Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer – Katie Alender

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer – Katie AlenderTitle: Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender
Publishing Info: September 24, 2013 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Book Trade
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: May 26, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She’ll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family’s French roots.

But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.

Colette knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won’t believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in danger . . .

Acclaimed author Katie Alender brings heart-stopping suspense to this story of revenge, betrayal, intrigue — and one killer queen.

bookreview1** This review will contain spoilers **

This book was actually more enjoyable than I thought it would be. The concept was a bit silly (murderous ghost of Marie Antionette) so I thought the book was going to be a lot more juvenile, but it actually read okay for me, which is a good sign considering I’ve been having issues with a lot of YA lately and feeling like it’s been reading really young. The story was easy to follow and surprisingly didn’t go too over the top. The ending as far as romance goes, I enjoyed. The ending as far as the mystery went, a little cheesy and predictable but also wrapped up well.

Throughout most of the book, despite the fact that people were legit seeing ghosts, I was still expecting the Marie Antionette character to be a real person and not a spirit. Turns out, she was just a ghost, so that was a tad cheesy but hey, the book did fully advertise that. I was just thinking we’d have a Scooby Doo moment where the fantastical bad guy turned out to be a normal human with malicious intentions but alas, it was really a ghost.

There wasn’t anything that really turned me off to knock down ratings and I’m actually surprised with my level of enjoyment but it’s still not super outstanding for me so my feelings lie somewhere in the middle of the rating spectrum. There were still a lot of typical YA things with family and relationships but it also broke out of the mold enough that it was enjoyable enough.


Kept Me Hooked On: Books I wouldn’t think I would enjoy. I picked this one up to go through the older books on my TBR and older ARCs and I really wasn’t expecting it enjoy it at all. I’m glad it went well enough!
Left Me Wanting More: Reality. I did find the ghost concept cheesy and kept hoping it would sweep over to the serious side.

Addiction Rating
Think about it

It was an okay read for me but I still wouldn’t really recommend it. It was fine but I think there are plenty of other things on your TBR that might be more worthwhile.




All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) – Ally Carter

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) – Ally CarterTitle: All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) by Ally Carter
Publishing Info: January 20, 2015 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library, Book Trade
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 31, 2016
Related Posts: Heist Society (Heist Society #1), Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2)

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:
1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.
As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her -- so there's no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.
Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can't control Grace -- no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.


I’m actually really disappointed that this is a new series opener from Ally Carter. I guess I’ve only read two of her books (Heist Society and Uncommon Criminals) but her early books were SO GOOD and this book just fell so flat. I heard it had a bit of a rough start but truly, the whole book felt rough for me.

ALL FALL DOWN felt super repetitive. The story repeating the same five concepts over and over again with no action to follow them up (until the very end of the book) and literally nothing happened for the first half of the book, in my opinion. I felt like the first 75% could have been crammed into a few action-packed chapters but instead, everything was drawn out. I wouldn’t have minded spending time with these characters in place of action, but the time I did spend with them didn’t feel to developed. They weren’t personalities that jumped off the page and everyone fell a little flat.

There were hints at the snark and sass that I love so much but Grace was too busy falling apart all the time for that to really take shape. I get what the book was going for and I followed it, but it all felt a bit too dramatic for me. The visions and hallucinations were just way too much and they really bothered me — as they do in pretty much any other book unless it’s really important and necessary. I’m all for showcasing a character who is suffering from PTSD and other consequences of going through some serious stuff but for some reason this just didn’t work for me in this book. It all felt forced and cheesy instead of informative and genuine.

After all that, I was waiting for the twist (I heard there was one) and… flat again. There were parts of it that were a bit predictable — I got there and understood what was going on but Grace still didn’t and it irritated me how long it reasonably took for her to catch on. There was something I actually wasn’t expecting because it was so cliche but the cliche happened anyway.

ALL FALL DOWN was an easy read and I do think I’ll continue the series but I might sneak a peek at reviews before I do so. I do love the Heist Society series and from the way this book ended, I am hoping for maybe a little more levity and a lot more intrigue in the second book.view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!




Kept Me Hooked On: International thrillers. I’ve been really into international thrillers lately and I loved the mix of worlds in this book! The vibe was also really great.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot. I just felt so let down by the overall plot here. There wasn’t much development at all and it was a total snooze-fest throughout the beginning. I was just so bummed because I came to hope for a lot from Ally Carter!

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

It’s hard for me to say. I think I’ll continue the series but I can’t outright recommend this one. I think if the series gets better, I’ll have a better feeling about it!



(Click the cover to see my review!)


My Life Next Door (My Life Next Door #1) – Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door (My Life Next Door #1) – Huntley FitzpatrickTitle: My Life Next Door (My Life Next Door #1) by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publishing Info: June 14, 2012 by Penguin
Source: Book Trade
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 18, 2015

"One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time."
The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.
As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.


I’m SO happy that I finally read MY LIFE NEXT DOOR! After promising to read it last summer and allowing other plans to come first, I knew I wanted to make the time to read it this year. When I heard about Penguin Teen’s “The Blog Most Likely To…” promo, I knew the time was absolutely perfect to start it and yes, the stars aligned!

MY LIFE NEXT DOOR was actually really different than what I thought it would be — not in a bad way, but I was expecting it to be a light and fluffy contemporary, leaning more towards the feel of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS or ON THE FENCE. Nothing really led me to believe this aside from the cover and blurb but it was a bit hard to shake when I first started reading! I’m really glad I didn’t let my preconceived notions get in the way because this was really a beautiful book. MY LIFE NEXT DOOR is less fluffy and more… I wouldn’t say serious, but I guess realistic. It showed positives and negatives in a more contemplative manner and it was so much more overall than just the romance. (I mean, ANNA and ON THE FENCE handle these things too but… you know what I mean. Just totally different feel.)

I really loved the differences in families in this book. Samantha’s mother is a senator, her family has always been well-off, and her mother is very much about maintaining appearances and status. Her mother is happy to finally have teenagers because as much as she loves her daughters, she’s never been a fan of children. Their neighbors the Garretts are pretty much the opposite in every respect. The family is big, the house is messy, the atmosphere is warm, and everyone is free to be themselves, appearances be damned. It was really interesting to see what Samantha and Jase learned from each other and what their families learned from each other as well. Each family felt so real and true to themselves — even Mrs. Reed with her need for order and tidiness — and I loved how I could witness Samantha and Jase really discovering new things about each other and at the same time, growing themselves.

The romance was also so adorable. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first because I was expecting the book to focus more on the development of the romance and the tension leading up to the two characters being together, but the focus was much different than that. MY LIFE NEXT DOOR reminded me what young love is like but it also gave me glimpses of true and unconditional love (which were not the same for me in my life but what I saw with Sam and Jase). It was so touching to see so many sides of their relationship develop and strengthen and it felt real and raw and true.

The friendships and family dynamics are pretty spectacular too, and not all of them turned out the way I though they would. I was so annoyed with Tim and ended up falling in love with him maybe even more than Jase?) and I really enjoyed watching Samantha’s various degrees of friendships with Jase’s siblings. Not everything was a happy friendship or ended as “best friends forever” but it all felt so real and touched on something that I went through in my life as well. The families felt so real and I really enjoyed that not everything had a Full House finish. Sometimes families are messy too and things don’t always wrap up neatly.

I guess you could say that I had an idea of how MY LIFE NEXT DOOR would go but it really took me by surprise and I’m so happy that it made me feel so many different things! I would have been happy to read this as a stand alone but I’m SO excited that it has a companion now and I can’t wait to read THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO!


“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

my life next door gr updates


Samantha // Character Obsessions: The Garretts, first love, friendship, honor.
I really loved watching Samantha grow throughout this book. She really always stood by what she believed in and really that’s quite a powerful thing, especially when she has to stand up to her own mother.
Jase // Character Obsessions: Family, hard work, money, trust.
Jase was definitely sweet and I can see why everyone fell I love with him! His relationship with Samantha reminded me a lot of my relationship with my husband in ways so naturally I found him quite endearing! He was a good boy so not totally my book boyfriend type but just so darn sweet that how can you not love him?


Kept Me Hooked On: Summer Reads. I don’t usually read specific books in a specific season (except for Halloween for some reason) but this was just such a great summer read for summertime! I’m so glad I read it “in season”!
Left Me Wanting More: Tim! Everyone loves Jase but I grew to love Tim. I think because he had a darker side and Jase was maybe a bit TOO good for me… But that makes me even more excited to read THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This book was lovely and I couldn’t put it down towards the end! A very solid, realistic contemporary romance.



(Click the cover to see my review!)