Book Review

Book Review: The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Mystery
Length: 368 pages
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: September 7th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Intrigue, riches, and romance abound in this thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Inheritance Games perfect for fans of Karen McManus and Holly Jackson.

The Inheritance Games ended with a bombshell, and now heiress Avery Grambs has to pick up the pieces and find the man who might hold the answers to all of her questions – including why Tobias Hawthorne left his entire fortune to Avery, a virtual stranger, rather than to his own daughters or grandsons.

Thanks to a DNA test, Avery knows that she’s not a Hawthorne by blood, but clues pile up hinting at a deeper connection to the family than she had ever imagined. As the mystery grows and the plot thickens, Grayson and Jameson, the enigmatic and magnetic Hawthorne grandsons, continue to pull Avery in different directions. And there are threats lurking around every corner, as adversaries emerge who will stop at nothing to see Avery out of the picture – by any means necessary.

With nonstop action, aspirational jet-setting, family intrigue, swoonworthy romance, and billions of dollars hanging in the balance, The Hawthorne Legacy will thrill Jennifer Lynn Barnes fans and new readers alike.

I’M ON THE WRONG SIDE.

…OF THIS LOVE TRIANGLE. Ugh. I have one book left to see if things go by way because gosh dang it, I hate being on the wrong side. Don’t get me wrong, Jameson made some great strides and I saw growth in his character. BUT IT’S TEAM GRAYSON OVER HERE.

I’m in awe of this authors ability to craft amazingly detailed and intricate puzzles. They wow me. The reveals mostly catch me off guard. Explosions, kidnapping, being followed. Avery goes through another wild ride trying to keep her inheritance at the Hawthorne’s.

For a middle book I was thoroughly charmed. The pacing kept up and action was definitely there. I found enough quiet moments to relax before things picked back up and I love that I feel like I can’t trust many characters. It’s fun to be on my toes wondering what’s going to happen next. The finale is sure to be something else and I can’t wait!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Mystery
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, recounting of house fire with loss of life, plane explosion, gun violence

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 272 pages
Author: Kristina Forest
Publisher: Roaring Books Press
Release Date: June 4th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A debut young adult rom-com about an African American ballerina who finds love on the road to an audition.

When Chloe Pierce’s mom forbids her to apply for a spot at the dance conservatory of her dreams, she devises a secret plan to drive two hundred miles to the nearest audition. But Chloe hits her first speed bump when her annoying neighbor Eli insists upon hitching a ride, threatening to tell Chloe’s mom if she leaves him and his smelly dog, Geezer, behind. So now Chloe’s chasing her ballet dreams down the east coast—two unwanted (but kinda cute) passengers in her car, butterflies in her stomach, and a really dope playlist on repeat.

Filled with roadside hijinks, heart-stirring romance, and a few broken rules, Kristina Forest’s I Wanna Be Where You Are is a YA debut perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sandhya Menon.

A GREAT ROAD TRIP.

I really enjoyed this sweet, growing up, road trip story. Full of car trouble, reconnecting with old friends and finding out what you want to do with your life. It was a quick audio read and highly recommend that format as well!

Being a dancer growing up I love coming across books that involve the profession. I loved seeing Chloe go for her dreams and learning a lot along the way. She was a beautiful main character who really made me feel for her desires and had me laughing when things went a little awry.

Add in a cute romance with childhood friend Eli and it was precious. I loved the banter and working through their previous troubles. Eli was soooo sweet and it was awesome that he got to work towards his passion as well. Both Chloe and Eli had to have some difficult conversations with their parents and it was nice to see the that both parents mostly came around and understood their choices.

I adored the side characters (Larissa and Trey) and getting to see the East Coast on Chloe’s travels. This is a short and wholesomely delightful read.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs
  • Violence: car wreck
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent by car accident, underage smoking, main character hit by a car (resulted in broken ankle)

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

Rating: ☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 359 pages
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 24th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A summer read about first love, feminism, and ice cream.

Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best of friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that the stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…

NOT SWEET ENOUGH.

Meh.

That’s how this book made me feel. What seemed like a cute young adult rom-com really never reached that whatsoever. Amelia focused SO MUCH on her best friend Cate that I honestly started thinking that this book must be about her. I was tired of hearing about Cate because I wanted to see some development in Amelia. She had no backbone and whined the entire book about not being good enough. Wow did that get old.

I did think the romance was mostly sweet. If it had been a larger part of the story I think it would have helped the books overall case. Also, this book made me want to make ice cream. So those are the redeeming qualities I found.

Going back and forth in the timeline to a different character didn’t mesh well either. I felt taken out of the book each time it flipped to Molly’s perspective. Yes, it was integral to the story but only at a forced angle. Only the last few pieces added to Amelia’s world and finally made her get it together.

Very underwhelmed by this.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary / romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs
  • Violence: mentions of war and missing soldiers (WW2)

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 329 pages
Author: Mason Deaver
Publisher: Push
Release Date: May 14th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.

GREAT READ.

I read this via audio (which had a great narrator and recommend if you’re interested in that format option!) and really enjoyed it. It’s one of those where afterwards you just realize, it was a notable book all around.

It felt incredibly important to read this story about Ben and how they chose to find their voice. There were many tough conversations and resonating ones throughout. I liked the therapy sessions, the reconnecting Ben was able to work through with their sister and the absolutely sweet romance between them and Nathan. Ben and Nathan just made me smile. Nathan was the right kind of counter balance for Ben and they really clicked from the beginning.

The scenes depicting anxiety and depression were raw and I sensed everything through the pages. It’s full of heartfelt desire for friendships and a true place to belong and Ben just wanting to understand and find themselves as a person. I felt like I learned a lot and I think it would be a great read for others looking to learn more about a non-binary experience.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: coming out scenes (some received well, others not), disownment from parents, misgendering, transmisia, homomisia, ableism, suicidal ideation, slut-shaming (side character), physical/emotional/verbal parental abuse, depression and anxiety (including on page depictions), underage alcohol consumption

Instagram || Goodreads