Heat Factor: It’s pretty sexy. Except for the book with the demisexual protagonist, which is a slower burn, these guys have a lot of sex. Some of it is kinky funtimes, too.
Character Chemistry: The chemistry between the protagonists largely worked for me (I mean, I binged this series HARD, so something was working)
Plot: Navy SEALs navigate queer love in a macho-type workplace while dealing with work-related hurdles and personal dramas
Overall: I’m not always one for the military romance (though more me than Holly or Ingrid), but this series totally did it for me.
I read this series completely out of order, and that was absolutely the right choice for me. Mood reading for the win!
The series is centered on SEALs stationed at the base on Coronado, but the stories are pretty loosely connected. Like, that guy who was a hookup of that protagonist back in book 3 just became the hero of book 7 kind of connected. Typically I read series that flow together a little more obviously, so the disconnectedness is probably what contributed to me reading the series all out of order when I don’t typically do that. It was most enjoyable.
An angsty story with a coming-out narrative. I’m not sure if I would have been quite so invested in the series if I’d read this book first. In fact, I think I read it next-to-last. Zack is running away from base housing because of bullying over his sexual orientation. This was extremely uncomfortable – and from an HR perspective horrifying – but Albert did a good job of showing Zack’s fears if he spoke up and things went badly for him. Pike is A Lot (he’s meant to be), but he’s also the person that Zack needs as he figures out his needs/wants.
If you’re looking for an inter-series connection, Zack and Pike are friends of the protagonists of book 3 in the #gaymers series.
Read if you like: characters overcoming extreme workplace and family isolation/hostility/abuse, HGTV renovation vibes, video game playing geek life rep, awesome friend squad, supervisors who Give A Shit
I started this reading journey with At Attention, so you can catch my whole review for this book if you like here.
Lieutenant Apollo Flores is a widowed single parent who became a SEAL trainer after his twin daughters were born. Dylan is his best friend’s little brother, who just graduated with a degree in early childhood ed and could use a place to live while he works a summer camp job in San Diego. My oh my, do they have the hots for each other, but Apollo hasn’t fully come to terms with being widowed and allowed to find other men attractive, while Dylan would really like to be treated like the adult he is now, mkay?
Read if you like: angsty grieving widower looking for reasons to avoid love, childhood crush (like seriously, when in a flashback Dylan said, “Wait for me!” in his teenage mind after Apollo told him he hadn’t met anyone special yet, I just turned into a puddle), age gap, playing house to lovers (surprise domesticity is a current fave of mine!)
Maddox clearly pining for Ben in At Attention definitely piqued my interest and kept me reading the series. Ben is focused on sleeping with pretty young twinks after his unhappy marriage and divorce. Maddox is his best friend and roommate who centers himself with baking and watches miserably as his best friend spirals. They’re injured and almost die on a mission at the beginning of the book, which makes it SO CLEAR to the reader that they need to be together, but their journey to a relationship is Extremely Complicated.
Read if you like: best friends to lovers, “I’m completely ridiculous, so I might throw this whole thing away instead of realizing what an amazing relationship I have”, figuring out the horniness thanks to some kinky fun with a third party, life-threatening injuries making people Realize Things, flashbacks, and angst
The amount of angst and tension in this book is off the scale. Neither Dustin (brother and best friend of the protagonists of book 2) nor Wes was particularly honest when they met on a military hookup site and got oh so kinky. All they knew was they weren’t stationed in the same place. That changes when Wes is transferred to a new SEAL team on Coronado and Dustin is his XO. They can’t be together, can’t even be friends, like, legally. But they REALLY like each other and they’re both going through some serious personal stuff and want to be there for each other. Oof.
Read if you like: supervisor/subordinate illicit workplace romance (I’m not sure there’s a more secret secret relationship than this one, given the legal implications), d/s and bondage kink, explosions, jumping out of airplanes, impossible decisions for being together, epistolary-but-actually-video-chat romance
The beginning of this book is so tragic. Mark is on a mission when he’s suddenly called home and informed that his sister and her husband had died. Fortunately, Isaiah, roommate of Dylan from book 2 and cousin of the deceased husband, is already acting as stay-at-home parent for the three orphaned children, whom he’s regularly cared for since they were born. Mark and Isaiah become an awesome parenting team, but the actual legal custody work going on in the background threatens to tear them apart.
Read if you like: family drama (please see: custody disputes), playing house to lovers (again!!!), youthful crush on an older guy (revisited as adults), demisexual rep, the cute guy who didn’t get the guy from book 2 finally gets his guy, Disney weddings
This, like On Point, seems like it’s going to be about a journalist and his SEAL babysitter getting stuck in a bad spot when a mission goes wrong, but actually that’s just the beginning of the story. The rest of the story is Bacon putting himself out there, pursuing a relationship with Spencer, only to find that Spencer might be putting his journalism career before their relationship. Spencer has a dear friend and mentor who, on his deathbed, helps Spencer find his way. Have tissues close by.
Read if you like: Anderson Cooper (like, for real, Spencer’s a 40-something investigative reporter with pure gray hair), men who like to wear sparkles, relationship where job confidentiality conflicts with sharing about rough days, great mentors, boys who love their mommas
Before he started seeing Canaan (member of the eye-opening menage of On Point and SEAL ogler extraordinaire), Renzo put in for a transfer to the East Coast to be closer to his family. Then he goes out with Canaan. Then Canaan asks him to be a fake boyfriend for a crummy weekend trip. Then they have to be rescued from a cliff. Then they catch feelings. (It’s so cute.) Then Renzo’s transfer paperwork comes through. Can these guys even have a relationship? Canaan would like to at least be given the opportunity to try, okay?
Read if you like: competence porn (I was all in when Renzo was all “climb the cliff so we don’t die in a flash flood” survival mode), gym rats with old body image baggage, extremely large penises, smoothies, self-absorbed exes who are inexplicably still in the picture, the third from book 3 who didn’t get the guys finally gets his guy, drummers
Buy Now: The Whole Dang Series
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