Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Darkest Promise by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Promise
by Gena Showalter

Find out more about this book and author:
Pinterest | Twitter

Just released: June 13, 2017
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Hardback: 432
Rating: 3

Lords of the Underworld series:
The Darkest Fire (bonus story)
The Darkest Night-- Maddox (Violence)
The Darkest Kiss -- Lucien (Death)
The Darkest Pleasure -- Reyes (Pain)
*The Darkest Prison -- Atlas and Nike (bonus story)
The Darkest Whisper -- Sabin (Doubt)
The Darkest Angel found in the anthology Heart of Darkness -- Lysander and Bianka
Into the Dark-- a compendium of The Darkest Fire and The Darkest Prison printed inside, plus the original The Darkest Facts
The Darkest Passion -- Aeron (Wrath)
The Darkest Lie -- Gideon (Lies)
The Darkest Secret -- Amun (Secrets)
The Darkest Surrender -- Strider (Defeat)
The Darkest Seduction -- Paris (Promiscuity)
The Darkest Craving -- Kane (Disaster)
The Darkest Touch -- Torin (Disease)
The Darkest Torment -- Baden (Distrust)
The Darkest Promise -- Cameo (Misery)

First sentence(s):
Like Alice on her way to Wonderland, Cameo, host to the demon of Misery, tumbled end over end down a long, dark cavern.

Possessed by the demon of Misery, Cameo isn't allowed to experience joy. If she dares, her memory is wiped clean. With no other recourse, she sneaks into a land more fantastical than any fairy tale, determined to find the one man with the key to her redemption.

Lazarus the Cruel and Unusual rules his kingdom with a single unwavering focus: to build his army and annihilate his enemies. Nothing distracts him—until Cameo. He is relentless in his quest to make her smile…and seduce her into his bed.

As dark forces conspire against them, threatening to destroy the fragile bond they've forged, the once-calm Lazarus grows crazed. Every heart-stopping kiss and wicked touch causes Cameo to teeter on the brink of happiness. But if she falls, she risks forgetting him forever…

My two-bits:

The story takes you into the underworld with its own set of beings wielding various powers.

The romance moves slowly forward with lots of back and forth of "should i / should i not" vibes which kind of got frustrating.

Of course being otherworldly creatures, their individual set of problems aside from the usual stirrings of lust and love come into play for much conflict and difficulties for the couple.


* review copy courtesy of tour

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Happy release: Life Would Suck Without You by Jennifer Preuss

Life Would Suck Without You
A Girlfriend Memoir
by Jennifer Preuss
-Memoir, Humor
Just released: May 16, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

When life makes no sense, and the world is going straight to hell, a girl knows she can count on her best friends

There are all types of friends. Rich friends. Poor friends. Fair weather friends—and then there are Best Friends—your BFF’s. Meet Jennifer, a wannabe soap opera star, new to LA and waiting tables in Century City. She makes three new friends, and they turn out to be inseparable.

Together they go from one hilarious adventure to another; crashing concerts and movie star bars, lingerie shopping, and laughing about men’s shortcomings, all revealed through the razor-sharp, self-deprecating humor of the author. Life is good, even laugh-out-loud funny, and Jen discovers the real meaning of friendship. But when life throws them a cruel curve ball, which rocks them to their very core . . . is friendship enough?

Life Would Suck Without You is a feel-good story that will make you laugh and cry, Jennifer Preuss’s comical and heartwarming book tells the tale of an inseparable group of four women who navigate their 20s and 30s, dealing with life, death and all the things in between.


Chapter One

Perhaps I should back up a little bit. I moved to Los Angeles from Philadelphia, by way of Miami for college, to be a soap opera star. Yes, that’s right. Most people who want to act dream of being a movie star or landing on a sitcom. Not me. I wanted to be on General Hospital. The year was 1999. My first job was waiting tables at Houston’s Restaurant in the Century City Mall.

“Full hands out!” That’s what we shouted as we exited the kitchen at the Century City Houston’s Restaurant. That meant we didn’t have an empty hand to take anything out for anyone to his or her tables. There were so many rules you needed to know at this restaurant. It was unlike any other waiting tables job I had ever had. I worked at many restaurants as a hostess and server since I was sixteen. Very much a people person, I loved interacting with my customers. Only they weren’t customers at Houston’s. They were my guests. No. They were the restaurants’ guests and me, nothing but a humble servant. It was my first week without shadowing a trainer, and it was overwhelming, to say the least.

