Friday, 25 November 2011

Review: Once a Marine by Cat Grant

This is the first of the longer books that I've read from the newly formed Riptide Publishing and it's a decent one to begin with. I generally like Cat Grant's books, finding her smooth writing easy to read, and her characters are generally likeable.  That was certainly the case with this book.

The story follows gay romance writer Marc who divides his time writing and working in a diner to make ends meet.  He's at the diner when Mr Hot enters in the form of ex-marine, Cole, who has been dishonourably discharged under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'.  When Cole leaves his phone at the diner, Marc drops it off for him and they hit it off fine, until Cole gets cold feet and kicks Marc out.  Marc is furious and hurt, mainly because he's been hurt by a Marine before, but when Cole comes apologising the pair decide to give it a go.

If I can think of a word to describe this book it's mellow.  There's a little bit of angst in the story with Cole suffering from PTSD, and Marc having a past of rejection to get over, but these problems are not overplayed with a heavy hand. Instead the story follows them through a series of ups and downs as the two men try and find a fit with each other.  Some readers may get a little frustrated with this as the story could come across as being too pat and perhaps insulting to the issues which are raised in the book.  I didn't see it like that though, as there's enough time devoted to looking at PTSD or DADT from Cole's perspective, and those issues are not wholly resolved by the end, as would be expected.

My favourite character was Marc who's fairly upbeat and forgiving.  He's perfect for Cole in that he understands the problems Cole is facing and is willing to work round him as much as possible whilst keeping his self-respect.  The sly nods to m/m romance made me smile and I liked the references to how Marc fits the writing in with his life.  I didn't like Cole as much, but then I'm never really fond of the sort of character he is.  He's too prickly for my liking and also at times very selfish. I understood that he'd had a bit of a hard time adjusting to life outside the military, and also that his father's rejection had hit him badly, but that didn't excuse some of his behaviour towards Marc where he seemed to expect him to be on hand whenever Cole wanted and to get lost when he didn't.  However, Cole did redeem himself by the end and I was happy for the pair to go into their HEA together.

Overall, I think it helped that I was in the mood for this read. I needed something light and entertaining but with a touch of drama.  That's certainly what I got with this book and that, coupled with a sympathetic hero in Marc, means that I'm happy to give this book a grade of 'Very Good'.  Those readers looking for something quick and undemanding with a healthy romantic core should pick this book up.  I enjoyed it.

Buy this book HERE.


  1. Thanks for the lovely review, Jen. Glad you enjoyed the book! :)

    Cat Grant

  2. I enjoyed this book, too. I just emailed you with a question, though. :)

  3. You're welcome, Cat :)

    Chris: Glad you liked it too :).


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