Love Sci-Fi/Fantasy? Check Out the Book Blast with Excerpt for Earnest Ink by Alex Hall

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Earnest Ink

Author: Alex Hall

Publisher: Nine Star Press

Published: October 14, 2019

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Genre/s: Queer Spec Fic, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thriller/Suspense

Trope/s: Found family

Themes: Mystery/adventure

Heat Rating:  1 flame

Orientation: Asexual, Pansexual

Identity: Cisgender, Trans

Warning: Depictions of Trauma, Blood, Violence, Murder,

Eating disorders, Body hatred, Transphobia, PTSD, War

Length: 72 100 words/244 pages

It is a standalone book.

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Blurb 

While twenty-year-old FTM Hemingway is making an excellent living as a tattoo artist in a near-future version of Hell’s Kitchen, the rest of the country is splintered and struggling in the wake of a war gone on for too long. Technology has collapsed, borders rise and fall overnight, and magic has awakened without rhyme, reason, or rule, turning average unwitting citizens into wielders of strange and specific strands of magic.

Hemingway’s particular brand of magic has made him a household name. Not only is he a talented artist, but his work comes to life. Literally.

When NYC’s most infamous serial killer—the East River Ripper—abducts Hemingway’s best friend, Grace, he has only days to save her. Hemingway teams up with his stoic cop roommate to hunt for the killer and rescue Grace before she becomes the Ripper’s latest victim. But as the duo chase clues to the serial killer’s identity, Hemingway begins to fear the magic he and the Ripper share might eventually corrupt him too. 

 

Buy Links

NineStar Press  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Smashwords  |  B&N  | Kobo

 

Excerpt 

Earnest Ink

Alex Hall © 2019

All Rights Reserved

I work without speaking because that’s the way I prefer it. The vibration of my machine, the softer buzz of the fluorescent lights overhead, the tap of my foot on the pedal—it’s the best music in the world.

When I hit a ticklish spot, the girl I’m working on gasps, jolting in my chair.

“Don’t move,” I say. And then, with a salesman’s false cheer: “Almost done!”

The girl is sweating down the crook of her neck. She’s got silver glitter paint on her eyelids and cheeks, a new fashion trend I just can’t quite get behind. Under my lights the mix of perspiration and makeup looks like a blurry constellation.

She wanted a bee inked onto her collarbone, one of those tiny honeybees you find on good tequila bottles. Easily done, and she met the cash requirement. She’s eager, nervous, and breathing in and out in little puffs.

I can’t remember her name, but that’s fine. Customer relations is Eric’s job.

There’s another kid leaning over my glass counter, watching eagerly as I work. “Does it hurt?” he asks. “When the magic happens?”

The bee’s fat yellow thorax wriggles from side to side as it begins to wake, fighting the pressure of my needle, hungry for life.

“It looks like it hurts,” the kid says. I ignore him.

One minute more and—thanks to my peculiar magic—this bee will fly free.

I’m perched on a swivel stool, a wet paper towel in my hand to wipe away ink. It’s too hot in my studio, even with the industrial fans whirling overhead and the door propped wide open. Evening light slants in through the door and the north-facing, floor-to-ceiling window panes that look out onto West Forty-Sixth. It’s muggy, too warm for New York in October, and all of Hell’s Kitchen is wilting, including my client.

“What does it feel like?” the kid demands. He’s leaving greasy fingerprints on the surface of the glass as he strains to get a better look at what I’m doing. I study him out the corner of my eye, wiping sweat off my nose with the back of my wrist before it drips on my customer. He looks like one of the street punks who have taken to running in packs near the cruise terminals, sleeping in old, abandoned cargo containers and panhandling up and down the marina.

He’s skinny and tall, hair dyed an unsettling violet and styled into spikes all over his head. He’s got a silver ring in his septum and more hoops in his ears; his eyelashes are coated with purple mascara to match his hair. Green glitter paint sparkles on his lids. His T-shirt and jeans are torn and dirty, and he’s got a pack of black-market cigarettes rolled into one sleeve against his upper arm.

 

 

 About the Author 

Sarah Remy/Alex Hall is a nonbinary, animal-loving, proud gamer Geek.

Their work can be found in a variety of cool places, including HarperVoyager, EDGE and NineStar Press

 

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Twitter: @sarahremywrites 

 

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

An Alisa Review: Forbidden Bond by Lee Colgin

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Vampires and werewolves are historical enemies. When the Peace Accord that imposes an uncomfortable armistice between the species is threatened, the entire supernatural community must respond.

Young vampire heir Sinclair Davis successfully petitions the council for permission to attend a werewolf dominated university. Surrounded by a pack of unwelcoming wolves, Sinclair’s first meeting with their alpha doesn’t go well. The handsome wolf hates him.

Alpha wolf Mitchel Edgehill is furious when the university sends a vampire to be housed among his pack, even if he is cute. But there’s nothing he can do since the paperwork has been signed. They’ll have to find a way to coexist.

As tension rises within supernatural society and violence escalates between vampires and werewolves, an uneasy truce develops between Sinclair and Mitchel. The pair attend a peace conference in hopes of preventing war, but when a rogue group of humans attacks, Sinclair is kidnapped and held for ransom. Can the alpha wolf work with vampires to save Sinclair, or will war break out after all?

Man, everyone in this society has biases against the others.  I was so glad to see that Sinclair was different and he helped Mitchel and his pack also see that vampires aren’t so bad, even if it didn’t start out so well.  I liked this world and how far it all went in the end for peace among everyone, not just the paranormals.

I liked Sinclair and Mitchel’s slow burn romance but once they decided they wanted to really make a go at it they jumped right into it.  I was glad they stood their ground when others opposed their relationship and quickly showed the others how they could work together.  I will be looking forward to reading more books by this author.

Cover art by Natasha Snow is great and I really like the background of the school where most of the book takes place.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 54,100 words

Published: December 23, 2019 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-951880-06-4

Edition Language: English

Series: They Bite #1

An Alisa Review: Hearts of Magic (Chevalier Book 3) by Kay Doherty

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

A moment of quiet was all Theran was looking for. He was not looking to be nearly decimated when he stumbled across a sorcerer near the pack’s hunting grounds. He’s certainly not looking for his mate when the pack congregates at Elysium for a meeting, but that’s exactly what Theran finds when he runs into the sorcerer a second time.

Colby has been the bartender at Elysium for a year, and he’s been relatively happy. He hides his paranormal identity well, flirting for tips while using sarcasm to keep others away. When he first saw the wolf in the forest, he was stunned. Learning the wolf he’s been dreaming about is real is only compounded by learning the wolf is his mate.

With the Sorcerer’s Enclave now interested in the Chevalier Pack, Colby attempts to protect Theran by kidnapping him, which only results in a deeper involvement with the pack. Despite managing the Enclave, dealing with increasing threats from the McBane Pack, and forging new alliances, Theran and Colby are determined to find their happy ever after.

This pack continues to get more and more interesting.  I hate that all they want to do is be happy and they keep getting attacked from all sides.  Colby just adds another layer of power to their group.

I liked Colby and Theran though I hurt for Theran when Colby would assume his reactions would be the same as his exes.  Theran is powerful but he is such a sweetheart to his mate and his friends.  It was hard to see how Colby grew up and how he continues to be treated but it was uplifting when he found the one person he could belong to unconditionally.  And the epilogue sure threw a wrench in, man oh man am I now looking forward to the next book.  Things are about to get interesting.

I really like the cover art by Natasha Snow and visual of Colby and even though it’s similar in style to the other books it just seems to pop more.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 40,100 words

Published: July 29, 2019 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-951057-85-5

Edition Language: English

Series: Chevalier #3

A Lucy Review: Irises in the Snow by Isabelle Adler

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

It’s Christmas, and Justin’s life is fraying at the edges. The family business he took over instead of going to art school is bleeding money, and his boyfriend of seven months cheated on him. Under these circumstances, family gatherings can be rough, but Justin believes he has everything under control. That is, until Elliot, his former best friend (and the first guy to ever break his heart) unexpectedly shows up at the holiday dinner party.

With both of them still nursing the wounds of the past, it might take a real Christmas miracle for Justin and Elliot to learn to appreciate the art of second chances.

Justin is the best of sons, to the detriment of himself sometimes.  He has been trying his best to make his family’s hardware store a success but the arrival of a Big Box store (Tool Depot) just a little way from their store has hit the finances hard.  He doesn’t want to spoil the holidays so he puts on his best faux happy face. Add into this his boyfriend Mark was caught “I literally walked in on you with your pants around your ankles and some guy’s mouth around your d**k” and, well, it’s a rough holiday season.

For the icing on the cake he walks into his parent’s holiday dinner to find Elliot, the boy who had been his best friend and the man who had broken his heart, is there on visit from California, where he runs a successful art gallery.  He and Justin were supposed to go to art school together but when Justin’s father was diagnosed with cancer Justin stayed and Elliott left.

I was thoroughly in like with Justin but Elliott brought my rating down somewhat.  I understand continuing to follow your dream even when your boyfriend can’t, but to cut him off completely?  If nothing else, they had been best friends for years and Justin deserved better.  “It was selfish of me, I know.  I got everything I wanted, and I took it.”   I get that, but “You never called or responded to any of my messages. You ignored me on social media…”  He did that on purpose, “I thought it’d be easier that way…I figured at some point you’d give up.”  Do you do that to a friend?  Even if you want out of the romantic angle, do you just cut off your best friend who’s father is going through cancer treatment? When Elliott’s parents are killed in an accident and Justin tries to reach out, again, “The truth is, I was avoiding you.”  I’m not sure how we are supposed to view Elliott but I’ll be honest – I thought Justin deserved to be treated better.   

I very much appreciated they didn’t fall immediately into bed and the magic penis solved all problems.  The ex-boyfriend showing up helped with that but Justin himself didn’t think it was the best idea and I agreed. Elliott’s ham-handed attempt at a second chance just made me want to shake him.  “Mark’s betrayal had stung but this breach of trust cut so much deeper.” I am a fan of second chance stories and I was very glad Justin gets to have his HEA but I’m never going to be a fangirl of Elliott. 

This is a new author for me and I enjoyed the writing very much.  Characters were well fleshed out, even given the short length of the story (74 pages).  The connection between the story and the title was perfection.

The cover by Natasha Snow, two men facing each other as background to a single vibrant iris, fits the story perfectly.

Sales Links:

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

Book Details:

ebook
Published November 4th 2019 by Nine Star Press
ISBN 139781951057695
URL https://ninestarpress.com/product/irises-in-the-snow/

An Alisa Review :All or Nothing by Riina Y.T

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

When shy sociology student Remington Belotti finds himself stuck on campus two days before Christmas, the handsome and untouchable Carter McCormack unexpectedly offers him a ride home. Having secretly longed for Carter’s attention for over a year, his sudden interest, along with the kind gesture, gives Remmy hope that his attraction might be returned, after all.

On their way to Remy’s hometown, they encounter bad weather and are overtaken by an unforgiving blizzard, leaving them stranded along the highway. The sparks of attraction fly in the safety of Carter’s car, where they share heartfelt confessions along with body heat and gummy bears. When they check into a motel for the night, their electrifying bond deepens, and their shared time might just bring Remmy and Carter the Christmas surprise they could only have dreamed of.

Oh I enjoyed this story, it was adorable.  Remmy needs to get home for the holidays and is willing to take a big risk by taking his bike even with the storm approaching.  He reluctantly accepts Carter’s offer of a ride but they quickly find out that they both may have been misunderstood.

Remmy is adorable and while he is shy he quickly opens up and acts silly around those he is comfortable with and Carter quickly becomes that person.  Carter has been hurt by his uncle’s family but the openness of Remmy’s family quickly soothes his worries and they quickly bring him into the fold.  I liked getting a glimpse of them together the next year and wish them all the best as their lives continue together.

Cover art by Natasha Snow is great and I think it’s prefect for the story.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 42,200 words

Published: October 7, 2019 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-951057-55-8

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Hearts of Blood (Chevalier #2) by Kay Doherty

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Omega wolf shifter, Vance, and the rest of his small pack have finally found an Alpha willing to take them on and were still trying to regain their footing when the McBane Pack attacked them. When a vampire appears in front of him, Vance realizes he’s looking into the ice-blue eyes of his mate, and the fact that his mate is something other than wolf scares him.

Sakima knew the wolf shifter was his destined companion the moment he scented him at Elysium, but claiming the gorgeous young Omega wolf is a dangerous proposition. Vance and his unconventional pack have attracted the attention of the vampire coven. As the owner of Elysium, Sakima has been asked to use the club to gather information on the powerful interspecies pack and its Alpha.

Unfortunately for Vance and Sakima, the vampire coven and the continued attacks by the McBane Pack are only a portion of their problems. Amidst concerns over Alpha Tanner’s abilities growing with Sakima’s addition to the pack, a spurned ex targets Vance in an attempt to remove him from Sakima’s life, and Elysium becomes a hot bed for interspecies mingling where anyone could be an enemy.

This pack continues to face opposition especially as Tanner’s abilities seem to grow.  Vance finding his mate with a vampire only opens them up to more attacks.

It’s interesting that these paranormals don’t know much about the Chevaliers except that they were bad so everyone assumes that Tanner’s pack will be the same.  This pack is a good group of guys who just want to live in peace but aren’t getting the chance to even try.

In this book we are seeing Vance and Sakima navigate the beginning of their relationship but also Luca and Tanner continue to navigate theirs and leading the pack.  The now have Sakima and Luca’s friend that know about the Chevaliers but we still don’t seem to get much information, hopefully that will change as this series continues.  I hope to see more of these guys find their mates but I want to understand why they have so much resistance, I know that power scares people but the fact that everyone assumes the worst hurts.

I really like the cover art by Natasha Snow and it’s similar in style to the first book.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 42, 000 words

Published: July 29, 2019 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-951057-23-7

Edition Language: English

Series: Chevalier #2

An Alisa Review: The Midspring Rebellion by Doreen Heron

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Rating:  2.5 stars out of 5

Things are amiss in the fairy court, made worse one spring morning when King Oberon’s wife decides to leave him. His decision to gather his thoughts in the human realm lead him into the path, and arms, of workaholic human Nick Chandler. But when Oberon’s throne is threatened, will he be able to retain his kingship and his newfound love?

I liked how this book first started and the interactions between Oberon and Nick.  Oberon wants to get away after his wife leaves him while Nick is still trying to bury his grief and guilt in work.

Oberon and Nick just seemed to click and both opened up well with each other.  However, the story quickly went off track with the whole Oberon kidnapping and rescue.  I just didn’t get the point of it and it wasn’t cohesive with the first part of the story.  I just felt confused and when the story ended I didn’t feel like anything was resolved because it just jumped ahead and seriously how is King Oberon living in the human world and not in the fairy realm.

The cover art by Natasha Snow is nice and I like the visual of Oberon, even if I don’t think it exactly fits him.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 25,100 words

Published: July 22, 2019 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-951057-08-4

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Where Song Replaces Silence by Layla Dorine

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Rating:  2 stars out of 5

Raze halts his midnight joy ride to give chase to twinkling lights that appear in the road before him and then lead him deep into a forest, where he falls into another world. There, magic is real, wishes are granted, and no one is considered odd or out of place.

Raze has never fit in anywhere in his own world and uses his angry attitude to keep others at bay and mask his anxieties and fears in this new place. A dangerous combination in Loas, where rudeness is frowned upon and foul language can land him in a dungeon.

Rurin, an inhabitant of Loas, tries to teach Raze about their world, its magic and its residents, but he faces Raze’s stubborn resistance at every turn. Bitter about his past, pessimistic about his future, Raze sees what could be, but he struggles to accept it. In the meantime, his encounters with the Fae range from hostile sarcasm to potential danger. While he attempts to keep the promises he’s made to Rurin and follow the rules laid out for him, Raze grows more and more curious about the place where he’s landed. It’s too bad he keeps making poor choices.

