Category Archives: Read by Vicki

Time Out

By Jill Shalvis

Synopsis

NHL coach Mark Diego’s plan to spend his offseason volunteering in his hometown goes awry when he learns that not only is he coaching teenage girls, but that the program is coordinated by energetic (and five feet two inches of trouble) coordinator Rainey Saunders, his childhood friend—and the woman he could never stand to see dating any other guy…

When their tempers flare, Mark and Rainey discover their fireworks don’t just burn angry— they burn very, very hot! But that’ll just sweeten the victory. Because Mark always plays to win. And with Rainey, he’s planning on playing very dirty, too…

Review

Sadly, TIME OUT was a DNF for me.  I don’t like starting a book and not finishing it, but I found I just couldn’t continue on after chapter seven.  I tried to get into it, but I wasn’t feeling the characters, their chemistry or their story.  Despite that, I would try reading from this author again.

Time Out

My Rating:  

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Close To Heaven (Colorado High Country # 5)

By Pamela Clare

Synopsis

She has nothing…

Rain Minear has fantasized about finding herself in Joe Moffat’s arms for years. It’s just her luck that the night it finally happens, he’s carrying her into the emergency room. It’s Joe who steps up to help her when a tragedy brings her life crashing down. He gives her a place to stay, helps her get back on her feet, and even tries to save her Christmas, though he’s never cared for the holiday. But he’s far too ethical to sleep with a member of his staff, holding her at arms length despite the long-simmering attraction between them.

He has everything…

Haunted by ghosts from the past, Joe Moffat moved to Scarlet Springs to repay a debt. He’s struggled for years to keep his hands off Rain. She’s the general manager of his brewpub, and he is not that kind of boss. But, oh, she turns him on. More than that, she has the biggest heart of any woman he’s ever known. He’d do anything to see her smile again, even put up a Christmas tree and listen to carols, things he normally never does.

A season that changes two lives forever…

When a Rocky Mountain blizzard leaves them snowbound and alone together for days, they can no longer ignore their feelings for one another. As their passion turns to something deeper, it becomes clear to them both that this will be the most important Christmas of their lives.

Review

Luckily, the author didn’t mention in the blurb exactly how long Joe and Rain had secretly been in love with each other, because if she had, I probably wouldn’t have read it.  Why?  Because I’d just finished reading another book where the main characters were secretly in love with each other for twenty years, and it left me very frustrated.  Thankfully, and despite that similarity, CLOSE TO HEAVEN was a nice, easy and enjoyable read.

I liked Joe, who moved to Scarlet Springs two decades ago to try and pay back the town for his great-great-grandfather’s misdeeds.  He’s a very wealthy man, but he’s down-to-earth and he doesn’t act like he’s better than everyone else just because of his money.  The only thing that bothered me was his main reason for not pursuing Rain.  There’s a big difference between using your position of power to take advantage of women in your employ, and taking what is being freely offered by a woman in her thirties.  

I liked Rain, who’s been working for Joe since she became a single mother at seventeen.  She’s been in love with him since almost the beginning, but she never made a move because she was afraid of being rejected.  What I liked most about her is that she truly did not care that Joe was rich, and that she finally got the courage to put herself out there in her attempts to gain Joe’s attention.

An interesting part of the story was the reading Silas’ journals, where we learnt how despicable Joe’s great-great-grandather truly was, as well as the history of the town and its descendants, who still live there to this day.  You’ll be surprised by how much hate you’ll feel for a man who’s been dead for a century.

CLOSE TO HOME is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  It comes with a beautiful HEA for Joe and Rain, and is a nice addition to the Colorado High Country series.

Close To Heaven (Colorado High Country # 5)

My Rating:  

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Colorado High Country Series

Creep (Karma Inc. # 4)

By Gillian Zane

Synopsis

Case # 4 of the Karma Incorporated Series.

What goes around comes around…it’s called Karma.

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…and she’s been working overtime.

Cassandra is given the task of playing the psychic medium Castalia Rosso, and she’s on the hunt to give a few pretend ghost hunters a bit of cosmic retribution.

Her targets are two Creeps.

Twins Raul and Roselle, who have made a name for themselves in the ghost hunting community as renowned demon hunters. They’ve gotten so much notoriety that they’ve landed themselves a reality television show. The network insisted that they include a psychic on the show with them, though — and this is where Castalia Rosso comes in. Joining the twins on an investigation of one of the most haunted houses in the area, Cassie must expose the brother and sister ghost hunting duo, and all their dirty behavior and deal with some real ghosts all while trying to sort out her own tumultuous existence.

As the case gets more and more complex, so does the world Cassie exists in. Life and death aren’t exactly what they seem when working for the Afterlife Corporation.

Review

CREEP is another great addition to the Karma Inc. series, though I can’t say too much about it, because this series is connected and I’m trying not to give away any spoilers.  But I’m very glad my suspicions about Drake were confirmed.  Yes, we finally find out what Drake is, and it definitely makes things more interesting.  In this story, there was no further investigation into Cassie’s murder, but I think we’ll get a lot of information in the next book, given where her next case is taking her.

CREEP is told only in Cassie’s POV and ends in a cliffhanger of sorts.  Each book in this series is connected and cannot be read as stand-alones.  The next book in the series is CROOK, and though I don’t know when it’s coming out, I can’t wait to read it.

Creep (Karma Inc. # 4)

My Rating:  

Buy Links:  Amazon

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Karma Inc. Series

Wish You Were Mine

By Tara Sivec

Synopsis

Five years. I would’ve stayed away longer if I hadn’t received the letter. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about her, haven’t missed her smile, haven’t wished that things were different.

The last time I saw my two best friends, I vowed to not stand in the way of their happiness, even if that meant I couldn’t be a part of their lives. Cameron James and her emerald-green eyes were too much of a temptation and I couldn’t stay and watch them together. Cameron deserved better than me. She deserved him.

But now that I am back, things are different. I’m not going to stand by and watch the woman I’ve always loved slip away again. I’m done living my life with regrets and I’m ready to tell her the truth. And I’ll do whatever it takes to show her that I always wished she was mine.

Review

I’m sad to say that I really struggled getting through WISH YOU WERE MINE.  I found myself wanting to give it up several times, but I’ve read and liked this author before, so I kept going. Unfortunately, by the time I got to the end, my feelings towards this book did not improve.

WISH YOU WERE MINE is the story of Everett and Cameron, who have been in love with each other for about twenty years, but neither have had the courage to confess their feelings.  Their inability to be open and honest with each other takes up the first 75% of the story, which I found very frustrating.  What was more frustrating was that when they finally did get together, it did not bring about an end to the drama.  In the final 25%, their relationship is endangered two times, which I won’t go into because of spoilers.  Ultimately, it was just too much drama for me to take to get to the happy ending.

I also didn’t like that Cameron and her best friend called almost every other woman in this story a skank.  Worse, Cameron thought Aiden’s manwhore ways were a part of his charm, yet the women who slept with him were all skanks.  It’s a derogatory word that was used too easily and frequently throughout the story, and it’s hard to like a character who speaks about her fellow women that way.

WISH YOU WERE MINE is a friends-to-lovers stand-alone that comes with a HEA for Everett and Cameron.  It is told in dual POVs and also includes flashbacks.  In fact, the first half of the story is told in a mixture of the past and the present, and this did affect the flow of the story a little bit.  However, the flashbacks into the past were informative and showed the times that Everett and Cameron had missed their chance to say something to the other.

Wish You Were Mine

My Rating: 

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Thirty Day Boyfriend

By Whitney G.

Synopsis

I should’ve never agreed to this arrangement…

Thirty days ago, my boss–Mr. Wolf of Wall Street, came to me with an offer I couldn’t refuse: Sign my name on the dotted line and pretend to be his fiancée for one month. If I agreed, he would let me out of my employment contract with a “very generous” severance package.

The rules were pretty simple: No intimate kissing, no actual sex. Just pretend to love each other for the press, even though I’ve secretly wanted to knock that sexy smirk off his face since the first day we met.

I definitely didn’t need to think twice about this. I signed my name and started counting down the seconds to when I would never have to deal with his special brand of ass-holery again.

I only made it to one minute…

We argued the entire four-hour flight to his hometown, failed to make a convincing impression with the welcoming press, and right when I was about to knock that arrogant look off his face in real life? He purposely dropped his bath towel in front of me, distracting me with his nine-inch cock to “show me who the bigger person was” in our relationship. Then he gave me his trademark smirk once again and asked if I wanted to consummate our marriage.

Tragically, this is only day one.
We still have 29 more days to go…

Review

THIRTY DAY BOYFRIEND was a very quick and entertaining read that will grab you from the first chapter and won’t let go.

“Are you checking to make sure I haven’t broken away from my chains today?”
“You’ve fantasised about me putting you in chains? Let’s discuss that.”

Emily is the Executive Assistant to one of the most powerful men in New York, and one does not get—and hold—that position by being weak or a pushover.  She’s not afraid to go head-to-head with Nicholas, and she’s very good at negotiating to get what she wants.  As much as she “hates” her boss and her job, it’s clear that she’s very well respected by Nicholas and by all those that deal with her.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know why Emily “hated” Nicholas so much.  Sure, he’s a little cold and detached, but he’s a high-powered CEO, so that kind of behavior is to be expected within the workplace.  Sure, he’s also a little bullish, but I found some of his bullish ways to be very entertaining.  But deep down, underneath the cold and aloof exterior, lies a man who’s a total sweetheart…for the right woman.

THIRTY DAY BOYFRIEND is told in dual POVs and comes with a HEA for Nicholas and Emily.  It’s a stand-alone novella, and the only complaint I have with it is that the ending is rushed.

Thirty Day Boyfriend

My Rating:  

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Hooking Up

By Helena Hunting

Synopsis

Amalie Whitfield is the picture of a blushing bride during her wedding reception–but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of proclaiming his undying love, her husband can be heard, by Amalie and their guests, getting off with someone else. She has every reason to freak out, and in a moment of insanity, she throws herself at the first hot-blooded male she sees. But he’s not interested in becoming her revenge screw.

Mortified and desperate to escape the post-wedding drama, Amalie decides to go on her honeymoon alone, only to find the man who rejected her also heading to the same tiny island for work. But this time he isn’t holding back. She should know better than to sleep with someone she knows, but she can’t seem to resist him.

They might agree that what happens on the island should stay on the island, but neither one can deny that their attraction is more than just physical.

Review

After meeting Amie and her fiancé, Armstrong, in SHACKING UP, I was really looking forward to Amie’s story, because I knew Armstrong was a cheating douchebag and I wanted to see Amie find a man worthy of her.  While I don’t remember Lex from the previous book, in this book he proves he is definitely that man.

Helena Hunting has a great way of writing characters that you’ll love, and characters that you’ll love to hate.  I really liked Amie, who was strong and comfortable with her sexuality, but she also had just the right amount of insecurity that made her relatable.  I loved that she stood her ground against Armstrong, physically and mentally.  Speaking of Armstrong, he’s a huge douchebag.  Yes, I know I’ve called him that twice already, but he’s such a big one that it deserves being mentioned more than once.  Finally, I loved Lex, who is definitely a keeper with his playful personality and kind heart, and I’m very glad that he got the girl.

“Why’re you being so nice to me?”
“Because I want to.  Because you don’t deserve what’s happened to you.”

I enjoyed HOOKING UP, but it didn’t have the same amount of humour that SHACKING UP did.  Sure, there were scenes that had me smiling and laughing, but they were few and far between, and thanks to Armstrong’s disturbing and delusional behaviour, it was quite a bit more serious than the previous book.  I liked reading how Lex and Amie met in the proglogue, and how Chapter One really draws you into the story by making you feel a wide range of emotions.  Unfortunately, I did feel that the story dragged a little after Lex and Amie left Bora Bora, and it didn’t really pick up again until towards the end.

HOOKING UP is told in dual POVs and comes with a HEA for Lex and Amie.  While it is listed as a stand-alone—and it can be read as such—its characters are connected to SHACKING UP.  If you haven’t read SHACKING UP yet, I highly recommend it.  Will there be another book after this one?  Maybe.  There’s a little scene at the end that involved a much-hated female character that got my spidey senses tingling.  Time will tell.

Hooking Up

My Rating:  

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The Series

Slade (New Species # 2)

By Laurann Dohner

Synopsis

Dr. Trisha Norbit is flat on her back in a hospital bed, pinned under a really big New Species male. Though drugged out of his mind, he promises her ecstasy and is determined to deliver—but hospital staff intervenes. 215 is a man Trisha will never forget. But, when she meets him again at Homeland…he doesn’t even remember her!

The nosy new doctor wants to know all about the breeding habits between humans and Species. Slade proposes a hands-on education but she’s not interested in a one-night stand. He can’t offer more because he’s haunted by the memory of a woman he once tried to claim. He’s shocked when he realizes they are one and the same. He’s blown it—she’ll never give him a chance now.

But, when her life is in danger, he’s the only one who can save her. As they flee through the wilderness, their desire ignites and cannot be denied. Hot sex, on the run, has consequences that are even more dangerous and will change their lives forever.

Review

SLADE is the second book in the New Species series and, after reading FURY last month for the first time in a few years, I thought I’d keep going with the series.  My plan is to re-read and review one book in the series per month, so hopefully by the end of 2018, I’ll have the entire series reviewed on our blog.  Maybe by then there’ll even be a new addition to the series and I’ll be ready for it.  * Hint hint, Ms Dohner *

We met Trisha and Slade in the previous book, and there was quite a bit of tension between them every time they were in the same room.  In this book, we find out what’s behind that tension, but we also find out that while they “hate” each other, neither can deny their attraction.

“Don’t ever walk into my house again. What would you have done if I’d still been in the shower?”
“Walked in there to tell you they needed you at the center and handed you a smaller towel than you had on. Maybe a hand towel. Or a washcloth.”

Trisha is the lead doctor at Homeland, but her job isn’t going as well as she had hoped.  She wanted to treat New Species and learn more about them, but since they’re mostly non trusting of humans, she’s been relegated to treating other humans instead.  I felt bad for her, because you know that she really cares and just wants to help them.  Slade is pretty crude, and a lot of the problems between him and Trisha could have been solved if he wasn’t afraid to have an adult conversation.  But you can’t help but feel sorry for him because he kept ruining his chances with Trisha every time he opened his mouth.

SLADE is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  That being said, I think these books will be best enjoyed by reading the entire series in order.  Be warned, there is an attempted rape scene which may be a trigger for some readers.  Despite that scene, I found SLADE to be a lot more humorous than the previous book; the banter between New Species was more joking and at ease, and I absolutely loved the ending.

Slade (New Species # 2)

My Rating:  

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New Species Series

Forbidden Seduction (Lee County Wolves # 2)

By Teresa Gabelman

Synopsis

Hunter Foster single-handedly exposed the shifter community after shifting in front of humans to protect a Vampire Council Warrior. With no regrets, he heads home to answer for his crime of breaking an outdated law.

Back in his town, he is faced with rogue packs challenging their alpha, his brother, as well as the woman he has spent years avoiding. Finally, he has to come to terms with what his wolf has been telling him and what he as a man has been fighting against.

Review

FORBIDDEN SEDUCTION is the second book in the Lee County Wolves series, and it’s been over two years since I read the first book, FORBIDDEN HUNGER.  Because of that, I wondered if I’d have a problem following on from the first story, and I did, but not for that reason.  I hit a few trouble spots because some characters and events introduced and talked about in this book relate to a different series.  Because of that, I did feel like I was missing something, but it didn’t really affect my enjoyment of the story.

I liked Hunter, but his treatment of Emily when they were younger meant he had a lot to apologize for, and I don’t think he apologized enough.  That being said, I did feel that he was truly regretful for how he treated her and will spend the rest of his life making it up to her.

I loved Emily.  She was very sweet and she’d make sacrifices for those who deserved it, even if it came at her expense.  Her sister was a vile human being, and as much as I loved that Emily did stand up to her most of the time, there were some times that she didn’t and during those times, she did come across as a bit of a doormat.  If anyone deserved to be bitch-slapped, it was her sister.  But when she confronted Hunter about how he hurt her in high school, she was absolutely magnificent.

“Never in a million years did I think you or anyone else for that matter would have to be threatened to take me out. I’m actually a pretty nice person who’s fun to be around.”

FORBIDDEN SEDUCTION is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  Although, as I said above, it is connected to another series and if you haven’t read that other series, you might feel a little lost a few times throughout this story.  It’s a fairly quick read and a good way to spend a few spare hours, and I already have the third book waiting on my Kindle.

Forbidden Seduction (Lee County Wolves # 2)

My Rating:  

Buy Links:  Amazon

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Lee County Wolves Series

Breakaway Hearts (Kelly Brothers # 2)

By Crista McHugh

Synopsis

Can he melt her frozen heart?

Hockey star Ben Kelly has retreated to his mountain cabin in the ski town of Cascade, BC, to recuperate from a season-ending knee injury and contemplate his future in the NHL. He never expects to run into the one woman who got away. Nine years may have passed, but nothing has dulled the explosive chemistry between them. Now he wants more than just one night.

Hailey Eriksson had Olympic-sized dreams until an accidental pregnancy from a one-night stand halted her ambitions. Her life was shattered when her son died. Nothing will keep her from fulfilling her promise to him to make the Olympic team, especially not the charming Ben Kelly. Unfortunately, he’s out to sweep her off her feet this time, and she finds him harder and harder to resist with each passionate kiss. But when he learns about the child he never knew, will their rekindled romance be on thin ice?

Review

BREAKAWAY HEARTS was an lovely read, one that was mostly lighthearted but at times will also require you to have some tissues handy.  It’s a second-chance romance between Ben and Hailey, who had a one-night-stand nine years ago that resulted in a pregnancy.

“I don’t mind waiting for you, Hailey. You’re worth waiting for.”

I loved Ben, who is super sweet and a real romantic.  All he had of Hailey from their one night together was the note she left him with, and he kept it in his wallet since the morning after.  Not just because it was from her, but also to serve as a reminder to never let something special slip through his fingers ever again.  He even signed with his current NHL team because he met Hailey at one of their games and he had hoped he’d see her in the crowd again.  He was so easy to like and he’s the complete opposite of a jerk manwhore.

I liked Hailey too; she is a strong woman who has experienced the worse kind of loss…the loss of a child.  She is not one of those women who kept her pregnancy—and son—a secret from the father.  She tried, more than I think any woman would have, to tell Ben about their son until he passed away.  Her feelings towards Ben were realistic, ranging from anger, to lust, to confusion and doubt, and you’ll feel them all right along with her.

The conflict was predictable and I felt it was resolved too quickly when Ben came for Hailey at the end.  While Ben is an absolute sweetie, I was disappointed with how he confronted the person responsible for keeping his son’s existence and death from him.  There was no yelling, no angry outburst and no threats.  Just a few sentences and then he left.  If there’s a situation that warrants a violent explosion, that was definitely it.

BREAKAWAY HEARTS is told in dual POVs and comes with a HEA for Ben and Hailey.  It is the second book in the Kelly Brothers series, but it can be read as a stand-alone as each book in the series is about a different Kelly brother.  I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series and I’m hoping we’ll see a little bit more of Ben and Hailey, because I want to see them have some more happy times.

Breakaway Hearts (Kelly Brothers # 2)

My Rating:  

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Kelly Brothers Series

Touch of Red (Tracers # 12)

By Laura Griffin

Synopsis

When crime scene investigator Brooke Porter arrives at the home of a murdered woman, the only thing more shocking than the carnage is the evidence that someone escaped the scene. But where is this witness now? A thorough search of the area yields more questions than answers, and before Brooke even packs up her evidence kit, she’s made it her goal to find the witness and get them out of harm’s way.

Homicide detective Sean Byrne has seen his share of bloody crime scenes, but this one is particularly disturbing, especially because Brooke Porter is smack in the middle of it. Sean has had his eye on the sexy CSI for months, and he’s determined to help her with her current case—even if it means putting his attraction on hold so he and Brooke can track down a murderer. But as the investigation—and their relationship—heats up, Sean realizes that keeping his work and his personal life separate is more complicated than he ever imagined; especially when the killer sets his sights on Brooke.

Review

I can’t say too much about TOUCH OF RED because I didn’t take a lot of notes while I was reading it.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not a good thing either, because it means there wasn’t a great deal about the book that I considered noteworthy, good or bad.

I thought the case was very interesting; it was my favorite part of the story and I really enjoyed reading about it.  I liked Sean, but at the same time, nothing about him stood out to me.  I liked Brooke, but she also annoyed me.  She’s intelligent and very devoted to her job, but at times she made decisions that left me thinking she was too stupid to live.  Under the guise of helping, she would put herself in situations that had a high chance of not ending well for her.  This was a woman who needed saving from herself.

TOUCH OF RED is told in dual POVs, but also in the POV of at least one other character.  It is part of a series, but it can be read as a stand-alone, and it does come with a happy ending for Sean and Brooke.

Touch of Red (Tracers # 12)

My Rating:  

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Tracers Series