Free Fiction Friday #85

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday #85! 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: YA Mystery, Thriller & Horror!

THE FREE

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THE BARGAINS

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Book Review: Something

review-cover-SomethingTitle: Something [Wisteria 1]

Author: Shelby Lamb

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Horror, New Adult

Rating: 1 Star (DNF)

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Description/Synopsis:

They say be careful what you read. Something is wrong. Something is very wrong. It can happen to anyone. This is just four teenagers’ story.

Aubrey Golding hates her face, her body, and is devastated after Nathan Silva leaves her. Alone, suicidal, and desperate for love, she discovers a book called Something and unknowingly links others to a dark and terrifying curse that is beginning to consume her.

Nathan is glad to be moving on with someone new and can hardly believe what is happening now. Wild child and amateur porn star, Bella Broadhurst, loves bullying that “emo whore” Aubrey with the other girls, but mostly she loves partying, hookups, and plain ol’ drama when terror arises. And Kendra Coke is just a new teen mother working on a delicate relationship when things start becoming utterly bizarre.

Chilling sleep disturbances and figures hiding in the corners of their rooms are just warnings of what is to come. Be careful what you read, they say. Tread carefully…

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

DNF. I wanted to like this book—the premise certainly sounded interesting, but unfortunately, the execution fell drastically short. I have to be honest: I didn’t like this book. At all.

The story started with a huge section describing the character down to her moles. She was a predictable emo-hipster complete with pastel pink hair and piercings, constantly listening to dated Evanescence songs while she whined about her absent boyfriend, friends, and well… just about everything. Frankly, I didn’t like her. She was depressing to listen to, and the way she was set up made it painfully obvious that she was just like every other dramatically written emo teen; painfully special in her sad, cliché way.

The narrative voice was filled with poetic description about things that weren’t relevant to the story, and after just 4% of the book—I was bored.

I know there are people out there that love this book–I have seen the 4 and 5-star reviews–and I applaud them for their dedication in reading through this entire book. Really, I do. It just wasn’t for me, and honestly, I can’t recommend it. I don’t think it was well written. I am incredibly disappointed.

Book Review: Bite of a Vampire

review-cover-bite of a vampireTitle: Bite of a Vampire [Volume 1]

Author: Anna Belsky

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Vampires

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

I never was a romance novel kind of girl, maybe that’s why I decided to get in the business of proving that love was meant to be unfaithful. Call me bitter but my full name is Emily Johnson, and I work as a private investigator for Jonesville Extramarital Affairs. It’s my daily job to investigate, snap photos of and usually proves that a spouse has found someone else to dilly-dally with. It was a bit of a dream job after having my own respect and dignity broken so many times in college by a guy named Robert, Bob for short. I don’t hold a grudge against him, he was my first, and he taught me that love relationships are not really things that exist. My best friend Abby doesn’t believe me so I decided to prove my point and become a Private Investigator.

On this night Emily’s world turns upside down when she comes across a vampire attacking one of her investigations. She is swept into a world of the supernatural and must draw from all her experiences as Private Investigator to survive… or so she thinks until she meets Michael.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Bite of a Vampire by Anna Belsky was a fun, if short, endeavor into an imaginative vampire-filled world. To be honest, I’m a little up in the air over it. It was a fun book. I liked the characters, I liked the intrigue of the plotline, the danger, and the steamy romance. There was a good amount of gore and danger, and the more paranormal aspects of the books (like the ghosts) were really well done.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the book was perfect. The editing in this book was poorly done. I ran into dozens of grammatical mistakes, misspellings, and sentences that just made no sense. The errors made me pause several times to re-read, and ultimately pulled me out of the book. The writing style was first person, present tense…but sometimes that tense was messed up. The style of the writing was a little underdeveloped, and it often felt like I was being ‘told’ the story a little too much, rather than the author letting me sink into the narrative.

Was the book terrible? No. I did enjoy it—but I think it could have easily been better than what it was. The story was just too short to do it’s characters and plotline justice, and the editing was sub-par, making it a difficult book to get into. This is something I’d recommend for people looking for a light, paranormal read to soak in on a bus ride.

Book Review: Tormented By Ghosts

review-cover-tormented by ghostsTitle: Tormented By Ghosts: True Life Experiences

Author: Lynda Bogert, Darrell Gibbs

Genre: Paranormal, Non-Fiction, Memoir, Horror

Rating: 1 Star (DNF)

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Description/Synopsis:

She wants to be normal, but the spirit world has other plans. Tormented by Ghosts is a true story about unfortunate encounters with ghosts and other otherworldly paranormal phenomena that have greatly affected Lynda’s life. The struggles include harrowing encounters of unwanted Out of Body Experiences (OBEs), her Near Death Experience (NDE), her horrifying visit from a demonic apparition, and mysterious bone-chilling ghostly visits. This book encompasses her thirty years of coping to learn and educate herself to understand and utilize her spiritual abilities and tools to help herself and others. Her daily battle is to overcome the paranormal and control the abilities that she has been given! Is she seeing and hearing ghosts that may have a message for her or to let themselves be known or to simply taunt her? This is a story with many stories. You’ll want to sleep with the lights on because it could also happen to you, too…

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Think what you will, I’ve been a long time believer in the supernatural—though I still consider myself a skeptic. Because of this, I am a huge fan of ghosts stories, but I also like to view ghost stories with a healthy amount of skepticism. I want proof. Evidence. Unfortunately, the way Tormented by Ghosts by Lynda Bogert was written it was very difficult to believe that these were true stories—and maybe they were—who am I to judge? My hesitance is not so much a product of the stories themselves, but the way they were presented.

Honestly, the book was not well written. The narrative rambled from topic to topic with no clear format or breaks to delineate what was happening. The writing wasn’t fluid or clear and concise, but instead hard to follow. The dialogue was about as believable as a Carebear’s scripted speech and throughout the narrative, the author threw in big bad thesaurus words like stymied and invidious that really didn’t fit the context or style of the writing.

I tried to get through this book and stick to following the story, but I just couldn’t. I didn’t like it, and I don’t know that I could recommend it. It needs another strong round with an experienced editor. Lines like “I’ve never vibrated this much in my life.” Should never have made it into the final copy.

Book Review: Ignition

review-cover-ignitionTitle: Ignition [The Escaping Demons Saga 2]

Author: Stacy McWilliams

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 2 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Life has never been easy for Jasmine Johnstone, but failing for Nathan Stevenson brings a whole new level of difficulty. Since she arrived at his home he’s blown hot and cold with her, turned against her and revealed a deadly threat. He is sworn to kill her, and fights against his love for her more than ever, but he knows he can’t live without her.

As they run from monsters, and each other, can their love survive?

Time begins to run out and with new friends and enemies in the strangest places, will they learn who to trust in time?

With their love stronger than ever, but forces pulling them apart, is love enough to keep them together or will Nathan’s parents succeed in pulling them apart?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

This book was a mess. Yes, a mess—and I’m being generous. I had some hopes after the first book that maybe this book would be better. Maybe the author would explain things, maybe Nate would somehow beautifully and tragically save Jasmine as to redeem their relationship in some matter. Anything… but what I got was an even bigger tangle of absurdity than with the first book.

The book was littered with typos. Missing words, improper grammar, misspellings, omitted words, even lack of clarifying punctuation. There were too many mistakes for a book that had a professional editor. On the plus side, the writing, for the most part, remained clear despite these problems and flowed along reasonably well.

My biggest problem with this book was the egregious amount of plot holes, obvious plot devices, contradictory phrases, and just the plain absurdity of what the characters were saying, doing, or thinking at any time. I literally broke down into hysterical laughter after about the 15th time the male demon love interest, Nate, shed a tear and Jasmine noted that she’d never seen him break down and cry before. REALLY? I cracked up laughing and exclaimed “Where have you been? He never stops crying!” Nate was constantly sobbing, breaking down into tears, or shedding a tear over everything. Their relationship was in a never ending loop that went something like this: “Baby, I love you more than anything, more than my life!” “I hate you. I never loved you.” “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it, I was protecting you! I love you! Please forgive me!” repeat ad infinitum. I lost track of how many times this cycle of love/hate repeated itself, but it was painfully predictable.

Also painfully predictable, was the number of times Jasmine tripped, fell into something, or got a head injury. The girl should have serious brain damage. More worrisome perhaps, was the author’s penchant for softening the blow of all the tensest moments by going meta and explaining what was about to happen. “I didn’t know then that…” became a common theme.

As the book wore on the writing got more and more absurd. Bits of information were thrown in to move the plot along that reasonably, the main character should have never known. She somehow learned magic and how to identify wild herbs out of nowhere when it was needed, even though she’d been orphaned and in the foster care system since she was little. When she needed to drive, it mentioned that she had taken a few driving lessons a few months before. When? When did this happen? She’d been living in the demon household for over a year at that point, and I really can’t imagine that they let her out to take driving lessons. She suddenly identified a witch trap even though until that moment, witches had never been mentioned in the books. She identified an obscure Japanese mythological creature by name even though she didn’t know they existed until that moment. It never ended. Things kept getting introduced into the story, and suddenly Jasmine knew what they were or how to deal with them “although she didn’t know how she knew”—and that was the best explanation we got.

At one point, we were even introduced to the fact that Jasmine had a little brother and sister… (which were never mentioned in the first book), that she somehow forgot existed. Soak that in.

Frankly, the book was badly written and a bit ridiculous. The romance between the two main characters was abusive—full of lies and physical abuse—and every opportunity Jasmine had to get away, she quickly went back on before the page was even over. She was constantly playing the victim, and it got to be both irritating, and after awhile, sickening to read. I honestly don’t understand how this book got so many 4 and 5-star reviews because it’s probably one of the most infuriating and repetitive books I’ve ever read. This is not something I would recommend. Period.

Book Review: Luminosity

review-cover-luminosityTitle: Luminosity [Escaping Demons Saga 1]

Author: Stacy McWilliams

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Jasmine Johnstone’s life was relatively normal until she was forced to live with the Stevenson family. As she stayed she found she had no choice but to battle mythical creatures. Strengths she never knew she possessed began to surface, surprising those around her. Her only chance of surviving the rising tide of evil was Nathan Stevenson. Could she really trust him as he fought against his love for her? With the world against them and time running out, would their love be enough to defeat demons?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Honestly, I’m not sure what to say about Luminosity by Stacy McWilliams. I liked it. The plot was a somewhat new idea, I was curious as to what was happening, and for a few short hours, I was thoroughly entertained—but that doesn’t mean that it was necessarily a good book.

The book was riddled with typos—and I mean a lot of them. There were missing words, spelling problems, even words that were used in the wrong context. Although the writing was fairly clear and easy to read, the plot left me baffled. Half the time I didn’t know what was going on and there were no explanations forthcoming. The “romance” between Nathan and Jasmine was painfully contrived and woefully neglected for the first half of the book. It felt like I spent the majority of the book watching this poor, orphaned kid getting smacked around by basically everyone she met.I lost count of how many head injuries she received, but I’d bet you it was over half a dozen—and she barely stuck up for herself, tried to run away, or otherwise defended herself in any manner. She never even actively tried to figure out what was going on around her, even though she knew something very strange and very bad was definitely going down. Jasmine was a punching bag.

So why did I like it? I’m not sure. I guess I liked it because I keep hoping that there’s going to be more explanation. I keep hoping Nathan’s going to do something risky and beautiful to save Jasmine’s life. It’s all hope. I’m going to keep reading the series, and who knows? Maybe something will be explained in the second book. This definitely isn’t going to be for everyone, but if you’re looking for something different and dark, and you have a high tolerance for confusion, you may be interested in this book. Just be aware that this one needs a high trigger warning for people who’ve suffered emotional or physical abuse. It’s going to make you mad.

Book Review: Darkchylde

review-cover-darkchyldeTitle: Darkchylde: The Ariel Chylde Saga

Author: R. Queen

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Horror

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Ariel Chylde is haunted by horrible dreams, and on her eighteenth birthday sheds her skin as the nightmares emerge to act out her deepest, darkest impulses.

But before Ariel can save her small town from the terror of her dreams,
she must first save herself from the sinister secret of her subconscious.

A secret guarded by unspeakable evil.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I have been a huge fan of the Darkchylde comic series since it first came out years ago, so understandably, when I learned that a book had been written based on the comic series, I was ridiculously excited.

The core of the Darkchylde saga was essentially the same as in the comic series and I was glad of that. I’ve always liked Ariel as a character, the dark gritty world building was phenomenal and different than what you find in most YA novels. The dreamscape Ariel visited was certainly the stuff of nightmares… but that’s about where my love of this novel ends.

Honestly, I didn’t like the style the book was written in. It was distinctly poetic, vague, and overly descriptive in a way that bogged down the pace and made it hard to follow. Even when I read everything presented, I felt like I was reading the book while only partially paying attention. I just couldn’t keep interested. I think in this instance, the story was better represented through visual media than it was in written form, and I don’t think the style of the writing fit the intended YA audience.

Overall, I’m glad I gave this book a try, and I’d love to see it as a movie…. but I remain disappointed by the novel as it stands. I think the style did the story a great injustice by making it more difficult to read than it needed to be, and by slowing the pace to a painful crawl.