Book Spotlight: Telephone Road

Looking for the perfect twisty thriller, try Telephone Road by Ann Swann! 

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Telephone Road

Publication Date: August 4th

Genre: Thriller

Publisher5 Prince Publishing

Marlena caught the eye of one of the richest, hottest guys on campus, Preston. But when her attention shifts, and she falls in love with a hometown boy, Jimmy, she finds out that Preston is also deeply disturbed.

What follows is a life-changing evening out on Telephone Road, and Marlena knows she will never be the same when she takes matters into her own hands.

Justice has a new meaning. It’s called revenge.

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Excerpt

The remains of the sunset reflecting across the rippling water drew me to lean down and dip my fingers into the cold, bubbling flow. The sounds lent a storybook feel to the scene. The air was cool and still, fragrant with the loamy, nose-tickling scent of damp earth and fresh water. Multicolored leaves and drifts of pine needles carpeted the ground, softening our steps and turning the whole area into a painter’s fall palette.

I sat cross-legged on the plaid blanket he’d spread. “This is kind of amazing,” I admitted around a mouthful of pizza. “How’d you find it?”

              Preston looked into the distance. “I spend a lot of time in the woods,” he said. “It’s my refuge. I just needed you to share it with me.”

              He looked at me and I knew, suddenly and without a shred of doubt, that I had made a huge mistake. His light blue eyes had gone as cold as the water in the creek.

              I tried not to panic, tried to keep my suspicions in check, but alarm bells clanged inside my head. “It’s really beautiful,” I said. “Thank you for sharing it with me.” I put one hand down to push myself to my feet. “Now I’ve really got to get back—”

              He grabbed my shoulder, forcing me to remain seated on the blanket. For a moment, I had a ridiculous hope that he was playing, roughhousing the way Jim and I had done. But when he held me there, when his other hand clamped down on my opposite shoulder, when he smashed me backward onto the remains of the pizza, I knew this was no game.

              “Stop!” I cried. “What are you—?”

              His face came closer and closer, his lips questing.

              I jerked my head from side to side. “Preston, stop! What’re you doing?”

              His weight pinned me to the blanket, his hard chin dug into the side of my neck. He tried to hold my face still without using his hands.

              “I love you.” His voice had gone as hard and cold as his eyes. “I know you love me, too. I don’t know why you won’t show it.”

              His lips found mine and he let go of my right shoulder long enough to tangle his fingers into my hair.

              My head was trapped. Anger crashed through my body. I jerked my head aside to get his mouth off mine. Strands of my hair were ripped out of my scalp, but suddenly my hands were fighting, clawing, raking at his face, his clothing, his skin. Anything to get him off me.

              He tightened his grip on my hair but his other hand came up holding the campfire lighter. Just as he depressed the trigger to ignite it, my right hand found the wine bottle lying on its side. I wrapped my fingers around the neck of the bottle and swung it through the air, smashing it into the side of his head with as much force as I could muster.

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About the Author

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Ann has been a writer since junior high, but to pay the bills she has waited tables, delivered newspapers, cleaned other people’s houses, taught school, and had a stint as a secretary in a rock-n-roll radio station.

She also worked as a 911 operator and a police dispatcher.

Her fiction began to win awards during her college days. Since then she’s published several short stories, novels, and novellas. She’s always reading and always writing, but even if she never sold another story, Ann would not stop writing. For her it’s a necessity, like breathing. Most of the time, it even keeps her sane.

Ann Swann | Facebook | Goodreads

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TelephoneRoad copy

Blog Tour Schedule

August 31st

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

Eclectic Review (Review) https://eclecticreview.com/

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

September 1st

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

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

PoptheButterfly (Spotlight) https://popthebutterfly.wordpress.com

September 2nd

@the.b00kreader (Review) https://www.instagram.com/the.b00kreader

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

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

September 3rd

Blood Rose Writings (Review) http://www.bloodrosewritings.blogspot.com

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

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

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

September 4th

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

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

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

Blog Tour Organized By:

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Check out all the books that I am attempting to read for the month of September and let me know which ones sound interesting to you! This TBR is quite ambitious so we will see how I do. Check out the video below:

Book Spotlight: From Then To Now

Welcome to the blog tour for From Then to Now by Mitzi Mensch! Read on for details and a chance to win a print copy of the book!

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From Then to Now

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Author House

From Then to Now is a novel within a novel. Maggie figures that, with events being so old, it is safe to tell all. Figuring wrong is her first mistake. Downloading the manuscript onto her grown daughter’s computer is her second mistake.
Andrea is dismayed to discover Maggie’s infidelity in her first marriage and shocked to learn of her grandmother’s cloistered pregnancy and forced adoption of her newborn daughter. She uses the Internet to find the people mentioned in her mother’s story, more to satisfy her own curiosity than to bring her mother peace.
From Then to Now spans six decades and addresses changes, both individual and societal, in attitude, perception, and awareness. These changes, triggered in part by outside world events, bring about personal understanding achieved only after loss is experienced and enlightenment has been attained.

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Excerpt

I must have gone too far on Waialae Avenue because all of a sudden I was on a freeway and then the freeway turned into a winding road cut through a sheer cliff. There was no place to turn around so I kept going and watched in wonder at the water pounding the rocks below and the vast expanse of blue ocean beyond. I was ten minutes late for my assignment. This was the road — I recognized it — where they had filmed Blue Hawai`i, with Elvis. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. So far all I’d seen was Schofield, Waikiki, downtown. Now I was in Hawai`i. The assignment no longer mattered. I stopped at a look-out point called the Blow Hole and peered down at a rock with a hole in it where the water spouted up like a whale. I watched, mesmerized, for time indeterminate, enthralled at the energy of the ocean. I had to see more. Continuing on I drove past a beach where body-boarders sailed through the surf and flew through the foam, flipping just in time to escape the fury before the waves crashed straight down on the sand with frightening ferocity. When I thought I’d seen all the glory this island could possibly offer, I came to another place where the road steepened precipitously and the view was more spectacular, if imaginable, than before. I craned my neck to see what beauty lay beneath the guard rails but the sharp curves forced me to focus on the wheel. I turned the bend and there was Sea Life Park on the mountain, or mauka side of the road as Glen had taught me to say, and on the ocean side, or makai, was Makapu`u. I drove down, parked, took off my shoes, walked to the beach. It was so beautiful. I sat on a rock to take in the majesty and totally gave up on the assignment. I thought of Michener’s words in the first chapter of Hawaii, the book I was reading, about the creation of the islands. About the force deep below the sea which built and grew until volcanic eruptions burst through the surface and left molten deposits which cooled and became rocks. I thought about the birds, from far away, flying over, dropping seeds, creating vegetation. I thought about the marvel of how these islands were formed, then found, and inhabited, and now here I was, a tiny, insignificant speck on the face of the earth, sitting on a rock, at the edge of an island, in the middle of the sea, in the most beautiful place in the world. As I felt the water lap at my feet and the sun caress my skin I knew, without a doubt, I was the luckiest person who ever lived. When I finally got back to my car there was a cop, writing a ticket.

Available on Amazon and at Author House

About the Author

Mitzi Mensch

Mitzi Mensch was born and raised in New England and attended college in Vermont. An island girl at heart, she moved to Hawai’i, where she has lived long enough to be a kama`aina.

Author House

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

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FromThentoNow

Blog Tour Schedule

August 31st

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

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

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

September 1st

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

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

September 2nd

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

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

@joanna.zoe (Revie) https://instagram.com/joanna.zoe?igshid=1xipr7pa6a9zl

September 3rd

PoptheButterfly (Spotlight) https://popthebutterfly.wordpress.com

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

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

It’s My Life (Review) https://itsmylifejen.wordpress.com/

September 4th

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

@the.b00kreader (Review) https://www.instagram.com/the.b00kreader

Crossroads Review (Spotlight) http://www.crossroadreviews.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

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I did the “Do I have That Other Book” challenge! I participated in the original challenge when I had first started my channel and wanted to try out part two! Let me know if you have done this challenge and how fast you got! Check out the video below:

Book Review: Billionaire Boss, Undercover Affair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Rating: 3.5/5

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

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



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

Book Review: The Tech

It’s about time I reviewed a thriller book am I right? Well, I wouldn’t say it was exactly scary but more of a crime thriller. This one was called The Tech by Mark Ravine.

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Synopsis: Alexandra has just taken charge of her new team, a motley crew of screw-ups at the Arizona Field Office, the latest in a series of forgettable assignments. With a history of rebelling against authority and blunt speaking, she vows to change her ways and make this assignment work.

Within minutes of her taking charge, she is drawn into a bank robbery case. She leads her new team to catch the robbers but discovers that there is much more to the case than meets the eye. The very next day three girls go missing. Before they could be trafficked out of the country, she races against time to rescue them. Soon, she begins to realize that all the cases coming her way are mysteriously connected. As she unravels the threads of a massive conspiracy, she discovers that a secret organization with immense power and authority is behind these horrific crimes. Forces within the FBI thwart her every move to discover the truth. Helping her navigate this maze is the shadowy Michael Patterson. But can she trust him? Can she trust anyone? Soon, witnesses disappear, suspects are killed, with her life and the lives of her team in lethal danger. Will she come out of this alive? Will she uncover and expose this cabal? As time starts running out, Alexandra Cassidy has to evade indictment and defy death in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

This was labeled as a suspenseful thriller and it was quite the book. I really enjoyed how much was happening and I felt like you never had a chance to stop as there was little “down” time. The main character was okay, I didn’t really like her character as much as I was hoping but I did enjoy Mike as the “tech”. I think I related to him more since he was kind of like the IT guy and I do a lot of that at my current workplace.

