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.

Monday, August 30, 2010

For Fans of the Dark Hunter Series

On September 7, 2010, St. Martin's Press is releasing Sherrilyn Kenyon's No Mercy. This will be a must read for fans of the Dark Hunter series as well as for fans of the author... and honestly, it looks too good for me to pass up, even though this would be the first book I've read from this author. What can I say?  I'm a fool for books, especially those that draw me in with a great story synopsis before I've even seen the covers of the book...

"Live fast, fight hard and if you have to die then take as many of your enemies with you as you can. That is the Amazon credo and it was one Samia lived and died by. Now in contemporary New Orleans, the immortal Amazon warrior is about to learn that there's a worse evil coming to slaughter mankind than she's ever faced before....."


Read the synopsis of No Mercy and much more on Sherrilyn Kenyon website:

If you can't see the embedded trailer above, you should be able to see it here:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

News Story Generates Novel Idea

Among Thieves
By David Hosp
Grand Central Publishing (2010)
Hardcover, 384 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

In March of 1990, the largest art theft in history took place in Boston, Massachusetts. None of the stolen art has been recoverd after more than 20 years.  Among Thieves is clearly fiction, yet the novel incorporates many details about the actual event, and using the writer's eternal option - What if... - to create an intense and suspenseful thriller. Among Thieves begins with a string of murders which eventually tie in to Mr. Hosp's version of what happened to the stolen art.

The opening of this novel is a bit confusing because it doesn't seem to be about the art theft at all, but provides the reason why one of the men is later involved in the heist. This character background could be better tied to the main part of the story. The novel recovers from this weak opening though and provides a mostly interesting tale about the art heist. One other disconcerting thing happens in this book. The point of view switches between decades as facts about the actual theft 20 years ago are revealed, and the current-day investigation which has gone cold, but has not been closed.

In the middle of the story, which also represents the time between the heist and today, the tale sags a bit. In some ways, the dullness of this part of the story is accurate. Nothing is known about what actually happened after the thieves escaped with their bounty.  The author provides a satisfactory, appropriate, believable and entertaining ending to the story, recovering from the brief bout of dullness near the middle of the book.

Although, for the reasons previously stated, I down-grade the rating of this book from the perfect 5 to a very interesting 4 stars, I do recommed it to those who love to read mystery/thriller/suspense type novels and those who may be looking for something different. The usual caviat about violence and inappropriateness for those under 17 applies here.

This review has been simultaneously published on LibraryThing and Dragon Views.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Varied But Senseless

Jess C Scott
Jess C. Scott, (July 2010)
Pdf e-Book
Rated 3 stars of 5 possible

Porcelain is a "bits and pieces" collection of various types of writing. Short stories, poetry, essays... However, there's no central theme to mold this collection into a whole, so it remains nothing more than pages upon pages of miscellaneous pieces that really have no relationship to each other, aside from the fact that they are all the work of one author. Some are bad, some are mediocre, some are better than others; but none of the pieces in this collection are great. Taken as a whole, these pieces do show the growth of the writer... but she has a long way to go if being a professional writer is her goal.

Additionally, this PDF file included far too many pieces for me to offer individual critiques of each piece as I normally like to do with anthologies. The large file should be broken up into at least three smaller files, one each for fiction, poetry and essays. This would enable reviewers to do a better job because they could more likely critique individual pieces.

On the whole, many pieces included in this collection could stand some editing, some of the stories could stand a full re-write as they don't make much sense in their current state. There's an old adage that goes something like this: "Write what you know". This author seems to know poetry best so perhaps she should stick with that.

Not recommended for the average reader.
A PDF file was provided to me by the author free in exchange for this review. This review has been simultaneously published on Dragon Views, LibraryThing and Amazon.com

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Satisfying Tale

Doctor Margaret's Sea Chest
Waheed Rabbani
Smashwords.com (2009)
Mobi, PDF and other e-formats
Rated 5 stars of 5 Possible

Also available in the following formats:
Infinity Publishing (May 21, 2010)
Audio: 12 CDs, 17 hours (unabridged)
You Write On; (December 8, 2008)
Paperback, 436 pages

Doctor Margaret's Sea Chest is historical fiction, set in the mid 1800’s in North America, England, Crimea and India. The saga covers India's struggle for freedom. This rather long tale is but one third of a more massive saga, yet it is nicely paced. There is a nice balance between drama, romance, and suspense which serves to keep the story consistently interesting, but it is mainly focused on the action rather than too much description. 

The characters are well-developed enough that I could feel Margaret's despair when her family disapproved of her desire to marry her cousin, her jubilation at finally becoming a doctor as she wanted, despite the disapproval of her parents, and her other emotions as the story progressed. As I finished the last pages of this book, I felt as if I were leaving friends behind. In fact, I am so hooked on the story that the cliff-hanger ending has me sitting on the edge of my chair while awaiting Book II of The Azadi Trilogy: The Rani's Doctor.

Almost as interesting as the novel, there is a glossary at the end of the story which defines the unfamiliar words used so that the reader can get more from the novel than would be the case if he/she were just skipping over the unfamilar words without understanding them.

Recommended reading for those who love reading historical fiction and also for those looking for something refreshingly different.  Mobi format file received free from author in exchange for this review. This review is simultaneously published on Dragon Views, LibraryThing, Amazon.com and YA Books Central.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Death and Corruption

A Little Death In Dixie
By Lisa Turner
Bell Bridge Books (2010),
Paperback (Bound Galley), 222 pages
Rated 5 stars of 5 Possible

A Little Death In Dixie provides a fascinating insight into the world of law enforcement, and the corruption sometimes found there. The novel opens with a murder scene in Memphis, Tennessee. As the reader immediately gets involved in the drama, we discover that this crime isn't what's important to the story the author is telling us, but the reactions of the officers investigating the crime do become integral to the story, as we will soon see. Shortly after the introductory scenes, a woman is reported missing. Debut author, Lisa Turner has taken you by the hand to lead you through a non-stop, page turning, not-to-be missed thriller.  In addition to the well-written and tightly plotted novel, this book also includes a full dozen reader discussion questions that encourage the reader to do some thinking about the story.

Every now and then, I am surprised by the intensity of the way a new novel will grab me. In fact, several times this year, the intense novels have been written by authors making their debut in the publishing world. A Little Death in Dixie is one of those. Recommended for readers age 17 and up who love mysteries with one caviat. If you are offended by coarse language, there is a little of it in this novel... but not nearly as much as you find in other new books and the offensive language - used here as an element of character development - does not detract from the reader's enjoyment of the story.

This book was provided to me free by the publisher in exchange for this review.  This review has been simultaneously published on Dragon Views, LibraryThing and Amazon.com

Monday, August 2, 2010

Doesn't Quite Live Up To Promise

Powerless: The Synthesis
Jason Letts
Powerless Books (2010) PDF format, 228 pages
Rated 3 stars of 5 possible

Powerless: The Synthesis
is the first of a new YA fantasy-adventure series, and is apparently also the author's first book. Mira Ipswich is 15 years old and tired of being kept at home by her overly protective parents. She wants to go out into the mist and find out what life is like on the outside. But Mira lacks one thing everyone else has and that lack makes her different than everyone else, and vulnerable as well.

has a nice balance of dialogue and description, well-developed characters of the kind you love and the kind you love to hate, and an interesting plot. I liked the story and can't wait for the next book to see what happens with Mira and her friends and family... but I hope to see some improvement in the writing too.

Some parts of the story aren't as well thought out as might be the case. For instance, an incident in chapter nine seems to happen without enough foreshadowing and hits the reader like one of the rocks thrown by a supporting character in a later chapter... I won't say which incident as I like to keep my reviews as spoiler-free as possible in case someone is reading the review prior to having read the book. Additionally, Mira's class ranking changed dramatically from the beginning of the school year to the end... which stretched my suspension of disbelief, perhaps just a little too much given that she started 9 years behind the other students and so was not as prepared as her fourteen class mates...

Also as mentioned by at least one other reviewer, the young teens of Mira's class sometimes act younger than they are.  I won't say that makes the story less appealing to the targeted age group, but having the teens act a bit more mature certainly wouldn't hurt anything. The other thing I noticed which distracted me from the story some is that there are occasional errors of a typographical nature scattered throughout the book... Errors such as these really should be corrected prior to publication. So, two stars deducted for the flaws mentioned.

I'll make a note here for those bound to disagree with my rating of this book. My ratings are based solely on the quality of the writing: plot, characterization, (and if reviewing a finished copy) grammar, spelling, factual or other types of errors noted in a book will all count for or against the rating of a particular book.  The author's ethical conduct and/or political views have no place in a review, as far as I am concerned, so I don't even take them into consideration. I am capable of evaluating the writing without agreeing or disagreeing with the author's ethics and politics.

I received the PDF of this book free from the author via LibraryThing Member Giveaways in exchange for this review. This review was simultaneously published on Dragon Views, LibraryThing, YABooks Central, and Amazon.com