Wild Cowboy by Gemma Snow

Wild Cowboy by Gemma Snow
The Sinclair Seven
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Action/Adventure, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Submitting to this wild cowboy is one hell of an adventure…

Environmental journalist Reece Prescott never expected to see the mysterious woman from the Turkish marketplace again, so to meet Morgan Tempest in the middle of a summer storm at the top of the Blackleaf Mountains knocks him sideways.

Their instant connection blows him away… and makes him want to return to The Ranch, the secret club he owns with six of his friends. It’ s the closest thing he has to home and the place he always finds himself avoiding when the anniversary of the worst day of his life rolls around. For Morgan Tempest, though, he might just be able to handle it.

Morgan has spent the last year reclaiming her independence and rebuilding her business. She’s in control and saying yes to life now. That includes the wild cowboy she meets in the mountains… and The Ranch, a place where everything she thought she knew about her boundaries—and desires—is challenged.

But before Reece and Morgan can explore everything the other has to offer, the real world comes crashing in, bringing with it climate disasters, armed mercenaries, corrupt politicians and their own troublesome pasts.

If they can survive all that, then maybe, just maybe, they’ll be ready for that next great adventure— falling in love.

Hot and satisfying.

I love a good Gemma Snow book and this one delivered. The writing flowed well and had me on the edge of my seat for the duration. I couldn’t get enough and will certainly look for more in this series. I felt like I was right there at the ranch with these characters. Holy smokes and the chemistry was off the charts.

Morgan and Reece are great together. I loved the instant chemistry and the willingness between them to explore what they needed. I love that this story is set in somewhere not a city club and wholly there for exploration. The real world aspects of the story are plausible and I needed to know what would happen next. I’m glad I did. This story scorched the page and I loved it.

If you’re looking for a solid story, hot characters and plenty of sizzle, then this is the one for you.

Touch the Wind by Janet Dailey

Touch the Wind by Janet Dailey
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Recent Historical, Romance, Action/Adventure
Rating: 2 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

All her life, beautiful Sheila got what she wanted. Now she yearned for the raw passion of a man beyond her reach, a violent, mysterious outlaw whose followers adored him. A lion of a man who held her for ransom—a man who would trade her for a fortune in gold. But Sheila wanted only him—with all the reckless longing of her body and soul.

Janet Dailey is a word weaver and master storyteller.

This isn’t the first book I’ve read by Janet Dailey and won’t be the last. I’ve loved many of her books. This one is a fantastic story, with sweeping narratives and moves along at a great pace. The writing is good, and I didn’t want to put it down.

That’s not to say it was my favorite book. There are certainly triggers in this book. I must say I liked Sheila and seeing her humanized. At the beginning of the book, she’s a bit of an ice princess, but also yearning so much for something she’ll take anything to get it. She was a bit one-dimensional, and I liked seeing her grow. That also said, I didn’t care for the hero or the way she was treated. There are scenes of abuse, scenes of violence and I never quite got the connection between the hero and heroine. She was better off with him in some ways than her husband, but in other ways…I wasn’t so sure. I wasn’t a fan of the hero, that’s all.

I have to also add this is a book from 1979. It reads like a book of that era–it’s a bodice ripper and there is certainly an air of almost toxic masculinity. Keep that in mind while reading. It’s meant to be over the top, hyper masculine and raw. To some, this might be a bad thing, but others this might be the fantasy type of hero they want to read about.

If you’re looking for something of that era, something hot and with a touch of romance, then this might be the one for you.

Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh

Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh
Psy-Changelings, Book 3
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Action/Adventure, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

As an Arrow, an elite soldier in the Psy Council ranks, Judd Lauren was forced to do terrible things in the name of his people. Now a defector, his dark abilities have made him the most deadly of assassins – cold, pitiless, unfeeling. Until he meets Brenna…

Brenna Shane Kincaid was an innocent before she was abducted – and had her mind violated – by a serial killer. Her sense of evil runs so deep, she fears she could become a killer herself. Then the first dead body is found, victim of a familiar madness. Judd is her only hope, yet her sensual changeling side rebels against the inhuman chill of his personality, even as desire explodes between them. Shocking and raw, their passion is a danger that threatens not only their hearts, but their very lives…

Complicated, hot and fantastic.

I’ve never read Nalini Singh before and I’m glad I remedied that. I can’t wait to go back and pick up more of her titles. This one was hot, so hot it scorched the pages, complicated – I’ve never read a world this intricate – and fantastic. The pacing was good, and the reveal was even better. I got emotionally involved in the story and didn’t want to put it down.

Brenna is a changeling with issues. Oh boy, does she have issues. She’s been traumatized and her past may be a trigger to some – there is violence and assault toward her – but this makes her who she is. She’s stronger than she thinks. I liked how Judd plays off her, too. He’s cold as ice and trained to be that way, but he’s got a reason. He’s an Arrow. An elite. He’s supposed to be tough, unyielding and strong. I like how he melts for her and the way their pairing progresses. It’s hot and sometimes painful, but worth the ride.

If you’re looking for something intense, then this might be the romance for you. I’m hooked.

A Pirate’s Love by Johanna Lindsey

A Pirate’s Love by Johanna Lindsey
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Action/Adventure, Romance, Historical
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Sailing westward toward the Caribbean sun, young Bettina Verlaine obediently sets out to fulfill the promise made by her father–but not by her heart — a prearranged marriage destined not to be…once the notorious Captain Tristan’s pirate ship appears on the horizon.

Abducted by the bold and handsome brigand, the pale-haired beauty surrenders her innocence in the warm caress of the tropical winds — detesting her virile captor for enslaving her. . .yet loving him for the passionate spell he casts over fragile, yearning heart.

He’s hot and he’s demanding…he’s also in charge.

I was given this book as part of a recommended reading list and I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. The writing flowed well and it’s certainly a throwback romance. I’ve never read a Johanna Lindsey before now, but I’m glad I did. I’m headed to check out more of her work after this one.

Tristan is everything a romance hero should be–he’s in charge, he’s dangerous and he’s demanding. He’s also a hot pirate, so that doesn’t hurt. Bettina is inexperienced, as I expected in a book like this, and he’s about to give her that experience. I liked the pairing because as much as he’s pushing her, she’s giving it right back to him. They play off each other well.

This is a bodice-ripper, though. He pushes to the point where it’s almost not attractive. I wasn’t a fan of him for most of the book, to be honest. He was just too…much for me. Bettina was a bit much, too. She’s a firebrand and she detests him, but she likes being with him. The push-pull got tiresome at times. I also wasn’t fond of the way the word rape was thrown around. I get it was dubious consent. Oh, boy, I got that. For me, it took me out of the story to have that word used so much.

Still, this was hot and there were times of tenderness. It’s a good read and one I’m glad I ticked off my reading list. You should, too.

The Well Of Hell by Greig Beck

The Well Of Hell by Greig Beck
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Action/Adventure, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

In the forbidden deserts of Yemen, a structure has been found – a buried pyramid – thousands of years older than anything previously known. And indications are, it was buried on purpose.

What is discovered inside could prove that we’re not alone in the universe. And terrifyingly, after 7000 years, there is a biological obscenity that remains, not yet dead.

Ancient writing suggests the pyramid’s builders have been taking humans for reasons that will tear at all sanity, and when evidence is found that in remote corners of the world people are still disappearing, the HAWCs are called to action.

In a final battle across two worlds – with the fate of the planet at stake – Alex Hunter and his team will be pushed to their very limits as they confront a horrifying and deadly army.

A buried pyramid has been found in the secret deserts of Yemen – one that appears to be thousands of years older than those of the Egyptians. Ancient writings appear to discuss how beings not from here crafted mind-destroying objects and all too soon various factions around the world are all converging for a fight no one truly understands. Alex Hunter and his team are right in the thick of it – but will this be a fight they can win?

This is an excellent story that ranges over quite a number of different genres and I feel should appeal to a very wide range of readers. There is plenty of action/adventure and an Army/military thrust to a lot of the plotline – especially in the second half of the book where the proverbial excrement hits the fan. There is also quite a healthy dose of science and archaeology related around the monsters and their pyramids and that side to the story, so readers who like those sorts of adventures should also be deeply satisfied. Finally, there is quite a bit of paranormal and Lovecraft kind of things going bump in the night and forces far greater than we mere humans at work. So roll all of that together, add in some tech gizmos and gear and a bunch of excellent characters and it all works together into one fantastic ride of a book.

While this is the tenth book featuring Alex Hunter, I don’t feel you need to have read all of them to follow along in this adventure. Readers who really dislike landing halfway through a series might find there’s a bit of background they need to catch up to on the fly – but as long as the general idea is grasped this actual story is fairly well contained in itself and I found it quite easy to pick up and follow along when I haven’t read the last few books in this series for quite some time. I feel this story might be better appreciated with some prior knowledge of the key players and main points – but for sure it can be picked up by itself and still greatly enjoyed.

Overall, I found this to be an exceptionally plotted story with a number of different and well-woven-together parts. There are a few longer-term story arcs I was happy to catch up on and clearly there’s a general direction where these wider ranging parts to the story is heading. This book can stand well on its own and has a wonderfully fresh plotline with enough realism to it to be just this side of scary because it’s so very believable. A great read and an author I can strongly recommend.

The Real Thing by Elizabeth Hollows

The Real Thing by Elizabeth Hollows
Publisher: Totally Entwined
Genre: LGBTQ, Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Action/Adventure
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

One soldier home from training. Two best friends secretly in love. A plan to fake a romantic Valentine’s weekend. Will it be happiness or heartbreak?

Chad Anderson is a proud soldier with a promising career. He has almost got the perfect life, but for one small snag. Chad has been holding a candle for his best friend since he was seventeen.

Gareth Jenkins lives with him, along with his rescue dog. It’s the perfect arrangement and almost as good as the real thing—but it isn’t the real thing.

To make matters worse, it’s Valentine’s Day, and Chad will be returning from training for the holiday. It would be the ideal time to confess—but it has been nearly ten years. It’s long past the time to say something.

But he isn’t the only one with a candle.

Gareth might be a confident hairdresser with a flirtatious manner and easy-to-love personality, but it doesn’t help him where it counts. Because Gareth’s first love is his sexy soldier best friend, and one of these days, Gareth is sure he’s going to ruin everything with an unwanted kiss.

And if things aren’t bad enough for both of them, Chad comes up with an idea that might spell the end for their secrets. Because, instead of spending Valentine’s alone, he suggests they spend it having the weekend they’ve always wanted.

To do it, they’ll fake being a romantic couple.

When what they want is playing out right in front of them, can both men keep their feelings contained?

Two best friends, a yearning so deep it’s never going away and a love to last forever.

I love the work of Elizabeth Hollows, so I knew I had to read this book. I wasn’t disappointed. This was a quickly paced book, with endearing characters and a lot of humor.

Gareth loves Chad and Chad loves him, but like life, sometimes it takes a while to work out. I loved that the author gave these characters time to figure out what they wanted, while showing they had it all along. I like the idea of a fake it ’til they make it situation and this one delivers. Plus, it’s hot!

If you’re looking for a sweet, hot story with some great friends to lovers, then this might be the one for you. Try it!

The Akseli by Dianne Duvall, Kirsten Potter (Narrator)

The Akseli by Dianne Duvall, Kirsten Potter (Narrator)
Aldebarian Alliance, Book 4
Publisher: Self-Published, Tantor Audio (Publisher)
Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Action/Adventure
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Simone has hunted and slain psychotic vampires night after night for hundreds of years and desperately needs a change. When the leader of the Immortal Guardians offers her an opportunity to guard ten mortal women who are venturing to another planet, she dives right in and finds traveling into space and meeting amazing alien races just as exciting as she’d hoped… until an enemy attacks. Simone saves everyone she can before she’s thrust into an escape pod and the ship explodes. Alone, fearing some—if not all—of her friends have been killed, she vows to seek vengeance.

Despite his fierce reputation and propensity for violating the law, Janwar has formed a friendship with strait-laced Prince Taelon of Lasara. When the prince’s ship is destroyed, Janwar joins the massive Aldebarian Alliance-wide search and rescue mission and soon locates the Gathendien ship that launched the attack. An odd thing happens, however, as he and his crew stealthily approach it. The lifeforms inside begin to perish, two or three at a time in quick succession. Much to his surprise, someone else has reached the ship first: one of the very Earth women he hoped to rescue.

Fascinatingly fierce, Simone bands together with Janwar and his crew to search for her missing friends and wreak havoc upon those who wish to harm them. She also widens eyes, drops jaws, and sparks laughter and mischief as she banishes the warriors’ world-weariness and makes each day seem like a new adventure. The friendship that grows between Janwar and Simone swiftly deepens into love. But the enemy warriors they face are tenacious and boast more weapons in their arsenal than the alliance knows. Can Janwar, Simone, and such a small crew vanquish them?

Looking for an edge-of-your-seat, romantic suspense, sci-fi adventure that will knock your socks off? The Akseli is definitely the book to check out. There are space battles, sword fights, alien monsters, narrow escapes, action behind enemy lines on an ice planet, an A.I. program that can actually be considered a secondary character, and a romance that made my little heart go pitter-patter.

That list is only a tiny fraction of what made this story stand out as it amazed and enthralled me and had me listening to the audio version twice – some scenes, thrice. Lest a reader worry that it’s all flash-bang action, I assure you that there are tender moments, sweet moments, character dialogue that made me sniffle and my heart hurt for some of the guys in the scenes. Janwar’s crew each have their own story, and I will tell you, every single one needs their own HEA. You want tortured heroes? Men who’ve been hurt, scorned, made examples of and treated as pariahs by either their culture or their families? My heart broke for each of these brave men that Janwar now calls family. They all have good hearts, are actually noble and, even having chosen an unorthodox career in order to survive, have resisted becoming villains and instead kept their honor and are fiercely loyal to Janwar and to each other. How could the heroine NOT fall in love with Janwar and his ‘family’?

The Gathendiens are back being their dastardly, disgusting, vile, smelly selves – they are the perfect villains. They hate everyone and are bent on genocide towards any civilized planet that has something that they want. And they are not the only characters with defunct moral compasses – a reader finds out there are more deviant, greedy, power-hungry beings that will do anything for power and/or money. One of them reminds me of a character from the second set of Star Wars movies, and the other, is too close to a real-life villain. But I won’t go there. This novel is about a hero and heroine who defy and overcame incredible odds, all in order to rescue victims and friends from evil aliens. The story is about Janwar and Simone falling in love even while in the thick of things. It’s about a man who becomes better, stronger, more focused and more heroic all because of the love of a strong woman with a zest for life and adventure. It’s about acceptance, embracing differences and finding common goals. All of that is woven in throughout the novel with excellent storytelling skill.

If fans listen to the audio version, they are in for an experience of delight, entertainment, laughter and being 100% engaged and invested in every character’s wellbeing. The narrating talent of Ms. Potter is second to none. Each character has their own voice and Ms. Potter uses her voice skills flawlessly. I’ve yet to experience another narrator with her consistent range and ability to express emotions only through voice. Yes, the writing has to have it first, and it does, but the narration explodes the story into brilliant life. It’s one of the reasons that, when it comes to Ms. Duvall’s books, I purchase them in all three formats, audio, print and ebook. I’m always so satisfied, I find it well worth the investment.

The Akseli is a star-quality novel that gives readers a top-notch reading experience that thrills and entertains non-stop, all the way to the perfect and romantic happy ever after ending, with an irresistible hook for the next adventure in the series. Sign me up! I simply can’t get enough of this wonderful universe Ms. Duvall has created through the Aldebarian Alliance. It’s a book addiction worth having.

Dirty Little Lies by Lora Leigh

Dirty Little Lies by Lora Leigh
A Men of Summer novel
Publisher: St Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Action/Adventure, Erotic Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Zack Richards knows he’s asking for trouble. Trying to protect a member of the notorious Maddox family could get a man killed—even a battle-scarred, muscle-ripped alpha like Zack. But the woman who has captured his wildest fantasies is nothing like the rest of her power-hungry clan. She’s innocent, beautiful, and has quickly become the one shining light in his dark, desperate world. The only woman worth fighting for…and dying for…

Her name is Grace Maddox—and everybody knows that she is a marked woman. Targeted for her family’s sins and hunted like a wild animal, Grace has no choice but to accept Zack’s protection. In his arms, she finally feels safe. In his eyes, she sees an insatiable desire that mirrors her own. But the truth is dangerous—and could end up tearing them apart. Will surrendering to Zack end up being the biggest mistake of Grace’s life?

Lots of lies, lots of love and a lot of heat.

I know when I pick up a book by Lora Leigh that I’ll get something fantastic. This book was no different. There was heart, heat and so much steam. The writing flowed well and caught me right up in the story from page one. I didn’t want to put it down, even though I had to…darn sleeping anyway.

Zack loves Grace. Always sort of has, but he knows she’s off-limits. Then he’s given the task of protecting her and decides a fake relationship is what will do the job the best. I liked that he was so take-charge about it. He knew what was best. But I also liked that she didn’t let him just do whatever he wanted. She challenged him all the way and that was great, too. Grace isn’t a wilting flower. She’s just as strong, even if she’s caught in something she doesn’t understand.

I liked the chemistry between Grace and Zack and could tell he’d give his life for her. The heat between them scorched the pages.

If you’re looking for something hot on an autumn afternoon, then this might be the book for you. Recommended.

Operation: Syria by William Meikle

Operation: Syria by William Meikle
Publisher: Severed Press
Genre: Contemporary, Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

A trip to a war zone to rescue trapped archaeologists finds the S-Squad in a remote desert region of lost cities and temples. They quickly discover that they are not alone among the ruins.

First they find the bodies, then they find the webs, then they’re in real trouble when the spiders attack.

Big spiders.

Lots of them.

Captain Banks had been about to ask his commanding officer for some leave for their team after they had come through a number of bizarre missions in a very short timeframe. Instead, Captain Banks is told his team is needed to leave for Syria – immediately – to rescue a group of archaeologists who have issued an emergency call after being attacked by rebels. Banks and the S-Squad gear up, hoping this will be a quick in and out, but they quickly discover that the rebels are the least of their concerns.

I have read a number of these books and always find them a delightful romp of a tale. On the shorter side of a full-length novel, I’ve found they are always quick into the action with plenty of large-scale monsters, a bunch of energy, plenty of sweary Scottish squaddies and a dollop or two of fun and plot. They are easy to read, and I love the authors tone and pace – I’ve always found them quick and a delight to read. They’re an adventurous blast in so many ways I love them. If you’re a fan of B grade “monster” movies this is an excellent series to sink your teeth into.

There is always an interesting amount of character growth in these stories, but I have to be honest the characters are more the vessels for the plot and storyline – not the driving force. This time the monster-of-the-day is enormous spiders and I enjoyed how the author meshed this with the archaeologists and the dig they were working on. While the plot wasn’t overly convoluted, that wasn’t what I wanted or needed for this story and I absolutely felt that the balance between action, monsters and the characters (both the archaeologists and the S-Squad team) was really well handled.

Switch off your brain, grab a drink then relax and enjoy this fast paced, fun and light story. I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to dig into the next.

By Any Other Name by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

By Any Other Name by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

DEA agent Riley Scanlon and teacher Olivia Thackery were deep in love when they renovated an old house in Arkansas and planned for their April wedding.

When a fire swept through Riley’s mobile home, Olivia refuses tp accept his death but as the months pass, her head knows the truth but her heart still holds hope. A dream sends her to Memphis, Tennessee, on a wild goose chase search for her lost love although it’s a long shot.

In a chance meeting, she finds him on Beale Street only to realize that the danger is greater than she could have ever imagined and their lives are about to change, irrevocably and forever.

Gripping, emotional and lovely.

I love the work of Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy. She writes well and I’m always drawn into the stories. This one was no different. I couldn’t get enough of Riley and Olivia’s tale. It pulled at my heartstrings and made me want more.

This is an emotional book. Olivia is about to marry the man of her dreams, but his trailer burns to the ground, and she believes he’s dead. I can’t imagine being in her shoes and I don’t want to say I enjoyed, but rather, I appreciated the journey she went on with her emotions. The author showed these well and I was immersed in the story. I felt for Olivia.

This one had serious feels throughout. If you’re looking for a story that’s got a few twists and turns, moves fast and will leave you happy, then this is the one you’re looking for. Check it out.