Tag Archives: Between Shadows

Top Ten Tuesday: Books You’re Probably Missing Out On

10 Books You're Probably Missing Out On

Top Ten Books You’re Probably Missing Out On

If you read a lot, just keeping up with your favorite authors can fill your shelves and all your spare reading hours. No matter how hard you try, some amazing books will slip past you without you realizing it. That’s why, for this Top Ten Tuesday, I’ve made this list of ten of my favorite books you’re probably missing out on.

Elsie Mae Has Something to Say by Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Honestly, this is probably one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I fell head over heels in love with the story and its characters. It became one of those books I bought multiple copies of so I could give them as Christmas gifts last year. (Apparently this is how I get people I love to read the books I love. It pretty much works.) Seriously, though, if you like Southern fiction and coming-of-age type stories, this is one not to be missed. It’s SO good. You can find my review here.

Traitor’s Masque by Kenley Davidson

This whole series is AMAZING. I’m a huge fan of re-imagined fairy tales, but these are truly something special. I love the character complexity Davidson brings to the stories and the strong heroines each book features. This retelling of Cinderella actually gives its leading girl some action. Rather than being locked in a room waiting for her prince, she’s caught in a web of political intrigue. It’s so good. You can find my review here.

Dreadlands: Wolf Moon by Jaimie Engle

Dreadlands is another of the great books you’re probably missing out on. I love the way this story blends werewolves and Norse mythology. It’s fast-paced but with a sweet romance, and a perfect read for a rainy afternoon. The story is pretty clean, too, so it’s a great book for readers transitioning from middle grade (elementary-aged) books to young adult (middle/high school books). It’s kind of a How to Train Your Dragon meets Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. Check out my review for more.

Freedom’s Just Another Word by Caroline Stellings

I’ve read several books by Caroline Stellings, and each one is better than the last. I’m never surprised to learn she’s won an award for writing. Her storytelling is strong and crisp, and her characters seem to pop right off the pages. I knew I would like this book for its references to music– the legendary Janis Joplin even appears in a few scenes– and I was so very right. But in addition to music, it’s rich in its 1970s, gritty Southern setting. I highly recommend it in my review, and I stand by it.

Between Shadows by Kathleen Cook Waldron

I can’t help but have a special place in my heart for this fantastic book. The author and I met on an Alaskan cruise– one of those serendipitous moments where we connected long before I learned she was a writer, and wrote children’s books to boot! Imagine how much more excited I was when I had the chance to read and review this great book. The cover shows the silhouette of the main character, Ari, who’s dealing with his unconventional grandfather’s sudden passing. Ari’s grandfather lived in a remote area and painted his log cabin like a rainbow. The story is about friendships and loss and is spunky and heartwarming. A definite favorite I don’t get to talk enough about.

Glass Girl by Laura Anderson Kurk

I feel like Glass Girl is exactly the kind of book I wanted to read in high school. It’s packed with emotion and oozing with cowboy romance. It follows Meg through the aftermath of a school shooting and a cross-country move that takes her to the Wyoming wilds. Meg is so relatable. I love this book. More about it in my review.

Viola Doyle or an Unconventional Gift by Amy Lynn Spitzley

I truly haven’t talked about this book in a long time, but it’s another great hidden gem. In this book, Spitzley keeps us guessing with wild adventures and totally unexpected turns of events. I loved every surprise and the quirky cast of characters in the Victorian-ish setting. So much fun! You’ll find my review here.

Behind These Hands by Linda Vigen Phillips

I feel almost like I’m cheating to include this book, since I only reviewed it a few weeks ago, but I don’t think it’s getting nearly the buzz it deserves. In powerful, moving verse, Phillips shows the heartache of a family in which two young boys are diagnosed with Batten’s Disease. I’d never heard of Batten’s before reading this book, and it hit me hard because of the amazing writing. I definitely identified with Claire as the oldest child and the one under pressure to hold things together. If you’re a fan of novels in verse, you need to read this one. Seriously. And if you’ve never read one, Behind These Hands is a great one to try.

Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen

The story world of this book was so intriguing. It’s kind of Waterworld (the Kevin Costner movie) meets The Giver. I loved the high stakes and creepy dystopian elements. Definitely a good pick for fans of Ally Condie or Scott Westerfeld. My review is here.

Running Lean by Diana Sharples

Okay, I’m sort of cheating again. I really haven’t talked about this book in a long time, and I enjoyed reading it so much. I reviewed Running Lean in 2013, but part of the reason I’m including it is because Diana Sharples has a new book out called Running Strong, which is on my To Be Read list! I love her writing – it’s clean, and the stories are strong. Another great author for younger teen readers.

Add to my list!

What are your favorite books that never get the praise they deserve? Tell me in the comments or leave me a link to your top ten list.

Author Interview: Kathleen Cook Waldron

Today I have the pleasure of sharing an interview with author Kathleen Cook Waldron, author of Between Shadows, a middle grade novel about a boy who has recently lost his grandfather and returns to the cabin where they shared memories together. Between Shadows was recently named a finalist for the Silver Birch award. Read my review here.

I met Kathy before I knew she was an author. She and her husband were on a cruise to celebrate their wedding anniversary. My husband and I took the same cruise for our honeymoon trip. We really enjoyed spending time with Kathy and Mark, so finding out that Kathy was also a children’s book author was a fun bonus. I’m excited to be able to share more of the story behind the story and the inspiration for Between Shadows.

Author Interview with Kathleen Cook Waldron

I find that a story was often inspired by a question. Was there a question that inspired you to write Between Shadows?

I wondered what would happen if a child were to inherit a cabin on mostly wild land? What if his family wanted or felt they needed to sell it? How would he feel? What could he do? The plot for Between Shadows grew out of those questions. The original idea came from my husband’s and my personal experience of buying land with no registered access, deciding to build a log house on it, then asking ourselves how we were going to get to it.

I love that the story rose out of that personal moment. It definitely comes across in the story– Ari’s relationship with the cabin and the wilderness feel deep and alive. I love that Ari’s grandfather’s cabin is painted all different colors. Did something inspire you to create the cabin that way? Where did you draw inspiration for Ari’s grandfather from?

The inspiration for the rainbow-colored cabin came from the possibility of combining our log home maintenance with the half-empty paint cans stacked in our storage room. Rather than re-staining the logs their natural color, why not use up some of that old paint instead? Ari’s grandfather is a blend of my own wonderful grandfather with the one man who lived in our tiny community of Mahood Falls who seemed to be the only person whom all our neighbors both liked and admired.

Is there a scene or moment in Between Shadows that really sticks with you? Can you tell us a little bit about it?

One of the scenes I had the most fun writing was when all the neighbors arrived unannounced. I loved the noise and chaos of it, not to mention Dad and Aunt Laurel’s reactions. It was the kind of show of support I would wish for myself as well as a turning point in the story. It presented a glimmer of hope for Ari and Tam that their plan might actually work.

That was a great scene. We definitely need community when we go through hard times– sometimes more than we realize we do. What do you most hope that readers take away from Between Shadows?

I hope readers take away the importance of staying connected to family, to nature, and to our heritage. Specifically, I hope readers who have lost someone they love can take comfort from Ari and knowing they aren’t alone.

So true. Grief is never easy to navigate. It’s good to have those connections to help us get through. What is one question about Between Shadows you are often asked by readers?

Many readers have asked why Aunt Laurel seems so mean. My answer is that she is mourning her father’s death, and all of us react differently to loss. She reacts with anger at the world and a need to try to control everyone and everything around her. I hope readers can see her opening up as the story progresses.

Yes! It’s so true that we all respond differently to loss. Some reactions are harder to empathize with than others. Grief is a tough topic to tackle in a middle grade novel, but so important. And you did a great job! In fact, you were recently nominated for the Silver Birch award for Between Shadows. Congratulations! Can you tell us a little bit about the award and your experience as a nominee?

The Silver Birch award is the largest children’s choice award in Canada. Tens of thousands of children participate every year in choosing the winner. It is part of the Forest of Reading program in Ontario which has a different tree to represent each different category. Other provinces across Canada have similar tree-related reading programs. The Silver Birch nomination is the most prestigious award recognition I’ve had in my writing career. Many nominees have said it’s the closest most children’s writers come to rock stardom. Going from venue to venue, meeting hundreds of keen, young readers, all cheering for their favorite books and authors was a truly unforgettable experience. I want more than ever to keep writing so perhaps I can do it again!

That sounds amazing — and an honor well-deserved! I hope you get to do it again, too. I’m excited to read your next book. Speaking of reading… Where is your favorite place to read?

I’m a compulsive reader and will read anything from magazines in the dentist’s office to shampoo bottles in the bathroom. Reading outside In the summer is my favorite break from other outdoor activities. The rest of the year, I like to start and end my day by reading in bed. Reading both wakes me up and puts me to sleep. How lucky is that!

