Review: Sol of the Coliseum by Adam Gaylord

Sol of the Coliseum by Adam Gaylord

Title: Sol of the Coliseum
Author: Adam Gaylord
Series: N/A
Pages: 262 pages
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing (September 17, 2015)
Rating: 4.5 stars


GoodReads Synopsis

Deep in the bowels of the Coliseum of the mighty Astrolian Empire, the orphan, Sol, is raised by a makeshift family of guards and fellow slaves to become the most famed Gladiator in all the land. Alongside K’nal, his giant Frorian fighting partner, Sol must battle cunning warriors and fantastic beasts to delight the crowd and stay alive. But when an oppressed populace transforms Sol into a revolutionary folk hero, the Empire sends its most ruthless assassin to put an end to the uprising. Sol’s only chance is to do what no slave has ever done: escape from the Coliseum and the only home he’s ever known.

With elegant prose, Adam Gaylord tells a fast-paced gladiator story with layered, multi-dimensional characters. Sol of the Coliseum is not your typical Hollywood gladiator story. It is a story about someone just trying to survive to see the next day with their humanity. Even though he is a famous gladiator, Sol (the main character) kills only for survival, has strong values (despite his circumstances), and tries hard to keep his humanity, which I admired.

The author’s skilled prose made reading great fun (despite the small smart phone screen I read on). When Sol must fight in the Coliseum, the fights are detailed and descriptive with Sol more often than not having a clear strategy in mind for how he and his fighting partner (K’nal) are going to survive.

I am giving Sol of the Coliseum 4.5 stars, but there were just several small things that were preventing me from giving the extra half star. While the majority of the book was very suspenseful and action-packed, the beginning got off to a slightly slow start, so I had to power through for a small stretch before things started to pick up. However this wasn’t too much of a problem because the author took that time to help the reader gain a better understanding of Sol’s world and its inhabitants. Also I would’ve liked to see more character motivations/objectives/goals. Does Sol really want to escape or just live to see another day? Why is Lysik the evil sadistic assassin that he is? Why does he serve the empire and how did he come into its service?–since I don’t see a clear motive for his homicidal streaks other than that he is clearly insane, does he have some secret backstory or history?

On a positive note, I really liked how the author had the main POV’s storyline and then minor POVs’ storylines told and then at the end they all came together and fell into place. Also I liked how there was no love triangle between Sol, K’nal, and Korra and just a friendship, which is a hard phenomenon to come by sometimes. I’m also pleased that there was more than what meets the eye with Slink (a guard who puts up an unfriendly front who is constantly enduring ridicule from the other Colisium guards) instead of just having Slink being the classic nasty guard. Furthermore, Sol was actually mature enough to listen to Occi (his mother figure) and try to be nicer to Slink.

Overall I immensely enjoyed Sol of the Coliseum and am pleased that I got the chance to read it in exchange for an honest review as I do not think that I would’ve picked up this book (much less heard of it) on my own. This book is definitely a hidden gem in gladiator stories and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a unique gladiator story. I’m left with wondering whether there will be a sequel after Sol of the Coliseum‘s ending–what will happen to Sol, K’nal, Korra, and Slink?

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of Sol of the Coliseum by Adam Gaylord in exchange for an honest review.


The Sunshine Blogger Award

Thank you to Poppy @ Poppy’s Best of Books for the nomination–I appreciate it 🙂


The Sunshine Blogger Award


  • Thank and follow the blogger who nominated you.
  • Answer the questions they set for you.
  • Set some new questions and nominate five more bloggers.

Poppy’s Questions

1. What does your favorite outfit consist of?
A T-shirt and track shorts.

2. If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
What I want to eat completely depends on my mood and energy level, so if I had to pick one food I honestly don’t know what I’d chose.

3. Three desert island books – what would yours be?
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (or Catching Fire), Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, and some very long (but still enjoyable) novel that I cannot think of.

4. Would you rather be reading out in the sunshine or holed up indoors reading whilst its snowing outside?
Definitely reading indoors. I’m not much of an outdoor person.

5. What hobby of yours could you not live without?
Either reading or writing, but in the end I’d have to say reading because I wouldn’t be able to write and enjoy it without other books to fuel my creativity.

6. Have you got any pets – what are they?
One adorable pet: a dog.

7. What would your dream house look like?
My dream house would probably have a very large library and plenty of room for my dog to play.

8. What was/is your dream job?
My dream job would be as a writer and an editor.

My Questions

  1. If you could have the last unreleased books of any unfinished series, what would they be?
  2. What would your dream library look like?
  3. If you had to live in any dystopian world, which world would you choose?
  4. What do you like best in a book?
  5. What specifically makes you dislike a book?
  6. Generally, what are your expectations on a hyped book before you read it?
  7. Most beautiful book book cover you’ve seen that prompted you to purchase the book immediately?

My Nominees

Siblinghood of the World Bloggers Award

Thank you to Ariana @ The Quirky Book Nerd for nominating me–I really appreciate it! 🙂 I apologize for the late post.

Siblinghood of the World Bloggers Award

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog
  • Put the award logo on your blog
  • Answer the 10 questions sent to you
  • Make up 10 new questions for your nominees to answer
  • Nominate 10 blogs

Ariana’s Questions

  1. What are some new releases you are most looking forward to in 2016?
    So many! New 2016 releases that I’m most looking forward to would include Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare, Traitor’s Pyre by Josephine Angelini, A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir, ToG #6 by Sarah J. Maas, The Young Elites #3 by Marie Lu, The Last Star by Rick Yancey, Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, and Stars Above by Marissa Meyer.
  2. What is you favorite under-hyped book?
    Favorite under-hyped books…probably Origin by Jessica Khoury and The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.
  3. What is one thing (activity, song, movie, etc…) that always makes you happy no matter what?
    Reading. The large majority of the time I’m reading a fairly enjoyable book.
  4. Do you prefer series or standalone novels?
    I do not mind standalone novels, although I have a harder time finding standalone novels that I like, so I’d say series. Plus if I like the series I get to read more of it.
  5. Do you play video games? If so, what are your favorite games to play?
    I do not play video games.
  6. What is your favorite song of all time?
    Lithium by Evanescence.
  7. If you could have any fictional animal as a pet, what would you choose?
    Either Fleetfoot (Throne of Glass) or Fawkes (Harry Potter).
  8. What 2016 movies are you most looking forward to seeing?
    I’m really looking forward to seeing The 5th Wave and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children in 2016 since they’re both film adaptations based on two of my favorite books.
  9. What book or series would you recommend to someone who says they don’t like to read, and why would you choose that book or series?
    To someone who does not read very often, what book or series would I recommend? It really depends on the person. To everyone (unless if they dislike fantasy) I’d recommend the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling because who could go wrong with these books? To people who prefer more realistic fiction, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart because it’s a well-developed novel with unique characters. To people who prefer very action packed books, The Maze Runner by James Dashner because my heart would not stop pounding during my first read of the series.
  10. What is your absolute favorite quote?
    I have many favorite quotes, but to pick one…

I Nominate…

My Questions

  1. Favorite band or singer?
  2. One yet to be released 2016 book that you’re really, really excited about.
  3. Favorite color?
  4. You’re sleeping until you suddenly have a really good idea. You (a.) Write it down on the nearest piece of paper, (b.) go back to sleep and write it down the next day, (c.) go back to sleep and forget about it the next day, or (d.) none of the above.
  5. One book that always makes you happy when you reread it.
  6. What is your favorite hyped book?
  7. Who is your favorite intelligent/strategic main character?
  8. Favorite book based on mythology?
  9. Favorite book with a made up language?
  10. Prose or poetry?

Liebster Award | 2

Thank you iloveheartlandx @ Book Lovers Blog for nominating me for the Liebster Award. You can visit her blog here.

The Liebster Award

The Rules

  1. Once you are nominated, thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to their blog.
  2. Nominate eleven smaller bloggers (try to keep to under 300 followers). You may have to go hunting for these blogs, the idea is to find new blogs and share them with the community. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on their blog.
  3. Answer the eleven questions the presenter asked you.
  4. Write eleven questions for the bloggers you nominated to answer.
  5. Lastly, copy the rules in this post.

iloveheartlandx’s Questions

  1. What do you love most about reading?
    What I love most about reading is being able to lose myself in the words, explore new (fantasy) worlds, and spend time with amazing characters.
  2. Favorite book blog that you’ve discovered this year?
    I don’t know. I’ve discovered a lot of wonderful book blogs this year.
  3. Why did you start blogging?
    I started blogging because I wanted to give blogging a try and because I wanted a place to talk about books. In 2014, I had an approximately ten month hiatus from blogging and then I began blogging again. I continued because I began to really enjoy it and a lot of book blogs are filled with great book recommendations.
  4. TV series that you love to binge-watch?
    I don’t exactly have a TV series that I love to binge-watch. But I am interested in seeing what becomes of the Shadowhunters TV series.
  5. Favorite movie?
    My favorite movie really depends on my mood. Generally movies I haven’t seen yet are the most entertaining, but all-time favorites would be Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit.
  6. Favorite book series?
    Again, it really depends on my mood. At the moment though, I really want to read The 5th Wave trilogy and The Lunar Chronicles since I haven’t read all the books.
  7. Favorite stand-alone book?
    I don’t often read stand-alone books, so when I do read one, it’s usually pretty good. I guess either Coraline or The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Both were beautifully written, but slightly creepy reads.
  8. If you could be any animal what would you be?
    Maybe a hawk–it would be fun to fly. Or a dog: dogs have such easy lives.
  9. Who is your favorite fictional character?
    That’s a hard one…I have so many favorite fictional characters. To pick one…Hermione Granger.
  10. What do you like to do outside of reading?
    Outside of reading, I enjoy writing, running, baking, and knitting.
  11. Who is your favorite singer?
    Amy Lee from Evanescence–she has a really beautiful voice. I would never have begun listening to her though if it weren’t for Veronica Roth’s Divergent playlist.

My Questions

  1. What film adaptation or any movie are you most excited for in 2016?
  2. What are three 2016 releases you are dying to read?
  3. What kind of music do you enjoy listening to?
  4. Do you have a pet?
  5. What is one book with a lot of hype that you like?
  6. Who is your favorite mischievous character? (e.g. Peeves the poltergeist from Harry Potter)
  7. What is one film adaptation you like more than the book?
  8. Pen or pencil?
  9. Paper book or eBook?
  10. Paperback or hardcover?
  11. Do you like doing artistic activities? (e.g. drawing, sewing)

My Nominees

In my previous Liebster Award post, I nominated 11 other blogs. So I nominate anyone who hasn’t done the Liebster Award yet or anyone interested in answering my questions. 🙂


Liebster Award | 1

Thank you to Giovanna @ Book Coma for the nomination! 🙂

The Liebster Award


  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the nominator has given you.
  3. Tag 11 bloggers who have less than 1000 readers.
  4. Think of 11 questions to ask the bloggers you have nominated.
  5. Let them know you’ve nominated them through social media or their blog.

Giovanna’s Questions

  1. What are your top 3 reads of 2015?
    That’s a tough question. To go with some books I don’t mention that often: The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini, and Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs.
  2. What was the worst book you read in 2015?
    I was very fortunate to read so many wonderful books in 2015, I did not encounter a book I disliked.
  3. Favorite Genre?
    Young adult fantasy–it’s so addictive.
  4. Genre you will not touch?
    I will generally never touch a book that’s just romance (exceptions: Jane Eyre–but this book has mystery elements as well). While I’m okay with a book having some romance in it, I do not like romance dominated plots.
  5. Name a book that had a lot of hype, but you ended up hating it.
    Six of Crows had a lot of hype. I did not necessarily dislike it, but it didn’t meet all of my exceptions either.
  6. Did you have a Goodreads goal this year? If so, did you finish it?
    I did not have a GoodReads goal in 2015, but I have one for 2016. Hopefully I’ll be able to read 50 books this year, since I read 54-some last year. So far, I’ve read 5 books.
  7. If you could kill any fictional character (Books, Movies, or TV) without getting in trouble, who would it be and why?
    If I could kill any fictional character without getting in trouble, I’d say Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter. She was so nasty, evil, and irritating, but I don’t think she ever died.
  8. How many books are on your TBR?
    138 books–a number which has significantly been growing since I began blogging.
  9. If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would buy?
  10. Do you have any siblings?
    No, but I do have a very adorable dog who I count as a sibling.
  11. What is your dream job?
    My dream job would probably be as a novelist, poet, and editor.

My Questions

  1. What film adaptation or any movie are you most excited for in 2016?
  2. What are three 2016 releases you are dying to read?
  3. What kind of music do you enjoy listening to?
  4. Do you have a pet?
  5. What is one book with a lot of hype that you like?
  6. Who is your favorite mischievous character? (e.g. Peeves the poltergeist from Harry Potter)
  7. What is one film adaptation you like more than the book?
  8. Pen or pencil?
  9. Paper book or eBook?
  10. Paperback or hardcover?
  11. Do you like doing artistic activities? (e.g. drawing, sewing)

My Nominees

  1. Alyssa @ Alyssa is Reading
  2.  aVeryAwkwardBlog
  3. My Tiny Obsessions
  4. ljbentley27 @ Lisa Talks About…
  5. Lisa Tiller
  6. Audrey Writes Abroad
  7. Kim Honiball @ From Narnia to Neverland
  8. Book Oblivion
  9. fairydancer221 @ Cat on the Bookshelf
  10. Global Book Mania
  11. Between Pages

Review: Chained by Susanne Valenti



Title: Chained
Author: Susanne Valenti
Series: Cage of Lies Saga | Book 1
Pages: 313
Publisher: Susanne Valenti; 1 edition (October 1, 2015)
Rating: 4 stars

The dystopia novel, Chained, by Susanne Valenti, describes a world where fear of Contamination keeps people inside of walled cities through the perspective of Maya Summers.

Like the rest of humanity, Maya lives behind the Wall in the Guardian protected city. But she is also an orphan. She has been for awhile ever since her parents died in a fatal lab accident.

Invited to join a scientific expedition outside the Wall by her best friend, Maya’s life is turned upside down. One simple mistake sentences her and her best friend, Taylor, to a brief SubWar sentence for endangering the population.

Although Maya and Taylor are only supposed to carry messages and not engage in combat, circumstances force them to fight for their very lives. One event leads to another and soon Maya finds herself outside of the SubWar boundaries with Taylor and a mysterious stranger who rescues them along with Laurie.

Now that they’ve left, there’s no going back to the city petrified of the Contamination, which lies outside of the wall, unless, of course, they want to serve a life sentence in SubWar. And Maya will soon discover a terrifying, but releasing truth about the walled city and herself.

Continue reading

Ultimate Harry Potter Book Tag

I found this tag on susannevalenti’s blog who found this on fandomsontherun and she tagged any huge Harry Potter fans. Having read and watched all the books and their film adaptions, I would consider myself a fan of the series.

1. Favorite Book?

Definitely Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix. There was so much suspense and tension that built up from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I also liked the atmosphere of the book: Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, DA, the rebellion against Umbridge, and ominous dreams, which all lead up to the fight in the Ministry of Magic.

2. Least favorite book?

I’m not sure if I even have a least favorite Harry Potter book. I thought they were all great in their own unique and similar ways.

3. Favorite movie?

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix because of all the different, new settings in the magical world.

4. Least favorite movie?

I love all of the movies.

5. Favorite quote?

I have many favorite quotes from Harry Potter, so this is one of many:

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

6. Favourite Weasley?

Ginny Weasley because she stands up by refusing to be bullied, can cast a skilled Bat-Bogey Hex, and is not afraid to fight in battles.

7. Favorite female character?

Hermione Granger for a variety of reasons.

Hermione Granger

Hermione Granger

8. Favorite villain?

J.K. Rowling did such a wonderful job of making me as a reader hate all the antagonists and cheer for all the protagonists. The top three villains who did the best job at making me hate them were probably Voldemort (who kills nearly everyone he encounters), Professor Umbridge (an unjust and really irritating person in a position of power), and Bellatrix (who takes unhealthy, sadistic pleasure in killing and torturing people).

9. Favorite male character?

Probably Harry Potter because all of the books are written from his perspective so you kind of get a better understanding of his character than Ron’s.

10. Favorite professor?

Professor McGonagall because while she’s stern, she’s also fair, and a good teacher from the sound of the book.

11. Would you rather a) wash Snape’s hair or b) spend a day listening to Lockhart rant about himself?

B. spend a day listening to Lockhart rant about himself. From the description J.K. Rowling gives in the books, washing Snape’s hair sounds like it would be, to say the least, unpleasant.

12. Would you rather duel a) an elated Bellatrix or b) an angry Molly?

I would much rather (b) duel an angry Molly because chances are that if you are not threatening any of her family she will probably not kill you. She will probably just give you a temporary spell with unpleasant side effects.

13. Would you rather travel to Hogwarts via the Hogwarts express or flying car?

The Hogwarts Express sounds much more safe, interesting, and fun.

14. Would you rather kiss Voldemort or give Umbridge a bubble bath?

The first option would be impossible to avoid, not to mention disgusting and revolting.  I’d probably give Umbridge a bubble bath laced with an ominous Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes concoction that would cause who know’s what.

15. Would you rather ride a Hippogriffe or a Firebolt?

Tough question. Do I really I have to decide? They both have their pluses and minuses. In the end though, I’d say a Firebolt because in my mind riding a broom sounds more exciting.

Continue reading

The Real Neat Blog Award

I was nominated by poppyonkirrinisland @ Poppy’s Best of Books for the Real Neat Blog Award. Thank you! 🙂

The Real Neat Blog Award

The Rules

  1. Thank and follow the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Answer the seven questions that the nominator provided.
  3. Nominate seven other bloggers.
  4. Create seven questions for your nominees.


  1. What is your favorite book of 2015?
    My favorite book of 2015…huh, that’s a tough one. If I really, really have to choose it would either be Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas or City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare.
  2. What is the book that you have read the most?
    Probably Queen of Shadows–it’s so action packed and an enjoyable read.
  3. What was your favorite childhood book?
    The Nancy Drew books by Carolyn Keene. 🙂
  4. How many books (approx) do you think you own?
    I think I own about 149 books.
  5. When did you start blogging and why?
    Fall of 2014 was when I technically started, but I didn’t actively blog until summer of 2015. I started blogging (about books) because I love books and I wanted to recommend books and get book recommendations.
  6. Where is your favorite place to read and why?
    Anywhere quiet–in the living room, at my desk, or on my bed.
  7. Have you got a favorite tasty treat to accompany you and your book?
    I don’t think so…

My Nominees

My Questions

  1. Favorite holiday?
  2. Best book recommendation?
  3. Which book character do you relate to most?
  4. What is your preferred writing instrument?
  5. Favorite blogging music?
  6. What is a series you discovered in 2015 that is now one of your favorite reads?
  7. What is one book you’re anticipating in 2016?

Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you to Calliope the Book Goddess for the nomination! 🙂

The Versatile Blogger Award


  1. Show the award on your blog
  2. Thank the person that has nominated you.
  3. Share 7 different facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 blogs of your choice  For this one, I’m going to cheat and nominate five.
  5. Link your nominees and let them know of your nomination.

Facts About Myself

  1. I’m currently reading Angelfall by Susan Ee and have mixed feelings about it.
  2. I use a paper planner and WordPress to plan and schedule my posts.
  3. As of Tuesday, I still need to write a book review for Friday.
  4. I can’t decide whether I should continue reading Beautiful Creatures.
  5. Currently I’m wondering why a lot of blog awards say to share 7 facts about yourself.
  6. I’m also wondering about who started The Versatile Blogger Award.
  7. I still haven’t gotten around to reading The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr.

My Nominees

If you’ve not done the Versatile Blogger Award before and would like to, let me know and I will add your blog! 🙂