Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book Review: Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle unfolds like a silent movie. Flora and the flamingo in delightful pink illustrations form an unlikely partnership mirroring each pose from graceful to the absurd. Clearly these two bathing beauties enjoy their playful exchange. Dancing together like synchronized swimmers, they glide with balletic grace from page to page. Handy fold out pages tell a story of companionship, friendship and even a small bit of competition. This is an adorable wordless picture book, lovingly made to be enjoyed time after time after time.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Michele Spry, Author Spotlight

Michele Spry is a native of Columbia, Missouri and she is a successful business woman. I've had the pleasure of "meeting" her online and I wanted to share her story. Michele espouses the spirit of  "Paying it Forward" in her community by being actively involved with many organizations, including her local Chamber of Commerce and The Women's Network. She is a Partner in Education with Midway Heights Elementary School. Her first book, Tom T's Hat Rack is available on Amazon. Check out her interview (uploaded by Kim Beasley) below!

I also want to share a lovely article about a random act of kindness. Click here for the article.  It's inspiring! I hope you will read it and be inspired to help others. Be sure to look for my review of Tom T's Hat Rack -coming soon!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Win a $200 Toys R Us Gift Card, Signed Book And Great Pirate Toys From Safari LTD!

Ahoy, me mateys! I am so excited to announce the launch of my newest book from Captain No Beard series called, Stuck in the Doldrums. It's a great book and this one is just as fantastic as the others. Inside, you'll find adventure and learn about teamwork! To celebrate and launch my new book, I'm having one blow out of a giveaway. I teamed up with Safari Ltd to bring some pirate swag that is as great as sailing the Seven Seas!

Enter quickly below and come back daily because you certainly will not want to miss this treasure!

Author Carole P. Roman is a former teacher who now works in her family’s business and publishes works in the Captain No Beard series. When she’s not playing with her grandchildren, she enjoys reading to them and even using them as inspiration for her stories.

Find her books on Amazon!

Find Captain No Beard On Facebook!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Martha doesn't say sorry! By Samantha Berger and illustrated by Bruce Whatley

Martha, my favorite otter is back and letting us know she will do many things, but apologizing isn't one of them. While she has no problem giving hugs, making presents or reading stories, when she does misbehave, Martha simply can't say that she's sorry. Although she understands where the problem is, and wants to make it right, and excess of pride makes the apology impossible. Ignored by her mother, father and baby brother, our obstinate otter states she doesn't need cookies or other great, fun things! Upon reflection, she tries a very quiet sorry that fails to get a reaction. Emboldened, she tries again and again, each time louder and with more confidence. When the apology is accepted and the world is alright once again, Martha learns that saying "I'm sorry" is not demeaning or painful. Back in every one's good graces, she is, once again a happy otter.

Martha learns that when we do do something hurtful or wrong, nothing makes it better than a sincere apology. Oddly enough, she learns, the relief we feel works both ways.

A lovely book, great illustrations, cute story and very real emotions.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Schroder: A Novel by Amity Gaige,

Ripped from the headlines of the newspaper, Schroder: A Novel by Amity Gaige, is loosely based on the story of a man who fooled everybody, with a false identity that unraveled when he kidnapped his own child. I remember reading about it vaguely, and wondered how someone could lead a double life and get away with it. How could his wife not know? How could he not slip up somewhere?

Gaige reconstructs the unbelievable. Recounting his story in a jail, Schroder explains how he created a false persona, intimating a loose connection to American royalty, the Kennedy's, in order to gain the positive attention he desired.

The book is a confession, guilt ridden and horrifying in the notion that we may not know as much as we thing we do about the people around us.

Eric Kennedy is a chimera. Disconnected and isolated in his real persona, he adapts an all American facade to hide his foreign self. Living with a stoic and emotionally dead father, he is able to perpetrate his fraud in the laxed end of the last century. Without an Internet, ways to verify information, the world in it's pre 911 innocence accepts people for who they say they are.

Schroder disassociates himself from his German father, reinventing himself at college, later falling in love and building a life. He embodies the American Dream, successful at real estate, this couple moves on to the next step of life, parenthood. As disengaged with his childhood as his own father, he rediscovers a brilliant and delightful child when after the economy crashes, he becomes a stay at home dad. While, I found myself repulsed by what I know he ultimately does, I couldn't help liking the character, in spite of himself.

Watching him disintegrate, his lies interfere with his divorce, he is cast aside in his daughter's life. Desperate to be with her, he kidnaps her and they share a "vacation", special father daughter time and watch him try to salvage his life. When he is compelled to surrender, I found myself angry at the system and circumstances that forced him to lie about his life. Is he a bad person who lied or a good person forced to live a lie? Can we all say that we live completely transparent or do omit things ourselves to put the patina of acceptability on us.

Well written, Gaige is terrific at taking an unlikable person and making him sympathetic without being maudlin. We can't help but like this flawed character, his love for his wife and child superseding his desperate personality.

Schroder is a great book. It's the story of the promise of America, dreams of acceptance and comfort destroyed by false foundations. Fast paced, well written. Amity Gaige writes with a keen understanding of human frailty and is a voice that needs to be heard.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Captain No Beard Giveaway!

I'm having a giveaway and I'd like to share it here! If you are interested in winning a wonderful prize package containing two Captain No Beard books and a little pirate booty, please enter using the form below!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

An Awesome Book Of Thanks! By Dallas Clayton

An Awesome Book Of Thanks! By Dallas Clayton should be in every body's personal library. It's simply that important! Dallas writes a simple book that starts in the beginning of time and acknowledges at first there was nothing. He mentions the familiar, like boats and cars or people were not here and then heads to the sky, "There didn't use to be anything." However, now he notes "There's a lot so when I look around at all that we've got I say thank you." He proceeds to thank everyone and everybody, sometimes thoughtful, "the breeze and for the rain." and sometimes absurd "girelephants in silly hats".

He thanks for books, and the ocean deep, pigs and cows and ducks and sheep. He mentions to be grateful for "having all the time it takes and boxes for pretend and balls to kick and kites to fly and places to go when you want to cry".

He remembers to thank not only each member of a family, but doctors and artists and teachers as well. He states "It's so easy we see these things everyday to forget to say thank you in every way."

He thinks of everything from good to bad "for they make us all stronger" and takes us on a journey to thank people in all different languages. Best of all, he thanks the reader "just for being yourself" as important as anything else."

Colorful pictures with adorable fuzzy people make it fun to share with your child. What a great way to end the day, by bedtime reflection of all things we should be thankful for.

The book is one long run on sentence and can be read as fast or as slow as you like. We live in an amazing time, where resources make it possible for us to multi task and keep taking on more and more new responsibilities to tackle. Like the run on sentence of the book, do we ever take that long slow breath and give sincere thanks for the wonders around us? So, I dare you to take that one awesome long breath, and then try to give thanks for all the terrific things we may take for granted in our fast paced world.

Lastly, thank you for reading my review!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Just Ask The Universe" by Michael Samuels

About two years ago, my oldest son came to me and said he wanted to write a book. Brimming with optimism, he wanted to share the accumulated knowledge that made him happy. He had achieved so many of his goals and felt surrounded by unhappy and discontented people that he wanted to share his "secret".

I want to add that both my children are successful business men. We work together everyday and they have had to earn their keep in the family business. Nothing has been handed to them and they have performed every job in the company from the bottom to the top.

He sat down and within few weeks, not only did have a finished product, but found a self publisher and was on his way to realizing his dream. Both my younger son and I listened daily to him, helping him edit, making him clarify his points and slowly got sucked into his enthusiasm. When he presented his finished product, you can't imagine my pride. He thought it, did the work and produced a finished product.

Createspace loaded in onto Amazon and I figured he'd have the obligatory fan club of our own small circle of friends. Imagine my surprise when he developed a large and devoted following. Daily, we read comments on Facebook, reviews on Amazon and my heart nearly burst with excitement as people urged him to write more. His thoughts had improved their lives, he was the catalyst they needed to get out of a hole they had fallen into. His book had affected them, changed their way of thinking. Not only did he help others realize their dreams, but himself as well.

It is a simple book. I was afraid for him when I first read it. He writes the way he speaks and many have said that it's simplicity is it's brilliance. Too many self help books are so complicated, dry or comprehensible that they may not get their point across. It seems that my son, with his down to earth, uncomplicated way of writing has struck an important cord with his readers.

Well, the name of his book is "Just Ask The Universe" by Michael Samuels, and is available on It's a simple road map to happiness and success. I want to add that it works! After reading his book, I sat down and wrote the first of eleven books- all in one year. So, because of my son's influence, I was able to realize my own lifelong dream of being named to Kirkus Reviews Best of 2012 for my debut children's book.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Book Review: There Was An Old Pirate Who Swallowed A Fish

I love pirate books. I guess I've been in love with them from the time I first watched Peter Pan about a hundred years ago. Who wouldn't? They have such great outfits!

Well, my grandson and I read "There Was An Old Pirate Who Swallowed A Fish". Delightfully written by Jennifer Ward and beautifully illustrated by Steve Gray.

This is a book that builds with fun as each page is turned. We start out simply enough that "There was an old pirate who swallowed a fish. With a swoosh and a swish, down went that fish. Blimey! But that fish was slimy! Why did he swallow it? I don't know. Yo ho ho. Watch his belly grow!"
By the third page, Andrew was gleefully saying it with me.

As I read it, I picked up speed and to my grandson's delight, we raced through the paragraphs laughing hysterically at the odd pirate's antics.

Of course, we had the obligatory discussion that we never put things of this sort in our mouths. That being said, it was a fun book, with adorably funny fish and satisfying conclusion.

Pepper Parrots Problem with Patience

Listen to my interview at Storytellers Campfire! I discuss Pepper Parrots Problem with Patience!
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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Martha doesn't share! by Samantha Berger and Illustrated by Bruce Whatey

Martha Doesn't Share! is a delightful book about an adorable otter named Martha who needs tweaking with her social skills. It seems her most favorite word is "Mine".

When baby brother Edwin asks to play with her toys, she quite emphatically tells him, they are hers and hers alone. Mom and Dad Otter urge Martha to take turns, but Martha stubbornly reminds everyone that the toys belong to her and she goes off to play by herself. While performing magic tricks is fun, it's not as enjoyable without an audience. She realizes the "it's hard to ping when you don't have someone to pong." Martha discovers that her toys by themselves cannot bring her the fun and enjoyment she expects. Martha learns that by sharing, she is guaranteed a playmate and finds an amusing solution to her problem. Loved the ending. It reminded me of a similar outcome when my own baby brother and I learned to share.

Cute illustrations, warm colors and an enjoyable read all the way around.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Book Review: Anora

Tomas Trujillo has written a gritty, graphic drama about a displaced and angry veteran. Abused and neglected as a foster child, he turns to the armed forces for a place where he will be appreciated. Learned in the martial arts, he is a fierce warrior and once captured, he waits for the opportunity to use his deadly skills.

Even though he is weakened with a life threatening wound, he rescues two weaker comrades and is hailed a hero. He is troubled, though. In earning his freedom, Johnny turns his anger into an uncontrollable rage and in doing so, does unspeakable things to his enemy.

He returns to the states and finds himself isolated as well as depressed. Shunning the "hero worship", he hides himself from society, feeling undeserving of the accolades. His life has become as ugly as the reflection he sees of himself.

Anora, is his salvation. She is a woman who sees something in Johnny and refuses to abandon or let him slide into the terrible hell he has created. Looking past the labels society has hung on what they fear, she rescues the devastated shell of a man and shows everyone that you cannot let fear drive your emotions.

Anora is a book about fear. It is also a book about courage and redemption. We must all learn to dig deep and find the courage to react not in fear, but love. Fear brings hate, ignorance and anger. When Johnny learns that fear drives anger and builds hate, he learns that by replacing it with love, he has the confidence to trust not only the people around him, but himself as well.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Dragon Moves In by Lisa Falkenstern

This review is from my grandson Alexander, for the book A Dragon Moves In, by Lisa Falkenstern.

I liked this because it was funny. The illustrations were very cool. My favorite part of the story was when they built a new house for all three of them to share. It was a castle. I love this book. I am four years old.

Alexander and I really enjoyed this book written and illustrated by Lisa Falkenstern. Rabbit and Hedgehog are having a lovely cup of tea, when an egg hatches, and they find themselves the proud caretakers of a baby dragon.

They feed it, play with it and altogether enjoy their new charge, until the growing size becomes a problem. After their home is destroyed trying to squeeze the large creature out, they come up with a solution for them all to live happily ever after. They build a new home.

We both enjoyed the pace and outcome of the story. It's nice when creatures large and small find happy solutions to problems. A lovely book, that was very much enjoyed by us both.

*I'd like to extend my most sincere apologies for an earlier version of this review that incorrectly stated the author's first name.

Andrew Henry's Meadow by Doris Burn

Did you ever have one of those days, you know, when you want to disappear? You feel unappreciated, misunderstood and just out of sorts with the rest of the world?

Andrew Henry's Meadow is just such a book. Andrew Henry is the middle child. With two older sister's and two younger brother's, he has unique interests and unlike his siblings, has no one to enjoy them with. Content with his own company, he creates wonderful and thoughtful inventions. The problem is-his efforts are under appreciated. Bothered by his family's unhappiness with his efforts, he goes off to build his own home, where he does what he enjoys to his heart's content.

Soon, a village of many misunderstood youngsters are housed in his meadow. It seems, some parents aren't tolerating their pastimes either. Four days pass, and frantic parents search for their "missing" children.

It all ends with a happy reunion and with the understanding, that while we may not all have the same interests, we must respect and allow others to enjoy theirs.

A wonderful book about tolerance and understanding. Great read.