Free Fiction Friday #175–Valentine’s Day Edition!

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday! For those of you who are new to this blog, or who may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays—every Friday I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre, and on sale for less than $5.

I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars, have over 40+ reviews, and are 100 pages minimum—so you can have a hand-picked list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our theme is:  Romance!!

THE FREE

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THE BARGAINS

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Devil and The Deep – Release Day Party + Giveaway!

Ceruleans series poster

It’s an exciting day today here at Author Unpublished! Earlier this month I was given a chance to take part in the Devil and The Deep Release Day Party + Giveaway, and I was more than happy to jump in and participate. The Ceruleans series by Megan Tayte is one of my recent favorite series. I’ve read through the first three books already (Death Wish, Forget Me Not, WIld Blue Yonder) and gave them all 5 star reviews.

Btw, Books 1, 2, and 3 are FREE today for the Release Day Party (September 30)! So go check them out! Go! Go!

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Devil and the Deep coverDevil And The Deep by Megan Tayte, Ceruleans Book 4

STORM CLOUDS ARE GATHERING, AND THEY WILL RAIN BLOOD.

Scarlett is living her happy-ever-after, back in the real world. Only the ‘happy’ part is proving problematic.

For starters, there’s the isolation. Being a Cerulean among humans is fraught with risk, so her time with people can only be fleeting. Which means being with Luke but not being with Luke.

Then there’s her Cerulean light, her power over life and death. Less awesome talent, as it turns out, and more overwhelming responsibility. And it comes with rules – rules that are increasingly difficult to obey.

But what’s really pushing Scarlett to the precipice is something much bigger than herself, than her life in the cove. A force to be reckoned with:

Blood.

When long-buried truths are exposed, will Scarlett keep her head above water – or will she drown in the blood-dimmed tide that is unleashed?

[Buy it on Amazon.com] [Buy it Amazon.co.uk]

EXCERPT

It began with screaming. Shrill, ear-piercing, horrified screaming.

A girl shrieked, ‘Blood! Look, look – it’s everywhere!’ and pressed her hand to her mouth.

A man shouted, ‘Good grief!’ and another, ‘Great Scott!’

An old lady swooned gracefully and would have tipped over the balustrade of the riverboat had a lanky lad not caught her.

The cause of the excitement – a woman lying slumped on the long table on deck, cheek on her bread plate, headdress in the butter dish – twitched a little.

‘She’s alive!’ cried a lad beside her delightedly. ‘She moved!’

‘Did not,’ argued another.

‘Did too!’

‘Gentlemen,’ interjected a short, portly man with a twirly black moustache, ‘if you will forgive my intrusion, it must be noted that this woman has a bullet hole in her head and is logically, therefore, quite definitely deceased.’

Another old dear folded to the deck with a prolonged ‘Ohhhhhh’ and her husband grabbed a feathered fan and began wafting cool evening air in her face while calling, ‘Smelling salts – does anyone have any?’

I tried to keep a straight face. Really I did. I bit my bottom lip until I tasted my cherry-red lipstick. I pinched my leg through the cream satin of my gown. I dug my long cigarette holder into the sensitive flesh of my arm.

But it was no good.

The ‘What ho, chaps’ posh accents.

The buxom woman sagging in the arms of an elephant hunter wearing Converse All Stars.

The production of smelling salts in a bottle whose label read Pepto-Bismol.

The corners of the little round man’s moustache coming looser with his every word.

The fast-pooling puddle of pinkish blood on the bread plate, buffeted by the steady in-and-out breaths of the corpse.

Take it from a girl who’s really died – death on the River Dart, Devon, is hilarious.

‘Dear me, Ms Robson here appears to be quite overcome with shock,’ said the guy at my side suddenly, and he slipped an arm around me and turned me away. ‘Come, madam. Let us get some air.’

I smiled at him. Then grinned. Then choked back a guffaw. Thankfully, by the time full-scale hilarity hit me I’d been led to the rear of the boat, away from the rest of our party, and could bury my face in the bloke’s chest and shake mutely with laughter.

The gallant gentleman rubbed my back soothingly as I let it all out and said loudly, for the benefit of any onlookers, ‘There there, pignsey, there there.’

‘Pigsney?’ It was the final straw. My high-heeled sandals gave way and I melted into a puddle of mirth on the deck.

‘I’ll have you know, Scarlett Blake,’ hissed Luke, my boyfriend a.k.a. gallant gent, hoiking up his too-tight corduroy trousers so he could squat down beside me, ‘I Googled “old-fashioned terms of endearment” and pigsney’s a classic.’

I wiped tears from my eyes, dislodging a false eyelash in the process, and tried to catch my hiccupping breath as Luke went on.

‘Means pig’s eye. No idea why that’s appealing, but apparently in the seventeenth century, calling a lady pigsney was the very height of courting.’

Through his fake specs Luke’s blue eyes fixed me with a stare so earnest I almost managed to stop laughing.

‘But this is a Death on the Nile-Stroke-Dart murder mystery night, Luke,’ I managed to get out. ‘Set in the nineteen thirties, not the seventeen thirties.’

‘Ah,’ he said, ‘but my character tonight, Mr Fijawaddle, is a historical fiction writer, isn’t he? So as well as dressing like a brainy recluse – and I’m warning you now, I won’t hear another slur against this tweed jacket – he’d know all kinds of obscure terms. Like ginglyform and jargogle and nudiustertian and bromopnea and farctate and quagswag and philosophunculist.’

His showing off sobered me just enough to control the giggles. ‘You made those words up,’ I accused, poking a crimson talon into his mustard-yellow shirtfront.

He blinked at me innocently. ‘Did not. I told you before we left the house, I did my homework.’

I narrowed my eyes. ‘All right then, Mr Fijawaddle, what does that last word you said mean?’

‘Philosophunculist?’

‘Yes, that.’

‘Er…’ Luke gave me a sheepish grin.

‘Spill it,’ I said menacingly. As menacingly as a girl dressed up as a vintage Hollywood starlet with cute little pin curls and rouge aplenty can be, that is.

‘Philosophunculist,’ recited Luke. ‘Noun. A person who pretends to know more than they do in order to impress others.’

I threw my head back and laughed. ‘Busted!’

Luke slipped an arm around me and pulled me close. Really close.

‘Bet you like it when I use long words,’ he said huskily, eyes fixed on my too-red lips.

‘Bet you like it when I wear a clingy nightgown as a dress,’ I replied, eyes fixed on his too-kissable lips.

‘Brazen hussy,’ he growled at me.

‘Randy boffin,’ I murmured back.

Then neither of us said another word for quite some time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Megan Tayte

Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess fireman. ‘Write, Megan,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did.
Thirty-odd years later, Megan is a professional writer and published author by day, and an indie novelist by night. Her fiction – young adult romance with soul – recently earned her the SPR’s Independent Woman Author of the Year award.
Megan grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but these days she makes her home in Robin Hood’s county, Nottinghamshire. She lives with her husband, a proud Scot who occasionally kicks back in a kilt; her son, a budding artist with the soul of a palaeontologist; and her baby daughter, a keen pan-and-spoon drummer who sings in her sleep. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her walking someplace green, reading by the fire, or creating carnage in the kitchen as she pursues her impossible dream: of baking something edible.
You can find Megan online at:

http://megantayte.com/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13478850.Megan_Tayte
https://www.facebook.com/megantayte
https://twitter.com/megantayte
https://plus.google.com/+MeganTayte

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Review

[Originally Posted Here]

I’m still in a little conflict over how I feel about Devil and the Deep by Megan Tayte. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the book… but it wasn’t my favorite out of the series. The front half of the book felt a little slow to me. Not a lot happened. I read the book 20% at a time, and I didn’t feel like I was itching to get back into the book each time I put it down… If I’d put down the book halfway through, I would have shrugged and moved on—but, I am glad that I continued to read because the second half of the book was much better.

Technically speaking, the book was well written. The pacing was steady, the writing was fluid and easy to follow. I ran into a few minor typos, but nothing that distracted me from the text, or would have made me put the book down. Once again, I loved all the characters…. even Evangeline. It was a solid addition to the series as a whole up until this point. But, like I said, the first half of the book just didn’t engage me like I’d expected.

The ending was great. There was drama and chaos and lines were being crossed, and I was engrossed. When that last line hit, I bemoaned the end of the story. I wanted more.

Overall, I really liked the book. Was it the best book in the series? For me, no. Was it enjoyable? Definitely. Would I recommend it? Yes. If you’ve enjoyed the previous books in this series, you’ll probably enjoy this one too. I can’t wait for the fifth book!

Weekend Wrap-Up #4–Mothers Day Edition!

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to yet another Weekend Wrap-Up! Let’s get started!

What I Read

Okay, I’ll admit it. I failed as a reader. I read one thing. One. This entire week.

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I finally managed to get through Art of Cunning by Steffanie Holmes. There will be an upcoming review May 20, so I won’t go into great detail, but I can tell you that I gave it 3 stars—which was a bit of a disappointment. The book started out really strong, and it was definitely an entertaining (if short) read, but there were a lot of contradictions and plot holes that dragged the rating down. Le sigh, I had such high hopes.

The reason I didn’t get any reading done this week is because about an hour after I posted the last Weekend Wrap-Up my throat mysteriously started hurting out of nowhere. Not a big deal right? By night it was irritating the crap out of me and so I dragged out a flashlight and checked out my tonsils. Ever seen white, infected tonsils before? Gross. To make a long story short, I got tonsillitis out of nowhere and basically slept through the first half of the week. I couldn’t even keep my eyes open. Luckily, I never did develop a fever, and I felt much better mid-week. I still have spotty tonsils as I type this, but I definitely think it’s on the mend.

As you can imagine, I took it pretty easy this week., and so I shall blame my lack of reading on naps. Yup, naps.

What Was Posted

What I Did

yummybreadObviously, I didn’t get a lot done this week. Being sick, even my chores fell behind. I think the only thing I accomplished at all was related to cooking. It used to be that my family ate 90% of our meals out of pre-packaged containers. I could think up a million excuses: lack of time to cook, the price of raw foods… laziness.

Last summer however, for whatever reason, I made it my mission to try and cook more for my family. For an entire summer we hardly bought any pre-packaged foods. I tried out a lot of new recipes—failed at some of them—but eventually found some my family loved. Before I knew it, cooking and baking everything from scratch became something we did on a regular basis. I’ve continued that tradition for a year now.

Baking and cooking is something I enjoy, and try to do often now, so it’s not too much of a surprise to admit that the only thing I really did this week was cook. I made homemade Italian spicy spaghetti (which takes 2 1/2 hours to make by the way), ham steak, mashed potatoes, baked teriyaki chicken.. and of course, my major accomplishment this week: sweet Amish white bread. I’ve never baked bread before—and to be honest, I was expecting to fail. (side note: kneading bread by hand because you don’t own a bread machine is quite the work out!) My recipe said to bake it for 30 minutes, but I pulled it out at 18 minutes as you see in the picture above. Amazingly, the bread came out perfect… not only that—but it was delicious! My daughter and I basically ate it like it was cake. I probably only have 2 slices left in my kitchen. If anyone wants the recipe, let me know. It’s soooooo good.

Other than that… I watched a lot of anime and messed around on Virtual Piano learning to play via computer keyboard because that’s a skill I decided I needed. That last comment was slightly tongue-in-cheek. I was a horrible reader this week. Gomen.

Next Week

I need to read. Period. I’ve got Reviews lined up till the 20th, but after that it’s all open schedule. Luckily, I got some new books today *thumbs up*. Thank god for Mothers Day and Amazon Gift cards.

Let’s talk about Mother’s Day…

Mothers Day is a bittersweet holiday for me. I never really know if I should be excited and thankful for the momentary appreciation of all that it is I do for my family, or if I just want to sleep through the whole event. My mother passed away from Breast Cancer when I was just barely into high school. My mother was an awesome woman and a great parent… but I missed out on having her during the majority of my teen years. She worked all through out my childhood, and to be honest, I don’t have a lot of memories of her outside of her passion for romance novels (which I inherited), and her distaste for swimming (which I also inherited). I remember that her favorite cartoon was The Smurfs, that she loved to bake, and I remember that she loved horror movies… but that is about it. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with my mother growing up because she was always busy. Mothers Day reminds me how much I miss her each year. She didn’t get to see me graduate highs school, get married, or have a daughter of my own… and there are days that I really wish I could just call her up and ask her things—anything.

That isn’t the only reason Mother’s day bothers me though. I was very young, 18 the first time I became a parent—though it was only for a little while. Just a few short weeks into my first, unplanned pregnancy, I miscarried. It was devastating, and most of my family still don’t know that it ever happened. It felt like I’d just gotten used to the idea that my world was about to change when it changed again.

A year later, I was pregnant again—with my daughter. Yup. I was a very young parent. I was 19 with my second pregnancy, and 20 when she was born. As long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a mom. I was the kid in the neighborhood that begged to babysit people’s children. In school when we had to carry around those annoying electronic babies for a week to teach us about parenthood, I was the girl who babysat everyone else’s kids and got perfect scores across the board. I swear, I had an electronic baby on my hip six weeks in a row. I love kids, and I always wanted to have a bunch of them. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. To be honest, it’s a miracle my daughter was ever born.

I almost died during my daughter’s birth, and remained very ill afterwards. Finally, after 2 years of constant pain, nausea and bleeding (how was I to know this wasn’t normal? I was 20!) I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cysts. During the surgery to remove them, I was also diagnosed with 4th stage Endometriosis. For those of you who don’t know what Endo is: it’s when the lining of the Uterus makes it way outside into the abdominal cavity. It continues to grow and spread like scar tissue as it binds your organs together… and because it doesn’t know that it’s not where it’s supposed to be, every month it sloughs off and rots in between your internal organs. It’s a life-long, painful disease. My doctor told me I had the worst case he’d ever seen. Most women don’t get Endo until they’re over 30. Mine had been growing since I was a teen. A few days later, I had a complete hysterectomy. It didn’t cure the disease—it can flare up at any time if even a single cell remains… it will continue to regrow. They can keep cutting it out, but there’s no real cure for Endometriosis. I will have it forever. Unfortunately, this means that at 22, I lost the ability to have any more children.

DSCN0334croppedI’m grateful everyday for my daughter. She’s beautiful, kind, smart, and creative. I’m exceedingly lucky to have had her at all…but it doesn’t stop me from feeling sad that I never had the opportunity to have more. For someone who wanted so badly to be a mom, it’s still hard after all these years. So, I just try to be the best mom that I can—and I must be doing something right, because my daughter is amazing.

Anyways, for those of you out there who are mothers, Happy Mothers Day. I know each and everyone of you knows how amazing you are and how hard it is to do what you do. We don’t get nearly as much appreciation as we probably deserve… but for today, enjoy being in the spotlight. You deserve it.

Is it Friday Again? Seriously?

It is going to be a long day of catch-up. For whatever reason, my WordPress reader has been completely inaccessible for this entire week. It’s finally back up, but that means I have at least a hundred articles to read through in order to catch up. *thumbs up* I’ve also got 3 reviews that are waiting to be posted (I didn’t want to post them while my reader was down, just in case everyone else’s was too). I haven’t decided if I’ll post them all at once or space them out yet. That’s a lot of writing for one day. I also need to get Free Fiction Friday up sometime today.

So I guess, stay tuned. I may be spending my entire day just sitting on WordPress.

On a completely unrelated note, did anyone catch the Geek & Sundry Vlogs hangout last night? No? It was awesome. I got to ask a question, had my name shouted out by Felicia Day, and subsequently, everyone talked about the zombie apocalypse for 10 minutes. The geek in me squealed.

Free Books To Suffer Through V-Day With

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Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! For those of you who are suckers for romance, or maybe don’t have anyone to spend V-Day with this year, I’ve prepared a list of FREE books for you. They’re all available in e-book format over at Amazon. So if your significant other seems to be missing this year (or unavailable for some reason), here are some free romance books to curl up with tonight instead.

In no particular order:

Books are 100% Free Today & have 4+ Stars in ratings:

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I hope everyone has a great Valentine’s Day ❤