Kait's Bookshelf

Book Reviews and Literary Services


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Book Review: The Ghosts & Jamal by Bridget Blankley

The Ghosts & Jamal“It had been good to climb, as good as anything he had ever done. It had not been so good to fall, but he would recover. All in all, he thought, it was worth the fall, just to have climbed the tree.” – The Ghosts & Jamal

Jamal is a thirteen year old boy in rural Nigeria whose favorite drinks include Fanta and Sprite. He seems like everyone else except that he lives with epilepsy. His epileptic episodes are misinterpreted by his family as “bad spirits” coming upon him. So Jamal lives apart from his family, in a separate hut on the outskirts of his village. This isolation will ultimately save Jamal’s life during a terrorist attack on his village. I read Jamal’s story in one sitting. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. I was worried for this young man – for his health, for his safety, and for his feelings – as he set out on his own to try to escape the attackers and to find his grandfather, or anyone else who survived, and might be able to help him. I feared for him and wanted to help and protect him. Continue reading

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Book Review: Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Wishtree“Trees can’t tell jokes. But we can certainly tell stories. And if all you hear is the whisper of leaves, don’t worry. Most trees are introverts at heart.”

– Wishtree

I love books told from an unusual perspective. The point of view in Wishtree is what initially grabbed my attention. I’ve been looking forward to reading this book since fall, when I included it in my post of upcoming children’s and middle grade reads. In Wishtree, we hear from Red, a very old red oak tree. Red has seen and heard a lot over her many hundreds of years. She is very wise, but she knows the rules – no speaking to humans, ever. So, when Red sees a new family move into the neighborhood and quickly realizes that things aren’t quite right, she sets about trying to find a way to fix it.
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The Next Harry Potter?

Book Review: Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Morrigan let Jupiter’s overcoat fall in a pile at her feet. Climbing onto the balustrade, she opened her new oilskin umbrella with shaking hands.

Don’t look down don’t look down don’t look down.

The air felt thin. ‘Step boldly,’ Morrigan whispered.

Then she closed her eyes.

And jumped.”

– Nevermoor The Trials of Morrigan Crow


Each month, I usually do a month-end wrap-up to recap the books I’ve reviewed that month and highlight any other posts I’ve written as well as upcoming reads and posts for the new month ahead. However, since I only had three reviews in November, I will be rolling them into my year-end wrap-up in late December. November was a tough month with a very sad loss for our family. So I spent some time away from the blog and work to be with family. Even though I only reviewed three books in November, I am pleased to report that they were all books I enjoyed. I will highlight those titles as well as my book plans for the New Year in an upcoming post. For now, I’d like to talk about a new release that I’ve been waiting to read since early fall – Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow.
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Book Review: Digby of the Dinosaurs by Linda Yiannakis

Digby of the DinosaursThis must be what it’s like to have a mother, thought Digby sleepily. Even a bird mother…or whatever these creatures are. That baby is lucky that’s she’s his mother. Digby scooted a little closer to Dakaana. I think she could be my mother, too, thought Digby the orphan boy. My real mother.” – Digby of the Dinosaurs

This new middle grade book from author Linda Yiannakis is, at its heart, a story about family. What makes a family? Love. That is the underlying message. When young orphan, Digby, goes out for a walk one day, he falls into a canyon and finds himself amongst strange, large creatures. Could they possibly be dinosaurs? Didn’t dinosaurs go extinct? What ensues is an adventure in which Digby will learn what it means to love, to be loved, and to belong.

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October Wrap-Up!

October Wrap-Up

October was a fun month! Now that I have graduated and life has returned to semi-normal, I finally got the chance to enjoy my favorite season again. I have been so busy these last few years dealing with mid-terms and research papers in October that I haven’t had time to really enjoy the fall season or even decorate for Halloween. But that all changed this year! I decorated my front yard and my front porch, complete with garlands of fall leaves and orange lights. I also had the opportunity to dive into some spooky and magical reads. Below, I’ve highlighted all the books I read in October. Click on the titles to be taken to the full reviews.

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Book Review: Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Nightmares

“I suppose you could say that nightmares and dreams help you clean out your brain. Every day you pack it full of thoughts and fears and hopes. At night, your dreams help you sort through the mess. Even when they don’t seem to make any sense, dreams and nightmares are helping you figure things out. That’s why the Waking World always seems so much brighter in the morning.” – Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic

The Sleepwalker Tonic is book two in the Nightmares! series by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. I read the first book for last Halloween, so it seemed appropriate to pick up book two for this Halloween. I loved this book! I read it in two days. Yes, it’s a book for young readers and most older readers like myself will be able to get through it quickly. But I finished it so quickly because I just couldn’t put it down. I really enjoyed the first Nightmares! book because of the underlying message to kids about the importance of facing their fears. Well, book two offered up a new lesson. The importance of dreams.

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Book Review: The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street

“Mom once told me she sees a story in everything. A lopsided sand castle at high tide might look terrible but could have been built by a future architect. A small blob of jellyfish glistening in the sand might seem harmless but could be more dangerous than a vial of poison. A rainbow might be the brightest one you’ve ever seen but could be the result of a hurricane…” – The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street

I loved this book and the above passage sums up why. There is always more to a story than what we see on the surface. Any given circumstance could turn out to be the exact opposite of what it looks like. I feel that lesson resonates through these pages and drives home a great point about not judging circumstances or people by the way they initially appear.
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Magical Reads

Magical Reads.jpg

I had planned on my next post being a review of the upcoming release Match Made in Manhattan. However, with October being in full swing, I’d rather focus on magical and spooky reads for the rest of the month. I will be sharing my review of Match Made in Manhattan in November. Today, I’d like to share some of my favorite magical reads with you. Any of these would be great books to pick up if you are in the mood for something magical in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Some of these I’ve read several times while others are way overdue for a re-read. But I loved them all, and I’m excited to share them with you.
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September Wrap-Up!

September Wrap Up

I don’t know about you, but for me September went by in the blink of an eye! It brought with it our first taste of crisp, fall air in the northeast followed by an usual heat wave. The weather was not the only thing that seemed to be all over the place. I had an interesting run of reads in September that ranged from wonderful to disappointing. In this blog, I will recap my September reads, highlight my title of the month, and share what is upcoming in October.

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August Wrap-Up!

cropped-pool-reading (2)

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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