We only had a three-table section. This should be easy. In college, I had six, sometimes seven tables in my section and I prided myself on my excellent service. But Houston’s was unlike any other restaurant I had ever worked. It was run like the military. I will never forget ordering someone’s lunch on the computer and hyperventilating because I had to get drinks to table 33, a “guest request” to someone not in my section (still my responsibility, though), and ring in a long order with more modifications than ingredients. As I tried to run out of the kitchen to get the guest request to the table, the manager shoved two plates in my hand reminding me not to leave the kitchen without full hands. When I arrived at my table, they yelled at me for not having their drinks. I promised to check on them.

“This might sound silly, but I can get back here much faster if you give me your empty bread plates to carry to the kitchen,” I said. They looked at me like I was insane as I grabbed the untouched plates so I could have “full hands in” and made my way back to the kitchen. A manager stopped me and would not let me into the kitchen because I did not have FULL hands! Bread plates or “tip plates” as they were called, were small enough to grab other things. I scurried around the restaurant trying to find plates that needed clearing so I could get back to the drink area to make sure my drinks were going out to my table. I was so overwhelmed. I wasn’t sure how much more of this I could take. Maybe I wasn’t cut out to wait tables in Los Angeles? I found a few more big plates to clear and got back to the kitchen. When I put the plates down, I started crying. Like “ugly girl” crying.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Lovely Books and Things - 6.24.17

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Stacking the Shelves (details)
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)


Neglected to post last weekend as it was time to retrieve the young one from the college dorm. So nice to have the kid home again.

Lots of review books came in over the last two weeks. I am set for the next couple months.

And yet, I still request and pickup books from the library ;-)


For Review:

Lady of the Tarot
(Reign of Tarot Book 2)
by Juli D. Revezzo
-Historical, Gothic, France
audio version
courtesy of author -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads | Audible

THIS is a download from audible.com. It is my first experience using this service.

The Darkest Promise
by Gena Showalter
-Paranormal, Romance
courtesy of tour by BookSparks - Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

THE paranormal romance reading continues this month with this latest. Also, another first for me... although I have mentioned Gena in a previous post regarding her Alice in Wonderland zombie series, I have yet to read her works.

That Crazy Perfect Someday
by Michael Mazza
-Women's Fiction, Sports
courtesy of Wunderkind -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

THE surfing aspect of this story is what caught my attention.

Perfectly Oblivious
by Robin Daniels
-YA, Humor
courtesy of author -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

THE premise for this sounds really cute.

The Baller
A Down and Dirty Football Novel
by Vi Keeland
-New Adult, Romance
courtesy of Romance Read-of-the-Month Club -Thanks!
BarnesNoble | Goodreads

AHHH, so behind with my romance book club reading.

Life Would Suck Without You
A Girlfriend Memoir
by Jennifer Preuss
-Memoir, Humor
courtesy of author -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

THIS looks like a fun one.

The Brass Compass
by Ellen Butler
-Historical Fiction
courtesy of author -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

LOOKING forward to reading the doings of female spies in this one.


From Owlcrate package (details & signup):
OwlCrate is a subscription service that sends you magical monthly boxes tailored to a chosen theme. Each OwlCrate will contain one new Young Adult novel, as well as 3-5 other bookish treats to help you get your nerd on. @owlcrate

JUNE Box includes:
theme: Make It Out Alive (dystopia)
- Owlcrate spoiler card with creepy mysterious tinge
- Owlcrate button - monthly theme
- The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson
- Signed bookplate, letter and sticker sheet from author
- New World Rising by Jennifer Wilson
- Magnet inspired by An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir created by Little Inklings Design
- Bookmark inspired by A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas created by Hey Atlas Creative
- Bath bomb inspired by Divergent by Veronica Roth created by Fizzy Fairy Apothecary
- Sleep mask inspired by zombies from Archie McPhee
- Patch inspired by The Giver by Lois Lowry created by Laserbrain Patch Co.

The Sandcastle Empire
by Kayla Olson
-Dystopia, YA
Amazon | Goodreads

Before the war, Eden’s life was easy. Then the revolution happened, and everything changed.

Now a powerful group called the Wolfpack controls the earth and its resources. And even though Eden has lost everything to them, she refuses to die by their hands. She knows the coordinates to the only neutral ground left in the world, a place called Sanctuary Island, and she is desperate to escape to its shores.

Eden finally reaches the island and meets others resistant to the Wolves. But the solace is short-lived when one of Eden’s new friends goes missing. Braving the jungle in search of their lost ally, they quickly discover Sanctuary is filled with lethal traps and an enemy they never expected.

This island might be deadlier than the world Eden left behind, but surviving it is the only thing that stands between her and freedom.

New World Rising
by Jennifer Wilson
-Dystopia, YA
Amazon | Goodreads

Worlds collide in debut author Jennifer Wilson's graphic dystopian series where Divergent meets Mad Max. Since witnessing her parents' murders at the age of eleven, Phoenix's only purpose in life has been to uphold her mother's dying words - to be strong and survive. But surviving outside of The Walls - outside of The Sanctuary - is more like a drawn-out death sentence. A cruel and ruthless city, Tartarus is run by the Tribes whose motto is simple, "Join or die."

Refusing to join and determined to live, Phoenix fights to survive in this savage world.

But who can she trust, when no one can be trusted? Not even herself...

The first of a trilogy, New World Rising is an epic tale of survival, instinct, trauma, and the extraordinary power of human connection.

OTHER things (kinda book-related):

Heroine Training
Jane Austen Theme (details)
hosted by Xandra
at Crown and Crumpet

LOVED this mashup of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice themed tea party. There was much talk of P&P, Harry Potter and books with delicious tea and treats!

Check out Xandra's details for other literary tea party gatherings.

AND watched: in theatre

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2016)
Director: Steve James
Starring: Neil Barofsky, Ti-Hua Chang, Margaret Colin
-Documentary | imdb | my rating: 5

A small financial institution called Abacus becomes the only company criminally indicted in the wake of the United States' 2008 mortgage crisis.

After the show, we were treated to Q&A with the producer, Mark Mitten, and the Sung family. Topics of fraud, business dealings and justice relating to this family and case were fascinating to learn about.

FYI: This will be presented on PBS later this year.

Okja (2017)
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Writers: Bong Joon Ho, Jon Ronson
Starring: Seo-Hyun Ahn, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano
-Action, Adventure, Drama, South Korea | imdb | my rating: 5

Meet Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend - a massive animal named Okja.

AS a fan of Bong Joon Ho's previous works, I totally enjoyed this latest creation. Definitely gets you thinking of the bond between man and animal.

Fans of The Walking Dead tv show will be thrilled to see Steven Yeun as part of this cast.

FYI: This will be available on Netflix later this year.

AND watched: online

Maya Angelou and Still I Rise (2016)
Directors: Bob Hercules, Rita Coburn Whack
-Documentary, Biography, History | imdb | my rating: 5

The first feature documentary about the remarkable writer, poet, actress, activist Maya Angelou.

INSPIRING, amazing and versatile woman. This documentary covered Maya's life from start to finish.

AND watched: on DVD

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present (2012)
Directors: Matthew Akers, Jeff Dupre
-Documentary, Biography, History | imdb | my rating: 5

A documentary that follows the Serbian performance artist as she prepares for a retrospective of her work at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

ANOTHER amazing woman artist. Wordless human connections.


* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently


Friday, June 23, 2017

Lady of the Tarot by Juli D. Revezzo

Lady of the Tarot by Juli D. Revezzo
by Juli D. Revezzo
narrated by Christina Marie Morris

Find out more about this book and author:
Amazon | Goodreads
Audible | Audio sample
Website | Facebook
Instagram | Pinterest
Twitter | Newsletter sign-up

Just released: May 5, 2017
Publisher: Raven Queen Publications
Genre: Historical, Gothic, Paranormal, England
Rating: 3

Reign of Tarot series:
House of Cards
Lady of the Tarot

First sentence(s):
September 6, 1793
The morning dew sent a refreshing scent up from the roses, and Emilie tucked the Girandon propaganda pamphlet under her arm, seeking the gazebo. A little time to read before she made afternoon calls.


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.

My two-bits:

The audio version brings a fun color to this story with the french and british accents interspersed throughout.

Although the protagonist, Emilie, escapes the Reign of Terror, she enters another kind of dark world that requires cautious navigating.

A love triangle and tarot readings certainly creates action and adventure for Emilie.


* review copy courtesy of author via audible.com

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.


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
Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu