Book Spotlight: Masters & Beginners

Welcome to the tour for Masters & Beginners, by Daley Downing, book one in The Order of the Twelve Tribes series! Read on for a sneak peek, and a chance to win a signed copy of the book!

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Masters & Beginners

Publication Date: August 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy/ Urban Fantasy/ Magic

When Sophie Driscoll’s grandmother dies, her parents take over running the Annex, a warehouse facility that stores magical artifacts and documents proving, and protecting, the existence of faeries. Sophie and her brothers, Flynn and Cal, happily adjust to a new house, new friends, and a new way of living, joining the ranks of generations who have kept the fey and mortal realms separate for centuries. Before the first month of their new life is over, they’ll encounter romance, elves, talking cats, ancient secrets, and potentially lethal danger. What could possibly go wrong…

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Excerpt

Prologue

It wasn’t a dark and stormy night. It was a pleasant late summer’s evening, shortly after sunset, the sky a rich navy blue, stars beginning to twinkle in the distance. In a pleasant subdivision, residents were settling in for the night. In a tent pitched on one of the well-mowed lawns was a group of four teenage girls, in their pajamas and sleeping bags, currently finding out who could come up with the scariest scary story.

“…and to this day, he wanders the woods, looking for his head.”

“Can I just say, eew.” Margaret wrinkled her nose and frowned disapprovingly.

“That was the Headless Horseman. That’s not an original story, Kimberly.”

“Fine! You come up with something better.” Kimberly flopped down onto her pillow.

The tent was pitched in a backyard just like so many other backyards up and down the street. The development was one of the last to be built in the town limits, and it sat near the boundary of the state forest. The fact they lived so close to a nature preserve meant to the adults lots of hiking and biking on the trails, a chance for the kids to see wildlife, and learn about the woods firsthand. To their children, it meant a sense of danger, dark goings-on, and the perfect atmosphere for telling ghost stories during slumber parties.

“Fine, I will.” Sophie sat up taller on her blanket. It was her tent, her backyard, her house, with her family inside, hosting the slumber party. Taking the flashlight, she placed it under her chin, the beam casting shadows over the contours of her face.

“There was a house at the edge of the city that everyone called the glass house,” she began. “It looked like it was made all from glass, and it was strange to the people in the city. It belonged to the most wealthy family, the Greymalkins. They employed many servants and farmers in the past, people working on the land they owned. But these days, they had all but stopped hiring new staff.”

Margaret and Helen watched Sophie, listening politely. Kimberly pretended to be bored, and fiddled with a loose thread on her sleeping bag.

“The people didn’t really go near the glass house anymore,” Sophie went on. “The former staff, or their descendants, said that the Greymalkins were having troubles — illness, bad investments, and the like. They said that soon the family may be forced to sell the glass house and all their land.

“That was a shame, old Mrs. O’Connor said, as her grandson was coming back to town after traveling abroad for a few years, and he needed a job. He’d just completed his courses at an important university in another country, and he was well-trained in managing finances and keeping records. That was a very good thing, said Daphne, one of the few maids left at the glass house. Because the Greymalkins were looking for someone to do just that.

“And so Augustine O’Connor began to work at the glass house.”

Margaret and Helen were definitely interested now. Even Kimberly sat up a little more and glanced in Sophie’s direction.

“Daphne showed Augustine where he would work. It was mostly in one room, a study where all the family’s important papers were kept. After a few hours of working each day, he would go to the kitchens for a meal, and take a walk in the gardens if the weather was good. Most of the time, he only saw Daphne, or the cook, or the butler, Mr. Lee.

“One afternoon, just as he was finishing up, a very grand, and beautiful, woman came into the study. She wore a silver dress, and diamond combs in her hair. This was Lady Greymalkin, he knew, as he had seen portraits of her in the lobby of the glass house. Augustine quickly stood up and then bowed, as Mr. Lee had instructed him to do if he ever met a member of the family.

“Lady Greymalkin insisted he not bother about such a formality. ‘Thank you for doing this work for us,’ she said. ‘We need all our affairs in order before we sell the house.’ So it was true, Augustine asked, the rumors among the people? ‘Yes, I’m afraid so,’ the lady said. ‘Life has not gone…as we planned recently.’ Augustine gave his apology. ‘There’s no need to be sorry. It’s how things happen sometimes.’ And she invited him to tour the rest of the house with her.”

Outside the tent, it was quiet except for the chirp of crickets, and the occasional, brief passing of a car. Fireflies danced in the trees beyond the fence, but the girls didn’t notice.

“Augustine walked along the halls and saw the big dining room, the library, the grand parlor, where the family had entertained in happier times. Lady Greymalkin told him a little more about her children, her husband, and his parents, who built the glass house. When it was time for him to go, she invited him to tour the property on his own, as he wished.”

Kimberly couldn’t pretend anymore; she was listening as raptly as Helen and Margaret.

“A few days after this, the Lady came to find Augustine in the study,” Sophie continued. “She told him that they had a buyer for the land, and soon his services wouldn’t be needed anymore. ‘Thank you so much for your help. I’m sorry it means you’re out of a job. If I can do anything, please let me know.’ Augustine replied that a good reference would come in handy, but also, before he left, he’d like to walk around the gardens one more time. The Lady said yes, and that she would join him.

“As they walked, Augustine saw a door in the garden wall he had never noticed before. ‘Come with me,’ the Lady said, and she showed him a tunnel beyond the door. As they began walking down the tunnel, the Lady said, ‘Oh, I forgot, Mr. Lee needed to see me! Do wait here.’ And she ran back into the garden, shutting the door behind her.”

The back door of the house gently opened and closed. A shadowed figure slipped away from the lights inside, creeping into the yard and towards the tent.

“Confused, Augustine tried to open the door. He found it locked. There was only a little light in the tunnel, and he couldn’t see very far. Deciding he should wait as the Lady had told him to, he stood still.”

The dark figure paused near the tent, crouching down, trying to stay out of the light coming through the windows of his home.

Sophie’s hand was beginning to get tired of holding the flashlight, but she was almost done with the story. “Then a loud sound came from the other side of the wall, a sudden scream. Augustine jumped, and ran into the tunnel. As he ran, he heard other sounds, on either side of him, growls and snarls like those of wild animals. All the noise came out of nowhere, but it seemed to be all around him.”

Helen was spellbound. Margaret hugged her pillow close to her. Even Kimberly’s eyes were wide.

“Augustine stopped running when he realized the light was fading in the tunnel, and the noise seemed to be behind him. He stood in front of another door, and he wondered if this one would lead back to the garden, or to the glass house. He opened the door, and saw nothing else.”

A branch snapped in the yard, and something scratched at the tent. Helen and Margaret screamed, and Kimberly dived into her sleeping bag.

Sophie smiled and turned off the flashlight.

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About the Author

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Daley Downing is an autistic author, parent to special needs children, a dance teacher, and cat whisperer. She spends her days attempting to write just a few more words than in the previous 24 hours, and lovingly refers to her genre as suburban fantasy. Visit her at: https://daleydowning.wordpress.com/.

For a chance to win a signed copy of Masters & Beginners, click the link below!

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Master&Beginning

Blog Tour Schedule

July 27th

I love Books and Stuff (Spotlight) https://ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com

Kiki’s Books (Review) https://www.instagram.com/kikis_books/

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

July 28th

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

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

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

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

July 29th

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

Read and Rated (Spotlight) https://readandrated.com/

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

July 30th

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

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

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

July 31st

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

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

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

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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 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:

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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: Fangirl

I finally read more Rainbow Rowell and….it was just as cute and sappy as the first time. I rather enjoyed it! This time I read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

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Synopsis: Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan..

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

The first time I ever read Rainbow Rowell’s work was Eleanor & Park which I adored because it was about being a misfit in high school and hey, that was me. So this time, I was excited to find out how this one was about a young woman going to college for the first time and having all these new experiences, especially since she is a huge introvert (until it comes to her writing and her fictional characters).

I related to Cath in so many ways and got nostalgic reading this book because I could remember the feeling of being away from home for the first time and wanting to fit in with new people at college while still not losing yourself and who you are as a person. And I really enjoyed that she was a writer (even if it was fanfic) because it made this book have many levels to it (stories within a story).

The relationships she builds are strong and there are many adorable parts in this book. I would say to read it if you just want to feel happy and cuddly. Or read it for the LGBTQ+ Simon Snow (pretty much Harry Potter) fanfic that Cath writes because it is just as good.

This makes me look forward to reading more by Rainbow Rowell. I am more a fan of her YA stuff and I am looking forward to picking up Carry On off the shelf and giving that one a go.

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. I was in no way compensated for this review.



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I did the Build A Book tag! Listen to me talk about all the different components that would create my dream novel (oh and help me name it!). Check out the video below:

Book Review: Red Hood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Rating: 3.5/5

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

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



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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: The Young Elites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Rating: 4/5

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

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



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

Book Spotlight: Between Love and Murder

Welcome to the blog tour for Between Love and Murder by Chris Bedell! Read on for an excerpt from the book and a chance to win a digital copy!

BLandM Digital coverBetween Love and Murder

Publication Date: April 21, 2020

Genre: YA Thriller/ LGBTQ+

Publisher: Willow River Press

September 2018. 17-year-old Chad becomes intrigued by the new kid—Archie—when they flirt during their first interaction. But Chad’s best friend, Mallory, asks Archie out first. Pursuing Archie allows Mallory to get revenge against Chad who recently rejected her. Except Chad refuses to lose Archie to Mallory. Not when he might have a real chance at love—Archie identifies as bisexual like Chad. Although if Chad wants Archie, then he must eliminate Mallory as the competition. Even if doing so means proving she was involved in the disappearance of her ex-boyfriend, Tommy.

Three months later—December 2018. Tommy resurfaces, and Mallory accidently kills him while Archie and Chad are witnesses. Mallory, Archie, and Chad can’t go to the police, though. Mallory blackmailed Tommy to leave town last Fourth of July with a sex-tape after discovering Tommy cheating on her. And Archie, Chad, and Mallory must unite if they don’t wanna go down for murder. Except Chad is even more threatened of Mallory now that he and Archie are dating—Chad remains uncertain if Mallory harbors lingering resentment for rejecting her. If Chad wants Mallory gone, then he must continue making difficult choices. Even if destroying Mallory means Chad pretending to be Mallory’s friend while finding a way to implicate Mallory in Tommy’s death without him and Archie getting in trouble.

If you like the nonlinear storytelling of ABC’s HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER and the toxic love triangle of WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT, then BETWEEN LOVE AND MURDER is the book for you.

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Excerpt

BEFORE

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2018

Expecting complete honesty was pointless.

Like with Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, or when a friend got a questionable haircut. Both the kid and friend could discover the truth without anyone playing the villain. Or like right now while I stood next to my locker in the school hallway. My best friend, Mallory, couldn’t have said what she had. Yet I didn’t have an ear wax problem, so the chances of her comment being misheard were slimmer than time travel happening.

I blinked. “Come again?”

She tugged at her backpack strap. “I’m sorry, Chad; I’m not trying to be awkward. I just couldn’t lie anymore.”

“Don’t apologize for your feelings.”

Telling her not to feel bad shouldn’t have been the best response I came up with. Doing so only prolonged the inevitable: deciding about whether honesty or a fib was best. However, there was no right reaction to finding out Mallory had a crush on me. Some events—such as her revelation—couldn’t be anticipated no matter how many A’s I earned in school.

Mallory bit her lip. “We’ve been spending a lot of time together since July.”

I chuckled. “We’ve always been close.”

“Not since I started dating Tommy.”

I scratched the side of my head. “What’d you expect to happen?”

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About the Author

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My previous publishing credits include Thought Catalog, Entropy Magazine, Chicago Literati, and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, among others. My debut YA Fantasy novel IN THE NAME OF MAGIC was published by NineStar Press in 2018.

My 2019 novels include NA Thriller BURNING BRIDGES (BLKDOG Publishing), YA Paranormal Romance DEATHLY DESIRES (DEEP HEARTS YA), and YA Thriller COUSIN DEAREST (BLKDOG Publishing). My 2020 novels include my YA Thriller I KNOW WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED (BLKDOG Publishing), YA Contemporary I’LL SEE YOU AGAIN (Deep Hearts YA),  YA Thriller BETWEEN LOVE AND MURDER (Between The Lines Publishing), YA Sci-fi DYING BEFORE LIVING (Deep Hearts YA), and YA Thriller LOVE HIM/HATE HIM (Between The Lines Publishing). I also graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2016.

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BetweenLoveandMurder

Blog Tour Schedule

June 8th

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

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

Life’s a Novelty (Review) https://lifesanovelty.blogspot.com/

June 9th

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

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

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

June 10th

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

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

June 11th

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

Indies Review (Spotlight) http://indieproreview.blogspot.com/

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

June 12th

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

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

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Spotlight) https://dashfan81.blogspot.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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Book Spotlight: Queen to Ashes

Congratulations to author Mallory McCartney on the exciting new release of Queen to Ashes, the next installment in the Black Dawn series!

Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win signed copies of Heir of Lies and Queen to Ashes!

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Queen to Ashes (Black Dawn #2)

Publication Date: April 21st, 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

“You lived your entire life feeling like half of you was missing. Fight for the missing part. Fight for this.”

Emory Fae has abandoned everything she thought she knew about her previous life on Earth. Stepping up to her role as Queen of Kiero she makes a startling sacrifice- feigning her allegiances to Adair Stratton, the man who murdered her parents and casted Kiero into ruin. Emory’s memories slowly piece together, and she soon realizes the Mad King may not be all he seems— and the man who was once best friend, may be fighting beneath the surface.

With the King’s attention on her, can she buy Black Dawn Rebellion enough time to recuperate their forces? And when the times comes, will she be able to kill Adair, ending his tyranny and rising herself as the rightful Queen? Fighting to hide her secret, Emory navigates the brutal trials of the Mad King, trying not to lose herself in the process.

Sequel to Heir of Lies, now a bestselling series, the sparks are ignited, as Emory learns the cost of freedom, and her heritage. Will the rebels unite in time? A sinister force has spread across the land, stripping everyone bare- their betrayals, their secrets, their intentions. But above all, what will their decisions cost? By refusing to give in to the darkness, will Emory rise as Queen?

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Excerpt

The darkness kissed her, embraced her. Squinting, Emory tried to make sense of where she was but was met with a black, dense wall. Sweat pooled at the base of her neck, warmth flaring through her body. Fear choked her then as she gulped down stale air. She knew she wasn’t alone because she felt them before they said anything. “Emory, you need to wake up.” Memphis’s voice, just barely a whisper, caressed her. Right beside her left ear, another voice sounded. “Em, wake up.” Brokk’s rough voice was harsh and clear, but she felt her body still being pulled, pulled down into the black abyss. A third voice then sounded; one she could only recognize from her dreams. “Emory, darling, wake up.” Her mother. Her voice danced all around her, and she clawed blindly, trying to connect with her lost friends and family. Trying to find them. Silence landed heavy, and a putrid smell enveloped her senses. It smelled of rotting meat. Bile rose in her throat as a she felt a slimy, boney hand wrap hard around her wrists, pulling her toward it. She couldn’t scream; she couldn’t move. Sweat drenched every inch of her body as the creature she couldn’t make out leaned closer, whispering right in front of her, “Emory, I have found you.” Swivelling around, she was met with darkness until the monster pulled her closer, its breath tickling her ear. “And you belong to me.” The knife slid in between her ribs, pain blossoming, and cackles spun around her. Then, she was dragged down into the darkness.

Screams tore from her chest as she shot up. Drenched in a cold sweat, it took her several minutes to register where she was and the guard standing at the foot of her bed, arms crossed and eyebrows raised. She screamed again, pulling her blankets around her, her nightdress clinging to her curves. “Who gave you permission to be in here?” she demanded. Smirking arrogantly, he said, “I did.” Blinking, she recognized the man as the same one that guarded her down in the cells. Rubbing her eyes, she tried to shake the feeling of that damp death-like hold of the creature in her dream. She pointed to the door. “Get the hell out.” He scoffed, rolling his eyes. “It’s time to start your day. The king awaits.” Throwing a bundle at the bottom of her bed, he turned his back, briskly stating, “You have five minutes to get ready. I’ll wait outside.” Shutting the door, he left her in stark silence. It was time. Panic clutched her heart, squeezing it, threatening to break it. She couldn’t breathe. The walls seemed stretched too thin.

She could do this—she had to do this. Emory would grant the rebels the time they needed, the time she needed. Dying wasn’t an option. Besides, she was already dead to the people who had believed in her. Leaning forward with shaking hands, she opened the parcel. Several stacks of light black clothes spilled out, including shirts, pants, and undergarments. A blood red sash sat atop them all. Lovely. Sitting on top all of this, though, was a light, sheer, gold chest plate. Squinting, she leaned closer to inspect it. Markings she didn’t recognize adorned all the edges, and its sheerness was unearthly. She was so close, her breath was fogging it, her reflection lost. Strong leather buckles joined at the shoulders; its back plate just as impressive. She shimmied out of bed, quickly dropping the armor. Emory went through the motions of getting dressed numbly. Braiding her long ebony hair back, she looked in the mirror behind her. She didn’t recognize the woman standing before her, the stark cheekbones, emptiness in her eyes, bruised skin underneath them. Tying her sash tightly, she set her resolve. Emory Fae of Earth was dead. Everything had led up to this moment. Her parents shaped their world, defying the paths they were told to go down: A warrior from the Shattered Isles and a Prince of Kiero were never supposed to break away and build a refuge— The Academy—for peace. In her heart, Emory knew they had made mistakes, but their life’s dream was to fight and to ensure everyone, no matter their ability, would have a place to call home. Emory loosened a breath. She would not let her parents’ dream die. If Adair wanted a challenge, he would get one. She would make him pay. For her family. Her friends. For herself.

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About the Author

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Mallory McCartney currently lives in Sarnia, Ontario with her husband and their three dachshunds Link, Lola and Leonard. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found day dreaming about fantasy worlds and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

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For you chance to win signed copies of the Black Dawn series, click the link below!

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Check out Lisa King’s brand new novel called The Vanishing Hour which is available now on Amazon! She is a Canadian author from London, Ontario and I am super excited to share the love on her new book! If you like post-apocalyptic books, then this one is for you!

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You can buy her book here: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B081ZHCPGF/



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

Anyone miss concerts? I know it has been awhile since I have been to one and miss the sound of live music. Here is a video of me using concert prompts to talk about some books! Check out the video below:

Book Spotlight: Heir of Lies

Mallory McCartney is getting ready to release book #2 in her epic Black Dawn series, but she wants to give you guys a chance to read the book that started it all first, Heir of Lies!

Here’s an excerpt to read, and a chance to win a paperback copy of your own!

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Heir of Lies (Black Dawn #1)

Release Date: April 20th, 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy/ New Adult Fantasy

“Hope was a dangerous thing. It could consume every dream and make them take flight, becoming wild daydreams in one’s heart and mind. Or hope could incinerate everything you thought you knew, burning you down to your core, leaving you raw and exposed for the world.”

Emory Fae has only known one thing—life at The Academy, a school for those who have special abilities. Following in her parents’ footsteps, the pressure to uphold their dream falls on her and one of her best friends—Adair Stratton. An outcast and feared by most, Adair longs to break away from the expectations dictating his future. With whispers of dark magic spreading across Kiero, Adair starts to doubt The Academy is all it seems.

An unexpected visit ignites new tensions as the roguish king from across the Black Sea, Tadeas Maher of the Shattered Isles, and his heir, Marquis Maher, sail to Kiero. Notorious for their pirating and wrath, for the first time in years, they demand the Faes listen to their proposition for a new treaty. Caught in the middle of politics, Adair and Emory, with the help of their best friends Brokk and Memphis, search for the one thing that matters the most—the truth.

Their world is tipped upside down as unlikely alliances are made, and war ravages Kiero. Through the throes of betrayal, lies, hidden magic, and love, Adair is faced with a life changing decision. Will he fight or bow to the darkness within?
But, Adair’s decision will change the course of Kiero forever, setting in motion irreversible destinies for everyone at The Academy as Emory Fae rises as heir.

Heir of Lies is the first book in the bestselling Black Dawn series.

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Excerpt

“It was as if her body had been ripped into a thousand different pieces. Her lungs burned, begging for relief. Emory heard the soft crackle of fire. Her head was a spinning mass; it was its own continent. Squinting, she tried to focus. Blinking slowly, her surroundings came into view. Her pulse picked up. She wasn’t in her room. She wasn’t in her home. The metal world around her seemed to have one purpose. To keep people in. To keep her in. The last twenty-four hours rushed over her in a flurry of confusing memories. Him… Memphis. The name rolled around in her mind, familiar yet unfamiliar all at once. Her eyes flashed open, her heart thrumming with adrenaline. Heavily, Emory sat up, trying to pull her thoughts together. For now, the room was empty, her captors gone. Now. This is your chance to escape. The thought clambered through her wildly, and she acted. Standing from the bed, Emory stumbled, her legs weak, her clothes dirtied. Breathing heavily, Emory ran to the door, pushing the handle down as it opened. Containing her surprise, she slipped into the hallway. What kind of criminals would keep their prisoner in an unlocked room? Walking fast, Emory pushed the thought down, keeping her head down as she tried to locate how to get out of this place. The hallway was quiet, and Emory didn’t pass anyone else. It had to be late into the night, and she sent up a thank you to whoever was granting her such luck. Trying not to run, she turned left, passing more shut unmarked doors, but slowly, the hallway slanted up. Heart pounding, her palms slicked with sweat as she tried to stick to the shadows, walking faster now. Ahead of her, doors loomed, and panic bloomed in her chest. Running now, Emory tried to hold back the tears burning in her eyes. She reached the massive doors, pulling them open, and the night air slammed into her. Gasping, she sprinted, rushing out into the rolling field. The air was brisk, a sweet aroma hanging on the wind, the crescent moon tucked in the midnight blue clouds. Ahead, a massive forest loomed, and she frantically looked for any sign of modern civilization where she could find help. There was nothing. A stitch laced through her side, and her converses lost footing. Emory slammed into the damp earth. Rocks sliced through her palms as she tried to break her fall, blood welling in the cuts. Tears slid down her cheeks as she got up, whispering, “Keep moving. C’mon.” Looking back, she expected to see the place she had been taken to, but dread pooled in her stomach as all she saw was open field—no sign of any building whatsoever. “What the hell?” Emory whispered, fear making her thought process choppy. Sprinting again, she pushed toward the woods.”

Now Available!

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About the Author

updated headshot

Mallory McCartney currently lives in Sarnia, Ontario with her husband and their three dachshunds Link, Lola and Leonard. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found day dreaming about fantasy worlds and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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

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Next week, you’ll get a sneek peek at Queen to Ashes, the exciting next installment in the series!

Book Blitz Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours


Check out Lisa King’s brand new novel called The Vanishing Hour which is available now on Amazon! She is a Canadian author from London, Ontario and I am super excited to share the love on her new book! If you like post-apocalyptic books, then this one is for you!

IMG_0595

You can buy her book here: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B081ZHCPGF/



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

I know it’s not February anymore but it still is a leap year so here is the Leap Year Book Tag! Check out the video below:

Book Review: Graceling

I know the whole world is going a little nuts right now because of the COVID-19 virus and I think since everyone is being quarantined that it is the perfect time to do a buddy read! I do them with my friend Amanda every month and they are so much fun. Last month we read Graceling by Kristen Cashore.

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Synopsis: Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

I was really looking forward to a fantasy book and this one was what I was expecting, a long drawn out fantasy. I enjoyed the character development immensely because they were built upon so well that you truly felt like you had a good understanding of them.

That being said, I believe the book may have delved too much into its characters and left the plot a little lacking. I am a very plot-driven person so I was hoping for a little bit more action. There are definitely some cool scenes that I did enjoy but for a lot of the book, I just felt like I was waiting for something to happen and it never really did. When things did happen, they happened too quick and then it was back to the build-up for events to transpire that you would expect to have more of an impact.

I still enjoyed reading this book and having discussions with my friend as we went along. I am considering continuing the series so I wasn’t turned off too badly by it. The concept of having graces is really cool and I hope they continue to go into depth about that moving forward in the series.

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 and was in no way compensated for my review.



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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

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: The Wrongful Death

How exciting! We’re now on book #3 of The Great Devil War multi-book tour — The Wrongful Death by Kenneth B. Andersen. Let’s see what epic adventure Philip embarks on in this exciting instalment!

The Wrongful Death Cover - Book 3

The Wrongful Death (The Great Devil War #3)

Publication Date: April 19th, 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

An unfortunate chain of events makes Philip responsible for the untimely death of the school bully Sam—the Devil’s original choice for an heir. Philip must return to Hell to find Sam and bring him back to life, so that fate can be restored. But trouble is stirring in Lucifer’s kingdom and not even Philip can imagine the strange and dark journey that awaits him. A journey that will take him through ancient underworlds and all the way to Paradise.

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Excerpt

The Garden of Eden

The darkness of night turned into the light of morning, and although Philip did what Lucifer recommended and pulled his hood over his eyes, he was momentarily dazzled by the light. Slowly his eyes grew accustomed to the change, and out of the blinding whiteness, the Garden of Eden emerged in all its splendor.

Philip felt something pulling at his soul, even though all he saw was an ordinary forest. That’s because it wasn’t just an ordinary forest.

Not at all.

First of all there were the colors. The green moss that lay like a thick carpet on the floor. The blooming flowers. The luscious tree canopy overhead and fruits hanging in bunches. The sky that was more blue than Philip had ever seen. The sunlight that fell between the leaves in warm streams of gold.

Secondly there were the smells. So many, and so clear, that Philip became dizzy and had to hold onto Satina so he didn’t stumble.

Then there were the sounds. A storm of bird songs, monkey cries, and distant, thundering waterfalls, and yet… quiet, so quiet.

Then, to top it off, the atmosphere—the feeling of the place… It carried him off his feet. The forest, the air, it inspired a feeling of pure joy that Philip had never known before. It made the hair on his arms rise with delight and made his heart, yes, his very soul, feel like laughing. It felt like… Well, like he was in Heaven.

“Horrible place, right?” Lucifer said, closing the door to the rock wall. “Too cold and much too bright in my opinion. Come on, it’s this way.”

Philip and Satina followed the Devil, who with long, decisive steps led them through the summer forest.

“We’re in Heaven,” Philip whispered as he heard the mild breeze softly stirring the leaves in the canopies overhead. “I can’t believe it. We’re in Heaven!”

“Not quite,” Lucifer corrected. “It’s merely the earthly Paradise that lies between Earth and Heaven. This is where the saved souls go after they die. They help tend the garden.”

