Saturday, July 22, 2017

Voiceless by E.G. Wilson

Adelaide Te Ngawai was thirteen when Maunga Richards stole her voice.

Addy is plunged into silence when a high school bully inflicts her with an incurable disease that leaves her unable to speak, write, or create. Vox Pox—a man-made malady that’s been terrorizing the city for months. Resilient, Addy fights to survive. To not be silenced. But then her brother, Theo, is infected as well.

Desperate for any information that might help cure Theo, Addy follows Maunga into a newly developed virtual psychoreality simulator and discovers a conspiracy deeper than she’d ever imagined. How far will she go to save her brother?

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

E. G. Wilson is a new-to-me author. I'd highly recommend to fans of virtual-reality/gaming/MMORPGs & Dystopian fiction.

At 13, a budding writer, Addie is injected by her bully/older classmate with a virus that silences its victim. Unable to write or speak, Addie loses all of her creativity.

Years later, a virtual reality program is announced, one Addie is desperate to use.

With 500+ silenced victims, Addie uses the program to have a voice and call out the young woman who silenced her.

Voiceless uses a vast virtual reality world, AI, and ghosts imprinted into the program to create a vivid and intriguing story.

All genders, young and young at heart, will enjoy the game-play-esque writing style, mixed with the sense of powerlessness, selflessness, loss, and empowerment, as Addie and her unlikely ally try to stop the one silencing people.

There is an underlying romance thread, but it doesn't involve our narrator.

Thoroughly intrigued, I can't wait to get my hands on the next installment.

Young Adult age-range: 12+

E.G. Wilson cut her authorial teeth writing Sherlock fanfiction at uni when she should really have been studying. She fell into writing science fiction after being inspired by Star Wars, Firefly, and Tolkien's legendarium and has since won NaNoWriMo every year since 2012. She lives in South Canterbury, New Zealand; she loves mountains, hates broad beans, and never wears matching socks.

Connect with E.G.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Voiceless (Voiceless Duology #1) by E.G. Wilson to read and review.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Trust by Kylie Scott Blog Tour

Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love… the first time someone holds a gun to your head.

After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.

While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.

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“You were going to give it up to Duncan Dickerson?” he sneered. “Are you serious?”

I halted, staring at him. This was not good. “How do you know about that?”

“Anders overheard you and Hang talking.”


“Well?” he demanded, acting all authoritarian. Idiot.

“To be fair, I didn’t know his last name was Dickerson,” I said. “That’s unfortunate. Though, I wasn’t actually planning on marrying him, so...”

“Not funny.”

I shrugged.

“You barely know the guy.”

“Um, yeah. None of your concern. We’re not talking about this.” How mortifying! My face burned bright. People should just gather around and cook s’mores. “I appreciate that we’re friends. You mean a lot to me. But this is going to have to fall under definitely none of your damn business, so go away please.”

“We’re talking about it.” He advanced a step.

“No we are not.” And I retreated.

“You were going to let a complete stranger touch you.” Advance.

Retreat. “People do it all the time. You do it all the time.”

“But you don’t,” he said, taking the final step, backing me up against the side of his car and getting all in my face. “Edie, this is your first time we’re talking about. Isn’t it?”

“Yes, and it’s going to be messy and painful and probably horribly embarrassing and I just want it over and done with.” I tried to meet his eyes but failed, settling for a spot on his right shoulder. “You’re not a girl; you wouldn’t understand. Also, last time I checked, you’re not the gatekeeper of my hymen, John Cole. So back the fuck off.”

He said nothing.

Deep, calming breaths. “Look, someday I’ll meet someone I really like and we’ll have a deep and meaningful relationship and go at it like bunnies. But I don’t want to be the dumb virgin in that scenario.”

He slowly shook his head.

“Also, I do not want to die a virgin.”

“What? What the hell are you talking about?”

“Hey, you and I both know death can occur at any time.”

“This is crazy.”

“I’m seeing a therapist!” I told his shoulder. “I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m a little bit messed up these days. It’s hard for me to trust people. That’s not going to change anytime soon.”

He screwed up his face at me. “Wha—”

“I’m just trying to be practical.”

“Well, you’re being ridiculous. None of this makes sense.”

“It does to me.”

Again, he said nothing.

In fact, he said nothing for so long that I finally looked him in the eye. The anger had left him, replaced by an emotion I didn’t recognize. Worst of all, he still smelled like summer. A little sweat and the open night air, everything I loved. Liked. I meant liked.

“What?” I said, finally.

He let loose a breath. “I’ll do it.”

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Commentary on the cover (placed at the start of the review for a reason): While it's an awesome cover (it caught my interests), it's more befitting an older book in a different genre. I fear it will have readers one-clicking, then feeling as if it's not-as-advertised, as it looks like a musician/tattoo/biker/badass type read in the New Adult or Adult genres. I realize this cover represents John (not our narrator), but it gives off a sex-laden appeal, not representative of the content. Our narrator is a 17-year-old girl, and it takes place in a high school, with the usual content represented in a young adult novel. As example, no first kisses being had before the 58% mark, with a handful after. Not that that is a bad thing, just that the cover gives off a different vibe.

Kylie Scott is a new-to-me author. From word one, I was hooked. I couldn't put it down – I was being bombarded with chatter around me, a loud TV, and two dogs barking at each other, and I continued to read without any of those distractions pulling me from the story. I took a break around the 50% mark to go check out what else the author had penned and to go tell my fellow reviewers how great the book was. Then I finished the book in the privacy of my own bedroom, refusing to be interrupted.

Layers upon layers of emotion, this novel had one of the best developed characterizations I've come across. Edie is our 17-year-old narrator – a chubby teenage girl who loves to wear the color black, read books, and binge-watch TV. Edie represents a large population of girls who are always designated as the sidekick. Non-athletic, not a joiner, being chubby, going to an all-girls private school, she's bullied. Not meek, she keeps her mouth shut in order not to feed the bullies.

Yes, her insecurities infect a portion of her thought process, not in a redundant way. But, for anyone who has ever been overweight/other insecurities, you know it's at the forefront of your mind at all times, so this was also a realistic portrayal of a larger girl. In high school, you can be a bit chubby, and everyone treats you like you're morbidly obese, because most of the kids haven't filled out into their adult shapes yet, still small like children while you're shaped like a grown woman. In the real world, we all wish we were that size again, the size we were bullied over – laughing. Edie represents us big girls, and the author did an excellent job with the mindset.

Edie's grabbing some Oreos and Doritos from a convenience store, with her BFF in the car in her jammies, refueling for another binge-watch session, and life changes at an instant. Without going into detail, I will say the following events were beyond realistic, transporting me into the book with Edie and her fellow captives.

In the aftermath, Kylie Scott creates a gut-wrenching read filled with realistic human emotions. Instead of ignoring how the event would change who the characters are at their very cores, using it as a vehicle to drive straight into romance, it's fully fleshed out realism that isn't romanticized.

It's hammered home how Edie and John's lives will never be the same – this will forever be riding shotgun with them through life. Survivor’s guilt. Panic attacks. Nightmares. Wondering if there was something they should have done differently. Woulda/shoulda/coulda of the wrong place at the right time. The blame game.

Edie changes, sees everything through a different lens, and this filtered into every aspect of her life. Instead of focusing on the romance, the author spotlights her characters' evolution, which draws the two survivors together.

Nothing forced. Nothing instantaneous. Edie and John grow together, their personalities complementing one another in the perfect balance. A slow-burn romance, where true friendship is built and felt by the reader, with the angsty feel of a teenager's first venture into love.

I highly recommend to more mature young adults and older readers too. While it does have sexual situations and romance, they are not the focus of the novel itself – while on the page, it's quick and to the point. However, if you're a fan of the author's other works, expecting an angst-filled New Adult read, with sex and tension and lust and hot bad guys, don't judge a book by its cover. This truly is a young adult read, with young adult issues/mentality/maturity, set in a high school, with curfews and meddlesome mothers. It's a raw, dark, and gritty read, realistic, but not in the way the cover suggests.

Young Adult age-range: parental discretion advised – mature young adults+, due to realistic violent situations, drug-use, and age-appropriate sexual situations. I could have handled this book at age 12-14, but another peer may have had to wait until 16+. With the novel's content, it's dependent on the emotional maturity of the reader.

I was sucked in from the first chapter and couldn't put it down until I finished. I am not a huge Young Adult reader but I love throwing one in every once and a while, especially after a heavier, darker read. I thought Trust would be a perfect light read. I was so invested and had such a hangover. It may not have been the light choice I was hoping for, but it blew anything else out of the water. Edie was different and made for such an interesting character.

Trust is heart-pounding suspense. I loved every aspect of this read. Ms. Scott is such a word wizard that she can come out swinging in any genre she chooses and knock it out of the park.

Trust was my first introduction to the author Kylie Scott and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised how much I ended up liking this book. As a reader in my twenties who enjoys reading Young Adult books, it can sometimes be a challenge to find book that won't just make me feel like I'm too old to be reading it, but Trust can easily be enjoyed by young and old readers. Edie, the main character, was refreshing and easy to relate to. I loved seeing all the ways she grew over the course of the story. I think older YA readers will have no trouble getting sucked into Trust, but younger readers should be prepared for some mature themes, such as alcohol/drugs and violence. Although the main character, Edie, is a 17-year-old high school student, I felt like this book seemed to border a little between a YA read and drifting a bit into the New Adult genre. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading Trust and I will be looking to see what other gems Kylie Scott has hidden away!

4 STARS for Trust

Edie gets caught up in a violent convenience store robbery while doing a midnight snack run. John, a high school student and local drug dealer, is also in the store at the time of the robbery and tries to talk the robber down.

Following the incident, Edie changes schools and discovers John sitting in the seat behind her in class. A friendship develops between John and Edie and we see that while the near-death experience has scared John straight, it has done the opposite to Edie. She realises that life can end in an instant and things that once seemed scary or important, are less so now.

Trust is told entirely from Edie's point of view, but it is John's story as much as it is hers. Their shared experience leads to friendship as they help each other get through life after the trauma.

Trust is a gripping story. At no time did my mind wander or did I get distracted. The story had my complete attention, so much so that walking home from work I pulled out my e-reader while waiting for traffic lights to change, just so I could read an extra paragraph or two. I didn't want to put this book down, and would recommend it to older teens and adults. Trust is brilliant and gets 5 stars from me.

Age recommendation: 16+

I've been a Kylie Scott fan for a bit now after devouring her Stage Dive series and was happy to have a new book from her that wasn't part of another series. But, I was sure not expecting Trust to be so darn amazing and yet remain young adult. I was blown away!!!

Starting at the Drop Stop convenience store for some pre-movie binge snacks, 17-year-old Edie finds herself in the middle of a hold up and hostage situation by a crazed meth head. After the clerk was shot and killed, only Edie, John, and his friend are left to fight for their lives from drug crazed Chris, the robber. John and Chris sort of know each other from certain drug circles and John tries to talk Chris down and help Edie and Malcom get out alive. All hell breaks loose right from the first few chapters and I was sucked into the story so hard I think I might have hickeys. This was an amazing emotional journey dealing with life changing events in a young adult's early maturity.

After being bullied and overweight in her old private girls’ school, Edie refuses to be this person any longer. Changing schools and trying to put the attack that ended two young lives but spared hers behind her, Edie is on the cusp of realizing what's real and what's really important. Having a gun shoved in your mouth will do that to a girl. Forging a bond with John, the boy who saved her life that fateful night, is the only thing that's keeping Edie sorta sane. They are the only people who know how it felt to be there and go through that experience.

John has a tainted past, he was a low-key pot dealer and not the best student in school. Just drifting through life. But after the attack at the store, he's decided his life is worth way more than he's been giving it. Trying to change and become worthy of the life he was spared, John finds himself facing bad press and old grudges that die hard by teachers and parents. Trying to prove himself to them and stay out of trouble is harder than it seems. Edie is the only solace in his new life, someone he can talk with about what happened and how it's left him unable to sleep.

Edie and John were one of the best romances I've read in a while and we're still talking young adult here! John is experienced, Edie is not. John is gorgeous and Edie is just another chunky girl in the mix of so many others. But she and John have a bond that no one can break. The relationship has the classic stalls and starts, miscues, and missed opportunities, but it's done so perfectly (along with several sneaky parallel plot issues happening in the book Edie happens to be reading!!) I was groaning in agony, shaking my head in sympathy, but all with my nose pressed to my Kindle.

One of the best slow-burn relationships I've read in a while. Lots of spark for Young Adult, but not too much detail on the steamy scenes. I'd still say a more mature YA audience recommended due to the violence and a little due to the sexual contact.

There is amazing poignant emotion being played out by these two characters. I FELT for them! I cheered for Edie finding her spine against the mean girls at school, I was angered by the teacher's dismissal of John's hard work, I empathized with Edie's poor mom trying to keep it together after what her child went through. These young adults lived through a horrific, life changing event and came out alive, they are forever changed and this is the story of how they live through it. This book pulled it all out of me and left me longing for more. Hats off to Kylie Scott here, this book is a 10!

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from her website.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Trust by Kylie Scott to read and review for this tour.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Artificial Sweethearts by Julie Hammerle

It’s not chemistry between Tinka Foster and Sam Anderson that made them agree to fake date. With her parents trying to set her up with an annoying pro-track golf student, and intentionally single Sam’s family pressuring him to bring a date to his brother’s wedding, they could both use a drama-free summer.

So it’s not his muscular arms and quick wit that makes Tinka suggest they tell everyone they’re both taken. Definitely not. And it’s not butterflies that makes a kiss for appearances during the lake party go on way too long—so long that Sam wishes it were real.

But Tinka keeps people at arm’s length—she’s always been second best, even to her parents. And her relationship-for-show could crush everything when she realizes she’s done with fake, pretend, and second-best.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains bikinis at the lake, a lot of making out in dark theaters, and a meet-cute you’ll read twice.

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Book 2
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Entangled Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

4.5 Stars

Artificial Sweethearts is the second installment in the North Pole, Minnesota series and can easily be read as a standalone. Some mentions of the past book, and cameos by past narrators, but it doesn't affect the overall plot or lead to any confusion.

To be honest, I struggled to fall into the story during the first chapter. Tinka's narration, while being picked up at the airport, there were plot holes being purposefully left open for later, to add a mystery/suspense vibe, but it was the execution that made the narration jarring. I liked Tinka's character, but the style in which it was written was difficult to navigate. Bumpy and all over the place.

As soon as Sam was voiced, I was hooked immediately. Sam was a chubby boy. He's the helper/giver, non-complainer. The one who is easily taken for granted. He's helping his big brother plan a wedding (do everything), with his younger sister running off to camp, and his baby sister is too young to help at all. So everything falls on his shoulders, and he doesn't say a word about it. Now slim, after doing yard work and probably shedding the baby fat, Sam is still stuck in that mindset of being the chubby, invisible, always happy boy, and siblings will always see you how you used to be, not how you are now.

Tinka is also a giver, but she lacks self-reflection. It's hinted at that she's a bad girl (no shaming, her actions were a cry for help, not because she was enjoying herself and feeling empowered by it). But, being inside Tinka's head, the reader knows the core of her, even if that's not the perception others have of her. She's hurt her friends in the recent past, but her parents are hurting her.

Tinka and Sam connect – it's not instantaneous, but it's obvious. I'm a sucker for the intimacy of a hug, so when Tinka sees Sam and thinks he'd give great hugs, I was won over right then. That's actually something I think when sizing up a guy. *winks*

Their personalities are complementary, neither one having a voice in their family, just going with the flow. Together, they try to find their voice.

Yes, there is a tiny bit of angst, but not truly between Sam and Tinka – it's with Tinka's friends and family, and Sam with his family and friends. Sam is a solid guy, and he takes Tinka at face-value because she opens up to him and is 'real,' and he's the same way back. No tension, they're relaxed together, like finding home and finally being able to breathe. So there isn't miscommunication central between them, even with the 'fake-dating' to keep their family off their backs.

For two-hundred pages, the journey is Sam and Tinka finding a voice – no longer avoiding conflict because it's easier on everyone else while costing themselves dearly. They learn to stand up for themselves, ask for what they want, and make no apologies for it. We only get one life, and we're the ones who have to live it. I felt this a great message, one people need to learn – the younger the better.

I thoroughly enjoyed Sam and Tinka's journey, and look forward to both more in this series and by this author in the future. Definitely recommend to fans of the young adult genre.

Young Adult age-range: 12+. Kissing.

Also Available in the North Pole, Minnesota Series

Book 1
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For reviews & more info, check out our Any Boy But You post.

Julie Hammerle is the author of The Sound of Us (Entangled Teen, 2016) and the North Pole, Minnesota romance series (Entangled Crush, 2017). She writes about TV and pop culture for the ChicagoNow blog, Hammervision, and lives in Chicago with her family. She enjoys reading, cooking, and watching all the television.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Artificial Sweethearts (North Pole, Minnesota #2) by Julie Hammerle to read and review.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

2017 RITA Finalists Spotlight for Young Adult Romance

Affective Needs
by Rebecca Taylor

Ninety-two days. That’s all that’s left. Just ninety-two days and Ruth Robinson, calculus genius, will stand with her arms raised in a triumphant V as the valedictorian of Roosevelt High. With her early admit to Princeton’s Neuroscience program burning a hole in her pocket, Ruth can hardly wait to show her fellow teenage troglodytes that while she didn’t have followers, friends, or “times” in basements, she was the one ending up on top. All she needs to do is white knuckle her way through this waiting place last semester and then, finally, she’ll be on her way.

Except, the first day back from winter break, Porter Creed shows up. Porter is a special education transfer–Affective Needs. And just like all the other desk flippers and chair throwers in the affective needs classroom, Porter has some major emotional problems. But when Porter strolls onto Ruth’s home turf, Advanced Calculus, and disrupts her axis by being both gorgeous and the only person better at math than her–Ruth begins to realize that maybe life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.

Publisher: Ophelia House
Editor: Maya Packard

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Rebecca Taylor is the indie author of Ascendant, winner of the 2014 Colorado Book Award and a Library Journal National Self-e Select title; Midheaven; The Exquisite and Immaculate Grace of Carmen Espinoza, and her latest release, and RWA RITA Finalist, Affective Needs.

She obtained her BA in psychology and sociology from the University of Colorado, Denver, and her Ed.S in school psychology from the University of Northern Colorado. In addition to writing, she works as a school psychologist and teaches at Regis University in their MFA program.

She lives with her husband, two children, three dogs, and two tortoises in Denver, Colorado. She loves to travel and spends probably too much time on the interwebs planning trips. When she’s not planted in front of her keyboard, she likes to watch movies on Netflix, camp, read, do jigsaw puzzles, hike, drink tea, snow ski, swim in the ocean, watch people, eat peanut butter, run miles to nowhere on a treadmill, troll bookstores, stare into the abyss, and worry that she should probably be writing instead.

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The Distance from A to Z
by Natalie Blitt

Seventeen-year-old Abby has only one goal for her summer: to make sure she is fluent in French—well, that, and to get as far away from baseball and her Cubs-obsessed family as possible. A summer of culture and language, with no sports in sight.

That turns out to be impossible, though, because her French partner is the exact kind of boy she was hoping to avoid. Eight weeks. 120 hours of class. 80 hours of conversation practice with someone who seems to wear baseball caps and jerseys every day.

But Zeke in French is a different person than Zeke in English. And Abby can’t help but fall for him, hard. As Abby begins to suspect that Zeke is hiding something, she has to decide if bridging the gap between who she is and who he is is worth the risk.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Editor: Annie Berger

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Harper Collins

Originally from Canada, Natalie Blitt now lives in the Chicago area with her husband and three sons, where she dreams up young adult novels. Natalie currently works at an education think tank. She knows a lot about baseball. She has no choice.

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The Problem with Forever
by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Growing up, Mallory Dodge learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime. Now, after years of homeschooling, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at a public high school. But she never imagined she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet soon it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory must make a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants and the truths that need to be heard.

Publisher: Harlequin, HQN Teen
Editor: Margo Lipschultz

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#1 New York Times and International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories… which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Wicked Series has been optioned by PassionFlix. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall with Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel Don’t Look Back was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. Her adult romantic suspense novel Till Death was an Amazon Editor’s Pick and iBook Book of the Month. Her young adult contemporary The Problem with Forever is a 2017 RITA Award nominee.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

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Summer of Supernovas
by Darcy Woods

Fans of Jennifer E. Smith and Jenny Han will fall in love with this heartfelt and humor-laced debut following one zodiac-obsessed teen as she struggles to find the guy of her cosmic dreams.

As the daughter of an expert astrologer, Wilamena Carlisle knows that truth lies within the stars. So when she discovers a planetary alignment that won’t repeat for a decade, she’s forced to tackle her greatest astrological fear: The Fifth House—relationships and love. But Wil must decide whether to trust her heart or her chart when she falls for a sensitive guitar player whose zodiac sign points to cosmic disaster.

If Wil’s fate is truly written in the stars, then this summer is about to go supernova…

Publisher: Penguin Random House, Crown BFYR
Editor: Emily Easton

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Penguin Random House

Darcy Woods has held an eclectic mix of professions—from refueling helicopters for the US Army to recharging bodies and spirits at a spa—but her most beloved career is being an author. She is a happily-ever-after addict and finds all things metaphysical endlessly fascinating. She lives in Michigan with her husband and cat. The Golden Heart® award–winning Summer of Supernovas is her first novel.

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What is the RITA Award?

The purpose of the RITA award is to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding published romance novels and novellas.

The award itself is a golden statuette named after RWA's first president, Rita Clay Estrada, and has become the symbol for excellence in published romance fiction.

For more about the RITA Award, click HERE.

The RITA Award Ceremony will be held July 27, 7 p.m. at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort during the Romance Writers of America National Conference.

For a full list of RITA finalists, click HERE.

Readers can follow RWA on the following social media platforms for winner announcements.

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Instagram

Follow the RITA 2017 Finalists Spotlight Blog Tour HERE.

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Monday, July 10, 2017

The Perfectly Imperfect Match by Kendra C. Highley

Pitcher Dylan Dennings has his future all mapped out: make the minors straight out of high school, work his way up the farm system, and get called up to the majors by the time he's twenty-three. The Plan has been his sole focus for years, and if making his dreams come true means instituting a strict " no girls" policy, so be it.

Lucy Foster, needlepoint ninja, big sister to an aspiring pitcher, and chicken advocate, likes a little mayhem. So what if she gets lost taking her brother to baseball her own high school? The pitching coach, some hotshot high school player, obviously thinks she's a hot mess. Too bad he's cute, because he's so not her type.

Problem is, they keep running into each other, and every interaction sparks hotter than the last. But with Dylan's future on the line, he has to decide whether some rules are made to be broken...

Disclaimer: This book contains a crazy night of moonlit skinny-dipping, a combustible crush, and kisses swoony enough to unwind even the most Type A athlete.

Each book in the Suttonville Sentinels series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.

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Book 3
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Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Entangled Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

5 Swoon-worthy Stars (okay, Highley, where are my unicorns? Just proving I read the note at the end. LOL)

The Perfectly Imperfect Match is the third installment of Suttonville Sentinels, and can easily be read as a standalone. While the hero and heroine from book two do make an appearance on the pages, their previous story doesn't make an impact on the current one. Although, I was happy to see them, reconnect with them.

If you're not reading this as a standalone, you no doubt will remember Dylan. Uptight. Obsessed with his future plans, to the point he isn't living in the now. He's hitched all of his dreams, hopes, and aspirations with singular focus, to the point it's unhealthy and could be a detriment should things not go according to plan.

Fate and destiny and things happen, just because you plan it or want it, doesn't make it so. This is a lesson Dylan needs to learn, and in a way that doesn't leave lasting damage.

Dylan's an amazing pitcher, but he's even better at teaching the next generation of ballplayers during summer camp, which leads us to Lucy...

Lucy is an interesting character. Free-spirit, chicken savior, and colorful rebel. She's the daughter of a serviceman who is deployed and a quilt shop owner. To help her family, Lucy stitches/embroiders various items to bring in side money and bring new clientele into the shop, all the while helping raise her nine-year-old brother.

Otis enrolls in summer camp – the budding pitcher is placed under the tutelage of Dylan, and that's how Dylan and Lucy meet.

Opposites attract.

Without giving a book report, the pair have some angsty bumps and bruises along the way. There's heat and intensity, bucket loads of chemistry. Dylan has a 'no girls' policy, and fears Lucy is throwing him off his game. Lucy is worried about Otis' relationship with his pitching coach, so she doesn't want to come between her baby brother and his idol.

The Perfectly Imperfect Match was a delightfully sweet read, full of crushing and budding love, and it put a smile on my face. Until the epilogue – boom – emotional extortion by the author. Mad props to Highley for making me cry (happy tears, of course).

Definitely recommend to lovers of the Young Adult genre, no matter if they are actual young adults or the young at heart. I look forward to more in this series and more by this author.

*I will say, from my own experience, grown men and boys alike do believe the 'no girls' nonsense. My grandfather, who was old enough to be my great-grandfather, was always bringing up failure in the baseball world due to his son getting a girlfriend – (I can't remember what team he played for) unable to be apart from her, he made her his wife and had children. Blaming my aunt, of course. Is it true? I have no idea – it was a generation or three before my time, but adult me knows the misogynistic blame-game is a great way to explain away what really happened. But boys and men do believe that nonsense, so I could relate to both Dylan and Lucy as I read the book and it brought up the memory of my grandfather, enough so I could even hear his voice.

Swoon – still waiting on those unicorns.

Young Adult age-range: 12+. Kissing and adult language.

The Perfectly Imperfect Match is book #3 in Kendra C. Highley's Suttonville Sentinels series and just as addictive as her first, Swinging at Love. You can easily read these as a standalone, but Swinging at Love, book #2, is totally worth a read for any young adult romance fan. Highley will easily draw you in with her swoon worthy characters and keep you turning the pages all night!

Book #3 follows the story of Dylan Dennings, pitcher for the Suttonville Sentinels, who has his whole future mapped out and doesn't plan to let anything steer him off course. Dylan's determined to make it to the minors straight out of high school, which is why he has a "no girls" policy. Unfortunately, he keeps running into Lucy Foster, needlepoint extraordinaire, and his polar opposite, but he can't seem to get her out of his head...

If you're looking for your next book for the beach look no further! Highley has a home run with her Suttonville Sentinels series. I'm absolutely loving these books and I can't wait to see what's in store for book #4! Another fantastic YA read by Kendra C. Highley! 4 stars

Also Available in the Suttonville Sentinels 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 The Bad Boy Bargain post.

Book 2
Buy Links

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

For reviews & more info, check out our Swinging at Love post.

Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to four self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most critical job. She believes in everyday magic, extraordinary love stories, and the restorative powers of dark chocolate.

Connect with Kendra

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Perfectly Imperfect Match (Suttonville Sentinels #3) by Kendra C. Highley to read and review.