[Review] THE PACEMAKER by Imania Margria, 4 out of 5 stars

About the Book

Title: THE PACEMAKER
Author: Imania Margria
Release Date: November 11, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Mystery
Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon | Booklife

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Review

Minerva Walsh cannot remember anything before her eighteenth birthday and she doesn’t know why. All her life, she believes she’s been unlucky and miserable until she wins the lottery scholarship at Calendula University — the best in the city of Amaryllis. She did not expect to receive this good news because she has never even applied. After clearing things up with the headmaster and her student mentor, Hailee, she decides she’s going to take this chance and turn her life around. But how can she make the most out of this opportunity when a few days before classes start, she discovers something dark living inside her and gets involved with the most popular guys (princes) in school. What’s worse is that these “princes” have a huge obsessive following whose leader is determined to bring her down.

Imania Margria’s The Pacemaker is a paranormal mystery with a touch of romance. The characters are written well; their build-up and development reveal how good Margria is with her craft. The mystery is exhilarating, but the romance falls flat. While there is tension between Minerva and the princes, their relationship does not carefully grow from friends to something more. Suddenly, they are attracted to each other and want more. Also, the themes of obsession and social status unnecessarily take so much time that they get in the way of the story’s mystery. On a more positive note, this is a perfect example of a feminist read where both sexes treat each other equally, get along, and work together to make a better society. The Pacemaker is the first installment in the series and it’s a nice start to the rest of the books.

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This book was reviewed for Readers’ Favorite. For more bookish content and honest reviews, check my sidebar: follow me here and on the rest of my social media accounts.

[Blitz] RAFE by Sawyer Bennett

About the Book

Title: Rafe
Author: Sawyer Bennett
Publisher: 1001 Dark Nights Press (April 28, 2020)
Find it on: Kindle | Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

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Blurb

I was living my dream until one phone call changed everything.

As the second line center for the Arizona Vengeance, my mind has been on one thing—helping my team bring home a championship. But that all changed when I found out my dad had cancer and only months to live. In that moment, nothing mattered more than getting home to North Carolina to be by his side. That meant asking for the unthinkable—a trade to the Carolina Cold Fury.

Now I’m home and when I’m not on the ice with my new team, I’m helping care for my dad. And in the midst of my grief, I find comfort from the one person I never expected.

Calliope Ramirez stole my heart at a very young age. The beautiful, smart, headstrong girl next door, she was my first… everything. She has never forgiven me for leaving her, believing that I chose hockey over a future together. What she doesn’t understand is that every decision I made was for her, and I’ve never given up hope that one day we’d be together again.

Watching my dad slip away is a harsh reminder of how short life can be, and having Calliope by my side makes me realize I was a damn fool before. That changes starting right now. Calliope Ramirez is mine and I’m not going to waste the second chance that I’ve been given.

Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.

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Book Trailer

Watch the book trailer here.

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About the Author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Bookbub

Since the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Off Sides, in January 2013, Sawyer Bennett has released multiple books, many of which have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.

A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to erotic contemporary romance, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

Sawyer likes her Bloody Marys strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active daughter, as well as full-time servant to her adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great work-out, cake, or even better, both.

Sawyer also writes general and women’s fiction under the pen name S. Bennett and sweet romance under the name Juliette Poe.

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[Blitz] DON’T GO STEALING MY HEART by Kelly Siskind

About the Book

Title: Don’t Go Stealing My Heart
Author:
Kelly Siskind
Publisher:
CD Books (April 22, 2020)
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Contemporary
Find it on: Amazon | Apple | Nook | Kobo | Goodreads

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Blurb

She wants to steal his Van Gogh. He wants to steal her heart.

Some people would call Clementine Abernathy a criminal. She considers herself a modern day Robin Hood, who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Not exactly on the up-and-up, but she knows what it’s like to lose everything. Her latest heist involves swiping a priceless Van Gogh from its owner, who’s supposed to be an egotistical trust-fund brat.

Turns out Jack David is a sexy, kind-hearted man… and Clementine is in trouble. Falling for her mark would make her the World’s Dumbest Conwoman, but Jack is charmingly persistent, always singing sweet songs in her ear.

