ARC Review: Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆
Title: Nothing More to Tell
Author: Karen M. McManus
Genre: Mystery
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrators: Andrew Eiden, Jesse Vilinsky
Length: 10 hrs 22 min (368 pages)
Publisher: Delacorte Press; PRH Audio
Release Date: August 30, 2022
Source: eARC and audiobook from publisher
Content Warnings: murder, alcoholism, abandonment

SYNOPSIS

Be sure to keep your friends close . . . and your secrets closer.

Four years ago, Brynn left Saint Ambrose School following the shocking murder of her favorite teacher—a story that made headlines after the teacher’s body was found by three Saint Ambrose students in the woods behind their school. The case was never solved. Now that Brynn is moving home and starting her dream internship at a true-crime show, she’s determined to find out what really happened.

The kids who found Mr. Larkin are her way in, and her ex–best friend, Tripp Talbot, was one of them. Without his account of events, the other two kids might have gone down for Mr. Larkin’s murder. They’ve never forgotten what Tripp did for them that day. Just like he hasn’t forgotten that everything he told the police was a lie.

Digging into the past is bound to shake up the present, and as Brynn begins to investigate what happened in the woods that day, she begins to uncover secrets that might change everything—about Saint Ambrose, about Mr. Larkin, and about her ex-best friend, Tripp Talbot.

Four years ago someone got away with murder. The most terrifying part is that they never left.

MY THOUGHTS

This story has so many great elements with mind blowing potential. I loved the POV characters Brynn and especially Tripp. The murder mystery was compelling, fully of so many juicy secrets, red herrings, and flashback reveals that kept me wondering about Mr. Larkin’s life and death.

However, all of the build up led to a very unsatisfying resolution. The truth, while surprising, was revealed in an underwhelming way, and the ending felt simultaneously like things wrapped up too neatly and like things don’t quite all add up, providing no sense of closure.

I really hope McManus plans to write a sequel. I would absolutely read another book focusing on Brynn’s internship at Motive and exploring further ramifications of the events and discoveries of this book, but as a standalone Nothing More to Tell left me needing more.

Thank you to the publisher for the complimentary audiobook and eARC.

Review: The Traitor’s Kingdom by Erin Beaty

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Title: The Traitor’s Kingdom
Author: Erin Beaty
Series: The Traitor’s Circle #3
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Kathleen McInerney
Length: 13 hrs 43 mins (391 pages)
Publisher: Imprint; Listening Library
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Source: Library
Recommended for fans of: The Remnant Chronicles, The Winner’s Circle
Content Warnings: violence, death

SYNOPSIS

Unlikely alliances are forged and trust is shattered in the stunning conclusion to The Traitor’s Trilogy.

A new queen under threat.
An ambassador with a desperate scheme.
Two kingdoms with everything to lose.

Once a spy and counselor to the throne, Sage Fowler has secured victory for her kingdom at a terrible cost. Now an ambassador representing Demora, Sage is about to face her greatest challenge to avoid a war with a rival kingdom.

After an assassination attempt destroys the chance for peace, Sage and her fiancé Major Alex Quinn risk a dangerous plot to reveal the culprit. But the stakes are higher than ever, and in the game of traitors, betrayal is the only certainty.

MY THOUGHTS

This was a solid conclusion to the trilogy! This series does a great job of balancing the politics, intrigue, and espionage with action and battles. I really like Sage and Alex together because they complement each other so well. Alex made a decision for their relationship that really bothered me at first, but once he actually explained his reasoning and made up for it, he was easy to forgive.

Clare was a bit annoying in this book. The first two books were not kind to her so I empathize, but I didn’t like the tension in her friendship with Sage throughout the book.

I enjoyed a lot of the developments in this story, but I was a little disappointed in the big mystery of this book. These characters are too smart to not figure out sooner who was behind the assassination attempt.

Overall, I recommend this if you are in the mood for a classic YA fantasy trilogy!

Review: The Traitor’s Ruin by Erin Beaty

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Title: The Traitor’s Ruin
Author: Erin Beaty
Series: The Traitor’s Circle #2
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Kathleen McIrnerney
Length: 11 hrs 43 mins (384 pages)
Publisher: Imprint; Listening Library
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Source: Library
Recommended for fans of: The Remnant Chronicles, The Winner’s Trilogy
Content Warnings: child death, death, violence

SYNOPSIS

After proving her worth in book one as a deft spy and strategic matchmaker, Sage Fowler is now comfortably positioned in high society as the royal tutor. When she’s called upon to teach his majesty’s soldiers how to read and write, she jumps at the chance to serve her kingdom of Demora—and to be reunited with her fiancé, Captain Alex Quinn.

During a skirmish, Sage and Alex are separated. She watches him die before he can deliver important military intel—or so she thinks. She escapes from the enemy and makes an unlikely alliance with a mysterious soldier from a third nation. As Sage tries to rally their support against a common foe, the important political alliance is plagued by secrets and betrayal.

Can Sage complete Alex’s mission and save her kingdom once more?

MY THOUGHTS

I really enjoyed the continuation of this series! Sage and Alex are clearly meant to be, but this book throws some hurdles at their relationship that only get exacerbated by political intrigue and potential war. I like how this book expands the world, introducing new kingdoms, customs, and characters. I love Sage’s penchant for languages and diplomacy! This book has some truly heartbreaking moments, especially when Sage and Alex are separated, but it provides room for so much growth and adventure. The ending is very exciting with some crushing twists, but still offer a sense of resolution. Solid YA fantasy series so far!

ARC Review: Love Times Infinity by Lane Clarke

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Title: Love Times Infinity
Author: Lane Clarke
Genre: Contemporary
Audience: Young Adult
Format: eARC
Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: July 26, 2022
Source: author via Netgalley
Recommended for fans of: Nicola Yoon, Elizabeth Acevedo
Content Warnings: depictions of anxiety and depression, discussions of sexual assault, discussions of abortion, alcohol use, discussions of alcoholism, parental abandonment, grandparent death (backstory, off page)

SYNOPSIS

The swoon of Nicola Yoon meets the emotional punch of Elizabeth Acevedo in this breakout debut novel that answers big questions about identity, family, and love.

High school junior Michie is struggling to define who she is for her scholarship essays, her big shot at making it into Brown as a first-generation college student. The prompts would be hard for anyone, but Michie’s been estranged from her mother since she was seven and her concept of family has long felt murky.

Enter new kid and basketball superstar Derek de la Rosa. He is very cute, very talented, and very much has his eye on Michie, no matter how invisible she believes herself to be.


When Michie’s mother unexpectedly reaches out to make amends, and with her scholarship deadlines looming, Michie must choose whether to reopen old wounds or close the door on her past. And as she spends more time with Derek, she’ll have to decide how much of her heart she is willing to share. Because while Michie may not know who she is, she’s starting to realize who she wants to become, if only she can take a chance on Derek, on herself, and on her future.

MY THOUGHTS

I don’t read much YA contemporary fiction anymore, but Love Times Infinity is a sweet and heartfelt coming of age story that doesn’t shy away from heavy topics facing teens.

Abortion is discussed a lot in this book because the main character Michie’s mom gave birth to her after being sexually assaulted; even though she made the choice to keep the pregnancy, she struggled with the consequences that choice (the keyword here is *choice*). Michie’s knowledge of how she came to be and her relationship with her mother severely impact her self-worth and mental health, and this plot line is inspired by the author’s own experiences. I appreciate that this book addresses the issue of abortion in a nuanced way that does not push an agenda. Different characters may feel differently about it, but the book is not anti-choice or anti-abortion. If you want to know more about the author’s personal views, she published an article on the topic for Time after Roe v. Wade was overturned.

While Michie’s relationship with her mother is estranged, she has an amazing support system of people who love her: her grandmother is the best single parent she could ask for, JoJo is an incredible friend, Derek is such a patient cinnamon roll love interest, and all of her friends and therapist from group.

