Kait's Bookshelf

The website of author Kaitlin Scirri


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Book Review: Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Kait's Bookshelf Front Desk by Kelly YangSo far 2020 has brought incredible reading my way. If you missed my review of Cynthia L. Copeland’s debut graphic novel for young readers, Cub, you can go back and read it here. My second read of the New Year, Front Desk by Kelly Yang, has been on my TBR for some time. I am so happy I finally got to read this book and only wish that I’d pushed some others out of the way and gotten to it sooner!

Front Desk is a book I will keep, re-read, and recommend. In fact, I hope everyone reads and recommends this book, especially teachers. Front Desk is a timely tale about a ten year old Chinese girl named Mia who immigrates to America with her parents. Drawn largely from Ms. Yang’s own experiences growing up, Front Desk is an emotionally charged novel sure to tug on your heart strings and get you fired up at the same time.

From the publisher:

“Mia Tang has a lot of secrets. Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language? It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?”

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Book Review: Cub by Cynthia L. Copeland

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A new year means new books, and I’m kicking off 2020 with a stack that I can’t wait to tackle. I have a combination of middle grade reads, picture books, and memoirs. So far, 2020 reading has gotten off to a great start with Cynthia L. Copeland’s first graphic novel for kids, Cub.

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Saying Goodbye and Reading Slumps

blanket monster croppedI think it’s fair to say that a blog post is overdue here. The truth is, I haven’t been reading much. I’ve been in a reading slump. If you’re not familiar with what a reading slump is then first of all, you’re lucky! Second of all, a reading slump is when you want to read but find that you can’t do it. You can’t concentrate and can’t get into any book that comes your way.

At the end of October, my hubby and I endured the sudden loss of one of our beloved fur babies, Wylie. He was a very special dog, more than just a pet. He was a member of the family for eleven years. He came to me at a point in my life when I was broken-hearted, and he truly healed my heart. I used to tell him that really he rescued me instead of the other way around. So in dealing with that loss, I’ve found it difficult to sit quietly and read. My mind kept wandering back to memories of him and when he would curl up with me while I read. I’ve found that keeping busy is better. It gives me less time to stop and think about the loss. But unfortunately, it also means less time for reading. Enter the reading slump.

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Book Review: The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

Kait's Bookshelf The Dark Lord ClementineWell it’s officially October and time for all things spooky and magical! I started my month off with a new book from Algonquin Young Readers, The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz. As the cover art and title suggest, this is a fantasy book for young readers filled with magic and adventure with a storybook feel to it. It is a great pick if your kiddos want something to suit the season or for any kids who enjoy adventure stories. Additionally, this book features a strong female lead with strong female supporting characters. Definitely a plus in my book, as I feel that adventure stories still tend to lean toward male protagonists. But not in this book. This book is all about Lady Clementine, daughter to the Dark Lord Elithor and heir to Castle Brack, where hundreds of years of Dark Lords have ruled before her. But…what if Clementine doesn’t want to be a Dark Lord? What if she doesn’t want to be a Dark anything?

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Book Review: The Words Between Us by Erin Bartels

Kait's Bookshelf The Words Between UsThis month I am thrilled to be a part of the Revell Reads blog tour for Erin Bartels’s newest release, The Words Between Us. I was drawn to this book right away by – you guessed it – the cover art! I have often admitted to not necessarily judging books by their covers but being drawn to books by their covers. I mean, that’s what cover art is supposed to do, right? The cover of this new novel is books – stacks of books upon stacks of books. We see the pages but never the covers or spines. I liked that. It made the cover intriguing. Between the cover art and the title, it was clear that books and writing play a big role in this story, and that is always a plus for me. There is also a grey feather loosely placed among the books, which I found out is attributed to a certain feathered character who ended up becoming a favorite of mine.

While the cover art drew my eye, the summary really made me want to read this book. It’s about a woman named Robin whose past catches up to her after she’s spent years running from it – from a disgraced, tainted family name. The story opens on the day of Robin’s father’s scheduled execution. Yes, execution. Robin was just fourteen when her father was accused of murder and her parents ended up behind bars. Years later, she runs a used bookstore (yay for second-hand books!). On execution day, a vintage book shows up sent by someone from her past. She begins receiving regular packages of old books. She knows right away who they’re from – Peter, the boy who changed everything for her, who ruined everything for her. But why is he contacting her after all these years?

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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: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Kait's Bookshelf Fall Leaves

Well summer has flown by! I can’t believe it’s September, but I’m glad it is. Fall is my favorite season, and I was thrilled to see leaves changing as I took my dogs for their walks over the last week or so. I’m also enjoying the cooler nights and pumpkin decorations at the stores, and of course, I’m ready for all things magical and spooky when it comes to books! I’ve been re-reading the Harry Potter series as it’s been years since I’ve given them a read, and they are just as good as I remember them. I’m also looking forward to some new fall releases. But first, end of summer reading…

 

 

 

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Book Review: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Kait's Bookshelf The Turn of the Key Ruth Ware Book Review

Cover art is copyright of Gallery/ Scout Press

 

Happy August everyone! I can’t believe it’s already August, but I am pleased with the change in temperature here in the northeast. We’re still getting warm, sunny afternoons, but we woke up to a cool, crisp 60 degrees this morning, which felt amazing! Between the chilly air and September being a mere month away, I’m finding myself in the mood for fall – the colors, the refreshing cool down, pumpkins, and of course all things magical and spooky. Speaking of spooky, I have quite the creepy tale to talk about today, Ruth Ware’s upcoming release, The Turn of the Key.

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Book Review: Milked by Lisa Doyle

Kait's Bookshelf Milked by Lisa Doyle

Happy July, everyone! I hope everyone in America had a wonderful Fourth of July celebration with family and friends. I sure did…and saw some pretty fireworks too!

I’ve had a couple of very busy months. First June with a week long visit from my amazing niece and then July with work, life, and reading. I have a few book reviews lined up including the bestselling Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and Ruth Ware’s upcoming August release, The Turn of the Key. But today, I’d like to share my review of the debut novel from a new author who I personally hope to see more books from in the future.

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Picture Book Reviews: Moon’s First Friends and Unicorn Day

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Today, I’ll be sharing reviews of two new picture book releases from Sourcebooks. One is about the Apollo 11 mission and is a great way to introduce kids to science and space. The other is a whimsical story of inclusion and acceptance featuring unicorns and rhyming words.

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