Cardinal Dolan’s PRAYING IN ROME

Blogging for Books knows that I read books about Catholicism, and sent me some info on Cardinal Dolan’s book about the recent Conclave to elect Pope Francis I.  Currently, the ebook is only $1.99. While I haven’t read it, it has garnered positive reviews and sounds interesting: getting an insider’s look at what was happening during those days at the Conclave.

Cardinal Dolan discussed his book on the Colbert report. You can see that here:

You can see more about his book here:

If you read it, be sure to comment on your thoughts! Thanks, Blogging for Books, for offering me a free copy (of another book I need to choose) for promoting this one!

YA Review: ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein

I found ROSE UNDER FIRE on Net Galley and thought it sounded intriguing. While presented as a YA read, this book was quite intense emotionally and I thought could be enjoyed by adults as well. In ROSE UNDER FIRE, WWII courier pilot Rose Justice finds herself downed by Nazi aircraft into German territory. Terrified, she realizes that they don’t intent to harm her, per say, but keep her in a work camp. That camp turns out to be Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Rose spends several months there, through the winter, before she is liberated in a harrowing escape.

I could not put this book down. While it was suspenseful and “exciting” (notice quotes), it was haunting and disturbing, and really painted such a vivid picture of Ravensbrück that I had nightmares (full disclosure: I’m a pretty sensitive person). The book starts with Rose’s daily diary of events. She’s a courier, an American actually, working for the British. Her life has been pretty innocent up until the war. She is only nineteen. She flies to Paris on a job and has a wonderful day there, including “buzzing” the Eiffel Tower. She is scheduled to fly back to England the next day, but then we realize that Rose is classified as “missing”. Family and friends try to be hopeful but presume she is most probably killed. The book then is Rose’s writings of her memoir of the time spent in camp as she stays at the Ritz in Paris to recuperate. The end of the book is in Rose’s present time, as the war ends in Europe.

Before reading this book, I had little knowledge of Ravensbrück. I knew it was a concentration camp and I thought it was for women. The portrayal of the camp in this book is really remarkable. I could see it so vividly. As with a lot of WWII literature, the resiliency of the prisoners to stay alive was incredible and awe-inspiring. I know it’s fiction, but people experienced what these women did, and it is both fascinating and horrible. A large portion of the book centers on the Polish girls in the camp who were used for experiments by the Nazi’s. Called “the rabbits”, they were experimented on so that the Germans could figure out how best to treat war wounds and infections. Wish I could say Ms. Wein made this up, but she didn’t. Wein is the author of CODE NAME VERITY, which I have not read, but which I purchased so that I could.

Highly recommended if you are a reader of this genre, but be prepared. YA doesn’t mean this book is just for the kids. In fact, I would hope that if young people were reading this book (which would be an excellent hs classroom choice) that adults are talking to them about it and discussing it with them.

Thanks, Net Galley and Miramax Publishing, for my copy!

ROSE UNDER FIRE publishes 9/10/13.

Saturday Snapshot: Summer Fun at the Fair!

If you know me personally, you know I work on the local agricultural fair’s planning committee. I am in charge of booking all the music and stage entertainment. The fair was the weekend before we left for Hawaii, so I haven’t even looked at my pictures until now! Of course, I spend most of my time in the music tent, so I didn’t take too many pics, but here are a few:


Here are flowers my daughter and I grew in the yard and entered in the “small container” division.


This is the outside of my entertainment tent. As you can see, we had a beautiful day and over 20,000 fairgoers over the weekend!


Miss Piggy, a former carousel animal, is our fair mascot. This was Miss Piggy’s float for the July 4 parade this year. She’s a survivor! Though horribly burned in a freak fire we had in our office, Miss Piggy was restored by an antique restorer and carries on!


Midway at night – always magical!!


My favorite little corn cob! 🙂

There were lots of amazing animals and displays, including artisans such as blacksmiths and farriers, horse and oxen pulls, a demo derby, and even monster trucks, but I mostly was in my tent listening to musicians.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at You, too, can participate! Just post a pic you took and link it to her site!

Review: THE BOY FROM REACTOR 4 by Orest Stelmach

This past spring, a longtime friend suggested that I read THE BOY FROM REACTOR 4. I found it for my kindle on Amazon at a great price. THE BOY FROM REACTOR 4 is a suspenseful, action-packed mystery/thriller, which takes the reader from the US to Russia and deals with espionage, murder, and the effects of the Chernobyl disaster.

Nadia Tesler is the daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, living in NYC. She is contacted by a man who says he knew her deceased father, and she agrees to meet with him. To her horror, he is shot while they are greeting each other and he whispers a somewhat garbled message to her before dying. Nadia takes off a quest to discover what he meant, find a formula worth $10 million, and find out the truth about her family and their legacy. Travelling from the US to the heart of Russia and into Siberia and the Aleutian Islands, this novel’s setting serves as a parallel to the emotions of the criminals and the bleak life for many of the people she meets and comes to know in this book. Action packed and thrilling, the action moves at a non-stop pace right until the last page.

I really enjoyed this novel! I like a good crime/mystery, and this one was easy to read and hard to put down! I’m glad my friend recommended it to me. I would love to see it as a movie, too.

Check out this clip I found on You Tube with the author discussing the novel: