books

5 QUICK BOOK REVIEWS

Hello, my dear readers!

Another week has gone on by, and in its place is a new weekend. Can you guys believe this is going to be the last weekend of September 2019? It’s a weird thought, but it’s kind of cool to think that October is just around the corner.

For today’s post I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts on the last 5 books I’ve read. I did this on another post over the summer, which you can check out here. Since most of you guys are literary minded, why not share our book recommendations with each other? (Although I’m not going to be able to recommend every book on this list, I’m sorry.)

So, without further ado, let’s get to the list!


1. A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN by Virginia Woolf

This essay was originally published in 1929, but it reads as if it could be written today. Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own is a stinging feminist collection published from her time as a guest lecturer at Cambridge University in London, and to be honest it does seem like something I’d read in my creative writing classes.

The principle point Woolf makes is that female writers must have a room of their own in order to write well and make a life for themselves. In order to do this, she showcases the history of women in literature and extends it to the still-rigid era of her own works.

As a writer I appreciate Woolf’s sentiments, and I do think the essay is relevant even today. That being said, it’s not written to entertain you, as it’s a critique on society as a whole. Woolf’s arguments are valid, but it’s not an essay that is meant to make its audience feel warm and gooey inside.

Overall, I’d give it this score, out of a possible five: ◊◊◊.


2. THE NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS by Frederick Douglass

The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a chilling tale that made me think, “How did this happen? How was this real life?” But that is the power of this autobiography from the freed slave and avid abolitionist Douglass, whose storytelling is passionate and uplifting as he describes the harsh reality of slavery. Douglass wrote his autobiography with the utmost care, and it shows throughout the narrative.

This book is not for the light-hearted. It asks its reader, even in the modern day, to consider the disgusting practice of slavery, in the Americas and elsewhere. It reminds us that just two hundred years ago, slavery was legal in my home county, the United States. But it also reminds us that so much has changed since the successful case for abolition, and that we must remember what happened so that it does not happen again.

Please read this book! It will make you appreciate everything you have in life.

Overall, I’d give it this score, out of a possible five: ◊◊◊◊.

 


3. 1984 by George Orwell

I know, I know, 1984 is a classic, and I’d never read it before, which makes me feel like a fool. 1984 is one of those books that a person must read. It’s got so much in it, and I feel cheated since I was never required to read and analyze this book in school.

While this novel is rather politically charged, I think its depiction of totalitarianism is necessary for one to consider when it comes to government reach. Though I don’t want to go too far down the rabbit hole (you can read the book if you’re interested), there is so much in this book to dissect and think for oneself. What happens when the government controls every aspect of our life, to the point that freedom of speech is so heavily monitored that dissent is impossible?

Well, 1984 forces its reader to think of the possibilities.

Overall, I’d give it this score, out of a possible five: ◊◊◊◊.


4. THE DOVER DEMON by Hunter Shea

While the previous novels were classics, let’s consider a book that was recently published by Hunter Shea, The Dover Demon. We’re shifting genres as well, and heading into the science fiction/horror realm.

The Dover Demon takes place in a small Massachusetts town called, rightfully, Dover. In the 1970s, Dover was hit by a conspiracy known as “The Dover Demon,” in which a creepy humanoid creature was discovered by a group of teenagers. Flash forward to the modern day, and The Dover Demon story remains. Except this time… There’s no playing around, and The Dover Demon makes an appearance.

While I think this plot could have been so incredibly interesting, Shea’s writing seemed rushed and confusing. The opening section of the book was strong, but it read completely different than the latter section of the novel, as there was a shift in scenery and pacing. Plus, the ending was so ridiculous that I sat the novel down and thought, “Okay. Shea must have been on a serious deadline from his editor, because there’s no way this is legit.” ;/

Whatever the case may be, the story had an interesting premise. The delivery falls flat.

Overall, I’d give it this score, out of a possible five: ◊◊.


5. A FIRE SPARKLING by Julianne MacLean

As a fan of romance novelist Julianne MacLean for years, I wondered how her latest novel, A Fire Sparkling, would turn out. She’s best known for her Color of Heaven series, but she smartly took a turn and published this standalone that is equal parts romance, World War II drama, and family saga.

A Fire Sparkling introduces us to Gillian, a career woman who has recently discovered her boyfriend has cheated on her. Despondent and dejected, she heads home and discovers that her grandmother was not who she said she is… And there’s quite the story that follows. This summary does this story no justice, but I ask you to read this book. Please, read this book.

It’s entertaining, it’s thoughtful, it’s clever, and it’s original. I don’t want to write too much, because I want you to be as surprised as I was. But please support Julianne, and read this book! Her hard work really paid off, and the novel reflects this.

Overall, I’d give it this score, out of a possible five: ◊◊◊◊◊.


THANK YOU!

All right, you guys! Thank you so much for reading this post, and I hope you got some good book ideas of what to read next. 🙂 If you have anything to share with me, leave a comment below, and I’ll definitely check out your recommendations. There’s nothing quite like reading a book, and I know you feel similarly, so do not hesitate to share!

Thank you guys, as always, for being so supportive! I hope you enjoy your weekends and make smart choices.

-Katie Kay.

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books

NEWS & A BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!

Hello, my dear readers!

It is your friend Katie Kay, and I’ve got some really exciting news for you all. (And I’m sure some of you are excited that I’m posting something other than a poem for the September Poetry Series.) But without further ado, I want to share with you guys what I’ve been up to lately…

About a month ago, I spent a few very long days working on converting my eBooks to paperback version. While I have been self-publishing for six years now, this was my first time making hard copies, and let’s just say…  My books are now in paperback form! 

Holding one’s paperback for the first time is a surreal feeling. Even if it’s not traditionally published, my heart about soared when I took my book from its plastic wrap and cradled it like a baby. (I know, weird, but it was a truly amazing feeling!)

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Six copies of my novels. Never thought I’d see them in person!

While I almost did not write anything on this, some friends asked me to share this news with the world, because why else would I write these books and not tell the world? Well, I’m kind of protective when it comes to my books, and it’s an odd thought to me to walk around with my paperbacks. But here we are. 🙂

So, where are these books? Well, they’re on Amazon! It’s so incredible to think anyone can just head to the website, type in my name, and buy a paperback. Such a weird thought!

But on to the reason you’re probably here in the first place. To celebrate this new development, I’m hosting my first ever giveaway! Therefore, I’ve set it up for a random winner to win a copy of Church Boy, my latest novel. It’s a Christian romance book, so it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m hoping some of you will be interested and enter yourselves into the giveaway: Enter the Giveaway!

***But for those of you who are interested in purchasing copies of my novels, you can do so here.

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A picture from when I received my first paperback at college. What a wild feeling to have that book in my hands–and a feeling I won’t soon forget. ❤
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Pages from my novel, Church Boy!

THANK YOU!

Thank you, dear WordPress community and beyond, for taking your time and energy to read my blog. While I have always first and foremost been a novelist at heart, this form of writing is a beautiful and connected world, and you all make it so worth it. I really do believe that you guys give me such positive energy, and for that I will forever be indebted to you. ❤

Well, that’s enough from me for now. Time to hit the books once more (maybe college books, or maybe my own hehe).

-Katie Kay.

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books

CHURCH BOY OUT NOW!

Church Boy

EXCITING NEWS, my dear readers!

Last week I released my newest novel, Church Boy, to the world! While I should have posted on this sooner, I was a tad bit busy and forgot to advertise the book. (Pretty “redonk”). Anyway, I thought I would go ahead and post something now so that you guys are up-to-date!

Church Boy is not my typical book, but I’m happy it is done and released. It took a month to write and clocks in a little under 60,000 words. While I submitted the manuscript to Harlequin’s Christian line, the book was almost immediately rejected, so I thought: “Why not just go ahead and publish it free online?”

Without further ado, here’s some info on this little summer project of mine. 🙂

Who doesn’t want a church boy?

This is an everyday thought in the small town of Colonia, Mississippi, where church and romance are as integral as breathing. But when Olivia Scott moves to Colonia to care for her ailing father, she isn’t looking for love. The daughter of irreligious parents, Olivia constantly struggles with her Christian faith, and a summer romance isn’t on her mind. And for young Baptist minister Luke Sweeting, his peaceful life as a bachelor is tested when town gossip Lisa Richards decides to matchmake her pastor with their mysterious newcomer.

This unexpected love story sets off a chain reaction that affects the entire town, including a young mother who falls for a faith-seeking drug dealer; folks long entrenched in a Christian family feud; and Colonia churches of all backgrounds. Despite the pressures on the young couple, there is a common denominator: God’s will be done, and goodness will prevail no matter what is hurtled their way.

For most of you guys, this book is probably not your cup of tea. Romance? Christian romance? I mean, if I went into a bookstore today, I probably wouldn’t hit up the Christian romance section. That being said, this was something I’d been thinking of for a while, and I like to challenge my genres whenever possible. Some writers stick to legal thrillers, but I’m a bit of a chameleon, and this was my calling for summer 2019.

