Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "Returning Home" by Toni Shiloh
Series: Freedom Lake Genre: Adult, Christian, Contemporary, Romance Publisher: Indie Publication date: September 26, 2017
Jo Ellen Baker is shocked to find out that the boy who teased her mercilessly throughout high school, has returned to their hometown of Freedom Lake, and he’s missing a leg. When his mother asks her to renovate their carriage house to give him a place to gain his independence back, she wants to say no. But one look at him brings a rush of forgotten feelings.
Evan Carter can’t believe he has to return home and live with his parents. Every hope and dream he ever had dissipated in a car crash that cost him his leg. Stuck in a wheelchair, he’s forced to reexamine his relationship with God and the local carpenter, Jo Ellen Baker.
Will renovating his home open the door for a mended relationship, or are some wounds too deep to heal from?
Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.
She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and president of the Virginia Chapter.
1. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming an author ever cross your mind?I changed my mind so often when I was a kid. I wanted to be a police officer, an interior designer, lawyer, foreign language teacher, etc. Becoming an author never crossed my mind because I didn’t see it as a something I was good at. Sure I always had high grades in English and enjoyed writing poems and the like, but I felt they were for my own viewing pleasure. Once I decided to go back to college and earn a degree the thought that I could be an actual author finally crept in. 2. How many different publishers have you written for? Do you prefer writing for a publisher or Indie publishing?What are the pros and cons of each? I’ve written for one small press publisher. They’ve been great at marketing my books to the masses and that’s the major pro I see for going the traditional route of publishing. Editors, marketing, all of it is included with your contract. It can also be a con because you don’t control where you market, who edits your work, etc. I think the type of personality one has helps them choose their own publishing route. 3. Who are some of your favorite authors? Do they inspire your own writing?I have tons of favorite authors because I read in a lot of different genres. In contemporary romance my favorites are Pepper Basham, Becky Wade, Jennifer Rodewald, Sarah Monzon, and Mikal Dawn. I’ll devour anything these ladies write. For romantic suspense I’m all about Lynette Eason, Ronie Kendig, Dani Pettrey, and Irene Hannon. Whatever they touch is gold. J I also have favorite speculative writers such as Nadine Brandes, K. E. Ganshert, and Ronie Kendig. Since I write contemporary romance I would say my favorite authors in that genre do influence my writing. I hope to inspire the same emotions and love of characters that they inspire in me. 4. What is your current WIP? What can you tell us about it?I decided to write a story just for the pure fun of it so I’m writing a medieval fantasy. My character, Althea, has been charged with healing the second borne prince. She has to use her spiritual gift of healing but as she’s only a fifth-level student, she is unsure of her capabilities. I can’t wait to see where the story takes me as I haven’t plotted a single chapter. :) 5. What inspired the idea for Returning Home?I was out driving one day and wondered what would happen if one got in a horrific car crash that cost them their limb. It seems most often we associate a loss like that with the military, but every day civilians go through just as much as those who serve in the military. 6. What do you want readers to take away from reading Returning Home? God can see you through the trials and tribulations you’re going through. That He cares for you and will never leave your side.
I enjoyed reading "Returning Home" and meeting the residents of Freedom Lake. Jo and Evan were interesting characters and I liked seeing them grow closer to God and each other during the story. It was refreshingly realistic to not have everyone be perfect and able with having a hero who was disabled. I found the faith element to be obvious, but well done. The book was easy to read and well written (although the one time it mentions the name of Jo's sister-in-law, it is the same as Guy's late wife, so I'm not sure if that was a mistake or not). I did wish it didn't end quite as abruptly, but it will probably continue in the sequels. I could see lead ins to sequels and look forward to reading more books in the series.