Note to Readers

I have not received any compensation for writing this post other than a free digital or print copy of the book. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ivy and Bean Blog-A-Bration: Week 3

Welcome to Week 3 of the Ivy & Bean Blog-A-Bration! This week's book giveaway is the third Ivy and Bean book, Break the Fossil Record.

Once again, one lucky winner will be chosen to win a copy of the book and three other winners will be selected to win Ivy and Bean mini-notes. Winners will be chosen next Sunday/early Monday from the entrants who comment on this post or send an email to roundtablereviews at gmail dot com.

The winner of week two's book is Linda of TeacherDance. Congratulations, Linda!

Good luck to the week three entrants.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Scared or Not, Mr Croc? - Jo Lodge

Released June 2012

Jo Lodge
Hodder & Stoughton

Book Review by Bob Walch

Mr Croc has invited all his friends over for a sleepover, but some scary things seem to be happening. First, something is looking in his window. “Mr Croc, are you scared or not?”   Of course he’s not, for when you turn the page of this pop-up book out jumps a harmless owl.

Next there’s a knock at the door.  Flip open the door and you’ll see it is only Zebedee the zebra who has just arrived for the party. As each guest arrives there’s a corresponding pop-up that introduces the animal. But, the best is saved for last when, on the final page, both Mr Croc and the reader are treated to a surprise.

As pop-up books go, this is one of the better ones I have seen this year. The paper engineering is excellent and the vibrant, colorful illustrations grab the reader’s eye. All in all, this is a pretty cool book!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Save Money & Enter to Win a Gift Card

Currently, three of Spark Point Studio's most popular summer books are on sale and blazing up the charts on Amazon Kindle, and not one of them costs more than $2.99

For anyone who purchases all three and sends their receipts to NOW through Wednesday, Aug. 22nd, they’ll be entered into a drawing to WIN a $300 Target gift card! They'll announce the lucky Target shopper on Friday, Aug. 24th.

That’s right, spend $7 (cheaper than a Starbucks run!) for a chance to win a $300 shopping spree! Also, it goes w/out saying that these books are among our best. We can’t keep up w/ all the accolades! 

·         Girl Unmoored: Brilliant cross-over YA and women’s fiction, 8 awards and recently featured on Entertainment Weekly, calling it “… the undiscovered young-adult novel of the summer.”

·         India’s Summer: A woman on the edge of turning 40—what more do we need to say? Adored by A-list Hollywood from Orlando Bloom to Goldie Hawn.     

·         Finding Emma: Fellow blogger and debut author Steena Holmes has turned out a riveting story of child abduction that has reached bestseller status on the Amazon charts alongside Fifty Shades of Grey (seriously, move over!) 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ivy & Bean Blog-a-Bration: Week 2

Week 2 of the Blog-a-Bration is here!

I'll start by congratulating last week's winner: Jamile. I discovered a neat website ( that takes a list of entrants and randomizes them to pick a winner. Usually, we do the name out of a hat trick, but this made it much easier.

Week 2's book giveaway is:

Here's a video clip about the book series:

Three mini-notes for Ivy & Bean will go out to three runners-up.

Same rules apply. Leave a comment or send an email to roundtablereviews at gmail to enter. Winner will be picked late Sunday night from entries received by midnight.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Populazzi - Elise Allen

Released August 2012


Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Moving to a new school is hard, especially for a girl who's spent every year struggling to fit in. This year will be different. Cara's best friend comes up with a foolproof plan to send Cara skyrocketing to the top of the social ladder. All Cara has to do is become the perfect girl for each guy on the social ladder, and she'll be one of the Populazzi in no time. Climbing the rungs is easier than Cara ever imagined, but she soon learns nothing is as picture-perfect as it might first appear.

I admit, it's pretty easy to get sucked into Cara's world when reading Populazzi.  I see her struggles in my daughter's own high school career, and as a parent, hope my daughter learns what Cara learns sooner rather than later. I snickered from time to time, felt pity others, and really couldn't stop reading until I knew the outcome. It made for one long night, and now I'm dragging this morning! Part of me, however, wished it didn't end and that I could catch up with Cara once more in her senior year.

Populazzi reminded me why I hated high school. I was one of those "betweeners" who wasn't popular but wasn't bottom of the heap either. Sadly, I'm sure I made some mistakes like Cara did, and it wasn't until I was out of school that I learned from some of the popular students that they didn't have it any easier than the rest of us. I am certain teen girls will love this book, but I can see some moms sneaking the copy into their own reading piles too.

Keep watching Roundtable for Kids. An interview with the author is coming soon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Temptation - Karen Ann Hopkins

Released July 2012


Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Reading Karen Ann Hopkins' Temptation was an interesting experience. As a teen, I would have adored this story, both characters equally, and longed for my own lasting teen romance like the one Rose and Noah shared. As an adult, I know that few relationships started at that age last. I've seen many high school friends marry their high school sweetheart and end up divorced and single parents before they'd even reached their mid-twenties. I do think having that adult insight did shape my feelings towards Noah, and that detracted some from the book.

Rose is new to town and never imagined she'd fall head over heels for Noah, an Amish boy. Noah's at the age where he needs to find a wife, and despite his immediate bond with Rose, he knows his parents will never go for an English girl unless she were to become Amish. Rose is just as mad about Noah, but she knows her father will never go along with her becoming Amish. It becomes a Romeo and Juliet-style romance that no one knows for certain how things will play out.

Karen Ann Hopkins does an amazing job building the chemistry between the two. However, their were character traits I couldn't overlook. Rose's mother died of cancer less than a year before their move. She's grieving, as is her father and siblings, so I can see her transferring her grief into an intense need for Noah. Her unwillingness to get to know non-Amish locals surprised me a bit, especially when it was her brother Sam asking her to tag along. Few older brothers ever do that and I would have jumped at the chance when I was her age.

Noah was my bigger issue. I realize he's Amish and that's a whole new culture with different standards. He came off as very controlling to me, and I didn't like that. Control at that age usually leads to at least verbal abuse, and I wanted Rose to see it. When Noah forbids her to go to a party with her brother, when he tells her he couldn't dream of becoming an English and that she needs to change for him... I still say "Screw that!" Rose is far too young to make any changes for a man.

Despite my issues with Noah, Temptation is part of a series, and I'm curious to see how things play out. I will certainly read Belonging when it comes out in May 2013.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ivy & Bean Blog-a-Bration: Week 1

Everyone loves freebies! Each week for the next eight weeks, Chronicle Books are giving away a copy of one Ivy & Bean paperback and mini notes.

For week one, one lucky reader from this blog will be chose to win the weekly prize package. The lucky winner is also entered to win the grand prize package that includes: 
  • 1 set of Ivy and Bean Paper Dolls
  •  1 Ivy and Bean Button Factory
  •  1 Ivy and Bean READ Poster signed by Annie Barrows
  • 1 Set of Ivy and Bean Silly Bandz
  • 1 Set of Ivy and Bean stickers
  • AND – a super-secret really cool prize we’re working on (stay tuned!) 
This week's book giveaway is the first book in the Ivy & Bean series.

 Entering is easy. Simply leave a comment or email roundtablereviews at gmail. That's all it takes and the winner will be notified Monday morning.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Following the success of “All That/Always Upbeat” - the debut title in the new Lockwood Lions series from Saddleback Educational Publishing that the Los Angeles Times called “a lifeline for struggling readers” -  Saddleback has released two more titles in the series “Keep Jumping/No Hating” and “Yell Out/Do You” to keep their fans in the game.  These cool two-for-one Cheer Drama/Baller Swag “flip books” feature one story from two perspectives centered on a cheerleader/football player couple and their teammates and friends. 
Lockwood Lions, from break-out Young Adult author Stephanie Perry Moore and co-authored by her husband, former NFL player Derrick Moore, is the latest addition to Saddleback’s market-leading line of hi-lo (high-interest, low-reading ability) curriculum solutions and quality fiction. The first title in the series “Always Upbeat/All That” was named as a finalist in the Independent Publisher’s Excellence Awards for teen multicultural fiction. The Saddleback Hi-Lo collections features books with mature content, but which are written at low enough levels that delayed or struggling readers can successfully finish the books. The idea being that if a reader has CONTENT they want to read about, at ACCESSIBLE enough levels, they will be motivated to try to read thereby building their skills and confidence.

Certain to score with teens, Lockwood Lions Series:

•   Is an Urban Lit series featuring teens of all colors including black, white and bi-racial

•   Doesn’t shy aware from tough issues including date rape, gangs, gay parenting, cancer and paternity

•   Embraces strong moral values and behaviors such as integrity, chastity, honesty, a strong work ethic, and faith

•   Enables teens to see solutions and answers to some of life’s toughest issues


Keep Jumping (Cheer Drama):
Eager Hallie Ray has finally made the cheerleading squad. If being a cheerleader is measured in heart, then Hallie has it all. But she’s jealous of her BFFs. Then a friend lays down the hard truth: Hallie must learn to love without conditions, if she weren’t so busy in everybody else’s Kool-Aid she would understand that her flavor’s sweet enough. No Hating (Baller Swag): Amir Knight is new to the team; the boy can ball. But Amir’s father rags on him about being unworthy because Amir has dreams that don’t sit right with his academic dad. He’ll never amount to anything if he balls, so his parents forbid him to play. Coach says Amir has talent, swag, and ability. So Amir forges his father’s signature on the permission forms.

Yell Out (Cheer Drama): Sweetheart Ella Blount is always a pushover when it comes to her girls. And she’ll do anything to keep them together, walking a fine line between what is right and feeling guilty for going against her better judgment. But the line has been crossed, and she’s caught in a cheating scandal that jeopardizes her GPA and her status on the squad. Do You (Baller Swag): For hunky player Leo Steele, football is his life. Leo has suffered some hard knocks, the latest being his mother’s abandonment. The talented defensive end starts squatting in the school; with nowhere else to go, it’s his only safe choice. But when the local gang, who have beef with Leo, discovers him alone on the deserted campus, he suffers a brutal beating.

The complete Lockwood Lions series is available on,, Ingram, Baker and Taylor and through most major booksellers.

About the Author

Stephanie Perry Moore has written over sixty inspirational titles set in the southern United States including an adult novel that was an Essence Magazine bestseller. She has also produced devotional and family Bibles for people of color. Moore is a well-known motivational speaker and community activist. Her husband is former NFL football player, Derrick Moore, and co-author of the Baller Swag books.

About Saddleback Educational PublishingSaddleback Educational Publishing, a second-generation family company and certified woman-owned business, kicks off its 30th anniversary with nineteen YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Awards (2010-2011) for its high interest, low reading-level series, Urban Underground. Saddleback was also recently awarded their first Silver Medal for their Urban Fiction title, Unchained, from the Independent Publishers Book Awards, their latest series Lockwood Lions was also a finalist. With their award-winning urban fiction, adapted low-level classics, graphic novels, audio books and SMART Board Lessons for the Classroom, Saddleback continues to lead the secondary education market with innovative ways to reach reluctant learners.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I, Too, Am America - Langston Hughes

Released May 2012

Langston Hughes
Bryan Collier
Simon and Schuster

Book Review by Bob Walch

Using a subtle stars-and-stripes American flag motif throughout this picture book, illustrator Bryan Collier explains that this iconic image “acts as a metaphor for the growth of our people in this country, almost invisible during the Pullman porter’s time but bolder and stronger toward the end, no longer invisible and ignored.”

What Collier is alluding to is the subject of this very short but powerful poem that never specifies a given occupation, although it does obviously  allude to how African-Americans were treated for many decades.

Collier uses the late Langston Hughes' poem for his book’s text but sets the lines against a background that focuses on the Pullman porters of the past and how they performed their jobs with dignity and courage. You’ll see how, in the book, the porters collect reading materials left behind on the trains and then pass them on to members of their community thus becoming informal distributors of knowledge.

The strength of this book lies in the illustrations and how they create a thoughtful backdrop for this poem. Both youngsters and adults will find this a thought provoking book.