Steam Level: Hot
My Thoughts: I want to love every book I read. Sadly, this doesn’t always happen and such was the case with Not Another Soldier. The outline sounds great. But for me the content isn’t so great. Our heroine, Sienna, is a recent widow. Her husband was a Marine who died in a car accident when he was under the influence. He was a Very Bad Man. We are constantly being hit over the head with this. Nick was the best friend of Rob, as well as a good friend to Sienna. He’s been waiting in the background, aware that Rob had been a terrible husband, but Nick has strong feelings for Sienna and she for him.
Why this didn’t work – hmm, here’s the first one. They start making out on the day of the funeral. I know, it was a very bad marriage and she was going to leave him anyway, but for the most part I have difficulty when the heroine moves from one relationship to another way too soon – and on the day of the funeral is just tacky. And things didn’t really get better. I found both of them kind of stupid and this a death knell for me when both are stupid. There are Evil Drug people after Sienna because of Evil First Husband. Instead of going to the cops (though they themselves come across as rather Keystone like) Sienna and Nick try to solve the puzzle while at the same time Sienna is being pulled by the Very Hot Sex, but she can’t marry another soldier, but the Sex is So Hot And on and on it goes. And they stay clueless and she stays on the teeter totter of should she or shouldn’t she most of the way through the book.
The Evil Guys are just as stupid. They are still after Sienna weeks after it was reported in the paper that the drugs were turned in. And earlier in the book it mentions the head Evil Guy has alluded being charged. I don’t know how that happened as they are pretty bumbling crooks and Nick finds them no problem. Mind you he waits until the last possible moment before calling the cops. Stupid is a stupid does I guess.
Another issue I’ve read on a number of reviews at GoodReads is the author apparently doesn’t really get the difference between Marines, Army and Soldiers. I’ll confess I don’t really get it myself, but this is a HUGE miss on the part of the author. You can’t write a military book and not have done research ON the military. Big Fail.
I finished it, that’s a plus, but I didn’t really enjoy the way to the end. The main reason was to mark another book read for the GoodReads challenge and I was glad to finish this one up and move on.
Grade: 2 out of 5
The Soldiers Dark Secret by Margeurite Kaye
Why this one: The review at AAR intrigued me
Steam Level: Pretty much perfect
It didn’t occur to me until just now that last two books I read are both about soldiers, but my what a difference. It’s been quite a while since I last read an English historical; I am SO over the whole aristocracy thing but when I read the review for this book at AAR, I thought I’d give it a try and the hero, Jack Trestain is a soldier and not titled, though his older brother holds a barony.
Jack has cashiered out of the army after the battle of Waterloo. He is suffering from what we know is PTSD, he can’t eat, can’t really sleep, has ghastly nightmares, has a hair trigger temper and in general is not the same person he used to be. He is living in the country, at the estate with his brother and his family and they are quite concerned about him. They are planning major changes to the grounds and have hired a Parisian artist, Celeste Marimon, to do paintings of the gardens before they are renovated. Celeste first spies Jack when she watches in in his early morning swim. She can see the agony and pain on his face and she knows he is suffering from something deep an painful, as is she. He’s not exactly pleased when he realizes he’s been seen in a vulnerable moment, but it doesn’t take long to recognize that there is sorrow in Celeste’s life too. There is a growing attraction between the two as Jack offers to help Celeste with what is troubling her. Her mother recently committed suicide leaving more questions than answers and as Jack was a riddle solver during the war, he offers his services to find out the story behind the story and is with her with each new discovery they make. As he helps Celeste, while not exactly healing himself, he does at least have a purpose now.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I adored both Jack and Celeste. Jack was haunted by an incident that happened during the war. He finally confesses the dark secret to Celeste but she doesn’t turn away. Jack is loyal and intelligent and a great hero.
Celeste is equally a great heroine. All her life she has felt rejection from her mother and she has had to wall up a great deal of herself to keep the pain at bay. But with Jack’s patience and understanding and with his different take on some of the things they uncover about her mother, Celeste’s walls slowly come down. Theirs is a love story that starts first as a friendship and as such, the HEA is very believable. Normally I can take or leave an epilogue but with The Soldier’s Darkest Secret, I thought it closed the book very well.
Grade: 4 out of 5