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Chasing Hope

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CHASING HOPE
by
DANA WAYNE
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Book Liftoff
Date of Publication: June 10, 2019
Number of Pages: 295

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Chasing Hope book cover

Max Logan longs for the joys of home and family he missed growing up in foster care. He fills that emotional void by becoming a kick-ass Marine, and for eighteen years, led his band of brothers from one hell-hole to another…until the one that nearly destroyed him. Sixteen months of therapy and rehab put his body back together, but some wounds can’t be seen. Some can’t be healed.

Skylar Ward dreams of a life that includes someone beside her. Someone to share her life with, to be a father to her young daughter. But if she learned anything from her failed marriage it was that you don’t rush into a relationship. Options in her small town are limited, and those who approach her lack appeal. Only Max Logan sparks her interest. But the handsome, brooding war hero remains aloof.

Intelligent and intuitive, seven-year-old Maddie overhears a neighbor tell her mother she needs a male companion, so she Google’s it to see what it means. Convinced her mom needs a boyfriend and Max needs a girlfriend, Maddie sets out to make it happen. He needs a family. They need him. If she can make them see that.

Can one precocious child be the catalyst that heals a wounded warrior’s soul and brings joy back into her mom’s heart?

Or will ashes of the past bury hope once and for all?

PRAISE FOR CHASING HOPE:
“The pace was fast, the love was simple yet energetic, and the dialogues were lively enough to make me want to know more about the characters. To say that I loved this novel is not enough! Absolutely beautiful. It deserves these 5 stars.”
— Readers’ Favorite
“I could not put Chasing Hope down! From the first few sentences, I was hooked and read over half of it the first night finishing it the following night. The main characters, Sky and Max, intrigued me right off the bat but feisty little Maddie wormed her way into my heart immediately! What a breath of fresh air.”
— Mary McCormack, ARC reader
eBOOK DEAL! $1.99. JULY 9-20, 2019
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Clueless Gent’s Rating

4 star rating

Above all else, Chasing Hope is a romance.  That’s not a bad thing, but it is something a reader should know prior to reading.  Dana Wayne is a very prolific romance novelist.  This story adds yet another notch to her busy typewriter.

What’s unique about this romance, however, is that it takes on the issue of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) in a former Marine warrior.  There are plenty of novels out there that show the impact of PTSD on a family, but how many of them show the potential pitfalls of PTSD in the budding romance of two lost souls?

This story is not about PTSD, but I commend the author with the delicate way she deals with it in the story.  There are no blood-and-guts flashback scenes, but there’s enough information for the reader to glean a basic understanding of PTSD.

The Lost Souls of Chasing Hope

The two adult protagonists are Max Logan and Skylar Ward.  Max is a Marine veteran with combat experience.  Skylar is a single mom and former nurse, divorced, and struggling to raise her seven-year-old daughter, Maddie.  They are each lost in some way.  The precocious Maddie is the conduit that connects them with the present.  (And she does a fantastic job of it, by the way!)

The characters of Max and Skylar are perfect for what they are:  lost souls.  They each have ample skeletons in their proverbial closets.  They are both multi-flawed, which is great for characters.

The setting for the story is a small Texas town during the holidays.  I thought having most of the action take place between Thanksgiving and Christmas added a nice layer of “charm” to an otherwise very good story.

The remaining cast was also top notch.  The antagonists played off of each other nicely, in a nasty sort of way.  (I considered PTSD to be an antagonist.). The other supporting cast worked to fill the holes and helped blend everything together.

Marine Stuff

As a retired Marine, I take special interest in stories involving Marines.  I’m always curious to see how well an author does to capture the nuances of Marine Corps life.

Dana Wayne did a pretty good job.  However, there’s room for some improvement.  First, Marines never refer to themselves or any other Marines as soldiers.  Next – and this is borderline-egregious – she used the term drill sergeant.  Marines are not trained by drill sergeants.  They are only trained by drill instructors!  (Yeah, I know it’s petty, but since I wore the smokey for a couple years, I felt compelled to point it out.)  Lastly, there was a phrase used a number of times throughout the text.  In my 20+ years in the Marine Corps, I never heard that phrase used once by a Marine.  I did, however, hear it in a movie.  (If you’re curious what the phrase is – read the book.)

All in all, Dana Wayne, not bad on the Marine stuff.  You pass inspection with a few dings.  However, if you ever have another character that is a Marine veteran, can we get at least one “oo-rah” in the story?

Technically Speaking

There were no notable SPAG problems in the book.  I can only attribute that to impeccable editing.

I found the pacing to be quite interesting.  Overall, it’s a little slow, but the author timed it such that the two main areas of conflict both reached climax at the same moment.  Well done, Dana Wayne!

Just for the record, it’s okay for a Marine veteran to be a character in a romance novel.  And just for the record, it’s okay for a Marine veteran to read a romance novel about a Marine veteran!

As for this Marine veteran – I liked it! Oo-rah!!

I received a free copy of this book from Lone Star Book Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review.
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Photo of Chasing Hope book setting on Marine dress blue uniform
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Dana Wayne Author Photo

Dana Wayne is an award-winning author and 6th generation Texan. She resides in East Texas with her husband (and biggest fan) along with a Calico cat named Katie, three children, and four grandchildren. She routinely speaks to books clubs, services organizations, writers’ groups, and other organizations on writing and publishing, and is a frequent guest on numerous writing blogs.

“I grew up listening to my father read passages from the stack of paperback westerns beside his chair. I was fascinated at how someone could paint a picture with words so vivid, I saw it in my mind. That’s when I knew that one day I would be a writer. It wasn’t until I retired in late 2013 that I was able to devote the necessary time to achieving my goal. I published my first book in 2016 and never looked back. My stories are heartwarming, a little spicy, and all about the romance because I believe romance is more about emotion than sex, and the journey is more important than the destination.”

A staunch supporter of new authors, she is a member of Romance Writers of America, Texas Association of Authors, and Writers League of Texas as well as several local writers’ groups.

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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
FIRST PRIZE: Signed Copy of Chasing Hope
+ Swag bag including fan, tote bag, and throw blanket
SECOND PRIZE: eBook Copy of Chasing Hope
+ $10 Amazon Gift Card
THIRD PRIZE: eBook Copy of Chasing Hope
+ $5 Amazon Gift Card
(U.S. Only)
July 9-19, 2019
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3 thoughts on “Chasing Hope

  1. First of all, thank you for your service.

    And thanks for hosting me today and for this great review! I appreciate it very much. And I have a soft spot in my heart Marines – my Pop served in Korea and Viet Nam and I’m very proud of him. I tried to stay true to the things I learned from him, (like ‘the phrase’) and still write a good story. And I’m happy I passed inspection – despite stuff that got past my last read through. That means a lot, too 🙂

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