Saturday, September 27, 2014

Review of Hot Dish Heaven by Jeanne Cooney.

Review of Hot Dish Heaven by Jeanne Cooney.
Book Description from back of the book.
Publication Date: June 1, 2013
Cub reporter Emerald Malloy is assigned to gather “church food” recipes from the owner of Hot Dish Heaven, a café in a small town in the Red River Valley. Upon her arrival, she learns of a local unsolved murder. Confident that solving the case will catapult her from newspaper “gopher” to investigative reporter, she questions the locals while attending a benefit dinner-dance at the VFW. By the end of the night, she’s consumed lots of hot dish and bars while talking to everyone from the Irish-Catholic priest who lives among these Scandinavian Lutheran farmers to the café owner’s eccentric aunts. She also meets a hunky deputy sheriff and learns some tough lessons about herself. But the question remains, will she live long enough for any of it to matter?
Leona's Review
I checked out this book from my library. I have been reading more mysteries based in Minnesota lately.
Emerald, Emme, is a reporter for a newspaper in Minneapolis and her assignment is to get recipes from a local cafe in Kennedy, Minnesota. When talking to the owner, Margie Johnson, talks about a murder that was never solved. Emme begins her search for the murderer and so this leads the reader to the suspects and what their reason might be to kill Samantha Berg.
I did not care for some of the language that included the a*** and s*** words. Somehow I did not expect these words to be used by some ladies I have met on Minnesota.
It was an easy read and this book does include lots of "hot dish" recipes .I  call them casseroles but they are "hot dishes" in Minnesota.
The recipes call for white Crystal sugar because this is from the beets they harvest in this part of Minnesota.
Some recipes are:
Tater-Tot Hot Dish
Cheeseburger Hot Dish
Hester's Favorite Jell-O
Three- Bean Hot Dish
Nut-Goodie Bars
Recipe for Hester's Favorite Jell-O
"1 can cherry pie filling
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup hot water
1 large box of cherry Jell-o
1 can coca-cola
Dump the first 3 ingredients into a kettle and bring to a boil. Add cherry Jell-O. Stir and let cool. Add the can of regular soda and stir until the bubbles disappear. Chill until firm. Cover with Cool Whip. I know this sounds like a weird Jell-O recipe, with soda pop and all, bit  it's actually very good."
I am giving it a 3 star rating. I will probably read the next book,  Hot Dish Heaven: A Second Helping of Murder and Recipes.
Joanne Cooney may be reached at
Leona Olson

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer Book Review

Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer Book Review

Book description from back of book:

Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics. But then a shocking phone call from her sister, Jewel, changes everything.

With a heavy heart, Lula returns to her Oklahoma hometown to do right by her sister, but the only teaching job available in Dunn is combination music instructor/basketball coach. Lula doesn't even consider those real subjects!

Determined to prove herself, Lula commits to covering the job for the rest of the school year. Reluctantly, she turns to the boys' coach, Chet, to learn the newfangled game of basketball. Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy. She's returning to college and her scholarship as soon as she gets Jewel back on her feet.

However, the more time she spends around Jewel's family, the girls' basketball team, music classes, and Chet, the more Lula comes to realize what she's given up in her single-minded pursuit of degree after degree. God is working on her heart, and her future is starting to look a lot different than she'd expected.

Leona's Review:

This was my first book I have read by Anne Mateer and it did not disappoint.

Lula Bowman has to put her dream of getting a graduate degree in mathematics on hold to help her sister who has lost her husband. The dream of Lula and her father is for Lula to get a graduate degree; her father had always encouraged Lula.

She returns to Dunn, Oklahoma and gets a job as a music teacher. There is no basketball coach for the girl's team and Lula becomes the coach for extra money. This is a new sport at the time and Lula has no clue of what to do. She uses her handbook, Spalding's Official Basket Ball Guide for Women, 1916-1917, on basketball and the coach, Chet Vaughn, of the boy's basketball team to help her.
We have a telephone and a Tin Lizzie owned by Chet but still a single woman cannot be alone with a man. The book is set during WWl when so many men are at war.

Playing by Heart is a Christian romance and God is called upon many times for help. Have some tissues handy because it is also a book that is emotional because there is death, illness, and a little boy's loss of his father for a few examples.
We also see hope, love, sacrifice, history and caring in this historical novel.

The chapters are in first person, one chapter by Lula and the next by Chet and so forth. It gives the reader the feelings of the main characters.

Lula is in Dunn to help her sister and Chet is there to be with his widowed mother while his brother is off to war.

I received a complimentary copy of Playing by Heart from Bethany House to read and review. The opinions are my own.
This would be a good book club read.
I give it a 5 start rating.
Anne Mateer may be reached at
Leona Olson

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review of Historical Records Survey Minnesota


Historical Records Survey Minnesota
Inventory of the County Archives
Otter Tail County
The Minnesota Historical records Survey Project
November 1940
No. 56
Work Project Administration

First pages are history of the Otter Tail County and the rest of the pages are records.
Got from University of Minnesota Wilson Library through MNLINK.
Not much on genealogy except for the history.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Review of FOR SALE MINNESOTA by Lars Ljungmark


Lars Ljungmark
Organized promotion of Scandinavian Immigrants 1866-1873
[Borrowed from library. M 325.2485 L.  The Swedish Pioneer Historical Society Chicago 1971]
The Scandinavian immigration to Minnesota 1850-1875 (page 1)
Factors behind the emigration from Sweden (page 3)
Immigration propaganda from Minnesota (page 8)
The immigration policy of the state, 1858-1866 (page 17)
1867: State activity at its peak (page 26)
State immigration promotion and private assistance to emigrants in 1868 (page 52)
1869: State immigrants- promotion activity under auspices of the various ethnic groups (page 57)
1870- 1873: Diminishing state immigration-promotion because of the drive of the land grant railroads (page 65)
Conclusion  (page 69)
Introduction (page 70)
The Scandinavian immigration policy of the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad (page 78)
The beginning of the active immigration policy of the Northern Pacific Railroad 1869-1871 (page 132)
The colonization policy of the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad 1869-1871 (page 150)
1869-1871 (page 150)
Conclusion (page 153)
The immigration drive of the Northern Pacific 1871-1873: a lost race against time (page 155)
The Swedish drive of the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad 1871-1873 (page 210)
CONCLUSION (page 263)
APPENSICES (page 267)
1. The population of Minnesota according to census figures ((page 267)
2. Hans Mattson 1832-1895)
3. Original entries of land under the Homestead Laws in  Minnesota 1863-1873 (page 369)
4. Fish Lake Township, Chisago County  (page 271 )
5. The emigrant lists in Gothenburg (page 277)
6. The pull from America, as seen in Mollersvard's emigrant lists (page 281)
Bibliography (page 293)
Index of names (page 302)
Leona's Review:
This book concentrates on the railroad. The part about Fish Lake Township mainly is about the census and how many were farmers. Swedes were the main buyers and farmers.
Jay Cooke's involvement in the Northern Pacific project is on page 132.
The book is very detailed with census figures, graphs and names.
I did not read it as a novel but did read certain pages of interest.
I was looking fro information for my husband's family who were Swedish immigrants.
A great book for research.
Leona Olson