The Boxcar Children Great Adventure: Journey on a Runaway Train

The Boxcar Children Great Adventure: Journey on a Runaway Train (2017, Albert Whitman & Company, Chapter Book/Lower Middle-Grade)

boxcar children

From the Publisher:

In this all-new very special mini-series, the Aldens have been recruited by a secret society to return lost artifacts and treasures to their rightful locations—all around the world! After finding a painted turtle figurine, the Aldens are introduced to the Silverton family and Reddimus Society, a secret guild whose mission is to return lost artifacts and treasures to the sites they were taken from. The Aldens board a private train to New Mexico to return the turtle to its original home, and they encounter enemies of Reddimus along the way! The trip is a success… but instead of returning home, there’s a last-minute change in plans. The Boxcar Children must continue the mission for the society and deliver more things, all around the globe!

Review:

The Boxcar Children were first introduced to young readers 75 years ago. To commemorate the popular, and enduring series, Albert Whitman & Company (the original publishing house for The Boxcar Children) is releasing a special five book series of new Boxcar Children Adventures. Inspired and holding true to the original characters created by Gertrude Chandler Warner, the new books are written by Dee Garetson and JM Lee and illustrated by Anthony VanArsdale.

As an avid fan of the Boxcar Children growing up, I was excited to see how the series would be carried on. Journey on a Runaway Train, finds our heroic children much unchanged from the original series, they are still adventurous, mystery-seekers living with their grandfather, and they have not aged.

Old and new fans will be pleased with this new edition. The writing is consistent with the early books, while only slight updates have been made to keep up with modern day. The children now have access to laptops and cell phones which young readers will relate to. The title is slightly misleading, as there is not runaway train, but the children do get to ride a fancy old train and that is quite interesting. At its core, the book is still about young people being independent and problem solving with little or no assistance from the adults in their lives. With new illustrations, and new, exciting adventures, a whole new generation will be introduced to the Boxcar Children.

Highly recommended for children ages 7 to 12.

5 stars, one for each of the children and, of course, their dog 🙂


Thank you to Albert Whitman & Company for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Super Women: Six Scientists Who Changed the World

Women’s history month might be over, but this book can be enjoyed anytime!

super women in science

Super Women: Six Scientists Who Changed the World (2017, Holiday House, Non-Fiction Middle-Grade)

What a fantastic new selection from Holiday House. I am so excited to share this new non-fiction book for younger readers with you all. I’d say the intended age range is 9 to 12 years old, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and learned so many new things. I think anyone, whether you have a young reader in your house or not, can appreciate this book.

From the publisher:

Super Women celebrates the scientific as well as the social significance of six incredible women who broke new ground with their research, busted through glass ceilings with their careers, and advanced humanity’s understanding of our world in the process. These amazing women defied prejudice to succeed in the sciences using genius, ambition, and perseverance.

ALA Notable Book author Laurie Lawlor deftly paints portraits of each of these pioneers who refused to take no for an answer, pursuing their passions through fieldwork, observations, laboratories, and research vessels in the face of sexism. This diverse group of women, all with awe-inspiring accomplishments, were active mentors and determined people who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Review:

Super Women, written by Laurie Lawlor, tells the incredible stories of six different female scientists. The book is divided into six sections with each section being a mini-biography of a woman. The biographies include key discoveries, scientific merits, as well as interesting personal stories for each scientist. The text is accompanied by black and white photographs of the women as well as appropriate photographs or diagrams pertaining to their work.

Scientists featured include Katherine Coleman Johnson, a mathematician who calculated trajectories for NASA flights; Eugenie Clark, an ichthyologist who swam with sharks; Marie Tharp, a cartographer who mapped the ocean floor; Florence Hawley Ellis, an anthropologist who made significant progress in tree-ring dating; Gertrude Elion, a pharmacologist who developed treatments for deadly illnesses; Margaret Burbidge, an astrophysicist who helped create the Hubble telescope.

These women have been carefully selected for their scientific and historical importance, as well as the fact that their names might not be as well-known as other women scientists such as Marie Curie or Sally Ride. Children and adults will find the biographies engaging, interesting and eye-opening. The work these women pioneered was incredible and they were all independent, adventurous souls who make for fascinating reads.

While this book is similar in format to a non-fiction picture book, the complexity and layout of the content makes it more appropriate for children ages 9 and up. Younger children might be bored with the long biographies but there’s no reason a parent couldn’t summarize the passages for younger children while they look at the photographs.

Overall, an excellent addition to any home or school library, and a fantastic non-fiction read for anyone, whether they have a passion for science or not.

5 stars for science!


Thank you to Holiday House for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Super Women will be released April 26, 2017 and is available for pre-order now at Amazon 

Sunday Special

Kids Study Bible – Airship Genesis: Legendary Bible Adventure NKJV

David Jeremiah

Tommy Nelson Publishing

airship genesis study bible

Go on a legendary adventure with this new study bible for kids from Thomas Nelson Publishers. David Jeremiah has created the bonus content for this exciting edition of the New King James Version of the Bible.

This edition has an obvious theme of going on a space adventure. There are pages throughout the Bible with special messages from the team and before each book, there is a “Mission Overview” which gives insight into the book. There are full page illustrations generously placed throughout the text and full color maps of several regions as they appeared in biblical times.

The book is well-made and the cover is padded and brightly colored. It is a lovely edition that would make a great gift.

Highly recommended as a study Bible for Sunday school groups or as a useful tool during Vacation Bible schools. This would be a great stepping stone Bible as a child graduates from a beginning Bible to something more advanced. Overall, this would be a fantastic book for pre-teens or young teens, and is sure to get them excited about reading the Bible, as well as providing unique insights geared toward young readers.


Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishers and Book Look Bloggers for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Who Run the World?

Happy International Women’s Day!

It’s been far too long since I last posted. While I have been keeping up each week with my newspaper column and sharing lots of reviews there, I have not been keeping up with my blog. Sad day.

To make up for my absence, I am sharing THREE book reviews with you today!

Get excited.

And as a bonus, and in honor of International Women’s Day, these books all feature strong female protagonists!

Happy Reading and Happy International Women’s Day! 🙂


carolines comets

Caroline’s Comets: A True Story (2017, Holiday House, Picture Book Non-Fiction)

Caroline Herschel made history in 1786 when she became the first woman to discover a comet. But her journey began long before that, and it was not an easy road to becoming a highly respected scientist and astronomer. Caroline’s journey is inspiring and incredible, as she worked hard to achieve her goals at a time when women were afforded few opportunities.

Caroline’s Comets: A True Story, written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully, is a fascinating account of Caroline Hershel, who not only discovered comets, but became the first female professional scientist, earning a salary from the King of England. Filled with interesting facts, detailed illustrations, and even excerpts from Caroline’s own journals, this is a beautiful book to share with young readers. Caroline’s journey is inspiring as she overcame many obstacles in her life before she even dreamed of becoming an astronomer. Young readers will look up to Caroline and all she accomplished as a woman and a scientist.

Highly recommended for ages 6 and up.

5 stars shooting across the sky!


runs with courage

Runs With Courage (2016, Sleeping Bear Press, Middle Grade Historical Fiction)

When ten-year-old Four Winds is taken from her Lakota tribe and sent to a white boarding school, she doesn’t understand the new world that surrounds her. She imagines she might be a bridge for her people and learn the ways of the white people, but as she learns more, she realizes the white ways are meant to replace all the things she’s ever known. Four Winds wants to run. She wants to run away from the white school and home to her people, but there are bigger things at stake than just what she wants.

Runs With Courage, written by Joan M. Wolf, is a touching, and heart-wrenching portrayal of life for Native Americans in the late 1800’s. This book is written with care and thoughtful consideration of all that was done during this period. Though the story is fiction, readers will gain knowledge of the how the Lakota tribes lived, as well as the actions of the U.S. Government during this time.

The story is written in first person, and delivered in a straightforward manner as fits the main character’s personality. Four Winds is strong and brave, and young readers will look up to her and root for her. The fictional life of Four Winds represents so many young girls who did face her harsh reality. While the girls might starve with their tribes, boarding schools offered food if only they would give up all they had ever known.

Thought-provoking and extraordinary, the story of Four Winds will stay with the reader long after her book has ended. Highly recommended for children ages 10 and up.

5 stars to guide Four Winds


future threat

Future Threat (2017, Albert Whitman & Company, Young Adult Science Fiction)

From the publisher:

The second book in the New York Times bestselling Future Shock trilogy!

Six months ago Aether Corporation sent Elena, Adam, and three other recruits on a trip to the future where they brought back secret information–but not everyone made it back to the present alive. Now Elena’s dealing with her survivor’s guilt and trying to make her relationship with Adam work. All she knows for sure is that she’s done with time travel and Aether Corporation.

But Aether’s not done with her–or Adam, or fellow survivor Chris. The travelers on Aether’s latest mission to the future have gone missing, and Elena and her friends are drafted into the rescue effort. They arrive in a future that’s amazingly advanced, thanks to Aether Corporation’s reverse-engineered technology. The mission has deadly consequences, though, and they return to the future to try to alter the course of events.

But the future is different yet again. Now every trip through time reveals new complications, and more lives lost–or never born. Elena and Adam must risk everything–including their relationship–to save their friends.

Review:

Future Threat, written by Elizabeth Briggs, is the second book in the Future Shock trilogy. Last year, I had the pleasure of reviewing Future Shock and so I was eager to review this book at well. As with the first book, the pace is quick and the plot moves right along as Elena and the others zip back and forth through time once more. As with the first book, the fast pace makes both character and relationship development difficult, but at the same time, the characters don’t feel exceptionally flat. Elena is still an interesting, engaging and daring main character, while other characters fill their roles and provide support to the plot.

This science fiction adventure is lots of fun to read, and once again, the time travel aspect is very well written. This is a sequel that definitely builds off the first book, and keeps the twists and energy going. I enjoyed this book just as much, if not more, than the first, and I look forward to the third installment in this trilogy.

This book is a fast read, and written in a straightforward style that will appeal to many readers. Readers who enjoyed Future Shock are likely to enjoy Future Threat, as well as fans of science fiction, action, and teenage angst. This would be a good one to add to the summer reading list!

Best for ages 13 and up due to some scenes of violence and adult situations.

4 stars for Elena traveling through time.


Thank you to Holiday House, Sleeping Bear Press, and Albert Whitman & Co. for copies of these books in exchange for my honest review.

You can find each of these books at your local book retailer or online.

At Amazon:

Caroline’s Comets: A True Story

Runs With Courage

Future Threat

Book Review: A Monster Calls

Oh my goodness, what to say about this book!

Firstly, I can say I loved it. And secondly, I can’t stop thinking about it.

This is actually a review of a specific edition…the newly released Special Collectors’ Edition and it is, in a word, stunning!

A Monster Calls was first published in 2011, but I only recently heard about it. I read a review on a blog I follow, and I was about to purchase a copy when the opportunity to get a review copy came up. It really seemed like it was meant to be 🙂

In anticipation of the upcoming motion picture release, the Special Collectors’ Edition combines the original novel with bonus material including interviews with Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones and Lewis MacDougall.

There is also additional material from Patrick Ness, Jim Kay and director J.A. Bayona.

The story behind the novel is as fascinating as the novel itself and I loved all the bonus material as well as learning more about Siobhan Dowd who drafted the original idea for this story but passed away before she could write it.

Drawing from Siobhan Dowd’s original idea and outline, Patrick Ness wrote A Monster Calls. Writing a book from another’s notes presented a daunting task and he worried about doing her idea justice. His goal with A Monster Calls was both to stay true to Siobhan’s original idea but not try to imitate her and instead write a story he felt she would enjoy.

I’m curious to read her books after learning more about her, and while I have no idea what type of book she would like, I feel A Monster Calls is a beautiful work and a moving tribute to her life.

A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls: Special Collectors’ Edition (2016, Candlewick Press, Middle-Grade Magical Realism)

a-monster-calls

The monster arrives outside Conor’s window just after midnight. He’s just awoken from his nightmare, so he can’t possibly be dreaming, and this is definitely not the monster from his nightmares. That monster has tormented his dreams each night since his mother started her treatments, but now this new monster arrives and though it is huge and wild, Conor finds himself drawn to it. But the monster wants something from Conor. It wants something terrible and real, and Conor doesn’t want to give what the monster wants.

A Monster Calls, written by Patrick Ness and illustrated by Jim Kay, will draw the reader into Conor’s world with the very first line.

“The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.”

Patrick Ness writes beautifully, and every passage breathes magic. From the monster’s first words, to his last, he is a rich and developed character. This is magical realism at its best.

Conor is easy to relate to and sympathize with as he struggles with his mother’s illness. The interactions between him and the monster are moving, amusing, and at times heart breaking. Stubborn, willful, but at his core a very good child, the reader will suffer as Conor suffers.

There are not enough words to capture the magic felt while reading this book, and I think part of this feeling stems from the incredible illustrations. In this special edition, the illustrations are discussed in detail and I gained an even greater appreciation for the thought and time that went into the production of this work of art. For it truly is a masterpiece.  monster-calls-inside-page

I highly recommend reading this book, however I do not recommend reading it on an airplane, at the bus station, at work, ummm… pretty much anywhere you wouldn’t want to be observed having a good, ugly cry. Because if you read this book, that’s what will happen.

This edition would make a beautiful and treasured gift for any book lover in your life.

5 stars and more to fill the midnight sky

A Monster Calls. Patrick Ness.


The Movie

a-monster-calls-2016-trailers-posters

The movie released in Spain early in October, and in the U.S., a limited release of the movie is scheduled for sometime in December of this year.

The movie stars Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones and Lewis MacDougall. And the screenplay was written by Patrick Ness.

a-monster-calls-movie


Thank you to Candlewick Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The Midnight Glass

Hello all!

I’m excited to present you with a wonderful new middle-grade dark fantasy! I had planned to do several spooky posts all month long, and while I achieved that goal in my newspaper column, I can’t say the same for the blog.

But, to make up for it….I will be posting Halloween posts every day starting today through Monday!

This might cut into my Hocus Pocus watching time, but I’m willing to make that sacrifice…only for you.

I’m kicking off this fun weekend with a big post! I have a review, a publisher interview and an author interview to share. Get excited 🙂

And now…on with the show!

The Midnight Glass

the-midnight-glass

When I first heard of this book, I was immediately intrigued by the title. And I’ll admit, I did judge it by its cover…because I loved the cover!

Then I watched the book trailer….

And I knew I had to read this book!

I love that this book is from a new publisher and they have put forth a fantastic first book. The cover design, layout and feel of the book is fantastic. I would not have known this was a publisher’s first attempt if they hadn’t told me.


The Midnight Glass (2016, Branford Books, Middle-Grade Dark Fantasy)

When Wyatt’s mom accepts a new job, their family moves to the mysterious town of Davenport. Secretive and secluded, the town exists deep in the woods locked behind a gate. Wyatt is excited for the move, until they actually arrive. He thinks he must be seeing things when his classmates have green skin, gills, fangs and more! But the residents of Davenport aren’t the only mysterious thing…Wyatt learns the greatest mystery of all is that Davenport hasn’t seen the sun in over 400 years. As he adjusts to life in eternal darkness, Wyatt learns more and more about Davenport’s deadly secrets.

The Midnight Glass, written by D.T. Vaughn, is a great dark fantasy for Middle-Grade readers. With just the right amount of creepiness, readers will be eager to learn more about Davenport without being too scared to read in the dark. Readers will identify with Wyatt as he is bullied at his school and then doesn’t quite fit in at his new school in Davenport either. As Wyatt makes friends and stands up to bullies, children will root for him. Adding in all the fantasy elements, including curses and weird creatures, plus the normalcy of middle school, moving, and fitting in, makes this a book that touches on many popular themes. Some may find the pacing a bit slow, but most will be drawn into the rich world crafted by the author. Fantasy seems to be a popular genre for Middle-Grade, and adding the darker elements will likely appeal to many readers.

This story has all the elements to make it a hit with readers ages 9 to 12. For the hard to please pre-teen boys, this is an especially good choice.

Imaginative and fun, this book will have readers imagining their own Davenport, and all the adventure they might have there.

4 stars to hang in the brilliant night sky of Davenport!

Interview with Branford Books

I’m excited to introduce you all to a new face in the publishing world. Branford Books has debuted with a strong title in The Midnight Glass, and I’m excited to help spread the word! They were also kind enough to sit down and answer some questions about their new company and the future of Branford Books.

When was Branford Books established and what is your mission? 

Branford Books began in 2016 with the idea of starting something fresh for the publishing industry. Our goal is to bring new and exciting fantasy books to readers of all ages. We started our mission with one of our favorite genres, middle-grade.

Who is the owner/founder of Branford Books?

Branford Books is comprised of editor Shawn Conley, publicist Lauren Ruggles, and D. T. Vaughn, our first author.

What kinds of books do you publish?

Fantasy is at our forefront for books we’d like to publish, and that really umbrellas all of the subgenres from urban to high-fantasy to more subtle themes. Ultimately, we love books that spark the imagination and have well-designed characters to tug at our heart strings.

Congratulations on the release of your first novel, THE MIDNIGHT GLASS! Do you have any more releases planned for the near future?

Thank you for the well wishes for THE MIDNIGHT GLASS. We really hope the book captures readers like it has captured us! We are putting a lot of our energy behind this project because we feel that it deserves it; but as soon as 2017 rolls around, expect to see some enchanting new stories.

Are you open to submissions? And if so, how can an aspiring (or established) author submit to you?

At this time, we are not taking unsolicited material. However, that may change. We invite authors to visit our website and subscribe to our mailing list for updates.

What have been the biggest struggles with starting a publishing company?

The publishing industry is constantly changing and that can be a challenge. We love this business and we’re stockpiling new and exciting ideas to spark reader interest.

What do you hope for the future of Branford Books?

We aim to establish followings of fantasy readers who are always looking for the next exhilarating read. We also intend to have some of our books shift to new media like movies and television. It’s a process we’ve already begun, and it’s more thrilling than we could have ever imagined!

Anything else you’d like to say about Branford Books or THE MIDNIGHT GLASS?

If you’re a reader who loves Roald Dahl’s Matilda, Louis Sachar’s Holes, or Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, we couldn’t recommend a better book for you than THE MIDNIGHT GLASS. It’s the dark fantasy novel about a lovable boy against the deadliest of odds. Get it in print and eBook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or our site, BranfordBooks.com.

Interview with author D.T. Vaughn

The author of The Midnight Glass was kind enough to answer a few questions about the writing process and life as an author. I’m excited to share this interview with you and hope it offers some valuable insight into the writing process.

How long have you been writing and when did you publish your first book?

I started writing when I was about eight or nine years old. I would create little short stories in class and read them aloud to the other kids during story time. The first set of little books I wrote were called The Homework Stealer series. They were about a little man who secretly crept in at night and stole kids’ homework! Come to think of it… that might make a really good series now. The Midnight Glass is my first full-length book. I’m both the writer and the illustrator.

Where do you find your writing inspiration?

I often find myself coming up with ideas while I’m on the treadmill. It’s a funny place to think of them, but I just blank out to the world and imagine characters interacting with each other. My nephews are also huge inspirations for my middle-grade ideas. They have a lot of energy and it really sticks to me when I think about kids and how they experience the world.

What inspired you to write THE MIDNIGHT GLASS?

For THE MIDNIGHT GLASS, I pulled ideas from my past and present. As a kid I was obsessed with the idea of living amongst werewolves and mermaids. So, I decided to create a world based on that. My family also gave me a lot of inspiration to write this book.

How long did it take you to write THE MIDNIGHT GLASS?

The first draft took about a month. However, there were many, many more drafts after that and the book took about nine months to complete.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A rock star! And I was! For years I wrote music in a band and toured the nation. It was a lot of fun and I met a lot of great people. Maybe one day I’ll write about that, too.

What was your favorite book as a child?

That’s a tough one to answer! I was a huge fan of Roald Dahl, but I also loved Louis Sachar’s Sideways Stories from Wayside School. I think I’ve read that book more times than any other. He did a fantastic job of bringing to life each student and giving them an identity, wish, and purpose.

Who has most inspired you in your writing career?

In college, I worked at an elementary school full of amazing kids. They loved my weird drawings and stories about things like gluttonous hamsters and thieving goldfish. That was about ten years ago, and I still remember it like it was yesterday. I often pull inspiration from what they liked the most.

What struggles have you faced on your way to becoming an author?

At first, the hardest part was the risk. I’m a full-time writer and I freelance various projects. However, starting a business can be scary. I worked nonstop for months before taking the leap and doing it full-time. Now taking risks is just part of the job and it’s crazy to see how they can work out.

What advice would you give to young writers?

First, writing is a career. If you love doing it, then you should go for it! Second, write as much as you can to improve. Third, ask for both praise and constructive criticism from peers and professionals. The praise will help determine your strengths and the constructive criticism will help you improve the gaps.

Name one interesting fact about yourself unrelated to writing 🙂

I’m a self-described sloth enthusiast! Even just seeing a sloth makes my eyes water with joy. Okay, that makes me sound crazy, but I don’t care–I love them!

Where can readers learn more about you and your books?

I invite everyone to visit TheMidnightGlass.com to watch the stunning book trailer and to read more about me. I’m also available for readings and lectures if you want to meet me in person, just visit BranfordBooks.com for the contact.

Anything else you’d like to mention about THE MIDNIGHT GLASS or your writing career?

Thank you to everyone who has read this interview. Branford Books is a small business, which means that word of mouth means the world. If you liked THE MIDNIGHT GLASS, please tell your friends and family. Maybe even order a copy for a kid you know for the holidays. Hopefully, they’ll enjoy it, too! Again, thank you for your support. I greatly appreciate it.


Eager to experience the world of Davenport and learn about the midnight glass? Check it out for yourself! The Midnight Glass is available now!


Thank you to Branford Books and D.T. Vaughn for taking time participate in my interviews and for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The Secret of Goldenrod

The Secret of Goldenrod

Written By Jane O’Reilly

 

“The littlest things make you happy.”

“As the littlest things should,” Augustine said.

I requested this book when it first became available on Net Galley, and it has been a struggle not to start reading it right away. But I have to keep to my schedule if I want to get all my reviews done, and so I had to put off reading this for months and months while it continued to taunt me from my virtual shelf.

peer

Then Lerner Publishing put out this great behind-the-scenes blog post about the editing process and they used The Secret of Goldenrod as their example.

As you can see by my comment on their post, I’ve waited since April to read this book!

I loved their post for two reasons:

1. It had an outstanding (and super short) excerpt from the book, and 2. It’s a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the publishing process.

But now, at last, I have read The Secret of Goldenrod and get to share it with you all.

cheering_minions

With an October 1st publishing date, this is the perfect tale to kick off Halloween season.

A lonely girl…
A mysterious old house…
An antique doll.

So many things intrigued me about this book, but the antique doll really did it. What’s not to love about a possibly haunted house and creepy antique doll?

There are many things I loved about this book, but let me start with the one thing I didn’t love. I’ll get that out of the way, and then the rest of the post will just be a profession of all the wonderful things about this book.

For a book centering around a haunted house, the story was not very scary. I realize this is a middle-grade novel, so we don’t want to terrify young children, but a few times the story had the opportunity to crank up the scariness, and it fell just short of the spine-tingling mark. As it shied away from delivering truly scary scenes, it also shied away from dealing with heavy issues faced by the main character and her father.

And that’s all I’m going to say on that note, because overall I thought the book was great, and it will be a fantastic Halloween read for many young readers. In fact, the lack of terrifying scenes probably makes it better for many readers (and their parents).

These are a few of my favorite things

This book is chock full of fantastic middle-grade themes.

  1. Loneliness
  2. Family
  3. Making Friends
  4. Fitting In

While Trina is not your average fifth grader, she is someone children will still relate to. The only daughter of a single father, she loves school but faces “new kid” challenges nearly every year as her father moves a lot to fix up old houses.

This year, her new school jitters are compounded by the fact the whole town thinks Goldenrod, the house her and her father are living and working in, is haunted. With no friends, and no desire to return to school, Trina throws herself into the work with her father and ends up finding a mysterious and beautiful antique doll.

Trina is headstrong and adventurous, but that doesn’t get her into quite as much trouble as the reader might expect. As I mentioned before, the book shies away from anything too dastardly, so Trina approaches, but always stays well away from crossing the lines of temptation and trouble making. That’s not to say she doesn’t find herself in precarious situations, its just that the situations always work out a little too perfectly.

With a small cast of main characters, Trina and her doll take the spotlight with the house also featuring as a major character in its own way. Trina’s dad is a lovable character and the changing dynamics between him and his growing daughter are amusing and sweet. While Trina is the most developed character, the other characters don’t feel flat or act as fillers. Each character serves a purpose, and ultimately plays an important part in the story arc.

Weaving in generous amounts of traditional fairy tales, the story has a magical charm about it that is reminiscent of childhood, when anything seemed possible. I left this book wanting to read old fairy tales and renovate a Victorian house….and possibly play with antique dolls.

A beautifully told tale of family and home, this story is full of thought-provoking moments and poignant quotes. While I wish heavy emotions had been dealt with more directly and openly, this book still has resounding messages of love and forgiveness, which will resonate with readers of all ages.

This is a book children will adore. Highly recommended for children 8 and up.

5 stars for the book to wear forever and ever.

“What is more special than forever and ever?”

Thank you to Net Galley and Lerner Publishing for a reading copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.