Action/Adventure/Suspense

A Quiet Death – Cari Hunter

A Quiet Death – Cari HunterThis is the third book in Cari Hunters “Dark Peak” series, it stands alone, but the back-history is nice to have and all three are absolutely excellent thrillers with a side order of gentle romance.

Detective Sanne Jensen and Dr. Meg Fielding have been friends forever; supporting each other as they fought to escape the dead-end estate they grew up on. After years of an on and off casual fling they have finally realized that they are far better together than apart and their lives are settling down into cosy coupledom.

Sanne works for the local Special Ops Police force. When hikers find the body of a young Pakistani girl out on the moors, Sanne and her team are called in, under intense scrutiny not to inflame the simmering tension between police and local Asian communities. At the same time Meg, a Doctor in the local ER department, has a case that screams domestic abuse, and suddenly there is something very bad going on right under their noses. Once again Sanne gets caught in the crossfire, and it will take all her strength to survive.

The love and friendship between Sanne and Meg is tangible, their characters solid, dependable and very real. Their family and work colleagues are everyday people, recognizable, genuine and authentic; all drawn with a keen eye for observation, a wonderful balance of narrative, frequently humorous dialogue and a gentle sense of affection.

Cari HunterCari Hunter is a master of writing credible suspense laden crime detective stories that feel realistic. Sanne and Meg are extremely ordinary, two women trying to live quiet lives on their beloved Peaks, caught up in a dreadful ring of crime and, as always, doing their ordinary best to help those who need them.

It would be shocking if our heroine didn’t survive, and we are left with the most unassuming happy every after at the end of each dramatic chapter in Sanne and Meg’s lives, but despite knowing all of that Ms Hunter manages to create a sense of apprehension about just how badly damaged and scarred they will be. Creating a page-turner out of the ordinary is far more difficult than writing melodrama.

Once again I cannot recommend this series enough. If you like crime, thriller, and suspense with a cast of real life everyday folk and unassuming hero’s, written with excellent if unpretentious style, you really cannot do any better than this.


Did you know? If you purchase any of the books reviewed on the LRR from our Amazon shop or Amazon page links we receive a couple of cents per book which will help us support the Lesbian Reading Room GCLS Scholarship Fund.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes  (January 17, 2017)
  • ASIN: B01N0RTFEY
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Buried Heart – Laydin Michaels

Buried Heart – Laydin MichaelsWe first meat Drew aged 11 running down a street as if she has been transported there from outer space, with no memory of who she is or where she came from. Unusually her amnesia doesn’t fade, although the nightmares do after years of therapy.

Jump to Drew aged 26, working as a Ranger and bopping at the local festival, when she meats the gorgeous Cicely and they form an instant bond. The romance seems set to develop despite Cicely’s’ rather one sided obsession about truth and honesty.

But Drew has started to receive anonymous text messages, and the nightmares flare up again, putting stress on their budding relationship. When a strange man speaks to Drew’s younger sister a warning flares, but her stalker will get much closer before her memories return and uncover the horror of her childhood.

The suspense and terror in ‘Buried Heart’ are very real, the horror of a sadistic man’s behaviour had me turning the pages to get through it, hoping for a happy ever after ending, but dreading a fateful twist in the plot. Ms Michaels can certainly create a crescendo of angst that builds and builds until it is almost unbearable and then crashes like a tidal wave against the shore with the release of pent up energy.

Drew is a likeable and interesting character, Cicely less so, and although her background explains her demanding nature, she is certainly never warm and fuzzy. Drew’s family, particularly her mother, along with her friend Preston and Cicely’s closest friend Kallie, provide the warmth and care, the gentler and loving side.

The dialogue was, at times, a little heavy and the editing could have been tighter, but the author certainly has a gift for thrilling the reader and holding you in thrall. After all they went through I was not convinced by their happy ever after protestations, but I am certain that I wanted, needed, them to survive and escape the horror, however damaged they might be. Ms Michaels should definitely be writing more page turning thrillers.


Did you know? If you purchase any of the books reviewed on the LRR from our Amazon shop or Amazon page links we receive a couple of cents per book which will help us support the Lesbian Reading Room GCLS Scholarship Fund.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 259 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes (January 17, 2017)
  • ASIN: B01N7J7LAU
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Hindsight – Jody Klaire

Hindsight – Jody KlaireAction/Adventure, thriller, super Special Ops crime drama with a side order of phychic powers and the slowest burn romance imaginable. There are just so many ways to describe Hindsight, book 4 in the “Above and Beyond Series” that I almost don’t know where to start.

Well actually let’s start by saying this is a series, and while it might be possible to read this as a standalone there is such a huge history of fact and inter-relationships building up that if you haven’t read the first three then you need to go back and start at the beginning, it will be worth the time and effort and pay off ten-fold.

This latest epic instalment is breath-taking. The action is fast paced, the number of players on the table at any one time is unbelievable and the combination of flashbacks and current action, from multiple points of view, left me gasping. And yet somehow Jody Klaire not only manages to keep all the storylines, points of view and personalities clear, she somehow manages to bring it all to a successful resolution.

As the series progresses we are pulled deeper and deeper into the characters, this time it’s Frei that is revealed along with a huge chuck of her history. All the major players, Aeron and Renee, Lilia and Eli, Nan and even Huber are constantly being fleshed out and filled in. Klaire keeps the development and reveal going while cleverly introducing new characters and seamlessly slotting them in as major players on the chessboard. Oh and you are going to love Aunt Bess.

Jody KlaireThe plot is both complex and simple. The overall story arc has a team of special ops forces and FBI investigator types chasing a ring of child slavers, but the sub plots and personal journeys are convoluted and delivered with incredible detail, making the whole become an exploration of the psychology of each major character. Phenomenal.

I literally couldn’t put it down and read half the night, only to cancel my morning and reach for it over coffee. Now I have to take a week off everything else and re-read the whole series to date because I am completely fascinated all over again. If you love fast paced action adventure, psychological thrillers, crime – any of the above, believe me, this series is pure heaven. It is already a classic mind-bending journey and I cannot wait for book 5, “Noble Heart”, to come and confound me all over again.


Did you know? If you purchase any of the books reviewed on the LRR from our shop or Amazon page links we receive a couple of cents per book which will help us support the Lesbian Reading Room GCLS Scholarship Fund.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Bedazzled Ink (December 30, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01NCL39TN
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Renegade – Cheyne Curry

Renegade - Chayne CurryI read Renegade several years before I started reviewing, so when Cheyne Curry was doing a reading at Provincetown this year I decided it was time to reread, and put out a review.

Renegade is an unusual mix of trad romance, historical fiction and Western hero story , with a twist of fantasy fiction and a dollop of Xena. It was originally Xena fan-fiction and published as a novel in 2009 when it was a finalist for The Golden Crown Literary Society’s Best Debut Author.

I love Western lesfic romances, and this was the first I remember reading. It’s the combination of the better cowboy movies I grew up watching with my dad and the personal thrill of seeing how women cope with their double lives, wrapping, cross dressing and presenting as straight couples to survive as themselves with the lives and loves they have chosen.

Like Jae’s brilliant Oregon series Renegade doesn’t pretend the women could have been an ‘out’ couple, it deals with the reality of life for women of the time, bullied, raped, and treated as the chattels of the less pleasant male characters.

Cheyne CurryTrace, Rachel and the other women are very real, their personalities complex and founded on deep back histories. Their actions consistently reinforce the women they have become. At the same time there are a wide range of sympathetic male characters who gradually stand up and support Trace against the baddies including a really well presented relationship with the Native American tribe who have settled the area.

Once the initial sci-fi moment is over, this becomes a classic Wild West story of the strong sheriff saving a down-beaten town from the evil bullies, except of course the sheriff is a woman with rather unusual skills.

Excellent romance, unusual and interesting twist to set up the juxtaposition of 21st century cop in the late 1890’s, and a seriously enjoyable page turner. I never had a doubt Trace would succeed both romantically and saving the town, but that never detracted from the pleasure of finding out how the story would enfold. Definitely one for the re-read pile, and if you haven’t visited Sagebrush yet, suspend your disbelieve and buy this new edition.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • First published 2009
  • Publisher: Bossy Pants Book, LLC (21 Mar. 2016)
  • ASIN: B01DAGRBSY
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Taken at the Flood – Nene Adams

Taken at the Flood – Nene AdamsMeredith is a charter boat owner who gets offered over the odds pay to ferry an attractive but secretive women to an undisclosed destination ‘south’. Sceptical but intrigued she agrees and so begins an adventure that spans 3 continents. Rue is legit but definitely a person of interest to some unsavoury characters, and her quest for a WWII treasure trove puts them both in the line of fire.

Both women are strong, independent, alpha; used to running their own show and making the difficult decisions. Between them they have an impressive set of skills, and contacts that will come in extremely handy during their adventure.

At times the action is a little far fetched and the attraction a little too blatant, but the story is a wonderful action adventure romp with a large dose of cloak and dagger, a heap of humour and a large cast of interesting characters. Nene Adams was an amazing storyteller and this is no exception, it literally carries you away.

I found this great entertainment – an interesting read and an unusual story. This was my first Nene Adams book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Slightly bemused as to why it hasn’t received any attention and its share of reviews… I would recommend it.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Bella Books (April 26, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01FAYDI18
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Paradox Valley – Gerri Hill

Paradox Valley – Gerri HillWell this was different. Gerri Hill’s latest takes her supernatural series to a whole new level mixing paranormal, 1950’s scifi and a gentle romance which is definitely not the main storyline.

Dana has run home to her parents’ farm in Western Colorado to escape an extremely premature marriage proposal. When everybody feels the earth tremble they assume it’s a small earthquake, and life goes on – except they have no power, the cars wont start and even the batteries are dead.

A military helicopter is sent to investigate and goes off radar, causing the CO in charge to send in a squad of troops, and his General to send in Captain Conaway to investigate. When she meets up with Dana and her lifelong friend Butch, she quickly enlists their help, and their horses, to aid her in her mission.

So Gerri Hill sets the scene for the most ‘out there’ of her spooky paranormal series to date. The humor and the great writing remain the same. The far –fetched storyline and outcome continue in the vein of ‘Keepers of the Cave’ and ‘Weeping Walls’, but takes on a whole new level of scary movie tension.

Gerry Hill biogThe characters in this are well done. Danna, Butch and the Captain are complex and interesting, and the addition of their elderly neighbour Jean to the posse adds a lovely twist. There is a large supporting cast, all drawn with Ms Hill’s sharp observation of human nature and behaviour, however brief their appearance. There is also the most intelligent and loyal dog – definitely the hero of the whole show.

My only criticism is aimed at the classification – this book does not belong in the romance category. Yes there is a slow burn attraction and gentle romance, but it is decidedly the sub plot. The characters involved are too busy with the paranormal to have a romance. I think the classification is misleading and will upset Gerri Hill’s romance fans, who will be disappointed, and misses the chance to get to the lesbian paranormal/horror fans. Difficult within the confines of Amazons system, but true never the less.

If you like scifi/paranormal with a side order of a sweet romance and like needing the lights on when you read.. this is definitely the book for you. I enjoyed it, and will definitely read the implied sequel.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Bella Books (July 26, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01J8VEQH4
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State of Grace – Sandra Moran

State of Grace - Sandra MoranBooks can affect us in a deeply personal way. One can read a romance and be entertained while another sees heartache. A sex scene can be erotic or romantic, extreme or acceptable, all depending on the mood and viewpoint of the reader. This book affected me deeply, partly I suspect, because of the circumstances of the posthumous publication, but more because of who I am and how my personality reacts to the events that unfold.

I found State of Grace a challenging read. I guess I knew that whatever Sandra wrote could take us in any direction, she was never going to have been a formulaic writer, or one constrained by a genre. This novel proves quite how wide her imagination ranged.

It is an intense read; moving, dramatic, a psychological thriller worthy of King. We laughed at Sandra’s DPAB PDA’s. I’m not laughing now. Full of nostalgia, dripping with suspense, you literally don’t know until the last page which way this story will end.

Sandra Moran biogLike the subject matter, the writing style is also completely different to her previous novels. Less polished, more real, perhaps, with a raw edge. One could assume that was because it was her first book, written years before “Letters Never Sent”, but knowing she had edited it before her untimely passing, and wanted it to be published how she had originally written it, we know this was the voice she wanted us to hear. I think she wanted it to sound young, almost immature, because that is the voice of the protagonist.

It is hard to talk about this story without giving any spoilers, suffice it to say book shows how good a writer Sandra Moran was, and how amazing her oeuvre would have become. The detailed and concentrated exploration of a young woman’s mind reveals both the penetration of an imaginative intellect and the skill of an exemplary writer, pulling us in and keeping us pinned to the page as the story unfolds

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Bywater Books (July 18, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01I8S39GM
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Love’s Redemption – Donna K Ford

Love's Redemption - Donna K FordA great new novel from Donna K Ford, with all the usual elements of a traditional romance, a strong dose of suspense and her own unique twist.

Rhea has just been released from prison where she has served her sentence for killing her father. Scared of the world she left at 17, determined not to go let anyone near her and unwelcome to her family and neighbourhood, she finds herself dependent on her parole officer for a new start. Finding work and a home with her PO’s sister, Rhea is like skittish colt, always on the verge of bolting.

Morgan has a heart of gold and as an ex minister she instinctively takes in waifs and strays. But the cost of her past weighs heavy, and she is constantly trying not to let anyone one in. Between them they have enough trust issues to sink any chance of a relationship, despite the growing affection, but ultimately it is trust which will save them both.

The characters are interesting and their specific issues are unusual. Rhea is particularly well written and well developed. We watch her battle her own demons to overcome her childhood fears and fight her way into adulthood in the world. Having been incarcerated since 17 she has a lot of learning and adjusting to do and Ms Ford does an excellent job of describing her gradual change. Morgan is less defined, we know her issues, but don’t really explore them and aren’t made to empathise so strongly. My only complaint would be that we could have delved further into Morgan’s psyche and filled her out with more depth, I wanted to know more about her inner workings. However as a foil to Rhea she is perfect.

Donna K Ford bioThere is a great tension throughout, on many levels. Will Rhea find a way to survive in the world is a question that permeates the whole? Will Rhea and Morgan allow themselves to open up, or stay in their shells built of fear? Will they survive the external threats to their happiness? Ms Ford balances all of these emotional intricacies extremely well and winds them into an intense and forceful backdrop to the Rheas growth.

Overall a very interesting combination of suspense, romance and character development, handled lightly despite the dark subject matter. Love’s Redemption is well written and thoughtfully plotted to use the storyline development and strands of emotional growth to create a sense of anticipation. I really enjoyed this one, and look forward to more of Ms Ford’s intriguing characters.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (June 14, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01FUM2XQ6
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Tangled Mark – Becky Harmon

Tangled MarkNikki is somewhere between a spy, a security expert and an action adventure girl who specialises in sniper rifles. Since joining Flager Security she has formed part of a tight nit team who trust each other, literally, with their lives. When things start to go wrong it tests the teams cohesion and trust to the limit.

Mel is out to find out where the leak is coming from, and she is assigned the alluring Nikki as her mark. To follow, observe, but also to spook. As the two women interact the attraction is obvious. But neither quite knows who is on the side of the good guys.

This is a refreshing combination of storyline. Despite the hot romance the action adventure keeps on coming. The plot is full of suspense and definitely creates an intriguing page turner.

The women characters are strong, interesting and complex. There is no distinction at all between them and their male counterparts, just an over-riding assumption they are equals which is lovely to read. The relationship between Nikki and her partner Brad works really well and gives an extra layer of interest.. as well as humour.

Excellent debut novel, look forward to reading more ,whether it is a sequel/series or something completely different. Definitely one to watch.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Bella Books (May 20, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01FAXJ0WU
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Wild Shores – Radclyffe

Wild Shores - RadclyffeJust finished Radclyffe’s newest novel in the “First Responder” series: a great read. This time the main characters get it on, hot and spicy, before the shocking dénouement and we are left wondering whether they can overcome their differences. Can the untold secrets be forgiven, or will the truth be too much to bear?

Set in the face of an increasingly fierce storm and with and oil rig and a bird sanctuary at stake, our “First Responders” appear to have little in common, except their instant chemistry shows that attraction has no respect for political divides.

Rad keeps the action moving along. The first part of the novel is a journey in the literal sense, but the emotional expedition takes place in the stillness and confines of a car. The second half is lashed by the incoming storm, reflecting the conflicting desires of our protagonists.

RadclyffeHot, steamy and exciting, this is a fast passed read. Combining romance and action adventure as all this series do, Rad has produced two interesting women who hold your attention and engage our empathy.

I have to admit I love this series with its strong, independent and capable women taking lead roles in dangerous and critical situations. Definitely space for a follow up story between the hot coast guard and the sophisticated meteorologist.. I look forward to whatever heroines Radclyffe conjures next.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • First published 2016
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (March 15, 2016)
  • ASIN: B01B36VI5K
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