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 Review: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

As I finish up the Harry Potter series of reviews, we come to the second last book in the series: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

If you want to read my other reviews on the series, you can find them here:

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Title: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Author: J.K. Rowling
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Page Count: 652

The war against Voldemort is not going well; even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of the Daily Prophet, looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.

And yet . . .

As in all wars, life goes on. The Weasley twins expand their business. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate – and lose a few eyebrows in the process. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, through Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.

So it’s the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Here at Hogwarts, Harry will search for the full and complete story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort – and thereby find what may be his only vulnerability.


Another Story-less book

This is the second book in the Harry Potter series that really doesn’t have a lot to do with the main story. The other is the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Half Blood Prince has more to do with the overall Harry Potter story, with Horcruxes being introduced and Dumbledore dying.

I feel like without most of this book, the story wouldn’t change too much. The same plot points could have been introduced in other books, and at least 75 per cent could have been removed.


Harry is Still Useless

I will always argue that Harry isn’t a good wizard. He doesn’t really excel at much other than flying on a broom.

He isn’t particularly gifted and he needs a lot of help with pretty much everything he does. Without his friends and mentors, Harry would have been dead half way through book one if it wasn’t for his friends helping him.

He has some interesting moments in the series, but more often that not, he defeats his enemies because of some magical abilities or a plot device.


This World Makes no Sense

There is this job in the Harry Potter world called an Auror correct? They are tasked with being the magic police basically, right? Am I wrong in remembering that?

How is it that an entire world’s worth of Aurors and wizards can’t root out Voldemort’s whereabouts and stop him and his allies?

I get they are infiltrated and you can’t really trust a lot of people, but Death Eaters seem to be fairly well-known. Couldn’t they be arrested?

It seems like there is a lot of plot holes in the world that don’t make a lot of sense.

It doesn’t necessarily make the book bad, but when you think about the rest of the world, it doesn’t add up.


Final Thoughts

This is a mediocre book in the series. The only interesting part of the book is the last 10-20 per cent, where Harry and Dumbledore hunt for the locket.

The series reaches its ultimate finale after this book, and though this one is a bit on the boring side, it’s title is even worse. The “Half Blood Prince” ultimately leads to a pointless conclusion that has zero effect on the story.


What were your thoughts on the Half Blood Prince? Let’s talk about it in the comments or on social media!
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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Hello dear readers, I welcome you back to the magical world of Harry Potter.

I have reviewed the previous four books in the series so far, but if you were interested in my review of the Goblet of Fire, you can find it here.

There is a lot of controversy over whether or not I should be even talking about the Harry Potter series. J.K Rowling is a walking, talking ball of controversy.

Despite that, we cannot deny that Harry Potter was a major literary milestone for a lot of readers in my generation, so I do think it deserves the attention at the very least.

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Title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Author: J.K Rowling
Rating: ★★★★☆

There is a door at the end of a silent corridor. And it’s haunting Harry Pottter’s dreams. Why else would he be waking in the middle of the night, screaming in terror?

Harry has a lot on his mind for this, his fifth year at Hogwarts: a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher with a personality like poisoned honey; a big surprise on the Gryffindor Quidditch team; and the looming terror of the Ordinary Wizarding Level exams. But all these things pale next to the growing threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named – a threat that neither the magical government nor the authorities at Hogwarts can stop.

As the grasp of darkness tightens, Harry must discover the true depth and strength of his friends, the importance of boundless loyalty, and the shocking price of unbearable sacrifice.

His fate depends on them all.



Friendship is Important

We all know Harry is basically nothing without his friends. He isn’t the best wizard we have ever seen, but he does have some good friends that are smart, loyal, and dependable.

We get to see some of that loyal friendship in Order of the Phoenix. Harry is trying to gather together an army to fight against Voldemort, and after some convincing, manages to band together a good number of Hogwarts’ students to train them for an inevitable battle against the Dark Lord.

Most of his army is made up of Gryffindor students, but we get some from various houses too.

It’s nice diving a little deeper into the other characters in the Potterverse. We don’t get to go that much deeper, but we venture out from the trio and explore other people.


MAGIC!!!

We finally get to see some magic in this book, and it is my favourite aspect of the book.

Most of the other books, casting spells seems secondary to the rest of the story. Harry even struggles with trying to cast some basic spells in a few books, so seeing more spells in this book is nice.

I wouldn’t say I am thrilled with it, but I am glad casting spells was more of the focus than before.

Most of the spells we see Harry and the DA practicing are spells we learned in the past, which sort of defeats the purpose, but I honestly don’t mind too much because these are spells that we’ve seen before, but we get to see them in a whole new light.


The End is Nigh

Order of the Phoenix is the start of the end of the Harry Potter Series.

The first two books set up the Harry Potter world. The third book gives us a bit of backstory and deepens the world for us. The fourth book is a bit of an odd one. A lot of it is pointless, right until the end when the big bad guy is revived and re-introduced to the world.

Order of the Phoenix makes the threat a lot more real. Voldemort is back and the world knows it.

We don’t get to know the entirety of his plans and we don’t get to see him for too long, but we get to see him at his full strength and the threat it brings.

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Final Thoughts

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is one of the better books in the Harry Potter series.

Like the rest of the series, it deepens our exploration of the Potteverse, but this time we get to see more magic.

Magic is weirdly something I don’t remember seeing often in the Harry Potter world, at least not directly.

It often goes on in the background and we don’t always get an understanding of it.


What did you think of the fifth installment of the Harry Potter Series?

Let’s talk about it in the comments or on social media!
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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 Review – Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

Hello dear readers, I hope you are all doing well. Today I bring you the final book in The Reckoners’ Trilogy. If you haven’t yet, check out my review for the first two books; Steelheart and Firefight.

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When Calamity lit up the sky, the Epics were born. David’s fate has been tied to their villainy ever since that historic night. Steelheart killed his father. Firefight stole his heart. And now Regalia has turned his closest ally into a dangerous enemy.

David knew Prof’s secret, and kept it even when the Reckoners’ leader struggled to control the effects of his Epic powers. But facing Obliteration in Babilar was too much. Prof has now embraced his Epic destiny. He’s disappeared into those murky shadows of menace Epics are infamous for the world over, and everyone knows there’s no turning back. . . . 

But everyone is wrong. Redemption is possible for Epics—Megan proved it. They’re not lost. Not completely. And David is just about crazy enough to face down the most powerful High Epic of all to get his friend back. Or die trying.

Title: Calamity
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Rating: ★★★★.5☆

Buy it here.


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Good Guy Gone Bad

The main storyline in this book has what’s left of the Reckoners fighting against Prof and Calamity (the epic that started it all). Prof has obviously been a good guy since the beginning, but we knew he was hiding something. There was always something mysterious about him, but Calamity finally gives us a chance to explore it more.

I like Prof’s character. I think we get a good glimpse into his descent to the dark side.

This isn’t a trope that I usually come across, but I would argue it is one of my favourite ones, when it is done well.

Sanderson does it well in this case, making Prof go bad over three books instead of just one. His turn makes readers hurt that much more. The turn becomes more painful to his allies and the reader is right alongside them with their anxieties.


Megan and David Romance

Their romance actually seems to have a bit of ground in this book. The last two books seemed like David chasing after Megan like a lost puppy dog, and she was leading him on with a piece of steak tied to a string.

In Calamity, Megan gives David a chance, and we get to explore what the relationship is like, and it actually seems like it might work.

Their romance doesn’t seem out of place. It’s natural, and helps drive the story forward.


More Superpowers

Sanderson does a fantastic job of creating new Epics. Calamity doesn’t shy away from creating new Epics this late in the story, and giving us more depth to some Epics that we already knew about.

We also get the mother of all Epics: Calamity. We learn about Calamity and how the Epics were created. We learn the truth to what creates Epics, and how they can overcome their fears and weaknesses.

I think Sanderson does a great job of exploring this new power system in such a short amount of time.


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Ties in with other works

Sanderson has confirmed that all of his books are related; they’re all a part of the same universe or something. Personally I don’t catch the small moments where the connections are made, but reading people’s thoughts, it is truly magnificent that Sanderson is able to create such a beautiful book universe.


Final Thoughts

I love the Reckoners series, it is a great YA read, and you can finish it really quickly if you’re as hooked as I was into it.

Honestly the only thing that stopped me from giving this book five stars was the David Metaphor storyline. It had its moments, but at times it was annoying and eye-roll inducing.


What did you think of Calamity? If you were in that world, what type of Power would you like to have? Let’s talk about it in the comments, or send me a message on social media!
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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Hello dear readers, we are now more than halfway through the Harry Potter series. Obviously there are seven books in the series, and I am reviewing them once a month in order to eventually get them reviewed and never talk about them again ideally.

Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Author: J.K. Rowling
Rating: ★★★★☆

Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event that’s supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn’t happened for hundreds of years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he’s not normal – even by wizarding standards.

And in his case, different can be deadly.

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Second Best of the Bunch

If you don’t know by now, I do not worship at the shrine that is Harry Potter. I respect their place in society and the effect they have had on people, but they do not resinate with me the same way they do with a lot of other people.

Despite that, GoF is my second favourite book in the series, closely behind The Deathly Hallows.

