Book Spotlight: RSVP

Welcome to the tour for R.S.V.P. by Ruchira Khana. Read on for details and a short excerpt from the book! I also have two $5 Amazon gift cards up for grabs!

Ruchpun front NEW (1)RSVP: A Novel

Publication Date: August 2018

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Jay Sethi, an Indian-born American, has lived with the consequences of a torn family since a teenager. After facing the effects of unrequited love and unpaid credit card bills, he settles in a small town in California from where he embarks on a cruise with his canine best friend, Yogi. Jay is shipwrecked and washed ashore on an island. It is there he realizes the importance of love and the salvation in letting go.
Will Jay be able to make up for the time he has lost?
Will the broken bridges and the seemingly permanent goodbyes remain that way?
RSVP: A novel explores the lines between reality and illusion and the significance of family.

Excerpt

Splash!

There is a strange tranquility as I realize I am surrounded by endless blue fluid. I try to talk, but no voice comes out. I frantically try looking around but except for the infinite azure, I cannot see anything.

With clenched fists, eyes wide open, and mouth shut tightly, I’m trying hard to understand where I am. I faintly remember having wished to be unborn, floating aimlessly in Ma’s womb. Has that wish come true?

That’s when I briefly catch a glimpse of Yogi. Oh no! We’re drowning. I begin flapping my hands to stay afloat. I rise, only to be sucked inside again. My hands are now paining. I cannot do it anymore.

Gasp!

**********

Jay woke up with a jerk, breathing hard, sweaty with his hands flayed up mid-air. The nightmare felt real, and he thought he was going to die. His hands went to his throat inadvertently remembering that choking feeling. Recollecting his psychologist, Susan’s suggestion, he tried taking deep breaths. His sudden action made Yogi also rise with a woof, making him quickly jump from his sofa dog bed and get cozy next to his master.

Jay was quick to hug him, all the while taking deep breaths to return to normalcy. His eyes were twitching with droplets of sweat forming around his forehead. Licking his dry lips, he gulped imaginary spittle to moisten his parched throat, the image of him drowning simply refusing to leave his mind. “Susan mentioned this would go away. Alas! When? Why does this same nightmare haunt me? And whose voice is this?” Jay mumbled.

He paused for a breather, wiping the sweat off his forehead with the back of his arm while continuously patting his pet in a futile attempt to console himself. “Why? Why?” he moaned, trying to blink his moist, heavy eyes while attempting to reason out but no luck. The night-light was flashing various colors. He kept glancing at it for a sign, but no clarification came to him. His bedroom wore a scanty look equipped with just a queen-size bed and a table on each side that stood empty with no pictures.

He glanced at the clock that was beaming three in the morning on his side table. “Gosh! Another two hours of sleep, and slumber now refuses to take over,” he moaned. As if on the cue, Yogi began to lick his cheeks trying to relax his master.

Jay lay with the dog over him, allowing Yogi to soothe his fraying nerves, and soon he drifted off to la-la land. A couple of hours later, the alarm woke Yogi and him up with a startle. They stared at each other. Jay was embarrassed at first to see Yogi by his side as he remembered his nightmare. Sitting up on the bed with a jolt, he kept pressing the temples of his forehead while walking toward the bathroom, leaving Yogi puzzled since he hadn’t received any cuddles from his master yet.

“Atta boy!” he ordered, stepping out of the room dressed and wearing his running shoes. Jay leashed his pup, and the duo was out to catch some fresh air. Once back home, he was deep in thought while working monotonously. In a state of daze after crushing the coffee beans, he plugged in the coffee maker. Yogi was quick to break his chain of thoughts with a woof.

Jay acknowledged Yogi’s woof with a nod and smile, but that did not deter him. Finally, he bent down to stroke his fur which brought satisfaction to this small, compact, and hardy beagle as his hazel eyes and soft pleading expression made Jay melt with guilt over his earlier actions. A chuckle by Jay broke the silence, and Yogi’s tactics went berserk. “How can I ever be thankful enough to you?” he admitted while stroking both his ears playfully. “You are gentle, sweet, and so friendly that it has brought me out of the funk I was in!”

He poured Yogi’s dry food in his bowl and went for a quick shower. Yogi could not be disturbed. He was busy gobbling up his first meal of the day. While dressing, Jay remembered his three o’clock dream and paused while pressing his fingers on the teeth of his comb. He stared into the mirror with his gullible, deep-set eyes that were the window to all the memories he has made for the last twenty-seven years which provided those deep, visible lines on his forehead.

The mirror was rewinding the dream.

Sleepless nights, headaches, muscle cramps, and low back pain were a norm until he met Susan, his therapist. Thankfully, the pain was gone, but the occasional sleepless nights tormented him every time he delved into his past. It would bring back those memories he still could not triumph over, and he was adamant to keep the past in the past. Anyone who would try to bring those memories to the forefront would be chastised.

Woof.

