Evangeline Fox was raised in her beloved father’s curiosity shop, where she grew up on legends about immortals, like the tragic Prince of Hearts. She knows his powers are mythic, his kiss is worth dying for, and that bargains with him rarely end well.

But when Evangeline learns that the love of her life is about to marry another, she becomes desperate enough to offer the Prince of Hearts whatever he wants in exchange for his help to stop the wedding. The prince only asks for three kisses. But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’s pledged. And he has plans for Evangeline that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…


Once Upon a Broken Heart takes place in the same world as Caraval. I enjoyed the series, but I was unsure if I was going to actively pick up OUABH. Thankfully for me, Fairyloot was including it in a subscription box and therefore I didn’t have to fuss with whether I wanted the book or not. (I’m glad I got it, because I did enjoy it immensely!)

This book can be read without having read Caraval. Characters that appear in Caraval do appear in this one, and events are mentioned, but honestly, it stands on its own well. This is nice because in some ways I liked this book more than the Caraval series. Why? Well, there are several reasons I liked this book more. I found the characters more fascinating, and there was a bunch of intrigue going on, which I always love when that is included in a book to do with royalty. I also found the characters more dynamic overall.

And nothing is ever as it seems with this book. I adore our main character, Evangeline. I love her personality and I love that she tries to see the best in everyone, and just…there was something magical about her. I adored her.

And oh, Jacks, you infuriated me in the best of ways. I wanted to strangle and slap you in equal measures. Like I said, I have many feels about Jacks. Jacks is one of those characters that is morally grey, so if you like that type of thing, you will LOVE him for that.

Plus, there’s the prince as well – and you can’t forget the stepsister either! (And a few Fates tossed in for fun as well) I mean…what could go wrong? (Everything.) One thing Garber always does really well is sibling relationships. I loved it just as much in this one as I loved it in the Caraval series.

My head was whirling through this entire book because the CAST WAS AMAZING. We have so many characters and not many answers. It was a guessing game, and I guessed wrong every time. (I’m apparently a terrible guesser)

Anyways, I did enjoy the book, and I can’t believe how long I have to wait for the next book to come out. I do not want to have to wait!

When Margaret Welty spots the legendary hala, the last living mythical creature, she knows the Halfmoon Hunt will soon follow. Whoever is able to kill the hala will earn fame and riches, and unlock an ancient magical secret. If Margaret wins the hunt, it may finally bring her mother home. While Margaret is the best sharpshooter in town, only teams of two can register, and she needs an alchemist.

Weston Winters isn’t an alchemist–yet. Fired from every apprenticeship he’s landed, his last chance hinges on Master Welty taking him in. But when Wes arrives at Welty Manor, he finds only Margaret and her bloodhound Trouble. Margaret begrudgingly allows him to stay, but on one condition: he must join the hunt with her.

Although they make an unlikely team, Wes is in awe of the girl who has endured alone on the outskirts of a town that doesn’t want her, in this creaking house of ghosts and sorrow. And even though Wes disrupts every aspect of her life, Margaret is drawn to him. He, too, knows what it’s like to be an outsider. As the hunt looms closer and tensions rise, Margaret and Wes uncover dark magic that could be the key to winning the hunt – if they survive that long.


3.5/4 stars

I adored Down Comes the Night when I got an ARC of it back last fall. It was stupendous and everything – so I was so pleased when I was sent an eARC of Saft’s next novel, A Far Wilder Magic. I was humming with excitement! A Far Wilder Magic combines magic and a quest together in a way that works. Much like Saft’s debut novel there is much to love about this new one. I was delighted by it. I can see the inspiration Saft got from Fullmetal Alchemist in terms of characters, especially if you like the ship Roy/Riza. Plotwise it isn’t at all similar.

First, Saft’s writing is stupendous. It is stellar. I cannot exclaim enough about how much I love it. It is sumptuous. Ugh I can’t even explain just how much I love it. But her writing does so much, it crafts feelings and atmospheres. I live for this type of writing and Saft just excels at it. You will just want to drown yourself in this writing and bathe and live in it forever. Yes, I am ridiculous.

“Alchemy is neither progress nor salvation. It’s the stench of sulfur she can’t scrub out of her hair. It’s packed suitcases and locked doors. It’s blood and ink on the floorboards.”

