Book Review: The Winner’s Kiss

Title: The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy #3)20443235

Author: Marie Rutkoski

Rating: ★★★★★

Provided Synopsis: 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?

Review: If you have followed my reviews of The Winner’s Trilogy, or have read the books for yourself, then you will know that the story of Kestrel and Arin is one to bring exquisite joy and agony. Once in a slave and owner relationship, the two of them fall in love, despite being on opposite sides of an impending war between their countries. Their loyalties towards their people and what they thought they stood for are continuously tested, with betrayals occurring in the mind of the greater good, leaving both characters where they are at the opening of The Winner’s Kiss. War is now the only option for the Valorians and the Herrani.

Continuing her magnificent style of writing, Rutkoski weaves a story of politics, war, and romance. Push and pull. Give and take. Choices, that will hopefully improve if the hero and heroine are able to make a better world. Forgiveness also plays a large part in this conclusion, asking questions about its shape and its possibility. Kestrel and Arin must learn more about themselves, for with all that has occurred since they first fell in love they are no longer the same people.

For me, Kestrel and Arin are my favorite romance in YA Fiction. I have always been able to feel connected to them; largely in part to the way they are written. Their feelings towards the situations they must face, and especially towards each other, have always reached off the page to grab a hold of my heart. When characters are so easily able to reach their audience there is no place for the emotion to hide; you will feel it, you will buckle under it, grow frustrated with it, praise it, love it: all because it is so true and raw.

In my opinion, this is one of the best series conclusions I have ever come across. I feel so complete inside, while also being so bereft to leave behind two characters that I love so much. Their story, and the story of the Herrani gods, will live on within me hopefully, because I really do not see how it could ever get better than this.

Monthly Recap: March 2016


16299And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie — 5 out of 5 stars.
No wonder they call this book a masterpiece.

Strong Looks Better Naked by Khloé Kardashian — 2 out of 5 stars
I love Khloé, but I don’t know why I read this. I’d be more interested in the story of her life rather than the self-help/motivational book I just finished.

The Siren by Kiera Cass — 3 out of 5 stars

Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare — 1 out of 5 stars
Liked the premise, did not care for the result. Why did he leave? Really, he really noticed her all that time? I did not believe in this scenario at all.
The return of characters from past Spindle Cove books was also distracting. You don’t need this.

The Healer by Virginia Boecker — 4 out of 5 stars
There is something about John’s narrative voice that is soothing and enticing, all at the same time. Once the end was reached I wanted more; I could have very happily gone through The Witch Hunter storyline through his eyes.
If you have not begun the series, this novella is a good way to start due to character introduction, glimpses into the magic of the world and how it figures into the sense of time and place, and the stirrings of the plot.

25817386My American Duchess by Eloisa James — 4 out of 5 stars
It was not just the extremely likable hero and heroine of this story that created the rating. It is the way it extends beyond the courtship angle, and enters a marriage between two people who are extremely attracted to one another yet do not know each other very well. This is one of my favorite Eloisa James stories to date.

Banished by Kimberley Griffiths Little — 2 out of 5 stars

Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young — 2.5 out of 5 stars
Remember that Disney Channel original movie, Tower of Terror? Well, Hotel Ruby kind of reminded me of that, in the sense that it is haunted by ghosts stuck after a tragedy. Learning about that tragedy was the only reason I had to keep reading. A bonus also occurred when all of Audrey’s observations came together to illuminate the truth.
Otherwise, I found this story to be rather meh. The characters were not memorable and the romance did nothing for me. I can respect Audrey’s love for her family though.

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury — 4.5 out of 5 stars.
I might come back and upgrade this to a five because I really did love the time I spent with this book. Retellings have become one of my favorite categories within the fantasy genre, and Khoury did a fantastic job telling the story of Aladdin through the eyes of a young jiForbiddenWish_BOM.inddnni girl. I think what impressed me most about this book is the way it so easily conveyed and integrated the mythology of the jinn within the story being told. Some authors take a trilogy to do what was done here in one book.
I can’t recommend The Forbidden Wish enough. Aladdin has always been bae (forgive me for saying it, you guys, but it’s so true!!) and I fell for him in this tale as well.

Plucked: From Page to Screen #1

Welcome to
Plucked: From Page to Screen!
Inspired by how we watch TV series almost as much as we read books, Cilla and I came up with this feature. What if we take a character from a bookish or a television universe and toss them into a different one, in the other medium? Every month, we’ll be sharing our mash-ups with you.

BOOK CHARACTER: Kenny Showalter from The Princess Diaries fa.gif


SCENARIO: Kenny becomes a member of Team Flash

I’ll admit it: when Cilla and I decided to go with characters from The Princess Diaries series (because the two of us also have a feature in which we make our way through the series now that we are in our 20s) and the universe of DC Comics, my immediate thought was to pluck Lilly Moscovitz.

