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:
- 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.
- 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:
- 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…
- 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!
- 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