Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Tour for Boots on the Ground by Angela S. Stone (Review & GIVEAWAY)


Angela S. Stone is fast becoming one of my favorite authors in the m/m genre and her latest release, Boots on the Ground, is proof why. She's here today to give us in-depth look into this new book as well as having the chance to win a gift card just for commenting.  So please welcome Angela and keep reading.....

Ash Cooper and Jason McCarty know they need to do one thing, and one thing alone: stay alive.
An IED attack destroyed their convoy and left them both injured in the high desert of Afghanistan and running from insurgents. They take refuge with a group of Afghan civilians, and their only hope of rescue is two satellite phones that might be damaged beyond repair.
Ash and Jason join forces with a British army nurse to survive the harsh living conditions. As days to turn to weeks, they think of home, the husbands they left behind, and the lives they want to return to.
But with food rations running short, the elders angry at them, and the hope of rescue lost, Ash and Jason start to give up, and in the end turn to each other in their struggle for survival.

EXCERPT:

The doorbell rang, and David told her, “Yeah, I’m awake.” He flipped the covers off and grabbed a housecoat. Why in the heck would Monica, his sergeant, be here? She wasn’t even scheduled to work today.
Ryan, his oldest, beat David to the door. “Hi, Aunt Monica!” Ryan chirped at her.
“Monica?” David asked when he saw her. She wore her red serge and was accompanied by Father Callaghan, the local pastor. David immediately had a sinking feeling.
“Ryan, why don’t you go downstairs to the rec room? Take Mandy and Kevin with you,” Monica told David’s oldest.
The boy glanced from his pseudo-aunt to his father and then dashed away calling for his younger siblings.
“Can we come in, David?”
“Yeah sure, sorry. I worked last night,” David said by way of explanation for his attire as he led them into the living room. He sat down in the chair. Monica and Father Callaghan took the sofa. “What’s this about, Monica?”
“Last night Jason was in a convoy travelling to a remote outpost in the northern district of the Balkh province.”
David felt his heart plunge. No, please God, no, not his Jason.  
“The convoy hit an IED. Most of the vehicles in the convoy were completely destroyed.  Jason wasn’t killed in the blast; however he is missing in action along with another Civilian Police Officer, Ashley Cooper.”

MY IMPRESSIONS OF THE BOOK:

In Boots on the Ground we get to revisit friends to lovers David and Jason as their relationship is put to the ultimate test as Jason goes MIA while in Afghanistan. As the second book in the Canada's Finest series, things pick up soon after the ending of the previous book as David has just found out about Jason deploying to Afghanistan and isn't happy about it.  Along with dealing with David and Jason's newly found relationship we also get to see the relationship between longtime lovers Ashley and Matthew as Ash too goes MIA along with Jason. Told in flashbacks and real time we see the life they left behind as well as the traumatic events they're currently going through while hiding out and trying to stay alive amongst insurgents.  While some readers might find the flashback scenes annoying, I like this storyline technique as it showed the juxtaposition between their loving and secure relationships before and the danger and uncertainty they face now.  It leant a more emotional intensity to their precarious situation and made their reactions to their fears more understandable.

The majority of the book is spent in Afghanistan where the inequalities amongst the sexes is vividly demonstrated as woman and young girls are treated as objects.  The arid and gritty environment of Afghanistan, along with the claustrophobia the darkness of the caves creates, keeps the characters and readers on edge as danger seems to be lurking around every corner.  The scenes of war are bloody with the fear of death rampant which leads to a particularly heartpounding opening sequence.  Along with vivid descriptions of war come the steamy and sometimes gritty sexual interludes that are nicely spaced throughout the story.  These scenes can sometimes take over a story but that's not the case here.  I greatly anticipated each and every one.  The two couples in this story are truly loving and seem to have rock solid relationships until fate intervenes and then we really see whose relationship is strongest. 

Even once they arrive home the emotional drama isn't over as each couple has to live with the ramifications of Ash and Jason clinging together at their lowest emotional point.  This act of infidelity, as well as another later on, are going to polarize readers and it does me as well.  I could forgive the first incident as they truly thought they were going to die but the second is less forgivable as they're already home. I do applaud that both Jason and Ash came clean to their husbands and the ensuing responses were realistic and gutwrenching and have left Jason and David's relationship on the abyss.  With Jason's psyche in further turmoil the future is bleak as we fade to black......and wait for the next book in this immensely satisfying series.

With so many positive aspects it was glaringly disappointing how Karen's storyline was handled.  She's a British nurse who's been amongst the insurgents for a year and forced to marry one of them and be physically and sexually abused repeatedly.  This storyline came out of nowhere and didn't really seem to serve much purpose and ultimately ends just as abruptly.  I'm not sure if the author will revisit this character, but if not then this part could easily have been cut and not missed at all.

From start to finish I found myself deeply immersed in this story and the outcome of these two couples.  There are moments of intense joy amongst the gutwrenching life or death circumstances that keep you on the edge of your seat.  These are likable characters with believable emotions that I look forward to seeing more of courtesy of the talented writing skills of Angela S. Stone.

My rating for this is a B+

*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

AUTHOR INFO:

Angela S Stone is a twenty something Registered Nurse living, and working in Ottawa Canada. Her first novel, Sometimes It’s Fate, was published by Phaze books in 2011. Angela finds inspiration in real life personal events for her books, often writing about issues and she is a proud Canadian and an even prouder girl from back east. She thoroughly enjoys writing novels featuring character that live in or are from the Maritimes. She’s recently met Mr. Right and when she’s not occupied with him she can be found hanging out at her local starbucks writing. She spends her free time advocating for minorities and persons with disabilities.
Angela has a severe learning disability called Dysgraphia. Despite this she has written several novels, graduated from university will be starting her Master’s degree in nursing. All things she was told she would never be able to do.
Angela has never met a challenge that she couldn’t overcome. She believes strongly in the philosophy of saying “I can’t” means “I won’t” and advocating for yourself. She has spoken about these topics on provincial, regional and national levels. As well has published several articles in related disability orientated magazines.

Email: angela@angelastone.ca
Website: http://angelastone.ca
Twitter: @angelasstone
Facebook: facebook.com/AngelaStone.Writer


**********GIVEAWAY**********

Angela will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

-To be entered, leave a comment, along with your email addy.
-A winner will be chosen randomly from all comments made throughout the tour, so the more you comment the greater your chances of winning.  A list of all participating blogs can be found here.
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on 2/1.

19 comments:

  1. It really sounds like such an emotional read. So much going on.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Another great excerpt. This sounds like a really sensitive storu.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for hosting today!!

    And to answer your Karen question. Trust me she is important, very important! She will come back again (and in a big way). In the mean time, the sense of urgency and desperation that happens in the caves, wouldn't be there with-out Karen. The stakes just aren't has high if Ash and Jason don't have someone else to fight for. Ash and Jason are protectors, it's ingrained in them!

    To be mean and give a little hint for Karen, she comes back suddenly, and all of the work Jason has done dealing with what happened to him over there starts to unravel at the worst possible moment....

    Xx
    Angela

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for being here Angela and for your comments in regards to Karen. I assumed Karen would be back in the future, but in the here and now her character's vanishing act felt abrupt.

      I really do enjoy this series and feel such sympathy towards Jason and hope to see him climbing out of the darkness in the next book.

      Delete
  4. Sounds delicious, thank you for sharing the excerpt!

    galaschick78(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well I'm more invested in Jason and Ash, but they do sound like guys who would protec an innocent from harm.

    lyra.lucky7 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Good review, thank you.

    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm going to start on my copy of book 1 and then work my way to this one :)

    emiliana25(at)web(dot)de

    ReplyDelete
  8. Fabulous excerpt!

    shadowrunner1987 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for sharing an honest review. I am looking forward to this one!

    justforswag(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sounds like a gut wrenching story, one filled with emotion. You have me intrigued about it now. Much success to you on your sales!

    ~Rush~
    taina1959 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for the excerpt and review.

    bn100candg(at)Hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great review and excerpt...this sounds like an intense, emotional read!
    ivegotmail8889(at)yahoo(dot com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sounds like a highly emotional read about a sensitive subject. Thanks for the giveaway, Angela!

    ashley.vanburen[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great review, Ash and Jason do not have it easy.

    lennascloud[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love the sound of this book so throwing my name in the hat so I can buy it if I win :D

    ilona
    felinewyvern at googlemail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sounds like a great read!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sounds like a great book. Please count me in. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete