Kait's Bookshelf

The website of author Kaitlin Scirri


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Book Review: Summer Darlings by Brooke Lea Foster

 

I love books set in the ‘40s-60s. I prefer Hollywood for the setting, but I’m not too picky. I just love stories set in that era. I lucked out with Brooke Lea Foster’s debut novel, Summer Darlings. It takes place during the summer of ’62 on Martha’s Vineyard. Summer Darlings offers a peek into the lifestyles of the wealthy who summer on the island through the eyes of one wealthy family’s babysitter, Heddy.

Kait's Bookshelf Summer Darlings

 

Heddy has certain goals for herself and for the summer – mainly to figure out how to pay for college in the fall and how to incorporate herself into this glamorous world by finding a husband. But we all know how the old saying goes about the best laid plans. Heddy soon finds herself thrust into a world of wealth, privilege, movie stars, gossip, love, lust, backstabbing, and scandal.

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Book Reviews: Inebriated and Neon Nights by Katey Taylor

The last couple of weeks have held a lot of uncertainty and I, like everyone, have been adjusting to this new normal. Since I work from home all the time, my day-to-day Monday through Friday routine wasn’t interrupted too much. I do miss going to the gym though as it provides not only a physical outlet for my stress but also gets me out of the house. Social distancing is getting to me, like it is for many, and I’m just so thankful that I have my hubby home with me. I can’t imagine how difficult this time is for those who live alone. One suggestion I can offer for anyone who is struggling with staying in and staying alone is to read.

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As Mason Cooley once so wisely said, “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” I’ve never felt the truth of this sentence more deeply than during this time of quarantine, isolation, and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of us in the bookish community have taken Mr. Cooley’s words to heart these last couple of weeks and have engaged in binge reading. I read two celebrity memoirs last weekend (see my Instagram for details and mini-reviews!) and read two YA novels last week by Katey Taylor, Inebriated and Neon Nights. These two books were great examples of why I love YA, and I’m excited to share my reviews with you!

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Book Review: The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin

We are living in chaotic times right now. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world, and life as we knew it even a week or two ago has changed dramatically. My hubby and I are practicing social distancing, trying to do our part to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus and not overwhelm our healthcare system. We are working from home and staying home unless in the event of an emergency. The idea of quarantine initially sounded terrible to me, but truthfully, things could be so much worse. Being at home for a couple of weeks while we work, stream videos, spend time together, and deep clean our house is not exactly a hardship. We can even have groceries and essentials delivered in a matter of hours. We can talk and video chat with loved ones to check on each other and keep our spirits up. And of course, there are books. I just might make a much needed dent in my TBR pile this year after all!

Kait's Bookshelf The Lies That Bind Emily GiffinSeriously, though, today is day five of quarantine, and I might be starting to go a little stir crazy if it weren’t for my books. I plan to keep reading and posting reviews because I think we all need a distraction and something to look forward to, like new releases!

If ever there were a time for comfort reading, this is it! I was beyond thrilled to read the newest book from one of my favorite authors, The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin. The book releases June 2nd and is sure to be another hit like her previous nine novels have been. I’ve been reading Giffin’s books since her debut over ten years ago, Something Borrowed. She has become an automatic buy for me, or an automatic request via NetGalley. I was beyond thrilled to receive an early copy of her newest book, and the timing couldn’t have been better.

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Book Review: Don’t Check Out This Book! By Kate Klise (illustrated by M. Sarah Klise)

Kait's Bookshelf Don't Check Out This Book!I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me want to read a book more than someone telling me I can’t or shouldn’t read it. Maybe this is why I love banned books so much. I just have to know what all the fuss is about! Today’s review is of the newly released Don’t Check Out This Book! by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise from Algonquin Young Readers. The book is an illustrated novel for young readers in grades 3 through 7. As the title suggests, it’s all about fighting censorship and corruption.

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Graphic Novel Review: Go With the Flow by Lily Williams & Karen Schneemann

Kait's Bookshelf Go With the FlowOver the last year or so I’ve really developed an appreciation of graphic novels. To be completely honest, I didn’t really “get” graphic novels when I initially discovered them a few years ago. They looked more like comic books than novels and they were packed with illustrations and very little text compared to other middle grade and YA novels. But I’ve come to discover the value of graphic novels on multiple levels.

The fact that graphic novels have less text doesn’t make them any less of a book. In fact, some reluctant or struggling readers who might not pick up a traditional middle grade or YA novel might opt for a graphic novel instead. This is wonderful because rather than missing out on the book altogether, these reluctant or struggling readers can still follow the plot, utilizing the images where the text proves challenging. This is huge because the graphics allow these readers to absorb and learn from the stories and engage in active discussion with friends, classmates, and teachers. Graphic novels also offer the added bonus of visual storytelling. You know that saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? Well, with a graphic novel, the pictures are many and the words are few because the images so beautifully illustrate the characters’ emotions, motives, struggles, and victories.

My 2020 reading challenge is to read 50 books, and I plan to add more graphic novels to my reading list. I can’t wait to discover more new graphic novel authors and illustrators!

Today, I’ll be reviewing a very timely new graphic novel, Go With The Flow by Lily Williams & Karen Schneemann.

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Book Review: You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

After enjoying a couple of books for young readers, I decided to change things up a bit and dive into some adult fiction. If you’ve followed the blog or my social media accounts for a while, you’re familiar with my love of mysteries and thrillers, particularly psychological suspense.

Kait's Bookshelf You Are Not Alone

My first thriller of 2020 was the upcoming release You Are Not Alone from the dynamic writing duo of Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. These two make such an amazing suspenseful storytelling team that their novels have become an automatic read for me. The downside of their efforts is that providing a review for one of their books without giving away any spoilers is always especially challenging; however, I’m up for the challenge!

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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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