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: Writer, Seeker, Killer by Ryan Starbloak

Another review for you guys by our one and only Chris Connors of the BreakEven Books team! He took on Writer, Seeker, Killer by Ryan Starbloak this time.

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In the 1970s there was a fad among writers to have their book end with a most unexpected ending. Sometimes the ending was ambiguous—no doubt that makes for good classroom discussions on what really happened—and sometimes the ending was “everyone dies”, or at least the raison d’etre of the main character dies; and other times someone dies but it is ambiguous.

This is a book that harkens back to some of that 70s writing. Despite my dislike for that type of book, this is a good book; in fact, it is probably a really good book.

I jumped into this book without reading anything about the book so I enjoyed the adventure as it went along. The author doesn’t lay everything out and doesn’t explain many things, but instead drops hints so that you gradually put together pieces of the puzzle to figure out where things are going. Just the reading itself was like slowly unwrapping a multi-layered gift with each new wrapping revealing something new, but still not fully exposing what is at the heart of the gift.

And, what is quite refreshing is that just as you think you know where this is going the author drops another throw-away line that makes you say, “Wait?! What?”, and you have to go back and reread the preceding paragraph to make sure you’ve read it right.

This book, set in New Orleans, takes you on a journey through some of the seedier aspects of the human condition, the drug wars, gang life, poverty, racial violence while also discussing beginner philosophical and religious tenets, family, and life in general. This journey itself was artfully done. I imagine an English literature teacher in high school would get a few weeks of discussion material (the writing stylings actually reminded me a bit of Timothy Findlay’s The War, that English lit book that was all the rage for so long).

Then just when you think you know where this book is going there’s another big twist that transforms the book completely, and suddenly the whole thing turns almost surreal. It is like reading what you think is a romance novel only to suddenly have a Jason Bourne-like character show up for a big reveal (not that this book is a romance book or has any Jason Bourne character, but the switch is just as big and interesting).

There are a few misused words (“granite” for “granted” e.g., “Taking her family and existence for granite then clinging to both when they were proven as counterfeit”). It would also be easy to criticize the book for the “bad” guys rather convoluted Rube Goldberg way of going about their plans. There were so many different, quicker, cheaper ways of getting to where they wanted. As well, there are many unanswered questions, but the writing skill displayed makes you overlook these things; or at least overlook till the wee hours of the morning when your brain says, “Psst, wake up. Let’s talk about the
novel”.

It seems the book isn’t so much about the storyline, but more about the human condition; the plot itself is of lesser importance than the exploration of the inner workings of people—at least that is my sense after my brain woke me up at 2:40 a.m. and made me type this out.The fact that this book did that indicates just how well-written, and even powerful, it is. A five-star book that will stay with me for quite a while.

Book Rating: 5/5

Disclaimer: This book was provided to us by the author in exchange for an honest review.

And if you wish to connect with the author, check out his Tumblr page!

Book Review: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda was a breath of fresh air. I read this book in 2 days and found it very entertaining and a genuine reminder of how much you feel when you are so young and in love.

This book was about a young boy named Simon who is in love with another boy from his school. He has never met this guy, they have just exchanged emails back and forth and have been very secretive about their real identities. Until a boy at school see’s Simon’s email before he logs out on a computer. He then blackmails him to help him out with a girl at school.

This book brought up a lot of thoughts of how people perceive each other. I for one have gay friends and wouldn’t ever think to treat them any differently then I would my straight friends. But the book was from the perspective of a gay teenager that hadn’t come out yet, and it’s not that he was afraid to but that he just didn’t want it to be a big deal because everything he ever did was a big deal. But for a lot of people, it is a big deal and a very scary thing to do. There are so many different reactions that could come from someone coming out and that is kind of sad. No one should be afraid to be who they are. 

I come from a religious background and that made me think a lot about how that could go if I was in Simon’s position. My parents are amazing and I love them with everything I have in me. They have prepared/taught me everything I know and I don’t know what I would do without them. I would hope to never lose them over anything like this but that is a possibility for a lot of people. I am not in this position, but this book made me think about if I was and what would happen.

It would be terrifying because you wouldn’t know how the people that are supposed to love you the most would react. Your parents are your rock. They are your foundation; they build you up and prepare you for life and help you become who you are. To lose this would be world shattering and it gave me an insight into how scary it would be.

Love is love and everyone should be accepted for who they are.

The book was really great. The way his parents and everyone react when they finally find out is so supportive and uplifting. Simon has an amazing family. I would 100% be the dad if I was part of this family because every line he had in the book is something I would probably say. And everything he said made me laugh:P

Book Rating: 4.5/5

Disclaimer: I read this book because I wanted to and purchased it myself. This review is for me because I wanted to write it and that is that.

Let me know what your thoughts are on this book if you have read it and if not, what are your thoughts on having to come out. If you are straight, then just try and put yourself in Simon’s shoes like I did to get an idea of what it would be like.

Talk to you later bookworms.

Author Interviews, Christmas and Buying Books

I have been very busy the past week doing Christmas shopping and hosting Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties and whatnot (are they truly ugly if we all wear them in defiance and we rock it?). This is a crazy post where I tell you all that has happened in the past week.

So we are doing Secret Santa at work and I bought my coworker the coolest present but I can’t say what it is because they might read my blog (I don’t know if they do but will not take the chance :P). Let’s just say it involves your head and warmth…and is nerdy. Ok that’s all you get.

I also have been chatting with an author and have maybe got my first victim for an author interview! I’m not sure how that will go because I have never conducted an interview for an author before but we will see 🙂

In the meantime, I picked up Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda because of a recommendation and have been reading that at the same time as my other book. I do have to say that is is very well written and I am enjoying it.

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Let me know what you guys are reading and what your plans are for the holidays in the comments below! I want to know all about your lives 😀

Talk to you later bookworms.

 

 

New Goodies!

This week has been amazing and super stressful at the same time. We moved buildings for work so it was heavily taxing for everyone involved. However, I received some really awesome bookish goodies in the mail so that made up for the stress 🙂

Thank you to Machpherson Publishing for sending me some books to review for them which I will get to as soon as I am done my review for STORGY!

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And then on top of that, I received a card from Kathy @ Books and Munches from our Christmas Card Exchange! It was everything I could have hoped for in a nerdy card 😛 and she made damn sure that I never forget about Dobby the house elf again…. 😀 (Best bookmark ever).

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I have some reviews coming up and stayed tuned on the Instagram as I am doing a Harry Potter Photo Challenge for the month of December.

My friend Elizabeth showed me this cool morphing mug that changes colour with heat and reveals the Marauders Map so I had to show you guys. Here it is along with other cool Harry Potter stuff 😛

I wish I could buy all this things to satisfy the inner nerd in me. Anyways, have to get back to reading but talk to you soon bookworms!

What is your favourite book of all time?

Well it’s finally here, last day of the book challenge! I honestly have to think really hard for this one because there are so many books that I love. I know it only says one book but I am choosing two favourite books because I want to :P. My two faves which everyone has heard me talk about already so I won’t make this post long, are The Hunger Games by Suzanna Collins and Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

I’m sure you have heard me talk about both of these books enough so we will leave it that and you know they are my favourite. I’m kind of sad that the book challenge is over because I enjoyed doing it so much so I guess I will have to find another challenge to do between book reviews.

You can find the books on Amazon here:

I should have a review coming soon for a book full of ghost short stories that was sent to me by STORGY of stay tuned! Also let me know what your favourite book of all time is in the comments below 🙂 Oh and on a cheery note, my blog received 500 likes so thank you to everyone who is supporting me and reading the blog! I really appreciate it guys.

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What book did everyone hate but you liked?

I think I may have talked about this book before and I’m not sure that everyone hated it but I know it received a lot of backlash because of its ending. The book I chose was Allegiant by Veronica Roth, the conclusion to the Divergent series.

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I don’t need to put a synopsis because I have talked about it before but yes I really enjoyed this book because of how the author ended it.

*SPOILER ALERT*

It was the first time I encountered an author killing off the main character that they have built up throughout the series. You grow to love this amazing, strong female character and then the author goes and rips her away from you in the last couple chapters. Most people hated this and were mad about the ending but I liked it as I had never encountered it before in a book and it genuinely surprised me.

*SPOILER ENDED*

Besides this can’t be as bad as the ending to Twilight, what a build up to nothing actually happening. Less cliffhanger and more falling off a cliff and face planting at the bottom.

Let me know what book you like that you think everyone else hates in the comments! Talk to you later bookworms.