Kait's Bookshelf

Book Reviews and Literary Services


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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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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: 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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Book Reviews: New Reads from Theme Park Press

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It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I love Disney. I grew up watching Disney films and have an uncle who was a Disney animator for years. So I was introduced to the magic of Disney at a young age and it stuck. As a grown-up Disney kid, I follow popular Disney sites, such as The Main Street Mouse, and was excited to learn that Michele, the voice behind the website, had written a book about her journey. I decided to look into the publisher of her book and found, to my delight, that there is a publisher dedicated to books about Disney. Theme Park Press proudly produces “The Happiest Books on Earth.” Having already purchased Michele Atwood’s Moving to Main Street, U.S.A. I browsed other Theme Park Press titles and was thrilled when they granted my request for a review copy of Murder in the Magic Kingdom by Annie Salisbury. Within a week, I had received two Disney themed book mail packages, and I couldn’t wait to start reading!
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ARC Book Review: Hello Sunshine by Leila Howland

Hello Sunshine

Cover art is copyright of Disney-Hyperion

I was absolutely thrilled when I received an advanced reader copy of Hello, Sunshine from Disney-Hyperion because I’ve loved all of their young adult novels that I’ve read in the past. Hello, Sunshine did not disappoint. While this was the first book by Leila Howland that I’ve read, I can assure you that it will not be my last.

The synopsis of this book intrigued me right away. An eighteen year old prep school graduate finds herself doing the walk of shame through her school hallways and pretty much all over town when she is not accepted into any of the colleges she’s applied to. So she decides to do the next best thing and most logical thing in her eyes – move to L.A. to become an actress. What could go wrong?

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Writing Tips: Showing vs Telling

Showing vs TellingAll writers hear the phrase “show, don’t tell.” I know I’ve certainly heard this and although I feel like I’ve gotten the hang of doing just that, this phrase inevitably creeps its way back into my writing critiques. So, what exactly does it mean when an editor, reviewer, or colleague says these words to you? What do they mean “show and don’t tell”? Isn’t writing all about telling a story? Fortunately for me (and all of you!) I’ve had wonderful creative writing professors who have helped to break down this little dilemma for me.
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Review: Tales From the Haunted Mansion: Volume I The Fearsome Foursome As Told By Amicus Arcane

Haunted Mansion

Cover is copyright of Disney Press and is pending final approval

As a grown-up Disney kid, it is my duty to keep a current list of my favorite rides and attractions at Disney Parks. The Haunted Mansion has long been a favorite of mine, and I was thrilled to receive an ARC of this new book from Disney Press!

As a book addict, my favorite room in the Haunted Mansion attraction is of course the library with the spooky, empty rocking chair and the assurance that the library is full of works by “ghost writers.” Well, in this book, I got to stop into the library and have the head librarian, Amicus Arcane, share some spooky tales with me. The Haunted Mansion is famous for welcoming “foolish mortals” through its doors and in the opening of this book, Amicus Arcane extends that invitation to “foolish readers.” Keep on Reading!


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Review: Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty

Serafina and the Twisted Staff

Cover art is copyright of Disney Hyperion

Let me start this post by saying a HUGE thank you to Disney Hyperion for an Advanced Reader Copy of this book through NetGalley. I absolutely loved Serafina and the Black Cloak, and if you missed that review, you can read it here. I was so excited to get a sneak peek of the next adventure, and it did not disappoint!

*Please note: if you have not read the first book, spoilers lie ahead! Please come back to this post after reading Serafina and the Black Cloak!*

Serafina and the Twisted Staff picks up where the first book left off, three weeks after Serafina has defeated the Man in the Black Cloak. I enjoyed this timeline because I felt there was a lot of mystery still lingering at the end of the first book. For example, we now know the truth about Serafina’s mother – that she is a catamount! –  but what exactly does that mean for Serafina? Will she continue to remain with her Pa at the Biltmore Estate or will she embrace a new life with her mother? Like the first book, the action and adventure start right away and kept me guessing and anxious to keep reading. Keep on Reading!