About This Blog

This blog was started as a place to post book reviews. The books reviewed here will be mixed. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, General Fiction, NonFiction and more. Both positve and negative reviews will be posted, as well as reviews for books written for all ages and all reading levels.

Many of the books reviewed here are ones that I have purchased for my own reading pleasure. Some, I receive free in exchange for reviews. Beginning in December, 2009 you will know which are the free ones if you read the final paragraph of my reviews.

Also of note: I choose what I will read, attempting to avoid the books on which I would end up writing a negative review... but I have been known to make mistakes. Thus you see some one and two star reviews here. Since I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, I only write them if the review was promised, or if the book was so exceedingly bad, I just had to say so. Regardless of the percentage of positive to negative reviews on this blog, I give my honest opinion each and every time, and have never received financial compensation for posting my reviews.

Note that, except for fair use portions quoted from some of the books reviewed, all copyright in the content of the reviews belongs to Lady Dragoness.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Escape From Reality

Ender's Game
by Orson Scott Card
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Tor Books 1985
Rating: 5 stars of 5 possible

Ender's Game
was first published in August 1977 as a novelette in Analog magazine. Card later expanded that short story into a full-length book, which is now his best known novel. Ender's Game is a vision of the future in which gifted children are used to fight in an adult war against alien invaders. It will challenge your assumptions of reality.

While written with YA readers in mind, Ender's Game can be enjoyed by readers of any age from 12 on up. The book is clearly Science Fiction yet is not so technical that it can't be understood easily. There's enough room to imgaine yourself in Ender's world - which makes this a wonderful escape from the pressures of everyday life. At the end of the story, most readers are hungry for more, which the author has provided. This was the first but is most definitely not the last novel starring Ender and his friends.

If you like Science Fiction, this is clearly a book you should read.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

For Your Writer's Muse

The Writer's Retreat Kit:
A Guide for Creative Exploration and Personal Expression
By Judy Reeves
Publisher: New World Library; Boxed edition (April 10, 2005)
Paperback: 144 pages/Card Deck: 25 cards
Rating: 4 stars of 5 possible.

Despite its resemblance to The Creative Writer's Kit, this kit's contents are quite different. The book has only a few pages in the back for notes rather than a significant portion of pages devoted to writing practice; however, it contains a wealth of information on creating and managing a writer's retreat based on one of twenty themes and several possibilities within each theme.

The bulk of the cards - 20 of them - contain a total of over 400 new and powerful writing prompts, (something here for every writer) while a handful of the cards provide suggestions for entering, managing and leaving your retreat. Each retreat section contains exercises and tips to get writers and artists started and keep them going.

This kit makes the perfect gift for a would-be or practicing writer...or a great treat for yourself. I recommend it for any writer - even when you don't know what you want to write about. There is sure to be something in this kit to trigger your muse, no matter what style of writing you prefer. Can be used alone or in conjunction with other books or kits featuring work by Judy Reeves.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vampire Hunters

Once Bitten, Twice Shy
By Jennifer Rardin
Publisher: Orbit (October, 2007)
Paperback: 312 pages
Rating: 5 stars of 5 possible

Action, adventure, romance and suspense are all tucked neatly into one package that's just the beginning of a not-to-be-missed series featuring Jaz Parks; a sometimes sassy, sometimes witty gal who works for the CIA. She's got an unusual talent - sensing the presence of vampires. This talent makes her the highly desired partner of a most unusual assassin. I'll let Jaz tell you about him.

"My boss is Vayl, born in Romania in 1744. Died there too, at the hand of his vampire wife, Liliana. But that's ancient history. For the moment Vayl works for the C.I.A. doing what he does best--assassination. And I help. You could say I'm an Assistant Assassin. But then I'd have to kick your..." (Rardin, 2007)

Written in a lively, friendly style, this fast-paced novel is a gripper and a page-turner. The savvy reader will soon catch on that Jaz is hiding her vulnerablity behind that tough-as-nails exterior personna she displays to the world around her and doesn't want to admit that she's human... or is she? Hints are dropped that something which happened in this gal's past might have changed her.

Romances aren't usually my thing but the sub-category of paranormals is wide open, uncharted reading territory for me. I have a favorable impression though from reading this sample offering, which I recommend to those 16 and up seeking something different than the usual romantic suspense novel.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Beautifully Haunting

For One More Day
By Mitch Albom
Publisher: Hyperion (September 26, 2006)
Hardcover: 208 pages
Rating: 4 stars of 5 possible

For One More Day is a beautiful, haunting novel about the family we love and the chances we miss. It is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that lasts a lifetime and beyond. The novel explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one?

Alright. I will admit For One More Day isn't the type of novel I would be likely to purchase for myself. This was one of my Christmas gifts in 2007. I decided to give it a fair chance, since one can always stop reading if the book isn't to his or her taste. Surprise! I was hooked from the first page, and after a chapter or two, putting it aside for sleep was difficult, not picking it up again was never an option... I HAD to find out what happened.

The novel is slim, but provides a mountain of food for thought. It brings one to a new appreciation of his or her own family members along with a reminder not to take anyone for granted. Unlike Charles "Chick" Benetto (the story's main character), we only get one life and one chance to appreciate those we love, though we may wish otherwise. I know I do.

The author brings out all the emotional impact and the turmoil that the main character feels, making the reader also feel as if he or she were that character or someone closely related. Recommended reading for those 18 and up who may be looking for something more than a quick and easy read. This book deserves thought and consideration of the issues it addresses.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Magical Romance

A Distant Magic
By Mary Jo Putney
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (July 17, 2007)
Rating: 3 stars of 5 possible

Jean Macrae’s family is one of the most prominent clans of Guardians, humans whose magical powers come from nature, but Jean considers her skills modest at best. She has never been able to summon the intense, earth-altering ability that has marked the most talented Guardians, and she is content without the adventure that such skill brings . . . until the day she is confronted by a handsome stranger whose magic imprisons her on his pirate ship.

This is a blend of fantasy and romance, but not quite my cup of tea. The novel is slow-paced and seems to drag on forever before it gets to the conclusion. Perhaps it would have been better if I read the previous two books prior to beginning this one, but then again, perhaps not. What comes before doesn't always boost a weak ending.

While parts of the story made me want to continue reading through to the end, I also found parts of the story almost too slow-paced for my tastes. Fortunately the good parts were spread about in just the right places... All-in-all, I'd say this trilogy would probably be better off as a single novel, but condensed somewhat from the length of the three individual books.

Recommended: Adults 18 and up, but only if you like slow-reading romances. There's not nearly enough fantasy here for die-hard fantasy fans like me.