I do think that it could have been a little bit more thrilling than it was. The suspenseful parts were done really quickly and didn’t give enough time to build up the suspense to get me nervous for the characters.

I wish that it left a little bit to the imagination so that I could puzzle through and try and figure it out on my own because I find that brings a novel together well when you have the reader guessing but a lot of this book was pretty much laid out for you and didn’t leave much to the imagination.

The action scenes, although brief, were very intense and I will say that helped keep me on my toes for it. I would suggest this book to anyone that wants a fast-paced crime book.

Book Rating: 3/5

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

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



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Does anyone here like comic books? I do and did an entire video of me matching comic books to awesome prompts. Check out the video below:

Book Review: The Day The Sun Changed Colours

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

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Yes, this is really the book cover.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Rating: 2/5

You can find this book on Goodreads.

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



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

Book Spotlight: Knightmare Arcanist

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

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Genre: YA Fantasy

Magic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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

Website: https://sastovallauthor.com/

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

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

Email: s.adelle.s@gmail.com


Praise for the book

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

WINNER of the New Apple Literary Award for Fantasy

Coffee Pot Book Club’s Pick for 2020 Reading

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

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


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

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



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

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

Book Review: Steel Crow Saga

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Rating: 3.5/5

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

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



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

Book Spotlight: Return Addresses

Welcome to the blog tour for Return Addresses by Michael A. McLellan! This book is getting loads of 5 star reviews! Find out why! Read on for an excerpt and a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card!

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Publication Date: April 13, 2020

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Mountain Press

“This ain’t your world. You don’t have any friends out here. Not real ones. No one out here cares about nothin’ but where their next drink or fix is comin’ from. That, or they were born too messed up in the head to even understand what friendship is. Remember that. You can’t trust anybody. You can’t rely on no one but yourself.”

Fourteen-year-old Sean Pennington never thought he’d find himself riding on an open train car in the middle of the night. He never thought he’d find himself alone. He never thought he’d be running for his life.

In the spring of 2015 Sean Pennington’s world of comfort and privilege is shattered and he becomes a ward of the state. Thrust into a broken foster care system, he discovers the harsh realities of orphanhood. Lonely, confused, and tormented by his peers, he runs away, intending to locate his only living relative; a grandfather he’s never met, who his only connection with is a return address on a crumpled envelope. Enter Andrea, a modern day hobo Sean meets at a California homeless encampment. Andrea travels the country by rail, stowing away on shipping container cars with other transients calling themselves traveling kids. Though battling her own demons, road-savvy Andrea promises to help Sean on his quest, but can she protect him from the unpredictable and often violent world she lives in?

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Excerpt

“Listen, what I told you before…you know, about my parents? It wasn’t true. My parents are the most wonderful people you’d ever want to meet. I’m the problem, not them. I’ve always been the problem. I met someone at the beginning of my junior year. She came from a bad family—drugs. I started drinking with her. Then I started using with her. Meth, mostly, but I ended up taking pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I failed my junior year and never went back to high school. Anyway, my parents tried to help me—a lot. I put them through hell but they just kept trying. Finally they sent me to this really expensive rehab. I only made it three days before I ran away and used. My dad ended up finding me and he talked me into going back. I did better the second time. I completed the six months, graduated, and went back to live with my mom and dad. Everything was cool for awhile. I got a job at a thrift store and enrolled in Adult Ed to get my high school equivalency. After awhile—a couple of months—I started using again. I think I always knew I would. It was like, in my mind I was just taking a break, and only because it was what my parents wanted.”

“Are you ever going to go home?”

 “I think about it now and then. Mostly I don’t—think about it I mean. Not until I met you, anyway. I feel even more guilty now, seeing what you’ve had to go through. You lost both of your parents, by no fault of yours…and I just left mine behind.”

“Why did you tell me they were…mean.”

“Because the truth makes me look like a bad person. I am a bad person.”

“I don’t think so.” He paused, absently fiddling with sandwich wrapper. “Does it bother you…when people…say stuff to you?”

“You mean like those idiots who yelled at me from their cars?”

“Yeah.”

She took a long pull from her bottle of beer. “I don’t know. I try not to think about it. I guess it does, sometimes. When I was growing up I would’ve looked at someone like me the same way people always look at me. It’s all a matter of perspective. Now I try not to judge.” She smiled ruefully and drank more. “I try not to judge even when I’m being judged.”

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About the Author

Mike Author 1

Michael’s love of books began with Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle when he was seven-years-old. Later influenced by the works of John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Stephen King, James Baldwin, and Cormac McCarthy, Michael developed his style of storytelling. A self-proclaimed blue-collar writer, he draws on his experiences and observations to bring relevant and compelling topics to life.

Michael lives in Northern California and when he’s not writing, he can usually be found wandering around the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges.

His body of work includes the 2014 novel After and Again, the 2015 novel American Flowers, and the 2017 novel, In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree, as well as various shorts and essays.

Michael McLellan | GoodreadsTwitter



Blog Tour Schedule

June 15th

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

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

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

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

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

June 16th

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

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

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

June 17th

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

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

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

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

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

June 18th

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

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

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

June 19th

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

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

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

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

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Book Review: The Young Elites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Rating: 4/5

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

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



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

Book Review: Mr. Wizard

Do you have good and bad reading weeks? We do too. But luckily for us, this week has been a good reading week. Our external reviewer Chris has a new review of Mr. Wizard by Jeff Wallach for us to read.

Mr. Wizard book cover

Synopsis: Two days before her death, Jenny Elliot suggests to her fifty-year-old son Phillip that, being half Irish, he should be more careful about his drinking. Phillip, along with his brother Spencer, has grown up believing they were the fully Jewish-American offspring of Jenny and her late husband who died in the Vietnam War. Was his mother uttering some dementia-inspired fantasy, or was her true character shining through in her last moments to leave the brothers a clue to their real heritage? After her death, Phillip decides to take a DNA test.

The brothers set off on a genetic treasure hunt in search of who they really are—and what that might mean. Are they purely products of their genetics; or were they formed more completely by their social interactions and upbringing? Are they merely victims of randomness; or are they some combination of those factors? And who, exactly, is Mr. Wizard?

Jeff Wallach is a gifted writer. He brings his characters to life with sparse broad strokes similar to the way a painter can create a recognizable negative space portrait using a wide brush for painting houses.

negative space potrait

In any field, when someone can make the difficult appear easy then you know you’re dealing with an artist. Wallach makes creating real characters look effortless. We’re brought inside the family with inside jokes so when the brothers quip one-liners the readers know the story behind the one-liner, thus making them feel as if they’re also in on the inside joke. For example, when one of the brothers says over the phone to the other brother (paraphrased so as to avoid spoilers) “now she really is a liar”, and the other ones says, “She’s dead then”, you understand the backstory, the inside joke, and how he knows she’s dead. So much information conveyed with such simple sentences, a bit like Tamarian language in Star Trek. Anyone wishing to be an author should study how Wallach makes his characters real to the readers, how he can describe characters without actually describing them. I thoroughly admired this aspect of his writing.

Aside from admiring and liking his technical mastery Wallach has written a lovely book, one of the best that I’ve read this year. After Phillip and Spencer’s mom dies—which she does in one sentence that grabs the reader with its sparseness—they begin to wonder about their father because of their mother’s last cryptic statement. Was he really killed in action, where did he come from, where was his family, is he really their father, why was their mother so cryptic about his past and her past? I was pulled right into the detective work.

The pacing slows about 2/3rds of the way through. The detective work seems to have found the answers and the book switches from unraveling mysteries to dealing with the implications of what these discoveries mean for the brothers. Are brother’s brothers and family’s families because of genetics? What role does nurture and shared lifestyle play in families, or does genetics rule all? Are you any less of a family when you find out you’re not who you thought you were?

For me, this was the least interesting part of the book because long ago I arrived at decisions that satisfy me. Other people though may find the discussions—woven throughout with the typical brothers’ one-liners and humor that make the book so engaging—equally as interesting.

Not all mysteries were answered. The mystery surrounding Mr. Wizard and another person who had an eerily similar fate as Mr. Wizard were not answered. Was it coincidence or something more? But, perhaps this is as it should be—life isn’t always wrapped up like a neat package; there are often loose ends, unanswered questions, questions that may require half a lifetime to answer, and another half a lifetime to accept. However, I had thought there’d be more of a focus on the Mr. Wizard aspect given that’s the title of the book.

Then again, that fits the quirky book chapter names. Chapters are named after people or things that are mentioned just once and that have no real relevance to the story itself. E.g., the chapter named Mick Jagger is based on an irrelevant joke. Other parts of that chapter deal with more seminal issues that are central to the characters and the story itself, such as the story of the mulligan (which would be a good chapter name except then Wallach would break the pattern of naming chapters after non-incidents). Incidentally, I thought the mulligan story, which gives insight into the character of Spencer and the golf pro, was done well. You’ll have to read it for yourself.

I highly recommend this book. Enjoyable, witty, with likable relatable characters as they seek to discover their mother’s secrets and deal with answers they receive. And it has a touching ending. Who doesn’t like a touching ending?

Book Rating: 5/5

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

Disclaimer: The author sent this book to us in an ebook format to read and give an honest review.



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