Kait's Bookshelf

Book Reviews and Literary Services


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Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

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“He’d discovered that he liked houses. Maybe mostly because they were understandable. They could be calculated and drawn on paper. They did not leak if they were made watertight; they did not collapse if they were properly supported. Houses were fair, they gave you what you deserved. Which, unfortunately, was more than one could say about people.” – A Man Called Ove

While picking up a stack of books for work at the library, I happened to browse the fiction section on my way out. Okay, I made a hard right away from the exit because I’m a book addict who can’t not browse books if there are books to browse.

My eyes wandered over the titles available to check out, scanning for familiar authors, genres, and titles on my TBR list before landing on one title in particular, A Man Called Ove.

I have been anxious to read Fredrik Backman for some time. Titles like A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry have been popping up in my Instagram feed for a while now, piquing my curiosity. I’ve heard Ove described by some as being among their favorite books and in their top-rated books, which only made me more curious.

Did I have a bag filled with books to be read for work? Yes. Did I have another stack of review copies to read at home? Yes. Did I hesitate to grab Ove off the shelf and bring it home? Nope!

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Book Review: Slow Poison by Helen Slavin

Slow Poison

With fall getting into full swing, I’ve been craving seasonal reads – stories that take place in the fall, relate to Halloween, scary stories, and magical reads. Slow Poison fit the bill and then some! It is the second installment in the Witch Ways series by Helen Slavin about the Way sisters. Last year, I did a blog post about some of my favorite magical reads, and it’s safe to say that Slow Poison can join the others on that list.

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Book Review: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

An Anonymous Girl

Cover art is copyright of St. Martin’s Press

 

Earlier this year I read The Wife Between Us, a collaboration by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. That book had a twist that wowed me like few other books ever have. It was a great example of what psychological thrillers should be – unpredictable, unputdownable, and unforgettable! When I saw that this duo has a new book coming out in 2019, I jumped at the chance to read it. I was excited, yet a little skeptical. Could they really pull off another great psychological suspense thriller?

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Book Review: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Anne FrankI am so glad that I was able to fit in my book bucket list pick for June. I have wanted to read The Diary of a Young Girl for years. I didn’t get the chance to read it in high school like so many others did. I’m not sure why we didn’t read it other than maybe because Schindler’s List had released and become a huge success. We watched that film, an excellent film by the way, instead of reading Anne Frank’s diary. I don’t think one story is better than the other. They are both true and both equally moving. I do think that The Diary of a Young Girl should continue to be taught in schools because it is told in such a pure voice and really puts the reader right in the middle of the war. We can study World War II all we want, but we’ll never hear a more honest voice than that of a young Jewish girl in hiding. Anne’s story is something that touched my soul profoundly and something that I will never forget. No review I write will ever be able to do this book justice, but I will try my best to summarize why it was such a moving read for me.

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April Book Bucket List: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Gulliver's TravelsI vaguely recall watching a movie version of Gulliver’s Travels as a child that, I believe, starred Ted Dansen as Lemuel Gulliver. What I remember from the film was a man journeying to different lands and encountering different kinds of creatures, including a land of miniature people followed by a land of giants. I have always been drawn to fantasy stories like The Chronicles of Narnia, so Gulliver seemed right up my alley. I always wanted to read the book the movie was based on, so I made it my book bucket list pick for April.

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Book Review: All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

All We Ever Wanted

Cover art is copyright of Ballantine Books

I have been hooked on Emily Giffin’s books since I read her debut novel Something Borrowed. For me, that novel established Giffin as one of the most real and relevant writers out there. Her characters and the situations they find themselves in are contemporary and relatable. The questions Giffin’s characters must ask themselves create journeys that are just so real. Giffins characters are people I know –  friends, family, and even myself. Her books always make me stop and reflect. So of course I had high hopes for All We Ever Wanted, and of course, Giffin didn’t disappoint.

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2017 Wrap-Up and Reading Plans for 2018

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I love New Year’s Eve/ Day! It is always so nice to get a fresh start. I often get the urge to clean and organize my house around the New Year holiday. This includes my bookshelves. I often rearrange them and round up a box of books to be donated to the library. I have a really hard time letting books go, so these are usually books that I finally read over the previous year and don’t feel that I will re-read them. Or they are books that served a purpose during certain periods of my life and are now no longer necessary. Cleaning out and rearranging my bookshelves always makes me anxious for new reads and nostalgic for some old reads, too. Here are my highlights from 2017 and my reading goals for 2018.

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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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Book Review: What Do You Do With a Problem? By Kobi Yamada

What Do You Do With A ProblemI love picture books. I loved them as a child, and I still love them as an adult. When I went back to school, one of the first classes I took was a Children’s Literature course. One of the things I learned in that course is that picture books are designed so that the pictures are for the kids and the words are for the adults. I can see how that’s true with several picture books. There are jokes in certain books that go over kiddos’ heads but manage to give the adults a chuckle. (Shel Silverstein books come to mind!)

But, as an adult, I have developed a real appreciation of both the text and the illustrations in picture books. It’s not just an appreciation of the art that goes into these books, though the art is often what makes a few words on a page come to life. But it’s more about the life lessons that picture books instill in children while offering a gentle reminder to adults as well.

One such picture book is What Do You Do With A Problem? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom.
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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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