Category Archives: My Library

The Romanovs

I have just finished reading two fantastic books

and both were related to the Romanov family.

The one I’ve very recently finished was called, “Romanov”

and was written by Nadine Brandes.

(I have loved all of Nadine’s books).

“Romanov” is a mix between fiction, fact and fantasy.

The story starts with the Romanovs imprisoned in Tobolsk

and progresses very quickly to Ekaterinburg.

Within the story, there are mystical magical elements

that relate quite nicely to the cultural background.

As things are ‘wrapping up’ in Ekaterinbrug,

(I won’t spoil the ending for you, if you don’t know the Romanov story),

the author has you part ways with the factual account

and what you are expecting,

and takes you deeper into the mystical with a truly fictionalised ending.

At first I was confused when this happened,

but, I assure you, it was worth continuing.

I really liked the ending.

And, as with all of Nadine’s books,

there’s a very strong Christian theme running throughout.

This book focuses on loving your enemy

and I would say forgiveness as well.

I really enjoyed this book.


However, I think I particularly enjoyed the book

because I was familiar with the history of the Romanov family.

I’m not sure I would have appreciated it quite so much without knowing a little of the history beforehand.

I actually think Nadine gave a rather glossy impression of the family

but perhaps that’s part of Nadine’s lesson for us – giving them grace and forgiveness.

For a really good book about the history of the Romanovs,

you can’t go past Candace Fleming’s book, “The Family Romanov”.

I read this aloud with my boys and it’s edge-of-the-seat reading.

Candace paints a more sombre, perhaps closer to the truth view of the family and events surrounding them.

The book starts at the beginning of Nicholas Romanov’s story,

before Nicholas was the Tsar and before he was married.

Candace also describes how the Tsars and nobility lived,

and contrasts it with stories of how the peasants lived.

Of coures, these two groups eventually clash and Candace relates how the country unraveled into revolution.

The infamous Rasputin and his interactions with the Romanov family is also included.

You can’t have the Romanov story without this man.

The last section of the book tells of Nicholas’ abdication

and the family’s imprisonment in Siberia.

And of course I can’t tell you the ending,

but my boys were shocked and not expecting it.

This story, and the book that tells it, is fascinating.

Well written history is always a delight.


So, if you are interested in the Romanov story,

read Candace Fleming’s book, “The Family Romanov”,

and if you need a happier ending

follow it up with Nadine’s book, “Romanov”.

Both were wonderful books to read.

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Posted by on August 1, 2019 in History, My Library


Chernobyl Book

We have just finished reading a really interesting book.

It was called ‘Radiant Girl’ and the story revolved around the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.


The story starts out just before the accident and continues through to the relocation of the citizens and their adjustment afterwards.

Yes, the book is fictional but it’s liberally dosed with factual content; the content is even footnoted.

Books like these are a great jumping off point into a new topic.

Since starting this book, we’ve watched a number of documentaries about the disaster

and have also started reading the book, “Chernobyl Prayers”, which is full of eyewitness accounts and experiences.


If you have problems with magical content, then ‘Radiant Girl’ might not be for you.

It features, at times, a house elf who is kind of key to the story.

However, we quite liked hearing about the mythology of that part of the world.

The book also includes scenes and discussions about boyfriends, but it’s fairly innocuous stuff.

If you can peel back the bits and bobs you may dislike,

underneath is a fascinating story.

For us, the story has opened up a whole new rabbit trail to follow.

I love when that happens.



Posted by on July 31, 2019 in History, My Library


Another Mockingbird Book

I just finished reading this middle school novel.


It has such an interesting premise –

a group of teens aim to bring more attention to the book “To Kill a Mockingbird”

by making the book ‘disappear’.

Yes, this book did make me want to reread “To Kill a Mockingbird”

and I really enjoyed the writing and the humour in this book.

But I was anticipating a different ending.

For that reason alone,

I couldn’t ‘highly’ recommend the book,

however, I still think it was a good read,

especially for kids.

There are PLENTY of issues to discuss in this book

and, if it gets people reading “To Kill a Mockingbird”,

then that’s a good thing.


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Posted by on June 30, 2019 in My Library


An Interesting Health Book

Health can be a pretty boring subject to teach

BUT NOT if you have a really interesting book to read.

This week, we finished reading the book, “Chew on This”.

It was fascinating AND disgusting.

It’s all about the most popular fast food menu items

and how fast food companies use their power.

We were amazed by how our world has changed

because of the growth of fast food outlets.

We didn’t realise how powerful and influential they are.

We were also appalled by how much fast food people consume

and that school children in the US have access to fast food.  :O


However, we did do some of our own research

to discover that Australia doesn’t have all of the same problems…yet.

For starters the size of the US meals are MUCH larger compared to ours

…regardless of where you eat.

When we visited the US a few years back,

we ate at McDonalds and were shocked at some of the basic differences.

A small cheeseburger meal came with

a soda and fries close to the size of a large Australian size,

AND two cheeseburgers!!

We thought they’d misunderstand and tried to explain that they’d given us the wrong order.

But I digress…

If you are trying to convince your children

that fast food is a poor food choice,

read this book.

Or just read this book anyway.

It’s really interesting.

We enjoyed it

…although it could be a while before we can eat McDonalds again.

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Posted by on June 30, 2019 in My Library