Woof.

That sound made him come out of his reverie.

“Yes… yes… I’m coming.”

Jay was appreciative of Yogi since his pet could always feel his emotions whenever he was lost, upset, or low. He quickly combed his hair before bending down to stroke Yogi’s smooth white and tan fur. “Atta boy!” Walking toward the kitchen, he opened the door to the backyard so that his pet could relieve himself while he grabbed his freshly brewed cup of coffee.

As he sat on a chair, he noticed the empty bowl and eyed his puppy. Bladder empty, the pet was quick to place his two front paws on his leg and began his ritual of licking his face.

“No! Not the face, Yogi,” Jay objected as he pulled his face away, then paused to contemplate and gushed with embarrassment. “I am an opportunist, right?” Yogi paused and twisted his head sideways as if trying to decipher that word. For him, Jay was his dad, his caretaker, and he was obliged to take care of him whenever any opportunity arose. The word opportunist was a vague unit of language for him.

“Come on, buddy. Let’s go earn some money, so we can fulfill that bucket list of ours,” said Jay, opening the door for his pet.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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A Biochemist turned writer who gathers inspiration from the society where she writes about issues that stalk the mind of the man via tales of fiction. She projects the mental growth of her characters thus, making her readers tag her work as, “Books that make you ponder!”She blogs at Abracabadra which has been featured as “Top Blog” for three years. Many of her write-ups have been published on LifeHack, HubPages to name a few.

Giveaway: For a chance to win one of two $5 Amazon gift cards, click the link below to enter.

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Mini Tour Schedule

August 10th

The Purple Shelf (Review) https://www.purpleshelfclub.com/

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

August 11th

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

August 12th

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

August 13th

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

August 14th

The Journey (Review) https://joshwhitworth.com/

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Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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I was blessed by the lovely creators of Bookishly and received another Bookishly Book Box to do an unboxing video on my channel and show you what I received! Let me know if any of you have tried this box before and what you thought! Check out the video below:

Book Spotlight: The Patience of a Dead Man

Welcome to the blog tour for chilling novel, The Patience of a Dead Man by Michael Clark. Today we have an excerpt for you, and a chance to win a fantastic giveaway! 

Read on, if you dare!

The Patience of a Dead Man KINDLE Book One Cover

The Patience of a Deadman

Publication Date: April 15, 2019

Genre: Horror/ Paranormal *Author has described it as more “chilling than gory”.

He just spent everything on a house in disrepair, but he didn’t know someone was waiting inside.

Tim Russell just put his last dollar on a handyman’s dream; a quaint but dilapidated farmhouse in New Hampshire. Newly single after a messy divorce, his plan is to live in the house as he restores it for resale. To his horror, as soon as the papers are signed and his work starts, ghosts begin to appear. A bone-white little boy. A woman covered in flies. Tim can’t afford to leave and lose it all, so he turns to his real estate agent Holly Burns to help him decide whether he has any shot at solving his haunted problem. Can they solve the mystery before he loses his investment…or maybe his life?

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Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE: Henry’s Demise

November 29th, 1965

The sun was low in the sky on another perfect New Hampshire day. Henry Smith had just washed and brushed his favorite horse just inside the old red barn. The workday was over until something caught his eye…something out beyond the pond, way out in the field. He walked toward the front of the house and stood there for a few seconds, scanning the tree line where he thought he might have seen her.

It had looked to Henry like the woman they would see from time to time at the corner of the property, cutting across the field into the woods. The closest neighbors were more than a mile away. Henry knew them, and this woman did not look familiar.

The truth was there was no explanation why the woman made frequent appearances way out here for the past few years. All of the neighbors had their own meadows full of wild grapes and blueberries, not to mention pumpkins. Why come here? Then he got to thinking: It was time to select the annual Christmas tree. Why not kill two birds with one stone? He went back to the barn, grabbed the hatchet and set off down the front lawn past the stone wall and headed toward the far left corner of the field. One hundred yards later, he turned left into the forest.

He had known about the overgrown grove since they bought the place, but he was still enamored by it. If this grove had been tended to over the years, I’d have my tree already. I’d just chop it down, and after a relatively short drag back to the house, I’d be done.

The grove started about thirty yards into the wild forest, fully on Smith property. The Christmas trees gone wild had become towering spruce and of course, too far gone for holiday use. They were all at least forty feet tall, more or less, and grew in perfect symmetrical rows. In and around the grove in odd spots however, were random wild spruce that could pass for Christmas trees if you looked hard enough.

Henry made his way through the first few yards of the wild forest, and as always, all at once, the grove opened up in front of his eyes. He was fond of this place. It was hidden, and then it was in your face. And if you were here, it was yours and yours alone for the moment, like being lost in the hallways of an empty mansion.  He angled his path to cut through the many rows, moving diagonally and to the right, deeper into the woods. Where’d she go?

He passed more rows than planned, and before he knew it, he could see the man-made symmetry coming to an end at the border of the congested wild forest. More and more rogue trees had claimed odd spots here– a near-even mixture of man and nature. The forest floor here wasn’t just spruce needles like the rest of the grove; leaves from all sorts of trees had drifted in over the years, leaving piles of natural mulch.

The briars were thick, and behind them, undisturbed forest. Nestled inside the briars and brush were two high mounds of leaves that had collected for decades. They seemed artificially high as if they covered something. At first, Henry thought it might be a section of stone wall, but the stone wall in this forest also happened to be the property line, and he was sure he was still a ways from that.

As he closed in, he realized the two piles were each nearly waist-high. A section of gray stone peered out from under twisting vines that had caught years of falling leaves, revealing something several shades lighter than anything naturally occurring.

Gravestones, he recognized. Thirty-one years living here and I didn’t know… He looked down at his hatchet, wishing it was a pair of pruning shears. The briars proved well prepared to protect their long-held secret, but Henry’s curiosity was powerful. He forged ahead, hacking and flattening the bases of the sharp plants so that getting back out wouldn’t be the same battle it was going in.

As soon as he broke through the last of the thorns, he put down the hatchet, dropped to his knees and began to clear the dead leaves and ivy. The stones were crooked from years of heaving frosts but remained steady as he worked. There was a large one on the left and a smaller one on the right.

There was so much moss they were illegible. Concentrating on the left one, Henry scraped gently at the space he estimated the epitaph would be. After three or four moments of gentle effort, he had cleared the top two engraved lines. The first, in smaller letters, read: “Here lies.” The second line, where the person’s name should appear, was taller than the first–but he couldn’t quite make out the inscription.

Then, a twig snapped. Henry looked around, attempting to focus in the dark; it must be her; time to meet the stranger. He looked back, down the near-perfect aisle of spruce. It was all shadows and night had finally fallen. He squinted and took off his glasses, trying to catch a better glance.

She stood there in the dark–the mystery woman in the long dress. All he could make out was her silhouette; her pale white hands were holding what might be a bouquet, and her hair was pinned up, worn away from her neck. It was as unkempt as the woods behind her, strands and bunches pushing out in odd directions.

And there was a smell.

There are many unpleasant odors on a farm, but Henry recognized this as the smell of something unmistakably dead. Like the time a mouse died inside the wall of their bedroom. It was decay, and it was coming from her.

Available on Amazon!

About the Author

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Michael Clark was raised in New Hampshire and lived in the house The Patience of a Dead Man is based. The bats really circled the rafters of the barn all day long, and there really was a grove hidden in the forest. He now lives in Massachusetts with his wife Josi and his dog Bubba.

The Patience of a Dead ManDead Woman Scorned Anger is an Acid are his first three novels.

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What makes this tour extra special is that it’s part one of 3! This book is the first in a trilogy, best read as one big, terrifying story!

Here are the details for the other tours:

Dead Woman Scorned (The Patience of a Deadman #2): October 5th – 9th

Anger is Acid (The Patience of a Deadman #3): November 30th – December 4th

Comment if you are interested in joining the other tours. We are happy to provide The Patience of a Deadman (Book One) as well!

Giveaway: To win print copies of the entire trilogy (US Only), or a print copy of The Patience of a Dead Man (International), click the link below!

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Blog Tour Schedule

August 3rd

Cats Luv Coffee (Review) https://catsluvcoffeez.blogspot.com

Ity Reads Books (Review) www.ityreadsbooks.com

Purple Shelf Club (Review) https://www.purpleshelfclub.com/

Ally’s Reading Corner (Review) https://allysreadingcorner.com/

August 4th

Banshee Irish Horror Blog (Review) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com

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

Cocktails and Fairy Tales (Review) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales

August 5th

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

@DreaminginPages (Review) https://www.instagram.com/dreaminginpages/

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

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

August 6th

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

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

I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

@_MyBookCorner (Review) https://www.instagram.com/_mybookcorner/

August 7th

Horror Tree (Guest Post) https://www.horrortree.com

Blood Rose Writings (Review) http://www.bloodrosewritings.blogspot.com

@TheCrookedHouse (Review) https://www.instagram.com/thecrookedhouse/

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

J. Bronder Book Reviews (Review) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

@heyyyitsfahh (Review) https://www.instagram.com/heyyyitsfahh/

Blog Tour Organized By:

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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

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Hey everyone! I did an author interview with Lisa Luciano, author of the mystery crime novel The Chosen Ones! It is a book that goes inside the scandalous & icy world of Olympic figure skating. Check out the video below:

Book Review: The Seven Keys of Hildegard – Of Love & Betrayal

I finished my last book on my July TBR on August 1st so I was just teensy bit late but I am counting it! This one was called The Seven Keys of Hildegard: Of Love & Betrayal by David Dupuis and is the 2nd book in a series.

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Synopsis: In 1167, a German nun named Hildegard, has seven troubling visions of the end times. In 1958, the new pope, John XXIII, begins his reign and must decide how to make his church relevant in a rapidly changing and increasingly dangerous world of the 1960s and 70s. In this second book of David Dupuis’ thrilling five-part historical-fiction series, the ancient battle lines are drawn. From a convent in Fatima, Portugal, to a hut in Africa, the halls of the Vatican, office towers in New York City to a small town in Canada, the ancient Keys inevitably turn. Through it all, a mother’s devotion to her child and those who protect them are threatened. Can the church and world be saved from political, economic, military and spiritual assassinations? With evil lurking in the halls of power, only two things are certain. Where there is love—there is always betrayal.

Like I have said many times before, historical fiction has never really been my thing. But David’s first book actually intrigued me and gave me a little bit of a liking for the genre. So now in his second book, I can say that the little bit of love is still there as I enjoyed this one too.

I think I liked this one because you already knew a lot of the characters because one of my issues with the first one was that there were a lot of characters to keep track of and it was a bit hard for me to keep up but now that they have been fostered into my mind, this book went a lot smoother. I do think the book could have been a little bit shorter and there were some parts that could have been taken out but I can also see how the author wanted to build anticipation for that big ending.

Some of the relationships seemed a little forced but others were very heartwarming and had me invested. These books deal with family a lot and I do like that about them. Having a caring and supportive family is really nice to see in a book.

I will definitely read the rest of the books in this series when they come out.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads. This book was published through Friesen Press.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author in 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

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The new Taylor Swift album is here!!!! So what better way to celebrate than to do a book tag around it. Let me know in the comments which song is your favorite off the new album! Check out the video below:

Cover Reveal: Awaken the Three

If you haven’t heard about the Highglade Series yet, check out the cover for Awaken the Three by D. L. Jennings, a must read for Fantasy lovers who love imaginative new worlds and epic adventures!

Cover Photo for BookSirens

Awaken the Three (Highglade #2)

Expected Publication Date: August 11, 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Beyond the Wastes of Khulakorum, a storm is rising . . .

The Shaper of Ages is gone, and along with her, the Breaker — yet gods are not the only threat to the peace of the living.

Aldis Tennech, the once-great general of the armies of Gal’dorok, finds himself in exile. His only hope of reclaiming glory lies in the hands of a self-proclaimed emperor, and the unearthly powers that put him there. Meanwhile, improbable alliances are forged in the north as unexpected enemies rear their heads and threaten ruin-with a single thread in common, connecting them all.

In the sequel to his award-winning novel Gift of the Shaper, D. L. Jennings once again brings to life an epic tale of war and chaos as earthly armies fight for otherworldly prizes. Ancient powers lying dormant must be called upon, bringing strength to those who need it and conquest to those who seek it; battles will rage and cities will fall, but only the most desperate or reckless would seek . . .

. . . to awaken the three.

Pre-Order Here!

Gift of the Shaper (Highglade #1)

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For thousands of years, the Breaker of the Dawn has been locked away in the ethereal plane of the Otherworld. Now, a young blacksmith’s apprentice finds himself trapped in a war between the noble Athrani, a subset of humanity gifted with the ability to transmute matter, and the malevolent and powerful Khyth, who seek to free the ancient god from his prison.

When his father, Olson, is kidnapped, Thornton Woods and his childhood friend, Miera, must leave their small village of Highglade to find him. On their way, they are joined by Ynara and Kethras, cat-like humanoids called Kienari, who use their skills as hunter/trackers to follow Olson’s trail. When it comes to light that one among them possesses the key to the Breaker’s release, Thornton and his friends must defy the might of the Khyth as armies on both sides collide in pursuit of the ultimate prize.

Gift of the Shaper chronicles the epic struggle between the existing forces of good and evil, with both sides vying for control of the key that unlocks the Otherworld. The very powers of creation and destruction hang in the balance, and only a heroic effort by Thornton and Miera, backed by the power of the Athrani, can possibly stop the Khyth from unleashing ruin — and the Breaker — upon their world.

 Goodreads

About the Author

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Once again, D. L. Jennings, who won the “Beverly Hills Award for Fantasy” in 2018, brings life to an epic tale of war and chaos as earthly armies fight for otherworldly prizes. Reminiscent of Game of Thrones, AWAKEN THE THREE is a riveting page-turner, and a must-read for fantasy readers who want to escape to a different world, time and place ruled by other-worldly beings. It’s the perfect book to escape from the anxious times of our COVID-19 reality.

D. L. Jennings is a fourteen-year active-duty veteran of the United States Air Force, serving under the Air Force Special Operations Command. In 2005, he earned his associate degree after graduating at the top of his Korean class at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California, and earning the Korean Consul General’s award for excellence. He is a graduate of Bellevue University in Nebraska, earning a bachelor of science degree in security management in 2008. He finished writing his debut novel, GIFT OF THE SHAPER, which won the Beverly Hills Book Award in 2018 for Fantasy, while serving on his ninth combat tour. He has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as several countries in Africa. When he is not reading or writing epic fantasy, he enjoys traveling, listening to ‘90s punk, and watching Ohio State football. Jennings lives in South Florida

D.L. Jennings

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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

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It’s that time of year again where we take our final exams for the Magical Readathon and this will be the last one because G from Book Roast will be switching it up which is sad but understandable. So these are all the books I will be reading for my NEWT exams. Check out the video below:

Book Review: The Mirror Man

I read a sci-fi that was compared to stuff by Blake Crouch! It was called The Mirror Man by  Jane Gilmartin.

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Synopsis: The offer is too tempting: be part of a scientific breakthrough, step out of his life for a year, and be paid hugely for it. When ViGen Pharmaceuticals asks Jeremiah to be part of an illegal cloning experiment, he sees it as a break from an existence he feels disconnected from. No one will know he’s been replaced—not the son who ignores him, not his increasingly distant wife—since a revolutionary drug called Meld can transfer his consciousness and memories to his copy.

From a luxurious apartment, he watches the clone navigate his day-to-day life. But soon Jeremiah discovers that examining himself from an outsider’s perspective isn’t what he thought it would be, and he watches in horror as “his” life spirals out of control. ViGen needs the experiment to succeed—they won’t call it off, and are prepared to remove any obstacle. With his family in danger, Jeremiah needs to finally find the courage to face himself head-on.

I enjoyed this book for the most part. Would I compare it to Blake Crouch? Not exactly, but I can see where those vibes came from. I think the fact that I have read Blake Crouch books before this one made it very predictable and I was calling all the things that happened before they did. That is why is brought down the rating for me.

I believe that someone coming into this with no prior knowledge of Crouch’s books would love it and find themselves completely captured in the story. It is also similar to a book called Foe by Iain Reid which is another great one.

The concept is really cool and it would be so intense if clones were a reality. I like the little touches thrown in there to prove that the clone can’t always be “exactly” the same. I found that the characters could use a little bit more development because when big things happened, I didn’t feel that attached. That being said, when his mother was discussed and grown as a character, I related and felt she was very similar to my grandmother which brought the attachment and had me reminiscing on times with her.

Overall, the book is a good one for any SciFi fan that wants to see a new story told with cloning and consequences!

Book Rating: 3/5

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

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Harper Collins in 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

It’s that time of year again where we take our final exams for the Magical Readathon and this will be the last one because G from Book Roast will be switching it up which is sad but understandable. So these are all the books I will be reading for my NEWT exams. Check out the video below:

Book Spotlight: Masters & Beginners

Welcome to the tour for Masters & Beginners, by Daley Downing, book one in The Order of the Twelve Tribes series! Read on for a sneak peek, and a chance to win a signed copy of the book!

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Masters & Beginners

Publication Date: August 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy/ Urban Fantasy/ Magic

When Sophie Driscoll’s grandmother dies, her parents take over running the Annex, a warehouse facility that stores magical artifacts and documents proving, and protecting, the existence of faeries. Sophie and her brothers, Flynn and Cal, happily adjust to a new house, new friends, and a new way of living, joining the ranks of generations who have kept the fey and mortal realms separate for centuries. Before the first month of their new life is over, they’ll encounter romance, elves, talking cats, ancient secrets, and potentially lethal danger. What could possibly go wrong…

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Excerpt

Prologue

It wasn’t a dark and stormy night. It was a pleasant late summer’s evening, shortly after sunset, the sky a rich navy blue, stars beginning to twinkle in the distance. In a pleasant subdivision, residents were settling in for the night. In a tent pitched on one of the well-mowed lawns was a group of four teenage girls, in their pajamas and sleeping bags, currently finding out who could come up with the scariest scary story.

“…and to this day, he wanders the woods, looking for his head.”

“Can I just say, eew.” Margaret wrinkled her nose and frowned disapprovingly.

“That was the Headless Horseman. That’s not an original story, Kimberly.”

“Fine! You come up with something better.” Kimberly flopped down onto her pillow.

The tent was pitched in a backyard just like so many other backyards up and down the street. The development was one of the last to be built in the town limits, and it sat near the boundary of the state forest. The fact they lived so close to a nature preserve meant to the adults lots of hiking and biking on the trails, a chance for the kids to see wildlife, and learn about the woods firsthand. To their children, it meant a sense of danger, dark goings-on, and the perfect atmosphere for telling ghost stories during slumber parties.

“Fine, I will.” Sophie sat up taller on her blanket. It was her tent, her backyard, her house, with her family inside, hosting the slumber party. Taking the flashlight, she placed it under her chin, the beam casting shadows over the contours of her face.

“There was a house at the edge of the city that everyone called the glass house,” she began. “It looked like it was made all from glass, and it was strange to the people in the city. It belonged to the most wealthy family, the Greymalkins. They employed many servants and farmers in the past, people working on the land they owned. But these days, they had all but stopped hiring new staff.”

Margaret and Helen watched Sophie, listening politely. Kimberly pretended to be bored, and fiddled with a loose thread on her sleeping bag.

“The people didn’t really go near the glass house anymore,” Sophie went on. “The former staff, or their descendants, said that the Greymalkins were having troubles — illness, bad investments, and the like. They said that soon the family may be forced to sell the glass house and all their land.

“That was a shame, old Mrs. O’Connor said, as her grandson was coming back to town after traveling abroad for a few years, and he needed a job. He’d just completed his courses at an important university in another country, and he was well-trained in managing finances and keeping records. That was a very good thing, said Daphne, one of the few maids left at the glass house. Because the Greymalkins were looking for someone to do just that.

“And so Augustine O’Connor began to work at the glass house.”

Margaret and Helen were definitely interested now. Even Kimberly sat up a little more and glanced in Sophie’s direction.

“Daphne showed Augustine where he would work. It was mostly in one room, a study where all the family’s important papers were kept. After a few hours of working each day, he would go to the kitchens for a meal, and take a walk in the gardens if the weather was good. Most of the time, he only saw Daphne, or the cook, or the butler, Mr. Lee.

“One afternoon, just as he was finishing up, a very grand, and beautiful, woman came into the study. She wore a silver dress, and diamond combs in her hair. This was Lady Greymalkin, he knew, as he had seen portraits of her in the lobby of the glass house. Augustine quickly stood up and then bowed, as Mr. Lee had instructed him to do if he ever met a member of the family.

“Lady Greymalkin insisted he not bother about such a formality. ‘Thank you for doing this work for us,’ she said. ‘We need all our affairs in order before we sell the house.’ So it was true, Augustine asked, the rumors among the people? ‘Yes, I’m afraid so,’ the lady said. ‘Life has not gone…as we planned recently.’ Augustine gave his apology. ‘There’s no need to be sorry. It’s how things happen sometimes.’ And she invited him to tour the rest of the house with her.”

Outside the tent, it was quiet except for the chirp of crickets, and the occasional, brief passing of a car. Fireflies danced in the trees beyond the fence, but the girls didn’t notice.

“Augustine walked along the halls and saw the big dining room, the library, the grand parlor, where the family had entertained in happier times. Lady Greymalkin told him a little more about her children, her husband, and his parents, who built the glass house. When it was time for him to go, she invited him to tour the property on his own, as he wished.”

Kimberly couldn’t pretend anymore; she was listening as raptly as Helen and Margaret.

“A few days after this, the Lady came to find Augustine in the study,” Sophie continued. “She told him that they had a buyer for the land, and soon his services wouldn’t be needed anymore. ‘Thank you so much for your help. I’m sorry it means you’re out of a job. If I can do anything, please let me know.’ Augustine replied that a good reference would come in handy, but also, before he left, he’d like to walk around the gardens one more time. The Lady said yes, and that she would join him.

“As they walked, Augustine saw a door in the garden wall he had never noticed before. ‘Come with me,’ the Lady said, and she showed him a tunnel beyond the door. As they began walking down the tunnel, the Lady said, ‘Oh, I forgot, Mr. Lee needed to see me! Do wait here.’ And she ran back into the garden, shutting the door behind her.”

The back door of the house gently opened and closed. A shadowed figure slipped away from the lights inside, creeping into the yard and towards the tent.

“Confused, Augustine tried to open the door. He found it locked. There was only a little light in the tunnel, and he couldn’t see very far. Deciding he should wait as the Lady had told him to, he stood still.”

The dark figure paused near the tent, crouching down, trying to stay out of the light coming through the windows of his home.

Sophie’s hand was beginning to get tired of holding the flashlight, but she was almost done with the story. “Then a loud sound came from the other side of the wall, a sudden scream. Augustine jumped, and ran into the tunnel. As he ran, he heard other sounds, on either side of him, growls and snarls like those of wild animals. All the noise came out of nowhere, but it seemed to be all around him.”

Helen was spellbound. Margaret hugged her pillow close to her. Even Kimberly’s eyes were wide.

“Augustine stopped running when he realized the light was fading in the tunnel, and the noise seemed to be behind him. He stood in front of another door, and he wondered if this one would lead back to the garden, or to the glass house. He opened the door, and saw nothing else.”

A branch snapped in the yard, and something scratched at the tent. Helen and Margaret screamed, and Kimberly dived into her sleeping bag.

Sophie smiled and turned off the flashlight.

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About the Author

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Daley Downing is an autistic author, parent to special needs children, a dance teacher, and cat whisperer. She spends her days attempting to write just a few more words than in the previous 24 hours, and lovingly refers to her genre as suburban fantasy. Visit her at: https://daleydowning.wordpress.com/.

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Blog Tour Schedule

July 27th

I love Books and Stuff (Spotlight) https://ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com

Kiki’s Books (Review) https://www.instagram.com/kikis_books/

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

July 28th

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

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

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

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

July 29th

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

Read and Rated (Spotlight) https://readandrated.com/

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

July 30th

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

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

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

July 31st

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

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

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

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Hey everyone! I did an author interview with Lisa Luciano, author of the mystery crime novel The Chosen Ones! It is a book that goes inside the scandalous & icy world of Olympic figure skating. Check out the video below:

Book Review: The Seven Keys of Hildegard – Of Mercy & Of Death

I took another try at historical fiction and let me tell you, I didn’t mind it this time! I read The Seven Keys of Hildegard: Of Mercy & Of Death by David Dupuis.

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Synopsis: In 1167, a German nun has a troubling vision, prophesizing the end times. In 1917, Mary appears to three children in Fatima, Portugal, revealing mysterious secrets. In 1936, a young man is inexplicably hurled to his death off the side of a mountain in Italy, and the newborn he unknowingly leaves behind is spirited away to America by his terrified mother. But why?

Tackling events throughout the early 20th century, The Seven Keys of Hildegard: Of Mercy & Of Death will challenge the very truth of what the church and the world knows. Through two world wars, and from the Vatican in Rome, Italy, to New York City and small-town Canada, two knowing popes, an unsuspecting archbishop and a monsignor become entangled in Hildegard’s ancient web of prophecies. And one thing is certain—Armageddon is nigh.

I normally am not a big fan of historical fiction but this book was pulling me in. There is this intense sense of urgency the entire time that something bad is coming and they must do everything they can to prepare for it. The characters are developed well and the book stays interesting by jumping back and forth from different time periods as well as places around the world.

It took a whole new turn on good vs evil and there is so much more to explore as this is only the first book in a series.

There were times that I was less interested in the book. These were when they were having lots of conversations between different members and denominations of the church. I also found it a little difficult to keep track of different roles within the church and all the different priests as the series deals with a lot of them.

I will definitely be continuing the series as I finally found a historical fiction that doesn’t bore me to tears.

Book Rating: 3.5/5

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

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me in an e-book format by the author to read and give an honest review.



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There are so many great popular book series out there and so I decided to make a video telling you about the ones that I would like to start and the popular book series that I have started and just need to finish! Check out the video below:

Book Review: The Tech

It’s about time I reviewed a thriller book am I right? Well, I wouldn’t say it was exactly scary but more of a crime thriller. This one was called The Tech by Mark Ravine.

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Synopsis: Alexandra has just taken charge of her new team, a motley crew of screw-ups at the Arizona Field Office, the latest in a series of forgettable assignments. With a history of rebelling against authority and blunt speaking, she vows to change her ways and make this assignment work.

Within minutes of her taking charge, she is drawn into a bank robbery case. She leads her new team to catch the robbers but discovers that there is much more to the case than meets the eye. The very next day three girls go missing. Before they could be trafficked out of the country, she races against time to rescue them. Soon, she begins to realize that all the cases coming her way are mysteriously connected. As she unravels the threads of a massive conspiracy, she discovers that a secret organization with immense power and authority is behind these horrific crimes. Forces within the FBI thwart her every move to discover the truth. Helping her navigate this maze is the shadowy Michael Patterson. But can she trust him? Can she trust anyone? Soon, witnesses disappear, suspects are killed, with her life and the lives of her team in lethal danger. Will she come out of this alive? Will she uncover and expose this cabal? As time starts running out, Alexandra Cassidy has to evade indictment and defy death in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

This was labeled as a suspenseful thriller and it was quite the book. I really enjoyed how much was happening and I felt like you never had a chance to stop as there was little “down” time. The main character was okay, I didn’t really like her character as much as I was hoping but I did enjoy Mike as the “tech”. I think I related to him more since he was kind of like the IT guy and I do a lot of that at my current workplace.

I do think that it could have been a little bit more thrilling than it was. The suspenseful parts were done really quickly and didn’t give enough time to build up the suspense to get me nervous for the characters.

I wish that it left a little bit to the imagination so that I could puzzle through and try and figure it out on my own because I find that brings a novel together well when you have the reader guessing but a lot of this book was pretty much laid out for you and didn’t leave much to the imagination.

The action scenes, although brief, were very intense and I will say that helped keep me on my toes for it. I would suggest this book to anyone that wants a fast-paced crime book.

Book Rating: 3/5

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

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me in ebook format by Dawn Hill Publications to read and give an honest review.



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Does anyone here like comic books? I do and did an entire video of me matching comic books to awesome prompts. Check out the video below:

Book Review: The Day The Sun Changed Colours

Our external reviewer Chris sent in another review for us. This time he read The Day the Sun Changed Colours by Scott Talbot Evans.

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Yes, this is really the book cover.

