Category Archives: Read by Vicki

Physis (Phoebe Reede: The Untold Story # 4)

By Michelle Irwin

Synopsis

Finding a new normal is never as easy as it seems.

Phoebe Reede has suffered unimaginable tortures at the hands of her captors. Now home and safe, she can’t let go of the things that happened to her. No amount of therapy or coaxing by her parents can draw her from her shell.

How can she learn to live again, when everything she loved about herself is gone?

**Due to strong language and sexual content not intended for anyone under the age of 18. Some books in this series contain content, including sexual assault and violence, that may trigger emotional distress in some readers.**

Review

I’m going to start this review with a warning that PHYSIS is not for the faint of heart.  What Phoebe endured during her three month captivity is not pretty, and you will read about most—if not all—of it in this book.

I’d gone to America broken-hearted and had come home broken everywhere.

The story takes place two months after BEASTLY, which ended with Phoebe being taken back to Australia by her father, Declan, and leaving Beau behind.  At home with her family, she doesn’t feel safe and is haunted by nightmares, flashbacks and gentle touches.  Most of this story is focused on Phoebe and how she’s trying to live with what happened to her, but it also showed how Phoebe’s ordeal is affecting those close to her.

I didn’t survive three months imprisonment.  My body might have, but the girl I’d been was dead.

Without trying to give too much away, Beau does appear in this book and he’s still as sweet as ever.  He makes his presence known to Phoebe but lets her know that any and all contact with him will be on her terms.  That helped Phoebe heal more than anything else since she got home.

“I didn’t think I’d ever find anyone who I thought was worthy of my Pheebs, but he’s proven himself to be the best man for you.”

PHYSIS is told only in Phoebe’s POV and⎯I think for the first time ever⎯doesn’t end in a cliffhanger.  There are still more books to come in Phoebe and Beau’s story, but for now we ended on a happy note.  To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about that.  I’m so used to Michelle’s cliffhangers leaving me on the edge of my seat feeling shocked, scared or angry, that this turn of events has me nervous.  Is this just the calm before the storm?  I read PHYSIS in one day and I’m greatly looking forward to PHANTOM, which comes out in June.

Physis (Phoebe Reede: The Untold Story # 4)

My Rating:  

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Phoebe Reede: The Untold Story Series

Boomerangers

By Heather M. Orgeron

Synopsis

Boomerangers [boo-muh-rang-ers] noun, informal: an adult that moves back home to live with a parent after a period of independence.

Spencer

I love sex. I love the power, the intimacy, the euphoria it brings. Too bad I’m not having any . . . You’d think as New Orleans’ most renowned sex therapist that I’d be swimming in single men. In a way, I am . . . except for the fact that one is in diapers and the other two are drowning in preteen hormones. As a single mother of three, my days are devoted to my clients and my kids, and my nights are spent with Fabio, my trusty vibrator. When my world begins to unravel, I have no choice but to move back home. And when my high school sweetheart comes waltzing back into my life, comedy and chaos ensue.

What can I say? I never said I could pick ’em, but you can bet your ass I know how to fix ’em.

Cooper

As soon as the ink dried on my divorce papers, I made myself a solemn vow: I was done with relationships. Moving home to take over my father’s firm was the plan, until Spencer decided to return, along with three souvenirs from the life she’s lived without me. 

I’ve been in love with the girl next door for nearly all of my life; the rest was spent trying to forget her. I’d give almost anything for a second chance with her, but I have no time for distractions—especially the kind that involve diapers, bottles, and eighteen-year commitments. 

The problem is, she’s already got me by the balls . . . and I’m beginning to feel the noose tightening around my heart.

Review

BOOMERANGERS is the first book I’ve read from Heather M. Orgeron and I found it to be an enjoyable read.  It’s a second chance romance between Spencer and Cooper, who broke up at the end of high school.  In the fifteen years since then, they’ve both been married, divorced, and Spencer has had three children: twelve year old twins Landon and Lake; and two year old Kyle.

I liked both Spencer and Cooper and was rooting for them to get back together.  Although to be honest, I can’t figure out why Cooper broke up with Spencer in the first place.  You see his reason during a flashback scene, but it just didn’t make sense to me, especially given that he didn’t capitalise on it.  To me, the way he behaved in that flashback looked like he was being forced to break up with her when he really didn’t want to.

I liked that Cooper accepted total responsibility for their breakup all those years ago and that he regretted letting her go.  The only thing that annoyed me about him was how fixated he was on the fact that Spencer’s kids were not his.  It’s almost like he resented their existence, although that is too harsh a description.  That being said, I loved his one-on-one time with Kyle.  In one particular scene, he became Kyle’s defender and protector, and facing off against that other adult and getting into lawyer mode was just plain hot.

BOOMERANGERS is a romantic comedy, and while there were times where I laughed, I also thought some of the humour was a bit forced, and that a scene or two were random and thrown in for humour’s sake.  It is told in dual POVs and comes with a very nice HEA.  As I said above, this is the first time I’ve read Heather’s work, and I would gladly read from her again.

Boomerangers

My Rating:  

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Liar (Karma Inc. # 3)

By Gillian Zane

Synopsis

Karma doesn’t get an off day. Working for Karma Incorporated might sound like the best job in the world, but there’s one really big catch: you’ve got to die to get it. Cassandra Mercier died at the ripe old age of twenty-one and is now gainfully employed by the Afterlife Corporation as a Karma operative. She’s still working nine to five, undercover as Cassidy Hail to deliver some much needed cosmic payback. 

Her next target is a big, fat liar. 

Lori Kay Biggly, Lori Kay, not Lori by itself. There was another Laurie, but the other Laurie spelled her name with an ‘AU’. To set herself apart she must be called Lori Kay. Kay as in the middle name, not the letter. Her last name was Biggly. Lori Kay Biggly. Maiden name Craig, but she goes by Biggly only. No hyphenation or ‘feministly’ holding on to old last names for this girl. And Lori Kay Biggly was a liar. She lied. She sabotaged others at her work, she manipulated the boss with sexual favors…and she was getting her just desserts. Courtesy of Karma, Inc. 

While on the case, Cassandra also has the matter of her own death that she must solve, a goddess that has decided to take a more “hands-on” approach to management and a curious private investigator who she finds it hard to maintain her own lies with. It’s just another day working for Afterlife Corporation.

Review

LIAR is the third book in the Karma Inc. novella series and continues on from where the previous book—SHARK—ended.  As with the previous two books, Cassidy spent a small portion of her time working on her current Karma case, but most of the book is focused on her finding out what happened to her in her past life.

I don’t know if this is a continuation error or if I just misunderstood, but I was under the impression that Cassandra had been missing since her disappearance a year ago and that no-one knew what had happened to her.  Yes, foul play was suspected, but no-one knew for sure.  Here it was sprung on us that her body was in fact found the day after she went missing and she had been brutally murdered.  Like I said, maybe I just misunderstood, but as soon as I read that scene my first thought was “Ummm…Wait…What?”.

Moving on, we knew from the previous book that there was something special about Cassidy because she could see through the glamour of a god.  In this instalment we learn that there’s at least one other god who is “involved” with her life/afterlife—but we don’t know who—and that she is changing in ways she shouldn’t be.

She spent a lot of time with Drake in this book and they finally take their “relationship” to the next level.  She confessed to him who she really is and that she hired him to find out what happened to her.  He obviously has some experience with the paranormal because he took her confession extremely well.  We know Drake isn’t exactly human, but we still don’t know what he is.  I don’t even think he knows what he is; he just knows he’s different.

LIAR is told only in Cassidy’s POV and ends in a cliffhanger.  Each book in this series is connected and cannot be read as stand-alones.  I don’t know the name of the next book or when it will be released, but I’ll definitely be reading it when it comes out.

Liar (Karma Inc. # 3)

My Rating:  

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Karma Inc. Series

Royally Screwed (Royally # 1)

By Emma Chase

Synopsis

Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka “His Royal Hotness,” is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant―hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.

Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn’t bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.

Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.

Dating a prince isn’t what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.
There’s a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they’ve traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces and haven’t chopped anyone’s head off lately―the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.

But to Olivia―Nicholas is worth it.

Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King… or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.

Review

ROYALLY SCREWED is the first book in a new series from Emma Chase, and it was a story I really enjoyed reading.

“I love you, Olivia.  I don’t need a kingdom—if you’re beside me, I already have the whole world.”

I loved both Nicholas and Olivia and thought they made a great couple.  Olivia has never had anything handed to her and has worked very hard for what little she has.  She’s trying to keep her mother’s bakery from closing while making sure her little sister has the means to go to college.  Nicholas may have had everything handed to him his whole life, but he’s surprisingly humble (at times) and understands the huge responsibility he will be handed one day.  He is surrounded by so many fake people with ulterior motives that he needs someone real and honest in his life, and they don’t get more real and honest than Olivia.

“I’m not sleeping with you for money.”
“Why not?”
“Because I’m not a prostitute.”
“Of course you’re not.  But you’re young and beautiful, I’m handsome and rich.  The more applicable question is why aren’t we fucking already.”

Not only did I like Nichols and Olivia, but I liked all of the secondary characters as well.  Nicholas had a fiesty but loving relationship with his grandmother, a.k.a. the Queen.  His best friend⎯Simon⎯was cute and charming, and Simon’s wife⎯Franny⎯was the champion in Olivia’s corner that she desperately needed.  His younger brother⎯Henry⎯had his ups and downs, but I was definitely a fan by the end of the book.  Olivia’s best friend⎯Marty⎯was a little out there, but he was good for a laugh.  Her little sister⎯Ellie⎯was sweet and bubbly, but she was not afraid to go toe-to-toe with someone when the situation called for it.

“But just in case you get any ideas…if you hurt my sister, delicious-looking security guards or not, I’ll find a way to shave your eyebrows off.”

ROYALLY SCREWED is told in dual POVs and comes with a beautiful HEA for Nicholas and Olivia; it really was a fairytale read.  Henry gets the next book and I am looking forward to reading it.

Royally Screwed (Royally # 1)

My Rating:  

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Royally Series

Destiny On Ice (Boys Of Winter # 1)

By S.R. Grey

Synopsis

Hot hockey superstar Brent Oliver has it all–good looks, charm, dozens of endorsement deals, and a spectacular career.

Uh, nix that last one.

Brent has the talent and skill that should have his career soaring. But something is wrong. He’s lost his hockey mojo and can’t get it back.

Enter Aubrey Shelburne, life coach to the stars.

Aubrey’s worked with some difficult celebrities, but she’s never encountered a guy quite like Brent Oliver.

Or has she?

Seems a reckless night of partying, one that had Aubrey waking up in a strange man’s bed, is about to bite her in the a**. That is, if Brent doesn’t first.

Fighting an off-the-charts attraction, Aubrey and Brent must learn to work together. But it’s not an easy task when they’re at each other’s throats every minute.

Is this relationship a disaster in the making?

Or is it destiny?

Washboard abs and sex toy mishaps aside, Destiny on Ice is a fun and irreverent romp that’ll have you swooning on one page and laughing on the next.

Review

Brent is your typical egotistical manwhore who thinks he’s God’s gift to his hockey team and will never be punished for his bad behaviour.  All that changes when his team brings in a life coach to get his problematic private life in order.  Enter Aubrey, a woman with a heap of experience dealing with difficult athletes and celebrities just like Brent.  It’s lust—and hate—at first sight for both of them, until lust proves too powerful to ignore.

Because I love hockey romances, DESTINY ON ICE has been on my radar for a few months, and I finally had a chance to read it.  While I found it a somewhat enjoyable read, it wasn’t a very memorable one.  It had some humour, but at times it fell flat or felt a little forced.  The conflict towards the end was a little out there, and the resolution seemed a little too neat and easy.

DESTINY ON ICE is told in dual POVs and is the first book in the Boys Of Winter series.  Brent’s line mates—Nolan and Benny—are enjoying the single life in this story, so I assume they’ll each get their own books in this series.

Destiny On Ice (Boys Of Winter # 1)

My Rating:  

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Boys Of Winter Series

Royal Games (The Royals Of Monterra # 3)

By Sariah Wilson

Synopsis

Genesis Kelley didn’t just get her heart broken. The aspiring veterinarian had it crushed in front of millions of viewers on the dating reality show Marry Me. Now, just as she’s getting her life and dignity back together, her royal heartbreaker, Prince Rafael of Monterra, has landed in Frog Hollow, Iowa. And he’s renting out her aunt’s guest cottage.

Deceiving TV audiences for his brother’s sake cost Rafe the girl of his dreams. But he’s going to fix it, even if it means moving from his mountain-kingdom home to small-town Iowa. A prince doesn’t give up on his rightful princess—especially once he realizes Genesis is in deeper danger than she knows.

Between fixing her truck, whisking her off to Monterra for a whirlwind date, and charming the entire town, Rafe is thawing the ice around Genesis’s heart. Will it be enough to earn back her trust, protect her from her past—and sweep her into a real-life fairy tale?

Review

ROYAL GAMES is the third book in The Royals Of Monterra series and after meeting Genesis in the previous book, I was really looking forward to reading her story because she was so nice and sweet.  Sadly, I did not enjoy her story and it was all because of her.

I understand that she was embarrassed at being tricked by Rafe on Marry Me, but I felt she was too fixated on how Rafe “deceived” and “lied” to her during the filming, especially when she knows he was under contract to keep his real identity a secret.  She flat out refused to hear his apology and spent almost the entire book treating him like crap.  I also felt, and I hate to say this, that she was just too stupid to live.  Her life was being threatened, but she refused Rafe’s protection and security because she had pepper spray and had taken self-defence classes.  But then she had a panic attack when a stranger sat down for a meal at her diner, which kind of threw her whole “I can protect myself” claim out the window.  When she was kidnapped and learnt that Rafe was only able to save her life because of a secret tracking device he had planted on her, she got angry.  When he left after she got in a fit and told him to leave, she got angry. When she found out that he paid for her hospital bills, she got angry.  Seriously, there was absolutely no pleasing this woman.  I was frustrated with her by the 30% mark, and her constant whining, complaining and stupid choices did nothing to win me over.

I liked Rafe, who did so many things trying to earn Genesis’ forgiveness and win her heart, but to be honest, I lost a little respect for him because of how much crap he was willing to put up with.  Her behaviour showed that she didn’t deserve him and I wouldn’t have shed a tear if he had just said “screw it” and walked away.

ROYAL GAMES is told only in Genesis’ POV and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  As with the previous two books in this series, there is no sex, not even the behind-the-closed-door stuff.  It includes the occasional flashback to their alone time on Marry Me⎯which was sweet⎯and it comes with a HEA.

Royal Games (The Royals Of Monterra # 3)

My Rating:  

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The Royals Of Monterra Series

Twist (Dive Bar # 2)

By Kylie Scott

Synopsis

When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot bearded bartender Joe Collins only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.

Alex Parks is funny, fascinating, and pretty much everything he’s been looking for in a woman—except that she lives across the country. Soon they’re emailing up a storm and telling each other their deepest, darkest secrets…except the one that really matters.

When Alex pays Joe a surprise visit, however, they both discover that when it comes to love, it’s always better with a twist.

Review

I have been a fan of Kylie Scott’s since I first read LICK from her Stage Dive series several years ago and because of that, it pains me to say that I’m not feeling much love for TWIST.

Story-wise, I felt like it didn’t flow very well.  I often found myself thinking, “I don’t remember that.”, or “What are they talking about?”, or “How did the conversation shift from this to that?”.  I’d go back several pages to see if I missed a paragraph or something, but I never found anything that would explain my confusion.

Character-wise, not only did I not connect with Joe and Alex, but I also didn’t feel a connection between them.  There was nothing in their email communications that would explain why Alex would hop on a plane to surprise her “beloved”.  They had no chemistry and their relationship ran hot and cold from beginning to end.  There were things I liked about them, but for every one thing I liked, there was another thing I didn’t like.

TWIST is told only in Alex’s POV, but it also includes their email communications as flashback scenes.  While it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone and it does come with a HFN ending for Joe and Alex.  Joe’s brother, Eric, gets the next book, but I disliked his man-child attitude so much that I have no interest in reading it.

Twist (Dive Bar # 2)

My Rating:  

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Dive Bar Series

Shark (Karma Inc. # 2)

By Gillian Zane

Synopsis

Karma does have a list…and Cassidy Hail is currently working on it.

Working for Karma Incorporated might sound like the best job in the world, but there’s one really big catch: you’ve got to die to get it. Cassandra Mercier died at the ripe old age of twenty-one and is now gainfully employed by the Afterlife Corporation as a Karma operative. She’s taken on the persona of Cassidy Hail and she’s going undercover to deliver some much needed cosmic payback. Her next target is a Shark. 

Phillip Liam Nixon. Millionaire. COO of Butterfield Advertising Group. Chronic gambler, chronic womanizer and part-time embezzler. He’s going down and Cassidy’s the one who’s going to help him on his way. That’s if she can manage her own afterlife in the process, which is now brimming with Gods and Goddesses she didn’t know existed, an overly curious investigator who has his sights set on Cassidy, and the budding suspicion that something isn’t quite normal about the way she died. 

Welcome to the Afterlife Corporation, where the currency of choice is souls…

Review

SHARK is the second book in the Karma Inc. novella series and continues on from where the first book⎯CHEAT⎯ended.  Only about a third of the story is spent on Cassidy’s current Karma case, while the rest of it is focused on her personal life (and death).  She still wants to know about how she died, but she no longer wants Drake to investigate her past life; he sees too much and turns her on too much.  But Drake is intrigued, not just with the case but also with Cassidy, so he’s continuing with his investigation.  In this novella we saw the appearance of a couple of people from Cassidy’s past life, as well as Persephone, the goddess in charge of Karma Inc.  I think things are about to get a whole lot more interesting for Cassidy.  SHARK is told only in Cassidy’s POV and ends in a little bit of a cliffhanger that leads us into the next book, LIAR.  Each book is connected and can’t be read as stand-alones.

Shark (Karma Inc. # 2)

My Rating:  

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Karma Inc. Series

Royal Chase (The Royals Of Monterra # 2)

By Sariah Wilson

Synopsis

Booking her client, Prince Dante of Monterra, on reality show Marry Me is a royal coup for PR agent Lemon Beauchamp. But thanks to a last-minute glitch, Lemon must pretend to be one of the contestants vying to win the playboy prince’s love and then live happily ever after—at least until the publicity tour ends.

Prince Dante agreed to go on the show to find a wife, even though he already has the perfect candidate in mind. She’s smart, funny, sexy, and completely uninterested in wealth and fame. She’s also absolutely determined to keep him at arm’s length.

Even if Lemon weren’t already engaged, she can’t trust a notorious flirt like Dante. So she ignores the lingering looks. Those subtle, thrilling touches. That pulse-quickening kiss. Until suddenly, Lemon isn’t playing for the cameras. She’s lovestruck for real, and just maybe, the man behind the title is the one who’s always been in her heart…

Review

ROYAL CHASE is the second book in The Royals Of Monterra series and follows HRH Dante’s appearance on the reality show, Marry Me, to find a wife.  However, he’s already found the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with, but unfortunately for him, Lemon is too stubborn to give him a chance.

“I know it’s scary for you, but if you do me the honour of giving me all of your trust and all of your love, I promise you will never regret that choice.”

I liked both Dante and Lemon, but Dante was my favourite.  Lemon spends most of the book trying to deny her feelings for Dante because she thinks he’s a womaniser.  She’s been cheated on by every boyfriend she’s had and has no desire to fall for that kind of man again.  She also denies her feelings for Dante because she’s engaged to a man she knows she does not love but thinks she will be safe with.  I really liked Dante who, despite being surrounded by beautiful women, only had eyes for Lemon.  He knew he wanted her and did not give up trying to get her.  He’s funny and charming and a total sweetheart.

“Any man who denies you dessert should be horsewhipped.”

ROYAL CHASE is told only in Lemon’s POV and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  I liked the plot twist in regards to the reality show reveal, which I did not see coming.  The story includes flashbacks to when Lemon and Dante first met in Monterra, and also includes texts from Dante at the beginning of every chapter, which I really liked.  As with the first book, there is no sex throughout the entire story, so if you’re after a sexy read, you won’t find it here.  What you will find is a nice, easy read and a HEA.

Royal Chase (The Royals Of Monterra # 2)

My Rating:  

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The Royals Of Monterra Series

The Banker (Modern Love # 3)

By Piper Rayne

Synopsis

Who knew my brother’s friend could be Mr. Right, and not just Mr. Right Now?

My brother refused to introduce me, so I blame him. If he’d just caved, and introduced me to Jasper, I wouldn’t be in this mess. I mean, really, what’s the big deal? I’m not interested in the guy’s looks.

Oh no, I want his cold hard cash. (Be honest, you were expecting that other four letter ‘c’ word weren’t you?)

Now, before you go getting all judgy, I’m not a gold digger. I have a legitimate business opportunity for Jasper to invest in. The problem is that my stick-up-his-ass brother is embarrassed that his twin sister invents kick ass sex toys. His problem, not mine.

So, I took matters into my own hands. Defeat isn’t a word in Lennon Hart’s dictionary.

Using my stealthy P.I. moves, I narrowed my search to a time and place where I knew I could find him. It was completely innocent. A chance meeting that would give me the opportunity to pitch my business.

It wasn’t until I sat down across from the gorgeous panty soaking man in front of me, that I realized I wanted so much more than just his money. I could very well want his heart if I wasn’t careful.

Apparently my P.I. skills aren’t as stellar as I thought because Jasper had his own secret—and it changed EVERYTHING.

Review

If you’ve read the previous two books in this series, you’ll know that Lennon is loud, proud and sexual, and she’s not afraid to show it.  I loved her personality.  I also admired her courage when she started a relationship with Jasper, especially considering she had never been in a committed one before.  I will say that I was a little disappointed with her family and how they treated her.  Yes, they love her, but they were also embarrassed by her looks, career choices and dating habits, and I was offended on her behalf several times.

Jasper is Lennon’s perfect match both in and out of the sheets.  I loved their coffee scenes and the chemistry between them was hot.  I can’t say much about Jasper other than he’s rich and he has a slightly kinky side that was fun to read.

I did enjoy this book, but I thought the conflict towards the end was too easy to predict; keeping secrets will always come back to bite you.  I was also disappointed that we never found out if Lennon got her sex-toy business off the ground.  After hearing about it throughout all three books, it seemed like it went no-where, which was a total let-down.

THE BANKER is told only in Lennon’s POV and it comes with a very sweet and romantic HEA.  While it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  THE BANKER is the final book in the Modern Love series, and it’s sad to say goodbye to these three amazing women and the men who love them.

The Banker (Modern Love # 3)

My Rating:  

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Modern Love Series