Thursday, June 30, 2016
Enjoyable book about the women surrounding both King Henry the VIII and Francis I, the King of France. Both men came from a background of strong women, and while the Tudor women are more well known, author Soberton chooses to explore Francis's mother and sister rather than the powerhouse of Margaret Beaufort or Elizabeth of York, Henry's mother.
I got to learn more about the French Queen Claude, her mother Anne of Brittney, as well as her rival Louise of Savoy, and her daughter Margaret; all the women who impacted Francis and his children. Soberton describes the court and culture of the day, giving a vivid picture of life in England and France. She explains the tangled bloodlines and their complicated loyalties that caused stress between brothers and sisters, or husbands and wives.
Regarding Henry, she spends her time describing each of his wives, and their impact on his court. Ann Boleyn's role in French diplomacy is explored as well as Kathryn Parr's interests in the Reformation. The importance of Henry's sister, Mary the French Queen and her illegal and hurried marriage to Charles Brandon is also explained.
While Henry and Francis are kings, the stars of this book are clearly the women circling their orbit. In some cases, it's the friendship between brother and sister that may have shaped policies, in others its the intimacy of a husband and wife, or even the strong bond of mother and son. Soberton is able to show that no king ruled without the influence of a female playing a subtle role in shaping his thoughts and perhaps the very policies of ruling their country.
I enjoyed this book and will look for more from this author. She writes readable history that breaks it into a presentation making it easy for a novice to understand the roles of people can play in history. While much time is usually spent on the martial woes of King Henry's and Francis's son King Henri's, Soberton provides a glorious picture of women embracing the Northern Renaissance and using their wits to survive during a time when they had little power. She shows they learned to use their intelligence to sway important people of the time, so that they might achieve what they thought was the right things for the world. While they may say behind every great man there is a woman, perhaps it proves those world leaders may not have gotten there without the support and influence of these superwomen.
Carole P. Roman
Monday, June 27, 2016
Fast paced fantasy that incorporates almost every creature imaginable in an alternate universe where four high school students find themselves enlisted as an army of assorted characters who are trying to save the world from a shadowy villain named The Phantom. More New Adult, rather than YA, it has a fair amount of gore, but the fab four Amy, Melody, James and John keep the reader engaged as well as entertained. Fairies, Vampiresses, a powerful warrior woman, ghostly skeletons, and a big, bad wolf are just some of the fierce villains in the creative nether world in which the brave students must learn how to use both their wits and skills to overcome evil. There's a special book, spells, magic, menacing creatures, even a royal family. Sometimes action-packed, often humorous, Verze-Reeher keeps the action coming. Amy and Melody are strong characters and share great chemistry, while James and John remind me of Bill and Ted. More than once their dialogue made me smile, "Dude!"
A most excellent read!
Carole p. Roman
Thursday, June 23, 2016
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THIS WEEK'S AUTHOR TO WATCH
A parent offers a world of ideas for daughters when they grow up in this illustrated ode to girls.
Sunday, June 19, 2016
Father's Day is a special day we recognize that singular relationship and thank our Dad's for always being there.
My father was a wonderful man, funny, sweet, smart, with a head full of wisdom that made me feel safe. He always knew the right thing to do. While he wasn't a traditional American dad like the rest of my friends had, we had a wonderful bond.
He was born in Europe, surviving World War Two to emerge alone, his family murdered along with most of his cousins, uncles, aunts, even a ninety-six year old grandfather.
He lost his family sometime when he was in his teens and while it must have been painful to talk about them, he made sure my brothers and I knew his family, their quirks, the fact that my grandfather was sort of a village mediator who helped settle disputes. He was an officer in the Austrian army during the first World War, businessman,and a tender, loving father.
My grandfather made sure my father was educated, played an instrument, skied, and belonged to a sort of boy scouts where he earned medals. They went to ballgames. He felt treasured and safe.
I knew he adored his daughters, my aunts. He sent them to good schools to be educated. He was a fine husband, an excellent provider. He was fun and my father loved him.
I have only one picture of him. It's with my grandmother in a small town with their youngest daughter, Minca, enjoying a weekend away. I always knew I would have liked him, that the twinkle in my dad's eye had to have come from him. I suspected my own sense of humor came directly from him.
I didn't get to meet my mother's father either. He died the year before I was born of congestive heart failure, something today that would probably be solved with a pill.
He escaped Tzarist Russia in the early days of the 20th century. He joined his parents and siblings in New Jersey, becoming a furrier, candy store owner, and finally bungalow renter ( an early cousin of Air BnB) in Coney Island.
I knew his was a devoted father and grandfather who spoke no English. He convinced each of his five children that they were his favorite, causing an epic fight after he died when they fought over that coveted title. I was always told that he loved me, even though we actually never met, and somehow I never doubted it. I think I was sure I was his favorite too!
Father's Day is not just about fathers. You are affected by the relationships your parents had with their parents. Their examples set the templet that define the people your own parents become.
My children were lucky to have many great role models. My father taught them humor and kindness, their father, my husband made them wise and strong, their uncles, my brothers brought silliness, a shoulder to lean on, and a safe haven when nobody seemed to understand them.
