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Half Face by Mara Li

November 17, 2020 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Rabt Book Tours, Spotlight tagged as , , , , ,

 

Young Adult

Date Published: 11/17/2020

Publisher: Lands Atlantic Publishing

 

 

 

Nineteen-year-old Juliet can’t shake the nightmares after surviving a brutal bank robbery. In order to put those terrifying memories behind, she’ll have to testify against the criminal known as the Half Face. She convinces herself that she is perfectly safe, until he manages to break free and grab the nearest hostage he sets his sights on. Her.

In an effort to escape the captivity of the law, and his tortured past, the Half Face takes Juliet on an obsessive search for answers and redemption. During the harsh journey, his unpredictability fuels Juliet’s worst fear, that he just may be insane and beyond any hope of saving.

 

 

 

Excerpt

 

I glance at my watch. Fifteen minutes to go. It seems both too fast and too slow.

I go over the rehearsed words in my head. What if I forget everything I need to say? What if I black out, or cry? I don’t want to cry where he can see me. No, that cannot happen.

In an attempt to distract myself, I slide my phone out of my pocket and mindlessly scroll through the menu. I freeze when I come across the news feed.

Liveblog: trial of top-criminal known as “the Half Face” continuing today.

Someone in that courtroom is twittering the events, and I’m locked up in this miserable room until they can bring me out like the next circus act.

I must ask you to put your phone away for now,’ the woman says. When I look up, I find her looking at me with a pitying gaze. ‘We don’t want you to read anything that can influence your statement.’

Of course. ‘I’m just nervous,’ I say, and put my phone back in my pocket.

You will be absolutely fine. If you find you don’t want to look at him, you don’t have to. Remember that you’re doing this to help us put him away for good. That is why you chose to testify, isn’t it?’

Right.’

She nods, and we fall into silence again, until there’s a brief knock on our door. The woman smiles, rises from her chair and beckons me.

Suddenly, my heart is racing even harder than before. ‘Can…can I go to the bathroom real quick?’

Sure. Just this way.’ She leads me over to another door and remains outside as I enter.

The tiles are shiny and clean. I hear the buzzing of air conditioning.

After I flush, I take a quick moment to splash a handful of cold water in my face. It helps a little. I lean my hands on the sink and stare at my reflection in the round mirror. I’m very pale. My eyes are wide open, like a frightened animal. Strands of dark brown hair are falling from the bun that had been so tightly secured this morning. They cling to my sweaty face. I brush them away.

The woman knocks on the door. ‘Juliet? It’s time.’

I’m on the verge of calling out: No! Leave me alone, I’m not going! There’s a thick feeling in my throat that I try to get rid of by swallowing. When it doesn’t work, I settle for a deep breath before wiping my palms on my skirt and exiting the bathroom.

There’s no need to be nervous,’ the woman says again. But what does she know? She didn’t have to drop to the ground, pretending to be a dead body, while a monster was standing mere feet away from her barking orders.

We make our way across the building, all the way to the end of the long corridor, and make a right turn. The entire building is so clean. We pass a large, square painting on the wall; we pass a mirror where I briefly catch my pale reflection, we pass a man with a cell phone pressed to his ear, giving us a curious glance.

Then the woman stops in front of a dark, polished door. The small plate next to the door reads Courtroom 14.

We’re here.

The woman gives me an encouraging smile. I pull up the corners of my mouth, just enough to make it look like I’m smiling back.

Remember, you just have to answer a few questions. I’ll be here to escort you back.’

I know.’

She looks like she wants to say something else, but before she does, the door opens. I automatically step back, creating some space for Harry Dartes. He sees me, undoubtedly registers the worry in my eyes, and gives my shoulder a brief squeeze. ‘It’s worse just before you go in, girl.’

I nod. He smiles one last time before another court attendant urges him on, and mine gestures to me, indicating that I will have to enter Courtroom 14 at last.

 

About the Author

 

 

Mara Li has been writing from an early age. She is inspired by fairytales, myths and legends from all over the world. In 2016 her debut novel De Stem van de Zee was nominated for the Harland Awards Roman Prize for best Dutch fantasy. Winter is her writing season (summer never gets much of it). Tea and ginger nuts are her writing food, her cat’s attention can sometimes be an obstacle. Her novel, Half Face, launches her as an international author with books published in multiple countries and languages.

 

 

 

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Remember by Tara C. Allred

October 28, 2020 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Spotlight tagged as , , , , ,

 

 

 

A Prelude Novella to The Existence Series  

Science Fiction  

Date Published: October 2020  

Publisher: Patella Publishing 

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  One invention and two men hoping to change the way humans connect—through memory exchanges—but days before it’s released, one man realizes it may do more harm than good.  

Foster Grady pleads with doctors to give his dying wife a moment of reprieve. He wants her to experience his creation: the ability to relive their life together through his memories. But when doctors refuse, terminal patient, Ashyr Harmon, convinces Foster to give him the chance instead.  

The exchange becomes Ashyr’s lifeline and the two form a friendship and business deal which ignites dangerous consequences.  

BEYOND THE END, BOOK 1 of THE EXISTENCE SERIES – Coming November  2020 

 

 

Other Books In The Existence Series: 

 

 

 Beyond the End  

The Existence Series, Book One  

Publisher : Patella Publishing  

Release Date: November 20, 2020 

 

Nothing else exists—at least that’s what she’s been told.  

Strong-willed teenager Leilani Grady is suffocating on her family’s island. She wants off, but her parents say the rest of Earth is destroyed.  

When a stranger shows up, Leilani realizes her parents have fed her a life of lies.  

Ashyr Harmon shares a complicated history with her parents—and now he wants Leilani’s help with saving his society. It’s her chance to escape the only place she knows. But Leilani must decide who she trusts: her flesh and blood or this man who promises to fulfill her dream. 

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Excerpt 

Both men pressed shoulder-to-shoulder to look down at the resume, neither commenting on the fact Mariana had emailed it to at least one of them earlier in the week.  

Regardless, while they looked, she looked too. Past the pizza boxes, down a long table against the east wall. She slid a foot back toward the table and, with a lean of her head, read physiology handwritten across a banker box. Then a slide of the foot to the right to see the scribble in permanent marker mind vs the brain across a journal cover, and then to a loose sheet of paper with a sketch of a glove with the word pressable next to circles which lined the palm.  

Her feet had shifted ninety degrees when she heard Ashyr say, “We want to hire you.”  

She looked behind her back, a grin spilling over her face. “Just like that?”  

He shrugged. “I almost died before I discovered this…this…”  

Em-Path” Folsom added, standing directly next to Ashyr as if the two spoke as one.  

It saved my life. And showed me what to live—”  

And we don’t have time to waste,” Folsom inserted.  

Ashyr twisted to face Folsom, nodding his head, as if Folsom had said the key words. “Yeah. It’s about timing. And you seem like an excellent fit.”  

Mariana turned her focus back to scanning the details of the room. On the north wall, a table presented itself as a technology graveyard with broken tablets, game consoles, power cables, remote control boxes, and all sorts of other things she didn’t recognize. She felt awkward, her back toward these men who had just offered her a job. But an urgent curiosity kept drawing her forward, her feet moving toward a dark room, only partially visible, tucked in the far corner between the back table and the west wall, which was lined with a lab sink, a long counter, and a fridge. The room’s door was ajar. Taped to the center of the door, she read the handwritten note.  

Please Do Not Disturb—Memory Exchange in Progress.  

She drew her head back and turned around to face her interviewers. Her breath caught in her throat, the question ready now. “What’s the pay?” As long as it was higher than minimum wage, she would have to take the job.  

Ashyr stood taller. “What do you want it to be?”  

Folsom released a sharp cough. “Within reason.” He gave her an apologetic grin. “We don’t have much to offer yet, but with your help finding the support we need, we will soon.”  

Ashyr stepped closer toward her. His clear blue eyes pulling her in again. “We are committed to making this work. We’re investing everything we have into this. In other words, we’re super, absolutely, insanely committed to this. And we want to make this a win for you too.”  

Mariana nodded slowly, unsure of what exactly she was agreeing to.  

Help secure us a sponsor in—what—?” He twisted looks from Folsom to Mariana, “Two? Three months? In three months. You secure us a sponsor in three months and…” his voice turned soft, dipping into a whisper, “we’ll make you a partner with us.” Then he flung back to face Folsom. “Right? She helps get us a sponsor and she has partial ownership, with you, me, and Brody. It’ll be the four of us.” He looked again, back and forth between the two of them. “A percentage.” He started waving his hands around as if a number wasn’t within his mental reach. “We draft up all that legal stuff. We’ll figure it out. Together, we all make this dream come alive.” He whirled back to face her with a grin. With a lopsided tilt of the head, he said, “It’ll be worth it for all of us.”  

Folsom stepped forward, the three of them forming a triangle.  

Ashyr straightened. His clear blue eyes met hers. From him to Folsom’s rich blue eyes, Mariana looked at both of them, a nod growing inside her, just as Ashyr said, “So, you in?”  

 

 

 

About the Author 

TARA C. ALLRED is an award-winning author, instructional designer, and educator. She has been recognized as a California Scholar of the Arts for Creative Writing and is a recipient of the Howey Awards for Best Adult Book and Best Adult Author. She lives in Utah with her husband.  

Her published works include REMEMBER (The Existence Series), SANDERS’ STARFISH and UNAUTHORED LETTERS (John Sanders Series), HELPING HELPER and THE OTHER SIDE OF QUIET, a 2015 Kindle Book Award Finalist and Whitney Award Winner.  

Through online coaching, she helps other writers unleash their creative stories.  

To learn more about the author, visit www.taracallred.net.  

 

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Holiday Home Run by Priscilla Oliveras

October 27, 2020 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Spotlight tagged as , , , , , ,

Happy Release Day to Priscilla Oliveras, her new Holiday Romance, Holiday Home Run is AVAILABLE NOW!


Romance, Holiday Romance 

Date Published: October 27, 2020 

Publisher: Kensington, Zebra Books 

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Event planner Julia Fernández is in Chicago for an internship that she hopes to turn into a full-time job. She’s ready to live on her own, out from under her familia’s expectations that she take over their catering business in Puerto Rico and away from their year-round baseball fever thanks to her three ball-playing brothers.

Ex-MLB pitcher Ben Thomas knows what it’s like to have different dreams than your family intends for you, but since his injury-caused early retirement, he’s been struggling to find the sense of family baseball once brought him. When he volunteers as the emcee for Julia’s big holiday fundraiser for a local youth center, he finally begins to find a sense of purpose working with the kids and alongside Julia.  

She’s focused on organizing the best holiday event the youth center has ever seen, not on romance. But Ben…he’s got a game plan for them that includes both. 

 

Holiday Home Run was previously released as part of the holiday anthology A SEASON TO CELEBRATE.

 

  

 

About the Author

Priscilla Oliveras is a USA Today Best-Selling author & 2018 RWA® RITA®
double finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Her books have earned Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly & Booklist, hit
the top 5 on Barnes & Noble’s Top 100 Book Bestseller list, &
notched Amazon #1 Bestseller status. Her latest release, Island Affair, made it onto O, The Oprah Magazine’s “28 of the Best Beach Reads of Summer 2020” list.

Priscilla earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and currently serves as adjunct faculty in the program while also teaching the online class “Romance Writing” for ed2go. She’s a self-professed romance genre junkie, who’s also a sports fan, beach lover, Zumba aficionado, and hammock nap connoisseur.

Follow her at prisoliveras.com and on social media via @prisoliveras and Facebook.

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