Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Moving and Well Written Slice of Military Life

Terrific collection of short stories detailing the many aspects of life of the families in the military. Moving, humorous and sometimes heartbreakingly poignant, it profiles ten very different women, each married to a member of the armed forces and the trials and tribulations of their life. From newlyweds, to struggling mommies, to retirees , each face a vast array of challenges that prove courage and bravery is not confined to the battleground. A Reverend's wife battles depression, until she tackles it head on to use her own experience to help others. A heartsick wife must find the strength to accept the unthinkable. A family copes the catastrophic changes to their wounded warrior, while he works to adjust the challenges of his new limitations. Each voice is refreshingly individual, without cliche. Some were surprisingly unexpected, as in the story of a wife wallowing in guilt over her husband's last mission or the wife dealing with her bored newly retired husband. Terry Rollins has written a great book that made me think of the families that serve this country. The day to day inconveniences and great sacrifices they take on to insure that our country stays safe. We honor the men and women that serve, but fail to realize the greater picture and the precious price their families make. This book opened my heart and my eyes to their effort to uphold the homefront while their spouses protect us on the battlefield.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Saturday, February 22, 2014

There is always a solution no matter how dire the situation

I think this was the cutest book. It reads like a real conversation between a mother and son. The son keeps coming up with perilous or uncomfortable situations, and Mom calmly anticipates and provides a solution. The beautiful theme is that I will always be there for you , no matter what the situation. You are never lost or abandoned, and there will always be a way to put things the way we want. Lovely sentiment, a relaxing reinforcement to put any child at ease in our anxiety driven society. I love this book!

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Friday, February 21, 2014

Too Many Toys!

I love David Shannon's books. They are heartfelt and hilarious. The illustrations are both fun and a relief from all the pastel "babyish" books. This book was cute, but "No David" remains my favorite. It always leaves me with a smile. I have a David of my own and the universality of Shannon's characters strike a cord. Too Many Toys is how every parent feels when they look at the thousands of broken pieces, toys bubbling out of couch cushions, invading every bit of space so it feels like they are secretly mating and multiplying. It does get overwhelming. Shannon is not preachy, he's a slice of life and realistic. The ending was appropriate- it's a reminder that material things don't make us happy or fill a void- only we can do that for ourselves.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Guest Post By Author Michael Phillip Cash!

Well, the baby's shoelace is tied in a knot so tight we should just cut it off. Then her endearingly beat up sneakers, (tennis shoes to the rest of the world outside of Long Island) will be all dirty with brand, spanking new white laces. That won't do. An hour later, Daddy vs. the knot, Daddy wins. She's crying though, "What....What?  You're in the laundry? Okay...I'll give her a bottle."  Nothing better than Daddy and baby time with a lukewarm bottle, milky bubbles drooling from her pursed lips. I check Amazon, relief that Stillwell is ranked, worried the number is lower than before. I look at the computer, my keyboard stares blankly back at me, but I hear my wife call,"Get Alex off the bus." "Sure, no problem," I respond, happy to help. The corner is freezing, my hands numb, my mind blank. The air is sucked from my lungs as if I stepped into a vacuum. Other parents sidle up next to me, as we stand in a circle searching for warmth. We smile at each other, our eyes streaming from the cold. The bus arrives and the kids bounce off, scarves unbound, mittens flopping, so we all take a minute to rebundle our bundles of joy. The walk back to the house is filled with stories about Jaden, Aiden, and Evan. The house smells of sausage and peppers, rice boiling over, and my daughter is screaming with delight that her older brother is home.
"Help with homework?" No problem, a pleasure, let me check Amazon first. Stillwell is up, a higher number, relief expands in my chest.  Listen to my son reading his new book, the words forming first silently as his mouth tries them out. He is triumphant, thrilled with the freedom of being able to read for himself. We proudly reread the book for the entire family.
Dinner is noisy, my daughter loves to squish her food and I can't take my eyes off the ooze squeezed through her tight fist. It's delicious, tart and sweet, like my family life. The golden light from our kitchen fixture bathes us in homey warmth. Beds, bath, more books, this time Daddy and Mommy do the reading. Then the sound of the house settling down, heat clanking in the old pipes, hiss of radiators, the kids yawns of satisfaction of a day jammed with activities.
It's quiet, the computer screen lights the room, a beacon of judgment. It dares me to look up Stillwell one more time, accusing me of procrastination. The house is dark, my mind like a wax tablet waiting for impression. Nothing comes, not even interruptions. Please wake up, I urge my little girl. Call for me so I can walk away again. I can't end this story, my characters have gone as silent as a tomb and won't tell me what to do! What was I thinking? A full time writer? Who does that? Should I check Stillwell again? How can I end this book to get on with the next? I am drowning! The water is closing over my head and I can't breath! Wait...can't breath? I pause holding my breath. That's it...I turn to the closing chapter of my next book in the Daracia series. I think I got it.

Author Bio: Born and raised on Long Island, Michael has always had a love for horror, thriller, paranormal, science fiction and fantasy. Earning a degree in English and an MBA, he has worked various jobs before settling into being a full-time author. He currently resides on Long Island with his wife and children.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wonderful book about the strength of the human spirit and the will to survive

Girl in Translation is a wonderful coming of age story about a young girl coming to America to carve a place for both herself and her mother. Young Kim has a tough job ahead of her, working hard in school and then in her ruthless aunt's sweatshop to keep her small family in a run down tenement in Brooklyn. Defying the difficult conditions, working in the spirit that built this country, will she emerge from poverty to achieve her goals? This was a wonderful book, filled with a tender romance, and fraught with setback after heart wrenching setbacks. The predicament of the immigrants is as pitiful as it is shameful, that in this great country such abuse could occur. Kim's every victory is a shared triumph and a joy to read. I loved this book. It is a testament to the human spirit, filled with hope and though it is laced with heartache, the message of survival is not lost in translation. Beautifully and authentically written, this book ultimately is about responsibility and duty, and how we choose to guide our conscience.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Monday, February 17, 2014

Clever Counting Book

Jennifer Ogden has written a clever counting book that stands out from all of the rest. Tongue twisting rhymes help the reader count up to ten. Filled with silly stanzas, it a fun book to read loud, letting your child guess the word that will rhyme with each name. Cute pictures will help young readers identify the objects, turning it into a reading book as well.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Does the boy define the war or does the war define the boy?

Innocent War is a biographical coming of age of an Italian boy living in war torn Tripoli during the second world war. Based on tapes given to the author by her father, it recounts day to day life for a family caught in a cataclysmic event. Nino, his parents, and his baby sister live as expats in a tiny colony in Tripoli. The war's impact begins when Nino's father is drafted to build a trench to protect them from the allies. Life continues, but changes interrupt the sleepy existence. The Jewish population is forced to wear identifying patches, bombing begin to disrupt the night. Slowly, the war ravages their home, carpet bombings destroy and kill their neighbors. Italian Jews are taken from their homes. Nino can't understand what makes them different,he has been taught that religion doesn't define nationality. His mother risks their lives by hiding a young Jewish friend. Soon enough, his mother is fed up with their precarious existence and courageously leaves town to find her husband on the front lines. This is a story about survival. Strong, smart, and brave, Nino's mother is not afraid to protect her family, finding ways to move them to safety, and insure that they would not starve. Nino and his family are not connected to the politics that fed the war, and learn that they too have become the pawns as well of the victims of twisted ideologies. Nino grows from boy to young man, learning to question not only God, but the intention of the political machine, finally understanding that all the propaganda was as wasteful as the lives lost in the chasm called World War 2.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Monday, February 10, 2014

Appreciate what you have

Like Dorothy form the Wizard of Oz, Sniff the cat learns there is no place like home. He uses his nose to look for a new smell, and soon is distracted from what he was used to. When he realizes it is not what he expected, and learns not to forget where he came from. Delightful illustrations and a very cool cat who teaches us not to take what we have for granted.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

New Giveaway!

New author and illustrator Alexander Luke has written the cutest book, Whaley's Big Adventure. Get this, he is only 5 years old!
Do not be fooled though, this book packs a wallop and holds its own.

Join Whaley on his big adventure in the ocean as he meets Whales of all different sizes. Written by 5 year old Alexander Luke, and presented by his grandmother, award-winning children's author Carole P. Roman, this oceanic adventure of whale-sized proportions will teach youngsters about the different whales that live in the oceans.

To introduce Whaley to the world at large, Alexander Luke, along with his grandmother, are giving away a copy of his book and $50 Paypal to one lucky winner! Wow! Follow the fish and join in the adventure below!

Disclosure: This giveaway is arranged by Away We Go Media on behalf of  Alexander Luke & Carole P. Roman who is responsible for the giveaway.

The winner will be selected at random by Rafflecopter.
The giveaway is open Worldwide, however if the winner is outside the US the book will only be a Kindle download version. The winner must have an active paypal account and will only be paid in US dollars.
Giveaway begins on Feb. 6th at 12AM MST through Feb. 20th at 12AM MST.
Winner must respond within 48 hours to an email sent or an alternate winner will be chosen.
This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media outlet.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 3, 2014

Stunning book that questions the right to forgive

#### Spoiler alert### I am not quite sure if my review contains spoilers- but some of the earlier reviews made similar comments and people suggested spoiler alerts- "If you lived through it, you already now there are no words that will ever come close to describing it." My father told me the same thing. Jodi Piccoult has written a harrowing tale of brutality and survival, opening a window to the holocaust and writing a story as if she is streaming live from it. It is like reading my father's life, there are so many similarities, it's like he was sitting next to me and telling me his story as well. The book is written from several different points of views, from the oppressed to oppressor, explaining the unexplainable, describing the times through a young girl's eyes as her sheltered life is ripped to shreds like the fabled creatures in the shadow story of the imaginary town she creates. The Storyteller is a story, within another story, within another story. It's hard to review it because quite simply it is a complex book. First there is Sage, who lives on the perimeter of society, working at night, her face scarred and marked identifying her as a monster that almost mirrors the vampire's in her grandmother's tale. She breaks society's rules, and a nun admonishes her lack of moral backbone. She is punishing herself for surviving. There is the history of her grandmother, who lived through the holocaust; the fable she created, her talisman for survival. She has held her secrets close to her heart and only her granddaughter's pain allows her to reveal the horror of her youth. By staying mute, she has kept the monsters at bay, and by telling her story, will the demons resurface? Will hate triumph? Then there is Josef, the third survivor, where all the roads in this tale will end up. Each character lives in the shaded area of gray and has to discover the definition of survival, redemption and forgiveness. What is the true meaning of heroism or once a person commits crimes, can they be forgiven? Are some crimes unforgivable? This book unfolds like layers, each tissue revealing a new complexity, leaving you questioning who is the ultimate forgiver of our sins, us or G-d. Can anyone really be washed clean?. I have read many books of the holocaust. I know of it firsthand, and at times I had to close the book, the wave of emotion in my chest making it impossible to read. Piccoult's monster was scarier than any I have ever read, and I am not talking about the vampire. Piccoult always leaves a reader wrestling with the fine line between right and wrong. Was I surprised by the ending, no. It fit together like a well connected puzzle. I will not forget this book.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman