Monday, August 12, 2019

A SEAL Never Quits by Holly Castillo

First in a thrilling romantic suspense series featuring a band of do-or-die Navy SEALs in Texas.

A SEAL is ready for anything... except losing his heart...

Lieutenant Amador "Stryker" Salas and his tight-knit Navy SEAL team are undercover on a Texas ranch and tasked with covert ops across the border. It's an assignment that requires all their skills, all their secrets, and all their know-how.

Anya Gutierrez, the local veterinarian, has been serving the ranch for years. She loves the animals and ranching life, and Stryker finds her a breath of fresh air in his otherwise rigidly disciplined existence.

When Anya gets caught in the crosshairs of a mission gone sideways, Stryker must tell her the truth about who he really is, risking everything to keep her out of harm's way, even if it destroys him...

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
3.5 stars
M/F Military Romance
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

Amador "Stryker" Salas is a SEAL who used to live on a ranch. Because of that, he is tasked with a secret missing to see how the drug cartels are able to evade the authorities, both in the United States and across the border. He puts together his best team and they start to outfit the ranch with everything they might need. Since Stryker and his teammates have to continue their cover, the ranch continues to operate as normal.

Anya is a vet. She loves her job and even though sometimes it's hard and demanding, she wouldn't want to be doing anything else. When she heads to the ranch to meet the new owners, she's shocked to discover her attraction to Stryker. In fact, all of the men that she meets at the ranch are handsome.

With Stryker's team seeing that the mission is being put in jeopardy, it will take everyone around them to figure out where they go from here. Anya has to decide whether or not she can really see a future with Stryker and the SEALs all have to decide for themselves if they can trust outside people.

I really enjoyed the mystery aspect of this book. The romance, for me, needed some work. It was an insta-romance that was trying to be masked as a courtship. However, the characters reiterated a lot how much they wanted each other, despite just having met.

Anyway, I still enjoyed this book and can't wait to see what happens next. There are tons of characters who could be getting in on this storyline and I'm a fan of all of them.

This is the first book in the Texas Navy SEALs series and I found that there were parts I really liked and parts not so much. The whole idea of the story was good, but I think there needed to be a little more in the beginning. As it starts out, the team comes to a ranch in Texas and sets up as pretend ranchers. And they are on a mission to try to stop the Mexican drug cartel from shipping drugs across the border into the US.

To me, if a SEAL team was trying to be normal ranchers and not have people asking questions, they should have not gone with their SEAL names. It would have made me ask questions as to how they got those names in the first place.

While Anya, the vet, is checking on the cattle on the ranch, she is drawn to Stryker. She knows he is keeping secrets but doesn't ask what he is hiding.

Will Anya accept Stryker for who he really is? Can he protect her when the cartel comes to town?

As I said, I liked this story to a point, I love a good romantic suspense but this one was missing something at times. I hope the next book is better and I can't wait to see which team member it will be.

Hmm. I didn’t get on with this book at all. This is probably the least plausible military romantic suspense I can remember. Beyond the bizarre premise and generic characters, I couldn’t get into the romance and the suspense elements just didn’t work for me.

Somehow, readers are expected to believe that a small team of US Navy SEALs has replaced the DEA, FBI, and any number of other agencies responsible for drug trafficking across the US-Mexico border. The team of six has agreed to live together undercover in a massive militarised compound pretending to be a ranch for several years. I found it all a bit odd. The result feels like a poor attempt to create a cowboy version of JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood mansion. The SEALs themselves read like every other group of romance fiction SEALs from the past few years: muscular alpha men with nicknames and a firm sense of brotherhood.

The romance really annoyed me. At first, I liked that Anya was a capable, independent ranch veterinarian. And then a whole story arc about the gift of her virginity descends into misogynistic 1970s Harlequin romance hell. Stryker is at his best when he’s a bit clueless with his cover ranch, but I really wasn’t impressed by his saviour approach to Anya. This is a pretty low heat read but honestly, the concussion sex scene is one of the least sexy scenes I’ve ever read. I’m guessing anyone who has ever had a concussion will feel as nauseous as I did reading about Anya losing her virginity while suffering from a fresh head injury.

I know that drug cartels are a problem in Mexico but I really don’t like the way Mexico is presented in this story. The unnecessarily negative stereotypes of Mexico and Mexicans only serve to reinforce racist and xenophobic propaganda from the nastiest fringes of American politics. I’m also not sure how the SEALs can still be viewed as heroes after they conduct a mass slaughter in Mexico – but I didn’t understand much about this book.

Holly Castillo lives on an 80 acre ranch, surrounded by cattle during the day and hearing the howl of coyotes by night. She has endless inspiration for her writing. Holly’s romantic suspense series about heroic Navy SEALs is set in her own backyard of south Texas. She lives with her husband and two children just south of San Antonio.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of A SEAL Never Quits (Texas Navy SEALs #1) by Holly Castillo to read and review.

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