Why? Because she annoys me to pieces with the way she treats people, and because I don’t think she is as much of a genius as Mia claims she is. I thought that placing her with the genius team who makes up Team Flash would have caused friction.

But then I thought: what if I pluck another character from The Princess Diaries series? What if I pluck someone who is actually shown to be good at science… How would that work out? Thus, we have Kenny joining Team Flash.


For those of you with little knowledge of Kenny, he dates Mia in book three of the series, is her lab partner who always does most of the work, and is a liar — in a way that is not cruel, but in the sense that he does it because he is not over Mia and is attempting to get a reaction out of her to validate his feelings.

Due to his science skills, Kenny could make an important member of Team Flash. I believe he would easily be able to keep up Caitlin Snow, Doctor Wells, Barry, and Cisco as they discuss the concepts of speed, time travel, and breaches with connections to Earth Two. I could also picture him aligning himself closely with Cisco, simply because they have that personality that is more akin to a friend you want on your side rather than a romantic partner of any sort.

So, welcome Kenny to Team Flash. I bet that Princess of Genovia would think twice about you if she knew about the secret identity you lead when you head to Star Labs every day for an “internship program.”

What do you think? Can you picture Kenny as a member of Team Flash?  What other characters from The Princess Diaries series would you throw into the DC Comics universe?


And don’t forget to check out Cilla’s Plucked post on her blog!

Review: Banished

23385196Title: Banished (Forbidden #2)

Author: Kimberley Griffiths Little

Rating: ★★

Provided Synopsis: After spending months traveling the harsh, unforgiving Mesopotamian desert, Jayden reunites with a broken, injured Kadesh. Although everyone was convinced the violent and unpredictable Horeb, Jayden’s betrothed, killed the handsome prince, Jayden knew in her heart that her love was alive and safe. But their reunion is short-lived, as they learn Horeb is on their trail and determined to take back the girl he has claimed. Soon, the two star-crossed lovers are on the run toward Sariba, Kadesh’s homeland, where, as heir to the kingdom, he plans to make Jayden his princess.

But the trek to Sariba comes with heartache and danger. After narrowly escaping being stoned to death for a crime she didn’t commit, and learning that her sister has disappeared, Jayden’s only solace is her love for Kadesh. But even he is keeping secrets from her…secrets that will change everything.

Review: What happened? One of the things I loved so much about the first book,Forbidden, was the depiction of settings, due to the way it was able to sweep me into the world and the way of life of nomadic tribes such as Jayden’s. Despite being on a journey through the desert for a majority of the story there was no magic in terms of the setting this time around. Rather than immerse the readers into the world, as she had done before, the author seemed as if she were focused on so many other facets of her plot, And unfortunately I did not think all these new plot points did much to enhance this story.

For example, there are so many new threats to Jayden and Kadesh’s future happiness. Jayden’s betrothed, Horeb, continues to be an ever-looming presence, but in addition to him is a new storyline about idol worship, temples, magicians, priest and priestesses. Kadesh also holds on to far too many secrets for far too long; this was a problem for me because my hope with the end of the first book was that Jayden and Kadesh would come to know each other better so that my mind and emotions could comprehend the love they profess for one another. With so many secrets, however, this could not come to pass, making the dialogue and interactions between them feel very stilted and repetitive.

Jayden also became lost for me in Banished. I had connected with her strongly because of her commitment to her family and faith, as well as her determination to take what she desires in life rather than settle for what had been arranged for her. While she would worry over her sisters, her father, and grandmother, that grounded commitment did not feel as strong. Maybe I would have rather had a book focused upon moving towards someone rather than fleeing from enemies.


Be sure to check out the giveaway I have going for my blog’s 3rd anniversary!

Top Ten Tuesday #9: Ten Books on Your Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish.

Spring is in the air! And with a new season comes a new batch of releases to fall on my TBR list. While thinking about the compilation of my choices, I decided that I would not only include upcoming new releases; here you will find a mixture of the new and the old because there were a lot of books I was not able to reach in the Fall and Winter that I’d like to read now

 1. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton — There has been a lot of buzz surrounding this book, making me hope that I will be able to get to it soon. The setting of this one is what appeals to me the most thus far.

259826852. Cravings by Chrissy Teigen — Cookbooks count, right? Chrissy is one my my favorite people to follow on Twitter because I think she is hilarious. If you have ever seen the pictures she posts of her food on Instagram then you know it looks delicious. I am not a very skilled cooker, yet I am still willing to give some of her recipes a shot. Plus I want all the picture of her, John, and their dog, Pippa!

3. Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman — I have had this book on my shelf for so long! Why have I not read it?! Its predecessor, Prisoner of Night and Fog, is one of my favorite YA historical books I have read in the past few years, as it follows a girl named Gretchen and her relationship to her “uncle” Adolf Hitler. If you like WWII books then I can not recommend this one enough! Must get to Conspiracy, must get to Conspiracy

4. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi — I’m at the point where I will do anything to get my hands on this book as soon as possible. Everything about the premise appeals to my tastes: Indian folklore, Greek mythology, horoscopes.

5. The Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig — So, I have already read this book… It needs to be on my Spring TBR list because over a year ago I embarked on a series reread of The Pink Carnation series to prepare for the release of the final book, which was in August 2015. Things came up and my reread got pushed to the side. I hope to fall back within this world though.

104857516. The Winter King by C.L. Wilson — I can’t remember how this fell on my radar. Every time I look at my TBR list on Goodreads, then click on this book, and read the synopsis, I am immediately reminded of why I need to read this. Fantasy Romance!

7. Helen of Sparta by Amalia Carosella — When I was in the midst of a reading funk, Morgan  tweeted about currently reading this book, and my interest was immediately snagged. I love anything to do with the Classics, I am always on the lookout for a new perspective on the characters involved in the Trojan War.

8. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee — It has been nearly a year since this was released… I just need to push back my apprehensions and read this. It. Will. Not. Destroy. My. Love. For. Mockingbird. (I hope)

9. The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski — Just a few more weeks! Soon I will be able to walk into Barnes & Noble before work, buy this baby, spend my entire work-day itchin18304322g to start reading, and then, finally get home to learn what is to becomes of Kestrel and Arin. I have needed this book for so long and it is such a relief to know the wait will soon be over. All other books will be pushed aside once Kiss is released.

10. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy — Another ‘What have I been waiting for?’ book. Dumplin’ has been sitting on my shelf for way to long, I need to read it this Spring.



I signed on to my blog today after an absence of a few days, intent on getting some blogging and the general housekeeping that comes with cammminbookland done. And do you know what I was greeted with?

A notification from WordPress saying that TODAY IS MY BLOG’S THIRD ANNIVERSARY!!!

I knew this milestone would be met this month, though I truly had no idea what day it would be. At the moment it is seeming like a serious case of kismet that I would find the time to be on the blog on the exact day that I took the plunge into the blogosphere!

Thank you so much to all of you for reading my book reviews, interacting with my via comments here or on Twitter, and just being the reason that I have kept going for this long. As I fall deeper into the realm of “adulting” I have had to make adjustments to the way I operate, with full Cam-length reviews decreasing and monthly recaps increasing. But you have stuck by me, and that has been enough to keep me interacting on the Internet with others who love books as much as I do.

On the horizon there are many things I am hoping to share with you, in particular a brand new feature that I am teaming up with my friend Cilla to bring you at the end of the month. The Princess Diaries Book Club shall also be a train that continues to roll. Being an adult means gaining new interests; my passion for books will never die, but I also think it is important for me to share other interests with you, too. So that will come soon. I promise you will like it.

Thanks again for all the fun! In honor of this big day I decided to throw my first ever giveaway for you guys, which will run to the end of the month. Just follow the link below. (Please be sure The Book Depository sends to your country, otherwise I can’t help you!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: The Siren

25817407Title: The Siren

Author: Kiera Cass

Rating: ★★★

Provided Synopsis: Years ago, Kahlen was rescued from drowning by the Ocean. To repay her debt, she has served as a Siren ever since, using her voice to lure countless strangers to their deaths. Though a single word from Kahlen can kill, she can’t resist spending her days on land, watching ordinary people and longing for the day when she will be able to speak and laugh and live freely among them again.

Kahlen is resigned to finishing her sentence in solitude…until she meets Akinli. Handsome, caring, and kind, Akinli is everything Kahlen ever dreamed of.

Falling in love with a human breaks the Ocean’s rules. But for the first time in a lifetime of following the rules, Kahlen is determined to follow her heart.

Review: Pleasantly surprised by this one. Yes, it did include a bit of an instant-love situation, but I have to admit that I completely get it because Akinli was so precious. Kahlen was also a main character that I could understand; the author did a wonderful job of making her dreams and motivations very clear cut to explain her actions.

What I’ll remember most about this book is the fresh take it took on sirens, and the nature of the Ocean. In this story sirens are chosen to sing people to their death in order to feed the Ocean; it is very much a case of a few being sacrificed to save the majority, and it does bring about struggles with responsibility and guilt.

Even better, I initially felt as if I knew where this story would go, in terms of the love angle and the need to be free of the Ocean and siren duties to reach an endgame. I was surprised by the turn of events. At the end I was sucked into this story, unable to put it down. So if you are on the lookout for a YA contemporary with siren-lore then I would recommend giving this a try.