Hello wild ones! I hope your hump day has been treating you well, mine has kind of kicked my ass. I’ve slept a grand total of 2 hours today and I am really feeling it right now. I apologize in advance if this starts to go to the wayside.
Silly me, I need to remind myself that picking a book I’ve already read does not make my life any easier. I think it’s harder for me to write a review on a book I’ve read previously rather than picking something I haven’t read yet. Maybe I’m just crazy, but the two times I’ve picked books that I previously read it’s been a huge ordeal (or at least it felt that way to my overly dramatic ass) to re-read the book, try to comply notes, and then write the dang review. Also, while I’m being honest, I picked this particular book for a very specific reason; it’s a M/M shifter novel. A genre that is not really been my favorite since I started my foray into the world of man lovin. Which is why I picked this book, I felt like doing a mini rant…so once again I apologize if this turns into a spastic word vomit post that makes you cringe.
Before I go off on any crazy tangents, let’s talk about the book, that is after all the very reason we are here on this Wednesday night. It’s Hump Day Book Review time!
Okay, so the book How We Survive by Michele Notaro, is kind of the best shifter novel I have read thus far. However, I should probably mention that I’ve kind of loathed every other one that I’ve read.
Let’s start with one of our main dudes (cuz you know there’s two), Nathan, AKA Nate. This poor, poor, little wolf boy. Though he is young, going on 19 at the time of this novel, he has been through some real shit. After his father is killed, which he had to listen to (literally the poor kid was under the floor while his father was killed), as a result of a war going on he and his younger brother, Felix, set out to find their older brother, Ronan. It was their father’s dying declaration/order, that they find their brother and he would know what to do. However, our little hero soon discovers that finding his Ministry (one of the sects in the war) serving brother is not so easy.
With only his brother, who refuses to shift back into his human form, he wanders the desolate country searching for his brother, hiding, and basically just struggling to keep them both alive. I can’t even begin to imagine this guys life.
Seriously this kid is beyond strong willed. I don’t even know what I would have done in his situation, probably just given up and hunkered down in an abandoned library until I died.
During their seemingly never ending journey, Felix leads them right into a town that is being patrolled by, Demetrius, AKA Tre, and a shifter group of Rebel soldiers. Which brings us to Tre, our second main dude.
Tre is a hero and the “alpha” of his two man pack. At nearly 900 this guy has obviously seen some shit, but honestly you don’t get a ton of his back story that doesn’t directly pertain to the war and his heroic efforts. His “pack-mate” and best friend, Patrick (AKA Patty) has been with him for nearly 20 of years. They rely heavily on each other for everything, which includes emotional as well as physical support (and get yo dang mind out of the gutter. While these two do sleep together, they don’t “sleep” together). We’re told a few different times that shifters are social creatures and need physical contact, which actually makes sense, because it’s not like wolves have long drawn out conversations with each other. A lot of animal language is based off body language.
Anyway, so the two meet because Felix leads them right to Tre and instead of doing what some of his less than cozy cohorts would have done and just either killing the pair or at the very least capturing them for questioning, he plans to help them get away undetected. That fails, obvs or we wouldn’t have an entire book. Patrick and another fellow shifter soldier come across the trio and Tre comes up with the cover of being Nate’s mate. Of course the two younger men play along because they don’t wanna freaking die and Patrick after a tiny bit of convincing accepts the two into their small pack.
Quickly the fourseome settles into a new life together. Nate and Felix have to accompany Tre and Patty on their missions and it becomes increasingly obviously that Nate and Tre have a deep connection…you know their mates and all that jazz.
Nate, poor little baby Nate. He spends a great majority of this novel being grateful that the two took them in when they desperately needed help, but continually reminds himself that none of this is permanent. As soon as it is safe they are going to go their separate ways once again. He makes me sad and a little pissy because he couldn’t just accept what was right in front of him, he had a new loving family, but I get where his emotional conflict comes from. Both of his parents were killed, he hasn’t seen his older brother in waaaay too long, and his only other living family member can’t verbally talk to him. He’s been basically isolated for 3 years, so I get it, I don’t like it, but I get it.
Alright, so some actiony stuff happens, our heroes are captured, seriously injured, tortured in Nate’s case, and the four of them, along with their soldier clan/pack thing are set free by Ronan. Our two heroes finally get to have sex, though there’s still a tiny drop of drama there because at this point Tre has figured out that he and Nate are “True Mates,” and Nate has no idea. Blah. Anyway.
This one doesn’t have a definite ending, it’s set up for the second book, which I’m still kind of on the fence about reading, but it’s not out yet anyway, so it’s not like I gotta make that hard decision any time soon.
Okay, so some things I don’t mind about shifter books, the whole mate thing. If I’m just looking for something quick and easy to read I sometimes reach for books where I know the romance is going to be quick, possibly dirty, and long lasting. Maybe it’s because they elude to life mating it gives me the illusion that nothing can stand in the way of a happily ever after…maybe I’m just nutty. The whole mate thing usually means I get some super mushy stuff too, like them wanting to not be separated at all, cute scenes of them taking care of each other, and conversations so sweet they make my teeth hurt. It’s not always something I like, but every once in a while you know…you just crave things that you know aren’t good for you.
This particular shifter book skipped almost all of the shit that ruins other shifter books for me, F/M & M/M alike. The whole Alpha thing. I’ve read some shifter books where the “alpha” is like literally refereed to as alpha, like it’s his fucking name. That shit annoys me to no end. There’s also no mention of that omega and beta bull shit, which I was very thankful for, but back to the alpha thing for a quick second. I promise I’m gonna try to make this as painless and quick as possible.
Alphas aren’t born bitches. In the animal kingdom every male has the capacity to become the alpha, it is something that is earned, not given or born into. This is the one thing that pisses me off more than anything. In most of these novels any asshole with a slightly type A personality and vague leadership inclination is called an alpha. That’s not how it works, I’m sorry. Also, once the alpha is established his title can be challenged by any other male, so essentially the animal who was beat out before could come back and retake the game, not to say that it would happen, but it’s a possibility.
Okay, some other things this book strayed away from as far as the norm shifter troupe, male pregnancy. No joke kids the first time I read a book where one of the guys got pregnant I nearly stopped reading. I’m sorry, I get the fantasy (sort of anyway), but it’s just physically impossible unless you’re a freaking tree frog. Mammals cannot alter their biological make up to allow a male to carry a child.
I think Michele kind of kept her shifters true to their actual animal forms, does that make sense? There wasn’t anything that was so far removed from human make up or wolf make up that took me out of the story.
Like I said, this one is kind of emotional, but it’s an easyish read that I enjoyed at the end of the day.
Favorite Quote: “This is how we survive, guys. We survive together, we hunt together, we live together, we love together, and we fight for one another. As long as we have each other, none of that other shit matters. We’re family now; pack.”
Okay, so stars…I’m gonna go 3.5 stars.
Alright, so next week…shit…what am I going to read for next week? Let’s go with Fast Connection by Santino Hassell & Meghan Erickson. Crap, didn’t I just say at the beginning of this post that I didn’t want to choose another book I had read? Fuck it.
After a decade of serving in the Army, everyone still expects me to be Dominic ‘Nicky’ Costigan–the skirt-chasing player. They don’t know I’ve been spending my days trying to figure out my post-military life. Including how to pick up guys. When I meet Luke on a hookup app, he makes it clear it’s for one-night only. That’s fine with me, because I’m down to see what this silver fox can do. But after I arrive at his doorstep, it doesn’t take long to realize we have serious chemistry, and we end up meeting again. He’s got more walls around his heart than a military base, but I think he’s as addicted to me as I am to him. He can’t resist me for long. I mean, who can? Except Luke’s rules exist for a reason, and when I test his limits, things get complicated. Maybe too complicated.
So come back next Wednesday for another Hump Day Review and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram so you can keep up with the other crap going on in my crazy life. And check me out on Goodreads to see the other reviews I’ve written and the books I’m currently reading.
Alright kids, I’m gonna go and find something to do to keep from passing out for a few more hours. NIGHT!
Until later, stay wonderfully wild!