Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review: "Coming Undone" by Stephanie Tyler

Coming Undone (SEAL, #1) (Harlequin Blaze #315)Coming Undone (SEAL, #1) by Stephanie Tyler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm so confused! I really don't know how I'm supposed to feel about this book...

Check out the book description:

Oh no! Surfer - make that ex-surfer - Carly Winters can't believe she accidentally faxed an erotic letter to... a secure military line? Now navy SEAL Jonathan "Hunt" Huntington is at her door, fax in hand, asking her how the fantasy ends.

Talk about fate... Because Carly's parents think Hunt is her new boyfriend, and Carly does need a wedding date ASAP. Hunt's ready to play - only on one condition: Carly's got to teach him to hang ten. Problem is it's been a while since Carly's career-ending accident and she's terrified of anything aqua. But with Hunt, letting go just may make her fantasy a reality!

Based on that, I was ready to enjoy a somewhat silly (in a good way) story with some naughty banter between the H/h, steamy love scenes and a touch of angst (provided by the heroine's traumatic accident). The first 1/4 of the book didn't prove me wrong, but something didn't feel quite right to me. I couldn't connect with Hunt and Carly, even though there was nothing I disliked about them. I just couldn't put my finger on what was "wrong" and why the story wasn't working for me, and that drove me insane was annoying. As I kept reading, I eventually realized what the "problem" was: there were too many things crammed into the story, making it impossible to develop any of them properly.

To sum it up, here's what this book is about: (a) Hunt and Carly's relationship, of course; (b) Carly's trauma and strugle to go back to surfing; (c) Carly's meddling family; (d) Hunt's need for control and fear of commitment; (e) Hunt's career as a Navy SEAL; (f) Hunt's relationship with his younger brother Ty; (g) Ty's returning cancer and indecision about the future; (h) Carly's friend Samantha's "epiphany"; (i) Ty and Samantha's relationship; (j) Hunt's SEAL teammate Cash, who's the hero in the next book in the series... Are you lost yet? :(

Individually or, at most, in pairs, all those storylines were enough to make a compelling story, especially when we take in consideration the restricted length of a Harlequin Blaze novel, but as it was, I found myself disconnected from the characters and their stories. With so much going on, I wasn't surprised by the rushed ending, but I was disappointed with the lack of closure. Don't get me wrong, Carly and Hunt got their HEA - after all, this is a romance book - and almost all the storylines (under)developed in the book were settled, but the one loose end that was left bothered me. By the end of the book, Ty's future is uncertain. I was okay with that when I thought his story was "to be continued" in the next book(s) in the series, but then I found out he isn't the hero in any of those books. WTF?!? Will I ever know what happens to him? What about his relationship with Samantha? Do I still want to read the next book(s) to see if that loose end is eventually tied up? Yes, because I found that particular storyline engaging and I really want it to get a nice pink bow in the end. Having said that, I'll be really mad if I go through those books and don't see any resolution to it.

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