Tagged: Parent-Child Relationships

Aaru – Review

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

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

About the Book

Aaru, David Meredith (The Aaru Cycle)

Adult Sci-fi/Fantasy 296 Pages

Self Published July 9, 2017

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

She is sixteen years old. 

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

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

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

About the Author

David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee. He received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.

Jenn’s Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy the Book

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


Also by David Meredith

Aaru: Halls of Hel (book 2)

The Reflections of Queen Snow White

To Hold A Siren’s Heart – Review

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

Jenn's review of adult paranormal/urban fantasy romance TO HOLD A SIREN'S HEART by Rachel Leigh Smith

About the Book

To Hold A Siren’s Heart, Rachel Leigh Smith (Redemption’s Price Book 1)

Adult,  Romance/Paranormal, 336 Pages

Rachel L. Smith (November 15, 2016)

Sleeping with the enemy is never a good idea. Neither is falling in love with her.

Siren David Michaels lives by one rule: no relationships. His kind is cursed to lives of jealousy and selfishness when it comes to relationships. Having a one-night stand with a sexy stranger sounded good at the time. The last thing he expected was to see her show up seven years later claiming his very sick little brother is the long-lost next alpha of the Boulder pride.

Megan Kincade, the only daughter of the Boulder pride alpha, hasn’t stopped dreaming about the dark-haired man she slept with in Florida. The last thing she expected was to find him claiming her little brother as his own, and learning he’s a siren. The enemy.

Taking his little brother back to his family is the only way for him to live. But if David loses him, he loses his humanity. And he also sets off a war if his symphony finds him. Then there’s the problem of falling in love with the alpha’s daughter.

When David’s symphony comes for him, he gives himself up to save Meg and Owen. The love he thinks himself incapable of is the only thing that can save him. Provided Meg can find the courage to defy her pride and save her siren’s heart.

About the Author

Rachel Leigh Smith was swept off her feet at the age of six by Magnum, P.I., then again at nine by Frank Hardy. She remembers her favorite romance novels by the hero’s name, so of course, she writes romance for the hero lover. She lives in central Louisiana with her family, a half-crazed calico, a ginger tabby lion, and a menagerie of book boyfriends.

She’s an active member of Romance Writers of America.

Jenn’s Review

Shapeshifters, warring ancient pantheons, and love that transcends tradition and discrimination, all packed into a smooth, free-flowing paranormal romance? Where do I sign up?

David’s brother is dying. Rheumatoid arthritis is tearing apart his frail body, bound into human form by an unknown person for unknown reasons. When his friend Dante shows up to tell David that he’s located Owen’s birth family, the news is a mixed blessing.

Owen grounds David, helps him manage his Siren urges and keeps him from becoming the monster David knows hides inside. Owen doesn’t know anything about their secret world, though, and David’s father handed down a blood oath to protect Owen. No matter what.

Owen needs his birth family, though, if he’s to break the curse that’s killing him. And Dante’s news is the first ray of hope. The catch? The sister Dante brings is the one night stand that David can’t forget.

Meg’s life is a shadow of what she wants. Her pride blames her for her brother’s abduction and has all but shunned her. And the amazing night she had back in Florida several years ago, is the one time she felt unburdened. Too bad he was a one not.

When Owen agrees to return to the pride, he has one condition – David has to be allowed to come along. The problem? David’s kind has been at war with Owen and Meg’s kind for millennia. David’s parents fled from their symphony, not far from Owen’s pride lands, but they never told him why – only that he had to stay away from Denver at all costs. Unless Owen’s life depended on it. Can he keep the secret of what he is long enough to settle Owen and get out before he brings a war to the two people he loves most?

To Hold a Siren’s Heart had all the requisite beats in all the right places. Even though the sex was all behind closed doors (mentioned but not played out on the page), the story still packs in the heat. The fast pace had me turning the pages (just one more chapter and then I’ll go to bed), but the ending? Not quite satisfying. It felt rushed and incomplete, which was a disappointment after such an awesome plot.

Compelling characters, slight cliffhanger ending, action and irresistible bonds of love make up this story. My only dislike was that ending, but the ending alone doesn’t make me rule out reading the next book in the series.

Jenn's review of adult paranormal/urban fantasy romance TO HOLD A SIREN'S HEART by Rachel Leigh Smith

Buy the Book

 This book is available from Amazon in Kindle edition.

Your Next 24 Hours: One Day of Kindness Can Change Everything – Review

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

New book review on Thrice Read Books: Adult Nonfiction/self help - Your Next 24 Hours by Hal Donaldson

About the Book

Your Next 24 Hours: One Day of Kindness Can Change Everything, Hal Donaldson with Kirk Noonan

Adult, Self Help, 178 Pages

Baker Books (February 14, 2017)

If asked, who among us wouldn’t say we were kind people? But kindness is often manifested in feelings of pity or sympathy–especially when others are watching–rather than in deeds. And when it comes down to it, what good does mere feeling do for the world?

Your Next 24 Hours is about something much bigger–a lifestyle of kindness, without thought of reciprocation, extended toward every person in our lives, both friend and foe. Through powerful true stories of kindness lived out, this book shows readers the enormous difference they can make through small, doable acts of kindness in their families, communities, workplaces, schools, and churches. It shows how every encounter with another person is an opportunity to be kind–and a chance to change our world.

Readers of Your Next 24 Hours will find deep satisfaction and joy as they discover how they can be part of a revolution of kindness that starts with them and reaches out through every person their lives touch.

Jenn’s Review

Kindness is King, and the world could be an entirely different place if all of us made the choice to pay homage.

Through dozens of real-life examples, both famous and mundane, Hal Donaldson and co-author Kirk Noonan illustrate more than 20 ways and reasons to make kindness, not only a random act but a purposeful habit.

My teenager recently asked me, “Why are people so unkind?”

The answer to changing that is in this slender volume, as kindness is contagious.

If you’d like to reach out to others but aren’t sure where to start, I recommend letting this little book be your launch pad. Spend 24 hours in selfless kindness using the ideas in this book, and watch the ripples spread.

New book review on Thrice Read Books: Adult Nonfiction/self help - Your Next 24 Hours by Hal Donaldson

Buy the Book

Thrice Read Books has one hardcover copy of this book for sale through our website. Click the button below to buy now.

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

Fateful Decisions – Review

Thrice Read Books reviews Trevor D'Silva's Fateful Decisions

About the book:

Fateful Decisions by Trevor D’Silva

Historical Fiction     325 pages

Black Rose Writing     October 25, 2017

It’s 1915 in the heat of WWI. Two friends heading to England aboard the British ocean liner, RMS Lusitania, meet and fall in love with a charismatic woman. After battling for her affection, Rachel Williams makes her decision, beginning a journey that no one can predict or soon forget. For the next thirty years, Rachel is forced to live with the choice she made, as the dominos fall around her, sequentially.

Is there a sinister force at work? Who can Rachel trust? Will Rachel ultimately regret her decision when she learns how it impacted others?

Set in America and Europe, history and fiction intertwine, commencing with the sinking of Lusitania. Historical events like The Russian Revolution, Prohibition, The Great Depression and World Wars I and II also play important roles in the lives of the characters and the decisions they make to love, betray, forgive, and reconcile.

About the author:

Trevor D’Silva has a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering; M.S. degrees in Engineering Management, and Environmental Engineering; and an Associate degree in Accounting. He has lectured in mechanical engineering and environmental science subjects at various colleges. Fateful Decisions is his first novel, encompassing history and fiction from WW I to the end of WW II. He uses his free time to expand his knowledge in history and reading crime, thrillers, and mystery novels.

Jenn’s Review:

Every so often, a book slides across my desk with a concept that utterly fascinates me. Trevor D’Silva’s Fateful Decisions is one of those books. The idea of a book following one person through the inevitable consequences of decisions both large and small… That alone pulled me in. I read the sample to get a feel for the author’s writing style, and paused – but the concept, and the opening chapters’ scenes won the day.

Fateful Decisions is a debut novel, and I’m hoping that Mr. D’Silva continues to develop himself as a writer. His style in narration and dialogue is very stiff and feel almost unnaturally formal. It’s not a style I typically continue reading, but in this case, I found myself continually turning pages to find out what happened next, while developing my own feel for how the characters each sounded in dialogue.

The plot was what kept me in the book, turning the pages as I moved through the timeline. I am fascinated with the idea of cause-and-effect related to decisions, and this was the focus of the book. To that end, I think Mr. D’Silva could have slowed down some, to help the reader connect more fully with both historical events and the events in the lives of his characters. 

Thirty years is a LOT of time to cover in 300 pages, and the author did this efficiently. While it was fascinating to read the chronology of world events as seen through the eyes of various characters, at times I found myself scratching my head, questioning the plausibility of THAT many coincidences in one life (or even three lives as this story rolls along).

The book is full of plot twists and uncanny developments and spans just about every major world event between the sinking of Lusitania and the end of WWII, so be prepared for a wild ride.

While I found the author’s style stiff, I would still recommend this book to fans of early 20th century history. 

Jenn shares her thoughts on Trevor D'Silva's historical fiction novel "Fateful Decisions" on the Thrice Read Books review blog

Buy the book:

This book is available from Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions (also available on Kindle Unlimited as of this writing) here. [Affiliate link]

New Rules for Positive Parenting – Review

Thrice Read Books reviews New Rules for Positive Parenting by Jerre Ader

About this book:

Published April 12, 2016 by Difference Press

Parenting is a responsibility of epic proportions. As a parent, you’ll have your child for a year when they are a baby, four years when they’re a toddler, and preschooler, a child for five years, and then for eight years when they’re a preteen and a teenager. Then you are mostly done with your job of parenting. How you do this job of parenting will have an impact on your child for the rest of their life. 

But, don’t despair! There are no perfect parents. We didn’t have them, our parents didn’t have them, and our children won’t either. However, we can all be parents who are good enough. 

In New Rules for Positive Parenting, author Jerre Ader reviews research on new brain science and attachment theory and what it tells us about raising secure children. She describes how beliefs and behavior patterns, or schemas, can be developed in childhood and stay with us and impact our thinking and behavior as adults. The way a person describes the childhood they had provides useful information about how their own child is likely to attach. 

Your attachment style impacts 90 percent of your relationships. The attachment process occurs throughout the life span. You will learn how you can develop acquired secure attachment and pass that secure attachment on to your child. 

Parents who change can change their children.

Jenn’s Review:

It’s been a while since I read a book that left me undecided on whether I liked it (or agreed with it, in the case of nonfiction). Jerre Ader’s New Rules for Positive Parenting falls in that category.

I got this book because our daughter recently rounded the teen mark and with that, came her desire to attend brick and mortar public school for the first time. What we had going on worked, but I knew we could improve our relationship.

New Rules does lay down valuable, science based information on attachment, and some of the ways parents can foster better relationships with their children. Ms. Ader also makes valid points about how our own childhood attachment wounds affect adults, and those remaining wounds go on to affect our relationships with our children, I felt her suggestions on how adults can heal these wounds fell short of helpful. [Note: I’ve read a number of the reviews for this book on Amazon, and she’s gotten a number of 5 stars, with a large number of those from self-identified therapists – Maybe my lack of understanding in this department, specifically in psychology contributes to this.]

I also struggled with her whole insistence that we should not tell our children “no.” I’ve heard this idea before, and I simply cannot get on board with it. Times will always arise where trying to compromise or conversate a child (whether 3 or 15) is neither appropriate nor practical. 

I would recommend this book to new or want-to-be-parents, especially. Parents with older children may, like me, struggle with this information, whether from deep seated patterns (from childhood and current situations) or from practical experience. Like any nonfiction work, my recommendation is to approach it with an open mind and take away anything useful you find. 

Thrice Read Books review of Jerre Ader's New Rules for Positive Parenting - Nonfiction - Self Help - Parenting - eBooks

Purchase this book:

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