Friday, March 22, 2019

Upside Down by N.R. Walker

Jordan O’Neill isn’t a fan of labels, considering he has a few. Gay, geek, a librarian, socially awkward, a nervous rambler, an introvert, an outsider. The last thing he needs is one more. But he when he realises adding the label ‘asexual’ might explain a lot, it turns his world upside down.

Hennessy Lang moved to Surry Hills after splitting with his boyfriend. His being asexual had seen the end of a lot of his romances, but he’s determined to stay true to himself. Leaving his North Shore support group behind, he starts his own in Surry Hills, where he meets first-time-attendee Jordan.

A little bewildered and scared, but completely adorable, Hennessy is struck by this guy who’s trying to find where he belongs. Maybe Hennessy can convince Jordan that his world hasn’t been turned upside down at all, but maybe it’s now—for the first time in his life—the right way up.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

As wordy as my reviews can be, I cannot fully express how much I love this book. I received a review copy of Upside Down on March 10th, the first day of Daylight Saving Time and knowing that Monday was going to rough no matter what I did, I stayed up all night reading it. It was just as well that I planned to stay up because there was no way I could have put the book down before reaching the end because even though I knew that N.R. Walker would make sure that Jordan and Hennessy made it to their happy ending together, I had to know HOW they got there.

I’m not sure that I’ve ever been quite so jealous of a best friend in a book as I am of Merry. You see, Jordan is a perfectly adorkable, socially awkward, mo-fo bomb dropping, introvert book nerd who I would LOVE to be friends with. Although I’m almost twenty years older and gray ace, I identified with Jordan on so many levels that it made for one of the most immersive reading experiences I’ve had in a very long time and left me feeling as though I was saying goodbye to friends when I reached the end of the book – which is probably why I’ve read it twice already and am hoping beyond all hope that Walker already has an audiobook in the works for it. My review on Goodreads for almost two weeks was simply #jordanistoomotherfuckingcute because I couldn’t figure out to express how much I loved Upside Down, but the idea of leaving the usual “Review to be posted.” comment left me aghast because I could not do that to Jordan.

While Jordan is who made the book perfect for me, his courtship with Hennessy is its own level of entertaining. Having a front-row seat to Jordan’s mortification upon realizing that his Headphones Guy and the coordinator of the Asexuality Support Group that Merry forces him to attend was only outdone by his verbal meltdown when he scolds Merry for leaving him alone with Hennessy, unsupervised. I spent so much of this book either grinning like a loon or outright laughing that my face hurt the next day, in the best possible ways. But I went from cringing in embarrassed sympathy with Jordan to that giddy excitement of a fledgling relationship as Jordan and Hennessy make the most of their brief time together on the bus ride home each day. Despite Jordan’s tendency to ramble nervously, Hennessy manages to pull him out of his shell as the two get to know one another with silly questions, quick conversations, and book quotes. That they had a bus full of chaperones who became just as invested in their courtship just made it that much cuter. I adored that even when they began to go out on official dates, their bus ride courtship continued. But don’t let me fool you into thinking the author is skirting cuteness overload because that’s not the case. Nope, Walker serves up plenty of angst because after all, Jordan is not only falling in love, he’s finding out who he is and what it means for him relationship-wise.

Not only is Upside Down an entertaining romance, but Walker does an excellent job of educating readers about asexuality in an organic manner. Between the asexuality support group meetings and conversations between Jordan and Merry, and Jordan and Hennessy, readers learn what it means to be asexual right alongside Jordan as he tries to figure out if it’s the label that fits him. As someone in the asexual tribe, I found that the multiple discussions about how there’s nothing wrong with asexuals, that they’re not broken, and that their normal is just as valid as that of non-asexuals to be very important points and found it quite self-affirming. That said, I’m interested to see how non-Ace readers respond to the repetition or whether they even noticed it. I realize it’s only March, but I have a feeling that Upside Down is going to be my favorite book of the year. It’s definitely my favorite N.R. Walker book, that’s for sure. Okay, I feel like I’m channeling my inner Jordan as I ramble on, trying to express how much I loved, floved, mother-floved this book. It has a permanent position on my re-read list… at least until it comes out on audio, that is. Whether you’re asexual, questioning if you might be, curious about asexuality, or are just looking for a sweet, yet grin-inducing romance between an introverted book nerd and an internet ninja, I cannot recommend this book enough.

Finally, if I can be so bold as to make a request to the author… can we please have a book for Angus, Michael, and Veronica? Pretty, pretty please.

This is a sweet and funny romance. Librarian Jordan tends to ramble when he’s nervous and he can’t seem to stop himself swearing at inappropriate times. Internet ninja Hennessy is just trying to get his life back together after a bad breakup – until he meets Jordan.

Jordan made me laugh so much. He’s a well-meaning hot mess and I’m still not sure how he manages to keep his job. But he’s sweet and funny and I love his obsession with books. Hennessy feels a little bit older, a little bit more mature, and a tiny bit more sensible than Jordan. But he’s scared of getting his heart hurt and determined to hold out for an asexual partner. I love the conversations these two share and their commuter courtship is wonderful.

The other wonderful part of this book involves Jordan and Hennessy’s friends. Merry and Angus are fabulous, and Michael and Vee come into their own at the end. I love ‘family of choice’ stories and I really loved the quirky, memorable people who surround Jordan and Hennessy. Jordan and Hennessy’s bus friends are also a delightful surprise.

The asexual aspect of Jordan and Hennessy’s relationship was a little bit difficult for me to wrap my head around. I can appreciate asexuality on a theoretical level but on a more practical level I found it challenging to untangle romance from sex in this book. I’m aware my experience is a conditioned response – much of the traditional romance story arc is based around sexual chemistry and a buildup of sexual tension. This book challenges and bends some key romance genre tropes and I’m actually glad it pushed me out of my comfort zone. However. I still don’t feel I have a firm understanding of asexuality. As the Ace support group leader, Hennessy gives a couple of long-winded explanations of asexuality that made me even more confused. So, I really enjoyed the book but I will admit that there are several aspects of asexuality that still confuse me and I think I’m always going to want a little sex in my romance.

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things... but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since...

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Upside Down by N.R. Walker to read and review.

The Five by Lily White Release Blitz

This is not your average love story...

Every man who meets Rainey wants her. Having lived a life of sex, drugs and manipulation, she is a temptation with far too many secrets.

When psychologist, Justin Redding, is assigned to Rainey's case, he has no way of knowing the tale of debauchery he will encounter.

On a twisted path of love, loss and murder, Rainey leads Justin through the events of her life.

Death follows Rainey...
Justin fights to discover her secrets...

But will he discover the secret of THE FIVE in time to resist Rainey's ultimate seduction?

***DISCLAIMER: This book deals with sensitive subject matters that may be upsetting for some readers.

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“No, Rainey. Let me look at you. I love looking at you. Even when I close my eyes, all I see is you.”

I dropped my arms, my legs trembling. This was Rowan, the sweet, kindhearted boy I loved. Yet, in that moment I feared him. The adrenaline was wearing off and I was suddenly so cold.

His lips parted as he stared at me, those blue eyes I knew so well slowly taking in my body as heat blazed behind them. He’d grown so large, twice my size at least, and it had never occurred to me how strong he was until now. Nobody would pick on him anymore. Not without getting their asses handed to them in a fight.

“Can I touch you, Rainey?” His eyes lifted to mine. “Is that all right? For me to touch you?”

“Always,” I whispered, unable to put any strength in my voice. “You can always touch me.”

He stepped forward and I stepped back out of instinct. He would never hurt me. Not Rowan. But what I saw in him now was the predator that had always lingered just beneath the surface. He wasn’t a monster like his family or David. Not him. He was something else entirely.

Pain shot through his eyes when I moved, his hands fisting at his sides. “Do I scare you now?”

Shaking my head, I forced my mouth to move. “No. It’s just – ”

“Just what?”

“You’re different, Rowan. A man, I guess. You’ve grown.”

Blue eyes held mine, the darkness in them seeping away, but not entirely. His lips pulled into a tight smile. “You need a man. I’ve become exactly what you need. For you, Rainey. Not anybody else. Just for you.”

I drew in a rattling breath. “Touch me.”

Rowan moved forward and I held my ground, craning my neck to look up at him. He was shaking, his skin so cold that I knew I had to fix him somehow. “Rowan?”


“Will you kiss me?”

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆☆
4.5 twisted stars
M/F Thriller, Romance
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

Whew! This book is a head trip! Right away, you're sucked into the case where Rainey is being seen as both victim and suspect in the murders of people she is acquainted with. The tale that is told by Rainey is both heartbreaking and masterful.

While reading this, I couldn't decide if I should keep reading or stop. Everything about Rainey's life is a train wreck. And I think that's putting it lightly. She can't help what is happening to her any more than she could have stopped from falling in love.

The tale is thrilling, sad, maddening, and most of all, twisted. I really enjoyed watching this story unfold. And while I did see the ending as somewhat predictable, I didn't think that it took away from the story being enjoyable and riveting.

This story is not for the faint hearted. It's brutal and cruel, crazy and sad. But it will keep you reading until the end.

This story was a mind blower. I couldn't get enough. I had to know Rainey's full story. It was dark and twisted, manipulating with a love story weaved throughout.

Lily White keeps you on the edge of your seat with this page turner. The way this story plays out you feel guilty for finding it erotic, but you can't help yourself. Rainey's story is so twisted and unbearably sad, but she did what she did to survive. She's the victim and the puppet master. This review is probably one of the hardest to write, so many spoilers that can't be revealed. You'll thank me later for going in blind. It's the best way to get through this tale and oh, what an epic tale it is.

This is a very addictive, disturbing, and in spite of itself, deeply erotic story. I dare not say much more for fear of making any comments that will spoil the story for you.

It is written with great style and as we travel backwards and forwards through the story, one's sympathy and concern, shock and horror go up and down like a yo-yo. It is brilliantly plotted, and every page adds to the whole in a very satisfying and disturbing way.

Enough, go grab a copy and be ready for all the emotions.

The Five by Lily White was a uniquely dark, depraved, exciting read!

When Rainey Day is the #1 suspect in a grisly murder, state psychologist Justin has to evaluate her ability to do something like this.

I loved the way this story was told: we're in the living-room with Justin and Rainey and are transported into the past to experience every. single. moment of the insanity. Each new detail has you second guessing what you think you know. Every nuance of the story makes you wonder.

Deep down I didn't want to enjoy the story, but I just couldn't put it down, then I didn't want it to end! This is definitely my #1 Dark read of 2019.

If you like your romance on the dark side, if you enjoy depravity like no other, and erotica doesn't turn you off, then I highly recommend giving The Five a read!

Lily White is a romance writer who likes to dabble on the taboo side of eroticism. She is most known for her Masters Series, Target This, Wishing Well, and Asylum. In addition to dark romance Lily writes contemporary romance, taboo romance, and psychological thrillers. Lily enjoys stretching her writing muscles by continuing to challenge herself with each book she publishes.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Five by Lily White to read and review for this tour.

Sugar by Lauren Dane

An impromptu road trip makes for the honeymoon Gregori and Wren didn’t know they wanted

Bad-boy artist Gregori Ivanov wants nothing more than to marry Wren Davis. He’s asked her before—more than once—but she insisted on waiting until she’d established her own career. Now that the time is finally right, Gregori has one hell of a celebration in mind. Restaurants, museums and NYC luxury all the way… on top of all the newlywed sex they’ll be having.

The universe, unfortunately, did not get the message. When their plane is grounded in Idaho, they’re forced to improvise a road trip to get back to Seattle instead of the romantic getaway Gregori painstakingly planned. But that they’re together is what’s important, and with giant roadside potato museums, funky galleries in towns with little more than two stoplights and some seriously great diner food—in between all the great sex—Gregori and Wren find a honeymoon as unique and memorable as their love.


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Book 3.5
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Carina Press – Harlequin

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the second book in the series (duet?) and I would suggest that you really need to read Cake first. Even better, read the Whiskey Sharp books too, as they are all linked.

The romance was fun, but this opportunity to catch up with Wren and Gregori was too good to miss. There is a lot to be said for enjoying a couple who have gone through the hard stuff and are now properly together. It is low angst, high romance and passion. Their journey is fun and full of the things that they both appreciate, or appreciate for each other.

This is the perfect story for those of us who always want a little more :-) getting to see how happy ever after could turn out, rather than being an aspiration at the end of a novel. Thank you, Lauren Dane, for giving us this indulgence.

Lauren Dane is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels and novellas across several genres. She lives in the Northwest with her patient husband and three wild children.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Sugar (Cake #2 & Whiskey Sharp #3.5) by Lauren Dane to read and review.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Coincidence by Felice Stevens Release Blitz

Nice guys always finish last, and Coby Epstein is sick and tired of being last. After his boyfriend dumps him, Coby vows to take it slow and not jump into another relationship, no matter what his ninety-five-year-old great aunt says. When Coby sees his ex has moved on, he goes on a series of disastrous first dates and swears off men, determined to be alone. His best friend disagrees and finds the “perfect man” for him online and arranges a date. The only problem? Coby has no idea what she’s done.

Since childhood, Eli Kaplan has been his father’s greatest disappointment, a fact he’s reminded of at every opportunity. For years, he’s struggled with the knowledge that dating women doesn’t work for him. A late-night confession to his brother changes everything and Eli realizes, maybe, just maybe, he can come out, find himself, and find love. Eli takes the plunge and creates a profile on a dating website, not knowing what to expect. One night he chats with an intriguing man, and despite his nervousness, they arrange to meet for coffee. No big deal. They’ll probably never see each other again.

On the day of their first date, nothing could surprise Coby and Eli more than to discover that they live in the same apartment building, on the same floor. In a city of eight million people, coincidences don’t get crazier than that. But as the two men begin to weave their lives together with cautious optimism and hope for a future, they find an even greater thread holding their families together—one born from the ashes of a final solution that couldn’t destroy their ancestors’ courage, leaving scars that remain almost a century later. Past lives torn apart can be pieced together by a future no one could have ever imagined, where love is more than fate or coincidence. It’s meant to be.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This was a heartfelt book. I laughed, cried, and really felt the emotions in this book. The author states that some of the story is based off her family history and that made the book even more interesting in my opinion. Colby and Eli are so cute. You can't help but fall in love with them. Each of them has their own baggage and emotions, of feeling like they aren't enough, but they are enough and they are perfect for each other. There was angst, but it wasn't between Eli and Colby and everything felt so real, like it would happen to you and your family, that's what made the story so enjoyable and relatable. If you want a nice weekend read with a cup or two of coffee, grab this book and enjoy.

I really enjoyed this story. It is a wonderful combination of cute, sexy, romantic, and family focused. As we discover the immediate reason for the title, and then the deeper one, we get an insight into family stories that had been long buried. But Tante brings them back so vividly that it is easy to believe the distress she first feels on meeting Eli. Beautifully written, and so impactful on all the Kaplan family members too.

I liked that we got to see both men at work – such very different locations and career types, yet the chemistry and affection between them is palpable. The side characters add a lot, whether in a positive or negative way, and generally the support that they both have is significant. Eli may be a quiet guy, but actually Mario is a good friend, and his brother Darren is a really good guy. It is not often that the brother, when used so much as the successful one, still has a good relationship with the slighted sibling, but Eli and Darren really are the best of friends. It was a lovely part of the story for me. It was also fun to have Addie's romance as a side issue, and Dave the dentist turned out to be an excellent choice of partner, coping perfectly with her feisty nature.

This is a thoughtful, romantic, and sexy story, I recommend it to you.

Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. She believes that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, Her characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love.

Felice has written over twenty books in the gay romance genre. Her books been translated into German, French and Italian. Her novel. One Call Away, part of her Soulmates series, was mentioned in Buzzfeed as one of the best “Out for You” gay romances of 2017.

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. She recently retired from the practice law and now daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there are bound to be a few bumps along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed

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The Boyfriend Experience by Carly Phillips & Erika Wilde Blog Tour

He’s the total package.


Eric Miller isn’t looking for a long term relationship. And he definitely isn’t thrilled when a friend signs him up for The Boyfriend Experience app behind his back. It’s not like he has a problem getting women on his own. But when he gets a notification that someone is in need of his... services, he’s intrigued enough to check out her profile and can’t resist the sexy, sassy little brunette who only wants him as a decoy for a family event.

Evie Bennett needs a boyfriend, stat. Someone who can accompany her to her family reunion so she doesn't have to explain that she's been recently dumped. Again. She’s perfectly happy being an independent woman, but what’s a girl to do when her new fake boyfriend starts to feel like the real deal?

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Book 1
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They joined the short line in front of the register, and Eric glanced from the billboard listing all the fancy beverages, to Evie. “What would you like?”

“I’ll just take a regular cup of coffee.”

“Come on, you can do better than that,” he teased. “You don’t strike me as being that boring.”

She raised a brow, a glimmer of amusement dancing in her eyes. “You’ve come to that conclusion in the two minutes of meeting me?”

“Am I wrong?” he challenged light-heartedly.

“No,” she admitted, a smile tugging at the corner of her very kissable mouth. “I just don’t treat myself to a fancy cup of coffee very often. Normally, I’m too rushed in the morning to indulge myself.”

They took another step forward in line. “Lucky for you, it’s my treat and I insist you indulge.”

She tipped her head, drawing his gaze to the soft tumble of hair falling over her shoulder and how the ends curled right at the upper swell of her breast. “Shouldn’t I be paying for this, considering the circumstances?”

“Absolutely not,” he replied adamantly, forcibly keeping his gaze on her face instead of her chest. “What boyfriend worth his salt would let his girl pay?”

“I haven’t hired you yet,” she reminded him cheekily.

He grinned. He wasn’t expecting Evie Bennett to be so impudent, and surprise, surprise, he was definitely enjoying their banter, and her. “True. Which means I really need to step up my game and impress you.”

And honestly, when was the last time he’d wanted to make such an effort with the opposite sex? The answer to that eluded him, because truthfully, he couldn’t remember being so fascinated and attracted to a woman beyond her physical features. Yet there was no denying that Evie’s feisty disposition drew him in and made him want to learn more about her. Which he needed to do anyways, if she was going to hire him. And make no mistake, they weren’t parting ways until he’d sealed the deal, because she was in the market for a temporary boyfriend, and like his campy bio had promised, he aimed to please.

“What can I get for the two of you?” the barista asked, pulling Eric’s thoughts, and attention, to the girl waiting for their order.

He glanced at Evie. “Don’t disappoint me,” he said humorously, referencing the boring cup of coffee she’d mentioned.

A cute, daring smile flitted across her mouth before she looked back at the barista. “I’ll take a white chocolate mocha with an extra shot of espresso and whipped cream.”

Damn. Was it crazy that he was totally turned on by the fact that she hadn’t ordered one of those ridiculous skinny, non-fat, sugar-free lattes that made a mockery of a designer coffee? This was not a girl who’d opt for a salad if she was offered a burger or pizza, and thank God for that. His attraction to her just increased ten-fold.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the first in a new series, and should be a lot of fun if this story is anything to go by!

Eric Miller's friends sign him up as a beta tester for their new hire-a-boyfriend app – and they even agree on his behalf for him to go on a coffee 'date.' He is not impressed at all, but good manners mean he goes to the meeting.

Evie is a really lovely person and having been persuaded to think about hiring someone for a weekend to stop her family questioning her being alone again, particularly her hateful cousin Raquel. So when she meets Eric, she decided that he would definitely fit the bill, and maybe this wasn't such a crazy idea after all.

It is a lot of fun watching the two of them recognise that they have excellent chemistry and similar life values, and yet have to acknowledge that this is meant to be a business transaction. Eric somewhat damages the concept when he tells her what he wants as a form of payment for the weekend of pretending to be her boyfriend. As we watch them break down the rules, and reset them repeatedly, as well as see the competitive nature that both of them enjoy at the family weekend, the pages turn ever quicker.

Phillips always tells a good story, and I really enjoyed this one from the very first page. I am looking forward to future installments.

Evie Bennett needs a boyfriend and quick. Since her last boyfriend turned out to be a dud, she needs someone to pretend to be her boyfriend for a family weekend. And that is all she is looking for. When her friend suggests an app to find a pretend boyfriend, Evie thinks it sounds like the perfect idea.

Eric Miller isn't looking for a girlfriend or a long-term relationship. He is not that type of guy. When he finds out that his friend has added him to his "Boyfriend Experience" app, he just wants to be removed. But when he meets Evie to tell her it was a mistake he was on the app, he finds himself drawn to her. She is sexy, sassy, and might be a little fun that he needs.

What neither of them expect is how easy they find it to be around each other. And when Eric meets her parents, he can't believe how laid back they are. He ends up having a great time with her and the rest of her family and he wants to spend more time with her.

Can Eric give Evie a relationship that she wants? Will Evie be able to move past Eric if things don't work out? Will the Boyfriend Experience turn into something more?

I really enjoyed this story and loved the time Eric and Evie spent with her family – her parents left me laughing until I was crying. This story is funny, sad, heartfelt, and in the end, will leave you loving it. I hope you enjoy it too.

Carly Phillips gives her readers Alphalicious heroes to swoon for and romance to set your heart on fire, and she loves everything about writing romance. She married her college sweetheart and lives in Purchase, NY along with her three crazy dogs: two wheaten terriers and a mutant Havanese, who are featured on her Facebook and Instagram. She has raised two incredible daughters who put up with having a mom as a romance author. Carly is the author of over fifty romances, and is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestseller. She loves social media and interacting with her readers. Want to keep up with Carly? Sign up for her newsletter and receive TWO FREE books.

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Erika Wilde is a New York Times Bestselling author. She is best known for her super sexy Marriage Diaries series and The Players Club Series, and has also co-written the Dirty Sexy Series and the Book Boyfriend Series with Carly Phillips, her best friend and writing buddy for the past twenty years. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two daughters, and when she's not writing you can find her exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest. For more information on her upcoming releases, please visit website and sign up for her mailing list for updates and news!

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Boyfriend Experience (The Boyfriend Experience #1) by Carly Phillips & Erika Wilde to read and review for this tour.

While I Was Away by Stylo Fantôme Release Blitz

You were in a car accident.

They say true love can last forever.

You hit your head, which caused your brain to swell.

Can span any distance, stretch across time, last beyond death.

The pressure against your skull damaged your brain.

Which leads one to wonder…

The damage left you unresponsive to most kinds of stimuli.

If you fall in love in your dreams,

And this unresponsive state is what's known as a coma.

Can you find that love when you wake up?

Full length Romantic Drama standalone.

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Adele was babbling, she knew, but she couldn't stop herself. So she was thankful when Jones cut her off and yanked her close. He sat up at the same time, and before she even realized what was happening, he was kissing her.


The last time – the only time – they'd kissed, he'd disappeared forever. This time, she was determined to make the most of it. They both shifted onto their knees, arms going around each other, and when she gasped at the intensity of his hold, his tongue slipped into her mouth. She moaned and curled her fingers in his hair, praying the moment would last forever.

Ah, but this place is the anti-prayer. So shall you think it, so shall it not be.

Jones' hands had moved to cup either side of her face. He pulled away, then leaned back in for another slow kiss. Tried to say something, then kissed her again. Once more, and she could just feel it – it was the last one.

“I wish we could stay here forever,” he whispered, pressing his forehead to hers.

“Me, too,” she whispered back. He grabbed hold of her wrists and gently removed her arms from around his neck.

“But it can't be. You either go forward, or you go back. You can only stand still for so long, Adele.”

She didn't even know what he was talking about, and she knew he was right. The storm above them was getting worse. Something was coming. Eternity waited for no one, not even her, it seemed.

She squeezed her eyes shut tight.

“I tried, Jones. I tried to stand still with you. I tried to get caught in the now with you.”

“I know you did. And now I want you to try something else,” his voice was so low, she could barely hear it over all the thunder.


“I want you to concentrate. And then, I want you to open your eyes.”

She bit into her bottom lip and turned her head, brushing her nose against the side of his cheek so she could remember the feel of him. Inhaled deeply so she could remember the smell of him. Then she took an even deeper breath and did as she was told.

She concentrated on the ground below her. Listened to the storm raging above her. Felt Jones' body heat in front of her.

And she also remembered. Could hear her brother Ocean laugh in her ear, the sound made such rare appearances. Could picture her brother River standing in front of her, looking so serious and concerned. Could feel her brother August around her, giving her one of his big hugs.

The wind around them didn't lessen in intensity, but it did slow down. Or time slowed, she couldn't be sure. There was a terrific booming noise, followed by the sound of something ripping. At first, she thought it was the sky – the storm must have really been opening up. Then she felt a tremor in the ground under her, and she knew what it was.

The giant tree was finally tipping over. It groaned as gravity took hold of its weight and pulled it over the edge of the cliff. She could actually sense the roots being ripped from the earth as the tree made a swan dive.

And as the roots came free, they tore apart the face of the cliff. She could feel the ground crumbling away from her, could tell she was falling. Jones held onto her for as long as he could, but just as his arms were about to reach their limit, gravity took over once again and yanked her away completely.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This story blew me away. I didn't know what to expect going in and I loved what I got. Adele and Charlie start the journey at a co-worker’s birthday party. They've been in a long-term relationship but it's become stale. They both know they need to move on but making that first step, initiating that break up conversation. It goes so well they decide to leave the party and spend one last night just being them. Unfortunately, the night doesn't go as planned. A car accident leaves Adele in a coma. Charlie feeling guilty that he wasn't injured and that everyone keeps calling him her boyfriend. While Charlie and Adele's family sit by her side contemplating their lives’ directions, Adele is having an adventure of her own, where decisions will need to be made and hopes of finding her soulmate linger.

I loved this tale and take on what happens when someone is in a coma. It was nothing like I expected but everything I didn't know I needed. Stylo Fantôme knocked this one out of the park! An honest must read!

3.5 Baffling Stars

Excuse me for this incoherent review. In truth, I have no idea how to truly review the novel.

While I Was Away was most certainly original and unique, yet I wasn't blown away. There was just something that kept me from fully engaging with the story and the characters. There are many points-of-view, offering a different take on the world in which this takes place. Adele, her three brothers, her best friend, her boyfriend, and Jones. While not a large cast, all connecting to Adele, their stories are shown to add the depth to enrich the story.

The opener resonated with me, knowing exactly how Adele and Charlie felt in that moment. I experienced it in the middle of a restaurant, while sharing a meal, feeling as if reality was the dream, and I wanted to wake up and not be there with that person anymore.

Rendered comatose from a car accident minutes after breaking up with her boyfriend, Adele draws the reader on a trippy journey. While many will probably find this a beautiful portion of the story, I need to be honest. After a few 'trips,' I started skipping it to get to what was happening in reality. Not because I'm not a fan of the fantasy, but because it was too... perfect.

Truth be told, I missed the emotionally stunted train wrecks I'm used to reading – never thought I'd admit that, to be honest, always begging for a more mature take in books.

Adele is PERFECT.

Jones is PERFECT.

Adele's brothers are perfectly flawed in a way that makes them interesting, as is her best friend. That's what I was missing, were the flaws. I was torn because I enjoyed Ocean's storyline more than Adele's, because it felt 'real.' Even after waking and finding Jones, it still had a fogginess of anti-reality cast over the story, which took away from my enjoyment.

Charlie is shipped as being a good guy, but it only made him look like a spineless coward, along with the co-worker looking a bit predatory – wish them luck in a relationship predestined for failure due to the shady beginnings. What type of woman befriends someone to get 'close' to their significant other? Good luck, Charlie – you're going to need it. Even if it wasn't 'cheating' it still left a nasty taste in my mouth. Had nothing to do with the relationship ending/beginning and everything to do with how those who see themselves as nice guys generally aren't. Be a man, grow a set, and stop gaslighting the brothers for protecting their sister's honor, because you're too nutless to be honest. What crappy brothers would they be if they didn't say anything when catching their comatose sister's boyfriend macking on her coworker in the hospital parking lot? Sure, we readers know, but the brothers didn't. Upon waking, perfect Adele gaslit her brothers too, wanting them to apologize for defending her against someone they saw as spineless. Not mind-readers, just saying...

That is my issue in a nutshell, the perfect Adele, Charlie, and Jones got on my nerves, as the rest of the imperfect cast shined brightly, because I found them interesting. Even the predatory co-worker was shown as being good, heart in the right place, to make Charlie happy. The rest of it felt too quick, instantaneous in the emotions before they had time to develop, to a fantasy genre degree. Ocean's storyline overpowered Adele's with the realism, overshadowing what was to be the beauty of the story.

I do feel bad for writing this review, as I warned it would be incoherent. I wanted to like it – I tried. I got what Fantôme was attempting to create, and I'm sure it resonated with many readers, but for me, it missed the mark.

I won't forget the novel, that's for sure.

Stylo Fantôme is one of my favorite authors, and this story had its good points and its bad points.

Let’s start with the positive. I really enjoyed the first half of this book. Charlie and Adele have decided that maybe they aren't meant to stay together forever (I really love how they handled this). Together, they agree that this is the end – there're no dramatics or rage. Unfortunately, their last moments together involve a nasty accident.

While in a coma, Adele experiences a new life complete with new places, people, and Jones. I love the world within a world! I felt like I was transported to a fantasy land, or maybe an LSD-fueled dream, but it was still very interesting. I like how the author went between the dream-world and the real-world. I absolutely LOVE Adele's brothers and her best friend, Zoe. They add an element of reality and richness, rounding out the fantastical elements.

The second half of the book was okay, but I don't want to give anything away. I will say that I thought it felt rushed. I didn't feel the real-world build-up I was hoping for. Having said that, I absolutely LOVED the ending.

Overall, this was an emotional story and I found myself laughing out loud and even crying a few times. For a story that I found only okay at times to make my cry, it must be a good story. I love all of the characters and would love a follow-up story on the rest of the brothers.

Crazy woman from a remote location in Alaska (where the need for a creative mind is a necessity!), I have been writing since... forever? Yeah, that sounds about right. I have been told that I remind people of Lucille Ball – I also see shades of Jennifer Saunders, and Denis Leary. So basically, I laugh a lot, I'm clumsy a lot, and I say the F-word A LOT.

I like dogs more than I like most people, and I don't trust anyone who doesn't drink. No, I do not live in an igloo, and no, the sun does not set for six months out of the year, there's your Alaska lesson for the day. I have mermaid hair – both a curse and a blessing – and most of the time I talk so fast, even I can't understand me.

Yeah. I think that about sums me up.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of While I Was Away by Stylo Fantôme to read and review for this tour.

Space by Penny Reid Blog Tour

All she wants is forgiveness, and all he wants is revenge...

From the New York Times Bestselling Author, Penny Reid

One week.
Private cabin.
Famous physicist.
Still an unrepentant slacker (but now also very, very angry).
What’s the worst that could happen?

Mona’s meticulously planned allotment of relaxation is thrown into chaos by the unscheduled appearance of her older brother’s band of friends, including the one person she'd hoped to never face again. Abram still makes her feel entirely too much, which is one of the reasons she disappeared after their one week together. But now, trapped on a mountain of snow and things unspoken, Mona will have to find a way to coexist with Abram, chaos and all.

Laws of Physics is the second trilogy in the Hypothesis series; Laws of Physics parts 1 (MOTION) & 2 (SPACE) end with a cliffhanger.

Add to Goodreads –

Book 2
Buy Links

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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo  ~  Smashwords

“Hi—hello,” she said, stepping forward but not out of the way, drawing my attention.

She was still staring at me, her face still pale, but her eyes had turned searching instead of stunned.

“I—” She stopped herself, swallowing, her gaze dropping to the front of my coat, a cute little frown furrowing her eyebrows. In the next moment, she was pulling off the glove of her right hand. Abruptly, she shoved the ungloved fingers toward me, returning her eyes to mine. “I’m Mona.”

I suppressed my disbelief at her small action before it could break my outward mask of calm. I wasn’t calm. Just to be clear, I was the opposite of calm.

The fact that she was introducing herself to me now meant that she thought I was too stupid to figure out her lies over the last two-and-a-half-fucking years. She was arguably one of the smartest people in the world, after all. To her, people like me must seem like housebroken pets. So it shouldn’t have surprised me. But it did. The tension and tightness around my ribs reappeared, squeezing uncomfortably.

Dropping my attention to her bare hand, I pressed my lips into a tighter line, dismissing the way my pulse jumped at the sight of her wrist, the olive tone of her skin under the yellow string lights overhead. Glaring at her outstretched offering, I considered telling her to go to hell.

I considered it, but I wouldn’t.

I didn’t trust myself to speak, that was reason number one.

The other reason was harder to explain, or use as a justification, or admit to myself. Staring at her hand, I braced against a sudden flare of hunger. She might consider me a lower life-form, but that didn’t change the fact that I wanted to touch her. I wanted to touch her more than I wanted to tell her to go to hell, and that was fucking pitiful.

But there it was.

Acting on the compulsion, I lifted my right hand and tugged off the ski glove, sliding my warm palm against her much colder one. Her hand felt good in my hand, the right weight, the right size, the right texture, and I inhaled freezing air.

Mona also seemed to suck in a slow but expansive breath as our hands touched, held. This brought my eyes back to hers in time to see her lashes flutter. Pink colored her previously pale cheeks. The sound of the wailing wind, the sting of the air and frost momentarily melted away, leaving just her, her soft skin warming against mine, her beautiful face filling my vision.

So beautiful.

She really was. She was stunning. I hated that she was still so beautiful to me.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Two years have passed since Mona and Abram spent their week together. They’ve had no contact during that time and now they are spending a week together in Aspen with Mona’s bestie, her brother, and his band.

I was nervous going into this story. I knew I was in for an, at times, uncomfortable ride. You know when you are watching a show or reading a book and the character you love does something really embarrassing or really dumb and you just want to shut your eyes and yell NO!? Well that was me multiple times while reading Space.

The connection between Mona and Abram and attraction they both felt is still strong, even after two years apart but with the big lie between them and troubles communicating, they are a bit of a disaster. But among the angst and embarrassment they do sometimes get it right, and in those little bits of time it is clear what an amazing couple they’d be if they just got their act together.

Space was a really great read. I loved that my emotions were all over the place and that sometimes I just had to close the book and give it a minute before I continued reading. I am completely invested in this story and I can’t wait for the release of Time, the final instalment in this series. I’m excited to find out what happens now for Abram and Mona.

Also Available in the Laws of Physics Series

Book 1
Buy Links

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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo  ~  Smashwords

For reviews & more info, check out our stop on the Motion Blog Tour.

Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers, Knitting in the City, Rugby, and Hypothesis series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

Connect with Penny

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Space (Laws of Physics #2) by Penny Reid to read and review for this tour.