Saturday, July 18, 2015

M. L. Doyle - Hidden Poppies

27. Hidden Poppies by M. L. Doyle (2015)
Kindle Worlds Novella: The Lei Crime Series Book 7
Length: 83 pages
Genre: Short Story
Started: 15 July 2015
Finished: 18 July 2015
Where did it come from? From Amazon
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 18 April 2015
Why do I have it? I like short stories and M. L. Doyle is a new author for me.

When FBI Special Agents Marcella Scott and Ken Yamada are brought in to solve a kidnapping, initially they are curious as to the reason why they were specifically chosen for the case. To be honest, nothing about this particular case makes any sense. Who would abduct the child of a member of the military, yet wait for a period of time before sending out a ransom note?

Yet that is exactly the sort of case that FBI Special Agents Scott and Yamada are faced with. An army colonel's daughter isn't a typical target when it comes to the crime of kidnapping, but that's only the first of the variety of red flags that reveal themselves about this case. FBI Special Agent Marcella Scott knows that the word 'unusual' is remarkably synonymous with unpredictability, and she also realizes that unpredictability can quickly translate into any case becoming incredibly dangerous for those involved.

But this case isn't the only issue that must be resolved for the partners. Just when their wits need to be at their sharpest, Agent Scott's partner, Special Agent Ken Yamada is suffering from a serious case of déjà vu. And that feeling is quickly becoming a major personal distraction for him. Agent Yamada has had to make several painful decisions throughout his career; many of which have led to some very painful sacrifices for that career.

When the young girl's abduction brings him face to face with one of those sacrifices, Major Chuck Mathews, Agent Yamada begins to question all his choices. In their desperate search for the teenage girl, the agents will face numerous foes more than willing to use deadly force to protect themselves and their secrets. Yet what was hidden before will ultimately be revealed, and the truth can change everything.

Hidden Poppies by M. L. Doyle is actually the fifth novella that I've read from the Kindle Worlds Lei Crime Series, based on the books in the Lei Crime Mystery Series by Toby Neal. In my opinion, this novella was very well-written and I actually found this plot to be remarkably well-developed despite the length of the story. I would give Hidden Poppies by M. L. Doyle a definite A! and am looking forward to reading more from this author in the future.

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

Friday, July 17, 2015

Introducing the Cover For Unearthed by Lauren Stewart!

Meet Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart lives in Northern California with two of the most amazing children that the world has ever seen. She reads almost every genre so, naturally, her writing reflects that. With every book, every story, you'll find elements of other genres - fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, suspense, YA, women's literature, all with a touch of humor because what doesn't kill us should make us laugh.

Unearthed by Lauren Stewart (2015)
Length: 287 pages
Purchase your copy from Amazon, ITunes, Kobo and Barnes and Noble!



Unearthed Blurb:

What would you give up for freedom?”
“Everything.”
“Even if it wasn't yours?”


For three years, Keira lived in hell on earth, kept and tortured by a psychopath. He should’ve killed her. Because now she’s looking for payback, to see his face when she shoves a stake into his chest, to feel his dust under her boot. Then she’ll finally be free…of everything but the memories, scars, and nightmares. Unfortunately, when a demon starts hunting the same prey, Keira’s life becomes less about getting revenge and more about fighting temptation.

For three tours above the earth’s crust, Davyn has been as close to heaven as a demon can be. In a few weeks, he’ll go home to be reforged, stripped of all the humanity he’s accumulated and be reminded of exactly what he is. Of course, in the depths of hell, nobody “finds themselves” through group therapy and happy pills. It’s not all bad news though - before he goes, at least he gets to kill a vampire. Maybe a human too, if that stubborn little hunter keeps getting in his way. After all, a nice ass can only buy so much of Davyn’s patience.

In this highly anticipated sequel to Unseen, two people from opposite sides of a war will discover the price of freedom and what they're willing to pay for it. But in the Heights, nothing is ever fair. For something they both want, one of them will pay with their eternity.


* * *

The Heights not only protects the secrecy of vampires, shifters, demons, angels, and other supernaturals, it protects the humans unaware of the world hidden within their own.


Unearthed Cover Reveal: 


May you read well and often

Friday, July 3, 2015

'Flashback Friday': Featuring 'Rogue and Knight' Fantasy Epics!

I must tell you that since I was first introduced to the fantasy genre by a friend of my parents at the age of twelve or thirteen, I've always had a soft spot for knights errant, fantastical quests, and charming, loveable rogues. Add in a dash of dastardly deeds, evil magicians, and as always, the epic and eternal battle between Good and Evil; and you have my attention for sure! ;) In The Jack of Souls - the first book in Stephen C. Merlino's epic fantasy trilogy, The Unseen Moon Trilogy - you will find all those elements and more! ;)

I was delighted to learn that The Jack of Souls will be going on sale in ebook form for $0.99 from Amazon. The sale will only last for a limited time - the weekend of July 4th - from Friday, July 3, to Sunday, July 5, 2015! So, I would advise you to grab your own copy as soon as possible - I know you won't regret it! :) I had the pleasure of reading Book 1 in The Unseen Moon Trilogy by Stephen C. Merlino - The Jack of Souls - in May of 2015 and here is my review.

Meet Stephen C. Merlino 

Stephen Merlino lives in Seattle, WA, where he writes, plays, and teaches high school English. He lives with the world's most talented and desirable woman, two equally fabulous children, and three attack chickens.

Growing up in Seattle drove Stephen indoors for eight months of the year. Naturally, that meant he read a lot, and at the age of eleven he discovered the stories of J.R.R. Tolkien and fell in love with fantasy.

Summers and rare sunny days he spent with friends in wooded ravines or on the beaches of Puget Sound, building worlds in the sand, and fighting orcs and wizards with driftwood swords.

About the time a fifth reading of The Lord of the Rings failed to deliver the old magic, Stephen attended the University of Washington and fell in love with Chaucer and Shakespeare and all things English. Sadly, the closest he got to England back then was The Unicorn Pub on University Way, which wasn't even run by an Englishman: it was run by a Scot named Angus. Still, he studied there, and as he sampled Angus's weird ales, and devoured the Unicorn's steak and kidney pie (with real offal!), he developed a passion for Scotland, too.

In college, he fell in love with writing, and when a kindly professor said of a story he'd written, "You should get that published!" Stephen took the encouragement literally, and spent the next years trying. The story remains unpublished, but the quest to develop it introduced Stephen to the world of agents (the story ultimately had two), and taught him much of craft and the value of what Jay Lake would call, "psychotic persistence."

Add to that his abiding love of nerds - those who, as Sarah Vowel defines it, "go too far and care too much about a subject"- and you have Stephen Merlino in a nutshell.

Stephen is the 2014 PNWA winner for Fantasy. 

He is also the 2014 SWW winner for Fantasy.

The Jack of Souls by Stephen C. Merlino (2014)
Length: 352 pages 
Purchase your copy from Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

The Jack of Souls Blurb:

An outcast rogue named Harric must break a curse laid on his fate or die by his nineteenth birthday. As his dead-day approaches, nightmares from the spirit world stalk him and tear at his sanity; sorcery eats at his soul.

To survive, he’ll need more than his usual tricks. He’ll need help - and a lot of it - but on the kingdom’s lawless frontier, his only allies are other outcasts. One of these outcasts is Caris, a mysterious, horse-whispering runaway, intent upon becoming the Queen’s first female knight. The other is Sir Willard - ex-immortal, ex-champion, now addicted to pain-killing herbs and banished from the court.

With their help, Harric might keep his curse at bay. But for how long?

And both companions bring perils and secrets of their own: Caris bears the scars of a troubled past that still hunts her; Willard is at war with the Old Ones, an order of insane immortal knights who once enslaved the kingdom. The Old Ones have returned to murder Willard and seize the throne from his queen. Willard is both on the run from them, and on one final, desperate quest to save her.

Together, Harric and his companions must overcome fanatical armies, murderous sorcerers, and powerful supernatural foes. Alone, Harric must face the temptation of a forbidden magic that could break his curse, but cost him the only woman he’s ever loved. A tale of magic, mischief, and the triumph of tricksters.




May you read well and often

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Reading Wrap-up For June 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 June 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 a Library Book Sale that Mom and I went to on the 1st, authors, Amazon and Bookmooch.

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 :))
- Death Wish by Megan Tayte
- Grey by Christi J. Whitney
- The Lady and the Minstrel by Joyce DiPastena

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! :))
- The Blooding of Jack Absolute by C. C. Humphreys
- Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer
- Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
- The Council of the Cursed by Peter Tremayne
- Dancing With Demons by Peter Tremayne
- Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
- Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
- How to Date a Dragon by Ashlyn Chase
- Hunting Sweetie Rose by Jack Frederickson
- The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott
- J is For Judgment by Sue Grafton
- A Marble Woman: Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott by Louisa May Alcott and Madeleine B. Stern
- New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
- Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck
- The Raven Warrior by Alice Borchardt
- R is For Richochet by Sue Grafton
- The Rose Labyrinth by Titania Hardie
- Running Blind by Cindy Gerard
- Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula by Loren D. Estleman
- A Visit From Sir Nicholas by Victoria Alexander
- BlindSight by Susan Peterson Wisnewski
- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))
- Death Wish by Megan Tayte
- Grey by Christi J. Whitney
- The Lady and the Minstrel by Joyce DiPastena

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

Books Read: 3
Pages Read: 1,318
Grade Range: A+! to A!

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

May you read well and often

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Introducing The Jack of Souls by Stephen C. Merlino!

So, I was delighted to learn that the first book in Stephen C. Merlino's fantasy trilogy, The Unseen Moon Trilogy - The Jack of Souls - will be going on sale in ebook form for $0.99 from Amazon. The sale will only last for a limited time - the weekend of July 4th - from Friday, July 3, to Sunday, July 5, 2015! I would advise you to grab your own copy as soon as possible - I know you won't regret it! :)

I had the pleasure of reading Book 1 in The Unseen Moon Trilogy by Stephen C. Merlino - The Jack of Souls - in May of 2015 and here is my review. Keep your eyes open for my 'Flashback Friday' post on Friday, July 3, 2015, posted to coincide with the start of the $0.99 sale on Amazon!

Meet Stephen C. Merlino 

Stephen Merlino lives in Seattle, WA, where he writes, plays, and teaches high school English. He lives with the world's most talented and desirable woman, two equally fabulous children, and three attack chickens.

Growing up in Seattle drove Stephen indoors for eight months of the year. Naturally, that meant he read a lot, and at the age of eleven he discovered the stories of J.R.R. Tolkien and fell in love with fantasy.

Summers and rare sunny days he spent with friends in wooded ravines or on the beaches of Puget Sound, building worlds in the sand, and fighting orcs and wizards with driftwood swords.

About the time a fifth reading of The Lord of the Rings failed to deliver the old magic, Stephen attended the University of Washington and fell in love with Chaucer and Shakespeare and all things English. Sadly, the closest he got to England back then was The Unicorn Pub on University Way, which wasn't even run by an Englishman: it was run by a Scot named Angus. Still, he studied there, and as he sampled Angus's weird ales, and devoured the Unicorn's steak and kidney pie (with real offal!), he developed a passion for Scotland, too.

In college, he fell in love with writing, and when a kindly professor said of a story he'd written, "You should get that published!" Stephen took the encouragement literally, and spent the next years trying. The story remains unpublished, but the quest to develop it introduced Stephen to the world of agents (the story ultimately had two), and taught him much of craft and the value of what Jay Lake would call, "psychotic persistence."

Add to that his abiding love of nerds - those who, as Sarah Vowel defines it, "go too far and care too much about a subject"- and you have Stephen Merlino in a nutshell.

Stephen is the 2014 PNWA winner for Fantasy. 

He is also the 2014 SWW winner for Fantasy.

The Jack of Souls by Stephen C. Merlino (2014)
Length: 352 pages 
Purchase your copy from Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

The Jack of Souls Blurb:

An outcast rogue named Harric must break a curse laid on his fate or die by his nineteenth birthday. As his dead-day approaches, nightmares from the spirit world stalk him and tear at his sanity; sorcery eats at his soul.

To survive, he’ll need more than his usual tricks. He’ll need help - and a lot of it - but on the kingdom’s lawless frontier, his only allies are other outcasts. One of these outcasts is Caris, a mysterious, horse-whispering runaway, intent upon becoming the Queen’s first female knight. The other is Sir Willard - ex-immortal, ex-champion, now addicted to pain-killing herbs and banished from the court.

With their help, Harric might keep his curse at bay. But for how long?

And both companions bring perils and secrets of their own: Caris bears the scars of a troubled past that still hunts her; Willard is at war with the Old Ones, an order of insane immortal knights who once enslaved the kingdom. The Old Ones have returned to murder Willard and seize the throne from his queen. Willard is both on the run from them, and on one final, desperate quest to save her.

Together, Harric and his companions must overcome fanatical armies, murderous sorcerers, and powerful supernatural foes. Alone, Harric must face the temptation of a forbidden magic that could break his curse, but cost him the only woman he’s ever loved. A tale of magic, mischief, and the triumph of tricksters.




May you read well and often

Joyce DiPastena - The Lady and the Minstrel

26. The Lady and the Minstrel by Joyce DiPastena (2015)
Length: 613 pages
Genre: Historical Romance
Started: 3 June 2015
Finished: 27 June 2015
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Kathy at Ebooks For Review for sending me a copy of this book to read.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 8 April 2015
Why do I have it? I like historical romance and Joyce DiPastena is a new author for me.

During the reign of King John - in thirteenth-century England - Robert Marcel chafes under the law that holds him bound as a villein on his lord's manor; serving at the whim of his master and denied any chance at freedom. He attempts a daring escape, determined to leave everything behind - his family, his security, the only life that he's ever known - to seize the only viable chance he can see to determine his own fate. He is very nearly caught by his cruel master, but a young girl's quick thinking actions allow him to slip away.

Several years pass and Robert takes up trade as a minstrel; traveling around England and earning a living through plying his musical talent. Invited to play at the betrothal banquet of the notorious Earl of Saxton, Robert is stunned to come face to face with the one girl he's never forgotten - the girl whose single act of kindness towards him quite literally saved his life. She is now the Lady Marguerite of Winbourne, and she is betrothed to the earl. Robert is determined to find some way to show his gratitude to Lady Marguerite for the assistance she gave him so long ago, but her status as a noblewoman puts her completely beyond Robert's reach - yet he is completely smitten by her shy smile.

Lady Marguerite has often thought of the young man she helped escape. Over the intervening years since she crossed paths with the runaway serf, Marguerite has fondly remembered their brief encounter. She had always hoped that the small service she provided to the desperate young man might have helped him in some way, but was unsure if what she had done was actually successful. Marguerite has absolutely no idea if Robert remembers her, although she has never forgotten him.

Marguerite's tender feelings for Robert quickly turn into so much more when they are finally brought back into each other's lives. Despite the difference in their stations, Robert vows to himself that he will win Marguerite's hand, come what may - he knows they are meant to be together. Marguerite herself, longs to be free to marry Robert - her one true love - but that will require her to sacrifice all she holds dear.

Robert and Marguerite share a forbidden love and a past they just can't leave behind. They are tested at every turn by those who would do everything in their power to drive them apart - people whose every intention is to destroy what Robert and Marguerite have found together. Yet, can their love survive and truly conquer all?

I have always enjoyed reading historical romances - particularly those set in the Middle Ages. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. At 613 pages, The Lady and the Minstrel by Joyce DiPastena is certainly long and very richly detailed - but by no means is the story dull or in any way over-written. The story itself was very well-written and strongly grounded in the medieval time period. I was quickly immersed in the plot and found myself wondering what would happen next.

This is the first book by Ms. DiPastena that I've ever read, but it certainly will not be my last. I have placed this author's name at the top at my Wish List, and give this book a definite A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

May you read well and often

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Christi J. Whitney - Grey

25. Grey by Christi J. Whitney (2015)
The Romany Outcasts Series Book 1
Length: 400 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Started: 3 June 2015
Finished: 25 June 2015
Where did it come from? I downloaded a copy of this book to read for free from Netgalley.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 7 May 2015
Why do I have it? I like fantasy and Christi J. Whitney is a new author for me.

Sebastian Grey is just your normal, average high school senior. He's in the drama club at school - strictly as a 'behind-the-scenes' set designer - he has a circle of good friends, gets fairly decent grades, and has a pretty sweet job at his foster brother's tattoo shop: 'The Gypsy Ink'. All in all, Sebastian's life is going great for him. At least he's always thought so, and as long as nobody knows about Sebastian's strange dreams, his life will continue to be terrific.

For the past several months, Sebastian has dreamed of a girl - a Gypsy girl dancing around a nightly campfire somewhere deep in the forest. He doesn't think that much of his recurring dream, until his dream girl turns up at school. Then Sebastian begins to realize that his dream is not just some typical  teenage fantasy.

When a caravan of strangers arrives in town, Sebastian soon realizes that nothing about his world is what it seems. The caravan is filled with members of a carnival troupe - the 'Circe de Romany' - performers who come into town every two years. Suddenly, Sebastian finds himself surrounded by secretive gypsies, stalked by shadowy figures, feeling inexplicably strange and more volatile as time passes.

Sebastian has no idea what is happening to him, all he knows is that he's changing somehow. He also knows is that he needs to protect the girl at all costs. In fact, that's something that is becoming imperative. And Sebastian intends to protect her to the best of his ability, even if it means that he will never be normal again.

I absolutely loved reading this book. I usually do like reading anything that has to do with the Gypsy culture, and really felt a connection with the characters. In my opinion, this was quite an excellent start to the series, and I look forward to finding out where the story goes from here. I give this book a definite A!

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often