Sunday, January 18, 2015

ARC Review: Take Heart (St. Hawk's Medical) by Willa Otaki


Dr. Brendan West, a dreamer and a doctor, knows there’s more to life than the job, and he wants to experience it for himself. His first step after finding a temporary job at St. Hawk’s is falling for kind-hearted gardener Evan—only to discover that Evan’s already taken by boisterous Griff.

For his part, Griff sees this as more of an opportunity than a threat. He likes the good doc’s kind heart and clear eyes, and the way he sees it, their lonely doc needs them just as much, or more. With Evan on board, he sets to work bringing Brendan into a ménage relationship.

Brendan knows he could fall hard for the odd couple, but the thing is—he’s not in St. Hawk’s for the long haul. He can’t bear to surrender his heart if he’s only going to leave it behind.

Can the doctor, the gardener and the hellion find a way to make it work, or will they find themselves losing out on love?

Dani's rating:

Reading this story was a bit like wading through mud. The writing was heavy and overworked with staccato fragments and muddled descriptions:

Loved him, come to that. Cared for him, not the same way he cared for Evan, but with a sudden, deep certainty that'd taken its time growing and burst into bloom beneath his nose. Nine weeks' germination, point-nine seconds of fruition, or however Evan might put it. Evan knew, of course. Would have known all along and played it close to his chest.

This prose style might appeal to some readers, but I felt detached from the story.

Neither the setting nor the characters were well developed. I have no idea where this fictional town of St. Hawk's is, but I want to visit, as it has a hot springs and every single person who lives there appears to be a hot gay man.

The HIPAA violations alone made my head spin! You cannot cavort in exam rooms, nor disclose patient information without the patient's consent, even to a family member or significant others! I was horrified by the lack of patient confidentiality or overall privacy at this hospital.

Griff and Evan have been in an established relationship for five years. Griff, a mechanic, used to be a bad guy of some sort, and Evan, a gardener, had a heart transplant. They occasionally bring in a third to play, and they choose Brendan, a doctor who's at the St. Hawk's (rather unconventional) hospital to . . . not sure exactly. Recuperate from stress? Work part-time? Take a sabbatical?

None of these guys felt like real people. There was little to no background information, and the love happened after two sex scenes.

Many secondary characters were thrown into the story, a variable parade of potential MCs for other books.

There were a couple medical emergencies, but other than that nothing really happened.

We were privy to rambling thoughts from all three men, but they were so repetitive, I would often lose track of who was doing the thinking. Sometimes the writing was so overwrought, I couldn't follow the story.

If you're a Willa Otaki fan, you might want to give this one a go. There is a certain sweetness to the story and a couple steamy scenes, but the writing and plot just did not appeal to me.

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