A Free Dreamer Young Adult Release Day Review: Do-Gooder by J. Leigh Bailey


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

do-gooder-by-j-leigh-baileyNo good deed goes unpunished, and for seventeen-year-old Isaiah Martin, that’s certainly the case. The gun he was caught with wasn’t even his, for God’s sake. He only had it to keep a friend from doing something stupid. No one wants to hear it though, and Isaiah is banished—or so it seems to him—to live with his missionary father in politically conflicted Cameroon, Africa.

However, when he arrives, his father is so busy doing his good deeds that he sends Henry, the young, surprisingly hot do-gooder with a mysterious past, to pick up Isaiah and keep him out of trouble. Even while Isaiah is counting down the days until he can go home, he and Henry get caught in the political unrest of the region. Kidnapped by militant forces, the two have to work together to survive until they are rescued—unless they manage to find a way to save each other first.

“Do-Gooder” was an exciting, action-packed read. The romance mostly took a back seat, since the protagonists were a little busy trying to survive.

I mostly decided to read this book because of the setting. Not a lot of m/m books are set in Africa and I’ve always liked reading about exotic places. We don’t get to read much about the culture, though, since the story is mostly set in the middle of nowhere, with our two protagonists as prisoners of international mercenaries. I didn’t mind too much, since there were plenty of other things to keep me interested.

It’s interesting how the author managed to keep the story so suspenseful, even though it’s mostly set in a single hut and the MCs mostly just talk. Still, there’s the constant worry about Isaiah’s health, the mystery of Henry’s past and of course the mystery of why they were kidnapped and the worry about the next step of the kidnappers.

Even more amazing is the fact that she also managed to keep the feel of the story very realistic. All the explanations we get throughout made sense and the whole plot seemed like something that could totally happen under those circumstances.

The one part I didn’t really like was the romance. Not so much that it played only a minor role, but Isaiah’s feelings felt awfully rushed. It’s pretty much insta-love for him, which is a trope I despise. I didn’t quite buy into the intensity of the feelings. It read more like a crush to me and they just didn’t spend enough time with each other for me to believe that this was grounds for a serious relationship. Maybe Henry’s POV would have helped, because we only get to see Isaiah’s side. As it is, I didn’t really get the impression that Henry was returning Isaiah’s feelings for a long time.

The result was that I didn’t buy into the ending either. It felt like a forced HEA and pretty unrealistic. A HFN ending might have worked better, at least for me.

If you’re looking for a light, fun read, keep looking. This is not the book for you.

If, however, you’re looking for an action packed story full of intrigues and mystery, with a dash of romance, you’ll love this book.

The cover by Aaron Anderson represents the story perfectly: bullet holes and the all-important backpack with an African landscape on it. I’m not too fond of the background colour, but otherwise this is a great cover.

Sales Links

Harmony Ink Press



Book details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: September 15th 2016 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN 1634772903 (ISBN13: 9781634772907)
Edition LanguageEnglish

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