Monday, November 21, 2011

Somebody Everybody Listens To by Suzanne Supplee (Full Book Review)

Title: Somebody Everybody Listens To
Author: Suzanne Supplee 
Pages: 245
Content: V=1, D=1, S=1, L=2

Plot: Retta Lee Jones has dreamed of Nashville all her life.  The summer after graduating high school she takes her guitar and heads to that city of country music.  She knows it won’t be easy and she isn’t expecting fame overnight… but when her car breaks down her first night and she’s mugged the second she begins to doubt she can really make it.  Things don’t get any easier.  In fact, the friendship of Ricky Dean and book sales girl Emerson and her best friend from Starling, Brenda, seem to be the only things pulling her through.  Can Retta make it as a country music singer?  Pick up the book to find out!

What I liked: Alright, I like country music myself so it was really cool that before every chapter there was a half page “biography” of country music artists of where they were born, where they worked, their “big break,” and a life event.  Also, it had their full names (Did you know Faith Hill’s name is really Audrey Faith Perry?  Or Toby Keith’s last name is Covel?  How about “Richard Keith Urban”?  Also, all of the chapters were titled after a song that a country music artist wrote.  So that was super cool!

I also felt like I connected with Retta and how she had done all this research on country music and knew she wasn’t going to be famous overnight… and she wasn’t.  I feel like the same thing has happened with me: I started a handmade card business and did a lot of research and I knew I wasn’t going to have millions of orders on *my Etsy shop* overnight… and I didn’t.  I think Retta might have felt a bit like me, where you *know* something isn’t going to be easy in your head, but in your heart you hope by some miracle it will be – or that it will at least be easier then it was for others.

I really liked that there were actually a few songs of Retta’s in the book.  Sometimes it peeves me to read a book about how a character is really good at writing, or poetry, or whatnot and then you don’t see any of their work.  I only wish this book came with a CD so I could actually listen to the tune of the songs! =]

Also, just detail wise – on the page of the country music artist bio and the first chapter page there was some *really* pretty grey swirly-flowery printing.

Negative: I didn’t find anything I really disliked about this book!  There was some language, if you are worried about that, but I didn't find it particularly overwhelming.

Who would like this book: Anyone who enjoys country music!  Of course, if you are totally hate the country twang the book would still be a good read (after all, it’s not like you can actually hear the music.  Although, if you’ve listened to the artists, maybe you can.)

You can visit Suzanne Supplee’s website here:  (Read through her Q&A or even the “Contact” page – I got a giggle from both.)

View book discussion questions (after you've read the book of course!) here:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Just When You Thought They Couldn't Get Any Cuter

Oh my goodness... you thought these little origami lucky stars couldn't be more adorable:

I'm here to prove you wrong.  Take a look at this little guy:

Told you.  And these ones:

And finally these:

They're like paper emoticons! =P  Can you imagine how cute these would be as earring beads?  Having colors to match your outfits is sooo last year - now expressions to fit your emotions are totally in!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Queen of Water by Laura Resau (Full YA Book Review)

There was that moment while reading The Queen of Water by Laura Resau when I finally tore myself away from the book to get some sleep.  As I shut the cover, I glanced at the author’s names and let a loud “OHHHHH” escape my lips.

The plot:  The Queen of Water tells the story of Maria Virginia, a Quechua girl living in Ecaudor, who becomes a servant for an upper class mestizo family while she is very young.  Virginia never receives any sort of pay, nor the promised visits to her family so whether she was sold by her parents or simply given away remains ambiguous.  The Doctorita is almost the “evil step-mother” type who beats Virginia and keeps her locked in the house.  The Doctorita’s husband, Nino Carlitos, is a seemingly kind father figure until his affections for Virginia and his jealousy of other teenage boys reeks of something more sinister.  In spite of her terrible situation, Virginia is vivisima (very clever), curious, and resilient.  Even though she hates the mestizos she serves, there is something, apart from their threats, that holds her back from escaping.

The moment:  So about “that moment” I mentioned above.  If you’ve read The Shack by Wm. P. Young you might have had this reaction too (except, with The Queen of Water it’s undoubtedly a real person and situation.)  You see, the book is written by TWO authors one of which is Laura Resau, whom I recognized as the author of Red Glass.  The other is Maria Virginia Farinango of whom I had never heard.  Maybe I should have guessed after reading the words on the cover “a novel based on a true story” – but then again, I’ve read a lot of historical fiction books, most of which are based on true stories.  Once I put together that the author and the girl in the book were the same person it made the story all the better.

Random Interesting Fact: An interesting note for Spanish students – on page 259 it is mentioned that the poor indigenas are scorned by shopkeepers and middle class indigenas and they show their dislike by not using polite usted form when speaking to the poor indegenas.  So instead of “Como estas?” (as to a stranger to show respect) they would say “Como esta?” (which you only use with close friends or peers) (of course, these would have accents, which I haven't figured out how to work on blogger =)

Overall: I loved this book!  I loved it as a story, but I also loved that it was a true story.  Even better was that Ms. Resau has so much information on her blog about her experience writing the book and time with Maria Virginia.  It is so interesting to have a book literally "come alive."
Ms. Resau's website:
Ms. Resau's blog:

What I Took Away: In the last third of The Queen of Water, Virginia goes to a shop and finds a book Secrets to a Happy Life in which 
“the key idea is Querer es poder.  To want is to be able to.  To want is power.  If you want something enough, you’ll find a way to get it.  You have to be creative, think outside the box.  You have to repeat your dream to yourself, with complete faith that you will get it.  You have to envision your dreams as if they’re already real.”
Querer es poder is the way that Virginia eventually achieves her dreams.  She is creative, just like MacGyver – her admired television star – and works towards her dreams.


1 – This was mostly entertainment; I may have seen the characters learn and grow but did not do so myself.
2 – I may have learned a few interesting facts or life lessons that I’ll probably forget in a week.
3 – This book was informative on a topic I wasn’t very knowledgeable about and/or I learned a new way of looking at life.
4 – I felt like I learned about something I knew nothing of (and I will remember it) and/or it answered questions I had about life.
5 – This book was life-changing.


1 – No new words here.
2 – I might have seen one or two I didn’t recognize.
3 – A couple of words OR foreign language words.
4 – Lots of new words to look up and learn!
5 – There were new words every page, I sometimes felt they distracted and inhibited me from understanding the book.
(based on vocabulary needed for SAT or ACT tests.)


1 – Nothing to worry about, I would be comfortable reading this book to my mom, sister, grandma, or Pastor.
2 – This book may have mild violence or language.
3 – This book has medium content in several areas and is suitable for ages 13+.
4 – This book may have blatant content in one or two areas (violence, language).
5 – This book has blatant content in many areas.
(Please contact me if you would like to know specifics about the content and why I rated it a 3.)

Have you read The Queen of Water or any of Laura Resau's books?  What did you think of them?  Leave a comment letting me know, I would love to hear what you have to say!)