Fantasy, New Adult Romance

My Review: Fourth Wing (The Empyrean #1): by Rebecca Yarros

Publish Date: May 2nd, 2023
Number of Pages: 512 Pages
Publisher: RedTower Books
Genre(s): Fantasy, New Adult Romance

Total Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

A dragon without its rider is a tragedy.
A rider without their dragon is dead.

Rebecca Yarros, “Fourth Wing”

What It’s About:

The official synopsis:

Enter the brutal and elite world of a war college for dragon riders from USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Yarros

Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general—also known as her tough-as-talons mother—has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders.

But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away…because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them.

With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter—like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant.

She’ll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise.

Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom’s protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.

Friends, enemies, lovers. Everyone at Basgiath War College has an agenda—because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die.


I absolutely love it when a book, at least in my opinion, gets as much hype as this one did AND it actually lives up to it all! It may not be the most poetic, or the next literary masterpiece…hell, it may not even be the most original concept to some, BUT there’s no doubt that Fourth Wing will go down as one of the most popular books of the year AT THE VERY LEAST!

I can already sense the Goodreads award being polished for this one!

This had to be the most fun fantasy I’d read in awhile! So many things just worked for this story; all the characters together made a great cast, the vast array of dragons, the forbidden romance, the war college, the four different quadrants people could join for the cause, the bits of history we get of the war….it all just comes together to form such an engaging and addictive story that you won’t be able to put down!

The story revolves around Violet Sorrengail, youngest daughter to General Sorrengail, who’s been raised her whole life to be a Scribe; a historian, a record keeper, librarian, keeper of books and records, etc. She has a chronic illness that made her content to never be a rider like her mother and older siblings, but PLOT TWIST……

Her mom makes her sign up and go for the riders quadrant of the college! and no, that’s not a spoiler…

It’s there where she also meets Xaden Riorson, son of a rebel leader who killed Violet’s older brother, and then his father was executed by Violet’s mother….so yeah, things are about as smooth as the edge of a dagger’s blade on that whole relationship…

This book gave me Eragon meets Divergent meets Hunger Games vibes and it was so much fun overall!

The beginning started off a little slow for me as fantasy books usually do…for some reason I’m just terrible at getting to know the world and the characters, I much prefer when you’re halfway through the story and already familiar with it all. For me, I just thought the book felt very YA, and despite my reading history, I’m just really veering away from YA fantasy as of late. It’s just not doing it for me like it used too. I mean, it’s totally normal for your reading preferences to change over time and as you get older.

BUT, the danger of this war college becomes apparent even in chapter one, and plenty more happens throughout that draws your attention and gets you excited because there are people dying left and right, and they’re not even in the actual war yet!

Once the dragons became a bigger presence in the book, that’s when things became so much more interesting for me! The magic system the author created puts the dragons at the center stage, and is truly a major highlight. It’s definitely one of the most unique concepts of this world by far.

The romance was also a highlight of the book, although that doesn’t really take off until much later than I’m sure a lot of us were hoping…but at least that means no insta-love! Things also got a little spicy, but not as spicy as I personally felt the book was advertised as. “Spicy AF” it was not….but what you got was pretty good I will say! There wasn’t as much as a “Spicy AF” hype term made me think there’d be! Hopefully this means there much more in the next books.

The last chunk of the book………..whoah my gods……so much happens. SO much all at once. Major twists revealed, feelings are shared, and of course there are epic battles in the skies! Your heart will absolutely wrench for some of it too, don’t you worry! You ain’t getting off that easy!

And the final sequence……

Oh look! A picture of me at 1am when I finished the book! I’m fine….everything is fine…


There is nothing more sacred than the Archives. Even temples can be rebuilt, but books cannot be rewritten.

