Book Review: Encounter at Cloud Ranch

Our external reviewer has launched his own website!! You can find him over at This & That Books but luckily he is still doing some reviews for us on the side. This one was called The Legend of the Clouds: Encounter at Cloud Ranch by Robert James Connors.

clouds cover

Synopsis: When Jason Cloud finds a bizarrely-fanged skull and butchered cattle on his father’s Arizona ranch, it leads him into an encounter with a dangerous alien species. Spread at the foot of the spectacular cliffs of northern Arizona, the C9 Ranch is home to Jason, his widower father Tom, and two trusted hands, but Jason turns first to his university professor for help.

An enjoyable book for a couple of reasons. First, within a page or two there’s a mystery that needs unraveling. It draws you in. If you have not read the book preview then you won’t be sure where the story is leading, which is part of the appeal.

Secondly, the book takes place in northern Arizona (I had pegged it as south-west Utah based on the rock and plant descriptions so I was close). If you’ve ever been to those areas or watched westerns, you’ll find the scenic descriptions familiar. Connors’ descriptions make the place come to life. I had one of those slight shock moments when I looked up from the book and saw northern trees devoid of leaves instead of slick rock vistas that were in the book. It’s nice when a book is written well enough to pull you into its world so that you experience a slight dislocation when you look around. Incidentally, there’s a horse named Curly—which made me think of Curly from City Slickers (Billy Crystal, Jack Palance). The scenery descriptions in the book match the scenery of that movie.

The book is plot-driven rather than character driven. In that way it’s a bit like the short Louis L’Amour books where the lack of character development is compensated for by the plot, the characters as they are, and the dialogue. Connors does a good job of driving the plot and making likable characters, even the side characters.

There are a couple of love story interests that are predictable and seem a bit forced. For example, a healthy 30-something year old was found dead near his barn. It was never clear what killed him, they didn’t even know why he died (they’re not saying it was aliens, but … ). His death, though, did then allow his widow to become a love interest for another character. After the funeral, no-one ever wondered how he died even though near the end of the book answers might have been available.

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The second love interest had a forced quality to it as well. A professor had been to the ranch to investigate the bizarre cattle killings, and while on-site with her student their truck was sliced by something that could cut metal easily. Whatever it was had tracked them, showed it was intelligent and had essentially left a “go away” message. But the following winter she returned to the ranch with her kids because the creature hadn’t made itself known all summer. The strange intelligent beast could cut a cow clean in half and walk off with the meat; it could carve metal like it was toffee; it was smart and hostile. You would not be bringing your kids to a place where something so unnatural was living even if it hadn’t been seen for five years. However, both the love plot and the main plot required she and her kids be there.

Then there was an event that really has nothing to do with the plot even though there was an “I’ll be back to deal with you” type situation. That never happened, and the event was never mentioned again. Cut that section out of the book and it wouldn’t make the slightest difference to the story.

Those are more nit-picking things though. The book was a good read. It seems Connors was inspired by some of the petroglyph rock art that show tall alien-like creatures, such as petroglyphs found in Sego Canyon. I wish he’d developed that aspect of the story a bit further as the petroglyphs and rock art are rich in history and culture.

Overall, another good read that you can easily finish in an 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.



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

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

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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



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’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: Double Barrel Horror

Welcome to the blog tour for Double Barrel Horror Volume #3, a collection of thrills and chills by six amazing authors! Hold onto your pants folks!

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Double Barrel (Volume 3)

Publication Date: March 22nd, 2020

Genre: Anthology/ Horror/ Suspense

Brace yourself for another two-barrel blast of unrelenting horror and suspense. Volume 3 of the ‘Double Barrel Horror’ anthology series delivers two chilling tales from each of six talented authors for a 12-story onslaught that will blow you out of your sneakers. This time around, your fate lies in the hands of Christine Morgan, Mark Matthews, Theresa Braun, Calvin Demmer, Glenn Rolfe, and Robert Essig.

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Excerpt

Highway Hunger by Calvin Demmer

It couldn’t be alive?

It was.

Dudley Ellington couldn’t see the animal’s face, but based on the tufts of bloody fur, he thought it might be a rat or a squirrel. He stepped closer, and the creature’s legs shook as if it were attempting to kick-start its body back to life.

Its movements ceased.

Dudley looked around, and all he saw was the long, empty stretch of highway. Why was there never a good stick lying around when you needed one? He tapped his boot on the animal, hoping for a response. He got nothing. Were his eyes playing tricks? He thought its legs moved a moment ago.

He tapped the animal again.

This time, one of its arms stretched out and then down, as if it were trying to push the button to answer a question on a game show. Dudley stepped back—not out of fear, as he assured himself, but to get a better view.

The paw jiggled.

“Yo, Felipe. Come check this out.” Dudley ran his hand over his slicked-back hair. He looked to the white pickup when he got no reply from his coworker.

Felipe sat in the front seat with his orange helmet covering his eyes.

“Felipe, wake up.”

Felipe groaned, slowly pushing open the driver-side door. “What’s it now, Dud? I told you we can always take an extra thirty minutes for lunch. I was just about to get some rest. No one will give a shit.”

“There’s something on the road. I was gonna scoop it up, but it must be alive.”

Felipe’s eyes widened. He climbed out of the vehicle and marched to Dudley.

“Get back,” he said as he passed Dudley.

Dudley did as instructed, oddly reassured by the sudden authority in his coworker’s voice. Felipe would surely help the critter, maybe take it somewhere for injured animals. He was still new to the job and wasn’t sure of the correct protocol.

Felipe hovered over the creature. “It’s a squirrel. At least, it was. Half its body has been smashed.”

“Damn.”

“Yeah, it’s a bummer for sure. But there’s nothing we can do. Best leave it be and let it die in peace.”

“Leave it be? It’s in pain.”

“That’s right. We leave it. It’s not dead, and we only collect the dead.”

Dudley stepped forward. “What about the injured animals? Where do you take them?”

“Injured animals.” Felipe scoffed, staring at the road. “Dud. Now isn’t the time for this. Let it go.”

The squirrel twitched, and Dudley imagined it hearing them talk about how they would simply desert it. That was nonsense, of course, as squirrels couldn’t understand humans, but still, he couldn’t allow it to suffer. He would have to put it out of its misery.

Dudley raised his boot, telling himself this was the most merciful thing he could do.

“No!” Felipe shouted, tackling him to the ground.

“What the fuck, man?” Dudley pushed Felipe off before getting to his feet and dusting his pants, not sure how much good it would do as they already had a stain or two from the takeaway burger he’d devoured for lunch. “Why would—”

“Dud. You need to listen to me.” Felipe glanced around. “We need to get going. I can explain everything once we’re on the move.”

Amazon

DoubleBarrel

Blog Tour Schedule

May 11th

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

Kim Knight (Spotlight) http://kimknightauthor.wordpress.com

Literary Dust (Review) https://literarydust.wordpress.com/

May 12th

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

The Scary Reviews (Review) https://thescaryreviews.com

Cats Luv Coffee (Spotlight) https://catsluvcoffeez.blogspot.com

May 13th

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

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

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

May 14th

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

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

Books Teacup & Reviews (Spotlight) https://booksteacupnreviews.wordpress.com/

May 15th

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

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

Banshee Irish Horror Blog (Review) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com

Tranquil Dreams (Review) https://klling.wordpress.com/

Authors:

Matthew Weber 

Christine Morgan

Mark Matthews 

Theresa Braun 

Calvin Demmer

Glenn Rolfe

Robert Essig 

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours


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

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 Review: When Life is Full of It

I may have been moving to a new house but our guy Chris has been keeping the reviews coming while I am away from the office. This time, he reviewed When Life Is Full Of It: Antidote for your Mind by Stan Belyshev.

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Warning, this book is not intended to tickle your selfish ego with more motivational encouragements, give you an essential oil massage or to give you simple principles on changing your attitude so you can claim your participation trophy at the end. Heck no! My goal is to slap you with a reality check of common sense by throwing you into the boot camp called LIFE! And with that said, life can be defined in a short sentence: It’s not what happens; it’s what you do with it.”

This is a motivational book that uses aphorisms along with inspirational profiles from people who changed the world. For me, the biggest inspiration is that Stan Belyshev, tired of his life’s direction, sat in a hotel room to write this book. As far as I can tell he had no background in any motivational-related studies when he started writing. He’s gone on to be an entrepreneur and motivational speaker.

In the book, there are biographies of people who changed the world, or who demonstrated the power of courage and forgiveness. Among them are the financially successful. Biographies of those people aren’t really inspirational. Many of them amassed their wealth by exploiting workers, and the ones left alive continue to fight against giving workers a living wage or benefits.

Another reason why biographies, in general, aren’t always inspirational is because motivational biographies rely on a cognitive bias called survivorship bias. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias

E.g., During WWII planes were returning from missions with bullet holes in the wings, tail, and belly. The air force decided to armour those parts. A mathematician stopped them. He said the planes survived despite bullet holes so those parts of the plane weren’t as crucial. He said they needed to discover what happened to the planes that didn’t return. Those planes had holes in the cockpit and engine areas. These areas were more crucial to survival so those areas needed reinforcement. This saved lives and more planes returned. If they had just relied on the information from the survivors all their reinforcements on the belly and tail wouldn’t reduce causalities.

Motivational books that derive advice from the successes are putting “armour on belly and tail”. Successful people say they are successful because of their habits, attitudes, and strategies. However, for every successful or inspirational person who did these things, there are another 1000 people who did exactly the same things yet failed.

We’d learn more about success by examining why people failed despite doing everything the successful did. Incidentally, the biggest predictor of financial success is being born into a rich family with highly placed connections. You can ignore all the inspirational strategies and still be financially successful.

Mixed in with biographies are aphorisms in bullet form, most of which will be familiar. Aphorisms without context, though, are as enlightening as a fortune cookie.

An improvement would be to have chapters devoted to one aphorism, and then demonstrate how to evaluate it for practicality in your circumstances. For example, “Never give up no matter how many times you are rejected”. Detail the types of rejection (you, your work, your ideas, your strategies). Add information from counselling and psychology that review the nuances of not giving up vs altering strategies vs yes, you really need to give up. Look into how cognitive biases and logical fallacies keep us “putting good money after bad” (to use an aphorism). Explain when to persist, when to stop, when to move diagonal, when to jag. (Cop Land: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nifWUdAZRcY)

For example, I didn’t achieve my dream of being a marine biologist. So, I “gave up” and became a terrestrial biologist. That led me to teach invertebrate zoology, which includes a great deal of marine biology. It led to work in the Arctic, in the mountains, on the tundra, in deserts, AND in marine environments. I obtained a broader range of experiences and still ended up doing marine work as a terrestrial biologist. I gave up (or “went diagonal”), but found more than expected on the new path. In the words of cowboy philosopher Kenny Rogers, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em; know when to fold ‘em…”

Cognitive psychology and counselling fields explore the ways we make bad decisions; they suggest strategies to minimize errors in our thinking, and how to avoid cognitive pitfalls. Experts like Richard Wiseman and his Quirkology bring this information to the viewers in entertaining ways. Cognitive psychologists like Stephen Lewandowsky work with scientists to aid them in communicating their findings with the general public so there’s less misunderstanding on important science issues. Incorporate the work of these and many other experts.

In a small sideline, Belyshev falls into the confirmation bias trap. Confirmation bias occurs when you notice things that support what you already believe, and disregard the things that contradict what you already believe.

He writes he’s worried for the future, Because we are witnessing a fragile generation which cannot handle a little heat, called reality. That’s why so many people call them “snowflakes.”

So “many” (citation needed) people call them snowflakes because that’s a lazy stereotype that relies on confirmation bias. You can point to every single generation in existence and find some examples who are “snowflakes”. Anti-war protestors in the 60s and 70s had their hardiness questioned too.

The two generations born since the 1980s (Millennials and Generation Z) are fighting to fix a broken political system and an ailing earth that they’ve inherited. They are driven to change things for themselves and their children.

I’m not from those generations. However, I know how resilient, informed, and hard-working they are because they’ve been my classmates when I’ve returned to school. They’ve been my students when I was a professor (five different universities and colleges). They’ve been my coworkers at consulting firms. They understand issues on both global and local scales; they coordinate with people in countries around the world to enact change. They’re more politically involved than any other generation including the 70s generation, and many countries have elected their “youngest ever” politicians. Look at the social change they’re forcing with Climate Marches, Equality Marches, Black Lives Matter, and Me Too protests. Now that’s inspirational.

A 52-year old Navy Seal who went to Yale thinking his classmates would be sheltered snowflakes came to respect them as well. https://gen.medium.com/my-semester-with-the-snowflakes-888285f0e662

He’s also optimistic about the younger generation.

