Monday, February 18, 2019

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A Purr-fect Fantasy Collection for Feline Lovers

The Book Dragon has read the fantasy anthology Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales, 16 short stories collected by the Fellowship of Fantasy and gives it 5 claws!
My review: "4.5 stars for a fun anthology centered around cats. The stories are as different as cats, so there will be one to suit most any reader's taste. Some I liked more than others, but nearly all of them made me wish I had a cat, even though I've never had one! My favorite stories were "Destined for Greatness," "The Honorable Retrieval of Miss Sunbeam Honeydew," "Whisker Width," and "The Cat-Dragon and the Unicorn." But "The Magic of Catnip" was clever, and "Death Always Collects" was especially poignant, even without reading the author's note. Recommended for fantasy lovers, whether or not you are already a cat lover! (This book can make you one, in that case.)"

Monday, February 11, 2019

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Knights and dragons and princesses...and zombies?

The Book Dragon has read Knight's Rebirth by Sarah Ashwood and gives it 5 claws!
My review: "4.5 stars for one of the most unusual and compelling stories I've ever read! Not your usual fantasy, but the two main characters became living, breathing people to me (well, one was breathing for some of the story, but I guess it wouldn't be a spoiler because he begins his story by telling you he's dead). If you like knights and dragons and princesses and a quirky love story, and adventure all over the place, including monsters and curses and mythology and zombies and life-and-death situations, you'll love this memorable tale!"
Here's a better image of the cover. Only 99 cents on Amazon!!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A Highly Original Snow White Retelling

As part of a special blog tour for Fantasy Month, all of Book Dragon's reviews this month will be fantasy books! Check out this site for more info on this special event.
The Book Dragon has read Lea Doue's fascinating Mirrors and Pearls: A Retelling of Snow White (Fairytale Dragon Riders Book 1) and gives it 5 claws!
My review: "4.5 stars for a delightful and highly original retelling of Snow White. I loved the dragons and the pixie and the squirrel. The characters were so much fun, I wanted it to be longer. The ending felt a bit rushed, but don't let that stop you from reading this quirky, magical tale. It's SO much better than the Disney version. Recommended!"
Here's a better picture of the lovely cover!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Fast-paced murder mystery with witty dialogue

The Book Dragon has devoured the ARC of Exercise is Murder, a fantastic new mystery novella by ACFW author Bruce Hammack and gives it a resounding 5 claws!
My 5 star review: "I don't read many mysteries, but I may have to rethink that after reading this unexpected gem. The author's law enforcement experience shines through in this fast-paced, witty story with realistic, flawed, yet relatable main characters, an unlikely team of detectives. Their banter reminds me of Bogey and Bacall, and Max the cat is a stroke of genius. From the opening scene, the snappy dialogue alone grabbed this reader and compelled me to keep reading, and the many suspects kept me guessing until the final showdown. This is an excellent read for mystery aficiados as well as newbies to the genre, and I'm looking forward to continuing this new series to return to the blind, anything-but-washed-up former Houston homicide detective Steve Smiley and his young brilliant partner Heather McBlythe (and her cat)."
Here's a better image of the cover!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Exciting cozy Christian mystery with genealogy!

The Book Dragon has reviewed One Leaf Too Many by Julie B. Cosgrove and gives it 5 claws!
My review: "4.5 stars for an exciting cozy mystery about one of my favorite subjects--genealogy! The characters are living and breathing; the good ones are loveable and the not-so-good ones are appropriately slimy. The plot is a twisty roller coaster ride that makes you laugh out loud, gasp with concern for the heroine and her friends, nod your head in agreement at Shannon's wise words and Chase's level-headedness, and sigh at the MC's stubborn quest for truth and justice that lands her in all kinds of trouble! Recommended for all readers of cozy mystery. If you're not into genealogy when you start reading One Leaf Too Many, by the end you may change your mind!"

Monday, January 7, 2019

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Norse Mythology meets Beauty and the Beast

The Book Dragon has finished When Ravens Fall by Savannah Jezowski and gives it 5 claws!
My review: "4.5 stars for well-written, original, and unusual combination of Norse mythology, Beauty and the Beast, and a feisty talking squirrel I first met in Jezowski's short story, "Well of Fate." The suspense was sustained at a tense level through the climactic scene, and the characters and their situation were clearly and believably written. The themes, which the author elaborates upon in her end note, shine through and strongly gird the story. Recommended!"

Monday, December 3, 2018

The 10 Best Books I read in 2018

This was a milestone year for me. I made it to the big 6-0, which I wasn't sure I would reach, and my family threw a fun party for me, including this AMAZING cake by my uber talented youngest sister.

In that bookish vein, I managed to read more than 55 books, including fantasy (almost half the total), science fiction, historical fiction, romance, nonfiction, and children's (and that doesn't count all the books I've read multiple times to my granddaughter). Out of these, ten rose to the top like fine cream, and it was difficult to sort them into numerical order. I loved them all! Several other 5 star books I read didn't make the final cut, not because they weren't good, but they didn't tug at the heartstrings, like these did.

So here, beginning with #10, are my favorites (and Book Dragon's) for 2018:

10. Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani
This fantasy had an exotic flavor to it, with gritty realism, great suspense, and a plucky main character who managed to get into SO much trouble! I love this author's writing style and plan to read more of her books!

9. The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder
This was a fantastic romp through a quirky, well-imagined steampunk universe. The main characters are unforgettable in this fantasy murder mystery!

8. Secrets: Visible & Invisible by 7 authors of Catholic Teen Books
This is one of the best anthologies I've ever read! Each story is well-written within a wide range of genres, from dystopian to historical fiction to mystery to contemporary.

7. Heartsong by Annie Douglass Lima
Having loved all of this author's fantasy stories, I was reluctant to read her science fiction, but I shouldn't have worried; this is a powerful story of conflict between races from two planets. The alien world is fascinating, and the main character extremely sympathetic and compelling. The "heart song" concept resonated with this reader, big time!

6. The Last Motley by D. J. Edwardson
This is a beautifully written epic fantasy about my new favorite reluctant hero, a cursed child, and an assortment of allies and enemies on their quest to find a way to undo the curse.

5. Common by Laurie Lucking
I really liked this fantasy romance because of the POV character, Leah, who was such an endearing person, I HAD to follow her story and find out if she overcame the unfair situation that befell her!

4. Aerisian Refrain by Sarah Ashwood
I didn't think I'd connect with the main character, who is a world-famous singer, but she was such a real and amazing human being, I was sucked into her perilous journey into a beautiful and dangerous fantasy world. I loved that the magic was tied to music, as well as the Native American elements!

3. The Other Side of Freedom by Cynthia T. Toney
This book has won all kinds of awards, with very good reason. Stellar historical fiction about the struggles of an Italian immigrant family in 1925.

2. The Nameless Soldier by Annie Douglass Lima
Though much shorter than the other stories I've read in this author's Annals of Alasia fantasy world, this is an almost flawless, deeply emotional story of a young soldier's unexpected experiences during an invasion. The reader can FEEL his pain and despair! I connected with him so much! And one line near the end is one of my favorite lines in fiction!

1. Spice Bringer by H. L. Burke
This book is powerfully written fantasy with an Asian flavor, memorable characters, and fantastic world-building. But the thing that makes it one of the favorite books of my life is the connection I felt to the main character, who is living with a fatal disease. She is so honestly written and so strong, she inspired me not to give up in a low point in my life. This book has a powerfully written line that spoke directly to me. For so many reasons, Spice Bringer is my favorite book of the year, and in the top five for my entire life.

I've reviewed all these books here on this blog, and hope you'll give some of them a try. Let me know what you think about these or other great books you read in 2018!