Waiting on Wednesday: The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

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The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Book Description:

The youngest daughter of a proud Celtic king, Fallon has always lived in the shadow of her older sister Sorcha’s legendary reputation as a warrior. But when Fallon was a young child, the armies of Julius Caesar invaded the island of Britain and her beloved older sister was killed in battle.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her rightful place in her father’s royal war band. But she never gets the chance. Instead, Fallon is captured by a band of ruthless brigands who sell her to an exclusive training school for female gladiators—and its most influential patron is none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, Fallon’s worst enemy, the man who destroyed her family, might be her only hope of survival.

Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, chilling threats and the dangerous attention of Caesar himself to survive the deadly fights that take place both in and out of the arena—and claim her place in history among the Valiant.

Waiting on Wednesday: Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

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Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Book Description:

Mira and Francesca Cillo—beautiful, overprotected, odd—seemed untouchable. But Ben touched seven parts of Mira: her palm, hair, chest, cheek, lips, throat, and heart. After the sisters drown themselves in the quarry lake, a post-mortem letter from Mira sends Ben on a quest to find notes in the seven places where they touched. Note by note, Ben discovers the mystical secret at the heart of Mira and Francesca’s world, and that some things are better left untouched.

ARC Review: A Torch in the Night by Sabaa Tahir

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A Torch in the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir

Release Date: August 30, 2016

Book Description:

A Torch Against the Night takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts.

In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead.

 

Kelli’s Review:

This was definitely one of my most anticipated reads of 2016. And while I really enjoyed it, I didn’t love it as much as I loved Ember. In truth, had it not been for Helene, I would have DNFed early on.

I found most of Elias and Laia’s journey dull, boring, uninteresting. Which I guess could’ve been seen as a good thing in terms of their escape plan. But I think the lack of intensity was my issue. And Laia — you know when you lose interest in a character because they come off as weak? This was the case for me with the majority of this book. Maybe it’s insensitive, but I couldn’t have cared less about how things went for her. I still loved Elias and wanted him to succeed, but Laia’s lack of usefulness is really grating. I mean, help your own cause, girl. And you sense the same feelings in others asked to help her. By the end, she toughened up a bit, so hopefully in book 3 she really takes off.

But Helene was the biggest surprise. In Ember, I had no real love for her. I’m not entirely sure why either. In reality, she probably has the best character arc of all. I’d even go so far to say that she’s the most interesting and important as well. I couldn’t help but love her and all her bad assery, flaws and all.

The story itself is a slow burn. This is fine considering the fantasy elements and such, but at times, I think it could’ve used a little more action. There is a lot of plotting with little to no outcome. A few surprises, other plots being uncovered, but nothing out of this world crazy or original. The ending was pretty good, but still lacked the intensity I’d have liked to see for something of this magnitude. Overall a good setup for the next installment.

Kelli’s Rating: 4/5

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Blush Factor: 2

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Blog Tour: The Effects of Falling by Mariah Dietz

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The Effects of Falling (The Weight of Rain #2) by Mariah Dietz

Release Date: August 2, 2016

Book Description:

I have loved my best friend for eleven years.
Eleven years of celebrations.

Eleven years of victories and losses.

Eleven years of inside jokes and shared smiles.

Eleven years of helping him raise his daughter as a single father.
He smiles at me and my world brightens.

He ignores me and I forget how to function.

He holds my hand and takes more of my heart.

He leaves and time stops.
We have both lost too much, but am I willing to risk the effects of falling again?

 

Kelli’s Review:

I admit this is my first book by Mariah Dietz and it was the cover that drew me in. And the summary that hinted of the best friends to lovers trope… it’s my favorite!

The beginning was a bit slow for me, but I don’t know that I’m fully able to judge considering I am unfamiliar with the author’s writing style. I also found Summer hard to relate to at times. Regardless of this, I did find her growth to be a wonderful thing to witness and was well done by Dietz. Kash is… frustrating? I don’t know. I liked him a lot, but it’s also hard to judge a character and their decisions or choices without being in their heads. Obviously Summer isn’t a mind-reader, so we only see what she sees. And yes, I am a believer in reading people and inferring, but sometimes it’s still frustrating to be left guessing.

