Kait's Bookshelf

Book Reviews and Literary Services


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Book Review: Digby of the Dinosaurs by Linda Yiannakis

Digby of the DinosaursThis must be what it’s like to have a mother, thought Digby sleepily. Even a bird mother…or whatever these creatures are. That baby is lucky that’s she’s his mother. Digby scooted a little closer to Dakaana. I think she could be my mother, too, thought Digby the orphan boy. My real mother.” – Digby of the Dinosaurs

This new middle grade book from author Linda Yiannakis is, at its heart, a story about family. What makes a family? Love. That is the underlying message. When young orphan, Digby, goes out for a walk one day, he falls into a canyon and finds himself amongst strange, large creatures. Could they possibly be dinosaurs? Didn’t dinosaurs go extinct? What ensues is an adventure in which Digby will learn what it means to love, to be loved, and to belong.

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Book Review: Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer

Match Made in ManhattanI’ve been married for six years now. I’ve been with my husband for eight years. We met fifteen years ago. While we dated other people before becoming a couple, it was before the whole online dating scene really became popular. While I have friends who have found successful relationships online, I have others who have not been so lucky. But I’ve never experienced it for myself. Enter Match Made in Manhattan, Amanda Stauffer’s debut novel. Reading this book, I got to experience online dating through Alison as she turned to an internet matchmaking site after a break-up with a longtime boyfriend.
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October Wrap-Up!

October Wrap-Up

October was a fun month! Now that I have graduated and life has returned to semi-normal, I finally got the chance to enjoy my favorite season again. I have been so busy these last few years dealing with mid-terms and research papers in October that I haven’t had time to really enjoy the fall season or even decorate for Halloween. But that all changed this year! I decorated my front yard and my front porch, complete with garlands of fall leaves and orange lights. I also had the opportunity to dive into some spooky and magical reads. Below, I’ve highlighted all the books I read in October. Click on the titles to be taken to the full reviews.

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Book Review: Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Nightmares

“I suppose you could say that nightmares and dreams help you clean out your brain. Every day you pack it full of thoughts and fears and hopes. At night, your dreams help you sort through the mess. Even when they don’t seem to make any sense, dreams and nightmares are helping you figure things out. That’s why the Waking World always seems so much brighter in the morning.” – Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic

The Sleepwalker Tonic is book two in the Nightmares! series by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. I read the first book for last Halloween, so it seemed appropriate to pick up book two for this Halloween. I loved this book! I read it in two days. Yes, it’s a book for young readers and most older readers like myself will be able to get through it quickly. But I finished it so quickly because I just couldn’t put it down. I really enjoyed the first Nightmares! book because of the underlying message to kids about the importance of facing their fears. Well, book two offered up a new lesson. The importance of dreams.

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Book Review: The Fifth Petal: A Novel of Salem by Brunonia Barry

The Fifth Petal

“There were no witches in Salem in 1692, but they thrive here in great numbers now.”
– The Fifth Petal

I was intrigued by this book when I read a description of it online. I was searching for more seasonal/ witchy reads for October and came across this new paperback release. One of the most appealing things was the fact that Brunonia Barry lives in Salem herself. Who better to write about Salem than a woman who lives in Salem and is familiar with its history? I was hoping for a good murder mystery/ detective type story with a magical undertone. I wasn’t disappointed!

This was my first novel by Ms. Barry, and my understanding is that this is one in a series of novels set in Salem, Massachusetts. But this book can be read as a stand-alone novel. Although there was obviously a lot of history between some characters, I had no trouble following the plot. Barry explains any relationships and past events that are needed to follow this mystery.
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Book Review: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

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“…be who you are, every part of you, the good and the bad, the sorrowful and the joyous. You can never run away. There is nowhere to run to.” – The Rules of Magic

I have been so excited to read this prequel to Hoffman’s Practical Magic! I saw the Practical Magic movie before I read the book. I was surprised at how different the movie and book were from each other. It was like they were two different stories. But I actually loved them both. It is rare for me to like a book and the movie version of the book and usually only happens in cases like this, when I saw the movie first.

With the popularity of the movie, I wasn’t sure if Hoffman’s prequel, in which she tells the story of the Aunts (Jet and Frannie), was going to lean more toward the movie version or stay true to the book version. But the thing is, the Aunts didn’t play as big of a role in the book as they did in the movie. So Hoffman really could have done just about anything she wanted with their early characters. What she chose to do was take readers back to New York City in the ‘60s as the Owens siblings – Jet, Frannie, and their brother Vincent – discovered that they weren’t quite ordinary.
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Book Review: The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street

“Mom once told me she sees a story in everything. A lopsided sand castle at high tide might look terrible but could have been built by a future architect. A small blob of jellyfish glistening in the sand might seem harmless but could be more dangerous than a vial of poison. A rainbow might be the brightest one you’ve ever seen but could be the result of a hurricane…” – The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street

I loved this book and the above passage sums up why. There is always more to a story than what we see on the surface. Any given circumstance could turn out to be the exact opposite of what it looks like. I feel that lesson resonates through these pages and drives home a great point about not judging circumstances or people by the way they initially appear.
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Magical Reads

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I had planned on my next post being a review of the upcoming release Match Made in Manhattan. However, with October being in full swing, I’d rather focus on magical and spooky reads for the rest of the month. I will be sharing my review of Match Made in Manhattan in November. Today, I’d like to share some of my favorite magical reads with you. Any of these would be great books to pick up if you are in the mood for something magical in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Some of these I’ve read several times while others are way overdue for a re-read. But I loved them all, and I’m excited to share them with you.
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September Wrap-Up!

September Wrap Up

I don’t know about you, but for me September went by in the blink of an eye! It brought with it our first taste of crisp, fall air in the northeast followed by an usual heat wave. The weather was not the only thing that seemed to be all over the place. I had an interesting run of reads in September that ranged from wonderful to disappointing. In this blog, I will recap my September reads, highlight my title of the month, and share what is upcoming in October.

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Book Review: The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

The Girl Who Drank the MoonThe first thing that drew my attention to this book was its cover. It is taken up largely by a full moon with a young girl standing under it, surrounded by illuminated white bird silhouettes and a small, colorful dragon. This was obviously a magical story. The second thing I noticed was the large, shiny Newbery Medal sticker. This book was a Newbery winner, so it must be something special. I picked up the book and, in reading the inside flap, learned that this book was about a witch, a magical baby, a swamp monster, a dragon, innocent townspeople, and a whole lot of magic. I was sold!
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