I'm honored to be hosting Amelia C Gormley today with her compelling dystopian read, Strain. Keep reading to get a glimpse of this book and my impressions of it. Learn even more about this book from Ms. Gormley herself and by visiting the other blogs hosting this tour and for the chance to win books, make sure to leave a comment below!
Do you like DVD extras? Yeah? So do I. In fact, it’s entirely possible I’ve watched the appendices on the Lord of the Rings extended editions more times than I have the movies themselves.
So for the Strain blog tour, I’m going to try to make my posts a bit like the “behind-the-scenes/making-of” documentaries you might find on a good DVD. A lot of things the world-building and events that Strain depends on happen long before the events of the book itself, and while an in-depth recap of them during the course of Strain got in the way of the flow of the story, I find some of the back-story fascinating and hope you will as well.
***Be sure to check the blog tour page at Riptide to see when each of these posts is scheduled.***
Rhys Cooper is a dead man. Cut off from the world since childhood, he’s finally exposed to the lethal virus that wiped out most of the human race. Now his only hope for survival is infection by another strain that might provide immunity. But it’s sexually transmitted, and the degradation he feels at submitting to the entire squad of soldiers that rescued him eclipses any potential for pleasure—except with Darius, the squadron’s respected, capable leader.
Sergeant Darius Murrell has seen too much death and too little humanity. He’s spent a decade putting plague victims out of their misery and escorting survivors to a safe haven he can never enjoy. He’d rather help Rhys live than put him down, so when Rhys can’t reconcile himself to doing what’s necessary to survive, Darius is forced to save Rhys in spite of himself.
But with each passing day, it looks less and less likely that Rhys can be saved. And that means that Darius might soon have to put a bullet in the head of the one person in years who reminds him of what it means to be human.
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
Strain is a book that is going to engender very different responses from readers as some will find its numerous sexual encounters off-putting while others will find its storyline unique and thought-provoking. I'm one of those readers who found it a compelling read that was gritty and darkly atmospheric in its handling of morality, compassion, sexuality, amidst a dystopian world where the lines between right and wrong aren't always clear.
For the young man Rhys, who's led a very sheltered life because of a virus unleashed on the world, his introduction to a group of genetically enhanced soldiers changes him and his life forever. After being emotionally and physically abused by religious zealots for his sexuality, the sexual abandon that's the only thing that might keep him from getting infected leaves him confused but still drawn to the Unit's leader Darius. Rhys sees a savior and protector in him and wants nothing more than to stay by his side. With the possibility of becoming infected looming, along with the issue of their age difference, and the threat from a traitorous religious zealot, their time together might end before it begins. Rhys is an immensely likable character who deals with pain in a stoic manner and is loyal to a fault. He just wants to be loved and cared for in a world that's broken and this desire is a bright spot amongst the darkness.
Darius has become jaded after all the blood, death, and hopelessness he's seen. He's a hardened man not always good at knowing what to say. In Rhys he sees a fighting spirit that's inspiring and reminds him of what he's fighting for. Knowing that the virus might kill Rhys yet has Darius holding back at first but before long the connection he feels for him can't be denied as his possessive nature takes over. In a world where life can end at any time, the feelings they have for each other are the one bright spot and had me rooting for them every step of the way.
Ms. Gormley's written a thought-provoking and darkly atmospheric read that's vivid in its world-building and kept me enthralled from the start. The characters are compelling with each unique in their personalities that leaves room for more stories to be told. The sexual interludes are numerous with the reasons for this being cleverly woven into the storyline. Some of the scenes are questionable in the consent so readers who have issues with that are forewarned. No matter what though, the scenes are hot and as Rhys and Darius get closer the scenes take on a more tender vibe. There's a definite villain to the story and he lives up to that title as I felt like booing him every time he came on the scene. With so many good aspects to this story, my only complaint is that it's a bit long with a middle section that dragged. On a whole though, I applaud Ms. Gormley for her cleverly crafted story that seamlessly combined steamy sexual encounters with an intriguing and thought-provoking sci-fi storyline that I long to read more about in the future!
My rating for this is a B+
*I received this book from NetGalley for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her son is at school. When she’s not writing in her Pacific Northwest home, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into an everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else
Her self-published novel-in-three-parts, ImpulseYou can contact Amelia on Twitter, Facebook, Goodread
(Inertia, Book One; Acceleration, Book Two; and Velocity, Book Three) can be found at most major online book retailers, and be sure to check Riptide for her latest releases, including her Highland historical, The Laird’s Forbidden Lover, the The Professor’s Rule series of erotic novelettes (co-written with Heidi Belleau), and Strain. Stay tuned for her upcoming Riptide releases, which include the final two books in The Professor’s Rule (coming the first week of March) and Saugatuck Summer, coming in May.
Commenters at each stop along the way will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win one of three ebook copies of Impulse: The Complete Trilogy, the all-in-one edition of my novel-in-three parts. Please include your contact information, either email, Twitter, or Facebook. The Contest will be open until February 28th, with the winner being announced March 1—just in time for the release of Every Inch of the Way/To the Very Last Inch (The Professor’s Rule #4 and #5), the final two installments of my series with Heidi Belleau. So stay tuned for that as well and LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW TO BE ENTERED (make sure to leave some kind of contact info too)!