Book Review: The Telltale Tattoo

Whats new bookworms? I have another review from Sara MacTaylor. Oh, and by the way, she has a shop on Etsy that she sells these cool little craft creatures. Check out her Etsy page called AdorkableLilCrafties!

Now, to the book review. This one was called The Telltale Tattoo by John L. DeBoer. See what Sara had to say about it below 🙂

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Synopsis: The Telltale Tattoo begins with following the story of Chinh, a man who watched both of his parents get murdered during a raid on his village during the Vietnam War. He has become a successful businessman, and finally has the means to track down the soldier who committed the murders. The story then begins to involve a web of characters whom all become connected in the pursuit of the one awful man who committed the murders, as well as many other immoral things since his time as a soldier. Clay Archer, a private investigator, becomes one of the several main narrators in this story. He helps track down and put the pressure on Taggart, the man at the focus of the story, which accelerates the storyline.

DeBoer’s writing is entertaining to read, and adequately shares the story with the reader. Unfortunately, having several different narrators doesn’t allow for much character developments, so we only become superficially acquainted with the characters. It is interesting to read where the story will go, as there are many twists and turns, with many characters having their effect on where the story goes.

Overall, I found the novel an acceptably interesting read, but nothing to brag about. It is a simple mystery novel with a variety of characters and an interesting progression through the story. I didn’t become overly invested in any of the characters, or the result of the chase, as we know that Taggart won’t get away, but we don’t know which of the many interested parties will be his downfall.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can find the author on Twitter and this book on Amazon!
Have any of you read this book? If so, tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

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


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Book Review: Betrayal of Faith by Mark Bello

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews! I currently have 3 different books on the go but I managed to finish one of them. This one was called Betrayal of Faith by Mark Bello. Just look at the cover of the book and I’m sure you will guess what the book is about. I took a picture of it beside a candle to give it that ominous feeling (the candle smells amazing by the way).

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Synopsis: “Betrayal of Faith” is an award-winning novel by Mark M. Bello. It is a riveting story of a lawyer’s struggle for redemption, a sinister organization’s attempt at a cover-up, and a mother’s fight for justice for her sons. Zachary Blake is a down-on-his-luck lawyer with little hope of turning his career around. That is until Jennifer Tracey calls with the case of a lifetime against one of the world’s largest religious organizations. Jennifer discovers that the parish priest has harmed her two sons. She recalls the attorney who handled her husband’s industrial accident case – Zachary Blake. But Blake is not the same man he was three years ago; he has fallen on hard times, divorced and living case-to-case, handling traffic tickets. Despite some reservations, Jennifer takes a chance on him. As Blake and his private investigator, Micah Love, dig deeper into the case, they discover a clandestine, sinister organization within the church tasked with the responsibility of taking care of such incidents quickly and quietly, at all cost. Traveling across the state line, Blake discovers that two families have disappeared after an encounter with the same priest; and the one person who may provide some answers has died under mysterious circumstances. While the courtroom drama heats up, the action outside the courtroom spirals out of control. Will Blake be able to resurrect his troubled career and obtain the justice Jennifer seeks for her kids? Or will the church, the Coalition, and its mysterious leader circumvent justice and cover up the depraved acts of this rogue priest? Betrayal of Faith is dedicated to survivors of abuse and the lawyers and advocates who fight for the justice these victims deserve.

I wasn’t sure what to think about this book when I busted it open and started reading but I have to say that it definitely drew me in. What happens to the Tracey boys is tragic and I would not wish that upon anyone. Child Molestation is no joke and a very serious problem that needs to be dealt with. In this case, the priest was the one doing the molesting. The boys feel so guilty because the priest uses the Bible and religion to make them do the things he wants. He tells them it is what God wants. It was so sick that he did that too them and I felt like I was in the jury on this court case while I was reading this book.

Legal thrillers are a rather new genre to me but I am glad I started with this one. It was entertaining and fun to see the entire legal process from start to finish on how one gets the justice they deserve against a true monster.

Zachary Blake was a very likable character as you see him start off the story in a slump and then progress back into the brave, intelligent and courageous lawyer he once was.

The only thing I didn’t like was the format of the book. It was shaped like a textbook (very wide) so it was awkward to hold at times. I have no complaints about the story itself, just the way the book was formatted. I checked online and the newer versions of the book are formatted to novel size so I approve of this (easier to hold in one hand while you drink a coffee :)).

All in all, a great book to keep you on your toes as you root for the Tracey family (at least I hope you root for them, otherwise well….ewwww) in the intense trial case to take down a predator.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can find the book on Amazon!

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


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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: Songs from Richmond Avenue

Book reviews, for the win! We have another here at Breakeven Books for a book called Songs from Richmond Avenue by Michael Reed. This book is summed up as a Houston love story with beer and a couple of dead folks thrown in.

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Pages: 181

Synopsis: If the adage “nothing civilized ever resulted from the drinking of beer” requires further proof, one needs to look no farther than down Houston’s pothole-infested Richmond Avenue. There, the blurry-eyed denizens of the Relix Club while away the hours engaged in their two favorite activities – drinking and betting.

Until recently that was good enough for our storyteller, a journalist of questionable work ethic, who undergoes an epiphany following a bus stop meeting with pretty Michelle, a woman he declares has “skin so perfect I doubted she even had pores.”

Could she be his redemption? Maybe, but first, he’d better contend with her baseball bat-wielding former beau, her nihilistic stripper roommate and the suspicious death of a friend, who fancies himself the father of Brute Generation poetry.

Mostly satire, often wildly unpredictable, the only real long shot in Songs From Richmond Avenue would be for its protagonist to put down his beer long enough to learn anything of true value.

This book was interesting. The writing style itself feels like the story is told through the blurred vision of the main character. It’s a blurred vision because the main character is drinking pretty much the entire book. And boy can he drink.

I didn’t find that there was much of a story to the book; it just felt like we were taking a peek into the main characters life for a day or two. None the less, it was entertaining to read and I enjoyed the new writing style that I am not used to.

My favorite character was probably Honey because she didn’t give a shit and just said whatever she wanted to whomever she wanted. I also really liked Strummer, the very chill dog that just wanted to have a home.

That being said, I did get a little bored reading this book. It wasn’t one that I couldn’t put down. I did put it down many times to go do other things but I am glad I finished it because I liked the ending to it.

If you are looking for a book that is a nice break from a long series or just an in-between book, then this is a good one. It’s not that long and will give you a laugh.

You can find the book on Amazon!

Book rating: 3/5

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me in physical format to read and give an honest review. 


Today's Bestsellers in Books!

Book Review: Pray for the Innocent

Another book review to add to our library of posts! Chris Connors is back with another of his magnificent reviews for Pray for the Innocent by Alan Orloff.

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Synopsis: Can former best-selling novelist Mathias King—now a rumpled, grizzled English professor—save America from a terrorist of his own making? In the shadow of the Pentagon, a secret DoD brain research experiment goes terribly wrong, and an ex-Special Ops soldier escapes, believing he is Viktor Dragunov, the Russian operative from the 80’s thriller novel, Attack on America. To capture him, the Feds turn to the person uniquely qualified to predict his next moves, the man who created the fictional character, best-selling author Mathias King. Now a reclusive English professor, King is reluctant to get involved, having sworn off the culture of violence after a deranged fan murdered his wife. But when innocent people start dying, King is thrust back into that dark world. With help from his enthusiastic graduate assistant Emily Phan, King must outsmart his own creation—while outmaneuvering the cover-up-loving Feds—before Dragunov succeeds in his hell-bent mission. To destroy America.

It is often easy to tell if a book is written by an author working with a publishing house, or if the book is a self-published indie book. Alan Orloff’s book, Pray For The Innocent, is one of those indie novels that feels like it was run through a publishing house. The writing is clean, elegant, not clunky and tortured, and has a polished edge that you often obtain after professional editors have commented on it.

Orloff knows how to write characters that feel real. He uses little details that bring his characters to life. He does it so well I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d taken a class on how to write good characters. I was even concerned about one of his minor characters when the person she loved was killed. He had managed to make her “real” in just a few scant pages even though most of our knowledge of her came from her brother’s thoughts rather than her own scenes.

As I read the book, which had me up way too late, I was also thought, “Why hasn’t a publishing house grabbed this guy? He is better than some established prolific *coughLustbadercough* authors”. The premise was intriguing; some spy stuff, cutting-edge neuroscience research, an old professor with a tortured soul, an experiment that goes wrong. While the Amazon synopsis sounds a bit over-the-top with an ex-Special Ops soldier thinking he is a 1980s fictional Russian spy on a “hell-bent mission” to destroy America the author doesn’t let the novel turn into a jingoistic pile of patriotic propaganda. Instead he makes a rather implausible premise come across as more realistic without devolving to simplistic black-and-white ‘rah-rah USA!’ style writing.

I will nit-pick a few small things, and I mean really small, nothing that affects the book or writing. Nit-pick the first: A character watching birds, among other things, has a copy of the Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding to help him identify birds. That is not the book he’d use, it isn’t conducive to quick identification of tricky species—the bird seen is not tricky at all either—as there are pages of information about just one bird, often involving the bird in its drab fall plumage (the book is set in mid-summer so birds would still be in their brighter breeding plumage). One of the quick identification guides like Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America, or the ones by Peterson, or Sibley, or Stokes, or National Geographic are better.

Nit-pick 2: A scientist in the book says we shouldn’t try playing God. It is hard to imagine any scientist saying that. We recognize that we’ve been “playing God” for thousands of years when we treat and cure diseases, alter ecosystems on a vast scale, breed plants and animals to produce things that don’t look much like the original species, and now manipulate the genetic code.

Nit-pick 3: There is a serious misconception here. A character thinks his brother-in-law’s suicide is cowardly and selfish. This is a misconception that mental health professionals, among others, have been trying to correct for decades now. While the character might think this I was hoping somewhere in the novel this misconception would be addressed, but it was not.

Prior to this book, I had read two other excellent books—by publishing house authors—in two days so my standards for a good book were now pretty high. I was reluctant to start Pray For The Innocent in case it killed my reader’s high from the previous two books: I needn’t have worried. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. That it was written as an indie book makes it all the more remarkable. Definitely 5 stars out of 5.

Book Rating: 5/5

Click on the image below to see it’s Amazon Page!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in digital format by the author to be read and honestly reviewed.

Charles Tyrwhitt

Book Review: Burying Leo by Helga Gruendler-Schierloh

Woohoo! Another review is done and another book added to the shelf. This one was called Burying Leo by Helga Gruendler-Schierloh.

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Synopsis: Ingrid always loved to sing. Auditioning for a summer job after high school shattered her dreams. She fled Germany for Detroit where she married with the hopes of starting a family. When hope crumbled, she attempts to sing again. Will singing bring the life Ingrid always desired, or will her mutilated soul lose her everything?

This book was somewhat interesting. I feel like it was definitely too long for the storyline it had because once the characters were introduced and you got to know them, there was little left to build on their personalities.

Ingrid was struggling with her inner turmoils and it was frustrating because it takes her so long to do anything about it. Granted she did have some events in the past that were deeply unsettling and would be hard to cope with. The introduction of another character named Mick to help her work on and push past her barriers was a good way for the author to add some depth to the novel.

Her husband Joe was just annoying. I know that the book is set in the 90’s so they weren’t exactly up to date on equality (2018 millennial mind here) but he did not treat her well and any woman in her right mind would have left him rather than put up with his bullshit. This is also a good thing that the author created his character this way because it helps you feel for Ingrid and want her to succeed in the end by escaping her clutches and attaining her dreams.

One thing I found kind of hard to follow was the dialogue at points. This novel is very obviously written by a multilingual author and there are many parts where people make statements in German and you don’t really find out what they said.

There were lots of little twists that kept me going to the end of the book so that was good (I like when a book is unpredictable).

Book Rating: 3/5

Click on the image of the book below to see it on Amazon!

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

Also if you guys are feeling generous or compassionate, my cousin just received a diagnosis from their vet that his dog has bone cancer and they are doing surgery to amputate one of its legs. They don’t have a lot of money and the surgery is quite expensive but this dog means the world to him. They have set up a GoFundMe page to help with the costs. You can check it out at the link below and even if you don’t donate, just sharing it and spreading the word would mean a great deal to my cousin who is just doing anything he can to save his dog.

https://www.gofundme.com/help-save-spryte

Charles Tyrwhitt

Book Review: Clemmie’s War by Rosie Boyes

Our reviewer Sara has another great recommendation for you bookworms. She recently read Clemmie’s War by Rosie Boyes. Read her review below 🙂

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Clemmie’s War is about a young girl named Clemmie who finds herself in a place called Heartease, which seems to function like an afterlife for children who have died. She meets a house full of warm and wonderful characters who are strange but kind. She is soon followed by her Grandfather, who is not a good man and is looking to get to her at all costs to complete his mission, which we learn about later in the novel. There are many twists and turns in the plot, revealing new aspects of how Heartease and its characters operate in this parallel world. We soon discover that Clemmie’s arrival has caused a time rift which begins to cause drastic changes as well as earthquakes in Heartease. Doctor Rose, the head of the Children’s House, and several other interesting characters must travel back in time to repair the damage done and save Clemmie.

This novel is similar to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, in that it is a house in what seems like a parallel world to our own, where the children there are kept safe by their strange caretakers. Although all the characters here are essentially dead and living a second life in the afterlife, they are otherwise normal people. The characters are unique and strange, and well fleshed out by the author. If you are looking for a strange read that will make you smile, then this is a delightful book. There are constantly new developments and elaborations on the world of Heartease as you go along, ever-changing.

This is a cute story and I enjoyed the read. It was different than anything I have read recently. My only complaint is that it could have been better developed – there were often moments where it almost read like a synopsis of itself; instead of elaborating on a situation or conversation, it would glaze over it, where the story would have benefitted from more details. I would have loved to understand more about how Heartease and the subsequent time travel worked, and this would have been even better if the author had made the story more detailed.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can find this book on Amazon!

Disclaimer: We were provided a digital copy of this book by the author to read and give an honest review.

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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!

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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.