Saturday, April 25, 2015

A tale of two families



Sande Boritz Berger debut book is a representation of life in both America and war-ravaged Europe during World War II. Rosha Kaninsky is the beloved child of her doting parents, who live Vilna. Protected and coddled, her parents and grandmother shield her from the gathering storm raging outside their door. The Nazi's have invaded, wreaking chaos with everyday life, and her loving parents are forced to make heart-wrenching decisions to save their only child's life.
On the other side of the world, Mira Kane, Rosha's first cousin is growing up privileged in
Brooklyn. Chafing from her father's stifling over-protection, she strives to break free from
his control to embrace life on her own terms. Two women, both loved, living under totally different circumstances, Rosha's tragedy influencing the way Mira's life is allowed to develop. Berger paints a realistic portrait of war-torn Europe, as well as the care-free, but guilt ridden Jewish existence in the states. Unknown by her American relatives, Rosha is hidden by a sympathetic candlemaker. At the same time her cousin navigates the shifting reality for women in the States while dealing with the heavy burden of knowing they were both safe and free, the unthinkable is happening in Europe. Lovingly written portrait of a family separated by war.


Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Friday, April 24, 2015

I didn't do anything special. I did what anyone should do.

 
 
Last night I attended a Local Author Showcase at my library, where I shared the stage with ten neighbors, including my own son, (author Michael Phillip Cash) who all have written and published books.

The library did a beautiful job, setting up a semi circle in the auditorium (Something I'm embarrassed to say I never knew the library had.) to a wonderful spread of coffee and cakes from a local bakery. Sadly with my son present, I was unable to even taste any of the goodies, as he watches and worries about my weight more than I do.

Each author was invited to get up and do a five minute spiel about anything they choose. As usual, both my son and I were unprepared. We both ascribe to the school of being impromptu when public speaking, sometimes a fool hearty endeavor, but always a learning experience. 

I was amazed at the array of subjects my colleagues tackled, ranging from the holocaust, to vampires,a YA book about death of a young friend, to a children's book dealing with the death of a parent. It was an eye opening experience that filled me with both pride and respect, a doctor here, a housewife there, a teacher, grandmother. People from all walks of life, dedicated professionals  who have decided to go out on a limb and write about what they know, and in some cases even about what they don't, to follow a dream and perhaps change another person's life. It was awesome being in such august company. Regular people who stepped outside of their comfort zone to gamble and take a chance. 

I must say with a mother's pride, I enjoyed my son's presentation. He's funny, irreverent, motivating, and fearless. He has tackled multiple genres, writing a self help book under the name Michael Samuels when he was barely out of his teens, to his paranormal and horror novels, that often find themselves on best sellers lists all over the world. He writes for the joy of writing, and I am filled with wonder at his diversity.

I must add that with even more pride, my younger son does all his covers, runs the IT department, and reigns in both his brother's and my impulsiveness for our enterprise. We are a team and I cannot say enough that all of our success depends on our group. Just as Michael says in Schism The Battle for Darracia, "The Trivium is whole. One cannot exist without the other."

Mother's pride aside, I want to discuss something that happened last night. The speaker before me went up to the podium, and I think the combination of white hot lights and nerves got the better of him, and he grew flustered. Despite the staff's encouragement, I think he froze and couldn't finish his presentation. I have been there. Your heart is pumping, you look out at your friends and family, hoping and praying that you don't embarrass both them and yourself. He gave up, saying he couldn't do it. It was clear he was humiliated. My heart went out to him.

I was next and without thinking, I discussed the value of his book. I forgot about my own, explained how hard it was to stand before an audience, how it challenges even veteran speakers, and used my five minutes to complain about the glare of the lights, the challenges of publishing for anybody, and lastly, oh yeah, I've written and published about twenty children's books. I didn't think about lost opportunity, or 'paying it forward'. The man before me was in trouble, and I just wanted to help, anyway I could to ease his anxiety.

Afterwards, the librarian and her staff approached me, thanking me for what I did. Some called it a random act of kindness or a real example of 'paying it forward."  I must admit I looked at them blankly. It wasn't random, it wasn't done to inspire others to repeat a 'good deed." It's what you're supposed to do, all the time. It''s what my parents and their parents before them put in our DNA. It wasn't done on purpose, it's instinctual as running when you hear any child cry, "Ma," in a playground. It's as programmed in me as giving up my seat for a pregnant woman, (even at sixty,) or offering to help a person challenged by everyday activities. It's about not saying things that don't have to be said, including everybody in your game, and making sure everybody has enough. Enough of what, you may ask. It doesn't matter, really it doesn't. I'm not a martyr, and never feel that I've been sacrificed or eclipsed by someone else. I have absolute confidence that my turn will come.

When I replied I had done nothing special, it was what anybody would do, the librarian shook her head sadly. "No, they would only want to talk about their own book."

Well, I repeat. I didn't do anything special. I did what anyone should do. It shouldn't be paid forward or a random act of kindness. It should be back where it belongs in our society, ingrained and expected as our parents taught us to do. I'm just saying!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Wonderful, thought provoking read



I should know better not to pick up a Liane Moriarty book so late in the day, because here I am at 12 AM wired from reading at breakneck speed. What Alice Forgot is like being on a speeding train, you are careening on a twisty, windy track, not knowing exactly where she is going. The ride is awesome! Alice is a 39 year old stay at home mom, who has hit her head and lost ten years of her life. With brilliant precision, Moriarty unveils Alice's life slowly in a seductive dance, so the reader thinks they know exactly what happened, but realizes they have no idea. Everything is broken in her life, her marriage, each relationship is strained with no explanation to the woman who can only remember life before happiness dissolved into bitterness. This book was profound, one that we have to think about.
Just today, my family and I happened to watch fifteen year old videos, and we stared slack jawed with shock, wondering where the fresh faced, happy, and hopeful people in the videos went. Illness, work, disappointment, worry change the landscape of our lives in an insidious, devious way, leaving us to wonder what happened to our lives, while we were living it?. Great book, a keeper.


Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Monday, April 13, 2015

Fascinating combination of science and history



Interesting and well researched book about genetics twined with a back story of the oppression of the Basques in Spain. Denise and Gabe Berg, two brilliant scientist use IVF to become pregnant. Nobody is surprised that their son is brilliant and they enroll him in a special school for gifted children. Little do they know his superiority is not just the result of their good genes, but comes with a much more sinister explanation. This is weaved with the history of the persecution of the Basques, and the angry Basque rebel Gorge, who uses DNA to reawaken Basque DNA to exact revenge for the murder of his family. Filled with interesting facts and exciting action, this is reminds me of books written by Robin Cook. Joe Hempel does a terrific job reading the complex and diverse text, making sure to emphasize the varied accents of the story with believable intonation. A fascinating read. 4 STARS!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Thursday, April 2, 2015

International Children's Book Day Giveaway




It is International Children's Book Day. You can read more about the day HERE


I wrote a non-fiction series, "If You Were Me and Lived in..." this combines my teaching past with my love of exploration and interest in the world around us. 


My debut book in the series, "If You Were Me and Lived in...Mexico" has won the Pinnacle Award for Best in Children's Non Fiction 2012. France, South Korea, and Norway. Rebecca's Reads has given If You Were Me and Lived in...Norway an honorable mention in the 2013 Choice Awards. If You Were Me and lived in ...France won second place. ForeWord Review has nominated If You Were Me and Lived in...France for best in children's non fiction literature 2013.


This series has followed up with several other countries with many more to come. The series is designed to show children that each respective country has different celebrations and ideas unique to their own countries but there are also many things that are the same too.


To celebrate International Children's Book Day, I am giving away the entire set of my cultural series along with a choice of $25 Paypal or Amazon. Simply enter in the Rafflecopter below.


Disclosure:I am responsible for prize distribution.

The giveaway is open to US only. You must be 18+ to enter. You must respond to an email sent to you within 48 hours or forfeit your prize. Giveaway begins April 2, 2015 and ends April 17, 2015 at Midnight MST.. The winner will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter.org and all entries will be verified.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Leaves you with a intimate look of the life and times that led to the Cousin's War



Elizabeth of Lancaster is the privileged daughter of John of Gaunt. Anne O'Brien starts the fictional story of her life on the eve of her arranged and political marriage. The author captures the spoiled entitlement of a child born with royal blood. Elizabeth has been brought up to know both her worth and her duty. She marries, but falls in love with the King's half brother. The book is filled with the complicated political turmoil of the times. Richard the Second is holding the throne, surrounded by his favorites, pitting cousin against cousin, and husband against wife. Elizabeth must decide to follow her loyalty or her heart.
Well written, filled with intrigue, the book had me running to look up all the key players. The book leaves you with an intimate knowledge of the life and times that ultimately led to the Cousin's War.


Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Well written







Thoughtfully written story about a twenty-seven year old married student who finds her breast cancer has returned with a vengeance. Colleen Oakley takes you on a fevered journey where Daisy Richmond must deal with her diagnosis and the devastation it wreaks on both her and her loved ones lives. Easily read in one evening, it's a touching book about the varied ways we love; friendships, mother-daughter, husband-wives and what we are willing to do for love. Daisy is a micro manager and decides to find someone to take care of her husband once she is gone. This is a story about loving enough to enjoy the moment, to stop our busy lives and just live. It's also about what the footprints we leave behind. Well written, touching and sweet, I am happy I got to know Daisy, if only for the few hundred pages of her story. She will live on in my imagination for a long time to come.



Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman