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

Monday, May 14, 2012

Splendid Summer by Mary Matthews

Splendid Summer by Mary Matthews

This is a short mystery novel set in the 1920s.

Grace Wentworth has returned to Coronado, California after completing Finishing School in Europe to find her Uncle Charles has died. He was the caretaker of her and her trust after the death of her parents. His wife, Aunt Alice is concerned about herself and one's lineage.

Grace has met Jack Brewster on the train; he is a Pinkerton detective. Jack has a deaf, Persian white cat named Tatania, who seems to have her own "magic". She is one of the main characters in the story.

Both Grace and Jack try to find who killed her beloved uncle.

The setting is on Coronado and the area. Mary Matthews has put the reader back into the 1920s with all the references: Studebaker, Packard, permanent wave aroma, Charles Lindbergh, U S Grant Hotel, Great War, long skirts, Martson's Department Store, Rexall Drugs, Ponzi scheme (named after Charles Ponzi) and the prohibition.

I will give this a four star.

I received a complimentary e-book from the author and I wish to thank Mary Matthews for a quick and fun read.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Chasing the Sun

Chasing the Sun by Tracie Peterson
Hannah Dandridge is in Cedar Springs, Texas near Dallas awaiting for the return of her father John, who has gone to Vicksburg, Mississippi to see his dying mother. His partner, Herbert Lockhart, has told Hannah he has been probably been taken prisoner by the Union and may be dead. This is in the middle of the Civil War, October 1863. Herbert Lockhard had been wanting Hannah to marry him but she does not love him. The siblings of Hannah by her step-mother are also worried about their father; Andy is 8 years old and Marty is 5 years old; their mother died at Marty's birth.
They came to Texas after the death of Hannah's step-mother because John Dandridge had become depressed. The ranch they now owned was confiscated by the government because the Barnetts left to fight on the side of the Union.
On the ranch there is also Berto Montoya and his wife Juanita who worked for the Barnetts. They have two children, Pepita and Pablo.
This is also the time of the Comanche raids in the area.
Andy has left the ranch as a Longhorn has wandered. He comes across a soldier who is coming home after being wounded. As they are trying to free the animal, a young Indian warrior comes towards them but his horse is spooked and he falls to the ground. Andy brings both home to the ranch; one is William Barnett and the other is Night Bear of the Comanche tribe. The author uses the word Numunuu which is what the Comanche's name for themselves. (All the books I have read, this is the first time I have seen this name. The author uses respect in this book for the Tribe.).
The book is one I have found to be very emotional and also fun such as the birth of a calf. The Civil war was a hard time for our country but the book is also about hardships in this time period. There is love, friendship, hardships, death, greed, family and history. This is a Christian Romance book. I give it a five star.
I have been to Vicksburg, Mississippi and have seen the graves of many soldiers who died. It is a startling fact and very somber.
I was given a complimentary copy of "Chasing the Sun" by Tracie Peterson from Bethany House to read and review. The opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Kingdom's Cost

This book is about James Douglas of Scotland when he was eighteen years of age. A Kingdom's Cost begins in the year 1300 in Paris and ends in Scotland.

There are historical characters such as William Wallace, King Edward l of England (who was known as Longshanks), the Bishop of Andrews, William Lamberton (who crowned Robert de Bruce as King of Scotland), William Douglas the Hardy, father of James and there is Isabella, the love of James.

James is the main character and the book is about his struggle for Scotland, with others, to become free of England and for James to regain his rightful land.

The beginning chapters are filled with historical facts and the time frame moves quickly. It took me close to one hundred pages to really get in to the personal part of the book. I know little of Scottish history and did learn a lot from A Kingdom's Cost and the war between England and Scotland during the reign of Edward l. As far as I could read with my extra research the author was close to the facts.

There was so much fighting and war, I kept wondering why so much. I got my answer on pages 196-197: "For Islemen and highlanders, war was a sport they savored".

This book will give the reader a big nudge to learn more of the history of Scotland. I have been to Scotland and know some of the area and some history. I even went to Inverness but Nessie did not show herself that day.

I look forward to reading more by J. R. Tomlin. I want to thank her for the opportunity to read A kingdom's Cost.

I received a complimentary copy of this e-book to read and review. The opinions are my own. I will post this on my blog:, Smashwords and LibraryThing.