I loved the sweet and clean romance. I cheered for Michie as she learned to embrace her identity and show the world her potential. I laughed at Michie’s snark and savage pop culture references, although I think some of the references appeal more to readers my age than current teens. Some subplots felt a bit disconnected from the rest of the story, and the ending wrapped up so quickly (I wanted to actually read Michie’s college essay!), but I was always fully invested in this emotional story. I am very impressed with this debut and look forward to reading whatever Lane Clarke writes next.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the gifted eARC.

Review: The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆
Title: The Lost Dreamer
Author: Lizz Huerta
Series: The Lost Dreamer Duology #1
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Elisa Melendez, Inés del Castillo
Length: 10 hrs 52 mins
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); Macmillan Audio
Release Date: February 28, 2022
Source: Libro.fm influencer program
Recommended for fans of: Raybearer, Gods of Jade and Shadow
Content Warnings: emotional abuse, pregnancy, child abuse, animal cruelty, animal death, kidnapping, death, child death, gaslighting

SYNOPSIS

A lush, immersive debut fantasy about a group of women whose way of life is threatened by a new king; a fierce celebration of community, sisterhood, and finding our power.

Indir is a Dreamer, descended from a long line of seers; able to see beyond reality, she carries the rare gift of Dreaming truth. But when the beloved king dies, his son has no respect for this time-honored tradition. King Alcan wants an opportunity to bring the Dreamers to a permanent end―an opportunity Indir will give him if he discovers the two secrets she is struggling to keep. As violent change shakes Indir’s world to its core, she is forced to make an impossible choice: fight for her home or fight to survive.

Saya is a seer, but not a Dreamer―she has never been formally trained. Her mother exploits her daughter’s gift, passing it off as her own as they travel from village to village, never staying in one place too long. Almost as if they’re running from something. Almost as if they’re being hunted. When Saya loses the necklace she’s worn since birth, she discovers that seeing isn’t her only gift―and begins to suspect that everything she knows about her life has been a carefully-constructed lie. As she comes to distrust the only family she’s ever known, Saya will do what she’s never done before, go where she’s never been, and risk it all in the search of answers.

With a detailed, supernaturally-charged setting and topical themes of patriarchal power and female strength, Lizz Huerta’s The Lost Dreamer brings an ancient world to life, mirroring the challenges of our modern one.

MY THOUGHTS

The Lost Dreamer is a Mesoamerican-inspired YA fantasy told in dual POV, following Indir, a Dreamer or seer whose home and traditions are threatened by the rise of a new king, and Saya, a traveler and untrained seer whose mother exploits her and her gifts. Both storylines are compelling yet seemingly unrelated; I had a few theories, but I didn’t fully understand why they were both POVs were necessary until the end of the book.

The writing is lush and dreamy, vividly bringing to life the world, its magic, its customs, its mythology, and its characters, reminding me of books like Raybearer and Gods of Jade and Shadow. The plot developed slowly, and I wished for a little more action throughout the book. I may have listened to the audiobook too quickly and missed some of the subtleties of the story; I sometimes struggled to keep up with side characters and their relationships to the narrators.

I really like the way this book depicted and explored themes of home and family, juxtaposing Indir’s and Saya’s experiences. I was fascinated with the Dreamers, their prophecies and visions, and their relationship with spirits. While the beginning and middle were a bit slow, the ending made me very excited to see how everything gets resolved in book 2 of this duology.

Review: I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆
Title: I Kissed Shara Wheeler
Author: Casey McQuiston
Genre: Contemporary
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook Listening Copy
Narrator: Natalie Naudus
Length: 9 hrs 24 mins (356 pages)
Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Wednesday Books
Release Date: May 2, 2022
Source: Libro.fm
Content Warnings: homophobia, religious bigotry, racism

SYNOPSIS

From the New York Times bestselling author of One Last Stop and Red, White & Royal Blue comes a debut YA romantic comedy about chasing down what you want, only to find what you need…

Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny.

But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.

On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair-and-square.

Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe—probably not, but maybe—more to Shara, too.

Fierce, funny, and frank, Casey McQuiston’s I Kissed Shara Wheeler is about breaking the rules, getting messy, and finding love in unexpected places.

MY THOUGHTS

I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I did not like this book. It was not all bad. It kind of felt like a mash up of John Green books, particularly Paper Towns. I loved the side characters and their side plots (especially Chloe’s theater friends), and the overall queer love was amazing, especially against the setting of a Southern small town that emphasizes traditional religious values.

However, I thought Chloe and Shara were both unbearable characters. Chloe was constantly blowing off her friends to obsess over finding the clues Shara left behind in her manipulative runaway stunt. Their dynamic was extremely toxic, and I didn’t see enough character growth on either side until too close to the end of the book for me to ever root for their relationship.

I almost DNF this book because Chloe was such an insufferable main character, but I was curious enough about Shara’s whereabouts (which turned out to be anticlimactic) and invested enough in the side characters to finish. It was worth sticking with the book for the graduation plot line toward the end. The audiobook narration was well done, and I definitely would not have finished this book if I read it physically.

I’m thinking that Red, White, and Royal Blue may have been a fluke, and otherwise Casey McQuiston books are not for me. I felt similarly about One Last Stop where I loved the side characters and their found family dynamic but did not care too much for the main couple. I really wanted to love this one, but it just wasn’t for me.

Review: Heartstopper Volume Three by Alice Oseman

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆.5
Title: Heartstopper: Volume Three
Author: Alice Oseman
Series: Heartstopper #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Graphic Novel
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Graphix
Release Date: February 6, 2020
Source: Personal collection
Content Warnings: eating disorder, homophobia, self harm, bullying, biphobia

SYNOPSIS

Charlie didn’t think Nick could ever like him back, but now they’re officially boyfriends. Nick has even found the courage to come out to his mom.

But coming out isn’t something that happens just once, and Nick and Charlie try to figure out when to tell their friends that they’re dating. Not being out to their classmates gets even harder during a school trip to Paris. As Nick and Charlie’s feelings get more serious, they’ll need each other more than ever.

MY THOUGHTS

Nick and Charlie are just the best. I love seeing their relationship develop to deeper levels. Even when they are awkward and shy, they support each other 100 percent. The Paris setting was wonderful, and I enjoyed how this story developed the side characters as well.

This volume also addresses some heavier topics like anxiety, depression, disordered eating, estranged parents, and excessive teen partying & drinking. While characters face more difficult personal struggles in this book, they all have incredible support systems to help them through.

I didn’t love this installment quiiiiiiiite as much as others in this series, but it still clearly exceeds four stars!

Review: The Serpent’s Curse by Lisa Maxwell

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Title: The Serpent’s Curse
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Series: The Last Magician #3
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult +
Format: Hardcover
Length: 768 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Source: Personal collection
Content Warnings: death, alcoholism, child abuse, racism, violence, xenophobia, drug use, racial slurs, suicidal thoughts

SYNOPSIS

Evade the serpent.

Heed the curse.

Rewrite the present.

Esta isn’t a stranger to high-stakes heists. She’s a seasoned thief who has no reservations about using her affinity for time to give her an edge, and she’s trained her whole life for one mission: travel back to 1902 New York, steal the ancient Book of Mysteries, and use its power to destroy the Brink and free the Mageus from the Order’s control.

But the Book held a danger that no one anticipated—Seshat, an angry goddess was trapped within its pages. Now that terrible power lives within Harte, and if given the chance, Seshat will use Esta to destroy the world and take her revenge.

Only Esta and Harte stand in her way.

Yet in their search to recover the elemental stones needed to bind Seshat’s power, Esta and Harte have found themselves stranded in time with a continent between them. As Esta fights to get back to Harte, the Order is no longer the only obstacle standing in her way.

