We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen #bookreview #blogtour #scifi

An extraordinary and emotional adventure about unlikely friends and the power of choosing who you want to be.

Jamie woke up in an empty apartment with no memory and only a few clues to his identity, but with the ability to read and erase other people’s memories—a power he uses to hold up banks to buy coffee, cat food and books.

Zoe is also searching for her past, and using her abilities of speed and strength…to deliver fast food. And she’ll occasionally put on a cool suit and beat up bad guys, if she feels like it.

When the archrivals meet in a memory-loss support group, they realize the only way to reveal their hidden pasts might be through each other. As they uncover an ongoing threat, suddenly much more is at stake than their fragile friendship. With countless people at risk, Zoe and Jamie will have to recognize that sometimes being a hero starts with trusting someone else—and yourself.

I was on the fence about requesting this book, but how can you not like a guy who robs banks (they’re insured!) to pay for cat food, books, and coffee? I also enjoyed Chen’s character-driven, postapocalyptic book, A Beginning at the End.

Some Twitter talk gave me the impression this book was more humorous than it actually is – in the majority of it, anyway. I chuckled a few times in the first couple chapters – then it takes a more serious tone – but the last thirty percent upped my rating to four stars. That’s when I really fell for these characters and their ride or die friendship (which started out nowhere close to that level).

Both Jamie and Zoe possess superhero powers, their origin a mystery. They have big blanks in their memories, and each of them awoke two years ago in separate strange rooms with no idea of who they were or how they got there. Taking on hero and villain personas, they only know each other as Throwing Star and Mind Robber, although Zoe isn’t your typical hero and Jamie certainly isn’t a supervillain. Both are wonderfully flawed, and their lives are messy. Once they decide working together will get them more answers about their pasts, much of the story is spent on that quest.

Don’t expect any jaw-dropping revelations to fall from the sky. It’s relatively easy to figure out what’s going on before the characters do. At around the seventy percent mark, the story takes an unexpected turn and, for me anyway, that’s when it becomes somewhat humorous. The overall message is that anyone can be a hero or a villain – it’s how you choose to use your powers and live your life that makes a difference in the world. With some fun action scenes, impressive character growth, and a strong theme of friendship, We Could Be Heroes is a satisfying read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Mike Chen is the author of Here And Now And Then (a finalist for Goodreads Choice – Best Sci-Fi, CALIBA Golden Poppy, and the Compton Crook Award) and A Beginning At The End (“a brilliant, fragile path through the darkness” — Library Journal). His short fiction is featured in Star Wars: From A Certain Point Of View — The Empire Strikes Back, and he has covered geek culture for sites such as Tor.com, The Mary Sue, and StarTrek.com. In a previous life, he covered the NHL for Fox Sports, SB Nation, and other outlets. A member of SFWA, Mike lives in the Bay Area with his wife, daughter, and rescue animals. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @mikechenwriter

Viral Blues (The Hat #2) by C.S. Boyack #bookreview #superheroes #paranormal

Someone knows about the hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against the creatures of darkness.

They are summoned to a cryptic meeting with a secret society, where they meet other people with enhanced skills. It turns out someone, or something, has been tampering with the world’s vaccine supply. The goal doesn’t appear to be political or financial, but biblical pestilence.

Can this group of loners come together in time to make a difference when even the proper authorities are obstacles?

Check out Viral Blues, for your dose of paranormal adventure, with a strong sample of dark humor. And in recent superhero style, don’t miss the secret last chapter after the back material.

Avengers Assemble!

Okay – maybe they’re not the real Avengers, but these characters are still a talented team fighting for the same cause, each bringing a different skill set to the table.  Although I wasn’t as familiar with a couple of characters, I’d had such fun reading about Lizzie and the Hat in the first book, knew Lisa (one of my favs) from the author’s blog, and adored Clovis (love his style) and his dog from The Playground.  With such a stellar collection of characters, I had high expectations for this novel – and Boyack didn’t disappoint.  The addition of zombies (I’m a big fan) to the story just made it even better.

With a touch of the paranormal, witty and amusing dialogue, thrilling action scenes, and a cast of lively characters, Viral Blues is a rousing adventure I highly recommend.  Once you’ve finished, you’ll be anxious to check out each character in their previous books.

Vengeful (Villians #2) by V.E. Schwab #bookreview #UrbanFantasy #superheroes

The sequel to VICIOUS, V.E. Schwab’s first adult novel.

