Thursday, October 1, 2015

Reading Wrap-up For September 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 September 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 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 :))
- The Avalon Relics: Lilith Links by J. L. Clark
- The Search For the Stone of Excalibur by Fiona Ingram

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! :))
- Owlet by Emma Michaels
- I, Mary by Mike Hartner

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))
- The Search For the Stone of Excalibur by Fiona Ingram

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

Books Read: 2
Pages Read: 668
Grade Range: A!

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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Madison Carter - Fifth Grade Music Teacher and Reluctant Sorceress - Talks to Christine Amsden About Learning to Trust Herself and Finding Love

I would very much like to welcome both Christine Amsden, author of the paranormal romance, Madison's Song and Madison Carter - a fifth grade music teacher and reluctant sorceress - to Emeraldfire's Bookmark. Ms. Carter may have played a minor role in The Cassie Scot Series, but she has certainly come into her own and shines in Madison's Song.Thank you so much for stopping by Emeraldfire's Bookmark, Ms. Amsden and Ms. Carter and I wish you all the best now and in the future!

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.

Synopsis of Madison's Song

Her voice is enchanting; his soul is black…

Madison Carter has been terrified of Scott Lee since the night he saved her from an evil sorcerer – then melted into a man-eating monster before her eyes. The werewolf is a slave to the moon, but Madison’s nightmares are not.

Despite her fears, when Madison’s brother, Clinton, is bitten by a werewolf, she knows there is only one man who can help. A man who frightens her all the more because even in her nightmares, he also thrills her.

Together for the first time since that terrible night, Scott and Madison drive to Clinton’s home only to discover that he’s vanished. Frantic now, Madison must overcome her fears and uncover hidden strengths if she hopes to save him. And she’s not the only one fighting inner demons. Scott’s are literal, and they have him convinced that he will never deserve the woman he loves.

*Stand-alone companion to the Cassie Scot Series

Coming to Amazon and Barnes and Noble on October 15, 2015!

Meet Madison Carter

Hi, I'm Christine Amsden, author of the new paranormal romance novel, Madison's Song. I'm pleased to be here with Madison Carter at the beginning of her adventure. (So no spoilers!)

A few things you should know about Madison: She doesn't know that her life is about to get turned upside down. She's a bit on the shy side, so if she seems nervous during the interview, that's why. But she's creative, talented, and fiercely loyal. I'm not sure that she would describe herself that way, but as the author, I get the final say. :)

And now, without further ado, here's Madison!

Christine: Hi, Madison, thanks for being here today.

Madison: No problem. I'm not sure why I'm here, though. Are you sure you didn't want to talk to my best friend, Cassie?

Christine: I'm sure. Cassie's story is over, but people are still very curious about you.

Madison: Why?

Christine: For a lot of reasons. But let's start with the obvious: Were you or were you not nearly killed two years ago?

Madison (shudders): Do we have to talk about that?

Christine: No, but I don't feel like we ever got the full story there. I know Scott saved you, but now you keep your distance from him. Why? 

Madison: He's a werewolf.

Christine: I see.

Madison: He nearly killed me, after he saved me.

Christine: Ah. Well, werewolves aren't exactly overgrown puppies, are they?

Madison: No. I burned a couple of werewolf romance novels after that night. Can we talk about something else? Anything else?

Christine: Okay, I understand that a year ago you lost your fiance and your unborn baby on the same night.

Madison: Okay, maybe not anything else. (Bites her lip.)

Christine: You do that a lot, don't you? Bite your lip?

Madison (blushes): Only when I'm nervous.

Christine: Why did your fiance leave you?

Madison: Because he found out that I was Victor Blackwood's biological daughter and he was at war with the Blackwoods at the time. He thought I knew, that I was some kind of spy! But that's not what really hurt.

Christine: What really hurt?

Madison: My dad, the man who raised me, sold the information for $10,000. That's how much I was worth to him, in the end.

Christine: Were you really in love with Nicolas?

Madison: Maybe not. It probably would have hurt more if I had been. Can we talk about something else? Again?

Christine: Okay. Let's talk about your life right now, is that okay?

Madison: Sure. What do you want to know?

Christine: What are you up to? What are your hopes and dreams? 

Madison: I'm a music teacher at Eagle Rock Elementary. I love my kids; this is the best job. I know many people who major in music want to perform, but not me. I'm happy just sharing music with my kids. This is what I want to do. What I want to be.

Christine: So you're happy?

Madison: Well...

Christine: What's wrong?

Madison: Nothing, probably. I haven't heard from my brother, Clinton, in a few weeks. I'm getting worried. 

Christine: Are you two close?

Madison: As close as we can be. Out mother died when we were young and our father...well, he claims to love his “real” child but he was never that great a dad. Mostly, all we had growing up was each other.

Christine: That sounds lonely.

Madison: Yeah.

Christine: What do you want, Madison? What do you want more than anything else?

Madison: A family. It's hard to trust, though, when you've been betrayed so many times.

Christine: I can imagine.

Madison: Can I ask a question now?

Christine: Okay.

Madison: Does this interview mean that something bad is going to happen to me? I mean, nobody wants to read the exciting adventures of a grade school music teacher.

Christine: Maybe not, but we'd probably want to listen if we could hear you sing. Your voice is enchanting.

Madison: It's not my fault. It just happens. I mean, when I sing, whatever I feel, other people feel it too.

Christine: It's a gift.

Madison: My dad didn't think so.

Christine: And your dad isn't getting a happily ever after.

Madison: Am I?

Christine: We'll have to read the book to find out. Thanks so much for being here, and good luck!

May you read well and often

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fiona Ingram - The Search For the Stone of Excalibur

32. The Search For the Stone of Excalibur by Fiona Ingram (2014)
The Chronicles of the Stone Series Book 2
Length: 353 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Started: 15 September 2015
Finished: 28 September 2015
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 16 July 2015
Why do I have it? I like fantasy and Fiona Ingram is a new author for me.

Cousins Justin and Adam Sinclair have just recently returned from Egypt after spending several months desperately searching for the illustrious First Stone of Power - one of seven ancient stones that were lost centuries ago. After such a harrowing adventure, both boys are looking forward to going home and taking a well-deserved break from saving the world. Yet, before they've even thought about putting their feet up and taking a deep breath, Adam receives an urgent letter from his Scottish archeologist friend, James Kinnaird.

James reveals that the Second Stone of Power quite possibly has been found. This stone might be  embedded in the hilt of a recently discovered sword dating from the early sixth century A. D. Based on the location of the find: deep in a bog somewhere near Cornwall, archeologists seem fairly certain that this particular sword is truly exceptional - the legendary sword of battle belonging to King Arthur: Excalibur.

As Adam and Justin prepare to fly from their home in Durban, South Africa to James' ancestral home of Strathairn Castle in Scotland, they have no way of knowing that their long-standing nemesis, Dr. Khalid is intent on following them. Neither do they realize that another deadly society known as the Eaters of Poison are searching for them as well. The members of this particular society have their own private mission to complete, but don't have any qualms about how they accomplish it.

Time is apparently running out for the cousins as the confluence of the planets draws ever closer. Can Justin and Adam complete this second adventure in time? Will they find the second Stone of Power and survive? And why on earth would their poor, harried Aunt Isabel suddenly foist a mysterious twelve-year-old girl on them?

Justin and Adam must find the second Stone of Power and make sure that such an amazing artifact doesn't fall into the hands of the greedy Dr. Khalid. Their quest quickly expands to include locating and securing the safety of the mysterious Scroll of the Ancients, a secret document which holds important clues to the seven Stones of Power. As their adventure unfolds, the boys learn many things and face dangers that make even their perils in Egypt look tame. And how annoying for them that Aunt Isabel's surprising last-minute choice of traveling companion, Kim, seems to have such good ideas when they are both stumped.

I must say that I have always enjoyed reading anything having to do with the legend of Arthur or with Camelot itself. I love reading about the magic of that legend, although I will also say that I prefer reading stories based around an historically accurate representation of the legend of Arthur and the creation of Camelot. In my opinion, while I would have personally preferred to read the first book in this series, it is not absolutely necessary for the enjoyment of the second book. There was enough of a filling out of the background from the first book for me not to feel disconnected from the second book. I would give this book a definite A!

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

Friday, September 18, 2015

Christopher G. Nuttall, bestselling fantasy author of the Schooled in Magic Series installment Trial by Fire, discusses his desire to create strong, yet believably flawed characters

Meet Christopher G. Nuttall

Christopher Nuttall was born in Edinburgh, studied in Manchester, married in Malaysia and currently living in Scotland, United Kingdom, with his wife and baby son. He is the author of twenty novels from various publishers and thirty-nine self-published novels. His books have sold over 100K copies in the last year. His latest book, Trial by Fire (Schooled in Magic Book 7) is currently an Amazon bestseller.

Connect and Socialize with Christopher!

Synopsis from Amazon:

After a brief visit to the Blighted Lands, in hopes of recovering something useful from Shadye’s Dark Fortress, Emily returns to Whitehall for her fourth year, bracing herself for the exams that will determine her future. But as she resumes her education, she discovers that the shadows of the past are hanging over the school. A teacher wants to break her, some of her friends are acting oddly and, worst of all, a boy intends to court her.

But as she struggles to come to terms with her own past, she discovers a plot to kill her and a deadly threat that may destroy the entire school...and a fight she cannot win, but dares not lose.

Coming to OmniLit on 12 July 2015 and Amazon on 13 July 2015!

Read the Prologue and First Four Chapters of Christopher G. Nuttall's Trial by Fire here!

I would like to welcome Christopher G. Nuttall, author of Trial by Fire, the seventh installment of his bestselling fantasy series Schooled in Magic, to Emeraldfire's Bookmark. Mr. Nuttall was kind enough to write a guest post for me and here it is below in his own words:

'Creating Sympathetic Yet Flawed Characters Within a Fantastic World'
by Christopher G. Nuttall

The Schooled in Magic series draws on so many different inspirations that it’s hard to say just when and where it jelled into its current shape. It started as a combination of a desire to do a ‘wizard school’ story and a ‘time-traveling expert’ story – the latter generally covering a person being thrown back in time and using modern knowledge to reshape the primitive society facing him. (The classic example is Lest Darkness Fall.) I played around with the idea of having the universe set in the distant past, then decided to put it in a very different universe instead – both to escape the Harry Potter connection as much as possible and to allow more room for storytelling. If I created the universe myself, I could make it be whatever I wanted .

Designing Emily (the heroine) was a more complex task. I wanted a flawed personality, to allow her room to grow and be shaped by her new world as much as she shaped it herself. I drew on my own experiences at school, then researched mental conditions and their impact on teenage children; Emily, although she doesn’t know this because she has never been tested, is autistic. This is partly because her parents were emotionally abusive; Emily simply never had the socialization that most people take for granted. But it also gave her a good reason to step into another world and never look back.

This makes her appallingly bad at social cues, for example; she completely misses the fact that some boys (and even a girl) are interested in her. To meet this lack, I crafted two friends for her; Alassa originally started life as a bully, then wound up as one of Emily’s first real friends. Imaiqah was one of her victims, then became Emily’s other friend. Together, they help make her stronger.

May you read well and often

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Spotlight For Trial by Fire by Christopher G. Nuttall

Hello Everyone! I hope that you're all having a wonderful day today. I'm so glad to welcome bestselling fantasy author Christopher G. Nuttall author of Trial by Fire - Book 7 of the Schooled in Magic Series - to Emeraldfire's Bookmark. This is also my twentieth Book Spotlight post ever, but I still hope that I do Trial by Fire by Christopher G. Nuttall justice.

About Trial by Fire:

Three years ago, Emily killed the Necromancer Shadye before he could sacrifice her and destroy the Allied Lands. Now, the shadows of the past hang over Whitehall as Emily and the Grandmaster travel into the Blighted Lands to recover anything Shadye might have left behind, before returning to Whitehall to start the fourth year. For Emily, it is a chance to stretch her mind and learn more about new and innovative forms of magic ... and to prepare for the exams that will determine her future as a magician.

But as she starts her studies, it becomes clear that all is not well at Whitehall. Master Grey, a man who disliked Emily from the moment he met her, is one of her teachers - and he seems intent on breaking her, pushing her right to her limits. In the meantime, her friends Alassa and Imaiqah are acting oddly, Frieda seems to be having trouble talking to her and - worst of all - Caleb, her partner in a joint magical project, is intent on asking her to go out with him.

As she struggles to cope with new challenges and to overcome the demons in her past, she becomes aware of a deadly threat looming over Whitehall, a curse that threatens her very soul. And when she makes a tiny yet fatal mistake, she finds herself facing a fight she cannot win, but dares not lose...

Purchase Your Copy From Amazon and OmniLit!

Meet Christopher G. Nuttall

Christopher Nuttall was born in Edinburgh, studied in Manchester, married in Malaysia and currently living in Scotland, United Kingdom, with his wife and baby son. He is the author of twenty novels from various publishers and thirty-nine self-published novels. His books have sold over 100K copies in the last year. His latest book, Trial by Fire (Schooled in Magic Book 7) is currently an Amazon bestseller.

Connect and Socialize with Christopher!

May you read well and often

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Introducing Molly Lee by Andrew Joyce!

So, I was delighted to learn that the sequel to Andrew Joyce's bestselling historical novel Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom SawyerMolly Lee - will be on sale from Amazon for $0.99. This sale will last for ten days only - from Monday, September 14, to Thursday, September 24, 2015! I would advise you to grab your own copy as soon as possible!

Meet Andrew Joyce

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Mr. Joyce has written three books, and a collection of almost one hundred forty short stories that is comprised of his hitching adventures, written as veiled non-fiction called, Bedtime Stories For Grownups, and his latest novel, Molly Lee. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his dog, Danny.

Andrew Joyce's latest novel, Molly Lee, is averaging 4.9 stars on Amazon.

Molly Lee by Andrew Joyce (2015)
Length: 428 pages 
Purchase your copy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, I-Tunes, Kobo and Smashwords!

Molly Lee Blurb:

It’s 1861 and the Civil War has just started. Molly is an eighteen-year-old girl living on her family’s farm in Virginia when two deserters from the Southern Cause enter her life. One of them - a twenty-four-year-old Huck Finn - ends up saving her virtue, if not her life.

Molly is so enamored with Huck, she wants to run away with him. But Huck has other plans and is gone the next morning before she awakens. Thus starts a sequence of events that leads Molly into adventure after adventure; most of them not so nice.

We follow the travails of Molly Lee, starting when she is eighteen and ending when she is fifty-six. Even then Life has one more surprise in store for her.

Molly Lee is the sequel to the best-selling novel Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. It is the story of a woman who knows what she wants and starts out to get it. Molly is about to set off on the quest of a lifetime...of two lifetimes.

May you read well and often

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Book Excerpt For Never Been Texted by Linda Joy Singleton

Hello Everyone! I hope that you're all having a wonderful day today. I'm so glad to welcome Linda Joy Singleton, author of the Contemporary young adult Fantasy Never Been Texted, to Emeraldfire's Bookmark. Ms. Singleton is currently on a Book Release Blitz Blog Tour with Leap Books lasting through early September. This is also my twenty-first Book Excerpt post ever, but I still hope that I do Never Been Texted by Linda Joy Singleton justice.

The author is also doing an awesome giveaway - she is giving away five (5) ebook copies of Never Been Texted and a $10 Amazon Gift Card to six lucky winners at the end of her Book Release Blitz Blog Tour. Be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form below, and I wish you all the very best of good luck in taking part!

About Never Been Texted:

When Ashlee’s stepdad completely forgets her birthday she takes matters into her own hands to get the one thing she really wants: her own cell phone. But text messages start rolling in from a broken-hearted boy, and though Ashlee knows not all stories end happily, she’s determined to make hers the best it can be.

Purchase your copy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and I-Tunes!

Meet Linda Joy Singleton

Linda Joy Singleton has published over 35 young adult and middle grade books about Goths, psychics, mermaids, aliens, cheerleaders, clones, parallel worlds, spies, dogs and ghosts. Her Young Adult series, RegenerationThe Seer and Dead Girl, were honored as YALSA Popular Paperback/Quick Picks. Her series for younger readers include, Strange Encounters and her 2015 release, Curious Cat Spy Club.

When she was 8, she wrote animal stories and by age 14 she was writing mystery novels. In 1986, she had the unique experience of co-writing a mystery, The Talking Snowman, with her favorite childhood author, Margaret Sutton (Judy Bolton Mysteries). Her goal was to have a mystery series of her own that that happened in 1994: My Sister the Ghost Series (Avon Camelot Books). Recently she’s crossed genres to publish her first picture book, Snow Dog, Sand Dog (Albert Whitman 2014).

When Linda isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, movies, country walks, camping, bowling and reality shows (she’s never missed a season of SurvivorAmazing Race or Big Brother). She also collects vintage girl series mysteries like Nancy DrewJudy Bolton and Trixie Belden and in 2014 spoke at a Nancy Drew convention. She’s a longtime member of Sisters in Crime and SCBWI, and enjoys speaking at school, libraries and writing conferences.

She lives with her husband, David, in Northern California, in a country home where she’s surrounded by horses, peacocks, dogs, wild turkeys and demanding cats.

Connect and Socialize with Linda!

Win Five (5) Ebook Copies of Never Been Texted and a $10 Amazon Gift Card From Linda Joy Singleton!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Never Been Texted Book Excerpt:

“I’m training Toffee.” I hesitate, biting my lip. “Because there’s this thing" 

“Thing?” he lifts a brow.

“A talent competition.” I reach down to scoop up Toffee, who licks my arms and wiggles her golden tail. “I’ve taught Toffee some tricks. She’s really good, and I can show you if you, um, want to see.”

He glances at his watch then shakes his head. “There’s a dog food shipment arriving in an hour, and inventory will keep me late tonight. I’ll have free time tomorrow and I’d like to see what you’ve taught Toffee. Can she roll over and jump on command?”

​“Much more than that. She can dance.”

​“Are you sure she’s not just jumping to the music? That’s natural for Q-Bees.”

​“She does real steps,” I say defensively. “Ballet, cha-cha, and rumba. She jumps through hoops, too, and somersaults. She’s the smartest dog ever.”

May you read well and often