Posts Tagged ‘Dragons’

Best ‘New to Us’ Books in 2013: Melissa O’s Picks

December 20, 2013

I read a wide variety of books, both fiction and nonfiction. Ask me for a suggestion and I most likely have read something that would appeal to you. But I still enjoy wandering the library stacks. Stumbling across a fabulous book is like finding a gem in a pile of costume jewelry. Costume jewelry is fun and fleeting, but some books are treasures that become friends for life. These are some of the new friends I made this year. Some have been out there a long time, others are more recent arrivals, but they are all worth checking out and passing along for more to enjoy!

When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It’s Time To Go Home by Erma Bombeck
I am a huge fan of Bill Bryson. One day while lamenting I had read and reread all his books the title of this book caught my eye. Intrigued, I picked it up. I am so glad I did! I laughed so hard I was sore the next day. I found out Erma Bombeck had a syndicated newspaper column and was a well known humorist. Somehow she had flown under my radar. But no more! In this collection of humorous writings she describes her travels around the world with her family.  And a word of warning: I had this on audio book and had to pull over because the tears of laughter were blinding me.

Variant by Robison Wells
If you thought surviving high school was hard, then this book takes it to a whole new level. Benson Fisher thought he was escaping an intolerable foster care system when he made it into the elite Maxfield Academy. He arrives excited for his new future, but something just seems not quite right. And then students start to disappear.  At this boarding school breaking the rules can literally kill you and escape is impossible.

Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb
When I think of dragons I imagine powerful creatures to be admired or possibly feared. This is the first of Robin Hobb’s Rain Wild Chronicles, and these dragons are pathetic and sickly. They cannot survive without their human keepers and as sentiment grows against them they are driven out on a perilous journey. But will they reach safety? Or will the enemies surrounding them doom the dragons forever?

High Country Fall by Margaret Maron
Since I was heading into the mountains for a vacation, I thought what better book to take along then one set in the North Carolina Mountains. And I fell in love with Judge Deborah Knott. Not just because the books are well written, or because the setting was so perfectly described I felt I was there, but because she is so ordinary and believable I felt I was her as I was reading. Judge Knott escapes the pressures of a recent engagement by subbing for a fellow judge in Cedar Gap. There she stumbles into a murder mystery and danger, and what about that handsome DA Lucius Burke! This book is the perfect mix of action, mystery, humor, and romance.

Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
If you thought writing restaurant reviews was easy, just wait until you read this biography!  Ruth Reichl was the New York Times restaurant critic for most of the 1990’s. With humor and wisdom she draws you not only into the restaurant world, but into her world as well. This book is so well written you will feel you can close your eyes and be sitting in a top steakhouse, or a tiny Chinatown sushi bar, eating along with her.

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His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

December 30, 2010

The New Year is right around the corner, and I for one am resolving to have more dragons in my life. If you’re like me and think that historical fiction is good, but historical fiction paired somehow with dragons is great, look no further than His Majesty’s Dragon, the first in the Temeraire series.

The story follows Will Lawrence, a hotshot naval captain close to marrying the woman of his dreams. He enjoys the finer things in life: good conversation, the opera house, and a fine wine. His life is radically changed when his ship captures a French vessel carrying a precious dragon egg as cargo. What struck me here is that the end result of this is not what you might expect. Having a dragon in your life has serious social implications in Novik’s version of early 19th century England, and Lawrence will definitely not be attending an opera any time soon.

Naomi Novik will make you believe that dragons aided England during the Napoleonic Wars. The tiny details she includes, from Aerial Corp military tactics to the paintings of Hell in the Vatican (dragons breathe fire onto the damned), really pulled me into the story. Novik does not just insert dragons into 19th century England; she deftly weaves them into its cultural and historical fabric.

Given that I flew through this book in about six hours one lazy Saturday afternoon, I would say that it is an easy, engrossing, thoroughly enjoyable read. I absolutely love the relationship that is developing between Lawrence and his dragon Teremaire and will continue on to the next book in the series.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.


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