The Secret of Nightingale Wood

by Lucy Strange

Publication Date: October 31,2017

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Where to buy: AmazonBarnes and NobleBooks A Million  ( I am not an affiliate of these places I just liked the book very much and wanted to make it easy if you would like to buy a copy to enjoy as well.)



1919. Henry has moved to the countryside with her parents and her baby sister, Piglet – all still scarred by the death of her brother. Alone in her head, she begins to explore her surroundings, encouraged by her only friends – characters from her favourite books. Nobody much notices when she wanders into the woods at the bottom of the garden and meets Moth, a striking witch-like woman. Together they form a bond that could help Henry save her family.

This book turned out to be nothing like I expected. I was expecting a sweet little fairy tale like book. Don’t get me wrong it is a sweet fairy tale like book but it is also so much more. What I read was a sad haunting book  that will stay with me. I loved every minute of this and wish I didn’t reading it all in one setting, I didn’t want it to end. Henry (Henrietta) was such a strong spunky girl who just wanted her family back to the way it was before the accident. Henry is lonely and has a very active imagination and curiosity. She ask questions, ones the adults don’t want to answer and think she is too young to understand or should be asking. Henry is a big believer in books and fairy tales, all my favorite children’s classics were mentioned through out this lovely book. She meets a “witch” in the woods, just like the books she reads. However Moth isn’t a witch at all just a sad grieving woman who befriends Henry and believes in her when no one else does. The two end up being just what each other needs to help them start healing from the past.  The Abbott family has a long road to travel before they are all better but if they can get back together as a family they just might make it after all. This book tackles many issues from grief, family drama, wartime England, Hope and finding ones true self and voice in the face of despair. This book is for ages 10+ but I really think it will capture readers of all ages. This will be my number 1 book for 2017.  I just can’t imagine reading anything I will enjoy more this year than The Secret of Nightingale Wood!

Thank you so very much Chicken House books and Scholastic for sending me this amazing book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free copy of The Secret of Nightingale Wood.


Independence Cake

A Revolutionary Confection Inspired by Amelia Simmons, Whose True History is Unfortunately Unknown

by Deborah Hopkinson

illustrated by Giselle Potter



Independence Cake introduced me to a historical figure that I had never heard of Amelia Simmons. She is the author of the very first cookbook in America called American Cookery. I love a good cookbook and just think she is what has inspired many to publish their own cookbook. She was revolutionary in 1796 to have a cookbook when to be honest I bet this was pretty unheard of. Deborah Hopkinson created a fictionalized account of Amelia Simmons life since very very little is known about her. Amelia’s cookbook was very popular and reprinted for 30 years after the first printing. This picture book would be a neat one to read to a budding chef to inspire them to maybe create their very own cookbook. I enjoyed reading her fictionalized biography of sorts and was happy to learn about an unknown historical figure.

summary: Master of the historical fiction picture book Deborah Hopkinson takes us back to late eighteenth-century America and the discombobulated home of Mrs. Bean, mother of six strapping sons, who simply can’t manage—until Amelia Simmons arrives and puts things in order. And how well she cooks—everything from flapjacks to bread pudding to pickled cucumbers! She even invents new recipes using American ingredients like winter squash. Best of all, she can bake, and to honor the brand-new president, George Washington, she presents him with thirteen Independence Cakes—one for each colony. “Delicious!” he proclaims. Author’s Note and original recipe included!

Thank you Deborah Hopkinson and Giselle Potter  for sending me a copy of Independence Cake. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig

by Deborah Hopkinson

illustrated by Charlotte Voake


Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig by Deborah Hopkinson illustrated by Charlotte Voake


I have always had a fondness for Beatrix Potter books. They are such pretty little books the illustrations while colorful are done in watercolor so they are soothing as well. The stories are cute and classics that never get old. I think after reading Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig I love her books even more. She loved pets and had many growing up, we do to in this house. We have 2 dogs, a bunny, 2 turtles and a frog, plus we feed 2 stray cats. Personally Cuddles is my favorite, he is such a sweet little bunny. However Beatrix didn’t have the best luck when it came to keeping her pets, or borrowed pets alive. She might not be the one people called to for petting sitting back then.

I loved that this story is based on what happened when Beatrix Potter borrowed Queen Elizabeth the guinea pig and the painting that eventually sold for thousands of pounds. This is a historical fiction book and the illustrations remind me of those that would be found in one of Potter’s books. The best part of fans of the books and author is the last few pages that include actual photos and bio of the lovely and talented Beatrix Potter. This is a must have for any picture book collector, reader, whether it is a teacher, parent or librarian. This would also be a lovely gift to include in a Beatrix Potter gift basket for a new mom.

summary: Published in time for the 150th anniversary of her birth, this story stars a young Beatrix Potter, creator of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and many other classic children’s books.

Master of the historical fiction picture book, Hopkinson takes readers back to Victorian England and the home of budding young artist and animal lover Beatrix Potter. When Beatrix brings home her neighbor’s pet guinea pig so that she can practice painting it, well . . . it dies! Now what?

thank you so much Random House Children’s Books, Schwartz and Wade, Deborah Hopkinson and Charlotte Voake for allowing me to read and review Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of the Borrowed Guinea Pig. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book.


I Survived The Sinking of the Titanic 1912

by Lauren Tarshis
published by Scholastic
5 out of 5 stars
Elementary Readers

The I survived series is very popular with the elementary readers. They are fiction stories but they learn a little about history at the same time.My youngest really enjoyed the whole series and says this one is by far her favorite

I enjoyed the story of George and Phoebes story. I liked that even though they could afford and were staying in a expensive suite, they became friends with immigrant passengers. George is just your regular everyday mischievous boy.  Aunt Daisy is on a journey to heal and honoring her late husband who wanted to travel on the Titanic. She ask her niece and nephew if they would like to join her journey. George likes to explore and gets in trouble but is likeable sweet kid. Phoebe is his little sister that loves him so much and fears his trouble making ways will get him sent to military school. That is the least of their worries while aboard the Titanic. However thanks to Georges exploring the ship and memory of what Mr Burrow’s said about secret passage the workers used to get to the different levels, he just might save the day

Does Aunt Daisy, Phoebe, George, Enzo and Marco escape the Titanic together? Do they get separated? Does being on the Titanic bond these 5 people beyond the Titanic?

Running Out of Night

by Sharon Lovejoy


Journey of an abused twelve-year-old white girl and an escaped slave girl who run away together and form a bond of friendship while seeking freedom.

When I first got this book from Random House I wasn’t to sure about it to be honest. I am not a Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer fan because of the written dialect. It trips me up and I want to change it in my head. However I’m always one who will read a new book, especially a surprise book mail book! 🙂  Plus I love her garden books so I was very interested to read her children’s lit book.

Running Out of Night was wonderful! LOVED it, and the way Sharon Lovejoy writes the dialect flowed and didn’t bother me at all! Running Out of Night is a great historical fiction book that is perfect for upper elementary ( 4th grade, 3rd grade strong readers) to middle school ( I would even say all the way to 8th grade). It is an emotional book with some touchy subjects so it might be a bit upsetting or not suited for tender hearted kids. Sharon does a wonderful job at writing about a very sad time in history. One I wish would have never happened.

Running Out of Night grabbed me on the first page and held me captive till I finished it. Her writing style really has you envisioning all the world around these 2 girls on the journey to escape to freedom. They are on the run to escape slavery and abuse that both girls have experienced on a day to day basis from family members for one girl (no name girl) and slave owners for another girl (Zenobia). Neither one of them has had a life really, or a true friend that they can lean on and count on. All that changes and just when they need each other the most. This book is about friendship between Zenobia the slave girl and no name girl. Zenobia names no name girl Lark and they become each others rock and protectors. Everyone needs that friend they can count on to have each others back. Especially during tough times, when you feel so alone and like no one is there for you.  You will be rooting for Lark and Zenobia and wanting to take peeks ahead to make sure everything is going alright with these two very brave girls, But don’t peek! 🙂

I loved this book and would suggest it to anyone who has a child who loves historical fiction, even an adult would love this book! I hope this becomes a best seller and classic that is read over and over throughout the years. Come to think of it I know this will become a best seller and classic that is read over and over in homes and schools!

thank you so very much Random House for sending me a copy! I am so happy to have this one on my bookshelf! I know it will be on my go to book list for gifts this coming year! While I received the book for free it in no way influenced my review all thoughts and opinions are my own.