Tagged: Middle Grade Fantasy

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book

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TRB STR Twit Lost in a Book Review
Sam reviews Jennifer Donnelly’s Lost in a Book

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.

TRB STR Pin Lost in a Book Review
Sam reviews Jennifer Donnelly’s Lost in a Book

Buy the Book

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

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Tribute – Review

Sam reviews Chris Knoblough's Middle Grade Horror novel TRIBUTE in this edition of the Thrice Read Books review blog

About the Book:

Tribute by Chris Knoblaugh (The Cleaners, book 1)

Middle Grade Horror/Latino Fiction 255 pages

Self-published through Amazon Digital Services, LLC April 13, 2018 

When twelve-year-old Miguel’s gang member Papa makes promises to Santa Muerte, someone in Miguel’s family loses a soul. The last time, it was Miguel’s gentle aunt. This time, the target is Miguel’s brother, Juan.

Santa Muerte, the skeletal patron saint of drug traffickers and murderers, always claims her fee.

The trouble is Miguel won’t let Juan’s spirit go. The resulting paranormal possession attracts demons, doppelgangers, and an ancient soul slayer from the depths of Hell — all of whom must be vanquished if Miguel is to live. 

Even with help, Miguel’s refusal to release Juan threatens the lives of those Miguel loves most. Miguel must choose to release his brother or lose yet another loved one, for the bargain was made with Santa Muerte and the price must be paid.

About the Author:

Chris Knoblaugh runs Dancing with Words Tutoring along with her husband, Mark Dooley. She currently teaches English at a middle school in south San Jose, California. Her interests have expanded to include self-publishing and blogging. Her blog, https://dancingwithwordstutoring.blogspot.com, is structured to help reluctant students learn to be comfortable with writing. She and her husband live in California with more books than necessary and two rescue kitties. Her much beleaguered daughter, Monica, holds her own in this raucous family.

Chris has a B.A.in English Literature with High College Honors, a B.S. in Biology, and an M.A. in Teaching with Reading Specialization. Her novels and stories incorporate myths, cryptids, regional traditions, and historical settings. She enjoys writing for her students and for her tutoring business. You can find her at her blog, at FaceBook, or at Twitter.

Happy hauntings!

Sam’s Review:

Welcome to the land of Tribute, AKA, a book about demons, possession, and a heck ton of danger and ghosts. Tribute was written by Chris Knoblaugh, and is about a Mexican-American family living in San Jose, California.

Miguel has lost his brother, Juan, and is bound determined to find his killer. But Juan hasn’t found his peace, and is stuck in purgatory. This makes him a ghost, and when Miguel ticks him off, he summons a ton of demons that put him and his loved ones in danger.

For me, this book was a trip to crazy town, with a whole bunch happening at once. Several times, I had to shake my head and go, “what? Just, what?” Please know that this book has swearing, and some violent moments, mainly about the demons. It was still interesting, though.

On this edition of Sam's Teen Reads Corner, Sam faces Santa Muerte in Chris Knoblaugh's middle grade horror novel, TRIBUTE

Buy the Book:

 This book is available from Amazon in Kindle format only, here. [affiliate link]

Additional Information about this book:

 Ms. Knoblough was featured in her hometown newspaper about the same time she submitted her request for review. She talks more about her motivation behind writing and publishing Tribute. You can read the story here.

The Belgariad Vol 1- Review

About the book:

The Belgariad Vol 1 of the Belgariad Series

Millions of readers have discovered the magic of David Eddings’ New York Times bestselling series The Belgariad. Now the first three books in this monumental epic appear in a single volume. Here, long-time fans can rediscover the wonder—and the uninitiated can embark upon a thrilling new journey of fantasy and adventure.

It all begins with the theft of the Orb that for so long protected the West from an evil god. As long as the Orb was at Riva, the prophecy went, its people would be safe from this corrupting power. Garion, a simple farm boy, is familiar with the legend of the Orb, but skeptical in matters of magic. Until, through a twist of fate, he learns not only that the story of the Orb is true, but that he must set out on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger to help recover it. For Garion is a child of destiny, and fate itself is leading him far from his home, sweeping him irrevocably toward a distant tower—and a cataclysmic confrontation with a master of the darkest magic.

About the Author:

DAVID EDDINGS published his first novel, High Hunt, in 1973, before turning to the field of fantasy with The Belgariad. He now lives with his wife and collaborator, Leigh, in Nevada. As a writing team, David and Leigh are the authors of The Redemption of Althalus and Regina’s Song

On February 28, 2007, David Eddings’ wife, Leigh Eddings (born Judith Leigh Schall), whom he married in 1962, died following a series of strokes that left her unable to communicate. She was 69. Eddings cared for her at home with her mother after her first stroke, which occurred three years before he finished writing The Dreamers. Eddings resided in Carson City, Nevada, where he died of natural causes on June 2, 2009

Brian’s Review:

     Good day all.  I’m subbing in today for my wife, so you get a special treat.  Today we’re talking about one of my all time favorite stories by one of my all time favorite authors. Yes I know it’s an older series, and has been around for a very long time, but the best classics never die, and this series should and will live on forever, in my opinion.

     David Eddings starts The Belgariad series with a title which works perfectly for a book 1… The Belgariad… Eddings spins a mastery of words, that gives enough detail to know exactly what is going on, and how things look without going over board and boring a reader to death with details. 

     If you continue to read the series you’ll learn that Eddings didn’t write this series by himself but  with the help of his wife Leigh Eddings.  The two of them together wrote a series that was funny, daring, and all out wonderful.  One moment you could be laughing, and with Belgarath, you will be laughing, and the next on the edge of your seat with anticipation with what might happen next.

    I give this book, and this series the highest rating one can give, and recommend this story to anyone who has ever enjoyed, J.R. Tolkien. Magic, treasures, life and death.  If you love sitting on the edge of your seat at 2 a.m. cause you can’t put the book down, then you’ll love David Eddings’ The Belgariad.

Buy the book: 

This book is available in paperback form Amazon here

Serafina and the Black Cloak – Review

About the book:This is the story a brave and unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate amidst the splendor of the Gilded Age and the rugged beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Serafina and her friend Braeden Vanderbilt must work together to solve a dark and dangerous mystery. This page-turning thriller from Disney-Hyperion is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and has appeared on the bestsellers list for more than 25 weeks. It also won the prestigious 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize for “representing the best in Southern literature.” A blend of history, mystery, and magic, this new series has become a favorite for kids, teachers, parents, and readers of all ages (8+). Be sure to watch the book trailer in the media section below. “Never go into the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul.”
Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of Biltmore Estate. There’s plenty to explore in Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt’s vast and opulent home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate’s maintenance man, have lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember. She has learned to prowl through the darkened corridors at night, to sneak and hide, using the mansion’s hidden doors and secret passageways.But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows the clues to follow. A terrifying man in a black cloak stalks Biltmore’s corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of Biltmore’s owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak’s true identity before all of the children vanish one by one.

Serafina’s hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear, where she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must not only face her darkest enemy, but delve into the strange mystery of her own identity.

About the Author:Robert Beatty is the author of the #1 New York Times best selling Serafina series published by Disney Hyperion, a spooky mystery-thriller about a brave and unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate.

Serafina and the Black Cloak was a #1 New York Times best seller, has been on the list for more than 59 weeks, and won the prestigious 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. The second book in the series, Serafina and the Twisted Staff, became a #1 New York Times best seller in the first week of its launch and earned a “Starred Review” from Kirkus Reviews, which said, “Even better than its predecessor, a sequel that delivers nonstop thrills from beginning to end.” Enjoyed by both young readers and adults, the books are being taught in over a thousand classrooms nationwide. The third book in the Serafina series comes out in July 2017.

Robert Beatty lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and three daughters, who help create and refine his stories. He loves to explore Biltmore Estate and the darkened forest trails where his novels take place. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives, Robert was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative Magazine. In 2007, he was named an Entrepreneur of the Year. When asked about the inspiration for his books, Robert said, “Serafina’s journey grew out of my desire to write a story about an unusual and heroic young girl for my three daughters.”

Sam’s Review:

Hello once again, and today we shall be talking about Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty.

Serafina is anything but a normal girl, and has never been seen by the owner of Biltmore Estate, the place that holds the basement where she lives. She spends most of her nights hunting rats, and this leads her to finding the one behind the rash of missing children. When he comes for her, she finds out about the black cloaks power, and takes it upon herself and her new found friend Braeden, the nephew of the estate’s owners, to save the children in the estate.

This book gets 5 of 5 stars for a great and adventurous read. Please be sure to check your local library for the book, and check out the link to Thrice Read Books.com, plus subscribe, and enable notifications. Don’t forget to like, and I’ll be seeing you guys again next week. Bye!

Buy the book:

This book is available from Amazon in Kindle, hardback, paperback, audiobook and audio CD here. [affiliate link]

Reviews for other books in this series:

Serafina and the Twisted Staff

Serafina and the Splintered Heart

Serafina and the Twisted Staff – Review

About the book:

Serafina’s defeat of the Man in the Black Cloak has brought her out of the shadows and into the daylight realm of her home, Biltmore Estate. Every night she visits her mother in the forest, eager to learn the ways of the cat¬amount. But Serafina finds herself caught between her two worlds: she’s too wild for Biltmore’s beautifully dressed ladies and formal customs, and too human to fully join her kin.

Late one night, Serafina encounters a strange and terrifying figure in the forest, and is attacked by the vicious wolfhounds that seem to be under his control. Even worse, she’s convinced that the stranger was not alone, that he has sent his accomplice into Biltmore in disguise.

Someone is wreaking havoc at the estate. A mysterious series of attacks test Serafina’s role as Biltmore’s protector, culminating in a tragedy that tears Serafina’s best friend and only ally, Braeden Vanderbilt, from her side. Heartbroken, she flees.

Deep in the forest, Serafina comes face-to-face with the evil infecting Biltmore—and discovers its reach is far greater than she’d ever imagined. All the humans and creatures of the Blue Ridge Mountains are in terrible danger. For Serafina to defeat this new evil before it engulfs her beloved home, she must search deep inside herself and embrace the destiny that has always awaited her.

About the Author:Robert Beatty is the author of the #1 New York Times best selling Serafina series published by Disney Hyperion, a spooky mystery-thriller about a brave and unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate.

Serafina and the Black Cloak was a #1 New York Times best seller, has been on the list for more than 59 weeks, and won the prestigious 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. The second book in the series, Serafina and the Twisted Staff, became a #1 New York Times best seller in the first week of its launch and earned a “Starred Review” from Kirkus Reviews, which said, “Even better than its predecessor, a sequel that delivers nonstop thrills from beginning to end.” Enjoyed by both young readers and adults, the books are being taught in over a thousand classrooms nationwide. The third book in the Serafina series comes out in July 2017.

Robert Beatty lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and three daughters, who help create and refine his stories. He loves to explore Biltmore Estate and the darkened forest trails where his novels take place. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives, Robert was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative Magazine. In 2007, he was named an Entrepreneur of the Year. When asked about the inspiration for his books, Robert said, “Serafina’s journey grew out of my desire to write a story about an unusual and heroic young girl for my three daughters.”

Sam’s Review:

Hey guys! I hope that you had a fun week last week, I sure did. Today our subject is Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty.

Within the second installment of the Serafina series, the fun characters and dark secrets create a magical feeling. Serafina and Braeden must save Biltmore Mansion from an evil that can control Braeden’s animal friends, and tear the friends apart, helping Serafina learn who she is meant to be. And with a new friend by their side, Lady Rowena, they can stop Biltmore from utter destruction. But is Rowena truly their ally? Or is she the one behind everything happening at the mansion.

Read the book the find out, and read the first installment, Serafina and the Black Cloak if you haven’t already. Subscribe, enable notifications and like this video, and I’ll be back next week. See you later!

Buy the book:

This book is available from Amazon in Kindle, hardcover, paperback, audiobook and audio CD here. [affiliate link] 

Reviews for other books in this series:

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Splintered Heart

Serafina and the Splintered Heart – Review

About the book:

In the highly-anticipated next installment of the Serafina series, Serafina must confront the darkest threat she’s ever encountered at Biltmore Estate. She knows she can face anything with her best friend and closest ally, Braeden Vanderbilt, by her side. But when a sinister force tears them apart, Serafina scrambles to uncover the mystery of her most formidable challenge yet…and about herself and the destiny that awaits her.

About the Author:Robert Beatty is the author of the #1 New York Times best selling Serafina series published by Disney Hyperion, a spooky mystery-thriller about a brave and unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate.

Serafina and the Black Cloak was a #1 New York Times best seller, has been on the list for more than 59 weeks, and won the prestigious 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. The second book in the series, Serafina and the Twisted Staff, became a #1 New York Times best seller in the first week of its launch and earned a “Starred Review” from Kirkus Reviews, which said, “Even better than its predecessor, a sequel that delivers nonstop thrills from beginning to end.” Enjoyed by both young readers and adults, the books are being taught in over a thousand classrooms nationwide. The third book in the Serafina series comes out in July 2017.

Robert Beatty lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and three daughters, who help create and refine his stories. He loves to explore Biltmore Estate and the darkened forest trails where his novels take place. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives, Robert was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative Magazine. In 2007, he was named an Entrepreneur of the Year. When asked about the inspiration for his books, Robert said, “Serafina’s journey grew out of my desire to write a story about an unusual and heroic young girl for my three daughters.”

Sam’s Review:

When Serafina wakes up in a darkness, and no, I’m not telling what it is, nor am I telling of the other beings and characters that are to come into play in the book. I promised myself  not to reveal too much about the story. Let’s just say, Serafina and her friends need to defend Biltmore Estate once again. And they may succeed, if Serafina can find a way to put her soul back together. Read the book to find out why she needs to put her soul back together.

Be sure to read the author note in the back, to find out about Willa of the Wood, a book that takes place in Serafina’s time, features Serafina, but is about a new character, Willa. Check out the Thrice Read Books link that’s just to the right of my head, like, subscribe, and enable notifications. See you next week, and I hope you have a great weekend. Bye!

Buy the book:

 This book is available from Amazon in Kindle, hardcover, paperback, audiobook and audio CD here. [affiliate link]

Reviews for other books in this series:

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Twisted Staff

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]