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, February 28, 2010

Hidden Treasures

Lethal Legacy
Linda Fairstein
Doubleday (2009)
Hardcover, 384 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

Rare books, valuable maps, the New York Public Library, and a cast of eccentric characters kept my interest despite the formulaic nature of this entertaining mystery. District Attorney, Alexandra Cooper, investigating two murders, crosses paths with thieves determined to double-cross each other to end up with a valuable map which was printed in 12 sections. The different sections of the map are not conveniently all in one spot, however.  To complicate matters, there's not one living person who knows where all 12 pieces of the map were hidden.

Killer suspense and a fast-moving plot kept this mystery/thriller both interesting and entertaining right from the start to the very end. The characters were well-developed enough that they came alive for me during the time I was reading this book, and when I finished, I felt like I was leaving old friends behind as I closed the book for the last time. My very favorite aspect of this novel is how the threads of the mystery were inter-woven with the information about rare and valuable books and maps.

Recommended for mystery-lovers of all ages from 16 and up.  This review has been simultaneously published on Dragonviews and LibraryThing.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thought Provoking

By Kathy Bell
Northern Sanctum (2009)
First Canadian Digital Edition, PDF format, 358 pages
Rated 5 stars of 5 possible.

40 year-old Adya, mother of 6, is involved in a traffic accident on November 11, 2011. Hours later, she awakes in a hospital bed asking for her daughter. When she is fully awake, Adya discovers that she has regressed into her own younger self. She is 14 years old and single.

There's surprise after surprise as Adya learns to cope with the way things are now and attempts to discover the reason she is here and learn how to cope with a group of other regressees who seem to be hostile and resentful toward Adya. How does Adya cope with the new, alternate reality she has awoken into...? Naturally, Adya is full of questions, and this first novel in a new series answers some of them.

While alternate realities are nothing new, Kathy Bell takes the old story-line, twisting and turning it in new and exciting ways. Regression grabs the reader and does not let go, staying in one's thoughts even after finishing the last page. Regression is not a "quick and fluffy" read, but is full of thought-provoking  concepts.  This is the kind of novel I look for and eagerly await.  I'll be interested in the remaining books to the series.

Recommended to readers age 16 and up who want something more than a quick and easy read.  This review has been simultaneously posted on Dragonviews and Library Thing. I received the First Canadian Digital edition free from the publisher via the LibraryThing Member Giveaway program in exchange for this review, however I like this book enough to purchase a signed copy of the paper back edition from Northern Sanctum Press.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Survival in the New World

Drums of Autumn
Diana Gabaldon
Seal Books (1997),
Mass Market Paperback, 1088 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

In this fourth installment of the Outlander series, Jamie and Claire's daughter, Brianna makes the trip through time and travels from Scotland to America in order to find them, thinking to prevent their deaths by fire. When Brianna finds herself in her father's century, the date on the newspaper clipping she found is still is 6 years in the future... so there's time, but will Brianna be able to make her parents believe the clipping?

The action in the story slows down about mid-way through and drags a bit... not quite as good as the first three novels, but still well worth reading for the continuity. Fortunately, this book picks up again, so only about the middle 1/4 to 1/3 of the book drags compared to the earlier books in the series.

If you haven't read the first three books in the saga, this isn't the place to start, as the story resumes in this book shortly after the end of the third novel; starting at this point would be confusing to many readers. The Outlander saga is one large story, carved into seven more managable parts, which should be read in order.

Book 1: Outlander
Book 2: Dragonfly in Amber
Book 3: Voyager

This review has been simultaneously posted on Dragonviews and Library Thing.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Norwegian "Dirty Harry"

Jo Nesbø
Harper (2009)
Hardcover, 480 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible.

Hardcore mystery readers won't want to pass up this new novel by Jo Nesbø, in which the lead character is suspected of killing a former girlfriend.  The evidence, while circumstancial, is damning.  Harry Hole was the last person who saw Anna Bethsen alive... but that's not all, it's just the beginning. So, as the front cover of this novel says, "How do you catch a killer when you're the number one suspect?" Read Nemesis to find out.  I promise you won't be sorry.

Nemesis is a page-turner, with interlocking sub-plots tied together by the involvement of not just Harry, but a cast of characters you'll either love or love to hate. There's also a hint of corruption in the law enforcement of Oslo, Norway.  I've got to say that, while most plot strands are neatly wrapped up, there exists, in the end, an opening for the next novel.

Some readers find the "damaged hero" model has been over-worked, yet this author takes that oldish plot stand-by and does a good job with it. As Harry Hole unravels the mystery, I kept thinking "...every dirty job..." Those of you familiar with the Clint Eastwood "Dirty Harry" character, who starred in several films, will know what I'm talking about. Seems to me like Harry Hole is the Norwegian answer to Dirty Harry.

This review has been simultaneously posted on Amazon.com, Dragonviews and Library Thing.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Limited Interest

The Piano Teacher
Janice Y. K. Lee
Penguin (2009)
Paperback, 352 pages
Rated 2 stars of 5 possible.

The Piano Teacher
is written in a present tense, third person point of view that I find disturbing... it's as if someone is secretly watching everything that happens without anyone knowing.  One can almost hear the story being narrated in a whisper.  For unknown or unstated reasons, The Piano Teacher flip-flops between decades - 1940's and 1950's. As a reader, I find this unexplained flipping between decades to be a major distraction.

Claire Pendleton, the charater referred to in the title, seems to have actually very little to do with the story, yet she should be the main character, or the book should have been given a different title. The story seems to be more about Will Truesdale and Trudy Liang and what happened to them during World War II than about Claire. As it is, there's nothing in the book for me to recommend it to anyone.

Of those that are fully developed, none are likable... not even Claire Pendleton, The Piano Teacher, whom, at best, one can pity. In fact, I am only giving this book two stars because the 1950's portion is interesting.  Not so the majority of the book, which takes place approximately a decade earlier. If you're looking for something interesting to read, this probably isn't it.  Parts of it are interesting because of the hisotrical material on Hong Kong... but the characters are either the kind you love to hate or rather flat and uninteresting.

Not recommended.  This review has been simultaneously posted on Amazon.com, Dragonviews and Library Thing.