Tagged: Fantasy

Donna Migliaccio – Author Interview April, 2020

**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.**

When we launched Thrice Read Books’ review blog, our inaugural post was for Donna Migliaccio’s Fiskur (book 2 in the Gemeta Stone Series). Since so much has happened, and Donna has released three more books in the series, we snagged an opportunity to sit down with her to talk about the Gemeta Stone series in general, her most recent release, and what’s next for this epic fantasy author.

Jenn: Shall we talk books? Specifically, yours… It’s been a year or so since we last sat down and talked. I think Ragis was just coming out.

Donna: Ragis came out in September 2018. A lot has changed in the interim, with Fiery Seas going out of business and me having to learn the self-publishing biz.

Jenn: Tell us a little about yourself?

Donna: Sure. I’m a professional stage actress based out of the Washington, DC area and have published five books in my epic fantasy series, The Gemeta Stone.

I’ve also published a couple of short stories as well.

Jenn: How did I miss the short stories?

Donna: They didn’t get a wide distribution LOL.

Jenn: Aww.

Donna: One was a more literary work called Yaa & The Coffins, published in the now-defunct Thinkerbeat Journal; the other, Fire Bird, was published in Wild Musette a couple of years ago.

I don’t write short-form very often.

Jenn: I can imagine writing short form is challenging, especially when you write epic fantasy.

Donna: What’s funny is that when I write short stories, they tend to be under 3k words.

On the shorter side of “short.”

Jenn: You have my admiration! That’s amazing. 

Jenn: Have you always wanted to write or publish your writing?

Donna: Well, I’ve always written. Even when I was small, my brother and I used to write illustrated stories together. We’d open one of those black and white composition books and lay on the floor facing each other, each one drawing and writing on their own page. We were usually writing the same characters and roughly the same plot, just with our own twists. We’d spend hours doing that. Unfortunately all those “picture books” are gone now.

Jenn: Oh, no. What a loss.

Donna: When you’re an Army brat, you get used to it.

Jenn: Ahh the bliss of the PCS move.

Donna: My dad was ruthless about getting rid of stuff when we had to move.

Jenn: So how did you go from composition books to publishing Gemeta Stone?

Donna: I first wrote the Kristan Gemeta character as part of a high school composition assignment. We had to write the beginning of a novel, and I’d had a dream about a young man on a horse meeting with a young woman on a road beside a forest. So that’s what I wrote.

It was nothing more than a sketch, but I’d actually dreamed the name Kristan Gemeta.

I never did anything with it until years later, when I was out of college and living alone for the first time.

I’d already written and trunked another novel (a truly awful contemporary romance about a blind prince – fortunately it, too, no longer exists), but there was something interesting about the Kristan character that made me want to resurrect him.

Jenn: Who are the major influencers in your life and philosophy?

Donna: Family for certain. I come from a large family (six siblings!) and my mother and father are/were very dynamic people. Dad passed back in 2000; Mom just celebrated her 99th birthday.

Jenn: Happy Birthday, Mom!

Donna: All my siblings are “artsy” – we all sang or played an instrument or danced or drew or wrote growing up.

My parents encouraged that. We had to learn to amuse ourselves on long road trips.

So being imaginative was a survival skill.

Jenn: I think that’s awesome. So many kids now don’t have that support towards the arts.

Donna: Ain’t that the truth. Or if they do, it’s rarely arts for art’s sake. It’s more “how can I turn this into a side hustle and make some money?”

If you can’t find the joy in art first, it’s going to get real old real fast.

Jenn: It takes patience, perseverance, and a deep love for the craft to get good at any form of art. You’re absolutely right. If you can enjoy it, you won’t stick with it.

What advice would you give young artists – dancers, singers, writers, painters – from your perspective of having dedicated most of your life to the creative arts?

Donna: There’s a mindset with young people these days that they have to “win” at the creative game quickly. They might put in a couple of months’ work and get frustrated that they’re not experts at the end of that time. I wonder if that mindset comes out of playing video games – you put in thirty hours playing a game and you generally end up fairly proficient at it. But the creative process isn’t like that. It can take years to develop the skill set you need to write a book, or play an instrument, or act in a play.

Jenn: Very true. I think that falls into the “10,000 Hours” philosophy… that it takes roughly 10,000 hours to master any skill.

Donna: My advice to writers would be to READ. Read all the time. Read widely and analytically. I’m constantly stunned by the number of young people I’ve encountered who’ve decided they want to write a book – but they don’t read. They watch a lot of movies and TV, but they don’t read. And writing a novel is a completely different skill set.

Jenn: I’ve run into that quite a bit, myself.

Jenn: What other books or authors have influenced your writing, and specifically, the Gemeta Stone series?

Donna: T.H. White’s The Once and Future King had a huge impact on me. I believe I first read it because I was a fan of Disney’s The Sword in the Stone. But they’re nothing alike (in fact, I can’t bear the cartoon now – it seems coarse and thudding). The Once and Future King is a retelling of the Arthurian legend, but there’s such grace and whimsy and melancholy all mingled together. I was entranced by the idea of this good-hearted child who must learn to be a king.

Jenn: Having read Gemeta Stone, I can definitely see the influence there.

Jenn: If you had to explain this series in one sentence, what would you say?

Donna: Oh dear.

With the aid of a magical talisman, a gentle young king struggles to free his country from the grip of a powerful magician.

Or something like that.

LOL 

I always struggle trying to reduce a six-book series to a single sentence.

Jenn: I can empathize with the struggle…

Jenn: For our readers that are unfamiliar with the series, can you give us a quick book-by-book elevator pitch? (I promise I am not trying to break our featured author.)

Donna: 

Book 1 – Kinglet

Robbed of his throne, his crown, and even his name, gentle and introspective Kristan Gemeta must learn to lead before he can recover his family’s ancient talisman and take a stand against the Wichelord Daazna.

Book 2 – Fiskur

With the assistance of a band of rebels, a shipful of brigands, and the legendary Kentavron, Kristan defeats Daazna and his minions – but at a terrible price.

Book 3 – Stoneking

Kristan struggles to unite four disparate kingdoms and understand the true nature of the Gemeta Stone while battling the fear that he is losing his sanity along with those he loves.

Book 4 – Ragis

Kristan Gemeta teeters on the brink of madness while forced into a dangerous winter journey that will end in a confrontation he dreads.

Prequel – Princeling

The child Kristan Gemeta tries to find a place in his father’s battle-hardened court, while the youth Daazna faces his own struggles as he learns ancient Wiche skills.

GAH – why is that kind of thing so HARD??

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Jenn sits down with epic fantasy author, Donna Migliaccio

Jenn: Because you told the story with many hundreds of words, and your brain is trying to take the whole thing into account?

Donna: Maybe.

Tedious.

Jenn: In our last interview, we mentioned this series is appropriate for readers 16 and over, because of some sexual content and graphic violence. Now that the prequel is out, would you consider these standalone novels, or would you recommend that readers start in a particular place?

Donna: I feel that Princeling could be read at any point in the series, but where I think it’s most valuable is between Ragis and the yet-to-be-published final book in the series.

It answers a lot of questions set up in the first four books and gives some clues about what might happen in the final book.

Jenn: It does.

So Kinglet would be the recommended starting point?

Donna: I think that’s most useful – Kinglet, Fiskur, Stoneking, Ragis, Princeling, and then the last book.

Once I finish that LOL.

Jenn: What are some of the major ideas that you integrate into this book or your life in general?

Donna: That kindness is an essential component of life.

Even if showing kindness is viewed as a weakness rather than strength.

Kindness is at the core of Kristan’s existence, and trying to find a balance between that strong moral compass and the demands of his rule is a constant source of tension.

Particularly when he’s pitted against an adversary who is completely without compassion.

Jenn: And Daazna is definitely that.

Donna: Daazna is definitely a Big Bad, but one of the things I wanted to tackle in Princeling was how he got that way.

Jenn: Because people don’t just wake up one day and decide to be that level of evil.

Donna: What was surprising as I wrote the book was discovering that he and Kristan faced many of the same obstacles:  loss of a parent, not being accepted in their society, etc.

Jenn: You mentioned that elusive last book… what’s next for Kristan and his intrepid writer?

Donna: I do have a single line description of the final book LOL.

Jenn: Hehe… Let’s hear it!

(and hopefully, it doesn’t give anything away!)

Donna: After twenty years of peace, Kristan must face his old enemy in a new form.

So….we’re talking a major passage of time between the end of RAGIS and the beginning of the new book.

Jenn: Oh, my!

Donna: Which means I not only have to pick up all the various plot threads from the earlier books, but also introduce a boatload of new characters.

Jenn: Fantasy casts can get… enormous. Am I right?

Donna: They can indeed.

Jenn: So how can readers follow you and find out when the exciting conclusion is available? (Also, follow for the Daily Fox, and other great Donna excitement!)

Donna: I have a newsletter:  Fantasy, Fancies & the Occasional Fox. It comes out about every other month and includes my writing and theatre news, plus stories about my local fox population, birding, gardening, recipes, and other things that interest me. (It also has a Hidden Treasures link that will take you to a secret page on my website where I’ll occasionally post short stories and other writing.)

Or, readers can visit my website at donnamigliaccio.com

You can sign up for the newsletter on the website.

I can be followed on Twitter (@donnamig) and Instagram (mrsmig1).

Jenn: Sounds good.

It has been a pleasure, once again, to sit down and “talk” with you, Donna. Thank you so much for your time, and for giving us such fantastic stories as Kristan’s.

Buy the Gemeta Stone Books: (available as both Kindle and Paperback)

We’ve interviewed Donna before. You can find that post here.

Princeling – 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.**

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Jenn reviews Donna Migliaccio’s Princeling

About the Book

Princeling; Donna Migliaccio
Young Adult; Fantasy; 237 Pages

Donna Migliaccio (November 29, 2019)

DISCOVER HOW THE GEMETA STONE SAGA BEGAN.Little Kristan Gemeta never imagined that his simple act of kindness would end in disgrace. Now he’s being punished by a harsh regimen meant to toughen him into the heir his father the king demands. Bullied and friendless, Kristan finds an ally in Simeon, who teaches him not just letters and numbers, but the forbidden magical lore of Wiche. But there’s someone else in the kingdom who wants the secret Wiche knowledge for himself. The youth known as Daazna is as pitiless as Kristan is compassionate – and will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

About the Author

Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres. KINGLET, FISKUR, STONEKING and RAGIS, the first four books in her fantasy series THE GEMETA STONE, are available exclusively on Amazon, along with her recently released prequel to the series, PRINCELING. Her short work is featured in the anthologies MEDUSA AT THE MORGUE and THE ART OF LOSING. For more information, visit her website at www.donnamigliaccio.com.

Jenn’s Review

Finally! After two long years of waiting, and four other books, Donna Migliaccio shares the origin story of the hatred between Daazna and Kristan Gemeta (the long-standing feud that fuels the war between the two men in the Gemeta Stone series). In a nutshell, this fantasy prequel is heartbreakingly profound and well-told, despite the very young age of our protagonist, Kristan.

Kristan Gemeta is just a little boy when Mumma passes away. Her final words to him, “Always be kind,” become a promise he makes to her and a guiding principle that stays with him through the coming storms. His father, the king of Fandrall, holds young Kristan at a distance as he copes with his own grief and trying to raise two young children without a mother.

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Jenn reviews Donna Migliaccio’s Princeling

Kristan’s childhood is brief – at a young age, his days are filled with tutors and brutal lessons that will dog him through life. One of the worst: how powerless he feels when a tutor’s apprentice, Daazna, is wrongfully accused and sent packing from the castle in shame.

Daazna will never forget that lesson, either. His thirst for knowledge and hunger for magic skills will shape his misadventures and dark deeds.

Considering the very young age of the protagonist, (Kristan is only 4 when his mother passes away), I am deeply impressed by Ms. Migliaccio’s handling of a parent’s death and a child’s grief. No one really bothers to try to explain to the boy what’s happening, and the reader gets an intimate perspective on how a child processes the loss and draws his own conclusions.

The entire series is a must for fantasy fans, and it isn’t necessary to start with Princeling to understand the rest of the series. However, for those who enjoy stories in chronological order, this book will get you hooked on Kristan’s adventures.

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle and paperback editions here.


Also by Donna Migliaccio

Kinglet (Book 1, Gemeta Stone)

Fiskur (Book 2, Gemeta Stone)

Stoneking (Book 3, Gemeta Stone)

Ragis (Book 4, Gemeta Stone)


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The City of Brass

**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 S.A. Chakraborty’s The City of Brass

About the Book

The City of Brass; SA Chakraborty
Young Adult; Fantasy; 569 Pages

Harper Voyager; Reprint edition (November 14, 2017)

Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty perfect for fans of The Golem and the JinniThe Grace of Kings, and Uprooted, in which the future of a magical Middle Eastern kingdom rests in the hands of a clever and defiant young con artist with miraculous healing gifts.

On the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, Nahri is a con woman of unsurpassed skill. She makes her living swindling Ottoman nobles, hoping to one day earn enough to change her fortunes. But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, during one of her cons, she learns that even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

Forced to flee Cairo, Dara and Nahri journey together across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire and rivers where the mythical marid sleep, past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises and mountains where the circling birds of prey are more than what they seem, to Daevabad, the legendary city of brass.

It’s a city steeped in magic and fire, where blood can be as dangerous as any spell; a city where old resentments run deep and the royal court rules with a tenuous grip; a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound—and where her very presence threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries.

About the Author

S. A. Chakraborty is the author of the critically acclaimed and internationally best-selling The Daevabad Trilogy. Her work has been nominated for the Locus, World Fantasy, Crawford, and Astounding awards. When not buried in books about thirteen-century con artists and Abbasid political intrigue, she enjoys hiking, knitting, and re-creating unnecessarily complicated medieval meals. You can find her online at www.sachakraborty.com or on Twitter and Instagram at @SAChakrabooks, where she likes to talk about history, politics, and Islamic art. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter, and an ever-increasing number of cats.

Jenn’s Review

An epic fantasy set in a mythical city filled with magical beings, deep in the sands of Arabia? Complete with magic carpets, djinn, and its own Prince Ali? Welcome to The City of Brass.

Nahri doesn’t know the first thing about her roots – only that she can sense and heal illnesses, and that she has a gift for understanding languages. She has never heard her native language on anyone else’s lips, has no idea how she knows it… And she’s Cairo’s foremost pickpocket and con artist. At least until she accidentally summons a daeva during an exorcism and all hell breaks loose.

Enter Dara – he’s dark, brooding, rude, and arrogant. And a whole lot baffled by the young woman that summoned him, when she shouldn’t have been able to. She has abilities that haven’t been seen in his world in decades, and he assumes that she is a half-breed djinn. The only appropriate place to stash her and keep her relatively safe, is Daevabad, his own home, and a place that equals certain death for a centuries-old daeva guard.

The pair have to band together to survive the journey, only to be parted when they finally reach their destination. Nahri has no experience with royalty, and has to learn quickly, lest her missteps bring her to a quick end. And Dara needs to find his way back to Nahri, less because of his curse than because of his feelings for the young woman.

This epic reads a bit like a Middle Eastern Game of Thrones, with political intrigue seeded liberally throughout. Dara and Nahri have some amazing chemistry, and I found it difficult to not cheer for them to find a way to overcome obvious racial and caste differences that hold them apart. To confuse the matter further, Nahri develops feelings for the second-born prince (who was tasked with getting to know her and sway her favor for a match with the crown prince).

This is book one in a trilogy and a debut novel, and I’m looking forward to book 2, hoping that the developing, complicated romantic theme gets untwisted. Chakraborty’s writing is concise, describing colorful, intricate settings and characters with an effective economy of words. The plot simmers, steadily cranking up the intensity, and it was hard to put this down.

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Jenn reviews S.A. Chakraborty’s The City of Brass

Buy the Book

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

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Our Bloody Pearl

**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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Sam reviews D.N. Bryn’s Our Bloody Pearl

About the Book

Our Bloody Pearl ; D.N Bryn
Adult; Fantasy Romance; 200 Pages

Avos Publishing (July 26, 2018)

The ocean is uncontrollable and dangerous. But to the sirens who swim the warm island waters, it’s a home more than worth protecting from the humans and their steam-propelled ships. Between their hypnotic voices and the strength of their powerful tails, sirens have little to fear.

That is, until the ruthless pirate captain, Kian, creates a device to cancel out their songs.

Perle was the first siren captured—but the only one Kian still keeps prisoner. Song muted and tail paralyzed, Perle’s hope for escape finally rekindles as another pirating vessel seizes Kian’s ship. This new captain seems different, with his brilliant smile and his promises that Kian will never again be Perle’s master. But he’s still a human, and a captor in his own way. The compassion he and his rag-tag human family show can’t be sincere… or can it?

Soon it becomes clear that Kian will hunt Perle relentlessly, taking down any siren in her path. As the tides turn, Perle must decide whether to run from Kian forever, or ride the forming wave into battle, hoping these newfound human companions will fight with them.

About the Author

D.N. Bryn began writing short stories in middle school and has yet to stop. They received their bachelors degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from UCSD, and enjoy a day job involving respiratory disease research. They bring their love for animals, science, and mythology into all their writing, and are passionate about creating inclusive worlds where a diverse array of characters can go on grand adventures without being hindered by social misconceptions based on their appearance, sexuality, or gender.

Sam’s Review

Introducing an incredible book about sirens and pirates by the name of Our Bloody Pearl. I loved this book, so without any further ado, I’ll explain why.

Perle has never had a name. In fact, no siren does. Sirens don’t have genders, either, so classifying them is a bit tricky. But they have been stuck on the pirate captain, Kian’s, ship for ages, with filthy and toxic water and a crippled tail. But when Captain Dejean takes Kian’s ship, Perle earns a name and a chance of peace between man and siren kind.

I loved how fun this book was. It was mostly about earning trust, despite the cliche bad-guy-is-offered-a-chance-to-be-good-and-dies part. I got vibes of saving a wild wolf meets The Little Mermaid. Incredible. And for the things I didn’t like, well, there’s nada in that department. If you love a good steampunk fantasy, then read Our Bloody Pearl by D. N. Bryn.

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Sam reviews D.N. Bryn’s Our Bloody Pearl

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle and Paperback editions here.

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Lord of Shadows

**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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Sam reviews Lord of Shadow by Cassandra Clare

About the Book

Lord of Shadows; Cassandra Clare
Teen; Fantasy; 721 Pages

Margaret K. McElderry Books; Reprint edition (May 23, 2017)

About the Author

Cassandra Clare is the author of the #1 New York Times, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestselling Mortal Instruments series and the Infernal Devices trilogy, and coauthor of the Bane Chronicles with Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson. She also wrote The Shadowhunter’s Codex with her husband, Joshua Lewis. Her books have more than 36 million copies in print worldwide and have been translated into more than thirty-five languages. Cassandra lives in western Massachusetts. Visit her at CassandraClare.com. Learn more about the world of the Shadowhunters at Shadowhunters.com.

Sam’s Review

More Shadowhunters! In Lord of Shadows, Emma and Julian are still dealing with their bond problem. Things get worse when Annebel rises from the dead with the Black Volume of the Dead. Malcolm, dead, is a zombie, and a trip to the faerie realm only brings more trouble than they bargained for.

Rich and creative as ever, Lord of Shadows will draw you in. Easy to read, difficult to put down, and all-around pleasant. In some places though, it’s basically all aboard book train, leaving Pleasantville and entering What-the-Fudge Town. I recommend for readers of a teen read in level who can handle tense scenes.

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Sam reviews Lord of Shadow by Cassandra Clare

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle, Audiobook, Hardback, and paperback editions here.

Find out what we’re reading and what we’re loving in our monthly newsletter, Between the Lines. You can sign up for it here.

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Other Books by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight (Book 1)

Queen of Air and Darkness (Book 3)

The Reflections of Queen Snow White

**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 David Meredith’s venture into the world of fairy tale romance with The Reflections of Queen Snow White

About the Book

The Reflections of Queen Snow White; David Meredith
Adult; Fantasy Romance; 133 Pages

David Meredith; 1 edition (January 20, 2014)

What happens when “happily ever after” has come and gone?

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven’s wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven’s fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White’s own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:

The king is dead.

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what “happily ever after” really means?

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

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.

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Jenn’s Review

I’ve read some of David Meredith’s work in the past, so when The Reflections of Queen Snow White came across my desk, I figured I’d give it a shot. It sounded like a deviation from the previous works I’ve read by Mr. Meredith (which I enjoyed) and an intriguing idea, so I jumped in. 

