Review: Once a SEAL

once a sealReviewed by Carrie

After a 3 month whirlwind courtship, Aria Kavanaugh finds herself waiting at the altar for her soon to be husband, Navy SEAL Dan McCullum to get back from a last minute operation.  Despite some niggling doubts about being able to live with Dan’s occupation, the wedding proceeds and on their honeymoon Aria is quickly introduced to military life.  Just as she’s starting to get a bit stable, a family member dies leaving her brother in her care.  The reader mainly follows Aria as she tries to adapt to being married to a man who is gone more than he is home and the trials and tribulations of being a military family.

Although Dan was, at times, overly effusive in his praise for Aria, he was a pretty straight forward no-nonsense kind of guy typical of a SEAL.  Where the author’s writing really shone was with Dan’s missions.  The scenes were well written, engaging and filled with the technical accuracy that I appreciate.  I wish the book included more of this because it was the highlight of the book.

Though it was interesting to get a feel for what Special Operations spouses might go through, I couldn’t connect with Dan or Aria.  While Dan is viewed through his missions and Aria through home life, with the absence of their courtship it is difficult to get emotionally invested in their relationship.  The only time the reader really gets to experience them as a couple is the sex scenes which fall disappointingly flat.  Aria comes off as a wishy washy damsel in distress who didn’t give a second thought about life before getting hitched to a man with a very specific lifestyle only 3 months after dating and then goes on to blame him for every hiccup they encounter.

I picked up this book because the premise was intriguing and the author is the wife of a retired Navy SEAL.  Once again, the cover is a bit deceptive in that I thought I was getting romantic suspense but this was more of a straight up contemporary with some military action scenes thrown in and a very weak stalker plot.  I hope the author will concentrate on romantic suspense in future books because that was clearly her strength here.

Grade: C-

*ARC provided by Sourcebooks via NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon

Once a SEAL
by Anne Elizabeth
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca


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