Thursday, March 30, 2017

Therese Gilardi - Narvla's Celtic New Year

12. Narvla's Celtic New Year by Therese Gilardi (2014)
Length: 275 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 10 March 2017
Finished: 30 March 2017
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Therese Gilardi for sending me a copy of this book for me to read from Netgalley.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 10 February 2015 as an ebook; Since 10 May 2015 as a physical book
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed Matching Wits With Venus by this author in the past.

Narvla believes that she has everything going for her back home in Connecticut. Her life has always been as precisely choreographed as one of the routines that has made her a national step-dancing champion. Actually, Narvla's life is as close to perfection as it gets; and she wouldn't have it any other way. She has a loyal best friend named Gabby, a devoted boyfriend named Derek, and a definite lock on admission to her dream college - the University of Notre Dame.

Everything is perfect - until her mother is named United States Ambassador to Ireland, and then Narvla's life slowly begins to unravel. First her father has to stay in Connecticut for work, so just she and her mother move to Dublin. Then she receives a disturbing picture of Derek and Gabby; from someone who wants to remain anonymous. Next she struggles to qualify for the Irish elite step-dancing squad, and her grades plummet.

Narvla isn't quite sure if her life could possibly get much worse than it has already; and then she meets Colin McPherson. Known on the local music scene as Dublin Boy, he presents perhaps the biggest obstacle in Narvla's young life. While Colin loves to play the guitar, he disdains academics and has an obvious distrust of Americans - a feeling that borders on downright animosity. So, Narvla is utterly devastated when she is unexpectedly paired with Dublin Boy for the most important semester of her life.

Although she is genuinely upset with this particular situation, she knows that she can't really do anything much to change it. However, Narvla is truly alarmed by her burgeoning attraction to Dublin Boy. In reality after all, Dublin Boy is most definitely not her type: he has a reputation for being a 'lady's man'; he obviously has no desire to focus on his studies; and of course, there is his deep resentment of Americans. Yet Narvla can't seem to help her growing feelings for him...

So as the Celtic New Year unfolds for her, Narvla slowly begins to discover the true charm of embracing the unexpected. She will come to understand that not everything in life can be organized quite so perfectly as one of her dance routines. Soon she will learn that not everything in life should go as planned, and that she can abandon her lifelong need for control in every single aspect of her future.

This book has actually been on my TBR pile for a little over two years and I have just gotten around to reading it. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. In my opinion, this was a fast-paced and intriguing story. I have always enjoyed reading books about Ireland and Irish culture and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future. I would give the book a definite A!

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

Friday, March 17, 2017

May You All Have a Blessed St. Patrick's Day!


We hope that all of our lovely family and dear friends - both in real life as well as online - have a safe and holy St. Patrick's day. May you all have a wonderfully peaceful celebration full of fun, food, and happiness! ☘️☘️☘️🇮🇪

May you read well and often

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tia Nevitt - The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf

11. The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf by Tia Nevitt (2013)
The Accidental Enchantments Series Book 2
Length: 114 pages 
Genre: Short Story 
Started: 12 March 2017
Finished: 15 March 2017
Where did it come from? From Apple I-Books 
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 19 September 2016
Why do I have it? I like short stories and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

Prince Richard of Schwarzberg is a cursed man. Having initially accepted willing guardianship of the magic mirror that has been in his family for generations, Richard soon finds himself enslaved to both the mirror and to the whims of the cunning enchantress queen of Weissland. Twice a day for almost a decade - whenever the Lady Sybelle calls upon the spirit of the mirror - Richard is compelled to answer her three questions truthfully. Determined to discover a way to free himself from the Lady Sybelle's thrall - and desperate to protect other innocents from her evil sorcery - Richard leaves his father's realm and soon becomes 'The Lost Prince of Schwarzberg'.

All her life Gretchen has been teased for being small. Although she has learned to ignore the various cruelties of the townspeople - the taunts and comments, the pointing and outright stares - she secretly wishes that she could find a place to call her own. When she hears a minstrel's tale of a hidden farm populated by little people such as herself, Gretchen is cautiously optimistic. Could there possibly be a place out in the world where she would be seen as a person and not just as an oddity?

Determined to find this wonderful place, Gretchen sets out on her journey - and is eventually welcomed into their home by the mostly male inhabitants. The Klein family: Frau Marta, her husband Herr Dieter, and their sixteen-year-old son; and their four farmhands: Gunther, Klaus, Rudolph and Lars all act most appropriately towards Gretchen and are happy to meet her. Lars in particular woos her with his gentle and kindhearted nature and his quiet strength.

Delighted to have finally found acceptance among people who look like her, Gretchen soon settles into a peaceful routine at the farm. However, danger looms on the horizon when Gretchen meets a troubled young woman one morning, while on her way to market. After hearing the young lady's desperate story, she offers the runaway princess - Angelika of Weissland - shelter at the Little Farm.

Although Ange is safe for a few weeks, she soon feels compelled to return to her stepmother's castle. Determined to protect her late father's subjects from Lady Sybelle's cruelty, she resolves to provide as much assistance as she can in secret - in the guise of 'The Tattered Princess'. Wandering somewhere nearby, Richard initially finds himself admiring Ange's forthright manner and compassionate nature. However, as his feelings grow stronger, Richard soon finds himself falling in love with the beautiful princess.

When he is eventually compelled to tell the queen that she is no longer the fairest one of the realm, she is enraged by Richard's revelation. She vows to find Princess Angelika and destroy her, as well as anyone who might try to help the young woman. It soon becomes apparent that if either Gretchen or Richard are to have their own happily ever afters, they must team up to break the mirror's spell before the queen kills them all...

I have always enjoyed reading fairytale retellings, and this one was just as entertaining. I was intrigued by the plot of this story and avidly wanted to know how it would develop. I would give this novella a definite A! and look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Tia Nevitt - The Sevenfold Spell

Reread. The Sevenfold Spell by Tia Nevitt (2010)
The Accidental Enchantments Series Book 1
Length: 90 pages 
Genre: Short Story
Originally Read: 28 December 2010
Reread Finished: 12 March 2017
Where did it come from? Originally I downloaded a copy of this book from Netgalley in August of 2010. I also acquired another copy of this book from Apple I-Books in September of 2016.

So back in August of 2010 - August 17th, to be exact - I downloaded a copy of this book from Netgalley. I don't know why, but I finally got around to reading it for the first time approximately four months later, in December of 2010. Actually, it only took me two days to finish reading this book - from December 26th, to December 28th, 2010.

Although I deleted the first copy of the book right after I read it, I had always wanted to be able to reread the story again at some point. When I received an Apple gift card for my birthday in June, I made sure to acquire a second copy of this book as soon as I possibly could. So I bought my second copy from Apple I-Books on September 19th, 2016 and my reread took place over two days in March of 2017 - from March 10th, to March 12th, 2017.

May you read well and often

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tia Nevitt - Wish by a Hazel Tree

Reread. Wish by a Hazel Tree by Tia Nevitt (2011)
The Accidental Enchantments Prequels Series Book 1
Length: 17 pages
Genre: Short Story
Originally Read: 7 February 2013
Reread Finished: 10 March 2017
Where did it come from? Originally I downloaded a copy of this book as a free read from Tia Nevitt's website in January of 2013. Although I realize that the book has since been deleted from Ms. Nevitt's website, I was able to find the link again through the internet archive website The Wayback Machine in March of 2017.

So back on January 18th, 2013, I downloaded this novella as a free read from Tia Nevitt's website. I actually read it approximately a month later - on February 7th, 2013 - and thoroughly enjoyed my first reading of the book. I always enjoy reading fairy tale retellings, and this one one was no different for me.

What caused me to download another copy of this novella to read again was the fact that I had recently acquired the first two novellas in Ms. Nevitt's Accidental Enchantments Series. Alright, so by 'recently', I mean back in September of 2016 - September 19th, 2016 to be exact - which is relatively recent for me. I actually acquired both ebooks from Apple I-Books after I received a gift card for Apple for my birthday. I reread this novella on March 10th, 2016 and am looking forward to reading more of Ms. Nevitt's work some time in the very near future.

May you read well and often

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Amy Hearst - The Gladiator's Goddess

8. The Gladiator's Goddess by Amy Hearst (2014)
The Gladiators' Gifts Series Book 2
Length: 83 pages
Genre: Short Story
Started: 7 March 2017
Finished: 8 March 2017
Where did it come from? From Apple I-Books
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 19 September 2016
Why do I have it? I like short stories and have read and enjoyed The Gladiator's Girl by the same author in the past.

Nardine has been a slave ever since her mother sold her at the age of eleven. Her master runs a school for gladiators in ancient Rome known as a ludus. Although she occasionally serves the master and his family whenever they travel to gladiatorial events; Nardine primarily divides her duties between the kitchens and the infirmary as both a cook and a physician's assistant.

She had always counseled her friend Celeste to be extremely careful about falling in love with a gladiator, as that sort of relationship could only lead to heartbreak in the future. Nardine knows this feeling from personal experience as she has lost her heart exactly twice in her lifetime - first to a gladiator named Matthias, then to another one called Gaius - and she has inevitably lost both men to the horrors of the arena. While losing Matthias was certainly heart-wrenching, Nardine is utterly devastated by the sudden death of Gaius.

Nardine privately believes that she has long been unlucky in love, so she truly cannot fault her mistress Cornelia for believing that she is actually cursed. However, despite suffering through such tremendous grief, Nardine also begins to believe that she has ultimately been blessed as well: she is finally pregnant. Yet a life of bondage is definitely no future for a child, so Nardine resolves that escape is the only viable option, no matter what the punishment will be if she fails.

Fleeing from his sorrowful past, Abedi has long wanted to be a gladiator. Now he is living his dream, and at one of the most prestigious schools in all of Rome. Yet despite relying on his strength, bravery and quickness while fighting in the arena, Abedi also cannot deny that there is always the possibility that he will be injured or worse.

Ultimately, Abedi will be tested to the very limits of his abilities and endurance. However, after meeting the beautiful Nardine working in the infirmary - the answer to his prayers - he will find the challenges that he has faced in the arena are only the beginning. Indeed, it is the promise of finally having a family of his own, an enduring love, and the prospect of freedom that will sustain Abedi throughout his time in the arena.

Actually, this book is quite a bit longer than the first book in the series. Although having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story as well. As I have said before, I usually enjoy reading anything having to do with ancient Greece and Rome, and it was intriguing to read more stories based in this particular historical period. In my opinion, this was a fast-paced and well-developed story despite its relatively short length and I would certainly give this novella an A!

 A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Amy Hearst - The Gladiator's Girl

Reread. The Gladiator's Girl by Amy Hearst (2013)
(Revised Author's Edition 2014)
The Gladiators' Gifts Series Book 1
Length: 48 pages
Genre: Short Story 
Originally Read: 7 January 2015
Reread Finished: 5 March 2017
Where did it come from? Originally I downloaded a copy of this book for free from Amazon in November of 2013. I also acquired another copy of this book from Apple I-Books in September of 2016.

So, back on January 7th, 2015, I read this book for the first time. I had actually acquired a free download of it from Amazon on November 15th, 2013. While I don't understand why it took me so long to read the book, I eventually did and then deleted the ebook afterwards.

I acquired another copy of this book from Apple I-Books on September 19th, 2016. Actually, I had wanted to reread this book for quite some time, and was happy to finally do so in March of 2017 - from March 4th, to March 5th! My reread of the story only took a day, but despite the main characters names being changed and the book getting a totally redesigned cover, the story is exactly as I remember it.

May you read well and often

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Sapphire Phelan - To Teach an Ancient God

Reread. To Teach an Ancient God by Sapphire Phelan (2008)
Length: 21 pages
Genre: Short Story
Originally Read: 30 August 2010
Reread Finished: 2 March 2017
Where did it come from? Originally I received a copy of this book to read from Sapphire Phelan. Then, back in October of 2016 I downloaded another copy for free from All Romance Ebooks.

So, back on August 1st, 2010, Ms. Phelan was kind enough to send me a copy of this book to read. Since I usually enjoy reading anything having to do with Greek mythology, I was excited to read this book. Finally, I was able to read it on August 30th, 2010 and then I deleted the ebook.

I downloaded another copy for myself on October 9th, 2016 and reread the book on March 2nd, 2017. I'm just glad that I got a second chance to read this story before the above website went out of business. Actually, it only took me about ten minutes to read this book.

May you read well and often

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Reading Wrap-up For February 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 February 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, Netgalley 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 :))
- Collision: The Battle For Darracia by Michael Phillip Cash
- Sweet Lake: A Novel by Christine Nolfi

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! :))

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))
- Webster's New World Pocket French Dictionary by Chambers Harrap Publishers
- Sweet Lake: A Novel by Christine Nolfi

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: 482
Grade Range: A+!

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