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.

Project Reread Update #1

One of my goals for this year is to reread more. Ideally I’ll have 2/3 of my collection reread, so far I’m at about 1/4 reread. Here are some of the books I’ve reread this year:

Still Alice by Lisa Genova
First date read: <2013
First rating: 4.75/5 stars
Second date read: January 5, 2020
Second rating: 4.5/5 stars

Thoughts: I didn’t enjoy Still Alice quite as much the second time around. I think this is definitely one of those books that requires the right mind set going into it as you know Alice’s condition is going to get progressively worse. Rereading Genova’s debut just made it apparent to me how much she has grown as a writer.

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
First date read: April 17, 2017
First rating: 4.25/5 stars
Second date read: January 12, 2020
Second rating: 4.5/5 stars

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
First date read: April 27, 2017
First rating: 4.5/5 stars
Second date read: February 14, 2020
Second rating: 4.25/5 stars

Thoughts: The Winner’s Trilogy is consistent in its quality. I really think this is a timeless story that has aged well.

Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
First date read: August 22, 2017
First rating: 4.5/5 stars
Second date read: January 17, 2020
Second rating: 4.5/5 stars

Thoughts: I much prefer reading WWI stories over WWII stories, and my favourite war stories are the ones that involve the daily lives of everyday people. Rilla of Ingleside is both these things with amazing character development to boot. I do think this can be read as a stand–alone and I know this is a story I’ll return to again and again.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
First date read: April 10, 2016
First rating: 4.25/5 stars
Second date read: January 17, 2020
Second rating: 4.5/5 stars

Thoughts: The Secret Garden is one of the first books I listened to as an audiobook, and it really got my love of audiobooks started so in that regard I’ll always be fond of it. It also helps that The Secret Garden has several really amazing audiobooks and that revisiting this story always feels like reading a fairytale.

Age of Myth by Michael J Sullivan
First date read: May 3, 2017
First rating: 4.5/5 stars
Second date read: January 23, 2020
Second rating: 4.25/5 stars

Thoughts: MJS writes some of my favourite plot twists, and his stories always surprise me. Unfortunately, without the element of surprise I didn’t quite like this one as much the second time around. Still, I love the world of Elan, and I think this series is a great expansion to it.

This first batch of rereads was immensely successful, and I enjoyed each of the novels I reread.