Friday, December 7, 2012

Dueling Review - Anne Elizabeth's A SEAL AT HEART

Aloha!   Today is the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  In Hawaii, it is a day of reflection for those who sacrificed for our freedom.   So I thought it fitting to post the dueling review of Anne Elizabeth's A SEAL AT HEART.   Please welcome my dueling partner, Tracey Cramer-Kelly, Army veteran and romance author.   From the book blurb,

He Lost Just About Everything On That Mission....

Being a Navy SEAL means everything to John "Red Jack" Roaker, but a mission gone wrong has left his buddy dead, his memory spotty, and his world turned upside down. His career as a SEAL is threatened unless Dr. Laurie Smith's unconventional methods of therapy can help him.

Maybe She Can Show Him How to Get it Back...

Laurie's father was a SEAL—and she knows exactly what the personal cost can be. She can't resist trying everything to help this man, and not only because she finds him as sexy as he is honorable.

As the layers of Jack's resistance peel away, he and Laurie unearth secrets that go to the highest levels of the military— and the deepest depths of their hearts...

File:John William Finn.jpg
John Finn received the Medal of Honor
from his valor on December 7, 1941.

Kim:  Why did you want to review this book?

Tracey:  I love reading military characters - not so much about intense “firepower” situations or missions, but in more personal aspects. I want to read about a character’s struggle with guilt or loss; self-doubt about their own actions; conflict with self and those they care about; balancing a desire to serve with a desire for personal fulfillment or love. And, being an ex-Army medic, I am drawn to stories of wounded veterans overcoming both physical and mental injury.

The USS Nimitz salutes the USS Arizona Memorial

Kim:  Can you name one aspect of the story that resonated with you?

Tracey:  The healing elements resonated with me. I especially liked the scene when the heroine’s touch flooded the hero with different emotions - fascinating!

Anne Elizabeth, right, visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Kim:  How would you classify this book?

Tracey:  I love your description (action adventure, self discovery, and love story rolled into one) and don’t think I can improve on it! In fact, can I borrow it as a descriptor for my novels True Surrender and Last Chance Rescue since the themes are so similar?! J

A new arrival in Pearl Harbor - USS Michael Murphy.
The ship is named for Navy SEAL Michael Murphy,
killed in action while saving his team in Afghanistan.

And Tracey turns the tables on Kim ....

Tracey:   The opening scene of the book depicts a mission going south. What did you like about it (or not like), and how did that make you want to continue to read the book?

Kim:  I tend to shy away from Romantic Suspense, but Anne Elizabeth hooked me.   She wrote the scene in a away that it was compelling by not gratuitous.

File:SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team (SDV) 2.jpg
Navy SEALS in training with USS Hawaii
Image from US Navy/Public Domain

Tracey:  The hero is a Navy SEAL who’s been sidelined by an injury and memory loss. What scene did you feel best displayed his core personality in dealing with this?

Kim:  Jack invited Laurie back to his apartment and she commented on his abundance of games.  Jack explained that he went to live with his grandfather after his mother died and his father abandoned him.   His grandfather played games with him to draw out the shell shocked six year old.   Jack commented that his grandfather had been in the Navy and Jack wanted to follow his Grandfather's example of doing the right thing.  This scene blew me away.

A Hawaiian Monk seal on the Marine Corps Base

Tracey:  The heroine’s backstory as a SEAL “pup” and her relationship with her adoptive SEAL father affects her attitude toward all Navy SEALs.   Why do you think she ultimately falls for a Navy SEAL?

Kim:  Although Laurie claims she does not want to date any military men, it's hard to get it out of her blood.   Tracey and I are members of the RomVets - women veterans who are now writing romance (they write, I blog).   We have a Yahoo group for us to share ... because we get each other.  Ultimately, Laurie gets Jack.

File:US Navy SEALs SEAL jumps over side boat.jpg
"Swimming lessons"
Image from US Navy/Public Domain

Tracey:  How did you feel about the “apparitions” or appearances of the hero’s dead partner? Did they add to the story?

Kim:  I commend Anne Elizabeth for giving Jack a means to wrestle with these demons.  Throughout the book, he feels guilty that his swim buddy died, leaving behind a family.   In fact, his partner made several appearances to "kick Jack's butt" over his guilt.    Since this is a HEA, its safe to say that Jack finds peace ... have a hanky available for Jack's final scene with his swim buddy.  I think Anne Elizabeth left it to the reader to decide if it is his spirit or Jack's imagination.

File:US Navy SEALs insignia.png

Mahalo, Tracey, for joining me today!    Here are links to reviews for A SEAL AT HEART:

Tracey's on Goodreads at this link.

Elf, the Reading Addict, at this link.

Mary Gramlich, the Reading Reviewer, at this link.

And my review on Amazon at this link and Goodreads at this link.

I am giving away a print copy of A SEAL AT HEART to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about "apparitions" in non-paranormal books - love it or loathe it?

2.  This giveaway is open to all readers.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, December 7, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, December 8.


Kim in Hawaii

To learn more about Anne Elizabeth and her books, check out her website at

To learn more about Tracey Cramer-Kelly, check out her website at

Check out my photos of Pearl Harbor on my travel blog, ALOHA ON MY MIND, at this link.

Flags at the Valor in the Pacific National Monument


  1. I do not care for traditional paranormal stories. But I have enjoyed such stories with helpful apparitions before. Catherine Coulter has a terrific series with Pearlin' Jane. A helpful ghost that appears only to the women. Well not totally as the series rolls on. Haha Anyway, I believe it sounds like it would add to this story.

  2. I do not read paranormals at all!!!

    I really enjoyed this book.

  3. I read paranormal and I don't mind either

  4. Sounds like a great book. I don't mind paranormals so it doesn't bother me.

  5. Having apparitions in non-paranormal books doesn't bother me as long as it goes with the story line and is not just something to make the story longer.

  6. Thanks for the lovely review!!! I don't really care, as long as it fits well into the story :)

  7. I'm good with it - love variety and little bit of this and that.

  8. I love a touch of that. Makes for some intriguing reading.

  9. I don't mind apparitions in non-paranormal stories as long as it is appropriate within the story.

  10. I could love it if used like Anne Elizabeth in bringing closure to a death.


  11. I actually can't recall reading about any "apparitions" in a non-paranormal book. It would depend upon the story I think.

  12. I don't really like apparitions in non-paranormal books...

  13. I think it actually depends on how the writer introduces it. As long as they do a good job integrating it in the story, then I am okay with it. :)
    Great review, ladies! Thank you for sharing. I already have this one on my list.

  14. I don't mind reading about apparitions in a non-paranormal book.

  15. apparitions in most books usually make me a bit teary eyed because that person is gone from our mortal world tho often appears to leave a positive message.