Tagged: Science Fiction & Fantasy

Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society – 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 Desdemona Wren's NA Paranormal Novel MARJORIE DIAZ'S UNFORTUNATE INTRODUCTION TO MAGICAL HIGH SOCIETY - diverse books - LGBTQA FIction
Jenn reviews Desdemona Wren’s NA Paranormal Novel Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society

About the Book

Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society, Desdemona Wren

Adult, NA Paranormal, 339 Pages

Publisher: Antler Doe Publishing; 1 edition (September 4, 2018)

Girl meets boy. Girl falls in love with boy. Boy hunts girl for sport.

Marjorie Diaz has no idea who Patrick Watkins is. When he saunters into her senior seminar class during her last semester of college, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with him. 

She’s swept up into a whirlwind—and often times fairytale-esque—romance. That is, until his family kidnaps her and sends her to the last place she ever thought she would go again. 

Now, with the help of her best friend Lucian Maravalle, she has to run for her life, and try not to think too hard about the fact that everyone important to her has been keeping a dangerous secret. A secret that could cost Marjorie her life.

Book one in the Marjorie Diaz series.

Cover art by Ariel LeAnn of Cat’s Paw Media

This title is LGBTQIA+ and features a full POC cast.

About the Author

Desdemona Wren is a novelist who writes gay fiction with monsters, witches, and actual plots. She’s from Seattle, WA, but currently resides in the mystical land of Northern California. Where everybody wears coats all the time, nobody says ‘brah’, ‘bruh’, ‘bro’ or any variation of that word, and absolutely nobody surfs.

She has two cats named Oliver and Ophelia who have traveled the world. From The Great Smoky Mountains, to the tallest peaks of The Cascades, and even to the Grand Canyon; they’ve been everywhere. For more information on future books, visit her website at http://desdemonawren.com

Jenn’s Review

New Adult fiction isn’t something I generally jump at, but I made an exception for this review request, from author Desdemona Wren, because I love paranormal fiction, and wanted to try something a little different.

Marjorie’s last semester of college isn’t off to a great start when she gets partnered with sarcastic, flirtatious Patrick on their first day of Senior Seminar for their senior project. She thought she knew everyone in her major, and Patrick seems to know her, but Marjorie has no recollection of seeing this man in any of her classes.

To complicate things further, his flirtatious behavior is followed up by a hallway make-out session. Marjorie walks out of class to be confronted by Patrick and his very beautiful girlfriend kissing.

Aside from the storyline, this book was an adventure for me – an asexual protagonist in a romance, millennial voice, and a driving plotline. Ms. Wren’s storytelling feels a tad awkward at times, with scattered dialogue that didn’t seem to drive the plot and lagging character development that picks up once it’s finally established.

That said, however, the author took the time to give each character a unique voice in the book, and to some degree, I would attribute some of the awkward narratives to the protagonist’s personality, more than the author’s writing skill (Marjorie has some deep-seated issues – she’s not glamorous by any means). Hooray for a deeply flawed heroine that isn’t swooning over every cute guy she meets!

This is definitely not a young adult read and is geared towards the New Adult level. With an asexual heroine, the book is free of any graphic sexual content, however, the language is rough enough that I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone under 16. Millennial fans of paranormal and diverse books – this one is for you.

Jenn reviews Desdemona Wren's NA Paranormal Novel MARJORIE DIAZ'S UNFORTUNATE INTRODUCTION TO MAGICAL HIGH SOCIETY - diverse books - LGBTQA FIction
Jenn reviews Desdemona Wren’s NA Paranormal Novel Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society

Buy the Book

 This book is available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback formats here:

Alpha Goddess

Jenn reviews Amalie Howard's YA Paranormal Fiction novel, ALPHA GODDESS - ownvoices, diverse books, paranormal, Hindu mythology
Jenn reviews Amalie Howard’s YA Paranormal Fiction novel, Alpha Goddess

About the Book


Alpha Goddess, by Elaine Pofeldt 

Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, 381 Pages

Sky Pony March 18, 2014

In Seraphine Caelum’s world, gods exist. So do goddesses. Sera knows this because she is one of them. A secret long concealed by her parents, Sera is Lakshmi reborn, the human avatar of an immortal Indian goddess rumored to control all the planes of existence—Illysia (the Light Realm), Earth (the Mortal Realm), and Xibalba (the Dark Realm). Marked by the sigils of both heaven and hell, Sera’s avatar is meant to bring balance to the mortal world, but all she creates is chaos. A chaos that Azraiel, the Asura Lord of Death, hopes to use to unleash hell on earth.

Torn between reconciling her past and present, Sera must figure out how to stop Azraiel before the Mortal Realm is destroyed. But trust doesn’t come easy in a world fissured by lies and betrayal. Her best friend Kyle is hiding his own dark secrets, and her mysterious new neighbor, Devendra, seems to know a lot more than he’s telling. Struggling between her opposing halves and her attraction to the boys tied to each of them, Sera must become the goddess she was meant to be, or risk failing, which means sacrificing the world she was born to protect.

Retellings of classic fairy tales and Greek myths are becoming staples in the YA and adult fiction genres, and now Amalie Howard, author of the popular Bloodspell, brings the myth of Rama and Sita’s love story to an exciting new level. Howard’s stunningly fresh voice and imaginative characters promise to make Alpha Goddess an exciting addition to the young adult fiction world. Aimed at readers ages 13 to 17, both girls and boys will relate to Sera’s and Kyle’s realistic teen persona and dilemmas while learning more about a famous Hindu myth.

Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readers—picture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft; stories told with LEGO bricks; books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

About the Author

Biography

AMALIE HOWARD is the award-winning author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, School Library Journal, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Kid’s INDIE NEXT selection. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 bestseller in gothic fiction, and the sequel, Bloodcraft, was a national IPPY silver medalist and Children’s Moonbeam Award winner. She is also the co-author of the #1 bestseller in Regency Romance, My Rogue, My Ruin, in the Lords of Essex historical romance series. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children. Visit her at www.amaliehoward.com.

Jenn’s Review

Amalie Howard’s ALPHA GODDESS is a YA OwnVoices paranormal novel with some elements of romance. Like many paranormal stories, the author draws from ancient legend and myths to create her world. Unlike the overdone Greek and Roman myths, though, Ms. Howard draws from her Indian heritage and features the colorful, rich tapestry that is Hindu mythology.

Serjana has been struggling with increasingly vivid, violent nightmares since she turned 16. Her parents are making her crazy with being over-protective and overly inquisitive about her dreams, her waking experiences, and her lack of a love life. Her unusual looks don’t help her already awkward social life. And just to complicate things, her best friend, Kyle, seems to be getting involved with drugs, a gang, or both, and she’s got a crush on the cute guy next door, whom her bestie HATES.

Sera has been the only person in Kyle’s life he could trust, besides his foster Mom, Carla. His mother died trying to kill him when he was 5, and the secret he’s carrying is slowly strangling him. Sera doesn’t believe in the metaphysical, the paranormal, or immortality. Kyle sure wishes he could convince her, though. Then he could trust her with his secret, the fate he’d trade his soul to avoid.

When Sera and Kyle each learn their true identities, though, their common ground could spell the end of humanity. Sera is one of many incarnations of the goddess Lakshmi, forever bound in love to the cute guy next door, Devendra, an incarnation of her forever mate, Vishnu. Kyle? He’s just the son of one of the seven lords of Xibalba, the hell realm.

Destiny marches forward, dragging the teens into a battle that will decide the fate of the mortal realm, Xibalba, and Illysia, the realm of gods and immortals.

This is the first book in a series, filled with colorful legends, deeply developed characters, and plot twists (plus a healthy dose of humor, just for good measure). Be sure to pick it up and have a read!

Jenn reviews Amalie Howard's YA Paranormal Fiction novel, ALPHA GODDESS - ownvoices, diverse books, paranormal, Hindu mythology
Jenn reviews Amalie Howard’s YA Paranormal Fiction novel, Alpha Goddess

Sam’s Review

What if the Hindu myths were real? What if they walked among us, and held our fates in their hands? In Alpha Goddess, Sera, a normal girl, suffers a fate far more than what she’d ever wanted. She is the reincarnation of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, a deity so powerful she is rumored to control all planes of existence, even the demon realm. This, clearly, causes some big issues to occur.

I loved this book because it had an interesting storyline. The characters were well developed, and the conflict was incredible. A very interesting way to learn a little about the Hindu myths, and truly a gift to book lovers anywhere.

However, as with every book, there were some negative things to say about this book. One is there were several cliches. Like the, “teen girl can’t understand why her” cliche. Other than that, it was still very good.

Buy the Book

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

The Tchaikovsky Finale – Review

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

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

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

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

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

About the author:

Darrin Kennedy - Author of the Fugue and Fable series

Darin Kennedy, born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine. After completing family medicine residency in the mountains of Virginia, he served eight years as a United States Army physician and wrote his first novel in 2003 in the sands of northern Iraq. His debut novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle, was born from a fusion of two of his lifelong loves: classical music and world mythology. His short stories can be found in various publications and he is currently hard at work on his next novel. Doctor by day and novelist by night, he writes and practices medicine in Charlotte, North Carolina. When not engaged in either of the above activities, he has been known to strum the guitar, enjoy a bite of sushi, and rumor has it he even sleeps on occasion.Sam’s Review:

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

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

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

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

Hard to Handle – Book Review

Admittedly, I’ve only read two of the books in this series (Book 2 and Book 5 – this one being book 5), but I am in absolute love with Ms. Warren’s storytelling once more in Hard to Handle, A Beauty and Beast, Gargoyles novel. [Note: This post contains an affiliate link to Amazon.com. When you purchase something after clicking on this link, I receive a small percentage of the total purchase as commission from Amazon, at no additional cost to you, the buyer. I thank you in advance for supporting us in this way.] 

When the world is coming to a Dark and nasty end, Guardians are summoned to hold back the evil that threatens to end life as we know it. It seems, though, that this time, things are not going according to plan or tradition, and as Guardians (hidden away around the world in the form of the ghastly gargoyles a la Notre Dame) awaken to stop this most recent threat brought on by the Noctorni and the Demons they serve, the Guardians discover a world much changed.

Not only have a few hundred years passed, but the Guild that supports and serves the Guardians has been effectively wiped out by the Noctorni. To confuse matters further, each of the awakened gargoyles to this point are male, and must overcome both a lack of information and a change in tradition as they find themselves partnered, one by one, to women of power (those with paranormal abilities) rather than to the men of the Guild they are used to working with.

Ash is brought into sudden waking by recent events, but her very existence shakes the foundations of all that the Guardians have ever been. Never has a Guardian been summoned without a Guild member, and never has a Guardian been… female. Ash has no idea what the implications are for herself, let alone the world she was summoned to protect, but time is short as the Noctorni gain in strength and advantage. 

Her only option is to partner up with a decidedly reluctant and stubborn Michael “Drum” Drummond and his youngest sister Maeve. Drum is content being a Dublin publican, and has no interest in getting caught up in the struggle or the politics of the Light’s battle against Darkness, yet he finds himself thrust into the very heart of it as events unfold and he and Ash discover that he is her Warden – a magic user assigned to a Guardian should one need to be summoned. 

His younger sister, Maeve, manages to track down another Guardian/Warden pair in America, but when Kylie and Dag arrive, things take a decided turn for the worst as Maeve is abducted to be used as a human sacrifice to summon one of the seven Demons that will bring human life as we know it to a brutal end.

Can Drum and Ash overcome the unusual nature of their relationship to work with other Guardians and Wardens, to hold back the Darkness and free Ash from her lonely existence?

Christine Warren tackles this story with her signature style of wit and creative storytelling, and for fans of paranormal romance, this is a tale not to be missed. As mentioned, I have only read 2 of the books in the series, and unlike some series, this one might be better experienced in order. 

This book can be purchased in either mass market paperback or Kindle format from Amazon here.

Happy Reading!

Interview with Gabriele Russo – Author of INCOHERENT GODS

**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.**

Thrice Read Books presents an author interview with Gabriele Russo, author of the GODS, INC. series, and recent release, INCOHERENT GODS

Our guest this week is no stranger to the Thrice Read blog. Sam reviewed her first two novels in previous posts, and this week, we have the pleasure of hosting a promotional post for her newest release in the series. Today, we’d like to welcome Gabriele Russo to our blog!

Thrice Read Books presents an author interview with Gabriele Russo, author of the GODS, INC. series, and recent release, INCOHERENT GODS

Jenn: Welcome, Gabriele. Before we really dive into the books, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Gabriele: Yes, anything in particular that you would like to know?

Jenn: I gather from your name and where you went to university, that you have a rich cultural background, and that life has brought you a long way from where you started out.
Gabriele: I was born in Québec City, and I now live in Virginia, which is not that far, but not exactly where I thought I’d end up. I love it though – at least it’s warmer. I did live in Europe for a few years (my mother was German and so I still have family there), and South America, in Paraguay, for a bit.

Jenn: So, you’ve really been all over the world. What a fantastic experience! Have you always wanted to be an author? Or did you discover writing more by accident?
Gabriele: I did try writing a few times before these novels, but it never quite meshed… I never finished anything, anyhow. Then I discovered Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, and I thought “This! This is what I want to write.” Something quirky, where I can have fun with words and dialog. And so, when my life changed, I sat down and tried to write. It worked, even if I still had ways to go into perfecting my craft.

Jenn: What advice would you offer to would-be authors?

Gabriele: First, I guess I would tell them to be certain that’s what they want to do. It can be heartbreaking at times. You need a thick skin. Then I would advise them to take classes, maybe not as I did, but at least a few – and most importantly to verify the credentials of the person giving the class. Which brings me to my third item of advice: to be very careful. The world of publishing is now filled with scammers.

Jenn: Indeed. We see a lot of warnings to would-be authors and published authors seeking homes for their new work.
Alright… On to the good stuff. Book Three in the Gods, Inc. series comes out in just a few weeks. I know that Sam reviewed the first two books in the Gods, Inc. series, but could you summarize the series up to book 3 for our readers?

Gabriele: The series takes place in a world where the ancient mythological gods live alongside humans. They now mostly work at Gods, Incorporated, a huge multinational that polices the interactions between mortals and immortals, which is led by its CEO, Queen Louhi Pohjola, a mortal demigoddess turned vampire on a diet.

Jenn: A dieting vampire?

Gabriele: She doesn’t drink human blood, or at least tries not too. In the first book, Goblin, a bitter goblin with childhood issues takes over the company, to then take over the world and turn it into hell. In the second book, a fanatic atheist at the head of a powerful lobby/terrorist group has found a way to kill gods.

Jenn: The series plot sounds complex.

Gabriele: The thing to remember is that all the novels are independent stories. The third one is even more to the side. It takes place in the Gods, Inc. zoo, and pits Louhi and the gods against an old evil witch that doesn’t actually want to take over the world, just destroy it.

Jenn: Right.  How would you classify this series? I’m getting a Young Adult/Paranormal vibe here. Maybe with a dash of fantasy?

Gabriele: It is not Young Adult, that’s for sure. There are almost no characters younger than thirty, and most are centuries old. Paranormal certainly. Fantasy, of course – other dimensions, magic being omnipresent… And if you take the official definition of naturalizing the supernatural, that fits too. This mixed with a humor that is also probably not very juvenile, more social satire.
In fact, this third novel is the first one with a young character.

Jenn: Speaking of book 3, Now sounds like a great time to talk about that.

Gabriele: The story revolves around Hercules, Jupiter’s great-great-great-…-great-grandson. He’s the manager of the zoo, and lately, his charges (mostly immortal animals or gods in animal shape) have been going insane. When Louhi (accompanied by Jupiter, her fiancé Ba’al, and bodyguard Andrew) goes for her yearly visit, he tries to hide this from her but fails – let’s not forget to mention that he has a huge crush on her. When they investigate the matter, they realize that this plague of insanity is not natural and that the real target is Yggdrasil, the World Tree. And if Yggdrasil loses coherence, then so will the fabric of reality – meaning that there will be no more way to move between the planes of existence: the dead will be stuck on earth, souls meant to reincarnate won’t be able to come back, etc… All this because the evil witch Chiloe doesn’t want to go to hell, which she knows she richly deserves (she is quite the unapologetic villain).

Jenn: LoL… You have to love a villain who’s fully vested in her destruction!
As we draw closer to the end of our time, is there anything else readers should know before they embark on this witty, satirical, mythological journey that is Gods, Inc.?

Gabriele: I wouldn’t want to give away any spoilers by inadvertence. Maybe just that I hope my books bring a little joy to them in these turbulent times.

Jenn: That’s a valid purpose to any book!
How can readers connect with you on social media, or follow you on a website or newsletter?

Gabriele: They can follow me on Twitter or on my facebook page. My website also has a contact form and quite a few links to articles and interviews.

Twitter     Facebook     Website

Jenn: Awesome! Thank you so much for sitting down with us and sharing about your upcoming release. We wish you all the best for your launch.

Gabriele: Thank you very much for having me. 

Thrice Read Books presents an author interview with Gabriele Russo, author of the GODS, INC. series, and recent release, INCOHERENT GODS

Buy the Book: 

FIERY SEAS BOOKSTORE     AMAZON     BARNES & NOBLE     KOBO

Related blog posts: 

Sam’s review of Incompetent Gods

Sam’s review of Inclement Gods