Kait's Bookshelf

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August Wrap-Up!

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August was a fast month for me! It was filled with great new and upcoming reads. Back-to-school is happening all around me, and summer is winding down with the long Labor Day weekend. Fall is just around the corner, and the truth is that I can’t wait for it! It is strange not going back to school this Fall, and I’ll admit I felt a little sad on Monday when my Alma Mater started the Fall semester. As stressful as it was, I enjoyed my back to school experience. But I am thankful to finally be working full time in a field I love and excited to be able to really relax and enjoy a Fall season again (my favorite time of year!). There are so many books I am excited for this Fall, and I’ll be sharing them in the coming weeks. But for now, let’s recap the last of my summer reads with my August wrap-up!

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Book Review: Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone

Click'd

Cover art is copyright of Disney Book Group

I recently included Click’d in my post of upcoming Children’s and Middle Grade Reads for Fall. Click’d has been on my radar for a couple of months, and I was thrilled when Disney Book Group sent me an advance reader copy through NetGalley. The synopsis appealed to me because it’s about a young girl, Allie, who is interested in technology and coding.  Allie designs an app called Click’d which helps kids form friendships with other kids who share common interests.

Allie designs Click’d at a summer camp that is all about coding and plans to enter it into a Games for Good competition, once she proves how Click’d helps bring people together and make new friends. Her app quickly goes viral once school starts up and before she knows it, everyone knows who she is. She is famous in her school. But when she discovers that Click’d has a glitch, a big glitch, that could spell trouble for a lot of people, she’s forced to figure out a way to fix it ASAP or temporarily pull the plug, disappointing everyone and giving up her newfound popularity.
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On My Radar for Fall: New Children’s and Middle Grade Reads

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There are so many upcoming releases for Fall in the children’s and middle grade genres that choosing just a few to feature on the blog was a painstaking process. But I have managed to narrow it down to a handful of titles that have piqued my interest for one reason or another. So, here it is, the list of children’s and middle grade titles I am most excited about for Fall!
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Book Review: Erasable by Linda Yiannakis

ErasableI was excited to read this new book from author Linda Yiannakis. As a fan of middle grade reads as well as magical realism, I was intrigued by the synopsis. Nine year old Ellie, short for Eleanor, has it tough. Well, at least she thinks she does. She has to spend her summer vacation in summer school, with her least favorite teacher, Mr. Pinchpenny, as well as the class bully, and to top it all off, her little brother is driving her crazy at home! Things just couldn’t get worse for poor Ellie. But what if she found a way, a mysterious, magical sort of way, to make things better?

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New Book Review: There’s a Stinky Goblin in the Shed by Andrea Kaczmarek (Illustrations by Eva Kunzel)

stinky-goblin-in-the-shedI was introduced to Andrea Kaczmarek’s writing for young people last year with Puddle’s Wondrous Worry Dolls, and if you missed that review, you can read it here. There’s a Stinky Goblin in the Shed is another great story from Kaczmarek with a magical element to it.

In this story, Ms. Kaczmarek introduces the reader to Jerry and Jacob, fraternal twins who make a fort out of their Gran’s old shed. As little boys will do, the twins begin to feel adventurous and brave while camping out in the shed and decide to take a walk through the woods at night. It was certainly creepy and of all the things they imagined they might encounter, they never imagined a goblin!
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Review: Hunt for the Horseman by Gita V. Reddy

hunt-for-the-horsemanI would like to start this post by thanking Gita V. Reddy for providing me with a copy of her book, Hunt for the Horseman. She thought I might enjoy it because of past reviews I’ve written of books such as Serafina and the Black Cloak. She was right! Hunt for the Horseman is an adventure story for young readers in which Sandy, who has lived her whole life in the United States, travels with her parents to her mother’s home country of India. There she meets her very large extended family, complete with several cousins, who are descendants of royalty and still own the family palace. The children embark on a hunt throughout the palace, which was built with several secret passageways and hiding places, searching for the legendary horseman toy that was supposedly hidden by an ancestor long ago.
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Review: Puddle’s Wondrous Worry Dolls by Andrea Kaczmarek

wondrous-worry-dollsThis story is intended for early middle grade readers and is relatable with a little bit of magic thrown in. Jemima, or Puddle as she is known, helps out in her Mother’s shop and one day discovers Worry Dolls, little dolls made of paper in bright colors. When you go to bed, Puddle’s mom explains, you should put the Worry Dolls under your pillow and tell them your worries. Puddle is skeptical of this idea until she discovers that some Worry Dolls have made their way into her pocket and come home to her room with her. Deciding she has nothing to lose, she gives the Worry Dolls a try and confides her worries to them. Puddle and her best friend, Ally, quickly discover that the Worry Dolls seem to be listening.  Keep on Reading!


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Review: The Secret Labyrinth by Pat Donovan and Jackie Stanley

The Secret LabyrinthThe Secret Labyrinth is a mystery/ adventure story for a middle grade audience. It is about a young American girl named Halley living in Scotland with her family. Halley is a little unusual, as one would expect the protagonist to be in such a book. She’s not very social and when she is, she prefers the librarian, who is her mother’s age, and an older gentleman named Jonathan, who is doing research in the area, to kids her own age. One day, Halley observes what she is convinced is a mermaid out in the sea. From there, the story begins to unfold.

While this story was creative, I do feel that it left something to be desired.  One of the best parts about middle grade adventure stories is the “good guy” learning to overcome whatever obstacles he or she has to in order to defeat the “bad guy”. They usually learn about themselves in the process. In The Secret Labyrinth, however, there really was no bad guy. There was a real estate development that wanted to build a resort by the water, tearing up a lot of ancient land, but there was no single defining character who seemed to be “behind it all,” which is something most readers have come to expect from this genre. Keep on Reading!


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Harry Potter and the Girl Who Escaped

HPSorcerer'sStone (2)As I, along with the rest of the world, count down the hours to the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I find myself reflecting on just why I love the Harry Potter series so much. Harry and I met when I was twenty years old as I was sitting in a Greyhound bus station. My mom, sisters, and I were homeless. Months of bouncing around ultimately landed us at the bus station one cool, fall day. I remember well the feeling of the crisp air on my tanned face as we carried suitcases and black garbage bags filled with our belongings into the bus terminal.

As we sat there with no money and nowhere to go, my mom took a creased paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone out of her purse. I’m not sure why she had it in her purse, but she handed it to me saying, “Here, read a book. It will help pass the time.” Keep on Reading!


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Review: Tales From the Haunted Mansion: Volume I The Fearsome Foursome As Told By Amicus Arcane

Haunted Mansion

Cover is copyright of Disney Press and is pending final approval

As a grown-up Disney kid, it is my duty to keep a current list of my favorite rides and attractions at Disney Parks. The Haunted Mansion has long been a favorite of mine, and I was thrilled to receive an ARC of this new book from Disney Press!

As a book addict, my favorite room in the Haunted Mansion attraction is of course the library with the spooky, empty rocking chair and the assurance that the library is full of works by “ghost writers.” Well, in this book, I got to stop into the library and have the head librarian, Amicus Arcane, share some spooky tales with me. The Haunted Mansion is famous for welcoming “foolish mortals” through its doors and in the opening of this book, Amicus Arcane extends that invitation to “foolish readers.” Keep on Reading!