Friday, September 29, 2017

CLOAKED by Rachel Kovaciny | A Captivating, Old West Retelling of LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

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★★★★★

A story of love. A story of fear. A story of hope. A story of courage.

Have you ever read a book that makes you crave an adventure? Perhaps a story that sparks a desire for travel, or independence? A story that simply sweeps you off your feet, whisking you away and inspiring that sense of wanderlust? For me, that story was Cloaked, by Rachel Kovaciny.

Mary Rose arrives in Wyoming with few expectations; all she knows is that she's to meet her grandmother, an estranged -- and possibly wealthy -- member of the family. But when a striking accountant enters the scene, Mary Rose realizes that her newfound adventure was merely a mirage... and she might just need to flee for her life.

Oh, this book was wonderful! Like the sunrise on a chilly spring morning, this book held such a glow of warm familiarity. The writing style was direct and to-the-point, but also maintained a bit of elegance. The characters were all so real: Mary Rose with her curiosity, Jubilee and Hauer with their friendship and laughter, Mr. Linden with his charms...

Cloaked was so amazing! I highly recommend it, and I would read it again in a heartbeat. ❤

You may want to know: There are some implications, including brief and un-descriptive "touching" and a forced kiss. There is some mild violence, as well as a very light romance.

NOTE: I received a free ebook copy of Cloaked from the author, in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

❤, the Book Dragon

Friday, June 23, 2017

COILED by H.L. Burke | A Sweet, Mythological Romance

{Image provided by H.L. Burke.}

★★★★☆
(3.5 stars)

Greek mythology retold. A giant, man-eating serpent. A rejected princess with a hideous curse and an astounding gift.

From the moment I first heard about H.L.'s upcoming novel to the moment I saw the cover, I knew this was a story I wanted to read.

A retelling of Eros & Psyche, as well as a Beauty & the Beast retelling in its own right, Coiled is the story of Laidra -- a girl forced into hiding by her own family, treated as if she was the child who was never meant to be, and thrown into political schemes as bait for a monstrous snake.

The characters -- Calen is so adorable! Which is saying a lot, because I hate snakes. But (thankfully!), Calen was no problem for me! He was such a cute, lovely little ginormous guy! 😊

ZEPHIA. She was probably my favorite character in the entire book! A clever, powerful demigoddess, daughter to a wind god? Yes, please!

And Valen. Uhg, Valen. He and his father are both such terrible people that I love/hate it. The pair of them would both, without a doubt, qualify for Paper Fury's "best worst villain to hate".

The romance -- The romance was definitely sweet. As the story progressed, however, I felt like the affection between Laidra and Calen was starting to be displayed a little too physically. A good dose of innocence in the romantic area would've been preferred, but otherwise, the romance was considerably clean. (See notes below.)

The writing -- H.L.'s voice is fast-paced, but not too much -- just enough to keep the story going at a likable, adventure-ready pace.

The setting -- The mythology elements shown through just enough to deliver an allegorical tale evidently set in a fantasy land inspired by ancient Greece. And, being the Greek mythology nerd that I am, I loved uncovering the subtle little references to characters such as Theseus and Perseus!

The plot -- About halfway through, when a certain unfortunate event occurred to a certain primary character, an unforeseen journey came into view. I tend to prefer romance in a story when it's "all or nothing", so I personally would've liked that journey to... not exist? It was certainly enlightening and relevant to the story, but I would've preferred to focus on the relationship between the main characters.

This made for such a lovely read! I'd recommend this to anyone searching for a sweet, romantic read with mythological elements thrown in. 🙂

You may want to know: There are some brief and rather undescriptive references to nudity, as well as strong suggestions/implications. There is violence and references to warfare, along with the involvement of "gods", drinking, magical elements, and kissing. The "ba-word" is used once.

NOTE: I received a free ebook copy of Coiled from the author, in exchange for my honest review.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

❤, the Book Dragon

Monday, June 19, 2017

Breaking News: The Book Dragon's Reviews Have Drastically Decreased in Size!

Hello, my friends!

As you may have noticed, it's been a few months since I last posted, and my posts' number is rather few and far-between.

I've still been rating books, and you're more than welcome to send me a friend request on Goodreads! My reviews have been much shorter, though -- typically just a few words in summary of my thoughts.

Towards the end of last school year, I started to realize just how much time it takes for me to write a normal/decently sized review -- at least an hour, sometimes more. Between blogging elsewhere, writing, acting, and still being in school (and attempting to maintain a life... somewhat), writing full reviews is no longer at the top of my priority list.

But please note that I still write small reviews. I don't always take the time to include content, but if a book I read is bad or strictly contains inappropriate content, Lord willing, I will mention that.

And that was the sole purpose of this blog -- to provide Christian readers with more reading material. But, the more involved I've become with the author community, the easier I've found it to find clean reading material (just take a look at my oversized TBR pile).

Granted, I plan to still post here with full reviews from time to time. Lord willing, there will be another review here by the end of this week. But I fear that my posting here will be rather lacking -- at least for a while.

Again, if you'd still like to follow my reviews, just shoot me a request on Goodreads! I love connecting with friends and fellow readers. ❤

Thank you for being you! ❣ God willing, I'll see you all soon!

❤, the Book Dragon

Friday, April 21, 2017

THE SOUND OF DIAMONDS by Rachelle Rea Cobb | A Stunning Rogue Romance & Redemption Story

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★★★★☆
(4.5 stars)

Nay. Hatred would not bar my heart against pain. Hatred would only bar my heart against healing, redemption, love. ~Rachelle Rea Cobb, The Sound of Diamonds

I love a good rogue romance. Unfortunately, most of those romances I hold so dear rarely come true, so to put it (*coughs* I'm looking at you, Guy and Marian). But this... My dear friends, this was so good.

Gwyneth Barrington is on the path to becoming a nun. Living in a convent in Leiden, the Netherlands, she suffers from the memory of her parents' murders, and their promise for her happy future.

And then the assumed murderer shows up, claiming that Leiden's convent is under attack, and he wishes to bring Gwyn to safety.

If only it were that simple.

I've been interested in The Sound of Diamonds for a while, now. That gorgeous title, that intriguing cover... As Prince Edward from Disney's Enchanted would say, what's not to like? So when a review opportunity came up, I pounced. 😉

The first chapter begins with action and adventure. Gwyneth, a young, headstrong noblewoman. Dirk Godfrey, a redeemed rogue with a scandalous past. Two of Dirks closest friends, a strict nun, and a sweet postulant.

The characters -- One of my biggest pet peeves in religious romance novels (and probably the main reason I don't read more romance, period) is the helpless (and very beautiful) Mary Sue and the slightly flawed (yet still very handsome) Gary Stu. I love how Rachelle took these stereotypical characters and tossed them out the window. 😄

We have a feisty daughter of nobility (with glasses! *cheers*), a God-pursuing son of a lord and lady, and a cast full of fun characters.

My only complaints in regards to the cast were Cade and Ian, both of whom seemed very similar (though the latter got much less "screen time"); and the villain, who, though his reasons seemed comprehensible enough, felt like he needed a little more motivation.

The romance -- I'll start by saying that the side-romance (between a certain friend and postulant *winks*) was super sweet. There was what was possibly an implication of sorts later on in their relationship that seemed a bit out of place, but it was left open to interpretation.

But the main romance. Our hero and our heroine. (*smiles*) Even though I know the answers, I'm still tempted to scream at them, "What took you so long?!" ♥

The writing -- I've yet to experience a novel so wonderfully historically accurate, yet so well written at the same time. Never in my life have I heard of the Dutch Revolution, but Rachelle brought it to life in wonderful ways, with her little phrases in late-Renaissance Dutch and Spanish.

The setting -- I'm not big on description; in fact, if there's more than one sentence of description in a book, that's the part I usually skip. However, I did feel as if this area could've done with a tad more development.

The plot -- Fantasy lovers, take your favourite fantasy quest -- journeys across seas, through forests, to castles, you name it... Now apply it to a historical romance, with an emotional murder mystery along the way. (*nods*) Remarkable, isn't it?

So, yes, my dear friend -- go read The Sound of Diamonds! Even if you're not big on historical romance, go do it. You won't regret it. ☺

You may want to know: There is violence (murder included) and kissing, as well as a few slight implications.

NOTE: I received a free ebook copy of The Sound of Diamonds from the author, in exchange for my honest review.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

❤, the Book Dragon

Saturday, March 18, 2017

ENJOY THE POODLE SKIRT by Kate Willis | A Delightful Little Short Story

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★★★★☆

Kate Willis's middle-grade short story, Enjoy the Poodle Skirt, is the tale of Canary and her siblings, who have gone to spend the week working at their newlywed aunt's vintage diner. But when an oddly titled map finds its way into Canary's hands, she is determined to find its owner... and solve the mystery that is at large.

My, what a fun, fast-paced, delightful little tale this was! It brought me back to summers in which my bestie and I would go to my grandfather's house and ride quads, practice archery, go jar "fishing," and, of course, eat ice cream! (Now I want to write a short story of my own... and wear a poodle skirt!) Four stars!

You may want to know: This book was completely clean, and seemed void of anything questionable. :)

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

❤, the Book Dragon

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

FOR ELISE by Hayden Wand | A Delightfully Light-Hearted "Spook" Novella

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★★★★★
(4.5 stars)

When the narrator of For Elise buys a supposedly haunted mansion, he is disappointed to find it, well, lacking... at least in the sense of inspiration for his novel. But the tides turn when an invisible, Frank-Sinatra-loving grammar Nazi finds a red editor's pen and takes to revising and commenting on his work.

I adore Hayden Wand's books, and For Elise was certainly no exception! With a rich, classic prose, Hayden delivers a fun and light-hearted novella on relationships of all sorts. The characters were positively delightful, each with their own little quirks. Though I was unsure where the plot was headed, at first, the characters soon took me by the hand and pulled me into a mysterious, boundless world of friendship, love, romance, and redemption. Go and read For Elise -- you won't regret it!

You may want to know: There is some reference to drinking (and, possibly, getting drunk).

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

❤, the Book Dragon

Sunday, February 12, 2017

SUNLIGHT & SHADOW by Cameron Dokey | A Retelling of THE MAGIC FLUTE

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★☆☆☆☆

I hate not finishing a book, but I particularly hated to do it to this.

A retelling of The Magic Flute, Cameron Dokey's Sunlight & Shadow had so much potential. And as the story started out, I thought it might be a new favourite. But with each new chapter and each new point-of-view, my interest declined.

Sarastro was too dramatic. Lapin talked too much. There was quite the overdose of random, unnecessary backstory. Tern put too much faith in his heart. And then, there was Gayna.

Though Papagena is one of my favourite characters from Mozart's opera, the book-version of her was nasty. Seventy pages in and she hates Mina? For no apparent reason?

The thing that irked me the most about Sunlight & Shadow was just how seriously it took itself. The Magic Flute *is* a comedy, after all. Had there been less drama and whatnot, this could've been a remarkable story.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

❤, the Book Dragon

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Est. 2016

Merikthorne Library was established November fifteenth, 2016.