Love & Moonshine by Aliyah Burke


Love & Moonshine by Aliyah Burke
Publisher: Totally Entwined
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Going home can be the best medicine.

Country boy Colum Boyle has been home to work the family farm for a while now. He’s shocked when he’s sent to pick up his sister’s best friend for a wedding, and he realizes he’s never gotten over her.

Veterinarian Xaya Asher isn’t sure all the mental preparation in the world has her ready to face Colum again. The sparks between them are combustible and soon the flames erupt.

Do these two have what it takes to overcome the obstacles before them?

Steam, second chances and heart.

I have read other books by Aliyah Burke and I’ve never been let down. The streak continues. This book was fantastic and I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what would happen next and got emotionally involved with the characters.

I love a good redemption story and this one fit the bill. Colum never felt good enough for Xaya and he knows his limits. He also knows he’s attracted to her. He can’t keep away from her. I liked his ability to be sweet and still goof up. He’s relatable and human, which was great for the hero. Xaya loves him and always has. Now that she’s got to be in close contact with him, she sees him for who he is–the man who loves her. I loved how they gave each other a run for their money. They were perfectly matched, even if they drove each other nuts.

If you’re looking for a book that’s got lots of heart, heat and one that you won’t be able to put down, then this is the one for you.

The Love Token by Raven McAllan


The Love Token by Raven McAllan
Publisher: Totally Entwined
Genre: Historical, Erotic Romance, Action/Adventure, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Spies, smugglers, scandals. Stealth, seduction and sex. All they had to do was decide which was theirs to take and what had to be earned. And hope they reached their happily ever after.

Jonathon, Viscount Carville, soldier, spy and would-be lover of Miss Miranda Riston, has accepted a mission to discover who is smuggling contraband into East Yorkshire. Her papa, however, is convinced Jonathon is dead, and wishes her to marry elsewhere. Miranda refuses and is delighted to find Jonathon is very much alive but working undercover on behalf of the British Government.

More is at stake than just a few shillings of tax duty owed.

Among their close friends and acquaintances there is a traitor working against the crown on behalf of Emperor Napoleon. Danger threatens as they seek to discover the identity of their treacherous foe.

Who is an innocent pawn? And who is not all they seem?

What’s better than heat and high seas excitement? This book!

I’ve read other books by Raven McAllan and loved them. When I saw this one, I knew I had to read it. I’m glad I did. The story moved at a great clip, the writing kept me enthralled and I couldn’t put it down. I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters after the last page, too.

Miranda and Jonathan have great chemistry. I loved their take-charge attitudes and the way their romance leapt off the page when they got together. The heat certainly was there, and I couldn’t get enough. I loved the way they worked together, and the ending was fantastic.

The tag suggests spies, smugglers and stealth. It also suggests bedroom antics. It delivers. If you’re looking for something hot, historical and fun, while full of suspense, this might be the one for you.

Absolute Zero by Desiree Holt


Absolute Zero by Desiree Holt
Publisher: Totally Entwined
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Sex, murder, cover-up…a lethal combination.

Fourteen days until Sierra Hunt’s brother is sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and the cover-up is so outrageous it’s almost unbelievable. Sierra had no way of knowing that the man with whom she had an explosive one-night stand would hold the answer to her desperate need.

Vic ‘Eagle’ Bodine wanted more than the unexpected one night with the woman who rocked his world. He was shocked when she turned out to be Galaxy’s newest client, and that they’d be joined at the hip as they worked to save her brother from an unjust imprisonment.

Galaxy will need to live up to its motto of We are your last resort for this one, the mother of all cover-ups. But Eagle is going to make damned sure that he gets it done…and at the same time convince Sierra that they belong together.

Mystery, suspense and romance…because this is a Desiree Holt book and that’s what it should have.

I’ve read other books by Desiree Holt and loved them. This one was no different. It had passion, heat, heart and suspense. I couldn’t get through the book fast enough and loved every second. As with the author’s other books, I knew I’d get a happy ending and would walk away satisfied.

Sierra and Eagle are great together. I liked the way they got together. Some authors might have struggled with this timeworn way to get characters, but Desiree Holt made it feel fresh. They have a great chemistry and I rooted for them.

The heat was off the charts and the thriller aspect of the book delivered. If you’re looking for a story that’s got heart, heat and mystery, then this is the one for you. Recommended.

One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak


One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak
Publisher: Mira
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Some families we’re born into
Some we find for ourselves

When Serenity Alston swabbed her cheek for a genetic test, she joked about uncovering some dark ancestral scandal. The last thing she expected was to discover two half sisters she didn’t know existed. Suddenly, everything about her loving family is drawn into question. And meeting these newfound sisters might be the only way to get answers.

The women decide to dig into the mystery together at Serenity’s family cabin in Lake Tahoe. With Reagan navigating romantic politics at work and Lorelei staring down the collapse of her marriage, all three women are converging at a crossroads in their lives. Before the summer is over, they’ll have to confront the past and determine how to move forward when everything they previously thought to be true was a lie. But any future is easier to face with family by your side.

Three sisters and one big secret. It’s going to be a long summer.

I have to admit I’d never read a book by Brenda Novak before this one. I don’t know why I waited so long, but I did. I’m glad I’ve rectified this. This was a good book. I liked the writing style and the characters were interesting. I zipped right through this in a matter of a couple days.

I wasn’t a fan of the cheating aspect of the story, but honestly it was not that important compared to the rest of the story. Lorelei had issues and I liked how she grew through the book. Reagan has to grow up, too, but also understand what gifts she’s been given. I liked how she learned gratitude. Then there’s Serenity, the one who got this all started. I liked how she came into her own and found her strength, too. Plus, the plot twists were great.

This isn’t a romance and romance readers might feel a little cheated by not getting a specific romance, but fear not. The story and the various threads more than make up for that. This is a great beach read and something I recommend others reading. Check it out!

The Night Bartender by Alexa Piper


The Night Bartender by Alexa Piper
Fairview Chronicles, book 9
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Paranormal, Erotic Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, LGBTQ
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Aaron has come to Fairview to find his ex’s teenage sister, who went missing in the city. As a witch both rich and powerful, Aaron follows a trail that leads him to a bar frequented by supernaturals and to a bartender who attracts Aaron’s attention — and not just because the bartender is keeping something from Aaron. When Aaron runs out of leads, he follows the mysterious and pretty bartender, and the next thing Aaron knows, he’s foiling an attempted abduction.

Ilya has built a quiet life in Fairview mixing drinks and flying under the radar. He is a banshee, and the psychic ability and mild telepathy that comes with that makes Ilya a sought-after commodity. That carefully constructed life Ilya built for himself breaks into a thousand pieces when a handsome witch starts asking questions and becomes Ilya’s rescuer mere hours after they meet.

The witch, Aaron, vows to protect Ilya and to keep his secret. Now Ilya has to decide whether he will give Aaron his trust and risk a lonely but safe life as a night bartender in a wintry city in which people disappear only to then turn up murdered.

Two men who probably shouldn’t mix are just what the doctor ordered.

I love a good Alexa Piper story and this one delivered. The characters are quirky, the story hot and the chemistry off the charts. I devoured this story in one sitting and couldn’t wait to get to the rest in this series. The pacing was great and though this is book 9, I didn’t feel lost by not reading the others.

I liked the way the tension and action carried the story. Yes, there is heat between Aaron and Ilya, but they have a job to do, too. It was fun to read about them getting together and their exploits.

If you want a good story for a lazy afternoon or one guaranteed to heat up the night, then this is the one you’re looking for. Recommended.

Abhorrence by Marco May


Abhorrence by Marco May
Publisher: Deep Desires Press
Genre: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQ
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Art is a spineless Christian who’s been bullied at school for being a dork and treated poorly by his devout parents for being gay. He can’t seem to defend himself no matter how hard he tries, especially because he believes God wouldn’t like it. He’s relieved to graduate high school, and he plans to move out of his parents’ house to a toxic-free environment. It’s the one escape route he clings to.

In what first seems like a stroke of good luck for once, Art meets Cole at a restaurant while Cole waits his table, and they hit it off rather quickly. They swap numbers and plan to meet up later on, only for it to be the last that they see each other.

Soon after, Art encounters someone he knows very well who changes his life for the worst, and Art tries to end his life after the incident. His parents don’t believe him when he tells them what happened, nor do they support his mental health. Therefore, he feels he has no choice but to leave as soon as possible. Little does he know, Cole—the one guy he thought he’d never see again—could end up becoming more important than he ever imagined.

But will Art open up and give Cole a chance?

Two lost souls who need each other more than they ever thought possible.

This is an interesting premise for a story. One is very religious, but he’s turning away from religion because of how he’s been treated. The other has dealt with the slings and arrows of teen life. Can they forge a bond together or are they destined to end up alone?

I liked this story. The characters are relatable, and the story is unique. Art is a softie and he’s sweet. Cole is a handsome guy, too. They should get together. I rooted for them.

One thing that stuck with me and sort of annoyed me was how Art could be extremely down on himself. It got a tad cumbersome because I wanted to see him grow a little faster than he did. He wasn’t a bad guy, but he sure saw himself that way. The thing is, that’s how a lot of people see themselves, so it made sense and is relatable.

If you’re looking for a story that will stick with you after the last page, then this might be the one you’re looking for. Try it.

Wolf Heart by Dorian Flynn


Wolf Heart by Dorian Flynn
Publisher: Deep Desires Press
Genre: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQ, Paranormal
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

It’s been years since Elias has seen his childhood rival and friend Julian. The last time they were together, Elias kissed him, sending Julian running away. And by morning, he was gone. Since then, Elias has kept his secret close to his chest, hoping Julian would do the same.

But Julian is back now, and simultaneously a string of mysterious animal attacks have struck the town, rousing superstitions about a Beast that swept through before Elias was even born. A Beast that was only stopped by Elias’s grandmother.

Elias may have been keeping his own secret, but as he and Julian reconnect, what secrets will he discover about Julian’s family…or his own?

Two men, one love and a lot of secrets!

I picked this book up because the premise caught my attention. These two men long for each other, but there’s a problem. Elias thinks they can’t be together. There are a lot of reasons, and they unfold slowly in this story.

I liked the character of Elias. He’s sweet and unsure, but in a good way. This story is told from his point of view and can be a tad stilted at times, but the reader is in Elias’s head the whole time, so in a way it makes sense.

Something that stuck with me and wasn’t my cuppa was the pacing. This story is full of tension, but in spots it drags. I put it down a few times and had a hard time coming back. I’m glad I finished it, but it was a bit of a chore at times. I had a few questions that never got answered and I would’ve liked to have seen things from Julian’s point of view, but all in all, it worked.

Still, I liked the characters, and I loved the women in the family. They’re strong and positive forces, which was good in this story.

If you’re looking for something a little offbeat and something different, then this might be the story for you.

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict


The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Historical, Fiction, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car—strange for a frigid night. Her World War I veteran husband and her daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.

The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark historical fiction exploration into the shadows of the past, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such murky historical mysteries.

What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators?

Agatha Christie novels have withstood the test of time, due in no small part to Christie’s masterful storytelling and clever mind that may never be matched, but Agatha Christie’s untold history offers perhaps her greatest mystery of all.

Her heart has been devoted to him, but he’s ready to move on. What’s a girl to do when she can’t immediately write her perfect ending? Take a day trip!

I picked up this book upon recommendation from a friend and I do like the work of Agatha Christie, so I thought I’d try it. This is a fictionalized version of Agatha Christie’s disappearance, and one must keep that in mind. Some of the details are a bit…fudged. I don’t know how to get into the head of Agatha Christie, but I applaud the author for trying.

This book was a good read, but it was a bit jarring at times. I wanted to know more of how Archie might have felt, but he was portrayed more as a bumbling, guilty man who didn’t understand the mess he’d made. The book had a bit of a feminist slant in that Agatha Christie took control of her own narrative and had to make some changes to come into her own, but it also feels a little naïve in that she seems to defer to her husband more than appeared necessary.

Agatha Christie was a strong woman, stronger than the women of her time. She made her own money and wasn’t afraid to have a career as an author, even when it annoyed her husband. I don’t know if this is exactly how the incident of her disappearance played out, but it’s a good enough read for an afternoon.

It’s interesting to wonder what it would’ve been like to be Agatha Christie and to understand what made her feel a disappearance was best. I liked reading the fictionalized version of her life.

If you’re interested in Agatha Christie, the mystery of her disappearance or just want a different kind of mystery, then give this one a try.

Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall


Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall
Publisher: Montlake
Genre: Historical, LGBTQ, Erotic Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Valentine Layton, the Duke of Malvern, has twin problems: literally.

It was always his father’s hope that Valentine would marry Miss Arabella Tarleton. But, unfortunately, too many novels at an impressionable age have caused her to grow up…romantic. So romantic that a marriage of convenience will not do and after Valentine’s proposal she flees into the night determined never to set eyes on him again.

Arabella’s twin brother, Mr. Bonaventure “Bonny” Tarleton, has also grown up…romantic. And fully expects Valentine to ride out after Arabella and prove to her that he’s not the cold-hearted cad he seems to be.

Despite copious misgivings, Valentine finds himself on a pell-mell chase to Dover with Bonny by his side. Bonny is unreasonable, overdramatic, annoying, and…beautiful? And being with him makes Valentine question everything he thought he knew. About himself. About love. Even about which Tarleton he should be pursuing.

There’s a twist and a romance, but you’ll never guess how it all works out.

I’ve never read Alexis Hall, but this was highly recommended, so I picked it up. I’m glad I did as there aren’t many historical/regency era MM reads, so it was different. The characters had their good points and I loved Bonny. He’s a trip.

The thing is, the writing, while trying to stay true to the era, came out a bit flowery at times. I knew this would have an erotic edge to it and that was fine but the dancing around saying what they’d do was a little cumbersome. The side characters were a bit over the top and that made the story hard to follow, too. There was just a lot going on. Maybe it didn’t resonate as much as it could’ve with me, but it just might be fantastic for other readers. Might have been for me if I’d have read it on a different day. It’s not a bad book, it just didn’t hit the right notes for me at the time.

Still, if you’re looking for something different and with amusing moments, this might be the book for you. Give it a shot.

The Partner Dilemma by Jade Marshall


The Partner Dilemma by Jade Marshall
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Multiple Partners, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The world has changed since it was ravaged by disease many years ago. Fertile females have become a commodity.

Skye has been preparing for her Partner for the last two years. But nothing could have prepared her for the three men that want everything from her.

Deklan, Blaine, and Kamden have been through it all together, even war. Now they want a Partner that can make their house a home. Skye is the missing piece in their lives. And now that they have her, they will do whatever it takes to keep her.

But nothing is as simple as it seems, and sometimes the past comes back to haunt you.

A steamy story with a scary premise!

I love a good futuristic story and this one delivered. This is a world where women, for the most part, are infertile. Why? Because of a vaccine. It’s scary. The author made that point quite well and left me a little spooked, I won’t lie.

Skye is one of the few fertile women and one paired with her three men–Deklan, Blaine, and Kamden. I liked how they took care of her and how they fell into a routine so easily. What sort of bugged me was how she’s young and knew exactly what to do with them. For a virgin, she’s advanced. I wish there had been more clumsiness or a little more fear on her part–fear of the unknown. Still, the time they share together is hot and makes for an entertaining read.

If you’re looking for something short and hot, then this might be the one for you. Beware, it’s a little spooky, but it’s all good, too.