Review: Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Title: Calling on Dragons (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Book Three)
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Magic Carpet Books (March 2003)
Blurb:

A Princess’s work is never done – not even when she becomes queen!

Princess Cimorene is now Queen Cimorene . . . and she’s faced her first queenly crisis – the Enchnated Forest is threatened with complete destruction!

Those wizards are back – and they’ve become very smart. (Sort of.) They’ve figured out a way to take over the forest once and for all . . . and what they have planned isn’t pretty.

With a little help from Kazul the dragon kind, Morwen the witch, Telemain the magician, two cats, and a blue, flying donkey-rabbit named – what else? – Killer, Cimorene might just be able to stop them.

And some people think being queen is easy.

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

CALLING ON DRAGONS by Patricia C. Wrede is the third book in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. Princess Cimorene is happily married to King Mendanbar, and is now Queen of the Enchanted Forest. Morwen the witch, who is friends with Queen Cimorene and Kazul, notices that there is something going on in the Enchanted Forest – the spells that Telemain the magician and Mendanbar wove don’t seem to be working. The wizards are back . . .

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Review: The Enchanted Forest Chronicles Books 1 & 2 by Patricia C. Wrede

The following two reviews are going to be a little different than normal, as I have read both books before (sometime in the early 2000s).

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Title: Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Book One)
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Magic Carpet Books (1st November 2002)
Blurb:

Princess by Birth. Adventurer by Choice.

Meet Princess Cimorene – a princess who refuses to be proper. She is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboy-ish, smart . . .

And bored.

So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon. And not just any dragon, but Kazul – one of the most powerful and dangerous dragons around. Of course, Cimorene has a way of hooking up with dangerous characters, and soon she’s coping with a witch, a jinn, a death-dealing talking bird, a stone prince, and some very oily wizards.

If this princess ran away to find some excitement, it looks like she’s found plenty!

Review:

DEALING WITH DRAGONS is the first book in Patricia C. Wrede’s superb Enchanted Forest Chronicles. This book follows the story of Princess Cimorene of Linderwall who finds that the life that is expected of her as a princess is actually rather dull. Especially as there are a lot of expectations about how a ‘proper’ princess is supposed to behave, and what she is supposed to do. When her parents try to marry her off to a prince, Princess Cimorene runs away and ends up living with Kazul the dragon.

DEALING WITH DRAGONS was one of the books I read when I was a young teen that really cemented my love of fantasy, particularly my love of fantasy with strong female heroes.

Princess Cimorene is not your typical princess; she has little interest in activities that are normally associated with princesses, and would instead prefer to learn Latin, or magic, or how to fence. I found her to be a really likeable and relatable character – I especially admired her ‘can do’ attitude. I also really liked Kazul the dragon, who I think Wrede wrote brilliantly. She was like an elder sister to Cimorene.

Wrede brings humour, fun, and a unique spin on what could be your typical fairy tale. Princess Cimorene is not stolen away by a dragon, instead she runs away to a dragon so she can live the life she wants. Neither does she have to be rescued by a prince, turning fairy tale conventions on their heads.

Although the main plot thread of DEALING WITH DRAGONS focuses on Cimorene finding her place in the world, Wrede cleverly interweaves some addition plot threads that make the book a compelling read. The story is easy to follow, and Wrede takes the typical ideas from fairy tales about what dragons are like and princesses, and princes, and wizards and turns them into something new.

If you are thinking of venturing into the realm of fantasy fiction, then this series might just be the one for you. Wrede writes a strong female hero, an interesting plot, and a humorous, interesting story.


 

Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Title: Searching for Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Book Two)
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Magic Carpet Books (November 2002)
Blurb:

Kidnap a dragon? How daring!

How stupid.

Cimorene, the princess who refuses to be proper, is back – but where is Kazul the dragon? That’s what Cimorene is determined to find out.

Luckily – or perhaps not-so luckily – she’s got help: Mendanbar, the not-very-kingly King of the Enchanted Forest, has joined her in her quest. So with the aid of a broken-down magic carpet, a leaky magical sword, and a few buckets of soapy lemon water, they set off across the Enchanted Forest to tackle the dragon-napping and save the King of the Dragons.

Review:

SEARCHING FOR DRAGONS is the second book in Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles, and continues the story of Princess Cimorene and her life with Kazul the dragon. This time Kazul has disapperared, and Cimorene makes it her mission to find her. Meanwhile something is going on in the Enchanted Forest and its king, Mendanbar, is determined to find out what.

SEARCHING FOR DRAGONS is a great addition to the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. Wrede continues Cimorene’s journey, and introduces some new characters as well as more of the world. Wrede also continues the theme of re-imaging fairy tale tropes, which I think she does to great success.

The book starts by introducing us to the King of the Enchanted Forest, which I think helps us to get to know Mendanbar better. It was interesting to see what the world was like from his point of view. Cimorene was exactly as I expected her to be; comfortable and settled into her role as the King of Dragon’s Chief Cook and Librarian, and still exasperated with the occasional knight who turned up to try and rescue her.

The plot of the book focused on two main mysteries; where was the King of Dragons, and what was going on in the Enchanted Forest. I think this worked well, and Wrede told a compelling story, which was fun and enjoyable to follow. The world of the Enchanted Chronicles seems like a really interested, complex world. And I really love some of the ideas in this book that are introduced with the appearance of new characters.

SEARCHING FOR DRAGONS had the same fun and irreverence as the previous book – if you enjoyed DEALING WITH DRAGONS then you are sure to enjoy this one too.

Review: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy

The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy (UK edition)

Title: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle (The Hero’s Guide 2)
Author: Christopher Healy
Genre: Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Publisher: Harper Collins (4th July 2013)
Blurb:

The League of Princes are out to prove themselves true heroes, and stop their kingdoms from falling into the wrong hands.

Magical swords, man-eating eels, evil warlords?

All in a day’s work.

And it’s going to be a looooong day . . .

Rating: ** (2 stars)
Review:

THE HERO’S GUIDE TO STORMING THE CASTLE by Christopher Healy is the second book in the series. Things have gone downhill for our heroes (princes Liam, Frederic, Gustav, and Duncan) with the Bandit King getting his revenge, but the princes soon find themselves involved in another adventure.

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Review: Odin’s Ravens by K. L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr

Odin’s Ravens by K. L. Armstrong & M. A. Marr

Title: Odin’s Ravens (The Blackwell Pages, 2)
Authors: K. L. Armstrong & M. A. Marr
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Mythology
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (13th May 2014)
Blurb:

Seven kids, Thor’s hammer, and a whole lot of Valkyries are the only things that standing against the end of the world.

When thirteen-year-olds Matt Thorsen and Fen and Laurie Brekke, modern-day descendants of Thor and Loki, discovered they were fated to take the places of the Norse gods in an epic battle against the apocalypse, they thought they knew how things would play out. Gather the other descendants standing in for the gods, defeat a giant serpent, and save the world. No problem, right?

But the descendants’ journey grinds to a halt when their friend Baldwin is poisoned and Matt, Fen, and Laurie must travel to the Underworld in hopes of saving him. That’s only the first stop on their journey to reunite the challengers, find Thor’s hammer, and save humanity – a journey filled with enough tooth-and-nail battles and colossal monsters to make Matt and his friends legends in their own right.

Perfect for fans of ancient myths and filled with young heroes, monstrous beasts, and godly enemies, this fast-paced adventure is impossible to put down.

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

ODIN’S RAVENS is the second instalment of K. L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr’s epic THE BLACKWELL PAGES. It continues the journey started by Matt Thorsen and Fen and Laurie Brekke in the first book in the series. After the events of LOKI’S WOLVES (review) Ragnarök looks closer than ever, but Matt and his friends are determined to stop the end of the world. Even if that means venturing into the Underworld to try to save Baldwin.

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Review: The InComplete Book of Dragons by Cressida Cowell

The InComplete Book of Dragons by Cressida Cowell

Title: The InComplete Book of Dragons (How to Train Your Dragon)
Author: Cressida Cowell
Genre: Fantasy, Humour, Middle Grade
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books (12th June 2014)
Blurb:

Long ago, the world was full of dragons. This book is packed with dragon profiles, tips on how to ride and train them and, most importantly, how to deal with dragons if they attack.

These pages are taken from the notebooks of Viking Hero and Dragonwatcher, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third when he was just a boy . . .

Rating: ***** (5 stars)
Review:

THE INCOMPLETE BOOK OF DRAGONS by Cressida Cowell is made up of the notes and journal entries of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third. In it he details notes on the dragons he himself has encountered with helpful tips and tricks, and he also notes the dragons that he has had to rely on other vikings for the details of.

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Review: Loki’s Wolves by K. L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr

Loki’s Wolves by K. L. Armstrong & M. A. Marr

Title: Loki’s Wolves (The Blackwell Pages, #1)
Authors: K. L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Mythology
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (7th May 2013)
Blurb:

Matt Thorsen knows every Norse myth, saga and god as if they were family history – because it is family history. Most people in the modern-day town of Blackwell, in fact, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt’s classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke. But knowing the legends and completely believing them are two different things. When the rune readers reveal that Ragnarök is coming and kids – led by Matt – must stand in for the gods in the final battle, Matt can hardly believe it.

Matt’s, Laurie’s and Fen’s lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team to prevent the end of the world.

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

LOKI’S WOLVES is the first book in an exciting new middle grade trilogy THE BLACKWELL PAGES by K. L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr (otherwise known as New York Times bestseller Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr). THE BLACKWELL PAGES trilogy tells the story of the descendants of the dead Norse gods, who must stand in for their ancestors – some of who know they are the descendants of gods, whilst others are in the dark – and prevent the coming of Ragnarök. LOKI’S WOLVES begins the adventure, and focuses on Matt Thorsen – a descendant of Thor – and Laurie and Fen Brekke – descendants of Loki.

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Review: Doll Bones by Holly Black

Doll Bones by Holly Black (UK edition)

Title: Doll Bones
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Middle Grade, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Doubleday (9th May 2013)
Blurb:

Twelve-year-old Zach is too old to play with toys. Or at least, that’s what his father thinks.

But even though he stops hanging out with Poppy and Alice, stops playing with his action figures, it’s no good. There’s one toy that still wants to play with him. A doll that’s made from the bones of a dead girl.

The only way to end the game is to lay the doll to rest for ever. It’s time for a journey to Spring Grove cemetery. It’s time to grow up.

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

DOLL BONES is the latest story from the brilliant Holly Black. Twelve-year-old Zach enjoys playing in the imaginary world he created with Poppy and Alice, but his dad thinks he’s too old to play with dolls. However, Zach can’t just walk away because one of the dolls is made from the bones of a dead girl, and she wants to be put to rest.

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Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

Title: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making (Fairyland #1)
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Genre: Fairy Tale, Middle Grade
Publisher: Much-in-Little (17th January 2013)
Blurb:

SEPTEMBER is a twelve-year-old girl from Omaha. With her dad fighting a faraway war, and her mum always out at work, she is lonely, stuck in a rut and starved of adventure. So when a Green Wind arrives at her window and invites her to Fairyland she accepts in a flash (mightn’t you?). But Fairyland is in crisis, crushed by the iron rule of the villainous Marquess – and September holds the key to restoring order. With a book-loving dragon and a mysterious boy named Saturday by her side, she sets out on a thrilling quest to Fix Things. But time is short, and time is ticking, and every story must have an ending. Can September save Fairyland? Can she even save herself?

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (hence forth known as The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland) is a modern fairy tale – it even starts with the famous ‘Once Upon a Time’. It tells the story of twelve-year-old September’s adventures in Fairyland.

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Top Ten Tuesday (24)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They’d love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

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This weeks Top Ten topic is …

Top Ten Nine Books At The Top Of My Summer TBR List

My list includes books that are coming out between June and August, as well as books that I want to read during the summer. The list is made up of a mixture of Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult books. As always blurbs are taken from Goodreads.com and the release dates are according to Amazon.co.uk.

Ink (Paper Gods #1) by Amanda Sun [Goodreads]

A MAGIC MIGHTIER THAN ANY SWORD

A DESTINY THAT CAN’T BE DENIED

Katie Greene is lost in the wake of her mum’s death. Sent to Japan, she meets gorgeous but aloof artist Tomohiro, whose tough attitude intrigues and scares her. Then things get really strange. When they’re near each other, Tomohiro’s drawings start to come to life…

Soon the wrong people begin to ask questions, and Katie and Tomohiro must risk everything to protect the truth.

I’m actually currently reading this book as I managed to get a copy via NetGalley 🙂 I think the cover is gorgeous, and the concept of the book is really interesting. It’s released in the UK on 5th July 2013.

Doll Bones by Holly Black [Goodreads]

Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .

This book is already released, and there is in fact a copy of it sitting in my TBR pile. I really liked some of Holly Black’s books so I thought I would give this one a try as it sounds quite spooky.

Affliction (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #22) by Laurell K. Hamilton [Goodreads]

Micah is called back home by his estranged family, because his father, a county sheriff, has been attacked and is terribly injured. Anita and Nathaniel are going with him for moral support and to meet his family under very trying circumstances.

Micah has been estranged from his family for a decade, deliberately turning his back on them to protect them from the sadistic killer who once led his leopard pack. But now Micah’s father lies dying, rotting away inside from some strange ailment that has his doctors whispering about “zombie disease.”

Anita—who understands zombies better than anyone—knows there’s more to it than that. While zombies have unlovable traits, being one doesn’t cause human beings to rot in agony. She needs to solve that mystery—but now a more immediate issue is pressing: Micah’s father may have only five days to live.

I have to say I’m really looking forward to reading this Anita book. I think it will be interesting to finally know a little more about Micah’s family and actually get to see them. It’s released in the UK on 2nd July 2013.

Loki’s Wolves (The Blackwell Pages #1) by K. L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr [Goodreads]

In Viking times, Norse myths predicted the end of the world, an event called Ragnarok, that only the gods can stop. When this apocalypse happens, the gods must battle the monsters–wolves the size of the sun, serpents that span the seabeds, all bent on destroying the world.

The gods died a long time ago.

Matt Thorsen knows every Norse myth, saga, and god as if it was family history–because it is family history. Most people in the modern-day town of Blackwell, South Dakota, in fact, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt’s classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke.

However, knowing the legends and completely believing them are two different things. When the rune readers reveal that Ragnarok is coming and kids–led by Matt–will stand in for the gods in the final battle, he can hardly believe it. Matt, Laurie, and Fen’s lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team to prevent the end of the world.

I already own a copy of this, but I am looking forward to diving into this. Kelley Armstrong is one of my favourite authors, and I really enjoyed Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series so I thought it might be fun to try this book written by both of them.

Omens (Cainsville #1) by Kelley Armstrong [Goodreads]

Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.

But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.

Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.

Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home, and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.

As I mentioned above, I am a HUGE Kelley Armstrong fan and as she has recently finished her brilliant Women of the Otherworld series I thought I would try her new one. Oh, and I really love the cover It is released in the UK on 20th August 2013.

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smitih [Goodreads]

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

In This is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer E. Smith’s new YA novel, perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O’Neill meet—albeit virtually—when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an email about his pet pig, Wilbur. In the tradition of romantic movies like “You’ve Got Mail” and “Sleepless in Seattle,” the two 17-year-olds strike up an email relationship, even though they live on opposite sides of the country and don’t even know each other’s first names.

Through a series of funny and poignant messages, Graham and Ellie make a true connection, sharing intimate details about their lives, hopes and fears. But they don’t tell each other everything; Graham doesn’t know the major secret hidden in Ellie’s family tree, and Ellie is innocently unaware that Graham is actually a world-famous teen actor living in Los Angeles.

When the location for the shoot of Graham’s new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie’s mom want her to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?

Just as they did in The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, the hands of fate intervene in wondrous ways in this YA novel that delivers on high concept romance in lush and thoughtful prose.

I have a copy of this already sitting on my shelf just waiting to be read. I’ve heard some really good things about both the author and the book itself, so I’m interested to see if it lives up to the hype.

US cover

Biting Bad (Chicagoland Vampires #8) by Chloe Neill [Goodreads]

Merit has been a vampire for only a short while, but she’s already seen a lifetime’s worth of trouble. She and her Master, centuries-old Ethan Sullivan, have risked their lives time and again to save the city they love. But not all of Chicago is loving them back.

Anti-vampire riots are erupting all over town, striking vampires where it hurts the most. A splinter group armed with Molotov cocktails and deep-seated hate is intent on clearing the fanged from the Windy City come hell or high water.

Merit and her allies rush to figure out who’s behind the attacks, who will be targeted next, and whether there’s any way to stop the wanton destruction. The battle for Chicago is just beginning, and Merit is running out of time.

I’m really loving this series. Merit is a brilliant character, and I love the way vampires and politics are handled in this series. It comes out in the UK on 8th August 2013.

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein [Goodreads]

Rose Justice is a young American ATA pilot, delivering planes and taxiing pilots for the RAF in the UK during the summer of 1944. A budding poet who feels most alive while flying, she discovers that not all battles are fought in the air. An unforgettable journey from innocence to experience from the author of the best-selling, multi-award-nominated Code Name Verity. From the exhilaration of being the youngest pilot in the British air transport auxiliary, to the aftermath of surviving the notorious Ravensbruck women’s concentration camp, Rose’s story is one of courage in the face of adversity. Code Name Verity is shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.

This is already out and sitting on my shelf. I loved Code Name Verity when it came out, so I’m hoping that this book will live up to my expectations!

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas [Goodreads]

Eighteen-year-old Celaena Sardothien is bold, daring and beautiful – the perfect seductress and the greatest assassin her world has ever known. But though she won the King’s contest and became his champion, Celaena has been granted neither her liberty nor the freedom to follow her heart. The slavery of the suffocating salt mines of Endovier that scarred her past is nothing compared to a life bound to her darkest enemy, a king whose rule is so dark and evil it is near impossible to defy. Celaena faces a choice that is tearing her heart to pieces: kill in cold blood for a man she hates, or risk sentencing those she loves to death. Celaena must decide what she will fight for: survival, love or the future of a kingdom. Because an assassin cannot have it all . . . And trying to may just destroy her.

Love or loathe Celaena, she will slice open your heart with her dagger and leave you bleeding long after the last page of the highly anticipated sequel in what is undeniably THE hottest new fantasy series.

I really enjoyed Throne of Glass when it came out last year, and thought Celaena was a kick-ass character. I cannot wait to see what Mass has done with this book. I also think the cover looks gorgeous. It comes out in the UK on 15th August 2013.

I cannot believe that I have come up with a list of just nine again – sorry!

What are the top ten books on your summer TBR pile? Let me know in the comments below, or link back to your Top Ten post so I can see what makes your list.

Review: The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy, UK edition.

Title: The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom
Author: Christopher Healy
Genre: Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Publisher: Harper Collins (7 June 2012)
Blurb:

PRINCE LIAM. PRINCE FREDERIC. PRINCE DUNCAN. PRINCE GUSTAV.

You’ve never heard of them, have you?

These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White and Rapunzel, but you probably just know them all as ‘Prince Charming’. Well, all that is about to change as the hapless princes stumble upon an evil plot and get a second chance to prove themselves true heroes.

Rating: ***** (5 stars)
Review:

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is Christopher Healy’s debut novel. It tells the story of the ‘Prince Charming’s from the Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel fairy tales.

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