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Karlynp & The Doggone World

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A SEAL at Heart - Anne Elizabeth DNF This was a tough book to DNF as the core of this story had great potential. But the delivery was just not there for me, and I found myself struggling to keep an interest with these characters.

The opening scene starts off with a riveting rescue ops, so I had great hope the rest of the story would deliver more of the same. Jack is a Navy SEAL, injured on duty in South America. He saves several fallen comrades, and they escape a total goat-fucked operation.

Weeks later Jack is back in Coronado, CA recovering from his head injury. He has little recollection of the operation, but knows the death count was high - and included his best friend Don. He is now on leave with the order to treat his head injury through therapy in hopes of regaining his lost memory.

So far, so good! Then he meets Laurie, a physical therapist and adopted daughter to one of his commanding officers. The attraction was instant for both, but this is where I started losing some interest. The conversation between these two felt forced and stilted. They quickly start making out, but instead of hooking up they end up insulting each other and walking away. I had to re-read that scene just to make sure I understood why things went from hot to cold. I still don't fully get it.

The next day, Jack decides to apologize to Laurie. For reasons I am not completely sure, he figured out he was wrong and wants to apologize. He makes an appointment to see her at her office, and shows up with a huge bouquet of roses. After a brief and stilted conversation, she forgives him and agrees to take him on as a patient.

Again - so far, so good! Then the conversation shifts again. In one breath she says she's not going to have relations with a patient, yet she flirts away with him. This leads to a very brief quicky, which we are suppose to believe was some seriously hot sex. Uh no, it was just a quicky - wham, bam, thank you mam kind of quicky.

Jack suffers with hallucinations, brought on by his PTSD. He has several visits/conversations with Don, his dead best friend. I actually liked this part of the story quite a bit, and its what kept me reading as far as I did. Jack is trying to work out what happened, but his mind is so muddled from the injury. As his memory starts to return, we know it will reveal some dangerous secrets.

I made it up to the 50% mark, but the choppy pacing of the relationship, and the over-reactions of some of the secondary characters, was just off for me. Jack and Laurie moved way too fast for the amount of time they actually spent together. Her adoptive dad's reaction to their relationship was overly dramatic. Their conversations felt stilted and scripted, which made it hard to connect with these characters. They had a wooden feel to them. They went hot/cold a few times and I had to re-read each of them to see what I missed.

Also, I was expecting a steamy read. Jack and Laurie make a lot of suggestive comments to each other, some quite racy, but the sex scenes are pretty much non existent. They're either short and quick (two or three paragraphs), or it was a full fade to black.

Lastly, I do realize this is an ARC copy so I cannot expect perfect formatting, so I'll look past all of the paragraphs that bled together. But there was also some blaring issues with the writing in places, which I hope gets fixed before the actual book is published. One particular part that stood out is how the author wrote inner-dialogue. In many areas when Jack was thinking to himself, she used quotation marks instead of italics. In other areas, she did use italics. Each time she used a quote I re-read to see if I missed something. Was he talking out load or to someone? Not as far as I could tell.

I only made it to the 50% mark, so much could have changed in the last half. The core story really had great potential, and when the story moved along I was truly interested. But so much kept pulling me out of the story. I needed to re-read a lot of scenes to see if I missed something. The choppy pacing, the stilted conversations, the over-acting, and even the formatting issues became too much. I do think the author has great potential. If this book just had a good polish, it could have been spectacular.

ARC copy provided by Sourcebooks Casablanca through Netgalley.com