Thursday, January 25, 2018

What to Read for Free on Jan. 25th, 2018

Today I tried to pick a variety of books from Amazon's Top 100 Free list, including a couple of nonfiction titles. 

Today at #16 with  4.5 stars on 311 reviews. This is a time-travel romance.

Who says it all has to be fiction? I am pleasantly surprised to find a book on Linux on our list. I happen to be an Ubuntu enthusiast. I think this book will be of interest to anyone interested in learning a little about an alternative to Windows. At number 46 today, 4.4 stars on 129 reviews.

Lately, Amazon has been including little jewels of literature, usually classics, as Free offerings in the Top 100 Free. This one listing is a real gem. It includes Franz Kafka's greatest works. Don't know who Franz Kafka was? This book is a great way to find out!

This is a YA read with lots of dragons in it. I love dragons, so I could not pass on it. 4.3 stars on 435 reviews. It sits at #76.

With 311 reviews at an average of 4.7 stars, this cozy mystery is a winner.

This one has been sitting in the top of the list for a while. To be fair, there are many readers out there who like Christian literature and would love this offering. At a 4.7 stars on 176 reviews, this must be good.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

What to Read for Free Today: Jan 18th, 2018

With the exception of the first pick, a mystery, the other books are all different types of romance novels. Sorry, guys!

There is plenty to choose from today as the two-dozen or so tawdry titles I recently highlighted miraculously disappeared from the list yesterday. No fault of mine, I assure you. Maybe Amazon finally caught on to the bad grammar.

This is impressive; a book with a 4.9 stars average in 65 reviews! I could not pass it. I'm not a lover of the serial killer vs FBI agent genre, but such high scores can't lie.

Historical romantic suspense with 558 reviews. Love dark Gothic!

I have been a lover of time-travel romance since my first reading of Outlander. This one has 464 reviews for a 4.4 stars average. I love the title.

For those who love contemporary romance, here is a promising one with 4.5 stars average out of 95 reviews. Set in Alaska, a place I'd love to visit someday.

For those who like shifter romances but are tired or wolf and bear shifters, this one promises a difference. At 4.3 out of 120 customer reviews, it attracted my eye. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


As I promised yesterday, I read Owned by the Dark Dragon  by Hollie Hutchins. This is a title that placed in the Kindle Top 100 Free, and part of a genre that emphasizes suggestive titles and lurid covers. The prospective reader will expect highly erotic content. In this case, the reader would be totally disappointed unless he is maybe a high-school student.

I will do my best to be fair to the author while remaining honest for the reader's sake. A reviewer's duty is to the reader.

First, this novella (really a long, short story) is in first-draft condition. It seems to be a first writing; it lacks even the most minimal editing. The following are examples from the first few pages.

...hoping to further herself from the chaos.
A correct usage would be ...hoping to distance herself from the chaos

Sinome spoke as he titled his head towards her,...
I hope he "tilted" rather than titled.

...regardless of how bazzar it all must be for her.
I think the author meant to use the word "bizarre."

It would take me hours to correct all the subject/verb disagreements, changes in verb tense, passive voice use, etc. This author should have gotten at least a few beta readers to go over her draft and corrected the most glaring errors.

Next, The story runs like the proverbial bat out of hell. There is absolutely no scene development and less character development. This could have been a much longer and better tale if it was not told in first-person, marathon style. It has a very good premise. I like the Central Park initial setting, and for the genre of fantasy, the storyline has potential.

Probably the most important aspect needing criticism is what the story promises but does not deliver. It's clear that the cover and title are implicitly promising an erotic read (not to mention the blurb). This is significant in the light that people buying this genre may not be looking for great grammar, but they do want significant erotic content. In this book, there is none.

There is a scene where a dragon (the dark one) does a little light lapping of breasts. Later, the rescuing hero has some very confusing (to the reader) sex with the protagonist. There is something about a "bright pink star," and a lot of confusion about what exactly he is doing. If you are looking for a titillating, erotic read, this is not it.

All having been said, I must say that the author has potential. She obviously likes to write, and with some time spent developing scenes, fleshing out characters, some proof-reading help, she could put out a good manuscript.

It seems to me that the author may be a  young college student trying out her wings as a writer or hoping to make a quick buck. She definitely handles the sex scenes without insight or finesse.

She could make money writing in the erotica genre even with bad grammar, but she must provide the intense, descriptive, well-written content that erotica readers seek. By failing to provide that, she will not get her customers to come back. I think she would be better served by writing just pure fantasy and using covers that reflect that.

On the Amazon scale, I will give her two stars. Readers looking for erotic content will be far less generous. I do wish she'd get editing help and emphasize the fantasy part of her work. In the future, I'd love to read something by her that showed such growth. Authors are not born. We are made through hard work and the learning of the craft just as other artists are made.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What to Read for Free on Jan 16, 2018

For those readers who may find fault, this is obviously written with tongue-in-cheek.

Kindle's Top 100 Free is the place to go if you want to read free, tawdry titles with truly hilarious covers. In Smashwords, you also get the free, tawdry titles but without the hillarious covers. 

Judging by the rankings, there are plenty of readers out there downloading these free books.

First, let me tell you that it's not easy making the list. There are at least 100,000 free offerings not placing in the top 100 free, including my excellent Vampire, Not Monster.

Remember that the placings change constantly according to how many downloads take place each hour. After a while, I stopped writing down the numbers.

There are authors who have multiple listings in the Top 100 Free. Elena Davinski, Daniella Wright, Malcolm Bryant, and Holly Hutchins all have multiple books in today's list.

Elena Davinski has two books in the Top 100 Free today.

This book has no reviews. It comes in at #42 on the list.

This one comes in at #96. It also has no reviews. I love those crowns. Perfect outfit: a towel and a crown! 
Can you see the author's name on the book? I can't.

Next in line is Daniella Wright. She has four books placing in the list. Her Triple Dominated

rates at #94. Are those men green or turquoise? I can't decide.

This comes in at #95.

This comes in at #90. No reviews.

This one comes in at #93. No reviews for this one either.

While the authors above have six of the Top 100 Free, they are not the winners! Author Malcom Bryant has eight books, his first coming in at #44.

I especially love this title. There is a certain "je ne sais quoi" about it. I am shocked it has no reviews. Maybe I'll write the first.

It is noteworthy that most of Malcolm Bryant's offerings fall in the middle of the list between #44-#52. That is not shabby.

Still, the undisputed winner is author Hollie Hutchins with a whopping twelve titles placing in Kindle's Top Free 100.

Starting at #41, this cover really speaks to me. I love dragons. Again, no reviews. I'd like to hear what readers have to say about character development in this book.

At #43, The Dragon's Servant.

This seems to be a boxed series.

Coming in at #60, this title is special. It comes with 2 customers reviews at an average of 1 star. I say it can't be that bad as it rates in at #60.

The Dragon's Property at #61

At #63, Unfortunate Brides. Love the bridal veil topping the cover. It absolutely screams romance.

At #64, Owned by the Beasts

At #66, Slaved: The Dragon and the Bear.  (As opposed to "Enslaved?"

At #68, I Want it All: Dragons

At #69, Double the Dragon

Coming in at #70, The Dragon's Slave.

This one is called Destined for Royalty and it comes in at #74.

If you're confused by the covers, it's not you. It seems that the author re-uses the covers of boxed sets for individual titles included in the set.

I hate to sound like sour grapes because I am a little miffed that I'm not in the list, but I've always been told by other authors that I need to get as many reviews as possible if I want readers to read my books. That seems not to be the case here. These are twenty-nine books with two reviews (1 star each) and they are topping charts!

Interesting too that I can't find a thing about the authors. Not one of those authors has an author profile. It seems to me that if I was selling books like hotcakes, I'd want my best-selling mug out there for the world to see. Fame and all that, you know.

I, personally, am a lover of a good sex scene. I have a few of them in my novels, although I must admit that they're probably not as good as the ones we'll find in these books. 

Being that there are over two dozen of these very popular books on the list, I think I should pick at least one and write a review.

Now, how do I choose? Well, since the non-existent reviews are no help, I must think about using what there is. First, Malcolm Bryant's books seem to be all about M/M sex written for males by a male. I hold the prejudice that men write sex scenes for other men, with little romance or finesse. I know, I know. I am wrong and prejudiced. No one's perfect.

I am very curious about the author who has fifteen titles on this list. I also love dragons, and she writes about them a great deal. I will read and review one of Hollie Hutchins's books. Owned by the Dark Dragon (with blond hair) seems appealing.

Here is the Amazon Blurb.

A Dragon Shifter Paranormal Romance

Content Note: This is a 15,000 words novella—Perfect to relax before bed or by the pool!

For a limited time, this book may include extra bonus stories for your enjoyment!

Anne only had one focus in life for the last two years: completing her law degree in New York City and landing a position at a prestigious law firm. But when she takes the same route she always uses through Central Park to her apartment from school, Anne is blinded by a bright light that will change her destiny forever.

Soon Anne is whisked away by brute warriors to a different realm where dragons exist in the form of humans. She’ll be thrown into a war between a Dark Lord and a rebellious group that aims to see his destruction. But when both sides of this war fight for both her claim and body, she will have to decide for herself what is rule and what her body is truly wants.

This is a stand-alone story with a HEA, so no cliff-hangers! This story contains explicit love scenes and is intended for 18+ readers only.

I will read and post my review in the next few days.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

New Cover

I have been updating some of my book covers recently. Daniel's Fork, the first novel I wrote, has always been problematic when it comes to cover ideas. It's a story set in the future, but it's not a technological, sci-fi-type future. It's characters are hard to illustrate with contemporary images and stock photography. 

I love the image of the healer as the focus of the old cover, but I wanted to bring some color and a lighter tone to the new one. The result is this new cover. The added character is Susanna, the center of the mystery. She is a beautiful, lusty girl and a fitting contrast to the healer. I hope you like the new cover. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

What to Read? Part 7

Finally, back to normalcy. First thing I did was check the Amazon Top 100 Free. After all, I need to put some meat on the brand-new Kindle Fire my son gave me for Christmas. Here are some promising reads that you can download for free today and possibly the next few days.

This book has 11 reviews but all are 5 stars.

This book has 132 reviews, 4.3 stars average.

This book has 640 reviews! Not bad. Its has 4.3 stars average.

This book has 247 reviews with a 4.7 stars average. That's a great score.

This book has 766 reviews with a 4.3 stars average. Impressive!

I have read none of these books. I chose them because their blurbs seemed interesting, and the reviews were good. 

The Top 100 Free is full of many books in all genres, but I tend to stay away from the "Billionaire's Baby" and "Taken-by-the-Bear" type books. 

I'm also not big on "End-of-the-World" books. If you like them, there are plenty of those in the list. You can check out Until the end of the World

It has 813 reviews with a 4.6 stars average.

I noticed also that lately, Amazon is including Free classics in the list. For example, a few days ago I was able to download The Call of the Wild, Great Expectations,  The Time Machine, and War of the Worlds.

Here is the link to Amazon's 100 Top Free Books 

New Year, New Resolutions, New Projects!

I love a new year. It's like being reborn. I can fool myself that all past misdeeds and errors have been forgiven, and I am a new person. Almost. This year I've made a resolution not to have any new resolutions. Does that make sense? It does to me. I am thankful to be alive, that my family is well, and that the island is coming back to normal faster than any of us expected.

It has been  over three months since hurricane Maria disrupted all our lives. For me, at least, most things are back to their usual state. I have electricity, running water, cell phone service, and Internet. My neighborhood looks pretty much recovered. The greenery has come back with surprising vigor. This, of course, is not the case everywhere else; there are still towns where the destruction was more severe and things are still being repaired and worked.

I now have the time to return to my writing. My next installment of the Angel's Guardian series has begun. The working title is Heart of Stone. I've included here the cover for you to see. The image depicts Ivanna, sister of the evil Toma. Ivanna is a main character in the new novel. Let me know what you think of the cover.

I try for my covers not to be blatantly erotic although there is strongly erotic content in all my novels. Amazon will not approve even mildly erotic covers for their Amazon promotions. Recently, I had to change the cover of Strongheart's Woman because Amazon Marketing Services kept rejecting it. Apparently, the long, side view of the female image was unacceptable regardless of the fact that all her "assets" were covered. As soon as I changed it, the Amazon Ad was approved.

I intend for Heart of Stone to be darker, more intense, and definitely character based. While Max and Angel are still at the crux of the series, this story will have Ivanna and Devian as the main focus. Devian, with his ugly face, coldly professional exterior, and ultra-macho demeanor, is a favorite of readers. I have no idea yet what havoc Ivanna, the beautiful, willful vampiress will wreak on the self-assured Devian, but I promise it will be delicious reading!