Sunday, April 28, 2019

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A fun and heartwarming Texas romance

The Book Dragon has finished Tamie Dearen's Wrangled by the Watchful Cowboy, Book 3 in the Sage Valley Ranch clean romance series, and gives it 5 claws!
My review: "I don't read many straight romance novels, but I'd read several by Ms. Dearen and loved them, so when I saw she had a Texas romance (with bull riding, even), I had to give it a try. I'm SO glad I did! The characters are so real I wanted to hug them (well, all except Jessica's ex-boyfriend Parker). The details put the reader on the ranch, and one can even smell the coffee and taste Nanna's breakfast tacos! There is drama and comedy in equal measure in this delightful read, and it makes me want to read the rest in the Sage Valley Ranch series, all clean romance by five different authors. This standalone book 3 is guaranteed for all readers of clean romance. Whether or not you're a Texan, you'll cheer for Jess and Cord and all the loveable characters in this installment."

Monday, April 22, 2019

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A mind-bending magical romp

The Book Dragon has finished Spindle (Two Monarchies Sequence #1) by W. R. Gingell and gives it 4 claws!
My 4 star review: "Having read a previous book by this author (Masque) in which I found her prose sparkling and her characters delightfully quirky, I wanted to try this one, which seemed to be a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. There is a curse, and the main character Polyhymnia (Poly) is awakened after sleeping for 300 years by the kiss of a handsome....enchanter named Luck. There the resemblance to Sleeping Beauty ends. The story is as weird as Alice in Wonderland in places, and so I almost put the book down (I've never liked that story), but because Poly's plight was so sympathetic, and Luck was so strange, I pressed on, and I'm glad I did. I prefer my fantasy more straightforward, but the strength of the two main characters, along with a cast of memorable minor characters, carried this story. The author is very talented at writing descriptions and brings the reader into the story. I'm still confused by some of the magical situations, but that is probably just me. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a mind-bending magical romp with a strong dash of romance."

Monday, April 15, 2019

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: Gritty, realistic fantasy set in historic England

The Book Dragon has read Elfling by Corinna Turner and gives it 5 claws!
My review: "4.5 stars for this gritty and realistic fantasy set in historic England. The MC Serapia captured my heart in the heartbreaking opening scene. Her struggle to survive on the streets after her mother's death makes her strong but doesn't destroy her fiercely loyal and loving heart. Once she finds her father and the love she'd only dreamt of, everything is again threatened by a monstrous evil, and Serapia's toughness and tenacity learned on the streets becomes vital as she embarks on an impossible quest to find healing for her father's body and salvation for his soul. The many flashbacks of her time with the elfin were a little distracting and felt like a second narrative, but they were a clever way to show how Serapia's memories manifested themselves in unexpected bursts. The climax nearly stopped my heart, it was so intense. I would rate this book PG-13 for the violence, although it never went over-the-top, considering the subject matter. I loved the dragonets and only wished to see a glimpse of the larger dragons. Recommended for older teens and up!"

This book is featured at Catholic Teen Books, along with Ms. Turner's other YA books.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A perfect finish to an inspiring YA series!

The Book Dragon has finished 3 Things to Forget, the fourth and final installment in the Bird Face Series by Cynthia T. Toney and gives it a resounding 5 claws!
My 5 star review: "Having read the first 3 in the Bird Face series, I was eager to read this last book (but grew sadder and sadder as I neared the end, realizing this was the last book). Wendy's growth throughout the series has been so satisfying to watch, and her empathy and capacity for deep friendship is showcased against a backdrop of beautiful Alaska. As with the others in the series, the author writes honestly about the struggles as well as the triumphs of young people. In Book 4 the reader spends time with deaf teens, an adopted teen desperate for love, as well as advancing Alzheimer's in Wendy's beloved surrogate grandmother. All the elements, along with Wendy's volunteer summer job working with wildlife, combine in picture-perfect finish to a wonderful, inspiring series. Highly recommended!"

This book, along with the others in the series, are featured on Catholic Teen Books.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Monday Review by the Book Dragon: A chilling science fiction story

The Book Dragon has read Ashlynn's Dreams by Julie C. Gilbert and gives it a resounding 5 claws!
My review: "This is a stunning debut novel cleverly told in journal entries, which adds to its authentic feel even though it's science fiction in a contemporary setting. If the story had been written as a more traditional narrative, the horror of the situation and the terror experienced by the genetically-modified children would have been difficult to present as a "clean read." In this format, the suspense and drama is actually heightened and made this an unforgettable read.

"The title character, Ashlynn, has been raised as Jillian and had no idea she was created in a test tube until she was kidnapped at age 12, along with her babysitter Danielle, by the scientists who designed her and her "siblings." The details are realistic, and the reader feels tremendous empathy for Jillian, Danielle, and the other children. Moral issues are brought to light and make the reader wonder what would YOU do in a similar situation. Though not a comfortable story, it resonates deeply and will make me think for a long time. Although it's the first of a series, it does have a resolution, but the knowledge that Dr. Devya is still out there and Jillian probably hasn't seen the last of him will make this reader want to continue and find out what happens next....Recommended to readers who like thoughtful science fiction will find this story compelling."