Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway: EXTREME HONOR by Piper J. Drake

Extreme Honor
by Piper J. Drake
Book 1, True Heroes
Grand Central Publishing- Forever

Welcome to the blog tour for Extreme Honor.  Piper J. Drake is a new author to me.  I enjoyed the book and am happy to share my review with you.  Happy reading!

David Cruz is good at two things: war and training dogs. The ex-soldier’s toughest case is Atlas, a Belgian Malinois whose handler died in combat. Nobody at Hope’s Crossing kennel can break through the animal’s grief. That is, until dog whisperer Evelyn Jones walks into the facility . . . and into Atlas’s heart. David hates to admit that the curvy blonde’s mesmerizing effect isn’t limited to canines. But when Lyn’s work with Atlas puts her in danger, David will do anything to protect her.

Lyn realizes that David’s own battle scars make him uniquely qualified for his job as a trainer. Tough as nails yet gentle when it counts, he’s gotten closer to Atlas than anyone else—and he’s willing to put his hard-wired suspicion aside to let her do the same. But someone desperate enough to kill doesn’t want Lyn working with Atlas. Now only teamwork, trust, and courage can save two troubled hearts and the dog who loves them both . . .

Get More information at: Goodreads  | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

I have enjoyed books about dogs in the romantic suspense genre in the past, and was hoping that this one had a good balance of suspense and charm.  If done right, the animals will warm your heart.  I was not disappointed.  Extreme Honor is an entertaining read with a suspenseful storyline and lots of potential for more.

What I really enjoyed about this book is the interesting insights that the author has about various subjects that ring true to me.  For example, I liked how the author is willing to articulate that not all Navy SEALS are heroic.  They are human beings subject to the same weakness and temptations as the rest of us.  Most may choose the right and moral choices, but not all:

Combat shaped soldiers in a variety of ways and as much as people wanted to think it was for the good, sometimes men got twisted.  Or they already were and service had brought out the jagged edges in them.  This man was not a shining example of a military hero by anyone’s definition. 

On a lighter note, Lyn’s observation about hotels really resonates with me as a frequent business traveller:  “She stayed in hotels all the time and they were most definitely not all made equal.  In fact, even hotels in the same chain varied to a certain extent, depending on the location.”  Truth.  It’s not a big insight, but is highly appreciated from someone who stays at a lot of hotels.  This “nod” increases my enjoyment of the story.

What starts off as a solid romantic suspense involving the trauma witnessed by a dog, develops into a riveting conspiracy theory about dishonest maneuvering happening during the war.  The narrative is well-paced and takes some surprising twists and turns.  

My biggest critique of the storyline is when Lyn makes a dubious choice to get in a car, despite the information she and David learned earlier about who is involved in a conspiracy.  Worse, David, who is plagued by his intuition all day, allows her to leave.  It seems out of character from the smart and cautious way they were working before that moment. I shook my head in confusion.

I also think that perhaps I would like more details on what makes Lyn a special dog whisperer.  She obviously connects with Atlas, but there is not enough about her training style, especially in contrast to Dave’s.  Learning about military dog training is heavily detailed and very interesting.  It feels unbalanced.

However, other parts of the story surprised me in a good way.  For the most part, I like the character development. The interaction between the two characters feels genuine based on their commonality as dog trainers whose styles complement each other. Moreover, I really enjoyed the ending.  It is better than what I expected.  The story is resolved well enough, but leaves room for more in the next book.

A new author, a new series, and a great start - I cannot wait to pick up the next installment.

Book two in the True Heroes series-  Ultimate Courage
Available July 26, 2016

Elisa Hall is good at starting from scratch. Leaving an abusive relationship in her rearview, she packs everything she owns into the trunk of her car and heads for refuge with her friend in Hope’s Crossing, Pennsylvania.
Alex Rojas returned from his second deployment as a Navy SEAL to find his condo empty and divorce papers on the breakfast table. Now he’s building a life for himself and his daughter at Hope’s Crossing kennels training younger dogs and handlers to search and rescue, struggling to adjust to life back in the States and as a single father.
When Elisa shows up at the kennels, it’s obvious she’s running from something. Luckily, the dogs and trainers at Hope’s Crossing are more than capable of warding off trouble. And with every minute he spends with Elisa, Alex becomes even more and more determined to protect the woman he’s certain he won’t be able to live without…
Get More information at: Goodreads  | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Piper J. Drake (or “PJ”) began her writing career as “PJ Schnyder” writing sci-fi & paranormal romance and steampunk. She has recently received the FF&P PRISM award for her work as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award.
Now, PJ is exploring the complexity of romantic suspense, incorporating her interests in mixed martial arts and the military into her writing.

Connect with Piper at: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google + | GoodReads| Youtube

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