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Monday, April 28, 2014

Drea's First-In-The-Serial Round-Up

First-in-the Serial
Serial novellas/novels that end in cliffhangers seem to be the “In” thing these days. I’ve acquired quite a few of these freebies (or cheapies) over the past few months and decided to review them so you don’t have to. Fortunately they’re not all bad, or I would have earned my Twitter name (NovelBitch). Here’s the run down in order of when I read them:

Title: Taken by the Billionaire
Author: Lucinda DuBois
Series: His Only Desire #1)
Format: ebook
Release Date: September 6th 2012
Length: Short Story (27 pages)
Genre: New Adult/Erotic Romance
Price: Free [Get It]
Buy: Amazon
Rating: 1-star
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Official Blurb:
Inexperienced private investigator Sydney Sellars witnesses a murder while staking out Barton Hintz, a powerful businessman rumored to be into illegal activites. She fears for her life and turns the only person who can help her, who has always helped her, family friend and billionare Remy Merrick. 
Brash and powerful, Remy had always been the ojbect of her desire. But the disparity in their statuses and Sydney's own insecurities had always kept them apart. Kept her from allowing herself to be taken. But now, with nowhere and no one else to turn to, Sydney gives in to her desire.

Drea's Review:
I grabbed this free at some point and needed a book to pass the time during intermissions at a show.

From the rate at which the percentages went up each time I changed pages, it was clear this wasn't going to be a lengthy story, which is cool in my book. However, I'd expected some sort of resolution. Not a cliffhanger...that isn't even really a cliffhanger. It's simply a full story stopped at a chapter break and served up in more expensive pieces.

The writing isn't good (as you can tell from the misspelled words in the Goodreads blurb).
The characters are annoying. The plot is super thin. Sydney witnesses a murder but instead of going to the police, she goes "home" (to the mansion she grew up at...with the family that all-but-adopted her) and calls Remy. The hero doesn't immediately call the police either. No, he screws her instead.

Remy is supposedly a playboy who dates supermodels but of course he drops all that so he can have Sydney, finally. The fact that Remy (who is basically her foster brother, so that introduces an element of faux-incest) proclaims he's going to have sex without a condom to prove the heroine is his, and has always been his, took this from a 2.5 star book to a 1.5 star or lower book. I suppose he's meant to be all Alpha and dominant, he comes off as ridiculous instead. His behavior isn't over protective, it's just plain abuse. I don't care to discover what else is in store for them.

Grab this one if you want juvenile prose and a creepy hero.

Title: The Token
Author: Marata Eros
Series: The Token #1
Release Date: December 24th 2013
Length: Novella (87 pages)
Genre: New Adult Dark Romance
Price: 99cents [Get It]
Rating: 2-star
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Official Blurb:
Twenty-two year old Faren Mitchell hears the two words that change her abbreviated life forever. They're so final Faren decides she has nothing to lose by seizing every remaining moment of what life has to offer.
Until Faren collides with a motorcycle ridden by billionaire Jared McKenna.
Even the dark secret of her past and catharsis as a physical therapist can't save Faren from the sexual spiral that waits for her in the arms of a man who commits to no one. When circumstances force her to get a second job as an exotic dancer, Faren never imagines how close that choice will bring her to the brink of a new reality she is unequipped to handle.
Drea's Review:
I admit I had no idea what “Dark Romance” was supposed to be. I should have figured it out from the blurb. The cover was to blame for my buying this. Amazon sent this as a suggestion email (damn them) and I hung on to it, debating if I wanted to pay the 99cents to get sucked into a serial. As you can see, I did.

So, yes, Faren does get really bad news. And she does get hit by a motorcycle (when she’s running away from her doctor after hearing bad news). But there’s really no sexual spiral. At least not in this book. All they do is have dinner together. Because she’s a virgin. Yes, a twenty-two year old physical therapist virgin working at a strip club.

There’s absolutely no resolution in ANYTHING. None. We’re left with more questions than we started with.

And at the 65% mark begins a preview for a totally different story. How’s that for getting my 99cents worth?

Major spoilers on this because I can’t properly review it without doing so.
So Faren has a terminal brain tumor. We learn this in the prologue. And Faren’s mother is catatonic because the stepdad beat her nearly to death for protecting Faren from his advances. Faren is paying for Mom to be in a nice facility. But she’s behind on bills and needs more money, enter her BFF Kiki suggesting she work with her at a high class strip bar. That turns into working at a higher class joint where the men get to do more than look (read: lap dances). And the dude who ran her over with the motorcycle owns both places. There’s also a predatory manager at both locations because this story didn’t have enough darkness to it. Oh! And I forgot, one of Faren’s arms is bum. And the cliffhanger? Faren goes up for auction at the higher class joint and guess who wins? It’s not the nice billionaire she hasn’t slept with. Nope. It’s the freaking step father. Da da dum. The end.

Yeah, no. I’m not paying anything more for this. I give it a 2* because the writing is technically fine. It’s the story’s plot(s) I can’t handle. But the fact that I didn’t understand what Dark Romance is wasn’t the author’s fault. This novella just has way, way too much drama in one book. I could see having one or two of these bad elements, but all of them? That’s just overkill. And not the escapism I crave in my romances.

Grab this one if you are a masochistic glutton for punishment.

Title: Ready to Reach
Author: Inglath Cooper
Series: Nashville #1
Release Date: May 21st 2013
Length: Novella (130 pages)
Genre: New Adult
Price: Free [Get It]
Rating: 4.5-star
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Official Blurb:
Nineteen-year old CeCe Mackenzie leaves Virginia for Nashville with not much more to her name than a guitar, a Walker Hound named Hank Junior and an old car she'd inherited from her grandma called Gertrude. But Gertrude ends up on the side of I-40 in flames, and Nashville has never seemed farther away. Help arrives in the form of two Georgia football players headed for the Nashville dream as well. When Holden Ashford and Thomas Franklin stop to offer CeCe and Hank Junior a ride, fate may just give a nod to serendipity and meant to be
Drea's Review:
I opened this one ready to roll my eyes. I’m no country music fan. Not at all. And when the first few paragraphs were all devoted to how the heroine prays, I was ready to check out. I’m glad I stuck through it.

The writing is good, characters engaging and the pace zooms the reader through the novella. Though the story is told in the first person point of view from both CeCe and Holden, this first installment is all about CeCe trying to get back on her feet after everything she has goes up in flames, literally. I was a little disappointed that she goes for the initially jerky guy rather than the amazingly sweet one, but that’s how these things usually go. There are some kisses but no sex, and I was okay with that. Fortunately we get a little resolution, unlike the last serial. And the story ends on an upbeat note.

Grab this one if you dig stories about chasing your dreams.

Title: Locked
Author: Maya Cross
Series: The Alpha Group #1
Release Date: May 21st 2013
Length: Novella (130 pages)
Genre: Erotic Romance
Price: Free [Get it]
Rating: 4-star
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Official Blurb:
Who is Sebastian Lock?
The bar Sophia Pearce is in doesn’t look like much. The wine is bad and the decor worse. But when a sudden attack of curiosity leads her to sneak past security and into the back room, she discovers something unimaginable. The most lavish party she’s ever laid eyes on, in the most unlikely of places.
But that’s nothing compared to what comes next, to the man she meets back there. Sebastian Lock. Gorgeous, commanding, and radiating charm, he is exactly the sort of silver-tongued rake Sophia has sworn to avoid. Unfortunately, he doesn’t care much for her promises.
Every instinct tells her to run, but the chemistry between them is as inescapable as gravity. Soon, he’s opening her eyes to a whole new world of pleasures, pleasures she never thought she’d enjoy.
There’s just one problem. Sebastian is more than he seems. Between the famous company he keeps and the almost paranoid secrecy of his employers, he’s a puzzle Sophia can’t quite solve, and his insistence on keeping things casual forces her to confront the demons of her past.
Can she learn to trust again? Or will Sebastian’s privacy tear them apart?
Contains light BDSM, including spanking, restraint, and anal play
Drea's Review:
We’ve got a curious lawyer and a mysterious gorgeous millionaire who want each other the second they meet. Add in some career woes and supportive BFFs and you’ve got a pretty typical light BDSM story. That said, the novella was good escapism. There’s some conflict because Sebastian doesn’t want to be tied down and Sophia has already been burned by a cheating ass. More conflict because she resists his stalker-like advances for a good chunk of the book. And the non-Sebastian related conflict of her stagnant career. There’s just enough drama to keep you interested without it going overboard (I’m looking at you, The Token). The official blurb does a good job of warning you of what is to come, and what isn’t.

Grab this if you want a little bondage in your erotic romances featuring super hot rich guys.

Title: Beneath the Boss
Author: Lydia Rowan
Series: Beneath the Boss #1)
Release Date: May 21st 2013
Length: Novella (130 pages)
Genre: Interracial Erotic Romance
Price: Free [Get It]
Rating: 3-star
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Official Blurb:
Though Layla Grayson loves her job as a financial analyst, she never intended to let it consume her life. But her boss, billionaire Leighton Means, is nothing if not demanding, and Layla finds herself increasingly ensnared by his whims—and by the undeniable attraction she’s finding it harder and harder to suppress.

Layla knows she’s fighting a losing battle, so when a surprising opportunity presents itself, she tempted to take it, even though she knows doing so will spur Leighton’s wrath.
Leighton Means didn’t amass his fortune by playing nice, and he demands loyalty and obedience from his employees. Especially Layla, who, despite her habit of defying him, he has come to rely on. Confronted with the prospect of losing his trusted confidante, Leighton decides he’ll go to any lengths—including seduction—to keep her…
Beneath the Boss.
Book One of the Beneath the Boss series is a 7000 word interracial erotic story features a curvy heroine and her billionaire boss, contains explicit sexual content, and is intended for readers over eighteen
Drea's Review:
I have mixed feelings on this one. The writing is mechanically fine. But I didn’t connect with the character. Layla is a strong heroine, yet she’s managed to get herself in this nearly abusive job situation with Leighton (and his name annoyed the crap out of me, so that didn’t help the situation). No amount of money would persuade me to accept being treated the way he treats her. The fact that she allows it doesn’t mesh with the character that is initially painted. While there’s mention of Layla and Leighton going through a lot together over the years, I can’t see how this heroine would have developed into the strong person she is if she’d had his influence around her for as long as she has. That said, the sexual tension is good. The sex scene is fairly hot. I’m just not into this enough to grab another part.

Grab this one if you've ever fantasized about your asshole boss screwing you against a door.

Have you read any first-in-the-series books lately? Comment below and tell us which ones are good and which ones to stay awaaaayyyy from :D


  1. wow many reviews here with so many different books. I'm sorry for the ones you didn't like it's always a little sad. I didn't really know them but I'm curious about Locked and Nashville now. thanks for the reviews.

    1. The duds went quickly, so I'm fine with it. That's at least one nice thing about these serials: it's much easier to avoid a DNF :)
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Whoa bunch of reviews. I hate cliffhangers, especially when the story ends abruptly.

    1. I normally do, too. But it seems like they're popular, so I thought I'd try some.

  3. Well this is fortuitous ;) I already have both of your most highly rated serials. I'll be sure to try them out soon! Sorry for the duds though . . .

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    1. *bites her nails* Oh I hope you like at least one! :)

  4. Thanks, Drea! I love Locked by Maya Cross and you got me curious about Nashville esp as that's mah hood!

  5. well at least not all of them had been a miss! and it sounds like they were pretty quick reads. Humm.. as for first in the series, yes but a bunch of cozy mysteries heh

    1. I haven't read any of those. Not sure they are for me. Romance has to be the main plot...unless its urban fantasy.

  6. How come all those men are billionaires? I really don't want to read any of them. I have read exactly one serial, when it was fully done, Susannah Sandlin - Storm Force. I really liked it. And one book that was published in two parts at first, a lovely steampunk by Lynn Viehl.

    1. I was hunting for books on my Kindle that were in multiple parts and these were the ones I found for my first round-up. I'm guessing the billionaire thing is because of Fifty Shades' popularity. *shrug*
      Though the Nashville one doesn't have any billionaires.

  7. You thought more of Locked than I did...I gave it 2 & 1/2. No connection to the story or the characters for me. Dang, I have Beneath the Boss...gotta check that one out.

    1. It was a quick read. I'd be interested to hear how you liked it.