Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Joni Parker - Blood Mission

17. Blood Mission by Joni Parker (2013)
The Seaward Isle Saga Book 3
Length: 301 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Started: 6 April 2015
Finished: 14 April 2015
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 and Joni Parker for sending me a copy of this book to read as well.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 2 November 2014 as an ebook; Since 11 February 2015 as a physical book.
Why do I have it? I like fantasy and I have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

Lady Alexin - the orphaned half-elfin teenager and descendant of the Titans - wants to meet the Water Elves who are in her family. In order to meet her Elfin grandmother, she must make a formal request of Prince Darin, the current leader of the Water Elves and Alex's cousin. However, when Alex accidentally overhears a potential assassination plot against two of the most prominent Elves on Seaward Isle - Prince Darin of the Water Elves and Lord Odin of the Tree Elves - Alex is determined to raise the alarm as quickly as possible.

When she arrives just in time to halt the attempted assassination of both of them, Alex's original plans are temporarily delayed. Prince Darin and Lord Odin charge Alex - a young female tracker, with an incredibly dangerous yet intensely personal Blood Mission. Alex must hunt down and kill two people: the would-be assassin, as well as a former apprentice healer to Lord Odin, the rogue Elf Mellen. Mellen may be the most lethal foe Alex has ever faced; and as the main conspirator in the assassination plot, he has definitely proven himself to be a wily, yet patient opponent.

Yet Alex must complete her mission, or perish in the attempt. In this conclusion to the extraordinary fantasy trilogy, The Seaward Isle Saga, Blood Mission places the fates of kings and the safety of the inhabitants of Seaward Isle in the hands of a fifteen-year-old half-elfin warrior. Will Alex survive her mission long enough to discover her true destiny? When it seems like everyone wants her dead - or alternatively, wants to marry her - can Alex actually outwit her enemies and eventually defeat them?

I absolutely loved this entire trilogy, from start to finish. Blood Mission started off dynamically and the drama continued strongly throughout the entire story. The plot held my attention until the very end and I actually felt sad to be leaving these characters behind. I give Blood Mission by Joni Parker a definite A! and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Christine Nolfi - The Shell Keeper

16. The Shell Keeper by Christine Nolfi (2015)
The Lei Crime/Lei's Magic Series Book 1
Length: 38 pages
Genre: Short Story
Started: 10 April 2015
Finished: 11 April 2015
Where did it come from? From Amazon 
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 8 April 2015
Why do I have it? I like short stories and have read and enjoyed Treasure Me by the same author in the past. Although I haven't read any books by Toby Neal as yet.

Two weeks before she begins her assignment with the South Hilo Police Department in Hawaii, recent police academy graduate Leilani Texeira dubiously accepts a gift from her aunt Rosario. Lei's aunt has secretly booked her niece some time at a relaxing Bed and Breakfast in South Carolina, and now she expects Lei to report to her every day with Lei's 'Itinerary of Fun'. So, Lei grudgingly embarks on her vacation - with absolutely no idea that it will turn out to be an unexpectedly magical interlude.

She soon discovers that she's staying on the beach at a frothy, 'Tara'-style mansion - one that strongly resembles a baker's confection. Not only that, but this Bed and Breakfast is managed by an honest-to-goodness Southern belle hostess named Pixie. And Pixie wears enough bling to open a shop on Rodeo Drive. Pixie apparently likes to gossip as well; when she reveals that a local woman who is reputed to have psychic powers wants to meet Lei, her invitation is anything but welcome.

Lei is nothing if not cautious - actually highly skeptical, if the full truth is told. Yet, what Lei discovers about the the sorcery of belief, and the love that is promised to her in the future, may just be strong enough to begin to heal wounds that she's been carrying for way too many years.

I must say that while I have at least three books in Toby Neal's Lei Crime Series, I have yet to read any of her work. However, I did read Treasure Me by Christine Nolfi back in June of 2013. At 38 pages long, I very much appreciated that this story was so well-written. It was also a well-developed, complete story that left me fully satisfied by the end. I give this short story an A+! and I'm looking forward to reading more stories set in this world in the future.

A+! - (96-100%)

May you read well and often

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Nichole Giles - Water so Deep

15. Water so Deep by Nichole Giles (2014)
The Water so Deep Series Book 1
Length: 269 pages 
Genre: Fantasy
Started: 22 March 2015
Finished: 2 April 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 20 January 2015
Why do I have it? I like fantasy and Nichole Giles is a new author for me.

Seventeen-year-old Emma Harris feels like she is drowning on dry land. Not only is that feeling partly due to her slow recovery from a prom night assault perpetrated on her by her boyfriend; it is also beginning to encroach on Emma's life, stealthily creeping into her reality and into her routine. No one really understands what's happening to her, and as much as Emma loves her adoptive family and her friends, she wants to keep her secret to herself - for as long as she can.

For the past two years, Emma has been struggling with her evolution from human to mermaid. So far, she has been fairly successful in dealing with the various bizarre impulses, cravings and strange indentations that are suddenly appearing on her body - hiding what she can from her family, her friends, and most especially, the new guy in school, James Phelps. Yet, Emma is finding it increasingly difficult to continue her charade. The truth is beginning to come out, and even her Grandmother - who knows Emma's secret - just doesn't know how to help.

Emma's time in the ocean is spent dodging a possessive merman, and her time on land is split between caring for her fourteen-year-old brother Keith, who has special needs and squeezing in every last possible moment from her life as a human. Time is short for Emma, and as much as she tries to avoid it, she is becoming more attached to her life on land. But a normal life is something that Emma is beginning to realize she may never have.

Falling for the irresistible James is also unavoidable apparently, especially when it seems he's constantly coming to her rescue. James somehow sees through Emma's carefully constructed icy facade to the vulnerability she lives with every day. He makes her yearn for a life on land that she just can't have.

When her brother disappears on Emma's watch, James is the only person she trusts to help her save him. But even if they can save Keith, nothing can prevent Emma's return to the sea. Whether she likes it or not, Emma is changing - unable to breathe without yielding to the tide - and it's only a matter of time before she forced to surrender forever.

I absolutely loved reading this book - I really felt for Emma and the situation in which she finds herself. Despite it being a rather fantastic dilemma, I could certainly sympathize with Emma. I was also pleasantly surprised to 'meet' a character with special needs. I haven't read that many books featuring characters with disabilities - so that was refreshing. I give this book a definite A! I'm looking forward to reading more from this author in the future.

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Reading Wrap-up For March 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 March 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 :))
- Jezebel: A Horror Thriller Novel by Gordon A. Kessler
- Night Carnival by Kathryn Meyer Griffith
- Wintergarden by T. M. Wallace
- The Black Elf of Seaward Isle by Joni Parker
- ItGirl4Life: How to Bring Out Your Special Something and so Much More by Tamara Branch
- Tangled Omens by Joni Parker

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! :))
- Hellfire and Damnation III by Connie Corcoran Wilson
- The Jack of Souls by Stephen C. Merlino 
- Stonehill Downs by Sarah Remy

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))
- Jezebel: A Horror Thriller Novel by Gordon A. Kessler 
- Night Carnival by Kathryn Meyer Griffith
- ItGirl4Life: How to Bring Out Your Special Something and so Much More by Tamara Branch
- Tangled Omens by Joni Parker

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

Books Read: 6
Pages Read: 1,226
Grade Range: A+! to A!

So, there you go! The reading month that was March. 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, March 25, 2015

Joni Parker - Tangled Omens

14. Tangled Omens by Joni Parker (2012)
The Seaward Isle Saga Book 2
Length: 261 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Started: 17 March 2015
Finished: 25 March 2015
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 and Joni Parker for sending me a copy of this book to read as well.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 12 April 2014 as an ebook; Since 2 February 2015 as a physical book.
Why do I have it? I like fantasy and have read and enjoyed The Black Elf of Seaward Isle by the same author in the past.

Lady Alexin - the orphaned fifteen-year-old half-elfin girl, and descendant of the Titans - is back for another rollicking adventure. This time Alex, who goes by the code name 'The Black Elf' - is tasked with locating a spy called the Horseman who is in league with pirates to steal Elfin gold. In her new role as a Tracker, Alex travels to Riverton to watch her brother Beren compete in the sword competition which is being held there.

Arriving in Riverton two months before the competition starts, Alex is baffled to learn that she is so early, but decides to stay in town to deliver her brother's newest sword to him as a surprise. Soon Alex picks up the trail of the Horseman, but she just may have run into some serious trouble; it appears the Horseman has some pretty influential friends, and they're definitely not happy with all the attention.

In this latest adventure, Alex continues to unravel the mysteries of Seaward Isle. As she attempts to complete her mission, Alex must contend with a code name that makes her increasingly uncomfortable; superiors who can't see past her youth; and several unexpected aspects to the new gifts bestowed on her by her Titan ancestors.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The story pulled me in right from the beginning and I avidly wanted to find out what would happen next. Tangled Omens by Joni Parker was fast-paced and enthralling, and I loved Alex and her interactions with many of the characters. I give this book a definite A! I can't wait to find out how this trilogy ends.

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tamara Branch - ItGirl4Life: How to Bring Out Your Special Something and So Much More

13. ItGirl4Life: How to Bring Out Your Special Something and so Much More by Tamara Branch (2014)
Length: 90 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Started: 21 March 2015
Finished: 22 March 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 24 December 2014
Why do I have it? I like non-fiction and Tamara Branch is a new author for me.

The opening sentence of this book exhorts girls that they have 'IT'. 'IT' is defined as the greatness that all young women are born with, and the potential to dream big, do better, and to really own their lives. According to author, artist and motivational speaker, Tamara Branch, the true key to women living a successful life is to 'show up' in their life, and to take ownership of their situations in order to work towards what they want.

Packed with sage advice, life-changing insights and personal affirmations designed to help you soar, Tamara speaks to the heart of every girl. ItGirl4Life: How to Bring Out Your Special Something and so Much More is an empowering book, filled with the best ideas, tips, tools and principles that you can reference and build upon in order to begin creating a solid foundation which you can use to live up to your best potential. Get ready to fall in love with your own wisdom, beauty and strength.

I must say that I haven't really read that many personal motivational books before, perhaps one or two when I was a teenager, but that was about it. I honestly have never felt that I had poor self esteem, or many issues that I needed to work on. Yet reading Ms. Branch's book, I've learned that while I may have a very strong self esteem, and I have many of the positive traits which the author mentions in her book; it never hurts anyone to refresh their memories about what is good about themselves.

I realized after reading this book that I sometimes don't speak up as much as I probably should in certain situations. There's always something women can work on about themselves; to make themselves better people, stronger friends or indispensable bosses or employees. I would give this book an A!

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

Friday, March 20, 2015

Joni Parker - The Black Elf of Seaward Isle

12. The Black Elf of Seaward Isle by Joni Parker (2012)
The Seaward Isle Saga Book 1
Length: 269 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Started: 27 February 2015
Finished: 20 March 2015
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Dorothy at Pump up Your Book and Joni Parker for sending me a copy of this book to read.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 2 February 2015
Why do I have it? I like fantasy and Joni Parker is a new author for me.

For the inhabitants of Seaward Isle, life is remarkably harsh and the majority of them treat life on the island as a case of survival of the fittest - never speaking of where they come from, yet trying to rebuild futures for themselves on a faraway island. You see, the population of the island is primarily composed of survivors of shipwrecks, each one swept off course by terrible storms and pulled through various rifts in time or from a variety of different worlds and realms. These alien time travelers have struggled first to survive and then to find a way to escape and return home.

Elves, dwarves and mortals exist and mingle together in a world filled with pirates, rife with political intrigue and steeped in magic. Their collective fates rest in the hands of one young woman, the orphaned Lady Alexin. Half-Elfin and sole descendant of Titan ancestry, Alex trained as a warrior and swore to avenge her parents' deaths. However, she is completely heedless that only she has the  power to save them all.

I must say that while it took me some time to get into this story - I was slightly perplexed by the time traveling element - it was only a temporary feeling for me. Once I was drawn into the storyline, I really enjoyed reading this book. I found the characters and plot to be well-developed, and the time traveling was woven into the story and plausibly explained. I give The Black Elf of Seaward Isle by Joni Parker an A! I'm looking forward to seeing where this trilogy will lead from here.

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often