Thursday, June 22, 2017

Happy Release: That Crazy Perfect Someday by Michael Mazza

That Crazy Perfect Someday
by Michael Mazza
-Women's Fiction, Sports
Amazon | Goodreads

The year is 2024. Climate change has altered the world's wave patterns. Drones crisscross the sky, cars drive themselves, and surfing is a new Olympic sport. Mafuri Long, UCSD marine biology grad, champion surfer, and only female to dominate a record eighty-foot wave, still has something to prove. Having achieved Internet fame, along with sponsorship from Google and Nike, she's intent on winning Olympic gold. But when her father, a clinically depressed former Navy captain and widower, learns that his beloved supercarrier, the USS Hillary Rodham Clinton, is to be sunk, he draws Mafuri into a powerful undertow. Conflicts compound as Mafuri's personal life comes undone via social media, and a vicious Aussie competitor levels bogus doping charges against her. Mafuri forms an unlikely friendship with an awkward teen, a Ferrari-driving professional gamer who will prove to be her support and ballast. Authentic, brutal, and at times funny, Mafuri lays it all out in a sprightly, hot-wired voice. From San Diego to Sydney, Key West, and Manila, That Crazy Perfect Someday goes beyond the sports/surf cliché to explore the depths of sorrow and hope, yearning and family bonds, and the bootstrap power of a bold young woman climbing back into the light.

EXCERPT:

Google “Mafuri Long.”

Click video.

And voila!

That’s me, surfing the monster of all waves—an eighty-foot beast. I’m like a tiny knife slicing through a gigantic wall of blue that’s rearing up behind me, a total H2O Everest. Scale? Picture me standing next to an eight-story building. In 2023, I became the first “chick” to win the Nike XX Big Wave Classic: one of the few women in history to surf a wave that big, the only one to do it officially. I followed Daddy’s advice before we left the dock for the open sea. “Don’t ride that horse with half your ass,” he said, sending me off with a fist bump. “Go after it, cowgirl.”

The freaky part is that the wave is a hundred miles off the San Diego coast in the middle of nowhere. The surf spot’s called the Cortes Bank, where the fish around you are the size of Volkswagens and very big things can swallow you whole. The only way out there is in a decent-size boat, and the only way to be saved after a serious wipeout is to be rescued by that decent-size boat or plucked up by a Coast Guard helicopter, which one big-wave legend experienced firsthand after a three-wave hold-down. The bank sits just under the water and can kick up epic hundred-footers. It’s one of the biggest, scariest waves in the world, and I mastered it: little five foot three sandy-haired me.

You’d usually have to wait until winter for a wave like that, but weather patterns are so crazy with the globe heating up the last few decades, it’s monumental—like, who can predict? I had no clue how ginormous the wave was. I mean, nobody anticipated it—not my surf coach, the safety team, the other surfers, or the pilots in the choppers circling above—but a tiny voice inside and the never-ending elevator ride up confirmed it was going to be borderline cataclysmic. When the wave hit its peak, I was staring down a seventy-five-foot vertical drop, fear shrieking inside me. Ride or die, that’s what I thought. Like, seriously, flinch on a wave like that and it’s bye-bye girly-girl. I went supersonic after that, faster than I had ever gone before, my legs feeling the board’s feedback full force, completely in the zone, focused, the entire ocean an angry fist beneath me . . . Then I pulled out of the wave.

When the video hit social, it ping-ponged around the world, out into space, and back again, sending up a collective girl-power supercheer, pretty much locking up a ton of cash in surf-sponsorships and placing me on every news feed from here to Alice Springs. Jax—that's what people call my dad—says I have a gift. He says he noticed it the first time I stood up on a wave in Sendai, Japan, back when I was five and we were surfing together, years before that tsunami leveled the place.

