In an effort to cut down on posts and burnout, my Review Roundups will feature 2-4 books I’ve read or listened to recently. Sometimes they’re newer releases and sometimes they’re all backlist titles. My ARC reviews usually get the solo treatment. Enjoy the mini reviews!
The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Inheritance Games #2
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Penguin on September 7, 2021
Also by this author: The Fixer, The Long Game, Little White Lies, The Lovely and the Lost, Deadly Little Scandals , The Inheritance Games , The Final Gambit
Format: Hardcover (368 pages) • Source: Purchased
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Intrigue, riches, and romance abound in this thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Inheritance Games perfect for fans of Karen McManus and Holly Jackson.
The Inheritance Games ended with a bombshell, and now heiress Avery Grambs has to pick up the pieces and find the man who might hold the answers to all of her questions - including why Tobias Hawthorne left his entire fortune to Avery, a virtual stranger, rather than to his own daughters or grandsons.
Thanks to a DNA test, Avery knows that she's not a Hawthorne by blood, but clues pile up hinting at a deeper connection to the family than she had ever imagined. As the mystery grows and the plot thickens, Grayson and Jameson, the enigmatic and magnetic Hawthorne grandsons, continue to pull Avery in different directions. And there are threats lurking around every corner, as adversaries emerge who will stop at nothing to see Avery out of the picture - by any means necessary.
With nonstop action, aspirational jet-setting, family intrigue, swoonworthy romance, and billions of dollars hanging in the balance, The Hawthorne Legacy will thrill Jennifer Lynn Barnes fans and new readers alike.
I was super excited to start this book right away when it was released. I am very particular about what books I buy so it was a big deal to head to B&N on release day and snag this one. For whatever reason, I put it aside on and off over the course of multiple months. I think it’s primarily because I was doing a ton of reading in bed and therefore needed my Kindle with a backlight. As it got closer to the end of the year, I knew I had to crank through and finish it off to reach my reading challenge. Every time I sat down to read this book, I wondered how it was possible I kept putting it down and not reading it for weeks! The short chapters and overall plot make this book super addicting and hard to stop reading once you start.
This book picks up soonafter the first, THE INHERITANCE GAMES, ends. Avery has inherited a multi-billion dollar empire, mansion, and all of the family drama that comes along with it, out of the blue. She didn’t know the billionaire who left it for her but quickly finds out how much he loved puzzles and riddles. His will and mansion are full of them. With the help of his grandsons (primarily Grayson and Jameson), they try to figure out why she was chosen to inherit everything and what her connected to the Hawthorne family is.
I don’t want to spoil much of anything so I won’t dive into the details, but this story has a lot of twists and questions. It zigs and zags and then zigs back again in places you don’t expect. The story actually ends in a reasonable place (not really a cliffhanger) so it’s a pleasant surprise to know there’s a third book coming next year!
If I had to complain about anything, I’d say that there are too many characters. I had completely forgotten who everyone was since it was a while since I read book one, AND it took me forever to read book two. I understand why there are multiple family trees and countless characters to track, but it can make for a challenging reading experience sometimes.
Overall, this series is so much fun! I wish I just sat down and blazed through this one in a day because it’s definitely a book you can do that with. The wait until August for book three will be a killer, but I’m pumped to see where everyone/everything lands.
You'll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Penguin Random House on November 30, 2021
Also by this author: One of Us is Lying, Two Can Keep a Secret, One of Us Is Next, The Cousins, Nothing More to Tell, One of Us Is Back
Format: Hardcover (336 pages) • Source: Library
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Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close. Now all they have in common is Carlton High and the beginning of a very bad day.
Type A Ivy lost a student council election to the class clown, and now she has to face the school, humiliated. Heartthrob Mateo is burned out--he's been working two jobs since his family's business failed. And outsider Cal just got stood up.... again.
So when Cal pulls into campus late for class and runs into Ivy and Mateo, it seems like the perfect opportunity to turn a bad day around. They'll ditch and go into the city. Just the three of them, like old times. Except they've barely left the parking lot before they run out of things to say...
Until they spot another Carlton High student skipping school--and follow him to the scene of his own murder. In one chance move, their day turns from dull to deadly. And it's about to get worse.
It turns out Ivy, Mateo, and Cal still have some things in common. They all have a connection to the dead kid. And they're all hiding something.
Now they're all wondering--could it be that their chance reconnection wasn't by chance after all?
From the author of One of Us Is Lying comes a brand-new pulse-pounding thriller. It's Ferris Bueller's Day Off with murder when three old friends relive an epic ditch day, and it goes horribly--and fatally--wrong.
Karen M. McManus became an auto-read author for me just after her first book. I’m always looking for good YA mystery/thriller authors and ONE OF US IS LYING was a quick favorite. I’ve read each of her books as soon as they release and YOU’LL BE THE DEATH OF ME is no exception.
I think this one falls in the bottom half (if not my least favorite?). I liked the overall premise of three friends (Ivy, Mateo, and Cal) coming back together to “recreate” their Best Day Ever from middle school. They grew apart over the years otherwise and all decide to take a day off from school and head to Boston. When they witness a fellow classmate get murdered in the city, they spend the rest of the day trying to figure out who did it and why… and avoid any speculation that one of us did it.
I didn’t realize this would take place during one day but I liked it. There was a good sense of urgency as they raced through the end of the day and tried to figure out what happened before their parents got home and/or figured out what was going on.
The whodunnit part intrigued me and surprised me (the ending was also a surprise that is somewhat, kind of, maybe a cliffhanger for something to happen in the future?). While I liked this one enough to keep the pages turning and want to see how it would all end, I just didn’t feel any oomph from it. It didn’t excite me like her other books have, despite it being a good enough page-turner. All in all, worth reading if you like her books, but not my favorite!