Tagged: Part of a Series

Spirit Song – Review

Jenn's review of book 3 of Tessa McFionn's Guardians series, SPIRIT SONG. Adult paranormal romance review on Thrice Read Books' book review blog.

About the Book:

Spirit Song by Tessa McFionn (Book 3 of The Guardians)

Adult Paranormal Romance

Published by Etopia Press August 30, 2016

181 pages

The assassin and the angel. Can her song redeem his soul?

Miranda Devalande had long since given up on her dreams of a happy life. Forced to sing at mob boss Slick Sal’s seedy nightclub to cover her brother’s rising gambling debts, she survives from day to day as a caged bird. With each new bad bet by her wayward brother, her hope of finding a way free of her “contract” fades. Until a mysterious stranger arrives at the club and turns her whole life upside down…

Danger has always swirled around reluctant Guardian Warrior Sebastian Lambert. Trained as an assassin and recruited out of desperation, he now battles the evils of power-hungry Rogues in Chicago. When his friend and fellow Guardian Viktor Arnhart drags him into a nightclub, he would have never imagined to find an angel at the mic.

Caught between his desire to keep Miranda safe and his drive to hold her close, Bastian must walk the line between the light of a beautiful songstress and the dark of his perilous past even as dangerous forces threaten to destroy them both. Will he open his heart to her in time, or will she fall prey to her soulless fate?

About the Author:

Tessa McFionn, author of Spirit Song and the Guardians Series

Tessa McFionn is a very native Californian and has called Southern California home for most of her life, growing up in San Diego and attending college in Northern California and Orange County, only to return to San Diego to work as a teacher. Insatiably curious and imaginative, she loves to learn and discover, making her wicked knowledge of trivial facts an unwelcomed guest at many Trivial Pursuit boards. 

When not writing, she can be found at the movies or at Disneyland with her husband, as well as family, friends or anyone who wants to play at the Happiest Place on Earth. She also finds her artistic soul fed through her passions for theatre, dance and music. 

A proud parent of far too many high school seniors and two still living house plants, she also enjoys hockey, reading and playing Words With Friends to keep her vocabulary sharp. She is currently the treasurer of the San Diego chapter of Romance Writers of America and loves spending time working with such amazingly intelligent and creative writers.

Jenn’s Review:

Number three in a series can be a killer, but Tessa McFionn dodges the blow and has a winner in Spirit Song, book 3 in her Guardians series.

Sebastian is a warrior, an assassin and a Guardian by chance, rather than by choice. Centuries after being roped into an eternal gig, he’s tired, raw, and a little off the rails. The only thing keeping him this side of crazy-town is fellow Guardian, Viktor.

Viktor drags a reluctant Bas to the seedy side of town, where the lovely angel on stage tugs at something inside Bas he’s long-thought dead.

Bas isn’t the only one tired of the hand fate dealt. Miranda wanted nothing more than to finish school and enjoy a career as a singer. Instead, she belongs to a mob boss who’s trying to impress Bastian’s arch-nemesis.

Will Miranda accept Bastian in all his brokenness? Can Bas find a way to get Miranda out of the bind she’s in?

Once again, Ms. McFionn keeps the pace brisk, and the plot driven. I struggled with having to put the book down to sleep.  (Just one more chapter!) The end snuck up on me, and I am more than ready to start book four, Spirit Shattered, which is already loaded and open on my tablet.

I think fans of Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series will enjoy this series. Paranormal and romance in a perfect balance with hot heroes, strong heroines, snarky humor and well-developed characters.

Jenn's review of book 3 of Tessa McFionn's Guardians series, SPIRIT SONG. Adult paranormal romance review on Thrice Read Books' book review blog.

Buy the Book:

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

Other Books in the Series:

Spirit Fall (book 1)

Spirit Bound (book 2)

Spirit Shattered (book 4)

Other Books by Tessa McFionn:

To Discover a Divine (Rise of the Stria book 1)

We sat down with Tessa to talk a bit about her books, and you can read the interview here.

Fallen to Grace – Review

Sam reviews Fallen to Grace, a YA Metaphysical novel by A.J. Flowers on Sam's Teen Reads Corner, Thrice Read Books.

About the book:

Fallen to Grace by A.J. Flowers 

Book 1, Celestial Downfall series

YA Metaphysical/Visionary Fiction

Published by Amazon Digital Services, LLC November 30, 2016

281 pages

Angels have ruled for too long… it’ll take one of their own to stop them.

Azrael’s a wingless angel, and if that wasn’t bad enough, she’s the only one with a functioning conscience. Her bi-color eyes mark her as a moral hybrid, and when she breaks her enslavement to Manor Saffron by making a deal with a demon, she doesn’t expect to become Queen. She’ll have to survive her new royal magic, convince a legion of angels she’s worth fighting for, and find the breach in her Faustian deal, or risk a new master with horns. 

★★★★★Awards★★★★★ 
2018 Silver Chapter of Excellence Award 
2017 eFestival of Words Best Fantasy Finalist!

About the Author:

A.J. Flowers is a fantasy author, book blogger, and automotive engineer in Detroit. She loves her writing, her work, and above all, her faith and family. When not writing or designing, you can find her saving the world from annihilation on her favorite video games side-by-side with her Dutch husband and princess Blue Russian kitty named Mina. To follow AJ’s blog for new writing tips, head on over to https://ajflowers.wordpress.com

Sam’s Review:

A.J. Flower’s Fallen to Grace is a fantasy novel featuring angels and demons, but it isn’t a Christian/Fantasy novel. Instead of God, we have the Divine, which are pretty much the gods of all that is good. Being the first in a series, it ends on a cliffhanger.

Azreal is a Hybrid Windborn, which means that she is a fallen angel with a demon. Female Windborns are sold for, well, slavery. Azreal makes a deal with her demon to change her fate and set her free. And her fate goes from slave to Divine princess.

But her new position comes with danger, and she may not last long enough to become queen. Filled with interesting characters, and feelable emotions,  Fallen to Grace will have you hooked.

Sam's review of FALLEN TO GRACE, YA Metaphysical novel by AJ Flowers. Book 1 of the Celestial Downfall series - featured on the Thrice Read Books review blog

Buy this book: 

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

The Jinx – New Release Promotion

Thrice Read Books hosts Ernest Lancaster's debut novel, THE JINX. New release promotion post.
Thrice Read Books is a stop on the blog tour for Ernest Lancaster's debut novel, The Jinx.

About the Book:

The Jinx     By Ernest Lancaster

Series: Memphis M.O. Book 1

Fiery Seas Publishing     July 24, 2018

Suspense / Action

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

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

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

Social Media:

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Buy the Book:

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

Fiery Seas Pub Bookstore  Barnes & Noble   Kobo   Amazon

Thrice Read Books hosts blog tour stop for Ernest Lancaster's debut novel, THE JINX, available now from Fiery Seas Publishing.

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

Ragis – The Gemeta Stone Book 4 – Cover Reveal

It’s that time again, and one of my favorite kinds of posts… The suspense, the drama, the excitement!

It’s time for another cover reveal!

Thrice Read Books hosts the cover reveal for Donna Migliaccio's fantasy novel, RAGIS, coming soon from Fiery Seas Publishing

About the book:

Ragis by Donna Migliaccio     August 28, 2018

Fantasy     The Gemeta Stone Book 4

Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC

Kristan Gemeta is teetering on the brink of madness.

His sister Melissa has defied him. His friend Olaf has betrayed him. The Wichelord Daazna’s ghostly laughter mocks him when he’s awake and robs him of his sleep at night. Even the protective powers of his legendary Stone are turning against him.  

And now his companions, his ship and its precious cargo have been taken hostage. Kristan must give chase, in an unseaworthy vessel manned by an angry centaur crew. Ahead lie unfriendly waters, an ominous destination and a confrontation Kristan dreads.

In his despair, Kristan longs for the one person he has always trusted: his beloved Heather. But she’s far away, about to step into a trap that will endanger not just her command, but Kristan’s life.   

Thrice Read Books hosts the cover reveal for Donna Migliaccio's fantasy novel, RAGIS, coming soon from Fiery Seas Publishing

About the Author:

Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres.  She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker.  Her award-winning short story, “Yaa & The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.  

Social Media: 

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Pinterest

Drumroll, please! It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for…

The Reveal!

Cover for RAGIS, book 4 in the Gemeta Stone Series by Donna Miggliacio, coming in late August from Fiery Seas Publishing

Can we say GIVEAWAY?  Yup! There’s a giveaway to celebrate this release, and you can get in on it now for a chance to win a necklace just like the one on the Gemeta Stone books. Just click here.

And… You can preorder Ragis from these retail outlets: 

Amazon     Barnes & Noble    Kobo

We’ve reviewed the other books in the series:

Kinglet (book 1) 
Fiskur (book 2) 
Stoneking (book 3)

Lady Arabella and the Dwarven King – Review

Jenn Reviews Lady Arabella and the Dwarven King by Jaci Chandler this week on Thrice Read Books' review blog

About the Book:

Lady Arabella and the Dwarven King by Jaci Chandler

Dwarven Gold, book 1

Published by Amazon Digital Services, LLC on 28 January, 2018

98 pages Adult Erotic Romance

I’ve spent my life trying to ignore the haters. As strategies go–it’s not working.

Sealed into my room to lose weight, I’m kidnapped into a stunning underground world, where males outnumber females by a hundred to one. It doesn’t take long to discover I’m the fated mate of the newly ascended king, Thorin the Tenth. He’s loud, rude and arrogant, but I’m stunned by glimpses of his vulnerability, and find myself wanting to seize this chance at love. But Dwarfholme is changing, and Thorin is in danger. The gods have limits and enemies are everywhere. I’ve finally found the partner I’ve so desperately longed for, but is it love or just really good sex? With my future mother-in-law out to destroy us, and my mate’s childhood friend a bloodthirsty god, time is running out. I need to discover the truth between us, before it’s too late.

Lady Arabella and the Dwarven King is the first of six novellas in the DWARVEN GOLD fantasy erotic romance series. It is a complete story with no cliffhangers, a great HEA, and contains hot dwarfs who look like Vikings, a world on the verge of war, deadly royals, and lots of meant-to-be romance between fated mates.

If you like fun, steamy fantasy romance set in unique new worlds, Lady Arabella and the Dwarven King is for you. Buy your copy and start the adventure now!

About the Author:

Jaci Chandler lives in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, where the trees grow close and tall, and the skies are a brilliant blue. She loves to sit on her deck, gaze at Mt. Rainier, and think about hot dwarfs and their fated mates. When she’s not writing the Dwarven Gold series, she’s making cake and thinking of adding recipes to the backs of her books. 

Talk to Jaci on Twitter or sign up for her newsletter. Just click the link (and let her know if you like lobster patties or Mont Blanc!)

Twitter    Newsletter

Jenn’s Review:

**NOTE: The Dwarven Gold series is adult erotica romance and is intended for mature audiences, over the age of 18, only.**

Lady Arabella and the Dwarven King is the first installment of a series I would easily classify as erotic romance. When Ms. Chandler contacted me about reviewing the first two books in her series, she warned me that this book has a polarizing effect. Readers either love it or they hate it.

I fall into the former group. This is a quick read – I read the entire book in a single 2 hour sitting – and it moves quickly through the plot.

While Arabella and Thorin are fated to be together, and they seem to be decently developed characters, I would have liked a bit more development of both characters and plot. The setting is beautifully wrought, full of the contrast of Dwarven stone work, magic and colored details. And sex. The story is liberally peppered with a variety of sexual tastes.

The love story in this plot takes a back seat to the hedonistic tendencies in Lady Arabella, and having not dived into book two in the series yet, I am hoping that this book is meant to set the stage for a longer plot line.

I loved the creativity, the world building, and the potential in this story. I missed deeper development of the relationship between hero and heroine, and I think too many loose ends were left flapping in the breeze.

But, once more unto the breach, dear readers! I’m off to read the second book in the series (linked below), and am crossing my fingers that loose ends are wrapped up.

On this edition of the Thrice Read Books blog, Jenn reviews Lady Arabella and the Dwarven King, book 1 in the Dwarven Gold series by Jaci Chandler

Buy the Book:

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

Other Books in the Series: 

Lady Deidra and the Lord of the Deeps (book 2)

Lady Deidra and the Lord of the Deeps – Review

Jenn Reviews book 2 in Jaci Chandler's Dwarven Gold series. Read about Lady Deidra and the Lord of the Deeps on the Thrice Read Books blog

About the Book:

Lady Deidra and the Lord of the Deeps book 2 in the Dwarven Gold series 

by Jaci Chandler

Published by Amazon Digital Services April 30, 2018

128 pages Adult Erotica Romance

My name is Deidra Cavendish and I need a rich man who’ll marry me, and take me and my mother off to a gilded castle filled with food and keep the bill collectors away, but deep down inside where my secret dreams live, I long for love. My only solace is my cousin, Arabella. She’s my best friend and confidante, and I think she was murdered. When an accident at the Cavendish Winter Ball sends me flying into the arms of a penniless nobody, my abrupt craving for him threatens to derail me. He’s poor and so am I; a relationship between us isn’t going to work! Even if he makes my blood simmer with longing.

My name is Jerred Bloodaxe. I am the Earl of Whitemarch; the King’s left-hand man. I fight behind the scenes to keep the kingdom safe, stop royal intrigues from turning into royal murder, and prevent assassins from killing my cousin, Thorin. Most importantly, I run politically sensitive and dangerous errands no sane dwarf will take. When Arabella, the queen-in-waiting, asks me to bring her cousin, Deidra, to safety in Dwarfholme, I immediately leave for Cavendish Castle. But it’s a different world where I have no power or resources, and bringing her back to her cousin is more difficult than it looks. Little do I know, fate has ways to bring two mates together, even if one is a Dwarven Lord and the other is a regency miss!

Lady Deidra and the Lord of the Deeps is the second of six books in the DWARVEN GOLD fantasy romance series. It is a complete story with no cliffhangers and contains hot dwarfs who look like Vikings, steamy m/m scenes, delicious cakes, a hidden world on the verge of war, vengeful gods, ex-lovers, trolls, zombies and “lots” of hot, steamy romance between two mates who are lost without each other.

If you like a spicy clash of personalities, a vulnerable, but deadly hero, and a unique fantasy world, you’ll like Lady Deidra and the Lord of the Deeps! Buy your copy now and feel the love.

About the Author:

Jaci Chandler lives in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, where the trees grow close and tall, and the skies are a brilliant blue. She loves to sit on her deck, gaze at Mt. Rainier, and think about hot dwarfs and their fated mates. When she’s not writing the Dwarven Gold series, she’s making cake and thinking of adding recipes to the backs of her books. 

Talk to Jaci on Twitter or sign up for her newsletter. Just click the link (and let her know if you like lobster patties or Mont Blanc!)

Twitter     Newsletter

Jenn’s Review:

 **NOTE: The Dwarven Gold series is adult erotica romance and is intended for mature audiences, over the age of 18, only.**

Another speedy installment to the Dwarven Gold series by Jaci Chandler, Lady Deidre was a hot little erotic romance.

Deidre was left behind when Arabella was taken by the dwarves expeditionary forces in the previous book, and her situation is probably more tenuous than Arabella’s was. She’s desperate to find a wealthy husband before her family’s house party ends.

Jerred is fighting his own demons when his king sends him after Arabella’s cousin, Deidre. It’s definitely not love at first sight, though he knows Deidre is his fated mate. 

As with book 1, I enjoyed the world building, and the little plot twists, but I would love to see these stories developed a bit more. There are copious amounts of hot sexual interaction with a thread of romance tying it all together. Ms. Chandler has written stories with good conflicts, but I felt rushed through the resolution.

That said, Jaci Chandler is on my list of authors to watch. She has tremendous potential in her writing career, and I look forward to her next release.

on the Thrice Read Books blog: Jenn reviews Lady Deidra and the Lord of the Deeps - book 2 in the Dwarven Gold series by Jaci Chandler

Buy the book:

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

Other Books in the Series: 

Lady Arabella and the Dwarven King (book 1)

Evercrossed – Review

Sam's Teen Reads Corner features YA Paranormal fiction, Evercrossed by Elizabeth Chandler

About the book:

Evercrossed (Kissed by an Angel, book 4) by Elizabeth Chandler

Published by Simon Pulse March 8, 2011

YA Romance, Fantasy and Supernatural 304 pages

It’s been a year since Ivy’s boyfriend, Tristan, died. They’ve both moved on—Tristan to the other side of the afterlife, and Ivy to sweet, dependable Will. Now Ivy’s heading to Cape Cod, hoping to leave the horror of last summer behind. She wants nothing more than to lie on the beach, sip lemonade, and hang out with her friends.

But then a car crash ends Ivy’s life. As she floats to the beyond, looking down on the life she’s left behind, Tristan breathes life back into her with a passionate kiss. She wakes up in the hospital, surrounded by Will and her family, but all she can think about is the love that she lost.

But memories aren’t all that’s come back from the past. And this time, Ivy’s not sure love will be enough to save her….

About the Author:

Elizabeth Chandler is a pseudonym for Mary Claire Helldorfer. She is the author of the Kissed by an Angel and Dark Secrets series. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Sam’s Review:

Elizabeth Chandler has written an okay story, named Evercrossed, about angels, humans, and love. I wasn’t a fan of the book, but it was still good. The book is part of a series, and it isn’t the first.

Last summer, Ivy lost Tristan, the love of her life, to somebody trying to kill her. Now, on the her anniversary of her relationship with Tristan, she has to put up with guilt. But once again, she is in danger. And her new boyfriend, Will, or Tristan, may not be able to help her.

I didn’t really enjoy this book, because it wasn’t my type, like I thought it was. It didn’t hold my interest, which is a shame, because it was a very interesting concept. The characters were well developed, and the setting was well done.

Sam's Teen Reads Corner features Evercrossed by Elizabeth Chandler (Book 4 in the Kissed by an Angel series)

Buy the book:

Thrice Read Books has 1 paperback edition

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

Tribute – Review

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

About the Book:

Tribute by Chris Knoblaugh (The Cleaners, book 1)

Middle Grade Horror/Latino Fiction 255 pages

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

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

Happy hauntings!

Sam’s Review:

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

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

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

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

Buy the Book:

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

Additional Information about this book:

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

The Jinx – Promotion & Excerpt

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

About the Book:

The Jinx     By Ernest Lancaster

Series: Memphis M.O. Book 1

Fiery Seas Publishing     July 24, 2018

Suspense / Action

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

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

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

Social Media:

FacebookTwitterWebsite

Buy the Book:

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

Fiery Seas Pub Bookstore   Amazon   Barnes & Noble    Kobo

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

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

“More coffee?”

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

“You trying to make me fat?”

“We have a salad left,” Vickie said.

“No, thanks. Coffee’s plenty.”

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

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

“How much are they usually?” he asked.

“Four dollars.”

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

“Suit yourself.” She took the money.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Are most cops corrupt?”

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

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

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

“What about justice?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reaper’s Return – Review

About the Book

Reaper’s Return, Ren Cummins (Chronicles of

Aesirium, book 1)

Young Adult Fantasy/Steampunk 302 pages

Self-published through CreateSpace March 10, 2011

What if Death wore a pretty black dress?

Everyone in Oldtown had heard talk of the Reapers. Even though nobody had seen one in years, everyone whispered the tales: flying from rooftop to rooftop, stealing the souls of the unwary, letting their undead beasts hunt through the streets for any member of the community too reckless or fearless to heed the nightly curfew … mysterious and terrifying, most feared to even mention them by name, lest they appear and gather your spirit away.

For 11-year-old Romany, her greatest fears were less about the mythological Reapers and more about surviving a miserable life inside of Oldtown’s solitary orphanage. Her stark white hair made her an obvious target for the bullies, and the cruel nickname of “Ratgirl” had followed her for years. But if Rom thought her troubles were behind her, being struck dead by a bolt of lightning would only open the door to an entire life of new ones.

First on the list? Finding out that she herself…is a Reaper.

Reaper’s Return is book one of the Chronicles of Aesirium, a YA Steampunk fantasy adventure series.

About the Author

Sam, Ren Cummins, & YA Author Kiri Callaghan at Westport's Pirate Daze, 2018

(Sam, Ren Cummins, and Kiri Callaghan at this year’s Pirate Daze in Westport, WA. Ren was kind enough to gift a signed copy of this book to Sam when we met him.)

Ren Cummins found his talent with storytelling in high school and has been writing ever since; either music or fiction. With a focus on creating kick-ass female characters in superhero stories for his child, Ren launched into the world of fantasy and sci-fi, where his love of philosophy and the bleeding edge of science returned him to tall tales that seemed fantastic but with an air of familiarity. 

He has authored over eight fantasy novels, beginning with The Chronicles of Aesirium and continuing on with the Tales of the Dead Man.

Ren continues his writing journey in Seattle, where he resides with his wife, their child and their two dogs.

More of this traveler’s journey can be found at www.renwritings.com

Sam’s Review

Introducing, a fun, and amazing book by the name of Reaper’s Return, filled with magic, and some themes of steampunk, which I love. Plus, it had talking animals! Alright!

Rom has a gift for handling animals. And, she’s dead. Kind of. She dies once, and then revives it all over, with the knowledge of what was going to happen. Then she learns that she is the Reaper, a entity that helps creatures move on to death.

But she is being hunted for her ability. It’s a really good thing that Rom has good friends.

I loved this book from beginning to cliffhanger end. That’s right, folks, it had a cliffhanger, sort of. But I loved this book. Rom, Kari, Cousins (gotta read it to find out how that name came to be.), and Mully are an amazing team, and work great together.

In this edition of Sam's Teen Reads Corner, Sam reviews YA Fantasy REAPER'S RETURN by Ren Cummins.

Buy the Book

 This book is available in Kindle (Kindle Unlimited, as well), paperback and audiobook formats from Amazon here. [affiliate link]