Monday, September 30, 2019

Perfectly Adequate by Jewel E. Ann Blog Tour

Dr. Elijah Hawkins needs… something.

After his wife jumps headfirst into a midlife crisis, he’s left with his young son, Roman, and a lot of unanswered questions.

That something turns out to be a someone—Dorothy Mayhem, nursing student, patient transporter, reckless driver, and emu owner.

Dorothy studies humans, the neurotypical kind, through books and television. Then she emulates their behavioral patterns to fit in with her peers.

But nothing can prepare her for Dr. Elijah Hawkins.

Single dad.
Brilliant pediatric oncologist.
And the sexiest doctor at the hospital.

When his failed attempts at asking her out turn into a string of playdates with his son, Dorothy finds herself unexpectedly enamored with the boy and his father.

And that’s a problem, a huge one, because Elijah’s ex-wife is a famous plastic surgeon—and Dorothy’s idol.

Perfectly Adequate is a beautiful, hilarious, and heart-felt journey along the “human” spectrum.

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“You can call me Eli.”

She swallows hard. “I don’t actually think I can.”

“Why not?” I force my gaze away from her mouth.

The second our eyes meet, she averts her attention to her feet. “Because you’re half of the Hathaway-Hawkins duo.”

This is a new one to me. “I’m divorced.”

“I know. I…” She makes an attempt to look at me, but her attention shifts to my temple then maybe my ear. “I mean you’re a brilliant doctor, and Dr. Hathaway is too—so brilliant. God, she’s just phenomenal. Like there are no words. But still… you change the lives of young children. You save them. You’re what every young person entering the medical field can only dream of becoming. You’ve earned the title. I can’t call you by your name. It’s too personal. I don’t know… almost intimate.”

She has Julie on a really high pedestal. Me? Down a few pegs. Sounds about right for my life at the moment. It’s not that Julie doesn’t deserve to be on the pedestal. No matter how much I hate her, I still love her. And her skills as a pediatric plastic surgeon are unmatched. She deserves Dorothy’s admiration.

But I don’t want to talk about medicine, accolades, and saving lives. I know… I know… how terrible of me. Sorry, but I need something for myself. Something personal and maybe a little selfish.

Definitely intimate.

“I don’t need a babysitter for Roman.”

She jerks her head back, giving me her full attention, eyes squinted, gaze locked to mine. “What?”

I trap my top lip between my teeth, drowning in coconuts as my heart races, sending ample blood to all regions of my body. God… I just want—need—to kiss her.

“Oh jeez…” She shakes her head, closing her eyes for a breath. “You invited me to dinner to… flirt.” Her eyes open to their widest point.

A tiny laugh escapes me. I can’t help it. Everything about this woman feels like a rebirth. “I invited you to dinner because Roman really likes you. And I just can’t thank you enough for all that you’ve done for him. You’re so generous.”

Gah! I suck at this!

What is my problem? Yes. The answer is yes! Yes, Dorothy, I invited you over to flirt, maybe even kiss. And other things…

“Oh.” She takes a step backward, stumbling a bit as the front door catches her, and more embarrassment tints her cheeks. “Well, now I feel stupid. Yes, of course you invited me here because Roman likes me. Duh. Now I just look like an idiot for assuming you wanted to flirt with me. And really, no need to thank me. My generosity is selfish. It makes me feel good to do nice things. That’s all. And really, you’ve bought me coffee and made me dinner again. It’s like I should be thanking you again. But that’s probably weird. So… I’ll just go now.”

Really, really weird shit goes through my mind as she fidgets. Dr. Hawkins is nowhere to be found. Neither is Roman’s dad. Raging-puberty-hormones Eli Hawkins invades my head—both of them really. And I just want to kiss Dorothy. That’s the PG version of my thoughts. Most of them are R-rated. Worse than the R-rating. All I can think about are the ways Dorothy and I can be generous with each other, leading to never-ending thank-you’s that don't involve stationary, replacement scrubs, superhero capes, pasta dinners, lunch boxes… or clothing.

“Should we call it even? No more thank-you’s,” I suggest.

“Okay.” She lifts her gaze, eyes going a little cross-eyed like her focus is centered on the bridge of my nose.

“Okay.” I release a slow breath, but it does very little to relax all of my body. “Can I ask your age?” I’m not sure why I’ve been so chicken about asking her age. I think it worries me that she’s too young, and I’ll feel like a dirty old man having really inappropriate thoughts about her.

“I’m thirty. Why?”

“You just look young.”

“I wear massive amounts of sunscreen.”

I nod slowly.

Just kiss her, you big chicken!

What if she doesn’t want to be kissed by me? Or flirt with me? I internally laugh at the memory of her comment and at myself for being just as awkward. Why does something so simple have to be so complicated?

“I have a forty-five-minute drive home.”

And school the next day. Where is my head?

Oh, that’s right…

“Of course. I’m sorry. I lost track of time.”

“Okay.” She smiles.

I love her okay’s. They feel like more than the average okay.

“I’ll walk you out.”

“Have you not closed all of your rings?” She holds up her wrist, signaling to her watch.

I chuckle. “All rings were closed hours ago.”

“We could track each other. Share our rings. Did you know that?”

Rings. Kisses. Trips to the on-call room for sex.

For the love of God… get your shit together, Elijah!

“Never mind. That’s weird.” She shakes her head, rolling her eyes at herself just before opening the door and scurrying ten steps ahead of me. Her pace gains momentum with the hill of my driveway.

My long strides catch up to her at the bottom of it. She looks both ways and bolts across the street to her car, clicks the locks, and opens her door.


“Dorothy Mayhem… you’re killing me.”

She turns just before ducking into the driver’s seat.

“What do you mean?”

Resting my hands on my hips, I drop my chin in defeat and stare at my untied gray canvas shoes. “What if I did ask you to dinner tonight to… flirt?” I glance up, digging my teeth into my bottom lip on a slight cringe.

Her body remains stoic as her eyes shift from side to side, like she’s been caught on a hidden camera. “Well… then I wore the wrong outfit.” She refuses to look me in the eye.

“I think you look amazing.”

“Yes. But this is a playdate outfit. Maybe even one I’d wear to apply for a babysitter position. It’s fun, but wholesome. Practical and safe.”

I just want to spend one day in her head. Everything about her fascinates the hell out of me. The curiosity gives me such a high.

“Tell me about your flirting outfit.”

“Well…” She clears her throat, keeping her focus on the big hill leading out of my development. And of course… her cheeks are perfectly flushed as she talks to the wind. “Since Romeo was involved, I would have chosen my red dress with white stripes. It hits just below my knees, but it’s strapless. And I would have worn my blue cardigan with it and matching blue wedge sandals with straps that tie around my ankles. Flirty… but appropriate for young eyes.”

“And if Roman wouldn’t have been here tonight?” I stare at the side of her head, wondering if she’ll look at me again before driving home.

She narrows her eyes. “I would have taken off the cardigan after you invited me into your house.”

The picture she paints in my head does all kinds of wicked things to me. Why imagining her in a striped strapless dress has such a physical effect on me is a mystery. It’s not like she suggested showing up wearing nothing but high heels and a trench coat. Dorothy Mayhem possesses her own brand of seduction, and I’m completely entangled in every part of it.

“And in this scenario, would you have kissed me after I walked you to your car?”

She turns completely red. I feel certain even her toes hidden in those blue shoes have to be red. “You’re making fun of me.”

Her comment knocks me back a good ten steps, even if my body remains right next to her. Why would she say that?

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

100 stars of brilliance!

This is just the most lovely book – I almost read it from cover to cover in one sitting (needed to eat and put on clothes, but nothing else could distract me). I highly, highly recommend it to you.

I almost don't want to say more, as I think that coming to it without anything more than the blurb will give you the utmost enjoyment of this beautifully written, very special book. Dorothy Mayhem is just the most wonderful character that I have read in a book in very, very long time. Jewel E. Ann has given Dorothy the very best backstory to enable her to be a strong, independent woman. Her view of the world is about to change Elijah's life forever, and we get the great privilege of going along for the ride.

Be ready to laugh, to smile, to think, and to love – don't expect to feel anything but admiration, pride, and love. I know I will be thinking about this for a long time to come – and will most definitely be reading it again, because it is so full of life, love, and ultimately, joy.

Thank you so much, Jewel E. Ann, for giving life to this delicious story!

Spoiler-Free Review

Perfectly Adequate is a standalone by Jewel E. Ann. If you've read a single book by this author, you've come to expect well-rounded characters with compelling stories, creating realism filled with human emotion, where everyone can find something to relate, with plenty of unexpected laughs. The author delivered once again.

I've been super busy, but I dropped everything to read this novel, finishing it in a single sitting. Thankfully it read quickly. That doesn't mean that it wasn't a fully developed storyline or that it was overly short. I was invested in Dorothy and Elijah's lives, so the pages flew by.

Dorothy is an independent woman, but she's also quirky and awkward, where she is unable to read social cues, which brings on the unexpected humor and moments of secondhand embarrassment.

Elijah is a single dad – most readers are a sucker for single dads, this reader included. Charming, easily drawing others into his spell, Elijah is the complete opposite of our scattered heroine, which is why they seemed to balance each other nicely. He's raw after his recent divorce, more than a little insecure, and a dad who puts his son first.

If you've read the blurb, I don't feel the need to repeat what is already there, plus I'm trying to avoid spoilers. Since this was Jewel E. Ann, I went into the book blindly. Didn't read the blurb, just clicked the book open and got to reading, only expecting a certain writing style, having zero clue what the novel was about.

Dorothy and Elijah bring the emotion, where it was easy to empathize with both of them. The insecurity and awkwardness, the warmth budding of new love, and plenty of unexpected humor.

Jewel is a free-spirited romance junkie with a quirky sense of humor.

With 10 years of flossing lectures under her belt, she took early retirement from her dental hygiene career to stay home with her three awesome boys and manage the family business.

After her best friend of nearly 30 years suggested a few books from the Contemporary Romance genre, Jewel was hooked. Devouring two and three books a week but still craving more, she decided to practice sustainable reading, AKA writing.

When she’s not donning her cape and saving the planet one tree at a time, she enjoys yoga with friends, good food with family, rock climbing with her kids, watching How I Met Your Mother reruns, and of course… heart-wrenching, tear-jerking, panty-scorching novels.

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Jewel’s Jonesies Facebook Group

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Perfectly Adequate by Jewel E. Ann to read and review for this tour.

Amalgamated by Becca Seymour Release Blitz

Escape with Leo and Zak in outback Australia as they discover it sometimes takes time, distance, and interfering family to amalgamate.

After five years of living in the UK, it’s time for Leo to return home to his dad’s stud farm in outback Australia. He has no idea what to expect when he arrives. He didn’t exactly leave with balloons and banners.

Nope. His farewell involved destruction and his own heart split in two.

He knows seeing the man who’s always held his heart, Zak, is going to be awkward. The older farm manager made his feelings pretty damn clear when Leo hightailed it out of there.

Leo quickly figures out life is going to get complicated and a whole heap more exciting as his trip home becomes so much more.

Amalgamated is a fun and steamy M/M short story in Becca Seymour’s Coming Home series. Stand-alone romances complete with heat, wit, and happily ever afters.

A M/M Small-town Romance.

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Book 2
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“Promise you won’t be mad.”

Groaning, I shook my head. Any request starting that way was going to result in me being pissed off. “What did you do?”

This time her glance my way had me tensing. Concern flickered in her eyes. When she focused on the road ahead, she blew out her cheeks, her lips pursed. “We’re heading to mine.”

“Okay?” I dragged out the word. I’d figured that out since we weren’t heading towards Dad and Michelle’s.

“Dad kinda got excited about you coming home.”

My stomach dipped. I just knew where she was heading with this. Slamming my eyes shut, I waited for her next words.

They came out in a rush. “Sohekindainvitedaheapofpeopleover. But…” She gasped for breath. “…it’s not technically a party, as there aren’t banners or balloons.”

My eyes sprang open, and I stared at her wide-eyed.

She glanced at me, a mix of horror and amusement on her face. “You owe me big for talking him out of that.”

“Yet you couldn’t have talked him into a small family meal?”

She shrugged. “I did try, but, Leo.” She paused, emotion swirling in her eyes, and I swallowed. This was just one of the reasons I’d stayed away. Guilt still clawed at me whenever I gave it life. “Dad was so excited you were coming home. You know he still doesn’t understand why you left. If it had just been heading to the city, that would have been a struggle, but you travelled to the other side of the world.”

My gut clenched. I still felt shit for leaving my dad, but I had my own life to live, and taking over my dad’s stud farm wasn’t what I wanted. Plus there was the major screw-up with how I destroyed any semblance of a friendship with Zak.

“There’s more.”

I flashed Jen a resigned look.

“Dad obviously invited Zak.”

My heart seized, and my gut churned. This could not be happening. While I’d anticipated seeing him, I wasn’t prepared for it to be the first night I got home. In hindsight, this was ridiculously naïve of me, considering his place was only a hundred metres or so away from the main house on the property.

“I know, I know, but best to get the whole awkwardness out of the way, right?” She reached out and gave my hand a small squeeze. After I’d run out on Zak the night I’d left, it had taken just a handful of calls from Jen for her to recognize something was wrong and for me to spill my guts. We remained close, even with the distance of the past five years, and without her in my corner, life certainly would have been trickier.

“Yeah, I suppose.” There was something to be said for ripping the Band-Aid off, but my gut clenched in anticipation.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is a short story which works well, as it is an almost second chance romance – I say almost as it was somewhat of a crush more than anything else!

Leo ran off to London five years ago to try and get over his crush on his father's farm manager, Zak. He has, however, now come home on holiday and wants to believe that he is older and wiser and can deal with his feelings. Lucky for him, Zak has other ideas entirely!

Sweet, fun, and I enjoyed the setting – thank you, Becca Seymour.

The key to getting a novella right is to not try to fit too much in and that is exactly what the author has done here. The focus is narrow, dealing with Leo’s return to his family farm in Australia after living in Britain for five years. Leo has to face Zak, the object of his teenage affection. and apologise for his actions the night before he left. But when Leo faces Zak, he doesn’t get the response he is expecting.

This is such a good story. It mixes in angst, friendship, humour, love, and hotness all in one entertaining, easy to read package. I thoroughly enjoyed Amalgamated.

Becca Seymour lives and breathes all things book related. Usually with at least three books being read and two WiPs being written at the same time, life is merrily hectic. She tends to do nothing by halves so happily seeks the craziness and busyness life offers.

Living on her small property in Queensland with her human family as well as her animal family of cows, chooks, and dogs, Becca appreciates the beauty of the world around her and is a believer that love truly is love.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Amalgamated (Coming Home #2) by Becca Seymour to read and review for this tour.

Cowboy Christmas Homecoming by June Faver

This cowboy's finally coming home for Christmas

Zach Garrett is home from war, haunted by PTSD, trying to fit in to what has become an alien world. With the holidays fast approaching, his uncle Big Jim Garrett offers him a place on the family ranch. Zach isn't sure he's up for a noisy, boisterous Garrett Christmas... until he meets beautiful Stephanie Gale, and all his protests go up in flames.

Firefighter and EMT Stephanie Gale is ready for anything. She's got her life under control... until she locks eyes with Zack and realizes her heart's in a whole new kind of danger. But with a little help from Zack's long-lost army dog, maybe he and Stephanie will be able to make this a Christmas of new beginnings after all.

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Book 4
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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.

Zach is returning from war and isn't quite sure where he should land. His dad died during his service and his mom sold off their farm. Zach had always thought that he would take over the farm, but with it gone, he's not sure what to do. He ends up heading to a place he spent a lot of his childhood – his uncle's farm.

Stephanie is a firefighter/EMT and loves her job. She is of small stature and is part of a crew where she is sent into small spaces in order to rescue people. Stephanie has known the Garrett family for a while and when she's visiting their farm, she runs in to Zach.

The attraction between Zach and Stephanie is intense. But with both of their lives unsettled at the moment, neither really knows what to do about their attraction. These two main characters were very well developed. I loved watching them lean on each other and their friends and family. Also, watching them navigate their relationship was fun.

This is a sweet story about coming home, accepting what you can't change, and loving yourself. It has some good action and mystery, but it doesn't take away from the romance in the story.

Also Available in the Dark Horse Cowboys Series

Book 1
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For reviews & more info, check out our Do or Die Cowboy post.

Book 2
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For reviews & more info, check out our Hot Target Cowboy post.

Book 3
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For reviews & more info, check out our stop on the When to Call a Cowboy Blog Tour.

June Faver loves Texas, from the Gulf Coast to the Panhandle, from the Mexican border to the Piney Woods. Her novels embrace the heart and soul of the state and the larger-than-life Texans who romp across her pages. A former teacher and healthcare professional, she lives and writes in the Texas Hill Country.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Cowboy Christmas Homecoming (Dark Horse Cowboys #4) by June Faver to read and review.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Without Reservations by J.L. Langley

Sometimes love catches you by the tail.

Native American veterinarian—and werewolf—Chayton Wilson dreams of a fair-haired mate. However, he’s shocked to find his mate is a man. He’s not quite sure what to do with a male mate, but he’s more than willing to find out.

Keaton Reynolds wakes up in wolf form and finds himself with a mate. He’s instantly attracted, but not thrilled to find out the man is supposedly straight. A past relationship where his partner denied being gay left a bad taste in his mouth. Keaton wants to make a break for it and pretend he never set eyes on Chay—but Chay is not ready to let him go.

Together they work to battle prejudice and solidify their shaky relationship. When a power struggle in Keaton’s pack threatens Keaton’s life, the two men must quickly learn whether they can depend on each other.

Second Edition
First Edition published by Samhain Publishing, Ltd., October 2006.

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Book 1
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Dreamspinner Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Without Reservations is the first installment of the With or Without series. When I signed up to review, I thought the title and author sounded familiar. While reading, I checked on my app, only to discover I already owned the entire series but never read it. Happy surprise, as I wanted to read more the instant I reached the last page.

The Native American culture woven in with the shifter paranormal elements captured me from the get-go. Read in two sittings, I couldn't get enough of the story, because it didn't feel as polished by the PC police, having been originally published a decade ago. The dialogue felt more realistic, flowing organically, and the monologues didn't come off as preachy or educational, but more authentically thought by the characters. Human nature dictates we think both good and bad thoughts in the privacy of our own minds, selfish and selfless, and have knee-jerk reactions, where we say things we don't necessarily mean. That's not a PSA over today's new releases, simply how easy the story flowed in a natural voice.

The short introduction, featuring a little boy Chay voicing how his mate would be a fair-haired, blue-eyed boy was so endearing, I couldn't get that out of my head the entire time I read the novel.

Chay is thirty, always hungering to find his mate. Caring and compassionate, he's a veterinarian... when a were is brought in still in wolf form, Chay instantly tends to the wolf, only to discover the fair-haired, blue-eyed male wolf is his mate.

There is only one time I can forgive insta-love and that is in fated mates storylines. With that being said, Langley does it right. While they are destined for one another from first scent, it's not insta-love in any way, shape, or form. Curiosity, lust, pheromones, but the love and friendship grows over time, which I appreciated immensely.

Keaton has relocated from his birth pack, after issues with him not only being an alpha with three forms, being stronger than his older brother, but also over his sexuality. He struggled yet strove to reach his potential. Heart shielded from an ex who treated him as a side piece. Keaton is strong, yet the strength is understated.

To the backdrop of family and friends upset that the Native American is mated to not only a white person, but a male, there are realistic emotions that crop up, but are dealt with compassion and understanding. I appreciated how Chay and Keaton develop firm boundaries with their friends, family, and packmates, refusing to give in and become doormats.

The romance and the thread of mystery are equal in importance, as several attempts on Keaton's life puts their longevity at risk. The delivery of the necessary information kept me intrigued as the pages flew by, wishing to know what happened next but getting bits and pieces doled out before I became disinterested.

Intrigued, I already have started the second in the series, curious to see how a thread that unfolded during this installment played out for Remi and Jake.

Highly recommend to fans of the author and MM paranormal romance.

This book was right up my alley. I enjoy insta-love and lots of sex and this book had both! If you want a book that is thin on plot and heavy on the sex this is the book for you. Sometimes I just need a book like this to reset me and get me out of a book funk. I will be keeping this book in my "so hot" pile and read again when I need an enjoyable book to get me out of a funk.

J.L. Langley said her first words at six months of age. By the time she was a year old, she was talking in complete sentences and, as most of her family and friends will tell you, she hasn’t shut up since. After becoming an accomplished motormouth, J.L. set out to master other avenues of self-expression, including art, and dance.

She attended the University of Texas, where she majored in art and worked as a dance instructor on the side. Her love of artistic expression in dance landed her a career in which she taught and performed for over twenty-five years. After marriage to her junior high school sweetheart and the birth of their children, J.L. decided to try her hand at writing. To date, she has several successful novels and a handful of novellas to her credit.

She lives in Texas, where she was born and raised, with her real-life hero, their rowdy two boys, two even rowdier German Shepherds, and ten goldfish, one of which is named Jaws. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book appreciating the communication skills of other writers.

Connect with J.L.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Without Reservations (With or Without #1) by J.L. Langley to read and review.

Say It Again by Catherine Bybee Blog Tour

In the final First Wives novel by New York Times bestselling author Catherine Bybee, falling in love could become the most dangerous dare of one woman’s life.

Protector-for-hire Sasha Budanov is accustomed to life as a loner. Always on the move, she’s now reached a crossroad. Looking for answers about her shadowy youth, she’s returned to the strict boarding school in Germany where she was raised. It’s also where she was trained in the stealthy, militarized art of survival. But behind its gleaming gates, Richter is a fortress of secrets, including those buried in Sasha’s mysterious past. To uncover them, she’s clinging to her first rule of defense: stay guarded.

If anyone can challenge Sasha’s rules, it’s devilishly sexy stranger AJ Hofmann. He wants answers, too. And he needs Sasha’s help. The recent deaths of several of Richter’s former students—including AJ’s own sister—have aroused his suspicions. He’s arousing something more in Sasha. Never one to surrender to her emotions, she senses something tempting in AJ. She trusts him. He’s fearless. And he kisses like a demon. Sasha’s found her match.

But treading Richter’s dark halls—and following their hearts—has its risks. As the decades-old secrets of the past are mined, Sasha and AJ are falling deeper in love… and into danger.

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Book 5
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the fifth (and sadly, final) book in the series. If you have not read any of them yet, then I would recommend that you do, as they are really good. You will meet characters from the previous books here, but actually Sasha's story is quite separate, so you could read this first and then go back. Each story is wonderfully unique and this one certainly is too! Sasha was never a first wife, however, she has been an important side character in helping earlier leads get their happily ever afters. She has always been a mystery... and some of that is peeled away here, but more importantly, she finds someone who wants her, for her, no matter her past.

We find Sasha returning to her German boarding school, which is more like a fortress training soldiers for life. As we get to understand how she was educated, and the lengths that she went to to subvert the system, I think she becomes an even more appealing person. She is given access to information which reveals more about her past, and possibly has an impact on what her future could hold. She also meets AJ, a man in search of answers about his sister's death. He is convinced that it is due to her also being a student at the same school. And thus, the purpose for her visit expands, as well as her finding AJ may be of interest himself... a thought she normally would not allow herself. This leads to them becoming embroiled in a political school battle. I loved all this intrigue, passion, and hope.

A very different story from the previous ones, yet ardent fans will be delighted that we do still meet up with the first wives, and get to celebrate with them what family and love really mean.

Thank you, Catherine Bybee, for a lovely series, one which has found its place on my Must Reread List.

Also Available in the First Wives Series

Book 1
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~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

For reviews & more info, check out our Fool Me Once post.

Book 2
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~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

For reviews & more info, check out our Half Empty post.

Book 3
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~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

For reviews & more info, check out our Chasing Shadows post.

Book 4
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~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

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

New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee has written twenty-seven books that have collectively sold more than three million copies and have been translated into twelve languages. Raised in Washington State, Bybee moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Not Quite series, the Weekday Brides series, the Most Likely To series, and the First Wives series.

Connect with Catherine

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Say It Again (First Wives #5) by Catherine Bybee to read and review for this tour.

Venom in the Veins by Jennifer Estep

Blood might be thicker than water, but venom is stronger than just about anything…

It was supposed to be a nice, quiet, simple dinner with friends—but nothing is ever nice, quiet, or simple when you’re Gin Blanco, the Spider, notorious assassin and current queen of the Ashland underworld.

This time around, someone seems to be targeting Stuart Mosley, the president of First Trust bank. Lots of people have grudges against Mosley, but the more I investigate, the more Mosley’s problems seem to be connected to some of my own, especially when it comes to the Circle, the evil, shadowy group that is secretly responsible for much of the crime and corruption in Ashland.

But when another blast from my dark and deadly past as the Spider comes to light, I wonder if I’ll be able to survive this dangerous new enemy, who has a burning thirst for revenge that will only be satisfied with one thing: my death.

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Book 17
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Spoiler-Free Review

Our Spider assassin and Queen of Ashland's underworld, Venom in the Veins is the 17th installment of the Elemental Assassin. It would be insanity to attempt to jump into the series with this novel. Most certainly not a standalone. If you're new to Jennifer Estep, I highly recommend starting at the beginning with Spider's Bite, because it's Urban Fantasy at its finest. I've been hankering to read the first few books again, since it's been a good decade.

In this installment, Gin's bud is being targeted – the president of the bank, Stuart Mosley – and it's up to Gin and company to figure out the what, why, where, how, and who, and eradicate the threat, with a new villain on the scene.

In classic Gin Blanco fashion, with excitement, adventure, and sarcastic, witty repartee, she and her ragtag gang follow the clues, have some minor mishaps and setbacks, get kidnapped and tortured, but eventually come out on top with the use of otherworldly abilities.

There's a sense of comforting homecoming, trusting Estep to deliver the same feel book after book, as it's pure entertainment to read this series. The side cast is enriched enough that they themselves could carry the story, which also makes me hopeful that someday I will experience their voices.

Gin evokes emotions within the reader, her tragic backstory resonating. But in Venom in the Veins, she's forced to acknowledge that she's caused others the same pain. This orphan has created orphans in others, whether their parent deserved it is of little consequence. Gin has to come to terms with the consequences that she has caused similar pain. This is how even an urban fantasy series can feel realistic and so very human.

Without going in-depth into the plot, as I want to remain spoiler-free, this is where formulaic writing is not a negative. If you're looking for the same vibe from the previous books, where you're entertained, seeking certain emotions and excitement, Jennifer Estep delivers.

Also Available in the Elemental Assassin Series

Book 14.5
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca

For reviews & more info, check out our Unwanted post.

Book 15
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca

For reviews & more info, check out our Unraveled post.

Book 16
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our Snared post.

JENNIFER ESTEP is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

She is the author of the following series:
The Elemental Assassin Series
The Crown of Shards Series
The Mythos Academy Spinoff Series
The Mythos Academy Series
The Bigtime Series
The Black Blade Series

Connect with Jennifer

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Venom in the Veins (Elemental Assassin #17) by Jennifer Estep to read and review. Review copy purchased by the blog.