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[Book Review] Venomoid By J.A. Kossler & Starbucks Komodo Dragon Blend

Venomoid BY J.A. KosslerTitle: Venomoid
Series/Universe: The Night Code Saga: Book One
Author: J.A. Kossler
Publisher: Magnus Books/Riverdale Ave Books
Publication date: June 14th 2014
Page Count: 280 pages
Age Rating: Young Adult & UP (language, blood, violence, and gore)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received a copy to review
Publisher’s page: Venomoid

In the first novel in this m/m young adult paranormal series, all supernatural creatures are governed by the IPO, a secret police force that ensures vampires, zombies, and others follow all required public safety regulations. Among the officers is seventeen-year-old Lorin, the IPO’s most skilled cadet. His co-workers distrust him, however, and in extreme cases barely tolerate him. As a vampire, he must follow the rules–including turning a blind eye to the IPO’s practice of torturing prisoners–or face death by sunlight exposure.

On one intense dragon-hunting mission, Lorin encounters Lex, a handsome but flesh-eating paranormal who is quickly intrigued by the young vampire. Lorin fears this hunter, but as an unexpected friendship unfolds between the two, an even more unlikely romance blossoms. The problem is Lex is on the IPO’s radar, and when they capture him for scientific experimentation, Lorin must risk his life to overthrow the organization he’s always feared in order to save his love.

About the author: J.A. Kossler is the founder and owner of Explorer Games, a company that creates and manages a collection of online computer games. Among them is, a colorful world full of fantasy creatures, and, a genetics game based on breeding winged cats. Both websites’ communities—tens of thousands of members—are primarily young adults, and have expressed interest in their administrator’s work. When not writing or working, J.A. likes drawing, conceptualizing new games, and taking care of dozens of pet snakes.

My Review

Seventeen-year-old vampire Lorin has been an operative for the International Paranormal Organization, a human-run agency that studies paranormals and regulates their behavior, for the last four years, and under the organization’s watchful eye since he was turned into a vampire at the age of ten. Now weeks from his eighteenth birthday, the IPO board member are keeping an even closer eye on him, and Lorin lives in fear of stepping even a hair out of line least he gives them an excuse to torture or kill him – something the IPO does to other paranormals on a daily basis.

While on a mission for the IPO, Lorin meets Lex, a charming “zombie” who eats human flesh to survive. The two boys have an immediate, intense connection that takes them quickly from friends to much much more. Lorin has always felt uneasy about the way the IPO treats paranormals, but it’s Lex’s capture and torture by the organization and it’s scientists that finally gives him the push he needs to stand up against the IPO board members and prove to anyone who will listen just who the real monsters are.

It takes skill to have the main character’s love interest be someone who eats human flesh, and yet still make them a likable, sympathetic character, but Venomoid manages to pull it off (yeah, I was surprised myself, because, you know – ewww). Lex is actually very charming and protective of Lorin and he’s a very loving, affectionate boyfriend – who just happens to need to feast on the flesh of the living from time to time to keep from going mad. He and Lorin are very sweet together and I loved the romance between the two teens. The zombie and vampire’s romantic interactions are very sweet as well, not really going past kisses and light caresses (although Lorin’s passionate, euphoric reaction to having his fangs touched comes across as a stand-in for other kinds of touches, if you know what I mean).

This book is pretty much all action and romance, if a scene wasn’t awash with heart eyes and tender embraces, then rest assured someone was getting their butt kicked. This made for a very eventful book and I liked how it balanced out. I found the idea of a teenage boy, even if he was a highly-trained vampire operative, pretty much single-handedly (more or less) taking down a huge military organization like the IPO kind of far-fetched, but hey, it worked.

Overall, I liked this book. I found it interesting, I liked the unique pairing of a vampire and a zombie, and I enjoyed the balance of romance and action. I would love to see what happens next for Lorin and Lex and will definitely check out the next book in the series.

It’s on a mission to procure a dragon egg that Lorin meets Lex. The dragon that hatches from that egg imprints on Lorin and – voila – Lorin has a new pet baby dragon (he names her Lily and it’s adorable!). In honor of Lorin’s little dragon buddy, I recommend Starbucks Komodo Dragon Blend – a fantastic dark roast with a nice spicy, earthy flavor.

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