In the Spotlight: Apocalypse Alley (Blue Unicorn #2) by Don Allmon (Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway)

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Apocalypse Alley (Blue Unicorn #2) by Don Allmon
Riptide Publishing
Cover by: Simoné

Read an excerpt/Buy It here

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Don Allmon here today on tour for his latest novel, Apocalypse Alley.  Welcome, Don. 

 

 

Hello, all! I’m Don Allmon and this week I’ll be touring the web to promote my new book, APOCALYPSE ALLEY, the second in the Blue Unicorn series.

 

If you’re looking for fast-paced cyberpunk/fantasy romance – Terminator 2 meets Fury Road with two sexy guys and a dragon – this is your jam.

 

Join in the fun by leaving a comment which enters you to win a Riptide gift card!

 

About Apocalypse Alley

 

Home from a six-month assignment to war-torn East Asia, genetically engineered supersoldier Noah “Comet” Wu just wants to kick back, share a beer, and talk shit with his best friend, JT. But JT’s home has been shot up like a war zone, and his friend has gone missing.

 

Comet’s only lead is a smart-mouthed criminal he finds amid the mess. His name’s Buzz Howdy. He’s a con man and a hacker and deserves to be in jail. Or in handcuffs, at least. The only thing the two have in common is JT. Unless you count the steamy glances they’re sneaking at one another. They have those in common too. But that just makes Comet all the more wary.

 

Despite their mutual distrust, they’ll have to work together to rescue JT before a cyborg assassin gets to him first. Racing down a miserable stretch of road called Apocalypse Alley, they must dodge radioactive spiders, a killer Buick, and rampaging cannibals. They also try to dodge each other. That last bit doesn’t work out so well.

 

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About Blue Unicorn

 

JT is an orc on the way up. He’s got his own boutique robotics shop, high-end clientele, and deep-pocketed investors. He’s even mentoring an orc teen who reminds him a bit too much of himself back in the day.

 

Then Austin shows up, and the elf’s got the same hard body and silver tongue as he did two years ago when they used to be friends and might have been more. He’s also got a stolen car to bribe JT to saying yes to one last scheme: stealing the virtual intelligence called Blue Unicorn.

 

Soon JT’s up to his tusks in trouble, and it ain’t just zombies and Chinese triads threatening to tear his new life apart. Austin wants a second chance with JT—this time as more than just a friend—and even the Blue Unicorn is trying to play matchmaker.

 

Check out the Blue Unicorn universe!

 

About Don Allmon

 

In his night job, Don Allmon writes science fiction, fantasy, and romance. In his day job, he’s an IT drone. He holds a master of arts in English literature from the University of Kansas and wrote his thesis on the influence of royal hunting culture on medieval werewolf stories. He’s a fan of role-playing games, both video and tabletop. He has lived all over from New York to San Francisco, but currently lives on the prairies of Kansas with many animals.

 

Connect with Don:

Giveaway

 

To celebrate the release of Apocalypse Alley, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 3, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Review: Apocalypse Alley (Blue Unicorn #2) by Don Allmon

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Home from a six-month assignment to war-torn East Asia, genetically engineered supersoldier Noah “Comet” Wu just wants to kick back, share a beer, and talk shit with his best friend, JT. But JT’s home has been shot up like a war zoars out of 5ne, and his friend has gone missing.

Comet’s only lead is a smart-mouthed criminal he finds amid the mess. His name’s Buzz Howdy. He’s a con man and a hacker and deserves to be in jail. Or in handcuffs, at least. The only thing the two have in common is JT. Unless you count the steamy glances they’re sneaking at one another. They have those in common too. But that just makes Comet all the more wary.

Despite their mutual distrust, they’ll have to work together to rescue JT before a cyborg assassin gets to him first. Racing down a miserable stretch of road called Apocalypse Alley, they must dodge radioactive spiders, a lonely cannibal, and a killer Buick. They also try to dodge each other. That last bit doesn’t work out so well.

When I last put down  The Glamour Thieves (Blue Unicorn #1), the first story in this amazing series, JT, Austin, and his elf lover were headed to his  home that he shares with the teenage orc he’s mentoring having stirred up more trouble and uncovered even more disturbing information after freeing the virtual intelligence known as the Blue Unicorn.  Trust me, you need to read that story.  One, it’s a dynamite adventure tale and two, without it, you will be lost diving into this one.

I love Apocalypse Alley but the truth is you won’t get a solid foundation of the world or overall series ARC without reading The Glamour Thieves first.  This story and series builds upon each other like building blocks and you can’t enter midway point.  It’s like being dropped on a warped yellow brick road and not knowing you’re headed to Oz.  Not that you’re all that sure of your destination here.  So many twists  and turns await you!

And it all happens at break-neck speed.  What an adrenaline rush.  I had to read it twice to gather together all the story threads and hints I missed the first time.  Props btw to Allmon for creating a character with the name of Urushiol.  As a park naturalist/Ranger, I’m highly familiar with this chemical compound as is anyone who’s come in contact with poison ivy.  I laughed myself silly when I saw that name.  Perfect in every way.  Anyhow, from the moment the story opens we start picking up speed as Comet returns expecting to find JT waiting to pick him up at the airport and  goes looking for him when he doesn’t show.  Each scene as Comet interacts with both Buzz Howdy (we’ve met him before) and others foe and friend gives the readers more information about the man.

Buzz is a known entity but we get into his head and yes heart here.  He falls for  Comet, quick yes, but you can see how and why it happens.

But mostly it’s a race.  A race to keep ahead of some of the worse villains out there, a race to find JT and crew, a race to stay alive…all in heart pounding, white knuckle…go all out scenes.  It’s wildly imaginative, horrifying, and incredibly suspenseful.  Did I say I loved it?  And just when you think it’s safe…a surprising twist shows up at the end that makes you want to go back and read books one and two again to see if there was anyway you could have seen this coming.  And now I need The Burning Magus (Blue Unicorn #3 to come out in the worst possible way.

So, yes, I  absolutely recommend this series.  It’s one wild  ride.  It has great characters, it’s gritty, suspenseful, full of twists and turns and more plots threads then you can shake a VR stick with.  It’s even got love such as it is.  But you need to start with The Glamour Thieves and then to Apocalypse Alley.  I’ll be waiting for you at The Burning Magus!

Cover by: Simoné. I love these covers.  Perfect in everyway from the tone and characters.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 201 pages
Expected publication: February 26th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleApocalypse Alley
ISBN 162649665X (ISBN13: 9781626496651)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBlue Unicorn #2

An Ali Audiobook Review: Where There’s Fire (Panopolis #2) by Cari Z. and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Making a name for myself as a Villain in Panopolis is hard work. Six months ago, my boyfriend broke me out of jail. Now he’s spending most of his time defending our turf against other Villains he accidentally freed along with me. And my new psychic powers are not only impossible to control, but they’re also giving me migraines.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. My skills are improving every day, and Raul—aka the Mad Bombardier—and I have never been happier. That is, until my first solo job is interrupted by a mysterious woman who tells me that Raul has been kidnapped by a ruthless new Villain. The only way to free him is to do a job for Maggot, a man with scary ideas and an even scarier superpower.

I can’t go to the cops or a Hero for help. Odds are they wouldn’t listen to me anyway. If I fail, Raul will be killed. If I succeed, we’ll both be bound to a man who’ll stop at nothing to put Panopolis on the path to civil war.

It looks like the only way to win is to take out the competition.
This entertaining story picks up six months after the last one ended. Edward is trying to get a handle on his new powers and he and Raul are living a quiet life. Edward is having some bad side effects to his power that he’s struggling with and he’s exploring how to make a name for himself as a villain. His first bank robbery goes awry and Raul is kidnapped by the worst villain they’ve encountered yet. His love for Raul forces Edward to step into the role he doesn’t think he’s ready for yet.

This was another really good read by this author. I think this series is so unique and creative. I love the world the author has made and I personally haven’t read anything like it before. The plot races along and keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what’s going to happen next. In addition to the action you also get a sweet love story with a bit of sexy times thrown in. I highly recommend this fun series and I can’t wait for the next episode in Edward and Raul’s lives.
 
This book was narrated by Nick J. Russo.  I felt like he did a great job with all of the voices.  I’ve listened to many books narrated by him over the years and he’s consistently good.
Cover by LC Chase:  I love the cover of this book, as well as the others in the series.  They are striking and they have a sort of comic book/graphic novel vibe to them, as do the plots of the books.
Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing | Audible | Amazon | iTunes
Audiobook Details:
Audiobook
Published April 18th 2017 (first published July 12th 2015)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPanopolis #2

Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Darkness (Common Law book 3) by Kate Sherwood

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Darkness (Common Law #3) by Kate Sherwood
R
iptide Publishing
Cover by: Natasha Snow

Read an Excerpt/Purchase It Here

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kate Sherwood’s latest novel in her Common Law series, Darkness.  Check it out below and don’t forget to enter the giveaway by leaving a comment along with your email address!

✒︎

About Darkness, part 3 in the Common Law series

A murdered prostitute. An obvious suspect. Clear evidence. For once, Jericho Crewe has a straightforward crime to investigate, and Wade Granger isn’t involved.

It all seems so simple, but Jericho’s instincts won’t let him rest. As he investigates, he finds troubling suggestions that the murder is a part of something larger and more sinister. But working within the boundaries of the law may keep him from finding the truth. If Jericho doesn’t break the rules, an innocent man may rot in jail while a killer remains free to strike again.

Inevitably, it all comes back to Wade. Because who else knows as much about breaking rules? And who else knows Jericho the way Wade does—not wisely, but far, far too well?

Now available from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/darkness

This title is #3 of the Common Law series.

About Kate Sherwood

Kate Sherwood started writing about the same time she got back on a horse after almost twenty years away from riding. She’d like to think she was too young for it to be a midlife crisis, but apparently she was ready for some changes!

Kate grew up near Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and went to school in Montreal, then Vancouver. But for the last decade or so she’s been a country girl. Sure, she misses some of the conveniences of the city, but living close to nature makes up for those lacks. She’s living in Ontario’s “cottage country”–other people save up their time and come to spend their vacations in her neighborhood, but she gets to live there all year round!

Since her first book was published in 2010, she’s kept herself busy with novels, novellas, and short stories in almost all the sub-genres of m/m romance. Contemporary, suspense, scifi or fantasy–the settings are just the backdrop for her characters to answer the important questions. How much can they share, and what do they need to keep? Can they bring themselves to trust someone, after being disappointed so many times? Are they brave enough to take a chance on love?

Kate’s books balance drama with humor, angst with optimism. They feature strong, damaged men who fight themselves harder than they fight anyone else. And, wherever possible, there are animals: horses, dogs, cats ferrets, squirrels… sometimes it’s easier to bond with a non-human, and most of Kate’s men need all the help they can get.

After five years of writing, Kate is still learning, still stretching herself, and still enjoying what she does. She’s looking forward to sharing a lot more stories in the future.

Twitter: @kate_sherwood 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of all four books in the Common Law series, we’re giving away one four-tour-wide GRAND PRIZE of $100 in Riptide credit! Enter at each stop on each tour (once they go live) to maximize your chances to win! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 8, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the Darkness tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

An Ali Audiobook Review: Where There’s Smoke (Panopolis #1) by Cari Z and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
where-theres-smoke-audioPanopolis is a rough place to be an average Joe. I came here looking for adventure and excitement, but nobody cares about one more normal guy in a city filled with super-powered heroes. The closest I’ve come to glory is working in a bank that villains often rob.

But then I maybe accidentally-on-purpose helped a villain escape the hero who was trying to save the day. Imagine my shock when, a week later, that villain asked me out for coffee. One date turned into more, and now I’m head over heels in love with Raul.

Falling in love with the guy dubbed the Mad Bombardier isn’t without its downsides, though. I’ve had to deal with near-death encounters with other villains, awkwardly flirtatious heroes who won’t take no for an answer, and a lover I’m not sure I can trust. It’s getting to the point where I know I’ll have to make a choice: side with the heroes, or stand fast by my villain.

Either way, I think my days as a normal guy are over.
I really enjoyed this unique and creative story. Panopolis is a city filled with Heroes and Villians (think comic book characters). Edward is an average guy who has never actually met either until his bank is robbed by a villian. The two men have an instant connection and end up meeting again soon after. As Edward finds himself falling for Raul he has to constantly question his own values and what he is doing with a criminal. The story is filled with an interesting background plot of political corruption while the two MC’s give us some adventure, some romance and some smexy times. The world building was really well done and I could totally picture it.  I thought this was a great start to a new series. I love when author’s come up with completely new ideas and this is totally different than the usual love story in the m/m genre.
This audio was narrated by  Nick J Russo and as usual he does a great job with all of the voices.  I find that he is one narrator that I consistently enjoy.  The audiobook is pretty short, under three hours, and is an easy one to follow along with.  It is something that I would definitely recommend.
Cover by L.C. Chase:  I love the cover.  It’s very eye catching and it perfectly captures the world this book is set in.
Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
Audiobook
Published February 2nd 2017 by Riptide Publishing (first published April 25th 2015)
ASINB01N7XRJQM
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPanopolis #1

Release Blitz – Return To Zero (Shatterproof Bond #2) – Isobel Starling (excerpt and giveaway)

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Release Blitz – Return To Zero (Shatterproof Bond #2) – Isobel Starling

 
Author: Isobel Starling
 
Release Date: June 6 2016
 
Price: £4.99/$4.99
 
Buy Links:
 
 
Length: 71,000 words
 
Previous Books In Series: 
 
Blurb:
 
Pulled into a world of secrets and lies for the man he loves, Declan Ramsay’s life has changed immeasurably in the eight months since meeting, and falling for his boss’s son, Sam Aiken.  Declan journey of personal discovery is about to take a darker turn, and for Sam, the world becomes more treacherous than he could ever have imagined.
 
Two agents are missing — presumed dead, while on a reconnaissance mission at an outdoor adventure centre in the Scottish Highlands.  Sir James Aiken sends his son and Declan to follow the trail, and discover the fate of the agents.
As the mission offers his first chance to use the skills he learned on the MI6 training course in Morocco, Declan is keen to get started. However, Sir James sees to it that the seeds of doubt and discord have been sewn between the couple, as they begin their mission.
 
The journey to their Highland location, and the discoveries they make when they reach the G’wan Adventures centre, prove that Sir James Aiken has been less than honest with his son.  Events in the Highlands force Sam and Declan to face their greatest fears, and understand what they both really want from life — and from each other.
 
Author Bio:
 
Inspiration strikes at the strangest of times. 
Born in Germany, Isobel Starling spent most of her twenty-year professional career making art.  She relocated to the UK and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, Isobel started to write and found she loved it more than making art. 
 
Isobel’s first novel “Schonling” was a best seller in the GLBT-Bisexual genre on the ‘All Romance ebooks’ site.  She mainly writes M/M Romantic comedy thrillers and has just completed her sixth book.  Isobel has also signed French translation rights for novella “As You Wish”. 
 
Isobel adores the M/M genre and enjoys writing about wounded souls and the complexities of personal relationships.  Despite not having found proof yet, Isobel believes in love at first sight and endeavors to give her men a thrilling journey and a satisfying ending!
Social Media links

http://isobelstarling.wix.com/books
https://www.facebook.com/isobelstarling
https://twitter.com/isobel_starling
https://isobelstarling.wordpress.com

Excerpt from “Return to Zero” (Shatterproof Bond #2) By Isobel Starling


“Hullo,”


“Parcel for Samuel Aiken” The gruff male voice said. Declan peered at the CCTV image on the wall tablet screen of a courier wearing a Swift Co tabard.


“Hang on a minute” Declan replied “You expectin’ anythin Sam?” He hollered. He would not be fooled a second time. Sam sauntered out of the bedroom, bare
chested, with dark grey jersey pyjama trousers hugging his prominent hip bones.


“Let him in,” He directed, so Declan did as he was told and pressed the button to unlock the downstairs door. Sam and Declan stood either side of the closed front door, both on edge, expecting… something. Had James sent them a message at last?


They both startled and sniggered at each other, at hearing the hard thump on the front door. Sam took a quick look through the peep hole to see the courier — a grey haired, slightly obese Asian man in his early fifties, with Fred Flintstone stubble on his chubby face. He held a package the size of a shoe box, wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, in an old fashioned way. Sam opened the door, and was immediately knocked back by the scent of sweat and cigarettes. The man smelled like he had bathed in kebabs. If this was an attempted assassination, the courier’s armpits would surely do the job. The man shoved a clipboard in Sam’s direction. He browsed the delivery note attached. The ‘sender’ address box was empty.


“Where d’ya pick this up from mate? I weren’t expectin’ nuffink,” Sam said in a rangy East London accent.


“I picks up from the depot, and delivers. Don’t know nuffin’ abaht where vu packages comes from, not my business,”


“Well, it had better not be tickin’” Sam joked, his expression gormless. The courier snickered and put the box to his ear.


“Nah, prob’ly a pair of shoes, or somefink — nice surprise from your lady love?”


“Yeah, prob’ly,” Sam mimicked. He signed an illegible squiggle, took the box, and was immediately surprised by its lightness. “Cheers mate, have a good one,” he said, giving the clipboard back, and then closing the door.


Declan observed the wall mounted tablet screen as the courier left, and the main entrance door sealed behind him. He then opened the apartment front door and checked the hallway and staircase. Nothing had been left behind. Declan felt a little melodramatic and over cautious with his behaviour, but he had a strange gut feeling that something was afoot, something that would bring more sweeping changes to his life. He couldn’t put his finger on it. Declan had felt this tinge of something ever since coming back from Morocco, like he was still in a holding pattern, waiting for permission to land. Sam didn’t seem to be unduly concerned about James lack of contact, but the past few months had seen a huge shift in the way Declan lived his life, and his self-esteem. Long hidden memories had been uncovered by the ‘interview’, and the flashes of remembrance that Declan couldn’t dare talk about, made him feel unnerved and uncomfortable.


Sam sauntered into the kitchen and retrieved a pair of scissors from a drawer filled with miscellaneous kitchen implements. He put the box on the kitchen island worktop and cut the string. There was one branded Swift Co courier label on the front of the box, and no return address. Sam made an incision at the side of the brown wrapping paper, and then cut along one side, so as to keep the adhesive tape and any fingerprints or DNA that may have gotten stuck to it, intact. He slid out a cream coloured shoe-sized box. Sam looked curiously up at Declan, who stood silently beside with his arms folded.


“Would you like to do the honours?” Sam asked witheringly. Declan held his palms up in surrender,


“Nah, yer grand. I think The Amazing Sam’s got this one” he snickered.


The box displayed no visible wires, there was no ticking sound, and the box was feather-light. Sam thought that he would feel completely foolish about the cautious way he approached opening a package if it were empty, but he’d been trained to be cautious. He returned to the drawer filled with kitchen implements, and retrieved a pair of plastic barbeque tongs.


“You know I love you, right?” Sam said dramatically, as if they were to be his last words.


Declan shook his head at the ridiculousness of the charade and pursed his lips.


“On three. Ready?” Declan nodded,


“One…” Sam flicked the lid up and Declan reflexively stepped back covering his head with his arms.


“Ye said on three,” Declan whined, feeling like an idiot. Sam snickered with relief at the lack of fireworks. He used the tongs to remove a sheet of white tissue paper that covered the contents. When Sam saw what the box contained, he gasped and stepped back.


“What?” Declan said in alarm, seeing Sam’s complexion turn ghostly pale.


“Nothing” Sam flattened his expression and then reached to replace the lid. Declan stilled his hand, and took a look. The box held a noose made from red paracord rope. Just like the rope that had been secreted into his pocket at the Coburg Bar, nearly three months earlier.


“I’m going out. I’ve got to get this to the lab” Sam said coldly, his stare detached and light-years away.


Declan was suddenly overcome by a wave of frustration. “What the hell’s this about Sam? Jesus, I don’t even know where the fucking lab is!” he roared furiously.


Sam was shocked by the anger in Declan’s tone. He felt a prickle of guilt for behaving all ‘cloak and dagger’ with his partner — the one person he was supposed to trust. Declan had every right to know about the A.L.L lab and warehouse.


“Get dressed,” Sam directed, and then he turned and left the kitchen.
 

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Its Back to the Superhero World of Panopolis with ‘Where There’s A Will’ with Cari Z (Riptide Giveaway)

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Where There’s A Will (Panopolis #3) by Cari Z.
R
iptide Publishing
Cover Artist L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

About Where There’s a Will

Being a Hero in Panopolis means living the high life: parties, money, influence, even reality television. And I’m one of the most powerful Heroes in the city. I have plenty of fans, a manager who looks out for me (after himself), and a job that pays the bills. I should be enjoying myself.

Unfortunately, the downside of my superpower means I can’t touch anyone, which tends to put a damper on things. I probably don’t deserve all those perks anyway, since I’m working in secret with two of Panopolis’s biggest Villains to undermine GenCorp—my main sponsor and the company that controls what gets through my force field.

I obviously don’t trust my corporate overseers, but they’ve hired a new scientist who actually seems interested in helping me. Dr. Mansourian might have the answers to all my questions—not to mention a starring role in most of my dreams—but he’s hiding something big. If I let him have what he wants, I might not live to regret it.

Then again, the way things are going in Panopolis these days, I might not live either way.

About Cari Z

Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which promptly sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut, and said, “See ya!” She also started writing, because some things she just thought she could do better. She’s still climbing that ladder, but can’t stop herself from writing, or from sharing what she creates.

Cari enjoys a wide range of literary genres, from the classics (get ‘im, Ahab) to science fiction and fantasy of all types, to historical fiction and reference materials (no, seriously, there are so many great encyclopedias out there). She writes in a wide range of genres as well, but somehow 90% of what she produces ends up falling into the broad and exciting category of m/m erotica. There’s a sprinkling of f/m and f/f and even m/f/m in her repertoire, but her true love is man love. And there’s a lot of love to go around.

Cari has published short stories, novellas, and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on Literotica.com, under the name Carizabeth.