King Charming is dead and Queen Snow White is stuck in her grief. With their daughter’s wedding quickly approaching, the bereaved Queen struggles to move forward with her life. 

When the aging queen flees to a seldom-used tower of the castle to get away from the constant demands of ruling a kingdom, she finds herself in her former step-mother’s room, before the magic mirror that fueled the former queen’s hatred for a very young Snow White.

Through a series of reflections in the mirror, we get glimpses of the queen’s life before Charming, their marriage, and their lives together, including a deep dive into Snow’s depression and struggles to conceive a child. 

While I enjoyed the book, I feel the need to warn romance fans that they might be disappointed. Snow’s adventures with the Mirror do lead her to revisit the deep, abiding love story between Snow and Charming, there is no developing romantic relationship happening in this book. It is fantastic as women’s fiction, as it explores the ups and downs of life as well as the difficulties of finding one’s feet after tremendous loss, but the love story has already happened.

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Jenn reviews David Meredith’s venture into the world of fairy tale romance with The Reflections of Queen Snow White

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle, Audio, and Paperback here.

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Also by David Meredith

Aaru

Aaru: Halls of Hel

Mahimata

**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 Rati Mehrotra’s Mahimata

About the Book

Mahimata; Rati Mehrotra
Adult; Romantic Fantasy; 480 Pages

Harper Voyager (March 5, 2019)

A young female assassin must confront the man who slaughtered her family, risk her heart, and come to terms with her identity as a warrior and as a woman in this thrilling fantasy from the author of Markswoman.

Kyra has returned to the caves of Kali, but her homecoming is bittersweet. She no longer knows what her place is. Her beloved teacher is dead and her best friend Nineth is missing. And gone, too, is Rustan, the Marksman who helped her train for the duel with Tamsyn–and became far more than a teacher and friend.

Shaken by his feelings for Kyra and the truth about his parentage, Rustan has set off on a quest for answers. His odyssey leads him to the descendants of an ancient sect tied to the alien Ones–and the realization that the answers he seeks come with a price.

Yet fate has plans to bring Kyra and Rustan together again. Kai Tau, the man who slaughtered Kyra’s family, wages war on the Orders of Asiana. Hungering for justice, Kyra readies herself for battle, aided by her new companions: the wyr-wolves, who are so much more than what they seem. And determined to keep the woman he loves safe, Rustan joins the fight to ride by her side.

But will this final confrontation ultimately cost them their love . . . and their lives?

About the Author

Writer, traveler, and full-time working Mom. I’m looking for a way to clone myself. Or, failing that, get a robot to do all my boring work so I can write full-time. I am represented by the wonderful Mary. C. Moore of Kimberley Cameron & Associates. My first book, Markswoman, is scheduled for publication in Jan 2018 by Harper Voyager.

I’m a bookworm – always have been. A few of my favorite writers are Gene Wolfe, Margaret Attwood, Ursula Le Guin, Philip Pullman, Octavia Butler, Jack Vance, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, JRR Tolkien, JK Rowling (who can’t love Harry Potter?) and – yes – Jane Austen. I love to read and I love to write. Check out some of my stories at http://ratiwrites.com/short-fiction/

Jenn’s Review

Kyra and Ruston are back in the exciting sequel to Markswoman, Mahimata, by Rati Mehrotra.

Kyra is still reeling from the loss of her sect’s leader, saying goodbye to the man she loves, and news that war has become inevitable for all of Asiana. In a brash move, she finds herself the new leader of her sect, with new demands and pressures as she tries to find a balance.

Ruston hasn’t recovered from discoveries about Kyra’s feelings for him (let alone the realization he feels the same way), or the revelation about his parentage. In a bid to clear his conscience, he sets himself in exile and walks away from his own sect to go on a pilgrimage to find answers. He finds more than he bargains for, though, with devastating results.

Mahimata picks up right where Markswoman leaves off, but can be read as a standalone. The elements of romance are stronger than in book one, and I would set this around New Adult due to some sexual content and more intense violence. I loved the intensity and plot, and the twists keep the reader guessing. My only complaint was how abruptly the book ended, but overall, I’d give the book 4 out of 5 stars.

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Jenn reviews Rati Mehrotra’s Mahimata

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle, Audiobook, Paperback, and Audio CD below.


Also by Rati Mehrotra

Markswoman (book 1 in the Asiana Series)


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Markswoman

**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 Markswoman by Rati Mehrotra

About the Book

Markswoman; Rati Mehrotra 
YA Adult/New Adult; Dark Fantasy; 384 Pages

Harper Voyager (January 23, 2018)

An order of magical-knife wielding female assassins brings both peace and chaos to their post-apocalyptic world in this bewitching blend of science fiction and epic fantasy—the first entry in a debut duology that displays the inventiveness of the works of Sarah Beth Durst and Marie Lu.

Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in the Order of Kali, one of a handful of sisterhoods of highly trained elite warriors. Armed with blades whose metal is imbued with magic and guided by a strict code of conduct, the Orders are sworn to keep the peace and protect the people of Asiana. Kyra has pledged to do so—yet she secretly harbors a fierce desire to avenge her murdered family.

When Tamsyn, the powerful and dangerous Mistress of Mental Arts, assumes control of the Order, Kyra is forced on the run. She is certain that Tamsyn committed murder in a twisted bid for power, but she has no proof.

Kyra escapes through one of the strange Transport Hubs that are the remnants of Asiana’s long-lost past and finds herself in the unforgiving wilderness of a desert that is home to the Order of Khur, the only Order composed of men. Among them is Rustan, a disillusioned Marksman whose skill with a blade is unmatched. He understands the desperation of Kyra’s quest to prove Tamsyn’s guilt, and as the two grow closer, training daily on the windswept dunes of Khur, both begin to question their commitment to their Orders. But what they don’t yet realize is that the line between justice and vengeance is thin . . . as thin as the blade of a knife.

About the Author

Writer, traveler, and full-time working Mom. I’m looking for a way to clone myself. Or, failing that, get a robot to do all my boring work so I can write full-time. I am represented by the wonderful Mary. C. Moore of Kimberley Cameron & Associates. My first book, Markswoman, is scheduled for publication in Jan 2018 by Harper Voyager.

I’m a bookworm – always have been. A few of my favorite writers are Gene Wolfe, Margaret Attwood, Ursula Le Guin, Philip Pullman, Octavia Butler, Jack Vance, Neil Gaimam, Stephen King, JRR Tolkien, JK Rowling (who can’t love Harry Potter?) and – yes – Jane Austen. I love to read and I love to write. Check out some of my stories at http://ratiwrites.com/short-fiction/

Jenn’s Review

I picked this book up on a whim, unclear about the age range, and opted to give it a read before turning it over to my 13-year old. Having finished it in a little over a day, I can say that I’m glad I read it first. Mostly because it was just that good! (And teenagers don’t always think about spoilers)

Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in her Order, and her first kill sets into motion a chain of events that could undo the fragile life that humanity has carved out for itself on Asiana. And when her beloved leader and mentor dies suddenly and mysteriously, Kyra is forced to steal her dead teacher’s blade and must flee to fight another day.

Her path leads her to Rustan, a sullen Marksman with a guilty conscience, who is tasked with training Kyra for the fight of her life. A member of the only male Order on Asiana, Rustan must prove himself to Kyra, who’s been taught nothing but scorn for her male counterpart.

As Kyra’s duel grows closer, secrets about her past and his slowly simmer to the surface, their feelings for each other growing, despite their vows that leave a future for them just out of reach.

The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I am eagerly awaiting book 2’s release in a few weeks. I give it high marks for world-building, with both touches of science fiction and fantasy, deeply steeped in Eastern wisdom and practice. High marks, also, for well developed, strong characters. Even the sweet-natured Nineth and Shurik show up with their own brand of strength (and their own flaws). I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

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Jenn reviews Markswoman by Rati Mehrotra

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle, Audiobook, Paperback, and Audio CD formats below.


Also by Rati Mehrotra:

Mahimata (Book 2 in the Asiana Series)


Find out what we’re reading and what we’re loving in our monthly newsletter, Between the Lines. You can sign up for it here.

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Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Ancestral Politics & Foul Play

**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 Desdemona Wren’s Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Ancestral Politics and Foul Play

About the Book

Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Ancestral Politics & Foul Play (Marjorie Diaz Series); Desdemona Wren
New Adult; Fantasy; 332 Pages

AntlerDoe Publishing; 1 edition (April 2, 2019)

Marjorie Diaz has been marked for death.

After her relationship with Patrick Watkins ends, Marjorie discovers that everyone in her life has been lying to her. Even her best friend, Lucian Maravalle.

Now, Marjorie is being hunted by a powerful magical family who will stop at nothing to kill her.

Lucian and her family have sworn to protect Marjorie from these nightmarish beasts, but Marjorie isn’t sure she can trust them. They keep secret after secret and, even after Marjorie has begged for them to tell her everything, they continue to keep her in the dark.

Marjorie struggles with her own mortality as she embarks on a futile journey to remain alive and reason with the beings that are hunting her.

She finds out the hard way that humans don’t matter on the other side of the veil. Unless Marjorie has something of use to offer, she’s better off dead.

Book 2 in the Marjorie Diaz Series.

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

Holy cow! Desdemona Wren hits this one out of the park, as Marjorie Diaz returns for her continuing story in this twisty, action-packed sequel.

Marjorie has some serious problems for a recently-graduated college student. Her dream internship is down the drain and staying alive means living in the prison that her best friend’s family calls home (actually, it’s an enchanted mansion, but she never knew they even owned a mansion before she got marked for death, so… what-the-heck!).

She’s got some serious trust issues to work out before someone manages to make good on the bounty that she’s got riding on her hand. Her ex-boyfriend is a member of a monstrous family that wants her dead. In general, this twenty-something is having the mother of all bad days.

Ms. Wren has taken her writing to the next level in this second installment of the Marjorie Diaz story. She’s kept the action moving forward and threw a little romance into the mix for a little variety. I look forward to seeing where we go next.

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Jenn reviews Desdemona Wren’s Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Ancestral Politics and Foul Play

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle and Paperback editions below.


Other Books in the Series:

Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society

Find out what we’re reading and what we’re loving in our monthly newsletter, Between the Lines. You can sign up for it here.

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From Chaos Comes Order

**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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Sam’s Teen Reads Corner tackles Jimi Rodriguez’s From Chaos Comes Order

About the Book

From Chaos Comes Order; Jimi Rodriguez
Young Adult; Fantasy; 338 Pages

Publication Date: December 5, 2018

Surviving in a school of magic and murder is not easy!

Jacob Titus is a forgotten boy from Eslor Island. With an absent father and a mother who battles Alzheimer’s disease, Jacob has long learned to care for himself. When he is discovered by a magical talent hunter, Jacob makes the difficult choice to leave his home and enter the Valcrest School for the Promised.

As his school years go by, Jacob has to spend as much time trying to stay alive as he does finding a cure for his mother. As violence and blood lust at the school escalate, Jacob must learn to figure out who he can trust. All he wanted was to save his mother. Now he must save himself.

For more information about Jimi Rodriguez and his series, From Chaos Comes Order, visit the website at jimirodriguez.weebly.com today! There you can sign up for a FREE exclusive short story never read before.

About the Author

Jimi Rodriguez is an author from Houston, TX. After graduating from The Ohio State University, he became a teacher in his hometown. He went on to obtain a Master’s Degree from Ohio University. He lives in Houston with his wife and two children.

For years, he told his students stories of the characters in From Chaos Comes Order. The characters were a work of friendship, as many major roles in the story were conceived by his friends in writing and life. Finally, he created the series From Chaos Comes Order. Book One: Chaos is his debut novel. From Chaos Comes Order is planned to have four books in total. Book Two: Destroyer is coming soon!

Sam’s Review

Check out Sam’s Teen Reads Corner Livestream.

From order comes chaos, and vice versa. In a world of magic, powers are divided into two halves; chaos magic and order magic. As one boy decides to trade his life as a thieving student for the life of a magic student to help cure his mother of Alzheimer’s, he learns that not all girls want under his blankets, and his world is in danger. With a team consisting of a soul seer, which I believe would describe her the best, and spunky young lady, they try to get the message to others of the coming attack.

I wasn’t as into this book as I normally am. There was a lot going on, and there were way too many time skips going years at a time. I had a hard time finding the main problem until the very middle, and the Point of View changes were a bit much. Would I read this book again? Probably not.

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Sam’s Teen Reads Corner tackles Jimi Rodriguez’s From Chaos Comes Order

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle and paperback format here.

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

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