Tag: Mary Margret Daughtridge

Guest Review: SEALed Forever by Mary Margret Daughtridge

Posted June 14, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Judith’s review of Sealed Forever (SEALed #4) by Mary Margret Daughtridge.

He’s got a living, breathing dilemma… 

In the midst of running an undercover CIA mission, Navy SEAL Lt. Garth Vale finds an abandoned baby, and his superiors sure don’t want to know about it. The only person who can help him is the beautiful new doctor in town, but she’s got another surprise for him… 

She’s got a solution…at a price… 

Dr. Bronwyn Whitescarver has left the frantic pace of big city ER medicine for a small town medical practice. Her bags aren’t even unpacked yet when gorgeous, intense Garth Vale shows up on her doorstep in the middle of the night with a sick baby… But his story somehow doesn’t add up, and Bronwyn isn’t quite sure who she’s saving-the baby, or the man…

There’s the U. S. Navy, and then there are the Navy SEALs.  While they are all a part of the greater whole, no one will ever disagree with the perception that a SEAL is a very different animal in the military spectrum.  Their training is unique and their duty assignments are very special–most often the kinds of assignments which would, if you knew about them, result in your death.  Such is the hero of this story:  a man who has been pulled back from his own death by his concern for a fallen comrade who was also near death;  a man who is paying dearly for an intelligence screw-up by someone lots higher in the military chain of command;  a man who is not afraid to fall in love at first sight–it is almost a family tradition–and that’s exactly what he does.  He is also a man who finds a baby and with a gentleness and sensitivity many would find surprising, seeks to find a safe place for her and the care she so obviously needs.

Dr. Bronwyn Whitescarver has come to this little town to set up her medical practice having become tired and deeply disillusioned with the practice of medicine in the big city hospitals where she was an ER physician.  She is not even unpacked, has certainly not set up her office nor is she ready to see patients by the slightest stretch of the imagination, and Garth is at her door, clutching a baby who is lethargic, non-responsive, and appears to be dehydrated among other things.  Now is when they each realize they have met before when they were official witnesses at a recent wedding.  Garth’s awareness of Bronwyn is new;  her attraction to him is a remembered thing from when she was first introduced to him, and it still frightens her now as much as it did initially.  It takes Garth very little time to become certain that she is his One–the mate he has been seeking and like everything he has ever wanted, he begins the process of going after her.  It takes very little time for her to respond to him and they become sexually involved.  That, however, doesn’t solve some of the deeper issues.

This is a very delightful love story between two people who know how to communicate and who use language so well.  But there is also the matter of the baby found on a private plane that has landed in the small private airport where Garth is working undercover, without any information, a name, documentation, etc.  Who is her mother and to whom was she being sent?  Because of Garth’s status as an undercover agent, he can tell Bronwyn very little, and she is smart enough to resent being kept out of the loop.  This hidden part of Garth’s life will ultimately lie at the heart of the problems between the two of them.

This story has so much in it that it is difficult to mention specifics in this review.  Suffice it to say that the narrative not only tells Garth and Bronwyn’s story, but also lets the reader gain insight into the struggles they are enduring as they must face themselves, their sense of disappointment over who they have become, and wondering if their future will be as disappointing as has been their past.  They are bound together over the baby — named Julia for Garth’s mother — but even that connection is tentative as they must decide what to do with her and how to keep her safe.  Perhaps the question that drives this novel is:  “How do two sad and searching people find their way to one another?”  Garth is aware that whenever he is around Bronwyn he feels alive with a sense of completion.  Bronwyn, on the other hand, comes to believe that Garth has accepted her without reserve, without qualifiers, accepting and respecting and honoring the unique qualities she brings to her medical practice as a true healer.  Even when they are having their difficulties, there is a sense that they are celebrating each other’s strengths.  

This is the first work by this author I have read but I know I will go back and read the other three novels in this series.  Having met a number of Garth’s pals in this story, it will be fun to go back and read more about each of them indepth.  This is an instructive and entertaining novel.  Incidentally, a bit of information gleaned from the author’s blurb indicates that the medical resource for this novel was another author, Elizabeth Vaughan who is a medical doctor in addition to her career as an author.  Small world.  This is a great book and well worth the time and effort to read it.  

I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

The Series:
SEALed with a Kiss: Even a hero needs help sometimes...SEALed with a PromiseSEALed with a RingSEALed Forever

You can read more from Judith at Dr. J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Sourcebooks Casablanca. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Get Your Free Books Here: AKA Contest Winners Announced

Posted April 12, 2008 by Holly in Giveaway Winners | 6 Comments

Before I announce the winners of our SWAK contest, I want to thank all of you who entered and who visited while Mary Margret Daughtridge was here. And I especially want to thank Mary Margret for agreeing to stop by and her insight into Navy SEALs. It was a pleasure having her here.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of you think about SWAK, so without further ado here are the winners:

Ann M.
Jill D.

Congrats ladies!! Please email me at thebookbinge @ gmail.com (no spaces) with your mailing address so I can send the books out to you.

And thanks again to everyone else who participated. I really hope you decide to read the book, even though you didn’t win. It’s a great read. 🙂

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Who Wants A Free Book?

Posted April 11, 2008 by Holly in Giveaways, Promotions | 10 Comments

We all do, right? Well, here’s your chance to win one!

Mary Margret Daughtridge is guest blogging with us today about what she learned while researching Navy SEALs for her novel. Having read SEALed With A Kiss, I can tell you it’s wonderful and I want to share the love.

So, if you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Mary Margret’s novel SEALed With A Kiss, here’s what you need to do:

Post a link on your blog to Mary Margret’s guest post and encourage your readers to come visit to do the same. Then leave a comment in either this post or Mary Margret’s guest post letting us know you did. Your name will automatically be entered to win.

If you win a copy of the book, we ask that you review it with in a few weeks of receiving it. Good or bad, love it or hate it, as part of the contest it has to be reviewed.

For those of you who don’t have a blog, leave a comment either here or on Mary Margret’s post and we’ll enter your name as well. If you win a copy, we will post your review at Book Binge.

Last but not least, because I really enjoyed SEALed and we’re feeling generous, we’re going to give away 5 copies. Yes you read right, we’re giving away FIVE copies of SEALed With A Kiss.

To be entered to win, you must post a link to Mary Margret’s guest blog no later than noon tomorrow, April 11th. The winners will be drawn Saturday the 12th.

Good luck!

Don’t delay, enter now!!

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Mary Margret Daughtridge: Shut Up and Keep Swimming

Posted April 10, 2008 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Promotions | 6 Comments

Mary Margret Daughtridge shares with us some things she learned about SEALs while researching her book, and imparts some wisdom she picked up along the way.

Be sure to check out her first novel, SEALed with a Kiss. You can order it from B&N and Amazon. Check out Holly’s review here.


Everybody asks about my research for SEALed With a Kiss– like was it hard and did I have to do a lot of it.

Yes, there was a lot of it. I read and reread twenty or thirty books about SEALs and Special Operations, cruised every sort of military and/or SEAL site on the internet, watched TV specials, corresponded with two SEALs for over a year.

And yes, it was hard, but not in the way you might think. To write a character-driven romance with a SEAL hero, I needed to get inside their skins. I didn’t care whether they preferred and H&K or a Glock; I needed to know what it felt like to be them. Trust me, letting myself feel what a SEAL feels, experience what a SEAL experiences and look at the world through a SEAL’s eyes is as far outside my comfort zone as it’s possible to get.

In the process, they became my people. My lovers, my sons, my friends. When I hear on the news that one has been killed, I feel personal loss. I cry.

Here are some things I learned:

In spite of, or maybe because of the dangerous things they do, safety is practically a religion with them. Doing something in an unsafe manner guarantees swift and severe consequences. Doing something that endangers another SEAL is grounds for dismissal.

SEAL training is exhausting, torturous, and painful beyond rational limits of endurance. Example: an exercise called “sand cookie” pretty much ensures they will get sand in and around the family jewels. And there it stays, chafing with every movement, for hours. Tomorrow it will happen again.

They can quit at any time. The ones who make it are not necessarily the strongest or most athletic. They are the ones who simply don’t quit.

On the whole, SEALs are not tall or unusually large men. They will tell you again and again that they don’t do things that are beyond normal human capability—they just don’t let it being hard or dangerous stop them.

They are extremely competitive with each other and yet capable of seamless teamwork. They are hyper-responsible, generous, nurturing, and tender, and yet, frankly, they enjoy violence.

The funny thing was that over time, living inside a SEAL’s character changed my character. Getting published isn’t as hard as being a SEAL, but it isn’t easy. Whenever I was tempted to give up, I’d remember a story I read about two SEALs in training. They were on a seven mile swim in the middle of the night, and one said to the other, “I can’t do this anymore. I’m going to quit.” And the other one said, “Shut up, and keep swimming.” That was all it took to get him past the moment of self-pity.

Whenever I’m tempted to give in to writer-angst, I tell myself to “Shut up and keep swimming.”

Best wishes, and good reading,
Mary Margret

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Review: SEALed With a Kiss by Mary Margret Daughtridge

Posted April 9, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: SEALed With a Kiss by Mary Margret DaughtridgeReviewer: Holly
SEALed with a Kiss by Mary Margret Daughtridge
Series: SEALed #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication Date: April 1st 2008
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 432
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: five-stars

"Daughtridge delivers a well-written romance that is simultaneously tender and sensuous."-Booklist
He can handle just about anything, except this...
Jax Graham is a member of an elite military team, but when it comes to taking care of his four-year-old son after his ex-wife dies, he's completely clueless.
One person can help him, if he'll let her...
Family therapist Pickett Sessoms knows just how to help a rough, tough Navy SEAL deal with a scared and lonely little boy, but not if he insists on going it alone.
When Jax and his young son Tyler get trapped by a hurricane, Pickett takes them in against her better judgment. Jax figures Pickett's high maintenance, just like all the women he knows, and she figures he's not commitment material. But when an outing turns deadly, Pickett discovers what it means to be a SEAL, and Jax discovers that even a hero needs help sometimes...

He figures she’s high maintenance. She figures he’s not “commitment” material. But when widowed Navy SEAL Jax Graham and his young son Tyler get trapped by a hurricane, family therapist Pickett Sessoms takes them in and knows just how to help a rough, tough Navy SEAL deal with his personal side…

Navy SEAL Lt. Jax Graham has no idea what to do with his young son after his mother’s death. Although Tyler is 4-years-old, Jax and Tyler’s mom divorced shortly after he was born and Jax has been out of the country more than he’s been in it. As a result, when his ex-wife dies, Jax is more than happy to let his ex-mother-in-law have custody of his son and just keep the same visitation rights he had before his ex-wife died. But his commander isn’t happy with that and orders Jax to take a 30 day leave to spend some time with his son.

Jax reluctantly agrees to meet his ex-MIL at her beach house so they can spend some time together. Only shortly after they arrive, a hurricane warning goes into effect and they have to evacuate. Grandma heads back to her house in (I forget what city) but Jax is determined to stay and spend as much times as possible with Tyler.

Enter Pickett Sessoms, family therapist. She happens upon them at the beach just before they’re evacuated and tries to help Jax and Tyler communicate with each other. She can tell Jax is doing his best, but he’s obviously out of his league with Tyler. When Jax can’t find a hotel room, Pickett agrees to let him stay with her for a few days, but before you know it Tyler is getting attached and the adults are battling a mutual attraction. But Pickett is gun shy, and Jax knows he’ll be heading back to his life as a SEAL before too long….

I’ve been trying to organize my thoughts on this for a few days now, and I’m having a hard time figuring out exactly how I felt about this story.

It’s wonderfully written, as evidenced here. Mary Margret Daughtridge has a beautiful writing voice and I was drawn in from the beginning, anxious to read more. The characters were wonderfully drawn. There are subtle nuances with each and the more I read, the more I wanted to know about them, and then the closer I felt to them. Fully 3 dimensional, with real personal struggles that sprang from real life problems. I think this is what I loved best about this novel. Each character was real. No fairytale life here, but instead a woman who’s insecure and struggles with self-image problems and a man who doesn’t know how to be anything but a hero, who’s failing in his most important role, that of a father.

Pickett grew up overweight and constantly lacking in the eyes of her family. Even though she’s a family therapist, she’s always avoided close relationships for herself, for any number of reasons. Mostly because she’s afraid to open herself up to someone.

Jax wants to be a good father. You can see that he does. He tries so hard, but he just can’t seem to get it right. So he asks Pickett for help. And then he really listened to her and tried his best. Oh how I loved reading these parts. When he really focused on what she was saying, then made the effort to do as she suggested.

I think this is the best portrayal of a SEAL I’ve ever read. Not because he was all hard and tough, but because he had a softer side. I’m married to a cop. He goes to work every day and puts himself in danger to keep others safe. Before that, he was a Marine. He’s tough, and sexy and he’s a hero. He’s my hero. But he’s also sweet and sensitive. He puts my needs before his own, and he tries to be the best man he possibly can. Do I think he’s a wuss? Or that he can’t handle whatever he has to handle at work? Of course not. But when he’s at home with me he’s different. He’s my husband. He’s just a man.

That’s how Jax was. He was sweet and sensitive, he was willing to learn what he needed to be a great dad. He was willing to stand in front of Tyler and Pickett if they needed him to, but more importantly he was willing to stand beside them and offer strength while they fought their own battles. That is the measure of a real man, a real hero. He didn’t “have” to be in charge all the time, to make himself feel more like a man. He was a man and that’s all that mattered. I heart him.

That’s not to say I didn’t have issues with him, however. The way he constantly went on and on about how Tyler would be better off with his grandmother, even after Jax realized she drank all the time and Tyler said he hated it at her house pissed me off. It was obvious that Tyler hated living with his grandmother, even to Jax, but he still refused to consider other possibilities for where Tyler should go once he went back to full duty. I understand that he couldn’t care for Tyler on his own (being away from home 200+ days a year doesn’t work when you need to be a full time parent), but he refused to even consider other options. That bugged the crap out of me.

And Pickett. I don’t even know where to start with her. I guess I’ll start with my biggest issue: Her refusal to consider a long term relationship with someone in the military. Maybe this is a hot-button issue for me because I have family in the military, but military marriages can work. They aren’t easy, but life isn’t easy. Pickett is a family therapist who works on a military base. She councils couples who are dealing with life in the military. Constant deployments, time apart, secrets, etc, etc. But she helps these people work through that. So why then would she flat out refuse to even consider someone in the military for a long term relationship? Hypocrite much?

She also had some odd insecurities and hang-ups about sex I found to be..strange considering her occupation, but I was able to most past these, mostly because she was able to move past them.

Despite my issues with her, however, I really enjoyed both her and the story. Especially her interactions with Tyler. There’s no doubt she’s good at what she does if Tyler is anything to go by. I also loved how, with Jax’s help, she was able to finally stand up to her family. I think I re-read that scene several times.

I also loved that the focus on the story was the relationships. Jax and Tyler and Jax and Pickett. It was very refreshing to not have some mystery or suspense plot thrown on top of it.

Overall an extremely well written story with wonderful characters and a poignant story. I’d highly recommend it because even though I had some issues with it, I was able to move past them. No easy feat for me.

4.5 out of 5

You can buy it here or here.

And don’t forget, Mary Margret Daughtridge is visiting us tomorrow! Be sure to stop by.


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