The reviews talk about how this suffered from being too short, which I understand and agree to a point (but mostly because I wanted more of Jeremy andThe reviews talk about how this suffered from being too short, which I understand and agree to a point (but mostly because I wanted more of Jeremy and War), but I want to say major kudos and thanks to Kathleen Hayes for taking this on after two separate authors took it and dropped out. Kathleen didn't receive the prompt until late July well after they started posting the stories.
All the stories had things to submit by April 1st and needed the final turned in by May 1st at the latest. There were a few extensions--for people who had their prompts all along and just needed more time. Kathleen submitted within a few weeks and gave me everything I asked for. I agree that a longer time would have made the story even better, but what she did in just a few weeks is so much better than what some authors accomplish with unlimited time.
Kathleen had so little time that I'm amazed at what a great story she put together. She wrote it from my prompt, and as I said, it's everything I asked for and more. She even including foster parenting! Considering what she did in the amazingly short amount of time she had, I'm bowled over. I would have loved this anyway, so this is as unbiased a review as I can write given that this was based off my prompt and is the kind of story that makes me twirl.
So I hope people go into this knowing that Kathleen had so little time to write it and still did my prompt justice. I'm not asking anyone to change their rating or review, I just want everyone to know this.
For those who don't know me, my reviews tend to be kind of free association, listing my thoughts as I'm reading the story with an overall conclusion at the end. So I'm going to start at the beginning with the first great things.
Right away this is very funny while being intense and suspenseful at the same time.
I love that Jeremy's thinking of the other guy's name as "Probably Unhinged."
I like the place the book started. It gave me a sense of action and urgency from the beginning without really revealing much at all.
Oh she totally wrote it for me, foster parents and everything! I totally love you, Kathleen Hayes!
A good person foster parent! SOOOOO rare in books and TV these days. On a crime show or in a crime book, if foster parents appear, I'd bet money that they are the perpetrators and if not, it's a red herring because they truly are awful people. I would win just about every time. I think I've seen two, in the probably 50-75 episodes I've watched that had a crime and foster parents, where the foster parents weren't bad people. It's a thankless job--the kids start out resenting if not hating you and there are no awards or rewards outside of thanks from people in the system--and yet foster parents are seen as evil by the public because of a handful of high profile cases.
I love the accuracy. The kids that come into care always want McDonalds, even the older ones. :) Oh and knowing how long it takes to get licensed (people really have to want to do it--no wonder there's a shortage)--and all the paperwork...
A strong, capable, smart woman! I love that this isn't sexist.
She totally understands typical ways people who suffer from panic attacks are taught to cope and get through them.
I like that the doctor didn't just say, "He's going to be fine." He mentioned that there could be complications, specifically infection which is a huge issue after major surgery. And even qualifying his statement with that, he followed it with, "He should make a full recovery" rather than "he'll be fine."
I also liked the invocation of HIPAA. Too often books ignore that and either give protagonists too much information or won't give them any because they're gay. I like that their homosexuality wasn't relevant, just HIPAA.
The routine hospital stuff, like how soon (view spoiler)[he would be in ICU after surgery (hide spoiler)], where they were supposed to go to wait, etc., gave the story a lot of realism and felt authentic.
Oh, Sarah's day job is even better than being just strong, capable, and smart!
I really like that the author didn't try to emulate a (view spoiler)[Russian (hide spoiler)] accent. It always sounds fake to me when authors do that particular one.
Oh god, I'm actually crying! She wrote a story in three weeks that had tons of action and humor and still made me cry!
I love that Jeremy laughed at the sweet but trite and corny line.
Even with an action and peril filled story, she still managed to fit in the corny t-shirts from my picture. Awesome!
And the perfect HEA. I didn't even notice there wasn't any sex. I don't think sex belonged so it was perfect.
Okay, I have to say something negative or no one will believe this is an honest review from Kelly. But I honestly have to say, I think any negatives were due to time constraints more than anything:
Jeremy's a bit too weak and incapable when he discovers the note but that might be due to whatever causes (view spoiler)[his panic attacks(view spoiler)[. (I would have liked to know what that was. Then again, some people just have them--it doesn't have to be PTSD or anything so maybe that's actually a plus.) Then he was really strong for the meet up, and then kind of weak again afterwards. After that, his weakness/strength is appropriate for the scenes.
I think the perpetrators (view spoiler)[putting a note on the fridge (hide spoiler)] and him noticing it there is a bit odd. It's not a place I would think to look in that frame of mind.
He either should have called social services right away or made it clear why he wasn't going to. I can understand not wanting to. That kind of thing gets your license taken away and made into one of those high-profile cases. :)
Overall, this was just perfect for me. I loved everything about it. I loved the danger and mortal peril. I loved the hesitancy about a relationship on War's part, and that Jeremy was willing to wait. I love that (view spoiler)[War said, "I love you," first and that he didn't just kind of love him, that he loved him totally and completely (hide spoiler)]. I loved their interactions, the relevance of the book, the sweetness despite War's vocation.
I loved the foster care and mental health stuff. I loved that it wasn't about the little girl (hide spoiler)]and needing to adopt her (hide spoiler)] if there had been more time, there was a lot of room to expand that part of the story, but I'm glad it was left behind in lieu of what was included; that the story was about War and Jeremy, not even about the action, even though there was tons of it. Kathleen focused on what was important. Oh, and she gave me not just one, but TWO (view spoiler)[hospital scenes (hide spoiler)]! TWO!
Thank you so much, Kathleen, for making a fantastic story out of my prompt. I would love to see you make this into a novella or write a sequel. You completely rock. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more