Thursday, November 9, 2017

Enter to win 52 books

Enter to win 52 Regency & Victorian romances from award-winning and bestselling authors, plus a brand new eReader!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Book review of Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig

Book review of Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig

Crown of Souls (Tox Files #2)
by Ronie Kendig (Goodreads Author)
Six months after stopping a deadly plague, Cole "Tox" Russell and his team are enjoying a little rest. That peace is short-lived when a sniper shot hits Tox. The enemy is discovered to be one of their own, a rogue Special Forces team operator.
Alec King is perhaps the only person as skilled as Tox, and he's out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier.
Afraid his old friend is right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team engage in another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is cheating--he's using a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one.
Leona's Review:
My first read by Ronie Kendig.and was very impressed. I have not yet read the first book of the series but this was a stand alone read.
I became interested  because it had the words "artifact"  and "antiquity" as part of the description of the book. My major in college is archaeology.

This book seemed to have it all. Mystery, military, love, friends, loyalty, enemies, Biblical, secret missions, treasure, history, archaeology and artifacts. 

At the beginning of the book, Tox (Cole Russell) is shot in the shoulder by a sniper and Tox is sure that the person who shot him could have killed him if they intended to do so. He is sure it is his old friend, Alex King.
Tox tries to protect his girlfriend, Haven, from the beginning.  Haven and her brother, Ram, join with others on the adventure journey that takes the reader to many places from Virginia Beach, Virginia; Arlington, Virginia, Stuttgart, Germany; Pentagon, Virginia; Jerusalem, Israel; Washington, D.C.; Russell Estate, Maryland; CIA Headquarters, Fairfax County, Virginia; Chesapeake Bay, Maryland; Reston, Virginia; El Gorah, Egypt; A Village in Egypt; Somewhere Over the Mediterranean; Baghdad, Iraq; FOB Stryker, Baghdad, Iraq; Nimruz Province, Afghanistan; Undisclosed Location; Nimrud, Iraq (ancient Kalhu); Israel; SAARC JET (308); Qal'at Sherqat, Iraq; Somewhere Over Iraq; Outside Mosul, Iraq; Outside Nimrud, Iraq; National Museum of Iraq, Baghdad, Iraq; Outskirts of Mosul, Iraq; Airstrip Outside London; SAARC Headquarters, Northern Virginia; Unknown Location; Somewhere Over the Middle East and ends on Day 33. Many places are revisited.
It also takes us back in time to 1170 AD in Syria, 1172 AD in Syria, 1173 AD in Syria, 1178 AD to Acre, Israel, 1178 AD to  Tveria, Israel, 1180 AD Somewhere in Syria and 1187 Tveria, Israel.

Crown of Souls is a real page turner. I received a complimentary copy from Ronie Kendig and Bethany House Books to read and review it I chose to do so. The opinions are my own. 

I give this a 5 star rating and it is a book I would re-read.

Ronie Kendig may be found at, and also

Leona Olson

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Review of Southern Comfort by Fern Michaels

Southern Comfort by Fern Michaels
Atlanta homicide detective Patrick 'Tick' Kelly turned his back on the world the day his wife and children were murdered. Abandoning his city and his career, he holed up in a beach house on Mango Key, Florida, and drowned his grief in Jack Daniels. Now sober and a bestselling author, Tick would gladly stay a recluse forever if his brother Pete didn't keep trying to drag him back to the land of the living. After years of sacrificing her personal life in favour of her DEA job, special agent Kate Rush resigned and moved back to her native Miami. But the unofficial assignment that has just come her way is too intriguing to pass up. She and a fellow ex-agent are relocated to Mango Key to keep an eye on an imposing, mysterious fortress believed to be at the centre of a human trafficking ring. At first, the Kelly brothers are suspected of involvement, but Kate is sure Tick poses no danger - except for the slow-burning gaze that makes her breath catch and her heart race. Tick finds himself fascinated by Kate's investigation - and by her inviting mix of courage and kindness. Teaming up, they uncover a web of betrayal, blackmail, and ruthless greed. And as danger mounts, Tick realizes how far he'll go to protect the rare and surprising gift that's come his way: a second chance at a happy ending.

Leona's Review:
This is my first read by Fern Michaels. I had the book on my bookshelf and decided to read something by a new author to me.
The beginning of the book has the murders of Tick's family and I almost did not want to read the rest of the book. I am glad I continued.
Patrick is called Tick throughout the book.
Tick and his brother have not seen each other for eight years. Pete did not know about the death of Tick's family.
Two former DEA agents are helping a fellow agent to find out what is happening at Mango Key. The two women agents are Kate Rush and Sandra Martin who are friends.
Another main character is the Governor's son, Lawrence Tyler who also works for the DEA. He is hated by both of the women as well as other staff. Lawrence keeps getting phone calls from someone who seems to know his every move. He is being blackmailed by a male with a familiar voice.
One character is Bird, a parrot with a colorful language.
One thing I did not like about the book is the a** word which was used way, way too much.  The "f" word is also used but not as much.
It was a fast moving book and kept my attention so I will give it a 4 star rating.
Fern Michaels may be found at
Leona Olson

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Book Review of The Man His Father Was by Pat Leonard

The Man His Father Was
From the back of the book:
Puritan neighbors whose morals they did not share. Finally driven from Massachusetts by way of the notorious Salem courthouse, and hastened by the bloodiest conflict on American soil, they arrived in what seemed to be a paradise by comparison – only to discover they had traded persecution for political anarchy.
Spanning 139 years – from the original settlements in New England through the crisis of the American Revolution – The Man His Father Was brings to life some of early America’s most memorable events and noteworthy personalities. With documented appearances by both the famous and infamous – including colonial patriarchs, military leaders, Indian sachems, inventors, murderers, itinerant preachers, healers, educators, and a brilliant and beautiful poetess whose sparkling works have only recently been rediscovered – this is a rags-to-riches-to-rags epic that demolishes the notion that our forefathers were uniformly pious and cheerless.
And most of the story is true.
Leona's Review:
This book is fiction but based on real characters of American History.  Pat Leonard has really brought the past into a personal story for the reader  .
The book begins in New Jersey in 1695 in Massachusetts and ends in Pennsylvania in 1863. It is divided into four sections with a Leonard giving the story in first person.
There is a map in the front of the book as well as the family tree of the Leonard family.  A list of some historical figures are also on the page with dates of the births and deaths of the people.

There are some illustrations: The Furnace and Forge at the Saugus Ironworks, The Keith Line 1687 Map by John P. Snyder, The fort at Loyalhanna (Ft. Ligonler) and Soldiers' huts at Jockey Hollows, Massachusetts, Nassau Hall, Gloria Dei (Old Swedes) Church, Philadelphia and Margaret Leonard's Headstone, Princeton Cemetery.
What a good book to read for anyone interested in the history of America. Book One is Samuel, Book Two is James, Book Three is Infant-John and the last section is John Jr.
Many historical figures such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Aaron Burr. I did not know many of the characters that helped make our country. Annis Boudinot Stockton and her husband, Richard. Richard was one of the signers of The Declaration of Independence and Annis was an American poet and one of the first women to be published in the Thirteen Colonies.
These were harsh days for the Leonard families as well as good days. It gets very emotional as we read of the struggles of everyday life and the fight for the freedom of America.
I do genealogy for my family tree. The Man His Father Was is one of the best examples of a family history that I have ever read.The book is written as a novel but I felt it put the reader in the time period and was involved in the personal lives of the Leonard families.
The book is dedicated to Sam.
A wonderful book for a gift for your family or anyone you know interested in  the history of America. 
I received a signed compliment copy of The Man His Father Was from and the author, Pat Leonard.
I definitely give this book a 5 star rating. The opinions are my own.
Leona Olson

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Book Review of The Corpse Wore Tartan by Kaitlyn Dunnett

 Book review of The Corpse Wore Tartan by Kaitlyn Dunnett,
A Liss MacCrimmon Scottish Mystery


Can there be such a thing as too many men in kilts? Normally Liss MacCrimmon, proprietor of Moosetookalook, Maine’s one and only Scottish Emporium, would say no. But that’s before one of them turns out to be murderous…

The bagpipes are blaring at Moosetookalook’s finest hotel, reopened just in time to host an annual celebration of Scotland’s most beloved poet. But when the Scottish Heritage Appreciation Society arrives on the scene, they bring more than a hunger for haggis and a passion for plaid. The quarrelsome group harbors their share of long held grudges, and the animosity only grows as the whiskey flows. Then a fierce blizzard hits, trapping everyone—angry Scotsmen, hapless hotel staff, and Liss herself—indoors.

It isn’t long before a body is discovered face down in a storage room, covered in tartan—and blood. Now Liss will have to work fast to solve this crime before another body goes as cold as the snowstorm keeping her cooped up with a killer.
Leona's Review:

There is a group called the Scottish Heritage Appreciation Society (SHAS) holding a conference at The Spruces Hotel, named for the beautiful trees. Liss MacCrimmon is the part owner of the Moosetookalook Scottish Emporium. 

The first crime is the report of a stolen brooch that was taken from the room of Phil MacMillan. The second is the death of one of the members of the group.
Phil has a twin, Phineas, and a wife Eunice. Some other characters are Joe Ruskin, the owner of the hotel, Sherri from the police, Harvey MacHenry and Richardson Bruce who are members of SHAS.

There is some romance in the book with Liss and Dan Ruskin who is the son of the owner of The Spruces.

To make matters worse, there is a snow storm that cuts the electricity and the people in the hotel are stranded. 

This is my first read of the series of these books. They are Kilt Dead, Scone Cold Dead, A Wee Christmas Homicide and The Corpse Wore Tartan. The author became interested in Scottish heritage after her husband began to play the bagpipes. 

I have to give this a 3.5 star rating. Not a 4 star rating but also not a 3 star rating. I wish there had been more information about the Scottish heritage and customs.  I also wish there had not been so much fighting among the members of the group. The book did keep the reader guessing. The book could be read as a stand alone but I think it would help to have read the other books in the series.
The opinions are my own.

I won this book from the author and from  Kaitlyn Dunnett signed the book and that was a nice thought.

Kaitlyn Dunnett may be found at 

Leona Olson

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Book Review of A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

Enlarge cover


A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England #1)

Edwardian Romance and History Gains a Twist of Suspense

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family's history, their very name?

Peter Holstein, given his family's German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered.

But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors' scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he's more than his name?
Leona's Review:
I have enjoyed Roseanna White's books and A Name Unknown was no exception.
When Rosemary is offered a lot of money from Mr. V to find information that Peter Holstein is not loyal to England. She knows this amount of money could help her "family" of street thieves find a real home and a place the young children could go to school. Peter's family is German and this is the beginning of talk of a war with Germany in 1914.
She pretends to be a librarian that will organize Peter's vast collection of books and is hired for the job.
Unknown to her, Peter is an author under another name. She wonders what he is doing daily at his typewriter.
The author has named a number of books in Peter's collection which includes Melville's Moby Dick. Rosemary was not impressed about a book which is about a whale so she chose a book that was written by Peter in his pen name not knowing he was the author.
A young girl in Rosemary's "family" was badly injured when she is pushed into the road and a horse drawn carriage hits and seriously injures her.
Peter is very religious and throughout the book the reader will see references to God and Jesus. Rosemary asks Peter if he will pray for Olivia as she said "Perhaps God will listen to you" and the meaning being "because he never listens to me."
Historical names such as Queen Victoria, King George, Prince Edward, Winston Churchill, Conan Doyle and Martin Luther are in the book. This book had many historical facts and for those who want to learn something of the hardships of the poor, the problem with having a German name in pre-war times and friendship this is a good read that is full of mystery and a lot of history.
It is a clean Christian book.
I received a complimentary copy of A Name Unknown from Bethany House. The opinions are my own.
It gets a 5 star rating.
The reader may find Roseanna M. White at
Leona Olson

