His Road Home
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Date of Publication: October 13th, 2014
Number of pages: 109
Word Count: 38,000
Special Forces medic Rey Cruz needs to find a fiancée, fast, to avoid insulting a matchmaking Afghan warlord. Finding a picture online of a girl he barely knew back home, he fakes an engagement photo, thinking no one else will see it. But when Rey is injured while rescuing a local boy, the image no one was supposed to see goes viral.
Seattle marine biologist Grace Kim is shocked to find out she's engaged. When she's offered a plane ticket to visit her "fiancé," she takes it, looking for the answer to one question: Why did he lie? A traumatic brain injury means Rey can’t tell her, until they figure out how to communicate. Touched by Rey's funny texts and determination, Grace offers friendship—a big step for someone who prefers whales to most company.
And when Rey is finally sent home, Grace agrees to help him drive his classic car cross-country over Thanksgiving—a once-in-a-lifetime road trip that leads to what feels like real love. In front of his friends and family, she plays the caring fiancée, but what place will Grace have in Rey's new life once he's ready to be on his own again?
I have admitted before that a good cover completely draws me in. Yes, I DO judge a book by it's cover, and this one was quite beautiful. Something about those rich, warm tones, the fall leaves, the couple resting together, but with those small, secretive smiles. I wanted to know more. Once I read the blurb, I was hooked. This was a new and interesting twist on the fake fiance troupe, let alone the injured military hero and the long distance relationship.
Once I started reading I was completely hooked. I adored both Rey and Grace. I haven't read a book about 2 non-Caucasian characters before, so this was a new experience. Grace is Korean-American and Rey is Mexican-American, and although their cultural differences are touched on, it is clear that they are more similar than different when it comes to their family bonds. Plus, I kept picturing their kids and thinking how absolutely beautiful they would be. (Okay, yes, I know that was shallow.) But honestly, unless it was brought up more to point out their similarities than their differences, I hardly thought about it. They were just Rey and Grace.
Although their relationship may have started under false pretenses, it truly develops into the real deal during their daily long distance chats. It starts via text message because that is one of the few ways that Rey can communicate effectively. Over Rey's long recovery, they come to know each other and discover something special. They literally became a life line to each other. There is some definite instant attraction, but with Rey's wounds and them living on opposite coasts, keep the physical fires on a slow burn.
It wasn't until after I read this story and started to do a bit of research on the author that I realized she was an Army Veteran. This completely explained the realism concerning Rey's military scenes. Also, this book is a sort of spin off of First Burn, Anna's Immortal Vikings Series. I say spin off, because although Rey was first introduced in First Burn as a secondary character this book has nothing to do with Vikings (although Wulf makes a cameo appearance). I didn't read First Burn, and didn't feel that I was missing anything vital.
This book is the perfect read for November, with Veteran's Day and the Thanksgiving holidays. It will touch your heart and soul, with it's strength, honesty and character. Simply a beautiful story, 5 stars.
Today, we welcome Anna Richland to Musings and Ramblings. Let's all give a big Geeky welcome!
Hi Judy! Thanks for having me. I’m thrilled to be here celebrating the release of HIS ROAD HOME with your readers.
Let's start with some writer specific questions before moving into the fun stuff. That way everyone can really get to know the person behind the writer. We will finish things off with a round of Think Fast. Ready for the interrogation to begin?
Interrogation? You bet! And that reminds me of this snippet from HIS ROAD HOME when Rey arrives at Grace’s parents’ house for dinner the first time, carrying a poinsettia for Grace’s mother.
A bobbing silver-glitter reindeer on a stick poked out of the plant. Her eyes flicked from his, dark brown and amused, to the glowing display of illuminated carolers and reindeer in the yard. “You know they like decorations.”
“Expert recon,” he whispered for her ears only.
“How are you at interrogation?”
“Trained. To resist.”
Maybe if she slipped the poinsettia on the end table she could find a reason to step to the porch for a minute and give him a quick kiss for luck.
So ask away!
1. Is your writing style more plotter or pantser?
Plotter … you get to use fancier office supplies. I start with character studies, and then I make an index card for each scene. Although the scenes change somewhat as I write, arranging all the cards on the floor in rows helps me get the plot straight and physically see things like if I have enough turning points and enough scenes from each point of view.
2. How do you deal with Writer's Block?
I do promotion, because at least that’s about writing. And I eat. And go look at my washer and dryer.
Truthfully, I haven’t really had “writer’s block” (knock on wood) because I still have a lot of ideas waiting to be put on paper. When I struggle with particular scenes, I find that swimming laps is helpful. I’ve heard a lot of writers say water helps them think.
3.Tell us something about yourself that's not in your bio.
In the mid-1980s, when I was a sixteen year-old exchange student to Japan, I saw two men exchange a briefcase during the liturgy at the Holy Resurrection Cathedral (aka “Nikorai-do”) in Tokyo. Then they left the church, separately, and I immediately thought spies! It was the Cold War, after all, and this was a Russian Orthodox church at the crossroads between East and West. So I followed the one with the briefcase, but lost him within two blocks. With super-permed blonde hair in Tokyo, I was pretty obvious. I think that was my first real-life experience with spies, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my last …
4. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Do laundry and dishes count? If I can watch Castle while I’m doing them, I’m happy. Of course, I like to read and wish I had time to read everything I own, but I’ve found it’s hard to fold laundry and read at the same time. Seattle has great restaurants and music, and my husband and I like to go out. There are several months every spring where it seems like the only thing I do is attend little league and softball games, which I also love. Ahh. I can help with this... Audiobooks, the ability to enjoy a good book while doing menial tasks.
5. How did you choose the genres you write in?
I write military characters like Sergeant Rey Cruz in His Road Home and Wulf and Theresa in First to Burn because I spent several years in the army, and a lot of characters from that time in my life populate my imagination. My paranormal romantic suspense series, The Immortal Vikings, chose me when I was reading an illustrated children’s book about Beowulf. In the pictures, there were all these other guys in the boat behind Beowulf. And I thought, “Who are they? What are their stories? What if…” I speak for all my readers when I say, Thank you for your service. :)
1. What was the last movie/concert/show that you saw?
We love to listen to live music, and attend a lot of concerts. In the back of His Road Home, I describe how this story came to me while I was in the audience of a Brandi Carlile concert listening to her song “Hard Way Home.” We’re going to another Brandi Carlile concert in November - can’t wait! Over the summer the whole family went to see Pink Martini play at the Seattle Zoo, where you take a picnic and sit outside on a gorgeous summer evening. Before that, Mr. Richland and I went to see Cher’s D2K tour. I have no idea what the last movie we saw at a cinema was, though. For those wondering about the song that inspired the book, here it is:
2. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
Vision that lets me see through the walls of my house, to know exactly who did what first when the kids are outside. But I’d settle for mere perfect vision. I’m sick of wearing glasses!
3. Tell us 2 positive and 2 negative character traits you possess.
No surprise, I talk too much and I’m bossy (I’m a recovering lawyer, so I really can’t help myself). I think my best trait is that I’m generally very happy. I tend to like whatever I’m doing. And my second best trait is that I’m really excellent at planning vacations.
4. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Dog walkers who don’t scoop! I fantasize about how to rig a water cannon that would erupt from my grass parking strip when it senses dog poop resting for more than 10 seconds. Here’s what Santa is going to bring to our house this year:
Seriously. A poop-scooping Barbie.
5. What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Chocolate milk, skim milk, half & half, heavy whipping cream, coffee-flavored yogurt, plain yogurt … yes, a lot of different dairy … and butter, cheddar cheese, shredded parmesan, baby mozzarella balls … now I’m feeling like the shrimp guy in Forrest Gump.
1. Elvis or Sinatra? Sinatra, because his songs remind me of my grandparents.
2. Mountains or Sea? Lucky in Seattle to have both nearby so I don’t have to choose, but I love cities by the sea like San Diego, Seattle, Vancouver, and San Francisco.
3. Coffee or Tea? Coffee! Double tall nonfat latte, to be exact.
4. Cake or Pie? Cake, if Mr. Richland’s making it. This is one of the birthday cakes he made for my son and the pretty flowered one he made for me. I’ll confess to buying the book birthday cake last year when First to Burn released, however. There should be 3 pictures of different cakes here, but something happened during transmission. Sorry!.
5. Car or Truck? Because we live in the city, I have to parallel park on a hill in front of my house, so a car.
Thanks for coming by and spending some time with us. Any final words of wisdom to pass along?
I hope readers will love Rey Cruz as much as I do, and spend a little time after they read the story looking at the Fisher House Foundation website. It doesn’t take an earth-changing idea to do good in the world - sometimes all it takes is offering a free place to sleep to families who need it. All authors (including me!) are grateful for honest reviews or ratings - anywhere on the internet - because it helps other readers decide whether our books will work for them. Thank you!
Anna is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for $50.00 Donation to THE FISHER HOUSE FOUNDATION in Name of Veteran of Choice.