Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

Cleopatra's Daughter

This was a good historical fiction book that starts with the deaths of Marc Antony and Cleopatra on August 12,30 BC.

The three children of Cleopatra, Kleopatra, and Marc Antony are taken to Rome after the death of their parents. Cleopatra's Daughter is Kleopatra Serene and Serene is the narrator of the book. Her twin brother is Alexander Helios and the youngest of the children is Ptolemy. Serena and Alexander are ten years old and Ptolemy is six years old. They are taken to Rome and paraded before the Romans wearing golden chains. The children go to live with the sister of Octavian, Octavia, who was the former wife of Marc Antony.

I do want to give more details because I did not know that Cleopatra and Marc Antony had children even though I have read a lot about history and watch the archaeology programs. (Learn something new every day). The details in the book are close to history, even though this is fiction and the author has taken some liberties in her writings.

This is my first read by Michelle Moran and I am really impressed in her knowledge and research. She has many tidbits that bring the reader into the era. I was a volunteer at a Pompeii exhibit and I appreciated the descriptions of the people, clothing and living areas as they were so simlar.

Maps are in the beginning of the book and always an added bonus for me as a reader. There is List of Characters and a Timeline front of the book and a Glossary, Afterword, Historical Notes and Acknowledgements in the back.

I give this a five star. It is certainly a re-read for me because of so much history.

I am now reading Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran.

You can find her on

Leona Olson

Friday, October 21, 2011

When Midnight Comes by Lori Handeland

When Midnight Comes by Lori Handeland

A short story that moves quickly and emotionally. The story is based in New York City in 1869. Jack has been murdered and wants a second chance at life. His love, Lucia, comes to him and walks him through what he did wrong to achieve his accomplishments in life. It reminded me of Mr. Scrooge and his past, present and future. Being alone and unloved is the biggest punishment when one is alive is a part of the book that seemed so true to me. This is a story of emotions, love, punishment, selfishness and a second change which most of us would like. There is a religious tone in the story and I think a Catholic one such as Purgatory.

A good read. There is one sexual portion of the story so I recommend this one for adults. I personally think some of it could be left out of the story and have it a great read for young people because of the theme of the story.

A reader can purchase this e-book on and for .99.

Find the author at and also on Facebook.

I want to thank and Lori Handeland for the complimentary copy of this e-book and the opportunity to read and review this story. The opinions are my own.

Leona Olson

The Box of Rocks

Box of Rocks by Karla Telega
This is a mystery/adventure and "where am I in life" type of book. Two women, Maggie Gorski and Cheryl Anderson are at a mid-life crisis and need something to keep them busy. They have made a list of things to do such as rock collecting, a book club, ghost hunting and target practice. Maggie is married and Cher is divorced. Both have a dog that are also part of the book and I think helped make the book with the extra activities that dogs bring to daily life.
Maggie and Cher head for the hills to search for gold and find themselves involved with a murder.
A college associate of Paul Lakeland has been murdered and Paul is arrested for the murder. Paul found a clay jug that he believed was Native American in a cave and wanted to do his thesis on it for his doctorate degree in archaeology.
Twists and turns keep the reader surprised. There are laughs and also some serious matters.
I liked this book, it was an easy read and kept me interested. The f word was only used one time and I could have done without the almost sex scene. The characters, Maggie and Cher, were like friends one might know; a little eccentric but likable characters and the reader can relate to some problems the women had.
I would have liked to see more of the characters who were brought into the book with no ending for them. Possible they might be in a future adventure of Maggie and Cher.
I liked the descriptions of the area of South Carolina because I am not familiar with the state and it's history.
I give Box of Rocks a four star for a different and fun book to read..
I wish to thank the author, Karla Telega and Smashwords for the complimentary copy of Box of Rocks and the opportunity to read and review. The opinions are my own. This will be a great series of books on Maggie and Cher and their adventures.
You can find Karla at
Leona Olson

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life, How to Get Through Life's Holes Without Getting Stuck in Them

Review of "The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life, How to Get Through Life's Holes Without Getting Stuck in Them" by Judith A. Belmont, MS and Lora Shor, LSW.
I received a complimentary copy of this e-book to read and review from the authors. The opinions are my own.
The acknowledgements tell a lot of the authors of this book and you can personally get to know something about them. Both authors are speakers and counselors.
The purpose of this book is to help one get their lives together, no matter how you feel about what is happening to you or those you love and know. We all have our ups and downs.
The chapters are The Ten Digestible Slices of Life.
Chapter One: An Introduction to Swiss...With All Its Holes.
Chapter Two: First Slice; Fondue Can Never Turn Back Into a Block of Cheese. Giving Up the Habit of Regret.
Chapter Three: Second Slice; There is No Such Thing as a Perfect Slice of Cheese. Transforming Mistakes and Failure Into Success.
Chapter Four: Third Slice; No Whine With the Cheese, Please! Healthy Thinking for Life!
Chapter Five: Fourth Slice; If the Cheese is Ripe, DIG IN! Be proactive, Not Reactive!
Chapter Six: Fifth Slice; Living Whole Despite the Holes! Mindful and Spirituality
Chapter Seven: Sixth Slice; Enjoy the Wine and Cheese Party! Making People Connections
Chapter Eight: Seventh Slice; Cheese Lite! Welcoming Wellness for a Healthier YOU!
Chapter Nine: Eighth Slice; The Cheese Wheel of Life- How Do You Slice It? Achieving Life Balance.
Chapter Ten: Ninth Slice; Mastering the Cheese Wheel of Change! How to Be a Stress Manager...and NOT a Stress Carrier!
Chapter Eleven: Tenth Slice; Smile and Say Cheese! Forgiveness, Gratitude and Optimism.
Chapter Twelve: An Extra Slice; You Can't Miss With the Swiss! Final Words From Our Guides.
There are many quotes from people of all walks of life. Some are Ghandi, John F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Robert Louis Stevenson, William Shakespeare, Julia Child, Helen Keller, Plato and Henry Ford. Two quotes I chose : "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why they call it the present" from Eleanor Roosevelt and "Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs" from Henry Ford.
There are color cartoons mainly from Randy Glasbergen that certainly adds to the book and it gives the book a sense of humor.
This book has three "personalities" that speak to the readers. The Swiss Wiz which is usually wisdom, the Swiss Cheese Fairy of Life that is comforting and the Stinky Cheese that is negative. The Stinky Cheese says "Misery Loves Company".
The following are some notes I took as I read:
1. Opportunity is NOWHERE. What do you see as the reader? Opportunity is NOW HERE or Opportunity is NO WHERE?
2."I" is in Illness and "W" is in Wellness.
3. Even small steps can get you to your goal if you move forward.
4. Jack LaLanne began the fitness center we know as Ballys.
5. Serve others, smile and give of yourself.
6. Stress is not good or bad, it just IS.
7. Spend 15 minutes a day reading something positive.
8. Add a Smiley sticker to things.
9. Put a can on your desk or table to show you can.
10. Happiness is a choice.
I enjoyed this book very much. It is a good book to give as a present to one that needs some help.
Check their site: where you may purchase the book as well as on
I want to thank the authors, Judith Belmont and Lora Shor for the opportunity to read and review this book.
I will post my review on,,, and I will post the information on also.
Leona Olson

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, Felix J. Palma and Simon & Schuster to read and review. The opinions are my own.

The book has been translated from Spanish to English by Nick Caistor.

I was first interested in this book because the cover said the book would have characters such as H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, two of my favorites.

Interesting read but a little confusing at times. I actually was reading this book and put it aside then began to read again. The review is just a touch because the reader must read the book to get the real details and content of the book or "Tale(s)" as the author has said.

H. G. Wells was one of the main characters in this book. His book, The Time Machine, was all the rage in Europe.
There are three parts of this book. Part One goes into the past, Part Two goes into the future and Part Three goes way into the future as well as a lot of this section stays in the book's time period of the late 1880s.
Andrew Harrington in Part One wants to go into the past to kill Jack the Ripper before he kills his love, Marie Kelly by using the machine that took the character, George, into the future with his Time Machine which is described in the book written by Wells, The Time Machine. Andrew is suicidal and his cousin, Charles, takes Andrew to see H. G. Wells so Andrew could travel back to the past. Marie is a prostitute in the Whitechapel area in London. I did some research and find the names I checked are the women Jack the Ripper killed except the name was Mary Kelly, not Marie. This section is very descriptive in the gruesome acts of what Jack the Ripper does to the women.
Part Two of The Map of Time journeys us into the future and time travel. Gilliam Murray has developed a program that takes men and women of London area from 1896 to the year 2000 and it is called Murray's Time Travel. The passengers are transported into the fourth dimension on a tram where they find automations are trying to take over the world in a legendary battle between humans and automations. The hero is Captain Derek Shackleton and his job is to defeat the king of the automations.

Claire Haggerty has decided to go to Murray's Time Travel with her friend, Lucy, but makes plans not to return to her time period. Claire has decided that the century in which she lives is boring and she has no interest in men in her time era. She believes the future holds more for her. When the passengers are getting ready to depart, Claire hides and see Captain Shackleton without his helmet, which had hidden his face during the battle. She tells him she loves him and wants to be with him in this time period. The man in charge of the group finds Claire and tells her she must leave with the rest of the group; Derek Shackleton rushes out of sight.

The tale is interesting and there are many details of people and events. H.G. Wells and his wife, Jane, are brought into the tale closer to the end.
Part Three has a Scotland Yard detective who believes that someone from the future is committing murder in London. This section is mainly about Wells but also has Henry James and Dram Stoker. H.G.Well's book, The Invisible Man, is part of this tale.

This book is difficult to read because there are so many different occasions happening and the book seems to jump into different areas but the author still brings the tales together. It is a page tuner and so many details and people are in this book, even if only a mention. After I started the book again, I started with Part Two and went back to Part One. The "Map of Time" is described in Part Three and well worth waiting for the meaning. It pulls the book together.

Some names are Jules Verne, Dram Stoker, Henry James, German chemist who developed aspirin (Felix Hoffmann) in the late 1800s and the chemist who invented Coca Cola.
Felix J. Palma has done a remarkable job on The Map of Time. It seems like he is in London and for the readers who have been to London, it puts the reader there but in another time era.

Anyone interested in time travel will find this a good read.

I have to give this a five star plus because of all the details in the book/tales.
Leona Olson