Friday, July 13, 2018

With a Kick Collection #1 by Clare London Audiobook Tour

This collection includes the charming London-based novellas of the With a Kick series – A Twist and Two Balls and Slap and Tickle. Also included are two short stories featuring the characters in these titles.

WITH A KICK: A new and enticing ice cream franchise, with a unique blend of full flavour, mischief and romance. Patrick and Lee are struggling to make a success of their alcoholic ice cream shop in the centre of tourist London. At the same time, their business partnership may take a turn towards the personal – if either of them can find the time and nerve to go for it! Meanwhile, they cater to the wild and wonderful range of customers in the area, many of whom have their own romantic agenda. Will ice cream be the final ingredient they’re all looking for?

Each story is a self-contained romance, but will follow the history of the shop throughout.

A Twist and Two Balls

Eduardo Mancini is going to be a star of the London stage. Unfortunately, his alter ego, Eddy March, hasn't gotten further than a bit part in a TV series. One ghastly day, he’s late for an audition, can’t pay his taxi fare, and is chased across Soho by the irate driver, Nuri. But maybe being caught by Nuri is exactly what Eddy needs.

Slap and Tickle

Bryan is an accountant who admires order and self-discipline. When he literally bumps into Phiz outside With a Kick, Phiz’s lifestyle and behaviour appear totally chaotic. But they each recognise something in the other that they need. Bryan needs a lover who welcomes his secret desire, and Phiz needs a firm hand - in every way. They both agree Bryan may be just the man to provide it.

Audiobook Details
Length: 8 hrs, 40 mins
Narrator: Joel Leslie

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Audiobook Buy Links

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Ebook Buy Links

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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  Kobo

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I absolutely adored the stories in Clare London’s With a Kick Collection #1. Listeners are treated to two novellas and two short stories, one of each for two different couples, all performed by the extremely talented Joel Leslie. With the ice cream shop, With a Kick, being the common denominator between the couples’ stories, listeners are also treated to glimpses into Patrick and Lee’s business woes and a professional relationship that seems to be getting a bit more personal.

First up are Eddy and Nuri in A Twist in Two Balls. An aspiring actor frantic to make it to a rare audition, Eddy underestimates the cab fare and overestimates just how much money is in his wallet. Realizing that he’s not close to his destination and had already exceeded his dwindling funds, he guiltily attempts to stiff the cab driver so that he can make the rest of the trip on foot and maybe make it on time as the London traffic isn’t allowing the cab to move. Unbeknownst to Eddy, he’s caught the eye of the cab driver and rather than detaining Eddy, Nuri follows him on foot as Eddy attempts to bluster his way out of the situation he’s created and still make it to his audition on time. It doesn’t work. But the day turns out so much better, even with the missed audition because Eddy now has himself a suitor. In a case of opposites attract, the high-strung Londoner, Eddy, finds his perfect match in the calm and collected Turkish cab driver, Nuri, who not only balances Eddy out in temperament, but also comes with a large and extended family – something Eddy has longed for for years as an only child of parents who travel extensively for their acting careers. While I suspect some readers and listeners will wonder how the laid back Nuri is able to put up with Eddy’s melodramatics, I’ve been Nuri before. I know that as stressful as it can be to deal with such a partner’s often unconscious need to be the center of attention, the Eddys of the world are at their best when they turn their spotlight on their partner, who is their anchor and the center of their world, and those are the moments the outside world often doesn’t see and are why we love our high-strung, drama queen partners so much. Obviously, Eddy and Nuri’s romance struck a personal chord with me, which increased my enjoyment, but I would have loved it either way, especially as Joel Leslie does such a wonderful job of capturing Eddy’s moods – of which there are many – as well as Nuri’s loving patience.

Whereas the first story was sweet, Slap and Tickle, is a lot steamier, but just as enjoyable. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I realized that the second couple were shaping up to be a May-December romance, but I certainly wasn’t expecting their blossoming relationship to have D/s component at all. But wowzer! When Bryan’s natural inclination to be a bit bossy rears its head during a casual interaction with Phiz, whose nervousness and anxiety make him appear high-strung, it becomes apparent that we’ve got another opposites-attract romance unfolding and it’s going to be a HOT one. Again, Leslie’s vocal talents come into play perfectly as he conveys Bryan’s quiet command and Phiz’s relieved acquiescence when Bryan takes charge – both in and out of the bedroom. I loved how Bryan’s need for order made him a natural match for Phiz and that the domination and submission aspect of their relationship was not a formal arrangement, but rather a personal exploration of their individual needs. Argh! I don’t think I’m explaining it right. At the beginning of the story, Bryan is ashamed of his desires, but as his needs and wants enable him to give Phiz what he needs and wants, Bryan learns to accept and embrace who he is and what he needs. And because of that personal acceptance, Bryan’s character grows a bit over the course of the novella, manifesting in a way that spells good news for With a Kick.

The bonus short stories were an absolute delight. I won’t go into either of them as I don’t want to ruin the surprise for others, but I will share that Eddy and Nuri’s is a magical Christmas tale and London brings the heat once again to Bryan and Phiz’s Valentine’s Day activities. Much like their respective novellas, the shorts for each couple are sweet (Eddy and Nuri) and steamy (Bryan and Phiz) and do a lovely job of rounding out the collection. I thoroughly enjoyed the stories that London has penned and Leslie’s performances for all four. I really hope that With a Kick Collection 2 will be available on audio soon, with Leslie at the mic again, as I cannot wait to see who’s up next to find love and ice cream.

CLARE LONDON took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fueled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.

She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.

Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter-three stage and plenty of other projects in mind… she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fueled family home.

Clare loves to hear from readers, and you can contact her on all her social media.

Connect with Clare

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Joel Leslie is a UK transplant, growing up with American parents in a British commonwealth.  A classically trained actor with an MFA in theatre from USC, he is often cast for his unique ability to deliver native, authentic combinations of American and British sounds. His great range and ability to bring characters to life with honesty, wit and versatility delights producers and listeners alike.

He is proud to have a strong following with m/m listeners and an ongoing relationship with some of the finest writers in the genre. He loves that every day he gets to share these beautiful, inspirational and empowering GLBT characters with the world.

His authors have praised him as “a narrator among narrators, a man whose ability to create different characters rests on the power of his voice and his impeccable delivery,” and a “true delight…" "his professionalism, good humor, and charm make him a dream to work with,” "Anyone else would only be second best.”

Joel has consistent access to his home studio for all production needs. When not in the booth he spends his time chasing after two loquacious wiener dogs.

Connect with Joel

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Hosted by

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free audiobook copy of With a Kick Collection #1 by Clare London, narrated by Joel Leslie to listen to and review for this tour.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Kissing Jenna by Kristen Proby Blog Tour

From New York Times Bestselling Author Kristen Proby comes the newest installment in her beloved Big Sky Series…

Jenna Hull owns and manages vacation rentals in her hometown of Cunningham Falls, Montana. She’s just completed the construction of her most exhausting project, the one she’s put her heart and soul into. The inviting, opulent Snow Wolf Cottages are the first ski in/ski out tree houses in the world. Her biggest dream is about to come true, and she can’t let anything distract her.

Christian Wolfe is Hollywood’s it actor. If the magazines are to be believed, he’s the sexiest man on earth. He’s preparing for the biggest movie role of his life, and his agent has booked him in a hot new ski lodge in Montana, tucked away from crazy fans. He can’t wait for the break.

But what Christian isn’t prepared for is Jenna. With a face that could easily co-star with him in a movie and her ambition to put her stamp on Cunningham Falls, he can’t stay away. But even more intriguing than her beauty is the fact that she’s not at all impressed with his celebrity status, only turned on by the man behind the fame.

The love they’ve found is perfect—but time is running out before real life intrudes. Can they survive with both their dreams—and hearts—intact?

