Tagged: Action & Adventure

Markswoman

**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.**

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Jenn reviews Markswoman by Rati Mehrotra

About the Book

Markswoman; Rati Mehrotra 
YA Adult/New Adult; Dark Fantasy; 384 Pages

Harper Voyager (January 23, 2018)

An order of magical-knife wielding female assassins brings both peace and chaos to their post-apocalyptic world in this bewitching blend of science fiction and epic fantasy—the first entry in a debut duology that displays the inventiveness of the works of Sarah Beth Durst and Marie Lu.

Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in the Order of Kali, one of a handful of sisterhoods of highly trained elite warriors. Armed with blades whose metal is imbued with magic and guided by a strict code of conduct, the Orders are sworn to keep the peace and protect the people of Asiana. Kyra has pledged to do so—yet she secretly harbors a fierce desire to avenge her murdered family.

When Tamsyn, the powerful and dangerous Mistress of Mental Arts, assumes control of the Order, Kyra is forced on the run. She is certain that Tamsyn committed murder in a twisted bid for power, but she has no proof.

Kyra escapes through one of the strange Transport Hubs that are the remnants of Asiana’s long-lost past and finds herself in the unforgiving wilderness of a desert that is home to the Order of Khur, the only Order composed of men. Among them is Rustan, a disillusioned Marksman whose skill with a blade is unmatched. He understands the desperation of Kyra’s quest to prove Tamsyn’s guilt, and as the two grow closer, training daily on the windswept dunes of Khur, both begin to question their commitment to their Orders. But what they don’t yet realize is that the line between justice and vengeance is thin . . . as thin as the blade of a knife.

About the Author

Writer, traveler, and full-time working Mom. I’m looking for a way to clone myself. Or, failing that, get a robot to do all my boring work so I can write full-time. I am represented by the wonderful Mary. C. Moore of Kimberley Cameron & Associates. My first book, Markswoman, is scheduled for publication in Jan 2018 by Harper Voyager.

I’m a bookworm – always have been. A few of my favorite writers are Gene Wolfe, Margaret Attwood, Ursula Le Guin, Philip Pullman, Octavia Butler, Jack Vance, Neil Gaimam, Stephen King, JRR Tolkien, JK Rowling (who can’t love Harry Potter?) and – yes – Jane Austen. I love to read and I love to write. Check out some of my stories at http://ratiwrites.com/short-fiction/

Jenn’s Review

I picked this book up on a whim, unclear about the age range, and opted to give it a read before turning it over to my 13-year old. Having finished it in a little over a day, I can say that I’m glad I read it first. Mostly because it was just that good! (And teenagers don’t always think about spoilers)

Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in her Order, and her first kill sets into motion a chain of events that could undo the fragile life that humanity has carved out for itself on Asiana. And when her beloved leader and mentor dies suddenly and mysteriously, Kyra is forced to steal her dead teacher’s blade and must flee to fight another day.

Her path leads her to Rustan, a sullen Marksman with a guilty conscience, who is tasked with training Kyra for the fight of her life. A member of the only male Order on Asiana, Rustan must prove himself to Kyra, who’s been taught nothing but scorn for her male counterpart.

As Kyra’s duel grows closer, secrets about her past and his slowly simmer to the surface, their feelings for each other growing, despite their vows that leave a future for them just out of reach.

The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I am eagerly awaiting book 2’s release in a few weeks. I give it high marks for world-building, with both touches of science fiction and fantasy, deeply steeped in Eastern wisdom and practice. High marks, also, for well developed, strong characters. Even the sweet-natured Nineth and Shurik show up with their own brand of strength (and their own flaws). I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

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Jenn reviews Markswoman by Rati Mehrotra

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle, Audiobook, Paperback, and Audio CD formats below.


Also by Rati Mehrotra:

Mahimata (Book 2 in the Asiana Series)


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Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda

**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 the first book in Mala Mukherjee's historical fantasy series, Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda - India history, diverse fiction, fantasy fiction, historical mysteries
Jenn reviews the first book in Mala Mukherjee’s historical fantasy series, Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda

About the Book

Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda; Mala Mukharjee
Adult; Historical Fantasy; 363 pages

BookRix March 12, 2019

A historical fantasy set in the backdrop of Nalanda and the end of Gupta Empire depicts the horror of Hun invasion, and power struggle between smaller kingdoms in an alternate universe bounded by magical reality. During the political turmoil, a prince vouchsafed to save Magadha from foreign invasion with the help of Nalanda’s intellectual teachers and their secret knowledge of Celestial Weapons. However, palace intrigues compelled him to renounce his claim to the throne and he embraced the life of austerity for a greater cause. Unaware of the baffling power of his enemies, the young prince entrapped in the political rivalry of Chandraketugarh and found love in an unexpected way. His journey to Nalanda unfolded many secrets of the ancient university that changed his destiny forever. Under the guidance of his mentor, eminent alchemist Budhaditya he overcame all odds and reached his goal; but just before the final battle, he faced the dilemma of choosing duty over love. 

This is the first part of a Trilogy. 

This story is purely fictional, based on imagination, not on historical facts and figures. Any similarities of events or characters, in reality, is purely coincidental and not made to insult any individual or group. 

Jenn’s Review

I picked this book up to read a quick sample, after the author, Mala Mukherjee, contacted me about a possible review. After reading the introduction, I chose to add this story to my reading list for two reasons: first, it isn’t written from a Western perspective and second, the author is upfront and honest about where the story came from. If you’re looking for a historically accurate tale, this probably isn’t for you, however, as Miss Mukherjee explains in the book’s first pages, she’s spun a fanciful tale around an archaeological mystery.

Welcome to Nalanda, and the Indus subcontinent in the age of the Huns. Nalanda is a center of learning, removed from politics, though it will not remain untouched by the coming war that looms over the land.

Prakhashaditya is a disgraced prince who renounced his claim on the throne to retire to a life of learning, if only for enough years to secure the knowledge of elemental weapons that might stand against the Huns’ mystical arsenal.

His teacher sends him to one of the department heads of Nalanda, to specifically study alchemy, and everything goes wrong when Prakhashaditya stumbles into a confusing situation between local villagers and a merchant caravan.

Confusion ensues, as court intrigues tangle and twist around each other. Hidden plots and deceptions add up, war breaks out, and survivors emerge with the truth of their identities – few of the major players know the whole truth and even fewer know who they truly are.

This was a long read, and in the first half, I frequently found myself out of the plot and lost in long descriptions of settings and people. Miss Mukherjee has done a thorough job of world-building and character creation. However, at several points in the book, I nearly gave up, as the description frequently engulfed the story. Eventually, the author does get out of her own way, and the story flows well – leaving me glad I didn’t surrender.

As a word of caution, this book is not written by a native English speaker (I am uncertain if the book was translated or if the author wrote this in English herself), and this shows up in virtually every paragraph. At times, what the author intends to say is unclear, however, I reached a place where it simply became a facet of the narrative.

Under the faults, this is a thrilling story, with unexpected plot twists, mysteries, intrigue, and danger. Definitely worth the effort to read.

Jenn reviews the first book in Mala Mukherjee's historical fantasy series, Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda - India history, diverse fiction, fantasy fiction, historical mysteries
Jenn reviews the first book in Mala Mukherjee’s historical fantasy series, Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda

Buy the Book

This book is available on Kindle here.

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Beneath the Assassin’s Touch

**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 BENEATH THE ASSASSIN'S TOUCH by Katherine Hastings, Book 2 in the Daggers of Desire series - historical romance - romance fiction - assassin fiction - adventure romance
Jenn reviews Beneath the Assassin’s Touch by Katherine Hastings, Book 2 in the Daggers of Desire series

About the Book

Beneath the Assassin’s Touch, 
Katherine Hastings

Adult, Historical Romance, 201 Pages

Flyte Publishing, January 23, 2019

Sometimes the safest place is in the arms of the most dangerous man.

As Viktor fights to save Nora from assassins hot on her trail, it turns out they’re up against an even bigger battle… the feelings for each other they can no longer deny.

When Viktor envisioned pulling the beautiful Baroness into his arms, he was thinking he wanted a quick roll in the hay… a one-night stand like he’d had with a lengthy list of ladies before her. Tossing her over his shoulder to escape her would-be assassins wasn’t what he had in mind, yet that’s exactly how she ended up in his arms the night they met. Now Viktor is stuck protecting the willful woman until they can solve the mystery of who would want her dead. He must use all his skills, as both pirate and assassin, to save her… and all his willpower to resist the growing feelings that threaten to pull him under.

Baroness Nora Aberdeen finds herself ripped from a life of luxury, dependent on the infuriating assassin to keep her alive. Unsure who to trust, she can’t deny the safety she feels when she’s by his side. Dragged through England to places she never imagined, Nora struggles to survive while also struggling to battle the feelings the roguish pirate awakens within her.

Can they fight their feelings while they fight for their lives? Will he be able to save her, and in doing so save himself… or will pride and duty tear them apart?

About the Author

 
Katherine Hastings loves love. It’s why she writes romance novels. Getting lost writing a romantic adventure is one of her favorite pastimes. When she’s not on an adventure with her characters, she can be found at her home in Wisconsin snuggling her husband, two Boston Terriers, and the world’s naughtiest cat. Two things make Katherine want to leave her happy home these days… going for rides on her dressage pony or floating at the beach in her big inflatable raft. Writing her novels while floating in the lake is one of her ultimate pleasures… that and Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds, of course.

Jenn’s Review

Katherine Hastings is back with book 2 in the Daggers of Desire series, Beneath the Assassin’s Touch. In book 1, we briefly met the pirate, Viktor, and he’s back with his over-the-top wit and salacious, playful antics to rescue the endangered damsel, keep her out of harm’s way, and find his own happily ever after.

Viktor hides a damaged, painful past behind his mask of daring escapades, quick sense of humor, and bawdy bosom buddies. Never one to settle down for long, he agrees to take a short stint away from his pirate ship, Dark Shark, to help John and Charlie prevent an assassination. The only catch is, they don’t know exactly who’s at risk, only that the intended victim will be at a ball at a nearby estate. He’s growing weary of the pirate’s life, even if he is a captain with his own ship.

Never one to let a little work get in the way of a flirtation, Viktor trails a beautiful baroness out onto a balcony for a bit of fresh air.

Nora doesn’t exactly like the plush life she’s carved out for herself, but the cost of turning back is too high for her to pay – so she plays her part and grits her teeth. The dashing, well-dressed man that follows her around her husband’s party is more than an annoyance, his continued affections could jeopardize all those she holds dear. But when armed men attack her in the dark, she has no choice but to flee in the handsome stranger’s arms.

Nora is all prickles and defenses, continually demanding that Viktor returns her to her home, refusing to believe that she’s in any danger. Her ongoing denial and fight for her independence could cost her her life. And Viktor refuses to let the beautiful, strong Nora out of his grasp – she’s possibly his best chance at healing old wounds and finding the happiness he never thought could be his.

Ms. Hastings has tackled yet another historical romance with a flair for witty banter, sexy tensions, and action-packed adventure. BENEATH THE ASSASSIN’S TOUCH is the second book in the series, and characters and situations from book 1 are referenced, met, and take part in some of the action, but this book can be read as a standalone in its own right. A nice break from the typical adult historical romance.

Jenn reviews BENEATH THE ASSASSIN'S TOUCH by Katherine Hastings, Book 2 in the Daggers of Desire series - historical romance - romance fiction - assassin fiction - adventure romance
Jenn reviews Beneath the Assassin’s Touch by Katherine Hastings, Book 2 in the Daggers of Desire series

We interviewed Katherine back in July 2018. You can read the article here.

Buy the Book

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

To Hold A Siren’s Heart – 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.**

Jenn's review of adult paranormal/urban fantasy romance TO HOLD A SIREN'S HEART by Rachel Leigh Smith

About the Book

To Hold A Siren’s Heart, Rachel Leigh Smith (Redemption’s Price Book 1)

Adult,  Romance/Paranormal, 336 Pages

Rachel L. Smith (November 15, 2016)

Sleeping with the enemy is never a good idea. Neither is falling in love with her.

Siren David Michaels lives by one rule: no relationships. His kind is cursed to lives of jealousy and selfishness when it comes to relationships. Having a one-night stand with a sexy stranger sounded good at the time. The last thing he expected was to see her show up seven years later claiming his very sick little brother is the long-lost next alpha of the Boulder pride.

Megan Kincade, the only daughter of the Boulder pride alpha, hasn’t stopped dreaming about the dark-haired man she slept with in Florida. The last thing she expected was to find him claiming her little brother as his own, and learning he’s a siren. The enemy.

Taking his little brother back to his family is the only way for him to live. But if David loses him, he loses his humanity. And he also sets off a war if his symphony finds him. Then there’s the problem of falling in love with the alpha’s daughter.

When David’s symphony comes for him, he gives himself up to save Meg and Owen. The love he thinks himself incapable of is the only thing that can save him. Provided Meg can find the courage to defy her pride and save her siren’s heart.

About the Author

Rachel Leigh Smith was swept off her feet at the age of six by Magnum, P.I., then again at nine by Frank Hardy. She remembers her favorite romance novels by the hero’s name, so of course, she writes romance for the hero lover. She lives in central Louisiana with her family, a half-crazed calico, a ginger tabby lion, and a menagerie of book boyfriends.

She’s an active member of Romance Writers of America.

Jenn’s Review

Shapeshifters, warring ancient pantheons, and love that transcends tradition and discrimination, all packed into a smooth, free-flowing paranormal romance? Where do I sign up?

David’s brother is dying. Rheumatoid arthritis is tearing apart his frail body, bound into human form by an unknown person for unknown reasons. When his friend Dante shows up to tell David that he’s located Owen’s birth family, the news is a mixed blessing.

Owen grounds David, helps him manage his Siren urges and keeps him from becoming the monster David knows hides inside. Owen doesn’t know anything about their secret world, though, and David’s father handed down a blood oath to protect Owen. No matter what.

Owen needs his birth family, though, if he’s to break the curse that’s killing him. And Dante’s news is the first ray of hope. The catch? The sister Dante brings is the one night stand that David can’t forget.

Meg’s life is a shadow of what she wants. Her pride blames her for her brother’s abduction and has all but shunned her. And the amazing night she had back in Florida several years ago, is the one time she felt unburdened. Too bad he was a one not.

When Owen agrees to return to the pride, he has one condition – David has to be allowed to come along. The problem? David’s kind has been at war with Owen and Meg’s kind for millennia. David’s parents fled from their symphony, not far from Owen’s pride lands, but they never told him why – only that he had to stay away from Denver at all costs. Unless Owen’s life depended on it. Can he keep the secret of what he is long enough to settle Owen and get out before he brings a war to the two people he loves most?

To Hold a Siren’s Heart had all the requisite beats in all the right places. Even though the sex was all behind closed doors (mentioned but not played out on the page), the story still packs in the heat. The fast pace had me turning the pages (just one more chapter and then I’ll go to bed), but the ending? Not quite satisfying. It felt rushed and incomplete, which was a disappointment after such an awesome plot.

Compelling characters, slight cliffhanger ending, action and irresistible bonds of love make up this story. My only dislike was that ending, but the ending alone doesn’t make me rule out reading the next book in the series.

Jenn's review of adult paranormal/urban fantasy romance TO HOLD A SIREN'S HEART by Rachel Leigh Smith

Buy the Book

 This book is available from Amazon in Kindle edition.

One More Run – Review

Jenn reviews One More Run by Matthew J. Cox on Thrice Read Books review blog

About the book:

One More Run by Matthew S. Cox     Roadhouse Chronicles Book 1

Published by Curiosity Quills Press      December 4, 2016

Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction

In August 2021, they tried to disprove the adage that violence doesn’t solve anything―by killing everyone.

No people, no problems.

Fifty years later, humanity has emerged from the ashes. As if nuclear war wasn’t enough, a cruel virus followed on its heels, reducing many survivors to mindless killers.

With no infrastructure left, Drivers are the only link between scattered towns. Anyone with the skill to maintain a vehicle (and the balls to hit the road) can seek riches running jobs for the Roadhouse.

Kevin longs to trade in his steering wheel for a Roadhouse of his own, no longer being the idiot ducking bullets for a handful of coins. He’s one run away from retiring when a strange woman begs him for a ride to Harrisburg. Desperation has a way of getting a man to do stupid things, and he agrees to run a package so valuable half the Wildlands will come after him.

For his whole life, all Kevin cared about was himself―and maybe his car―yet his enigmatic companion makes him wonder if there’s more to life than selling food, booze, and weapons to reckless fools.

Her past catches up to them, stranding Kevin at a fork in the road: fulfill his dream, or let it go for something he never thought he’d want―love.

About the author:

One More Run author Matthew S. Cox

Originally from South Amboy NJ, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Since 1996, he has developed the “Divergent Fates” world, in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, The Awakened Series, and the Daughter of Mars series take place. More recently, he has forayed into young-adult and middle-grade novels. Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humor, and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.

Jenn’s Review:

Mad Max meets Resident Evil in this fast-paced, post-apocalyptic novel by Matthew S. Cox. 

One More Run chronicles the unplanned adventures of Kevin, one of the few bold souls remaining brave enough to act as a courier between the far-flung, terrorized and tattered settlements that make up the former United States of America. 

Kevin is this close to having the cash saved up from his dangerous runs to found his own Roadhouse and retire from driving for good. But just as things are looking like the end of his dangerous struggles, Kevin finds himself in a situation that even his jaded conscious can’t walk away from – watch a woman dragged off to slavery, or stand up and take on a job that risks everything he’s worked for.

As one run after another goes sideways and wrong, Kevin holds onto his goal: Finish with being a courier for good, and settle down with his own roadhouse.  And as situations get more and more complicated, the jaded young man finds his heart softening towards his damsel-in-distress (who is far more than she appears to be), despite lingering questions about her humanity. Together, they dodge zombies, slavers, drug dealers and more, always braced for the next blow that could end one, or both, of them.

One More Run was an engaging thriller with just enough romance in it to keep me turning the pages. Clean enough to be a YA read for an older teen, this is also engaging enough for more mature tastes – due to language and occasional sexual references, I’ve shelved this one for Sam a few years down the road. Four stars, and looking forward to diving into the sequel, Redeemed, soon.

Jenn Reviews post-apocalyptic/Sci Fi novel One More Run by Matthew S. Cox on the Thrice Read Books review blog

Buy the Book:

This book is available in Kindle or paperback editions from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

Other books in this series:

The Redeemed (book 2)

The Redeemed – Review

About the Book

The Redeemed by Matthew S Cox (RoadHouse Chronicles)

Adult Sci-Fi Post-Apocalyptic 

Curiosity Quills Press (December 18, 2017)

The worst part about chasing one’s dream is catching it.

Six months ago, Kevin opened a Roadhouse of his own. No longer the idiot braving the dangerous post-nuclear highways of 2073, he thought he’d finally grow old and happy selling bullets, beds, and booze to those still foolish enough to get behind the wheel.

Then, he’d met her.

The white-haired outcast from the xenophobic Enclave crashed into his life, becoming the conscience he never wanted and everything he desired. She couldn’t save the world from the Virus, but she could save Kevin’s dream.

A biker gang calling themselves the Redeemed starts shooting up Roadhouses in flagrant disregard of the Code, shattering the serenity of his humble waystation. When the long-vaunted retribution of Amarillo’s army fails to materialize, Kevin feels more like a sitting duck than he ever did on the road―but it’s not his ‘house he fears losing.

Determined to protect her, he takes it upon himself to enforce the unwritten law of the Roadhouse.

About the Author

Originally from South Amboy NJ, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Since 1996, he has developed the “Divergent Fates” world, in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, The Awakened Series, The Harmony Paradox, and the Daughter of Mars series take place.

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems, and a fan of anime, British humour, and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.

He is also fond of cats.

Jenn’s Review

After being pulled away from the series for a bit, I finally finished Matthew S. Cox’s The Redeemed. The story of Kevin and Tris continues and the mysteries surrounding the events after the end of the world deepen.

Kevin finally has his Roadhouse, his life long goal achieved. Except, his dream is starting to turn into a nightmare. The long-respected Code is being ignored, Roadhouse owners are dying, the Virus is spreading in strange circumstances, and Amarillo isn’t all it once seemed.

Tris and Kevin are pulled in opposite directions, as she tries to unravel the growing mysteries surrounding Amarillo and rescue the survivors of an impossible Virus outbreak.

Kevin has to leave his ‘house in the hands of virtual strangers to chase down then who murdered his long-time friend and mentor, only to discover that things are not what they seemed; and he must reconcile what is with the fading satisfaction of finally having a safe, stable life.

MAD MAX meets DIVERGENT in this post-apocalyptic, science fiction thriller with a thread of romance. Book 3 is due out in a few months; so we won’t have to wait long to resolve the bit of cliffhanger readers are left with. I’d toss this book in the New Adult category, along with One More Run, for some sexual content (book two has less than book one). The language is mild, and there is moderate violence.

THE REDEEMED by Matthew S. Cox, book 2 in the Roadhouse Chronicles - Review by Jenn on the Thrice Read Books blog

Buy the Book

 This book is available from Amazon in Kindle edition here. [affiliate link]

Other Books in this Series:

One More Run (Book 1)

In the Assassin’s Arms – Review

Jenn reviews Katherine Hasting's debut novel, IN THE ASSASSINS ARMS - adult historical romance, assassin romance, action-adventure romance
Jenn reviews Katherine Hasting’s debut novel, In the Assassin’s Arms

About the book:

In the Assassin’s Arms by Katherine Hastings

Series: Dagger of Desire Historical Romance

Flyte Publishing, January 19, 2019

John Douglas may be a well-trained political assassin, but he has met his match in the woman he once called a friend. When his childhood playmate reenters his life, she’s not looking to rekindle their friendship… she’s out for blood.

With a vendetta to settle, Charlotte Cornewalle isn’t stopping until she finds the man who killed her father. All signs point to Robert Douglas, the leader of the opposing faction of assassins… and John’s father. To get her revenge, no one will stand in her way… not even the boy she once adored.

Fate forces them together as they fight to prove their innocence and right the wrongs they have suffered. Sparks fly from more than just their swords, but will they be able to put the past behind them? Will they be able to find the truth before it destroys them both?

About the Author:

Katherine Hastings, Author of Historical Romance "In the Assassin's Arms"

Katherine Hastings loves love. It’s why she writes romance novels. Getting lost writing a romantic adventure is one of her favorite pastimes. When she’s not on an adventure in her mind with her characters, she can be found at her home in Wisconsin snuggling her husband, two Boston Terriers, and the world’s naughtiest cat. Two things make Katherine want to leave her happy home these days… going for rides on her dressage pony or floating at the beach in her big inflatable raft. Writing her novels while floating in the lake is one of her ultimate pleasures… that and Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds, of course.

Katherine’s social follows: 

Facebook     Twitter     Instagram     Website/Email signup

Jenn’s Review:

Another awesome debut novel! Katherine Hastings’ historical romance, In the Assassin’s Arms is witty, fast-paced and engaging.

John and Charlie go back a long ways – to their childhoods, playing hide and seek and tag as they ran around John’s family estate. Their childhood friendship is shattered when Charlotte (“Charlie”) is ripped away, her father murdered in cold blood in John’s home. Charlie has always blamed John’s father, and the rival assassin organization that John and his father belong to, for her father’s death, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge his murder.

When these two meet up again in as adults, sparks fly. They are attracted to each other while struggling with the blame each places on the other for the deaths of those they love. Despite their mutual mistrust, they must work together to solve the riddles behind a growing number of murders – before they’re both added to the list!

The banter between these two characters had me giggling – each is quick-minded and they’ve picked up right where they left off, competing with each other to see whose skills are more finely honed. Ms. Hastings serves up some piping hot sexual chemistry as well, with a face-paced plot that had me turning the page for more.

While I immensely enjoyed the dialogue and narrative, I encountered a few spots where the conversation felt a little off; some lines felt too modern, or too casual for the setting and situation. It did not, however, affect my enjoyment of the book to give it any less than 4 stars.

In the Assassin’s Arms is the first book in a series, with book 2 expected to hit the shelves later in 2018. If Adult Historical Romance is your thing, then I would highly recommend checking out Katherine Hastings’ debut.

Jenn reviews Katherine Hasting's debut novel, IN THE ASSASSINS ARMS - adult historical romance, assassin romance, action-adventure romance

Jenn reviews Katherine Hasting’s debut novel, In the Assassin’s Arms

Buy the book:

This book is available in Kindle Format from Amazon in Kindle, and paperback here.

Jenn sat down with Katherine to talk a bit about In the Assassin’s Arms. You can read that interview here.

Bound by Prophecy – Review

About the book:

Aern’s only job is to protect the chosen. The trouble is, she’s the key to a prophecy and everyone wants her. Hiding a girl in the center of a secret war is tricky business, but when her sister shows up to take Aern hostage, all bets are off. 

A slim brunette in borrowed jeans should be the least of his problems, but there’s something about Emily he just can’t put to rights. And it’s not her penchant for using hand tools as weapons or the fact that she seems immune to his sway. 

Everything about her screams run. But when he discovers she’s working toward her own prophecy, he’s got no choice but to keep her safe. It might have been easy, if she didn’t think she was the chosen’s protector. When the opposition descends, their only hope is to stick together, but the truth unravels, and together might prove the biggest complication of them all.

About the author:

Melissa is the author of the Frey Saga, Descendants Series, and KING OF ASH AND BONE. She is currently working on the next book, but when not writing can be spotted collecting the things she loves at Goodreads and Pinterest. Contact her through the web at www.melissa-wright.com

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THE FREY SAGA
Frey
Pieces of Eight
Molly (a short story)
Rise of the Seven
Venom and Steel

DESCENDANTS SERIES
Bound by Prophecy
Shifting Fate
Reign of Shadows

SHATTERED REALMS
King of Ash and Bone

Sam’s review:

Greetings, everyone! The bookish topic of today for this channel is Bound by Prophecy by Melissa Wright. One of three protagonists, Aern, brother of the antagonist, Morgan, hands the “chosen” too the Division, a choice that he believes will keep her safe from Morgan’s hands. Aern is caught by his evil brother, Morgan. Emily, the chosen’s sister, rescues him, only to hold him captive as she searches for Brianna, her sister. When they make it to the Division, he finds out that his chosen is a decoy, as well as a prophet. This is a quick paced adventure taking place on modern day Earth, but might as well be an alternate universe, plus it is captivating from the first paragraph to the last words. There is indeed a sequel to this, and I expect it to be done in the VERY near future, so keep an eye out for it. And I’ll be back. Sam out!

Buy the book:

You can purchase this book on its own from Amazon in Kindle, paperback or as an audio book here. [affiliate link]

Or…

You can buy the boxed set here. [affiliate link]

Stay tuned:

Book 2, Shifting Fates review

Book 3, Reign of Shadows

Fury of Fire – Review

Jenn reviews Coreene Callahan's Fury of Fire, shapeshifter romance on Thrice Read Books review blog.

About the book:

Published February 7, 2012 by Montlake Romance

Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Book one in the Dragonfury series

A clandestine race of half-dragon, half-humans known as dragon shifters lives among us. Bastian, leader of the Nightfury dragon clan, is sworn to protect humankind at all costs. For him, honor and duty always come first. When the clan dictates he take a human mate to sire a son, he falters, aware that for a human to birth a dragon shifter she must die. Myst, the woman given into his care, is the most extraordinary he’s ever met, and though he can’t bear the thought of harming her he is bound by duty.

Myst loves her life in the human world, but Bastian has captured her heart in an instant of electric connection. But Bastian and his warriors are in the middle of a deadly battle with the Razorback dragon shifters, intent on killing every Nightfury clan member—and the humans they protect—the fate of their world and ours hangs in the balance.

An extraordinary blend of action, fantasy, and steamy romance, Fury of Fire brings to life a dangerous new world intertwined with the survival of humanity, all while exploring the meaning of honor and the nature of true love.

About the Author:

As the only girl on all-guys hockey teams from age six through her college years, Coreene Callahan knows a thing or two about tough guys and loves to write about them. Call it kismet. Call it payback after years of locker room talk and ice rink antics. But whatever you call it, the action better be heart stopping, the magic electric, and the story wicked good fun.

After graduating with honors in psychology and working as an interior designer, Callahan finally succumbed to her overactive imagination and returned to her first love: writing. And when she’s not writing, she is dreaming of magical worlds full of dragon-shifters, elite assassins, and romance that’s too hot to handle. Callahan currently lives in Canada with her family and her writing buddy, a fun-loving golden retriever.

Jenn’s Review:

Dragons, damsels and divisive clan wars, oh my! Coreene Callahan kicked this series off with a bang in Fury of Fire, Book 1 in the Dragonfury series.

This is one of those binge-buying Kindle books I picked up (embarrassingly, almost 3 years ago!), and dove into for a bit of a break from ARCs. I was most assuredly NOT disappointed. 

In this shape-shifter-slash-urban-fantasy-romance, Bastian knows he needs to find a human female to impregnate. He’s not keen on the idea; it rubs his moral compass the wrong way, as the birth will inevitably result in his partner’s death. 

Myst stumbles into the middle of a wild, action packed battle between Bastian’s clan and their bitter rivals, and in the end, she’s literally swept off to Bastian’s stronghold in the mountains above Seattle because she refuses to relinquish the baby she delivered just before the battle.

The plot is engaging, the characters well developed and the world-building is mostly believable. This book should be on your to-be-read list if you are a fan of shape-shifter romance.

Fury of Fire by Coreene Callahan - Urban Fantasy/Shapeshifter Romance - review by Jenn on the Thrice Read Books review blog.

Buy the book:

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

Rescued by an Alien – Book Review

About the book:

ZADEON
When my human mate was auctioned, she was sold to a savage lot of aliens.
I rescued her body from her tormentors.
But her mind…
She is hurt.
She’s afraid I will abandon her; but I’ve been waiting all my life for my mate.
I am not going to walk away. I’m going to help her heal.
And I will help her fight for us.

****Content warning: For readers 18 years and older Contains explicit sexual situations, dark themes, sensitive subjects, and violence.

This is book 2 in a series. You can find my review for book 1, Stolen by an Alien here.

Jenn’s review:

I’ll admit… I laughed myself silly in book 1 of this series, Stolen by an Alien. Book 2, well… The first third of this book was a challenge for me, both as a reader and as a writer. Ms. Milo’s storytelling appears, at first blush, to have slipped extensively in the first several chapters of book 2. However…

Her storytelling skills haven’t slipped. They’ve morphed. Here, I gently guide you, my reader, back to the content warning above. This book has very explicit situations, and very dark themes as well as extremely sensitive subject matter. The violence… for me anyway, wasn’t so disturbing. To say that the heroine has experienced trauma, would be a gross understatement, and Ms. Milo deftly and tenderly handles the heroine’s point of view in the opening chapters of this book to submerge the reader (rather jarringly at times) into the fractured mind of a survivor of trauma as she attempts to find the balance between retreating into her head to escape the horrors that replay themselves in her mind and crawling her way out of her despair with the help of her unlikely alien mate.

As the story progresses, however, our heroine, Callie, begins to find her reserves of strength, and the parts of the story told from her perspective smooth out, and once again, despite some very dark and dismal themes and conflicts, Ms. Milo reintroduces the reader to her wit and humor.

I will avoid any spoilers at this point, but I would highly recommend reading this series in order. Due to the fractured state of the heroine’s mind during the opening chapters (which overlap events that take place closer to the end of book 1), it is difficult to grasp the imagery of these scenes. While some series can be read out of order, this isn’t one of them.

I’ll be off reading book 3 in this series next, before I dive into my next blogtour book for Fiery Seas Publishing, so be sure to get on the email list (click the bar at the very top of the page), and follow us on social media (links at the bottom of the page).

You can buy these books on Amazon through the links below (Please note that these are affiliate links, which means that Thrice Read Books makes a small commission off the total of your order placed through these links – at no extra cost to you. This helps keep Thrice Read Books ad-free, and we thank you for supporting us in this manner.)

Book 1: Stolen by an Alien

Book 2: Rescued by an Alien

Book 3: Won by an Alien

Update, December 27, 2017:

I’ve finished book 3, Won by an Alien, but the review won’t be published until January 4, 2018. However, after that point, the review will be available here.