Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Cora Seaton - One Navy Seal

Navy SEAL Brian Lake is out of luck. Going rogue on his last mission landed him on a fast track out of the Navy—years too soon to have saved up enough money to buy the ranch he’s always wanted. Without a career—or the cash to start over—Brian’s options are few, until Army general Augustus Reed steps in with an intriguing new mission—a permanent one. 
Ignored by her absentee father, duped by thief he appointed to oversee her family’s ranch, Cass Reed is done with men for good. From now on she’s determined to run Two Willows herself, so when her father sends a Navy SEAL to fix up her house, she vows to run him off her land as soon as possible. But Brian’s just as determined to stay, and he’s in a far different league than the men she’s met before. Brian’s ready to do anything that will earn him a share of a prosperous ranch—even take a chance on marrying the General’s daughter. And he soon realizes it won’t be a hardship to marry Cass. She’s everything he’s ever dreamed of in a woman—and Two Willows is everything he wanted in a ranch. But he’s not the only one who wants Two Willows—and Cass. 
Will falling in love be the most dangerous mission of all?

Comment: Another case of me not being able to remember exactly what made me interested in a book... probably something someone said about this story which caught my attention but it turns out I wasn't losing much in the four years this one was in the pile...

General Reed is a man used to have his way so he has an office with five men from different branches of the military who had done something wrong in their careers and are now stuck in a office doing something redundant until they are discharged. General Reed, however, has plans for them, he wants each one to marry one of his daughters, back in their home ranch, and for that they can get their honorable discharge, a wife and a steady life with the possibility of inheriting when he dies. The general doesn't have a good relationship with his daughters, especially since his wife died, but he still wants them taken care of and the ranch in good hands. The first to leave is Brian Lake and he is supposed to help around the ranch and marry the oldest daughter, Cass. But there are some unsavory guys currently doing the work in the ranch, will Brian be able to take charge or help the sisters do it? Will he and Cass be a good match?

The premise for this story and, therefore, the series, has to be one of the most unlikely ones ever. However, this doesn't have to be a negative thing, often many stories are enjoyable and fun even if some things are difficult to suspend disbelief for or if they have scenes which aren't realistic. As with everything, balance is necessary and I think that if the writing or if the development were to be done differently, it would be a lot easier to accept the weaker elements.

Sadly, nothing worked for me here. Thankfully, the story isn't big and I skimmed a lot, otherwise I wouldn't have finished. The idea a general in the US armed forces would use resources of said forces to practically blackmail five men so they would accept to marry an unknown woman just because he thinks it's the best decision for them... I'm certain the author could have thought of a better and more realistic way to "make" the men want to leave and go meet his daughters. The whole thing just sounded far fetched and a little farcical.

It was hard to put this weird notion aside but then Brian does arrive at the ranch and I thought the story from then on would be more interesting, the main characters would have to get to know one another, there were problems to be solved which could bring them closer so they could be a team solving them. Somehow, this did happen but the interactions between the main couple and the other sisters and the antagonists just seemed off somehow. It was as if there was no real sequence to what was happening, no setting up except to allow them to go from one thing to another.

Honestly, the dialogues, the way the characters spoke to one another, especially the sisters, the interactions between all characters felt like they were done in a very juvenile way. It just just didn't seem like those people would be real, would behave like that in real life and even allowing for artistic license, the characters just didn't seem likable. Almost every scene until the problems are solved and the HEA happens offers a vision of very unlikable characters to me. Everyone does something or acts in a way I struggled to appreciate. Again, especially the sisters, they all "date" someone so obviously a bad choice (perhaps to better enhance the need for a good guy to come along?) that they behave as idiots and treat each other in ways I just can't see why we would want to care about them.

I won't even go into some domestic scenes, portraying the characters in a very immature way, like why would one sister not wash the dishes and Cass would complain and this would mean the world was against that sister...I thought the sisters were all adults but none behaved as such. Cass is the protagonist, of course, but I didn't warm up to her. Brian seemed a bit more likable but I felt more pity over the fact he was placed in such a ridiculous situation than I did for what he had to do before he and Cass finally got "happy". No need to explain that the romance wasn't convincing either...

I think all these critics have a common aspect for me: the author's writing style just didn't seem good. Of course many readers love and will love her stories and that is great but her style truly doesn't work out for my taste. I also noticed she is very prolific, believing the dates of publishing in many sites and the amount of books in several series she has written. I bet this is a very organized author but I feel slightly guilty to think there has to be a reason why she is so accomplished in such a short amount of time... to me, sadly, I think her work is mostly superficial so perhaps what she thinks, she writes as it is and then publishes and not every element of the process is done as well as it could.

Nevertheless, this is the beauty of so many authors and books, there is always something for everyone! Unfortunately, this author is not for me.
Grade: 3/10

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