Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Carols

The tradition of Christmas carols dates back as far as the thirteenth century, although carols were originally communal songs sung during celebrations like harvest tide as well as Christmas. It was only later that carols began to be sung in church, and to be specifically associated with Christmas. Traditionally, carols have often been based on medieval chord patterns, and it is this that gives them their uniquely characteristic musical sound. Some carols can be traced directly back to the Middle Ages, and are among the oldest musical compositions still regularly sung.

Free Printable Christmas Carol Lyric sheets are great for your family or neighborhood caroling activities. Print some of our Christmas Carol Song sheet pages and teach your group to sing. These are provided for your personal enjoyment and as a guide to learning these classic old Christams Carols.
  Go to

Monday, December 3, 2012

Wn a Nook from Gemma Halliday

Gemma Halliday is giving away a Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight!How to enter? Just subscribe to her newsletter at
Already subscribed? Then you're already entered, BUT you can gain more entries by forwarding this message to all of your friends. For every unique email address you forward this message to, you get one additional entry! (Just be sure to cc: she knows how many people you've forwarded it to. And she will NOT save your friends' contact info, and they will NEVER be contacted by her.)
The fine print: Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight can currently only be shipped to U.S. address, so this contest is only open to residents of the U.S. Apologies to my international readers! Winner will be contacted via email on January 1st, and will be announced in my January newsletter.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Review of The Intercept by Dick Wolf

Review of The Intercept by Dick Wolf
This is in the back of the book:
"Dick Wolf makes his literary debut with this tense, driving thriller, reminiscent of the classic The Day of the Jackal, an extraordinary tale filled with the ingenious twists and high-wire suspense we have come to expect from this master storyteller
Days before the July Fourth holiday and the dedication of One World Trade Center at Ground Zero, an incident aboard a commercial jet flying over the Atlantic Ocean reminds everyone that vigilance is not a task to be taken lightly. But for iconoclastic NYPD detective Jeremy Fisk, it may also be a signal that there is much more to this case than the easy answer of this being just the work of another lone terrorist.
Fisk—assigned to the department's Intelligence Division, a well-funded antiterror unit modeled on the CIA—suspects that the event might also be a warning sign that another, potentially more extraordinary scheme has been set in motion. Fluent in Arabic and the ways of his opponents, Fisk is a rule breaker who follows his gut—even if it means defying those above him in the department's food chain. So when a passenger from the same plane, a Saudi Arabian national, disappears into the crowds of Manhattan, it's up to Fisk and his partner Krina Gersten to find him before the celebrations begin.
Watching each new lead fizzle, chasing shadows to dead ends, Fisk and Gersten quickly realize that their opponents are smarter and more agile than any they have ever faced. Extremely clever and seemingly invisible, they are able to exploit any security weak-ness and anticipate Fisk's every move . . . and time is running out."
The Intercept is written by Dick Wolf , the creator of Law & Order, a TV show.

The book has been dedicated to TK.

The Intercept kept me interested and also in wonder why people think and act as they do. The book is based on terrorism in the United States. A plan to hijack a Scandinavian Airlines plane headed to New York is stopped by six people who become known as "The Six", honored and called heroes.
The book has Jeremy Fisk a detective for the NYPD Intelligence Division, and his partner Krina Gersten, whose family has been in the police force for four generations, searching for a terrorist named Bin-Hezam for most of the book.
The book has many twists and turns which makes it a real page turner. The chapters are short and fast moving. The Arabic language is used throughout the book. Fisk speaks fluent Arabic.
The book goes into details of the murders that take place. I felt this was a "heavy" book with the fear and reality it can give to the reader. I was impressed with the details of the book and descriptions of New York pulled the reader into the book. Real people are included in The Intercept as well as the characters of the book. Commissioner Ray Kelly of the NYPD, President Obama, President George W. Bush, Laura Bush, Mayor Bloomberg and Oprah are mentioned and I felt that added to the book. I liked the characters of the book but not enough information about them.
The book contains one sex scene and language that used the f word a lot.

I will give this a four star rating. I was given a complimentary copy of The Intercept to read and review. The opinions are my own.

I wish to thank goodreads and Dick Wolf for the opportunity to read and review. I look forward to reading the next book written by Dick Wolf.

Part 1: Background Noise page 1
Part 2: October 2009 Abbottabad, Pakistan page 43
Part 3: May 2011 Ramstein Air Base, Germany page 53
Part 4: Chatter Thursday, July 1 page 81
Part 5: Eavesdrop Friday, July 2 page 109
Part 6: Intercepts Saturday, July 3 page 179
Part 7: Double-Speak page 275
Part 8: Moment of Silence,July 4 page 343

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Book Review of Revenge at Bella Terra by Christina Dodd

Revenge at Bella Terra by Christina Dodd
Chole is going to California to stay at Eli Di Luca's house to finish her second mystery novel. Her father has offered money for Eli to save his vineyard if he will marry her and produce a grandchild; Chole does not know Eli is the one this time that her father chose because this is not the first time her father has done this. She is driving from Austin, Texas to the Santa Rosa area where her father, Conte, has arranged a place for her to finish her book at Eli's home. First impressions are not favorable for either Eli or Chole. Eli is from an Italian family in the wine country of California. He is very close to his grandmother, Nonna, but there is a hidden secret he carries. Chole's father is an Italian and her mother is ;;;;
The book is full of mystery, family, wine, death, hate, fear and some love. A lot of twists and the end was a surprise to me.
I especially liked the Italian grandmother; my grandmother spelled it with one n, Nona.
This is the first book I have read by Christina Dodd and found it fast moving with lots of twists and turns. It is the second book of the series but still able to be read on it's own.
I did not find it "romantic" as in some books I have read but a different love in that one cares.
I will add when Chloe drove through West Texas, it was described as a god-forsaken place with tarantulas and dust storms. True, we do have sandstorms and tarantulas but I love the area even though I now live in the Land of Lakes of Minnesota. When Chloe had a flat tire, she knew a Texas man would stop and help her. I will add that I used to say, "Drive to West Texas from Austin and people pull over to the shoulder so you can pass; when you drive to Houston from Austin to go east, they pull more into the center lane". I lived in the Austin area, Round Rock, for ten years.
I will give it a 4 star because of the actions, mystery and so many surprises. I look forward to Betrayal, the next book in the Bella Terra series.
I got this book from my library.
You can find Christina Dodd at
Leona Olson

The Dark Age Survivors Of The Pulse by Jeff Horton

The Dark Age
Survivors Of The Pulse
Jeff W. Horton
World Castle Publishing
Pensacola, Florida
Copyright © Jeff W. Horton 2011
ISBN: 9781937085872
Library of Congress Catalogue Number 2011928105
First Edition World Castle Publishing July 15, 2011
Licensing Notes
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner
whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied
in articles and reviews.
Cover Artist: Spittyfish Designs
Editor: Beth Price


"PrologueIt has been five-hundred years since the Pulse bathed the earth in a brilliant flash, instantly ending the Golden Age of humanity. At the speed of light, it destroyed modern technology all over the planet, ushering in the Great Collapse, and the conclusion of ten-thousand years of civilization. There had been no time to prepare, for the end came without warning. The cause of the cataclysm remained a mystery however, until one night people looked to the skies during the time of the Great Collapse, and found a new, beautiful, heavenly light there. Scientists soon uncovered the painful truth behind the fantastic lights; the Pulse was not alone when it struck the earth. The appearance of the powerful electromagnetic pulse had coincided with the arrival of a significant coronal mass ejection from the sun, trapping the power of the Pulse in the earth’s magnetic field, creating a brilliant, nightly light show, similar to the aurora borealis in appearance, which came to be known as The Effect.

The terrible consequence of the Effect kept the people of the Golden Age from re-building the most advanced civilization in human history. Gradually, over the course of time, more and more of the accumulated knowledge that existed during the Golden Age began to fade from human memory. The abrupt loss of all modern technology had been a shock to the world’s collective system, a catastrophe from which it was unable to recover. The subsequent descent into the darkness that began during the Great Collapse continued well into the period known as the Dark Age. After several hundred years, the rapid decline of civilization eventually leveled off, leaving humanity at a level of technology comparable to life during the Middle Ages, a time when illiteracy was the rule instead of the exception, and the world was ruled by the sword, and by the bow.

The Holy Christian Church, which has existed since the time of Christ, has now survived two dark ages. The unified Church has been the only light of hope for the people of the Dark Age, maintaining a continual presence in Rome, which serves as the nerve center of the Church, and a beacon of hope to Christian pilgrims from all over the world.

The Warrior Clan, founded during The Great Collapse by a group of ex-soldiers and civilians, maintains enclaves scattered throughout the Outlands. Shunning contact with the outside world since its inception, members of the Warrior Clan are disciplined fighters, constantly striving to perfect their martial skill. They are recognized and feared throughout the known lands as fierce and accomplished warriors.

Urbas inhabit the crumbling meros, all that remains of the great urban metropolises that once dotted the surface of the Earth. Living together in packs of twenty or more, they are the descendants of the few men and women that remained in the great cities during the Great Collapse. They survive by preying on outsiders and on each other, with allegiance to no one other than their pack, and themselves. The balance of humanity clusters in small, scattered villages, working mostly as farmers.

The Dark Age is a harsh and unforgiving time. The Golden Age and the Ancients are now largely remembered only in bedtime stories for small children. Just as the light always burns brightest in the darkness however, hope remains as some cling stubbornly to their faith, praying that one day the light of civilization will return. For among the many stories passed down from generation to generation over the centuries there exists an ancient prophecy, dating from the time of the Great Collapse. The prophecy holds that one day a sign would appear from God, announcing to believers that the time had come to find and activate the Great Oracle of Knowledge, giving the world the opportunity to emerge from the great darkness, into a glorious new Golden Age."
Dark Ages, Survivors of the Pulse by Jeff W. Horton.
The dedication is: For my family, and my God.
The time period is five hundred years since the Pulse ended the Golden Age of humanity and ushered in the Great Collapse. Pope John Paul V is waiting for a sign to find the Oracle that will tell the people how to regain civilization as it was once known. There are really three classes of people now: Warrior Clans, Urbas who live in the meros ( once metropolitans) and ones who live in small villages, mainly farmers
There are 7 pieces of a map around the world that tells where to find the Great Oracle of Knowledge.
The clues where the pieces are: "seven clues listed in the book, written in Latin, which will, I believe, tell us where the pieces of the map are located.
Clue Number 1- Qua Valde Era lux lucis via.
Clue Number 2- Qua Barbatus Vir Sits.
Clue Number 3-Urbs of ventus.
Clue Number 4-Qua quietis miles militis sileo.
Clue Number 5- Qua Democracy Eram Prognatus.
Clue Number 6- Valde urbs of Crocus Vir.
Clue Number 7- Urbs of Silicis - Vir in Gero." Page 81
A Brother and a Clansman are in charge of searching for each one of the maps throughout the world. The one thing they have in common is restoring the world to civilization again.
Anyone interested in a post-apocalypse novel will certainly like this book. This book caught my attention from the beginning and kept it until the end. I am usually pretty good about predicting the end of a book but this one had me way off. I added the prologue so the reader (s) could get a better idea of the book. I wish to thank the author, Jeff W. Horton, for the complimentary e-book copy of this e-book to read and review. I will give this book a 5 star. There is violence, no bad language or sex. The opinions are my own.
Leona Olson
Ferrell Young- a guide who takes the Pilgrims to the ships so they can go to Rome
Pope John Paul V- the leader of the Holy Christian Church- no longer Catholics or Protestants, only Christians. His name was Henry before he became Pope.
Alex Montgomery-helping the Warrior Clan find the book
Hannah Montgomery- the twelve year old daughter of Alex
Kraken- a cruel person who wants to rule
Darius- a young twenty-five priest
Brother Mark
Brother Phillip- cousin to Darius
Cardinal Daniel
Pope Matthew- Pope during the Great Collapse
Brother Sebastian- looking for the book that will help lead to the Oracle
Captain Marsh- captain of the pirate ship
General Collins- made to work for Kraken under pressure to protect his family
Jessica- Medina -held captive by Kraken
Bokra- a clansman
Tara- sister of Ferrell
Ariel- loves Ferrell
Julius- a clansman
Brother Francis
Sanjo-a clansman
Brother O'Reilly
Lord Sarkota- teacher of Ferrell
Sergei- friend of Ferrell
Yoshi- a clansman
Captain Abihu-captain of the Nemesis
Brother Wayne
Norris- clansman
The Unity- a group of clergy and scientists
Brother Dan
Manasa- a clansman
Dedication (pg 3)
Prologue (pg 4)
Chapter One- Pilgrims (pg 6)
Chapter Two- The Expedition (pg 11)
Chapter Three- Kraken (pg 16)
Chapter Four-Vatican City (pg 21)
Chapter Five- Exhausted (pg 26)
Chapter Six- The Book (pg 35)
Chapter Seven- Brother Ramos (pg 43)
Chapter Eight- An Old Friend (pg 47)
Chapter Nine- The Sign (pg 53)
Chapter Ten- The Puzzle (pg 56)
Chapter Eleven- The Mountains (pg 60)
Chapter Twelve- The Ocean (pg 64)
Chapter Thirteen- The Enclave (pg 68)
Chapter Fourteen- The Coming Storm (pg 71)
Chapter Fifteen- The Council Meeting (pg 76)
Chapter Sixteen- The Clue (pg 80)
Chapter Seventeen- The Healer (pg 84)
Chapter Eighteen- The Spy (pg 87)
Chapter Nineteen- The First Map (pg 90)
Chapter Twenty- The Second Map (pg 99)
Chapter Twenty one- The Road Back (pg 108)
Chapter Twenty two- The Third Map (pg 110)
Chapter Twenty three- The Fourth Map (pg 117)
Chapter Twenty four- Rerouting (pg 122)
Chapter Twenty five- The Fifth Map (pg 126)
Chapter Twenty six- The Effect (pg 131)
Chapter Twenty seven- The Sixth Map (pg 136)
Chapter Twenty eight- The Final Map (pg 142)
Chapter Twenty nine- Breaking Points (pg 146)
Chapter Thirty- Bokra (pg 151)
Chapter Thirty one- The Assault (pg 156)
Chapter Thirty two- Two Armies (pg 160)
Chapter Thirty three- Rallying the Troops (pg 163)
Chapter Thirty four- The Deciding Strategy (pg 165)
Chapter Thirty five- The Day Before (pg 168)
Chapter Thirty six- The Night Before (pg 175)
Chapter Thirty seven- Preparations (pg 178)
Chapter Thirty eight- The Final Battle (pg 184)
Chapter Thirty nine- The Stronghold (pg 192)
Chapter Forty- The Map (pg 195)
Chapter Forty one- The Founders (pg 200)
Chapter Forty two- Making Plans (pg 206)
Chapter Forty three- Following the Map (pg 209
Chapter Forty four- The Lake (pg 214)
Chapter Forty five- Into the Darkness (pg 217)
Chapter Forty six- An Old Acquaintance (pg 221)
Chapter Forty seven- The Great Oracle (pg 226)
Chapter Forty eight- After the Darkness (pg 232)
Epilogue (pg 234)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Ultimate Starbucks Recipe Book

The Ultimate Starbucks Coffee Recipe Book
Download a free recipe e-book. There are 32 pages of recipes using Starbucks Coffee.
Note:Starbucks Coffee if a registered trademark.
Table of Contents:
Beverage Recipes  page 3
Pastry & Coffee Desserts  page 14
Sauces  page 30

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Voice in the Wind

A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers

A historical novel set after the the death of Jesus Christ and most of the book is based in Rome. A graphic book with the details of the Gladiators, brutal treatments of the Christian people and also of the Jewish. Rome is the ruler at this time period. The reader is taken into the lives of the people.
An interesting book to read. The research of the time period is very complete. Some historical characters but most are fictional. The details of the Christians, the Romans, the Coliseum, people, dress, food and even the cemeteries are good. For one that has studied Roman history and knows a lot of the customs, it helps the reader.
Hadassah, the main character, is a Jewish slave that has become a Christian. She is the slave of Julia, sister of Marcus who falls in love with Hadassah. The parents of Marcus and Julia is Phoebe and Decimus Valerian. She is very devout to God. Sometimes, I think I wished she could bend a little. A faithful slave and such an understanding of people.
This is the first book of the Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers. Francine Rivers is a New York Times Best Seller Author.
I would not recommend this book for younger readers, I suggest at least High School. Good for a Christian book club. There is a discussion Guide on page 521. There is a color Roman Empire Map- C. 117 AD. The book is 524 pages including the guide.
Forward by Mark D. Taylor ix
Preface xi
Acknowledgements xiii
Part l: Jerusalem page 1
Part ll: Germania page 23
Part lll: Rome page 41
Part lV: Ephesus page 349
Francine Rivers has dedicated this book to her mother, Frieda King.
I look forward to reading the other two books of this series, Echo in the Darkness and As Sure of the Dawn
I give A Voice in the Wind a 5 star.
The author may be reached at
I wish to thank Tyndale Publishers and Francine Rivers for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Leona Olson

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Questions and Answers for a Genealogy Computer Program

Genealogy Research

  1. What are at least two important functions of a genealogy computer program that helps you organize your information?

  2. Where would you locate previous research on a family?

  3. Should you automatically accept a family pedigree from the World Family Tree as a proven source?

  4. Should you accept a published family history as a proven source?
  5. How should you record your research results?

  6. Why is it important to record sources that have negative results?

  7. What is the purpose of the research planner?


  1. What are at least two important functions of a genealogy computer program that helps you organize your information?The five most important computer software functions are:
    • Enter individuals easily
    • Link individuals together easily
    • Allow for as many notes as necessary
    • Share information with others
    • Download (copy) files from others
  2. Where would you locate previous research on a family?'s Family Finder search (historical data on CD and online), Family Search (Ancestral File, International Genealogical Index, and the Surname section of the Family History Library Catalog), and the Library of Congress (published family histories).

  3. Should you automatically accept a family pedigree from the World Family Tree as a proven source?No. You should contact the contributor and ask for a copy of their sources. Then check the sources of the information for yourself before accepting it.

  4. Should you accept a published family history as a proven source?No. Again, just as with the information from World Family Tree, you should check the sources before accepting them.

  5. How should you record your research results?Using a computer program such as Family Tree Maker is the easiest way, but it can be done on paper. Whichever way you record the results, they should refer to photocopies or sources you have used, and where they might be found.

  6. Why is it important to record sources that have negative results?A research planner records all the essential information in a particular source. This includes what information you were searching for and all the particulars surrounding it.

  7. What is the purpose of the research planner?A research planner records all the essential information in a particular source. This includes what information you were searching for and all the particulars surrounding it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Tide of the Mermaid Tears

The Tide of the Mermaid Tears by Marcia Lynn McClure

A romance book that involves the sea, mermaids, mermans and mermaid tears. Ember Taffee is always searching for treasures along the seashore. She is always interested in mermaid's tears which are pieces of glass that have been washed up from the sea. One day she finds a man who has been washed up from the sea. She takes him home where she lives with her mother and sister. Ember's father, Mariner Taffee, had been lost at sea 15 years ago.
Ridge West is nursed back to health by Ember's mother, Tempest. Lily is the sister of Ember.
I liked the stories and tales that are told about the sea in this book. It was a fast reading book. Some violence, no bad language and no sex. I thought at the beginning that Ember was much younger that she was. I tired of the word giggling but that was me. It is a good read for romance and tales of the sea. Some mystery and I really thought the book got better as it got closer to the end.

I am giving it a 4 star because it held my interest.
I wish to thank the author, Marcia Lynn McClure for a complimentary copy to read and review.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Mormonizing of America- How the Mormon Religion Became a Dominate Force in the Politics, Entertainment, Pop and Culture

Book review The Mormonizing of America- How the Mormon Religion Became a Dominate Force in the Politics, Entertainment, Pop and Culture By Stephen Mansfield

Stephen Mansfield has written a very interesting book about the Mormons or Latter-day Saints, or LDS, as they prefer to be called. He has the story of the beginnings of this religion, which is the only religion that began in America. It is never called the Mormon Church because it is too informal. (pg xvix), They always capitalize the word Church, members call themselves Saints and believe they are Christians and not a cult.
Joseph Smith began this religion in Fayette, New York in 1830 with four other men. This new church is called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Joseph Smith is the Elder.
I know very little of the Mormons and their religion. This book has given me some insight of what they believe and why. As a Catholic, I will say I do not believe in some of their teachings but many religions do not believe in what I am taught. The author makes it clear at the beginning he is not a Mormon but never declares his religion. He has written a book on and about a religion.
There are nearly seven million Mormons in America (2012), barely 2 percent of the United States. It's a million more people than live in the state of Washington, a million less than in the state of Virginia (page 23),
An LDS member is to tithe, attend meetings, devote time to the family and many more commitments. Families are the eternal institution. (pg 34). Many LDS historians admit that many of the Church's ceremonies were influenced by the Freemasonic worldview and rituals. (pg 109). Joseph Smith said the Bible must be translated correctly. (page 245)
As a youth, members are to expected to give two years of their life to the Church when they become missionaries and are sent to different places in the world. (page 220). Mitt Romney was almost killed in France in an auto accident during his mission.
The Book of Mormon claims to be the history of Jewish tribes in the New world. (page 139)
The Contents of The Mormonizing of America- How the Mormon Religion Became a Dominate Force in the Politics, Entertainment, Pop and Culture are:
Acknowledgements (page xi) (When Stephen Mansfield is researching)
On Saintly Language (page xix) (Use of the letters of LDS and the word "Mormon".)
Prologue: Scenes from the Land of the Saints (page 1) ( Conversations and scenes)
Introduction: Engine of the Mormon Ascent (page 23) ( The Mormon rise, spiritual, family, patriotism, education.)
Chapter 1: The Mormon View of Morminism (page 51) (Conversations, what matters to a Mormon)
A Mormon Chronology (from circa 600 BC to 1904)
Chapter 2: In Search of True Religion (page 79) This chapter has young Joseph Smith and his mother, Lucy)
Chapter 3: Joseph Smith: Prophet and Magician (page 97) (Chapter when he meets Emma Hale, Smith's first wife)
Chapter 4: The Golden Plates (page 115) (Smith describes the plates as being "six inches wide and eight inches long and not quite as thick as a common tin. They were filled with engravings, in Egyptian characters and bound together in a volume, as the leaves of a book with three rings running through the whole" (page 122)
Chapter 5: An American Gospel (page 135) (Understanding The Book of Mormon. The first book sold for $1.25 in 1830 (page 138).
Mormon Beliefs in plain Language (page 157) (Explaining the beliefs of the Mormons)
Chapter 6: A New Breed of Men (page 163) (Revelations sent to Joseph Smith)
Chapter 7: Among a Progressing People (page 187) (In this chapter leadership is passed to Brigham Young)
Chapter 8: The Earthly Fruit of Faith (page 203) (Interviews of some members, the "natural" and "earthly" emphasis in Mormon theology, Smith tarred and a somewhat mixture in this chapter.)
Chapter 9: The Work Unfinished (page 223) (Changes in the religion)
Appendix A : Joseph Smith's Articles of Faith (page 245) (There are 13 written by Smith)
Appendix B: Surprising Quotes from Mormon Leaders (page 279) (These are from Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, Oliver B. Huntington, Joseph Field Smith (I am not certain if this is Joseph Smith or not- Leona)
Notes (page 257)
Bibliography (page 262)
There are two places in the book which have pictures of Smith and his mother, brother and wife for some and Orrin Hatch, Marie and Donny Osmond, Glenn Beck, George Romney, Mitt Romney, Harry Reid, the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City and more.
The book is dedicated to David Foster 1953-2012
2012 published by Worthy Publishing
ISBN- 978-1-617950-78-0 (hardcover)
ebook available at
The author, Stephen Mansfield may be reached at www.MansfieldGroup,com
I received a complimentary copy of The Mormonizing of America from the publisher. I wish to thank the publisher and the author for this book.
I give this book a 5 star for the research and down to earth observations. The opinions are my own.
Leona Olson

Monday, August 6, 2012

Where Heaven Begins By Rosanne Bittner
The book begins August 4, 1898.
Elizabeth Breckenridge has just been informed by the church deacons that she must leave Reverend Selby's residence because of an incident that was not her fault. Now, left alone in the world with her parents dead and her brother in Alaska, she has an uncertain future.
Elizabeth has decided to go to Alaska to find her brother, Peter, who is a minister of a church in Dawson.
Her journey begins at the wharf in San Francisco as she prepares to board the Alaskan Damsel. Elizabeth sees all kinds of people also waiting to board: Chinese, Negroes, painted women, a couple of men that might be Eskimo as well as the men searching for gold. She has never been around people of different races even though her father did minister to everyone.
Elizabeth's purse is robbed by a man and as she is yelling, another man comes to her rescue and retrieves her bag. His name is Clint Brady, a bounty hunter who is going to Alaska to get a criminal.
Now the adventure and hardships begin. Clint and Elizabeth are the main characters of the book.
Where Heaven Begins is filled with quotes from the Bible and Elizabeth prays all the time. I found it a fast moving and page turning book. I will give it a five star because it really kept my attention. A book of history, love, hardships, emotions, patience and tolerance.
You can find the author at :

Leona Olson

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Moon Cursed by Lori Handeland

Moon Cursed by Lori Handeland

Lori Handeland had me at the beginning with the words: "The first recorded sighting of the Loch Ness Monster was by Saint Columba in AD 565. The most recent occurred just last year."

Kristin Daniels was the host of a television program called Hoax Hunters, which has just been canceled.

She thought if she debunked the mystery for the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, that would prove the world would want the film.

Kris has been alone since her mother died and her brother and father left, she did not know where they were but knew she would be fine all alone in Scotland.

Right away she meets Liam Grant by the Urquhart Castle. He kisses her and this is just the beginning of her adventures. Dead bodies, legends of the monster, strange tattoos, love, feelings, unusual happenings and so much more. Some other characters are Jamaica who has a coffee shop, Alan Mac the constable, Dougal Scott a native of the area but from America and her landlady, Effy and Effy's brother.

This is a good read and for those who have read Lori Handeland, this is another wonderful book. She has done a good job on the accents, the mystery and the description of the location brings me right back to the Loch. I have been there and it is very beautiful. I did not see Nessie that day but I did bring back a souvenir of a ceramic Nessie.

Shakespeare Undead by Lori Handeland

Shakespeare Undead by Lori Handeland
William Shakespeare and Kate made a fun read. Vampires and zombies are not something I expected in s book about Shakespeare but it worked in this book. Each chapter had a quote from a play by William Shakespeare, that took some research and gave the reader unfamiliar with the plays, a look into the works of Shakespeare.
Kate is a chaseur, a hunter of zombies; her husband is in Virginia half of the year and does not know what she is doing. Kate and Will are in London.
Will and Kate join forces to fight the zombies. Will is a vampire.
One chapter is Kate in first person and the next chapter is in third person for Will so one may become confused at the beginning.
I will give this a 3.5 star.
I checked this book out from my library.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Accused by Janice Cantore


From the Back Cover

“Time to prove she isn’t a broken cop.”
An officer-involved shooting six months earlier takes Detective Carly Edwards off the street and sends her to a boring desk job in juvenile. When a troubled youth is arrested for the murder of the mayor, Carly is summoned to the crime scene. Homicide thinks it’s a quick, open-and-shut case, and Carly hopes this will be her ticket back to patrol.

Though her professional life seems to be on track, Carly still has unresolved issues in her personal life. Nick, her ex-husband and fellow police officer, is determined to show Carly that he’s a changed man, but she isn’t convinced he won’t betray her again.

As the murder investigation progresses, Carly suspects a cover-up and strikes out on her own, uncertain whom she can trust. But she soon realizes the case may put her directly in the killers’ crosshairs.

Janice Cantore is a retired Long Beach police officer who now writes suspense novels to keep readers engrossed and leave them inspired. Her years of experience on the force lend authenticity to her stories. Accused is the first in the three-book Pacific Coast Justice series.
I usually do not add the information about the book from the covers but this time I did because it gave a good explanation of the book.
This is the first book I have read by Janice Cantore, and I did find a fast-moving book but I found there were too many directions the book was going. It was a quick read and I thought I knew some of the ending but I did not know all for it; this is what makes a good book.
As a reader, I could feel the frustrations of the main characters and I also wondered who was to be trusted.
Carly's mother, who in religious, tries to tell Carly to believe and trust in the Lord. This is a Christian romance novel but not overly pushed. I like the relationship between Carly's mother and Carly's ex, Nick.
Because the author was an officer at one time, you will find "police talk" in the book, which brought some realism into the book. There is some violence.
Janice Cantore can be found at
I am giving this book a 4 star because it keep me interested even if I did get confused sometimes.
I checked this book out of my local library.
Leona Olson

The Complete Beginner's Guide to Genealogy, the Internet, and Your Genealogy Complete Program

The Complete Beginner's Guide to Genealogy, the Internet, and Your Genealogy Complete Program by Karen Clifford, A.C.
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1. Principles of Success for the Family Historian
Chapter 2. Organizing Family Information
Chapter 3. Becoming Acquainted with Your Genealogy Program
Chapter 4. Why Document?
Chapter 5. Printing Your Records
Chapter 6. Your Family History Book
Chapter 7. Developing a Sense of Our Ancestors
Chapter 8. Resolving Conflict
Chapter 9. State Vital Record Offices, Public Libraries, Courthouses and Local Repositories
Chapter 10. Resources of the Family History Library
Chapter 11. Major Date Bases of the Family History Library
Chapter 12. Using Local Family History Centers
Chapter 13. National Archives and Regional Records Services Facilities
Chapter 14. Census Records Between 1850-1920
Chapter 15. Analysis and Goal Setting
Chapter 16. Sharing Your Family History Research
Appendix A. The Internet and Genealogy
Appendix B. Genealogical Forms
"Some have been denied families of example, but somewhere on every family tree there is a hero. There are also explanations for feelings, for traditions, for understanding ourselves. There are examples of histories we don't want to see repeated, lessons learned, and visions of what we may become." By Karen Clifford on page 1-1 of Chapter One.
The book has 'Terms to Understand" throughout. The first term is "genealogy"- "A record or table of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or ancestors" on page 11 Chapter 1. The last term is "NON NOBIS SOLUM" - "We are not alone" on page 15-13 of Chapter 16.
A good book for beginners as well as experiences one studying genealogy.
I found it is a book that informs as well as encourages one to search for their own family history and is very detailed. There are forms, questions the readers are to ask of themselves, lists of what to do, tips, computer information, goal settings, becoming a family historian, where to search and so much more.
Karen Clifford can be found at Genealogy Research Associates.
I got my book from my library but one can order through GRA.
I give it a five star because of so much information.
Leona Olson

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Planet Explorers Disney Cruise Line 2012-A Travel Guide for Kids by Laura Schaefer

Planet Explorers Disney Cruise Line 2012-A Travel Guide for Kids by Laura Schaefer

This short book of only 51 pages is full of information about the Disney Cruise Ships.

Table of Contents has an Introduction, History of Disney Cruise Lines, Ships (Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy), Castaway Cay ( Disney's Island) in the Bahamas, Some Cities visited by the Disney Ships (Nassau, San Juan, Key West St. Thomas/ St. John, Cozumel, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Alaskan Ports), Cruising Web Sites, A Test for Disney Knowledge, Travel Tips and A Note from the Publisher.

The book prepares a family for the adventure that Disney Cruise Ships offer. It gives information on the ships, activities, where to eat, adult areas, pools, where to shop, ship terms and so much more. The pictures are great.

I would encourage anyone planning a Disney Cruise to get a Kindle copy of this book. Amazon has it for sale for $3.99 (July 2012) and carry it with you on the cruise. Have the children read it with you and make the plans of what to do and see together This book is written for children but any adult will also find good information.

I always recommend future cruisers talk to their Travel Professional because they can help you find the right ship and itinerary.

I received a complimentary e-book copy of Planet Explorers Disney Cruise Line 2012-A Travel Guide for Kids to read and review. The opinions are my own. I will give it a five star because I was impressed with the information. A brochure will give details on what the rates are for the cruises.

Leona Olson

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Jackson-The Iron-Willed Commander by Paul Vickery
The book begin with the inauguration of Andrew Jackson as a seventh President of the United States on March 4, 1829. It then goes back to Andrew Jackson as a youth, his meeting with Rachel, his duels, the Battle of New Orleans and his death.
I am listing the chapters for the review because they define the book:
A Note From the Author
Chapter One: A Boy Becomes a Man
Chapter Two: A Lawyer is Born
Chapter Three: Rachel and Nashville
Chapter Four: The Dueling Judge
Chapter Five: Hostility with the Creeks
Chapter Six: Old Hickory
Chapter Seven: The Creek War Begins
Chapter Eight: Old Hickory Faces Mutiny
Chapter Nine: The Battle of Horseshoe Bend
Chapter Ten: The Creek War Ends: The Treaty of Fort Jackson
Chapter Eleven: Fort Bowyer and Pensacola
Chapter Twelve: New Orleans: Preparation for Battle
Chapter Thirteen: The Battle of New Orleans: Beginnings
Chapter Fourteen: New Orleans: The Battle of January 8, 1815
Chapter Fifteen: The Hero of New Orleans
Chapter Sixteen: The Indian Question
Chapter Seventeen: The First Seminole War
Chapter Eighteen: Jackson as President
Chapter Nineteen: Legacy
I think there is a good lesson in the history of the United States of America and the many encounters with war, Indians, politics and people. One might not agree in how things were done but Andrew Jackson did believe what he did was for the good. "This was classic Jackson. We may disagree with his policies, but we must at least grant he was consistent". (page 168)
Some notes I took were:
1. John Quincy Adams did not attend the inauguration of Andrew Jackson because of the disagreement they had when Jackson believed Adams spread slander about Rachel.
2. The Louisiana Purchase: "Jefferson's vision of having independent farmers as the backbone of the nation now seemed feasible, and America had access to the Gulf of Mexico". The problem was France had never taken possession from Spain (page 44).
3. Florida: Jackson wanted a reason to invade Florida. (page 173 and chapter 17).
4. New Orleans Battle was " the boost in morale to the national spirit brought by the victory in New Orleans cannot be overstated". (page 157).
5. Names of historical figures are throughout the book: Sam Houston, Davey Crockett, Napoleon and Jean Lafitte for some.
6. Songs: Yankee Doodle, Hail Columbia and some written about Jackson but not named in this book.
7. Rachel and his love for her. Jackson was always writing her letters. Her remarks when he won the presidency was :"Well, for Mr. Jackson's sake", she quietly whispered, "I am glad; for my part I never wished it". (page 194). Their adopted son Andrew, Jr, is also in the book.
8. The wars with the Indians continued with Jackson. The Trail of Tears (page 201); the relocation of the Cherokee nation to Oklahoma (page 201), Seminole War (page 179) and the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.(page 91- chapter 9) for some. The Cherokees called Jackson Sharp Knife.
9. Burr wrote to Governor Claiborne in New Orleans "I fear there's something rotten in the State Denmark"' (page 46). (( I had to check the saying and it was in the play Hamlet by Shakespeare in 1602.))
10. How Andrew Jackson got the name Old Hickory. (page 62).
I give this a five star because of the history and so many facts. It made me as a reader want to read more of this time period. I remember my mother took me to see "The President's Lady.
As a parent, read this book and have your child read it and then discuss it. Especially since this is a time of elections in 2012, it is a great learning tool. I found it more of a military book and Jackson as a General but there are so many more facts.
I received a complimentary copy of Jackson- The Iron-Willed Commander by Paul Vickery to read and review from booksneeze. The opinions are my own.
This is a Thomas Nelson Publisher book; ISBN:978-1-59555-454-3; published 2012.



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Attracted to Fire

Review of Attracted to Fire by DiAnn Mills
Secret Service Agent Meghan Connors has been assigned to protect Vice-President Hall's daughter, Lindsay, who has drug and alcohol problems. Also assigned are Agent Ash Zinder and other agents. Lindsay has been sent to the Dancin' Dust Ranch in West Texas, owned by Press Secretary Scottard Burnette, along with a psychologist, Dr. David Sanchez, and his nurse who will treat Lindsay with vitamins and healthy foods. The ranch is about 100 miles west of Austin. (I am guessing in the Kerrville area of Texas because of the description area and that the Barton Creek Mall is in the south part of Austin. Not Llano or Brady because I would think there would be a reference to Bar-B-Q. Personal opinion because I can picture it more).

This is a mystery that involves the President and Vice-President of the United States. The President has cancer, resigns and Vice-President Hall is sworn in as President. Lindsay is frightened for the safety of her father and she also fears for her life. Drugs and alcohol has helped her cope with the problems.

The book is also a Christian romance and so no bad language (one time) and no sex. I was impressed on page 19 when "he has a reputation for being a pain in the rear" were the words instead of the common word today, a**. DiAnn Mills had me at that point.

The book is a page turner and the reader is trying to find the ones in the book who are committing the crimes.

There is murder, assassinations, drugs, romance, Secret Service Agents and power. The cast of characters are: Chip Leonard, son of Ethan Leonard who runs the ranch for the Press Secretary; Pepper who is the cook at the ranch, cooks spicy food and has a care less attitude (I think); the nurse, Carla and a number of agents, on the ranch and off.

I did not like the cover of the book I got from the library and made a remark when I checked it out. Don't judge a book by it's cover and this is a good example. My copy has a woman, not with red hair, holding a gun.

I am giving Attracted to Fire a 4 star. I like the descriptions, the personal contacts and the fact author kept the reader wondering even though the reader will probably guess some of the outcome.

I chose this book as part of the Tyndale Reading Program:

I look forward to reading other book by this author. You man reach DiAnn Mills at and

Check out the Tyndale Reading Program and receive a book.

Leona Olson

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Book of Madness and Cures

The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O' Melveny
Gabriella Mondini is a doctor in Venice in 1590. She has decided to search for her father, also a doctor who left home 10 years ago to research for his book on maladies (madness). By taking his letters with her, she uses them as her map to find him. Letters from France, the Kingdom of Spain and Scotland are some places from where the letters were sent. The journey begins in Venetia, Venice, and leads the reader north as far as Edenburg and down to Tanger. There is a map on one of the front pages, always a nice feature.
During this period of time women doctors were considered to be doing witchcraft rather than being a doctor. The only reason she was accepted into the Guild of Physicians as a doctor was because of her father. She was told her she had to resign after he was gone.
On her journey are two of her servants, Lorenzo and his wife, Olmina. Gabriella's mother does not want her to leave but Gabriella is a determined lady.
On their journey they face many hardships as well as meet new people. Many knew of Gabriella's father which encouraged her to keep traveling. Dr. Baldino told Gabriella "Nothing is certain. But it's true that your father wandered the land at night, wrestling with something unknown in himself" (page 194).
At times, the women had to cut their hair and dress as men, endure cold weather, illness and short supplies of food.
People were always greeted in Venice even by strangers but not everywhere, Gabriella found as she traveled.
During this time, Gabriella kept taking notes and writing information collected about cures and herbs for the book The Book of Diseases.
Some notes I took were:
They traveled the lands of the Christians and Moors.
The Julian and Georgian calendars used in two different places (page 189). Understanding the Julian to Gregorian Calendar The United Kingdom and all their colonies, like the American Colonies, did not recognize the Gregorian calendar (also known as Western or Christian Calendar) until September 1752, so leading to the main reason for two different years on many records; such as 1712/1713.
They found different religions and how they felt about other religions (Catholics were not always welcome). Herbs and plants for healing and how many were used. Gabriella took notes for the book. She thought the majolica jars for apothecaries were not as nice as in Venice (page 260).
The hardships they endured, the food they ate and what they had to drink. Yunnan Tea made in tea cakes "Here we have the uncommon Yunnan tea that the Dutch nobles enjoy for over a hundred silver ducats a pound" as Signor Vincenzo Gradenigo shared it with Gabriella, Lorenzo and Olmina. (page 163).
I really liked the descriptions of the places, food, herbs, dress of the different areas and the people.
No sex and no bad language. Some disasters along the way.
I think the author, Regina O' Melveny has done a wonderful job on The Book of Madness and Cures. It is a book I could re-read even though I know the end. I liked the quick conclusion of the story. It was brief but still complete.
The author may be reached at
I will give it a five star.
I received a complimentary copy of The Book of Madness and Cures to read and review from the author and the Hachett Book Group.The opinions are my own.
Leona Olson

Saturday, June 23, 2012

To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal, MD

To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal, MD is about an orthopedic doctor who drowned while on a kayaking trip in Chile. The book spends little time of her journey into Heaven but does give enough of her time there throughout the book.
The book is dedicated to God: "I dedicate this book to God: You gave me life And I live for your glory."
Mary Neal's book talks a lot about her life to become a doctor, her family life, her religious life, the divorce of her parents, loss of family members, her death and return to life. The book is a fast read, I read it in one day while taking some breaks, and emotional. I could feel her emotions as she wrote the book and her encounters in life and death.
I liked this book but as some have reviewed, I did not care for the politics of Kerry and Obama at the end of the book, but since this was her book, I guess she could write whatever she wanted.
For those who doubt that people return from a near death experience, this is a book for them to read. A few days before I lost my mother, I was in the hospital with her. She told us she had gone into a tunnel, never saw the light and was at peace and did not hurt. I said I was glad she came back. I had to fly back home for some knee surgery and told her I would be back in a couple of weeks, we lived in different states, when she had surgery on her leg. As a diabetic she was about to lose her leg. She died while they were checking her out of the hospital the next day; I think God did not want her to go through surgery at her age, 89.
Mary's husband, Bill, is with her the whole time as she heals from the experience in Chile. In the book, Mary Neal said her husband is the glue that holds things together.
I will say, I thought she should have been in a hospital instead of a hotel after the accident and also should have taken a medical flight back to the United States. (The reader will see what I mean when they read the book.)
I will give a little commercial here: anyone traveling, especially out of the country, should take out insurance. As a travel professional, I have seen too many people lose a trip and injured people have the expense of returning home.
The author uses a lot of biblical quotes in To Heaven and Back. She also has the poem "Footprints in the Sand" by Carolyn Joyce Carty ( the Internet has another author, Mary Stevenson, I have seen anonymous many times and her version is different than the poem in this book.)
I will write the one in the book because it is always a special poem and I believe it relates to all of us.
Footprints in the Sand
One night a man had a dream
He dreamed he was walking along a beach with the Lord
Scenes from his life flashed across the sky
And he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to him and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of his life had flashed before him,
He recalled that at the lowest and saddest times of his life
There was only one set of footprints.
Dismayed, he asked, "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
I don't understand why, when I needed you most,
You would leave me."
The Lord replied, "My precious child.
I love you and would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
When you saw only one set of footprints...
That was when I carried you."
There are some family pictures in the book that helps the reader connect with the family, always a nice feature.
I give this book a four star. I received a complimentary copy of To Heaven and Back to review. The opinions are my own. I wish to thank the author for such a look into her and her families life.
Leona Olson

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tumbleweeds by Leila Meacham

Tumbleweeds by Leila Meacham

The prologue begins in 2008 and then goes the book goes back into the past beginning in 1979. A story about three people and how lives can change and separate; how life does not always give you what you want and what you plan but how one can change when needed.
Trey Don Hall, John Caldwell and Catherine Ann Benson are the main characters who became friends at a young age. I will add Rufus, a dog given to Cathy by Trey Don and John. In this sometimes complicated book, the three go through many passions, friendships and love. The book is based in the Panhandle of Texas and how football is so important in the lives of the small town of Kersey and the people. I am from West Texas and football is very important to the whole town; something Cathy, who was from California, could never understand. (My mother who was from Colorado never understood it either but my father did.)
Families are involved and there is a feeling of small town closeness, sometimes good and sometimes bad.
Trey was quoted as saying "The Texas Panhandle breeds a bunch of us long, tall drink-of-water look-alikes. We're as common as tumbleweeds".
One life leads to football, another to become a priest and another one works in a diner.
I hate to review too much of the book as the reader will need to get into the book and feel the emotions of the characters. A book that covers decades and many lives.
John named his pickup, Old Red, my father had his International pickup he bought from Texas Electric and called it the Red Mule. Many Texas references to the colleges and universities and towns.
The recipe for Emma's Hot water Corn Bread is at the end of the book, a nice treat.
I give it a five star rating for the overall twists and turns and the page turner it is.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author and Grand Central Publishing. The opinions are my own. I wish to thank Leila Meacham for such a wonderful, and emotional, book to read and review.
Leona Olson

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fated by Alyson Noel

Fated by Alyson Noel is the first book in a series called the Soul Seekers-a spirit world between the living and the dead.
Daire is now 16 years old and her fate has been set from before her birth. Her father died before she was born and her mother raised her. Her mother, Jennika, is a cosmetologist and travels the world working on movie sets. Daire travels with her and has never had a real life or home. Daire has been having dreams and also gets violent as she goes into seizures. Her grandmother, her father's mother, has contacted Jennika and said it is now the time for the training of Daire and she must bring Daire to New Mexico. Daire finds a different way of life; real school for the first time, a home, herbs and a grandmother, Paloma, who is kind but mysterious. Paloma is Spanish and a widow. Abuela is grandmother in Spanish. (the book I read before Fated also had the word Abuela).
The scenery of New Mexico is apparent in the adobe buildings, mesquite trees (not really a tree but more of a bush), juniper, pinon trees, the Santo de Cristo Mountains and tumbleweeds. Foods that describe New Mexico are pinon coffee from the pinon nuts (my mother and aunts favorite nut) and blue corn pancakes.
The book is written in first person and leads the reader into the Lower World and Upper World as well as the Middle World.
There are demons, darkness, dreams, souls, portals, evil and good, Shamans, Seekers, balance, reborn and renewed energy and ancestors that help pull the reader into the contents of the novel.
There are five sections of Fated: Then, Now, The Spirit Road, The Raven's Song and Dark Harvest.
The author has done a lot of research on Animal Spirit Guides such as the Raven, Coyote, Horse, Wolf and Eagle which are all important in Fated.
Some other characters are Chay, a friend of Paloma and the twins, Cade and Dace; one evil and one good and one with icy- blue eyes from Daire's dreams.
This is a young adult paranormal book that is a good read. A little bit of sexual mention and the language is pretty much clean. I am giving Fated a 4 1/2 star and look forward to reading Echo, the next book in the series, followed by Mystic and Horizon.
I received a complimentary copy of Fated to read and review and I wish to thank the author for such a good read. The book is a hard cover and a very impressive book cover; it would make a nice gift for a teenager. The opinions are my own.
The reader can reach the Alyson Noel at
Leona Olson

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fated book review out tomorrow

I have finished Fated by Alyson Noel and will post a review. My computer hung up on me and so my son took a picture of what I had written so I could re-write it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Ball Player

The Ball Player~a novel~ by Clay Snellgrove
This is a book about a man and his love for baseball. The Ball Player began playing baseball in high school and then played for the Minor Leagues hoping for the chance to make it to the Majors.
I am not a real baseball fan and maybe because of that, I really learned a lot about the people involved in the game. A lot of emotions are tied into this book and I could see the Ball Player cared for what happened to those he loved and cared for as well as what he did with his life. The reader could feel the tension as the
player prepared to bat, run or catch a ball. I learned a lot about baseball and the players; moving from team to team must be hard as well as emotional. The book describes the game, talks about drugs, sex and ups and downs in life. Dreams are an important part of the novel and what it takes to get them. The death of his best friend hits hard for the Ball Player and to a reader like me.
Clay Snellgrove was raised by caring parents and this was apparent in his book with the respect for the parents in the book. He did play for the San Diego Padres and played six seasons in professional baseball. Clay and his wife, Erin, live in Tennessee. At first I thought he was from Round Rock, Texas because it was mentioned a couple of times. I lived in Round Rock for ten years and they do have a baseball team there. He also mentioned Midland, Texas for a ball game; Midland is 52 miles from my hometown. The Ball Player is in first tense but so different in the writing that the main character answers are never in quotes.
F word only used two times and other language was not bad. Sorry, I do not personally care for a lot of foul mouth language so I add this to my reviews. It is a love story that also carries a lot of "what do I do?" in the book. I give it a 4 1/2 star rating.
You may reach Clay at or find his blog at His email is :
I have a complimentary paperback copy of The Ball Player from the author. Readers may also purchase a Kindle version on Amazon.
I will post this on my blog., Amazon and
Leona Olson

Friday, May 18, 2012

Serendipity by Carly Phillips

Faith Harrington was a girl of privilege in the town of Serendipity until her father ended up in prison for a Ponzi scheme. Ethan Barron was the bad boy who left town after his parent's death in an accident. Both have come back home to restart their lives. A teenaged sister Ethan never knew he had has entered the picture and he is now the big brother who has to take care of her along with his two estranged brothers. Faith has some close friends and a somewhat connection with her mother.

I liked this book for a quick read that connected family and friends. Ethan bought the mansion where Faith had lived and wants her to decorate the place. This is a good start to her business but emotional.

The book is "sexually charged" as the author has described at one time in the book.

I will give it a 3 1/2 star. I borrowed Serendipity from my library.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

When You Wish by Lori Handeland

When You Wish
by Lori Handeland

A story of Doctor Daniel Chadwick and Grace Lightfoot competing for a grant on the projects they both feel are important. The grant will come Mrs. Cabilla who will make the final decision.

The challenge comes when the two main characters are supposed to work together for two weeks before it is decided who will get the grant.

Grace has a different outlook on life than Dan; she is free spirited and he is reserved. Her project is Project Hope and his is a medical research project.

Dan's family has disinherited him because he went into the wrong field of medicine and Grace was still angry at her father for letting stress kill him (my feelings). He was Ojibwe and his wife Irish. The Ojibwe believed in taking care of family and so he took care of his three sisters who loved in the same house as Grace. They are wonderful characters and I really see them as characters. There is also Olaf, a Norwegian, who protects Grace from "bad men".
Again, the author brings the flavor of her home state of Wisconsin. I live in Minnesota but was not raised here so I had to learn these things of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The lab for Daniel is on a old Boy Scout Camp in Wisconsin; my sons went to Tomahawk Scout Camp in Wisconsin. There is Lake Illusion in the book and Wisconsin is full of lakes. Lutefisk is mentioned in the book and it is a cured fish eaten traditionally by Scandinavians. Mosquitos are thick when there is a lot of rain and so true. I learned in one of her book why Wisconsin is called the Badger State. I like this type of information in books; it makes the book more personal.
I think that Lori Handeland does a good job of her descriptions; the reader is almost there.
The story is about an oil and water mixture from the two main characters they get along and then don't get along. The reader wants to know what really is going to happen at the end. Some steamy kissing scenes but not bad.
A good read for the airplane or sitting outside. The authors's site is
This will also be posted on my and
I received a complimentary copy of When You Wish to read and review. The opinions are my own.
Leona Olson

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Little Women Letters

Gabrielle Donnelly has brought the Little Women of the late 1880s into contemporary times with letters from the past. This is a book about the Atwater family and the ancestors of Fee and her daughters. The daughters, Emma, Lulu and Sophie are all different as were the March girls. The March family lived in Boston and the Atwater family live in London.

Lulu has gone into the attic to find family recipes for Great Aunt Amy who lives in Boston. As she goes through old papers, she finds letters written by Jo. I will say the letters are so real, there is a lot of emotions while reading them. For those who have read the books and watched the movies on the Little Women, the reader will go back into time. The Letters make the book.

The book is based around the family and even though the girls, all women, have sarcastic remarks to each other at times, I personally see a great family closeness.

The parents of Emma, Lulu and Sophie were at one time hippies. David is a publisher and travels a lot; Fee is interested in her garden. Emma is planning her wedding, Sophie is a upcoming actress and Lulu is still looking for her place in life. Charlie is a close friend that is like a member of the family and Matthew is the boyfriend of Sophie. There are other characters in the book and the author fits everyone into place.

The book goes back and forth from letters that Lulu reads in secret while in the attic to the modern lives of the characters in the book. The "crisis" might be shoes, food or where to live.

I have been to London and so liked the references to the different areas. This is an easy read and also a fun read. Very entertaining.

I liked The Little Women Letters and find it is a re-read for me.

I will give it four star. I wish to thank Gabrielle Donnelly for the complimentary copy of The Little Women Letters.

A Lady Like Sarah

A Lady Like Sarah

Reverend Justin Wells was a minister in Boston but now is heading to Texas to become the minister in Rocky Creek, Texas.

He finds a U.S. Marshal and his prisoner on a trail and the marshal shot. As hard as they try to help him, the marshal dies but Justin had promised him he would take his prisoner to Rocky Creek and her fate is the gallows. Along the journey, they find a dying mother that had been attacked by Indians and her baby. Justin takes the baby, Elizabeth, and Sarah and Justin continue.

Sarah Prescott has three brothers who are Wells Fargo stagecoach robbers. Sarah has never robbed but she is condemned by a judge in Rocky Creek for the death of a passenger on a stagecoach.

The journey has a lot of twists and turns but Justin has faith in God and has an answer for almost everything.

This is my second book I have read by Margaret Brownley and both are good reads. A Lady Like Sarah is a Christian romance book and the trials God seems to put them through.

Some of the sayings that I liked are Monkey Wards, for Montgomery Wards (my father who was from Oklahoma and Texas, where I was raised, used to always say this). Noah was the pack mule, Moses, and his horse, Noah. When someone died, Justin said God received them with open arms, he did not say they had died. Longhorns, quilting bee,hand cranked sewing machine, grasshoppers, mail order catalog, Barnum's Circus, click of the tongue (to encourage a horse) and pulling my leg are some words that Margaret Browning uses that add to the descriptions of the story. Something I never thought about was where did bone china get the name and the answer is partially in this book. Longhorn cattle bones were collected to be sold and used to make the china. see page 3.

A Lady Like Sarah is an easy read and I look forward to her other books.Find Margaret Brownley on Facebook under Margaret Brownley Books and also her site

Leona Olson