Monday, October 31, 2011

From Ashes to Honor by Loree Lough

Loree Lough is a new author for me, and I was really excited when I read about her new First Responders series. For some reason I really like books about modern-day "heroes" . . . doctors, paramedics, firemen, policemen.

The first book in this new series, From Ashes to Honor, pays tribute to first responders at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Loree tells a great story that features Austin (a police officer turned EMT) and Mercy (a policy psychiatrist turned high school guidance counselor). They each have their own trauma associated with 9/11 and moved to Baltimore to escape the constant reminders of living in New York City. When they see each other again, sparks begin to fly and they must determine if they can overcome their differences and the past in order to secure a future together.

Loree weaves together an intricate plot that not only features the two primary characters but works in a great cast of supporting characters. The storylines are realistic and packed with emotion. I loved Loree's writing style and the way that she taught biblical principles while she was telling a story . . . and managed to do so without being preachy.

I will say that I was totally shocked . . . and disappointed . . . with the ending of the book. Every book doesn't have to end the way that I want it to. However, after 300+ pages, the book just stopped. The ending was so abrupt, I thought for sure I had missed something or that Austin's and Mercy's story would be continued in another book. That does not seem to be the case, though. I just felt a bit . . . cheated. After investing that much time with the characters, I felt like they (and I) deserved a bit more thought and care in the resolution. Upon further thought, it seemed that as some of the other plot lines ended as thoroughly as I would have wanted either.

All of that to say . . . the first 300 pages were fantastic. The ending was just a little weak. I will definitely give Loree Lough a second chance with the second book in the First Responders series.

I received a free copy from Abingdon Press and Net Galley in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Book
If he had only answered that last phone call from the World Trade Center . . .

Minutes before two jumbo jets changed U.S. history, New York police officer Austin Finley ignored the call from his brother, who’d been bugging him for days. Trying to live with his one regret causes hatred and bitterness to consume Austin, and when counselor Mercy Samara recommends desk duty, Austin resigns. Haunted by her own memories of 9/11, Mercy takes a job as a school counselor in Baltimore. When Austin, now an EMT, responds to an emergency at Mercy’s school, both are stunned and wary. Finally their common—and painful—memories turn suspicion into friendship, then romance.

But hard questions linger: Can they truly move beyond their past harsh judgments and harsh words? Will their past finally bring them closer or—as the tenth anniversary of 9/11 draws near—drive them farther apart?

About the Author
With more than 3,000,000 copies of her books in circulation, Loree has 82 books (fiction and non-fiction for kids and adults; one novel optioned for a TV movie; more books slated for release between now and 2013), 68 short stories, and over 2,500 articles in print. Over the years, her stories have earned hundreds of industry and "Readers' Choice" awards and 4- and 5-star reviews. She splits her time between a tiny home in the Baltimore suburbs and an even tinier cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, and shares both with her real-life hero Larry, who rarely complains, even when she adds yet another item to her vast collection of "wolf stuff."

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