Review: Strain (Strain #1) by Amelia C. Gormley

August 10, 2015 Review 8

Review: Strain (Strain #1) by Amelia C. Gormley

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 confer 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. Which means that soon Darius might have to put a bullet in the head of the one person in years who reminds him of what it means to be human.

Title: Strain
Author: Amelia C Gormley
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: Saugatuck Summer, Unconditional Surrender, Player vs Player
Series: Strain
Other books in this series that we've reviewed: Juggernaut, Bane
Published by Riptide Publishing
Source: Publisher
Published: February 17, 2014
Genres: Dark Erotica, Erotic Romance, M/M Erotica, Male Male Romance
Pages: 310
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Visit the Author's Website

Stars: four-stars
Flames: five-flames


I figured I should repost this review now that another book in this amazing series has been published. These books are dark and intense and just something vastly different from what I typically read. I like that.

This review originally published February 17, 2014

Oh my wow. I have to admit that Strain was not at all what I was expecting. Let me start by pointing out that the blurb tells you exactly what will happen. I just made the wrong assumption that Darius would turn out to be a typical alpha and he would not share Rhys with his fellow soldiers. Please note, multiple partners on many different occasions. There is a lot of sex in this book. Much of the sex is in a murky gray area of dubious consent and rape. I stress murky gray area. This world is dark, cruel, and often violent. Everything that happens has its place in this world.

Amelia C Gormley has created a very dark world. This world is overflowing with realities that no human would ever want to experience. Rhys has known little kindness in his life. The people who cared most for him are no longer in his life. For the most part he is alone when he contracts a virus that will end his already short life. Darius and the group of soldiers that he considers family makes an offer to Rhys that will possibly save his life. It won’t be pleasant, it will change him in more ways he could ever expect, but he has a chance to survive another day.

Rhys is so easy to like. He’s the underdog. He could so easily be seen as weak. He can’t really protect himself from this cruel world. Yet every single choice he makes shows his strengths. He is determined to live. He chooses to persevere. The things he is willing to go through shows this on every page.

There are many things in this book that I think some people will have a hard time reading. I think there should be a warning label on this read. There are some things that Vanilla Vanessa was shocked by. Rhys may technically be an adult at the age of nineteen, but he has been sheltered from much. He has also lived among religious zealots that have skewed some of his thinking. There is a Ds relationship that has a place in this world, in this book, but would be seen as inappropriate in out very real world. The story and the struggles make this an amazing read. The reality of Rhys life and the things he must do to survive make this one gritty, heavy, just plain dark read.

Quote that puts this world into perspective. Darius to Xolani: Isn’t that why we want to keep him? He makes us softer, and it’s been too long since we had that. We miss it. Reminds us we’re human.”

Favorite quote. Darius to Rhys: “Touch me. Learn me. Get used to me, ‘cause I ain’t going anywhere.

Riptide Publishing

About Amelia:
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, Impulse (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.

You can contact Amelia on TwitterFacebookGoodreadsBookLikesTumblr, or contact her by email using the form on the About page at


8 Responses to “Review: Strain (Strain #1) by Amelia C. Gormley”

  1. s0ph1ar0s3

    Thank you for your review, Vanessa so I know what to expect and the extra background info shared by Amelia has me fascinated about the story.

  2. H.B.

    I love world building. It’s always fun to learn a world that isn’t part of our own. The background information has really piqued my interest.

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com