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.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

An Epic Conclusion

Oracle's Legacy: Dawn of Illumination
R. B. Holbrook
Lulu.com (2010),
Paperback, 458 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

Oracle's Legacy: Dawn of Illumination is the thrilling conclusion to the author's debut series, which began with Oracle's Legacy: Children of Sun. Since the Oracle's Legacy series is one massive story broken up into three books, the best way to read the series is to begin with Oracle's Legacy: Children of Sun and read the books in order. In this way, the reader does not miss character background or important story issues by starting in the middle or at the end.

As with Shadows of Fate, this third volume builds on the story thus far, beginning where the previous volume ended. Whether you borrow or buy these books, try to get them all at once, so you can rapidly move from one to the next without much delay. When you do this, you will get the most seamless transition from one book to the next, and the story will have a greater impact. 

Taken as one long epic, Oracle's Legacy is a fascinating story... however, if you like short stories or even average-length novels, you probably won't like this, because the three books are one large story, of which the three parts should be read in sequence, and for best effect should be read together, as opposed to reading one book and then something else before continuing with the saga.

Recommended to adults who love epic fantasy and science fiction. Oracle's Legacy: Dawn of Illumination was provided to me free by the author in exchange for this review. This review will be posted on LibraryThing, Dragon Views, Amazon.com and wherever else deemed appropriate by this reviewer.

Oracle's Legacy:
Book 1: Children of Sun
Book 2: Shadows of Fate

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sneaks Up from Behind and Grabs You

Dark Tomorrows
By J. L. Bryan
With Bonus Stories
By Amanda Hocking
Smashwords (2010)
Ebook Mobi format
Print Length 120 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

Dark Tomorrows is a collection of eight short stories, which are unconnected to each other. Author J. L. Bryan wrote six of them. The other two were written by Amanda Hocking. 

J. L. Bryan has a way with words, of making the reader keep turning pages to find out what happens next. He successfully does this with short works as well as novels. The strongest of J. L. Bryan's stories in this collection is the first offering; "The Fortune Teller’s Lament" but that doesn't mean the others are not worth reading... just that the later stories sneak up behind you before they grab you.  All of them are well suited to reading at night - alone - with all the lights on.

Amanda Hocking's two stories of roughly equal quality didn't seem quite as dark to me as Mr. Bryan's works in this volume. Still, they were entertaining and answer a couple of what ifs that might occur to some readers... Perhaps the darkness in Ms. Hocking's stories is more subtle and sneaky than the darkness in J. L. Bryan's stories.  At any rate, this is a collection that I can heartily recommend to those who love dark stories.

This ebook was received as a premium for participating in the blog tour for The Haunted Ebook by J. L. Bryan.  While a review was not requested as a condition of my receiving this ebook, I'm sure the authors won't mind. This review will appear on Dragon Views, LibraryThing, Amazon.com and on other sites this reviewer deems appropriate.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Front for Terrorist Operations?

By Ginger Mayerson
The Wapshott Press (2010)
Paperback, 222 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

The novel, Electricland, is a mystery tale. The story features satirical content, a terrorist organization run by three middle-aged women, an online game called Electricland, and gay romance.  But is Electricland just a game, or is it a front for terrorist operations?

The author's attention to detail and sense of fun becomes very apparent in this slim novel.  The three female terrorists were often interesting and sometimes even humorous. The Electricland game proved to be interesting too, but I was disappointed to see that very little of this game figured into the actual story. I would have liked to have seen more of the game. While I have to say that gay romance is definitely not my thing, I found that I could easily skim/skip those portions of the story and not lose much in the bargain. Over all, Electricland proved to be a novel that I am glad I have read.

Electricland was provided to me free by the author/publisher in exchange for this review, for which I have not received any financial compensation. This review will appear on Dragon Views, LibraryThing, Amazon.com and other sites deemed appropriate by this reviewer.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Keeps You Up All Night

Pumpkin Jack Skull and Other Tales of Terror
Jacob M. Drake
Smashwords.com (2010),
Kindle Edition
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

Pumpkin Jack Skull and Other Tales of Terror is, obviously, an anthology of horror stories, perfect for reading on Halloween, or, for that matter, at any time one wishes to read tales of terror bordering on the supernatural. Most stories in the anthology are unrelated to each other, but there are a couple that, if read together, do seem to connect. One of them clarifies events in the other.

I'll admit to being somewhat hurried when I was reading through these tales, so I didn't take notes, nor do my usual one-liner synopsis of each story with a short comment afterwards... sorry for that... and for the fact that I don't have time to read through them again right now to make up for that lack of time earlier... This collection is a worthy read. Unlike lots of independent authors, Jacob Drake has taken the time to track down most of the errors in his work to show that he cares about quality as well as quantity of work produced.

As with most anthologies, this one has some stories that are better than others...  my favorites come near the end of the sequence. Those last two or three stories really do reach out and grab you, just like a good horror story should.  Interested readers can claim their copy of Pumpkin Jack Skull and Other Tales of Terror on Smashwords in a choice of several ebook formats, all of which are unencumbered by digital rights management and free of cost. 

This review appears on Dragon Views, LibraryThing, Amazon.com and on other sites which are determined by the reviewer to be appropriate.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sensitive Topics, Skillfully Woven Story

The Map of True Places
By Brunonia Barry
William Morrow (2010),
Trade Paperback, 416 pages
Rated 5 stars of 5 possible

The Map of True Places deals with sensitive subjects such as mental illness, suicide, and abuse, among others. The tale is well-written and skillfully woven. The reader is captivated from the first page and wrapped up in the story so thorougly that he or she feels like one of the characters.

Speaking of the characters from The Map of True Places, I must say that they are developed to the point of realism and believability. They are humanly flawed, each having personal quirks and characteristics that make him or her so real the reader feels as if he/she can reach out and shake hands with, or, perhaps, slap some sense into the character.

While The Map of True Places is only the second book this author has written, it is as well-formed as if she had decades of experience and dozens of novels to her credit.  I, for one, will be on the lookout for new works from this talented author.

This review, for which no compensation - financial or otherwise - has been received by the reviewer, appears on Dragon Views, LibraryThing, Amazon.com and other sites deemed appropriate by the reviewer.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Confusing but still worthy

A Breath of Snow and Ashes
Diana Gabaldon
Dell Publishing Company (2008)
Mass Market Paperback, 1456 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon is book six of the Outlander series. Like the earlier volumes in the series, A Breath of Snow and Ashes takes up the story of Jamie and Claire where the previous novel ended. Also like most novels, this one has it's high points and some not so high points. While clearly not the best of the series, this book is still much better than book 5, and a worthy segment of the epic. The characters are very realistic and interestingly flawed, yet some of the situations were downright confusing.

Potential spoiler follows for those who have not read this novel, however the spoiler is necessary to explain the confusion.

At one point, Brianna is at the home of Jamie's aunt, and then, suddenly she is a captive on board a ship belonging to one of one of the villains of the epic. This part of the tale makes little sense, as does her rescue which comes later. While a captive, Brianna bribes a prostitute to carry a message to Jamie, which is eventually delivered as promised... but, before that message is delivered, Jamie clearly knows what has happened already. How does he know? This, too, is unexplained...

Recommended for the author's fans, as well as to readers who like their historical fiction with a little romance, a little science fiction, and and lots of details... However, to get the most from this book, you really should read those that were published prior to this volume.

Book 1: Outlander
Book 2: Dragonfly in Amber
Book 3: Voyager
Book 4: Drums of Autumn
Book 5: The Fiery Cross

This review is being simultaneously posted on Dragon Views, LibraryThing, Amazon.com and any other site on which the revewer decides is appropriate.  Note also that no compensation, financial or otherwise, was received for posting this review.