Connect with Cari:

WhereTheresAWill_TourBanner

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Where There’s a Will, Cari is giving away ebooks of both Where There’s Smoke and Where There’s Fire, a $10 Riptide credit, and a Panopolis t-shirt. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 7, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.  Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Panopolis

Panopolis, the City of Heroes: a place where exciting things happen every single day. Things like mad science, reckless public endangerment, corporate espionage, and political puppetry.

You’ve got to wonder, why would anyone ever want to move here?

And once they get here, why would they ever want to stay?

Maybe for the excitement of watching real super-powered Heroes battle it out with Villains every day—preferably from a few hundred yards back. Maybe for the chance to become one of those Heroes, brave and stalwart and always doing the right thing.

Or maybe . . . just maybe . . . some people stay because they prefer to take their chances with a Villain or two.

Where There’s Smoke (Panopolis, #1) by Cari Z

Where There’s Fire (Panopolis, #2) by Cari Z

Where There’s a Will (Panopolis, #3) by Cari Z

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A Sammy Review: Where There’s Fire (Panopolis #2) by Cari Z.

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5         ★★★★★

WhereTheresFire_600x900Panopolis is a city of stark colors, folks. Right or wrong, black or white, no shades of gray here. Panopolis is epic battles and soaring rhetoric on both sides, and dirty secrets buried so deep beneath layers of lies that you’d need a map to know where to start digging. Moral ambiguity is for stories, not real life. At least, that’s what we’re told.

But the best stories, I’ve found, are the ones that aren’t so clear-cut. No spoon feeding you Truth, Justice, and the Heroic Way, or telling you that every Villain was born flawed from the start, not made into that. The best stories are the ones that make you think and leave you wondering. I think Panopolis needs a new caliber of storytellers, folks. Maybe it’s time to find those maps and ready those shovels.

Maybe it’s finally time for a change in the narrative.

Edward Dinges was once a normal guy in a city of Supers. He worked at a bank, had a plain life… then he fell in love with a Villain and found himself imprisoned. Soon, normal was a thing of the past.

Though he’s been working to harness his new powers, Edward is still trying to gain control over his life. It helps that Raul is always at his side, but it’s time to step out by himself for his first real job as a villain.

But nothing ever really goes as planned. Soon, Edward finds himself needing to fight for Raul’s life and free him from the hands of a true Super Villain. Whether they make it out alive or not, Panopolis will never be the same.

“You made it back. Not a lot of people do. That makes you interesting, maybe worth forming an alliance with. You need to work on making connections, especially if you don’t love to fight for fighting’s sake.” Vibro sounded tired.

“You don’t like fighting either.”

“I like living,” she corrected me.

So, first off, I want to put it out there that I absolutely loved this. The series is set in such an interesting world that it really pulled me right in from the get-go and I continued to be incredibly interested in it even months after reading the first book. Cari does a brilliant job of building a world that is so unique, but in this book, I really felt it resonated with reality.

I’m not sure if it’s that social justice has been on my mind a lot recently or what, but the way Cari writes about the dichotomy in the city, pitting two sides against each other, having this large body of power that rules over everyone and manages to cast aside the undesirables… the book takes massive and frustrating issues and puts it into an abstract and easily digestible manner. What do I mean with that? I mean people can turn their face to the real world and it’s social justice, but if you really read this, you’ll find yourself feeling everything the SuperTruther conveys and not even realizing how much Panopolis resembles the world just outside your door.

Now, onto the characters. Edward continues to grow on me. At first, I felt like he was just as boring as he projected himself to be, but in the first book we got to see his evolution when it came to morals. Now he’s crossed that line and is trying to find himself within his new powers.

Raul was a lot less present in this, but I didn’t really mind that, as I think this story is so much more than a romance. Sure, the romance is there, but the story is just front and center, adorned with action and alliances and… okay, just, really great story telling.

And new characters – Vibro is just freaking fantastic. I mean, she has purple hair! On top of that, she seems to have such an interesting personality and I would love to learn more about her and her brother.

The only downside I can think of is that the editing was off a bit. There was a lot of misplaced commas and such. But besides that, it was great.

I can’t wait for the next book in the series. Cari set us up for a great sequel.

The cover by L.C. Chase is very nice. It fits the previous book well and has a nice punch of color. Additionally, getting to see Edward is a nice treat. Great job.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing  |  All Romance (ARe) |  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

book, 113 pages
Published July 13th 2015 by Riptide Publishing (first published July 12th 2015)

A Sammy Review: Tin Man (Bliss #1.5) by Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Everything in his life that should have been profound had been nameless. Life and death, fucking and killing—it should have been profound. It should have resonated. He wanted it to, with Ace. He just wanted something to matter, for once.

Tin Man coverAshoka “Ace” King is known as a crim, as are most people living in District Three. Between Morality Laws and rules that target those without jobs or homes, life in Tophet isn’t easy for those not in the upper realms of society. On top of it all, they all have to be on the constant look out for the ATU, a police force known to kill at random.

One unlucky night, Ace runs into a member of the ATU. He’s forced to make a split-second decision that puts his life in danger and makes him a target for the ATU. What he doesn’t expect is for that decision to lead him to Soren Lau, the ATU agent who just couldn’t seem to pull the trigger when ordered.

After a sordid tryst, the two become irrevocably entwined. But they’re on two different sides, and when fate brings them together yet another time, they both have to make a choice and decide which side they want to end up on.

“What would you do?” he asked. “If you were me, standing at the edge of the world. Would you run back toward solid ground, or would you jump?”

“I caught you once, didn’t I?”

One of my favorite things in books is when they are able to build this world that feels so vivid it’s nearly tangible. I was hoping to get that out of this book, and I did. The authors managed to weave in details of life in Tophet without making the book heavy with them, they intrigued me as a reader and made a society that I felt lucky to get to see and lucky to not have to live in… or do I?

Sometimes I think I can read a bit too much into things. My career involves social justice and advocacy, so upon reading this, bells went off in my head. A society where the people meant to protect us are causing harm, particularly to those in poverty? A society that marks people as criminals like it’s a brand that will forever be embedded in their skin? A society divided not by right and wrong but by the money in your pocket? So yeah, let’s just say I connected with that, and as much as it pained me, it was so wonderfully done. This society that is labeled as dystopian but somehow resembles bits of our own? If that’s not intriguing and thought-provoking, I don’t know what is.

But onto other matters, the characters. Ace and Soren together managed to create this almost devastating couple that shouldn’t work but did. Soren is questioning his role and all he’s dedicated himself to, and Ace is struggling just to survive. But these characters are anything but weak. Being able to watch them in their own battles was a real treat, especially when it resulted in their growth.

My absolute biggest complaint is that I wanted more. It ended just as it was getting good, and while I was satisfied to an extent, I definitely will be wanting more not only of this universe, but also these characters. Where do they go from here? I don’t know. I hope that I’ll find out though.

I really appreciate the cover art by L.C. Chase. It is very simple but provides a stark image and helps me visualize Soren without giving me all the intricacies of detail that readers like to fill in for themselves.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing  |  All Romance |  Amazon  | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 134 pages
Expected publication: July 20th 2015 by Riptide
ISBN139781626493285
edition languageEnglish
seriesBliss #1.5

Tin Man by Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau – A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Must Read!

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Tin Man cover

Tin Man (Bliss #1.5)
by Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau

Riptide Publishing
Goodreads Link – Add It To Your Bookshelf
Cover Artist:  L. C. Chase

Sales Link:  Riptide Publishing  |

We have Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau here today to talk about Tin Man, their latest release.  Need a new book to read? Check out Tin Man by Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau – A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Must Read! And don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the tour contest!

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Hi! Welcome to Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau’s blog tour for our new release, Tin Man. We’re visiting some of our favourite blogs around the place to talk a bit about writing Tin Man, and sharing some of our influences, our ideas, and even an excerpt or two! Don’t forget to leave a comment, for your chance to win prizes!

Today we’re sharing an excerpt from Tin Man. In this excerpt, Soren is back at headquarters after his encounter with Ace, and afraid his superiors will find out exactly what happened:

 Excerpt from Tin Man:

