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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.
 
ISBN
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 www.jeanpendziwol.com, @JeanPendziwol and facebook.com/JeanE.Pendziwol.
 
Leona Olson
http:www.mnleona.blogspot.com
 
 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

  
The Mezcal Rush: Explorations in Agave Country
From goodreads.com:
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  
ISBN
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 Goodreads.com. 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)
 
From goodreads.com: 
 
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 mariannaheusler.typepad.com
She is a goodreads.com 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
 
 
From goodreads.com:
 
Curious Minds (Knight and Moon #1)
by
 

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
http://www.mnleona.blogspot.com
 
 
Janet Evanovich may be found at evanovich.com, Facebook.com/Janet Evanovich, Twitter @Janet Evanovich.
Phoef Sutton may be found at phoefsutton.com, Facebook.com/PhoefSuttonWriter, Twitter @phoefSutton


Friday, March 31, 2017


   
 

Review of The Art of Beatrix Potter: Sketches, Paintings, and Illustrations by Emily Zach

From goodreads.com:

The Art of Beatrix Potter: Sketches, Paintings, and Illustrations by Emily Zach

Published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter's birth, this magnificent collection celebrates the artist behind The Tale of Peter Rabbit and numerous other beloved children's books. Brimming with famous images and rarely seen gems—ranging from character sketches and notebook pages to watercolor landscapes and natural history illustrations—this monograph explores Potter's artistic process and reveals the places that inspired her timeless work. Organized geographically and featuring more than 200 images from the artist's oeuvre, The Art of Beatrix Potter includes illuminating essays by Potter scholar Linda Lear, illustration historian Steven Heller, and children's book illustrator Eleanor Taylor. It is the definitive volume on one of the world's most influential authors, a woman whose artistry, until now, has not been fully celebrated.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published November 22nd 2016 by Chronicle Books
ISBN145215127X (ISBN13: 9781452151274)


Leona's review:

This is a beautiful, hardcover, coffee table book. The drawings takes one to English gardens, and I loved the drawings of the animals and small creatures. Page 194 has "Studies of Kep, the collie". c1907, done in pencil and watercolor. The mouse, page 79 is really cute. There are landscapes as well as indoor and outdoor scenes. There are drawings of plants as well as archaeological tools and bones. (page 127)


I did not know Beatrix Potter was an artist as well as an author. Her books have  been read and cherished for many years.  I personally think of Peter Rabbit and Mr. McGregor when I think of Beatrix Potter. A wonderful book about a woman, her life and her talents.

From page 154. The next page is the art of the gardens done in pencil, pen-and-ink, sepia ink and watercolor. The colors are soft with some red flowers that stand out. There is a garden gate and a pathway with the cat sleeping.

"The Garden at Fawe Park, with visiting cat, unused background for The of Benjamin Bunny, 1903.
In August, the Potter family spent another summer on Derwentwater at Fawe Park, a less formal estate neighboring Lingholm, but still an easy trip to the shores of the lake. The large house was beautiful and comfortable, and Potter was taken by its gardens. With formal flowerbeds and landscaping bordering three sides of the house, the estate also contained orchards and productive kitchen gardens down the hillside toward the lake. Potter gathered her watercolors  and sketches in the Derwentwater sketchbook she had begun, preparing the setting for her next "rabbit book".
Using the Fawe Park gardens for Mr. McGregor's garden in this sequel to The Tale of Peter Rabbit, she portrays Peter and his cousin Benjamin Bunny setting out, while Mr. and Mrs. McGregor went away, to rescue Peter's clothes from the scarecrow that now wears his blue jacket and slippers. That task complete, the two decide to take a present of onions back to old Mrs. Rabbit, but they are soon trapped under a basket by an unknowing cat. The rescuers become the rescued as old Mr. Benjamin Bunny comes upon them and chases the cat away. The naughty bunnies are given a whipping but old Mrs. Rabbit forgives Peter when she sees he has brought back his shoes and coat, as well as the gift of  the onions, which she strings up with her herbs and "rabbit-tobacco".(lavender)"
Contents:
Foreword: Beatrix Potter's Artistic Spell by Steven Heller    page 6
Introduction: Observation and Imagination by Linda Lear  page 8
A Sense of Place: The Art and geography of Beatrix Potter page 11
Part One: Becoming Beatrix Potter page 17
Part Two: London and the South  Coast page 57
Part Three: Scotland page 93
part Four: The Lake District page 137
part Five: Wales and Beyond page 221
Afterword: An Illustrator's World by Elizabeth Taylor page 240
                 Acknowledgments page 242
                 Bibliography page 243
                 Image Credits  page 245
                 Index page 250
I won a complimentary copy of The Art of Beatrix Potter from LibraryThing and Chronicle Books. The opinions are my own.
I give it a 5 star plus. It really is a beautiful book.
Easter is coming and this would make an excellent book, along with the Peter Rabbit books for the Easter basket for a child or an adult. A gift like this can be read and re-read for many years.
It can also a gift for yourself or someone in your life on any occasion.
Leona Olson
http://www.mnleona.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review of Bayou Wolf by Debbie Herbert

  

Bayou Wolf by Debbie Herbert

From the back of the book.
The taming of the shrew… 
Tallulah Silver is tough. She has to be—because she's the Choctaw tribe's only female shadow hunter, and because she doesn't know how else to survive the loss that almost destroyed her. Payton Rodgers has devoted his life to protecting his pack. But when mauled bodies start to pile up in the bayou, Payton begins to wonder if Tallulah might be right about werewolves deserving the blame. As darkness gathers around them, Tallulah will have to decide if she can risk opening herself up to love again. And Payton will have to determine where his true loyalties lie.

Leona's Review:
First, I will say I am not usually into these types of books but this was a winner.  It was a stand alone book even though are previous books in this series. I will have to read the other books. They are Bayou Shadow Hunter and Bayou Shadow Protector.
Tallulah Silver was a very feisty woman (sorry, Debbie. I used this word and then re-read your opening statement to the readers. I still will use it).  I liked her as a main character and also Payton Rodgers.  Payton and his crew are lumberjacks and were hired to clear trees at Bayou La Siryna, Alabama; Tallulah is trying to protect the trees. She becomes a problem to Payton right away.
Tallulah is a shadow hunter and Payton is the leader of the pack of werewolves.
This is a supernatural book with werewolves, deaths, some customs and legends of the Choctaw and romance.
I received a complimentary copy from the author, Debbie Herbert. The opinions are my own.
I will give Bayou Wolf a 5 star rating and its definitely a re-read for me.
Debbie Herbert is a goodreads.com author.
Leona Olson
http:www.mnleona.blogspot.com




Sunday, March 19, 2017

Review of Silent Night Man by Diana Palmer

  
 
 
 
Book review of Silent Night Man by Diana Palmer.
 
From goodreads.com:

Silent Night Man by Diana Palmer

This Christmas, New York Times bestselling author Diana Palmer revisits a tale of danger and true love under the mistletoe…What does Millie Evans want in her stocking for Christmas? Just one thing…to feel safe. Even though her stalker is dead, he arranged for a hit man to kill her. Now the special government agent Millie has loved from afar for years has vowed to protect her. The man of her dreams seems finally within her grasp… In order to keep Millie safe, Tony Danzetta moves the prim librarian into his home. He insists on keeping her in sight 24/7, but their proximity causes Tony to question what he really wants for the holidays. Can the agent resign himself to keeping Millie at arm's length—or can their secret connection blossom into a real happily-ever-after?
 
Leona's Review:
This is a re-read of Silent Night Man for me. It is a fast read, only 120 pages, and so things move quickly. I wanted to re-read so I could do a review.
Tony has Millie move into his place so he can protect her. His friend, John, had been a stalker of Millie, unknown to Tony. He had originally blamed her for the suicide death of John. Now, he knew there was a death contract out for Millie and she needed protection.
Millie had worked with the foster mother of Tony and knew a lot of Tony, but not the whole story of his youth. She had been in love with him for years and he had no interest.
There is some sexual content but very little. No bad language.
I loved the ending of the book. 
I am giving this a 4 star rating as I liked the book.
 
Diana Palmer may be found at  http://www.dianapalmer.com/
 
Leona Olson
 
 
 
 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Life into Mist by Haidji

Life into Mist by Haidji
 
From the back of the book:
 
Life into Mist is a story about life, love, pain and wishes.
...that creates images in a reader's mind, as would each word
be a brushstroke inside the paintings of your imagination.
 
Leona's Review:
 
This was a poetic book that made me feel the ocean and her paint brushstrokes. Characters are added all the time and fit into the story.
My feelings is that I thought it was the end of one's life but another review thought it was the beginning.
I am sure when I re-read Life into Mist, I will  see something different.
It was somewhat strange to me but easy flowing.
I will give it star rating because it was different.
I received a complimentary from the author, Haidji, and LibraryThing.
Haidji is a writer, artist, painter, designer, photographer, performer.
She calls herself  "just Haidji".
 
Leona Olson

 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review of Age of Myth J. Sullivan

 
Review of Age of Myth  by Michael J. Sullivan
 
From the back of the book:
Michael J. Sullivan's trailblazing career began with the breakout success of his Riyria series: full-bodied, spellbinding fantasy adventures whose imaginative scope and sympathetic characters won a devoted readership. Now, Sullivan's stunning hardcover debut, Age of Myth, inaugurates an original five-book series, and one of fantasy's finest next-generation storytellers continues to break new ground.

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between men and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now, only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer, Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom, and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over; the time of rebellion has begun.
 
 
Leona's Review:
 
This is my first read by Michael J. Sullivan and so I was not familiar with his writings.
It took me some time to get to know the characters but the back of the book has a glossary of terms and names and that was a great help.
 
 
 
This is the first book of the Legends of the First Empire fantasy series.  Age of Myth, Age of Swords, Age of  War, Age of Legends and Age of Empire. The author has written all the books in this series and they will be released "in a timely" manner.
 
The book begins with Raithe and his father approached by a god who demands to know why they are here.   He has two servants with him; one servant, Malcolm, becomes one of the main characters.
 
I have to say this is a hard book to review with so much happening with the different characters, friendship, battles and
 
It is a fantasy book that is well written. I give if a 5 star rating. I will say becuase I usually  do not read these books, I will give it another read before the next book comes out so I am familiar with the characters and happenings. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Roman Mask by Thomas M. D. Brooke


   
 

Review of Roman Mask by Thomas M. D. Brooke
 
From goodreads.com:

It is Rome AD 9 and Augustus Caesar rules Imperial Rome at the height of its power, as the Roman Empire stretches across the known world. Cassius, son of one of her most powerful families, is the personification of Rome's imperial strength: wealthy, popular, a war hero with a decorated military career - none of Rome's fashionable parties are complete without him - except, he hides a secret. After his nerve is broken in Germany, the thought of genuine armed combat is enough to send him into a cold sweat of fear and shame. But this doesn't dissuade him from living off a false reputation so he can continue a life of casual affairs, wine, and parties, as he is seduced by the many vices of Rome. However his scandalous life is soon upset by a summons from the Emperor's wife. It ends his happy decadent life and returns him to Germany to assist the Roman legions in their greatest ever trial, and the events that will resound down in history, in the dark forests of the Teutoburg.

Leona's Review:

A book about Cassius Aprilis, a son of a wealthy and powerful family. He is considered a war hero with a military career but he holds a secret that bothers him. His life has been one of leisure but it changes when he is summoned by Livia, wife of Princeps Augustus to go back to Germany to assist the Roman legions.

I found this book somewhat slow at the beginning but stayed with it.  A lot of Latin words, names of the characters, battle names and names of places. As a reader, I found myself taking notes and searched for more information.

Roman Mask begins in Rome AD 9 and Augustus Caesar is the emperor at this time. The author also had historical names such as Julius Arminius, Someone who was a German Prince who lived in Rome and was a friend of Cassius, Angrivaril tribesmen who were Germanic of the early Roman Empire, Quintus Varus who was the governor of the new Roman province of Germany and the Teutoburg Forest which was the place of the battle.

There is a historical note at the end of the book. There is a map in the front of the book which is always helpful. I do wish there had been a list of characters in the book.
Thomas M. D. Brooke may be reached at www.thomasmdbrooke.com. There is an interview with him about the book, Roman Mask for one.


For those interested in Roman history or historical places, this is a good read. I won a copy of Roman Mask by Thomas M. D. Brooke from goodreads. The opinions are my own.

I give this book a 5 star rating because of the research and I learned some historical facts.
I also found some good information on  www.historyworld.net:

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Review of From This moment by Elizabeth Camden

   
From This Moment by Elizabeth Camden
 

ISBN 10: 0764217216 | ISBN 13: 9780764217210

From http://elizabethcamden.com/books/from-this-moment:

Romulus White has tried for years to hire illustrator Stella West for his renowned scientific magazine. She is the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry.
But Stella abruptly quit the art world and moved to Boston with a single purpose: to solve the mysterious death of her beloved sister. Romulus, a man with connections to high society and every important power circle in the city, could be her most valuable ally.
Sparks fly the instant Stella and Romulus join forces, and Romulus soon realizes the strong-willed and charismatic Stella could disrupt his hard-won independence. Can they continue to help each other when their efforts draw the wrong kind of attention from the powers-that-be and put all they’ve worked for at risk?

Leona's Review:

One of the best Christian Historical books I have read in a long time. This is my first read by Elizabeth Camden and I will definitely read her books again.

The building of the Boston Subway is part of this book and historical happenings. I always like to read of historical events and the author has included many such as the typewriter, gummed envelopes and elevators. I like to research such mentions so I have included some information at the bottom of the review. 
The book is dated March 1897 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Stella has come to Boston to find the killer of her sister, Gwendolyn. The police has declared that she had drowned but Stella knew she was an excellent swimmer. They had been exchanging letters and Gwendolyn had written about corruption in City Hall.

Romulus tries his best to get her to do some drawing for the magazine, Scientific World which is owned by Romulus and his cousin, Evelyn.
Stella agrees to do one project for him if he will help her with connections to City Hall and others. Stella is determined to find why and how her sister died.
 
The book includes special relationships of Stella and Romulus as well as his cousin and her husband, Evelyn and Clyde. The parents of Stella and Gwendolyn also pay an important role in the book.
 
At times, Stella questions her faith in God. Stella sees a photograph of a woman who has lost her husband but went on to do her dream of helping others in India.. "It seemed Mrs. Grosjean peered out of the photograph, straight into the moral failings of Stella's soul. Do you love God only when he is good to you?" (page 245)
 
Stella uses her talent to draw pictures of the "sandhogs". " It was a simple charcoal sketch of three sandhogs working on the street below. One man sat on the edge of the subway trench, and two others leaned against shovels as they took a rest from the backbreaking work. There was a rough dignity to their faces, a strength of character in the musculature of their necks, faces, and strong hands as they held the shovels. It was a tough, gritty work that garnered little respect, yet Stella had imbued them with the dignity and heroism rarely afforded such men. They were men working to forge the future, laying a foundation fro generations to come. Long after these men were dead and buried, their children and grandchildren would be riding on the subway they had built." (page 126)
 
The reading is easy and quick even with so much happening. The reader will find some strong characters in both the men and women.
 
I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers to read and review. The opinions are my own.
 
I give From This Moment a 5 star rating.
 
Elizabeth Camden may be reached at www.elizabethcamden.com
 
 
Leona Olson
 
Notes on the typewriter, gummed envelopes and elevators which I found interesting:
 
From: http://ideafinder.com/history/inventions/typrwriter.htm. Finally, in 1867, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin printer-publisher-politician named Christopher Latham Sholes, with assistance from Carlos Glidden and Samuel Soule, patented what was to be the first useful typewriter.

From:http://www.jampaper.com/blog/the-history-of-envelopes/ It wasn’t until the invention of the self-gumming envelope machine that envelope production really took off. A man by the name of James Green Arnold took the envelope folding machine to the next level when he added a brush that would apply the gum to the envelopes seal. This step was previously done by hand.  Unfortunately Arnold’s design was never put into production. It wasn’t until two brothers by the name of  D. Wheeler Swift and Henry Swift took Arnold’s design and perfected it. In 1876 the Swift Chain Dryer Machine was born. One of the main difference in this machine was that it was constructed of metal, not wood, like the Arnold design.


From: https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/03/02/how-elevator-transformed-america/b8u17Vx897wUQ8zWMTSvYO/story.html
It wasn’t until the 1870s, when elevators showed up in office buildings, that the technology really started to leave a mark on urban culture.
 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Review of Rewritng History by Vera Dodge

  
 
 
Review of Rewriting history by Vera Dodge
 
From the back of the book:
Mary’s Mystery Bookshop is hosting a very special guest: beloved mystery author Addison Hartley. Hartley gives an intimate reading to the fans gathered in the story, but Mary’s eyes are drawn not to the famous author but to a familiar face in the crowd. Could it be Mary’s best friend from childhood, Claire Wilkes? As soon as Mary moves to greet her old friend, the woman disappears. Mary is certain it was Claire, but no one else seems to have recognized her and Mary begins to doubt herself. But when Mary reads Hartley’s new novel, she finds eerie parallels to her own history. And when terrible rumors surface around town about a secret relationship between Claire and Mary’s husband John, Mary is more determined than ever to track down Claire. What brought her to Mary’s store? When did she run away? What was her connection to the best-selling novel? And, more importantly, were the rumors about Claire and Mary’s husband true?
 
 
Leona's Review:
 
This is my first read by Vera Dodge and my first read of the Secrets of Mary's Bookshop series.  Rewriting History is book #2 of the series. On goodreads.com, there is a list of 16 books in this series and by several different authors so I am gathering the books are all stand alone reads, as this one was.
 
Mary is a widow and has bought a bookstore in the small town of Ivy bay that will take the reader to the similar area of Cape Cod.  She lives with her sister, Betty.
 
At one of the book signings at her bookstore, she thinks she sees an old friend. The book written by Addison Hartley, is so similar to her life and details of the friendship between her, her husband and her friend.
 
No murder in this mystery but a mystery of what really happened 40 years ago in the lives of the three and why the friendship ended.
 
The book flows easily and has other characters such as a pastor and his grandson, the employee at the bookstore and her daughter and the sister of Mary. I can see  other books follow up on some of the other characters.
 
I like the scenery descriptions of the area.  At the back of the book is a recipe for chocolate covered pretzel ice cream that sounds good.
 
Mary prays often in the book asking for guidance and the prayers to me are something many of us do on a routine basis.  This is a book about sister love, the  loss of and finding friendship, loss of a husband, good friends and a hope for the future.
 
There is "A Conversation with Vera Dodge" at the back of the book that is interesting.
 
I bought this book at Goodwill.  I will probably read other books in the series.
It is published by Guidepost Publications.
 
I give this a 4 star rating.
Leona Olson
 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Review of President Trump Sells California by Duke. Q. Wallace

President Trump Sells California
From goodreads.com
A short political satire in which a President Trump nationalizes the Girl Scouts, privatizes the Supreme Court, and sells the state of California—his way of paying off the Federal debt. Nine brief chapters, each one resolving a real national issue with an excess of creativity and zeal. What happens when the zeal is spent? 

Leona's Review

I won this book from goodreads.com and the opinions are my own.

Not my kind of humor. The book was really not funny to me. I can vote for a liar and one who has memory loss or a bigmouth.
I will give it a 3 star because there were some ideas that might work.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Review of The Inheritance by Michael Phillips

 Review of The Inheritance by Michael Phillips

From The back of the book.

The death of clan patriarch Macgregor Tulloch has thrown the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whales Reef into turmoil. Everyone assumed Tulloch's heir to be his much-loved grandnephew David. But when no will is discovered, David's calculating cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance, an estate that controls most of the island's land. And Hardy knows a North Sea oil investor who will pay dearly for that control. 

While the competing claims are investigated, the courts have frozen the estate's assets, leaving many of the locals in dire financial straits. The future of the island--and its traditional way of life--hangs in the balance.

Meanwhile, Loni Ford enjoys a rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, D.C. Yet, in spite of outward success, she is privately plagued by questions of identity. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is, until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor. . . .

Past and present collide in master storyteller Michael Phillips' dramatic new saga of loss and discovery, of grasping and grace.



Leona's Review:
 
This is my first read by Michael Phillips and I look forward to the other books in this series.
The major characters are David Tulloch and Alonnah Ford who prefers to be called Loni.
The Scottish dialect is used through out the book and I rather liked it; it helped bring the book right to Scotland. Words like dinna, ken, ye, aboot, canna and nae.
The novel begins in June 1924, then late Summer 2005, November 2005, Winter 2005-2006, Summer 2006, July 2006, October 1953 and ends with July 2006.
The book goes back and forth between the Scottish characters and the United States' characters but flows smoothly.
The book is dedicated to Patrick Jeremy Phillips.
There is a map of Whales Reef, Shetland Islands, in the front of the book as well as the Tulloch Clan Family Tree.
I found it an interesting and easy read.
I received a complimentary copy of The Inheritance by Michael Phillips to read and review from Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group. The opinions are my own.
More information about Michael Phillips at
and also
 
I will give this a 5 star rating because of the history and clean book.
Leona Olson
 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

   
 
Review of Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

From
www.goodreads.com:

Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine (Goodreads author)
In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…

Leona's review:

This is my first read by Rachel Caine. My interest was the Great Library of Alexandria of Egypt. This book is about books.


The book starts with Jess Brightwell, who is a runner,  a smuggler of books as original books are no longer allowed to be owned. His father, Callum, gets the illegal books and his sons, Jess and Brendan, smuggle them to the purchasers. Jess' older brother, Liam died when he was a runner.

Jess is sent to the Library for training to be a scholar. He is also sent by his father to be a spy. There he meets the other students.
The teenagers are around the age of 16 and most of the story is with them as the main characters.

Khalia Seif is from the Middle East and the smartest of all of them, Thomas Schreiber is from Berlin and has a creative mind, Glain Wathen is Welsh and hard to get to know, Dario Santiago is Spanish and the roommate of Jess and Morgan Haute who is from war torn London.
The main adult characters are Scholar Christopher Wolfe, who is their instructor and their guard, Captain Nicolo Santi.

This book begins in London in the year 2025. Both the past, the Great Library and the future, no books allowed, are part the story; it is fantasy/historical. The Library of Alexandria still exists as well as steam carriages

The author uses many quotes. One is "Knowledge is All" (Tota est Scientia).  It seems that books are more important than the lives of people.
 
Some words you will find in Ink and Bone are: Codex, Greek fire (a toxic flammable liquid), weapons, war, death, knowledge, America, power, rule, library, text, Serapeum, Mirroring of Books, Johannes Gutenberg, alchemy, archivist and automata.

I found some historical names such as  Descates and Callimachus. This book has encouraged me to do more research on history.
 
A quote from Rene Descartes: "The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries."
 
More information on Callimachus may be found at: http://www.britannica.com/biography/Callimachus-Greek-poet-and-scholar

I am a note taker and I took 9 pages of notes on a 5 " X 7" pad of paper.  I will keep them handy for reading the second book of this series, Paper and Ink which is scheduled to be out July 5, 2016.

I liked this book. The language was fine and the only romance was soft. I found the characters change attitudes as the book progressed and the characters grew. I liked some of the characters more than others but the book gives each their own personality.

If you like books and some history and some fantasy, this is the book for you. It is a YA (young adult) but good for adults and children who like to read. There are somewhat graphic scenes but not bad. I like a clean book and this was a good read for me.

It reminded me of Fahrenheit 451.

I will give it a 5 start rating. I was unaware it was the first book of a series so I felt it left me hanging but look forward to the next one.

I won Ink and Bone from goodreads to read and review. The opinions are my own.

Rachel Caine may be reached at www.rachelcaine.com
 
Leona Olson