Book Review

Book Review: The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult mystery
Length: 384 pages
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 1st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A Cinderella story with deadly stakes and thrilling twists, perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and Knives Out.

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.

Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION.

Well this held my attention from the get-go.

How trippy to find out you’re all of a sudden an heiress because someone decided to give you all of their money? WhOa.

What a wild mansion. I loved that there was so much to the entire house. The random tunnels, hidden spaces, the amount of rooms, all of it. Without such a obscene amount of rooms to create this land there wouldn’t have been a story. It added many adrenaline pumping moments and times where I was taken by surprise.

The riddles were brilliant and well put together. I love when I can’t solve things right away because it really adds to the mystery and suspense of the novel.

Throw in a group of four brothers with hidden pasts and their own issues and we’ve got a ourselves some side characters. I loved these Hawthorne brothers!! What didn’t I love? That dang love triangle. Boooooo. It wasn’t too much of a distraction, but the stronger feelings became the more I was hoping things would go one way or another.

After that bomb drop of an ending I’m invested. I want to know how this sequel works out because I have twice the amount of questions.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult mystery/thriller
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: guns, physical, someone passing away from a heart condition

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult thriller/horror
Length: 416 pages
Author: Kate Alice Marshall
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 16th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Kara Thomas meets Twin Peaks in this supernatural thriller about one girl’s hunt for the truth about her mother’s disappearance in Kate Alice Marshall’s most commercial book yet.

Sophia’s first memory is of drowning. She remembers the darkness of the water and the briny taste as it fills her throat. She remembers the cold shock of going under. She remembers her mother pulling her to safety before disappearing forever. But Sophia has never been in the ocean. And her mother died years ago in a hospital. Or so she has been told her whole life.

A series of clues have led Sophia to the island of Bitter Rock, Alaska, where she talked her way into a summer internship at the Landon Avian Research Center, the same center her mother worked at right before she died. There, she meets the disarmingly clever Liam, whose own mother runs the LARC, as well as Abby, who’s following a mystery of her own: a series of unexplained disappearances. People have been vanishing from Bitter Rock for decades, leaving only their ghostly echoes behind. When it looks like their two mysteries might be one and the same, Sophia vows to dig up the truth, no matter how many lies she has to tell along the way. Even if it leads her to a truth she may not want to face.

Our Last Echoes is an eerie collection of found documents and written confessionals, in the style of Rules for Vanishing, with supernatural twists that keep you questioning what is true and what is an illusion. 

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!

CONVOLUTED.

Yes. I enjoyed this. But also yes, some of this went over my head.

This is totally CREEEEEPY. Granted, I’m a wimp when it comes to thriller/horror books, but still. I preferred to read this in the daylight hours and I accept that. The mist and twisted souls wandering around had me second guessing every character in the book (with good reason).

I liked the formatting of this one with flashbacks (and forwards) to “videos” of what was happening at different times on the island. Also, who would even want to stay on this island!?!?

What kind of lost me, was the last quarter or so. I didn’t quite get what all of the echoes were doing, who they were following (and why), and a few other questions. A lot more world-building and deeper explanations would have helped me make sense of everything with Sophia and the echoes.

This is a highly atmospheric read and I think that’s why I thought it was intensely chilling. It kept me flipping pages fast and furious to see who survived and made it out alive. I enjoyed the characters and while I didn’t think the sub-plot of romance was all that necessary, I didn’t mind it. I liked that this group worked together to suss out the entities wreaking havoc on Bitter Rock.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult thriller/horror
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: murder, attacks by supernatural entities

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Bitterwine Oath by Hannah West

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Paranormal Mystery
Length: 320 pages
Author: Hannah West
Publisher: Holiday House
Release Date: December 1st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Every fifty years, a cult claims twelve men to murder in a small Texas town. Can one girl end the cycle of violence – and save the boy who broke her heart?

