Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Review of Francis, Man of Prayer by Mario Escobar

Francis, Man of Prayer by Mario Escobar

Book Description from

First Jesuit. First Latin American. And a new pope who chose as his first act a simple request: please pray for me.
The recent resignation of Pope Benedict XVI took the world by surprise and for good reason. More than 600 years had passed since a pope last left his post.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, is a man of prayer, a man of action, and a humble man who has always promoted others over himself. In fact, it was Bergoglio who bowed out of the running in the papal election of 2005 to facilitate the rise of Benedict XVI.
However, the new pope faces a Catholic Church in crisis—a church that has lost the media pull of John Paul II and is still hounded by pedophile scandals and the filtration of documents from former papal administrations. His first year may not be an easy one, but neither this man nor the church itself has ever shied away from the challenges thrust upon them.
Pope Francis is austere and simple but has vast theological training. He is a man of his time but one who also travels by subway and bus just like any other citizen. Tirelessly fighting poverty and marginalization, he is a beacon of hope for the poor, persecuted sectors of the church. Has a Catholic spring finally arrived after a very long winter?
Francis is the complete biography of a humble man who has suddenly become one of the most powerful and influential men on the planet.
My Review:

Acknowledgements (page ix)
Introduction (page xi)
Chapter 1 The Language of His Memories: A Family of Italian Immigrants (page 3)
Chapter 2 That Spring Day: Vocation and Surrender (page 90
Chapter 3 Difficult Days of Dictatorship (page 23)
Chapter 4 The Ascent of a Humble Man (page 33)
Chapter 5 The Jesuits: The Pope's Army (page 45)
Chapter 6 Supporting John Paul ll in His American Ministry (page 61)
Chapter 7 The Potential Pope Who Ceded to the German Candidate (page 69)
Chapter 8 The Conclave of 2013 (page 91)
Chapter 9 The First Pope from the Americas (page 111)
Chapter 10 The First Jesuit Pope (page 149)
Chapter 11 Facing Modernity and Globalization (page 157)
Chapter 12 Facing the Scandals of the Catholic Church (page 161)
Chapter 13 The Humble Pope, Friend of the Poor (page 165)
Conclusion (page 169)
Ten Quotes That Reveal What Pope Francis Believes (page 171)
Chronology (page 173)
Bibliography (page (177)
Notes (page181)
About the Author (page 199)
Such an informative book on Pope Francis. I knew little of the Jesuits but this book answered many of my questions. The author, Mario Escobar, has managed to put together a book very soon after the election, March 13, 2013.
Pope Francis was born December 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the oldest of five children. His father was from an immigrant family from Italy. Pope Francis was named Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
Chapter 1 begins in 1934 and is about his mother, father and family. His mother was Regina Maria Sivori and his father was Mario Jose Bergoglio.
Chapter 2 is on his decision to become a priest. The education for Catholic seminarians, particularly the Jesuits (page 19-21), has four pillars. First pillar is spiritual life, second involves community life, third is intellectual life and fourth is apostolic life.
Chapter 5 gives the history of the Jesuits. Page 51 and page 52 has comments from John Adams and Abraham Lincoln and not kind remarks about the Jesuits.
Chapter 9 (page 111) lists the periods of the Popes who were not Italian (page 142). 1. Greek Period (97-418). 2. Syrian Period (685-705). 3. German Period (996-1075). 4. French Period (1057-1378). 5. Spanish Period ( 1455-1523). 6. Central European Period (1455-2013).The author also gives the names of the Popes in these periods.
On page 171 there are Ten Quotes That Reveal What Pope Francis Believes. 1.The Christian people must be the center of the Church. 2. Prayer is an instrument of service. 3 Jesus Christ is the center of the Christian message. 4. His style should continue to be simple and approachable. 5 Protecting creation is our responsibility. 6. Social media can be used to engage the faithful. 7. The pope is a servant to the people. 8. The New Evangelization can increase church growth and effectiveness. 9. Overcoming the vocational crisis is possible. 10. We must be wary of our emotions.
I found this a good read and it supplied me with new information. Some of the book dealt with problems of the Church and while we may not like that portion of the book, it happened.
I look forward to reading more about our new Pope and will possibly read more about the Jesuits.
I received a complimentary copy of Francis, Man of Prayer by Mario Escobar from and Thomas Nelson Publishers to read and review. The opinions are my own.
I give it a 5 star because I think it gives us an insight of some of the things Pope Francis will offer us and history of the past.
Mario Escobar may be reached at
Leona Olson

Friday, May 10, 2013

Review of Savage by Willow Rose

Savage (Daughters of the Jaguar, #1)

"The year is 1983. Christian is 22 years old when he leaves his home in Denmark to spend a year in Florida with a very wealthy family and go to med-school. A joyful night out with friends is shattered by an encounter with a savage predator that changes his life forever. Soon he faces challenges he had never expected. A supernatural gift he has no idea how to embrace. A haunting family in the house next door. A spirit-filled girl who seems to carry all the answers. An ancient secret hidden in the swamps of Florida. One life never the same. One love that becomes an obsession. Two destinies that will be forever entangled.
Savage is a paranormal romance with some language, violence, and sexual situations recommended for ages sixteen and up."

My review:
This is the first book I have read by Willow Rose and I did enjoy it. I would say there were some adult sexual themes in this book so I would not recommend it as a YA book. A little bad language and no f words.
The book has Christian Langaa reminiscing about his life since he came to Florida to finish his medical school studies. He is staying at a doctor's home with Dr. and Mrs. Kirk and their daughter, Heather. Christian is from Denmark; Odense where Hans Christian Andersen was born.
Christian is a bit unusual in my mind but I did get used to him and his feelings. It took me about 65 pages or so to get into the book and it really got my interest when the "unusual' neighbors became involved. They were the family Christian needed as his relationship with his father was very cool after the death of Christian's mother and the Kirks were not a close family, in my opinion.
The first night Christian arrived in Florida, he went out with Heather and her friends. Heather persuaded Christian to take off his clothes and go into the water. Alligators attacked Christian and a jaguar pulls him to shore. Christian dies and comes back with some strange powers. The story goes deeper into the paranormal portion of the book.
A guitar plays an important part of Christian's life as he sings to bring peace into his heart. He thinks of himself as a lover who loves and leaves them. Christian does find an interest in Aiyana, the neighbor next door.
I like the information Willow Rose has added to the book such as Hans Christian Andersen's home town, information about jaguars (page 94), some history about St. Augustine's and the Timucua Indians of Florida ( It always adds to the story and shows the author has done some research.
I will give Savage a 4 star rating and not a 5 star because of the ending. The reader can decide why when they read the book.

I received a complimentary copy of Savage, Daughters of the Jaguar, Book One to read and review. The opinions are my own.
Leona Olson

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

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

Things Mother Used To Make by Lydia Maria Gurney

Posted: 04 Apr 2013 09:39 AM PDT

Lydia Maria Gurney

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

New York 1914
I downloaded this free book from Amazon for my Kindle.

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

Simply Delicious Amish Cooking by Sherry Gore

Cover of Simply Delicious Amish Cooking

Simply Delicious Amish Cooking by Sherry Gore (2013)
Dedicated: "To my bishop, Lester Gingerich, my church family at Sunnyside Amish Mennonite Church and the remarkable folks of Pinecraft. Home is where they love you. Special thanks to Cindy and Suzanne for believing in me, and to Tab, my biggest supporter."
This is more than a recipe book. The author, Sherry Gore, has added occasions and pictures of the people as well as some of the recipes. I find there are plenty of sweets in this cookbook. There are tips throughout the cookbook: "The trouble with a marriage often starts when a man spends so much time earning his salt that he forgets his sugar." (page 189).
The recipes are like any other church or organization cookbook by having recipes by the members. The stories about different occasions are so heartwarming and the use of the member's names make the cookbook more personal.
I did not realize the Amish and Mennonites lived in Florida. I knew about them in Iowa and Pennslyvania.for example. The cookbook talks about the gatherings and friendship.
"Food is a special part of Amish social life. Sharing food is how we support one another in difficult times and show our love to those in need". (page 13)
I am including an occasion that I got by opening the cookbook:
"November 14, 2007
Sunnyside Amish Mennonite Church, Sarasota, Florida
Pinecraft is a beehive of activity, as yard sale season has officially begun. Palm Grove Mennonite Church hosted a sale to benefit the Gator Wilderness Camp for boys. Mrs. Gary (Maria) made soup and caramel dumplings with ice cream as a special treat for the youth. Written by Sherry Gore." (page 220)
Caramel Dumplings
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups water
1 1.2 cups brown sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2. teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup shredded apple
In a skillet, heat syrup ingredients to boiling. Reduce heat to simmer. Combine all dumpling ingredients. Drop by tablespoons into simmering syrup. Cover tightly and simmer 20 minutes. Do not lift lid. Serve warm with cream or ice cream. Makes 6-8 servings. Note: Need a last minute dessert? This one is quick to make and can simmer while you serve the first course.
Sara Ann Hostelter, Sarasota, Florida"
Another occasion I loved was:
Dippy Eggs:
"It doesn't take much to embarrass a teenage boy. On a hunting trip to Kentucky, while ordering breakfast, son, Tyler forgot he was out of town and instantly regretted telling the waitress., "I'll have two dippy eggs, please."
"Break eggs one at a time into the same heated skillet you fried bacon in. Do not stir or turn eggs. Spoon bacon grease over the eggs as they cook for about 3-4 minutes. Sherry Gore, Pinecraft, Florida." (page 41)
I made the Upside Down Cinnamon Pudding Cake (page 215) and found it very sweet and very good. Next time, I will make half of the recipe because there are just two of us in this home. I froze part of it.
Most of the ingredients are in our pantry; well maybe not alligator. The Alligator Stew (page 151) or Hot Bacon Dressing for Dandelion Greens (page 89) is not a common food item for most of us. Being from Florida, recipes for a Key Lime Dessert ( page 208) and Florida Salad (page 81) are not a surprise for this cookbook.
How I Came to Write This Cookbook (page 11)
What Makes Amish Cooking So Special? (page 12)
Who Are the Amish and Mennonites? (page 13)
What is the Pinecraft Community? (page 15)
Where is the Budget? (page 16)
The Recipes:
Breads and Rolls (page 21)
Breakfast (page 41)
Appetizers and Beverages (page 53)
Soups and Salads (page 65)
Vegetables and Side Dishes (page 93)
Meats and Main Dishes (page 107)
Seafood (page 139)
Cookies and Bars (page 155)
Pies (page 177)
Cakes and Frostings (page 191)
Desserts (page 207)
This and That (page 229)
Index of Recipes (page 241)
Acknowledgements (page 249)
About the Author (page 251)
I received a complimentary copy of Simply Delicious Amish Cooking from to read and review. The opinions are my own.
I give this a five star. This book would make a wonderful wedding gift.
Zondervan was the publisher.
You may find Sherry Gore at
Leona Olson