Sunday, August 24, 2014

Review of Death Before Dinner, An Otter Tail County Mystery by Gerald Anderson

Review of Death Before Dinner,  
An Otter Tail County Mystery by Gerald Anderson
From Product Description (ISBN 0738708747, Paperback)
Could something like murder happen in Fergus Falls-a quiet Minnesota town known for its Scandinavian heritage and great lake fishing? Yah, you betcha!
Every August Dr. George Gherkin, the Fergus Falls State University president, hosts a faculty party. It's tradition for George to lock himself inside the kitchen to prepare his signature dish. But instead of Chicken Kiev, the guests find their chef with a meat cleaver buried in his head.
All the guests are suspects. There's Sally Ann Pennwright, Gherkin's scorned secretary and former mistress; Sherwin Williams, the assistant professor of Art who's been denied tenure for years; and Francis Olson, the athletic director whose attempt to leave Fergus Falls was thwarted by Gherkin. Everyone has an ax to grind with the selfserving, manipulative university president. Can the small-town sheriff-who hasn't handled a homicide case in his entire career-solve this unsavory crime?

Leona's Review

I has a problem rating this book but it did get better as it progressed. The Ole joke advanced it from a 3 1/2 star to a 4 star rating. I usually give 4 star ratings when research has been done and I learn something; I did from this book.
I chose this book from my library because I was doing genealogy research for my husband's family. They are from Fergus Falls, Minnesota.
The book begins with a prologue and the death of George Gherkins. The first chapters describe the characters in the book and their issues with the president of the Fergus Falls State University.
The descriptions of the town and people were great and so I liked this history and information. The author is detailed in his descriptions of food, the decor of the homes and clothing of the characters. The author does leave the reader trying to solve the mystery of the murder and why it happened . I did see politics in this book but we are in Minnesota and they are political.  ( I am not a Minnesotan, just married to one and he is a Scandinavian. We do live in Minnesota).

Main characters:
Dr. George Gherkin-President of Fergus Falls State University
Dolly Gherkin-Wife of George Gherkin
Guest List:
Abigail Armbruster- Mayor of Fergus Falls
Dr. Isabel Corazon- Newest Vide-president at Fergus Falls State University
Francis Olson- Athletic Director at Fergus Falls State University
Sally Ann Pennwright- Private Secretary of George Gherkin
Lance Sterling- President of alumni association
Ruth Sterling- Wife of Lance Sterling
Dr. Harold Winston-Professor of History at Fergus Falls State University
Brick Wahl- A Contractor
Sherwin Williams-Assistant Professor of Art
Mae Williams-
 Wife of Sherwin Williams

Sheriff and Deputy
Palmer Knutson- Sheriff of Fergus Falls
Orly Peterson- Deputy of Fergus Falls

I recommend  Death Before Dinner for a good read and some history of a small town in west central Minnesota.
Leona Olson


Friday, August 22, 2014

Book Review of Get to Know King David By Nancy I. Sanders

Book Review of Get to Know King David 
By Nancy I. Sanders   

Book Description from

A shepherd and a king, David lived an adventurous life. He protected his family’s sheep from lions and bears. He fought a giant with just a sling and stone. He even spent years hiding from men who were trying to kill him. And eventually, David became a great king. But David was also a man of God. Learn more about this hero from the Bible and his exciting place in history. Discover what it was like to grow up in ancient Israel and then be a king of God’s people. King David - part of the Get to Know series - will teach you everything you need to know about an imperfect young man whom God used to do great things!
This is a Zondervan book.
Leona's Review: 

Get to Know King David is part of a series of Get to Know books that are about Biblical people. The books are for grade school age children but I think a wonderful family project for the child (children) parents (or grandparents) to study the Bible together and learn.
Get to Know Jesus, Get to Know Mary, Get to Know King David, and Get to Know Apostle Paul.
The book begins with David as a shepherd boy and continues when he is King David.
David played a harp and wrote songs as he tended the sheep. Psalm 23 was written by David: "The Lord is my shepherd. He gives me everything I need'. (page 17)
There is a lot of history and facts about David and other people from the Bible. It is a short book and can be read by chapters instead of reading the complete book at one  time. I suggest the adult read it first so they can be prepared for questions from the child.
There are pictures, maps, and drawings to be used as a learning tool.
Throughout the book are symbols that have information about the book.
Bible Hero- Look for a sandal about information about a Bible hero.
Eyewitness Account- Look for a picture of an eye each time someone who saw what happened tells about it.
Did You Know?- Look for a clay jar to learn fun facts.
Word Bank- Look for a scroll to learn the meanings of new words. The words are also in bold on the page.
A Bible Hero is Samuel: "Samuel was a type of ruler in Israel. He ruled as the judge. He was also a prophet and told God's words to the people. Samuel anointed both Saul and then David as kings of Israel. The books of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel in the Bible are about the life and times of Samuel" (page 17)
An Eyewitness Account found in Tel Dan tells about a battle. It is written by a king who lived north of Israel. The writing on the stone says he killed a king "of the house of David" ". (page 17)
A Did You Know?: "The Bible has two sections- The Old Testament and the New Testament.  These are also known as the Scriptures. The Old Testament tells the history and beliefs of the Jews. The New Testament tells the history and beliefs of Jesus and his followers. )The stories of David are in the Old Testament" (page 16) (Leona's note: Usually I see His with a capital but this was lower case so I left it that way).
A Word Bank- "Tabernacle: The holy place of worship for the Jews before the temple was built" (page 45)
Table of Contents
Chapter 1- A Shepherd Boy
Chapter 2- A Servant on the King's Court
Chapter 3- The Giant Killer
Chapter 4- King Saul's Anger
Chapter 5- In Hiding
Chapter 6- Waiting for God's Plan
Chapter 7- Crowned as King
Chapter 8- The Second King of Israel
Chapter 9- The Turning Point
Chapter 10- Sad Times
Chapter 11- Temple Plans
Chapter 12- David's Throne Forever
Timeline of David
Selected Bibliography
Source Notes
Student Resources
About the Author
Get to Know King David is dedicated to:
Jeff and Annette-what a blessing it is to call you family as well as friends.
I received a complimentary copy of Get to Know King David by Nancy I. Sanders from
The opinions are my own.
I give this a 5 star rating.
I recommend these as a wonderful Christmas gift or a Jewish holiday. They are not expensive; $ 6.99 is the listed price on the back of the book.
Nancy I. Sanders may be found at
Leona Olson