As the connection between them grows, Rurin works to keep Raze from being banished, but Raze may be cast out of the Loas before he has the opportunity to discover the true reason he was led there in the first place.

This was not a story for me.  While it was well written the world that Raze ended up in and his and the others actions just caused me to get upset during most of the story.  I also couldn’t help but feel the teeny bit of romance was forced and did absolutely nothing for what was happening.

I will admit from the beginning Raze is a jerk but at the same time this wonderful, accepting and peaceful group is sure quick to judge and look down on him even when he is trying.  Mostly we see Raze getting let around by Rurin to learn about the world he has found himself in while at the same time Rurin expecting him to just know how it works down there.  I felt that Raze’s sudden acceptance and change of heart when he found his magic was just too little too late for all around.

The cover art by Natasha Snow is a beautiful picture but doesn’t do anything for the story.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 33,300 words

Published: April 22, 2019 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-950412-49-5

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Ta Weezo’s Blues by Layla Dorine

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Sabre never had any intentions of becoming the teacher’s pet. In fact, most of his school years have been spent trying to avoid attention. The scar that mars his cheek has made him wary of strangers, their questions and prying eyes leave him feeling exposed in ways he’s uncomfortable with. Accustomed to blending in, he lurks around the shadows in the back of classrooms, turning in exemplary work but rarely taking part in discussions.OK

Professor Locklear’s Native lit class is different though. Sabre’s interest in the subject matter, coupled with a dedicated scholar’s need to turn in the best work possible, leads him to seek out a more advanced reading list, much to the delight of Professor Locklear. When he comes across Sabre reading material beyond even the advanced list, Professor Locklear invites on a fieldtrip to a nearby village. Along the way he learns more than just the knowledge contained in the books. He learns about trust and discovers that there are others out there just like him— shapeshifters.

What he believed was an individual anomaly turns out to be something beyond legend and lore, a whole different culture he’d never known existed. The only way he can move forward is to let his shields down long enough to trust the man whose conversations he’s come to enjoy, but to do that, he’ll have to stop distancing himself from everyone.

This was so adorable.  Drax is intrigued by his new student’s dedication and when he comes to his office for more additional reading it makes him even more interesting.  The field trip gives them the opportunity to see each other in a different environment.

I could feel Sabre’s insecurity and fear of rejection and it was wonderful to see Drax give him his unconditional love and support along with accepting his differences.  I really loved their connection to each other and how it made both of their lives together.  The best part was Sabre finding acceptance with more people and it looks like he will now have some friends instead of keeping everyone at arm’s length.

Cover art by Natasha Snow is great and I love the visual of the characters.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 24,800 words

Published: December 24, 2018 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-949909-73-9

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Santa is a Vampire by Damian Serbu

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Simon the Elf wants to tell you the true story behind Jolly Ole St. Nick. Yeah, he’s a vampire. But that alleged gift giver and lover of children hides more than that fact from you. And what about Mrs. Claus and Rudolph? Venture into a world of enslaved elves, enchanted animals, and death wrought by Santa himself. With his sharp wit, Simon will lead you into the darkest realms of Christmas. Warning: Simon cusses a lot. But you would, too, if Santa held you captive.

Interesting concept for a story.  I liked the way this was written and how we see things from Simon’s point of view and we get to see some of his interesting thoughts.  I never would have thought of going this far off the rails for Santa, Mrs. Claus and Rudolph but I think they connect together.

So, everything is told from Simon’s point of view which does give a once sided view to all the stories but I enjoyed how he told it.  The history of Santa is well told and thought out that I didn’t feel that there was much missing after hearing everyone’s stories and how Santa pretty much tricked Simon into writing a new story for him.  What I didn’t enjoy were the excessive jokes and references to pee and farts, it just seemed childish.  This story doesn’t have any romance or anything of the sort however Simon is gay which would be the connection to LGBT.

Cover art by Natasha Snow is nice and low key but works well for this story.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 76,800 words

Published: November 26, 2018 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-949909-42-5

Edition Language: English

Series: Simon the Elf