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The Histories of Earth #1

In the Window Room

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"There are secret passages all around you if you know where to look for them."

Delany was being punished, and deep in her heart, past the excuses she'd like to make for herself, she knew she'd almost deserved it. And even though that girl, Mattie, had said something dreadful about her father, she knew that she should not have fought with her. Though one can never rewind history to change the past, and so this would be her punishment: to live alone in the old abandoned Greyford house on the outskirts of the Mayfield School for Girls -- a place with its covered furniture, and rooms leading to other unexpected rooms, and she would be completely, and purposefully, alone... or so she thought.

Yet there was more to this house than first met the eye: there were secret passages, and hidden treasures, lost and forgotten with the passing time, and a room... a fantastic and otherworldly sort of room, which she had decided to call "the Window Room".

This is a story about the dangerous and mysterious adventures she found there. This is a story about friends made from enemies, about a kingdom in peril, and a wrongly accused prince who would need saving. These are the sorts of things Delany found -- In the Window Room.

118 pages, Paperback

First published August 19, 2011

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About the author

Steven J. Carroll

10 books262 followers
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Hi, I'm Steven J. Carroll, a writer of fiction for young adults and pre-teens. I've also been an indie songwriter for many years, which was what honed my interests for writing.

My newest release is book two in a Young Adult, Sci-fi/Dystopian series called CITY OF WORDS. This novel follows the action-packed, suspense-filled journey of Alpha, as he tries to find a way to survive under the watchful eye of the all-powerful ruling authority, called the Common, and as he tries to save the life of the only person in the world that he truly cares about, a girl named Theta.

My fantasy, sci-fi series, THE HISTORIES OF EARTH, is a fast-paced, interstellar adventure. It's about a group of "Light Travelers", who must use their secret abilities to save far-off, distant worlds. These are books about knights and kingdoms, and monsters and epic battles, and mysterious inventions and long ago forgotten histories.

And if you happen to be a fan of Southern Americana fiction, you might like to read my book, THE ROAD TO JERICHO. This is a story about a lovable troublemaker, Ronny Gentry, and his dog, Lionel, and about their travels to Jericho, AR, a hubbub of wanton and reckless living, in the summer of 1949. It's a book about charity, and gratitude, and greed, and the choices that lead us there.

One more thing before I go, I need to give a shout out to my fellow SoCal author, Toby Hoff, who encouraged me to begin writing.

I currently live in Southern California with my wife.

Listen to my discography on iTunes:
Steve Carroll on iTunes

For more information, go to: stevenjcarroll.com

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5 stars
44 (28%)
4 stars
47 (30%)
3 stars
36 (23%)
2 stars
19 (12%)
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7 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 61 reviews
Profile Image for Andrea.
345 reviews10 followers
September 24, 2014
I received this book free through Goodreads First reads.
When this book arrived, my son saw it and then kept nagging me to read it quickly so he could have it! The picture on the front really appealed to him and his love of fantasy/adventure books. It didn't take long to read the book as it is quite short, it is a lovely little story, which I am sure is aimed at children, but is perfectly readable by adults. I really liked that the story wasn't too scary or sad, so I felt happy giving it to my 9 year old son. I am now off to read part two. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to enjoy these books.
Profile Image for Rach.
17 reviews
April 26, 2014
This book was GREAT! The way Mr.Carroll described the setting and the events made it to were I didn't want to put the book down. In The Window Room was very well written. For a short novel, I would recommend this book. Keep up the good work Mr.Carroll! I recieved this book, for free, from the Goodreads First Reads.
Profile Image for Vicky.
7 reviews
June 20, 2012
This is a great fantasy fiction book that is full of adventure. I enjoyed this book a lot.I have even checked out the author's music videos on you tube, that are great as well. He has a lot to offer from this book to music. This book is about two young girl's who go on adventures in the window room of a house and they make a lot of friends along the way. It has a king that's bad, lazy guards and a prince who is up for murder. I liked this book a lot. I can't wait to read the other books that the author writes next.
Profile Image for Julie Drucker.
84 reviews4 followers
June 2, 2015
I received this book through the Goodreads giveaway for an honest review. This a quick read and a cute book. For those young readers who love adventure I would highly recommend this book! It can also be enjoyed by adults too, but is geared toward the young reader. I am definitely an adult, at 50 years young, and I enjoyed the book very much. As this is book one I will be seeking out the other books to read as I was hooked by this read. Although this book ends in such a way that you would not necessarily have to continue reading the rest of the books, I think that most who read this book will want to read more of this series. The characters are fascinating and I find nothing more fun in a book than to meet talking animals and traveling back to the times of castles and knights. But this book is definitely a lead in to even more exciting journeys to worlds unknown and maybe not all those travels will be to the past. I liked the way that the author wrote this book with little insights to his thoughts that will make you chuckle. I, also, really liked the way that Del is introduced to time travel by Meris but I will miss Meris a lot and hope that the other books hold surprise characters like him. In all I really enjoyed this small book and found that it would be a great book to pass on to my nieces and nephews to get them excited about the world of books. I can already predict that I will have to purchase several copies because when one of them reads this book they will want to keep it and add it to their collection of books to enjoy over and over again! I know that I, too, will want to keep a copy for my library!
Profile Image for BeenBunz.
104 reviews
October 7, 2014
Before I even begin this review, I would like to thank Steve Carroll for promising a grand adventure and actually delivering it.

EVERY night before bed, I enjoy picking up a book, even if just for a few minutes and sometimes literally seconds, to wind down the day. I normally go straight for the light, entertaining stuff especially after a long, difficult day; this book definitely fit the bill. "In the Window Room" is a creatively crafted "children's book" for whimsical grown-ups. The novel is narrated in a "classic literature"-like style but, at the same time, able to "dumb-it-down" for laymen like me who are looking for a quick, light read. Carroll also cuts out all the B.S. and says what he needs to say in barely over a hundred of pages without missing a beat making it personally less intimidating for me.

"In the Window Room" mixes up bits of fantasy with folklore, crime, science, and humor to appease the various popular fiction fans out there. The characters are well developed, interesting and most importantly realistic. The plot is not complex but yet not so "simple." To truly understand what I mean by this statement you must first read the book. I am already starting on the second installment. Have fun!
1 review
April 17, 2012
I really loved this book! It has many twists and turns. I think it would be perfect for the 'tween age. I used to read a ton at that age and it was great to be able to sit down and read a book from an author that was clean, intriguing, and perfect for that age group. As a 20-something, I really enjoyed this book and found it to be a page turner. I couldn't put it down! Thanks to the author for writing such a great story with such a different style!
Profile Image for Tanya.
10 reviews1 follower
March 24, 2015
My 11 year old son, Zachery is already begging me to get the next book. He loved the storyline and says he is excited to read the next book because it will be told from the child's pov.
We are thankful we got to read this book as part of the first reads.
Profile Image for Andrew.
64 reviews3 followers
March 6, 2017
Good kids book, be interesting to see where the rest of the series goes from here.
Profile Image for John.
388 reviews11 followers
July 4, 2015
What a fun little book, it's only 111 pages. This one is all about adventure, and Dell the main character sure knows how to get herself in trouble. It's a great read for early teens, but hey I'm old and enjoyed it as well! There are countless possibilities for future stories, so look forward to more.
Profile Image for Kelsey.
98 reviews13 followers
April 28, 2016
I received a copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways.

This was a great story. Adventurous, delightful, and imaginative. I only wish it was longer! I look forward to reading the rest of this wonderful series. There is definite potential here for a more in-depth story line. Can't wait to see what this author will do next.
Profile Image for Georgia Ball.
Author 156 books46 followers
August 17, 2015
I finished this story wondering if the author had ever read a book prior to writing one. There were actions described in... Brackets?
Profile Image for Veronica.
443 reviews48 followers
July 26, 2017
This book was extremely dull and needed more transition time between things happening than the author gave.
956 reviews5 followers
July 28, 2016
** In compliance with FTC guidelines, I disclose that I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.**

I may revise my star rating after reading the rest of the series, as this was a prequel to the series and it certainly has the potential to be fascinating. *Note: after reading #3, I've gone back and amended (read upgraded) my ratings of Books 1 & 2 to reflect the series as a whole and discount the grammar error and typos

Delaney Calbefur attends the Mayfield School for Girls, where she pines for friend ship and camaraderie in the wake of her father's death. Her acting out gets her in trouble, and she ends up banished to an abandoned home (Greyford house) as her dormitory for the remainder of the term. She still attends classes as usual, but her after-class hours are spent therein, exploring the secret passages and even discovering another world through the Window Room. Carroll does a nice job describing the process of entering the other world, as well as returning. Certainly sets himself up to write several more stories (à la Narnia, except always through the Window Room, I imagine). This book one of the series centers around several trips to the same time period in the same world, to which Delaney keeps returning to finish sorting out a problem she encountered/created/exacerbated. Wraps up nicely, or so it seemed to me.

The tone of the book took a bit of getting used to...Carroll's narrator talks to the reader as if telling a narrative in front of the fireside. Carroll (or his narrator?) tends to talk down to the reader a bit, which I found distracting, but in other places, it's as though he's talking to an equal. I found it odd when he tells the reader he's skipping parts...but at the same time, that works for this story if you're in the groove. For example, Carroll skips an irrelevant conversation between side characters and tells the readers this, noting "I would assume, reader, that you would as well find the rest of their discussion tiresome, and much too adult-ish to be worth its ink" (82). Certainly a clever and not-so-condescending way to make note of it. After many such instances, I realizes this technique was contributing to Carroll's tone and actually helps form the story as a narrative...Again, Carroll tries to write to two age levels, really, and he uses his footnotes to that end. For instance, on p49 when he describes the dials on the machine in the window room. For the younger readers, you could just skip the footnotes and be none the wiser if you're not all that far along in math and would be confused by the 364 days+23 hours+59 minutes is nearly 365 days and there's no reason for the days dial to go to 365 but rather 364 is the max for a year when you take into account all the other dials.

I took issue with Carroll's interchangeable use of the terms maze and labyrinth (p64...), mostly because he takes so much care throughout the rest of the book to explain subtleties like that. I've always thought of labyrinths as unicursal, where mazes are not.

Stylistically, I liked the print of the book. The covers were interesting (visually and texture-wise), and the font (specifically for the chapter titles) was unique, with an air of whimsy to match the story.

This book is ideally suited for a bedtime read to kids. The chapters are short, so if a break is needed, there are ample opportunities. However, it's so short, it could be a one-sitting read. Depends on your audience. Probably geared toward being read aloud, though, as I found the sentence structure a bit beyond the younger ages (way too many commas and parenthetical elucidations for, say, your typical second grade reader). Nothing that would come across as confusing verbally, though, if that makes sense.
Profile Image for Wendy.
2,325 reviews40 followers
October 9, 2014
Book One "In the Window Room" of the Histories of Earth series which I won through Goodreads Giveaways is a magical escapade that begins when Delany (Del) Calbefur is punished when she gets into a fight with a schoolmate in class and is sent to the mysterious Victorian house called Greyford on the outskirts of Mayfield School for Girls. Alone for the next quarter she roams the house haunted by creaking pipes and strange happenings, finding an attic room with high ceilings, uncovered furniture and a painting like an atlas with star charts. What she doesn't expect is to meet a fuzzy gopher-like creature with greying whiskers who talks. In an adventure that takes Del across space and time to the territory of Gleomu and the city of Ismere she discovers a prince accused of killing his brother and makes new friends; one she once considered an enemy.

Like "Alice Through The looking Glass" Steven J. Carroll takes children on a thrilling journey that's out of this world, as Del travels across the universe to a planet where a cold-hearted, merciless king holds Cowan, a prince of realm unjustly imprisoned. This delightful fantasy is filled with secret passages, magic and lively exploits that keeps you riveted from the first page to the last. I loved the cover with its unique and imaginative illustration, highly reflective of the story inside.

Woven into to this imaginary tale filled with wit and humour and even a dash of science is the story of a friendship between two young girls who once considered themselves enemies- Del and Mattie Hardy. With the prince needing to be rescued and her friend Meris held hostage in the maze, Del finds an ally in the most unlikeliest of places. Although the plot is short and you are left hanging at the end with a lot of unanswered questions , the storyline is fascinating and enjoyable to read.

The novel focuses more on plot rather than character development, although Delany whose sent to Mayfield House after her father's death and mother's illness is a curious child who's observant, impulsive and very determined. In a lightning adventure that has the roof blown off her cell room when imprisoned, Del decides she needs help in rescuing the prince and turns to Mattie Hardy, a down-to-earth, smart and sensible classmate. I loved Meris the chubby, clever and feisty rodent who introduces Del to the land of Glemou and Cowan, the stalwart Prince unjustly accused of murder who goes to a rigged trial rather than escape and cause anyone else harm.

This is a story that children will love and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Vermicious Knids.
41 reviews6 followers
March 1, 2015

Wow. The writing of this book is exquisite and I immediately fell in love. Even though it is written for middle school kids, and adult will taken by the vocabulary and writing style of this author. Oh, that more books had such quality writing. Some reviews didn't like the author 'interrupting' his own story, but I thought it made the book a little more whimsical - reminiscent of The Princess Bride-ish.

Then, beyond the writing style, one is set into a dark and mysterious story. A boarding school with a an unsympathetic governor, a misunderstood girl, a talking gopher and a creepy old house with a old globe that can transport one to another world.

But then the story becomes vague. A life is surrendered for an unknown prince. Why did Delany decide to do this and what happens to them after. So many questions about these adventures that are never fleshed out and then the story ends? It was like having dinner in an elaborate atmosphere. The appetizers are divine, the company, lively and the main course - just one delectable bite. Ugh.

This book is quite brief. The series continues with more volumes and I am hopeful there is more girth to the adventure in the following books. For as complex a writing style the author uses, the story line after Delany travels to Gleomu is too simplistic and unexplored. Prior to traveling to Gleomu, I thoroughly was immersed and captivated by story.

I sincerely thank the author for sending me the first three books in series and look forward to reading the next 2 books. In sincerity, I would rate the book a 3.5 stars because I really was hoping for more in the world of Gleomu.

Disclosure: I read a free copy of the book in return for my candid review. Be assured, my opinion is honest, and I do not owe or know the author/publisher.
Profile Image for Sarah-Jayne Briggs.
Author 1 book47 followers
October 13, 2014
(I received this book for free as part of Goodreads First Reads giveaways).

(This review may contain spoilers).

The plot of this book was quite an intriguing one, but I did struggle a bit with the storyline at times. I have to say, I found it quite strange that teachers would basically insist on leaving a student completely on her own in a house... though I don't actually know how long ago this book is set, so maybe things were different in that time.

The idea of the different worlds was quite a good one and I did like the characters. It was interesting to see how Delany's and Mattie's friendship evolved through the course of the book, from them being enemies to being supportive of each other... even through a very tough time.

I did also like the other characters in this book, particularly Meris and the wrongfully accused prince. It was a bit disappointing that there was very little explanation as to the bad guy's motivations, though... and I felt the 'weak hearts' explanation didn't work too well for why no one acted to stand against what they knew was wrong.

I did find the writing style a bit difficult to get into. The author kept breaking into the flow of the story, which I felt was unnecessary and quite distracting at times. But there were some tense moments in the book that kept me reading... and I liked the fact that Delany and Mattie did the right thing, even when it was difficult at times.

I did like the ending of the book, but I felt there was more to the story that could have been told. I do have book two and I do intend to read it in the next day or so. Despite what I mentioned above, the plot was interesting and engaging and I did find it a quick, easy read.
Profile Image for Maren.
586 reviews1 follower
September 24, 2013
Very cute for a younger audience. I liked the idea and the fantasy elements, but there were some inconsistencies and the writing was a little choppy. He kept alternating between telling the story, telling a joke, and addressing the reader, which in and of itself is not a problem but it didn't always flow. I encountered a couple instances where I was a little confused, like why did Mattie have to go rescue Meris when what ended up happening when she got there was Meris helped Mattie get out? So wouldn't it follow that Meris could get out by himself? Also, why was Meris a gopher/squirrel creature? I don't take issue with talking animals per se, but there were no other talking animals in either world, so I wasn't sure why that detail was included. And the way Del and Mattie's friendship was described was not really natural, the whole enemies become friends thing but there isn't enough evidence to see why they were enemies in the first place or why they became friends. And what Mattie did at the end was rather gruesome, but everyone just shrugged and went along their merry way without any psychological turmoil. So despite the long list, the instances were fairly minor to the plot, and overall I was interested in the story. I hope that in the following books he tightens up his writing; it could be a great series.
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,572 reviews259 followers
September 19, 2014
I won a copy of this through the Goodreads First Reads Program.

Delany, a student at the Mayfield School for Girls, gets punished and is forced to stay alone in an old abandoned home on the edge of the school grounds. As she begins to explore, she finds the window room and a new friend. The window room has a contraption that can transport you to distant lands for set periods of time. Delany and her new friend, Meris, have all kinds of adventures via the window room.

I really enjoyed the premise of In the Window Room by Steven J. Carroll and the almost fairy tale style of the story. It's truly a lot of fun and I think kids age 9 to 12 would get a real kick out of it.

However, I wish the narrator didn't break in as much as he does because it really disrupted the story. I would have rated this higher if the story was just told straight out rather than with all of the footnotes, brackets, and parenthetical references peppered throughout. It took me a little while to get used to the writing style, but once I liked the tale itself quite a bit.

Overall, I liked this short and sweet adventure to a far off land.

This review is also available on my blog.
107 reviews2 followers
January 3, 2014
Steven J. Carroll kindly sent this initial book in The Histories of Earth Series with my copy of A Prince of Earth, second book of The Histories of Earth Series, which I won on Goodreads.

When Delany Calbefur (a Mayfield School For Girls student) misbehaves, she is sent from her dormitory room to live alone in the large and vacant Greyford House as punishment. A maid makes her bed and fills the refrigerator with food, yet Delany is isolated from classmates when she isn't attending classes. While the Greyford House is large and frightful at first, Delany fortunately makes a delightful furry friend early in her stay there. Delany also discovers a secret room in the Greyford Attic which will serve as a base for exciting, otherworldly adventures. And, adventure is always more fun when shared with others . . . as it will be! In the Window Room is a short, 111 page story. As a Science Fiction/Science Fantasy Fan I enjoyed the book; and, the promise of future adventures appeals to me!
Profile Image for Kay.
241 reviews
January 6, 2015
This is a story of Delany Calbefur, who lost her father in the war, her mother to paralyzing grief (thus becoming no mother at all), and Delany then found herself shipped to the Mayfield School for Girls upon advice from her aunt.

At school she was banished to an old house, Greyford House, when she fought with Mattie Hardy about the war and both father's beliefs in said war.

Greyford House was very old, said to be haunted, and not at all an appropriate setting for a young lonely girl, but she discovered the Window Room and Meris, and her adventures began. With Meris' help, she and her new friend Mattie were able to travel to another world, and rescue a prince.

This is a fairly good book and a quick read since it is written for middle school readers. I'm not sure that the current crop of middle schoolers will find the adventures riveting enough to finish the book but I enjoyed it. Since it appears to be set in the mid 1900's I'm not sure it's a story that children will relate to.
Profile Image for Heather.
986 reviews
February 18, 2016
First Reads winner! (Now called Goodreads Giveaways)

2 and a half stars.

This little book has a lot of potential -- it includes a creepy house with interesting rooms and passageways, aliens, interplanetary travel, and a similar feel to books like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe series, the Oz series, the Underland Chronicles, and A Wrinkle in Time.

However, a lot of the characters and plot lines could have been developed a lot more. Since the novel was so short, too many of its words are used with lines of "I could tell more about what so-and-so said, but it would bore you." I want to be the author's editor and just cut those sentences out. And then prompt him to more fully explain and describe things. Give me more about how the interplanetary travel works. Tell us why putting a child in a house by herself would be a believable punishment. Explain why the first alien Delany meets so animal-like, yet everyone else not from earth is completely human-like.

I do have 2 more books in the series to read, and I'm eager to see what they contain.


Profile Image for Melissa.
741 reviews15 followers
April 1, 2015
~Disclaimer: I received this book for free in a giveaway~

I think this book is about a 3.5 more than a 4, but I didn't want to ding it down to a 3. Seemed rude since I did like it.

For some reason the writing style made me think of Lemony Snicket (not exactly sure why though), but less funny.

The story is pretty solid, but doesn't offer a ton of new ideas. It looks like this series is a sort of stand alone one (the second book has a different main character), but since I haven't read it I make no promises.

I feel that the relationships evolve very quickly in this book, but I suppose that isn't surprising given that its a VERY short book. I feel the book would have been better if it was a little longer.

Anyway, younger kids (middle school maybe) would likely enjoy this book. High-school and above may find it a tad predictable and not as engaging.
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,834 reviews
April 7, 2012
This is a fantasy story, and the writing seems to be aimed at middle school to high school students, although adults will also enjoy reading it. I would actually give it 3.5 stars if that were possible. The action in the story is well-paced, and it definitely holds your interest. It is such a short book, however, that there were many places where I wished I had more background information to help me empathize with the characters to a greater degree. I didn't find myself caring about the outcome in some parts as much as I'm sure the author wanted me to care. I won this book through first-reads, and I'm glad I got the opportunity to read it. I hope the author continues the story in a future book, as the ending was somewhat open-ended and sombre.
91 reviews7 followers
May 17, 2015
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

Although this book is intended to be read by a younger audience, I really did enjoy reading this book. It is a quick read and has a unique and interesting plot. The main character is being punished by having to sleep by herself in an abandoned building on the campus of her boarding school. This punishment, however, turns into an exciting adventure. After meeting a talking gopher, the main character is shown a secret room that holds a large globe and map that will transport her to different worlds. As she places her hand on the globe, the adventures begin. I would recommend this book to children and adults. It was a great read and I can't wait to read the second book.
Profile Image for Shayla Drumm.
85 reviews8 followers
April 16, 2012
In the Window Room is written for an audience of pre-teen to teenage children. While the subject matter seems appropriate and interesting to children of this age, I think the writing style may be a little complex and duanting. This is a relatively short book so the plot moves along at a brisk pace; however, I found myself distracted by the ever-present tangents and bogged down with unecessary comments from the author. I would not recommend this book for everyone, but there are some avid young readers who would find this an enjoyable read. I was fortunate to have won this book from Goodreads and plan to pass it along to a young friend of mine.
Profile Image for Kelly.
328 reviews421 followers
October 3, 2014
My Rating: 2.5

Obtained: Through Goodreads First Reads

In the Window Room is truly a simple book. It is a book that I would have found myself lost in - when I was younger. Now, as a young adult, I don't daydream about getting lost in another world or finding treasures burrowed away. I agree with the other reviewers, In the Window Room is most likely aimed for preteens to young teens.

The ending ended a little too soon for me, maybe it's because In the Window Room is such a thin book that I can't help but think that it's such a thin book, but I'm not sure.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 61 reviews

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