REVIEW: SEALed and Delivered by Jill Monroe
Dear Ms. Monroe:
Is it too corny to say that this book delivered for me? I’m not a huge fan of the Navy SEAL books anymore because I think that there are so many of them and I worried about the machismo level of the hero but nothing about the book was very expected. That was a good thing.
Hailey Sutherland and her sister have taken over the family business, a San Diego institution that was once the place for social events like showers and parties and small receptions. Hailey was not as excited about the revitalization of the family business as was her sister for although she had been engaged three times, she doesn’t really know much about party planning. Because she was engaged three times, had her heart broken three times, she really isn’t in the mood to celebrate others’ newfound love.
When a SEAL team exercise plays out in front of a shower party and the women are drawn to the beach like George Clooney to brunette cocktail waitresses, Hailey recognizes that the Sutherland’s position on the beach could present some unique marketing opportunities for The Sutherland.
Lt. Commander Nate Peterson is stateside helping to train a new set of SEALs due to an injury that has left him unable to perform his duties. He resents being sidelined and stuck training newbies but realizes that in another year or two one of these newbies might be fighting along side of him. I liked that Nate was both a bit peeved but also realistic.
Part of the setup, where Hailey is playing a shower game which requires her to kiss the first man she sees, was a bit irritating. Would Nate Peterson, SEAL hardcore, really stop and kiss some chick during a training exercise? I wasn’t sure but one off note in the book didn’t slow me down. Part of the scene, the part after the kissing, did a great job at rendering how tough the SEALs were. One of the trainees was hit in the head and lost consciousness. Peterson dragged him to the shore and allowed him to recover. The shore was right in front of the Sutherlands. The SEAL trainee recovers and then goes back into the ocean to finish out the training exercise because, as Nate points out to a shocked Hailey (and a concerned reader), the trainee would have to endure much worse in battle.
Hailey’s plan to use the SEAL training exercises as a way to draw in more business is a concern to Nate. He comes to ask her to rethink her plans because the attention and boisterousness of the crowd interferes with the training. In other books, this would become an issue of contention between the two but both recognize and value the other person’s position. Nate recognizes that Hailey needs the business and is willing to listen to an alternative plan. Hailey accepts Nate’s explanation that the training is being compromised and offers up a different solution.
This is not to say that the book is conflictless, but the conflicts weren’t based on disrespecting the other person. The conflict was based on Nate wanting nothing more than an affair and Hailey having sworn off men. She falls in love too easily. Nate begins to court Hailey. There’s no other word for it and I really thought this part of the book was charming.
Nate and Hailey have a deep physical attraction toward each other, but they do not fall in bed immediately. Maybe some would say that means that their passion just wasn’t strong enough but for me, this detail helped me buy into Nate and Hailey’s happy ever after. Nate would be going back into service once he was fully healed which would mean long separations for the two of them. Their ability to forego immediate gratification made me believe the two would be able to survive Nate’s obligation (and desire) to be part of the SEAL teams. Hailey clearly could survive without Nate by her side.
I also appreciated the secondary romance between a young bride to bride to be. The arc of Nate and Hailey’s romance was somewhat echoed in that of the secondary characters. B
This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.
Just wanted to pop in and say ditto to your whole review.
I really enjoyed this book this afternoon, and the fact that they were able to show some restraint felt more real, more legit than some stories that have full thrusting action by chapter 3. I *LOVED* that he courted her and was romantic. That’s something some authors seem to skip in contemporaries, and it’s one of my favorite parts.
Overall one of the better books from this line I’ve read.
That cover is cracking me up!
Eleven chapters in, I’m more in the B- range, in part because Amy and Jake’s secondary story struck me as superficial and rushed, and partly because I’m still not over the frustrating awkwardness of the set-up.
I do, though, really like Hailey and Nate, and I like Hailey’s relationship with her sister, as well. I also like that Nate isn’t clueless about who Hailey is, even if I found myself rolling my eyes a bit at his romantic fantasies about Hailey near the beginning of the book. I really don’t need that overt ‘oh, she’s so special and such a lady; I want to make things so romantic for her’ thoughtfulness from the guy to know he’s into her and is paying attention *to her*. But now that the relationship is starting to develop more, I feel the book is on more solid ground.
I bought this at Harlequin’s ebook store when it first came out, but I stopped reading at chapter 8. The idea that Amy could get over her life long sexual hang ups after reading one self help book was ridiculous to me. She couldn’t even say the word, “bra”, but she can do a lap dance?
I did like Nate and Hailey though, they actually dealt with conflict in a realistic non-melodramatic manner. And it was refreshing to have a Navy SEAL character without a suspense plot.
After reading the reviews at Smart Bitches and here, I’m tempted to give it another try.
@Dana: OMG, I SO agree with you about Amy! At chapter 12, though, I’m finally settling in to Nate and Hailey’s relationship and feel like things are going to be more realistically rendered from here on out.
I really enjoyed the book. And I didn’t find the secondary story of Amy and Jake odd at all.
I think the reason some people may not identify is because they’re more comfortable with their sexuality than Amy. Having gone through counseling for a similar issue myself, I identified greatly with her story. In fact, even though I’m no longer in counseling, it reminded me that I needed to be more assertive in that regard.
I’m totally in the B+, A- range myself.