Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Exciting MG Fantasy Adventure With Heart

The Book Dragon recommends Ben the Dragonborn by Dianne Astle and the sequel, Ben and the Watcher of Zargon, and gives them 4.5 claws rounded up to 5!

Here's my 4 star review of Ben the Dragonborn: "I confess I wanted to read this book because I love dragons (and there are some cool ones; just be patient), but Ben's fear of water sucked me in from the beginning. The strong connection between the reader and Ben keeps one turning the pages, and even faster once he's sent to a water world where all his nightmares keep coming true. Wow, there are some creepy creatures and dangers everywhere Ben turns! This fantasy adventure story resonates with solid themes of friendship, overcoming prejudice, and finding inner strength in learning who you really are." 

Here's my 5 star review of Ben and the Watcher of Zargon: "I really liked the first book and was eager to read Ben's continuing adventures. This story is action-packed, and young readers will be on the edge of their seats as they follow Ben's journey with the girl he likes and a new young student. This time they travel to Zargon, one of the Guardian's Six Worlds and home of Ben's dragonborn mother. The setting was fascinating, and the danger spine-tingling. I'm giving this book 4.5 stars rounded up to five, only because there were a few places when I wished the plot wasn't moving quite so fast so the reader could take a breath and have more time to get to know the characters better. Recommended!"

Here's Dianne Astle with her books (and Ben the Dragonborn's new cover)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Imaginative Fairy Tale Re-Imagining

The Book Dragon recommends The Firethorn Crown, Lea Doue's fascinating fantasy re-imagining of the 12 Dancing Princesses (with dragons) and gives it 4.5 claws rounded up to 5!
Here's my review: "4.5 stars for an imaginative fantasy loosely based on the fairy tale "The 12 Dancing Princesses." The 12 sisters were wonderfully drawn, though it took a while for me to keep them straight. The setting feels real, and I love the dragons of all sizes, though we only "hear" about the big scary ones. The plot had as many twists and turns as the maze featured in the story, and once I neared the climax, I could NOT put this book down. If you like fairy tales, fantasy with suspense, romance, and dragons, I recommend this clean read for ages 12 and up!" 

The book is listed as #1 in the Firethorn Chronicles, and this reader is looking forward to the next one!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Fun Steampunk Romance!

The Book Dragon recommends H. L. Burke's fun steampunk romance series about reformed cat burglar Nyssa Glass and has given each of the three books 5 claws!
Book 1: Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors

My 5 star review: "I had NO idea what to expect with this book, but *wham* the story gripped my throat at the beginning and didn't let go until the final page. I love the title character, her mentor, and the computer she befriends in the deliciously creepy mansion. Lots of twists and turns in the plot, and riveting suspense. Highly imaginative and fun to read. I wanted to buy some goggles like Nyssa's, and she had some cool tools! I look forward to the next in this new series!" 

Book 2: Nyssa Glass and the Juliet Dilemma 

My 5 star review: "Having read book 1 of Nyssa's adventures, I looked forward to continuing her story. This one is a non-stop tale of suspense, cool gadgets, mysterious antagonists, and I loved the continuing interaction between Nyssa and Ellis. It's fun to journey with two smart, quirky young people. I alternate between gasping over their peril and smiling at their budding love. I recommend this series for anyone who likes urban fantasy/steampunk, adventure, suspense, and romance. Waiting for #3!"

Book 3: Nyssa Glass and the Cutpurse Kid 

My 5 star review: "Another great episode in the Nyssa Glass series! I love the blend of danger, romance, and the unexpected in this story. Nyssa and Ellis grow more and more "real" and this reader grows more and more fond of them. The new characters are delightful, and the details of the new setting are gritty and realistic. There are so many great lines, it makes me want to learn how to "highlight" on my Kindle! I hope there are more in this series! And I wish I could try on Nyssa's cool goggles!"

The Book Dragon and I sure hope there will be more in this great series!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Monday Book Review by the Book Dragon: Compelling Christian Fantasy with Dragons!

The Book Dragon recommends Jaye L. Knight's Ilyon Chronicles, a highly original and compelling Christian fantasy series with dragons with an overall rating of 5 claws!

Prequel Novella: Half Blood
My 5 star review: "I read book 1 RESISTANCE before reading the prequel, but it will work either way. This was a powerful story, tightly focused on the title character, Jace. My heart hurt so much for him as he tried so hard to hold onto a speck of hope in a hopeless situation. A power reminder to not judge on appearances but look into the heart, and have faith and trust in God."

Book One: Resistance
My 4 star review: "This is a thoughtful and compelling story with wonderfully developed characters in an interesting fantasy world. The best thing about this book was the encouragement for believers to stand courageous in the face of persecution, and the most powerful scene shows exactly that."

Book Two: The King's Scrolls
My 5 star review: "This second book in the Ilyon Chronicles is even better than the first. The stakes are high, and the emperor will stop at nothing to find the King's Scrolls. New characters, both endearing and traitorous are introduced, and best of all there are dragons! My favorite aspect of this book is demonstrating through the suffering of the characters that Elom (God) is ever near and He will find a way to fulfill his will, even when lives are changed forever and all hope seems to be lost."

Book Three: Samara's Peril
My 5 star review: "This series continues to imbed itself in my heart. The characters feel like family, and I ache for their trials and disappointments, and rejoice in their triumphs. They continue to grow, sometimes in unexpected ways, and this world feels real. Without giving away too many details, I just want to commend Ms. Knight on the powerful redemption scene that brought me to tears. Reading it was even more powerful and personal than what happened in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Bravo! I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series...."
I read on Goodreads that the next book is titled Exiles, but it has not been released yet. I think it's really special that Ms. Knight is a homeschool graduate! And not just because I was a homeschool Mom for 25 years.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday Book Review by the Book Dragon: Romance & dragons!

The Book Dragon recommends Shari L. Tapscott's Eldentimber Series and has given Book 1, Pippa of Lauramore 5 claws!
My 5 star review of Pippa of Lauramore: "Romance! Chivalry! Dragons! Fairies! This story is so full of delightful surprises, from laugh-out-loud moments to gasp-inducing danger to heartbreaking encounters, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I love the spunky main character, the unorthodox Princess Pippa, and I felt so sorry for her not being able to choose who to marry. The tournament to determine which of the many competing princes and lords would win that honor was so well done, I can't wait to read it again. This definitely goes on my favorite books of all time list."
My 5 star review of Grace of Vernow (a short prequel to Pippa): "This is a wonderful novelette about a lovely young scholar named Grace. Her situation tugged at my heartstrings, and I read this in one sitting to find out what happened to her. This story makes me want to read the rest of the Eldentimber tales. Recommended for fans of love and chivalry!"

My 5 star review of Anwen of Primewood: "After reading Pippa's and Grace's story, I was anxious to read Anwen's too. At first I was a little nervous, because it took a while to love Anwen's character, since she started out doing something really FOOLISH. But as the rest of the story unfolds, you see her remorse and her single-minded determination to make things right, and I was rooting for her and crying for her every step of the way. There were frightening scenes and other scenes that made me smile, and I especially loved getting to see some of the wonderful characters from book one again--it felt like a family reunion! I love this fantasy world and the loveable characters Ms. Tapscott has brought to life. Can't wait for the next book!"

My 5 star review of Seirsha of Errinton: "Wow, this was one intense story! From what I learned about Errinton from previous books in this marvelous series, I was not surprised. What did surprise me was how attached I became to Seirsha. She and her friends endured many perilous situations, and not all of them came out unscathed. I loved that Pippa and Archer from Book 1 are present through much of this book. And the ending--wow! What an emotional roller coaster! If you like medieval fantasy with dragons, romance and lots of intrigue and danger, you will love this book." (Note: this one is darker than the others)

Audette and Rosie are in my TBR stack. I'm just sorry it appears there will be no more Eldentimber stories after those, so I will savor them. And, of course, all it takes to revisit this intriguing world is to re-read the stories!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Gripping Urban Fantasy!

The Book Dragon highly recommends these grreat books by Annie Douglass Lima, even though there are no dragons! He gives both The Collar & the Cavvarach AND The Gladiator & the Guard 5 claws.
My 5 star review of The Collar & the Cavvarach: "I was excited to receive an advance review copy of Ms. Lima's The Collar and the Cavvarach, and once I began reading I couldn't put it down. The main character, fourteen-year-old Bensin, is a strong and sympathetic character. He's a slave in a modern empire with undertones of Ancient Rome. The collar on the stunning cover is like the one he has to wear. Benson's five-year-old sister does not yet have a collar, though she is also a slave, and his one goal is to free her. He goes to extraordinary measures to try to make that happen, even putting his own life at risk, because he knows the abuse his pretty sister can expect as a slave. The author does a great job of writing about the brutality of this culture without being graphic, so the stakes are extremely high, making the reader more and MORE anxious. This is a MUST read for anyone who likes YA urban fantasy. The way the cavvarach (the hooked sword on the cover) is used in this story, both literally and figuratively, is unforgettable. The other characters, both good guys and bad guys, are three-dimensional and add much to this powerful story of honor and determination against all odds." 

My 5 star review of The Gladiator & the Guard: "I loved Ms. Lima's first book, The Collar and the Cavvarach, and looked forward to reading this one. I was not disappointed! The stakes are even higher, the emotions run the gamut, the nail-biting scenes made my heart beat faster, and I became even more invested in WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! If you like adventure stories with well-drawn characters and many layers of deeper insights into the human experience, you must read this book"

Now I am anxiously waiting for the next book. These characters are real and compelling!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A Jane Austen Fan Fic Fantasy!

The Book Dragon recommends this fabulous book by Laura Hile, and even though there are no dragons in it, he gives it 5 claws!
Here's my 5 star review: "The cover alone made me want to read this book, but the idea of Darcy and Collins switching bodies was so intriguing, I devoured this book. It's so well-written and SO much fun to read this deliciously twisty plot. Hile has stayed true to Ms. Austen's P&P characters but managed to make some of them larger-than-life! I plan to read this one again and recommend it to anyone who loves Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice, or well-researched historical fantasy!"

After reading Darcy by Any Other Name, I immediately watched A&E's Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth (for the nth time).

Get your Kindle or paperback copy at Amazon or the paperback at Barnes and Noble!