Tagged: Mystery

Darker Still – Review

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

About the Book:

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

Teen/Young Adult Paranormal/Fantasy

Sourcebooks Fire (original publisher) November 1, 2011

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

I was obsessed.

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

Sam’s Review:

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

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

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

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

Buy this Book:

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

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

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book

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About the Book

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

Young Adult Fantasy 350 Pages

Disney Press (January 31, 2017)

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

About the Author

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sam’s Review

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

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

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

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

Buy the Book

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

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

Diary of a Snoopy Cat – Review

Thrice Read Books review blog post for RF Kristi's "Diary of a Snoopy Cat"

About the book:

Diary of a Snoopy Cat by R. F. Kristi; Inca Cat Detective Series book 5

Upper Elementary/Middle Grade Mystery Fiction

Self-Published October 28, 2017 182 pages

Read the hilarious and breathtaking antics of Inca and her family of furry friends as recorded through the eyes of Inca a Siberian Kitty. Inca decides to start a Diary! A heart-pounding saga unfolds as she keeps the reader thrilled recording her detective exploits.

When Inca and family move to London from Paris, they make a whole new set of friends, including Monk, a Blue Russian cat and Terrence, a Golden Retriever who ably and bravely assists his world-famous detective owner, Solo. Inspired by the adventures of her new friends, Inca sets herself the task of becoming the world’s best cat detective and begins to keep a diary of her exploits.

When Monk arrives one evening, with news of a meeting to take place later that night, Inca is excited and can’t wait to attend. She is told of a perilous journey that must be undertaken by Solo and Terrence, who are to travel to the Himalayas, to search for the missing Raoul, a friend who had failed to return from an expedition.

The departure of Terrence means that Inca can take on her first proper job; the baffling incident of Mr. Finchley’s missing will. But does the young cat have what it takes to crack the case and save the tormented and ferocious Rottweiler – Boss? And can she do it without the help of the wily old Retriever?

About the author:

R.F. Kristi, the author of the Inca book series is a former professional of the United Nations Children’s Fund. She holds a doctorate in economic development and has travelled and lived in various countries of the globe. With a deep commitment to animal rescue efforts, Kristy has a keen interest and love for animals. She created the Inca Cat book series for younger readers up to age 8 or 12 and also animal lovers. Kristi currently resides in France. It is anticipated that the proceeds of the Inca Book Series will be donated to animal rescue efforts in developing countries.

She has always been fascinated with cats. The intelligence and allure of cats has always enchanted her and she has found them the best of companions. She often remembers reading a good detective story with her feline companions close by her side.

Sam’s Review:

Diary of a Snoopy Cat by R. F. Kristi is a upper elementary book. Inca wants to be a world famous detective. Seems simple enough, right? I mean, as a cat, she’s agile, quick, and smart. All she needs now is a case. Luckily for her, a will goes missing and an evil man tries to claim what’s not his.

This was very fun to read and another fun and innocent break from teen reads. I love cats, so giving this book a try was a no-brainer. I enjoyed this book from start to finish because of the well defined characters, and the wonderful illustrations.

What I didn’t like about this book was how I couldn’t see the Rottweiler actually speaking. I mean, technically, none of them should have been talking, but this is a kid’s book. It’s allowed. I can imagine the rough voice, but not the growl at the end.

Sam's Teen Reads Corner and Thrice Read Books features children's book, Diary of a Snoopy Cat, by RF Kristi on this edition of Sam's Teen Reads Corner

Buy the book:

This book is available in Kindle, paperback and audiobook formats from Kindle here. [affiliate link]

The Window – Review

Thrice Read Books & Sam's Teen Reads Corner reviews The Window by Amelia Brunskill - A YA Mystery Novel

About the Book:

The Window     by Amelisa Brunskill

YA Mystery/Suspense 

Published April 3, 2018 by Delacorte Press 

343 pages

Secrets have a way of getting out. . . .

Anna is everything her identical twin is not. Outgoing and athletic, she is the opposite of quiet introvert Jess. The same on the outside, yet so completely different inside–it’s hard to believe the girls are sisters, let alone twins. But they are. And they tell each other everything.

Or so Jess thought. 

After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess’s life begins to unravel. Everyone says it was an accident, but to Jess, that doesn’t add up. Where was Anna going? Who was she meeting? And how long had Anna been lying to her?

Jess is compelled to learn everything she can about the sister she thought she knew. At first it’s a way to stay busy and find closure . . . but Jess soon discovers that her twin kept a lot of secrets. And as she digs deeper, she learns that the answers she’s looking for may be truths that no one wants her to uncover.

Because Anna wasn’t the only one with secrets.

About the Author:

Amelia Brunskill writes young adult novels and short stories. She is an unintentional killer of plants and a highly intentional eater of baked goods. She works as a librarian and she lives in Chicago. 

You can visit her at www.ameliabrunskill.com or follow her on twitter @ameliab.

Sam’s Review:

Drama. Mystery. School. Identical twins. Secrets. Murder. All of that and, more star in The Window by Amelia Brunskill. I would classify this as a murder mystery/suspense. Allow me to explain why.

Jess and Anna. Anna and Jess. That’s the way it’s been for all of Jess’s blissful life as Anna’s identical twin, despite them being so different. But, that is changing. And quickly. Jess knows there’s more to Anna’s death than the world let’s on, and she’s determined to uncover every, last secret, no matter what the cost is.

This book had me hooked to the very end, and left me wanting more. And the reason why I’m not putting in any mention of humor is because there wasn’t a whole lot. The end, as I said, left me wanting more, but it was also satisfying. In other words, I loved it!

Sam's Teen Reads Corner features Amelia Brunskill's YA Mystery/Suspense novel THE WINDOW on the Thrice Read Books review blog.

Buy This Book:

Thrice Read Books has one hardback copy of this book in our shop inventory. You can find it here.

You can also purchase this book in Kindle or Hardbound editions from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

The Jinx – Promotion & Excerpt

Thrice Read Books hosts a blog tour stop for THE JINX by Ernest Lancaster, with chapter excerpt
Thrice Read Books is a stop on the blog tour for Ernest Lancaster's debut novel, The Jinx.

About the Book:

The Jinx     By Ernest Lancaster

Series: Memphis M.O. Book 1

Fiery Seas Publishing     July 24, 2018

Suspense / Action

Disaster strikes and innocents die as police sniper Rick Munro is plagued by a first-call jinx. As his career takes off, he must overcome his rookie mistakes, and keep his team members safe.

When Munro returns to TACT as a newly promoted lieutenant, the jinx torments him still. He must contend with team members’ rival agendas around every turn. Munro finds himself in a battle he can’t escape as corruption and death unfold around him.

Who can he trust? Will Munro break the streak or will it destroy everything he believes in?

About the Author:

Ernest Lancaster retired from the Memphis Police Department as a captain after serving as a cop for thirty-three years.

In the early seventies Lancaster spent two years walking a night beat in downtown Memphis, when The Peabody and Beale Street lay boarded up and crumbling and the center city became a dystopian ghost town after dark. He patrolled in ward cars, trooped for three days through a sea of pilgrims to Elvis’s funeral, edited the Memphis Police Association’s newspaper and acted as the association’s vice-president. For twenty-six years he held positions on the TACT Squad.

Lancaster now resides with his wife and Yorkie in the Smoky Mountains, where they love to hike and camp.

Social Media:

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Buy the Book:

This book is available in paperback and Kindle versions at these outlets:

Fiery Seas Pub Bookstore   Amazon   Barnes & Noble    Kobo

Excerpt, Chapter Eleven (reprinted with permission of the author & publisher)

Vickie delivered a plate and silverware, wrapped in a napkin, to the booth. She set a cheeseburger with a generous serving of thick, golden fries, and a pickle spear in front of him.

“More coffee?”

Munro edged his cup over. “Sure.” He turned to Loretta. “Want a burger? The kitchen is about to close.”

“You trying to make me fat?”

“We have a salad left,” Vickie said.

“No, thanks. Coffee’s plenty.”

Munro reached for his wallet. “How much do I owe?”

Vickie jutted out her palm. “It’s on the house. We’re glad to see you pass through at night.”

“How much are they usually?” he asked.

“Four dollars.”

Munro counted out bills from his wallet. “Here, take three. I’ll pay half price with a dollar tip.”

“Suit yourself.” She took the money.

Loretta’s gaze followed Vickie as she made her way back to the counter. “You know she just put your money in her pocket. Now she’s writing in her ledger, ‘one free burger to the police.’”

“Good for her,” he said. “I bet she works hard for her money.”

“Had to pay, huh? You have a guilty conscience?”

Munro opened the bun and sprinkled the meat with pepper. “Who doesn’t?”

“Good question.” She watched him with wary eyes as he dotted his fries with spots of ketchup. “So, you’re only half corrupt?”

He looked up. “Half price doesn’t hurt a business. I’m not a Boy Scout, but it helps keep me from straying over the double-yellow line head-on into stuffing my pockets or my belly at the public’s expense.”

“Are most cops corrupt?”

He shook his head. “No. Only a few are rotten to their core. And their stench tends to float to the surface. But on the streets in the real world, good and bad wear more faces than a diamond.” He took a hungry bite out of his half-price burger. “And beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.”

She touched her finger to her cheek and traced the scar down her face to where it crevassed her lip. “How can you be a cop if you can’t tell the difference between right and wrong?”

“Easy,” he said. “The almighty law is written down in black and white for any moron to read. And I do know the difference. It’s just that I’ve been around the block enough to know if you ride tall on a white horse through the mud all the time, the only thing you do is turn the horse black.”

“What about justice?”

“Justice? Whose? Movie heroes chase justice.” He stared out onto Madison Avenue. “Real cops, spilling their souls in the streets, are too busy trying to survive to worry about justice. That and clawing to hold onto a bit of their sanity—on a good day.”

She cocked a brow. “Aren’t you supposed to help people?”

“Don’t you see?” he asked. “I help people every day, every chance I get. That’s what I get paid for. And there’s never a shortage of people down and out on their luck needing it. But too many want help screwing someone in the ground to satisfy a grudge or escaping the consequences of their own foolishness.”

He took a slug of coffee like whiskey, and recoiled at its heat. “But if you keep your head down and your antennae up, every once in a while you can climb out of the muck and save some poor schmo who’s buried in disaster. Or make a difference in a kid’s life. Maybe even hammer a predator who deserves it. Those are the things that make it all worthwhile. But most of it is just madness you ride out.”

“Man.” She stared as if he were some offbeat poet ranting in the street. “Your eggs are scrambled.”

Jenn sat down and interviewed Mr. Lancaster about his debut novel, The Jinx, and published the transcript in our newsletter, Between the Lines. You can read the article here.

Runners & Riders – Review

About the Book:

RUNNERS AND RIDERS, by Jordan Elizabeth 

Series: Return to Amston Book One

Genre: steampunk, adventure

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Release: August 22, 2016

Cover Artist: Eugene Teplitsky   

Juliet loved growing up at the seaside, although it meant lonely hours chasing after the other beach rats while her mother worked as a seamstress. Juliet never expected her seaman father to inherit a fortune and move the family to New Addison City. Suddenly her mother is a socialite and Juliet is best friends with a strong-willed girl who actually likes her. When Juliet’s new friend welcomes her to the Runners, a gang that has plagued the East Coast for years, Juliet sees it as the opportunity to fit in, learn tricks, and make eyes at one of the hottest members. What the gang does isn’t really wrong…right? She’s used to being a pawn for the Runners, but she starts to question what she sees as harmless fun when the gang uses her to attack a young officer.

Jonathan Montgomery vowed to end the Runners after they murdered his family. He joined the Riders, an elite police force dedicated to stopping the Runners’ crime spree. They have put him in New Addison City, but rookie mistakes follow Jonathan as he struggles to accomplish his goal, until a young woman feeds him inside information to bring down the Runners.

Between murders and secrets, Juliet will need to find her strength to help Jonathan, before the founder of the Runners crawls up from the sewers amongst her inventions to burn down the city.

About the Author:

Jordan Elizabeth

Jordan Elizabeth, formally Jordan Elizabeth Mierek, writes down her nightmares in order to live her dreams. With an eclectic job history of working as a college professor; historic costumed interpreter at Fort Stanwix, Victorian Leisure Fair, and Mayfaire on the Green; office specialist; sales clerk; election inspector; and trainer, she is now diving into the world of author.It happens to be her favorite one.

When she’s not creating art or searching for lost history in the woods, she’s updating her blog, Kissed by Literature. Jordan is the president of the Utica Writers Club and maintains JordanElizabethMierek.com.

She roams Central New York, but she loves to travel. A great deal of time has been spent in a rural town very similar to Arnn, the setting of her novel ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW.

Find the author Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Jenn’s Review:

My very first Steampunk novel… 

Admittedly, the first few chapters of this story were confusing as the author lays the groundwork and backstories for the major players in the plot (namely Juliet and Jonathan). Once past that point, however, the story unfolded and kept me turning pages late into the night, especially past the halfway point. I read the second half of this book in a few hours – it was that engrossing.

Ms. Elizabeth’s storytelling is superb, weaving clear descriptions that allow the reader a clear mental image of settings and characters, and the mysteries that flow just under the surface of the main plot unfold with surprising twists and turns.

That said, readers should be prepared for a few bumps in the road, especially if small inconsistent details throw you out of the “realm of belief”. I ran across a few scenes in the book where some small detail changed from paragraph to paragraph – minor editing misses that, for me anyway, were just enough that I had to work a little harder for a few pages to slip back into the realm of the story.

Overall, I loved this story, and will be reading the sequel, The Secrets of Bennett Hall, next.

Buy the Book:

 This book is available as a paperback or Kindle ebook from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

The Ghost Files – Review

About this book:

Cherry blossom lipstick: check 
Smokey eyes: check 
Skinny jeans: check
Dead kid in the mirror: check 

For sixteen year old Mattie Hathaway, this is her normal everyday routine. She’s been able to see ghosts since her mother tried to murder her when she was five years old. No way does she want anyone to know she can talk to spooks. Being a foster kid is hard enough without being labeled a freak too. 

Normally, she just ignores the ghosts and they go away. That is until she see’s the ghost of her foster sister… Sally. 

Everyone thinks Sally’s just another runaway, but Mattie knows the truth—she’s dead. Murdered. Mattie feels like she has to help Sally, but she can’t do it alone. Against her better judgment, she teams up with a young policeman, Officer Dan, and together they set out to discover the real truth behind Sally’s disappearance. 

Only to find out she’s dealing with a much bigger problem, a serial killer, and she may be the next victim… 

Will Mattie be able to find out the truth before the killer finds her?

About the author:

Apryl Baker uses Authorgraph to connect personally with readers.
Visit Authorgraph.com, click “Request Authorgraph” and include a message to Apryl to receive a personalized inscription that you can view in your favorite reading apps and devices!

Sam’s Review:

Hello again! How was your weekend? Today we’ll be talking about the Ghost Files by Apryl Baker. This is the first book in a series, and is becoming a major motion picture.

Matilda, or more commonly known as Mattie, has the ability to see ghosts, though everyone she tells that to thinks she’s crazy. Which is why she doesn’t tell anyone. But she may have to expose her secret in order to help rookie police officer Dan solve the missing persons cases of at least ten children, whose ghosts are the only clues she has, and bring a serial killer to justice. Can she avenge the deaths of the children, or will she join them and be the next victim? A true ghost story/murder mystery, Ghost Files was captivating for me, and left me ready for more. Plus, it has a great plot twist in the end, and Mattie tries not to curse. Now that is my kind of girl! I recommend this book to teenage and up ghost lovers, and teens and up only because it has some tense and violent scenes in it. Read the book for a good time, and a heroine unlike any I’ve seen. I don’t know about you guys watching at home, you might have read a book or watched a movie where the protagonist was like Mattie. Subscribe, leave a like, and enable notifications, and I’ll be back next week. Bye!

Buy the book:

This book is available on Amazon in Kindle, paperback and audiobook here. [affiliate link]

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

Secrets of Bennett Hall – Review

About the book:

SECRETS OF BENNETT HALL, by Jordan Elizabeth

Series: Return to Amston Book Two

Genre: steampunk, adventure

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Release: January 30, 2018

Cover Artist: Eugene Teplitsky

Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Description:

Darkness once twisted Adelaide Dinsmore’s mind, but she thought she had grown out of that. Her job as a teacher in Hedlund proved that – until she discovers one of her students dead and the town turns against her. As her mind starts to crumble, she is offered a new job, this time as a governess for Gentleman Bennett’s granddaughter back east.

Bennett Hall is a sprawling manor of winding tunnels and manicured lawns, and the fence is really just for show. The little girl, Theodora, is a delight, albeit quiet, and the Bennetts are kind enough, especially the dashing young Joseph. So what if one of the servants sends chills down her spine every time he looks at her? Surely that, and the noises in the night, are figments of her imagination. She won’t allow the past in Hedlund to tarnish her future at Bennett Hall.

Then, Theodora begins to speak of a Villain who haunts secret passages in the manor, and Adelaide stumbles upon a sealed off wing where ghosts whisper from the shadows. Twisted inventions fill the basement and the villagers are wary of the Bennett family.

The longer she stays at Bennett Hall, the less likely her chance for escape, but she cannot leave Theodora or Joseph. The darkness in her mind might be the only thing to save them.

About the Author:

Jordan Elizabeth

Jordan Elizabeth, formally Jordan Elizabeth Mierek, writes down her nightmares in order to live her dreams. With an eclectic job history of working as a college professor; historic costumed interpreter at Fort Stanwix, Victorian Leisure Fair, and Mayfaire on the Green; office specialist; sales clerk; election inspector; and trainer, she is now diving into the world of author.It happens to be her favorite one.

When she’s not creating art or searching for lost history in the woods, she’s updating her blog, Kissed by Literature. Jordan is the president of the Utica Writers Club and maintains JordanElizabethMierek.com.

She roams Central New York, but she loves to travel. A great deal of time has been spent in a rural town very similar to Arnn, the setting of her novel ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW.

Find the author Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Jenn’s Review:

 I just finished reading this book… And frankly, I’m a bit breathless.

I’m arguing with myself about how best to write a review for this new release, because each option I present, carries with it the chance for a spoiler, so I will keep this brief.

Bennett Hall is the second book in the Return to Amston series, though the only connection between the two seems to be a vaguely mentioned side character (from another series, I’m gathering), and a common “big city” and wider world. The plots appear to be, in no other way that I can find, otherwise unrelated.

I enjoyed Bennett Hall far more than Runners and Riders. The mystery was deep and complex, and the solution was… erm… unexpected. The budding romance between Adelaide and Joseph adds a romantic element, and sweet little Theodora is every nanny’s dream.

Jordan’s character and plot development has grown by leaps and bounds between this book and Runners, and Sam (hostess of Sam’s Teen Reads Corner) will be reading this sometime in the near future.

If you haven’t read Runners yet, while I recommend the book on its own merit of an engaging story line and relate-able characters, reading these books in their published order isn’t strictly necessary. 

In summary, I absolutely loved Bennett Hall, and look forward to further mystery-adventure-romances from Jordan Elizabeth.

Buy the book:

This book is now available from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

The Mussorgsky Riddle – Review

Twitter for Mussorgsky

About the book:

Genre: supernatural thriller

Series: Fugue & Fable #1

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Release: January 12, 2015

Cover Artist: Polina Sapershteyn

Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Psychic Mira Tejedor possesses unique talents that enable her to find anything and anyone, but now she must find a comatose boy wandering lost inside the labyrinth of his own mind. Thirteen-year-old Anthony Faircloth hasn’t spoken a word in almost a month and with each passing day, his near catatonic state worsens. No doctor, test, or scan can tell Anthony’s distraught mother what has happened to her already troubled son. In desperation, she turns to Mira for answers, hoping her unique abilities might succeed where science has failed.

cover art for Mussorgsky Reiddle



At their first encounter, Mira is pulled into Anthony’s mind and finds the child’s psyche shattered into the various movements of Modest Mussorgsky’s classical music suite, Pictures at an Exhibition. As she navigates this magical dreamscape drawn from Anthony’s twin loves of Russian composers and classical mythology, Mira must contend with gnomes, troubadours, and witches in her search for the truth behind Anthony’s mysterious malady.

The real world, however, holds its own dangers. The onset of Anthony’s condition coincides with the disappearance of his older brother’s girlfriend, a missing persons case that threatens to tear the city apart. Mira discovers that in order to save Anthony, she will have to catch a murderer who will stop at nothing to keep the secrets contained in Anthony’s unique mind from ever seeing the light.

About the Author:

Darrin Kennedy

Darin Kennedy, born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine. After completing family medicine residency in the mountains of Virginia, he served eight years as a United States Army physician and wrote his first novel in 2003 in the sands of northern Iraq.

His debut novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle, was born from a fusion of two of his lifelong loves–classical music and world mythology– and is slated for publication by Curiosity Quills Press on 12 Jan 2015. He is currently hard at work on his next novel.

His short stories can be found in various publications, many of which are available through Amazon, and most of which have been collected in his two short story compilations – Necromancer for Hire: The April Sullivan Chronicles & The Sicilian Defense and Other Dark Tales – also available on Amazon.

Doctor by day and novelist by night, he writes and practices medicine in Charlotte, North Carolina. When not engaged in either of the above activities, he has been known strum the guitar, enjoy a bite of sushi, and rumor has it he even sleeps on occasion.

He is represented by Stacey Donaghy at Donaghy Literary Group.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Jenn’s Review:

Admittedly, this book took longer to read than I anticipated – but not because it lacked the usual attention-pulling elements.

I generally try to stay away from murder mysteries. They tend to leave me feeling disturbed at best, anxious and overwhelmed at worst. I dove into this series, however, because of two elements: The paranomal/psychic and the classical composer element.

This mystery is less about the murder of a teenage girl, and is far more about the psychic’s journey through herself as she tries to help a young boy unlock his mental prison that he’s exiled himself to as a measure of coping with emotional trauma. 

Larger than the mystery of the missing girl, is the mystery of why young Anthony mentally locked himself up and how Mira can so easily walk in his mental-scape.

This book sucks the reader in, both with the unusual use of clairalliance by Mira (clairalliance being a gathering of psychic knowing through scent) and the trip through Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. 

This story doesn’t end on a cliffhanger by any means, (other than some romantic prospects that are secondary to the main plot), but I just finished the book and had to race out to my laptop to write the review, so I could start on book 2 of the series, The Stravinsky Intrigue.

For an added twist, listen to the classical piece that serves as Mira’s guide through Anthony’s mind. It serves as an excellent backdrop to the vivid imagery that Kennedy supplies in his writing.

Definitely a meandering, suspenseful read worth its weight in time.

Sam’s Review:

The Mussorgsky Riddle by Darin Kennedy was very interesting and captivating. Mira, the heroin, was very brave, and she’s a physic who’s desperate to help a young boy by the name of Anthony, who is nearly comatose. When she enters his mind, she learns that he knows who killed his brother’s ex.

Very powerful and very good, The Mussorgsky Riddle will draw you in, if you don’t mind being in a messed up dreamscape, that is. If you don’t mind that, but rather enjoy it, it’ll please you to the very end.

Some of the things that I didn’t like was how it was confusing at times. Moments like those were very little, but still. Baba Yaga was a very interesting character, and an unexpected plot twist happened near the end. I guess that that’s the whole point of a plot twist.

Buy the book:

This book is available on Amazon in Kindle, paperback, audiobook and MP3 CD formats here. [affiliate link]

Other books in this series:

The Stravinsky Intrigue (Review coming soon)

The Tchaicovsky Finale (Review coming soon)