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Book Review: The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Book Review: The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Inheritance Games #1
Genre: Mystery
Release Date: 3rd September 2020
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

She came from nothing.
Avery has a plan: keep her head down, work hard for a better future.
Then an eccentric billionaire dies, leaving her almost his entire fortune. And no one, least of all Avery, knows why.

They had everything.
Now she must move into the mansion she's inherited.
It's filled with secrets and codes, and the old man's surviving relatives -
a family hell-bent on discovering why Avery got 'their' money.

Now there's only one rule: winner takes all.
Soon she is caught in a deadly game that everyone in this strange family is playing.
But just how far will they go to keep their fortune?

I’ve missed Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ writing. We got off to a rocky start with her paranormal books, but as soon as she switched to writing mystery and thriller books I knew that she was going to be an author that I love.

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Book Review: Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

Book Review: Harrow Lake by Kat EllisHarrow Lake by Kat Ellis
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 9th July 2020
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker - she thinks nothing can scare her.

But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she's swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she's never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father's most iconic horror movie was shot.

The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map - and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.

And there's someone - or something - stalking her every move.

The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola's got secrets of her own. And if she can't find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her.

First of all, look at that cover. Is that not the creepiest thing to look at late at night?? I’m glad I read this on my Kindle to be honest. I’ve been trying to read more horror books lately, and so when I saw that Harrow Lake was up on NetGalley I swept it up.

I have to say, the atmosphere of this book is on point. It’s suuuuuper creepy for the first two thirds when you have no idea what’s going on. Lola, the main character, goes to stay in a small town with a grandmother that she barely knows, and is surrounded by rumours of her vanished mother. It’s CREEPY. There are creepy puppets and shadows and noises. I had to stop reading it late into the night because some parts were giving me chills. Kat Ellis pulled the atmosphere off perfectly.

As for the plot, I would say it’s pretty standard for a YA horror. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I definitely did, but it’s not something that I will rave about and I wouldn’t say that the twist(s) were anything spectacular. I was’t necessarily reading this horror book for the twists though, because what I really wanted was to be creeped out and on the edge of my seat because of FEAR.

I did feel a bit disconnected from Lola, especially because she seemed to hate everyone that she came into contact with. While this made sense for her character (and be patient if you don’t necessarily get it in the beginning) it made it quite hard for me to fall in love with the story and her journey.

I think if you’re into classic horror movies then you’ll really enjoy Harrow Lake for the chilling atmosphere and the sleepless nights!

Review: The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Review: The Fountains of Silence by Ruta SepetysThe Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
Genre: Historical
Release Date: 1st October 2019
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother's birth through the lens of his camera. Photography--and fate--introduce him to Ana, whose family's interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War--as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel's photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history's darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence--inspired by the true post-war struggles of Spain.

I am a massive fan of Sepetys’ work, and I have been ever since I read Between Shades of Gray when it first came out. I find her writing to be very emotional, so it was a shame when The Fountains of Silence managed to drag on for me and didn’t evoke many emotions at all.

My main issue with The Fountains of Silence was that it was far too long. At 140 small chapters, the plot both dragged and jumped around from person to person, and I found myself extremely bored in the middle and completely disconnected. I was often just getting used to one point of view before the book switched to someone else’s, and so I had a hard time getting attached to any of the characters. I also found the romance to be really unbelievable, but I’ve also been told that I’m too cynical so who knows? Although I’d like to point out that it wasn’t the YA romance that I had a problem with.

I normally adore Sepety’s writing style, but unfortunately The Fountains of Silence was rather bland. I have found that I tend to connect to her WW2 fiction more than her other work.

Having said all of that, I have given The Fountains of Silence three stars because I did really enjoy learning more about post-WW2 Spain. This isn’t a topic that was covered in school here in the UK (at least in my area), and I honestly had no idea that Spain was under fascist rule for so long after the Second World War ended. It’s definitely opened my eyes and it’s now a topic that I’d like to look into more. I had the same experience with Don’t Date Rosa Santos and Cuba, as Cuba vs. the US is another topic that isn’t covered by the curriculum here. It’s always nice when there are gaps in my knowledge to fill (lol).

I would recommend checking this book out if you’re an avid fan of Sepetys, just so you don’t miss out on anything. As I said above, it’s also a good read if you want an introduction to post-war Spain and the issues there. If this is your first Sepetys book, please don’t be put off by it, as her other books are so. much. better.

All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth

All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth KlehfothAll These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 12th July 2018
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Charlie Calloway has a life most people would kill for - a tight-knit family, a loyal set of friends, and top grades a privileged boarding school. But Charlie's never been interested in what most people want. Like all Calloways, she's been taught that she's different, special - better. So when her school's super-exclusive secret society extends a mysterious invitation, Charlie's determination to get in is matched only by her conviction that she belongs there.

But their secrets go deeper than she knows.

Charlie finds herself thrust into the centre of a decades-old mystery - one that implicates her family in not one terrible crime, but two. Uncovering their past may destroy everything she knows - or give her the answer she's always craved: Who or what was behind her mother's disappearance ten years ago? 

All These Beautiful Strangers was a lot more thrilling than I was expecting! For a YA thriller, it reads fairly mature, and I would say that there’s a good amount of crossover for the target audience. The story alternates between the present day (told from the teenage Charlie’s point of view) and the past (told from her parents’ points of view). This was a really good move from the author, because it gave us a lot of backstory which added to the mystery, rather than having Charlie discover everything and tell us about it herself.

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One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManusOne Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 30th May 2017
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

One of Us is Lying is a fast paced thriller that is perfect for your holiday reading! It completely hooked me, and I read it in two sittings (I was forced to take a break, meh) because I just couldn’t wait to find out what had happened to Simon. I was pleasantly surprised by the ending as well, which always makes for a good thriller.

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