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, AmazonPaperback Swap 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 :))
- 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! :))
- Night Carnival by Kathryn Meyer Griffith
- The Black Elf of Seaward Isle by Joni Parker
- Tangled Omens by Joni Parker
- The Cat Who Brought Down the House by Lilian Jackson Braun
- Blood Mission by Joni Parker
- And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander
- The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))
- The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare by Lilian Jackson Braun
- The Cat Who Smelled a Rat by Lilian Jackson Braun
- Growl by Ashley Fontainne

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

Monday, March 16, 2015

T. M. Wallace - Wintergarden

11. Wintergarden by T. M. Wallace (2014)
Length: 204 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Started: 9 March 2015
Finished: 16 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 2 March 2015
Why do I have it? I like fantasy and T. M. Wallace is a new author for me.

Fifteen-year-old Addyson Marten was absolutely convinced that by winning a game of Fairy Chess, she would win freedom for herself and her friend Connor from the place between her world and the fairy realms known as the Median Realms. Because Addy was protected by the Fairy Queen Adalira, she was returned home safely after she won the game, yet she returned with only partial memories of her time in the Median Realms. Addy was found wandering alone and feverish - stumbling through an area she knows as the Garden - the area that separated her home and the home of her eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Tavish. Her parents found her mumbling incoherently to the giant stone statues in Mrs. Tavish's garden.

Over the intervening months, her parents honestly believed that Addy's strange trip had only been a dream; hallucinations which a feverish brain and an overactive imagination had conjured. And Addy found herself being lulled by her parents explanation...almost believing that what she had experienced had never really happened. However, Addy can't completely quell her doubts: there was supposed to be another person with her - a boy with red hair and moonlike glasses - someone who was very important to her, yet Addy can't quite grasp her fleeting memories of him.

Now with March just beginning, Addy finds herself at a loss. The Garden is different, strange and almost foreboding - but Addy still finds a certain peace and calmness whenever she walks there. On one of her solitary walks, Addy finds a curious looking sundial, lying half-buried in the snow. When she holds it in her hand, she slowly begins to recover some of her lost memories. She slowly begins to remember Connor, along with the vague feeling that he is in horrible danger. Despite her increasing suspicion that Connor needs her help, Addy has absolutely no idea where he is or how she can get back to him.

In order to rescue her kidnapped friend, Addy must find a way to enter the Median Realms once more, traveling to the center of the Garden's magical Labyrinth to free Connor from the influence of the witch-queen Uthrace. And together, Connor and Addy must learn to control their own magical abilities to fight the growing evil threatening the Human and Fairy Realms.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I found the plot exciting and well-developed. It was a very quick read for me, and I am delighted to say that I have Ms. Wallace's award-winning Under a Fairy Moon on my TBR pile already. I would give this book a definite A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

May you read well and often

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Kathryn Meyer Griffith - Night Carnival

10. Night Carnival by Kathryn Meyer Griffith (2014)
Length: 14 pages
Genre: Short Story
Started/Finished: 10 March 2015
Where did it come from? From Amazon
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 2 February 2015
Why do I have it? I like short stories and I have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

Angela is still grieving the losses of her mother and husband - which have both happened within the space of a month - and she feels somewhat disconnected from her life. However, she can never remember a time in her life when there has ever been such a mysterious looking carnival that has come into town. Angela has been to many carnivals in her life, certainly, but she has never seen one that came into town with so little fanfare - almost none, in fact.

Late one evening, feeling especially lonely and depressed, Angela decides to get out of her house and go for a walk. While she isn't specifically heading for the carnival, that's exactly where she's drawn - drawn by the eerie calliope music and tattered tents. Walking among the variety of skill-game booths, Angela is mesmerized by the inhabitants of a carnival the likes of which she has never seen before: demonic steeds flashing their hooves and neighing silently to the moon - a living carousel being spun by phantom hands, wraithlike luminescent creatures lurking in the shadows along the midway and the Ferris wheel, aglow with twinkling lights, moves without human hands to control it.

The animals in the center ring are perhaps the strangest of all: the lions, tigers, and elephants have no human trainers, they are monstrous and gigantic - so much larger than normal, and they seem to float. The sad-faced clowns have the ability to manipulate the crowds with only their glittering eyes and thoughts. Angela soon learns the truth of the carnival - the clowns and other carnies are all vampires.

Their leader, Dominic, has been searching for centuries...for Angela. He's an ancient and powerful being who offers her something she's never had before...Love. A soulmate. A place to call home...forever.

Yet, is Angela willing to give up her humanity for this creature of the night? Is she willing to join herself to him - spending eternity among the vampires, shape shifters and ghosts of the traveling carnival? Could Angela truly be happy as one of them? Would she willingly die for him?

I must say that I really enjoyed reading this story; the characters were well-developed for the length of the story, and were quite likable for vampires. I actually wanted to read this story much earlier then I did. I downloaded a free copy of this ebook from Amazon during Ms. Griffith's four-day sale in February. I never expected that it would take me just under a month to read such a short story - lol!! I would give this story an A!

A! - (90-95%) 

May you read well and often

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Gordon A. Kessler - Jezebel: A Horror Thriller Novel

9. Jezebel: A Horror Thriller Novel by Gordon A. Kessler (2001)
Length: 388 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 11 January 2015
Finished: 4 March 2015
Where did it come from? From Amazon
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 26 July 2012
Why do I have it? I like horror and Gordon A. Kessler is a new author for me.

During the time typically referred to as the 'dog days' of summer, Animal Control Director Tony Parker and his assistant, the beautiful and seductive Sarah Hill, witness the strangest phenomenon they have ever seen in their careers. For some inexplicable reason, large dogs are turning on their owners and savagely attacking them. And it seems that with each attack, Tony Parker is being taunted by an unseen madman. He must discover a reason for all this insanity, and fast, because these murderous attacks have to stop.

Meanwhile, Jezebel, a gigantic black Great Dane has killed her master and is on the loose, terrorizing the city and stalking Tony and his family. So, it falls to Tony and Sarah to unravel this mystery and somehow put an end to all this carnage. Jezebel's reign of terror must be stopped at all costs; in fact, it has become imperative.

Because, you see, there is one other complication: Tony seems to have come down with an annoying little virus. No, it's not one of those irritating summer colds. It means certain death. Sleep lightly tonight, America, if you can...Jezebel is on the loose! She's a murderess, huge and black as a Hell-bound night, so you had better beware...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book - it was well-written and the plot was well-developed and fast-paced. The characters were sympathetically drawn and I really felt for them in their various troubled situations. I must say that even though they were vicious, bloodthirsty killers, I couldn't help feeling tremendously sorry for the dogs.

I just kept remembering back to watching the movie Cujo when I was about thirteen. Despite all the horrible mauling Cujo did, I still felt horribly sorry for the dog on some level. I would give this book a definite A! I'll certainly keep my eyes open for more books by Gordon A. Kessler to put on my Wish List.

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often