Tagged: Book Review

The Price

**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 Joan Johnston’s adult contemporary romance The Price

About the Book

The Price; Joan Johnston
Adult; Romance; 336 Pages

Atria; 1 edition (March 25, 2003)

Having forfeited his marriage and custody of his children in his ambition to achieve partner status, a Houston attorney works to defend a pharmaceutical company whose drug may have killed a young girl, and when the plaintiff’s counsel turns out to be his high-school sweetheart, an unexpected romance ensues.

About the Author

Joan Johnston, the top ten New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the Bitter Creek (THE COWBOY, THE TEXAN and THE LONER plus 18 more including the Mail-Order Bride, Captive Hearts and Sisters of the Lone Star series) and Hawk’s Way (nine in all) novels, has written more than fifty-five award-winning historical and contemporary romance novels, thirty-eight of which are connected. She received an M.A. in theater from the University of Illinois and graduated with honors from the University of Texas School of Law at Austin. Joan Johnston lives in Colorado and South Florida.

Jenn’s Review

Lawyers, Juvenile Diabetes, and second chance romance, all bundled neatly into one steamy romance novel – The Price, by Joan Johnston, a Bitter Creek novel. I loved the story, except for one glaring omission.

Luke’s given everything he can to rise to the top at a prestigious law firm on his own merit. To wit, he’s lost his marriage, has little time to give to his young daughters, his relationship with his mother (though that might be more a case of bitterness towards his step-father and a long-standing rivalry between two families. He’s nearly made it to the recommendation board for partnership, and he counts his losses as worth striving towards his dream. Until it all falls apart in a move from one department to another, and a tort case against one of the firm’s largest clients – a pharmaceutical company manufacturing a “miracle drug” for Type 1 diabetics. Kids are dying, and Luke’s expected to close the cases quietly and settled out of court. Of course, the first client he meets with won’t go quietly, and as Luke investigates the drug, and finds out his own daughter is taking it, tensions rise.

When Amy arrives for her client’s meeting at Luke’s law firm, tension cranks up even more for the two attorneys. They were high school sweethearts, and despite their opposing sides on this case, the remaining heat between them sits unresolved. Amy’s determined to win justice for her client and for other patients at risk from the killer “miracle drug.” As the pair partner up to get to the bottom of what’s really going on behind the scenes, their relationship grows and develops, threatening their careers, their lives, and the life of Luke’s older daughter, a Type 1 diabetic taking the drug.

Despite the very technical aspects of some of the storyline (including how drug trials are run, and attorney ethics), I was gravely disappointed in one serious omission: The author sets up this fictional “miracle drug” as the only alternative for T1 Diabetics to reduce needle sticks. The Hero’s ex-wife has married a doctor, and this medication doesn’t require any blood sugar testing. As the wife of a T1 Diabetic, the step-mother of a T1 Diabetic, this raised a LOT of red flags for me. First, I may not be a doctor, but I’ve been in this game long enough to question any treatment for a T1 that doesn’t include finger sticks. The girls’ stepfather is a doctor – why would he support such a thing as safe? My second REALLY big red flag was that this drug was set up as the only alternative that allowed the patients to not use injections. Insulin pumps have been around for a good thirty years or more. One injection, every two or three days, instead of five or six needles a day, and they can be used in very young pediatric patients.

The Price is an otherwise well-developed story, with deep, multi-faceted characters and twisting plots. Several subplots are threaded through the story, pushing my limit of enjoyment due to multiple POV’s, but in the end, other than the research omission above, this was still a very good read. I’d love to give this book four stars, but with the neglect in researching Type 1 Diabetes, I have to lower it to a three (a key plot point incompletely researched).

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Jenn reviews Joan Johnston’s adult contemporary romance The Price

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle, audiobook, hardback, paperback, and mass market paperback here.

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The Last King

**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’s review of The Last King by Katee Robert

About the Book

The Last King; Katee Robert
Adult; Romance; 336 Pages

Forever (April 3, 2018)

Opposites attract in this sexy new contemporary romance series from the New York Times bestselling author of The Marriage Contract.
The rebel. That’s how Samara Mallick has always thought of Beckett King. And he’s absolutely living up to his unpredictable ways when he strides into her office and asks for help after inheriting his father’s company. She can’t help wondering if it’s a legit request or just a ploy to get her into bed. Not that she’d mind either one. After all, she likes to live on the edge too.
But soon the threats to the Kings are mounting, and the two find family secrets darker than they ever imagined and dangerous enough to get them both killed.

About the Author

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. RT Book Reviews named her title, The Marriage Contract, “a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension.” When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

Jenn’s Review

Hunky billionaire and enemies-to-lovers romance crown The Last King by Katee Robert. Steamy balanced with sweet that gripped me on page one and continued to the very end.

Beckett has inherited…almost everything, after his father’s sudden death. But a family rift that goes back decades leaves him in a perilous position that could cost him what he has left. His rival, Samira, is on his heels, working hard to wipe him out on behalf of his embittered aunt, but with the history between these two, feelings are bound up, the heat is intense, and people are getting hurt.

Samara is game for taking down the playboy revel that’s been a thorn in her side for years. She has her reasons for playing hardball, and she swallows her pride in the office, putting up with her tyrant boss, to keep herself out of trouble, and to not repeat her mother’s mistakes. Unfortunately, her boss is Beckett’s embittered aunt, and the family secrets and corporate espionage are becoming complicated and downright dangerous for her. Her long-held and coveted position in the rival oil company loses its shine as her boss repeatedly pushes her to compromise her integrity to destroy a man that Samara is only just starting to understand.

The Last King is high-quality romantic suspense that I’d add to my top ten list (if such things were possible to keep track of!). Subplots abound, and things are twisty; and from the outset, it’s clear who’s doing wrong to whom, but getting to the outing of such secrets was so much fun! Sexy suspense that’ll keep you reading until you hit the back cover.

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Jenn’s review of The Last King by Katee Robert

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle, audiobook, and mass market paperback here.

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Swansong

**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’s Review of Allie McCormack’s Swansong

About the Book

Swansong; Allie McCormack
Adult; Romance; 261 Pages

Date published March 4, 2019

She’s everything he’s ever wanted…
Will she ever trust him with her secrets and let him in?

Swansong is a multi-cultural romance with a happy ever after.

Sarah Pendleton was born into a life of wealth and privilege, raised in the shadow of her famous soprano mother and her father, an equally famous composer. Shy and retiring, and treasuring her anonymity, Sarah left the world she grew up in to make her own life in the coastal town of Santa Barbara, California. 

A visiting University professor of Arabic literature from the small oil-rich country of Taqara, Khalid Al Mansour is the eldest son of a Taqaran diplomat and an independent American artist. He’s never settled down in one place, but that’s because he’s never found what he wanted… until one evening, he sees the lovely belly dancer at a small, smoky cafe downtown.

Khalid falls hard for Sarah… and she has feelings for him too…
But sometimes secrets have a way of tearing lovers apart.

Jenn’s Review

Allie McCormack comes through again with the premiere of her multicultural romance series, Sons of the Desert. Swansong is the story of Sarah and Khalid – a seemingly carefree dancer and the scholar-sheikh.

Sarah feels like an entirely different woman as she steps out onto the floor as Cassandra when she performs as a belly dancer for the first time. Cassandra is the antithesis to Sarah’s demure, shy personality, and the wild, sexy dancer has caught the eye of a wealthy Arab man.

Khalid knows, from the moment Cassandra catches his eye, that he must get to know the woman behind the veil, who captures the spirit of the music in her every move on the floor. But the woman eludes him, and when he finally manages to corner her and convince her to go to coffee with him, he discovers someone who can end his loneliness.

Sarah has secrets, though, and her upbringing has trained her well to play her cards close to the vest. Can they overcome her past to love all the way to forever?

Swansong is an adult, multicultural romance set in sunny Santa Barbara, California. Rich settings and beautifully rendered characters sit in a plot that will keep you turning page after page. This is book 1 in the series and a fantastic addition to Allie McCormack’s contemporary romance portfolio.

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Jenn’s Review of Allie McCormack’s Swansong– Multicultural Contemporary Romance

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle and paperback formats here.

Also by Allie McCormack

Truck Stop (Contemporary Romance)

Wishes in a Bottle (Paranormal Romance)

A Gift of Jacinth (Paranormal Romance) COMING SOON!

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Eve of Eridu – Review

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Sam’s Teen Reads Corner reviews Eve of Eridu by Alanah Andrews

**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.**

About the Book

Eve of Eridu, Alanah Andrews

Teen & Young Adult, Dystopian  

Michael Terence Publishing (August 13, 2018)

Humanity with Purpose

In a world where emotions are forbidden, what happens when you start to feel?

The harvest separates the worthy from the unworthy. Those who pass are destined to continue the human race, and the unworthy are culled.

For years, Eve has been the poster girl for emotional control. But ever since her brother was culled, Eve is finding it difficult to keep the monitor on her wrist an acceptable blue.

The next harvest ceremony is approaching and Eve will do whatever it takes to avoid the same fate as her brother.

Gripping and intriguing, Eve of Eridu explores the lengths that humans will go to in their quest for survival.

This YA dystopian novel is written by the award-winning speculative writer, Alanah Andrews.

What readers are saying about Eve of Eridu


I think it would be a huge understatement to say that I enjoyed this book. I absolutely love this story. You could say that I’ve gone “old world crazy” for it. I couldn’t put down this intelligent, gripping, dystopian YA science fiction thriller. I read it over just two days. I’m blown away by Alanah’s skill and talent for complex, imaginative world-building, and the ability to create strong and realistic, relatable characters, all while weaving an intriguing storyline with a profound message. Alanah is an incredibly talented writer. Definitely, one to watch! I look forward to reading more of her work. I gave it five stars only because I couldn’t give it more. – 5 star Amazon review by Monnath Books

Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. I honestly can’t fault this book at all! Eve is such a likeable character and I went through every single emotion she felt with her, even ending the book with a giant sense of loss about all Eve has been through. Alanah is an amazing writer, with a great eye for descriptions and imagery. This is one of those books that I can already see being made into a movie. – 5 star Amazon review

Eve of Eridu seems inspired by dystopian styles, but it has its own voice. I found myself easing into the story, enjoying every chapter, and looking forward to the next. Alanah Andrews has an engaging style of writing that is neither too much introspection or too heavy on action. If you enjoy light dystopian reads, then this book would be a great addition to your TBR list. – 5 star Goodreads review

I found this hard to put down at times and I’m hoping this will be a series – 5 star Goodreads Review 

Fans of popular dystopian novels would definitely eat this one up. It kind of reminded me of The Giver mixed with Divergent. 

About the Author

Alanah Andrews grew up with a steaming mud pool in her back yard – so it’s no wonder that she writes speculative fiction! Alanah has won several awards for short stories, including the Avid Reader’s Flash Fiction Prize, Birdcatcher Books Short Story Award and Sweek Short Story Competition.

Her work has been published in anthologies such as Hammond House’s ‘Eternal,’ Lane Cove Literary Awards Anthology and Birdcatcher Books’ ‘Mosaic.’ Her writing has been recognized internationally, including being read aloud at LitFest Pasadena, California, as a finalist for the Roswell Award.

Alanah specialized in creative writing at Monash University where she studied a BA in Professional Communication. She also has a Master of Teaching and loves being able to foster a love of reading in her students. She currently teaches English in Australia.

Alanah has published a book of short stories ‘Beyond,’ and has a YA dystopian novel coming out in August.

Sam’s Review

Eve of Eridu is a dystopian novel filled with danger, even though it was a wee bit boring. It’s still good, though. Don’t get me wrong on that.

Emotion. In the underground land of Eridu, it’s forbidden. Emotion leads to war in the old world. Emotion leads to death. Now, Eve has lost her brother. She’s begun to feel. Knowing that this will lower her chances in Eridu, she does everything in her apathetic power to control it. Sam, an informer, and someone she should stay far away from isn’t helping.

Really, I don’t have much to say about this book. I was bored with it, but I read it so I could get the review out for this for people who like dystopian novels. I was lost by the ending. It was a cliffhanger, but it was confusing how she made a promise to somebody that she wasn’t even friends with, and wasn’t culled despite being so low on the leaderboard. I don’t get how a little tiny foldable screen doesn’t break when you fold it.

In the section of things that I liked, well, I have a couple of things on the list. I liked how Eve falls in love with somebody who’s been brought back from the Grid (read the book to learn more). It brings a nice lil’ twist to the story. Although, can somebody please explain why Sam was telling Eve all of his secrets in one night? Please?

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Sam’s Teen Reads Corner reviews Eve of Eridu by Alanah Andrews

Buy the Book

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

Wishes in a Bottle

**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 Allie McCormack’s Wishes in a Bottle – Adult Paranormal Romance

About the Book

Wishes in a Bottle; Allie McCormack
Adult; Romance; 439 Pages

Date published January 15, 2019

After 600 years, Julian is beginning to wonder if he will be trapped as a Djinn forever.

Wishes in a Bottle is a dreamy paranormal romance novel with a happy ever after and no cliffhanger.

Long ago, Julian DiConti was caught in a powerful spell binding him to a Djinn bottle, forced to grant wishes to each new owner. 

Three wishes… of the right kind… could free Julian of his bonds. 

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. 

Where will that leave Julian and the growing love between them?

Jenn’s Review

After a long absence from the writing world, Allie McCormack is back with a new paranormal romance series, Wishes and Dreams. Wishes in a Bottle is book 1 (book 2 is on its way), with a sweet, selfless heroine and a hot Italian djinn (yup, there’s a story there, but… SPOILERS!).

Julian has been living a not-quite-charmed life for 600 years after a spell went wrong. His last master was a cruel, selfish woman, who could have given just one wish to save a sick little boy. But when she makes her last wish out of spite and Julian is free again to continue his life, he breaks the rules to return to the dying boy’s bedside. There, while offering what comfort he can to the boy and his mother, Julian meets Alessandra.

As the pair grows closer, drawn together by grief, they are pulled closer by common purposes. So when Julian is pulled back into his bottle and the rules that bound him for 600 are turned inside out, he’s stunned to discover that Alessandra is his new master.

Wishes in a Bottle is a beautiful love story with warm-hearted characters (no overpowering male leads here). Tension and humor both run thick in the pages of this romance, and there are more to come!

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Jenn reviews Allie McCormack’s new paranormal romance, Wishes in a Bottle

Related Reviews

Truck Stop (Contemporary Romance)

Swansong (Book 1 – Sons of the Desert)

A Gift of Jacinth (Book 2 – Wishes and Dreams) – Coming Soon

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle and paperback formats here.

Also by Allie McCormack

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Forties on Fire

**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.**

Kathryn Kos' Forties on Fire is a must-read for any woman in her late 30's to early 40's. - Women's Health, Perimenopause, Women's Sexuality
Kathryn Kos’ Forties on Fire is a must-read for any woman in her late 30’s to early 40’s.

About the Book

Forties on Fire; Kathryn Kos
Adult; Self-help; 130 pages

Independently published January 22, 2019

Your 30s and 40s are loaded with surprises. More fatigue. Less “You Time.” Trampled romance. Dissatisfaction with your body.  Mood swings. The often overlooked season of perimenopause lurking around every corner.

Sound familiar?

Now raise your hand if you wish you could move past these symptoms of imbalance and live the life you’ve always dreamed.

You would, right?

Good news: Kathryn Kos is here to help, with her myth-busting, action-boosting book, Forties on Fire: Rediscover your Sexuality, Learn to Honor Your Moods, and Thrive Throughout Your 40s and Beyond. 

Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner with an M.Ed. in Rehabilitation Counseling and by taking a functional approach to health, Kos helps her clients find the root causes of their conditions to help them find healing once and for all.

Now she’s bringing these insights to readers, in a compassionate, compelling guide jam-packed with tips you can put to use today.

Inside this book, you’ll learn:

  • How to honor your emotions without letting them rule your life
  • How to turn back aging – mentally, physically and emotionally
  • Why sunlight matters so much to your health
  • How to recapture your sexuality and feel like a teenager again (in a good way)
  • How to add simple movement back into your life
  • The importance of R&R in grounding and fulfilling you
  • The role of perimenopause in how you feel and how you can embrace it in your life
  • … and more.

For anyone interested in simple personal development, holistic wellness and vibrant sexuality, this is a must-read. Filled with simple steps to help you take action and improve your own life, you’ll find it easy to rediscover the real you.

If you’re ready to wake up with pizzazz and reach bedtime with enough energy left to read or … ahem … anything else, it’s time you hear what experienced nutrition and wellness counselor Kathryn Kos has to say.

Ready to meet the strong, cheerful, actualized woman you know you can be?

Jenn’s Review

Are you a woman in her late thirties, or heading into her forties and beyond? You haven’t hit menopause yet, but your life, emotions and health are quickly spiraling out of control? Grab a copy of Kathryn Kos’s little book, Forties on Fire, and start moving the needle back towards control.

Ms. Kos explains clearly why everything starts getting nuts for us women heading into middle age – as a 42 year old woman struggling with chronic illness, this hit home for me page after page. She dissects perimenopausal life into a number of areas, including diet and sleep, then goes further into grounding and play.

This little volume is less than 200 pages, but the information inside is disseminated concisely and with a hefty dose of love. I remember my own mother going through this phase of life, and wonder if this information would have helped her. As for me, I’m already working on implenting the recommendations in this book. I would have loved the book more had the author gone into more depth in some areas – but this is certainly a prime springboard for going deeper!

In summary, grab this book. Whether you’re 35 and just starting a family, or you’re the 45 year old mother of teens – this is where to start with understanding the changes in your body and mind.

Kathryn Kos' Forties on Fire is a must-read for any woman in her late 30's to early 40's. - Women's Health, Perimenopause, Women's Sexuality
Kathryn Kos’ Forties on Fire is a must-read for any woman in her late 30’s to early 40’s.

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle and paperback formats here.

Thrice Read Books will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at books@thricereadbooks.com. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

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Get Rich Lucky Bitch

**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.**

Denise Duffield-Thomas details how women can have abundance in all areas of their lives in her follow-up book, Get Rich, Lucky Bitch - Abundance, Women in Business, Entrepreneurship, Law of Attraction
Denise Duffield-Thomas details how women can have abundance in all areas of their lives in her follow-up book, Get Rich, Lucky Bitch

About the Book

Get Rich Lucky Bitch; Denise Duffield-Thomas
Adult; Business & Money; 305 pages

Hay House UK, July 24, 2018

It’s weird and frankly bewildering that the most talented women in the world are often the ones struggling to make fabulous money from their talents.

In Get Rich, Lucky Bitch!, you’ll get the tools and inspiration you need to go to the next level of wealth – whether you’re starting from scratch or itching to break through the million-dollar mark. Denise Duffield-Thomas has been through the whole financial rollercoaster herself – she has probably made every financial mistake possible! Finally, having had enough of under-earning, she dedicated a year to practising everything she knew about the Law of Attraction and applied it directly to money. As a result of all this work, her income doubled, then tripled, and in a few years she went from always being broke to being a successful entrepreneur. And in this book she teaches you how create the same shifts in your own life.

This book is the most practical manifestation book you’ll ever read. You’ll get day-to-day actions, inspiration, kick-up-the-butt real talk and loving advice. There’s no amount of money you could want that’s too big or too small. Denise will teach you to cut through years of under-earning and chronic underserving, fly through your income goals, heal your money wounds and break through old self-beliefs.

No matter where you’re starting from, if you’re willing to uncover what’s holding you back, this book will help you create money miracles in your life.

About the Author

Denise Duffield-Thomas is the money mindset mentor for the new wave of online female entrepreneurs. Her best-selling books “Lucky Bitch” and “Get Rich, Lucky Bitch” give a fresh and funny road-map to create an outrageously successful life and business.

Denise helps women release their fear of money, set premium prices for their services and take back control over their finances.

Denise is an award winning speaker, author and entrepreneur who helps women transform their Economy-Class money mindset into a First-Class life. Find her at www.LuckyBitch.com

Jenn’s Review

Are you one of the THOUSANDS of women trying to better your family’s situation, but you just can’t seem to get ahead? Do you make progress, only to face more setbacks that put you even farther behind? I hear you, and so does Denise Duffield-Thomas, and she’s addressed the issue in her book, Get Rich, Lucky Bitch.

If you’ve never seen Denise speak, either in person or on social media, this book is a fantastic introduction to her warm, witty, and often blunt personality. She’s helped thousands of women improve their income, their businesses, and their lives with the five simple (but not always easy) steps outlined in this book.

I’ll warn you now: If you are brave enough to do the hard work in this book, you’ll start to see changes happening fast. But the work isn’t always easy, and at times, it can be downright painful to take an honest look at your life, take responsibility for your situation, and make the mental, emotional, or financial shifts needed to move past what’s holding you back.

In Get Rich Lucky Bitch, Denise walks readers through the five-step process to go from zero to wealthy. No dodgy MLM strategies, no get rich quick scheme. Just honest, straight to the point instructions, laced liberally with examples from her own life, and illustrations from her coaching clients and community.

Stop holding yourself back. Grab a copy of this book and change your world!

Denise Duffield-Thomas details how women can have abundance in all areas of their lives in her follow-up book, Get Rich, Lucky Bitch - Abundance, Women in Business, Entrepreneurship, Law of Attraction
Denise Duffield-Thomas details how women can have abundance in all areas of their lives in her follow-up book, Get Rich, Lucky Bitch

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle and paperback formats here.

Also by this author:

Lucky Bitch

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Aaru:Halls of Hel

**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 book 2 in David Meredith's Aaru Cycle - Aaru: Halls of Hel - YA Science Fiction, Virtual Reality, Life After Death
Jenn reviews book 2 in David Meredith’s Aaru Cycle – Aaru: Halls of Hel

About the Book

Aaru:Halls of Hel, David Meredith

Adult, Science Fiction, 388 Pages

Bowker (July 26, 2018)

“… Let them have everything – health, food, a place to live, entertainment. They are and remain unhappy and low-spirited for the demon waits and waits…”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Rose is a Veda.

In Elysian Industries’ virtual paradise of Aaru, that means she’s practically a goddess. She is immortal. She is powerful. A limitless paradise is hers and her friends’ to command. They are free from sickness and pain, old age and death. She should be ecstatic over her prestige and privilege, but the gilded utopia has lost its luster. 

In a reality where anything can be hers with a thought, and Rose can master any skill instantly with nothing but her imagination, to what can she still aspire? She has all of eternity to fill, but what will her purpose be? Rose adores her sweet, Latin boyfriend, Franco. She loves wiling away endless immaculate days with her friends, but shouldn’t there be more to life than mere play? Also, Rose is dogged by deep concern for her little sister, Koren, the Elysian Industries spokes-model and reality star back in the “Before” world.

Though Koren is wealthy, famous, and idolized by millions of adoring fans, her life is spinning out of control. Her parents’ marriage is on the rocks, and the boyfriend of her dreams, Jonas Perry, seems suddenly indifferent. Koren finds her celebrity increasingly isolating, her grueling work schedule exhausting, and the constant scrutiny of her personal life unwelcomed and intrusive. To top it all off, she has regular nightmares about the death of her friend, Kiku, and the still-at-large Magic Man who nearly stole away her everything.

Koren and Rose have more to fear from this quarter than they know. Magic Man’s obsession with the teenage idol has not lessened, and he is far from defeated. With vital aid from an unexpected source, his nefarious schemes to make Koren his own and to hack the Aaru mainframe are on track and moving forward. Unless the sisters can thwart his sinister designs, everyone and everything the girls hold dear could be destroyed.

About the Author



David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee. He received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.

Jenn’s Review

Koren and Rose Johnson are back, and scrambling to find themselves in book 2 of David Meredith’s AARU Cycle, Aaru: Halls of Hel.

Koren is still reeling from the loss of her friend and the publicity tour demands that Aaru’s board has placed on her 14-year-old shoulders is wearing her out. Not only is she trying to navigate the hassles of being a teenager, but she’s trying to do so under the microscope of public opinion, religious zealots, and her parents’ marriage falling apart.

Rose is enjoying her second life in Aaru, but she’s growing increasingly restless, learning the hard lesson that life without purpose is empty, and she’s facing a very long existence.

And the Magic Man? He got what he needed from his attack on Koren, but he’s not finished with his goal.

Aaru: Halls of Hel is a deeper dive into the fascinating universe of life-after-death. You could possibly start with this book, but you’ll get far more out of it by reading book 1 first. Multiple plots are involved, and this is not the end of the series. I definitely enjoyed this book, though it is a long read.

Jenn reviews book 2 in David Meredith's Aaru Cycle - Aaru: Halls of Hel - YA Science Fiction, Virtual Reality, Life After Death
Jenn reviews book 2 in David Meredith’s Aaru Cycle – Aaru: Halls of Hel

Buy the Book

 This book is available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback format here:

Other Books in this series:

Aaru (book 1)

Forbidden by Destiny

**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 revisits the Forbidden Love series by Negeen Papehn with book 2, Forbidden by Destiny - contemporary romance, interracial romance, Iranian-American fiction, OwnVoices, Diverse Fiction

Jenn revisits the Forbidden Love series by Negeen Papehn with book 2, Forbidden by Destiny

About the Book

Forbidden by Destiny, Negeen Paphen

Adult, Multicultural Romance , 282 Pages

Publisher City Owl Press (February 19, 2019)

Leyla had never known what it felt like to fall in love. Not until her best friend Sara broke Ben’s heart. 

After the devastating break up, Leyla reluctantly agreed to pick up Sara’s things from Ben’s home. Leyla thought she was being a good friend, but when she finds Ben completely shattered, her loyalties are tested. He had been her friend too. An afternoon of an innocent lunch and a walk on the beach to cheer him up turns into fireworks when Leyla can’t get Ben out of her head. 

Pushed to her limits, fighting for a love she’s always dreamed of, and against a demon she never knew existed, Leyla must ultimately make a choice. Her decision will come down to loyalty to her best friend, the expectations of her family, or the desires of her wanting heart. Is love worth taking the risk? 

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

Negeen Papehn brings back the fantastic cast of her first book, Forbidden by Faith, to continue the story of Ben (the almost-hero of book 1) and Leyla, best friend of Sara, the heroine of book 1, in her second release, Forbidden by Destiny.

After Sara and Ben end their relationship for good, best friend Leyla is tasked with collecting Sara’s things from the apartment the couple was moving into. Leyla liked Ben – they were friends while he and Sara were dating, but she’s been friends with Sara since they were in diapers. So when Leyla realizes she’s attracted to her best friend’s ex, and that she’s deeply bothered by how Sara ended the relationship, Leyla finds herself in the worst possible situation – she’s in love with her best friend’s ex.

Ben understands Leyla’s predicament, but after two years of experience with Sara’s Iranian family, their culture, and their judgment based on his heritage, he’s not up for a repeat – and he pushes Leyla to stop hiding their love.

Turns out that doing so creates an avalanche of events that threaten to tear Leyla’s world apart, distancing her from friends, family, and ultimately, Ben himself. And just as she’s finding her feet again, her world is turned upside down by a single trauma that will alter her life forever.

I enjoyed book 1, and I was just tickled pink to see how much Ms. Papehn has grown as an author in book 2. The writing and plot are tighter. The narrative doesn’t ramble at all. The emotional impact of this second book is so much deeper, that I found myself crying on more than one occasion, and I hadn’t even gotten to the black moment!

Forbidden by Destiny can be read as a standalone, easily. Any necessary backstory is handled efficiently and doesn’t leave the reader lost. With that said, however, reading book 1, Forbidden by Faith, will deepen the emotional impact of Layla and Ben’s story. And… Spoiler alert: I am so happy that Ben got his happy ending – he’s the kind of guy that mother’s hope their daughters (and maybe sons) find to spend their lives with.

A full, easy four-star romance worth sitting down to.

Jenn revisits the Forbidden Love series by Negeen Papehn with book 2, Forbidden by Destiny - contemporary romance, interracial romance, Iranian-American fiction, OwnVoices, Diverse Fiction
Jenn revisits the Forbidden Love series by Negeen Papehn with book 2, Forbidden by Destiny

Buy the Book

 This book is available on Amazon in Kindle format here:

Other Books in the series:

Forbidden by Faith (Book 1 – Sara and Maziar’s story)

Forbidden by Time (Book 3 – coming soon)

By the Assassin’s Side

**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 book 3 in Katherine Hasting's Daggers of Desire series, BY THE ASSASSIN'S SIDE - historical romance - action adventure romance - pirates
Jenn reviews book 3 in Katherine Hasting’s Daggers of Desire series, By the Assassin’s Side

About the book:

By the Assassin’s Side by Katherine Hastings

Historical Fiction/ 242 Pages

Flyte Publishing – February 6, 2019

Gold may not be the only treasure they find. 

As they race to find the treasure, Simon and Vivian must fight the men hunting her down… and the feelings for each other growing each step of the way.

With part of a stolen treasure map in her possession and mercenaries hot on her trail, Vivien runs to the one person she knows will keep her safe. Captain Viktor. But when she arrives at his ship, it isn’t her oldest friend commanding it, a new man has taken his place. Captain Simon Blackmore. Though reluctant to work with this imposter, his skills both as a pirate and an assassin are exactly what she needs to find this treasure… and stay ahead of the men who want their map back.

Half the treasure as payment for protecting the fiery courtesan convinces Simon to escort her and help uncover Captain Avery’s lost loot. Danger nips at their heels every step of the way, and her obstinate personality makes the already monumental task even more difficult. But soon they are fighting for more than just staying alive… they are fighting the feelings for each other that are even more dangerous than the men hunting her down.

Can they work together to find the treasure that could change both their fates, or will they discover that the greatest treasure was there all along?

Jenn’s Review:

Katherine Hastings is back with a third installment of the Daggers of Desire series, rounding the series out with the story of Vivian and Simon.

Simon inherited the pirate vessel, Dark Shark, from his good friend and longtime partner, Viktor, when Viktor retired. While in port, waiting for the crew’s next adventure, a stubborn, determined woman demands to see the captain – only she’s quite distressed to discover Simon now carries the title.

Vivian’s found herself in a bad situation, the worst she’s ever faced. And when the tall, imposing Simon insists that Viktor has retired, Viv is at a loss. Her long-time friend and occasional lover, Viktor, is the only one she trusts to get her through her dilemma – a stolen half of a pirate treasure map.

Simon keeps his word and delivers Viv to Viktor’s doorstep, and true to the new Captain’s word, Viktor confirms his retirement and helps the pair plan their perilous journey to find Captain Avery’s lost pirate treasure.

Nothing in their journey is straight forward, and the pair repeatedly make their predicaments worse through their stubbornness. A common background is the only thing that eases the tension between them to quiet the constant sniping at each other.

This is a fun swashbuckling romance, with a quick pace and quick wit sprinkled throughout. While it is the third book in the series, it can easily be read on its own.


Jenn reviews book 3 in Katherine Hasting's Daggers of Desire series, BY THE ASSASSIN'S SIDE - historical romance - action adventure romance - pirates
Jenn reviews book 3 in Katherine Hasting’s Daggers of Desire series, By the Assassin’s Side

We interviewed Katherine back in July, 2018. You can read more here.

Buy the book: