Sam reviews ‘Angels of Mercy – Phoenix In The Fire (Angels of Mercy Companion Series Book 1)’ by SA Collins . Published on March 26th, 2016 and is 666 pages.
A complimentary copy was given by the author.
NOTE : This is a companion novel to Angels of Mercy – Volume Two: Marco and should be read in order after Angels of Mercy Volume Two: Marco . Continuing on will lead to spoilers in the first and second volume.
Read my review for Angels of Mercy Volume One here: https://rainbowgoldreviews.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/angels-of-mercy-volume-one-elliot-by-sa-collins-lgbt-review/
Read my review for Angels of Mercy Volume Two here: https://rainbowgoldreviews.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/angels-of-mercy-volume-two-marco-the-fall-of-the-sforzas-by-sa-collins-lgbt-review-guest-post-rgrgiveaway/
This book really shouldn’t exist. It was written for the wrong reason. Originally, the series was to be three books only – Volumes 1, 2 and 3. Each told from one boy’s perspective. Well, the muses have a funny way of playing with you when you aren’t paying attention. Angels of Mercy – Phoenix In The Fire is a prime example of that.
You see, Angels of Mercy is, at its core, a perception play. We give so little attention in our lives on how perceptions color everything we do that I wanted to explore that. Things don’t meet up cleanly between each of the character’s recollections of the events that play out in their lives. Somethings are far more important to commit to memory, while others barely register at all. Each of my central characters respond to the events at hand and I leave it up to the reader to discern which character has the right of it. Or do they all have a sliver of the “truth?” It’s an interesting thing to ponder. It is this very aspect that can cause misunderstandings, conflict and separation to occur in our lives.
I love writing in the headspace of these characters (predominantly three young men in particular – Elliot Donahey, Marco Sforza and his brother Pietro). The fallout from Volume One – Elliot, ends on a horrifying cliff hanger. Volume Two – Marco, told from Elliot’s boyfriend’s point of view, is the long dark journey to get Elliot out of the hellish nightmare from the end of Volume One – but the way I told it almost didn’t happen that way.
My husband, who is my editor, said to me one morning on my way out the door: “I think you might want to consider writing Volume Two from Elliot’s point of view. He is the reason people love the first book – his vulnerability.”
So, after carefully considering my husband’s suggestion, I set V2-Marco aside (shelving it entirely) and started to re-write the story all over again but from Elliot’s perspective. About two-thirds of the way in I hit a wall that I simply couldn’t get around – and I suddenly had the reason why the second volume needed to be told from Marco’s point of view. There was no other way to do it. There were simply things that Elliot would have no way of knowing because those plot elements happen when he isn’t aware of things (I’ll stop there so I don’t spoil the series too much).
So Marco’s version of V2 was back on track. About a week later I finished the edits and released it. But what to do with the massive amount of work I put into it? Should I just shelve it and let it whither up there on the digital shelf?
“Why not release it as a companion novel?”
And after I grumbled over the last little suggestion he offered and how it faired, I began to see the value in letting Elliot have his own say over the same timeline sequence. So Angels of Mercy – Phoenix in the Fire was born. Quite literally from the ashes of a book that shouldn’t have existed in the first place. But I am really glad it does.
We’re close to the ending of the series – almost. Angels of Mercy – Volume Three: Pietro will complete the works as I originally envisioned them. But before Pietro has the final say, we’re gonna go back a bit. To sort out what events culminated before Marco brings Elliot front and center in his life, to the choices Marco made (often in haste as he was just trying to sort out who he is) that just might prove to be the cataclysmic setup for what ultimately happens to the love of his life. It’s messy, it’s complicated and involved. But that’s how life is and that’s what I write.
Next up, prior to the final book in the series, is Marco’s prequel stories – Angels of Mercy – Diary of a Quarterback Part 1: King of Imperfections, and … Part 2: Prince of Mistakes. I hope you’ll discover and enjoy my boys from Mercy, California and strive to understand and embrace them on their journey to carve a little slice of happiness for themselves against a world that often wishes they had none.
A companion novel to Angels of Mercy – Volume Two: Marco, as told by his boyfriend, Elliot Donahey.
The climb out of the homophobic beat-down that Elliot endured at the hands of Marco’s teammates is only the beginning. In Angels of Mercy – Phoenix In The Fire, Elliot has a choice to make: withdraw further into himself and risk losing the one person who loves him unconditionally, or find a way to rise above it and become stronger?
For Elliot the choice is clear. He must choose to rise because Marco means everything to him. But as the boys find their way out of their nightmarish situation other things begin to plague them. Deceit, familial intrigue and secrets begin to eke into the boys lives as they try to just keep moving forward. To remedy this Marco provides a haven for Elliot that will keep him protected, walled off from any harm. But is this the answer the boys seek? Elliot isn’t so sure, and even Marco begins to have his doubts. Marco throws every ounce of his immense resources at the problem, but as Elliot tells him, “Money can’t solve what’s troubling us.” To add to the boy’s woes, Marco’s meddlesome brother is threading his way into their relationship in the most inappropriate ways. Everything is not what it seems. Marco and Elliot are just trying to find their way out and remain together. The investigation back home isn’t making things any better as the authorities are closing in on who attacked Elliot. Everything bubbles up to the breaking point for them all. Will Marco and Elliot’s love for one another be strong enough to see them through?
Wow! SA Collins is brilliant when it comes to writing. He keeps you so engrossed in the story you don’t want to put it down. As this book begins, we are taken back to the hospital to where Elliot was brought after the attack. I was a little worried it would be a repeat of book two but I was very wrong. Yes the events are the same for a portion of the book. However, it is hearing the story told in Elliot’s point of view that I was able to understand so much more. The characters may be the same ones in the previous books, but with this new view I have a better understanding of who they are and what actually happened.
Throughout this series I have had a love hate relationship with Pietro. It was while reading this companion book that I began to understand him so much more. My heart breaks for him. Even with everything spiteful Pietro has done, I can’t help but want him to be happy. The end of this book had me so emotional. I had a lump in my throat and was trying to keep tears at bay. I would love to go into details and say what I would like to see happen but I really don’t know what I want nor do I want to give anything in the story away. Pietro has me conflicted. I only hope he gets the peace he deserves soon.
As for Marco and Elliot, those two are such a great couple. I adore them both. Marco is always the protector and loves deeply. Elliot just wants to do right and not hurt anyone. Even when he goes about it the wrong way Elliot’s heart is always in the right place.
I really like how much we get to know the other secondary characters as well. The more I read the more I love each of them. The support and love they give is beyond amazing.
Overall this series is amazing. The writing is flawless. In my opinion the longer the book the better, so it makes each of these books perfect. There is love, angst, drama, suspense, and so much more. SA Collins knows how to get you so invested in the story that you are living inside it with the characters. They hurt, you hurt too. They laugh, you laugh with them and so on. The ending wasn’t as big of a cliffhanger as the last book, but it leaves you wondering and a little nervous of what is to come.
10/10 Pots of Gold
SA “Baz” Collins hails from the San Francisco Bay Area where he lives with his husband, their daughter and wonder of all wonders, a whirlwind of a granddaughter and two exotic looking cats. A classically trained singer/actor (under a different name), Baz knows a good yarn when he sees it.
Based on years of his work as an actor, Baz specializes in character study pieces. It is more important for him as an author that the reader comes away with a greater understanding of the characters, and the reasons they make the decisions they do, rather than the situations they are in. It is this deep dive into their manners, their experiences and how they process the world around them that make up the body of Mr. Collins’ work.
Comment on this post for the chance to win one set of THREE SIGNED e-copies of:
‘Angels of Mercy – Volume One: Elliot’, ‘Angels of Mercy – Volume Two: Marco’ and ‘Phoenix In The Fire – A companion novel to Angels of Mercy – Volume Two: Marco’ by SA Collins
You need to be 18 years or older to participate in this giveaway. Void where prohibited. Etc.
This giveaway will end on August 7th, 2016 at 11:59 PM CDT. GOOD LUCK!