Tagged: Science Fiction & Fantasy

Aaru:Halls of Hel

**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 book 2 in David Meredith's Aaru Cycle - Aaru: Halls of Hel - YA Science Fiction, Virtual Reality, Life After Death
Jenn reviews book 2 in David Meredith’s Aaru Cycle – Aaru: Halls of Hel

About the Book

Aaru:Halls of Hel, David Meredith

Adult, Science Fiction, 388 Pages

Bowker (July 26, 2018)

“… Let them have everything – health, food, a place to live, entertainment. They are and remain unhappy and low-spirited for the demon waits and waits…”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Rose is a Veda.

In Elysian Industries’ virtual paradise of Aaru, that means she’s practically a goddess. She is immortal. She is powerful. A limitless paradise is hers and her friends’ to command. They are free from sickness and pain, old age and death. She should be ecstatic over her prestige and privilege, but the gilded utopia has lost its luster. 

In a reality where anything can be hers with a thought, and Rose can master any skill instantly with nothing but her imagination, to what can she still aspire? She has all of eternity to fill, but what will her purpose be? Rose adores her sweet, Latin boyfriend, Franco. She loves wiling away endless immaculate days with her friends, but shouldn’t there be more to life than mere play? Also, Rose is dogged by deep concern for her little sister, Koren, the Elysian Industries spokes-model and reality star back in the “Before” world.

Though Koren is wealthy, famous, and idolized by millions of adoring fans, her life is spinning out of control. Her parents’ marriage is on the rocks, and the boyfriend of her dreams, Jonas Perry, seems suddenly indifferent. Koren finds her celebrity increasingly isolating, her grueling work schedule exhausting, and the constant scrutiny of her personal life unwelcomed and intrusive. To top it all off, she has regular nightmares about the death of her friend, Kiku, and the still-at-large Magic Man who nearly stole away her everything.

Koren and Rose have more to fear from this quarter than they know. Magic Man’s obsession with the teenage idol has not lessened, and he is far from defeated. With vital aid from an unexpected source, his nefarious schemes to make Koren his own and to hack the Aaru mainframe are on track and moving forward. Unless the sisters can thwart his sinister designs, everyone and everything the girls hold dear could be destroyed.

About the Author



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

Jenn’s Review

Koren and Rose Johnson are back, and scrambling to find themselves in book 2 of David Meredith’s AARU Cycle, Aaru: Halls of Hel.

Koren is still reeling from the loss of her friend and the publicity tour demands that Aaru’s board has placed on her 14-year-old shoulders is wearing her out. Not only is she trying to navigate the hassles of being a teenager, but she’s trying to do so under the microscope of public opinion, religious zealots, and her parents’ marriage falling apart.

Rose is enjoying her second life in Aaru, but she’s growing increasingly restless, learning the hard lesson that life without purpose is empty, and she’s facing a very long existence.

And the Magic Man? He got what he needed from his attack on Koren, but he’s not finished with his goal.

Aaru: Halls of Hel is a deeper dive into the fascinating universe of life-after-death. You could possibly start with this book, but you’ll get far more out of it by reading book 1 first. Multiple plots are involved, and this is not the end of the series. I definitely enjoyed this book, though it is a long read.

Jenn reviews book 2 in David Meredith's Aaru Cycle - Aaru: Halls of Hel - YA Science Fiction, Virtual Reality, Life After Death
Jenn reviews book 2 in David Meredith’s Aaru Cycle – Aaru: Halls of Hel

Buy the Book

 This book is available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback format here:

Other Books in this series:

Aaru (book 1)

Le Remède

**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 Densie Webb's contemporary vampire romance, Le Reméde - urban fantasy, contemporary romance, romance fiction
Jenn reviews Densie Webb’s contemporary vampire romance, Le Reméde

About the Book

Le Remède; Densie Webb
Adult; Science Fiction Romance; 260 Pages

The Wild Rose Press, Inc (November 7, 2018)

Andie Rogé craves control like some people crave chocolate. But she can’t control her feelings when she encounters Vincent Dubois at Lizzie Borden’s Bar. 

Tortured by blood lust that has ruled him for almost two hundred years, Vincent is unprepared for the pull he feels toward Andie. He can only surrender to what he knows is fate. 

Offered a cure from a rare black orchid, he faces an agonizing choice—take the only dose and join Andie in the human life he so deeply desires or give the cure to his Kindred brother to stop his bloody rampage. Fate brought them together but will it destroy their chance at a future?

About the Author

Le Reméde author, Densie Webb

Densie Webb has spent a long career as a freelance nonfiction writer and editor, specializing in health and nutrition, and has published several books and tons of articles on the topic over the years. She is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association and SheWrites; a contributor to Women Writers, Women’s Books; and a daily “tweeter” for WriterUnboxed. Her latest novel, “Le Remède” was published by Wild Rose Press. Her debut novel, “You’ll Be Thinking of Me” was published by Soul Mate Publishing. She grew up in Louisiana, spent 13 years in New York, and settled in Austin, TX, where it’s summer nine months out of the year. She is an avid walker (not of the dead variety, though she loves anything to do with zombies, vampires or post-apocalyptic worlds), drinks too much coffee and has a small “devil dog” that keeps her on her toes. She has arrested development in musical tastes and her two children provide her with musical recommendations on a regular basis.

Jenn’s Review

Densie Webb’s paranormal romance, LE REMÉDE, is a walk on the spicy side of vampires. No sparkles here, though Ms. Webb does put her own spin on the supernatural in this charming love story.

Andie is at the end of a very long string of bad luck. She’s finally finding her feet in the Big Apple after having to lean heavily on her best friend, losing her parents, and her fiance. So when she finally meets the unbelievably beautiful mystery man from the bar, her world upends in confusion, insatiable need, and the most amazing peace she’s felt in a long time. It figures that something is wrong with him – she just didn’t guess that he was a cursed, immortal Kindred. Those only exist in the movies, right? Right?

Vincent has used his very long life learning to curb his deadly hunger and to teach his only friend how to do the same. So when an enemy from centuries past saunters into Vincent’s flower shop, offering a cure to the curse he never wanted, Vincent is doubtful, but hope springs eternal. Hope blossoms when an irresistible pull draws him toward Andie, and the only logical explanation for his attraction is a legend about fated mates – but he’s never heard of such a thing between human and Kindred.

As Andie learns to accept who and what Vincent is, Vincent’s friend loses control and spirals into a killing spree. The three must make decisions that no one should be forced to make – lover or friend? Family or the future?

This is a tastefully written, adult romance that edges towards the sweet side of the bedroom door. Le Reméde is contemporary urban fantasy, told in the first person present POV. The author’s world-building and character development are beautifully rendered, though the pacing was slow. While I enjoyed the story, I think Ms. Webb got bogged down from time to time with backstory. This is one of those authors I look forward to seeing more from in the future.

Jenn reviews Densie Webb's contemporary vampire romance, Le Reméde - urban fantasy, contemporary romance, romance fiction
Jenn reviews Densie Webb’s contemporary vampire romance, Le Reméde

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle and paperback here.

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Assassin 13 – 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.**

Brian reviews Tom Reppert's Time travel/ Science Fiction novel, Assassin 13
Brian reviews Tom Reppert’s Time travel/ Science Fiction novel, Assassin 13

About the Book

Assassin 13; Tom Reppert 
Adult; Historical Sci-Fi; 424 Pages

Helen’s Sons Publishers March 15, 2018

In the dystopian 22nd century, Lauren Ramirez is an Assassin 13, the best at her profession. Betrayed by her employer, the President of the United States, on an off-planet op, she escapes when her spacecraft hurtles through time and crash lands in 1927 prohibition Hollywood with its silent film stars and bootlegging gangsters.

She finds herself an alien in an alien land.

Becoming friends with Pauline Windsor, one of Hollywood’s top actresses and girlfriend of mafia chieftain Benny Sorrentino, thrusts Lauren into the middle of a gangland war. Even as she clings to her burning need for vengeance in the 22nd century, her relationship with the people she meets, stunt pilot boyfriend Remy Garnett, Pauline, and Pauline’s young children Rolly and Emmy, all begin to change the hard surface of her heart.

Now she must decide whether to use her 22nd century talents and technology in their defense or abandon them to the vicious thugs and slip back into her own time to wreck vengeance on her enemies.

About the Author

Author Tom Reppert

I’m an army veteran and former teacher with a BA in English and History, as well as MA in Creative Writing and Professional Writing. I spent twelve years in Africa and Asia teaching English Literature and Composition, History and a myriad of other classes. This was an extraordinary experience. In Africa, I taught at the International School Moshi on the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro. Waking up each morning with that massive snow-capped peak out your window was beyond stirring. The mountain, the land, the people brought to mind images of earlier storied generations in Tanzania (Tanganyika) and Kenya. “Oh, God, not another bloody sunny day.” I loved the constantly sunny days. One day on a trip to Ngoro Ngoro crater our vehicle broke down in the middle of a pride of lions. We had to get out to push it to get it jump-started. But then that’s another story.

I taught ten years at Bandung International School in the highlands of Indonesia. There could not have been a more wonderful community with which to live and work or a more beautiful country. Truly a marvelous experience.

My novels on Amazon and at selected book stores are The Far Journey, and The Captured Girl, and Assassin 13. The Far Journey is on Audible.com with Assassin 13 coming soon. Morgan’s Captivity is a short piece only on Kindle detailing Morgan O’Connor’s captivity among the Cheyenne.

Currently, I live in Sandpoint, Idaho on idyllic Lake Pend Oreille, where I’m working on my next novel, another time-travel effort. To contact me: Repptomauthor@gmail.com or my Facebook page.

Facebook Author Page Twitter Author Goodreads

Brian’s Review

When this book was first presented to me, I had my doubts.  I wasn’t sure I was going to like it and wasn’t sure how a science fiction novel would go with a historical novel, but I thought I’d give it a try none the less.

Assassin 13 did not let me down.  It was beautifully written and the cross-genres were masterfully mashed together and blended very well.  I have to admit that I’m a sucker for a strong main female character and this Lauren is not only that but more.  Strong, smart, witty, and I like to think above average on the looks, Lauren is an ideal role model for any young lady. Okay, maybe not the ideal role model, but if you look past her sneaky assassin side, she’s at least an above average role model.

Tom did an amazing job moving Lauren from the future to the past, keeping it simple but at the same time very mysterious. My only regret in his decision on time travel is, well not wanting to give spoilers, missing. Confusing?  Don’t worry, read the book, you’ll understand what I mean.

This book left me wishing one thing. And that is I hope Tom decides to bring Lauren back someway, somehow in a follow-up book.  I wouldn’t mind seeing a full series dedicated to Lauren.

If the 1920s is to your liking, and yet you love a little futuristic dystopia, then Assassin 13 is a great book.  If you are like me, and not really sure what to make of something mashing two things together history and dystopia, you know kind of like mixing tomato and chocolate, then read Assassin 13, cause Tom is a master at making a classic out of a something I don’t think the writing Gods ever thought possible.

Brian reviews Tom Reppert's Time travel/ Science Fiction novel, Assassin 13
Brian reviews Tom Reppert’s Time travel/ Science Fiction novel, Assassin 13

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle, audiobook and paperback formats here.

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The Renaissance Club

**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 Rachel Dacus' time travel romance, The Renaissance Club - Contemporary Romance, Time Travel, Renaissance Italy
Jenn reviews Rachel Dacus’ time travel romance, The Renaissance Club

About the Book

The Renaissance Club; Rachel Dacus
Adult; Fantasy Romance; 374 pages

Time Fold Books December 20, 2018

May Gold, an adjunct college teacher earning little more than a Starbucks barista, often dreams in her tiny, moldy office about the subject of her master’s thesis, 17th-century sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini. In her fantasies, she’s in his arms, the wildly adored partner of the man who invented the Baroque. In reality, May has just landed in Rome with her teaching colleagues and her suffocating boyfriend, Darren, who is paying her way. She feels like a precocious failure and longs for a passionate, creative life of beauty and poetry. When tour leader George St. James lends May his beautiful gold pen to take her notes, she finds herself in the year 1624, under the gilded dome of St. Peter’s, staring into Bernini’s eyes. But can she break free of her present-day life, the dead-end job, the stuffy boyfriend, and the boss who wants to thwart her rise in the Art Department? Only if she can give up everything and figure out the secret to falling through the folds of time, might she seize her unexpected chance for happiness and live in a magical future with her soul mate from another time.

A CAPTIVATING STORY illuminating love’s power over time. Perfect for fans of and Susanna Kearsley and Diana Gabaldon, for those who love Italy, art, and history.

About the Author

Rachel Dacus is a poet, essayist, and novelist who writes about love and history. In her novel, THE RENAISSANCE CLUB, a young art historian gets to meet her hero from the past, the fiery 17th century Italian sculptor Bernini. She then must choose whether she can give up everything — even the time in which she lives — to be with her soulmate. The book was praised as “enchanting, rich, and romantic”.

Dacus is at work on both a sequel and a prequel. She shows off her versatility as a writer in her four poetry collections, most recently ARABESQUE. 

She lives in Northern California with her husband and a tiny, mighty Silky Terrier. She’s a member of the Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association and Authors18. To learn more about her news and upcoming projects, sign up for her quarterly newsletter at http://racheldacus.net. A poem in every newsletter!

Jenn’s Review

A stellar story and subtle romance! Rachel Dacus’ story weaves the past and the present together in a seamless blend of prose and poetry, with subtle undertones reminiscent of a fine Italian culinary dish in The Renaissance Club.

This was not my first time-travel romance, but Ms. Dacus is easily on par with my literary heroine, Diana Gabaldon. While the heroine travels back and forth through time, she tries to keep her present-day, dead-on-arrival, relationship with Darren together; but each trip through the portal of Time, each liason with her artistic hero, Bernini, she finds herself comparing past and present in more ways than one.

The romance between May and Bernini sizzles, and the love scenes are subtle, but pack a punch and the author moves deftly through the full range of human emotions with style and sensitivity. All the while, Dacus is describing art and Italy with a deftness that leaves even the least-experienced art historian with a clear mental image of what the characters are seeing and studying.

Her characters step in and out of time seamlessly, and it would seem that all of our intrepid travelers on this particular three-week academic tour find themselves somehow changed by the magic of Italy; its pull an irresistible dare to be something more, fly higher, try something new, inspired by the innovation in artistic styles that Rome, Venice, Florence, and Assisi seethe with. And who wouldn’t find themselves forever altered by meeting Masters of their time such as Michelangelo, Bernini and Borromini?

Even those who aren’t romance fans will find something in the pages of this book to pique their imagination. Aspiring authors, poets, painters and sculptors especially, should read at least the first three chapters, and pay special heed Bernini’s advice.

You won’t find steamy sex scenes in this book, but in this reviewer’s opinion, they would have most likely detracted from the overall impact of Rachel’s work. Readers will be left with a new appreciation of art, history, love and time itself. A must for every romance reader’s book list, especially fans of time-travel romance.

Jenn reviews Rachel Dacus' time travel romance, The Renaissance Club - Contemporary Romance, Time Travel, Renaissance Italy
Jenn reviews Rachel Dacus’ time travel romance, The Renaissance Club

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle and paperback here.

Thrice Read Books will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at books@thricereadbooks.com. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

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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

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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