Tagged: Fantasy & Magic

StoneKing – Review

About the book:

StoneKing by Donna Migliaccio February 20, 2018

Fantasy The Gemeta Stone Book 3

Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC

They call him StoneKing: the lord of four countries, the vanquisher of the Wichelord Daazna, the man who will restore his people to prosperity and peace.

But there is no peace for Kristan Gemeta. Already weighed down by the cares of his new realm, Kristan carries a secret burden – the knowledge that Daazna is not dead. He isolates himself in his ruined castle in Fandrall, where he struggles to control the destructive Tabi’a power that may be his only hope of defeating the Wichelord once and for all.

And there’s trouble elsewhere in his realm. His Reaches are squabbling in Dyer, Melissa and Nigel are experiencing heartache in Norwinn, and Heather’s command in Hogia is in jeopardy. Unaware of this turmoil, Kristan receives an unexpected gift – one that forces him, his knights, an inexperienced squire and a crafty young shape-shifter into a hazardous winter journey.

Buy Links:

Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble  ~  Kobo ~  iBooks

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: 

ARGH! I just finished reading StoneKing by Donna Migliaccio, and WOW!

If you haven’t yet read the first two books in the Gemeta Stone series, start with KingletFiskur can be read on its own, and a reader can still get the gist of what’s happened, but I wouldn’t recommend starting this series at book 3 by any means (I’m sure it could stand alone in a pinch, but so many threads from previous books have been pulled into play that it would be a challenge, or a reader might miss far too much of what’s going on).

All those warnings aside, StoneKing is a breathtakingly beautiful work of art. Ms. Migliaccio again writes stunning scenes with an economy of words. Well-rounded and sympathetic characters. I had to put the book down for a few days because of a migraine – usually I can read, despite everything else, but the settings and emotions Ms. Migliaccio writes pulled me in so deeply that the main character’s struggles only enhanced my own problems.

Absolutely nothing is going right for poor Kristan Gemeta. What started as an ill-fated and precipitous visit from a neighboring princess turns into an enlightening adventure, each new stop revealing more and more how poorly things are going for the young king. While everyone (mostly) has good intentions, things are falling apart fast around Kristan, and he’s wedged into tighter and tighter corners as he tries to straighten it all out.

By around the 3/4 progress mark, I was staggering from the plot twists. Book 3 is the antithesis of all of Kristan’s triumph of book 2. Kristan may be the king, but Murphy’s Law reigns supreme in the StoneKing’s lands.

I’ll have to tease the release date for book four out of my contacts, because… the last page. What can I say? I’m already looking forward to it, and my to-be-read pile is already enormous. This is definitely a YA rating (Sam’s 12, and usually reads YA fiction, but I’ve held her off of this series because of some limited content). While this book isn’t as violent as its predecessors in the series, war forces people to make tough choices, and as things settle down, those choices come to light in sometimes brutal or vulgar ways.

In short, Ms. Migliaccio’s writing will pull you in, drag you under, and hold you in Kirstan’s scarred and uncomfortable skin throughout the pages of this book, and will have you begging for more when you finally reach the last page.

Check out the reviews for the previous books in the series: 

Kinglet

Fiskur

Stone King – Promo & Excerpt

About the book:

StoneKing by Donna Migliaccio February 20, 2018

Fantasy The Gemeta Stone Book 3

Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC

They call him StoneKing: the lord of four countries, the vanquisher of the Wichelord Daazna, the man who will restore his people to prosperity and peace.

But there is no peace for Kristan Gemeta. Already weighed down by the cares of his new realm, Kristan carries a secret burden – the knowledge that Daazna is not dead. He isolates himself in his ruined castle in Fandrall, where he struggles to control the destructive Tabi’a power that may be his only hope of defeating the Wichelord once and for all.

And there’s trouble elsewhere in his realm. His Reaches are squabbling in Dyer, Melissa and Nigel are experiencing heartache in Norwinn, and Heather’s command in Hogia is in jeopardy. Unaware of this turmoil, Kristan receives an unexpected gift – one that forces him, his knights, an inexperienced squire and a crafty young shape-shifter into a hazardous winter journey.

Buy Links:

Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble  ~  Kobo ~  iBooks

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

Excerpt (reprinted with the permission of the publisher/author)

EXCERPT from Chapter 1

He did not know how long he had been standing in numb silence when a sense of being watched crept over him. He opened his eyes. A dozen paces away stood an old woman, heavy and stolid, swaddled in a blanket and wincing in the frosty air. Beside her was a tabby cat.

Kristan blinked and looked again. A wavering, transparent haze surrounded the cat, as if the little creature was somehow radiating intense heat. Wiche, he thought, and tensed. By the Stone, what sort of trickery is this?

“A cold morning for standing afield,” the old woman said.

Kristan nodded. The cat took a few steps toward him, angling to his left. Now that the morning sun was no longer behind it, the flickering blur had a distinctly human shape; small, slight and somehow feminine.

“Pay her no mind,” the old woman said. “Curious creature, but she means no harm.”

A blast of wind made them all flinch. Malvo shuddered and stamped. Cat and shape skittered backward in perfect unison.

“Are you of the castle?” the old woman asked.

Are you of the castle?

Bright fragments jangled in the ruins of Kristan’s memory: a spring morning, the smell of fields freshly green, the ring of tack and the thunder of Malvo’s hooves. Beneath those shining shards other, more ominous memories shifted, and Kristan twitched his attention back to the pair before him.

“Can you not speak, sir?” the old woman asked.

“I can speak.” Kristan jerked his chin at the cat-thing. “Is she yours?”

The old woman chuckled. “As much as such creatures can be.”

The cat moved toward him again, with more confidence. It lifted a paw, as if to pat at his leg, just as the shape spouted a foggy protrusion that reached toward his cloak. He recoiled and bumped against Malvo.

“Never fear,” the old woman said. “Such a little cat can do you no harm.”

Kristan snorted. “Does she speak?”

Both the cat and the woman froze, but then the old one chuckled again, although this time the laugh sounded forced. “Speak? That would be strange indeed.”

“Why? Is she a simpleton?”

With a loud hiss, the cat disappeared, snuffed like a candle’s flame. In the same breath, the shape solidified into an adolescent girl. She stumbled backward and fell, and the old woman leaped in front of her, arms outflung as if to ward off a blow.

The Girl Without Magic – Book Review

About the book:

Death would have been easier, but the Siren wasn’t through with her. 
Seventeen-year-old Maggie Trent fell out of a battle and into the Siren’s Realm, a land where secrets hide in the shadows and pleasure comes at a price Maggie is unwilling to pay. 

The time for the Siren’s reckoning has come, sweeping away all she deems unworthy to live in her realm. Those without magic are hunted by the Siren. Those with magic are hunted by the Stricken. Fighting or hiding seem necessary to survive. But there is a different way.

Bertrand Wayland, unaging and unrelenting in his determination for Maggie to accept her fate, slips in and out through the stitches that bind the Siren’s Realm to other worlds, gaining magic and having glorious adventures. When Maggie follows Bertrand out of the Siren’s Realm, seeking an adventure of her own, she finds instead a world of magic on the eve of war. To save innocent lives Maggie risks her heart, her life, and her only chance of returning to the Siren’s Realm. 

About the Author:

 Megan O’Russell is the author of How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days and The Girl Without Magic (both with Curiosity Quills Press) as well as the YA Dystopian Girl of Glass and the Christmas romance Nuttycracker Sweet, both published with Fiery Seas Publishing. 2018 projects include Boy of Blood, the second book in the Girl of Glass trilogy (Fiery Seas Publishing).

​In addition to writing, Megan travels the country as a professional musical theatre performer alongside her husband, moving from show to show and stage to stage. She recently had the opportunity to add “lyricist” to her bag of tricks with Second Chances: The Thrift Shop Musical.

When not wearing tap shoes or writing new stories and songs, Megan can usually be found up a mountain. Sometimes in Alaska, sometimes Space Mountain. Either way, adventure all around.

​Megan is represented by Lane Heymont at the Tobias Literary Agency. 

Jenn’s Review:

This is the second Megan O’Russell book I’ve read, and I so didn’t want to put it down! Ms. O’Russell has scored another hit with her most recent (January 9, 2018) release of The Girl Without Magic. 

From the starting block, I wasn’t sure if I should be laughing or crying for Maggie Trent, as she stumbles and staggers her way through the first few chapters. (Incidentally, Maggie faces life much like I do – with a sarcastic “Well, this is great. What’s next,” way of viewing and tackling each obstacle in her way. 

She adjusts quickly to her new life, once she realizes she isn’t dead, and decides that she’s going to stick to the lie that she’s not a witch. The adventures and misadventures that ensue had me breathlessly clinging to my Kindle to find out if Maggie and her accidental companions would win the day. (okay, so perhaps some of the breathlessness was the head cold I was fighting… The story was exciting, none-the-less!)

Sam’s Review:

Hello and welcome to this review about a super new book, The Girl Without Magic by Megan O’Russell. Maggie Trent is a witch. A modern day witch, who is called by the Siren to the Siren’s Realm. Unfortunately, she has no idea how she got there, but a great adventure is in store for her. And I’m not telling. You won’t be getting any spoilers this time. Sorry, but, new book, you can find out what happens in the story. I will however tell you this, it’s worth the read. It gets five stars for a great story, captivating places, and lovable characters. Please remember to check out the fantasy book, and the link. Subscribe, like and enable notifications. I’ll be back next week. Bye!

Buy the book:

 This book is available on Amazon in Kindle edition here. [affiliate link]

One final note: 

Megan clued me in on a little secret… She has a raffle going for… HOLY COW! A brand new Kindle Fire 7 that’s preloaded with young adult novels. (FYI, I have a Kindle Fire 7, and love it.) This is totally awesome! Go get your name on the list now! (the raffle is running until Jan. 23, 2018, if my math is right – so don’t put it off!)a Rafflecopter giveaway

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Book Review

About the book:

 “‘There is a plot, Harry Potter. A plot to make most terrible things happen at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year.'” 

Harry Potter’s summer has included the worst birthday ever, doomy warnings from a house-elf called Dobby, and rescue from the Dursleys by his friend Ron Weasley in a magical flying car! Back at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his second year, Harry hears strange whispers echo through empty corridors – and then the attacks start. Students are found as though turned to stone… Dobby’s sinister predictions seem to be coming true.

Sam’s Review:

Hello again. Today in Sam’s Teen Reads Corner, we’ll be talking about, wait for it,  J.K Rowling’s second book in the Harry Potter series: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Harry and his friends go back for their second year at Hogwarts, once again, they find themselves in the middle of a battle between dark magic and good magic. And once again, Harry is the only one who can defeat Voldemort, only, this time, he won’t be fighting Voldemort himself, but a memory, the young Tom Riddle, the young self of the dark lord. But can he defeat the young Voldemort, or will he fail? And how, just how, does one fight a memory? Read it to answer these questions, and to take your magical journey to the next stop. This fantasy tale will captivate the minds of young adults everywhere from the first page, and is filled with twists and turns. It gets 5 stars, and two thumbs up. Please don’t forget to check out the link, and subscribe. Like and enable notifications and I’ll be seeing you next week, so hang in there. Bye!

Buy the book:

 You can buy this book on Amazon in Kindle, paperback, hardcover, audiobook or mass market paperback edition here. [affiliate link]

Jaguar Stones: MiddleWorld – Book Review

About the book:

Fourteen-year-old Max Murphy is looking forward to a family vacation. But his parents, both archaeologists and Maya experts, announce a change in plan. They must leave immediately for a dig in the tiny Central American country of San Xavier. Max will go to summer camp. Max is furious. When he’s mysteriously summoned to San Xavier, he thinks they’ve had a change of heart.

Upon his arrival, Max’s wild adventure in the tropical rainforests of San Xavier begins. During his journey, he will unlock ancient secrets and meet strangers who are connected to him in ways he could never have imagined. For fate has delivered a challenge of epic proportions to this pampered teenager.

Can Max rescue his parents from the Maya Underworld and save the world from the Lords of Death, who now control the power of the Jaguar Stones in their villainous hands? The scene is set for a roller-coaster ride of suspense and terror, as the good guys and the bad guys face off against a background of haunted temples, zombie armies, and even human sacrifice!

Sam’s Review:

Hello and welcome to another video, and today we will be talking about the book Middleworld by J & P Voelkel. Taking place in modern day Central America, the son of famous archaeologists, Max, learns that the Mayans never really disappeared, but live in the present. When his parents disappeared into the Mayan underworld, he teams up with Lola, also known as Ix Sak Lol, or Lady White Flower, in Mayan. Together, they learn that the only way to save Max’s parents from an undesirable fate, will be to journey to the black pyramid, the home of Ah Puku, the god of sudden and unnatural death. But can they reach it in time to find out? Well, don’t look at me for the answers. You can find out for yourself by reading the book, with all of its lovable characters and tense moments, and secrets galore.

The book is available at Amazon in Kindle, paperback, hardback, Audible and CD format here. [Affiliate Link]

Worthy of Song and Story – Book Review

Sam’s Teen Reads Corner is live with a new video. This time, it is for her review of Worthy of Song and Story by Neal Chase. Special thanks to Fiery Seas Publishing for a review copy of this book on Kindle. (This blog post contains an Amazon Affiliate link. When you make a purchase through this link, TRB receives a small percentage of your total purchase. This helps cover our expenses, and keeps www.thricereadbooks.com ad-free. Thank you in advance for your support.)

Worthy of Song and Story by Neal Chase takes places in the time of vikings. The moments of suspense and mischief fit the main character, Stian, son of the trickster god Loki. Though what Stian plans to do is against the will of the gods, this narcissistic character will stop at nothing to free Loki from his bonds and have a real family once and for all. This wonderful tale of courage and family has its moments of hopelessness, joy, suspicion, and heart-pounding adventure, complete with moments of betrayal. If you wish to know what is to come of Stian, read Worthy of Song and Story. Though it was a wonderful read, Neal had several typos that are difficult to overlook. But if you are a historical fantasy fiction lover, and a young adult who loves fiction, then this is the book for you.

Worthy of Song and Story is available in Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

Kinglet – Book Review

About the book:

Kristan Gemeta has lost everything:  his crown, his kingdom, his courage – even his name.

In the vast wilderness of the Exilwald, he’s known to the other outcasts as Kinglet.  As long as Kristan stays hidden, he can elude the bounty hunters, brutal soldiers and terrifying spells of Daazna, the Wichelord who killed his father and destroyed his life.

But when a new band of pursuers comes looking for him, Kristan’s wariness gives way to intrigue. For bounty hunters they’re oddly inept, and a young woman in their company is leaving enigmatic drawings wherever they go.  As they plunge deeper into the Exilwald, Kristan follows. He discovers the drawings symbolize the Gemeta Stone, an ancient family talisman seized by Daazna but now in the little band’s possession. 

With the Stone’s protection, Kristan might stand a chance against Daazna.  He could regain his birthright and his honor.  But to obtain the Stone, he must reveal his true identity and risk the one thing he has left…his life.

Jenn’s Book Review:

Back to the fantasy genre with Book One of the Gemeta Stone series, Kinglet. I read the first two of these books backwards, and though I reviewed Fiskur first, I highly recommend starting with Kinglet (go figure… read a series in order – What a novel concept!).

Ms. Migliaccio’s debut novel for this series lays the foundation of a beautifully developed fantasy world filled with magic, mystery, bitterness and revenge slowly played out. We meet Fandrall’s heir-apparent, Kristan Gemeta as a shy, kind prince, doing his best to live up to his dying mother’s request. While Kristan isn’t as big and brawny, or as outspoken, as his father might like, he is cunning and quick.

Kristan’s father is betrayed by a former ally who’s sold his soul (and his morals) for want of an heir, setting in motion the events of the Gemeta Stone series. In nearby Hogia, Gemeta’s betrayer finds himself without heir or kingdom, and Daazna, the “devil” who’s usurped his throne, has a bitter grudge against Kristan’s family line, and cares little for the power he has in Hogia, leaving the kingdom in dispair and ruin.

Hogia still has hope in the form of a small band of rebels that find themselves fleeing for their lives, bound straight for their destined encounter with the exiled Kristan.

Lest I give away spoilers, I’ll leave you hanging there…

Ms. Migliaccio weaves a beautifully crafted fantasy tale of revenge and enemies, old allies and new-found friends, hate and burgeoning love in this series’ first book. Deep, well-developed characters, magic and myth, and cultures both familiar and new come to life in the pages of this novel.

Again, I wouldn’t recommend this book for younger teens or those that tend towards squeamish about violence. Kinglet does have a number of battle scenes, and while Ms. Migliaccio is concise about her descriptions in Kinglet, I found that they were slightly longer in book 1 than they were in Fiskur, and more detailed. (Though, I feel it’s also fair to note that they are not unnecessarily long or overly graphic – they are what I would consider to be believable in nature.)

Book three is due out in February, 2018, and you can be certain that I’ll be on the blogtour once it’s released. In the meantime, catch up on Kinglet and Fiskur, and get ready for book three, Stoneking.

Buy the Book:

This book is available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon here

Other Books in the Series:

Fiskur (book 2)

Stoneking (book 3)

Ragis (Book 4)

This blog post contains Amazon Affiliate links. This means that TRB receives a small percentage of your final order total, at no extra cost to you. The revenue generated from affiliate links helps us cover our costs, and keeps Thrice Read Books ad-free. Thank you for your support!

Hawksmaid – Book Review

Sam’s Teen Reads Corner is live with another video book review, this time of the book Hawksmaid by Catherine Lasky.

The author of the book Hawksmaid is Kathryn Lasky. When Matty, AKA Maid Marian, discovers her talents for taming and training hawks, she learns that it may take every bit of her talent, and bonds to her hawks to save England from ruin and tyranny. No book that has been written in the fantasy fiction genre, so far, could ever match to the storyline’s magical airs. It is an amazing read, and I recommend it for Junior High level reading and up. It gets 5 of 5 stars, for an amazing and magical tale of love and freedom. The moments of tension and bliss help you fall in love with the mischievous at heart characters.

 You can buy a copy of Hawksmaid from Thrice Read Books here.

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

The Prisoner of Azkaban – Book Review

About the Book: 

For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.

Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter’s defeat of You-Know-Who was Black’s downfall as well. And the Azkban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, “He’s at Hogwarts…he’s at Hogwarts.”

Harry Potter isn’t safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.

Sam’s Book Review:

J.K. Rowling is back with another Harry Potter adventure, complete with more characters and beasts, new teachers and spells, which gives you the latest adventure for the trouble-attracting trio. Filled with moments of laughter (of course!) and moments of suspicion, this book does not fail to disappoint the fans of the series. For all of you modern day fantasy lovers who have started the series and need to know where to go next, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the stop for you. 

You can buy this book from Amazon in Kindle, hardcover, paperback, mass market paperback and audiobook here. [affiliate link]

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Book Review

About the Book: 

What did Harry Potter know about magic? He was stuck living with the decidedly un-magical Dursleys, who hated him. He slept in a closet and ate their leftovers. But an owl messenger changes all that, with an invitation to attend the Hogwarts School for Wizards and Witches, where it turns out Harry is already famous… (From Amazon.com product listing.)

Brian’s Review: 

The Sorcerer’s Stone, is a brilliant start to a brilliant story. Rowling’s first book is geared towards the age of maybe 10 or 11, which happens be to the very age of Harry Potter himself at the start of this.  Her later books in this series though grow up with the characters.  Masterfully written, and have lead to the love of reading for countless children world wide. If you have a child, around the age, this is a great book.  I do give a fair warning though.  If you attempt to read this book before your child, you too will be hooked. So if you aren’t looking to start a series you won’t put down until the end of book 7 do not attempt to enjoy this book with your child.  You will fall in love with the characters. If you have seen the movies, I suggest you read the books, you won’t be disappointed.

Sam’s Review:

Hey, and I am back just as I promised, and today  we are doing the first Harry Potter book, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. For those of you who haven’t seen the other two Harry Potter reviews, it’s best that you start here, since I’ve been doing them backwards, I guess. If you have seen one or both of the other Harry Potter reviews, and are a little confused, that’s okay. Now, let’s get on with the review. Harry is the boy who survived Lord Voldemort’s killing spree, removing so much of the dark lord’s magic that Voldemort was forced into hiding. Harry, his parents dead, was given to his aunt and uncle, who were determined to take away Harry’s magic, if only they could. Now eleven years old, he gets the invitation for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and learns that he is the boy who lived. While at his new school, he makes two new friends, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger. Together, they learn that Voldemort is somewhere in the castle, and that if he isn’t stopped in time, Hogwarts might be no more. No pressure on them or anything, right? Wrong. Since they are the only ones that know about it, they take it upon themselves to stop the dark lord. Can they do it? Read the book to find out. I hope that you have a great weekend, and please don’t forget to check out the store link, subscribe, like, and enable notifications. See you next Friday. Bye!

Buy the book:

Thrice Read Books has a paperback edition of this book for sale here.

You can also purchase this book from Amazon in illustrated form in Kindle, paperback, hardcover, audiobook or mass market paperback here. [affiliate link]