Book Spotlight: The Memories We Bury

Today I am thrilled to share with you all, H.A. Leuschel’s latest novel, The Memories We Bury, “An emotionally charged and captivating novel about the complexities of female friendship and motherhood.”

From June 29th to July 5th, you can purchase her book for ONLY $0.99 on Amazon! You can also try to win a digital copy of The Memories We Bury by entering the giveaway below!

TMWB Cover

The Memories We Bury

Publication Date: April 17th, 2020

Genre: Contemporary/ Psychological Suspense

An emotionally charged and captivating novel about the complexities of female friendship and motherhood.

Lizzie Thomson has landed her first job as a music teacher, and after a whirlwind romance with Markus, the newlywed couple move into a beautiful new home in the outskirts of Edinburgh. Lizzie quickly befriends their neighbour Morag, an elderly, resourceful yet lonely widow, who’s own children rarely visit her. Everything seems perfect in Lizzie’s life until she finds out she is pregnant and her relationship with both Morag and Markus change beyond her control.

Can Lizzie really trust Morag and why is Markus keeping secrets from her?

In ‘The Memories We Bury’ the author explores the dangerous bonds we can create with strangers and how past memories can cast long shadows over the present.

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Excerpt

Chapter 2

I have never sent the letter but have unfolded it so many times it has frayed at the edges. Each time I read the lines and try anew to understand them, they swim away like fish in a lake trying to escape my feet as I trudge through the water.

I curse myself for keeping the damned letter after all this time because it is a constant reminder of the past, but I can’t make myself throw it in the bin. Will I ever make peace with it? Lizzie and Jamie have both left me, hence another reason to get up in the morning has long gone. I shake my head, still trying to comprehend the loss, even though it is now almost two and half years since Lizzie discarded me and moved away.

My own sister has ceased to show any sympathy about my distress and hence is of no help either. She’s made of tougher material than me, I guess. After a long and successful career in the police force, she took early retirement and dedicates her time to growing organic fruit and vegetables on a smallholding in the Pentland Hills, near Edinburgh. Lorna does at least stand by me though, as she knows about the strong bond I had with Lizzie and Jamie and that I’ve done everything for them. However, does she understand the loss I’ve had to endure? Lorna has never been a mother and no doubt a life in the police has lessened her ability to empathise over matters such as these.

‘Morag, what do you expect? Bad things happened; you know that,’ my sister said the last time we spoke over the phone.

‘You don’t understand, Lorna. Lizzie and Jamie were like family to me. It’s been over two years and… it’s still devastating.’

‘Yes, I can see that, Morag. May I remind you that you should know why that is by now. You need to focus on trying to patch things up with your own kids.’ Her voice sounded frustrated as it did at the end of every phone call.

‘I guess you’re right. There is not much else I can do than hope she comes to her senses.’ I could feel the exasperation at the other end of the line because it seemed like my sister had left or stopped breathing. It was a silence that meant disapproval about my last comment.

‘Morag, I must go, I have lots to do in the garden. Just try to get them out of your mind once and for all and…’ my sister said, stopping mid-sentence. I assumed that she didn’t want to go over the same story yet again. She needed to end the call before it got unbearable for both of us. ‘You’re lucky, Morag, that you still have me,’ she added and hung up, leaving me with my hand frozen with a surge of anger, the phone still pressed to my ear. Lucky? Nothing could be further from the truth.

I can’t forget the adorable squeals the wee chap used to emit when I stood in the kitchen feeding him his mixed vegetables, or played Peekaboo with him. Babies and toddlers are easy to please. Young children don’t judge anyone, being an open receptacle for anything and anyone, and with Jamie, my life had felt filled up with his. I’d jumped over my own life when my children were born. It had come naturally, and again with Jamie, I did not hesitate for a second either.

Life is empty without him.

I stand and walk over to the windows to pull the curtain aside for what seems the umpteenth time today, dismay replacing hope at the realisation that my two best friends and neighbours are here no more. Even after all this time, I still have bad days, and this is one of them. Tears prick at the corner of my eyes and I wipe my wet cheeks with my fingers before I can find a tissue, and sob until my whole body aches and exhaustion replaces the sadness. I must spend some time in the bathroom later today to fix my face if I still want to look decent for my afternoon tea with Caitlin, my dear loyal friend.

Assuming the role of a mother to Lizzie and a grandmother to Jamie was what had fuelled every single cell of my body.

I stand up and turn to the coffee machine, wearily lifting a capsule of the strongest kind from the small metal rack. I picture Jamie in my mind, who’d marvelled at the capsules display stand. One day we’d invented a game of pass the capsule, and his eyes lit up as I pretended to make them disappear under a dish towel or into the centre of my hand. His eyes would focus and his face would turn serious at the realisation that the item had gone missing, and then he would break into a smile when I made the capsule appear in front of him again. He’d grab for it with such clumsy and innocent delight that I never tired of repeating the game, just to see his face light up. The power I held to focus his attention was addictive. We had that special connection, like a magnet drawn to another.

But all is in the past now. History. I have to admit to that bitter fact. My sister Lorna is right. What did I expect? That they would appear in front of me, throwing themselves into my open arms? I don’t believe in miracles, so that is one more option erased from my list.

I settle at the kitchen table with a small blueberry muffin and stir some milk into the cup of coffee steaming next to it. The comfort of food is something I shared with Lizzie. We understood each other there, and I loved sharing my culinary skills with her. We’d talk pie and cake recipes for hours, discuss ways of adding flavour to a simple tomato sauce for pasta dishes or how to make sure Jamie would never turn his nose up at vegetables because we’d prepared them with aromatic fresh herbs and olive oil.

Lizzie had never reached my level of expertise, but her eagerness had been endearing, and she never stopped showing her admiration for me. She even mentioned once that I could be a contestant on the Great British Bake Off. I toyed with the idea for a short time, and then shrugged my shoulders, despite the tempting image coming into my head of what it may feel like being crowned the best British baker. The second-best feeling, I answered with a smile, the best being a mother and grandmother.

My thoughts have calmed me, and the tasty muffin has added to my improved mood. I settle down in the living room and leaf through one of the oldest albums I’ve kept since my parents died. They contain family pictures taken during some of the few holiday trips abroad and photos taken of my sister and me in school uniform.

My eyes linger on a photo depicting my parents in stunning Christmas attire. My mother had picked her finest black dress, set with small sparkling crystals, which exposed her neck and revealed an ample chest. She’d tied up her blonde hair in a high bun, with one wavy strand escaping above her left ear. The diamond studs in her earlobes, a delicate silver chain around her neck, and subtle make-up and pink lipstick gave her appearance a perfect finish. Next to her, my father looked haughty but I had to give it to him he was the most elegant man I’d ever set eyes on. He had a physique that accommodated most styles. His shirts were always original and in fashion, and his regular visits to the hairdresser meant that he’d always look the part. It would be hard to judge which one of the two was the better looking.

I turn the page and spot a picture of Lorna at the age of four. She seems confident and proud to be holding an infant in her arms. She is my senior by eighteen months. Back then I’d looked up to my sister as if she’d been my mother. She gave me warmth and security and even now, as ladies in our sixties, the roles have changed little.

We grew up in a family where all the members competed for energy. Our parents reprimanded us with harsh words and severity we did not deserve most of the time. To the outside world, my parents were sparkling individuals, admired like you’d admire a vintage Bordeaux wine. I know this is a strange comparison but it conveys the idea that they wanted to stand out, for their special attributes and, to some extent, I get that. Appearances can blind you.

Our garden was impeccable, the house tidy to an inch of its life – even in our early years as toddlers, a visitor would never know that two little girls had entered my parents’ lives because they’d made sure that every room was as neat as a pin and that we could come in at specific times only, when there were guests. I can still hear the whistling slaps coming my way if I couldn’t answer the times tables fast enough, and worse, stumbling over my answers and even worse still, not knowing them. Little did my sister know that one day she’d be joining the police force, and claim that our harsh upbringing had been the best preparation for passing the tough entrance exams. I never beat the eternal optimist in Lorna out of her. Whether nature or nurture were at work to shape her, remains an open question but I am sure she carried a strong gene of positivity.

However, I still have to scoff when I recall Lorna’s thanks given to our parents. It was ludicrous. She turned out okay, she’d add, and whether that was despite of or because of our education, no one would ever know.

We all make ourselves believe what we want to believe. Challenging the only person who ever stood up for me as a child would be cruel, so I bit my tongue then and always will. My sister’s right. I am lucky she is still by my side but that does not change the fact that every morning looking out of the window towards the neighbour’s house, I am reminded that Lizzie and Jamie have left, and that even after all of this time, I still can’t deal with their absence.

Available on Amazon

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About the Author

Photo - Helene edited

Helene Andrea Leuschel gained a Master in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She later acquired a Master in Philosophy, specializing in the study of the mind. Helene has a particular interest in emotional, psychological and social well-being and this led her to write her first novel, Manipulated Lives, a fictional collection of five novellas, each highlighting the dangers of interacting with narcissists. She lives with her husband and two children in Portugal.

HA Leuschel | Twitter | Facebook

LB | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

TheMemories

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Book Review: Fangirl

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

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Synopsis: Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Rating: 4/5

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

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



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Book Spotlight: Return Addresses

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

New Final FINAL 4Return Addresses

Publication Date: April 13, 2020

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Mountain Press

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

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

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

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Excerpt

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

“Are you ever going to go home?”

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

“Why did you tell me they were…mean.”

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

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

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

“Yeah.”

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

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About the Author

Mike Author 1

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

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

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

Michael McLellan | GoodreadsTwitter



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Book Spotlight: The Accidental Hero of the City of Brotherly Love

Welcome to the blog tour for The Accidental Hero of the City of Brotherly Love, by Richard J. O’Brien!

Book CoverThe Accidental Hero of the City of Brotherly Love

Publication Date: March 31, 2020

Genre: Contemporary/ Magical Realism

In the tumultuous days following 9/11, Spencer Lee Kavanagh works as a security professional, juggling jobs, relationships, and his writing craft while trying to figure out where his life is headed. One autumn day in 2002, Kavanagh’s life changes forever after he crosses paths with Khalid Neshar, a promising graduate engineering student who recently became radicalized thanks to a less-than-scrupulous imam.

A workplace accident caused by Kavanagh results in Neshar’s death. Freshly arrived in the afterlife, Neshar strikes a deal with Allah. He goes back in time as a djinni so that he can haunt Kavanagh and thereby alter the course of events that led to his untimely death; only, Neshar isn’t much good at it. Meanwhile, in the post-9/11 hysteria of the day, Kavanagh’s anonymity and his literary ambitions are sidelined when he’s hailed as a hero for stopping a would-be terror attack. Like the stranger he accidentally killed, Kavanagh just wants his life back. The television news crews camped out in front of his apartment building have other ideas.

Excerpt

No sooner than I passed the edge of my building the lights came on atop a half-dozen cameras. Reporters jostled to stick their microphones in my face. As they blasted me with questions, I couldn’t help thinking two things: one was that the author of the ninja book was full of shit, and the other was that he probably no ninja at all.

“How does it feel to foil the terror plot that would have killed countless commuters?”

“Care to comment on the phone call you received from Vice President Cheney?”

“There was no call,” I mumbled as I inched my way past them, keeping my head down so that the bill of the baseball cap masked most of my face.

“Mr. Kavanagh,” one of the reporters stepped in front of me. “Do you have any remorse?”

“Will you continue to work at Tiffany and Company?”

“Is it true that the city will pay to have the Atlas clock restored?”

“Are you at liberty to tell us which agency you actually work for?”

“What?” I cried. “I’m just a guy.”

“Lee, are you afraid of retaliation?”

“Will you relocate?”

“Is the government offering to put you under their protective custody?”

“What’s your position on invading Iraq?”

“Do you support our troops?”

“Were you scared that the device might have blown up while you stood over the terrorist’s body?”

I inched closer to the steps.

“Would you be willing to disclose the names of the operatives in your team?”

“Operatives?” I asked.

“Do you think Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks?”

“What’s your position on immigration?”

“Did law enforcement officials disclose to you whether there are any other threats in the city?”

One of the reporters followed me up the steps to the main door. She reached out and took hold of the door handle as I inserted my key into the lock.

“Is this a safe house, Mr. Kavanagh?” she asked. “If it is, now that it’s compromised, where will you go?”

I managed to unlock the door and slip into the foyer. When I did, they kept at it with their questions. Once the door was closed behind me, the reporters banged on the door as the camera lights lit up the foyer. They filmed me checking my mailbox. For once I was grateful that there were no letters from Maggie. After I locked the mailbox, I turned to the cameras crowding the door windows. With my head down, I offered them a salute before I entered the first-floor hall.

Available on Amazon!

About the Author

Author Pic

Richard J. O’Brien is a graduate of the Fairleigh Dickinson University MFA in Creative Writing Program. Richard’s novels include Under the Bronze MoonInfestation, and The Garden of Fragile Things. His short stories have appeared in The Del Sol ReviewDuendePulp LiteratureThe Dr. T.J. Eckleburg ReviewWeirdbook, and other magazines. Richard lives in New Jersey, where he teaches at Rowan College at Gloucester County and Stockton University.

Richard J. O’Brien  

Amazon

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May 27th

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May 28th

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Are any of you interested in Harry Potter? I did a tiered ranking of all the characters and would love to hear your thoughts on it! Check out the video below:

Book Spotlight: Return Addresses

Michael A. McLellan has a new book out in the world! Read on for an exclusive except and a fantastic giveaway — A $20 Amazon gift card, and a copy of Return Addresses!

Psst, bloggers and book reviewers! There is also going to be a blog tour June 10th to the 26th, if you’re interested! Visit R&R Book Tours for more info!

New Final FINAL 4Return Addresses

Publication Date: April 13, 2020

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Mountain Press

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

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

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

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

He saw the tents and the plastic tarp lean-tos too late. He was already underneath the highway overpass. The waning daylight barely penetrated the area, and the makeshift shelters were tucked back away from the road, in the shadows. If he’d seen them, he would have stopped and backtracked to the frontage road he’d passed a few hundred yards back. Breathing heavily, he slowed to a walk and kept his eyes forward.

“Hey, dude, what are you running for?” Came a voice from his left.

He turned toward the voice. Two men were walking toward him from the group of haphazardly placed shelters about twenty feet from the sidewalk. Gauging that he was less than halfway through, he turned around and started back the way he’d come. The men picked up their pace to a jog and cut him off. They stood on the sidewalk in his path. Sean stopped short of them and they casually walked forward, closing the distance. He was more afraid than he’d ever been in his life. His legs were shaking and he felt sick to his stomach. One of the men was old and had long, matted gray hair that hung to his chest in clumps. His clothes were tattered and filthy. The other was younger, maybe thirty. He was wearing a red hoodie and gray sweat pants that were so dirty they’d turned black in places. He had the hood up and masses of brown dreadlocks spilled out of the sides. The smell of the two men reminded Sean of spoiled food and urine.

“What are you running for, kid?” the older man repeated.

Sean took a step back. “I…I must have gone the wrong way.”

“The wrong way? Ha! You got that right. This is the wrongest way you could go.” The man turned and glanced in the direction Sean had came from. “You got anyone with you?”

Now Available on Amazon!

About the Author

Mike Author 1

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

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

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

Michael McLellan | GoodreadsTwitter

Giveaway: 1st prize is a $20 Amazon gift card and a digital copy of Return Addresses. 2nd prize is a digital copy of the book! The giveaway will run from today to May 21st! Click the link below to enter!

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I did the What Makes Me Pick Up A Book Tag! Check out the video below:

Book Spotlight: Summer Thunder

Looking for a dreamy romance to escape into, check out Summer Thunder by A.B. Gibson!

All week, we’ll be sharing reviews, excerpts, and guest posts from the author himself. There’s also a fantastic giveaway — a $20 Amazon Gift Card and a print copy of the book!

Book Cover

Summer Thunder

Publication Date: October 15th, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

A Modern-Day Fairy Tale That Will Have Readers Swooning

Lily is headstrong, independent, and stuck in a loop of bad luck. She makes fairy figurines that customers buy to bring them good luck, but her merchandise doesn’t seem do the same for her. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t believe in them.

Theos is handsome and charismatic, a kite-surfing superstar who travels the world. So why is he drawn to Lily and the store on a California beach she struggles to keep afloat? And could she be the one to trigger the awakening of his unusual destiny?

