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.

Kobo Canada

Time To Refresh Blog Tour: 7 Ways to Build Your Personal Author Brand

We joined up with a bunch of amazing book bloggers for the Time To Refresh Blog Tour!

BOOK IMAGE Time to Refresh (1)

Book summary

What happens when some part of your life comes to a screeching halt?

Time to Refresh: A 21- Day Devotional to Renew Your Mind After Being Laid Off, Fired or Sidelined, highlights Karen Brown Tyson’s journey through the Bible following one of three layoffs in her life.

Watch how God leads one woman on a 21-day journey through the Bible and teaches her how to G.L.O.W.— gratitude, listen, observe and witness.

Print Length: 68 pages

Genre: Nonfiction, Self-Help

Publisher: Constant Communicators

ISBN: 978-0692170489

Time to Refresh is available to purchase on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

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About the Author

For the past 25 years, Karen Brown Tyson worked for Fortune 500 companies in the fast food, pharmaceutical, and telecommunication industries. Today, Karen is the founder of Constant Communicators, a lifestyle business that helps people improve their business writing skills. Time to Refresh:  A 21-Day Devotional to Renew Your Mind After Being Laid Off, Fired or Sidelined was released in August 2018.  Karen lives in North Carolina with her husband and son.

You can find Karen at –

Personal Website – www.karenbrowntyson.com 

Blog: https://karenbrowntyson.com/blog-2-feed/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KBTWrites 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Write-to-Inspire-385353048666490/


Without further ado, here is Karen’s article:

7 Ways to Build Your Personal Author Brand

Let me guess…

You are busy writing your book.  Or maybe you’re working on an article for Forbes or Inc. magazine.  Your writing career is finally taking off but you are always looking for ways to connect with potential readers.

Now you need to focus your attention on something just as important as your writing.

Your personal brand.

You have been so busy writing you haven’t thought about marketing your work, let alone building a personal brand.  And before you object, yes, you need a personal brand.  Why?  Because a brand is anything that separates one product from another.  Your personal brand as a writer will let people know who you are, what you stand for and what you write about.

Below are seven ideas on how to build your personal brand.  One thing to remember:  There is no one way to do this.  What works for one writer may not work for another writer. Focus on what works for you.  Be authentic and stay true to yourself.

Social Media

Using social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat and LinkedIn might connect you with your audience.   Before you tweet, post or like anything, determine the messages you will post and how often.  Create a simple strategy on how you will use social media.  Test different social media platforms and select two. Don’t build your brand on all platforms.

Content platforms

Consider posting content or chapters from your book on content platforms like Medium and Thrive Global. Drive readers to your website or landing page through links in your content.

Landing pages

A landing page is a single web page used to promote one topic or product.  With a landing page, you can sell your book, offer free giveaways like an ebook or course and build an email distribution list. If you don’t have a website, landing pages are a great way to connect with your audience.  Include a link to your landing page in your social media messages and articles.

Website

A website allows you to highlight several aspects of your writing — books, blog, workshops, speaking engagement dates, products, reviews, etc.  A website is good for sharing your work with potential literary agents and event planners looking for speakers for an event. A word of caution:  Keep your website updated with new information.  Create a plan for how you will manage your website including an editorial calendar if you are planning to have a blog.

Blog

A blog allows you to expose current and new readers to your writing. Use your blog to position yourself as a thought-leader with experience related to various topics. Make a list of topics you plan to write about regularly.  Create an editorial calendar outlining when you will cover each topic. Test how readers react to each blog post.

Guest posts

Writing content for other blogs is a good way to meet new readers and build your brand.  Pitch story ideas to bloggers who share your interests.  Include a link to your website or landing page in your guest blog post.

Podcast

Blogging and guest blogging take time.  If you are working on your next book, you may find it hard to write more content for a blog.  If so, consider starting a podcast where you interview guests about topics important to you and your readers.  You can post the transcript from the podcast on your website.


Here is the entire list of the blog tour dates:

November 26th @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and stop by the Muffin blog where you can read an interview with author Karen Brown Tyson and enter to win a copy of her book Time to Refresh.
muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

November 29th @ Bookworm Blog
Be sure to stop by Anjanette’s blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s guest post on managing career, home, and ministry.
bookworm66.wordpress.com

November 29th @ The Frugalista Mom
Visit Rozelyn’s blog where you can read her review of Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
http://thefrugalistamom.com/

November 30th @ Amateur Twin Mom
Visit Jonelle’s blog to read what she has to say about Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
https://www.amateurtwinmom.com

December 3rd @ Beverley A Baird Blog
Visit Beverley’s blog where Karen Brown Tyson talks about how to improve your writing life.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

December 5th @ Break Even Books
Stop by Erik’s blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about how to build your personal brand.
https://breakevenbooks.com/

December 5th @  Jill Sheets Blog
Stop by Jill’s blog today where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about how to improve your writing life.
https://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

December 6th @ Beverley A Baird Blog
Visit Beverley’s blog again where she shares her thoughts about Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

December 7th @ Bookworm Blog
Visit Anjanette’s blog again where she interviews author Karen Brown Tyson about her book Time to Refresh.
bookworm66.wordpress.com

December 8th @ A Storybook World
Visit Deirdra’s blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about fearless writing.
http://www.astorybookworld.com/

December 9th @ Reducing Overload
Stop by Peggy’s blog to read author Karen Brown Tyson’s post about journaling and stress management.
http://reducingoverload.com/

December 13th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey
Visit Kathleen’s blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about fearless writing.
https://krpooler.com/

December 13th @ M.C. Walker’s Blog
Visit M.C. Walker’s blog where she interviews author Karen Brown Tyson about her and her book Time to Refresh.
https://seeminoltawrite.com/

December 14th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Visit Wendi’s blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about having faith during difficult times.
https://strength4spouses.blog/

December 15th @ Jessica’s Reading Room
Visit Jessica’s blog where you can read her thoughts on Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
http://jessicasreadingroom.com

December 16th @ 12 Books
Visit Louise’s blog where she shares her opinion on Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
http://www.12books.co.uk/

December 18th @ Look to the Western Sky
Visit Margo’s blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about parenting.
https://www.margoldill.com/

December 20th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Visit Wendi’s blog again where you can read her opinion about Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
https://strength4spouses.blog/

December 20th @ The Faerie Review
Visit Lily Shadowlyn’s blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about journaling.
http://www.thefaeriereview.com/

December 21st @ The World of My Imagination
Visit Nicole’s blog where she shares her thoughts about Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
http://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com

December 23rd @ Look to the Western Sky
Be sure to stop by Margo’s blog again where you find out what she had to say about Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
https://www.margoldill.com/

December 23rd @ Coffee with Lacey
Visit Lacey’s blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about journaling.
http://coffeewithlacey.wordpress.com

 December 24th @ Coffee with Lacey
Stop by Lacey’s blog again where she reviews Karen Brown Tyson’s book Time to Refresh.
http://coffeewithlacey.wordpress.com

December 27th @ The Frugalista Mom
Be sure to visit Rozelyn’s blog again where you can read Karen Brown Tyson’s blog post about change management.
http://thefrugalistamom.com/


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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!


Pre-Black Friday Sale (ends Nov 18)

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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Book Review: It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In

A new book review is on the Breakeven Books shelves. This one was called It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In by Mawson Bear (yes I looked it up and the author of the book on Goodreads is a bear).

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Synopsis: Are you feeling a little lost? Got that ‘left in the spare room’ emptiness about you? Mawson does too.

He sits atop his cushion and ponders about baffling things.

The world is a funny place for a curious teddy bear to live in. Friends approach him about their own dilemmas. They seek instant answers that will make everything all right. Mawson does his best. But after he ponders deeply, most things remain for him just as baffling as they were before.

Take a moment out of your day to pawse with him and explore the world. For the many frazzled readers who feel, secretly, much the same, he offers the comfort that the world is a bright place to be.

So first of all, this book was quite confusing. A lot of the sentences were cut off and went to the next page which was not the greatest for text flow and communication.

I only understood it about half way through that it is about being left in a relationship and trying to put yourself back together after the dust has settled. About not focusing on your faults or blaming yourself for the relationship ending but about being okay on your own. This is a great message, it was just hard to grasp at first (it was probably the fragmented sentences that were throwing me off).

The pictures were all taken by a photographer and they were of the stuffed animal doing a bunch of things that are supposed to correlate with the storyline. I’m not sure if they flowed very well with it but it wasn’t a very long book so maybe it just needed more to it. Overall, the book didn’t really impress me.

I did find it very cool that this book came from Australia and was published there. I swear Australia, I will make it to you someday and I can’t wait for it 🙂

Book Rating: 2/5

You can find this book on Amazon and add it to your shelf on Goodreads.

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


Save 25% off Toys and Baby items (ends Nov 4)

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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Book Review: Lessons From Life

New review up! This one was called Lessons From Life: Four Keys to living with more Meaning, Purpose, and Success! by Steven Darter.

Synopsis: In his deeply personal and inspirational memoir, Steve Darter asks himself the question: What is the purpose of my life? Using incredibly entertaining storytelling, Steve takes you on a journey of emotion, reflection, and insight that encourages you to think about how to live with more meaning, purpose, and success at any age–young, old, or in between.

To me, this book was just ok. I don’t know if it was because it was a self-help style of book or what but I just didn’t feel like I gained much from reading it. That being said, it is not bad. I just didn’t feel like I really got into the book like I would have liked to.

The author is very genuine in his stories about his life and how he overcame certain struggles or how he dealt with insecurities. The stories about when he was a child were entertaining. His love for his family is very strong and he represents that in a lot of his “lessons”.

I lost interest when it started to get a bit pushy with the religious stuff. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and practicing their faith but when it is pushed on others, that tends to put me off. And I found a lot of the stories got very repetitive. In the second half of the book, I would be reading one of the stories that accompany the lessons and would think, “I have already read this” or “I already know this from earlier”.

One quote I did like from this book was

The mind can be a wonderful tool if you allow it.

It is a good concept for a book. I just believe that it could use a little more fleshing out. This may also be a generational thing. I brought this book home with me when I was visiting for Thanksgiving and my mom saw this book on the coffee table. She picked it up and sat down for a bit, flipped through the chapters and read it for about 20 minutes. She seemed to like it a lot so maybe this book is just better suited for an older generation (sorry for calling you old mom).

Book Rating: 2.5/5

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.


Book Review: The Wealth Taboo

We have another book review from our external reviewer Sara MacTaylor of the book The Wealth Taboo by Carlos Aguirre. Sara has been busy working away at her creations on her Etsy shop but has set some time aside to read for us.

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Synopsis: IS THE US EDUCATION SYSTEM FAILING YOU? ISN’T IT TIME YOU DISCOVER HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS YOU AND TAKES CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE?

When the education system in one of the richest countries in the world fails to teach you how to build wealth or, at the least, to have a wealthy mind, and the International Student Assessment (PISA) test demonstrates that American teens have average financial skills, you know that personal financial literacy is faulty. The education system, at all levels, teaches you to become a working bee. However, it does not teach you how to make money. YES, how to build wealth and have the lifestyle of your dreams. If you, like the average American, are part of a society that lives paycheck to paycheck, then you are a pawn of the finance system, a consumer chained by debt, allured by your false purchasing power, where ghost money is created by banks and financial institutions. A scary, shocking, and detrimental reality. You have not been prepared to understand and prevent falling into the finance system trap.

This book starts off with a very good premise, of improving the average millennial’s financial knowledge. Most of us do not receive much education at school regarding how many financial systems work, and so this is a really great idea to simplify and educate those of us lacking this essential knowledge.

Unfortunately, the execution is really lacking. He continually states the importance of improving our knowledge to improve our lives and the fact that various systems are taking advantage of the consumer, but almost never gives any concrete tips or statistics to actually improve our knowledge. Entire chapters feel like repetitions of the same lack of knowledge without actually educating the reader in that area.

This book is a great idea and touches on some great points of interest, but I feel like I didn’t learn what he was trying to teach me! I’d love some more concrete tips and tricks on how to actually improve in each of the areas he touches on. If this book gets revised I’d definitely be interested in trying this again.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

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


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