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Book: Your Gift to Me by Bonnie Bartel Latino, Robert E. Vale

Book Reviews: Your Gift to Me by Bonnie Bartel Latino, Robert E. Vale

star rating  5 stars, 3 reviews
categories: Book, Warfiction, Romantic, Topgun, Steelmagnolias, Visualization, Military, Survivinggrief, Southernfiction, Funny, F-16, Airforce, Lovestory

Bonnie Bartel Latino

Author Bonnie Bartel Latinoabout this book: Your Gift to Me: "An accurate, smart, sensitive look at military lives and military wives." ~ Bob D'Angelo, review for The Tampa Tribune, published 9/16/2012

"Your Gift to Me" is a military love story for men and women who require both substance and entertainment in their leisure reading. I got the idea for the book after my father died of cancer -- and the next day-- his fiance and another lifelong family friend died in a horrible car accident. After learning all about the compounding effects of grief, I wanted to share what I'd learned. To give the story broad appeal, I set it in Hawaii and wrote about what I know best, the military way of life. I am a former columnist for Stars and Stripes in Europe. My husband was also an Air Force officer for thirty years.

My co-author, Bob Vale, is a gifted writer and graphic designer whom I have never met, although we have been a non-fiction writing team for over a decade. Bob also created our cover art. We selected the design elements after Beta readers consistently said our story reminded them of "Top Gun" meets "Steel Magnolias." For us, the most difficult part was learning to write fiction.

The book is deeply researched. Bob and I individually conducted research at military bases in Hawaii, New Jersey, and Florida. Numerous military officers and NCOs at other locations helped answer massive amounts of research questions.

Writing this book helped us understand that there is no such thing as 'closure' of grief. Those who have lost a loved one must eventually reach an emotional and mental place where they are no longer paralyzed by grief.

We'd like readers to know that although "Your Gift to Me" has a deep theme, it is romantic and sophisticated. It also has the comic relief, which every serious work since Shakespeare must have, if it is to thrive inside readers' hearts and minds. We believe the depth of our Amazon reviews proves the book is doing that. Over the summer "Your Gift to Me" achieved the #1 Amazon ranking in three categories: Top Rated War Fiction, Top Rated Contemporary Romance, and Top Rated Romance.

Bob and I recently joined a triad with two other experienced-based military spouse novels. You can read more about this at

• "Your Gift to Me" by Bonnie Bartel Latino and Bob Vale won the 2012 Gold Medal Award for Military Super Romance from the Military Writers Society of America.

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 There is love after loss....

Your Gift to Me is an inspirational treasure that stirred me on many levels. I, too, was a military wife for many years and loved being part of the military community. I have also lost my husband, the love of my life. Following Emily and Ted's experiences as their friendship provided ballast for working through their individual grieving was uplifting and healing for me. There were lighter moments that were heart-lifting, as well, and brought joy and hope for life after loss. This was a beautiful story and one I certainly recommend. [by Paula Snell]

 Unique Literary Style That Touches All of Us!

Anne of Green Gable’s Farm PEI, Canada

a review by Anne of Green Gable’s Farm PEI, Canada

I loved Bonnie Latino and Bob Vale's book, Your Gift To Me. It is unique in its interweaving of romance, suspense, vivid scenes, lively characters, and military intrigue. Their portrayal of the main character's heart-wrenching experience of dealing with grief was especially touching and enduring.

Latino and Vale's poignant writing styles and "straight from the heart" message has made it truly unique! I would highly recommend their novel to anyone aged young adult to eighty. It reaches across all genres and touches all of us.

*Jerrye Sumrall is the author of The Bayshore Mysteries, a series for kids aged 9 to 12.

 Part Love Story, Part Thriller

Kathleen M. Rodgers

a review by Kathleen M. Rodgers

An affirmation that JOY can come after deep mourning...

A smart, thought provoking read. Air Force Fighter Pilot Ted Foley and Alabamian Emily Ann Meade are on a collision course of their souls. Part love story, part thriller, YOUR GIFT TO ME is original and fresh. One second I had goosebumps from head to toe, the next I was slapping my knee and laughing out loud.

Early in the book, Emily, a former investigative journalist and Air Force widow, says to Ted, who's recently lost his wife to breast cancer, "I can tell you this. You never get over deep grief, you just get through it."

As I was reading this book, I found myself pausing to look off in the distance before turning back to the story. This is when I knew the story had burrowed itself into my soul. Days after finishing this book, I'm still thinking about the characters.

Can a work of fiction be both a healing balm and an entertaining tonic? You bet it can, and writing team Bonnie Latino and Bob Vale prove it with all the right ingredients.

I highly recommend this novel to anyone who has ever made a journey back from grief. For those who enjoy reading a good story laced with both wisdom and wit, YOUR GIFT TO ME is a deep and meaningful novel.

~ Kathleen M. Rodgers ~ author of the bestselling novel, THE FINAL SALUTE, #1 on Amazon's Top Rated War Fiction

Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader copy from author Bonnie Latino, a former columnist for Stars & Stripes and the wife of a retired Air Force colonel.

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