Friday, September 28, 2018

KILL THE QUEEN by Jennifer Estep

Rating: C-
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Gladiator meets Game of Thrones: a royal woman becomes a skilled warrior to destroy her murderous cousin, avenge her family, and save her kingdom in this first entry in a dazzling fantasy epic from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin series—an enthralling tale that combines magic, murder, intrigue, adventure, and a hint of romance.

In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.

My thoughts on the book:
I am usually a huge fan of Estep's writing, so I am pretty disappointed that I didn't enjoy this book very much. I didn't hate it, and there were some poignant moments, but for the most part, I was bored throughout the novel. When I finished the book, I was left feeling "meh." Also, the cover for this book looks way too much like the covers for the Elemental Assassin series. 

The characters in this novel are not very noteworthy. Evie evolved and everything, sure, but she kept telling the reader every time any tiny thing about her changed. It's better to see an evolution happen, not be told about it. Also, she was kind of a selfish brat. At 28 years old, she needed to grow up some, in my opinion. Then there was the love interest. Meh. I didn't feel any connection between them, though Estep really tried to make one. The other characters were run of the mill, too, and it was just boring. 

In addition to boring characters, the plot was extremely predictable. I could predict every twist and turn before it happened, which kept me pretty bored. Also, the descriptions were really overdone. When you write over a page describing one room, there's a problem. The novel goes on and on and on, and like the Elemental Assassin series, this series seems to be centered on food, too. The magical types are similar to the Elemental Assassin series, and the main character's backstory is also a lot like Gin's. I don't know that I'll read the next book in the series because it's just not that original. 

Overall, I wasn't blown away by this novel. I mean if you have nothing else to read and you want to read a fantasy book, then check it out from the library. A lot of people loved this book, and you may, too. The writing itself was well-done. This book just wasn't for me, unfortunately. 


Rating: B+
Between the pissed off creatures that want demon-hunter Lily Marks dead and the fallen angel who just...wants her, Lily is about ready to trade in forever for a comfy job in a cubicle farm.

The fact that she and Julian are civil to one another is enough to have her thrown out of the Sanctuary, but she can't shake her not-so-angelic stalker or how he brings her dangerously close to ecstasy.

Her forbidden relationship with Julian provides the perfect fuel for suspicion when a traitor is discovered to be working within the Sanctuary. Lily quickly finds herself hunted by well, everyone.

Her only hope is to discover the real traitor before she loses everything--and she'll need Julian's help. That is, if Julian is really there to help her...and not destroy her.

Yeah, being a Nephilim isn't everything it's cracked up to be.

My thoughts on the book:
According to the information at the end of this novel, this was the first book that Jennifer L. Armentrout wrote, and when I think about it, it's obvious that she hadn't developed her voice 100% when writing this. The novel itself is a great read, and the writing is good. The characters are interesting and flawed and humorous in a way that only JLA can pull off, but her big reveal, while shocking, was a little obvious. Usually in her novels, she surprises me, at least a little bit.

I really liked Lily, though she made me mad a couple of times due to her prejudice that she'd had beat into her, more or less, since day 1. Overall, she was a good leading character, though, and unapologetically herself. She didn't try to change for anyone, and she did what was right for her (for the most part). She was brave in many ways and selfless, though at times she was too selfless. Julian was also a really complex character, and I absolutely adored him. The entirety of his story surprised me, and it made me love him even more when it was revealed at the end of the novel. They made a great couple, and their chemistry was through the roof. The secondary characters felt like real people instead of cardboard cutouts, which is something JLA has always excelled at.

The pacing of the story was pretty spot-on. My main contention with the story was that about 3/4 of the way through, it became glaringly obvious who the traitor was. Usually JLA is sneakier than that, and the big reveal was still shocking due to the reaction of the traitor, and everything the traitor did was actually more twisted than I'd thought. That being said, the lack of surprise is what made me give this book a B+. The writing was entertaining and engrossing, and like all JLA books, once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. I also think the story really shows what happens when you assume certain traits about people, or in this case supernatural beings, based on their race alone, and that's always a good reminder to have in a book.

