Kid’s Read-a-long Books

Lately I have been reading a lot with my daughter who loves books almost as much as I do (parenting win!). I like to use my Kindle to download books from the local library’s app to do read-a-long books with her. She loves all the Dora and Diego books and since my Spanish is more Spanglish, it’s best if the narrator reads those books to her.

I’m blogging about these books because they are so fun and great for kids! I enjoy it too because I can see the excitement she has for these books. I also get books I read to her but her favorites are the ones that read out loud to her so she can hold my Kindle herself (very independent already).

I want to encourage you to read with your children (if you have any) or any child in your family. Instilling a love of reading and books at a young age starts with us taking the time to be present with them. All kids want is attention. Give them some attention by reading a good book- it doesn’t have to be long, it can be a short book- but those few minutes will help spark so much in that child’s life and imagination.

I try to read to my daughter every day for at least 10-15 minutes. She LOVES it. Maybe you only have 2-5 minutes..that’s fine too…any amount of time is great!

One of the best books we ‘read’ was B.J. Novak’s, The Book With No Pictures. He narrates it too and he does a great job! My daughter was very interested because of how animated his reading is. As I mentioned, we also read a ton of Diego and Dora- those books are great because they also have Spanish words in them and my daughter has picked up on some words which amazes me!

Check some read-a-long books out!

Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood and Meg Hunt

About
Once upon a planetoid,
amid her tools and sprockets,
a girl named Cinderella dreamed
of fixing fancy rockets.

With a little help from her fairy godrobot, Cinderella is going to the ball. But when the prince’s ship has mechanical trouble, someone will have to zoom to the rescue! Readers will thank their lucky stars for this irrepressible fairy tale retelling, its independent heroine, and its stellar happy ending. Plus, this is a fixed-format version of the book, which looks nearly identical to the print version
.

My Thoughts

I read this to my 3 yr old and she loved it. It was awesome! I’m always up for a good twist on a fairy tale and this one is exciting and creative! I especially love that Cinderella is a mechanic and chooses not to be the princess in the end.

Trust me..READ it. It’s for little kids but it’s so worth reading.

5 out of 5 stars!

Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender

About
Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence. Dysfunctional like her parents’ marriage; her doll-crazy twelve-year-old sister, Kasey; and even her own anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude.

When a family fight results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger. Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green sometimes; she uses old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in.

Alexis wants to think that it’s all in her head, but soon, what she liked to think of as silly parlor tricks are becoming life-threatening–to her, her family, and to her budding relationship with the class president. Alexis knows she’s the only person who can stop Kasey — but what if that green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore?

My Thoughts

Creepy. That is what comes to mind when I think of this book. If my sister were to become possessed by some angry, revengeful girl from years ago, I’d lose my shit. Alexis keeps her shit together for someone who knows that their little sister is possessed. It starts out small, eyes changing color, behavior changes but then it goes from okay maybe she’s found herself to holy crap you are crazy and frightening. The demon who is possessing her is a girl who was killed by girls her own age years ago and has now come back, by possessing a doll, to kill the children and grandchildren of those girls. Creepy as hell, right?!

It’s with the help of a cheerleader that Alexis is able to help her sister. Apparently, the demon killed this cheerleaders mom too by having her commit suicide a few years ago. So this cheerleader is hell bent on finding out the truth. An unlikely friendship occurs also between Alexis and the girl which is good, since Alexis is a bit of a loner.

I enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, creepy as all get out, and moved along the plot quickly. The characters were believable, the plot feasible, and the outcome a happy one.

3.5 out of 5 stars!

The Cinderella Murder (Under Suspicion #1) by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

About
In a first-time collaboration, “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark partners with bestselling author Alafair Burke to deliver a brand new suspense series about a television program featuring cold case murders

Television producer Laurie Moran is delighted when the pilot for her reality drama, Under Suspicion, is a success. Even more, the program—a cold case series that revisits unsolved crimes by recreating them with those affected—is off to a fantastic start when it helps solve an infamous murder in the very first episode.

Now Laurie has the ideal case to feature in the next episode of Under Suspicion: the Cinderella Murder. When Susan Dempsey, a beautiful and multi-talented UCLA student, was found dead, her murder raised numerous questions. Why was her car parked miles from her body? Had she ever shown up for the acting audition she was due to attend at the home of an up-and-coming director? Why does Susan’s boyfriend want to avoid questions about their relationship? Why was Susan so concerned about her roommate’s infatuation with a new-age religious sect? Was she close to her computer science professor because of her technological brilliance, or something more? And why was Susan missing one of her shoes when her body was discovered?

With the help of lawyer and Under Suspicion host Alex Buckley, Laurie knows the case will attract great ratings, especially when the former suspects include Hollywood’s elite and tech billionaires. The suspense and drama are perfect for the silver screen—but is Cinderella’s murderer ready for a close-up?

Together Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke deliver an exciting publishing event: the start of a thrilling new series guaranteed to keep you guessing until the last suspenseful page.

My Thoughts
I’m a huge mystery fiction fan and read a lot of mysteries. When I saw that Cinderella was part of this title I wanted to read it. Well, the only tie between Cinderella and this mystery is the girl who was killed lost her shoe running for her life…that’s it. But, that’s not to say this wasn’t a great read. Cause it was!

I’m not sure I’ve read a lot of MHC before but I will now, especially this series. I actually have the second in this series on hold at the library for me now (along wit ha few others). I really got sucked into this world of television and solving murders.

I found Laurie to be a great character- strong, good at her job, heartbroken over her husband’s death (which makes her great at her job), and a good mom. I mean a working mom is hard, a working single mother- can’t imagine. She makes it work. With the help of her dad, they have a great routine. Once she gets sucked into this Cinderella murder though, her life becomes even more hectic. They fly to CA for the show and for all the interviews. The one thing about Laurie is that her objectiveness gets a little clouded by the victims mother, Rosemary. Which is understandable but as a professional she lets her feelings get in the way and almost ruins the whole episode.

I found all the characters who were suspects annoying. The pre-Madonna who thinks she’s still a star; the pretty boy who wants more fame; the woman who changed her name out of fear but eventually grows a pair and fesses up to why; the genius who knows too much; the professor who isn’t such a nice guy. Then there’s the hit man and the crazy religious guy. Good Lord. What a cast of characters. I have never hated a character more than the crazy religious guy- he started his own religion and is a pedophile and siphons all the money from his ‘church’ for his gain. Disgusting can’t even begin to describe this man. Regular cult leader.

I figured out who did it, about half way into the book. I just got this creepy, ‘yeah right’ feeling about the murderer when he was first introduced. The lengths he goes to conceal this 20 yr murder is Crazy. The reason for the murder- ridiculous.

Susan was a bright, young, beautiful woman who was killed because she overheard a deal going down in the computer lab at her college. Ridiculous and senseless and stupid.

Great read though! Try it out!

4 out of 5 stars!

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

About
It was the closest kingdom to the queen’s, as the crow flies, but not even the crows flew it.

You may think you know this story. There’s a young queen, about to be married. There are some good, brave, hardy dwarfs; a castle, shrouded in thorns; and a princess, cursed by a witch, so rumor has it, to sleep forever.

But no one is waiting for a noble prince to appear on his trusty steed here. This fairy tale is spun with a thread of dark magic, which twists and turns and glints and shines. A queen might just prove herself a hero, if a princess needs rescuing.

My Thoughts

I didn’t realize until I actually got the book that this was a short story but it’s a good retelling of the fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty. I especially enjoyed the illustrations that went along with the story- very well done and it brought the story to life for the reader.

I think what I like most about fairy tale retelling is that you never know where the author is going to take you with this retell. Gaiman rarely disappoints me with any of his stories so I was intrigued with what he would do with this story. I’m REALLY happy that I read this book. His retelling is such a great twist that you don’t see it coming.

You have the same setup as usual- powerful curse, sleeping beauty, many have tried and failed their bones testaments to their failures. The twist is that the Queen, who is supposed to be getting married, is the hero journeying to wake the princess. The Queen travels with her trusted Dwarf and they escape many sleeping, but active, town dwellers. Each town they enter, the sleeping come after them, trying to stop their progress to the princess. They are able to get passed and make it to the castle- covered by years of thornes, bushes, and roses, and also bones. The Queen and her Dwarf make it into the castle where the encounter the old hag. They rush past her and find the beautiful Princess. The Queen kisses the Princess, waking her..only to find..that the Princess is not a Princess but she is the Witch who cursed herself to stay young- sucking all the youth from the ‘old hag’ and peoples while she slept. The old hag, who has lived so long, and saves the people and the Queen, is the Princess- now so old she should be dust. The Queen thanks the Princess for protecting the kingdom and ridding them all of the evil witch.

I liked this telling because I honestly thought Gaiman was just retelling the story with a female hero as the the one who wakes the beautiful princess. But then he adds the princess is the witch, and the witch is the princess. I really enjoyed this retelling- I’m a big fan of fairy tale retellings, no matter how long or short.

4 out of 5 stars!

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

About

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

My Thoughts

LOVE!  I love this book so much! It is honest, funny, serious, and everything a book about high school should be. It has all the high school stupid that happens- boyfriends, best friends, drama, and more. I am always hesitant to read books about characters who are fat because it’s a sore topic, I’ll admit. I was the fat girl growing up so reading about it, always makes me queasy, I guess you could say. But, Dumplin’ is the book I wish so bad I had to read in high school growing up, even in middle school. It would have given be someone, albeit fictional, to look up to and help me accept myself for who I was then and have better body positivity. Looking back, I wasn’t at all fat, I was great but compared to other girls, I was fat. Which brings me to the book…

Will is such a GREAT character and role model. She accepts herself for who she is despite having a parent who tries to be subtle about her needing to change. She’s strong, smart, funny, independent. A perfect example of strong female lead characters. Her obsession with Dolly Parton is hysterical to me- I mean Dolly is awesome, no denying, but she takes it to the EXTREME with how much she LOVES Dolly. I also really liked her love interest, Bo. He’s the kind of guy who needs to be cast with a character like Willowdean (whose name is great, I mean, Willowdean- you don’t get more Southern than that). Bo is so accepting of Will that you almost expect it to blow up in some way- like in the movie She’s All That and there’s a bet..yeah, I thought that’s where this was heading. But, thankfully, nope. Bo is just a good guy who genuinely likes Will for all she is and isn’t. He’s the guy your parents want you to date haha. It’s funny, that once she starts to date Bo, Will’s self confidence starts to plummet. It’s how it goes though- you get this attention from a really hot guy and BAM! you wonder what the catch it.

The most hilarious thing is her determination to the pageant. Her mom is in charge of. Her mother- she’s a piece of work btw. Ugh. Just. I get wanting your daughter to be healthy and active but she’s OBESESSED with looks. Anyways, Will enters the pageant and everyone is astonished- because she’s not the typical looking pageant girl. But you know what, she does great- She is disqualified in the end for her entertainment but so worth it.

I think one of the most frustrating parts was the friendship between her and her best friend Ellen. Ellen is a good friend and a good character. She’s the balance to Will’s crazy. But her whole thing about everyone needing to like her is so damn aggravating. She dumps Will for some chick who’s a TOTAL BITCH. I could not stand that girl. I felt like I was in high school again because of the disdain I had for that horrible girl. I’m glad Ellen got her act together in the end though, because Will really needs her in her life and El needs Will. They balance each other- which is what a good friendship should be.

Bravo, Julie Murphy! This book is one of my favorites of 2015. You outdid yourself with your wit, honesty, and character portrayal.

5 out of 5 stars! Seriously y’all, READ this book!