Friday, August 1, 2014

Reading Wrap-up For July at Emeraldfire's Bookmark

Hello everyone out there and I hope that you all had a terrific reading month for yourselves. I am known as Emeraldfire around the Internet and this is my new personal reading blog.

Anyway, I started out July with about two hundred unread books lying around the house and ended the month with...umm...uncountable amounts of books unread. All of the books that I acquired this month came from authors, Bookmooch and Amazon.

Let me try to break down the influx for you:

Changes to the TBR pile

Read from my TBR pile (Yes! I am a reading machine :))
- If That Looking Glass Gets Broken by Karl Drinkwater
- The Donor by Nikki Rae 
- The Dancing Boy by Michael Matson
- The Last Ancient by Eliot Baker

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! :))

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))
- If That Looking Glass Gets Broken by Karl Drinkwater
- The Donor by Nikki Rae
- The Last Ancient by Eliot Baker
- The Cat Who Lived High by Lilian Jackson Braun

Well, there it is...the breakdown! All in all, a very good reading month for me, considering. Here's a further breakdown:

Books Read: 5
Pages Read: 773
Grade Range: A! to B+!

So, there you go! The reading month that was July. I hope that you all had an equally good reading month; if not a little better. :) See you all next month! :)

Introducing the Cover For The Donor Part Two by Nikki Rae!

Meet Nikki Rae

Nikki Rae is a writer who lives in New Jersey. As an independent author, she has appeared numerously on Amazon Best Seller lists and she concentrates on making her imaginary characters as real as possible. Nikki writes mainly dark, scary, romantic tales, but she’ll try anything once. When she is not writing, reading, or thinking, you can find her spending time with animals, drawing in a quiet corner, or studying people. Closely.

 The Donor Part Two by Nikki Rae (2014)
Length: 21 pages
Purchase your copy from Amazon!

The Donor Part Two Blurb:

When Casey joined, she never imagined she would meet a man who not only helps her pay the bills, but has been nothing but a gentleman.

As the nose bleeds make way for worse symptoms, Casey can’t help the feelings she has for Jonah, despite how he may never return them. And he’s been keeping things from her. Big things. How does he make his money, and who is that girl in the picture? With the clock ticking, can she find the answers she’s looking for?

[Disclaimer: This is a serial novella that will be told in parts about the length of a short story (20-30 pages).]

The Donor Part Two Cover Reveal:

May you read well and often

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Julian Rosado-Machain - Guardians Inc.: The Cypher

42. Guardians Inc.: The Cypher by Julian Rosado-Machain (2010)
The Guardians Inc. Series Book 1
Length: 222 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Started: 28 July 2014
Finished: 31 July 2014
Where did it come from? I originally downloaded a copy of this book for free from Amazon; although, many thanks to Dorothy at Pump up Your Book for sending me a copy of this book to read.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 21 June 2013 as an ebook; Since 31 May 2014 as a physical book
Why do I have it? I like fantasy and Julian Rosado-Machain is a new author for me.

Guardians Incorporated is a mysterious multinational company that has a substantial stake in almost every area of society. To the general public, the company's mission statement is relatively innocuous. However, in reality, Guardians Inc. is the oldest of secret societies, one that spans close to seven thousand years of existence, weaving in and out of history, guiding and protecting humanity from creatures and forces that most of us believe exist only in mythology and fairy tales.   

Thomas Byrne is just your average fifteen-almost-sixteen-year-old teenager. Newly arrived to Carlsbad, California eight months after his parents disappeared while on a cruise, he is now living with his grandfather while going to high school. For the most part, Thomas does well in school - for the new kid, the routine is pretty simple: do your work, stay out of trouble, and whatever you do, don't cross the radar of Vice Principal Khanna - code name: Killjoy.

Thomas Byrne is a young man suddenly thrust into a secret world he shouldn't be aware of, facing dangers of which he should not have any knowledge. But, he ultimately will face such dangers, for he is a Cypher. The only one who can steer humanity's future into the light.

The ultimate conspiracy theory is that Magic is real. Oh, it's kept in check by technology, that's true, but every five hundred years the balance can shift and, if it does, technology will ultimately fail and all those creatures we've driven into the realms of myth will come back with a vengeance. In order to protect the present, Guardians Incorporated must know what lies in the future.    

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I was quickly caught up in the story, and found the characters extremely likeable and sympathetic. I would give this first book of the Guardians Inc. Series a definite A+! It was certainly an excellent start to this series, and I can't wait to find out where the story goes next.

 A+! - (96-100%)
May you read well and often

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Marc Shapiro - Total Titanic: The Most Up-to-Date Guide to the Disaster of the Century

41. Total Titanic: The Most Up-to-Date Guide to the Disaster of the Century by Marc Shapiro (1998)
Length: 190 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Started: 19 July 2014
Finished: 29 July 2014
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 2 February 2013
Why do I have it? I like non-fiction and Marc Shapiro is a new author for me.

On April 14, 1912 at 11:40 p.m. the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. It was her maiden voyage. Just under three hours later - at 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912 - the last visible section of the Titanic slipped beneath the waves. More than 1,500 souls perished, with just over 700 passengers surviving what is perhaps the most well-known maritime disaster of the early twentieth-century. This book seeks to separate fiction from fact, reporting on what actually happened.

I have to say that I've always been interested in the sinking of the Titanic. And yes, I've seen the 1997 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslett twice. As I read this book, I was repeatedly struck by the number of personal histories that were cut short, but that I wanted to know more about.

I suppose that the story of the two children who became known as the 'Titanic Orphans' is already known to history buffs, and I knew a little about their story myself, but it was very interesting for me to discover what happened to both the brothers later on in their lives. I give this book an A! and look forward to reading more from Marc Shapiro in the future.

A! - (90-95%)
May you read well and often

Friday, July 25, 2014

Christine Amsden, Author of Stolen Dreams, the Conclusion of the Cassie Scot Series Tells us Where the Characters Are Now

Meet Christine Amsden

Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. (You can learn more here.)

In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.

Connect and Socialize with Christine!

Synopsis from Goodreads

Edward Scot and Victor Blackwood have despised one another for nearly a quarter of a century, but now their simmering hatred is about to erupt.

When Cassie Scot returns home from her sojourn in Pennsylvania, she finds that her family has taken a hostage. Desperate to end the fighting before someone dies, Cassie seeks help from local seer Abigail Hastings, Evan Blackwood's grandmother. But Abigail has seen her own death, and when it comes at the hand of Cassie's father, Victor Blackwood kills Edward Scot.

But things may not be precisely as they appear.

Evan persuades Cassie to help him learn the truth, teaming them up once again in their darkest hour. New revelations about Evan and his family make it difficult for Cassie to cling to a shield of anger, but can Evan and Cassie stop a feud that has taken on a life of its own? Conclusion to the Cassie Scot series.

Coming to Amazon and Barnes and Noble on 25 June 2014!

I would like to welcome Christine Amsden, author of the Cassie Scot Series to Emeraldfire's Bookmark. Ms. Amsden was kind enough to write a guest post for me and here it is below in her own words:

'Eagle Rock, 2014'
by Christine Amsden

Do you ever wonder what happened to your favorite characters after the dust settles? I know I do!

The four books in the Cassie Scot series takes place between June 2010 and April 2011. That's when I started writing them … it takes time to get these things published! So by now, even though Stolen Dreams just came out, it's three years later in Eagle Rock. So let me catch you up on a few of the most notable characters from the series:

SPOILER ALERT (If you haven't read Stolen Dreams, just about everything I have to say here is a spoiler.)

Cassie and Evan are still married and doing okay. They had a daughter in December 2011, Anastasia (Anna), a powerful young healer like her Aunt Juliana. But “happily ever after” is a bit misleading. I've never believed that the work of falling or being in love ends with magic words – either “I love you” or “I do.” That's one of the reasons I had Cassie and Evan get the “I love you” part out of the way in book two. It wasn't enough. In Stolen Dreams they each made sacrifices for the other, but life still moves and changes. 

The big problem between these two right now is that Evan still grieves for the loss of his father, a father Cassie hated so much that he hides his mourning from her. In other words, he's never had a chance to get over it properly. He knows his father was a terrible person in many ways, but it doesn't change what he feels. 

Cassie, meanwhile, is paralyzed when it comes to having another child. Her dreaming ability is growing, but she keeps dreaming about the might-be children she could have, depending upon when she conceives. In her dreams she's seen dozens of children and has fallen in love with all of them; she doesn't know how to choose one and nobody else really understands how real each and every one has become to her in her dreams. (Note: It is *possible* that this becomes the basis for another Cassie Scot story. But if so, what you read is as far as I've gotten with it and I'd really like to start another series first.)

Madison Carter has a spin-off sequel of her own coming out in 2015, so read that to find out what happens to her. It takes place about a year after the Cassie Scot series.

Kaitlin Meyer also has a spin-off sequel, but it's still being written. It also takes place about a year after the Cassie Scot series, and will help you understand what happened to Jason, Alexander DuPris, and Matthew Blair.

Cassie's family:

Sheila Scot, Cassie's mom, went into a deep depression after the death of her husband and is honestly still not whole again. Her family fears she never will be. They've had several empathic healers try to help, but they say it's as if she wants to follow her husband into the grave.

Nicolas finished his magical apprenticeship and decided to join The White Guard as a combat sorcerer at the urging of his mentor, Clark Eagle. After the death of his father, he had to step in as head of the family (because of his mother's depression), a role he takes very seriously and one that has forced him to grow up faster than he would have otherwise.

Juliana is apprenticing with Linda Eagle at the moment. It wasn't her first choice – midwifery isn't really what she wants to do – but she couldn't bring herself to leave Eagle Rock to learn from the healer of her choice. Juliana has been more of a mother to the twins than anyone else and she won't leave them.

Isaac does have a gift. He's a hunter, like his cousin Jason, with the strength and speed to kill vampires. Most hunter gifts manifest with puberty (Kaitlin's baby being a rare exception).

Elena still can't speak to the dead, which is a mixed blessing and curse. She does pay more attention to the living now, but she's sick at heart. And she's never gotten over her crush on Barry Eagle, who hasn't spoken to her since the day her father cursed him.

Adam is an adorable, charming ten-year-old. I expect the other ten-year-old girls had better watch out in a few years!

Christina is an outgoing six-year-old. Only time will tell what kind of person she'll grow up to be.

There's something weird going on with the three-year-old twins, Michael and Maya. Maya is kind of blind …but she seems to be able to see whatever Michael is seeing. Not sure what that's about yet.

If there's any other character you'd like to know more about, just ask! There are dozens of secondary and minor characters in this series. I probably know what's going on in all of their lives.

May you read well and often

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Eliot Baker - The Last Ancient

40. The Last Ancient by Eliot Baker (2013)
Length: 312 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 20 July 2014
Finished: 22 July 2014
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Dorothy at Pump up Your Book for sending me a copy of this book to read. 
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 10 May 2014
Why do I have it? I like contemporary mysteries and Eliot Baker is a new author for me.

Simon Stephenson is a well-known reporter; long estranged from his alleged arms-dealing father because of a hard-hitting story that he wrote which had exposed Preston Stephenson's shady business dealings to the world. He lives a relatively quiet existence on Nantucket Island, working as an environmental reporter for the local newspaper, and is blissfully engaged to a beautiful young socialite.

Around Nantucket Island, a series of particularly grisly animal slayings is linked to a viral epidemic which could reach Biblical proportions if it isn't contained and eliminated as soon as possible. When the various crime scenes begin to involve human victims, ritualistically murdered and peppered with ancient coins, Simon is the only man able to unlock their meaning. But Simon wonders what the coins could possibly have to do with the murders? And just what type of creature - human or inhuman - might have left them?

His search for answers leads reporter Simon Stephenson on a journey through ancient mythology, numismatics, and the occult. Not to mention his own past - which turns out to be even darker than he'd realized; his murdered father was secretly studying alchemy, among other arcane subjects. Along the way, Simon battles panic attacks and a host of nasty characters - some natural, others less so. Meanwhile, Simon's heiress fiancee turns into 'bridezilla-on-a-rampage', and a gorgeous rival television reporter seduces him - concealing her true intentions.

I really enjoyed this book. The plot was unusual, and I must say that some of the elements of it were slightly difficult for me to fully understand. The study of alchemy has always seemed to me to be more fantastical than based in reality. I thoroughly appreciated the humaness and humanity of the characters, despite the seemingly super-heroic acts they performed. I give The Last Ancient by Eliot Baker a definite A! and will certainly keep my eyes open for more books by this author in the future. 

A! - (90-95%)       

May you read well and often

Friday, July 18, 2014

Calling All Book Reviewers!

Hello everyone! :) I hope that you are all having a wonderful day today. I know that I am! ;) Anyway, I recently saw on Facebook that author Kathryn Meyer Griffith is looking for more reviews for her books, and because I think she is such a remarkable writer, I thought that I would make a request of all the readers of Emeraldfire's Bookmark.

Like so many authors out there, Ms. Griffith is always on the look out for more reviewers for her books - most specifically her Four Spooky Short Stories. All that is required from these potential reviewers, is a willingness to read the book, and also to write a fair and honest review of what you read. As I've said before, this is just a request of all the readers of my blog - but if you do decide to review any of the books in Four Spooky Short Stories, I would appreciate it very much! And I know that Ms. Griffith would as well. ;)

Meet Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Kathryn Meyer Griffith is a wife of almost 35 years (husband, Russell), mother (one son, James) and grandmother (two grandchildren, Caitlyn and Joshua). She was a graphic designer in the corporate world for 23 years; and has published with Dorchester, Kensington, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Amazon Kindle Direct, Damnation Books and Eternal Press, and Amazon Publishing. Six years ago Kathryn crossed over into e-books as well as paperbacks and now all her old/new books are in ebooks...and soon to be in Audio Books from ACX.

She loves cats and nature, classic rock and country music (her brother, J. S. Meyer, is a singer/songwriter and does the songs for all her self-made book trailers that are on her websites). Kathryn loves to interact with her readers, so visit her at either of the following websites: or to see all of her book covers and trailers.

Four Spooky Short Stories by Kathryn Meyer Griffith (2013)
Length: 103 pages
Purchase your copy from Amazon!

Four Spooky Short Stories Blurb:

Four contemporary spooky short stories:

Ghost Brother

So what happens after you die? Do you go to heaven, or hell? Or do you go to a special place fashioned just for you based on the life you’d lived in the real world? Based on how you treated people? What you did to them?

And do ghosts exist? Do they roam the earth and plague the living, persuade them to do things they shouldn’t do?

Two brothers and their tale follow; their journey through life and death.

Do you believe in ghosts? Some do.

Running with the Train

Sarah has always been lonely. Searching for a love she’s begun to believe will never come. Her family and friends depend, need her…but they can’t give her what she wants. True, eternal love. Like the wolves have.

So she goes on an adventure of a lifetime to the Grand Canyon; rides the train from Williams to the South Rim and sees these huge wolves running alongside in the evening twilight; scurrying unbelievably below on the Canyon’s ledges among the trees. She’s told there are no wolves but she hears their haunting cries. No one else sees or hears them. Just her.

Has her loneliness made her crazy?

The Banshee and the Witch

What would you do to live forever, stay young forever? To find true love again?

And if you were a white witch with the magical powers to make it happen…and the secret of how to do it, would you?

So when the banshee comes calling for you one rainy dark night you’ll do what you have to do to get what you desire the most. More time.

Too Close to the Edge

Artist Penelope had been looking forward to going with her husband, sister and brother-in-law to see the Grand Canyon…even though she was terrified of heights and, when she got there, couldn’t bear to get too close to the edge. She watched people balancing on one foot, acting foolish, taking photos, oblivious of the death waiting below them. It scared her.

Especially when a woman relates a story of a small child that fell into the Canyon the day before. Over the edge.

Then she sees a young girl go over the rim and no one will believe her.

For there was no child that had died - that day anyway.

Was she seeing things that weren’t there, or was there another explanation?

May you read well and often