Category Archives: Read by Vicki

Roman (Cold Fury # 7)

By Sawyer Bennett

Synopsis

In a league full of troublemakers, Cold Fury defenseman Roman Sýkora stands out—at least when it comes to negative publicity. When he’s not chilling in the penalty box, the sizzling Czech skate demon is racking up tabloid headlines for his scandalous behavior with the ladies. But now Roman’s feeling the burn from management to clean up his act, or else. Luckily he’s got an enticing distraction: a fun-loving barista who plays the ukulele and brings out a side of Roman he didn’t know he had.

Lexi Robertson came to Raleigh, North Carolina, to finally meet her father, Brian Brannon, and her half sister, Gray, both of whom work in the Cold Fury’s front office. That’s where she first meets sexy, intimidating Roman—who’s really a big softie at heart. As one relationship takes off, another begins: Brian seems to be clicking with Lexi’s boss at the coffee shop. But when the friction between Roman and her new family heats up, Lexi wonders whether she’s a pawn in their game. Feeling hurt and foolish, Lexi’s ready to quit while she’s ahead. Trouble is, Roman’s not ready to quit on her.

Review

I really liked Roman.  Yes, he has a bad reputation, but underneath his I-don’t-give-a-shit exterior is a generous man who gives more to the community than anyone realises.  He makes no apologies for who he is and he refuses to change his behaviour for anyone…until he meets Lexi.  He wants to impress her and although he’s never been in a relationship before, he knows there’s something special about her and is not afraid to see how far they could go.  I liked him from beginning to end, but I fell in love with him when he gave Lexi her birthday present, which was so thoughtful and unbelievably sweet.  I hardly ever use the word ‘swoon worthy’, but that birthday present scene was totally swoon worthy.

I really liked Lexi as well, who is down-to-earth, friendly and very open; a complete opposite to her newly-found father (Brian) and half-sister (Gray), who are a lot more reserved.  In one aspect, she was like Roman: she is who she is and you can take her or leave her.  But she has such a bright personality that people can’t help but be drawn to her.

While I really liked Roman and Lexi as a couple, their story didn’t grab me.  It took me a few days to finish, and I can honestly say that this is not normal when it comes to this series, as I usually devour them within a day.  On top of that, it pains me to say that my opinion of Gray⎯who I liked and respected in her own story⎯did a complete 180 here.  She came across as rude, spiteful and unprofessional towards Roman, and I felt that their burying of the hatchet, followed immediately by their playful sibling-like banter, was too neat and easy after having been at each other’s throats for the first 90% of the book.  Finally, I was deeply disappointed that Lexi was not included in the reading of her paternity results.  That could have been a huge and emotional family bonding experience and yet the main character was not involved.  Sometimes it’s the story that wins you over and sometimes it’s the characters.  In this case, it was definitely Roman and Lexi…and Brian and Georgia.

ROMAN is told not only in Roman and Lexi’s POV, but also in Brian’s POV.  We get to watch him fall in love with his new daughter while he also gets a special ladylove of his very own.  That’s right, in this book you get two love stories for the price of one.  It comes with two HEAs and makes way for the next book, LUCAS, which comes out in September and will feature a new-to-the-team player and Max’s brother.

Roman (Cold Fury # 7)

My Rating:  

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Cold Fury Series

Nova (The Renegades # 2)

By Rebecca Yarros

Synopsis

He’s got one shot to make it right…

He’s Landon Rhodes.
The Renegade they call Nova.
Sinfully gorgeous, broody, tatted-up, professional snowboarder.

They say a girl broke him once–
That’s why he’s so reckless, so driven, so careless with his conquests.
But I’m that girl.
They can call me his curse all they want.
He and I both know the truth–
He’s the one who destroyed me,
And I’m too smart to let that happen again

Review

NOVA is the second book in The Renegades series and is a second-chance romance between Landon (Nova) and Rachel.  Here’s what we learnt about them in the first book.  Rachel was dating Paxton (from book 1) but cheated on him with Landon.  They fell in love and made plans for their future, but Paxton (out of anger and jealousy), gave Landon an ultimatum: the Renegades or Rachel, because he couldn’t have both.  Landon chose the Renegades, breaking his heart and Rachel’s in the process.  Flash forward two and a half years later and Paxton regrets his ultimatum and hates what he turned Landon in to.  He has therefore created an opportunity for Rachel and Landon to be on the Study at Sea program together in the hopes they’ll reconnect.

So Landon is your typical manwhore who, after breaking up with the love of his life, went out and slept with every woman who made herself available.  Of course, that bites him in the arse when he tries to win Rachel back and she keeps using his reputation against him.  His reasons for leaving her were kind of stupid, but he does a really good job of proving to her that he will never choose anyone or anything over her ever again.  While you can feel that he really does love her, I was disappointed that he never made any effort to win her back until after he found out she was on board the ship.

I loved that Rachel was never afraid to tell Landon exactly how badly he broke her heart when he chose the Renegades over her.  I liked that she didn’t forgive him straight away, didn’t fall back into bed with him straight away, and that she made him work for her forgiveness.  I thought her conflicting feelings and how she processed them were realistic.

I enjoyed NOVA, although I will admit that I skimmed through it, focusing more on the conversations and skipping over the inner monologue that I sometimes found a little repetitive.  NOVA is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series, it could be read as a stand-alone.  There is no epilogue but there is a really sweet HFN ending for Landon and Rachel.  Penna (Rebel) will get the next book in the series, and I hope a little romance will brighten up her not-so-sunny personality she displayed in this book.

Nova (The Renegades # 2)

My Rating:  

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The Renegades Series

A Harmless Little Plan (Harmless # 3)

By Meli Raine

Synopsis

Turns out there was a second video from that awful night four years ago. Mine wasn’t the only tape.

Too bad mine wasn’t the worst.

Drew can’t protect me no matter how hard he tries, but the roles are flipped now. I have to help him, but I’m not wired that way. Not anymore. That one night changed me more than anyone knows.

More than anyone could predict.

Three men think they’re above the law. They’re right.

But I’m willing to go beneath the law to make sure they never harm anyone else. Their threats don’t scare me. 

When you have nothing left to lose because someone took it all away, you create the most dangerous creature imaginable.

Me.

Game over.

Review

After loving and quickly devouring the first two books in the Harmless trilogy, I’m sad to say that I found A HARMLESS LITTLE PLAN to be a little disappointing.  Why?  Because despite the happy-for-now ending, I felt there was no real closure in this story.  There are a lot of loose threads and unanswered questions, and I am not a fan of either of those things.

After finding out in the first book that Lindsay’s three friends lied to the police and media about her rape, we never heard about them again or found out why they turned against her.  What did they get out of it?  We never found out why Drew’s friends turned against him either.  Yes, they got money and fame, but what they did to Lindsay and Drew was so hateful and violent that there had to be more to it than just getting paid.  We do find out that people within the NSA, CIA and FBI all have their fingers in this scandalous pie, but we never heard about them being arrested.  Then I have to wonder, if the man pulling the strings was so well connected, why did he feel so threatened and why did he need to have Lindsay raped in the first place?  But then I guess if there’s no rape, there’s no story.  It was also mentioned that this same man may have been involved in the killing of Drew’s parents, and that someone high up (we don’t know where) targeted Drew because they think he’s a threat.  Both of these claims were never investigated and we didn’t find out if these claims were true.  These are just a handful of questions I was left with at the end of this book.  Will they be answered in another book or series, or will we be left hanging?

The first 50% of the book is where all the excitement lies.  After that, the book slows down a lot as we watch Lindsay and Drew heal from their ordeal.  I liked both Drew and Lindsay and was very glad to see them get their revenge and happy ending.  I was hoping to find just one redeeming quality in Lindsay’s mother, but by the end of this book I hated her as much as I did in the beginning of the series.  Throughout the series, I’ve alternated between liking and hating her father, and in the end I found him gutless.  He does love his daughter, but I think he loves his career more and will put it before her.

A HARMLESS LITTLE PLAN is told in dual POVs and is the final book in the Harmless trilogy, which cannot be read as stand-alones.  There is no epilogue, but it comes with a HFN ending.  Honestly, if all the loose threads had been taken care of, if nothing was left unresolved, this would have been a 5❤️ read for sure.

Please Note:  This book contains scenes that may be triggers for some people.

A Harmless Little Plan (Harmless #3)

My Rating:  

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Harmless Series

A Harmless Little Ruse (Harmless # 2)

By Meli Raine

Synopsis

She has no idea what she’s doing. Loose cannons never hit their targets.
And they take out plenty of collateral damage.

Four years ago Lindsay experienced the unspeakable right before me, and I couldn’t stop them.
But that’s all changed now.

When her father, Senator Bosworth, contacted me to ask — demand — that I protect her, it was a second chance. A shot at redemption.
An opportunity to right an unspeakable wrong.

Controlling Lindsay as she seeks her revenge on the monsters who hurt her won’t be hard.
Containing my own out-of-control feelings for Lindsay and keeping up this ruse of cold-blooded distance will be.

Even harder than admitting to her what really happened that night four years ago.
It turns out I don’t have to, though.
Someone else did it for me.
And I’ll make sure they regret it.

Review

A HARMLESS LITTLE RUSE continues on from A HARMLESS LITTLE GAME, however in this part of the trilogy we are seeing the story from Drew’s POV.  Again, this review will be kind of vague because I can’t say anything without giving away spoilers.

At the end of book 1, Drew and Lindsay rekindled their relationship and appeared to be on the same page.  But in the beginning of this book, Lindsay does something that has him questioning her feelings and intentions.  While she spent most of the first book questioning whether she could trust him, now it’s his turn to question whether he can trust her.  They spend this book trying to heal old wounds while Drew works on his revenge plans against those who hurt them, but they always seem to be one step ahead of him, as proven by the cliffhanger we are left with.  I’m still not a fan of her parents, who seem to care more about the election than their only child, and I still don’t know who is friend or foe.

We learn more about what happened that night four years ago, and I honestly didn’t think I could hate those three monsters more, but I was wrong.  Despite the new information, all the questions I had from the first book remain unanswered, and I truly hope they will be answered in the next book.  This was another quick read that easily held my attention.

Please Note:  This book contains scenes that may be triggers for some people.

A Harmless Little Ruse (Harmless # 2)

My Rating:  

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Harmless Series

King’s Captive

By Amber Bardan

Synopsis

For three years, I’ve belonged to Julius King. 

Some people would think being stuck on a private island is heaven, but this is my hell.  

Because I’m not here as a guest. Not even close. I’m a prisoner. I’m his. 

Julius King. Powerful. Wealthy. Dangerous. 

There are parts of me he wants that I can’t give him. When he looks at me, there are times I swear he sees someone else. And the scary part is that sometimes, when he touches me, I think he may be someone else, too. 

Though my body might be tempted, and he might control everything else, I can’t let him have any piece of my heart. I won’t. But every day, the fight gets harder, and Julius manages to slip past my defenses in the most unexpected ways.  

I have to find out the truth about Julius King. Even if it destroys me. 

Review

This is going to be a fairly short review, because KING’S CAPTIVE is practically one giant plot twist in the making, and to talk about any of it could be considered a spoiler.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t get this one.  It is told mostly in the present, but also includes flashbacks to an event three years ago, aptly called Bloody Birthday.  That is the day Julius arrived at Sarah’s family home and took her for himself.  Each flashback is designed to give us a piece of the puzzle, but trying to keep track of those pieces was hard given that they were provided out of order.  By that I mean the first flashback takes place at 3.00pm, then 3.15 pm, then 1.20 pm, then 1.40 pm, then 3.30 pm, then 1.56 pm, etc.  Trying to keep track of what happened in the past, and how it related to what was happening in the present, became too much for me and ultimately affected my enjoyment of this story.

You know how you sometimes watch a movie, but when you watch it a second time and know how it ends, everything suddenly makes sense?  I think this is one of those books that would make more sense the second time around.  Maybe then I wouldn’t be left with so many questions.

KING’S CAPTIVE is told in dual POVs, but mostly in Sarah’s.  It is a stand-alone and it comes with a HEA.  While I didn’t enjoy it, I’m sure there are plenty of others who will love it.

King’s Captive

My Rating:  

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Shaken, Not Stirred (Last Call # 5)

By Sawyer Bennett

br-0202-shaken-not-stirred

Synopsis

She swore she would never fall to any man.
He took one look at her and vowed to bring her down.

Casey Markham is a man-eater in a rut. Swearing off relationships may keep her heart safe, but she’s beginning to question if her casual flings will ever leave her satisfied. She’s wondering if it’s finally time to let go of the past and stop letting history control her future.

Bad boy biker, Tenn Jennings can’t get Casey off his mind. A chance encounter with the beautiful blond has left its mark, and now he’s determined to prove her wrong about everything she thought she knew about men.

It’s safe to say… Casey Markham has met her match.

Review

SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED is the fifth and final book in the Last Call series and is about Casey (Hunter and Brody’s little sister) and Tenn (a new arrival in town).

After having her heart broken at the tender age of eighteen, Casey has sworn of relationships.  She avoids good, kind and honest men because those types have the potential to thaw the ice around her heart.  Instead, she sleeps with men exactly like her first boyfriend, because when she disposes of them and makes them feel worthless, she doesn’t feel worthless herself.  I liked her enough, but at times I found her a little immature and I didn’t like it when she played games, especially with Tenn.

I really liked Tenn.  He seemed like a cool and easygoing guy and I loved how much he loved his daughter, willing to move across the country to be closer to her.  However, for a man who hates his ex-wife because of the mind games she plays, I was surprised that he didn’t seem to have a problem with Casey’s games and that he would play them himself at times.

SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  I thought I recognised Tenn’s name, but it wasn’t until he talked about being a cowboy that I realised he’s Woolf’s brother from The Wicked Horse series, which is a spin-off of this series.  Yes, I read the series out of order.  It also took me a while to realise that Kyle (Andrea’s brother) is the same Kyle from WICKED BOND, the undercover ATF agent that was killed.  Spoiler alert:  He wasn’t really killed, because his own book, FINDING KYLE, came out last month.

Shaken, Not Stirred (Last Call # 5)

My Rating:  

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Last Call Series

A Harmless Little Game (Harmless # 1)

By Meli Raine

Synopsis

Four years ago I lost my virginity on live, streaming television.
Too bad I wasn’t awake for it.
The video went viral. Of course it would. A Senator’s daughter on camera? Wouldn’t you click “share”? Besides, that’s what three of the four guys in the video did.
Share.

They shared me.

But that fourth guy? The nondescript one in the background in the upper left corner of the screen, just sitting on the couch? The only one who did nothing?
Not one single thing.
That was my boyfriend, Drew.
And that was the last time I saw him.

Until today, when my father—now on a path to the White House—hired him as head of security for my new team as I return home after four years of “recovering” in an undisclosed location that involved white lab coats, needles, pills and damage control.

You see, the other three guys never went to jail. Never had charges pressed.
Never faced consequences.
Until today.
Game on.

Review

WOW!  A HARMLESS LITTLE GAME is a book that grabbed me right from the very first page and did not let me go.  I know a book is good when I’m up until 1am reading.  Since this is the first book in the Harmless trilogy that focuses on Lindsay and her desire for revenge, I can’t say much, so this will be a fairly short review.

What Lindsay went through four years ago was horrific.  What’s worse is that the men involved got away with it.  If that doesn’t fire up your anger, I don’t know what will.  I really felt for her and I admired the strength and courage she displayed to stand up for herself.  I also liked Drew, who is a very quiet and controlled man.  I have a feeling that when his control slips, the fallout will be huge and it’s going to be a sight to behold.  I absolutely hated her parents, especially her mother.  Honestly, if it turns out that she had something to do with what happened to her daughter, I would not be surprised at all.  The scene where Lindsay stood up to her mother was awesome and I was so cheering her on.

This book left me with a lot of questions.  Questions that I’m sure will be answered in the following two books.  How did those men get away with it?  Who is protecting them?  Why did they do it?  Did someone put them up to it?  Who is her friend?  Who is her enemy?  Who is telling the truth?  I have so many more questions, but I can’t list them here without giving away some spoilers.

This first part of the trilogy takes place over two to three days and ends in a cliffhanger.  I did find it a little repetitive at times, and I also got annoyed when Drew kept telling Lindsay that she had no idea what she was in for.  I wanted to yell at him to just tell her already, but I guess that would have shortened the story quite a bit.  A HARMLESS LITTLE GAME is told only in Lindsay’s POV, with the next book in the trilogy being told in Drew’s POV, which I’m really looking forward to because I can’t wait to get inside his head.

Please Note:  This book contains scenes that may be triggers for some people.

A Harmless Little Game (Harmless # 1)

My Rating:  

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Harmless Series

The Pine Forest (The Iridescent Realm # 2)

By Michelle Dare

Synopsis

One touch, one spark, two lives forever changed.

Pine and Azure. The war between the two kingdoms lasted far too long. Peace was finally established, but the survivors would never forget who fought on the front lines. Oliver Sage had a reputation for being a ruthless knight. He’d seen enough death to last a lifetime and worked on putting the past behind him, although not all would let him forget.

Addison was the only daughter of King and Queen Azure. With three brothers, she knew she’d always be protected, but she also wanted to learn how to take care of herself. She was strong, had a good heart, and wanted to be treated as an equal. Magical abilities ran in her family, and she had one no one knew of.

Oliver had given his heart to one princess, until the night he dreamed of another. Addison was the last woman he should desire, especially given who she was. However, what if she wanted him as well? They’d hated each other their entire lives, but suddenly couldn’t resist the desire which built between them. There were also those who didn’t think they should be together. Forbidden romance could only stay hidden for so long in the dark depths of the Pine Forest.

Review

I’ve had a soft spot for Oliver since meeting him in THE AZURE KINGDOM.  It was so sad to see the woman he was promised, the woman he’d sworn to protect, the woman he was in love with, fall in love with someone else, and I really wanted him to get his own HEA.  THE PINE FOREST did not disappoint.

I really liked Oliver, who is the Pine Kingdom’s fiercest knight and the King’s most trusted friend.  He’s cool under pressure and strong in battle.  He’s kind, loyal, honest and has a good sense of humour.  I liked Addison and thought her magical abilities were interesting, but I felt those abilities were not displayed to their full potential.  I was also disappointed that, for a woman who trains with soldiers and was constantly saying she could protect herself, we never saw her showcase her fighting skills.  I was waiting for her to go all badass on someone, but that didn’t happen.

As bad as this will sound, not a great deal happens in this book.  Oliver and Addison meet, they touch and feel a spark, they communicate in their dreams, they fall in love, her life is threatened, they defeat the threat, the end.  But you know what?  I think that’s a good thing, because sometimes there can be so much going on in a story that the relationship takes a backseat.  Here though, their relationship was front and centre.  Despite the connection they feel to each other, they don’t rush things.  Instead, their relationship builds up slowly and they get to know each other over several weeks while they come to terms with the fact that only a few months earlier, they were at war.

THE PINE FOREST is told in dual POVs, with the epilogue being told in Elliott Azure’s (Addison’s brother) POV, who I assume will get the next book in the series.  He is very hateful of the Pine Kingdom despite his family’s desire to put the past behind them, and I hope to see him come around in his own book.

The Pine Forest (The Iridescent Realm # 2)

My Rating:  

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The Iridescent Realm Series

With A Twist (Last Call # 4)

By Sawyer Bennett

br-0125-with-a-twist

Synopsis

Wyatt Banks is ready to give one woman the world. Unfortunately, his job as a cop tends to interfere with other goals. When Wyatt is sent deep undercover to investigate a sex slave ring, he doesn’t have time to do anything but focus on staying alive in a dark and dangerous underworld.

Wyatt isn’t alone though in his quest to save the women that are being sold into sexual slavery.

His partner, FBI Agent Andrea Somerville, is immersed just as deeply as he is, and she’s the bait to lure the sex slavers out into the open, as she poses as an erotic dancer in an attempt to snare the enemy. But danger runs as high as the sparks between them, and now Wyatt is caught between the job he loves and the woman he wants.

Review

WITH A TWIST is the fourth book in the Last Call series and is about Wyatt (Hunter’s best friend) and Andrea.

As I write this review, I realise that I can’t remember much about Wyatt or Andrea, and I find that interesting given I only finished their story less than a week ago.  The only thing that stands out is that it was Andrea who had the courage to track Wyatt down to see if they could forge a relationship.  I liked that she wasn’t afraid to go after what she wanted, but I was disappointed that Wyatt was.  They’re both in law enforcement and they’re both nice, but other than that, I’m drawing a blank.

Sadly, WITH A TWIST is my least favourite book in this series.  Not only were the characters unmemorable, but there was no conflict between them and the conclusion of the undercover assignment seemed unrealistic.  I could be wrong but I don’t think undercover agents would blow their cover when it wasn’t a matter of life or death, especially when they’ve got a whole FBI team waiting just down the road.  I would think the team would come in and arrest everyone⎯including Wyatt and Andrea to keep their cover safe⎯and that by blowing their cover, the criminals would know exactly who put them in prison and would most likely organise to have them killed as payback.  In fact, that’s what I kept expecting to happen as the story progressed, but as it turns out, when the bad guys were arrested, that part of the story was put to bed.

WITH A TWIST is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.

With A Twist (Last Call # 4)

My Rating:  

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Last Call Series

Ruthless (Playboys in Love # 2)

By Gina L. Maxwell

Synopsis

People call me Ruthless for a reason.

Whether I’m in the court room or in the bedroom, my reputation is well-earned. I’m either working hard, working out, or working my way into some woman’s panties. But none of them share my particular kink, and I walk away feeling unsatisfied.

Until I met her.

She’s a friend of a friend, which makes her off-limits in my book. But then temptation had me by the balls and I had her up against a wall. She literally fucked my world off its axis, but it can’t happen again.

My plan was avoidance, but that got blown to shit when my firm hired her as a new junior attorney. Now I’m her boss, and I’m supposed to act like I don’t want to bend her over my desk every five minutes.

But I’ve never held myself back with anything before, so consequences be damned. It’s time to take what I want and show her how damn good it feels…to be ruthless.

Review

RUTHLESS is the second book in the Playboys in Love series and considering I thought this series was about male strippers falling in love, I was surprised⎯and a little disappointed⎯there was only one stripping scene throughout the entire story.  Hot men stripping?  More, please.

I loved Addison, who is a very smart and confident woman.  She’s not ashamed of her sexuality and is very capable of keeping her personal and professional relationships with Roman separate.  She’s a fierce woman who has no problem putting Roman in his place, but she’s not a bitch.  The only time she caused me to roll my eyes was when she realised she was in love with Roman immediately after having her first threesome with him and one of his friends.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around that one.

While I loved Addison, I wasn’t sold on Roman, a.k.a. Ruthless.  Roman is your clichéd playboy, one who avoids commitment because his parents are divorced and he occasionally handles divorce cases in his job as an attorney.  Even the breakup Roman caused was clichéd in my opinion.  I also wasn’t a fan of his physical description when he wasn’t in lawyer mode.  All the bling, piercings and chains were not a turn on for me.  But his sex scene were HOT!

RUTHLESS is told in dual POVs and came with a HFN ending for Roman and Addison.  While it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  We saw a lot of Roman’s best friend and stripper business partner⏤Austin⏤in this book, which has me wondering if he will get the next one.

Ruthless (Playboys in Love # 2)

My Rating:  

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Playboys In Love Series