Today I’m reviewing Therese Woodson’s An Ordinary Hero. I want to start off by saying it wasn’t immediately clear to me that this was going to be a paranormal romance. The blurb doesn’t even hint at it well enough for me to get it. That doesn’t bother me, but I know some people wouldn’t be excited to expect a contemporary romance and get a paranormal instead. When I went back to Amazon to look at the blurb before I started writing my review, as I frequently do, I started poking around and realized the novella was listed in the Fantasy section. I’m sure a lot of people, like me, probably don’t notice where all of the books are listed when they’re clicking through things. The book was short at about 77 pages, but it was a fun read. Warnings for this book include: blood and gore, physical violence, and accident scenes.
Let’s take a look at the blurb:
As a paramedic, Ryan Bishop has responded to his fair share of bizarre situations. However, he’s not prepared when he meets Phillip, a local man who keeps popping up to save the day. Everyone lauds Phillip as a hero, but he prefers to stay in the background, going so far as to refuse medical treatment.
Ryan is intrigued, not only by Phillip’s unassuming manner, but also by his ability to be in the right place at the right time. Ryan wants some answers and maybe even a date. What he gets is an unexpected part in Phillip’s origin story.
Find the sample here.
What follows is a discussion of the book, which I’m going to hide under a cut line. If you don’t want to go further in this review for fear of spoilers, here’s my recommendation: The book is okay. If you like paranormal romance and cute stories you will probably not mind killing a few hours with this book, but there isn’t much depth to be had in it.
To start off Woodson does a good job building up these characters. Phillip and Ryan meet under mysterious circumstances and there’s an immediate attraction on Ryan’s end (this entire story is told singly from his point of view). We’re led along trying to solve the mystery of “local man” with Ryan.
The sex in the book is well done. The first scene we get is a bj scene, and …wow. She writes it well. There’s just something about it that pushes my buttons and is all the things I want in a fast first time scene. They don’t jump right in to the sex, which is unusual in shorter stories. All of the sex in the story is written well.
I was seriously disappointed in the world building found in this novella compared to other stories Woodson has written, such as Betrothed. The paranormal aspect feels a bit rushed to me. A grand total of about three sentences directly addresses how Phillip came to be, essentially, a super hero with Wolverine-esque regenerative powers. I thought we would get more there, and the actual explanation was a little thin to me as well. I guess I would have liked to have seen more exploration of this aspect of Phillip. So, if you’re reading the entire book waiting for “the big reveal” it’s going to be a bit of a let down when it finally comes. The book focuses mainly on the relationship between Phillip and Ryan with the paranormal aspect more like icing…even though in a strange way it’s what the entire story is about and how Phillip and Ryan get together.
I guess what all this leads to is that the “mystery” we’re trying to solve along with Ryan is a bit of a let down because we don’t ever really get a good explanation for it. It’s just I did X and now this is what happens…and it’s not, for example, something as straightforward as a radioactive spider bite. It’s something that could easily have used more story time.
I’m gonna stop talkin’ about that ‘cause I’m beating it into the ground, but that’s the biggest thing that stuck out at me when I thought back over my experience reading this story.
This book would have benefitted from having Phillip’s point of view thrown into the mix. I think it would have been fairly easy to double the length of the novel and make for a more exciting read for the story as well, since he’s actually the person busting into dangerous situations. I was disappointed with a lot of different aspects of this story, but that is mainly based on what I’ve seen from this author before. The story itself is good. It’s cute. It’s light in a lot of ways that you wouldn’t expect from a story dealing with the themes of death and rescue. If you have a few hours to kill, go for it. Woodson’s still on my auto-buy list.
Check out my book Threefold Love! It received honorable mention for The Rainbow Awards and is currently a finalist.
Captain Xavier Hobbs, a decommissioned combat engineer, was chronically lonely in the Army. But once he is back to being a civilian, with no family and nothing to ground him, he drifts. All he wants is a real home, a real life, and love—but that is easy to wish for and hard to make happen.
When he meets Andrew Landry, a high school English teacher, Xavier thinks he has found everything he has ever wanted, maybe even someone he can trust with his scars—the ones on his mind and body. Andrew’s quick wit and outgoing personality reel Xavier in slowly but surely. But he isn’t certain which way Andrew swings, and doesn’t dare to do more than hope the friendly man is actually flirting.
Then, on what Xavier idly wishes were their first date, disaster strikes in the form of Duncan McNeil, a fellow Wiccan and Andrew’s fiancé. Xavier’s hope is smashed to pieces, but Duncan and Andrew may have a different point of view. All they need is a little magic, some hope, and a lot of love to put everything back together.