All posts by Jo-Anna W

#REVIEW – Tainted by Andi Jaxon

It’s a chance that leads me here.
To him.
The grumpy mechanic with a chip on his shoulder and a secret.
I’m drawn to him.
This shell of a man, gripping onto who he is by his fingertips.
If anyone finds out who he really is, who he used to be, he’ll become another statistic.
Luckily I know how to hide my truth in the dark.
I should stay away from him, not get caught up in his family drama, but I crave him.
I need him.
Am I strong enough to fight for the man who needs me?
*Tainted is an mm transgender romance that deals with transphobia, homophobia, and past abuse. There will be parts of the story that contain triggers surrounding these issues. It is for an 18+ audience.
*This book follows Taylor’s journey after Bully King: An MM Bully Romance, it is a stand alone and does not have to be read in order.

When I found out that Andi was writing Taylor’s book, I was super excited. He had been through a lot in Bully King, so it just seemed fitting that he get his chance at his own happiness too. Well, poor guy had to work for that also.

This book…wow. After reading the prologue, I knew that it was going to hurt. I can’t imagine. I just can’t.

Dean is transgender and what he goes through, what he believes about himself, what his parents made him believe…it’s heartbreaking. All of it is heartbreaking. I just wanted to wrap my arms around him and keep him safe. He’s grumpy, hates life, is mean and holds people at arm’s length. He believes he’s unworthy of love even though that is so far from the truth. Braxton is his best friend and man, I love this character. I think we all need a Braxton in our lives.

When Taylor meets Dean for the first time, there’s an instant connection but of course Dean wants nothing to do with him. Why would Taylor want him, when no one else had? But I gotta give Taylor it. He’s persistent and patient. I knew I would love his character just from reading Bully King but I actually love him more than I thought I would.

Reading the way Taylor was with Dean, was awe inspiring. I wish more people could be like him. He’s a safe place and more people need that.

Andi did a really good job portraying Dean’s thoughts and feelings. My heart broke for him.

I am also super proud of Mikey, Dean’s brother. I won’t say why as I don’t want to give any spoilers but I ended up liking him near the end of the book.

It was so fun to see Roman and Jonah again. And I can’t believe I’m saying this but I think Tainted is my favourite of these books thus far.

I loved all of the side characters. Braxton is my favourite but Whitney is on a whole other level. I would love for these two to get books. But I believe Mary’s book is next? And if Andi is still going to do what she told me she’s going to do, I don’t think any of us are ready.

If I’m ever blessed with children, I want to be their safe space. I want them to know that they can come to me and tell me anything at all. I want them to know that whatever they identify as, I will support them. And if having kids isn’t in the cards for my husband and I, then I hope others know that they can come to me. No matter what. I am safe.

Universal: smarturl.it/TaintedAndiJaxon
US: https://amzn.to/3xcdLAz
CA: https://amzn.to/3arf5G4
UK: https://amzn.to/2RInle3
AU: https://amzn.to/3eic0cw

TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56595179-tainted

Candi Kane PR: https://forms.gle/oDwoknSpoFUCkjoD6

#ThrowbackReview – Bully King by Andi Jaxon

I’m the pastor’s son.
He’s the star quarterback for a small Kentucky high school.
While the town worships him, I pray for God to take my life.
He makes my life a living hell by making me his victim.
This perverse game we play could end us both.
How can something that feels so right be so wrong?
The price if the truth is discovered is death, but I can’t stop.
Neither can he.
No one can know.
Can I risk it?
Is Roman King worth dying for?

*This story is a bully romance including dubious consent, assault, talk of suicide and is intended for readers 18+. Please proceed with caution.*
New review:

I decided to re-read this story to get ready for Tainted, which I am reading an early copy now by the way, and I love this story even more now after my 2nd read through!

I don’t usually re-read books but this one I felt I had to. It’s just one of those things, ya know?

So now for my review: Roman King is a jock. He’s a rising football superstar, so of course, he can do no wrong.

Jonah is a preacher’s son and is gay but his father doesn’t know. So when that comes out…it’s heart breaking to say the least.

This book still made me feel all the feels. And this time around, I actually had to skim parts because I knew what was coming.

Kudos again to Andi Jaxon for taking a chance and writing a story like this. I’m in love and will continue to love these characters forever.

Old review:

Oh my gosh. Where do I even begin?????? So I’ve known Andi Jaxon for awhile now. She started out as a client (I do designing on the side) and then we became friends AND to top it off, she reads my stuff too!! I’m also an author but I consider her a friend first and foremost! Anyway. So she had me read a novella about Roman and Jonah and I was like, sure! It was short, I had time, so I figured, why not right?? I read it, loved it but needed more. Which usually happens after reading a novella. Am I right? I knew Bully King was about Roman and Jonah and of course I had pre-ordered it. So when Andi offered me an ARC, I was himming and hawing because I wasn’t sure if I would get it read in time for release day. According to Goodreads, I read it in 4 days, which hasn’t happened to me in quite awhile. I’m a super slow reader but GAH, this book!
First, if you love MM (male/male) books, you absolutely HAVE to pre-order this now or one-click this on release day!
This book borders on dark. It deals with some sensitive subjects but it was so well written, it’s easy to see through the darkness to find the light.
Both Roman and Jonah spoke to me.
While Roman had a difficult life at home, Jonah’s home life wasn’t easy either. Being a gay kid with a preacher of a father, especially with where they live, made it even more difficult.
Jonah: Oh my gosh, this sweet sweet boy. His fear over what his father would think if he found out his son is gay. His fear over what the town would think. His fear is real. It’s there. It’s raw.
Roman: This boy stressed me out something fierce. He was mean but nice. Cold but warm. He needed Jonah but pushed him away. His pain was in your face and you saw it even though he hid it.
I absolutely loved Mary! And the rest of the side characters!
Jonah and Roman together was insane. They were passionate and aggressive.
There were parts of this story that even I had a hard time reading and had to put my tablet down for a breath or two. There was also a chapter where I held my breath through it all. A book has not caused these sort of feelings to stir in me in such a long time.
10 stars, Andi! 10 freaking huge bright shiny stars! I am so proud of you! Now give me more words. xx

#REVIEW – The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry

Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller.
A page-turning debut of suspense about a young couple desperate to have a child of their own—and the unsettling consequences of getting what they always wanted.
Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.
But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Janie is fiercely devoted to Christopher, but she acts out in increasingly disturbing ways, directing all her rage at Hannah. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.
Hannah knows that Janie is manipulating Christopher and isolating him from her, despite Hannah’s attempts to bring them all together. But as Janie’s behavior threatens to tear Christopher and Hannah apart, the truth behind Janie’s past may be enough to push them all over the edge.



This book was insane!
I kept messaging a friend, losing my mind over this story. I tried predicting things and for the most part, I was wrong.
This book left me enraged at parts. I have to say that I haven’t had an emotional response to a book like this in such a long time, it was nice and definitely needed.
The story follows Hannah and Christopher who foster-to-adopt a little girl. Janie had been neglected and abused to the point you feel sorry for her right? Yeah, keep telling yourself that.
Without giving too much away, I have to say that this is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Yes there were parts that made me mad, I yelled at the characters, had to put the book down at times to collect myself and was ripping my hair out (not literally) trying to figure out what was going to happen next. I couldn’t read fast enough.
This book is one that will stick with me for a while. So much so that it even gave me nightmares, which has only ever happened one other time while reading.
If you have triggers, please please please go into this book with caution. It’s not light and fluffy. It’s not a romance. Things happen and things are mentioned in detail, so please be careful while reading this book.
My only beef is how it ended. But I’ve come to learn that most of Lucinda’s books end in a certain way. I’m still so used to romance books that I find that I’m always looking for an epilogue. So that’s just me and it doesn’t change my love of this book at all.
If you’re looking for an unputdownable read, a book that will have you guessing and unable to turn the pages fast enough, pick up this book.
My mind is still reeling from it.

#Review – The Best Of Friends by Lucinda Berry

An unthinkable tragedy forever changes a group of teens and turns family against family in this edge-of-your-seat thriller that begs to be read in one sitting.
Best friends Lindsey, Kendra, and Dani endure every parent’s nightmare when a tragic accident befalls their teenage boys, leaving one dead, another in a coma, and a third too traumatized to speak.
Reeling from the worst night of their lives, the three mothers plunge into a desperate investigation of the bizarre incident. How could something so horrible happen in their wealthy Southern California suburb?
They soon discover that the accident was just the beginning, and troubling discoveries lead to chilling questions: Do they really know their children? Do they even know each other? As more secrets surface, a fog of doubt and suspicion threatens to poison their families, their friendships, and the whole community.
With the illusion of happiness and safety long gone, these women must now confront the hazards of heartbreak, the consequences of jealousy, and the dangers of living double lives.

I just…wow….I have no words. This is my 3rd book by Lucinda Berry and I’m obsessed. I thought I loved the other books I read by her but this one is my absolute favourite thus far.

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare and more.

This book follows three families. They were all friends since they were kids. Grew up in a small town together. Everyone knows everyone, kind of thing. Their kids played together, grew up together too, went to the same schools, played on the same teams, etc.

One night a horrible accident takes place and it’s a case of “Who did it and why??”

As the story unfolds, we of course find out that these families are harboring secrets outside of the horrible accident that took place.

An abusive husband.

A husband looking for a companion outside of his marriage and kids.

A wife who gave her kid meds without her husband knowing.

So many secrets.

So many lies.

I enjoyed the different perspectives and I also liked seeing the hidden drama outside of that accident. It showed how real they are. As the chapters went on, I found I was glued to the pages near the end, trying to figure out what was going on. I can’t even tell you how many times I gasped. The characters’ raw emotions bled onto the pages.

But when I read that last paragraph, I was like “Whaaaaat????” I did not see that coming. It’s one of the many things I love about Lucinda’s books. I can’t predict them. At all. And I’m not complaining in the least.

#PreOrder – Scouts: A Dark Romance Anthology

💚 SCOUTS: A Dark Romance Anthology 💚

Cover by Pink Elephant Designs

💚 PRE-ORDER LINK: https://geni.us/Scouts

💚 BLURB
The troop is all grown up, but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped using the badges they earned.

Follow the irresistible men of the River Scouts as they journey through the twisted path that fate has set them on.

Each River Scout has a story to tell.
A truth they can’t hide.
But will they come out unscathed?

There’s only one way to find out…

SCOUTS is a limited time forbidden romance anthology containing new stories from a collection of your favorite authors.

💚 PARTICIPATING AUTHORS
STORIES INCLUDED:
Yolanda Olson
Abigail Davies
Penelope Douglas
Natasha Preston
Jennifer Bene
Vicki James
Samantha Towle
Cole Denton
Ally Vance
J. M. Walker
Emery LeeAnn
Measha Stone
Kamisa Cole
Claire C. Riley
Ember Michaels
Ellie Meadows
Shane Starrett
Andi Jaxon

#REVIEW – Appetite For Innocence: A Dark Psychological Thriller by Lucinda Berry

Be careful what you post online. Your next check-in might lead him right to you…

A serial rapist is kidnapping teenage girls. But he’s not interested in just any teenage girls—only virgins. He hunts them by following their status updates and check-ins on social media. Once he’s captured them, they’re locked away in his sound-proof basement until they’re groomed and ready. He throws them away like pieces of trash after he’s stolen their innocence. Nobody escapes alive.

Until Ella.

Ella risks it all to escape, setting herself and the other girls free. But only Sarah—the girl whose been captive the longest—gets out with her. The girls are hospitalized and surrounded by FBI agents who will stop at nothing to find the man responsible. Ella and Sarah are the key to their investigation, but Sarah’s hiding something and it isn’t long before Ella discovers her nightmare is far from over.

Fans of The Butterfly Garden and The Girl Before will devour Appetite for Innocence

Warning: Contains sexual violence which may be a trigger for some readers.



This book was insane. I kept trying to guess what was going to happen and how it would end because I knew that there was going to be a twist of some sort.
The book is written in both Ella’s point of view along with Sarah’s. We learn how Ella was taken by “John” and how Sarah was conditioned over the years. Both of their stories are tragic in the same way but also different. Sarah had been with John for four years, ever since she was 12 years old. So of course, it makes sense for him to have control over her in a much different way than he does with the other girls.
Parts of the book were quite frustrating but I also understood as well. I’m not a mom but I know that if it had been my child who was taken and I finally got them home, I would want to do everything I could to help them get through it. I would probably do what Ella’s mom did as well, even though it drove me crazy at times and I felt like she wasn’t listening to her daughter until it was almost too late.
I do like the desperation Ella’s mom faced when trying to make her daughter feel better. And to try and get things back to normal for her. While it was a little much at times, I get it and would probably do the same. You can be the strongest person and something like this could still break you.
This is only my second book by Lucinda Berry but I’m loving this journey into her the worlds she creates and I can’t wait to read more of her words!

#REVIEW – When She Returned by Lucinda Berry

One woman’s reappearance throws her family into turmoil, exposing dark secrets and the hidden, often devastating truth of family relationships.
Kate Bennett vanished from a parking lot eleven years ago, leaving behind her husband and young daughter. When she shows up at a Montana gas station, clutching an infant and screaming for help, investigators believe she may have been abducted by a cult.
Kate’s return flips her family’s world upside down—her husband is remarried, and her daughter barely remembers her. Kate herself doesn’t look or act like she did before.
While the family tries to help Kate reintegrate into society, they discover truths they’ve been hiding from each other about their own relationships. But they aren’t the only ones with secrets. As the family unravels what happened to Kate, a series of shocking revelations shows that Kate’s return is more sinister than any of them could have imagined.

So this is actually my first book ever by Lucinda and it definitely won’t be my last. I’ve become obsessed with this genre only just recently and am happy to have given it a chance.

We meet Kate. She’s happily married to an amazing man and they share a daughter together. She’s a journalist and ends up interviewing a local “cult” called “Love International”. Unfortunately for her, she ends up getting sucked into their cause and all they stand for.

We find out that Kate had actually been missing for eleven years. Of course Scott, her husband, moved on. His life with his new wife, quickly unravels when Kate suddenly shows back up after being gone for so many years.

While reading this book, I tried guessing what the why and how but I definitely never predicted the ending.

I find cults fascinating and terrifying both at the same time. Kate never stood a chance with Ray and his charismatic ways. You learn what she went through while being with them. What they all went through.

I think I would have loved to have seen some parts in Ray’s point of view but am happy none the less with how this book ended.

I felt for all of the characters in this book and how they deal with a woman who had been gone for so long and suddenly was back. There was something odd about Kate that I never trusted. But you’ll have to read this book to find out if my hunch was right or not.

#REVIEW – Varity by Colleen Hoover

A thrilling, instant bestseller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author. Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish. 

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of the night their family was forever altered. 

She decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her. 

Due to extremely mature content, this book is recommended for readers 18+. Sensitive topics that may be triggering to some readers include graphic death/murder, child abuse, graphic sex

What the heck did I just read??? So I haven’t read a Co-Ho book since her Slammed Series. Well…this book, my friends, is nothing like those ones! I’m a huge fan of horror and thriller and anything that can mess with my head, so when I was told that this book is creepy, I was intrigued. But wow…I was NOT in no way shape or freaking form, prepared for that! At all. Like nope. No way. No how was I prepared.

Lowen is a struggling writer, a lot of them are. She just lost her mother and is feeling the impact of that and the weight of the world on her shoulders. One day she ends up having to go to a meeting and something truly awful happens that she witnesses. In walks Jeremy who saves the day by giving her his shirt off his back. Literally.

Lowen arrives at her meeting finally and lo and behold, Jeremy is there. After everything is said and done, Lowen ends up basically moving into Jeremy’s house to finish out the series that his wife can no longer write after being in a tragic accident that has left her immobile.

While Lowen spends her days reading and doing research for this series that she reluctantly agrees to finish, she ends up finding an autobiography from Jeremy’s wife herself. And that’s when the crazy happens.

I don’t want to go into too much detail but wow. Just wow. My mind is reeling. I spent every chapter trying to figure out what the heck was going on and by the end of the book, I was like, WTF that did so not happen. But it left me wondering, what would I do in that situation? How would I react? How would I respond?

This book brought out that old reader in me who could spends days reading books and getting lost in other worlds. That reader hasn’t been around for awhile but thanx to this book, I’ve finally found that reader once again.

Thank you, Colleen, for writing this book. Hands down one of my favourite readers. Ever.

#REVIEW – The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

An Instant Bestseller!
The New York Times USA Today The Globe and Mail The Toronto Star

New York Times
 bestselling author Tarryn Fisher delivers a pulse-pounding, fast-paced suspense novel that will leave you breathless. A thriller you won’t be able to put down!


Imagine that your husband has two other wives.

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.

But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.

You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.

Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you be willing to go to find out?

And who is his mysterious third wife?
This book. Holy moly, balls on a cracker. So I’ve never actually read anything by Tarryn before, even though I’ve been following her for years. This book. Wowzers. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into and I’m so glad I went in blind! If you can do that, I highly recommend it! The main voice of the book is Thursday and we learn that her husband is with two other women. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why this woman would allow such a thing but my questions were slowly answered as I continued to read. Not that the actual reason was any better because if it were me, it would be a big fat nope. I don’t share. Lol! But I don’t want to give too much away because I really feel that you should go in with an open mind. There are so many secrets and twists and turns. Poor Thursday slowly unravels as the chapters go on. It will leave you wondering what’s actually real or not or if it’s all in your head much like main character herself. This definitely won’t be my last book that I read by Tarryn and I look forward to falling down yet another rabbit hole!

#REVIEW – Here Loves a Sociopath: A Dark Bully Academy Romance (Here Lies Book 3) by C.L. Matthews

Here Lives a Corpse is book one of a five-book series. You do have to read all to understand. Each one ends on a cliffhanger.

Here Lives a Corpse – Oct 13th
Here Lies a Saint – Dec 8th
Here Loves a Sociopath – April 1st
Here Prays a Sinner – June 1st
Here Saves a Killer – July 20th

We all have demons, some of us know how to befriend them rather than defy them.
They always speak of me… whispers of a devil with a charming smile.
But they don’t know me, what truly lies beneath.
I’m a monster with the face of a boy, married to the darkness, harvested by the past, and saved by none.
My intentions aren’t clear, but the murky water my hopes died in is.
I’ll save her since no one else can.
She’ll hate the process.
They’ll run for their salvation.
The Vestige won’t take any prisoners.
Taking away her choices wasn’t intentional, tying her hands wasn’t permanent, but stealing every part of her that matters was always my goal.
In the end, I’ll demolish the meek castle they’ve built, proving that the fixer will always outwin the weak.
Screw princes and kingdoms.
The devil always played harder and smarter.
She’s mine, they’ve only forgotten their place.

Have you ever become so enthralled with a series and a group of characters, that you just feel like you know them and they’re your best friends and you just want to keep them safe from harm? Well that’s me with the characters in this series. While they are teenagers and I could be old enough to be their mother if I had them young enough, I just want to tuck them into my arms and hide them from all the crap they have to deal with. Like seriously.

When Cassie told me she was writing a reverse harem type series but with her own twist and spin on things, I was like okay. I don’t read a lot of RH books anyway but I knew that what she would write, would be beyond epic. And dudes, can we talk about mind being blown? I’m always in awe of Cassie’s writing. She grows with each book and this series, the way she paints the images in your head with her words, is something I strive for as an author myself. The details, although simple but smart and unique, leave you being able to see the scene likes you’re watching it play out on screen in front of you. I’m simply in awe right now.

I knew that by the time I was done book one that Bridger would be my favourite and I couldn’t wait for his story. So when Cassie said that his book was number three, I was beyond excited to read it and she didn’t disappoint.

You do have to read these books in order to get the full feel of the story as there are so many layers to each character that get slowly peeled away like layers of an onion as we get deeper and deeper into the story. I can’t wait for this series to be done and to read these books back to back.

While we learn more about each character in this book, we are of course left with more questions but I trust Cassie to give us all of the answers when her and her characters are ready. There are so many twists and turns and I can’t wait for the next book!

Oh and that certain scene with the 5 of them…wow. Just wow. I won’t go into details but trust me, you all need to read this series. This is hands down my favourite series of Cassie’s and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next.