Tagged: Coming of Age

Dark Goddess

Jenn reviews Amalie Howard's YA Paranormal Fiction novel, DARK GODDESS - OwnVoices, Diverse Fiction, Authors of Color, Paranormal Romance
Jenn reviews Amalie Howard’s YA Paranormal Fiction novel, Dark Goddess

About the Book


Dark Goddess, by Elaine Pofeldt 

Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, 381 Pages Sky Pony February 13, 2018

After an epic struggle that unseated the Azura Lord of Death and placed Serjana Caelum’s best friend, Kyle, on his throne, the Mortal Realm is peaceful and the balance between good and evil—which Sera is sworn to protect—has been restored.

But signs of a new threat to the world of men quickly begin to appear: A scourge of demons descends on the Mortal Realm, and Sera is beside herself trying to locate their source. She sends word to the gods for help, and their answer comes in the form of Kira, the living incarnation of Kali, goddess of destruction.

Stunning and dangerous, Kira plans to protect the heavens at all cost, even if it means destroying the entire Mortal Realm. Soon Sera and Kyle find themselves fighting not just the demon plague, but Kira and her twin. But when an even more sinister threat arises—putting not just the human world but all planes of existence in jeopardy—they must all learn to work together or lose everything they sacrificed so much to save.

About the Author

Biography

AMALIE HOWARD is the award-winning author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, School Library Journal, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Kid’s INDIE NEXT selection. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 bestseller in gothic fiction, and the sequel, Bloodcraft, was a national IPPY silver medalist and Children’s Moonbeam Award winner. She is also the co-author of the #1 bestseller in Regency Romance, My Rogue, My Ruin, in the Lords of Essex historical romance series. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children. Visit her at www.amaliehoward.com.

Jenn’s Review

Sera and Kyle are back for more adventures in Xibalba in the second installment of the Alpha Goddess series by Amalie Howard, Dark Goddess.

The teens narrowly averted the Kali Yuga in Alpha Goddess, but if they thought it was over, they’ll have to think again. More demons are escaping the hell realms, regardless of how many Kyle sends back through the portals. The ruling gods and protectors of the mortal realm trust neither Sera nor Kyle, citing their separate parentage and exploits from the first half of the story. Dev has vanished back to Illysia, leaving Sera in the hands of some very zealous warrior goddesses, and without critical information that Kyle and Sera could sure use to get the demon problems under control.

To further complicate things, the situation has awoken two goddesses that are bent on resetting the balance, Kali and Durga. And Kyle is crushing on both of them. Because, you know, getting involved with volatile, destroyer goddesses that have a reputation for ignoring the rules is always a good idea when the human race is on the line. (Or so Sera points out.)

The clock is ticking and time for humanity is getting short. Can Sera and Kyle solve the riddle of the demon invasion, without help from the council, before Kali’s deadline arrives?

This is another young adult, OwnVoices novel from an incredible author. Not your run of the mill Greek mythology, Ms. Howard pulls in all the colors, smells, and culture that surrounds Hindu beliefs and weaves them into a vibrant, diverse urban fantasy.

Jenn reviews Amalie Howard's YA Paranormal Fiction novel, DARK GODDESS - OwnVoices, Diverse Fiction, Authors of Color, Paranormal Romance

Jenn reviews Amalie Howard’s YA Paranormal Fiction novel, Dark Goddess

Sam’s Review

Sera is now torn between the man who is her soulmate and the demon lord she’s known for a long time. And apparently the apocalypse isn’t over yet. Now she must go against the people who only want to protect her from the danger she herself is expected to face.

This book is just as good as the other one. Filled with suspense, romance, and magic, Dark Goddess is a thrilling sequel. But like the previous story, it was cliche in a couple of places.

Buy the Book

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

Alpha Goddess

Jenn reviews Amalie Howard's YA Paranormal Fiction novel, ALPHA GODDESS - ownvoices, diverse books, paranormal, Hindu mythology
Jenn reviews Amalie Howard’s YA Paranormal Fiction novel, Alpha Goddess

About the Book


Alpha Goddess, by Elaine Pofeldt 

Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, 381 Pages

Sky Pony March 18, 2014

In Seraphine Caelum’s world, gods exist. So do goddesses. Sera knows this because she is one of them. A secret long concealed by her parents, Sera is Lakshmi reborn, the human avatar of an immortal Indian goddess rumored to control all the planes of existence—Illysia (the Light Realm), Earth (the Mortal Realm), and Xibalba (the Dark Realm). Marked by the sigils of both heaven and hell, Sera’s avatar is meant to bring balance to the mortal world, but all she creates is chaos. A chaos that Azraiel, the Asura Lord of Death, hopes to use to unleash hell on earth.

