Saturday, August 31, 2013

Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter

Barefoot Summer

Barefoot Summer

By Denise Hunter
Published by Thomas Nelson

Book Description

Madison’s heart has been closed for years. But one summer can change everything.
In the years since her twin brother’s drowning, Madison McKinley has struggled to put it behind her. Despite the support of her close-knit family and her gratifying job as a veterinarian in their riverside town, the loss still haunts her.
To find closure, Madison sets out to fulfill her brother’s dream of winning the town’s annual regatta. But first she has to learn to sail, and fast.
Beckett O’Reilly knows Madison is out of his league, but someone neglected to tell his heart. Now she needs his help—and he’ll give it, because he owes her far more than she’ll ever know.
Madison will do anything—even work with the infamous Beckett O’Reilly—to reach her goal. And as much as she’d like to deny it, the chemistry between them is electrifying. As summer wanes, her feelings for him grow and a fledgling faith takes root in her heart.
But Beckett harbors a secret that will test the limits of their new love. Can their romance survive summer’s challenges? And will achieving her brother’s dream give Madison the peace she desperately seeks?

Leona's Review.
This was a very good and fast read. I read it in one day. It was a nice Christian romance novel with messages.

Madison McKinley comes from a large family who really care for each other but I found still cannot communicate at times. Both parents and the siblings are part of the story. Beckett O’Reilly has a father that is a drunk, a mother who left when the kids were young and a sister, Layla, that seems to have her feet on the ground. Beckett was a problem in school but has turned his life around or so he hopes.

Beckett has a grandfather who has Alzheimer's disease and is in nursing home; this is emotionally hard on Beckett but he has his faith to help him. Madison, who is a veterinarian, takes animals to the nursing home to help comfort the elderly. There are personalities with the residents and they help make the story as well as the nurse and her personality. "Mrs. Etter gave the pup a final kiss and handed him to Mrs. Marquart, who passed him to Mrs. Stuckey, arms outstretched': (page 75).

The town of Chapel Springs is a small town where everyone knows everyone. There is a fundraising play where the local play the parts. Madison is involved with play as well as Layla. A lot happens in this novel but the stories do flow.

The animals in the book also have their own personalities. As I write this, I do not remember any small children in the book. The book is so natural and I think most readers can relate. "Go potty," Madison told her and the collie trotted down the porch steps and into the yard." (page 152)

Madison has nightmares and feels if she fulfills Michael's dream, she will be at rest. As she begins the task, she must learn to sail as well as get the boat in condition. Beckett works on boats and builds them; he helps Madison when she is trying to get a boat ready for the regatta, a dream of her twin brother who died at the age of seventeen. He wanted to be the youngest person to win the regatta.

There are some light moments in Barefoot Summer as well as some sad ones. "She thought of Michael, the last moment she'd had with him" (page 166). Parts of the book goes back to the high school days of Madison and Beckett who went to the same school.

God is part of this book but religion is not over done. I found the references moving and at the right time when there are problems. "His dad was a might be a wreck, his own heart a tangled mess, but up on this hill, it was just him and God." (page 238).

There is a Reading Group Guide at the back of the book that may be used for a reading club. (page 319).
I give this a 5 star in the ratings. I really liked Barefoot Summer. No sex or bad language.
I received a complimentary copy of Barefoot Summer to read and review from The opinions are my own.
Leona Olson
Denise Hunter may be reached at or

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Prince of Time by Sarah Woodbury

Prince of Time (After Cilmeri #2)

Prince of Time by Sarah Woodbury
This is the second book of The After Cilmeri Series.
Daughters of Time (prequel)
Footsteps in Time (Book 1)
Winds of Time (novella)
Prince of Time (Book 2)
Crossroads in Time (Book 3)
Children of Time (Book 4)
Exiles in Time
"Two teenagers are catapulted back in time to alter history and save the medieval kingdom of Wales ...

