Tagged: Crime Fiction

Shadows of Hemlock

**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 and Sam weigh in on KM Pohlkamp’s Shadows of Hemlock

About the Book

Shadows of Hemlock; K.M. Pohlkamp
Adult; Crime Thriller; 360 Pages

Filles Vertes Publishing; None edition (November 19, 2019)

Regret is a bitter poison. In a desperate grasp for prestige, Aselin Gavrell betrayed her master to the execution block for the advantage of the onyx pendant now around her neck. Shelter from her master’s crimes comes with an unwanted allegiance and a list of innocents to murder. But the Guild of poison assassins will not be so easily pacified and charge Aselin to develop an antidote as retribution of her betrayal. Unprepared for the independence she craved, Aselin is forced to seek aid from a fickle contact who wants only one means of payment: a ruby ring with a mare’s head. To save herself from her master’s fate, Aselin must navigate a growing list of debtors eager to toss her aside and confront her guilt in this fast-paced tale of growth and redemption in Tudor England.

About the Author

K.M. Pohlkamp is a blessed wife to the love of her life, a proud mother of two, and a Mission Control flight controller. Originally from Wisconsin, she now resides in Houston, Texas.

Jenn’s Review

Strong, independent, female characters and anti-heroes return in K.M. Pohlkamp’s much-anticipated sequel to Apricots and Wolfsbane, Shadows of Hemlock.

Aselin Gavrell made a fateful decision, and one she may live to regret when she betrayed her mentor. Now, she sits indebted to the man who arranged the betrayal.

Worse, the Guild doesn’t recognize Aseline’s supposition of her former Master’s status.

And because Fate will challenge the willful, not only does Aselin have a list of targets that she won’t be paid for, she also has four short months to discover an antidote to her poison of choice – Hemlock.

As she works her way through her benefactor’s list and comes to realize how petty their slights really were, Aselin begins to question her choices and form a plan to avenge her mentor and redeem herself.

Sequels are notoriously difficult, and they are frequently seen as less than the first. I admit that I struggled with Aselin’s character (to be fair, her mentor challenged me, too, on Apricots), but the story kept me engaged, pulling me from page to page as Aselin’s arc accelerated and grew into her purpose.

This can be read as a stand-alone, but I wouldn’t recommend doing so. Aselin’s story begins in Apricots, and so many characters pull from that tale to this that much of the detail could be lost. Start with book 1, and be ready to dive into book 2. A solid 4 stars.

Sam’s Review

The lineage of women assassins continues with Aselin, apprentice to the late Lavia. Desperate to prove her worth to the world of poison masters and her patron, her pride guides her, mixed with the teachings of Lavinia and the guilt of her brother’s death. With the daunting tasks ahead of her, can she prove her worth, or will she be marked as both an outcast and a criminal?

Shadows of Hemlock is certainly as captivating and Apricots and Wolfsbane, and teaches you much about the assassin world the author has created. Poison on the right and one’s poison of choice shows just what kind of assassin you are. Captivating, descriptive, and overall pleasing to read, I strongly recommend to all historical fiction lovers, murder lovers, and to all people in general.

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Jenn and Sam weigh in on KM Pohlkamp’s Shadows of Hemlock

Buy the Book

This book is available from Amazon here:


Other books in the series:

Apricots & Wolfsbane (book 1)


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Interview with Anthony Thomas – Author of BREACHERS

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

Thrice Read Books hosts another stop on the BREACHERS blog tour with Fiery Seas Publishing. In this post, an interview with BREACHERS author, Anthony Thomas.

This week, we have as our guest, Mr. Anthony Thomas, whose debut novel, BREACHERS, was recently featured on Thrice Read Books’ review blog. We talked to Anthony back in August, about the release.

Thrice Read Books hosts another stop on the BREACHERS blog tour with Fiery Seas Publishing. In this post, an interview with BREACHERS author, Anthony Thomas.

Jenn: Okay! You have a new book coming out in September, Breachers. Before we talk too much about the book, is this your first published novel?

Anthony: Yes it is. The first novel I wrote shall forever remain in a drawer, never to see the light of day again. Breachers was the first book in which I pursued publication and was very excited to receive an offer from Fiery Seas Publishing!

Jenn: Congratulations! And never say never… You might work up the courage (or the boredom) to pull that first one out and do something with it. You never know.