“Rookie? Hey, rookie, you still with me here?”
Soren swayed a little as Ruby helped him out of the back of the truck. His boots hit the ground, jarring his bones.
“Come on,” she said. She unhooked her water bottle from her belt and gave it to him. “You got yourself a nice concussion, rookie. Don’t pass out on me.”
It wasn’t his concussion making him dizzy. It was fear. Soren unscrewed the lid of the bottle and took a mouthful. He swirled it around and spat. The water stained the asphalt black. Soren watched it spread into the tiny cracks and slowly bleed away.
The rest of the team headed for the showers and locker room. One or two of them clapped him on the shoulder as they passed, but most didn’t. Soren glanced at Ruby, at his helmet held under her arm, and wondered what the feed had showed Command.
He took another swig of water and washed his mouth out again.
She took the bottle from him. “Let’s get you to the medical unit.”
He followed her inside. The sudden shift from sunlight to shade blinded him for a moment, and he didn’t know if Ruby’s hand on his shoulder was to guide him or restrain him. He blinked, waiting for the world to come back into focus, waiting for the blue shapes burned on his retina to vanish.
She steered him down the corridor.
Inside the medical unit, Captain Bernhardt was waiting with the doctors. “Lau.”
“Sir.” Soren tried not to read anything into the way that the captain’s gaze slid slowly over him. How much did he know? The worst thing he could possibly do, Soren knew, was to start offering up excuses too early. Innocent men didn’t do that. Only guilty men and weak men. In this place, they were the same thing.
“Clothes off,” the doctor said, stepping forward.
Soren bent down to remove his boots and socks. Then he tugged his shirt off and dropped it into the bag that the doctor held out. An evidence bag? God. His fingers fumbled with the button of his fly—all he could remember suddenly were Ace’s fingers sliding over his skin, making the muscles in his abdomen dance—then he shucked off his pants and underwear.
“Some abrasions and contusions,” the doctor said. “I’ll document them now and take the photographs in a day or two once the bruising comes up.”
He was talking to Captain Bernhardt, Soren realized, not him. Soren was a piece of evidence now. In some ways, it made things easier. It was useful to disengage himself from this for now, to move how the doctor wanted him to move, to stretch this way or bend that way, and not have to feel the humiliation a person might, with all these gazes on him. He was trembling, though. Couldn’t stop that.
“Hands on the edge of the table,” the doctor said. “Bend over.”
At least Ruby looked away for that indignity. Soren squeezed his eyes shut and gritted his teeth. Easy to submit to the humiliation of it when he knew it wouldn’t reveal anything incriminating. The fact that they were examining him there at all, though . . . Why do it in the first place if they didn’t suspect anything?
The doctor moved away at last. Soren straightened up and turned around again.
Then the doctor was back, with a swab. “Open your mouth.”
Soren caught Ruby’s gaze as the doctor poked the swab around. Did she guess why he’d washed his mouth out with her water? Why he’d done it twice? He watched as the doctor slid the swab into a plastic tube and had to fight the crazy urge to reach out and grab it back. There was no point panicking about what the swab might tell Command when his own words might condemn him yet.
Ruby looked away. Yeah, Soren was fucked.
“Okay, Lau.” Bernhardt held out a fresh set of clothes—a white undershirt and boxers. Nothing else.
Soren dressed. His body ached. The doctor didn’t offer him any painkillers, but it didn’t matter. Just because nobody had accused him of anything didn’t mean they weren’t suspicious. Didn’t mean he was in the clear.
Soren knew the worst was yet to come.
Blurb:

Petty thief Ashoka “Ace” King knows better than to get in the way of Tophet’s Anti-Terrorist Unit. Rightfully feared in Tophet’s crime-ridden underbelly, a face-to-face encounter with an ATU is almost certainly a death sentence. But Ace has never been one to follow the rules.

Soren Lau might be an ATU rookie, but he’s not naive enough to believe everything his superiors tell him. Then again, he’s not stupid enough to disobey them, either. If he doesn’t shoot and kill as ordered, he might be next on their list.

But when Soren meets Ace, a moment’s hesitation is all it takes to put both their lives on the line. They don’t know each other, they don’t trust each other, and there’s no way in hell they can both walk away from this alive. But with suspicion and mortal danger mounting against both of them—and the forbidden attraction blazing between them—there’s nothing they can do but try.

Tin Man is out on July 20. You can order it now at Riptide.

Author Bios:

Lisa Henry

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Connect with Lisa:

Blog: http://www.lisahenryonline.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LisaHenryOnline
Goodreads: http://http//www.goodreads.com/LisaHenry

Heidi Belleau

Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write.

She has a degree in history from Simon Fraser University with a concentration in British and Irish studies; much of her work centred on popular culture, oral folklore, and sexuality, but she was known to perplex her professors with unironic papers on the historical roots of modern romance novel tropes. (Ask her about Highlanders!)

When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her newborn daughter or standing in line at the local coffee shop, waiting on her caramel macchiato.

Connect with Heidi:

Blog: http://www.heidibelleau.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/HeidiBelleau
Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/heidibelleau
Email:  mailto:heidi.below.zero@gmail.com

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Giveaway:

Each comment on this blog tour enters you for a chance to win a $20 Riptide credit and an ecopy of Bliss, the first book set in this universe. Entries close July 25, and contest is not restricted to US residents. Remember to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you win!