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Book 2
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“Come on in. This is your home away from home for the next four weeks.” I pause in the kitchen while he wanders through the space, looking outside, then taking in the blue kitchen cabinets, the large gas fireplace, and the comfortable furniture. “In the email correspondence, you asked for extra groceries to be stocked in the kitchen, and I’ve done that for you.”

“Thanks,” he says. “Where’s the closest Starbucks?”

I lean my hip on the counter and take a sip of my now lukewarm coffee. “In town.”

“Not on the mountain?”

“There’s a coffee shop up here, yes, but it doesn’t open until tomorrow when the season officially starts. I believe that’s the case for the restaurants up here, too.”

“So, no food up here?”

I shake my head. “No, but I’ll take pity on you and make you dinner tonight, if you like.”

His eyes narrow, suspicion written all over his face. “Why would you do that?”

I lean in as if I’m about to tell him a secret and whisper loudly, “Because I’m a nice person.”

He doesn’t smile.

“You can figure it out for yourself if you want to.” I shrug and lead him to the barn door that closes the small bedroom off the living space. “This is the bedroom on this level. There’s a bathroom here, too. I’ll show you the upstairs.”

I climb the stairs, certain that his eyes are on my ass, and hear him gasp when we reach the top.

“Cool, huh?”

“Beautiful,” he murmurs again, looking up.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆☆
M/F Romance

This is a spin-off of the With Me in Seattle series and while you don't necessarily need to read those books before reading these, there are some cross-over characters.

This is the second book in this series and just like Proby's previous books, it can be read alone, but I suggest you read them in order. 1. They are amazing. 2. There are characters that show up again. And 3. You'll want to know all about the characters' backgrounds.

Jenna is a strong, independent woman who has just opened an amazing ski retreat. She has a strong core group of friends and isn't necessarily looking for love. However, with her business, she was bound to run across some good-looking prospects. What she doesn't expect is to fall in love with a movie star.

Christian is getting away from his life for a while, all while learning to ski for a big part in a movie. He falls in love with the resort and the resort owner in a very quick time. For him, he was existing, but not necessarily living. He was constantly on the lookout for the paps and knew that he had to guard his heart after a bad experience when he was younger.

This is a sweet story with great development. While I'm not usually one to enjoy insta-love stories, this one doesn't seem that way. I am so glad that each woman is getting their own story. I am excited for the next story, but REALLY want Willa's story... Proby is making me wait longer! However, I cannot recommend Proby enough. She has a way of spinning characters to truly make you see their lives through your own eyes.

The second installment in this series – and Jenna Hull, Brad's sister, gets her chance at love. I would definitely recommend that you read the books in order, as they are sooo good, but if you can't wait to read this one, well you can always circle back, when you understand what you are missing!

We met Jenna planning and starting her tree house project in the last book, so it was wonderfully exciting to get to see how perfectly they turned out – and as it happens, all her hard work paid off in more ways than plentiful bookings. She was a lovely, lively, and fun person then, with the best collection of coffee mugs with hilarious sayings on them and a pair of big brothers to 'watch over' her. To be fair, since Hannah entered his life, Brad has a slightly more romantic view on life, but Max still threatens anyone who comes close. Luckily famous movie star Christian Wolf has no fear (well except of heights) and stays the course with great style. He and Jenna are just made for each other, and somehow he has to make his career fit his newly found romantic nature, and the need for the love of this woman.

As we catch up with old friends (lots of them, which made me very happy) and laugh along with them at their kooky courtship, the pages just keep turning, and then... well, all too soon the book ends, and I do hope that another installment is soon to be released, as I am very happy in the world of Cunningham Falls.

Another hit for me.

Also Available in the Big Sky Series

Book 1
Buy Links

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B&N  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

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

Kristen was born and raised in a small resort town in her beloved Montana. In her mid-twenties, she decided to stretch her wings and move to the Pacific Northwest, where she made her home for more than a dozen years.

During that time, Kristen wrote many romance novels and joined organizations such as RWA and other small writing groups. She spent countless hours in workshops, and more mornings than she can count up before the dawn so she could write before going to work. She submitted many manuscripts to agents and editors alike, but was always told no. In the summer of 2012, the self-publishing scene was new and thriving, and Kristen had one goal: to publish just one book. It was something she longed to cross off of her bucket list.

Not only did she publish one book, she’s since published close to thirty titles, many of which have hit the USA Today, New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists. She continues to self publish, best known for her With Me In Seattle and Boudreaux series, and is also proud to work with William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins, with the Fusion Series.

Kristen and her husband, John, make their home in her hometown of Whitefish, Montana with their two pugs and two cats.

Connect with Kristen

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Kissing Jenna (Big Sky #2) by Kristen Proby to read and review for this tour. One copy was provided by the tour host and an additional review copy was purchased by the blog.

The Possible World by Liese O'Halloran Schwarz

A richly compelling and deeply moving novel that traces the converging lives of a young boy who witnesses a brutal murder, the doctor who tends to him, and an elderly woman guarding her long buried past.

It seems like just another night shift for Lucy, an overworked ER physician in Providence, Rhode Island, until six-year-old Ben is brought in as the sole survivor from a horrifying crime scene. He’s traumatized and wordless; everything he knows has been taken from him in an afternoon. It’s not clear what he saw, or what he remembers.

Lucy, who’s grappling with a personal upheaval of her own, feels a profound, unexpected connection to the little boy. She wants to help him… but will recovering his memory heal him, or damage him further?

Across town, Clare will soon be turning one hundred years old. She has long believed that the lifetime of secrets she’s been keeping don’t matter to anyone anymore, but a surprising encounter makes her realize that the time has come to tell her story.

As Ben, Lucy, and Clare struggle to confront the events that shattered their lives, something stronger than fate is working to bring them together.

An expertly stitched story that spans nearly a century—from the Great Depression through the Vietnam War era and into the present—The Possible World is a captivating novel about the complicated ways our pasts shape our identities, the power of maternal love, the loneliness born out of loss, and how timeless bonds can help us triumph over grief.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I really enjoy stories which make me think outside my usual life, and which have a non-standard plot, and I love them especially much, if they are well written. This book ticked ALL those boxes.

Whilst I think that more or less everything that happens in the book is signposted early on, that is not really the point of the book, in my opinion. It is the emotions which are original on every page, and from each of the narrators. The attention to detail about the minutiae of life that make up a whole; the intricate melding of time and events to create three (or really four) people who will stick in your mind, is most engaging.

For me, one of the most interesting things was that I kept thinking they were in Ireland, or England, and not the USA. It was so like what I would expect it to have been in either country – and made me think that the similarities then were probably greater than now. The storm scene was particularly vivid and cruel. Whereas the modern-day ER actually gave relief from the sadness, which was a weird realisation.

At the risk of giving anything away, my advice is grab a copy of this well written, cleverly crafted book and enjoy. I think it starts slowly, but it builds up speed and has a satisfying way of making you read 'just one more chapter' until you reach the very end!

Liese O’Halloran Schwarz, an emergency-medicine doctor, published her first novel Near Canaan while in medical school. Her most recent novel is The Possible World, and she currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Possible World by Liese O'Halloran Schwarz to read and review.

Lost in Indigo by V.L. Locey Blog Tour

Mathieu Beresford was so close to seeing his dream come true.

The thirty-eight-year-old captain of the Buffalo Surge had led his team to the final round of the playoffs with his aggressive defensive play and leadership. During the first game of the championship series, he was taken down, and his leg snapped upon impact with the boards. From his hospital bed, Mathieu watched his team go on to win it all.

Adrift in anger, resentment, and the new direction of his life, he returns to his mansion along the St. Lawrence River. Alone and sulking, Mathieu is not prepared for Indigo Neu to enter his life. The genderflux twenty-year-old botany major signs on to play nursemaid, confidant, and groundskeeper over the summer and slowly leads Mathieu out of his confusion––one tender smile and touch at a time.

The deeper Mathieu falls, the more he wonders if being lost might not be so bad after all.

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the first in a new series – and I am looking forward to future installments.

The story of a closeted hockey player is not unheard of, but we do get some interesting issues being raised about how far Mat can cope with homophobia when it is not addressed directly at him – and it would seem that he has no ability to defend the very man he cares about the most. Something which may just cost him a happy future.

As the author throws tests at him, in the form of both his agent, and most definitely his nurse, it is the lying to a very loyal friend which made me sit up and really question his moral code and just how deep this cave is that he created for himself. It is sad, and yet, I am sure based on fact, as perceptions are going to take still longer to adjust.

I wish that Indigo had been able to give us his viewpoint, as I have no doubt he had some interesting thoughts at times, which may have swayed our view of why he was so patient and forgiving.

There is no doubt, a loving romance here, but behind a door which Mat needed to be opened much sooner. I hope that we get to see how life progresses for them in the future.

3.5 stars

I think I may have hit saturation point this year with m/m hockey romances. And this was another story I could quite easily play tired trope bingo with. Aging NHL player. Tick. Handsome and wealthy. Tick. Closeted and unhappy. Tick. Career threatening injury. Tick. Honestly, there isn’t much that separates Mat and Indigo’s book from so many others.

Told entirely from Mathieu’s perspective, this is the story of an aging hockey player falling for a much younger man as he recovers from a potentially career ending injury. If Mat is a hockey cliché, Indigo is at least a more original character. The genderfluid young man is fascinating, honest, and real. I kept wishing for a dual narrative where we heard his voice because I did grow tired of Mat’s self-pity after a while.

Off the ice, Mat is a broody and reflective introvert. There are moments when this is charming, but especially after he starts to recover, there are too many moments where he just needed to get over himself.

This is an entertaining read but as it focuses on Mat’s off-season recovery, some of the banter and playfulness I usually enjoy in sports romance is missing. This story stays serious and there are times it does get a little bit sentimental and soppy.

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, Doctor Who, Torchwood, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, two Jersey steers and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

When not writing lusty tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.

Connect with V.L.

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Vicki`s Vixens Facebook Group

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Lost in Indigo (Colors of Love #1) by V.L. Locey to read and review for this tour.

Charmed at First Sight by Sharla Lovelace

In the small town of Charmed, Texas, plenty of folks have found the path to true love. But now two outsiders have arrived to shake things up...

Never one to do things by the book, Micah Roman couldn’t just chalk it up to bridal jitters, or even quietly call off her wedding to her long-time fiancé. No, she has to high-tail it out of the church sporting a dress that cost more than her car, and jump on the back of a smoking-hot stranger’s motorcycle. Her knight in all-black is headed to a town called Charmed, so that’s where she’ll go and try to lay low. Except their appearance raises plenty of eyebrows... and a sudden, intense attraction she has no business exploring.

Who knew picking up a damsel in distress would lead to lust at first sight? Leo McKane headed to Charmed prepared to deal with some family secrets—including his status as long-lost brother. This runaway bride is an unexpected distraction his set agenda and loner lifestyle doesn’t include. She’s everywhere he turns, getting under his skin with her quirky, headstrong ways and eyes he can’t forget. But when Micah’s jilted ex comes looking for her and opens up his shady past, Leo knows he has a choice to make.

They both do.

Run to safer ground again? Or take a leap that their untrusting hearts are wary to take.

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Book 4
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars

These two outsiders struggle to find themselves and a place for themselves in the quaint little town of Charmed. Leo left town a long time ago in an effort to keep trouble away from his little brother. Now that he's back, he's having to come to terms that leaving his family protect them did just the opposite.

Micah is literally the runaway bride. Standing in the anteroom just before she was to walk down the aisle, she realizes that she can't spend the rest of her life playing a role she doesn't like. Yes, she wants to be a wife and mother someday, but only if the man in question respects her for who she is, not what he wants her to become.

I found that Leo's reasons for returning now weren't fully explored and could have used a little more explanation. Micah's reasons for giving up on her marriage before it began are fully believable. Many times, I think women find themselves agreeing to a relationship in order to please others, not that it necessarily fulfills a need within them. Micah's method may not have pleased her family, but it gave her the time she needed to figure out exactly who she wants to be.

I enjoyed this story and can't wait to see what happens next in Charmed.

Also Available in the Charmed in Texas Series

Book 1
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For reviews & more info, check out our A Charmed Little Lie post.

Book 2
Buy Links

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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our Lucky Charmed post.

Book 3
Buy Links

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For reviews & more info, check out our Once a Charmer post.

Sharla Lovelace is the bestselling, award-winning author of sexy small-town love stories. Being a Texas girl through and through, she’s proud to say she lives in Southeast Texas with her retired husband, a tricked-out golf cart, and two crazy dogs.  She is the author of five stand-alone novels including the bestselling Don’t Let Go, the exciting Heart of The Storm series, and the fun and sexy new Charmed in Texas series.

For more about Sharla's books, visit her
website, and keep up with all her new book releases easily by subscribing to her newsletter. She loves keeping up with her readers, and you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Connect with Sharla

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Charmed at First Sight (Charmed in Texas #4) by Sharla Lovelace to read and review.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Jesse 2.0 by Annabelle Jay

What if you aren’t the only you?

Shy and studious Maddy Stone faces just that question. Months ago he lost his boyfriend, Jesse, to suicide, and now he’s volunteering at a psychiatric hospital. When he intervenes to save a man there, he’s shocked to find a face he recognizes. It’s Jesse, who explains that he’s been cloned… by Maddy’s father. And when the reproduction technology duplicated him, he was ordered to avoid Maddy at all costs. Breaking that rule puts them both in danger.

Maddy, his girlfriend, Georgia, and Jesse—who Maddy calls Jesse 2.0—are on the run. But as the secrets continue to come to light, Maddy is faced with a decision—continue with his life or be the Maddy he was before technology intervened.

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Harmony Ink Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I'm on the fence between three and four stars.

Anabelle Jay is a new-to-me author.

Jesse 2.0 is an interesting tale, set in a fast-paced novella. Madison is working at a clinic when he sees the last person on the planet he ever expected to see. Jesse. The love of his life who committed suicide and died.

The novella is slightly difficult to follow, a bit chaotic with the influx of information being lobbed at the readers, so fast that it's hard to digest it or make sure it even makes sense before being hit with the next revelation.

Set in a futuristic world a hundred+ years from now, it's not cloning per se. I came up with a better way to describe it – the author had the main characters debate it using a painting, when I wished they would have used a book instead. Copies of the same book are still the book itself. No one will ever say you didn't read the book because it's not the writer's personal manuscript. But to describe the process of the 'cloning,' I will use a fax machine. When you fax a paper, you retain the original, and the recipient now has a copy – the information it contains no less valuable or real because it's not the original. This is Jesse 2.0...

Teleportation is the advancement that led to the discovery of cloning humans. The dead could be duplicated, alive when they are teleported to a new location. (I think that's what the idea was.) However, when a live person teleports, they don't end up with two of themselves – hundreds if they teleport all the time. While I understood the concept, and rolled with it because this is science fiction, but that was always in the back of my head. Making me think of the fax machine, or copy/pasting anything and ending up with multiples – the original doesn't go poof, you end up with two and so forth. Not in regards to one dead and one alive, but to those who teleported to have brought about this advancement. It's probably me missing it – as I said, a lot of information in this fast-paced novella was thrown at the reader before they could digest what they read on the pages before.

Nonstop action-packed, with illegal scientific experiments for altruistic reasons that turn into pure evil, because the consent of the person they are 'fixing' isn't involved. Beneath the surface are the moral ramifications of the medical advancements, left up to the reader to mull over. There's also a plethora of emotions as Madison and Jesse connect, disconnect, connect, disconnect, with an ending that may leave readers reeling if the characters resonated with them.

Near the end, with all the twists and turns and betrayals and lies, it felt as if I was reading about avatars respawning in a video game, as if you had so many lives in the game of life, and this took the emotional punch away from me.

If there’s one thing author ANNABELLE JAY believes with all her heart, it’s that there is no such thing as too many dragons in a book. As a fantasy writer with few other hobbies—does being bribed to run with her partner or dancing awkwardly in the kitchen count?—she spends every day following her imagination wherever it leads her.

A hippie born in the wrong decade, Annabelle has a peace sign tattoo and a penchant for hugging trees. Occasionally she takes breaks from her novels to play with her pets: Jon Snow, the albino rabbit who eats all of Annabelle’s bookmarks; Daisy, the Angora rabbit who constantly tries to escape her cage; and Stevie, the crested gecko who climbs glass with the hairs on her toes.

During her day job as a professor of English, Annabelle is often assumed to be a fellow student playing a prank on the class—that is, until she hands out the syllabus. When people stop mistaking her for a recent high school graduate, she will probably be very sad.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Jesse 2.0 by Annabelle Jay to read and review.

The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely

Get ready for your next favorite romantic comedy, The Real Deal, from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lauren Blakely!

April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on Craigslist since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family's summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the Craigslist ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play.

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m the REAL DEAL.

Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He’s this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He’s no gigolo. Please. He’s something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April’s new beau – the bad boy with the heart of gold.

Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents’ inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal.

She only wanted to show her family once and for all that she had no need to settle down.

He didn’t expect to have the time of his life at her parent’s home.

They didn’t plan on loving every single second of the game.

But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love?

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars

The characters in this book are well written and the story is very plausible. Most people at one time or another wish that they could rent a boyfriend or girlfriend for a while. Anything to get the family off their back.

No one wants to dread going home for a visit, a family reunion, or wedding, but there are those that do. The endless questions about dating status, potential partners, and the inevitable fix-ups are enough to send April towards a mental breakdown. Then the guy that was going to pretend to be her man for the long weekend gets a gig that he can't get out of and sends Theo her way.

Theo is a man who's had to do most anything to survive after the death of his parents. His latest money-making endeavor is playing the boyfriend-for-hire. No sex, strictly platonic, for just about anything a woman needs. Meeting April throws him for a loop. He doesn't understand her need for a pretend boyfriend but agrees to be the best around – good enough to fool her family.

April likes Theo and when sparks start flying, she wishes that the fake relationship was real. Theo likes April, she's the real deal. He finds that he can talk to her and tell her about things from his past. Most importantly, she doesn't turn away from him but offers compassion for the child that he was.

I did enjoy this book, but at times the texting between the parties took me out of the story.

I have read a number of Lauren Blakely novels, and enjoy her style and most definitely her sense of humour. Here we have a wonderfully romantic and fabulously fun story of love and adventure.

I really, really enjoyed the crazy five days in the Hamilton B&B, from the maddest games, to the deflowering of April's childhood tree house! Every page is full of the love that exudes from her family and friends and gives Theo quite an insight into just who he has contracted his boyfriend services to this time. And along with the family time, we see two people who unexpectedly find themselves fighting an attraction that was (in our eyes at least) utterly inevitable. Theo trying to make April's dad understand about her career was my favourite non-couple moment. The romance wove through their 'remember when' stories so enchantingly

Throw in an old debt, a dodgy background, and a brother changing the playing fields, and we are treated to a really enjoyable story. Really, just get a copy and enjoy it too!

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With many New York Times bestsellers, her titles (like Big Rock and Mister O) have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller lists more than eighty times, and she’s sold more than 2 million books. She enjoys comedies, cake and good company.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely to read and review.