Overall, I'd recommend this novel to anyone who is a JLA fan and who loves urban fantasies with flawed yet wonderful characters and a lot of steamy romance.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

HIDDEN PIECES by Paula Stokes

Rating: D-
Embry Woods has secrets. Small ones about her past. Bigger ones about her relationship with town hero Luke and her feelings for someone new. But the biggest secret she carries with her is about what happened that night at the Sea Cliff Inn. The fire. The homeless guy. Everyone thinks Embry is a hero, too, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Embry thinks she’ll have to take the secret to her grave, until she receives an anonymous note—someone else knows the truth. Next comes a series of threatening messages, asking Embry to make impossible choices, forcing her to put her loved ones at risk. Someone is playing a high stakes game where no one in Embry’s life is safe. And their last murder.

My thoughts on the book:
I really wanted to like this book. The synopsis had me hooked, and I couldn't wait to dive into it. However, this is one of the lamest "thrillers" I've ever read. The writing is subpar - all telling and no showing, the characters aren't likable, and the mystery/thriller aspect isn't very mysterious or thrilling. The only reason I gave this book a D- instead of an F is because I was actually able to finish it. 

Embry is not a likable character at all. She whines and insults herself constantly. She thinks she's a terrible person all the time, and she sounds like a broken record about it. Because of this, she makes stupid decisions and is too scared to be up front and honest with anyone in her life. There isn't much to respect about her, really. She's not very strong, even though she had been through a lot before the book started. Holden was a nice enough guy, but he changed mid-book, and it didn't really seem to fit. It seemed like two completely different people, and that was jarring... the change was pretty much for no reason, too. No transformative experiences happened to him. The secondary characters are all clichés, so I'm not even going to waste time talking about them. Even the creepo of the story is boring. 

The writing for this book isn't that good. This author didn't actually show anything. No pictures were painted. It was all Embry telling us stuff. There were very few scenes where she wasn't just going on about whatever her problem was for that minute. It was too much in her head and not enough in the outside world. The pacing is ridiculously slow. The person who is asking her to do absolutely stupid things comes up with even dumber "punishments," and there was no edge of your seat feeling to it because the whole concept felt thrown together at the last minute. It was like Jiminy Cricket had gone rogue or something... the whole "just be honest" message was too strong and ridiculous for anyone to buy into. It just didn't feel like a scary situation. It was just stupid. The supposed climax of the storing was boring and ridiculous. The ending was dull. 

Overall, I'd say skip this book. There are a lot of other thrillers out there that have deeper characters, better writing, and a plot that isn't just ridiculous. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Bookish Business Spotlight: Literary Book Gifts

Welcome to the first post of my newest feature, Bookish Business. At least once a month, I will choose an independently owned online business, craftsperson, or vendor and spotlight their website and material. When possible, I will also offer a giveaway and/or a promotional discount. The business who has agreed to be my first spotlight is called Literary Book Gifts. Fall Into Books is able to offer an exclusive 20% discount to this amazing store! See below for code.

Store Name: Literary Book Gifts
Promotional Discount: falln2books20
Favorite Products:

Comments/thoughts about the store:
My favorite thing about this store is that it has a wide variety of authors. I have chosen products that features some of my favorite books and authors of all time. Another thing I really love about this store is that you can customize all of the shirts by choosing the background color. I'm also obsessed with totes, so I love that Literary Book Gifts offers a wide variety of totes.

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to grab the promo code before you go on your shopping spree!

Saturday, September 15, 2018


Rating: A
Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems a small thing, just for her.

Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…

Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.

Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.

My thoughts on the book:
This was my first Erin Watt book, and I loved it! I really enjoyed this novel, though at times it was incredibly frustrating. The situations were very real, and sometimes I wanted to smack people for being blind, etc., but it was so much like real life that I related to the characters on a deep level. I lost my father this year, and I understand that pain, and how there's never a right way to grieve. No matter how you grieve, someone is going to tell you that you're doing it wrong. The other social issues in this book were extremely realistic, too, and the writing was beautiful. 

Beth was, in my opinion, a very relatable character. I felt so bad for her because of her parents being way too over-protective, to the point of insanity. No one would listen to her. No one cared what she wanted. Everyone wanted to dictate how she should feel and act because apparently they all thought she was incapable of making her own decisions. Therefore, she acted out. A lot. Which didn't help her cause any, but I can't say that I blame her for her reactions. Chase was a complex love interest, and not just because he's the one who is to blame for her sister's death. He has a lot of baggage in addition to that, but he's a good guy. I liked him quite a bit. Scarlett wasn't my favorite person, but she redeemed herself a bit in the end. 

My favorite thing about this book is that it didn't pull any punches. Not everything was sunshine and roses. Horrible things happened, things that wouldn't be okay, and that was okay. I like messy books with messy endings a lot better than everything in the book being fixed at the end. I mean the ending wasn't depressing or anything, but it wasn't perfect, and I appreciated that. Also, it's always refreshing to see authors take on behaviors such as bullying, grief, parental over-protectiveness that borders on abuse, sexual assault, and relationship abuse. This is a real book. Additionally, but just as important, the book was well written and the plot was engaging. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good YA contemporary romance that deals with real and very messy issues. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

I DO NOT TRUST YOU by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

Rating: F
Memphis "M" Engle is stubborn to a fault, graced with an almost absurd knowledge of long lost languages and cultures, and a heck of an opponent in a fight. In short: she's awesome.

Ashwin Sood is a little too posh for her tastes, a member of an ancient cult (which she’s pretty sure counts for more than one strike against him), and has just informed Memphis that her father who she thought was dead isn’t and needs her help. 

From the catacombs of Paris to lost temples in the sacred forests, together they crisscross the globe, searching for the pieces of the one thing that might save her father. But the closer they come to saving him—and the more they fall for one another—the closer they get to destroying the world.

My thoughts on the book:
Normally I like a book with a lot of intrigue and adventure, but this book just fell flat for me. The main problem was that I was unable to achieve a willing suspension of disbelief, which made me not even believe the story to start with. I just kept thinking that the entire scenario was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard of and how unlikely that is to actually happen. It did not work for me at all. I also really didn't like the characters. The writing was choppy, and the random switching of the third person limited POV got confusing because the voice didn't change at all.

M was boring, condescending, and just flat out rude most of the time. My dad died at the beginning of this year, and even I couldn't find any sympathy for her. And to be sooooooo smart (she was a total know-it-all), she did a lot of really dumb things. And who goes by M? That is annoying within itself. Ash didn't seem to have two brain cells to rub together, and he also did a lot of stupid things. The secondary characters were hardly there and when they were, they were stereotypes and also annoying.

The entire concept of this book is just ludicrous. I couldn't believe that any of it would actually happen. Everything was just so unbelievable and nothing felt thought through at all. It was just ridiculous. The pacing was also slow since M was stalling constantly, and as I mentioned, the writing wasn't engaging. The romance felt forced and just not natural, too. Everything about this book just fell flat for me.

I know some people have enjoyed this novel, but unfortunately it wasn't for me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

KEEPER OF THE BEES by Meg Kassel Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review!

Keeper of the Bees
By Meg Kassel
Genre: YA Paranormal
Release Date: September 4th 2018
Entangled Teen


“Beauty and the beast like you’ve never imagined!” —New York Times bestselling author Pintip Dunn

KEEPER OF THE BEES is a tale of two teens who are both beautiful and beastly, and whose pasts are entangled in surprising and heartbreaking ways.
Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people.

He follows harbingers of death, so at least his curse only affects those about to die anyway. But when he arrives in a Midwest town marked for death, he encounters Essie, a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden.

Essie is fascinated and delighted by his changing features. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

PROJECT PROMETHEUS by Aden Polydoros blog tour!

Project Prometheus (Assassin Fall #2)
by Aden Polydoros
Genre: YA Thriller
Release Date: August 28th 2018
Entangled Teen


The Academy stole everything from Hades, their perfect assassin. Angry and leaving bodies in his wake, he finds two other ex-assassins doing the exact same thing.

Tyler and Shannon once killed for The Academy. Now they’re tracking and hunting down its scientists. So why is The Academy only after Hades?

Shannon will do whatever it takes to protect Tyler, even if it means teaming up with a former rival. While she seeks answers to her past, Tyler wants to learn the truth about the mysterious white room, which no one has ever seen except him.

As for Hades? He simply wants revenge.

They all need answers, even if it means returning to the organization where it all started.

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Book One:
Project Pandora (Assassin Fall #1) by Aden Polydoros
Release Date: August 1st 2017


Tyler Bennett trusts no one. Just another foster kid bounced from home to home, he’s learned that lesson the hard way. Cue world’s tiniest violin. But when strange things start happening—waking up with bloody knuckles and no memory of the night before or the burner phone he can’t let out of his sight— Tyler starts to wonder if he can even trust himself.

Even stranger, the girl he’s falling for has a burner phone just like his. Finding out what’s really happening only leads to more questions…questions that could get them both killed. It’s not like someone’s kidnapping teens lost in the system and brainwashing them to be assassins or anything, right? And what happens to rogue assets who defy control?

In a race against the clock, they’ll have to uncover the truth behind Project Pandora and take it down—before they’re reactivated. Good thing the program spent millions training them to kick ass...

Project Pandora (Assassin Fall #1) on Goodreads

About the Author
Aden Polydoros grew up in Long Grove, Illinois, and now lives in Arizona. He is a writer of young adult fiction. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys reading and going on hikes in the mountains. Aden Polydoros is a 2015 Gold Medalist in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and has published two short stories in Best Arizona Teen Writing of 2015. PROJECT PANDORA (Entangled, 2017) is his debut novel.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

SEVENTH BORN by Monica Sanz Review + Blog Tour Stop!

Seventh Born
by Monica Sanz
Genre: YA Paranormal/Mystery & Suspense
Release Date: September 4th 2018
Entangled Teen


Abomination. Curse. Murderer. All names hurled at eighteen-year-old Seraphina Dovetail. As the seventh-born daughter to a witch, she’s the cause of her mother losing her powers and, in turn, her life.

Abandoned as a child, Sera dreams of becoming an inspector and finding her family. To do that, she must be referred into the Advanced Studies Program at the Aetherium’s Witchling Academy. Her birth order, quick temper, and tendency to set things on fire, however, have left her an outcast with failing marks…and just what Professor Nikolai Barrington is looking for.

The tall, brooding, yet exceedingly handsome young professor makes her a proposition: become his assistant and he’ll give her the referral she needs. Sera is quickly thrust into a world where witches are being kidnapped, bodies are raised from the dead, and someone is burning seventhborns alive. As Sera and Barrington grow ever closer, she’ll discover that some secrets are best left buried…and fire isn’t the only thing that makes a witch burn.

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Purchase links can be found HERE!

My Rating: A+
My thoughts on the book:
Witch books are usually hit or miss with me, but I absolutely loved Seventh Born. I stayed up half the night reading the book, and I was so glad when I checked online and found out it is part of a series because I am not ready to say goodbye to these characters or this world yet. Sure, there are tons of books out there about ostracized witches and outcasts and betrayal, etc., etc. This book stands out, though... it has feeling. On top of that, it has a murder mystery that is actually well done! Add that to well-developed characters and top of the line world-building, and you have Seventh Born. This novel completely captivated me.

The heroine, Seraphina Dovetail (her friends call her Sera), can't remember her past. On top of that, she has PTSD from the past that she can remember, which results in her having issues controlling her magic if she feels threatened or has a flashback, so she kind of sets a lot of things on fire. Her PTSD reactions are really spot-on, though. I know that everyone handles things differently and PTSD presents itself differently in everyone, like all illnesses, but it was easy to believe that Sera has PTSD. It's not diagnosed as such in the book (I think this was set in the Victorian era... or a similar equivalent for the world Sera and co. live in), but it's pretty obvious. Sera is a wonderful leading lady, and so empathetic, even though she has walls up and trusts no one. It's clear she is a good person from the beginning. In addition to Sera, we have a full cast of well-developed secondary characters, including her best friend Mary, the popular boy Timothy, and Professor Barrington. None of these characters are what you'd expect, though. There are no cookie cutter or filler characters in these novels. I felt like I got to know everyone Sera interacted with, at least as well as she knew them, and that is a rare find.

The world building in this novel was fantastic. I could clearly picture the world that Sera lived in, and I understood the rules of the world. That's always difficult to do in a fantasy style novel. There were no info dumps, though. Everything was paced out nicely. Sanz wrote beautifully, too. I absolutely loved a lot of the lines in the book. The plot was complex, and the "big reveal" actually surprised me, and that doesn't happen often. It was still believable, though. While we found out around the middle of the book who was doing the killings, we get a nice big betrayal at the end that I didn't see coming at all. The ending tied this book up nicely and leaves room for a sequel.

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy/paranormal novels that are set in alternate realities/historic type worlds with strong leading ladies and wonderful writing. Give this book a try. You won't be sorry.