Synopsis: When the Sun starts bombarding the Earth in changing colors, it disrupts the perfect utopian society of the year 4377. The world’s water is drying up fast, and a family of seven humans–two mothers, three fathers, and two kids–must build an evacuation ship. But the insanity causing sky colours make it impossible. LITTERBOT is a humble and faithful cleaning robot who gets no respect. His body is able to transform into any shape to meet whatever situation arises. His processors can predict spills up to 3 days in advance. Unfortunately, there’s not much to clean in a perfect world. TROLL, one of the mothers, is a fun-loving water scientist who must draw on her heroism to save her family. BULB, one of the fathers, is exceptionally logical and grumpy. His utter faith in science will be put to the ultimate test. When the world computer crashes, they must find primitive paper books. Society unravels, and they are forced to face their savage natures. Will a clumsy cleaning robot sacrifice himself to save his masters?

Do not expect a typical sci-fi book. Or typical any book. Due to sentence structure and the way characters speak, it is difficult to tell if the spelling and grammatical errors are deliberate or were missed in proof-reading. You get used to it after a while so it seems a clever way of not having to do proper proof-reading. Incidentally, despite what the blurb says it is not the year 4377, it is 11,987 AD. It is set in 4377 kiloday though, which demonstrates one problem with making stuff up willy-nilly—even the person who wrote the blurb (the author?) got confused.

The book starts out a bit like Douglas Adam’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy complete with a mega-intelligent bored robot but then changes into something rather nonsensical. It seems to be trying for satire but misses the mark by a flivver (which is one of the nonsensical units of measurement in the book, which in itself isn’t consistent. For example, a major building is described as a flivver tall yet the robot stands a flivver behind someone as it prepares to clean up dining table messes. Either the building was barely head height, or the robot was standing 20-30 m away from the table).

Anything can and does happen even if, maybe especially if, it doesn’t make any sense. One character goes for a gallop, a literal gallop on all fours like a horse, to get exercise. Later, under the influence of increasing radiation, one mutates and grows four more arms, another gets the lower body of a snake, another turns into a werewolf, another has one’s head grow very large.

Reading this book is completely surreal. It rambles, it wanders, it “nonsensicalizes”. An occasional attempt at satire comes through before being buried by more terse descriptions of what sounds like a hallucinatory drug-induced dream.

Halfway through when the family unit builds a spaceship to escape the impending explosion of the sun the writing becomes more controlled, more pointed, more humorous, with some proper satire popping up. The beginning and the middle part of the book are the most readable parts.

The ending started the hallucinatory ramble again, and the last chapter actually didn’t make sense (even for a nonsensical book) in that the sun, which was supposed to go nova, didn’t actually go nova. Instead, the moon crashed into the earth and rolled to a stop on top of the Eifel tower. We were promised a nova. We want a nova! It didn’t happen and not even a reference to explain why. It’s like the author wrote the first half of the book, then a year later wrote the second half of the book, but forgot he had the sun exploding. Two temporally separated writing jags would explain why the first part and the middle part of the book are the best parts as the author starts fresh each time.

It was quite a strange book. If there had been more consistent pointed satire then it would get more stars, but it seems satire was vastly overshadowed by silliness. Full stars for imagination and creativity though, and it probably would be a brilliant book if the satire actually worked.

I was going to give the book 1/5 stars, but the chuckles from the middle part brought that up!

Book Rating: 2/5

You can find this book on Goodreads.

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



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I took a dive back into my contemporary and rated my John Green Books from worst to best! Let me know which one is your favorite! Check out the video below:

Book Review: Battle Royale

Oh My God! This book was so freaking good! I absolutely loved it with every part of my being and wish I could experience it again for the first time! This book is none other than Battle Royale by Koushun Takami.

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Synopsis: Koushun Takami’s notorious high-octane thriller envisions a nightmare scenario: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan—where it became a runaway best seller—Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world.

I adored this book! I heard that it was like the Hunger Games and my friend gave it to me for my birthday so I read it and it blew me away with how good it was. I felt so many different emotions while reading this book and it always had me on the edge of my seat. The author introduced you to so many amazing characters just for them to be taken away from you, it was heartbreaking. I even had tears in my eyes at some parts because I had become so attached in such a little amount of time.

The political aspect of the book was also very intriguing because it shows how this society deals with preventing potential wars by putting children on a deserted island to fight to the death. I also did find it hard at times because a lot of the character’s names all sounded kind of similar so it was a bit hard to remember who was who but in the end, it did not hinder my love of the book one bit.

I need another book like this! The high intensity of it had me not wanting to it down. I have been telling everyone about it since I have read it and can’t stop thinking about it. It definitely sticks with you once you are done. I would recommend this book to anyone! Literally, anyone because it is so good.

Book Rating: 5/5

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

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



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Anyone interested in rock music? I did the Classic Rock Book Tag and it was a blast! All of the prompts were named after classic rock songs and it took me on a journey. Check out the video below: