Review: The Fool and the Dragonox – by Jacob Gowans

Cover image and summary from

Title: The Fool and the Dragonox: A Prequel to A Tale of Light and Shadow

Author: Jacob Gowans

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 of 5)

Genre / Pages: Fantasy / 43

Summary: Enter Atolas, a world where swords and daggers both extend life and end it, where magic is feared by all but a few, and where feuds and friendships influence kingdoms and courtships. In The Fool and the Dragonox, a prequel to A Tale of Light and Shadow, we meet Henry Vestin, his best friend Ruther, his sister, Maggie, and the love of his young life, Isabelle Oslan, as they begin an adventure that will help define their ongoing friendship.

Cover Art Expectations: I really like this cover. The artwork is fantastic and accurately represents the book’s contents. My expectations gathered from judging a book by it’s cover:

  • Fantasy (yes!)
  • Epic magical creatures (yes!)
  • Young Adult novel (yes!)

Cover art rating: ★★★★★ (5 of 5)

My Review: I have a policy of only reading prequels after having read at least the first book in the series. Like what you read here? Check out my review of book 1, A Tale of Light and Shadow right HERE. I decided not to do a full section by section review, since the prequel itself was more of a novella than a novel, so there’s not a whole lot of content to review.

I’ve read a lot of prequels over the years, but most of them have fallen prey to the Prequel Syndrome, one of the most deadly illnesses known to books (shortly behind Second Book Syndrome and Love Triangle Flu), they just kinda… fall flat, you know? However, The Fool and the Dragonox deftly avoided contracting Prequel Syndrome, and was an incredible novella! In fact, I liked it even more than I liked the first book in the series! I can’t remember the last time I read a prequel that surpassed the series itself in quality.

The characters were engaging, relatable, and fun. The dialogue was witty and realistic, and the plot was masterfully crafted. This novella will have you laughing at every page! To what lengths will a teenage boy go in an attempt to impress his crush? How can he achieve his goal of becoming the youngest Master carpenter? And what about that best friend of whom his parents disapprove? The world was fantastical and magical, and yet the characters remained real, believable, and enjoyable. Did I mention that I LOVED this book? Because I did love it. A lot.

Content Advisory: Sequences of peril and intensity. Teenage drunkenness. 

To Sum It Up: Even if you haven’t read A Tale of Light and Shadow, you will love this novella. It works great as a stand alone story, or as an introduction into the world of Tale. This story was absolutely phenomenal! Everybody needs a little more adventure in their lives – and you won’t regret the 30 minutes or so that you’ll spend reading this novella! I highly recommend this book to lovers of adventure 10 and up.

Review: Chances Are — By Traci Hunter Abramson

Cover image and summary from Image links to goodreads book page.
Cover image and summary from Image links to goodreads book page.

Title: Chances Are

Author: Traci Hunter Abramson

Summary: Maya Gupta is a survivor. After escaping an impending arranged marriage in India as a teenager, she has thrived in America. But now she faces her greatest challenge yet—cancer has invaded her life, and unless she finds a way to participate in a clinical trial in Washington, DC, this may be one battle she loses. When Maya’s best friend Kari offers Maya the lifeline of a place to stay—her brother’s currently vacant DC apartment—the young woman eagerly accepts and goes to meet her fate . . .
Ben Evans’s plans have changed, and he’s heading home for some much-needed rest and relaxation during his off-season in the major leagues. Upon arriving at his DC apartment, however, Ben is shocked to find Maya—his sister’s friend, who he hardly knows—in residence. He soon finds himself trapped between protecting his above-reproach reputation and searching for a way to help a woman he is coming to admire. When Maya’s fight to survive her disease becomes more complicated than ever, she and Ben scheme an extreme solution to her predicament that tests to what lengths they’re willing to go together to save Maya’s life.

Genre/Pages: Sweet Romance/245

Rating: ★★★★ (5 of 5)

My Review:  It’s been a VERY long time since I’ve read a standalone book that I found nearly impossible to put down. Chances Are was that book. With a touching story, realistic and relatable characters, and a battle for life and love, this is a book that you’ll treasure forever. Just, be warned, you’ll need a box of tissues to read it! I planned on reading this over the course of a couple weeks — on again, off again, amidst other books — I sat down and opened the book. 4 or 5 hours later, I read the final page, and gently closed the book and put it down.Book

Plot: Okay, I’ll be honest, 5 chapters in, and I was sure I knew exactly what was going to happen for the entire book. And sure, a few small guesses of mine may have been correct, but, overall… Not just the final destination of the story, but especially the journey of the characters and plot, HOW they got to the destination, was not only largely unpredictable, but enjoyable and exhilarating. It had me on the edge of my seat, it made me cry, grin, squeal, “awwww”, *facepalm*, talk to characters, and basically it just reaffirmed to my family that I am completely crazy. But it was worth it. Sure, it may have had some minor predictable aspects, but overall, it was completely fresh and original. I loved every single second of it. It reminded me of Jack Weyland’s Charly. But, to be completely honest, I think I liked Chances Are even more.

Hero/Heroine: Maya and Ben. I ship it. Hardcore. Within a few pages of meeting her, you grow to love Maya, and feel incredible empathy for her. You find yourself cheering her on. This is no whiny teenage girl. Maya is a fighter.  Ben. He’s not your average fictional romantic counterpart. He’s different, and special. He’s a Major League Baseball player, star on the rise, and not only was he super sweet, lovable, and swoon-worthy, but he was a real person. With real thoughts, problems, and conflicts. I loved it. For me, the most important thing in any book is the character development and relations. I adored all of the characters, and couldn’t get enough of their interactions. Nothing was rushed, surprisingly enough, and nothing ever lagged. Perfectly paced, with plenty of laughs, smiles, and tears. This is probably one of my favorite romance novels ever now. I hope it gets made into a movie.

Content Advisory: It deals very directly with the struggles of cancer and the reality of death. Some kissing.

To Sum it Up: Traci tackled some major issues in this novel, and she came out on top. If you want a nice, heartwarming, novel you’ll treasure for ever, buy your copy of Chances Are today! There’s not a lot I can say without giving anything away, but I promise you, you WILL love this book. Books

Stayed Tuned! Coming Soon: Q&A with the amazing Traci Hunter Abramson!

Something new I’m starting: Using Reenin from Deviantart’s sketch Reading Zone, as a guide, I will determine which Reading Posture I was using during this book. :)

Chances Are Reading Posture: Enthralled Reading — Lost to Reality Reading, depending on the scene, with Tears Streaming Down Face.

Click here to see Reenin's sketch on Deviantart!
Click here to see Reenin’s sketch on Deviantart!

Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it?