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.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Not Serious or Credible, but Still Fun

The Dragon at the Edge of the World
Charles White
Charles White (2009)
Pdf, 318 pages
Rated 3 stars of 5 possible

When I began reading this book, I had such high hopes for a new historical fiction novel.  Those hopes were soon to be dashed to pieces though, because there is little believable historical content in The Dragon at the Edge of the World.  That said, the novel is worth reading for entertainment purposes, as the humorous situations and the likeable characters create an interesting, if, at times, almost unbelievable story.

While I noticed a few grammatical and typographical errors in this book, they did not majorly detract from the story, so I didn't note the exact location of these errors. The characters in this story are a hodge-podge of unlikely companions of different ethnic backgrounds and from different parts of the world working together and against one another in the name of survival. The end of this novel screams sequel...

Recommended for laughs, but not for those looking for serious historical fiction or credible fantasy.  This eBook was provided to me free by the author in exchange for this review. This review has been simultaneously published on Amazon.com, Dragon Views and LibraryThing

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Roller Coaster Ride

Follow The Money
Ross Cavins
RCG Publishing (2010),
Paperback, 264 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

Ten inter-connected short stories have been collected between these covers.  In addition to my over-all impression of this book, which you will find at the end of this review, I'll attempt to say something about each of the ten stories and rate them individually, as well as giving my rating for the entire book, but first, the stories.

1. "The Drop" - Inept kidnappers, funnier than a barrel of monkeys. Slow start, but builds suspense; is a fine, page-turning story. I absolutely loved the twisted ending. Rated 4 stars.

2. "The Investment" - Pickpocket meets big-time con artist, but can he trust his new partner? This story felt a bit disconnected near the middle, so rated 3 stars.

3. "Sammy's Night Out" - Armed robbery at a convenience store, of the inept gunman type. Predictable ending... Rated 3 stars.

4. "A Loaded Gun" - Grand theft auto plus an evening of crime gone wrong. Story number three with some added detail and from a different point of view. Packed with more laughs than "Sammy's Night Out" Rated 5 stars.

5. "Everybody's Got A Magic Number" Bookie takes the cash from cop involved in story #4. This story is longer, not as funny or as consistently interesting as the others. One doesn't even see the connection to the other stories until late.  Rated 3 stars.

6. "Have Fun Tonight" Drunken driver collides with emergency vehicle. Just plain strange, warped humor. Rated 3 stars.

7. "Sweating Brother Bill" Two lusty old ladies - another strange story.  Rated 3 stars.

8. "Toe Thumb" Abused wife runs away from deadbeat husband. Morbidly appealing somehow. Rated 4 stars.

9. "For The Road" Breaking and Entering, or How the Grinch stole Christmas. Rated 4 stars.

10. "Channel Ten" Car-jacking and Captain Crunch. Rated 5 stars.

The fun part of reading this story collection was seeing how the stories fit together into one larger story that has its ups and downs like a roller coaster. Trying to predict which characters from the earlier stories would appear again in which of the later stories was also a barrel of laughs, but figuring out who was going to have the money next - ah what suspense, and sometimes very surprising. The hot sex featured in some of these stories does little or nothing to move the plot along.  Still, it was a fun read, and I would recommend Follow The Money to adults who do not find offense in the type of material contained here.

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

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Crisis Gains Momentum

by Kathy Bell
Northern Sanctum Press (October, 2010)
ARC-PDF format,165 pages
Rated 5 stars of 5 possible

I've always been excited when a new science fiction book comes off the press and into the book stores.  The Infinion series is no exception. Evolussion continues the story of the characters begun in Regression. The sequel picks up the story 26 years after the end of the first novel and takes a different direction than the reader might expect. As the story develops, even the bad guys have something to say that helps the reader better understand the motivation of the opposition to Three Eleven... Mrs. Bell has done a great job with her flawed and very human characters... and, as with her first novel, leaves me wanting more.

The characters from the first novel whom we loved to hate (Alex and Stew) show a different side in this sequel, and as I began to understand their motivations better, I even started to like them just a little bit, though I am not certain if they would ever have earned my trust. Adya Jordan (aka Dawn Ingram) has matured in the interval between the first and second novels, but has retained her lovable characteristics nevertheless. The Three Eleven executives have also changed in their attitudes toward Dawn...

In the continuing story arc, the crisis gains momentum. Not too much is resolved here, and yet more questions are raised. Evolussion is clearly not the starting point for the Infinion series and should not be read as a stand alone. There is much in Regression that the reader needs to understand before reading Evolussion. Thus, I recommed the series as a whole, but start reading at the beginning; Regression first, then Evolussion, and finish with the as-yet unpublished conclusion of this exciting trilogy. Since November 11, 2011 is such an important date in this series, I suspect the climax to the series will probably be published around that date (hopefully a little before).  I'm on the edge of my seat now...

Evolussion was provided to me free by the author/publisher in PDF format in exchange for this review. This review has been simultaneously published on Dragon Views and LibraryThing.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mt. TBR Keeps Growing

My Endless TBR Stack

Click above photo to see larger version...If you are an author, publicist, publisher, etc. who has asked me to review a book, please be patient. The stack above, shown in no particular order represents promised reviews and borrowed books which need to be sent on their way.  My Kindle tops the stack to represent the ebooks I promised to review, followed by my Molskine notebook to represent that there are multiple eBooks waiting in line... the rest, well, those books are real... and I will get to the reviews as soon as I possibly can.  Thank you for understanding.

Addendum: May 17, 2012  While the books shown above have been read and mostly reviewed, the stack by my bed side is still every bit as large, just with different content... The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Physician As A Killer

When Doctors Kill: Who, Why, and How
Joshua A. Perper
Springer (2010),
Paperback, 253 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

As I started to read When Doctors Kill, quite unlike several other reviewers, I had no preconceived notions of what I would find in this book and was completely unsure how the text would be arranged. I was glad to see the historical arrangement, as that helped me to better assimilate the content. The first part of the book, a discussion of ethics, read much like the college lecture I sat through on a similar topic many years ago. Fortunately that part ended just about the time I was beginning to experience some boredom.

Many of the real-life cases discussed were high-profile enough that I remember some details of those which happened during my lifetime. Also, many cases were older and either took place before my time, or while I was so young I have no memory of those. The older cases made for some interesting reading and comparison with the more modern ones.  The authors could have gone more in-depth on some of the cases covered here, but expanding the depth would have served little purpose, as I don't believe this book was meant to do more than make the reader aware of the reasons why doctors kill, and it serves that purpose well and in an interesting manner as is.

I would have normal expectations of proof reading having taken place during the production phase of this book, yet I was appalled to see that several errors of sentence structure, grammar and puncutation have slipped into what otherwise appears to be a finished book... some of them so obvious that most anyone will notice. Some errors are a little less obvious, such as the ones in the chapter on Elvis Presley, where there is an apostrophe after nearly every instance of his first name. Use of the apostrophe indicates the possessive form, which is not always the form of Elvis' name that should have been used.  Errors such as these would be expected in an uncorrected proof, yet nowhere in this book or on the covers does it have any indication of being an advance copy.

At the end of the book, I was delighted to see that several references are included, beginning with some "For Further Reading" lists, which are broken down by chapter, authors notes, and a fairly extensive index, which makes specific topics easy to locate. These references, along with the eminently readable, layman-style writing on a topic that is fairly scientific have earned this book four stars.

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

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mirror, Mirror

By Diana Murdock
Diana Murdock (2010),
Mobi format for Kindle
Rated 3 stars of 5 possible

Lady Catherine is a 16th century noble woman bound to marry the knight, Sir Galen, but in love with Jonathan, a merchant who is nowhere near her social equal... the eternal love triangle. Catherine's 21st century counterpart is Eryn Rexford, married to Bryce, whom she has come to realize she does not love, but Eryn is not willing to settle for less than being head-over heels in love with someone, especially after she meets a handsome stranger whom she is sure she has seen before. The story is told by Eryn and Lady Catherine in turn, flipping between one time period and the next, which is disconcerting enough, and then you discover that nearly all the main characters have a mirror-image in the other century.

I found the characters well developed and interesting (for the most part); their reactions to each other mostly believable. However I think the over-the top jealousy displayed by Bryce and Galen, though probably realistic in some ways, was carried a bit too far to make this story really good and believable. The unexplained antagonism that Brandi (a supposed friend to Eryn) displays is also a bit much. Catherine's sister, Sara is clearly Brandi's 16th century counterpart, right down to the same antagonism. In fact, that jealousy and antagonism almost entirely ruined this story for me because it was carried to such extremes. With some moderation, jealousy and or antagonism in one or even two characters can be believable and even a decent literary device...

If you believe in reincarnation (or if you can pretend, for the moment, that you do,) then this story might work for you and perhaps be good entertainment.  If you don't believe, and cannot pretend to believe, then the story falls flat, like it did for me. I honestly cannot recommend this debut effort, but will be keeping an eye out for this author's next novel, as I believe she does have potential to be really good, if not outright a great storyteller.

The author of this novel sent me a Smashwords 100% off discount code so that I could download my choice of formats and read this novel free in exchange for this review. This review has been simultaneously published on Dragon Views, LibraryThing and Amazon.com.