Review: The Valiant

The Valiant (The Valiant, #1)


I had such high hopes for this book. Female gladiators? How could that not be an awesome book?! I’ll tell you – slow pacing and a boring plot.

Super short recap: Fallon, the daughter of a King and Queen, is stolen from Rome and fights as a slave.

I feel I have started to appreciate historical fiction books, as this felt like it had a lot of history to it, but it was just so painfully boring. The pacing was off, everything was slow moving, and there was no action until the very end of the book. That being said – do not fall for the cover. It gives you the impression that there will be a lot of fighting in arenas, swords clashing, blood being shed, and cheers erupting from the crowds. I’m here to tell you that is not the case. I would have appreciated reading some sort of action but it was nowhere to be found in this book.

I had a lot of problems with the overall plot. I found it incredibly difficult to believe that even though Fallon was the daughter of a King, nobody knew who she was and they still kept her as a slave being prepped to sell at auction? Are you mad? In what universe does that even make sense? On top of that, Fallon’s own sister knew what happened to her and still did nothing about it. Yet her sister claimed to have fought to find her and buy her freedom. Pfft. Ok. She bought Fallon but it certainly wasn’t for her freedom. There is supposed to be a sister relationship theme throughout the story but I just was not feeling it. It, as like much of the rest of the story, was underdeveloped.

Speaking of Fallon, her character could have used a lot more development. She started out pretty badass but quickly fizzled out. She lost that kick butt attitude and edge and became, well, an idiot. She turned into a very stubborn character that, for whatever reason, stopped using all of the years of logical training she had with the best teachers. Not sure I want to talk too much about the fact that she also became boy crazy for a boy she barely knew. It wasn’t instalove but it was close. Fallon spent the rest of this book pining over him. Sigh. There was no chemistry. No burning passion between them. It was underwhelming to say the least.

This book let me down in every way possible. I do not like how there was one epic battle at the end and then roll credits. Boom – done. On to book 2. I don’t feel this story deserved to be made into a series. If it had been developed and delivered really well, it could have been a great stand alone. I know that I am not interested enough in finding out what happens next so I will not be picking up the next book.



Once Upon A Mattress: My Guide To The Perfect Day In

It is that in between time of year in Texas when everyone is over the chilly winter months and ready for warmer Spring days, but Mother Nature hasn’t quite gotten that memo yet. That means the nights are still chilly and most days are as well. As an avid book lover, it makes me want to snuggle up with a good book and read the day away, especially a Saturday after a long work week. I was asked by Leesa, an online mattress company, to describe my perfect day in,. Here are a few things that would make a book girl like me happy.


A warm (possibly heated?) blanket to snuggle under. I know this is usually a given but something about a warm blanket makes the experience that much better.



Possibly a cozy couch to snuggle on?

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Or the bed?

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Perhaps a chair?

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I normally won’t know exactly where I want to read until I’m ready to settle down.


My drink and snack next to me on the table. That way I won’t have to get up as often. 😉

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The book I am ready to spend my day reading. It could be my Harry Potter books or the latest book that I cannot stop thinking about.

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Not to mention my headphones for an audiobook in case I need something different.

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To round out the day, my husband would either be out of the house with his friends or quietly playing video games in his “man cave”. That would leave me in peace to read without as many interruptions. 😉 This sounds like a day of bliss to me.

Now everyone has a different idea of what their perfect day in would be so I challenge every one of you to let me know what your perfect day in (or night!) would be! Either type it in the comments or create your own blog post. I really would love to know everyone’s take on this idea. Many huge thanks to Leesa Mattress for reaching out to me about this wonderful idea! Want to learn more about Leesa? Check out The Sweet Home’s review on on why Leesa is the best foam mattress around!




Books Left Unread #69


Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

This week’s post is dedicated to:

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

My Best Friend's Exorcism


This story really has my attention, but I just can’t bring myself to start it. Why? Probably the fear of being let down. 😦 Have you read this one? What did you think?


Review: The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give


I’m going to be honest: I’m not sure how to review this book properly. This book snuck up and sucker punched all of my emotions in the best way possible. How do you do a book like that justice in a review?

Sort synopsis: Starr witnesses her childhood best friend, Khalil,  die in front of her after a police officer shoots and kills him during a traffic stop. Soon after, Khalil’s murder becomes national news as he was black and the police officer was white. Also, Khalil was unarmed. Throughout the entire story, Starr tries to balance her life at a rich and preppy school with the life she lives while in the poor neighborhood her school friends make fun of. Will Starr have the courage to stand up and do what is right, even if it means putting her life and her family’s life in danger?

