Thursday, October 31, 2013

Guest Post & Review ~*~ No Flag by Liz Borino

Good Morning,
We are really excited to welcome Liz Borino to the blog today!  
She is a relatively new author to us, but has quickly become a must read author!  
After we reviewed Behind the Scenes earlier this year she moved quickly up our list and after reading No Flag, she tops the list for M/M romance for sure and is easily one of our top ten must read authors.

Without further ado, please welcome Liz and her guest post, check out our review and leave a comment!

Point of View with a Memory Lapse

No Flag is written in close third person point of view with different scenes switching between the main characters. This means, in each scene we’re ‘seeing the world’ through the eyes of Mike or Will, depending on the scene. However, as often happens with a traumatic event, Mike has no memory of the bombing that took his left arm. Will certainly doesn’t know because he was across the world in America during Mike’s deployment in Afghanistan.

Neither point of view character has any knowledge beyond the media reports of the event that changed the couple’s life forever. Where does this leave the reader? In the characters’ heads, where they’ve always been, trying to figure it out along with them. The following snippet is from the scene where Mike wakes up in the hospital.

“Mike, a group of insurgents broke through the security of the building you where you were stationed. The explosion you heard could have been any one of the ten IEDs set off by the suicide bombers,” Dr. Tate started. “I’m sorry. You were awake when you came in. I thought you knew.”

No, no, that’s not right. If there were ten IEDs set off by suicide bombers, I would be underground. Not the doctor’s fault he was given bad information. All civilians are. “Did everyone make it out?” 

“Unfortunately, no. Twenty servicemen and women lost their lives.”

Mike lifted his eyes toward the ceiling to dry the physical proof of his emotions. “I’m all right?” He hated how selfish the question sounded, but he had to know.

“The left side of your torso is afflicted with first degree burns.” Dr. Tate paused and glanced up at the nurse, who – in what seemed like a choreographed move – put her hand on Mike’s shoulder. “The bomb also destroyed the building. A wall collapsed on your left arm, which had to be cut off to free you.”

“But you put it back on, right, Dr. Tate?” Mike scanned their faces, the kindness now looking more like pity. He had to be dreaming, or they were lying. Why couldn’t he move his head? Fuck it! He didn’t have to move his head. He’d move his damn arm! “I’m waving, doctor. It hurts, but I can do it. Why would you lie?” Mike gasped for breath.

The doctor stood up, unfastened Mike’s neck brace, and encouraged him to turn his head. Though, suddenly, he didn’t want to. The hospital gown sleeve covered whatever remained of his left arm. “I’m sorry, Mike,” Dr. Tate said. “I could only even the bone and clean out lingering infected skin and muscle. Your arm was crushed.”

“All right, I’ll get a prosthetic when the swelling goes down. How long will that take?” Yeah, the rehab would suck, but Mike could deal. People managed much worse circumstances coming home from war.
Dr. Tate shook his head. “Because of where the wall fell, the army medic had to cut off the edge of your shoulder. By the time you arrived here, the infection had spread through the rest of the joint. A prosthetic is not possible without a joint.”

So… I’ll have to live the rest of my life with one arm? Can I ever hope to hold Will securely in my arms again? Or discipline him? Oh, god, how will I fold my clothes properly? But instead of expressing the dread shooting through his heart and mind, Mike said, “Thank you for saving me.”  He wanted nothing more than to be alone to process his future. Because if the doctor stayed much longer, he would see how distraught the prospect made Mike, thoroughly killing the ‘men don’t cry’ expectation. And if men don’t cry, soldiers certainly don’t. Yeah, the doctor better leave now.

Mike goes through almost the all of the stages of grief in this scene, and he will repeat the process several more times in the book. It’s all compounded by the fact that he wakes up believing he’s mostly fine. Later on in the book, Mike’s memory becomes important not only for his own understanding, but national security as well. Please check out No Flag to see why and how the couple recovers his health and their relationship.

For Mike and Will, “No Flag” meant “come home alive,” but will their love survive what happens next?

Captain Mike Kelley does not ignore his intuition, so when sexy bartender Will Hayes captures his heart, Mike embarks on a mission to win him over to a Domestic Discipline relationship. Will accepts with one caveat: Mike must promise not to renew his Army contract. Mike agrees, and they spend a year building a life together, getting married, and starting a business.  

Only days before their café’s grand opening, Mike receives news that threatens everything he and Will have built. The Army invokes the Stop Loss military policy to involuntarily extend his commission and send him back overseas. Will, left alone to cope with the café, must rely on the support of old friends who may be no longer be trustworthy. Through emails and Skype calls, Mike and Will keep their love and structure alive… until insurgents wage a horrific attack on Mike’s outpost.

Mike awakens in a hospital with a devastating injury and no his memory of the attack. As the only survivor, Mike’s memory may be the key to national security. Mike struggles to cope with his injury and Will struggles to support the man who always held him up. Both fear they have lost their previous relationship. Will has Mike back rather than a folded flag, but in the aftermath of war, can they rebuild the life they had before?  Especially when those closest to them may not have their best interests at heart?

~Buy Links ~
Amazon   ~   B&N   

10 Inch Review ~
I was really excited to get my hands on No Flag and read another story by Liz Borino.  While M/M isn't my go-to genre, Liz Borino has written stories, that I wouldn't care if the characters were aliens or purple~people~eaters (sorry it's Halloween music time), I would still have enjoyed this book just at thoroughly.  

In No Flag, Mike and Will struggle at first with their 'alternative' lifestyle together, then they have to deal with Mike being deployed and the injury that arises.  There are so many conflicts that are realistic and something that so many people have to contend with on a daily basis that I was sucked into their relationship and struggles with all my heart and every emotion Mike and Will faced, I could feel within myself.

I love their commitment of 'No Flag' while I know there is never a guarantee with our military the use of the phrase 'No Flag' gives a visual to the reader that may either make you smile when you read it or bring tears to your eyes ~ or may do both at different points of the story! 

While a strong man in his own right, Will enjoys the domestic discipline that Mike instills in their relationship, and it is interesting to read how they handle that part of their relationship while Mike is away and after Mike returns from his last tour of duty.  Mike is used to being in control and the range of emotions that Liz Borino gives us after Mike returns will keep you turning the pages of this story well into the early hours of the morning. 

I admit, I started this story while taking a break from work, and well didn't get back to work until I finished.  Thankfully, I work from home, so I didn't get fired for my addiction to a good book!  Definitely a recommended read for any reader that wants an indepth story that is full of emotion, conflict, resolution and will probably leave you with a book hangover and maybe even more appreciation for the men and women who sever in the military. 

Liz Borino 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. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me and the beautiful review! I'm glad you enjoyed No Flag! <3