The sponsorship money let me set my marine biology degree aside for a while. I couldn't find a job in the field anyway. Let me restate that: I was offered one at SeaLand San Diego straight out of UCSD, basically to put on a carnival show with a thirteenth-generation orca after her act was reintroduced, but I passed because that isn't science, and a creature like that should be ambushing seals out in the ocean and not squeaking for mackerel treats in a man-made swimming pool for some spoiled kids' amusement. So the money lets me spend my days training, and my eyes are on the big prize when the Olympics begin on August 4.

© 2017 Michael Mazza, with permission from Turtle Point Press

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Black Bullet by L.D. Rose

Black Bullet
by L.D. Rose

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Published: 2016
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
ebook
Rating: 3

The Order of the Senary series:
Releasing the Demons
Black Butler
Beautiful Liar - tba in 2017

First sentence(s):
Oh God, the pain.
Being torn limb from limb, cracking down the middle, shattering into pieces, his blood boing in his veins and his organs twisting in this belly. Shards of glass hammered into his eyes, wave after wave of agony crashing over him, and he roared, his howls filling the enclosed space around him.

Zombie sighting:
Blaze chuckled and glanced up at Jon. "Well, Look who it is. The walking dead."
-chapter 4

Fledgling vampire Jonathan Kerr has just met his match.

Not even his past life as a former Marine and FBI agent could prepare him for the battle against the monster inside him, struggling to take hold. After an old nemesis of the Senary surfaces in Brooklyn, unleashing chaos and terror in the battered borough, Jon sets out to take him down. Instead, he ends up with far more than he bargained for when he clashes with the beautiful half-vampire hybrid, Lawan Knight.

After escaping near death and suffering unspeakable horror at the hands of vampires, Lawan trusts no one, regardless of species. In between bouts of drunken stupor, her only goal is to exterminate all those who've wronged her, including every member of Jon's vampire bloodline. But Jon's soulful eyes and quick smile crawls under her skin, transforming her black and white world into a hazy shade of gray.

As the days rapidly grow darker, Jon and Lawan turn to one another, but their inner demons threaten to tear them apart. The only way either of them will survive is if they overcome their greatest fear--

Love.


My two-bits:

This novel continues the main storyline of romance and action in a paranormal world involving mostly vampires, hybrids and leeches.

Characters from the previous novel are spotlighted while others have minor roles in the background.

Along with the usual push and pull of the start of love relationships, the couple here must also deal with the struggles that involve battles with evil beings.

Includes: guns and a fierce cat


~*~

* review copy courtesy of author

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Happy release: Lady of the Tarot by Juli D. Revezzo

Lady of the Tarot
(Reign of Tarot Book 2)
by Juli D. Revezzo
narrated by Christina Marie Morris (audio version)
-Historical, Gothic, France
Amazon | Goodreads | Audible

What the cards foretell may be real, after all

1793: Having escaped the Reign of Terror, Emilie Maigny took refuge in England, trying to come to grips with the life and loss she left behind. When her brother, Sinjon, returns, a terrifying evil swoops down upon her. Nightmares plague her now, providing strange clues...but to what?

Scottish-born Linton Morrison spent his entire life in luxury, whiling away the hours in intense study of the tarot and the cards' hidden meanings, but until he met the lovely Emilie Maigny, he would never have guessed how important his study might be - to his life and Emilie's survival when terrible evil strikes.

A Cypher is all Emilie needs, but what is it? Is Linton the key? He may charm her heart - and he may be her only salvation.



Excerpt: from Chapter two

The curricle rushed down a country lane but the driver pulled their horses to a sudden stop. Emilie’s nerves accelerated. Would she ever stop shaking? Her fear made her borrowed wool dress itch even more.

Her aunt clutched her hand. “Courage, ma chère.”

“Tante, what’s happening?”

The carriage driver spoke to someone and Emilie peeked out the window, wondering with whom he conversed. A man approached in dark cape and hat. Handsome, but a stranger, and Emilie wasn’t sure she trusted strangers anymore.
“Tante, who’s he?” she asked.

“I don’t know.”

He opened the door and Emilie cowered in the corner. Did she detect a hint of gunpowder in the air?

“Come on now,” the stranger said. She didn’t recognize his accent. “We haven’t got all night.”

“Who…who are you?”

The carriage driver appeared behind him and Emilie’s heart slipped back where it belonged.

“Captain Bartram,” the carriage driver said. “He’s going to take you to safety, Mademoiselle. Monsieur Richard arranged it.”

Wary, she hesitated.

“Do I have to carry you over my shoulder, Miss?” Captain Bartram said. His gaze flitted over her. “I don’t think many would believe you a sack of potatoes, but all right.”

Emilie held out her hand in a halting gesture. “Prove to me who you are.”

His eyes darkened. “Your father and I are well acquainted.”

How horrid could he be if he was one of Père’s colleagues?

“All right,” she said and stepped down, then coaxed her aunt to follow. He hustled them to a waiting cart, and when Tante Collette settled, he helped Emilie up. However, he didn’t make a further move, but stood at the foot of the cart, studying her.

Fear gripped her throat. “Is something wrong, monsieur?”

“I don’t believe,” the man said, “we ever discussed payment.”

“What the devil?” her aunt said. “My husband said you agreed to take us. He never discussed payment, monsieur.”

He smiled at her. “Perhaps so, but I won’t go anywhere, unless—”

“Unless what?”

Tante’s eyes grew wide and she pulled up her skirt, ripped the hem, and offered him a gemstone bracelet she’d earlier sewn inside. “Take it and be damned!”

“No, that won’t do.” The man laughed a little. “I prefer the little miss give me a kiss.”

“What?”

Was he serious?

“Now see here!” Tante raged.

Emilie blinked. Kiss him? He was handsome with strangely beautiful dark eyes, pristinely dressed, and debonair. Surely, a gentleman and yet…

Perhaps if they’d met at a dance back home, and after attending a dance or two together, she might—might— consider it. But here? Now? She didn’t know him!

He shrugged and turned his back. “Suit yourself. Good luck, mes dames.”

If the choices stood between sitting here and facing who knew what horror, and a kiss? Emilie took a deep breath. “Agreed,” she said.

She leaned off the end of the cart and gave him the kiss he asked for, quick and demure, on a cheek that hadn’t seen a razor in at least two days.

“Can we go now?” she asked.

His dark eyes studied hers and something smoldered there she didn’t know how to name. Or maybe, right now, she didn’t want to know its name. A smile dawned across his face.

“That will have to do,” he said. He held up a length of tarp piled on the cart’s floor. “Get under here and try not to squirm. Give or take a stop, we should reach the coast with no trouble.”

Emilie pulled the tarp up, and folded her aunt’s hand in hers. “Don’t worry,” she said. “We’ll be all right.”
“How can you be sure? How can you trust his word?”

Emilie peeked over, watching him take the carriage driver’s place and send him in an opposite direction. “I don’t know, but who else can we trust?”

About the author:

Juli D. Revezzo loves fantasy and Celtic mythology and writing stories with all kinds of fantastical elements. She is the author of the historical romances, House of Dark Envy, Watchmaker's Heart, and Lady of the Tarot, the Antique Magic paranormal series and Celtic Stewards Chronicles series and more. She is also a member of the Independent Author Network and the Magic Appreciation Tour.

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Release: Perfectly Oblivious by Robin Daniels

Perfectly Oblivious
by Robin Daniels
-Humor, YA
Just released: May 31, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

Cameron Bates (Cam) could have almost any girl at Franklin High School…except for the one he wants. Unfortunately Bebe seems to be immune to his flirty charm and good looks, which means one of two things: a) she’s completely oblivious to how he feels, or b) she’s just not into him. If that’s the case, declaring his love would be disastrous for their friendship.

Bianca Barnes (Bebe) has a huge problem: the universe hates her. Every time she admits feelings for a boy, he ends up falling for her sweet, popular, and beautiful sister Beth. To avoid a broken heart, Bebe has sworn herself to secrecy. Nobody can know how she feels about Cam…Ever!

Neither person wants to confess their feelings, but the universe has its own plan. Out of the blue, Bebe is courted by a secret admirer. Cam has to step up his game and Bebe has to make a choice. Play it safe and accept the affections of her mystery man or challenge fate and take a chance on the boy she loves.

Content Description: This is a stand-alone YA contemporary romance with companion novels to follow. It contains minor language, innuendo, crude humor and steamy tension but is generally very clean. No sex. Recommended for ages 12 and up.


TEASER:

I’d hoped to catch the new kid’s attention by shooting some hoops on the driveway next to his. But after five minutes of flawless shots, his face was still hiding under his hat and his eyes hadn’t left that stupid phone. I wasn’t desperate enough to go talk to him (Ok, I almost was) so I devised a plan to get his attention in a more subtle way.

On my next shot, I intentionally hit the backboard so the ball would bounce off and roll toward him. If he’d seen that shot, I’d have been super embarrassed. I’d never want anyone to think I sucked that bad. But, as luck would have it, embarrassment was not in my cards. Mortification was a better word for what had happened. The missed shot that was supposed to bounce somewhere in his general vicinity was alarmingly accurate. It beaned him in the side of the head, knocking his cap off.

“What the hell?” he grumbled as he rubbed his head and shot a dirty glance in my direction. Oops. Not quite the first impression I was hoping to make. So much for subtle.

“Sorry.” I offered a quick apology, then ran to fetch my ball from the street. I made it back to the driveway, and he strolled over. Now that his baseball cap was off, I could see that he was pretty stinking cute. He had light-brown hair that was long enough to be messed up from wearing his hat but short enough not to stick out under the sides. His blue eyes sparkled (yes, I know how cheesy that sounds, but there is no other way to describe them), and he had a cute button nose. I must have admired him a little too long because he cleared his throat and smirked, revealing the most adorable dimples.

Crap, crap, crappity-crap. He totally realized I was checking him out. Play it cool, Bianca, play it cool…

“Hey,” was all I could manage. I gave him a head nod. Great; in my attempt not to look desperate, I managed to look like a loser instead.

“You play ball?” he asked, a cocky smirk plastered to his face.

“It would seem so. Seeing as I’m standing here, under a basketball hoop, holding a ball of the basket variety.” That’s good, Bianca; go for snarky. Maybe he’ll forget the moony eyes he caught you making at him.

The new kid snorted. His cocky smirk morphed into a cocky smile. “Well then, I propose a deal. I challenge you to a game of PIG. If you can beat me, I promise to pretend that I don’t know you purposely tanked that shot as an excuse to talk to me.”

My eyes bugged and my jaw dropped for a moment before I was able to regain my composure. So that’s how he was going to play it?

“Hmmm…” I pretended to think as I brought my finger to my lips. “Then I guess if I win, I promise to forget that you’re a conceited ass.”

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing
by Yaa Gyasi
narrated by Dominic Hoffman

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Published: 2016
Publisher: Knopf
Genre: Historican, Literary, African American
Hardback: 320
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
The night Effia Otcher was born into the musky heat of Fanteland, a fire raged through the woods just outside her father's compound.

The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.

Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.


My two-bits:

From the 1800s to present, perspectives of both the African and African American experiences are portrayed through various characters.

Beautifully written with references to past histories, spirits and folk tales.


~*~

* Listened to audiobook version.

* Winner of the NBCC's John Leonard First Book Prize
A New York Times 2016 Notable Book
One of Oprah’s 10 Favorite Books of 2016
NPR's Debut Novel of the Year
One of Buzzfeed's Best Fiction Books Of 2016
One of Time's Top 10 Novels of 2016, Winner of 2017 PEN Hemingway award for debut fiction.

* part of Tournament of Books 2017 (here)

 
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