Tagged: Part of a Series

Love on a Limb – Review

About the Book

Love on A Limb, Laurie Lewis (Great Expectations Love Stories: The Graykens Book 1)

Adult Religious Romance 344 Pages

Willowsport Press, November 26, 2017

Matthew Grayken is young, successful, and dying, which is why he’s about to propose to a total stranger. He isn’t interested in love. He needs a caregiver, a companion, and someone to be his legal voice when he can no longer speak for himself.

Lonely, compassionate nurse Mikaela Compton is intrigued by Matt Grayken’s tender request, but when their friendly marriage turns into love, she rejects the inevitability of Matt’s death and prays for a miracle instead.

Mikaela succeeds in reigniting Matt’s will to fight, but his body is losing the battle, and her determination to save him causes her to betray the fundamental promise she made him–to help him die peaceably. 

Their last hope at saving Matt’s life will require a sacrifice from each of them, and force them to decide how far out on a limb they’re willing to go for love.

About the Author

Laurie (L.C.) Lewis knows that wherever life takes her, she will always be a Marylander at heart—a weather-whining lover of crabs, American history, and the sea. She admits to being craft-challenged, particularly lethal with a glue gun, and a devotee of sappy movies. 

Therapists have been chasing her down to diagnose her multiple personality syndrome since she writes under three names–historical fiction as L.C. Lewis, romance and women’s fiction as Laurie Lewis, and general fiction as Laurie L.C. Lewis. 

Jenn’s Review

Cancer. It’s one of those words that make just about anyone cringe. But what happens when you’re fighting a losing battle? For your life, for your voice, for dying on your own terms?

That’s the question that bachelor Matt Grayken faces when he makes the choice to propose to Mikaela in the opening chapter of L.C. Lewis’s contemporary romance, Love on a Limb.

Matt has been battling cancer since childhood. He’s made a decent life for himself with the help of his adoptive, Irish immigrant parents, in the United States. This time, he’s chosen to withhold his renewed battle, to fight cancer his own way. 

He’s been observing gentle, compassionate Mikaela as she works with patients at the cancer treatment center when he’s in for chemotherapy. She’s exactly what he wants as an end-of-life partner, prompting his audacious proposal. They’ll be legally married, she’ll be his voice and nurse when he can no longer speak for himself, and she’ll inherit his home and a substantial endowment towards getting her medical degree. No one’s feelings get involved, no one gets hurt. 

Mikaela isn’t entirely on board with Matt’s plan, but she reluctantly agrees. It’s a break from trying to juggle everything in her life, but… 

Featured on the Thrice Read Books review blog: LOVE ON A LIMB by Laurie Lewis - Adult Contemporary/Inspirational Romance

The agreement works for both Matt and Mikaela, but a hitch develops in their tidy agreement. They’re falling for each other, fast. 

Ms. Lewis tenderly weaves the emotional turmoil of a life with cancer into a sweet romance. She tackles the billionaire rich boy stereotype and mixes it with a compassionate male character, whose purpose in life is to help others live their dreams. Mikaela is the compassionate nurse who strives to ease the emotional, physical and financial struggles that accompany the battle with cancer, and the two mesh beautifully. She refuses to give up hope and shows her backbone and stubborn will to beat Matt’s cancer right into their black moment, and against the odds. 

This is the first in a series, and my hope is that Matt and Mikaela win their battle against his cancer in the long run. Love on a Limb is for fans of sweet romance who don’t mind a tear jerker.

Buy the Book

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

Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels (How to Write Kissing Books) (Volume 1) – Review

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

Jenn reviews ROMANCING THE BEAT: STORY STRUCTURE FOR ROMANCE NOVELS by Gwen Hayes - Nonfiction, Writing Craft, Romance Writing

About the Book

Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels (How to Write Kissing Books),  Gwen Hayes 

Teen/Adult, Research, 98 Pages

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (April 2, 2016)

What makes a romance novel a romance? How do you write a kissing book?

Writing a well-structured romance isn’t the same as writing any other genre–something the popular novel and screenwriting guides don’t address. The romance arc is made up of its own story beats, and the external plot and theme need to be braided to the romance arc–not the other way around.

Told in conversational (and often irreverent) prose, Romancing the Beat can be read like you are sitting down to coffee with romance editor and author Gwen Hayes while she explains story structure. The way she does with her clients. Some of whom are regular inhabitants of the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.

Romancing the Beat is a recipe, not a rigid system. The beats don’t care if you plot or outline before you write, or if you pants your way through the drafts and do a “beat check” when you’re revising. Pantsers and plotters are both welcome. So sit down, grab a cuppa, and let’s talk about kissing books.

About the Author

Gwen Hayes lives in the Pacific Northwest with her real-life hero and the pets that own them. She writes stories for teen and adult readers about love, angst, and saving the world.

Gwen’s first novel, Falling Under, was released in March of 2011 by NAL/Penguin and followed up by the sequel, Dreaming Awake, in January of 2012.

In addition to writing, Gwen is a freelance editor at www.fresheyescritique.com.

For more information, please visit http://www.gwenhayes.com or sign up for her non-spammy newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/v-4Xj

Gwen is represented by Deidre Knight of The Knight Agency.

Jenn’s Review

I’m pulling my writing craft books off the shelf and reading them as November draws near. I picked this particular book up, hoping to clarify plot beats for my romance writing. When I received it, though, I lost hope. It’s so slender, how could it possibly help me straighten out my messy storylines?

I took my time reading it, though, and have all but chained it to my desk as a permanent part of my writing toolkit. The author of this slim book on romance writing packs so much into this volume in a clear and concise way, and then throws humor and music playlists in on top of it! I’ve been able to sit down with my manuscripts and walk through each, with this book, and identify what’s missing and what needs to be cut. (Hallelujah!)

Of all the books on my shelf, this one tops the list for helpful. Aspiring romance authors, grab this one and don’t let go!

Jenn reviews ROMANCING THE BEAT: STORY STRUCTURE FOR ROMANCE NOVELS by Gwen Hayes - Nonfiction, Writing Craft, Romance Writing

Buy the Book

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

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.

Dragon Lightning (Dragon Dreamer Book 2) – 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.**

On this edition of Sam's Teen Reads Corner, JS Burke's Dragon Dreamer - YA Fantasy

About the Book

The Dragon Lightning, J.S. Burke (Dragon Dreamer Book 2)

Young Adult,  Science Fiction, 264 Pages

Lind Press; 2 edition (October 10, 2016)

Drakor foresees the doom of dragons. 

Drakor seems like a normal young ice dragon with a talent for making lightning swords. But he alone feels the changing heart of his island Volcano. It destroyed his beloved sire. Now he foresees their doom, but none will listen. As he seeks proof, the Volcano shakes him off into the frozen sea. Arak was mocked as a worthless dreamer until he and Scree, a fearless undersea misfit, saved the dragons. Now dragons and octopi sail north in search of mythical ice dragons. They find Drakor and a terrifying reality. When Scree enters the abyss to check his volcano, she discovers everyone is in peril. Can this crew of unlikely friends save three realms?

“Dragon Lightning” is stand-alone book II of the award-winning Dragon Dreamer series: science fantasy adventure with dragons, an undersea world, and unlikely friendships. “Dragon Lightning” won the Pinnacle First Place Award for Best Science Fantasy and the IAN First Place Award for Best Science Fiction. It’s also an IAN Finalist for Best Fantasy and an IAN Finalist for Best Young Adult book. This upbeat novel is for readers age 9 and older. 

About the Author

J. S. Burke is the creator of the award-winning Dragon Dreamer series: Science Fantasy Adventure with flying dragons and an undersea world. Burke has worked as an author, artist, and marine biologist, studying creatures of the dark abyss and diving on coral reefs. The author lives in Georgia with family and rescue pets. Burke loves chocolate and so do the dragons! 

The Dragon Dreamer series grew from years at sea, a fascination with the alien, intelligent octopuses, and a love of dragons. These stories blend imagination with real science and author experiences. The deadly sea storm that threatens Arak, a young dragon, is one Burke survived. This series of young adult books is for age 9 and older. “Fantasy Snowflakes Coloring Book” has original, hand-drawn snowflake mandalas inspired by the Dragon Dreamer series. 

Book Awards for “Dragon Lightning” by J. S. Burke:
*PINNACLE FIRST PLACE for BEST SCIENCE FANTASY
*IAN FIRST PLACE for BEST SCIENCE FICTION 
*IAN Finalist for BEST FANTASY
*IAN Finalist for BEST YOUNG ADULT

Book Awards for “The Dragon Dreamer” by J. S. Burke:
*IAN FIRST PLACE for BEST FIRST NOVEL
*IAN Finalist for BEST FANTASY
*IAN Finalist for BEST SCIENCE FICTION
*IAN Finalist for BEST CHILDREN’S Show Less

Sam’s Review

The sequel to Dragon DreamerDragon Lightning is still filled with magic and plenty of dragons. Arak and his friends have found a wounded ice dragon, a creature of legend and a creature of stubborn pride, by the name of Drakor. Drakor is like Arak, he sees what is to come. And he needs the golden dragons’ help to save his kind.

Dragon Lightning was fun, but again, it was pretty slow at times, which is a bummer, because the story is good. However, we’re getting more and more characters, and it’s becoming a bit too much for me.

On this edition of Sam's Teen Reads Corner, JS Burke's Dragon Dreamer - YA Fantasy

Buy the Book

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

Related post: 

The Dragon Dreamer Book 1 in the Dragon Dreamer Series

The Dragon Dreamer – 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.**

Sam reviews JS Burke's THE DRAGON DREAMER on this edition of Sam's Teen Reads Corner - YA Fantasy

About the Book

The Dragon Dreamer, J.S. Burke (Dragon Dreamer Book 1)

Young Adult,  Science Fiction, 253 Pages

Lind Press (April 23, 2014)

A dragon, an undersea misfit, and a dangerous dream. 

Bullied as a worthless dreamer, Arak flew far away on a quest . . . and crashed. A fearless shape-shifter octopus named Scree rescues him, and an unexpected friendship begins. Arak returns to the Winter Festival, where dragons carve glaciers with fire and toss lightning bolts in the clouds. But a devastating illness strikes the clan. Then an undersea volcano erupts, which triggers a towering tsunami and a deadly chain of events. How can Arak use his hidden talents and a dangerous dream to save the dragons? 

Dive into a new fantasy world! “The Dragon Dreamer” 
is a stand-alone book I of the Dragon Dreamer series: Science Fantasy Adventure with dragons and an undersea world. “The Dragon Dreamer” won IAN First Place for BestFirst Novel. It’s also an IAN Finalist for Best Science Fiction and for best fantasy Book. This series has real science with a fantasy take; the octopus abilities are the same as on Earth, though their life cycle differs. For young adults 9 to 99.

About the Author

J. S. Burke is the creator of the award-winning Dragon Dreamer series: Science Fantasy Adventure with flying dragons and an undersea world. Burke has worked as an author, artist, and marine biologist, studying creatures of the dark abyss and diving on coral reefs. The author lives in Georgia with family and rescue pets. Burke loves chocolate and so do the dragons! 

The Dragon Dreamer series grew from years at sea, a fascination with the alien, intelligent octopuses, and a love of dragons. These stories blend imagination with real science and author experiences. The deadly sea storm that threatens Arak, a young dragon, is one Burke survived. This series of young adult books is for age 9 and older. “Fantasy Snowflakes Coloring Book” has original, hand-drawn snowflake mandalas inspired by the Dragon Dreamer series. 

Book Awards for “Dragon Lightning” by J. S. Burke:
*PINNACLE FIRST PLACE for BEST SCIENCE FANTASY
*IAN FIRST PLACE for BEST SCIENCE FICTION 
*IAN Finalist for BEST FANTASY
*IAN Finalist for BEST YOUNG ADULT

Book Awards for “The Dragon Dreamer” by J. S. Burke:
*IAN FIRST PLACE for BEST FIRST NOVEL
*IAN Finalist for BEST FANTASY
*IAN Finalist for BEST SCIENCE FICTION
*IAN Finalist for BEST CHILDREN’S

Sam’s Review

Dragon Dreamer is amazing and incredible. Who knew that a story with octopi and dragons could be so good? This is highly recommended for fantasy lovers and sea lovers, so don’t hesitate. Try it!

Arak is a dragon with a special gift. He can see what is happening in other places. Scree is an octopus and a Healer. She’s brave and smart, and the only one daring enough to speak to squid and dragons, and ride sharks. Teamed up, they can make peace with different species, and learn that legends are more than stories, but that they are filled with truth and hope.

This book was impressive. Combining fire (the dragons) and the water (Scree and her pod), it creates a magical mixture of love and danger. What I didn’t like though was how it felt like a children’s book. It was slow at times, and then too fast at other times.

Sam reviews JS Burke's THE DRAGON DREAMER on this edition of Sam's Teen Reads Corner - YA Fantasy

Buy the Book

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

Incompetent Gods – Review

About the book:

In a dimension created by the ancient gods, most are now stuck working at Gods Incorporated. CEO Queen Louhi Pohjola, a mortal demigoddess turned vampire (on a diet), holds the planet in the palm of her hand and while she cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called a nice person, there’s worse lurking in her shadow.

Goblin, a bitter hybrid with childhood issues and shape-shifting abilities, has a grudge against the world. First on his to-do list is getting rid of the Queen and take her place by forcing the titan Ba’al to devour her.

As her friends and allies fall one-by-one into Goblin’s traps, the Queen’s fate seems inevitable. With no one left to fight, will Ba’al’s friends, a bunch of over-the-hill incompetent gods, be enough to stop Goblin from turning the world into hell?

About the author:

Gabriele Russo

Gabriele Russo was born in Quebec City amidst a family of book lovers – her father had dreamed of being a writer and both of her brothers are published authors. 

Since she earned her Bachelor’s in History, it was no surprise (except to her) that she ended up working in restaurants, eventually owning two, which almost drove her mad. She sold them and was nursed back to pseudo-sanity by Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. 

That’s when she answered the family calling and decided to write. Armed with her ideas for the Gods Inc. series she went back to University and got her Master’s in Creative Writing.

She now lives with her husband in Virginia, where she divides her time between painting, teaching French and Creative Writing, playing tennis and, of course, writing more books.

Sam’s Review:

So, this book takes place in a dimension where all the gods and goddesses from the pantheons, Celtic, Roman, Greek, Egyptian, you name it, try to survive in the modern world. Of course, all of them are governed by the leader of Gods, Inc. (trust me, it may sound like a comedy, by it really wasn’t… Either that, or I have a different sense of humor that what this book was geared towards.).

The queen, who happens to be a vampire, is named Louhi. I think that I’m pronouncing it right. The book didn’t really come with pronunciations here.

Of course Goblin, the bad guy, wants what she has: the seat of power. He gets it, he controls the gods, in a way. So, yeah, he’ll need to kidnap some gods, torture them, send Louhi to our dimension. It won’t work, but still.

This book is definitely not a kids book. It has a lot of bad language in it, but it is very good. It gets four stars, and it does have a sequel that I’ll do later. If you’re wondering why it is at four stars, allow me to explain. I did not enjoy it like I thought that i would. Sorry.

The reason behind the rating is simple, I didn’t like the concept. Gods would go great together, I thought. They’d be fine, I thought. Yeah, that kind of moment. I did like that they brought in vampires though. Vampires rock.

Buy the book:

This book is available in Kindle and paperback editions here. [affiliate link]

Other books in the series: 

Inclement Gods

Incoherent Gods

One More Run – Review

Jenn reviews One More Run by Matthew J. Cox on Thrice Read Books review blog

About the book:

One More Run by Matthew S. Cox     Roadhouse Chronicles Book 1

Published by Curiosity Quills Press      December 4, 2016

Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction

In August 2021, they tried to disprove the adage that violence doesn’t solve anything―by killing everyone.

No people, no problems.

Fifty years later, humanity has emerged from the ashes. As if nuclear war wasn’t enough, a cruel virus followed on its heels, reducing many survivors to mindless killers.

With no infrastructure left, Drivers are the only link between scattered towns. Anyone with the skill to maintain a vehicle (and the balls to hit the road) can seek riches running jobs for the Roadhouse.

Kevin longs to trade in his steering wheel for a Roadhouse of his own, no longer being the idiot ducking bullets for a handful of coins. He’s one run away from retiring when a strange woman begs him for a ride to Harrisburg. Desperation has a way of getting a man to do stupid things, and he agrees to run a package so valuable half the Wildlands will come after him.

For his whole life, all Kevin cared about was himself―and maybe his car―yet his enigmatic companion makes him wonder if there’s more to life than selling food, booze, and weapons to reckless fools.

Her past catches up to them, stranding Kevin at a fork in the road: fulfill his dream, or let it go for something he never thought he’d want―love.

About the author:

One More Run author Matthew S. Cox

Originally from South Amboy NJ, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Since 1996, he has developed the “Divergent Fates” world, in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, The Awakened Series, and the Daughter of Mars series take place. More recently, he has forayed into young-adult and middle-grade novels. Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humor, and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.

Jenn’s Review:

Mad Max meets Resident Evil in this fast-paced, post-apocalyptic novel by Matthew S. Cox. 

One More Run chronicles the unplanned adventures of Kevin, one of the few bold souls remaining brave enough to act as a courier between the far-flung, terrorized and tattered settlements that make up the former United States of America. 

Kevin is this close to having the cash saved up from his dangerous runs to found his own Roadhouse and retire from driving for good. But just as things are looking like the end of his dangerous struggles, Kevin finds himself in a situation that even his jaded conscious can’t walk away from – watch a woman dragged off to slavery, or stand up and take on a job that risks everything he’s worked for.

As one run after another goes sideways and wrong, Kevin holds onto his goal: Finish with being a courier for good, and settle down with his own roadhouse.  And as situations get more and more complicated, the jaded young man finds his heart softening towards his damsel-in-distress (who is far more than she appears to be), despite lingering questions about her humanity. Together, they dodge zombies, slavers, drug dealers and more, always braced for the next blow that could end one, or both, of them.

One More Run was an engaging thriller with just enough romance in it to keep me turning the pages. Clean enough to be a YA read for an older teen, this is also engaging enough for more mature tastes – due to language and occasional sexual references, I’ve shelved this one for Sam a few years down the road. Four stars, and looking forward to diving into the sequel, Redeemed, soon.

Jenn Reviews post-apocalyptic/Sci Fi novel One More Run by Matthew S. Cox on the Thrice Read Books review blog

Buy the Book:

This book is available in Kindle or paperback editions from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

Other books in this series:

The Redeemed (book 2)

We Are Mars – Review

About the Book:

We Are Mars: The Rubicon Saga – Part 1      By Cheryl Lawson

Publisher: Southernwood Technologies Inc.

Series: The Rubican Saga      Genre: SciFi Fantasy

Release Date: May 15, 2018

The year is 2128. 

For the people of Rubicon, Mars is Home – hostile and unforgiving – but still Home. When Rubicon is taken by surprise by an unexpected and deadly threat, it’s a race against time and a desperate fight to stay alive. 

Jax and Dana, Ridley and Chuck, Lenny and Maliyah all stand on opposite sides of a class divide, battling passions and tensions in equal measure. But can they work together to avert a disaster? Could the fundamental differences between them be the key to their survival, or to their destruction? 

To make matters worse, unsettling events on Earth put the entire Mars Mission at risk and Rubicon – with little choice left – declares its independence. The news of this is not welcomed by powerful politicians that devise dubious plans to shelve the settlement, once and for all. 

Mistakes are made, allegiances shift and lives hang in the balance. No one can be trusted as allies become enemies and the true nature of life on Mars is revealed – One wrong move, and it will be your last.

About the Author:

Cheryl Lawson lives in Kamloops, BC, Canada, with her husband and son. Cheryl grew up in South Africa, moving to Canada in 2006 when her son was just a year old. They settled in the lower mainland of BC, before moving, in 2017, to Kamloops. After a long career as a graphic designer, photographer and artist, Cheryl began pursuing writing, full-time, in 2014. She released her first non-fiction book in 2016. When she is not writing, Cheryl continues to pursue her passion for nature through her art and photography. Cheryl is a member of the Federation of BC Writers and a member of the Kamloops Arts Council. Her non-fiction book, a manifesto of her career as a creative professional, is entitled Authentic Creativity, How to Make the Most of Your Creative Intent, Strategy & Perspective. It is penned under her married name, Cheryl Bezuidenhout. We Are Mars is Cheryl’s first fiction novel.

Brian’s Review:

 As a person who would love to be a Mars Colonist, We Are Mars, is a great starter book for Cheryl.  The book moves pretty fast, and has enough entertainment to keep me interested. There are a few questions I have about some of the things that take place, but they aren’t hard to over look for the entertainment of the story.  Again for a first novel, the writing was pretty good and I am anxiously awaiting book two. Cheryl really hits home with her descriptions of life on Mars and the struggles that would come with it. The “Red Planet” never read so good, as far as I have read.  Recommend this book for anyone who looks at the stars and wonders.

Brian reviews Cheryl Lawson's debut science fiction novel "We Are Mars" on the Thrice Read Books blog

Sam’s Review: 

We are Mars by Cheryl Lawson was okay. It bounced from person to person, but it’s still worth reading. The book is a science fiction, for those who are wondering.

Mars has been claimed by the human race for science. However, the precious water from the dry planet has been poisoned, causing an outbreak that kills many. The heroes (and heroine) learn that they are not the only humans on Mars.

We are Mars is perfect for people who don’t mind sudden changes of point of view.  It was still good, though. I liked the characters, and the plot twists, though I don’t like the cliffhanger.

Sam adds her thoughts to the review blog for Cheryl Lawson's WE ARE MARS, book 1 in the Rubicon Saga, on the Thrice Read Books blog

Buy this book:

This book is available from Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions here. [affiliate link]

Beyond Circumstances – Revew

Jenn at Thrice Read Books reviews new release Adult Contemporary Romance by Gloria Joynt-Lang, Beyond Circumstances

About the book:

Beyond Circumstances     by Gloria Joynt-Lang

Series: Out of the Darkness     Contemporary Romance

Fiery Seas Everlasting     June 12, 2018

Dr. Lexie Draden didn’t want to leave her successful career as a surgeon in Chicago, but she didn’t have a choice. Her family needed to heal, and as long as she was around, it wasn’t going to happen. While adapting to her new community, she meets Zak Tifour, a man as intriguing as he is handsome.

Most of the small-town residents view Zak as a man who likes his privacy, but to a select few, something doesn’t seem right. Long-time resident Cicily McQuay believes she has the key to the man’s odd behavior – a link to terrorism. After all, he just isn’t the type of man who belongs in her community. But to belong, you need to be welcomed; something Cicily has never extended to Zak.

Zak knows plenty of terrorists and has even lived amongst them, but not like Cicily suspects. Escaping from a lifetime of bloodshed and regrets, he attempts to distance himself from the quirky townsfolk; people unable to comprehend boundaries. It appears to be working until he encounters the town’s new attractive doctor. Even though his secrets run deep, she ends up trusting him with her heart. But trust is fragile, and when Zak gets drawn back to his old life, Lexie must decide whether he’s a dangerous man or a broken hero.

Thrice Read Books is a stop on the Beyond Circumstances blog tour, hosted by Fiery Seas Publishing

 About the author:

Beyond Circumstances author Gloria Joynt-Lang

Gloria Joynt-Lang was born in Ars-Laquenexy, France and spent her childhood experiencing the vast landscapes of Canada. A graduate of the University of Alberta with a degree in Criminology, she devoted her career to working in the criminal justice system. She now splits her time living in rural Alberta, Canada as well as Southern California with her husband and their two dogs, a Maltese named YaHoo and Yorkie named Smookie Bijoux. Why the Yorkie has a stripper name shall remain a tight guarded secret. A lifelong nerd, she is most comfortable with a book or laptop close by except when she transforms to cool biker chick, hopping on her motorcycle for a speed limit abiding ride to the nearest bookstore.

Join Gloria on social media: Facebook     Twitter     Website

Jenn sat down for a chat with Gloria recently, to talk about her debut novel. You can read all about it here, in this edition of Between the Pages.

Jenn’s Review:

Holy wow! I had to read this book in about 3 sittings (darn you, Housework!), and had a hard time putting it down. Gloria Joynt-Lang knocked it out of the park in her debut novel, Beyond Circumstances.

When I say the characters of this book are well-developed, I mean that they could easily be the couple sitting next to you in the diner Friday evening. These aren’t “perfect” people. They are flawed, they struggle, they do their best, and they don’t always win. Even the secondary characters are developed and easy to picture (I actually spent time describing some of the characters, by giving them counterparts in our own small town).

Ms. Joynt-Lang lovingly, exquisitely crafts the inner and outer experiences of PTSD and bigotry. No subtle conflicts reside here. Nope. The reader is dropped deep into the mind of someone struggling with severe anxiety attacks and mental health problems. You walk right alongside the hero of the story as his past and present unfold and he fights to find something akin to peace.

The zinger, is in Lexie’s story. While you might think you understand what drove the heroine of this story to leave her big city life, the author waits…and waits…and waits…before she zaps you with the rest of the story.

This is the first book in a series, and I can promise that this reader will be eagerly awaiting the rest of the series. An easy 5 stars.

Book review of Gloria Joynt-Lang's debut adult contemporary romance novel, Beyond Circumstances, by Jenn of the Thrice Read Books staff.

Buy the book:

This book is available in Kindle format from Amazon here.

Boy of Blood – Review

Boy of blood book review

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?

Boy of Blood by Megan O'Russell Book Review

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!

Jenn’s Review:

Megan O’Russell hits another home run with Boy of Blood, book 2 in the Girl of Glass series.

This book picks up right where Girl of Glass left off – the night Nightland attacked the domes. Nola struggles with intense feelings; she’s betrayed the domes, and those she tried to help, betrayed her. The boy she loved has turned on her, and she begins to accept Jeremy’s love as she starts to heal. The blinders are off now, and every time Nola turns around, she discovers another lie, another secret, more and more blood on her hands as she starts to ask herself who the real monsters are. What’s a girl to do?

Megan’s world building in this series is amazing. She’s created vivid settings and torn them down, piece by piece. Her characters are rich, deep and (mostly) relatable – I can’t honestly say I can relate to the blood thirsty, murderous and snarky Vamper, Raina. However, even the difficult-to-understand characters have their own story that makes them understandable, even if they aren’t likeable. (What kind of dystopian/urban fantasy would it be if everyone was rainbows and sparkles?)

Boy of Blood is just as fast-paced and full of plot twists as book 1 was. And… Nah. Not gonna give away the spoilers. Though, I will say that Megan has confirmed that there are at least 2 more books coming in this series. (I say “at least” only because she revealed this was originally supposed to be a trilogy, during our interview.)

Girl of Glass and Boy of Blood are easily on par with Hunger Games and Maze Runner. Fans of dystopian fiction – this one’s for you! Paranormal and urban fantasy fans looking for a twist on the usual vampires and werewolves – check this one out.

Easily 5 out of 5 stars from this reader. (Sam’s reading this book as I write my review – keep an eye out for her vlog post, coming soon to a YouTube near you!)

Sam’s Review:

Megan O’Russell continues the Girl of Glass series with Boy of Blood, which starts up right where its predecessor left off. Nola, Raina, and all the rest star in this book yet again, and it doesn’t disappoint this reader.

Nola has been safely, well, semi-safely, returned to the domes after Nightland attacks her home. No longer trusting Kieran, she chooses to trust Jeremy with her heart. Another mistake, for while she tries to help the outsiders, she hates the drugs. And the males Outer Guards have been taking drugs like that to survive. Nola feels like she can’t stay in the domes any longer.

This was just as fun to read and enjoy as the first book, and it had some angry and tender moments. I loved how Megan brought back Raina, because she, overall, is one of my favorite characters. My second favorite, to be exact. First favorite goes to Eden from the first book. I didn’t like how Nola has lost two boys in her love life due to betrayal.

Last words:

Click here to read our review of Girl of Glass.

We also sat down with Megan and talked a bit about her new release. You can read the interview here.