THE FIFTH DOLL Review and Signed Book Giveaway!

Charlie Holmberg, author of The Paper Magician, has a new book coming out this month! I’m a big fan of The Paper Magician series, so I was so thrilled to get to read an early copy of this book, and I’m even more thrilled to get to share a SIGNED copy with one of you!

Wine Pairing

Those beautiful matryoshka dolls (nesting dolls) play a very prominent role in this original and entertaining story, so I had to pair The Fifth Doll with this BrewDog Russian Doll Barley Wine. This barley wine has some surprising hints of sweetness, which was certainly reminiscent of the love story in this delightful tale.

*All wine recommendations are for strictly for those of legal drinking age only.*

About The Fifth Doll


The Fifth Doll

by Charlie Holberg

Publisher: 47North

Release Date: July 25, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Fiction

After discovering a room full of matryoshka dolls wearing the faces of her village, a woman learns she may be trapped inside one–but unraveling the sorcery carved into each doll unleashes dark consequences that rip her from the only home she remembers.


My Review


The Fifth Doll reads like a classic fairytale, is wildly imaginative, and so much fun. This story is so unique and creative. I’ve never read anything like it before, and I absolutely devoured it.

The magic system in this story is so original and just so Charlie Holmberg. If you’ve read her other novels, you will totally understand what I mean when I say that Charlie’s books, characters, and the magic systems within them are unlike anyone else’s. Charlie has a truly individual writing style, and I always find her books so fun and refreshing. What I loved about this magic system was that it is very specific. It isn’t a no-holds-bar type of system where magic swoops in to easily resolve the conflicts in the story. Matrona has to really fight to overcome the obstacles she faces.

And speaking of Matrona, she was an incredibly likable character, who was so easy to root for throughout the story. There is an inner-goodness and innocence about her, but there is definitely some fierceness to her too.

I absolutely loved the little village this book is set in. It’s so charming on the surface but has layers of darkness and mystery underneath that were both captivating and sometimes a bit creepy. Perfect setting for this tale.

While Matrona’s discovery of, and fight against, the dark magic looming over her little village is the main focus of this story, there is also a super sweet romance that I enjoyed so much.

The Fifth Doll is a really fun read that is sure to entertain readers of all ages.

Thanks so much to Amazon Publishing for granting me a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Fifth Doll Aesthetic

Here are some of my favorite images I pinned while reading this book!


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About the Author

From Charlie Holberg’s Website


Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie N. Holmberg is the author of Followed by Frost; Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet; and The Paper Magician Trilogy, which includes The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician, and The Master Magician. A RITA Award finalist, she majored in English and minored in editing at Brigham Young University. Raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names, Charlie plays the piano and ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and hopes to one day adopt a dog.

Enter the Giveaway

One winner will receive 1 SIGNED copy of The Fifth Doll by Charlie Holmberg to be signed during her launch event on July 25th and shipped afterwards.

  • Must enter before midnight mountain time on July 21st.
  • U.S. only due to shipping expenses.


Will you be reading The Fifth Doll when it hits bookshelves near you? Have you read The Paper Magician series? What are some of the most unique stories you’ve ever read?

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30 thoughts on “THE FIFTH DOLL Review and Signed Book Giveaway!

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      I REALLY liked it. Such a unique concept. I felt like I was in an old-school fairytale, like inside the village of Beauty and Beast but with an entirely different storyline.

      • The Chaos Realm says:

        I generally want to read just about every book you’ve been reviewing (okay, just about every book ever published) but the more I (re)read the review, the more I want to read it. 🙂 I’m kind of a sucker for Russian/Eastern European stuff as well. (I read Anna Karenina like ten times by the time I was 12)

      • KrystiYAandWine says:

        Ooh, you would definitely like this book then! Best of luck in the giveaway, but if you don’t win you should definitely snag a copy on Amazon.

  1. bookprincessreviews says:

    This sounds amazinggggggg. I love the idea of using the nesting doll and old-school fairytale feeling. I always felt like nesting dolls could totally be amazing in the story – since they are amazing but also could be kind of creepy. I’m super intrigued by this one, and I’ll totally have to try it out. 😀 Wonderful review, Krysti! 😀

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      It’s so true! And I’ve certainly never seen nesting dolls used as the main focus of a magic system before, so that was really neat and original. Absolutely loved that! It definitely does have a creepy factor to it, but I highly recommend it! Thanks, Mandy! 🙂

  2. ignitedmoth says:

    This sounds soooo good!! Love the images you chose to match the book’s aesthetic, too! 🙂 Awesome post. I’m definitely adding this one to my TBR list!!

  3. The Hermit Librarian says:

    I got a copy of The Fifth Doll from NetGalley, so I will certainly be reading it! I have actually started it, but only gotten a chapter or two in. It feels really solid so far, storytelling wise. I like it, I think, better than The Paper Magician.

    I did read The Paper Magician, or at least half of the first book, but I was listening to it and at the 50% mark I didn’t care for it that much. I have to wonder if that was because of the narrator. I’ll be trying it again one of these days, especially since there is going to be a fourth book in the series. My husband loved that series, which makes sense since he folds origami enough to be a Paper Master himself. *lol*

    I think The Night Circus was one of the most unique stories I’d read. That atmosphere, the circus itself, it was amazing and made me wish that it was real.

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Oh, awesome! I’m so interested to hear what you think of it. This one is my favorite of her books so far.

      The paper magic system in that book was so fascinating to me, particularly when stories could be brought to life through it.

      I totally agree about the Night Circus. I really hope her new book comes out sometime soon. I haven’t heard any details other than that she’s working on one.

      • The Hermit Librarian says:

        Have you ever tried the Read or Die/Read or Dream manga series? They’re both based around characters that can manipulate paper to make things. In Read or Dream, each Sister has a style: weapons, animals, and a third that escapes me right now. The best part is they’re (mostly) bookworms!

      • KrystiYAandWine says:

        I haven’t. But that sounds amazing. I’ve never actually read a graphic novel of any kind before, but I’m creating a list on GR for recs for them, so adding these. Thank you!

      • The Hermit Librarian says:

        You’re welcome! I’d recommend reading Read or Die first as there’s background and setup in the world there, then Read or Dream. Wait until you see Yomiko’s apartment building! I’m pretty sure she bought the building because of her book collection.

      • KrystiYAandWine says:

        Thank you! I’ve got it on the list! I’m hoping to dig into these this year! Fingers crossed!

  4. Sophie @ Blame Chocolate says:

    I’ve never read anything by Charlie Holmberg before but you got me intrigued! A love a great magic system and likeable (ok, also unlikeable) characters 🙂
    Small villages are always interesting settings for stories, I think. I don’t enjoy them in contemporary novels but adore them when it comes to fantasy ones!
    Love your Pinterest aesthetic, by the way!
    Amazing review, Krysti <3

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Thanks so much, Sophie! Charlie’s writing is so much fun. I absolutely love how unique and creative all of her books are. Small villages are definitely one of my favorite settings for a story. I do like them in some contemporaries, but more in the ones that have some kind of mystery element. Thanks again! <3<3<3

    • KrystiYAandWine says:

      Oh, I loved it! I LOVE Charlie’s writing so much. It is just so original. I would love to see more of what happens to the village after everything goes down.

      • The Hermit Librarian says:

        What I thought was interesting was Matrona’s decision and how I think she and Slava are more alike that she admits. He made a choice for the greater good of the village, as did she, but whose to say which of them was right, if either?

      • KrystiYAandWine says:

        That is SUCH a great point. And definitely something that we don’t really see the outcome of as reader’s. I would say that Matrona is most likely more in the right, because like she said, why would you have to remove the memories if you were doing something that was truly for their good? They both took away the villagers agency ultimately though, which is such an interesting thing to think about.

      • The Hermit Librarian says:

        When Feodor pointed it out, it really got me to thinking about how she didn’t she that side of her decision. He wasn’t such a bad guy after all, maybe just a closed off one?

      • KrystiYAandWine says:

        That’s really interesting to think about. And it seems as though his family was on the side of the revolution, so then you can go down an entire wormhole of right and wrong in the Russian revolution, which is fascinating.

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