Sunday, November 19, 2017

THE NOTES IN OUR HEARTS | A Thoughtful Short Story ft. Multi-Generation Romances



San Francisco, 1993: Olivia Hartford is a theatre manager on the hunt for a musician-for-hire. But when her grandmother reveals a heartbreaking past and Olivia uncovers a shocking secret, her entire world is tossed on stormy seas. For better or for worse, there is more to this story than she ever could've imagined...

Oh, how nice this story was! The romance was positively charming, and I loved how several generations were pulled in and woven through! And that gentlemanly respect for marriage... YES. It was wonderful, and so needs to be in YA fiction, more! πŸ˜„ Four stars!

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

NOTE: I received a free ebook copy of The Notes in Our Hearts from the author, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

❤, the Book Dragon




She fights for faith. He fights for honor.

I read and reviewed The Sound of Diamonds, book one in the Steadfast Love trilogy, back in April, as a part of The Sound of Emeralds anniversary tour. After thoroughly enjoying it, Rachelle was so kind as to offer me a free ebook copy of its sequel in exchange for an honest review (I'm so sorry this took so long in the writing, friend!).

The Sound of Silver picks up immediately where book one left off. Dirk has just rescu-- well, spoilers, m'dear. Spoilers. πŸ˜‰

Character-wise, loved how much Cade and Ian were further developed! The difference between them was much clearer than before, and I totally ship Cade and Margried and Ian and a certain someone!

However, I felt a great deal less connected to Dirk and Gwyn. I wanted to shake them and another main couple so I could remind them that THEY BELONG TOGETHER! But several of these issues were well resolved, by the end. 😸

Though I didn't love The Sound of Silver quite as much as The Sound of Diamonds, don't let my lower rating deter you! If you enjoy Christian romance set in the late middle ages, then I'm sure you'll enjoy this!

You may want to know: There is some detailed kissing, as well as mild violence.

NOTE: As mentioned above, I received a free ebook copy of The Sound of Silver from the author, in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

❤, the Book Dragon

Friday, September 29, 2017

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



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. πŸ™‚

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

(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. πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ˜„

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


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

(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


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

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

ANTIGONE by Sophocles, Dudley Fitts, & Robert Fitzgerald | An Ancient Greek's Perspective on Loyalty

{Image by yours truly.}

Antigone's brother has died, and her uncle, King Creon, orders his body to be left to the wilderness, untouched by anyone. But when Antigone defies his orders and buries her brother, Creon is enraged... For should Antigone's highest loyalty be to her God? Or should it be to an earthly authority?

Antigone was a fascinating story, though I feel it might've been better performed rather than actually read. The writing style was supportive and direct, much like a traditional script. However, I didn't feel that much personality was added to the characters. Maybe another sign that Antigone was intended to be a play?

By the end, I was rather confused on what Sophocles's perspective was; did he believe one's highest loyalty should be to God, or to their king? Still, I did enjoy Antigone to a point, and it made for an enlightening read. ☺

You may want to know: There is violence, warfare, and murder, as well as several instances of suicide. There were also false idols (since this was written based on Greek mythology); there might've been a stray swear word or two.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

❤, the Book Dragon

Friday, January 27, 2017

SKY'S BRIDAL TRAIN by Margo Hansen | An Adventurous Victorian Romance

{Image by yours truly.}

What intrigued me about this book was the series title, so when I won it in a giveaway, it was the perfect chance to read it!

Sky's Bridal Train tells the story of Sky -- a young woman whose mother has died, leaving her to the reluctant care of her stepfather, an English baron. But when tragedy strikes the family yet again, and a series of last words cause remnants of the past to come rippling back to the surface, Sky finds she must journey to the US. Armed with trunks full of dresses and a bit of spare change loaned to her by her uncle, she arrives in New York with little hope... other than that she has a twin sister, and she must find her.

Although it did contain a few stray clichΓ©s, I enjoyed Sky's Bridal Train!

While a majority of the female characters were portrayed damsels in distress, Margo Hansen's characters were still rather sweet. It took me more than one encounter with the main love interest before I began to appreciate him, but I disliked the villain as soon as we met.

As to the writing style, I'm not entirely sure how to describe it. It was neither particularly good or particularly bad, and while it was more than "just okay," it was just... there.

As to the plot, I was shocked when I read that certain plot twist, at the end! It was a very clever move!

I feel like the setting could've been expanded upon more, with perhaps a little more description of the areas the wagon train passed through, as well as some of the towns and encampments the characters encountered.

Still, Sky's Bridal Train made for a fun, adventurous little read!

You may want to know: There are mentions and instances of murder and violence, as well as kissing. It was also implied as to a few male characters' indecent intentions towards some of the women.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

❤, the Book Dragon

Thursday, January 26, 2017

LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding | A Brutal Allegory of the Evils of Mankind


What might happen if a group of children were trapped on an island? What if they grew restless? What if they lost all sense of order and morality? William Golding answers those questions in his novel Lord of the Flies.

To be completely blunt, I expected to dislike this book much more than I did. And it wasn't so much the way Golding told the story I disliked, as the story he chose to tell.

Golding's writing was actually rather enjoyable, and I might've rated Lord of the Flies three or four stars... if it hadn't been for the content. Without giving away any spoilers, I would like to mention that this book is very disturbing. It's gory. It's strange. And it's something I probably wouldn't have read, had my English teacher not assigned it to the class.

But, I can see some ways in which this might be considered a classic. Golding's writing is descriptive and detailed, and though at times I skipped whole paragraphs due to such, Lord of the Flies is an extremely well-thought book. However, due to the negatives mentioned above, I would not recommend this.

You may want to know: There are several instances of swearing and taking God's name in vain. There is also quite a bit of violence and gore.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

❤, the Book Dragon

Sunday, January 22, 2017

PRIDE & PREJUDICE by Jane Austen | A Regency Tale of True Love & Social Standards

{Image by yours truly.}
(3-4 stars)

The BBC miniseries remain, to this day, some of my favourite Jane Austen adaptions. Thus I was rather saddened when I first cracked open Emma to find it not at all to my liking, and soon after began Pride & Prejudice to find it much better, but still with its dull bits.

For those of you who are unacquainted with Pride & Prejudice, it follows a year in the life of Elizabeth Bennet, a young woman of marriageable age who hails from a very poor (and rather silly) family. Determined to marry a man who is both sensible and wealthy, she finds herself turning down proposal after proposal from unwelcome suitors... but very soon learns a lesson in love and understanding.

I had hoped to fall head-over-heels-in-love with this book... But alas, it was not meant to be.

Austen's prose was witty and poetic, but not quite to my liking. I found myself lost at times between the pools of words and stray commas.

The love story and the characters, however, surely made for a legend. Pride & Prejudice certainly has the structure of a classic, with all its silly, wonderful, and romantic parts. Mr. Darcy (though the portrayal of his character at the beginning did him no justice) was such a gentleman, and Elizabeth was absolutely perfect for him.

For those who enjoy classics, I would recommend this. For those who do not... Well, I'd still recommend it, even if just for the sake of reading it. πŸ˜‰

You may want to know: There is very mild kissing, as well as a few stray swear words and uses of God's name in vain. There are also some implications that hint at indecency between an unmarried couple.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

❤, the Book Dragon

Friday, January 6, 2017

WAKING UP by Ted Dekker | Finding Yourself Through Christ


Most essays aren't page-turners. Most essays don't hold my attention for very long. This essay was different. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, reading it all in one sitting.

Ted Dekker's Waking Up is a personal story of his childhood at a boarding school in Indonesia, his journey to being published, and his search for acceptance in this life. Using direct yet imaginative allegories, Ted paints an image of how our relationship with God should be.

The first half of this book was probably my favourite. Ted's intense, addictive writing drew me in from the first page, and though it was still incredibly written the whole way through, I did lose a little bit of interest. Maybe it was because I was being told less of how to do something, and more of what to do? I'm not entirely sure.

Still, Waking Up was an amazing read. Though it did not dive into God-Christian relationships as I would've liked, there were some very well-thought points. One of the those that stuck with me the most was the reminder that God loves us in the way that He asks us to love others: Unconditionally, mercifully, trustingly.

Waking Up is a short and enlightening little read that I highly recommend. ☺

You may want to know: There is the brief mention of cannibals.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

❤, the Book Dragon

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Est. 2016

Merikthorne Library was established November fifteenth, 2016.