Book Spotlight: Masters of Camelot

Congratulations to author Steven Cross, on the release of his latest novel Masters of Camelot! Read on for book details and an exclusive excerpt!

camelot coverMasters of Camelot

Publication Date: May 19th, 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Between the Lines (Liminal Books)

Lancelot’s true love dies in a battle against an enemy aided by magic. With his kingdom and his love gone, he resigns himself to serving King Arthur, someone who is truly noble. After an innocent infatuation with Queen Guinevere goes wrong, the mysterious Merlin tells him his fate will be found thousands of years in a future where the new Camelot faces destruction from a ruthless king. Only Lancelot possesses the power that can stop him. But is his fate to die there? Is the new Camelot going to face the same destruction as the old Camelot? And how will Lancelot defeat the same magic that killed his one true love, a magic which he has never believed to be real.

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Excerpt

Some of King Ban’s foot soldiers lumbered toward the enemy, but then the iron beasts came back to life. They flew over Ban’s foot soldiers. Noises, like the banging of hundreds of rocks on metal all at once rang out. Something, yellow bursts of fire, came from the beasts. Lancelot watched as the foot soldiers fell where they stood. He saw dozens of holes in their armor and blood seeping out of them.

The beasts then moved over the archers and hovered over them. Lancelot’s heart lurched. Most of their archers were women who wanted to serve in Ban’s army, but whom his father did not want to be foot soldiers. These women warriors possessed another kind of finesse. Many of them fired their arrows at the beasts, but they did nothing but bounce away or break.

Then a blue swath of light appeared from the beast and bathed about half the remaining archers in an ethereal glow. The light beamed almost blindingly bright and then disappeared completely – the archers gone with it.

The enemy at the walls shrieked with ear-splitting force. When Lancelot turned toward their noise, he saw the charge. In another few seconds, they were on top of them. Ban’s men met them. Blade clanged against blade.

One attacker struck at Lancelot, who blocked the blow with his shield and drove his blade into the man’s chest. When the enemy’s blood poured out, Lancelot’s stomach heaved, but he had no time to vomit—another opponent was already on top of him. He moved so fast and was so strong that Lancelot could not avoid him. The enemy knocked him to the ground and had his sword raised ready to deal the killing blow. Lancelot tried to cover himself with his shield, but he didn’t think he would – the soldier’s hand went to his neck where an arrow pierced it. Blood spurted and then he fell. Lancelot felt his weight crashing down on him, knocking the air out of him. He looked to one side and saw one of Ban’s archers, a woman with long, flowing blonde hair – Eve – one of Anna’s friends with her bow.

He started to yell out her name, but then the blue light swallowed her, and she disappeared.

Lancelot pushed her victim off, staggered to his feet in time to raise his sword just as the second attacker lunged at him. It pierced his enemy’s throat.

“Lancelot!”

He froze at the sound of the high-pitched scream and looked left and right to see the invaders overwhelming King Ban’s army. Lancelot ducked as someone swung at his head, and he thrust his shield up, its edge catching the attacker’s neck. The attacker gagged as he clutched at his throat and crumpled.

“Lancelot!”

Lancelot recognized the voice. He looked down and saw his beloved Anna lying on the ground near him. An invader towered over her.

Lancelot launched his sword through the air like a spear and hit the man just as he was bringing down his own sword. Lancelot ran to Anna. Her eyes fluttered and she smiled at him. “I knew you’d come.” The armor she wore was now red and blood pooled under her. “You can change things, Lancelot.” Her body relaxed and lay still.

He grabbed her wrist and searched for a pulse. He leaned over her and tried to feel the faintest breath that would show him that she was just hurt. Even as tears poured from him, his anger built.

“Why didn’t you listen? Why do you always have to be where you don’t need to be—”

Suddenly, someone grabbed him by his hair and jerked him backwards.

Available on Amazon!

About the Author

Photo on 12-14-19 at 11.05 AM

Robert Collier, an American self-help author, once said, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” For over 30 years of teaching and over 40 years of writing, this adage describes Steve Cross.

He is a semi-retired educator who teaches writing part-time at Three Rivers Community College. While in college, he began writing, and once he started, he didn’t quit. In his younger days, he had some writing successes: several plays published by Brooklyn Publishers, articles in various magazines and websites, and some educational materials. However, these weren’t enough to convince him that writing was something he needed to pursue anymore. When he turned 60 and had almost given writing up altogether, he gave it one more chance.

Every October, the Ozark Creative Writers sponsor a writing conference in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. As a test of his talent, Cross entered several of the contests that made up part of the conference. If he did okay, he would continue writing. If not, well, it had been a fun ride, but it was time to get off. When he placed in three of the contests, he decided that maybe his idea of quitting was premature. From there, things clicked. He had one young adult contemporary novel accepted for publication and two fantasy novels accepted. He also saw another dream which had eluded him for years come to life. He sold one screenplay outright and optioned another. Then he became a freelance editor for a publisher.

Cross finds himself busier than ever with his writing. But writing is not his only passion. He and his wife Jean work very hard in spoiling their two grandchildren, much to the dismay of their daughter Megan and son-in-law Sean. Cross also follows the St. Louis Cardinals and enjoys reading, listening to music, and writing. Still, he finds time to relax by sitting out on his deck with his loyal dog Bella on his lap and listening to the birds singing.

Masters of Camelot resulted from a lifelong love of all things Arthurian, which was reinforced by a trip to the UK, and a simple question, “What if?” He believes the principles of Camelot can still flourish in today’s world.

Steven M. Cross | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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

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

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



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Book Spotlight: Steel Hand, Cold Heart

I’m so excited to announce an amazing giveaway event in honor of Steel Hand, Cold Heart by Rachel Menard! Read on for book details, an excerpt and a link to the event!

STEEL_HAND_COVER_w_AwardSteel Hand, Cold Heart

Publication Date: July 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy/ Adventure/ Vikings

On the island of Helvar, women rule. Sixteen-year-old Carina has trained for most of her life to belong to the coveted Daughters of Hel, the steel-handed Viking warriors who provide souls to the Death Goddess in exchange for the prosperity of their island. Gaining her place hasn’t been easy. She was not borne of the island, but another spoil from another raid, raised by the island Chieftain. There are many who would see her fail, and on her first raid, she does. She doesn’t kill a priestess she should have.

Carina needs to prove her worth or risk losing her place. Before she can, her arch-nemesis drugs her wine and sends her off the isle as a captive of three foreign boys. But what is Carina’s greatest misfortune may turn out to be her greatest gift. The young men are taking her to the jewel of the Southern Isles – Fortis Venitis, a place no other Daughter of Hel can venture. Carina can place Hel’s claims on the Southern isle and return to Helvar with the spoils, a victor.

However there are many obstacles to pass before she reaches her goal. Like her rune stone that everyone keeps trying to steal, the mismatched pirates from a country that no longer exists, and the priest with his poison that melts flesh from bones. But the most dangerous obstacle of all are the odd feelings she’s developing for her victims, especially the knife-thieving captain Nik. That could make it difficult for her to kill him in the end.

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Excerpt

Chapter 1

They called me Carina the Unstoppable. No, the name did not render men to terror like Merciless Merle, nor did it inspire awe like Dagna the Destroyer, or command attention like Odda Ironfist. But the moniker was mine. I earned it for the many times I had been knocked flat on the training grounds or limped on bleeding limbs to finish a fight. It was how I earned my place as one of Hel’s Daughters, the Hand of Death Herself.

I leaned over the rails of our longboat, Jörmungandr, aptly named because the figurehead was carved in the image of the giant sea serpent, wriggling its way through the water east toward Frisia. A strong wind held our mainsail, and we bobbed back and forth on gentle waves. These smooth waters were a blessing from the sea giant, Aegir. He approved of our quest, speeding us along our last raid of the season, the last offering to Hel before the long winter.

This was the Daughters’ last raid of the season but my first. I could hardly contain my excitement. I wanted to be there already, to see the villagers’ faces when we arrived on their shore in droves. When we offered their blood to the Goddess Hel.

I curled my steel fingers into a fist. On the eve of my initiation, Thora warned me attaching my steel hand would hurt. Her exact words were, “It feels like cutting your fingers off one by one and pissing in the wound.” Vidar warmed the steel gauntlet in the coals until it glowed sunset red, and I grit my teeth as he slid the molten metal over my fingers. The steel hand burned through flesh and muscle until the metal touched bone. My eyes had watered. A violent scream had gathered in my chest.

I held it back. I didn’t have the luxury of showing weakness, and once the hand was seared to my fingers, I belonged to Hel. She who bears the steel hand has the Goddess’s blessing to take life. That was three months ago. It took that long for my hand to heal, to become useful again

Amazon

Giveaway Details

Goodreads Giveaway Event!

Set sail for adventure, romance and cross-dressing on an epic Viking-inspired journey! 

Enter for a chance to win 1 of 50 digital Kindle copes of STEEL HAND, COLD HEART, Grand Prize Winner of the 7th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published E-Book Awards! Winners will be selected at random, and their prize will be sent directly to their Kindle device. Giveaway is open from May 15, 2020 through June 14, 2020.

About the Author

Rachel_Menard

Rachel Menard earned her degree in marketing from ASU, during which time her work was featured in the university paper and her own, self-published punk zine, Chelsea. Her short fiction has been featured in the New England Speculative Writers’ Anthology, The Final Summons and on Cast of Wonders. Most recently, her self-published YA fantasy novel won the Grand Prize in the 7th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published E-Book awards. For more of her writings and ramblings, visit http://www.rachelmenard.com.\

Rachel Menard | Twitter | Instagram 

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

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Book Review: The Wicked King

It’s time! I have finally completed the 2nd book in the Cruel Prince trilogy and I was nervous to review it because I wasn’t sure if it would live up to the hype. But I am happy to say that it did and I really enjoyed The Wicked King by Holly Black.