I loved Margaret in this book, I found her to be a strong character. I loved her perspective and her strength. I also loved Wes! Wes was a great character as well. He was sweet and delightful. I loved getting to see these two characters fall in love (despite not liking the Roy/Riza FMA ship they seem to be based off of) because it was done SO WELL. Saft always does an amazing job with romances, and this was no exception. It was truly well done. I wanted to cuddle Margaret and Wes.

I think the pacing in this book is also good, you get time to become invested in the characters and what happens to them, but it also isn’t boring which can happen sometimes. Thankfully it doesn’t happen here! This is a slow-paced plot, and it isn’t really about the hunt, but more about relationships, so there isn’t a huge amount of action/adventure.

It’s a personal issue – but my ONE big issue – with the book is that because I am so familiar with FMA I kept comparing all the characters/relationships to it, and so sometimes I fell out of the book. And that’s a me thing – not a book thing! This is all on me. If you’ve never heard or seen FMA, this isn’t going to be a problem for you. I will also say a line, “all is one, one is all” is ripped directly from FMA which is “one is all, all is one”. That really bugged me because that was specific to the series. I love the homage to this series but sometimes I felt like I was reading a very well written AU fanfic. (I love fanfic, so this isn’t necessarily bad, I just wasn’t really expecting it.)

Overall, this is a lovely book!  

Seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats.

Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar. But when her eldest sister, Grey, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Iris learns just how weird her life can get: horned men start shadowing her, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and ugly, impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind.

As Iris retraces Grey’s last known footsteps and follows the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs she left behind, it becomes apparent that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children.

The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to understanding that the answer is dark and dangerous – and that Grey has been keeping a terrible secret from her for years.


I’ve recently started to like horror books more and more. Not if they’re more dystopian though, so when I saw the cover for this one I was very intrigued and curious. I waited quite a bit before I read it because I was so hesitant. I read Horrid last year and I liked it, but wasn’t blown away. This book and cover reminded me a bit of that. Therefore I was quite hesitant to go into this book. Now that I’ve read it I feel that it is the perfect spooky book for fall. There are a lot of spine-tingling aspects of this book that sent chills down my spine.

What about it was so good? Well, first off the writing was excellent. It was an easy to read book, and I felt that it brought a lot to the table in terms of writing. The atmosphere that Sutherland evoked was excellent. It kept you on the edge of your seat the whole time you were reading this book. I couldn’t stop turning the pages because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. In this way the pacing of the book was also so good. It was page turning for sure. Can I call this book Stephen King lite? It felt a bit like that to me. A tiny bit of gothic aspect also made me think Mexican Gothic. Anyways, as I said the whole theme of it was excellent. Or like TJ Kingfisher.

The plot had me guessing all the way through. I never would have guessed the ending it made my mouth pop open in surprise when I got to that part! I absolutely could not believe it!

I enjoyed the characters and the sisterly relationships as well, they were done well and made the book so much spookier. This book wasn’t heavy on romance at all which was nice. I felt like it made the book mostly about the sisters and their relationships with each other, rather than romances they had.

Family played a huge roll in this book as do other worlds. I felt that the aspects of family that were incorporated were interesting and heightened the tension in the books, between the sisters and the sisters and their mother.

 I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys spooky page-turning reads and doesn’t mind a bit of mind-bending in the process.

Evil always seeks a foothold. We must not give it one.

After a heartbreaking loss, Lou, Reid, Beau, and Coco are bent on vengeance more than ever before—and none more so than Lou.

But this is no longer the Lou they thought they knew. No longer the Lou that captured a chasseur’s heart. A darkness has settled over her, and this time it will take more than love to drive it out.


After my heart was so rudely ripped out by the end of the last book (ANSEL BABY) I was livid. I was sure I was going to hate the third book on principal because ANSEL WASN’T THERE. Therefore, I think I went into this book without a lot of hope. I was prepared to roll over in my grave and suffer. But to my surprise – and delight I should add – this book ended up being my favorite in the series. Or at the very least tied with the first book. I liked the second book fine, but it wasn’t mind blowing for me, but this one was.

I think as the conclusion to a series Mahurin did an excellent job of wrapping up the series and getting us to a place where it may not be super happy, but was happy enough. I feel that had the ending been over happy that it wouldn’t have fit with the overall tone and theme of the previous books. Why am I talking about the ending first? Because I feel like it was a good ending, and that the rest of the book really show Mahurin’s talents to get us there, and the ending was sublime. I was very happy with it.

Mahurin is a talented writer. She drew me in and made me love Lou and Reid and the world they inhabit. We have a full cast of characters that we both love and hate (love you Coco!) Even Beau and Celie were amazing in this one! I felt that she has really made the characters easy to love. Sometimes larger casts can be hard to handle, because characters end up being lackluster or not fully developed. I am happy to say that this isn’t a problem in this book.

In this book we do get several perspectives aside from Lou and Reid, one from a witch, and one from another character…which the reveal is worth it. I cried. Mahurin makes them so different and it is easy to tell who they are.

I also liked Lou and Reid’s journey in this book as they learn each other again as well as find themselves and what they want. We have actually communication skills here, people! Which made me very happy overall.

Do you want to know what I also love? Worldbuilding! I feel like  this world Mahurin has created is so well done, clearly based in history, but still has a fantasy element to it. And in this book we do get more of the world that she has created for us as well as more background on Coco! I loved those parts of the book.

I like how we get a theme that runs through the book, and I also like how Mahurin created the witches in this series. I think they are fleshed out and create a lot of interest.

We also get a bit of political intrigue as we did in book two, but it was a bit more obvious in this one. Still, I loved how it added to the worldbuilding. It was all so cohesive.

I’m honestly very much in love with the series as a whole. I think it was fantastic – and one that I will be binge reading to get the full experience of it. I will admit I wept a little at the end, not too much, but some. It also gave me a nice big book hangover. It was hard to move on from this book. I actually would love a novella – just an aftermath kind of thing. This is because I am not quite ready to let go of these characters just yet.

Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan is a survivor. For ten years, she has worked as the healer in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, making herself indispensable. Kept afloat by messages of hope from her family, Kiva has one goal and one goal only: stay alive.

Then one day the infamous Rebel Queen arrives at the prison on death’s door and Kiva receives a new message: Don’t let her die. We are coming.

The queen is sentenced to the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals. Aware the sickly queen has little chance of making it through the Trials alive, Kiva volunteers to take her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.

But no one has ever survived.

And with an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.


This was a Fairyloot book, and it is STUNNING. Gorgeous, beautiful. No words! Anyways, you guys are here for an actual book review, right?! Maybe not. The Prison Healer was unexpectedly wonderful. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started this book. This book is fabulous on so many levels. It doesn’t have the same type of theme/concept as other YA books, so it was a bit different of a read, which I really enjoyed about it. It was nice to get something a little bit different for a change, and even where the book takes place is a totally different setting. Yes, some books have characters go on a quest to a prison, but so rarely does the entire book take place in it.

Kiva is a great character, you can really feel how much she cares (or doesn’t care). She loved her family and what happened to them traumatized her. She is very mistrustful and likes to keep people at a distance after her father dies. This is her core character as a person, and we see it throughout the book that she cares greatly. As a prisoner that heals her station is better than some others. Strange things start happening in the prison though, and she feels that something isn’t right. But she doesn’t have much time to figure it out, because trouble lands on her table. Trouble that relates to her family: the rebel queen is dying and Kiva must save her.

Kiva decides to do the trials for the queen, because if she wins both she and the queen get to go free, and that is a huge enticement to her. Tipp, her friend and Jaren (her new friend-ish) are very worried about her taking on the trials. Tipp is such a lovely character amongst the darkness in this book, as is Naari (the one and only nice guard). Jaren the sort of love-interest is a bit fishy, but the slow burn romance is well developed. But help comes from unexpected places…

This book was a fast paced and fast moving that kept my attention throughout. I loved the writing style in this book and I loved the worldbuilding. We don’t get a lot of it as we see through Kiva’s eyes and she is trapped in the prison for most of the book.

I was engrossed, and just could not stop reading it! I am willing to sacrifice myself for the next book in the series. It is sure to be absolutely amazing!

Ash Persaud is about to become a reaper in the afterlife, but she is determined to see her first love Poppy Morgan again, the only thing that separates them is death.

Car headlights.

The last thing Ash hears is the snap of breaking glass as the windscreen hits her and breaks into a million pieces like stars.

