Tag Archives: series

Lines of Distinction: Windmills by Lyndi Alexander

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Check out this line from Lyndi Alexander’s Color of Fear series:

The pain of anticipating her new shorn look sat on her shoulder for a moment then faded. This was only a means to an end. A small price to pay for what she must do.

buy links:
Amazon (Book 1)
Amazon (Book 2)
B&N (Book 1)
B&N (Book 2)

Connect with Lyndi
Website
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#SaysTheEditor Series Book Two (or Three, or Four or…)

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I did it. I really did.

Over at GoodReads, I gave one star to a book I’d picked up without realizing it was the second in a series. The book had arrived here years ago, back during my crazy book trading days, and had sat and waited for me to finally read it. And this past week was finally its time.

So I looked it over. “Are you part of a series?” I asked it.

It’s a book, so it didn’t answer. Go figure.

And maybe I should have looked it up online, but it was late, I wanted to crawl in bed and read, and hey, the book wasn’t showing in any way that it was part of a series.

I spent seven pages constantly wondering a rousing WTF before I gave up. I had zero clue what was going on in this book… it was a cluster of words and images I couldn’t make heads or tails out of. When I realized that the first chapter didn’t explain things any better than the prologue had, I gave up.

It wasn’t until I logged on to GoodReads that I realized it wasn’t a standalone book. Which explained much, but…

And here’s the point of my post:

As authors, you owe at least a hint that your reader is now holding Number Whatever. Publishers need to mark books clearly (does anyone think that maybe this is partly why some authors get hit with the dreaded “bad sales” label).

I am often asked by clients how much of the first book or books is enough, how much is too much, how much is not enough. That’s not something that can actually be quantified, because every book is different, every book in a series relies on its predecessors differently, and not every series builds the same way. Like everything else, the answer to “how much” is entirely subjective.

Obviously, that’s where a good editor (ahem) can help. Getting it right can be hard, and an experienced set of eyes is always a good thing.

But more to the point, this is a good one to run past your beta readers. “Do you need more of the past history” is a completely valid question to ask a beta, especially if the beta hasn’t read the previous books. Ask and encourage them to mark up the spots where they get lost, or where a little more explanation (but never an info dump!) is needed. And remember that you may get different answers from readers who’re familiar with your series than you will get from new readers. Finding the balance between those two needs is your goal. Enough to catch a new reader up, but not so much that you bore your reader.

I don’t feel good about that one-star review. I thought about not reviewing the book at all, but I’d promised myself that I’d leave even a short review for every book I read in 2017. And I made it clear in that review that you can’t read this book without having read the first — and that I think the author (and in this case, the publisher) have an obligation to help a new reader into the world. Not that I need a complete recap or background, but it would have entirely changed my reading experience if I’d known even a little bit of what was going on with the swirling colors and the loss of magic and who these people were and why I should care.

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To Series or not to Series #atozchallenge

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Even before the rise of self-publishing as a viable publishing platform, authors were increasingly turning to writing series. Deadlines were getting tighter, but the worlds were familiar. The characters were familiar. And the readers wanted more.

Other than the deadlines, the other factors make sense. For a writer, being in a familiar world means you don’t have to engage in new worldbuilding, which is time-consuming and, frankly, hard. Same with building new characters, although the good series introduce new, fully rounded characters who you love just as much as the original players. Or maybe you love to hate them; it’s all good.

But there’s, of course, a flip side, and that’s the ability of the reader to keep up with all the series they are reading. Personally, I gave up trying and get to certain series when I get to them. The only one I may actively keep up with is Stephanie Plum, and that’s because I can take it out of the library and read it in a day or two. That’s hardly the sort of criteria you are looking for, authors!

For a young writer, just beginning to establish him or herself, series can be attractive endeavors. Not only do you have the ability to continue to expand one singular world, rather than reinventing it with each new book, but you can also continue the growth of your main characters, and that’s one of the best luxuries of a series. There’s lots of room to play, and you can put your series out as a box set, or offer the first for free, as a loss-leader but as a hook to sell the rest of the fun that follows.

Of course, there’s a downside, and that’s that the series doesn’t ever find its audience. If that happens, you have wasted a lot of time and effort on your project. And sometimes, a lot is an understatement.

But there are things you can do. You can write the best book possible. You can hire really good editors who can not only fix your mistakes but teach you how to stop making them, and who can teach you a better command of words and the craft of writing. You can hire formatters so your books look fabulous on all the various reading devices out there (including phones). Cover artists, to help catch a reader’s eye. And, of course, a really good marketing team who can do more than line up blogs for you to visit.

Yes, it’s expensive. But if you’re doing this across a series, the costs… some of them can be spread out across the series, such as marketing. Some have hidden benefits, such as working with the same cover designer until you both know what the next three covers will look like before you’ve even plotted them.

Like everything in publishing, to series or not to series is a crapshoot. But readers seem to like them, and keeping your readers happy is always a great way to retain readers and expand your sales.

Besides, really good characters are the sort you want to be around, and writing a series is always a great way to spend time with people you love to be around.

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Lines of Distinction: Something More by Nia Farrell

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010 SM GF+ Probably

SOMETHING MORE (The Three Graces Book Three) by Nia Farrell. Rachel Givens is supposed to be dead. She has post-rape PTSD and a three-year-old autistic daughter, father unknown. When her former lovers walk into the diner where she works, this single mother learns just how much more she can handle. Nominated for Best BDSM Book of the Year, Ménage Category, 2016 Golden Flogger Awards.

Buy links to SOMETHING MORE (a BSDM MFM ménage secret baby erotic romance):
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Allromance
Smashwords
Dark Hollows Press

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Lines of Distinction: Something More by Nia Farrell

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0015 SM GF Kissing Cam

SOMETHING MORE (The Three Graces Book Three) by Nia Farrell. Rachel Givens is supposed to be dead. She has post-rape PTSD and a three-year-old autistic daughter, father unknown. When her former lovers walk into the diner where she works, this single mother learns just how much more she can handle. Nominated for Best BDSM Book of the Year, Ménage Category, 2016 Golden Flogger Awards.

Buy links to SOMETHING MORE (a BSDM MFM ménage secret baby erotic romance):
Amazon  http://mybook.to/SomethingMore
Barnes and Noble  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/something-more-nia-farrell/1122797262?ean=2940151160094
Allromance  https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-somethingmore-1905345-147.html
Smashwords  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/585262
Dark Hollows Press  http://www.darkhollowspress.com/#!something-more/c1clr

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Lines of Distinction: Something More by Nia Farrell

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013 SM GF+ Recap & quote

SOMETHING MORE (The Three Graces Book Three) by Nia Farrell. Rachel Givens is supposed to be dead. She has post-rape PTSD and a three-year-old autistic daughter, father unknown. When her former lovers walk into the diner where she works, this single mother learns just how much more she can handle. Nominated for Best BDSM Book of the Year, Ménage Category, 2016 Golden Flogger Awards.

Buy links to SOMETHING MORE (a BSDM MFM ménage secret baby erotic romance):
Amazon  http://mybook.to/SomethingMore
Barnes and Noble  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/something-more-nia-farrell/1122797262?ean=2940151160094
Allromance  https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-somethingmore-1905345-147.html
Smashwords  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/585262
Dark Hollows Press  http://www.darkhollowspress.com/#!something-more/c1clr

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Lines of Distinction: Something Different by Nia Farrell

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SD 12-11-15

 

SOMETHING DIFFERENT (The Three Graces Book Two) by Nia Farrell. Starving artist Anna James has sworn off men. Rock gods Jackson and Jacob Thomason just promised her the best sex of her life. Does Anna dare submit to the part-Comanche twins who perform as No Mercy?

 

Buy links to SOMETHING DIFFERENT (a BSDM MFM ménage rock star erotic romance):

Amazon ➔ http://mybook.to/SomethingDifferent

Barnes and Noble ➔ http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/something-different-nia-farrell/1122718107?ean=2940150808072

Allromance ➔ https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-somethingdifferent-1897500-147.html

BookStrand ➔ http://www.bookstrand.com/something-different-0

Smashwords ➔ https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/581142

Dark Hollows Press ➔ http://www.darkhollowspress.com/#!something-different/c13v4

 

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Lines of Distinction: Something More by Nia Farrell

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003 SM GF+ Cam

.
.
SOMETHING MORE (The Three Graces Book Three) by Nia Farrell. Rachel Givens is supposed to be dead. She has post-rape PTSD and a three-year-old autistic daughter, father unknown. When her former lovers walk into the diner where she works, this single mother learns just how much more she can handle. Nominated for Best BDSM Book of the Year, Ménage Category, 2016 Golden Flogger Awards.

Buy links to SOMETHING MORE (a BSDM MFM ménage secret baby erotic romance):
Amazon  http://mybook.to/SomethingMore
Barnes and Noble  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/something-more-nia-farrell/1122797262?ean=2940151160094
Allromance  https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-somethingmore-1905345-147.html
Smashwords  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/585262
Dark Hollows Press  http://www.darkhollowspress.com/#!something-more/c1clr

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Lines of Distinction: Something Different by Nia Farrell

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SD 12-8-15

SOMETHING DIFFERENT (The Three Graces Book Two) by Nia Farrell. Starving artist Anna James has sworn off men. Rock gods Jackson and Jacob Thomason just promised her the best sex of her life. Does Anna dare submit to the part-Comanche twins who perform as No Mercy?

 

Buy links to SOMETHING DIFFERENT (a BSDM MFM ménage rock star erotic romance):

Amazon ➔ http://mybook.to/SomethingDifferent

Barnes and Noble ➔ http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/something-different-nia-farrell/1122718107?ean=2940150808072

Allromance ➔ https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-somethingdifferent-1897500-147.html

BookStrand ➔ http://www.bookstrand.com/something-different-0

Smashwords ➔ https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/581142

Dark Hollows Press ➔ http://www.darkhollowspress.com/#!something-different/c13v4

 

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#SaystheEditor: Title Trouble

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Jett dropped me a note. She’s come across a nine-book Rock Fiction series and wanted me to know that it’s one of the rare series where all the books aren’t named the same. You know: starting with the same first word, all being named after song titles (that’s common in Rock Fiction), or something else that makes it impossible to tell each book apart.

Am I the only one who struggles with this? These similar titles, either in words or theme, trip me up every time. I have to keep lists of what I’ve read to make sure I don’t both repeat what I’ve read — or skip books in the series, too.

Titles are hard. A lot of my authors struggle with titles every bit as much as they struggle with back cover copy.

I get it. I didn’t have the title for Broken until probably a week before I decided to put it out during Rocktober. I mean, you’re trying to come up with something that’ll be eye-catching, relatively different, and yet sums up the book perfectly. Sometimes, like with Trevor’s Song or Mannequin, it’s easy. Sometimes, it’s not.

So, yeah, I brainstorm with my clients about titles. Sometimes, that’s back-and-forth e-mail where we throw words at each other until the author goes, “That’s it!” and sometimes, I leave suggestions in my notes on the manuscript. It all depends on the client, who they are and what they need from me.

But I gotta admit, when they come to me with those titles that are similar, I cringe… and help them pick the best ones. Because, let’s face it: I’ve already read the book. Such as one reads when working.

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Featured New Book: Dark Echoes by Jaime McDougall

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I have known Jaime McDougall for … wow. Forever, in Internet terms. She offered me my first-ever guest blog post, so long ago now that I don’t even have a dead link to it in my archives, let alone a live one.

Yeah, that’s some history.

Dark_Echoes - 500px

So I’m super glad to host Jaime today. It always feels like paying her back for taking a chance on someone new to the blogging community. And besides, I like the way this girl thinks. I’m pretty confident you will, too.

So, Jaime, what song makes you think of your book?

In many ways, Dark Echoes was my most difficult novel to write. The problem? My main character didn’t want to talk to me.

I knew from the start that Lily Peterson was stubborn and cranky – quite unlike her sister Charlotte and ‘aunt’ Phoebe (the main characters from the first two books). She wanted to do things her own way throughout the book. That certainly made for an interesting character, but it made it slow going for the author trying to get to know her.

In an attempt to ‘unlock’ her from a different angle, I went YouTube \\\’urfing’. I clicked on a music video and then continued to \\\’urf’ from video to video via the recommended videos in the sidebar. Though it took me a while, I finally found ‘Stand in the Rain’ by Superchick and thus found Lily’s anthem.

From then on, I could always listen to ‘Stand in the Rain’ when I felt like I wasn’t quite doing Lily justice. It’s not always easy to write a character who is stronger than you, so listening to this song helped me to find Lily when I was feeling lost.

 

I especially love this last paragraph. The romantic life of an author… yes, I see that as a romantic statement! Not romantic love. Sheesh. More like the romance and the beauty of writing.

Let’s just move on to the book description, shall we?

 

Lily Peterson is a wolf who hunts alone. Haunted by the attack that left her best friend permanently human, she will do whatever it takes to catch her prey.

FATE

Jason North is one of the Neuri, a pack of werewolves with special abilities. He knows he’s never met Lily before, but his instincts tell him he has. He’ll keep her close until he figures out why.

EVERYBODY LIES

A war that has played out across lifetimes threatens to consume Echo Falls. Friends become enemies, and old enemies become allies. Lily fights against memories that aren’t hers, forced toward a fate she doesn’t believe in.

Fate is about to learn that Lily doesn’t like being told what to do.

 

Proof that weres aren’t dead in today’s fiction. Jaime’s got it covered.

Pick up your copy at Amazon (only, unfortunately for those of us who don’t shop there).

 

Get to know Jaime. You’ll be glad you did.

Website

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Featured New Book: Blood and Iron by Jon Sprunk

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People sometimes ask me what’s the purpose of a writer’s group in today’s world. Why not connect online and be done with it all?

Because there’s magic when you can connect in person and realize the person you’ve gotten to know online is so much more interesting in person.

Blood and Iron cover

Such it is with my buddy Jon Sprunk, who is a true writer pro and a super dude. And he’s got a new book out, as well. Which means he’s taking a turn in the spotlight.

Jon, what song makes you think of your book?

Answer: “Revelations” by Iron Maiden. I’m a child of the 80’s metal wave. This song in particular evokes the majesty and mystery that I tried to put into every line of my new epic fantasy, “Blood and Iron.” But, of course, I’m not writing just for the metal crowd. This new series is about the clash between rival cultures, the friction between social strata, and the real price of liberty. You won’t elves or unicorns within its pages, but you will find magic, the kind of elemental sorcery that can destroy as well as create. I hope you’ll give it a try.

 

Wait. He said IRON MAIDEN??? Duuuuuuude. I told you he was cool, didn’t I?

Now, after all that, you totally need to know what Blood and Iron is about.

This action-heavy EPIC FANTASY SERIES OPENER is like a sword-and-sorcery Spartacus set in a richly-imagined world.

It starts with a shipwreck following a magical storm at sea. Horace, a soldier from the west, had joined the Great Crusade against the heathens of Akeshia after the deaths of his wife and son from plague. When he washes ashore, he finds himself at the mercy of the very people he was sent to kill, who speak a language and have a culture and customs he doesn’t even begin to understand.

Not long after, Horace is pressed into service as a house slave. But this doesn’t last. The Akeshians discover that Horace was a latent sorcerer, and he is catapulted from the chains of a slave to the halls of power in the queen’s court. Together with Jirom, an ex-mercenary and gladiator, and Alyra, a spy in the court, he will seek a path to free himself and the empire’s caste of slaves from a system where every man and woman must pay the price of blood or iron. Before the end, Horace will have paid dearly in both.

 

Jon’s gotten some good reviews on this already, especially about his world-building, and especially from some of the industry’s big names in reviews. How can you ignore that??? You can’t, I know, so here are some buy links:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Books-A-Million
Indie Bound

Get to know Jon. You’ll be glad you did.

Jon’s website
Jon’s facebook fan page
Jon’s twitter

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Rock Fiction Coveting: Frisky Business by Jill Edmondson

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Count on my friend Deena at e-Book Builders to bring me word that I’m falling further behind than ever when it comes to author Jill Edmondson’s rocking series, the Sasha Jackson Mysteries.

And that she got to format it? The only thing that would make me less jealous would be if I got to edit it. (If that happened, though, Jett couldn’t borrow my copy like she usually does.)

I still need to get started on this series, and I’d better get to that sooner rather than later because this is now the fourth.

Ahh, for more time to read…

And remember… even if your book has been published, if it needs a proofread by an eagle-eyed expert, I’m here. Not that I’m pointing fingers at Jill or anything. Nope. Not me.

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A new-to-me Rock Fiction author…

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Deena at e-Book Builders is at it again! She has exposed me to so much more Rock Fiction than I’d ever expected… why’s everyone hiding from me? I’m really very nice…

She’s featuring author Rick Soper, who writes a Rock Fiction series that sounds intriguing, if a bit overpopulated (By Rick’s own admission, which makes me even more curious to read this series).

Go check him out. Let me know if you’ve read his books, and what you think if you have. I’m curious.

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Featured New Book: Cold Revenge by Jaleta Clegg

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Jaleta Clegg is another of my long-time friends. In fact, if you missed it, I hosted her a little over a year ago, when she had another new release. This might even be the same series… In fact, it is!

Jaleta cover

Don’t worry if you’re new to the series… read on.

Let’s start with the reason we’re here: Jaleta, What song makes you think of your book?

Chicago – We Can Last Forever. No, my book is not a sappy love story. It’s science fiction adventure, heavy on the action and explosions and fight scenes. But I have this thing for sappy 80s love songs. I write my action scenes with them playing in the background. My iTunes library is chock full of sappy love songs for that reason. I also have a lot of movie soundtracks because they make great mood music, but it’s the love songs I keep turning to for inspiration.

Love songs? Really? And we’re friends? Good thing Jaleta is awesome in so many, many other ways.

So if you’re looking for some good adventure, try Cold Revenge. It’s book 5 in the series, but don’t let that stop you. Each book was intended as a (mostly) stand-alone story with a complete beginning, middle, and end.

Cold Revenge – Revenge is a dish best served cold. Jerimon is about to serve Dace to the Targon syndicate. On ice.

It’s on Amazon exclusively!

Book series website – The Fall of the Altairan Empire

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Featured New Book: Collateral Damage by Frederick Brooke

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It looks like word of the Featured New Book spotlight is spreading. I’ve got a bunch of posts to bring you guys — keep it up! I love the deluge.

Today’s author is Frederick Brooke, who I’d never met before he dropped into my inbox. Good to know you, sir! After reading this post, I hope you’ll all join me in hoping Frederick isn’t a stranger in West of Mars-ville.

collateral damage hi res cover

His new book is called Collateral Damage, and here’s Frederick himself to tell you more:

The whole time I was writing COLLATERAL DAMAGE, I had Eminem’s song “I’m Not Afraid” going through my head. I finally realized why when I was working on a scene with Michael Garcia. Michael has had some of the same troubles with drugs and anger and abandonment that Eminem riffs about.

I guess I had to
Go to that place to get to this one
Now some of you
Might still be in that place
Just lettin you know that you’re not alone
If you’re tryin to get out
Holla if you feel like you’ve been down the same road
Just follow me, I’ll get you there

If he could, Michael would follow. Eminem captures the desperation and helplessness of an addict, and the rage and complete lack of self-esteem that so often go with it. Michael would follow if he had someone to follow – but isn’t that how it is with anthems like “I’m Not Afraid”? They inspire us. The singer can also be the leader we follow, if only virtually.

The language of the song is beautiful, arresting, a vision:

Okay, quit playing with the scissors and shit and cut the crap
I shouldn’t have to rhyme these words in a rhythm for you to know it’s a rap
You said you was the king, you lied through your teeth
For that fuck your fillings, instead of getting crowned you’re getting capped

Lord Byron himself would have admired Eminem’s wordplay, weaving a jumble of images involving the creative dentistry of rappers, their visions of royalty, and the rituals of kings and crowns. Through his own art, Eminem finds his own way out of the deadly maze of drug addiction.

My character, Michael Garcia, is also a poet. I don’t want to spoil the story by quoting the whole poem here. But the question of whether Michael will find his way out of the maze through art or any other means is one essential element in the book COLLATERAL DAMAGE.

Michael and his friend Husker put on a big reunion of Iraq War veterans in the book, and they call the party “Collateral Damage.” When Annie, his old lover, asks him how they came up with that name, Michael doesn’t have to think long about the answer. “It’s who we are. What we are. They had their war, they got what they were after. Think about how we’re damaged.” To which Annie Ogden says: “I’m not damaged. Speak for yourself.”

Ooh, love it — and I’m not much of an Eminem fan, as catchy as his music is.

Ready for the blurb?

Annie Ogden is back. Like it or not, she’s about to learn about Collateral Damage.

A love story.

When Annie Ogden’s ex-boyfriend Michael Garcia reappears, she has to confront a lie dating back to her time in Iraq. Will she go back to hot, passionate Michael, who has developed a disturbing interest in meth, or stick with her pudgy PI partner and fiancé, Salvatore?

A murder.

The calculus changes when Michael is arrested for murder. When Salvatore refuses to help investigate, Annie is forced to try to find the killer herself. Meanwhile her sister’s creepy husband, Todd, is making more of an ass of himself than usual.

An obsession.

Annie’s problems with three obsessive men suddenly pale in significance when she realizes the killer has set his sights on her. Having changed his mind about helping her, Salvatore finds himself in a desperate race against time, the only man capable of finding the killer before it’s too late.

And some links for you, too!

First off, the all-important buy link. It’s a Kindle-only book, so us without Kindles are out of luck (bummer).

Now, on to the social fun!
email
Twitter
Amazon page
Goodreads
Facebook:
my blog
Google +

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Teen Boy Reads: Montmorency

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Hey everyone:

I have a pretty good not-so-new book that I read a while back.

Lets get into my review.

Montmorency by Eleanor Updale
:/ out of 😀 (3/5)
When a petty thief falls through a glass roof trying to escape from the police, what should have been the death of him marks the beginning of a whole new life. He soon becomes the most elusive burglar in Victorian London, adopting a dual existence as both a respectable, wealthy gentleman named Montmorency, and his degenerate servant Scarper.

When a unknown thief botches up a job badly, he falls through a glass roof and is unrecognizable until a young Doctor takes it as a personal challenge to fix the man, named Montmorency by the prison guards.

When Montmorency is finally let out, he is forced to lead a double life, as to avoid being caught. There is Montmorency, the gentleman; and Scarper, is low-life, thieving, lying manservant. Together, many an adventure is had, until a friend poses Scarper with his biggest challenge yet.

Montmorency was an OK book. The story sort of dwindled, as though the author lost interest, and so the book ended without an ending. It was sort of pathetic. Although, the idea was good, and the dual-life storyline great, but,the book still crashed and burned. This is the first in a series, with the full title of this book being Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman?

SO, I hereby decree that this review has been sufficiently looked into, and I now pronounce this review CLOSED!

See you next time,

Your friend at TBR

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