Borrowed Treasure by Jessica Tastet

Congratulations to author, Jessica Tastet on the release of her latest novel, Borrowed Treasure! Read on for more info and a chance to win a digital copy of the book!

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Borrowed Treasure Cover

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Borrowed Treasure

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Publication Date: April 13th, 2021

Genre: Women’s Fiction; Clean Romance

Publisher: Dandelion Wish Publishing

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Sissy Ames has been driven to succeed her entire life. On her own, she’s turned her Bittersweet Café into a success, and she’s rebuilt a friendship with her cousin Harper after years of going it alone, but her past bad judgement in trusting Hunter Wells during their relationship continues to cast shadows on the future she’s trying to build for herself.

Hunter Wells has been coasting through life, working at the family business and creating the life that his family expects for him. He’d once hoped for a different existence, but he’d been forced to move on and make do after Sissy Ames had ended their three-year relationship without an explanation.

Even in their small town, the two have managed to avoid each other, but then Hunter’s fiancée, Sissy’s nemesis, disappears after a suspicious confrontation, leaving them both looking like likely suspects. The only hope they have of clearing their names and figuring out what led to the disappearance is to find the one item that drove them apart two years ago: The Ames BORROWED TREASURE.

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Available on Amazon and other Online Retailers!

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Excerpt

Sissy

Sissy Ames ducked behind the ostentatious flower arrangement with its oversized lilies and Hyacinthian sprays shooting out at unnatural angles. The thickness hid the center of the room but exposed her to the tableclothed tables lining either side where the overdressed elite of Thibodaux and its surrounding areas sat. Tonight represented everything she typically avoided, mainly so that she could stay out of the proximity of the woman commanding the center floor. Why her arch nemesis must flit around the ballroom gloating about her latest accomplishment was beyond Sissy. That woman’s pretentious fake smile and sickly-sweet voice had followed Sissy wherever she went in the large ballroom until her hands had begun to shake and her jaw to ache from the clenching.

Harper, her cousin, approached from the buffet table near the rear of the room. “The lobster bisque’s edible.” Holding out a tiny plastic bowl towards Sissy, Harper shrugged bare shoulders in defeat. Although the food lacked appeal, Harper certainly stunned in the black skintight number Sissy had sent over for her to wear tonight. Sissy had been right to prod the usually casual attired woman into vintage satin as it hugged her hips and showed off the curvy body that Sissy unfortunately did not possess. Sissy had inherited her mother’s straight form among other genetics she wished she could trade in.

Accepting the ecru soup, Sissy’s eyes scanned the crowd, looking for Cecelia Domangue, the bane of her existence since they were fifteen years old and fighting over president of student council. Currently, the petite blonde in a fuchsia Valentino stood chatting with a town councilman and the sheriff, her fake laugh chiming her existence from twenty feet away.

Sissy ran a clear plastic spoon through the watery consistency of the bisque. In her head she mentally critiqued the recipe’s minimal usage of cream. “Anything has to be better than that beef dish.”

Narrowing her emerald eyes, Harper twisted her lips and flashed Sissy a familiar look. Sissy’s cheeks warmed. Her resentment must be showing.

Sissy had submitted a bid to cater the fundraiser tonight in an attempt at a business expansion, but her bid had been accepted under condition. As the serving contract had been awarded to Cecelia’s restaurant Twilight Fare, Sissy would have to submit her recipes to Cecelia for approval and preparation. As if Sissy would ever turn over her recipes to the woman who’d opened a restaurant blocks over in her continuing effort to encroach on every aspect of Sissy’s life. Even if Sissy’s own Bittersweet Café catered to a different crowd than Cecelia’s Twilight Fare, that woman had branched right into catering which Sissy had cautiously tested the waters only a month before Cecelia had gone full blown into advertising her own services.

Harper glanced away to scan the room, and Sissy returned to the soup, which she knew she could have done better. “How long do we have to stay?”

Discarding the bowl, Sissy picked up her champagne glass from the table instead. At least they’d bought the good stuff. “We need to be sure the right people see our faces, but besides from that, the committee already has our hundred bucks a head, so I don’t think they care if we are here an hour or close the place down.”

Tonight’s fundraiser for the Downtown Revitalization committee had the special purpose of raising money to spruce up the downtown area with seasonal decorations to help promote the Christmas festival. The event had filled the local university ballroom with the social society of the small-town area and all its neighboring towns to be sure. As part of the committee, Sissy had aided in promoting the event, even though Cecelia’s recent addition to the committee had managed to sway votes and shut her out of the menu selections.

Harper picked up her own glass from the table and sipped. “I see a few local lawyers from Emmett’s last mixer. I’ll go over and say hello. If I’m lucky, I may get home early enough to speak to Emmett before the different time zones mean he’s sleeping.”

Sissy had Cecelia in her crosshairs, and she waited for her to prance to another unsuspecting guest, so she could emerge from behind the flowers that Sissy had voted against. Currently, Cecelia stood near Rudy Klingman, councilman for her district, who dropped in every Wednesday for a number six special, and she’d promised to propose streetlamps to him on behalf of the committee. Distracted, she asked Harper. “Any indication when he’s going to return from New York?”

Harper shrugged. “He says the case should wrap up in a day or two. I believe he’s enjoying it way too much.”

Sissy waved Harper’s doubt away with her champagned hand. “Pish, Emmett will be home soon, and you two will be making me sick with your sweetness.”

Harper smiled, her olive complexion flushing. “Okay, no arguing with my date tonight, especially since you drove. Let’s make our rounds and be out of here in thirty minutes.”

Sissy nodded and raised her flute in the air as if to toast. “That’s a plan I can drink to.”

Harper clinked her glass against Sissy’s, and then they departed into the mingling crowd.

Avoiding Cecelia’s group, Sissy slunk over to Suzy Rhodes, greeting a few of the lawyers and two judges that frequented her business for lunch during the week. In her two-piece blue suit, Suzy stood removed from the invitees, her eyes watching everyone. Her stance hadn’t changed since high school although she’d updated her attire to pant suits and cut her hair into a short bob she tucked behind her ears. Back then, she’d taken photos for the yearbook and everyone had wanted her attention to get within the pages. Today, she wrote a monthly column in the local entertainment magazine, specifically a review of local eateries. Sissy had attempted getting the café featured for months now, even sending a personalized gift certificate two months ago. The woman had never responded to the invitation nor shown up as even a patron, but Cecelia’s Twilight Fare had been prominently featured, not only as a food review but as a front-page feature on up and coming restaurant owners.

Suzy Rhodes smiled, her cheeks dimpling as Sissy approached. “Why, Sissy Ames, I’m surprised to see you at a swanky function like this. Not your usual soiree, huh?”

Plastering a smile on her face, Sissy drew upon her southern manners she knew lay beyond her desire to give the woman a good tongue lashing. “Since my café is located in the center of downtown, I have a vested interest in its revitalization efforts.”

Laughing airily, Suzy’s eyes wandered the room as if bored with the conversation. “Right, that’s true, your little café is down there. I never remember it’s there.”

Sissy raised an eyebrow, holding her glass closer to her lips. “I know. I’ve invited you several times as part of that little column of yours, but you have yet to accept my invitation.”

A short, fierce laugh escaped as Suzy’s eyes met Sissy’s. She returned to her survey of the room just as quickly though. “My lord Sissy, I can’t accept every invitation I receive.”

“Hmm.” Sissy scanned the room, her eyes naturally falling upon Cecelia, who stood facing Chef Homme from Le Homme, the elegant downtown restaurant. The two’s expressions revealed deep, serious conversation—too serious for a social mixer. “Is that why your material has been repetitive?”

Suzy’s stance shifted. “Excuse me?”

Sissy smiled, tilting her head. “Oh, I thought you were just so busy that you recycled material from the same four restaurants. Everyone has been talking.”

Sissy continued smiling as Suzy’s eyes lit with anger. The dark haired, flat nosed woman bit her tongue though. They’d all been raised too southern to truly speak their minds at events such as these.

“Well, it was nice running into you,” Sissy said, bowing her head in exit. “But I see a city council member I need to have a word with about lamp posts.”

Sissy pivoted, feeling a surge of confidence from the conversation. Moments ago, she’d hid behind hideous flowers to avoid her high school tormentor, but they had grown up, even though some didn’t behave as if they had. Cecelia and even Suzy hid behind country club houses and designer labels still, making others feel as if they didn’t measure up in the circles they all moved in. She had to remind herself in their vicinity that she was proud of her downtown renovated apartment and scavenged consignment finds.

Spotting Cecelia ahead on her path though, she pivoted and turned the other way to avoid her. She told herself that with her new found attitude, she would probably lose her southern manners and regret it later.

Her attention lingered too long over Cecelia, and when she turned, she hit a wall of black cashmere and white softened woven cotton. Reaching her hand out, she pushed herself away, inhaling the masculine smell of sandalwood and musk. From his chest hugging shirt, her eyes followed the Italian silk woven tie in its beautiful pastel green and yellow swirl pattern. The feminine color selection had been a brave choice for a function such as this where the men showcased their masculinity and their pocketbooks. So, he either didn’t know better or his power came with his name.

She continued on up to his tie’s perfectly anchored knot and landed on the chiseled jawline and soft brown, waiting eyes of Hunter Wells.

Her nose flared as she inhaled deeply, an awareness of their nearness. She took a step back.

“Excuse me.” Sissy felt her cheeks burn as the back of her neck flushed.

A light flickered in his warm chocolate eyes.

“Of course.” Hunter nodded, and his lip twitched. “How have you been?”

Hearing her heart pound in her throat, Sissy straightened her spine, bracing herself for the old anger to return, but his nearness tempered any old residual anger.

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Continue reading “Borrowed Treasure by Jessica Tastet”

The Witches of Vegas by Mark Rosendorf

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pages: 272

Series: The Witches of Vegas, Book 1

Genres: Paranormal; Witches; Urban Fantasy; Young Adult

Publication date: August 5, 2020

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Where can Witches and their vampire mentor practice their powers without being discovered or persecuted?

By using their magic, the Witches of Vegas become the number one act performing on the Las Vegas Strip—a great achievement for them, but not so much for the magicians—who can’t possibly keep pace.

Isis Rivera is the adopted fifteen-year old daughter of The Witches of Vegas. Zack Galloway is the teenage nephew and assistant to the last magician left in the city. Although they should be rivals, when Valeria, a four-hundred-year-old witch with a long-seeded grudge against humanity arrives in Sin-City, both teens act to bring their families together to stop the evil hag in her tracks.

But can the combined witches’ powers and the ingenuity of the magicians be enough to stop Valeria from taking over the city and possibly the world?

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“How… how do you know me?” Isis asked.

“You ask a lot of questions. I like that. A curious mind is a good thing.” Sebastian held out his hand and made circular motions. A tiny rainbow appeared inside the imaginary circle. Isis reached with her left hand for the rainbow. Her fingers went straight through as if it wasn’t there.

“My wife and her sister sensed you. They’re far more connected to the energy than I am. But maybe not as connected as you. We’ll have to see.”

Prologue

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I received this story in exchange for an honest review and I’m glad that this book was brought to my attention. It’s got exactly what I look for in a book – magic and mayhem. Who doesn’t like to watch a good magic show? While I’ve personally never been to Vegas so haven’t seen a magic show on the strip, I can only imagine that this would be even better if the show contained real witchy magic.

While the main plot of this story is certainly the battle against Valeria to save the world from her evil ways, I liked the more subtle lessons that the book dealt with as well. For instance, sometimes it’s hard to picture what consequences your actions will have, how they’ll affect other people. Hindsight is 20/20, but as soon as you’ve been shown the error of your ways, you should do what you can in order to prevent the same mistakes from happening again.

Isis might not have come into her full powers yet, but that doesn’t stop her from being a badass and doing what’s right in order to protect those who can’t protect herself. Even if it means risking her own life to do so.

Rosendorf did a fantastic job at creating a world that was vibrant and full of life. Of creating characters that have true emotions and motivations, family ties that are stronger than life itself. Even the way the story starts – Based on a true story from a different reality – had my attention peeked at once.

I greatly enjoyed my time in this world and look forward to jumping back into it in Journey to New Salem. Isis’ journey is far from over and I can’t wait to see what the crew will do from this point forward.

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The Oracle of Philadelphia by Elizabeth Corrigan

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pages: 222

Series: Earthbound Angels, Book 1

Genres: Fantasy; Urban Fantasy; Paranormal; Angels & Demons; Mythology

Publication date: March 20, 2013

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Carrie works at a diner in South Philadelphia, dispensing advice to humans and angels wise enough to seek her counsel. But there are some problems that even the best advice can’t solve. Her latest supplicant, Sebastian, is unique among those who have sought her aid – he sold his soul to a demon to save his sister’s life. Yet his heart remains pure.

Carrie has lived for millennia with the knowledge that her immortality is due to the suffering of others and she can’t bare to see another good man damned while it’s within her power to prevent it. In order to negotiate his contract, Carrie must travel the depths of hall and parley with the demons that control pathways. As the cost of her journey rises, Carrie must determine how much she’s willing to sacrifice to save one good soul.

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We’d had what passed for a lunch rush – two whole tables occupied at once – and I was clearing off the tables when I heard the words that were going to change my life: “I’m here to see the Oracle.”

Chapter One

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I stumbled upon this read while looking at one of Corrigan’s other reads, and I absolutely felly in love with the cover. Not only is the cover fantastic, but I’ve always been drawn to stories about oracles and the different planes of existence. In this case, the mortal realm and the hell realm where the demons reside – my terms, the book just calls this being alive and in Hell. 

Even further than that, I’ve always been interested in tales about fallen angels and how the war between Lucifer and God impacted them. While the same characters always play a role – they were, after all, the angels that fought on the opposing sides in the way – I enjoyed the way that Corrigan dealt with them all. I loved the different personalities. Like Bedlam not always trying to cause chaos but always being the chaos that he stands for. Or Gabriel being so pure of heart that he makes Michael – right hand of God – feel inferior at times.

Carrie’s own story took center stage over the story I thought this book was going to tell – the tale of Sebastian and how Carrie was going to travel to Hell in order to save his soul. Don’t get me wrong, the synopsis wasn’t lying when it said that Sebastian’s request for help would be the driving force in Carrie’s life. But I expected more of an epic quest into Hell than what we’re given. Instead, the story is filled with flashbacks into Carrie’s long life and the events that led her to be the person she is.

Although it took me a while to be okay with the lack of an epic hellscape adventure like I was expecting, I ended up enjoying Carrie’s story much more than I think I would have had this story been exactly what I was expecting. Jumping between timelines isn’t always something I follow too well, but Corrigan did an amazing job at it. It not only helped make Carrie’s decisions make sense, but it also made her willingness to change her behaviour for one good soul that much more impactful. I can’t wait to dive back into this story and see when Carrie and her friends take the world.

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A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Pages: 336

Series: Thorne Manor, Book 1

Genres: Romance; Time Travel; Fantasy; Mystery; Paranormal; Historical Fiction; Paranormal Romance; Ghosts

Publication date: October 13, 2020

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Thorne Manor has always been haunted… and it’s always haunted Bronwyn Dale. As a young girl, Bronwyn could slip through time in her great aunt’s house where she could visit with William Thorne, a boy her own age, born two centuries earlier. After a family tragedy, Bronwyn is convinced that William existed only in her imagination.

Now, twenty years later, Bronwyn inherits Thorne Manor and the ghosts within it. When she returns, William is waiting.

William Thorne is no longer the boy she remembers. Grown into a difficult and tempestuous man, his own life has been marred by tragedy and scandal that has him living at the manor – and his beloved moors – in self imposed exile. He’s also holding a grudge at Bronwyn for abandoning him all those years ago.

As their friendship rekindles and sparks into something more, Bronwyn must also deal with the ghosts in the present version of the house. Soon she realizes that they are linked to William and the scandal surrounding him. To build a future, Bronwyn must confront the past.

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“There’s a little too much of the dark and brooding about you, but the young ladies today have all read Wuthering Heights. They’ll positively devour a mysterious lord who lives in the moors, pining for -“

“Dear God, yes, that is exactly what I want. A silly chit who mistakes me for a sadistic, obsessive fictional lout. Please, send a dozen on the next train.”

Chapter Four

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Like I said in my April TBR, I finished this book pretty early on in the month – April 2nd to be exact. This was the book I chose to read for the March Buzzword of “Time”. I started it pretty late in March which wouldn’t have usually been a problem, but after the first night where I flew through half this story, I couldn’t pick the book back up until I’d finished moving… in April. And my eternally procrastinating bottom has put off writing this review until the second half of the month – much later than I would have initially liked.

I didn’t read the synopsis going into this story because Kelley Armstrong is my favourite author of all time. I knew that no matter what she put in this book I was going to love it. And I was right. This is a fantastic story and if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend that you do.

The characters feel real, the world is inspiring, and somehow her twists always take me by surprise. I like to pride myself on my ability to catch plot twists coming, but Armstrong somehow manages to get me so caught up in her red herrings that I’m constantly missing the little, more subtle, clues. And the emotion that she’s able to get out of me!

Not only that, but I absolutely adore how clear it is that Armstrong put in work when it comes to her research. Sometimes it’s the subtle things like the cadence through which William and the people of the past speak. Sometimes it’s the more obvious things like historical events and how they impact the two timelines. It’s clear that Armstrong has put in time, dedication, and love into the book – enough that it comes flying off the page at the reader as the story progresses.

I have yet to read a Kelley Armstrong book that I haven’t fallen madly in love with, and I highly doubt that day will ever come. I’m sitting here, on the edge of my seat, waiting oh so impatiently for A Twist of Fate (GoodReads) to come out.

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Continue reading “A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong”

The Forever Crew by C.M. Stunich

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Pages: 288

Series: Adamson All-Boys Academy, Book 3

Genres: Reverse Harem, Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense, Dark, Bullying Romance (sub genre)

Publication date: January 24, 2020

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Charlotte is officially dating the entire student council, a fact that her headmaster father isn’t thrilled with. Two students are dead at this point, and all signs point to Charlotte being next. Everyone is on her suspect list, even the very boys that she’s falling in love with. What’s a girl to do in a situation like this other than don the skirt she’d been refusing and show all of the haters that she’s not afraid of them? After all, it’s her final year in high school so she’s going to make the most of it.

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Our past isn’t an anchor that keeps us tied to a shipwreck beneath the sea; it’s the sail that we can collect wind in so that we can soar.

Chapter Four

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This story is the final in the trilogy and was a fun read. While the raunchiness ramped up throughout the entire story – and if that’s what you’re reading these books for then you’ll love it – the plot in this book just wasn’t as strong to me as the first two novels. Charlotte and her boys are still trying to piece together the who and the why about who’s trying to kill her, but that plot seems to have taken a backseat to the romance within this story.

To a certain extent that makes sense – this is a contemporary reverse harlem romance novel after all – but the mystery in the background has now been teased for two books leading up to this, the finale. Personally, I wish that this story paid more focus to the murder mystery part of the story than it did as the mystery held so much promise.

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Continue reading “The Forever Crew by C.M. Stunich”

The Peasant’s Dream by Melanie Dickerson

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Pages: 311

Series: Hagenheim, Book 11

Genres: Romance, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Retelling, Christian Fiction, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling

Publication date: July 7, 2021

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Adela, the daughter of the Duke of Hagenheim, is rarely allowed outside of the castle walls. But longing for freedom, she sneaks out to the marked disguised as a peasant where she meets a handsom woodcarver named Frederick.

Frederick, a poor farmer, is the sole provider for his family and often his mother’s defender from his father’s drunken rages. He dreams of making a living carving wood and is thrilled when the Bishop of Hagenheim commissions him to carve new doors for the cathedral. As he works on the project, he and Adela meet almost daily and it doesn’t take them long to fall in love. Yet her true identity remains hidden from him.

When disaster separates the two, Adela and Frederick find themselves caught in the midst of a deception far more dangerous than innocent disguises.

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“I am spoiled, I suppose.”

“Spoiled?”

“I am used to having everything I need and almost everything I want.”

“You aren’t spoiled. You are loved and blessed. And love is much more important than wealth. If you have to live without wealth, you might have some difficulties, but living without love… that would be tragic indeed.”

Chapter 5

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As this is a reverse Cinderella retelling, I didn’t think that I’d need to have read the rest of the series before diving into this story. I’d originally hoped to read this story in January as another read for the Buzzword Readathon/Reading Challenge, but the copy from my local library wasn’t available until mid to late March. So, I waited until the book was available and enjoyed the read.

While this was a decent story, I wouldn’t really call it a “Cinderella retelling” per say – or even a reverse retelling. While there was a very brief ball scene, the main Cinderella storyline doesn’t really happen in this story. While there’s nothing to say that a retelling has to stay true to the original – in fact, one of my favourite retellings ever is a twisted story that only follows the original bones of the source material – I still prefer the story to clearly pull from the source material.

It felt more like a traditional Historical YA read than a fairy tale retelling to me, but that’s a personal perspective. Historical fiction isn’t my favourite genre – unless it’s got a fantastical twist or is further broken down into the Steampunk subgenre – which also impacted my enjoyment of the story. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why some people would enjoy the historical aspect of this story. I’m just not the intended audience for this story (no matter how much I thought I was going into this read).

It was a cute story if you’re not trying to force it into the confines of a retelling, but I found the side storylines and characters more compelling than the main plot of this story. While I don’t regret reading this story, I don’t know if I’ll bother reading anything else from this series.

That isn’t to say I won’t read more of Dickerson’s works, I will. I enjoyed the writing style of this story immensely. It’s just the specific series that I don’t think is my speed.

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Continue reading “The Peasant’s Dream by Melanie Dickerson”

Condition Black by Gareth Worthington and Stu Jones (Spoiler free review)

Pages: 332

Goodreads: Condition Black

Genres: Medical Thriller; Military Thriller

Expected Publication date: April 13, 2021

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EVAN WEYLAND, a brilliant research scientist tasked with developing new technologies to fight cancer, sees the world through the lens of someone on the Autism Spectrum. His guiding light is his wife, Marie-a globally recognized war correspondent. When she returns home from Syria deathly ill with an unknown disease, Evan believes his research may be the key to unlocking the cure. However, when his superiors refuse his request for help, Evan’s single-minded love for Marie drives him to take matters into his own hands. It is a decision with far greater consequences than he could possibly fathom.

BILLY VICK, a Captain in the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, is a combat veteran unable to leave the horrors of war behind. Only the love of his family and a sense of absolute justice keeps him grounded. When Billy’s unit becomes aware of a US-sanctioned airstrike on a civilian settlement in Syria and an eye-witness reporter comatose with an unknown illness, he fears the worst. An unethical military project thought mothballed has resurfaced, and a civilian, Evan Weyland, maybe about to inadvertently unleash it upon the world. It’s a mistake that could cost the lives of millions.

Pitted against each other in a game of chess-like deception and intrigue, with time running out, both men must come to terms with the magnitude of what’s at stake-and what each is willing to sacrifice to win.

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“That’s Evan Weyland,” George said. “He comes through here all the time, dropping his wife off at the airport.”

“What’s wrong with him?” the soldier asked.

“He’s harmless,” George replied. “He’s on the spectrum. A bit odd, but clever as hell. He’s a researcher at John Hopkins. The guy doesn’t deserve a gun in the chest. You get me?”

“Yes, sir, but if he’s autistic shouldn’t he carry a medical card or something?”

“A medical card? Why? Do they make you carry one that says asshole on it?”

Chapter 3, pg. 28-29

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Available on Amazon!

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Gifted by Andy Lewter

Gifted

Congratulations to author Andy Lewter on the re-release of her YA Fantasy, Gifted! Read on for more details!

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Gifted (A Valens Series #1)

Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Genre: YA Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Publication Date: March 15th, 2021

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The last thing Abigail Everett thought would happen over spring break was having her world shift into an entirely new perspective. Unfortunately for her, that’s exactly what happened.

Between struggling to master her newly-formed abilities, coming face-to-face with dark, deceiving mind tricks by those that seek her leadership, and learning of a mythical world that she never deemed possible, Abigail risks everything with the future of mankind and the safety of its’ people in her hands.

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Add to Goodreads

Now Available on Amazon!

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Excerpt

“How much do you know?” he suddenly asked. There was intensity in his expression now, a determination.

I pulled my hand away and felt my brows furrow. “I don’t understand.”

“When did you turn?” he pressed again, quirking an eyebrow.

I stared. I had no idea what he was talking about. Worst of all, I was terrified to ask.

My silence hung so thick in the air I felt I could grasp it. “Your father never told you anything?”

Taking my continued silence as an answer, he released a dark, dangerous laugh.

A laugh that held secrets. About me. And I was the only one left in the dark.

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Reaper: Aftermath by Jonathan Pongratz (Spoiler Review)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pages: 338

Series: Reaper, Book 2

Genres: Sci-Fi Horror, Apocalypse

Publication date: February 5, 2021

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Five years have passed since the Reapers invaded Earth and tore it asunder. Gregory, his mother, Trent, and their group of scavengers hunt the decimated wastelands for survival.

But when a sudden Reaper attack forces Gregory through a Reaper door, he finds himself in a bizarre place, one that may provide answers to the Reapers’ past and where they came from.

Can Gregory put together the pieces of the past and find his way home, or will he just become another human casualty in the lost war against the Reapers?

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For the past five years, I let myself be defined by other peoples’ opinions. They told me I was nothing, so I believed it. They treated me like crap, and I allowed them to. But lately something had sparked in me.

Chapter Nineteen

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I really like the way that Pongratz has created his post-apocalyptical world. The issues that arise from the very beginning – such as the rarity of food even five years after the catastrophic events that started it all – are all dealt with in a real way. Even just looking at the start of the global pandemic we’re currently going through shows that any disruption to the global food market greatly impacts the accessibility of food. As humans we no longer rely on nearby food supplies, so any event as catastrophic as the Reapers coming to Earth is going to make it hard to survive. I applaud Pongratz for these subtle, but powerful, additions to the world that he’s created.

That being said, the plot itself is what truly captures a reader’s attention. The twists and turns in this story managed to keep me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The action in this novel was thrilling and as eye catching as any action movie. Heck, even the way the characters act – both to each other but also Greg’s internal monologue – help make the situation feel real. Wouldn’t you be a pessimist if you were the cause of the end of the world?

If you’re looking for a fantastic thriller read, I’d highly recommend checking this story out. The Novella that started it all is a great stepping stone to this story. Reaper: Aftermath does a fantastic job at creating an apocalyptic world that I’d be terrified to live in but greatly enjoyed reading about.

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The Ruthless Boys by C.M. Stunich

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Pages: 420

Series: Adamson All-Boys Academy, Book 1

Genres: Reverse Harem, Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense, Dark, Bullying Romance (sub genre)

Publication date: August 11, 2019

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Charlotte finally knows the secret that the student council has known all along: Jenica Woodruff, the only girl to attend the academy before Charlotte, didn’t commit suicide. She was murdered. And it was covered up. Now someone is after Charlotte and no matter where she goes, the killer follows. While not an official member of the student council, Charlotte has been taken under their wing after everything they’ve been through together.

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It feels selfish of me to be so sad over Spencer when he was their friend first, their friend for longer. If you think about it, I barely knew the guy.

But there was something there.

There could have been something great there.

Chapter One

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Regardless of Charlotte’s sentiment above, everyone deserves a chance to mourn. You might not have known someone long, but any relationship at all is enough time to know someone long enough to mourn them. Also, I love the way that Charlotte mourns the aforementioned friend – through texting him her feelings for him, to let him know that even though they might not have known each other long, there was something there. Their friendship meant something to her and even though she wasn’t sure he would ever hear her words, she wanted to make sure that he knew it.

Picking up almost exactly where The Secret Girl left off, this story gave me everything the first book did – minus the slow start. I’m glad that the bullying is pretty much done at this point in the story – from the student council at least. While I know that this tale is marketed as a bullying romance, I’ll admit that’s not a trope I generally enjoy. Like Charlotte herself, it’s the reverse harem aspect of this story that drew me in.

This story is filled with bate and switches that, while predictable, are enjoyable to read. The mystery itself is able to capture my attention and make me wanting more. Thankfully the budding romances in this tale are not the only focus of the story. Jenica might be dead, but her story is far from over.

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Continue reading “The Ruthless Boys by C.M. Stunich”