Thrice Read Books

Desperate Overtures: An Alice Gentry Novel

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that when you click one of the links in this post and make a purchase, Thrice Read Books receives a small commission from the seller. We do not charge authors for our reviews and this does not cost you anything additional and does not impact the author’s royalties – it does allow us to continue bringing you ad-free content, and we thank you in advance for your support.**

Thrice Read Books reviews Nancy E. Miller's suspense (with romance) novel, DESPERATE OVERTURES.
Thrice Read Books reviews Nancy E. Miller’s suspense (with romance) novel, Desperate Overtures

About the Book

Desperate Overtures: An Alice Gentry Novel, Nancy E. Miller

Adult, Romantic Suspense, 224 Pages

Published  July 21, 2018

Dr. Alice Gentry is not telling the whole truth. Despite her evidence files full of torture, murder, and fire, there is more to the story than the hunter now becoming the hunted. She pulled in every favor to get the FBI involved. Now it’s SSA Chris Jensen’s job to clear up the facts before she ends up dead. He isn’t thrilled about working with an academic but learns she is more than he ever imagined…much more. Sam Richardson, the one person she trusts, thinks she is in over her head but he will defend her to the death. That’s what you do for the woman you love.
A tidal wave of emotion threatens to engulf her. Fear, guilt and shame work to cripple her. Anger and hate drive her on. She remembers a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss… the abyss gazes also into you.”

About the Author

Nancy E Miller

 Greetings and thanks for visiting my author’s page. As you can tell from my biography on the book page, I am a complete sap for any four-legged creature. My husband and I live in Illinois near St. Louis, MO with our four dogs, 2 pygmy goats, and partial interest in a horse (Achilles boards here). Crystal Unicorns came out in 2011 and Shark Bait in May 2017 in multiple venues/formats. Desperate Overtures, debuted in July 2018. It is the first in the Alice Gentry series. All are romantic suspense novels…heavy on the suspense. 
I truly hope you enjoy my books. It’s been a long time coming. Feel free to contact me thru my email nancyemiller57@gmail.com or on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Nancy-E-Miller-Author-894245750641373/?ref=bookmarks

Jenn’s Review

Nancy Miller’s Desperate Overtures is tense, riveting suspense with elements of romance. While it exceeded my expectations, I can’t firmly place it in the realm of romance fiction.

Dr. Alice Gentry is a survivor. She lost both parents when she was a young woman in the aftermath of her abduction and torture at the hands of a budding serial killer. She’s spent years studying and tracking the man who haunts her nightmares, and she finally has access to the FBI, the only people that can bring down the monster.

SSA Chris Jenson doesn’t make the best first impression, but when he realizes what Dr. Gentry left out of the initial interview, his view of the petite woman shifts 180 degrees. Her notes, case files and first hand account prove invaluable as tensions and the body count rise.

Sam? He’s been at Dr. Gentry’s side from day one. The day he drove her parents to the hospital and watched her father collapse, dead, at her bedside. In all the years he’s watched over her, he’s fallen in love with her, but has never given his feelings a voice.

Desperate Overtures isn’t a highly graphic story, though there are elements that might trigger some folks (I’ll be dealing with the images left over for a while, I think), so be forewarned. This is definitely a novel worth sinking your teeth into; the plot twists aren’t plentiful but I found them unexpected all the same.

I hesitate to call this a straight forward romance, though. The heroine’s love interest is muddled through the first half of the book, and overall, the book seemed to be missing some of the requisite plot beats necessary for the book to be satisfactory as a romance – this is not to say that the book wasn’t satisfying, it certainly was. However, some readers may be disappointed if they are expecting strictly a love story. This is definitely more about Dr. Gentry’s resolution of a long-standing wound. This also is the first book in a series, and I’m hoping that book two explores the romance/love story between Alice and Sam more.

In the final tally, Nancy Miller’s Desperate Overtures is worth a read. I was pleasantly surprised, it’s been a while since I had an indie book roll across my Kindle of this quality. I have Ms. Miller’s previous novels, Crystal Unicorns, and Shark Bait, and look forward to reading those as well.

Thrice Read Books reviews Nancy E. Miller's suspense (with romance) novel, DESPERATE OVERTURES.
Thrice Read Books reviews Nancy E. Miller’s suspense (with romance) novel, DESPERATE OVERTURES.

Buy the Book

 This book is available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback formats here:

Crystal Unicorns: Innocence is so very fragile

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that when you click one of the links in this post and make a purchase, Thrice Read Books receives a small commission from the seller. We do not charge authors for our reviews and this does not cost you anything additional and does not impact the author’s royalties – it does allow us to continue bringing you ad-free content, and we thank you in advance for your support.**

Jenn reviews Nancy E. Miller's romantic suspense CRYSTAL UNICORNS on the Thrice Read Books blog

About the Book

Crystal Unicorns: Innocence is so very fragile, Nancy E Miller 

Adult Romantic Suspense, 324 Pages

Published November 17, 2013

Now out in paperback as well! Alexis made a fatal mistake. Her new book is about an act of evil and its aftermath, all true and graphically detailed. Now a psychopath wants his due and makes a game of the hunt. Her marriage is dying, and hubby is more than willing for her past love to protect her when Alexis arrives in her hometown. There are more secrets than answers and passion may prove reckless. Innocence is so very fragile. Protector, survivor, and hunter are all victims of shattered lives. They are–Crystal Unicorns. 
Crystal Unicorns is an 80,000 word romantic suspense novel that provides a fast paced, intense psychological journey where cruelty destroys innocence and crushes the human spirit. It is a novel of redemption and renewal against staggering odds.. 
Nancy E. Miller lives near St. Louis, Missouri with her husband, six incredibly spoiled dogs, three cats (not spoiled– entitled), and a tribe of unsociable pygmy goats. She holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Sociology and has worked with endangered youth and those dealing with mental illness as an educator, case worker and crisis intervention counselor

About the Author

Nancy E Miller

 Greetings and thanks for visiting my author’s page. As you can tell from my biography on the book page, I am a complete sap for any four-legged creature. My husband and I live in Illinois near St. Louis, MO with our four dogs, 2 pygmy goats, and partial interest in a horse (Achilles boards here). Crystal Unicorns came out in 2011 and Shark Bait in May 2017 in multiple venues/formats. Desperate Overtures, debuted in July 2018. It is the first in the Alice Gentry series. All are romantic suspense novels…heavy on the suspense. 
I truly hope you enjoy my books. It’s been a long time coming. Feel free to contact me thru my email nancyemiller57@gmail.com or on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Nancy-E-Miller-Author-894245750641373/?ref=bookmarks

Jenn’s Review

Another fantastic Nancy E. Miller suspense novel. Unlike Desperate Overtures, Crystal Unicorns is more romance than suspense, though the mystery still takes center stage.

Alexis is a successful author, and her latest release is another big hit, even though it’s much darker than her previous novels. She’s not fond of going on a book tour, and would love to get out of going, especially to Orlando, where deeply buried secrets and feelings are lying in wait for her. To add to her mounting anxiety – her husband is pushing her to contact an old friend. Alexis would rather swallow broken glass than go there.

As her tour launches, though, her book triggers a chain of events that will force her hand in more ways than she can fathom, and when the body count starts to rise, she’s forced to go down that path of memories and broken hearts to lean on a man she hasn’t spoken to in years.

Crystal Unicorns is still not fully what I would consider romance, but it’s dang close. The tension is high, both in terms of mystery and attraction, and the story is well executed. I had a bit of trouble with a plot point or two (won’t dive into them here, to avoid spoilers), but they were not out of place in the context of the story. A solid four-stars and I’m a Nancy Miller reader.

Jenn reviews Nancy E. Miller's romantic suspense CRYSTAL UNICORNS on the Thrice Read Books blog

Buy the Book

 This book is available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback formats here:

About the Author

Nancy E Miller Greetings and thanks for visiting my author’s page. As you can tell from my biography on the book page, I am a complete sap for any four-legged creature. My husband and I live in Illinois near St. Louis, MO with our four dogs, 2 pygmy goats, and partial interest in a horse (Achilles boards here). Crystal Unicorns came out in 2011 and Shark Bait in May 2017 in multiple venues/formats. Desperate Overtures, debuted in July 2018. It is the first in the Alice Gentry series. All are romantic suspense novels…heavy on the suspense. 
I truly hope you enjoy my books. It’s been a long time coming. Feel free to contact me thru my email nancyemiller57@gmail.com or on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Nancy-E-Miller-Author-894245750641373/?ref=bookmarks

Reviewer’s Review

 

Buy the Book

 This book is available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback formats here:

 

Forbidden by Faith – Review

Thrice Read Books - Jenn reviews interfaith romance FORBIDDEN BY FAITH by Negeen Papehn - ownvoices, authors of color, multicultural, Iranian-American

About the Book

Forbidden by Faith,  Negeen Papehn, Forbidden Love Book 1

Adult, Multicultural Romance

City Owl Press (February 20, 2018)

Sara knows her life would be easier if she married a man of her faith, but when has love ever been easy?Raised by her immigrant Iranian parents, Sara has been taught that a good daughter makes decisions based on her family’s approval, and she’s spent most of her life in their good graces. Until she meets Maziar, and her world is turned upside down.
An instant electricity ignites between them, and it seems like fate when she discovers he’s also Iranian. Just as her mind begins to soar with the possibilities, he shatters her hopes.
Sara is Muslim. Maziar is Jewish. Will faith tear them apart?
Despite centuries of unrest behind them, Sara and Maziar embark on a forbidden love affair, attempting to navigate through cultural and religious prejudices.
Deep within the trenches of their battle, Sara finds herself more empowered and careless than ever before, but will her love and newfound life be worth the ultimate cost–her family?
“FORBIDDEN BY FAITH shows how family, love, and faith can collide, even in this modern age.” – Romance Author, A. K. Leigh ★★★★★ 

“Rich in culture, this first book in the Forbidden Love series immediately draws the reader in to this modern take on a familiar star-crossed lovers tale.  The chemistry between Sara and Mazair sparks white hot immediately and every interaction sizzles.” – InD’Tale Magazine 
Be sure to scroll up and hit that BUY NOW button to discover a world in which love faces the ultimate test.

About the Author

Negeen Papehn was born and raised in southern California, where she currently lives with her husband and two rambunctious boys. She wasn’t always a writer. A graduate of USC dental school, Negeen spends half of her week with patients and the other half in front of her laptop. In the little time she finds in between, she loves to play with her boys, go wine tasting with her friends, throw parties, and relax with her family.

Jenn’s Review

When this book slid into my scope for possible review, I got really excited. I’d just come from a conference where diversity in romance was a hot topic, and FORBIDDEN BY FAITH was exactly what I was looking for to feature on our blog.

I wasn’t disappointed, though this book rides a fine line between women’s fiction and romance.

Sara is a grown woman, working through the rigors of post-graduate pharmacy school. While she was born in the US, her parents are Iranian immigrants with their own tragic love story. She’s been raised on the Iranian Muslim traditions of her parents and her mother’s extended family, though she doesn’t consider herself religious. When she meets Mazier at a party, she has just one question for him, “Are you Jewish or Muslim?”

Like Sara, Mazier was raised in the US by Iranian immigrant parents. He insists that his Jewish parents won’t be bothered by her family’s heritage. She opts to ignore the small warning voice in her head telling her that a relationship with Mazier is doomed at best. This turns out to be her biggest mistake, ignoring this voice…

Mazier’s family is unwelcoming to Sara, to say the least. Downright hostile would be more accurate; and ultimately, they cause enough friction between the star-crossed lovers that Sara can no longer take it, and she walks away.

Enter Ben, the calm, solid comfort of friendship from a fellow pharmacy student, just when Sara is trying hard to get over her broken heart – this section of the story is what leads me to place the whole book in the women’s fiction category. Ben and Sara have a relationship that evolves from friendship to lovers with a future, but that bond takes hit after hit when Mazier shows up unexpectedly from time to time, ripping open all the barely healed wounds in Sara’s heart.

Ultimately, tragedy strikes and Sara is forced to choose between the two men she loves, and takes on a battle she expects she’ll never win.

FORBIDDEN BY FAITH is a debut novel, and ultimately, that shows in the writing style – long descriptions, awkward dialogue… But in the end tally, this is a book worth reading, especially because of the intimate look inside other cultures, other religions, and the ugly face of deeply ingrained prejudice. This long, winding story, contains deep, well-developed characters living real-life struggles. I’m already looking forward to reading the next book this author puts out.

Thrice Read Books - Jenn reviews interfaith romance FORBIDDEN BY FAITH by Negeen Papehn - ownvoices, authors of color, multicultural, Iranian-American

Buy the Book

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

Chroma Crossing Chronicles: Blood Moon: Part 1 – Review

Thrice Read Books reviews S. Yurvati's BLOOD MOON: CHROMA CROSSING BOOK 1. Fantasy/Paranormal/Adult fiction

About the Book

Blood Moon,  S. Yurvati, Chroma Crossing Chronicles

Adult, Fantasy Romance

Amazon Digital Services LLC

Hunky pheromone-laden-man meets pretty accident-prone female—it should have been a love story with a happy ever after ending. 
However, when the bored deities choose Candy and Thorne for an amusing game, the gods/goddesses put forth sets of circumstances that can tear the couple apart and wound them deep within their human souls. 
City girl, Candy wanted to become a successful artist and maybe someday find a man who would make her feel loved and valued, a feeling she’d never known while growing up. However, with a name like ‘Candy Cane’, males never failed to remind her with a wink and snicker, how it sounded like she was a ‘professional’. And ‘professional’ held so many connotations, none of which she had in mind regarding relationships with men. 
With her father’s sudden demise, Candy finds she’s inherited funds and a carriage house in beautiful historic Savannah. Not only can she now afford to go to SCAD, her future as an artist looks promising. Unfortunately her step-mom (and her disturbing son Todd) resides in the main house. When Candy gets her first commission for a life-sized portrait of a beautiful woman from a rather unsettling man, she soon questions what had seemed coincidental.
Candy is a modest female who has always found solace in her artwork, whereas her widowed step-mom, Cherry Ann, considers physical pleasure and money as her measures of worth. And as Candy pursues her art, Cherry Ann pursues a new lover who expands her world of sexual gratifications far beyond past parameters. Cherry Ann finds her new risqué sex life to be addictive and doesn’t recognize the danger of the man she’s invited into her life.
After surviving a couple of ‘accidents’, Candy realizes someone apparently wishes her harm. When she’s chased (by the one thing she fears most) Candy accidently, or so it seems, crosses into a new dimension, land or whatever. She finds herself in an unknown wilderness without resources, let alone a map, or GPS, plus she left her cell phone at home—again. Looking around she sees a curious terrain that is void of color, thus leaving the landscape looking like an old sepia photograph, hardly the Savannah spring day she’d left behind. 
The artist in her wants to understand how primary colors could disappear to leave a land so colorless . . . so entirely beige-ish. How could such a phenomenal occurrence come about? A land without modern conveniences—almost as though she’d stepped into a time past, yet that wasn’t quite accurate either.
As Candy literally stumbles through the wild terrain, an intriguing hunter comes upon her. His presence makes her girlie parts beg to become ill behaved, and before she knows it, her hormones are arguing with her strict moral compass.

About the Author

S. Yurvati began putting her thoughts and imaginings on paper during her childhood and continued through college years. After completing her Master of Science degree at CSUN she was hit with that proverbial wrecking ball. BAM! Reality set in—she needed to make a dependable living and put her degree to work. 
After three decades of working in the medical world, life struck her with a much bigger wrecking ball. This one was sufficiently jarring that her husband convinced her to retire and take the time to write. Admittedly, working in a science- based career left her little opportunity for the creativity of her wired left-handed brain. As soon as she agreed to return to writing he immediately took her to an electronic store and told her to “choose a laptop”. 
And that led to the beginning of Chroma Crossing: Blood Moon.
She has lived in eight different states from one end of the nation to the other, six with her husband. That doesn’t include the stint at Fort McClellan during the heat of summer without air-conditioning. That unpleasant Alabama experience was for Basic Training, as she was one of the last WACs (Women’s Army Corp) during the end of the Vietnam era. 
Now she resides in Texas with the “love-of-her-life” husband of forty-one years. She says he taught her to be young at heart and is her biggest fan in her pursuits (he’s probably doing cheerleading with pom-poms as you read this).
To say she has a love of cats is like saying squirrels love nuts (yes, the reference is intentional). The Yurvati’s share their large home with six cats, fondly referred to as the ‘herd’. You might consider that over the top and they agree, but argue the last two kittens were adopted during a weak moment. Her husband no doubt cringes when purchasing cat food and cat litter. However, the author says felines make very good book critics, always providing a high five with furry paws or commenting with purrs of encouragement.

Jenn‘s Review

When I was approached about reviewing this book, it was pitched as part romance, part fantasy, part paranormal… I should have read between the lines a little more.

After reading the book, I’m still not sure what genre to file it under, and I’m not sure I can say that I enjoyed the book. Granted, I was anticipating a romance novel – which this is most definitely not. *Spoiler alert – the heroine doesn’t meet the love interest until around page 250 of a 300 page book.*

This is a debut novel, and I’m sincerely hoping that book 2 is better written and better edited than book 1. The story rambles, with each chapter coming from the POV of a different character, to the point that it’s difficult to nail down who the main players are. Add some jarring head-hops into the extensive narrative, and you get a less-than-satisfying storyline.

With that said, I still found myself turning the page, wanting to know what happens next. Book 1 is apparently told in two parts, and ends in the middle of a scene (I’m not sure cliffhanger describes how the book ended). I will be returning to this series soon to hopefully finish book 2, or part 2 of book one. I’m not sure how this particular series works.

Another note to potential readers: this book is far from PG. Numerous, disturbing, graphic sexual scenes dot the landscape of this book. The author describes the antagonist as a masochist – he is, in fact, an extreme sadist. Rape, sodomy, and sexual torture feature in his enjoyment. For those that these type of things act as triggers, your best bet is to avoid this series.

This is an interesting story to read, though the author rambles and repeats. Narrative abounds and conversation is somewhat lacking, but suspense is plentiful, and I’m hoping that book 2 shows the author’s growth.

Thrice Read Books reviews S. Yurvati's BLOOD MOON: CHROMA CROSSING BOOK 1. Fantasy/Paranormal/Adult fiction

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

Wishes In A Bottle Promo Post

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that when you click one of the links in this post and make a purchase, Thrice Read Books receives a small commission from the seller. We do not charge authors for our reviews and this does not cost you anything additional and does not impact the author’s royalties – it does allow us to continue bringing you ad-free content, and we thank you in advance for your support.**

Thrice Read Books is pleased to feature Allie McCormack's WISHES IN A BOTTLE, the first in her Wishes and Dreams series.
Thrice Read Books is pleased to feature Allie McCormack’s WISHES IN A BOTTLE, the first in her Wishes and Dreams series.

About the Book

Wishes in a Bottle, Allie McCormack (Wishes & Dreams Book 1)

Adult, Paranormal/Fantasy Romance, 326 Pages

Release Date:  January 15, 2019

Long ago, Julian DiConti was caught in a powerful spell binding him to a Djinn bottle, forced to grant wishes to each owner of his bottle. Three wishes… of the right kind… could free Julian of his bonds, but after six hundred years, he is beginning to wonder if he will be trapped as a Djinn forever. 

Enter Alessandra Taylor, good Samaritan extraordinaire. She’d gladly free Julian from the spell if she could, but he isn’t allowed to tell her how, and one by one she’s driven to use the precious wishes to help others. But where will that leave Julian and the growing love between them?

Thrice Read Books is pleased to feature Allie McCormack's WISHES IN A BOTTLE, the first in her Wishes and Dreams series.

About the Author

Allie McCormack
Author Allie McCormack

 A career medical transcriptionist, Allie McCormack is now writing from home full-time. Allie has traveled quite a bit and lived many places all over the U.S., and also a year in Cairo, Egypt as an exchange student, and a year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia under contract to a hospital there, plus a short stint with NATO while she was in the Army. As a single mom, she raised a wonderful daughter who’s recently married and there are plans afoot for grandchildren. A disabled veteran, Allie now lives in the beautiful Sorona Desert in southern Arizona with her two rescue cats and writes full-time. 

Truck Stop is her first published novel. It’s being produced as an audiobook with an expected release around early January 2019. Her next romance novel, the first of a four-book paranormal romance series, is planned for release shortly after. 

Allie says: “A writer is who and what I am… a romance writer. I write what I know, and what I know is romance. Dozens of storylines and literally hundreds of characters live and breathe within the not-so-narrow confines of my imagination, and it is my joy and privilege to bring them to life, to share them with others by writing their stories.”

You can sign up for Allie’s monthly newsletter and find out about her other upcoming releases and current projects at her website www.alliemccormack.com.

Website: Allie McCormack’s Website 
Blog: Allie’s Blog 
Facebook: Allie on FB 
Twitter: Allie on Twitter 

Allie is hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway as part of the launch for this book. You can sign up here for a chance to win a fabulous prize!

Mini book trailer for Wishes in a Bottle by Allie McCormack

Excerpt (by Permissio)

Jenn here – I just got my copy of the final version of Wishes in a Bottle on release day. I beta read this book and Loved it. Be sure to snag your copy soon. And now, a quick excerpt from the book!

“Come on, come on.”

Robert cast a nervous glance about him, hoping that no neighbors could see through the overgrown jungle that his sister-in-law had allowed to take over the yard. If this were his, he’d rip out all these stupid plants and seed it with grass for a smooth lawn. And no swings or sandboxes to muck the place up, either. He wasn’t having any more children to take his wife’s attention and keep her from taking care of her husband, who should have been her main concern. No, a brick barbecue was what he’d have, maybe a nice hot tub.

He struggled to fit the slim piece of plastic through the narrow space between the door and its jam. Everyone went on and on about how door locks could be opened with credit cards, but it sure didn’t seem to be working. Still, he was confident it wouldn’t be much longer. Alessandra was such a fool, so trusting. She didn’t even have deadbolts on her doors. Didn’t she know that a simple knob lock could be easily opened?

“Yes!”

The tongue of the latch gave, and the plastic slid forward, holding the tongue in its groove, and the handle turned under Robert’s fingers.

From the other side of the door, he heard a low rumbling. Startled, he straightened, peering through the glass window set into the door. Staring back, almost head-even with him, was the largest, blackest Great Dane he had ever seen in his life. Its great jaws were parted, the teeth frighteningly sharp and white. The snarls emerging from those open jaws were vicious.

The dog lunged, flinging its huge body against the door separating them. Robert let go of the doorknob and pushed away so hard he fell, almost cracking his skull on the cement step. He pushed the pain aside, scrambling back from the door, praying that the slender door jam would hold as the full weight of the beast hit it again, shaking the door. Robert thanked God that he hadn’t actually opened the door and that the kitchen door opened inward, not outward.

The animal ceased his lunges at the door and was standing on his hind legs, paws on the window sill, watching Robert through the glass. Slavering, menacing snarls crescendoed to loud, ferocious barking, the dog’s eyes fixed on him with murderous intent.

Robert picked himself up from the ground and ran for his car. Who would have thought that such a frivolous, irresponsible woman would keep such a dangerous animal? Robert reached his car, almost falling into the driver’s seat in his haste to reach safety, not breathing easily until the door was safely shut. His hands were shaking and he fumbled with the keys, fingers trembling as he found the right one and fit it into the ignition. He backed out of the driveway, aimed the car down the road and headed out of there in a screech of burned rubber. If he never came to this house again in his life, it would be too soon.

Back in the house, Julian dropped onto all fours and padded into the living room. Now that the intruder had been repulsed, the danger of invasion that had brought the canine’s instincts to the fore, Julian was in complete control of the animal body he had inhabited. Stopping to sniff the books on the coffee table, and drawing in Alessandra’s scent on her sofa, her easy chair, the shawl she had left draped on one corner of the bookshelf, he found he was rather enjoying the experience. It was rather cool, in fact.

He walked about the house, experiencing the long, easy strides of the Great Dane, his toenails clicking on the polished wood floors. He paused in front of the television. The morning news that had just come on when Robert had shown up was over by now, but there would be more. He curled his massive body up on the hearth rug before the fireplace, feeling a bit awkward managing the unaccustomed long limbs, but he achieved a comfortable position finally and laid his head on his outstretched paws. His doggy self heaved a sigh and prepared to snooze, even while he kept an eye on the television. This was definitely nice.

His jaws parted and his tongue lolled out as he laughed to himself, wondering what Alessandra would think if she came home to a large, black Great Dane that evening.

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Miao Shan – The Awakening – Review

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that when you click one of the links in this post and make a purchase, Thrice Read Books receives a small commission from the seller. We do not charge authors for our reviews and this does not cost you anything additional and does not impact the author’s royalties – it does allow us to continue bringing you ad-free content, and we thank you in advance for your support.**

Brian reviews GAM Morris' adult urban fantasy novel, Miao Shan: The Awakening on Thrice Read Books' review blog.

About the Book

Miao Shan – The Awakening by G.A.M. Morris 

New Adult to Adult, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, 286 pages

Indie Published, January 15, 2019

**Please note that the author has rated this book as 18+ due to graphic violence.**

When ten-year-old Chow Lei witnesses her parent’s brutal murder she becomes emotionally scarred for life. Her maternal grandmother adopts her and attempts to help her, but only when Chow Lei joins a Shaolin Kung Fu school does any emotional healing occur.

After a year of training at the Kung Fu school, her grandmother reticently agrees to send her to the Shaolin Temple so the emotional healing can continue.

After many years in the Shaolin Temple, once she had reached enlightenment, Lei returns home only to discover that her grandmother has also been murdered.

Alone and in tears she swears to bring justice to those who have killed her loved ones. Little does she know that she is destined to become, Miao-Shan, the living Goddess of Justice! Justice for all!

About the Author: 

Author G. A. M. Morris, creator of Miao-Shan: The Awakening

I was born in London in 1963. We moved to Cape Town, South Africa when I was 8 years old. I studied at the University of Cape Town Business school. For most of my working life, I have been a collectibles, art, and antique dealer. In 2007 I became a commercial property broker. I started writing fiction professionally in 2010, during which time I wrote two complete novels, of which Miao-Shan is the second one. At the end of 2010, I returned to the property industry, without having acquired an agent. For the next six years, I wrote part-time. Two years ago, I started to work full-time as a self-published author, mainly selling on Amazon, under a pen-name. I currently have two other books completed (one an unusual spy thriller, and the other a time-traveling paranormal fantasy), which will be published at a later date. The time-traveling paranormal fantasy novel, I intend to convert into a graphic novel. I’m now concentrating on getting Miao-Shan published.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GAM_Morris

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GAMMorrisauthor/

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7280567.G_A_M_Morris

Brian’s Review:

Brian reviews GAM Morris' adult urban fantasy novel, Miao Shan: The Awakening on Thrice Read Books' review blog.

So upon reading this book, I decided to give this book 4 different reviews. First for story plot, second for world building, third for action sequences, and the final will be a combination of the previous 3. That being said, let me begin.

Story Plot ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The story plot in my opinion was amazing. The story line is the only thing that kept me reading this book. More to come on that later. The author’s idea and plot was spot on and something a little different. I believe one would be hard pressed to find a better thought out plot. Any other negative thoughts was overshadowed by the sheer brilliance of the plot.

World Building ⭐⭐
As good as the plot was, the world building was lacking greatly. So much potential with so little descriptions. The author lost a lot by focusing more on conversation than descriptions. Some examples that are taken directly from the book, “Po Po had given her a necklace with a figure of Guan Yin, as a pendant. ” That’s the full description. No color, no metal, no length. Another example from the book, “Over the next four hours, Want Deshi measured, cut and sowed a traditional martial arts night operations outfit.” Again, missing the chance to really describe what the reader should be imagining. Instead, the reader is left, if like me, thinking of the Hollywood ninja clothes, that are quite certain to be anything but traditional, not to mention, this is Kung Fu from China and not karate or ninjitsu from Japan. Buildings, surroundings, and most everything else was quickly described leaving many important, and let’s just face it, wanted, information completely out. Instead of spending somewhere in excess of 75% of the story in conversation, the author should have used some of that space to build the world he was creating.

Action Sequences ⭐⭐⭐
There was plenty of action in this book. The reason I’ve only given this a 3 star is the quality of describing the action. Combat scenes felt rushed, or like they weren’t important when in this reader’s opinion, the action and combat should have been the front most next to world building. Fighting scenes were extremely rushed. For example, “Suddenly five men with long knives leaped out of the dark and were about to proceed to kill everyone. Lei instantly sprung onto her feet in a blur of movement, her legs started spinning, and her arms and hands started to move forward in a blur, in circular movements, thrusting and chopping. Within a minute all fine of the attackers were lying immobile on the ground.” These kinds of descriptions left me with the feeling of what really happened. The author lost a lot of potential by skipping details once again.

Over All ⭐⭐⭐1/2
Over all I give the book a 3 1/2 start rating. The plot being the only saving grace of this book. It’s my understanding this is the author’s first book, and if that’s true, that surely explains some of this, and I greatly expect he’ll improve upon that. So I would recommend the reading of this book, so long as you over look the minimal amount of descriptions. I also believe that as the author grows, his writing will too, and his books are going to be amazing.

Buy the Book

Miao Shan can be purchased at any of the following links:
Amazon
iBooks
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Tolino
OverDrive
bibliotheca

Pieces of Me – Review

About the Book

Pieces of Me, Carrigan Richards

Teen/Young Adult Drams 302 Pages

Carrigan Richards Publishing (August 13, 2013)

One second. 

Seventeen-year-old Corinne has everything. Her life. Family. Friends. Boyfriend. But in that one second, she loses it all. Now she’s left with harrowing nightmares. Hallucinations. And panic attacks that seem to come out of nowhere. She tries everything to take the pain away, but there’s only one option she sees as a true way out.

When Corinne is sent to live in a psychiatric institution, she doesn’t want to talk. It’s pointless. They can’t help her. But slowly Corinne opens up and wants to remember what it’s like to be happy so she begins reliving her past life to her doctor. She knows she can’t live in the past, but she sees no future and is faced with the hardest decision of her life.

About the Author

Carrigan is the author of Pieces of Me, a young adult contemporary romance, and the Elemental Enchanters Series, a young adult paranormal romance. She was born in Cullman, Alabama, but grew up in Birmingham, and moved to Atlanta at 18. She earned her BA in English at Kennesaw State University. For as long as she can remember, she was always making up stories and characters inside her head, sometimes using her dolls to act out the scenes.

When she’s not writing (which is rare), she’s spending time with her family and friends, listening to music, playing with her two furbabies, or cheering on her Atlanta Braves.

Jenn’s Review

Another debut novel. YA/teen lit, not exactly romance, but it has a sweet little love story built into it.

This wasn’t an easy read for me. I kind of knew it wouldn’t be when Carrigan emailed me about reviewing PIECES OF ME. My family has front row seats to the unpleasant faces of mental health problems, and this stirred some painful memories.

Corrine is dealing with a lot. So much, that her parents are checking her into a psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt. She’s been through a lot, and at seventeen, she doesn’t have the life experience to sort out who she can really trust.

The author’s style feels a little clunky to me, not uncommon in debuts, but she more than makes up for it with realistic, sympathetic characters. I had a few moments when I needed to put the book down for a reality check (I really wanted to have a heart to heart with the protagonist, Corrine, about her less-than-best-friend, Lisa, who has serious issues of her own).

This is a teen read, but as a parent, I would approach this with caution. I would like my own daughter to read this, because, at 13, she’s already dealt with a suicidal friend. However, the storyline is heavy, and I’m not sure her attention span would stick it out. Without pulling out my personal soapbox, mental health issues, especially anxiety, depression, and PTSD are things that need to be talked about. They need to be on the table, and it’s time for the stigma to fall away. Ms. Richards takes a giant step in that direction with this story.

All of that said, the writing is a bit stiff, and the flashbacks get blurry, making the timeline a little hard to follow at times. This is one of those times that I would encourage the reader to stick it out. The story is worth it. The ENDING is worth it. Grab your tissues and hang on, because the further you get into the book, the harder it is to put down.

For those who might write this off as a depressing book, I challenge you to stick it out. Millions of people deal with these kinds of debilitating mental health issues every day, and Ms. Richards adeptly portrays the headspace of someone (especially a young someone) at the end of their rope.

And spoiler alert: the story has a happy ending. It’s not a unicorns and rainbows happy ending, but it’s a well-written happy ending. Four stars, and a standing ovation for Carrigan Richards for tackling this book.

Jenn reviews YA Fiction PIECES OF ME, a Carrigan Richards novel, in this edition of Thrice Read Books' review blog.

Buy the Book

 This book is available in Kindle and in paperback editions from Amazon  [affiliiate link}

Interview with Charley Pearson – Author of SCOURGE

*Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. You can read the legal stuff here if you’d like, but know that we appreciate you supporting Thrice Read Books by using our links to buy.*

Thrice Read Books interviews SCOURGE author, Charley Pearson

On this edition of “Between the Lines”, we sit down to talk to author Charley Pearson about his writing career, life, and new release, Scourge.

Jenn talks to Charley Pearson, author of science fiction/medical thriller SCOURGE

Jenn: I was reading your bio this morning while setting up the blog post for Scourge. It sounds like you have a fascinating background in all kinds of science-y goodness. Could you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Charley: Well, I started in biology, moved on to chemistry, then joined the Navy (after protesting the Vietnam War) and spent a career with them as a nuclear engineer. They had to give me extra training for that. Mostly oversaw chemical and radiological environmental remediation after the end of the Cold War, releasing sites for unrestricted future use.

Jenn: That’s an unexpected life choice, going from protester to the Navy.

Charley: I may be unique, for all I know. Gotta defend our right to protest. LOL. I was in the first OCS class post-Vietnam that was 100% volunteers, no draftees.

Meanwhile, raised two daughters and spent hundreds of hours backstage at their ballet studio, on sets and stuff.

Jenn: Biocheminuclear engineer by day, ballet stage-dad by night? And I hardly think you’re alone in the “defend our right to protest” thing. I’ve met a few folks in my years as Army wife and Army civilian that would join you in that sentiment.

Charley: Good. Oh – you’ve heard of soccer moms? The other guys and I called ourselves “ballet dads.” (heh, heh). Wrote a humorous mini-memoir that got published last January by Kallista Gaia Press

Jenn: Ah, yes! You mentioned your humor collection before we began. Before we get into the yummy stuff about Scourge, could you tell us a bit about your humor?

Charley: Well, that ballet thing was separate. The humor collection’s title piece, “The Marianated Nottingham,” finally tells the truth about Robin Hood, by revealing the Sheriff of Nottingham’s side of the story. (Poor guy’s trying to found a national park to protect deer, for goodness sake.) Full-length screenplay. Then there are 24 short things – skits, stories, and ballads (solid meter, strict rhyme, and no redeeming social value). Off the wall and sometimes Pythonesque.

Jenn: Aww… Are you gonna make me add more to my TBR pile? Everyone in the Thrice Read family is a huge Monty Python fan.

Charley: Yay! It is available from Amazon; the e-book is only $2.99.

Jenn: I’ll add a link down below for those interested.

Having read the blurb for Scourge though, this seems to be a huge leap from humorous screenplays, poetry, and skits to intense medical thriller. How did that come about?

CharleyScourge – yes, quite different. I had this idea for the technology back in college, but it was premature. Now that computers are so much better, I dug it out and couldn’t resist finally writing it. The tale includes a recurring theme for me — pragmatism vs. morality (aren’t there at least some situations where ends justify means? Maybe?), plus the idea of someone who decides, dang it, they’re going to do what seems right no matter what it costs them.

Jenn: The Messiah archetype?

Charley: Perhaps. But coming from a flawed character who’s been concealing a dark secret about her Roma clan her whole life.

Jenn: It’s those flaws that really make those characters pop off the page and become real. Now, in reading the blurb… is there a single protagonist? Or do you have co-protagonists (hero and heroine)?

Charley: Ah, there’s a love story subplot about these two geeks who have no clue how to read each other. The woman is the main lead, but the guy cons her into trying something she wouldn’t have on her own. The resolution depends on both.

Jenn: Nerd-love! While saving the world, no less. Very cool.

Charley: So terrorist virus, multiple villains, and FBI who thinks the protagonists are at fault, and health agencies who could never solve the problem on their own.

Jenn: Sounds rather twisted and complex, and a little too close to plausible.

Charley: I have a Kirkus quote, “Imaginative and full of action…continually shifting the quirky plot into places that are both surprising and fantastical.” – Kirkus Reviews

Jenn: So, on the seriousness scale, where would you say Scourge falls, between light-hearted and ultra-serious/dark?

Charley: Hmm, tough one. The science may be achievable someday, which I find seriously worrisome from an oversight standpoint. But the story has a lot of light moments and comic relief. I particularly like the parrot, as will your Monty Python fans.

Jenn: I’m trying not to laugh hard enough to alarm Brian. I can imagine how a Python-esque parrot might fit into the story.

Charley: He’s named Mr. Praline. You know, for the John Cleese character, in the.. well, you know which sketch. 

(Clip from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Season 1 episode 8, aired 12-7-1969)

Jenn: Oh, my!

Charley: Sometimes I have a difficult time avoiding humor, even when writing serious stuff. Sigh.

Jenn: I personally like a little humor in the suspense I read, because I get heavily invested in the really good ones, and that makes for some disruption in the real world. And I know several readers that are the same way.

Charley: Yeah, the pacing is essential in any tale.

Jenn: I noticed that your protagonist/heroine comes from a Roma family. When I read that, I think of gypsies. Am I assuming incorrectly? Or could you clarify that, for our readers?

Charley: Ah, yes, Roma = Gypsies = Romani, though the latter is also an Italian name. Some people have used the term Gypsies in a disparaging manner, so it has been dubbed incorrectly occasionally. I tried to clarify the issue in the novel. The clan often refers to themselves as Gypsies, but outsiders vary.

The female lead is in the clan. The guy isn’t. That’s one of the key problems between their ever getting together.

Jenn talks to Charley Pearson, author of science fiction/medical thriller SCOURGE

Jenn: Okay. Major intercultural hurdles can make for some delicious tension.

Charley: Hey, my mother (mixed English/Irish/Belgian/who knows ancestry) faced prejudice from my father’s parents (3rd generation pure Swede). It’s amazing how stupid prejudices are.

Jenn: It is. And yet they persist, sadly. Hopefully, as the literature world starts to come around to diverse books, that will begin to change.

Charley: Yup, diverse should help a lot. The MC in my historical is Japanese-American, and I was really lucky to find a guy born in Tokyo in 1938 to give me a beta-read and advice.

Jenn: Very awesome! That particular generation, while I grew up surrounded by them, they are rapidly disappearing. You’re very fortunate to have that kind of reference.

Charley: True. My dad was the meteorologist on Tinian during the war. Got me interested in that theater and era.

Jenn: And probably gave you a little boost in the direction of a science-based career?

Charley: Undoubtedly. No way he would let me major in music no matter how good a drummer I was. No money in it. Gotta have a productive career. Depression mentality that generation grew up in.

Jenn: Exactly. Although… I think a few drummers have made quite the living, but, erm… I don’t quite think that working in a rock band would have fit the description of “gainfully employed” by his standards?

Charley: LOL – you got it! Hey, I had a great career, so can’t knock his advice!

Jenn: Bingo!

As we reach the end of our time, is there anything else that readers should know about Scourge, or you as an author?

Charley: Well, I’ve got a couple of short stories out in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s fantasy anthologies, if anyone reads those. And I’ve got a YA-historical that’s nearing completion. So don’t count on any consistency from me.

Jenn: LoL! Keep us in mind when that YA is finished! I bet Sam will be all over that.

I’d like to thank you, on behalf of Thrice Read Books and our readers, for taking the time to answer some questions for us.

Links for your published work and your social media are down below, so readers can find you.

Charley: And a humongous thank you back at you! Most fun, and truly helpful for getting the word out to potential readers. Here’s hoping they like it!

Jenn: May your launch be successful, and your book sales through the roof!

Charley’s Social Media: 

             Facebook              Twitter               Website          

 Buy Scourge:

FIERY SEAS BOOKSTORE     AMAZON     BARNES & NOBLE     KOBO

Check out Charley Pearson’s

THE MARIANATED NOTTINGHAM AND OTHER ABUSES OF THE LANGUAGE

Ragis – Review

Book 4 in the Gemeta Stone series by Donna Migliaccio is now available. Check out Jenn's review of Ragis on the Thrice Read Books review blog.

About the book:

Ragis by Donna Migliaccio     August 28, 2018

Fantasy     The Gemeta Stone Book 4

Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC

Kristan Gemeta is teetering on the brink of madness.

His sister Melissa has defied him. His friend Olaf has betrayed him. The Wichelord Daazna’s ghostly laughter mocks him when he’s awake and robs him of his sleep at night. Even the protective powers of his legendary Stone are turning against him.  

And now his companions, his ship, and its precious cargo have been taken, hostage. Kristan must give chase, in an unseaworthy vessel manned by an angry centaur crew. Ahead lie unfriendly waters, an ominous destination and a confrontation Kristan dreads.

In his despair, Kristan longs for the one person he has always trusted: his beloved Heather. But she’s far away, about to step into a trap that will endanger not just her command, but Kristan’s life.   

Can we say GIVEAWAY?  Yup! There’s a giveaway to celebrate this release, and you can get in on it now for a chance to win a necklace just like the one on the Gemeta Stone books. Just click here.

About the Author:

Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours, and prominent regional theatres.  She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher, and public speaker.  Her award-winning short story, “Yaa & The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.  

Social Media: 

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Pinterest

Jenn’s Review

Book four in Donna Migliaccio’s Gemeta Stone series, Ragis, is quite a nail-biter. She grants no quarter to continuing readers of the series who have been hanging on the edge of a cliff for three books now, holding them in suspense in another installment of this fabulously crafted fantasy tale.

Kristan Gemeta still labors under the strain of the traumas he endured under the Wichelord Daazna. His inner pain and failing health worsen as he learns more and more of the secrets and failings of those to whom he’s entrusted his lands.

The worst of the betrayals is yet to come, as one of Kristan’s trusted governors is plotting his demise. The experience pushes Kristan over the edge, nearly costing the young king what little health and sanity he has left.

As Kristan hits rock bottom, his long-time friend and love, Heather, who’s tried hard to keep her love for her king under wraps, has a front-row seat to Kristan’s near destruction.

Ragis isn’t the last book in this series, and this reader can’t wait for book 5. Migliaccio weaves a fantastic tale, with deep, compelling characters and a world built for falling into for long reads! Epic fantasy and you can read the books out of order, but my recommendation is to start at Kinglet and read all the way through the series.

Book 4 in the Gemeta Stone series by Donna Migliaccio is now available. Check out Jenn's review of Ragis on the Thrice Read Books review blog.

Buy the Book: 

Amazon     Barnes & Noble    Kobo     FIERY SEAS BOOKSTORE

Check out Jenn’s interview with author Donna Migliaccio here.

We’ve reviewed the other books in the series:

Kinglet (book 1) 
Fiskur (book 2) 
Stoneking (book 3)

Interview with Donna Migliaccio – Author of RAGIS

*Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. You can read the legal stuff here if you’d like, but know that we appreciate you supporting Thrice Read Books by using our links to buy.*

Jenn sits down to talk to Donna Migliaccio about her GEMETA STONE fantasy series, and about her new release RAGIS on this edition of the Thrice Read Books blog

Welcome to another edition of Between the Lines! This week’s featured author is not a new name around Thrice Read Books. In fact, we’ve taken part in three cover reveals and reviewed her first three books in The Gemeta Stone series. Book four, Ragis, is now out, and we’ll be reviewing this one as well. She is an author and actress. We sat down with Donna Migliaccio back in July, to talk books, writing and more.

Jenn: Welcome, Donna! We are so excited to get a chance to sit down and talk with you today.  I remember doing the Fiskur cover reveal as our inaugural blog post on the Thrice Read Books website, and I have gotten the opportunity to enjoy all three books in The Gemeta Stone series. Are you excited to see book 4 come to life in print?

Donna: I am indeed. The story has taken some very interesting turns through the years, and I’m especially proud of some major new plot points and characters in Ragis.

Jenn: Oh boy! I’ve been catching little snippets and teasers over on Twitter, and I’ve long since given up trying to predict the plot twists.

Donna: Oh, goody. That means I’m doing them right.

Jenn: For those of our readers who aren’t familiar with The Gemeta Stone series, could you tell us about the series in general, and then maybe focus in some on Ragis?

DonnaThe Gemeta Stone is the story of Kristan Gemeta, a gentle young prince who loses his father, his kingdom and his family’s legendary talisman to Daazna, a powerful magic worker seeking revenge for an injustice done him years before. In the first book, Kinglet, Kristan must find regain both his family’s Stone, his self-respect and his courage before he can make a stand against Daazna. He’s helped by Heather Demitt, the youngest of a band of rebels who have fled Daazna’s stronghold. In Book 2, Fiskur, Kristan finally meets up with Daaza, at a terrible cost. In Stoneking, Kristan has regained his kingdom at last, but he’s physically, mentally and emotionally broken by what’s happened to him. When he’s forced into a dangerous midwinter journey, his condition continues to deteriorate. Ragis picks up the story in mid-journey, where a series of setbacks and betrayals have accelerated Kristan’s descent toward madness.

My, that sounds grim.

Jenn: Indeed! It falls in the fantasy genre, but it’s certainly not Disney.

Donna: I’d say it lives somewhere between Lord of the Rings and A Song of Fire and Ice. It’s not quite as “high fantasy” as LOTR, and not as “grimdark” as ASOFAI.

Jenn: Yes. Sam’s been dying to read the series, and I keep putting her off a little longer.

Donna: I think it’s suitable for readers 16+ since there’s a fair amount of violence and sexual content.

Jenn: It’s the latter that I think she’d struggle with. She loves horror and fantasy, and she’d love the Kentavron (I think I spelled that correctly), but the sexual content that picks up in book 3 would definitely set her teeth on edge.

Now, it’s been a while since I read Kinglet, and I just can’t remember. Was Kinglet your debut novel? Or do you have another body of work I haven’t discovered yet?

DonnaKinglet was my first novel. I’ve had a couple of short stories published in anthologies, but The Gemeta Stone has taken up most of my writing time and energy.

Jenn sits down to talk to Donna Migliaccio about her GEMETA STONE fantasy series, and about her new release RAGIS on this edition of the Thrice Read Books blog

Jenn: As I recall, this series has quite a history to it, going back a ways?

Donna: The germ of the story came out of a writing assignment when I was in high school. I finally finished the book when I was in my early twenties, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and there was no internet. I went to the library, checked their latest copy of Publisher’s Marketplace, picked a fantasy publisher and fired off the manuscript to them. They kept it for nearly nine months before sending it back to me, asking me to add more magic and cut the manuscript back considerably. I edited as best I could, but I really didn’t know what I was doing, and they pretty promptly rejected the revision. I put the manuscript away for a couple of decades, but the story stayed in my head, and in 2009 I started rewriting it, with an eye toward eventually getting it into publishable shape. And here we are in 2018.

So it only took me 40 years or so to finish it LOL.

Jenn: And here we are! With this amazing, epic fantasy! And now I don’t feel so bad for leaving my own work sit for almost 2 years, hah!

Donna: Real life has a way of interfering, doesn’t it?

Jenn: It does!

So, is Ragis the conclusion of Kristan’s tale? Or will we be breathlessly awaiting more of his misadventures?

Donna: There’s a fifth and final book in the series, which I’m working on now. I also wrote a prequel, which was intended more as research into Kristan and Daazna’s youths and that fateful moment when their paths finally crossed. It actually turned into a fairly decent story, which might be worth publishing as well. I haven’t looked at it in a long time.

Jenn: Oh, wow! Yes, the history between those two would be great to read. The snippets that readers get in the books are kind of an appetizer to a much richer story.

Now, Daazna has some natural magical talent, but he’s not a witch. You’ve used an entirely different term, and to be honest, I’m not sure how to pronounce it (and the spelling is escaping me as I type this). Could you explain to our readers what he is, and maybe, how to pronounce the term?

Donna: Daazna is “Wiche.” It’s pronounced with a soft glottal on the “ch,” so it’s closer to our “wick” than the similar “witch.” It’s essentially magic, but in the world of The Gemeta Stone, it comes in two forms: Learned, which is magic that can be taught and developed and altered according to the user’s whims, and True, or Tabi’a, which is magic in its natural state, which exists for its own purposes and can’t be controlled. The Stone itself is Tabi’a – it exists to protect the head of the Gemeta family, but it has other properties which Kristan is only beginning to understand.

Jenn: Thank you for that pronunciation! I’ve been trying to figure it out since November. And the stone creates some conflicts for poor Kristan, doesn’t it?

Donna: It does. He thinks at first that it’s just a talisman, but discovers it has a will of its own. A large part of Stoneking and Ragis is about how Kristan deals with what he wants, as opposed to what the Stone wants.

Jenn: Right.

Donna: So much of the conflict in The Gemeta Stone comes out of the psychology of magic – what it can do, both to those who use it and those it’s used on.

Jenn: Now, with book four, Ragis on its release countdown, and book five & that little backstory in the wings. The Gemeta Stone series will eventually come to an end, as all things do. Do you have plans to continue writing?

Donna: I’m sure I will. I have a couple of story ideas on the back burner, and I’d like to explore writing more short stories.

Jenn: Now, you’re both multi-talented and multi-passionate. How do you find time for writing in the middle of all of that?

Donna: Well, I don’t idle well. I always have a half-dozen projects going on at once, and I find if I have nothing to do, then I do nothing. The busier I am, the more I get accomplished.

I do my best writing when I have the least time for it – when every minute counts.

Jenn: No time to sit and question every word that way?

Donna: I tend to edit as I go, which probably comes from my journalism background when I was writing on deadline.

I’ve never been able to just sit and spew words.

Too messy.

Jenn: Ahh! So, are you more of a planner in your writing style?

Donna: See, here’s the weird part. I don’t outline. When I sit down to write, I know how I want things to end and I have a general idea of how I want to get to that ending, but I’m open to letting the characters’ personalities take the wheel, so to speak. They sometimes drive the plot car in a much more interesting direction.

Jenn: And what interesting directions they have taken The Gemeta Stone!

Donna: Just as an example, the character of Heather has changed dramatically since I first conceived her. She started off simply as a love interest, but she turned out to be so strong and vital a force in the story that she moved from being a secondary player to a co-main character with Kristan.

Jenn: I know by the end of Stone King, she’s kind of taken on her own storyline. And I adore Heather, by the way. I think she’s part of why Sam’s dying to read this series.

As we reach the end of our time together… For our younger readers – What advice would you give a young writer?

Donna: Read. READ READ READ. And if you want to write, give yourself the leeway and the time to fail at it. Too many young writers want instantaneous results: they expect to produce a polished, publishable book after only a few months of writing. It doesn’t work that way. You’ve got to log a lot of BIC hours (that’s “Butt in Chair,” for the uninitiated) before you’ll even get close to writing a satisfactory story.

Jenn: YES! And as a reviewer, I’ve seen far too many writers slap together the first draft and publish it (cringe).

Donna: I highly recommend a website called AbsoluteWrite.com for writers who are serious about writing as a profession. The forums there, while not for the faint of heart, are invaluable.

Jenn: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know before diving into The Gemeta Stone?

Donna: Don’t let the fact that there are five books in the series put you off. I promise, they’re pretty fast reading. And if you have questions or comments, feel free to contact me through my website: donnamigliaccio.com, or via my Twitter account @donnamig. I love talking to my readers.

Jenn: I know you’re super active on Twitter, and I’ll have buttons at the bottom of the page with links to your social media and website.

Thank you so, so much for your time today, Donna. I know you’re probably getting super excited for the release of Ragis in August (I know I am!). On behalf of Thrice Read Books, we wish you all the best on your release and your show!

Donna: Thank you for interviewing me. It was a lot of fun!

Jenn: You are very welcome!

Donna’s Social Media

Website      Facebook      Twitter      Pinterest

Buy Ragis

Amazon     Barnes & Noble    Kobo     FIERY SEAS BOOKSTORE

Other Books in the Series

Kinglet (book 1)

Fiskur (book 2)

Stoneking (book 3)

 Ragis (book 4)