Let me assure you, I have not met one kid who fits that description [snowflake]. None of the kids I’ve met seems to think that they are “special” any more than any other 18–22-year-old. …

If this place is peopled by “snowflakes” I’m proudly one of them. I’m a snowflake with a purple heart.

While Belyshev’s motivation to write his book is inspirational, the book itself lacks the depth, research, and context that would make it a thought-provoking read. Perhaps a younger reader may see it differently.

Book Rating: 2/5

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

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format by the author to read and give our 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!

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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

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 Review: The White

Our external reviewer Chris is back with a review for us. He has been a little MIA traveling the world but alas we are all stuck at home now so he had some time to do some reading. This one was called The White: The Tensurrealist Play by Lepota L. Cosmo.

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A short summary of The White:

‘Twas brillig, and the worpy twerbs did grye and gimble on the lage.

A longer summary:

In 1996, physics professor Alan Sokal submitted a paper to the academic journal Social Text, which published papers in postmodern cultural studies. Sokal’s paper, titled “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity”, proposed that quantum gravity is a social and linguistic construct. His paper was accepted and published.

Three weeks later Sokal revealed that the article was a hoax. He had made a “word salad” by taking the most often used words in post-modernist writings and stringing them together to make full sentences. Everything he wrote was nonsense yet it had been published in a post-modernist journal because it sounded good to the editors, and flattered their ideological preconceptions. There is now a Sokal Hoax Generator that generates nonsense that sounds like it might mean something. See http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/.

A real poor version of the Sokal generator is the “Word Salad Generator”, which takes the poem lines “There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold” and turns them into “WERE YALE ARRANGE WRINGS ANNE AH APE MIDNIGHT BUG BUG WE BED ZOO BAIL WORD BOND”. http://cadrpear.tx0.org/wordsalad/salad.html

The White reads like it was produced by the word salad generator that has English as a second language. Lest you think I exaggerate see the screen captures.

Some of the words aren’t recognizable as words although admittedly they’d make perfectly cromulent words that would embiggen your vocabulary at the next cocktail party as you casually say, “Please pass me some of the frapant fruit”. And there are some phrases that would make for some good band, blog, or book names: flowers of abomination, ornamental collectivism, blood of conteiner [sic], and dogs smashed mirrors.

Capitalization and punctuation are used or not used rather randomly. At times, parts almost seem to make sense (spelling errors in the original):

(Speakers emphise the words. Every word is energy,

gesture, phenomenon. extension of sense imposed by

previous speaker. Talk between words,

not between statements, the dialogue of notions. One word. One man. One concept. Which fits, in sense of others. There is cohesion, coherence of words. Words in divergent communion. Divergence.)

before lapsing into a column of seemingly unassociated words and phrases.

Other parts have a common theme although they still don’t make sense, and have strange spelling errors that may be intentional or accidental: “Theatre of inarticulated signs. Theatre of articlulation” (bold added). That last word could be a clever combination of “articulation” and “ululation” similarly to the words Lewis Carroll uses in his nonsense poem Jabberwocky that still convey meaning despite being made up. , “’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves, Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;”

However, it is unclear whether bits of brilliance like this are intentional or were random accidents similar to the analogy of a room of monkeys banging on keyboards might accidentally produce a line of Shakespeare.

It could be that this work is far beyond what my brain can grasp without an altered consciousness experience. Maybe someone else would read it and find illumination, discover understanding, and go beyond the boundaries of their mind. Maybe if read in a beat poem rhythm listeners would gain enlightenment.

But, for most of us we wouldn’t find any value in reading it.

Book Rating: 1/5 stars.

You can find this book on Goodreads.

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


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

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

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Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

What did you read in March? Here are all the books I read and what I thought about them!

Book Spotlight: Tomorrow and Yesterday

Welcome to the blog tour for Tomorrow and Yesterday, by Kris Francoeur! Read on for a sneak peek from the book and a chance to win a signed copy, plus a $20 Amazon gift card!

