Friday, March 1, 2019

Review of The Ghost by Danielle Steel

With a wife he loves and an exciting London-based career, architect Charles Waterston's life seems in perfect balance. Nothing in his comfortable existence prepares him for the sudden end to his ten-year marriage—or his unwanted transfer to his firm's New York office. With nothing left to lose, Charlie takes a leave of absence from his job to drive through New England, hoping to make peace with himself.

Leona's Review:I have not read Danielle Steel in a long time and read this as part of one of my challenges on goodreads. Charles has rented a place in Vermont and found a journal written by Sarah in the late 1700s so the book goes back and forth in time.

The problem I had with Charles is he whined to much but all in all I liked this books.

I give it a 5 Star rating because it held my interest and probably a re-read in the future.

Leona Olson>

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Writing Family Stories
Session by Angela Foster
Wyoming, MInnesota Library
Saturday  November 3, 2018

Angela gave some  great ideas on writing about your family history. She jokes by saying someday, someone will pull into your yard with a dumpster and say “Why did Mother save this?”

One needs to take the time to write. Be specific and talk about the memoirs as well as the facts.  Details, details, and details that are big and small. Give the name of the stove in the home, for example. She wore her favorite pink dress or they owned a blue Ford car.

Find things family members have written. Do not worry about grammar, spelling, or hand writing.

Write about how things have changed for you or family members such as computers, communication, transportation, clothes, styles, school, jobs, places lived, pets, etc..

Traditions such as holidays and birthdays are important in a family.

Uses senses when writing: smell, see, hear, taste and feel.

Show and do not tell. Have the reader get a vision in their head.

Angela gave us questions to answer:
Choose a home you lived when you were about 9 years old.  
Stand at the front door. Describe the home.
Do you smell anything?
Stand in kitchen. What was Mother doing?
Where is the table?
Is Father in the room? What is he doing?
Who else is in the room?
Who set the table?
What happens after you eat?
Describe the appliances and name them.
Do you pray before meals? Who leads the prayer?
Where does the heat come in the the home?
What is the source of light?
Anything in house not allowed to touch?
Any room you are afraid to be?
What are sounds in the house?
Write a story about the house in one page.
Walk through the house. Fiction writers so this, Angela said.

We drew small pieces of paper that had prompts and mine was:
What dreams and  goals did you have for your life after high school graduation?

Angela gave us time to write about both projects.

She gave us a list of  86 “Write Your Life Questions”:
These are some of them. I have already added some of my own to the list.

  1. Were you told a stories about the day you were born? What was the weather like? Where did you birth take place? Is there a baby book that lists your visitors or gifts you received?

   7. Did you have a secret place or favorite hiding spot as a child?

   9. Did you have pets as a child? Write about a special pet or a pet you longed for.

   12. Were you ever seriously ill or injured as a child?

    48. What kind of music did you like to listen to? Do you have any favorite albums or       


    54. Describe the first car you ever owned? How did you get it?

    72. If you could go back to any age, what age would it be?

    86. In what moment of you life did you feel most loved?



Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Christmas Star

(Christmas Hope #9)

Donna VanLiere (Goodreads Author)
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Christmas Hope series comes another heartwarming, inspirational story for the holidays.

Thirty-two-year-old Amy Denison volunteers at Glory's Place, an after school program where she meets seven-year-old Maddie, a precocious young girl who has spent her childhood in foster care. Unbeknownst to Amy, Maddie is a mini-matchmaker, with her eye on just the right man for Amy at Grandon Elementary School, where she is a student. Amy is hesitant - she's been hurt before, and isn't sure she's ready to lose her heart again - but an unexpected surprise makes her reconsider her lonely lifestyle.

As Christmas nears and the town is blanketed in snow and beautiful decorations, Maddie and the charming staff at Glory's Place help Amy to see that romance can be more than heartache and broken promises.

In The Christmas Star, Donna VanLiere delivers yet another sweet, joyous story that is sure to capture readers' hearts.

Leona’s Review:
This was a sweet read. I decided to use this word before I saw it in the review.)
The characters are like people that one knows and meets daily.
Gabe Rodriquez take care of the maintenance at the Grandon Elementary school where Maddie attends. She is a seven year old orphan who lives with Linda, her foster mother. She goes to Glory’s Place after school and Linda picks her up after work.
Gabe becomes a volunteer at Glory’s place, mainly because of Maddie.
Amy steps into the picture when she becomes a volunteer at Glory’s place and becomes attached to Maddie.
Maddie has decided that Gabe and Amy would make a nice couple not knowing they were once married.  
Other characters are Miriam, who works at Glory’s Place. Really a character that has a heart but does not always let it show.
A couple who are in love are Lauren and Travis.
A favorite of mine was Ben, the cashier at the grocery store who leaves notes in the bags of the customer’s grocery bags.
One sentence I would have added to the book was when Maddie, Gabe and Amy went to a restaurant,   a prayer would have added so much. Being from West Texas I have seen many families pray at restaurants. Totally my opinion and a thought I had.
This is a heart warming story. Sad as well as happy moments.
I received a complimentary copy of  The Christmas Star by Donna VanLiere.
The opinions are my own
I give it a 5 star rating.
The website for Donna VanLiere is
Facebook is Facebook/donnavanliere
Leona Olson

Monday, July 9, 2018

She Has Her Mother's Laugh by Carl Zimmer

Review of:

She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity

Carl Zimmer (Goodreads Author)

Carl Zimmer presents a history of our understanding of heredity in this sweeping, resonating overview of a force that shaped human society--a force set to shape our future even more radically.

She Has Her Mother's Laugh presents a profoundly original perspective on what we pass along from generation to generation. Charles Darwin played a crucial part in turning heredity into a scientific question, and yet he failed spectacularly to answer it. The birth of genetics in the early 1900s seemed to do precisely that. Gradually, people translated their old notions about heredity into a language of genes. As the technology for studying genes became cheaper, millions of people ordered genetic tests to link themselves to missing parents, to distant ancestors, to ethnic identities. . . .

But, Zimmer writes, "Each of us carries an amalgam of fragments of DNA, stitched together from some of our many ancestors. Each piece has its own ancestry, traveling a different path back through human history. A particular fragment may sometimes be cause for worry, but most of our DNA influences who we are--our appearance, our height, our penchants--in inconceivably subtle ways." Heredity isn't just about genes that pass from parent to child. Heredity continues within our own bodies, as a single cell gives rise to trillions of cells that make up our bodies. We say we inherit genes from our ancestors--using a word that once referred to kingdoms and estates--but we inherit other things that matter as much or more to our lives, from microbes to technologies we use to make life more comfortable. We need a new definition of what heredity is and, through Carl Zimmer's lucid exposition and storytelling, this resounding tour de force delivers it.

Weaving historical and current scientific research, his own experience with his two daughters, and the kind of original reporting expected of one of the world's best science journalists, Zimmer ultimately unpacks urgent bioethical quandaries arising from new biomedical technologies, but also long-standing presumptions about who we really are and what we can pass on to future generations.

Leona's Review:

This was a very interesting read. It is a long book, 574 pages, but an easy read for the average person. For those interested in genealogy research, I think this is a must read.
I received a complimentary copy from to read. The opinions are my own. I give this book a 5 stat rating. I gave my copy to a granddaughter who is in the medical field for neurology.

I am a note taker and so I will what add some I thought are interesting and helpful suggestions for the reader.

PKU  Phenylketonuria is an inherited disorder that can lead to developmental delay, behavior  problems and seizures. page 471
Margaret Mead  page 461 
Homo Sapiens page 467
Homo Erectus page 467
Neandertals page 467
Denisovans page 467
Cumulative culture page 463
Mitochondrial replacement page 517
Human altered environment page 466
Agriculture Revolution page 469
Fetal alcohol page 479
Human germ line engineering page 524
Gene therapy  page 509 replacement
Cloned frog before Dolly  page 544
Arygan race page 498
Blood disorders page 509
3 Parent children  page 514 ooplasm
Macular degeneration  page 277
Twins page 297
Omnigenic page 304
Power of the human brain 
"Failure is common in science"  page 552
Mendel's Law 
Mosaics page 350
Mosaic neurons page 369
Memories store in brain page 431
Thyroid page 390
Research in epigenetics page 436
Burbank potatoes Russet potatoes page 444 
Growth plates
Maryland Iron Mines in 1700s
Scotland study
Captain Cook page 467
Nootka Vancouver Island

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