Category: Sam’s Teen Reads Corner

Apricots & Wolfsbane – Review

Thrice Read Books reviews Apricots and Wolfsbane by KM Pohlkamp

About the book:

Apricots and Wolfsbane by K. M. Pohlkamp

Historical fiction (Adult/New Adult)   293 pages in print

Published October 13, 2017 by Filles Vertes Publishing

Lavinia Maud craves the moment the last wisps of life leave her victims’ bodies—to behold the effects of her own poison creations. Believing confession erases the sin of murder, her morbid desires are in unity with faith, though she could never justify her skill to the magistrate she loves.

Book club discussion guide included!

At the start of the 16th century in Tudor England, Lavinia’s marks grow from tavern drunks to nobility, but rising prestige brings increased risk. When the magistrate suspects her ruse, he pressures the priest into breaking her confessional seal, pitting Lavinia’s instincts as an assassin against the tenets of love and faith. She balances revenge with her struggle to develop a tasteless poison and avoid the wrath of her ruthless patron.

With her ideals in conflict, Lavinia must decide which will satisfy her heart: love, faith, or murder—but the betrayals are just beginning.

About the author:

K.M. Pohlkamp is a blessed wife to the love of her life, a proud mother of two, and a Mission Control flight controller. Originally from Wisconsin, she now resides in Houston, Texas.

Jenn’s Review:

Usually, when I get a request to read and review a book, I don’t read other folks’ reviews first, and I’ll admit that I was hesitant at first to add this particular volume to my to-be-read list for content concerns.

My doubts were utterly unfounded.

I’ve never read a book with an anti-hero (in this case, anti-heroine) as the protagonist, so Apricots and Wolfsbane was a first for me. Lavinia Maud is nothing short of a badass, though, as a woman who’s taken on a career that, in 16th century England, is nothing short of dangerous and illegal. However, she refuses to settle into the role of docile wife as she is expected to do, and she pursues her nefarious trade with a passion.

Ms. Pohlkamp has nailed the inner conflict in her creation of Madam Maud with her protagonist’s conflicted morals. She’s okay with murder-for-hire but craves absolution after each kill. Admitting to her list of victims isn’t a stretch for her, but she refuses to give up the names of who’s hired her.

I won’t say that Lavinia Maud is likable. Even after the last page, I’m still on the fence about whether I liked the main character. She is, however, (as are all the secondary characters in this story) well developed and multi-faceted.

Fans of bad-ass, female protagonists in historical fiction – this one is for you. It’s hard not to root for a character who refuses to quietly fit into the mold and boldly takes control of her own destiny. This is the first in a series, apparently, so I’ll be watching for book 2 to come out!

Jenn at Thrice Read Books reviews KM Pohlkamp's historical fiction Apricots and Wolfsbane

Sam’s Review:

Murder. To many, it’s a sin. But to Lavinia, it’s her job. And it’s a nicely paying job as well. Apricots and Wolfsbane is her story, and it is a fun-to-read story. The author is K. M. Pohlkamp, and I would love to thank her for sharing this book with me.

Poison is an interest of mine, mainly because it makes for a good story, so that helped boost the rating of the book. It was well-written and filled with tension at the right moments. I got chills reading this book, it was that good.

And in the negatives, well, for me, all I can say is, “What negatives?” It wasn’t too predictable, nor was it too unpredictable. I loved the plot twists, the well-developed settings, and characters, and I loved everything about this book.

Buy the book:

This book is available as a Kindle or paperback from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

Also by the Author:

Shadows of Hemlock (Book 2)

Harmony House – Book Review

About the Book:

Carrie meets American Horror Story meets The Shining in this terrifying YA horror novel from the author of Tweak and Schizo.

Something’s not right in Beach Haven.

Jen Noonan’s father thinks a move to Harmony House is the key to salvation, but to everyone who has lived there before, it is a portal to pure horror.

After her alcoholic mother’s death, Jen’s father cracked. He dragged Jen to a dilapidated old manor on the shore of New Jersey to start their new lives—but Jen can tell that the place has an unhappy history. She can feel it the same way she can feel her anger flowing out of her, affecting the world in strange ways she can’t explain.

But Harmony House is more than just a creepy old estate. It’s got a chilling past—and the more Jen discovers its secrets, the more the house awakens. Visions of a strange boy who lived in the house long ago follow Jen wherever she goes, and her father’s already-fragile sanity disintegrates before her eyes. As the forces in the house join together to terrorize Jen, she must find a way to escape the past she didn’t know was haunting her—and the mysterious and terrible power she didn’t realize she had.

Sam’s Review:

First an orphanage, then a hotel, now a home, Harmony House has a dark past, and seventeen year-old Jen and her father are at the center of it all. Jen thinks that the house is trying communicate to her, but she can’t tell what it’s saying. Worst of all, her father is being affected the most.

All it takes is one look at the house, and seventeen year-old Jen knows that bad things are going to happen to her and her father. Not long after, on the same day, she hears her mother tell her good-bye, though her mother’s been dead for a few months. Then she starts having the visions of the orphanage and pieces of her father’s past.

When she has her new friends over for a visit, things take an unexpected turn, and not for the better. Christy jumps off the banister, after disappearing without anyone noticing due to a short power loss. Though everyone tells Jen that Christy will be alright, she still feels shaken up. Jen’s father only makes matters worse by insisting that they pray for forgiveness, even though she tries to tell him that she needs sleep.

When she hears from Rose, the local café owner, that she has special powers, she refuses to accept it. Afterwards, she starts to wonder if it’s her causing the storm, her father’s insanity, and the summoning of the ghost of a long dead boy. If she’s not careful, whatever’s possessing her father may kill her…

Harmony House was written by Nic Sheff, and was published in 2016 by Epic Reads. This book is for teens, and isn’t illustrated. I’d give it 5 stars for a gripping story and vivid details. The genre is horror. The prologue and epilogue are stories of what happened before Jen’s story. I’d recommend this book to all teen and adult horror fans.

This book is available from Amazon in paperback, hardcover, Kindle, audio book or audio CD here. [affiliate link]

Secondborn – Book Review

About the book:

Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.

On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode’s eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she’s to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go.

Televised since her early childhood, Roselle’s privileged upbringing has earned her the resentment of her secondborn peers. Now her decision to spare an enemy on the battlefield marks her as a traitor to the state.

But Roselle finds an ally—and more—in fellow secondborn conscript Hawthorne Trugrave. As the consequences of her actions ripple throughout the Fates Republic, can Roselle create a destiny of her own? Or will her Fate override everything she fights for—even love?

Sam’s Review

Hello once again, and our topic for today is the book Second Born. This wonderful tale of treason and tyranny against the second born children of the Fates’ Republic is very slow for most of the book, but speeds up very close to the end.

The storyline is very good though because of Roselle’s heritage and her allies’ attempts to throw her first born brother off of the throne. The book is science fiction, and the heroin’s spunky attitude will be hard to hate.

It gets 4 of 5 stars. Please do not forget to subscribe, like, and enable notifications.

Check out the link to Thrice Read Books, which is somewhere. Oh! There it is! Check it out, as well as some of my other videos, and I’ll be doing another video next week. Bye!

Buy the book:

This book is available from Amazon in Kindle, paperback, audiobook and MP3 CD here. [affiliate link]

Voices – Book Review

About the book: Ansul was once a peaceful town filled with libraries, schools, and temples. But that was long ago, and the conquerors of this coastal city consider reading and writing to be acts punishable by death. And they believe the Oracle House, where the last few undestroyed books are hidden, is seething with demons. But to seventeen-year-old Memer, the house is the only place where she feels truly safe.    Then an Uplands poet named Orrec and his wife, Gry, arrive, and everything in Memer’s life begins to change. Will she and the people of Ansul at last be brave enough to rebel against their oppressors?Sam’s Review:

Voices, by Ursula K. Le Guin, is a fantasy story built in a land that thrives on books for knowledge, though not everyone sees books like the people of Ansul do. Filled with moments of caution, times of suspicion, and feelings of treachery, people who love prophecies, wars and books in general will love this fine storyline. Memer, the spunky heroine, will not disappoint the ones who have high expectations for those who take it upon themselves to defend their homeland. Filled with magic, lovable characters, and dubious enemies, Voices can keep people going until the end, leaving one wanting more.

This book is young adult level, and please remember to check out the link to Thrice Read Books.com that is in the description box. Don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already, enable notifications if you haven’t already, and leave a like. If there is a book you want me to read, please let me know in the comments, and I might get back to you. I will see you all next week in Sam’s Teen Reads Corner. Bye!

Buy the Book:

You can buy the book in Kindle, Hardcover, paperback, audio or preloaded digital player from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

Namesake – Review

About the Book:

It started with a history project. Mr. Gregor assigned a research paper on a figure from the Tudor era, and of course Jane Grey had to pick her namesake – Lady Jane Grey, the fifteen-year-old girl whose parents schemed to place her on the throne of England, then abandoned her to face the executioner. The project is engrossing from the start, but when Jane opens a mysterious prayer book and finds herself in the Tower of London in 1553, she finds herself literally drawn into her namesake’s story.

Soon, Jane is slipping into the past whenever the present becomes too unbearable, avoiding her mother’s demands, her best friend’s fickleness, her crush’s indifference. In the Tower she plays chess with the imprisoned Lady Jane, awed by her new friend’s strength and courage. And it is in the Tower, keeping vigil as the day of the execution draws near, that Jane learns that she, too, must have the courage to fight for her own happiness.

Sam’s Review:

Hi everyone! So today we’ll be talking about Namesake, which was written by Sue MacLeod, in 2013. A single name is able to bring two very different people together, bridging a time gap between them. Lady Jane and her namesake are hard to hate, and easy to relate to. I give it 5 stars for a beautiful read, filled with moments of sorrow and times of joy. The spunky heroines make this story easy to love, and the possible stirrings of love for Jane can help you connect to the characters. I recommend this book to all young adults who love a good cliffhanger, as well as aspiring time travelers and lovers of medieval figures. If you are wondering what kind of genre this is, I’d call it modern and historical fiction.

The link for this book is in the description below, as well as the link to the Thrice Read website. Don’t forget to subscribe and turn on notifications, and help us reach new heights with our subscribers. See you guys next time!

You can purchase this book from Amazon as either a Kindle eBook or in paperback format here. [affiliate link]

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Book Review

About the book:

 “‘There is a plot, Harry Potter. A plot to make most terrible things happen at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year.'” 

Harry Potter’s summer has included the worst birthday ever, doomy warnings from a house-elf called Dobby, and rescue from the Dursleys by his friend Ron Weasley in a magical flying car! Back at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his second year, Harry hears strange whispers echo through empty corridors – and then the attacks start. Students are found as though turned to stone… Dobby’s sinister predictions seem to be coming true.

Sam’s Review:

Hello again. Today in Sam’s Teen Reads Corner, we’ll be talking about, wait for it,  J.K Rowling’s second book in the Harry Potter series: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Harry and his friends go back for their second year at Hogwarts, once again, they find themselves in the middle of a battle between dark magic and good magic. And once again, Harry is the only one who can defeat Voldemort, only, this time, he won’t be fighting Voldemort himself, but a memory, the young Tom Riddle, the young self of the dark lord. But can he defeat the young Voldemort, or will he fail? And how, just how, does one fight a memory? Read it to answer these questions, and to take your magical journey to the next stop. This fantasy tale will captivate the minds of young adults everywhere from the first page, and is filled with twists and turns. It gets 5 stars, and two thumbs up. Please don’t forget to check out the link, and subscribe. Like and enable notifications and I’ll be seeing you next week, so hang in there. Bye!

Buy the book:

 You can buy this book on Amazon in Kindle, paperback, hardcover, audiobook or mass market paperback edition here. [affiliate link]

Jaguar Stones: MiddleWorld – Book Review

About the book:

Fourteen-year-old Max Murphy is looking forward to a family vacation. But his parents, both archaeologists and Maya experts, announce a change in plan. They must leave immediately for a dig in the tiny Central American country of San Xavier. Max will go to summer camp. Max is furious. When he’s mysteriously summoned to San Xavier, he thinks they’ve had a change of heart.

Upon his arrival, Max’s wild adventure in the tropical rainforests of San Xavier begins. During his journey, he will unlock ancient secrets and meet strangers who are connected to him in ways he could never have imagined. For fate has delivered a challenge of epic proportions to this pampered teenager.

Can Max rescue his parents from the Maya Underworld and save the world from the Lords of Death, who now control the power of the Jaguar Stones in their villainous hands? The scene is set for a roller-coaster ride of suspense and terror, as the good guys and the bad guys face off against a background of haunted temples, zombie armies, and even human sacrifice!

Sam’s Review:

Hello and welcome to another video, and today we will be talking about the book Middleworld by J & P Voelkel. Taking place in modern day Central America, the son of famous archaeologists, Max, learns that the Mayans never really disappeared, but live in the present. When his parents disappeared into the Mayan underworld, he teams up with Lola, also known as Ix Sak Lol, or Lady White Flower, in Mayan. Together, they learn that the only way to save Max’s parents from an undesirable fate, will be to journey to the black pyramid, the home of Ah Puku, the god of sudden and unnatural death. But can they reach it in time to find out? Well, don’t look at me for the answers. You can find out for yourself by reading the book, with all of its lovable characters and tense moments, and secrets galore.

The book is available at Amazon in Kindle, paperback, hardback, Audible and CD format here. [Affiliate Link]

Worthy of Song and Story – Book Review

Sam’s Teen Reads Corner is live with a new video. This time, it is for her review of Worthy of Song and Story by Neal Chase. Special thanks to Fiery Seas Publishing for a review copy of this book on Kindle. (This blog post contains an Amazon Affiliate link. When you make a purchase through this link, TRB receives a small percentage of your total purchase. This helps cover our expenses, and keeps www.thricereadbooks.com ad-free. Thank you in advance for your support.)

Worthy of Song and Story by Neal Chase takes places in the time of vikings. The moments of suspense and mischief fit the main character, Stian, son of the trickster god Loki. Though what Stian plans to do is against the will of the gods, this narcissistic character will stop at nothing to free Loki from his bonds and have a real family once and for all. This wonderful tale of courage and family has its moments of hopelessness, joy, suspicion, and heart-pounding adventure, complete with moments of betrayal. If you wish to know what is to come of Stian, read Worthy of Song and Story. Though it was a wonderful read, Neal had several typos that are difficult to overlook. But if you are a historical fantasy fiction lover, and a young adult who loves fiction, then this is the book for you.

Worthy of Song and Story is available in Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

Hawksmaid – Book Review

Sam’s Teen Reads Corner is live with another video book review, this time of the book Hawksmaid by Catherine Lasky.

The author of the book Hawksmaid is Kathryn Lasky. When Matty, AKA Maid Marian, discovers her talents for taming and training hawks, she learns that it may take every bit of her talent, and bonds to her hawks to save England from ruin and tyranny. No book that has been written in the fantasy fiction genre, so far, could ever match to the storyline’s magical airs. It is an amazing read, and I recommend it for Junior High level reading and up. It gets 5 of 5 stars, for an amazing and magical tale of love and freedom. The moments of tension and bliss help you fall in love with the mischievous at heart characters.

 You can buy a copy of Hawksmaid from Thrice Read Books here.

This book is also available from Amazon in Kindle, hardcover and paperback editions here. [affiliate link]

The Prisoner of Azkaban – Book Review

About the Book: 

For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.

Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter’s defeat of You-Know-Who was Black’s downfall as well. And the Azkban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, “He’s at Hogwarts…he’s at Hogwarts.”

Harry Potter isn’t safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.

Sam’s Book Review:

J.K. Rowling is back with another Harry Potter adventure, complete with more characters and beasts, new teachers and spells, which gives you the latest adventure for the trouble-attracting trio. Filled with moments of laughter (of course!) and moments of suspicion, this book does not fail to disappoint the fans of the series. For all of you modern day fantasy lovers who have started the series and need to know where to go next, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the stop for you. 

You can buy this book from Amazon in Kindle, hardcover, paperback, mass market paperback and audiobook here. [affiliate link]