Tomorrow and Yesterday

Publication Date: January 28th, 2020

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Willow River Press

The air was so cold, it was hard for her to breathe. Who was she kidding? It could have been a balmy, sunny day, and she still would have felt the clogging tightness of her throat, air barely able to get through to her lungs…

Delaney Adams isn’t hiding from her past. She doesn’t have a past, at least as far as anyone currently in her life knows. She has a great job, a small but supportive group of friends, and absolutely no romantic life at all. Her life is just the way she wants it. When she meets artist James McDaniels, she is caught between her attraction to him, her distrust of men, and the fear that he will reject her if he ever learns who she really is. But her past secretly stalks Delaney, and eventually it catches up to her. When it all explodes into her current life, will she have the strength to fight for what she has.

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Excerpt

Later, Delaney awoke covered in cold sweat, her heart pounding. Would the nightmares never stop? Lately, they had been less frequent but still happened fairly often. How long would she have to relive that night? Were dreams of that hell the only way she could see Jake and her mother in her mind? In the light of day, she could barely remember what they looked like, but at night, the images were so vivid…

Available on Amazon!

For your chance to win a signed copy of Tomorrow and Yesterday PLUS a $20 Amazon Gift Card, click the link below!

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About the Author

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My name is Kris Francoeur, and I am an author, educator, speaker, wife, mom, grandmother, and farmer living in Vermont. I love to spend time with my family, travel, hike, kayak, knit, spin (fiber), garden, cook, and love time with my bees, alpacas and chickens.

Currently, I have published three romance novels with Solstice Publishing, and have one that will be released by Willow River Press in January 2020. My first three romances are written under the pen name of Anna Belle Rose, and they can be purchased in paperback format through my Book Store page on this website, or in e-book or paperback on Amazon.

Kris Francoeur | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

TomorrowandYesterday

Blog Tour Schedule

March 9th

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

Shalini’s Books & Reviews (Spotlight) https://bookreviewsbyshalini.com/

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

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

March 10th

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

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

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

March 11th

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

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

Books, Teacup, & Reviews (Spotlight) https://booksteacupnreviews.wordpress.com/

March 12th

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

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

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

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

March 13th

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

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

Kim Knight (Review) http://kimknightauthor.wordpress.com

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

If you are interested, I have this video detailing my opinions on the books that I read in February. Check it out if you want to see me talk about the books rather than read a review.

Book Spotlight: Venators by Devri Walls

THE DARK UNKNOWN BECKONS

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Welcome to Eon. An alternate dimension where fantasy and paranormal is reality, and humans sit at the bottom of the food chain. In this world of unadulterated power and ability, the innocent suffer greatly. The ruling council of Eon has selected two humans, born of the Venator bloodline, and brought them through the gate—wishing to manipulate their strength and special abilities for the council’s corrupt purposes. But, Grey and Rune have very different ideas.

When their college dorm is infiltrated by creatures from another realm, Rune Jenkins, her twin brother Ryker, and old friend Grey Malteer are thrown into unexpected, twisted chaos. While Rune and Gray are able to escape, Ryker is kidnapped away to Eon, the alternate world from whence these dark beings came.

With the help of a supernatural guide, Rune and Gray must now travel to Eon to save Ryker, and discover the illuminating truth about their ancestry. In this new world of fae, vampires, werewolves, and wizards, power is abundant and always in flux. Rune and Grey are being set up as pawns in a very dangerous game and must find their way through – and out of – Eon before it consumes them.

Fast-paced and supernaturally entertaining. It will leave you hungry for more!” –Addison Moore, New York Times bestselling author of the Celestra series

What an original and captivating fantasy! Venators: Magic Unleashed will suck you in, keep you guessing, and leave you breathless for more. I can’t wait for the next book!” –Chelsea Fine, bestselling author of the Archers of Avalon series

About the Author

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Devri Walls is an international best selling author. She lives in Meridian, Idaho with her husband, two children and one adorable little mutt. Writing in all things fantasy, she would do just about anything for a working magic wand.

Mostly because she’s a walking disaster and a wand would be of enormous help…although she’d probably trip and break it. So, there’s that.

She graduated with a degree in theater and has studied vocal performance most of her life. She now teaches voice lessons when she’s not writing novels, cooking dinner, playing taxi, spending time with her amazingly supportive husband or trying to read.

