Review: The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games #1)

Title: The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games #1)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Publisher: Little Brown, Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads 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 conwoman, 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.


Avery Grambs has plans to finish high school and get a scholarship. However, everything changes when the billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves his entire fortune to Avery. Avery has never heard of Tobias and she doesn’t know why he disinherited his two daughters and four grandsons for a stranger. Avery and Libby, her older sister and guardian, have to travel to Texas to claim her inheritance, but the catch is that she must live on his estate for a year with his family before the estate officially belongs to her. Tobias loved puzzles so the entire estate is filled with puzzles, including the answers to why he left everything to Avery. With the help of his four grandsons, Avery has to explore this new world of wealth and danger to figure out why she was named heir. 

I had a feeling I would like this story but I had no idea I would become so hooked on it. As soon as I finished this book, I ordered the rest of the series. This story was intriguing, with Avery’s seemingly random turn of fortune, but it was also suspenseful. Avery’s life was in danger since everyone around her could be out to get her for her money. Plus there were lots of fun riddles and puzzles throughout the story. 

The Inheritance Games is such a great story! I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

Content warnings: death of parent, mentions of suicide, domestic violence, death of teen, attempted murder

What to read next:

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

Other books in the series:

  • The Hawthorne Legacy
  • The Final Gambit

Have you read The Inheritance Games? What did you think of it?


Review: The Lake House

Title: The Lake House
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Horror
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 25, 2023
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Claire’s grown up triple-checking locks. Counting her steps. Second-guessing every decision. It’s just how she’s wired – her worst-case scenarios never actually come true.

Until she arrives at an off-the-grid summer camp to find a blackened, burned husk instead of a lodge – and no survivors, except her and two other late arrivals: Reyva and Mariana.

When the three girls find a dead body in the woods, they realize none of this is an accident. Someone, something, is hunting them. Something that hides in the shadows. Something that refuses to let them leave.


Happy Pub Day to The Lake House!

Claire, Reyva, and Mariana arrive on a remote lake for a summer camp that their parents went to when they were kids. Their parents all decided to send them now since the camp is reopening after being closed for years. However, when they get to the camp, the house has burned down. Then they find a dead body in the woods. It’s too late for them to return to the mainland because the boat that dropped them off has left. The three girls must conquer their fears to survive the mysterious dangers of the lake house. 

I don’t usually like survival stories like this one, but I was intrigued by the premise of this story. I really enjoyed it! The three girls had to figure out how to survive on the island with only the things they had brought for camp, but they also encountered other challenges throughout the story. There were a lot of unpredictable twists that kept the story suspenseful. There was a bit of a supernatural twist to the end of the story too that surprised me, but it all came together in the end. 

The Lake House is a suspenseful new YA story!

Thank you HCC Frenzy for providing a digital copy of this book. 

Content warnings: panic attacks, death, suicide, anxiety, broken bones, fire, gunshot death

What to read next:

Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky

Have you read The Lake House? What did you think of it?

Review: I Love My City

Title: I Love My City
Author: France Desmarais, Richard Adam, Yves Dumont
Genre: Children’s, Nonfiction
Publisher: Pajama Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: March 28, 2023
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

The Big Book of Civil Engineering for Curious Kids 56 pages packed with information about

·       How cities developed around the world

·       The people who make cities their home

·       Architecture and culture

·       How urban planners organize a city and its services

·       The role of City Hall

·       Systems for water, waste, and energy

·       And innovations for an eco-friendly urban future  

In the spirit of David Macaulay’s The Way Things Work , I Love My City is a treasure trove of information for middle-grade readers who want to know the how and why of cities. Why did cities start appearing in the first place, or become what we know today? How do urban planners know where to place fire stations, schools, and parks? What’s a water tower, and how does it fill the pipes of thousands of people? How about roads and highways, communications and energy, water treatment and waste? The answers to these questions and more can be found in this richly illustrated, global guide to everything urban.


This nonfiction book is about cities around the world. It talks about the history of cities from when they first developed thousands of years ago, as well as how they function today. 

This book is probably best for older children, aged 9 to 12. Older adults could definitely learn from it too. I definitely learned some new things, such as how water is purified before being sent out as drinking water. I loved the illustrations, which included real places around the world and people from all ages and races. 

I Love My City is a fascinating book about cities. 

Thank you Pajama Press for sending me a copy of this book!

