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, January 31, 2010

Don't Waste Your Time

Lakeshore Chronicles, Book 5
Susan Wiggs
Mira (2009)
Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Rated 3 stars of 5 possible

Fireside is a sweet, sticky, formulaic romance with a little more plot than most books of this type, but still not my cup of tea. 5th in a series, yet stands alone too. Not really bad (the author does a good job with grammar, spelling, and punctuation), but not good enough to make me want to look for the previous four books, nor any that may come after... or anything else by this author.

Character development is far too slow and tentative in this book, almost experimental, or so it seems. Too much description, too little action, and too little dialogue to the story for it to be really good. Fully half of the book was past before I sensed any realistc characteristics to the people involved in this story... and then I could not bring myself to care overly much for any of them.  Why'd I finish reading this if I don't like it?  I'm clueless about that myself... it surely wasn't worth wasting my time.

Recommended to those who like sweet and sticky, mostly plotless and formulaic romance novels; anyone else should steer clear of this... This review has been simultaneously posted on Amazon.com, Dragonviews and Library Thing.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Nice Blend of History and Fiction

Fever 1793
Laurie Halse Anderson
Aladdin Paperbacks (March 2002),
Paperback, 265 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

The Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793 and its aftermath have been historically documented, providing much factual information on which this novel is based. Other reviewers have done a good job summarizing the story, so I won't repeat their efforts here.  Instead, I'll just tell you why I think you should read the book.

Following the novel is an 8 page appendix revealing that many of the events portrayed in the novel actually did happen and that some of the characters were based on real historical persons. While I like seeing such a feature in books that are based on actual events, a bibliography of source material used would also have been a nice feature for a book like this one.

The nearly seamless blending of historical fact with fiction, and her believable, historically consistent characters that help make Laurie Halse Anderson's novel a page turner; one of the best reasons for reading it would be pure enjoyment. The characters are well-developed and the writing exceptionally good. The story is told from start to finish in about 240 pages and moves forward at a nice pace, so it's not overly long and certainly not boring either, with the rich historical content on which the novel is based.

I recommend this novel to readers age 14 and up who are interested in historical events told through fiction. While written specifically with young adult females in mind, this book should appeal to all ages and both genders through it's strong characters and well-defined story.  This review has been simultaneously posted on Dragonviews and Library Thing.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Outstanding Historical Fiction

By Diana Gabaldon
Dell (1994)
Mass Market, 1072 pages
Rated 5 stars of 5 possible

Voyager, the third novel in the marvelous Outlander series, takes up the tale of Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall where Dragonfly in Amber left off, opening right after the battle of Culloden. Jamie had sent Claire back through the stones to her own time just prior to the battle - to protect her and their unborn child.  He had meant to die in battle, yet he has unaccountably survived.

The author has done extensive research and taken care to incorporate authentic detail into these novels, making them more believable and that much more enjoyable. One look at the rating for the Outlander series will tell you I'm hooked.  I doubt I have ever given three consecutive novels in a series this consistently high of a rating... yet Outlander and it's sequels definitely deserve the ratings they've gotten from me.

I highly recommend the entire series. Each novel is - somewhat - stand alone, making a complete story on it's own. Still, I recommend starting with Outlander and read them in order.  The larger story will make better sense that way.

This review is simultaneously published on Dragonviews, and LibraryThing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Enjoyable Without Being Understood

Utmost Magpie
Richard Marsh
Mazgeen Press, (2009)
E-book, 54 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

Utmost Magpie
is a story about magpies who, led by their captain, deliver messages to people. The messages foretell - by the number of magpies seen - what may happen to the people... The events foretold by the magpies are prophetic, but not entirely unavoidable.

I suspect the story is heavily laden with symbolism that I haven't stopped to analyze in it's entirety. The satire goes right over my head too... or at least, mostly it does. Despite that, I can still see the magpies as politicians and their messages as the rhetoric delivered by politicians in an attempt to convince their colleagues to vote for certain measures when the political body is in session.

On another level, Utmost Magpie is an entirely enjoyable fantasy tale about magpies and the "work" they do. Utmost Magpie can be read as "light and fluffy" or studied in depth.  I can recommend this book, even to those who don't normally read satire.

This review has been simultaneously published on Amazon.com, Dragonviews, and LibraryThing.  Utmost Magpie was given to me free in exchange for this review.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mysterious Visitor

Patterns in the Sand: A Seaside Knitters Mystery
By Sally Goldenbaum
New American Library (2009)
Hardcover, 304 pages
Rated 4 Stars of 5 Possible

Patterns in the Sand takes place in Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, one of those sleepy little seaside towns where everybody knows everybody else, and they also know who likes or does not like whom. Shortly before all the excitement begins, Willow Adams arrives in town and is introduced to the community in an unconventional manner... she's discovered by the police, fast asleep in the display window of Izzy Chambers's Seaside Knitting Studio...

Like a ball of Izzy's yarn, this story unravels bit by bit.  The suspense is delightful as just enough detail is revealed to keep the reader interested and on the edge of her seat while the story develops, and the plot unwinds. Patterns in the Sand is the second book of the new Seaside Knitters Mystery series.

I recommend this novel with no reservations at all to mystery readers age 14 and up... even if you didn't read the first novel in the series, you could enjoy this one, as it stands alone well.

This review is simultaneously published on Dragonviews and LibraryThing, and I reserve the right to publish it elsewhere as the mood takes me.