Friday, July 3, 2020

Better Have Heart by Andy Gallo & Anyta Sunday Release Blitz

They hate everything about each other, so why do they harmonize so well?

Isaiah Nettles wants a chance. A chance to help his family.

The prestigious Gage Scholarship will secure his future. He needs this. The competition might be hot, but Darren Gage is a golden child. No way will Isaiah let an entitled rich kid be handed the award.

But what if Darren is more than an entitled rich kid?

Darren Gage wants to be seen. Seen as more than just his name.

The Gage Scholarship will let him shine. He needs this. Sure, Isaiah is insanely sexy—and right to stand up for himself—but he is the competition. No way will Darren let just anyone take his legacy.

But what if Isaiah isn’t just anyone?

Better Have Heart is an enemies-to-lovers, slow burn M/M romance with a HEA. This New Adult, college, opposite attract, rich-boy poor-boy novel can be read as a standalone.

Authors’ Note: We want readers to enjoy a good, new adult romance with two MCs who help each other overcome what’s holding them back from finding love.

Book 2
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~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

Isaiah could have laughed. Of course.

Like a king, Darren came to the meeting like he’d rolled out of bed from a good fuck. Cheeks bright, hair damp and teased at the ends, gait relaxed like he was well and truly spent.

It was infuriating on many levels. Like the way President Jenkins didn’t bat an eye and said, “on time.”


On time was Isaiah missing his modern jazz performance class, putting on a suit, and walking through the ninety-plus degree heat to get here before the mentors.

On time was turning down a paid yoga session because they had scheduled two hours for this meeting.

On time was ignoring the call from his mom ten minutes before the meeting because Jenkins had delivered him a look.

He glanced at Darren again.

Yeah, Darren coming in like that was infuriating, all right. Especially how Isaiah’s traitorous body responded every time their gazes clashed.

So, Darren might be hot. Okay, insanely hot. But beneath all that, Isaiah was looking at an aristocratic charmer. The type of man who knew all the right names to drop to get his way.

There was a certain amount of jealousy in that assessment, sure, but his frustration stemmed from something deeper than that. It stemmed from the gnawing worry in his gut.

Winning for him meant being that much closer to giving mom a break from two jobs just to keep a roof over her and his siblings’ heads.

For that to happen, he needed a chance. A level playing field. Not Darren waltzing in with a smile to make the judges swoon.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Better Have Heart is the second installment in the Harrison Campus series, which can easily be read as a standalone with zero confusion. Mentions of the past narrators, a few short cameos, and the campus and fraternity are the only common ties.

I easily fell into the story, reading it all in a single sitting. Darren really tugged my heartstrings with the poor little rich boy premise. He was kind, compassionate, giving, selfless, and empathetic. Struggling with where he fits into his family after coming out, he tries his hardest to regain his father's approval, fearing he's disappointed him.

Isaiah is barely squeaking by as a scholarship student at Harrison. When he spots how the coveted Gage Scholarship will just automatically be handed to the current Gage descendant on campus, he alerts the college, trying to get in the running. I appreciated Isaiah's need to question the system, what I didn't enjoy is how judgmental he was, making assumptions and judging people on their background, while hypocritically thinking it unfair if they pre-judge him. While frustrating to read, it was beyond realistic, as this hypocritical mindset is human nature.

Darren and Isaiah fight for the coveted spot, trying with all their might to pretend their bond isn't strengthening, how they're not into one another. Over the course of the novel, Darren and Isiah try to understand why the other so badly wants and deserves to be the scholar.

Slow-burn at its finest, with a believable connection, realistic interactions, and a balance of personalities. Low on the sizzle, more friendship than romance, but beyond realistic.

Highly recommend to MM Romance fans, especially those who enjoy slow-burn. Can't wait to get my hands on book three.

Also Available in the Harrison Campus Series

Book 1
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For reviews & more info, check out our stop on the Better Be Sure Release Blitz.

Andy Gallo prefers mountains over the beach, coffee over tea, and regardless if you shake it or stir it, he isn’t drinking a martini. He remembers his “good old days” as filled with mullets, disco music, too-short shorts, and too-high socks. Thanks to good shredders and a lack of social media, there is no proof he ever descended into any of those evils.

Andy does not write about personal experiences and no living or deceased ex-boyfriends appear on the pages of his stories. He might subconsciously infuse his characters with some of their less noble qualities, but that is entirely coincidental even if their names are the same. And while Andy leaves the hard sci-fi/fantasy for his alter ego, Andrew, in his mind a touch of the supernatural never derailed a good relationship.

Married and living his own happy every after, Andy helps others find their happy endings in the pages of his stories. He and his husband of more than twenty years spend their days raising their daughter and rubbing elbows with other parents. Embracing his status as the gay dad, Andy sometimes has to remind others that one does want a hint of color even when chasing after their child.

Connect with Andy

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Anyta Sunday

A bit about me: I'm a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. I love to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love. Some of my favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries. I write a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy. My books have been translated into German, Italian, French, and Thai.

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Slow Burn Sunday Facebook Group

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Better Have Heart (Harrison Campus #2) by Andy Gallo & Anyta Sunday to read and review for this tour.

Wild and Precious by CJane Elliott Blog Tour

Gorgeous bosses, meddling friends, and personal ads—the path to love is never straight. Especially not for Brent Granger, who is ready to leave his straight ways behind.

Aspiring writer Brent has good friends and a great job at an arts magazine in DC, but he’s batting zero in the arena of love. He begins to get a clue why things aren’t working with women from his strong attraction to his boss Graham, who already has a boyfriend. When Brent sees a personal ad from a man named Cody that quotes his favorite poet, he decides to do something wild.

Wild and Precious is a sweet and sexy M/M novella in the Wild and Precious Series. If you like slow burn, friends-to-lovers stories spiced with a side of coming out and office romance, you’ll love Wild and Precious.

Second edition. Contains minor revisions

Book 1
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~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

“Man, Graham was in a shit mood today. I’ve never seen him snap at anyone before in a staff meeting.” Ari lounged on the extra chair in Brent’s cubicle, waiting for him to finish up so they could go to lunch.

“I know. I wonder what’s wrong. I mean it’s hard to get the magazine out the week before Thanksgiving, but—”

Cindy, the magazine’s receptionist, stuck her head in and said in a loud whisper, “He broke up with his boyfriend. Or, the other way around. And by the way he’s been moping, I’d say it’s the other way around.”

Brent stared at her. “True facts?”

She gave a solemn nod. “Don’t ask me how I know, but yeah, it’s true. Stupid Hunter, what a jerk.” Like most of the magazine staff, Cindy was fiercely loyal to Graham.

“Fuck.” Brent couldn’t believe it. The elections had happened a few weeks ago, Hunter’s congresswoman had been reelected, and Graham had been so happy, anticipating Hunter’s homecoming.

After lunch, Brent walked to Graham’s office. The door was uncharacteristically closed, so he knocked, trying to ignore the pounding of his heart.

Graham opened the door, looking harried and impatient.

“Oh. Brent. Come in.” As Brent walked in, Graham ran a hand through his hair, muttering, “You’re about the only one I can stand right now.”

Brent felt a lump in his throat at those words. “I wanted to see how you’re doing.”

“How I’m—? Oh. News travels fast around here.” Graham sat back down, shoulders slumped.

“Um, tell me if I’m butting in. I’ll go away.”

“No, don’t go. I… it’s nice you’re checking up on me. Thanks.” He studied his desk instead of Brent. Then he said in a low voice, “It’s hard. But I’m dealing.”

Being this close to him, Brent noticed the circles under his eyes, and felt a wave of anger at Hunter. He waited, but Graham didn’t offer anything else.

“Well. Um, let me know if you want to hang out or… or anything.”

Graham gave a tight nod. “Yeah. I’d like to do that. Sunday? Or will you be away for Thanksgiving?”

“No, I’m staying. Darrell and I have to go to the Sorenson’s for their fancy Thanksgiving soiree. Kill me now.”

Graham laughed. “You’ll survive.”

“What about you? Are you gonna be okay? I mean, do you have a place to go?”

“Of course. Mother is overjoyed I’m coming home to New York City for once. Don’t worry about me.”

“Okay. Well… see you Sunday.” Brent walked toward the door.


He stopped and turned around.

“Thank you.” Graham’s mask slipped for a moment, and he bit his lip, appearing young and lost, before recovering his composure.

Brent couldn’t stand it. He clenched his fists as the words burst out of him. “He’s an asshole! Anyone who’d leave you is crazy!”

Not wanting Graham to see the sudden moisture in his eyes, Brent got out of there and fled to his cubicle, wishing a painful death on Hunter for making Graham look like that. He threw himself on his chair and smashed the keys on his computer, pretending they were Hunter’s face.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is a surprisingly difficult review to write. I have really mixed feelings about the story, the characters  and the writing style – but I cannot deny that it made me think and that is always good, even if not entirely positively!

I really liked the concept of using a line in a poem to tie the whole story together. I thought that the events set up to push the story forward were fabulously awkward, and really gave me the sense of just how far Brent had travelled from his previously normal. It also, however, was unbelievably inconsiderate of Cody's feelings and incredibly selfish. I do think that at times of revelation and growth there is a level of selfish implicit in there, but we don't often read about how badly it can affect others. Cody was beyond patient and kind methinks – and he is most definitely the bigger man when it is time to move on. That most of what we learn is done by telling not showing can be frustrating and pulls us away from the characters – so that when there is a conversation, it takes on a value perhaps higher than it should.

In spite of the above, and other idiosyncrasies which pulled me out of the story, I did enjoy reading a less than perfect character moving forward through his life being awakened to his true needs and real loves – and thereby being wild and precious!

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, award-winning author CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane writes sexy, passionate LGBTQ romances that explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.

CJane is bisexual and an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality. In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her family supports her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards. Her contemporary novel All the Way to Shore was runner up for best bisexual fiction in the 2017 Rainbow Awards.

Connect with CJane

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Rainbow Readers Club Facebook Group

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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Fakers by Lucy Lennox & May Archer Release Blitz

Brooks Johnson’s Words To Live By:

When returning to Licking Thicket, TN, for the first time in ten years to reunite with your nosy neighbors, heart-broken ex-girlfriend, and matchmaking mama who never quite believed you were gay, it’s best to bring a fake boyfriend as backup...

Just don’t be surprised when your ex-girlfriend does the same.

And when her incredibly hot fake boyfriend becomes the one island of calm in a sea of bovine-based insanity, it’s best to exercise caution… especially when he pushes you up against the rough barn wall to check you very thoroughly for splinters...

Just don’t be surprised if you fall head-over-hooves in love with him.

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~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

I slunk down the hall like I was a kid again, afraid of being caught, and I snuck glances at the backyard out the window to make sure my mother and Ava weren’t coming… which was how I nearly ran into a person standing in the hall by the kitchen.

“Oh my God!” I said, grabbing the person—a man, definitely a man, though much less bulky than me—by the shoulders. “I’m so sorry. I was, ah… distracted.”

And if I hadn’t been before, I certainly was once I got a look at him. Holy shit.

“No, sorry, my bad,” the guy said. He straightened his black T-shirt and brushed an unruly mop of wavy, brown-gold hair away from his magnetic blue eyes. “I was distracted too.”

He motioned toward the pictures on the hallway wall—a collection of bovine-inspired artwork my mother had begun before I was born—and shook his head wordlessly. I felt my face heat.

“Ah. Yeah, it’s quite a theme, isn’t it?” I said. “Cows in flower crowns?”

“I can’t tell if it’s horrible, or wonderful, or both.”

“Both,” I decided. “Most things are.”

He turned to give me a quick, startled smile, and I realized belatedly that while he’d been staring at the wall, I’d been staring at him.

Honestly, there was a lot to look at. Besides the sexy, untamed hair, the man had sharp, intelligent eyes that looked like they missed nothing, high, rounded cheekbones, a scruffy jaw, and plush, pink lips, like a master sculptor had perfectly softened all his other features to balance the intensity of his eyes. His body was lithe, leanly muscled, and delightfully warm. He had a little silver hoop in his left ear, a freckle in the hollow of his throat, and a stack of bracelets up one wrist. He could’ve been anywhere from fifteen to thirty years old. I felt a pulse of awareness in my gut.

Please don’t be fifteen, please don’t be fifteen.

“Are you okay?” he asked, frowning at me in concern.

Damn it all, I was still staring.

“Yeah, no, totally. Just, um.” I cleared my throat. My mother’s art display was the last place on earth I’d expected to meet someone as striking as this. Why did this have to happen while I was a giant, sweaty mess? “Making sure you are.”

“Oh.” His expression cleared, and his lips twitched. Apparently, I was still staring at his lips. “I’m fine. Except that I stepped out of the bathroom down here and this cow started staring into my soul.”

I had to force myself to look away from him and focus on the cow painting, but when I did…

I laughed out loud. “It really is. That cow knows exactly what you’re thinking right now.”

The man gasped, and the sound went straight to my balls. “You think? In that case, that cow needs to mind her fucking business before she gets corrupted.” He looked me up and down, from my messy, sweaty hair to my sneakers, and I’d swear the smile he gave me was pure flirtation.

The smile I gave him in return sure as hell was.

This kind of thing never happened to me. Ever.

“Have you ever seen a real cow?” I asked, because I was the fucking king of suave conversation.

Jesus Christ, how had I ever managed to have sex with anyone?

“A real cow? Obviously,” the guy said, folding his arms over his chest. I couldn’t help but notice the defined muscles in his chest and arms. He was shorter than I was but definitely not scrawny. Fuck he was sexy. He smirked. “Don’t I look like a country boy?”

I laughed, feeling all the stress from the day start to fall away.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is a joyful, silly romp and a perfect summer holiday read. Not just one, but two fake boyfriends, a bizarre small town that is almost a caricature of itself, and an annual festival celebrating cows – the story had me laughing from the start.

Ultimately, this book works because the silliness is offset by well developed, lovable characters whose complicated relationships are easy to invest in. The chemistry between Brooks and Mal is instant and their ill-advised romance is crazy hot. I love them both and I love the way Mal finds his place within Brooks’ family and community. The fake relationships in this story remind me of Shakespeare’s fake identity comedies and I love all the innuendos and the playful feel to this story.

The ‘returning to my hometown’ storyline isn’t a new one but it works better here than in most similar books. While Brooks does start the book with smug urban sneers aimed at the backwards town he remembers, I love that it’s actually Brooks who has to catch up with a town that has changed more than he has. As Mal points out, the town of Licking Thicket is in on the joke. This book is neither a tribute to white picket fence living or a critique of backwards small towns. It’s up to Brooks to understand that the town he wrote off at 18 has become an inclusive, welcoming, and forward thinking community.

This book was amazeballs! I laughed so much and had a perma-smile on my face. My husband would keep asking what I was smiling about. This whole little town, the festival, everything was just awesome. Brooks and Mal were so perfect together. These two authors wrote one hell of a book and I was on board from beginning to end. I felt like I was right there experiencing everything as it happened. I simply love this book and will add it to my list of books that will pick you up, make you laugh, and feel joy.

After enjoying creative writing as a child, Lucy didn’t write her first novel until she was over 40 years old. Her debut novel, Borrowing Blue, was published in the autumn of 2016. Lucy has an English Literature degree from Vanderbilt University, but that doesn’t hold a candle to the years and years of staying up all night reading tantalizing novels on her own. She has three children, plays tennis, and hates folding laundry. While her husband is no shmoopy romance hero, he is very good at math, cooks a mean lasagne, has gorgeous eyes, looks hot in his business clothes, and makes her laugh every single day.

Lucy hopes you enjoy sexy heroes as much as she does. Happy reading!

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May is an M/M author who lives in Boston. She spends her days raising three incredibly sarcastic children, finding inventive ways to drive her husband crazy, planning beach vacations, avoiding the gym, reading M/M romance, and occasionally writing it. She also writes MF romance as Maisy Archer.

Connect with May

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Club May Facebook Group

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Just Like That by Cole McCade Blog Tour

Summer Hemlock never meant to come back to Omen, Massachusetts.

But with his mother in need of help, Summer has no choice but to return to his hometown, take up a teaching residency at the Albin Academy boarding school—and work directly under the man who made his teenage years miserable.

Professor Fox Iseya.

Forbidding, aloof, commanding: psychology instructor Iseya is a cipher who’s always fascinated and intimidated shy, anxious Summer. But that fascination turns into something more when the older man challenges Summer to be brave. What starts as a daily game to reward Summer with a kiss for every obstacle overcome turns passionate, and a professional relationship turns quickly personal.

Yet Iseya’s walls of grief may be too high for someone like Summer to climb… until Summer’s infectious warmth shows Fox everything he’s been missing in life.

Now both men must be brave enough to trust each other, to take that leap.

To find the love they’ve always needed…

Just like that.

In Just Like That, critically acclaimed author Cole McCade introduces us to Albin Academy: a private boys’ school where some of the world’s richest families send their problem children to learn discipline and maturity, out of the public eye.

Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories featuring beloved romance tropes, where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.

Book 1
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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Carina Adores – Harlequin

“Extinguisher first, then sand,” the voice ordered. “Dr. Liu, if you insist on getting in the way, at least make your¬self useful and remove anything else flammable from the vicinity of the blaze. Quickly, now. Keep your mouths covered.”

Summer’s entire body tingled, prickled, as if his skin had drawn too tight. That voice—that voice brought back too many memories. Afternoons in his psychology elec¬tive class, staring down at his textbook and doodling in his notebook and refusing to look up, to look at anyone, while that voice washed over him for an hour. Summer knew that voice almost better than the face attached to it, every inflection and cadence, the way it could command silence with a quiet word more effectively than any shout.

And how sometimes it seemed more expressive than the cold, withdrawn expression of the man he remembered, standing tall and stern in front of a class of boys who were all just a little bit afraid of him.

Summer had never been afraid, not really.

But he hadn’t had the courage to whisper to himself what he’d really felt, when he’d been a hopeless boy who’d done everything he could to be invisible.

Heart beating harder, he followed the sound of that voice to the open doorway of a smoke-filled room, the entire chemistry lab a haze of gray and black and crackling or¬ange; from what he could tell a table was…on fire? Or at least the substance inside a blackened beaker was on fire, belching out a seemingly never-ending, impossible billow of smoke and flame.

Several smaller fires burned throughout the room; it looked as though sparks had jumped to catch on notebooks, papers, books. Several indistinct shapes alternately sprayed the conflagration with fire extinguishers and doused it with little hand buckets of sand from the emergency kit in the corner of the room, everyone working clumsily one-handed while they held wet paper towels over their noses and mouths with the other.

And standing tall over them all—several teachers and older students, it looked like—was the one man Summer had returned to Omen to see.

Professor Iseya.

He stood head and shoulders above the rest, his broad-shouldered, leanly angular frame as proud as a battle stan¬dard, elegant in a trim white button-down tucked into dark gray slacks, suspenders striping in neat black lines down his chest. Behind slim glasses, his pale, sharply angled gray eyes flicked swiftly over the room, set in a narrow, graceful face that had only weathered with age into an ivory mask of quiet, aloof beauty.

The sleek slick of his ink-black hair was pulled back from his face as always—but as always, he could never quite keep the soft strands inside their tie, and several wisped free to frame his face, lay against his long, smooth neck, pour down his shoulders and back. He held a damp paper towel over his mouth, neatly folded into a square, and spoke through it to direct the frazzled-looking group with con¬summate calm, taking complete control of the situation.

And complete control of Summer, as Iseya’s gaze abruptly snapped to him, locking on him from across the room. “Why have you not evacuated?” Iseya demanded coldly, his words precise, inflected with a softly cultured accent. “Please vacate the premises until we’ve contained the blaze.”

Summer dropped his eyes immediately—habit, staring down at his feet. “Oh, um—I came to help,” he mumbled through the collar of his shirt.

A pause, then, “You’re not a student. Who are you?”

That shouldn’t sting.

But then it had been seven years, he’d only been in two of Iseya’s classes… and he’d changed, since he’d left Omen.

At least, he hoped he had.

That was why he’d run away, after all. To shake off the boy he’d been; to find himself in a big city like Baltimore, and maybe, just maybe…

Learn not to be so afraid.

But he almost couldn’t bring himself to speak, while the silence demanded an answer. “I’m not a student anymore,” he corrected, almost under his breath. “It’s… it’s me. Summer. Summer Hemlock. Your new TA.” He made himself look up, even if he didn’t raise his head, peeking at Iseya through the wreathing of smoke that made the man look like some strange and ghostly figure, this ethereal spirit swirled in mist and darkness. “Hi, Professor Iseya. Hi.”

Copyright © 2020 by Cole McCade

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Summer returns to his former boarding school to work as a teacher’s assist for his former psychology professor and teenage crush, Fox Iseya. I'm not often a fan to romance stories with large age gap but it really works here. Fox and Summer are night and day. Fox is stoic and controlled and Summer is a bundle of nerves and anxiety. But he is also brave. Although he feels his anxiety, he still goes head first into situations he fears. The men complement each other so well.

Just Like That is a lovely romance. The author's writing is beautifully descriptive, which I initially enjoyed but around the middle, the story slowed down a bit and I wanted less description about kisses and more getting on with the story. Luckily, the story picked up nicely and gave us a bit of drama.

This is one of those romance novels that very much focuses on the couple and other characters on come in as absolutely necessary. They work in a school, but we know very little about the other staff. Given this is the first book in a series, I would have liked to have learned a little more about the school and its inhabitants. Overall, I enjoyed Just Like That, it is a good romance and I look forward to reading more of this series.

Summer Hemlock has always been the shy, keep to yourself kind of guy. Especially when he was in Professor Fox Iseya's psychology class. Now he's back at Albin Academy, not as a student but as Professor Iseya's TA. Summer still finds Professor Iseya intimidating but now as an adult, Summer is a bit braver, especially when he's given a little push and some amazing incentive.

Summer and Fox's relationship was years in the making. Fox's wife died in a tragic accident and Fox has never been able to get over his grief, but with Summer giving him the push he needs, maybe he can finally find himself again.

This book wasn't bad but I didn't feel a connection at all with the characters. The writing was done well but it just wasn't my personal preference.

Cole McCade is a new-to-me author, and I felt the debut in a new series was the perfect chance to get a taste of the writing style, especially since I'm a fan of the tropes inside the pages.

Summer returns to an academy, this time as the TA for the professor he had a crush on when he was a student. Not only that, he's assisting the very professor he loved, a professor who is a widower, many years his senior, and is probably straight. They challenge one another, while fighting anxiety. Now, doesn't that sound like yummy deliciousness?

Just Like That was beautifully written, mature and intelligent, with a steady pace as the story unfolded. Now, doesn't that sound amazing as well? I think this is a case of where the writing style doesn't suit me as a reader. Can a novel be too intelligent?

There was a voice filled with flowery purple prose that was absolutely beautiful in the storytelling. However, this buried the story beneath the pretty, beneath the intellect, until it made it hard to connect with the characters. Reminiscent of classic novels, where you had to truly dig beneath all the words on the page to find the handful that meant anything, and this is being said by someone who enjoys historical fiction and has read the bulk majority of the classics.

I felt nothing but disconnected the entire time I was reading the novel.

I couldn't connect with Summer or Fox. What made it more difficult, there wasn't a firm divide when the characters switched narration. Since I could 'hear' the writer's voice the entire novel, and both Summer and Fox both sounded identical. With the large age-gap, the fact that Summer was a recent college graduate, yet he sounded exactly like the professor love interest that was ready to retire.

No matter how you pretty up the narration, it all starts to sound one-note. The plot itself was intriguing, but it was buried beneath over-description, purple prose, and rambling inner monologue.

It was easy for me to lose focus, knowing the couple would find their happily ever after together, I lost interest in the journey to get there. I kept thinking I would eventually fall into the story, but that never happened, even when I got to the end. I found myself skimming more and more as I waded through the novel.

While I'm sure there is a base of readers who will be delighted in Just Like That, I wasn't one of them. The writing style isn't to my tastes, so this will be the first and the last novel I'll read by this author.

Cole McCade is a New Orleans-born Southern boy without the Southern accent, currently residing somewhere in Seattle. He spends his days as a suit-and-tie corporate consultant and business writer, and his nights writing contemporary romance and erotica that flirts with the edge of taboo—when he’s not being tackled by two hyperactive cats.

He also writes genre-bending science fiction and fantasy tinged with a touch of horror and flavored by the influences of his multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual background as Xen. He wavers between calling himself bisexual, calling himself queer, and trying to figure out where “demi” fits into the whole mess—but no matter what word he uses he’s a staunch advocate of LGBTQIA and POC representation and visibility in genre fiction. And while he spends more time than is healthy hiding in his writing cave instead of hanging around social media, you can generally find him in these usual haunts.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Just Like That (Albin Academy #1) by Cole McCade to read and review for this tour.

To Catch an Earl by Kate Bateman

Kate Bateman's To Catch an Earl continues her historical Regency Romance Bow Street Bachelors series.

Working undercover for London’s first official police force, the Bow Street Bachelors have an obligation to serve the city’s best interests—even while they’re falling for the city’s most alluring women…


Alex Harland, Earl of Melton and dedicated rake, never pictured himself as an agent of inquiry. But the thrill of investigation is a challenge he now embraces. When he’s asked to pursue the Nightjar, a notorious thief who is reclaiming France’s crown jewels, the case throws him into the path of the beautiful and equally elusive Emmy Danvers, reminding him of the only puzzle he’s never solved: the identity of the mysterious woman who once stole a kiss from him—and left him wanting so much more…


The daughter of a thief, Emmy learned long ago how to keep her secrets safeguarded—and, as the notorious Nightjar, her love for Alex Harland is one of them. With the determined earl hot on her trail—and making her hot under the collar—Emmy has no choice but to keep her distance. But when a moment’s danger threatens Emmy’s life as well as her name, will Alex finally discover that he’s followed every clue…to true love?

Book 2
Buy Links

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

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Three Stars. If the novel had not been written so well, I would have rated the plot, execution, and flow two stars.

To Catch an Earl is the second installment in the Bow Street Bachelors series, and can easily be read independently of the series as a standalone with little to no confusion.

Emmy is a jewel thief, a legacy passed down from her late father, including her brother and grandmother. As the blurb states, she's been in love with Alex forever. To be honest, I didn't get Emmy, at all. Her love for Alex felt vapid, since she had never held a conversation with him, didn't know him from Adam, and only saw him from afar, so what was to love? Infatuation over his looks, perhaps? This one-dimensional issue continued throughout the novel for me, as none of Emmy's motivations made a lick of sense.

Alex was a more fully developed character for me, with his war injury of decreased sight. His inner monologues were longer than I expected, but it gave good insight into who Alex is as a man, which helped how I viewed those closest to him. Honorable, his job as a Bow Street Runner is important to him.

To be honest. I didn't understand the attraction between Emmy and Alex. It felt forced from the get-go, the reader told instead of shown. It wasn't the balance between opposites. I never felt it, which made the entire book fall flat for me. I wasn't invested, so the pages dragged for me.

Another major facet I didn't quite get – the thievery. Emmy and family continued to steal gems, forced by a blackmailer. It was the first piece on the blackmail list that would have been the ammunition to blackmail them, considering their father had passed away and they were innocents, so it's not like he could be dug up to swing from the hangman's noose. They didn't steal out of necessity. I realize it was to give an adventurous, exciting air to the novel, causing it to be a page-turner. For me, it just ended up feeling forced, like the author was trying too hard to make the readers believe in Emmy's baddassery. Feed the blackmailer or risk hanging over something with no proof, something you didn't commit, or steal for the blackmailer and actually swing from the gallows while caught in the act. Irrational. Ignorant. Scent distinctive, wear one-of-a-kind perfume during a theft, because Emmy was just begging to get caught. This also fell flat for me, because it was ludicrous, not exciting and spunky.

Another con for me, an overabundance of historical facts, read as if taken from a textbook. It didn't feel as if it was to set the scene or build the world around them, more like proving the author knew the facts. These facts were injected at odd times, dumped during meandering inner monologues, which pulled me from the story, since I felt as if I was being lectured.

I'd love to say this is on me, as if the writing style isn't to my tastes. Perhaps my mood was too depressive to enjoy this fun romp. Ordinarily I'd agree and say so, but the idea of the plot didn't hold up well to how it was executed.

I'm curious to see where the series goes. While I've enjoyed the author in the past, if the next is a bust for me as well, the writing style obviously doesn't suit with my reading tastes.

Also Available in the Bow Street Bachelors Series

Book 1
Buy Links

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

For reviews & more info, check out our This Earl of Mine post.

Kate Bateman, (also writing as K.C. Bateman), is the #1 bestselling author of historical romances, including her RITA® nominated Renaissance romp, The Devil To Pay, and the novels in the Secrets & Spies series To Steal a Heart, A Raven’s Heart, and A Counterfeit Heart. When not writing novels that feature feisty, intelligent heroines and sexy, snarky heroes you want to both strangle and kiss, Kate works as a fine art appraiser and on-screen antiques expert for several popular TV shows in the UK. She splits her time between Illinois and her native England.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of To Catch an Earl (Bow Street Bachelors #2) by Kate Bateman to read and review.