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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