Maranda Russell


I am a 28 year old writer and foster/adoptive parent. I spend much of my time doing nerdy things, such as: writing books, researching stuff, visiting art museums, reading classic literature, shopping for antiques, checking out dead things and exploring the world and its many cultures. I also spend quite a bit of my time reading and reviewing books for children and young adults on my website,

Where to find Maranda Russell online


This member has not published any books.

Smashwords book reviews by Maranda Russell

  • Good Enough: A Shay James Mystery on July 18, 2011

    As a foster parent, I know it can be hard to find realistic stories featuring foster kids. Most stories either paint foster kids as juvenile delinquents or as pitiful little angels with a Pollyanna complex. I was impressed and refreshed to find a young adult novel which actually contains a realistic, but lovable young heroine in foster care. The book, “Good Enough: A Shay James Mystery”, which was written by Brenda McCreight, not only contains an interesting mystery for young sleuths, but it also tells a story that many children share, a history of neglect and abuse. Like many real-life foster children, Shay James spent much of her life with parents who put their addictions before their children. She learned early to fend for herself and to expect her world to change at a moment’s notice. Just when Shay finally finds some stability, her happiness is once again put at risk by the illegal actions of others. Shay is happy to have found a foster home where she is comfortable, but what truly excites her is the nearby stable where she is able to ride and take care of horses. However, Shay’s world is rocked once again when a crime occurs at the stable. Unless the culprit is found, Shay and her friends are told that they can’t return to the stable. Even worse, the stable owner is now threatening to sell the horses and the stable! Determined to save the horses, Shay and her friends decide to investigate on their own. Although Shay makes some questionable decisions in the book and finds herself in serious danger, she displays many fine qualities such as resourcefulness, loyalty, friendship, compassion and maturity. By the time the story ends, Shay James has become a wiser teenager who has finally found what she was looking for all along…a place to truly belong. Although any preteen or teenager would likely find the story appealing, I would especially like to recommend this book to any foster or adoptive children out there. Undoubtedly, they will find that they relate to Shay James in many ways, and perhaps her story will make them feel less alone. Any child who has experienced neglect or abuse should definitely give this book a try as well.
  • Schrödinger’s Cat on Aug. 18, 2011

    This is the second novel I have had the pleasure to read by author Eileen Schuh. And while I did enjoy the first book, "The Traz", which is a young adult story, I must admit I personally found "Schrodinger's Cat" even better. Of course, that may be because I am a HUGE fan of psychological thrillers, which is what this story really is. Throughout the book, the author keeps you guessing about whether the main character, Chorie, is really traveling between different realities or whether she has just gone insane from the grief of dealing with a daughter who is dying. This story is told masterfully from the beginning to the end, and the end is one that really leaves you thinking. Just like a good episode of "The Twilight Zone", this story will have you questioning the boundaries of science and reality.
  • The Blue Girl on Aug. 27, 2011

    Curious to see why the previous reviewer gave such a poor rating, I decided to read this. I must admit hearing the word blue 50 million times got a little old lol, but kids probably wouldn't be bothered so much by that. As for the message of the story, I think I get it. The girl tries to change herself to fit in with a different crowd and in the process alienates her old crowd. Of course, I am all for originality and trying new things and believe your true friends will still be there even if you change a little, so I'm not sure I entirely agree with the story. I know that it is so much easier to stay the same and not rock the boat, but sometimes you have to.
  • The Bedtime Story on Aug. 31, 2011

    Cute story, I love how it sends the message that girls can be whatever they want and don't have to conform to expected stereotypes...even if they are a princess! Good writing, interesting story.
  • The Christmas Cat on Sep. 02, 2011

    Cute little story, I never did figure out if it was really supposed to rhyme entirely or not, if so, the rhyme scheme seemed a bit off. Other than that, it was fun tale with a likeable character. The illustrations are great and I loved the fact that the author included a picture of the real Peppy.
  • Sally's Adventure on Sep. 02, 2011

    Fun little tale about overcoming your fears and taking a chance. Like Sally learns, we never know what we can do or what we might miss out on if we never even try. I really liked the pictures the author added to the story, they definitely make it more attractive to kids.
  • Izard the Lizard on Sep. 02, 2011

    I'm really surprised that this story is free. The writing is good, better than many here who charge and the illustrations are great...sometimes even professional quality. If I were you, I would take advantage of this free read, I'm sure your kids will like it and it has an important message for kids about leaving the things of nature outside where they can be free. I must admit the slogan on the dad's t-shirt made me chuckle too.
  • Broccoli? on Sep. 06, 2011

    Funny, imaginative way to try to get your kids to try healthy foods, particularly broccoli. I can see a whole room of kids saying "nom glack mlah mlah zuurp"at the dinner table...but who cares as long as they are eating their vegetables?
  • A Short Story About Me , Kirby. on Sep. 06, 2011

    Cute little story about a dog with some definite personality. It's interesting to see "adoption" from the viewpoint of a pet, I wonder if they really do think we are mean sometimes? I liked the pictures of Kirby at the end of the story too.
  • A Freddie and Jimmy Story - The Snow Cat - Picture Book on Sep. 08, 2011

    Cute story, loved the illustrations. However, the formatting was a little bit off, at least for the Kindle version. It seemed like the pictures and some of the text were awkwardly spaced. Still a good read though, especially since it is free!
  • Shannon and Ally Have Fun on Sep. 08, 2011

    Cute little story and the pictures are adorable. Shannon and Ally sound like they would be a lot of fun to hang around with!
  • Hammer in the Head on Sep. 11, 2011

    A good story with a lesson in it that we could all learn from. However, the reading enjoyment was lessened somewhat by the formatting errors in the Kindle version. It made for an extremely choppy read.
  • My Poor Little Meatball on Sep. 11, 2011

    Cute version of the classic "poor meatball" song. I liked the funny little twists in the story...especially the squid! The illustrations are really cute as well! Well worth the 99 cent price!
  • The Note on Sep. 21, 2011

    As a former bullying victim myself, I can relate well to this story. Bullying takes many forms, it isn't just the physical aggression we often envision. This is a story that is definitely needed by today's kids. I hope it does really well.
  • Oh Gran! on Sep. 21, 2011

    Cute little story. Well written, fun, sure to please the kids. Love the idea of a wild, funky grandma, even if it isn't as surprising an image as it once was. (After all, many grandparents are kinda crazy nowadays!)
  • The Sunflower That Roared on Sep. 27, 2011

    Cute little story, really liked the watercolor illustrations and the little 'epilogue' at the end.
  • Cattails are Made for Swatting: The Mysterious Shiny on Oct. 13, 2011

    Cute little story. I love cats and will read just about any story related to them, so honestly I just randomly picked this story to read. However, I must admit that the writing was good and the characters had a lot of personality!
  • Love, Eternal on Oct. 13, 2011

    I love fairy tales and a good romantic story so this one was right up my alley. I should also mention that this story is well written and truly enjoyable to read. I look forward to seeing more from this author.
  • The Bear and the Bee on Oct. 17, 2011

    Cute little story in verse. Liked the pictures interjected here and there as well. Would work well as a read-aloud.
  • Midas The Bee on Oct. 17, 2011

    Wow, I see what the first reviewer was talking about with the font being too small, I couldn't make out half of it. However, the illustrations are great, so if you can just get the font to be readable, I'm sure it would be very enjoyable!
  • Zimba Zoot on Oct. 17, 2011

    Cute little story, I really enjoyed most of the verse, although a couple of the rhymes felt a little forced. Some of the rhymes were downright brilliant though, so it evened out. I do think the poem would have been even better with a few more illustrations to spice it up.
  • 2011 Children Action Comics Special on Oct. 17, 2011

    Some of these are pretty darn funny! Great artwork as well! Will have to check out more by this author!
  • Arm Farm on Nov. 03, 2011

    Even though this book is not the normal genre I read, I really found myself drawn to the story and enjoying it. The writing is excellent and the story is full of suspense and emotion that keep you reading and hoping for closure for our young heroine. I found the forensic science parts of the story both believable and fascinating, even if I don't know a whole lot about that field myself. The author was able to make complex scientific information accessible even to those of us unfamiliar with the concepts. Definitely a worthwhile read!
  • Having Nice Things on Nov. 26, 2012

    Admittedly, I'm not a big sci-fi fan, so I haven't read much sci-fi other than the classics by H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, but I found this book really interesting and well-written. I found it fairly easy to understand and relate to the world that the author had created, which has been a struggle for me with some sci-fi books in the past. I really liked how the author wove romance (some of it sizzling), humor and conflict into the story to give it a well-rounded feeling. Definitely worth a read!