Monday, February 28, 2022

Blind Bake by Denise Grover Swank Blog Tour

The first book in the new Maddie Baker Mystery series by New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller Denise Grover Swank.


In the last few months, my life has gone to crap. My uncle died. I gave up my life to move back to my hometown to take care of my ailing aunt. And oh… I unwittingly drove a guy to his murder. Not exactly a stellar restart.

But things just keep getting worse, because the sexy-as-hell, yet stick-up-his-butt homicide detective in charge of solving the case thinks I had something to do with it, and he won't leave me alone.

Even more concerning? It turns out the victim was one of the last people to see my mother alive before her unsolved murder eighteen years ago.


I left a big city police department for a fresh start in a smaller town. Less crime. Less murder. But three months later, I’ve been handed the murder investigation of the most hated man in town. The list of potential suspects is as long as Santa’s naughty list, but one name keeps popping up.

Maddie Baker.

She’s infuriating as hell, but is she a cold-blooded murderer? My instincts tell me no, yet I can’t exactly trust those. The last time I let myself presume someone was innocent, I ended up with a bullet wound and a broken heart.


Add to Goodreads.


Blind Bake by Denise Grover Swank

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Apple Books  ~  B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  Kobo
Paperback (US)




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the first book in a new series, and I am already counting down to September, when the next book is going to be released. Whilst this one doesn't exactly end on a cliffhanger, it certainly makes you want to read on about the engaging characters we have met.

This is a clever combination of a crime, an unsolved mystery, and a strong attraction between the two leading characters. They are an unlikely pair, and when they may need to describe their meet, they may not use the word cute – but the circumstances are definitely memorable. They both have reason to be cautious about commitment, but fate has other ideas!

Maddie is a person who has had to change her whole life in order to step up and care for her recently widowed aunt, who has early stage dementia. Her return to the town where she grew up holds difficult memories, but she is repaying the care given to her by her aunt and uncle. We know very early on that she is a worker, she may not be able to find another librarian role, but work she must – which is how she finds herself giving an Uber ride to a man who is then murdered.

Whilst new in town detective, Noah is very dubious that Maddie could have done the deed, she is his only lead. And so the scene is set for a very entertaining, ill-timed attraction, one which they both find they cannot avoid, in spite of the complications. I think that the crime element of this book is done well, not too graphic, not too simplistic. Evidence is peeled away, giving insights into Maddie of what she missed seeing as a youngster, and Noah the realisation that this may be a small town but there is still a need for his services.

I am absolutely ready for the follow up book, not that I am trying to wish the summer away or anything!



Author Bio

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author DENISE GROVER SWANK was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states, and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in her own mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.

Connect with Denise Grover Swank

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: Denise Grover Swank Readers Community


Hosted by

Social Butterfly PR.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Blind Bake (Maddie Baker Mystery #1) by Denise Grover Swank to read and review for this tour.

The Magnolia Murders by Aimee Nicole Walker Blog Tour

Blog Tour. Aimee Nicole Walker’s The Magnolia Murders.

Everything old is new again in love and murder.

Work together, live together, and play together is the name of the game for Royce Locke and Sawyer Key. But one of those things changes when Chief Mendoza taps Sawyer to lead the newly formed cold case unit. His first task: solve the Magnolia Murders that spanned three decades and suddenly stopped in 2000.

Chaos ensues when a fourth Magnolia Queen contender is murdered during a preliminary round. With the pageant’s one hundredth anniversary looming, the pressure is on to produce results. Royce and Sawyer, along with their new partners, have to team up to solve the Magnolia Murders—old and new.

As the investigation continues, a surprise visitor and an unexpected phone call force the men to face painful things from their pasts. The future Royce and Sawyer dream of is within their grasp, but first, they’ll need to uproot the seeds of discontent they’ve buried deep.

The Magnolia Murders is the first book in the Matrimony and Mayhem trilogy, the second story arc for Royce Locke and Sawyer Key.

Author's Note: New readers should start with the Zero Hour trilogy before reading the Matrimony and Mayhem trilogy.

The Magnolia Murders is a continuation of Royce and Sawyer’s happily ever after as they move into the next phase of their lives—professionally and personally. Though some storylines span the trilogy, this book does not end in a cliffhanger. Heat, humor, heart, and homicide abound. You have been warned. 18+


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The Magnolia Murders by Aimee Nicole Walker

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Hardcover (US)  ~  Paperback (US)
~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~




Royce straightened and stepped fully into his office, shutting the door behind him. Something devilish and dirty glinted in his eyes, and he crossed the room and planted his fine ass on the corner of Sawyer’s desk. “Hi. Did you miss me?”

“Terribly.” And it was true. He was excited about the prospect of leading the CCU, but he would miss having Royce as his partner.

Royce raked his eyes over Sawyer’s attire before scanning the room. “You’ve been home to change, and you set up your new office? And here I thought you might want my help.”

Sawyer scoffed. “You want to help christen my office, which is hardly the same as unpacking the boxes and organizing my desk.”


“You’re in luck, though,” Sawyer said. “I haven’t had time to write up the case report for Dingbat.”

Royce wagged his finger and tsked. “Look who’s using childish nicknames now.”

“Oh shit,” Sawyer replied. “You’re rubbing off on me.”

Royce’s grin was dark and delicious. “Every chance I get, baby.” He raked his hot gaze over Sawyer. “You’re wearing the pretentious cashmere thingy for your press conference. Nice.”

Sawyer looked down at the storm-gray sweater vest he wore over a pale gray shirt and his lucky lavender tie. He lifted his head and met Royce’s smiling eyes. “Thanks. My boyfriend bought it for me for Valentine’s Day last year.”

“Nope,” Royce said, shaking his head to emphasize how adamant he was. “I bought it just because.”

Sawyer bit his bottom lip to keep him from laughing, but his restraint lasted only a few seconds. Royce rolled his eyes when Sawyer’s mirth bubbled out of him. Sawyer cleared his throat and wiped his eyes, but Royce’s deep scowl nearly sent him into a second fit.


“Dickhead.” Sawyer replied. “Can I just point out that your ‘just because’ gift was given to me after a candlelit dinner on February thirteenth?”

“Why do I suddenly feel like I’m on the witness stand?” Royce asked.

“Answer the question, Sergeant Locke. Do you honestly expect the jury to believe the timing of your gift was a coincidence?”

Royce crossed his arms over his chest. “Objection.”

Sawyer desperately wanted to kiss his pouty lips. “The witness can’t object.”

“I’m also representing myself at the trial.”

“So that makes you the defendant. Interesting. What crimes were you charged with? Eating cheese from a squirty can?”

Royce dropped his arms and leaned forward. “I am accused of killing off any chance another man has with you. No one will ever worship your body and heart the way I do. Now and forever.” His voice was thick and husky, lighting the fuse of lust in Sawyer’s core. “And, yes, counselor, I am guilty. I bought my boyfriend the super soft sweater thingy ‘just because’ it’s the same color as my eyes, and I like to mark him in every way possible. Until today, our relationship had to be a secret at work.”



“I don’t need expensive restaurants, linen tablecloths, or wine. I just want you.”     Royce’s eyes darkened, and he ignored his sandwich to kiss Sawyer’s mouth. “But you already have me.”     “And you’re all the magic I need.”



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

The Magnolia Murders is the first book in the Sawyer and Royce: Matrimony and Mayhem series, which is a spin off the Zero Hour trilogy. I was thrilled Sawyer and Royce were getting another series and I couldn’t wait to read The Magnolia Murders.

For the first time in three years, Royce and Sawyer will no longer be partners. Royce is given the opportunity to run a program that helps teens, and Sawyer is promoted and made head of a cold case team. His first job is to reinvestigate the Magnolia Murders and find out who killed three young women. When a fourth woman is murdered, Royce is called in to join the hunt for the killer.

This story perfectly blends the romance and personal dramas with the couple’s professional life where they are hunting a killer. On the personal front, Sawyer and Royce are blissfully happy but Royce is trying to propose, and life and his own fears keep getting in his way. This couple is so fun and sexy, and you can really feel how crazy in love with each other they are. It just makes their stories so good to read.

On the crime front, the hunt for the killer is fast paced. A few new cop faces are added to the team that works tirelessly to work out who killed these women and why. There are lots of clues and different threads to the mystery and it was so satisfying to watch them all come together.

The Magnolia Murders is exactly the kind of story that I love to read – crime solving by a couple whose lives and loves I can completely immerse myself in. I don’t know how many books the author plans to write in this series but as long as they keep writing them, I’ll keep reading them.

This is the first book in a new series, but follows on from the Zero Hours series – which you really should read before starting this one. There you will meet Royce and Sawyer, and find out how they ended up together – I highly recommend this wonderful and unexpected love story.

We rejoin the guys happily living together... and thankfully they are truly solid. Inevitably there are ongoing discoveries and decisions to be made, but the joy of this book is that we do not need to worry about that side of things, so can relax on that score... and just get really involved in the crime solving.

I loved that the chief knows how best to give the guys a new challenge, and an opportunity to be more open at work about their relationship. Sawyer is going to lead a cold case team – and start with the Magnolia Murders. Royce is offered a youth project, and whilst doing the training, he gets called to lead on a new Magnolia Murder. So they manage to have to work together, even when no longer partners. I love this clever twist, which keeps them both in our line of sight.

Such a great cast of characters, inventive plots, and lots of soul searching make this an incredibly enjoyable read – and I am very excited to think that we will get to spend time with these guys again soon!



“You promised me a surprise.”     Royce chuckled, “It wasn’t sexual.”     “Since when?”


Author Bio

Ever since she was a little girl, AIMEE NICOLE WALKER entertained herself with stories that popped into her head. Now she gets paid to tell those stories to other people. She wears many titles—wife, mom, and animal lover are just a few of them. Her absolute favorite title is champion of the happily ever after. Love inspires everything she does, music keeps her sane, and coffee is the magic elixir that fuels her day. She’d love to hear from you.

Connect with Aimee Nicole Walker

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Blog  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: Aimee's Dye Hards





“Sawyer?”     “Yeah,” he said huskily.     “You make me glad I’m so good with my hands.”     Sawyer’s laughter rumbled through the speaker. “That makes two of us.”


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Gay Romance Reviews Tours & Promo.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Magnolia Murders (Matrimony and Mayhem #1) by Aimee Nicole Walker to read and review for this tour.

Friday, February 25, 2022

A Wild Card Kiss by Lauren Blakely Release Blitz

A Wild Card Kiss by Lauren Blakely. Available Now.

A sexy standalone second-chance romance between a single dad athlete and the woman who got away!

Things that suck on my wedding day – walking in on my groom kissing another woman twenty minutes before the ceremony.

Things that suck worse? The woman he’s kissing is my mom.

I head straight for the bowling alley bar down the street and ask for a double. And in walks a deliciously charming local football hero – Harlan Taylor.

Yes, I’ll take another drink in the form of a one-night stand with this hunk of a man. In the morning, he asks if I want to get together again. More rebound nookie? Yes please!

But then I learn his football team just hired my yoga studio to teach downward facing dog to their star player, making my O-delivering hottie officially off limits.

Trouble is, the more time I spend working with the sexy single dad who dotes on his daughter, the more I’m feeling all the things far too soon.

There’s no way this can end well, but tell that to my runaway heart…

A Wild Card Kiss is a sexy, flirty sports romance featuring a charming, pie-baking, single dad who's never forgotten the red-hot kiss he planted on the feisty, sassy blonde one night years ago and a jilted bride heroine determined to move on from heartbreak. This story contains sexy times that can cure getting-left-at-the-altar blues, and heart-tugging swoony romance that’ll melt the most jaded hearts.


Add to Goodreads.


A Wild Card Kiss by Lauren Blakely

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Apple Books  ~  B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  Kobo
Audiobook (US)  ~  Paperback (US)




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

When this book came up on the list of reviews to pick from, I didn't even read the blurb, I knew I wanted to read it because of the author. I have come to love everything I have read from this author and was not disappointed with this one.

Harlan is a football star and meets Katie at a friend's wedding. They hit it off from the start. Their connection and banter are off the charts. When they set a date for the following Tuesday, she has a job opportunity that gets in the way. Oh, and her mom is a witch with a capital B.

Seven years later they meet again, this time it is on her would have been wedding night. The sparks are still there but once again the timing is off. She needs time to heal, and he will not push her for more. When she is finally ready and they set a date, something else happens.

Will these two ever get their chance to be together? Will one have to give up something for the other? Can they make a relationship work?

As this is the first in a new series, Happy Endings, I cannot wait for more and to see who will be in book two.

A Wild Card Kiss is the first book in the new series, Happy Endings.

Harlan and Katie hit it off at a wedding, making plans to go on a date the following Tuesday, but when the timing is off, they become each other’s one that got away. Seven years later they have another chance meeting, the night of Katie's would be wedding. Sparks fly and we spend the rest of the book watching these two have horrible timing and lots of chemistry.

I loved the slow, angst-filled flow of this book. It made the sweet parts all that sweeter!

I can't wait for the rest of the series! I am so invested in these characters already.

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

Katie and Harlan met years ago. When their connection became apparent, they knew that it held a lot of promise. Unfortunately, their tryst never came to be. Katie had an unbelievable opportunity, and she couldn't put it on hold for a what-if.

Now, on her wedding day, Katie can't believe what she's seeing. I can't believe what a tool her fiancé and mom are! I loved that she was able to have her support system right there. They held her up and gave her wings. As she flies away, she knows that she dodged a bullet. She was in love with love, not necessarily her fiancé.

Harlan has a daughter who is six and sharp as a tack. She is wonderful. Harlan's relationship with his daughter's mom is unique and exactly what he needs. With his career, he knows that spending time with family is super important. He is the oldest on the team and knows that his leadership is important. Even though he is getting up in years, he loves what he does. Catching the football is what he was made to do.

When he and Katie meet up again years later, their timing is still off kilter. You get to see their banter back and forth – they can't help but flirt with each other. I think this is where it went a little off for me. There was just SO MUCH flirting and it was kind of young adult, honestly. I think it missed for me because even though they had a great connection, there wasn't a ton of development. They had a few friend dates, but they weren't really friend dates because they had this unbelievable attraction.

I think it would have been more satisfying and fulfilling if their relationship had a different set of obstacles. Jobs and life getting in the way is real, for sure, but for this particular story, it was just kind of ho-hum. It is enjoyable and fun.



Author Bio

A #1 New York Times bestselling, #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling, and #1 Audible bestselling author, LAUREN BLAKELY is known for her contemporary romance style that’s sweet, sexy and witty. She also writes red-hot, sexy romance and USA Today bestselling LGBTQ romance.

With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 100 times, with more than 55 titles on the USA Today Bestsellers list alone. She’s sold more than 4.5 million books.

A Brown University graduate, Lauren likes dogs, cake, and show tunes and is the vegetarian at your dinner party.

Connect with Lauren

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: Lauren Blakely's Lovelies


Hosted by

Candi Kane PR.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of A Wild Card Kiss (Happy Endings #1) by Lauren Blakely to read and review for this tour.

Wicked Heat by Ella Frank Blog Tour

What’s the worst that could happen if we let this desire burn out of control? Available Now. Wicked Heat by Ella Frank. Blog Tour.


Kind, caring, and protective. Those are the three qualities I’m looking for when it comes to my dream man. In a city as big as Chicago, you wouldn’t think he would be that hard to find, right?


Sure, my boss found a super-sexy detective and my best friend fell madly in love with the most eligible bachelor around. But the only person I’ve met recently is a broody bad boy who saved me at a sketchy pub.

He’s grumpy, rude, and honestly, not that likeable at all. Hardly my “dream” guy.

So why can’t I stop thinking about him?


I don’t do friendships. I don’t do relationships either. The very last thing I’m looking for in life is to fall in love and live happily ever after.

So saving some rich guy from losing his wallet is the last thing I want to do on a Friday night. Especially when he looks like someone who just stepped off the cover of GQ.

Fate seems to have other ideas, though, and every time I turn around, he’s there.

A wicked heat simmers between us, threatening to ignite, and though I’ve been trained to put out the flames, I can’t help but think: What’s the worst that could happen if I let this desire burn out of control?

Wicked Heat is book 1 of 2 in Ryan Carrigan & Jameson Clarke's story.


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Wicked Heat by Ella Frank

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Paperback (US)
~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~



“I won’t end up in your bed.”     “Good, because I don’t plan on inviting you.”



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Wicked Heat is the first book in the Chicago Heat series. It features characters mentioned in Ella Frank's Inside Affairs series and Ella Frank and Brooke Blaine's Dare to Try trilogy. Highly recommended if you haven't read yet, but not necessary in the long run with this series.

Ryan Carrigan is Alexander Thorne's personal assistant. He's watched everyone around him find someone and fall in love. That's all he wants for himself. He's extremely well put together, organized, and loves taking care of other people. When he needs saving at a bar on the South Side, he never expected Jameson Clarke to come to his rescue. Jameson is a grumpy and very guarded man. He is a fireman working at Station 73. He loves his job but has never made an effort to get to know the rest of the guys on his team. When he keeps crossing paths with Ryan, he can't get the man off his mind. Ryan sees it as fate when Jameson answers an ad for Ryan's spare room. Their chemistry is instantaneous, but Ryan fights the attraction since he's not looking for a relationship, but somehow Ryan breaks those walls down one by one.

Ryan and Jameson are super hot together but are from completely different places and when Jameson's past comes calling, it couldn't be more evident. Can Ryan see past their differences? Will Jameson let the walls down enough to let someone in completely? Can Ryan be the one to save him?

Wicked Heat isn't left on a cliffhanger necessarily, but we are left when a big decision needs to be made about the two of them.

I can't wait to see where Wicked Flame takes us!! I love this HOT new world Ella Frank has brought us!

This may be the first book in a new series, but any Ella Frank fan will be so happy to see how this links in with all the goodness of books gone by – yep, this was just everything I could have dreamed of out of a new book from a very talented author.

Ryan is Alexander Thorne's PA – and we all know that Xander (Prime Time #1 – #3) is a man with a busy schedule and a demanding life to keep organised. So when Ryan finally decides that he has a window of opportunity to let his hair down, he grabs the chance... but as it turns out, at a pub in a part of town he should have known better than to visit. A dark, handsome stranger saves him and then disappears on his bike.

Cue the start of ‘how will this possibly come together,’ but come together they must – that much chemistry cannot be ignored. We are not going to be disappointed.

Jameson, the mysterious saviour, turns out to be newly transferred to the fire station that Kieran just left to live with Bash (Dare to Try #1 – #3). So we meet up with Olsen et al again, and when Xander needs to some filming done there, meet cute #2 or is it #3 gets the ball rolling.

I devoured this book, as I do all of Frank's novels. Beautifully written, full of all the feels, and so much passion and growth... impossible to put down. Already waiting for the next installment, please!

This is the first book of two that showcase Ryan and Jameson. Written in dual point of view, you will be drawn in at the start and be craving for the next book to see how it all ends. I loved watching Ryan and Jameson start and grow. I just can't wait to see how it all turns out. The author gave us another great story and couple to love.



Author Bio

ELLA FRANK is the USA Today bestselling author of the Temptation series, including Try, Take, and Trust and is the co-author of the fan-favorite erotic serial, Sex Addict. Her Exquisite series has been praised as “scorching hot!” and “enticingly sexy!”

A life-long fan of the romance genre, Ella writes contemporary and erotic fiction.

Some of her favorite authors include Tiffany Reisz, Kresley Cole, Riley Hart, J.R. Ward, Erika Wilde, Gena Showalter, and Carly Philips.

Connect with Ella

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: Brooke & Ella's Naughty Umbrella



You need to go home. You’re too soft around the edges for someone like me.


Hosted by

Social Butterfly PR.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Wicked Heat (Chicago Heat #1) by Ella Frank to read and review for this tour.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Last Duke Standing by Julia London

Last Duke Standing. A Royal Match Novel. Now Available.

New York Times bestselling author Julia London opens her sparkling, witty, sexy new series, A Royal Match, with a young future queen in the market for a husband, and the charming—and opinionated—Scottish lord tasked to introduce her to the ton’s most eligible bachelors.

Charming. Cheeky. Cunning.

When Crown Princess Justine of Wesloria is sent to England to learn the ropes of royalty, she falls under the tutelage of none other than Queen Victoria herself. Justine’s also in the market for a proper husband—one fit to marry the future queen of Wesloria.

Because he knows simply everyone, William, Lord Douglas (the notoriously rakish heir to the Duke of Hamilton seat in Scotland, and decidedly not husband material), is on hand as an escort of sorts. William has been recruited to keep an eye on the royal matchmaker for the Weslorian prime minister, tasked to ensure the princess is matched with a man of quality… and one who will be sympathetic to the prime minister’s views.

As William and Justine are forced to scrutinize an endless parade of England’s best bachelors, they become friends. But when the crowd of potential grooms is steadily culled, what if William is the last bachelor standing?


Add to Goodreads.


Last Duke Standing by Julia London

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Apple Books  ~  B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  Kobo
Audiobook (US)  ~  Paperback (US)




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Due to her father’s illness, Princess Justine is soon to be crowned Queen of Wesloria. [I must say, I appreciate that she is able to become a ruling queen – not just a woman in need of a man to be king, not that she is just a commodity to tie a man to the ruling of this nation.] Of course, she is saddened by the expected passing of her father, but she's also nervous about filling his shoes. She's not good with public speaking, and truly dislikes being the center of attention. Justine has been embroiled in a bit of a scandal, and in an attempt to quash these rumors and to gain favor with her subjects, it has been decided by her mother (the Queen) and her advisor, that Justine needs to find a husband.

To prepare Justine to take the throne, it's been agreed that an apprenticeship with Queen Victoria in London would be advantageous. This will also give Lila Aleksander, aka the matchmaker to the stars (royalty), time to work!

This story was cute and sweet. It was light-hearted, yet meaningful. I really liked Justine and her quirkiness, I found myself sympathizing with her often. How does a person live their life constantly in the spotlight? How can she trust anybody when she's just a means to an end?

William Douglas was refreshing, carefree, and likeable. He is "normal" and down to earth and lacking the airs so many people put on. I liked him immediately!

I enjoyed this story; it was the perfect mix of serious and humorous. The slow burn was believable and fitting. I truly enjoyed this and I'm not a traditional historical romance reader, but it didn't feel stuffy or pretentious and I found myself falling into it quickly.



Author Bio

JULIA LONDON is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels of historical and contemporary romance. She is the author of the popular Highland Grooms series as well as A Royal Wedding, her most recent series. Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Connect with Julia

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads




Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Last Duke Standing (A Royal Match #1) by Julia London to read and review.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Sink or Swim by Annabeth Albert

Falling in love is the biggest gamble of all.

Winning and losing are subject to sexy interpretation…

Navy chief Calder Euler loves to win big. His latest score? A remote mountain cabin. Checking it out is supposed to be a quick trip, but Calder’s luck abruptly turns when a freak injury and a freakier snowstorm leave him stranded.

Oh, and the cabin isn’t empty. A silver fox caring for two young girls claims that the property is his, but Calder’s paperwork says otherwise.

Felix Sigurd is on a losing streak, and his ex-husband risking the cabin in a reckless bet is only the latest in a series of misfortunes. He’ll tolerate the handsome stranger for a couple nights--even care for his injuries—but that’s it.

Calder doesn’t know a damn thing about kids, but making pancakes for Felix’s girls is a surprising delight. Trapped in the cabin, the four of them slip easily into the rhythms of a family. But when the ice melts, they’ll have to decide if a future together is in the cards.  

Carina Adores is home to romantic love stories where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.

Don’t miss our reviews of the rest of the Shore Leave series!
For book one, Sailor Proof, click HERE.


Add to Goodreads.


Sink or Swim by Annabeth Albert

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Apple Books  ~  B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  Kobo
Audiobook (US)  ~  Paperback (US)
Carina Press (HQN)




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the second book in the series. Whilst you could read this as a standalone, as it involves a new couple, it would be better to have the context of the very good first book, Sailor Proof, which involves Calder's best friend and younger brother.

After a head injury which has sidelined Calder from active duty, he is incredibly frustrated. He is a master organiser and knows that he needs to be on board to keep everything working well – and shore duty just doesn't feel so important. To get away from his woes, he decides to go and visit the cabin he won in a poker game. Little can he have realised how that would change his life forever!

His time at the cabin with actual owner Felix, due to a snowstorm, gives him a chance to see just what is possible if he reevaluates how he lives. I really enjoyed him coming to terms with how he has been behaving, and how different his life could be. It is such fun watching him spending time with Felix and his nieces, viewing the world from a very different place. I like that he connects with his mum and recognises what she did to make their home work when his father was away on duty.

This is a great read on many levels, and I enjoyed it very much, thank you, Annabeth Albert.

Second book in the series, which could be read as a standalone in my opinion. This was an easy read for me. No drama, lots of communication, building of a relationship, and some good sex. I loved Calder and Felix, they just worked for me. When I read the blurb, I just imagined the entire book would be based at the cabin, but it wasn't which threw me off because that's just what normally happens and then bam, book over. Nope, this book had so much more. Great addition to the series.



Author Bio

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 children.

Connect with Annabeth

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: Annabeth's Angels



Carina Adores.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Sink or Swim (Shore Leave #2) by Annabeth Albert to read and review.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

How Good It Was by Scarlett Cole Release Blitz

How Good It Was by Scarlett Cole. Available Now.


Love’s an anchor.
Responsibilities and lack of band success have kept him trapped. But now, with the band suddenly making it big and his family obligations gone, life is off the rails. Yet fame, women, and arena tours only go so far in helping keep his pain buried.
Until one of the most spectacular nights of his life comes back to haunt him. She saved his career, now she wants him to help save hers.


Love’s an illusion.
Everyone around her is out for what they can get, except a drummer who wanted nothing more than a steamy one-night stand.
Two blue lines later, she’s on the fast track to career destruction as America’s number one wholesome content creator.
Saving her reputation and collaborations will require a plan and a little social media fakery. Okay, a lot. Like twelve months of pretending to build a family with the rock star of her dreams.

A baby. A fake relationship. And a million dollars. Is it the perfect arrangement to avoid responsibilities? Or a deal guaranteed to ruin them both?

It's raw. It's real. It's rock and roll.

Don’t miss our reviews of the rest of the Excess All Areas series!
For book one, One Day Like This, click HERE.
For book two, Next Time I Fall, click HERE.


Add to Goodreads.


How Good It Was by Scarlett Cole

Book 3
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Apple Books  ~  B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  Kobo
Paperback (US)



For a fraction of a second, she hadn’t recognized herself. Fake relationship, fake lashes, fake posts. She didn’t like the way the word irritated like a stone she couldn’t get out of her shoe. Fake.



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

4.5 stars of whirlwind emotion

This is the third in the series, and I really would implore you to read them in order, as otherwise you really will miss significant elements of the story, and also of the culture in Manchester where much of this is set. If you don't and find yourself lost, please go back and start at the beginning – the story deserves your time.

Luke has been skirting on the edge of rage and addiction for a while, and one might say living his worst best life, or best worst life. The band suddenly making it big has not necessarily all been good, and Luke has been somewhat untethered for a while.

So, when Willow, the person whose use of their music on her video gave them their chance, turns up and reveals their one night of abandon has resulted in a pregnancy, he has to face some big challenges.

I love that we get to see both their viewpoints and that in the most part they are pretty honest with each other, or intuitive enough to get to the bottom of some very longstanding and serious issues. Luke makes some pretty big leaps into a world of revisiting events and getting the situation straighter, helped in no small part by his very best friends and bandmates. It is lovely to see the emotional maturity gained by both Matt and Jase help Luke slowly develop some understanding of Willow's situation, and more especially his feelings about her.

Always with a side of Mancunian rough realism, the evolution of the band, the guys, and their relationships is a pleasure to watch and no story in this series would be complete without the wisdom (and sandwiches) of Nan.

I cannot wait for the next installment!

Luke and Willow aren’t my favourite of Scarlett Cole’s couples, but I’m really loving the way this series follows the Sad Fridays from unknown grafters in the first book to the stadium filling band in this third book.

The complicated relationships between the band members, their families, and their partners are the best parts of this book. The band has grown up – and they’ve grown together. This book builds on the themes of forgiveness and reconciliation that started in the second book. I love the way the band holds close to family and Manchester, even as they become household names.

In some ways, Luke’s romance with Willow works well. The Luke we met in previous books would never have let himself get tied down without an earth-shattering catalyst. I’m just not sure that Willow’s character really fits into this series. Willow does have a growth arc, but the American actor/influencer feels far too shallow, vain, and needy for me to really engage with. Cole usually writes about strong, interesting women. In contrast, Willow is unbearable at the start of the book and somewhat likeable by the end.

Beyond Luke and Willow, I’m loving this series and I look forward to the next book.



“My brother, for all his faults, will make a loyal husband and doting father if he’ll just allow himself to fall in love.”


Author Bio

The tattoo across my right hip says it all really. A Life Less Ordinary. Inked by the amazingly talented Luke Wessman at the Wooster Street Social Club (a.k.a. New York Ink). Why is it important? Well, it sums up my view on life. That we should all aspire to live a life that is less boring, less predictable. Be bold, and do something amazing. I’ve made some crazy choices. I’ve been a car maker, a consultant, and even a senior executive at a large retailer running strategy. Born in England, spent time in the U.S. and Japan, before ending up in Canada where I met my own, personal hero – all six and a half feet of him. Both of us are Scorpios! Yeah, I know! Should have checked the astrological signs earlier, but somehow it works for us. We have two amazing kids, who I either could never part with or could easily be convinced to sell on e-bay.

I’ve wanted to be a writer for a really long time. Check through my office cupboards or my computer and you’ll find half written stories and character descriptions everywhere. Now I'm getting the chance to follow that dream.

Connect with Scarlett Cole

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: Scarlett Cole's Passionistas



“Lines are moving, Will. It’s scaring me, not going to lie. But they’re moving. And friends, lovers, co-parents… whatever we are, I’m on your side. Okay?”


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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of How Good It Was (Excess All Areas #3) by Scarlett Cole to read and review for this tour.