Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Trex or Treat by Tara Lain

Josh Harris is all dad all the time. A busy college professor and devoted single father, Josh tries to be happy with only his son for company. But then Bradley “Trex” Trexler moves in across the street with his stepbrother, Bogo, and takes advantage of their empty home, making it into a haunted house for Halloween.

Josh's son, Ernie, can't wait to go, so Josh dresses up like a movie cowboy and saunters over. It’ll be the best Halloween of Ernie’s life, but there’s another sharpshooter roaming the dark corridors, and this one might have a special treat for Josh…

Second Edition
First Edition published by Etopia Press in Halloween Heat (IV anthology), October 2012.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Trex or Treat is a steamy little treat that’s perfect for a quick read on Halloween. At first glance, this is an odd mixture of plot threads combining a case of hero worship, with two lonely dads needing to scratch an itch, and not-quite-so-hidden identities during a Halloween costume party, but Tara Lain makes it work. For me, I enjoyed it as a meet-cute meets one-night stand that has the potential to become so much more.

Josh is an introverted professor who has avoided dealing with his sexuality by making his nine-year-old son the center of his world. Fortunately for all involved, the fates have more in store for Josh than the celibate life he’s resigned himself to and it appears in the form of a new arrival to the neighborhood. As his young brother’s guardian, Trex’s situation isn’t much different than Josh’s, except that Trex has no questions about his sexuality. Trex’s focus is on how he can entice the shy professor, whose work he admires and whose body is equally as stimulating, into his bed.

One of the reasons I enjoyed Trex or Treat so much is that Lain has created an unbelievably realistic and perfectly adorkable professor in Josh. Josh is a wonderful combination of socially awkward and hormonally interested in his new neighbor, and the two characteristics make for some entertaining scenes. The other thing I really liked was that Trex was completely enamored with the man he believes Josh to be based upon his writing. There’s a bit of hero worship on Trex’s part and this makes it easy to understand why he moves so quick to seduce Josh – Trex isn’t taking any chances that the object of his affection might turn him down once they get to know one another. Because this novella only spans two days, I chose to imagine that this is Josh and Trex’s first step toward something more, but one that required the slaking of some pent-up lust first. And Lain does not disappoint or skimp on the sexy times because Trex proved to a very “handy” guy. If you’re looking for a quick Halloween-themed read that provides a good bit of steam and a cute “How I Met Your Father” story, then you’re gonna want to check out Trex or Treat.

TARA LAIN writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Erotic Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, and Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. Readers often call her books “sweet,” even with all that hawt sex, because Tara believes in love and her books deliver on happily-ever-after. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. Her love of creating book titles comes from years of manifesting ad headlines for everything from analytical instruments to semiconductors. She does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soulmate husband and her soulmate dog (who’s a little jealous of all those cat pictures Tara posts on FB) in Laguna Niguel, California, near the seaside towns where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says that on her tombstone, it will say “Yes!”

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Trex or Treat by Tara Lain to read and review.

Recklessly Ever After by Heather Van Fleet

Gavin St. James

After the hell I've been through in the Marines—in life—there's nothing I crave more than routine, stability, peace. Until McKenna Brewer walks into my life.

She's impulsive, fiery, tempting as hell, and everything I don't need. But when she offers me a night of no-strings-attached passion, I can't resist.

When our night together has unexpected consequences, I can't help but think this might be the perfect opportunity to show McKenna just how much I want her.

The only problem? She doesn't do forevers. But forever is exactly what I need with her.

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Book 3
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Gavin stole my heart from the first book and I could not wait for his story. I was not disappointed, although I was worried with McKenna though. She was wishy washy, and a runner and I found myself bored with her.

Gavin has a past that no one should have to live through, but with friends like Collin and Max, Gavin has been able to get through most things. But he has fallen for McKenna from the moment he met her. But he knows she doesn't do relationships because he sees her with different guys all the time.

McKenna didn't have an easy childhood; her mother didn't want her and her father was always working. So, she basically raised herself. After meeting Abbie and Abbie falling in love with Collin, McKenna meets Gavin and she would like more with him, but she knows it would never work. A relationship is not in the works for her, so she can be friends with him. Until the one thing happens that will connect them together.

Can Gavin show McKenna that they can make a relationship work? Will she realize that she really does love him? Will Gavin's past came back to haunt him?

To me, this was the best of the series, I loved everything about Gavin and the way his friends were always there to help him. And the ending was a perfect way to end the series. So, sit back and enjoy and you can read them as a standalone, but why would you, they are great as a series.

Also Available in the Reckless Hearts Series

Book 1
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For reviews & more info, check out our stop on the Reckless Hearts Blog Tour.

Book 2
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For reviews & more info, check out our The Right Kind of Reckless post.

Contemporary romance author Heather Van Fleet is stay-at-home-mom turned book boyfriend connoisseur. She’s a wife to her high school sweetheart, a mom to three little girls, and in her spare time you can find her with her head buried in her Kindle, guzzling down copious amounts of coffee. Heather was born and raised in Moline, Illinois, where she lives with her wonderful family.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Recklessly Ever After (Reckless Hearts #3) by Heather Van Fleet to read and review.

Knowing Me, Knowing You by Renae Kaye

Can friends turned occasional lovers move beyond past mistakes and wrong assumptions to build something that can last?

Quiet bookworm Shane has a big secret—one he’s kept for fifteen years. AFL superstar Ambrose Jakoby grew up next door to Shane. They were close friends, and Shane supported Ambrose through school.

One night, everything changed.

Before Ambrose left Perth as a scared eighteen-year-old to head to Melbourne and take up his new footy career, Ambrose and Shane slept together.

For the next nine years, they continued a secret friends-with-benefits situation whenever Ambrose was in town. Shane never knew exactly where he stood or how to define Ambrose’s sexuality—and Ambrose didn’t know either. Then last Christmas, everything changed again, and a disagreement strained their friendship. Shane vowed to get over his unrequited love.

But Ambrose is back, recovering from an injury and hoping to make amends. He claims he’s ready for a real relationship. But Shane has to decide whether Ambrose means it and whether his Hufflepuff soul can take the chance.

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Book 4
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

The story is told entirely from Shane’s point of view and it is clear that Shane doesn’t have a particularly positive self-image. He thinks is he is plain, average, and invisible to others. Shane doesn’t tell his friends that one of the biggest stars in AFL is his childhood best friend and part-time lover because he doesn’t think anyone would believe him. The last time Ambrose returned home to Perth to see Shane, Shane put an end to their physical relationship. But when Ambrose is injured and returns home to recover, the two men are back in each other’s lives.

Before we met Ambrose, I had a little bit of an opinion about what kind of guy he might be and that maybe he was taking advantage of Shane. However, as soon as we met Ambrose I knew my initial impressions were wrong. There is so much more to Ambrose than just the big footy star and he is a really sweet and loving guy. Shane and Ambrose just need to work things out and get on the same page.

I loved so many things about this book. I loved each of the men probably because I could see a bit of myself in each of them. I’m a bookworm like Shane and a lover of footy like Ambrose. I loved watching two such good men work out their feelings for each other and get to a good place. I also loved Shane’s friends and the relationship he has with them and their Sunday tradition of BBQs and football. And most of all, I loved being reminded that actions speak louder than words.

Knowing Me, Knowing You made the romantic in me very happy. I smile just thinking about this story. Renae Kaye is a new-to-me author and I had not read the previous books in this series. The only reason I picked up this book was because I’m a massive footy fan – Go Tigers! I am definitely going to take the time to go back and read this series right from the beginning, but for readers out there, Knowing Me, Knowing You can be read as a standalone and I highly recommend it. It is a wonderful romance.

RENAE KAYE is a lover and hoarder of books who thinks libraries are devilish places because they make you give the books back. She consumed her first adult romance book at the tender age of thirteen and hasn’t stopped since. After years—and thousands of stories!—of not having book characters do what she wants, she decided she would write her own novel and found the characters still didn’t do what she wanted. It hasn’t stopped her, though. She believes that maybe one day the world will create a perfect couple—and it will be the most boring story ever. So until then, she is stuck with quirky, snarky, and imperfect characters who just want their story told.

Renae lives in Perth, Western Australia, and writes in five-minute snatches between the demands of two kids, a forbearing husband, too many pets, too much housework, and her beloved veggie garden. She is a survivor of being the youngest in a large family and believes that laughter (and a good book) can cure anything.

Her first novel, Loving Jay, was voted the Best Book Debut 2014 by the member’s choice awards in the Goodreads M/M Romance Group.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Knowing Me, Knowing You (Loving You #4) by Renae Kaye to read and review.

The Memory of You by Jamie Beck

Stefanie Lockwood can repair anything, except her heart—that’s still recovering.

After a brutal assault leaves Steffi with puzzling memory lapses, she returns to her coastal Connecticut hometown to rebuild her life the best way she knows how: with her hands. But starting a remodeling business with one longtime friend puts her in the middle of a rift with another. Worse, being hired by her ex-boyfriend’s mother forces her to confront old regrets.

Public defender Ryan Quinn wasn’t shocked when his wife left him, but he was floored when she abandoned their daughter. With his finances up in the air, the newly single dad returns to his childhood home in Sanctuary Sound. The last person he expects, or wants, to see working on his family house is Steffi Lockwood—his first love who shattered his heart.

Although Steffi and Ryan are different people now, dormant feelings rekindle. But when Ryan’s concern for Steffi’s mental health prompts him to dig into her past for answers, will what he learns bring them together or tear them apart for good?

Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Mary Jo☆☆☆
Triggers: Click HERE to see Mary Jo’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

This book has a good plot and storyline, but it just didn't grab me. I'm not sure if it was just the mood I was in or if it was the way the story was written.

The characters are sound, but I think Steffi's independence is, while well-written, a little over the top. I completely understand blocking out traumatic things that happen to us, but I think her inability to talk about the assault at all is a little too much. While we may not want to open up to family about the things that bother us, normally we have at least one good friend or sibling, that we open up to, even if we don't go into detail about what's wrong.

Ryan is written almost the same way. He's still holding a grudge from 10 years ago when Steffi dumped him out of the blue. To top it off, his wife has practically abandoned his daughter to pursue a relationship with another man. His anger at the entire situation is heartfelt and honestly, I feel like he should consider therapy as well.

This book has a lot of storyline to resolve and I think the ending was rushed. Granted, the epilogue helped, but I think the ending could have benefited from a few more chapters.

This is the first story in a new series by the talented Jamie Beck – her Cabot series was excellent, so I was delighted to get the chance to read this book. The premise for the series is set out early on, and we know the three main protagonists – I rather liked this as it made me think about each woman and their impact on each other. I am curious to see progress in underlying stories through the future installments. I did find the story a little slow, but it was in part building the new world of Sanctuary Sound and so, forgivable.

Steffi is a strong, independent woman, who is making a new life for herself with one of her best friends back in their home town. She is struggling with blackouts after an attack, but is determined not to get the help that we all probably believe that she needs. I did wonder if her stubbornness was come by honestly as she had mostly grown up around her father and brothers; her mother died when she was barely a teen. I liked her clear skills as a builder, and as a friend to Ryan's daughter, but her dealings with Ryan are incredibly stilted for a significant part of the book. One couldn't really just blame her, as Ryan behaved in a very rigid and unforgiving way. It was a relief when they finally started talking, although other issues in life kept interfering.

I am keen to read on and find out how things move forward for Steffi's friends.

National bestselling author Jamie Beck’s realistic and heartwarming stories have sold more than one million copies. In addition to being named a 2017 Booksellers’ Best Award finalist, her books have also hit’s Top 10 Romance Novels of 2015 and been selected as a Woman’s World Book Club pick. Critics at Kirkus, Publishers Weekly (including a starred review), and Booklist have alternatively called her work “smart,” “uplifting,” and “entertaining.” In addition to writing novels, she enjoys dancing around the kitchen while cooking, and hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah. Above all, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family.

Fans can sign up for her newsletter on her website, which includes a fun extras page with photos, videos, and playlists. She also loves interacting with everyone on Facebook

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Memory of You (Sanctuary Sound #1) by Jamie Beck to read and review.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Fury by Rachel Vincent

Magic, fate and hope collide in the stunning conclusion of New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent’s acclaimed Menagerie trilogy…

1986: Rebecca Essig leaves a slumber party early but comes home to a massacre—committed by her own parents. Only one of her siblings has survived. But as the tragic event unfolds, she begins to realize that other than a small army of six-year-olds, she is among very few survivors of a nationwide slaughter.

The Reaping has begun.

Present day: Pregnant and on the run with a small band of compatriots, Delilah Marlow is determined to bring her baby into the world safely and secretly. But she isn’t used to sitting back while others suffer, and she’s desperate to reunite Zyanya, the cheetah shifter, with her brother and children. To find a way for Lenore the siren to see her husband. To find Rommily’s missing Oracle sisters. To unify this adopted family of fellow cryptids she came to love and rely on in captivity.

But Delilah is about to discover that her role in the human versus cryptid war is destined to be much larger—and more dangerous—than she ever could have imagined.

Weaving together past and present in this heartbreaking tale of sacrifice and self-discovery, Fury is the deeply moving finale to a series that readers won’t soon forget.

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MIRA – Harlequin

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

5 Stars for the Menagerie Trilogy.

Fury is the third and final installment of the Menagerie trilogy, and can absolutely NOT be read as a standalone.

Patient, I am not, which is exactly why I held onto copies of Menagerie and Spectacle until Fury was available. While it sounds as if I'm beyond patient for waiting an entire three years, I am impatient when it comes to waiting for sequels and suffering through cliffhangers. With Fury in my hands, I read the entire trilogy in less than 24 hours.

I spent 24 hours with Delilah and company, and now that it's all over... depression and a book hangover are my punishments.

This review is for the entire trilogy, not just Fury. This review will also contain no spoilers or plot points, as I refuse to spoil the journey for anyone. Also, because I truly haven't a clue how to review it. Tongue-tied that I am – utterly speechless.

This is fantasy. I need to hammer home how this is not romance. At All. This is not young adult. This trilogy is NOT for the faint of heart. If you follow my reviews, my next statement will take you by surprise, judging by the books I both read and write.

Menagerie the trilogy is DARK.

In fact, it's the darkest I've read. Degradation. Assault. Rape. Kidnapping. Captivity. Slavery. Zero humanity by the humans in charge. Monsters in all forms, with those who are monstrous on the outside having the most humanity. Systematic brainwashing. ZERO autonomy or rights. Knee-jerk reactions to fear. Nonstop action. Graphic violence. Utter hopelessness.

Besides the human race, mythological and paranormal creatures abound.

Loathing injustice, I felt as if I was the fury suffering from the injustice on every single page. I was frustrated, suffering gut-punch after gut-punch, emotionally invested.

I applaud Vincent for tying everything together from the first word to the last. Having journeyed through the trilogy back-to-back, I can attest that things that crop up during Fury flawlessly connected to passages in Menagerie and everything in between.

Did I enjoy the trilogy? I felt like a masochist reading it, imprinting current injustices happening in our society. I actually tried to talk myself out of reading the next book when I finished the last, then found myself halfway through the next within hours. Blink. I ended up reading all three without stopping.

Do I recommend the trilogy? Are you a masochist? Ha! Yes, I highly recommend this to fantasy readers who don't need romance and sensuality, or even a pillow to place beneath your head. This is DARK, so take that as my version of a trigger warning.

The happily ever after is relative for all of humanity.

Told you this review wouldn't make a lick of sense, with me all depressed and book-hungover.

RACHEL VINCENT is the New York Times bestselling author of several series for teens and adults, including Shifters, the Stars Never Rise, and Menagerie, and remains fascinated by writing about the things that scare her. She is a former English teacher and shares her home in Oklahoma with two cats, two teenagers, and her husband, who’s been her number one fan from the start.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Fury (Menagerie #3) by Rachel Vincent to read and review.

Archangel's Prophecy by Nalini Singh

Return to New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s darkly passionate Guild Hunter world, where human-turned-angel Elena Deveraux, consort to Archangel Raphael, is thrust center stage into an eons-old prophecy...

Midnight and dawn, Elena’s wings are unique among angelkind… and now they’re failing. The first mortal to be turned into an immortal in angelic memory, she’s regressing. Becoming more and more human. Easier to hurt. Easier to kill.

Elena and Raphael must unearth the reason for the regression before it’s too late and Elena falls out of the sky. Yet even as they fight a furious battle for Elena’s very survival, violent forces are gathering in New York and across the world.

In China, the Archangel Favashi is showing the first signs of madness. In New York, a mysterious sinkhole filled with lava swallows a man whole. In Africa, torrential monsoon rains flood rolling deserts. And in Elena’s mind whispers a haunting voice that isn’t her own.

This time, survival may not be possible… not even for the consort of an archangel.

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Book 11
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Berkley Romance

Illium turned in a direction that would take them to the Catskills if they kept on going.

Sweeping closer to him, she said, “You just want to fly?”

Hair rippling in the quiet but cutting wind, he twisted down in a complicated fall before flying back up to her side. She laughed at his showing off. That was Illium. An angel of violent power who had a heart that might almost be mortal. And, these days, she could appreciate his tricks again. Not a single angel in the city had been ready to witness his acrobatics in the immediate aftermath of the day he’d crashed out of the sky.

Elena would never forget her screaming fear.

To his credit, Illium had flown with absolute discretion for months, letting the memory dull and fade.

When he returned to her side today, his face was flushed, the gold of his eyes rich. “Sky’s too beautiful to shut ourselves away in a club.”

“Just don’t forget I’m not as fast as you. Also, I’m currently lame.”

Illium lifted one cupped hand close to his shoulder, the other moving back and forth... and she realized he was playing a tiny violin in response to her morose tone.

“Crossbow, Bluebell.” Narrowed eyes. “Remember the crossbow.”

He dived, his wicked laughter floating up on the night air. Lips twitching, Elena continued to glide, letting the air currents sweep her along with cold but gentle hands. Illium, meanwhile, flew circles around her—but he never went far, always close enough to halt her descent should she tumble.

She landed a number of times to rest her wings, once in an isolated park whispering and dark. A luminescent insect appeared then disappeared from sight before she could truly see it, an earthbound star. The ghostly owl sitting on a tree branch watched her with eyes even more luminous.

A sigh deep in her mind, an old, old presence restless in Sleep.

The hairs rose on her arms.

Then Illium shot them both up into the sky again, and together, they flew far beyond the diamond-bright skyline of the city and over the sleeping homes of ordinary people who lived in a world of vampires and angels, blood and immortality.

Another rest stop for Elena.

Another throb of pain from the cut on her forearm.

Another watchful owl, this one landing on Illium’s shoulder without his knowledge. Ashwini had told her not to be afraid of the owls, so Elena ignored the goose bumps and said, Hello, with her mind. A good night to fly.

A vein began to throb at her temple.

The answer came a long time later, after they were in the air again, the glow of the sinkhole visible from the distance.

It has been an eon since I flew.

Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Nalini Singh, 2018.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Archangel's Prophecy is the 11th installment of the Guild Hunter series and cannot be read as a standalone. However, if the reader is well-versed in the series, it could be read if they missed a few installments.

Narrated primarily by Elena. The Hunter/Angel investigates an assault on her brother-in-law, Harrison, which took place in front of the little sister, Eve. This bridged the gap in the family, between the father and his three surviving daughters and granddaughter. A few scenes complete the family, with Elena's maternal grandparents making an appearance. The pain over the loss of her sisters and mother is revisited as she tries to move forward with her remaining family members.

While investigating Harrison's attack, drawing Elena down many paths, her fragile immortality slowly reverses to even less than the strength of her previous mortal hunter body.

While the investigation is in the forefront, Elena's struggles are the focus for the reader. To be honest, I was disinterested in the investigation taking so much page-time, only because I couldn't concentrate with the fate of our heroine at risk. It became annoying background noise that wouldn't shut up.

To be entirely honest, I don't believe I'm in the minority here. It took everything in me, after reading the beginning, not to completely skip the entire middle and just read the end. It was stressful, and as the Harrison investigation continued forward, turning more convoluted and confusing, even the why of it all seemed beyond irrational, I just wanted to get through it to the ending.

One of my major issues is how Elena is in failing health, yet continues to investigate, as if there weren't so many others who could do a competent job, better even, since she wasn't on the top of her game. I realize this all connected in a string of A to B to C to D and so on, but I felt this bizarre that with Harrison healing, her sister and niece safe, why did Elena have to go after his assailant? It felt as if Elena's issues were outweighed by nothing of importance, when her life was on the line. This felt out of character by everyone in her circle. Raphael was dealing with the Cascade, but to just ignore Elena's issues didn't compute with me.

Yes, I'm talking around the plot, simply because I refuse to spoil it for readers. The book ends on one heck of a cliffhanger. I do believe Archangel's Prophecy was pivotal in the series lineup and necessary for fans to read.

Hopefully the wait isn't long, as I'm more than curious to see what happens next for Elena and Raphael. I'm also confused, after reading every single word, so much of it went right over my head, none of it connecting, as if the author needed to go from A to P, but don't worry if the other stops along the way don't actually connect – just read over them. I'm not one who needs to be spoon-fed, but I found everything to be chaotic and disjointed, with many things made to seem important to have no importance, and things barely mentioned to be catastrophic.

Archangel's Prophecy was a buildup from page one, but we don't truly get to experience what it built toward, leaving me confused as to what the author's future plans are for the series, because it all just seems out of nowhere and left field.

This series has been an auto-buy from the beginning and I’ve enjoyed the somewhat predictable pattern the books have settled into. Until this one. Book 11 brings readers back to Elena and Raphael, where Elena is slowly losing her immortality and her body weakens. After so many books where Elena gains power and grows into her role as Raphael’s Consort, this book packs an emotional punch from the beginning.

I love Elena in this book. It’s been a few books since she was the protagonist and I love the growth we see in her here. Her emotions are powerful and raw as she deals with the escalating changes to her body. Raphael’s emotions are closer to the surface than we’ve seen before and it is obvious that Elena has succeeded in making him more than a little bit mortal. I don’t want to spoil any of the plot but there is a scene at the end that might be one of the most romantic moments I’ve read in a very long time.

Running parallel to Elena’s personal struggles is her investigation into the murder of several vampires and a related attack on her brother-in-law. The investigation is exciting and the clues pull together well, but I didn’t get into the investigation as much as I have in previous books because I was more focused on Elena’s weakening body. Elena struggles to balance her roles as both consort and guild hunter. In this story she clings almost desperately to her identity as a hunter – even when her actions are ill advised, and she ends up putting herself and others at risk.

Every time I pick up a new Nalini Singh book I remember how much I love her writing. There are some exceptionally beautiful passages in this story and I had to stop a few times to savour the language. Readers probably won’t need to have read all of the previous ten books to appreciate this one, but they will need to have at least read the first three that are specifically about Elena and Raphael. However, this book marks a huge turning point in the series and finishes on a cliffhanger that left me in a bit of a state. Anyone wanting to continue the series will need to read this book.

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh is passionate about writing. Though she’s traveled as far afield as the deserts of China, the Highlands of Scotland, and the frozen landscapes of Antarctica, it is the journey of the imagination that fascinates her most. She’s beyond delighted to be able to follow her dream as a writer. Nalini lives and works in beautiful New Zealand. You can contact her directly through her website. While visiting the site, Nalini invites you to join her newsletter for up-to-date news about both the Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter series, as well as fun exclusive extras, including free short stories set in her worlds.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Archangel's Prophecy (Guild Hunter #11) by Nalini Singh to read and review.

Truth Will Out by K.C. Wells

Jonathon de Mountford’s visit to Merrychurch village to stay with his uncle Dominic gets off to a bad start when Dominic fails to appear at the railway station. But when Jonathon finds him dead in his study, apparently as the result of a fall, everything changes. For one thing, Jonathon is the next in line to inherit the manor house. For another, he’s not so sure it was an accident, and with the help of Mike Tattersall, the owner of the village pub, Jonathon sets out to prove his theory—if he can concentrate long enough, without getting distracted by the handsome Mike.

They discover an increasingly long list of people who had reason to want Dominic dead. And when events take an unexpected turn, the amateur sleuths are left bewildered. It doesn’t help that the police inspector brought in to solve the case is the last person Mike wants to see, especially when they are told to keep their noses out of police business.

In Jonathon’s case, that’s like a red rag to a bull…

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Jonathon heads to the small English town of Merrychurch to spend a few weeks visiting with his Uncle Dominic. When he arrives, there is no sign of his Dominic. Mike, the owner of the local pub, sees Jonathan stranded at the station and gives him a lift to his uncle’s home only to find him dead. When Dominic’s death is deemed a homicide, Jonathan and Mike (a former London detective) start some amateur sleuthing to try to find the killer.

This story is totally charming. I love the small English village setting, the mix of different characters, and the way things are not as they seem with secrets hidden behind proper English behaviour. We follow a number of different leads that may or may not lead to the killer. I confess I wasn’t really sure who the killer was and while my brain worked to try to figure it out, I suspected several people, even the vicar’s lovely old wife. I had no idea. But I’m thrilled that I had to wait for the author to reveal who did it to find out who our killer was and why they did it.

While working together to find out how Dominic met his untimely death, Jonathon stays at Mike’s pub and helps him out around the pub. From early on the men feel like an old married couple even though they’d just met, and it felt natural. Their little romance is subtly woven through the story and is just lovely. There are no explicit sex scenes in this book and I was pleased because they would have been out of place. A few kisses here and there were just right.

I had a fabulous time reading Truth Will Out. I loved the murder mystery, and the romance was spot on. Truth Will Out appears to be the first Merrychurch Mystery and I hope that means we will get more stories from Jonathon and Mike.

I've always written, right from an early age. I was always writing stories as a child, and as I grew up, I had the idea of writing a novel, like so many people do. Born and raised in the north-west of England, K.C. Wells always loved writing. Words were important. Full stop. However, when childhood gave way to adulthood, the writing ceased, as life got in the way. K.C. discovered erotic fiction in 2009, where the purchase of a ménage storyline led to the startling discovery that reading about men in love was damn hot. In 2012, arriving at a really low point in life led to the desperate need to do something creative. An even bigger discovery waited in the wings—writing about men in love was even hotter... K.C. now writes full time and is loving every minute of her new career. The laptop still has no idea of what hit it... it only knows that it wants a rest, please. And it now has to get used to the idea that where K.C goes, it goes.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Truth Will Out (Merrychurch Mysteries #1) by K.C. Wells read and review.

Big Bad Cowboy by Carly Bloom

After one too many heartbreaks, Travis Blake hung up his cowboy hat and put Big Verde, Texas, behind him. But when he gets the call that his young nephew needs him, he knows he has to return home. His plan is to sell the family ranch and hightail it back to Austin, but there's a small problem: the one person who stands in his way is the one person he can't resist.

Maggie is pretty sure she hates Travis Blake. He's irritating, he's destroying her business, and... and he's just so frickin' attractive. But when they're forced to work together, Maggie discovers that the Most Annoying Man in the World is more than he seems. He's sweet with his nephew, he helps out in the community, and he makes her heart flutter. Maggie doesn't want to risk everything on a man who wants to leave, but what if she can convince this wayward cowboy to stay?

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

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

Travis is just getting back from being in the Army when he's hit with a double whammy. His family estate is in disrepair and his sister-in-law just passed away and now he has to care for his nephew. Travis doesn't really know anything about raising kids. His experience with family is a less than stellar example. Also, his nephew's dad is in prison and to make matters even worse, he needs his incarcerated brother's signature to even think about selling the family farm.

When he starts doing odd jobs around town, he has no idea that he's stepping on toes. But oh, what pretty toes he's stepping on. Maggie is the local landscape architect and when she sees Travis again, she can't help but be attracted to him.

With some miscommunication, some crazy cows, and a community that can't help but interfere, these two will have a crazy ride. While the story was well developed, it was long winded at times. There were a few back stories inside, but there were parts where I just wanted the story to move forward. Overall, this is a sweet story and the characters do figure themselves out. I really do hope that some of the other characters get their own stories, as they were hilarious and a huge part of Travis and Maggie's success.

Carly Bloom began her writing career as a family humor columnist and blogger, a pursuit she abandoned when her children grew old enough to literally die from embarrassment. To save their delicate lives, Carly turned to penning steamy, contemporary romance. The kind with bare chests on the covers.

Carly and her husband raise their mortified brood of offspring on a cattle ranch in South Texas. Also? Carly is vegan. The cows love her.

Connect with Carly

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Carly’s Bloomers Facebook Group

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Big Bad Cowboy (Once Upon a Time in Texas #1) by Carly Bloom to read and review.