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.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Following The Rules

House Rules
By Jodi Picoult
Atria (2010)
Hardcover, 544 pages
Rated 4 Stars of 5 possible

The kaleidoscopic viewpoint used in House Rules gives the story an interesting perspective... each of the main character tells his/her part of each chapter in alternating turns, including the autistic young man who has been accused of murder. It is a pretty interesting look into Autisim spectrum disorders in general and, specifically, Asperger's syndrome.  Jacob Hunt takes everything quite literally and interprets each situation he encounters in terms of the five basic house rules his mother has taught him.

While I had previously read excerpts from several Jodi Picoult's early novels, this is the first time I've read a book of hers in its entirety. As expected, it is a page-turner. The writing is well-done and the research impeccable. The author uses suspense to draw the reader ever-deeper into the story; instilling doubt (Did Jacob kill his social-skills tutor? or did Jacob's brother, Theo, kill the young woman? Was someone else involved?) and resolving questions as the story develops. I love the way she incorporated a short synopsis of high profile, real-life cases at the beginning of each main chapter, which helped to highlight Jacob's interest in forensics.

Recommended first for the author's fans, second for those who have an interest in forensics or Autism, and third for those who haven't yet experienced reading a novel written by this author. This review has simultaneously been posted on Amazon.com, Dragonviews and LibraryThing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Strangely Humorous

Maxxed Out
David Collins
William Morrow (2009)
Hardcover, 320 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

Billionnaire Robert Maxx does not want to be seen as a nice guy. He wants to be seen as a winner. With the scruples of a rat, Maxx does not mind trampling the litte guys on his way to the top.  Except that now, his empire, built on a framework of lies, is crumbling. His finances are a mess and he needs a huge loan to acquire Rockefeller Center... and has nowhere to turn.

Maxxed Out examines the day-to-day dealings of big business and portrays one thoroughly unlikeable guy (Robert Maxx) beside a few more likeable characters. While the book isn't particularly long, it is also not fast-paced. The motivations and the lives of the characters are examined in so far as the characters interact with one another. Nearly everyone has a motive to kill Robert Maxx, and at least three people visited him on the last night of his life...

Recommended reading for those who would like a glimpse into the world of big business with a little bit of mystery attached. This review has been simultaneously published on Dragonviews and LibraryThing.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Family Loyalty

True Colors
By Kristin Hannah
St. Martin's Press (2009)
Hardcover, 400 pages
Rated 5 stars of 5 possible

True Colors is the story of loss and love, loyalty and faith. The three Grey sisters have learned to depend on each other since the loss of their mother many years before, until a stranger comes to town... Unlike the other residents of their small town, Vivi Ann Grey disregards the racial differences, befriending and then marrying Dallas Raintree, despite her father's venimous disapproval. When Dallas is arrested for the murder of a woman known to be his friend, the town residents say they knew he was no good. Only Vivi Ann is sure of her husband's innocence... but can she prove it?

Kristin Hannah handles the issues of racial discrimination and unjust imprisonment in a tasteful manner. This well-written novel is a page-turner from the beginning, with just enough suspense and action that keeps a reader on the edge of his or her seat, waiting to discover what happens next. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this entire novel, but from about the middle on through to the end, I literally could not put it down... It has been many years since I stayed up all night reading 200 straight pages... but with True Colors, there was no choice... I just couldn't stop.

True Colors is recommended for all readers age 17 and up who enjoy a well-written and suspense filled story. This review has been simultaneously published on Dragonviews and on LibraryThing.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Shoe Making From The Inside

Very Valentine
Adriana Trigiani
Harper (2009)
Hardcover, 384 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

The opening of Very Valentine is a wedding scene that should be both interesting and a little exciting, but not for me. I found the first chapter to be largely irrelevant; most of the characters quickly became annoying. I kept on reading only because friends of mine had said the story got better; and it did, but not until about the middle of chapter two. If I had been the editor, I'd have insisted on a re-write for the slow-paced and mostly boring opening chapters. As it was, I skipped most of chapter one and skimmed the first half of chapter two, until the real story got started... and then I couldn't put the book down.

Despite the poor opening of this book, I was quickly wrapped up in the lives of Valentine Roncalli and her family and friends. Gram Angelini nearly stole the show; In fact, I think she's probably my favorite character in the book. Valentine has several problems, most importantly, how to bring the Angelini Shoe Company into the 21st century, but also her stuffy and annoying big brother, Alfred Roncalli, who seems to only think of money and himself; (Alfred wants to shut down the unprofitable cobbler's shop) and Valentine's new boyfriend, Roman Falconi, engrossed in his own business; a new restaurant, which Roman puts ahead of his own and Valentine's happiness.

The ending of this first volume of Adriana Trigiani's new series takes the reader by surprise, but because there are two more volumes to come, there are the expected loose ends that lead into book 2 of the series. Very Valentine makes my recommended reading list for those who like a blend of comedy, romance, and an all-round good time reading a larger story carved into three segments.

This review is simultaneously published on Dragonviews and LibraryThing.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Interesting Confusion

A. Sparrow
Smashwords, (2009)
E-book, (PDF format) 217 pages
Rated 3 stars of 5 possible

Each of several characters is followed for part of the story.  The transitions from one world? to another for unclear reasons assist the reader in becoming more confused as the story progresses. That said, most parts of the story remian interesting enough to complete the reading, however, connecting the sections about Frank, who had been searching for his wife, who has been missing for twenty years and his captor, Tezhay, with the sections about Seor and Canu and their compatriots didn't seem relevant... almost like there are two or even three stories that are interwoven into one but still separated or unclearly joined.

I wanted to like this story and enjoyed reading about Frank's search for his wife, but the parts regarding Seor and Canu and their compatriots interfered with that enjoyment a bit because of my not understanding why those characters were in the book at all. If there is a connection between the plot lines, making such connection more clear to the reader could be a good thing.

Xenolith was given to me free by the author in exchange for this review, which has been posted on Dragonviews and LibraryThing.