has ever made me full on bawl until Me Before You. Some have made me a little misty eyed, some a bit sad - but never the weeping puddle I found myself in at nearly 3 AM on a Monday morning. I loved this book with as much love any bookworm can bestow upon a book. This is one of those books where if someone dislikes it, you can't possibly see eye to eye with that person (but you remain silent because opinions shall be opinions). I don't know where this book has been my entire life, it's been out since 2012 and I'm just hearing about it now.

“You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”

Me Before You was unbelievably human. That's what got to me the most. Everything was so palpable - understandable. I could feel the emotions as if they were my very own. With romance novels involving illness, you usually get a fluffy, ridiculous bullshit lie. Illness is not cute. It is not some sympathy ploy. It is not some card one should play to get another to love them. Me Before You took a stance in a way that showed the ugly, debilitating emotions that follows someone who was robbed of their ability to walk - to even reach for his own glass of water. Jojo Moyes portrayed such things in a way that I envision real life disabled folks feeling too.

It came to my realization while reading how much I, and much of the human population take the mere ability to walk - to even wipe our own bums for granted. The freedom to handle my own body is one thing I will never take for granted again as that seemingly simple ability could honestly change on a dime. Me Before You is an eye opener in so many ways. I was hit from all sides when it came to my feels. It left me feeling raw and shredded afterwards. This will truly be one of those books you'll ponder about time to time. One that you'll push on anyone who desires a impactful read.

Jojo Moyes wrote in such a precarious manner. While the book was slow moving, I found I didn't care. I loved the sensual way Will and Lou's story made me feel. It budded from something small into something beautiful and alive. Never did I want the story to go faster, as I never wanted it to actually end. I would have been happy reading the lives of Lou and Will forever. The characters chemistry was indeed that good. It sounds silly, but I became comfortable and familiar with the characters. Their voices so honest - so authentic. I'll miss those two like dear old friends.

In Conclusion

I've decided not to analize this book. This review is short because it's quite plain and simple: If I could describe any novel I've ever read as perfect, it would be this one. I've liked a lot of books, loved even. But I can without hesitancy say that Me Before You is an irreplaceable favorite. It has touched my life forever, as it has thousands across the world. I think Jojo Moyes brought to life a instant classic, a treasure to the fictional realm. Before the movie comes out in June, please read this book. And, as always - if you need someone to cry about it to, message me. DM me, anywhere at anytime.

I'm still crying over this book tbh. read it you hooligans, cry with me. Also the movie looks like an AMAZING ADAPTION. The gif above. Ugh. The actors portray the characters better than I ever thought was possible.


Thanks for Tommy Wallach

Thanks For The Trouble
Written by Tommy Wallach
Contemporary, Coming of Age, Romance
Expected Publication March 1st 2016
384 Pages
Thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia via Netgalley
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"Was this story written about me?"
I shrugged.
"Yes or no?"
I shrugged again, finally earning a little scowl, which somehow made the girl even more pretty.
"It's very rude not to answer simple questions," she said.
I took out my pen and wrote on my palm.
I can't, I wrote. Then, in tiny letters below it: Now don't you feel like a jerk?

Parker Santé hasn't spoken a word in five years. While his classmates plan for bright futures, he skips school to hang out in hotels, killing time by watching (and sometimes stealing from) the guests. But when he meets a silver-haired girl named Zelda Toth, a girl who claims to be quite a bit older than she looks, he'll discover there just might be a few things left worth living for.
Parker Santé sits in the lobby of the Palace Hotel, watching the elite go about their day and waiting for the prime opportunity to take advantage of an untended bag or in this case, a purse. Zelda is eating alone, sadness etched upon her beautiful features and at odds with her mane of silver hair. She's carrying a stack of crisp notes that Parker now has his eye on, writing in his journal while waiting for her to leave. But his snatch and grab isn't as simple as he thought. He has a stack of cash, but has left his journal behind. With his name and address inside the cover.

Parker hasn't spoken a word in over five years and communicates through his journal, having been diagnosed with Psychogenic Aphonia and losing the ability to speak after his father passed away. Zelda happened upon the hotel to wait for a phone call, a call that may possibly end her life. She lives for the promise of giving away what money remains and freeing herself by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. In an act of kindness, she decides that Parker will be the recipient of her small fortune, spending it together under the guise that Parker won't squander his life away and will apply to college to perfect his writing ability.

Zelda plans to have the ultimate teenage experience, shopping, parties and liberating Parker from his own life. A boy who chooses not to live and a young woman who is ready to die, sometimes all we have is one another and believing that anything is possible.

Kelly's Thoughts

Thanks For The Trouble is absolutely lovely, cynical and sarcastic, but so wonderfully written and emotional. Written in the same vein as John Green, it tells the story of Parker who hasn't spoken for over five years since his father passed away. He'll do just about anything to avoid school, where he feels misunderstood and his silence is taken as a sign of antisocialism. From the moment they'd first met, Parker and Zelda form an instant attraction. He has segregated himself from his peers, while Zelda has lost her zest for life. Together they'll rediscover that life is truly worth living through one remarkable weekend.

"Young people feel things so deeply, don't they?" she said quietly, almost to herself. "Everything's happening for the first time."

Zelda was an incredible character. Wise beyond her seemingly teen years, she's cultured, intelligent and speaks with an old Hollywood grace that charms those in her presence. Loaded with a bundle of cash and awaiting a phone call that will change her life before she takes her own, she is determined to share in a typical teen experience of shopping, partying and discovering the world again through Parker. Magical and whimsical, Zelda is one of the most selfless characters you'll ever have the pleasure of reading. Although she and Parker are worlds apart, I loved the bizarre yet tentative friendship they shared, which sadly felt a little more like a dependency than a romantic connection. The romance wasn't particularly needed, but nor did it take away from the magic that was Thanks For The Trouble.

There is something incredible realistic about the characters Tommy Wallach creates, they're flawed, often insecure but most importantly, readers can relate to them on some level. Parker chooses not to speak and deals with his own grief internally. He's not looking to be rescued and certainly isn't looking for a whirlwind romance but is enamored by Zelda and her tall tales. It was lovely and woven with a touch of whimsy, completely unexpected but incredible nonetheless.

The final verdict

Beautifully written, honest and enchanting, Thanks For The Trouble was an engaging and immersive read. Buy it, read it and love it.

Riders by Veronica Rossi

Riders: Book One
Written by Veronica Rossi
Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Published February 16th 2016 by Tor Teen
Add to Goodreads
Nothing but death can keep eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

While recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen—Conquest, Famine, and Death—are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail. Now—bound, bloodied, and drugged—Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for—not to mention all of humankind—he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?
Gideon Blake is your average eighteen year old set on becoming a Army Ranger, much like his father. The day after he graduates high school he leaves for training. Everything is swell, he's exceeding in his tasks and finding where he belongs. That is until a month or so later, Gideon is in a fatal accident and just so happens to die — but comes back to life with a peculiar red cuff around his wrist. It's in the following days that Gideon realizes he's not the same kid who died that day. He can now heal faster than any human alive, and appears to be able to quite literally enrage people.

When Gideon goes to a college party, it's there he discovers a girl by the name of Daryn. It's then that Gideon is told that he is War, the second of the four horsemen. Daryn is essentially the guide to the four horsemen—a Seeker. Together, she and Gideon must traverse across the world to round up the other three horsemen in order to protect a key that could open up a hellish realm that could bring humanity to its knees if it were to land into the wrong hands.

Kynndra's Thoughts

AHHH. This was definitely one of my most anticipated reads of 2016. The cover, and the synopsis had me from the start. Initially I had my doubts due to a few meh reviews I read that were coming out, but alas I rode on and picked this pretty up. I'm so happy I did. While I didn't loooove it, I did thoroughly enjoy it. For one, I have always been obsessed with mythology - so the four horsemen of the apocalypse really had me going. The concept of this novel is so fresh and new that I couldn't help but appreciate how different the story was from other books I've read.

When it came down to the way Riders was written I found that I was always hooked. I think that's in part due to how the story was written in such a manner that it's a story within a story. You know how when you tell your friends a story and usually it's only the very best parts, not extremely descriptive but just enough to get a colorful picture? That's really how Rossi went about writing Riders which I was initially skeptical about but it really ended up working for me! It made for a quick and fast read for sure. I just really enjoyed the new and unique style. Also, it's awesome to see more male POV's make their way into YA, I think it's something any guy could read and love.

I was so engrossed with the plot, and seeing how Veronica would mold the four horsemen mythology to make it her own. I was not disappointed whatsoever. The plot was exciting especially because there's a lot of action. That's not to say it's all action, there are some amazingly written soft and tender moments between our characters which I WAS ALL FOR. But for the most part, the plot was interesting as it was told in two parts: the actual story, and Gideon being interrogated.

“Texas tips his chin, already smiling at what he’s going to say. “There’s gonna be horses soon, right? I can’t wait. My family trains cuttin’ horses. Best in North Texas. I’m guessin’ they wouldn’t stack up to War’s horse.”

“Probably not.”

I think my only complaint about Riders is that I felt disconnected from the characters. Admittedly, I wasn't a huge fan of Gideon. I found him overly aggressive (duh he's War, no shit he's aggressive) but regardless, I've never been a fan of angry people so it's really just a personal conflict. I can't wait to see his character growth in book two, I already saw a hint of it near the end! Oh my, but I did love Sebastian! (aka Famine) He was adorable and sweet and basically the groups mom. He's a special one for sure. As for the other two horsemen, we don't get to see much of them really so I feel unable to comment on them yet - I have faith we'll grow a bond in book two. Daryn is also really mysterious - I am so excited to learn more about her! I'm definitely a Dareon shipper :p

Last but not least: THE HORSES WERE BAD ASS. I loved them all so much. I won't spoil the details of them, but I will applaud Veronica Rossi on making them so rich and imaginative. I'll be 100% honest - I'd probably be more devastated to see one of these horses die than I would one of the human characters. The horses truly are characters themselves, AHHHH I want one so bad.

In Conclusion

Riders was a thrilling and heart pounding ride. I enjoyed the world and mythology that Veronica Rossi was so capable of building upon. She really made the story both fun, scary and new. I also want to add that I just adored the fact that the characters in Riders were on the older spectrum of their teenage years which is rare from what I've come across. If you want something original and distinct from any other work I highly recommend Riders. The ending gave me a similar sensation as this:

Kynndra is just crawiling out of her blogging/reading slump so bare with her if this review is rather rusty.


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