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Fight or Flight

Book Review of Fight or Flight, by Noah Harris

I picked up a copy of Noah HarrisFight or Flight at Amazon when it was free. It was still free at the time of posting.

Description from Goodreads:
Bryant had always been a fighter. He had fought to keep his family together, and after his father’s death, he had fought to get custody over his little sister. He fought to keep them fed, and he fought to keep a roof over their heads. And he did so by picking up his father’s old profession: illegal werewolf fights. It was a dangerous profession, but he made good money. It didn’t leave much room for a social life or romance, but he liked it that way. Those were just distractions from what needed to be done. He was convinced he didn’t want a relationship.

That is, until Jake walked into his life: an inexperienced rookie with firm determination, an eagerness to learn, and a secret of his own: he’s actually an Omega. Against his better judgement, Bryant agrees to train him but soon finds himself fighting once again. Only this time, he’s fighting himself and his overwhelming attraction for Jake. He soon learns that some fights aren’t meant to be won.

Sooo, this might have made a good novella, but there really isn’t enough of it to fill 300+ pages. It’s repetitive and slow. Plus, the Amazon description states, “Set amidst a strongly constructed shifter world of werewolf fighting…” But the reality is that there basically isn’t ANY world-building at all. And what very little there is, like alpha’s going into rut and trying to rape any omega they scent, doesn’t really even make sense. Plus, there is very little werewolf action in this werewolf novel. 90% of it might as well be a contemporary m/m romance. The mechanical writing is fine (though heavy on the tell) and I liked the characters (though I thought Jake was stupid and selfish for continuing to knowingly endanger everyone). But the book was less than satisfying.

Welcome to the Madhouse

Book Review of Welcome to the Madhouse, by S.E. Sasaki

I won a copy of S.E. Sasaki‘s Welcome to the Madhouse through Goodreads. The ebook was also free at the author’s website and Amazon at the time of posting.

Description from Goodreads:
Doctor Grace Lord, a lieutenant in the Conglomerate Medical Corps, has come to the medical space station, the Nelson Mandela, as the new surgical fellow under the renowned Doctor Hiro Al-Fadi. Though she earned her commission as a combat surgeon in the field, she is unprepared for the scope and pace of what awaits her in the Conglomerate’s Premier Medical Space Station. The countless cryopods that come into the Nelson Mandela are filled with the casualties of the Conglomerate’s animal-adapted military forces. Traumatically injured and disfigured in campaigns spread across the galaxy, it is up to the staff of the Nelson Mandela to patch up the wounded combat soldiers for redeployment. For Grace, it is a trial by fire, as she familiarizes herself not only with the routines and protocols of life on the Nelson Mandela, but also with the eclectic community of professionals with whom she works – not the least of which is an android that has taken an almost human interest in her. When disaster strikes the space station, the Nelson Mandela must race against time to stave off annihilation, and it becomes clear that, regardless of the outcome, nothing will never be the same again.

Going into this book, I didn’t expect it to be a comedy. The humor was a pleasant surprise. At times it reached a little too far and came across as trying too hard to be funny, but it usually managed to walk the line and I enjoyed it.

I liked all the characters too, Bud especially. The back and forwards banter between the surgeons was amusing and was nicely balanced with the obvious affection the characters had for one another. Grace was a little too perfect in all ways, but I managed to look over her lack of faults.

However, I thought the whole plot-line with the closest thing to a villain the book has was unnecessary, distasteful, distracting, and predictable. It was painfully obvious who they were from the first moment they were introduced. Their character lacked depth, was evil just because they were evil and their plot arc didn’t tie well into the primary plot-line. In fact, it had nothing to do with it and was an unappreciated distraction that was wrapped up too quickly and easily to fee satisfying in any way.

Further, I felt the introduction of inferred rape and mental abuse (described as easy, at that) was unnecessary and detracted from my enjoyment of the book. I am so sick of victimized women as plot-points that I almost just gave up on the book after reading the prologue. I was pleased the subject didn’t come up again. I understand that this particular plot-point probably just set up the sequel, but I REALLY wish this book had done without it. In fact, it reads like it did and the author went back and added it just for book two.

The writing/editing was unusually good for an indie. I did think some of the dialogue was on the stiff side, even when allowing for android-speak and there was an excess of exclamation marks. But I was mostly pleased.

All in all, however, I enjoyed the book. I laughed and was interested enough to read until the end. I’d happily read book two to see how Bud progresses.

What I’m drinking: Bentley’s Oolong tea.


Book Review of Reconstructed (Building a Hero #1), by Tasha Black

ReconstructedI downloaded a free copy of Reconstructed, by Tasha Black. It is currently free on Amazon. (Or was at the time of posting.)

Description from Goodreads:
Westley Worthington has it all. Piles of money, good looks, a head for business, and a seemingly limitless supply of women who want to please him. And that’s just the way he likes it. Until a brush with death causes him to rethink his priorities, and consider someone besides himself for the first time in his privileged life. 

Cordelia Cross has never had it easy. Her duty to her family has her working as an assistant to a man she hates just to pay her sister’s medical bills. When her arrogant boss alienates his last true friend, she finds herself promoted from schedule-managing coffee grabber, to the newest member of West’s inner circle. 

Tempers, and passions, ignite as the two start spending time together, until a shocking accident puts their newfound attraction on ice. When West is faced with the toughest trial of his life, Cordelia helps him realize that he has all the tools he needs to be a force for justice. 

Together, they must turn West into the hero no one ever thought he could be. 

Wellllll, it wasn’t baaaaad. It just wasn’t very good either. This is a romance above all else and I’m sorry, but it wasn’t enough to carry the plot. Mostly because it wasn’t at all developed and it was too diluted by the attempt at action/sci-fi. Plain Jane assistance works for jerk-face, womanizing boss and is inexplicably attracted to him. Jerk-face, womanizing boss can’t figure out why his starlets no longer appeal and all he can think of is plain Jane assistant. That’s pretty much it. It makes no sense. What’s more, it’s inferred that plain Jane assistant is smart and witty and capable, while all those other pretty, sexy, available women (read slutty, because that’s the subtext) and by extension all other women are not. This makes me twitchy.

Then there’s the attempt at a sci-fi, action plot. It fails almost completely because it’s just too weak. The characters survival stretches credulity. His recover is almost instantaneous. His accomplishments inhuman, but worst of all we’re not shown anything. I have this specific incident I want to use as an example, but it would be a spoiler. So lets just say someone does something impossible to save someone else. He tells that person to go, sacrificing himself. That’s the plan, anyhow. Cut scene, end chapter. New chapter, he is giving someone a gift, culminating in the pseudo-sex scene symbolizing their forever union. We do not see the action. We do not know how he survived. We don’t know what happened to the person saved. We don’t know the aftermath. We don’t know what happened to the ultimate villain, only the minion. We don’t even know who the second person, who disappeared without mention, had been. What was the point of including any of it, if the author was going to skip all the important stuff? Honestly, the book would have been stronger if she had just written an office romance.

The writing itself is ok, for the most part. But it fails at times. For example, the hero does have some character growth, random as if feels at times. But this is part of how the author let the reader know about it. “West was deepening before her eyes – becoming less a caricature of a playboy and more of a man.” Yep, got it. Thanks for making sure I didn’t miss the fact. Head/desk.

So, again, it’s not all bad, though I guess I made it sound like it was. There is a good side character, Dalton, and some obvious set up for future books. But it’s just not really very good.