– Rebecca Yarros, “Fourth Wing”


What I Liked:

  1. Dragons! And New Dragon Lore! I loooooove dragons, I never tire of the giant lizards with wings in fantasy books. I mean, they’re the apex predators of any food chain, the top of the pyramid of any mythological creature biome in any fantasy setting. I liked that they had their own set of rules too in this world. Different Colors also meant different personalities and like cats, THEY choose their humans (if they even want to be matched with a human). They’re intelligent and have their own voices and personalities! There’s more to this, but that goes into spoiler territory and I don’t want to do that, but I love that the dragons are so integral to the magic system of this book!
  2. Danger at Every Turn! There’s literally death in chapter 1, and there’s plenty more throughout. You felt the danger that anyone at the college could die, and some really did just as you met them too! It was like Game of Thrones, the stakes just feel so raised and elevated and makes it for a much more exciting book!
  3. Several Twists That Shocked Me! Either I wasn’t paying close enough attention or these really came out of nowhere, but I didn’t see some of these twists the author threw in, and ooooooooooofda did they add so much to the story!!
  4. Forbidden Romance! Like I mentioned earlier, I loved the whole “enemies-to-lovers/forbidden romance” tropes at play here!
  5. I Actually Chuckled At a Few Parts! The author managed to sneak in a few comedic moments, kind of similar to Game of Thrones dark sense of humor, but also with the modern-esque dialogue in a few places too.

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Spicy AF?…..I mean, yeah there was SOME spice to this, but “Spicy AF” seems a bit of an over exaggeration here when it came to advertising this book. Well…maybe it is spicy to someone who’s never ventured over to the sexier side of reading? Honestly I’d rate this book 2.5 peppers on the spice scale. BUT at the same time, it was also a slow-burn romance. Maybe there’ll be more in the later books (which there will be 5 as of right now as confirmed by the author herself in a TikTok video)
  2. Felt Kinda YA at the Beginning…The beginning was just slow for me to get into at first. Luckily that quickly changes once the dragons become more prominent.
  3. The Question of Why Violet Becomes a Rider is Unanswered….part of me wonders why her mother had her switch from being a scribe to a rider last minute, and maybe that was explained in the book and I missed it, but surely this may have a bigger answer to give us from her mother later on?


Overall, Fourth Wing was a book that came with a LOT of expectations and hype, and in my honest opinion, it was all lived up to. Surpassed? Perhaps not. but that’s A-Okay in my book! If the first book in a series starts off this strong, that means we’re in for a WILD RIDE as the plot thickens and everything changes and arcs develop!

I absolutely cannot wait for Iron Flame to come out later this year!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Erotica, Horror, Mystery/Thriller, New Adult Romance

My Review: Does It Hurt?: by H.D. Carlton

Publish Date: July 22nd, 2022
Number of Pages: 430 Pages
Publisher: Independently Published
Genre(s): Dark Romance, New Adult Romance, Mystery/Thriller, Horror

Total Star Rating: 4 Stars

There’s a place in the ocean, so deep, where not a single point of light penetrates through it. And for so long, I’ve been trapped there, unable to breathe. When I met you, you lifted me out of that darkness, and it was the first time I came up for air. You’ve become my oxygen, bella ladra, and I can no longer breathe without you.”

– H.D. Carlton, “Does It Hurt?”


What It’s About:

The official synopsis:

Who am I?

I’ve forgotten the answer to that question long ago. Ever since I ran from that house, so desperate to escape, I left with only the clothes on my back and socks on my feet. After that day, I’ve only ever walked in stolen shoes.

Could I be a girl who is searching for the meaning of life in faceless men? They were all so forgettable. Until he came along. He took me under a waterfall and made me forget my name, and in return, I took his instead.

Enzo Vitale.

An enigmatic man that will only ever love the deep sea. Or rather the predators that inhabit it. Turns out, he’s not so different than the monsters he feeds. He lured me onto his boat like a fish in the ocean, seeking vengeance for my crime. Had I realized his intentions, and that a massive storm would leave us shipwrecked, I would’ve run.

Now, I’m a girl who’s seeking refuge in a decrepit lighthouse with a man who loathes me almost as much as he craves me. He wants to hurt me, but the old caretaker of the abandoned island may have intentions far more sinister.

It’s no longer a question of who I am, but rather, will I survive?


Okay readers, this is my first H.D. Carlton book before I hit up the Cat and Mouse duet which seems to be her most popular work, so I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed at all! In fact, this book is one I’d say is a great bridge into the darker themed romances this author and plenty of others are known for. It definitely had the darker themes, but I’d say it wasn’t too overwhelming for a reader who wasn’t sure and merely wanted to dip their toes into before taking the plunge.

This story is about a young woman named Sawyer Bennett who’s on the run from her dark past. She’s become a chameleon and has resorted to stealing people’s identities in order to move around and stay hidden; the first chapter is her making an impulse decision to board a different plane at the last possible moment out of pure paranoia of word of her being seen getting back to whomever is stalking her or looking for her…

She winds up in Australia and at a bar where she runs into Enzo Vitale, an enigmatic marine biologist who specializes in sharks, and things VERY quickly get hot and heavy between them…until the next morning Sawyer steals his information and gets a new credit card in his name! Dun Duh DUN!!!

Enzo’s a smart guy, and he quickly figures it out, but a confrontation leads to them being stuck out at sea during a storm and then shipwrecked on a small island with a lighthouse and it’s old caretaker…. and I’ll stop there before I reveal any more of the story because I don’t want to spoil too much for you if you actually do wind up grabbing a copy for yourself.


What happened to you does not define you. It only forged a new path that will take you to a different version of yourself. But no one can force you to walk that road; only you can determine who you will be once you get there. It’s your choice who you become, Sawyer.

– H.D. Carlton, “Does It Hurt?”


What I Like:

  1. The Insta-Lust! While I’m not the biggest fan of insta-love, insta-LUST can freakin’ GET IT because sometimes we don’t need a slowburn, spice right away is also a great way to have a story go! The chemistry between Enzo and Sawyer was absolutely sizzling, despite all the other things going on in the story alongside their developing relationship. The spice was phenomenal, and there were some kinks explored too that I won’t talk about, but you can find out about if you do some research! I will say though, BRAVO ENZO!!
  2. The Darker Themes! This was definitely a mystery/suspense/thriller type of story with even a few horror-like elements thrown in too in a few spots, and it made the perfect setting for some of the darker themes explored in this story. Without going too into detail, both main characters have traumatic pasts that come up, and the experience they have being stuck on an island with a strange man is also traumatic, this book is definitely not for the readers who prefer the rom-com, lighter toned stories. It’s as dark and gut wrenching as the ocean during a hurricane, but I’d still say this may be an easier dark romance to get into for someone who’s curious to try it out for the first time.
  3. Sawyer Bennett! She gets MVP for this book for sure. She’s got to be the most adorable identity thief I’ve ever run across. Even though she does a terrible thing to people in order to survive, she’s still incredibly likeable as a character and is extremely hard to not absolutely fall for!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. The Slow Midpoint…Okay, so after about the first 25% of the book, it feels like the plot really slows down. This is when Enzo and Sawyer are stuck on the island and just get their bearings. It’s where their relationship takes centerstage and gets the most attention, and yes there’s spicy scenes. But everything else kind of drags…the mystery of the island, the intentions of the old man named Sylvester, the sounds they hear at night, everything else gets the slowburn treatment…If not for the spice and the assholeness we see of Enzo, I’d probably have been really bored with this book in all honesty.


Overall, I enjoyed this book as my first trek into H.D Carlton’s bookland. I’ve taken notice of how loyal her fanbase seems to be; I mean, people are willing to spend $1000+ on limited printing special editions of her books, that definitely made me curious to see what she’s all about!

I’d say this is an excellent candidate for anyone who’s curious to try out dark romance for the first time but are worried about being overwhelmed with the triggering content. Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely some content in this book that some will definitely not like or be able to handle, so one last time, if you think you’re a reader who is like this….do your research on trigger warnings before opening this book.

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Fantasy, New Adult, New Adult Romance

My Review: These Wicked Truths (These Wicked Lies #2): by Miranda Joy

Publish Date: March 23rd, 2023
Number of Pages: N/A
Publisher: Kindle Edition
Genre(s): Fantasy, New Adult Romance, Reverse Harem

Many thank you’s to the author for an E-ARC copy in exchange for an honest review!


**Warning! My Review Does Contain Spoilers from the Previous Book, so continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!**

To see my review of book 1 – These Wicked Lies – Click HERE

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast of the series so far – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 4.25 Stars

What It’s About:

The official synopsis:

After a single life-altering recollection, Astrid flees Hakran. She wants nothing more than to put space between her and the men who continuously upend her life, even if it means halting the search for her memories and forsaking her friendships.

But when she gets word that Stellaris has been attacked and that Lex and Dash are working together—albeit reluctantly—she decides it’s time to face her faults. Together, the trio embark on a tense journey to Stellaris to discover who is behind the provocation, while simultaneously learning how the incident relates to Astrid’s missing memories and the late Goddess of Deception’s motivations.

Astrid must figure out how to navigate these wicked truths, while torn between her two identities and the two men taking up space in her heart.


If you’re someone who really enjoyed the first book in this series, I’m going to safely assume you’re going to freakin’ LOVE this second book even more!

Miranda Joy had an interesting journey to partake on this sequel, at least in my opinion…I was very curious as to how she was going to keep the story going after what felt like a major conflict was resolved in the ending of TWL with how Astrid/Aife literally slew(?) the head off her (fake) mother’s head! Hats off to her! With Enira’s death, what else was there to keep the story going and keep the audience’s attention?? This book fills you in on those questions if you too had them, and it really encapsulates how much bigger the world the author created truly is. I was worried I wouldn’t like it as much and that there was going to be that sequel slump like there is with so many other books, but *HUGE sigh of relief* that isn’t the case.

The story continues literally right where we left off in the previous book: Enira’s beheaded body is, like, STILL gushing blood it’s so fresh and Astrid/Aife and Lex are having a hot AF tongue lashing competition with each other, much to the spice loving readers’ delight. Aife finally learns the truth of who she is, but unfortunately her memories are still locked away somewhere and definitely is suffering a bit of an identity crisis…she’s hurt from all the lies, but she has to live with the lives she’s hurt too; it’s a lot to come to terms with…

While she’s hiding away in Nevaris, Lex gives her space and Dash rules Hakran and they form a VERYT reluctant alliance in order to help her find her missing memories, BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!! You also learn that Stellaris is under attack and the looming threat of war is literally washing up on its shores. Soon, they are forced to leave and come to aid, but lets just say……….who, or what, they find is not at all what they expect……………..

To be honest, everything just felt very elevated in this book! The sexual tension, the comedy, the characterization and their development, the way the story is told with multiple POV’s, even the stakes of the main conflict were raised; it felt like the author became more comfortable with her craft. Sure the pacing beginning was slower than I cared for, but once this book got going, oh honey did it get going!


What I Liked:

  1. The Why Choose/Reverse Harem Romance! Someone go back in time and slap Bella Swan for being so stupid, because WHY CHOOSE/REVERSE HAREM is the REAL love triangle we all needed back then as much as we do now! Like seriously, why WOULD you choose when there are TWO very eligible men vying for your attention?? The added sexual tension with Dash and Lex sharing Astrid/Aife was a FOR SURE highlight in this book!
  2. The Mental Health Rep! Astrid/Aife’s mental journey was so spectacularly well done and was a great example of showing mental health awareness in literature! As someone who now works in a therapy office where mental health understanding is so important, we loves to see it! Astrid/Aife has a lot going on inside her head, and I thought it was a very organic, natural, and believable way of how her internal journey was portrayed with all this. It’s a part that might be overlooked by some readers, but I think others who’ve had a similar mental struggle will really appreciate this addition to the story! I know I do!
  3. We Got Both More POV’s! I personally love fantasy books that have multiple points-of-views within, so adding Lex and Dash to telling this story I think was a great decision and added a lot more depth to the story. It was nice to see certain things from their perspective and not just Astrid’s this time around. It made both men more well rounded characters with more complexities added to them and thus making them more memorable this time around!
  4. Callan! Callan got way more attention this time around, and he is absolutely EVERYTHING I love in a comedic-relief side character. First, he’s like an all powerful, celestial being and yet he’s like a human golden retriever! And Second, I love the friendship and advice he has with Aife throughout too. I’d marry him in a heartbeat!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. The Slower Pacing at the Beginning…I’m not going to lie, the beginning was slower than I was hoping for and made for me struggling to first get into this book. It was much more character driven and was more about the inner journey, and the romance/spice was pretty slow burn too, so I was just rather impatient for a lot of the beginning. BUT when this book gets going, it GETS GOING!
  2. I Want to Like Dash, But I’m So Torn…I like Dash, but I don’t….he’s a frustrating character and I actually enjoy that about him! He drives emotion from me and makes me care, even though its frustration…He reminds me a little bit of a mix of Chaol and Cassian in my opinion, two AMAZING Sarah J. Maas characters. Like Chaol, I believe Dash is who he is and not everyone is going to agree with that. Still though, I’m so torn on him!!



Overall, this second installment in Miranda Joy’s These Wicked Lies was an improvement on intensity, sensuality, comedy, and also a little bit of a maturing in terms of both the author’s writing and the story she’s weaved together here. It’s not perfect, but I argue you definitely see improvement!

My worries of how this story was going to continue have disappeared like a puff of smoke, I think the author has a great handle on what they’re doing and their publication future continues to look bright!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Erotica, LGBT, Mystery/Thriller, New Adult, New Adult Romance

My Review: Cannon (Brothers of Hawthorne Hall #2): by Leila James

Publish Date: November 21st, 2022
Number of Pages: 448 Pages
Publisher: Kindle Edition
Genre(s): Erotica, Reverse Harem, New Adult Romance, Mystery/Thriller, LGBT+

**Warning! This Review contains spoilers to the previous book in this trilogy, so continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!**

To see my review of book #1 – Kingston – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 4.25 Stars

Our girl is a fucking diamond – beautiful to look at, but impossible to crush.

– Leila James, “Kingston”


What It’s About:

The official synopsis:

A Dark College Bully Romance

Shattered trust, twisted games, and ugly truths …

A female initiate is unheard of at Hawthorne Hall, but after forcing the brotherhood’s hand, they had no choice but to let me stay. My plan should have been simple: Find out what happened to my cousin and best friend in the world, Will.

But nothing is as it seems.

This brotherhood is steeped in tradition and built on loyalty, but the deeper I dig, the more I see fissures in their supposedly tight-knit group. And with the evidence I’ve found, every move I make seems more dangerous than the last. I no longer know who to trust.


I don’t want to believe they’re guilty or that they could have harmed Will. But there’s only one way to find out—immerse myself in their world and keep my mouth shut. And hope they don’t break my heart along the way.

The games continue … but who is being played?


Book two, here we go!!

There’s not a whole lot to honestly add besides what I liked and disliked about this book if I’m being completely honest. There are definitely some new things to add though that I definitely found to be a highlight, so I’ll add that this book for sure improves from book 1!

You continue off literally right where the previous book left off: Elliott is in bed with Kingston after they had some incredibly hot sex and also grew closer by opening up to each other too, but she finds her missing best friend/cousin’s cell phone in his bedside table!

Duh Duh DUN!!!

Suddenly the trust she’d been building with Archer, Kingston, and Cannon is instantly shattered and she’s back to square one.

Who can she trust?

What do they know?

Where is Will now?

Do they know who she is?

Questions are popping up left and right, kind of like the dicks in this reverse harem/why choose story. but one thing that I’m entirely certain about is the spice definitely increases! it gets hotter, more intense, and oh yeah…there’s more, but you definitely have to read more to find out for yourself!


