Friday, November 6, 2015

Review of Whispers in the Reading Room by Shelley Gray

Book review of Whispers in the Reading Room
by Shelly Gray 

From the back of the book:

Whispers in the Reading Room
The Chicago World’s Fair Mystery Series
By Shelley Shepard Gray
Published by Zondervan

Just months after the closure of the Chicago World’s Fair, librarian Lydia Bancroft finds herself fascinated by a mysterious dark-haired and dark-eyed patron. He has never given her his name; he actually never speaks to a single person. All she knows about him is that he loves books as much as she does.

Only when he rescues her in the lobby of the Hartman Hotel does she discover that his name is Sebastian Marks. She also discovers that he lives at the top of the prestigious hotel and that most everyone in Chicago is intrigued by him.

Lydia and Sebastian form a fragile friendship, but when she discovers that Mr. Marks isn’t merely a very wealthy gentleman, but also the proprietor of an infamous saloon and gambling club, she is shocked.

Lydia insists on visiting the club one fateful night and suddenly is a suspect to a murder. She must determine who she can trust, who is innocent, and if Sebastian Marks—the man so many people fear—is actually everything her heart believes him to be.

Leona's Review:

This is the first book I have read by Shelley Gray and I was not disappointed.

Lydia works at the library and one of her patrons is a gentleman who comes to read; he never speaks to anyone and does not check out books.

She sees him at the Hartman Hotel where she is having tea with her fiance, Jason Avondale.  Lydia notices the stranger from the library and Jason becomes jealous as he also notices the man also. There is an incident and Jason leaves, breaking the engagement. Lydia's mother wants Lydia to marry into society so they can regain their social status so she is not happy.

This is also a murder mystery as well as a romance novel.  God is mentioned many times and the language is clean. I found it an interesting page turner read.

The Chicago World's Fair has ended but is still part of the book as a setting. This is the first I have read of The Chicago World's Fair books but it is a stand alone read. The others are Secrets of Sloane House and Deception on Sable Hill. I look forward to also reading these books.

Other characters in the book that I liked were Bridget O'Connell and Vincent Hunt, both employees of Sebastian Marks. Everyone has a past which helps makes the characters even more interesting.

From the author, Shelley Gray: "This book is all about friendship. With that in mind, it's dedicated to Julie Stone.  Thank you for being such a kind and steadfast friend! Thank you for touring Chicago with me... and then doing it over and over again, looking forward to years of collecting passport stamps together,  where that may be!"

This book would be a nice gift for a friend or family member for Christmas or a birthday.

I received a complimentary copy of Whispers in the reading Room from Zondervan to read and review. The opinions are my own. I give it a 5 star rating.

About the Author: (from description of the book)

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail. Find Shelley on her website,, on Facebook: ShelleyShepardGray, and on Twitter @ShelleySGray.

You may also find her on at

Leona Olson


Friday, October 16, 2015

Review of The Silken Web by Sandra Brown

Book  Review of The Silken Web by Sandra Brown

Leona's Review:

I have had this book on my book shelf and decided it was time to read it. I almost stopped reading it a couple of times and about one-third of the way into the book, it improved for me. I was not ready for just sex and no substance in a book.

Kathleen and Erik meet at a child camp; she is camp director and he is a videographer. Kathleen is an orphan and spend many years at this camp as a child and is close to the owners.

Kathleen has never been with a man but that is changed in a couple of days of their meeting. 
Erik is in an airplane crash and as Kathleen waits at the hospital, she hears a woman tell the nurse she is Mrs. Gudjonsen, assumes she is his wife and leaves town to escape from him.
Her new life in San Francisco is her escape and there she meets Seth Kirchoff, the owner of the store and so Kathleen continues a job that is in her line of work which is fashion.

The book continues with a new beginning for Kathleen and Seth. Erik does enter the picture after a time period.
This is a good romance and some emotional scenes. There are also some sexual scenes and some bad language.  Thankfully, no "f" words.
I will say that on page 72 (paperback) the American flag is mentioned and I did like that.
I am giving it a 4 star rating because it did get better and I liked most of the characters.
Sandra Brown many be contacted at and on
Leona Olson



Thursday, October 15, 2015

Review of 52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol by Bob Welch

52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol
By Bob Welch
Published by Thomas Nelson

Medallion Award-winner Bob Welch crafts 52 nuggets of Bible-based wisdom from one of the most popular novels of all time, A Christmas Carol. "For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself." "No space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunity misused." "God bless us, every one." The lessons and stories from the beloved novel A Christmas Carol point to bedrock values we all share. Award-winning author Bob Welch takes readers deeper into the nuances of this classic by Charles Dickens. From the miserliness of Scrooge to the innocence of Tiny Tim, 52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol will inspire readers to live for what really matters, not only at Christmas, but all year long.
Leona's Review:
52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol gave me a different look into this classic book. I have not read it for years and will re-read now. I happen to find Treasury of Christmas Tales at Goodwill last  week which has stories that could be used for the very young children. Published by Publications International, LTD. For the older children get the original book which can be downloaded for free or buy the book which would be easier to read and discuss. 52 Little Lessons of A Christmas Carol is published by Nelson Publishers, a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers and can be found in book stores.
The "lessons" are short but to the point. Charles Dickens has send messages to everyone and 52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol  tells of many values, some of which we may know we have and some we did not know we had and how we can add some different values to our own life.
Bob Welch has taken these lesson and put them into a wonderful book than may be read more than one time. The book does not have to be read all at once but can be a lesson or two at a time.
Before each chapter/lesson, there are 52, is a quote from the story and a few from a movie.
Lesson 10-  YOU MAKE THE CHAINS THAT SHACKLE YOU and the quote is "I wear  the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on my own free will." from The Ghost of Jacob Marley, to Scrooge.
Lesson 25-BITTERNESS WILL POISON YOU  and the quote is "Who suffers by his own whims. Himself, always." By Fred, regarding his uncle during the Ghost of Christmas Present visit.
Lesson 52- BE THE CANGE YOU WILL WANT  TO SEE  and the quote from Lord Francis Jerry, in a letter to Dickens after A Christmas Carol was published in 1843 is " We are all charmed with your Carol, chiefly, I think, for the genuine goodness which breathes all through it, and is the true inspiring angel by which its genius has awakened."
There is a List of Characters at the front of the book and also Author's Notes. "To those who, like Scrooge, dare to start anew" is what I would call the dedication page.
I did not know much about Charles Dickens but will do some more reading about the man. This book gave me some answers but with more questions about him.
I believe most of us know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim and have seen the movie(s) or read the book.
This would be a wonderful book for a family discussion. The family could watch some movies, there are many, and then "study" a lesson.  I would suggest beginning the movie(s) in November and then the discussions so they end in December.
I received a complimentary copy of 52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol from to read and review. The opinions are my own. I give it a 5 star rating.
Leona Olson

Monday, October 12, 2015

Review of Love Everlasting by Tracie Peterson

Book review of Love Everlasting by Tracie Peterson
Love Everlasting (Brides of Seattle #3) by Tracie Peterson

Abrianna Cunningham has always viewed her longtime friend, Wade Ackerman, as
a protective brother. Lately, however, she's begun to see him differently and finds
herself attracted romantically to him. But she's confused and overwhelmed by these
unfamiliar feelings.

Wade, on the other hand, has loved Abrianna for some time and has been waiting for her to realize they are more than just friends. When he asks her to marry him, she asks for time to adjust to their changed relationship.

And then there's Priam Welby, who has been relentlessly pursuing Abrianna. Will his underhanded tactics succeed in luring Abrianna into marriage with him?

Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Bethany House (first published September 29th 2015)
ISBN0764210637 (ISBN13: 9780764210631)edition language English
Leona's review:
This is not my first read by Tracie Peterson but the first for the Brides of Seattle series. It is a stand alone read and I may go back and read the others.
It really took the second half of the book for me to have a real interest and I had written in my notes "this is a personal struggle book" when I was somewhat into the book. Things did change and became more interesting with murder, jail, false accusations and a man who wanted to marry Abrianna by any means.
I liked the characters of Abrianna and Wade and the aunts were a wonderful addition. As I write this, I think a cat would have also been an addition.  Abrianna is headstrong but Wade seems to flow with any problems added to what is happening. He keeps his head when their are problems and prays a lot. The aunts are also strong characters with their opinions and accomplishments. I could almost see them sitting together and talking. Jay, the father of Abrianna has come back into her life. Friends are also an important part of the book.
This is a Christian book without pushing. I like that God is in the hearts of the characters and spoken of often.
Abrianna helps the poor with food and housing; this seems to be her calling. Wade has taken the job of becoming the substitute minister at the church and fully understands her.

I loved the personal talk between Wade and Abrianna. This made them seen so real and in love.
I received a complimentary copy of Love Everlasting by Tracie Peterson from Bethany House Publishers. The opinions are my own.
I give this book a 5 star rating.
Tracie Peterson may be reached at her website:
Leona Olson


Sunday, October 11, 2015

That Dorky Homemade Look by Lisa Boyer

Review of That Dorky Homemade Look by Lisa Boyer

That Dorky Homemade Look: Quilting Lessons from a Parallel Universe by Lisa Boyer
     "Quilt humorist" Lisa Boyer gives you permission to quilt even if you make mistakes. Her humorous essays are full of her own mistakes and mishaps as she perfects her quilting technique.

     Fed up with feeling like you can't meet the standards of the Quilt Police? Do you want to quilt for comfort and pleasure -- and not to win some high-falutin' quilting contest? Weary of worrying about what others will think of your color choices -- or your pieced points? Or your applique stitches? That Dorky Homemade Look: Quilting Lessons from a Parallel Universe is the quilting companion you've been wishing for.
     Lisa Boyer, a popular columnist for Quilting Today magazine, gives you permission to quilt because you love it. She clears your path of all those merciless judgments pronounced by the Quilting Queens. She invites you to make quilts that are full of life. This funny book offers these nine principles for the 20 million quilters in America:
     1. Pretty fabric is not acceptable. Go right back to the quilt shop and exchange it for something you feel sorry for.
     2. Realize that patterns and templates are only someone's opinion and should be loosely translated. Personally, I've never thought much of a person who could only make a triangle with three sides.
     3. When choosing a color plan for your quilt, keep in mind that the colors will fade after a hundred years or so. This being the case, you will need to start with really bright colors.
     4. You should plan on cutting off about half your triangle or star points. Any more than that is showing off.

     5. If you are doing applique, remember that bigger is dorkier. Flowers should be huge. Animals should possess really big eyes.
     6. Throw away your seam ripper and repeat after me: "Oops. Oh, no one will notice."
     7. Plan on running out of border fabric when you are three-quarters of the way finished. Complete the remaining border with something else you have a lot of, preferably in an unrelated color family.
     8. You should be able to quilt equally well in all directions. I had to really work on this one. It was difficult to make my forward stitching look as bad as my backward stitching, but closing my eyes helped.
     9. When you have put your last stitch in the binding, you are still only half finished. Your quilt must now undergo a thorough conditioning. Give it to someone you love dearly—to drag around the house, wrap up in, spill something on, and wash and dry until it is properly lumpy.
     "No reason not to have quiltmaking be a pleasure", says Lisa Boyer, who has as firm a grip on her sense of humor as she does on her quilting needles. "If we didn't make Dorky Homemade quilts, all the quilts in the world would end up in the Beautiful Quilt Museum, untouched and intact. Quilts would just be something to look at. We would forget that quilts are lovable, touchable, shreddable, squeezable, chewable, and huggable -- made to wrap up in when the world seems to be falling down around us."
Leona's Review:
The book information from pretty much said what I would have written.
I found this book and even though I do not quilt, it sounded like a fun read and it was.
I do needlework and crochet and people who do these tasks can also relate to what quilters do. I think we are our own worst critics. The items made should be used and enjoyed and treasured.
Just two examples of the 9 Principles of Dorky Quiltmaking all we needle crafters all have in common are "Throw away your seam ripper" and "Plan on running out of material". We have to make do with what we have or did.   Do something that looks like the mistake we made is not an mistake but well planned.
This is a short read and would be a fun birthday gift for a friend or relative that quilts, or does other needlework projects.

I have to give it  4 star rating.  web address

Leona Olson

Monday, October 5, 2015

Buffalo Trail by Jeff Guinn

Review of Buffalo Trail by Jeff Guinn


Buffalo Trail: A Novel of the American West
by Jeff Guinn

New York Times–bestselling author of The Last Gunfight Jeff Guinn once again brings the Old West to life in the grand follow-up to Glorious.

After barely escaping nemesis Killer Boots in the tiny Arizona Territory town of Glorious, Cash McLendon is in desperate need of a safe haven somewhere—anywhere—on the frontier.

Fleeing to Dodge City, he falls in with an intrepid band of buffalo hunters determined to head south to forbidden Indian Territory in the Texas Panhandle. In the company of such colorful Western legends as Bat Masterson and Billy Dixon, Cash helps establish a hunting camp known as Adobe Walls. When a massive migration of buffalo arrives, Cash, newly hopeful that he may yet patch things up with Gabrielle Tirrito back in Arizona, thinks his luck has finally changed.

But no good can come of entering the prohibited lands they’ve crossed into. Little do Cash and his fellows know that their camp is targeted by a new coalition of the finest warriors among the Comanche, Cheyenne, and Kiowa. Led by fierce Comanche war chief Quanah and eerie tribal mystic Isatai, an enormous force of two thousand is about to descend on the camp and will mark one of the fiercest, bloodiest battles in frontier history.

Cash McLendon is in another fight for his life—and this time running is not an option.


Editorial Reviews

“Guinn makes lively characters of historical buffalo hunters, and his imaginative take booms like a Sharps .50 as cultures collide across the Cimarron River…Guinn's research brings to life the daily lives of the Comanche…Few Westerns reach the level of Lonesome Dove, but Guinn's latest is a better, more rambunctious tale than the trilogy's opener.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Full of historical notable figures from the Old West, this second volume in Guinn’s trilogy not only provides a buoyant narrative but also several lessons in Western history. This title is so well constructed that it could stand alone (for readers new to the trilogy). Guinn skillfully ties his carefully constructed prolog outlining the Massacre at Sand Creek (1864) to a lone female warrior he imagines at the Second Battle at Adobe Walls.”—Library Journal

“A grand effort, and Quanah and his bogus medicine man, Isatai, are an entertaining pair.”—Booklist
About the Author
Jeff Guinn is the bestselling author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including Manson, The Last Gunfight, and Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie & Clyde. A former books editor at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and an award-winning investigative journalist, Guinn is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and the Texas Literary Hall of Fame. He lives in Ft. Worth.

Leona's Review:

This is my first read by Jeff Guinn and one I wanted to read because of the Texas Panhandle.
This book is historical and a good read for those who have an interest in the American West. It will encourage the reader to read and find more information  on the characters as well as the area.

I will describe the book as a harsh reality of the times. It is about buffalo hunters and also some wars between the White Man and the Indians. The book is very descriptive of the killings and what happened to the people when they were dying and after their death. It is full of history and except for the main character, Cash McLendon, most of the main characters are real people. As I was reading this book Gene Barry, who played Bat Masterson of the TV series, was on Fantasy Island. Adobe Walls has a history that precedes the arrival of the men and one woman who occupied the place. I have listed some links of the history of Adobe Walls.

I was surprised to find that the Tonkawa Indians were cannibals. I lived in the Tonkawa Springs development in Round Rock, Texas. Maybe this is more than one wants to know but as I said, this book is full of harsh reality.

Cash is trying to make money so he can go back to his love, Gabrielle, who is in Arizona. Quanah wants the white man gone.

Every other chapter is about Cash and what is happening with his group and the other is about Quanah, the Comanche war chief and what is happening with his group. The switching back and forth does not confuse the reader and gives an idea of what is in the minds and plans of each group.

I won a complimentary copy of Buffalo Trail from This is an uncorrected proof copy but I did not see and errors. The opinions are my own.
I debated on a 4 or 5 star because of the language and graphic details but this is historical and so I will give it a 5 star rating. I will admit I skipped over some of the more graphic details.
Check the links I have added for some additional information.
Jeff Guinn may be found at:
Leona Olson

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Review of A Heart's Home by Colleen Coble.

Review of A Heart's Home by Colleen Coble


A Heart's Home (A Journey of the Heart #6)by Colleen Coble

This Christmas, a tragic loss at Fort Laramie ushers in hope and healing. When a young mother dies after giving birth at Fort Laramie, Emmie Croftner is shaken by the death of her dear friend--and reminded of the dangers of childbirth. She won't be able to hide her own pregnancy much longer. She's dreading the day that Isaac Liddle, the handsome soldier she adores, discovers her secret. Then the young infant's father offers a solution: Emmie should marry him so the child can have a family. With the Sioux Wars threatening soldier and civilian alike, a ready-made family could be the answer to Emmie's prayers for safety. But at what cost to her heart--and Isaac's?

Leona's Review:

This is the last book of the series of Journey of the Heart.

The books are very short in pages but strong in the content. I have enjoyed the journey however each book can be read as a stand alone book.

This book has a lot of emotions as well as the other ones. The beginning of the book has a death of a young mother in childbirth. Emmie had promised her friend she would marry her husband and raise the child. Emmie is in love with Isaac but has yet to tell him that her marriage was not a real marriage and a fake. Her "husband " is dead and she is carrying his child. Isaac knows she is going to have a baby but not the secret of the "husband". The promise to her friend has her questioning what to do.

The story begins December 18,1866 at Fort Phil, Kearny, Wyoming Territory.
The reader again sees the hardships of the Old West with the weather, Sioux uprisings and problems while living in this time era. There is also close friendships and hope.
The book is dedicated to: In memory of my brother Randy Rhoads, who taught me to love the mountains of Wyoming, and my grandparents Everett and Eileen Everroad, who loved me unconditionally. May you walk those heavenly mountains with joy.

I am giving it a 5 star rating because it was a good read and a Christian read. No bad language.

I hate to see the series end but look forward to other books by Colleen Coble.

Colleen Coble maybe reached at:
She is also a goodreads author on

I received a complimentary copy of A Heart's Home by Colleen Coble from to read and review. The opinions are my own.
This is a Thomas Nelson published book.

The books in Journey of the Heart series are A Heart's Disguise, A Heart's Obsession, A Heart's Danger, A Heart's Betrayal, A Heart's Promise and the last is A Heart's Home.
Leona Olson

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Review of Grace Under Pressure by Julie Hyzy

Review of Grace Under Pressure by Julie Hyzy
Grace Under Pressure (Manor House Mystery #1) by Julie Hyzy (Goodreads Author)

From the author of the successful White House Chef mysteries.

Everyone wants a piece of millionaire Bennett Marshfield, owner of Marshfield Manor, but now it's up to a new curator Grace Wheaton and handsome groundskeeper Jack Embers to protect dear old Marshfield. But to do this, they'll have to investigate a botched Ponzi scheme, some torrid Wheaton family secrets-and sour grapes out for revenge.
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Berkley
Leona's Review:
This is my first read by Julie Hyzy and one I enjoyed.
Grace Wheaton is the assistant curator at Mansfield Manor and wants the position of Abe when he retires; Grace is still in the probation stage.
Abe Vargas is found murdered at the Manor and Grace finds herself in charge.
Her assistance, Frances, is very good at her job but too inquisitive I found.
Bennett Marshfield is the owner of the Manor.
The gardener is Jack Embers and this may lead to a romantic interest in future books, I think.
Grace has the two roommates, Bruce and Scott, who own the local wine shop called Amethyst Wines.
There are the overworked detectives who find a murder is not what they usually have in the small town of Emberstowne.
There is also Ronny Tooney, a wannabe detective.
Other characters are in the book and some I thought may be in the future series.
This book has more than a murder scene; there is also a scam scene, a Ponzi scheme, secret doorways and rooms and family secrets.  There is a Victorian home in need of repair which was inherited by Grace from her mother and her grandmother.  Grace's grandmother worked at the Mansion and Grace had been there many times as a child. At one time it was said "was the house cursed?' but that is as far as that got.
The list of the Manor House Mysteries are: Grace Under Pressure ( June 7, 2010), June 5, 2012), Grace Interrupted ( June 7, 2011), Grace Among Thieves (Grace Takes Off ( July 2, 2013), Grace Against the Clock (July 12, 2014) and Grace Cries Uncle (July 7, 2015).
I will give this a 4 star rating and will read the other books in the series.
Leona Olson


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Review of The Tide Watchers by Lisa Chaplin

Review of The Tide Watchers by Lisa Chaplin

The Tide Watchers: A Novel by Lisa Chaplin

In the winter of 1803, one woman stands between Napoleon and the fall of Great Britain

The free-spirited daughter of an English baronet, Lisbeth defies convention by eloping to France. When her husband abandons her,  she must find a way to survive and be reunited with her young son, who is in the care of her mother-in-law.

A seasoned spy known as Tidewatcher,  Duncan apprenticed under Lisbeth's father and pledged to keep his mentor's pretty daughter safe—a promise complicated by the wily Napoleon Bonaparte. The British believe he is planning an attack, and Duncan is sent to search for  signs of invasion on the French coast—where he draws dangerously close to adventurous and unpredictable Lisbeth.

A sensational new invention may shift the tide of a French victory. A brilliant and eccentric American inventor named Robert Fulton has devised a deadly weapon that can decimate an enemy's fleet. To protect English ships, Tidewatcher must gain control of Fulton's invention and cross enemy lines . . . but he cannot do it alone. Left with no other options, he enlists Lisbeth's help in outwitting the American inventor and uncovering Bonaparte's secret plans.

Going undercover for the handsome and duty-bound spy, Lisbeth risks her freedom and her life as she navigates double agents and submarine warfare to outwit the greatest military tactician in history. The only question is . . . who can she trust?

Leona's Review:

I saw this book listed on one of the book sites and because I have an interest in Napoleon Bonaparte so I checked it out from my local library.

The main characters are Lisbeth Delacorte and Duncan Aylsham. Lisbeth is married to Alain Delacorte, a French spy and the father of Lisbeth's young son.  Duncan is a King's Man and Commander of a spy ship, code name Tidewatcher.

The son of Lisbeth and Alain has been taken away from Lisbeth and is cared for by her mother-in-law.  Lisbeth is not to have contact with her son and what she wants most in life is to get her son back.

Duncan is a friend of her father, Sir Edward Sutherland, also a King's Man and he wants Duncan to protect Lisbeth.

This is a fast moving book with spies, submarines, some touches of love, the English, Napoleon Bonaparte, the French, war, historical and fiction characters, Joseph Fouche, Thomas Pitt and so many more. The reader sees family influence and heartaches as well as a lot of emotions. No real bad language but i felt an overuse of the word, whore.
I was thankful for the list of characters at the beginning of the book witch had both fiction and historical characters listed. The map at the front was also helpful.

For the first historical book written by Lisa Chaplin, she did a great job on her research and details. My only complaint is the end of the book which was so abrupt. Other reviewers had the same feeling.

I especially liked Robert Fulton and his submarines in the picture. The author has done a lot of research about submarines or completely fooled me. I was impressed.

I had to check the Net to find the English called Napoleon "Boney".  If it was in the book, I missed it.

The book refers to The Treaty of Amiens which temporarily ended hostilities between the French Republic and Great Britain during the French Revolutionary Wars. It was signed in the city of Amiens, France on 25 March 1802 and more historical events are in the book.

The Tide watchers begins in Etaples, France August 16, 1802 and ends in the British Alien Office, Whitehall, London on May 20, 1803.

Lisa Chaplin may be reached at:
I will give this a 4 star rating.
Leona Olson

Friday, July 31, 2015

Making the Case by Kimberly Guilfoyle

Review of Making the Case by Kimberly Guilfoyle

Making the Case: How to Negotiate Like a Prosecutor in Work and Life by Kimberly Guilfoyle

The co-host of Fox News’s popular opinion programs, The Five and Outnumbered, shares the skills she’s honed and the insights she’s garnered as a highly successful prosecutor and television personality to help readers learn how they too can “make the case” for themselves in all aspects of life

When Kimberly Guilfoyle was just ten years old she lost her mother to a battle with leukemia. Her father knew that he couldn't possibly anticipate all the needs of his children alone so he set out to teach Kimberly how to advocate for herself and for her younger brother. He instructed her on how to ask for what she needed and how to build a strong case to get it. Those valuable childhood lessons helped Kimberly become the quick-thinking spitfire she is today. In Making the Case she weaves stories and anecdotes from her life and career with specific strategies that can help anyone set clear goals, communicate more effectively, and come out on top in any situation.

Having been a prosecuting attorney, former First Lady of San Francisco and one of TV’s most sought-after legal analysts and opinion-shapers, Kimberly Guilfoyle is the quintessential expert at making the case. Now advocating for her readers, she shares tips on how to make the case for yourself in all realms of your life—personal and professional. Among the topics she advises on are:

• Getting hired
• Nailing a promotion
• Navigating a mid-life career change
• Managing personal finances
• Advocating for your health
• Minimizing family drama

Told in her appealing and persuasive voice, combining personal experience and time-tested counsel, Making the Case is an invaluable guide to helping you get the most from your life at home and at work.
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Harper
ISBN0062343971  (ISBN13: 9780062343970)

Leona's Review:
I checked out this book from my library because I watch Kimberly on FOX and she was talking about her new book.

This is a good book for young people and would be great for a discussion group in high school. Prepare the future young leaders of our country. No politics are involved.

There are many personal parts and it gets emotional at times. Kimberly talks about the death of her mother, how she helped raise her younger brother, their father and what he taught them, her in-laws and exes and especially of her young son, Ronan.

I love the story of Ronan, when he was 7 years old. He found a motor- cycle online he wanted to order and tried "making the case " of why he should have it. The motor- cycle was for the ages of 12 years and older so he did not get it but learned at a young age how to advocate for himself.

Making the Case is about Kimberly and how and why she has had so many responsible jobs such as working at the DA's office in San Francisco.
She became her own best advocate for what she wanted.

Do your research, make acquaintances with people, read, get involved, communicate, use a firm handshake, ask for that promotion and set goals are some suggestions she has in her book.

I am doing a different rating for Making the Case. I give it a 5 star for young people and a 4 star for my age, late 70s. Buy the book for a graduation, birthday or holiday gift for someone; it will be a useful tool in their lives.
Kimberly Guilfoyle lists many names of people she knows from work and other areas of her life. The Index is much appreciated.
Kimberly Guilfoyle mad be reached at :




Chapter 1  How to Land the Best Job in the World
Chapter 2  Dressing for the Part
Chapter 3  Asking for a Promotion
Chapter 4  Standing Up fro Your Ideas
Chapter 5  Working as a Team
Chapter 6  Changing Careers
Chapter 7  Playing  by the Rules


Chapter 8  The Power of Friendships
Chapter 9  Dating and Marriage
Chapter 10 Money and Relationships
Chapter 11 Supporting Your Spouse
Chapter 12 Teaching Kids to Advocate fro Themselves
Chapter 13 Making Divorce Work for Everyone Involved
Chapter 14 Avoiding Family Drama
Chapter 15 Caring for Aging Parents
Chapter 16 Help! How to Ask for It, Receive It, and Give It

Leona Olson

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Bite's Tale by Veronica Blade

Review of  a Bite's Tale by Veronica Blake

A Cinderella who spends her nights as a wolf. A prince with a taste for blood.
Seventeen year old Cydney struggles against her werewolf nature, trying to keep everyone around her safe. No way will she risk exposing the beast at the prince's ball, no matter how her two cousins try to persuade her. As she attempts to carve out some semblance of a life, Cydney can't forget the boy she loved three summers ago - or what she did to him after losing control.
Turned into a vampire to save his life, the prince refuses to live up to his royal duties. He just wants to find the girl he loved and lost...the werewolf girl who bit him. But his father, the king, commands him to attend a ball where he must choose a wife. Can he find his Cinderella before he's forced to marry another? He doesn't even have her real name, much less a glass slipper.
Leona's review:

I re-read A Biter's Tale after it had been on my bookshelf for awhile.
It is the story of two teenagers who met in the summer and  did not know each others  real names.  She does not know he is the prince of the kingdom and his real name is Remy.  He does not know who she is and calls her Cinderella, which is a name her little brother, Gavin, calls her. Her name is Cydney Ella. Their mother is dead and they live with their Aunt Mina and their cousins.
It is a light book to read and about teenagers, school, friends and family. Do not let the subject bother the reader.
The chapters are written in first person with some chapters by Cydney and others by Remy. 
The story is some what based on Cinderella and her prince and it is a light and sweet romance
I will give it a 4 star rating.
I won A Bite's Tale from the author. The opinions are my own.
Veronica Blade may be found at and also on and on
Leona Olson

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Heart's Promise by Colleen Coble


Book review of A Heart's Promise by Colleen Coble


A rival threatens Emmie's budding romance with Isaac.

At Fort Laramie, soldier Isaac Liddle determines he will court and win Emmie Croftner's hand. Though courting seems improbable for a woman in her condition, Emmie begins to care deeply for Isaac and chafes as Jessica Dubois sets her bonnet for him.

When Jessica learns of Emmie's secret pregnancy, she blackmails her. With the Sioux Wars raging outside the safety of Fort Laramie, Emmie knows she cannot lose Isaac. But will he reject her--and her child--if he learns the truth?

Leona's Review:

This is another quick and easy read by Colleen Coble in the Journey of the Heart series.
It is a Christian love story and about friendship and caring. This book will touch your heart.

This story is of Emmie and Isaac and their love.  Isaac wants to marry Emmie but Emmie is afraid he will learn her secret; she is pregnant and a widow. We also see how hard a life was in these days and a hope for the future. This book begins October 1866, Fort Phil Kearny, Wyoming Territory.

The readers are back at Fort Laramie with uncertainty about the Sioux. There is friendship among the women, three are pregnant.

We are introduced to Maggie, the  lady who does the laundry to make money. Morning Song, a pupil of Sarah is reintroduced.

Colleen Coble does a great job of bringing the past characters of her books into each book.  Each book is a stand alone read.
I can see so many books from the characters.

The books of A  Journey of the heart are:

A Heart's  Disguise
A Heart's Obsession
A Heart's Danger
A Heart's Betrayal
A Heart's Promise
A Heart's Home
The book is dedicated to: In memory of my brother Randy Rhoads, who taught me to love the mountains of Wyoming and my grandparents Everett and Eileen Everroad, who loved me unconditionally. May you walk those heavenly mountains with joy.
Colleen Coble may be reached at:
Twitter: @colleencoble
Facebook: colleencoblebooks
I received a complimentary copy of A Heart's Promise to read and review from The opinions are my own. I give it a 5 star rating.
This is a Thomas Nelson Book
Leona Olson

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Book Review of After Tex by Sherryl Woods

Book Review of After Tex by Sherryl Woods
Returning to Whispering Wind, Wyoming, to attend her grandfather's funeral, Megan O'Rourke, an ambitious entertainment executive from New York City, is stunned to discover that she has inherited her grandfather's beloved ranch, along with his eight-year-old daughter, a child she had never known existed, and her former lover, Jake Sanders.
Leona's Review:
This was a book that had quite a few characters and some twists and turns in peoples lives.
Megan O'Rourke has returned to the ranch, Whispering Wind, her grandfather had when he passed away. Megan and Tex were not on very good terms when she left for New York to begin her own business and to be on her own; Tex wanted her to be with him at the ranch.
Megan flies back to Wyoming after learning of the death of her grandfather who had raised her.  She finds he is the father of an eight year old who had been abandoned by her mother and Megan is stipulated in the will she will take care of Tess if something happens to him.
Lots of emotions in this book with Megan also being abandoned by her mother, a friend whose husband runs around on her, and an abusive husband to another. Tess is an angry child and Jake Sanders has grudge against Tex who had claimed that Jake had stolen some cattle when Jake was young.
There are some good moments and friendship.  Love is certainly back for Megan and Jake.
I listened to the audio version of the book and it was well done.  I borrowed from my local library.
I will give this a 4 star rating. It is a love story as well as friendship and about family.
Sherryl Woods may be found at
Leona Olson


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Book Review of Crave the Moon by Lori Handeland

Review of Crave the Moon by Lori Handeland


Gina O'Neill will do anything to hold on to her beloved ranch that has been in her family for generations. Enter Mateo Mecate, an archeologist whose greatest wish is to dig there. Prepared to despise Matt--and to thwart his agenda--Gina cannot deny the shocking desire she feels for him.

Matt believes that the Nahua Springs Ranch holds an important key to Aztec history--one that will restore his standing in the archeological community. But he never expects to go head-to-head with the maddeningly sensuous owner, Gina. The ranch seems to have cast a spell on them both…

When Gina and Matt delve into the secrets of this ancient place, they awaken something unspeakably evil--a shapeshifter who is centuries old. A werewolf with vengeance on its mind. A sorcerer of incredible power. Can Gina and Matt defeat this enemy--even as their conflicts deepen…and their attraction grows more dangerous?
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
original title Crave the Moon ISBN0312389361 (ISBN13: 9780312389369)

Leona's Review:
I have read a couple of Lori Handeland's books and do like them. This one has werewolves as do some of her books.

Crave the Moon is about archaeology and the Aztec, which is an interest for me and based in the Southwest.

Dr. Mateo Mecate wants to dig on a site at the ranch but has been turned down by Gina. His interests to find the site come from his mother, Nora, who was an archaeologist.  His education was at archaeology sites.

The Nahua Springs Ranch is now a dude ranch that Gina O'Neill runs with the help of Jase McCord, a childhood friend and partner.

Matt joins the new group as a tourist under the name Teo Jones. Each member of the group has their own personality.

This is a quick moving book and will keep the reader interested. There is some bad language such as using  the "f" word and also sexual content.

I will give it a 4 star rating. This was a book I had on my book shelf and is a re-read for me.

Lori Handeland may be found at
Leona Olson

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer

Review of A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer

A teacher on the run. A bounty hunter in pursuit. Can two enemies learn to trust each other before they both lose what they hold most dear?

Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas. He never comes home empty-handed. So when a wealthy railroad investor hires him to find his abducted granddaughter, Stone eagerly accepts.

Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan's Academy for Exceptional Youths, will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially the orphaned girl entrusted to her care. Charlotte promised Lily's mother she'd keep the girl away from her unscrupulous grandfather, and nothing will stop Charlotte from fulfilling that pledge. Not even the handsome bounty hunter with surprisingly honest eyes who comes looking for them.

When Miss Atherton produces documentation that shows her to be Lily's legal guardian, Stone must reevaluate everything he's been led to believe. Is she villain or victim?

Then a new danger forces Charlotte to trust the man sent to destroy her. Stone vows to protect what he once sought to tear apart. Besides, he's ready to start a new pursuit: winning Charlotte's heart.

Karen Witemeyer Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award, and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance because she believes in giving the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children.
Learn more about Karen and her books at

Leona's Review:

This is my first read by Karen Witemeyer.

Because at the beginning of the book, Stone found Charlotte, I was wondering about a pursuit to find Charlotte until the end of the book but she has created a wonderful novel that also has children and animals, always a plus for me.

This is a historical Christian romance that has humor, love, friendship, a spinster, a bounty hunter, three gifted children and a friend, Mr. Dobson, who helps Charlotte and the children leave the school secretly.

Charlotte has legal custody of Lily, Stephen has parents but they are in Europe and John is also an orphan.
Stone has been sent by the grandfather of Lily to bring her back to him.

One example of humor is when Mr. Dobson finds Stone spying and Charlotte says "Perhaps he is simply a cowhand with a perchance for bird watching". Love for the children and also for Miss Lottie. Love between the two main characters. Friendship of Charlotte to her friend, the mother of Lily. The children call Charlotte, Miss Lottie.
Lily loves to read the dime novels of the bounty hunter Dead-Eye Dan and his adventures. John plays the piano and Stephen was placed in the school because his parents traveled.

Some words used are: "Worth their salt", "Schoolmarm", "Tasty grub" and "The Marshall fingered the brim of his Stetson". My favorite is " None of them can best a sunset in Texas". As a West Texan, I have to totally agree with that statement.
This is a clean novel and God, The Lord and prayers are certainly present but not overbearing but shows the faith of the times. The book begins February 1891 in Austin, Texas.
A Worthy Pursuit is dedicated: "To Laura Baker, librarian extraordinaire and the first person I ever trusted to read my stories. It is your encouragement and knowledgeable feedback that gave me the fortitude to pursue my dream. You taught me to see the world through lenses differently than my own and deepened my understanding of the human condition. You have left your mark on me, my friend and I thank God for the gift."
I received a complimentary copy of the book to read and review from Bethany House Publishers. The opinions are my own.
I give A Worthy Pursuit a 5 star rating and look forward to reading more of her books.
Leona Olson

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Review of the 5th Edition of The Mystery Shopper's Manual by Cathy Stucker

Book Review of the 5th Edition of The Mystery Shopper's Manual by Cathy Stucker
The Mystery Shopper’s Manual is your complete guide to launching and growing your shopping career, whether you are male or female, whatever your age and wherever you live.

The 7th Edition of The Mystery Shopper’s Manual is now available!

If you are looking for a flexible, fun way to make extra money, mystery shopping may be for you! You can get paid to shop, eat in restaurants, get your hair cut, go to the movies and more . . . and Cathy Stucker will show you how.

This updated and expanded edition of the industry-favorite guide is jammed with tips and insider knowledge. Both beginning and experienced mystery shoppers will become better, more successful shoppers with the information in this manual, including:

A step-by-step plan to get started.
How to avoid the scams.
Getting started without paying to shop.
How to maximize your pay and reimbursements.
What you should say in your reports and how to say it.
How to make your mystery shopping more profitable.

The information in the manual comes directly from the experts–mystery shoppers and the owners of mystery shopping companies. You’ll learn insider secrets about how mystery shopping really works, and you’ll have all the information you need to get started!

This is the first and only book for mystery shoppers to receive the endorsement of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association, the international professional association dedicated to mystery shopping. You’ve seen the come-ons about mystery shopping. Now get the truth. This is the book that tells what mystery shopping is really like, and how you can make money as a professional shopper.

I have personally trained more than 10,000 mystery shoppers, and I can help you become successful!

Whether you are just getting started, or ready to take on more shopping assignments, you’ll get the help you need in The Mystery Shopper’s Manual. Get your copy today! The new 7th Edition has even more advanced information for experienced shoppers.

The Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) recognizes that mystery shoppers and prospective mystery shoppers need a resource that will give them the ‘real story’ about mystery shopping…the opportunities, the realities, and how to perform at their peak. Cathy Stucker’s book, The Mystery Shopper’s Manual, provides solid information that offers the mystery shopper reliable information on how to obtain assignments, how to perform them well, and how to ensure that mystery shops are conducted in accord with the wishes of the mystery shopping company and its clients. The Mystery Shopper’s Manual provides a realistic approach to mystery shopping that addresses step-by-step processes for becoming a successful shopper.
– Mystery Shopping Providers Association

Here is what’s new in the 7th Edition:

Every page was reviewed, and changes were made to almost every one.
The content has been expanded by more than 40%.
A few chapters were thrown out completely, and new ones were added. For example, I added an entire chapter on avoiding mystery shopper scams.
Many shoppers will appreciate that the chapter on writing reports was expanded to include more tips and examples.
There is more about shopping with smart phones and using other technology.
The Quick-Start Plan was updated to include additional resources.
The Manual is still great for beginners looking to get started as mystery shoppers, but it also includes more advanced information on subjects such as improving your skills and making more money from mystery shopping.
What got cut? The biggest change is that I removed the list of mystery shopping companies and instead direct you to an online list I can update regularly as new companies emerge.

Even if you have read a previous edition of The Mystery Shopper’s Manual, you will find much that is new here.
Leona's Review:
I have  done some mystery shopping in the past and now I have a granddaughter interested so I found this book at my local library. It is a great book for those who are new to mystery shopping and a good refresher for those who have not done the shopping for awhile.
Cathy gives lots of good pointers of what and how. This book was written in 2002 before so many of us had access to the Internet. Now, I could not see doing mystery shopping without the use of the computer.
There are many sites on the Internet that offer the opportunity for mystery shopping but be aware of some companies. Never pay any company to join.  Cathy goes over this in her book(s).
She has a list of companies to contact. Since this is a 2002 book, check on the Internet to see if they are still active. She also has many suggestion on what is expected of the shopper.
One will not get rich doing this but you can have a good time and get some nice meals.

Cathy Stucker may be reached at: by email and on the web.
I will give this a 4 star rating. It is a short book (192 pages) and you will have to do lots of the legwork on research but it is a great way to begin. My introduction was on a talk on a cruise ship.
Leona Olson

Sunday, June 14, 2015

And the Good News Dana Perino

And the Good News Is... Lessons and Advise from the Bright Side by Dana Perino
From her years as the presidential press secretary to her debates with colleagues on Fox News' The Five, Dana Perino reveals the lessons she's learned that have guided her through life, kept her level-headed, and led to her success, even in the face of adversity.

Thoughtful, inspiring, and often surprising, AND THE GOOD NEWS IS . . . traces Dana Perino's unlikely journey through politics and television. It's a remarkable American story-made up of equal parts determination and clear-eyed optimism.

From facing professional challenges and confronting personal fears to stepping up to a podium for a President, Dana has come to expect the unexpected and has an uncanny ability to find the good news in any tough situation. AND THE GOOD NEWS IS . . . takes us from her Western childhood in Wyoming and Colorado to a chance meeting on an airplane that changes her life entirely. Then, with refreshing honesty and humor, she recounts her frustration with a string of unsatisfying jobs and living circumstances until a key career tip leads her back to Washington, D.C. to work for the Bush Administration.

Dana also shares here her best work and life lessons-tips that will help you to get your point across convincingly while allowing your own grace and personality to shine through. As someone who still believes in working together to solve the problems our nation faces, Dana offers clear, practical advice on how to restore civility to our personal and public conversations. The result is a fascinating read that can help anyone become more successful, productive, and joyously content.

Leona's review:

I really liked this book. I have been following Dana and the group on The Five on FOX from the beginning of the show.
For those who think it is all about politics, they need to read this book. She gives praise to many, no matter the side of the aisle they are on for politics.  I find Dana one of the most caring people on TV.

The pictures in the book are good and personal. I think they helped make the book.

Dana writes about President George W. Bush a lot. She mentions how he would give a wink and a smile, something my husband did.
I do know she also cares for President George H. W. Bush as she has talked about him in past.

Dana writes about her love of animals and of Henry, the dog  that died, and now Jasper, America's dog, in her book. I love it when she shows the pictures of Jasper.

She has spent time in Africa, with her husband, helping and caring for others.

Contents of the book are:
Chapter 1. Wide-Open Spaces
Chapter 2. Love at First Flight
Chapter 3. Stepping UP to the Podium
Chapter 4. The Five
Chapter 5. Take It from me- Please
Chapter 6. Civility, Lost and Found
Chapter 7. Unafraid to be Right
One More Thing
About the Author

Introduction: "This book explains the unlikely story of how I  became the White House press secretary, the things I witnessed and learned in that job, and how those experiences eventually led me back to what I wanted to originally- television commentary on politics, policy and culture." (page 11)

Chapter 1: Gives us information about where Dana was born and her family and how close they were; " My grandpa didn't make us walk up the hill to have another go; (sliding down a hill on the snow) instead he watched us slide down and then he'd drive to the bottom to pick us up and take us back to the top."

Chapter 2: Tells of her meeting Peter, her husband on an airplane. " I made it to board before the flight closed. I handed my ticket to the agent and noticed one person behind me." (page 71)

Chapter 3: " The day I learned about becoming the next White House press secretary was the day I planned to resign from the White house." (page 96) We learn of many times Dana is with the President and some of the times the tears came.

Chapter 4: Dana loves her new job at FOX. " One day Brian Kilmeade  filled in for Greg and in a commercial break said to me,  'You know, all those years at the White House I never knew you were funny'. " They talk of politics, what is new in the news, Jasper, food and celebrate birthdays. The liberals also get to speck their mind on The Five so it is not all conservative.

Chapter 5: Lots of advise for many of us. "When I had the idea to write this book, I realized that passing some of these lessons on remained a major motivations." Dana gives three favorite pieces of advice: Quick Fixes, Good  Habits, and Big Picture. On Quick Fixes is ' no Uggs at the office; Good Habits she says to 'share the credit' ; and Big Picture one rule is 'you are who you meet'.

Chapter 6: "Americans understand that Congress is meant for debate and argumentation. But what bothers them it that is seems that elected leaders can't get along at all. Hateful comments have become normal in Washington and that's made for some of our greatest disappointments." (page 206) I think Dana speaks for most of us. Hateful speech does not help anyone.

Chapter 7: "My politics didn't define me then, but because of my interests and what I do for a living, it somehow does now." (page 232) I like this message. I think most of us grow and change.

One more Thing: "Of all the advice I've been given, Margaret Spellings telling me to "Put my big girl panties on and deal with is' is my favorite." (page 235) This is a great message especially to the young adults.

This book is dedicated: To my Bush Administration colleagues.

Dana Perino may be found on Twitter: and also
I checked out this book from my local library.

I give this book a 5 star rating.

Leona Olson


Friday, June 12, 2015

The House on Moody Avenue

The House on Moody Avenue

By Cellestine Hannemann

Published by WestBow Press

Book Description:
Homes are the embodiment of memories. Each house has its own unique story to tell, but no house story is quite like the house on Moody Avenues. Surviving for 90 years, the house kept many individuals and families safe. Whether it was Lisette with her unshakable faith sustaining her or Julia, a social-climbing snob who sees her world crumble when her children marry inappropriately, each memory was saved. Join Cellestine Hannemann as she brings out all the memories that were housed in the house on Moody Avenue.

Leona's Review.

Read the title of the book, The House on Moody Avenue, as this in more about a house and some about the occupants. It was not clear to me at the beginning of the book.

I liked the first story about the first occupants the best but the last chapter was a bad conclusion for a grand home that bothered me. The house goes from a mansion to a boarding house to an abandoned house.

The author uses some language that was used in the time eras and interesting history.
Read about Victoria Woodhull at

The first chapter, The Victorian Era, begins partly with the orphaned children of the street and how one girl got out. Then we have The Roaring Twenties and this author added such places as the Cotton Club and the book ends with the Sixties. I found hope in the first chapter and doom in the last.

The calico cat was present from beginning to end and I gathered it was watching history made.

The reader goes through time eras with carriages, strikes by workers, gas jet flames, people from the Old World, drugs, cars and women using cigarettes.

The story was moving too fast for me but then I realized it was supposed to be more about the house and not the people. I would have liked to have had more on the house but there must be an ending to a book.

I am giving The House On Moody Avenue a three and a half star rating. The author used words of description and had history in the book which I always like. It is not quite a four star because sometimes the book left me somewhat confused.

From Wikipedia:
Cellestine "Sally" Hannemann (born March 28, 1924) is an American author and pioneering figure in the methodology of Oshibana art. Hannemann, nee Hofmann, born in Chicago, Illinois, and currently living in California, is best known for developing new processes in the pressing of botanical materials to reduce discoloration and shrinkage. She manufactured a unique press incorporating polyester materials to cushion the plants that became known as "Cellestine's Press," and authored a book that is a popular reference guide for plant pressers and Oshibana artists. Hannemann also wrote two novels.

I received a complimentary copy from to read and review. The opinions are my own.
Leona Olson

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Heart's Betrayal by Colleen Coble


Review of A Heart's Betrayal by Colleen Coble

From the back cover of the book:
Book Description:
Emmie finds shelter in the arms of a soldier, but her secret could drive them apart.
When Emmie Croftner answered the door to her late husband's home, she discovered a terrible truth. A woman she's never met reveals that she and Emmie shared the same husband and that the bigamist had never divorced his first wife. The home and farm are not Emmie's property after all.
Suddenly displaced and powerless, Emmie realizes she can't stay in Wabash, Indiana, any longer. She makes for Fort Laramie, Wyoming, where her friend Sarah Montgomery and a new beginning await her. But when she arrives, she discovers she's carrying a child, conceived before her husband's death. Was the new start she'd hoped for only a mirage?
At Fort Laramie, a soldier named Isaac Liddle begins to court Emmie, prompting her to wonder whether she could ever really be his-and whether she dares to tell him she is carrying another man's baby.
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble has written several romantic suspense novels including Tidewater Inn, Rosemary Cottage, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series. Visit her website at Twitter: @colleencoble Facebook: colleencoblebooks

Leona's Review:

This is the second book I have read by Colleen Coble and her series of the books of Journey of the Heart. The books are: A Heart's Disguise, A Heart Obsession, A Heart's Danger, A Heart's Betrayal, A Heart's Promise and A Heart's Home.  This is a series but the books can be read on their own.

In A heart's Betrayal, Emmie finds her dead husband was a bigamist with a child. Emmie has two brothers but her parents are dead. Her father was a town drunk and now without a legal marriage, she is worried what people will really think of her and so goes to Wyoming to be with her close friend, Sarah. Rand and Sarah are married and expecting their first child.
Emmie is disillusioned with men but she does find an attraction to a soldier at Fort Laramie, Isaac.  Rand and Isaac are friends and also fellow soldiers.
This is a short read, 96 pages, but the author manages to put the reader into the book with the language ("place is over yonder"), food (jerky), landscape (dry buffalo grass, sage and weeds), wildlife (eagles, elk, buffalo, "rattlers") and history (Montana gold mines and Red Cloud). The book begins in Indiana in 1866.
The book is dedicated to: For my brother Rick Rhodes, who never let me lose faith in myself.
I will give A Heart's Betrayal a 4 star rating because it held my attention. It is a clean romance without bad language. God is present in this book many times.
This is a Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction. I was given a complimantary copy to read and review. The opinions are my own.
Colleen Coble may be reached at;
Twitter: @colleencoble and
Facebook: colleencoblebooks
Leona Olson

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Review of The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert

Book review of The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert
The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert
(Goodreads Author)
4.73 of 5 stars 4.73  ·   rating details  ·  91 ratings  ·  52 reviews

Just like in my dream, I was drowning and nobody even noticed.

Every morning, Carmen Hart pastes on her made-for-TV smile and broadcasts the weather. She’s the Florida panhandle’s favorite meteorologist, married to everyone’s favorite high school football coach. They're the perfect-looking couple, live in a nice house, and attend church on Sundays. From the outside, she’s a woman who has it all together. But on the inside, Carmen Hart struggles with doubt. She wonders if she made a mistake when she married her husband. She wonders if God is as powerful as she once believed. Sometimes she wonders if He exists at all. After years of secret losses and empty arms, she’s not so sure anymore.

Until Carmen’s sister—seventeen year old runaway, Gracie Fisher—steps in and changes everything. Gracie is caught squatting at a boarded-up motel that belongs to Carmen’s aunt, and their mother is off on another one of her benders, which means Carmen has no other option but to take Gracie in. Is it possible for God to use a broken teenager and an abandoned motel to bring a woman’s faith and marriage back to life? Can two half-sisters make each other whole?

Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 21st 2015 by WaterBrook Press
Leona's review:
This is the first read for me by this author and not one kind of book I usually read. I won it from and I always try to read and review the books I win.
I found myself involved with the characters and their problems. Carmen, who is a meteorologist for a TV station, has had six miscarriages and thinks an adoption of a baby will be the answer; her husband, Ben, does not believe it is. Ben is the coach at the high school where Gracie now attends. Gracie has run away from home and her alcoholic mother. Carmen and Gracie are sisters and have the same mother but different fathers. We meet Eli/ Elias who has a white mother and a black father. He is on the football team and seems to have so much patience and cares for others. He is close to his pastor, Pastor Zeke, who is also a caring person. We also meet Aunt Ingrid who has dementia and still grieves for Gerald, her husband who passed away four years ago.
I think the connection for the family is the Treasure Chest, a mom and pop motel, that Aunt Ingrid and Uncle Gerald owned. It is in shambles and Carmen and Gracie fix it up again and I believe it brings them close together. It connects the family as well.
The chapters switch between Carmen and Gracie in the first person. It does not confuse the reader. This is fairly quick and easy read. I would suggest high school age and up for reading and understanding the problems.
At one point Carmen says to God that she does not believe in Him and realizes she is talking to God.
There are some passages from the Bible.
There is a reader's guide at the back of the book. Two questions are: "What story did you enjoy more- Carmen's or Gracie's? Why?  and Who is your favorite secondary character? Why?
The book is dedicated to: For Salima, my brave, brave, brave little girl. Being your mother is one of the greatest honors I will ever be blessed with on this side of eternity. Come what may, God's writing a grand story for your life.
I liked this book and will give it a 5 star rating. The opinions are my own.
It is not a depressing book, but one I see that has a lot of faith and hope. It is an inspirational and moving book. A good book club read.
Katie Ganshert may be reached at:;; Twitter @KatieGanshert;
Leona Olson