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review 2017-07-31 00:03
Dragon Rose (Tales of the Latter Kingdoms #2) by Christine Pope
Once Upon a Rose: Two Complete Novels: Ashes of Roses and Dragon Rose (Tales of the Latter Kingdoms Book 5) - Christine Pope
Rhianne Menyon is just months away from her 20th birthday and as the eldest sister, she is due to marry. Rhianne however is far more interested in painting in her fathers pottery shop despite the fact that isn't suitable work for a woman than tying herself to a man.  
 
Marriage as it turns out is the least of Rhianne's worries. One night she dreams that the dragon who rules the castle high in the mountains has put out a banner signalling that it is now the duty of the town to provide him with a wife. Given that there will be 100 young women in the lottery, Rhianne believes that the odds of not being selected are in her favor. When Rhianne's engaged best friend is selected in the lottery, given her lack of prospects, Rhianne decides to take her friends place.  This could very well be a death sentence but the 1000 gold coins that will be paid to her family will keep them in comfort, even if it does land her in a cold grave.
 
I'm all for fairy tale re-tellings because the good ones are creative and add something new to a story that a reader is overly familiar with. As you may have guessed, Dragon Rose is a version of Beauty and the Beast.  Unfortunately however, Pope adds very little to the story to distinguish it from the original . There isn't a tea cup named chip or excessive singing but it's just as saccharine as the Disney version. The changes are so insignificant, it's enough to make me wonder why Pope bothered at all.  Obviously, Rhianne is now dealing with a dragon instead of a beast; however, this change adds nothing to the story and feels random for the sake of random.  
 
Theran (the dragon) acquired this condition because he told a young woman that he wasn't into her and she responded by taking her life.  What Theran didn't know is that the young woman's father was a mage. The mage decided to punish Theran by turning him into a dragon until he could find a woman who could see through the horror of his being to who he truly is.  What is the moral here? In the original, the Beast was turned into a beast because of his mean and horrible behaviour; it was a teaching lesson.  What exactly did Theran learn from being turned into a dragon for five hundred years? Theran's mistake was simply not being into someone, that's it.  
 
You would think that given the boring way in which Theran became a dragon that we would at least have an interesting reveal but you would be wrong.  Pope drops it all in the last few pages of the novel, once he is cured by seeing Rhianne's painting of his pre-cursed self. This is particularly irksome after Theran went on a big rant about how they aren't living in a fairytale and that Rhianne cannot simply change him back with a kiss.
 
 
 
 
Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/07/dragon-rose-tales-of-latter-kingdoms-2.html
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review 2017-07-17 01:12
Ashes of the Phoenix (Phoenix Rising #1) by Jess Haines
Ashes of the Phoenix - Jess Haines
Lyra runs a magical book store - despite having no magic herself. Still, she thought she was well protected against most of the tricks wizards can pull
 
Until a man stole one her more valuable books
 
And turned her into a bird. Neither of those are things she’s willing to let go
 
 
This book caught my attention because I haven’t seen a lot of phoenixes in the genre. And a book where the main character spent it entirely as a bird is definitely incredibly different and a completely novel concept. Things like this interest me as it points to an author thinking so far outside of the tropes we’re used to having
 
It’s also really well done - I can see this as the struggles a human would have when forced into such an alien body they don’t know how to pilot.
 
The world setting also is highly promising. Not just phoenixes and demons but a definite range of magic, magical creatures and big differences and implications with which with a clear rich and involved magical world.
 
The concept of the phoenix is also really original and curious - even if it’s only fully realised at the end of the book which is epic and is the main thing about this book that really drew me to wanting to see where this is going. There is a foundation for an absolutely awesome series here - so much can be developed in so many amazing ways
 
I did have an issue though - beyond the complete erasure of POC and LGBTQ people and any other minorities.
 
Unfortunately I kind of feel like a deadline was looming and the author had to get this book to the publisher like yesterday because it feels vaguely unfinished.  I know less is more (except when talking about bacon, of course) but in this case I could have used some more expansion
 
As I said, this book is here to introduce a new world, a new concept and a whole load of new characters. Which is great - and it does a good job of beginning to introduce these people, these concepts and this world (and I’m intrigued) but not enough for me to get fully invested in them (especially the characters). Everything, the world building, the creatures, the monsters, the magic, and the characters (definitely the characters) could use a bit more to get me invested in them

 

 

 

 

Read More

 

 

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/06/ashes-of-phoenix-phoenix-rising-1-by.html
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review 2017-07-08 22:43
Ashes of the Elements by Alys Clare
Ashes of the Elements (Hawkenlye Mystery) - Alys Clare

Series: Hawkenlye #2

 

I was disappointed in this installment. The solution to the mystery involved a lot of new age stuff with twins and mind readers and I just wasn’t impressed. It also wasn’t entirely clear but a point of the plot hinged on missing “undergarments” which, it being 1191, sounds like the author might have been thinking with a modern mindset although perhaps I’m wrong. I’m not giving up on the series though and plan to read the next one.

 

I read this for the booklikes-opoly square Main Street 11 (from the July 4th free move) “Read a book…that was written by an author who was born before 1955". Alys Clare (Elizabeth Harris) was born in 1944. At 265 pages, that’s $6 for my bank, bringing my new total to $190.

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review 2017-06-02 19:58
Ashes to Asheville
Ashes to Asheville - Sarah Dooley

I absolutely loved this novel. It was fun, entertaining, captivating and it was delightful. It was a journey that had me turning the pages so fast, it was over before I knew it.

 

It was fun in the way that sixteen-year-old Zany and twelve-year-old Fella took off with Mama Lacy ashes on a mission to fulfill her last wishes by scattering her remains where she wanted to be. Entertaining because this mission involved many people, where they meet a police officer, where Zany drives a semi-truck, where they go shopping filling up a cart to the top and it didn’t cost them anything, where the conversations are endless and I learned a great deal about these young girls and their lives. It was captivating as I couldn’t put this novel down as the opening pages started with Zany snatching Mama Lacy off the mantel and the girls jumping into Mrs. Madison’s car. Haberdashery is making noise out in the yard and they can’t take him back inside for fear that they will wake up Mrs. Madison and blow their cover, so inside the car he goes, they now have a dog along on their trip. There is talk of a Mama Shannon amongst the girls, this woman I don’t know anything about but as the conversation continues I realize that she is Zany’s mother and that she loved Mama Lacy. Mama Lacy was Fella’s mother and she loved Mama Shannon. The four of them used to live under the same roof but that was before cancer took Mama Lacy away and that was before Mrs. Madison took Fella away from her remaining family. I love listening to the girls and their spunky conversation in the car. Fella is hoping that Zany had a plan when she picked today to start off on this trip and she does have a plan, to get the ashes to Asheville but it all the incidentals along the way that cause the glitches for the girls. It was delightful as it was an enjoyable read: it was exciting, it was comical at times and a very interesting read. What a fantastic novel, a good feel book for me. I highly recommend this novel.

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text 2017-05-31 01:05
Undecided on Paradise Pier 30
World Without End - Ken Follett
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
The A.B.C. Murders (Hercule Poirot, #13) - Agatha Christie
Ashes of the Elements - Alys Clare

Help!

 

As part of my weekend rolls, I landed on Paradise Pier 30. At first I thought the easiest thing would be to read a book that has more than 555 pages, but the one that I was thinking of (that I have a paper copy of) is a thousand page brick to lug around: World Without End by Ken Follett. The others are all ebooks, and although I'm pretty sure they'd all qualify, I'm not sure I want to use them for that square.

 

So I tried paging through books tagged as "suspense" on GR to see if anything was on my to-read shelf and it looks like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson is an option since it's currently available at my library. Most of the other options that were on my shelves I've already read.

 

Most mystery books should probably have a twist but it's a little hard to tell in advance. If it's not too much Poirot in a row, I could try The A.B.C. Murders or I could try another mystery like Ashes of the Elements by Alys Clare.

 

So, would anyone care to weigh in? Should I go for the $10 prize or stick to something a little less weighty?

 

Edit: My other long but less weighty choices:

The Lamp of the Wicked - Phil Rickman  Cibola Burn - James S.A. Corey  Dragonfly Falling - Adrian Tchaikovsky 

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