Torn between reconciling her past and present, Sera must figure out how to stop Azraiel before the Mortal Realm is destroyed. But trust doesn’t come easy in a world fissured by lies and betrayal. Her best friend Kyle is hiding his own dark secrets, and her mysterious new neighbor, Devendra, seems to know a lot more than he’s telling. Struggling between her opposing halves and her attraction to the boys tied to each of them, Sera must become the goddess she was meant to be, or risk failing, which means sacrificing the world she was born to protect.

Retellings of classic fairy tales and Greek myths are becoming staples in the YA and adult fiction genres, and now Amalie Howard, author of the popular Bloodspell, brings the myth of Rama and Sita’s love story to an exciting new level. Howard’s stunningly fresh voice and imaginative characters promise to make Alpha Goddess an exciting addition to the young adult fiction world. Aimed at readers ages 13 to 17, both girls and boys will relate to Sera’s and Kyle’s realistic teen persona and dilemmas while learning more about a famous Hindu myth.

Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readers—picture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft; stories told with LEGO bricks; books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

About the Author

Biography

AMALIE HOWARD is the award-winning author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, School Library Journal, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Kid’s INDIE NEXT selection. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 bestseller in gothic fiction, and the sequel, Bloodcraft, was a national IPPY silver medalist and Children’s Moonbeam Award winner. She is also the co-author of the #1 bestseller in Regency Romance, My Rogue, My Ruin, in the Lords of Essex historical romance series. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children. Visit her at www.amaliehoward.com.

Jenn’s Review

Amalie Howard’s ALPHA GODDESS is a YA OwnVoices paranormal novel with some elements of romance. Like many paranormal stories, the author draws from ancient legend and myths to create her world. Unlike the overdone Greek and Roman myths, though, Ms. Howard draws from her Indian heritage and features the colorful, rich tapestry that is Hindu mythology.

Serjana has been struggling with increasingly vivid, violent nightmares since she turned 16. Her parents are making her crazy with being over-protective and overly inquisitive about her dreams, her waking experiences, and her lack of a love life. Her unusual looks don’t help her already awkward social life. And just to complicate things, her best friend, Kyle, seems to be getting involved with drugs, a gang, or both, and she’s got a crush on the cute guy next door, whom her bestie HATES.

Sera has been the only person in Kyle’s life he could trust, besides his foster Mom, Carla. His mother died trying to kill him when he was 5, and the secret he’s carrying is slowly strangling him. Sera doesn’t believe in the metaphysical, the paranormal, or immortality. Kyle sure wishes he could convince her, though. Then he could trust her with his secret, the fate he’d trade his soul to avoid.

When Sera and Kyle each learn their true identities, though, their common ground could spell the end of humanity. Sera is one of many incarnations of the goddess Lakshmi, forever bound in love to the cute guy next door, Devendra, an incarnation of her forever mate, Vishnu. Kyle? He’s just the son of one of the seven lords of Xibalba, the hell realm.

Destiny marches forward, dragging the teens into a battle that will decide the fate of the mortal realm, Xibalba, and Illysia, the realm of gods and immortals.

This is the first book in a series, filled with colorful legends, deeply developed characters, and plot twists (plus a healthy dose of humor, just for good measure). Be sure to pick it up and have a read!

Jenn reviews Amalie Howard's YA Paranormal Fiction novel, ALPHA GODDESS - ownvoices, diverse books, paranormal, Hindu mythology
Jenn reviews Amalie Howard’s YA Paranormal Fiction novel, Alpha Goddess

Sam’s Review

What if the Hindu myths were real? What if they walked among us, and held our fates in their hands? In Alpha Goddess, Sera, a normal girl, suffers a fate far more than what she’d ever wanted. She is the reincarnation of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, a deity so powerful she is rumored to control all planes of existence, even the demon realm. This, clearly, causes some big issues to occur.

I loved this book because it had an interesting storyline. The characters were well developed, and the conflict was incredible. A very interesting way to learn a little about the Hindu myths, and truly a gift to book lovers anywhere.

However, as with every book, there were some negative things to say about this book. One is there were several cliches. Like the, “teen girl can’t understand why her” cliche. Other than that, it was still very good.

Buy the Book

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

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}

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

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
Jenn’s long-awaited review of YA Science-Fiction thriller Aaru

Other Books in the series:

Aaru: Halls of Hel (Book 2)

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle and in paperback editions from Amazon below. [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

Buy this Book:

 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]

The Cursed Girl – 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.**

Sam's Teen Reads Corner looks at Maria Vemisoglous' YA Paranormal novel, THE CURSED GIRL

About the Book

The Cursed Girl, Marie Vermisoglou

Teen/Young Adult, Fantasy, 574 Pages

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (April 1, 2018)

A boy. A girl. A curse. You can’t always get away.

Sixteen-year-old Eva is a witch who lived in Spain, in the year 1230. She met a boy named Jonathan who would become her whole world. Everything was normal until she was faced with challenges that will change her life forever.

As a healer, her job is to help people, but there are forces that will try to prevent that. There is a war coming and Eva and her friends must do everything they can to survive. Can they fight their way against the dark forces that are surrounding them?

Her wits and inner strength helped everyone who encircled her to survive but will she be able to survive herself?

Supernatural creatures, royal backstabbing and many more await you in this thrilling novel that will take your breath away.

About the Author

Maria Vermisoglou is a librarian who lives in Greece. She has been a booklover ever since she learned to read. Her vivid imagination helped her create the magic world of ‘The Cursed Girl. There is always a story in her head so if she doesn’t answer immediately, it just means the story took a strange turn. 
She recently won the second place of the First Annual Indie Awards as the Favourite New Female Author. 

She loves trips, books and walks with her friends. Not necessarily in that order. 
You can find more about her upcoming series at 

Website      Facebook page     Bookbub    Goodreads

Sam’s Review

Cursed Girl is an amazing historical fantasy about a witch changing the fate of humankind as we know it. Creative, fun, and humorous, filled with a sassy protagonist and danger, Cursed Girl will fill your fantasy needs. 

Eva is a healer and a witch. Running a medicine shop long before women had freedom and during the time that witches were hanged or burned at the stake, she keeps her heritage a closely guarded secret. But she must risk it all when she becomes friend with the princes of Spain, and hides them from their power-hungry uncle.

Torn between following her heart and letting herself fall in love with the heir to the throne, or following common sense for witches and denying her true feelings, witches do live hundreds of years longer than us, she wages an inner war, and an outer war at the same time. 

This book was amazing, up until the end, where it was mostly just a giant epilogue separated into chapters. There was no more excitement, and the book’s main plot, which was guarding the princes, had long since been resolved in the middle of the book. The second plot was still being resolved, but it could have easily been resolved in another book, so the for the second half of it, I was pretty bored.

Sam's Teen Reads Corner looks at Maria Vemisoglous' YA Paranormal novel, THE CURSED GIRL

Buy the Book

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

The Dragon Dreamer – 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.**

Sam reviews JS Burke's THE DRAGON DREAMER on this edition of Sam's Teen Reads Corner - YA Fantasy

About the Book

The Dragon Dreamer, J.S. Burke (Dragon Dreamer Book 1)

Young Adult,  Science Fiction, 253 Pages

Lind Press (April 23, 2014)

A dragon, an undersea misfit, and a dangerous dream. 

Bullied as a worthless dreamer, Arak flew far away on a quest . . . and crashed. A fearless shape-shifter octopus named Scree rescues him, and an unexpected friendship begins. Arak returns to the Winter Festival, where dragons carve glaciers with fire and toss lightning bolts in the clouds. But a devastating illness strikes the clan. Then an undersea volcano erupts, which triggers a towering tsunami and a deadly chain of events. How can Arak use his hidden talents and a dangerous dream to save the dragons? 

Dive into a new fantasy world! “The Dragon Dreamer” 
is a stand-alone book I of the Dragon Dreamer series: Science Fantasy Adventure with dragons and an undersea world. “The Dragon Dreamer” won IAN First Place for BestFirst Novel. It’s also an IAN Finalist for Best Science Fiction and for best fantasy Book. This series has real science with a fantasy take; the octopus abilities are the same as on Earth, though their life cycle differs. For young adults 9 to 99.

About the Author

J. S. Burke is the creator of the award-winning Dragon Dreamer series: Science Fantasy Adventure with flying dragons and an undersea world. Burke has worked as an author, artist, and marine biologist, studying creatures of the dark abyss and diving on coral reefs. The author lives in Georgia with family and rescue pets. Burke loves chocolate and so do the dragons! 

The Dragon Dreamer series grew from years at sea, a fascination with the alien, intelligent octopuses, and a love of dragons. These stories blend imagination with real science and author experiences. The deadly sea storm that threatens Arak, a young dragon, is one Burke survived. This series of young adult books is for age 9 and older. “Fantasy Snowflakes Coloring Book” has original, hand-drawn snowflake mandalas inspired by the Dragon Dreamer series. 

Book Awards for “Dragon Lightning” by J. S. Burke:
*PINNACLE FIRST PLACE for BEST SCIENCE FANTASY
*IAN FIRST PLACE for BEST SCIENCE FICTION 
*IAN Finalist for BEST FANTASY
*IAN Finalist for BEST YOUNG ADULT

Book Awards for “The Dragon Dreamer” by J. S. Burke:
*IAN FIRST PLACE for BEST FIRST NOVEL
*IAN Finalist for BEST FANTASY
*IAN Finalist for BEST SCIENCE FICTION
*IAN Finalist for BEST CHILDREN’S

Sam’s Review

Dragon Dreamer is amazing and incredible. Who knew that a story with octopi and dragons could be so good? This is highly recommended for fantasy lovers and sea lovers, so don’t hesitate. Try it!

Arak is a dragon with a special gift. He can see what is happening in other places. Scree is an octopus and a Healer. She’s brave and smart, and the only one daring enough to speak to squid and dragons, and ride sharks. Teamed up, they can make peace with different species, and learn that legends are more than stories, but that they are filled with truth and hope.

This book was impressive. Combining fire (the dragons) and the water (Scree and her pod), it creates a magical mixture of love and danger. What I didn’t like though was how it felt like a children’s book. It was slow at times, and then too fast at other times.

Sam reviews JS Burke's THE DRAGON DREAMER on this edition of Sam's Teen Reads Corner - YA Fantasy

Buy the Book

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

Miao Shan – The Awakening – Cover Reveal

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About the Book

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

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

Indie Published, to be released 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!

Cover reveal and promotion for a new adult/NA Fantasy fiction novel by G. A. M. Morris - Miao Shan - The Awakening

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.

Cover Reveal: 

Ta-Da! The moment you’ve been waiting for: 

Cover reveal and promotion for a new adult/NA Fantasy fiction novel by G. A. M. Morris - Miao Shan - The Awakening

Okay… now THAT is an awesome cover – right? Be sure to stay tuned. Brian will be reading this book next, and the review blog will be live on January 15, 2019.

Buy the Book

Miao Shan – The Awakening isn’t available for pre-order just yet, but it will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iTunes. We’ll update this post when preorder links are available and have links for all the major outlets in our review post coming in January.

Reaper’s Return – Review

About the Book

Reaper’s Return, Ren Cummins (Chronicles of

Aesirium, book 1)

Young Adult Fantasy/Steampunk 302 pages

Self-published through CreateSpace March 10, 2011

What if Death wore a pretty black dress?

Everyone in Oldtown had heard talk of the Reapers. Even though nobody had seen one in years, everyone whispered the tales: flying from rooftop to rooftop, stealing the souls of the unwary, letting their undead beasts hunt through the streets for any member of the community too reckless or fearless to heed the nightly curfew … mysterious and terrifying, most feared to even mention them by name, lest they appear and gather your spirit away.

For 11-year-old Romany, her greatest fears were less about the mythological Reapers and more about surviving a miserable life inside of Oldtown’s solitary orphanage. Her stark white hair made her an obvious target for the bullies, and the cruel nickname of “Ratgirl” had followed her for years. But if Rom thought her troubles were behind her, being struck dead by a bolt of lightning would only open the door to an entire life of new ones.

First on the list? Finding out that she herself…is a Reaper.

Reaper’s Return is book one of the Chronicles of Aesirium, a YA Steampunk fantasy adventure series.

About the Author

Sam, Ren Cummins, & YA Author Kiri Callaghan at Westport's Pirate Daze, 2018

(Sam, Ren Cummins, and Kiri Callaghan at this year’s Pirate Daze in Westport, WA. Ren was kind enough to gift a signed copy of this book to Sam when we met him.)

Ren Cummins found his talent with storytelling in high school and has been writing ever since; either music or fiction. With a focus on creating kick-ass female characters in superhero stories for his child, Ren launched into the world of fantasy and sci-fi, where his love of philosophy and the bleeding edge of science returned him to tall tales that seemed fantastic but with an air of familiarity. 

He has authored over eight fantasy novels, beginning with The Chronicles of Aesirium and continuing on with the Tales of the Dead Man.

Ren continues his writing journey in Seattle, where he resides with his wife, their child and their two dogs.

More of this traveler’s journey can be found at www.renwritings.com

Sam’s Review

Introducing, a fun, and amazing book by the name of Reaper’s Return, filled with magic, and some themes of steampunk, which I love. Plus, it had talking animals! Alright!

Rom has a gift for handling animals. And, she’s dead. Kind of. She dies once, and then revives it all over, with the knowledge of what was going to happen. Then she learns that she is the Reaper, a entity that helps creatures move on to death.

But she is being hunted for her ability. It’s a really good thing that Rom has good friends.

I loved this book from beginning to cliffhanger end. That’s right, folks, it had a cliffhanger, sort of. But I loved this book. Rom, Kari, Cousins (gotta read it to find out how that name came to be.), and Mully are an amazing team, and work great together.

In this edition of Sam's Teen Reads Corner, Sam reviews YA Fantasy REAPER'S RETURN by Ren Cummins.

Buy the Book

 This book is available in Kindle (Kindle Unlimited, as well), paperback and audiobook formats from Amazon here. [affiliate link]