Posts by Erik McManus | Breakeven Books

I am a Web Designer and Developer! Im very tall, love comic books, and I'm very outgoing. Check out my book blog Breakeven Books!

Book Review: Fangirl

I finally read more Rainbow Rowell and….it was just as cute and sappy as the first time. I rather enjoyed it! This time I read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

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Synopsis: Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan..

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

The first time I ever read Rainbow Rowell’s work was Eleanor & Park which I adored because it was about being a misfit in high school and hey, that was me. So this time, I was excited to find out how this one was about a young woman going to college for the first time and having all these new experiences, especially since she is a huge introvert (until it comes to her writing and her fictional characters).

I related to Cath in so many ways and got nostalgic reading this book because I could remember the feeling of being away from home for the first time and wanting to fit in with new people at college while still not losing yourself and who you are as a person. And I really enjoyed that she was a writer (even if it was fanfic) because it made this book have many levels to it (stories within a story).

The relationships she builds are strong and there are many adorable parts in this book. I would say to read it if you just want to feel happy and cuddly. Or read it for the LGBTQ+ Simon Snow (pretty much Harry Potter) fanfic that Cath writes because it is just as good.

This makes me look forward to reading more by Rainbow Rowell. I am more a fan of her YA stuff and I am looking forward to picking up Carry On off the shelf and giving that one a go.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: I read this book because I wanted to. I was in no way compensated for this review.



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Book Spotlight: Return Addresses

Welcome to the blog tour for Return Addresses by Michael A. McLellan! This book is getting loads of 5 star reviews! Find out why! Read on for an excerpt and a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card!

New Final FINAL 4Return Addresses

Publication Date: April 13, 2020

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Mountain Press

“This ain’t your world. You don’t have any friends out here. Not real ones. No one out here cares about nothin’ but where their next drink or fix is comin’ from. That, or they were born too messed up in the head to even understand what friendship is. Remember that. You can’t trust anybody. You can’t rely on no one but yourself.”

Fourteen-year-old Sean Pennington never thought he’d find himself riding on an open train car in the middle of the night. He never thought he’d find himself alone. He never thought he’d be running for his life.

In the spring of 2015 Sean Pennington’s world of comfort and privilege is shattered and he becomes a ward of the state. Thrust into a broken foster care system, he discovers the harsh realities of orphanhood. Lonely, confused, and tormented by his peers, he runs away, intending to locate his only living relative; a grandfather he’s never met, who his only connection with is a return address on a crumpled envelope. Enter Andrea, a modern day hobo Sean meets at a California homeless encampment. Andrea travels the country by rail, stowing away on shipping container cars with other transients calling themselves traveling kids. Though battling her own demons, road-savvy Andrea promises to help Sean on his quest, but can she protect him from the unpredictable and often violent world she lives in?

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Excerpt

“Listen, what I told you before…you know, about my parents? It wasn’t true. My parents are the most wonderful people you’d ever want to meet. I’m the problem, not them. I’ve always been the problem. I met someone at the beginning of my junior year. She came from a bad family—drugs. I started drinking with her. Then I started using with her. Meth, mostly, but I ended up taking pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I failed my junior year and never went back to high school. Anyway, my parents tried to help me—a lot. I put them through hell but they just kept trying. Finally they sent me to this really expensive rehab. I only made it three days before I ran away and used. My dad ended up finding me and he talked me into going back. I did better the second time. I completed the six months, graduated, and went back to live with my mom and dad. Everything was cool for awhile. I got a job at a thrift store and enrolled in Adult Ed to get my high school equivalency. After awhile—a couple of months—I started using again. I think I always knew I would. It was like, in my mind I was just taking a break, and only because it was what my parents wanted.”

“Are you ever going to go home?”

 “I think about it now and then. Mostly I don’t—think about it I mean. Not until I met you, anyway. I feel even more guilty now, seeing what you’ve had to go through. You lost both of your parents, by no fault of yours…and I just left mine behind.”

“Why did you tell me they were…mean.”

“Because the truth makes me look like a bad person. I am a bad person.”

“I don’t think so.” He paused, absently fiddling with sandwich wrapper. “Does it bother you…when people…say stuff to you?”

“You mean like those idiots who yelled at me from their cars?”

“Yeah.”

She took a long pull from her bottle of beer. “I don’t know. I try not to think about it. I guess it does, sometimes. When I was growing up I would’ve looked at someone like me the same way people always look at me. It’s all a matter of perspective. Now I try not to judge.” She smiled ruefully and drank more. “I try not to judge even when I’m being judged.”

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About the Author

Mike Author 1

Michael’s love of books began with Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle when he was seven-years-old. Later influenced by the works of John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Stephen King, James Baldwin, and Cormac McCarthy, Michael developed his style of storytelling. A self-proclaimed blue-collar writer, he draws on his experiences and observations to bring relevant and compelling topics to life.

Michael lives in Northern California and when he’s not writing, he can usually be found wandering around the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges.

His body of work includes the 2014 novel After and Again, the 2015 novel American Flowers, and the 2017 novel, In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree, as well as various shorts and essays.

Michael McLellan | GoodreadsTwitter



Blog Tour Schedule

June 15th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com

Read, Rant, Rock and Roll (Review) https://readrantrockandroll.com/

The Cozy Pages (Spotlight) http://thecozypages.wordpress.com/

June 16th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

June 17th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

I’m All About Books (Spotlight) https://imallaboutbooks.com/

Books, Teacup n’ Review (Spotlight) https://booksteacupnreviews.wordpress.com/

Rajiv’s Reviews (Review) https://www.rajivsreviews.com/

Stine Writing (Review) https://christinebialczak.com/

June 18th

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

Dark Whimsical Art (Spotlight) https://www.darkwhimsicalart.com/blogs/news

Book Reviews by Satabdi (Review) http://satabdimukherjee.wordpress.com

June 19th

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

Entertainingly Nerdy (Review) https://www.entertaininglynerdy.com

Phantom of the Library (Review) https://phantomofthelibrary.com/

Inked and Blonde (Review) https://inkedandblonde.blogspot.com/

Blog Tour Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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Book Review: Red Hood

Can I get a woof woof? Can I get a woof woof? Oh, dog jokes lol. Anyways, this next book I read was called Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold.

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Synopsis: Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself. She’s been good. But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her. A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions. About the blood in Bisou’s past and on her hands as she stumbles home. About broken boys and vicious wolves. About girls lost in the woods—frightened, but not alone.

So first off, this book was unique to me because it was the first book that I have read where it is told in 2nd person perspective. Which I now realize is a perspective that drives me nuts. I can honestly say that I am not a fan of this perspective in a book because I find that the word “you” is used way too much and it just bothered me.

That being said, the book and its plot overall was pretty decent. It was kind of a more modern retelling of litte red riding hood except in this one, you get badass female characters who are strong and independent. I am always down for a retelling so I did rather enjoy the book (if only the perspective it was told in didn’t keep throwing me off).

It dealt with family struggles and some physical abuse as well as rape. These could be triggering to some but I felt it was a good plot device for this book and added more to it because it showed how far someone can come after dealing with these types of things. It also showed women coming together to fight back against wrongful behaviour and serving some sweet justice.

I will say that it is rated YA and I do believe that some parts of this were not necessarily YA in my opinion but that is just a minor issue. Also, the main character’s name was Bisou and I found this to be a very pretty name.

If you want a book that can take pure Little Red Riding Hood and make her into her own powerful protector, then check this one out!

Book Rating: 3.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon or find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me in an ARC physical copy by Harper Collins to read and give an honest review.



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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I caved and bought more books because its a quarantine and I need more OK! My trigger finger got a little excited on the checkout cart button alright. If you are interested in seeing what I bought, check out the video below:

Book Review: The Young Elites

This was my first introduction to Marie Lu and I can say that it was bloody fantastic! I read The Young Elites by Marie Lu and am now excited to read more books by her.

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Synopsis: Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

I have experienced some morally gray characters here and there in books but Adelina was by far the most morally gray character I have encountered….and I loved it. She was a character that did all the bad stuff you wanted her to do. For example, a bad guy hurts someone close to her or taunts her in any way, instead of being moral and doing the right thing, she just kills the guy (this is an example, not a spoiler or anything). She has a lot of internal struggles and the book goes on and a lot of the time, I found myself agreeing with her (does that make me a dark person? :P).

The setting was also gorgeous (at least how I pictured it in my mind). If you have ever played the Assassin’s Creed series, this is how I envisioned the atmosphere of this book. Renaissance style with beautiful architecture set in european style villas and cities.

The powers aspect of the book was really cool and I enjoyed finding out about the different abilities each of the misfits had. It reminded me of a Robin Hood style book with a band that worked together to bring down the rich.

I would recommend trying this book out if you want a quick read (I finished it in a weekend) with great characters and a well thought out plot.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: I read this book because I wanted to and reviewed it honestly. I was in no way compensated for my review.



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

Get your name/blog added to our blog posts and Youtube videos by supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/breakevenbooks

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

I caved and bought more books because its a quarantine and I need more OK! My trigger finger got a little excited on the checkout cart button alright. If you are interested in seeing what I bought, check out the video below:

Book Review: Mr. Wizard

Do you have good and bad reading weeks? We do too. But luckily for us, this week has been a good reading week. Our external reviewer Chris has a new review of Mr. Wizard by Jeff Wallach for us to read.

Mr. Wizard book cover

Synopsis: Two days before her death, Jenny Elliot suggests to her fifty-year-old son Phillip that, being half Irish, he should be more careful about his drinking. Phillip, along with his brother Spencer, has grown up believing they were the fully Jewish-American offspring of Jenny and her late husband who died in the Vietnam War. Was his mother uttering some dementia-inspired fantasy, or was her true character shining through in her last moments to leave the brothers a clue to their real heritage? After her death, Phillip decides to take a DNA test.

The brothers set off on a genetic treasure hunt in search of who they really are—and what that might mean. Are they purely products of their genetics; or were they formed more completely by their social interactions and upbringing? Are they merely victims of randomness; or are they some combination of those factors? And who, exactly, is Mr. Wizard?

Jeff Wallach is a gifted writer. He brings his characters to life with sparse broad strokes similar to the way a painter can create a recognizable negative space portrait using a wide brush for painting houses.

negative space potrait

In any field, when someone can make the difficult appear easy then you know you’re dealing with an artist. Wallach makes creating real characters look effortless. We’re brought inside the family with inside jokes so when the brothers quip one-liners the readers know the story behind the one-liner, thus making them feel as if they’re also in on the inside joke. For example, when one of the brothers says over the phone to the other brother (paraphrased so as to avoid spoilers) “now she really is a liar”, and the other ones says, “She’s dead then”, you understand the backstory, the inside joke, and how he knows she’s dead. So much information conveyed with such simple sentences, a bit like Tamarian language in Star Trek. Anyone wishing to be an author should study how Wallach makes his characters real to the readers, how he can describe characters without actually describing them. I thoroughly admired this aspect of his writing.

Aside from admiring and liking his technical mastery Wallach has written a lovely book, one of the best that I’ve read this year. After Phillip and Spencer’s mom dies—which she does in one sentence that grabs the reader with its sparseness—they begin to wonder about their father because of their mother’s last cryptic statement. Was he really killed in action, where did he come from, where was his family, is he really their father, why was their mother so cryptic about his past and her past? I was pulled right into the detective work.

The pacing slows about 2/3rds of the way through. The detective work seems to have found the answers and the book switches from unraveling mysteries to dealing with the implications of what these discoveries mean for the brothers. Are brother’s brothers and family’s families because of genetics? What role does nurture and shared lifestyle play in families, or does genetics rule all? Are you any less of a family when you find out you’re not who you thought you were?

For me, this was the least interesting part of the book because long ago I arrived at decisions that satisfy me. Other people though may find the discussions—woven throughout with the typical brothers’ one-liners and humor that make the book so engaging—equally as interesting.

Not all mysteries were answered. The mystery surrounding Mr. Wizard and another person who had an eerily similar fate as Mr. Wizard were not answered. Was it coincidence or something more? But, perhaps this is as it should be—life isn’t always wrapped up like a neat package; there are often loose ends, unanswered questions, questions that may require half a lifetime to answer, and another half a lifetime to accept. However, I had thought there’d be more of a focus on the Mr. Wizard aspect given that’s the title of the book.

Then again, that fits the quirky book chapter names. Chapters are named after people or things that are mentioned just once and that have no real relevance to the story itself. E.g., the chapter named Mick Jagger is based on an irrelevant joke. Other parts of that chapter deal with more seminal issues that are central to the characters and the story itself, such as the story of the mulligan (which would be a good chapter name except then Wallach would break the pattern of naming chapters after non-incidents). Incidentally, I thought the mulligan story, which gives insight into the character of Spencer and the golf pro, was done well. You’ll have to read it for yourself.

I highly recommend this book. Enjoyable, witty, with likable relatable characters as they seek to discover their mother’s secrets and deal with answers they receive. And it has a touching ending. Who doesn’t like a touching ending?

Book Rating: 5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: The author sent this book to us in an ebook format to read and give an honest review.



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

Get your name/blog added to our blog posts and Youtube videos by supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/breakevenbooks

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

I did the Breakfast Booktag! Listen to me talk about breakfast foods and pair books with them. Check out the video below:

Book Review: The Final Weekend

Book review! Read all about it! That’s right. I have another one for you. This one was called The Final Weekend: A Stoned Tale by Neal Cassidy.

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Synopsis: In the last days before the real world, six college friends prepare to take a bow in epic fashion.

After Sunday there’s just Harry, the future business owner; Justin, the medical intern; Trent, the hapless wanderer; and Clarence, soon to don the badge and blues. But now they have years of memories to honor, all packed into one weekend. Will they grow into their new adult roles? Will they go out in style with the girls? Will the four of them even survive the sheer level of debauchery?

Living in an apartment paid for by the Grandma, an ex-hooker turned millionaire, Courtney and Ling-Ling couldn’t be more opposite, yet are completely inseparable. Courtney and Harry have been hooking up for years, neither able to commit, but their imminent separation is about to test that arrangement, and Ling-Ling’s never-ending reciprocated crush on Justin just might become more than that.

Their lives intersect with that of Professor Goodkat, their idolized instructor who never quite “left” college himself. In Goodkat, we find the consequence of getting to live out a hedonist fantasy, and the possibility for change in anyone.

This book was a unique one. I say that because, for the most part, it was a pretty average read….until I got to the end. Then it took a shocking turn that I was never expecting in a million years. Which leaves me at a point where I don’t know what to rate it.

It had a lot of characters so there were a lot of perspectives to follow and they each had their own quirks to them which was fun. It centered a lot on the use of marijuana which is something I have only dabbled in a bit and am not that familiar with so I couldn’t really relate to a lot of what the book was about in that aspect.

I could, however, relate to the ending of school and moving on into your adult life after graduation. So that was alright. I remember being scared for so much change to happen at once and wondering how my bonds with my friends would either flourish or diminish and a lot of the characters shared those same struggles.

I found that I was a bit bored during parts of the book because they just went over the basic day to day things that they did without any real plot devices in there. I will say that it makes sense now that I have completed the book because all this “non build-up” was just the reason why I was caught so off guard by that ending. I turned to my significant other and was speechless when I finished the book because I was trying to process what had just happened.

Overall, I am rating this book right in the middle. The ending is what gave it that rating  (otherwise it probably would have been lower) and you will rethink the whole book once you have finished it. I would suggest trying it out just for that factor alone!

Book Rating: 3/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me in physical format by the author to read and give my honest review.



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

Get your name/blog added to our blog posts and Youtube videos by supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/breakevenbooks

I did the Breakfast Booktag! Listen to me talk about breakfast foods and pair books with them. Check out the video below:

Book Spotlight: Between Love and Murder

Welcome to the blog tour for Between Love and Murder by Chris Bedell! Read on for an excerpt from the book and a chance to win a digital copy!

BLandM Digital coverBetween Love and Murder

Publication Date: April 21, 2020

Genre: YA Thriller/ LGBTQ+

Publisher: Willow River Press

September 2018. 17-year-old Chad becomes intrigued by the new kid—Archie—when they flirt during their first interaction. But Chad’s best friend, Mallory, asks Archie out first. Pursuing Archie allows Mallory to get revenge against Chad who recently rejected her. Except Chad refuses to lose Archie to Mallory. Not when he might have a real chance at love—Archie identifies as bisexual like Chad. Although if Chad wants Archie, then he must eliminate Mallory as the competition. Even if doing so means proving she was involved in the disappearance of her ex-boyfriend, Tommy.

Three months later—December 2018. Tommy resurfaces, and Mallory accidently kills him while Archie and Chad are witnesses. Mallory, Archie, and Chad can’t go to the police, though. Mallory blackmailed Tommy to leave town last Fourth of July with a sex-tape after discovering Tommy cheating on her. And Archie, Chad, and Mallory must unite if they don’t wanna go down for murder. Except Chad is even more threatened of Mallory now that he and Archie are dating—Chad remains uncertain if Mallory harbors lingering resentment for rejecting her. If Chad wants Mallory gone, then he must continue making difficult choices. Even if destroying Mallory means Chad pretending to be Mallory’s friend while finding a way to implicate Mallory in Tommy’s death without him and Archie getting in trouble.

If you like the nonlinear storytelling of ABC’s HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER and the toxic love triangle of WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT, then BETWEEN LOVE AND MURDER is the book for you.

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Excerpt

BEFORE

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2018

Expecting complete honesty was pointless.

Like with Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, or when a friend got a questionable haircut. Both the kid and friend could discover the truth without anyone playing the villain. Or like right now while I stood next to my locker in the school hallway. My best friend, Mallory, couldn’t have said what she had. Yet I didn’t have an ear wax problem, so the chances of her comment being misheard were slimmer than time travel happening.

I blinked. “Come again?”

She tugged at her backpack strap. “I’m sorry, Chad; I’m not trying to be awkward. I just couldn’t lie anymore.”

“Don’t apologize for your feelings.”

Telling her not to feel bad shouldn’t have been the best response I came up with. Doing so only prolonged the inevitable: deciding about whether honesty or a fib was best. However, there was no right reaction to finding out Mallory had a crush on me. Some events—such as her revelation—couldn’t be anticipated no matter how many A’s I earned in school.

Mallory bit her lip. “We’ve been spending a lot of time together since July.”

I chuckled. “We’ve always been close.”

“Not since I started dating Tommy.”

I scratched the side of my head. “What’d you expect to happen?”

Available on Amazon

Giveaway: For a chance to win a digital copy of the book, click the link below!

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About the Author

Author Pic

My previous publishing credits include Thought Catalog, Entropy Magazine, Chicago Literati, and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, among others. My debut YA Fantasy novel IN THE NAME OF MAGIC was published by NineStar Press in 2018.

My 2019 novels include NA Thriller BURNING BRIDGES (BLKDOG Publishing), YA Paranormal Romance DEATHLY DESIRES (DEEP HEARTS YA), and YA Thriller COUSIN DEAREST (BLKDOG Publishing). My 2020 novels include my YA Thriller I KNOW WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED (BLKDOG Publishing), YA Contemporary I’LL SEE YOU AGAIN (Deep Hearts YA),  YA Thriller BETWEEN LOVE AND MURDER (Between The Lines Publishing), YA Sci-fi DYING BEFORE LIVING (Deep Hearts YA), and YA Thriller LOVE HIM/HATE HIM (Between The Lines Publishing). I also graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2016.

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Blog Tour Schedule

June 8th

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

I’m All About Books (Spotlight) https://imallaboutbooks.com/

Life’s a Novelty (Review) https://lifesanovelty.blogspot.com/

June 9th

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

The Faerie Review (Review)  http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Sophril Reads (Spotlight) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

June 10th

Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com

Inked and Blonde (Review) https://inkedandblonde.blogspot.com/

June 11th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

Indies Review (Spotlight) http://indieproreview.blogspot.com/

Stine Writing (Review) https://christinebialczak.com/

June 12th

Book Dragons Not Worms (Review) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Spotlight) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

Get your name/blog added to our blog posts and Youtube videos by supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/breakevenbooks

I did the Breakfast Booktag! Listen to me talk about breakfast foods and pair books with them. Check out the video below:

Book Review: Vanishing Hour

Are you looking for a good dystopian book? Then look no further! I read this book called Vanishing Hour by Lisa King and I think you should check it out too!

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Synopsis: Seventy-year-old Matthew Werner, who suffers from a debilitating case of Not Normal, doesn’t know that nearly everyone on earth has died. He only knows that, out in the world, something terrible is happening – something he’s not willing to discover. So he barricades himself inside and tries to stay ignorant. That is, until twelve-year-old Ruby Sterling shows up at his doorstep, all alone.

The two have little in common. Matthew is old, strange, grumbly, and concerned only with figuring out what happened to his wife, who went missing months earlier. Ruby is serious, curious, and worried about the fate of her father and whether the future even exists. Neither wants much to do with the other. Which is why, when Ruby hears a voice on the radio telling people to come to a place called the Horizon, she’s determined to find it, even if Matthew isn’t.

But outside, he’s the least of her problems, and she’s the least of his. To survive, they must count on the last thing either expected: each other.

And the Horizon? It could be anywhere.

Or nowhere at all.

I buddy read this book with my friend Amanda and we both really enjoyed it! It was told from two different perspectives, one of a young girl and one of an older man, and how they came together in crisis and worked together to figure out what to do next.

The dystopian style of this book was really cool and the whole time I had myself wondering what this mystery was and why all the people were suddenly being affected like this.

The older man had a very interesting way of telling his story since he had triggers that would set him off. I liked seeing how he coped with this and how the young girl would react and help with this inner beast that he was constantly facing.

The narrative is told in a very fluid way and the book didn’t really have any boring parts for me. I found myself always wondering what was going to happen in the next scene.

It was also really cool that it was set a little bit outside of Toronto because I recognized the areas it was mentioning and made it a lot more realistic for me (being the Canadian that I am).

I would definitely read another book by Lisa King should she happen to write one (Hint, Hint send me a message when you do Lisa :P).

Book Rating: 4/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in ebook format by the author to read and give an honest review.



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

Get your name/blog added to our blog posts and Youtube videos by supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/breakevenbooks

I left my reading fate in my boyfriend’s hands and let him pick all the books I will be reading in June! Check out the video below:

Blogger Interview: Chris Connors

Guess what? Chris (our external reviewer) and I thought it would be a fun little project to interview each other since he recently started a blog online and post our interviews with each other on our blogs. So here is my little interview I conducted with Chris to get a little insight into his reading habits and tastes.

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What is your top read of 2020 so far? 

A Wilder Time: Notes From a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice, William E. Glassley. A beautiful lyrically written book about Greenland’s beauty and atmosphere, as well as thoughts on life, what is essential vs the things society falsely tells us are essential.

 What is your favorite book friendship? 

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his friendship with the people of Three Pines. The kindness and strength of Gamache makes you wish he was real so he could be your friend too. Don’t read the book while hungry—you’ll drool all over the pages where the Three Pines bistro meals are described.

 Most anticipated book release of 2020?

Martha Wells’ Network Effect (A Murderbot full-length novel). Murderbot’s internal dialogue when it/she deals with people trying to be friendly has me laughing in empathy.

 How many books are in your TBR Pile? 

Mwahahahahahahahaaa! So many that realistically I won’t read them all. More arrive from the library every week.

 Shelf TBR: ~40

Kindle 1 TBR: 516

Kindle 2 TBR:  95

Audiobook TBR: 12 (two added in the 30 minutes writing this)

Library Hold TBR: 10 TBR

File Folder to Transfer to Kindle: 59

And this doesn’t include the batch I put on hold from your 5-star hopeful books.


Who is your favorite author?

That changes all the time. Often it is the author I just finished reading if they’ve written a good book. Sometimes it is an author who has only written one book 15 years ago, but it’s a book that stayed with me. When they write a second book I buy it/borrow it from library right away (as just happened this past week and I’m all “squeeeeee”).


Where is your favorite reading spot? 

In British Columbia on a porch with an overhang so I can read while it rains. I was recently gifted a new Kindle (thanks, sis!) with a backlight so I can read outside at night. A good long BC steady rain with fog and mist makes reading even more magical because sounds are muted, people stay inside, and it feels like you could be the only person in the world. Peaceful.

Alternatively, down at the ocean in a driftwood shelter I built and a small fire to reflect heat into the shelter. Very few people are around because that section of the beach just ends as the cliffs meet the ocean. It’s a dead end, therefore pedestrians stay on the non-dead end beaches so when they need their next fix they’re close to the various drug dens (aka coffee shops).


What do you like about reading? 

Louis L’Amour summed it up well.

“It is often said that one has but one life to live, but that is nonsense. For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time”.

 Reading transports you and stretches your mind to allow you to see through someone else’s eyes. Anecdotally speaking, after 15-30 minutes of speaking to someone I can tell if they’re big readers or not based on how they view the world around them. Are their statements and thoughts flexible, or are they rigid, black-and-white? I view non-readers who are strangers with suspicion, and friends who are non-readers with concern.


If you had to describe yourself in a book title, what would it be?

Not Dead Yet (Peter James).

Or The Autistic Brain (Temple Grandin).


In the mood for a fun western story? Check out Billy (The Kid) by Peter Meech and satisfy that craving!

51ETMw9hcBL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

Pueblo, Colorado,1932. Bootleggers thrive in a town where the sheriff is on the take and you can kill a man with impunity. In this thrilling narrative, a once-famous outlaw finds himself thrust into the middle of a bootleg war against his will. At stake is nothing less than the life of his best friend and his last chance at true love with the town beauty. But is the legendary gunman who he claims to be, or is he just a retired dentist with a vivid imagination? Peter Meech reimagines the figure of Billy the Kid in a remarkable story told with verve, humor, grit and grace.

About the author: Peter Meech is an author, screenwriter, director and producer. He also mugs for the camera on occasion. His website is www.petermeech.com.



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

Get your name/blog added to our blog posts and Youtube videos by supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/breakevenbooks

I left my reading fate in my boyfriend’s hands and let him pick all the books I will be reading in June! Check out the video below:

Book Review: Sparrow in the Mirror

Chris is back at it again with more reviews coming your way. He has also been working hard on his new blog This & That Books which you should go check out. This time, he read Sparrow in the Mirror by Kunal Narayan Uniyal.

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Look at that composited artwork on the cover, a bird with birds within it, fading at a wingtip into dark vagueness, smaller version trailing along like an image echo. This is a cover of a book of poems. To me, the cover reflects the poems within this book.

Like the birds within the birds, there are definite themes that reoccur and are layered such as the ones on spirituality and religion. Hindu religion and the Veddas, Christianity and the Bible, mixing of both together. There are the themes on life, on pain, on suffering, on death, on redemption, on egos, of the release that lies beyond death, on love, on the transience of life and our works. At times the words are stark with only one meaning, other times they fade into the dark like the wingtip on the cover, leaving you to fill in meaning from your own experience, making the poems more personal to you.

From a technical standpoint, rhythm varies, is free-verse at times, mixed with a rhyming couplet that emphasizes points. Some lines stand almost in contrapuntal harmony with two melodies being played, but working together in the same song.  The cadence of some of the poems reminded me of songs by Natalie Merchant, e.g., Merchant’s Ophelia with Uniyal’s Maya.

There’s an excellent use of repetition such as you see in poems by T.S. Eliot and Walt Whitman. It can be done throughout the poem such as in Uniyal’s poem Something Is Not Right, where the title is repeated at the end of each verse on separate occasions; or in one line such as this part in the Wheel of Time

Standing in that lonely hall with those words

Resounding hard and hard and hard

I’m alone, came so; will leave the world even so.

Google repetition and T.S. Eliot or repetition in poetry to see how this common poetry device is used to reach the reader.

So, how well did the use of structure, of phrasing, of poetry devices like repetition, of ambiguity, of hidden meanings that echo back upon themselves to produce harmony (like a Bach fugue—which is just a more complicated version of four groups singing Row Row Row Your Boat as a round) come together?

Quite well. Some poems I read several times, I memorized parts that spoke to me. The poem Mother made my eyes sting a bit (“I’m not crying, you’re crying!”).

The Wheel of Time,

I try creating my life, new structures of delight,

But alas! With my return, all are turned into rubbles

Worth not a single dime.

Who created it, which destroyed my vast stride,

My ego or the wheel of time?

reminded me of Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley where the following words are carved into a base of a crumbled decaying giant statue that once would have been awe and fear-inspiring, but now turned into rubble.

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

We read this Bysshe poem in middle school and it almost precipitated an existential crisis in me as I realized even great works will erode away, and I, myself, will one day not exist. I had an echo of that feeling with Wheel of Time although in this case I’m fine with one day not existing (but not quite yet please because that TBR pile isn’t going to reduce itself).

Another poem Search of Life was thought-provoking with several meanings built one on top of the other that you’d only see upon subsequent readings.

Other poems, like House, are simple in their meanings, but convey a sorrow of things lost.

Now that the houses are big, hearts are small.

There are rooms everywhere, but hardly a place for all.

Doors are now locked tight, even God

Needs to try hard to squeeze in

Each confined to its own world,

Calling it house which was home before.

The appreciation of poetry is a subjective thing, perhaps far more so than other books. This makes them harder to rate as we each bring our own interpretations to the verses. As mentioned earlier, when we bring in our own interpretations, we bring in part of ourselves into the poetry so that we connect with it. That connection is an indication of poetry done well.

This book of poems connected with me. I think it was done well. I will be rereading many of these poems again. I hope other readers will also find a connection to these poems.

Book Rating: 5/5


In the mood for a fun western story? Check out Billy (The Kid) by Peter Meech and satisfy that craving!

51ETMw9hcBL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

Pueblo, Colorado,1932. Bootleggers thrive in a town where the sheriff is on the take and you can kill a man with impunity. In this thrilling narrative, a once-famous outlaw finds himself thrust into the middle of a bootleg war against his will. At stake is nothing less than the life of his best friend and his last chance at true love with the town beauty. But is the legendary gunman who he claims to be, or is he just a retired dentist with a vivid imagination? Peter Meech reimagines the figure of Billy the Kid in a remarkable story told with verve, humor, grit and grace.

About the author: Peter Meech is an author, screenwriter, director and producer. He also mugs for the camera on occasion. His website is www.petermeech.com.



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

Get your name/blog added to our blog posts and Youtube videos by supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/breakevenbooks

I left my reading fate in my boyfriend’s hands and let him pick all the books I will be reading in June! Check out the video below: