Saturday, October 31, 2020

Book Review: The Way of the House Husband, Vol 4 by Kousuke Oono

 

The Way of the Househusband, Vol 4      


Author: Kousuke Oono

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 15, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Comedy/168 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

While at the market, Tatsu finds the perfect fish! While he is going into glorious details with the fishmonger about what he is going to do to that fish, it’s suddenly yanked from his hands by a four legged thief. And the chase is on!

Tatsu spies smoke coming from next door! Heading to the rescue, he finds the culprit to be a man and his grill. He invites Tatsu to join him, but the intensely smoky atmosphere inside the apartment is less than appetizing. Tatsu leaps into action, declaring, “I’m gonna show you how the Japanese handle a beef.”

One of Miku’s colleagues has given her tickets to Bremen Land, a big kiddie park, and she wants to go with Tatsu. Tatsu is reluctant about the whole idea, especially as the place is liable to be filled with… well, children. Will Tatsu be able to enjoy this excursion?

Tora is finding that crepe sales at his food truck aren’t what they used to be, so he needs to do something else. He hears that bubble tea is all the rage but he knows nothing about tapioca balls, so reluctantly approaches the one man who is bound to have all the answers—Tatsu.

Tatsu gives Masa a lesson in shopping for essential but inexpensive household items—“Don’t you ever underestimate homemaking!”

When the regular picture book storyteller cancels at the last minute, and no one else is available, the bookstore owner reluctantly calls on Tatsu, who very enthusiastically undertakes the mission!  He makes his own drawings to accompany the tale he chooses to tell, which seems to be taking an unexpected turn into not child friendly territory.

Tatsu and Miku are enjoying a day at the beach, when they are approached by a group of men. Tatsu recognizes the Bears, the volleyball team that beat Tatsu and the housewives in a match. They suggest a rematch but Tatsu turns them down. However, Miku is not about to let that fly, and now it’s Miku and Tatsu versus the Bears!

Tatsu is helping tutor a young boy in various subjects, including math, where he uses some rather unusual examples. Everything else accomplished, his last task is an independent project, such as a craft project or a science experiment or journal. The boy declares his intention to do something easy, like a wooden pencil holder. Tatsu is on it! Can anything ever be truly easy with Tatsu, though?

Tatsu is spending time at a restaurant with a couple of his housewife friends, trading stories. Tatsu tells them tales from his past, invoking completely different images in their minds than what he actually experienced.

Another fabulous volume of tales about Tatsu! I love this series so much! I’ve already pre-ordered the next one. I never get tired of reading of Tatsu’s adventures, and the way he applies his Yakuza background to his present life. The artwork is wonderful, the stories filled with humor, as well as some tender, heartwarming moments.   I especially enjoyed Tatsu and Miku’s time at Bremen Land. There are a couple of bonus stories, and the one about Miku is great! Not sure when the live action version is going to be available, but I know they’ve added a couple of original characters who don’t exist in the manga, including a daughter. I’ll reserve judgment on that until I see how that works out.

Fantastic as always, looking forward to the next one!

Friday, October 30, 2020

Book Review: Piercing by Ryu Murakami

 

Piercing       


Author: Ryu Murakami

Publisher: Penguin Books

American release date:  March 27, 2007

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Psychological Thriller/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

New father Kawashima Masayuki stands beside the bed of his infant daughter every night, in the still of the night, and tells himself he will not stab her with the ice pick he holds in his hand.

His wife has no idea of his thoughts, and would naturally be horrified if she only knew. Kawashima has to do something to rid himself of this urge. Better a complete stranger than his child, right? Not like he hasn’t done that before.

Kawashima is a very methodical man, as is very evident in the way he goes about making plants to inflict his urges on a prostitute he intends to hire. Nothing can be left to chance, and nothing can ever lead back to him. It won’t, not if he plays his cards right. And when he succeeds, his baby and wife will be safe, right?

This psychological thriller by Ryu Murakami explores the thought processes in this man, who otherwise appears to be normal, but beneath it all is filled with personal demons he struggles to control. Namely the impulse to cause harm with an ice pick. And then there is the prostitute he hires through an agency, Chiaki, who has demons of her own. A woman bold enough to pierce her own nipple.

This is my first book by this author, but it won’t be my last. I am currently reading Audition, also by him. I honestly had no idea what was going to happen, as we explore the minds of these two people, brought together by chance, both of whom struggle with painful pasts. I hope the movie is half as good as the book.

This book is very well written and flows smoothly, one of those hard to put down books you are too anxious to find out what happens next. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 25 by Tite Kubo

 

Bleach, Vol 25            


Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 2, 2008

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/210 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

After his less than spectacular encounter with Grimmjow, Ichigo approaches the Visoreds—Dutch Boy (aka Shinji) assumed he plans to join up with them, but that isn’t the case. He wants them to teach him how to control the Hollow inside. Ichigo threatens to take the information from them by force, if necessary, so Dutch Boy agrees to fight him. Tired of watching the two spar without getting anywhere, Hiyori steps between them and informs Ichigo of the facts of life, ie he has no choice in the matter but to join them should they agree to accept him. If he doesn’t agree, the hollow will eventually swallow him whole. Ichigo has to learn to control his inner Hollow, while at the same time battling against the Visored, one at a time!

Meanwhile, Orihime, unaware of what is going on, misses Ichigo, since he hasn’t been to school for a few days. When she heads home, she learns from a neighbor that her new roommates carried something strange into her home, so she wonders what that can be, and ends up seeing a communication devise, like a giant screen TV, which connects to Soul Society, and General Yamamoto! She tries to excuse herself, as if she is intruding, but the old man invites her to stay, since his news concerns humans too, and Aizen’s plans.

Most of this volume deals with Ichigo and his battle to control his inner Hollow, with the help of the Visored.  In the process, we learn, along with Ichigo, the answer to this riddle: What’s the difference between a king and the horse he rides?

Aizen’s plans are on a pretty large scale, and are potentially disastrous to not just humans, but the Soul Society as well! Apparently his ambitions are pretty grandiose. Hopefully his overweening hubris will be the source of his downfall—along with the sword of Ichigo Kurosaki… if he lives past his current test!

Looking forward to the next volume!

 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Wednesday Briefs: Super Trooper #40 (9.2)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Grappling with the loss of his parents, Chan and Evan spend the night with them. Tomorrow is another day. See what's going on in this week's chapter of Super Trooper. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Super Trooper #40 (9.2)

Chan examined the contents of the refrigerator. His mother must have gone shopping recently, as there didn’t seem to be anything lacking. Certainly not the staples, such as bread, milk, and eggs. That would help. He pulled out eggs and butter, then spotted a little container of sour cream and laid everything on the counter. Glancing in the meat keeper, he added a package of bacon to the rest.

“What are you making?” Kamal asked.

Chan glanced at his brother. He could tell he was trying to maintain his stoic expression, but the mask was slipping at the sight of more food. Laksha had probably told him to eat his cereal and be happy with it, but now he saw the opportunity to have something better.

“I’m not sure. I was thinking about scrambled eggs. Or maybe an omelet. What sounds good to you?”

Kamal hesitated for a moment. His glance flickered toward Evan, as if unsure whether the question had been addressed to him or to Evan. Chan made sure to look directly at his brother, so there could be no doubt who he was talking to.

If Kamal was carrying on some sort of internal argument with himself, then apparently his stomach won the debate. “Scrambled eggs,” he said decisively. “And bacon.”

“What about you, Laksha?” Chan asked. “Scrambled eggs and bacon?”

Laksha hesitated for a moment before she nodded. Chan felt better, knowing the children would get a hot breakfast. He’d give Madhu a little of his, not sure how much she normally ate.

“How can I help?” Evan asked. Chan said a silent prayer of gratitude for his lover. He always seemed to know just what to say or do to make any situation better.

“How about you cook the bacon and I’ll scramble the eggs?” Chan suggested. Though he did the lion’s share of the cooking at home, sometimes they divided the tasks. Chan liked having his lover’s company in the kitchen.

“That’s a deal. Where will I find a baking sheet?”

Chan indicated the cabinet where his maa kept her pots and pans… correction, where she used to keep them. Then he found the aluminum foil and handed it to Evan before he set the temperature on the oven. They liked to cook their bacon that way. That was easier than having to continually turn it in the skillet. While the oven heated, he brought out a mixing bowl and whisk, before remembering he would need a pot to cook in. He didn’t use a frying pan for his eggs— he used a sauce pan, a technique he’d learned from watching some chef on TV. Evan handed one to him without his having to ask for it.

“Thank you,” Chan said, placing the pan on the burner before pulling out a mixing bowl.

“You’re welcome, baby,” Evan replied.

