Tagged: Social Classes

Beneath the Assassin’s Touch

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Jenn reviews BENEATH THE ASSASSIN'S TOUCH by Katherine Hastings, Book 2 in the Daggers of Desire series - historical romance - romance fiction - assassin fiction - adventure romance
Jenn reviews Beneath the Assassin’s Touch by Katherine Hastings, Book 2 in the Daggers of Desire series

About the Book

Beneath the Assassin’s Touch, 
Katherine Hastings

Adult, Historical Romance, 201 Pages

Flyte Publishing, January 23, 2019

Sometimes the safest place is in the arms of the most dangerous man.

As Viktor fights to save Nora from assassins hot on her trail, it turns out they’re up against an even bigger battle… the feelings for each other they can no longer deny.

When Viktor envisioned pulling the beautiful Baroness into his arms, he was thinking he wanted a quick roll in the hay… a one-night stand like he’d had with a lengthy list of ladies before her. Tossing her over his shoulder to escape her would-be assassins wasn’t what he had in mind, yet that’s exactly how she ended up in his arms the night they met. Now Viktor is stuck protecting the willful woman until they can solve the mystery of who would want her dead. He must use all his skills, as both pirate and assassin, to save her… and all his willpower to resist the growing feelings that threaten to pull him under.

Baroness Nora Aberdeen finds herself ripped from a life of luxury, dependent on the infuriating assassin to keep her alive. Unsure who to trust, she can’t deny the safety she feels when she’s by his side. Dragged through England to places she never imagined, Nora struggles to survive while also struggling to battle the feelings the roguish pirate awakens within her.

Can they fight their feelings while they fight for their lives? Will he be able to save her, and in doing so save himself… or will pride and duty tear them apart?

About the Author

 
Katherine Hastings loves love. It’s why she writes romance novels. Getting lost writing a romantic adventure is one of her favorite pastimes. When she’s not on an adventure with her characters, she can be found at her home in Wisconsin snuggling her husband, two Boston Terriers, and the world’s naughtiest cat. Two things make Katherine want to leave her happy home these days… going for rides on her dressage pony or floating at the beach in her big inflatable raft. Writing her novels while floating in the lake is one of her ultimate pleasures… that and Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds, of course.

Jenn’s Review

Katherine Hastings is back with book 2 in the Daggers of Desire series, Beneath the Assassin’s Touch. In book 1, we briefly met the pirate, Viktor, and he’s back with his over-the-top wit and salacious, playful antics to rescue the endangered damsel, keep her out of harm’s way, and find his own happily ever after.

Viktor hides a damaged, painful past behind his mask of daring escapades, quick sense of humor, and bawdy bosom buddies. Never one to settle down for long, he agrees to take a short stint away from his pirate ship, Dark Shark, to help John and Charlie prevent an assassination. The only catch is, they don’t know exactly who’s at risk, only that the intended victim will be at a ball at a nearby estate. He’s growing weary of the pirate’s life, even if he is a captain with his own ship.

Never one to let a little work get in the way of a flirtation, Viktor trails a beautiful baroness out onto a balcony for a bit of fresh air.

Nora doesn’t exactly like the plush life she’s carved out for herself, but the cost of turning back is too high for her to pay – so she plays her part and grits her teeth. The dashing, well-dressed man that follows her around her husband’s party is more than an annoyance, his continued affections could jeopardize all those she holds dear. But when armed men attack her in the dark, she has no choice but to flee in the handsome stranger’s arms.

Nora is all prickles and defenses, continually demanding that Viktor returns her to her home, refusing to believe that she’s in any danger. Her ongoing denial and fight for her independence could cost her her life. And Viktor refuses to let the beautiful, strong Nora out of his grasp – she’s possibly his best chance at healing old wounds and finding the happiness he never thought could be his.

Ms. Hastings has tackled yet another historical romance with a flair for witty banter, sexy tensions, and action-packed adventure. BENEATH THE ASSASSIN’S TOUCH is the second book in the series, and characters and situations from book 1 are referenced, met, and take part in some of the action, but this book can be read as a standalone in its own right. A nice break from the typical adult historical romance.

Jenn reviews BENEATH THE ASSASSIN'S TOUCH by Katherine Hastings, Book 2 in the Daggers of Desire series - historical romance - romance fiction - assassin fiction - adventure romance
Jenn reviews Beneath the Assassin’s Touch by Katherine Hastings, Book 2 in the Daggers of Desire series

We interviewed Katherine back in July 2018. You can read the article here.

Buy the Book

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

Fateful Decisions – Review

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

About the book:

Fateful Decisions by Trevor D’Silva

Historical Fiction     325 pages

Black Rose Writing     October 25, 2017

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

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

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

About the author:

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

Jenn’s Review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy the book:

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

In the Assassin’s Arms – Review

Jenn reviews Katherine Hasting's debut novel, IN THE ASSASSINS ARMS - adult historical romance, assassin romance, action-adventure romance
Jenn reviews Katherine Hasting’s debut novel, In the Assassin’s Arms

About the book:

In the Assassin’s Arms by Katherine Hastings

Series: Dagger of Desire Historical Romance

Flyte Publishing, January 19, 2019

John Douglas may be a well-trained political assassin, but he has met his match in the woman he once called a friend. When his childhood playmate reenters his life, she’s not looking to rekindle their friendship… she’s out for blood.

With a vendetta to settle, Charlotte Cornewalle isn’t stopping until she finds the man who killed her father. All signs point to Robert Douglas, the leader of the opposing faction of assassins… and John’s father. To get her revenge, no one will stand in her way… not even the boy she once adored.

Fate forces them together as they fight to prove their innocence and right the wrongs they have suffered. Sparks fly from more than just their swords, but will they be able to put the past behind them? Will they be able to find the truth before it destroys them both?

About the Author:

Katherine Hastings, Author of Historical Romance "In the Assassin's Arms"

Katherine Hastings loves love. It’s why she writes romance novels. Getting lost writing a romantic adventure is one of her favorite pastimes. When she’s not on an adventure in her mind with her characters, she can be found at her home in Wisconsin snuggling her husband, two Boston Terriers, and the world’s naughtiest cat. Two things make Katherine want to leave her happy home these days… going for rides on her dressage pony or floating at the beach in her big inflatable raft. Writing her novels while floating in the lake is one of her ultimate pleasures… that and Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds, of course.

Katherine’s social follows: 

Facebook     Twitter     Instagram     Website/Email signup

Jenn’s Review:

Another awesome debut novel! Katherine Hastings’ historical romance, In the Assassin’s Arms is witty, fast-paced and engaging.

John and Charlie go back a long ways – to their childhoods, playing hide and seek and tag as they ran around John’s family estate. Their childhood friendship is shattered when Charlotte (“Charlie”) is ripped away, her father murdered in cold blood in John’s home. Charlie has always blamed John’s father, and the rival assassin organization that John and his father belong to, for her father’s death, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge his murder.

When these two meet up again in as adults, sparks fly. They are attracted to each other while struggling with the blame each places on the other for the deaths of those they love. Despite their mutual mistrust, they must work together to solve the riddles behind a growing number of murders – before they’re both added to the list!

The banter between these two characters had me giggling – each is quick-minded and they’ve picked up right where they left off, competing with each other to see whose skills are more finely honed. Ms. Hastings serves up some piping hot sexual chemistry as well, with a face-paced plot that had me turning the page for more.

While I immensely enjoyed the dialogue and narrative, I encountered a few spots where the conversation felt a little off; some lines felt too modern, or too casual for the setting and situation. It did not, however, affect my enjoyment of the book to give it any less than 4 stars.

In the Assassin’s Arms is the first book in a series, with book 2 expected to hit the shelves later in 2018. If Adult Historical Romance is your thing, then I would highly recommend checking out Katherine Hastings’ debut.

Jenn reviews Katherine Hasting's debut novel, IN THE ASSASSINS ARMS - adult historical romance, assassin romance, action-adventure romance

Jenn reviews Katherine Hasting’s debut novel, In the Assassin’s Arms

Buy the book:

This book is available in Kindle Format from Amazon in Kindle, and paperback here.

Jenn sat down with Katherine to talk a bit about In the Assassin’s Arms. You can read that interview here.

The White Pavilion – Review

About this book:

Five hundred years ago, Old Earth was facing certain destruction. In the country we know as Spain, a Clockmaker was visited by an Oracle, who told her that a new world must be created.

La Relojero, the Clockmaker, thus fashioned Tierra Mejor, a world governed by clockwork. Along with Seven Companions, she left the dying Earth behind.

But now, an illness is spreading across their world. Machines are failing, crops are diseased, and the Green-bands, led by a man known only as la Rebelde, the Rebel, are spreading discord.

Every year, the Daughters of the Pavilion dance to honour the myth is being performed by the Daughters of the Pavilion. Imre has been chosen to play the part of la Grulla. It is her task is to honour the Pattern by placing a white feather into the hand of a statue of la Oracula, the Oracle. At the last moment, she stumbles.

The Pattern has been disrupted, and Imre’s future is now in jeopardy. The Prince Regent, Thaniel, insists that she is brought to the Citadel. The Prince is young, easily distracted, and determined to bury his insecurities under a screen of drugs. Senor Grath, the Prince’s Advisor, is the effective governor. He dislikes Imre immensely – she is everything he despises. Then there is La Boca, leader of the mysterious Brotherhood, whose sinister plans seem to involve disposing of the Prince – and Imre is in his way.

Thrown from her old life into a world of politics and intrigue, lust and greed, tradition and romance, Imre must confront the Brotherhood and save her people. She will have to fight to ensure the final part of la Relojero’s plan is completed – and that the children of the Seven Companions can return home to Old Earth.

About the author:

Ruth has been an avid reader her entire life and, inspired by the books that engrossed her as she was growing up, she aims to create stories that can draw readers in and enthral them for days or weeks. She writes every day and lives in Ballarat, Victoria, with her husband, her cat, and an ever-expanding library of books.

Ruth completed a Bachelor of Arts/Diploma of Arts in Professional Writing and Editing in 2006. She has worked as an editor as well as an illustrator. She often illustrates her own work and hopes to publish many more books in the future.

Visit her website for more information.

Jenn’s Review:

I think that this is possibly the most challenging review I’ve ever written. The White Pavillion made me reach, as a reader; think differently, as a writer; and persevere, as a reviewer.

Ms. Fox’s work in White Pavillion is very different from what I normally chose to read. However, as Sam was dying to get her hands on this particular title, and we weren’t entirely sure of the book’s rating, I chose to push on.

I would not consider this a fast paced read. In fact, it rambles rather slowly until the climax, at which point it speeds up considerably. The setting was also unusual – while I could easily picture the place, I struggled to wrap my head around the sense of time. While I can easily accept other forms of telling time in created, fictional worlds, this book left me stumped in a number of places – Had Imre been held for what would amount to days? Weeks? Months? 

In terms of the “steampunk” element of this story, Ms. Fox takes the prize for world-building. Her creativity in building the world her characters inhabit excels, and while some elements are strange to our mundane world, she has managed to create an element of realism that is hard to find.

I mentioned earlier that the story was slow. Honestly, I don’t normally feel that I am dragging myself through the pages of a read, but this one felt supremely slow. However, that said… Patience is the reward in this novel. Without giving away spoilers, the plot twists near the end of the story blindsided me, while many of the plot twists earlier in the story were expected. 

As a parent, pre-reading this book for a 12 year old who frequently reads YA Fiction, this is not a book for younger teens. Imre is, after all, the equivalent of a high-class prostitute in training (in context, this isn’t as odd as you might think), and she is, first and foremost, a sensual being, a Dancer, an escort. She finds lust and love along her journey in this story, in the arms of both men and women, and the scenes are not “behind the bedroom door”. They are described, elegantly, but not subtly.

In the final tally, The White Pavilion was a worthy read. Reviews are, of course, subjective, and what I have trouble with in one book, another reader might love (and vice versa). If you are a fan of science fiction, speculative fiction and steam punk, you might give this plot a whirl.

Buy the book:

This book is available through Amazon in Kindle format here. [Affiliate link]

Born of Ice by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Book Review

In the Ichidian Universe where The League is law, most live in fear. We fight back. Welcome to a world where corrupt assassination politics dominate everyone. It’s kill or be killed. Welcome back to the future…and meet hell’s new breed of heroes.

Devyn Kell spent his life in service to the League until he learned of the double dealing and backstabbing that was costing innocent people their lives. Refusing to play those politics, he became a Runner―someone who makes sure planets get the weapons, medicine and supplies they need to survive. May the gods have mercy on any who get in his way, because he definitely won’t.

Alix Garran is a woman on the run from a past she can’t escape. Signing on to work for Devyn as a System’s Engineer, she finds a cause she can fight for―and a man she can respect. But as Alix’s past catches up to her, and Devyn’s old enemies turn lethal, they have to fight together…or fall alone, in Born of Ice, the third bestselling League novel from Sherrilyn Kenyon. (From Amazon.com product listing.)

I found book 3 to the League Novel series excellent giving it four stars.  Kenyon surely did not disappoint once again.  For a Sci-Fi Romance novel, this book and series is great.  Yes I know it was made for a lady, but it has just the right amount of action and violence to satisfy a man.  If you have read books one and two, you do not under any circumstances want to miss book 3.

You can purchase this book here.

This book is also available on Amazon in Kindle, hardcover, paperback, audiobook and mass market paperback here.

Insurgent – Book Review

Insurgent is a great book and follow up to Divergent.  Again if you saw the movie, don’t judge this book by it.  In this reviewer’s opinion this book was 100 times better than the movie and actually makes you want to read book 3.  I give this book 4 stars as it’s one of the best and great for your high school student.  This is a great book for either boys or girls.  

You can buy a used hardcover edition of this book from Thrice Read Books here.

You can also buy this book at Amazon in Kindle, hardcover, paperback, audiobook and audio CD editions here. [affiliate link]

David: Lord of Honor – Book Review

You can buy this book here.

About the book:

David, Viscount Fairly, has imperiled his honor…
Letty Banks is a reluctant courtesan, keeping a terrible secret that brought her, a vicar’s daughter, to a life of vice. While becoming madam of Viscount Fairly’s high-class brothel is an absolute financial necessity, Letty refuses to become David’s mistress-though their attraction becomes harder to resist the more she learns about the man…

Perhaps a fallen woman can redeem it.
David is smitten not only with Letty’s beauty, but also with her calm, her kindness, her quiet. David is determined to put respectability back in her grasp, even if that means uncovering the secrets Letty works so hard to keep hidden-secrets that could take her away from him forever…

The Review:

I’m not a stranger to the Regency Romance genre, but I haven’t read Grace Burrowes until now. When David: Lord of Honor came into our inventory, I picked it up, because of the unusual circumstances that bring the Hero and Heroine into each other’s lives (plus, attractive cover!).

Most romances, especially Regencies, are quick reads for me. I get lost in the story line at 1 in the afternoon, and it’s dinner time before I realize that the afternoon has passed and I’m just closing the cover of the book for the last time.

David: Lord of Honor was not such a book. I took my time through the first half of the book. It’s not that the plot is slow, because it is well-paced. I wasn’t bored (I don’t bother finishing a book if I cannot truly immerse myself in it by page 60). I was, rather, simply not compelled to sit and read the book in one sitting.

However, as the plot began to reach its climax, I had been drawn into the characters and their journeys. I couldn’t put the book down for more than a few minutes, because I needed to keep going. 

Their emotional journeys alone are compelling (it’s difficult at this point to not give away spoilers!), and you don’t want to stop reading, because you want them to get over themselves and get to their Happily-Ever-After (also known as the HEA).

I rarely cry while reading a romance anymore. Something about writing my own romance stories and knowing that at some point, this couple is going to part ways before they get to their HEA takes the sting out of that dark moment for me. But when David and Letty reach theirs, it hit me hard and I spent at least two chapters in tears.

Whether you’re a hard-core Regency fan or you just enjoy an engrossing romance, David: Lord of Honor is definitely worth a read. It is perfect for rainy days (something we have plenty of here on the Washington Coast) or quiet evenings. Make a pot of tea and enjoy the ups and downs of a brothel owner and his madam (and have the Puffs on hand!).

This book is also available from Amazon in Kindle, Paperback and Mass Market Paperback here. [affiliate link]

Mockingjay Book Review

Thrice Read Books reviews Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay, book 3 in the Hunger Games Trilogy

About the book:

The greatly anticipated final book in the New York Times bestselling Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. 

Who do they think should pay for the unrest?

Katniss Everdeen.

The final book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins will have hearts racing, pages turning, and everyone talking about one of the biggest and most talked-about books and authors in recent publishing history!!!!

About the author:

Suzanne Collins has had a successful and prolific career writing for children’s television. She has worked on the staffs of several Nickelodeon shows, including the Emmy-nominated hit Clarissa Explains It All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. Collins made her mark in children’s literature with the New York Times bestselling five-book series for middle-grade readers The Underland Chronicles, which has received numerous accolades in both the United States and abroad. In the award-winning The Hunger Games trilogy, Collins continues to explore the effects of war and violence on those coming of age. Collins lives with her family in Connecticut.

Brian’s Review:

The third and final book to the Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay doesn’t disappoint.  Collins once again hits the nail on the head with the final book.  If you don’t have tears at the end of the book check your pulse.  Collins has displayed a masterful series and if you are upper Jr. High and up, you will most assuredly enjoy these books.  If you saw the movies, then all I can say is, wait until you read the books…

Brian & Sam review book 3 of Suzanne Collins' YA Dystopian Hunger Games series, Mockingjay, on the Thrice Read Books review blog.

Sam’s Review: 

Flying arrows! Heart break! Betrayal. All of that happens in Hunger Game 3, Mockingjay.

Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins, is the third, last, and final book in the Hunger Games. And it is as good of a book as the other two. This powerful ending will leave you wanting more, but at the same time, it leaves you satisfied with the way things turned out.

Katniss has been chosen to be the rebel’s Mockingjay. Simple, right? I mean, all she has to do is make propos and scare the Capitol. It’s not that easy. See, Peeta has become the capitol’s puppet, and Katniss keeps getting hurt.

This book was very, very, very fun to read, and I’m very sorry that it ended there. Overall, the series was fun to read. But, a couple of things were wrong. One, the book ended, two, why can’t there be a story without a super evil bad guy, and three, I miss the games. In other words, I loved this!

Buy this book:

You can buy a copy of this book from Thrice Read Books here.

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

Black Beauty – Book Review

About the book:

Black Beauty teaches everyone he meets the true meaning of courage and loyalty. From escaping a burning barn to saving the life of his owner, every day is full of adventure. But he longs for a family to love him for the gentle horse he is. Will he ever find the perfect home?

Hear Black Beauty read by Jonathan Keeble, who appeared in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

With the included audio you can HEAR the entire book, word for word, READ ALONG with the audio, or READ the story on your own. 

Each HEAR IT READ IT classic presents the world’s greatest stories in an easy-to-read abridged format. The included audio contains a dramatic reading-with music and sound effects-that match the text, word for word, so children of all ages and reading levels can read along. 

Perfect for high-level young readers experiencing the classics for the first time and also ideally accessible for “reluctant readers,” HEAR IT READ IT classics give young readers the best possible introduction to the world’s timeless tales. It’s a terrific way for adults to re-experience the thrills of a classic tale, too!

Jenn’s Review:

Anna Sewell’s classic tale of the life of a Victorian era horse highlights social issues that were prevalent at the time, as well as issues of animal welfare that still go on today. Suitable as guided reading for children as young as 6, there are some scenes alluding to class differences and animal abuse.

Buy the Book:

Thrice Read Books has a copy of this book for sale here.

You can also purchase this book from Amazon in hardcover edition here. [affiliate link]