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Synopsis: After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

This series started off so strong and just kept up the pace in this thrilling next installment in the series. I was so excited to get back into this world and explore more of it. I had been missing all of these characters and their mischievous intentions for one another.

Jude is always thinking like 4 steps ahead and planning out everything so that it always goes right and I loved being behind the scenes and seeing how she did this. And to be fair, she really has to stay on her toes in the world of fae because everyone is looking to deceive you for their own personal gain.

There was a certain reveal in this one that broke my heart and I was sad by it but in no way did it hinder my experience of the book. If anything, it added to it. The bonds that were built between characters were definitely tested in ways they couldn’t even prepare for and it was glorious!

We got to see more about a lot of the side characters in this plot which was awesome since they were introduced in the first book but not built upon as much.

I am very excited to see how Holly Black concludes this series. It has been a non-stop thrill ride for me and there had been so much build up for a potentially big finale. I really hope that it keeps me impressed by the end.

Book Rating: 5/5

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

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



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I did the Ride or Die Book Tag and talked about some great books in this one! Check out the video below:

Book Review: The Blood Within The Stone

Chris has been reading more and he even made his own book blog (This & That Reviews)! But today, he did a review for The Blood Within the Stone by T.R. Thompson so check out his review below!

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Synopsis: A shadow is spreading across the land. Fear will be your downfall.

When the Prefects of Redmondis discover that their quick minds and quicker fingers hide secret potential, young thieves Wilt and Higgs find themselves unwilling recruits. Wilt’s ability to sink into others’ thoughts, knowing what action they will take before they do, is both a prized and dangerous gift.

The Nine Sisters of Redmondis have sensed a growing threat, and search for the one who can control the power of the blood within the stone. But even their sinister plots are nothing compared to the force that controls them.

As Wilt and Higgs rally their newfound weapons, they discover that the threat to their lives, and their reality, is much greater than they realise.

This was an entertaining non-stop read. From a technical writing perspective, the words and sentences flowed to mirror the storyline. Action scenes had short quick sentences; scenes that built suspense had the longer formative sentences. It was done well enough to bring the reader along with it.

The story itself had a few unexpected turns, which I wasn’t sure would happen because the start will be familiar to readers of fantasy literature. It was the story of a street thief who having latent magical abilities or talents rose up from their humble beginnings to positions of great influence and/or power (a la Robin Hobb, Patrick Rothfuss, Trudi Canavan, Raymond Feist).

But the storyline doesn’t always go where you think. I enjoyed the unexpected turns the book took. The ending itself was different from most works and rather clever. It left me wanting to read the second book in the series. Based on the epilogue I think the second volume will be even better than the first—and the first book is good especially since this is Thompson’s first book. I thought he’d had more publishing experience. Well done.

There were a few minor things that had me pause. Some times things happen that aren’t quite explained properly. I’m not sure what an initiate did to deserve death except perhaps relax.

And in one instance an event happened that didn’t seem to have much bearing on anything. In this case, the heroes had to get past some patrolling dog-former-human creatures. One character suggests we can easily get rid of these vermin. A kinder hearted character says there is a simpler way. He draws a symbol in the air, it attracts one dog, they then kill it and proceed on their way. How that helps them get past the rest of the dog-creatures isn’t explained. The only thing it accomplished was the heroes vowed to make the villain pay for his evil work, which is what they were on their way to do when they had to hide from the dog-creature patrols. I didn’t see any point in that part.

Incidentally, the hero is an expert in the use of a sling. It featured in the beginning to help him get noticed for his rise up the ranks, but after that, the skill wasn’t needed. It would be too much of a trope to have him rescue himself and his companions near the end with surprise sling skills. Too predictable as you see that trope in movies; e.g., if the first ten minutes of a film shows a character throwing knives at fencepost targets you know in the last ten minutes of the film there will be a surprised bad guy looking at a surprise knife in his chest. Still, it appears the character doesn’t even practice anymore, which in real life at least is unusual as you want to maintain your skill level after working so hard to attain it.

That last part isn’t a criticism though, just an observation. The book was a good read, it had unexpected twists in the plot, and leaves you wanting more. It was an enjoyable way to pass a Monday evening.

Book Rating: 4/5 

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

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


Check out Sean Carlson’s brand new novel called Road To Emmaus: The New Deal which is available now on Amazon! Here is a synopsis of the book: In the midst of the Great Depression, newly elected US President, Franklin D. Roosevelt offers a new deal for the American people. An advisory team, coined the ‘brains trust’ build the foundation of his government’s policies which will impact American families for generations to come. But can human intervention and a new alignment of ‘truths’ resurrect a shared hope powerful enough to save a nation from itself?The dusty road of human history cuts through the heart of every soul. Our search for truth is not easy travel as the deadly allures of myth and deceit call us by name, presiding behind altars of ruin. The illusion is set. And lost in the forgotten timelines of a world under seige, an ancient promise remains.All of recorded history is an understanding of the pieces of ourselves that have come before and the road that remains. This journey is both and ’embarking on’ and a ‘leaving of.’The history of yourself precedes you – going back to the beginning. No piece of history in the cosmos or on earth is exclusive of you. From an exiled apostle imprisoned in the heart of the Roman Empire to Cambodia’s killing fields and South America’s secret horrors. You wear the scars. From a litany of underground movements and failed revolutions, to the fabled utopian kingdom of Camelot, the claim for truth has worn many faces.The long cold war between the icy dominion of Kalashnikov and a succession of presiders struggling to raise the chalice to the parched lips of the world continues. The battle remains yours to fight.You were a part of the old deal and are an even bigger part of the new deal. The dead hand of the past is no longer the end of us. Our history is not confined to the past nor is it bound to the laws of earthly dimension. It is as timeless and free as you. The road awaits…

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You can buy the book here: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/0995270295/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_awdo_t1_ixPHEb9GMG63M



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I’m a little late getting to my April Wrap Up but here it is! The Magical Readathon was a lot of fun and these are all the books I read for it. Let me know if you have read any of them and what you thought! Check out the video below:

Book Spotlight: Of Steel & Steam

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Check out Sean Carlson’s brand new novel called Road To Emmaus: The New Deal which is available now on Amazon!

Here is a synopsis of the book: In the midst of the Great Depression, newly elected US President, Franklin D. Roosevelt offers a new deal for the American people. An advisory team, coined the ‘brains trust’ build the foundation of his government’s policies which will impact American families for generations to come. But can human intervention and a new alignment of ‘truths’ resurrect a shared hope powerful enough to save a nation from itself?The dusty road of human history cuts through the heart of every soul. Our search for truth is not easy travel as the deadly allures of myth and deceit call us by name, presiding behind altars of ruin. The illusion is set. And lost in the forgotten timelines of a world under seige, an ancient promise remains.All of recorded history is an understanding of the pieces of ourselves that have come before and the road that remains. This journey is both and ’embarking on’ and a ‘leaving of.’The history of yourself precedes you – going back to the beginning. No piece of history in the cosmos or on earth is exclusive of you. From an exiled apostle imprisoned in the heart of the Roman Empire to Cambodia’s killing fields and South America’s secret horrors. You wear the scars. From a litany of underground movements and failed revolutions, to the fabled utopian kingdom of Camelot, the claim for truth has worn many faces.The long cold war between the icy dominion of Kalashnikov and a succession of presiders struggling to raise the chalice to the parched lips of the world continues. The battle remains yours to fight.You were a part of the old deal and are an even bigger part of the new deal. The dead hand of the past is no longer the end of us. Our history is not confined to the past nor is it bound to the laws of earthly dimension. It is as timeless and free as you. The road awaits…

roadtoemmaus-SC-3D

You can buy the book here: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/0995270295/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_awdo_t1_ixPHEb9GMG63M



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

Anyone miss concerts? I know it has been a while since I have been to one and miss the sound of live music. Here is a video of me using concert prompts to talk about some books! Check out the video below:

Book Spotlight: Queen to Ashes

Congratulations to author Mallory McCartney on the exciting new release of Queen to Ashes, the next installment in the Black Dawn series!

Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win signed copies of Heir of Lies and Queen to Ashes!

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Queen to Ashes (Black Dawn #2)

Publication Date: April 21st, 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

“You lived your entire life feeling like half of you was missing. Fight for the missing part. Fight for this.”

Emory Fae has abandoned everything she thought she knew about her previous life on Earth. Stepping up to her role as Queen of Kiero she makes a startling sacrifice- feigning her allegiances to Adair Stratton, the man who murdered her parents and casted Kiero into ruin. Emory’s memories slowly piece together, and she soon realizes the Mad King may not be all he seems— and the man who was once best friend, may be fighting beneath the surface.

With the King’s attention on her, can she buy Black Dawn Rebellion enough time to recuperate their forces? And when the times comes, will she be able to kill Adair, ending his tyranny and rising herself as the rightful Queen? Fighting to hide her secret, Emory navigates the brutal trials of the Mad King, trying not to lose herself in the process.

Sequel to Heir of Lies, now a bestselling series, the sparks are ignited, as Emory learns the cost of freedom, and her heritage. Will the rebels unite in time? A sinister force has spread across the land, stripping everyone bare- their betrayals, their secrets, their intentions. But above all, what will their decisions cost? By refusing to give in to the darkness, will Emory rise as Queen?

