Kait's Bookshelf

Book Reviews and Literary Services


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Book Review: The Italian Party by Christina Lynch

The Italian Party

Cover art is copyright of St. Martin’s Press

 

The synopsis of this new book releasing in March caught my attention, and I was really looking forward to reading it. One marketing blurb proclaimed that it was a great pick for fans of Beautiful Ruins. I loved Beautiful Ruins so I decided to give The Italian Party a chance. Unfortunately, this book fell short for me. In fact, it is my first official DNF (did not finish) of 2018.

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Book Review: Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster

esmes-wish.jpg

There’s nothing quite like poolside reading. Sunlight dances across the water creating circles of light while palm trees create shadows that wave upon the pool’s floor. It’s relaxing and peaceful and…magical. There is just something about water, be it pool or ocean, that is magical. For me, it conjures stories of mermaids, magical lagoons, secret caves, and adventure. Luckily, I had just the book for my poolside reading this week. Continue reading


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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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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


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Book Review: All the Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J. Church

All the Beautiful Girls

Cover art is copyright of Ballantine Books

If you follow my blog or my Instagram page, then you probably know how much I love reading books set in the Golden Age of Hollywood. By the Golden Age, I’m referring to the period of the 1930s to the 1960s. There is just something I love about being transported back to a time when Hollywood and the movies were truly magical. So when I read the synopsis of All the Beautiful Girls, I jumped at the chance to read it. While not set in Hollywood (it largely takes place in Las Vegas during the 1960s) it still had that allure of the early days of entertainment out west. All the Beautiful Girls is the story of Lily Decker, or as she becomes known in Las Vegas, Ruby Wilde. I couldn’t put this book down.

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2017 Wrap-Up and Reading Plans for 2018

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I love New Year’s Eve/ Day! It is always so nice to get a fresh start. I often get the urge to clean and organize my house around the New Year holiday. This includes my bookshelves. I often rearrange them and round up a box of books to be donated to the library. I have a really hard time letting books go, so these are usually books that I finally read over the previous year and don’t feel that I will re-read them. Or they are books that served a purpose during certain periods of my life and are now no longer necessary. Cleaning out and rearranging my bookshelves always makes me anxious for new reads and nostalgic for some old reads, too. Here are my highlights from 2017 and my reading goals for 2018.

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Friday Firsts: Cozy Christmas Mysteries by Barbara Early

death-of-a-toy-soldier.jpgIt’s been a while since I wrote a Friday Firsts post. And yes, I realize it’s Saturday. But with the holiday this week, my days are mixed up! I intended to post this on Friday, and since today feels like Friday, here you go – a Friday Firsts! This month, I read my first cozy Christmas mystery, Death of a Toy Soldier by Barbara Early. I liked it so much that I immediately read the sequel, Murder on the Toy Town Express. Before I get into the books, let me answer the question you’re probably asking yourself…what is a cozy Christmas mystery?

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Book Review: Surprise Me By Sophie Kinsella

Surprise Me

Cover art copyright of Random House Publishing Group

I had intended for my next post to be about book promotion services that I offer through Kait’s Bookshelf, such as a Social Media Blast. My thought was that with Black Friday and Cyber Monday approaching, authors might want to take advantage of those services to promote their books. But, life had other plans. Just after my last blog post, our family lost someone very special to us. My father-in-law received a stage four cancer diagnosis in January. He lived this last year of his life like he always did – enjoying life. He spent a lot of time with family doing the things he loved. On Thursday, November 16, 2017, he passed away peacefully surrounded by family.

In the days following his passing, I tried to write a new post and keep reading. But I found myself unable to concentrate. Before I knew it, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday had all passed me by. After a few days of sadness and grief, once the “dust settled” so to speak, I found myself able to once again take comfort in reading. Reading has always been an escape for me. It was nice to pick up a new book by one of my favorite authors and disappear into a new, wacky world for a little while. I still plan to blog about book promotion services as they can still be used for the upcoming Christmas holiday and anytime of the year. But, for today, I’d like to focus on a new book review.
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