Monday, November 16, 2015

It's Been a Long, Long Time

I'm sorry to say but ReadAround Sue is retiring.  I am so busy with my business and upheavals in my personal life that I can no longer give this blog the attention it and my contributing authors deserve.  I notice there have been a lot of views lately so I felt I needed to say Good Bye.
To the authors I have reviewed:  You are wonderful and gifted.  Don't give up.  I have been honored to read your work.
To my faithful fans:  Thanks for being there for me and enjoying my blog.

I will miss ReadAround Sue but I'll never stop reading and never stop telling people to try indie books and small publisher books. I'll never stop telling parents to read to their kids.
Thanks again. Peace out.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Taking a Break

Summer is here and my cupcake business is in high gear with farmers' markets, weddings, graduations and birthdays!  If  you are an author that has submitted to me, don't worry I'll be back in September or October depending on another big event in my life.  Our son is getting married!  I'm not sure how much time I can devote to the blog until after the 3rd of October.
Thanks for being loyal followers and I'll see you soon.  RAS

Monday, June 8, 2015

Cry of the Sea by D. G. Driver


Juniper Sawfeather’s parents are environmental acitivists.  Most of the kids in her school just think they are weird so June isn’t a popular girl.  Luckily she has one good friend, Haley, who lives next door.
When disaster strikes the coast and animals are being killed from an oil spill, June and her father spring into action in spite of an argument the night before about college.
June spots a tangle of what she thinks are people covered in oil and it turns out they are mermaids.  In spite of June and her dad’s heroic efforts only one survives the trip to the nearest aquatic research center.
June meets a college age intern and is impressed by Carter’s looks and his interest in sea creatures.  He seems to find her attractive too.
A tangled web of deceit leads to the gripping end of the story.

To be honest, when I found out this was a “mermaid book” I was less than enthusiastic.  I’m happy to report that I changed my mind quickly as the discovery of the mermaids was handled in a most believable way.
June’s family dynamic was interesting and not run of the mill and I liked that. June herself was a determined and intelligent girl.  Even when she thought she lost her best friend and any chance with Carter, she carried on with her mission.
Carter wasn’t just another pretty face who was supportive of his girl.  He had brains and plans and wasn’t afraid to criticize June but he also was understanding of her choices.  I really liked him.
June’s friend, Haley, suffered from the intense desire to be popular and it motivated the things she did and drove her away from June and into the clique of the popular kids.  Haley was smarter than I gave her credit for however and in the end she and June worked things out.
The story of Affron Oil and its oil spill was realistic and brought focus to a problem that perhaps not all of us are aware of.  The descriptions of the scene of the spill was heartbreaking.

I really enjoyed Driver’s book and heartily suggest you give it a try.
You can buy this book here:Amazon

Monday, June 1, 2015

Shattered Rose by Tammy L. Gray


Avery is in college and is trying to put her life back on track and tackle her eating disorder.  She is sure she has everything under control as she heads to a new apartment with new roommates.
Then she meets Jake, her roommate’s cousin and is instantly and tragically madly in love with him.  He woos her and Shattered Rose by Tammy L. Gray
takes her to bed and then drops her for being to needy. Avery is devastated and old habits take control again and she binges and purges.
When she tries to reconcile with Jake, he puts her in her place and while she sits alone, a young man comes up to offer her comfort.
Parker turns out to be the opposite of Jake.  He is sincere and true in his feelings.  He is a devout Christian and helps Avery find her self worth and confidence once again.  Although Avery returns Parker’s feelings, she just can’t shake thoughts of Jake and can’t stop seeing him behind Parker’s back.
I don’t usually read Christian fiction but I found I enjoyed this story because it wasn’t preachy or overtly pious.  The characters seemed real and were relatable.  Avery had a huge issue that she didn’t overcome just with a snap of her fingers.
Her  roommate, Issy, had a lot of problems of a different sort and I was happy to see there are more books in this series and each one focuses on one of the characters in this story.
Jake was a lousy rat as many boys are when they are young and handsome.  He was used to getting his own way and felt entitled.  There is a book about him too so I hope he has an epiphany.

Parker was just a nice and loving boy but he wasn’t going to be used or taken for granted by Avery.  I liked that about him.  He brought Christianity to Avery’s life and she was the better for it.
You can buy the book here:Amazon  It's a free download!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Kate and the Kid by Anne Rothman Hicks and Kenneth Hicks


Kate sees a little girl in the window of her apartment building and it is the first step to a relationship that she never saw coming.  Kate has lost her job, thinks she may lose her boyfriend and worries about going on unemployment.
Her neighbor asks her to watch the little girl, Jenny who the neighbor refers to as Creephead and she reluctantly agrees.
Jenny has difficulty communicating so she does so with her doll Miranda and Kate seems to be able to break through to the child by talking directly to Miranda as if it is no big deal.
Nobody is exactly sure what Jenny has been through.  They only know that her mom left her and is nowhere to be found.  Kate slowly builds a relationship and helps Jenny scale the wall that she has surrounded herself with only to be thrown into a situation that is dangerous and frightening.

I really liked this book.  Kate was in a no win situation and still she opens her heart to Jenny.  She was torn and didn’t always do the exact right thing but in the end, she did.
Jenny was well written as a child who has been through too much and doesn’t trust relationships.  Her use of the doll to communicate was a coping mechanism that children do use.
Speaking of the doll, I think Miranda was my favorite character.  She told it like it was and really helped Jenny through a tough time.
The boyfriend, I was not crazy about.  He was in love with Kate or was he?  Was he a commitmentphobe or on the brink of making a commitment?  Could he open his heart to the new situation or would he just walk away from Kate?  It was hard to figure him out so I had a hard time liking him but in the end he redeemed himself.

This book had an entertaining story and I would recommend that you read it. You can buy it here: Amazon

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mira's Hope: The Sword of Lumina Book 2 by Erin Elliot


When I met these characters in book 1, I liked them all and nothing in this book made me like them any less.   The heroes are on the path to find the Sword of Lumina and when we first meet them, they are on their last legs.  Tark and Elenio have little or no stamina left and Galena is dying as they go along.  The men have to take turns carrying her and keep on the look out for Rau’s minions.  Only the goddess, Mira can help them.
The three friends travel on after Galena is revived and they go to a village where they find a group of Rau’s minions have attacked.  They are determined to help and they become the heroes of the villagers.
Tark stays behind to train elves to become warriors and Galena and Elenio continue on to the West Woods to find the cave and the Sword of Lumina.  Galena knows she will face the challenge of her life but finding the sword is the only way to return their country to its former self.

This book really shows the growth of the author’s talent to weave a story that is complex and interesting.  Galena’s powers grow as the story continues and she does some delightful things and some awesomely strong things.  Elenio continues to be her strength and support.  Tark reluctantly lets the two go off on their own because he feels a strong urge to contribute to the fight against Rau in a more active role.  His role as a trainer gives him renewed purpose.
Rau and his creatures are as disgusting as ever and Rau is coming to the end of his rope and takes a horrible stance that could mean the end of the elves.

This book was exciting and absorbing.  I really liked it even more than the first installment and can’t wait to read the next book!

You can find Mira's Hope here:Fire and Ice Young Adult Books

Thursday, May 14, 2015

KidzKorner: Summer Break

I'm going on Summer Break and after today I won't be doing KidzKorner until after Labor Day.  Before I go though, I wanted to talk about Summer reading.  When I was a kid the library at school was open all summer for a summer reading program.  It was so cool to go to the school when it was closed and look through the library door to the empty halls.  It felt like a privilege, like getting to go backstage.
Anyway, I met some of my best friends in that library.  I found Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and found my love of historical fiction.  I met Betsy, Tacy and Tib.  I remember finding a book whose name I can't remember about an orphan girl who moves in with her aunt and the description of the fried chicken they had for dinner.  I couldn't wait to go to the library each week.
So, go to the library, folks.  Take your kids.  Get lost in the picture books.  Some of the most beautiful artwork in the world is in the pages of picture books.   Don't believe me?  Find the book Hiawatha and check out the illustrations.

Find a book series to read at bedtime.  Harry Potter isn't the only one who has a great series.  Or choose an author and read those.  I have always loved the stories of Edgar Eager as they always have at least half magic.  

You can't go wrong with Beverly Cleary either.  From Henry Huggins to Ramona to The Mouse and the Motorcycle.  Cleary gets kids and kids love to read her stories. 

Let your youngest find the books that appeal to their eye and your older kids find an author they love.  Not only will summer fly by with outdoor fun but the evenings will go by in a flash with the help of good books.  Have a wonderful summer and until I see you again, Keep on reading!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Crazed Reckoning by Valerie Clarizio


Nick Spinelli is back  and another problem is plaguing him and his lady love.  An old pact made by two families will affect  Shannon’s geo caching vacation and throw Nick and her into another situation fraught with danger.
Nick has wanted to propose to Shannon but keeps putting it off because these terrible situations keep haunting them.  Shannon has such a deep and abiding love for Nick that you want them to be a happy couple.
There are a lot of twists and turns in the story and Shannon’s friend gets embroiled in the drama right along with her.  The women are kidnapped and Nick goes on the hunt to save them but can he find them in time to save their lives?

I really like these characters and though the situations they get in are some what fantastical, they are always entertaining.  I like the holiday themes the author has chosen and I enjoy reading them.  This story has a lot of sex in it so it is not for the younger set.  So beware if you have a youngster under seventeen years old!  That being said, I would highly recommend this book.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

KidzKorner: The Sixties Pt. II

This week I am continuing my favorite books written in the sixties.  This bunch is for older kids to read or for you to read to your kids.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

This is the story of the survival of a Native American girl on her very own island.

Harriet the Spy by Leslie Fitzbaugh

Harriet wants to be a spy but it turns out being one is not all it's cracked up to be.

The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

A little boy and a mouse bond over a toy motorcycle.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

A brother and sister run away from home and hold up in the Museum of Art and become embroiled in the mystery of a certain statue.

You'll find these books to be relevant today and most enjoyable so until next week, keep on reading.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Week

Have a happy week, Teachers!!!

Covert Exposure by Valerie Clarizio

Covert Exposure by Valerie Clarizio

Detective Nick Spinelli gets the bad news that because his partner retired he is assigned to Children’s services for the holiday season.  Spinelli is assigned to work with Shannon O’Hara who takes an instant dislike to him and he thinks she is an angel but that she has too soft a heart.
Little did they know that the murders that were taking place would pull both of them into a plot to find the killers.  Spinelli goes undercover as a Mall Santa where Shannon is already a volunteer elf.
As they get to know each other their feelings grow but the murderers have other plans for the pair.

I loved this little book.  It is the first in a series and I know I’ll keep on reading.  Spinelli is a good detective who has fought his way up from a horrible upbringing. Shannon is a sweetheart of a girl who has a heart of gold.  She really touches the hard boiled Spinelli in a special way.
The murders led to a plot that I didn’t expect and I love it when a mystery like that unfolds.

High marks for Clarizio and her cast of characters!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

KidzKorner: The Sixties

I just finished reading Stephen King's novel, 11/22/63.  It made me nostalgic for that decade so I decided to find some children's books written then.  I'll do the little kids this week and the older kids next Thursday.  Hope you enjoy them!

Peter's Chair by Ezra Jack Keats

Keats' simple style tells us about a little boy with a new baby in the house and how he feels when his parents paint his furniture pink!

May I Bring a Friend? by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers

This is a royal parlor full of laughs as a little boy brings his friends to visit the king and queen.

The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie Di Paolo

An unusual pairing for a fight in this book!  The knight is shy and has to study dragon fighting in the library and the shy dragon has to comb through his ancestor's thing to find out what to do with a knight!

The Story about Ping by Marjorie Flack

Ping is a naughty little duck who stays too long away from his master's boat and he doesn't want to be the last one who gets a little whack with a stick so he stays away and has quite an adventure.

That's a blast from my past for your little ones.  Enjoy and until next week, keep on reading!

Monday, April 27, 2015

11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King


When this book was recommended to me for book club I wanted to read it very badly...until I saw it was 850+ pages long.  Feeling a little overwhelmed, I started.... and I couldn't put it down.  I would say it was one of the best books I ever read.
The hero, Jake, in modern times, poses as George, and travels back in time to try and stop the shooting of JFK.  There are all kinds of twists and turns and many characters to keep track of and JFK is not the only one Jake/George has to save.
I could give you a synopsis of the book but I enjoyed the ride and I want you to do so too.
This story provoked a lot of memories for me and gives a clear and well presented picture of the early sixties.  You really feel like you get to know Jake/George in spite of his two names.  The supporting cast is interesting and well fleshed out.
Try this book if you lived in the sixties but especially if you didn't.  King did a lot of research and although this is a novel there are a lot of historical references that make the story seem so very real.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

KidzKorner: Do You Believe in Magic?

Every now and again you have to read something magical.  Really.  Here are some suggestions for the experience.

Half Magic by Edgar Eager

When a family of children find an unusual coin, they learn that it has magic powers that well, just don't work the way you would think.  Their adventures lead them to a little man who changes their lives.

Twig by Elizabeth O. Jones

This is a story of the magic of the imagination.  Something we sometimes forget we have but is so necessary to remember.

Waiting for Magic by Patricia MacLachlan

The magic of communication with animals is the crux of this book.  A young child can communicate with the pets his mom brings home and they can too!

Emma and the Blue Genie by Cornelia Funke

What's more magical than a genie?  And who wouldn't want to help him find his nose ring?  I know I would!

So abracadabra, find some time and read about magic and until next week, keep on reading!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Spirit Within Club by Sahar Sabati


This was a nice little book that had messages of hope and acceptance in it for preteens.  The group of friends each had their own problems and were able to face them and overcome them with the help of understanding adults and one another.
The drawings were simple but charming and added to the story.
The author made her characters come alive by putting them in realistic situations and having the kids have normal reactions and feelings.

This is a book that I would recommend to anyone with a child who is in the preteen stages.  It is a guide to acceptable behavior and kindness toward others that isn’t preachy.

You can find the book here:Amazon

Monday, April 13, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015

KidzKorner: Up in the Sky

If you look up there is so much to see!  Here are a few books about things in the sky.

Early Bird by Toni Yuly
This little bird is up nice and early.  It is a great book to learn action words.

Stars by Mary Lyn Ray

What would you do if you could have a star of your own?  Here are some ideas.

Many Moons by James Thurber
The princess is ill and thinks she can't get well until she owns the moon.  Can anyone help her?

Clouds by Anne Rockwell
With simple text, Rockwell shows how clouds can help us predict the weather.  No TV needed!
This week, look up in the sky once in a while.  You never know what you might see.  Next week is Spring Break for me so I'll see you on April 23!  Until then, keep on reading!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Nothing But Horses by Shannon Kennedy


Sierra works hard at Shamrock Stables that her family owns.  She carries a lot of responsibility and expects others to tow the line.  That is how she ended up in group therapy where she is trying to learn to deal with people who annoy her by being lazy or irresponsible or just plain stupid.  She has no time for the regular teenage things like a steady boyfriend or outside activities.
We meet Sierra at Christmas time where she is surrounded by a loving family and a great group of friends.  She has concerns about her mother who is dating Dave, the local animal protecting agent.  Dave is really good and kind but Sierra worries that her mom will break his heart and dump him for one of her usual young cowboy types.
During the break, Sierra’s grandfather helps her to transfer to Lincoln High where all her friends attend and she is able to get a full basketball scholarship.  The coach, who should be ecstatic to have a girl with her skills, finds her lacking and gives her a really hard time.
Sierra is generally happy at her new school though but gets thrown when her English teacher gives her an assignment to follow her passion and refuses to let her project take place at the farm.
Life is changing for Sierra but can she change with it?

I really like this series.  Sierra’s story was engaging and realistic.  She is not perfect nor is her family but they really try and support one another.  She has a wonderful relationship with her younger sister that I can never read enough about.
There is a lot of detail about riding and the care of horses that would captivate any young woman who loves horses.  It was a little too much for me.  I would have liked more story about Sierra and her group of friends.  That is just personal preference and the details certainly took nothing from the story.
If you have a horse lover in your life, I can’t say too much about this series.  It is enjoyable and instructional at the same time.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Chapter and Verse

I have neglected the older kids for a while now so today I am looking at chapter books and some poetry for kids of all ages.  The chapter books are definitely for older children but use your own discretion.

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
This is the classic story of a girl, a pig, a spider and the meaning of friendship.

Bridge to Terabitihia by Katherine Paterson
Two friends build a world of their own until reality tears it apart.  A story of friendship and heart break.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
A young boy searches for the meaning of his father's final message.

Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne
Poems that will make you wish we could all stay six forever and ever.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Fun and funny poems that really appeal to kids.  My kids introduced me to this one and I'm so glad they did.
So, cuddle up this week with  a chapter book or some verse and until next week, keep on reading.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Ever After High by Shannon Hale


What do you do if you want to take a different path in life than your parent?  For most kids that isn’t a big problem but for Raven Queen, the daughter of the Evil Queen, it is!  The kids at Ever After High are going to commit in writing to continuing the stories that were started by their families.  Some will be princesses, some will be princes and well, one will be an evil queen….or will she?

I liked this book.  Apparently it is the first in a series and I missed the fact that there are dolls and toys that are available.  After all, I’m a book reviewer, not a toy collector!
I thought the author did an excellent job of doing plays on words from the old stories and I thought the main characters had real problems to deal with and that readers could understand.
Having said that, I heard that the Disney channel is making this series into a cartoon series on their channel so I hope that kids will still read the books and not just watch television!

If your princess is a reader, I think she will love these books. They are not great literature but they are  a fun and and easy read.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

KidzKorner- Food, Glorious Food

I have been on a special diet plan so needless to say, food has been on my mind.  A lot. So I found some books with food that I thought you might like to share with your kids.

Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban

Oh, Francis is a typical kid and guess what her favorite thing is to eat?  Will she ever try something new?  This oldie but goodie is a fun read.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Sam I Am doesn't give up until his friend tries some.  Another classic!

If  You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff

This is a story that turns around on itself.  Find out what I mean in this cute book.

Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee

This is a poem turned into a board book from our friends in Canada.  Who can live without alligator pie??

For now I'm full to the brim so until next week, keep on reading!

Monday, March 23, 2015

When She Smiled by Ritoban Chakrabarti


This is the story of Roy, a young Indian man and his obsession with the girl of his dreams.  He has just returned from a military like school and has changed from round and chubby to slim and attractive.
The girl he loves finally pays him some attention and in the time they spend together he falls hopelessly in love and thinks she feels the same.  It doesn’t turn out that this is the case so he relentlessly pursues her and makes all the mistakes that a young man would.   One humiliation after another occurs until tragedy strikes Roy’s family and he takes a closer look at himself.

I liked Roy and his ineptness with girls.  The author really got into the mind of a teen and explained how his thought process brought him to do some of the silly and crazy things he did.  His family was portrayed well although they were mostly a supporting cast.  The main story was about Roy and his school friends.

The girl he loved was also a typical teen.  She led Roy on after she decided maybe he wasn’t the one but she enjoyed the attention he gave her so she didn’t turn him away.

I also learned a lot about Indian school life and read a lot of terms concerning food that I didn’t recognize.  Any reader could do a quick Google search to find out what all the foods were.

In all, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to teens, especially if they are interested in learning about other cultures.  I also think they would find that teens around the world are pretty much just like them.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Something Old, Something New

I was looking at Scholastic's top 100 books for children and some of them caught my eye.  Some were new to me and some were old favorites.  Thought I'd cull the list and find the ones I wanted to share with you.

First Words  A Bright Baby book

Another winner for your littlest one.  Introduce common words with the pictures.

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein
The title grabbed me and the cover picture sold me.  All about a chicken who likes to tell its own story.

An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Aston

Over 60 kinds of eggs are shown in this nonfiction book with beautiful illustrations.

The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pikey
A relucutant boy reader?  Well, who could resist Captain Underpants?  .

There's a good reason each of these books is in the top 100.  So try them and until next week, keep on reading.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday, March 16

Maybe you are wondering, where is Read Around Sue?  Well, she forgot to read the book for today so she's not here and don't criticize her.  She is a very busy woman and has no time for extra curricular reading.
Seriously, I'll be back next week.  KidzKorner will be here on Thursday.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Baby, Baby

I have been neglecting the babies for too long in naming books that I would read to children so today is dedicated just to them.  As soon as possible, you should start to read to your baby! It builds vocabulary and it is a bonding experience.  Plus, as a bonus, it's fun!

What Shall We Do with the Boo-Hoo Baby? by Cressida Cowell
What do the animals do when the baby won't stop crying?  Find out in this little book.

First 100 Words by Roger Priddy 
The title says it all.

No No Yes Yes by Lidia Petricelli
Learning right from wrong is fun with this book.

Counting Kisses by Karen Katz
A great way to learn to count!
Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
This is the deluxe edition with even more sensory experiences.

So cuddle up with your baby and until next week, keep on reading!