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!

Add to Goodreads –

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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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

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

Book 2
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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

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

Book 3
Buy Links

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

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.

Add to Goodreads –

Buy Links

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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

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.

Connect with Nicole

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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.