What to read next:

When Elephants Listen with Their Feet by Emmanuelle Grundmann, Clémence Dupont

Have you read Doctor Who: Origins? What did you think of it?

Review: Going Dark

Title: Going Dark
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: Union Square and Co.
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: January 31, 2023
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

In this ripped-from-the-headlines Gone Girl meets A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder , #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz weaves a white-knuckle YA thriller about a beautiful young influencer who vanishes after going on vacation with her boyfriend.


The Influencer
Amelia Ashley shares everything with her followers – her favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants, her best fashion tips, and her European trip-of-a-lifetime with her hot boyfriend.

The Boyfriend
Josh has no choice but to return home without Amelia after she abandons him in Rome. He has no clue where she went or how her blood got in his suitcase. Why won’t anyone believe him?

The Hacker
To Harper Delgado, Amelia Ashley is just another missing white girl whipping up a media frenzy. But with each digital knot she untangles about the influencer, Harper who is Amelia Ashley?

The Other Girl
Two years ago, another girl went missing, one who never made headlines or had a trending hashtag.

The Truth
Amelia’s disappearance has captured the world’s attention. What comes next? Watch this space…

Told through a mixture of social media posts, diary entries, and firsthand accounts,  Going Dark  is a gripping, suspenseful thriller about all the missing girls who fall off the radar, perfect for true crime fans and readers of  One of Us is Lying  by Karen M. McManus.


Amelia Ashley is an influencer who has just gone on a trip to Rome with her boyfriend, Josh Reuter. However, before they board the plane to come home to San Diego, Amelia abandons him, leaving Josh to fly home alone. He assumes that she will make her way home by herself, but when she doesn’t make any contact with him, he starts to worry. It doesn’t help that her blood was found in his suitcase. Since Amelia was an influencer, her fans start the hashtag #WhereIsAmeliaAshley, spreading the word that she has gone missing. Harper Delgado is a hacker who joins in on the search, by digging into Amelia’s and Josh’s pasts. Josh struggles to maintain his innocence, while everyone else wants to find Amelia. 

This was such a wild and intense thriller! I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading. Though the story appears to be like another famous story of a girl not returning from a trip with her boyfriend, something else is actually going on. This story explored the idea of what missing girls and women are actually covered in the media. Amelia was a beautiful, white, blonde influencer, so her disappearance was taken seriously, while there was another girl who was Asian, who didn’t garner the same interest. I find it so disturbing that this happens. A girl or woman’s appearance shouldn’t determine if their life is worth saving or if she is worth finding. This story didn’t end the way I expected, but I really loved it. I would love to hear what happens next!

Going Dark is a suspenseful thriller!

Thank you Union Square and Co. for sending me a copy!

Content warnings: domestic violence (suggested), run away child, bipolar disorder

What to read next:

The Headmaster’s List by Melissa de la Cruz

Have you read Going Dark? What did you think of it?

Review: One Night with the Duke (Belmore Square #1)

Title: One Night with the Duke (Belmore Square #1)
Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Forever
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 18, 2023
Rating: ★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

A #1 New York Times bestselling author delivers a sexy and scandalous Regency romance about an adventurous woman and the mysterious son of a Duke who finds his way into her life—perfect for Bridgerton fans.

Eliza Melrose has always cherished her independence. And when she and her family lived in the countryside, it was easy to slip out for a midnight ride, write articles for her father’s newspaper, and otherwise do as she pleased. But now that they’ve moved to the heart of fashionable London, her every move is scrutinized and judged. Worse yet, her father wants her to wed and take her proper place in society.

But Eliza wants nothing to do with marriage. And when the new Duke of Chester moves into his family’s long-abandoned home across the square, her journalistic instincts immediately kick in. Are the rumors true—did he really kill his family? Is he as rakish as everyone says? The more Eliza finds out, the more she wants to know. Because the duke is a fascinating study of contradictions—reclusive and arrogant, fiercely protective and deeply passionate. But those who dance too close to the fire often get burned. And as the undeniable flame between them ignites, the only question is: Who’s holding the match?


Eliza Melrose wants her independence, but she won’t be allowed to have it. She has published articles under her brother’s name in her father’s famous newspaper. Now that her family has moved to London, she has been betrothed to the unfriendly son of her father’s business partner. When the mysterious Duke of Chester moves back into town after being blamed of murder of his entire family, Eliza is intrigued. She investigates the Duke, which leads her closer to the man she must stay away from. 

I couldn’t connect with this novel. I liked Eliza, and she seemed like a great character. I didn’t like the side characters around her. They all seemed to blend together. I also didn’t understand why everyone, including Eliza, liked the Duke because he was attractive, yet he was also a murderer who they ostracized from their community. He didn’t seem to have any redeeming qualities. The explanation at the end of the story of the Duke’s family’s supposed murders was a little too far-fetched for me to believe. 

Unfortunately this book didn’t work for me. 

Thank you Forever for sending me a copy!

Content warnings: death of parents, murder, house fire, alcohol abuse

Have you read One Night with the Duke? What did you think of it?

Review: Iron Widow (Iron Widow #1)

Title: Iron Widow (Iron Widow #1)
Author: Xiran Jay Zhao
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Penguin Teen
Source: Tandem Collective
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 21, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain. 

When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​ 

To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.


Eighteen-year-old Zetian volunteers to be a concubine-pilot to avenge her sister’s death. Females act as concubine-pilots to assist the male pilots in controlling giant transforming robots as they battle aliens. When Zetian kills the pilot who killed her sister easily, she’s given the title of Iron Widow. She’s paired up with Li Shimin, an infamous and dangerous pilot. Zetian wants to use her new power as the Iron Widow to figure out why they live in a misogynistic society that is willing to sacrifice women. 

I reread this book with the Tandem Readalong to refresh my memory of it before the sequel comes out. The sequel, Heavenly Tyrant, is scheduled to come out in April 2024. I’m so glad I had the chance to reread this book. It’s such a powerful story about challenging gender stereotypes and norms. Iron Widow ended with a bang that makes me wish the sequel was coming out sooner. I can’t wait to read it next year!

I highly recommend reading Iron Widow if you haven’t yet!

Thank you Tandem Collective and Penguin Random Canada for sending me a copy of this book. 

Content warnings: death of sibling, death of parents, sexual assault (off page), alcohol abuse, physical abuse, torture

What to read next:

The Witch King (The Witch King #1) by H.E. Edgmon

Have you read Iron Widow? What did you think of it?

Review: How to Kill Men and Get Away With It

Title: How to Kill Men and Get Away With It
Author: Katy Brent
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 11, 2023
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Meet Kitty Collins.


He was following me. That guy from the nightclub who wouldn’t leave me alone.

I hadn’t intended to kill him of course. But I wasn’t displeased when I did and, despite the mess I made, I appeared to get away with it.

That’s where my addiction started…

I’ve got a taste for revenge and quite frankly, I’m killing it.

A deliciously dark, hilariously twisted story about friendship, love, and murder. Fans of My Sister the Serial KillerHow to Kill Your Family and Killing Eve will love this wickedly clever novel!


Kitty Collins is a social media influencer and an heiress to her family’s abattoir. One night after leaving a club with her friends, a guy from the club follows her home. He’s angry that she rejected him, and he dies in a freak accident. Now that Kitty’s had a taste of revenge, she wants to avenge every girl who’s been attacked by a guy. Kitty goes searching for the awful men who target young women on dating apps, but when she takes it too far, she has to be careful that she doesn’t get caught. 

This was such a fun and twisty story. I’m sure almost every woman has had an interaction with a man that made her uncomfortable, or worse. Kitty specifically targeted the men who were preying on women, and she used creative ways of disposing of them. By killing these men, she was saving many women from being attacked by them in the future. She was carrying out justice, though if she got caught, she would be in trouble. Even though she had become a serial killer, I kept hoping that she wouldn’t get caught, because she was really helping all women who could potentially be attacked by these men. 

How to Kill Men and Get Away With It is a funny and suspenseful thriller!

Thank you HarperCollins Canada for providing a digital copy of this book. 

Content warnings: murder, rape (off page and described), assault, animal abuse, animal death, slaughterhouse, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, drug overdose

What to read next:

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Have you read How to Kill Men and Get Away With It? What did you think of it?

Review: The Wicked Ones (Dark Ascension #1)

Title: The Wicked Ones (Dark Ascension #1)
Author: Robin Benway
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Publisher: Disney Press
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: January 10, 2023
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

“Blood is blood…and one way or another, we all bleed.”

Drizella and Anastasia only know one thing for certain: they will never end up like their mother, Lady Tremaine. When their father left them as young girls, he took what was left of their family’s fortune and their mother’s dignity with him. A few years and one deceased stepfather later, the only version of Lady Tremaine that Drizella and Anastasia know is a bitter and cruel head of house. Anastasia and Drizella have promised themselves―and each other―that they’ll be different. They’ll find love, see the world, and never let their hearts go cold.

But both sisters are all too aware of what it can mean when cast into disfavor with their mother, and fueled by Lady Tremaine’s tendencies to pit the daughters against one another, Drizella and Anastasia are locked into a complicated waltz of tenuous sisterhood. On the cusp of the royal debut party―their one chance to impress the Prince and live up to their mother’s expectations―the sisters at last get a glimpse of what life could be like outside of Lady Tremaine’s intentions: Drizella discovering a love of science and Anastasia sparking a secret romance. But never underestimate the power a mother whose greatest talents lie in manipulation, and the sisters may learn that even the cruelest of hearts can spill blood.

This first book in the new Disney Villains Dark Ascension series by National Book Award-winning author Robin Benway explores the complex sibling rivalry between the two wicked stepsisters from Cinderella that turned them into the characters we know today.


Drizella’s and Anastasia’s lives were changed after their father abandoned them. They were left with their cruel mother, Lady Tremaine. Lady Tremaine remarried, but the man brought a stepsister who was idolized by him, so he didn’t have time for the sisters. After their stepfather died, their stepsister, Ella, was forced to do all the chores and cooking. When the Prince’s debut is announced, Lady Tremaine knows this would be the opportunity to find them each good husbands. However, as the sisters venture out of their home, they discover who they are on their own. Drizella wants to learn about science and Anastasia starts a secret romance with a palace groom. This story shows how they went from sweet sisters to wicked stepsisters. 

This was such a great villain origin story. The wicked stepsisters in the Disney movie Cinderella seem like they’re unnecessarily cruel to Cinderella. Though their anger is a little misguided towards her, this story shows how they were abused and tormented by their mother, leading them towards wickedness. This story followed a similar plot as Cinderella, with a ball at the palace at the climax. However, this story takes place before the events of Cinderella. 

The Wicked Ones is a fun Disney villain origin story!

Content warnings: death of parent, parent abandonment, child abuse, captivity

What to read next:

So This Is Love by Elizabeth Lim

Have you read The Wicked Ones? What did you think of it?

Review: Queen Bee

Title: Queen Bee
Author: Amalie Howard
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Joy Revolution
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: April 4, 2023
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

A teen girl seeking retribution against her backstabbing former best friend finds her plans slightly derailed once she catches the eye of a familiar, handsome marquess. Bestselling author Amalie Howard delivers a delightful, anti-historical Regency-era romp that’s Bridgerton meets The Count of Monte Cristo!

Lady Ela Dalvi knows the exact moment her life was forever changed—when her best friend, Poppy, betrayed her without qualm over a boy, the son of a duke. She was sent away in disgrace, her reputation ruined.

Nearly three years later, eighteen-year-old Ela is consumed with bitterness and a desire for . . . revenge. Her enemy is quickly joining the crème de la crème of high society while she withers away in the English countryside.

With an audacious plan to get even, Ela disguises herself as a mysterious heiress and infiltrates London’s elite. But when Ela reunites with the only boy she’s ever loved, she begins to question whether vengeance is still her greatest desire.

In this complicated game of real-life chess, Ela must choose her next move: Finally bring down the queen or capture the king’s heart?


When she was fifteen-years-old, Lady Ela Davis’s life was ruined when her best friend, Poppy, spread a rumour about her. Ela’s father sent her away to a school, away from her friends and the boy she liked: Keston, Duke Ridley. Three years later, Ela returns to high society as the heiress Lyra Whitley. Her plan is to get revenge on Poppy by separating Poppy from her friends and removing her from her place at the top of society, while potentially claiming Duke Ridley for herself. 

Queen Bee is Bridgerton meets The Count of Monte Cristo. I loved the revenge plot. Ela was wrongfully accused of something, which led to her being removed from high society. It always bothers me to see people wrongfully accused of something when you know they didn’t do it. Though this revenge plot could be perceived as bullying, with the way that Ela manipulated things to pin on Poppy, I think Poppy deserved it in the way she was constantly trying to tear other people down to raise her status in society. 

Queen Bee is a fun story of vengeance. 

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book!

Content warnings: death of parent, addiction, bullying, drug addiction

What to read next:

Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

Have you read Queen Bee? What did you think of it?