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4.8 out of 5 stars41
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 15 August 2012
This is one of the best full length m/m novels I have read (and I have read many m/m, but very few offer this length and opportunity to really get involved with the story and characters). It is so worth reading and well worth more than it is priced. I have to agree with other reviewers that Matt's first relationship is a bit hard to take but the the author does make it clear at the beginning what poor self esteem Matt has. Once the action starts and the Navy gets involved it is gripping, heart-warming, heart-stoppping, and tear-jerking but not in overly exaggerated way - it is a truly gripping story that had me reading passed 3am and only put down because I couldn't stay up any longer! I have to agree with others, you got to love Petey despite his obnoxious attitude. Thoroughly recommended, wish I could give it 6 stars.
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on 27 May 2012
Not being American and not being a Navy SEAL I can't say how realist SEAL Team 8 truely is, but it's what you always hope they are like... all for the team and once you're in the team once you have the teams' loyalty it will be yours for all time.

And I have to go with the other reviewer, you have just got to love Petey, god how many Squadies do I know just like him? mouth like a toilet bowl and a sense of humor from the gutter and merciless with their buddies.

I don't know why this book is a cheap as it is but it is worth every penny and a heck of a lot more.

JF Smith is a brilliant writer, this book had me on the edge of my seat, I literally couldn't put it down.
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on 30 August 2012
I'd never heard of this author. I just thought the title was a bit quirky and I was curious enough to spend 77p on it. I loved it! What a great story! It's about a young, big hearted gay man, Matt, who, whilst doing voluntary service in Latakia, is kidnapped by extremists. He's rescued by a team of Navy SEALs and taken back to the States. Whilst on his way home on the USS Iwo Jima, Matt is in the unusual position of getting to know his rescuers, and forms a connection with Mope, the leader of Team 8, who is also gay and very much in the closet, for obvious reasons. One of those 'reasons' is Petey, an obnoxious and foul-mouthed team member who seems to be homophobic, sexist, racist, and any other negative '-ist' you can think of! And so offensive, you hate him at first. So, Matt only finds out Mope is gay when Mope tells him, so well hidden is Mope's lifestyle. The story looks at how Mope and Matt find, and fall in, love with each other.

I won't say much more, although what I have told you, so far, won't have spoiled the story for you because, what makes this book isn't the rescue or the subsequent mission Matt is asked to take part in (teeny tiny bit of a spoiler there). It's all the characters. There is 'action' and usually in a Navy SEAL-heavy book, there's an abundance of it, with the SEALs or the Marines being portrayed as alpha males who show no fear, but who are secretly tortured inside... blah blah blah. Somehow, JF Smith manages to make their vulnerability work, without taking anything away from them as alphas or as SEALs. He makes them human. They all have their 'stuff' and find ways to cope. And as they get to know Matt during the journey home, they adopt him into the fold and he becomes a kind of 'mascot'. All the time, Mope is becoming more and more attracted to Matt...

There were areas in the book where I laughed out loud. There were also sections where I cried - especially when Mope talks about courage and trust. I wept buckets. I adored him. I was frustrated with Matt at times because he allowed his boyfriend, Brian, to make him feel unworthy and undeserving of his love. But believe me, when Matt eventually sees the light, it's priceless. My favourite character, though, was the foul-mouthed Petey. For all his bluster, he too was totally adorable. I'd love to have someone like him as a friend.

I also have to say that this book isn't erotic. It's more sensual/sensuous than erotic in places but, not a lot of sex going on. Just when you think it's going to happen... it skips to another scene. I have to say I didn't really miss it. I don't think it would have worked as well as it did if there were a lot of sex scenes. I don't think I would have experienced the full range of emotions I felt, had I been distracted by the sex.

Well done JF. Thank you so much for making my week. I'll definitely read more of your work.
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on 17 December 2012
Bought this book ages ago, and accidently deleted it (hey, I'm getting older and sadly the braincells are disappearing faster than I can make new ones!). Am glad I realised (yay me!!) later and purchased it again. I did enjoy this story eventually - have to say though that the slow start put me off quite a bit, and that creep of a loser boyfriend Brian really p****d me off! How could Matt not have realised that anyone who says 'you're lucky to have me' is a complete moron, not worth the space they take up and the air they breathe! Still, we've all been there and done that, it sometimes takes a long time to find your soul-mate.

I did sneak a look at Mr Smith's other book on Amazon 'Falling off the face of the Earth', and looking at some of the other reviews, I have to agree with one of the reviewers in particular who said that although there are no sex scenes in that particular book (not really any in this one either, but no probs), the language used in the conversations between different characters was crude, insulting and really nasty. I have to say that that was one aspect of THIS book that I didn't like at all - OK, Petey was a raging homophobic idiot at the start, and I could've cheerfully kicked him in the n**s myself, but to do a complete 360 turnaround, and decide Matt was the 'brother' he'd never had but now, BTW, loved like a brother, didn't ring true to me I'm afraid. One stretch of the imagination too far, IMHO. So, to sum up, yes I loved the fact that Travis was eventually able to admit to himself that he loved Matt as much as he loved being a SEAL (even though it took a near tragedy for him to do it), and he came out of the closet in front of his SEAL team, whose reaction was a little underwhelming to say the least. I was practically shouting at him to say those 3 little words a lot earlier in the book, but he came to his senses in the end. Great that Matt finally grew a pair, kicked the useless idiot to the touchline, and was able to let others see what a strong, good, kind person he was, someone who deserved to be loved for what he was and not what someone thought he should be. I really liked Matt's 2 friends Bret and Jim, steadfast and true, and absolutely adored the scene at the gay pub where Brian finally got what was coming to him - don't you just love it when the villain of the piece gets their just desserts!!
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on 4 June 2012
This rather long M/M romance is far from perfect.

The beginning is a bit slow, characterization is sometimes a bit rough, some plot twists appear a bit contrived and in several pages facts and feeling are more told than shown. Here and there writing is not really as polished as it should be.
I would have particularly loved to see the relationships among the leads developped with more subtlety. We do not really get to understand why Travis starts to fall for Matt and how Petey shifts from respecting Matt to considering him his best friend. Had the POV shifted more often and more consistently among the main characters these evolutions would have probably been clearer.
The main point of contention might be the relationship between Matt and his first boyfriend: even assuming Matt to be generous and sweet and kind I really cannot understand how it is possible for him to fall for such an individual with no redeeming quality. Such attitude would imply a complete lack of self-esteem on Matt's part and while it is true that he becomes more self confident as the story moves on nowhere in the book he is supposed to be that dumb.

That said, this novel is highly enjoyable. The first half is quite tense, with some deftly managed action scenes. In the second half the action shifts to the inside of the characters' hearts, each of them coping with his insecurities.
It is a great story. Mr Smith really has the talent of a great storyteller, he makes his characters come alive and the reader care for them. Their struggles are dramatic without being melodramatic, the plot is always interesting.
The author manages to infuse the book with so much warmth and love that it is nearly impossible not to like it. He even managed to make me stomach all that patriotic ranting with only a limited amount of effort.

Sex is mentioned but it is never graphic.

For such a low price ($1,05) it would be a pity to miss this read.
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on 11 September 2012
I loved the SEAL team in this story. They were amazing characters and I wanted nothing more than to be part of their group and camaraderie. I loved this book a lot, in fact I didn't want it to end and wanted to go right back and re-read. So why four stars and not five?

Because there are some POV issues. The story is mainly told from Matt's POV so it's more than a bit disconcerting when the author 'head jumps' at odd moments. And then makes a full on POV switch at one point. Also Matt's relationship with Brian really bugged me.

We've all been there where we've fallen for a person who just isn't worth it but Matt's behaviour is really bordering on being a total doormat at times, which doesn't really fit fully with his character at other times.

But these two gripes are more than over shadowed by the awesomeness that is the SEAL team and their characterisation. In fact the author has basically created my dream men and put them down on paper. In fact he's so good at characterisation that he even makes the only SEAL who is not a nice character become someone you actually slowly fall in love with - despite all his glaring flaws.

I want to give this book a five on pure enjoyment but felt there were just some elements that stopped it short of being truly great. One thing is certain, if the author fixed the POV issues in future novels they could be a truly amazing romance writer. (Or even a thriller writer because they write action scenes amazingly well).
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on 9 October 2012
I hated the title and the book cover, but what was inside was just absolutely great - for me. The emotions were real and I cried again - 4th time this year, the last time being when I read 'Falling off the face of the earth', also by this author.

It is a gay romance story, and I loved it (even though I am a hetero female). As I said in my review of the previously mentioned book, this also is not a 'racy' book. It is nevertheless real and very absorbing. Whist the characters have sex, there is nothing graphic about what they do, and thankfully all the sometimes lurid details that can plague this genre of writing, are thankfully absent.

Excellent value for money too - I have read e-books that cost 5 times as much, yet left me with a hollow feeling at the end; whilst with this I was most satisfied, and have a smile on my face ( just finished reading it). More than anything, the book sort of renews my hope/faith in mankind. Yes, I know it is fiction, but that it has affected me in this way is why I have given it the maximum rating possible.

I would definitely recommend this book. We're there any typos? If there were, they didn't register. I loved this. Thanks, JF Smith!
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on 23 December 2012
Wow what a great read this was! Why it's taken me so long to get round to it, I don't know but I'm pleased to add another 5* rating to this exceptionally enjoyable novel. I loved every character in this story but was surprised how much I grew to love Petey, who normally I would hate because of his gobby offensive comments but throughout the book he redeemed himself in so many ways that I found myself warming to him more and more. He sort of stole the show and the banter between him and Matt was priceless, adding some comic relief, but they also had some pretty poignant moments too. Matt and Travis' slow burning romance is probably one of my most favourites ever, made all the better for not being overladen with repetitive sex scenes, it was romantic and sensual in its own way. The whole cast of characters,- especially the rest of the SEAL's - are pitched perfectly and every one of them are integral to the story, the action side is really good too and quite exciting. Seeing Brian get his comeuppance(s) was a highlight ( it took Matt long enough though, to see what a PIA he was! ). Ridiculously low priced for its style and length it's daft not to put this in your library if you love m/m fiction. Perfect!
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on 19 December 2012
What a fantastic book.

One of the best books I have read in a very long time. I can't express how much I enjoyed it.
The characters are spectacular, I started by absolutely detesting some of them then genuinely wanting to be their friends! The story line is wonderful, action packed, yet funny, yet sad, yet scary, yet heartwarming... oh its just got everything. It really deserves recognition and readership. I loved it.

Sequel please? I have book hangover!
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on 13 June 2012
the Afterelton website led me here and this book was a real revelation. i read tons of m/m romance and so much of it is poorly written, with cardboard characters, lazy plotting and painful dialogue. oh yes -and insultingly over-priced. THIS IS NOT. the plot is taught and thrilling, you really root for the slow-burning love story and the characters all spring off the page (especially a certain foul-mouthed red-head).
this is actually a proper novel (shock horror) in a genre over-loaded with dross.
it is the first time i have been prompted to write a review (with a kindle clogged up with pushing 200 m/m books)
it is also the first time i have ever felt that i under-paid for a book.
this author deserves a far greater readership - and will hopefully be encouraged to keep shining a light in a dreary and murky fug of endlessly disappointing stories.
more please!
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