My sons are fathers now. They are uncles as well. They are strict like their dad, understanding like their grandfather, full of fun like their uncles. They are the living legacy of a long line of men who embraced fatherhood and passed the warmth and beauty of a job well done.
I watch them with pride taking care of their families, knowing they are living history, proof of the hard-working, loving men that live on though them.
Carole P. Roman
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Something in the Air is a thought provoking novella filled with many different themes to ponder. Is it a story of star-crossed lovers or is it a tale of corporate greed and the destruction of our environment.Dan Dragen is a returning Viet-Nam vet who comes home to investigate the mysterious death of his beloved uncle. He reconnects with the one girl who always held his heart. Sweet romance ensues, but the tenderness is overshadowed by the strange emissions coming from the town factory. Fish and animals are dying, there is a toxic smell, and now the woman who has become the center of his life has a persistent cough.
Though it is only a short story, Starling packs a lot in his well written plot. Dragen is an interesting character that I'm sure has more stories to tell.
Carole P. Roman
Friday, June 17, 2016
Well-written chilling thriller that I finished in one night. Jean Barton got everything she wanted except a child of her own. The perfect man who supported and adored her, enabling her to have the life she desired. She in turn is the perfect wife for him, dressing and acting the way he desires.When he is killed in an accident, her response is not one of a doting wife or even grieving widow. Layers are peeled back expertly revealing things were not quite as they seemed. Excellent book, way more believable than Gone Girl about a woman stuck in a situation leaving the reader to wonder if she was the victim or architect of her nightmare.
Carole P. Roman
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Compelling and well-written story about a four year old boy who can inexplicably recall a former life. Janie Zimmerman is a single mother trying to raise her difficult son. He refuses to bathe, knows things she could not have taught him, and calls for his real mother. Faced with expulsion from nursery school, she seeks out a therapist to help diagnose her child. She reaches a psychiatrist, who is dealing with his own devastating illness. Together they reconnect with people from Noah's past, each learning that life is not as random as they think. Love this book and sat up all night reading it. Sharon Guskin writes in a clear crisp voice that is steeped in realism. She is able to capture the angst of the two mothers torn over losing a child. Great book with an interesting theory backed up with excepts from a non-fiction source.
Carole P. Roman
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Not your run of the mill ghost story. SM Boyce weaves a scary tale of two teenagers who open a doorway to terror. Unpredictable and with the sensation of a speeding train the story takes an unexpected turn into demonic possession. Well developed and with realistic character, this is a chilling read that will keep you up all night.
Carole p. Roman
Monday, June 6, 2016
The world has been destroyed by a gas named Variant leaving only flesh eating monsters above ground and a collapsing society buried under its poison surface. Like an ant colony, the underground city is a warren of districts connected by tunnels liked by trains. It is an industrial looking world, all gray with only a few precious splashes of color from near extinct flowers that are deemed an unnecessary extravagance by those in power.If beauty for the sake of beauty is regarded as superfluous, then what lies in store for humanity? The city is a simmering mess, the only hope genetically modified children engineered to survive in the soupy miasma on the planet. The experiment was created as the only way to cope with the hostile environment and was seen as a duty to save mankind. Time and circumstances has caused those involved to question the morality of the issue. What price is human life worth? Does anyone have the right to determine another's fate?
Terry is the son of a baby machine. His mother reminds me of the "super" Aryan women recruited to mate with their male counterparts to create a super human race. We all know how that experiment turned out. JN Chaney creates a dying world desperately to save itself by churning out altered humans to forge an existence in an inhospitable world. Will they be it's future or its demise?
Interesting book that invites discussion.
Carole P. Roman
Sunday, June 5, 2016
Interesting take on a society that's been hijacked by the government. Shrinking land mass and limited food supplies have created a need to prevent the population from outstripping the resources available in this futurist world. Told through the eyes of a child, the reader is as naive as the teller, the story and the facts revealing itself with a slow simmer. Michael is an officer in a agency that takes care of mistakes. Mistakes being children born outside of the confines of a strict law controlling the population. No couple can have a child until someone has died. He and his wife have a secret and that secret is tearing him apart.
David Estes writes with a clear, crisp voice. Michael's anguish, his regret poignantly presented. The boy's desire to know more, his yearning to be accepted just as brilliantly portrayed.
This is a book that compels the reader to push on, despite tired eyes and the coming dawn. It begs to be finished in a marathon weekend of reading.
Carole P. Roman
Claire and Ben are desperate to have a child. Despite numerous fertility issues, Claire finally becomes pregnant and ends up miscarrying right away. Enter Ben's best friend Romily, a single-mother who volunteers to have a child or them. Dear Thing is the nick-name for the child that brings them all together in a triangle of hurt and anguish. Author Cohen keeps the plot moving rapidly, and you feel and angst of each of the characters. It was a quick and entertaining read filled with provocative issues. Romily's growing love for her unborn child, Ben's infatuation, Claire's unraveling, Posie and Jarvis, Romily daughter and her long-lost father all enter into the fine madness that propels to a climax that will have the reader guessing where each of them will end up.
Carole P. Roman