Book Reviews

SEAL of Approval (SEAL Series #1) by Jack Silkstone


I always have a good time reading about dogs and their handlers in books, so this one looked interesting. It was shorter than I expected, but then again it’s a Kindle book so I shouldn’t have been very surprised. That being said, it was longer than most novellas but not quite so long as a regular book.

The story follows Mike and Ali. Mike is a SEAL whose dog gets injured by taking a bullet meant for him. The wound is decently bad, but his temperament changes which is the worst problem. They take the dog to Ali who is a specialist in traumatized dogs. As she works with Axe, she and Mike begin to fall for each other. In steps Mike’s SEAL team to administer a selection test to see if Ali can live up to being a SEAL’s wife. On top of this, a Mexican drug lord is after Mike and decides to use Ali to get to him. What ensues is a varied series of events that is just one bad thing after another. There are some funny moments, some scary moments, some sweet moments, and some annoying moments.

I was hoping for more story line about Axe and Mike, showing everything the dog can do and how they work together. This kind of got glossed over because the dog was injured and there was a romance. The selection process story line was kind of annoying in my opinion because I’d be livid if it was me. The Mexican drug lord story line I don’t think integrated well because the story was so short. This could probably have been made into a full length book with more depth to the story line and more complex characters.

I read there was a sequel, but I don’t think I was as invested in this book as I needed to be to read the sequel. The team-mates weren’t well-developed enough to have me interested in their future and it seems the sequel continues to focus on Mike and Ali, who I feel like I’ve read enough about. If the characters were more complex and interesting I think I would have bought and read the sequel. As it is, I won’t be doing that.

My rating:

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Book Reviews

Wait Until Dark (Night Stalkers #3) by M. L. Buchman

Wait Until Dark B.C.

So this is were I thought the Night Stalkers series began to lose some of its interest for me. I’d have to say the main female character was not as developed or as interesting as I’d hoped. The male lead and supporting characters were fantastic, but the Connie, she was just kind of blah to me.

Connie joins the Night Stalkers as a mechanic & gunner. She appears in I Own the Dawn briefly but she doesn’t really say anything. When she is introduced in this book, she is a quiet introvert with an amazing mind and skill as a mechanic. She comes off as very robotic actually, something the other mechanic (and love interest) Big Jim Wallace remarks on. You find out she drove herself to SOAR in search of answers about her father’s death (he died in a secret helicopter crash when she was eight). Because she was left alone at such a young age and because she is so smart, she never fit in and now is having trouble becoming part of the crew and dealing with getting close to people. That’s pretty much the story. Big John is great. He’s interesting and unexpected throughout the book and loved being able to see a different side of him. Emily Beale is present as well which is nice, but Kee and her husband are not really in the book until the end.

Overall the book was good. I just could never connect with Connie. She just seems kind of blank to me. You have her background and her emotional struggles, but she just never felt like a solid, deep person to me like John, or Kee, or Emily did. The story line was also different. Most of it didn’t occur in the middle east like the other books did. It didn’t feel like there was as much action as there was in other books, not nearly as rough-and-ready. More a smooth jazz to a rock beat. It is a good book, just not the best in the series.

My rating:

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Book Reviews

I Own the Dawn (Night Stalkers #2) by M. L. Buchman

I Own the Dawn B.C.

This is probably my favorite book in the Night Stalkers series. It is the second in the series, but I think it’s probably the most interesting. The story follows Kee Smith, a mixed race tough girl who survived the Street – capital S and as she describes in the book, it’s a place you survive not somewhere you live. The love interest is Lieutenant Archibald Stevenson III. A really nice all-around guy who comes from high class but is down-to-Earth and really likable.

The story picks up when Kee is assigned to the D Battalion of SOAR. Right off the bat she makes it clear she wants nothing to do with Emily Beale and helping to create a “girlie-chopper”. It’s funny to watch her go from thinking Emily Beale is just a cute little waif who has no skills to being terrified and impressed by her. Kee takes her place as gunner in Emily’s chopper and seeks only to do her job and prove she belongs there. On one of her early missions, she helps to rescue Dilya, an orphan refugee from a gun battle. The girl clings to her and Kee becomes her guardian without even realizing it. The story then begins to be told by Kee, Dilya, and Archie. The author blends seemlessly through the three, giving different points of view and interesting insights into what is going on in each person’s head. The love story between Kee and Archie is almost a battle developing as it grows between the two individuals – Kee fighting with everything in her to not get close to people and Archie just wanting to love her and Dilya.

The book is emotional, tumultuous, and wonderful. I loved the addition of Dilya. She is a fascinating character and it’s interesting to see how her culture clashes with that of her new guardian’s. The relationships in the story that Kee develops are fraught with hair-thin trust and emotional baggage all over the place, but the author makes her coming to terms with emotions and attachments believable and not awkwardly rushed. As always, the battles and military lifestyle add an interesting and realistic backdrop to the entire story and provides insight into the different characters. I also enjoy learning the small tidbits of middle eastern life that appear in the novels.

My rating:

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2017 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge

The Night is Mine (Night Stalkers #1) by M. L. Buchman

Night is Mine B.C.

This is the first book in M. L. Buchman’s Night Stalker series. I’ve actually read the whole series, but reviewed very few of the books. The series is based on the best helicopter fighting squad in the Army that runs missions at night in the dangerous Hindu Kush Mountain range on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The information you learn is actually pretty cool, but it is a side benefit of the different story lines.

The book is about the first female in the SOAR program (the helicopter squad that flies at night). Captain Emily Beale grew up in Washington and joined the Army out of college and has been flying ever since. She is the first woman to break into the most elite squad there is. Shortly after she joins this amazing squad, she is pulled out on a secret mission to the White House. Here childhood crush is the current President and she is instructed to look after his wife, the First Lady, as it appears someone is trying to kill her. She is followed by her commanding officer, Major Mark Henderson, known as the Viper for his hard ass skills and amazing flying. The two develop a relationship throughout the story that is both interesting and unique.

This is one of my favorite books in the series. I come back to it again and again when I need something interesting to read. The story line is full of twists, turns, surprises, and emotional drama. However, it’s not the annoying, unnecessary emotional drama that a lot of romance books are filled with. All the emotional turmoil in the book is developed well and makes logical sense. The information you learn about different aspects of the White House, Secret Service, the Army, and helicopter flying are interesting, but I’m sure it’s mostly just basic information that anyone can discover easily. The characters are well-developed and work perfectly with the story. Most of them are easy to image or relate to, which is really great.  Almost all the characters you meet again later on in their own books or novellas of the series.

If you like military romance or romantic suspense this is a great book to go with in order to kick off the series. I’d also recommend it if you like romance, but it definitely isn’t a light-hearted book or an easy read. However, I find it is totally worth the read if you enjoy a good story.

My rating:

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Book Reviews

Christmas at Peleliu Cove by M. L. Buchman

Christmas Peleliu Cove B.C.

I bought this book because I loved Christmas at Steele Beach so much. I was kind of surprised I didn’t like this book as much. The book covers the love story of two characters that were present in Christmas at Steele Beach but not really involved.

The story follows Petty Officer Nika Maier, the Loadmaster for Sly’s hovercraft. Nika has a really mottled history of grief and pain and won’t let anyone close. She feels out of touch and detached from her fellow soldiers. The closest she’s gotten to anyone is her present crew. He past relations were short and physical with no emotional connection. In comes Lieutenant Clint Barstowe, an Army Ranger that shakes her world up. His past is barely less filled with pain than hers. A busted marriage has left him as leery of women as Nika is of men. The two start a rocky and emotional relationship that leaves both of them shook up.

I did enjoy the book. It was filled with ups and downs and puts you through a wide spectrum of emotions. I just didn’t seem to connect with the characters as well as I have as I did in other books. Nika is a very hard individual that is trying her best no matter what she does. You learn the most about her when she becomes emotionally vulnerable throughout different incidents in the book. I did like how the author developed the characters and how you could see them changing throughout the book. There was a depth to the Lieutenant that you don’t realize at first as you read through the sections of the book told from his point of view. I would have like to have seen this pulled in to a full length novel. There was definitely areas that could be expanded and the relationship could have developed at a more realistic pace and you could see them settled in the relationship instead of just kind of falling into and then ending. If you are someone who enjoys military romances, this is probably a great book for you to read. It doesn’t connect with the Night Stalker story line much but the characters are present, so if you love the series this could be a good read as well.

My rating:

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2017 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge · Book Reviews

Christmas at Steel Beach (Night Stalkers #9) by M. L. Buchman

Christmas Steel Beach B.C.

This is actually the second or third time I’ve read this book. It’s more of a novella and an add-on to the Night Stalkers series. I love the Night Stalker series and this book is about people connected to the Night Stalkers and not actually members.

The story follows Chief Steward Gail Miller as she assumes her new post as head chef on the Navy vessel currently housing the SOAR 5D division (though she doesn’t actually know that).The love interest is Chief Petty Officer Sly Stowell who is craftmaster of the ship’s hovercraft. Gail arrives to a kitchen in shambles and ends up in an accidental volunteer position on an active mission. While she is trying re-sort the kitchen, she is forming relationships with Sly and the women of SOAR. Her settling in is upended when she is faced with a man from her past waving an interesting transfer in front of her that may open up new ways to reach a dream she has. In the end, it is up to her whether to take the transfer or stay in her new home.

I love this book. It is short but full of life. The interactions between the characters are so believable and interesting. It is always fun to read how M. L. Buchman develops his characters emotionally. The book isn’t packed full of battle sequences but it definitely feels like everything moves along very well and in a regular speed. Your interest is kept throughout and there isn’t anywhere that it drags along. I highly recommend it for a short military romance read, a must read for anyone who likes the Night Stalkers series, or a fun Christmas read for anyone looking.

My rating:

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2015 Pop Sugar Book Challenge · Book Reviews

Bring on the Dusk (Night Stalkers #6) by M. L. Buchmann

I had long awaited this book in the Night Stalker series. Michael has played a side role in almost every book so far (I say almost because he is not in the novellas). The book is a great way to continue the series, however, it is also a completely stand alone book as well. You do not have to have read the other books to understand anything in this book. I was surprised with the new female character that was introduced. She was not nearly as wild or deeply scarred as the other female characters so far. However, I began to bond with her the further in the book I got.

The plot follows the new female Little Bird helicopter pilot. She is brought in and pulls Michael out of a sticky situation on her first night. They go through the standard on/off relationship habits of the other books, but it is nice to be able to get to know these two characters. They are both very introverted and getting to hear their thoughts as they observe others is very interesting to me. Of, course there is a big mission that will prevent a world war. Claudia proves herself over and over in strategy and planning, balancing out to Michael’s adaptive reaction response to situations. There are a couple of surprises, but nothing crazy. I didn’t think it had the same intensity as the other books, but that might have just been me. There is a lot of suspense and action, drama and heartache throughout the entire book. I was a little confused at the end of the book as to where these two characters would end up afterward, there were a few things that popped up near the end that has me wondering and there was nothing concrete said. I am looking forward to the next book just to see how these characters make out later on.

I would recommend this to anyone who likes military romance or romantic suspense. The sex scenes are there, but they are spread out and the author focuses a lot on emotions and what drives the different characters. All in all it is a great read, but definitely not for someone new to the military romance or romantic suspense. There are a lot of military references and the fighting scenes are intense, just like the other books. If you are just getting into this series, I would recommend starting at the first or second book – The Night Is Mine and  I Own the Dawn.

My rating:

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