Author website: https://www.devriwalls.com


Author Q & A

What motivated you to begin crafting your own YA stories? I was a theater major and a singer and had taken a break from everything while I was raising my children, but it left massive creative holes in my heart. I was desperately searching for something to fill it. In a strange series of events that are entirely too long to add here, I had the undeniable and unexplainable urge to write a book. It seemed insane at the time. But when I couldn’t ignore it any longer, I started my first project. Turns out, not only could I write; but, writing filled those creative voids better than anything else I’d ever dabbled in. I found my life’s calling completely on accident.

What—or who—inspired Grey, your Venators hero? Oh, Grey. Grey was a very important character to me. I envisioned him, trudging with his head down, letting his hair fall to cover his features, hunkering down in that trench coat—hiding from the world. And I knew that he had suffered at the hands of abuse. Grey has endured sexual abuse from a young age. It was very important to me that the character in the book dealing with sexual abuse be Grey. It’s a topic not covered nearly enough. There has to be examples for people to read about that tell male victims of sexual abuse that they’re going to be all right. That they are not weak, or dirty or broken or less of a male because of it. The thing that I love the most about Grey is that he doesn’t allow this abuse to define or destroy him. It affects his life in so many ways, but it hasn’t darkened his heart or inhibited his kindness. In fact, it has fed his charity and created a true hero as one who seeks out the broken, the lost and downtrodden. Grey may feel broken and lost; but, he lifts everyone around him.

What—or who—inspired Rune, your Venators heroine? Rune was the opposite side of Grey’s coin. In this story Grey came first, he was my original muse. And Rune was everything he once thought he wanted—athletic, popular, came from a wealthy family and your typical, “appears to have it all” kid we all knew in high school. But Grey saw, as we soon do, that her life is not nearly as perfect as it appeared. I wanted a woman who suffers from toxic perfectionism that was forced on her. A girl who was drowning under expectations and responsibilities. It’s such a problem among so many women and the human population in general.

What do you wish you’d known earlier in your career as an author, and what key piece(s) of advice do you have for other aspiring writers? Honestly? I don’t think I would’ve given myself any more knowledge than what I had. Ignorance kept me going too many times. HA! But I would probably tell myself to relax a little bit more and enjoy the journey. Advice for others… Understand that writing and being a writer as your job are very different things. If you have no desire to ever have a bad review written, to spend time promoting yourself on social media, to help with marketing and working when you don’t want to, then being an employed writer is maybe not for you. But by all means, keep creating stories! You are no less a writer for choosing that path. If you really can’t imagine doing anything else and will pay the price for your career, then go for it.

What influenced your approach to building the book’s otherworldly realm? Books like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Although Venators is very different than both of these examples, both books built something enormous. Stories with vastly different cultures and geographic features spread across the land. They widened my mental horizons and said, yes—this can be done.

How would you describe your creative process overall? A hot mess. Wait… am I allowed to say that? Probably ill advised, but I’m sticking with it. I am very much a “build as I go” kind of writer. This often leaves me with a very messy draft that I loathe. I should point out that it’s very difficult to work on something you hate. I have to go over my stories again and again, adding and tweaking as necessary until I’ve polished it into something beautiful. I’m reasonably sure this is the most painful way to create art, but it’s the only way I’ve found that allows my creativity to remain as unleashed as possible. With the high fantasy and fantasy blends that I write, being totally free in my imagination, has always lead to the most beautiful scenes in the end.

Both on and off the page, you’re passionate about empowering other women; how has that mission informed the characters you create? I’m so excited to watch Rune on her journey as she tries to shed this old shell and learns to embrace who she really is. For the first time in her life, Rune will have to start making choices for herself. She will trudge through triumph, grief, guilt and pride, then roll over to do it again. I want to write REAL women. There was a trend in literature for a while to write more women, which was fantastic! But the pendulum swung a little too far the other direction. We started seeing book after book of “kick-butt women” which translated into, invincible, power-hungry, emotionless women. They weren’t the greatest role models as no one besides an AI can actually BE all of those things. I strive to write women who are strong yet flawed. Determined, yet emotional. Capable in some areas and weak in others. Because really, what is the point of reading about a fantastic female character you could never emulate or learn from? It’s like our world trying to actually become that Phototshopped, curated version of the pictures in magazines. But reading about a woman who struggles and gets back up again. Now that is inspiring.

What can fans expect next from the Venators series? Oh. My. Gosh. You can expect everything!!! This series is going to just keep getting bigger and better as Rune and Grey venture deeper into Eon. Book two will deliver big time on what the fans have been begging for and that is more Beltran! We also get a twisted look into Queen Feena’s Fae garden that has Grey a little “wrapped up”, while Rune is forced to embrace a side of herself she’s not quite ready for. And book three?? Well, let’s just say the games will be of epic proportions!



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

Time to show off what I am reading in March!! I’m getting more ambitious each month. Soon I will be reading 10 books a month (haha yea right). What are you guys reading?

Book Spotlight: Steel Reign

Hey Sci-Fi fans!

I have a new release you’re going to want to check out! Read on for an excerpt from new release, Steel Reign: Flight of the Starship Concord by Braxton A. Cosby!

Steel Reign CoverSteel Reign: Flight of the Starship Concord

Publication Date: February 2nd, 2020

Genre: Science Fiction

A Thief turned Spy, turned Bounty Hunter, turned Hero!

After surviving an all-out implosion of catastrophic proportions following the failed fusion of twin stars Mira A and B in a class B Supernova, the people of galaxy Proxima Centauri have pressed forward with dreams and hopes of finally living in peace. But for Bounty Hunter Steel Reign, the clock of destiny is speeding ahead at a steadfast pace as he desires to hunt down a group of rogue super-soldiers before they can plot against King William Derry and his kingdom on planet Fabricius.

Consistent work as a Hunter in Proxima Centauri has always been a feast or famine occupation, and when the flow of credits slow to a snail’s pace, Reign must find a secondary means of funding to finance his seek and destroy assignment by way of scalping a precious artifact on the open Black Market. That is, until his supplier comes up short, forcing him to pump the brakes and fall back to Plan B: finding his long lost sister Olia who was captured by the space pirate Forge, and forced to compete in a deadly game of chance aboard the Eclipse. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the stakes have just been raised when he discovers that she is the only source of an antibody that can offer a cure for the deadly, venomous DX virus lurking in his blood, just waiting to consume him.

To survive, Reign will have to test not only his skills as a legendary assassin, but also his patience, as he takes on a rogue band of misfits to steal and crew the prototype starship Concord to thwart Forge’s plans once and for all.

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Excerpt

Escaping that day was the easiest part of the gig, as I accessed the ventilation shaft and weaved my way to the docking bay before anyone could lock down the vessel. I buried the memory deep within my psyche and promised to never unearth it again.

That is until I met Serias. I don’t remember how long it took for her to work it outta me, but somehow, she did. It was the last time I can recall shedding tears for anyone, and Serias told me that I never would again. That she would carry the pain in her heart for me. She vowed that no soul would ever be able to hurt me like that and if they did, she’d send them to the gods faster than light speed.

It’s those memories that burn more now than ever before. The betrayal she must feel for me when I left her all alone back on Delvis Chong, never to return. But I did it all for her…at least that’s what I told myself. What I convinced myself of. ‘The worst lie you could ever believe is the 1 you tell yourself,’ I recall Tannan telling me on the first day of Spy Guild training. And it rings true to this day.

Seeing Serias here, now, makes everything more complicated than ever before. I could give it all up, possibly tell her the truth and pray she’d take me back. But what would I ransom in return? Olia’s life for my happiness? As I mull this decision over while I stand in line for interview registration, I catch a glimpse of Serias strolling by in my periphery. She’s still as stunning as the day I laid eyes on her. I watch and wait, hopeful that she’ll turn and give me a look. Some flicker that I still haunt her memories as much as she does mine.

“You, step up,” a voice grumbles before me. I shake from my daydream and approach the table, holding out my ID card. A man reaches forward and takes the card from me, scans it 1 time and then hands it back. He points to a row of chairs to my right and flicks his wrist, ushering me over. Only 1 other person is seated. “Have a seat over there and wait quietly. You’re next. The proctor will call you when ready.”

I nod and take the ID card back. And as I step out of line, I look back, hopeful of finding Serias, but she is nowhere to be found.

Now Available on Amazon!

About the Author

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Multi-Award Winning and #1 Amazon Bestselling author Braxton A. Cosby is a dreamer who transitioned his ideas on pen and paper to pixels and keyboards. He has penned over 16 novels and written several screenplays; many based on his own works. He tells stories that evoke emotions and stimulate thought. THE STARCROSSED SAGA and THE CAPE are currently Young Adult and Superhero series he created, with spins offs for INFINITY 7: GODS AMONG MEN and his latest Bounty Hunter, scifi release, STEEL REIGN: FLIGHT OF THE STARSHIP CONCORD. THE STARCROSSED SAGA has won multiple science fiction and young adult awards, while THE CAPE has also earned recognition for it’s prowess as a literary fiction series. Braxton is the CEO of Cosby Media Productions and lives in Georgia with his amazing wife and a highly energetic Morkie named StarKozy.

Cosby Media Productions | Braxton Cosby | The Red Gemini Chronicles



Blitz Participants

February 24th

Reads & Reels – http://readsandreels.com

Lunarian Press – https://www.lunarianpress.com/

February 25th

Breakeven Books – https://breakevenbooks.com

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

February 26th

The Faerie Review – http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Books Teacup n’ Reviews – https://booksteacupnreviews.wordpress.com/

February 27th

Didi Oviatt – https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

Jessica Belmont – https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

My Bookish Bliss – http://www.mybookishbliss.com

Tsarina Press – https://www.tsarinapress.com

February 28th

Port Jerricho – http://www.aislynndmerricksson.com

Cocktails & Fairy Tales – https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales

Book Blitz 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

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

Book Review: The Speed Of Falling Objects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Rating: 5/5

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

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



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

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

Book Spotlight: Heir Of Lies

Welcome to the blog tour for Heir of Lies, by Mallory McCartney! She’s gearing up to re-release her extremely popular Black Dawn series, starting with this beauty! Read on for an excerpt, tour details, and a chance to win print copies of this book and book #2, Queen to Ashes!

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Heir of Lies (Black Dawn #1)

Re-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

“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. As Brokk walked down the hallway, looking for Memphis, his world was ripped apart in a split second. The hallways were quiet, which should have been his first sign that something was off. Class had just ended for the afternoon, and like every other day, Brokk’s blood was boiling after seeing Iasan. His teacher had become predatory toward him, trying to push him to his edge but always in ways only noticed to Brokk, putting on the persona for the other teachers. Iasan was only trying to ensure a bright future, they said. By grooming him into a lethal weapon that would kill on command. Swearing under his breath, Brokk was hoping for the blissful distraction that the hallways of the Academy always provided. His fellow classmates had a flair for the dramatics; it was guaranteed he would be swept away in their display, along with his thoughts. Instead, his footsteps echoed as he continued on, dread pooling in his stomach and making it churn. Turning the corner, he was about to stop and go back when he saw him. Crumpled in the middle of the hallway, his blond hair splayed out around him and his skin drained of any color, he looked dead. Alby’s appearance flickered as he turned invisible in a panic. “What happened?!” Brokk’s voice cracked, as he sprinted, dropping to his best friend’s side in an instant. Alby’s eyes were wide, as he grappled with his words, his mouth opening and closing. Brokk urged, “Alby, what happened?” The doors at the end of the hallway were thrown open, and Brokk stood, slowly taking in the group rushing toward them. Roque stormed down the hall, Nei and Bresslin at his heels, Tadeas and his entourage flanking them. Roque looked at them, narrowing his eyes to slits. “Foster! What are you doing here? I told the teachers to issue a temporary room curfew effective immediately.” Roque’s words were just white noise, as Brokk saw Adair filing slowly in at the end of the hallway, looking like he had just been through a war. “Foster, I suggest you answer the question,” Roque spoke quietly and slowly, and Brokk flicked his gaze up to the man for a second, truly taking him in. And what Brokk saw, for the first time in years, scared him. Rage contorted their leader’s features into one unrecognizable. One that consumed the man and left a person that had nothing left to lose. He took a step back. “I was just looking for Memphis.” Alby cut in, “He did it. Adair used his ability against Memphis.” Brokk barely took in the next couple of seconds. Roque stiffened, turning slowly to look at Adair limping behind them all, his hooded eyes swept down to the floor, not realizing that everyone had focused in on him. He hurt Memphis.”

Available for Pre-Order!

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Amazon CA | Indigo

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.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Giveaway: Win print copies of Heir of Lies and Queen to Ashes! Click the link below to enter!

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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

This video was so much fun to film! It’s the book version of “Kiss, Marry, Kill”. If you haven’t done this yet, I suggest you try. It was hard! So many books I love. It was like The Hunger Games book edition LOL.