Saturday, May 30, 2020

Conventionally Yours by Annabeth Albert

When two "big name fans" go head-to-head at a convention, love isn't the only thing at stake.

Charming, charismatic, and effortlessly popular, Conrad Stewart seems to have it all...but in reality, he's scrambling to keep his life from tumbling out of control.

Brilliant, guarded, and endlessly driven, Alden Roth may as well be the poster boy for perfection...but even he can't help but feel a little broken inside.

When these mortal enemies are stuck together on a cross-country road trip to the biggest fan convention of their lives, their infamous rivalry takes a backseat as an unexpected connection is forged. Yet each has a reason why they have to win the upcoming Odyssey gaming tournament and neither is willing to let emotion get in the way—even if it means giving up their one chance at something truly magical.

Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

4 Geek Road Trip Stars.

Conventionally Yours is the first in the True Colors series, featuring college-aged guys who take a road trip to a gamer tournament. I do believe you should have a basic grasp on gaming (particularly card gaming) to get the full entertainment value, as it was a large percentage of the novel.

The novel was the epitome of slow-burn, turning enemies into teammates into friends then into lovers.

For the first half of the novel, I was enthralled with the realistic chemistry between Conrad and Alden, especially their backstories that were slowly unfolding as the story moved forward. They were drawn to one another, yet were competitive, as well as misunderstood by the other. Preconceived notions of the other's living situation, with a hefty dose of judgment coloring how they viewed one another. It was realistic, in the manner that humans do this to each other on a daily basis.

On the gaming front, Odyssey reminded of forever and a day ago when I was in my late teens and my ex was obsessed with buying a billion Magic The Gathering cards to play. While I thought it was addictive fun, we were broke, so I definitely felt for Conrad. I thoroughly enjoyed all the gaming aspects, but since I understood the dynamics, I'm not in a position to say whether or not a non-gamer would get heads or tails of that portion.

On the road trip front, as someone who has traveled by car from Pennsylvania to New Mexico almost twenty times, there was a feeling of déjà vu while reading. I found it humorous, because most of the stops are exactly where I ended up every night, like we took the same path of travel. A bit of a walk down memory lane for me.

The chemistry between Alden and Conrad was off the charts. Their emotional reactions were realistically portrayed, as well as heart-clenching. The slow-burn truly had me believing in their connection.

All in all, I was highly entertained on many fronts, enjoying the gaming aspects, the road trip through the US in the same path I've traveled myself, but it was the pacing that knocked it down from a five-star read by a star.

Slow-burn is difficult to keep 'most' readers engaged. As an avid slow-burn reader, even I started to get a bit disinterested around the 65% mark. Not much was happening, aside from relationship and character growth (both amazing things) but the stops and the game stores all started to meld together into redundancy – been there, done that, during the last chapter. I needed the pacing to pick up to keep my interests. I read 65% in one sitting, then it took me a week to read the rest, when I was fully rooting for Conrad and Alden, curious to see who won the ultimate prize and the decisions they made for the future, but was quickly becoming disinterested as the days crawled onward.

Highly recommend to fans of the author, slow-burn readers, and gamer-geeks.

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

Connect with Annabeth

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Annabeth's Angels Facebook Fan Group

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Conventionally Yours (True Colors #1) by Annabeth Albert to read and review.

Always You by Nell Iris Release Blitz

Best friends. Roommates. And now, maybe… more?

Thom Novak feels like a walking cliché: the gay guy desperately in love with his straight best friend, Lee. But he's willing to keep his feelings hidden, to do whatever it takes, as long as they stay friends forever.

Lee Conway loves sharing an apartment with Thom, his best friend since birth, and would be happy doing it for the rest of his life... no matter his current girlfriend's opinion on the matter. But he's never been known for being in contact with his emotions.

When something happens to upset the status quo, Lee pulls away. Has Lee learned how Thom feels about him? Will it mean the end of their friendship? Or is there another reason Lee needs time to think? A more... hopeful reason?

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JMS Books

The next morning, I’m one hundred and ten percent certain something’s wrong. It’s 6:17 AM and I’m waiting for Lee in the kitchen, leaning against the sink, trying to make my glass of water last so I have an excuse for hanging around, doing nothing but staring in the direction of his bedroom.

Every morning, we go out running together at 6 AM on the dot. Without fail, come rain or shine, weekend or workday. The only exception is if either of us is sick or if it’s a world-ending kind of storm outside. And Lee is a stickler for being on time: between him and me, I’m the one who’s always late and leave him waiting impatiently for me to get ready.

And now it’s almost twenty past six and he hasn’t showed his face yet?

Outside, it’s a lovely May morning. The birds are chirping, waking up the neighborhood, and the first rays of sun promise to finally heat up our corner of the world. So no world-ending storm in sight, and yet he’s nowhere to be seen.

Is he dying?

Any other day, I would march into his room, pull off his down comforter, and yell in my best—albeit not very good—imitation of a drill sergeant—Get up, get up, get up!—but today I’m strangely reluctant.

On one hand, I want an explanation for his weird mood from yesterday—and his tardiness!—but on the other hand I still want to give him time if he needs it. And part of me isn’t entirely sure I’m not over-reacting.

But I can’t help thinking that it has to be something about me. What if he found out how I really feel about him and can’t deal with it? Not that I can recall doing something to show my hand, but I can’t be sure.

Maybe it’s something Debora said? Did she figure me out and tell him? She’s never shown any homophobic tendencies, so I don’t think that would be the reason. But maybe she’s jealous? She wouldn’t be the first of Lee’s girlfriends to be jealous of our close friendship, and I can’t really blame her if that’s the case.

But that can’t be it either. Every time someone has complained about our friendship in the past, Lee’s shut them down immediately. He wouldn’t accept it from her. And to be perfectly honest, Debora has always been friendly and nice whenever we’ve met and not shown any indication of being jealous.

And I’m back to thinking he must have figured out how I feel about him, even though it seems highly unlikely. I mean, I haven’t told him specifically—or written my feelings down on a sign—but whatever it is, I hope it won’t come between us.

I can live without having Lee Conway as my life partner, but I can’t live without his friendship. Losing it would kill me.

In the end, I decide to give him time, and live with his ire if it turns out he overslept—yeah, right!—and I neglected to wake him. I shove my feet into my shoes and head out on my own.

Running alone is weird. Lee is the whole reason I’m a runner at all; when he decided he wanted to become a professional football player when he was ten, he told me he needed to start taking his “fitness routine” seriously and he was going to start running every morning. When I made a disgusted face over the thought of getting out of bed in the buttcrack of dawn to go out and run of all things—wake me up and take me to the library and I would have been game, but running?—he zeroed in on me and started lecturing me on how even science geeks needed to stay healthy. He went on and on—and quoted me honest-to-god, real, actual facts!—until I broke down and agreed to come along. I’ve never been one to resist science. Or Lee. And the combination was deadly even when I was ten.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

As usual, I reached THE END with an aww and a smile on my face. I know I say this every time I review one of Nell Iris’ books, but the author has to yet let me down so I’m still over here fangirling over how much I enjoy her writing. Iris has a talent for writing novellas that give a glimpse into the characters’ lives, a pivotal moment that changes everything for them and doing it in such a way that I’m both satisfied with their story, but left wanting more because I love the characters. And let’s not forget ALL the feels.

What I found interesting about Always You was that even though it is Lee who comes to a realization about his sexuality, the story is actually Thom’s. Thom feels that he is the embodiment of a cliché – the gay boy in love with his straight best friend. Having grown up together, the children of best friends, it was only natural that they became best friends too, so Thom had accepted that he would take the truth of his love for Lee to his grave. While he may have fantasized about what a romantic relationship with Lee might be like, Thom never considered it an actual possibility. Needless to say, when his fantasy looks like it might become reality, Thom is left reeling – especially as it’s preceded by Lee disappearing on him and going radio silent for HOURS, something that’s never happened before. So rather than showing us Lee’s struggle with self-acceptance, Iris shows us the other side of the coin as Thom deals with his own rollercoaster ride of emotions because while in theory it sounds like Thom should be ecstatic that he’s getting everything he wanted, the reality of your entire world being flipped upside down is still a lot deal with, no matter how much you wanted it.

On a final note, I have to say that I absolutely loved the epilogue. One of the things I appreciate about Nell Iris’ writing is how the glimpse into the characters’ lives is so well done that I don’t need more – I might want more, but I don’t need more. But in the case of Always You, the epilogue gives us a glimpse into Thom and Lee’s relationship five months later and it was adorable. So thank you for that, Nell Iris, as I thoroughly enjoyed the extra peek into the happily ever after I know the P.E. teacher and the science teacher are destined for.

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving coffee and pastry!)

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a bisexual Swedish woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and released her first book in 2017.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males.

Connect with Nell

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Always You by Nell Iris to read and review for this tour.

The Fiery Crown by Jeffe Kennedy

A desperate alliance. A struggle for survival. And a marriage of convenience with an epic twist of fate...


Queen Euthalia has reigned over her island kingdom of Calanthe with determination, grace, and her magical, undying orchid ring. After she defied an empire to wed Conrí, the former Crown Prince of Oriel—a man of disgraced origins with vengeance in his heart—Lia expected the wizard’s prophecy to come true: Claim the hand that wears the ring and the empire falls. But Lia’s dangerous bid to save her realm doesn’t lead to immediate victory. Instead, destiny hurls her and Conrí towards a future neither could predict…


Con has never healed after the death of his family and destruction of his kingdom—he’s been carefully plotting his revenge against his greatest enemy, Emperor Anure, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. When Lia’s spies gather intelligence suggesting that Anure is planning an attack against Calanthe, Con faces an agonizing choice: Can he sacrifice Lia and all she holds dear to destroy the empire? Or does his true loyalty exist in the arms of his beguiling, passionate wife—’til death do they part?

Book 2
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

The Fiery Crown is the second book in the Forgotten Empires series, the first book, The Orchid Throne, needs to be read in order.

As the Queen of Flowers is getting to know her new husband, Conri, she's also realizing her position in the political fallout when shunning the Emperor. She doesn't agree with her husband’s ideas, and really fights against him at every turn but they do come to an understanding.

Calanthe needs to be kept away from any violence, but as the Emperor is determined to claim what is his, it doesn't seem feasible to keep Calanthe safe.

This book definitely extended the storyline and kept me interested once I got past the first 2/3 of the book. The first 2/3 was arguing, conversing, and traveling. The characters come together, but it most definitely wasn't exciting. Once I got to 70% though, all bets are off! It was like a totally different book! Action, angst, anxiety – all of these come together to make this story really come alive.

I do need to say that Conri, as a character, started to annoy me. He never seemed to grow as a person and instead just stays stubborn and bull-headed. I understand where he comes from, but he just doesn't evolve. Sondra and Lia both are able to learn from their circumstances and I appreciate that a lot.

Knowing what happens in this book, I will say that the third book is going to be amazing... there's nowhere to go but up with this story!

Also Available in the Forgotten Empires Series

Book 1
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For reviews & more info, check out our The Orchid Throne post.

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning, best-selling author who writes fantasy with romantic elements and contemporary romance. She serves on the Board of Directors for SFWA as a Director at Large.

Her recent works include the high fantasy trilogy from Rebel Base books, The Chronicles of Dasnaria, in the same world as her award-winning fantasy series The Twelve Kingdoms and The Uncharted Realms. She is a hybrid author, and also self-publishes a romantic fantasy series, Sorcerous Moons. Her books have won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2015, been named Best Book of June 2014, and won RWA’s prestigious RITA® Award in 2017. The newest novella in The Uncharted Realms, The Dragons of Summer, is also a RITA finalist in 2019.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website, every Sunday at the SFF Seven blog, on Facebook, on Goodreads and on Twitter. She is represented by Sarah Younger of Nancy Yost Literary Agency.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Fiery Crown (Forgotten Empires #2) by Jeffe Kennedy to read and review.

Friday, May 29, 2020

The Engineer by C.S. Poe

1881—Special Agent Gillian Hamilton is a magic caster with the Federal Bureau of Magic and Steam. He’s sent to Shallow Grave, Arizona, to arrest a madman engineer known as Tinkerer, who’s responsible for blowing up half of Baltimore. Gillian has handled some of the worst criminals in the Bureau’s history, so this assignment shouldn’t be a problem. But even he’s taken aback by a run-in with the country’s most infamous outlaw, Gunner the Deadly.

Gunner is also stalking Shallow Grave in search of Tinkerer, who will stop at nothing to take control of the town’s silver mines. Neither Gillian nor Gunner are willing to let Tinkerer hurt more innocent people, so they agree to a very temporary partnership.

If facing illegal magic, Gatling gun contraptions, and a wild engineer in America’s frontier wasn’t enough trouble for a city boy, Gillian must also come to terms with the reality that he’s rather fond of his partner. But even if they live through this adventure, Gillian fears there’s no chance for love between a special agent and outlaw.

Based on the short story, "Gunner the Deadly." Entirely revised, newly expanded, and Book One in the exciting new steampunk series, Magic & Steam.

Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I don’t read a lot of steampunk, so I won’t even pretend to be well-versed in the genre or the terminology, so please accept my apologies in advance for any mistakes I might make. Perhaps it’s because the movie Wild Wild West was my first exposure to steampunk, that I tend to enjoy Old West themed steampunk the most. Then again, it could be that steampunk makes Old West stories and romances more enjoyable for me. That Poe added elemental magic to the storyline merely insured my rapt attention and I was engrossed. Suffice it to say, I absolutely loved The Engineer and read it twice before writing my review because I enjoyed it that much.

Assuming this series is headed in the direction I think it is, The Engineer strikes me as Hamilton’s and Gunner’s extended meet-cute. No, it’s by no stretch of the imagination a romantic comedy, but their first encounter certainly held quite a bit of charm despite the shootout Hamilton found himself in the middle of upon his arrival to Shallow Grave, Arizona. Then again, I did find Hamilton’s first display of magic and Gunner’s seeming disappointment at not being Hamilton’s intended arrestee to be amusing. So yeah, definitely a meet-cute in my book. And it just gets better as the two men put their differences aside in order to work together to bring down an even bigger threat.

Despite The Engineer being a novella, Poe manages to pack quite a bit of story and character development into it. While we only get a few tidbits of information, Gunner remains a mystery to readers and Hamilton throughout the book. However, it is Hamilton who is the focus of the development this time around. As a magic caster with the Federal Bureau of Magic and Steam, Hamilton uses his magical abilities to bring the bad guys to justice and make the world a safer place. But after meeting Gunner and witnessing how the residents of Shallow Grave treat the outlaw, Hamilton is forced to see that the world isn’t as black and white as the government would have him believe – and that a very thin line separates him from Gunner and the shades of gray that make up Gunner’s world. It is through this reevaluation that Hamilton realizes that sometimes people do bad things for the right reasons. And that the Tinkerer’s inventions weren’t the only things capable of explosions in the story. Talk about some chemistry! I just wasn’t ready for the story to end when it did and not because it wasn’t complete or left me on a cliffhanger, but because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Hamilton and Gunner. At least I know there’s more to come, so I’ll be over here, waiting impatiently for book two.

C.S. POE is a Lambda Literary and two-time EPIC award finalist, and a FAPA award-winning author of gay mystery, romance, and speculative fiction.

She resides in New York City, but has also called Key West and Ibaraki, Japan, home in the past. She has an affinity for all things cute and colorful and a major weakness for toys. C.S. is an avid fan of coffee, reading, and cats. She’s rescued two cats—Milo and Kasper do their best to distract her from work on a daily basis.

C.S. is an alumna of the School of Visual Arts.

Her debut novel, The Mystery of Nevermore, was published 2016.

Connect with C.S.

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C.S. Poe's Curious & Mysterious Facebook Group

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Engineer (Magic & Steam #1) by C.S. Poe to read and review.

You Belong With Me by Kristen Proby Spotlight

From New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby comes an all new stand-alone novel in her beloved With Me in Seattle series!

Elena Watkins is used to getting what she wants. She grew up the daughter of one of the most powerful mafia bosses on the west coast, an indulged, rich girl who got away with everything.

Except the love of her life.

Archer was the king of their high school. His charming grin swept her off her feet. Days after graduation, they ran away together and eloped. Elated to spend the rest of their lives together, Archer and Elena were on cloud nine.

Until Elena’s father discovered what they’d done.

He swore to keep them apart, even if it meant taking Archer’s life. Knowing what her father was capable of, Elena left Archer, and never looked back. The pain of leaving him would pale to the pain of losing him.

That’s what she’s told herself every day for twelve years. But now her father is dead, and Archer is back. Finally, they should be able to piece the broken pieces of their love back together.

But the mafia has a long memory.

Book 14
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Twelve Years Ago

I’ve always hated this room. My father’s office is grand, full of honey oak bookcases, a massive chandelier, and a desk in the center of the space that’s bigger than the bed I sleep on. Floor-to-ceiling windows are at his back and look out over the estate that he insisted on but, in large part, ignores.

Whenever I’m due for a massive lecture, this is where he drags me.

“May I please speak with you?”

“What is it?” He doesn’t look up from his computer, which doesn’t surprise me.

Paying attention to his daughter has never been a priority for this man.

I’ll just share my news and go straight to my room, pack my things, and be out of here for good.

I can almost smell the freedom. I can’t wait to move in with my husband. My husband. That word makes me want to spin in circles of excitement. Archer and I will make a home and have babies. His family is wonderful, and there will be so much love in our household. Our kids will never question whether we love them. They’ll never be afraid. And when the time comes, they’ll be able to marry whomever they please.

“I got married.” I square my shoulders and lift my chin. “Three days ago.”

I’m not afraid of my father. Not now. But my stomach quivers with butterflies.

I’m eighteen years old. An adult. And I’m able to make my own decisions without influence from my parents.

What can he do? What’s done is done. He looks up from his desk, and his cold eyes narrow.

“And who, exactly, did you marry, Elena?”

“Archer Montgomery.”

He sets his pen aside and leans back in his big, black chair, silently watching me. His calculating stare makes me want to squirm, but I hold steady.

“Isn’t that the boy I told you to stop seeing a year ago?”

“He’s a good man, Dad. If you’d just give him a chance—”

He stands and paces behind the desk, looking out the windows and shoving his hands into his pockets.

Maybe he’ll just tell me to leave. That would be the best-case scenario.

“What is your last name, Elena?”


“Don’t.” His voice isn’t loud, but it’s firm.


He turns and stares at me impassively. “That’s right. And that last name, along with the Martinellis’, holds more weight than you can ever fully understand. It means that, as my daughter, you don’t have the freedom to marry whomever you choose, whenever you decide to do it.”

“I’m an adult.”

“You’re my daughter!” I blink at the spurt of anger. He’s not impassive now. His eyes shoot daggers at me, and sweat breaks out across my skin.

“Dad, I love him.”

He shakes his head and waves off my comment as if it’s an annoying fly buzzing around his head.

“We’ll have it annulled immediately.”


He lifts an eyebrow. I’ve never told my father no. I don’t think anyone in his life ever has. No one would dare. “Excuse me?”

I lift my chin again. “No.”

He stalks around his desk and grips my arm just above my elbow, almost painfully, and drags me through the house, up the stairs, and into my bedroom.

“You’re putting me in time out?”

“I should have done this a long time ago. You’re too spoiled. Too indulged. You think you can defy me, go against what’s best for the family like this?”

We keep moving quickly through the room to my closet, where he pulls a sash off my robe, yanks my arms above my head, and ties me to the light fixture in the middle of the room.

He steps back, barely breathing hard.

“This is where you’ll stay until you come to your senses.”

And then he walks out.

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

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

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

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

Connect with Kristen

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This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf

Everyone has a secret they’ll do anything to hide…

Twenty-five years ago, the body of sixteen-year-old Eve Knox was found in the caves near her home in small-town Grotto, Iowa—discovered by her best friend, Maggie, and her sister, Nola. There were a handful of suspects, including her boyfriend, Nick, but without sufficient evidence the case ultimately went cold.

For decades Maggie was haunted by Eve’s death and that horrible night. Now a detective in Grotto, and seven months pregnant, she is thrust back into the past when a new piece of evidence surfaces and the case is reopened. As Maggie investigates and reexamines the clues, secrets about what really happened begin to emerge. But someone in town knows more than they’re letting on, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried deep.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Twenty-five years after the death of her best friend Eve, heavily pregnant police detective Maggie investigates Eve's death after a new piece of evidence is found.

This is such an interesting mystery. In the past, we spend time with Eve in the time leading up to her murder. Every new scene from Eve's point of view gives us more information and more suspects. Sometimes I thought too many suspects. With the investigation in the present, it becomes clear that the people of this small town are no angels and even good people do bad things. Nola, Eve's little sister, in particular is a strange one. I never trusted her motives or knew what to make of her.

This book had a bit of a different vibe for me because I never really felt like I could trust anyone, even Maggie. But different here is good. The tension builds really well throughout and there were some scenes when I actually put the book down to take a breath because I was nervous to keep reading. There is some good action among the tension too as Maggie gets herself into several dangerous situations.

As the story moved towards the climax, I had my suspicions about who the killer was and I was actually right, but I think by that point it was more obvious. Now the story is over, I want to talk to others and I'll definitely be checking out other reviews to see other people's thoughts. This would make a great read for book club.

This is How I Lied is a really good mystery, totally engaging, and overall, a great story.

Heather Gudenkauf is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not a Sound. Heather lives in Iowa with her family.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf to read and review.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Pretty Nightmare by J.A. Huss Release Blitz


I have them all now. Just the way I want them.
McKay, the one who loves me deepest.
Adam, the one who protects me fiercely.
Donovan, the one who tells the truth.
They are my friends, they are my lovers, they are my world.
And Maggie belongs to all of us—no matter who her father is.
This is the family I’ve always wanted.
This is the family I deserve.
And I will do whatever it takes to keep them.


I have a secret that could ruin everything.
But I’m not keeping that secret to hurt her.
Nathan St. James needed to go.


I made a plan that could ruin everything.
But I did it to save us in the end.
The Company needed to come back.


I told a lie that could ruin everything.
But I didn’t tell the lie to them—I told it to myself.
Carter is closer than we think.

There is something truly wrong at Boucher House on the Old Pearl River.
Some hidden evil lurking deep inside the woods.
Nothing about their blissful life is what it seems.
Because just when they think they have it all—he shows up to take it back.

Book 2
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B&N  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo


She holds my hand as we walk, squeezing it a little. It feels natural, but then again, weird.

This girl—woman, now, I suppose—she has been off limits to me for so long. It’s really hard to get that out of my head. And sometimes, when I look at Maggie, I see Indie.

It’s just… weird.

Indie doesn’t lead me to the front porch. She takes me around the side. “Where are we going?”

“To spy on them, of course.”

“Ahh, I don’t know.”

She stops us on the side of the house in front of the office window. “Stop being a baby. Don’t you want to be with McKay?”

And this is weird too. Since when do I talk about my feelings with Indie? With anyone, actually?

“You’re really trying hard to find an excuse, aren’t you?”

“I’m not.” It comes out defensive. “Of course I love McKay. Of course I want to be with him.”

“So what’s the problem?”

I hesitate. She just shakes her head at me and drops my hand. “Fine. Then stay here. I’ll spy.”

She turns away and continues walking along the side of the house, then looks over her shoulder one last time before she disappears around the corner.

I jog to catch up.

Fuck it.

When I round the corner, Indie has her face pressed against the glass of the family room window. The only lights on inside are the ones under the kitchen cabinets. So it’s a low light. A soft glow of yellow. But it’s more than enough to see them.

Donovan and McKay are kissing.

I exhale and then heat fills me up. And I don’t remember breathing, but I exhale again. And then again. My chest rising and falling as emotions flood into my bloodstream.

“It’s kinda hot,” Indie whispers.

I have to agree. It kinda is. But it’s a lot of other things too.

They are both shirtless. And I’m not gonna lie, Donovan is just as nice to look at as McKay.

That’s not the only reason it’s hot though. This looks like a real fucking kiss. McKay is even kissing him back. And then Donovan’s hand slips down McKay’s chest, then down his ridiculous sixty-four-pack abs and rests on the waistband of his jeans.

Indie sucks in a little breath of surprise. “Damn. I didn’t think they’d… ooohh. Wow.”

Donovan is gripping McKay’s cock through his jeans. And McKay pulls out of the kiss. I have a moment of hope that he’ll push Donovan away. McKay looks down at Donovan’s hand as Donovan grips his cock and begins massaging his hand over his groin area.

But McKay doesn’t push him away. He closes his eyes and leans back against the counter. Practically giving Donovan permission to do whatever he wants.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I should've been prepared for this book. I knew that when I finished Creeping Beautiful (book one), it stayed with me for a couple weeks. These characters haunted me then, but they completely shattered me now.

The first book was our introduction to the characters: Adam, McKay, Donovan, and Indie. Each one has their issues, their strengths, and weaknesses. Each one has an important role to play in the lives of each other, and the Company. The thing is, I thought I had a good handle on what was going on. I figured I had pieced this mystery together... Boy, was I wrong.

Book two in the Creeping Beautiful series picks up where the cliffhanger dropped, but the timeline is distorted – four years later is a long time. Even more so when the time is totally unaccounted for. Indie comes home and is ready for some answers. The question is, who can provide them?

I can't really give any more information, this book is a psychological minefield. There are twists and turns, questions and half answers, sanity and you know, the opposite of that. The real challenge is to figure out how everything is connected. I will say that I've been waiting for some of the events of this book since the beginning (HAWT!) and man, was it worth the wait!! While I am satisfied with the events, I'm also a little disappointed that the book ended where it did. I feel like there is still so much to figure out. J.A. Huss has really blown me away with these books, and I can't wait to see what comes next.

First off, I am so glad I read this one. I wasn't sure I wanted to after reading the first book because I didn't know if I wanted to or not. I really enjoyed this one more than the first one. I kept waiting for author J.A. Huss to say, ‘and this is how McKay or Adam's dream went.’ But it didn't and now I want to know what is going to happen with Dono.

I am not going to give anything away, no spoilers, just tell you that if you read book one and you are not sure about this one, then you need to read this one. It gives some backstories and fills in some things. And you will learn a lot from this one.

There is less cringing while reading this one and it still gives me some of the feels for a good story. And there is a mystery aspect to it too. Now I want to know when the next book will be out because I want more.

Also Available in the Creeping Beautiful Series

Book 1
Buy Links

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For reviews & more info, check out our stop on the Creeping Beautiful Release Blitz.

JA Huss is the New York Times Bestselling author of 321 and has been on the USA Today Bestseller's list 21 times in the past five years. She writes characters with heart, plots with twists, and perfect endings.

Her new sexy sci-fi romance and paranormal romance pen name is KC Cross and she writes novels and teleplays collaboratively with actor and screenwriter, Johnathan McClain.

Her books have sold millions of copies all over the world, the audio version of her semi-autobiographical book, Eighteen, was nominated for a Voice Arts Award and an Audie Award in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Her audiobook, Mr. Perfect, was nominated for a Voice Arts Award in 2017. Her audiobook, Taking Turns, was nominated for an Audie Award in 2018. Five of her books were optioned for a TV series by MGM television in 2018. And her book, Total Exposure, was nominated for a RITA Award in 2019.

She lives on a ranch in Central Colorado with her family.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Pretty Nightmare (Creeping Beautiful #2) by J.A. Huss to read and review for this tour.