Saving Harte—and magic itself—will put even Esta’s skills to the test. And all the while, another danger grows, one more terrible than both Seshat and the Order combined…

MY THOUGHTS

A big improvement over book 2 in the series, but still not quite at the level of book 1. The plots of the books are feeling a bit repetitive (hunting down and stealing the same artifacts over and over), and I continue to question the purpose of continuing the 1902 timeline besides filling in backstory, but I have faith it will all be revealed satisfactorily in book 4.

The pacing was much better in this book. The pacing in book 2 really dragged with the introduction of so many new POV characters; this book is still pretty slow for the first 50%, but the POVs were more focused to the core characters, and I made my way through this story quicker than I expected.

I love Harte so much. He is such a great character. But he made some really dumb decisions in this book, and he kept making the same mistakes over and over. He redeemed himself by the end, but there were so many times I wanted to grab him by the shoulders, give him a good shake, and tell him to use better words.

The romantic subplots in this series are the definition of slow burn. Book 3 in the series and still so much waiting for Esta and Harte to actually get together. Not to mention all the side characters’ potential relationships. So many feelings, so much waiting for action. We don’t need the miscommunication trope.

This time travel series finally ventured into some new time periods in the second half of the book. The was so much new information about the magic system, and seeing how much history changed put into perspective how much work Esta and Harte have to do in the next book. The ending was great, and I have so many theories for the final book in the series. This series is a bit of a bumpy ride, but I do recommend it so far!

Audiobook Tour Review: A Fallen Hero by Sara A. Noë

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Title: A Fallen Hero
Author: Sara A. Noë
Series: Chronicles of Avilésor: War of the Realms #1
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrators: A.J. Shuck, Mia Hutchinson-Shaw
Length: 18 hours 50 minutes (466 pages)
Producer: Audiobook Empire
Publisher: On the Cobblestone Road LLC Audio | 2022
Audio Release Date: June 24, 2022
Text Release Date: August 7, 2018
Source: Audiobookworm Promotions
Recommended for fans of: The Darkest Minds, The Hunger Games
Content Warnings: child abuse, torture, kidnapping, medical content, violence

SYNOPSIS

Cato is the only true half-human, half-ghost hybrid in existence. He’s powerful and unique with two divine powers instead of one. 

The United States government believes he is the key to developing a devastating weapon that will give humankind an advantage when war inevitably erupts between the Human Realm and Avilésor, the Ghost Realm. 

After being an unwilling test subject in Project Alpha for two years, Cato and the rest of his “lab-family” survive a transport accident to find themselves stranded and powerless in the middle of the wilderness. Hunted every step of the way by ghostly Shadow Guards with supernatural abilities and human Agents desperate to recapture their prisoners, the eight young fugitives are drawn to Cato’s hometown where the Rip between Realms connects the worlds. 

Cato wants nothing to do with his past, but as his enemies close in, he realizes he’s willing to do anything to protect his lab-family . . .

. . . even kidnap the daughter of a ghost hunter and make a dangerous deal to become a mercenary.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara A. Noë is an award-winning author, artist, and photographer. She has had poetry, short fiction, and memoir works featured in various anthologies and journals since 2005, and her poetry is now available in the Indiana Poetry Archives. Notable art achievements include her photograph “Aftermath” published on the cover of Voices Literary Journal in 2018, photograph “Spiraling” awarded Best Still Life in a 2019 juried gallery exhibit, and charcoal artwork “The Raven” displayed in the Uptown Arts District of Michigan City, Indiana. A Fallen Hero, the first novel in the Chronicles of Avilésor: War of the Realms series, was published in 2018 and has been critically acclaimed by NAM Editorial, The Prairies Book Review, Literary Titan, and Chronicle Focus Editorial, among others. The novel made book reviewer Lauren Gantt’s list of Top 10 Favorite Books of 2019 and won the Literary Titan Gold Book Award in 2020. The series sequel, Phantom’s Mask, was released in July 2020 and won the Literary Titan Gold Book Award less than two months after its release. As an artist, Sara creates her own covers and graphics. She lives in a little cottage with her calico cat, Calypso, who has a fondness for chewing pens and being as loud and sassy as possible.

Website

ABOUT THE NARRATOR

A.J. Shuck is an Audiobook Narrator and Producer with 3 years of experience in Audiobooks and more than a decade of experience in stage acting and musical theatre. He fell in love with performing at the age of 13 when he premiered as Nerd #3 in a local production of High School Musical. He has a passion for books and reading especially YA Fiction and Mysteries. He believes strongly that the right words at the right time can change the world, certainly, they’ve changed his world. He is a proud member of the APA (Audio Publishers Association). He currently lives in Oklahoma City with the love of his life and their 3 beautiful daughters who have him wrapped around their little fingers.

Website

ABOUT THE NARRATOR

Mia Hutchinson-Shaw is an actor and narrator based in NYC. Mia creates soulful, saucy, and lovable characters with her arsenal of accents and flare for the fun. Mia comes to narration with her background in classical and period-drama theater Off Broadway and Regional Stages. She trained in the UK at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, BA Acting with Honors (UK Equivalent to BFA) and was raised between Massachusetts and Montana. When not working as an actor, Mia is thrifting for her next outrageous, colorful clothing item, getting on her soap box about low-waste living, or hunting handmade jewelers for a new item for her collection of giant earrings. Her favorite is a pair of hot pink Galahs (a bird from Australia).

Website

ABOUT THE PRODUCER

At Audiobook Empire, audio reigns supreme, narrators are hailed as heroes, and headphones are worn with pride. Marrying pomp and circumstance with quality you can count on, Audiobook Empire is a full-service production house that produces and promotes audiobooks with gusto. Give your audiobook the imperial treatment by producing it with Audiobook Empire.

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AUDIO EXCERPT

MY THOUGHTS

A Fallen Hero follows a group of runaway “ghosts” who escape from a top-secret government project, where they were abused, experimented on, and made into weapons for a supernatural war. This paranormal fantasy has strong dystopian and survival vibes, making it perfect for fans of The Darkest Minds.

The world building is very unique. In this series, ghost is actually a misnomer for living paranormal beings who possess ghostlike powers, such as intangibility and ectoplasm, as well as unique, individual abilities.

The story focuses on Cato, a half-human, half-ghost hybrid and member of the Project Alpha fugitives. When their fight to survive brings them back to Cato’s hometown, he struggles to turn his back on his past in favor of his new found family. The broader conflict includes a lot of major players: the runaways, the government, human colonies, ghost hunters, and leaders from the Ghost Realm. Sometimes the story felt a bit too sprawling, and the finer details could have been more fleshed out.

While the story is an action-packed tale of and supernatural conflict, it was surprisingly emotional. The members of Project Alpha went through unspeakable horrors when they were treated as lab rats, and they all struggle with emotional scars as they learn to survive in a new environment, preserving their newfound freedom by whatever means necessary.

The story ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and there are so many threads I’m excited to see come together in book 2. The audiobook production was great, and I recommend that format!

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Audiobook Empire. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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Review: The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆.5
Title: The Inheritance Games
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Inheritance Games #1
Genre: Mystery
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Christie Moreau
Length: 11 hours (376 pages)
Publisher: Hachette Audio; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Source: Library
Recommended for fans of: A Good Girl’s Guide to Morder
Content Warnings: death, domestic abuse, toxic relationship, gun violence, death of parent, alcohol

SYNOPSIS

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.

MY THOUGHTS

What a fun and intriguing mystery! The characters were clever, and I loved all the puzzles and riddles even if I couldn’t always put all the pieces together. This is the kind of book where I could never quite predict where the story was going, but I enjoyed being along for the ride and watching the mystery unfold.

My only complaint is the dang love triangle! …between two brothers… and Avery wasn’t even the first girl they were both interested in. *sigh* I also struggled to tell the brothers apart, but that may have been a result of listening to the audiobook.

The ending was a very satisfying conclusion to this story while also serving as a great set up for book 2, introducing new twists and mysteries to solve. I can’t wait to continue this series!

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