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Archive for March, 2016

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The Temperament Scepter (The Aldoras Chronicles – 1) by Allix Booth

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Alexandria Roe’s haunted past comes to life when she turns sixteen. Her hallucinations and fevers spark a premonition of her family’s death. A darkness shadows her, but her struggle for answers lead to more than she bargained. Will she be consumed by her fears or overcome what waits beyond the horizon?

A Dragon Lord from the Northern Isles of Alabass conquers all kingdoms in his wake. He hungers for power, but thirsts for the three amethysts. Each gem’s unique ability is absorbed by the person that wields it. If all three are united, the power will bring to life the scepter, which unlocks the ancient prison. What lies in the depths can only be discovered by the holder of the Temperament Scepter.

Book

My Review

5 stars

This story follows a couple people. Alexandria is 16 years old and was abandoned by her mother just before she was attacked by a wolf. Thankfully she was saved by a family that is wolf blood, an old race that has a lot of prejudice and rumors. But when she is given an amethyst it seems that she can now see glimpses of the future. Then her family is persecuted by the king and they have to move again.

We also learn of Gruil, a king obsessed with riches that has just seen his family killed in front of his eyes that is planning on returning to power. Tallos, a powerful sorcerer that took power away from Gruil and seeks the amethyst. There are others we follow as Alexandria learns of her powers, the story of the amethyst, and those that want the power to control everything.

This is a great story that I got caught up in on the first couple pages. There are several people you follow but the person’s name is listed at the beginning of each chapter so it was easier to keep track of who you were reading about. I felt so bad for Alexandra, the wolf attack has left more than just scars on her body but the loss of her mother marks her just as bad. But I couldn’t wait to read about the sorcerers. They almost seem evil yet when you think about it good things can lead to evil and vice versa.

This is a great fantasy story. I am really curious to see where it goes in the next book. This is one book fantasy lovers need to get.

To purchase The Temperament Scepter make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

I received The Temperament Scepter for free from Polished Pages Editing in exchange for an honest review.

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The Friends We Keep (Mischief Bay – 2) by Susan Mallery

(Excerpt from Goodreads) After five years as a stay-at-home mom, Gabby Schaefer can’t wait to return to work. Oh, to use the bathroom in peace! No twins clamoring at the door, no husband barging in, no stepdaughter throwing a tantrum. But when her plans are derailed by some shocking news and her husband’s crushing expectations, Gabby must fight for the right to have a life of her own.

Getting pregnant is easy for Hayley Batchelor. Staying pregnant is the hard part. Her husband is worried about the expensive fertility treatments and frantic about the threat to her health. But to Hayley, a woman who was born to be a mom should risk everything to fulfill her destiny—no matter how high the cost.

Nicole Lord is still shell-shocked by a divorce that wasn’t as painful as it should’ve been. Other than the son they share, her ex-husband left barely a ripple in her life. A great new guy tempts her to believe maybe the second time’s the charm…but how can she trust herself to recognize true love?

Book

My Review

4 stars

This is the second book in the Mischief Bay series but don’t worry, you don’t need to read The Girls of Mischief Bay first. This story is about Gabby, Hayley, and Nicole. Gabby’s twins girls are about to start school and she cannot wait to go back to work. But it seems that every times she tries her husband is needling her and siding with her step-daughter instead of looking at the big picture.

Then there is Hayley. She desperately wants a baby and can get pregnant. The problem come trying to carry to term. She is obsessed with having her own baby and can’t see what her husband is trying to tell her. Finally, there is Nicole. She has just divorced her husband and finds someone else that is new and exciting.

This is a good story about three women with different events going on in their lives. I had a different opinion for each woman. I felt for Gabby, here she is ready to get out and work again but it seems that Andrew just doesn’t want her to be anything but stuck in the house with the kids. And the issues with the step daughter and ex, all I’m going to say is she is a better person than me.

I admit that I lost my patience with Hayley. She is just so obsessed with having a baby that she doesn’t see anything else and comes across as selfish. I’m sorry to say that Nicole’s story didn’t really interest me that much. This is a good story and I think a lot of people will like it. If you like contemporary romances you will like this book.

To purchase The Friends We Keep make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Susan Mallery’s website.

I received The Friends We Keep for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Fey

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Fey by C.S. Feldman

­­­(Excerpt from Goodreads) Nessa Donnelly never expected to see her estranged and eccentric father again, but a phone call summons her back to her hometown and to the hospital in which the elder Donnelly lies in a comatose state for which his doctors have no explanation. Bit by bit, long-buried family secrets emerge, and Nessa begins to realize that those secrets were kept hidden from her for a reason.

She also realizes that there is something in the woods behind her father’s house that he never told her about, something that can’t be explained.

And she is also not as alone in his house as she thought she was…

Book

My Review

4 stars

Nessa has received a call about her father being very ill so she returns home to take care of him. The hard part is through her life her father has kept her out of everything him and her brother did so there is a bit of resentment. But Nessa discovers a strange wall in the forest behind her father’s house and a strange creature going through her father’s study. She is quickly introduced to the fey and quickly learns that they are making him sick and she will have to suspend her disbelief and anger to try and save her father’s life.

Nessa has not had a bad childhood but it has been lacking. Her father clearly kept her away from the stonework and her brother and father worked. It hurts worse when she learns that her brother died the year before and her father didn’t tell her. Then when she discovers the Eye in the wall her world takes a turn for the worse.

I love stories that include the darker aspects of the fey and this one fits right into that category for me. Everything flowed well and I couldn’t wait to see how the story was going to turn out. The only thing that felt off for me was the very beginning as Necca was packing to leave and the interaction with her husband. Something seemed disjointed with the rest of the story. Having said that, this is a great book and I hope that there will be more to follow.

To purchase Fey make sure to check out Amazon and Goodreads.

I received Fey for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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The History Major

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The History Major by Michael Phillip Cash

(Excerpt from Goodreads) After a vicious fight with her boyfriend followed by a night of heavy partying, college freshman Amanda Greene wakes up in her dorm room to find things are not the same as they were yesterday. She can’t quite put her finger on it. She’s sharing her room with a peculiar stranger. Amanda discovers she’s registered for classes she would never choose with people that are oddly familiar. An ominous shadow is stalking her. Uncomfortable memories are bubbling dangerously close to her fracturing world, propelling her to an inevitable collision between fantasy and reality. Is this the mother of all hangovers or is something bigger happening?

Book

My Review

5 stars

Amanda has woken up with the king of all hangovers. But things are different. Her roommate is a stranger and she finds herself enrolled in a history class even though she hates history. But as a rude guy in a toga starts the class, she finds herself actually participating in the history lessons. Intermixed with that is parts of her own, dark past.

This story was not what I was expected when I started reading it. I thought there was going to be the normal horror aspect since it is by Michael Phillip Cash. But this story is so much more. Amanda goes to a history class that she signs up for and finds herself watching the events take place. But mixed with these stories are those from Amanda’s past. Amanda has a dark past, hopefully she can learn from it and never have to repeat it.

I loved this story. It is short but packs a big punch. It will leave you thinking. This is one book that I think everyone should read, even if it’s just so we don’t fall into the trap of our past.

To purchase The History Major make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Michael Phillip Cash’s website.

I received The History Major for free from Michael Phillip Cash in exchange for an honest review.

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Missing Pieces

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Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

(Excerpt by Goodreads) Sarah Quinlan’s husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.

Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia’s accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack’s past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.

Book

My Review

3 stars

Sarah and Jack Quinlan have been married for 20 years. When Jack was 15, there was a car accident that left both his parents dead. His Aunt Julia stepped up to raise both him and his sister Amy. But there is something about this accident that Jack doesn’t seem to have gotten over. Then they get the phone call from Julia is in the hospital after a bad fall. Both Sarah and Jack leave there home in Montana to return to Penny Gate, Iowa.

Penny Gate is a small town and it seems that there are some things that happened to Jack that are starting to come to the surface. It seems that there is more than a car wreck that killed Jack’s mother and Sarah wants to find out what really happened. Jack is not forthcoming with the information so she has to go digging herself to find out the truth.

When Sarah learns that there is more to Jack than she has known she is rather upset. If he could keep such a secret about his mother’s death, what else has he kept from her? She takes it upon herself to find out what really happens. I do find it highly unlikely that Margaret would just give Sarah the case file like she did, small town or not.

I have to say that I had a little bit of a hard time with this book. I don’t know exactly what it was that bothered me or if it was the overall story. Jack and Sarah don’t seem like a couple that has been together for 20 years. I understand how Jack doesn’t want to relive everything concerning his mother but I have to say that Sarah’s pursuit for the truth and her subsequent attitude kind of bothered me. I understand her wanting to know that truth but she was getting rather annoying about it.

This is not a bad book. I did like the mystery of what happened to Jack’s mother. The dialog is a bit lacking but this would be a good book for a read.

To purchase Missing Pieces make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Heather Gudenkauf’s website.

I received Missing Pieces for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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The Deadly Dunes

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The Deadly Dunes (Mac McClellan Mystery – 3) by E. Michael Helms

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Hours after hiring Mac McClellan to investigate the supposed suicide of her archaeologist brother, single-mom Jessie dies in a car accident. Jessie had just showed Mac artifacts and a copy of a map Jake found, items that indicate Hernando de Soto and his explorers might have camped on Five Mile Island during the winter of 1539-1540. Studying the map, Mac determines the site lies in the middle of a planned resort, The Dunes. Declaring the area an historic site could shut the project down. Suspicions aroused, he forges ahead, even though he no longer has a paying client.

Everywhere Mac turns, greed abounds, and no one he interviews seems innocent, even Jessie’s closest friends the Deckers, who have adopted her teenage daughter. Ron Decker’s construction company is building the Dunes, and he is heavily invested in its success. Then there is the oily son and ex-stripper wife of an old curmudgeon who won’t sell the one lot the project still needs to acquire. Jake’s estranged wife Laurel had plenty to gain from his death, and as Mac continues to dig, he begins to wonder if Jessie herself had more at stake than he was led to believe.

No one is happy about Mac’s persistence, and someone is unhappy enough to crash his truck and frame him for yet another murder. But Mac isn’t giving up, no matter what the cost.

Book

My Review

4 stars

An archaeologist, Jake has been found dead, the police rule it a suicide but his sister, Jessie knows better. Because he was looking for Hearnando de Soto had camped in the same area he was investigating, Jessie knows that it was murder. She calls Mac in to investigate. Mac discovers that a resort is planned on being built in the same area. There are a lot of suspects that seem to have something to gain from this resort. But when they decide to try and take out Mac, things get very personal.

This is Mac’s first official case as a private investigator. But this case is no so cut and dry. Because Jake had some mental health issues the suicide seems to be closer to the truth, but the more Mac digs the more it looks like someone is trying to hide something. Then they target him and things get really exciting.

This is a great mystery. I didn’t know who did it until the end because there are a lot of potential killers for many different reasons. There is a lot of action and you can’t help but liking Mac. Mac is a true down home hero. I couldn’t put this book down until the wee hours of the morning.

I f you are looking for a great mystery full of thrills and chills I recommend you check out Deadly Dunes. As for me, I’m going to find the first two books in the series and find out more about Mac.

To purchase The Deadly Dunes make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and E. Michael Helms website.

I received Deadly Dunes for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Contemporary Adventure Thriller
Date Published: February 2015

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Accidental Drowning has been optioned for a possible movie adaption by a Hollywood producer.
Bo Granger loses his job as the manager of a country club golf shop and turns to flying his private drone as a pastime.
Accidentally he captures video with his drone of a woman being murdered by drowning. Bo is torn over whether or not to turn his video over to authorities. He is afraid of reprisal by the person who owns the mansion where the drowning took place, and he worries that his invasion of privacy will derail his wife’s campaign to become governor of California as she is defined as a state legislator by her privacy platform.
Bo endures a series of misadventures as he wrestles with doing the right thing. He is nearly shot to death by a goon hired by the dead woman’s husband, he’s falsely charged with sexual assault by his wife’s housekeeper in a dirty politics scheme, and he gets involved in a torrid romance with a female newspaper reporter who is determined to get the story of a lifetime
Excerpt
The line of club members was out the door. Sequoia Country Club’s pro shop was under siege from filthy-rich golfers—club initiation fees had recently topped three hundred thousand dollars—wanting the newly arrived, multicolored umbrellas. Part of the reason for the unusual customer demand was a steady rain that had swept across the peninsula in the early morning hours. Another was the genius of shop manager Bo Granger, who’d paid a meteorologist out of his own pocket for a long-range forecast the week before. Even though April was still considered the rainy season in the Bay Area, he’d gambled on a big storm hitting precisely on the morning of the club invitational, which boasted a field of 150 golfers. He’d ordered three-dozen of the splashy Leroy Neiman–like designer umbrellas that featured a well in the shaft suitable for housing airplane-sized bottles of booze. He’d been smart, too, in sending e-mail notices to all members announcing his upcoming rainy-day special. Bo figured the huge run on club merchandise was going to be a hit with his new general manager.
Bo had been with the club a little over four years. He’d felt secure enough in his position to warrant this bravado with the umbrellas. Even at a discounted seventy-five dollars a pop, he stood to rake in sales of $2,700 if he could unload three dozen. It was not yet nine thirty in the morning, and he’d sold twenty-four.
Bo was well regarded by the majority of the club’s 550 members, most of them Silicon Valley millionaires. In addition to being a shrewd buyer and mover of golf merchandise, he was very likeable. He had a way of making every club member who came into his shop feel special—especially the good-looking women. He’d almost married one of the better-looking ones, Sally Anne Perkins. She was the daughter of a venture capitalist and had graduated a few years back from the prestigious Stevenson College in New Hampshire with a degree in “green anything.” During the time Bo dated her, she didn’t work; in fact she’d never had a job—didn’t need one with Daddy’s money. She mostly stayed at home and watched game shows. Despite her abundant free time, she didn’t volunteer much—the annual beach cleanup along the San Martin County coastline being the exception. After dating for a year and a half, they broke up. Sally Anne had caught Bo tossing recyclable materials into the garbage yet again. She took a picture of him in the act and posted it on Instagram with the tag, “Should I marry a man who’s this insensitive to our carbon footprint?” She received 547 responses saying no.
Bo got his name from his younger sister. She couldn’t say Robert—it came out Bobo—so his parents went with the abbreviation. Bo’s personality was pleasing. He’d been brought up to be liked by Elaine, a housewife, and Steven Granger, a Walgreen’s pharmacist. “Pleasing people will get you further in life than any degree,” his father had preached. Life with Elaine and Steven was vanilla. Steven made him join the Boy Scouts; Elaine made him play the piano. The most childhood excitement Bo could remember was a road trip to LA where he and his sister, Bobbie, were treated to entire days at Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.
Bo attended Lowell High School in San Francisco, where he failed to distinguish himself as either an exceptional student or athlete—although he did play number three on the golf team—but as a senior was voted Best Personality over a guy who went on to be a nationally recognized comedian.
Bo attended San Francisco State and got his BA in business in four years. It wasn’t until his junior year that he figured out what he wanted to do with his life. He played for State’s golf team and set his mind to becoming a PGA instructor after he graduated. He figured he could make a good living at it and be exposed to beautiful women who were eager for him to teach them the game. Part of that reasoning was fostered by his good looks. His dark, wavy hair, movie-star-like strong jawline, and penetrating hazel eyes had served him well with college co-eds. He’d left a trail of brokenhearted young girls behind him at State. One of his rejections was good-looking enough to land spots in two different national TV commercials. “I dated the Chick-fil-A girl,” he was proud of saying.
Unfortunately, Bo never reached his goal of being a PGA-sanctioned teaching pro—three times he’d failed at putting together the requisite successive rounds of eighty-two or better. That was the golf world’s equivalent of “three strikes and you’re out.” His last opportunity to qualify was at the California Club in South San Francisco. Bo had carded an eighty and an eighty-two on his first two rounds. He was confident that he could post one more round under eighty-two—too confident. His premature celebration the night before his final round did him in. He wasn’t normally a cocktail drinker—he mostly stuck with beer—but the vodka gimlets he was offered by a fellow competitor’s caddy in the club’s bar went down way too easily and too often. By eight o’clock that evening, he had to be carried into the men’s locker room, where club members constructed a bed out of bench pads and left him there to sleep it off. It didn’t help that Bo had an eight o’clock tee time in the morning. It was the par-three, two-hundred-yard twelfth hole that killed him. Sitting at seven over par through eleven holes, he was just three strokes under the dreaded eighty-two-stroke maximum.
About the Author

Pete Liebengood is a retired TV sportscaster (KRON-TV San Francisco and a past play-by-play contributor to ESPN. He’s authored two other novels, “Class of ’62” and “Honeyball.”
Contact Links
Purchase Link
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Schism

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Schism by Britt Holewinski

(Excerpt from Goodreads) “Schism” is the first book in a new dystopian trilogy that tells a tale of survival, of good versus evil, and of constructing a future with only memories of childhood.

A government-created virus is accidentally released before testing is complete and within weeks it kills six billion people, children are the only survivors. Andy Christensen and her two friends travel across the country searching for a safe place to live, but nowhere, it seems, is capable of resurrection.

Book

My Review

5 stars

Andy recently lost her mother to a car accident so her father decides to spend the summer in Bermuda. While there, Andy makes friends with Morgan and Charlie, two kids from England. But then a virus sweeps the world and anyone older than 13 is killed. They make a living on the island until tragedy strikes and they decided to sail to America. When they get to Washington DC they discovery that anything Andy may remember of America is no longer left.

The friends then meet Ben and Jim and try to find a place to make a home. But things are not easy nor safe and every time they think they have found a place to start their lives things get thrown to the wind. From a town run by the rich that abuse their power, gladiator like events, trafficking, secrets, and many other perils will keep the group on their toes if they plan on making any kind of life for themselves.

I loved this book. You can’t help but feel for the kids trying to figure things out on their own and being thrown into this world. I liked all the characters and cheered and cried with them throughout the book. And just when you think it can’t get any worse, surprise something else comes up.

I love dystopian/apocalyptic stories and Schism is now up on my keep shelf. I recommend this to anyone that likes this genera. I will be keeping my eye out for other books from Britt Holewinski.

To purchase Schism make sure to check out Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Britt Holewinski’s website. I’m sure you could purchase it through Amazon but it is not listed at this time.

I received Schism for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Cat Shout for Joy

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Cat Shout for Joy (Joe Grey – 19) by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Awaiting the birth of his first kittens, feline P. I. Joe Grey, his companion Dulcie, and their furry sleuthing pals must unmask a killer preying on some of the most vulnerable citizens in the charming California coastal community of Molena Point.

For Joe Grey and Dulcie, life is a bittersweet mix of endings and beginnings. While they joyfully await their first litter, they are also sad for their friend, the old yellow cat Misto, whose time on earth is drawing to an end. But Misto tells them an exciting future awaits: among the litter will be a little calico returned from the distant past who will be born with the same ancient markings, and the adventurous spirit of Joe Grey.

While the proud parents await the birth of their babies, their humans have their hands full with projects of their own. Kate Osborne has bought the old Pamillon estate and Ryan Flannery is building a new cat shelter as part of their volunteer rescue project. The criminals are busy, too. The Molena Point PD has stepped up patrols to apprehend a mugger attacking the local elderly. The case becomes a homicide when one of the victims dies, leaving everyone in the town—including Joe and Grey and his furry sleuthing companions—on edge, just when the kittens are about to arrive. When Dulcie gives birth, her little calico is just as Misto predicted, as if she has come back to the world from mythic ancient times.

But the celebrations will have to wait. A murderer is on the loose—and neither young nor old is safe until the culprit is found.

Book

My Review

5 stars

Someone seems to be pranking the elderly. Sneaking up behind them and surprising them. Unfortunately the surprises start getting more and more vicious until they start dying. It’s up to Joe Grey and the team to figure out who is causing the deaths and to find out why.

On top of this, Joe and Dulcie are expecting kittens. There is some stress about the whole parenthood thing along with if the kittens will be able to talk and how to keep their secret safe. But it is also bitter sweet since it is coming to the time for Misto to go over the Rainbow Bridge, but not before a couple predictions.

I have been meaning to read the Joe Grey mysteries for a while but I have never gotten around to them. So, when I was asked to review Cat Shout for Joy I was doing a happy dance. I loved the mystery, it was a good who-dunnit and I was kept guessing until the end. But I found most of the story revolved around Joe and Dulcie’s kittens and the passing of Misto.

I loved the mystery and want to start the series from the beginning. But as a cat lover it was just like being home and interacting with my furry children. This is a great story and if you like cozy mysteries and cats you will love this book.

To purchase Cat Shout for Joy make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s website.

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I received Cat Shout for Joy for free from the publisher and Edelwise in exchange for an honest review.

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Children’s Book / Picture Book

Date Published: April 1, 2015

Meet the incompetent dragon and the princess who doesn’t marry the prince! The princess is tired of rescuing princes, but agrees to go the aid of a prince who has been captured by a dragon. She finds that the dragon is required by the Department of Dragons Rules and Regulations to present her with three impossible tasks, which she does in her own way, in spite of the dragon’s complaints.

In this humorous departure from traditional “helpless princess” tales, the authoritative princess of color and the irritable dragon figure out how to work together to solve problems while finding each other annoying. In an unlikely partnership they deal first with the captured prince, then with issues of air pollution and a war, even though the princess is impatient and the dragon is not particularly competent.

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Marjorie Bayes

Marjorie Bayes, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist. She has also been a faculty member at the Yale University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and the Smith College School for Social Work. Now retired and living in Denver, she enjoys theater and jazz music and writing stories and hanging out with her grandchildren. She is a member of the Gray Panthers.

Book

My Review

5 stars

We start the story with the princess working with her rose bushes when she is called to rescue another prince. But when she gets there, the dragon is not your typical dragon. He is trying to follow the rules from the Department of Dragons and the princess is not impressed. Of course the prince is rather spoiled and the princess doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. She also gets called to stop a polluting factory and to keep a town from fighting with the help of the dragon.

This is a great story that takes the standard fairy tales and turns them on their heads. I love how independent the princess is and how although she does not want to save another prince she still goes. She is very clever, I loved her results to the dragon’s challenges. And the dragon, not your typical dragon. He doesn’t like to roar, fly, or eat meat.

There are some beautiful illustrations to go along with this great story. This would make a perfect bedtime story series for girls. I really hope Marjorie is planning on writing other books with the princess and dragon in them.

To purchase The Princess and the Dragon make sure to visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

Reading Addiction

I received The Princess and the Dragon for free from Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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