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

The time between the release of Vicious, book one in this series, and the followup spans five years – I admit, I forgot some things.  But Vicious was a 5 star read for me, and I couldn’t wait to see what became of Eli and Victor.  I’m just a little late finding out (so many books!).

Victoria Schwab is an auto buy author for me, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her several times at book festivals and signings.  Reading her novels, I know to expect wildly creative world-building, living, breathing characters (to me, anyway), and quotable lines that should be on t-shirts, jewelry, posters, etc. (and have been).  Her Shades of Magic fantasy series will forever be among my favorites.

This series is just as addictive.  I loved spending time with these characters again, as well as some new ones.  Marcella is as compelling a character as Eli and Victor.  She has some wonderful scenes and has no problem holding her own against both of them.

If you’re a fan of superheroes, especially X-Men, and morally ambiguous characters, you can’t go wrong with this series.  I’m only sorry it took me this long to get to Vengeful.

 

#BadMoonRising: Viral Blues (The Hat #2) by C.S. Boyack #paranormal #superheroes

I’ve got a surprise for you today.  Bad Moon Rising authors always have the option to do the usual interview or an alternate format of their choice.  And that’s what today’s author has done.  If you’re familiar with author C.S. Boyack, you know Lisa Burton does a lot of promotion for him – and Lisa’s in the house today!  She’s the coolest robot girl you’ll ever meet.  Now, I’ll turn things over to her.

Hi, Teri. This is Lisa Burton. Craig asked me to drop by for his version of Bad Moon Rising. You said you were open to alternate versions of the process, and you should never tell Craig that.

We’re both touring around with his newest book, “Viral Blues.” This one is a team up story involving some of his previous characters. I am honored to be one of them.

The story began as a sequel to “The Hat.” This is his best selling and highest reviewed title. It’s going to become a series, but it’s one of those that features the same characters in new tales, and not the kind where you have to read the previous books to enjoy the story.

He told me you’d be excited to know Clovis is in this story, too.

Dr. Greybill sends Lizzie and The Hat a cryptic invitation to a secret meeting at her creepy old mansion. Someone is tampering with the nation’s vaccine supply. Turns out our little group are not alone in this world. I may be the only robot girl, but there are others who have skills beyond regular humans, and that feels kind of nice.

We have to chase down the criminals behind all this, while dodging the Federal Authorities who might not appreciate the help.

Viral Blues is dark humor, and we all get a moment or two in the spotlight. I’m sharing a small excerpt where we’re fighting one of two different kinds of zombies that appear in the book:

Clovis blocked the female as she stepped from the opposite direction. His hand shot to her throat while she clacked her jaws. He threw her to his left, but the rotten corpse failed. The spine came loose, and left the neck bones and head snapping at Clovis’s wrist.

Lizzie stuck her pistol against the zombie’s temple and pulled the trigger. Brains splattered the nearby leaves, and oozed down Clovis’s arm.

He dropped the mess and pulled both his .45s.

“Stand tough, everyone,” the hat said. “There could be dozens of them.” He rotated the face to the rear to watch Lizzie’s back.

They waited an eternity, but no more zombies approached. The hat holstered his revolver. “We’re done here. They would have come to the light and the noise.”

Clovis flicked his wrist to get the gore off, finally wiping his hands on some leafy branches.

Lisa held out a small plastic bottle. “Purell?”

***

Hand sanitizer is important when dealing with deadly viruses that could wipe everyone out. I also brought along a promotional poster for you to share with your readers.

 

I look like a total badass in this one, and I hope your readers will enjoy it, too. It makes a great Halloween background for your phones, and it makes for a great Pinterest pin, too. (Craig made me say that last part.)

Viral Blues makes for fun Halloween reading, and I hope your readers will give it a chance. I’ll also drop a link for “The Hat,” just in case anyone wants to check it out.

Viral Blues: http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B07XVTSYYV
The Hat: http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B078YYCNSF

Someone knows about the hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against the creatures of darkness.

They are summoned to a cryptic meeting with a secret society, where they meet other people with enhanced skills. It turns out someone, or something, has been tampering with the world’s vaccine supply. The goal doesn’t appear to be political or financial, but biblical pestilence.

Can this group of loners come together in time to make a difference when even the proper authorities are obstacles?

Check out Viral Blues, for your dose of paranormal adventure, with a strong sample of dark humor. And in recent superhero style, don’t miss the secret last chapter after the back material.

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