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Review: Death, Taxes, and Sweet Potato Fries

Death-Taxes-and-Sweet-Potato-Fries-Cover-184x300Diane Kelly‘s Death, Taxes, and Sweet Potato Fries is just the kind of romance novel that you want to read in today’s political climate.  It features the romance life of an IRS agent who is assisting Border Patrol with a human trafficking case.  You’ll learn a lot.

IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway is fixin to tie the knot with Nick Pratt.  They are engaged and she could not be more astonished.  Mrs. Tara Pratt.  She likes the sound of it.

And who better than Nick to partner with when she is asked to assist in investigating a “coyote” how has trafficked numerous undocumented workers across the border.  Are coyotes like an underground railroad for migrants?  Or are they like human traffickers?  Tara weighs in on the debate as she pursues a man who has kidnapped three young women who paid him to move them across the border.  They are being held hostage so she has to move quickly on this one.

But when her leads keep coming up cold, she must reach out to a former flame who has employed a number of these undocumented immigrants?  Is he connected to the “coyote”?  Can he persuade his employees to participate in an investigation that could lead to their jail or deportation?

Will Tara’s relationship with her former flame, Brett, destroy what she and Nick have built together?  Should she tell Nick that she is investigating Brett’s nursery?  If she keeps a secret will it hurt their relationship?  Will a relationship spat between Nick and Tara prevent them from finding the kidnapped girls in time?  Will migrants speak out about the crime when they fear deportation?  Where are the girls?  Are they being abused?  Will an entitled senator’s friend get in the way with his demands on Tara’s time?  Read Death, Taxes, and Sweet Potato Fries and find out.

Side note: I love romance novels that are quietly informative. This book discusses some unusual aspects of border control that I have never thought about, like the effect of borders on the animal and wildlife population, ecosystems and habitats.

 

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Review: Marrying Emily

marrying-emily.jpgSusan Stoker‘s Marrying Emily is an unusual romance novel in that it starts where most romance novels end — with a wedding.  Fletch, the lucky groom, is part of a team of Delta Force soldiers, and has already adopted Emily’s spirited daughter, Annie.

Annie is the kind of girl who is wearing combat boots with her wedding dress and enjoys playing soldier.  She’s is a tomboy — full of heart and energy and fun.  She is also utterly unpredictable.

Emily could not be happier that Fletch has adopted Annie.  The affection between Annie and Fletch shines throughout the ceremony. But can all of this perfection last?

It’s a beautiful wedding.  Until….

No, no one gets jilted at the alter or discovers that they are secretly married as is typical of romance books.  What happens is actually must worse.  The wedding guests are taken hostage at gunpoint.  Fletch is confident that he and his Delta Force team could over take the gunmen.  But can they do so without putting the women in danger?  Many of the members of the Delta Team (and SEALs in attendance) have been injured in combat. Are the injured members of the Delta Force up to the task after they have relinquished their prosthetic arms and legs to the gunmen?  And as he formulates a plan, can he account for his adopted daughter’s free-spirited, unpredictable behavior?  Read Marrying Emily and find out.

One thing that is very unique about Marrying Emily is that the book focuses substantially more on the character and their struggles than on the hostage situation.  There is a grim reality to how American veterans are treated and the trauma that many went through in Iraq.  Susan Stoker brings veterans issues front and center and the book will provoke you to consider the place of veterans in our society.  Here are some organizations to check out:  The Wounded Warrior Project, The Given Limb Foundation, and Fischer House Foundation.  Please add more to the comments below.

 

 

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Review: Hillbilly Rockstar

hillbilly-rockstarCountry and Western music star Devin McClain has had a string of weird things happen recently.  Like someone breaking into his bus to beat him up.  Luckily he was out with a girl — a journalist so the vandal didn’t find him.  They beat up JT instead.

The natural thing for any hot, muscular rock star to do is to hire a hot, female security guard (see how cool Lorelei James is as a romance novelist!  She’s given the Hillybilly Rockstar a female bodyguard.  It’s a reversal of Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard.)

Liberty Masterson to the rescue.  She doesn’t want to work for him; he’s a cocky dick, after all.  But she’s going to get a big bonus if she can manage to put up with him. And she’s a female so it won’t raise any eyebrows or create unnecessary publicity in the form of questions about a strange man/ bodyguard on the tour.

Their relationship gets off to a rocky start with some ugly and biting banter about her looks.  But he quickly realizes he’s attracted to her, and she is soon punishing herself for being drawn into that rock star charisma.

Will his macho behavior get in the way of her doing her job?  Who is behind this string of incidents?  Will the rockstar break her heart?  Will his heartbreaking past prevent him from realizing that she is an incredible woman?  And why is she so easy to open up to?  Read Hillbilly Rockstar and find out.

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Review: Kill Without Shame

kill-without-shameLucas St. Clair and Mia Ramon were high school sweethearts.  But his wealthy, politically connected family didn’t approve of their relationship.  The son of Senator St. Clair must marry the right woman.  And so Lucas broke her heart due to his father’s wishes.

But that was years ago.  In Alexandra Ivy‘s Kill Without Shame, Lucas is one of five Afghanistan vets who runs Apres Security — the security agency that appears in her other novels. But now he’s back in town.  Eh won’t be touching is father’s money.  A detective shows up looking for leads on a murder of a guy he knew in high school.  And that guy was murdered with a picture of Mia in his pocket and the words ‘kill her or else’ written on it.

And the former prisoner of war won’t be touching is father’s money.  Does that mean he’ll be seeking out Mia?  No — it’s danger, not romance that brings them totgether when a detective shows up looking for leads on a murder of an old high school classmate.  And that classmate was murdered with a picture of Mia in his pocket and the words ‘kill her or else’ written on it.

Why does the dead man have a photo of her in his pocket?  Why the threat?  Is the crime connected to Mia’s landscape company?  What secrets from the past will the investigation turn up?  Will she forgive Lucas or will the past get in the way of his ability to keep her safe.  Who is trying to kill Mia? Read Kill Without Shame and find out.

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Review: Deception Island

deception-island.jpegWhen it comes to romance novels, it’s pretty rare to find one that is dark and tackles serious themes like human trafficking.  Brynn Kelly‘s Deception Island is a rare exception, reminding me of the movie Blood Diamonds in the sense that this is squarely a genre novel that brings awareness of an important social issue.  Deception Island is suspenseful enough that I could see it being made into a similar kind of movie.

The deal is a kidnap for a kidnap.

Rafe Angelito’s son has been kidnapped and in return he been ordered to kidnap Laura Hyland, the daughter of an American senator.  There’s just one problem Laura is sailing and sipping cocktails on her father’s yatch in Bali while Holly Ryan is circumnavigating the globe on a stunt tour, posed as Laura.

Holly has a criminal past and aims to turn over a new leaf.  No more cons.  She plans to be a law abiding citizen.  But when she is kidnapped and her first couple of escapes fail, she has to turn on the charm and seduction to save her life.

As they grow closer together, she learns more about his past – his life growing up in a refugee camp and his induction into a militia as a child soldier.  Now the same brutal group has kidnapped his son.  The portrayal of the life of child soldiers and human trafficking is brutal and devastating, and I really appreciate Brynn Kelly for bringing these themes and this awareness into a mainstream novel.

Will Rafe fall for her seduction?  Will she fall for him in the process?  Will her seductions save her?  Will he be forced to kill her when he finds out that she is not who she claims to be?  Read Deception Island and find out.

 

Did you know that there are between 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today?

Did you know that the average cost of a slave is $90?

Did you know that many child soldiers are forced to act violently against their families so that they have no choice to ever return home?

Did you know that in the past ten years, there have been 21 armed conflicts that recruit child soliders?

As you read Deception Island, please also check out – The Polaris Project, Urban LightGoodWeave, and Child Soldiers International.

 

 

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Review: Secret Sisters

secret-sistersIt’s rare to find a romance novel that is so suspenseful that you will literally lean forward in your seat while reading it.  But that’s what I found myself doing with Jayne Anne Krentz‘ Secret Sisters.

Eighteen years ago, Madeline and her sister left Cooper Island with a terrible secret that she shares Daphne, her childhood friend, and Tom, the caretaker at her grandmother’s inn on the Island.  Years later, she has lost contact with Daphne but in the wake of her grandmother’s death, their secret is unburied.  Can Madeline turn to her for help?  Will her head of security, Jack Rayner and his brother Abe be able to protect them from a temperamental killer?  Will the political ambitions of the wealthiest family on Cooper Island prevent them from finding answers? What will Jack and Madeline do about the desire that they feel for each other?  And will it get in the way of their investigation into the past?  Read Secret Sisters and find out.

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Review: Lord of the Privateers

lord-of-the-privateersAye, mate.  Pack your your skull chest full of ammunition and grab your cutlass. We’ve a lass to save and we’re going on a privateering adventure.  There’ll be plenty o danger and hot spicy romance. and your  Who doesn’t love a romance novel with spies, travel and secret maps.

Who doesn’t love a romance novel with spies, travel and secret maps.  And Stephanie Laurens delivers on spicy hot chemistry amid dangerous adventure in Lord of the Privateers.  In case you were wondering, a privateer is like a pirate who works under a government contract.  Like Jack Sparrow meets Blackwater.

Isobel Carmichael’s cousin has gone missing and she demands that Royd Frobisher takes her to West Africa for a rescue mission.  Royd would rather do the job himself, but Isobel won’t have it.  But there’s sizzle in the room every time that Royd and Isobel lay eyes on one another.  They have an intense chemistry that carries the book through the fast-paced action as they embark on a dangerous mission.  Will they be able to keep their wits, rescue  her cousin, and save England from political disaster?  Check out Lord of the Privateers for a jolly good time, mate.