This was not a story I went into blind. I knew this was inspired by Black Lives Matter but I was not prepared for just how much it would get to me. There were several moments within this story that flat out pissed me off. I was outraged by how certain situations were handled (or not) and/or by how people reacted to events. Let it be known now that Angie Thomas can write. Holy crap can this girl write. She brought me to tears and stirred up emotions that made me want to get out of my chair and do something. Authors like that do not come along often. Sure, I have been moved to tears over how a character died suddenly or by how another character was treated, but the overall premise of this story spoke to me. Books like this need to exist in YA. I believe Angie fills a much needed void. She has done what others may have been scared to do because let’s be honest, this can be a touchy topic. It could either be handled really well or horribly bad. This story? Eye opening and deeply moving, beautiful and breathtaking, full of raw emotion. I’m not sure I’ll ever stop saying good things about this story.

Starr’s character was outstanding. I want to be friends with her in real life. Her sass and attitude made me instantly fall for her. I was immediately on her side. Heck, I wanted to jump into the story and fight right alongside her. The way she constantly fought with herself about how she was two different people: the Starr her school friends saw, and the Starr that the people from her poor neighborhood saw. Those two people can be so very different at times but in the end, can they become one? Can the real Starr shine through?

The one theme I picked up on throughout this entire story is just how important family is. No matter what Starr was going through, her family was right beside her. They never left her, not for one moment. They always took the time to talk to her, ask her how she was doing, to check in on her mental and emotional state to ask if she needed help. Talk about refreshing! It brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.

I don’t know if it is too early to call it, but this may be the best book of 2017. I want everyone to read this book. Also, if you get a chance, listen to the audio version. Hearing the voices for the characters brings so much more to this story. There are moments that had me in tears I was laughing so hard, while others had me in tears for other reasons. No matter what, read this book. Please, please read this book and share with others. This book needs to be in the world.



Review: City of Saints and Thieves

City of Saints & Thieves


Hype… so much hype around this book. I purchased my signed copy at NTTBF recently and  someone walked by while standing in line, stopping to tell me me how good the story was. That’s a heck of a recommendation, wouldn’t you say?

This is the story of Tina, a Congolese refugee, who is simply trying to survive and make sure her sister, Kiki, is safe. Tina is a member of the Coondas, a gang of street thieves in Kenya, Africa. Tina has never forgotten how her mother was murdered and she believes the wealthy Mr. Greyhill was behind it. With the help of the Coondas, Tina sets out to find out exactly what happened to her mother.

I  went into this story blind. Sometimes I feel this is the best way to experience a story and be able to come to my own conclusions. One thing that stood out to me was how much research had to be done to compile this novel. Both the light and dark sides of Kenya were represented, and many other parts of Africa for that matter. It did not paint everything in sunshine and rainbows. It gave the dirty and unpleasant truth about just how bad life can be. Real tales of crime, corruption, and just how harsh women are treated during war. With that being said, this is not for the faint of heart. There are some truly disturbing scenes so be warned.

Everything about this story felt vivid and intense. I was often on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen. Would Tina be able to figure out what happened to her mother? Would she be able to stay alive in a ruthless gang of mostly men? Would she be seen the same or treated like another spoil of war? So much tension! This novel felt like a breath of fresh air when it comes to fiction writing. The narrative of Tina herself felt real and believable while being realistically flawed. Her conversations and actions made this story move at a rapid pace, keeping me engrossed for the entire ride.

I’m still not trying to give too much away. This is a heck of a story and highly recommend for those that are looking for a good thriller/mystery with something new thrown into the mix. Please, give this a chance if you have not already. You won’t be disappointed.



Waiting on Wednesday: Defy The Stars

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:


Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Defy the Stars



From Goodreads:

“Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

I’m not always excited about sci-fi books but this has my attention.


Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books Read In One Sitting

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week I’m listing…

Top Ten Books Read In One Sitting


The Serpent King

The Serpent King



If You Find Me

If You Find Me



We Should Hang Out Sometime

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story



By Your Side

By Your Side



Wires and Nerve

Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerves, #1)



All In Pieces

All in Pieces



Blood of My Blood

Blood of My Blood (Jasper Dent, #3)



Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8)



Bad Blood

Bad Blood (The Naturals, #4)



Love & Gelato

Love & Gelato




I listen to a lot of audios so since most of these were fairly short (less than 5 hours on a high playback), then I was able to start & finish within the same day. What about you? Have you finished a book in one sitting or one day?