Category Archives: Read by Vicki

The Pecker Briefs (Legal Affairs # 7)

By Sawyer Bennett

Synopsis

I never thought a pecker would get me in so much trouble.

I mean, sure… if you’re talking about a certain anatomical feature of mine that the ladies just love. Given my bachelor status and appreciation for all things curvy and feminine, I could absolutely see that. But a different pecker is making my life much harder than it needs to be.

My name is Ford Daniels, partner at the law firm of Knight & Payne, and my latest case has me wading through the finer points of peckers—woodpeckers that is. Specifically, the red-cockaded woodpecker. I swear, I can’t make this stuff up but that’s what the sexy-as-hell blonde chained to a tree told me this morning.

Her name is Viveka Jones and she is so much more than a pretty face. She’s got wit, charm, and razor-sharp smarts. Turns out my client is looking to bulldoze the red-cockaded woodpecker’s natural habitat in favor of a multimillion-dollar subdivision and the sexy attorney with legs for days (and days), just happens to be counsel for an animal rights group looking to put a halt to construction.

My client’s pissed, but all I can think about is getting Viveka across the table from me. And then on the table underneath me. Perhaps up against the wall. And then—

Well, let’s just say when it’s all said and done, I’m hoping the red-cockaded woodpecker isn’t the only pecker that gets some attention from Miss Viveka Jones.

Review

I liked everything about THE PECKER BRIEFS, from its characters to its story, from its beginning to its end.

I liked the chemistry between Ford and Viveka and that neither of them was afraid of following wherever that chemistry took them. I liked that they were both honest and up front about their intentions and expectations—from their case to their relationship—and that what they said was truly what they meant. I also liked that they were both older than what I’m used to reading, with Ford being forty-three and Viveka being thirty-six. The case was an enjoyable element to the story for sure, but it will be Ford and Viveka that I remember most about this story.

THE PECKER BRIEFS is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. I’ve read a few of the other books in this series and though I can’t remember much about the previous characters/couples, I never felt like I was missing something.

The Pecker Briefs (Legal Affairs # 7)

My Rating:  

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Slap Shot (Aces Hockey # 5)

By Kelly Jamieson

Synopsis

My name’s Max Hall, and I need to f***. As a pro hockey player who’s been away from the game for over a year, my libido has picked one hell of an inconvenient time to come roaring back to life.

After my wife died from a rare form of cancer, sex was the last thing on my mind. Same with hockey, the other love of my life. Now, after fifteen months of eating too much, drinking too much, and generally just feeling sorry for myself, I’m facing a steep uphill battle to get my ass in shape and play my way back onto the Chicago Aces.

So I’m not looking for a relationship. Just sex. Yeah, I know how that makes me sound. But the truth is, I’ll never love another woman the way I loved my wife. When I meet a sexy bridesmaid at my teammate’s wedding, I decide to scratch that itch. A fling with Kendra Armstrong in her posh hotel room could be just what the trainer ordered.

Not only is Kendra smokin’ hot, she’s dynamite in bed—one of the perks of being a sex toy designer. Since she lives in New York anyway, we agree to keep things casual, no strings attached. The arrangement is perfect . . . until one of us falls in love. And it’s not me.

Review

I hate to say it, but I struggled with SLAP SHOT. It did not engage me and despite skimming through several chapters towards the end, it still took me four days to finish reading this book.

Character wise, I can’t say much about Kendra other than she was nice and was way too good for someone like Max. I can however say quite a bit about Max, and not for good reasons. This is a man who lost the love of his life, yet I found I didn’t like him and felt no sympathy towards him at all. He constantly blurred the line of his sex-only relationship with Kendra, yet she was the one who ruined a good thing when she thought he’d be willing to take what they had to the next level. And for a man who claimed he’d never love another woman as much as he did his wife, he certainly had no problem making unflattering comments about her when comparing her to Kendra.

Story wise, I found it quite repetitive, with most of the story being made up of three things:
1 – Max discussing his training, his diet, and listing all the food he eats;
2 – Max and Kendra meeting up, having a copious amount of sex and then parting ways; and
3 – Max consumed by guilt for spending time with Kendra and being happy with her.

I really wanted to like this story. I really did. But not liking Max and finding the story too repetitive prevented me from doing so. SLAP SHOT is told in Max’s POV, except for the epilogue which is told in Kendra’s POV. While it is part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone, though I did have trouble keeping up with the scenes that involved all the previous couples from this series.

Slap Shot (Aces Hockey # 5)

My Rating:  

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Aces Hockey Series

His to Protect (Fireside # 2)

By Stacey Lynn

Synopsis

Declan James lost his last ounce of trust the day his wife walked out the door, leaving him to save the restaurant they built together. Throwing himself into his work, Declan swears off women—or at least, women who expect him to stick around in the morning. But when he discovers a skittish beauty scrounging through the Fireside’s trash to feed her dog, Declan offers her a job and a place to rest her head. There’s just something about her that awakens his protective side. And soon, not even that mangy mutt can stop Declan from caring for her.

After one too many trips to the ER, Trina Wilson finally gathered the courage to leave her husband, taking only her car and hyperactive boxer. Unfortunately, life on the run proves harder than she anticipated—until Declan takes a leap of faith on her. But even as Trina starts to see beyond his gruff exterior, she can’t relax, even for a moment. Not with her husband still tracking her down. What Trina doesn’t know is that in Declan, she has a powerful ally—and, if she would only follow her heart, a devoted lover.

Review

HIS TO PROTECT was a story that drew me in and did not let go. It was a real page turner and I would have stayed up all night reading it, if not for my Kindle battery dying.

I loved both Trina and Declan, but it was definitely Trina who stole the show. She had the strength to flee from her abusive husband. She had the brains to cover her tracks as well as she possibly could. She had the courage to put her life in Declan’s hands despite having trust issues with men. Simply put, she was a pretty amazing woman. Declan is a natural protector, but not in a stifling or controlling way. He did whatever he could to help Trina, but he was more than happy for her to do her own thing, to make her own friends, and to find herself again.

HIS TO PROTECT is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. I have not read the first book, HIS TO LOVE, and I had no problem jumping into the series from the second book. It comes with a HEA for Declan and Trina, but the epilogue also opened the door for the third book, HIS TO CHERISH, which I already have ready to go on my Kindle.

His to Protect (Fireside # 2)

My Rating:  

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Fireside Series

Blood Veil (Mission # 2)

By Megan Erickson

Synopsis

In the midst of supernatural chaos, worlds and hearts collide.

Celia: Having never known my parents, I’ve always felt like an orphan. All I want is a normal life. But after I’m attacked in my bedroom by one vampire—and rescued by another—it’s about time to give up on “normal” once and for all. Idris, the second in command of the Gregorie vampire clan, has come to my aid, but his motives for saving me are unclear. And what surprises me most is my attraction to his heated gaze. . . .

Idris: Terror. Curiosity. Arousal. These are the natural impulses of a human female, not the spawn of the ruthless Valarian king. Is it possible that Celia is unaware of her bloodline—and the power coursing through her veins? As the daughter of my archenemy, she was supposed to be my ransom. But how quickly the heat of desire changes everything. Now the family Celia has always craved is trying to kill her, and it’s up to me to save her again—when all I really want to do is make her mine.

Review

I enjoyed BLOOD VEIL, but not as much as I was hoping to, or as much as I enjoyed the first book in the Mission series, BLOOD GUARD.

BLOOD VEIL takes place over just a few days, so I’d definitely classify this as an insta-love. Usually this doesn’t bother me too much, but in this case, it did. I remember being very surprised when they declared their love for each other, because up until that point, I hadn’t felt any love between them. Idris was focused on getting revenge against the Valarian king, and Celia—as his captive and bait—was simply a means to an end. Was there chemistry? Yes. Love? Not so much.

There are a couple of scenes where secrets are revealed and people are killed, but there’s hardly any shock or emotion exhibited by the characters when these things happened, especially on Celia’s part. It’s hard to get emotionally invested in a story when the characters themselves show very little emotion.

Finally, I’m confused about how this story ended for Celia. As a half vampire with a blood disorder, she can never be turned, but I don’t remember reading anything about what will happen to her. Will she be immortal like a vampire, or will she grow old and die like a human? What about her nightmares that will make her crazy if she isn’t turned? Will she still have those, or will they mysteriously disappear?

BLOOD VEIL is told in dual POVs and comes with a HEA for Idris and Celia. I finished the story quickly, so it easily held my attention, but there were just too many things that kept me from loving it. Despite that, if there is to be a third book written in this series, I would read it because this world intrigues me.

Blood Veil (Mission # 2)

My Rating:  

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Mission Series

It’s Complicated (Awkward Love # 1)

By Missy Johnson

Synopsis

They call him the Anaconda, and I’m pretty sure it isn’t because he likes snakes.

Nick Jenson is my neighbor. My hot, oh-so-sexy, very-well-equipped neighbor that I’d spend hours watching from the safety of my bedroom window.

I saw lots of things I probably shouldn’t have. Sometimes I’d touch myself, imagining it were his hands roaming over my body instead of my own. I had just one mission—to find out if the rumors were true.

Then one day, he caught me watching him.

I was mortified. I was prepared to quit college, move to another country, and live the rest of my life saying, “Nick who?” But, apparently, life had other ideas.

Because Nick? Well, he isn’t just my neighbor … He’s also my father’s best friend. If I thought things were difficult before, they were about to get a whole lot more complicated.

Oh, and those rumors? Holy fuck, were they true …

Review

IT’S COMPLICATED is a short, sweet and spicy read. It’s the first book I’ve read from Missy Johnson, but I don’t think it will be the last.

I’m not usually a fan of romances that involve Daddy’s Best Friend. In fact, I don’t recall ever reading one of them before. But this one sounded lighthearted and fun, and that’s exactly what I felt like reading. Despite Nick being Anna’s father’s best friend, the age gap between them was not as bad as I thought it would be. However, I do think that at twenty-two, Anna was too young for thirty-seven year old Nick.

I enjoyed IT’S COMPLICATED, though it did have some minor issues. At times I struggled to follow conversations/thoughts/scenes because they didn’t seem to flow well. I laughed quite a bit, but sometimes the humor felt a little forced. Finally, I think it’s fitting that the series is called Awkward Love, because sometimes when Nick and Anna were together, it was…well…awkward.

IT’S COMPLICATED is told in dual POVs and comes with a HEA for Nick and Anna. While it’s part of a series, each story is about a different couple, so they can be read as stand-alones.

It’s Complicated (Awkward Love # 1)

My Rating:  

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Awkward Love Series

Killer (Karma Inc. # 5)

By Gillian Zane

Synopsis

The final book in the Karma Inc. Series is here! Cassandra Mercier’s last Karma case…or is it?

Case # 5 of the Karma Incorporated Series.

Karma never forgets.

Working for Karma Incorporated has taken its toll on Cassandra Mercier. She might have died to get this job, but being a worker bee in the bowels of Afterlife Corporation have proven to be more than she can handle.

Her latest case feels a little too personal as Cassandra finds herself playing psychic at her old stomping grounds, the precinct where she used to work before she died. Her job on the case is to expose a dirty cop while using her cover as a psychic to help solve cases. Nothing is ever as easy as it seems. The cop she’s meant to expose was a good friend of hers, pre-death, and someone she can’t imagine being dirty. To make matters more complicated, she’s asked her to help solve her own murder.

Is it too good to be true? Can Cassandra out a dirty cop, no matter how squeaky clean he looks, all while finding her own killer? Or will the Powers That Be put an end to her selfish investigations and end her career with Karma Incorporated completely?

Review

KILLER is the fifth and final book in the Karma Inc. series, a series that I believe was originally going to be a six-part serial. CROOK was meant to be the title of the fifth book, so I’m not sure if that story was pulled or if the name was simply changed.

Since the very first book, the story has been focused on Cassandra’s death; how did she die and who killed her? So it was disappointing that when she finally learnt the truth, she was quickly whisked back to Afterlife where the focus of the story changed immediately. Instead of seeing her killer get what they deserved, we got a hard-to-follow explanation on the different classes of gods and other beings, and the identities of her biological parents were revealed.

Don’t get me wrong, her identity explained a few things, but up until that point, figuring out who her parents were had barely been a blip on the radar in the previous books, so it felt like it came out of nowhere. But her identity didn’t explain everything, like why she couldn’t remember her past life or why she was held in limbo for a year after her death before being sent to Karma Inc. As far as I can tell, those questions remain unanswered.

There are also some inconsistencies that started popping up in the third book that carried over into this book and were a little too big for me to ignore.

As a whole, I have enjoyed this series and have given all the previous books a rating of 4❤. The mystery surrounding Cassandra’s life, disappearance and death, as well as trying to figure out who and what Drake was, kept me turning the pages and coming back for more. So it pains me to say that I felt as though KILLER did not do this series justice. Though I am disappointed with how this series was wrapped up, I would read from this author again.

Killer (Karma Inc. # 5)

My Rating:  

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Karma Inc. Series

The Devil in Disguise (Bad Things # 1)

By Cynthia Eden

Synopsis

Don’t make the devil angry…

Luke Thorne loves having one hell of a good time. As the ruler of every dark creature to walk the earth, he certainly has more than a bit of a bad side. He lives for danger and isn’t the type to lose his heart—mostly because he doesn’t have one. Then she walks into his life.

Mina James is seduction in the flesh, a perfect temptation that the devil himself couldn’t pass up. Too late, Luke realizes he’s let a real siren into his life, a woman who is bent on using his dark powers to free herself from hidden enemies. Since Luke isn’t the type of man to be used, he should walk away from her, but…something about Mina draws him close.

Soon he’s realizing that she isn’t who she appears to be. Not dark and cold, but burning red hot. Mina is a woman fighting for her life—and the Lord of the Dark suddenly finds himself in an unlikely role…hero. Luke isn’t going to let her enemies destroy Mina. He will fight heaven and hell to keep her. But in the end, the secrets they both carry may just rip apart a love that should never have been…

There are Bad Things in the world…very, very bad. Are you ready for them?

Review

I’ve read over a dozen of Cynthia Eden’s books over the years and quite liked them, but THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE was just an okay read for me. It was easy to keep turning the pages, but by the end of it, I just didn’t have any strong feelings about the story one way or the other. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either.

I didn’t take a lot of notes while reading, and in the few days between finishing the story and writing my review, I don’t remember much about the story at all. What I do remember is that Luke wasn’t the big bad guy I was expecting him to be. Verbal threats aside, he actually came across as quite tame. I was also left confused as to what Luke is. Is he the devil? Is he a dragon shifter? Is he both? I honestly have no idea.

THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE is told not only in Luke and Mina’s POV, but in the POV of several other characters as well. It comes with a HEA and sets us up for book two, ON THE PROWL, which will be about another couple connected to Luke.

The Devil in Disguise (Bad Things # 1)

My Rating:  

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Bad Things Series

Pretty as a Peach (Sex and Sweet Tea # 4)

By Juliette Poe

Synopsis

Mainer Farms is steeped in family history, but it’s also deep in debt from the effects of the ever-changing farming industry. Not about to let his family’s legacy go under, Colt Mancinkus is willing to do anything he can to save the farm.

Darby Culhane is the new farmer in Whynot, North Carolina, and she’s proving to be quite the forbidden temptation for Colt. Darby isn’t looking for anything but a fresh start, and she’s got it all figured out. Get settled in? Check. Apply for the rural county grant? Check. Confrontation with the steaming mad, smoking hot local farmer? Well, that wasn’t on the agenda.

As pretty as she is sweet, Colt can’t help but be drawn to Darby’s…peaches. No really, she’s a peach farmer. Get that mind out of the gutter, and get on down to the farm to see what happens when circumstances force Colt and Darby to team up. They may just find that the peach trees aren’t the only things in bloom.

Review

PRETTY AS A PEACH is definitely a sweet addition to the Sex and Sweet Tea series. Darby and Colt are very likable characters who were kind of perfect for one another. Colt became a wonderful father figure to Darby’s daughter Linnie, and Darby seamlessly became a part of Whynot’s tight-knit community very quickly.

PRETTY AS A PEACH is a novella, so the story moves fairly quickly. However, the romance between Darby and Colt is a slow burn. A very slow burn. Usually this bothers me, but I found I didn’t mind it in this case.

PRETTY AS A PEACH is told in dual POVs, comes with a HEA for Darby and Colt, and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. The previous books had some humorous scenes in them, but the actions of Darby’s husband are slightly disturbing that if there was any humor throughout this story, I don’t remember it. I loved the two encounters between Larkin and the Harley-Davidson riding Deacon Locke, who will get the next book. Larkin is so shy and Deacon is so sure of himself, that I think their story will make for interesting reading.

Pretty as a Peach (Sex and Sweet Tea # 4)

My Rating:  

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Sex and Sweet Tea Series

The Movie Star’s Red Hot Holiday Fling (Sweetbriar Springs # 1)

By Christine Glover

Synopsis

One dare and he’ll lose his heart…

Determined to qualify for the fire department’s grueling physical, former marine Jessie Sullivan never gives up, despite the pins in her leg. The last thing she needs is a tall, incredibly hot action movie star sharing her gym…and who makes her want to trade in her reps for some sexy physical activity. Of the naked kind.

Blake Johnston is more than just a Big Screen Sex Machine, and he’s willing to prove it. Especially to a spirited and sexy ex-marine like Jessie. But when a harmless dare leads to sizzling fireworks, Jessie and Blake’s workout ends up generating some serious heat between the sheets. And it’s more than Jessie could have imagined. Much, much more.

But flings don’t last forever. And in two weeks, Jessie will have to say goodbye to her red-hot Christmas fantasy…

Review

THE MOVIE STAR’S RED HOT HOLIDAY FLING was not a bad read, but not one that I’d pick up and read again.  Given that it’s a novella, I thought this would be a quick read, but it just didn’t grab me and it ultimately took me a couple of days to finish it.

I didn’t feel a connection between Blake and Jessie, and the conflict was predictable.

I also thought it was a little too neat and tidy that Blake—an action movie star—was the only person who had the investigative skills and technology required to solve Jessie’s mystery.  Was it sweet and did it give Jessie the closure she needed?  Most definitely.  Was it realistic?  No, not really.

My biggest issue was the huge amount of inner monologue throughout this story.  In one chapter, there was one page of conversation followed by nine pages of inner monologue.  There was so much that sometimes, by the time the second character spoke, I’d forgotten what the first character had said or asked.

THE MOVIE STAR’S RED HOT HOLIDAY FLING is told in dual POVs and comes with a HEA for Blake and Jessie.

The Movie Star’s Red Hot Holiday Fling

My Rating:  

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Sweetbriar Springs Series

Doggie Style (Dirty Truth # 2)

By Piper Rayne

Synopsis

Rumors never bothered me. If people want to guess at my sexuality because I design dog clothes for a living—let them. I know the truth.

I’m a red-blooded heterosexual male and just because I don’t have my tongue hanging out of my mouth around every female like my dog Cooper, doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the female form.

Now with Teegan Lowery in my life I’m suddenly panting right next to Cooper, hoping for a taste.

I hired her for her stellar PR skills, but she’s slowly weaseling her way into a spot I’ve kept a NO VACANCY sign on for years. Everything about Teegan screams unavailable. The last thing I need is another dramatic, high maintenance woman in my life. Believe me, been there and done that.

But the sexual tension between us is like a game of tug-of-war and neither of us wants to lose.

I love dogs.
She hates them.
Turns out, we both love doggie style.

Review

After reading THE MANNY, I was really looking forward to reading Leo’s story. Unfortunately, DOGGIE STYLE did not win me over.

For the most part, I liked Leo and Teegan, though I did find them to be contradictory. Leo says he doesn’t care if people think he’s gay, but he became furious at Teegan when he realized she didn’t know he was straight. Which was really his own fault, because he allowed people to play the guessing game for years. Teegan has the strength and courage to quit her job—because of the misogynistic environment—and start her own business, yet she never stands up to her mother, whose disturbing behavior has affected how Teegan lives her life. As a couple, I didn’t feel much chemistry between Leo and Teegan at all.

I felt that DOGGIE STYLE wasn’t as strong a story as THE MANNY was. Nor was the humor there. The grand gesture scene at the end confused me, because I’m pretty sure skydiving was not mentioned once throughout the entire story, yet Teegan knows it’s the perfect way to apologize to Leo because he apparently likes skydiving. I didn’t like Leo’s friend and business partner, Oscar, who would deliberately put Leo in awkward situations to promote himself and to keep the “Leo is gay” buzz alive. People from Leo and Teegan’s past appear in a couple of scenes, and I felt they were only added to create unnecessary drama. There’s also a pretty obvious timeline issue after the gay bar scene that I’m surprised didn’t get picked up by the editor or beta readers.

I know I’m nitpicking right now, but after enjoying THE MANNY so much and rushing out to buy DOGGIE STYLE, I just can’t hide my disappointment.

DOGGIE STYLE is told in dual POVs, comes with a HEA for Leo and Teegan, and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.

Doggie Style (Dirty Truth # 2)

My Rating:  

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Dirty Truth Series