What I Liked:

  1. The Spice Gets HOTTER & HOTTER! The Spice does not let up in this second installment despite how book 1 ended! THANK GOD!
  2. MM ROMANCE! I won’t spoil who it involves, but I will say that I LOVE the addition of some hot male-on-male action going down as the plot thickens. I kind of wasn’t expecting it to be who it ended up being, well at least for one of the characters, but it was an addition to the story that I was all for!
  3. The Three Guys Had More Character Development! This time around the three guys Archer, Kingston, and Cannon had some development tossed their way, and they’ve became much more three dimensional and more dynamic. You start to see more of their personalities now that you’ve become familiar with them, and while some of them you’ll still like more than others, a lot more starts to make sense around them all the same too!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Elliott Continues To Be a Damsel…I mean, I guess this sort of makes sense since she’s digging around for clues and answers to something that is obviously being covered up, but it’s getting repetitive by this point that she gets herself into trouble, then has to rely on her men to help her get out of it. At least after it usually leads to spice, but again…it’s getting repetitive
  2. Another Hall Getting Attention?…There was a LOT of emphasis on a rival fraternity/hall in this book with a masquerade auction event, like way more emphasis than I honestly cared for. It ended up the head of that house had some history with Kingston and the situation with his dead sister…so I could see this becoming a bigger subplot into the next book, or even a spinoff sort of thing, and part of me wonders if I even care?…
  3. I Still Think There’s Not Enough Emphasis On The Mystery…I’m still wishing there was more to the mystery, like more surprising twists and reveals and an intricate plot that reveals way more is going on than we believed, but instead we get more instances of Elliott getting into trouble and needing Archer, Cannon, or Kingston to save her. At least the spice is abundant!
  4. ….SPUNK BUNKERS?!?!…Absolutely the worst way to describe testicles I’ve ever heard. NEVER AGAIN



Overall, a better sequel than what book 1 had to offer, but I feel like these books are still just missing that extra something to make them absolutely spectacular! that extra ooomph to really set it apart and make it better than it already is!

They’re not bad books by any means, in fact, I’d say they’re like an addictive, sexy binge-worthy Riverdale, Elite, Euphoria-esque show you can’t help but get sucked into! I’ve enjoyed reading these tremendously; just because I have a few personal critiques doesn’t mean I didn’t like it! I’ll definitely be reading the third and final book to see what could possibly happen next!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Erotica, Mystery/Thriller, New Adult, New Adult Romance

My review: Kingston (Brothers of Hawthorne Hall #1): by Leila James

Publish Date: October 3rd, 2022
Number of Pages: 468 Pages
Publisher: Kindle
Genre(s): Erotica, Reverse Harem, New Adult Romance, Mystery & Thriller

Total Star Rating: 3.75 Stars

What It’s About:

The Official Blurb:

Three men, two choices, and one secret …

A year ago, my best friend received an exclusive invitation to join an elite brotherhood at Kingston University. He went into Hawthorne Hall for his initiation … but never came out.

I intend to find out why.

The brotherhood would never knowingly invite a female into their ranks. So what if I forged my father’s signature on the recommendation? With a name like Elliot Ashford, they’ll never see me coming.

I’ll endure whatever hell these brutal brothers put me through because I have no intention of backing down or bowing out gracefully. It won’t be pretty. I’ve heard the rumors, especially about the three men in control of the brotherhood.


I’m going in with one mission—find out what happened to Will. But the moment I set foot in this house, I have a feeling all my plans will go up in flames.

Welcome to Hawthorne Hall! Let the games begin …


Kingston is a 94,000+ word novel, the first in a trilogy, centering around three men and one woman. It’s kind of like a sandwich—a quadruple decker with extra spice. There is a possibility that sandwich toppings will touch, if that makes sense.

WARNING: This trilogy contains dark elements, graphic content, and situations that some readers may be particularly sensitive to. If you have triggers or are even remotely unsure, please check my website, which you can access through my author page, for a full list.


