Tagged: Fiction

Off the Map – Review

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

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

About the Book

Off the Map, Sierra Dean

Adult, Romantic Suspense, 220 Pages

Sierra Dean (October 2, 2018)

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author


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

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

Jenn’s Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy the Book

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

Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society – Review

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

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

About the Book

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

Adult, NA Paranormal, 339 Pages

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

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

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

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

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

Book one in the Marjorie Diaz series.

Cover art by Ariel LeAnn of Cat’s Paw Media

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

About the Author

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

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

Jenn’s Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy the Book

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


Check Out Book 2:

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

Head Games

**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.**

TRB Twit for Head Games Review
Jenn reviews Nancy E. M Miller’s Head Games

About the Book

Head Games, Nancy E. Miller 

Adult, Romantic Suspense, 350 Pages

June 20, 2019

Mental health counselor Kate Ainsworth received the call from Det. Rayder summoning her to the beach. Never did she guess that the trip involved a client’s head washed up on shore. Murder and mayhem ensue with Kate in the crosshairs. Ben Rayder is set to protect the woman he loves and track down the murderer, hoping it is her pesky ex-husband just so he can arrest the rich bum. Can he convince her to give love a second chance after devastating betrayal? But first, he must protect her from becoming shark bait.

About the Author

Nancy E Miller

 Greetings and thanks for visiting my author’s page. As you can tell from my biography on the book page, I am a complete sap for any four-legged creature. My husband and I live in Illinois near St. Louis, MO with our four dogs, 2 pygmy goats, and partial interest in a horse (Achilles boards here). Crystal Unicorns came out in 2011 and Shark Bait in May 2017 in multiple venues/formats. Desperate Overtures, debuted in July 2018. It is the first in the Alice Gentry series. All are romantic suspense novels…heavy on the suspense. 
I truly hope you enjoy my books. It’s been a long time coming. Feel free to contact me thru my email nancyemiller57@gmail.com or on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Nancy-E-Miller-Author-894245750641373/?ref=bookmarks

Jenn’s Review

I’ve read Nancy E. Miller’s two other suspense/romance novels, and by far, Head Games was my absolute favorite and falls firmly in the Romantic Suspense category.

Kate Ainsworth is a mental health counselor. She mostly enjoys her job, though her boss is a chronic headache. Unfortunately for Kate, one of her clients has washed up on the beach. In pieces. With two dead sharks. Enter Det. Ben Rayder, who is in the unfortunate position of having to call Kate to identify her client’s remains.

The situation grows more and more complicated as Ben and Kate reconnect and the danger to Kate becomes increasingly apparent. The pair has a history that didn’t end well, and Kate’s ex-husband is on the prowl to seemingly get himself back into her good graces. Can Ben keep her safe when more than her heart is on the line?

As I mentioned, this book falls squarely in the romantic suspense category, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I read the entire book in two sittings and had to rearrange my calendar just so that I could sit and enjoy this fast-paced adventure.

Ms. Miller’s characters are well developed and multi-faceted. It was difficult to hit the end of this book because I really wanted to continue following their journey. Her world-building in this novel was superb. I think only one or two moments gave me pause enough to pull me out of the story for more than a moment. Plot twists were mostly surprises, though one or two were visible from a long way off.

Considering the plot of the book, I also give props to Ms. Miller for her deft handling of what could be very disturbing and graphic moments in the story. She’s handled potential triggers with a deft hand and dialed down the “gross”.

In short, if you only read one of Miller’s novels this year, start here. By far the best indie-published romantic suspense I’ve read in a long time.

Pin for Head Games Review
Jenn reviews Nancy E. M Miller’s Head Games, Adult Romantic Suspense

Buy the Book

 This book is available on Amazon in Kindle format here:


Also by Nancy Miller

Desperate Overtures

Crystal Unicorns

The Long and Short of It All

Desperate Overtures: An Alice Gentry Novel

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

Thrice Read Books reviews Nancy E. Miller's suspense (with romance) novel, DESPERATE OVERTURES.
Thrice Read Books reviews Nancy E. Miller’s suspense (with romance) novel, Desperate Overtures

About the Book

Desperate Overtures: An Alice Gentry Novel, Nancy E. Miller

Adult, Romantic Suspense, 224 Pages

Published  July 21, 2018

Dr. Alice Gentry is not telling the whole truth. Despite her evidence files full of torture, murder, and fire, there is more to the story than the hunter now becoming the hunted. She pulled in every favor to get the FBI involved. Now it’s SSA Chris Jensen’s job to clear up the facts before she ends up dead. He isn’t thrilled about working with an academic but learns she is more than he ever imagined…much more. Sam Richardson, the one person she trusts, thinks she is in over her head but he will defend her to the death. That’s what you do for the woman you love.
A tidal wave of emotion threatens to engulf her. Fear, guilt and shame work to cripple her. Anger and hate drive her on. She remembers a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss… the abyss gazes also into you.”

About the Author

Nancy E Miller

 Greetings and thanks for visiting my author’s page. As you can tell from my biography on the book page, I am a complete sap for any four-legged creature. My husband and I live in Illinois near St. Louis, MO with our four dogs, 2 pygmy goats, and partial interest in a horse (Achilles boards here). Crystal Unicorns came out in 2011 and Shark Bait in May 2017 in multiple venues/formats. Desperate Overtures, debuted in July 2018. It is the first in the Alice Gentry series. All are romantic suspense novels…heavy on the suspense. 
I truly hope you enjoy my books. It’s been a long time coming. Feel free to contact me thru my email nancyemiller57@gmail.com or on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Nancy-E-Miller-Author-894245750641373/?ref=bookmarks

Jenn’s Review

Nancy Miller’s Desperate Overtures is tense, riveting suspense with elements of romance. While it exceeded my expectations, I can’t firmly place it in the realm of romance fiction.

Dr. Alice Gentry is a survivor. She lost both parents when she was a young woman in the aftermath of her abduction and torture at the hands of a budding serial killer. She’s spent years studying and tracking the man who haunts her nightmares, and she finally has access to the FBI, the only people that can bring down the monster.

SSA Chris Jenson doesn’t make the best first impression, but when he realizes what Dr. Gentry left out of the initial interview, his view of the petite woman shifts 180 degrees. Her notes, case files and first hand account prove invaluable as tensions and the body count rise.

Sam? He’s been at Dr. Gentry’s side from day one. The day he drove her parents to the hospital and watched her father collapse, dead, at her bedside. In all the years he’s watched over her, he’s fallen in love with her, but has never given his feelings a voice.

Desperate Overtures isn’t a highly graphic story, though there are elements that might trigger some folks (I’ll be dealing with the images left over for a while, I think), so be forewarned. This is definitely a novel worth sinking your teeth into; the plot twists aren’t plentiful but I found them unexpected all the same.

I hesitate to call this a straight forward romance, though. The heroine’s love interest is muddled through the first half of the book, and overall, the book seemed to be missing some of the requisite plot beats necessary for the book to be satisfactory as a romance – this is not to say that the book wasn’t satisfying, it certainly was. However, some readers may be disappointed if they are expecting strictly a love story. This is definitely more about Dr. Gentry’s resolution of a long-standing wound. This also is the first book in a series, and I’m hoping that book two explores the romance/love story between Alice and Sam more.

In the final tally, Nancy Miller’s Desperate Overtures is worth a read. I was pleasantly surprised, it’s been a while since I had an indie book roll across my Kindle of this quality. I have Ms. Miller’s previous novels, Crystal Unicorns, and Shark Bait, and look forward to reading those as well.

Thrice Read Books reviews Nancy E. Miller's suspense (with romance) novel, DESPERATE OVERTURES.
Thrice Read Books reviews Nancy E. Miller’s suspense (with romance) novel, DESPERATE OVERTURES.

Buy the Book

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


Also by Nancy Miller

Crystal Unicorns

Shark Bait

The Long and Short of It All

Crystal Unicorns: Innocence is so very fragile

**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 Nancy E. Miller's romantic suspense CRYSTAL UNICORNS on the Thrice Read Books blog

About the Book

Crystal Unicorns: Innocence is so very fragile, Nancy E Miller 

Adult Romantic Suspense, 324 Pages

Published November 17, 2013

Now out in paperback as well! Alexis made a fatal mistake. Her new book is about an act of evil and its aftermath, all true and graphically detailed. Now a psychopath wants his due and makes a game of the hunt. Her marriage is dying, and hubby is more than willing for her past love to protect her when Alexis arrives in her hometown. There are more secrets than answers and passion may prove reckless. Innocence is so very fragile. Protector, survivor, and hunter are all victims of shattered lives. They are–Crystal Unicorns. 
Crystal Unicorns is an 80,000 word romantic suspense novel that provides a fast paced, intense psychological journey where cruelty destroys innocence and crushes the human spirit. It is a novel of redemption and renewal against staggering odds.. 
Nancy E. Miller lives near St. Louis, Missouri with her husband, six incredibly spoiled dogs, three cats (not spoiled– entitled), and a tribe of unsociable pygmy goats. She holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Sociology and has worked with endangered youth and those dealing with mental illness as an educator, case worker and crisis intervention counselor

About the Author

Nancy E Miller

 Greetings and thanks for visiting my author’s page. As you can tell from my biography on the book page, I am a complete sap for any four-legged creature. My husband and I live in Illinois near St. Louis, MO with our four dogs, 2 pygmy goats, and partial interest in a horse (Achilles boards here). Crystal Unicorns came out in 2011 and Shark Bait in May 2017 in multiple venues/formats. Desperate Overtures, debuted in July 2018. It is the first in the Alice Gentry series. All are romantic suspense novels…heavy on the suspense. 
I truly hope you enjoy my books. It’s been a long time coming. Feel free to contact me thru my email nancyemiller57@gmail.com or on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Nancy-E-Miller-Author-894245750641373/?ref=bookmarks

Jenn’s Review

Another fantastic Nancy E. Miller suspense novel. Unlike Desperate Overtures, Crystal Unicorns is more romance than suspense, though the mystery still takes center stage.

Alexis is a successful author, and her latest release is another big hit, even though it’s much darker than her previous novels. She’s not fond of going on a book tour, and would love to get out of going, especially to Orlando, where deeply buried secrets and feelings are lying in wait for her. To add to her mounting anxiety – her husband is pushing her to contact an old friend. Alexis would rather swallow broken glass than go there.

As her tour launches, though, her book triggers a chain of events that will force her hand in more ways than she can fathom, and when the body count starts to rise, she’s forced to go down that path of memories and broken hearts to lean on a man she hasn’t spoken to in years.

Crystal Unicorns is still not fully what I would consider romance, but it’s dang close. The tension is high, both in terms of mystery and attraction, and the story is well executed. I had a bit of trouble with a plot point or two (won’t dive into them here, to avoid spoilers), but they were not out of place in the context of the story. A solid four-stars and I’m a Nancy Miller reader.

Jenn reviews Nancy E. Miller's romantic suspense CRYSTAL UNICORNS on the Thrice Read Books blog

Buy the Book

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

About the Author

Nancy E Miller Greetings and thanks for visiting my author’s page. As you can tell from my biography on the book page, I am a complete sap for any four-legged creature. My husband and I live in Illinois near St. Louis, MO with our four dogs, 2 pygmy goats, and partial interest in a horse (Achilles boards here). Crystal Unicorns came out in 2011 and Shark Bait in May 2017 in multiple venues/formats. Desperate Overtures, debuted in July 2018. It is the first in the Alice Gentry series. All are romantic suspense novels…heavy on the suspense. 
I truly hope you enjoy my books. It’s been a long time coming. Feel free to contact me thru my email nancyemiller57@gmail.com or on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Nancy-E-Miller-Author-894245750641373/?ref=bookmarks

Reviewer’s Review

 

Buy the Book

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

 


Also by Nancy Miller

Desperate Overtures

Shark Bait

The Long and Short of It All

Pieces of Me – Review

About the Book

Pieces of Me, Carrigan Richards

Teen/Young Adult Drams 302 Pages

Carrigan Richards Publishing (August 13, 2013)

One second. 

Seventeen-year-old Corinne has everything. Her life. Family. Friends. Boyfriend. But in that one second, she loses it all. Now she’s left with harrowing nightmares. Hallucinations. And panic attacks that seem to come out of nowhere. She tries everything to take the pain away, but there’s only one option she sees as a true way out.

When Corinne is sent to live in a psychiatric institution, she doesn’t want to talk. It’s pointless. They can’t help her. But slowly Corinne opens up and wants to remember what it’s like to be happy so she begins reliving her past life to her doctor. She knows she can’t live in the past, but she sees no future and is faced with the hardest decision of her life.

About the Author

Carrigan is the author of Pieces of Me, a young adult contemporary romance, and the Elemental Enchanters Series, a young adult paranormal romance. She was born in Cullman, Alabama, but grew up in Birmingham, and moved to Atlanta at 18. She earned her BA in English at Kennesaw State University. For as long as she can remember, she was always making up stories and characters inside her head, sometimes using her dolls to act out the scenes.

When she’s not writing (which is rare), she’s spending time with her family and friends, listening to music, playing with her two furbabies, or cheering on her Atlanta Braves.

Jenn’s Review

Another debut novel. YA/teen lit, not exactly romance, but it has a sweet little love story built into it.

This wasn’t an easy read for me. I kind of knew it wouldn’t be when Carrigan emailed me about reviewing PIECES OF ME. My family has front row seats to the unpleasant faces of mental health problems, and this stirred some painful memories.

Corrine is dealing with a lot. So much, that her parents are checking her into a psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt. She’s been through a lot, and at seventeen, she doesn’t have the life experience to sort out who she can really trust.

The author’s style feels a little clunky to me, not uncommon in debuts, but she more than makes up for it with realistic, sympathetic characters. I had a few moments when I needed to put the book down for a reality check (I really wanted to have a heart to heart with the protagonist, Corrine, about her less-than-best-friend, Lisa, who has serious issues of her own).

This is a teen read, but as a parent, I would approach this with caution. I would like my own daughter to read this, because, at 13, she’s already dealt with a suicidal friend. However, the storyline is heavy, and I’m not sure her attention span would stick it out. Without pulling out my personal soapbox, mental health issues, especially anxiety, depression, and PTSD are things that need to be talked about. They need to be on the table, and it’s time for the stigma to fall away. Ms. Richards takes a giant step in that direction with this story.

All of that said, the writing is a bit stiff, and the flashbacks get blurry, making the timeline a little hard to follow at times. This is one of those times that I would encourage the reader to stick it out. The story is worth it. The ENDING is worth it. Grab your tissues and hang on, because the further you get into the book, the harder it is to put down.

For those who might write this off as a depressing book, I challenge you to stick it out. Millions of people deal with these kinds of debilitating mental health issues every day, and Ms. Richards adeptly portrays the headspace of someone (especially a young someone) at the end of their rope.

And spoiler alert: the story has a happy ending. It’s not a unicorns and rainbows happy ending, but it’s a well-written happy ending. Four stars, and a standing ovation for Carrigan Richards for tackling this book.

Jenn reviews YA Fiction PIECES OF ME, a Carrigan Richards novel, in this edition of Thrice Read Books' review blog.

Buy the Book

 This book is available in Kindle and in paperback editions from Amazon  [affiliiate link}

Interview with Charley Pearson – Author of SCOURGE

*Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. You can read the legal stuff here if you’d like, but know that we appreciate you supporting Thrice Read Books by using our links to buy.*

Thrice Read Books interviews SCOURGE author, Charley Pearson

On this edition of “Between the Lines”, we sit down to talk to author Charley Pearson about his writing career, life, and new release, Scourge.

Jenn talks to Charley Pearson, author of science fiction/medical thriller SCOURGE

Jenn: I was reading your bio this morning while setting up the blog post for Scourge. It sounds like you have a fascinating background in all kinds of science-y goodness. Could you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Charley: Well, I started in biology, moved on to chemistry, then joined the Navy (after protesting the Vietnam War) and spent a career with them as a nuclear engineer. They had to give me extra training for that. Mostly oversaw chemical and radiological environmental remediation after the end of the Cold War, releasing sites for unrestricted future use.

Jenn: That’s an unexpected life choice, going from protester to the Navy.

Charley: I may be unique, for all I know. Gotta defend our right to protest. LOL. I was in the first OCS class post-Vietnam that was 100% volunteers, no draftees.

Meanwhile, raised two daughters and spent hundreds of hours backstage at their ballet studio, on sets and stuff.

Jenn: Biocheminuclear engineer by day, ballet stage-dad by night? And I hardly think you’re alone in the “defend our right to protest” thing. I’ve met a few folks in my years as Army wife and Army civilian that would join you in that sentiment.

Charley: Good. Oh – you’ve heard of soccer moms? The other guys and I called ourselves “ballet dads.” (heh, heh). Wrote a humorous mini-memoir that got published last January by Kallista Gaia Press

Jenn: Ah, yes! You mentioned your humor collection before we began. Before we get into the yummy stuff about Scourge, could you tell us a bit about your humor?

Charley: Well, that ballet thing was separate. The humor collection’s title piece, “The Marianated Nottingham,” finally tells the truth about Robin Hood, by revealing the Sheriff of Nottingham’s side of the story. (Poor guy’s trying to found a national park to protect deer, for goodness sake.) Full-length screenplay. Then there are 24 short things – skits, stories, and ballads (solid meter, strict rhyme, and no redeeming social value). Off the wall and sometimes Pythonesque.

Jenn: Aww… Are you gonna make me add more to my TBR pile? Everyone in the Thrice Read family is a huge Monty Python fan.

Charley: Yay! It is available from Amazon; the e-book is only $2.99.

Jenn: I’ll add a link down below for those interested.

Having read the blurb for Scourge though, this seems to be a huge leap from humorous screenplays, poetry, and skits to intense medical thriller. How did that come about?

CharleyScourge – yes, quite different. I had this idea for the technology back in college, but it was premature. Now that computers are so much better, I dug it out and couldn’t resist finally writing it. The tale includes a recurring theme for me — pragmatism vs. morality (aren’t there at least some situations where ends justify means? Maybe?), plus the idea of someone who decides, dang it, they’re going to do what seems right no matter what it costs them.

Jenn: The Messiah archetype?

Charley: Perhaps. But coming from a flawed character who’s been concealing a dark secret about her Roma clan her whole life.

Jenn: It’s those flaws that really make those characters pop off the page and become real. Now, in reading the blurb… is there a single protagonist? Or do you have co-protagonists (hero and heroine)?

Charley: Ah, there’s a love story subplot about these two geeks who have no clue how to read each other. The woman is the main lead, but the guy cons her into trying something she wouldn’t have on her own. The resolution depends on both.

Jenn: Nerd-love! While saving the world, no less. Very cool.

Charley: So terrorist virus, multiple villains, and FBI who thinks the protagonists are at fault, and health agencies who could never solve the problem on their own.

Jenn: Sounds rather twisted and complex, and a little too close to plausible.

Charley: I have a Kirkus quote, “Imaginative and full of action…continually shifting the quirky plot into places that are both surprising and fantastical.” – Kirkus Reviews

Jenn: So, on the seriousness scale, where would you say Scourge falls, between light-hearted and ultra-serious/dark?

Charley: Hmm, tough one. The science may be achievable someday, which I find seriously worrisome from an oversight standpoint. But the story has a lot of light moments and comic relief. I particularly like the parrot, as will your Monty Python fans.

Jenn: I’m trying not to laugh hard enough to alarm Brian. I can imagine how a Python-esque parrot might fit into the story.

Charley: He’s named Mr. Praline. You know, for the John Cleese character, in the.. well, you know which sketch. 

(Clip from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Season 1 episode 8, aired 12-7-1969)

Jenn: Oh, my!

Charley: Sometimes I have a difficult time avoiding humor, even when writing serious stuff. Sigh.

Jenn: I personally like a little humor in the suspense I read, because I get heavily invested in the really good ones, and that makes for some disruption in the real world. And I know several readers that are the same way.

Charley: Yeah, the pacing is essential in any tale.

Jenn: I noticed that your protagonist/heroine comes from a Roma family. When I read that, I think of gypsies. Am I assuming incorrectly? Or could you clarify that, for our readers?

Charley: Ah, yes, Roma = Gypsies = Romani, though the latter is also an Italian name. Some people have used the term Gypsies in a disparaging manner, so it has been dubbed incorrectly occasionally. I tried to clarify the issue in the novel. The clan often refers to themselves as Gypsies, but outsiders vary.

The female lead is in the clan. The guy isn’t. That’s one of the key problems between their ever getting together.

Jenn talks to Charley Pearson, author of science fiction/medical thriller SCOURGE

Jenn: Okay. Major intercultural hurdles can make for some delicious tension.

Charley: Hey, my mother (mixed English/Irish/Belgian/who knows ancestry) faced prejudice from my father’s parents (3rd generation pure Swede). It’s amazing how stupid prejudices are.

Jenn: It is. And yet they persist, sadly. Hopefully, as the literature world starts to come around to diverse books, that will begin to change.

Charley: Yup, diverse should help a lot. The MC in my historical is Japanese-American, and I was really lucky to find a guy born in Tokyo in 1938 to give me a beta-read and advice.

Jenn: Very awesome! That particular generation, while I grew up surrounded by them, they are rapidly disappearing. You’re very fortunate to have that kind of reference.

Charley: True. My dad was the meteorologist on Tinian during the war. Got me interested in that theater and era.

Jenn: And probably gave you a little boost in the direction of a science-based career?

Charley: Undoubtedly. No way he would let me major in music no matter how good a drummer I was. No money in it. Gotta have a productive career. Depression mentality that generation grew up in.

Jenn: Exactly. Although… I think a few drummers have made quite the living, but, erm… I don’t quite think that working in a rock band would have fit the description of “gainfully employed” by his standards?

Charley: LOL – you got it! Hey, I had a great career, so can’t knock his advice!

Jenn: Bingo!

As we reach the end of our time, is there anything else that readers should know about Scourge, or you as an author?

Charley: Well, I’ve got a couple of short stories out in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s fantasy anthologies, if anyone reads those. And I’ve got a YA-historical that’s nearing completion. So don’t count on any consistency from me.

Jenn: LoL! Keep us in mind when that YA is finished! I bet Sam will be all over that.

I’d like to thank you, on behalf of Thrice Read Books and our readers, for taking the time to answer some questions for us.

Links for your published work and your social media are down below, so readers can find you.

Charley: And a humongous thank you back at you! Most fun, and truly helpful for getting the word out to potential readers. Here’s hoping they like it!

Jenn: May your launch be successful, and your book sales through the roof!

Charley’s Social Media: 

             Facebook              Twitter               Website          

 Buy Scourge:

FIERY SEAS BOOKSTORE     AMAZON     BARNES & NOBLE     KOBO

Check out Charley Pearson’s

THE MARIANATED NOTTINGHAM AND OTHER ABUSES OF THE LANGUAGE

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   

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

Also by Donna Migliaccio

Princeling (Prequel, Gemeta Stone)

Kinglet (Book 1, Gemeta Stone)

Fiskur (Book 2, Gemeta Stone)

Stoneking (Book 3, Gemeta Stone)

Ragis (Book 4, Gemeta Stone)

Warhorse – Review

About the Book

Warhorse, Michael Morpurgo

Children’s, Historical Fiction, 176 Pgs

Scholastic Press  September 1, 2010


In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey’s courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer’s son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?

About the Author

Michael Morpurgo, former Children’s Laureate of Britain, is the author of War Horse, called “Superb” by the New York Times Book Review, and now a major motion picture. His other prize-winning books include Kensuke’s Kingdom, Private Peaceful, and The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips. Michael lives in Devon, England, with his wife, Clare. Together, they founded the charity Farms for City Children, which gives children from urban areas an opportunity to spend a week working on a farm in the countryside. You can find out more about him and his books at michaelmorpurgo.org.

Sam’s Review

Now a major movie, War Horse by Michael Morpurgo has a strong message in favor of peace.  This is perfect for horse lovers and peaceful types.

Joey has gone through so much as a war horse. He lost Andy, his boy, he lost his fellow horse to WWI, and he is nothing like the thoroughbred he is. But through it all, he sticks to his hope of finding Andy, giving the soldiers on both sides hope.

I loved this book from start to finish, because I dislike war and fighting. It was well written, and well developed, and showed that there is hope for people in battle.

In this edition of Sam's Teen Reads Corner, Sam reviews Michael Morpurgo's WARHORSE - children's historical/animal fiction

Buy the Book

 Thrice Read Books has one paperback edition in our inventory, in very good condition. You can buy it right here: 

This book is available in Kindle, hardback, paperback, audiobook,mass market paperback formats from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

Aaru – 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's long-awaited review of YA Science-Fiction thriller Aaru, by David Meredith, on this edition of Thrice Read Books' review blog
Jenn’s long-awaited review of YA Science-Fiction thriller Aaru, by David Meredith

About the Book

Aaru, David Meredith (The Aaru Cycle)

Adult Sci-fi/Fantasy 296 Pages

Self Published July 9, 2017

Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear. 

She is sixteen years old. 

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. 

A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive supercomputer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model. Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale. 

What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

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.

Jenn’s Review

Wow… Just finished Aaru by David Meredith. I’ve had it in my TBR pile for quite a while, as it got lost in a storm of review requests. Sitting around an airport for hours had me flipping through my Kindle files, and I ran across this story, and quickly shuffled it to the top of my (now written) list! And now that book 2 is out… I am trying to figure out how to shuffle some more…

Thirteen-year-old Rose Johnson is dying. She’s tired of life, of pain, of hospitals and endless treatments. In short, she knows she’s run out of time. She doesn’t want to leave her sister, though, as they’ve been best friends all their lives. And Koren doesn’t want to lose her sister, either.

The man their father brings to meet Rose in the hospital, offers a “cure”, which Rose only truly understands when her body dies. She wakes up in a virtual Paradise, Aaru.

Koren doesn’t handle the loss of her sister very well – she falls into a depression, rebels against everything in her life, and loses all hope – a devastating thing at her young age. So when her father introduces her to the man who helped her sister, Koren isn’t very cooperative. Until they introduce her to Aaru, and her sister, Rose.

It’s a tough moment for Koren, but she’s so happy to see her sister, she agrees to become their spokesperson. Sudden stardom comes with a heavy price, which Koren doesn’t have a lot of say about paying.

This one’s a suspense/thriller, to be sure, but it’s a lengthy and sometimes difficult read. And, I would caution parents about the suitability for their own teens. While nothing explicit happens on the page, the problems of stalkers, child pornography, sex (it doesn’t happen on the page, but it does make an appearance as a problem in the story) and murder are all encompassed in the plot.

Additionally, I struggled with the author’s choice of writing style – this is a personal note, and not a condemnation of Mr. Meredith’s ability. He has a vast and, at times, obscure vocabulary. While this doesn’t pose a barrier for me, the story is mostly told from the perspective of the teenaged sisters, and the word choices the author favors didn’t quite feel authentic for the ages of the younger primary characters. They were fitting for the antagonist, however. Again, this is my own opinion of my reading experience – others might readily disagree.

All in all, I did enjoy the book. The plot, characters, and setting were all well-developed, and the conflicts and plot twists kept the story engaging. This book is for those who enjoy suspense and mystery, though I would suggest a more mature (not quite R rated) audience though, as some of the scenes might be a little too intense for younger teens.

Jenn's long-awaited review of YA Science-Fiction thriller Aaru, by David Meredith, on this edition of Thrice Read Books' review blog
Jenn’s long-awaited review of YA Science-Fiction thriller Aaru

Buy the Book

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


Also by David Meredith

Aaru: Halls of Hel (book 2)

The Reflections of Queen Snow White