Review: The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games #2)

Title: The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games #2)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: September 7, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Mystery. Riches. Romance. Betrayal.


Overnight, Avery Grambs went from sleeping in her car to billionaire heiress. Now ensconced in a world of opulence, riddles, danger, and family secrets, Avery is on the hunt for the one person who might hold the answers to all her questions—including why eccentric billionaire Tobias Hawthorne left his entire fortune to Avery, a virtual stranger, rather than to his own daughters and grandsons.

Avery has a DNA test that proves she’s not a Hawthorne by blood, but cryptic clues begin piling up, hinting at a deeper connection to the family. Soon, Avery finds herself pulled into another game just as twisted as the first. As she works her way through puzzle after puzzle, it becomes clear that nothing is what it seems. Grayson and Jameson, two of the enigmatic and magnetic Hawthorne grandsons, continue to pull Avery in different directions, and it’s getting harder to tell who her allies are and who will stop at nothing to see Avery out of the picture—by any means necessary.


Avery Grambs is still looking for answers as to why Tobias Hawthorne named her as his heir instead of his relatives. After a DNA test, the family knows she isn’t related to the Hawthornes by blood, but she is still hunting for some kind of connection. As Avery finds more clues, she’s torn between Grayson and Jameson, Tobias’s two charming grandsons. The threats to Avery’s life and fortune are getting more dangerous with every puzzle she solves on her hunt to find out why she is the Hawthorne heir. 

I absolutely loved The Inheritance Games so I was so excited to read this one right away. I haven’t read a sequel so soon after reading the first book in years! The stakes were raised, with many life threatening situations that made the story suspenseful and thrilling. The relationships between characters became very complicated and a little confusing throughout this second book. Though the connection between Avery and the Hawthorne family seemed to be revealed at the end of the story, I wasn’t satisfied with it. I’m hoping the next book will tie everything together!

The Hawthorne Legacy is a suspenseful sequel!

What to read next:

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Other books in the series:

Have you read The Hawthorne Legacy? What did you think of it?


Review: The Last One to Fall

Title: The Last One to Fall
Author: Gabriella Lepore
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Author
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: May 9, 2023
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Six friends. Five suspects. One murder.

Savana Caruso and Jesse Melo have known each other since they were kids, so when Jesse texts Savana in the middle of the night and asks her to meet him at Cray’s Warehouse, she doesn’t hesitate. But before Savana can find Jesse, she bears witness to a horrifying murder, standing helpless on the ground as a mysterious figure is pushed out of the fourth floor of the warehouse. 

Six teens were there that night, and five of them are now potential suspects. With the police circling, Savana knows what will happen if the wrong person is charged, particularly once she starts getting threatening anonymous text messages.

As she attempts to uncover the truth, Savana learns that everyone is keeping secrets—and someone is willing to do whatever it takes to keep those secrets from coming to light.


Savana and Jesse have been friends and neighbours since they were kids. One night, Jesse texts Savana, asking her to meet at the abandoned Cray’s Warehouse, and she goes without hesitation. However, when she arrives, she sees someone fall out of a high window of the warehouse. Now, Jesse, Savana, and four of their friends are suspects in a murder investigation. Told through the before and after events of the murder, this thriller will keep you guessing until the end. 

I was immediately drawn into this story. It had short chapters which made it a fast read. It started with a bang, with someone being pushed out a window, and the tension didn’t slow. Each of the suspects had motives and secrets, which made it believable that they could be the murderer. Most of them were also unreliable, telling small lies, which made me question if they were telling the truth about that night. The ending was a surprise since I couldn’t figure out who the murderer was, but it made sense with all the clues. 

The Last One to Fall is a thrilling new young adult novel!

Thank you Gabriella Lepore for sending me a physical copy!

Content warnings: murder, extramarital affair, bullying, alcoholism, domestic violence (off page)

What to read next:

This Is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore

Have you read The Last One to Fall? What did you think of it?

Review: Beauty Reborn

Title: Beauty Reborn
Author: Elizabeth Lowham
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: May 9, 2023
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Fantasy and reality collide in this retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” about a young woman’s heroic quest to save herself.

Beauty’s life is the stuff of fairy tales. The youngest in her family, Beauty isn’t trying to catch Stephan’s eye. He is the lord baron’s heir, well above her family’s modest station, but when he kisses her hand at a party, Beauty is swept away by his charm, his wit, and his passionate declarations of love.

Hearts can be untamable creatures, especially when touched by the fires of first love, and Beauty doesn’t see the truth of Stephan’s intentions until it is too late. Until he stops asking for Beauty’s love—and simply takes it from her one night despite her refusal.

Beauty locks away the secret of what happened to her, and when her father emerges from the enchanted forest with a stolen rose in his hand and the tale of a vicious beast on his breath, Beauty seizes the chance to run as far from Stephan as possible.

She has some experience with beasts, after all. Certainly the one in the forest couldn’t be any worse than the one she’s already encountered.

Breaking the Beast’s curse might be the key to discovering her own path to healing—and finding the courage to allow herself to feel reborn.


Beauty is the youngest of the Acton siblings, and doesn’t get along with her much quieter siblings. When she catches the eye of Stephan, the baron’s heir who is much above her family’s class, she’s instantly charmed. However, after she rejects Stephane’s proposal multiple times, he still can’t take no for an answer. Beauty keeps this trauma to herself. One day, her father returns from the woods with a golden rose that he has stolen from a castle but he must return to the beast who lives there to face his punishment. Beauty takes this chance to escape from Stephan for good, and she returns to the beast in her father’s place. Beauty assumes the beast can’t be worse than anything she’s already faced, but breaking his curse could be her chance to heal. 

This was a beautiful retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I liked that it was a little different from other adaptations I’ve read. Beauty’s siblings were nothing like her, and they didn’t really like her because of their differences. She liked to talk and received a proposal before her older sisters. I also liked the way that Beauty’s father supported her decisions. He didn’t know what she experienced, but he listened when she told him how she was feeling. 

Beauty Reborn is a beautiful retelling!

Thank you Shadow Mountain Publishing for sending me a copy of this book. 

Content warnings: death of parent, sexual assault (off page)

What to read next:

Stalking Shadows by Cyla Panin

Have you read Beauty Reborn? What did you think of it?

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: 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: 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: 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?

Review: Wait for Me

Title: Wait for Me
Author: Sara Shepard
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: Union Square Co.
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: November 1, 2022
Rating: ★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Drowning in déjà vu . . .
Who is Casey Rhodes? Is she a no-nonsense realist or a hopeless romantic? A just-getting-by scholarship student or a sometimes-Cinderella dating the cool, cultured heir to a media empire and New York City’s most eligible? At seventeen years old and already in her sophomore year at NYU, Casey sheds disguises effortlessly. It’s how she navigates school and avoids the second-guessing that’s plagued her since she and her boyfriend Marcus got together. 
But then Casey starts hearing voices that terrify her so badly she flees to the remote beach town of Avon where she can sort through her thoughts and reset. But the voices only get more intense and are now accompanied by visions of places she’s never been and people she’s never met, like Jake who’s lived in Avon his whole life. There’s no way Casey could know him, yet she feels an immediate connection. And, crazier still: he feels it too. Together they search for answers, finding only questions—about their connection, Avon, Casey’s memories . . . And whose voice is she hearing inside her head?


Casey Rhodes is a seventeen-year-old sophomore at NYU. After she starts dating New York’s most eligible bachelor and heir to a huge media company, she starts hearing voices in her head. As the voices create flashbacks and memories that Casey doesn’t recognize, she has to get out of the city to figure everything out. She ends up in Avon Shores, where she recognizes everything despite never going there before. She meets Jake, who knows her already, though she doesn’t know where they met before. Jake helps Casey investigate where the voice and strange memories are coming from. 

This story had such an intriguing premise, and I was drawn into the story immediately. It was a very fast paced and easy read. I can’t talk much about the details without giving away the ending. I didn’t know how everything would be wrapped up at the end, and unfortunately I didn’t like the ending. Things that happened to solve the mystery seemed too far-fetched to be believable. If the story had a more realistic and logical explanation I would have enjoyed it so much more. 

Wait for Me is an intense psychological thriller.

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

Content warnings: death of parent, car accident, drowning, kidnapping, murder, amnesia, mental health disorders

What to read next:

Going Dark by Melissa de la Cruz

Have you read Wait for Me? What did you think of it?