San Solano, Texas, is a quaint town known for its charm, hospitality, and history of murder. Twice now, twelve men have been brutally killed, and no one knows who did it. A shadowy witch? A copycat killer? Or a man-hating murderess?

Eighteen-year-old Natalie Colter is sure that the rumors about her great-great-grandmother’s cult of wronged women are just gossip, but that doesn’t stop the true-crime writers and dark tourism bloggers from capitalizing on the town’s reputation. It’s an urban legend that’s hard to ignore, and it gets harder when Nat learns that the sisterhood is real. And magical. And they want her to join.

The more Nat learns of the Wardens’ supernatural history, the more she wonders about the real culprits behind the town’s ritualistic murders. Are the Wardens protecting San Solano from even darker forces? There are shadows in the woods, bones on the outskirts of town, and questions Nat needs answered.

But everything becomes more urgent when people start getting “marked” as new victims–including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year. With Levi in danger, doing nothing would be harder than fighting back.

Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?

Thank you to the publisher, Holiday House for an ARC. All opinions are my own!

PRETTY SPOOKY.

I had an overall good time with this. I even found myself completely spooked out after the first couple of chapters. Hidden cult in the woods murdering men? Yeah, that’ll do it.

The story was intriguing and I liked reading the author’s notes at the end about creating it. While there was only one full point-of-view, there were many story lines to wrap together. Everything did weave together well and I didn’t feel by the the end of the mystery that I was missing anything. I love when a mystery based book ties all of the endings off before closing!

The main character, Natalie, completely blind-sided by her own past kept up with everything. I like how brave she was and really went for it in regards to breaking the curse. She had a little romance with a side character. This fit in better than I thought, but could have used a little more *something* to it. I appreciate the passion of both Natalie and Levi in wanting to be with each other, and figuring out what the heck was out there in the woods.

This atmosphere was haunting and without a doubt creepy. Those creatures made me shiver and I love a good old, back country town, with a sordid past. I thought some of the plot was repetitive and multiple issues kept being re-hashed over and over again. It caused me to skim some of it by the end so I could know how everything resolved.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult mystery
  • Language: a little, light
  • Romance: kisses / light make-outs
  • Violence: creature attacks, guns, physical altercations, people being possessed by something supernatural

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Book Review

Book Review: A Good Girls Guide to Murder (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #1) by Holly Jackson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Mystery/Thriller
Length: 400 pages
Author: Holly Jackson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: February 4th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Everyone in Fairview knows the story.

Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.

But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you’ll never expect.

I LIKED THIS Y’ALL.

I’m not a thriller person. Never have been. It takes some amazing reviews and friends saying how good one is for me to pick it up. This was the case for A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. After so many saying how it blew their minds, I knew I had to read it. And I loved it! I also highly recommend the audio book. It was wonderfully put together.

Oh wow, this definitely kept me guessing. I spent most of my time trying to figure out who was the actual murder, if there was an actual murder, who was good, bad, all the things! I love how difficult it was to make heads or tails of any of the suspects. The number one thing I look for in a thriller is how easy it is for me to pick out the murderer. This was NOT the case here.

The only part I found kind of laughable was Pippa. Don’t get me wrong, I thought she was a fantastic main character. It was the fact that she at 17 (maybe 18?) was acting like a well-seasoned detective agent and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes sometimes. She was clearly way in over her head and doing more than I could reasonably believe. When I could look past that, the book was solid. Well written and put together in such a a way that you never want to stop reading.

I liked the small romance plot-line (we know I’m a sucker for these). It moved well alongside the original story. My heart ached for many of these characters and the awful situations they were put through. I liked the way the side characters played into this and the genuine work I could see from the author to craft a such a intricate web of lies and deceit, with plenty of WHAT moments.

If you’re even slightly interested in thrillers (aka me) definitely check this one out!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult thriller
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: murder; see trigger warnings
  • Trigger warnings: suicide (method explained), self-harm, murder, underage drug/alcohol use, drunk driving, hit and run, animal/pet death, rape (using rohypnols)

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