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Resurrection River: Men of Mercy – Lindsay Cross – Romantic Suspense

Resurrection River (Men of Mercy #2)“How many women get to watch their husband murdered on live television?”

Amy did. She watched as the bloodsucking monsters, better known as “The National News,” splashed the video of her husband, on his knees at the feet of Afghan terrorists, a black bag over his head, take a bullet to the back of his head. Thanks, Army, for not even letting her know her husband was captured.

No body to bury. Nothing but pain, and emptiness, and horrific loneliness, as everyone around her makes sympathetic noises. But nobody is going to pay her bills. So, to keep her farm, and to raise the child her husband never even knew he had, she goes back to crop dusting. An ancient plane, an illegal immigrant farmhand and his son, and her daughter are the only things Amy has left. Well, and the completely vicious, psychotic mother-in-law from hell who is determined to make sure that Amy and her daughter suffer because her ‘oh-so-special’ son never came back from the war. Oh, and a whole flock of circling scavengers, better known as “the press,” camping on her lawn, determined to feed off her pain and grief.

Determined to give her child a good life, eight months later she is doing her best, keeping her ancient plane in the air on a wish and a prayer, bubble gum and baling wire. Her life is OK. But all that changes in a single day when the past rears up to punch her in the face. One of her husband’s old Army buddies is back in town. And that isn’t all – oh, no. For there is a Mexican Cartel boss sniffing around Amy, her farmhand, and his son. Suddenly, Amy and her tiny family are surrounded by danger. She needs help, but does she dare trust Ranger James and his team to protect them? Or is there no safe place to hide from the monsters in the dark?

On the surface Resurrection River is a romantic suspense novel on a level with all the other “Big strong military dude comes along to save the little woman and they all live happily ever after” novels on the market today. Let’s face it – soldiers are sexy, right? But there is a lot more here as well. Lindsay Cross’s work (this is the second in the “Men of Mercy” series) touches on troubles we are all much too familiar with. Drug cartels, warlords, women and children being sold into sex slavery, terrorism and the horrors of PTSD. It is a mad, bad, ugly world out there, and Cross weaves all these themes through her book.

We all need a light read sometimes, and ‘sexy soldier’ is a common trope, yes. But this is more than that, and I am glad it is. We get the ‘fun’ stuff. But along with it, you get a big dose of the serious as well, and that was a treat.

What killed it for me, and dropped it two whole stars, is how BADLY this book needs an Editor! The authors gives kudos to her ‘”Beta Readers” but they did a Horrible job. The book is filled with so many problems, at times I found it hard to translate what the writer was trying to say, and the whole mess was truly disappointing from that angle.

Check This Out – The Night Shift On NBC – I Love It!

Lately I have been recording episodes of a show called The Night Shift that shows on NBC here in the States. Don’t know if you lovelies outside the U.S. get NBC, or the show, but if you do, I recommend this show for those of you who, like me, enjoy shows with fictional characters and interesting story lines, but very serious, very modern thought processes. Let’s face it – I rarely watch the Tube, so if I like it enough to tell you about it, I  really like it!

The show is set in San Antonio Memorial Hospital, where a group of doctors, nurses and paramedics, mostly ex-military, work to not only save their patients but to help one another through PTSD and other issues dealt with by the military, both present and ex-military, in today’s world. The show is amazing. Tonight I watched a special one that was, as always, both touching and heartbreaking. There was a previous hostage situation in the ER that cost one member of their group their life, and while they are trying to deal with that, as well as everything else, they are dealing with cases that were for me literally heartbreaking, while at the same time being absolutely uplifting.

The Night Shift - Season 2Yes there are some personal, boy-girl things in the show, the whole romance thing, but mostly this is a lot deeper than that. And the one I watched tonight encouraged me to tell you about the show and how much I am enjoying it. Tonight (original air date the 4th) was Season Two, Episode 212 Moving On. I missed the first season, and part of the second, but I really want to see the whole thing.

A Marine And Military Dog – A Happy Monday Story

A beautiful story to make you smile on a Monday!

Review: Exchange of Fire (An SBG Novel) by P.A. DePaul

Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. – George Washington

1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war. – Art 47. Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977

Many military officials reportedly (also) expressed concerns that the security contractors were trigger-happy and “out-of-control cowboys who alienated the same Iraqis the military is trying to cultivate.” Defense Secretary Gates said that the contractors were at “cross purposes” with the military goals, and he suggested they be put under his authority. Opening Statement of Chairman Henry A.Waxman, in US Congress, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Hearing on Private Security Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, hearings, 110th Cong., 2nd sess., October 2, 2007

 

exchangeI first found Exchange of Fire on Reading In Pajamas and was intrigued. I love a “Kick Butt and Take Names” heroine, and Wraith definitively qualifies. A sharpshooting badass with a steady hand and a sharp eye, Wraith is part of a four-man (well, two men and two women, but you get the idea) with a super-secret, blackest-of-the-black private . . . well, corporation doesn’t really describe it. More like “If you even think that you know anything about the possibility of this group even existing, they will never find your body” sort of thing. Anyway! Nasty, nasty with razorblades on top.

But don’t think that this is all a bad deal. When the US government needs the really nasty, vicious, “how can they call these creatures humans” taken care of, they call SBG. And SBG gets it done. So, when they needed a cartel taken out that specialized in sex trafficking of young girls, Wraith, Magician, Talon and Romeo, and their leader, Cappy, are sent to Mexico to take care of the problem. However, after six months of chasing the cartel members, and losing young girls to short, horrific experiences, something had to be done. And what happened damaged Magician almost beyond salvaging – but it destroyed Wraith.

Six months later, the story picks up with Wraith living in a ‘bolt hole’ in the Carolinas, working for Grady, an ex-Marine who now runs a games center, full to bursting with go-cart tracks, a monster arcade room, paintball arena, and all the other wonderful, safe, fun goodies that kids and teenagers swoon over. They both have their damaged pasts to overcome, but Wraith’s makes Grady’s look like child’s play. But they are going to have to work together, because the monsters are coming – and they are out for blood.

The story was excellent. Fast action, two strong, capable women with guns and knives and scars pushed all my “Yeah, Baby!!!” buttons. When Magician, Talon, Romeo and Cappy come back on the scene, it is with a level of heart that was real and touching, with a dose of kicking Wraith’s ass, which she certainly deserved. They all have to pull together to get the bad guys. And the bad guys aren’t all on the other side – there is plenty of political backstabbing (with real knives).

DePaul does an exceptional job of weaving the problems of the American tendency towards uncontrolled, private black-ops corporations into the story in a brilliantly realistic manner. Some people will do anything for power, and absolute power, with absolutely no oversight and lots and lots of guns and ammo is more dangerous than we care to admit. The other thing that was handled with a deft touch was PTSD and how it affects the strongest, steadiest soldiers. There is only so much that any human being can handle, no matter how intensive their training.

The only drawback for me, honestly, was Grady. For an ex-Marine, I found him to be, well, let’s just say he lacked sac. My Marine adoptive father would have kicked his backside from here to California. “Geeze, would you like a little cheese with that whine? You would think he went over to the sandbox and played with little pink unicorns and fairies in tutus . . . Just sayin’. Other than wimpy boy, everything else about the book was rock solid, but Mr. Crybaby Pants dropped it a half-star for me. Pfft. I liked Talon lots better! 😉

I received a copy directly from Ms. Depaul in return for a realistic review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About The Author:

P.depaulA. DePaul is a multi-genre romance author including paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense. As an avid lover of stories, you can pretty much bet her nose is either stuck in a book or in front of a computer madly typing as she listens to the voices in her head (In her world it’s perfectly natural for her characters to tell her their tale so she can put it down on paper to their satisfaction).

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Check my Website here!

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Review: Exchange of Fire (An SBG Novel) by P.A. DePaul

Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. – George Washington

1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war. – Art 47. Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977

Many military officials reportedly (also) expressed concerns that the security contractors were trigger-happy and “out-of-control cowboys who alienated the same Iraqis the military is trying to cultivate.” Defense Secretary Gates said that the contractors were at “cross purposes” with the military goals, and he suggested they be put under his authority. Opening Statement of Chairman Henry A.Waxman, in US Congress, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Hearing on Private Security Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, hearings, 110th Cong., 2nd sess., October 2, 2007

 

exchangeI first found Exchange of Fire on Reading In Pajamas and was intrigued. I love a “Kick Butt and Take Names” heroine, and Wraith definitively qualifies. A sharpshooting badass with a steady hand and a sharp eye, Wraith is part of a four-man (well, two men and two women, but you get the idea) with a super-secret, blackest-of-the-black private . . . well, corporation doesn’t really describe it. More like “If you even think that you know anything about the possibility of this group even existing, they will never find your body” sort of thing. Anyway! Nasty, nasty with razorblades on top.

But don’t think that this is all a bad deal. When the US government needs the really nasty, vicious, “how can they call these creatures humans” taken care of, they call SBG. And SBG gets it done. So, when they needed a cartel taken out that specialized in sex trafficking of young girls, Wraith, Magician, Talon and Romeo, and their leader, Cappy, are sent to Mexico to take care of the problem. However, after six months of chasing the cartel members, and losing young girls to short, horrific experiences, something had to be done. And what happened damaged Magician almost beyond salvaging – but it destroyed Wraith.

Six months later, the story picks up with Wraith living in a ‘bolt hole’ in the Carolinas, working for Grady, an ex-Marine who now runs a games center, full to bursting with go-cart tracks, a monster arcade room, paintball arena, and all the other wonderful, safe, fun goodies that kids and teenagers swoon over. They both have their damaged pasts to overcome, but Wraith’s makes Grady’s look like child’s play. But they are going to have to work together, because the monsters are coming – and they are out for blood.

The story was excellent. Fast action, two strong, capable women with guns and knives and scars pushed all my “Yeah, Baby!!!” buttons. When Magician, Talon, Romeo and Cappy come back on the scene, it is with a level of heart that was real and touching, with a dose of kicking Wraith’s ass, which she certainly deserved. They all have to pull together to get the bad guys. And the bad guys aren’t all on the other side – there is plenty of political backstabbing (with real knives).

DePaul does an exceptional job of weaving the problems of the American tendency towards uncontrolled, private black-ops corporations into the story in a brilliantly realistic manner. Some people will do anything for power, and absolute power, with absolutely no oversight and lots and lots of guns and ammo is more dangerous than we care to admit. The other thing that was handled with a deft touch was PTSD and how it affects the strongest, steadiest soldiers. There is only so much that any human being can handle, no matter how intensive their training.

The only drawback for me, honestly, was Grady. For an ex-Marine, I found him to be, well, let’s just say he lacked sac. My Marine adoptive father would have kicked his backside from here to California. “Geeze, would you like a little cheese with that whine? You would think he went over to the sandbox and played with little pink unicorns and fairies in tutus . . . Just sayin’. Other than wimpy boy, everything else about the book was rock solid, but Mr. Crybaby Pants dropped it a half-star for me. Pfft. I liked Talon lots better! 😉

About The Author:

P.depaulA. DePaul is a multi-genre romance author including paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense. As an avid lover of stories, you can pretty much bet her nose is either stuck in a book or in front of a computer madly typing as she listens to the voices in her head (In her world it’s perfectly natural for her characters to tell her their tale so she can put it down on paper to their satisfaction).

dat face!
Check my Website here!

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Review: What Part Of Marine Don’t You Understand? Heather Long

marineWhat Part of Marine Don’t You Understand? The catchy title caught my eye, but not as much as the black Labrador Retriever on the cover. What a sweet face! Looking over the cover, I noticed this is part of “The Challenge Series: Always a Marine Book 12.” OK, so the series has been around long enough to get to book 12, (there are apparently 22 in the series so far? At least, according to the author’s website.)

When I read that the book is about returning warriors from Afghanistan and Iraq who are fighting PTSD and other issues, it immediately caught my attention. Especially when I saw that the book revolves around “Mike’s Place” a private veteran’s services facility where veterans come for physical and psychological therapy to learn to deal with the devastation of their lives due to their service to this country.

Heather Long’s “Mike’s Place” should be real, and there should be several in every state! Run on mostly donations and grants, this is a place where warriors can renew and relearn without condemnation or cruelty. With the state of government facilities which are in such terrible shape, funneling monies into places like this may be just what this country needs to help those we owe so much.

The story itself is a romance, between Matt McCall’s, a wounded Marine, and Naomi Sparks, the sister of a wounded veteran who is now a spanking-new Congressman. Naomi has come to Mike’s to do a report on the good accomplished by the facility for her brother in order to garner funds for expansion and continued success. Naomi is also using the visit as a quiet place to write songs for her first album which is due out soon. The romance is sweet, but it also has an edge as Matt works to overcome his PTSD. There is no magical answer and no magical recovery. Instead, we learn about how hard it is to deal with PTSD in soldiers – how even tiny steps are to be cherished.

There are, of course, story lines that I am not “in on” as this is book 12, but nothing that made it impossible to enjoy the book as a stand-alone. I am curious, however, about something called the “1Night Stand service” run by a Madame Eve, where, apparently, injured Marines get hooked up with “some random woman” – for a fee? The first intro to the term is awkward, to say the least, as Naomi suddenly looks up the site on the internet with no sort of link to the story line at all. This must be something that runs through the series, but in this case there was no ‘hooking up’ as Matt and Naomi meet in the park where Naomi is working on her songwriting and Matt is walking Jethro, his PTSD dog. It feels like Long wanted to write another edition of the series, but didn’t want to use the Madame Eve or 1Night Stand story itself, so simply threw in a couple of lines in various spots to hold it into the series without exploring it further. This didn’t create an issue for me other than being a bit confusing. I will have to look up her other books and see if I can figure it out. Is prostitution legal in Texas or something? Hummm.

Be that as it may, other than this tiny glitch I was well pleased with my introduction to Mike’s Place and the characters who populate it, and the focus on veterans with PTSD and the magnificent job that the PTSD Dog program is doing to help veterans.

I received this book in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Reckless Endangerment by Amber Lee Easton

None of us are who we were. Do you think I’m the same person I was before seeing my best friend killed? Before stepping over Marishka’s body and the bodies of her murdered children? Before seeing you face down in the dirt? Do you think I don’t see corpses in my sleep? Do you think that hasn’t changed me?” – Hope Shane, Reckless Endangerment by Amber Lee Easton

Hello All.  As is easy to tell from my last blog post and others, I am deeply interested in finding ways to help injured war veterans and their families. As such, I try to nudge my readers to pay attention, to learn about things like PTSD and the horrors and devastation of war. It isn’t just the bodies of those who fight for us that are injured. Minds and souls are often damaged beyond repair. Families break apart, soldiers return from war only to realize that they are no longer able to function in society, tortured by their memories. Suicide is common, as is winding up on the streets, living in alleyways and suffering even more pain as the very country they served turns their back on them.

I haven’t read this book, but as I was checking my messages on Twitter, I came across Amber Lea Easton and her book, Reckless Endangerment. Reading what the book was about, I knew it had to join my To Be Read shelf. Here is the blurb and an excerpt. If you get a chance to read it, or if you already have, please shoot me an email and let me know what you thought about it, and I will do the same when I get a chance to read it myself.

Cheers!  Leiah

Passion
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Reckless Endangerment Blurb:

Heroes come in many forms–soldiers who fall and rise and ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Sometimes heroes fall and take the ones they love down with them. Colonel Michael Cedars and reporter Hope Shane fell in love in a war zone, but then the world blew up, and splintered their lives in two.

Michael Cedars returns home from Afghanistan wounded and unsure where he fits in this ‘new normal’ of civilian life. Unsure if he’ll walk again, he questions his abilities as a man, husband, and father. Accustomed to giving orders, he’s thrown into a world where he doesn’t know the rules anymore and no one is respecting the officer in the room.

Hope isn’t one who gives up easily—not on her marriage and not on the innocent victims of a human trafficking ring she’s investigating. As the danger of her story intensifies, she struggles with her own post-traumatic stress disorder and a husband who resists her love.

Danger intensifies as Hope searches for truth and justice. Everyone she loves is at risk. Will her reckless pursuit of the human trafficking ring jeopardize their lives?

Michael knows she needs him, but doubts his ability to be the hero she still believes him to be. Is he still the man she married or has he become a liability that could get her killed?

___________________________

Reviews For Reckless Endangerment:

5 stars – Extremely talented
By ChristophFischerBooks “Chris”
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)

Although this book is marketed as romantic suspense it also covers some serious issues, such as people trafficking and post-traumatic stress disorder, adding further depth to a book that is rich in plot and personal conflict already. Nothing prepared me for the literary quality of this novel. Regular romance and suspense fans get more than enough here to be satisfied by the great chemistry between the main characters and the intriguing story lines. However, if you – like myself – want a little bit more out of a book than you will find it in the well-handled and insightful passages about trafficking and PSD, issues that are handled with care rather than in an exploitative or decorative manner.
Easton clearly cares about what she writes and it pays dividends, her book is surprisingly impressive and certainly recommended.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Gritty At Times, Realistic, With An Immensely Satisfying Romance and Mystery
By J. Faltys “Joder”

By the end of Reckless Endangerment I can sum it up by saying it’s Triple-H……heartbreaking, heartwarming, and heart-pounding. It’s full of likable and fully fleshed-out characters, realistically depicted issues related to the aftermath of war, and it presented a fast-paced mystery surrounding human trafficking that kept me on the edge of my seat. It shows that atrocities not only occur in faraway lands but outside our front door as well. As two people deal both mentally and physically with the hand war dealt them it’s only through love and acceptance that true healing can begin and a HEA can be fully achieved

5.0 out of 5 stars
Great read
By Sglas

I love this book! The author did a great job of writing a contemporary novel with all the twists and turns that make it impossible for you to put the book down!! I am really impressed with the author’s use of hard hitting problems facing today’s society and integrating them into the story line. This is not just another cookie cutter, predictable romance!! I highly recommend this book for all who looking for a novel with a little something extra!

Excerpt From Reckless Endangerment:

“I’m sick of not having a say in what I do or don’t do. You can’t do this. Just because I’m trapped in this chair doesn’t mean I don’t have a say about my life and I want you out of it. Get the hell out and leave me alone. I don’t want to be married to you and, unless something’s changed in the good ol’ USA, you can’t stop me from divorcing you. Listen closely, babe. I. Don’t. Want. You.”

Rage consumed him. Rage for what could have been, what should have been, for a life lost. Rage for everyone acting like he had no rights anymore, like he couldn’t make his own decisions. He tossed the wedding ring and pictures across the room.

Looking horrified, she covered her mouth with her hands and walked to where the frames smashed against the floor. As she bent, her bag spilled, contents ranging from liquid soap to a flashlight scattered across the tile. She fell to her knees, hands shaking as she scooped up the items. Broken glass crunched beneath her. Hair shielded her face from view, but he knew she cried.

He remembered another time with her on her knees when that bag had saved his sanity. Bombs had rocked the walls. Blood had dripped into his eyes. Dizziness weakened his legs. From that bag, she’d retrieved bandages, protein bars, and bottles of water. He had thanked God for her and that oversized bag.

“I’ll make sure I call next time,” she said in rushed, quiet voice, “wouldn’t want to inconvenience you.”

“I’m sorry.” He dropped his hands to the arms of the chair and stared at her bent head. “I don’t know how to handle any of this anymore, Hope, especially you.”

She froze at his words. “Especially me, huh? I’m the one constant in your life, if you haven’t figured that out yet. Despite all the bullshit, here I am. Me, stupid me, still needing you as much today as I did a year ago.”

His chest caved in at the sight of her eyes glistening with tears. He wanted to take it back, every word.

“I don’t know how to do this, how to be married, how to be back in the States, how to be a civilian again, how not to walk,” he admitted.
“You break my heart,” she whispered.

“How could I possibly break your heart?”

“By not seeing how strong you are, how much you mean to everyone in your life, how worthy you are to be alive, how heroic you’ve been, how much I love you.”

“Don’t say that.”

“Maybe I need to stop trying to hold on. Maybe you’re right.” Sighing, her shoulders slumped. “We were this close,” she held her fingers an inch apart, “to having a life together when everything blew up in our faces. Literally. What else do I have to lose, right? I already lost my dignity when I begged those damn bureaucrats to let me see you in Germany. And when I say begged, I mean I begged, pleaded, bartered, whatever I could possibly say or do to get in and they told me that you,” she pointed at him, “said no, you told them I lied about being married to you. McGee backed you up. I looked like a fool and a liar.”

“I’m sorry,” he whispered.

“Now you’re doing it again, denying me. You’d rather sit in this place alone than admit to the world that I’m your wife. It’s true.” She nodded, gaze gluing him in place. “I gave up my everything for you. My life. My pride. My dignity. I gave it all up for you.”

“Why?” he choked out the question. “I did everything to get you to let me go. I don’t want you to give up anything for me; can’t you see that? You were born to be in the spotlight, dodging bullets, charming your way into and out of trouble. I’m an anchor to you now; you know it but refuse to admit it. I want you to forget me. Why won’t you let me go?”

She closed her eyes, face tilted toward the ceiling. “Because maybe I went crazy over there. Maybe we weren’t this close,” again with the fingers, “to having a life together. Maybe we were already there. Maybe it wasn’t conventional, but it was real, it was us. Maybe I misunderstood sex for more. Maybe I thought that our wedding meant as much to you as it did to me. Maybe I’m the biggest fool to walk planet earth.”

“But now I’m broken so…”

“Yeah, that’s right.” Nodding, she looked away and brushed the back of her hand over her eyes. “And I’m too shallow to be the person you need, right? Too superficial? I know the truth. I know that you should be capable of limited mobility, that you are not trapped in that chair, that you have sensations in your right leg and have even managed to stand for a brief period of time here and there. Didn’t you think I’d do some research on your injuries? I may have kept my distance, but I have a knack for getting people to talk to me, remember? Yes, you’re in a wheelchair, but your situation isn’t hopeless. You’re the one who gave up, but for the life of me I don’t know why. It’s not like you. You’re a goddamn colonel in the Marine Corps. You don’t surrender, so what’s going on with you?”

Her words stung. He had heard them for months now and he didn’t know the answer. He couldn’t explain anything to anyone, not even himself.

SantaMonica
Amber Lea Easton

Author Bio:

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published fiction and nonfiction author. Smart is sexy, according to Easton, which is why she writes about strong female characters who have their flaws and challenges but ultimately persevere. She currently has six contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels out in the world: Kiss Me Slowly, Riptide, Reckless Endangerment, Anonymity, In Between, and Dancing Barefoot. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to suicide prevention, awareness, and helping others navigate the dark journey of grief.

In addition, Easton works as an editor, freelance journalist, and professional speaker. She speaks on subjects ranging from writing to widowhood. Some of her videos on romance writing have appeared on the international Writers & Authors television network. Current radio appearances are linked via her author website, http://www.amberleaeaston.com.

Easton currently lives with her two teenagers in the Colorado Rocky Mountains where she gives thanks daily for the gorgeous view outside her window. She finds inspiration from traveling, the people she meets, nature and life’s twists and turns. At the end of the day, as long as she’s writing, she considers herself simply to be “a lucky lady liv’n the dream.”

Purchase Links:

Amazon: http://getBook.at/REALEaston
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/Z4F3qj
All Romance Ebooks: http://goo.gl/d7RRSt
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/14lTKrb

Contact information:

Amazon Author Page viewAuthor.at/AmberLeaEaston
Author website: http://www.amberleaeaston.com
Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/AuthorAmberLeaEaston
Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/MtnMoxieGirlAuthor Bio

The Fourth Of July

On this Fourth of July, let us not forget the true cost of our freedom.

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. – George Orwell

soldierandson
Click for the PetaPixel website. Image credits: Photographs by David Jay/The Unknown Soldier http://www.unknownsoldier.org/
marine
Portrait of Marine Staff Stg. John Jones by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, 2008 http://tinyurl.com/qz5j7ng
two-victims-of-war
Two Victims of War. Photo by Bill Stones http://tinyurl.com/k6evxte
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.Martin Luther King, Jr.

The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? – William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming, 1919

It’s Here! Bitter Chocolate by Dawn Greenfield Ireland – Book Giveaway!!

Bitter Chocolate cover

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I held off on my review of Hot Chocolate as I waited to post the Bitter Chocolate Tour! But now that it is here, you will see my post for Hot Chocolate on the next page. Enjoy!

And now, with no further ado, my review of Bitter Chocolate!

Publisher: Artistic Origins Inc (June, 2014)
Category: Cozy Mystery
Series: Hot Chocolate Series- Book 2
Tour Date: June 30-July 30, 2014
Available in: ebook, 400 Pages, With Recipes

I admit it, as I have admitted it before. I grew up in the South. And yes, that does include Texas. Oh, I most definitely didn’t live the “gold spoon in my mouth” kind of Southern, but still, I know the voice of the South. And the voice is in full cry in this, the second in the Alcott Family Adventures series.

I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part, and discuss it only with consenting adults. – Molly Ivins

How can you look at the Texas legislature and still believe in intelligent design? – Kinky Friedman

If you got the money honey I got the time and when you run out of money honey I run out of time. – Willie Nelson

When we left the Alcott ladies at the end of Hot Chocolate Madge, Lila Mae and Dorothea had been through a rough time. When the husband of Bambi, the hotty blond bombshell nurse for their 92-year-old father, Bernie, was murdered the ladies found their lives turned upside down.
Now, in their true “Southern Lady” style, the girls have gone into seclusion, resting, relaxing (well, as much as three high strung Southern Ladies can relax!) And things are, of course, “interesting” again, in the “May you live in interesting times” way, as ‘baby’ Dorothea finds herself pregnant at 55 years old. Hey, aren’t you supposed to be dealing with hot flashes at 55, not morning sickness? Needless to say, Dorothea and her hubby, Henry, may be happy about the babies (!), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a lot to take in!

Twins? How wonderful!

Are you crazy? Vonnie and Charlie are in college! By the time the twins get that age, I’ll be in my seventies!” Dorothea said.
And then, of course, there is Bambi, pregnant by the selfsame 92-year-old father of the Alcott girls, (Hey! I did say in my review of the last book that Daddy was “grabby handy” right?) Now enjoying the wealthy passed on to her by her murdered husband, the disreputable Jimmy Ray Chaline, she has become close with the girls, and spends lots of time coming to grips with her new fortune and new family. So, there is a lot of baby talk going on in this newest installment. But not all is babies and butterflies, of course, and what happens next is funny, complicated and a book which could only be found in the southern climes. . .

This is a “yummy” mystery, as was quite apparent in Hot Chocolate as the girls toured Houston’s high-class restaurants, as well as the offerings of their own household cooks. And you will find recipes on the back of this volume as well – yum! And the whole funny, quirky cast returns in Bitter Chocolate as well, though a few new Houston socialites appear as well, including mute Cousin Benny, uh, make that Teddy, a victim of PTSD and yet another quirky, odd-ball character thrown into the gumbo pot of the Alcott family. And now Bernie has decided he can’t live without his Bentley.

Where’s my Bentley?

Daddy, we sold your Bentley ten years ago.

So, we add Chewie, Lila Mae’s houseman’s cousin, as Bernie’s chauffeur. Well, we never said the whole cast were WASPs!

Then there is Tilly, niece of Zoe, the wife of Alcott family attorney, Walter Branson. We first met Tilly, of course, in Hot Chocolate, when the hard drinking, coke snorting thirty-two-year-old came for a visit, and was subsequently accused of murdering the unctuous Jimmy Ray. Now, cleared of forking over Jimmy Ray, she is being forced by the family to dry out and get a life real life. But the whole “getting a real life” thing runs into a wall when Tilly’s gangster daddy is found murdered. What’s a rich, entitled, chocolate loving family to do?

Ireland’s characters, setting, and attitude are purely River Oaks Houston Southern. Mansions and food, shopping in the best boutiques and food, oh, and chocolate and food, let’s not forget Alcott Chocolates! I will admit, I found this a more refined and readable volume of the Alcott Family Adventures. I still found the constant references to just how much money these people wallow in to be rather, well, snobby I suppose you could say. A half-dozen Bentley’s at $276,000 a pop, all by themselves could feed poor families for several years. Be that as it may, the wealth is the backbone of the storyline, and I was able to put it aside as being important to Ireland’s tale.

I received this book from Ms. Ireland in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

BLURB:

The characters you loved in Hot Chocolate are back with more escapades of life in Houston’s wealthy River Oaks.

Lila Mae is in a tizzy over the Chocolate Ball – a huge event that she and her sisters, Dorothea and Madge, host every year. But due to unusual circumstances, Dorothea and Madge dump everything in Lila Mae’s lap. If it weren’t for Julian Gillespie of Event Is King, the Chocolate Ball would have melted.

Bernie, the Alcott sisters’ 92-year-old father, decides he wants his Bentley back. The sisters and Bambi are horrified. They hire Joseph’s cousin Chewie as Bernie’s new chauffeur.

Wolfram, Lila Mae’s new astrologer, gives clues of things to come. This leaves Lila Mae and her sidekick Amelia with brows furrowed.

On her day off, Amelia decides to bake a chocolate blueberry pie. She discovers she needs to make a grocery run. When she returns home, she discovers her kitchen door is slightly ajar. Arms loaded with groceries, she toes the door open.

Three things catch her attention: a vase of flowers on the kitchen island that was not there when she left the house, her marble rolling pin covered with blood… and a dead body on her kitchen floor.

Amelia’s eyes drift toward the dining room and beyond – is the house empty, or is there a murderer inside? She backs up, turns and hurries outside. After setting the bags on the ground, she slips back into the kitchen and snaps a picture of the dead guy. Then she calls Detective Chance Walker, Lila Mae and finally… 9-1-1.

Praise for Hot Chocolate:

“This cozy mystery is a raucous romp.  A light, quick read, it is laugh-out-loud funny all the way through except maybe for the scene when the murder victim is discovered and the scene when the murderer declares themselves tho even those two scenes have elements of slapstick visuals incorporated into them.

The plot is quite masterfully constructed and kept me guessing right up to the moment the culprit was revealed and that is not easy to do as I’ve read or watched so many mystery stories I often figure it out well before the halfway point.

Where the story truly shines though is through the characters of which there are many yet each one is fully rounded and uniquely eccentric.

Food itself is nearly a character in the story and several of the recipes featured in scenes are included in full at the end of the novel.”-Joy Renee Davis, Joystory”

“Hot Chocolate is a captivating tale with vivid and fun characters. I could almost visualize myself socializing with them, and I definitely enjoyed their interactions with one another. They felt like real sisters, albeit high-society ones.

All the players are in place, and we think we have them figured out. So when something unexpected happens one night at the bowling alley, the Alcotts, Bambi, and countless others are caught up in a mystery that had me turning pages rapidly. Who or what could be responsible for the shocking events? What will Bambi discover when she starts searching through her husband’s dresser drawers and files? And what other surprises await the Alcotts?

Through all the excitement and intrigue, we are gifted with wonderfully descriptive moments in the lives of the characters, including the delicious food they enjoy. The dishes are presented so realistically that I could almost taste them. As a final pleasing treat, there are several wonderful recipes at the end of the book. A five star read.”-Laurel Rain Snow, Chocolate and Mimosas

“Hot Chocolate is a light-hearted Southern comedy. The Alcott sisters are the epitome of Southern culture. They are each other’s fiercest enemy and closest companion.

One of my all-time favorite shows is Designing Women. The Alcott sisters, Dorothea, Lila Mae, and Madge could be the Sugarbaker women. Picture Suzanne Sugarbaker every time you read something about Dorothea and you’ll be rolling on the floor laughing every time she hollers and faints. It doesn’t get better than this.

The plot is well written and from the very first page there is no doubt these women live chocolate as much as the company they own makes chocolate. From the cocoa colored Bentleys to the hot chocolate they start their day with, this book is full of chocolate – what could be better than that?! The characters were dazzling creatures and full of spunk making the book an enjoyable read. I found no grammatical errors and the book ended with a surprise you won’t see coming, a definite plus in book world.” – Donna McBroom-Theriot, My Life, One Story At a Time

“I never read anything by Dawn Greenfield Ireland before, but she definitely knows how to write mysteries the way I like them. The story is filled with twists, turns and eccentric characters that are essential in writing a cozy mystery. It’s fast-paced and keeps the readers on their toes. There are also some giggles and a dash of romance thrown into the mix. At the end, she includes some yummy recipes that are featured in the book. Suddenly I’m in desperate need of a hot chocolate with some marshmallow fluff.

This book is delicious!”- Yvonne, Socrates Book Review

“I love reading a good cozy mystery and when it’s paired with good old fashioned southern charm and whit well I’m sold! “Hot Chocolate” by Dawn Greenland Ireland    gave me that plus a plenty of offbeat characters,along with a fast moving plot with a murder mystery woven in,  sprinkled together with a liberal amount of humor in to make this a book that I just couldn’t read fast enough!

As I read this story I couldn’t help but think that it would make an awesome movie. Set in the south with more than a few quirky characters that had me laughing out loud on several occasions.As I read the story I found the characters getting stuck in my head and could just imagine their southern twang.

If you enjoy reading a fast paced mystery that has more twists than a winding country road, along with vivid descriptions of people, food and places that will grab your imagination and hold on tight until the final page your certainly going to enjoy “Hot Chocolate.” I loved this author’s storytelling ability and look forward to reading more of her work.”-Brenda Casto, VW Stitcher

About Dawn Greenfield Ireland:

Dawn Ireland is the CEO of Artistic Origins Inc, a 100% woman-owned publishing and technical writing service company that has been doing business since 1995. She’s an award winning independent publisher and author of The Puppy Baby Book , Mastering Your Money, and Amazon Best Seller Hot Chocolate (the first in the series, and her fifth novel). The Hot Chocolate audio book was awarded the AudioFile Earphones Award on Valentine’s Day 2014.

Her family feature film screenplay A Girl and Her Dog was awarded a Kids First! Endorsement by the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media in October 2012 and optioned by Shadow Cave Productions in February 2013.

Originally from Feeding Hills, MA, Dawn migrated to San Antonio in 1968, then when her first son was one years old, her family moved to Houston where work was more plentiful. After 40+ years of heat and humidity, she has her sights on the Pacific NW.

Dawn is the co-author of the animated screenplay Memoirs of a Dog which won the Spirit Award of the Moondance Film Festival (children’s category) September 2011. Her dark comedy Plan B was a finalist in the Table Read My Screenplay script competition in 2010 and years before that, Standing Dead won the Women in Film and Television (Houston Chapter) screenplay award.

Stay tuned for The Last Dog (futuristic/sci-fi 2015), and Spicy Chocolate (2016).

 

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