Tagged: Diverse Books

The Price

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

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Jenn reviews Joan Johnston’s adult contemporary romance The Price

About the Book

The Price; Joan Johnston
Adult; Romance; 336 Pages

Atria; 1 edition (March 25, 2003)

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

About the Author

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

Jenn’s Review

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

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

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

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

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

Pinnable image for Jenn's review of THE PRICE by Joan Johnston
Jenn reviews Joan Johnston’s adult contemporary romance The Price

Buy the Book

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

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Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda

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

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

About the Book

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

BookRix March 12, 2019

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

This is the first part of a Trilogy. 

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

Jenn’s Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy the Book

This book is available on Kindle here.

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Forbidden by Destiny

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

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

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

About the Book

Forbidden by Destiny, Negeen Paphen

Adult, Multicultural Romance , 282 Pages

Publisher City Owl Press (February 19, 2019)

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

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

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

About the Author

Negeen Papehn was born and raised in southern California, where she currently lives with her husband and two rambunctious boys. She wasn’t always a writer. A graduate of USC dental school, Negeen spends half of her week with patients and the other half in front of her laptop. In the little time she finds in between, she loves to play with her boys, go wine tasting with her friends, throw parties, and relax with her family.

Jenn’s Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy the Book

 This book is available on Amazon in Kindle format here:

Other Books in the series:

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

Forbidden by Time (Book 3 – coming soon)

Good Luck with That

**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 Kristin Higgins' GOOD LUCK WITH THAT - Contemporary Women's Fiction with a dash of romance
Jenn reviews Kristin Higgins’ Good Luck with That

About the Book

Good Luck with That, Kristan Higgins
Adult, Humor, 480 Pages
Berkley (August 7, 2018)

Emerson, Georgia, and Marley have been best friends ever since they met at a weight-loss camp as teens. When Emerson tragically passes away, she leaves one final wish for her best friends: to conquer the fears they still carry as adults. 

For each of them, that means something different. For Marley, it’s coming to terms with the survivor’s guilt she’s carried around since her twin sister’s death, which has left her blind to the real chance for romance in her life. For Georgia, it’s about learning to stop trying to live up to her mother’s and brother’s ridiculous standards, and learning to accept the love her ex-husband has tried to give her. 

But as Marley and Georgia grow stronger, the real meaning of Emerson’s dying wish becomes truly clear: more than anything, she wanted her friends to love themselves. 

A novel of compassion and insight, Good Luck With That tells the story of two women who learn to embrace themselves just the way they are.

About the Author

Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of 18 novels, which have been translated into more than two dozen languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Her books have received dozens of awards and accolades, including starred reviews from Kirkus, The New York Journal of Books, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and Booklist. She is a five-time nominee for The Kirkus Prize for Best Work of Fiction, and her books regularly appear on the lists for best novels of the year of many prestigious journals and review sites. If you want to keep up with Kristan’s new releases and get a free short story, sign up for her mailing list at www.kristanhiggins.com.

The proud descendant of a butcher and a laundress, Kristan lives in Connecticut with her heroic firefighter husband, two long-lashed children, a couple of frisky rescue dogs and an occasionally friendly cat.

Jenn’s Review

I had the good fortune of attending a writing class taught by Kristan Higgins over the summer, and when I had the opportunity to read one of her full novels, I jumped on it. Good Luck With That is warm, witty and honest women’s fiction with a hefty dose of romance in the second half.

Emerson, Georgia, and Marley met at “fat camp” in their teens and became fast friends for life. Georgia and Marley share a house (kind of), but try to stay in touch with Emerson over the years. But the best of intentions go awry, and Georgia and Marley are called to Emerson’s hospital bedside just hours before their friend passes away. In their grief, they agree to follow the instructions in an envelope that they aren’t allowed to open until after Emerson’s funeral.

Good Luck With That is an honest and compassionate look at life with obesity and eating disorders, as well as a window into how society treats women based on their weight and size. As a woman who’s struggled with weight and eating disorders all my life, I found myself between the pages of this book. I’ve lived so many of the experiences that the protagonists endure, and their eventual triumph is heartening. The book also prompted some honest conversation at home with Hubby and Daughter (who is 13 and already struggling with society and her weight). These conversations will continue and battles will be won and lost, much like the trio in this book.

Have a hanky handy for this book, and be compassionate with yourself and others as you read. Five stars and highly recommended!

Jenn reviews Kristin Higgins' GOOD LUCK WITH THAT - Contemporary Women's Fiction with a dash of romance
Jenn reviews Kristin Higgins’ Good Luck with That

Buy the Book

 This book is available in Kindle, Library Edition, paperback,  and in audio book editions from Amazon  [affiliiate link}

Off the Map – 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 reviews Sierra Dean's Adult Action/Suspense Romance OFF THE MAP
Jenn reviews Sierra Dean’s Adult Action/Suspense Romance Off the Map

About the Book

Off the Map, Sierra Dean

Adult, Romantic Suspense, 220 Pages

Sierra Dean (October 2, 2018)

Her last job won’t be a day at the beach.

Harper Barton has one reason and one reason only to be in Colombia, and it isn’t for fun in the sun. As an expert in “acquiring” antiquities, she’s been tasked with collecting a valuable necklace from a gala. The problem? A drug kingpin wants the piece for himself, and won’t let a cat burglar get in his way.

Diego Morales is in Colombia doing research for his next book. The mild-mannered professor was expecting dusty books and boring lecture halls, not a beautiful woman sweeping him onto the dance floor and planting a kiss on him before being chased out of the building by armed guards.

Harper and Diego find themselves neck-deep in trouble when they’re kidnapped by the drug kingpin, but things go from bad to worse when they both go overboard and end up lost in the middle of the Colombian jungle. Can they stay alive long enough to get home? Can they stop fighting long enough to realize there’s more than just jungle heat simmering between them?

Off the Map is high-stakes adventure with spark, snark, and plenty of danger. 

About the Author


Sierra Dean is a reformed historian. She was born and raised in the Canadian prairies and is allowed annual exit visas in order to continue her quest of steadily conquering the world one city at a time. Making the best of the cold Canadian winters, Sierra indulges in her less global interests: drinking too much tea and writing urban fantasy.

Ever since she was a young girl she has loved the idea of the supernatural coexisting with the mundane. As an adult, however, the idea evolved from the notion of fairies in flower beds, to imagining that the rugged-looking guy at the garage might secretly be a werewolf. She has used her overactive imagination to create her own version of the world, where vampire, werewolves, fairies, gods and monsters all walk among us, and she’ll continue to travel as much as possible until she finds it for real.

Jenn’s Review

Indiana Jones meets Tomb Raider in Sierra Dean’s action romantic suspense Off the Map, complete with a snarky, dare-devil heroine and anthropology professor (albeit far less daring) hero.

Harper Barton’s career as a specialty cat burgler goes sideways as the intelligence reports for a quick grab-and-go job in Columbia turns out to be utterly wrong. In an effort to get out alive, she wrangles an unassuming man into a dance at the museum gala, plants her prize in his pocket, steals a hot kiss and attempts to make a getaway.

Diego can’t believe his luck. He’s in Columbia to study some artifacts that appear to be from a lost warrior culture, and has a speech to give at the museum gala. So far, his trip has been less than exciting, and his sister back home has pestered him for years to have an adventure. When the beautiful woman who invited him to dance kisses him so passionately that he can’t wait to see her again, he thinks he might finally accomplish his sister’s challenge.

Until the beautiful woman dashes away, with armed guards on her heels.

The pair alternate between attraction and bickering over the course of the ensuing days, trying to survive their explosive escape from captivity and certain death at the hands of Columbia’s most notorious and insane drug lord. Free of his clutches, can Harper and Diego survive the jungle to make it back to safety?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Dean’s world-building and character development are spot-on. The tension, both sexual and plot, kept me reading long past bedtime, and her twists in the plot kept me guessing what misfortune might befall the couple right up to the end.

This was a satisfying story, but I felt it ended very abruptly. Ms. Dean does suggest that this may have a sequel, but with so little space between the couple’s reunion and the end… The only other down-side of my review of the book is that the editing was incomplete, but not so much as to make the book unreadable.

Off the Map is an adult read, steamy, without edging off into erotica. Action-packed, thrilling, and immersive, this one gets a thumbs up.

Jenn reviews Sierra Dean's Adult Action/Suspense Romance OFF THE MAP
Jenn reviews Sierra Dean’s Adult Action/Suspense Romance Off the Map

Buy the Book

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

Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society – 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 reviews Desdemona Wren's NA Paranormal Novel MARJORIE DIAZ'S UNFORTUNATE INTRODUCTION TO MAGICAL HIGH SOCIETY - diverse books - LGBTQA FIction
Jenn reviews Desdemona Wren’s NA Paranormal Novel Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society

About the Book

Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society, Desdemona Wren

Adult, NA Paranormal, 339 Pages

Publisher: Antler Doe Publishing; 1 edition (September 4, 2018)

Girl meets boy. Girl falls in love with boy. Boy hunts girl for sport.

Marjorie Diaz has no idea who Patrick Watkins is. When he saunters into her senior seminar class during her last semester of college, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with him. 

She’s swept up into a whirlwind—and often times fairytale-esque—romance. That is, until his family kidnaps her and sends her to the last place she ever thought she would go again. 

Now, with the help of her best friend Lucian Maravalle, she has to run for her life, and try not to think too hard about the fact that everyone important to her has been keeping a dangerous secret. A secret that could cost Marjorie her life.

Book one in the Marjorie Diaz series.

Cover art by Ariel LeAnn of Cat’s Paw Media

This title is LGBTQIA+ and features a full POC cast.

About the Author

Desdemona Wren is a novelist who writes gay fiction with monsters, witches, and actual plots. She’s from Seattle, WA, but currently resides in the mystical land of Northern California. Where everybody wears coats all the time, nobody says ‘brah’, ‘bruh’, ‘bro’ or any variation of that word, and absolutely nobody surfs.

She has two cats named Oliver and Ophelia who have traveled the world. From The Great Smoky Mountains, to the tallest peaks of The Cascades, and even to the Grand Canyon; they’ve been everywhere. For more information on future books, visit her website at http://desdemonawren.com

Jenn’s Review

New Adult fiction isn’t something I generally jump at, but I made an exception for this review request, from author Desdemona Wren, because I love paranormal fiction, and wanted to try something a little different.

Marjorie’s last semester of college isn’t off to a great start when she gets partnered with sarcastic, flirtatious Patrick on their first day of Senior Seminar for their senior project. She thought she knew everyone in her major, and Patrick seems to know her, but Marjorie has no recollection of seeing this man in any of her classes.

To complicate things further, his flirtatious behavior is followed up by a hallway make-out session. Marjorie walks out of class to be confronted by Patrick and his very beautiful girlfriend kissing.

Aside from the storyline, this book was an adventure for me – an asexual protagonist in a romance, millennial voice, and a driving plotline. Ms. Wren’s storytelling feels a tad awkward at times, with scattered dialogue that didn’t seem to drive the plot and lagging character development that picks up once it’s finally established.

That said, however, the author took the time to give each character a unique voice in the book, and to some degree, I would attribute some of the awkward narratives to the protagonist’s personality, more than the author’s writing skill (Marjorie has some deep-seated issues – she’s not glamorous by any means). Hooray for a deeply flawed heroine that isn’t swooning over every cute guy she meets!

This is definitely not a young adult read and is geared towards the New Adult level. With an asexual heroine, the book is free of any graphic sexual content, however, the language is rough enough that I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone under 16. Millennial fans of paranormal and diverse books – this one is for you.

Jenn reviews Desdemona Wren's NA Paranormal Novel MARJORIE DIAZ'S UNFORTUNATE INTRODUCTION TO MAGICAL HIGH SOCIETY - diverse books - LGBTQA FIction
Jenn reviews Desdemona Wren’s NA Paranormal Novel Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society

Buy the Book

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

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” 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]

Swansong – Cover Reveal

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Thrice Read Books is pleased to present the new cover for Allie McCormack's SWANSONG, to be released March 15, 2019 - Multicultural Romance, Adult Contemporary Romance, OwnVoices, Diverse Books
Thrice Read Books is pleased to present the new cover for Allie McCormack’s Swansong, to be released March 4, 2019

About the Book

SwanSong, Allie McCormack (Sons of the Desert Book 1)

Adult, Multicultural Romance,

Release Date:  March 4, 2019

**Be sure to check out the whole post to see the gorgeous cover for this book!**

Sarah Pendleton was born into a life of wealth and
privilege, raised in the shadow of her famous soprano
mother and her father, an equally famous composer. Shy
and retiring, and treasuring her anonymity, Sarah has left
behind the world she grew up in to make her own life in
the coastal town of Santa Barbara, California.
A visiting University professor of Arabic literature from the
small oil-rich country of Taqara, Khalid Al Mansour is the
eldest son of an ambassador and an independent
American artist. He’s never settled down in one place, but
that’s because he’s never found what he wanted… until
one evening he sees the lovely bellydancer at a small,
smoky cafe downtown.

Thrice Read Books is pleased to present the new cover for Allie McCormack's SWANSONG, to be released March 4, 2019 - Multicultural Romance, Adult Contemporary Romance, OwnVoices, Diverse Books
Thrice Read Books is pleased to present the new cover for Allie McCormack’s SWANSONG, to be released March 4, 2019

About the Author

Allie McCormack
Author Allie McCormack

 A career medical transcriptionist, Allie McCormack is now writing from home full-time. Allie has traveled quite a bit and lived many places all over the U.S., and also a year in Cairo, Egypt as an exchange student, and a year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia under contract to a hospital there, plus a short stint with NATO while she was in the Army. As a single mom, she raised a wonderful daughter who’s recently married and there are plans afoot for grandchildren. A disabled veteran, Allie now lives in the beautiful Sorona Desert in southern Arizona with her two rescue cats and writes full-time. 

Truck Stop is her first published novel. It’s being produced as an audiobook with an expected release around early January 2019. Her next romance novel, the first of a four-book paranormal romance series, is planned for release shortly after. 

Allie says: “A writer is who and what I am… a romance writer. I write what I know, and what I know is romance. Dozens of storylines and literally hundreds of characters live and breathe within the not-so-narrow confines of my imagination, and it is my joy and privilege to bring them to life, to share them with others by writing their stories.”

You can sign up for Allie’s monthly newsletter and find out about her other upcoming releases and current projects at her website www.alliemccormack.com.

Website: Allie McCormack’s Website 
Blog: Allie’s Blog 
Facebook: Allie on FB 
Twitter: Allie on Twitter 

Cover Reveal

Hey, hey! It’s that moment that this whole post is about! The almighty cover-reveal. We haven’t read the final copy, but Jenn has beta read portions of this book while it was in development. If you’re a romance fan, you’re going to want to get your hands on this book, and get it early! (It’s already available for pre-order, and we’ve got a link down below, so you can get first access). 

And… without further ado… Jenn went gaga over this cover.

Swansong is available for pre-order now. Be sure to get your copy! Multicultural Romance, Adult Romance, OwnVoices, Diverse Books
Swansong is available for pre-order now. Be sure to get your copy!

Buy the Book

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]

Other Books in this series:

Forbidden by Destiny (Book 2 – Leyla & Ben’s story)

Forbidden by Time (Book 3 – coming soon)