Big thanks to Audiofile Magazine for these kind reviews! I love both these books so much!

By Deirdre Riordan Hall, Read by Tara Sands

Narrator Tara Sands deftly presents the sad and challenging life of 17-year-old Mercy Legowski-Gracia, who is Puerto Rican and Polish. Nicknamed Sugar because of her size and love of sweets, she lives in New Hampshire in a rundown house with her mother, who’s so obese she can’t leave her bed, and her abusive brother, Skunk. Sands convincingly renders “Mama,” whose bitterness and sarcasm are palpable, and warmly supportive Even Anderson, a new guy at school who befriends her. Skillfully displaying a wide emotional range, Sands portrays many personality types and delivers diverse accents. Being privy to Sugar’s counseling sessions may encourage teens to follow her lead. Listeners will be moved by an unexpected tragedy that Sugar endures while still celebrating her triumph over many obstacles. S.G.B. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

By Liesl Shurtliff, Read by Tara Sands

Shurtliff’s fairy-tale retellings (JACK, RUMP) give narrators a fine challenge, and Tara Sands fully takes this one on. When Red’s grandmother becomes gravely ill, she heads out on a quest to find the strongest magic, eternal life, to save her. While Red’s personality is determined and sassy, Goldie, her unexpected and initially unwelcome companion, overflows with an infectious innocence as she babbles every thought that pops into her head. Sands executes this contrast perfectly. The various other storybook characters are also well done, giving the production both depth and whimsy. The disdainful tone of their dwarf guide, the wistful howls of Red’s wolf friend, and the huntsman’s raspy voice—so edged in malice that your hair will curl—will win listeners of all ages. M.F.T. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine