Book Spotlight: Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude

I’m pleased to share this touching memoir about grief, loss, and ultimately, love! Read on for more details and a chance to win a signed copy of Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude, by Kris Francoeur and a $20 Amazon gift card!

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Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude

Publication Date: May 21st, 2019

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Memoir/ Grief

Publisher: Morgan James Publishing

When your life is shattered in an instant, can conscious and deliberate gratitude and connection to nature help you find joy and hope again?

Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude follows the first thirty months after Sam Francoeur’s death from an accidental opiate (prescription) overdose. His mother, Kris Francoeur, shares her journey from the first crushing days to her eventually being able to find light, joy, and hope again through the practices of conscious and deliberate gratitude, unconditional acceptance of others, and making strong connections to the natural world. Her story helps grieving families feel that hope and joy will return, no matter how devastating and permanent the loss. Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude approaches grief with both a very clear understanding of the realities of the process, and also shares a very personal and honest account of living with grief. It presents healing and hope without relying on religion, formal psychotherapy, or pharmaceutical resources. Kris’s story reminds readers that even as people struggle with mental health issues and addiction, they can still bring joy and love to the world, and everyone is worthy of love and acceptance.

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Purchase Links

Kris Fancoeur | Amazon (Paperback) | Amazon (Kindle)

About the Author

author-photo

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

Giveaway: For a chance to win a signed copy of the book and a $20 Amazon gift card, click the link below!

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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

Is anyone participating in the Magical Readathon this month? I am super excited to try and achieve the career of Hogwart’s Professor! Check out which books I will be reading for this readathon in this video!

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Mini Review: Ruckus by Laurie Elmquist

Our external reviewer Sara has another mini-review for us! She has been recommending a lot of great middle grade books and here is another to add to that list!

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Synopsis: Reece’s new dog, Ruckus, tears through life like a Tyrannosaurus rex. He bites everything that moves and drives Reece’s mom nuts. The puppy was Dad’s idea, to make things easier for Reece after his parents’ separation, but Ruckus is not easy at all and Mom is getting fed up. When her diamond earrings go missing, it sends the family into a tailspin. What happens when a dog swallows something precious? Reece is about to find out. But they can’t give up on this little Jack Russell terror, can they? He’s family, after all.

I really enjoyed this as a beginning reader’s chapter book. It was a pretty quick read, so I don’t think an emerging reader would have too much trouble reading this on their own. The plot was fast-paced and fun, with some great messages for the reader about family troubles, which I thought was helpful. They did a great job showing what it was like to have a family member who isn’t the best at their job; in this case, the father. I would really recommend this to a young reader.

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


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

If any of you out there like Brandon Sanderson, then you should check out my latest video. It is a reading vlog of his book Skyward and I had quite a time reading this one!

Book Spotlight: Hidden Magic

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

Hidden Magic

Hidden Magic

Expected Publication Date: March 10th, 2020

Genre: Anthology/ Fantasy

Publisher: Magical Mayhem Press

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

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“Mail Order Witch”

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

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

Available on Amazon

Magical Mayhem Press

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

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

Authors

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

HiddenMagic

Blog Tour Schedule

March 9th

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

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

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

March 10th

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

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

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

March 11th

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

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

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

March 12th

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

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

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

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

March 13th

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

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

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

Blog Tour Organized By:

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Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

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

Book Spotlight: 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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

author-photo

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.

Middle Grade Mini Book Reviews

Our external reviewer Sara has been busy doing some middle grade reading so that she can be better acquainted to recommend books to the kids at the library she works at! Here are some of her reviews on some of the books she has picked up!

The Monster Sisters and the Mystery of the Unlocked Cave by Gareth Kyle Gaudin

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Synopsis: When a quiet seaside town is suddenly overrun by hundreds of giant monsters, two young sisters are the only ones prepared to handle the situation. Using their keen interest in architecture, local history, folklore and gymnastics, the two girls attempt to not only stop the monsters’ rampage but also figure out why it’s happening. The story is set in Victoria, British Columbia, and the city’s impressive history and creepy folklore add intrigue to the proceedings, as more and more monstrous guests arrive on this unceded Lekwungen Territory.

Review: Unfortunately, though this graphic novel seems to have a pretty entertaining idea, I found it pretty disjointed and difficult to read. The idea of the novel was really neat, and the idea to put little facts about Victoria was fun, but really pulled away from the story. There were also a few times where the story jumped around for no real reason and added in a narrator at the last few pages to tie everything up.  

Admittedly, I’m still working on appreciating the style of the graphic novel, but this one felt particularly difficult to get into the story. 

I wouldn’t recommend this book to the younger readers this book is geared towards. It does seem like it’s leading really heavily into a sequel, and I’m optimistic that perhaps a second novel from this author would be more successful.

Book Rating: 2/5


Shadow Island by Nancy Deas

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Synopsis: With nowhere left to live after losing his parents and working his way through a long list of relatives on the mainland, Ollie finds himself at his grandpa’s house in Sueo Bay, “home of the supernatural.” Miserable and intending to get away from the earthquake-prone, rain-soaked island on the next bus out of town, Ollie’s getaway plans are altered abruptly when he and three classmates discover something they shouldn’t have in a trailer in the woods.

The four unlikely friends come together in a mystery involving supernatural creatures, a ticking clock and one angry gym teacher to save themselves, the creatures and Sueo Bay from a darkness that is infecting the island.

If they succeed, will Ollie finally find a place to call home?

Review: I loved this one graphic novel. I thought the start was a bit abrupt, but I quickly forgot about this as I continued reading. It was a fun story that I think kids in this age group will absolutely love. The images were great, and I even approved of the text style (as a teacher, the all-caps style common in graphic novels does not help emerging readers). I think this could turn into a series most emerging readers would love to get obsessed with!

Book Rating: 4/5


Sid the Kid and the Dryer by Leslie Choyce

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Synopsis: Milton the washing machine and W. P. (Whirlpool) the dryer are being delivered to a new home in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. The pair are excited to start their new jobs in the Crosby home, and are just getting settled in to the basement when “the kid” comes home from school. Sidney straps on a pair of Rollerblades, drags out a beat-up hockey net, and starts to practice. Every now and then a loud carrong echoes off W. P.’s shiny white enamel as the puck misses the net, prompting scolds from Sidney’s mother upstairs.

Eventually, the poor dryer needs to be replaced; it’s missing knobs and covered in dents. W. P. doesn’t want to go, and it’s up to Sidney to convince his dad that sometimes, being reminded of your mistakes is a good thing.

Review: I did not enjoy this book. It felt sort of strange, although I really loved the idea. It almost felt like this book hasn’t been seen by a publisher yet. I believe the illustration style would not be very popular with most of it’s intended readers, either, as the sort of almost-realistic style of illustrating seems to have fallen out of favour in the last decade. I feel like there other sports-adjacent picture books in this genre that readers would enjoy more.

Book Rating: 2/5


A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley Found Her Voice by Nadia L. Hohn

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Synopsis: Jamaican poet and entertainer Louise Bennett Coverley, better known as “Miss Lou,” played an instrumental role in popularizing Jamaican patois internationally. Through her art, Miss Lou helped pave the way for other poets and singers, like Bob Marley, to use patois in their work.

This picture book biography tells the story of Miss Lou’s early years, when she was a young girl who loved poetry but felt caught between writing “lines of words like tight cornrows” or words that beat “in time with her heart.” Despite criticism from one teacher, Louise finds a way to weave the influence of the music, voices, and rhythms of her surroundings into her poems.

Review: I really loved the idea of this book. Being able to connect important historical figures with the reader in a natural way is something I really admire in children’s books. I think that the average child will love reading a story, only to discover that it’s about a real person. Unfortunately, I wished for more! I wanted more of what was in the author’s note at the end to be told in the story, where it will really engage the reader. I’d love to read more by this author.

Book Rating: 4/5



Wolverine and Little Thunder | Ki’kaw’ju Kaqtukowjik 
by Alan Syliboy

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Synopsis: From the bestselling creator of The Thundermaker comes another adventure featuring Little Thunder and Wolverine—a trickster, who is strong and fierce and loyal. The two are best of friends, even though Wolverine can sometimes get them into trouble. Their favourite pastime is eel fishing, whether it’s cutting through winter ice with a stone axe or catching eels in traditional stone weirs in the summer. But that all changes one night, when they encounter the giant river eel—the eel that is too big to catch. The eel that hunts people!

Book Review: I loved the illustrations and the idea of the book telling an indigenous tale for the readers. Unfortunately, the writing was a bit lacking. The story didn’t have much flow to it, and it kind of felt like nothing really happened. The excerpt of the book used on the inside cover almost told more of the story than the actual book! I wished for more connection to the reader, and a better development of the plot of the book. I just didn’t feel like this book lives up to some of its competitors in the genre.

Book Rating: 3/5


Olga: Out of Control! by Elise Gravel

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Synopsis: In this third installment of the series, Olga’s beloved companion, Meh, is now a mom! She has a litter of adorable babies that look like spring rolls. But the babies aren’t just adorable—they’re a handful! How can Olga stop them from covering her house in rainbow poop if she’s busy making sure they’re fed?

Can Olga keep it all under control?

Book Review: I’m not sure I really enjoyed this book. It felt a little bit too contrived. While I was reading, it felt like it was just a thinly veiled attempt to teach kids about the challenges of parenting and owning pets. This author writes as if they only think they know how to write for children, which is odd, as I’ve read other books by this author that are much better!

Book Rating: 2.5/5


Dragon Thief by Zetta Elliot

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Synopsis: Jaxon had just one job–to return three baby dragons to the realm of magic. But when he got there, only two dragons were left in the bag. His best friend’s sister, Kavita, is a dragon thief!

Kavita only wanted what was best for the baby dragon. But now every time she feeds it, the dragon grows and grows! How can she possibly keep it secret? Even worse, stealing it has upset the balance between the worlds. The gates to the other realm have shut tight! Jaxon needs all the help he can get to find Kavita, outsmart a trickster named Blue, and return the baby dragon to its true home.

Book Review: I loved this one book! I was a little worried about it being a sequel, as I haven’t read the first one, but it was still a great read, and I didn’t feel lost. I found the story engaging, and at the perfect level for the age group. There was action and a bit of magic, but mostly they’re was great relationships between the characters. I would recommend this one to any early reader!

Book Rating: 5/5



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 Review: Recursion

Blake Crouch just keeps putting out amazing books! I read Recursion by Blake Crouch and it was magnificent! I don’t have enough great things to say about this author. I think he is now a staple in the sci-fi community.

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Synopsis: Memory makes reality.

That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

That’s what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent. 

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?

This book was a giant mind-bending puzzle. It was so intense and I had such a hard time putting it down. I read it as a buddy read and you better believe that I struggled to keep the same pace as the other readers for this because I had the urge to just read it all in one sitting!

Blake had me with Dark Matter and then he came out with this one and it was amazing. I really enjoyed the dual perspective in this one and how it didn’t really have chapters but kept switching between the two perspectives with time stamps.

This one resonated with me more because it deals with a false memory syndrome so naturally, they are working towards cures for Alzheimer’s disease. I have been personally affected by this disease, having to watch my grandmother deteriorate from it. So when I read anything that is working towards combatting such an awful thing, it has a big impact on me and I feel fully invested in it.

There were so many twists and turns in this book and I find myself still thinking about it even though I finished it a while back. It gave me Edge of Tomorrow vibes with a little bit of The Butterfly Effect thrown in. It is definitely one of those books that stick with you and Blake Crouch has become an auto-buy author for me now.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone that wants to go for a hell of a ride! I don’t think you will be disappointed. You can expect action, adventure, love, and a lot of character growth. They have to battle with so many moral decisions that could change everything.

Book Rating: 5/5

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

Disclaimer: I was given this book as a gift and read it because I wanted to. I was in no way compensated for this 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

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

devri

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!



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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 Review: Dork

Can’t come out tonight? Why? Because I am all booked up! I am busy reading Dork by Will Winkle.

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Synopsis: Ray Cooper is graduating from college and doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life – stop me if you’ve heard this before. Besides his impending graduation, Coop also has the problem of trying to start a new relationship in the shadow of his last one. Plus, his term project is due in two weeks. He’s also losing his hair. Alright, he has a few problems. Over a weekend, Ray attends the birthday party of a girl he isn’t sure if he knows, meets odd people at bars, and looks forward to the last hurrah he and his friends have planned for Saturday when the local bars are offering discounts to anyone with wristbands sold for charity. There’s no way any of this could go wrong.

This book was half and half for me because I am a very plot-driven person when it comes to books and this one was kind of lacking in the plot department. However, its main protagonist was very humorous and a lot of thought was put into his character which evened out the playing field.

I also enjoyed that they had little footnotes at the bottom of some pages to kind of break the fourth wall and add little funny descriptors that lightened up the mood of the book and from time to time brought a smile to my face. I will say that footnotes are not for everyone and know that they bring some people out of the story but I think they complimented this one well considering there was not much plot to follow.

It also gave me a bit of nostalgia for my college days when I would go to parties and drink on the weekends (a lot more than I do now). Some of the routines the people had in this book as college students were spot on. And yes, we Canadians do call Mcdonalds “Don’s”.

Imagine having a guy carry around a camera in a fraternity house all day and then show you that movie. This book would be that end result. You will see the life of a college student and get some laughs out of it (including his struggles of trying to get the girl).

Book Rating: 3/5

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

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



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

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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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 😜