But she made it, she’s still here. Or is she?

This New Year’s Eve, Ash is gets an RSVP from the afterlife she can’t decline: to join a clan of fierce girl reapers who take the souls of the city’s dead to await their fate.

But Ash can’t forget her first love, Poppy, and she will do anything to see her again… even if it means they only get a few more days together. Dead or alive…

NOT EVEN DEATH CAN TEAR THEM APART. 


First off, I am prefacing this with I got this book in Fairyloot’s August 2021 box – Lovestruck. Mind you, I haven’t enjoyed YA contemporary in some time. It just hasn’t hit me in the right way that it does for others. Not that it isn’t good, a lot of it is, but generally isn’t for me. Saying that, I felt obligated to read this book as it came in my box. I hadn’t heard of this (but now that I’ve read it, I’m seeing it everywhere!) so I went into this with pretty much no knowledge of anything. That is totally on me. Word to the wise: read book summaries before starting books.

The reason I say that is this book was definitely something I probably shouldn’t have read given my mental health. My mental health isn’t the best recently and between my severe depression, my anxiety and everything else, this isn’t a book I would have read had I looked at the summary. I don’t regret reading the book, because it was fantastic, and I am going to recommend it to people everywhere. However, it needs to have a caveat that the subject matter it does deal with is really dark and is best suited to people who are equipped to deal with it.

This book is all about friendship, family and romance. The book starts off with an absolutely compelling relationship between mother and daughter, Ash who is our main character. Starting this book was very feel-good. You also get a great friendship story with Ash as well. Her blooming romance with Poppy is unbearably sweet (in a good way) that makes you smile. So does her relationship with her mother, father and sister. It just felt so real the way it was depicted. It felt natural, and Byrne did an excellent job fleshing out those relationships.

Of course the second half of the book is where it all went sideways. Ash (AND THIS IS IN THE BOOK DESCRITPION AND I MISSED IT) DIES. Literally…just dies. I was traumatized when I read that part. I 100% had tears streaming down my face and I couldn’t breathe. I just fell apart. I don’t cry all that often at books (except maybe Song of Achilles, the other book that ripped my heart out) but this one made me cry. And part of that is because of how well developed all the relationships in this book were!

The second half of the book is all about Ash becoming a reaper and making “friends” with the other reapers and her missing her old life. Trauma number two happens in the second half of the book as well, but that’s a spoiler.

Spoiler
Poppy dies too. I also cried when Ash goes back to her house and sees her family through the window…and just that whole moment was so powerful I ended up sobbing again

I will admit that I didn’t enjoy the second half of the book as much as the first half. I felt part of the second half could have been slightly reduced as that section felt a bit repetitive to me. This is why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.

The ending of the book was happy? Bittersweet?? I really don’t know how to label the ending of the book because by that point I was in shock and in tears and I was barely functioning at 10pm. So yes, I liked the ending, I will say that. It felt like a mostly natural conclusion to the story. I just still don’t know how to feel about it overall. I did really like it though.

Spoiler
I mean they both died and went off into the sunset together so…you know…I guess that’s happy? But bittersweet because they both died?

This was a great sapphic love story for a YA audience, albeit it was sad.

warnings: death (a lot of it), accidents, casual racism, homophobia, death again, mental health,

Sparta forged her into a deadly weapon. Now the gods need her to save the world!

Seventeen-year-old Daphne has spent her entire life honing her body and mind into that of a warrior, hoping to be accepted by the unyielding people of ancient Sparta. But an unexpected encounter with the goddess Artemis—who holds Daphne’s brother’s fate in her hands—upends the life she’s worked so hard to build. Nine mysterious items have been stolen from Mount Olympus, and if Daphne cannot find them, the gods’ waning powers will fade away, the mortal world will descend into chaos, and her brother’s life will be forfeit.

Guided by Artemis’s twin—the handsome and entirely-too-self-assured god Apollo—Daphne’s journey will take her from the labyrinth of the Minotaur to the riddle-spinning Sphinx of Thebes, team her up with mythological legends such as Theseus and Hippolyta of the Amazons, and pit her against the gods themselves.

A reinterpretation of the classic Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo, Daughter of Sparta, by debut author Claire M. Andrews turns the traditionally male-dominated mythology we know into a heart-pounding and empowering female-led adventure.


