Wednesday, August 12, 2020

This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman

 This Earl of Mine  by Kate Bateman



Shipping heiress Georgiana Caversteed is done with men who covet her purse more than her person. Even worse than the ton’s lecherous fortune hunters, however, is the cruel cousin determined to force Georgie into marriage. If only she could find a way to be . . . widowed? Georgie hatches a madcap scheme to wed a condemned criminal before he’s set to be executed. All she has to do is find an eligible bachelor in prison to marry her, and she’ll be free. What could possibly go wrong?


Benedict William Henry Wylde, scapegrace second son of the late Earl of Morcott and well-known rake, is in Newgate prison undercover, working for Bow Street. Georgie doesn’t realize who he is when she marries him―and she most certainly never expects to bump into her very-much-alive, and very handsome, husband of convenience at a society gathering weeks later. Soon Wylde finds himself courting his own wife, hoping to win her heart since he already has her hand. But how can this seductive rogue convince brazen, beautiful Georgie that he wants to be together…until actual death do they part?

Leona’s Review:

The book begins in London, March 1816. 

If one wants a good read with romance, mystery and some history,  then This Earl of Mine is a great one. This is my first read by Kate Bateman and I look forward  to reading the series.

Getting married to someone in prison on the idea that Georgina Caversteed would become  a widow and prevent her cousin, Josiah,  from marrying her and getting her fortune was her main focus. 

The book has some interesting history about watercraft, and I do not want to say what because I think it is part of the story.

The descriptions of places like the wharf pulls the reader into the area. 

The spices  in the warehouse  reminds Georgie of the children's rhyme “Sugar and spice and all things nice. That's what little girls are made of “ and he nodded, “ I know it. Little boys are made of slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails”.

Other main characters are Pieter Smit, a “ salt-weathered Dutchman” who protects Georgie; Juliet, the sister of Georgie;  Simeon Pettigrew, the man  Juliet loves;  The mother Mrs. Caversteed; and the two friends of Ben, Alex and Seb.

Dedicated to “To my crazy, wonderful family, especially my three lovely monsters, and M, with much love.

I received a complimentary copy of This Earl of Mine to read and review. The opinions are my own. I gave it a 5 star rating.

Leona Olson

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The Celebration (Amish Cooking Class #3) by Wanda E. Brunstetter

The Celebration, An Amish Cooking Class 

It gets emotional but a good read. Heidi is Amish and teaching young children how to cook and bake. It is my second time to read it and one I won a few years ago. 

There are problems with the families of each of the children who have come to the class. Heidi and her husband, Lyle, have two foster children, a brother and a sister whose parents died in a car crash. Heidi is unable to have children but she and her husband want to adopt them. 

She has six classes and the reader can read and watch the children and parents grow and learn. After each class, the children take home the recipes that that have a Bible verse on each one. 

There are chickens also in the book that are part of learning or as the Amish call them, hinkel.

The book is about God, prayers love, caring, friendship, family, death, heartbreaks, learning, and taking care of others. 

I gave it a 5 star rating. The opinions are my own.

One recipe I want to make this week: "Surprise Muffins: 1 egg, 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup cooking oil, 2 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt. Strawberry or blueberry jam.  Grease bottom of 12 muffin cups or use paper baking cups. In medium bowl, beat egg with fork. Stir in milk and oil. Blend flour and other dry ingredients until mixture is moistened. Batter may be a bit lumpy. Do not overmix. Fill muffin cups half full of batter. Drop scant teaspoon of jam in center of batter in each muffin cup. Add more batter to fill cup so it's two-thirds full. Bake at 400* (F) for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Muffins will have gently rounded and pebbled tops. Loosen from pan immediately and remove with spatula. Serve warm or cold. Makes 12 muffins. Discovering the jelly inside the baked muffin is the surprise."

Leona Olson

The Chocolate Book Bandit by JoAnna Carl.

The Chocolate Book Bandit by JoAnna Carl.

When it turns out a member of Warner Pier’s library board has been living on borrowed time, Lee is determined to discover who wrote the victim’s final chapter… 
Lee McKinney Woodyard, manager of TenHuis Chocolade, has been offered a position on the local library board. Before she accepts, she decides to check out their monthly meeting at the town’s historic library.
Rumors are flying about the rugged new board director, Henry “Butch” Cassidy, and the changes he allegedly plans to make. Butch is indeed attractive—but Lee doesn’t get a chance to find out about his proposals. The meeting is interrupted by the terrified screams of the library clerk.
The clerk has discovered the lifeless body of prim and proper Abigail Montgomery, a retiring member of the board. Suddenly everyone in attendance—including Lee—is a suspect. And, as Lee finds out, they’ve all got something to hide....
Includes Tasty Chocolate Trivia!
Leona's Review:
I picked up this book from the library because I have found these cozy mysteries easy and quick to read.
This is the first of the series I have read by JoAnna Carl but this was a stand alone read.
Lee McKinney Woodyard has moved to Michigan to work at her aunt's chocolate business.  She has an invitation to serve on the library board as well as the tourism bureau so goes to the library board meeting to help make her decision.
When at the meeting someone finds the body of a member of the board in the basement.
I found that some distractions such as a "crush" on the new library director and her husband's kiss with an old flame a little different touch on this type of book but it did add to the mystery of what else was happening in the book other than the murder (s).
I liked the chocolate trivia but would have liked at least some chocolate recipes. 
I think the title of the book was a little misleading.  I will have to read the other books in the series.
Even though there were some very mild sexual comments it is still a clean book. No bad language.
I will give a jump from a 3  1/2 star to a 4 star because the author knew it was a "chicken fried steak" and how to fix it.  Up North they call it " country fried steak".
JoAnna Carl may be found at; also on and

A Hidden Witch by Debora Geary

A Hidden Witch by Debora Geary

Another good feel book by this author all about witches.

There are many characters in this book and I guess the reader could pick one or two as their favorite. I think Uncle Marcus stood out for me, a grouchy and hard to change witch who could be stubborn but also was, what I call, a teddy bear. Eloise is the Hidden Witch when she finds she is really a witch with powers and can do things. All children in a family do not possess the power so it was thought she did not have the power but she is still part of the family. Eloise made jewelry from sea-glass and this was her talent.

Nova Scotia is the main setting for this book and the author does a good job of descriptions. I will be going to Maine this fall and will have the find a lobster bake after the fun descriptions of the Fisher's Cove Lobster Bake.

The book has many family members and activities. One of the activities are eating, especially chocolate like chocolate cake and chocolate chip cookies Tea is also popular as blueberries and the experiences with them.

The family members all seem to have a special powers like water, air or fire among some. There was a lot of time spent on net power and I must say, I had trouble keeping up with it. The ages are from a young Aeryyn at the age of four and Gran, Moira, on her seventies. One character becomes pregnant ( I will let you find that later in the book) and her husband refers to the baby as a Seeding who needs roots. I liked that and it stood out for me.

Moira, is Gran and one time says " I am not an invalid" which reminded me of my own mother who had problems walking and always said this.

Eloise is teaching the children and said a rule for all witches is "Do no harm".

There were a number of rhymes which added to the book. Time spent on the computer and "talking" also added to the personal touch.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Review of The Ghost by Danielle Steel

With a wife he loves and an exciting London-based career, architect Charles Waterston's life seems in perfect balance. Nothing in his comfortable existence prepares him for the sudden end to his ten-year marriage—or his unwanted transfer to his firm's New York office. With nothing left to lose, Charlie takes a leave of absence from his job to drive through New England, hoping to make peace with himself.

Leona's Review:I have not read Danielle Steel in a long time and read this as part of one of my challenges on goodreads. Charles has rented a place in Vermont and found a journal written by Sarah in the late 1700s so the book goes back and forth in time.

The problem I had with Charles is he whined to much but all in all I liked this books.

I give it a 5 Star rating because it held my interest and probably a re-read in the future.

Leona Olson>

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Writing Family Stories
Session by Angela Foster
Wyoming, MInnesota Library
Saturday  November 3, 2018

Angela gave some  great ideas on writing about your family history. She jokes by saying someday, someone will pull into your yard with a dumpster and say “Why did Mother save this?”

One needs to take the time to write. Be specific and talk about the memoirs as well as the facts.  Details, details, and details that are big and small. Give the name of the stove in the home, for example. She wore her favorite pink dress or they owned a blue Ford car.

Find things family members have written. Do not worry about grammar, spelling, or hand writing.

Write about how things have changed for you or family members such as computers, communication, transportation, clothes, styles, school, jobs, places lived, pets, etc..

Traditions such as holidays and birthdays are important in a family.

Uses senses when writing: smell, see, hear, taste and feel.

Show and do not tell. Have the reader get a vision in their head.

Angela gave us questions to answer:
Choose a home you lived when you were about 9 years old.  
Stand at the front door. Describe the home.
Do you smell anything?
Stand in kitchen. What was Mother doing?
Where is the table?
Is Father in the room? What is he doing?
Who else is in the room?
Who set the table?
What happens after you eat?
Describe the appliances and name them.
Do you pray before meals? Who leads the prayer?
Where does the heat come in the the home?
What is the source of light?
Anything in house not allowed to touch?
Any room you are afraid to be?
What are sounds in the house?
Write a story about the house in one page.
Walk through the house. Fiction writers so this, Angela said.

We drew small pieces of paper that had prompts and mine was:
What dreams and  goals did you have for your life after high school graduation?

Angela gave us time to write about both projects.

She gave us a list of  86 “Write Your Life Questions”:
These are some of them. I have already added some of my own to the list.

  1. Were you told a stories about the day you were born? What was the weather like? Where did you birth take place? Is there a baby book that lists your visitors or gifts you received?

   7. Did you have a secret place or favorite hiding spot as a child?

   9. Did you have pets as a child? Write about a special pet or a pet you longed for.

   12. Were you ever seriously ill or injured as a child?

    48. What kind of music did you like to listen to? Do you have any favorite albums or       


    54. Describe the first car you ever owned? How did you get it?

    72. If you could go back to any age, what age would it be?

    86. In what moment of you life did you feel most loved?



Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Christmas Star

(Christmas Hope #9)

Donna VanLiere (Goodreads Author)
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Christmas Hope series comes another heartwarming, inspirational story for the holidays.

Thirty-two-year-old Amy Denison volunteers at Glory's Place, an after school program where she meets seven-year-old Maddie, a precocious young girl who has spent her childhood in foster care. Unbeknownst to Amy, Maddie is a mini-matchmaker, with her eye on just the right man for Amy at Grandon Elementary School, where she is a student. Amy is hesitant - she's been hurt before, and isn't sure she's ready to lose her heart again - but an unexpected surprise makes her reconsider her lonely lifestyle.

As Christmas nears and the town is blanketed in snow and beautiful decorations, Maddie and the charming staff at Glory's Place help Amy to see that romance can be more than heartache and broken promises.

In The Christmas Star, Donna VanLiere delivers yet another sweet, joyous story that is sure to capture readers' hearts.

Leona’s Review:
This was a sweet read. I decided to use this word before I saw it in the review.)
The characters are like people that one knows and meets daily.
Gabe Rodriquez take care of the maintenance at the Grandon Elementary school where Maddie attends. She is a seven year old orphan who lives with Linda, her foster mother. She goes to Glory’s Place after school and Linda picks her up after work.
Gabe becomes a volunteer at Glory’s place, mainly because of Maddie.
Amy steps into the picture when she becomes a volunteer at Glory’s place and becomes attached to Maddie.
Maddie has decided that Gabe and Amy would make a nice couple not knowing they were once married.  
Other characters are Miriam, who works at Glory’s Place. Really a character that has a heart but does not always let it show.
A couple who are in love are Lauren and Travis.
A favorite of mine was Ben, the cashier at the grocery store who leaves notes in the bags of the customer’s grocery bags.
One sentence I would have added to the book was when Maddie, Gabe and Amy went to a restaurant,   a prayer would have added so much. Being from West Texas I have seen many families pray at restaurants. Totally my opinion and a thought I had.
This is a heart warming story. Sad as well as happy moments.
I received a complimentary copy of  The Christmas Star by Donna VanLiere.
The opinions are my own
I give it a 5 star rating.
The website for Donna VanLiere is
Facebook is Facebook/donnavanliere
Leona Olson

Monday, July 9, 2018

She Has Her Mother's Laugh by Carl Zimmer

Review of:

She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity

Carl Zimmer (Goodreads Author)

Carl Zimmer presents a history of our understanding of heredity in this sweeping, resonating overview of a force that shaped human society--a force set to shape our future even more radically.

She Has Her Mother's Laugh presents a profoundly original perspective on what we pass along from generation to generation. Charles Darwin played a crucial part in turning heredity into a scientific question, and yet he failed spectacularly to answer it. The birth of genetics in the early 1900s seemed to do precisely that. Gradually, people translated their old notions about heredity into a language of genes. As the technology for studying genes became cheaper, millions of people ordered genetic tests to link themselves to missing parents, to distant ancestors, to ethnic identities. . . .

But, Zimmer writes, "Each of us carries an amalgam of fragments of DNA, stitched together from some of our many ancestors. Each piece has its own ancestry, traveling a different path back through human history. A particular fragment may sometimes be cause for worry, but most of our DNA influences who we are--our appearance, our height, our penchants--in inconceivably subtle ways." Heredity isn't just about genes that pass from parent to child. Heredity continues within our own bodies, as a single cell gives rise to trillions of cells that make up our bodies. We say we inherit genes from our ancestors--using a word that once referred to kingdoms and estates--but we inherit other things that matter as much or more to our lives, from microbes to technologies we use to make life more comfortable. We need a new definition of what heredity is and, through Carl Zimmer's lucid exposition and storytelling, this resounding tour de force delivers it.

Weaving historical and current scientific research, his own experience with his two daughters, and the kind of original reporting expected of one of the world's best science journalists, Zimmer ultimately unpacks urgent bioethical quandaries arising from new biomedical technologies, but also long-standing presumptions about who we really are and what we can pass on to future generations.

Leona's Review:

This was a very interesting read. It is a long book, 574 pages, but an easy read for the average person. For those interested in genealogy research, I think this is a must read.
I received a complimentary copy from to read. The opinions are my own. I give this book a 5 stat rating. I gave my copy to a granddaughter who is in the medical field for neurology.

I am a note taker and so I will what add some I thought are interesting and helpful suggestions for the reader.

PKU  Phenylketonuria is an inherited disorder that can lead to developmental delay, behavior  problems and seizures. page 471
Margaret Mead  page 461 
Homo Sapiens page 467
Homo Erectus page 467
Neandertals page 467
Denisovans page 467
Cumulative culture page 463
Mitochondrial replacement page 517
Human altered environment page 466
Agriculture Revolution page 469
Fetal alcohol page 479
Human germ line engineering page 524
Gene therapy  page 509 replacement
Cloned frog before Dolly  page 544
Arygan race page 498
Blood disorders page 509
3 Parent children  page 514 ooplasm
Macular degeneration  page 277
Twins page 297
Omnigenic page 304
Power of the human brain 
"Failure is common in science"  page 552
Mendel's Law 
Mosaics page 350
Mosaic neurons page 369
Memories store in brain page 431
Thyroid page 390
Research in epigenetics page 436
Burbank potatoes Russet potatoes page 444 
Growth plates
Maryland Iron Mines in 1700s
Scotland study
Captain Cook page 467
Nootka Vancouver Island