Marshmallow reviews The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Marshmallow has already reviewed the first two books of the Inheritance Games trilogy of Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Today she reviews The Final Gambit, the third and final book of the series that was just published at the end of this August.

You might like to check out Marshmallow’s reviews of The Inheritance Games (2020), the first book, and The Hawthorne Legacy (2021), the second book, before you move on with this review.

Marshmallow reviews The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
Marshmallow reviews The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about mystery, family secrets and / or romance, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Around a year ago, Avery Kylie Grambs was left billions of dollars in the will of a very wealthy man named Tobias Hawthorne. Tobias Hawthorne was very fond of riddles, puzzles, games, and pretty much everything that requires investigation and deep thought. Even after he died, this did not change. Post-mortem, Tobias has been vexing Avery and her friends in a series of mysteries and puzzles he left Avery and his family.

Mr. Hawthorne had two daughters and four grandsons (all from his youngest daughter who planned to have the inheritance go to her children). In previous books, it was discovered that Tobias wished Avery and his grandsons to find and bring his supposedly dead son (Toby) back to the Hawthorne family. However, this was complicated significantly by the fact that Avery still did not know why she was chosen to inherit this fortune. Additionally, an invisible enemy seemed to be attacking her from everywhere and also has captured Toby.

In The Hawthorne Legacy, the second book of this trilogy, Avery believed that Toby was her father. However, in the end of that book, we learned that she is not. We also learned that he nonetheless did have a daughter named Eve. In The Final Gambit, we meet Eve. And Avery meeting Eve causes the start of a brand new puzzle set up by Tobias Hawthorne. This time, the stakes are higher. This will be the final countdown and we will finally see whether or not Avery can finalize the transaction of inheritance.

Marshmallow is reading The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
Marshmallow is reading The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

Marshmallow’s Review: The Final Gambit is a fascinating read! And I was very glad that I finally learned why Avery was chosen. (No spoilers!) The book is well written and the mystery is resolved satisfactorily, but you do have to wait till the end.

Overall, the three books make a great trilogy. I do think you would need the first two books to make any sense of this third one. But the books are quite easy to read quickly, because all chapters are very short and the twists and turns the mystery takes make you want to keep reading on.

On a different note, this is definitely written for young adults. There is a lot of romance, and this third book gets a lot more mature in terms of a lot of kissing / making out, and the occurrence of some sexual acts may or may not have been hinted at. I would recommend this book for bunnies 14 and up, and if a bunny is younger than that, then that said bunny’s parents might want to read the book first and decide if it is for them.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 95%.
Marshmallow rates The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 95%.

Marshmallow reviews The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Almost a year ago, Marshmallow reviewed The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, the first of a mystery trilogy about a high school student, Avery Kylie Grambs, who inherits a large sum of money unexpectedly and has to deal with the consequences. This week, Marshmallow has finally read the second book, The Hawthorne Legacy (2021), and shares her thoughts on it here, before diving into the third and final book of the series, which was just published at the end of this past August.

Marshmallow reviews The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
Marshmallow reviews The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about mystery, family secrets, and / or romance, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Avery Kylie Grambs used to live in her car, but after one of the richest men in America (Tobias Hawthorne) left her his fortune, she is now practically America’s richest teenager. However, she legally doesn’t receive the fortune until she lives in the Hawthorne Mansion for a year. Unfortunately, several people would be very happy if she didn’t get the fortune or “expired” before the year ended.

The main question is why Tobias Hawthorne left his fortune to Avery who seems to be completely unrelated to him, when he has two daughters and four grandsons, to whom he left very little. At the end of the first book, The Inheritance Games, Avery had found enough clues to believe that Tobias’ son Toby, who supposedly died in a fire, is still alive and that she had to find him. In this book however, we learn, along with Avery, that the truth is a lot more complicated. To find out why she was left the money, Avery needs to find out who Toby was, what he did, and where he is now. And to do this, she must first learn who she really is. 

Marshmallow is reading The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
Marshmallow is reading The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

Marshmallow’s Review: I found this to be a fascinating book. I really wanted to find out why the money was left to Avery, but apparently we will all need to wait until the next book, The Last Gambit, to find out. Still The Hawthorne Legacy was a fun and exciting read, and I enjoyed it a lot. I really liked all of the twists and turns in the plot. This is one of the best mysteries I’ve read, and I still have no idea why the fortune was left to Avery. I look forward to reading the next book of the series. 

The main character Avery, like many young adult novel characters, struggles with her love life and feelings, which causes issues for her. Relatedly, I felt that The Hawthorne Legacy had much more adult details than the first book in the series. This book, like the School for Good and Evil series, is written for older (teen?) audiences. I would say that this is probably best for 14 and up. And I would suggest that parents of younger bunnies might want to read it first to gauge whether they think the book is suitable for them.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%. 

Marshmallow rates The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 95%.
Marshmallow rates The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 95%.

Caramel reviews The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland

Caramel is a big fan of Tui Sutherland’s Wings of Fire series. After some cajoling, a couple weeks ago, he finally dove into Sutherland’s Menagerie series, cowritten with Kari Sutherland. And he has already read and reviewed the first book (The Menagerie) and the second book (Dragon on Trial). Today he wraps up the series with a review of the third book: Kraken and Lies. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.
Caramel reviews The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.

Sprinkles: So this was book three of the Menagerie series. What did you think?

Caramel: It’s a good book!

S: I thought so too. Actually I liked this third book the most.

C: I didn’t. I think they were all good.

S: Yes, I do, too, but I kind of liked this one most because I thought it was so rich, and the authors tied up all the loose ends really well.

C: I agree. They did tie up a lot of loose ends. We even learned how and why the dragon was framed in Dragon on Trial.

S: You are very close to giving away a little too much Caramel. But yes, the unresolved issues from the earlier books all got cleared away in this one. But it was not only about resolving old issues, was it?

C: No, you are right. There is of course a new problem, a big one. Zoe’s ex-best-friend Jasmine’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sterling, apparently know about the Menagerie and are scheming some evil plot to expose and exploit it.

S: Yes, that is a big existential threat for the Menagerie, right? Nobody is supposed to know about it, and the Sterlings were supposed to have drunk kraken ink and forgotten all they had seen and learned about the Menagerie.

C: Well, Mr. and Mrs. Sterling were supposed to not know about the Menagerie. But apparently Jonathan, Jasmine’s brother, dated Zoe’s sister Ruby, and Ruby told him about it. And then Jonathan tried to steal a jackalope. And a jackalope is kind of like a jackrabbit, but it is not a regular one. Its body looks like a rabbit but it has antlers! But also they are magical creatures, and their milk can cure any illness. And they can imitate human voice and fool humans!

S: Yes, they are cool! But back to Jonathan and Ruby.

C: Oh yes. So they have to break up and Jonathan has to drink the kraken ink to forget everything about her and the Menagerie, but the family all has to drink the kraken ink so they can all forget about Ruby as well. So it is very strange that they now know about the Menagerie. And they are only interested in money so they will want to exploit it. And in the middle of all this, Logan’s mom is still missing and the Sterlings seem to have something to do with it…

Caramel is reading The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.
Caramel is reading The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.

S: Yes, that is correct. I think you described the central conflicts and plot problems of this book well, Caramel. So tell me, were there any new mythical creatures other than the jackalope that showed up?

C: There is Sapphire, a relative of Blue. She is a merperson.

S: Yes we saw merpeople before, though, no?

C: Well, here we see them a lot better because they go on a strike.

S: That is true; that part was very interesting.

C: And then we get to see the kraken a lot more up close.

S: That is true too.

C: And there is a Chinese dragon!

S: Yes! And the Chinese dragon has a pearl, a special pearl that holds its magic powers.

C: Yeah, that is true.

S: Did you know that Marshmallow has read and reviewed a book titled Dragon Pearl? You might actually like the book. It has all kinds of things you like: mythology, dragons, space ships!

C: Yes, that book sounds like just the kind of thing I would like to read. Maybe I will ask her to lend it to me.

S: I think she would be happy to share. But there were other magical mythical creatures in this book, no?

C: Yes, there was a selkie! A seal person!

S: Yes, that was a nice surprise, wasn’t it?

C: Yes, but now you are the one doing all the spoiling, Sprinkles!

S: Okay, okay, I’ll stop. So let us wrap things up then. Overall, did you like the Menagerie books?

C: Yes I liked them a lot. They are very different from the Wings of Fire books, but they are just as funny! And they are really cool, and I still think Squorp, the griffin cub, is the best ever!

S: Yes, I know. Okay, give me three words to describe the books and we are done.

C: Funny. And breath-taking, because I had to hold my breath a lot of the time, trying to see what would happen next.

S: And your third word?

C: Well-written. I thought the story flowed really well and always kept me on my toes.

S: True. I agree with that. So I think it is time to close this chapter of our lives and say good bye to the Menagerie and our friends Logan, Zoe, and Blue. How do you want to end this review Caramel!

C: By saying my usual words: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland and recommends the whole series to all the little bunnies who like magical and mythical creatures.
Caramel enjoyed reading The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland and recommends the whole series to all the little bunnies who like magical and mythical creatures.

Marshmallow reviews Glass Slippers by Leah Cypess

Almost exactly a year ago, Marshmallow reviewed Thornwood by Leah Cypess, a neat retelling of the story of Sleeping Beauty, which started the author’s Sisters Ever After series. Today she reviews the second book in this series, Glass Slippers, which adds some interesting twists to the well-known Cinderella story.

Marshmallow reviews Glass Slippers by Leah Cypess.
Marshmallow reviews Glass Slippers by Leah Cypess.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about sisters, magic, and mystery, or if you enjoy retellings of fairy tales, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Tirza is the youngest stepsister of Queen Ella or Cinderella. After Ella became the queen, she banished her two older and wicked stepsisters to a different country but kept Tirza with her because Tirza was only five when Cinderella went to the famous ball.

Queen Ella is always very kind to Tirza, though it seems very artificial. Nobody else in the castle even tries to act kind; they all mistrust her and are cruel to her. Tirza is used to all this, but then she makes a bad mistake. One day, she finds the famous glass slippers out in Queen Ella’s room, and tries them on. Of course she puts them back where she found them, but this doesn’t matter because the slippers disappear and Tirza becomes the only suspect. Naturally nobody believes her when she says that she didn’t do it. Queen Ella nonetheless tries to continue to be nice to her.

Eventually the evidence against her becomes overwhelming and Tirza has to leave the kingdom. She decides to join her older sisters and plan a way to defeat and overthrow Cinderella. But the truth is much more complicated than it seems. Tirza must find out who is really evil: Cinderella or her real sisters or maybe someone else? Along the way, she must also come face to face with the fact that magic is not as nice as she had believed it to be.

Marshmallow is reading Glass Slippers by Leah Cypess.
Marshmallow is reading Glass Slippers by Leah Cypess.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that Glass Slippers is a very interesting book. Readers of this blog know that I love retellings of fairy tales. But the plot here was so unpredictable! I had no idea that things were going to be so different from the original fairytale. It was also strange to see the fairies and the famous glass slippers of the original story become scarier and actually sort of bad as things evolved. I can’t say more than that because I don’t want to give away too much, but quite a few surprises are on the way for those bunnies who end up reading this book.

I also found it interesting that the characters were all realistic. In fairy tales some people are purely good and you know from the start. And others are really bad and you know from the beginning, too. In Glass Slippers, you don’t know who is good and who is evil until the end. Even so, the ending was quite different than I had expected. 

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates Glass Slippers by Leah Cypess 95%.
Marshmallow rates Glass Slippers by Leah Cypess 95%.