A MelanieM Review: Jackalopes & Woofen-Poofs (Offbeat Crimes #5) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Hoax animals and a consulting vampire on the prowl—Jason never thought having a cop boyfriend would be this hard.

All Animal Control Officer Jason Shen ever wanted was a quiet life of rescuing lost kittens and helping animals in need. Having a paranormal cop boyfriend guarantees an end to the quiet part. What at first seems a random encounter with jackalopes in the park might be more than chance and when State Paranormal sends a handsome, charming vampire to consult with the Seventy-Seventh, he finds his relationship with Alex on shaky ground.

Officer Alex Wolf hoped his humaning skills were improving but now he can’t unravel the strange politics at State Paranormal or why Jason’s family seems to hate him. There’s no time to puzzle things out either. Bizarre animals are loose in the city, Jason’s acting strange, and is the vampire captain from State flirting with him? Wolf’s going to have to keep his head in the game if he’s going to have any chance of putting the pieces together and keeping the city safe from the strange critters terrorizing its streets.

You know I’m running out of adjectives here.  I’m going to have to start to resort to the sort of thing like making up words to go along with the made up animals like the Jackalope here and the Woofen-Poofs, among others.  Angel Martinez’s minds a fantabulous place.  Scary, mind-blowing definitely but one I always want to visit with.  Here we return to that hard-working Precinct the 77th and its Paranormal Unit.  Animals are popping up all over and attacking people, animals that don’t exist in nature…like jackalopes.  There’s only one squad to do the investigating.  And since one of their own was on the scene of the first attack, that should help..right?

Officer Wolf is one of many great characters here.  An actual wolf cursed to be human, he’s dealing with his boyfriend’s unfriendly family, a new case he doesn’t understand, and a new vampire supervisor who’s confusing him. Jason Shen isn’t happy with any of those elements either.  The author is juggling one of the weirdest supernatural romances around (believably so), making us understand a wolf trying to understand human while being a wolf, and continuing an overall series arc that keeps getting more series all the time while maintaining its humorous elements.  And blowing our mind with her creativity while doing it.

Nothing like loving falling down the rabbit’s hole.

Once more the characters are outstanding, here we are dealing with an established couple having “normal” couple issues but with a supernatural twist, along with a case that has implications far beyond just the ones it seems to present.  Angel Martinez never does things simply narratively speaking. Jackalopes & Woofen-Poofs (Offbeat Crimes #5) and all the other stories in this series showcase that on a high worbly way! So there!

I’m addicted.  I admit it.  But these definitely aren’t stand alone stories.  You need to go to the first stories and start building your foundation knowledge of the beings/people/couples and overall series arc.  Trust me, you won’t want to miss out on a book once you’ve started.

Cover art by Posh Gosh works for the story elements.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 225 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by Pride Publishing
ISBN139781786516367
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Offbeat Crimes #5
setting Pennsylvania (United States)

A MelanieM Review: Feral Dust Bunnies (Offbeat Crimes #4) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

An orphaned kitten may be the only witness to romance and the impossible.

Officer Alex Wolf responds to a lot of ‘paranormal’ calls that aren’t. Exotic pet birds aren’t monsters and unusual dog breeds aren’t aliens. It’s a good thing he likes the animal control officers, but he both yearns for and dreads those calls where he runs into ACO Jason Shen. Jason’s scent is so delicious that Wolf has a difficult time humaning around him.

Animal control calls take a disturbing turn, though, when Wolf and his lizard-man partner, Krisk, discover the impossibly mummified bodies of rats and an unfortunate mother cat. The rescue of the cat’s sole surviving kitten not only gives Wolf more time with Jason, which is both perplexing and wonderful, but also leads to dangerous discoveries. Something inconceivable stalks the city and its officers of the law. Wolf has to figure out what it is before it can attack and drain the life from the people and the kitten he loves.

I should know by now that the cuter the title the scarier the story with this series and Angel Martinez.  I mean we started at Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters which laid down the universe and characters (book 1) and with each story after, the author has been ramping it up!  The monsters have been scarier, the romances more heartwarming, the couples and their various backgrounds far more fascinating and absorbing than it might appear on the surface…it just keeps getting better and better.  Next came giant pills bugs in space (The Pill Bugs of Time (Offbeat Crimes, #2).   Trust me, that’s something that doesn’t bear thinking about too closely.  Great story though.  Followed by two of my favorites, animated clothing in love (Hunter Green Pea Coat (Offbeat Crimes, #2.5) and the truly remarkable, almost unimaginable verse spitting flying books and a vampire with blood issues (Skim Blood and Savage Verse (Offbeat Crimes, #3).

Then Feral Dust Bunnies showed up. Be still my heart!  If I was one of those people who used emojis in their reviews, I’d be throwing them everywhere. Hearts and stuff. Why?  Because I loved this story.  First of all.  That title!  Hooked!  I always knew those suckers were alive!  Next up.  The characters.  Wolf and his  lizard partner Krisk were always mentioned in the other stories as being good if strange and uncommunicative officers of the 77th Precinct, the one that handles the offbeat and downright weird crimes.  Feral Dust Bunnies gives us the real insight into their partnership and Wolf’s background, and such a sad one it is.  He’s an actual wolf, cursed as a pup and turned into a human.  The full story is actually poignant as is his continuing attempts to navigate the human world through a wolf mind.  Martinez does an amazing job of making Wolf such a believable being.  We’re in his head and heart as he tries to work through the simplest of things as a grocery list which can still confound him yet have the great skill set to solve the most difficult of crimes.  He’s given an amazing foster mother to help him work through daily life tasks and be his support as well as a great friend and partner in Krisk whose story we’ve yet to hear.

In one awful event, two amazing things happen for him and the readers.  Wolf finds an orphaned kitten and he calls on the services of ACO Jason Chen, who makes Wolf want to lick him.  I tell you, these two characters (and yes Audacity the kitten is a full blown character) are almost beyond description they are that good!  Wolf’s  interaction with them, I want to say Audacity, but you really can’t leave Jason out of any of it, is intimate, tender, believable and will leave you with a hurt face, because you’re smiling too much over each scene.

Of course, Wolf is never alone.  His ‘pack’ is the other officers at the 77th Precinct and they figure largely in this story too.  Martinez treats them with all the love and care you would expect.  They may not get a lot of time on the page but when they show up, it’s as the fully fleshed out characters we know and love.  And sometimes laugh at or with.

In Feral Dust Bunnies, a villain we’ve only been getting hints about further solidifies here.  The plot thickens as a famous detective says and becomes even more frightening for everyone involved.   There’s another story with Wolf coming out  ~ Jackalopes & Woofen-Poofs (Offbeat Crimes, #5).  I’m on that like hotcakes!    Where do we go from there?  I have no idea. Quite frankly the author’s mind is a wild, imaginative and scary place.  I haven’t a clue where she’s taking us but I can’t wait to hop on board.  I may need my blankie and a kitten.  Plus a broom.

New to this series?  Start at the beginning and meet all the detectives at the 77th Precinct.  Watch them find love while solving some of the wildest cases you will ever read about.  The writing is excellent, the pace as fast as rollercoaster and the imagination of one Angel Martinez?  Out of this world!

Cover art by Posh Gosh is nice and I have to admit how do you do Feral Dust Bunnies?

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 115 pages
Published June 20th 2017 by Pride Publishing
Original TitleFeral Dust Bunnies
ISBN139781786515933
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Offbeat Crimes #4

Series:

A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Pill Bugs of Time (Offbeat Crimes #2) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

the-pill-bugs-of-timeRelationship and communication issues plague Officer Vikash Soren, but those are nothing compared to facing stick-throwing tumbleweeds, pill bugs and…time travel?

Vikash Soren, the perfect police officer except for his odd paranormal ability, never seems to lose his temper. Always serene and competent, he’s taken on the role of mediator in a squad room full of misfits. But on the inside, he’s a mess. Unable to tell his police partner that he loves him, Vikash struggles silently, terrified of losing Kyle as a lover, partner and friend.

But life in the 77th Precinct doesn’t leave much room for internal reflection. A confrontation with a stick-throwing tumbleweed in Fairmount Park leads to bizarre consequences involving pill bugs, statues and…time travel? If Vikash manages to survive the week and stay in one point in time, he might be able to address normal things like relationship problems. He just needs Kyle to have a little more patience. Maybe a few centuries’ worth.

Those wonderful oddball paranormal police officers of the 77th Precinct are back in their second crime novel, The Pill Bugs of Time (Offbeat Crimes #2) by Angel Martinez and I couldn’t be happier.  I first met up with them in the wildly offbeat and downright scrumptious Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters (Offbeat Crimes, #1) and now get to step back into that paranormal police squad and the romance of Kyle and Vikash to see what’s happened to them all.

Normal was something one left at the door when assigned to a paranormal police station. Officer Vikash Soren had seen that demonstrated the first time he had set foot inside the 77th. During roll call, the man who would later become his partner had accidentally shot fire from his fingers at the ceiling. Someone else’s fire, as it turned out. In the weeks that followed, he had encountered an animated leather jacket, worked with a vampire, a lizard man and various officers of dubious paranormal talents, and had helped stop the killing spree of an alligator snapping turtle the size of a sedan.

It would follow that nothing should surprise him anymore.

But when he walked into the squad room that morning, late due to a doctor’s appointment, his colleagues had gathered around the periphery of the room to watch Greg Santos in a fistfight with a puddle of water.

That’s how Chapter One starts as Vikash wanders over to the desk of his police partner/off duty lover, Kyle, as they also watch the morning’s events unfold.  All in all, pretty typical for them, hilarious for us…and oh thanks whoever for the marvel that is Angel Martinez’s twisty turny imagination. Because as great as the fight with the puddle of water?  That even better, “really, guys?” solution to it all.   Yep, I was home, smack dab right where I wanted to be.  Where just when you think it can’t get any stranger, then weird up and rides in the door sailing past a tumble weed made of post it notes who just happens to be called Tim.

Of course, there is a largely personal element looming over all the nuttiness here.  Vikash and Kyle’s new relationship is teetering on the edge of failure because of Vikash’s struggles with his own demons.  His fears have cost him relationships and jobs before but never has he really cared.  Now he does but  Vik doesn’t know how to break his pattern.  Its so familiar, this heartbreaking inability to break out of a pattern that’s become so infused, so self fulling that it may cost this man the love of his life. Martinez pulls us in so deeply into Vikash and Kyle’s confusion that we sometimes forget that Vik’s chasing after giant time traveling pill bugs with sentient leather jackets and vampires who find blood distasteful.  Ok, no we don’t.    But it makes everything else seem so perfectly part of their lives too.  Normal is overrated here.

Can’t forget about Kyle as he’s never far from Vikash’s life, thoughts and struggles of the heart.  Kyle’s pain is on the table too when Vik loses out to his fears and diminishes their relationship daily in small ways, all the while continuing their partnership as policer officers.

I think I love that so much. Layered, believable, characters like Vik and Kyle that fall in love, never have an easy time of it, and all while pursuing some of the most insanely creative and imaginative paranormal crime cases you will want to read about.  And while one case may be solved, the relationship just gets eased into the next stage of growth and all our wonderful cast of investigators proceeds forward anew…with some wonderfully great new additions as well.

I love Offbeat Crimes and The Pill Bugs of Time is a grand new story in this series.  Its all there.  Humor, wild adventures and love…Angel Martinez style! I can’t recommend them highly enough.  Grab this and the first story up today.

Cover art by Posh Gosh is the one branding the series.  It works.

Sales Links:

Pride Publishing

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Book Details:

ebook, Revamp Edition
Expected publication: September 20th 2016 by Pride Publishing (first published June 27th 2015)
ISBN139781786514721
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesOffbeat Crimes – add to your Goodreads shelf here:

Publisher’s Note: This book has previously been released elsewhere. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.

Pre-order Date: 9th August 2016
Available exclusively to Pride Publishing: 23rd August 2016
General Release Date: 20th September 2016

Its Release Day for The Pill Bugs of Time (Offbeat Crimes #2) by Angel Martinez (Guest Post)

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The Pill Bugs of Time (Offbeat Crimes #2) by Angel Martinez
Pride Publishing
Release Day: September 20

Cover Art by Posh Gosh

Buy It Here

Pride Publishing

7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have some of the Paranormal Officers from Offbeat Crimes and the 77th Precinct here to answer questions for our readers:

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Questions for Paranormal Officers: Time in a Bottle

We’re back with the officers of the 77th Precinct for another series of questions in the squad room. Actually, we’re amazed they let us come back…

If we could bottle time travel and put it up on a shelf so you could pick any period in history for your travels, what time would you choose?

Wolf (wolf cursed into human form): Before humans got here would be good.

Shira Lourdes (stress telekinetic): But then you’d still be human in a time when there aren’t any humans. Or would you, since there weren’t any? Maybe since there weren’t, you’d be a wolf again or—

Greg Santos (waterfowl empath): Shira, stop. Please. Time paradoxes give me a headache. If I had to pick a time? Maybe Ancient Egypt? That was a pretty cool time.”

Carrington Loveless III (skim-blood vampire): You’d have to be more specific, Greg. The Egyptian Dynasties covered over three thousand years.

Santos: Picky. Whenever they built the pyramids, then. I’d want to see that.

Loveless: I’ve actually thought about this—

Edgar (the neon raven): So fucking surprised! All of us!

Loveless: Thank you for the input, Edgar. As I said, I’ve thought about this, how I love the elegance of the Regency period or the excitement of the Renaissance, but then I think about how filthy and diseased those periods were. No vaccinations, no antibiotics, no proper medical facilities.

Amanda Zacchini (post-cognitive): Carr, you’re a vampire. You don’t have to worry about that crap.

Loveless: Sanitation-wise it was still awfully filthy.

Vance Virago (humidity-challenged firestarter): Damn it, why do you have to be such a fucking pansy vampire? We couldn’t get a badass one. Oh, no.

Zacchini: Carr’s pretty badass when he needs to be. Shut you pie hole, Vance. I’d wanna be a cowboy. You know, an Old West one.

Virago: Manda, you can’t be a cowboy! You don’t have a—

Jeff Gatling (apportation of fruit): Vance, seriously. You do not want to finish that sentence. Manda would be an awesome cowboy. Or a gunslinger, ’cause who always has the highest firing range scores? I think I’d want the forties. After the war. I could be a private detective in LA. Humphrey Bogart. Jake Gittes. That kind of thing.

Kyle Monroe (talent absorber) calls out from the back of the room: Forget it, Jeff; it’s Chinatown!

Gatling: Funny guy.

Vikash Soren (unclassified paranormal talent): I think I like the idea of seeing where we’re going instead of where we’ve been. Some point in the future. Provided the Earth is still inhabitable.

Monroe: Make sure you take your zombie-hunting gun. Never know, right? I think I’d go medieval. Yeah, yeah, I know, Carr, disease and filth. But some pretty cool stuff going on. People learning stuff again, figuring shit out.

Soren: And people were shorter then.

Monroe: True—hey! Shut up.

Blurb

the-pill-bugs-of-timeRelationship and communication issues plague Officer Vikash Soren, but those are nothing compared to facing stick-throwing tumbleweeds, pill bugs and…time travel?

Vikash Soren, the perfect police officer except for his odd paranormal ability, never seems to lose his temper. Always serene and competent, he’s taken on the role of mediator in a squad room full of misfits. But on the inside, he’s a mess. Unable to tell his police partner that he loves him, Vikash struggles silently, terrified of losing Kyle as a lover, partner and friend.

But life in the 77th Precinct doesn’t leave much room for internal reflection. A confrontation with a stick-throwing tumbleweed in Fairmount Park leads to bizarre consequences involving pill bugs, statues and…time travel? If Vikash manages to survive the week and stay in one point in time, he might be able to address normal things like relationship problems. He just needs Kyle to have a little more patience. Maybe a few centuries’ worth.

Publisher’s Note: This book has previously been released elsewhere. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.

Pre-order Date: 9th August 2016
Available exclusively to Pride Publishing: 23rd August 2016
General Release Date: 20th September 2016

 

Offbeat Crimes series