Category Archives: Read by Vicki

Boy Toy (Man Hands #3)

By Sarina Bowen & Tanya Eby

Synopsis

Liam
The moment Sadie Matthews walks through the daycare center door, I feel my world tilt in her direction. Again. I fell for her when I was fourteen, and I’m still not over her. Problem: she still thinks of me as a teen she used to babysit. But I’ve learned a few things about pleasing a woman in the last fifteen years. I can’t wait to show her how good it could be. I need to move quickly before I lose her again. This is more than a game to me, but I still plan to win.

Sadie
I’ve just survived the worst year of my life. As a single mom of twin toddlers, I don’t have time for a man. I barely have time to finish a thought. Who knew that Liam McAllister would grow up to be so devastating? He’s everything my husband was not: tall, built, and willing to have a tea party with my girls.

I can’t possibly get involved with him. He’s too young for me. Too handsome. But he’s so persuasive…

Review

I loved this book! BOY TOY was sexy and fun, and it was refreshing to read a story about a younger man/older woman for a change, even if the age difference between Sadie and Liam was only five years.

I think Sadie is a character a lot of women will relate to. She was smart, hardworking and a wonderful mother to her adorable twin girls, Kate and Amy. I felt so sad and angry on her behalf at how her self-esteem had been knocked down by her douche of an ex-husband, who you wish was real just so you could kick him in the balls for his douchey ways. 

Liam was an amazing man and it was no surprise that Sadie and her girls fell in love with him. He proved to all three of them that they could rely on him, that he’d always be there and that he’d always keep his promises.

I loved all the characters, with the exception of Douchebag Decker of course, and I liked getting a glimpse of the previous couples and where they were at with their lives. I LOVED the surprise party for Liam’s dad, which was both hilarious and gratifying. As with the previous books, the banter and inner monologue were quite amusing, like this little gem, which had me laughing out loud and saying “Ewww” at the same time.

“He wants to put ranch dressing on your Hidden Valley.”

The only complaint I have is that I was irritated by how many times Liam referred to his fourteen-year-old self. It was funny at first, but it got old pretty fast.

BOY TOY is told in dual POVs and comes with a beautiful HEA for Sadie and Liam. While it is part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone, though I would recommend reading the previous two books because they’re both very enjoyable.

Boy Toy (Man Hands #3)

My Rating:  

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Visit Sarina Bowen:  Click Here
Visit Tanya Eby:  Click Here


Man Hands Series

The Chase (Briar U # 1)

By Elle Kennedy

Synopsis

Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother.

And that his best friend has a crush on me.

And that I just moved in with them.

Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates?

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing?

He knows where to find me.

Review

THE CHASE is the first book in the Briar U series (a spin-off of the Off-Campus series, which is one of my all-time favorite series) and I won’t lie, I have been waiting for this book for a very long time. Almost two years to be exact and I’m very glad the wait is finally over. As with any book from Elle Kennedy, THE CHASE was a very enjoyable binge read that left me wanting more.

It’s hard to believe that two weeks ago I was excited about seeing Fitz.
Now I’m dreading it. My unicorn is no longer a unicorn. He’s a judgmental donkey.

I liked Summer and Fitz, but Summer was definitely my favorite character. She was a breath of fresh air and was so open and honest. A special mention also has to go out to Brenna, Summer’s new best friend and the daughter of the school’s hockey coach, who was just as ballsy and unapologetic as Summer was. Fitz was a good guy, but he did try my patience with how negative he could be towards Summer simply because her personality was different to his.

I’ve made more of an effort to be social, but deep down I’m still the guy who wants to remain invisible.
Summer is the most visible person I’ve ever met.

THE CHASE is most definitely an angsty, slow burn romance, with Summer and Fitz pushing and pulling each other for more than two thirds of the book, which for me was a very long time to wait for them to get together. I was left with a lot of questions relating to both Summer and Fitz, and if those questions don’t get answered in the following books, it will annoy me greatly. I was a little disappointed with the ending because it felt abrupt, came without an epilogue and came almost immediately after a very big scene had been played out.

THE CHASE is told in dual POVs and comes with a nice enough ending for Summer and Fitz. I’m very much looking forward to Brenna’s book, THE RISK, which is scheduled to be released in February 2019, and I’m desperate to know who her love interest will be. Will it be Hollis, Summer and Fitz’s roommate? Or will it be Jake Connelly, a rival hockey player from Harvard? Time will tell, and I for one hope time flies.

* Please note: This book includes talk about—and includes a couple of scenes of—sexual assault, so take caution if this topic is a trigger for you.

The Chase (Briar U # 1)

My Rating:  

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Briar U Series

Road-Tripped (Ad Agency # 1)

By Nicole Archer

Synopsis

What’s worse than driving across country in a phallic-shaped RV with a coworker you hate? Falling in love with them.

Copywriter Callie Murphy has a bad attitude, a vicious tongue, and a serious aversion to Shimura Advertising’s resident manwhore, Walker Rhodes. Know where he can stick his good looks and Southern charm? She can think of a few creative places. Avoiding him wouldn’t be a problem, except her boss threatens to fire her if she doesn’t go along with him on their RV client’s cross-country tour.

Walker is sick of his job, tired of women, and in a big old creative rut. The upcoming client road trip is just what he needs to shake things up and rediscover his lost passion. But his plans go south when his partner drops out at the last minute, and Callie, the foul-mouthed tiny terror, takes her place. Unless he can find a way to thaw his icy coworker, he’s looking at two months of pure hell.

Review

I am clearly in the minority here because I did not enjoy ROAD-TRIPPED like so many others have.

I wasn’t a fan of either Walker or Callie, who both frustrated me beyond belief. For almost the entire story, one of them would be moody and unpleasant while the other tried to win them over, and every time they were finally in a good place, some comment would send them spiraling back into enemy territory. Don’t even get me started on Walker taking a photo of a half-naked Callie while she was asleep (before they became friends and lovers) and then lying to her about it when he was caught. Or that he insulted and slut-shamed a female co-worker to her face AND in front of another co-worker.

I found the story hard to get through and not as funny as other reviewers had made it out to be, though there were a handful of good scenes which is why I’m giving this debut novel 2❤ instead of 1❤. ROAD-TRIPPED is told in dual POVs and ended with a HEA for Walker and Callie.

Road-Tripped (Ad Agency # 1)

My Rating:  

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Ad Agency Series

Holding On (Colorado High Country # 6)

By Pamela Clare

Synopsis

A hero barely holding on…

Harrison Conrad returned to Scarlet Springs from Nepal, the sole survivor of a freak accident on Mt. Everest. Shattered and grieving for his friends, he vows never to climb again and retreats into a bottle of whiskey—until Kenzie Morgan shows up at his door with a tiny puppy asking for his help. He’s the last person in the world she should ask to foster this little furball. He’s barely capable of managing his own life right now, let alone caring for a helpless, adorable, fluffy puppy. But Conrad has always had a thing for Kenzie with her bright smile and sweet curves. One look into her pleading blue eyes, and he can’t say no.

The woman who won’t let him fall…

Kenzie Morgan’s life went to the dogs years ago. A successful search dog trainer and kennel owner, she gets her fill of adventure volunteering for the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team. The only thing missing from her busy life is love. It’s not easy finding Mr. Right in a small mountain town, especially when she’s unwilling to date climbers. She long ago swore never again to fall for a guy who might one day leave her for a rock. When Conrad returns from a climbing trip haunted by the catastrophe that killed his best friend, Kenzie can see he’s hurting and wants to help. She just might have the perfect way to bring him back to the world of the living. But friendship quickly turns into something more—and now she’s risking her heart to heal his.

Review

I don’t know if it was me or the book, but I found HOLDING ON to be just an okay read. I’ve read and enjoyed many books from Pamela Clare, but when I got to the end of this one, I realized that I had not been invested in the story or its main characters.

That being said, I did like the sweet and emotional ending. I also liked Kenzie, who was ballsy and laughed in the face of danger when she was terrified.

HOLDING ON is told in dual POVs and while it is part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. However, when Meg was updating Harrison about everyone back home, there were a lot of names thrown out and even though I’ve read the previous five books in this series, I felt confused trying to remember who everyone was.

While I didn’t love HOLDING ON, I would gladly read more from this series.

Holding On (Colorado High Country # 6)

My Rating:  

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Colorado High Country Series

Clean Sweep (San Francisco Dragons # 1)

By Kate Willoughby

Synopsis

He’s a hockey player, not a housekeeper.

Cameron Bowes is the face of the San Francisco Dragons, so when the team needs a gimmick to improve their fan relations, Cameron becomes the focus of the new video “At Home with a Dragon”. Unfortunately for Cam, his bachelor pad looks like an earthquake hit it. Repeatedly.

She’s the sexy maid a teammate hires as a joke.

Dakota Kelly has been working non-stop since she was unexpectedly awarded custody of her young niece. Though the little girl’s grandmother swooped in to help, the old woman’s overbearing ways have left Dakota no choice but to work as a janitor and moonlight as a maid in the hopes of one day getting some much-needed space from her niece’s highly controlling Nana.

Lucky for Cam, Dakota turns out to be the miracle worker he desperately needs, and he jumps at the chance to hire her as his live-in housekeeper. Soon, the two can no longer ignore their smoldering chemistry, and it seems turning their business relationship into a happily-ever-after for all three of them will be the next play. There’s just one problem: Nana doesn’t approve, and she’s not about to let her granddaughter go without a fight.

Review

CLEAN SWEEP is the first book in the San Francisco Dragons series, a new hockey series from Kate Willoughby.

I thought Dakota and Cameron were very likable characters. Dakota put her dreams and her life on hold to take care of her orphaned niece, Zinny. She was not afraid of hard work and was not ashamed of what she did because it helped provide for her and Zinny. Cameron was just an all-around nice guy and he never treated Dakota like a piece of meat. Instead, he seemed embarrassed for her at what she had to put up with just to provide for her family. He was there every time Dakota needed help and he was a wonderful father figure for Zinny. The only complaint I have against Cameron and Dakota is that I didn’t feel any chemistry between them.

Story wise, there’s hardly any hockey included, so if you’re after a hockey read, you won’t find it here. Additionally, there were some inconsistencies, some things left hanging, and some events that felt out of place, as though they weren’t put in the right part of the timeline. However, I was reading an advanced reader copy, and I know the author was still tweaking the book after I received my copy, so maybe these things have been fixed for the final copy.

CLEAN SWEEP is told in dual POVs and comes with a HEA for Cameron and Dakota. While it is part of a series, I’m assuming each book can be read as a stand-alone.

Clean Sweep (San Francisco Dragons # 1)

My Rating:  

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San Francisco Dragons Series

The Real Deal

By Lauren Blakely

Synopsis

April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on Craigslist since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family’s summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the Craigslist ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play.

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m the REAL DEAL.

Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He’s this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He’s no gigolo. Please. He’s something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April’s new beau — the bad boy with the heart of gold.

Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents’ inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal.

But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love?

Review

I’ll be blunt, I debated for quite a while about whether to read THE REAL DEAL or not. I’ve read a few books from Lauren Blakely before and my most recent reads did not win me over. But THE REAL DEAL sounded different from those books—it sounded light and fun—so I decided to give it a go. Boy, am I sooooo glad I did.

I really liked Theo and April. Despite the crappy hand life had dealt him, Theo was a nice guy. He was very down-to-earth and he had a wonderful sense of humor. April came from a more blessed background, but she never acted like a spoiled princess. She never judged Theo for his past and she worked hard to carve out her own life and successful career path. I really liked April’s family as well, especially her mother and father.

As the bulk of this story takes place over five days, THE REAL DEAL is most definitely an insta-love romance. But what I found interesting is that it didn’t feel like one. The chemistry between Theo and April was exciting from the moment they met, and watching that chemistry build as the story progressed made their time together feel a lot longer than just five days.

THE REAL DEAL is told in dual POVs and is currently listed as a stand-alone. If you’re looking for a read that flows well and includes a fake boyfriend, meddling but well meaning family members, competitive games, and some laughs, then THE REAL DEAL is for you.

The Real Deal

My Rating:  

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Doppelbanger

By Heather M. Orgeron

Synopsis

Doppelbanger; A person who bangs someone solely because they look similar to another person they want to bang.

At thirty-five, Gina Bourque is still playing the field. If he’s single, in his early twenties with dark hair and brooding eyes, there’s a damn good chance you’ll find him in her little black book.

Jeffrey Ryan never imagined that at nearly forty he’d find himself widowed and a single dad. But here he is—stumbling through this thing called life with two impressionable daughters watching his every move.

When Gina and Jeffrey meet while cruising the Caribbean, sparks fly and not in a good way. He’s too old. Too blond. Too stiff. Yet she’s still drawn to him like a moth to a flame. She’s too vulgar. Too sassy. Too wild. But she ignites something inside of him he can’t ignore.

We all know what happens when you play with fire. . . someone’s bound to get burned.

Review

I quite enjoyed DOPPELBANGER, which is the second book from Heather M. Orgeron that I’ve read.

“You burst into our lives like a bomb, when our world needed nothing more than to be shaken up.”

I liked Gina, who has a heart of gold but a mouth that gets her in a lot of trouble. I loved, loved, loved all the kids. Gina’s nephews⏤Landon, Lake and Kyle⏤were a handful and hilarious. Jeffrey’s daughters⏤Evangeline and Willow⏤were feisty and adorable. I loved the scene were Gina and Jeffrey meet, which was awkward and hilarious at the same time.

Unfortunately, Jeffrey wasn’t as likable. Some of the things he said to Gina were so hurtful and some were downright unforgivable. It was so disappointing to see a man—who loves his daughters and loved his wife—treat women so badly. That being said, he was a wonderful father to his two girls, and he did redeem himself in the end, but I still spent most of the book wishing I could kick him in the balls.

DOPPELBANGER is told in dual POVs and, while it has a connection to BOOMERANGERS, you don’t need to read that book to enjoy this one. DOPPELBANGER was very funny, but as with the previous book, some of the humor did feel forced. DOPPELBANGER comes with not one, but two epilogues, both of which were lovely and sweet and perfect ways to end the book. But the extended epilogue—set twelve years in the future—was my favorite one for sure.

Doppelbanger

My Rating:  

Buy Links:  Amazon

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The Accidentals

By Sarina Bowen

Synopsis

Never ask a question unless you’re sure you want the truth.

I’ve been listening to my father sing for my whole life. I carry him in my pocket on my mp3 player. It’s just that we’ve never met face to face.

My mother would never tell me how I came to be, or why my rock star father and I have never met. I thought it was her only secret. I was wrong.

When she dies, he finally appears. Suddenly I have a first class ticket into my father’s exclusive world. A world I don’t want any part of – not at this cost.

Only three things keep me going: my a cappella singing group, a swoony blue-eyed boy named Jake, and the burning questions in my soul.


There’s a secret shame that comes from being an unwanted child. It drags me down, and puts distance between me and the boy I love.

My father is the only one alive who knows my history. I need the truth, even if it scares me.

Review

THE ACCIDENTALS is the first young adult novel by Sarina Bowen, and while I don’t usually read young adult, I’ll read anything written by Ms Bowen. Told only in Rachel’s POV, we follow her as she mourns the death of her mother, moves to a different state, goes to a new school, makes new friends, loses old friends, and struggles with intimacy, all while she navigates a relationship with her father, who she knew about but had never met prior to her mother’s death.

Going by the blurb, I thought the relationship between Rachel and her father, Frederick, would be the primary focus of the story, but it wasn’t. There was a lot of other stuff going on, which for me was too much and detracted from what I was really hoping to read: a story about a teen-aged girl and her previously absent father. Rachel and Frederick barely spent any time together, and when they finally had their heart-to-heart, it was done so at the 93% mark and only lasted seven pages. This was where I was expecting to have my heart broken for Rachel. Instead I felt nothing for a scene that felt incomplete and left me wanting.

Overall, I did enjoy this story, but I didn’t love it, and I think that’s because I had expectations that this would be an emotional read, and for me, it wasn’t one. I also felt that some threads were left hanging and when the book ended, it was very sudden and again, felt incomplete.

I’m a huge fan of Sarina Bowen, so it pains me when I (very rarely) give her a not-so-glowing review. I think a lot of readers out there will enjoy THE ACCIDENTALS, but sadly it just wasn’t for me.

The Accidentals

My Rating:  

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My Angel (Bewitched and Bewildered # 9)

By Alanea Alder

Synopsis

Vivian Mercy has been running from the past for so long she doesn’t know any other way of life. When a panicked call comes from one of her only friends she finds herself returning to the city of her nightmares where her dedication as a doctor and resolve to help others is put to the test.

Etain Vi’Aerlin has been watching over Noctem Falls for centuries. Sent by his queen he became a silent sentinel in the shadows helping Magnus whenever he could. While the sickness around him claims more lives he discovers what it feels like to be helpless, as an ancient warrior he doesn’t have the skills to fight this unseen enemy.

At any other time finding a mate would be cause for celebration, but Etain wants Vivian as far from Noctem Falls as possible, unfortunately, as the only doctor with an intimate knowledge of diseases she has to stay in the city, and finds herself working tirelessly to discover a cure in the middle of the deadly chaos sweeping the levels.

As Vivian’s past is revealed she finds herself not only combating the terrible virus but also the rebellious faction of the Founding Families. Etain vows to stand by her, even if it means abandoning the post assigned by his queen.

It’s a race against time to unravel the lethal secrets the virus is hiding before the city itself is lost forever.

Review

MY ANGEL is the ninth book in the Bewitched and Bewildered series and was another very enjoyable read. The story continues on from MY DEFENDER and follows the mating of Etain (fae) and Vivian (vampire), and we’re still in Noctem Falls.

Quite a lot happened in this book, all of which was really exciting. I apologize if the below is spoilerish, but it was all so interesting that I can’t help but write it all down.
1 – The mysterious sickness plaguing the shifter children has now started affecting adult shifters and vampires, including Prince Magnus.
2 – The group is concerned at discovering that over 50% of the Vanguard units are unaccounted for.
3 – Two Royal families previously believed to have been extinct are reinstated in front of all the Noble and Founding family heads. Those two families align with the other two Royal families, giving Prince Magnus more support against those who seek to seize power and control of Noctem Falls.
4 – In that same scene, it was demanded that Gavriel prove he was royalty. Not only did he prove it, but he also revealed that he is over ten thousand years old and is also known as the Dark Prince from their history and legends. Without a doubt, this was my favorite scene.

In regards to the two main characters of this story, there’s not much I can say about Etain because apart from being Vivian’s mate and having a close connection to the Fae Queen, there’s really nothing else to him. Vivian stands out more because she was pivotal in quite a few scenes throughout the story.

I’m still having a lot of trouble keeping track of all the characters we’ve been introduced to so far, and the number of characters increases by at least two with every new book. It’s gotten to a point where if I’m struggling to remember who a character is, I stop trying and just continue on with the story, otherwise it does my head in. This does take away some of the enjoyment from the story, but the mystery of what is going on around them keeps me coming back for more, so I’ll just have to deal with it.

MY ANGEL is told in dual POVs, with the epilogue being told in Micah’s POV as he’ll get the next book. While each book is about a different couple, the books in this series cannot be read as a stand-alone and must be read in order.

My Angel (Bewitched and Bewildered # 9)

My Rating:  

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Bewitched & Bewildered Series

Hot as Puck (Bad Motherpuckers # 1)

By Lili Valente

Synopsis

The NHL’s biggest bad boy is about to fall for the virgin next door…

I am the world’s biggest dating failure. We’re talking my last date went home with our waitress kind of failure.

But I have an ace in the back pocket of my mom jeans–my sexy-as-sin best friend, NHL superstar forward, Justin Cruise.

Justin owes me favors dating back to seventh grade, long before he became a hotshot with a world famous…stick. So in return for my undying platonic loyalty, all I want is an easy-peasy crash course on how to be a sex goddess.

How hard can it be?

***

I have never been so hard in my life.

The things I want to do to my sweet, kindergarten-teaching, mitten-crocheting best friend Libby Collins are ten different kinds of wrong. Maybe twenty.

But I’m a firm believer in teaching by example, and by the end of our first lesson, we’ve graduated to a hands on approach to her education: my hands all over her, her hands all over me, and her hot mouth melting beneath mine as I prove to her there isn’t a damned thing wrong with the way she kisses.

Give me a month, and I’ll transform Libby from wall flower to wall banger, and ensure she’s confident enough to seduce any guy she wants.

Problem is… the only guy I want her seducing is me.

Review

One of my favorite authors said that HOT AS PUCK was one of the best hockey romances she’s read, so with that glowing endorsement I thought I’d be in for a good and enjoyable read. Sadly, I struggled with this book from beginning to end, unable to get into the characters or their story.

I didn’t feel any connection between Justin and Libby at all, who suddenly go from a decade long friendship, to friends with benefits, to being madly in love in the span of about a week. I couldn’t get over the fact that Justin was suddenly attracted to Libby just because she wore tight and revealing clothing one night, which made him shallow in my opinion. It was the same with Libby, who was suddenly attracted to Justin just because he touched her that same night; something I’m sure he would have done many, many times over the course of their very close friendship.

HOT AS PUCK is listed on Amazon as being a romantic comedy, but I don’t remember finding any part of this story funny or chuckle worthy. Apart from some make out sessions, some sex and some knitting/crocheting, not much else happens in this book. The conflict was a little on the weak side, and while I found the resolution to be somewhat cute, it was also a little cheesy.

HOT AS PUCK is told in dual POVs and comes with a HEA for Justin and Libby. While this story didn’t do much for me, I would give this author another go.

Hot as Puck (Bad Motherpuckers # 1)

My Rating:  

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Visit Lili Valente:  Click Here


Bad Motherpuckers Series