Kittens and Books

My name is Katie, and I am a reader, writer, and book blogger. I read mainly young adult, although sometimes I venture into adult or children's books.

My blog, where I post book discussions, reviews, and the occasional writing-related post, is Kittens and Books.


Odeful - Jennifer Recchio I received a review copy of this book through Netgalley.

My reviews can also be found on my blog.

This collection grew better as it went on, but it didn't start off very strongly. The first poem, Odeful, was humorous and cute, but it didn't hook my attention. It felt like something was missing - which, unfortunately, seemed to set the tone fairly well for the rest of the collection.

After These Messages marked the start of some stronger writing. The poems beyond this point felt like they had more meaning and purpose than those at the beginning of the book. This trend continued and I was so glad, because it was such an improvement.

Still, I have to say that several of the poems didn't have anything extra - anything to make them stand out as special to me. They were well-written, but there wasn't enough emotion there for me.

All We Had: A Novel

All We Had: A Novel - Annie Weatherwax I received an advanced copy of this book for review through Netgalley.

My reviews can also be found on my blog.

3.5 stars

I went into this expecting a light read. It took some adjusting before I could get into the story, but once I did it was wonderful.

Ruth is so young and deals with so much in her life - and her mother doesn't make things any easier. Throughout the story she was awful and manipulative, and I couldn't bring myself to like her. I think this is why it took longer for me to grow attached to the story.

The side characters were the best - a cross-dressing waitress called "Peter Pam," a chatty neighbor with four kids who lived next to her old teacher and watched her through binoculars, and so many more. They were original and lovable, and I found myself loving it in Fat River just as much as Ruth did.

The excerpt from one of Ruth's papers at the end talks about little girls faced with violence, and them being blamed when they grow up to be imperfect mothers. This is something I just couldn't get over, because I think Ruth's mother was worse than this implies. She was not "less than perfect." She was childish and I don't think it can be excused that she didn't act like a mother - Ruth did.

I liked the message. I liked the mother-daughter bond, and that they stuck together even when things weren't perfect. The story was real and honest, and Ruth's voice was great to read. I just had real problems with Ruth's mother and the way she was written into the book. I kept waiting for her to turn around, to rise above the way she grew up, but that never happened - and then it was excused, like she couldn't have done better. I'm just glad Ruth seems headed in a better direction.

The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner - James Dashner It’s difficult for me to write about this book, mainly because it’s so complex. There’s so much mystery, it’s hard to review without spoiling something. This whole book leaves the reader wondering, guessing what is happening and what might come next. Every time a question is answered, several more form.

I enjoyed reading this, frustrating as the lack of answers could be. At first the whole world was extremely confusing and hard to get into, especially because all of the characters were thrown into “the Glade” without memories or any idea what to expect. It’s difficult to learn about a world that’s so blurry in the character’s minds, and even by the end of the book I wasn’t convinced I knew anything.

An important thing going into this one is patience. It’s a book that I, at least, wanted to take my time with and really think about. I found it a great read when I took time off to theorize and consider what could be happening. Also, the lack of answers can be confusing if you’re looking for a quicker read – even though it is pretty fast-paced and can be read quickly.

I’m also very glad I did a buddy read on this one – reading with someone else encouraged me to keep reading in the beginning, when I might have put the book down otherwise. If the beginning of this one doesn’t hook you right away, I would encourage you to give it another shot – maybe try 50 pages or so before making a decision. It took me awhile, but by the end I really liked this one.


Ghosting - Edith Pattou I recieved an advanced copy of this book for review through Netgalley.

My reviews can also be found on my blog.

I began Ghosting with high hopes and was met with disappointment within the first few pages. My thoughts about the book at first were that it was an average novel in verse, without anything special to hook me to the story. I believe it was about 50 pages in when I decided that, actually, it might have been a decent introduction. By the end, I made a few connections back to the start that made the slow beginning feel worth it.

This book deals with a very important issue, however it’s a bit tricky for me to dive into it without giving spoilers. So this is all I’ll say: There is a shooting in the middle of the book, and it is dealt with perfectly.

It is not very often that a book changes my view on anything. During Ghosting, I actually paused a few times to think. A couple of lines made me stop, but this one from Maxie especially: “Did we get what we deserved?”

She asks this after overhearing people say it at a drugstore. And if their story had been on the news in real life, I may have thought – or even said – the same thing. Of course I would have felt bad for those involved, those hurt. But at least a small part of me would be thinking that they did wrong and were acting recklessly, and that they should have known it could happen.

I did not think this during the novel. I didn’t once blame the characters for what happened to them, even after they had made countless bad decisions. And next time I hear a similar, real-life story, I know I will think differently about it.

This really comes down to how the situation was handled. Even the less likeable characters were shown as human, with good sides and bad. They felt real and, especially while dealing with such an important topic, I feel this was very important.

Overall, the story wasn’t perfect, but I feel it came very close. I know there are those who feel disconnected from novels written in verse, and I do feel that they will be much less affected by this than I was. But if you do like reading verse, this is an excellent, thought-provoking read.

One, Two, Three

One, Two, Three - Elodie Nowodazkij My reviews can also be found on my blog.

I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This one starts off slow, but it doesn’t take long to be invested in the characters. It also really shines at the end. The story was full of heart and hope, even while dealing with difficult situations. It really focused on being yourself – not only parts of it, but everything you are. Natalya really learned this through the book, as she realized how much revolving her entire life around ballet hurt her.

I really felt for the characters while reading. Natalya was wonderful and her growth was nice to see. I was so proud of her by the end of the book, because she faced so much and handled it pretty well, given the circumstances.

The side characters were great as well. Becca is a great friend, very forgiving and always there for Natalya – although I can say parts of that felt a little unrealistic. Some flaws would have made her more interesting as a character, but I still enjoyed her. I loved her and James, and I also loved Tonio and Natalya’s relationship.

That said, I feel this book is right in the middle. It has its flaws. I feel like this wasn’t great, but average.

How to Climb the Eiffel Tower

How to Climb the Eiffel Tower - Elizabeth Hein I received a free review copy of this book through Netgalley.

This and other reviews can be found on my blog, Kittens and Books.

When I first joined Netgalley, I was excited. I didn't look into some of my requests as closely as I should have. Maybe if I did, I wouldn't be faced with the challenge I have now. Or maybe I would have misinterpreted this book anyway - I really did think I wanted to read this one.

But I'm not here to tell you it's a bad book. It's not. How to Climb the Eiffel Tower isn't my type of book, but it's extremely well-written. It flowed nicely and I enjoyed the somewhat slow pacing as it helped the reader understand the characters and situation.

Immediately starting the book we find out the main character, Lara, has been diagnosed with cancer. She's a closed-off woman with a difficult past to work through. She is also constantly exercising and part of her workout is "climbing the Eiffel Tower" through a setting on a machine at the gym. She would never think of climbing the actual Eiffel Tower, but her diagnosis and her new friend Jane change her perspective and make her realize that sometimes difficult things can be worth it.

I'm telling you about the book because I think it would be wonderful in the hands of the right reader. I think it would be touching and heartfelt and everything it was written to be.

If you're looking for complete honesty, I did not finish this book. I went into this expecting a light chick-lit, although I knew it involved cancer from the start. I looked at the title and was excited about the Eiffel Tower, which as far as I can tell is not actually visited in the novel.

Readers who don't have these same expectations will probably love this book. Those who read more adult contemporary will probably love this book. It's one of those that I'm not sure exactly why it wouldn't click for me; it just didn't. But I encourage you to give it a chance if it interests you.

Book Review: Blue Notes by Carrie Lofty

Blue Notes - Carrie Lofty

My reviews can also be found on my blog:

This book was so easy to read. It was really nice and exactly what I had been looking for. The fast pace is enough to keep things interesting and I was hooked from the first couple pages.

Keeley was such a great character. Some bits, especially at the beginning, felt dramatic and she was definitely self-pitying due to her past. The thing I really enjoyed though, was her development at the end. She was so strong and I was amazed at the things she would face to do what she felt was right.

The romance was great as well, if fairly predictable at points. It was a bit more graphic than I expected, and gave more detail on their love life than I thought it would – then again, I went into this without knowing much. Until I read the first few chapters, I thought it was a YA book.

I enjoyed the friendships in this book. They could have been developed more, but it was refreshing to see them grow so easily. Keeley met two girls at the beginning of the story, and by the end she was calling them her best friends – and that didn’t feel forced.

Overall I think this was a nice, lighter read. Although it deals with some heavy subjects, especially involving the characters’ pasts, it is fast-paced and very easy to read through.

Where There's Smoke

Where There's Smoke - Jodi Picoult This is the first thing I have read by Jodi Picoult. It's a short story and it was free for kindle, so it seemed like a good place to start.

While I like her writing style, I feel this could have been much more. It felt more like a sample from a full book than it was a short story. I feel like everything was introduced real well, but there was no ending and nothing was wrapped up.

Apparently this character is in a book of hers though, and I definitely plan on reading it sometime. I'd love to see more and maybe, this story will be finished off somehow in the novel.

Either way, I feel this is a nice sample of writing style, if not plot. I expect that a full-length novel will be much better as it will have more time to develop and come to a nice ending, and look forward to reading other works from the author.

The Geography of You and Me

The Geography of You and Me - Jennifer E. Smith My reviews can also be found on my blog:

Reviewing this book is hard on me, because I’ve read two other books by this author. I love her writing style and the way she tells stories, and that’s a big reason why I didn’t put this down halfway through.

I really enjoyed the first few chapters. We were introduced to Owen and Lucy, who just make such a good couple. They speak easily and the conversations between them were perfect, but then the separation happens.

My real problem is that it happened too soon, I think. They definitely had the start of something, but I’m not sure it was enough. It’s a little unbelievable that they wouldn’t get over each other in the time they were apart, given the fact that they had hardly met.

I also disliked that they didn’t really do anything while apart. Lucy’s relationship with her parents shifted slightly, but I didn’t see a real reason behind it. I’m not sure what changed to make them different, except the move. I did like seeing her mother’s side to that, though.

What I’m trying to say is that the middle dragged on. I didn’t feel the need to pick it up and keep reading, even though I did want to find out what happened. I feel like the plot went in a couple circles, and that there was a lot of filler. Although it was the main plot of the book, I do feel the whole long-distance thing is what ruined the story.

That said, the descriptions were great. Like I said before, I love the writing style. I adored the characters, too. It’s just the plot that could have used some work.

The end gave another half star to the rating, because I do like the way things turned out. Once Owen and Lucy started meeting again, the plot seemed to pick up nicely and I really enjoyed reading the conclusion of their story.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - Bagram Ibatoulline, Kate DiCamillo Edward’s journey through this story is incredible. He’s given so much personality and I think anyone could identify with the ways he loved and lost. It was hard enough for him to learn to love, but even worse learning to love again and again, overcoming loss and disappointment.

I loved all the characters Edward came to face with, from the fisherman and his wife to the hobo and his dog, but especially the little girls. And the message of this story was so clear and wonderful.

At the beginning I expected this to be a three-star book, but the writing and characters really set it apart from others. And I absolutely adored the ending.

Overall, this was a quick read for me, but it was beautiful. It was filled with love and written truthfully, and I like the fact that readers can relate to Edward – which is important, even though he is a toy rabbit.

Love Letters to the Dead

Love Letters to the Dead - Ava Dellaira This started out slow for me. Actually, I think it stayed slow. The plot wasn’t very eventful, and a lot of the letters consisted more of Laurel’s memories and thoughts, than what was currently happening. Further into the story, I was okay with this.

I think my favorite thing about this book is the character flaws. Laurel wants to believe May was perfect, but it’s clear that she was so far from it. She was struggling. Her mom left for an entire year after May died, and her dad seemed quite disconnected at times. Despite this, none of them were made out to be bad people. I think a great part of this book is that the characters gave up, or walked away when they shouldn’t have, or unintentionally hurt the ones they loved – but that’s how people are. It’s what they do, and it doesn’t make them horrible.

I also enjoyed the character growth. Laurel was so scared at the beginning, timid and trying to be like May. At the end of the story she’s so much stronger and more sure of herself. She grew up and it was wonderful to read. A side character that I especially loved for this was Hannah – she was so brave and strong. I can just imagine what a difficult past she had, losing her parents and dealing with her brother. But through the story, she really learned to accept love. She learned to be herself and overcome her fears.

If it hasn’t already been made obvious, I really love this book. It’s truly beautiful and I fell in love with the characters and the writing. I highlighted a lot of quotes as I was reading.

Recommending it is tricky, though. I feel like some people won’t enjoy the slow storyline. If you’re a patient reader and enjoy stories that are about character development, rather than action, I think this one is for you.

This is What Happy Looks Like

This is What Happy Looks Like - Jennifer E. Smith This is such a cute book. It begins when movie star Graham Larkin mistakenly emails a girl named Ellie O'Neall. They begin talking until, for his newest movie, he demands they film in Maine where Ellie lives.

Ellie had no way to know she was emailing Graham Larkin. Due to her own past, there are big reasons she should not be involved with a big star like him - but she can't seem to stay away.

I really loved these characters. Graham is a movie star, but before talking to Ellie he spent most days inside his house with his pet pig. And Ellie just has so much courage; she's so strong through everything that happens to her.

The side characters were just as great, too. I loved the roles of the parents, both Ellie's and Graham's, but especially Ellie's mom. She really does want what's best for Ellie and it's nice to see that. I loved Ellie's best friend as well; she was just so understanding.

Overall, this was a very light read but I enjoyed it a lot. I feel everything that happened was very realistic, which is nice given the slim chance that Graham and Ellie would meet in the first place. I feel everything was paced nicely, and the ending was just perfect.

Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie

Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie - Julie Sternberg, Matthew Cordell In this book, Eleanor loses her first and only babysitter. She is in third grade and I think her voice is written so well. I love how dramatic she can be, because it made her feel like a real kid. When she finds out Bibi is leaving, she claims it's as bad as someone dying.

Overall, this is just a cute book. Eleanor is sweet and funny, and has such supportive parents. Natalie, her new babysitter, was my favorite in this book.

I can imagine myself enjoying this when I was younger, even more than I loved reading it now, and it would be so helpful to a child in Eleanor's situation. It's hard, especially as a kid, when someone you care about moves away. This book captured that perfectly.


Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell This book is definitely a favorite for me. It's one of those books that, right after I finished, I wanted to re-read.

I loved the characters. The main character, Cath, was realistic and easy to relate to. It was nice to read her thoughts and watch her grow throughout the story. At the beginning I expected a love triangle with her, Nick, and Levi, but I'm very glad there wasn't one.

The writing style was great, too. The little bits of the Simon Snow books and Cath's fanfiction were a great addition, although I wasn't too sure about them at first.

Another little thing that I liked was that Cath was a writer - and she thought like one. Whenever she began to overthink words or anything similar, I couldn't help but smile.

I also really like that Cath and her mother didn't make up. I kept expecting it to happen and it didn't feel realistic to me that her mom would change, so I'm glad she didn't.

The Whole Stupid Way We Are

The Whole Stupid Way We Are - N. Griffin The writing style was hard for me to get used to at first, but I don't dislike it. This book is wonderfully written and I loved Dinah and Skint. I live how they were so different, yet I found myself relating to both of them.

The ending, though. There were a couple things that went unanswered and I really would rather have a more complete ending. But I can't bring myself to bring down a whole star because of it, although I almost did.

I guess this is more like a 4.5 for me.

Just One Day

Just One Day - Gayle Forman Such a perfect book.

The middle was a bit slow for a few chapters, but that was my only complaint. And, actually, I think it helped the story more than hurt it. I found myself as frustrated as Allyson in those parts.

I love how real the characters were. I didn't especially like Melanie or Allyson's mom at first, but they did have good sides. I did like them by the end, and even almost liked Celine.

And it ended with such a cliffhanger! I'm so glad I waited for both books to be out before I read this. The moment I get home tonight, I'm going to start reading the sequel.