Mini Reviews: The Winner’s Trilogy, The V Card, & Rilla of Ingleside

Are you excited for the weekend? I am! Even though I don’t actually have any plans, haha. The Stay At Home Reading Rush is taking place this weekend so I’m going to try to get a lot of reading in.

Series: The Winner’s Trilogy
Books: The Winner’s Curse, The Winner’s Crime, The Winner’s Kiss
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Date Published: 2015-2016
Rating: 4.25, 4.5, 4.25
Date read: December 2019 – February 2020

The Winner’s Curse follows a young woman named Kestral, who one day impulsively decides to buy a slave named Arin. This sets into motion a chain of events beyond anything Kestral could expect.

The Winner’s Trilogy is an extremely well crafted story with very likeable characters. Rutkoski is brilliant at crafting both internal and external conflict, Kestral and Arin’s internal struggles are extremely believable and easy to sympathize with, while the action and politics of the story feel well researched and realistic. Rutkoski has created a very culturally rich story and learning more about the lore of the world was especially interesting. Although my ratings don’t average out to it, I do consider this a 5-star series (my rating for the last book fluctuates between 4.25-4.5 depending on whether I’m in the mood to read about war) as Rutkoski’s writing is impeccable and it’s very obvious to me how much thought and research goes into her writing.

Title: The V Card
Author: Lauren Blakely & Lili Valente
Date Published: December 13, 2017
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Date read: January 17, 2020

The V Card is a new adult romance following a young woman named CJ who feels very inexperienced and is set on having her close friend/brother’s best friend & known playboy show her the ropes when it comes to all things sexy.

In the past I’ve found independently published romances incredibly insta-lovey and unrealistic (which could totally be on me and the books I happened to pick up), but Lauren Blakely’s novels have been a game changer (this is my first Lili Valente novel). It’s a lot easier to believe in CJ and Graham’s relationship/romance because they start off as two friends who care deeply for each other and it doesn’t feel like their connection/romance is formed solely in the bedroom. I also like that this, while unfortunately still following the typical romance plotline, isn’t as dramatic as it could have been, I prefer my romance light and fluffy.

Title: Rilla of Ingleside (Anne #8)
Author: LM Montgomery
Date Published: 1921
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Date read: January 17, 2020

In Rilla of Ingleside we follow 15-year-old Rilla as she grows up during the difficult times of WWI. You do not have to read the entire Anne series before Rilla of Ingleside, though I recommend you do so.

Rilla of Ingleside really stands out from the rest of the Anne series in that the other Anne novels are easygoing and fun while Rilla of Ingleside depicts some of the challenges faced during WWI. I personally am not a fan of WWI or WWII novels, and if I do read them I much prefer the quiet ones depicting the everyday lives of soldiers or people at home. Rilla of Ingleside is just that, showcasing life in PEI as the war rages on. It’s a novel about personal growth, loss, and keeping faith in difficult times and I feel it’s one of Montgomery’s strongest novels. Montgomery’s depiction of loss and grief spoke to me on such a personal level and I found it extremely realistic and relatable. Rilla starts off as a naive, self-centred, and vain girl but she undergoes tremendous characters growth, possibly some of the best character growth I’ve ever read. I love that Montgomery starts us off with a character that isn’t the most likeable, but who develops into someone so easy to root for. As always, Montgomery’s characters have a real-life feel to them, her dialogue is entertaining, and her writing is luscious and a delight to read. Rilla of Ingleside is definitely a story I’ll want to revisit again and again. 

If you’ve read any of these books or plan to read them, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy reading <3.