Monday, August 5, 2013

Anchors Aweigh: Sail into a Great Summer Adventure

August is "Hell Month" at my day job, which usually means I drop out of sight until sometime in September. But I just had to pop in to share this...

I just finished the coolest book!

Yes, it's written by one of my fellow Firebirds--which means she's also a 2012 RWA Golden Heart finalist--but that said, I have this thing... If I can't rave about a book, I don't write a book review. Peeps, I'm raving. For anyone, anywhere, interested in Military Romance, don't pass this one up. For those of us who write Military Romance (of any era), you can learn a lot from this tale about how the military--the Navy, in particular--works. 

Like...flight decks are damn scary, noisy places, full of hazards.

And trying to get a bit of much-needed shut-eye is no easy feat when you live in the equivalent of a dormitory packed with three-tier-high bunk beds located directly beneath a busy airport.

This story delivers not only a great romance, but a genuine experience. "Join up" and serve aboard a floating, self-contained city as it heads out "on cruise." What great muse-fodder for those of you who write Science Fiction Romance of the space-faring variety.

Forgive & Forget
by Heather Ashby
Henery Press
280 pages

There's something about a man in uniform...but there's something about a woman in one, too...

When Hallie McCabe meets Philip Johnston at a picnic, she is drawn to his integrity. He is a gentleman. But also an officer. From her ship.

Aware of the code against fraternization between officers and enlisted, Hallie conceals her Navy status, hopeful she and her secret will stay hidden on their enormous aircraft carrier until she can figure out a way for them to sail off into the sunset together.

Caught in an emotional firestorm, Hallie faces a future without the man she loves, a career-shattering secret from the past, and the burden of being the one person who can prevent a terrorist attack on the ship she has sworn to protect with her life.

Prepare to set sail for the Persian Gulf with a crew of 4,999 sailors and officers and one terrorist in search of his own kind of Paradise.

What so completely absorbed me once I started reading this book was the feel of utter authenticity. The rules, the regs, the smell of jet fuel, the roar of the engines, the close quarters, conflicts and camaraderie of military life.

I can appreciate the heroine's situation. She's fallen for a man she knows she shouldn't be with, and she's bending the rules to the point of catastrophic failure--and risking his trust in the process--because she knows as soon as she tells him the truth, it's over. But she will tell him the truth, even if it costs her everything. It's just that her timing on that big reveal goes completely askew...

I imagine some holier-than-thou readers will have issues with her honesty, and admittedly, I did at times, too, thinking, "OMG, girl, just tell him!" At the same time I could completely relate to her sentiments and easily walk in her shoes. This is the man of her dreams and she doesn't want to see her relationship go up in smoke. Who would? Hallie is likable, relatable, and an endearing combination of timid heart and tough-as-steel mind.

The hero, Philip, is a man of integrity, a true gentleman and someone I admired as a "good guy." He's a a working hero, not some commanding officer with lots of shiny brass and top-dog swagger, but an honest-to-goodness Navy man doing a real job in the bowels of his massive ship. Even so, this shoulder-to-the-grindstone, squeaky clean, BCG-wearing sailor has an alpha side that often surprised and delighted me. I LUV me an unpredictable hero.

Author Heather Ashby
with Navy Seahawk
The story also does a remarkable job of getting inside the head of the villain, and showing some of the culture and traditions he has more-or-less adopted (less, actually). Though I can't respect him or his warped values, I can understand why he turned. He's tragic, twisted and deeply disturbed, but he's no cartoon villain.

This story carries some big surprises and killer twists, but the biggest surprise for me came in the form of a secondary character that at first annoyed and then absolutely dazzled me. You know things will be okay when this guy takes charge. And best of all? The next book is about him! (Pssst....Keep your eye on the Sky. :)

FORGIVE & FORGET is the first book in the Love in the Fleet series. Watch for the next one, FORGET ME NOT, December 3, 2013.

Here's the link to Amazon: Forgive & Forget (Oh, and BTW, just between us, you might want to note the very reasonable price on the Kindle version right now. *winkety wink*)


  1. I agree, Forgive and Forget is a great read! I'm looking forward to Sky's story! I love sequels coming out of secondary characters. This was also a fast read for me. I was surprised to reach the end so quickly (even though it's a regular book length). Thanks for the great post.

  2. Thanks, Kathleen. Sky is gearing up for his book launching in December! Glad you girls are drawn to him, but I'm not surprised. He seems to have that effect on the ladies. Laurie, thanks SO MUCH for this review!!! I love the comparison of the military of the present to the future! I can't wait to read your work!

    Full Speed Ahead!

  3. Very apt review, Laurie. You've really touched on the strengths of "Forgive & Forget" - I love the way Heather draws you in through deep POV. Making the bad guy seem human - that is definitely a sign of great writing :-)

    Book 2 is going to be even better! :-)

    Catherine, Australia

  4. Aw, thanks, Catherine, but one of the reasons Book 2, FORGET ME NOT, is so good is your awesome suggestions and editing! Thank you!

  5. I could not agree more. I stayed up all night to finish this one in one sitting, and can't wait to see more (pun totally intended) of Sky in book 2! :)

  6. Thanks, LynDee! Laurie Green has been kind enough to suggest and help with a possible "Sky's Fan Club" to get the readers excited about FORGET ME NOT, featuring the one and only "King of the skies and the bedroom," Sky Crawford :-) I'll let you know when his Facebook page is ready :-)

  7. Thanks you to everyone for stopping by Spacefreighters Lounge to read my thoughts on Forgive & Forget, and talk a Little about the much anticipated hero of book 2. :)

    This looks to be a very exciting series and I can't wait to see what fun and adventure they all dish up.

  8. I'm joining the party late, but just wanted to say I'm getting two copies-- one for me and one for my dad (a retired US Navy cryptologist and avid romance reader). He's gonna love this, Heather. Thanks!!

  9. Thanks so much for your marvelous review, Laurie, and for posting it on this awesome website. Among other things, I'm so glad you appreciated the sidekick from F&F and look forward to his antics in the next book in the series, FORGET ME NOT. And I'm right there with you on, 'I only write a review when I really like a book." I feel honored to have received your awesome review. And after reading just a sample of your writing, I can't WAIT to read your books and write glowing reviews as well. Write ON!!!

  10. Thanks, Pris. You never told me your dad was a retired Navy CT. How cool is that? My BFF from the Navy was a CT. Small community. And if he reads romance? Yup, this should be right up his alley. Full speed ahead!

  11. Thanks for stopping by, Pris. I agree, I think your Dad is going to love F&F.


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Hosted by 5 Science Fiction Romance authors with 8 RWA Golden Heart finals and a RITA final between them. We aim to entertain with spirited commentary on the past, present, and future of SFR, hot topics, and our take on Science Fiction and SFR books, television, movies and culture.