Kait's Bookshelf

Book Reviews and Literary Services


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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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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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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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Friday Firsts: Nancy Drew

Nancy DrewFor this Friday First post, I’d like to talk about my first mystery book. I learned about mysteries from my mom, who introduced me to a young woman named…

Nancy Drew!

My mom read Nancy Drew books growing up. She loved them! So of course, she decided to share these books with me when I was growing up. I think I was around ten or eleven when I started reading Nancy Drew books. Up to that point, books had been pretty straightforward stories for me. There was usually a “good guy,” a “bad guy,” a lesson to be learned, and it was pretty clear who was who. I had never read a story in which I had to figure out who was who and what was really going on. The idea of a mystery was something new and exciting.
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Book Review: A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

a-stranger-in-the-house.jpgI read Shari Lapena’s debut thriller last year, The Couple Next Door. I loved it! After reading several books that promised to be the next Girl on the Train or Gone Girl but fell short, I had finally found a book that kept me turning the pages. I read it in just two days. It was original, full of twists, and impossible to put down. So you can imagine my excitement over her new book, A Stranger in the House, as well as my disappointment when it just didn’t live up to her first novel.
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An Appreciation of Libraries

Library BooksI love libraries! I love visiting libraries, especially old ones. I love the old buildings and the history they represent. I love the familiar smell of books that makes me feel at home even if it’s a library I’ve never visited before.

I visit my local library regularly, at least once a month, and I have for years. On my most recent visit to the library, I started thinking about all the ways libraries bring value to our communities. As e-readers, computers, and technology continue to grow and dominate, I do get concerned sometimes about the future of libraries. But I don’t think they will ever go away completely. Below I will share some reasons why I think that is and some reasons why I have developed a true appreciation for libraries.
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August Wrap-Up!

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August was a fast month for me! It was filled with great new and upcoming reads. Back-to-school is happening all around me, and summer is winding down with the long Labor Day weekend. Fall is just around the corner, and the truth is that I can’t wait for it! It is strange not going back to school this Fall, and I’ll admit I felt a little sad on Monday when my Alma Mater started the Fall semester. As stressful as it was, I enjoyed my back to school experience. But I am thankful to finally be working full time in a field I love and excited to be able to really relax and enjoy a Fall season again (my favorite time of year!). There are so many books I am excited for this Fall, and I’ll be sharing them in the coming weeks. But for now, let’s recap the last of my summer reads with my August wrap-up!

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Books About Books

20170829_161548Some of my favorite books to read are ones in which the characters have an appreciation for books or in which books play a key role in a character’s life. And I love literary settings! It is obvious to me when reading if a writer has a real appreciation for books and isn’t just trying to sell copies. These are the books I love most because I feel a connection with the author and ultimately with the characters and the story. Below I have highlighted some books with literary settings or in which books play an important part of the story.
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Book Review: How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

HowtoFindLoveinaBookshop

Cover art is copyright of Penguin Random House

How to Find Love in a Bookshop is a new release from Penguin Group, and I was excited to receive an advance reader copy from them in exchange for an honest review. The title of this book was enough to get me intrigued. I love books about books and bookshops! Past favorites of mine have included The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and The Little Paris Bookshop.

I had hoped to add How to Find Love in a Bookshop to this list. It is about a woman, Emilia Nightingale, who is grieving the loss of her father, Julius, a bookshop owner. As Emilia tries to heal, she becomes involved in the lives of those around her, those who love the small town, the bookshop, and miss Julius. It sounded like a sweet read with a romantic twist, and I really, really wanted to love this book. But unfortunately, it fell short for me.
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Book Review: Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone

Click'd

Cover art is copyright of Disney Book Group

I recently included Click’d in my post of upcoming Children’s and Middle Grade Reads for Fall. Click’d has been on my radar for a couple of months, and I was thrilled when Disney Book Group sent me an advance reader copy through NetGalley. The synopsis appealed to me because it’s about a young girl, Allie, who is interested in technology and coding.  Allie designs an app called Click’d which helps kids form friendships with other kids who share common interests.

Allie designs Click’d at a summer camp that is all about coding and plans to enter it into a Games for Good competition, once she proves how Click’d helps bring people together and make new friends. Her app quickly goes viral once school starts up and before she knows it, everyone knows who she is. She is famous in her school. But when she discovers that Click’d has a glitch, a big glitch, that could spell trouble for a lot of people, she’s forced to figure out a way to fix it ASAP or temporarily pull the plug, disappointing everyone and giving up her newfound popularity.
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