Review: Angel’s Truth (Angel #2) by Liz Boreno

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Angel's Truth cover  “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.”

And with those words, Angel’s Truth begins, picking up immediately from Angel’s Hero when supposedly dead Army Captain Jordan Collins arrives home after a month as a POW in Afghanistan.  Sick and injured, Jordan finds his enemy Major General Troy Hart  just leaving his home before Jordan reaches out to let his husband, Aaron “Angel” Collins, know he is alive and home once more.  As Aaron welcomes Jordan home and rushes Jordan to the hospital, Jordan reveals that Hart is the man behind his imprisonment in Afghanistan and death sentence he was under.

As Jordan adjusts to freedom, he also has to contend with PTSD, a shattered confidence, and the fact that his enemy,Troy Hart, is still free. Aaron realizes that the man he thought was a friend to him during those painful times where Aaron was looking for answers about his husband’s disappearance and unlikely death is actually a danger to them all.  Now Aaron must help Jordan recover his emotional and physical health and together discover just what Major General Troy Hart’s betrayal and deception means to them and to the nation.

As stated in the publisher’s blurb, Angel’s Truth picks up exactly to the word where Angel’s Hero ends.  If you haven’t read the first story, this one won’t make any sense as there is very little back story included in this sequel.  At 64 pages, it is a tad shorter than Angel’s Hero and somehow that works to this story’s advantage.  The narrative is tighter, and some of the more problematic plot elements from the first story are gone, including a fractured timeline that jumped back and forth between present day and the beginnings of their romance.  That was more confusing than helpful.  Luckily, that is absent here.  But other larger errors appear.  Let’s get to those now.

But while the loving relationship between the men is reestablished by their reunion, some of the issues I had with the plausibility of their professions and Jordan’s escape still stand.  This is Jordan’s explanation as to how he arrived (sick, coughing up blood and in Afghanistan Army uniform pants) back in the US, apparently only miles from Bethesda, MD.  The conversation picks up at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital in Bethesda where Jordan is telling his story to his superior officer:

“… had “accidently” dropped a piece of paper with information about a cargo plane to the United States in his cell weeks before. Jordan then explained that he hitched a ride on a delivery truck, and offered to read the English map to the US for the pilot in exchange for a ride home. “

Now Jordan changed some of the details about the nurse who helped him get free to protect her. But all this took place in two days time.  In two days, he got free from a horror of a desert prison, just before his date with a firing squad, hitched a ride out of said desert (not that a mixed heritage of black and Korean American wouldn’t stick out like Uncle Sam) but he is also limping on a severely broken ankle, with a bad case of pneumonia, and wearing an Afghanistan Army uniform.  And after the reader makes a huge leap over that implausible plot canyon, you still have to believe that he then hitches a ride in a native’s truck to an airfield, hitches another ride (still coughing up blood, same attire) on a foreign cargo plane, which lands in Bethesda (with no problem apparently even without an airport or the ever present homeland security), and then makes it to his house on foot, just a couple of streets over.  Only in a comedic send up of the military and Washington, Dc would such an escape be possible. Or remotely realistic.

Then there is the fact that in the story Aaron calls 911 and Jordan is taken immediately to Walter Reed Army Hospital in Bethesda, MD.  Our local 911 responders are not allowed to do that even if the person being transported requests/demands to be taken to Walter Reed for emergency care.  Instead the injured party would be taken to a civilian emergency room, evaluated, and then later transferred if required.  That’s the law and that fact can be easily checked with Walter Reed authorities, also known as Command Personnel.

In addition, it says Jordan was a prisoner for over 2 months time.  Sometimes its a “little over a month”.  As a prisoner of war under harsh conditions, a month or so would have an enormous impact on the prisoner’s health and mental state.  But the actual time as a POW seems to fluctuate from page to page. These things alone serve to disconnect me from the story, pulled out of whatever dramatic action is happening to think about the errors in front of me. If the reader can’t believe in the characters or the plot, how can they invest even a part of themselves in a story?  I don’t think they can. Then there is the lack of security and isolation around an escaped ill prisoner who just “came back from the dead”. These days that happenstance is called a major security risk.

Unfortunately, this author just stumbles into one pitfall after another with her characters and story location to this story’s detriment. And this leads into one of my issues with this series.  To some it may land on the side of nitpicking, but to this reader it says the author hasn’t done their research.

Writing about Washington, Dc and it’s surrounding environs can be tricky. You either get it right or you don’t. And Liz Borino mostly doesn’t get it. Built as the only Federal city in the United States so many people have decried its lack of “thereness” , of that inescapable uniqueness that cities such as Baltimore, Chicago and New York City have and are associated with. And that’s intentional. On our maps should be the sentences “here lie the NSA, the CIA, the FBI” and all the other alphabet agencies so necessary to the security of our nation just like it used to say “there by dragons” on ancient maps. Here lie Congress, the Capitol, the White House, and all the other government organizations meant to reside here from the very beginning. Then the World Trade Organization, all the embassies….and soon you can understand why the District of Columbia lacks the very individual nature, the vivacity associated with other cities. It’s not built into its personality on purpose. It thrives on anonymity, on power disguised behind common tailoring and less than modern haircuts….on people who are secretive and withdrawn by nature. No one who burbles on at work makes it here…unless its done on purpose and with a hidden agenda.  How long would Aaron have lasted at the CIA?  Not long, if he even made it through the door.

None of the characters here are believable within the ethos of Washington, DC , whether it be political, military or intelligence agency.  I think Borino had a good idea somewhere in here but not the attention to detail that these characters, their professions, the location, and even the plot requires.

Do I think all of the above will bother every reader?  Probably not, which is why this got by with a 3 rating instead of the 2.5 it deserved.  Some readers will love the romance and the “aww” factor found in the reunion and HEA.  I will admit this is a tighter narrative on the surface than Angel’s Hero, and thus a better story as far as that goes. But as someone who lives in the Washington, DC Metro area, all the errors committed within these stories caused any enjoyment I might have found in the Angel series to fade away, like Cherry Blossoms in a stiff wind…in the Spring of course.

Cover art by Anthony Walsh.  Again, very nice cover. Works for the story and characters.

Angel series include:

Angel’s Hero (Angel #1)
Angel’s Truth (Angel #2)

Book Details:

ebook, 64 pages
Published March 14th 2014 by Lazy Day (first published March 10th 2014)
ISBN 1612581250 (ISBN13: 9781612581255)
edition languageEnglish
seriesAngel #2

Contest Winner Announcements and the Week Ahead in Reviews, Author Spotlights and Contests

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Winners of the Book Tour Contests and Author Spotlights

 

Every Inch of the Way coverFreeFalling_500x750Angel's Hero cover

To The Very Last Inch

 

 

 

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  • Winners of The Professor’s Rule Tours (Every Inch of the Way and To the Very Last Inch) by Heidi Belleau and Amelia C. Gormley. Winners are Sonja and Flutterfli. Congratulations to you both. And my thanks to Heidi Belleau for Amelia C. Gormley for stopping by on their tour and bringing the contest with them.
  • Winners of SE Jakes Free Falling Book Tour Contest are: Kathleen Power,Robbie Bauldree, and Kassandra Appel.  They won  SIGNED copies of SE Jakes’s Hell or High Water series: Catch a Ghost and Long Time Gone.   Congratulations to all three!
  • Winner of Kerry Adrienne’s novel, Beautiful One, is Ashley E. Congratulations to Ashley E and my thanks to everyone who stopped by and left comments.

 

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Now for the Week Ahead: Short and sweet this week!  Mell Eight is a new author for me.  I have already reviewed The Oracle’s Flame, the first in her new series.  This week I start off my reviews with the second story, The Oracle’s Hatchling which will  lead into Mell Eight’s Author Spotlight on Wednesday.  Thursday  I am reviewing When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock.  I really wasn’t sure what I was going to feel about this story and it just amazed me with its intensity, and commanding characters.  Dark and a must read.  Friday is the second in Liz Boreno’s Angel series, Angel’s Truth. And finally, SJ Frost is here to finish out the week by talking about her new vampire series and book, Vampire Prince.

And its April.  Will the snow finally stop and the cherry blossoms start to bloom?  Who knows?  We can only hope….

This Week’s Schedule:

  •  Monday, March 31:        The Oracle’s Hatchling by Mell Eight
  • Tuesday, April 1:             Vampire Prince by SJ Frost
  • Wed., April 2:                   Author Spotlight & Contest: Mell Eight
  • Thursday, April 3:          When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock
  • Friday, April 4:                Angel’s Truth by Liz Boreno
  • Sat., April 5:                    Author Spotlight & Contest: SJ Frost

 

Author Spotlight: Meet Liz Boreno, Angel’s Truth Author

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ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords is happy to welcome Liz Boreno, author of the Angel series, here to talk about heroes and her latest release Angel’s Truth (Angel,#2):

Angel's Hero coverAngel's Truth cover

Flawed Heroes


Remember the days when the knight in shining armor came galloping in on his white horse and saved the heroine from all that was wrong in her world? Sexy, right?

*Crickets*

Yeah. I don’t think so, either. But sexy or not, the trope doesn’t work for M/M romance. We’ve now got two heroes. Are they both supposed to be wealthy, funny, self-reliant, confident, chiseled, sensitive, yet macho? …I’m bored. Are you? Good. Let’s move on.
The question becomes why are we bored? I’ve heard many theories on the root of reader preferences, but I’ve always ascribed to the school of realism. Readers, and therefore writers, need to believe in their characters to invest the time with them. If we can’t see their humanity on the page, we’ll struggle to get lost in the world. So, how do we do this?

~ Think about the heroes you know in your real life, best friend, spouse. Are they flawless? No, likely not… even if they disagree. More likely, they have just the right characteristics – good and bad – to complement yours. So too is it with your characters. That means, if you have one hero with OCD who absolutely must control everything, his partner should probably be laid-back.

~ Every good quality has its drawback. Exploit both. Hero ambitious? He probably doesn’t have much time for his personal life or workout routine. Something has to be sacrificed.

~Most important, remember that what you see as a flaw might be someone else’s idea of perfection. Someone’s got to be buying all the white knights.

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.

Angel's Truth coverAngel’s Truth (Angel #2)
Angel Series
ebook, 64 pages
Published March 14th 2014 by Lazy Day
(first published March 10th 2014)

ISBN 1612581250 (ISBN13: 9781612581255)

Sequel to Angel’s Hero (Angel, #1)
!*Please Note: These Books Must Be Read In Order*

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Angel’s Truth Blurb: “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.

Bio: Liz Borino transcribes the world inside her head onto the page, and share it with the people who are stuck in the “real world” to makes their lives a little more interesting. Because in her world, heroes fall and stand up again with the help of their partners and friends. Liz’s world is littered with formidable obstacles, which her heroes overcome with a fire of courage and passion. The beauty of love between two men is celebrated. Who wouldn’t want to live there?
 When not with her heroes, Liz enjoys exploring cities, working toward social justice, and editing for other authors. Liz is less than three months from obtaining her Masters’ degree in English and published nine books since 2010.

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