The Tyrant’s Daughter Book Review

The Tyrant’s Daughter, by JC Carleson provides a point of view that those in the west never, if rarely are able to experience.

The daughters of the men who have ruled the Middle East for decades and how their lives change when the men who have ruled these countries are dead or no longer in power.

Laila is the daughter of the deposed and deceased ruler of an unknown Middle East Muslim country.  With her mother and younger brother, she has been relocated to the United States. The adjustment to the United States is not an easy one for the entire family. Laila soon begins to shrug off her life as her father’s daughter and acts like a normal American teenager. But her mother’s focus is to regain power, to do so, she is working with the CIA.

I liked this book. Laila felt like any fifteen year old girl. The tension of adjusting to life as an American teenager while slowly becoming aware of the the crimes that her family was accused of was absolutely perfect. The end was not what I saw coming, but it felt authentic.

I recommend this book.


That Summer Book Review

Every summer, a list comes out with the summer must reads.

Included in this list is Lauren Willig’s new  novel, That Summer.

Ms. Willig, as she did in the Ashford Affair, intertwines two different time periods.

In 2009, Julia Conley inherits a country house in England from a recently deceased great aunt whom she does not remember.  Her mother died in a car crash when she was young. After all of these years, even when she was raised in the United States, Julia still has nightmares about her mother’s death. In 1849, Imogen Grantham has been married to the much older Arthur Grantham for ten years. Unable to have children of her own and trapped in an unhappy marriage, Imogen treasures the relationship with her now teenage stepdaughter.   Imogen’s world is turned upside down when she has an ill fated affair with the artist whom her husband hired to paint her portrait.

I liked this book, for the most part. What Ms. Willig does very well as a writer (which many writers cannot do) is to travel between two different time periods and two different sets of characters while keeping the narrative engaging and fluid. My only criticism about this book is that the ending came out of nowhere and felt rushed. While I enjoyed this book, I enjoyed The Ashford Affair a little more.

Do I recommend this book? Maybe.

Why The Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Ruling Is Wrong

During the middle of the classic 1980’s tv series, The Cosby show, an episode premiered in which the adult male characters of the show were pregnant.

The Supreme Court yesterday ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby. The ruling states any for profit company who provides their employees health coverage through the Affordable Care Act can claim religious exemption and not include FDA approved contraception under the provided health insurance.

I’ve come to the conclusion that until the day men get pregnant and have to deal with everything that comes with pregnancy, women will be fighting for the right to accessible and reasonably priced birth control. While the plot of The Cosby Show played for laughs, art does not imitate life.

Having a child is a blessing, but let’s face it, it’s not easy, nor it is cheap.

According to CNN last year, a middle class couple who had a child in 2013 will spend $241,080 from the time the child is born up to age 18. That does not include the sky rocketing cost of college and the exorbitant student loan debt that college graduates have to pay off.

Not every woman uses birth control to prevent pregnancies. Some use it to treat medical conditions.  Without the contraceptives covered until the employee health plan, that’s money  that could be going to something else and maybe time away from the office because they are too sick to work.

Salaries are not what they were. Prices are going up. What happens to the mother who cannot afford birth control because her employer does not believe in it? She goes to the government for assistance. Another child, another family dependent on tax dollars for financial support.

The fact that this ruling exists and is now law creates a dangerous precedence. If a employer can claim religious exemption when eliminating birth control from the employee health plan, what else can they deny their employees? The right to deny an employee the right to add personal touches to their work space because they don’t like what they see? The right to turn down an employee’s request to use a personal day for religious observance because the employer and employee do not see eye to eye on religion?

The Hobby Lobby ruling is wrong. No employer has the right to dictate an employee’s beliefs. Period.

Of Blessed Memory

Naftali Frenkel, Eyal Yifrach and and Gilad Schaar were found yesterday.

They did not return to the loving arms of their families.

They were returned in body bags.

The boys were 16 and 19 years old. Naftatli Frenkel was a dual citizen of both Israel and the United States.

They were young boys, no different than any other boys their page. Playing sports, going to school, spending time with the family and friends.

Now they are gone, joining a very long list of those who have been murdered because they are Israeli Jews.

I normally try to keep the topics I write about neutral, but I cannot remain silent on this topic.

These boys did not deserve to die before they saw 20 years of life. But they are dead and those who killed them must face justice.

Baruch dayan haemet


Of blessed memory

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