Blog Tour and Book Review: The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title: The Inheritance Games
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 384
Rating: ★★★★☆

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.


A Thrill Ride from the Start

The Inheritance Games puts you in the action right from the start. You don’t have a chance to catch your breath because after a few pages something puts you right in the middle of the drama.

And the ride doesn’t slow down. There is intrigue and deception, red herrings and puzzles thrown at us left and right, there is hardly a chance to slow down.

Barnes jams a fun puzzle solving story into 384 pages, and it fits perfectly. Any less or any more, and the story would seem forced in either direction.

The characters push the plot forward and we never know who we can truly trust, and who is against the protagonist.


Well-Written Characters

The characters development in this book are some of the best I have seen in such a short piece. Too often, characters are either too developed where they become unbelievable, or they are underdeveloped where they are as interesting as a soda cracker.

We get introduced to just over a dozen different characters that are prominent in this story, and the only one we can trust completely is the protagonist.

The characters are often simply written, but that simplicity is explored to its fullest extent.

I wouldn’t say any of the characters are deeply explored, but each of them has an idea or personality that they embody, and Barnes develops them perfectly.

There are a handful of characters we should be able to trust in the story, but Barnes’ writing makes it so that we can’t trust anyone else in the story. This only adds to the tension that the story already had.


A Simple but Effective Mystery

I don’t often read mystery books, but when they are written well, they can be a lot of fun and thrilling.

Barnes’ gives us an escape room type mystery that takes place on the land of an impossibly large mansion.

With almost anything as a possibility in the mansion, The Inheritance Games follows the protagonist and a group of four brothers as they try to get in the mind of their now deceased grandfather.

A mystery doesn’t have to be world ending, or life saving. A mystery can be as simple as finding the answer to the final puzzle your grandfather gave to you.

Barnes takes that simple idea, and expands it into a simple but fun mystery. Her character’s story doesn’t save any lives, but to her, it’s everything. Her world is torn apart, and that means we are invested in what happens to her.


Final Thoughts

The Inheritance Games is fun and fast-paced read. You’ll be hooked by it from the start, and it will take you for a thrill ride right up until the end.

The ending of the book sets up a good sequel, and the reactions from people online point to a lot of excitement around the sequel when it comes out.

Book Tour & Review: Of Myth and Shadow by Matthew S. Cox

Before I begin, I just want to thank Blackthorn Book Tours and Matthew S. Cox for giving me a copy of this book to give an honest review for.

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Title: Of Myth and Shadow
Author: Matthew S. Cox
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Page Count: 1,482
Rating: ★★★★☆

Aegaan is a vast and righteous kingdom, yet darkness gathers in the distant corners of the realm. Elven raids on small towns have inflamed racial tensions with humans, pushing distrust to hatred and the brink of war.

Anrael wanders the woods alone until a chance meeting tempts him to set aside his contempt for those who scorn his half-elven blood.

When Kylie, a naive elf terrified of humans, is thrust among them against her will, she begins to question her mother’s tales of dread.

Having lost everything dear to him, the bandit king Jhelan lives only to seek challenge in battle… until he finds himself willing to die protecting that which he hates the most.

The diabolical mystique of the dark elves cloaks L’an Thal’Sara in protection, but the cruelest lie she tells is to herself.

Thaelwyn, a virtuous knight, sets out to discover the source of the Elves’ aggression, but faces a much greater test within his mind.

Beneath the chaos, minions of the Destroyer search for their promised leader, a child possessing power beyond their years. If the innocent falls to darkness, a kingdom rife with hatred will surely crumble.

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World Building to the Extreme

In my opinion, creating a world so well-written that even just scratching the surface of it can help you explore every inch of it is one of the tests of a great author.

It would be easy for a lot of authors to create a contained world and have the characters’ interactions as the main story driven device.

There’s nothing wrong with that, and there’s nothing wrong with authors who pursue that route. They are still brilliant and I love their works, but my favorite thing about books is the world I can immerse myself in.

Cox creates a beautiful world full of magical creatures. I wouldn’t say it is as well defined as Game of Thrones or similar works, but it doesn’t need to be. In Of Myth and Shadow we only scrape the surface of the realm. We know there are peoples, creatures, and places we have yet to explore, but their effects change the course of the story even when they aren’t present.

Cox has a great ability to write fantastical worlds within the first few pages of his stories, and his characters feel natural. They’re not forced or overly dramatic for the sake of the story.


A Story of Current Events

Telling a fantasy story that touches on current political and social events isn’t easy. The difference in worlds can make it difficult to properly portray the issues we see in our world.

Though it isn’t perfect, I think Cox does a good job about touching on racial issues we are seeing in our world today.

Again it’s not perfect, and you have to make some assumptions to translate it into more “modern” terms, but the fantasy world’s version can teach you some lessons if you are willing to educate yourself.


