Book Spotlight: RSVP

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

Ruchpun front NEW (1)RSVP: A Novel

Publication Date: August 2018

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

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

Excerpt

Splash!

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

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

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

Gasp!

**********

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The mirror was rewinding the dream.

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

Woof.

Woof.

That sound made him come out of his reverie.

“Yes… yes… I’m coming.”

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

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

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

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

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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

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

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Mini Tour Schedule

August 10th

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

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

August 11th

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

August 12th

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

August 13th

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

August 14th

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

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Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

Book Spotlight: The Road to Delano

Welcome to the blog tour for historical fiction, The Road to Delano by John DeSimone!

The Road to Delano Cover 2D bThe Road to Delano

Publication Date: March 10, 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Coming of Age

Publisher: Rare Bird Books

Jack Duncan is a high school senior whose dream is to play baseball in college and beyond―as far away from Delano as possible. He longs to escape the political turmoil surrounding the labor struggles of the striking fieldworkers that infests his small ag town. Ever since his father, a grape grower, died under suspicious circumstances ten years earlier, he’s had to be the sole emotional support of his mother, who has kept secrets from him about his father’s involvement in the ongoing labor strife.

With their property on the verge of a tax sale, Jack drives an old combine into town to sell it so he and his mother don’t become homeless. On the road, an old friend of his father’s shows up and hands him the police report indicating Jack’s father was murdered. Jack is compelled to dig deep to discover the entire truth, which throws him into the heart of the corruption endemic in the Central Valley. Everything he has dreamed of is at stake if he can’t control his impulse for revenge.

While Jack’s girlfriend, the intelligent and articulate Ella, warns him not to so anything to jeopardize their plans of moving to L.A., after graduation, Jack turns to his best friend, Adrian, a star player on the team, to help to save his mother’s land. When Jack’s efforts to rescue a stolen piece of farm equipment leaves Adrian―the son of a boycotting fieldworker who works closely with Cesar Chavez―in a catastrophic situation, Jack must bail his friend out of his dilemma before it ruins his future prospects. Jack uses his wits, his acumen at card playing, and his boldness to raise the money to spring his friend, who has been transformed by his jail experience.

The Road to Delano is the path Jack, Ella, and Adrian must take to find their strength, their duty, their destiny.

“This whole story is an absolute triumph!”
Thehauntedfae Book Blog

The Road to Delano is a compelling story that will leave readers thinking about its surprise ending long after the final confrontation comes to a head.”    ―California Bookwatch

“Five Stars. Outstanding writing, fast-paced. A must-read for people who love history AND baseball.” ―ReedsyDiscovery

“I really enjoyed this story. It’s more than a little Steinbeck, in a very good way…”  —Leigh Anne, Book Sirens 

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Ash Wednesday

Monday at lunch, Jack and Ella settled on the grassy school quad. The morning haze, a gray dullness, hung over them. Ella in a long skirt and T-shirt printed with her favorite saying played her guitar. Jack ate slowly, as Ella gently strummed a Joan Baez song.

She let the last chord vibrate in the air. “You look far away today, Jack.”

“Just thinking.”

“Worried about the big game?” She strummed a C chord.

“Not really. I’m ready for those guys.” As crucial as the Arvin game was to his chances for a scholarship, his head spun with Herm, the sheriff, and lost combine. He needed to set all that aside.

But how?

“You’re worried about losing that combine, aren’t you?”

He shrugged and glanced off into the haze. Herm’s beat-up face filled him with too many questions, ones he would rather not ask.

“What do you think happened to it?”

Jack did his best to suppress a frown. He spent the next twenty minutes explaining how Sheriff Grant found Herm Gordon face down in the mud and how their combine had gone missing. Short of stealing someone else’s machine and selling it to pay the taxes, he didn’t have too many ideas about what he could do to save his mom’s place.

“Jack, you have to protest. Write to the newspaper. Make noise until the sheriff finds your combine. Someone knew you needed that money to save your property.”