Retellings to do with Greek Mythology are my jam. I will always read them and drool over them and love them. I can’t get enough, and so when I saw the words Daughter of Sparta I knew I had to have it. I honestly hadn’t heard anything about it before I read it. In fact, it didn’t seem that anyone was really talking about it. But I knew I was going to give it a try. I had no expectations going into this book, and I will say I was blown away by this book. I didn’t think I would be, but I was.

Daphne was a great character in this book, and I loved her strength and perseverance, but also how she knew when to ask for help. This also holds one of my favorite tropes in fiction: enemies to lovers. Although it was more like enemies to lovers to enemies. I felt that Daphne was well developed and made you want her to succeed. I loved her attitude and how she approached problems.

Apollo was also a great character. Mind you, there are some similarities with the actual god we know from mythology, so be aware that it isn’t going to be all that similar. But I liked him as a character as well. I did find him annoying in an endearing type of way.

Their banter was top notch as well; very enjoyable. Their relationship as it develops from not liking each other, to friends to romance and then to something else was a great plot point. We get to see Daphne being strong and in charge.

We run across several prominent figures in mythology in this book as well – and I love how it’s done. A highly creative take on Daphne and Apollo that we know from myth.

This book sucks you in and doesn’t let you go — I could not put it down for anything. I loved the writing and the pace and the plot. All of it worked well together for me, and I greedily devoured each page and hoped for more. It’s easy to get invested in this plot, as it is very much a take on the tasks that many heroes go through in Greek myth, except this time we get to see a woman do it instead. I love that about this book.

This was a solid YA fantasy/mythology book. I think those that enjoy Greek myth/retellings of any sort will like this one.

I am ridiculously excited for the next book in this series because I cannot wait to see what happens to Daphne and Apollo…

Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power.

Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims’ secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the length of its blade. A sword with the strength to topple kingdoms. When Ziva learns of the warlord’s intentions to use the weapon to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees.

Joined by a distractingly handsome mercenary and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of the world’s known magics, Ziva and her sister set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they can find a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it entirely.


If you know me, you know I love Tricia Levenseller. She is one of my auto-buy authors because I feel like I’m guaranteed to like anything she writes. I also can’t decide if Daughter of the Pirate King or The Shadows Between Us is my favorite book of hers. I enjoyed this one, because the rep in it is stunning and gave me many feelings. It’s not my favorite of hers, but it is still a good book written in classic Levenseller style. I think my overall rating for this book would be 3.5 stars! This book is going to find its audience.

I’m going to lead off by saying that Levenseller has such a distinctive writing style. It isn’t juvenile, but there is something that makes it easily readable. Which makes you breeze through the books! It works on so many levels for me, and I know I can sit down with her books, finish them in one sitting and have a grand time doing so. It’s one of the things I love most about her writing, and that is evidenced in this book as well. It is an easy writing style that is helped along by the plot and the pacing.

The pacing in this book is good. I think overall in some spots it gets a little bogged down, but I think that is because of the nature of the “adventure”. They’re constantly on the move. This book in its pacing struggles a little bit, but doesn’t detract overmuch from the overall book.

The plot of the book is simple, but works. It’s mainly an adventure story with Ziva and her sister (and crew) fleeing from the warlord who wants the magical sword Ziva made. This is a cat and mouse type of book where our heroes have to dodge. In a way it reminds me a bit of the old computer game quest lines. Which may be why I liked it! This constant movement and action made the book fast-paced some of the time.

Ziva is one of my favorite characters. She has anxiety and I felt so represented in this book. Levenseller nailed how I feel when I’m anxious and I absolutely related to Ziva on so many levels. I can’t even explain how this book made me feel. Ziva was just such a relatable character and I love her. I also love her relationship with her sister, Temra.

This is also got a romance in it, again, is a fairly big part of the book, but it works!

The ending was a bit of a surprise to me, but I liked it! I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book ASAP! I need to know what happens.

Dani and Eden Rivera were both born to kill dragons, but the sisters couldn’t be more different. For Dani, dragon slaying takes a back seat to normal high school life, while Eden prioritizes training above everything else. Yet they both agree on one thing: it’s kill or be killed where dragons are concerned.

Until Dani comes face-to-face with one and forges a rare and magical bond with him. As she gets to know Nox, she realizes that everything she thought she knew about dragons is wrong. With Dani lost to the dragons, Eden turns to the mysterious and alluring sorcerers to help save her sister. Now on opposite sides of the conflict, the sisters will do whatever it takes to save the other. But the two are playing with magic that is more dangerous than they know, and there is another, more powerful enemy waiting for them both in the shadows.


Fire with Fire was a Fairyloot pick. However, it had already been on my radar of books I was interested in. DRAGONS. Who doesn’t love dragons? I love them in all their forms. It also mentioned sisters and rivals and dragons and who doesn’t love all those things? I was really hoping that I was going to be blown away by this book, but in the end it was middle of the road for me. I certainly enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it either. It was a solid book though overall, and I think a lot of people will really enjoy this one.

Fire with Fire’s premise is dragons are evil and the sisters Rivera are dragon hunters. They have been raised for this purpose: to kill the evil dragons. But Dani just wants a normal life and Eden wants to be the best. Soria shows how alike and different the two sisters are in this book. She shows what they want versus what they think they’re supposed to want. She includes a complicated family relationship, where both are jealous of the other. I think that aspect of the book was interesting, as it shows the families can care about each other but may also be dysfunctional in some ways.

Dani bonds with a dragon and this is where things go really sideways in the book. The sisters become bitter rivals and Eden gets so angry she wants vengeance on both Dani and the dragon and makes some less than stellar choices over the course of the book.

The book also dealt with topics like redemption and acknowledging mistakes and I enjoyed that, it made sense in the context of the book. It definitely added something different to the book.

I did find both characters to be a little flat at times, but it wasn’t terrible. We see a lot of animosity in this book, and I wondered how it was going to end. The pacing was okay, there were some parts that seemed really drawn out, and others that went very quickly.

We do get a bit of romance but I felt it was minor, and I liked that it was just one part of the book, not overwhelming the rest.

The plot was good as well, but the pacing dragged it down a little bit. The writing in this book was excellent. It was a highly readable book!

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love… 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart. 


I’m doing one review for The Winner’s Trilogy as it came out years ago, and I feel that at this point it’s better for me to just post it all at one time.

I had attempted to read this series about a year ago and gave up because I felt that I wasn’t enjoying it AT ALL. But I found the entire series in my local used bookstore for $9 and I figured, hey, why not? If I didn’t like them I’d trade them back in for something else instead. Lo and behold I actually ended up liking this series. At first I felt that it was a little slow, but I know the author had based this series on Rome and the conquering of Greece. I enjoy books based in history, especially ancient history or premodern. So, I made more of an effort in this second go-round.

I am very glad that I did because I felt that it was a really good series overall. I gave the first book three stars. I felt it lacked something but I can’t quite put a name on what I felt that it lacked. I was also a little “eh” at first on Arin and Kestrel’s relationship. I wasn’t sure how to feel about it, but by the time we got to the end of the book I didn’t mind it.

The second book was highly enjoyable. I liked all the aspects of the political intrigue that came into that one. I thought Kestrel and Arin were great characters individually and being apart really helped them grow. I like how it didn’t just revolve around their relationships, but instead revolved around them and other characters as well. I love a well written political intrigue book, and this did that so well. I ended up giving it 4 stars. It had me addicted with that ending.

The third book again had a totally different thing than the first two. I felt that it built on the aspects of the first two books: romance and political intrigue but it also added war to the mix. We see the characters growth from the previous book and how they interact with each other in this one. How they have to learn to communicate and work with each other. And actually listen. I loved those aspects of the book. The side characters in this book were excellent too. There were a few that I really loved and would have liked to see more of. There was a creative twist in this book as well that had me laughing.

Overall, I felt this was a really solid YA fantasy series. I think that it is underrated for some reason…but that’s another issue for a different day.

Kestrel has become one of my favorite characters in YA fantasy, she is so well rounded and believable. I love the fact that she can fight but isn’t super astounding. It made it feel real and developed. I also love her insecurities.

Arin too is an amazing character, and I think as a male lead he is fantastic. He also has a lot of growth that we see, and he has a strength that makes him loveable. Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about him.

This was a fantastic series and I feel that I will want to reread it at some point in the future. I now would like a special edition set of this series. With the type of cover we see in this day and age. Although the original covers are just as stunning. I love the look of them.