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First Five: Devil’s Mark by Megan Crane

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BLURB: 

The bestselling author of Devil’s Honor returns with a deliciously sinful novel about a good girl who goes bad—and the notorious Louisiana biker who can’t resist the lure of forbidden fruit.

Holly Chambless is tired of being the squeaky clean daughter of Lagrange’s holier-than-thou mayor. When her father is charged with corruption, she realizes that her whole life’s been a lie. Now’s her chance to do all the things she never dared, like scoring a job at a bar where reputations go to die, or reconnecting with the biker who sparked a secret hunger in her all those years ago. Holly isn’t a wide-eyed girl anymore—and this time she wants a taste of what has always been denied.

Killian “Uptown” Chenier has no time for stuck-up princesses. He likes fast bikes and wild sex. Sure, he remembers Holly. He sent her running with a wicked smile and a lesson about prying eyes. And sure, she’s grown up smoking-hot, with a body he’d like to personally desecrate. But Devil’s Keepers business is real and intense. Her daddy stole from the club, leaving his pretty blonde daughter a walking target. And when Uptown takes aim at what he wants, he never misses.

 

FIRST FIVE: 

1) Killiam “Uptown” Chenier clocked the exact second pretty little Holly Chambless, the dirtbag mayor’s squeaky clean, sorority girl daughter with her famously sweet ass, high tits, and the glossiest ponytail in the entirety of southern Lousisiana, walked into Dumb Gator’s.

THOUGHTS: I’m intrigued by the location as well as the author’s willingness to share naughty truths within the first paragraph. 

2) So did everyone else with a dick.

THOUGHTS: Again, YAY to Megan Crane for being graphic right upfront. HOT!

3) Tick and Butler, the two degenerate fucks sprawled in Uptown’s booth, practically knocked over the table with their instant hard-ons at the sight of her.

THOUGHTS: Whoa. I’m still loving the straightforwardness. 

4) The perverts were his friends and full-patch brothers in the Devil’s Keepers Motorcycle Club–the outlaw club that pretty much owned every last person, place, and thing in the sleepy little bayou town of Lagrange, Louisiana. 

THOUGHTS: I’m not a fan of the long, run-on like sentences here and I’m pretty sure she could have been specific about the location without being repetitive, but no matter.

5) From the pompous aldermen who pretended to be horrified by the biker presence on Main Street to a rough and isolated dive bar like Dumb Gator’s that openly courted the “bad element,” everyone and everything in this little corner of southern Louisiana catered to the club.

THOUGHTS: This isn’t the sentence that convinced me to hit BUY NOW.

This is…

SENTENCE # UNKNOWN: Like a fucking Disney princess who might belt out a song at any moment, given the opportunity or the odd swelling soundtrack.

THOUGHTS: After Megan Crane worked so hard to create a seedy environment it was perfect to have this “fluffy” thought interjected. It was amusing, perfectly timed and one of many sentences I liked. Now, this is not a .99 cent read. Devil’s Mark is 3.99, but I don’t regret it and with this steamy narration, I doubt I will. Grab the book and leave your thoughts below. I’d love to read ’em. I’m off to enjoy some more of Uptown and Holly. Thanks Megan Crane!

 

****UPDATE*****

Finished the book. Loved every second of it. HOT! STEAMY. SEXY! I will be reading more of this author FOR SURE!

***************

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First Five: Furbidden Mate by Jessica Snow.

BLURB: 

Plus-sized Katerina Headley is on a mission. She’s out to prove that real men do love curves. On a night out of fun, she attracts more than her share of trouble and the sexiest wolf this side of the universe.

Liam Greyson.

Heir to a billionaire fortune that just so happens to be a gorgeous wolf with a killer bod. But being with him will brand them both as outlaws. Bears and wolves don’t mix. It’s forbidden.

But that won’t stop Liam from helping himself to Kat’s curves. Or filling her belly with triplets.

They’ll face danger at every corner. Liam may need more than a killer set of abs and a tight ass to keep them all safe.

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FIRST FIVE: Katerina Headley, age twenty-three, half-turned from the full length mirror on the back of her closet door and looked over her shoulder at herself. Her gaze swept over the short, spaghetti-strap black dress that clung to her ample curves: bountiful breasts, solid hips, lush thighs. She glanced over the spill of dark brown waves that ran over her back and one shoulder, trying to school herself to look at her image admiringly instead of critically. Not bad, she told herself and did her best to believe it now that her confidence had taken a hit. 

THE GOOD: I’m gonna be straight. I picked up this .99 cent read because I LOVED the idea of a plus-sized main character finding sexy love. I was excited to start the book off with the MC seeking validation because, honestly, we’ve all been there. Dumped. Hurt. Rejected. In dire need of an ego boast. That’s what I thought the story was gonna provide and I was stoked to have that KNOWN right up front. Usually, authors will motivate the MC with an inner struggle that’s hidden to them and later discovered  While that’s not an awful approach, I NEEDED a story where the MC knew she was hurt, damaged and in need of loving. I NEEDED a MC that was gonna keep it real and that’s what I was sure, even after the First Five, this book would provide. 

THE BAD: I only made it %25 of the way through Furbidden Mate before shutting it down. Here’s why: the author seemed unsure of her stories direction. There were multiple, conflicting POVs that didn’t add real value to the parts I read, and though there was an interesting plot twist during that first %25, Jessica Snow’s voice was all over the place. One minute, it sounded on par with a hurt, young, motivated woman. The next, it sounded petty, immature and more than inexperienced. Kat, the MC, bounced between hurt and angry in the classic ways we’d expect, but there were other,  angrier, emotions peppered in there and those feelings made connecting to Kat extremely difficult. (Which was odd because I found myself connecting to Kat before I even started the book. Essentially, the author TOOK what I identified in the MC and muddied it up with a bunch of bizarre actions/cravings.) Before I stopped reading, I found myself wondering if Jessica Snow was young herself, or perhaps this was her first novel. Either way, for .99 cents I thought I’d give Furbidden Mate a try. 

THE OKAY: Jessica Snow has great potential. Many of her sentences capture images I’d struggle to provide. EXAMPLE: Dropping his gaze to the floor, Liam brought up an interesting half-truth. In this part of the book, it’s a different POV, BUT I love how Jessica doesn’t shy away from the ickier side of lying where Liam’s storyline is concerned. It made connecting to him easier than connecting to Kat, the MC. EXAMPLE 2: This was puzzling; normally Kat loved her some bread. But today it was about as appetizing as packing peanuts. This is solid writing right here. Funny. Informative. Descriptive. I love everything about it. Because there were so many GREAT instances of writing, I have decided to revisit this author. She has plenty of books to choose from all of which are priced just right. My hope is that this book and I just didn’t click. 

*****UPDATE******

I still plan to revisit this author, but did not find the rest of the read all that entertaining. Sorry.

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!!Messy Death by Jennifer Starks!!

MessyDeathCOVERI’m going to give you the First Five of my debut novel, Messy Death. I’m also going to let you know that for a limited time, you may download the ebook for FREE at Smashwords.com. I’ve done a search for it on the site, but haven’t had much luck finding it. At any rate, I’m having difficulties figuring out AMAZON.com, so I’m just making it free on Smashwords.com. Without further ado, here are the First Five of my book. 

MESSY DEATH:

1: Perspiration slicked my cleavage as I made my way across stage. 

THOUGHTS: Okay. She’s on stage. She’s nervous. She has cleavage. YAY!

2: Wearing a V-neck in front of horny adolescents  wasn’t classy by any means, but at least I’d have their attention.

THOUGHTS: She’s dressed kinda slutty on purpose. Okay. She’s in front of horny teens. Okay. Yeah. She definitely has their attention. (I’m not fond of this sentence, FYI. I could’ve done better.)

