Publisher: Riptide Publishing

STRAIN by Amelia C. Gormley

STRAIN by Amelia C. Gormley

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: Publisher
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
STRAIN by Amelia C. GormleyStrain by Amelia C. Gormley
Published by Riptide Publishing Genres: MM, Science Fiction
ReviewedbyLisa

A combination of scientific ego and military shortsightedness nearly destroys all of mankind.  In the aftermath there are pockets of uninfected humans, people who suffer from catatonia and Rot, revenants, and soldiers with superpowers who are infected with the dormant virus unable to ever join with those uninfected.

 

The only life Rhys Cooper’s known is among a dwindling number of scared people barely surviving. When a pack of revenants attack Rhys tries to use himself as bait to save his sister and her baby.  Unfortunately the plan doesn’t work.  He is saved by the unexpected arrival of Sergeant Darius Murrell and his team.  His sister and nephew aren’t as lucky.

 

Well, Rhys is saved from the revenants, but now that they’ve exposed him to the virus he will either become a revenant or he will slowly Rot and sink into catatonia.  The sergeant explains that his only chance at living is if they infect him with their version of the virus through sexual exposure.  He will turn into a super soldier who can never live with the uninfected population in Colorado Springs.

 

It’s a bitter pill to swallow for the virginal nineteen year old.  Rhys doesn’t even have the time to mourn his lost family before he has to make the choice to live by allowing multiple soldiers into his body.  This horrible new world doesn’t have time for soft things like love so is this grim reality worth it?  Rhys chooses to live but wonders if he made the right decision every time they come across another horror.  There’s only so much he can take and falling for the sergeant can only make it worse.   Dying or surviving.  Only time will tell.

 

Powerful. Poignant.  At times difficult.  Other times heartwarming.  Strain runs the gamut of emotional highs and lows.  Rhys’s story is riveting. He is the epitome of what humanity strives for.  Decency and innocence. His truth shines.  One of those “can’t put down for any reason” books that draws the reader into the story and never lets go.  There are also horrible moments, difficult to swallow.  Strain doesn’t pull any punches.  The sweet with the sorrow.  Strain balances the science fiction genre with a special romance beautifully.  I Joyfully recommend Strain. It’s not for everyone, but those who like this kind of blended story will love Strain.

NEVER A HERO by Marie Sexton

NEVER A HERO by Marie Sexton

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: Publisher
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
NEVER A HERO by Marie SextonNever a Hero by Marie Sexton
Published by Riptide Publishing on 2013-05
Genres: Contemporary
Reviewed by Cassie

JoyfullyRecommended

Owen Meade is not a confident man. Born with only one hand, he also battles his sexuality and a severe stutter that returns when he least wants it to. He hides in his apartment, working and trying to convince himself he isn’t gay. Then Nick Reynolds moves in downstairs. Nick is everything Owen isn’t: outgoing, confident, and secure in his sexuality. To Owen’s surprise, Nick seems to want to befriend him. They form a friendship that Owen would love to make into more, but Nick holds back. Can Owen get past his own fears and Nick’s secrets to find the happiness he craves?

Never a Hero is a beautifully written tale of a man who has never been secure in himself learning not only to accept himself but to reach out for love as well.  Owen broke my heart. He’s a sweet, gentle man who anyone would love to call friend, yet he hides in his home like a turtle in its shell. The pain and embarrassment he felt over his stutter and his congenitally amputated arm made me want to hug him and protect him from the childhood that left him feeling like he wasn’t good enough. His situation hit especially close to home for me because I grew up with a brother who dealt with the same issue, and I witnessed the way people sometimes treated him due to his missing hand. I felt terrible for poor Owen, who didn’t have a supportive family like mine. From the very first page, I was rooting for Owen to find his confidence and see what a truly good man he was. 

If there was any man who was perfect for Owen, it would be Nick. Nick is a friendly, kind veterinarian who, like me, has a sibling who was born with only one hand. Because of his childhood, he knows how to treat Owen to make him feel more normal. His attraction to Owen is obvious right away, and I began to get frustrated with him for pushing Owen away. Still, he’s such a wonderful guy that I knew he had to have a good reason. His reason, when it was revealed, was not only reasonable, but also heart-wrenching. Fortunately, Owen learns his own strength and refuses to let anything stand in the way of his happiness. 

Never a Hero is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Marie Sexton handles two sensitive issues with understanding. I adored both main characters, and the book also has several great secondary characters. Nick’s sister, who shares Owen’s condition, is sassy, bold, and fun. Nick’s friends, many of whom featured in previous Tucker Springs books, are wonderful as well—and it was nice to see how they were doing. Owen’s parents were compelling characters as well. Their choices shaped Owen’s self-image, yet they are not caricatures. Fans of Tucker Springs books will be certain to love Never a Hero, but I would recommend it to anyone who likes heroes battling unusual issues, emotional journeys, and just plain good storytelling.  

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