Saturday, December 8, 2018

What You Hide by Natalie D. Richards

Mallory didn't want to leave home, but it wasn't safe to stay. So she sleeps at her best friend's house and spends the rest of her time at the library, doing her online schoolwork and figuring out what comes next. Because she's not going live in fear like her mother.

Spencer volunteers at the library. Sure, it's community service for a stunt he pulled, but he likes the work. And it's the perfect escape from his parents' pressure to excel at school, at ice hockey, at everything. Especially after he meets Mallory.

Then there is a tragic death at the library. Suddenly, what was once a sanctuary turns sinister. Ghostly footprints, strange scratching sounds, scrawled messages on bulletin boards and walls... Mallory and Spencer don't know who or what is responsible, but one thing is for sure:

They are not as alone—or as safe—as they thought.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 Stars from the adult reading young adult. I do believe younger readers would enjoy this more.

Natalie D. Richards is a new-to-me author.

What You Hide hooked me from the start, especially watching Mallory try to convince her pregnant mother to leave her abusive husband. I empathized with Mallory, her story resonating in me, as she struggled with the injustice and her need to protect her mother, as her mother became a passive passenger to not only her own abuse but that of her daughter. Nothing but pure gaslighting, and it was as frustrating to read as it was realistic.

Mallory's mother is pregnant, believing she's making the right choice by staying with her husband, thinking she is also in a position with little choices. But as a mother, she is taking both Mallory and her unborn child with her on these decisions, proving adults and teens alike are not infallible. While I could sympathize in a been there done that manner, I was frustrated to read how easily she let her daughter go, believing the lies her husband was spinning. With Mallory so adamant, Mom should have taken stock in her protests a lot more.

A strong role model, determined and focused, Mallory runs away from home to stay with her friend, has to quit school because her stepfather works for the school district. Attempting to get her diploma with an online school, Mallory uses the library computer bank to study and connect with her classes.

Spencer is indulged by his affluent parents, lashing out by doing outlandish things because he feels pressured into making a decision on which college to attend. While I found the guy likable, he wasn't very relatable, outside of pressures to perform. He has whatever he wants and is treated with respect and unconditional love, so the juxtaposition to Mallory's life is jarring.

Using Parkour to scale the library, Spencer slips and takes out a window instead. His punishment is working in the library to pay off the costs of the window, which is where Spencer and Mallory cross paths.

There's something creepy happening in the library, told from both the perspectives of Mallory and Spencer. They become sidekicks and love interests while they solve the mystery together. Excuse my vagueness, as I don't want to create spoilers when it comes to the mystery aspects.

While I enjoyed Mallory, her characterization and backstory, I wished the entire novel was surrounded by her plight. I found the mystery lacking, not really sparking any interest in me. It did and didn't actually all fit together. It wasn't the driving-force for me, which is why I said at the beginning of my review how I felt this is a novel where an actual young adult would appreciate it more than those young at heart.

While the foundation of the plot is a good one to build from, I'm not sure the execution had it living up to its potential.

Young adult age-range: 14+ featuring violence and abuse.

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

This is mostly a story about Mallory and Spencer's friendship.

Spencer has lived a life of privilege. His parents are pressuring him to choose a path to college, but Spencer feels a little like he's drowning. When he makes a questionable decision and ends up doing some property damage, he is required to volunteer at the library. It's there he meets Mallory.

Mallory is struggling at home. Her mom is pregnant but is with a man who is more than just a little controlling. He's scary and mean, abusive and threatening. While Mallory tries to get her mom to leave him, Mallory knows that no matter what, she needs to save herself.

The friendship that develops between Spencer and Mallory helps both of them figure out where they are going. They lean on each other and become each other's confidants. However, there is a strange mystery within the library and when someone ends up dead in the library, speculation runs wild.

While I enjoyed this story, it felt pieced together. There was the mystery that was underdeveloped, the friendship, which I would have liked to see more of, and the home life of Mallory, which I thought was the strongest part of the story and wished it had been more developed. I wanted more of Mallory's story. I thought that it felt very unfinished. Also, I wanted more from the ending. That, too, felt rushed and unfinished.

After years as a professional paper-pusher, Natalie D. Richards decided to trade in reality for a life writing YA fiction. She lives in Ohio (Go Bucks!) with her husband, three children, and a ridiculously furry dog named Yeti.

Connect with Natalie

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of What You Hide by Natalie D. Richards to read and review.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Audio Assault by Jeff Adams

For teenage secret agent Theo Reese, summer break isn’t a time to relax. In addition to his duties for Tactical Operational Support, Theo’s got a school project and, more than anything, wants to spend time with his boyfriend, Eddie.

A family trip to New York City is the last thing Theo needs.

But a friend of Theo’s father is in need of the Reese family’s special skills. Oliver Glenwood heads a music empire, and his daughter, Sofia, is a rising pop star—one who’d drawn the attention of kidnappers.

During the investigation, Theo discovers the threat poses more danger than originally suspected. Someone has planted code in Glenwood Music’s songs that can steal information from any personal device—or play a tone that can rouse uncontrollable rage. The consequences will be disastrous if the infected songs are downloaded by the public. Preventing worldwide catastrophe becomes even more difficult when Eddie arrives in the city, hoping to spend some quality time with Theo.

No one ever said being a covert agent would be easy.

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Book 3
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆☆
M/M Thriller, Mystery
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

Theo is at it again. Only this time, he follows his parents on a mission that changes their lives forever.

While his parents are normally okay with Theo having more autonomy than most high schoolers, when his dad's old friend calls with security concerns, Theo is told, kind of asked, to help his parents out.

This is more of a tale of the who done it than the others, I thought. It was filled with twists and turns that had me on the edge of my seat. I loved how Theo and his family, along with the other operatives, were racing against the clock.

Without giving too much away, everyone's lives will change in this story and I can't wait to see where the next book takes us. There are unanswered questions and unanswered paths that need to be discovered! I am so excited for what's to come!

Also Available in the Codename: Winger Series

Book 1
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For reviews & more info, check out our Tracker Hacker post.

Book 2
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For reviews & more info, check out our Schooled post.

JEFF ADAMS has written stories since he was in middle school and became a gay romance writer in 2009 when his first short stories were published. Since then he’s written several shorts and novels and he plans to keep writing as long as wonderful readers keeping picking up his books.

Jeff lives in rural northern California with his husband of twenty years, Will. Some of his favorite things include the musicals Rent and [title of show], the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey teams, and the reality TV competition So You Think You Can Dance. If forced to pick his favorite book, it would be a tie between Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and David Levithan’s Every Day.

Jeff is the co-host of Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast, a weekly show devoted to m/m romance as well as pop culture. New episodes come out every Monday at

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Audio Assault (Codename: Winger #3) by Jeff Adams to read and review.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

To Be Honest by S.M. James Blog Tour

Angus Reid is pretty sure he's being catfished.

After spending the last half of junior year talking online to the guy of his dreams, Angus wants to meet. In person. So when Scotty brushes it off with excuses of not being ready, red flags go up.

Determined to either catch Scotty out, or take a shot at real love, Angus embarks on a summer road trip with his adorkable roommate, Tyler. But as summer stretches on, and mixed messages fly between them, Angus finds his heart torn.

His potential catfisher?

Or his straight best friend?

And while their road trip takes them across the country, Angus is headed for one destination.

Either a happily ever after... or a broken heart.

Author’s Note: All books in the #lovehim series are stand alones. The series number is recommended reading order.

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Book 2
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I pull out of the parking lot and Tyler directs me to the campsite. The ground is rough as anything, and it’s lucky it’s summer, because I can just imagine that in winter we would be driving on ice.

“Just here,” Tyler points to a space ahead, confirming it on the map the campsite admin handed us.

It’s reasonably busy and we’ve had to drive a bit further down. There’s forest pushing in all around us and I can only spot two other tents. Not that those monstrous things could be called tents.

“Just do you know,” I say as I put the car in park and follow Tyler out. “If I get killed, I’ll hold you personally responsible.”

“If you get killed, I promise I’ll make it up to you.”

“I’ve got to tell you though, I’m not planning on dying a virgin.”

He throws a smirk at me over the roof. “Don’t worry, neither am I.”

I open the trunk and start shifting some of our stuff into the front while Tyler lays down the back seats. When I climb in, a thrum of electricity passes over my skin and I have to remind myself to cool it. We’re just friends. Tyler slides in after me.

“Here.” He hands me some blankets and we set to work making it comfortable before lying back, heads rested at the opening.

It’s so peaceful. The night is still and quiet, holding the warmth of the day, and the stars stretch out above us endlessly, smudges of silver blurring them together. I fold my hands behind my head as Tyler takes off his glasses and tosses them in the front.

“And that right there,” Tyler says in a nasally voice, pointing through the back windshield of the open trunk. “Is the ubullamajorious.”

I give him the side eye, not sure if he’s joking or not. “Oh yeah, and what’s that?” I point to another cluster.

“The fibrosiousenema.”

“And that?”

“Ursulla’s Uranus.”

I snort, rolling onto my side to look at him. “You are so full of shit.”

“I swear.” He lays a hand over his heart. “See? There’s Angusius’s Titianus.”

He finally gets a laugh out of me and I shove his shoulder a little. “I think your brain’s broken.”

“Nope. It remembers everything, remember, Angus?”

“I do remember. Which is why I wouldn’t be surprised if you knew all the actual names of the constellations and were just goofing around.”

He tries to hold back a guilty smile.

We lapse into a comfortable silence, him staring up at the stars, and me staring at everything but him.

I hesitate. “Thanks for not bailing on me.”

“Are you kidding? It was a choice between this and going home. Trust me, it was a no brainer.”

“I’m honored.” I roll my eyes.

He chuckles softly and pokes me in the bicep. Two fingers. Just like the first day we met. “You should be. You’re always my first choice.”

My cheeks heat and my stomach twists painfully. I’m well aware of his teasing tone but somehow my body completely misses it. “I mean, I wouldn’t say you’re my first choice. At least second or third, though.”

“Ho-oh!” He hangs his head back, showing off his long neck. “You’ve wounded me.”

“Need mouth to mouth?”

He cracks up. “I’d probably enjoy it too much.”

He’s teasing. Teasing. But damn it, if I don’t get this flirting under control it’s only a matter of when not if our friendship implodes.

I’m dying to trace my lips over that long, smooth stretch of skin just below his ear.

He rests his head to the side, looking at me, and a chunk of hair flops down in his eyes. “Have you heard from Scotty yet?”

The lust dries up as worry kicks in. “No, actually. I’m trying not to think about it.”

“I’m sure he’s fine.”

“If he’s done something—”

“No. He wouldn’t have. From what you’ve told me it was his choice, you can’t think like that.”

I scrub a hand over my face. “I basically forced it on him though.”

“Hey.” Tyler’s fingers circle my wrist and he tugs my hand away. “Nope. We’re not doing this. You don’t control other people’s choices. Not today, not tomorrow, just don’t.”

“If only it was that simple.” I sigh.

“It is.” He’s so certain I almost believe him. Instead I reach out and pull the back door closed.

“I’m tired,” I say, tucking up my legs. And if my legs are too long for the space, Tyler’s definitely will be.

With the door closed the outside world is cut off. Tyler turns back to the window, looking up at the sky, and for the thousandth time this year, I wish I had someone to share my feelings with. It sounds lame as hell but I could really use a hug. I just want somebody to be my somebody.

And with Scotty gone, I’m further from that than ever.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Part coming of age drama and part young adult romance, this is the story of Angus as he embarks on a cross country road trip to meet his online boyfriend. During the journey, Angus learns a great deal about himself, his friends, and their relationships.

This is a slow, introspective story. A scholarship kid at an expensive private school and a gay football player in a team of straight guys, Angus is used to being an outsider and it is only when Tyler and Anah push him that he starts to reflect on the compromises he makes to belong.

The online conversations between Angus and Scotty are sweet but Scotty’s secrecy constantly ruins any potential for real intimacy between them. The friendship between Angus and Tyler left me equally uneasy. I guessed the plot twist in their relationship early on but like Angus, I was constantly torn between Tyler’s sensitive and almost romantic gestures and his moments of almost defensive heterosexuality. I like that Angus is strong enough to hold out for what he needs from a relationship, but his caution doesn’t make for great romance. Ultimately, I found it was difficult to fully engage with the romance element of the story. I didn’t trust Scotty or Tyler and there was actually a point in the book when I just wanted Angus to enjoy an anonymous hookup.

Interspersed between Angus’ introspective moments are all the typical American road trip sightseeing activities with his friends. Typical, ordinary – and possibly overdone, I didn’t love the road trip aspect of this story. I found the Anah and Link storyline annoying – but irritating road trip companions are one of the more realistic parts of the story.

Also Available in the #lovehim Series

Book 1
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~  Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

For reviews & more info, check out our stop on the That Feeling When Blog Tour.

S.M. James writes books for teens about squishy sweet characters.

While not writing, S.M. is a readaholic and Netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee.

Unapologetically dishing out HEAs for LGBT+ characters.

Connect with S.M.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of To Be Honest (#lovehim #2) by S.M. James to read and review for this tour.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Boy Shattered by Eli Easton Blog Tour


You’ll make it out of here, Brian. I swear.

I had everything. I was school quarterback, popular with girls, and my dad was proud of me. I told myself it didn’t matter no one knew the real me. And then I nearly died. Landon saved my life. He’s the bravest guy I know. He came out a few years ago, proud and fierce, and he ran into gunfire to help others. Me, I’m a mess. Can’t even stand to be in a room with the curtains open. But here’s the thing about losing it all: You get a chance to start over and be someone new, someone true. Only how can I move on when the two shooters who attacked our school were never caught? And why do I feel like I’m still in the crosshairs?


Will you kiss me?

When I came across Brian Marshall, the hottest guy in school, dying on the cafeteria floor, I did what anyone would do. I tried to save him. His request surprised me, but I figured he needed comfort, so I kissed him on the forehead. When he survived and came back to school, he was broken in body and mind. He still needed me, and soon we were unlikely besties. But what I witnessed that day woke me up. I want to demand action on gun control, lead protests, raise my fist. I’ll tear the world down if I have to. And if I can get the boy of my dreams and save the world at the same time? I’ll take it. Only I didn’t understand that the horror at Jefferson Waller High wasn’t over.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

On the surface, Boy Shattered is a poignant novel from the perspective of two young men who survived a school shooting. However, it's also a coming-of-age tale as the wounded one finds his voice to come out and be who he always was. This story of survival is filled with grief, a strong sense of empowerment, as well as a mystery to solve, since the shooters were never caught.

Brian is the golden boy of the school, even if he's only in the eleventh grade. The popular jock who is at the top of every sport. The boy with all the right friends. The pretty boy with the baby face, who has girls swooning at his feet and boys filled with envy. But he's reserved – a kid who is more likely to feel a connection with one or two friends, not the slew that follows him around school. But he's also gay and in the closet due to fear over his reputation and his father's political and religious views.

Landon is out and proud, with a larger than life voice. He takes no prisoners, doesn't care if he's popular or not, and has a small, strong circle of trust surrounding him. He's the voice heard when others are silenced.

A school shooting is the focal point of the novel, shown in the perspective of both of the boys. It's the aftermath where they come together, using the strength of their character traits to survive in different ways.

I don't wish to spoil the novel. The connection is deep. The romance is sweet. The characterization is realistic. While Brian uses his sleuthing skills to survive the fear of knowing the shooters are still at large, Landon becomes an activist. Both paths so different but equally important, creating a balance that cements both their relationship and friendship.

Riveted to the pages, I read the novel in a single sitting. My recommendation is a trigger warning, as this is darker, emotional subject matter.

Young Adult age-range: 14+ due to realistic violence involving a school shooting, age-appropriate sexual situations, bullying, and the aftermath of a traumatic experience.

Wow. This is a difficult, emotional read – but it is also a beautifully written story about two very ordinary teenagers forced to rebuild their realities after a horrific school shooting. The book is both timely and moving but never preachy.

Brian and Landon are both very special characters. The boys feel terribly, awfully real and it was impossible for me not to love them both. Brian’s trauma nearly destroys him, and it completely reshapes his world and his relationships. I love the unlikely connection between Brian and Landon. There is something innocent, sweet. and sexy about Brian and Landon together. I love that the author allows the boys to deal with life in all its ugly shades of grey. There are no easy answers for Brian and Landon and there aren’t any villains, heroes, or teachable moments in their story.

Almost all of the teen and adult characters in this book are wonderfully complex. I loved Landon’s friends and I’m guessing that many teen readers will find Brian’s relationship with his father familiar.

I’m not sure the book needed Brian’s amateur sleuthing or the drama at the end of the book. I honestly think the book is at its best when the author observes the small, intimate details of the boys’ experiences.

Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.

Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particularly admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.

In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include Blame it on the Mistletoe, Unwrapping Hank and Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles. Her Howl at the Moon series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.

In 2018 Eli hopes to do more of the same, assuming they reschedule the apocalypse

Connect with Eli

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Boy Shattered by Eli Easton to read and review for this tour.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Spindrift by V.C. Andrews

Book Four of the Girls of Spindrift. From the New York Times bestselling author of the Flowers in the Attic and My Sweet Audrina series (now Lifetime movies) continues a haunting new series featuring highly intelligent teenage girls who struggle to survive a specialized high school and find their place in a world that doesn’t understand them.

Such is the burden of being brilliant.

The ivied walls of Spindrift corral the brightest young minds in the country. Through these ancient halls walk geniuses too intelligent to truly fit in amongst their peers back home. For many, these stone walls are an island of sanity in a distrusting world.

Among these students stride a clique of three beautiful girls known as the Supremes—Corliss, Donna, and Mayfair. They rule the school with a well-manicured fist. For Donna and Corliss, this is the only place they’ve felt at home. But Mayfair… Mayfair is different.

One day, Mayfair disappears, after having met a mysterious older man in town only the day before. The three girls snuck into town together, so Donna and Corliss feel responsible. They know that they have to help find her.

But more strongly than their feeling of guilt, one question drives them. They wonder, how could one of the Spindrift geniuses, defined by the logical prowess of their brain, make a decision based purely on the whims of the heart?

The four Girls of Spindrift novellas together form a prequel for Bittersweet Dreams—available now!

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Book 4
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Spindrift, the fourth installment of the Girls of Spindrift series, as well as the prequel to Bittersweet Dreams (which I have not read yet). The novella cannot be read as a standalone.

In this installment, the novella is shared by our previous narrators: Corliss, Donna, and Mayfair, featuring the aftermath of the events that took place during Mayfair.

Spindrift is a school for those beyond what we would see as geniuses. While they are smarter than most people on the planet, the girls are still subject to the human condition – mistakes, hormones, puberty, emotion, and human nature. The girls have a difficulty rationalizing something that isn't rational – emotions and emotional needs, no matter how highly intuitive they may be.

Mayfair is AWOL, with Corliss and Donna figuring out where she may be, then taking the responsibility for their irresponsible actions.

The novella had a finite feeling – as if it was to be left open-ended.

Just an observation: the prologue and the first chapter are only seconds apart in a linear timeline, so I was unsure why there was a prologue at all. This had me thinking there was a time jump, when it took place the same night and the day after the events taking place in Mayfair, the earlier portions of the novella parallel in time with the ending of Mayfair. While the epilogue is an indeterminate time in the future, there being a prologue made zero sense and gave me confusion on determining the timeline.

Recommended to fans of the author – yes, the earliest novels were written by Virginia Andrews, but her name has become a brand, not a singular identity. While I don't have the info on whether or not it has always been the same author(s) since, I will state the continuity of the writing across this series most certainly feels as if written by a singular author who respects the brand and the voice.

Young Adult age-rating: 12+

Also Available in the Girls of Spindrift Series

Book 1
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For reviews & more info, check out our Corliss post.

Book 2
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For reviews & more info, check out our Donna post.

Book 3
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For reviews & more info, check out our Mayfair post.

One of the most popular authors of all time, V.C. Andrews has been a bestselling phenomenon since the publication of the spellbinding classic Flowers in the Attic. That blockbuster novel began the renowned Dollanganger family saga, which includes Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows. Since then, readers have been captivated by more than sixty novels in nearly twenty bestselling series. V.C. Andrews’s novels have sold more than 106 million copies and have been translated into twenty-two foreign languages.

Sadly, V.C. passed away in 1986. She left several unfinished manuscripts and outlines that were completed by Andrew Neiderman.

Connect with V.C.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Spindrift (Girls of Spindrift #4) by V.C. Andrews to read and review.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

What They Don't Know by Nicole Maggi

Three secrets. One decision. A friendship that will change everything.

Mellie has always been the reliable friend, the good student, the doting daughter. But when an unspeakable act leads her to withdraw from everyone she loves, she is faced with a life-altering choice—a choice she must face alone.

Lise stands up—and speaks out—for what she believes in. And when she notices Mellie acting strangely, she gets caught up in trying to save her... all while trying to protect her own secret. One that might be the key to helping Mellie.

Told through Mellie and Lise's journal entries, this powerful, emotional novel chronicles Mellie's struggle to decide what is right for her and the unbreakable bond formed by the two girls on their journey.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is one of the most emotionally raw books I've read recently. I wasn't expecting for a book geared toward teens to have the subject matter to be so deep and hold you until the end.

Mellie finds herself pregnant, a product of rape. Her family is extremely conservative. She's been taught and believes abortion is wrong. She knows she doesn't want the baby. Mellie carrying until adoption would have her reliving the rape constantly. She's not prepared to do that. Mellie feels alone and lost.

Lise and Mellie are in the same class. When Lise starts noticing Mellie pulling back and acting out of the ordinary, she feels like she has something to offer to help her. Lise has her own secret and while wanting to help Mellie, it may be exposed.

What They Don't Know is definitely a deep read while discussing rape, abortion, religion. All subjects that are up for debate, depending on your beliefs. The author goes into some detail readers may find hard to read, but has you asking what would you do in that situation? Overall, I did enjoy the read.

Nicole Maggi wrote her first story in third grade about a rainbow and a unicorn. After working as an actress in NYC, she now lives in Los Angeles with her family and two oddball cats.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of What They Don't Know by Nicole Maggi to read and review.

Monday, September 24, 2018

That Feeling When by S.M. James Blog Tour

Dance Academy reject, Archie Corrigan, resents the stereotype guy ballet dancers are gay. Because he isn’t. At all. Forced to reassess his life goal at Camp Crystal Cove, it’s by sheer dumb luck he meets Landon Summers, who turns everything Archie was sure of into chaos.

Poor boy turned teen heartthrob, Landon Summers, is the name on everyone’s lips. With his unexpected leap to fame, his agent advises him to keep his bi status on the down low. Not a problem! Until Landon meets Archie.

Their unexpected friendship leads to an inevitable kiss, but their moment is caught in high definition and used as fuel for blackmail. If the truth gets out, Landon’s career could be over, and Archie will be forced to acknowledge the one thing he’s fought to deny.

But how do you go back to your average life once you’ve experienced That Feeling When... you’re finally happy?

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Book 1
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Landon Summers is into guys. I think he likes you.

And while Meredith didn’t say anything about me, there was something way too knowing in her look. Everyone else seems too into their own lives to be paying us any attention, and even when we’re announced winners of the trivia, my celebration doesn’t crack the surface chill that’s taken over me.

Meredith’s wrapped her arm through mine, and she’s cheering with the others, one hand in the air.

I’m a week in the past. Watching Landon pull on that stupid costume in the dark. The spark in his eyes as he thanked me. The brush of his skin on mine.

How was that only a week ago?

Why can’t I go back and enjoy that moment more? Savor my time with him?

Really take it all in, before he went and messed it all up.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 stars

This is a cute coming of age romance. When we first meet Archie, he is a spoiled, miserable rich kid who somehow manages to resent spending his summer at a luxurious camp. Landon is a young actor filming a movie at the summer camp. He’s a long way from home and he’s lonely and homesick.

Landon is instantly likeable. Despite his film star status, his loneliness and his self-doubt make him relatable. Archie is a more difficult character to like. His entitled apathy and his caustic observations at the start of the story are irritating. However, I love the way Archie grows into himself in this book. Events and interactions prompt self-reflection and genuine growth. Much of the book focuses on Archie growing up and figuring himself out. I found myself liking Archie as a person right about the time Archie starts to like himself.

While I enjoyed Archie and Landon’s story, I felt there was something missing in the romance between them. I feel like we are told about the connection or the chemistry between Archie and Landon, but we never really see or feel it. I felt Archie’s personal growth and Landon’s newfound confidence, but I didn’t really feel any passion in the connection between them.

This story fits somewhere between young adult and new adult writing. Archie is seventeen or eighteen and Landon is probably a few years older. But because of the summer camp setting – and Archie’s complicated relationship with his parents – this feels most like a teen romance. I didn’t love the summer camp setting – the kids feel too old to be campers rather than camp staff and the camp environment lacks the sense of joy and nostalgia that I usually love in young adult summer camp stories. I found it odd that while the blurb makes Archie’s dancing seem like a huge part of the story, it is only mentioned a few times.

S.M. James in an Australian author who writes books for teens about squishy sweet characters. While not writing, S.M. is a readaholic and Netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee. Member of SCBWI. Unapologetically dishing out HEAs for LGBT+ characters.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of That Feeling When (#lovehim #1) by S.M. James to read and review for this tour.