That’s incredibly lucky! How fun. Thanks so much for stopping by to share with us today.

About Between Shadows

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | My Review

It’s bittersweet: Ari’s beloved grandfather has died, but he’s left Ari an amazing gift – the inheritance of his log cabin and all the land he owned. Tucked into a small lakeside community, the cabin and its land are unusual, full of secrets to discover…and very, very marketable. With the family’s money troubles, the only sensible option from his dad and aunt’s point of view is to sell it at a prime price to a luxury hotel developer.

As the grown-ups proceed with the paperwork, Ari sets about discovering everything his new property has to offer. Hidden beaches, forest trails, locked doors – and even an extraordinary (and exasperating) new friend who introduces him to a world into which he sees himself just…fitting. Not only is it the perfect place to live, it’s a connection with his grandfather that is too precious to lose. But the deadline to sign away the property is approaching. How can Ari speak up for his hopes, for his grandfather, and for the land itself?

About Kathleen Cook Waldron

Website | Goodreads

Kathleen Cook Waldron was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. After teaching in Colorado’s bilingual and summer migrant schools, Kathleen and her family moved to the Cariboo area of British Columbia. Inspired by The Secret Garden, MAD magazine and Spiderman comics, Kathleen is the author several critically acclaimed children’s picture books including Roundup at the Palace and A Winter’s Yarn.



Review: Between Shadows by Kathleen Cook Waldron

Between Shadows
Kathleen Cook Waldron
Coteau Books

When his grandfather dies unexpectedly, Ari and his remaining family gather at the cabin deep in the woods. At the reading of the will, another surprise greets Ari, his dad and his aunt: Grandpa left the cabin and all his land to Ari. Uninterested in the remote property that conjures painful memories, Ari’s dad and aunt make plans to sell everything. Ari is determined to change their minds.

Author Kathleen Cook Waldron brings to the story her own experience living in the bush. The details of the cabin and surrounding land and community are told in vivid detail so that even the most urban readers can perfectly picture the serene woods, playful stream and peaceful lake.

Through Waldron’s clean storytelling, we follow a grieving family as they wrestle with loss. I loved how each member of Ari’s family reconnected with his grandfather through the experience of staying at the cabin. Though he’s no longer present, his love for his family is so clear in the things he left behind. Each character discovers and responds to these unwritten love letters from their father or grandfather. In these moments, Waldron’s writing is moving, subtle and clever.

This is a great story about the opportunity grieving families have to rediscover their lost loved one and renew relationships with one another. The rustic setting gently reminds us to consider what’s really important.

Language Content

Sexual Content

Spiritual Content


Drug Content

Upcoming Reviews on the Story Sanctuary (April 2015)

Over the next few weeks, The Story Sanctuary will be home to reviews for some great new releases as well as some catch-up reviews on recent or past releases. Here are a few you can expect to see…

When You Leave by Monica Ropal

This was one of those stories that left me pining for another chapter. Really great characters and tension. Very angsty story, which is so often what I crave in YA.

Between Shadows by Kathleen Cook Waldron

I had the pleasure of meeting this author and talking about the book with her late last year. Her description of the story and its characters were so intriguing that I’ve been thinking about them ever since. Can’t wait to crack the cover on this one!

Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee

I found myself drawn to it because it’s so different from my usual reading pick. Boxing and political intrigue? I’m so game.

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Apparently NetGalley flagged this one for me because I loved We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (which I definitely did!) So I’m nervous – it’s usually a bad idea for me to go into a book expecting it to be like another book – but hopeful. Sounds like it’s got some deep psychological exploration in it, and I’m always up for that.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Twitter has been abuzz with praise for this novel. It’s sort of X-men meets fairy tale. Loads of political drama, intrigue and betrayal.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

This is a book that caught my eye on another reviewer’s to-read list. The cover is really intriguing, and I find myself really curious about a story in which the goblin is the good guy. There aren’t too many of those.

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

This is one of those rare series in which I’ve read all the books leading up to this one. I’m super excited to read it. Meyer brings really imaginative story world to every book in the Lunar Chronicles. I’m as interested in Queen Levana’s history as I am in how Meyer constructs Levana’s world.

Fix by Force by Jason Warne

I’ve almost picked this novel up several times, and this month I’ll finally read and review it. It’s a coming-of-age plus drug battle type story, another of my known literary weaknesses.