And that earth-shattering kiss? She never stood a chance.

Now she’s imagining a fresh start with this dashing man, but that means telling Jack about her past. And other nefarious sorts are after the same painting. Too soon, Clementine learns what it means to risk it all for love.

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Excerpt

God, she wanted to kiss him, and do so much more. To experience sex with someone who knew pieces of her puzzle, who didn’t pity her but lifted her up. If he got his skilled hands on her, she feared and thrilled at what could happen.

“You said you couldn’t ask me on a date,” she said, voice shaky. A pitiful attempt to force their distance.

She’d kissed marks on a job before. She’d play up her prude innocence and nothing more would happen. Rich men, she’d learned, found a hard-to-get woman enticing. A change from gold-diggers hunting for prey. After locating her targeted loot, she’d then feign illness and thank her dates, never to return their calls. A week or month or two later, she’d sneak in and secure her score.

No residual guilt. No longing for what could have been.

Kissing Jack David would wreck her. She knew it. She wasn’t sure she could avoid it, or even worse, fight it.

“I did say I couldn’t date you, didn’t I?” Jack mused, unaware of her turmoil. Or maybe he was aware. It was impossible to hide her trembling limbs. “But kissing isn’t dating, is it?”

“You’re suddenly forward.” As hard as Shy Jack was to resist, Bold Jack was proving more challenging.

“Thing is,” he said, back to drawing sexy circles on his beer bottle, not meeting her eyes. “I’m painfully awkward around beautiful women, which is why I’ve been curt with you at times and generally artless. But when I get comfortable with someone, when trust takes over the nerves”—he looked at her then, right into her eyes—“when that happens, the confidence I feel on stage bleeds into my life.”

He continued staring at her, unabashed, no wobble or skittishness in sight. Shivers erupted along her arms.

This is who I am, his piercing blue eyes said.

I like you. I trust you. I want to kiss you.

Everything she felt in spades. “I think classifying the kiss as dating or messing around depends on the kissing,” she said, breathless.

“Excellent point.” He hummed, still focused on her.

She struggled to fill her lungs.

He smirked knowingly. “Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that I kiss your cheek. Would that be considered acceptable? A non-date kiss?”

The mentioned spot tingled with anticipation. “I believe that would be allowed.”

“And the crescent-moon scar on your shoulder?”

A shaky “yes” was all she managed.

“And the three freckles on your nose, and the birthmark just below your right collarbone, and the one on the back of your neck, that lines up with your spine?” He said all of this with his eyes locked on hers, confident in his seduction. He’d been studying her body without doing so overtly. No different than the way she’d snuck glances of his strapping physique while they’d been running or when emphasized in his tailored suits. Both of them had been lusting from the sidelines.

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About the Author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

A small-town girl at heart, Kelly moved from the city to enjoy the charm of northern Ontario. When she’s not out hiking with her husband or home devouring books, you can find her, notepad in hand, scribbling down one of the many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head.

Her novels have been published internationally.

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[Review] THE VESSELS by Anna M. Elias, 4 out of 5 stars

About the Book

Title: The Vessels
Author: Anna M. Elias
Publisher: Vesuvian Books (July 14, 2020)
Genre: Supernatural, Spirituality, Drama, Suspense
Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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Review

Tal Davis lost her husband and her little boy in a car crash. Guilt consumed her, making her spend her life as a police officer living on the edge; welcoming death in every operation, in the hopes of being with her family again. That was how she coped until she met Jake. But because of her stubbornness, Jake is now gone too. She loses her job, her colleagues’ trust, and love, again. With a devious plan in mind, she takes a one-way ticket flight to Reno where her family died. She buys a blade, walks through an alley filled with homeless people and huge trash bins, and cuts her wrists. To her disappointment, someone comes to her rescue. They mend her wounds and introduce her to The Vessels Program. It works by finding broken people, giving them a home, and asking them to let their bodies become vessels to spirits with unfinished business here on Earth, for seven days. The people heading the program say they respect everyone’s choice, but if you say no, they will wipe all your memories clean.⁣

A nicely paced narrative with diverse characters, Anna Elias’ The Vessels boggles the mind with every chapter. Is the program giving these people a new life or are they being used? What is free will anyway? Is it only allowed for the benefit of the greater good and not for just yourself? This book is heavy on spirituality and faith so non-believers may find it hard to read along. There is more than one main character but Elias takes her time and does a wonderful job in making their motivations known. Suspenseful and intriguing, The Vessels is a good book to read and reflect on.⁣

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Trigger warnings include the death of a loved one, depression, PTSD, graphic injuries, rape, adultery, racism, pregnancy, abortion, and domestic violence. This book was reviewed for Readers’ Favorite. For more bookish content and honest reviews, check my sidebar: follow me here and on the rest of my social media accounts.

[Blitz + Giveaway] ULTRA SQUAD Series by Julia DeVillers

About Ultra Squad

Title: Ultra Squad (Ultra Squad #1)
Author: Julia DeVillers
Illustrator: Rafael Rosado
Publisher: Justice Studios
Genre: Middle-grade, Graphic Novel, Superheroes, Science Fiction
Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Instagram

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Blurb

“Funny, fun, and lots of heart. I’m an Official Member of the UltraSquad!”—Max Brallier, NYT bestselling author of The Last Kids on Earth

ULTRA-FIERCE
ULTRA-SMART
ULTRA-BRAVE
ULTRA-UNIQUE
ULTRA-UNSTOPPABLE
THEY ARE. . .THE ULTRASQUAD!

When an evil force from the far reaches of the galaxy threatens Earth, the UltraSquad, a secret superhero team, with a mission to save the universe through teamwork, positivity, and justice, is enlisted to battle the overly smug villain. Along with their bizarro-cute extra-terrestrial sidekicks, the Pallies, the kick-butt girls employ their magical ultra-superpowers to save the universe! This first book in a new graphic novel series inspires girls to reach for their dreams, work together, and make a difference.

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About Ultra Squad Under the Strangebow

Title: Ultra Squad Under the Strangebow (Ultra Squad #2)
Author: Julia DeVillers
Illustrator: Rafael Rosado
Publisher: Justice Studios
Genre: Middle-grade, Graphic Novel, Superheroes, Science Fiction
Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

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Blurb

An evil, strange rainbow! A former nemesis! And four girls who look exactly like the UltraSquad! It’s an epic battle on an alternate universe for the UltraSquad, a secret superhero team, with a mission to save the universe through teamwork, positivity, and justice. Can the girls and their sidekicks, the Pallies, once again save the world and make it a better place through teamwork, positivity, and unstoppable fierce girl power?

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Praise for the Ultra Squad Series

“A super-fun, super-adorable, super-bighearted read! I want to be part of the squad, my daughters want to be part of the squad. And so will readers!”
— Sarah Mlynowski, NYT bestselling author of the Whatever Ever and Upside Down Magic series

“Quirky, funny, exciting, sweet!”
— Michael Buckley, NYT bestselling author of The Sisters Grimm series, and Finn and the Intergalactic Lunch Box

“Ultra Squad for the win! A graphic novel with heart, brains and lots of camaraderie. Oh, and four brave girls who rock the world with their super powers and smarts. A high-energy, thrilling ride!”
— Ronald L. Smith author of Black Panther: The Young Prince and The Owls Have Come To Take Us Away

“I read this book straight through! There were great plot twists! I loved all of the characters. Bob was my favorite sidekick character. I’m so excited to read the next novel!”
— Ava Lilian, Los Angeles, age 8

“My students love being a part of the Ultra Squad—boys and girls! Highly recommend.”
— Mrs. Deskowicz, Troy, NY

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Meet the Characters

Posey (Pink): She loves acting and has a passion for fashion, especially anything with sequins and glitter! Her motto is “Born to shine!”

Anna (Turquoise): She is a gymnast who loves to stay active both through sports like lacrosse and rock wall climbing. Her motto is “Girls run the world…and the galaxy!”

Lyric (Purple): She lives for music and her guitar and also loves writing poetry and volunteering at the dog shelter. Her motto is “Girls rock!”

Sky (Green): She is super plugged into technology and loves science experiments (like slime!). Her motto is “Problem? Problem solved.”

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About the Author

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

JULIA DEVILLERS is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than two dozen middle-grade and teen novels including How My Private Personal Journal Became a Bestseller, Liberty Porter First Daughter, and Girlwise. She also created the first retail branded book series for girls, Tween Brands (Justice/Limited TOO), and USA Today called it “a novel approach for retailers.” She has appeared on the major television networks and in the New York Times as an expert on tween girls. She lives in Ohio with her husband and their two children.

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About the Illustrator

Born in Puerto Rico and based in Ohio, Rafael Rosado is a veteran of the animation industry. He is currently a storyboard artist for Warner Brothers, Disney, and Cartoon Network.

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Giveaway

Three (3) winners each win a prize package (US only). The prize package includes: the 3 Ultra Squad books + a $25 Justice gift card + an Ultra Squad hat. Click here to enter!

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Blitz Schedule

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[Blitz + Giveaway] FLACA by Leslie DJ

About the Book

Title: Flaca: An honest account of a Latina with an eating disorder
Author: Leslie DJ
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Publisher: Sinister Girlz (February 20, 2020)
Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon

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Blurb

After an intervention during the summer of 2018, Leslie finds herself in a treatment center for an eating disorder she was unaware she had. In her own words, Leslie DJ, author of That Girl and Luz digs deep into her own struggles and battle with anorexia and bipolar II disorder in a brave and sometimes comical account of her life.

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Excerpt

Click the link below to read an excerpt.

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About the Author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

Leslie DJ was born to write, photographs of her holding pen to paper can be found within the confines of this book. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the New School of New York and is an on-air talent at 94.3 FM WBMB Baruch College radio.  She is the host of two podcasts including Sinister Girlz, a female-centric music podcast that promotes local talents in music, and could be found on Stitcher and Apple Podcast. She is a native New Yorker and resides with her pet Chihuahua, Joey, and precocious parrots, Perry and Cocoa.

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Giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway for the book blitz of Flaca. One winner will win a signed copy of both That Girl and Luz by Leslie DJ (US and Canada only). Click here to enter.

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Blitz Schedule

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[Review] BOUNDARIES by Jessica Aiken-Hall, 4 out of 5 stars

About the Book

Title: Boundaries
Author: Jessica Aiken-Hall
Publisher: Moonlit Madness Press
Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon

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Review

Valerie Williamson, or just Val, is dubbed by her colleagues at Lawrenceville Regional Hospital as The Anti-social Social Worker. For sixteen years, she has closed off her world to everyone but her cat, Gabriel, after going through a traumatic event. Now, at thirty-four, she can’t say her life is perfect, but at least her job as a deceased patient coordinator keeps her going. Everything changes when her boss tells her that she will be leading a trauma support group. She is startled by this because, first of all, she is more comfortable dealing with the dead than with the living, and second, how can she comfort people with trauma when she herself can’t even talk about her past? Then, there’s this suicide case of a nineteen-year-old girl that’s keeping her awake at night. And that detective who’s been patient with her all these years is growing on her. With all these, can Val keep her boundaries in check?

The fact that the book itself carries trigger warnings is commendable; that is how it should be, especially when dealing with sensitive topics. A whirlwind of murder mystery, cheesy romance, and family drama, Jessica-Aiken Hall’s Boundaries both shocks and comforts.  It teaches everyone how to properly take care of people and at the same time shows that sometimes, the best way is to take matters into your own hands as the justice system is rubbish. It’s heavy yet inspiring; it’s dark but it’s beautiful. Equipped with the right pacing, angst, and a bit of comedy, the only problem with this book is that the ending feels rushed. Being the first installment in the Scope of Practice series, Boundaries holds a lot of promise and puts pressure on the next one.

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Trigger warnings include murder, child abuse, domestic violence, drugs, rape, pregnancy, borderline personality disorder, and a dysfunctional parent. ⁣⁣⁣This book was reviewed for Readers’ Favorite. For more bookish content and honest reviews, check my sidebar: follow me here and on the rest of my social media accounts.