Tagged: Book Reviews

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

Buy the Book

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

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}

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)

Warhorse – Review

About the Book

Warhorse, Michael Morpurgo

Children’s, Historical Fiction, 176 Pgs

Scholastic Press  September 1, 2010


In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey’s courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer’s son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?

About the Author

Michael Morpurgo, former Children’s Laureate of Britain, is the author of War Horse, called “Superb” by the New York Times Book Review, and now a major motion picture. His other prize-winning books include Kensuke’s Kingdom, Private Peaceful, and The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips. Michael lives in Devon, England, with his wife, Clare. Together, they founded the charity Farms for City Children, which gives children from urban areas an opportunity to spend a week working on a farm in the countryside. You can find out more about him and his books at michaelmorpurgo.org.

Sam’s Review

Now a major movie, War Horse by Michael Morpurgo has a strong message in favor of peace.  This is perfect for horse lovers and peaceful types.

Joey has gone through so much as a war horse. He lost Andy, his boy, he lost his fellow horse to WWI, and he is nothing like the thoroughbred he is. But through it all, he sticks to his hope of finding Andy, giving the soldiers on both sides hope.

I loved this book from start to finish, because I dislike war and fighting. It was well written, and well developed, and showed that there is hope for people in battle.

In this edition of Sam's Teen Reads Corner, Sam reviews Michael Morpurgo's WARHORSE - children's historical/animal fiction

Buy the Book

 Thrice Read Books has one paperback edition in our inventory, in very good condition. You can buy it right here: 

This book is available in Kindle, hardback, paperback, audiobook,mass market paperback formats from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

Aaru – Review

About the Book

Aaru, David Meredith (The Aaru Cycle)

Adult Sci-fi/Fantasy 296 Pages

Self Published July 9, 2017

Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear. 

She is sixteen years old. 

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. 

A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive supercomputer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model. Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale. 

What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

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

Wow… Just finished Aaru by David Meredith. I’ve had it in my TBR pile for quite a while, as it got lost in a storm of review requests. Sitting around an airport for hours had me flipping through my Kindle files, and I ran across this story, and quickly shuffled it to the top of my (now written) list! And now that book 2 is out… I am trying to figure out how to shuffle some more…

Thirteen-year-old Rose Johnson is dying. She’s tired of life, of pain, of hospitals and endless treatments. In short, she knows she’s run out of time. She doesn’t want to leave her sister, though, as they’ve been best friends all their lives. And Koren doesn’t want to lose her sister, either.

The man their father brings to meet Rose in the hospital, offers a “cure”, which Rose only truly understands when her body dies. She wakes up in a virtual Paradise, Aaru.

Koren doesn’t handle the loss of her sister very well – she falls into a depression, rebels against everything in her life, and loses all hope – a devastating thing at her young age. So when her father introduces her to the man who helped her sister, Koren isn’t very cooperative. Until they introduce her to Aaru, and her sister, Rose.

It’s a tough moment for Koren, but she’s so happy to see her sister, she agrees to become their spokesperson. Sudden stardom comes with a heavy price, which Koren doesn’t have a lot of say about paying.

This one’s a suspense/thriller, to be sure, but it’s a lengthy and sometimes difficult read. And, I would caution parents about the suitability for their own teens. While nothing explicit happens on the page, the problems of stalkers, child pornography, sex (it doesn’t happen on the page, but it does make an appearance as a problem in the story) and murder are all encompassed in the plot.

Additionally, I struggled with the author’s choice of writing style – this is a personal note, and not a condemnation of Mr. Meredith’s ability. He has a vast and, at times, obscure vocabulary. While this doesn’t pose a barrier for me, the story is mostly told from the perspective of the teenaged sisters, and the word choices the author favors didn’t quite feel authentic for the ages of the younger primary characters. They were fitting for the antagonist, however. Again, this is my own opinion of my reading experience – others might readily disagree.

All in all, I did enjoy the book. The plot, characters, and setting were all well-developed, and the conflicts and plot twists kept the story engaging. This book is for those who enjoy suspense and mystery, though I would suggest a more mature (not quite R rated) audience though, as some of the scenes might be a little too intense for younger teens.

Jenn's long-awaited review of YA Science-Fiction thriller Aaru, by David Meredith, on this edition of Thrice Read Books' review blog

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Tempting the Beast – Review

About the Book

Tempting the Beast, Lora Leigh Feline Breeds

Adult Paranormal Romance 314

Ellora’s Cave(September 19, 2017)

He’s a genetic experiment. The merging of human and lion DNA his creators call a Breed. And they have no idea just what kind of the creature they brought into being.

Callan Lyons wanted only to be left in peace to protect the small group of Breeds he rescued from a New Mexico lab, but those that created them refuse to stop their continued attempts to re-capture them. And the owner of a small, reputable paper, once a friend of his birth mother’s, now has proof of his existence. Proof that has caught his daughter, Merinus Tyler’s fascination and ensured her determination to find him. But once they touch, they’ll become far more than either ever imagined possible.

Man created them, but nature has made them her own. Beginning with Callan, she’ll show the world the folly of playing with the very building blocks of all she protects. And Merinus will learn the folly of tempting the beast…

About the Author

Lora Leigh lives in the rolling hills of Kentucky, often found absorbing the ambiance of this peaceful setting. She dreams in bright, vivid images of the characters intent on taking over her writing life, and fights a constant battle to put them on the hard drive of her computer before they can disappear as fast as they appeared.

Lora’s family and her writing life co-exist, if not in harmony, in relative peace with each other. Surrounded by a menagerie of pets, friends, and a teenage son who keeps her quick wit engaged, Lora’s life is filled with joys, aided by her fans whose hearts remind her daily why she writes. 

Jenn’s Review

**Note – this book is explicit erotica and is not intended for audiences under 18.**

I’ve read Lora Leigh before. Her erotica stories are almost always a terrific weekend escape, and Tempting the Beast is no exception. This is romance with super steamy sex and a dash of wickedness.

Callan Lyons is being hunted and Merinus believes her family has the answer to finally shaking off the underground, criminal organization that is responsible for the genetic engineering that produced Callan.

Callan isn’t convinced, though. He’s been on the run his whole life, trying to keep himself and his fellow Breeds out of the sick hands of sadistic scientists.

Discovering that he’s chemically and hopelessly attracted to Merinus (and she’s just as drawn to him), adds to the complications. They can’t be apart for more than a few hours, or they start experiencing nasty withdrawal symptoms.

The author does a great job of weaving Callan’s backstory into the plot, but I was a little disappointed in how little we know about what makes Merinus who she is. I learned more about her brother Kane (the hero of book 2) than I did about the heroine of this book.

That isn’t to say that the characters are shallow or uncompelling, though. Merinus is a tough little reporter who is trying desperately to prove to her family (of 7 brothers and an overbearing, newspaper tycoon dad) that she is capable of handling herself on an assignment.

Ms. Leigh liberally doses the reader with goofy puns on names, adding humor to an otherwise wild romp through an action-packed, sexy plot. This is somewhere between paranormal and science fiction, as the hero is a genetically engineered, human-lion cross. A fast-paced erotic romance should enjoy this story.

Jenn reviews paranormal romance TEMPTING THE BEAST by Lora Leigh on this edition of Thrice Read Books' review blog.

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Thrice Read Books has 1 paperback copy for sale

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

Darker Still – Review

Featured on this edition of Sam's Teen Reads Corner: Sam reviews DARKER STILL by Leanna Renee Hieber, YA Gothic, Mystery and Suspense

About the Book:

Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul by Leanna Renee Hieber

Teen/Young Adult Paranormal/Fantasy

Sourcebooks Fire (original publisher) November 1, 2011

A lush gothic tale that begs for reading…I couldn’t put it down.” —New York Times bestselling author Sarah Maclean

I was obsessed.

It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I’d ever seen—everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable…utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike.

There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame.

I’ve crossed over into his world within the painting, and I’ve seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked—bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. And unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still.

About the Author:

Leanna Renee Hieber is an actress, playwright, artist and the award-winning, bestselling author of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels for adults and teens such as the Strangely Beautiful, Eterna Files and Magic Most Foul sagas. She grew up in rural Ohio inventing ghost stories, graduating with a BFA in Theatre and a focus in the Victorian Era from Miami University. She began her theatrical career with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and began adapting works of 19th Century literature for the stage. Her novella Dark Nest won the 2009 Prism Award for excellence in the genres of Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. Her debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (Strangely Beautiful series) hit Barnes & Noble’s bestseller lists, won two 2010 Prism Awards (Best Fantasy, Best First Book), the 2010 Orange County Book Buyer’s Best Award (Young Adult category) and other regional genre awards. The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess won the 2012 Prism Award (Best Fantasy). Books one and two are now available as STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL in a revised, author-preferred editions from Tor/Forge. DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul, hit the Kid’s/YA INDIE NEXT LIST as a recommended title by the American Booksellers Association and a Scholastic Book Clubs “highly recommended” title. Leanna’s short fiction has been featured in anthologies such as Willful Impropriety: Tales of Society and Scandal, “Too Fond”; a short story on Tor.com, “Charged” in Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells and the Mammoth Book of Gaslight Romance. Her new Gaslamp Fantasy series THE ETERNA FILES, is now available from Tor/Forge. Her books have been translated into many languages and have been selected for multiple book club editions. Leanna is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She is proud to be a co-founder of the original Lady Jane’s Salon Reading Series in New York. Leanna was named the 2010 RWA NYC Chapter Author of the Year. A member of Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, Leanna has been featured in film and television on shows like Boardwalk Empire. She loves nothing more than a good ghost story and a finely tailored corset, wandering graveyards and adventuring around New York City, where she also works as a ghost tour guide. Active on Twitter @leannarenee and Facebook.com/lrhieber, more information as well as free reads, author resources, links to her art and Etsy store and more can be found at leannareneehieber.com

Sam’s Review:

Ever wished that you could enter a painting? Ever hoped that the loved of your life had a soul that only you could set free? Natalie has all of these abilities and more in the book Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber.

Natalie is mute, has ever since the trauma of losing her mom took her voice. Certain her lack of voice will chase away everyone, she finds an unexpected friend in Mrs. Smith, a widow whose interested in a painting that was made not long before the disappearance of Lord Denbury from England. And from this, Natalie finds herself unraveling a mystery far greater than she could have imagined.

Gothic, spooky, and tense, Darker Still had me into the story from the first page. Natalie is more than just a pretty face, and she earns her place as one of my lifetime heroes. I don’t think I can stress how much I loved this book, despite having a few “heated” moments.

In this edition of Sam's Teen Reads Corner, Sam explores the world of DARKER STILL by Leanna Renee Hieber - YA Gothic, Paranomal, Mystery & Fantasy

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 Thrice Read Books has one paperback copy of this book in very good condition, and you can buy it right here: 

Kindle more your type? Amazon has this book in Kindle and paperback editions here. [affiliate link]