Tagged: Paranormal

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]

Boy of Blood – Promo & Excerpt

Boy of Blood New Release Book Promotion & excerpt

About the Book:

Boy of Blood promo banner

Boy of Blood     by Megan O’Russell

Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing

Series: Girl of Glass    Genre: YA Dystopia

Release Date: April 10, 2018

After Nightland’s vicious attack on the domes, the safety and perfection of the world within the glass has been contaminated. Desperate to rebuild, outsiders are allowed into the domes to help, breaking the cardinal rule: outsiders and Domers must always be separated. But the city is in shambles, crumbling into chaos without the Vampers of Nightland to keep order, and one name is carried on the wind: Nola.

Clinging to Jeremy, Nola struggles to find a way to exist in the domes, turning her back on all she learned in the city. But when one of the outsiders brings the dark secrets of the domes to light, the line between survival and murder blurs against the spectre of the dying world.

Can Nola follow the dark path laid out by the Domes? Will the dangers of the night become her new sanctuary?

Thrice Read Books blog post Promotion and excerpt from Megan O'Russell's new release Boy of Blood - A YA Dystopian/Urban Fantasy/Romance

Buy the Book:

Amazon     Barnes&Noble     Kobo     iTunes

About the Author:

Megan O'Russell - Author of Boy of Blood

Megan O’Russell is the author of the young adult fantasy series The Tethering, and Nuttycracker Sweet, a Christmas novella. Megan’s short stories can also be found in several anthologies, including Athena’s Daughters 2, featuring women in speculative fiction. Megan is a professional performer who has spent time on stages across the country and is the lyrist for Second Chances: The Thrift Shop Musical, which received its world premier in 2015. When not on stage or behind a computer, Megan can usually be found playing her ukulele or climbing a mountain with her fantastic husband.

Megan’s Social Media:

Website     Twitter     Facebook     Blog

Megan’s also running a Rafflecopter for her new release. Click the link to enter!

Excerpt (with permission of author and publisher):

Excerpt from Chapter Sixteen

Nola shuddered as she took the step that carried her from the road onto the bridge. The metal beneath her clanged with every step. The noise of the guards’ heavy boots shook the air and rattled her lungs like a vicious tolling bell, counting down the steps she had to take before she reached the middle of the bridge.

A line of people approached from the other side, holding torches and lights high in the air. They didn’t have any weapons Nola could see, but if they were wolves or Vampers, they wouldn’t need guns to kill the guards, or Nola.

Finally, Captain Ridgeway held up a hand, and the guards stopped as one.

The silence rang louder in Nola’s ears than the clanging of the bridge had.

The group from the city stopped fifty feet away. There were nearly twenty of them in a tight pack, all tense, ready to fight or run.

She hoped they would choose to run.

“We were told we could speak to Nola Kent,” the man at the front of the pack called from across the gap.

The man was tall with sinewy muscles. His torn clothes hung loosely on his frame. Even in the chill night air, the man wore short sleeves and seemed unbothered by the cold. In the dim light, Nola could barely make out the reddish hue of the man’s eyes.

A werewolf.

Last words:

We reviewed Girl of Glass and will be publishing our review of Boy of Blood on April 26, 2018.

We also sat down with Megan and talked a bit about her new release. We’ll be publishing our interview in an upcoming edition of Between the Pages, our bi-weekly newsletter. You can sign up for it below:

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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)

The Stravinsky Intrigue – Review

Sam's Teen Read Corner review of The Stravinsky Intrigue by Darrin Kennedy

About this book:

Nine months have passed since psychic Mira Tejedor last walked the halls of Anthony Faircloth’s adolescent mind. All but family now, Mira is relocating to Charlotte, NC, not only for a much-needed change of scenery, but to further her burgeoning relationship with Dr. Thomas Archer. On the eve of her move, however, a new threat emerges.

Young girls from every corner of Charlotte are falling catatonic, a condition eerily similar to the illness from which Mira rescued Anthony the previous fall. Mira reluctantly agrees to help Detective Calvin Sterling with the case and soon finds herself pulled into a new pair of fantasy worlds, both borne from the brilliant mind of Igor Stravinsky.

In the world of The Firebird, Mira becomes the warrior Ivanovna and battles an immortal evil threatening to steal the girls’ souls for all eternity. In the Russian fair from Petrushka, she assumes the role of Ballerina, one of three magical puppets who dance at the whim of a cruel Charlatan. Torn between Moor and Clown, bizarre doppelgangers of the two vastly different men in her life, and threatened at every turn by a sorcerer who craves her very essence, Mira must navigate the cruel deceptions of both worlds and win, or her life and the lives of a dozen innocents will be forfeit.

Sam's Teen Reads Corner reviews Darrin Kennedy's paranormal suspense novel "The Stravinsky Intrigue"

About the author:

Darrin Kennedy - Author of the Fugue and Fable series

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. His short stories can be found in various publications and he is currently hard at work on his next novel. 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 to strum the guitar, enjoy a bite of sushi, and rumor has it he even sleeps on occasion.

Sam’s Review:

The Stravinsky Intrigue by Darin Kennedy is the sequel to The Mussorgsky Riddle, and it doesn’t disappoint this reader of the series. Mira is back on the case once more as she tries to find the one who the six comatose girls in the hospital. Taking more trips into the Exhibition, she discovering that instead of having all of her old friends, she’s caught in The Firebird, The Rite of Spring and Petrushka.

Once more, this book was incredible and fun to read, and there weren’t as many confusing moments in it, which is great. And just so you know, Mira won’t be the the main character in the next book. Sorry.

**Jenn’s note: This isn’t classified as middle grade or young adult. Since there isn’t much bad language or graphic violence in book 1, I let Sam tackle this series when she asked, because she is pretty good at knowing her own limits when it comes to lit. 

Buy the book: 

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

Other books in this series:

The Mussorgsky Riddle (Book 1)

The Tchaikovsky Finale (Book 3)

The Tchaikovsky Finale – Review

Sam's Teen Reads Corner book review of Darrin Kennedy's The Tchaikovsky Finale

About the book:Psychic Mira Tejedor lies comatose in the wake of her second battle with the devious Madame Versailles, but her sacrifice was not in vain. Though at great cost, her nemesis is no more, her love has returned to the land of the living, and twelve innocent girls are back with their families. Still, young Anthony Faircloth can’t escape the notion there must have been another way.

Obsessed with freeing Mira as Mira once freed him, Anthony works to rekindle their special link and soon meets with more success than he knows what to do with. Two distinct worlds, both forged in the imagination of Pyotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, threaten to consume his life. By the still waters of Swan Lake, Anthony assumes the guise of a man named Benno and must help Prince Siegfried defend the Swan Princess, Odette, from the machinations of a dark sorcerer. In the Stahlbaum house, he takes on the role of a boy named Fritz who, under the command of the Nutcracker Prince, must save his sister Clara from the onslaught of the Mouse King and his army of rodent soldiers. At the intersection of the two disparate settings lies yet another mystery: both Odette and Clara wear Mira’s face. And these intertwining perils are but shadows of the real danger.

Back in the real world, a menacing figure from Mira’s past has escaped from prison and now stalks her on both sides of the veil of dream. Anthony must bring Mira out of her catatonic state so that she can fight one last time, or her life and the lives of all she loves will be lost.

Sam's Teen Reads Corner reviews Darrin Kennedy's paranormal suspense novel "The Tchaikovsky Finale"

About the author:

Darrin Kennedy - Author of the Fugue and Fable series

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. His short stories can be found in various publications and he is currently hard at work on his next novel. 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 to strum the guitar, enjoy a bite of sushi, and rumor has it he even sleeps on occasion.Sam’s Review:

The Tchaikovsky Finale, by Darin Kennedy, is the last book in the series. Told in Anthony’s point of view, we learn that he remembers more about the Exhibition and the other mindscapes than he lets on. In order to repay Mira, he’ll be the one trying to find her in her comatose state.

This time dealing with The NutcrackerThe Swan Princess and Sleeping Beauty, he finds that Mira has no recollection nor knowledge of her life outside of her comatose state. Madame Versailles isn’t as defeated as believed, Mira’s ex and his fiancè show up to take care of Isabelle, Mira’s daughter, and the man that Mira busted big time is out for his revenge. All in all, helping Mira is harder than Anthony expected.

Heart pounding, with a couple of humorous breaks here and there to break the tension, this book is captivating, but an easy read at the same time. It is very interesting to hear things from Anthony’s point of view for once, and it gives me a greater vision as to what it’s like to share a dreamscape with another person, which is basically what’s going on between Anthony and Mira.

**Jenn’s note: This isn’t classified as middle grade or young adult. Since there isn’t much bad language or graphic violence in book 1, I let Sam tackle this series when she asked, because she is pretty good at knowing her own limits when it comes to lit. Buy the book:This book is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions here. [affiliate link]Other books in this series:The Mussorgsky Riddle (book 1)The Stravinsky Intrigue (book 2)

Fury of Fire – Review

Jenn reviews Coreene Callahan's Fury of Fire, shapeshifter romance on Thrice Read Books review blog.

About the book:

Published February 7, 2012 by Montlake Romance

Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Book one in the Dragonfury series

A clandestine race of half-dragon, half-humans known as dragon shifters lives among us. Bastian, leader of the Nightfury dragon clan, is sworn to protect humankind at all costs. For him, honor and duty always come first. When the clan dictates he take a human mate to sire a son, he falters, aware that for a human to birth a dragon shifter she must die. Myst, the woman given into his care, is the most extraordinary he’s ever met, and though he can’t bear the thought of harming her he is bound by duty.

Myst loves her life in the human world, but Bastian has captured her heart in an instant of electric connection. But Bastian and his warriors are in the middle of a deadly battle with the Razorback dragon shifters, intent on killing every Nightfury clan member—and the humans they protect—the fate of their world and ours hangs in the balance.

An extraordinary blend of action, fantasy, and steamy romance, Fury of Fire brings to life a dangerous new world intertwined with the survival of humanity, all while exploring the meaning of honor and the nature of true love.

About the Author:

As the only girl on all-guys hockey teams from age six through her college years, Coreene Callahan knows a thing or two about tough guys and loves to write about them. Call it kismet. Call it payback after years of locker room talk and ice rink antics. But whatever you call it, the action better be heart stopping, the magic electric, and the story wicked good fun.

After graduating with honors in psychology and working as an interior designer, Callahan finally succumbed to her overactive imagination and returned to her first love: writing. And when she’s not writing, she is dreaming of magical worlds full of dragon-shifters, elite assassins, and romance that’s too hot to handle. Callahan currently lives in Canada with her family and her writing buddy, a fun-loving golden retriever.

Jenn’s Review:

Dragons, damsels and divisive clan wars, oh my! Coreene Callahan kicked this series off with a bang in Fury of Fire, Book 1 in the Dragonfury series.

This is one of those binge-buying Kindle books I picked up (embarrassingly, almost 3 years ago!), and dove into for a bit of a break from ARCs. I was most assuredly NOT disappointed. 

In this shape-shifter-slash-urban-fantasy-romance, Bastian knows he needs to find a human female to impregnate. He’s not keen on the idea; it rubs his moral compass the wrong way, as the birth will inevitably result in his partner’s death. 

Myst stumbles into the middle of a wild, action packed battle between Bastian’s clan and their bitter rivals, and in the end, she’s literally swept off to Bastian’s stronghold in the mountains above Seattle because she refuses to relinquish the baby she delivered just before the battle.

The plot is engaging, the characters well developed and the world-building is mostly believable. This book should be on your to-be-read list if you are a fan of shape-shifter romance.

Fury of Fire by Coreene Callahan - Urban Fantasy/Shapeshifter Romance - review by Jenn on the Thrice Read Books review blog.

Buy the book:

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

Ghost Hawk – Book Review

Brian’s Book Review:

Ghost Hawk is a great story of dedication devotion, love and hate.  You’ll be on the edge of your seat not wanting to put this book down.  A historical fiction told unlike any before.  A great story for anyone from young teen to adults.

Sam’s Book Review:

Little Hawk is the son of Flying Hawk. He is eleven now, and he must prepare for his three month long ordeal to become a man. But when he returns, he finds a nasty surprise in store for him, and the white man’s plans to settle on his people’s land.

When the time comes for him to take the test that will decide if he becomes a man and finds his manitou, or guardian spirit, or dies in the wilderness, he knows that he will survive. So he leaves with his father blindfolded. When they reach the spot, Flying Hawk removes Little Hawk’s blindfold and leaves him there to start the journey. The first thing Little Hawk needs to do is build a fire. Then he will be ready for his manitou to find him.

When his three months are over he returns home, only to find that most of the village died from a horrible plague, including one of his two sisters, his baby brother, his mother, and his father. When he goes to his tent, the only one left in the village is Grandmother Suncatcher. When she tells him about the plague, he feels like his world has been shattered. They take care of each other until Little Hawk’s friend Leaping Turtle comes, wondering what happened. Now there are three of them.

Soon afterwards, they receive a signal from another village, and they send one in return. Suncatcher tries to tell Little Hawk and Leaping Turtle to go to that other village, but they tell her that if she’s not going, they’re not going. Finally, they decide to build a litter to hold her. When three people from the other village, come to check on Little Hawk’s village, they take what survivors remain to a new village. After the visit, they arrive at the other village, and Little Hawk’s little sister, Quickbird, comes running up to him when she sees that Little Hawk has survived the plague. At least one of his siblings survived the epidemic.

They live in the village for a little while, then, the white men come. Little Hawk meets John, a little boy. When Little Hawk and Leaping Turtle go to deliver a message, Little Hawk is shot trying to save John’s father, and then tossed into the bushes. John picks up Little Hawk’s tomahawk for safe keeping, and then goes home, where his father dies with a broken leg. When one of Little Hawk’s killers, Daniel Smith, marries John’s mother, Margaret, John uses every opportunity he gets to try to make Daniel realize that he shot a man who was trying to help. This gets him apprenticed to a master cooper, where he meets Huldah, a young girl going, as her family promised to him, to work for the other murderer, Master Kelly.

When going to collect shoots so that he can make a barrel, he sees the ghost of little Hawk. Realizing that he can see Little Hawk, John decides to learn Little Hawk’s language. They have many meetings, where John and Little Hawk become fast friends. When John becomes an adult, he plans to marry Huldah, but Master Kelly forbids him to ever do so in Plymouth because of John’s love for the Native Americans, or, as the settlers call them, the heathens, causing John to become angry and spill the story of Little Hawk’s death, in public.

That’s not all that goes on in Ghost Hawk. There are many twists and turns throughout the story. This book was written by Susan Cooper, the author of The Dark is Rising. It was published by Margaret K. McElderry Books in 2013. The book I read was first edition. This book isn’t illustrated. I’d give it five stars for a plot that twists and turns, and for a gripping story and recommend this to young adults and middle schoolers.

Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper


From Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper, a story of adventure and friendship between a young Native American and a colonial New England settler.

On the winter day Little Hawk is sent into the woods alone, he can take only a bow and arrows, his handcrafted tomahawk, and the amazing metal knife his father traded for with the new white settlers. If Little Hawk survives three moons by himself, he will be a man.

John Wakely is only ten when his father dies, but he has already experienced the warmth and friendship of the nearby tribes. Yet his fellow colonists aren’t as accepting of the native people. When he is apprenticed to a barrel-maker, John sees how quickly the relationships between settlers and natives are deteriorating. His friendship with Little Hawk will put both boys in grave danger.

The intertwining stories of Little Hawk and John Wakely are a fascinating tale of friendship and an eye-opening look at the history of our nation. Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper also includes a timeline and an author’s note that discusses the historical context of this important and moving novel.

You can buy a used copy of this book from Thrice Read Books here.

Harmony House – Book Review

About the Book:

Carrie meets American Horror Story meets The Shining in this terrifying YA horror novel from the author of Tweak and Schizo.

Something’s not right in Beach Haven.

Jen Noonan’s father thinks a move to Harmony House is the key to salvation, but to everyone who has lived there before, it is a portal to pure horror.

After her alcoholic mother’s death, Jen’s father cracked. He dragged Jen to a dilapidated old manor on the shore of New Jersey to start their new lives—but Jen can tell that the place has an unhappy history. She can feel it the same way she can feel her anger flowing out of her, affecting the world in strange ways she can’t explain.

But Harmony House is more than just a creepy old estate. It’s got a chilling past—and the more Jen discovers its secrets, the more the house awakens. Visions of a strange boy who lived in the house long ago follow Jen wherever she goes, and her father’s already-fragile sanity disintegrates before her eyes. As the forces in the house join together to terrorize Jen, she must find a way to escape the past she didn’t know was haunting her—and the mysterious and terrible power she didn’t realize she had.

Sam’s Review:

First an orphanage, then a hotel, now a home, Harmony House has a dark past, and seventeen year-old Jen and her father are at the center of it all. Jen thinks that the house is trying communicate to her, but she can’t tell what it’s saying. Worst of all, her father is being affected the most.

All it takes is one look at the house, and seventeen year-old Jen knows that bad things are going to happen to her and her father. Not long after, on the same day, she hears her mother tell her good-bye, though her mother’s been dead for a few months. Then she starts having the visions of the orphanage and pieces of her father’s past.

When she has her new friends over for a visit, things take an unexpected turn, and not for the better. Christy jumps off the banister, after disappearing without anyone noticing due to a short power loss. Though everyone tells Jen that Christy will be alright, she still feels shaken up. Jen’s father only makes matters worse by insisting that they pray for forgiveness, even though she tries to tell him that she needs sleep.

When she hears from Rose, the local café owner, that she has special powers, she refuses to accept it. Afterwards, she starts to wonder if it’s her causing the storm, her father’s insanity, and the summoning of the ghost of a long dead boy. If she’s not careful, whatever’s possessing her father may kill her…

Harmony House was written by Nic Sheff, and was published in 2016 by Epic Reads. This book is for teens, and isn’t illustrated. I’d give it 5 stars for a gripping story and vivid details. The genre is horror. The prologue and epilogue are stories of what happened before Jen’s story. I’d recommend this book to all teen and adult horror fans.

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

Spirit Animals: Book 1: Wild Born

Fun book.  Great for upper elementary school to middle school.  The book flows great but may be to easy for more challenged readers of age bracket.  This is book 1 to a series. There is a code so your child or children can play the online game unlocking their own spirit animals.  Fun read at any age.  Great book for 4th and 5th graders to sink deeper into book reports with, as they will want to read the book and share what they read, as they find their favorite of the spirit animals talked about.

You can buy a used copy of this book here.

Cupcakes, Trinkets and Other Deadly Magic – Book Review

What happens when you mix a mediocre witch, her foster sister, a necromancer, a vampire and a clan of werewolves? Mischief, mayhem, and murder ensue when a vampire shows up at Jade Godfrey’s Vancouver cupcake bakery, investigating a series of bloody… erm… bloodless, rather… murders of magic-wielders.

Jade is the vampire investigator’s primary suspect, yet he knows that she isn’t the one murdering the shape-shifters. Jade doesn’t know what to think of the whole situation, as she resists the idea of her hand-made trinkets, little collections of discarded objects strung together, containing enough magic to bring down some of the Adept community’s biggest and baddest.

During the days that follow the vampire’s appearance at her door, Jade learns that the bland history of her own life has been a web of lies and deceptions, that all she’s believed about herself all along has been an illusion. And the sister that she’s always trusted, is the most dangerous lie of all.

Cupcakes, Trinkets and Other Deadly Magic is the first in the Magic Dowser series by Meghan Ciana Doidge. Ms. Doidge’s story telling is as addictive as her character’s delicious sounding cupcakes.

You can purchase this book in Kindle, audiobook or paperback through Amazon here. [affiliate link]