Book Review: Doll House + Giveaway!*

by - 8:00 PM

As an aspiring author, I've gone ahead and joined a TON of Facebook groups for writers like myself. They're perfect for perfecting your craft, sharing your progress, and connecting with fellow writers. That last one especially!

Every once in a while, you'll stumble across something magical! Whether it be an explanation for a topic you don't understand, social media marketing tips, or soon-to-be released books! And that's how I found Sam Campbell's Doll House!

The cover immediately pulled me in, but the synopsis intrigued me even more! I was so interested that I went ahead and extended the offer for various blog collaborations. To my surprise, Sam wanted to participate in all of them, including a book review! So we quickly discussed specifics and the book was on its way to me :)

Crummings' Home for the Dispossessed. A mysterious orphanage on the outskirts of town.

When Emma Winters begins to discover the porcelain dolls hidden within the walls of her new home, dolls that strangely resemble several of her friends, she knows something's up. It can't just be a coincidence. The resemblance is uncanny.

In a wave of shock, she realizes her fellow orphans aren't being adopted at all — they're disappearing.

What secret is old headmistress Viola Crummings hiding?

Emma must hurry to find out. If not, she may disappear next.

To begin with, I'd like to first give Sam props to being an independent publisher! It takes a lot of heart and discipline to take care of everything that goes into self-publishing and that deserves some attention!

With that being said, I did notice a few things that could have been improved upon. Of course, I understand how many hats an author must wear as a self-publisher, so I don't hold this against him. Nevertheless, I find it important to be completely transparent with both my authors and my readers. That way, all views have been taken into account and authors can get a helping hand :)

So, without further ado, let's talk about the cover! Honestly, I loved it! Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it translated well to the print copy. Personally, as a graphic designer, I think this is mainly an issue of using the wrong resolution during the uploading process. Up close it looks like the words on the front and back covers as well as the spine appear grainy. Other than that though, I think that the Doll House cover is perfect and I wouldn't change a thing!

And as far as formatting goes, I think that Sam did a great job! Personally, there was more line spacing than I would have preferred for myself, but I think the large text and spacing is perfect for the age group of this book! I think the only thing I would have changed is the page count, but that's not a big deal! I just tend to prefer that the start of a story begins on page one, and not everyone feels the same way, but that's ok!

When it comes to the author's writing, I think Sam did an incredible job with character development! After reading about Delores and Mrs. Cummings, I truly began to despise them. And I have to give Sam props for the name "Crummings." I don't remember when I put it together, but I actually made a note while I was reading that says, "crummy orphanage - Crummings - clever." So Sam definitely gets bonus points there! And I can't forget the main character either, whom I loved! I'm so glad to have seen a female character that truly cares for people, stands up for what she believes in, and fights for the things that matter. Emma might be young, but she's pretty bad a$$ and I'm thankful that Sam was able to create a character like that!

With that in mind, I wish we could have fast forwarded a little bit into the story. I know that it's important to learn about the characters and what shaped them, but I really thought the dolls would have come into the story earlier. And bouncing off of that point, I was surprised to see how the story unfolded. The synopsis reads, "When Emma Winters begins to discover the porcelain dolls hidden within the walls;" I think I took that a little too literally. I expected Emma to happen upon the dolls in the actual walls of the house rather than behind closed doors. So I do have to wonder how many other readers made that assumption, or was it just me?! :)

Now, with that being said, I did have trouble falling in love with Sam's writing. Personally, it felt a little simple to me. There were a lot of adjectives, descriptions, and smilies and while that works for some readers, it just wasn't great for me. Don't get me wrong though, there's nothing wrong with Sam's skill or technique, I just think that the book was written for a younger audience member than myself. Had I known that in advance, I believe I would have given Doll House an additional star in my review. Of course, after coming to this realization, I know exactly what to expect with book two!

I do have to admit though, that I think Sam did a great job with his plot structure. There were definitely a couple of plot twists that I didn't see coming! However, I did get a Matilda-esque vibe from the story and that was definitely a plus for me! Especially since that was one of my favorite books/movies growing up!

Overall, I would highly recommend checking out this book! The best way for me to describe it is this: Matilda meets Series of Unfortunate Events, but with a hint of paranormal magic! And it fits perfectly into that age group too! So if you're a fan of early young adult books, then I think you'll enjoy this one!

Not only was Sam sweet enough to send me a copy of his book for review, but he threw in a little something for you guys too! Two lucky winners will be receiving a paperback copy of Sam's Doll House this month!

This giveaway starts on 4/19/2017 and ends on 4/26/2017. The winner will be randomly drawn and announced on 4/27/2017 and contacted immediately.

Free shipping for U.S. residents only. Any winner out of the country will have to pay for shipping + custom charges as well as any applicable duty fees.

Please note that there is only one mandatory entry and a variety of ways to earn extra entries. You can also come back to enter every single day!

If you're interested in purchasing this book, you can find it here.

If you want to follow up with the author or purchase a copy of his books, please follow these links: 

Have you read Doll House? I would love to hear what you thought about it in the comments!

* This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I'll receive some type of commission. For more information, you can read our full disclosure here. *

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