The Rec League: More Action Adventure Romance

The Rec League - heart shaped chocolate resting on the edge of a very old bookThis Rec League comes from Catherine:

Saw the trailer Lost City of D and so excited for an adventure rom-com. It looks awesome! Curious if there are any comedy-adventure-romance books out there people would recommend?

Amanda: We did a similar Rec League back in 2014, but maybe there’s something new since then!

Sarah: Roxanne St. Claire’s FBI/Bullet Catchers ( A | BN | K | AB ) after often big on the world travel/adventure aspects.

Something Wilder
A | BN | K | AB
The Last Mile by Kat Martin ( A | BN | K | AB ) seems to fit (I haven’t read it yet).

And Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai ( A | BN | K | AB ), which is coming out in October: Vegas heist!

Lara: There’s a lot more action in the later novels of Laura Griffin’s Tracers series but the cop stuff is still present.

Sarah: Oh! Something Wilder by Christina Lauren

Amanda: I’d also say maybe anything by Janet Evanovich.

Which books would you recommend?

Add Your Comment →

  1. Sunflower says:

    I think Camilla Monk’s Spotless series fits the bill. Slow-burn romance which unfolds over the course of four books, adventure, plot twists, and lots of humor.

  2. Steph says:

    The Kinky Bank Robbers series by Annika Martin has this energy. Book 1 is the Hostage Bargain and it looks like it’s currently free.

    The request also made me think of Something Wicked by Jo Beverly, if you like historicals. It’s not a rom-com, but her books have that unbelievable, rompy feel and make me smile.

    Both of these books should probably come with content warnings, but I don’t remember enough specifics to do them justice.

  3. FashionablyEvil says:

    Several suggestions from me since this often goes along with another of my preferred tropes (competence porn). Mix of historicals, fantasy, and a contemporary for good measure:

    THE SMOKE HUNTER by Jacquelyn Benson—the blurb is Lara Croft meets Indiana Jones meets The Mummy. It’s not wrong!

    THE WISTERIA SOCIETY OF LADY SCOUNDRELS and THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEWOMEN WITCHES by India Holton—these have magic, feuds, and lots of literary allusions. They’re fun, fast, and campy.

    THE SPYMASTER’S LADY by Joanna Bourne—straight up historical and slightly less on the funny/campy side, but spies during the Napoleonic wars complete with lots of divided loyalties, double crossing, etc.

    DIAL A FOR AUNTIES by Jesse Q. Sutanto—this is a contemporary and is more on the farce side of the scale (“whatever will we do with the dead body!?!” type shenanigans ensure), but also funny.

    And, I would be remiss if I did not include the Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn—Veronica and Stoker have great chemistry and are always off solving one mystery or another.

  4. Lena Brassard/Ren Benton says:

    The only thing coming to mind with comedy AND adventure AND romance are T. Kingfisher’s fantasy romances (Swordheart, the Saint of Steel paladin books; the Clockwork Boys/Wonder Engine duology has a strong romance in it but had not yet attained Romance Novel Final Form like the aforementioned).

    Of note: Her humor isn’t mean-spirited. A lot of “romcoms” seem to operate on the principle that one character being amused by making the other feel bad is romantic and hilarious, whereas Kingfisher’s characters actually like each other.

  5. HeatherS says:

    I was going to say the f/f action/adventure “Love in Action” boxed set from LoveLight Press (a digital LGBTQ+ romance novella imprint I found a few years ago). It’s contains “Love Unearthed”, “Love Rescued”, and “Love Spied” by Augusta Hill, but it seems that it’s not available and LoveLight Press might be defunct now.

  6. InsatiableRomanceReader says:

    One of the Ilona Andrews Edge books (I think it was the third one in the series.. Fate’s Edge?) has a heist-y adventure feel to it.. It’s not a comedy, but has some pretty funny scenes. The development of the romance is really stellar.

  7. InsatiableRomanceReader says:

    Also, I second the Veronica- Stoker series and the T.Kingfisher books! Both recommendations are spot on. The stories are incredibly enjoyable!

  8. Eliza Whiting says:

    My recommendations are more on the fantasy/paranormal romance side.

    I would definitely recommend TJ Klune’s The Lightning-Struck Heart. It’s an m/m fantasy romance that is laugh out loud hilarious. I re-read it a couple times a year when I need a pick-me-up.

    I also want to show my support for T. Kingfisher, especially her Saint of Steel series. Love! Her books are absolutely fantastic. The kindness with which the characters treat each other is what shines through for me.

  9. SK says:

    During the pandemic I was in the mood for this kind of story so I ordered a used copy of an old favorite, THE ADVENTURESS by M.J. Rodgers. I considered offering to write a review of it but am lazy.

    Tom Skye, rough-and-tumble pilot, was a man of action. But as his diving plane spiraled into a crash, he could only think of his timid passenger, librarian Pamela Gibson. How would she survive the black storm-tossed Hawaiian sea?

    By getting hit on the head and becoming Roxanne Rainey–the gorgeous, romantic, sensuous adventuress of the books Pamela had penned.

    Now, since Pamela had become a tempting tigress in the raw, primitive jungle, “Skye” no longer had to protect his shy librarian…. Instead, he found himself playing Tarzan to his wildcat Jane.

    The synopsis makes her sound weaker initially than she really is. It’s basically the story of a woman unlocking the person she always was deep down that was tamped down due to family expectations. It’s set on a remote, unoccupied Hawaiian island, so avoids the racism and exoticism that often creeps into adventure romances. And it’s just fun. It’s not deep. It’s not heavy. It’s pure escapism. Fun.

    (I originally submitted this with a link to the FictionDB page in the “Your website” field, because I’m also dumb, which I think got me stuck in moderation, so sorry if this shows up twice.)

  10. SK says:

    It’s been a while, but I remember really enjoying BEYOND SUNRISE by Candice Proctor.

    Can life ever be a real adventure without falling in love?

    Ever since she can remember, India McKnight has craved adventure, dreaming of lands past the horizon. Following her calling, she becomes a travel writer, a vocation that takes her far and wide. All the while, she vows never to risk her freedom by falling in love. But when she sails to the exotic and unknown regions of the South Pacific, a rugged man brave enough to be her guide just may be the one who can lay claim to her heart.

    Having turned his back on the “civilized” world long ago, Jack Ryder has been living in seclusion, hiding from the pain and betrayal buried in his past. When the beautiful, hotheaded Scotswoman arrives at his hut looking for a guide, he agrees to take her to the island of Takaku—despite the challenge—just to prove that her stubborn theories about native life are wrong. But when their journey turns dangerous, their fates become forever entwined. Forced to rely on each other for their very survival, they soon discover that passion and even deeper peril await them . . . just beyond the sunrise.

  11. chacha1 says:

    I already had ‘Partners in Crime’ on my wishlist but have now added ‘The Smoke Hunter.’ Because ‘Lost City of D’ was ridiculously fun.

  12. Michele says:

    I second the recommendation for Camilla Monk’s Spotless series and third for the Veronica Speedwell series.

    I’ll also add Cassandra Gannon’s Kinda Fairy Tales series.

  13. Emily says:

    Don’t know if it’s been mentioned here, but Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin fits this I think!

    Many of Shelly Laurenston’s Pride series also fit this bill, very comedic and slapstick hijinks abound… with the warning that the heroines tend to refer to themselves or others as sluts or whores, which feels outdated.

  14. RoseRead says:

    I second @Steph on Annika Martin’s bank robber series – I inhaled those on vacation last week. They are over-the-top fun and goofy, with lots of soooper sexy times.

  15. Jacquilynne says:

    Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer have a few books together that hit this vibe.

    Also, Kylie Scott has one called Lies that’s great for this.

  16. cleo says:

    The Bride and the Buccaneer by Darlene Marshall – m/f historical romp about two rivals who sort of team up to treasure hunt in Florida. Lots of banter, sexual tension and double crossing.

    The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee – m/m historical about the rakish and dissipated son of an English Earl going on his Grand Tour with his BFF. They encounter pirates, alchemical mysteries and political intrigue. Plus there’s unplanned public nudity at Versailles and lots of smoldering adolescent longing.

    The writing is both lovely and anachronistic. The narrator is pretty insufferable for the first half of the book but does grow up in a satisfying arc.

  17. GradStudentEscapist says:

    The Reluctant Companion by HL Day is something I recently read that fits the bill! Very fun light hearted fantasy m/m romance. Very romp-y (is that a word?)

  18. Heather Greye says:

    I love adventure romance!

    Anna Hackett has a series called Treasure Hunter Security, which is pretty much what it says on the tin. She’s in Kindle Unlimited, so Amazon only, sorry. She also has a bunch of linked series that tend to be action oriented but these (and maybe Team 52 series) are the most adventure-y.

    And maybe TA White’s Pathfinder series?

  19. Heather Greye says:

    Whoops missed the comedy part of the request. Funny moments in the above books, but not so much romp-y. Sorry!

  20. Ellen says:

    Try the Blades of the Rose series by Zoe Archer! They get more and more outlandish but I loved the characters and the adventure is top notch!

  21. JudyW says:

    Oh! I can’t believe nobody has mentioned MR. IMPOSSIBLE by Loretta Chase. A perfect example of an adventure romance and hilarious to boot. If you like old school then many Georgette Heyer fill the bill, especially TALISMAN RING. Or another old school historical adventure that was funny and tense that I loved is SANGUINET’S CROWN by Patricia Veryan. For more Contemporary I rec BABY I’M YOURS by S. Anderson about a bounty hunter who grabs the wrong twin sister and she allows herself to be dragged back, dodging bad guys, in order to protect her twin. A funny road trip/adventure. Meljean Brooks had a steampunk style series that were couples doing adventures and “nick of time” things. Also Ilona Andrews Fated Edge from her Edge series would work as well. I thought it was the funniest of the series. That’s all I can think of off the top of my head!

  22. JB Hunt says:

    Tamara Morgan’s Stealing Mr. Right is delightful and fits the heist/adventure scenario. The whole Penelope Blue series is fun.

  23. lils says:

    Walking After Midnight, by Karen Robards. I enjoyed reading this. Adventure while running away from bad guys. I remember a few funny moments.

  24. Kris Bock says:

    A lot of KJ Charles books have intense adventure, romance, and wonderful moments of humor, though they’re not particularly goofy.

    Patrick Weekes has the Prophecy Con trilogy, which are action-packed heists with some humor and a little romance. Very fun.

    Each of my Southwest Treasure Hunters books mixes action and adventure with romance. Desert Gold follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In Valley of Gems, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues. In Silver Canyon, sparks fly when reader favorites Camie and Tiger (a cat) help a mysterious man track down his missing uncle. The latter is the funniest, but Desert Gold is only 99 cents. They do stand alone and you could try a sample.

  25. JudyW says:

    @lils YES to the WALKING AFTER MIDNIGHT! excellent example and wonderful book that although older held up pretty well. It starts with the heroine cleaning a funeral home (she owns the business and the regular staff is awol) when she realizes the dead guy on a slab moved. Super fast paced and fun.

  26. Laura Covarrubias says:

    I was dying for books like these a few months ago! I found a series that is not very funny but gave me “The Mummy” vibes-Blades of the Rose by Zoe Archer.

  27. GKS says:

    Fox and O’Hare series by Janet Evanovich fits the bill – an FBI agent is forced to work with an international criminal (he’s on the FBI’s most wanted list),to covertly take down Bad Guys that cannot be touched by the law. It has an Ocean’s 11 vibe, where Fox and O’Hare need to call in experts. I love both Kate and Nicholas and her father is a fantastic addition. Each book adds a little more romance.

  28. GKS says:

    Oh, and old Amanda Quick novels, especially “Scandal,” although I don’t know how well they hold up.

  29. Escapeologist says:

    Yes to T. Kingfisher, especially Swordheart and Paladin’s Strength.

    Also Lois McMaster Bujold will forever be my queen of competence. Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance has a fun heist and a marriage of convenience. It’s a late entry in the series but stands alone quite well.

  30. Elle says:

    Lindsay Buroker’s Death Before Dragons series fits the description. She’s a magical assassin who takes down the bad guys with help from a magical sword and a telepathic tiger. When an arrogant dragon shifter demands that she do his bidding, lots of shenanigans ensue.

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