Contents of blog copyright Book Dragon's Lair 2009-2023
I've been gone a while. I started reading fanfiction to escape and I got sucked in an abyss.

I have no idea if someone else is hosting similar challenges. I just grabbed some of what I have hosted before.

Here's to a happy year of great reading
Jan2023: Not much has changed. Writing a fanfiction now O_o as well as reading but I bought 7 new books in December and hope to get those read soon. Crossing fingers about adding challenges (late!)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

ALA's 2007 list of banned/challenged books

1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell reviewed
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

2. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

3. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language

4. The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint

5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
Reasons: Racism

6. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,

7. TTYL, by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
Reasons: Sexually Explicit

9. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

10. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky reviewed
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

The Perks of being a Wallflower

The Perks of being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky
An Original Publication of MTV Books/Pocket Books
February 1999
213 pages

my library copy is smaller than trade size at 7 x 5.

According to the American Library Association, more than 400 books were challenged in 2007. This book made the Top 10 list.

Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

I'm not sure what to say about this book. Each chapter is actually a letter written to a friend by the main character, Charlie.

"August 25, 1991

Dear friend,
I am writing to you because she said you listen and understood and didn't try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have..." and so it starts. Charlie is in High School. Remember what it was like? The awkwardness? Wanting to belong? Following along because you thought you had to? This, to me, was real. I wondered if I knew a kid like this when I went to HS.

As for the reasons for the complaints:

Homosexuality - one of Charlie's friends is gay and kisses him. I don't remember any other parts where this comes up. Maybe there was a "that guy's cute" comment or something.

Sexually Explicit - well, yea, this is high school and the kids are experimenting with rubbing and stuff. Charlie gets asked to a dance where he know the couples have sex afterwards and he asks his older sister what he needs to do and she explains, in detail, how to bring a girl to orgasm without penetration. There are mainstream romance novels out there that are much, much worse, and HS kids are reading them!

Offensive Language - isn't this a part of "life" now. It isn't any "dirtier" then mainstream movies.

Unsuited to Age Group - This is a book about high school students why shouldn't high school students read it?

Did I like it? Yes.

Would I recommend it? I'm not at the high school libraries but there were a couple of kids at the middle school I think would enjoy it, and could handle it.

Would I let my kids read it? Yes.

Read in January, reviewed in February

Serial Readers Challenge

Carpoolqueen (formerly known as Beth) is hosting a Serial Readers Challenge I just signed up because I've already read 8 "serials" this year!

1. Heralds of Valdemar trilogy by Mercedes Lackey
(started The Heir series by Cinda Williams Chima)
2. Mage Winds trilogy by Mercedes Lackey
3. The Last Herald-Mage trilogy by Mercedes Lackey
4. The Mage Storms trilogy by Mercedes Lackey
(started The Immortials quartet by Tamora Pierce)
5. Circle of Magic quartet by Tamora Pierce
6. Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce
7. Protector of the Small quartet by Tamora Pierce
8. The Circle Opens quartet by Tamora Pierce
9. Sweet Seasons quartet by Debbie Viguie
10. Donita K. Paul's Dragon series

Check the sidebar to see if I've got the series review up, I'll make note if they're done individually.

Dang it! NOT trilogies if they're part of a larger series. I'd have to read ALL of Valdemar for these to count. I need to go over the rules again. I KNOW that my Prey Challenge fits this but do the quartets?-yes

Banned Books Challenge

The Pelham Public Library, in Fonthill, Canada, is issuing the third annual "Banned Book Challenge." Please see their blog, Fahrenheit 451: Freedom to Read for details and to sign up. The challenge is to read banned books between February 22 (Freedom to Read Week in Canada) and June 30. The blog has many links to lists!. The sign-up link asks you to say how many. If you want, just pick one.

The American Library Association also has information on banned &/or challenged books. The USA's Banned Book Week is at the end of September.

I feel it is very important to read what others want banned. You may not want to read it but don't tell me that I - or my children - can't! I'm sure there are many more titles out there that never got enough "official" complaints to make the lists. Keep reading!

I've already committed to read nine banned/challenged books during 2009 for another challenge so I chose to only read four during this challenge time period. I've read one so far, And Tango Makes Three, in January. See my sidebar for a review link.

The Fantastical Challenge

Heather over at The Nattie Challenge has come up with a challenge that is perfect for me. It's only for February and March so it will be a challenge for me to REVIEW, not just read, the fantasy books.

I didn't find out about this one until today but I love fantasy and have already read several books in February, I thought I'd better sign-up!

Mage Winds trilogy by Mercedes Lackey
The Last Herald Mage trilogy by Mercedes Lackey
The Mage Storms trilogy by Mercedes Lackey
Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
Circle of Magic quartet by Tamora Pierce
Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce
Protector of the Small quartet by Tamora Pierce
The Circle Opens quartet by Tamora Pierce
There's No Such Thing as a Dragon by Jack Kent
Heartmate by Robin D. Owens
The Dragonling & A Dragon in the Family by Jackie French Koller

In January, while not part of the challenge, I read the following titles:

Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton
The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
and by Mercedes Lackey - By the Sword, Take a Thief, Exile's Valor, Exile's Honor, Heralds of Valdemar trilogy

See why the challenge is perfect for me? And I've got 4 more I'd like to read this year, maybe I can bump them up the list and get them read & reviewed in March.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Protector of the Small

Jonathan and Thayet from the "Song of the Lioness" quartet are now King and Queen of Tortall. Jon knows girls can be knights, he went through training with the Lioness. He even sends out a decree that girls may try out for their shield, just like the boys.

Now it is ten years later and Keladry wants her shield.

This is a four book series (First Test, Page, Squire, Lady Knight) and Keladry does get her shield. The problems for her start when the Training Master gets the letter from her parents. He thought that "our noble parents loved their daughters too much to place them in so hard a life" and wants the girl to be on probation her first year. The Lioness is excited another girl wants to try and is ready to help with knowledge and friendship. Too bad the training master has one more condition. The Lioness must not have any contact with the girl. "You rarely deal with the lads, my lady. If you help the girl, it will be said that you eased her path in some special way. There are rumors that your successes are due to your magical Gift."

Once she reaches the castle, her room is, um, a little messed up, while she and her father are talking with the training master. Bullies, fights, weighted equipment and the choice between a bruiser of a horse with a hard mouth and mare that should have been retired for a mount. And to top it all off, the training master calls her probationer while calling the boys by their names and she thinks the Lioness hates her since she hasn't even caught a glimpse of her.

The good news is that she makes friends. We know she makes it through the year but she does so with honor. Plus, someone wants her to succeed. Keladry receives anonymous gifts that are exactly what she needs right then. And that's just her first year.

The other three books deal with the remain three years of Page training, waiting for a Knight to pick the girl squire, four years of Squire training and her first duty as a Knight. There is a kidnapping, "flying lessons" that are really lance practice, bandits, earthquakes and a baby Griffin. An animal that leaves a magical mark on you so that when the parents find you, and they will, they can kill you for stealing their child. And to top it all off, people still are not happy that "a girl" wants to be a Knight.

At the end of Squire, she enters the "Chamber of the Ordeal". The Chamber is supposed to temper you or crack you open. Some leave, refuse their shield and some die inside. Twice during one year the door of the chamber opens to bodies and once opens to a boy wanting an audiance with the Crown - never a good thing. Kel gets a "you'll do" and then a job to do. The war on the northern border isn't going well because of huge spider-like metal monsters. The mage responsible for making them is using children's spirits and the Chamber wants it stopped. It is Kel's job to stop it.

Book 4: Lady Knight
The war continues and while some are still not happy about another girl knight, she has passed all her exams and survived the Chamber. Too bad she's in charge of the refugee camp and not in the thick of battle where she wants to be. She has nightmares about the mage, Blyce, and how can she possible look for him if she's in charge of the Refugees?

This quartet is set in the same universe as the "Song of the Lioness" and "The Immortals" quartets so you'll see some of the same characters but they are a stand alone series.

First test was just right but Page was too short for me when it covered three years. Squire coves all four years of her squire training and it packs a lot of activity into it's 380 pages.

I don't think Lady Knight covered more than a couple of years in it's 409 pages and it does leave me with questions and hope for another series.

I'm pretty sure this the fourth time reading the series. I have no problem recommending this to a girl or a boy - there are enough battles - as young as 9. However, Kel may start the series at 10, but she does grow up. Including her reaction to breasts and her monthly cycle. It may be a little young for a "worldly teen" but talk them in to reading them at home so their friends don't see them read it if you have too, they're a great story!

The Circle Opens

This is another quartet and is the sequel to "Circle of Magic", I recommend you read my review of the first quartet then come back.

After such an intense year, the four settle down to actually learn properly. That part happens in between quartets and it might be fun for us if Ms. Pierce wrote another book. THIS quartet is four years later. They are 14, full mages in their own right but are still students and three are traveling with their teachers.

Book 1: Magic Steps
Sandry is living at Discipline with Lark while the others travel when she gets word that her uncle has had a heart attack. The book starts out with her going horseback riding with her uncle, who is a Duke, so his people can see he is alive and doing well. While out she sees a boy dancing in the sand over a net.

How do you convince a family that has always been in police work that dancing is magic and the magic testers missed it? That even if it isn't police work it's still important?

Dancing, bully cousins and murder. Oh, and one rule they were not told when they received their credentials. If you find someone with magic you must find them a teacher in their field or teach them yourself.

Book 2: Street Magic
Briar is traveling with his teacher, Rosethorn. She's helping the farmers in the area develop better seeds and improve the soil. Briar is at a healer's Temple, boosting the power of their herbs and medicines as well as making new ones. His job is finished and he takes a walk in the shopping district. Lots of gangs but the shops are supposed to be neutral territory. Briar stops to look at some stones and sees a girl polishing them - with magic. When he questions her, she runs. Now Briar hears the rule, find them a teacher or teach them yourself.

Briar's "student" is a street kid and he must convince her she has magic. There is a mage in the city with the same kind of magic but he doesn't want a student and has an attitude about it. "What are they going to do about me when they are so far away". The gangs and a patron become involved with a kidnapping and this is when you see that being able to grow a plant with magic means you can really grow a plant. And that a street rat can become respectable without losing what was learned in the streets.

Book 3: Cold Fire
Daja finds two students, twins, in the household where she and her teacher, Frostpine, are staying. She also finds a hero. A firefighter who goes into burning buildings to rescue people trapped inside. Now, remember, this isn't a firefighter like we have, this man drapes a wet blanket over himself and that's all the protection he has! Daja decides to make him a suit out of her living metal to give him more protection. She starts with the gloves to protect his hand and forearms. With a firebug in a city of wood, he'll need all the protection he can get.

Luckily for Daja, one twin's magic is cooking related and another is carpentry. The parents have a whole list of teachers to check out. Daja may not need to teach but each teacher asks her to teach the meditation part. Without meditation, the students will have a had time controlling their magic.

Book 4: Shatterglass
Tris's teacher is at a conference of mages and has dragged Tris along. There are practices in the city she doesn't like, a serial killer that the police are calling Ghost and she too finds a student. A glass blower makes a living dragon. Tris finds him when the magic embedded in neighboring stalls is drawn to his creation. Imagine a 14-year-old scolding a man, late 20's?, about working magic without a protective circle when the man doesn't know he has magic big enough to need a circle. Yep, Tris has found her student. Actually, the man takes matters into his own hands and goes to the mage offices to find a teacher. After jumping through hoops all day, he's asked to come back. He loses his temper loud enough the mages there for the conference come out. Niklaren Goldeneye is one of them. Lightning has become mixed up with the little seed of glass magic the man had and has not only increased his power, glass and weather mages can't work with him because they don't know lightning. Guess who does?

All of the books ended well but I have always thought a follow-up series would be wonderful. Even if it was just a larger book telling us about all four. Imagine my pleasure when I discovered one was planned. The Circle Reforged book 1, Melting Stones, came out last October. (dang, one a year means late 2011 for the fourth book!)

Read in February, reviewed in February.

Check out amazon for more info or to purchase

Circle of Magic

This is a world where magic works. Be it a cook who never burns her food or a carpenter who never misses the nail! Magic is such a part of everyday life that children are tested for it. Small and big, magic is real but sometimes it doesn't work like it is expected to and is missed...

Niklaren Goldeneye is a Great Mage who can "see". He finds four older children, each at the brink of disaster, rescues them and takes them to Winding Circle. A teaching facility and community.

The first book introduces us to how the four are rescued and end up at Discipline Cottage, in Winding Circle, with Lark and Rosethorn as teachers. The other three books continue their adventures and covers a year. The four become friends, surviving earthquakes, cave-ins, plague, pirates, betrayal, and a runaway forest fire. That's a lot of adventure for a year!

Sandry talent is thread, Daja's is metal, Briar works with plants and Tris the weather. Sounds simple, even mundane but nothing about these four is close to simple.

All four books should be read in order, each one mentioning what has happened before and smoothly transitioning between books. These could have been published in one binding as "Circle of Magic" but I feel the publisher went for "look it's short, not scary at all" since these came out before Harry Potter.

I don't have graphics of all four of my personal covers and my scanner is unavailable, here is a couple of covers, the other two "match".

Read in February, reviewed in February.

The Different Dragon

The Different Dragon
by Jennifer Bryan

Two Lives Publishing
September 15, 2006
32 pages

reading level: ages 4 - 8

from the back cover: "This bedtime story about bedtime stories shows how the wonderful curiosity and care of a little boy, with some help from his willing mom, can lead to magical and unexpected places. Join Noah and his cat, Diva, on this nighttime adventure and you too will leave with an unforgettable new dragon friend!"

I bought this because it was listed as recommended after I read "And Tango Makes Three" but mainly because it's a children's book about dragons.

The reason for the recommendation is that Noah has two moms. They get less than two sentences worth of mention but your kids might ask about it.

The story is cute, a little boy asks his mom to tell him a bedtime story. He meets "the meanest Dragon in all of Dragon County", fire-breathing and everything. The twist is that this dragon doesn't like to be mean. I'll let you read to find out how Noah and his cat help.

This one is fun and I do purchase children's books for me but this one would have made a better library book.

50 print books read!

I finally caught up on writing down titles and have read 50 print books so far this year. Yes, in less than 2 months.Also, you should notice I said print. I also read ebooks but am not sure where I am on titles yet. I should let you know that I don't sleep well nor do I work outside the home. Plus, my kids are over 18 so I'm not doing school stuff for them or running around to music lessons or sports practices!

31. The Summer of Cotton Candy
32. Mistaken Identity
33. Bookends
34. Wild Magic
35 - 38. Circle of Magic (quartet)
39 - 42. Song of the Lioness (quartet)
43 - 46. Protector of the Small (quartet)
47 - 50. The Circle Opens (quartet)

How perfect is that? Finish the series & hit book 50 too!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I should join a review challenge!

I'm doing well with choosing books for my challenges. It isn't too hard considering one is to read 100 or more books this year. My problem is reviewing! I'm getting better so there is hope for me. I have one ARC to read and review and I've set a deadline on myself for Feb 28. Also, I did the "NaJuReMoNoMo" (National Just Read More Novels Month) for January and would like to have the rest of them reviewed by Feb 28.

I may have read almost 8,000 pages in January but if I'm going to get all my reviews done, I need to stop reading!

There is a pile of 18 books waiting for review (good heavens, one is a library book!). I am going to continue to cheat and review the Valdemar trilogies as one so that cuts out four reviews right there. I may have several reviews up but most don't fit with my deadline. I did make the deadline today so I should be okay.

Books read for NaJuReMoNoMo
1. Married in Seattle reviewed
2. The Spy Who Came for Christmas
3. Dashing through the Snow
4. The Warrior Heir reviewed
5. The Wizard Heir
6. People of the Book
7. Corporate Passion
8. Gone Surfin'
9. Eye Contact
10. The Perks of being a Wallflower
11. Endymion Spring
12. Beautiful Disaster
13. The Elf and Shoemaker
14. Familiar Vows reviewed

Maybe this isn't something that worries you and it didn't use to worry me either but if I want people to send me books to review, I'm got to be on top of my reviews! The good news is that the book that must be reviewed will be reviewed before the others :-)

Married in Seattle

Married in Seattle
Debbie Macomber

January 2009
384 pages (mass market paperback)
Romantic (Contemporary)

This is two PREVIOUSLY RELEASED titles: 1. First Comes Marriage and 2. Wanted: Perfect Partner.

With that in mind. Woo Hoo, what a romp! In First comes Marriage, grandfather tries to arrange a marriage. Yep, good ol' gramps has chosen his business partner for his only grandchild. His was an arranged marriage and they would learn to love each other. Too bad gramps didn't talk to the groom or the bride!

In Wanted: Perfect Partner, a mother comes home from work to find out that her daughter has placed a personal ad on her behalf. Not only that but has found the perfect guy and she's having dinner in two hours, "Will you please go get ready, there isn't time to argue about it".

I missed both the first time around and am glad they were re-released. They were quick and fun with enough twists to keep you reading.

Christian Reader Challenge

MizB challenges you to read Christian books. Fiction, non-fiction, doesn't matter, although the Bible counts as one book (I'd count it as 2, old and new). See the blog for more info or to sign up. Hurry! The challenge ends April 30

This one ends to soon for me but I do have several titles that fit so I'm going to do this one unofficially and keep track for the year. I hope to get 10 or more in.

1. Mistaken Identity (completed Feb 12)
Where Hearts Prosper didn't finish for before 4-30
2. Counting Stars (completed Mar 5)
3. The Summer of Cotton Candy (completed )
4. The Fall of Candy Corn (completed April)
5. The Winter of Candy Canes (completed April)
6. The Spring of Candy Apples (completed April)

edited 4-2: dang, I may get 10 in for the year but I'll be doing good to get 3 in for the challenge!

5-20: Yea! The Sweet Seasons series saved me on this one!

The Last Herald Mage

This is another Valdemar series. Arrows of the Queen was the first book published and a character in them now has his own series.

Vanyel has never fit in well at home. He would much rather spend time with his music then being "beat upon" by the weaponsmaster. His father finally has enough and sends him to Haven hoping his Herald aunt can "make a man out of him" for his father fears he is fey. The other boys are jealous because they think it would be the most wonderful thing to be sent to the capitol where the Guard may take notice of them thus earning a position. For Vanyel it is punishment.

The trilogy starts with him at home and we learn how awful it is for him. We end up in the capitol city where his dream of becoming a Bard are crushed. We're with him for his first love & first heartbreak. We're there when he is chosen. We learn of his wild talent and his trip to the Shin'a'in for help. He starts having dreams of a dark master.

All this happens in book 1, Magic's Pawn.

Book two, Magic's Promise, has Vanyel going to another country to protect a newly chosen from another Herald (unheard of!). Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg of trouble that Vanyel has found and must fix.

Book three, Magic's Price, has a King near death, Karse attacking one border and "forces led by a master of dark forbidden magic" getting ready to attack on another border.

Through out these books, Vanyel is lonely but afraid that anyone close to him can (and does!) be used against him, even his parents. He tries to stay friendless, not even letting those in the captitol know how close he is to his nephew. It is his nephew that forces him to open up to another love, Stephan. His father was right. Vanyel doesn't like girls but will his "friend" ever be welcome at his father's home? How can Vanyel keep all he loves safe? Who is the dark master? What threat does he bring and how can Vanyel counteract it?

I enjoyed these very much. True, the main character is gay but the sex is all behind closed doors. I don't know if the series is listed as teen or not but I would have no problem with my 5th grader reading this if he has the skill/interest.

Mistaken Identity

I read a book earlier this year called Eye Contact and thought it was a mother's worst nightmare, getting a phone call from your child's school and hearing "I'm sorry, your child is missing from campus". Then I read Mistaken Identity with the late night/early morning phone call, and "there has been a terrible accident" and "I'm sorry, your child didn't make it".

Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope

Don & Susie Van Ryn and
Newell, Colleen & Whitney Cerak
with Mark Tabb

Howard Books
March 2008
288 pages
Non-fiction > Biography/Religious
(I finished this book Feb. 12)

from the back cover: "Five lives were lost in a tragic accident involving a Taylor University van, and one young woman, severely injured and comatose, was rushed to the hospital.

Five funerals were held. Families, faculty, students, and communities grieved their losses and joined in prayer and hope as the one young woman, Laura Van Ryn, fought for her life in a hospital bed. The national news spread the story, and people everywhere shared the grief and the hope.

Five weeks passed for the Cerak family. Believing they had buried their daughter, the Ceraks clung to their faith and worshipped God through their tears, learning to look forward with hope to an eternal reunion with their lovely daughter Whitney. they spent weeks of morning and grief surrounded by loved ones, slowly moving toward healing.

Five weeks passed for the Van Ryns. Keeping a constant bedside vigil over their precious daughter Laura, they sat and prayed and hoped. Confronted with tubes and surgeries, vital signs and healing signs, they rejoiced at each tiny advance toward recovery. Their friends and church and family members, along with a steady stream of students, celebrated with them each of Laura's healing.

And then the shock!

"Okay, Laura, I would like you to write your name for me," the occupational therapict said.


Make sure you have a box of tissues nearby when you read this one!

This book drew me in and kept me hooked. I finished it in one night and then just sat there. I didn't go check my children's beds but I thought about it. The faith and compassion of these families would be unbelievable if I hadn't see something like it for myself. The way the community of Fort Worth came together for the Van Ryn family is next to miraculous.

A friend suggested they start a blog to avoid so making so many phone calls. Soon, comments were being made from far off places. Prayers were being said by people they didn't know and faith was being restored in some who followed the blog. It has since been shut down but I think I would like to have been one who followed, who cheered and cried and prayed. Getting it all in one night (and not ALL of it) was a bit overwhelming.

Taylor University is a Christian school and the families involved quote scripture and hold family prayers. It didn't detract from the story, quite the opposite for me, just a heads up.

This book was written in response to intrusive media. "The story has been told, leave us alone". The paperback is scheduled for release late next month.

Started but unfinished books

I've started two books this year that I haven't finished.

This one was a library book that I checked out because I liked someone's review. Our library allows you three weeks and I didn't start it for two then couldn't get into it before I had to return it. Maybe I'll try again later.

The second book was purchased because it was part of Lori Foster's SBC Fighters series. My Man Michael, book 4. I throughly enjoyed the previous three books in the series and I did read the back. It seems Michael was involved in an accident that shattered his leg and he won't be able to fight anymore. Friends come to visit & the head of SBC offers his a job but Michael doesn't want to train, he wants to fight. Along comes a pretty girl who offers him a chance to be whole & fight again. The catch? It's in 2220. Yep, this one is time-travel. The problem is that time travel was not mentioned on the back cover and the category on the spine is Romance not Time Travel Romance

I got to chapter 4 before I put it down. I'll try again later, might as well - I bought the book - but I hope Michael's attitude changes. See, he wants the pretty girl and she repeatedly told him that "breeding" was not allowed for her, she was one of the warriors but he wouldn't agree to go with her without a real kiss - not those little ones he kept sneaking.

Grrr, what part of "I'm not allowed" does he not understand. Granted, he does not believe she's from 2220 but still, no means no.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Mage Storms trilogy

Book 1: Storming Warning
mmp released Sep 1995
432 pages

Book 2: Storming Rising
mmp released Oct 1996
416 pages

Book 3: Storming Breaking
mmp released Oct 1997
464 pages

This may look like a complete series but it is actually part of Valdemar and you will understand what's happening if you've read previous books.

In this series, Ancar of Hardorn is dead and the Empire is moving in to take over the leaderless country. Karse and Valdemar form an uneasy alliance because the Empire is not the only problem facing their countries.

Long ago and far to the north, lived two mages. One didn't like to be the equal of anybody, he wanted to "rule the world" and the two fought with magic. The "good" mage decided to take out both of them and unleashed a magical weapon. Unfortunately, the shock wave it caused is coming back through time and disrupting magic, changing animals and the very land.

This sounds a bit far fetched and not very exciting but it is exciting and it makes sense. First, two countries that have been enemies for so long, with prejudice and mistrust on both sides, must work together. The waves are thought to be a new weapon of the Empire and the mages of both countries, as well as some unlikely new people (Griffins anyone?) must discover what the waves are, how to avoid the danger areas, and figure out how to STOP them from happening. Help comes from several different mage schools that don't usually work together, the Prince-Consort's home country sends help and an unexpected source comes forward.

There is court intrigue as well as stupidity as a small group races against time to save the world. The story goes from country to country and group to group to let you know what is happening. I was sad to see it end and want just one more book to tie up a couple of loose ends for me and find out what happens next.

I've already read these twice, maybe three or four times, and will again in a couple of years.

The Summer of Cotton Candy

picked for Reading through the Seasons challenge

The Summer of Cotton Candy
Debbie Viguie
A Sweet Seasons Novel, book 1

May 2008
teen fiction
224 pages (trade size: 8.4x5.4)

Candace and her best-friend-since-kindergarten have plans for the summer before their senior year. Plans that DO NOT include working. However, Candace's dad says get a summer job because I won't be giving you any money this summer. Yikes! To make matters worse, the best friend is wealthy and is willing to pay for EVERYTHING if Candace doesn't work.

Candace applies at a local amusement park and gets the 2nd to last job available and it seems that everything goes downhill from there. So many things but finding out what happens & how she gets out of trouble is part of the fun of this book.

Candace, who hates to be called Candy, gets her name tag on her first day of work and it says Candy. Well, Sue's name tag says Mary so at least they kind of got it right. Candace is a church-going girl and her schedule doesn't always allow her to attend services with her family. Church going but not preachy or scripture quoting, just a nice girl who has some bad things happens and prays to God for help.

This book is fun as well as funny. There are many growth experiences and Candace is not the only one doing some growing. This is book one in a series of four and I would read the rest even if they didn't fit in so well with my challenge.

The main character maybe be going into her senior year of high school but I'd let my 5th grader read it if they had the skill. Candace dates, even kisses, but the book is so clean and sweet I'm going to loan it to some church friends & my MIL.

Books read in January

Wow, 7,463 pages read in January! At a 240 daily average, that's almost a book a day. Should I be worried?

New-to-me (print) fiction: Married in Seattle, The Spy Who Came for Christmas, Dashing through the Snow, The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, People of the Book, Eye Contact, The Perks of being a Wallflower, Endymion Spring, Familiar Vows, The Different Dragon

New non-fiction: Dewey The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, and Tango makes Three

Re-reads: Arrows of the Queen, Arrow's Flight, Arrow's Fall, Lost for Christmas, Exile's Honor, Exile's Valor, Take a Thief, By the Sword

electronic titles (new & re-reads): Falling, Beautiful Disaster, Quarterback Sneak, At Long Last, Corporate Passion, Gone Surfin', The Prince Who Never Smiled, The Elf and Shoemaker

now, I've got to get all of these reviews and linked!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

In my mailbox!

What do you think of when someone says "soft spot"? A baby's head? Pillow? Mossy spot? Fellow Marine? What!

Yes, stepping on what remains of one your buddy's is "stepping on a soft spot". I received an ARC from St. Martin's Press (thank you Library Thing!) of "Soft Spots A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder". One man's maddening journey through an indifferent system that promises to care for veterans, but in fact abandons many of them.

Review to follow...

In accordance to the FTC guidelines, I must state that I make no monetary gains from my reviews or endorsements here on Book Dragon's Lair. All books I review are either borrowed, purchased by me, given as a gift, won in some kind of contest, or received in exchange for an honest review.