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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Book Review: Don't Call Me Kit Kat

Title: Don't Call Me Kit Kat

Author: KJ Farnham

Genre: Contemporary YA

Reviewer: Aly

Book Blurb: 

Junior high is where things really start to happen. Cliques form and break apart. Couples are made and destroyed. And a reputation is solidified that you won’t ever be able to escape. Everything you do and say, and everyone you spend your time with, matters.
Katie Mills knows that. She gets it. That’s why she tried so hard to get in with the cool girls at school. And why she was so devastated when those efforts found her detained for shoplifting and laughed out of cheer squad tryouts.

But Katie has more to worry about than just fitting in. Her parents are divorced and always fighting. Her sister never has time for her. And her friends all seem to be drifting apart. Even worse? The boy she has a crush on is dating the mean girl at school.

Everything is a mess, and Katie doesn’t feel like she has control over any of it. Certainly not over her weight, which has always topped out at slightly pudgier than normal—at least, according to her mother.

So when she happens to catch one of the popular girls throwing up in the bathroom one day, it sparks an idea. A match that quickly engulfs her life in flames.

Is there any going back once she gets started down this path?

And would she even want to if she could?


Don’t Call Me Kit Kat deals with some real issues that are in play in this day and age. It deals with body image and bulimia. Not to mention some of the daily struggles that teenagers may face today. The main character is struggling to fit in, and find out who she is. And then on top of that she’s having trouble with the other teenagers at school. It’s a situation that anyone can and might face when entering junior high or high school.

It was certainly a painful experience seeing her experience everything she is and what she chooses to use to try to make things better. Not to mention that she’s withdrawing from her friends
and everyone who loves her. Seeing the things she went through and how she tried to hide it not to mention how she is forced into a facility in order to help her get a bit better was difficult but at the same time it was great to see her finding out things about herself and finding out what was part of the cause of her Bulimia.

The plot of this book was beautiful and the writing was well done. Hearing the thoughts that she is struggling with really made this book come to life. There were no errors that I noticed and the words flowed so that you could follow the story without losing track of things or finding yourself jolted out of the book.

K.J. Farnham has created a book that deals with the difficulties of body image, and junior high. It’s a realistic book that doesn’t make things overdramatic. It was a great story and if you’re looking to take a walk back to junior high and seeing the difficulties that you might not have faced but others may have then this is certainly the book to do so.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Book Review: The Season of Lightning

Title: The Season of Lightning

Author: Kate Avery Ellison

Genre: YA Fantasy

Reviewer: Aly

Alright, so this was definitely out of the norm for me. It’s not very often that I find myself diving into books set in a different time period. But I do have to admit that it was intriguing to see their reactions to technology that is around now and we take for granted.

Although it was frustrating that the women didn’t have as much freedom as modern women are used to having. Especially considering that it’s all we really know today. It’s terrible that women would do certain things that men would do but would be reprimanded for it or told that it’s not their place. It was certainly a different time period and it’s different seeing the things that go on or the things that are common to them but strange for us.

There was certainly some excitement taking place and that captured your attention even more. The rebellion taking place certainly led to some shockers being found out that were certainly unexpected.

The writing in this book was a good style. It kept the reader reading and there were few to no errors that stood out. While sometimes I lost interest in it, I just needed  a break and was ready to resume reading about the adventures of Roth and Verity.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Author Feature: Ben Starling

Helloooo lovely people of the Earth! It's been quite a while since I've updated The Book Landers, as I am still on my "Asia Tour" (aka teaching English at Lishan Elementary School in Taiwan).  Days have been busy, but enough said about me . . . the star of today's show is BEN STARLING. We're lucky to have an interview with Mr. Starling himself. (By the way, his upcoming novel will be released in January 2016). 

1. Probably a cliche question at this point--but I'm still going to ask it: What inspired you to write?

Carol Shields wrote: 'Write the book you want to read, the one you cannot find.'

My upcoming novel was inspired by the loss of my partner at forty-five years of age to ovarian cancer, just thirteen weeks after her diagnosis. In the aftermath, an old friend challenged me to turn that grief into something positive. Remembering a conversation with a charismatic Polynesian fisherman (I visited there once) about his people’s vision of death and the afterlife, I began to write.

Through the written word, I hoped to explore and capture several extraordinary events that happened around the time of my girlfriend’s death. The book kind of took off from there… Here’s the blurb for the book: What if to be with the man of your dreams… you had to give up your life? On the verge of losing her job, a side-lined journalist is forced to travel to the South Pacific to untangle a mystery where she meets a reclusive ex-boxer with a message. When a syndicate of corporate criminals invades paradise, she must either defend the island with her life or accept the plum promotion that will save her career.

Also at http://www.ben-starling.com/books/upcoming-release/

 2. What draws you to the genre you write?

 I write about love… because nothing else is as important. Because love impacts us in so many ways (which I will explore in sequels), I live to go deeper. The question I’ve asked in my forthcoming novel (title reveal coming soon) is what happens to love after death?

I was bereaved, as many people have been, and what happens after death is a question we all want answers to. My experiences just prior to and after Melisa’s passing convinced me there is a lot going on – but the answers are clouded, opaque. We don’t know for sure what happens beyond the veil. This is why the novel has some mystery running thorough it – I wanted to tread a less well-trodden path.

3. What are your top three favorite things about writing? 

I enjoy staring at a computer screen – the writer’s blank canvas - and adding shape and color...I am also an artist and see clear parallels between writing and art. Every written scene has a foreground, mid-ground and background, just as a painting or drawing does. Secondly, the discipline of adding literary shape and colour in a structured way is challenging but rewarding. Thirdly, I love magic moment when it all comes together!

4. Your three least favorite things about writing? 

Plot holes. You think everything is swimming along and then CLUMP – back to square one! Fortunately I usually find a way round the problem: it’s off for a canal walk for me and some enjoyable pondering by the water.

Next, rewarding as it is, writing is also quite draining – but after my canal walk, when I sit down to write again, the new surprise twist solution I was dreaming of always seems to reveal itself. Water is wonderful that way. Finally, writing is a lonely occupation – I spend more time with my characters than I do with real people!

5. Who is your favorite author? 

I’m a devout fan of Maeve Binchy for her masterful plot structure and rich detailed backgrounds. You don’t just gain the pleasure of a story from her, you learn craft.

6. If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be? 

Wendy in Peter Pan, Anne Elliot in Persuasion… and could I possibly add here, the larger than life, Erin Brockovich who has been captured in movie memoir? All these characters have great strength and great compassion, qualities I admire hugely.

7. Is there anything you MUST have in order to write? (ie. coffee, music) 

Silence. Frequent breaks. Occasional chocolate. Encouragement from my editor and beta readers. More chocolate…

8. Do you set writing goals for yourself? How do you stay on track? 

Only quite loosely. When it’s going well, I churn out several thousand words a day, when badly, it can be only a handful. But when taken over time, hopefully I’m hitting an acceptable average.

9. Dogs or cats? 

Both! As pets, but also as writers. The way I see it there are only two kinds of writers in the world – dog writers and cat writers. Dog writing is a spontaneous, rolling and playing in the grass, stream of consciousness writing. Cat writing is meticulous, methodical, and insists upon years of research and planning in the foundation of every book. Cats do exactly what they are going to do and that’s it.

Both have their advantages. Ideally, I’d like to be a dog writer that aspires to be a cat, galloping over the hill as I dream up new plots with my tail streaming out and the wind in my flapping ears.

10. Anything else you want readers to know? 

Right now I’m working on a series of prequel short stories to be released from September 21, 2015. They are set in the same world as my upcoming novel and introduce some of the main characters at important points in their lives. The novel itself will be released on January 21, 2016. I do appreciate hearing from readers, and very much welcome feedback.

You can find me at www.ben-starling.com and also at

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About Ben

Ben Starling is passionate about marine conservation and boxing, both central themes in his upcoming novel. He is Oxford’s only ever Quintuple Blue (varsity champion five years running), was Captain of the university boxing team, and coached and boxed competitively. Ben graduated from Oxford University with a Master of Arts and an M Phil. He was born in the USA but has lived in the UK since childhood.