Monday, July 24, 2017

Book Review of Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley

Review of Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley

Justice Buried (Memphis Cold Case #2)
by Patricia Bradley (Goodreads Author)


In an effort to get her security consulting business off the ground, Kelsey Allen has been spending a lot of time up in the air, rappelling down buildings and climbing through windows to show business owners their vulnerabilities to thieves. When she is hired to pose as a conservator at the Pink Palace Museum in order to test their security weaknesses after some artifacts go missing, she's ecstatic. But when her investigative focus turns from theft to murder, Kelsey knows she's out of her league--and possibly in the cross hairs. When blast-from-the-past Detective Brad Hollister is called in to investigate, Kelsey may find that he's the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart.

Crackling with romantic tension and laced with intrigue, this suspenseful story from award-winning author Patricia Bradley will keep readers guessing--and looking over their shoulders.
Leona's Review:
This book had me from the beginning. There is a mystery of why artifacts have disappeared from the Pink Palace Museum in Memphis. The museum is expecting an Egyptian death mask and Kelsey Allen has been hired by Rutherford Security to find the security leak. The curator is on maternity leave and Kelsey fills her spot.
A  murder occurs so there is more to the story than the missing pieces from the museum. Also a box of bones are delivered to the museum.
She finds she is working with Brad Hollister of the Memphis Police Department; they know each other. Brad is in the cold case division at this time.
Another mystery is the disappearance of Kelsey's father at the same time some artifacts disappeared.
Kelsey uses her talent as an expert rock climber as part of her investigations. This really added to the story and excitement.
There is plenty of mystery and characters so the reader has to try to figure out who is doing what.
It is a clean Christian romance. Dedicated to "To our heroes in blue who put their lives on the line 24/7 to keep us safe and to their families."
Acknowledgements to "As always, to God, who gives me the words"  She also acknowledges her friends and family, her editors, her agent, the art, editorial, marketing and sales teams, Sgt. Joe Stark of the MPD, and the wonderful women at the Pink Palace Museum and to her awesome readers. "  Patricia Bradley did put names of people in the acknowledgements but I did not add them.
I received a complimentary copy from LibraryThing and the author, Patricia Bradley. The copy is an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) and was not the final text. I could not find any typos and felt this was great as it is written. I give it a 5 star rating and look forward to other books by Patricia Bradley.
Patricia Bradley may be found at
Leona Olson

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Book review of Egypt's Sister by Angela Hunt

 Book review of Egypt's Sister by Angela Hunt. 
Egypt's Sister (The Silent Years #1)
Five decades before the birth of Christ, Chava, daughter of the royal tutor, grows up with Urbi, a princess in Alexandria's royal palace. When Urbi becomes Queen Cleopatra, Chava vows to be a faithful friend no matter what--but after she and Cleopatra have an argument, she finds herself imprisoned and sold into slavery.

Torn from her family, her community, and her elevated place in Alexandrian society, Chava finds herself cast off and alone in Rome. Forced to learn difficult lessons, she struggles to trust a promise HaShem has given her. After experiencing the best and worst of Roman society, Chava must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God's will for her life.
Paperback, 379 pages
Published July 4th 2017 by Bethany House
0764219324 (ISBN13: 9780764219320)
From the back of the book:
Raised together in the Alexandrian palace, Chava, the Hebrew daughter of the royal tutor, and Urbi, an Egyptian princess, become as close as sisters- and rivals with their dreams of greatness. When Urbi unexpectedly ascends the throne as Queen Cleopatra, Chava believes their bond is strong enough to survive, But absolute power has a way of changing everything.
The ultimate betrayal rips Chava from everything she's ever known and sends her to the lowest rung of Roman society where she must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God's will for her life, if she hopes to rise again.
Leona's Review:
This book will take the reader into the historical time of Queen Cleopatra, the Romans and Egypt. 
This is the first book I have read by Angela Hunt and was very impressed. The book is in the first person spoken by Chava.
The book begins with a close friendship of Chava and Urbi, the future Queen Cleopatra. Their bond is so close that Urbi cuts the palm of Chava and herself and says "Forever friends" and also says "you are blood of my blood, and heart of my heart" which is repeated by Chava.
Chava has been told by HaShem, God, she will be with the queen when she is happiest and at the end.
The friendship does not last after Chava angers the queen and she and her father are put into prison. They are separated and Chava is sold as a slave.
Chava begins a new life as a slave and the reader follows her and how she matures. Chava says at one point in her life "Now, older and wiser, I understood how life could change in a moment."
This book is full of historical names and places even though it is historical fiction. It is one of the few I have read that has written of the twins and other son Cleopatra had besides Caesarion.
The reader will find some historical names that include Cleopatra, Antony, Caesar, Achillas, King Auletes, Octavian, Octavia and Herod.
Historical places such as Egypt, Alexandria, the Library of Alexandria, Cyprus, Rome and Africa. I wish there had been a map of the areas. I know most readers are familiar but in historical books like this one, I personally like a map.
Languages Chava spoke are Aramaic, Hebrew, Latin and Greek.
Some portions describe the harsh lives of slaves but the author does not dwell on it. No bad language.
There are discussions at the end of the story. One question is " How much did you know about Cleopatra before reading this story? Did anything surprise you?"
I received a complimentary copy of Egypt's Sister by Angela Hunt from the author and Bethany House Publishers. The opinions are my own.
Egypt's Sister will get a 5 star rating from me and I look forward to the future books of the series.
Angela Hunt may be found at
Leona Olson

Friday, July 21, 2017


Flying Conquistadors

It's hard work, but it's better than working at the hardware store--and maybe it's his ticket to a life of adventure.
When Pan Am's owner recruits Charles Lindbergh, it seems like a dream come true for Oliver. He finds himself working alongside one of his idols, the kind of man he always dreamed of being. But Oliver soon learns Lindbergh is uncomfortable with fame, and struggling with the adoration that greets him wherever he goes.
A promotional trip takes the Pan Am team to Mexico over Mayan ruins. At the fabled site of Chichen Itza, Oliver encounters Carnegie Institution archaeologists working to restore the ancient city, and meets an artist who begins to steal his heart. But what starts out as a mission to bring attention to the fledgling aviation company soon turns perilous, threatening the safety of Oliver and his companions.
Leona's Review:
I received a complimentary copy of Flying Conquistadors from the author, Michael Scott Bertrand.
In the beginning of the book: "To the reader: This is a work of fiction. Several characters in this work of fiction are based on real people. I have put words into the mouths of these characters that the real people did not say."  The reader should remember this as they read the book.
Michael Scott Bertrand takes the reader on quite an adventure.
The adventure takes us on Pam Am Airlines and to the ruins of Mexico. It starts with the beginning of Pan Am as a mail plane and then accepts passengers. Oliver Wheelock begins as an all around helper. The owner, Mr. Priester is Dutch. The author made him a special character and I really like him and how he spoke. Charles Lindbergh is the hero of Oliver and later the reader will find Ernest Hemingway as part of the book.  I also like Oliver's mother. I think she said what most mother say when worried about their child. She was from South Carolina so you will see the "Bless Your Heart" saying.
I have studied the Maya and their culture and this book takes the reader to the ruins. The author has certainly been to the ruins. He also has a lot of knowledge about airplanes.
The Carnegie Foundation is involved in archaeology at the ruins. They had a facility in Key West, Florida.
The character of Charles Lindbergh drinks a lot of Coca-cola, I could not find that information anywhere on the Internet but I will take the word of the writer. He is a quiet man who does not care for all the attention.
Most of the ruins I knew but the author lost me about page 350 when I thought they were at the ruins at El Tajin in Veracruz. When I re-read the book, I will probably figure out which ruins.
I found the description on the planes were interesting. Main rule was safety, safety, safety. Plane references were leather jacket, goggles, retractable wheels, fuel amount left, clipper and Pan American Airway Systems.
Many references to the ruins of Mexico and Central America are cenote (sinkhole), Chichen Itza, Tikal, Merida, sacbe (sacred road), stelae, thatched roofs, Mayan, Moctecuhzoma, ball court, pyramid, Solstice, hard to climb steps because so steep, Yucatan, paintings on walls, Tulum and more.
Frederick Catherwood is mentioned in the book. Catherwood and John Lloyd Stephen were in the Yucatan of Mexico together. Catherwood was an artist and his drawings  are in the book. Read the book, Incidents of Travel in the Yucatan for more information. I have it and found it very interesting.
The reader will find the name of Montezuma spelled Motecuhzoma which is Nahuatl, language of the Aztec. The author also spells it Moctezuma.
 I will still give it a 5 star rating.
Find Michael Scott Bertrand at
Leona Olson

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Book review of The Lightkeeper's Daughters by Jean. E. Pendziwol
From the back of the book:
Though her mind is still sharp, Elizabeth's eyes have failed. No longer able to linger over her beloved books or gaze at the paintings that move her spirit, she fills the void with music and memories of her family—a past that suddenly becomes all too present when her late father's journals are found amid the ruins of an old shipwreck.

With the help of Morgan, a delinquent teenager performing community service, Elizabeth goes through the diaries, a journey through time that brings the two women closer together. Entry by entry, these unlikely friends are drawn deep into a world far removed from their own—to Porphyry Island on Lake Superior, where Elizabeth’s father manned the lighthouse seventy years before.

As the words on these musty pages come alive, Elizabeth and Morgan begin to realize that their fates are connected to the isolated island in ways they never dreamed. While the discovery of Morgan's connection sheds light onto her own family mysteries, the faded pages of the journals hold more questions than answers for Elizabeth, and threaten the very core of who she is.
Expected publication: July 4th 2017 by Harper Collins.
0062572032 (ISBN13: 9780062572035)
Leona's Review:
This is my first read by Jean E. Pendziwol. I received a complimentary copy to read and review from the author.
Morgan was caught spraying graffiti and was to sent to a senior citizen home for community service. Her first project was to paint a fence.
Morgan met Elizabeth and they became connected by Morgan reading the journals of Elizabeth's father since Elizabeth is blind.
Elizabeth begins to tell Morgan the story about the life and her family at the Porphry Point Lighthouse. There are chapters that take the reader into Canada on Lake Superior. This is a book of fiction but has many historical places. Some are Trowbrige Island, Port Arthur, Sleeping Giant Island and Pie Island in Ontario. 
What a read this is about a mystery of a family. When Elizabeth was telling her family history, I had a hard time putting down the book.
Elizabeth and Emily are twins. Emily does not talk but has a special talent of drawing and connecting with nature. Elizabeth takes care of her sister and understands her.
I have to say I absolutely did not like the language used by Morgan. I have problems reading books with the f word and the a** word.
World War ll is part of the history of the book. The brothers of Elizabeth, Peter and Charlie, are in the war.
Some of my notes that I took are the garden, collecting gull eggs on Hardscrabble Island, World War ll, shipwrecks, maintaining the lighthouse, a found wooden cross, Fibber McGee and Molly, winter, storms, collecting plants, dragonflies, Canada Dominion Day, Great Depression and foster homes for Morgan.
The assistant lightkeeper, David Fletcher, brought gifts for Elizabeth and Emily. Books for Elizabeth and paints for Emily.
The Lightkeeper's Daughters left me interested until the end and I was very surprised at the many turns in the book.
I am giving it a 5 star read even though I did not like some of the language. It is a good read.
The opinions are my own.
Jean E. Pendziwol may be found at, @JeanPendziwol and
Leona Olson

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Mezcal Rush: Explorations in Agave Country
In pursuit of the story behind a beguiling drink, Granville Greene embarks on a journey through remote Mexican highlands to learn about the history, cultures, and traditions surrounding mezcal. In recent years the smoky flavored agave distillate has become a craft cocktail darling, rivaling even its better-known cousin tequila, and it can sell for over $100 a bottle in the U.S.

But unlike most high-end spirits, mezcals are typically produced by and for subsistence farming communities, where distillers have been swept up in a hot new trend in which they have very little voice. Greene visits indigenous villages in Oaxaca and Guerrero states, meeting maestros mezcaleros who create their signature smallbatch drinks using local plants and artisanal production methods honed through generations of mezcal-making families.

As Greene details the sights, smells, and intoxicating flavors of Mexico, he turns his eye to the broader context of impoverished villages in a changing economic and political landscape. He explores the gold-rush style surge of micro-distilled mezcals as luxury exports, and the consequent overharvesting that threatens the diversity of wild agaves, as he finds the oldest distilled spirit in the Americas at a crossroads.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 14th 2017 by Counterpoint  
1619028441 (ISBN13: 9781619028449)
Leona's Review:
This was a very interesting book that covers the people, the plants, the making of mezcal, procedures, and some political points.
I learned there are so many types of mezcal and they come from the personalities of the growers and the areas they live. Not all of them are smoky as many people think. There are different types of mezcal.  There are many different flavors and aromas and water plays an important part in the production of the mezcal.
Mezcal is used as a ceremonial drink for marriages, baptisms and first communions. It is used for medicinal purposes such as rubbing on sick children, intestinal problems, bone pains and by women after childbirth.
Men interviewed for the book says mezcal is not for getting drunk.
The Ford Motor Company partnered with Jose Cuervo to use leftover agave plant fibers for bioplastic car parts in 2016.
I took many notes from the book:
Maple syrup, rice, honey, water, comals, food, families, water streams, warm orange soda, old cars, no gas pumps so they got gas in a plastic jug, smelled butter, boiled rabbit, huipils, agave Goddess Nayahuel, Day of the Dead, Columbusing (find something not new), brand names, George Clooney, embroidered cloths, the sculptor Francisco Toledo, Chef Alejandro Ruiz Olmedo, social networking, saints on dashboards, history of mezcal, one book said all tasted the same but Granville Greene disagrees, daddy long legs, individual techniques, Lighting Nectar from the gods and burros.
I have studied the Maya so many places were familiar to me. I added the daddy long legs as I have seen many in my home state of Texas.
There is a glossary at the end of the book as well as Cited Books.
I won a complimentary copy of The Mezcal Rush from The opinions are my own.
I give it a five star rating and I think all bars who serve mezcal should read it. No recipes but it pulls the reader into the people and the making of the mezcal.
"Has a bit of spirit from one who makes it" page 179
Leona Olson

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Trouble Purse Sued (St. Polycarp Mystery Book 4)
After an unfortunate turn of events at St. Polycarp, Mrs. Johnson has been appointed as the interim principal of the school. At first the thought of being the principal was exciting, but the reality of dealing with a budget that didn't begin to cover the school's expenses, demanding parents, a clique of disrespectful teachers and recalcitrant students had wrung every bit of patience and good humor from her psyche.

The prospect that her role might become permanent deeped her anxiety but then she learned that she might end up with no job at all. Apparently the archdiocese was deciding whether to close St. Polycarp for good. It seemed that fund-raising was going to be critical—thousands of dollars—and she didn't think that the children's sales of chocolate bars was going to keep St. Polycarp's doors open.

That's why when Mrs. Hopwood, her best friend and sleuthing partner in solving a series of unfortunate—murderous events—offers to donate some vintage clothing and accessories she recently inherited from her aunt Eunice to raise money for the school, Mrs. Johnson agrees.

The catch—a fashion show with students as the models—flyers, catalogues, online bids—another grand scheme hatched by Mrs. Hopwood that only gives Mrs. Johnson a bigger migraine and in true St. Polycarp fashion spurs a series of unfortunate events.
Leona's Review:
This is my first read by Marianna Heusler. I received a complimentary copy from the author to read and review.
It took me awhile  to get into the book with so many characters and problems. This is a dark cozy mystery.
The main characters are two who work at St. Polycarp Catholic School, Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Hopwood. There is Tracy, a lady who fell on bad times after her husband is murdered. We have the student, Melissa Ortiz, whose father is about to be released from prison for a murder he said he did not commit. Other characters make a long line-up.
The school is falling on hard times and will close unless they can raise some money. Mrs. Hopwood's aunt died and as Mrs. Hopwood was cleaning out the attic, she found some vintage clothes. They decided to hold a sale and fashion show to raise the money.
There are a number of murders and lots of mystery; I will say that the end surprised me.
Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Hopwood got irritated with each other quite a bit and I finally told myself to think of them as sisters who argue but still are the best of friends. Also the title was not very clear to me, so when I repeated it three times, it made sense to me.
I want to give it a 3.75 star. Not quite a 4 star but certainly not a 3 star. The opinions are my own.
I will read the other books in the series even though this was a stand alone read.
Find Marianna Heusler at:
Her fashion blog is
She is a author.
Marianna has also written for Woman's World Magazine.
Leona Olson

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Book Review of Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

Book Review of Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton
Curious Minds (Knight and Moon #1)

Emerson Knight is introverted, eccentric, and has little to no sense of social etiquette. Good thing he’s also brilliant, rich, and (some people might say) handsome, or he’d probably be homeless. Riley Moon has just graduated from Harvard Business and Harvard Law. Her aggressive Texas spitfire attitude has helped her land her dream job as a junior analyst with mega-bank Blane-Grunwald. At least Riley Moon thought it was her dream job, until she is given her first assignment: babysitting Emerson Knight.

What starts off as an inquiry about missing bank funds in the Knight account leads to inquiries about a missing man, missing gold, and a life-and-death race across the country. Through the streets of Washington, D.C., and down into the underground vault of the Federal Reserve in New York City, an evil plan is exposed. A plan so sinister that only a megalomaniac could think it up, and only the unlikely duo of the irrepressibly charming Emerson Knight and the tenacious Riley Moon can stop it.
Leona's Review:
This is my first read by Janet Evanovich and a book I enjoyed. I have some of her books on my bookshelf I have purchased but not yet read.
We have two characters that are meant to be together. Emerson Knight is one the reader needs to roll their eyes and shake their head at him. Good thing there is Riley Moon who has some common sense but not as creative. I do not want to forget Emerson's Aunt Myra who I think should be in all the following series and more active.
The author sounds like she has been in the vault of the Federal Reserve with her descriptions. The book is a fast read and easy to follow. There is a place known as Area 51 and also Groom Lake in the book which are real places.
If you want some adventure with only a couple of "bad" words, this is a great read. I though of it as a James Bond, because some things were not real, Nancy Dew ( I am dating myself) because of the way the snuck into places and a Hallmark Mystery Movie. The secret door was also a Nancy Drew as far as I was concerned.  I loved Riley being from Texas, which is my home state. Her father is a retired police office so it would also be great to see him in a future book.

Some of my favorite sentences in the book are: "You really are self-destructive, you know that?" Riley said to Emerson's back as he headed down a corridor.  "Not at all," Emerson said. "I'm inquisitive  and I'm being proactive. You should be pleased that I'm assuming a leadership role. I'm very suited for it. My  analytic abilities and sensory instincts are superior."  (Riley responds ) "You are so annoying."

I won a complimentary copy from LibraryThing. The opinions are my own. I give this a 4 star +.

Leona Olson
Janet Evanovich may be found at, Evanovich, Twitter @Janet Evanovich.
Phoef Sutton may be found at,, Twitter @phoefSutton