Friday, April 26, 2013

The Carrion birds by Urban Waite

The Carrion Birds

Book Description from Amazon

April 16, 2013

The Carrion Birds from Urban Waite, author of the highly acclaimed The Terror of Living, is a remarkable work of literary noir.
Hired gun Ray Lamar is ready to put his past behind him. He wants to see his twelve-year-old son and start a new life—away from the violence of the last ten years. One last heist will take him there. All he has to do is steal a rival’s stash. Simple, easy, clean.
But when things start to go very wrong, Ray realizes the path to redemption isn’t always easy.
A soulful tale of violence, vengeance, and contrition, The Carrion Birds is an elegant depiction of one man’s last chance to make things right.

From the Back Cover

Set in a small town in the Southwest, a soulful work of literary noir rife with vengeance and contrition from a fresh voice in fiction—the author of the highly acclaimed The Terror of Living
Life hasn't worked out the way Ray Lamar planned. A widower who's made some tragic mistakes, he's got one good thing going for him: he's calm and efficient under pressure, usually with a gun in his hand. A useful skill to have when you're paid to hurt people who stand in your boss's way.
But Ray isn't sure he wants to be that man anymore. He wants to go home and see the son he hopes will recognize him. He wants to make a new life far from the violence of the last ten years, and he believes that one last job will take him there. A job that should be simple, easy, clean.
Ray knows there's no such thing as easy, and sure enough, the first day ends in a catastrophic mess. Now the runners who have always moved quietly through this desert town on the Mexican border want answers. And revenge. Short on time, with no one to trust but himself, Ray must come up with a plan, or else Coronado, New Mexico's lady sheriff will have a vicious bloodbath on her hands.
Set in a town once rich with oil, now forgotten and struggling, The Carrion Birds is filled with refreshingly realistic and vulnerable characters. With its masterfully orchestrated suspense and unexpected bursts of lyricism, this is a remarkably unsettling and indelible work in the tradition of Cormac McCarthy, Elmore Leonard, and Dennis Lehane.

My review:
I received a complimentary advance reading copy of The Carrion Birds to read and review. I will say at the beginning this is not my kind of book but the author did a good job of the story and so I will give it a 4 star. There is a lot of violence which would be expected in a book written about drugs and murder. The opinions are my own.
Dedicated: For My Mother who showed me at a young age how to pick from the ashes.
The main character, Ray Lamar, leaves the reader with "do I like him or do I wish him the worst?"
Some characters are Tom (Tomas) Herrera, a cousin of Ray. Tom lost his job as the sheriff and the new sheriff is Edna Kelly. Memo, a drug dealer and his nephew, Jim Sanchez. Dario Campo owns a bar in town.
There is a lot of emotion, death, blood, drugs, violence and graphic descriptions.
Ray wants to reconnect with his son, who was left injured after the accident, was it an accident ?, of his mother.
For those who like a real life type of book this is one for them. It is fast moving with the book taking place over a four day period for Ray.
The Carrion Birds are describing the death of an oil town where the oil is no longer there to be pumped.
carrion (kar-ee-uh n) rottenness, vile, dead
Urban Waite may be reached at

Leona Olson

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Icecutter's Daughter by Tracie Peterson

Icecutters Daughter (Land Of Shining Water)

The Icecutter's Daughter by Tracie Peterson, A Land of Shining Water Series
Dedicated to : To the Ladies of our morning study.

I have read a number of Tracie Peterson's book and I was not disappointed. I like her style and the strong characters she has in her books. Keep tissues handy because there is always a sad moment or two in a Christian romance.
The Icecutter's Daughter begins on December 31,1895 in a small town in Minnesota. Merrill Krause is trying to help a Belgian mare deliver her foal.
She has four older brothers and a father; Merrill had promised her dying mother she would care for them and that was ten years ago.
She is a strong character and can cook as well as help with the horses and ice cutting in the frozen lakes. Carl Jorgenson tells Rurik she is a good cook and always wins at the fair.
Rurik Jorgenson has come to Waseca, Minnesota to help his Uncle Carl Jorgenson with his furniture building business as Carl has been in poor health. Rurik is from Kansas and had recently broken up with his fiance, Svea Olsson. This was an arranged marriage as was the Swedish custom but a fading custom. Svea broke up with Rurik when she found he was going to Minnesota.
Rurik helps with the ice cutting with Merrill's father as well as helping his uncle build furniture.
The story leads us into a romance when Rurik falls in love with Merrill. Problems arise when Svea and her brother, Nils, arrive in Waseca and she tells Rurik she is carrying his child. Rurik denies he has ever been with her but not all believe him. Nils also falls for Merrill and so the story continues.
The story has a lot of history, both Swedish and German. The ice cutting is still happening in 1895 however, technology is beginning to make this a dying need.
I will say at this point, that my husband and brother-in-law remember the ice cutting in Minnesota lakes in the 1940s when the store cut ice and sold it from Mille Lacs Lake in northern Minnesota.
Be prepared for the food Merrill makes and serves; strudel and spaetzle for two. It would have been nice to have a recipe or two in the book.
Tracie Peterson did have some prayers in the book.
Rurik tells Merrill " One of my very first things I remember memorizing was the Lord's Prayer-in Swedish." (page 213)
The Lord's Prayer was said by Rurik in Swedish: "Fader Var som ar i Himmelen. Helgat varde Ditt namn. Tillkomme Ditt Rike. Ske Din vilja, sasom i Himmelen sa ock pd Jprden. Vat dagliga brod giv oss idag Och forlat oss vara skulder sasom ock vi forlata dem oss skyldiga aro och inled oss icke i frestelse utan frals oss ifran ondo. Ty Riket ar Ditt och Makten och Harlingheten i Evighet. Amen."
(my husband has his grandmother's Swedish Bible)
A German prayer said by Merrill's father: "Komm, Herr Jesu; sei du unser Gast, und segne, was du uns bescheret hast. Amen." (page 87)
"Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest and bless what you have bestowed. Amen"
A good read for some history and a Christian romance.
I give this a 5 star rating.
I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House to read and review. The opinions are my own.
Tracie Peterson can be reached at
She is the author of more than 90 novels, both historical and contemporary.
Leona Olson

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

bread & wine by shauna niequist

bread & wine, a love letter to life around the table, with recipes by shauna niequist
Dedicated: To my boys- Aaron, Haney, and Mac
This is such an emotional book and I had a hard time putting it down.
Shauna Niequist has written a book that goes right to the heart. bread & wine is about family, friendship, God, love, tears, loss and recipes.
I find in this book that God does not make anyone perfect. It is OK to cry and pray and talk to friends about something sad. Keep the tissues handy, because there are lots of happy moments but some sad ones also.
I am writing the first line of each chapter because it tells the story of the chapter.
Use it for a book club or church group. Give it as a gift. I suggest this book for a bridal shower for the bride; she will find that some things are not worth the worry.
The book has some wonderful recipes that are easy to make. Shauna uses a lot of balsamic vinegar, goat cheese and makes good use of her Dutch oven. There is a recipe at most of the end of the chapters. Many are gluten free for Aaron, her husband.
There are four parts in the book for club members to use for a four-week project.
I give bread & wine a five star.
I received a complimentary copy from to read and review. The opinions are my own.
Shauna, I said the Hail Mary for you.
author's notes (page 9)
I am not a recipe writer, for the most part.
on bread and wine (page 11)
I'm a bread person-crusty, golden baguette; hearty, grainy, seeded loaves; thin, crispy pizza crust-all of it.
Part One (page 19)
"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself"
my mom's blueberry crisp (page 21)
My mom's dad is Irish, a storyteller and twinkling-eyed joker, and her mom is German.
what the table is for (page 28)
The light is fading, the sky bleaching from blue to white and then warming to the softest blush pink, like ballet tights, like a rosewater macaroon.
hungry (page 34 )
Years ago, when I worked at a church in Grand Rapids, I drove in early on Sunday mornings, when 28th Street was still silent and gray, as the pale morning sun rose over the pawn shops and used-car dealerships.
start where you are (page 40)
My friend Laura's New Year's resolutions is "start where you are."
go-to-risotto (page 49)
Risotto is my go-to entertaining meal.
enough (page 55)
Something extraordinary happened to me today.
the chopping block (page 60)
Last winter I went to a weeklong culinary boot camp at The Chopping Block, a recreational cooking school on the city.
on tea and pajamas (page 68)
During a three-month period after my last book came out, I traveled to twenty-two cities to speak at forty-four events
run (page 74)
I have long considered that there are two kinds of people in the world: people who can run marathons and people who can't.
hummingbird (page 83)
Aaron and I stopped "trying" to have a baby, because it was making me crazy and breaking my heart.
Part Two (page 91)
You say grace before meals.
delicious everywhere (page 93)
One of the best parts of my childhood was traveling with my dad.
jazz and curry (page 100)
I'm not really a recipe girl.
open the door (page 105)
It seems to me that women typically experience shame about two things: their bodies and their homes.
baking cookies with batman (page 112)
The year after we were married, just after we moved to Grand Rapids, Aaron's body stopped healing itself. slowly at first, and then all at once.
morning, noon, and night (page 118)
Winter turned to spring just when we were sure it never would.
what my mother taught me (page 123)
One of the most important things my mom taught me- or, really, is teaching me over and over even now- is that the best is yet to come.
cupcake in the oven (page 128)
I'm a big fan of breaking the rules, so for Blaine and Margaret's baby shower, we bypassed the traditional route-ladies, fruit salad, passing around little outfits- in favor of a Friday night dinner party for couples.
feasting and fasting (page 133)
A few summers ago, after a season of vacation and celebration, I began a fast.
love and enchiladas (page 139)
One of the best parts about our six years in Grand Rapids was the little band of friends we made, something like a tribe, very much like a family.
meeting mac (page 146)
Last year we spent Easter at the lake with my family, heading over after the holiday services at church were finished.
Part Three (page 151)
God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature.
hail mary (page 153)
Right from the beginning, Mac was a dream- a snuggler, easy sleeper, a good eater.
magical white bean soup (page 161)
I love food that connects us to good memories, that tells us we're safe, that brings us back to sweeter times on hard days.
present over perfect (page 166)
Here we go again, Christmastime.
the bass player's birthday (page 173)
Every band should have a bass player like Nathan, and every person should have a friend like Nathan.
russian dolls (page 178)
There's something about our boys right now, about this split-second moment in time, that I want to hold in my heart forever and ever.
on scrambled eggs and doing hard things (page 184)
After Mac was born, my neighbor Lindsay brought over a pan of enchiladas and Jessie made an amazing pumpkin apple cake.
happy new year (page 190)
I've always had visions of a really great New Year's Eve party-fancy and fun, glamorous and stylish, with flutes of champagne and kisses at midnight.
swimming in silence (page 197)
In mid-February, which in Chicago is about the time you begin despairing that it will never be warm again, Ryan and Emily invited us to join them in Mexico- seven adults and five kids, a swimming pool right at the house.
Part Four (page 205)
Food and cooking are among the richest subjects in the world.
what money cant's buy (page 207)
On a clear, cool Saturday morning, the Cooking Club girls arrived at Cases house.
last-minute lunch party (page 213)
Our old friend Shane came to stay with us this spring, and the next morning after church, we had a last-minute lunch party for him and for the fiends who wanted to see him while he was in town.
city love (page 218)
Aaron and I have been ships in the night all week- a wedding, a trip, a recording project.
better late than never (page 223)
I promise we intended to dedicate Henry as a baby.
swimsuit, ready or not (page 229)
I'm a summer girl
the mayor of the river (page 234)
My brother, Todd, and I are both summer babies-his birthday in July and mine in August-so when I think about our birthdays, I always think about South Haven and about the lake.
pont neuf (page 241)
I started learning French when I was seven, and went to Paris for the first time when I was twelve.
take this bread (page 248)
I haven't baked bread since college, when I went through a brief but intense baguette phase, baking pan after pan of slim loaves, wrapping them in dish towels while they are still hot, cradling them like babies in the crook of my are, arriving in friends' house and neighbors' with still-warm, crusty, golden bread.
come to the table (page 256)
This is what I want you to do: I want you to tell someone you love them, and dinner's at six.
Appendix (page 259)
I love you like a fat kid loves cake.
four-week book club/cooking club discussion guide (page 261)
Bread & Wine is divided into four parts, so you can invite a group of friends (or your small group or book club or supper club) to go through this Four-Week Book Club/Cooking Club Discussion Guide.
four-week book club/cooking club menus (page 264)
(listed are the menus for each part)
on weeknight cooking, with pantry list (page 265)
my best entertaining tips, with sample menus (page 273)
recommended reading (page 280)
recipe index (page 281)
recipe index by category (page 282)
acknowledgements ( These are not in alphabetical. order. A nice long list.)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Captain's Bride by Lisa Tawn Bergren

The Captain's Bride (Northern Lights, #1)

The following is from goodreads and describes the book:

The Captain's Bride (Northern Lights #1)
Elsa Anders's dream of marrying Peder Ramstad is about to come true. But as this independent, strong-willed woman discovers her own creative gifts--a love for travel, painting, and the sea--can she find happiness with a captain who insists upon leaving her safely on shore?

Leaving their home in Norway behind, Elsa and Peder embark on a new life in with their closest friends, including: Kaatje Jansen, a woman seeking a new beginning for the sake of her marriage and for the child growing within her; Elsa's sister Tora, a sly young vixen who knows exactly what she wants--and exactly how to get it; and Karl Martensen, a man torn between his friendship for Peder and a forbidden, secret love for Elsa, a man tormented by emotions that threaten to ruin them all.

From the gentle hills of Bergen, Norway, to the rocky coast of Camden, Maine, and across the crashing, danger-filled waves of the open sea--experience an epic saga of perseverance and passion, faith and fidelity, in the Northern Lights series: the new historical series by Lisa Tawn Bergren.

Review by Leona:

The Captain's Bride by Lisa Tawn Bergren
The book begins with a group from Norway planning their voyage to America. Some would go to Camden-by- the Sea in Maine and some to North Dakota.
After the marriage of Elsa and Peder, the group sails to America. There are trials and hardships along the way. When they arrive in America, 20 of the group leave for North Dakota, promising to write and keep in touch.
Peder wants to build a shipyard in Maine with Karl as his partner. Karl wants to build the new steamship and Peder still likes the sails. His father has a shipyard in Norway.
The book takes us to many areas: Maine, Boston, New York, North Dakota, Minnesota, San Francisco and Cape Horn for some.
This book is more about Elsa and Peder but pulls the other characters into the book. Characters go their different ways but still make connections. The stories of the characters are separated by chapters but it is not confusing for the reader; each character has their problems and their blessings.
This is a Christian romance book with prayers to help overcome the hardships and thanks for what they have.
There is no sex or bad language so appropriate for all readers. Maybe a good book for those young people interested in heritage. Keep the tissues handy.
I had an interest in this book because I have been doing the genealogy of my husband's family and his mother's side came from Norway, settled in North Dakota and ended in Minnesota.
Some characters are :
Peder Ramstad- The captain of the Herald, the ship that takes the people to America (24 years old)
Elsa Anders Ramstad- The Captain's Wife (20 years old)
Tora Anders- Younger sister of Elsa (16 years old)
Corina- Older sister of Elsa
Gratia and Amund -Parents of Elsa
Leif Ramstad and Burgitte- Parents of Peder
Garth Ramstad- Sister of Peder
Karl Martensen- Close friend and second mate for Peder
Astrid- Pregnant wife of Kristoffer
Knut Martensen- Son of Kristoffer and Astrid, 3 years old
Gustav and Sonje- Parents of Karl
Kaatje Janssen- A pregnant friend of Elsa
Soren Janssen- Husband of Kaatje
Bjorn Erickson. Kristoffer Swenson and Mikkel Thompson-Workers at Ramstad Shipyard
Ebba- Wife of Bjorn Erickson
Ola- Wife of Mikkel Thompson
Nora Paulson- Teacher of English to the voyagers
Einar Gustavson- friend/ fiance of Nora Paulson
Some crew of the Herald: Riley, Vidar, Stefan and Rees
I received a complimentary copy of The Captain's Bride to read and review. The opinions are my own. I am giving it a 5 star because it held my interest. In fact, I had forgotten to do the review and this is a re-read for me and I still liked it a second time.

Leona Olson

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Book review A Collection of Old Time Recipes, Some Nearly One Hundred Years Old and Never Published.

Lydia Maria Gurney

A Collection of Old Time Recipes, Some Nearly One Hundred Years Old and Never Published.

New York 1914

I also found where you can download this book from Gutenberg for free.

This recipe book is a wonderful reminder of our past. Some of the things I remember my mother doing. Recipes, household hints, sewing hints.

German Toast:

1 Cupful of Milk 1 Egg Pinch of Salt 4 or 5 Slices of Bread

Beat together one egg, one cupful of milk, and a little salt. Dip slices of stale bread into this mixture, and fry on a griddle in butter or pork fat. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.

Pies: Rolley Polys: Roll pie crust very thin and cut into strips four inches long and three inches wide. Over these spread jelly and lap the crust, pressing edges together. Brush over the top with milk and sprinkle over a little sugar. Bake fifteen minutes.

Preserves: Queen's Pudding: 1 Pint of Bread 1 Quart of Milk 3 Eggs 1 Cupful of Sugar 1 Teaspoonful of Butter 1 Lemon

Soak one pint of bread in a quart of milk till soft. Beat together the yolks of the eggs, sugar, butter, and the juice and rind of half a lemon. Stir all together and bake until it rises, about an hour and a half. When nearly cold, spread the top with jelly, and then the white of the eggs, beaten stiff. Brown in the oven. To be eaten cold.

Eggs: To Boil Eggs: Put your eggs into a bowl which can be sent to the table. Pour boiling water over them and let stand eight or nine minutes. It is essential that the water be boiling. This way of boiling eggs, though so simple, is going out of fashion, unfortunately, as it makes a wonderful difference in the appearance of the egg when broken open, and above all, in its digestibility. Eggs should never be boiled in any other way for invalids.

Old Time Gingersnaps: 1 Cupful of Molasses 1/2 Cupful of Butter or Lard 1 Teaspoonful of Soda 1 Teaspoonful of Ginger

Boil the molasses five minutes. Remove from the fire, and add soda, butter and ginger. When cooled a little, stir in the flour until thick enough to roll then roll thin as a postage stamp. Cut with a cookie-cutter, and bake in a hot oven, being careful not to burn, Shut in a tin pail. These will keep a long time.

The book contains recipes for:


Coffee Cakes, Doughnuts, Biscuits, Crullers, Fried Bread, German Toast, Griddle Cakes, Johnny Cakes, Popovers, Parker House Rolls, Cookies, Old Time Gingersnaps and more.


Molasses Candy, Taffy, Butterscotch and more.


Baked Apples, Cream Puffs, Floating Island, Coffee Jelly and more.


Boil, Eggs on Toast, Omelettes and more.


Clam Fritters, Lobster, Baked Shad and more.


A La Mode Beef, Brunswick Stew, Corn Beef Hash, Veal, Pork Chops and more.


Boston Baked Beans, Crackers Tea for Invalids, Grape Juice and more.


Pickled Cauliflower, Green Chopped Pickles, Chili Sauces, Chow Chow, Cold Catsup, Tomato Catsup, Piccalilli and more.


Rich Pie Crust, Pork Apple Pie, Chocolate Pie, Custard Pie, Cocoanut Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Rhubarb Pie, Cranberry Pie, Rhubarb Pie, Rolley Polys and more.


Crab Apple Jelly, Canned Cherries, Cranberry Jelly, Marmalades, Queen's pudding and more.


Chocolate Sauce, Cranberry sauce, Cream Mustard, Salad Dressings and more.


Connecticut Clam Chowder, Massachusetts Clam Chowder, New England Fish Chowder, Potato Soup and more.


Green Corn Fritter, Delicious Stuffed Baked Potatoes, Baked Tomatoes and more.


Household Hints Old and New For Housekeepers Young and Old.

Monday- Wash


Wednesday- Finish ironing and Bake

Thursday and Friday, Sweep and dust through

Saturday-Bake and prepare for the next day.

How to keep your hands white.

How to keep eggs.

How to lengthen the life of a broom.

How to make starch.

The proper way to sweep a room.

Length of time to cook meats and vegetables.

So many more tips that we would not use today but interesting.

I will give this a five star because it was it was a fun book to read.

Leona Olson