An Alisa Review: Code Name Jack Rabbit (The Vampire Guard #1) by Elizabeth Noble

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Code Name- Jack RabbitMeet the newest members of the Vampire Guard, where legend and myth meet science and technology.

 

Jonas Forge, vampire. Once a spy and soldier, now a cop, Forge enjoys the life he’s built with his friends in Flint, Ohio.

 

Blair Turner, PhD. Blair, a vampire and computer hacker with exceptional skills, shares a powerful empathic bond with Forge, his soul mate.

 

Declan, vampire, ex-pirate, ex-fur trapper, thief, and con man. Declan is Forge’s former lover and soul mate to Lucas Coate.

 

Lucas Coate, MD, Flint’s medical examiner. A werewolf living among vampires, Lucas is also one of Forge’s best friends.

 

Their lives become complicated when an impending Presidential visit throws them headlong into a world of high-tech vampire spies and espionage. Recruited into the Vampire Guard by the secret society of the Akhkharu Nasaru, they uncover a werewolf terrorist organization known as the Qiguan.

 

Together they must thwart a murder attempt on the open waters of Lake Superior while tracking a previously unknown biological weapon controlled by the Qiquan—a weapon which may very well mean death for one of them.

 

This was the first book by Elizabeth Noble that I have read and it was very enjoyable.  The book had a bit of a different look at vampires than I have read before.  They weren’t affected by sunlight and they ate regular meals most of the time.

 

Jonas, Lucas and Declan have been connected to each other for years, Blair is a newer addition to their “family” but no less important than the others.  They all care deeply for each other and even with their complicated pasts will do anything for the others.  The soul mates are the perfect complement to the other but sometimes they just need one of their friends to pull them back from the edge.

 

I loved reading about them all working together to solve the mystery, each using their own strengths.  However, many times through the book there were a lot of references to things that have happened before the book and I would have loved to learn more about those experiences.  At the end of the book there is a preview for the next book in the series and I can’t wait to read it and see more of these characters.

 

Cover art is nice and gives a visual for the mysterious creature they find.

 

Sales Links: DSP Publications | Amazon | OmniLit

 

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages

Published: July 12, 2016 by DSP Publications

ISBN-13: 9781634768948

Edition Language: English

Series: The Vampire Guard #1

A BJ Review: Assumed Dead by Becky Black

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

Assumed DeadThe zombie apocalypse left twelve people trapped, but safe, at a scientific research base on an Arctic island. Three years later, with supplies critically low, they know they can’t survive another harsh winter. But all of them fear what awaits them on the mainland.

Former grad student, Matt Warner, has retrained as a nurse under the group’s doctor, Peter Lane. Training is not the only thing Matt wants to be under Peter for, but Peter has always resisted responding to Matt’s interest in him. Before all this started Peter had a husband, Harrison, back home. A husband he desperately hopes is still alive.

Despair finally weakens Peter’s resolve and he and Matt begin sharing a bed. It’s Matt’s dream come true, even if he knows Peter’s feelings for him aren’t as strong as his for Peter. But everything changes, when the group learns of the existence of a vaccine against the zombie virus and they escape the island to search for the people distributing the vaccine. Matt fears their relationship won’t survive, because Peter wants to search for his husband—even if only to confirm his death. And Peter knows if he goes looking for Harrison, he’ll lose Matt forever.

This is a sequel to Patient Z which I read a few for the first time a few months ago, so when I saw that this one was coming out, I wanted to read it right away. I rated the first book four stars and was eager to follow on with the story, especially when I noticed that this story also had a bi-racial couple. Unfortunately, as is often the case, while I enjoyed it, this second book didn’t quite live up to the first one for me.

This story doesn’t follow along with the first couple, Mitch and Cal’s and their group, but I actually enjoyed that aspect. It gave a chance to see what happened to others, and how everyone’s experience of the apocalypse would vary. However, it does pick up several months after the events of the first book, so we do get to see the continuation of the original storyline as the vaccine begins to be shared with others.

The world that this group lived in was so much less threatening than that from book one, which played a large part in why I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as book one. There was very little action up until right near the very end, and even at that point, it didn’t involve zombies. It almost felt like the zombies were more of a window dressing—gross in appearance on the few times when one or two showed up, but they never felt like a real threat at any point. For the vast majority of the book, we are told about things that might be a threat and danger for this group, but we don’t see them in action, and thus are not on the edge of the seat or tense with worry. Even when they meet up with the second group, its pretty much the same thing. In fact, except for one mild scene early on that was very easily handled with no casualties or drama, the whole thing felt very tame. When the big fight scene near the end came, there hadn’t really been anything leading up to it, so it felt like it came out of left field.

The two main characters, Matt from New Zealand and Peter the doctor from the US, didn’t grab me and make me care for them as much as Cal and Mitch had in book. In fact, they didn’t intrigue me as much as some of the secondary characters, like R.J. and Jay and even Barrett did. The romance relationship between Matt and Peter moved slow at first, which was okay for a while, but Peter’s hemming and hawing started to get to me and when something did finally take off between them, I just didn’t feel the passion or urgency any more. There were quite a few sexy bits, but because of Peter’s lack of commitment one way or the other, I wasn’t quite able to feel invested in them as a couple and so the romance part fell flat for me.

Overall, this book has a lower key, calmer, less intense feel that book one. Not what I’d expected for a zombie apocalypse story. If you prefer a milder post-apocalyptic story full of hope and lots of interesting details, then this should fit the bill. I enjoyed the story itself more than the main couple, and would be willing to read more in this world especially if it included more about the mysterious R.J.

The cover does a good job of conveying the story, but much like the story itself, it doesn’t quite pack the punch of the first.

Sales Links:  Loose id LLC | ARe | Amazon

Book Details: 

ebook, 294 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by Loose Id
Original TitleAssumed Dead
ISBN139781682521489
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Gays of Our Lives by Kris Ripper

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

GaysOfOurLives_600x900 (1)Emerson Robinette has MS.  He also has a huge case of chip-on-shoulder and another of social anxiety. Ever since his diagnosis, he’s limited himself to being only in safe situations, or situations he perceives as safe and follows his rules—only pick up guys on days his legs don’t tingle; don’t let his dominant side out for fear of failure; don’t make friends so they won’t be disappointed in him; and so on. 

He teaches ESL and GED prep classes at a community center and loves his job. Though he never intended to be a teacher, he pretty much just fell into it. He happens to meet a hipster named Obie on a bus ride home one day.  Obie is a happy-go-lucky kind of guy, dresses the way he feels, and seems to be attracted to Emerson.  The only problem?  When Emerson gets off the bus, he has to use his cane and he notices that Obie notices so he figures that’s the end of that hope. 

One thing about Emerson that we come to see as we read the story is that he just can’t muster up the courage to be positive about anything.  He so afraid of losing hope that he refuses to have it in the first place.  He’s isolated himself without even realizing it, and he refuses to let in the people who genuinely care about him: his GED class members, his boss, and most definitely, Obie.  But Obie doesn’t allow Emerson to wallow in his own depression.  Little by little, he chips away at that façade until he exposes the real Emerson, the young man who has hopes and dreams and the one Obie is falling for. 

Obie also introduces Emerson to Dred, his best friend. Dred is biracial, very pregnant, and a single parent, having been deserted by the baby’s father as soon as he found out she was pregnant. Dred is another person who slowly chips away at Emerson’s isolation.  If any character ever needed to change, it’s Emerson.  At first, I found him to be so abrasive that I wasn’t sure I could enjoy the story.  However, by about the 25% mark, I was intrigued. 

I enjoyed the author’s writing style and liked the parenthetical, often self-deprecating or snarky, comments that punctuated much of Emerson’s thoughts. The parallels drawn between Dred’s pregnancy and Emerson’s MS were spot-on, and Obie was not just the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow—he was the rainbow. 

I recommend this story to those who love an MM romance with and anti-hero—someone you may hate at the beginning and love by the end—and those who love stories of overcoming disabilities, friends as family, and those who simply want to read something different and interesting.

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The cover art by L.C. Chase shows a close-up of a bearded, good-looking young man against a bright purple background.  The use of color makes this an attractive cover.

Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 226 pages
Published July 11th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published July 10th 2016)
Original TitleGays of Our Lives
ISBN 1626494258 (ISBN13: 9781626494251)
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesQueers of La Vista #1

Kris Ripper Talks The Big Picture and the ‘Gays of Our Lives’ (Blog Tour and Giveaway)

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Gays of Our Lives (Queers of La Vista #1)by Kris Ripper
R
iptide Publishing
Cover art by L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Buy it Here

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Kris Ripper here today to talk about zir release, Gays of Our Lives and The Big Picture.  Welcome, Kris.

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The Big Picture

I’m not a writer who focuses a great deal on theme and motifs while I’m writing. If you do your job right—if you write a book that’s formed well, and has a coherent story to it—then all that exists whether you know it or not.

I was the kid in the literature class who sat there daydreaming about my own books while the teacher went on and on about the Biblical resonances in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. Start talking High Lit and my eyes glaze over.

However.

There comes a point as a writer when you realize that this stuff exists in stories. All kinds of stories: novels, poems, movies, television shows, video games. If you’re caught up in a character or a plot, chances are there’s something about it, thematically, that calls to you.

As a reader/viewer/consumer, you can pay attention to this stuff or not. (I always find it’s a lot more fun to decode and deconstruct stuff with a group of folks who enjoy that sort of thing.) But as a writer, I think it’s pretty important to have at least a passing knowledge of the stuff you’re actually trying to say with a story.

And let me stress again, that this stuff is accessible to everyone, even those of us who weren’t good in school, even those of us who were trying so hard to understand Tristram Shandy that we missed the sex bits.

In Gays of Our Lives it’s virtually impossible to miss the sex scenes. (Whew. Nothing like reading a whole novel and facing your professor’s “So, let’s talk about the sex in this book” with a blank stare.)

Gays of Our Lives is a sort of adult coming of age story. It doesn’t document the transition many people experience when they leave their family of origin—raw, and edged with fear, excitement, expectation. Emerson’s thirty-one years old; he broke away his family a long time ago, but he’s still saddled with an young adult’s mental baggage about who he should be, and how he relates to other people.

Sometimes the hardest battles we ever fight aren’t the ones against authority, or bullies, or even our own bodies (though Emerson’s had skirmishes in all of those areas). Sometimes it’s the persistent voice in the back of your head telling you you don’t deserve to be happy, that you don’t deserve to find a good partner.

One of the coolest things about books—and storytelling in general—is that you can find yourself in characters who are very little like you. Emerson’s a white, cisgender, gay dude with multiple sclerosis; of those things the only thing we share is that we’re both white. But I had a great time living inside his head, and taking his journey with him, and I learned a little bit about myself along the way.

What about you? Across mediums, who’s the character you’ve most related to, and do they superficially resemble you at all, or are they vastly different?

About Gays of Our Lives

Emerson Robinette only leaves his apartment to get laid and go to work. Having MS—and trying to pretend he doesn’t—makes everything more complicated, especially his fantasies of coming on strong and holding a guy down. Finding a partner who’ll explore that with him isn’t Emerson’s idea of a realistic goal.

Until a chance meeting with a hipster on a bus makes him reconsider. Obie is happy, open-hearted, and warm; what’s more, he gets his kicks being physically dominated, spanked, and teased until he’s begging. It would be perfect, except for one thing: Emerson isn’t made for happiness, and he doesn’t see how a guy like Obie would settle for a cynic like him.

But as far as Obie’s concerned, the only thing keeping them apart is Emerson. Can Emerson handle a boyfriend who’s more invested in his future than he is? Emerson’s barely convinced he has a future. But when Obie’s smiling at him, anything seems possible.

About Kris Ripper

Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a toddler, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and prefers the z-based pronouns because they’re freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.

Connect with Kris:

GaysofOurLives_TourBanner
Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Gays of Our Lives, Kris is giving away your choice of ebook from zir backlist. (Any release from Kris Ripper prior to Gays of Our Lives.) Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 16, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

This title is part of the Queers of La Vista universe

New Cover Reveal for Mating Tomeo by A.J. Llewellyn ( giveaway)

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A.J. Llewellyn reveals the beautiful cover art of her next book titled MATING TOMEO coming out from Ai Press.

It releases on July 12, 2016.

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BLURB

In 1946 Hawaii, Tomeo Yamaguchi harbors a secret that would be considered shameful by his traditional Japanese family—he aches for the caress of other men.

Which makes it particularly devastating when Tomeo’s father hires a tanomoshi—a matchmaker—to find a bride for his son.

Tomeo spends time with the tanomoshi, Shin Yamada, and as the men come to know one another, deep feelings emerge, the transition from friends to lovers inevitable. They fall into a clandestine affair, their hushed and hidden lovemaking as beautiful and breathless in their eyes as it is torrid in the eyes of others.

More time spent worshipping Tomeo’s body means less time finding him a suitable bride. Shin’s forsaking his duty and risking everything…but mating Tomeo is worth every stolen second. No matter the cost…

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PRESENTING

Cover Art by Sid Love

MatingTomeo_FS (1)

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PRE-ORDER LINK

All Romance eBooks

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A.J. Llewellyn lives in California, but dreams of living in Hawaii. Frequent trips to all the islands, bags of Kona coffee in the fridge and a healthy collection of Hawaiian records keep this writer refueled.

A.J’s passion for the islands led to writing a play about the last ruling monarch of Hawaii, Queen Lili’uokalani as well as a non-erotic novel about the overthrow of her kingdom written in diary form from her maid’s point of view.

A.J. never lacks inspiritation for male/male erotic romances and on the rare occasion this happens, pursues other passions such as collecting books on Hawaiiana, surfing and spending time with friends and animal companions.

A.J. Llewellyn believes that love is a song best sung out loud.

||  Website & Blog  ||  Facebook  ||  Twitter  ||  Goodreads  ||

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