Sunday, March 9, 2014

Book Review: Angel's Hero/Angel's Truth by Liz Borino

Angel's Hero - Liz Borino
Angel's Truth (Angel #2) - Liz Borino

Book 1
CIA Agent Aaron “Angel” Collins doesn’t take many things on faith. He trusts his gut, his eyes, and his husband, Jordan, an Army Captain. When his commanding officers deliver news of Jordan’s death, Aaron needs proof. The facts don’t add up, and Aaron must decide if he can trust Major General Troy Hart to assist in his quest to discover the truth. Captain Jordan Collins is battered and disheartened in an Afghanistan prison, but definitely not dead, though he learns his own government believes he is. His only mission now is to stay alive and make it home to Angel, if he can find an ally among the enemy. But someone in the US government will stop at nothing to make sure he never leaves that prison, And Jordan must reevaluate the lines between friend and foe if he is ever to return to his Angel.

Book 2
“Freeze or I’ll shoot!” Aaron yelled and aimed the gun at Jordan’s chest.
“Angel, no, please.” Hacking fluid-filled coughs broke up Jordan’s words.
“Jordan?” Aaron whispered his name as recognition painted a mural of memories of their life together on his face. “Yes.” He coughed red into his dirty hand. “Please help.”
So begins Angel’s Truth, the sequel to Angel’s Hero. Army Captain Jordan Collins arrives home, only to find the man responsible for his imprisonment, torture, and near-execution with his husband. Had his Angel moved on without him? Aaron “Angel” Collins has driven his family and friends away in his quest to learn the truth of Jordan’s fate, leaving only Major General Troy Hart willing to help him. When Jordan miraculously returns, with a spirit more broken than his body, Aaron realizes Hart was really a liar with an agenda of his own. Aaron is unable to take time to heal his own emotional wounds, because he and Jordan learn Hart’s betrayal is even greater than they originally believed, threatening the entire nation. Now the reunited couple must race against time to keep a promise to Jordan’s savior and prevent Hart from bringing terrorism once again to American soil.

Expected publication March 14, 2014
from Lazy Day Publishing

Sandra's rating:

I quite liked the story line with the military and CIA, and the two main MCs were rather likable and felt realistic enough. I liked the inclusion of the repercussions of DADT as well as the legalization of gay marriage in D.C.. I liked the main relationship - it felt organic, and I could tell those two men really loved each other.

I can't speak to the inner workings of the CIA and the military, obviously, so I cannot ascertain whether the author got it right or not. I decided to go with it, as it brought depth to the story, even if some of it made me wonder if this stuff actually does happen.

What bothered me more than anything was the way the 1st novella ended. If I hadn't had the sequel already lined up on my Nook, because the author gave them both to me for review, I would have been seriously pissed off. That was not the place to stop. I hate cliffhanger endings, and due to the page count, I had to wonder why the two novellas weren't combined into one book as the 2nd one seamlessly picked up from where the 1st one ended. If this was a marketing ploy - sorry, not cool.

There are spelling errors and missing/incorrect punctuation in both, and some sentences don't make sense - something a good editor and/or proofreader should have noticed, unless this was done during conversion to the epub format I received. Still, even if that was the case, a final read-through should have caught these issues.

The writing is somewhat flat and very direct, to the point of unemotional. Sentences that should be separated by periods are combined with commas and tend to run on. The boysecks is described in a rather detached way, and I would have liked more emotions, considering that these two men frequently exchange ILYs. Then again, they are soldiers/CIA Ops, and perhaps this was intentional.

I liked the inclusion of Jordan's father Elliott, who as ex-military himself was familiar with the difficulty that often comes with that career, though I didn't understand why he would immediately assume that Aaron (Angel) would cheat on Jordan, considering he has known his son-in-law for over 10 years and should know how deeply these two men love each other. This to me seemed like contrived drama.

Aaron's father was an ass, and his one-time appearance also didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, other than to show the difference between him and Elliott. Chris, Aaron's brother, was okay, even though he seemed a little one-dimensional himself. Also, what was up with the insinuated cheating, that then wasn't brought up again? Meh.

And then we have Troy, the villain, who's as flat as can be, didn't sound realistic, and whose shenanigans approached the realm where my common sense was tested severely. I couldn't understand his motives at all, with the possible exception of hitting on Aaron (also, ewww, who does that? Who hits on a military spouse whose husband is deployed?), and I had a hard time believing that someone that high up in the CIA would be able to pull off what he did. The way he forced himself on Aaron was rather icky too.

I liked the way the story was told, with the flashbacks to their first meeting and other events prior to the current time giving the reader insight into their relationship. I also liked the POV being 3rd person, switching between Aaron and Jordan as needed, without being confusing as to whose head we were in at any given time.

Overall, these books were a quick read, got my adrenaline flowing in some spots, and I liked both main characters for their love for each other, their perseverance and their strengths. A few things should be researched, like Jordan refusing to execute a direct order, and some other things military, that didn't quite ring plausible.

** I received a free copy of both books directly from the author. A positive review was not promised in return. I decided to review both Angel's Hero and Angel's Truth at the same time, because otherwise, the rating would have been lower for book 1 due to the inexplicable and unnecessary cliffhanger. **

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, happy reading!

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