This was a book that was highly recommended to me by one of my #bookstagram besties named Em because she knows I’m always game for any book that has some decent spice in it! When she started telling me the premise of these books, I will say I was immediately interested: a reverse harem, college, mystery thriller?? Ummmm LOVE that journey for me! Sign me up, and I couldn’t put these books on my kindle fast enough!

Now after reading the first book, what I can say is it’s definitely an entertaining, fast read with some really decent spice and just a dash of mystery. It definitely kept my attention, but it also could’ve been better in some regards. BUT I also didn’t care enough for certain things in the story to be better either because honestly, I just in it mainly for the spice, which definitely meets if not exceeds expectations, so that’s where most of the praise will go!

This story is about Elliot, who manages to sneak her way into Hawthorne house in order to solve the mystery of the disappearance of her best friend/cousin named Will. There’s absolutely no word as to what happened =, and everyone acts like it didn’t even happen, so she’s going on the inside in order to get her own answers. While she’s infiltrating the brotherhood as a newly incoming freshman, its there she meets the three enigmatic boys that throw everything off kilter for her: Kingston, Archer, and Cannon. Can she trust them? What do they know? And will she survive the initiation process before she’s considered a “brother?”

For the most part, I really did enjoy this book thanks to the characters! Elliot is your very typical spunky, sassy heroine who has a sharp tongue and isn’t afraid to mouth off to the alphaholes that practically infest that house that she must now call home. The boys in the Hawthorne house definitely don’t start off as very likeable, especially Kingston, who’s the frat president and a majorly bipolar a-hole through most of the book, but he’s also a HOT a-hole so it’s complicated….at leas the hate sex is hot? I like Archer the most right off the bat, but he also has camera’s set up throughout the whole house that includes people’s bedrooms, so I find that a bit creepy…and then there’s Cannon. Mr. Tall, stoic, and hot as hell, but hardly says a word. Like, his main way of communicating is text message even when he’s sitting right next to the person…it’s a little strange, but I’m sure there’s a story to it somewhere down the road…

What I Liked:

  1. The Spice! There are some HOT moments in this book, and it’s only the first one in a whole trilogy! It makes me wonder what else is in store for later down the road! I will of course be keeping reading on to find out.
  2. The Main Characters! Elliot and her boys definitely grew on me and made me keep interested to see what happened next, plus their group dynamic did add for some of the spicy scenes that I enjoyed too! Will things like that majorly change? Will she form alliances with one over the others? Turn them against each other with her vagina? Will the guys’ friendship shift with sharing? Who knows! I stand by what I said earlier, Archer is my favorite so far! BUT Kingston grew a lot on me as we got to know more about him too.

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Too Many Names to Remember…I had a hard time right at the beginning with the literal train of men who answered the door when Elliot first showed up at Hawthorne House. Too many names all at once and throughout the book I still had trouble differentiating between some of the other frat boys, but that could also be because the author doesn’t really do much to make them stand apart from each other too much either…
  2. Not Enough Mystery… Not gonna lie, I was disappointed how it felt like the mystery took a back seat through quite a bit of the story. Sure, there was plenty of spicy scenes which I’m not complaining about, but more the several initiation scenes. I just wish the mystery and sneaking around to get answers was played up more, or a trail of clues or something!
  3. The Insta-Love…This seems to always be a thing with RH’s, but at least one of the guys is always a lovesick puppy when he first lands his eyes on the girl, and its no different here.


Overall, it’s a pretty good but not great RH read. I like that it’s a college, mystery thriller one too because I honestly haven’t read too many of those! I also haven’t read the Inheritance Games Trilogy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, but I’d imagine I’d like them more if they had a similar vibe to these books with the spice and less YA story features. Actually side note, but there are a LOT of YA books I look at nowadays and am like, “This story would be so much better if it had spice!”

I’ll definitely continue to read theses books; the author gives you a satisfying amount but also leaves you wanting more, and there’s a pretty decent cliffhanger of an ending that really adds to the mystery surrounding the main plot, so it definitely keeps my interest! Plus helloooo, more spice!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell