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review 2017-03-24 18:50
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent - Marie Brennan

As part of my Once Upon A Time springtime festival, I decided to finish the Lady Trent series. This has been a favorite series of mine, although I fell behind after the second book. The fifth and final book in the series, Within the Sanctuary of Wings, will be released on April 25, which gives me the opportunity to basically read the series right through in the next month.

 

I started Once Upon A Time by rereading the first book and reacquainting myself with Isabella. A Natural History of Dragons covers Isabella’s childhood and her early obsession with dragons. It is told in retrospect, by Lady Trent as an elderly woman looking back over her life – this one represents the first in her series of memoirs. By the time she is writing this book, she is a grande dame of society, no longer subject to its strictures by dint of her accomplishments.

 

Brennan does a fine job establishing Isabella’s character as a child who is deeply attracted to biology, to dissection, to “natural history,” which is really the Victorian name for “biology” at a time when society frowned upon girls being interested in intellectual pursuits. While she has constructed an entirely fantasy world, it is firmly based in the history of this one, with Scirling as a stand-in for Britain, with all of the shibboleths of Victorian culture.

 

One of the complaints that I read in other reviews of this series was that it was slow-moving, and that there weren’t enough dragons. I understand that criticism. If the reader is looking for a series like Eragon, or even Temeraire, where there is dragon/human interaction and overt magical intrusion, this is not that series. Essentially, Brennan has taken a character like Freya Stark or Isabella Bird and transplanted her into a world where dragons are real. This book shares much more with Amelia Peabody than it does with Harry Potter.

 

This first book in the series also describes Isabella’s first adventure to Vystrana, which is Eastern European in custom and description – a place like Hungary or the Czech Republic. Isabella is really hitting her stride during this expedition and maintains her adherence to many of the upper class customs and niceties of Scirling. She is under the protection of her husband, Jacob, and they are newly married, their explorations thus being both draconic and connubial. Isabella is not an easy wife, and Jacob is uneasy in his decisions. As was the case during that era, Isabella went directly from the protection of her father to the protection of her husband, and her unwillingness to be so limited is evident in both of those relationships.

 

I don’t want to spoiler too much, so I’m not going to say more in this review. Once I get to book 2, the major spoiler of this book will be revealed, but for now, I will leave it at this. This was a 4-star read for me.

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text 2017-03-21 21:00
Stone of Farewell / Tad Williams
Stone of Farewell - Tad Williams

It is a time of darkness, dread, and ultimate testing for the realm of Osten Ard, for the wild magic and terrifying minions of the undead Sithi ruler, Ineluki the Storm King, are spreading their seemingly undefeatable evil across the kingdom.

With the very land blighted by the power of Ineluki’s wrath, the tattered remnants of a once-proud human army flee in search of a last sanctuary and rallying point—the Stone of Farewell, a place shrouded in mystery and ancient sorrow.

An even as Prince Josua seeks to rally his scattered forces, Simon and the surviving members of the League of the Scroll are desperately struggling to discover the truth behind an almost-forgotten legend, which will take them from the fallen citadels of humans to the secret heartland of the Sithi—where near-immortals must at last decide whether to ally with the race of men in a final war against those of their own blood.


As I look back on the reading experience for Stone of Farewell, I wonder exactly why I enjoyed it so much? I mean, not an awful lot happens. Simon returns to being a pouty, immature boy more often than not. There’s an awful lot of walking, while keeping a look-out for the bad guys. In fact, you could probably sum up the whole book in one sentence: Most of the good guys get to the Stone of Farewell.

I guess what made it worthwhile for me was learning quite a bit more about the Sithi (Williams’ version of Elves). Plus getting some back-story for Ineluki, the Storm King, to find out what turned him into the vengeful creature that is threatening all of Osten Ard. There’s also a peek into Troll culture and a love interest for poor, patient old Binibik.

The character who really gets left in the lurch in this volume is Miriamele, King Elias’ daughter. I would be reading book three regardless, but it is her fate that really is pulling me along at this point. I must know what happens!

This is pretty standard fantasy fare and if you enjoy high fantasy, you are likely to enjoy the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series. Those who don’t like elves, trolls, and magic swords should definitely pass this series by!

Book 250 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy reading project.

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review 2017-03-12 13:30
Crossroads
Crossroads (Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club... Crossroads (Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club) - Chantal Fernando

I think this is going to be the last book of this series that I read (if it's not already the last book of the series). I started off with high hopes for this book but the more that I read the more disappointed in it I became. 

 

This book very much follows the formula of the previous books in the series. There starts off with some big dangerous thing or event that draws the characters together. Once that gets resolved, fairly too quickly, our couple spends some happy time together until something stupid years then apart again. In the beginning of the series this worked for me but now I kinda hoped for something different.

 

This book is for you if you don't mind instalove. I, however, find it unrealistic and annoying. Both characters experienced instalove but I do have to say that Jo was a little bit less annoying about it than Ranger.

 

I was hoping for more from this and was disappointed to find just the same old story. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the galley. 

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review 2017-03-11 14:39
solid four star read.
Dragon Shifter Romance: Playing With Fir... Dragon Shifter Romance: Playing With Fire: Dragons Of The Darkblood Secret Society (Paranormal Shapeshifter Romance) - Meg Ripley
This is a cute, easy read, 194 pages, but doesn't seem that long. Jason is a dragon shifter. His new client needs funds, and those funds could come from a big fan of the mythical creature. But first, Jason has to get through the man's daughter, Shayne. But Jason and Shayne have met before, he knew her as Mary. Will she help?? Like I said, cute easy read. Told from both Shayne/Mary point of view, we don;t get Mary for a while, and I was beginning to think it would be single point. But its not, and I was happy about that! I do think more could have been made of Vincent, and what he did, and why, but for a fairly short book, it gets to the point. I did like that Jason is able to help his client, and save the amusement park. First I've read of this author, it looks like my to-read list just got a whole lot full of dragon shifter books! And y'all know how much I does love me some dragons! I like the way Meg thinks, plots and tells hr story. solid four star read. *same worded review will appear on Goodreads, Booklikes, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble**

 

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text 2017-03-07 18:43
Last Ride by Chantal Fernando 99 cents
Last Ride (Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club) - Chantal Fernando

Sin, president of the Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club, doesn’t mind that things have quieted down since he got married—with Faye at his side, he’ll never be bored. Plus, they’ve got their little girl Clover to keep them on their toes. But when new MC brother Talon needs help rooting out a traitor in his old club, Faye’s the first to volunteer. She’s more determined than ever to get involved and put her law degree to good use, but Sin soon finds himself riding to the rescue. Because he’ll kill anybody who touches a hair on Faye’s head—if she doesn’t get to them first. One way or another, tonight’s going to be someone’s last ride….

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