A MelanieM Review: Bring Me the Dead by Becky Black

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

 

A million years, ago a galactic empire fell. That ancient empire is a source of many things. Wonder, knowledge, academic careers, and treasure. Treasure is what Beau Johnson seeks, tracking down artifacts for high-paying clients. Once a top student at the specialist institute for the study of the ancient empire, Beau rejected respectable archaeology and academia in favor of adventure.

Unlike his one-time rival Park Ki-tae, a brilliant student who became an enforcement agent tasked with keeping Imperial artifacts out of private collections. Beau thinks Ki-tae needs to loosen up, have more fun, and stop making it his life’s work to send Beau to jail. Ki-tae thinks Beau is a rogue and a criminal, and that it was a big mistake to sleep with him that one time…

When a client sends Beau after a legendary artifact that allows communication with the dead, Ki-tae pursues, sure that this time he’ll nail Beau. But circumstances force them to work together and deal with the feelings for each other they’ve both long denied. They have very different plans for the artifact they’re seeking–if it’s not a myth. Will they ever agree on their plans, or on anything else at all?

Bring Me the Dead by Becky Black sort of slides along that line between like and love.  There’s quite a lot that’s almost on the love side.  From the plot line to many of the characters but the total package and yes, execution just keeps it shy of the mark.

I love science fiction and here you have a group of treasure hunters after a mythological artifact and an galactic enforcement agent with a fierce resolve to ensure that artifact, if found, isn’t sold to the highest bidder as well as a certain hunter goes to jail.  Sound familiar?  And yes, they have a past together.  Black takes it further making them competitors/advisories since college where Beau Johnson always came out on top.  A nice twist that works to explain Ki-tae’s obsession with Johnson and his crew.

Black’s characters were a mixture.  While I thought Park Ki-tae, the enforcement agent, was strong, that of Beau Johnson had some major flaws, especially of someone of his renown. Supposedly the best at what he does, he was sloppy, under informed, ill-prepared etc. In other words, just not believable.  And that took away much of the ability to connect to the storyline. One or three of his crew were really nice characters, with enough quirks to stand on their own but for a band of superb outlaws at the top of the game? Never in a million years.

Other elements saved the story.  The places visited along the hunt for the artifact had rings of what might pass as authenticity in the future.  Most of the hard, narrative lifting here is done by Park, with Beau and crew chiming in.  But it was the most interesting part of this  story and the one I connected with.  King, their boss, and his android wife, were a nifty aspect of the tale.

The romance between Beau and Park  again seem undermined by the fact that Beau came off as less substantial, less believable than Park.  He’s supposed to be this huge deal yet falls so far short in the story that you wonder why Park is pursuing him.

There’s a HFN ending, which makes you wonder if the author intends this to be the first in a series.  There’s still so many loose plots threads dangling around t make a reader feel a bit unsatisfied even if the original hunt has come to an end.

If you are a lover of science fiction and want a quick read, you might want to investigate the hunt for a galactic artifact in Bring Me the Dead by Becky Black.

Cover art by April Martinez is on point with the characters and storyline.

Sales Links: Loose id | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 31st 2017 by Loose Id
Original TitleBring Me the Dead
ISBN139781682524367
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttps://beckyblack.wordpress.com/bookshelf/standalone-novels-and-novellas/bring-me-the-dead/

An Alisa Review: Wake up Call by Becky Black

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

When you live beside a cat café, it’s inevitable the fur will start flying eventually. Derek “Dez” Walker, a police officer wounded in a shooting, feels adrift and isolated as he makes a slow recovery. Others call him a hero, but it’s a title he doesn’t think he deserves.

 

When Dez intervenes in a burglary at the cat café near his apartment, he meets the owner, Francis “Fran” Green. Though he’s a hero to Fran for his intervention in the burglary, it’s Fran who becomes a strong source of support for Dez. Fran offers friendship to his vulnerable neighbour and, as they spend more time together, Dez comes to rely on Fran … and his cats.

 

He begins to find the way out of his isolation, but does he deserve everything Fran offers?

 

I thought this was such a cute story.  Dez has pretty much been living his life on pause since he was wounded, avoiding others and moving on.  Being awoken by the sound of a burglary and the new friendship he develops with Fran is just the wake-up call he needs to get his life back on track.

 

Fran wants to show Dez that he is worthy of affection let alone the friendship he is offering, having helped a brother with PTSD he knows he has to be patient but also push at the same time.  Dez knows he needs to try to get better to be the man he thinks Fran deserves and gains a new cat, Riley, in the process.  We see this story from through Dez’s eyes but Fran is so open and loving that you can easily how he is feeling too.  These two complement each other wonderfully and I loved seeing them together.

 

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is adorable and gives a great visual of Dez and his new cat, Riley.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 56 pages

Published: April 8, 2017 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634863957

Edition Language: English

 

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