The website of freelance writer and published author Kaitlin Scirri


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New Scary Stories for Kids!

The humid summer weather is finally letting up here, bringing a welcome rush of cool air. There’s nothing quite like opening the windows and having that fresh, crisp air breeze through the house. Of course with the cooler weather comes back to school followed by all things Halloween. I was surprised to see Halloween décor hitting shelves in August, but now that we’re a couple of weeks from October, I don’t mind it so much. I really enjoyed the displays of scary stories I saw at the bookstore this week. There was something for everyone, from Stephen King’s newest release, The Institute, to middle grade scary stories and even Halloween and monster themed picture and board books for kiddos. Today I’ll be reviewing two new children’s picture books that have released just in time for scary story season.

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Book Review: The Fifth Petal: A Novel of Salem by Brunonia Barry

The Fifth Petal

“There were no witches in Salem in 1692, but they thrive here in great numbers now.”
– The Fifth Petal

I was intrigued by this book when I read a description of it online. I was searching for more seasonal/ witchy reads for October and came across this new paperback release. One of the most appealing things was the fact that Brunonia Barry lives in Salem herself. Who better to write about Salem than a woman who lives in Salem and is familiar with its history? I was hoping for a good murder mystery/ detective type story with a magical undertone. I wasn’t disappointed!

This was my first novel by Ms. Barry, and my understanding is that this is one in a series of novels set in Salem, Massachusetts. But this book can be read as a stand-alone novel. Although there was obviously a lot of history between some characters, I had no trouble following the plot. Barry explains any relationships and past events that are needed to follow this mystery.
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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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Review: Nightmares! By Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

nightmaresThis book has been on my radar for some time now, but alas, school books have dominated my reading list for the last couple of years. I thought October would be the perfect month to finally dive into this spooky story for young readers. What better night to stay up late finishing it than Halloween?!

Nightmares! didn’t disappoint! I know sometimes there is a lot of hype around a book because it has a celebrity author, but in this case, this book really is worth the read. I have personally enjoyed Jason Segel’s movies, and yes, I did initially hear about this book during an interview he did on a talk show, but that’s not why I like it. It really is a good story with a sound moral lesson for kids. Keep on Reading!