walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_SEALed and Delivered_, Jill Monroe (kindle)

I recently bought three trashy books for the kindle in the wake of revisiting SBTB. Some of the books were reviewed and recommended by guest reviewers participating in the Sony eReader Test Drive, so I was prepared to discover that Aish rated books might not actually turn out to be as great as I am accustomed from that recommendation source. And a good thing, too.

This was the weakest of the three, and not by a little. Like _Liberating Lacey_, this is a straight romance, despite the must-save-the-bed-and-breakfast theme. The B & B is a family concern, and is ticking along okay; there are no predatory developers or mysterious arsonists or anything dramatic like that. Hailey (our heroine) and her sister Rachel just have to come up with ideas to attract business and then implement -- which is to say, cook, clean, check in and check out guests, host events, etc.

The setting -- Coronado -- provides the tie-in to SEAL training. Unlike Suzanne Brockmann and other romance authors who write romance with SEALs, Monroe does not include SEAL ops as any part of the plot. Our hero, Nate, was injured and is rehabbing while training a new group of young men. Monroe's primary plot problem is how to collide the world of The Sutherland (Hailey's B&B) and SEALs in training. Monroe, however, is fearless and creative: she deploys, I kid you not, Fate Delivery Cards. Hailey bought them while shopping for more self help books and uses them for a wrap-up game at a bridal shower they are hosting for a friend.

If you're wondering if that could possibly be as dumb as it sounds, well, the short answer is, yes. And Monroe has guts -- she redeploys the Fate Delivery Cards repeatedly throughout the book. The reader who wants to complain about Deus ex Machina should contemplate instead thinking of these as the novel's MacGuffin.

Despite the continuous presence of Hailey's sister, and the brief appearance of Nate's father, the characters exist as archetypes with very little to flesh them out: Hailey wears pink, strappy sandals and tops, and girly skirts. Nate is a Manly Man with rock hard, er, whatever, a love of the great outdoors and a weakness for cookies and meat-and-potatoes. On the one hand, of course they'll be attracted to each other: each is doing a thorough job of enacting their gender, and presumably will want someone who is thoroughly enacting the matching bookend. On the other hand, in a world in which even the Harlequins are hammering on equality in relationships (and in detail, natch), it was never easy for me to understand just why these people were so attracted to each other.

It was moderately entertaining, but I don't see myself reading anything else by this author. This is so _thoroughly_ a category, and I am so _thoroughly_ not a category reader. Also, the dialog was awful bad.
Tags: book review

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