David and his man-at-arms, Ieuan, find themselves alone and on the run from a company of English soldiers who've sworn vengeance for the recent death of their king. Meanwhile, Llywelyn lays on his deathbed, wounded by a traitor's arrow. And once again, it is David and Anna, and all that they represent, that holds the key to the survival of Wales."
My Review:
This is the second book of this series. The teenagers are the daughter and son of Meg (Marged) and they have been sent back to the middle ages in Wales in this time travel book. Anna is in the Daughter of Time as well as Meg.
The book can be read on its own but I recommend the reader first read Daughter of Time. ( I found it on amazon.con as a free download).
As in the first book, the chapters have the characters telling the story. It is not confusing and the author does a good job of getting to know each character.
No sex and the basic bad language as in any medieval book. A good read for young people and those who like time travel and historical romance books.
I liked the history of Wales and descriptions of food, clothes, surroundings and so forth. .
Main Characters:
The Welsh:
David ap Llywelyn, Prince of Wales
Ieuan ap Cynan, Welsh knight
Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales, David's father
Marged, Princess of Wales, David's mother
Anna, David's half sister
Mathonwy ap Rhys, Anna's husband; nephew to Llywelyn
Lili, Ieuan's sister
Aaron ben Simon, Physician; Jewish emigre to Wales
Bevyn, Welsh knight, Captain of David's guard
The Americans:
Bronwen Llywelyn, Archaeology graduate student
Elisa Shepherd, David's aunt (Marged's sister)
Christopher Shepherd, Elisa's son (David's cousin)
The English:
Edward l (deceased), King of England
Sir John de Falkes, Castellan of Carlisle Castle
Thomas Hartley, Falkes' nephew
Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford
John Peckham, Archbishop of Canterbury
Sarah Woodbury has dedicated this book to :"My Dad".
I checked out this book from my library system.
I am giving it a 5 star because although I did not like it as much as the first book, it held my attention and gave me some historical facts.

Footsteps in Time by Sarah Woodbury
Footsteps in Time By Sarah Woodbury
This is the first book of The After Cilmeri Series.
Daughters of Time (prequel)
Footsteps in Time (Book 1)
Winds of Time (novella)
Prince of Time (Book 2)
Crossroads in Time (Book 3)
Children of Time (Book 4)
Exiles in Time
"Footsteps in Time: In December of 1282, English soldiers ambushed and murdered Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, the Prince of Wales. His death marked the end of Wales as an independent nation and the beginning of over seven hundred years under the English boot.

Footsteps in Time is the story of what might have happened had Llywelyn lived.

And what happens to the two teenagers who save him.

Prince of Time: Prince of Time, the second book in the After Cilmeri series, continues the story of David and Anna, two teenagers catapulted back in time to alter history and save the medieval kingdom of Wales. David and his man-at-arms, Ieuan, find themselves alone and on the run from a company of English soldiers who've sworn vengeance for the recent death of their king. Meanwhile, Llywelyn lays on his deathbed from a traitor's arrow. And once again, it is David and Anna, and all they represent, that holds the key to the survival of Wales."
Main Characters:
The Welsh:
David ap Llywelyn, Dafydd
Ieuan ap Cynan, Welsh knight
Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales, David's father
Marged, Princess of Wales, David's mother
Anna, David's half sister
Mathonwy ap Rhys, nephew to Llywelyn
Aaron ben Simon, Physician; Jewish emigre to Wales
Bevyn, Welsh knight,
The English:
Edward l, King of England
Roger Mortimer
Edmund Mortimer
Gilbert de Clare
John Gifford
Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford
John Peckham, Archbishop of Canterbury
My review:
David and Anna go to medieval Wales in this time travel book. Anna was a character in Daughter of Time but David was not. In this book, David finds his father and learns of his heritage.
No sex and basic bad language in any medieval book. It is a good read for young people who want to learn some history. I know little of Welsh history and found myself going to the Net for more information.
It can be a stand alone read but I suggest the reader read Daughter of Time, the prequel. I downloaded it from
This book did not hold my attention as much as Daughter of Time but I still found it interesting.
Anyone interested in time travel and historical romance will find this a good book.
I am giving it a 4 star.
I got Footsteps in Time from my library system
This book is dedicated to Anna

Friday, August 23, 2013

Children of Time by Sarah Woodbury

Children of Time (After Cilmeri #4)
"November 1288. Bereft of a king or rightful heir, England hurtles towards civil war for the second time in a generation. When David, Prince of Wales, and his wife, Lili, travel to London to attend the wedding of William de Bohun and Princess Joan, they have no intention of involving themselves in local politics.

But as infighting leads to murder, David and Lili find themselves at the center of a far-reaching conspiracy. Trapped between history and legend, they must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice to save not only their own country, but the people of England as well.

Meanwhile, back in Wales, Llywelyn and Meg discover that time is no barrier to either adventure or trouble ...

Children of Time, book four in the After Cilmeri series, continues the story of Llywelyn, Meg, and their children in the medieval kingdom of Wales."
Main Characters;
Main Characters:
The Welsh:
David ap Llywelyn, Dafydd, Prince of Wales
Ieuan ap Cynan, Welsh knight
Bronwen Llywelyn, an Amercian married to Ieuan
Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, King of Wales, David's father
Marged, Queen of Wales, Mother of David and Anna
Anna, David's half sister
Mathonwy ap Rhys, Anna's husband; nephew to Llywelyn
Cadell, son of Anna and Math
Bevyn, Welsh knight
Nicholas de Carew, Norman/Welsh lord
The English:
Edward l (deceased), King of England
Eleanor of England, Edward's daughter
Joan of England,Edward's daughter
Sir John de Falkes, Castellan of Carlisle Castle
Humphrey de Bohun, Regent of Hereford
William de Bohun, Humphrey's son
Maud de Bohun, Humphrey's wife
John Peckham, Archbishop of Canterbury
Edmund Mortimer, Lord of the March
Gilbert de Clare, Lord of the March
My review:
Children of Time is Book 4 of the After Climeri Series.
In this book, the chapters are from each of the main characters and what they feel and think. It was not confusing to go back and forth with the chapters.
King Arthur is brought into this book and I personally liked the addition.
No sex and the language is not bad. I think these books would be good reads for young people interested in history.
I think the readers should read the prequel, Daughter of Time, but each book does stand alone.
I am giving this book a 5 star because it held my interest. It is a fast read.
I got my copy to read from my library system.
Dedicated to my sister (who is nothing like Megs's sister even if they live in the same house)


Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Calling all readers! Who wants to win a $150 JC Penney Gift Card?! One lucky reader will win this awesome prize just in time for back-to-school shopping!

Prize: $150 JC Penney Gift Card

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Besides the mandatory blog comment entry, all other entries are optional. Giveaway ends 8/27 and is open to the US only.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review of Cozy-Mystery Site

I was reading about Cozy Mysteries today and even though I was sure of the definition, I searched. I found and so want to share it.
Leona Olson

This is what is on Danna's site:
Cozy Mystery List
A Guide to Cozy Mystery (and Other Favorite) Books and DVDs

Welcome to the Cozy Mystery site!

I have been reading mysteries for many years. While attending school, and then teaching school, I was always able to find some spare time to spend enjoying a good mystery. I now find that I enjoy the COZY genre the most. I have been a part of several mystery reading clubs, and have made some good friends through them.
Mystery BooksI have written "What Makes a Cozy Just That?" in an attempt to describe cozy mysteries... BUT... I think that people who read Cozy Mysteries probably have their own unique ideas about what they think Cozy Mysteries should be... I know what I like, and look for in a Cozy.... I find that most of the cozy mysteries that I read take place in a small, picturesque town or village, with characters who I could envision having as neighbors or friends. (Of course, once I find out who the killer is, I wouldn't particularly want that person living next to me!) They are usually not zany people, although an eccentric or two might lurk here and there. On the whole, they are usually normal, every day characters you might have known at one time in your life. Cozies don't usually involve a lot of gory details or explicit "adult situations," either.
Also, most of the books that I choose to read belong to a series. I have stepped into the middle of a series before, but do not like that approach. This is the main reason that I started compiling my list of favorite authors. I soon realized that if I stepped into a series at midpoint, I usually found out about previous mysteries that had been solved (because every cozy mystery is solved!) by the main character, thus ruining the previous books of the series. So, I started making lists of all of the authors I have read, and it was only a matter of time before I started adding authors who I thought I might enjoy reading in the future. I found my prospective cozy mystery book authors by annotating tips from friends in my mystery reading groups, and also searching for authors on the web and in my local library and bookstores.
I am posting my list of authors alphabetically. Some of these authors are favorites of mine, others are favorites of a few of my friends, and I have to admit, some of them, I have tried, and did not like at all. But, I have included all of them. Just because I don't like an author doesn't mean that other people might not like him/her. And, a very few of my listed authors don't even write mysteries! I have decided not to indicate the authors who I don't like, since I don't want to prejudice anyone who might give those authors a try, and end up liking them immensely. (As a "PS".... I have also listed many authors who have been recommended to me by this site's readers. Thank you all so much for these recommendations... I don't think you can ever have enough cozy mystery authors from which to choose! But, obviously, I can't vouch for the "Cozy level" of the recommended authors who I haven't read.)
I find that when I go to buy a book, I need to work off of my list, since I have been known to buy the same book twice... on several occasions! I mark off the books I have read, or books that I have bought but haven't yet read. I have a rather large book shelf dedicated for my "to be read" mountain of books. I should spend more time reading and less time accumulating and organizing my favorite cozy mystery book authors! Recently, I have seen other people browsing in bookstores using lists to help them decide which books to purchase. I have to admit that I have bought two copies of at least four different books in the past, but now that I work off of my list of mystery authors, I don't make those types of mistakes.
I have divided the list of authors into the obvious alphabet letters, doubling up on the four letters that don't have many authors.... N & O and P & Q. I have also added a list of TV shows and Movies that I really enjoy. Most of them are based on cozy mystery books like the Midsomer Murders featuring Caroline Graham's Inspector Barnaby, Brother Cadfael (Ellis Peters), R. D. Wingfield's A Touch of Frost (one of my very favorite shows.... ), and of course, Inspector Lynley with his side-kick Barbara Havers... right out of Elizabeth George's novels... although the Lynley books really aren't cozy. Some of these shows are available on television, others, can either be bought or rented.
I also have the Holiday Mystery Book List that includes all of the mystery-holiday books that I have been able to find. (Some authors like Leslie Meier, Lee Harris, and Jane Haddam use holidays and seasons as backdrops in their novels.)
There is also a Cozy Mysteries by Themes area (which is a work in progress!) where I am trying to list different themes like: authors who write cozies with culinary themes, or cozies that feature librarians, cozies for the cat lover (or dog lover) in mind, in short, cozies by theme!
And, something that a lot of you will find very helpful... the Cozy Mysteries New Release page. Those of you who "follow" certain authors should be sure to check this page every month to see if your favorite author is releasing a new book.
And, finally, my husband suggested that I write a cozy mystery blog......... which I am now doing. Along with cozy book and author themes, I write about different mystery movies/shows in my blog. I also include shows that have a "cozy-ness factor" but that may not necessarily be mysteries. Oh, and sometimes I get quite off Cozy Mystery topic on my blog. I have a great group of people who post comments to the blog, which I love to read. Everyone is welcome!
I hope that my chronological listing of these authors' mystery books helps you to find a favorite author (or two) of your own!
Also, I would really appreciate a link to my site!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tentacles: An Anthology

                Tentacles: An Anthology
Smashwords Edition
Copyright Eva LeFoy 2012
Copyright D.R Larsson 2012
Copyright Haley Whitehall 2012
Cover Art by Melody Simmons
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are products of the author’s
imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or
dead, is entire coincidental
Table of Contents
Title Page
Solar Pioneer by Eva LeFoy
Mr. Sweede by D.R Larsson
Zaural by Eva LeFoy
The Sacrifice by Haley Whitehall

Author Bios:
Eva LeFoy
Eva LeFoy writes and reads all kinds of science fiction, steampunk, and romance, and is a
certified Trekkie. She’s also terribly addicted to chocolate, tea, yoga and hiking. One of these
days, she’ll figure out the meaning of life, quit her day job and travel the galaxy. Until then,
she’s writing down all her weird and dirty thoughts for the sake of future explorers.

D.R Larsson
D.R. has been around the block a time or three, often in different time zones and different
centuries. He grew up in costume at a historic site and couldn’t remember if it was 1876 or
1976. Later he studied everything. Music, history, education, psychology, sociology, geology,
chemistry and anthropology, then spent 20 years as an archaeologist. Now, by day he works as a
research assistant in a high tech industry. By night, among other things, he writes. This is his first
foray into the public with his fiction.

Haley Whitehall
Haley Whitehall has been writing stories since the age of four. She has a history B.A and
normally writes gritty 19th century novels and offbeat historical romance. This is her first venture
into science fiction. It was fun and challenging. She plans on writing more cross-genre short
stories in the future.

Four short science fiction stories of tentacle monster mayhem and destruction to keep you awake
at night wondering if you’ve already been the next victim…
Solar Pioneer by Eva LeFoy
During the ten-year war, a remote scientific station on the edge of the galaxy has all but been
forgotten. Tired of the war, cruiser pilot Coop takes the mission to re-establish contact with the
team, but soon has to rescue himself from the clutches of a crazy scientist and a monster capable
of keeping alive forever his wildest nightmares. Science Fiction Horror. 6,400 words.
Leona's Review:
I did not care for it and the language did not help. Strange and uncertain what was happening. Sorry, but not my cup of tea. I give it a 1 star.
Mr. Sweede by D. R. Larsson
Through a telescope, some galaxies may not look like much, but the full spectrum of beings still
lurk within. Some live, learn and love within it. Some are travelers. Some hunt. But not all
hunters look like predators. Some look just like us. Some were our best friends. Mr. Sweede was
everyone’s best friend. Or so they thought… Science Fiction. 3,000 words
Leona's Review: Definitely science fiction. Language was fine but the story lost me. A 2 star because the language was better. I thought at the beginning of the story there would be some substance.
Zaural by Eva LaFoy
Captain Zaural Shuri is sent to respond to an emergency hail on Andvari, a colony of former
inmates, after a colonist is killed by the planet's indigenous species. Once there, she must battle
her ex-boyfriend, bizarre creatures, and her own fears to unravel the tangled web of clues before
she loses her grip on reality. As if reality was ever what it seemed.
Science Fiction with mild adult sexual content. 11,000 words.
Leona's Review: This story had a lot of action but again, not my interest. I will give it a 2 star for the imagination. Language kept it from a 3 star.
The Sacrifice by Haley Whitehall
One night Aveda, a scullery maid, is dragged out of bed by ruthless pirates and hauled on board
their ship. She fears she will be sold into slavery or worse, but their plan is even more sinister.
Down below, a monster she never imagined existed awaits the decision that will change her life
forever... Science Fiction/Historical. 2,500 words
Leona's Review: This story was one I could understand at the beginning and it ended with some humor. Not great but still deserves a 3.5 star because it was easy to read and language was fine. A very short story and quick to read.
I read these stories in the past and did not do my review so re-read it. I was not too impressed. There was a lot of imagination in the stories though.
The opinions are my own.
I do appreciate the complimentary copy from Smashwords.
Leona Olson

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Book Review of Rock Point by Carla Neggers

Rock Point by Carla Neggers

"New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers enthralls readers with her suspenseful Sharpe & Donovan series. Read the untold story of one of her most beloved characters in this special prequel novella, Rock Point.
Seven years after suffering an unspeakable loss, Finian Bracken is recently out of seminary and leaving Ireland to serve a small parish in the quaint but struggling fishing village of Rock Point, Maine. Here he meets FBI agent Colin Donovan for the first time…and discovers the dangerous secrets he left back home in Ireland. Smugglers are using the Bracken family's old whiskey distillery as cover for their illicit activities—and the violent group isn't going down without a fight."
Leona's Review

A free download and when the book cover says A Sharpe and Donovan Novella, that is what it is. A short story.

The opinions are my own.

This was an introduction, for me, into the lives of people in Declan's Cross, Ireland and Rock Point, Maine.This is my first read by Carla Neggers. It was a good introduction into other books of the series but short.

I am not crazy about series because I do not always get the rest of the books. I guess any book could extend into a series but I do like endings.
It was a good read and I think well done. The Novella does want you to get the rest of the books to read and solve the mysteries. It did a good job as far as I was concerned, I will read the other books.
The beginning of the book has Father Bracken planning his trip to Maine. His friends are introduced as some of the other characters. Arriving in Maine, he meets Colin Donovan at the waterfront; they become friends and Fin also meets his brothers.
The readers are given descriptions of the food and drink in both places. Last year I visited Maine and like Father Bracken, I was introduced to lobster rolls. Good .
Also the areas are described and the reader become familiar with both Maine and Ireland.
I am giving this read a 4 star because it did hold my attention and made me curious to read the other books.

Some characters;
Father Finian ( Fin) Bracken- a widower who becomes a priest. He moves from Ireland to spend a year at Saint Patrick's Church in Rock Point.
Sally- Dead wife of Fin
Kathleen and Mary- Daughters of Fin and Sally; also dead
Declan Bracken- Brother of Fin
Fidelma- Wife of Declan Bracken
Sean Murphy- Friend of Fin who lives in Ireland; of the Irish police force
Colin Donovan- FBI agent Fin meets in Rock Point
Kitty O'Bryne Doyle- Proprietor of O'Bryne House Hotel in Ireland.
Becan Kennedy- carpenter at Bracken Distillery
Father Callaghan (Father Joseph)- American priest who visiting Ireland for a month
Bracken's ( Whiskey) Distillery -Owned by Fin and Declan. Outside of Killarney.

Carla Negger may be reached at :

This is a Harlequin book:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Book Review of At Drake's Command by David Wesley Hill

At Drake's Command
Book Review of At Drake's Command by David Wesley Hill


"About the Book

It was as fine a day to be whipped as any he'd ever seen but the good weather didn't make Peregrine James any happier with the situation he was in. Unfairly convicted of a crime he had not committed, the young cook was strung from the whipping post on the Plymouth quayside when he caught the eye of the charismatic sea captain Francis Drake, who agreed to accept Perry among his crew despite the stripes of a thief on his back.
Soon England was receding in their wake and Perry was serving an unsavory collection of sea dogs as the small fleet of fragile wood ships sailed across the deep brine. Their destination was secret, known to Drake alone. Few sailors believed the public avowal that the expedition was headed for Alexandria to trade in currants. Some men suspected Drake planned a raid across Panama to attack the Spanish in the Pacific. Others were sure the real plan was to round the Cape of Storms to break the Portuguese monopoly of the spice trade. The only thing Perry knew for certain was that they were bound for danger and that he must live by his wits if he were to survive serving at Drake's command.

About the Author

David Wesley Hill, author of At Drake's Command David Wesley Hill is an award-winning fiction writer with more than thirty stories published in the U.S. and internationally. In 1997 he was presented with the Golden Bridge award at the International Conference on Science Fiction in Beijing, and in 1999 he placed second in the Writers of the Future contest. In 2007, 2009, and 2011 Mr. Hill was awarded residencies at the Blue Mountain Center, a writers and artists retreat in the Adirondacks. He studied under Joseph Heller and Jack Cady and received a Masters in creative writing from the City University of New York, as well as the De Jur Award, the school's highest literary honor."
Leona's Review:
I was send a complimentary e-book copy of At Drake's Command by the author, David Wesley Hill. I had it on the back burner and had forgotten about the book and so began reading the book only to find I had read some it. The only benefit in waiting to read such a good book is that I do not have to wait as long for the next book, Desperate Bankrupts. The opinions are my own.
The book begins with the main character, Peregrine James (Perry), receiving a whipping for a crime he did not commit in Plymouth, England. Perry asks to join Francis Drake as an assistant cook on the Pelican because he heard rumors that Drake is heading for Alexandria. Perry, who is a fictional character, narrates the book.
David Hill knows his seafaring terms and I was glad I had this book on my Kindle because there is the dictionary which was a great help to me. He is also knowledgeable on the geography of the areas. Since I have visited some of these places, I liked the history of the times. At Drake's Command begins November 15, 1577 and the book ends February 4, 1578.
A good read for readers interested in nautical history and an interest in the early sailing days. America, England, Spain, Portugal, Africa, Strait of Gibraltar, Cape Verde, and coast of Barbary are just some destinations in the book.
A couple of songs or shanties are in the book.
"This allowed me to join in confidently as pressed our shoulders to the handspikes and sang the famous chorus".
"Hooray-ray, way-hey,
Heave-ho and up she rises,
Heave-ho and up she rises,
Early in the morning!"
The author knows the culinary terms also and what different cultures eat. "Then I released Selim and with a rude shove set him to kneading dough for the flat bread Moors favored". Another one: "The meal that evening consisted of ham and peas and the aforementioned barley, along with bread and butter, cheese, and cider. This was the menu I served the sailors and petty officers."
I was surprised to read about the hatred the English had for the Spanish and Portuguese and their religion and the same to the English. " Lutheran pirates, he spat in passable English. "God send you to hell and show you no mercy while you suffer".". ""The Papist may see fit to profit on human misery but we should not follow their example," warned Fletcher, mopping his pate carefully with a handkerchief so as not to disturb the arrangement of the few hairs he had left".
The Queen of England was also defended in the book. "I was, of course, personally ignorant of the queen's private character but I could not remain silent while she was slandered. "no, sir, that's a lie. I answered. "A dammed lie, mate!" John Frye put in with equal heat."

The author uses other languages in the book but does translate the words. Perry's mother was a "Spanish lady" so he knew some Portuguese. Perry was born in Plymouth, England.

There is also some sexual language in words that I had to find in my built in dictionary and because I was unfamiliar with the words, it made the reading more comfortable for me.
I will give this a 5 star even though I did not really care for the abrupt end of the book.
Leona Olson

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Review of Tougher Than The Rest by Shirleen Davies

Tougher Than The Rest by Shirleen Davies
MacLarens of Fire Mountain (of Arizona Territory)\

Description of the book:

"Niall MacLaren is determined to turn his ranch into the biggest cattle dynasty in the Arizona
Territory. The widower will do whatever he must to obtain the political and financial support required, even marrying a woman he does not love. Nothing will stand in his way.
Katherine is well-bred, educated and seeks a life away from her cloistered existence in the
East. Landing the teaching job in California provides her with the opportunity she seeks. Most
importantly, and unlike many of her peers, she will not need a husband to achieve her goals.
When an accident brings them together, mutual desire takes root, threatening to dismantle
their carefully laid plans and destroy their dreams. Can either of them afford to be distracted by the
passion that unites them---especially when one of them may belong to another?"


The book begins in Ohio in 1866 with the children of Duncan and Elizabeth MacLaren hiding from raiders from West Virginia. Both parents of the children are killed. Niall (15), Jamie (12) and the twins, Will and Drew are now left alone. Niall was told by his father there was money hidden and to go to Arizona Territory to be with his brother, Stuart, if anything ever happened to him.
On the way, they meet a Marshal Trent Garner in St Louis, Missouri who knows the uncle of the boys and helps them.
Niall gets the four of them to the ranch his uncle owns. Aunt Alicia and Uncle Stuart never had children of their own and more than welcome them.
The book skips to Philadelphia in 1878 with Elizabeth and her father talking about her trip to California. A coach accident on the way leaves Kate without memory. She is taken into the home of Stuart and Alicia but with protests from Niall.
Niall has lost his wife, Camille, and also lives in the home with his 6 year old daughter, Beth. He is courting Jocelyn van Deelin with plans to marry without love for political status. Lots of changes when Kate enters the picture.
This is a fast moving book and almost like the beginning of what is happening in the future for the MacLaren family.
I liked the book but would have liked a slower movement and more dialog. I liked the characters and would have liked to see more time spent with them. There is one love scene done tastefully and a couple of what I call somewhat bad language.
Some characters:
Niall MacLaren- main male character, a widower with a child.
Beth- 6 year old daughter of Niall and so much part of the story
Jamie- brother of Nail. Sometimes temperamental.
Will and Drew- twin brothers of Niall
Stuart MacLaren- uncle of the boys/men
Alicia- wife of Stuart and a loving character
Kate- Katherine- main female character
Trent Garner- marshal and friend
Caleb Milton- doctor who was also on the coach in the accident
Gloria Chalmette- friend of Niall
Jocelyn van Deelin- future wife of Niall?
I was sent a complimentary e-book copy of Tougher Than The Rest by Shirleen Davies to read and review. The opinions are my own.
I am give it a low 4 star. I look forward to more of the MacLaren family now that I have met them.
Sirrleen Davies may be reached at
Leona Olson