Sunday, June 30, 2013

Book Review: The Lady And The Unicorn

Tracy Chevalier can take a piece of art and create a whole, believable back story. When reading her book, you get a sense of ownership and see in this case, the famous Cluny tapestries in a whole new light. You live the creation of these beautiful works of art and watch each one unfold as a result of her plot. Not only does she describe the intricate work of their creation, but the stimulus that created the illustrations. The book itself is a tapestry of interwoven stories, highlighting the personalities that make up a slice of life in renaissance France. Each person is a thread that helps influence the amazing tapestries that become the final product. I loved this book.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Review: "Rather Unpleasant CAUTIONARY TALES for Ill-Mannered & Immoderate Children"

I don't like all the rhyming books- try reading them four times in a row and watch as your eyes cross. It's as though they are all using the same vocabulary book and just changing the sentences. Ima Bratt has reinvented the rhyming book with descriptive prose that is a roller coaster ride of the unexpected. I adored this book- but I will caution- it's not for everybody. I don't think I would read it to my own grandkids until they are quite older and can understand that the "Tales" are lessons and not meant to scare them. They are 'Unpleasant Tales" of children that do not follow rules and come to dire endings. Each story is a portrait of a child that thoughtfully and humorously drawn to give warnings of the consequence of what can happen when you eat too much candy, don't follow rules, have tantrums. It's not preachy, but almost has a Mad magazine quality to each Tale. Reading it brought back memories of the rather unpleasant children from Will Wonka- (the first one and one of my favorite movies as a child) My grandmother often read the original Grimms Fairy Tales to me, and I still have them ready to read to my own grandchildren. However, I don't know if their parents will allow them yet. They are scary! This book is scary! But I do wonder in our world where children are so quick to break laws- maybe they need to be scared. Read the book alone and you decide if it's appropriate. I gave five stars not because I think the book is necessarily right for young children- but because I think Ima Bratt is a genius.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The DaVinci Code: Book Review

The DaVinci Code rocked the world when it came out. Just by chance, I had finished "Holy Blood Holy Grail" when I picked up Dan Brown's book- so I was well prepared for the plot twists and turns. Controversial as well as compelling, it lead to many long talks by the water cooler at work. Dan Brown was the first to bring many of the legends of the family of Jesus to today's culture and gives you food for thought. Entertaining, thought provoking as well as a darn good read- the DaVinci Code opened the doorway to think about the many possibilities of interpretation of things we may not have ever questioned.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Book Review: Clavell's "King Rat"

James Clavell's stunning book on the brutal life inside a Japanese prison war camp during WW2. Gritty and compelling, it's the story of how soldiers survive, the upper crust British officers with their attitude of superiority are soon overshadowed by streetwise enlisted men (Americans-to boot) who are able to use their survival skills to not only live, but flourish ( as much as you can in a POW camp). Under these circumstances men who would be nothing more than beneath contempt find themselves as the shakers and movers, while their counterparts resent the shift of power. The horrific surroundings bring out the best in some, the worst in others, and we are left to wonder does the man make the circumstance, or do the circumstance make the man?

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A New Giveaway!

Welcome to the $200 Toys R Us Gift Card Giveaway!

With my latest book I'll take you on a another journey, this time to Asia, landing in South Korea.
Once again, children can learn how life is like for young people on the other side of the globe. From food to famous landmarks, they will learn that's it's easy to find something in common with people in different countries.
This is the third book in the series, and we'd like to celebrate with a giveaway! One winner will receive a $200 Toys R Us Gift Card and a set of my cultural books.
The series includes:

Enter to win a $200 Toys R Us Gift Card and a copy of the "If you were me and lived in…" series

Complete the tasks below to earn entries into this giveaway.
Refer your friends using your unique link at the top of the Rafflecopter for even more chances to win.
One winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
Open in the United States.
Ends at 11:59pm EST on July 9th, 2013.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Multicoloured Hat

Great story about a hat that pays it forward. Mrs Getahat was feeling bored and lonely. Her hands could not produce the hats and she felt quite useless. Realizing that a sewing machine would overcome these problems,she not only creates a beautiful hat but it restores her to feeling her old self again. Wind blows it to someone being teased about their red hair and the hat helps the child to become accepted by his peers. And so it goes, from person to person, helping find their feet and be secure in themselves. The book closes with a cute coloring book to reinforce the story. Well done!

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Good Grief: A Book Review

I never read what book is about before I start it. I buy from the suggested list from Amazon. This book touched a cord. I read while I was grieving for my Mom and understood and felt all of Sophie's confusion and pain. Was it great literature- no- but I don't think it was ever anything more than the story of a woman rebuilding her world after all her dreams were shattered. Many claim it was trite and hokey- well, I think it's a book about hope. Sometimes the story doesn't have to be believable to accomplish what it sets out to do. For me, Good Grief gave me a window to look out from my well of sorrow with its gentle humor, and threw a lifeline that while your life may be at its lowest point, something may be just a move away to bring you back.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Monday, June 24, 2013

Book Review: Angels & Demons

No one can marry action, adventure and religion like Dan Brown. An intellectual thriller, once you start be prepared to read until you are finished. Not only is his description of Rome better than any travelogue  you will get a whopper of a Renaissance education in both art history and the church. Basically a book about the war between science and blind religious belief, Brown is able to keep your attention without preaching or judging. A great entertaining read all the way around.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Book Review: That Is Not a Good Idea!

I love Mo Willems. Not only does a deliver, his books arrive with a great story, humor, and a good lesson as well. I don't want to give the ending away, but a parent should read it alone and decide if it's appropriate for their youngster. There is lots of room for discussion afterwards. Mo Willems you are a treasure!

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Seeing The World

 The girls from my nail salon who inspired "If You Were Me And Lived In...South Korea..."

I love living in this country.  My dry cleaner is Egyptian and invites me yearly to the festival in his Coptic church.  Chris at the diner makes my fish the way he ate it in Sparta when he was a young boy. The salads from the Wild Fig introduced me to Turkish spices, and the most delicious kabobs I have ever eaten. Joe, at my gas stations tells me wonderful tales of Tunis where he was born, as was his father and then his father- going back to the dawn of time. And when I don't feel well, Boomies Jewish Deli makes the most therapeutic chicken soup a grandmother would be hard pressed to compete with. Shipla from Kush Kush toy store tells me about her childhood in India. 

Connie, in my office makes amazing sauce to go with meatballs that melt in your mouth, that her grandmother from Sicily taught her how to do, every Sunday. Cassis whetted my appetite for all things French with delightful entrees I have only dreamed about. The girls at my nail salon embraced both my mother and I, and when she died, they soothed me with stories of their own mothers back in South Korea. Our mechanic in Queens brings "special" Kielbasa made by Polish immigrants in Pennsylvania.

I live and learn everyday. No matter where I am, somebody has a wonderful story to tell me of where they came from so even though I never leave Long Island, I am able to "see" the world.

Until Next Time!
Carole P. Roman

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Review Of "Stuck in the Doldrums: A Lesson in Sharing"

There’s something special about receiving a book for review from award-winning, children’s author Carole P. Roman. She sends toys along with her books making it extraordinary. It’s not just kids who love toys. Adults also do, and receiving two rubber pirate ducks along with the book Stuck in the Doldrums: A Lesson in Sharing put a smile on my face.

Arrrrrr, Matey, if you’re looking for a book to teach your little pirates about sharing, so they don’t have to walk the plank read them Stuck in the Doldrums: A Lesson in Sharing, a Captain No Beard story, which features his first-mate friends, Hallie, Linus the Lion,, Fribbet the Frog, Mongo the Monkey and Polly the Parrot. When Captain No Beard gets bossy with his crew, they abandon ship, and the Captain must find a way to use teamwork and understanding or else he will be sailing the high seas by himself. Can he do it?
Stuck in the Doldrums: A Lesson in Sharing ,which is all about the art of sharing, the importance of compromise and cooperation in a fun way, which kids will absolutely love and they will find it a classic favorite. However, just don’t be surprised if they start talking pirate with a colorful parrot on their shoulder.

Review by Kathrine Moser

Book Review: Open House

Open House is my favorite of all Elizabeth Berg's books. It was the first one I read, and it made me a huge fan. Berg captures the angst of the everyday woman, so caught up in living life, that she misses the messages all around her. Stunned with the betrayal of her husband, she is reeling with insecurity. Her life ripped out from under her, she must mend her heart and learn to trust not only other people, but herself as well. A moving book, you will laugh and cry and finally cheer right along side of Sam as she grows before your eyes. 

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Favorite Author

Khaled Hosseini is a genius. His books take us from the comfort of our lives to see the many faceted sides of living in Afghanistan. The Kite Runner focused on two boys stuck in this oppressive society, and now we follow two unlikely woman who's lives intersect and change forever. It's a book of loyalty, love and sacrifice. Brutal, at some times too hard to read, it's a necessary book to understand the plight of those compelled to live as objects rather than humans in their horrific world.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Monday, June 17, 2013

"If You Were Me And Lived In...South Korea" is now available on Amazon!

I'll take you on a journey with my new book, this time to Asia, landing in South Korea. Once again, children can learn how life is like for young people on the other side of the globe. From food to famous landmarks, they will learn that's it's easy to find something in common with people in different countries. "If You Were Me And Lived In...South Korea" is now available on Amazon!

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Exclamation Mark" by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

This book is terrific and should be in every child's library. It celebrates that which makes us unique. At first, the character tries to hide his difference. When he meets another "different" character, he learns how to use his individually to it's best advantage. He realizes, his difference makes him interesting and he celebrates it. All I have to say is "Viva La Difference!" I hope you will read "Exclamation Mark" by Amy Krouse Rosenthal!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

My father was an elegant man, some people thought him distant, condescending, but I always knew better.  He was quiet.  As the war had interrupted his education, he felt insecure among my more educated uncles. He read the paper, watched news show and could explain the most complex aspects of politic science better than most of my teachers.  I think, perhaps, he was the reason I became a teacher.  The love of history, culture and customs was born with the many discussions we shared.  He had a wealth of stored knowledge that was awesome in its depth, but I don't think he ever realized it.

I have several memories of my Dad that stand out like color pictures among a lifetime of black and white stills.  Seemingly meaningless snippets of events that pop up now and then to remind me that all I am and have today is because of his influence.

My very first memory of my father is so old, that some would think it's a piece of imagination, but I remember so clearly.  I was still in my crib and needed to go to the bathroom.  Calling out urgently, I can hear his voice first, "Hold your horses..." he kept repeating.  He arrived in the nick of time, saved me from disappointment and embarrassment and began a lifetime of trust that he would always be there for me, no matter what the circumstances.

He was not a Dad who played games, or even read with us.  An avid sports fan, we watched television together, and he laughed with genuine tears when I parroted back every beer commercial ditty at three years old.  He worked so hard, traveling to cities in the most remote parts of  the country to return  exhausted that all  he could do was watch his sports every weekend.  It was our time, my mother and grandmother were in the kitchen preparing food, or chatting.  Stretching out his legs, my brothers and I would hold on to them as he moved them, pretending to be pirate's hanging from the masts.  His very round head made a perfect steering wheel, and I recall using his ears to steer our course on wind swept seas.  Perhaps Captain No Beard was born then, to be called back into into action with my own grandchildren from the dim recess of my childhood memories.

The night before I married, we sat together watching "All in the Family",  Gloria, Archie Bunker's daughter was about to leave the nest and marry as well.  I don't remember what Archie said, something about this will always be your home, it was sentimental, but I can see my Dad's blue eyes look at me an nod telling me what his words couldn't.

My father was a hard working, moral and kind man. He never set a standard for his children that he didn't do first.  Dependable, honorable, and honest, I am richer for having been his daughter as well as his friend.

Happy Father's Day!

Carole P. Roman

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Book Review: Fever 1793

I never read YA. I didn't even knew it existed until I joined Google plus. I love historical fiction and buy almost everything I can get my hands on. I purchase, not by review, but by cover art. The cover interested me, and it wasn't until I read the first paragraph that I realized this was written for YA. What a great book!

Anderson captures your attention from the first page and weaves a gripping story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 in Philadelphia. She highlights characters from all walks of life, a grandfather, an African American, rich, middle class, poor. Captivating the sights and smells of the times, she weaves an engrossing tale of what life was like in colonial times. Building tension, she creates an atmosphere of fear and then hopelessness of the epidemic. A realistic read, it is timeless and should be required reading for any teen. 

She deserved the award she received!

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Book Reviews: Chanel Bonfire:A Memoir And The Glass Castle

After reading "The Death Of Bees" I read "Chanel Bonfire:A Memoir" by Wendy Lawless. Kidnapped by a narcissistic and psychotic mother, two girls grapple to bring themselves up in her crazy reality.Charming as well as unpredictable, Lawless' mother makes Joan Crawford look like a rookie.  In some ways the book reminded me of Jannette Walls "The Glass Castle", and it was encouraging to watch these girls grow up to overcome the abuse and neglect into successful adults. I recommend all three books.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Book Review: The Death Of Bees

"The Death of Bees" by Lisa O'Donnell is a chilling tale of a drug fueled dysfunctional family. Narrated by three characters, it begins with two orphans hiding a terrible secret in their yard. Fending unsuccessfully for themselves, they find love and protection in the most unlikely places. In this upside down world, parents are the villains and drug dealers and sex offenders turn out to be heroes. While I wasn't surprised by the ending, it was touching. What did bother me was the indifferent way the teens handled sex abuse as well as murder.  Each child hid secrets to protect the other and in this warped world, every safe haven appeared to have poison deep within. 

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Monday, June 10, 2013

Book Review: Me Before You

Me Before You, A novel by Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes I have a bone to pick with you.  Actually, I am a little angry!  You write so well, so thought provoking.  You story grabbed my attention and wouldn't let me loose until I finished the last page of your book.  You had me guessing which way each character was heading, from the A plots to the B plots, and I cared so much.  I am furious with you because you kept me honorable, as tired as I was, I wouldn't peek and let myself spoil the tension you built.  You made me blush with shame when I realized all the simple heartache people with challenges face.  Even though I have two such people in my life, your reflections hurt and now I am mad because I can't say more.  I don't want to spoil this book for anybody else.

So today if I am grumpy from lack of sleep, impatient because the only thing I really want to think about is the characters who became my friends last night- I am blaming you, JOJO!  And right after that I am going out and buying everything else you've written!

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Book Review: Shogun (The Asian Saga Chronology)

I read this book twenty years ago, and every so often I pull it out and get lost in it's beautiful imagery all over again. Clavell writes lovingly, his characters richly drawn out, complex and intriguing. This is a book about the conflict of two world colliding, a testimony to the power of loyalty and the ability for humans to adapt and survive. Its hard to image a world where you are forever cut off from your former life by an ocean. Imagine leaving on a business trip, never to return, leaving behind your family and life forever. Blackthorne, an English navigator finds himself washed up on unknown shores, into a culture as different as another planet. Society and its rules are so foreign, most of his crew mates can't adapt and eventually cannot survive. However, Blackthrorne is driven by both curiosity as well as his own driving ambition to get rich and go home. He understands that by adapting, earning the trust of his captors, providing them with a service they don't have in their own isolated world, that not only will he live, but achieve greatness as well. There is a love story interwoven throughout the pages of the book that is tender as well as bittersweet. Beautifully written, achingly poignant, it is a timeless read about the ability of humanity to grow using its indomitable will to survive.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Monday, June 3, 2013

Book Review: Pope Joan

Stunning story about the first alleged female Pope. Donna Woolfolk Cross takes a thousand year old legend and writes a compelling back story that left me with many questions. Pope Joan begins her life as a precocious English child with a thirst for knowledge who eventually fools everyone to become Pope. Steeped in history, Cross explains how this happened with a fascinating tale of ambition and adventure. A great read, she describes many common practices that the leaders of the church follow today, perhaps because of the impostor. If you like church history, read this. If you life woman's history, read this, If you like legends, read this. In other words, if you enjoy a well written tale of something that might have happened to influence the world as we know it today- this this is the book for you.

I hope you enjoy!
Carole P. Roman