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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Domestic Violence and Murder

The Murderer's Daughters
Randy Susan Meyers
St. Martin's Griffin (2011),
Paperback, 320 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

Domestic violence rears it's ugly head in this emotional tale that follows the two daughters of the estranged and drunken husband who kills his wife and attempts to kill one of the girls too. With their mother dead and father in prison, the two girls are essentially orphaned. Unwanted by their aunts and uncles, the girls soon find themselves placed in an orphanage, and eventually, adopted... yet they still need to deal with the events of their youth.

While this story follows the girls into their adult life, it seems to me that the author had as much difficulty dealing with the transformation of the youngsters from children to adult women as the characters had in dealing with the problems of their broken and dysfunctional family. I found the characters to be fairly well developed and quite flawed, so I had no trouble believing them to be human.  At times, I even wanted to slap both girls for their irrational behavior, yet I also found that the younger girl's ability to forgive and forget was something to be admired. Many of us can't do that; I know that if I had been the victim as she was, that I would not be able to forgive or forget.

I belive there may be a lesson for some readers in this tale and can recommend it to those who can handle the domestic violence and its aftermath. The Murderer's daughters was provided to me free from publisher in exchange for this review.  This review is being published on Dragon Views, Amazon.com and LibraryThing.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Werewolf Romance

Joy Spraycar
AuthorHouse (2010),
Paperback, 360 pages
Rated 3.5 stars of 5 possible

Quicksilver is a slightly above-average paranormal romance that begins in the 1850s. However, after just two short, interesting chapters, we fast-forward to the present day. Therein lies my first disappointment. I really wanted the story to be a historical romance.

The second problem I had with this story was at the point where Serry's husband dies in the automobile crash that Quinton survives. The death of the abusive character so early in the story seems to be just a little too convenient, at least to me.  And besides... he could have been useful in providing a bit of conflict at the start of Serry and Quinton's relationship.  Yes, I know, the evil father provides conflict, but that's a different sort of conflict which doesn't keep our two main characters from coming together.

My third major problem with the story is that Serry repeatedly ignores the instructions given to her for her own safety, which results in me respecting her a bit less due to the hare-brained decisions she makes that result in her being in danger. Yes, this situation brings more conflict - but of the kind which an intelligent character should have been able to avoid to some extent. I would have preferred a type of conflict that arose despite an intelligent character doing the prudent thing.

I like that the characters are flawed, as this makes them seem more human, and I like that Quinton does not accept being a Werewolf and is searching for an answer to that problem. This provides an unusual and intriguing aspect to the story; one that I have not seen before. Still, the good points are not quite strong enough to override the problems with this story, so I can't quite give it a full four stars... but yet it seems better than a three star novel, thus, for me, an unusual 3.5 star rating.

Recommended to those who love paranormal romances, and to those looking for something a little different than the normal fare. Quicksilver was provided to me free by the author in exchange for this review. As always, this review has been posted on Dragon Views, Amazon.com, LibraryThing and wherever else I may decide is appropriate.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Suspense-filled Page-Turner

Fire Sanctuary
Katharine Eliska Kimbriel
Book View Cafe(March 29, 2011)
Kindle edition
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

As a Nualan Princess prepares to wed an Axis warrior, the pair discovers that enemies abound, both from Nuala and from off-world. Survival is foremost on everyone's mind.

Fire Sanctuary was the first published of Katharine Eliska Kimbriel's Chronicles of Nuala, so the reader may notice a little bit of style change between this and the other novels of the series. This story takes place on the same planet; however it is many years after the stories told in the other two books in the series, so it fits in at either end of the series right now, or as a stand-alone novel to be read at any time. Some of the characters in this novel are related to some characters in the other two novels.

I found the novel to be skillfully written, the characters well developed. As with the other two novels, this one grabs the reader and won't let go. Fire Sanctuary is a suspense-filled page turner that readers of science fiction won't want to miss.

After awhile, I discovered that, despite what I had thought at the beginning of this book, my affinity for these characters turned out to be as strong as my affinity for the main characters in the other two books; I just took longer to realize that fact. Realizing that I want to read more Chronicles of Nuala didn't take nearly as long... Now that I've finished the series, there's that sadness of leaving friends behind but also a hopefulness that Ms. Kimbriel will want to write more stories of this interesting world.

Recommended to adult readers of science fiction and fantasy, and to those looking for something a little different from mainstream fiction. I'm on the edge of my seat now...  This review has been simultaneously published on Dragon Views, LibraryThing and Amazon.com.

Fires of Nuala

Hidden Fires

Monday, August 15, 2011

Experience Two Sides of One Author

The Inheritance: And Other Stories
By Robin Hobb and Megan Lindholm
Harper Voyager (2011)
Paperback, 400 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 Possible

I like to review anthologies on the basis of each story, especially when the stories bear little or no relationship to each other, aside from having been written by one author. That means I review each story on its own merits and then rate the book as a whole.  I'll start by giving a one-line synopsis of each story with my rating for that story alone. At the end, I'll give the reasoning behind my rating of the book as a whole, which is based on the story ratings taken together.

Megan Lindholm:

A Touch of Lavendar - a coming of age story about a young boy and the aliens in his neighborhood
3 stars - interesting but not altogether enchanting as I had hoped. Might be one of the better Lindholm bunch, but still not 4 star quality.

Silver Lady and the Fortyish Man - A romance, of sorts. It seems to have no ending, as if the romance is still ongoing.
3 stars - interesting with a few points that almost reach that elusive 4th star.

Cut - Mercifully short, bizarre and somewhat forgettable tale of mutilation and individual rights.
2 stars - definitely not my thing.

The Fifth Squashed Cat - The key to immortality for select people?
3 stars - definitely weird. Interesting, in a way, but lacks something I can't put a finger on.

Strays - An abused girl cares for stray cats.
5 stars - clearly one of the best of the Lindholm selections.

Finis - Fear of Vampires?
5 stars - Well done story and unique twist on an over-done theme.

Drum Machine - Getting your own way does not always lead to happily ever-after.
2 stars - Confusing. Three characters in the story. Two people who interact with each other in one scene, one from their mutual past. Each of the three characters seems to have or once had his/her own agenda. Seems to be multiple plot lines, but the story is too short to pull off that sort of multiplicity successfully.

First half of the book - While there are a couple of gems in the Megan Lindholm bunch, most stories are average or fall short of their potential. Two of the average stories stand a bit above the rest, but not so far above as to rate another full star. 

Robin Hobb:

Homecoming - Political exiles sent to establish new colony.
5 stars - some surprising twists; interest doesn't lag.

The Inheritance -  Cerise's inheritance isn't what she expected.
4 stars - not quite as interesting as other stories about this world.

Cat's Meat - Cats speak to whom they wish; we humans should listen sometimes...
5 stars, Justice is served from an unexpected source.

Second half of the book. These stories are longer, more elaborately plotted than those in the first half, as well as being more polished and among the most interesting in this collection.

The entire collection has some interesting bits and some that might have been better left in the desk drawer... taken as a whole, I'm not sorry I read this and was grateful to experience a side of the author I had not previously encountered.  A definite recommendation for the authors fans.  Those looking for something new may also find a few gems here, but should be aware that the collection is variable in quality.

An advance review copy of The Inheritance: And Other Stories was provided to me free by the publisher in exchange for this review.  This review has been posted on Dragon Views, LibraryThing, Amazon.com and wherever else I may deep appropriate.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Never Take Freedom for Granted

Hey Kids, Want Some Chocolates?: My Family's Journey to Freedom
By Melitta Strandberg and George E. Pfautsch
AuthorHouse (2011)
Paperback, 80 pages
Rated 5 stars of 5 Possible

Hey Kids, Want Some Chocolates? is the story of Melitta Strandberg and her family. It is a story of the family's trials and tribulations on their journey to freedom. The book is not long, only about 80 pages, including some treasured family photos taken at various times along the journey. Still, it is a powerful little book, containing hopes and dreams and - eventually - success.

While the book is fast-paced and doesn't take long to read, it is also not "light and fluffy" reading. There is a lot written in this short space that gives the reader food for thought, making this book as deep as John Steinbeck's The Pearl or Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and The Sea.  Unlike the two fictional masterpieces afore-mentioned, this slim volume talks of real life events that should not lightly be dismissed. It also functions as a reminder that those of us who were born free should never take our freedom for granted.  Thank you, Mrs. Strandberg, for that oh so appropriate reminder.

Recommended for readers of all ages. This review is based on the paperback version of this book, sent at no cost to me by the author in exchange for review. This review has been posted on Dragon Views, Amazon.com and LibraryThing.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Light-hearted Look At The Life Of Witches

A Modern Witch
Debora Geary
Fireweed Publishing (2011)
Kindle Edition
Rated 5 stars of 5 possible

A Modern Witch by Debora Geary is a light-hearted look at the life of Witches and the awesome powerful magic spells they are capable of casting.

Debora Geary sets the hook right away as we discover 28-year-old Lauren has been brought into a witch's chat by the fetching spell that is not supposed to make mistakes. At first, Lauren is convinced that, despite the spell-caster's assurance, there has indeed been a mistake. She is no witch... or is she?

Discover the magical and captivating answer as you watch Lauren gain the knowedge she needs with the help of her new-found friends, who just happen to include a little 4-year-old, story-stealing witchling who needs a tale of his own...

I loved these characters right from the start. The author's well-written prose brought them to life and the situations in which we become acquainted with the characters seem very realistic. Within the world of this story, the reader can even believe in magic for a time...

Recommended for readers of light fantasy, romance, and those looking for something a bit different. The Kindle edition of A Modern Witch was provided to me by the author in exchange for this review. This review has been published on Dragon Views, LibraryThing, Amazon.com and wherever else deemed appropriate by this reviewer.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Newest Dark Hunter Novel Has Been Released: Retribution


"...Harm no human…
A hired gunslinger, William Jessup Brady lived his life with one foot in the grave. He believed that every life had a price. Until the day when he finally found a reason to live. In one single act of brutal betrayal, he lost everything, including his life. Brought back by a Greek goddess to be one of her Dark-Hunters, he gave his immortal soul for vengeance and swore he’d spend eternity protecting the humans he’d once considered prey.
Orphaned as a toddler, Abigail Yager was taken in by a family of vampires and raised on one belief- Dark-Hunters are the evil who prey on both their people and mankind, and they must all be destroyed. While protecting her adoptive race, she has spent her life eliminating the Dark-Hunters..."     
See the trailer.  If the video embedded below won't work for you, there's a direct link to Youtube following the embedded version.  There are also - included below for your pleasure - links to the author and publisher websites, where you will find excerpts from the book.



Sherrilyn Kennyon's website about Retribution containing excerpts:


Macmillan's Sherrilyn Kenyon website:


And now, the exciting part:  Somehow, I wound up with two finished copies of the hardcover edition of Retribution... That being the case, there will naturally be a review coming from me.  But I only need one copy of the book for that purpose. I've decided that the best thing to do is to give away the extra copy to one lucky reader.  My financial status demands that I restrict the entries to those with a United States mailing address; sorry about that folks...

To enter the contest, comment on this entry.  You do not need to post your mailing address, just a valid email where I can contact the winner.  You do need to be 18 or older as of September 1, 2011. I will choose the lucky person at the end of August, 2011 via random.org. from all entries received before Midnight Central Time, at the end of this month.  No comments posted on or after September 1, 2011 will count as an entry into this drawing.  The winner will need to have a valid mailing address within the United States, which I will use to send the book.