Book Review: Taken with a Dark Desire by Dennis Scheel

Another book review from yours truly! This one was called Taken With A Dark Desire by Dennis Scheel. It is a story involving angels and demons so naturally I was intrigued.

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Synopsis: Never trust a deal with the Devil. Lucifer wants Denida’s ring though he promised not to interfere in Denida’s world. He sends Claus to kidnap Daniel to force Denida to trade. Daniel tells the story of his Dad’s secret past to unsettle them. Nina, Denida and the Colonel use all the resources of the Underworlds to find Daniel. Neither they nor the Devil knows there is another person interested in Daniel for their own reasons.

I had many things I liked about this book and many things I didn’t. I will start with the pros. It was about angels and demons so PRO right there. Fantasy books are the best. They always have so much potential and can go in any direction which makes for an exciting read.

I really bonded with the character of Michelle. She was a badass and very powerful in ways the other characters couldn’t even imagine. I tend to like the evil characters more so that is probably why I like her. Lucifer was pretty fun too. Of course I am drawn to Lucifer’s character 😛 *insert evil laugh*

It was pretty cool how Daniel was a side part of the novel where he is telling a story about how his father came to power. This made it split the plot into two storylines, one in the present and one in the past.

And now the cons. First off, the character names. They were all so similar that it was hard to distinguish who was who at times. Some examples are Denida, Nina, Dan, Daniel, Danyel…. they all sounded similar and a lot of the time I had to really concentrate to know who was speaking. I feel like it would be much better if the names were a little more diversified.

There were some grammatical errors which bugged me a bit. The worst thing is when you are deep into an exciting adventure and then all of a sudden you are ripped out of the fantasy due to person “petting a house” instead of “petting a horse” (this is not one of them, just an example). There were only a few so it wasn’t too bad but still brought me out of the fantasy every once and awhile.

*SPOILER ALERT* – skip this part if you plan to read the book

The ending was very anticlimactic for me. The entire time you are expecting this big fight between Denida and Medusa and don’t get me wrong, there is a fight but it lasted 2 and a half pages. This book is 400 pages and the final fight was a mere 2 and a half pages. I was hoping for destruction and mayhem. At least a whole chapter of it. But nope, just like that, it was over. And if Denida had all this power, why didn’t he use it earlier.

*SPOILER ENDED*

All in all, it was a decent book. This book is for the fantasy lovers out there. I had very mixed feelings on it but I would still say to give it a read so I could hear others thoughts on it.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

Disclaimer: We were sent this book by the author in physical format to read and give an honest review.


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Book Review: Kingdom Come by Justin Coogle

Hola bookworms. Guess what!?

I made it to 400 followers on Twitter 🙂 This has been one of my goals for awhile and I am super pumped to have surpassed it. Also, Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! I doubt they read the blog but hey if they do, this will make their day. Anyways enough about the socials and down to the knitty gritty as Scott would say from HQ Trivia.

Another review by our external reviewer @saramact !! This one is called Kingdom Come by Justin Coogle. It is a Christian fantasy. Pretty cool as I am reading a book about angels and demons too right now. Read on to see what Sara had to say!

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Synopsis: In this book, our protagonist Jason Collins is a Demon Hunter, as a part of an organization sanctioned and funded by the modern Catholic Church, headed up by the new Pope, who initiated the organization. Their tasks range from defending the Vatican against demon invasions to hunting down and eliminating demons around the world. Jason, as the newest member of his team, struggles between earning his place in this life he wants so badly, and feeling like he belongs in his faith as well.

Because of his heroic antics, Jason is on thin ice with the DH, and must prove himself in the upcoming mission: a mysterious graveyard that appears out of nowhere, with several missing crews of DH agents within. What comes back with the team from this mission will forever alter the way that the world sees the DH, as they are soon confronted with an evil they never expected, that attacks where they least expected.

I found this book very enjoyable. It did a good job of developing characters in a very natural way, and the book itself progressed very fluidly, without being predictable at all. I also found that Coogle did a very good job of blending the Christian with the Fantasy. I am not very religious and was a bit worried about how the faith aspects of the book would impact the story for someone who isn’t interested in that bit, but it came off much more like just a regular trait that the characters have rather than a central focus of the book. Even the religious aspects of the demon-fighting were very minimal, and so as a non-believer I still found it very enjoyable. I imagine if the reader was religious this would be an even better read, as you could relate to the characters on a deeper, spiritual level.

My only complaints would be that my copy had a few minor spelling errors, though sometimes that happens as a result of conversion to e-book format. I also might have liked to see a bit more detail in a few places, just to flesh out what I was visualizing a little more, like character descriptions, or even more setting etc., but this is mostly just preference. Overall I really enjoyed the book, and I was slightly surprised by this, because of the genre. It was a good fantasy/supernatural read, and I enjoyed every bit of it.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can find the book on Amazon and Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in e-book format to read and give an honest review.


Book Review: Looking For Dei

New book review for you bookworms! This one was called Looking For Dei by David A. Wilson. It was fantastic! I loved this book and did not want to put it down when I picked it up for quick reading sessions.

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Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Nara Dall has never liked secrets. Yet it seems that her life has been filled with them, from the ugly scar on her back to the strange powers she possesses. Her mysterious father refuses to say anything about her origins, and soon, she and her best friend must attend the announcement ceremony, in which youths are tested for a magical gift.

A gifted youth has not been announced in the poor village of Dimmitt for decades. When Nara uncovers the reason, she uses her own powers to make things right. The decision sets her on a path of danger, discovery, and a search for the divine. In the process, she learns the truth about herself and uncovers the biggest secret of all: the power of broken people.

This book was really good. I had been in a little slump of reading books that couldn’t hold my interest or were just not doing it for me but I am glad to say that this book refreshed me.

I really like how it portrayed magic and how to use magic objects as if they had an inner sight to them. And the play on using runes to funnel magic through was awesome. Who would have thought to get a rune tattoo and be able to use this magic whenever you desired. It played right into my inner nerd and back to my good old model building and battling days.

The main character Nara was a likable character. You could tell that all she ever wants is for the people around her to be happy. You can feel the mystery behind her past grow more intense as the storyline progresses. She has such strong power and you get to join her on her discovery of the immense power she has within.

I actually really like Kayna. She is one of the villains in this story but I just loved how emotionless she was. She had one purpose and it was to become very skilled with her magic to further her position in the political society.

I found Bylo a little boring but every character can’t steal my love so I guess that is ok 😛

There were some very obvious religious aspects to this book but it wasn’t so bad and thrown right in your face that you would just get upset with it. It was finetuned and incorporated into the story as part of the characters upbringing/understanding of their past.

I won’t say anything about the ending because I don’t want to spoil it but I will say that it was intense and everything I hoped for the ending to be. There is definitely hints at a sequel and I really hope it happens! Hear that David! When you write the next book, let me know so I can get it 🙂

Book Rating: 4.5/5

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me in physical paperback format by the author for an honest review.


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Book Highlight and Author Interview: Depths of Night

I was asked to partake in a book tour! Woohoo, this is the second one I have participated in and the book looks amazing. I am here to give you a highlight of the book and an author interview so here we go!

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Synopsis: 

After a harrowing end to a long sea journey, the famed northern warrior Ragnar Stormbringer and a force of warriors step ashore in the lands of the Petranni, a tribal people known for their workings in silver and gold. The search for plunder takes a sharp turn when homesteads, villages, and temple sites show signs of being recently abandoned.

When it is discovered that the Petranni have all taken refuge within a massive stronghold, Ragnar and the others soon fall under the shadow of an ancient, deadly adversary. Wielding his legendary war axe  Raven Caller, Ragnar finds his strength tested like never before.

Sounds great eh? I interviewed the author and here is what he had to say!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

The author of the book is Stephen Zimmer and you can find him on Twitter as @sgzimmer !

Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

I am a mix between those two approaches.  In writing my various series, I came to appreciate the importance of having a sense of direction and destination.  I never want to write myself into a corner, and I do want to know where I am headed in a story.  This requires a core structure in advance, in terms of a basic outline.

At the same time, I do not want to constrict myself in the instance that a great new idea pops up in regard to new subplots, twists and turns of the core plot, or new characters.  I like to be able to give my stories room to breathe during the creation process, so I do not plot or outline to the point where I don’t have any room to maneuver if new elements strike me in the process.

I have found that this balance works very well for me, both in writing series and also in the creation of stand-alone tales such as Depths of Night.

 

What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?

The hardest thing about writing in today’s world is handling the many hats that need to be worn on a regular basis.  A writer has to dedicate a lot of time to marketing, publicity, the business end, appearances, and many other things beyond the actual creative process.

These areas can be very time consuming and sometimes exhausting, and the writer must find ways to make sure that the creative path continues forward and is not too inhibited by all of the other things involved in a writer’s world.

 

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I love to read!  I am currently reading Robert A. Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.  Heinlein is a favorite author of mine, but other favorites include J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Clive Barker, R.A. Salvatore, Paulo Coelho, Guy Gavriel Kay, David Gemmell, Robert E. Howard, and many others.  Reading engages the imagination like nothing else and I think that it is very important for writers to set aside some time for reading on a regular basis. You always learn something about writing from reading!

 

What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?

In today’s flooded market, a good cover and title are extremely important.  Every week there is an enormous number of new releases, so you do not have long at all to catch a reader’s attention.  A good, catchy title, coupled with a strong cover, can help to gain the interest of a reader to consider buying your book.

I should also mention that a good cover requires more than just eye-catching artwork. A good cover involves skillful design and layout, including the section of title fonts and their placement.  A cover designer that is adept with both art and layout is worth every penny to a publisher or indie author who self-publishes.

 

Which book inspired you to begin writing?

My mother read the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien when I was just seven years old, and she followed that with buying me a boxed set of the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis in paperback.  I credit all of these incredible books for being the foundation of my inspiration to start down the path of storytelling and speculative fiction.  These powerful novels opened my eyes to the incredible possibilities of fantasy literature and I never turned back. 😊

Thank you for having me as a guest today at Breakeven books!

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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!