Book Review: Elephant

Another book review brought to you by yours truly! This time, I read and reviewed Elephant by Natalie Rodriguez.

Synopsis: Summer of 2006. Four childhood best friends. A family secret.

After a strange encounter leaves him hospitalized, a timid teenage boy named Matt “Matty” Smith comes home to a continuous series of events met with anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Under the guardianship of his grandma, Lucia, Matt lives with unspoken questions about his deceased grandpa and father, and his missing mother. The elephant in the room. As Matt develops over the summer, the secrets only grow more profound and complex. Will the answers ever come? While searching for answers, Matt and his three childhood best friends encounter the meanings of love, forgiveness, and fate.

I honestly did not really enjoy this book. I thought that the story/plot was all over the place and very hard to follow. We are so focused on this one character the whole time and even then, you don’t really get to know them because the book doesn’t really flow well.

Half the time, you don’t know what is real and what isn’t. There is some big secret that everyone is trying to uncover and there is never really a resolution for anything that happens in the book. It was set up to have a sequel but I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

I feel like this could be a really good psychological thriller movie but I have the feeling that this is not the genre the book is going for.

I just think that this was a book that I couldn’t really get into. I think others might like it but it was just not for me.

Book Rating: 2/5

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

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



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Book Spotlight: The Cronian Incident

To celebrate the upcoming release of the final installment of The Formist series, we’re going back to where it all started in The Cronian Incident

Read on for details, excerpt, and a chance to win a signed copy of the book!

The Cronian Incident FINAL 150dpiThe Cronian Incident ( The Formist #1)

Publication Date: September 2017

Genre: Science Fiction

Jeremiah Ward was just another convict, a disgraced investigator who once worked the Martian beat, now serving his sentence in a mining colony on Mercury. When a member of a powerful faction goes missing on Titan, Ward is given an opportunity he cannot pass up. In exchange for investigating the disappearance of this figure, he gets a clean slate and a second chance.

But, the deeper Ward digs the more secrets he finds. Instead of investigating a missing person’s case he becomes embroiled in a centuries-old conspiracy and Ward comes to realize his one shot at redemption may cost him his life.

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Excerpt

Prologue

They stood two by two. In standard squad formation, moving onto their target area.

In front, Bern and Valeri stood, there arms held squarely at their sides. Durand could see that their hands were twitching. Valeri was attempting to hide it by crossing her arms and tapping out the rhythm of some unheard melody against her bicep. Bern however couldn’t decide what to do with his hands, and kept wiping them against his trouser legs.

Durand and Chayond were fortunate that way. In their hands, the equipment bags hung. Though relatively light, they were just burdensome enough to require both hands to carry them. They did not have to worry about idle hands or telltale signs of nervousness as they waited for the elevator to finish descending.

“Remember, no talking,” said Valeri, reminding them as the elevator came to a stop. The doors slid open to admit them to the station’s main hub. Bern nodded forward, and the four stepped out onto the platform.

Evening was now upon them, with several bright lights shining down from the station’s vaulted ceiling. Through the station’s dome, a thick grey haze was just visible. The faint traces of light reflected off of Saturn’s disc turned what would have been the black night into a deep, murky twilight.

The four of them were quickly swallowed up by the din of chatter, footsteps, and the sounds of a computerized voice making announcements in Anglish, Franz, Deutsch, Chin and Swahili.

The station was filled with hundreds of locals milling about, moving from one transit lane to another. Few paid them any attention as they walked through the crowds. Why should they? To onlookers, the group’s blue and orange coveralls designated them as maintenance staff. To all recording devices and sensors in the area, their ID tags also designed them as such.

Still, Chayond felt a tinge of panic every time the bag he carried rattled. None of their party would fare too well if they were stopped for inspection. Chayond felt himself looking at the few Gendarmes mixed in with the commuters out of the corner of his eye. If Bern saw him, she would certainly backhand him across the face. Of course, she would wait until they were no longer in public before doing so.

It seemed to take a terribly long time to cross the main floor. At the far end, they began to descend a flight of stairs, and Chayond felt a little better. The bag was rattling louder, luckily it was being drowned out by the whooshing noise of hypertrains coming and going inside their tubes. The dull, monotone computerized voice continued to announce the arrival and departure of trains, though it was becoming more difficult to hear. The noise was like a cushion that began to cloak their every move.

Valerni motioned to their left as they reached the bottom of the stairs. Commuter traffic continued to pour around them, which made maintaining their tight formation somewhat difficult. Still, they held in their two-by-two stance, moving towards the left track – and to the small door that led to the maintenance tunnel. No one followed them there. All the commuter traffic was drawn to the tubes and left what appeared to be a maintenance crew alone.

As soon as they were through the hatch, the noise stopped. The busy station was now sealed behind the pressure door. The only sounds now the gentle hissing of the tunnel’s pressure controls.  of course, Valeri’s commanding voice. Checking her chrono, she made a quick consult of their timetable.

“We’re on schedule,” she said. “Let’s keep it that way. Move out.”

The four collapsed into a single line, moving down the tight tunnel as quickly as they could. Durand threw the strap of his bag over his shoulder and Chayond did the same. Their steps became fast and heavy, their work boots striking hard against the metal grates that lined the floor. Heavy pipes and ducts controlling the settlements flow of fresh water and air whizzed by their heads. The high pressure and heat combined to make the going very uncomfortable.

Yet still, they moved. Rigid discipline and a clear purpose driving them onward. Until they reached their destination and set up, they could not relax.

When they finally came to the hatch that would admit them onto the platform that they wanted, they had all broken a good sweat. Only Valeri appeared to not be out of breath.

“Alright, pay attention because we don’t have time to dither.” Reaching into the pocket of her coveralls, she retrieved a small handheld. She held the transparent device up. Displayed on it was a single-frame. A man’s face.

“This is David Lee,” Valeri said. “He’s the Formist the Chandrasekhar’s sent on ahead to do their dirty work. Our intel says he’ll be travelling alone by the time he gets to the line. So that’s when we take him down.”

She tapped the screen. Lee’s image was replaced by a video feed of him standing with a woman. They stood close to each other, a degree of intimacy clearly implied by their body language.

“This is our contact. She is the one who provided us with Lee’s itinerary. According to her, Lee will be here at the time indicated, and he will be alone. However, if we find that they are together, then something’s gone wrong and we’ll need to take them both down. There can’t be any suspicion on her.”

“Who is she?” Durand asked.

Valeri shrugged. “Didn’t ask.  neither should you. All you need to know is, she’s not our target. If it comes down to it, we take them both down.  we leave her behind for the authorities to collect. Any other stupid questions?”

Durand was sufficiently shamed and shut up. Bern though had some thoughts on that score and offered them freely.

“Probably some just whore from the Yellow Light District. Point is, she’s a fucking patriot and gave us this information. So she’ll understand, I’m sure.”

All heads in the group nodded. A rumble shook the tube, indicating that a hypertrain was going by. It was nothing more than a passing tremor. No sound made it through the sealed pressure doors.

“That’ll be the 2115 to Cassini now,” she said, smiling. “Our Dr. Lee will be making the next one. Better suit up.”

Durand dropped his equipment bag on the ground, kneeling down to open it. Chayond did the same, placing his bag on the floor and separating the tabs on the seal. As Durand began removing their change of clothes, the others began to disrobe. The suits Durand passed out looked like something reptilian, scaly surfaces the same color as mercury. They were thin, no heavier than a stack of thermal blankets, with hoods at the top and small terminals on the left arms.

Valeri and Bern quickly became half-naked, their sweating frames glistening from the tube’s lighting. Quickly, they pulled the silver skins over their coveralls and began doing up all the clasps, sealing the suits around themselves and firing up the cells that powered them.

Durand tossed a suit aside for himself before handing one over to Chayond, who hesitated. His head was swimming from all the heat, the run had left him drained and full of endorphins. Still, he was aware enough to feel damn apprehensive. Accepting the suit seemed like a terrible step, one from which there was no turning back.

Durand noticed his hesitation. “Hey, you good?” he asked. Chayond glanced quickly in Valeri direction. She looked up from her suit to shoot him a look of disapproval and he quickly averted his eyes.

“Yeah, I’m good,” he replied, taking the suit in hand and unzipping his coveralls. Somehow, one look from Vslero was enough to silence any doubts, or enough to scare him into compliance.

A moment later, all four members of the team were suited up in their new vestments. Everything from their necks down was now covered in specialized material. Valeri pulled the last piece into place, pulling the hood up and covering her hair.

“Remember,” she admonished. “Make sure your sticks are charged just right. Too much, and his implants might rupture.  that’s the last thing we want.”

All heads nodded again. Chayond interpreted the mention of the sticks as an order to distribute them. Reaching down into the bag, he began pulling them out, one by one. Four slender truncheons, a small console on one side, contained a power indicator, an electrical port, and a few controls. He handed the first to Valeri, passed out the second and third, kept the fourth for himself.

Each team member inspected the sticks to ensure that they were set at exactly the right power level before sliding them neatly into the waistband of their outfits. Each stick connected with the suit’s internal power supply.

“Alright, let’s power them up,” ordered Valeri. “Let’s see if these things were worth the price.”

“Doubt that,” Bern said sarcastically. “ they still better work.”

As one, Bern, Durand and Chayond pulled the hoods up over their heads and engaged the suit’s power supply. Three low-frequency squeals sounded out in the tube, and where three men with silver skins stood, suddenly there were just three faces. The rest of their heads, like their bodies, were now cloaked in advanced stealth fields.

Valeri smiled. “Not bad.” She pulled her mask into place over her mouth and eyes and put her finger to the terminal on her arm. It took less than a second before she completely disappeared from view.

“How do I look?” she asked, her voice filtered and modulated by the mask.

“Like nothing at all,” replied Durand.

“Good.” She suddenly reappeared, removing the mask and hood. “Then be ready. If the target escapes, we may not get another chance. So make this one count.”

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About the Author

Matthew Williams Headshot

Growing up in the 80s and 90s Matthew Williams was born in to science fiction. He enjoyed many of the infamous SF franchises of the time and read many of sci-fi’s most influential works. As an adult, Matt marvelled at those SF novels which stood the test of time, while making valuable observations of the human condition, and he decided to create his own novels.

As a professional writer for Universe Today, Matt is well-versed in many nerdy topics ranging from: spaceflight to terraforming, Earth sciences to physics, and the future of human space exploration. He has interviewed many of today’s top scientific minds and NASA personnel, and been a featured speaker at astronomy societies. His articles have appeared in such publications as Business Insider, Science Alert, Phys.org, HeroXPionicGizmodoFuturism and IO9.

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Book Review: Devil in the Grass

I have so many books sent to me by authors that sometimes it is hard to keep track but this book definitely kept me on my toes! This one is called Devil In The Grass by Christopher Bowron.

Synopsis: When his pro football career fails, Jackson Walker returns to his home in southwest Florida to sort out his life. He lands an internship with Republican state senator James Hunter, whose Clean Water Bill puts him at odds with influential members of The Brotherhood of Set, a Satanic cult. They have deep roots in Florida, and are led by the sinister Henrietta LePley.

After Walker begins a relationship with a member of the Brotherhood, he is framed for the horrific killing of two elderly people. To clear his name, Jackson turns to his Seminole family to evade the police and a particularly nasty bunch of malevolent characters who specialize in the disposal of dead bodies. The Everglades provides an ancient and frightening setting for the unfolding action that will prove whether Jackson Walker will pull himself free from the dark evil that lurks there.

I thought this book held its own as a thriller. It wasn’t really like a creepy thriller but more of a crime thriller with same very dark elements to it. There were times where I thought that the things happening would line up with something a serial killer does so that added to the dark elements of the book.

The fact that it was set in the Florida Everglades also had me intrigued because they are known for their gators and I love any movies that have to do with gators so I was happy to read about it.

The characters were decent. I didn’t really get overly attached to any of them but I was more invested in the plot rather than the characters anyways so that was okay.

The book had lots of twists and turns which kept me wanting to know what was going to happen next. I would definitely read more by this author if I am looking for more crime thrillers!

Book Rating: 4/5

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

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



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Book Spotlight: Up The Creek

Congratulations to Alissa Grosso on the release of her suspensful Supernatural Thriller, Up the Creek! Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!!!

up the creek cover

Up the Creek (Culver Creek #1)

Expected Publication Date: January 12, 2021

Genre: Supernatural Thriller

An unsolved murder. Disturbing dreams. A missing child.

Caitlin Walker hasn’t had a dream in nine years. But now nightmares torture her son Adam and awaken in Caitlin buried memories and a dark secret. Her husband Lance has a secret of his own, one that his son’s nightmares threaten to reveal.

In Culver Creek newly hired detective Sage Dorian works to unravel the small town’s notorious cold case, the grisly murder of a young girl.

How are Caitlin and Lance connected to the horrific crime? And how far will they go to make sure their secrets stay hidden? Find out in this riveting thriller.

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Excerpt

Caitlin emerged from a black, dreamless sleep to screams. Adam’s tortured cries sounded almost otherworldly. They turned her blood to ice and made her heart race. She sat straight up, then bolted from bed, blinking sleep from her eyes as she raced toward the door, banging her shin on the dresser as she went. She yanked on the doorknob and almost toppled over when it didn’t yield as she expected. Goddammit. Lance had locked the door again.

She spared a glance toward the bed, but her husband wasn’t there. Instead he was standing, looking out the window. For a moment she thought she was mistaken. Were the screams coming from outside?

“Lance?” she asked.

He turned to her, but his eyes looked past her at some point on the wall.

“What’s going on?” he mumbled, barely awake.

“Adam’s having a nightmare,” she said.

“Again?” he asked. “Maybe we should just let him sleep it off.”

The screams had subsided now, but she could still hear her son’s whimpers from down the hall. Sleep it off? Could Lance really be that clueless? She unlocked the door and flung it open. It bounced almost silently off the rubber doorstopper, which didn’t really give her the dramatic exit she was hoping for.

She still couldn’t quite wrap her head around her husband just standing there looking out the window while Adam cried for them. Usually Lance was the one who woke up first. Maybe he had already gone to comfort Adam and came back to their bedroom by the time she awoke. He seemed so out of it, though. Well, that’s what a lack of sleep could do to a person.

Adam sat on his bed in a nest of tangled sheets. His face was damp with tears and sweat, his dark hair plastered to his forehead. The hippo nightlight cast large, ominous shadows when she stepped into his room. He looked up with a start, then relaxed when he saw it was her.

She sat down beside him and pulled his small body to her, wrapping her arms around him and rocking him gently back and forth. The tears subsided, but he still felt tense.

“Mommy, I’m scared of the bad boy,” he said. “The bad boy’s going to hurt me.”

“Nobody’s going to hurt you,” she assured him. “You’re safe. It was just a dream. Look, you’re safe in your bedroom.”

At this, Adam pulled away from her a little to study the dimly lit bedroom. Maybe they should get a different nightlight. She had never realized how spooky that hippo light made everything look.

“There were trees,” Adam said, “and a river. She was playing in the river.”

Caitlin stiffened. Adam noticed it and looked up at her. She smiled at him.

“It was just a dream,” she said, as much to reassure herself as him. “It wasn’t real.”

There were lots of rivers out there, and wasn’t Adam just watching a cartoon show with cute animals that had to get across a river? That was probably where that detail came from. Plus, she reminded herself, it hadn’t been a river. It had been a creek. She wasn’t sure Adam knew the difference between a river and a creek, though. But a little girl playing in a river? No, wait, was that what he had said? He said only “she.” For all Caitlin knew, this she could have been a girl river otter. Maybe he had been having a cute dream about river creatures.

And a “bad boy,” she reminded herself. She remembered his bloodcurdling screams. There was nothing cute about the dream he had. Still, she clung to the “bad boy” detail. Was he talking about a child? If so, then the river was just a coincidence. She wanted to ask him more about the bad boy, but this was the worst thing she could do. He was already starting to calm down, starting to forget the details of his nightmare. She couldn’t go dredging things back up again.

“Mommy, can I sleep in your room?” Adam asked.

* * *

Lance was fully awake and in bed when Caitlin returned with Adam in her arms.

“Hey there, champ,” Lance said. “Have a bad dream?”

“Daddy, he hurt her,” Adam said. “He hurt her head. She was bleeding.”

Her son’s tiny body stiffened again in Caitlin’s arms, and she gave Lance an exasperated look as she set Adam down in the middle of the bed.

“We’d already gotten past that,” she said in a whispered hiss.

“Obviously,” Lance said with a roll of his eyes, “which is why he’s sleeping in our bed. Again.”

She slid into the bed beside Adam and adjusted the covers, ignoring her husband. She petted Adam’s head and made soft, soothing noises.

“Remember, that wasn’t real, just make believe, like a movie.” She didn’t want him to get himself worked up again talking about the dream, but it wasn’t just that. She didn’t want to hear any more details from the nightmare because the bit about the bad boy hurting the girl’s head and the blood felt a touch too familiar.

She stroked his face, and his eyelids slowly drooped closed. He looked so calm and peaceful when he slept.

“I thought we said we weren’t going to do this anymore,” Lance said. Even whispering, his voice was too loud. She held her finger to her lips. He continued more quietly, “I’m just saying, I think it would be better for him if he sleeps in his own bed.”

“It’s already after three,” she said. “It’s only for a few hours.”

“That’s not the point,” Lance said. “He’s nearly five years old. We can’t keep babying him.”

It was like the school argument all over again, and Caitlin didn’t want to get into it. Not now. She was still tired and groggy and needed more sleep.

“I want to get him a new nightlight,” she said to change the subject. “The one he has makes these creepy shadows.”

“A new nightlight,” Lance repeated in a skeptical voice. “Sure, that will solve everything.”

“The important thing,” she said, “is that we have to remind him that his dreams are not real. That they’re make believe. We have to be united on this.”

Lance made a dismissive noise and lay back down on his pillow, turning his body away from her and Adam. He muttered something, but his voice was muffled by the pillow.

“Lance, this is important,” she said. “We have to make it clear that his dreams are not real. He has to know they aren’t true.”

He sighed. “What kind of moron do you think I am? Do you really think I’m going to start telling him his dreams about boogeymen are real?” He squirmed around and pulled the covers up in an attempt to get comfortable. She thought he was done, but he stopped shifting around long enough to add, “It’s not exactly like you’re the foremost expert in dreams.”

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About the Author

alissa grosso photo

Alissa Grosso is the author of several books for adults and teens. Originally from New Jersey, she now resides in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. You can find out more about her and her books at AlissaGrosso.com.

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Book Spotlight: The Ultimate Betrayal

The Ultimate Betrayal by New York Times Bestselling author Kat Martin, is now available in paperback! Read on for details, exclusive excerpt and a fantastic giveaway to enter — An autographed hardcover of THE CONSPIRACY and $20 Amazon gift card!

The Ultimate Betrayal (paperback)full cover-1

The Ultimate Betrayal

Publication Date (Mass Paperback): December 29th, 2020

Genre: Suspense/ Romantic Thriller

When investigative journalist Jessie Kegan’s father, a colonel in the army, is accused of treason, Jessie is determined to clear his name.  Reluctantly, she turns to former Special Ops soldier, Brandon Garrett, her late brother’s best friend–a true heartbreaker, according to her brother.

With danger coming from every angle, time is running out and the game being played is deadly.  Working together, Bran and Jessie must risk everything to solve the riddle and confront the threat–before it’s too late.

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Available on Amazon!

Excerpt

Too much downtime always made him nervous, kind of edgy as he waited for the other shoe to drop.  It had been a week since his last client had headed back to Nashville, a week of peace and quiet he should have enjoyed.

Instead, he had this nagging feeling that something bad was coming down the line.

Lounging back in the chair behind his desk at Maximum Security, Brandon Garrett looked up at the sound of the front door swinging open.  A gust of cool, late October winds swept in, along with a petite, whirlwind of a woman with the prettiest strawberry blond hair Bran had ever seen.

She had a sweet little body to match her fiery curls, he noticed, outlined by the dark blue stretch jeans curving over her sexy little ass and the peach knit top that hugged her breasts.

It wasn’t tough to read the anxiety in her big green eyes as she surveyed the room, but instead of heading for the receptionist’s desk, those big green eyes landed on Bran and as she started toward him, there was something about her that rang a distant bell.  Interest piqued, he rose from his chair.  “Can I help you?”

“You’re Brandon Garrett, right?  You were a friend of my brother’s.  Danny Kegan?  I recognize you from the photos Danny sent home.”

The mention of his best friend’s name hit him like a blow, and the muscles across his stomach clenched.  Daniel Kegan had been a member of his spec ops team, a brother, not just a friend.  Danny had saved Bran’s life at the cost of his own.  He was KIA in Afghanistan.

Bran stared down at the girl, who was maybe five-foot-four.  “You’re Jessie,” he said, remembering the younger sister Daniel Kegan had talked so much about.  “You look like him.  Same color hair and eyes.”

She nervously wet her lips, which were plump and pink and fit her delicate features perfectly.

“My brother said if I ever needed help, I should come to you.  He said you’d help me no matter what.”  She glanced back toward the door and his mind shifted away from the physical jolt he felt as he looked at her to the worry in her eyes.

“I’ll help you.  Danny was my closest friend.  Whatever you need, I’ll help.  Come on.  Let’s go into the conference room and you can tell me what’s going on.”  When her gaze shot back to the door, his senses went on alert.

“I didn’t mean I needed your help later,” Jessie said nervously.  “I meant I need your help right now.”

Gunshots exploded through the windows.  “Get down!”  Bran shouted to the other guys in the office as he shoved Jessie down behind his desk and covered her with his body.  Glass shattered and a stream of bullets sprayed across the room.

Jaxon Ryker popped up, gun drawn, and ran for the door.  Hawk Maddox and Lissa Blayne were shuffling through their desks, arming themselves.  Jonas Wolfe drew his ankle gun and ran for the rear entrance, ready for any threat that might come from there.

“Black SUV with tinted windows,” Ryker reported.  Six feet of solid muscle, dark hair and eyes, Jax was a former Navy SEAL, currently a PI and occasional bounty hunter.  “Couldn’t get a plate number.”  Jax’s gaze swung to the front of the room.  “Mindy, you okay?”

The little receptionist eased up from beneath her desk.  “I-I’m okay.  Should I call the police?”  Around here, it was never good to jump to conclusions.

Bran hauled Jessie to her feet.  He could feel her trembling.  Her eyes looked even bigger and greener than they had before.  “Are they coming back?” he asked.

“I-I don’t know.  It could have just been a warning.”

Bran turned to Mindy.  “Unless someone’s already phoned it in, let’s wait to call the cops till we know what’s going on.”  His attention returned to Jessie.  “We need to talk.”

She just nodded.  Her face had gone pale, making a fine line of freckles stand out across her forehead and the bridge of her nose.

Bran took her arm and urged her toward the conference room.  “Keep a sharp eye,” he said to The Max crew.  “Just in case.”

Jessie sank unsteadily down in one of the rolling chairs around the long oak conference table.  The man she had come to see, Brandon Garrett, sat down beside her.

“Okay, let’s hear it,” he said.  “What’s going on?”

She thought of the men who had just shot up his office and her pulse started thumping again.  “Danny said if I ever needed help–“

“Yeah, I get that.  Your brother knew he could count on me.  Like I said, I’ll help you any way I can, but I need to know what’s going on.”

Bran was taller than Danny, around six-three, with a soldier’s lean, hard body, vee-shaped, with broad shoulders and narrow hips.  Powerful biceps bulged beneath the sleeve of his dark blue T-shirt.  With his slightly too-long mink brown hair, straight nose and masculine features, he was ridiculously handsome, except for the hard line of his jaw and the darkness in his eyes that contrasted sharply with their beautiful shade of cobalt blue.

“Start at the beginning,” he demanded.

Since she wasn’t sure exactly where to begin, Jessie dragged in a shaky breath and slowly released it.

“I’m here because of my father–Colonel James Kegan, Commander U.S. Army Alamo Chemical Depot.  Just before he died a little over two months ago, my father was removed from active duty.  He was charged with larceny–specifically the theft of chemical weapons stored at the Depot.  Because the Army believed he was selling the weapons to a foreign entity, he was also charged with espionage and treason.  I need you to help me prove his innocence.”

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About the Author

Kat Martin head shot (high res)

New York Times Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin.  More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries.  Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film.  Kat’s latest novel, THE ULTIMATE  BETRAYAL, a Romantic Thriller, will be released in paperback December 29th.

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Here are my reading goals for the new year of 2021 that I think will make it the best year yet! I also reflect on my goals from last year and how much progress I made on them. Let me know what your goals are in the comments below! Check out the video below:

4 Books To Read During A Cross-Country Move

Moving across the country is a long process from start to finish, often taking a lot more time and thought than the traditional process of just moving to a new neighbourhood – and that includes the actual journey from your current property to your new home!

If you’re lucky enough to have gotten away with not being the designated driver for your cross-country move, or are taking driving duties in turn with someone else, why not use this time to unwind and relax from all the moving stress you’ve dealt with? One of the best ways to do this, of course, is with a good book!

Here are five great books to read during your cross-country move.

Mad About The House’ by Kate Watson-Smyth

Best For: Interior Design Tips

On the way to your new home, you’re probably pretty excited about the prospect of getting to decorate your new space and really make it your own – but what if you’re not entirely sure exactly how to go about it?

‘Mad About The House’ comes from award-winning UK blogger Kate Watson-Smyth, who has been sharing interior design tips on her blog of the same name since it began in 2012, earning her thousands of adoring readers.

Kate has put together a book full of interior design advice that can be used in any home of any size and with any budget, whether you’ve a one-bed apartment or a twelve-bedroom mansion!

If you’ve been so busy planning your move that you haven’t had time to think about how you’re going to go about decorating your new home, then this book is the perfect place to get some inspiration and ideas for when you get the chance to make your new home your own.

The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Best For: Classic Reads

It’s known as ‘the great American novel’ for a reason! If you’ve never read ‘The Great Gatsby’, the long journey to your new home is the perfect opportunity to do it.

This classic story follows Nick Carraway and his interest in his rich and enigmatic neighbour Jay Gatsby, a party-loving millionaire nursing a very private heartbreak – his obsession with former flame and Carraway’s cousin, beautiful Daisy Buchanan.

The Happy Ever After Playlist’ by Abby Jimenez

Best For: Romance Lovers

‘The Happy Ever After Playlist’ is the perfect novel for anyone looking to sink into a warm and fuzzy romance during their cross-country trip.

The story follows a woman who, two years after losing her fiance, decides to adopt herself an adorable new pet for some company. All is well until his owner, a popular musician, gets in touch to tell her that he wants her beloved pup back!

My Dark Places’ By James Ellroy

Best For: Fans Of True Crime

If it’s true crime that’s going to keep you interested on your cross-country move, it’s definitely worth picking up a copy of James Ellroy’s ‘My Dark Places’. Ellroy is one of America’s greatest crime writers, having written the best-selling crime novel ‘The Black Dahlia’ in 1987, as well as several other highly-acclaimed works.

In ‘My Dark Places’, Ellroy taps into the personal tragedy which inspired him to become a crime writer in the first place – the murder of his own mother in 1958. The book focuses on his memories of his mother’s murder, their unconventional relationship and the subsequent investigation, which never led to a conviction.

If you’re a true crime fan, this is a must-read. 



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 a new year and with it a new TBR! I will be trying to go a little easier on myself and have smaller TBR’s and I am going to be attempting to read more books from my TBR jar! Wish me luck! Let me know in the comments below what you will be reading for your January TBR or if you have read any of these books and what you thought of them! Check out the video below:

Book Spotlight: Optimize Your Immune System

It’s that time of year again, where we all make goals for the new year, including ones about lifestyle and health. After 2021, I can’t think of a better book than Optimize Your Immune System to aid us on our journey to better health and a stronger immune system. 

Read on for details and a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Optimize Your Immune System

Optimize Your Immune System: Create Health and Resilience with a Kitchen Pharmacy

Publication Date: September 27, 2020

Genre: Heath/ Food/ Medical/ Immunology

Many people think that it’s normal to come down with an illness each year and, for some, two or three times a year. Yet researchers have proven that nutrition and lifestyle factors can boost your immune system.

Learn how to build a kitchen pharmacy of whole foods, superfoods and nutrients to provide a stable foundation for your health. And when you’re at an increased risk of infection, know what to do to derail a virus before it takes hold.

Follow this immune-boosting roadmap to a healthier diet, making you less prone to viral infections and more resilient after an illness.

In Optimize Your Immune System, you’ll read about the three phases of immune support.

  • Phase I: Everyday immune strengthening and care
  • Phase II: After exposure to an unhealthy person or environment
  • Phase III: Immune-boosting support to prevent an illness when you feel like you’re coming down with something

For each of these phases, Marie Ruggles, M.S., R.D., C.N., C.D.E., draws upon over forty years of experience within the wellness arena.

The book begins with her explaining how the immune system works and what it does. From there, she discusses the foods that help and hinder our immunity. She even gives a whole foods quick start guide for those who aren’t too certain where to start.

She also shares the concept of juice bathing, and how to use that to minimize the fuss and mess of juicing while maximizing its benefit.

Optimize Your Immune System makes specific recommendations for how to fortify and stimulate your body’s natural defenses using a simple kitchen pharmacy, no matter which phase of immune support you are facing.

Diving deep, the book looks closely at whole foods, superfoods, nutrients and supplements, even giving specific product recommendations for those brands and products the author personally loves most.

The final chapter of the book pulls everything together in an easy-to-reference format sharing phase-specific recommendations, as well as how to eat more nutritious foods even if you’re on a limited budget.

Add to Goodreads

Available on Amazon!

About the Author

Head Shot Pink Susan Elise Shiebler Photography©_ Marie Ruggles 67

Marie Ruggle’s teaching focus is on coaching others to take back their power by developing a home inventory of natural wellness solutions.  She is obsessed with searching for the healthiest products and bringing nutrition science (eating for prevention) into the kitchen by sharing easy hacks for getting real food on the table with minimal effort. Her background is in Nutrition & Public Health. She has a master’s degree from Columbia University where she started her career in research.  She also has a certification in Essential Oil Safety and has been a Certified Diabetes Educator for many years.

Marie Ruggles | Facebook | Amazon | Newsletter

For a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card, click the link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

OptimizeYourImmune

Blog Tour Schedule

January 4th

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

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

Book After Book (Review) http://bookafterbook.blogspot.com/

January 5th

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

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

January 6th

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

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

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

January 7th

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

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

January 8th

Sophril Reads (Spotlight) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

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

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&R Button



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

Here are my reading goals for the new year of 2021 that I think will make it the best year yet! I also reflect on my goals from last year and how much progress I made on them. Let me know what your goals are in the comments below! Check out the video below:

Book Review: A Mother’s Tears

Time for a memoir book review! This time I have A Mother’s Tears by Dre Carlan.

This book is more an autobiography as I believe that the author and his mother are both still alive but this book details their lives together and the struggles that they have gone through. They had to survive immigration to a new country, dealing with multiple bouts of cancer and drug/alcohol problems. But they endured it all together and this book was a great way to show that.

Family is very important and this is a good way to capture just how much so. I did find that it got repetitive a bit with the going in circles and falling back on bad habits which is realistic but I think the book could benefit from being a little bit shorter. That being said, it was truthful and from the heart and I really liked that.

Book Rating: 3/5

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

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author in physical format 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

It’s a new year and with it a new TBR! I will be trying to go a little easier on myself and have smaller TBR’s and I am going to be attempting to read more books from my TBR jar! Wish me luck! Let me know in the comments below what you will be reading for your January TBR or if you have read any of these books and what you thought of them! Check out the video below:

Book Spotlight: Kompromat Kill

Welcome to the blog tour for The Kompromat Kill by Michael Jenkins, another riveting spy thriller from The Failsafe Query series!

Book Cover

The Kompromat Kill (Standalone)

Genre: Thriller/ Espionage/ Action/ Spy Thriller

Publication Date: June 2019

‘They were preparing for decades – now it’s time to take them down……’

Hiding overseas with a price on his head, Sean Richardson is tasked to lead a deniable operation to hunt down and recruit an international model and spy. Moving across Asia Minor and Europe, Sean embarks on a dangerous journey tracking an Iranian spy ring who hold the keys to a set of consequences the British Intelligence Services would rather not entertain.

As Sean investigates deeper, he uncovers dark secrets from his past and a complex web of espionage spun from the hand of a global master spy. As he inches closer to the truth, the rules of the game change – and the nerve-wracking fate of many lives sits in his hands.

The second in a set of spy thrillers that have been expertly crafted with stunning plot lines, magnificent locations, and twists that leave you gasping for air. Perfect for fans of Frederick Forsyth, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, and Scott Mariani.

*Each book is a stadanlone adventure

Add to Goodreads

Available on Amazon!

About the Author

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I started climbing at 13, survived being lost in Snowdonia at 14, nearly drowned at 15, and then joined the Army at 16. Risk and adventure was built into my DNA and I feel very fortunate to have served the majority of my working career as an intelligence officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal Engineers.

I feel privileged to have served for twenty-eight years in the British Army as a soldier and officer, working in Defence Intelligence and Counter-Terrorist Bomb Disposal operations, rising through the ranks to complete my service as a major. I served across the globe on numerous military operations as well as extensive travel and adventure on many major mountaineering and exploration expeditions that I led or was involved in.

I was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for mountain exploration and served on the screening committee of the Mount Everest Foundation charity for many years. It was humbling after so many years of service when I was awarded the MBE for services to counter-terrorism in 2007

The Failsafe Query is my debut novel, and I hope you enjoy the follow up novel, The Kompromat Kill, and my third in an ongoing series, The Moscow Whisper. Each can be read as standalone novels.

Michael Jenkins | Facebook | Twitter 

Book 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

It’s a new year and with it a new TBR! I will be trying to go a little easier on myself and have smaller TBR’s and I am going to be attempting to read more books from my TBR jar! Wish me luck! Let me know in the comments below what you will be reading for your January TBR or if you have read any of these books and what you thought of them! Check out the video below:

Book Review: Discovering Wildlife In Toronto’s Don Valley

A Toronto Photographer named Jim Chung reached out to me back in November and asked me if I would like to review their wildlife photography book and of course I said yes! The book is called Discovering Wildlife In Toronto’s Don Valley.

I thought this photography book was marvellous! I jumped at the chance to see more nature from the Don Valley since I only see the outskirts of it when I drive past (when I visit Toronto). Nature has always intrigued me and as a kid, whenever we visited my Aunt’s house, I would always pull down all their books from their travels and look through all the wildlife pictures with fascination and wonder in my eyes.

Jim narrates the book by adding captions and descriptions to all the images and he makes it funny while also being very informative. I had no idea that there were that many species of birds in Toronto but he has shown me that there is hidden beauty in all places.

The book features rare shots of all sorts of Canadian wildlife. Blue jays are my favorite birds so I was happy to see some of them in there!

I am so happy to now have this book on my coffee table because I can escape to a world of wildlife whenever I want and it is great because it is a local area to me that is being highlighted (within reason, about a 4 hr drive :P).

Book Rating: 5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find out more on Jim’s Blog! Follow him on Instagram for lots of wildlife photography or check out his photography portfolio!

Disclaimer: I was sent this book in physical 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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

It’s a new year and with it a new TBR! I will be trying to go a little easier on myself and have smaller TBR’s and I am going to be attempting to read more books from my TBR jar! Wish me luck! Let me know in the comments below what you will be reading for your January TBR or if you have read any of these books and what you thought of them! Check out the video below: