Published by Little Brown (9.1.2020)
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery
Format: Audiobook, 376 pages
Length: 10 hours, 45 minutes
Narrator: Christie Moreau
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.
This was good, not great. It was a quick read, and fairly entertaining, but it felt kind of juvenile to me. I feel like there was more focus on drama and romance than the puzzles we were promised. All of the boys felt like the exact same person (with extra jerkness to Grayson, maybe) and I was continuously having issues telling them apart. I was also confused about the love triangle (square??) and the fact that every freakin’ dude in this book seemed like a potential love interest. I hated the almost romance between Avery and Jameson, and Grayson was so insufferable that I have no idea how it was even possible to have a romance with him at all.
Overall, I was very underwhelmed with this one. I love a good mystery, but this didn’t have the drive that a *really* good mystery needs. Everything seemed a bit convoluted and I felt extremely meh about the ‘big reveal’ at the end. The hype for this book is UNREAL, so maybe my expectations were just too high. Baa, baa, black sheep (AGAIN).
Writing style: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5
The Weight of Blood Published by Katherine Tegen (9.6.2022)
Genres: Young Adult, Horror
Format: Audiobook, 416 pages
Length: 10 hours, 55 minutes
Narrator: JD Jackson, Sarah Mollo-Christensen, Joy Nash, Christopher Salazar, Karen Malina White
Author Tiffany D. Jackson ramps up the horror and tackles America’s history and legacy of racism in this YA novel following a biracial teenager as her Georgia high school hosts its first integrated prom.
When Springville residents—at least the ones still alive—are questioned about what happened on prom night, they all have the same explanation... Maddy did it.
An outcast at her small-town Georgia high school, Madison Washington has always been a teasing target for bullies. And she's dealt with it because she has more pressing problems to manage. Until the morning a surprise rainstorm reveals her most closely kept secret: Maddy is biracial. She has been passing for white her entire life at the behest of her fanatical white father, Thomas Washington.
After a viral bullying video pulls back the curtain on Springville High's racist roots, student leaders come up with a plan to change their image: host the school's first integrated prom as a show of unity. The popular white class president convinces her Black superstar quarterback boyfriend to ask Maddy to be his date, leaving Maddy wondering if it's possible to have a normal life.
But some of her classmates aren't done with her just yet. And what they don't know is that Maddy still has another secret... one that will cost them all their lives.
It’s been a super long time since I saw Carrie, so it was about time for a retelling! I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t love it either. This was another case where the hype monster got me. Overall it was pretty meh for me, and I was underwhelmed. I liked that it takes a hard look at racism, although sometimes it felt a little over the top for being set in present times. The tone of it felt like it would fit more in a historical setting. I also thought it was odd that the main character got bullied for being black, but the most popular girl in school was dating a black guy, who was also popular. Seemed a little contradictory.
I feel like there was never any real insight to what was going on in Maddy’s head, which would have made the build up to the inevitable breakdown more believable and relatable. I couldn’t connect to any of the characters at all. The narration was great, though! It had multiple narrators, which I really liked.
Writing style: 3/5
Overall rating: 2.5/5
Nettle and Bone by T. Kingfisher
Published by Tor (4.26.2022)
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Format: Audiobook, 245 pages
Length: 9 hours, 3 minutes
Narrator: Amara Jasper
After years of seeing her sisters suffer at the hands of an abusive prince, Marra—the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter—has finally realized that no one is coming to their rescue. No one, except for Marra herself.
Seeking help from a powerful gravewitch, Marra is offered the tools to kill a prince—if she can complete three impossible tasks. But, as is the way in tales of princes, witches, and daughters, the impossible is only the beginning.
On her quest, Marra is joined by the gravewitch, a reluctant fairy godmother, a strapping former knight, and a chicken possessed by a demon. Together, the five of them intend to be the hand that closes around the throat of the prince and frees Marra's family and their kingdom from its tyrannous ruler at last.
This was my very first T. Kingfisher book! While I did enjoy it, I think my expectations were just too high. The hype for this book is crazy! It took me a while to get into it, but I did really enjoy the last half of the book. It was unique, and I liked that it was kind of a twisted fairytale. I loved Marra’s animated dog of bones, the gravewitch and her demon chicken, and the ragey feminist undertones. I wish I had connected to the characters and story more than I did.
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