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Excerpt

The darkness kissed her, embraced her. Squinting, Emory tried to make sense of where she was but was met with a black, dense wall. Sweat pooled at the base of her neck, warmth flaring through her body. Fear choked her then as she gulped down stale air. She knew she wasn’t alone because she felt them before they said anything. “Emory, you need to wake up.” Memphis’s voice, just barely a whisper, caressed her. Right beside her left ear, another voice sounded. “Em, wake up.” Brokk’s rough voice was harsh and clear, but she felt her body still being pulled, pulled down into the black abyss. A third voice then sounded; one she could only recognize from her dreams. “Emory, darling, wake up.” Her mother. Her voice danced all around her, and she clawed blindly, trying to connect with her lost friends and family. Trying to find them. Silence landed heavy, and a putrid smell enveloped her senses. It smelled of rotting meat. Bile rose in her throat as a she felt a slimy, boney hand wrap hard around her wrists, pulling her toward it. She couldn’t scream; she couldn’t move. Sweat drenched every inch of her body as the creature she couldn’t make out leaned closer, whispering right in front of her, “Emory, I have found you.” Swivelling around, she was met with darkness until the monster pulled her closer, its breath tickling her ear. “And you belong to me.” The knife slid in between her ribs, pain blossoming, and cackles spun around her. Then, she was dragged down into the darkness.

Screams tore from her chest as she shot up. Drenched in a cold sweat, it took her several minutes to register where she was and the guard standing at the foot of her bed, arms crossed and eyebrows raised. She screamed again, pulling her blankets around her, her nightdress clinging to her curves. “Who gave you permission to be in here?” she demanded. Smirking arrogantly, he said, “I did.” Blinking, she recognized the man as the same one that guarded her down in the cells. Rubbing her eyes, she tried to shake the feeling of that damp death-like hold of the creature in her dream. She pointed to the door. “Get the hell out.” He scoffed, rolling his eyes. “It’s time to start your day. The king awaits.” Throwing a bundle at the bottom of her bed, he turned his back, briskly stating, “You have five minutes to get ready. I’ll wait outside.” Shutting the door, he left her in stark silence. It was time. Panic clutched her heart, squeezing it, threatening to break it. She couldn’t breathe. The walls seemed stretched too thin.

She could do this—she had to do this. Emory would grant the rebels the time they needed, the time she needed. Dying wasn’t an option. Besides, she was already dead to the people who had believed in her. Leaning forward with shaking hands, she opened the parcel. Several stacks of light black clothes spilled out, including shirts, pants, and undergarments. A blood red sash sat atop them all. Lovely. Sitting on top all of this, though, was a light, sheer, gold chest plate. Squinting, she leaned closer to inspect it. Markings she didn’t recognize adorned all the edges, and its sheerness was unearthly. She was so close, her breath was fogging it, her reflection lost. Strong leather buckles joined at the shoulders; its back plate just as impressive. She shimmied out of bed, quickly dropping the armor. Emory went through the motions of getting dressed numbly. Braiding her long ebony hair back, she looked in the mirror behind her. She didn’t recognize the woman standing before her, the stark cheekbones, emptiness in her eyes, bruised skin underneath them. Tying her sash tightly, she set her resolve. Emory Fae of Earth was dead. Everything had led up to this moment. Her parents shaped their world, defying the paths they were told to go down: A warrior from the Shattered Isles and a Prince of Kiero were never supposed to break away and build a refuge— The Academy—for peace. In her heart, Emory knew they had made mistakes, but their life’s dream was to fight and to ensure everyone, no matter their ability, would have a place to call home. Emory loosened a breath. She would not let her parents’ dream die. If Adair wanted a challenge, he would get one. She would make him pay. For her family. Her friends. For herself.

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About the Author

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Mallory McCartney currently lives in Sarnia, Ontario with her husband and their three dachshunds Link, Lola and Leonard. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found day dreaming about fantasy worlds and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

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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/



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

Anyone miss concerts? I know it has been awhile since I have been to one and miss the sound of live music. Here is a video of me using concert prompts to talk about some books! Check out the video below:

Book Spotlight: Heir of Lies

Mallory McCartney is getting ready to release book #2 in her epic Black Dawn series, but she wants to give you guys a chance to read the book that started it all first, Heir of Lies!

Here’s an excerpt to read, and a chance to win a paperback copy of your own!

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Heir of Lies (Black Dawn #1)

Release Date: April 20th, 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy/ New Adult Fantasy

“Hope was a dangerous thing. It could consume every dream and make them take flight, becoming wild daydreams in one’s heart and mind. Or hope could incinerate everything you thought you knew, burning you down to your core, leaving you raw and exposed for the world.”

Emory Fae has only known one thing—life at The Academy, a school for those who have special abilities. Following in her parents’ footsteps, the pressure to uphold their dream falls on her and one of her best friends—Adair Stratton. An outcast and feared by most, Adair longs to break away from the expectations dictating his future. With whispers of dark magic spreading across Kiero, Adair starts to doubt The Academy is all it seems.

An unexpected visit ignites new tensions as the roguish king from across the Black Sea, Tadeas Maher of the Shattered Isles, and his heir, Marquis Maher, sail to Kiero. Notorious for their pirating and wrath, for the first time in years, they demand the Faes listen to their proposition for a new treaty. Caught in the middle of politics, Adair and Emory, with the help of their best friends Brokk and Memphis, search for the one thing that matters the most—the truth.

Their world is tipped upside down as unlikely alliances are made, and war ravages Kiero. Through the throes of betrayal, lies, hidden magic, and love, Adair is faced with a life changing decision. Will he fight or bow to the darkness within?
But, Adair’s decision will change the course of Kiero forever, setting in motion irreversible destinies for everyone at The Academy as Emory Fae rises as heir.

Heir of Lies is the first book in the bestselling Black Dawn series.

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Excerpt

“It was as if her body had been ripped into a thousand different pieces. Her lungs burned, begging for relief. Emory heard the soft crackle of fire. Her head was a spinning mass; it was its own continent. Squinting, she tried to focus. Blinking slowly, her surroundings came into view. Her pulse picked up. She wasn’t in her room. She wasn’t in her home. The metal world around her seemed to have one purpose. To keep people in. To keep her in. The last twenty-four hours rushed over her in a flurry of confusing memories. Him… Memphis. The name rolled around in her mind, familiar yet unfamiliar all at once. Her eyes flashed open, her heart thrumming with adrenaline. Heavily, Emory sat up, trying to pull her thoughts together. For now, the room was empty, her captors gone. Now. This is your chance to escape. The thought clambered through her wildly, and she acted. Standing from the bed, Emory stumbled, her legs weak, her clothes dirtied. Breathing heavily, Emory ran to the door, pushing the handle down as it opened. Containing her surprise, she slipped into the hallway. What kind of criminals would keep their prisoner in an unlocked room? Walking fast, Emory pushed the thought down, keeping her head down as she tried to locate how to get out of this place. The hallway was quiet, and Emory didn’t pass anyone else. It had to be late into the night, and she sent up a thank you to whoever was granting her such luck. Trying not to run, she turned left, passing more shut unmarked doors, but slowly, the hallway slanted up. Heart pounding, her palms slicked with sweat as she tried to stick to the shadows, walking faster now. Ahead of her, doors loomed, and panic bloomed in her chest. Running now, Emory tried to hold back the tears burning in her eyes. She reached the massive doors, pulling them open, and the night air slammed into her. Gasping, she sprinted, rushing out into the rolling field. The air was brisk, a sweet aroma hanging on the wind, the crescent moon tucked in the midnight blue clouds. Ahead, a massive forest loomed, and she frantically looked for any sign of modern civilization where she could find help. There was nothing. A stitch laced through her side, and her converses lost footing. Emory slammed into the damp earth. Rocks sliced through her palms as she tried to break her fall, blood welling in the cuts. Tears slid down her cheeks as she got up, whispering, “Keep moving. C’mon.” Looking back, she expected to see the place she had been taken to, but dread pooled in her stomach as all she saw was open field—no sign of any building whatsoever. “What the hell?” Emory whispered, fear making her thought process choppy. Sprinting again, she pushed toward the woods.”

Now Available!

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About the Author

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Mallory McCartney currently lives in Sarnia, Ontario with her husband and their three dachshunds Link, Lola and Leonard. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found day dreaming about fantasy worlds and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

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Giveaway: For your chance to win a print copy of Heir of Lies, click the link below!

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Next week, you’ll get a sneek peek at Queen to Ashes, the exciting next installment in the series!

Book Blitz Organized By:

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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

I know it’s not February anymore but it still is a leap year so here is the Leap Year Book Tag! Check out the video below:

Book Review: The Book of Songs

Our digital bookshelf is getting a lot smaller as we read all these books on our ebook TBR. Chris has sent in another review for a book called The Book of Songs by Louice Svedin.

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Synopsis: Anne has led a privileged life: she is a weaver, a magic user, in a world ruled by the extraordinary. Yet one day it all changes. She is deemed too powerful by the aristocracy and is sent to a monastery for life. To avoid this fate she embarks on a journey, driven by a prophecy she doesn’t want to fulfill. But will she have any choice in the end?

Anne is also a thoroughly unlikable character with the temperament, emotional maturity and intelligence of an impulsive spoiled 13-year old. Maybe by book’s end she matures, but once I hit the 50% mark in the book I’d had enough.

This book has numerous problems. It reads like it was written by a 14-year old. It still has elements of the way a child tells a tale. This happened. Then this. Then that went away. Then this happened. Then something magic. And a big bird appeared. It’s like reading a description of a child’s dream. Events sometimes don’t make sense, they jump around.

Some of the issues are due to translating from Swedish to English. Characters groan in agony, except they’re not in any pain. Another one fainted with a disdained groan, but it was exhaustion, or possibly disappointment, not disdain. Other characters leer, but context indicates they’re not leering. “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means” (easy cultural reference).

Then there were the adverbs. A short cut to spotting adverbs is that many end in “-ly”. We have “He sighed dramatically”, “smiled sardonically”, “hissed condescendingly”, “said tiredly”, “said annoyedly”. Adverbs were legion enough to drown a herd of pigs (difficult cultural reference). Stephen King, in his excellent readable book On Writing, says this about adverbs in dialogue:

“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs,… they’re like dandelions. If you have one in your lawn, it looks pretty and unique. If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day… fifty the day after that… and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is totally, completely, and profligately covered with dandelions. By then you see them for the weeds they really are, but by then it’s — GASP!! — too late.” ….

Attribution verbs are also many: “Anne scoffed in annoyance”, “growled in frustration”, “growled in anger”, “groaned in agony”. King covers that too.

Some writers try to evade the no-adverb rule by shooting the attribution verb full of steroids. The result is familiar to any reader of pulp fiction or paperback originals:”

 “Put the gun down, Utterson!” Jekyll grated.

“Never stop kissing me!” Shayna gasped.

“You damned tease!” Bill jerked out.

 The best form of dialogue attribution is said, as in he said, she said, Bill said, Monica said.

Not that King always took his own advice, but before you break the rules you first have to know them.

However, the story itself fails in any language. There doesn’t seem to be any consistent rules for how the magic works. If moving the plot forward requires magic then there’s magic. If it requires no magic then there’s no magic, even though there’s no reason why magic couldn’t be used. Deus ex Machina.

Too many events are unbelievable even in a world where magic exists. Anne escapes by impulsively (ach, an adverb!) stepping out of a flying airplane, telepathically contacts a giant bird (she’s not telepathic, but the bird is—not that we even know about the bird yet) for a rescue. It catches her on its back before she hits the ground. There was no reason for the bird to be anywhere near the airplane much less keep up with it. The most probable outcome of Anne’s impulsive act is her eyes widen greatly as she growls in frustration just before she makes a new hole in the forest floor.

Why not call for the bird telepathically while still inside the plane; if it’s close (highly unlikely) let it get into position, and then Anne could step out. That way the poor bird doesn’t need to catch Anne at the last second of a 9.81 m/s2 free-fall (that’s 32 feet/s2 in antediluvian units) where Anne’s kinetic energy transforms them both into a jellied mess and an even bigger hole in the forest floor.

It seems each new page brings a myriad of questions and story problems. In the first page Anne disarms three weavers who attacked her (no explanation as to why or even how they attacked) by slowly taking out her flute and capturing them in a spell. They helpfully stand in place and let her.

Yet later in the book she tries to quickly grab her flute during a battle, but it is knocked out of her hands and she is captured.

Why didn’t the weavers tackle her while she slowly drew her flute? They had fired something at her back (magic, rock, big stick, gun?), but managed to miss while being just a few paces away. Did they just have one shot? Anne even slowly turned around to face them. Lots of time to tackle her while her back is turned—there’s three of them. Still lots of time to tackle her as she slowly pulls out her flute.

Or, soon as they missed their dangerous target then run for cover before she slowly turned around and before she slowly drew her flute.

Which raises another question regarding Anne—if someone fired something at your back and missed wouldn’t you spin fast to ensure they weren’t taking a better aimed shot, or doing a group tackle, or preparing to brain you with a big stick?

And what are weavers anyway? In the confrontation Anne threatens to remove their claws, but later they seem to look like humans or are they are humans, but also look the same as Anne who is, as we learn, is also a weaver or a songweaver or a human or all of the previous? And the whole school is a school for weavers so was it her own classmates trying to attack her? It’s as if the author had different ideas what weavers were, but instead of choosing one idea she incorporated them all into the story regardless of internal consistency.

And being a songweaver is something Anne wants to keep secret, but she weaves and uses flute magic quite openly, hence it is not a Sherlockian leap to deduct she’s a songweaver. Hardly a secret then.

I admire people who can sit down and write a book so I admire Louice for writing her book.

But please—and this is for all would-be authors—run your first draft by some friends or people whose opinion you trust. If they say “It has issues” (that’s polite talk for “It sucks”) then DO. NOT. PUBLISH. YOUR. BOOK! You do NOT want your name associated with a poorly written and poorly planned book that turns readers—and publishers—off anything you later write. Your next books could be good, but no-one will be willing to read them because your first book had multiple “issues”.

Book Rating: 1/5

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

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


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!

IMG_0595

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

Ever heard of Book Snobbery? Well, I did the Book Snob Book Tag and answered some questions regarding the topic. Check out the video below:

Book Review: Graceling

I know the whole world is going a little nuts right now because of the COVID-19 virus and I think since everyone is being quarantined that it is the perfect time to do a buddy read! I do them with my friend Amanda every month and they are so much fun. Last month we read Graceling by Kristen Cashore.

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Synopsis: Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

I was really looking forward to a fantasy book and this one was what I was expecting, a long drawn out fantasy. I enjoyed the character development immensely because they were built upon so well that you truly felt like you had a good understanding of them.

That being said, I believe the book may have delved too much into its characters and left the plot a little lacking. I am a very plot-driven person so I was hoping for a little bit more action. There are definitely some cool scenes that I did enjoy but for a lot of the book, I just felt like I was waiting for something to happen and it never really did. When things did happen, they happened too quick and then it was back to the build-up for events to transpire that you would expect to have more of an impact.

I still enjoyed reading this book and having discussions with my friend as we went along. I am considering continuing the series so I wasn’t turned off too badly by it. The concept of having graces is really cool and I hope they continue to go into depth about that moving forward in the series.

Book Rating: 3.5/5

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

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



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 are interested, I had the opportunity to make an unboxing video for Bookishly which is a UK based book subscription box service. Check out all the cool stuff in this Wizard of Oz themed box!

Book Spotlight: Hidden Magic

Welcome to the blog tour for Fantasy anthology, Hidden Magic. We’re celebrating its release with two fantastic giveaways and an exclusive excerpt to read!

Hidden Magic

Hidden Magic

Expected Publication Date: March 10th, 2020

Genre: Anthology/ Fantasy

Publisher: Magical Mayhem Press

Synopsis:

No matter the world, life can be dangerous. Be they wizards and shamans, assassins, or everyday people, Hidden Magic tells their stories about escape, consequences, and most of all, magic.

From Earth cities and fantastical new worlds comes twenty-three stories where heroes grapple with the seen and unseen in order to save themselves, their families, and often the world. This collection features:

  • Elderly antiques experts interacting with souls
  • Shamans growing outlawed magic
  • Baby chimeras battling for their lives
  • Children sprouting fluffy tails
  • A king’s boat thrown off-course
  • A perfect life coming at a not-so-perfect cost
  • Vikings defending a village against the unseen
  • A lone shifter atoning for his past mistakes
  • Trolls and pixies tumbling through the doorway to another world
  • And more!

Fans of Patricia Briggs and Tamsyn Muir will love Hidden Magic, first of the Magic Underground trilogy of anthologies… Get it today!

Authors in this anthology include: USA Today Bestseller Joynell Schultz, L.C. Ireland, USA Today Bestseller Melinda Kucsera, Seattle Times regional bestseller & multi-international award winner Raven Oak, Tiffany Shand, Alesha Escobar, USA Today Bestseller Lee French & Erik Kort, H.B. Lyne, Anela Deen, Majanka Verstraete, Krista Ames, C.K. Rieke, Devorah Fox, Leah W. Van Dinther, C.S. Johnson, Barbara Letson, Toasha Jiordano, Gwendolyn Woodschild, H.M. Jones, Stephen Wallace, AR Johnston, and William C. Cronk.

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“Mail Order Witch”

It didn’t take long for the word of an enchanted item shop to spread throughout Watersedge like a fire in a used bookstore. Gawkers walked slowly by the front window during the month it took me to enchant supplies and set up the shop, staring inside like I was on display at a zoo. What kind of animal did they think I looked like? A flamingo with my long legs and too-short body? A black panther with my dark hair? Or maybe I looked like a pig—I mean I could devour the aforementioned pumpkin pie almost as quickly as my sister.

Or was I just a perfect specimen of a witch, with the natural blue highlights in my hair that I refused to cover like so many witches did?

Available on Amazon

Magical Mayhem Press

Giveaway: For a chance to win a paperback copy of Hidden Magic click the link below!

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For a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card, enter HERE!

Authors

Melinda Kucsera (Author), Joynell Schultz (Author), Lee French (Author), H.B. Lyne (Author), Raven Oak (Author), L.C. Ireland (Author), Alesha Escobar (Author), Tiffany Shand (Author), C.S. Johnson (Author), Anela Deen (Author), Erik Kort (Author), Devorah Fox (Author), Stephen Wallace (Author), Gwendolyn Woodschild (Author), Leah W. Van Dinther (Author), Barbara Letson (Author), C.K. Rieke (Author), William C. Cronk (Author), Majanka Verstraete (Author), Toasha Jiordano (Author), H.M. Jones (Author), Krista Ames (Author), AR Johnston (Author)

HiddenMagic

Blog Tour Schedule

March 9th

The Book Lyst (Review) http://booklyst.home.blog

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

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

March 10th

Turning the Pages (Review) https://turningthepagesonline.wordpress.com

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

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

March 11th

Lunarian Press (Spotlight) https://www.lunarianpress.com/

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

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

March 12th

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

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

Crossroad Reviews (Spotlight) http://www.crossroadreviews.com

The Reading Chemist (Spotlight) https://thereadingchemist.com/

March 13th

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

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

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

Blog Tour Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

If you are interested, I had the opportunity to make an unboxing video for Bookishly which is a UK based book subscription box service. Check out all the cool stuff in this Wizard of Oz themed box!