Category: Book Reviews

Cat Got Your Book?

Review of Cat Striking Back

Book by Shirley Rousseau

Review by Rose Booker

Dried blood at the bottom of an empty pool, a series of unexplained break-ins with nothing stolen, and an oversized drainage ditch turned into a tomb: what is one talking tomcat to do? Tom Grey and company discover these and many more troubling signs of murder and mischief in Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s Cat Striking Back.

While on his way to deliver a meal of mice to some hungry kittens, Tom Grey stumbles upon a murder scene. Immediately, he dives into the case to help the police. The premise of the mystery is established by his discovery: no one knows who the murderer or the victim was.

Murphy’s style is engaging and thought-provoking. She lures the reader into believing they have solved the mystery early on in the book. I was so sure of whom the murderer and the victim were that I almost stopped reading. What egged me on were the small clues that the cats stumbled upon. What was that smell that resembled catmint? What in the connection between the murder and the break-ins?

Moreover, I wanted to learn more about each character. Murphy has a way of bringing character’s to life. From Clyde, Tom Grey’s housemate, to sweet cat-loving Charlie, each character feels like someone we all have met at the PTA or football game. These characters are familiar, despite being surrounded by talking cats.

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in puzzle-solving, complex characters, or who simply loves cats.

This review first appeared on Writer Advice’s website.



Hello All!

Been a while since my last post and for that I apologize. Life happens and when it does all we can do is jot down a quick note on some thought that struck us in the heat of the moment (sometimes this is much better than saying that thought aloud among present company). BUT, despite the ups and downs of life I somehow managed to read over the cold San Francisco summer days. In honor of the books that kept my sanity intact among economic woes and daring  journeys across bays, I present to you BOOK REVIEWS!

I wrote these reviews for WriterAdvice, a website that promotes authors through interviews , book reviews, and contest postings. If you’re an author or just simply love books, I highly recommend checking out this website.

Now without further ado, here come the book reviews…in the following posts. ^_^

Book Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Yet another new type of blog post! **le gasp!**

Yes, I am introducing another feature to Dragon’s Lair, called Book Reviews. From what I understand it, they are little snip-bits of insightful reader responses to various books and/or articles. . . or so my educational instructors would have me believe. . . this may change due to various climate related variables (i.e. if I happen to accidentally read something of the same quality as Twilight AND paid for it, expect to have a rant. I’m just being honest, and honesty is the best policy).

Anyway, without further ado, here is the review!

Alan Bradley’s award-winning debut novel, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, is a story about eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poisons and practicing ways of tormenting her two older sisters (the two roads often cross). The story takes place in 1950, when Flavia discovers a dead man and bird whose unfortunate ends are both equally connected to a single stamp. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life,” so states Flavia after the dead man breathes his final breath by her feet.
If that is not enough to hook any reader to this book, I don’t know what is!
Flavia is a witty, intelligent, funny, and charming character that is reminiscent of other famously precocious eleven-year-olds. Those that come most readily to mind are Matilda, Harriet the Spy, Ann from Green Gables, and little orphan Annie. Yet, she has a flavor unlike any other character. Her emotional development and intellectual curiosity combine to create scenes that are both heart-wrenching and thought-provoking. This is particularly true in scenes related to her father and mother: “I gave Father a silent hug to which, although he remained rigid as an oak, he did not seem to object.” Moreover, although in her dealings with death, distance, and danger she behaves with a maturity that surpasses her age group, we are constantly reminded that she is indeed a child. The things she faces are thus real in their potential impact on her. This creates a tension within the narrative that is not necessarily present in other books with child protagonists; a tension that has engaged adults and children ever since World War II. This makes Bradley’s debut novel an instant classic.