Tagged: Fantasy

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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The Renaissance Club

**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 Rachel Dacus' time travel romance, The Renaissance Club - Contemporary Romance, Time Travel, Renaissance Italy
Jenn reviews Rachel Dacus’ time travel romance, The Renaissance Club

About the Book

The Renaissance Club; Rachel Dacus
Adult; Fantasy Romance; 374 pages

Time Fold Books December 20, 2018

May Gold, an adjunct college teacher earning little more than a Starbucks barista, often dreams in her tiny, moldy office about the subject of her master’s thesis, 17th-century sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini. In her fantasies, she’s in his arms, the wildly adored partner of the man who invented the Baroque. In reality, May has just landed in Rome with her teaching colleagues and her suffocating boyfriend, Darren, who is paying her way. She feels like a precocious failure and longs for a passionate, creative life of beauty and poetry. When tour leader George St. James lends May his beautiful gold pen to take her notes, she finds herself in the year 1624, under the gilded dome of St. Peter’s, staring into Bernini’s eyes. But can she break free of her present-day life, the dead-end job, the stuffy boyfriend, and the boss who wants to thwart her rise in the Art Department? Only if she can give up everything and figure out the secret to falling through the folds of time, might she seize her unexpected chance for happiness and live in a magical future with her soul mate from another time.

A CAPTIVATING STORY illuminating love’s power over time. Perfect for fans of and Susanna Kearsley and Diana Gabaldon, for those who love Italy, art, and history.

About the Author

Rachel Dacus is a poet, essayist, and novelist who writes about love and history. In her novel, THE RENAISSANCE CLUB, a young art historian gets to meet her hero from the past, the fiery 17th century Italian sculptor Bernini. She then must choose whether she can give up everything — even the time in which she lives — to be with her soulmate. The book was praised as “enchanting, rich, and romantic”.

Dacus is at work on both a sequel and a prequel. She shows off her versatility as a writer in her four poetry collections, most recently ARABESQUE. 

She lives in Northern California with her husband and a tiny, mighty Silky Terrier. She’s a member of the Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association and Authors18. To learn more about her news and upcoming projects, sign up for her quarterly newsletter at http://racheldacus.net. A poem in every newsletter!

Jenn’s Review

A stellar story and subtle romance! Rachel Dacus’ story weaves the past and the present together in a seamless blend of prose and poetry, with subtle undertones reminiscent of a fine Italian culinary dish in The Renaissance Club.

This was not my first time-travel romance, but Ms. Dacus is easily on par with my literary heroine, Diana Gabaldon. While the heroine travels back and forth through time, she tries to keep her present-day, dead-on-arrival, relationship with Darren together; but each trip through the portal of Time, each liason with her artistic hero, Bernini, she finds herself comparing past and present in more ways than one.

The romance between May and Bernini sizzles, and the love scenes are subtle, but pack a punch and the author moves deftly through the full range of human emotions with style and sensitivity. All the while, Dacus is describing art and Italy with a deftness that leaves even the least-experienced art historian with a clear mental image of what the characters are seeing and studying.

Her characters step in and out of time seamlessly, and it would seem that all of our intrepid travelers on this particular three-week academic tour find themselves somehow changed by the magic of Italy; its pull an irresistible dare to be something more, fly higher, try something new, inspired by the innovation in artistic styles that Rome, Venice, Florence, and Assisi seethe with. And who wouldn’t find themselves forever altered by meeting Masters of their time such as Michelangelo, Bernini and Borromini?

Even those who aren’t romance fans will find something in the pages of this book to pique their imagination. Aspiring authors, poets, painters and sculptors especially, should read at least the first three chapters, and pay special heed Bernini’s advice.

You won’t find steamy sex scenes in this book, but in this reviewer’s opinion, they would have most likely detracted from the overall impact of Rachel’s work. Readers will be left with a new appreciation of art, history, love and time itself. A must for every romance reader’s book list, especially fans of time-travel romance.

Jenn reviews Rachel Dacus' time travel romance, The Renaissance Club - Contemporary Romance, Time Travel, Renaissance Italy
Jenn reviews Rachel Dacus’ time travel romance, The Renaissance Club

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle and paperback 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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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:


Check Out Book 2:

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

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]

Chroma Crossing Chronicles: Blood Moon: Part 1 – Review

Thrice Read Books reviews S. Yurvati's BLOOD MOON: CHROMA CROSSING BOOK 1. Fantasy/Paranormal/Adult fiction

About the Book

Blood Moon,  S. Yurvati, Chroma Crossing Chronicles

Adult, Fantasy Romance

Amazon Digital Services LLC

Hunky pheromone-laden-man meets pretty accident-prone female—it should have been a love story with a happy ever after ending. 
However, when the bored deities choose Candy and Thorne for an amusing game, the gods/goddesses put forth sets of circumstances that can tear the couple apart and wound them deep within their human souls. 
City girl, Candy wanted to become a successful artist and maybe someday find a man who would make her feel loved and valued, a feeling she’d never known while growing up. However, with a name like ‘Candy Cane’, males never failed to remind her with a wink and snicker, how it sounded like she was a ‘professional’. And ‘professional’ held so many connotations, none of which she had in mind regarding relationships with men. 
With her father’s sudden demise, Candy finds she’s inherited funds and a carriage house in beautiful historic Savannah. Not only can she now afford to go to SCAD, her future as an artist looks promising. Unfortunately her step-mom (and her disturbing son Todd) resides in the main house. When Candy gets her first commission for a life-sized portrait of a beautiful woman from a rather unsettling man, she soon questions what had seemed coincidental.
Candy is a modest female who has always found solace in her artwork, whereas her widowed step-mom, Cherry Ann, considers physical pleasure and money as her measures of worth. And as Candy pursues her art, Cherry Ann pursues a new lover who expands her world of sexual gratifications far beyond past parameters. Cherry Ann finds her new risqué sex life to be addictive and doesn’t recognize the danger of the man she’s invited into her life.
After surviving a couple of ‘accidents’, Candy realizes someone apparently wishes her harm. When she’s chased (by the one thing she fears most) Candy accidently, or so it seems, crosses into a new dimension, land or whatever. She finds herself in an unknown wilderness without resources, let alone a map, or GPS, plus she left her cell phone at home—again. Looking around she sees a curious terrain that is void of color, thus leaving the landscape looking like an old sepia photograph, hardly the Savannah spring day she’d left behind. 
The artist in her wants to understand how primary colors could disappear to leave a land so colorless . . . so entirely beige-ish. How could such a phenomenal occurrence come about? A land without modern conveniences—almost as though she’d stepped into a time past, yet that wasn’t quite accurate either.
As Candy literally stumbles through the wild terrain, an intriguing hunter comes upon her. His presence makes her girlie parts beg to become ill behaved, and before she knows it, her hormones are arguing with her strict moral compass.

About the Author

S. Yurvati began putting her thoughts and imaginings on paper during her childhood and continued through college years. After completing her Master of Science degree at CSUN she was hit with that proverbial wrecking ball. BAM! Reality set in—she needed to make a dependable living and put her degree to work. 
After three decades of working in the medical world, life struck her with a much bigger wrecking ball. This one was sufficiently jarring that her husband convinced her to retire and take the time to write. Admittedly, working in a science- based career left her little opportunity for the creativity of her wired left-handed brain. As soon as she agreed to return to writing he immediately took her to an electronic store and told her to “choose a laptop”. 
And that led to the beginning of Chroma Crossing: Blood Moon.
She has lived in eight different states from one end of the nation to the other, six with her husband. That doesn’t include the stint at Fort McClellan during the heat of summer without air-conditioning. That unpleasant Alabama experience was for Basic Training, as she was one of the last WACs (Women’s Army Corp) during the end of the Vietnam era. 
Now she resides in Texas with the “love-of-her-life” husband of forty-one years. She says he taught her to be young at heart and is her biggest fan in her pursuits (he’s probably doing cheerleading with pom-poms as you read this).
To say she has a love of cats is like saying squirrels love nuts (yes, the reference is intentional). The Yurvati’s share their large home with six cats, fondly referred to as the ‘herd’. You might consider that over the top and they agree, but argue the last two kittens were adopted during a weak moment. Her husband no doubt cringes when purchasing cat food and cat litter. However, the author says felines make very good book critics, always providing a high five with furry paws or commenting with purrs of encouragement.

Jenn‘s Review

When I was approached about reviewing this book, it was pitched as part romance, part fantasy, part paranormal… I should have read between the lines a little more.

After reading the book, I’m still not sure what genre to file it under, and I’m not sure I can say that I enjoyed the book. Granted, I was anticipating a romance novel – which this is most definitely not. *Spoiler alert – the heroine doesn’t meet the love interest until around page 250 of a 300 page book.*

This is a debut novel, and I’m sincerely hoping that book 2 is better written and better edited than book 1. The story rambles, with each chapter coming from the POV of a different character, to the point that it’s difficult to nail down who the main players are. Add some jarring head-hops into the extensive narrative, and you get a less-than-satisfying storyline.

With that said, I still found myself turning the page, wanting to know what happens next. Book 1 is apparently told in two parts, and ends in the middle of a scene (I’m not sure cliffhanger describes how the book ended). I will be returning to this series soon to hopefully finish book 2, or part 2 of book one. I’m not sure how this particular series works.

Another note to potential readers: this book is far from PG. Numerous, disturbing, graphic sexual scenes dot the landscape of this book. The author describes the antagonist as a masochist – he is, in fact, an extreme sadist. Rape, sodomy, and sexual torture feature in his enjoyment. For those that these type of things act as triggers, your best bet is to avoid this series.

This is an interesting story to read, though the author rambles and repeats. Narrative abounds and conversation is somewhat lacking, but suspense is plentiful, and I’m hoping that book 2 shows the author’s growth.

Thrice Read Books reviews S. Yurvati's BLOOD MOON: CHROMA CROSSING BOOK 1. Fantasy/Paranormal/Adult fiction

Buy the Book

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

Ragis – Review

Book 4 in the Gemeta Stone series by Donna Migliaccio is now available. Check out Jenn's review of Ragis on the Thrice Read Books review blog.

About the book:

Ragis by Donna Migliaccio     August 28, 2018

Fantasy     The Gemeta Stone Book 4

Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC

Kristan Gemeta is teetering on the brink of madness.

His sister Melissa has defied him. His friend Olaf has betrayed him. The Wichelord Daazna’s ghostly laughter mocks him when he’s awake and robs him of his sleep at night. Even the protective powers of his legendary Stone are turning against him.  

And now his companions, his ship, and its precious cargo have been taken, hostage. Kristan must give chase, in an unseaworthy vessel manned by an angry centaur crew. Ahead lie unfriendly waters, an ominous destination and a confrontation Kristan dreads.

In his despair, Kristan longs for the one person he has always trusted: his beloved Heather. But she’s far away, about to step into a trap that will endanger not just her command, but Kristan’s life.   

Can we say GIVEAWAY?  Yup! There’s a giveaway to celebrate this release, and you can get in on it now for a chance to win a necklace just like the one on the Gemeta Stone books. Just click here.

About the Author:

Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours, and prominent regional theatres.  She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher, and public speaker.  Her award-winning short story, “Yaa & The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.  

Social Media: 

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Pinterest

Jenn’s Review

Book four in Donna Migliaccio’s Gemeta Stone series, Ragis, is quite a nail-biter. She grants no quarter to continuing readers of the series who have been hanging on the edge of a cliff for three books now, holding them in suspense in another installment of this fabulously crafted fantasy tale.

Kristan Gemeta still labors under the strain of the traumas he endured under the Wichelord Daazna. His inner pain and failing health worsen as he learns more and more of the secrets and failings of those to whom he’s entrusted his lands.

The worst of the betrayals is yet to come, as one of Kristan’s trusted governors is plotting his demise. The experience pushes Kristan over the edge, nearly costing the young king what little health and sanity he has left.

As Kristan hits rock bottom, his long-time friend and love, Heather, who’s tried hard to keep her love for her king under wraps, has a front-row seat to Kristan’s near destruction.

Ragis isn’t the last book in this series, and this reader can’t wait for book 5. Migliaccio weaves a fantastic tale, with deep, compelling characters and a world built for falling into for long reads! Epic fantasy and you can read the books out of order, but my recommendation is to start at Kinglet and read all the way through the series.

Book 4 in the Gemeta Stone series by Donna Migliaccio is now available. Check out Jenn's review of Ragis on the Thrice Read Books review blog.

Buy the Book: 

Amazon     Barnes & Noble    Kobo     FIERY SEAS BOOKSTORE

Check out Jenn’s interview with author Donna Migliaccio here.

We’ve reviewed the other books in the series:

Kinglet (book 1) 
Fiskur (book 2) 
Stoneking (book 3)

Darker Still – Review

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

About the Book:

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

Teen/Young Adult Paranormal/Fantasy

Sourcebooks Fire (original publisher) November 1, 2011

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

I was obsessed.

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

Sam’s Review:

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

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

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

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

Buy this Book:

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

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

The Cursed Girl – Review

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

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

About the Book

The Cursed Girl, Marie Vermisoglou

Teen/Young Adult, Fantasy, 574 Pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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

Website      Facebook page     Bookbub    Goodreads

Sam’s Review

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

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

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

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

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

Buy the Book

   This book is available from Amazon in Kindle, and paperback editions here.

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book

**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.**

About the Book

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book, Jennifer Donnelly

Young Adult Fantasy 350 Pages

Disney Press (January 31, 2017)

Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast’s castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again. The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast’s castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is Nevermore’s world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book before she loses herself in it forever. 

About the Author

Jennifer Donnelly is the author of eleven novels – Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book, These Shallow Graves, Sea Spell, Dark Tide, Rogue Wave, Deep Blue, Revolution, A Northern Light, The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose and The Wild Rose – and Humble Pie, a picture book for children. She is a co-author of the Fatal Throne (out in May 2018), which explores the lives of King Henry VIII’s six wives, for which she wrote the part of Anna of Cleves, Henry’s fourth wife. 

Jennifer grew up in New York State, in Lewis and Westchester counties, and attended the University of Rochester where she majored in English Literature and European History. 

Jennifer’s first novel, The Tea Rose, an epic historical novel set in London and New York in the late 19th century, was called “exquisite” by Booklist, “so much fun” by the Washington Post, a “guilty pleasure” by People and was named a Top Pick by the Romantic Times. The Rose trilogy continued with The Winter Rose and The Wild Rose.

Her second novel, A Northern Light, set in the Adirondacks of 1906, against the backdrop of an infamous murder, won the Carnegie Medal, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Borders Original Voices Award, and was named a Printz Honor book. Described as “rich and true” by The New York Times, the book was named to the Best Book lists of The Times (London), The Irish Times, The Financial Times, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and the School Library Journal. In 2015, TIME Magazine named it one of the 100 best young adult books of all time.

Revolution was named a Best Book by Amazon, Kirkus, School Library Journal, and the Chicago Public Library, and was nominated for a Carnegie Medal. The audio edition was awarded an Odyssey Honor for Excellence.

In 2014, Jennifer teamed up with Disney to launch the bestselling Waterfire Saga, an epic series about six mermaids on a quest to rid the world of an ancient evil. The first book in the series, Deep Blue, was released in May, 2014; the second, Rogue Wave, launched in January 2015; the third, Dark Tide, came out in October 2015; and the fourth, Sea Spell, was released in June 2016.

In November 2015, Jennifer released the historical novel These Shallow Graves, which received starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly and Shelf Awareness, and was named a Junior Library Guild Selection. 

Jennifer worked with Disney again in 2017, when she released the NY Times bestselling “Lost in a Book,” an original novel set in the world of the blockbuster film, “Beauty and the Beast.” 

Jennifer lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs.

Sam’s Review

Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly is a Beauty and the Beast story, based off of Disney’s latest version of the well-loved classic. This is a great book for Disney fans.

Belle is still a captive and she has received the library, finding an enchanted book by the name of Nevermore. Poe much? She finds herself lost in the story, literally, but can she return back to the beast and her friends when she is tricked by Death herself?

I love Beauty and the Beast, I love books, and if it features magic, Love and Death, then count me in! Wagers, betrayal, and learning to see with your heart, Lost in a Book has you coming back for more.

Sam reviews BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: LOST IN A BOOK on the Thrice Read Books review blog. YA Fantasy

Buy the Book

Thrice Read Books has one hardcover copy in excellent condition. (In fact, it’s the same copy that Sam featured in her vlog). You can buy it here.

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