Between Earth and Heaven?” Philip said, confused. “I thought you went to Heaven when you died. If you’re good, that is.”

“No. You get this far and no farther. I realize a lot of people think that, Philip. There are even more who think Paradise is about lying in a hammock all day and letting God’s angels attend to your every need. But it’s never been like that. It would quickly lead to many of the seven deadly sins—laziness, gluttony, and greed, just to name a few—and that doesn’t exactly harmonize well with this place. No, living in Paradise means hard work. Of course, it’s nothing compared to working conditions down where we are.”

“What is Heaven, then?”

“Heaven is home to Jehovah and the angels. The angels come to Paradise, but they don’t live there. They live in Empyrean, the city of light. It’s even worse than this place. It makes my eyes itch and my nose starts running like a faucet. I’m definitely more comfortable here.” Lucifer plucked a flame-red rose, and it immediately lost its color and shriveled up. He smelled it and tossed it aside, the now metallic-gray flower disintegrating to ash as it hit the ground. “I have some good memories from this place.”

There was a subtle snap on their right as something in the forest stepped on a branch.

Philip turned his head and froze in his tracks.

It was a tiger. It ran toward them, its giant paws soundlessly bounding through the forest, and its amber eyes locked on Satina, who hadn’t noticed the wild animal.

Watch out!” Philip shouted and pulled her toward him as the animal came bursting out of the brush, a cascade of yellow and black and teeth and claws.

“Philip, take it easy!” Beyond the rush of blood roaring in his ears, he heard Lucifer laughing. “It wouldn’t harm a fly.”

Fear turned into confusion and then amazement when he saw the tiger had stopped and just stood there, curiously watching them. Curious and…friendly?

“It won’t?” he muttered and let go of Satina. “Sorry, but I thought… Are you okay?”

She nodded.

“That’s what I’m saying, Philip. Paradise is a gruesome place. So sad and boring. Just look at this guy.” Lucifer walked over to the tiger and patted him on the back. “Tame as a lamb. Wild animals aren’t even wild here. In the afterlife they peacefully coexist.” The Devil sadly shook his head. “I get nauseous just thinking about it.”

Available on Amazon!

About the Author

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I WAS BORN IN DENMARK ON A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT IN NOVEMBER 1976 …

… and I began writing when I was a teenager. My first book was a really awful horror novel titled Nidhug’s Slaves. It didn’t get published. Luckily.

During the next 7 years, I wrote nearly 20 novels–all of which were rejected–while working as a school teacher. The rest of the time I spent writing.

In 2000 I published my debut fantasy book, The Battle of Caïssa, and that’s when things really took off. Since then I’ve published more than thirty-five books for children and young adults in genres ranging from fantasy to horror and science fiction.

My books have been translated into more than 15 languages and my series about the superhero Antboy has been adapted for film, which is available on Netflix. An animated tv series is currently in development.

A musical of The Devil’s Apprentice opened in the fall 2018 and the movie rights for the series have also been optioned.

I live in Copenhagen with my wife, two boys, a dog named Milo and spiders in the basement.

About THE GREAT DEVIL WAR: The Great Devil War was published in Denmark from 2005-2016, beginning with The Devil’s Apprentice.

Even though the story (mostly) takes place in Hell and deals with themes like evil, death and free will, it is also a humoristic tale about good and evil seen from a different perspective. A tale that hopefully will make the reader – young or old, boy or girl – laugh and think.

Welcome to the other side!

Kenneth B. Andersen | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Giveaway: Digital copy of The Wrongful Death! Enter below!

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Blog Tour Schedule

February 24th

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

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

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

February 25th

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

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

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

February 26th

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

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

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

February 27th

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

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

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

Life’s a Novelty (Review) https://lifesanovelty.blogspot.com/

February 28th

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

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

Misty’s Book Space (Review) http://mistysbookspace.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

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 😜