 That earned a snort from Kamal. “Chan’s no baby,” he scoffed.

“That’s true,” Evan said, taking his comment seriously rather than dismissing it. “But baby can also be a term of affection. It just means that I love him, that’s all.”

“Sheesh,” Kamal muttered. Chan saw him roll his eyes, more to be annoying than because he was annoyed.

Laksha shook her head and sighed dramatically. “You’re such a little boy, Kamal,” she admonished him.

“Am not,” Kamal protested. “I’m already seven. I’ll be as old as you soon.” He stuck his tongue out at his sister.

“Mind your manners,” Chan said. “Be polite at the table. And respect your elders.”

“You just proved my point,” Laksha said. “Besides, I’ll always be older than you. Nothing can change that.”

“Who cares? You’re already bossy now,” Kamal replied.

Chan noticed Madhu squiriming in her seat again. “Want down,” she insisted. Chan came up behind her and kept her in place with a hug.

“Not yet, I’m making something for you. You like bacon, don’t you?”

“Bacon?” The little girl’s eyes grew wide and she nodded. Score one for Chan. “Want bacon.”

“Okay, then, just sit here, and you’ll get some, all right?”

When she nodded, he kissed the top of her head and turned toward Evan, whose attention was on the wall oven, checking on the very same bacon. “Go ahead and start the eggs,” he said.

As Chan melted a little butter in the pain, he cracked eggs into his bowl and whisked them. Feeling a sudden presence at his side, he glanced up, expecting to see Evan. But it was Laksha who stood there.

“Can I help?” she asked hopefully, with a glance at the eggs he was whisking.

“Sure,” Chan said. He moved over a little as he handed his sister the whisk. She resumed where he had left off with sure movements.

“Good job,” he praised her. “Here, pour it into the pan.”

The next few minutes were spent in instructing Laksha in the art of making scrambled eggs, moving the pan on and off the heat to whisk it. At the end, he had her add a little sour cream and seasoning.

“Looks beaufiul,” he said, and was rewarded with a smile.  “Okay, let’s eat.”

As they sat around the table together, sharing breakfast, Chan thought he could almost forget what had happened that brought them here… almost, but not quite.

to be continued

Now go see what the other Briefers are up to!

Cia Nordwell

J Alan Veerkamp

 

 

 

 

 



Thursday, October 22, 2020

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 24 by Tite Kubo

 

Bleach, Vol 24      


Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 2, 2008

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

A group of Arrancars has arrived in Kakura Town, led by Grimmjow Jeagerjaques. Their mission is to find anyone with even a hint of spiritual pressure… and destroy them. Ikkaku faces a fierce opponent, but the bald Soul Reaper doesn’t know when to give up and continues to fight, despite the odds against him. He can’t help but remember to a fight he’d been in years previously against an opponent who valued his fighting skills and gave him some sound advice.

Toshiro Hitsugaya is often underestimated because of his lack of height and his youthful appearance. The Arrancar he faces is no exception. Meanwhile, Renji is engaged in a fight of his own, and his bankai doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, earning the other’s disdain. Due to all the strange spiritual pressure, Ururu is drawn from her bed, to Jinta’s dismay, fearful of what may happen if he cannot get her under control.

Not all Arrancars are created equal, apparently. Created by Aizen, through the use of the Hogyoku, they “are numbered according to the order of (their) birth, beginning with the number 11. The most gifted killers… receive the numbers one through ten , in descending order of their lethality.” These are known as the Espada. And among these is present in Kakura Town, Espada Sexta—Grimmjow. Small surprise that Ichigo finds himself battling this opponent.

Things are looking pretty grim for everyone (except the Arrancars) who belittle their opponents as being unworthy. But then Rangiku Matumoto receives a call she’s been waiting for from Soul Society, concerning the gentei kaijo (restriction removal). Apparently there is something that keeps Soul Reapers from operating at peak levels when in the World of the Living. Now that they can use more of their powers, perhaps the tide will turn!

Ichigo, however, has never been subject to these restrictions. He battles against Grimmjow himself. Is he up to the challenge, or will he require the intervention of a deux ex machina to save him? What of Uryu, who feels the spiritual pressure of the Arrancars but has promised to have nothing to do with the Soul Reapers? Will he find a way around that? Or will he be forced to sit on the sidelines.

This volume of Bleach is pretty battle heavy as the Soul Reapers and Ichigo square off against Grimmjow and his Arrancars. I like the way the battles aren’t all one-sided or weighed in the favor of the heroes. They’re more realistic in that the good guys don’t always win, and yes, they can get hurt. Sometimes die. I found what happened in Ichigo’s battle with Grimmjow very interesting, as well as its aftermath.

But of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. To paraphrase the Carpenters, “They’ve only just begun….” Good volume of Bleach, looking forward to the next one.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Wednesday Briefs: Super Trooper #39 (9.1)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Chan and Evan spend the night at Chan's late parents' house, in order to take care of Chan's siblings. The next day begins the aftermath. Chan has his siblings to take care of now, will that change anything with Evan? See what's going on in this week's chapter of Super Trooper. Don't forget to look for the other Briefers and see what's up with them! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Super Trooper #39 (9.1)

The morning sun roused Chan from an unsatisfactory slumber. If not for the security of Evan’s arms, he wasn’t sure he’d have been able to sleep at all. Too many painful thoughts and emotions swirling through him, keeping him awake. One question leading to another, and none of them answerable… at least not in the middle of the night.

For one horrible moment, the thought flitted through his brain that this was his Saturday to work and he was going to be late. But then he remembered he’d texted his manager the night before and explained to her what had happened. She’d told him she was sorry, and not to worry about anything, and she’d talk to him later. Evan had done the same, despite Chan’s telling him that wasn’t necessary. But Evan had insisted and Chan wasn’t about to complain. Evan had said he would have to go in later today, just briefly, to take care of a little paperwork, but there was no rush. Chan found his presence on the other side of the bed beyond comforting. He wasn’t sure he could get through this without Evan, to be honest.

The room they slept in had been his, once upon a time, before he moved into his own apartment. The furniture was new, as his mother had insisted he take everything with him. She claimed she was just looking for an excuse to redecorate the new guest room, but Chan knew she was trying to keep him from taking on the expense of buying a new bedroom set. She was thoughtful that way. The best mother ever.

He was going to miss her so much. And if he didn’t stop thinking about her, he was going to cry again.

Chan felt the bed shift. He hastily wiped at his eyes and pasted a smile on his face for his lover’s benefit. From the look in Evan’s eyes, he hadn’t been fooled.

Evan reached out and cupped Chan’s cheek, searching his eyes. “Did you get any sleep?”

Chan nodded. “A little,” he replied honestly. “You?”

“A little,” Evan echoed.

They lay together for a long moment. Chan was reluctant to move. In the back of his mind, he vaguely thought that if he didn’t get up and start the new day, things would be the way they always were. Nothing bad would have happened, and life would go on. But even as he thought that, he knew he was only fooling himself… and not doing a very good job of that, either.

A noise from the other part of the house only drove that fact home to him. The children must be up. He should make them breakfast. For himself and Evan too. Plus he just wanted to be with them, try to ease some of their heartache, if he could.

“I love you,” Evan said.

“And I you.” Chan leaned toward him and kissed him carefully, fully aware he hadn’t brushed his teeth yet. Evan didn’t seem to mind. Of course, he hadn’t either. “I’ll go see what’s in the kitchen for breakfast and let you know.”

“Anything is fine. Let me help,” Evan replied.

They took turns in the bathroom before getting dressed. Chan finished first and padded into the kitchen. He was surprised to see all three children at the kitchen table, bowls of cereal before them. Even Madhu was seated in her booster seat. She smiled at him as he walked in.

Laksha looked up from the book she was reading. “Morning, Chan. Want some cereal? I’ll get you some.” She started to rise but he shook his head. He’d stopped eating cereal some time ago, especially not the sugary kind kids seemed to prefer.

“I was going to cook something,” he said. “I didn’t expect you to be up yet.”

Despite the smile on his sister’s face, Chan couldn’t help but notice the dark circles beneath her eyes. As for Kamal, he looked positively unhappy… and rightfully so. Only Madhu was her usual cheery self. But then again she was probably very unaware of what had happened. No sense in tearing apart her little world any sooner than necessary.

He saw Laksha glance past him, just as he felt Evan’s hands about his waist.

“Morning,” he greeted them.

“Good morning,” Laksha replied, but Kamal said nothing, never looking up from his food.

Madhu began to push herself back from the table and wriggle from her seat. Laksha caught her before she had a chance to fall. “Where you going?” she asked.

Maa,” she said simply, continuing to extricate herself from Laksha’s hold.

Maa is—”

Maa is not home right now,” Chan cut in smoothly. Laksha gave him a perplexed look.

“She won’t understand what death means,” he said apologetically to his sister.

Laksha opened her mouth, as if to object, then thought better and nodded instead.

Chan’s heart ached for his siblings. He didn’t know what to say to make anything better. He felt helpless and afraid, especially knowing he was responsible for them. How would Evan feel about that? He had no idea, but he couldn’t afford to think about that right now. Not like he had a choice. He was their brother, and it was his job to care for them. Somehow.

“How long are you going to stay?” Laksha asked.

“As long as you need us to,” Evan said.

Chan gave Evan a startled glance. He didn’t think Evan fully understood what was happening. He couldn’t leave them. Not now, not ever. Not until they didn’t need him anymore. They would have to discuss the situation, but in private. He turned back to his sister.

“Do you know where they kept their papers?” he asked. Hopefully, they’d left a will of some kind. He half remembered his mother mentioning one, but he had told her she was too young to worry about death. Little did he know.

“Maybe in their closet?” Laksha shrugged.

Well, that was a start.

 to be continued


Now visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them!

Cia Nordwell

J Alan Veerkamp

 

 

 


Virtual Book Tour: Sympathy for the Devil by Alex Stevens

 Good morning everyone! Please welcome author Alex Stevens to Full Moon Dreaming! He is here to tell us about his new release, Sympathy for the Devil. Alex will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter during the tour. The more you comment, the greater your chances of winning. To find the other stops on his tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!


 


SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL

by Alex Stevens


 

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GENRE:  Fantasy

 

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BLURB:

 

Four warriors on one hell of a mission.

 

Lieutenant Colonel Tyler Graven is known as the “Demon of Kyoto,” and he specializes in death. When an assassin attempts to kill pharmaceutical mogul Mortimer Sackler, Tyler becomes the lead suspect and the target of a $100 million dollar hit. To save himself and clear his name, he must hunt down the true killer, a deadly entity known only as The Priest.

 

Tyler teams up with his former military unit, The Four Horseman, including his brother, crack-shot Corporal Jack Graven, the mysterious Lance Corporal Jin Xialong, and his one-time flame Colonel Diana Levitas. Once, they were an elite fighting team known for completing two of the most successful campaigns against terrorism ever launched. Now, they’ll find themselves locked in a war with The Church, the most influential organization on the planet--and pitted against the supernatural forces of the Underworld itself.

 

During their mission, Tyler and Jack learn of the legendary Black Muramasa, the only weapon that can destroy immortals such as demons, angels, vampires, seraphim, and nephilim. As they uncover the secrets of the ancient black blade--and their own heritage--they are faced with unforetold powers and infinite evils. If the Four Horsemen succeed, they may save themselves. If they fail, it’ll cost them their sanity, their lives, and even their souls...

 

Here comes an action-packed, gun-slinging fantasy adventure that packs the punch of a military thriller combined with high-stakes supernatural intrigue.

 

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EXCERPT:

 


 

Jack attacked high, elbows swinging in vicious hooks, while I swung a right roundhouse at the front of the priest’s right knee. The Priest deflected my first kick with his shin, but my second snapped out without hesitation toward his head. He brought his daggered hand up to block, which would have surely cut my leg to ribbons had I not pulled my kick. Simultaneously he swung his left dagger in a backhand at Jack’s face. Jack threw his body in a backward somersault, catching The Priest under the chin with a solid kick that sent him stumbling backward. I sought to capitalize by catching him in the right temple with a right heel kick, but The Priest managed to stab his left dagger through my foot.

 

I hobbled back in agony and collapsed to the floor. He turned his back on me and faced off against Jack. The two eyed each other in slightly crouched stances, their hands eye level before them.

 

“You chose the wrong side, pup,” The Priest mocked. “I had thought you were smarter than that.”

 

“If I had known you would kill an innocent woman, I would have killed you in that garage. You can’t even see the irony in your beliefs.”

 

“How innocent could the wife of that villain be? Did she do anything for all of the innocents that her husband killed?”

 

“Guilty by association then?”

 

“We all are.”

 

The Priest surged toward Jack, knives stabbing forward at neck, face, and armpits with

merciless and unending precision. I had never seen blades dance the way his did. Every move was perfectly balanced and precision timed, each extension of his limbs perfectly stretched and recoiled. He was a finely tuned machine of death, and every ounce of his hate was drawn toward Jack.

 

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Alex Stevens is a Marine Corps Veteran with two deployments and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Interdisciplinary Studies program, a unique undergraduate degree that caters to students with various interests of study. He is also an advent traveler and philosophy enthusiast who has spent a lifetime studying religions, with a focus on Non-denominational Christianity. Alex spends most of his time going for walks, spending time with loved ones, and when the juices are flowing, writing. Fantasy fiction is his great escape from the mundane and he likes to create fantastical realities that are blended with non-fictional people, places, and events.

 

 

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20740528

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sympathy-Devil-Ballad-Fallen-Angels-ebook/dp/B08JQNJY76/ref=sr_1_1

 

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Virtual Book Tour: The Madness of Mercury by Connie di Marco

 Good morning! Please welcome author Connie di Marco to Full Moon Dreaming. She is here to talk about her new release, The Madness of Mercury. Connie will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter during the tour. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on her tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!



 

The Madness of Mercury

by Connie di Marco


 

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GENRE: Mystery

 

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BLURB:

 

 

The Zodiac Mysteries feature San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti, who never thought murder would be part of her practice. Julia sought answers and found solace in astrology after the death of her fiancĂ© in a hit and run accident. Since then, she’s successfully built a clientele of the city’s movers and shakers.

 

In The Madness of Mercury, Julia’s outspoken advice in her newspaper column, AskZodia, makes her the target of a recently-arrived cult preacher who advocates love and compassion to those less fortunate. But the power-hungry preacher is waging war on sin and his Army of the Prophet will stop at nothing to silence those who would stand in his way. Julia is at the top of his list.

 

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EXCERPT:

 


As I stood in line at the checkout counter of the bookstore an uncomfortable feeling stole over me.  Was I being watched?  I turned slowly and surveyed the customers in line behind me.  No one looked suspicious.  No one turned away suddenly.  Just holiday shoppers focused on their own business.  As I turned back, my eye caught someone standing at a table close by, separated by a metal bar from the line of shoppers.  A man, dark hair, black jacket, seemingly immersed in a book he was holding in his hands.  No shopping bags in sight.  Something about him . . . I mentally shook myself, pushing the thought out of my mind.  I was being paranoid.  Nerves were getting the better of me. 

 

When I reached the street, the wind had picked up.  Shoppers were doing their best to hang onto their packages and hats and scarves.  I pulled up the hood on my coat and, protecting my few finds, headed back to the square.  I climbed the steps to the top of Union Square and took cover inside the small coffee shop.  The aroma of freshly ground beans filled the space.  I ordered a cappuccino and carried it gingerly to a stool near the window where I could watch the skaters on the ice rink under the tree.  Maybe this was picking at old wounds.  Maybe I just wanted to remember a happier time. 

 

The windows were completely fogged.  I rubbed the condensation away with the sleeve of my coat and peeked out.  The top of the seventy foot tree and its huge bulbs swayed back and forth in the chilly gusts.  Michael and I used to skate here.  He was hopeless on his rented skates and wouldn’t believe me when I told him it wasn’t his ankles, his skates were too large.  We’d manage a few passes around the rink, before we’d collapse, laughing on the ice.  For a split second I saw his smile and felt the warmth of his hands, remembering how safe I felt when he put his arms around me.  An aching so acute swept over me I didn’t trust myself not to burst into tears.  What is it about the holiday season that brings our missing pieces into such sharp focus?  Loss and pain may be there at other times, but somehow it doesn’t hurt quite so acutely.  Maybe stopping here wasn’t such a good idea.  I needed to quit feeling sorry for myself.  Michael would have been disgusted with me.  I was pathetic.  I snuffled and rummaged in my purse for a tissue, blowing my nose and wiping my eyes, hoping anyone watching would think I was down with the flu.  Suck it up, Julia. 

 

Bundling up against the cold, I retraced my steps and approached the garage entrance.  Two people, a man and a woman, doing their best to stay warm under the overhang of the garage were handing out flyers.  One stepped in front of me, blocking my path and shoved a flyer at me.  Annoyed, I grabbed it and walked briskly into the garage.  I glanced down at an announcement of services at the Prophet’s Tabernacle.  I sighed, and crumpling the paper up, tossed it in a nearby trash can. 

 

I took the elevator down to the lowest level where I had parked.  I stepped out and glanced around.  In contrast to the crowds of people above on the streets, not a soul was in sight.  I felt a frisson of fear.  Why was it so deserted?  My nerves were just on edge, I decided.  I was imagining threats where there were none.  I took a deep breath and hurried to my car.  I unlocked the door and threw my bags onto the passenger seat.  Before I could turn the key in the ignition I glanced in the rearview mirror.  A face in a ski mask stared back at me, the eyes bright in the ambient lighting.  A gasp caught in my throat.  My heart raced as a gloved hand pulled my head back and covered my mouth.  I felt the sharp prick of a knife point at my neck.  I froze.  I couldn’t move.  I couldn’t speak. 

 

“Forget about the Prophet.  Make sure you keep your big mouth shut or my next visit won’t be so nice,” he growled.  He pulled the knife away, let go of my jaw and jumped out of the car. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries featuring San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti.  The Madness of Mercury, the first book in the series will be re-released in October 2020.

 

Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime.  You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook.  Connie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime. 

 

Social media links:

 

Website: http://www.conniedimarco.com

Blog: http://www.conniedimarco.com/blog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zodiacmysteries/ (Connie di Marco Author)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/askzodia

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1r4fl4U

 

Buy Links: TBA

 


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Monday, October 19, 2020

Virtual Book Tour: Behind Closed Doors by Rachael Reilly

 Good morning everyone!  Please welcome author Rachael Reilly to Full Moon Dreaming! She is here to tell us about her new release, Behind Closed Doors. Rachael will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour via Rafflecopter. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on her tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!



 




Behind Closed Doors

by Rachael Reilly

 

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GENRE: Erotica

 

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BLURB:

 

Middle school librarian and aspiring writer Julia Morgan's last relationship ended months ago. Once labeled as "boring in the bedroom," she visits Behind Closed Doors, an adult toy store, hoping to spice up her sex life. The aisles of erotic products aren't nearly as hot as the store's sexy owner, but is she brave enough to let a virtual stranger coax her out of her sexual shell?

 

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EXCERPT:

 

 

“I hate surprises.” Julia sighed, the sound drowning out the beer commercial on the car radio.

 

“No one hates surprises, blue eyes. People say they hate them because they’re control freaks, but no one does.” Clay glanced around before switching lanes on the busy street, moving to the right side.  “You’re just going to have to be patient for a few more minutes. But how about this? If we get there and you don’t want to get out of the car, I will turn around and leave. No questions asked.”

 

“And we can get lunch somewhere?” She patted her stomach as it growled.

 

“For sure. I don’t want to starve you. You’ll need energy for my plans later anyway.”

 

“Maybe we should just go back to my house, then? See what we get into there?”

 

He just chuckled again and shook his head before turning his SUV into the entryway to one of Nashville’s larger parks. His hair fell across his eye again, as it was wont to do.

 

She reached across to brush the lock off his face before running her fingertips through his facial hair. Keeping her hands off him was difficult. “Are we playing Frisbee in the park? Or going to the museum nearby?”

 

“Nope and nope.” He tapped his nose, his long, slender fingers distracting her. “But I think if you look at the sign ahead, you might see the plan for now.” A plastic, rectangular sign blew in the fall breeze, Literary Fall Festival emblazoned on it in dark letters.

 

She squealed and moved forward in her seat. “Literary festival? What? Yes!”

 

“That’s how you surprise the librarian.” He whooped as he parked his SUV before jogging around to open her door. “Smell that? Popcorn.” He motioned to the food trucks up ahead. “Plus there are new and used books for sale, author signings by the museum, and lectures from people in the biz.”

 

“Did you just say ‘biz’ and mean it?”

 

“I believe you heard me. But you said you want to be a published author. Maybe this will help.”

 

She was so surprised she stopped walking. “Clay, you’re just...amazing.”

 

How had she gotten so lucky? He’d turned her life upside down overnight, but she loved that he had.

 

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Rachael Reilly is a steamy romance writer living right outside Nashville, Tennessee. She also previously worked as a freelance writer for smaller magazine publications.

When not writing things that make her blush, Rachael can be found people watching, reading most anything she can get her hands on, or searching for her own Prince Charming through online dating. These activities are almost always accompanied by a glass of lemonade or cheap wine.

 

Links:

www.rachaelreillywrites.com

 

www.twitter.com/reillyromance

 

Buy Link: Book is on Sale for $0.99 during the tour

 

 

Book Link:

https://amzn.to/32S28Bq

 

 


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a Rafflecopter giveaway