Book Review: Provider​ Prime

More fantastic reviews from our external reviewer Chris Connors! This one was called Provider Prime: Alien Legacy by John Vassar.

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Synopsis: Earth has endured world wars, global famine and the near-collapse of civilization. It has always survived. But it has never seen anything like this…

After a century of peace, world security is under attack from an entity with incredible power and intelligence. Something that has remained hidden within the Populus for decades. Something malevolent.

Facing impossible odds, one man is caught in a race against time to find and eliminate the threat. Earth’s all-powerful AIs, the SenANNs, offer hope but have their own agenda for the future of mankind. As an alien starship appears on the outskirts of the solar system, the loyalty of the most advanced machine minds the world has ever known will be tested.

In the final reckoning, with the future of humanity at stake, the SenANNs themselves will hold the balance of power.

Will they stand with the human race or assist in its subjugation?

An expletive might be appropriate here, but I’ll settle for, “oh boy, this book was good!” I admire anyone who has taken the time to write a book, even if it isn’t all that good, because, by gum, they sat down and wrote a friggin’ book! How awesome is that?! Then you get an author who not only has written a book but has done it so well you wouldn’t know that there was no professional publishing house behind him.

For the most part, this book was difficult to put down at bedtime. It wasn’t just good in terms of the storyline, but good in terms of writing, both creative and technical. If there were any spelling errors or major grammar mistakes I missed them. I thought I spotted an incorrect comma placement right near the beginning, but that’s probably po-ta-toe vs po-taw-toe scenario; and I was so involved in the story right from page one I didn’t even slow down to check. The attention to detail needed for this level of technical writing is something you expect from a professional editor—my reviews have more grammatical errors in them than this entire book (I’m pretty good at spotting errors in my own work but only after they’ve gone online or been sent out to a client).

Set about 2 centuries in the future, Earth’s scientific knowledge has leaped forward since the time of the Great Famine when several billion people died and humanity was in danger of extinction. Space flight, orbital living quarters, AI, Moon and Mars colonies are thriving, and crime rates are at a manageable level. People are beginning to exhibit signs of telepathy or empathic connections, something that is viewed with a bit of suspicion, but doesn’t stray into us vs them X-men territory; instead, it plays a background part that adds to the storyline rather than be the storyline.

Part of the story blurb from Amazon states, “After a century of peace, world security is under attack from an entity with incredible power and intelligence. Something that has remained hidden within the Populus for decades. Something malevolent.

Facing impossible odds, ex-FedStat agent Lee Mitchell is caught in a race against time to find and eliminate the threat. Earth’s all-powerful AIs, the SenANNs, offer hope but have their own agenda for the future of mankind. They also have plans for Mitchell which will make him question what it is to be human.”

It won’t come as a spoiler, given the sub-title of the book, that aliens are involved, but at first, you don’t know why they’re here—to aid or to subjugate?

One thing, of many, that I liked is the author doesn’t explain all the terms— he doesn’t spoon-feed you like some authors (you know who you are) who seem to have a low opinion of their readers’ intelligence.

In real life we don’t explain all our acronyms or terms or how things work to people we talk to, but use them with the understanding that they also know these shortcut terms or how things work: MTO, OPP, coppers, 9-1-1, tweakers, NFL, change the spark plugs, electoral processes, and on it goes. Vassar’s technique feels much more “realistic” than having characters explain things for the sake of the reading audience that should be obvious to the other characters in the book.

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Did your pilot just explain pilot acronyms to another pilot?

With Vassar, the reading audience can pick up what is meant within a few pages of seeing the terms used in context. His well-done technique kept me turning pages; I wasn’t pulled out of the story, which happens when some character explains what should be obvious to those around him. I feel this type of writing technique is under-appreciated by many readers because the story flows so smoothly they don’t recognize why it flows that way.

He also manages not to veer into William Gibson territory who has taken “aggravatingly obtuse” to a whole new level; Gibson is brilliant, but avoid going on Gibson reading binge if you want to maintain your love of reading.

The pacing of the Vassar’s story also kept me turning pages. Things did slow down a bit near the end, strangely enough, when the alien spaceship finally shows up—it was still interesting though. As well, there were a couple of items that didn’t seem to fit into the story—it wasn’t fully explained why an agent’s communication node failure was integral to the story nor why it had to malfunction; far as I could tell it wasn’t necessary as that storyline could have been fulfilled using devices that are already in place.

There is also a couple of near Deus ex Machina used to extricate characters out of tight situations near the end (one technological, one convenient telepathic intervention); it felt like cheating to me. If you don’t know what Deus ex Machina is, don’t look it up—it’ll ruin Star Trek for you forever.

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“Don’t look, you’ll be ok, this will be the last Deus ex Machina device for this week, ahhh.. I mean season”.

And, I thought the love interest wasn’t developed well at all—Mitchell just meets this person yet they’re deeply in love. Yes, they both are latent telepaths, but the story didn’t explore how this brought them towards deep love. The love interest felt tacked on to give Mitchell more motivation for continuing on against some good-sized odds.

But those are minor quibbles. The line “We are the same. But we are different” (see front piece picture) is a recurring theme in the book, which ties things together. It is especially put to good use at the end of the story where the words “We are the same” take on new meaning, which gave me a happy chill. The universe Vassar has created felt realistic, creatively done, and was clever, which is fitting considering his writing was the same way.

The ending does leave room for further books in this universe. It also could end right there, as it was fairly satisfying and leaves it to the reader to imagine what might happen next. If Vassar does continue with this universe I’ll buy those books. Personally, I want to know how Mitchell’s life continues as all he knows now will completely change how he sees life. Vassar has demonstrated that his writing is comparable with some well-known authors, and I thought it was better writing than some big names (you still listening, Dean?).

For just the technical prowess alone I’d give 6/5 stars if there were such a thing. For storyline, creative writing, imagination, well-developed universe, definitely a 5/5 star book, and then some!

Book Rating: 5/5

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

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

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Book Review: Push On – My Walk to Recovery on the Appalachian Trail

Chris Connors has hit us up with another review for the blog! This one is called Push On: My Walk to Recovery on the Appalachian Trail by Niki Rellon.

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[note: this is a review of the first edition. After I submitted this review, I was forwarded an updated copy of the book in which the new formatting makes for a better reading experience; see notes at the end]

This is a 285-page book about extreme athlete Niki Rellon’s struggle to recover from a horrific accident in Montezuma Canyon, Utah that left her with a missing leg and daily pain. It chronicles her struggle to overcome the doctors’ pessimistic prognosis (she should learn to get used to a wheelchair), her injuries, her pain medication dependency, and her own despair (how was a restless nomadic athlete supposed to adapt to a desk job? Spoiler alert: she didn’t, but you’ll have to read it to find out where her adventures took her—aside from the trail, that is).

“A diamond in the rough” probably sums up this book—and perhaps the author—which has some rough edges that hides its value. A rough diamond can look quite unremarkable, but shows its true value when much of it has been cut away and polished.

The book starts well, but it seems the editor did not see much of the book. There are some mild editing problems in the beginning: three foreshadowing sentences in two pages, a few awkward sentences “I’d never even heard of Paradox Sports, but they’d heard my story from a base jumper who’d been at the same time in that Hospital in Grand Junction I’d been there”, and sentences that belaboured the obvious. One humorous spelling mistake about her brother’s wedding produced a great euphemism I’ll be using now. “Every time I posted something on Facebook about a breakdown, they [her parents]got more and more nervous about me making it to Germany in time for my brothers weeding.

By the middle it was similar to a high-school diary with stream of conscious from present day to past with no coherent narrative, what parties she attended, books and movies read and seen, restaurants visited, and interjections about who was a jerk, who was a creep, who was an angel (angels outnumber creeps and jerks, which itself is uplifting).

The Appalachian Trail part of the book starts on page 122, then there are numerous detours back in time to earlier events, as well as numerous social forays at stopping points along the trail or while she was waiting for infections in her leg to heal or prosthetic repairs. We are treated to what life as an active athlete is like before and after the accident. The detours, though, do not seem to relate to the main narrative, but are more random connections—she sees a dog, she remembers her own childhood’s dog.

One’s heart goes out to Rellon. For example, Rellon gave the nurse her height and weight in metric. The nurse hadn’t even heard of metric. Rellon felt like she’d walked into a Third-World hospital. One can only imagine how she felt upon discovering she was at the mercy of a nurse who had managed to graduate without even being aware of the metric system. What else doesn’t she know? This level of incompetence is stunning—even nurses in Third World hospitals know the metric system as only the US, along with Liberia and Myanamar, still use the antiquated imperial system.

The book is littered with inspirational quotes (I view inspirational quotes the same way Rellon views shrinks—her term, not mine) that are randomly salted throughout chapters without obvious relevance to the topic at hand. They were written in 14-point Algerian font with reddish letters, which jarred me out of the flow that was present in the early chapters. I started skipping over quotes the same way I skip over ads on webpages. Perhaps they’d work better at the top of each new chapter, or if they were placed in an inset box where they fit the topic under discussion.

Another big item that distracted from the narrative were the pictures. They’d been resized without regard for proportions (holding the Shift key down while dragging at the corner of the picture will keep the original proportion while you change the size). As well, faces were marred with bad photoshopping. It is good to value someone’s privacy, but permission to use their faces could be obtained from good friends or Facebook friends; the rest could be gently blurred or pixelated.

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Eventually, I had to start skipping over the pictures as I found them cumulatively disturbing. I did not find the pictures of her infected stump disturbing though, just missing faces—other readers’ mileage may vary.

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Missing faces are always creepy.

This book is more like a biography as only about half of the book takes place on the trail. An editor would have her change the title to reflect this. Or, an editor would keep the title but have her use the trail as a skeleton for the rest of the story. For example, the book begins with the accident. Later, there is a trail story where she almost dies from hypothermia and gale force winds that knocked her off her feet. This story is told beginning to end which leads to no real suspense. Now, suppose the book opens with that story, talks about how she tries to huddle into a wet sleeping bag thinking, “How did I get here, in the middle of a storm on a mountain, far from help, just months after I was told I’d have to use a wheelchair for most of my life?”—then cut away to the accident, leaving us wondering how she got out of the trail predicament. It’d keep people reading to find out what happened next.

The flawed delivery should not take away from Rellon’s message though. The accident was horrible—rocks always seemed more unforgiving in eastern Utah—and her determination to push on, to recover, to prove the naysayers wrong is motivational.

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Unforgiving rocks. Photo by CC

There is so much potential in this book to be far better. It is an inspirational story, and with some cutting, some polishing, it could easily become the diamond that is already there.

Addendum to the newer edition—now with some polishing.

The new edition’s interior layout looks great. They’ve changed from Cambria font to MinionPro, altered the information and look of the headers, gone from blocky-looking paragraphs to smoother paragraph transitions that let the eye flow naturally along without jumping across white spaces between paragraphs. This appears to be the work of NZGraphics and Nick Zelinger, according to the front piece.

The pictures are higher resolution, and some of the distortion has been corrected too. Compare the two editions below—the one on the left is the updated version.

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Night-and-day difference. Kudos to whoever did this (Nick of NZGraphics.com, and Niki and Jeremy?)

The quotes are also formatted with DancingScript (I think) and delineated with lines above and below the quote. I wouldn’t have thought that technique would be effective, but as I read through parts of the book again the quotes no longer jarred me out of my reading rhythm. In both pictures note the changes in paragraph layout to the more eye-pleasing updated version.

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Quote formatting made a world of difference in presentation and reading

I didn’t see any editing of the words or sentences themselves—I was happy to see her brother was still going to be weeded—but I only compared small sections. Still, even without grammar and typo corrections, the book is greatly improved just by these changes alone; they also added a shark photograph at the end—you can never go wrong with a shark photograph (says the completely unbiased biologist)—well done, folks. A vast improvement, quite reader-friendly, and shows more of the diamond that was hidden.

Book Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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

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

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The Pros and Cons of Using a Pen Name

We have a great post for you by Cindy Fazzi! She is the author of My MacArthur and she wrote a helpful article about the pros and cons of using a pen name. Without further ado, here it is:

After using a pen name in two traditionally published romance novels, my literary historical novel, My MacArthur, got published under my real name. It’s a dream come true, but it also posed a big challenge in marketing and branding. Let me share with you the lowdown on using a pseudonym versus one’s real name as a novelist.

Advantages of a Pen Name

You can write in different genres. When I wrote my first romance novel in 2013, I used a pseudonym—Vina Arno—to separate it from my other works. In the publishing world, there exists a line between genre (such as romance) and literary. I was afraid my non-romance novels would not be acquired by traditional publishers unless I separate them from my genre work. Also, the separation is beneficial in terms of targeting readers; the audiences are different for romance and literary fiction.

On Nov. 1, 2018, my first “serious” novel, My MacArthur, was published by an award-winning small press. It’s a fictionalized account of General Douglas MacArthur’s interracial, May-December love affair with Isabel Rosario Cooper, a Filipino actress, in the 1930s. Its publication came just months after my second romance novel, Finder Keeper of My Heart, was published by another publisher.

There are many other writers who have done the same thing. Mystery writer Agatha Christie wrote romance novels under the pseudonym, Mary Westmacott. Vampire genre writer Anne Rice wrote erotic novels under the pen names Anne Rampling and A.N. Roquelaure.

You can remain anonymous and maintain privacy. Best-selling writers like J.K. Rowling and Elena Ferrante use pen names to be able to write in peace. It worked for a while. Perhaps they were both too famous to remain anonymous. People eventually discovered that Robert Gailbreath was Rowling’s pseudonym for her thrillers. Meanwhile, an Italian journalist revealed that Elena Ferrante was really the translator Anita Raja, though she has not admitted it.

You can start over. When authors fail to sell enough books, they sometimes need to reinvent themselves using a pen name. It happened to Melanie Benjamin, the author of the historical novel, “The Aviator’s Wife,” whose real name is Melanie Hauser. She openly acknowledged that she adopted a pseudonym because her first novels (chick lit), published under her real name, were unsuccessful. The new name gave her a clean slate.

Disadvantages of a Pen Name

It’s a hassle. Adopting a pen name is like changing your last name after getting married. You have to get a new social security card, driver’s license, and passport, and change your name on bank accounts and credit cards. With a pen name, you don’t have to change documents, but you need to establish your new persona in terms of bylines, website, and social media accounts. Needless to say, it requires a lot of patience.

It’s confusing. During the publication of my first romance novel, I communicated with my editor and other staffers at my publishing house using my real name, but all of my documents were marked according to my pen name. On some email lists for authors, my pen name was used.

That was a minor headache compared with the pang of identity crisis I felt when I created an author’s page on Goodreads, Amazon.com, and Facebook. Maintaining multiple accounts using different names requiring slightly different biographies is confusing and inconvenient.

It’s a lot of work. It’s difficult to build name recognition. With a pen name, you have to do it more than once, depending on how many pseudonyms you use. For the past three years, I’ve been building my pen name. With the publication of My MacArthur, I have to do it all over again using my real name.

If you’re thinking of using a pseudonym, be sure to weigh all the pros and cons. Don’t take it lightly because it’s going to affect your journey as a writer.

 

About the Author
Cindy Fazzi is a Filipino-American writer and former Associated Press reporter. She has worked as a journalist in the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United States. My MacArthur, published by Sand Hill Review Press, is her literary debut. She writes romance novels under the pen name Vina Arno. Her first romance book, In His Corner, was published by Lyrical Press in 2015. Her second romance novel, Finder Keeper of My Heart, was published by Painted Hearts Publishing
in 2018. Her short stories have been published in Snake Nation Review, Copperfield Review, and SN Review.

You can find Cindy at –

Author Website: https://www.cindyfazzi.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CindyFazzi
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cindyfazzi/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cindy-Fazzi-779654065440439/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/862157.Cindy_Fazzi
GooglePlus: https://plus.google.com/+CindyFazzi/about

Blog Tour Dates

November 5th @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Stop by Women on Writing’s blog and read an interview with the author Cindy Fazzi and enter to win a copy of the book My MacArthur.
http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

November 6th @ Coffee with Lacey
Get your coffee and stop by Lacey’s blog where she shares her thoughts on the book My
MacArthur.
http://coffeewithlacey.wordpress.com/

November 7th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog
Stop by Beverley’s blog and find out what she thought about Cindy Fazzi’s book My
MacArthur. This book is sure to entice historical fiction readers everywhere!
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

November 8th @ The Frugalista Mom
Stop by Rozelyn’s blog and catch her thoughts on the historical fiction book My MacArthur.
https://thefrugalistamom.com/

November 9th @ The Frozen Mind
Grab a blanket and stop by the blog The Frozen Mind and read their thoughts on the incredible historical fiction book My MacArthur.
https://thefrozenmind.com/

November 11th @ Bring on Lemons
If life hands you lemons, read a book! Come by Crystal’s blog Bring on Lemons and find out what she had to say about the book My MacArthur.
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

November 13th @ Mommy Daze: Say What??
Want to know what this mom had to say about the book? Stop by Ashley’s blog and read her thoughts on the historical fiction book My MacArthur.
https://adayinthelifeofmom.com/

November 16th @ Amanda’s Diaries
Find out what Amanda had to say about Cindy Fazzi’s historical fiction book My MacArthur in her review today.
https://amandadiaries.com/

November 16th @ Chapters Through Life
Stop by Danielle’s blog where she spotlight’s Cindy Fazzi’s book My MacArthur.
https://chaptersthroughlife.blogspot.com/

November 19th @ Madeline Sharples Blog
Be sure to catch today’s post over at Madeline’s blog author Cindy Fazzi shares her tips for writing fiction about a famous person.
http://madelinesharples.com/

November 20th @ Let Us Talk of Many Things
Visit today’s blog where you can catch Cindy Fazzi’s post on overcoming prejudices against romance writers.
https://ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.com/

November 21st @ Mam’s Rants and Reviews
Stop by Shan’s blog where she shares her thoughts on the historical fiction book My MacArthur.
https://shanelliswilliams.com/

November 25th @ The World of My Imagination
Catch Nicole’s review of the book My MacArthur and find out what she had to say about this fantastic book.
http://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com

November 26th @ Break Even Books
Stop by the Break Even Books blog and read Cindy Fazzi’s article on the pros and cons of using a pen name.
https://breakevenbooks.com/

November 28th @ Charmed Book Haven Reviews
Visit Cayce’s blog and check out her thoughts on the book My MacArthur by Cindy Fazzi.
https://charmedbookhavenreviews.wordpress.com/

November 29th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey
Start your journey today at Kathleen’s blog Memoir Writer’s Journey where author Cindy Fazzi talks about the challenges of writing different genres.
https://krpooler.com/

November 30th @ Joyful Antidotes Blog
Want a joyful way to start your day? Stop by Joy’s blog where she reviews the incredible
historical fiction book My MacArthur.
https://joyfulantidotes.com/

November 30th @ The Uncorked Librarian
Make sure you stop by Christine’s blog and read what she thinks about the book My MacArthur.
https://theuncorkedlibrarian.com

December 1st @ Charmed Book Haven Reviews
Visit Cacye’s blog again and read her interview with author Cindy Fazzi.
https://charmedbookhavenreviews.wordpress.com/

December 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog
Start your morning out right by reading Anthony Avina’s review of the book My MacArthur.
https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

December 2rd @ 2 Turn the Page Book Reviews
Visit Renee’s blog when she reviews Cindy Fazzi’s book My MacArthur and interviews the author.
https://2turnthepagebookreviews.blogspot.com/

Enjoy the rest of the blog tour everyone!


There is also another book on the block that you should check out if you haven’t heard of it yet. It is called Addicted To Hate by Lucia Mann and it is a great one! You can find it on Amazon or on her website: www.luciamann.com!

Addicted to Hate - Front Cover


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Book Review: The Cosmic​ Hello – Lessons in Co-Dependency

Bookworms!! Guess what?! I have another review for you. But before I jump into that, I have some news to share with you. I have been reaching out to different Canadian Publishers to see if they wanted to do some collaborations and a couple have responded and wish to do so! You will be seeing some fantastic work from these publishers when I get to working on our collaborations but for right now, I am just super excited that they want to work with me 🙂

For the review, this one is called The Cosmic Hello: Lessons in Co-Dependency by C. Alexander.

Book Synopsis: “Couples therapy sessions slowly morphed into solitary therapy sessions. My therapist kept coming back to the question of my passions, and where I was headed. I knew it was writing. So I wrote. I wrote my pain of loss. I wrote my confusion about the existential questions that plagued me as someone who grew up in the bible belt, but had a hard time swallowing the bigotry I saw. I wrote my struggle through heartbreak and single life. I wrote my triumphs in self-confidence, and ultimately I wrote a new love story, with a new person. Ultimately, it’s not about meeting the right person; instead, it is about finding out that you are quite capable of loving yourself, and anyone else loving you is just a wonderful sprinkle on top.”

Ok, so this book was too short. I want more! It is another poetry collection but I loved the intensity with which this author talked about his past love life. It is simply beautiful and poetic and real. Oh so real.

“It’s in our nature to destroy in order to create.”

They connect with their reader in a way that sticks with you. The hopeless romantic in me is loving the progression of vulgar, bitter-sweet poems to remembrances of love and hope for a future with it in it. I resonate with the author’s feeling of never fully being ok after a breakup. Feeling like a part of yourself is broken and can’t be fixed. This comes with the territory of serious committed relationships. But eventually, we get to a point where the scars that the last person left are washed away like names written in sand and you can feel love and be loved again.

I will not settle for less than shared sunsets unaccountable, but always to few.

I want to type out one of the poems from the back of the book because I found it so enlightening and I couldn’t help but share it.

The Things We Make With Our Hands

I want to grow a tree out of my chest
gnarled roots as veins, ventricles.
I want to brew my coffee with soil,
French Press, not those drip machines.
I want to bear fruit
that children suck between their teeth
when they take a 5-minute break
from playing hide and see.


I want you to build a home in me
With leaves and twigs and broken things
I want you to feel secure
on clear starry nights
or when the storms threaten to topple me over,
“Case baby I won’t break,
Won’t be destroyed by happenstance”.


And when this is done,
you can chop me down,
count the rings and stories I made for
myself and for you.
Pour the sap in syrup bottles
so you have something sweet with your breakfast.


Build foundations with me
and let every knot that splinters your
front porch, every imperfection,
be understood in the way only you can.
You can knock on me to ward off bad luck
and I’ll always be your cool shade in summer.

Isn’t that just beautiful? I strongly recommend this book to poetry fans who like the brutal honesty of relationships and how to survive when one comes to an end.

Book Rating: 4.5/5 (Lost .5 because it was too short :P)

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads!

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

There is also another book on the block that you should check out if you haven’t heard of it yet. It is called Addicted To Hate by Lucia Mann and it is a great one! You can find it on Amazon or on her website: www.luciamann.com!

Addicted to Hate - Front Cover


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Book Review: The Long Body That Connects Us All

Another book review to scratch off the list. This one was called The Long Body That Connects Us All by Rich Marcello.

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Book Synopsis: Provocative and profound, Rich Marcello’s poems are compact but expansive, filled with music as seductive as their ideas, and focused mostly on how to be a good man. This is a collection of deep passion and wisdom for fathers, husbands, and sons, but also for mothers, wives, and daughters, many who began with a longing for the things they were taught to desire by their forefathers, only to later discover a different path, one lit by loss and welcoming of the vulnerable, one made of the long body that connects us all.

As far as poetry goes, this one was pretty good. It had a lot of nature in it but also played on family, relationships, and hardships. As I was reading, I found that a lot of the passages had me reflecting on my interactions in the past with those I had loved and lost. It warmed my heart to read things like this and as I have probably said before, the beauty of poetry is that everyone can take a different meaning away from it. It works on a personal level and is interpreted in different context with every reader or performer (if you go to poetry readings).

Overall, I rather enjoyed this one and would suggest it. It is a very quick read at only about 60 pages so give it a shot.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

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

I am hosting a giveaway for the next week! If you’re interested in winning some Star Wars Magnetic Bookmarks, an Iron Man coaster, and some fun stickers, then click the link below!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5760930a5/?


There is also another book on the block that you should check out if you haven’t heard of it yet. It is called Addicted To Hate by Lucia Mann and it is a great one! You can find it on Amazon or on her website: www.luciamann.com!

Addicted to Hate - Front Cover


Early Access Black Friday (ends Nov 20)

Book Review: A Land Apart

Hey bookworms! How are you? Tell me in the comments below! I like to keep up to date with you guys.

We have a new review over here at Breakeven Books. This one is called A Land Apart by Ian Roberts.

A Land Apart book lying on a blanket

Synopsis: This gripping story of adventure and courage is set in a magnificent wilderness with the French, English, Iroquois, and Wendat just starting to do battle for what would become the US and Canada. The novel begins with the English pitted against the French, both aggressively claiming the land and resources of North America for themselves. The Iroquois align with the English, the Wendat with the French. The warring conflict between Iroquois and Wendat goes back generations but exists in an uneasy balance until the English sell guns to the Iroquois. Etienne Brulé, a historical character, has lived with the Wendat for 25 years. He knows even if he can get guns for the Wendat, the price everyone will pay in the end will be way too much.

This book was a historical fiction about Etienne Brulé and his dealings with the Wendat. I am normally not very into historical fiction but the way the author told this story had me encaptured since the very start. When they were in life-threatening situations and doing everything they could to survive, I felt my heart pumping faster as I read with the anticipation to know what happens next.

It was very interesting to learn about the Aboriginal culture in the context of interactions between the Wendat and the French and see how they differed in social dynamics. They lived very different lives yet wanted what each other had. The Aboriginals wanted the guns because they saw it as a source of raw power and the French wanted a strong sense of resolve that the Wendat showed in their character.

I would definitely recommend this book to the historical fiction buffs out there. It is worth the read and it has these beautiful black and white illustrations throughout that were done by the author.

Book Rating: 4.5/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

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

Sidenote: If you want to support a fantastic literary company, our friends STORGY have a Kickstarter running currently for their Anthology called Shallow Creek. You get cool prizes if you pledge to the project so you should check it out!


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Book Review: One Night’s Stay

*Intro to the tune of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl”*

I read a thriller and I liked it. The taste of suspense was fantastic 🙂

New book review of One Night’s Stay by C. B. Collins. This one was an exhilarating thrill ride of a novel.

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Synopsis: Thirteen strangers check into the Sunset Inn hoping to find rest. When one of them is murdered in the middle of the night, the survivors realize they’ve found something else entirely; an ancient evil looking to satisfy an undying hunger. If the guests want to make it through the night, they’ll have to discover the secret behind the motel and the mysterious town it serves. However, in uncovering the truth, they might find that the town’s past is nowhere near as dark as their own.

I have been on a role of good books lately. This one was added to the “loved” shelf. It was a perfect blend of thrill, suspense, mystery, and intrigue all wrapped up in a game of cat and mouse with a bunch of strangers and a dark plotting force.

There were so many parts of this book that I did not see coming and that’s what made me love it. I hate when you can tell exactly what is going to happen all the way through a book. It takes the fun out of it. But not with this one. I would just be reading the book, enjoying my little stroll down the narrative lane when BOOM, one of the main characters gets offed. The characters weren’t built too much that you had an attachment to them and for once I liked this because then I wasn’t too upset when they died but I would continue to look forward to what was going to happen next.

I didn’t really expect the book to take the turn it did. It was done in a very “Clue” like style mixed with some “Resident Evil”. I would strongly suggest this book to anyone that likes a little thriller mixed with a fantasy/mythical style.

Book Rating: 5/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

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


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Blog Tour: Arithmophobia by Ruschelle Dillon

Get ready for a great blog tour featuring Ruschelle Dillon! Arithmophobia is a very creative and unique collection of tales that centers around the magical, mysterious impact of numbers! This collection spans a number of genres, including dark humor, mystery, thriller, and horror!

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Book Synopsis for Arithmophobia: Adam is a young preacher, with a loving wife and a child on the way. His family, his congregation, and his affinity for one particular science fiction movie are enough to keep him happy with his life. But when a new member of that congregation begins to haunt him at seemingly the worst possible moments, he begins to question the weight of his life’s responsibilities. Can he handle being “the one” – the one so many look to in times of need?

Detective Oswald Quinn is not so happy with life. His marriage has not turned out quite as happy as Adam’s, but his responsibilities have become just as heavy. The latest of these burdens have led him to the investigation of a serial killer who seems to seek perfection in the number 3.

Meanwhile, Scott seems completely unburdened by responsibility, save for his endless pursuit for a full glass at the bar. The drinks should be flowing freely on May 5, or “Cinco de Mayo”. But on this date, Scott discovers a failure much more haunting than an unquenchable thirst.

Arithmophobia is a collection of short stories that leads you on a journey to consider the sometimes haunting, sometimes humorous impact of numbers. Whether it be the value we assign to our lot in life, a date on a calendar, or the numerical magic that mother-nature can offer, Arithmophobia’s nine stories examine the magic and mystery that begins at the intersection of life and a single digit.

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About the author: Ruschelle Dillon is a freelance writer whose efforts focus on the dark humor and the horror genres. Ms. Dillon’s brand of humor has been incorporated in a wide variety of projects, including the irreverent blog Puppets Don’t Wear Pants and novelette “Bone-sai”, as well as the live-action video shorts “Don’t Punch the Corpse” and “Mothman”. She also interviews authors for the Horror Tree website. Her short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and online zines. Ruschelle lives in Johnstown with her husband Ed and the numerous critters they share their home with. When she isn’t writing, she can be found teaching guitar and performing vocals and guitar in the band Ribbon Grass.

Author Links:

Website: www.ruschelledillon.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ruschelledillon.author/


Author Interview

1. What is your top read of 2018 so far?
As a writer and reader of short stories I seek out anthologies and single author collections and gobble up their offerings. I’ve just finished The Reckoning by Stephanie Ellis and was blown away by her beautiful writing style.

2. What is your favorite book friendship?
There was one children’s story about a spider who befriended a fly that fell into his web. They found they had so much in common, so they went to the movies together since both loved rom-coms. They both loved explicit gangster rap music. And their shared love of laying eggs in plates of pasta encouraged them to try each others favorite Italian restaurants. It was a sweet story demonstrating that even predator and prey can become friends. Well, until the fly posted an unflattering drunken pix of the spider passed out in an alley with dirty syringes plunged in 5 of the spiders 8 legs. Some flies just don’t know how to keep friends. But that’s a known fact. I heard that on National Geographic..maybe.

3. Most anticipated book release of 2018?
I read a lot of small press and independent authors. Dark Voices from Lycan Valley Publishing was one I looked forward to tearing into.

4. Why should people read your book?
There’s horror, there’s humor and there are Twilight Zone-esque twists. Why shouldn’t they read it? Unless they aren’t into that stuff. Then…sorry about your luck. LOL

5. Who is your favorite author?
I have many favorite authors. Theresa Derwin, William Cook, Loren Rhoads, Drew Stepek, Alyson Faye, Steven Dillon, Michael Kamp, Stacy Morrighan McIntosh, Stuart Conover, Stephanie Ellis, Dean Drinkel, Sarah Glenn and many, many other fabulous authors that are writing and fighting to get their names etched deep into the web and tucked onto the shelves of readers bookshelves.

6. How did you start writing?
When I was in second grade, I started writing stories that were complete rip-offs of books I would read. The idea of writing stories excited me. Even though they weren’t mine. As I got older I dabbled in poetry and continued penning short stories, this time my own. I started writing in earnest ten-years ago and continue honing my craft.

7. Where is your favorite reading spot?
I love reading in bed. No distractions. Just me, my book and my bed…and a few critters (10 cats and 3 dogs) that ask me to read to them. But not the ones UNDER my bed. Those rotten critters…they prefer television.

8. How long have you been a writer?
I wrote stories in my head since I can remember. So…only always.

9. What do you like about reading?
Reading can transport your mind to another realm. You can be someone else and explore other worlds and do crazy, fantastic things. And when you’re through, there’s no jet lag, no exhaustion and nothing to unpack. Your life is now your own once again and you’ve never left the comforts of home. What isn’t there to like about reading?

10. If you had to describe yourself in a book title, what would it be?
Ruschelle Dillon: The Next Best Thing to Death (Now with Sprinkles!).

Twitter: @RuschelleDillon

Tour Schedule and Activities

11/5 Horror Tree – Guest Post

11/5 Shells Interviews – Author Interview

11/6 Breakeven Books – Author Interview

11/7 I Smell Sheep – Review

11/7 Sonar4 Landing Dock Reviews – Review

11/8 The Seventh Star – Guest Post

11/9 Sapphyria’s Books – Guest Post

11/10 The Book Lover’s Boudoir – Review

11/11 Jazzy Book Reviews – Vlog or Guest Post

11/12 Willow’s Thoughts And Book Obsessions – Review


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October Giveaway Winner

October has come to an end and we had a long month with lots of entries into our giveaway. Thanks to everyone for sharing the post and keeping up to date with us! Without further ado, the winner of the October giveaway is…

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Jordan Dunn

I will get in touch with you Jordan to get shipping details ( I used to have it but you moved).

On a side note, what did everyone dress up for on Halloween (that is if you dressed up)?

I will be hosting a new giveaway about halfway through November and you won’t want to miss this one if you are a Marvel fan 🙂

We also have some great blog tours coming up that we will be a part of so keep posted. Have an awesome rest of your day bookworms!


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Book Review: In the Dark

New review from Sara Mac hot off the press and available for your reading pleasure. Check out this review as she shares her thoughts on In The Dark by Becca Fox.


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Synopsis: How far would you go to save your family?

Movies and books have made being a monster sound cool.

Lindsay can’t wear silver jewelry or get drunk with her friends, but hey, she sprouts fur and fangs during the full moon. Totally rad, right? Not. Forget about exploring the beast within, Lindsay just wants to graduate from nursing school. When a stroll in the park ends with her and her little brother being surrounded by masked goons who want to sell them overseas, Lindsay has no choice but to change.

Despite her best efforts, these kidnappers know how to handle a werewolf inexperienced in hand-to-paw combat. She regains consciousness hours after the scuffle to find her brother gone. In a panic, she turns to the only werewolf she knows: Wayne, Mr. Werewolf Pride, the guy Lindsay rejected none-too-kindly several years ago. Being the forgiving kind of guy he is, Wayne agrees to help. . .so long as Lindsay joins his pack. Living among others of her kind is the last thing Lindsay wants, but for her brother’s sake, she bites her tongue and agrees.

Lindsay learns a few things while traveling through Europe in search of her brother. One: Being a werewolf can be pretty badass when you know how to use your abilities. Two: Being a freak isn’t so bad when you’re surrounded by other freaks. And three: She might have misjudged Wayne.

When she and Wayne stumble onto the mastermind behind the kidnapping, this werewolf mafia king decides they know too much. Lindsay and Wayne should get out of dodge but, they know that unless this man is stopped, innocent people will die.

In this novel, Lindsay, a young adult werewolf, is kidnapped, along with her brother, her ex-boyfriend, and a few high-profile children. Though Lindsay eventually manages to escape, the rest are taken and flown across the world to be sold as slaves, and she must work with an old acquaintance in order to rescue them all. It is a story about coming to terms with who she is, with some romance, adventure, and action thrown into the mix.

The overall plot of the book was interesting, and the premise, though common, is entertaining enough.

Unfortunately, the book isn’t very detailed, and so often reads like a synopsis of itself. The characters are well developed, but unfortunately, they are developed into cliché, predictable archetypes of themselves. For example, Lindsay, a young werewolf, struggling with the beast inside, torn between loving two men who both aren’t capable of expressing their affections, and uncontrolled anger over saving her brother – well developed, but kind of boring.

I feel like this book is a good first draft of itself. I liked the story well enough to finish it quickly, but I just wanted MORE from it. I would have loved some more unique character development, more detail, and explanations throughout, and a little less predictability in the plot. Maybe I’m just getting pickier, but this book just doesn’t stand up well compared to other novels in the genre.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads!

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

Also, we are still pretty excited about it and if you haven’t seen, we are on the Top 100 Book Bloggers list of Canadian Book Bloggers! Check out that post to see all the other brilliant bloggers.


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