A Good End

It’s not often that I enjoy the ending of a book. I am too often disappointed or unfulfilled, that I think I have become calloused to the idea of a good ending.

Though it’s not perfect, I think Cox’s ending was just about where I wanted it to be. It wasn’t perfect, but it felt natural. None of the character storylines felt forced, out of place, or unrealistic.

Each ending felt like it was something that would have happened to them, and that is too often missed.

I am glad Cox took the time to know where his character’s stories were going, and giving them the endings that they deserved.


Final Thoughts

I’ve only recently discovered Cox, from a previous review of his book; The Girl Who Found the Sun. I’ve come to like his style of writing and his quick paced storytelling.

Of Myth and Shadow is a great Epic Fantasy novel with a lot of fun characters.

Cox does a great job of writing smart, funny characters, and I really like the young children he writes because they are often too smart for their own good, but at the same time very believable.


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Book Tour and Review: Come Join the Murder by Holly Rae Garcia

Hello dear readers, it feels like it has been a while since we have been in a book tour with Blackthorn Book Tours. I want to thank them for giving me a copy of Come Join the Murder in return for an honest review.

I had to refresh my memory of this book a bit because it has been quite a while since I read it; over two months I think, but once I read a few pages it all came back to me.

Fair warning, if this book does sound like something you are interested in, just be aware that there is an excessive amount of violence and possibly sexual assault, but I can’t remember a specific instance of that. Either way, it is a bit gratuitous.

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Title: Come Join the Murder
Author: Holly Rae Garcia
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Buy it here

Rebecca Crow’s four-year-old son is dead and her husband is missing.

Divers find her husband’s car at the bottom of a canal with their son’s small, lifeless body, inside. The police have no suspects and nothing to go on but a passing mention of a man driving a van. Guilt and grief cloud Rebecca’s thoughts as she stumbles toward her only mission: Revenge.

James Porter knows exactly what happened to them, but he’ll do anything to keep it a secret.

James didn’t plan to kill Rebecca’s son, but he’s not too broken up about it, either. There are more important things for him to worry about. He needs money, and his increasing appetite for murder is catching the attention of a nosy detective.


Repetitive Cycle

This book involves murder, obviously. It is in the title after all. Its the murder that we aren’t expecting that ends up being the best part of this book.

We get to see a murder repeated over and over throughout the book, with different variations each time. We don’t know which one is quite the truth, but they all are to some degree.

I think Garcia does a great job of using the cyclical style storytelling to create a great character development and show their slow descent into madness.


Vigilante Justice

Though Vigilantes are often seen as the bad guy, many people see their actions as a good thing. I am not sure if the protagonist in this book is technically a vigilante, I enjoyed that she wasn’t predictable. She could have fallen into one of many stereotypical female character tropes, but Garcia went with a different route and gave us a strong female character that took actions into her own hands.

The short, quick read is a nice touch to this character development because it makes it seem like we are in the protagonist’s mind. Her life is flashing before her eyes, likely happening so fast she can’t sit and think things through.

She quickly devolves and she becomes an entire new person, and the fast-paced story really accentuates that storytelling.


Surface Level Characters

Other than the protagonist, the characters really didn’t have much depth to them.

There are a few small characters we get for a few scenes, and they are more than forgettable. They add so little to the story that I honestly can’t remember anything about them.

The side characters that we get a bit more of are also forgettable. They are fairly bland, stereotypical, and seemed unnatural. It’s hard to call them that because they likely were suffering from some mental health issues, so they wouldn’t be acting normally, but the characters didn’t feel real to me.


Final Thoughts

Come Join the Murder isn’t a bad book. It’s rather interesting because we get nice character development from the protagonist as they fall from grace into an evil person. It is a trope I don’t come across often enough but it is enjoyable.

The book was just a bit bland, which is why I have it three stars. It’s worth the read, but it’s nothing overly special.


What’s your favourite book that has a protagonist go from good to bad? I like the trope and I am looking for more, so share them in the comments!
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Book Tour and Review: Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall

My dear readers, this is probably the most excited I’ve been about a book in a long time.

I feel like a lot of books I read leave me feeling okay. I’m usually not too upset by them but I’m usually not jumping off the walls in excitement.

Knightmare Arcanist is the exception to that.

It took me no time at all to get through it, and I almost immediately bought the rest of the series, but managed to control myself…for now!.

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Title: Knightmare Archanist
Author: Shami Stovall
Rating: ★★★★.5☆
Buy it here

Magic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.

Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma. 

So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more. 

In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma. 


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A Nice Take on Magic

Magic systems are an important part to telling a story. There are ways to explore a magic system while exploring the world at the same time, but too often an author does it wrong.

They rush in their storytelling and they get caught in one aspect or the other, forgetting to properly develop them at the same time.

Stovall finds a great balance for Knightmare Arcanist. We follow a young character just as they are exploring magic for the first times. As the story develops, so too does our character’s understanding of how magic works.

Stovall’s magic system is a nice change to the normal magic systems I read about. Usually the magic system is along the lines of controlling an element or using their willpower to do something amazing.

We see that in Knightmare Arcanist, but we get a new way of exploring that world.

Instead of just being automatically able to control your genre of magic, it is completely reliant on the type of magical creature you bond with.

It puts a limiter on each character, but allows them to explore themselves on a deeper level.

It adds some well-written character development as the story goes on, which was a lot more than I was expecting for a fast-paced YA novel.


Fun and Fast

I often find myself disappointed with YA novels. They’re too carefree and things happen too quickly.

Characters are too quick to trust, too quick to act, too quick to do. There is never any pause to the story. There’s never any time for the characters to have a moment of doubt.

This is why I can’t give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Though I loved so many aspects of it, it was too fast paced in a few aspects. Some characters were too quick to trust someone, and immediately my mind wandered to imagining what would happen to them if they trusted blindly.

This wasn’t the case for every character, but some key moments were built on an absolute trust that could very easily have caused them to be betrayed.


A Movie Series in the Making?

This might be me being too much of a fan of this book, but I could honestly see this series as a book series or TV show.

I think Stovall does a great job of not only keeping the story focused on one central plot, but also keeping the world open and vague enough that we know we are only scratching the surface.

I haven’t read the rest of the series yet, but trust me I will soon. Thinking back on all the other YA series I have read, this one has been the most enjoyable. It has great character development, which is too often a rare feature in YA, a great magic system, and a cast of characters that remind me of being a kid again.


Final Thoughts

Knightmare Arcanist is an absolute blast to read. It’s short, fast-paced, and is a fantastic pre-cursor to a world I can’t wait to explore more.

I’m not a big YA reader, but I enjoy it now and then. Sometimes it is just a nice break from reading heavy fantasy books all the time.

Knightmare Arcanist is just scratching the surface of Stovall’s world, and I think that the more you continue with this series, the more engrossed in the world you will become.

It is definitely worth the read, and honestly I would be disappointed if you didn’t want to read it.


Book Tour + Review: Crossing in Time by D.L Orton

Hello dear readers, I hope you are doing well on this fine day. Have you ever been so in love, that the love transcends time itself?

Maybe you have, but likely you haven’t time travelled yet which is too bad.

Today’s book was given to me by The Write Reads and D.L Orton in exchange for an honest review.

I’m sure you’ve seen this book floating around a bit lately, and its deserved because this book is a quick and fun read.

If you enjoy this review, make sure to follow my blog and social media so you can get more!
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Title: Crossing in Time
Author: D.L Orton
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Buy it here

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Is This What Romance is Like?

Romance is not my forte. I don’t often read books with romance in them, and when I do they are often the side stories. I find that romance in any storytelling is often forced or the effects of traumatic experiences together, and that’s not real romance in my opinion.

I found that Crossing in Time‘s romance was definitely rushed. The two love interests had some chemistry it seemed, but we only got pieces of it. Days, weeks, or even months would pass by and we just had to assume that a the relationship has no issues.

I don’t like that concept, but it is the way it is written. It seems sloppy to me, but my bigger issue is with the romance when we do get to see it.

It’s forced and seems more lustful than romantic. It just does not come off as a relationship that would actually work in the long run.


The Time Travel Paradox

I hate time travel as a story telling device, but I figured I would give this book a shot anyways. I find it is lazy, there are too many “rules” that people follow, and they almost always break those rules whenever they claim what they are.

Crossing in Time is mostly about building up to time travel and the scientific discovery of how to do that.

I am mostly fine with that, but unfortunately we do get a bit of time travel itself and I didn’t like it. It opens up doors for terrible storytelling that makes little sense and yet things always work out well.

The parts that were before the time travel were good. They were pretty fast paced, and at times graphic, but overall they were good.


Audiobook or eBook?

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I was about a third of the way through Crossing in Time when I got an audiobook version of it, and it was a life saver.

Listening to it was a lot more fun and interesting than I was expecting, and I think that is why I enjoyed this book more than a 1 or 2 star review.

I will give credit to the narrators, they did a good job of really showing the emotions that the characters were feeling. Their voices seemed to perfectly match the idea I had for each of their characters, which I find is hard for audiobooks to do for me. Too often their voices don’t match my idea of them and it takes me some getting used to in the story.


Final Thoughts

Crossing in Time is a fun listen, and an okay read. It is relatively short read, so even if you don’t like parts of it, you can get through it pretty quickly.

I would recommend it if you are a Romance reader. It seems like it might be a good romantic book, with two lovers unable to see each other and tell each other how in love they are, but that isn’t the aspect for me.

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Blog Tour + Review: Catalyst by Tracy Richardson

Hello dear readers, today we have another blog tour with The Write Reads today, so let’s get going.

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Title: Catalyst
Author: Tracy Richardson
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Marcie Horton has a sixth sense. Not in the “I see dead people” way, but . . . well, maybe a little. She feels a sort of knowing about certain things that can’t be explained-an intuition that goes beyond the normal. Then there was that one summer four years ago, when she connected with a long-departed spirit. But nothing that incredible has happened to Marcie since.

This summer, Marcie is spending time working at Angel Mounds, the archaeological dig her mother heads, along with her brother, Eric, and his girlfriend, Renee. The dig is the site of an ancient indigenous civilisation, and things immediately shift into the paranormal when Marcie and her teammates meet Lorraine and Zeke.

The two mysterious dig assistants reveal their abilities to access the Universal Energy Field with their minds – something Marcie knows only vaguely that her brother has also had experience with. Marcie learns how our planet will disintegrate if action is not taken, and she and her team must decide if they are brave enough to help Lorraine and Zeke in their plan to save Mother Earth, her resources, and her history. It looks like the summer just got a lot more interesting.


Following one thread

This book is relatively short, just shy of 300 pages, but I felt like it was difficult to keep myself focused on the main story.

The ideas themselves weren’t particularly bad. I actually found them to be rather interesting, but the execution just wan’t there. I don’t think Richardson did a great job of executing them properly.

I’ll give the book some credit, it throws you right into the story, but once the story got going, there wasn’t much keeping me interested.


Supernatural Environmentalism

I was expecting to read a book about superpowers and maybe some spooky things. I was not expecting a lecture on environmentalism and its harms to the earth.

I support slowing down and eventually stopping climate change, but to me, this book felt a touch preachy about it all.

With the fracking that becomes the main storyline, the science fiction element becomes a lot more prominent, and that’s where the story takes a downward slope.

There was nothing compelling about it, and I found that the longer I read, the more uninterested I was.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that is was a YA book, and I just didn’t connect with it, or maybe it just wasn’t the story for me, but I did not enjoy it much at all.


Final Thoughts

I’m not sure why, but I’ve had a lot of bad luck lately with books I’ve received through tours/NetGalley. I just haven’t really enjoyed any of them. Catalyst was no exception. Though I think it had it’s moments, they were too few, and weren’t very impactful.

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Book Review: Bullets, Teeth & Fists 3

Title: Bullets, Teeth & Fists 3
Author: Jason Beech
Rating: 4 / 5

She’s heavily pregnant. She’s handcuffed to a pipe. The clock is ticking.Belle, the heavily pregnant wife of an important man, is bundled into the back of a car, held against her will, and cuffed to a pipe in an abandoned apartment … and her waters are about to break.Belle is desperate for her baby girl to survive and live a better life than she ever had. All she has to do is get one of her kidnappers onside. All her husband has to do is pay the ransom.Will he?The latest in the Bullets series is here – 20 exciting, violent, and sometimes heartbreaking short stories of noir and pulp fiction. Put your gloves on, it’s bloody round here.

I’ve never read a book with a title quite like this one before, but I got basically what I expected out of it. When you find a book called Bullets, Teeth & Fists, you expect a character struggling and fighting to their absolute last breath…and I wasn’t disappointed.

I was sent this book as a part of a blog tour by Blackthorn Book Tours, and it was my first blog tour with them. I think this is actually the first “horror” book I’ve read through and reviewed, and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.

Bullets, Teeth, & Fists is a collection of short stories, and they aren’t what you expect from your normal horror stories. Some make the hairs on the back of your neck crawl straight up in an instant, while others keep you up at night with a sense of dread hanging over you.

I’m not sure if one story stood out on its own as something amazing, or as one I will remember for a long time, but instead the entire books makes your skin crawl from start to finish, and I mean it in a good way.



There was one aspect of this book that really made me enjoy it though, and that was the lack of answers.

Some stories in the book tell you what you want to hear. You get the ending, whether you want it or not.

Some stories you don’t. You don’t get the ending you wanted, or didn’t want. You get nothing, except you imagination wondering how it all ended.

Each story is very well written. Sometimes there is more detail than you wanted, but you’re never wanting for more.

Each of the characters are well written, even if it is hard to follow them at times.


Some of the stories have characters with the same name, and at first I was confused because I thought it was the same person.

I’m not sure why that decision was made, but in my opinion it wasn’t a good one. It just seemed sort of odd that you would include the same names for characters in the book.

The book itself could have used another round of proofreading. as there were several typos. This took away from the story a bit, but it was still enjoyable as a whole.


I definitely recommend Bullets, Teeth, & Fists 3 to anyone who likes the dark and gritty stories. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

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