Kait's Bookshelf

Book Reviews and Literary Services


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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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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: 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: Nightmares! By Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

nightmaresThis book has been on my radar for some time now, but alas, school books have dominated my reading list for the last couple of years. I thought October would be the perfect month to finally dive into this spooky story for young readers. What better night to stay up late finishing it than Halloween?!

Nightmares! didn’t disappoint! I know sometimes there is a lot of hype around a book because it has a celebrity author, but in this case, this book really is worth the read. I have personally enjoyed Jason Segel’s movies, and yes, I did initially hear about this book during an interview he did on a talk show, but that’s not why I like it. It really is a good story with a sound moral lesson for kids. 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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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!


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Review: Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty

Serafina and the Twisted Staff

Cover art is copyright of Disney Hyperion

Let me start this post by saying a HUGE thank you to Disney Hyperion for an Advanced Reader Copy of this book through NetGalley. I absolutely loved Serafina and the Black Cloak, and if you missed that review, you can read it here. I was so excited to get a sneak peek of the next adventure, and it did not disappoint!

*Please note: if you have not read the first book, spoilers lie ahead! Please come back to this post after reading Serafina and the Black Cloak!*

Serafina and the Twisted Staff picks up where the first book left off, three weeks after Serafina has defeated the Man in the Black Cloak. I enjoyed this timeline because I felt there was a lot of mystery still lingering at the end of the first book. For example, we now know the truth about Serafina’s mother – that she is a catamount! –  but what exactly does that mean for Serafina? Will she continue to remain with her Pa at the Biltmore Estate or will she embrace a new life with her mother? Like the first book, the action and adventure start right away and kept me guessing and anxious to keep reading. Keep on Reading!


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Review: Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

SerafinaI am so excited that I have FINALLY had a chance to read this book! Let me start by saying that it surpassed my expectations and is one of the most original stories I have read in a long time. I was drawn to this book by two things. First, the cover. It is eye-catchingly beautiful with a silhouette of the young heroine against the night sky over the Biltmore Estate. Second, the Biltmore Estate itself. Having been born and raised in the southeastern United States, I recall a trip to the Biltmore Estate in my younger days and simply being in awe of this “castle.” No child has ever visited Biltmore Estate and not wondered what it would be like to live there, even in the basement, and be able to sneak around and have your run of the place at night. This story sounded like a wonderful adventure and childhood dream come true! Keep on Reading!