Book Review: Vignettes by Lola Andrews

Well to start off this review, I am pretty pumped to say that I have surpassed 300 followers on Twitter and have achieved 150 WordPress followers! Thank you so much to everyone that takes the time to read my reviews 🙂 I have loved having book discussions with everyone and will continue to do so. Bringing attention to new author’s books is a passion of mine and I am glad people are interested in hearing what I have to say. I give honest opinions about the books I read and I will stay true to that.

So let us jump into this review, shall we! Vignettes by Lola Andrews is a collection of LGBTQ erotic novellas.

Synopsis: Kamila is fighting loneliness, and her affair with a married woman hardly seems like the solution, Lana and Emma don’t know what they want, other than each other, while Eric, Sam, and Tove are just enjoying each other and their shared life. Meanwhile, Mia is just very horny and missing her wife, Clara and Julia are trapped together in a road trip, Linda is blocked and Jaron and Noah are barely holding on to their sanity.

Meet them and many more in this collection of short stories, which hopes to show the beauty of love had, love lost and love kept. Join these everyday heroes, who take chances in the simplest ways, and who, above all, want nothing but love. These stories of LGBTQ persuasion hope to inspire, warm up and enliven your day.

This was my first time reading erotica and I can honestly say that I am not really a fan. Nothing against the author, I just don’t think this genre is for me. However, it has only been my first experience with it so I am open to trying out others to compare.

The book was OK. There were some short stories that I enjoyed but I found that they lacked in a storyline. I think by focusing more on a storyline and building up to the ultimate climax of the actual sex, it could make these stories more entertaining to read. This may be why Fifty Shades is a big success (never read the book or saw the movie so this could be a shady comparison due to lack of knowledge). For me, I like to learn and grow with the characters, to see their stories blossom into something exciting, intense or dramatic but in these short stories, I felt that most of the characters were thrown together just to fulfill the sexual desire and then nothing else.

There was one I rather enjoyed about two women who were past lovers and then thrown back into each other’s lives due to an investigation on some murders. It had a big Supernatural vibe because they were dealing with werewolves and it was like Sam and Dean hunting down another monster (except in this case they weren’t related and were past lovers). So this one I did enjoy.

But then there was one that got a little incestual about a father and son romance and I couldn’t handle this. This was just too much for me. I could tell what was coming and was cringing when trying to read through it.

My rating reflects my honest opinion. I can see this author doing really well in this genre but my criticism would be to add a little more storyline and build a little more on the characters. Once someone falls into the story and likes/dislikes the characters, then the erotic parts will be that much more meaningful and intense. They will bring a reader to their true climax.

Book Rating: 2.5/5

About the Author: Lola Andrews began writing the moment she developed an imagination. Though her skill has changed with time (for the better!), she has always been hungry for new and better stories, and now hopes to add to the LGBTQ community with her humble offerings. When not writing, Lola can be found pole dancing, drinking wine and watching movies.

You can find Lola on Twitter!

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by the author to read and give an honest review.

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Another Bookstagrammer Shoutout

I have been working on growing my Instagram account and looking for some great bookstagrammers to connect with. There are so many out there that it is hard to choose which ones to feature. In my search, I found some really cool accounts that have to do with bookish items and I figured I would share them!

@booklifesj

She posts a lot of new books she is reading and talks about book events she is going to. I believe she also has a booktube you could check out on her profile.

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@cookie_bookie_

This bookstagrammer posts a lot of photos of their bookshelves and they make me super jealous :P.

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@tumblr.books

I started following her when I saw that we read a bunch of the same books and then just really liked her book photography!

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@sweptawaybooks

This is a fellow Canadian bookstagrammer! She is all the way over in Vancouver though 😛 A lot of her posts usually have a coffee/latte/tea in them and they always make me want to be in a nice warm place reading a book with a cup of some warm beverage. She seems to know a lot of nice reading nooks!

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@kenchireads

Another fellow book reviewer that has read many of the books I have and had similar opinions on them. I also love that they state they are a Ravenclaw in their profile. Anyone in their right mind would be so proud to be a Ravenclaw 🙂

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Those are my bookstagram highlights for this week! I will be sharing more next week about bookish accounts that host subscription boxes, design creative bookmarks (they are handmade) and sell literary scented candles!

Talk to you soon bookworms and if you want to nominate someone to get a shoutout, tell me who in the comments and I will include them in future posts!

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In a galaxy far far away……

*Begin Star Wars Theme Song*

If you like Star Wars and accessories for your laptop, notebooks, or whatever you like to stick things to, then you will love this giveaway. I have a pack of 4 unique Star Wars stickers up for grabs!

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All you have to do is like this post and follow BreakEven Books. That’s it! If you want extra entries, you could share the post. I will be drawing a winner on March 31st.

As for an update, I should have a new review soon for a genre of book I have never read before. It is a collection of erotic novellas so definitely something different from my usual favorite sci-fi books! Keep your eyes peeled for that review closer to the end of the week.

Talk to you later bookworms!

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Book review: The Mark of Wu – Hidden Paths

Another book completed and added to the library. Another review to be read 🙂

I finished The Mark of Wu: Hidden Paths by Stephen M. Gray. The book was actually pretty good. Picture Mulan but the male character from that movie and instead of being G rated, it’s more of an R rating.

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I will post the synopsis in case you didn’t read my book highlight post.

Synopsis: Yuan, a State of Chu warrior, stands front and center on his chariot, reins in hand, holding at bay a spirited team of horses. He is anxious for a chance to unleash his rage on the invading Wu barbarians in the battle before him. His eyes fix enviously on a fellow soldier, a halberdier who extends his hooked weapon over the shoulder of an enemy who desperately sprints away from the charging chariot. Yuan knows the result before it happens. The wicked blade rips through flesh and muscle, and sinks into the enemy’s collar bone as screams echo off the Dabie Shan Mountains.

Yuan glances toward Field Marshall Wei Yue, thirsting for the order to charge into the fray. He needs this fight to restore his family’s honor. But on the march to battle, Chu’s brilliant General Yang Gai dies, and the less capable Wei Yue snatches control. Can the newly anointed Field Marshall rise to the challenge?

The Emperor has lost his grip on the feudal States, and brutal rivalries, both new and old, now rule. Individual States constantly collide, and noblemen must rise in power to overcome the crushing will of warring factions. Only two outcomes are possible – prevail or perish.

Yuan finds himself catapulted into the throes of treacherous enemies, not only on the battlefield but also at home. This superior warrior will need all his skill and cunning to stay alive.

So this book was an adventure packed thrill ride. I normally am not the biggest fan of history but this book turned China history lessons into intense action war scenes that made you want to know more about how and why the different clans were fighting and how they became these badass armies. I will say that there are some parts that over explained instead of getting to the point but this book is still worth reading. The storyline and characters make up for the over descriptive parts.

Now the characters were all very well rounded and the author gave you just the right amount of background for each to be a relevant part of the story. Prince Kuang and Yuan were my two favorite characters. They are adversaries and both possess the talent and strategy for war tactics.

One thing I did notice it’s that this book is kind of like Game of Thrones in the sense that you can’t keep any characters near and dear to your heart. The reason being is because at any minute they could be killed off. I don’t know how many times when I was reading this book that I would say, “hmm I really like this character” and then the next chapter they would get murdered or killed in some other way. Personally, I think this adds to the book and makes it more cinematic 😛

I would recommend this book if you want an intense action book with really cool fight scenes and smart battle strategists.

You can find the book on Amazon.

Book Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: I was sent this book by the author’s publishing company for an honest review. 

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Bookstagrammer Shoutout

Instagram has been an awesome tool for sharing and connecting with the different book bloggers out there in the world. So I decided to give some of those book blogger accounts a shoutout so that you can check their accounts out and connect with them too. Sharing our content with each other is the whole point right 😛 I will be doing this every so often so if you don’t see your bookstagram account listed, it may well be in the future.

Here is a list of some great bookstagrammers (give these accounts a follow for some awesome content):

  1. @books_and_bookmarks
  2. @noreadstoogreat
  3. @natysbookshelf
  4. @tales_and_textiles
  5. @norinbooks_76
  6. @nina_ravenclaw
  7. @valiant_reader
  8. @morestorgy
  9. @lovebooksandtea97
  10. @bookgoggles
  11. @candy_booklover
  12. @booksandmunches

I have also started writing for Buzzfeed Community and am going to be making some book quizzes which I will be sharing on my blog so make sure to check those out!

Still currently reading The Mark of Wu: Hidden Paths and should have a review for you bookworms soon.

Kobo Canada

Book Highlight: The Mark of Wu – Hidden Paths by Stephen M. Gray

Congratulations to Stephen M. Gray on the release of his book The Mark of Wu – Book One: Hidden Paths. I am currently reviewing this book that was sent to me by Ingram Publisher Services. It is good so far and I am halfway through. Sometimes life gets in the way and stops us from reading. If only we could read all the time 😛

Anyway back to the book highlight!

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Description:

Hidden Paths, the first novel in The Mark Of Wu series, opens in 519 B.C., as the Spring and Autumn period of the Eastern Zhou dynasty devolves toward Warring States Period. 

The Emperor’s grip on the feudal states is over. Brutal rivalries, both new and old now rule, and military dashes lay waste to those who are unprepared. Some men are driven by pure evil, and States either gain power or die.

State of Ch soldier Yuan stands on his chariot, reining in his eager team of horses, anxious for a chance to unleash his rage on the invading Wu barbarians in the battle before him.

Author Bio:

Prior to becoming a serial novelist, Stephen M. Gray worked as a corporate attorney on complex litigation. Early in Gray’s career, his travels to Asia fuelled a thirst to learn about China’s history. His extensive research into the teachings of Sun Tzu for application in today’s business world led to his fascination with 6th Century BC China. There Gray discovered folklore about the abuse of power and privilege and the noble effort of a few brave warriors who fought against tremendous odds for their survival. Hidden Paths is Gray’s first of five books in The Mark of Wu novel series.

So far the book is good and I look forward to sharing my full review with you bookworms!

Kobo Canada

Book Review: To Keep A Secret by Melina Wedin

Another book review for the shelves. This one was called To Keep A Secret by Melina Wedin. It was more of a novella as it was only about 43 pages but I have found a certain love for these types of books. They are not too short but also not too long and they always end with one last line that sticks with you for days afterward.

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Synopsis: A well needed week away from the mainland sounded like a great idea. But this innocent trip to a private island won’t end as well as it began. Tracy finds herself in a situation she could never have imagined as she gets to know the secrets of her love – Ryan Bailey.

The question is: when love turns to fear, how will you survive?

I was drawn in rather quickly to this novella. The main character Tracy was likable and the type of person that has had to earn everything she has. She deserves a break and decides to go on this trip with her friends. The trips starts out great but quickly turns into a nightmare.

I won’t spoil it because it is a pretty short book but I will say that I would not want to be in the circumstances she was in. She has to endure some pretty brutal stuff just to survive another day. You can guess where the plot is going if you have this genre of book but I would still suggest checking this one out.

Another thing that I loved about the book is that it was based in Australia. It has been my dream to go to Australia since grade 4 I think and I will make it there one day.

If you wish to get the book, you can click the link :

You can connect with the author on her website www.melinasvoice.com or catch up with her on her Facebook Page.

Book Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: I was sent the book by the author so that I could read it and give an honest review. I have not been compensated in any way.

 

Book Review: The Aletheian Journeys: The Arrow Bringer by Lisa Mayer

A new reviewer has joined the team! Welcome, Sara to the Breakeven Books team. You can find Sara on her Instagram at saramact! She has reviewed The Aletheian Journeys: The Arrow Bringer by Lisa Mayer.

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This novel is a C.S. Lewis inspired Christian fantasy. Taking place in the land of Aletheian, which is in another world, the two main characters fight against the evil ruler, Kotu, to bring peace back to the land through inspiring the love for an omnipotent and near-forgotten caretaker, the Arrow Bringer.

The plot is long and flows from one conflict to the next, never sticking to a traditional storyline, so you don’t know what’s coming next. The author focuses a lot of the book on the inner turmoil of the main character and narrator, Evangeline, as she works through her issues with her initial turning away from the Arrow Bringer and her responsibilities to the people of Aletheia. The secondary character, Shawn, is also struggling with his own faith, though he is much more confident in his role. Through preparing for an epic battle with Kotu and his followers, the Aletheians must go on a journey assigned to them by the Arrow Bringer to prove their love and faith.
Though I enjoyed the fantasy world Mayer had created, the model has some definite flaws. There are several parts where the story is lacking a certain “flow”, and so occasionally reads a bit rough. For example, she introduced a few characters as if we should already know who they were, or mentioned personal relationships between characters that were not exposed at all before that, and so came across as forced.

Unfortunately, the Christian allegory and allusions are about as subtle as a brick. There is no mistaking this for anything other than a Christian story, and in many parts makes such obvious references and defers from the plot so much that it is very distracting from the story. Eventually, the Arrow Bringer character even takes human form, is renamed Justus, and sacrifices himself for his followers. Though I enjoy a good Christian story, this novel is so blunt about it that I found it very distracting from the fantasy elements of the story, and found it hard to enjoy because of this.

Overall, this book has a good premise, as the idea behind the fantasy elements of the story is entertaining and intriguing. The author fleshes out the characters she chooses to very well, and makes them relatable. I enjoyed reading through Evangeline’s personal journey as she progressed through the story. Unfortunately, the bluntness of the Christian elements detract from the overall story and make it hard to read without feeling like you’re reading the New Testament.

Book Rating: 3/5.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us by the author for an honest review. We have not been compensated in any way.

Find the book on Amazon! Or check out the author’s website. You can also find Lisa Mayer on Twitter.

Talk to you soon bookworms!

Book Review: Release by Patrick Ness

Another book review, this time of Release by Patrick Ness. I read this one really fast so that tells you that it was damn good.

I would start with the fact that I love this book cover. It’s beautiful. Also kind of confused me because I would pick up the book to read if I put it down and it would be upside down because I kept expecting the cover to be right side up 😛

Synopsis: Adam Thorn doesn’t know it yet, but today will change his life.

Between his religious family, a deeply unpleasant ultimatum from his boss, and his own unrequited love for his sort-of ex, Enzo, it seems as though Adam’s life is falling apart.  At least he has two people to keep him sane: his new boyfriend (he does love Linus, doesn’t he?) and his best friend, Angela.

But all day long, old memories and new heartaches come crashing together, throwing Adam’s life into chaos. The bindings of his world are coming untied one by one; yet in spite of everything he has to let go, he may also find freedom in the release.

So I loved Adam’s character. He was just so real. And his best friend Angela was the best. If she was my friend, I would feel so blessed because she cares for Adam so much and would do anything for him. The fact that they became such good friends because they bonded over being in a car accident together as children was really cool. Just hanging upside down and reaching over and holding each other’s hands while being stuck in the car.

The entire book spans just over one day and a lot happens in this one day. Adam hears some big news from his brother, is given an ultimatum by his boss to either keep his job or get fired, and attends a party for some people close to him that are moving away. But there is another side story happening at the same time as Adam’s unravels.

A young woman named Katherine was killed just days before and her spirit has come out of the lake and is searching for some resolution to why she died. The story keeps switching back and forth between the two characters which makes for a very interesting storyline but none the less magnificent.

Adam’s struggle with his home life is kind of brutal too. He likes the same sex and this is not a thing you do if you are religious. At one point his father even tells him that he has to “work” to love Adam and that would be so hard to hear especially from the person you look up to and learn from your entire life. But he is true to who he is and fights for what he wants which I admire about him.

There was a quote that stood out in the book. It came from Angela’s mom but I thought it was too awesome not to share.

Never pass up the chance to be kissing someone. Its the worst kind of regret.

All in all, I loved this book and would strongly recommend it. It’s a very easy read and will leave you feeling happy. I honestly can’t find anything negative to say about it. This is the first book I have read by Patrick Ness and I really look forward to reading more of his work.

Book Rating: 5/5

Disclaimer: I bought this book with my own money and decided to write a review on it. I have been compensated in no way and did this because I wanted to.

Book Review: Star City by Edwin Peng

Another book  has been read and reviewed! This one is called Star City by Edwin Peng.

This book was pretty good. The main characters were Emma (the youthful student ambassador) and Sepporinen (the chosen Alien delegate). They work together to cure diseases with the use of the alien technology. But a lot of the world doesn’t agree with working with aliens and choose to start anti-Bar’en groups (Bar’en is the alien race that Sepporinen is a part of).

There was some teen love but I found that most of it wasn’t exactly believable. It just seemed like a very elementary school kind of relationship.

Most of the events that happened in the book were pretty predictable. I kept waiting for that moment when you think you know whats going to happen and there is a twist that just makes for a great ending but it never came.

There was a lot of progress towards accepting different cultures. This I did like about the book because it promoted accepting everyone and taking away the fuel of hatred towards others based on skin color or religion.

It was interesting enough to keep me going and I liked the book cover too. I think the sequels will be promising and I hope for some more adventure with the main characters.

Book Rating: 3.5/5

Oh and finally I will reveal the Giveaway Winner!!! And the winner is…….drumroll please……….KYLEE BAKOWSKI! I will get in touch and get the book to you. Thank you to everyone who liked and shared the post and participated in the contest.

Disclaimer: I was sent this book by the author and publishers to read and give my honest review. I also did a book highlight and giveaway for this book.