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Reviews - Prince Dustin and Clara 

September 2021

Log Cabin Library (Book Three)


"...I love all the little details in the prologue, it beautifully sets the scene and makes for a lovely image of this fairytale castle nestled within the forest.  I especially love this passage, 'white velvet snow capped the tops of each peak like a sprinkling of marshmallows on hot chocolate' .... Lot's of amusing moments ... lots of action. I enjoyed how the story is written in three acts, beginning with Castle Zauberin ... beginning their adventure into the enchanted Black Forest, passing through the land of the tree fairies, and on into the swamplands before reaching Castle Zauberin ... With it's general themes of good versus evil I can easily see this as a fun family read." 

August 2021

Dance Advantage - Leigh Purtill (Book Three)

"...In the current story, Clara again must do battle but this time, she is fighting a new adversary ... Parents of dancers who either perform in or attend performances of “The Nutcracker” could also use this series of books as inspiration to discuss how they differ from the original story dancers know or conversely, how they might influence new versions of the ballet (e.g. what would it be like to have trolls perform Reed Flutes?). At its heart, this series champions Clara, giving her plenty of adventures and opportunities to be the hero..."

July 2021

Kids' BookBuzz - (Review of entire series, including Book Three)

"... their adventure, is packed with magic, excitement, and danger. I like how the author incorporates rhyming poetry into the book. It gives emphasis on certain evil elements of the story and adds emotion to the book overall....This makes a good read in language arts in elementary school. There are good vocabulary words used in this book and I would recommend using them to find
examples for grammar classes..."  


August 2021

Bookworm for Kids - (Review of Book Three and entire series)

"This is such a fun series for the middle grade audience, and while it does somewhat remind of the Nutcracker, this series goes much beyond that. The author keeps the writing quick-paced and engaging. There are enough descriptions to build the world, but these are kept to a minimum as the characters and the plot drive this one forward. In this book, there is a wonderful cast of creatures  ... It allows dreams to take flight and the reader to dive into a fantasy world, which comes to life. Danger and tension remain high while still keeping a level appropriate for the age group. And yet, it's even grabbing to me as an adult, since it keeps the heart of childhood fantasy." 

June 2021

Kids BookShelf - (Review of Book Three)

"An exciting tale of friendship, fantasy, and adventure. (Ages 9-12)"

January 15, 2020

Kid Lit Reviews by Sue Morris on 01/15/2020

"...Prince Dustin and Clara: Secrets of the Black Forest #2 ... The Nutcracker with renewed life. It is given new life up with secrets, monsters and creatures, dark wizards, and the strangest forest in the world; tied with unexpected twists and turns of a magical bow; and turned into an epic fantasy of bigger and better proportions. In other words, do not miss this series. Prince Dustin and Clara is worth your time..."

December 13, 2019

Bookworm for Kids by Tonja Drecker

Prince Dustin and Clara: Secrets of the Black Forest (Book Two)

"... and what a magical tale it is! ... It offers quite a bit of adventure and unexpected twists and turns the entire way through. While it does have it's sweet and magical moments, it carries just as many sinister ones. There's a bit of mystery thrown in and a wonderful sense of urgency ... "

November 05, 2019

Log Cabin Library on 11/05/2019

"...Secrets of the Black Forest makes me feel nostalgic for my time having lived in Germany.  It's always a treat to find a book that includes German words and names with fantasy elements from the Nutcracker.   I also quite enjoyed reading the many descriptive passages by Nicholson.  For example this one: 

"The sun glowed in soft shades of amber.  Clara was making her bed and fluffing the over-stuffed pillows.  Her bedroom was decorated in ballet pink with white lace accents on the bed skirt and curtains.  A warm breeze from the open window gently blew the curtains in rhythm.  The smell of primroses scented the air." 

It's lovely how the words that an author uses in their passages can conjure up a scene or setting.    Secrets of the Black Forest can definitely be read as a standalone, and if you really enjoy the Nutcracker Ballet I'd encourage you to read the first book, Deep in the Black Forest as well.  Nicholson appears to bring his past experiences performing as solider in the Nutcracker into the storyline and I imagine the first book wonderfully details the snow scene from the ballet...." 

October 29, 2019

LitPick on 10/29/2019

"Prince Dustin and Clara: Secrets of the Black Forest was a very engaging book....The author did an amazing job hooking the reader in the story to keep them reading more. I like the fantasy elements, such as the animals could talk. I will definitely buy the first one to read more about this world..."

October 09, 2019

ReaderViewsKids on 10/9/2019

Prince Dustin and Clara: Secrets of the Black Forest” by Daniel Lee Nicholson is an epic adventure that once you start reading, you can’t put down. I loved everything about the story, from the magical kingdoms to the brave characters and even the really scary creatures..." 

April 04, 2019

Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite on 04/04/2019

"...The author brilliantly explores themes of magic, adventure, the struggle against evil, and destiny. Prince Dustin and Clara: Secrets of the Black Forest has a well-imagined setting, filled with things that young readers will love to discover. The surprises are manifold and moments that are heart-jolting add to the excitement..." 

Donovan’s Bookshelf / Midwest Book Review on 08/02/2019

"... Prince Dustin and Clara: Secrets of the Black Forest is highly recommended for young fantasy enthusiasts who look for strong female protagonists, fantastic encounters, and a can-do attitude that prevails as young Clara confronts a strange world that actually proves not too different from her own."

November 26, 2018

Dance Advantage on 11/26/2018

" The Nutcracker and the Mouse-King, gets a reboot, one that’s full of action and adventure and a little magic too ... In fact, there are many female characters in this novel, such as Sugar Plum and Queen Nordika, who are strong role models for all readers. The swashbuckling is not limited to male characters only! ..."

November 05, 2018

Leigh Purtill, FitBallet - 11/05/2018

"... Lots of action ..."

School Library Journal - 12/01/2017 Reviewed by Stephanie Whelan, New York Public Library

"A compelling premise ... Readers who enjoyed Karen Foxlee's Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy and Anne Ursu's Breadcrumbs may want to give this a try."

Review by - 1/21/2018

" ...Love this book, can't wait to get Book Two... 🌷"

Review by Kids' Bookshelf - 12/27/2017

"...  An exciting fantasy adventure based on the fairy tale, The Nutcracker, young readers will enjoy. (Ages 9-12)"

Review by Mom Does Reviews - 11/27/2017

" ... So this book, Prince Dustin and Clara: Deep in the Black Forest was sent to us by the publisher and let me tell you this book hasn’t spent much time on the shelf."

Review on Goodreads by Tonja Drecker - 11/17/2017

" ... Especially fans of The Nutcracker are going to want to grab this one and get lost in Clara's tale. Since this is the first book in the series, there's a promise of more to come—and I can't wait to see where the story goes from here."

Review by Readers' Favorite - 05/25/2017

"... Even the way the dancers were described gave me a hint of nostalgia for the classics. This is truly an exceptional book, one that made me long for my childhood and wish that I had had this book to read to myself every night.

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