A MelanieM Review: A Matter of Justice (Hong Kong Nights Book 3) by J.C. Long

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

The battle between the Dragons of the Eastern District and their bitter rivals, the Twisted Vipers, is reaching a dangerous point. The Anti-Gang Task Force is hard at work trying to bring down the Vipers. Tensions ratchet when Johnny Hwang guns down a prominent inspector on the task force, and Conroy Wong, Wei Tseng’s second-in-command is a witness. Now, to keep him safe long enough to locate a second witness and put Hwang behind bars, Conroy is forced into close quarters with Allen Hong, a man who once fought side by side with the Dragons until he turned his back on them by joining the police, betraying them. As sparks fly between them once more, the two men must put aside their differences and work together, because the Twisted Vipers aren’t going to let Hwang go down without a fight.

A Matter of Justice (Hong Kong Nights Book 3) by J.C. Long is a tense, complicated and terrific novel. Gritty and intense, it delves into the corrupt landscape of triads, gang wars and bought cops in Hong Kong.  Throw in a old wounded romance between a triad member and a detective and all the elements are there for one memorable story.  Which is exactly what Long gives you.

My only issue is that it took some time to remember who all the cast of characters were.  This is  definitely not a standalone novel and the importance characters and their relationship to each other almost needs a chart at the beginning if you haven’t just read books one and two in the series.  Without all the relationship dynamics being fresh in my mind, it took a while to get into the story, hence the lower rating.  But once it snapped  back into place, then the story took off and I sunk deeply into the drama and fast paced action of a gang war under way and a heinous crime boss who will let nothing stand in his way of revenge.

Conroy Wong and Allen Hong are the reunited couple at the center, one a triad member and one a cop. I loved the tension and anger here.  I did have some issues with the sex scenes. Again, another reason for the lower rating.  Not the angry sex, no that made perfect sense given their past relationship and how it ended.  But that old “no just use spit” thing that keeps cropping up now and again.  Please can we all agree that this is just exceedingly painful and needs to disappear? I mean how realistic is this?  Especially when there was still some lube left to use.  Nope, it stopped me during their sex scene and it should have stopped them.  So yes, another drop in the rating there.  Just my opinion.  Otherwise one hot couple.

J.C. Long brings us into Hong Kong with the food, the people, and the language.  There’s even a dictionary Long supplies for us at the back.  Very revealing, especially about some of the epitaphs hurled during the story.  It definitely sinks you into the city and the situation.

I recommend the series but for clarity purposes, read the stories close together.  It helps keeping all the people and their relationships fresh in your mind as many as they are.  But its one thrilling ride of a narrative and some wonderful couples.  I’m recommending them if you like action, law enforcement stories and in this case, lovers reunited.

Cover art: Natasha Snow is dramatic and works for the story and location.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 301 pages
Published February 26th 2018 by NineStar Press
ASINB079PL9FG6

Honk Kong Nights Series:

A Matter of Duty (Hong Kong Nights Book 1)

On Tour with ‘The Vampire’s Protege (A Vampire’s Angel’s story)’ by Damian Serbu (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  The Vampire’s Protege

Series: From the Vampire’s Angel universe

Author: Damian Serbu

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: August 21

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 99600

Genre: Horror, paranormal, abduction, action, blood and gore, cisgender, contemporary, crime, dark, death, gay, paranormal, vampires

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Damian Serbu today on his tour for The Vampire’s Protege. We have a wonderful author’s interview, excerpt and giveaway.  Don’t miss any of it, starting below!

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~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Damian Serbu ~

When did you write your first story and what was the inspiration for it?

I wrote my first novel after several years of contemplation and fascination with the concept.  I was completing my doctorate in history at the time, and would escape from the concrete world of facts and past events by writing fiction.  That particularly story was inspired by the movie “The Man in the Iron Mask.”  It eventually became Dark Sorcerer Threatening, which is currently out of print but I hope to reprint someday.

Do you have a writing schedule or do you just write when you can find the time?

Because I have full time job, I maintain a pretty strict schedule or I would never get around to it!  I write at least twice a week, for a good chunk of time.

Briefly describe the writing process. Do you create an outline first? Do you seek out inspirational pictures, videos or music? Do you just let the words flow and then go back and try and make some sense out it?

I am way too much of a historian, even in my writing of novels, to go without an outline!  So I sketch out the entire story before I begin.  For a long time before I outline, I keep notes and jot down ideas for the story, then I take that mess of ideas and shape it into the outline, which I then edit several times.  That being said, the outline serves as a general guide, not something written in stone.  I let the muse take me where it will, which often necessitates tweaking the outline as I go.  As for inspiration, I let that hit me wherever it appears.  Sometimes it’s a movie or song or picture, but more often than not it comes out of nowhere and just blasts me in the head.  It seems to happen a lot on my morning jog.  And I just let the words flow when I write – but that requires going back and doing a pretty thorough edit.

Where did the desire to write LGBTQIA+ stories come from?

From being gay!  It’s what I know, it’s what I like to read, and so it’s what I want to write.

How much research do you do when writing a story and what are the best sources you’ve found for giving an authentic voice to your characters?

The amount of research for the story depends on the story, really.  When I set it in the past, I do a great deal of research.  For example, I’ve written about the French Revolution, Antebellum America, and pirates.  Those all took extensive research to get the history correct.  That’s where my academic background comes in handy!  I know how to gather books and articles that give me solid history, and then weave that reality into the writing.  I do all of that research before I even start outlining.  But other stories, including The Vampire’s Protégé, don’t require as much research.  There, I may need to research something that pops up.  For example, this time I suddenly found myself writing about Bitcoin, which I didn’t know a damn thing about.  So off I went to learn a tad so I didn’t make a fool of myself!  But my novels set in a contemporary setting don’t require as much extensive research.

Synopsis

A sinister vampire offers Charon a choice he can’t refuse: play a deadly game of winner takes all, losers die.

Charon relishes the competition and molds himself into a sexy vampire who defies vampire law, savoring his power and embracing the role of villain. He also loves surrounding himself with hot young men. But when an alluring vampire stalks him and threatens to turn him into the Vampire Council unless he helps with a seemingly impossible task, will Charon risk his perfectly narcissistic life on the challenge? Does he have any other choice?

Excerpt

The Vampire’s Protege
Damian Serbu © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Prologue

Introducing Charon

Everyone thinks they adore the Vampire Council with its rules and regulations that allegedly govern all vampires and thereby ensure the safety of virtuous humans. People want to lose themselves in the tales of the Council members: Xavier and Thomas and their love; Anthony and Jaret and their guarding of humanity; Catherine and Harriet and their whims within a righteous vampiric empire. Most of all, the Vampire Ethic provides comfort with its guarantee that goodness protects an individual from a vampire attack, with its promise that all vampires defend innocence.

Vampires accept this reality because it gives them a collective soul. The ethic protects them from the stereotype of evil incarnate preying upon humanity. Or, in the least, obedience to it keeps them alive, lest the Council hunt them down and murder them for transgressions against it.

Humans desire the Council’s laws to maintain their fantasy of security from the supernatural realms. Who would dismiss a hidden force of vampire police that might swoop in at any sign of danger and annihilate the perpetrator?

Yet deep inside, so many long for something different, something that avoids this utopian trope and perfect world, all tied up in a pretty bow. Part of everyone, that piece so desperately stamped down and derided, seeks an alternative story.

To be sure, many will deny it. Fight against these words and honorably cast them out as the devil’s temptations. Yet no proof of Satan or such demonic forces presents itself. Because even those thoughts really stem from the inner being in everyone, that secretly locked-up atom inside a person that pines for freedom and seeks release, even as the goodness scolds it.

Still people contest these words. Deny them.

Yet a fascination with villains thrives in America. Think of the great antiheroes of history and their legendary fame. The Wicked Witch of the West. Darth Vader. Hannibal Lecter. The Joker. The infamy of historic figures such as Adolf Hitler or Ted Bundy or the Son of Sam. The people who don the costumes at Halloween of Lord Voldemort, Dracula, or Vlad the Impaler because it empowers them for a night with beautiful wickedness. People laugh at Scar, Ursula, and even Mr. Potter. They read the tales of Lex Luther and Cujo, privately wishing they would eventually triumph over the heroes of the story and bring a bit of destruction to the globe.

Jack the Ripper lives through the ages because he successfully hid himself, true. But also because his perfect malevolence went unpunished. People want that for themselves. His legend draws them back again and again to that story with the hope of their own misdeeds going unchallenged.

Thus, whether admitted or not, people long to meet Charon. Yes, so many cry out for Charon and his story. People want him. Readers desire him, need him, really. The world will have no choice but to love him. All will embrace him as they have these other villains of history. They will celebrate his perfect treachery.

Unlike those obedient to the Vampire Council, Charon hardly worries about a bit of notoriety from time to time. Fear of retribution never enters his vocabulary. He need not concern himself with the Vampire Council and its regulations. Nor does Charon often fret over any other person or entity cracking down on his masterful empire.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Damian Serbu lives in the Chicago area with his husband and two dogs, Akasha and Chewbacca. The dogs control his life, tell him what to write, and threaten to eat him in the middle of the night if he disobeys. He previously authored several novels now out of print, and is excited to reignite his writing with Ninestar Press!

Facebook | Twitter

Tour Schedule

8/21    Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words 

8/21    Outrageous Heroes of Romance

8/22    Shari Sakurai 

8/22    MM Good Book Reviews

8/23    Drops of Ink

8/24    love bytes reviews

8/24    QSF     

8/25    The Novel Approach

8/25    Bayou Book Junkie

8/25    Erotica For All

8/25    Happily Ever Chapter

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In the Spotlight: Soothsayer by Cari Z (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Soothsayer

Author: Cari Z

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: January 30

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 68200

Genre: Romance, Action, urban fantasy, magic, magic user, psychic/soothsayer, myth/folklore, mafia, reunited, road trip, spirits, posession

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Synopsis

Cillian Kelly can look into people’s eyes and see their fates. He’s running from a past filled with mistakes, lying low and selling his services on the sly. When he learns that Sören Egilsson, a man who sacrificed himself so Cillian could escape imprisonment two years ago, is somehow still alive, Cillian has to find out how. What he gets is the body of the man he loves possessed by an ancient spirit who draws Cillian into a battle to the death for the right to control Sören’s fate, and the power that comes with it.

Excerpt

Soothsayer
Cari Z © 2017
All Rights Reserved

My phone buzzed, interrupting my musing. I frowned as I pulled it out of my jacket pocket. Only a dozen people had this number, and I wasn’t expecting to talk to any of them any time soon. I unlocked it and looked at my new message.

Move ten paces to the right.

My feet were moving even before my brain caught up, obedience was so instinctual. Two seconds later, I was out of the mouth of the alley, and three seconds after that, a beat-up silver sedan coming down the road was clipped by a delivery van and veered straight into the corner of the building. It wasn’t moving fast, thankfully, but the crash was plenty loud, especially since I was just a few feet away from the point of impact.

A memory flashed through my mind, one of my personal rare and painful gems. I was in the backseat of an old Lincoln, and I was very small. My feet wouldn’t have touched the floor even if I hadn’t had my knees squished to my chest, and my face was pressed to the knobby joints so hard they were leaving red blotches on my cheeks. The man driving was on a phone—an old-school cell phone, clunky in his hand, distracting. He wasn’t paying attention, but I knew the moment before the car was hit and covered my head with my hands, so when I went flying into the door, it didn’t hurt as much. Metal crunched, and bright spots flashed across the darkness behind my eyelids as the car spun and spun…

I shook my head and took a deep breath, focusing on the present. The van hadn’t stopped, but I didn’t bother trying to catch its license plate number―there were plenty of people exclaiming and getting on their phones. I headed over to the driver’s side and opened the door, but didn’t reach in to touch the woman who had been driving. She was moving under her own power, picking her head up off the remains of her airbag and whimpering softly. “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god…”

“It’s all right,” I said gently. I might not be a martyr, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t feel compassion for another person, especially one who’d just been thrown into a wall. “You’re okay. Just a little accident. There’s an ambulance coming to help you.” I could already hear it in the distance. We were only a few blocks from a major hospital. “Can you look at me for a moment?” She blearily turned, and as soon as our eyes met, I sighed and backed out of the way. One of the employees at the auto-painting store took my place, and a second later—bam. The fucking Ace of Cups moment. Who found true love as a result of a car accident? This wasn’t exactly the heartwarming scene I’d envisioned getting me through the day earlier.

“Are you all right?” the newcomer asked frantically. “What’s your name? I’m Felix. I’m gonna stay with you until the ambulance gets here, okay? Oh Jesus, are you all right?”

“I’m…I think so?” the woman said, her voice gaining a little bit of strength. “I’m Paula.”

“Paula, hey.” He smiled at her, and she smiled back. I rolled my eyes. “Nice to meet you.”

For fuck’s sake. Well, at least the settlement from the trucking company would give them a nice nest egg to get their new place together. I turned away and walked to the end of the block before getting out my phone again and making a call.

She picked up on the second ring. “Hi, baby.”

“What, you can see me getting smeared across a wall, but you don’t bother to let me know about having a gun pulled on me?”

“Cillian.” My mother sounded half apologetic, half resigned. “You know it doesn’t work like that.”

Yes, fine, I did know that, but I didn’t feel like being reasonable right now. “So you didn’t see that this morning, then?”

“Did you need me to see it?”

I wasn’t about to go down the self-sufficiency road with her. It meant a surefire argument, and I was still buzzing with adrenalin from being so close to the car crash.

“No,” I said flatly. “I guess not.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Meet the Author

Cari Z. is a Colorado girl who loves snow and sunshine. She writes award-winning LGBTQ fiction featuring aliens, supervillains, soothsayers, and even normal people sometimes.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | eMail | Blog

Tour Schedule

1/30     Hearts On Fire Reviews

1/30     On Top Down Under

1/31     Love Bytes – www.lovebytesreviews.com

1/31     Out Of My Head

1/31     Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

2/1       Slashsessed

2/1       Stories That Make You Smile

2/1       Book Lovers 4Ever

2/2       Happily Ever Chapter

2/2       Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

2/3       The Novel Approach

2/3       We Three Queens

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