Summer Thunder is one of the most anticipated romance novel debuts this year.” — Kendra Goldsborough, Four Seasons Books

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For your chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of Summer Thunder, click the link below!

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About the Author

ab-gibson

With over four decades in the advertising business, Alan has written and produced television, radio, print and digital commercials and built his reputation as one of the most creative players in entertainment advertising. Not content with writing in thirty and sixty-second formats, he took to novel writing in 2015 and published three best-selling mystery/thrillers, under the pen name of A.B. Gibson. High Voltage is published by Story Merchant Books.

Alan’s first book, The Dead of Winter, is the inspiration for The Seeding, a feature film he is producing with Ken Atchity Productions. Gibson also is an Executive Producer of The Book of Leah, a feature film due for release in 2020.

He serves as Co-founder and Chairman of OneClick.chat, a video social engagement platform startup that often competes for time with his writing.

A.B. Gibson | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Blog Tour Schedule

April 20th

Viviana MacKade (Guest Post) https://viviana-mackade.blog/

Mowgli with a Book (Spotlight w/ Review to Follow) https://www.instagram.com/mowgliwithabook/

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

Vick’s Bookish Writing Blog (Review) https://vicksblogcom.home.blog/

April 21st

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

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

Tales of a Natural Spoonie (Review) https://talesofanaturalspoonie.com/

April 22nd

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

Reads & Reels (Guest Post) http://readsandreels.com

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

April 23rd

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

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

Indie’s Reviews (Spotlight) http://indieproreview.blogspot.com/

Eclectic Review (Review) https://eclecticreview.com/

April 24th

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

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

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Check out Lisa King’s brand new novel called The Vanishing Hour which is available now on Amazon! She is a Canadian author from London, Ontario and I am super excited to share the love on her new book! If you like post-apocalyptic books, then this one is for you!

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You can buy her book here: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B081ZHCPGF/



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

If you have read the Hunger Games series or watched tho movies then you will be able to understand! I did a tiered ranking of all the characters and how I felt about them. Check out the video below:

Book Review: Just Breathe

Remember when I read Five Feet Apart and loved it? Well now I have another book very similar to that one and I liked it quite a bit as well. This one was called Just Breathe by Cammie McGovern.

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Synopsis: David Sheinman is the popular president of his senior class, battling cystic fibrosis.

Jamie Turner is a quiet sophomore, struggling with depression.

The pair soon realizes that they can be their true selves with each other, and their unlikely friendship develops into something so much more. But neither Jamie nor David can bring themselves to reveal the secrets that weigh most heavily on their hearts—and their time for honesty may be running out.

This book was adorable and made my heart feel warm. The unlikely pairing of two people both battling with their own struggles (be that physical and mental) and their story that they form together was just beautiful. I really enjoy books like this because it brings awareness to a disease like Cystic Fibrosis and gives you a narrative to help make the learning more enjoyable. It also highlights the severity of the disease and all the measures that need to be taken in order to live a normal life with it.

The characters were both likable in their own ways and I found their interactions to feel real and genuine. I kept wanting to pick up this book when I put it down because I wanted to escape back to their story and find out what was going to happen next. I like experiencing characters with real emotions and interactions and this book gave me that. I find that a lot of the time, you read contemporary and the interactions just seem unbelievable or ridiculous but this book kept it very real and I appreciated that.

We need more books like this. I would recommend this to anyone that wants a cute story about life as a teenager, battling a hard disease and friendship.

Book Rating: 4/5

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

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


Check out this book called Dork by my author friend Will Winkle about a guy trying to get his crush’s attention while navigating his life as part of a fraternity house!

His book can be found on Amazon, Goodreads, and his website: WillWinkle.com.

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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

In a time like this where it is better to social distance, I joined up with another booktuber, Kathy Trithardt, to bring you a Canadian booktuber collaboration from across the country!

Book Review: The Speed Of Falling Objects

I have a new book review for you bookworms! This one was a totally random read since I picked it up off the freebie table when I was visiting Harper Collins. It is called The Speed Of Falling Objects by Nancy Richardson Fischer.

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Synopsis: Danger “Danny” Danielle Warren is no stranger to falling. After losing an eye in a childhood accident, she had to relearn her perception of movement and space. Now Danny keeps her head down, studies hard, and works to fulfill everyone else’s needs. She’s certain that her mom’s bitterness and her TV star father’s absence are her fault. If only she were more-more athletic, charismatic, attractive-life would be perfect.

When her dad calls with an offer to join him to film the next episode of his popular survivalist show, Danny jumps at the chance to prove she’s not the disappointment he left behind. Being on set with the hottest teen movie idol of the moment, Gus Price, should be the cherry on top. But when their small plane crashes in the Amazon, and a terrible secret is revealed, Danny must face the truth about the parent she worships and falling for Gus, and find her own inner strength and worth to light the way home.

I am so glad that I picked up this book from that table because it turned out to be a phenomenal read! I wasn’t expecting much going into it and was pleasantly surprised by how much I was drawn into the book.

The main character’s development from start to finish was astonishing. She reminded me of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. She goes through so much s**t and continues to endure when even some of the strongest would struggle. The way each character was written was perfect and I wouldn’t have had it play out any other way.

It was a survival book and I found that the author definitely did their research because a lot of the survival strategies and techniques were accurate and it was a lot of fun because you get to learn about different species in the Amazon as you followed the characters in their struggle to survive.

I was on the edge of my seat reading this because I wanted to know how they were going to adapt to the situations they faced. It was a very thrilling read with some contemporary romantic bits thrown in to spice it up. I would 100% recommend this book to anyone that wants to fall into a book and not come back up to the surface until you have finished it.

Book Rating: 5/5

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

Disclaimer: I picked this book up when I was at Harper Collins. I chose to read and review it because I wanted to.



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

I was tagged to do the Books and Bakes Tag !! It was so much fun and be prepared for all the randomness that is me 😜

Book Spotlight: Headliners

Lucy Parker fans rejoice! Her latest novel is here, and we’re thrilled to share Headliners, book #5 in the London Celebrities series! Read on for an exclusive excerpt, purchase details, and a chance to win a print copy!

Book Cover

Headliners (London Celebrities #5)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publication Date: January 20th, 2020

Publisher: Carina Press

He might be the sexiest man in London, according to his fan site (which he definitely writes himself), but he’s also the most arrogant man she’s ever met.

She might have the longest legs he’s ever seen, but she also has the sharpest tongue.

For years, rival TV presenters Sabrina Carlton and Nick Davenport have traded barbs on their respective shows. The public can’t get enough of their feud, but after Nick airs Sabrina’s family scandals to all of Britain, the gloves are off. They can barely be in the same room together—but these longtime enemies are about to become the unlikeliest of cohosts.

With their reputations on the rocks, Sabrina and Nick have one last chance to save their careers. If they can resurrect a sinking morning show, they’ll still have a future in television. But with ratings at an all-time low and a Christmas Eve deadline to win back the nation’s favor, the clock is ticking—and someone on their staff doesn’t want them to succeed.

Small mishaps on set start adding up, and Sabrina and Nick find themselves—quelle horreur—working together to hunt down the saboteur…and discovering they might have more in common than they thought. When a fiery encounter is caught on camera, the public is convinced that the reluctant co-hosts are secretly lusting after one another.

The public might not be wrong.

Their chemistry has always been explosive, but with hate turning to love, the stakes are rising and everything is on the line. Neither is sure if they can trust these new feelings…or if they’ll still have a job in the New Year.

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Excerpt

Their boss started turning her pen in circles again. “You are correct in that you’ve both knocked yourselves out of contention for the evening show. That position will be offered elsewhere.”

Sabrina released a long breath, and Nick closed his eyes momentarily.

“So that’s it?” she said, with a slight feeling of unreality. Despite the setbacks since the summer, apparently she hadn’t really expected this to happen. “We’re both out?”

“Of the evening programming, yes. Your nights are going to be considerably more open.” Hania looked past Sabrina again, as the office door opened. “But if you agree to my suggestion, you’re also going to have to start getting up a lot earlier.”

Nick turned his head first, and his entire body went still.

She swung around and was greeted with her own smiling face on a full-length poster board. Her printed image had been placed back-to-back with Nick’s, and someone had done some excessive editing, because she’d never leaned on him in her life.

Her gaze travelled from their glossy heads to the sarcastic advertising copy scrawled across the cardboard: ’tis the season for peace and goodwill. And miracles. Wake Me Up London with Sabrina Carlton and Nick Davenport, weekdays at seven throughout December.

They broke the silence with an unusually united sentiment.

“Oh, I don’t think so.” Sabrina physically retreated from the horrifying prospect.

“I hope that’s a bad joke.” Palpable outrage from Nick. His fingertips were digging hard enough into the arm of his chair that she could see his knuckles flexing. “I don’t mind the odd piece of human-interest filler—nobody wants doom and gloom 24/7 and there are people who deserve recognition—but the morning show has been egregious rubbish for years. If you seriously think I’m going to sit there and smile inanely while people with too much time on their hands argue about—what was one of their scintillating topics, the ethics of putting tutus on puppies?—you can think again. And why am I second billing on the poster?”

“Alphabetical and moral seniority,” Sabrina said breezily. He was so annoyed that she’d recovered a bit of composure in response. She inclined her head towards their chummy-looking cardboard selves. “And it pains me to state the obvious, but you’re literally the poster boy for inane smiles, Troy McClure. Bit late to change your brand now.”

Nick’s jaw had stopped twitching, but his eye picked up the slack.

From her seat close to the offending poster, a member of the social media team cleared her throat. “Er…is the plan to boost WMUL’s embarrassingly shit ratings by turning the set into a Hamlet-style bloodbath? Because it’ll be job well done in any scenario that puts them on the same couch.”

“I’ve worked for the network since I was twenty-one,” Nick said, slipping back into his shield of drawling amiability. It tended to net more wins. One may smile, and smile, and be a villain. “I’ve headlined alone for almost four years, and I’ve made a damn good job of it.”

“Yes, you have,” Hania agreed. “You’re excellent at your job. Witty, tenacious, attractive—the public accolades are spot-on.” Before Nick’s head could expand too far, she continued, “You also humiliated your boss in a public forum. If you wanted to keep your name on the evening billing, you should have exercised some discretion. You’re on such thin ice here that one false step is going to drop you right in it. I hope I’m making myself clear.”

She walked around her desk to sweep a glance up and down the poster board, before she leaned a companionable elbow on it. “Happily for us all, the public is fascinated with your obvious feud. You surmise correctly that Wake Me Up London is in a losing battle where the ratings are concerned. I have a feeling that the two of you could salvage that situation.”

Nick opened his mouth again, and Hania finished, “And you’ve got from the beginning of December until Christmas Eve to prove me right.”

Now Available!

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About the Author

Lucy Parker - Author Photo

Lucy Parker lives in the gorgeous Central Otago region of New Zealand, where she feels lucky every day to look out at mountains, lakes and vineyards. She has a degree in Art History, loves museums and galleries, and doodles unrecognisable flowers when she has writer’s block.

Her interest in romantic fiction began with a pre-teen viewing of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (Firth-style), which prompted her to read the book as well, and the rest was history.

Lucy Parker | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

One lucky fan can win a print copy of Headliners! Click the link below to enter (US Only)!

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Blog Tour Schedule

January 20th

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

Just 4 My Books (Spotlight) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com

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

Viviana MacKade (Spotlight) https://viviana-mackade.blog/

January 21st

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

January 22nd

The Genre Minx Book Reviews (Spotlight) http://www.thegenreminx.com/

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

The Bookworm Drinketh (Review) http://thebookwormdrinketh.wordpress.com/

January 23rd

Wordy & Whimsical (Review) https://wordyandwhimsical.wordpress.com/

January 24th

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

I’m into Books (Spotlight) https://imintobooks.com

Cup of Books (Review) https://cupofbooksblog.wordpress.com/

***No Weekends***

January 27th

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

My Bookish Bliss (Review) http://www.mybookishbliss.com

January 28th

Misty’s Book Space (Spotlight) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

Tales of a Natural Spoonie (Review) https://talesofanaturalspoonie.com/

January 29th

Where Dragons Reside (Review) https://kernerangelina.live/

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

January 30th

Magical Reads (Review) https://magicalreads7.wordpress.com/

January 31st

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

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

Blog Tour Organized By:

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It’s that time of year again where we tell each other about our reading goals and what we plan to accomplish for the upcoming year. Here is mine! (plus a Christmas haul)

Book Spotlight: A Kind Of Family

Welcome to the blog tour for A Kind of Family by Bonnie Meekums. We’ll have loads of exclusive content and a guest post from the author herself, so be sure to follow along!

KofFamily digital cover.jpgA Kind of Family

Publication Date: January 7th, 2020

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Willow River Press

Forty-something Northern UK psychotherapist and university lecturer Rachel longs for a close family when, a year after their parents die her brother decides to cut off all contact. Out of the blue she meets Fran, a petite, attractive and outgoing community artist who disturbs and excites her. Shortly after this Aggie appears, looking like a relic from the 1960s and with a strong working-class London accent. She takes a strong interest in Rachel’s relationship with Fran. But who is she, and why is Rachel the only one that can see and hear her?

When Fran’s mother dies, the two women discover a family secret that impacts on their decision to try for a baby. But there is more shock and heartache to come, a visit to New Zealand for Fran and a tough decision for Rachel to make before she finally finds her own kind of family. This is a story that challenges traditional ideas about what constitutes family. It is also about overcoming grief, and healing the past; about love, loss, and ultimately hope. You won’t want to put it down.

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Excerpt

A cough. Annie cocked her ears in alert preparedness. Rachel was not ‘hearing things’. She looked in the direction of the shadow she had seen earlier, her own pulse assaulting her ears. The cough had seemed to come from the kitchen. Had an intruder got in despite the locked door, or had she somehow forgotten to turn the key? She looked around for something with which she could defend herself if push came to shove. Nothing. She tried to remember the women’s self-defence she had learned in her undergraduate days after a particularly nasty rape on campus. Her brain turned to mush.

Then an older woman appeared on the other side of the door from Rachel’s study into the kitchen, and Rachel’s fear turned to confusion mixed with a fair dose of irritation. It was as if she had come out of nowhere. Rachel could only see the top half of her through the half-glazed door. The old woman’s face looked as if someone had scored deep marks on a dark canvas. Her eyes were like two dark pools that seemed to draw Rachel in despite her wariness. The visitor smiled and raised her eyebrows as if asking to be let in. Sighing, Rachel got up and opened the door as it occurred to her that this must be one of the people who had recently moved into number twenty.

‘Fanks, love. I’m sorry. I must’ve give you such a fright. I don’t mean to. Can I come in?’

Rachel looked beyond the woman to the outer door, which was closed.

She was already in.

Available on Amazon!



About the Author

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Born and brought up in working-class London, Bonnie crossed classes when she went to university in the 1970s, eventually gaining a PhD in arts therapies in the 1990s. In the 1980s she crossed the invisible borders from South to North in England, first living in West Yorkshire and settling eventually in an old mill town near Manchester. A mother, step-mother and grandmother, she also travels annually to New Zealand to be with part of her far-flung family.

Bonnie is well known across the globe within the small professional world of Dance Movement Therapy (DMT). She is sole author of two books on arts therapies, one of which (Dance Movement Therapy, London: Sage, 2002) is on many training course essential reading lists and has sold more than 2,000 copies. She has also published numerous research articles and has been invited to teach in New Zealand, the USA, India, China and many European countries.

Whilst still being active in DMT practice, teaching and supervision, these days Bonnie’s writing focusses on novels and short stories. She also writes a blog about becoming an older woman who rambles (a play on words), to be found at https://mamabonnie.wordpress.com/. Her short creative nonfiction The Story Hunter about how her father influenced her love of stories was featured by the online writing collective Dear Damsels on February 10th 2019. Her debut novel A Kind of Family is published by Between the Lines Publishing in January 2020.

Bonnie Meekums

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Blog Tour Schedule

January 20th

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

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

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

January 21st

Tales of a Natural Spoonie (Review) https://talesofanaturalspoonie.com/

My Bookish Bliss (Review) http://www.mybookishbliss.com

January 22nd

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

Just 4 My Books (Spotlight) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com

January 23rd

Where Dragons Reside (Spotlight) https://kernerangelina.live/

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

The Genre Minx Book Reviews (Spotlight) http://www.thegenreminx.com/

January 24th

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

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

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

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours


It’s that time of year again where we tell each other about our reading goals and what we plan to accomplish for the upcoming year. Here is mine! (plus a Christmas haul)