Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Beth M. Caruso - One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America's First Witch Hanging

21. One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America's First Witch Hanging by Beth M. Caruso (2015)
Length: 345 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction 
Started: 17 November 2016
Finished: 23 November 2016
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 17 October 2016
Why do I have it? I like historical fiction and Beth M. Caruso is a new author for me.

Young Alice Ashbey was born into the Tinker family of Berkshire, England in 1615. As a distant cousin to the Tinkers, Alice soon came to see her cousins more as adopted brothers and sisters. Orphaned at the age of ten, she also soon discovers that she has inherited her mother's talent for intuitive insights. With the deaths of the patriarch of the Tinker family - as well as of the eldest son and namesake, Robert - within a few weeks of each other, the Tinkers find themselves at a heartrending crossroads.

Deciding to leave England for the promise of the New World, first one and then more members of the Tinker family begin to make plans to settle in America. Alice - now a lovely young woman of twenty - hopes to stay with the only family she has ever known and everyone that she dearly loves. Yet sadly, her wish is not to be, as she stubbornly remains unmarried and seemingly indifferent to all potential suitors. The frustrated matriarch of the Tinker family, Mary, subsequently secures a position for Alice as a housemaid and nanny with an affluent family who is also sailing to America.

So it was that in 1635, Alice Ashbey reluctantly set sail from her home in England for the colony of strict religious dissenters in the Massachusetts Bay. She had made such a treacherous journey filled with the hope that she would be reunited with the Tinker family again, after the family had resettled themselves. Despite her initial misgivings, Alice is astonished by her first sight of the rich American wilderness and its inhabitants. She subsequently begins to appreciate the beauty of her new home.

However, Alice's first impressions of the New England colonies are not all good. Eventually settling in Windsor, Connecticut, Alice soon learns to use her own healing abilities and strong intuition to help those around her. She even learns to open her heart to the possibilities of a love of her own. However, she also encounters the suspicions and blinding fears of Puritan leaders which inevitably collide and set the stage for America's very first witch hanging - her own - on May 26th, 1647.

Although it was this horrendous event as well as Alice's strong ties to her beloved family which eventually influenced Connecticut's Governor John Winthrop, Jr. to put a halt to any further witchcraft hangings in the New England settlement; such horror could never be truly eradicated even in much later years.

Paradoxically, forty-five after Alice's death - her strong familial bonds were again used to further enflame witchcraft hysteria. This time, the influential Puritan minister and prolific author Cotton Mather, used his knowledge of Alice's tragic story as the secret impetus behind the writing of his dangerous and destructive commentary in support of the Salem witch trials of 1692. Alice's strong family ties - as much as the painful memories of the tragedies which resulted in the accusation of witchcraft being leveled against her - served only as a cautionary tale for the righteous to always remain vigilant in their neverending battle against the minions of evil.

In my opinion, Alice Young was such an extraordinary young woman and her story was remarkably  poignant. Actually, while I knew all about the Salem witch trials in 1692, I had never actually heard of any previous trials before that time. To be perfectly honest, I didn't really realize that there were any other outbreaks of witchcraft hysteria before 1692, although I knew that the hysteria spread elsewhere around New England after that time.

Actually, I enjoyed this story very much. In my opinion, the time period was well-researched and the characters and story were sympathetically written. I was drawn into Ms. Caruso's writing from the first few pages and would certainly give this book an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

May you read well and often

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Book Blast For The Crush Saga Box Set by Chrissy Peebles

Hello Everyone! I hope that you're all having a wonderful day today. I'm so glad to welcome Chrissy Peebles author of The Crush Saga Box Set, to Emeraldfire's Bookmark. Ms. Peebles is currently on a Book Blast tour with I'm a Reader, Not a Writer, and lasting for the next three days. This is also my twentieth Book Blast post ever, but I still hope that I do The Crush Saga Box Set by Chrissy Peebles justice.

The author is also doing an awesome giveaway - she is giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card/Paypal Cash to one lucky winner at the end of her Book Blast. Be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form below, and I wish you all the very best of good luck in taking part!

About The Crush Saga Box Set:

I was born to die…But to defy fate is to control your own destiny.

Moving to Big Bear Lake was supposed to be a fresh start, but when Taylor Sparks is thrown into a supernatural world, her reality comes crashing down around her when she finds out she’s a KEY player in a dangerous game created 1,000 years ago that will give the witches and werewolves the upper hand against the vampires. Blood will be spilled and secrets will be revealed in this action-packed thrill ride and paranormal romance.

Will Taylor dive into a paranormal world she knows nothing about to be with the one her heart can’t live without?

Or will her life spiral out of control when she learns her blood is needed, just the serum necessary to lift an ancient curse from a group of supernatural beings and give the witches back their magic?

Werewolves will serve as her guardians and protect her until the first full moon of the new year, the night of her sacrifice…

Will she accept her destiny?

Or will she refuse to let evil swallow her up?

Praise For The Crush Saga Box Set:

This was a fantastic box set with magic, action, mystery, twists and turns, vampires, werewolves, witches, and gargoyles. Each book gets better and better and takes you deeper into the mystery!

Book 1 is about Taylor moving to Big Bear Lake and learning it’s a supernatural place and that her crush is something more. Book 2 gets deep! And this is when all hell breaks loose! Taylor is tossed into the supernatural world. She thought she was observing it from the outside, but little does she know that she’s a major player! And she didn’t even know it!

She comes from an ancient line of witches and is supposed to be sacrificed in The Millennium Ceremony. She’s stubborn and fights her supernatural enemy with everything she has. I loved how tough she becomes. There’s a paranormal battle raging and I loved every page. This is one of my favorite paranormal romances ever!

The Crush Saga Box Set Book Trailer:

Purchase your copy:

Meet Chrissy Peebles

Chrissy Peebles has always loved reading and writing fantasy from the earliest age she can remember. She lives in a busy city with her husband, two children, and one cat (Shadow) and three dogs. (Sparkles, Rosie, and Jack) Chrissy also loves to snap photos as her favorite hobby.

Connect and Socialize with Chrissy!

Book Blast Giveaway of $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends December 2, 2016.

Terms and Conditions:

  • Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash.
  • Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded.
  • No purchase necessary.
  • You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. 
  • The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
  • This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified.
  • The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I am a Reader, Not a Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.


  a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Crush Saga Box Set Excerpt:

Grabbing my purse, I hurried out of the car and locked the doors. Just as I started to walk up the driveway, I felt the cold steel of a muzzle against my neck. My heart hammered against my ribs.

“One sound, and you’re dead,” a harsh, male voice said.

I froze in panic as somebody slipped a black blindfold over my eyes, then gagged me. A man duct-taped my mouth, while another tied my ankles, legs, and wrists with rope. He hoisted me over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry, and horror ripped through me. Help! I’m being kidnapped! my brain yelled, but I dare not cry out for fear of what they would do to me. I did try to fight back, at least to some degree, but I was tied and gagged and could do little about being manhandled.

“Put her in the trunk!” a man yelled.

As I fought, I was thrown, neck-first, into the trunk of a car, and my mind began to race. This can’t be happening! I tried to call out for my parents. If only they could hear me. If only I could scream, maybe Max would bark, and Mom or Dad would come to the door. If only…

Tires screeched, and the vehicle took off down the street. The smell of gasoline made me gag. I tried to kick and scream, but it was tight quarters, and I was still all tied up. I cringed at their muffled voices, wondering what they wanted from me.

“I’m tellin’ ya,” one of the guys said, “we oughtta just kill her now.”

My skin crawled at his nonchalance.

“He’s right,” the other said. “Just do it, right here, right now. We’ve outsmarted her protectors, but for how long? We need to do it swiftly and quickly, before they return.”

“You know the rules,” a low voice hissed. “If we just kill her, they’ll have the legal right to choose another, and we’ll be right back at square one again. We’ve gotta do this by the book.”

“I agree,” a woman said. “We need to stop the Millennium ceremony from happening.”

“I don’t want to kill her,” another woman said. “She’s just…an innocent victim in all this. It isn’t right.”

“If we don’t kill her, they’ll win,” another said. “They’ll gain the upper hand when she gives them what they need.”

“Our enemy will stop at nothing to destroy us,” another said tensely. “Killing her will keep them from becoming more powerful than they already are.”

“It will bring them to their knees!” another shouted.

Great, I thought. A case of mistaken identity is the last thing I need. By their talk, I assumed that killing me was some way to get back at their rivals, though I had no idea who those rivals were. The mafia? Some kind of…street gang? I had absolutely no idea, but I desperately wanted to tell them who I really was, to let them know they obviously had me confused me with somebody else. Maybe if I explain that, they’ll let me go. After all, I hadn’t seen their faces, so I wasn’t a threat. Then it dawned on me: Jesse had just revealed his identity to me. Maybe his clan wants to kill me because I know too much. I wanted to scream at them and tell them, to assure them that I’d never reveal Jesse’s identity, that I’d take his deep, dark secret to the grave with me. Jesse meant everything to me, and I would never betray his trust like that; unfortunately, my captors didn’t give me a chance to explain that to them. I wasn’t completely sure if it was vampires that had me. But they had heard me messing with my ropes and that took Immortal hearing. No human could hear that over the sound of the engine, the radio, and voices talking.

We drove down the lonely stretch of road, and I didn’t hear one car pass by. I considered trying to pop the trunk open so I could jump for freedom. I figured the car was going about eighty, but I figured it’d be easier to heal from a broken neck than a bullet to the head. The rope bindings cut into my skin and began to sting and burn. I wiggled my numbing hands, trying to find some relief, when a man yelled back at me.

“Stop it!” he said. “Or else I’ll kill you right here.”

I shivered at his voice, then obeyed his commands. There was no way he could have seen me no way he could have heard me picking at the ropes. I contemplated how they were going to kill me. It had to be a contract hit, but I wondered why there were so many of them there just to take out a defenseless woman. I also wondered how they could be so heartless.
The vehicle stopped, and my stomach dropped when I heard the doors swing open. This is it, I thought. My time has come. When footsteps approached, I held my breath. The trunk popped open, and strong arms lifted me out and set me down on a hard surface, maybe concrete or asphalt. My legs were wobbly, but one of the men steadied me and untied my ankles. Jerk, I sarcastically seethed. The cold night air hit and my hair blew around. I tried to see through the blindfold, but all I could see was darkness.

A man shoved me forward. “Walk!”

I let out a trembling breath and stumbled to the edge of the hard surface, then felt my shoes sink in grass and damp earth. As I carefully walked forward, a towering fern brushed softly across my face. I took tiny steps because my imagination was in overdrive; I couldn’t help picturing all those pirate films I’d seen of people walking off the plank, and I knew there were a lot of cliffs around. The man behind me kept pushing and shoving, making me go faster than my hesitant feet wanted to carry me, forcing me to trip over what I assumed to be a very long log. Twigs snapped and crunched underfoot. An owl hooted, and crickets chirped. The smell of wet moss, damp dirt, and decaying leaves mingled with the scent of pines, wafting up my nostrils; any other time, the aroma 
would have been beautiful. My heart lurched. I was sure they were leading me to some isolated location for my execution, a place where no one would ever find me, and that thought sent droplets of nervous perspiration rolling down my face, perhaps mingled with tears.

I refused, however, to go quietly. I couldn’t do much to fight them off, but I wanted to make it harder on them. They’ll have to carry my corpse, because I’m not gonna walk out to the middle of nowhere and shovel my own grave. I’m not doing their dirty work for them! I took a huge step to the left, and then bolted.

Strong arms caught me within seconds, and I flailed and thrashed like a gazelle in a lion’s grasp.

“If we don’t keep movin’, we’re not gonna make it to the designated spot on time,” a man said.

“Maybe I oughtta just snap her like a twig, right here, right now,” said a deep-voiced man.

I screamed through my gag at the thought that the guy wanted to rush my demise.

“No!” another said. “She must be sacrificed at midnight.”


Trembling with fear, I thrashed even harder in the guy’s grasp. I suddenly realized that my abduction had nothing to do with a mafia hit, vampires, or a street gang initiation; rather, I was in the hands of some strange cult. I could barely breath, terrorized by fear.

“How much farther?” a man asked.

“We’re here,” another answered.

At that point, I was gasping for breath at the thought of being sacrificed in some weird ritual. I recalled what Fred had said about witches and realized it wasn’t so farfetched of a theory. My heart had never raced so hard. The man held me tight in his grasp, and I tried to fight, but he was so strong, and I was no match for him. My feet suddenly left the ground as he picked me up and carried me. I turned and twisted in his grasp, to no avail. He gently set me down on a cold slab of concrete and forced me to lie down, and I’d never been so terrified in my entire life.

Fingers gripped my ankles and wrists as the rope was tightened around me, securing me to a cold slab. It didn’t make sense to me that they left my blindfold on and my gag in, since they were clearly going to kill me anyway. For all I knew, maybe they thought it was more humane to kill me that way. Perhaps they want to spare me the misery of watching the dagger pierce my heart. I listened intently as they shuffled around, and then I struggled in my bindings.

May you read well and often

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Reading Wrap-up For October 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 October 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, Paperback Swap and Amazon.

Let me try to break down the influx for you:

- The Battle For Darracia: Schism by Michael Phillip Cash

Changes to the TBR pile

Read from my TBR pile (Yes! I am a reading machine :))
- Tut Reborn by Cyci Cade
- Mystery at Raven Abbey by Sylvia Little
- Ghost Hampton: A Novel by Ken McGorry

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! :))
- From Time to Time by Jack Finney

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))
- Tut Reborn by Cyci Cade
- Untamed by Joan Dial
- Wildfire Woman by Marianna Spring

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

Books Read: 4
Pages Read: 1,259
Grade Range: A+! to A!

So, there you go! The reading month that was October. 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

Friday, October 28, 2016

Ken McGorry - Ghost Hampton: A Novel

20. Ghost Hampton: A Novel by Ken McGorry (2016)
The Ghost Hampton Series Book 1
Length: 456 pages
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Started: 5 October 2016
Finished: 28 October 2016
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 28 September 2016
Why do I have it? I like paranormal mysteries and Ken McGorry is a new author for me.

Living in the town of Southampton, New York, Lyle Hall had acquired a reputation for being a notoriously tough real estate lawyer. It was a reputation that was certainly well-deserved, as he was known to be a difficult person to deal with - both in and out of the courtroom. He was definitely not the type of person who has ever allowed feelings of sentimentality to get in the way of him doing whatever was in his client's best interest. And if it just so happened that Lyle Hall's own best interests were also met during his career, then so much the better.

However, ever since his catastrophic car accident a year ago, Lyle has undergone a Scrooge-like transformation. The accident was indeed life-changing; it took the life of an elderly woman, and has left Lyle paralyzed from the waist down. After having a near-death experience himself and spending two months in a coma, Lyle Hall has awakened to find that he developed a strange and disturbing new 'talent': he has somehow become empathetic to other people's pain. This recent development in his personality is disturbing for Lyle, because while he certainly understands why the residents of Southampton are grieving, angry, and even hostile towards him; he is nevertheless powerless to make them understand that their assumptions about the accident are completely wrong.

Late one October night - while being driven back home - Lyle passes by a dilapidated Victorian mansion that has recently been slated for demolition. Known around town as "Old Vic" - the ramshackle house has apparently had quite a colorful history as a former brothel. Lyle cannot honestly describe how he feels just driving by Old Vic - but he intrinsically understands that if he mentions the disembodied pleas for help that he hears - nobody will believe him. Returning alone to the property two days later, Lyle sees an apparition standing on the porch of the house.

The vision of the mysterious young woman identifies herself as Jewel, and she looks to be about twelve years old. But she's been dead for at least a century. Jewel has been chosen to make a desperate appeal to Lyle for his help. In return, she shows him an appalling vision - his only daughter Georgia's epitaph - which, if it is to be believed, means that she will die in four days!

Whether or not Jewel is using this terrifying vision in order to force Lyle's assistance - he has no idea - yet the nightmarish vision serves as the catalyst that shocks Lyle out of his complacent convalescence and back into the real world. However, Lyle's court injunction to save the crumbling Old Vic backfires on him. When Lyle's former courthouse nemesis - a newspaper columnist with a hidden agenda - publishes a sensational story designed to embarrass Lyle, the resulting rumors of a possibly haunted house brings with it a flurry of national media attention. Soon a horde of paranormal-obsessed demonstrators - paranormal investigators and ghost-hunting paranormal enthusiasts alike - descend on the town of Southampton.

Rapidly swept up in the national media frenzy, Lyle finds himself trapped between the proverbial rock and a hard place when he meets the extraordinary Miranda Silkwood. Silk, as she is known to her fans, is a gorgeous yet highly devious television reporter. While his new nemesis may only be scheming to make her big break into the legitimate news business - biding her time working with an online media conglomerate dedicated to all things paranormal - Lyle nevertheless finds himself being seduced by Silk's offer of an exclusive media contract. Faced with an impossible situation - to either sit down with Miranda Silkwood for an exclusive interview; or continuing to try and protect his Georgie's wellbeing without her knowledge - Lyle initially stumbles badly.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I appreciated just how much Lyle Hall may have changed personally because of his accident, but also understood that he faced an extraordinary dilemma: proving to his neighbors that he is now an entirely different person. I would certainly say that this story is a lot like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - however, Ghost Hampton: A Novel focuses more on what happens after Lyle Hall undergoes his Scrooge-like transformation. I would certainly give this book an A! and am curious to see how this story will develop in future books.

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

Monday, October 17, 2016

D. L. Richardson, author of Welcome to the Apocalypse, chats about Amazon's Kindle Scout Publishing Program for Independent Authors

I'm delighted to announce that the science fiction novel, Welcome to the Apocalypse by D. L. Richardson recently been nominated by Amazon's Kindle Scout Program for possible publication. Starting on September 28th and lasting until October 28th, Welcome to the Apocalypse by D. L. Richardson will be part of its own campaign for publication. Yes, from September 28th to October 28th, Welcome to the Apocalypse by D. L. Richardson will be subject to the voting process. Your vote counts, so be sure to vote today!

Meet D. L. Richardson

Debbie Richardson is a writer of speculative fiction. Her favorite authors influence her to write: Dean Koontz, Stephen King and Anne Rice. She wanted to be a musician first but decided writing had better hours. She wants to be as prolific as her favorite authors and she loves meeting readers and sharing her writing tips with other authors. When she's not writing she's reading, killing weeds in the garden, walking the dog, or apologizing to her piano and guitar for neglecting them.You can read about her other books on her website

Connect and Socialize with D. L.!

Synopsis from 

Kill or be killed just got real in this game.

It's launch day of a game that'll entertain cosplayers and doomsday preppers. Kelly, Jack, and Reis enter simulation pods to survive a virtual apocalypse, yet instead of "game over" they enter a new game. Then another. Each new day brings a new battle. Surviving the games is easy, it's "kill or be killed". But fatigue and cyber sickness are setting in and the pods are designed for three days. With no communication to or from the operators, they can only hope they're rescued before it's too late.

Cast your vote for this book through Amazon Kindle Scout!

I would like to welcome D. L. Richardson, author of Welcome to the Apocalypse, a thrilling science fiction novel that has recently been nominated by Amazon's Kindle Scout Publishing Program for possible future release, to Emeraldfire's Bookmark. Ms. Richardson was kind enough to write a guest post for me and here it is below in her own words:

'Why You Should Nominate my Novel For Publication'
by D. L. Richardson

Hello! My sci-fi novel Welcome to the Apocalypse has been approved for a 30-day campaign with Kindle Scout, an imprint of Amazon. I'm hoping you can help me WIN nominations.

How the campaign works is similar to 'So You Think You Can Dance' or 'American Idol' or 'X-Factor'. Readers get to vote on a book in the program. Votes count towards publication. Yes, we writers have finally got ourselves a 'So You Think You Can Write' competition. Can you imagine what that would look like on TV? A whole bunch of people sitting at computers.

Anyway, why should you vote? If the book is published through Kindle Scout, every reader who nominated gets a free ebook of Welcome to the Apocalypse, an advanced copy prior to publication. They get to say they helped get a book published. Plus, you can enter the Giveaway to win $50 cash prize.

Whether I get this book published or not, I thank you for all your help.

Campaign starts September 28th and ends October 28th!

Readers can win cash simply by voting. Bonus points for sharing your nomination.

May you read well and often

Friday, October 14, 2016

Michael Phillip Cash - Schism: The Battle For Darracia

Reread. Schism: The Battle For Darracia by Michael Phillip Cash (2013)
(Revised Author's Edition 2015)
The Battle For Darracia Saga Book 1
Length: 188 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
Originally Read: 20 June 2014
Reread Finished: 14 October 2016
Where did it come from? Originally I received two copies of Schism from Michael Phillip Cash and Red Feather Publishing back in February and April of 2014. Then, back in June of 2015, Susan at My Book Tour sent me a copy of the Revised Author's Edition to read. Many thanks also to Dorothy at Pump up Your Book for sending me a copy of the Revised Author's Edition to read in September of 2016. I downloaded a copy of this book from Amazon also in September of 2016.

So, back on February 8th, 2014, Mr. Cash was kind enough to send me a copy of Schism to read. Schism by Michael Phillip Cash is the first book in The Battle For Darracia Saga, and after the book began to win awards, I received another copy of the book from Red Feather Publishing on April 2nd, 2014. Despite starting to read this book a few times since I received it, I found that I unfortunately had to set it aside at times.

Having said that, I was thrilled to finally get the chance to read Schism by Michael Phillip Cash for the first time in June of 2014. It actually took me a total of eleven days to read - from June 9th, to June 20th, 2014. Actually, here is my review from June of 2014.

I had signed up to take part in a virtual book tour for The Battle For Darracia Saga being held in November of 2015. Despite Susan at My Book Tour sending me an ebook copy of the entire saga in June of 2015, I wasn't able to contribute a full book review to the tour, although I did post two guest posts from Mr. Cash as well as a book release post. Here are the links to Mr. Cash's guest posts: his character interview with Crown Prince V'Sair, his advice to fledgling writers, and my book release post - all posted in November of 2015.

Finally in September of 2016 - first on September 17th, 2016, then three days later on September 20th, 2016 - I downloaded a copy of the entire saga from Amazon and then Dorothy at Pump up Your Book sent me a copy of the entire saga to read for Mr. Cash's upcoming virtual book tour in October of 2016. I actually read Schism for a second time from September 27th, to October 14th, 2016. Granted, it took me a total of eighteen days to finish this first book, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and look forward to reading Collision very soon - hopefully as soon as I possibly can.

May you read well and often

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Sylvia Little - Mystery at Raven Abbey

18. Mystery at Raven Abbey by Sylvia Little (1952)
Length: 183 pages 
Genre: Contemporary Mystery 
Started: 15 August 2016
Finished: 8 October 2016
Where did it come from? This was a birthday present given to me by a friend when I was ten years old.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 1 June 1988
Why do I have it? I like contemporary mysteries and Sylvia Little is a new author for me.

Sixteen-year-old Leslie Braithwaite and her brother Gerry; nicknamed Boy, and sixteen-year-old Betty Scott and her brother John; nicknamed J. S. are getting ready to start the school term at both 'Raven Abbey School For Girls' and its counterpart: 'Friars School For Boys'. The mystery begins approximately a week before school starts, when the four friends decide to go sightseeing around the town. They happen to meet someone who they all know rather well, but who acts like he doesn't recognize them. While this chance meeting is certainly a very curious occurrence, Leslie, Boy, Betty and J. S. have no way of knowing just how much this meeting will prove to be the catalyst for a mystery that will eventually involve both Raven Abbey and Friars.

While Leslie and Betty must contend with various petty squabbles, directing the mid-term co-ed school drama, and scheduling hockey tryouts; Boy and J. S. find themselves embroiled in a strange case of possible embezzlement. Soon, Leslie and Betty are also drawn into their own investigation - that of the rumored sightings of Victoria Maitland - a former Raven Abbey student from the Class of 1899, who reputedly drowned in 1900. When a person of interest is discovered to have a ties to both Raven Abbey and Friars, Betty and Leslie must help their brothers to solve both mysteries.

I just have to say that I really enjoyed reading this book. I've had it on my bookcase for over twenty years - and despite starting to read it several times over the years - I have only managed to finish it recently. I don't know exactly what it was that caused me to spend so much time reading this book, but I still found it quite intriguing, if somewhat dated.

I did have some trouble getting into this story, as the characters nicknames were slightly strange to me, but I suppose that since this book was written in 1952 - my feelings are to be expected. Having said that, this is definitely a book that I want to keep on my bookshelf. Reading it was a pleasant trip back into my childhood and I would give this book an A!

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often