3: If that didn’t work, the tub of body parts I carried was bound to get some interest. 

THOUGHTS: Body parts in a tub? How very Dexter. It’s getting bloody! YAY!

4: When I learned public speaking was in my immediate future, I had one thought.

5: How the fuck am I going to talk about my job for thirty minutes?

THOUGHTS: Dropped the F-bomb in the First Five which means there’s liable to be a lot of swearing. If you’re squeamish about that sort of thing…oh boy. Within the FF, I have set up the area. Given you an idea of the MC’s voice, job and personality. Believe it or not, many characters aren’t nearly as snarky as my Vira Silk. I think, if I wasn’t the author, I would download this read for FREE or even for .99 cents. Why? The prose is right up my alley, wouldn’t ya know. LOL. 

Why am I offering this, you ask?

Well, quite simply, I’m thinking about changing Messy Death BACK to it’s intended ending before the release of the second book as the published ending has made the writing of book 2 VERY difficult. Considering all of my current life challenges, I need things to be as easy as possible. I’m not 100% set on changing/re-releasing MESSY DEATH yet, but I feel like it’s something to really consider. 

In the mean time, I would also like to drop the First Five of Messy Victory which hasn’t gone into SUPER EDITS yet, but will be published before book 2 of the Vira Silk series. Messy Victory - Jennifer Starks

MESSY VICTORY: AN EMON NOWL SHORT BY JENNIFER STARKS

1-5:  I have been with the Soul I am to Claim for a short while now. She is beautiful with large eyes and midnight colored hair. Her routine is not tiresome which is a great relief as most humans are monotonous creatures. This woman approaches each day with vigor and spontaneity. I have seldom known that to be the case. In the days leading up to death, some Souls can sense their demise. Some say they can even sense us. The Reapers. ©

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Mimi Jean Pamfiloff!

I’m not technically posting the First Five of anything, but I will. Right now, you can the first 3 of the King series books for .99 cents! MJP’s next book in the King series releases soon.

To celebrate the AWESOME event, I’m going to give everybody the first five of each book. Because, they’re ALL great. screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-4-35-03-pm

KING’S: BOOK ONE of the KING SERIES by MIMI JEAN PAMFILOFF:

I squirmed in my tight gray pencil-skirt from behind the antique desk and forced myself to look away. Three minutes to go. But I didn’t need a clock to tell me that. I knew it. My stomach knew it. And the sweat trickling down the small of my back beneath my fitted white blouse knew it. (Technically, 6 sentences, but the last one was the clincher for me, so I had to include it.)

KING FOR A DAY: BOOK 2 in THE KING SERIES by MJP:

Key in hand, I gaped at the fooltball-field-length warehouse overlooking the San Francisco Bay. It was six thirty in the evening, and a cool fall breeze drifted off the salty water. The street was empty but for a few plastic grocery bags rolling with the wind. Go inside, Mia. Don’t be afraid. Nothing bad will happen. I glanced at the ominous oversized steel door, and then closed my eyes, trying not to let my fear send my packing. (More than 5 for sure, but what-the-hay!)

KING OF ME: BOOK 3 in THE KING SERIES by MJP:

Sex with a ghost. Sex with a ghost. Am I really going to do this? I stared into my champagne glass, my hand trembling as I focused-tried to focus, anyway-on the delicate bubbles fizzing to the surface. It was all I could do to keep from getting up and running from the nearly empty restaurant or stealing yet another look at my date.

 

Thoughts: As always, Mimi Jean Pamfiloff is incredible. I LOVE her work and I LOVE this series. Some of the first sentences, in the first book, were admittedly rough, but it’s the first. Writers and readers know the first book in a series is like a clearing of the throat. Gotta work out the kinks. Find our groove.

 Nothing MJP his bad, IMO. Hence, the sharing of this fun event. .99 cents for THREE books! How great. Especially when those books are kickA**. So, buy it now! If you hate it, what are you really out? A buck. Whoopty-doo.*twirling my index finger*

Most of us spend more than that on a cup of coffee. 

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First Five: Unexpected Gifts by Bronwyn Green.

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Short Story(BLURB)

Feeling sorry for herself, Cassie Williams plays sick to skip out of her family’s Christmas Eve gathering. She loves her family, but on the heels of a divorce and her ex’s new engagement, an evening of togetherness is the last thing she wants.

Long-time friend, Sam MacLane has been in love with Cassie for years, and he isn’t about to let her have her pity party. There’s a blizzard on the way, and Sam shows up on her doorstep—bearing gifts….

**I haven’t read this book all the way through yet.**

Sentence 1:  You lied! On Christmas Eve.

Thoughts: I like beginning a book with dialogue. For me, it’s somehow more believable to come in as a character in mid chat.

Sentence 2: Cassie Williams stood there with her heart in her throat as she stared at the snowflakes clinging to the eyelashes of her visitor.

Thoughts: Good visual. Even flow. Gives me a timeframe as well as some scenery. 

Sentence 3: Bright blue eyes had captured her gaze, and it was all she could do to break contact.

Thoughts: So…she’s staring into a set of eyes. Okay.

Sentence 4: She shoved the front door, letting it slam in the face of her guest.

Thoughts: Okay…so. Um. She has a thing for these eyes. She was mooning over them a minute ago, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s still pissed off enough to be rude. I like IT! Interesting.

Sentence 5: She should have known her mother would send someone over to check on her.

Thoughts: This is the sentence that made me read on. I just had to find out the sex of this blue eyed someone because…you never know! 😉

Sentence 6: Why did it have to be Sam of all people?

Thoughts: While this line could’ve been more dum-dum-dum, it was still satisfying in that I learned the gender of blue eyes. These 6 sentences have hooked me. I’m ready to read on. Unexpected Gifts by Bronwyn Green seems like a fun little adventure, and really? You can’t beat FREE! 

Try it out. Stalk a little if you’d like. Bronwyn Green I say, totally worth the time. 😉 **Also, you should know that I didn’t read the blurb all the way through until AFTER I read the first 5/6 sentences. LOL. Didn’t need to.**

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FIRST FIVE: A Witch A Ditch and a Who Done It by Marly Mathews

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BLURB:

Millie Collins is a witch praying for a mundane life. Thinking she’s finally gotten away from finding dead bodies, she prepares for a day of enjoying herself at a Car Boot Sale, when she discovers a dead body in her trunk, landing her smack dab in the middle of another Who Done It.  
Now, she just needs to solve the murder mystery, and deal with the hijinks of Paul Evans, and her Uncle Clive, as they take their pranking war to a whole new level. Welcome to Halloween in Port Merlin and Pendeen, where the strange and unusual make everyone scream.©Marly Mathews 

 

FIRST FIVE:

There were many ways Millie Collins envisioned her night ending. Landing face down on top of a dead man wasn’t one of them. It had started out as an ordinary enough evening. She had dressed to impress the other members of her online coven. Every month, they met in Truro, to celebrate the first night of the full moon.© Marly Mathews

General thoughts: 

There’s nothing wrong with ANY of the above sentences. They are designed to get you interested; to get you questioning. Each sentence gives you adequate information without drawing it out, becoming boring or losing, instead of gaining, interest. The fact that our MC has fallen onto a dead body really gets the mind reeling.

Each sentence GIVES the reader a great place to start. 1) Millie isn’t an average Joe. 2) Millie is active in her coven. 3) Hell, Marly Mathews even gets a time of reference in by explaining when they get together. It’s textbook stuff. Most people would be hooked right away.

Sadly, I’m not most people, and while I continued to read for a short while, eventually I stopped. For me, this wasn’t about content. I stopped because of my lack of excitement for the story. In my opinion, A Witch had this very blasé tone. The fact that Marly Mathews is so popular may indeed prove me wrong, but these FIRST FIVE reminded me that there’s more to a novel than just getting the ‘elbows and knees’ right. (That quote is a shout out to the world’s best crit partner, Liz Sogard. I love you!) 

This paragraph didn’t feel enthusiastic to me. The MC was on par. The writing was superb. I just didn’t feel like there was a lot of pep behind the stories step. For me, that feeling continued throughout the next dozen or so pages. 

In general, I believe the mechanics of a book can be right. The characters can be strong. The grammar tight. (No, I didn’t mean to rhyme that. Lol.) However, as in life, we must have chemistry with a book. Reader and author must connect. Emotions must transcend the page in order for the engagement to begin. It’s all about chemistry. When you have it, things are great.

When you don’t, it’s The End whether you’re on the last page or the firsy.

Thoughts on FIRST FIVE ONLY: 

This paragraph is strong. The main character seems interesting. The use of grammar is good. For $2.99, I don’t think this will be a regrettable buy. BONUS: This author has plenty of these books out, so if you really love it you’ll have lots more to read. 

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Guilty Pleasure Read!

This isn’t going to be a normal review. Rather, this is me, a woman who reads, admitting that yes. I have found a guilty pleasure read. 

The book I’m about to mention is particularly mortifying because I’ve never read anything like it before. EVER! But what can I say. I found myself in a sexy place and wanted something fun, quick and dirty birdy.

Stepbrother with Benefits Book 1 is not your average sex read. First and foremost, it starts out with some raunchy escapades. Maybe it’s not as bad as all that. I don’t know. The writing is…blunt which makes the sex…even more blunt. This book is written in present tense, which I normally hate, but it works for this book. I don’t know how or why.

It’s kind of like a bumblebee flying. You know it shouldn’t work, but it does. The sex is descriptive in that nasty way that’s reserved for “really naughty nights.”

Oh, don’t look at me like that. We all have those nights. 

Some examples from Mia Clark’s book include:

“He leans over me and pins me to the bed, burying himself deep inside of me with one last thrust.”

“…and without saying anything or even asking, he thrusts two fingers deep into my sex.”

And then of course there’s the part where we see, with absolute clarity, that this IS in fact a stepbrother and sister situation–

“‘Now put some damn pants on,’ he says, smiling, teasing me. ‘Mom and Dad are waiting for us.”

BOOM!

For the first part of this book, I was mildly repulsed by the idea of a stepbrother and stepsister getting it on, but hell. They aren’t blood. They aren’t young. This means the premise is taboo enough to be fun without being TOO creepy. Soo…I gave it a whirl. Author, Mia Clark, keeps the voices hip and young. (As I went to insert the link to her name, I learned why. She’s young and full of hip!) Mia develops her characters very well. When I started reading this short, .99 cent read, I didn’t think it was a chapter type series, but it is.

That doesn’t take away from the entertainment value though, so don’t fret. My opinion of the Stepbrother series is this: it’s a hot, fun read with just enough heart and character to keep you coming back. If you’re in a “happy” place and looking for a guilty pleasure read, then this is the book for you. I should mention that its FREE for Kindle Unlimited. Otherwise, each installment is .99 cents.   

Now, plenty of readers judge other readers choices, but let me give a word of advice. This post is MY guilty pleasure read. It’s not an invitation or call to arms. Reading and reviewing is a wonderful outlet. I share because I believe things should be shared, always. Wonderful good; wonderful bad; wonderful guilty. Please, don’t be a hater. If your opinion is OTHER than mine, feel free to share it. 

Respectfully.

To date,  I’m enjoying the third Stepbrother book, and yes. It’s..naughty. No. I won’t be talking about it, openly, like it’s the next Gone With the Wind, but who cares. It was an adventure. And who knows? Maybe one readers guilt was meant to be another readers pleasure. *WinkWink*

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