Ella’s sense of urgency hovered over her, an impending sense of doom that required her to stand up and shout to drive it away. She had been this way since he first met her, always ready to protest. Vietnam had taken up most of her attention. But it was their trip to Berkeley a couple of years ago that had set her on fire, and had almost got Jack arrested in front of Sproul Hall.

Two years ago, their sophomore debate team had joined the junior and senior team on a field trip to UC Berkeley to observe a statewide competition. They left Delano before dawn and talked for the entire four-hour bus ride. That was something he had never done with any girl. They sat across from each other, an aisle between them. Her darting green eyes held his interest. Life shot out of them, beautiful and intelligent in the same instant.

They debated the war in Vietnam, who killed JFK, the likelihood of a gunman on the grassy knoll, the Selma march, the Freedom Riders, Malcolm X, the Black Panthers—she had an opinion on everything. Mostly, she made sense. The girl’s intensity at times unsettled him, but it mostly intrigued him.

During the debate competition in a Berkeley auditorium, shortly after the lunch break, Ella leaned into him in the dark. “Meet me outside on the steps in a few minutes.”

Without waiting for an answer, she rose and disappeared. Jack stewed in his seat, trying to figure out what she was up to. He wouldn’t miss much if he left. Besides, her sense of adventure piqued him. A few minutes later, he found her outside the glass doors on the steps. In the breeze, her brown hair, straight and long, riffled across her mischievous smile.

“There’s an FSM rally on the other side of the campus. Go with me. We’ll be back in plenty of time.” “A what?” he asked.

“You know, the Free Speech Movement. Please, go with me,” she pleaded with her green eyes. “Mario Savio is going to speak.”

From the way she threw out his name, he was someone Jack should know. He had never heard of the Free Speech Movement, or Savio, whoever he was. Jack glanced back to the doors.

“They’ll be in there for hours.” She took his hand. He marveled at her warm grasp. He liked it.

They made their way through a maze of buildings. She must have had this all planned out. She led him directly to a large plaza packed with students milling about. Some sat, most stood talking and smoking, and clouds of strange smelling smoke wafted over the crowd. A line of cops stood on the fringes of the crowd. They fidgeted with their batons.

The two of them were so far back, they could hardly make out what the speaker was saying. Ella pushed her way toward the front, and Jack held on. Had she done this before? She stopped when they were about twenty feet from the speaker, who read a list of students who were being expelled. People were booing.

A new speaker came to the microphone, a tall wiry-haired student in a white shirt and sheepskin-lined jacket. Electricity seemed to shoot right out of his hair. The crowd around Jack murmured, likely wondering what this guy was going to say. Ella squeezed his hand tighter. He didn’t dare let go of her, afraid they’d get separated in the jostling crowd.

The crowd hushed when the man with the electric hair started to speak. He had a machine-gun delivery. His message burst from him with so much energy the entire crowd leaned in for more. His lips moved like waves, every word coated with fire.

I ask you to consider if this university is a firm…we’re the raw materials.

And we don’t mean to be made into any product…to be bought by anyone.

We’re human beings!

The crowd applauded, and Ella loosed her hand to clap and shout.

There’s a time the operation of the machine becomes so odious… you can’t take part.

You’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears…upon the levers… and you’ve got to make it stop.…Unless you’re free, the machine won’t be prevented from working.

The crowd broke into more applause. Kids were yelling their agreement. Jack wasn’t clear what machine the guy was talking about, or what freedom he didn’t have, and what gears needed to be stopped. Then the speaker introduced Joan Baez, and the crowd went crazy with chatter and clapping.

She started singing a Bob Dylan song, and a hush fell over everyone.

How many times can a man turn his head And pretend that he doesn’t see?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind… Ella hopped up and down on the balls of her feet.

Baez started up another song, “We shall overcome…,” and everyone joined in, the crowd swayed with the words. Something great, something powerful was about to break open here. He took Ella’s hand, and she gave him a complicit smile. She held him tight as if she feared she would float away in the euphoria of the moment.

When the song ended, she pulsed forward. Jack dared not let her go as they slipped between applauding students who hovered around the famous singer. Ella ascended right up to the great Joan Baez, her long black hair draped over her shoulders, her guitar slung over her neck.

Ella tried to talk calmly, but she only stammered.

“Did you want an autograph, honey?”

Ella had a confused look as if the question she wanted to ask had slipped away.

“Do you go to school here?”

Ella shook her head. “Delano High School.”

“Look,” Baez pointed over Ella’s shoulder. “You guys got to get out of here. There’s going to be trouble.”

At the far end of the crowd, cops were forcing students to move. Cop cars with lights flashing swarmed into the quad forcing students toward them. Panicked voices, screams, and shouting rose in the quad. Police vans rolled into the quad, lights flashing, the short squawks of their sirens stirred up the crowd.

Available on Amazon

Giveaway: For your chance to win a hardcover edition of The Road to Delano, click the link below!

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About the Author

John DeSimone-Blue Shirt

John DeSimone is a novelist, memoirist, and editor. He’s co-authored bestselling The Broken Circle: A memoir of escaping Afghanistan, and others. He taught writing as an adjunct professor at Biola University and has worked as a freelance editor and writer for nearly twenty years. His current release, a historical novel, The Road to Delano, is a coming of age novel set during the Delano grape strike led by Cesar Chavez. BookSirens said, “It’s more than a little Steinbeck, in a good way….” He lives in Claremont, Ca, and can be found on Goodreads and at  www.johndesimone.com

Blog Tour Schedule

August 3rd

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

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

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

August 4th

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

Bookriot (Spotlight) http://anjedah.wordpress.com

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

August 5th

@a.p.reading (Review) https://www.instagram.com/a.p.reading/

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

Inked & Blonde (Review) https://inkedandblonde.blogspot.com/

August 6th

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

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

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

August 7th

Meli’s Book Reviews (Review) https://melisbokreviews.wordpress.com/

@district.reads (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/district.reads/

Entertainingly Nerdy (Spotlight) https://www.entertaininglynerdy.com

Blog Tour Organized By: 
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Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

Cover Reveal: Awaken the Three

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

Cover Photo for BookSirens

Awaken the Three (Highglade #2)

Expected Publication Date: August 11, 2020

Genre: Fantasy

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

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

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

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

. . . to awaken the three.

Pre-Order Here!

Gift of the Shaper (Highglade #1)

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

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

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

 Goodreads

About the Author

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

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

D.L. Jennings

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Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

Book Review: Billionaire Boss, Undercover Affair

Sooooo I read a romance book….and I liked it! I had no idea what I was getting into going into this but ended up enjoying the experience. This one was called Billionaire Boss, Undercover Affair by Kyra Radcliff.

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Synopsis: Susan Johansen is efficient, ambitious and cool-headed in a crisis, which is exactly why her boss, Charles Dunlap, needs her. As the successful owner of one of the richest old money industrialist conglomerates in the world, he is under pressure of a different kind when his daughter Alicia becomes involved with internet entrepreneur Miles Middleton.

With an ego as big as his bank balance, Miles has a reputation for a string of affairs and Charles doesn’t want his daughter anywhere near him. And so he enlists Susan, as a Trojan Horse, burying her deep within Miles’ business interests in the hope that she can sabotage his relationship with Alicia.

It isn’t long before the plan seems to be working and Miles is missing lunches, dinners and other dates with Alicia in favour of making money and sealing deals. But it’s when he takes Susan away on a business trip and tries to seduce her that she sees him for what he really is. But now that she is close to her goal, Susan suddenly has a crisis of confidence? Is she really still working for Charles or is she now pursuing her own agenda with Miles?

As he continues to get under her skin with his continuous attempts at seduction, Susan finds that she is more conflicted than ever. And the closer she gets to completing the assignment, the greater the chances are that Miles will discover her secret.

I have read maybe one other romance book before and remember not liking it because of some of the odd content that it involved but this time around, I actually had a pretty good time with it! The book was well crafted with a story that gets right into it.

It is a very quick read and I will admit, at times, I was getting a little turned on reading this book. I can see why people like this genre. Some of the descriptions in the sexual scenes made me laugh because of how ridiculous it was but that just amplified my enjoyment of the book.

The narrative was a little bit predictable in my opinion but I was invested none the less and flew through this book. The jealousy I was feeling was real since the characters in this book got to travel all over the world. That is the dream.

I would definitely read more books by Kyra and be interested in reading more romance in general after experiencing this one.

Book Rating: 3.5/5

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

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me in ebook format by Dawn Hill Publications in exchange for an honest review.



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

Book Review: The Day The Sun Changed Colours

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

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Yes, this is really the book cover.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Rating: 2/5

You can find this book on Goodreads.

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



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

Book Spotlight: Knightmare Arcanist

I joined up on another giant blog tour by The Write Reads! This book sounds really good and has a stunning cover! Check it out.

KNIGHTMARE ARCANIST -3D COVER - FINAL

Genre: YA Fantasy

Magic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.

Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma.

So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more.

In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma.

A fast-paced fantasy with magical creatures for those who enjoy the Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera series) by Jim Butcher, Unsouled (Cradle Series) by Will Wight, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.

About the Author

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Shami Stovall is a multi-award-winning author of fantasy and science fiction, with several best-selling novels under her belt. Before that, she taught history and criminal law at the college level, and loved every second. When she’s not reading fascinating articles and books about ancient China or the Byzantine Empire, Stovall can be found playing way too many video games, especially RPGs and tactics simulators.

If you want to contact her, you can do so at the following locations:

Website: https://sastovallauthor.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GameOverStation/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SAStovall/

Email: s.adelle.s@gmail.com


Praise for the book

WINNER of the B.R.A.G. Medallion for Fantasy

WINNER of the New Apple Literary Award for Fantasy

Coffee Pot Book Club’s Pick for 2020 Reading

Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall was rollicking good fun! Perfect for those who enjoy the Codex Alera series, the Homas Wildus series and the Harry Potter series. Stovall is quickly becoming a name I look for.” – Seattle Book Review

“Volke carries readers into a darkly engrossing world with a passion that makes Knightmare Arcanist satisfyingly unique and hard to put down. Readers looking for a magic-based quest fantasy will find this story compelling and nicely written, with strong characters propelling action which is often unexpected and revealing.” – Midwest Book Review


“A spellbinding first installment of what promises to be an addictive series, Shami Stovall has produced a mesmerizing story of magic, intrigue, and true adventure.” ManyBooks

“Richly crafted and laced with wry humor and intriguing magic, Knightmare Arcanist is a page-turner.” – The Prairies Book Review



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

Book Review: Steel Crow Saga

I read a book called the Last Call At The Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger a while back and really liked it! It was the first book that I can say I picked up because someone spoke so highly of it on booktube. This time, I read the new book Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger and it just didn’t hit as hard.

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Synopsis: Four destinies collide in a unique fantasy world of war and wonders, where empire is won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle.

A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic… and her own flesh and blood.

A prince with a debt
Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption—or his downfall.

A detective with a grudge
Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery—but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She’s a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world’s most wanted prince.

A thief with a broken heart
Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime—and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward—she can’t say no, and soon finds she doesn’t want to leave the princess behind.

This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives—and begin to change the world.

I thought I was going to really like this book and was really looking forward to it since it was being coined as “Pokemon mixed with Avatar”. I do understand where the pokemon and Avatar aspects come into the book and agree that they were pretty cool but I just had a hard time engaging with this one.

It may be due to the vast amount of knowledge you are learning at the beginning (the world building) that made me feel this way because I was having a hard time keeping up with all the information being thrown at me. There were a bunch of different nations and some had alliances while some were mortal enemies but I kept losing track of which was which. This could have 100% been a me problem and I think that a lot of others would really enjoy the book.

I did really like some of the characters. They all had their own temperments to them and were quirky and relatable.  I think that the relationships formed were well done and absolutely loved the LGBTQ+ rep in this book.

The book was very heavy on the descriptions and dialogue but it brought it all together for an interesting read and I would definitely read more by this author. I still like the Last Call at the Nightshade Louge more but that is probably because that concept was just really cool to me (get superpowers by ingesting alcohol) and I liked how the book had drink recipes as you went along.

I would suggest picking this book up if you like fantasy books with lots of development on the world and the characters.

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. I was in no way compensated for my honest review.



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

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I finally traveled home to visit my family after being away for 6 months. Then I thought to make a video where I had them (and some friends) recommend their favorite books! Check out the video below:

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?

Add to Goodreads

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.”

Now Available on Amazon!

Giveaway: For a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card, click the link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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



Blog Tour Schedule

June 15th

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

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

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

Read, Rant, Rock and Roll (Review) https://readrantrockandroll.com/

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

June 16th

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

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

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

June 17th

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

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

Books, Teacup n’ Review (Spotlight) https://booksteacupnreviews.wordpress.com/

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

Stine Writing (Review) https://christinebialczak.com/

June 18th

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

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

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

June 19th

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

Entertainingly Nerdy (Review) https://www.entertaininglynerdy.com

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

Inked and Blonde (Review) https://inkedandblonde.blogspot.com/

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

I did the Breakfast Booktag! Listen to me talk about breakfast foods and pair books with them. Check out the video below:

Book Review: Red Hood

Can I get a woof woof? Can I get a woof woof? Oh, dog jokes lol. Anyways, this next book I read was called Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold.

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Synopsis: Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself. She’s been good. But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her. A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions. About the blood in Bisou’s past and on her hands as she stumbles home. About broken boys and vicious wolves. About girls lost in the woods—frightened, but not alone.

So first off, this book was unique to me because it was the first book that I have read where it is told in 2nd person perspective. Which I now realize is a perspective that drives me nuts. I can honestly say that I am not a fan of this perspective in a book because I find that the word “you” is used way too much and it just bothered me.

That being said, the book and its plot overall was pretty decent. It was kind of a more modern retelling of litte red riding hood except in this one, you get badass female characters who are strong and independent. I am always down for a retelling so I did rather enjoy the book (if only the perspective it was told in didn’t keep throwing me off).

It dealt with family struggles and some physical abuse as well as rape. These could be triggering to some but I felt it was a good plot device for this book and added more to it because it showed how far someone can come after dealing with these types of things. It also showed women coming together to fight back against wrongful behaviour and serving some sweet justice.

I will say that it is rated YA and I do believe that some parts of this were not necessarily YA in my opinion but that is just a minor issue. Also, the main character’s name was Bisou and I found this to be a very pretty name.

If you want a book that can take pure Little Red Riding Hood and make her into her own powerful protector, then check this one out!

Book Rating: 3.5/5

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

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



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

I caved and bought more books because its a quarantine and I need more OK! My trigger finger got a little excited on the checkout cart button alright. If you are interested in seeing what I bought, check out the video below:

Book Review: The Young Elites

This was my first introduction to Marie Lu and I can say that it was bloody fantastic! I read The Young Elites by Marie Lu and am now excited to read more books by her.

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Synopsis: Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

I have experienced some morally gray characters here and there in books but Adelina was by far the most morally gray character I have encountered….and I loved it. She was a character that did all the bad stuff you wanted her to do. For example, a bad guy hurts someone close to her or taunts her in any way, instead of being moral and doing the right thing, she just kills the guy (this is an example, not a spoiler or anything). She has a lot of internal struggles and the book goes on and a lot of the time, I found myself agreeing with her (does that make me a dark person? :P).

The setting was also gorgeous (at least how I pictured it in my mind). If you have ever played the Assassin’s Creed series, this is how I envisioned the atmosphere of this book. Renaissance style with beautiful architecture set in european style villas and cities.

The powers aspect of the book was really cool and I enjoyed finding out about the different abilities each of the misfits had. It reminded me of a Robin Hood style book with a band that worked together to bring down the rich.

I would recommend trying this book out if you want a quick read (I finished it in a weekend) with great characters and a well thought out plot.

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 and reviewed it honestly. I 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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

I caved and bought more books because its a quarantine and I need more OK! My trigger finger got a little excited on the checkout cart button alright. If you are interested in seeing what I bought, check out the video below: