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Love through me, Love of God,
There is no love in me;
O Fire of love, light Thou the love
That burns perpetually.
- Amy Carmichael -

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Book Reviews || Cela Day Novellas

Show of Wonders
Cela Day

published
genre

{GoodReads}
Bianca loves taking care of animals backstage and out of the spotlight for the traveling circus called Show of Wonders. But then an unexpected event causes her to become a reluctant performer under the big top. As Bianca’s popularity with audiences grows, she threatens to displace the reigning star of the show, a beautiful high-wire walker – who also happens to be Bianca’s stepmother. When Bianca discovers her stepmother’s jealousy won’t stop short of magic-fueled murder, she must rely on her own wits – and the help of some mysterious strangers – to survive.

“This story was so original and immersive, it made for a great read!” – Judge, Rooglewood Press Five Poisoned Apples Writing Contest, for which Show of Wonders was selected as a Finalist entry.

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This was such a sweet retelling of the classic tale.  For starters, Bianca (whose character is loosely based on Snow White) is still a child---roughly twelve-ish years old.  She is a SWEETHEART.  And she lives her life---for as long as she can remember---traveling with the circus: The Show of Wonders, in which her father is the ringmaster & owner.  It boasts of acrobats, lions, show horses, a high-wire walker, and the like.  Bianca follows her daily routine of helping with the preparation, feeding animals, and watching the show from the sidelines, until a stranger shows up one night with an elephant, of all creatures.  Unexpectedly, but to her delight, Bianca is entrusted with the care of Lady---an extremely intelligent & gentle giant.  They quickly form a friendship & soon grow in popularity with the audiences of each show.

Bianca's stepmother, whom she later realizes they don't know much history about in the least, is the star of the show.  And she harbors a great jealousy & greed for any who would dare replace her act.  Don't worry! No spoilers here!  But I've gotta say, the DWARVES are my favorite.

No foul language or sensuality.  An easy read, and great for middle graders!

All in all, this is a delightful novella of the classic faerietale!  And it even has a hint of magic.  ;D

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Ages: 10+

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Wonder Mountain Christmas
A Cinderella Retelling
Cela Day

published
genre

{GoodReads}
Min's childhood in foster care was marked by loneliness, relieved only by her escape into books about the magical worlds of Narnia and Middle Earth. Now that she's of age, she's looking for a home in the mountains she's dreamed of all her life--only to find that working as a server in a luxury ski resort is not only lonely, but thankless and humiliating. 

And then, one snowy Christmas Eve, a stranger skis into the bar where Min is working and offers her a strange invitation that could change her life forever--if she has the courage to accept it.

Join Min in this heart-warming Christmas story as she searches for her true family and the home where she belongs!




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Another lovely retelling of a classic!  Min's story breaks my heart.  TT_TT  She's an orphan who doesn't belong anywhere.  When the Needles take her in as a little five year old, she believes she may have a chance at a real family, but it quickly become clear they don't want her.  And she learns Mrs Needle only chose to foster her because of how it will boost her part in society---make her & her family look good, basically.  Min is seen as lower in their eyes, and always gets the leftovers.  When her stepsister is invited to a birthday party at the mansion up the street, which in her eyes is a real castle, Min begs to go, if only to see what a castle really is like.  She finds comfort only in the stories she's heard.  Of course, Mrs Needle doesn't allow her to attend & leaves her home alone.  Determined, Min dons her best dress & puts on her most precious possession, a pair of beautiful ballet slippers & walks herself the few blocks to the castle's door.  Mrs Needle finds out, of course, and  is Min dragged away to the Needle house.  She accepts her fate, but discovers she lost a slipper in the transaction with Mrs Needle, with no hope of seeing it ever again.

Years pass, and Min is working at a local saloon near Wonder Mountain.  Out of the foster system, she still hasn't found her home.  And it's Christmas. She goes about her job, until a mysterious stranger gives her an invitation to attend a party at the long-abandoned House on Wonder Mountain.  Thinking it a joke, she brushes it off.  But one thing leads to another, and Min finds herself alone & hungry on Christmas Eve.  Her feet lead her to the old house on the mountain where joyous lights & music seem to emanate from.  She enters, despite her doubts and learns that even in the loneliness of hopeless situations, joy & fellowship can be found.

No foul language.  Some mention of alcoholic beverages:  cheap whiskey, rum eggnog, beer, etc.  A bartender uses a spittoon.

Min mentions to her co-worker that Christmas Eve is a holy day and that if she wasn't working, she'd go to church somewhere.  Some of the men listening scoff at her statement.  At one point, she walks by a nativity in someone's front yard & contemplates its meaning.

In conclusion, this was a lovely little story.  Min's character is so precious!  I just wanted to go in there & hug & hold her tight & tell her everything will be okay.  She has spent her whole life searching for a place to belong, and later coming to realize she's not meant to belong in this world---she was made for another! And all the while her family had been searching for her.

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Ages: 12+

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