Review | Latakia by J.F. Smith

LatakiaLatakia by J.F. Smith
Military Romance M/M

December 4, 2011

About the Book: Matthew likes his life in Richmond. He has his friends and his softball and his volunteer work. And he has a very good-looking boyfriend, Brian, who he’s been happily dating for over a year now. So what if his friends tend to question just how good his boyfriend is, and so what if Brian tends to have inexplicable mood swings. And so what if Brian seems to invite Matt’s suspicions on occasion. If he just shows a little faith and trust, he’ll appreciate what he has with Brian the way he should. Right?

But suddenly, Matt finds himself in a desperate life-or-death situation on a trip overseas, and he realizes just how much he misses home, and Brian. He’s luckily rescued by a team of US Special Forces, only to immediately find out they’re a bunch of bigoted jerks. Worse, a quirk of his situation forces him to spend time with them that he’d rather not. And that’s when he finds out that first impressions can be misleading. When called upon, he steps up when every fiber of his being tells him not to, and discovers something deep inside himself that he didn’t realize was even there. And his life will never be the same. He finds that he can, after all, make some very overdue changes in his own life.

What Matt doesn’t realize is that the bond of brotherhood runs both ways. And he winds up changing the lives of several of the men on that Special Forces team as much as they changed his.

All it takes is faith and trust.

amazon2 bn2

So far, my July reading month has been pretty fun.  I’ve been randomly choosing books based on my current mood, and I haven’t been following a schedule at all.  When I started the month I had a tentative list to play around with, but so far I haven’t read any of those books.  Instead, I took a dive into my old To Read list, and that’s where I found Latakia, which I bought so long ago (I don’t even remember how long ago) and then forgot all about it.  Reading the synopsis today, it was so freaking obvious why I bought this without knowing much beforehand.  It’s such a Wendy book.  (That’s me, for those who don’t know.  I’m not sure I’ve ever said it, but Birdie is a pseudonym -which is actually pretty obvious, now that I’m writing this.  Let’s carry on…)  It’s all about Navy Seals, and secret missions, and luuurve.  It sounded like a recipe for success, but maybe could have been huge disappointment too, which is probably what took me so long to read it.

Latakia followed Matt mostly, who’s a really wonderful character (a wonderful but flawed character) who’s in a terrible relationship with the most passive aggressive jerkwad of a boyfriend.  I’m serious too, Brian is awful.  Right from the beginning I was snarling.  I mean, when you say ‘I Love You’ and their response is ‘You’re lucky to have me’, every time, you have a grade A douchebag on your hands.  It killed me to watch Matt bend over backwards trying to be a great boyfriend to someone who treated him so badly.  Luckily, the fact that Brian was an asshat played a very integral part of the story.  He was supposed to be a terrible person.

Poor Matt, who already has it pretty rough (even though he refuses to recognize it), goes through some deep stuff in Latakia and needs rescuing.  Enter the Navy Seals, which I have a soft spot for because of Troubleshooters.  Through this SEAL team, even as off putting as they seem in the beginning (Damn Petey, how I love you!), Matt finds family, a brother, and the love of his life.

There was one comment, one line really, which made me curl a lip.  It was the idea that someone holding you steady, helping you breathe, and keeping eye contact may have prevented Matt from developing PTSD.  It felt wrong, and like it trivialized soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, all for the sake of romance.

Still, that one line wasn’t enough to make me dislike Latakia.  In fact, I loved it.  You know what’s proof of how much this book hit me?  I remembered every single character’s name.  I didn’t have to scroll up and look, or sit and try to remember.  Matt, Petey, Mope, and the rest of their Platoon are seared into my brain by their bonds with each other and my ties to this story.

It’s definitely one of my favorite romance novels.

Rating: 4_5 feather

About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

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