Kait's Bookshelf

Book Reviews and Literary Services


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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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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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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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Book Review: What Do You Do With a Problem? By Kobi Yamada

What Do You Do With A ProblemI love picture books. I loved them as a child, and I still love them as an adult. When I went back to school, one of the first classes I took was a Children’s Literature course. One of the things I learned in that course is that picture books are designed so that the pictures are for the kids and the words are for the adults. I can see how that’s true with several picture books. There are jokes in certain books that go over kiddos’ heads but manage to give the adults a chuckle. (Shel Silverstein books come to mind!)

But, as an adult, I have developed a real appreciation of both the text and the illustrations in picture books. It’s not just an appreciation of the art that goes into these books, though the art is often what makes a few words on a page come to life. But it’s more about the life lessons that picture books instill in children while offering a gentle reminder to adults as well.

One such picture book is What Do You Do With A Problem? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom.
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Book Review: Revival by Stephen King

RevivalI recently took to social media to ask my fellow book lovers which of Stephen King’s many novels they would recommend for my very first Stephen King read. I got a lot of responses and many of them were similar. Many people suggested I go with his earlier works, and titles like The Shining, Carrie, and Christine came up multiple times. Some suggested I just close my eyes and grab one off the shelf because I couldn’t go wrong that way.

It is interesting to me that it has taken me thirty-five years to read Stephen King, one of the best-selling authors in the world. To be honest, I think the movie versions of his films are what kept me at bay for so long. I don’t like scary movies and I remember films like It and Carrie scaring me as a child and I thought, “No way would I ever read this book!” So I guess you could say that up until now, I’ve been too chicken to read his work.

For my introductory novel, I chose one of his recent releases, Revival. It was recommended to me by a few people and many were describing it as similar to his earlier work. I was assured by a friend that it wasn’t scary – creepy for sure and disturbing at times – but not scary. I decided it was a good place to start and started Revival on what turned out to be a very dark and stormy week in the northeast…how appropriate!
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Promoting Your Book as a New or Self-Publishing Author

Stack of BooksSo you’ve finally written that book you’ve been dreaming of writing for years. And even better, you’ve now published it and it’s available on Amazon. Great! But…now what? How do you make people aware that you’ve written and published your book? How do you get people interested in buying and reading it? This is one of the biggest struggles facing new and self-publishing authors. Self-publishing is a great way to get your work out there for the world to see. But the downside to forgoing the traditional publishing route is that you also forgo the perks of working with a traditional publishing house, like having an entire marketing department ready to promote your book to the masses. So what’s an author to do? Based on feedback I’ve received from self-publishing authors, I’ve compiled the following list of ways to promote your book without breaking the bank.

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Book Review: The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall (Advance Reader Copy)

The Best Kind of People

Cover Art is copyright of Random House Publishing Group

I received an advance reader copy of this upcoming book from Random House through NetGalley. In The Best Kind of People, we follow the wealthy Woodbury family as their seemingly perfect lives come crashing down when George, beloved teacher and family man, is accused of sexual misconduct. This book is less about whether or not George is guilty and more about the effects the accusations have on his family. In The Best Kind of People, Zoe Whittall tackles the contemporary issue of rape culture and offers an engaging character study and a look at how our society views scandals and accusations such as these.

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Book Review: Differella by Jim and Kay Story

DifferellaI love books. So when people I love write books that I love, life is pretty amazing! My aunt and uncle have joined together to produce an incredible children’s book, which offers a reminder that it is okay, even more than okay, to be a little bit different. I found Differella to be deeply moving, and I share it here in the hopes of encouraging others to read it, share it, and help spread awareness that different is not a bad thing. It’s just different.

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Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn HugoA couple of weeks ago, this book started popping up all over my Instagram feed and I became intrigued. The title alone is enough to pique one’s interest. At the bookstore last Friday, I came across this title and decided to see what all the fuss was about. After reading the synopsis, I was sold. I had to read this book! Evelyn’s story takes place over several decades and falls into one of my favorite genres of books – the golden age of Hollywood. I love reading stories set in Hollywood from the ‘40s – ‘60s. I love watching old films and imagining what life was like for the movie stars who made them. I have read several celebrity autobiographies from that era, and they are always fascinating to me. Although Evelyn Hugo is a fictional character, I couldn’t wait to read her story!
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