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 October 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 twenty-seventh 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 Amazon.com 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.

ENTER TO WIN!


  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.”


Sacrificed?


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

Friday, November 11, 2016

Introducing The Dinosaur Lake Series by Kathryn Meyer Griffith!

I'm delighted to tell you all that the first book in Kathryn Meyer Griffith's thrilling Dinosaur Lake Series - Dinosaur Lake - is currently free to download from Amazon. Also, with the recent publication of the fourth and final installment of the Dinosaur Lake Series - Dinosaur Lake IV: Dinosaur Wars - back in September, Ms. Griffith has one teeny, tiny, little favor to ask of you all. If you'd be kind enough to write a brief but honest review of the books in the series for her on Amazon, she would be absolutely delighted. Just email Ms. Griffith at rdgriff@htc.net, and she'll be happy to send you a complimentary copy of any of the books to read.

Dinosaur Lake by Kathryn Meyer Griffith is the first book in her Dinosaur Lake Series, and I had the pleasure of reading Book 1 way back in March of 2014! Here is my review. You can also download the other two books in the series - Check 'em out! ;)

Meet Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Since childhood I’ve been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. But I’d already begun writing novels at 21, over forty-two years ago now, and have had twenty (ten romantic horror, two horror novels, two romantic SF horror, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel, one historical romance and three murder mysteries) previous novels, two novellas and twelve short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books/Eternal Press; and I’ve self-published my last five novels with Amazon Kindle Direct and my dinosaur novels are my best-sellers.

I’ve been married to Russell for thirty-six years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have three quirky cats, ghost cat Sasha and Cleo, and live cat Sasha (Too), and the five of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes.

2012 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS *FINALIST* for my horror novel The Last Vampire - Revised Author’s Edition ~ 2014 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS *FINALIST* for my thriller novel Dinosaur Lake.

Connect and Socialize with Kathryn!



Dinosaur Lake by Kathryn Meyer Griffith (2012)
Length: 451 pages
Purchase your copy from Amazon and Audible!

Dinosaur Lake Blurb:

Ex-cop Henry Shore has been Chief Park Ranger at Crater Lake National Park for eight years and he likes his park and his life the way it's been. Safe. Tranquil. Predictable. But he's about to be tested in so many ways. First the earthquakes begin, people begin to go missing, then there's some mysterious water creature that's taken up residence in the caves below Crater Lake and it's not only growing in size, it's aggressive and cunning and very hungry.

And it's decided it likes human beings. To eat.

And it can come up onto land.

So Henry, with the help of his wife, Ann; a young paleontologist named Justin; and a band of brave men, must not only protect his park and his people from the monster but somehow find where it lives and destroy it before it can kill again.

Now Dinosaur Lake by Kathryn Meyer Griffith is a 2014 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS *FINALIST* in their Suspense/Thriller category.


Dinosaur Lake II: Dinosaurs Arising by Kathryn Meyer Griffith (2014)
Length: 248 pages
Purchase your copy from Amazon and Audible!

Dinosaur Lake II: Dinosaurs Arising Blurb:

Prehistoric creatures have again invaded Crater Lake National Park…and this time there’s more than one.

Henry Shore has been Chief Park Ranger at Crater Lake National Park for thirteen years now and thought the days when he’d had to fight a rogue dinosaur that lived in the caves below the lake were long over.

Until one of his park rangers, to save a visitor’s life, is in a deadly struggle out in the woods with a new breed of dinosaur worse than the last one. It’s as big as a man, but this one is a young one. And growing.

Then more of the creatures begin to show up everywhere, threatening people and destroying the tranquility and safety of his beloved park.

A tourist trolley filled with fifteen people is snatched up off the crater’s rim by another version of the younger one…but this one has grown into a giant with fangs, claws and a deadly tail. And this one has wings. Ugly Gargoyles, Henry calls them. For this one isn’t alone. They’re flying beyond the park’s boundaries into the neighboring towns.

So Henry, with the help of his son-in-law, a paleontologist named Justin, and a band of brave park rangers, and a few good soldiers, must not only protect his park and his people from monsters once more but find their lair and destroy it and them before the creatures kill again.


Dinosaur Lake III: Infestation by Kathryn Meyer Griffith (2014)
Length: 285 pages
Purchase your copy from Amazon!

Dinosaur Lake III: Infestation Blurb:

Chief Park Ranger Henry Shore has dealt with and fought real live dinosaurs at his beloved Crater Lake National Park for over six years. With the help of his rangers, a few brave FBI friends and army soldiers he’d been victorious over a prehistoric lake creature and years later some particularly fiendish, and clever, specimens of the flying variety. He and his newspaper publisher wife, Ann, thought their park was finally rid of the monsters and they could reclaim their tranquil life in a place they cherished.

Not so. For suddenly across the park new and even more malevolent mutant species of dinosaur begin to appear and create havoc, attacking the park’s visitors and threatening its peace. And this time the primeval scourge isn’t confined to just their park. The creatures have moved into the nearby towns, across the western United States and up into Canada.

They are so much more aggressive, smarter and hungrier than any that have come before and the infestation is spreading further and faster than Henry and Ann can even imagine. This time there’s no easy way to defeat the dinosaurs. There’s too many of them and they’re too devious. This time it’s full out war and the victor will someday claim Earth.


Dinosaur Lake IV: Dinosaur Wars by Kathryn Meyer Griffith (2016)
Length: 362 pages
Purchase your copy from Amazon!

Dinosaur Lake IV: Dinosaur Wars Blurb:

For seven long years Chief Park Ranger Henry Shore has been dealing with and fighting anachronistic dinosaurs in his beloved Crater Lake National Park and in the surrounding town of Klamath Falls. It began with one lone leviathan, the one he tongue-in-cheek called Godzilla. Henry and his band of heroes defeated it but others followed: the flying varieties he named gargoyles, the mutant T-Rexes and roaming velociraptors that were so much smarter than their ancient ancestors. 

He, his rangers and the National Guard soldiers, fought all of them, but still the dinosaurs, cunningly destructive and blood-thirsty, kept coming. No one knew where they came from or what the future would now hold for a besieged humanity, they only knew the monsters were spreading like a voracious wildfire and had to be stopped before they ravaged the world. Eventually, he and his wife, Ann, their family and friends, retreated into a fortified ranger headquarters where they continued to battle the proliferating dinosaurs. 

Will Henry’s son-in-law, Doctor Justin Maltin, a brilliant paleontologist, find a way to exterminate the creatures and save them...save the world? And, more importantly, would he be able to do it in time? Dinosaur Lake IV Dinosaur Wars is the fourth and final book of the Dinosaur Lake Series.

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 Paperback Swap, authors, All Romance Ebooks and Amazon.

Let me try to break down the influx for you:

Rereads
- Schism: The Battle For Darracia 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
- I, Angus by Mike Hartner
- A Quiver of Character by Mike Hartner
- To Teach an Ancient God by Sapphire Phelan
- One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America's First Witch Hanging by Beth M. Caruso
- Unexpected Prisoner: Memoir of a Vietnam POW by Robert Wideman and Cara Lopez Lee

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