Saturday, March 31, 2018

Risen by Cole Gibsen

Fans of Vampire Diaries and Twilight will be thirsting for this latest vampire addiction…

My aunt has been kidnapped by vampires, and it’s up to me to save her. Only… I had no idea vampires existed. None. Nada. I’m more of a reader than a fighter, and even though I’d been wishing to escape my boring existence in the middle of nowhere, I’d give anything to have it back now if it meant my aunt was safe.

Then there’s the vampire Sebastian, who seems slightly nicer than most of the bloodsuckers I’ve run into so far. Yes, he’s the hottest being I’ve ever come across, but there’s no way I can trust him. He swears he’s helping me get answers, but there’s more to his story. Now I’m a key pawn in a raging vampire war, and I need to pick the right ally.

But my chances of surviving this war are slim at best, when the side I choose might be the one that wants me dead the most.

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Book 1
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Entangled Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆
M/F Paranormal

So, this was an interesting read. There are a lot of gaps and strange conclusions drawn that made this much more difficult to relate to. I think that this author has read a lot of vampire books or seen a lot of vampire movies because the dialogue is very cheesy.

Charlize (Charlie) is very naïve in this book. Her aunt Rachel has kept her so sheltered that Charlie is screaming to get out. She wants to attend college away from her aunt. However, when people come to the house and kidnap her aunt, Charlie will have to figure out how to save Rachel.

This is where the story gets very strange. Sebastian is a vampire who is tasked with figuring out if someone is dead or alive for his queen. However, there is a weird connection between him and Charlie.

I think the author was trying to create a mystical relationship with romance, but it just wasn't very successful. While I liked figuring out who is going to belong to whom, the ultimate goal of this book should have been who will win the war.

While this wasn't the best of starts, I am wondering how this will end, so I think I would read a follow up.

Growing up, Cole Gibsen couldn’t decide what she loved more—dogs or books. Rather than choose, she decided to devote her life to both! Dog trainer (wrangler) by day and author by night, she’s the author of more than ten books with more on the way.

Connect with Cole

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Risen (Blood Eternal #1) by Cole Gibsen to read and review.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Big Bad Wolf by Jus Accardo

Kensey Deaton comes from an elite werewolf lineage, but just because her family is royalty, doesn't mean she'll fall in line like some perfect little princess. She has plans and they don't include an arranged marriage!

Slade McAlister has his own family drama. His Alpha father happens to be the most reviled wolf on the eastern seaboard, and it's a stigma he can't escape. So when his neighbor Kensey--the girl of his dreams and his nightmares--proposes a solution to solve *both* of their problems, he sees an opportunity he can’t ignore.

Kensey and Slade aren't only from opposite sides of the tracks, they're from opposite sides of the war. But if they can sell their 'relationship', they might just make it out of this with their freedom.

You know, as long as all that fake PDA doesn't turn into more...

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Entangled Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

4 Teenage Angst Stars

The Big Bad Wolf is a standalone young adult paranormal novel featuring shifters. However, the paranormal aspects were underlying in the world-building. Not a complaint, just an explanation. Pack politics was the driving force, as well as a hefty dose of good ol' teenage angst.

Kensey and Slade are the children to two rival alphas. As a female, Kensey has no rights once she is mated, used simply for the worth of her bloodline and forging bonds between packs. Our hero and heroine are informed they have to mate, so they take matters in their own hands.

I read The Big Bad Wolf from cover-to-cover in one sitting. The novel featured a few of my favorite tropes. Fake relationship. Early childhood friends who had a falling out once hormones struck, adding a tension and a love-hate vibe. The good girl and the bad boy – "I'm not good enough for you" trope. Our parents don't want us to be together trope. Political gain.

All of these tropes melded into a yummy page-turner that had me emotionally invested and rooting for Kensey and Slade's happiness.

I highly recommend for readers who are seeking a novel featuring a paranormal twist, wanting to dive into a world where two kids find love against all odds. I look forward to reading more by this author in the future.

Young Adult age-range: 13+ due to kissing and violence.

JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. But at the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food. Jus is the bestselling author of the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing, as well as the Darker Agency series, and the New Adult series, The Eternal Balance. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.

Connect with Jus

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Big Bad Wolf by Jus Accardo to read and review.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Phoenix Fire by S.D. Grimm

After spending her life in foster care, Ava has finally found home. But all it takes is a chance encounter with hot nerd Wyatt Wilcox for it to unravel.

Now, things are starting to change. First, the flashes of memories slowly creeping in. Memories of other lives, lives that Wyatt is somehow in. Then, the healing. Any cut? Gone.

But when Cade and Nick show up, claiming to be her brothers, things get even weirder. They tell her she’s a Phoenix, sent to protect the world from monsters—monsters she never knew existed. It’s a little hard to accept. Especially when they tell her she has to end the life of a Phoenix turned rogue, or Cade will die.

With Wyatt’s increasingly suspicious behavior, Ava’s determined to figure out what he’s hiding. Unless she can discover Wyatt’s secret in time and complete her Phoenix training, she’ll lose the life, love, and family she never thought she could have.

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Book 1
Buy Links

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

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I originally grabbed this one up just because of the name and I'm glad I did.

Despite a slow start, I did eventually get dragged into this one and didn't put it down until I finished. The concept of phoenixes was quite intriguing and different, so it definitely interested me.

Ava, Cade, and Nick are Phoenix siblings, eternally fighting through time to save their race. The catch, they come back as children and have to grow into their teens before remembering anything, even each other. Each life has become more precious as their enemies gain in strength and none know just how long they have or if they can defeat them.

Overall, this was an interesting read. I am looking forward to future books and seeing where the author takes this. It has great potential for sure. I would recommend it to those interested in lighter fantasy like myself.

Young Adult Age Recommendation: 13+

S. D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult fantasy and science fiction. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency and author of Scarlet Moon. She currently has four books under contract, including the remainder of her YA fantasy series Children of the Blood Moon. When she’s not writing or editing, Sarah enjoys reading (of course!), practicing kickboxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu, training dogs, and binge-watching shows with great characters. Her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog.

Connect with S.D.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Phoenix Fire (Phoenix Cycle #1) by S.D. Grimm to read and review.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell

A kiss is never just a kiss.

Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame… and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.

Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.

Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.

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Buy Links

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

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I'm going to preface my review by saying I didn't even read the blurb before beginning By a Charm and a Curse, so I was pleasantly surprised by the content, especially with this being Jaime Questell's debut novel. I read the book cover-to-cover in one sitting.

This was an original take on the carnival setting, and the title fits the novel perfectly, summing up how the carnival functions – by a charm and a curse.

Emma returned to stay with her father, while her mother is helping a village in an underdeveloped country. Emma misses her mother, feels the divide of distance and time with her old friends in this town – it's as if they fell out of knowing each other, growing apart.

Emma's thoughts are swirling as she and her friend, Juliet, go to the carnival, in a town that normally only has football and Wal-Mart as entertainment. Emma struggles to connect with her friend and find the good about being at her dad's home, and this leaves her as the perfect target for the Boy in the Box.

The story unfolds in Emma and Ben's narration, seeing a wide view from the get-go. I had no idea what was going to happen next, how Emma would be drawn into their world. I actually felt a wave of panic for Emma as she goes through her ordeal, then the desolation of her circumstances. This portion felt very real, and I applaud the author for eliciting so many emotions from me.

Emma's thrust into a world where she cannot trust anyone, yet she is a the glue that holds the carnival together – the curse to their charm.

There is a side cast of characters who were intriguing, in a wide array of personalities, from sympathetic to apathetic, many taking Emma's sacrifice for granted. There are bullies, mothers with their own agendas, supportive friends, and many middle of the road folks, making up a diverse carnival feel.

Without giving the plot away, as I went into this novel blind, as I think I enjoyed it more due to that, the charm isn't functioning properly...

Emma was a strong character. Ben was a comfort, the warmth Emma needed to survive what she was going through. Both Emma and Ben are good people, yet managed to sound equally unique in their narration, showing their world through different lenses.

The world-building and plot are the focus, with an underlying romantic thread, which has its own limitations, as well as several subtle romantic entanglements by the side cast of characters. This delicate balance is perfect for the reader who looks for the romance, as well as the reader who is more plot-focused.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel, and highly recommend it to both teens and grown adults who are looking for something unique.

Young Adult age-range: 13+.

JAIME QUESTELL grew up in Houston, Texas, where she escaped the heat and humidity by diving into stacks of Baby Sitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High books. She has been a book seller (fair warning: book lovers who become book sellers will give half their paychecks right back to their employers), a professional knitter, a semi-professional baker, and now works as a graphic designer in addition to writing.

Connect with Jaime

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell to read and review.