Tell us a little about you. Having read your bio, you’re a bit of a mystery.

Anthony: I was born and raised in Northern California, enlisted in the military, then stationed in Las Vegas. After separating from the military 6 years later, I accepted a contractor position overseas for right around 18 months. I recently returned home, just in time for the long-awaited release of Breachers!

Jenn: Oh, yay! I know deployments don’t always go as planned, even for contractors. And yes, it has been long-awaited! I think we did the cover reveal with Fiery Seas back in… February?

Anthony: Definitely was February. I’m not counting down the days or anything… okay. I totally am.

Jenn: It’s okay. I think it’s a bit like expecting a baby… And there’s so much to do, isn’t there?

Anthony: The to-do list is insane. Far more than I ever anticipated. Luckily, I was well guided throughout the entire process and had a very good experience.

Jenn: Why don’t you tell us a bit about Breachers?

Anthony: Breachers stemmed from a dream that woke me in the middle of the night. One where I was shot (we all have those kinds of dreams don’t we?) and instead of dying, I replayed the entire scene. A do-over if you will. I woke up, grabbed my phone, and typed in the notes. Breacher- Someone who can move through time.

Then, I went back to sleep. After I had woken up, I looked at my phone and everything just sort of built up after that!

Jenn: So, is Jason (the protagonist and anti-hero of Breachers), a time traveler? Is that how he is able to change events?

Anthony: Yes. Each death triggers his ability to replay the moment unfolding before him. Think of a video game. Super Mario falls off a platform, dies, then does it all over again.

Jenn: Before I spin off into the ether with questions that our reader might not get (and thus, avoid inadvertently asking for spoilers!), why don’t you tell us a bit about the book?

Anthony: There’s a hero mold I wanted to avoid. Hero gains ability. Hero stops the bad guy. Hero saves the day. This was a route I considered in the early stages, but then I thought to myself, what would the average person do if they learned they couldn’t die? Would they really save people? Or use the gift for personal gain? Let’s face it. There are a lot of people out there who are only looking out for #1. And if a person like that couldn’t die, they would no doubt use the gift to their advantage. Jason is that idea. And Breachers follows Jason through his less than favorable ways to acquire wealth.

Jenn: I agree. And the anti-hero is starting to show up in more and more fiction. It’s a fascinating concept.

Anthony: It gives a realism that the cookie cutter superhero cannot.

Jenn: Right. But Jason doesn’t get to just do his thing and get rich, right? You’ve put the squeeze on him and forced him to make a choice.

Thrice Read Books hosts another stop on the BREACHERS blog tour with Fiery Seas Publishing. In this post, an interview with BREACHERS author, Anthony Thomas.

Anthony: Jason has to make more choices than he is physically or emotionally able to handle. His latest score comes from a man with power. One who comes knocking on his doorstep. Not for blood. But a job.

Jenn: A little blackmail in the mix?

Anthony: Let’s just say he definitely stole from the wrong person.

Jenn: Whoops! That’s usually the end of most crime sprees, though, isn’t it?

Well, making critical errors, anyway.

Anthony: For Jason, it’s the beginning.

Jenn: Sounds intriguing! Is this the first in a series? Or is it a standalone?

Anthony: This book is a standalone with series potential. I enjoyed the characters so much, it was a door I didn’t want to completely close.

Jenn: So… are we able to expect more of Jason’s exploits in the near future? Or is there something else in the works?

Anthony: Nothing in the works just yet. But I have caught myself plotting from time to time. Who knows? We will have to wait and see

Jenn: Hmm.. The plot thickens…

As we wrap up, is there anything else that you’d like readers to know before embarking upon reading Breachers?

AnthonyBreachers is something I wanted to feel fun. Fast-paced. Filled with fight scenes, shootouts, and hilarity that forces the reader to quite literally, laugh out loud. And my biggest hope is that I deliver on all of the above.

Jenn: We’ll be reviewing it in September, for sure…and I say “we” because Brian may snag my ARC when I’m done with it, and throw his two cents in. Especially if I’m keeping him awake at night, laughing!

Anthony: I look forward to it! Thank you so much for having me!

Jenn: You bet, and thank you for your time today.

Anthony: It was my pleasure!

Check out the review here.

Buy the Book: 

FIERY SEAS BOOKSTORE     AMAZON     BARNES & NOBLE     KOBO

Diary of a Snoopy Cat – Review

Thrice Read Books review blog post for RF Kristi's "Diary of a Snoopy Cat"

About the book:

Diary of a Snoopy Cat by R. F. Kristi; Inca Cat Detective Series book 5

Upper Elementary/Middle Grade Mystery Fiction

Self-Published October 28, 2017 182 pages

Read the hilarious and breathtaking antics of Inca and her family of furry friends as recorded through the eyes of Inca a Siberian Kitty. Inca decides to start a Diary! A heart-pounding saga unfolds as she keeps the reader thrilled recording her detective exploits.

When Inca and family move to London from Paris, they make a whole new set of friends, including Monk, a Blue Russian cat and Terrence, a Golden Retriever who ably and bravely assists his world-famous detective owner, Solo. Inspired by the adventures of her new friends, Inca sets herself the task of becoming the world’s best cat detective and begins to keep a diary of her exploits.

When Monk arrives one evening, with news of a meeting to take place later that night, Inca is excited and can’t wait to attend. She is told of a perilous journey that must be undertaken by Solo and Terrence, who are to travel to the Himalayas, to search for the missing Raoul, a friend who had failed to return from an expedition.

The departure of Terrence means that Inca can take on her first proper job; the baffling incident of Mr. Finchley’s missing will. But does the young cat have what it takes to crack the case and save the tormented and ferocious Rottweiler – Boss? And can she do it without the help of the wily old Retriever?

About the author:

R.F. Kristi, the author of the Inca book series is a former professional of the United Nations Children’s Fund. She holds a doctorate in economic development and has travelled and lived in various countries of the globe. With a deep commitment to animal rescue efforts, Kristy has a keen interest and love for animals. She created the Inca Cat book series for younger readers up to age 8 or 12 and also animal lovers. Kristi currently resides in France. It is anticipated that the proceeds of the Inca Book Series will be donated to animal rescue efforts in developing countries.

She has always been fascinated with cats. The intelligence and allure of cats has always enchanted her and she has found them the best of companions. She often remembers reading a good detective story with her feline companions close by her side.

Sam’s Review:

Diary of a Snoopy Cat by R. F. Kristi is a upper elementary book. Inca wants to be a world famous detective. Seems simple enough, right? I mean, as a cat, she’s agile, quick, and smart. All she needs now is a case. Luckily for her, a will goes missing and an evil man tries to claim what’s not his.

This was very fun to read and another fun and innocent break from teen reads. I love cats, so giving this book a try was a no-brainer. I enjoyed this book from start to finish because of the well defined characters, and the wonderful illustrations.

What I didn’t like about this book was how I couldn’t see the Rottweiler actually speaking. I mean, technically, none of them should have been talking, but this is a kid’s book. It’s allowed. I can imagine the rough voice, but not the growl at the end.

Sam's Teen Reads Corner and Thrice Read Books features children's book, Diary of a Snoopy Cat, by RF Kristi on this edition of Sam's Teen Reads Corner

Buy the book:

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

The Jinx – New Release Promotion

Thrice Read Books hosts Ernest Lancaster's debut novel, THE JINX. New release promotion post.
Thrice Read Books is a stop on the blog tour for Ernest Lancaster's debut novel, The Jinx.

About the Book:

The Jinx     By Ernest Lancaster

Series: Memphis M.O. Book 1

Fiery Seas Publishing     July 24, 2018

Suspense / Action

Disaster strikes and innocents die as police sniper Rick Munro is plagued by a first-call jinx. As his career takes off, he must overcome his rookie mistakes, and keep his team members safe.

When Munro returns to TACT as a newly promoted lieutenant, the jinx torments him still. He must contend with team members’ rival agendas around every turn. Munro finds himself in a battle he can’t escape as corruption and death unfold around him.

Who can he trust? Will Munro break the streak or will it destroy everything he believes in?

About the Author:

Ernest Lancaster retired from the Memphis Police Department as a captain after serving as a cop for thirty-three years.

In the early seventies Lancaster spent two years walking a night beat in downtown Memphis, when The Peabody and Beale Street lay boarded up and crumbling and the center city became a dystopian ghost town after dark. He patrolled in ward cars, trooped for three days through a sea of pilgrims to Elvis’s funeral, edited the Memphis Police Association’s newspaper and acted as the association’s vice-president. For twenty-six years he held positions on the TACT Squad.

Lancaster now resides with his wife and Yorkie in the Smoky Mountains, where they love to hike and camp.

Social Media:

FacebookTwitterWebsite

Buy the Book:

This book is available in paperback and Kindle versions at these outlets:

Fiery Seas Pub Bookstore  Barnes & Noble   Kobo   Amazon

Thrice Read Books hosts blog tour stop for Ernest Lancaster's debut novel, THE JINX, available now from Fiery Seas Publishing.

Jenn sat down and interviewed Mr. Lancaster about his debut novel, The Jinx, and published the transcript in our newsletter, Between the Lines. You can read the article here.

The Jinx – Promotion & Excerpt

Thrice Read Books hosts a blog tour stop for THE JINX by Ernest Lancaster, with chapter excerpt
Thrice Read Books is a stop on the blog tour for Ernest Lancaster's debut novel, The Jinx.

About the Book:

The Jinx     By Ernest Lancaster

Series: Memphis M.O. Book 1

Fiery Seas Publishing     July 24, 2018

Suspense / Action

Disaster strikes and innocents die as police sniper Rick Munro is plagued by a first-call jinx. As his career takes off, he must overcome his rookie mistakes, and keep his team members safe.

When Munro returns to TACT as a newly promoted lieutenant, the jinx torments him still. He must contend with team members’ rival agendas around every turn. Munro finds himself in a battle he can’t escape as corruption and death unfold around him.

Who can he trust? Will Munro break the streak or will it destroy everything he believes in?

About the Author:

Ernest Lancaster retired from the Memphis Police Department as a captain after serving as a cop for thirty-three years.

In the early seventies Lancaster spent two years walking a night beat in downtown Memphis, when The Peabody and Beale Street lay boarded up and crumbling and the center city became a dystopian ghost town after dark. He patrolled in ward cars, trooped for three days through a sea of pilgrims to Elvis’s funeral, edited the Memphis Police Association’s newspaper and acted as the association’s vice-president. For twenty-six years he held positions on the TACT Squad.

Lancaster now resides with his wife and Yorkie in the Smoky Mountains, where they love to hike and camp.

Social Media:

FacebookTwitterWebsite

Buy the Book:

This book is available in paperback and Kindle versions at these outlets:

Fiery Seas Pub Bookstore   Amazon   Barnes & Noble    Kobo

Excerpt, Chapter Eleven (reprinted with permission of the author & publisher)

Vickie delivered a plate and silverware, wrapped in a napkin, to the booth. She set a cheeseburger with a generous serving of thick, golden fries, and a pickle spear in front of him.

“More coffee?”

Munro edged his cup over. “Sure.” He turned to Loretta. “Want a burger? The kitchen is about to close.”

“You trying to make me fat?”

“We have a salad left,” Vickie said.

“No, thanks. Coffee’s plenty.”

Munro reached for his wallet. “How much do I owe?”

Vickie jutted out her palm. “It’s on the house. We’re glad to see you pass through at night.”

“How much are they usually?” he asked.

“Four dollars.”

Munro counted out bills from his wallet. “Here, take three. I’ll pay half price with a dollar tip.”

“Suit yourself.” She took the money.

Loretta’s gaze followed Vickie as she made her way back to the counter. “You know she just put your money in her pocket. Now she’s writing in her ledger, ‘one free burger to the police.’”

“Good for her,” he said. “I bet she works hard for her money.”

“Had to pay, huh? You have a guilty conscience?”

Munro opened the bun and sprinkled the meat with pepper. “Who doesn’t?”

“Good question.” She watched him with wary eyes as he dotted his fries with spots of ketchup. “So, you’re only half corrupt?”

He looked up. “Half price doesn’t hurt a business. I’m not a Boy Scout, but it helps keep me from straying over the double-yellow line head-on into stuffing my pockets or my belly at the public’s expense.”

“Are most cops corrupt?”

He shook his head. “No. Only a few are rotten to their core. And their stench tends to float to the surface. But on the streets in the real world, good and bad wear more faces than a diamond.” He took a hungry bite out of his half-price burger. “And beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.”

She touched her finger to her cheek and traced the scar down her face to where it crevassed her lip. “How can you be a cop if you can’t tell the difference between right and wrong?”

“Easy,” he said. “The almighty law is written down in black and white for any moron to read. And I do know the difference. It’s just that I’ve been around the block enough to know if you ride tall on a white horse through the mud all the time, the only thing you do is turn the horse black.”

“What about justice?”

“Justice? Whose? Movie heroes chase justice.” He stared out onto Madison Avenue. “Real cops, spilling their souls in the streets, are too busy trying to survive to worry about justice. That and clawing to hold onto a bit of their sanity—on a good day.”

She cocked a brow. “Aren’t you supposed to help people?”

“Don’t you see?” he asked. “I help people every day, every chance I get. That’s what I get paid for. And there’s never a shortage of people down and out on their luck needing it. But too many want help screwing someone in the ground to satisfy a grudge or escaping the consequences of their own foolishness.”

He took a slug of coffee like whiskey, and recoiled at its heat. “But if you keep your head down and your antennae up, every once in a while you can climb out of the muck and save some poor schmo who’s buried in disaster. Or make a difference in a kid’s life. Maybe even hammer a predator who deserves it. Those are the things that make it all worthwhile. But most of it is just madness you ride out.”

“Man.” She stared as if he were some offbeat poet ranting in the street. “Your eggs are scrambled.”

Jenn sat down and interviewed Mr. Lancaster about his debut novel, The Jinx, and published the transcript in our newsletter, Between the Lines. You can read the article here.

Origin – Guest Review

Guest Review by Mason Bushell for Origin by Dan Brown

About the book:

The #1 New York Times Bestseller (October 2017) from the author of The Da Vinci Code.
 
Bilbao, Spain
 
Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.

As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.

Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself . . . and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery . . . and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.
 
Origin is stunningly inventive—Dan Brown’s most brilliant and entertaining novel to date.

About the author:

Dan Brown is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code and, previously, Digital Fortress, Deception Point, and Angels and Demons. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Phillips Exeter Academy, where he spent time as an English teacher before turning his efforts fully to writing. He lives in New England with his wife.

Mason Bushell Guest Review on Thrice Read Books for Dan Brown's Origin

Mason Bushell’s Review (guest post):

In true Dan Brown style this is an in depth and detailed work that challenges the religious belief system. In this case the story of creation and the origin of the human race. It all hinges on a big discovery made by one Edmund Kirsch. Robert Langdon is once again at the centre of the controversy when it falls to him to get the big discovery out to the world whilst on the run from those intent on keeping it hidden. The story is captivating and pacey throughout. It would flow very well if it weren’t for the five sides of the story being told in consecutive chapters. 450 pages encompass a whopping 104 chapters each jumping between different character views and story points. That little niggle aside, the big revelation is intriguing and worth the read for. The book is really well researched and well put together I give it a 4 out 5.

Buy the book:

This book is available from Amazon in Kindle, hardcover, paperback, audiobook and audio CD here. [Affiliate Link]

About Mason:A review by Mason Bushell, hobby naturalist and author of the Workhouse Mysteries. Find him and his sleuth Holly Ward in the following places: Facebook    Twitter     Website     Email: masonbushell@yahoo.comAmazon [Affiliate Link]

The Jinx – Cover Reveal

This is one of the parts that I love about this job – Getting to take part in the exciting, step-by-step process of a book going from dreamed manuscript to fully published work of art.

Today, we get to participate in the unveiling of the cover art for a new book that is coming out July 24, 2018.

About the book:

The Jinx    By Ernest Lancaster

Series: Memphis M.O. Book 1     Fiery Seas Publishing

July 24, 2018     Suspense

Disaster strikes and innocents die as police sniper Rick Munro is plagued by a first-call jinx. As his career takes off, he must overcome his rookie mistakes, and keep his team members safe.

When Munro returns to TACT as a newly promoted lieutenant, the jinx torments him still. He must contend with team members’ rival agendas around every turn. Munro finds himself in a battle he can’t escape as corruption and death unfold around him.

Who can he trust? Will Munro break the streak or will it destroy everything he believes in?

About the Author:

Ernest Lancaster retired from the Memphis Police Department as a captain after serving as a cop for thirty-three years.

Earnest Lancaster

In the early seventies Lancaster spent two years walking a night beat in downtown Memphis, when The Peabody and Beale Street lay boarded up and crumbling and the center city became a dystopian ghost town after dark. He patrolled in ward cars, trooped for three days through a sea of pilgrims to Elvis’s funeral, edited the Memphis Police Association’s newspaper and acted as the association’s vice-president. For twenty-six years he held positions on the TACT Squad.

Lancaster now resides with his wife and Yorkie in the Smoky Mountains, where they love to hike and camp.

Social Media:

FacebookTwitter     Website

Without Further Ado – THE REVEAL

The Jinx Cover Reveal

The Stravinsky Intrigue – Review

Sam's Teen Read Corner review of The Stravinsky Intrigue by Darrin Kennedy

About this book:

Nine months have passed since psychic Mira Tejedor last walked the halls of Anthony Faircloth’s adolescent mind. All but family now, Mira is relocating to Charlotte, NC, not only for a much-needed change of scenery, but to further her burgeoning relationship with Dr. Thomas Archer. On the eve of her move, however, a new threat emerges.

Young girls from every corner of Charlotte are falling catatonic, a condition eerily similar to the illness from which Mira rescued Anthony the previous fall. Mira reluctantly agrees to help Detective Calvin Sterling with the case and soon finds herself pulled into a new pair of fantasy worlds, both borne from the brilliant mind of Igor Stravinsky.

In the world of The Firebird, Mira becomes the warrior Ivanovna and battles an immortal evil threatening to steal the girls’ souls for all eternity. In the Russian fair from Petrushka, she assumes the role of Ballerina, one of three magical puppets who dance at the whim of a cruel Charlatan. Torn between Moor and Clown, bizarre doppelgangers of the two vastly different men in her life, and threatened at every turn by a sorcerer who craves her very essence, Mira must navigate the cruel deceptions of both worlds and win, or her life and the lives of a dozen innocents will be forfeit.

Sam's Teen Reads Corner reviews Darrin Kennedy's paranormal suspense novel "The Stravinsky Intrigue"

About the author:

Darrin Kennedy - Author of the Fugue and Fable series

Darin Kennedy, born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine. After completing family medicine residency in the mountains of Virginia, he served eight years as a United States Army physician and wrote his first novel in 2003 in the sands of northern Iraq. His debut novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle, was born from a fusion of two of his lifelong loves: classical music and world mythology. His short stories can be found in various publications and he is currently hard at work on his next novel. Doctor by day and novelist by night, he writes and practices medicine in Charlotte, North Carolina. When not engaged in either of the above activities, he has been known to strum the guitar, enjoy a bite of sushi, and rumor has it he even sleeps on occasion.

Sam’s Review:

The Stravinsky Intrigue by Darin Kennedy is the sequel to The Mussorgsky Riddle, and it doesn’t disappoint this reader of the series. Mira is back on the case once more as she tries to find the one who the six comatose girls in the hospital. Taking more trips into the Exhibition, she discovering that instead of having all of her old friends, she’s caught in The Firebird, The Rite of Spring and Petrushka.

Once more, this book was incredible and fun to read, and there weren’t as many confusing moments in it, which is great. And just so you know, Mira won’t be the the main character in the next book. Sorry.

**Jenn’s note: This isn’t classified as middle grade or young adult. Since there isn’t much bad language or graphic violence in book 1, I let Sam tackle this series when she asked, because she is pretty good at knowing her own limits when it comes to lit. 

Buy the book: 

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

Other books in this series:

The Mussorgsky Riddle (Book 1)

The Tchaikovsky Finale (Book 3)

It Ends With Her – Review

Thrice Read Books review of It Ends With Her by Brianna Labuskes

About this book:

Published by Thomas & Mercer May 1, 2018

An Amazon Charts bestseller.

He started the game. She’ll end it.

FBI special agent Clarke Sinclair doesn’t give up easily. She’s spent years tracking serial killer Simon Cross, forced to follow his twisted clues and photographs across the country. Clarke knows that Cross selects only redheaded women and that he doesn’t target another victim until Clarke discovers the previous one.

He’s never broken pattern…until now.

A girl has already gone missing in upstate New York when a second one is kidnapped—a blonde. The killer’s MO has changed, sending Clarke back to the drawing board. The closer she gets to the truth, the deeper she’s drawn into an inescapable trap made just for Clarke. Whatever Cross’s ultimate game is, it ends with her.

About the author:

Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Brianna Labuskes graduated from Penn State University with a degree in journalism. For the past eight years, she has worked as an editor at both small-town papers and national media organizations such as Politico and Kaiser Health News, covering politics and policy. Her historical romance novel, One Step Behind, was released by Entangled Publishing. She lives in Washington, DC, and enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, and exploring the city’s best brunch options. Visit her at www.briannalabuskes.com.

Brian’s Review:

Hello all, it’s another special guest review by Brian.  Today’s book, It Ends With Her was a really good read. Although it was listed as a thriller, I myself didn’t get the whole thriller vibe from it. To me it was more a drama.  Although the story was good, the constant whining from the main character got a bit over the top. Otherwise the story flowed nicely, and you really wanted to know how it ended.  A good crime drama.

Thrice Read Books book review of Brianna Labuskes suspense/thriller novel "It Ends With Her"

Buy this book:

This book is available from Amazon in Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook and MP3 CD here. [affiliate link]

Apricots & Wolfsbane – Review

Thrice Read Books reviews Apricots and Wolfsbane by KM Pohlkamp

About the book:

Apricots and Wolfsbane by K. M. Pohlkamp

Historical fiction (Adult/New Adult)   293 pages in print

Published October 13, 2017 by Filles Vertes Publishing

Lavinia Maud craves the moment the last wisps of life leave her victims’ bodies—to behold the effects of her own poison creations. Believing confession erases the sin of murder, her morbid desires are in unity with faith, though she could never justify her skill to the magistrate she loves.

Book club discussion guide included!

At the start of the 16th century in Tudor England, Lavinia’s marks grow from tavern drunks to nobility, but rising prestige brings increased risk. When the magistrate suspects her ruse, he pressures the priest into breaking her confessional seal, pitting Lavinia’s instincts as an assassin against the tenets of love and faith. She balances revenge with her struggle to develop a tasteless poison and avoid the wrath of her ruthless patron.

With her ideals in conflict, Lavinia must decide which will satisfy her heart: love, faith, or murder—but the betrayals are just beginning.

About the author:

K.M. Pohlkamp is a blessed wife to the love of her life, a proud mother of two, and a Mission Control flight controller. Originally from Wisconsin, she now resides in Houston, Texas.

Jenn’s Review:

Usually, when I get a request to read and review a book, I don’t read other folks’ reviews first, and I’ll admit that I was hesitant at first to add this particular volume to my to-be-read list for content concerns.

My doubts were utterly unfounded.

I’ve never read a book with an anti-hero (in this case, anti-heroine) as the protagonist, so Apricots and Wolfsbane was a first for me. Lavinia Maud is nothing short of a badass, though, as a woman who’s taken on a career that, in 16th century England, is nothing short of dangerous and illegal. However, she refuses to settle into the role of docile wife as she is expected to do, and she pursues her nefarious trade with a passion.

Ms. Pohlkamp has nailed the inner conflict in her creation of Madam Maud with her protagonist’s conflicted morals. She’s okay with murder-for-hire but craves absolution after each kill. Admitting to her list of victims isn’t a stretch for her, but she refuses to give up the names of who’s hired her.

I won’t say that Lavinia Maud is likable. Even after the last page, I’m still on the fence about whether I liked the main character. She is, however, (as are all the secondary characters in this story) well developed and multi-faceted.

Fans of bad-ass, female protagonists in historical fiction – this one is for you. It’s hard not to root for a character who refuses to quietly fit into the mold and boldly takes control of her own destiny. This is the first in a series, apparently, so I’ll be watching for book 2 to come out!

Jenn at Thrice Read Books reviews KM Pohlkamp's historical fiction Apricots and Wolfsbane

Sam’s Review:

Murder. To many, it’s a sin. But to Lavinia, it’s her job. And it’s a nicely paying job as well. Apricots and Wolfsbane is her story, and it is a fun-to-read story. The author is K. M. Pohlkamp, and I would love to thank her for sharing this book with me.

Poison is an interest of mine, mainly because it makes for a good story, so that helped boost the rating of the book. It was well-written and filled with tension at the right moments. I got chills reading this book, it was that good.

And in the negatives, well, for me, all I can say is, “What negatives?” It wasn’t too predictable, nor was it too unpredictable. I loved the plot twists, the well-developed settings, and characters, and I loved everything about this book.

Buy the book:

This book is available as a Kindle or paperback from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

Also by the Author:

Shadows of Hemlock (Book 2)