But for fun let’s have a little Q & A session on the book and see what you guys think!


1. How did you come up with this story?

The inspiration for Church Boy is a little murky in my mind. Whenever I am at college in California, I don’t get enough church/Jesus time, and it’s really because I miss church back home in the South.

I think I conceived this novel sometime around my sophomore year of college, and it was probably in response to being so far away from home. While there are churches all around the world (amen to that!), there is nothing quite like a good old Southern Baptist pulpit in my opinion.

The romance part of the book came much later. I knew I wanted to write wholesome Christian romance, so the connection between this book’s two main characters came rapidly. A pastor and an out-of-towner struggling with her faith? Interesting enough, and it was a way to play with dual aspects of ourselves: The faith-believing side, and the doubting side.


2. Why set it in Mississippi?

This book would not be possible without the South, and especially the state of Mississippi. As I mentioned before, there’s nothing quite like Southern Baptist churches, and when I was craving my Sunday mornings away, Mississippi was the place I wished I could visit.

A lot of you are probably thinking: Really? Mississippi?!?!?!

Yes, Mississippi. The people in this state are larger than life, but they’re some of the best people you’ll ever meet, and this novel is my attempt to flatter the people there. Of course, who knows what they think of good old Tennesseans. 😉


3. Where can I find/download your books?

Well, if you want, you can download any of my novels, including Church Boy, for free via Smashwords, Apple iBooks, and Barnes & Noble. While I want to make my novels free everywhere, they are $2.99 on the Kindle Store (eBook version) due to policy situations. As for paperback copies, I just sent my final edits to Amazon, and this is my first book published paperback (a little more expensive, unfortunately, but wow!).

Let me make it easier for all of us and post some links.


4. What are you working on next?

Well, I’m not really working on anything right now. I’m about to head back to college, so I’m sure I’ll have a lot of material to work with shortly. However, at this stage, I’m enjoying blogging, writing poetry, and studying airplane stuff. So we’ll see what comes from my fingers next. Maybe I’ll stick with romance, since those books are pretty easy to write, or I’ll challenge myself with something a little more thought-provoking. Who knows?

 


THANK YOU GUYS!

All right. This pop-up post is coming to a close, but thanks again for reading this attempt at marketing my latest book. I’m super excited for the future, and I feel so blessed to be able to share my content with you guys so easily online. Thank goodness for technology that allows us to share our stories with the world!

On Friday we will resume normal blog posts. That one will be a summer update post, so stay tuned for more then.

Until next time,

-Katie Kay ❤

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books

WHAT HAVE I READ LATELY?

SINCE I HAVE the memory of a fish, I am glad I write down all the books I read on the logophile-friendly website Goodreads. While I don’t read as much as I used to, I still love a good book, Diet Coke (not tea, unfortunately), and a warm blanket. Books are a means of escape for me, a way to pretend I’m somebody else, or to invite me into a weird situation of something I wouldn’t be part of anyway.

I don’t care about genre, both in my writing and reading worlds. I don’t like to limit myself to labels, preferring a storyline that intrigues me at the moment I pick up a copy. Some days, I like cheesy romance, such as the free books on iBooks; others, I prefer Stephen King’s sharp, witty horror; and others, I’m just a random girl who doesn’t even read the back of the book (typically I don’t!) and discovers I’m reading magical realism.

So before I forget, here are the latest five books I have read. Some are awful, and others not so bad. I will give a tiny synopsis and then delve into my opinion and ask you to rush to your nearest library/bookstore or do anything else instead.


FAMILY JEWELS by Stuart Woods

Rating: ◊

Stone Barrington is a lawyer, pilot, womanizer, know-it-all, detective guru who can literally do anything. He fulfills every man’s dream, I guess? Sleep with as many women as you can, fight for the law (what a joke), fly a bunch of planes, and solve any mystery in the books. Well, if any man found this book appealing, I’d kick him to the curb.

I have not read a book as sexist, trash-laced, or ridiculously dumb like this one in a long time. Why would you want to uphold the legality of this country when you have the morals of a joke? I just don’t get this book, and I found a lot of people who disagreed with me on Goodreads. As a young woman reading this (because I give fair opportunity in my reading choices), I was disgusted to think that this author would think of women as, basically, sex objects. Though the president is female (wow, what a shocker!), I read on in this book to find Woods describe her wearing a dress that was especially low-cut for a woman of her importance. Um?

Let’s forget the political mumbo-jumbo Woods spews out in this book, or his awful perception of women. The storyline was about as interesting as a dishrag. It was a boring read. Did it have interesting elements? I did like the pilot component and the idea of flying wherever you want whenever you want. But the whole bad guy portion of the story seemed like a last minute thought, as if Woods was writing while drunk, which he probably was. I think a third-grader could have written something more original and creative.

I hate to be so rude and judgmental of a book, especially as a writer, but this book was highly offensive to me, and I would think fathers (which is a big demographic, my friends) would find this book pretty offensive as well.

Don’t ever pick this book up if you see it in your local grocery store.


TRULY MADLY GUILTY by Lianne Moriarty

Rating: ◊◊◊◊

A barbecue gone wrong? I didn’t even realize a barbecue is a little fiesta Australian-style until a quarter of the way into this book, but anything to do with a country as fascinating as Australia has got a hold on me. Anyway, this book connects three couples and their children with a dangerous event that unleashes some damaging secrets. It’s a good guilty pleasure read, I suppose.

I love Liane Moriarty, and I’m not afraid to say it. She’s a great writer who has a colorful way of describing mundane things. While my friends make fun of me for reading “mom books,” Moriarty has a way of spinning intrigue into middle-aged women’s lives. Moriarty makes me want to be a mom of three living in the ‘burbs, and I’m not even twenty yet. Check out some of her other popular books: Big Little Lies, The Hypnotist’s Love Story, and What Alice Forgot. Actually, just read all of them. They’re fun, summer reads!


THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 by Ruth Ware

Rating: ◊◊◊

A well-anticipated sophomore book by In a Dark, Dark Wood‘s Ruth Ware, The Woman in Cabin 10 introduces Laura Blacklock, a travel writer who’s supposed to do an editorial on a sleek, rich person’s cruise. When she witnesses a murder en route to Iceland, she is thrown into a complicated and twisted cat-and-mouse game as she battles the truth of what she saw.

There is a big market for darker-in-tone books like this one, and though I think they can get jumbled up and a bit repetitive, this one was okay. On Goodreads I gave it a four-star rating, but since I have forgotten why, I think a solid three-star is an apt rating for this book. While elements of this one could be easily found in a Gillian Flynn read or Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train, Ware offers many twists and turns, some of which are very surprising.

This one is a quick read, perfect for your own trip, though it may mess with your thoughts about taking a cruise ever again…


ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel García Márquez

RATING: ◊◊◊◊◊

Seven generations of the Buendía family are examined in a biblical style that combines reality, magic, and comedy in a way that is nothing less than satisfying. Throw in a hint of Latin/South American folklore and culture from Colombia, and we’ve got the best book I’ve read this year.

There is something about the poetic nature of García Márquez that embodies the mystic experience of both living and dying. He weaves a web of reality and magic, and this book is nothing less than surreal. I loved the epic feel to the four hundred pages of pure, raw genius, and I would expect that most people would too, if they open up to reading something new and different.

What made this book the best? I think García Márquez knows how to radiate pain in the family from his own experiences, but his writing technique is sharp and honest, and it requires his audience to react honestly as well. Though I wish this book were a movie, I’m kind of glad that it is not so that my mind can define One Hundred Years of Solitude‘s grand scope rather than the (mostly) trash Hollywood produces these days.


THE SAHARA LEGACY by Ernest Dempsey

RATING: ◊◊◊◊◊

Sean Wyatt is a force to be reckoned with: Brilliant, cunning, and a bit sarcastic, Sean’s got the whole package, especially since he’s an ex-government agent with a penchant for lost historical objects and make-believe foreign locations. Seat and his best friend, Tommy, are drawn into a treasure hunt in the Sahara Desert that leads them to a unique oasis that becomes the catalyst of the fight between the good guys and the bad guys.

Dempsey’s Sean Wyatt series is not necessarily Shakespeare or Stephen King, but it is entertaining and unique. For history and archaeology lovers, the Sean Wyatt series is perfect, as it combines action, myth, history, and adventure into one collection. Specifically, this book is enigmatic, original, and fun. A lot of books, movies, and TV shows of this generation have a problem with creativity, but with each new Wyatt book, Dempsey weaves intricate plotlines that feast on a sense of feat. (I’m not trying to rhyme, I promise!)

This series is an absolute recommend, and especially because Dempsey is not the most well-known writer of today, but he deserves to be. Check him out and support an up-and-coming author!


WELL, THERE YOU have it.

I’m reading End of Watch by Stephen King right now, and I think it’s going to be a good one. If you have any recommendations of your own, please let me know. I’m always on a hunt for the good, the bad, and the ugly to read!

Thanks, and I will have an interesting post next week.

-K.