GoF is the start of the end of the series in my opinion. Prisoner of Azkaban is the book that flips a switch in the series, but GoF is where it all really begins.

The stakes are much higher now that Voldemort is back, and we get a bit of world building with the TriWizard tournament.


Go to School!

What I liked best about GoF was that it felt like we were actually in school more than most of the other books.

I know that each book takes place during the school year, and some things are related to different classes or professors in the school, but GoF seems to take it further.

I would say that Philosopher’s Stone has the most “schooling” in it, but I liked that GoF had Harry struggling to learn spells and struggle with classes while managing the tournament.

A lot of the focus is on the different stages of the Tournament, but Harry can’t do it on his own and needs others to help him.

The actual schooling moments are some of the best parts in the story, and I appreciate Rowling sticking to the idea of a school year.


The Mystery

Each of the books have a lot of mystery to them. Harry and friends always have to solve some mystery in order to defeat the version of Voldemort in that book. They are usually simple mysteries, but allow the reader to learn a bit about the world.

Goblet of Fire does it even better in my opinion. While giving us a bit of information on different magical schools, Rowling manages to give us some mystery revolving around the Tournament.

Each round of the tournament has its own riddles, and the ever growing mystery happening behind the scenes always finds a way to keep the story rolling.


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Final Thoughts

There are minor issues with the book, but overall this was actually a good read. The overall mystery of the book and the background events happening helped me enjoy this book a lot more.


What were your favourite parts of Goblet of Fire? I have to say mine was probably the final round of the tournament and the events after Cedric’s death.

Let’s talk about it in the comments, and make sure to follow me on social media!
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Book Review: Rebel by Marie Lu

Hello dear readers, we have come to the end of an era. We have covered the rest of the Legend series by Marie Lu. If you want to read my reviews of those, you can find them here:
Legend
Prodigy
Champion

This was a series I started many years ago, and I knew I had to pick up this book when I found out it was going to be released.

What did you think of the Legend series? If you haven’t picked it up yet, I definitely recommend it.
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Title: Rebel
Author: Marie Lu
Rating: ★★★★☆

Respect the Legend. Idolize the Prodigy. Celebrate the Champion. But never underestimate the Rebel. 

Eden Wing has been living in his brother’s shadow for years. Even though he’s a top student at his academy in Ross City, Antarctica, and a brilliant inventor, most people know him only as Daniel Wing’s little brother.

A decade ago, Daniel was known as Day, the boy from the streets who led a revolution that saved the Republic of America. But Day is no longer the same young man who was once a national hero. These days he’d rather hide out from the world and leave his past behind. All that matters to him now is keeping Eden safe―even if that also means giving up June, the great love of Daniel’s life.

As the two brothers struggle to accept who they’ve each become since their time in the Republic, a new danger creeps into the distance that’s grown between them. Eden soon finds himself drawn so far into Ross City’s dark side, even his legendary brother can’t save him. At least not on his own . . .

With unmatched suspense and her signature cinematic storytelling, #1 New York Times—bestselling author Marie Lu plunges readers back into the unforgettable world of Legend for a truly grand finale.

Was this book necessary?

We got an ending to the Legend series after the third book; Champion. Whether readers liked it or not, it was an ending. Day might not have remembered a lot of what he had gone through, but that was the way his story came to an end. Eden got an end to bis story, Tess too, and June got the most developed ending of them all.

So was Rebel really needed in the series?

I’d say no, but a lot of sequels aren’t needed.

Rebel added a nice touch to it all. It gave more depth to the story, and I like the ending better than Champion.


Passing the torch

The first three books we got to see Day and June’s perspectives. Two brilliant, super athletic people from different sides of town.

With rebel, we still get Day, but we also get Eden, his younger brother.

I like Eden’s perspective, because it’s no longer Day’s story. He passes the torch to his younger brother, who finds his own story to tell.

Eden’s story is a nice relief from Day, who is quite confident and and capable. Eden is also quite capable, but he’s less confident, more passive than Day.

Plus, he doesn’t see the world as Day does, he sees it from a more scientific perspective, and it’s a nice addition to the story.


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Is it a better ending?

If I had to pick, I would choose Rebel’s ending over Champions. I was more than okay with Champion’s story when it came out, and would have had no issue if that was where the story was over.

But, when I read Rebel, it almost seemed like the intended ending. It made the rest of the world seem incomplete in a way, and without Rebel there would be an incomplete story.

Maybe deep down, I wasn’t happy with Day’s ending, and Rebel gave me one that I felt better about.

I am not sure what it is, but I think that Rebel’s ending makes the story more complete for me.


Was Rebel a nice addition to the story for you, or did you think it was unnecessary? Let’s talk about it in the comments, or shoot me a message on social media.
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