Kait's Bookshelf

Book Reviews and Literary Services


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July Wrap-Up!

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I look forward to July each year, because it’s the heart of summertime for me. I often take a little vacation to visit family which means I get some down time. This July was as awesome as I had anticipated, and I hope yours was too! I got to travel, see family, I took on an exciting new book project, and I got tons of reading time in. That, my friends, is an amazing few weeks! Not to mention that as August creeps along, Fall is inching closer and closer. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer, and I’m not ready to see it go. But, my first love is Fall, and I’m starting to get a teeny bit excited at the thought of crisp air, sweaters, and fall leaves. But there will be time for that later. For now, I’d like to recap my July reads and talk about what’s ahead for these last few weeks of summer.

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Book Review: The Borrowers by Mary Norton

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Well, July is in full swing and that “summer vacation” feeling is in the air! I stated in my last post that I often gravitate toward middle grade and young adult books in the summer. I chose The Borrowers as my July book bucket list pick for this very reason. I figured that I would probably be in the mood for something light and imaginative, and I have wanted to revisit this childhood favorite for some time. It seemed like the timing would be perfect, and it was.

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Book Review: Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel by A.W. Jantha

“It’s just a bunch of hocus pocus…”

Hocus Pocus

I don’t often post reviews back to back, but today is the release day of Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel, and I just couldn’t wait to share my thoughts. This is going to be one of those posts where I date myself. I remember seeing Hocus Pocus in the theater when it released in July 1993 ~ 25 years ago! I saw it with my sister, brother, and friends. I was still a preteen, and I remember loving the movie. I laughed, I got nervous when Max lit the black flame candle, I screamed when Sarah Sanderson was found hiding in Dani’s bed, and I, like all other preteen girls, developed a tiny crush on Thackery Binx. For years, Disney fans have been begging for a sequel, but only if it includes the original cast, and I agree!

When I heard about the new book re-telling the original story with a new sequel included, I was excited yet a little hesitant, hoping that it wouldn’t ruin the original story and that the sequel would live up to my expectations. Well, the book releases today, and here is my review.

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Reviews of Two Tangled Novels: Rapunzel and the Lost Lagoon and Rapunzel and the Vanishing Village by Leila Howland

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Since I didn’t get to read many books in June, this post will serve as both a book review post and my June wrap-up. I did thoroughly enjoy All the Stars in the Heavens, and I did get to my book bucket list pick for June, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I can’t wait to write my review of that book, though nothing I write will ever do it justice. If you missed All the Stars in the Heavens, you can go back and read my review here. My review of Diary of a Young Girl will be my next post so watch for that in the coming days.

Moving on to today’s reviews, I’m excited to talk about the first two novels in Disney’s Tangled series. Anyone who knows me knows about my love of all things Disney. Disney’s Tangled was a big hit with me. It was the first animated movie in a long time that had created such a buzz amongst both the kids and adults in my life. The movie was entertaining and funny, even earning a chuckle or two from my hubby who’s not exactly a Disney fan but watched it to humor me. 🙂

I’ve been a fan of Leila Howland’s work since Disney kindly gave me an advanced reader copy of her young adult book Hello Sunshine last year. I loved that book about an eighteen year old heading to Hollywood in pursuit of her dream, and I’ve been watching for Ms. Howland’s writing ever since. So you can imagine how excited I was when an author I love started a book series for Disney!

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February Book Bucket List: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

a wrinkle in time“’Well, then, someone just tell me how we got here!’ Calvin’s voice was still angry and his freckles seemed to stand out on his face. ‘Even traveling at the speed of light, it would take us years and years to get here.’

‘Oh, we don’t travel at the speed of anything,’ Mrs. Whatsit explained earnestly. ‘We tesser. Or you might say, we wrinkle.’” – A Wrinkle in Time

I chose A Wrinkle in Time as my book bucket list pick for February for a couple of reasons. One, I’ve wanted to re-read this book for years. When I picked it up this month, it had been at least twenty years since I’d read it. I remember it having a science fiction and fantasy feel to it, but I was fuzzy on the details. Two, I wanted to brush up on the book before the new Disney film version releases in March.

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January Wrap-Up and Reading Plans for February

February Reads

Here we are, a full week into February already! I can’t believe how quickly the weeks are flying by in 2018. January was a great month for me. I took on a couple of new book projects (more to come on those later!) and I read some great books. My February reading is also off to a great start with a debut novel from a talented author that is turning out to be a wonderful young adult fantasy read. Added bonus: I’m reading it from sunny Arizona, getting a much needed break from winter in the northeast. In today’s post, I will recap my January reads and share my reading plans for February, all while sending sunny vibes your way!

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Book Reviews: Code Name Butterfly and Toletis

This month I was fortunate to receive two new titles in the young adult and middle grade genres from a new indie publisher called Neem Tree Press. Neem Tree Press is a publisher of international fiction in translation in the UK. Both of these books were intriguing stories told with a unique voice. I love reading stories told from a young person’s perspective. Children see the world in a way that adults can’t or won’t, and they usually offer some eye-opening insights while telling their stories. Today, I’d like to highlight both of these new books and invite you to explore them further.

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January Book Bucket List: Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

Mary Poppins

“But Jane and Michael were not taken in by that snap. For they could see in Mary Poppins’s eyes something that, if she were anybody else but Mary Poppins, might have been described as tears…”             – Mary Poppins

Earlier this month I shared part of my Book Bucket List. It is a list of books that I feel I must read in my lifetime. It differs from my To Be Read list in that these are books that I really feel compelled to read for one reason or another. On the other hand, my To Be Read list is a list of books that I think look interesting or amusing or that someone gave to me and I’d like to read eventually. But they are not books that I’ve always wanted to read nor will I be devastated if I don’t get to them in my lifetime.

My Book Bucket List consists of a variety of titles of literature for adults and children. Maybe it’s a book that has been traditionally controversial and I need to know what all the fuss is about. Maybe it’s a historically important piece of literature. Or maybe it’s a book I’ve heard referenced throughout my life but have never read myself. In some cases, they are books from my childhood, classic children’s tales that I remember enjoying but am fuzzy on the stories themselves. So I’d like to revisit them as an adult to fully appreciate their contributions to children’s literature and to my childhood as well. My January Book Bucket List pick is Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. Continue reading


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My First Children’s Book!

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I am very excited to share the news of my first children’s book from Cavendish Square Publishing! The title is Property Rights, and it is part of a series that teaches Civic Values to grades 2-4. I am very proud to be a part of this project. I signed on for this series last year and it is so exciting to finally see the finished product! Continue reading


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Book Review: The Ghosts & Jamal by Bridget Blankley

The Ghosts & Jamal“It had been good to climb, as good as anything he had ever done. It had not been so good to fall, but he would recover. All in all, he thought, it was worth the fall, just to have climbed the tree.” – The Ghosts & Jamal

Jamal is a thirteen year old boy in rural Nigeria whose favorite drinks include Fanta and Sprite. He seems like everyone else except that he lives with epilepsy. His epileptic episodes are misinterpreted by his family as “bad spirits” coming upon him. So Jamal lives apart from his family, in a separate hut on the outskirts of his village. This isolation will ultimately save Jamal’s life during a terrorist attack on his village. I read Jamal’s story in one sitting. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. I was worried for this young man – for his health, for his safety, and for his feelings – as he set out on his own to try to escape the attackers and to find his grandfather, or anyone else who survived, and might be able to help him. I feared for him and wanted to help and protect him. Continue reading