Anyway, I loved their friendship. It felt real and unforced unlike many I’ve read in similar stories. I wanted them to grow together. Unspoken and unrequited feelings leave the angst door wide open and this book had that in spades. When lives are so intertwined, the jump into something more is undoubtedly scary. But it can’t always be avoided.

I really enjoyed The Effects of Falling. I do wish I’d read The Weight of Rain beforehand, just to get a better idea of the characters and their personalities. I don’t think it’s necessary, but may add a little oomph to this story. I will definitely be reading more Mariah Dietz books in the future.

Kelli’s Rating: 4/5

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Blush Factor: 2

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Buy Links:

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About the Author:

Author

Mariah Dietz lives in Eastern Washington with her husband and two sons that are the axis of her crazy and wonderful world.

Mariah grew up in a tiny town outside of Portland, Oregon where she spent the majority of her time immersed in the pages of books that she both read and created.

She has a love for all things that include her sons, good coffee, books, travel, and dark chocolate. She also has a deep passion for the stories she writes, and hopes readers enjoy the journeys she takes them on, as much as she loves creating them.

Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Website ~ Goodreads

ARC Review: Born Sinner by SL Jennings

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Born Sinner (Se7en Sinners #1) by SL Jennings

Release Date: August 11, 2016

Book Description:

Twenty-two years ago, I was cut from a cold, sodden womb, and cradled in the filth and poverty of Chicago’s concrete arms. Statistically, I wasn’t supposed to survive these streets past the age of eighteen.

Fate had a different plan.

I was bred for one purpose and one purpose only: to unleash death and destruction on my world.

My thoughts are power.

My words are weapons.

Evil created me then grace tried to save me. But first… they tried to kill me.
They call themselves the Se7en. They are sin and salvation, and everything we’ve feared from the beginning of time. And their leader is the deadliest of them all.

He doesn’t lose.

He doesn’t compromise.

And most importantly, he doesn’t distract himself with mortal weakness.

Not until me.

Kill one to save a million.

That’s what he told me when he took me as his prisoner.

Kill one to save a million.

That’s what he’s been trying to tell himself ever since he took me into his arms.

 

Kelli’s Review:

I have only read two books by SL Jennings and both were contemporary romance titles. I was excited by the prospect of a paranormal story from her. The cover and title of Born Sinner caught my eye, and I admit, the blurb seduced me further. Thankfully, it lived up to my expectations (for the most part).

Born Sinner starts out really well. The prologue was short and absolute perfection. I immediately needed to know more. The same can be said about the first few paragraphs of chapter one. Eden, the main character, has power. And it is a good one. One you will wish was your own. And it simply gets stronger, packed with action. Right off the bat, I knew I was going to really like (possibly even love) this story.

As the reason for her kidnapping/imprisonment is revealed, so does the plot. And I have to admit, it’s more original than anything that’s been put out there recently. It kind of has vibes of the movie The Devil’s Advocate – which is actually referenced in the story in one scene. Anyway, the danger Eden presents is a huge issue…one the Se7en want to change or avoid at all costs. And so they consult other supernatural beings to help and get answers.

I enjoyed the way this book and story is laid out. There are nightmares that seem to have more meaning than just dreams. There are “erotic” moments that are really hot, but also seemingly not real. Jennings does a great job in creating the question of did that happen or not?

I love, love, LOVE L regardless of his slip-up at the beginning of the book. I think that once things are explained, it’s forgivable. And the rest of the Se7en are lovable in their own ways, too. You can sense the familial bond they share, and Eden seems to fit in well.

I did have one issue around the 35% mark. I found it to be unbelievable and unnecessary. It was a stupid addition (IMO) and one that served only in making the Se7en further indebted to Eden. I just didn’t believe that these immortal creatures wouldn’t be able to administer first aid. While I did roll my eyes and see it as contrived, it didn’t take away too much from the story itself.

The ending was not a shock. But I did love how it went down. I figured the man from the hot scene earlier in the book was MORE. This book is a great start to a series, and I will definitely continue! I’m looking forward to what’s next for everyone, as well as what the rest of the story holds.

Kelli’s Rating: 4/5

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Blush Factor: 4

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