Saturday, May 16, 2015

Book Review of A Heart's Danger by Colleen Coble

Book Review of A Heart's Danger by Colleen Coble
  
A Heart's Danger (A Journey of the Heart #3)
by Colleen Coble
 
On the brink of war with the Sioux, a young woman risks everything to expose the betrayal threatening the man she loves.
 
Christmas is coming, and the air at Fort Laramie has turned cold . . . but relations with the Sioux have turned colder. As tensions between soldiers and natives approach a tipping point, Ben Croftner and Jessica DuBois prepare a trap for Rand Campbell.
 
Bitter from rejection and backfired plans, Croftner has enlisted the help of Rand's new fiancee to keep Rand from ever returning to Sarah Montgomery . . . for whom his heart clearly still yearns.
 
Sarah is simply trying to move on with her life at Fort Laramie, but doing so under the watchful eyes of both Campbell--the man whose love she craves--and Croftner--the man whose lies have cost her everything. Will Rand fall victim to the conspiracy and go through with his wedding? Or will he declare his love for Sarah and make good on the promises that brought her into the rugged western territories? (less)
Paperback, 100 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Thomas Nelson
 
Leona's Review:
 
This is the first book I have read by Colleen Coble and even though it was a very fast read, it had a good story.
 
Sarah Montgomery is the main female character and Rand Campbell is the main male character; they have known each other for years. Rand is engaged to someone and thinks Sarah is in love with another.
 
Sarah has been kidnapped and Rand is searching for her in part of the story.
 
The author has written this book like she has been in the area. Flapjacks, jackrabbit, purple mountains, boot prints, a fort, sagebrush and other adjectives that place the reader in the area.
We have a villain, friendship, brothers, Sioux, love, survival, mystery and more in this short story.
 
God and faith are present in A Heart's Danger.
 
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 4 star because it did hold my attention. I will read the other books of the series, 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.
 
Colleen Coble may be found: www.colleencoble.com, @colleencoble, and colleencoblebooks on Facebook. She is also on goodreads.com.
 
This is a Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction. I was given a complimantary copy to read and review. The opinions are my own.
 
Leona Olson

Monday, May 11, 2015

Book Review of Passion for the Game by Sylvia Day

   
 
Book Review of Passion for the Game by Sylvia Day
 
From goodreads.com:
 

Passion for the Game (Georgian #2)

by 
For the notorious Lady Winter, seduction and duplicity are required to survive. Cunning and precision are the tools of pirate Christopher St. John. Pitted against one another, they are a surprise waiting to happen...

Set A Criminal To Catch A Criminal...

Christopher St. John and Maria, Lady Winter, are infamous in Society for their misdeeds and their charming allures. Wherever they go, scandalized whispers and covetous glances follow. A ruthless pirate and a widow, whose two husbands have met untimely deaths, the wickedly renowned figures are even more intriguing to the authorities. Now they've been set on the most provocative of tasks—St. John is released from prison to learn the "Wintry Widow's" intimate secrets, while Lady Winter is charged with performing a similar deception in reverse. One will succeed. One will hang.

From Ballroom To Bedroom, They're Perfectly Matched...

With the fate of loved ones in the balance, the unlikely couple embarks upon a battle of wills and wits that takes them from glittering ballrooms to the depths of the underworld to the candlelit pleasures of the bedroom. As they fall helpless to a desire and startling affinity neither expected, the deadly web of their subterfuge closes in, forcing them to make a choice. Individual freedom? Or an audacious scheme to keep an impossible yet irresistible love...
 
 
Leona's Review:
This is my first read by Sylvia Day.
First a warning to readers that this book has sexual language and scenes.
I find two very strong personalities at the beginning of the book but they seem to melt within reach of each other.
There is substance in this book and I found it well written. Maria Winter is searching for her half sister who is in the control of Maria's step-father. Christopher St. John is a pirate who is spying on Maria because she is believed to kill her two husbands.
 
There is a lot of mystery, other characters, some historical facts and plenty of bedroom scenes. I would have liked it more without the sex scenes and language but this is my opinion.
 
I won this book from Sylvia Day and so did want to read and review. I did find it an interesting read.
 
I see from other reviews, this book has already had the characters in previous book but it is a stand alone read.
 
I will give it a 4 start rating. I will probably read another book by this author.
 
Find Sylvia Day on www.goodreads.com and www.sylviaday.com
Leona Olson
 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Book Review of The Chocolate Book Bandit by JoAnna Carl

   
Review of The Chocolate Book Bandit by JoAnna Carl.
 
From amazon.com:
 
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 http://www.joannacarl.com/; also on freshfiction.com and goodreads.com.
 
Leona Olson
http:/www.mnleona.blogspot.com
 
 
 
 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Book Review of Wilderness Rising by A. L.Shields

Wilderness Rising by A. L. Shields
 
 
 
From goodreads.com
 A. L. Shields pseudonym for New York Times best-selling author Stephen L. Carter comes the thrilling sequel to The Church Builder.

An age-old struggle between the enemies of God and the champions of faith.

A rumored relic that could prove Christ performed miracles or declare him a fraud.

A woman on the run from international authorities.

Bethany Barclay is fighting to outwit the Wilderness, an ancient and powerful cabal bent on destroying Christianity. Its members murdered her best friend, framed her for acts of terrorism, and captured the brilliant teen hacker she vowed to protect. To ransom the girl, Bethany must find the Pilate Stone a mysterious first-century artifact that might not even exist.

But she is not the only one looking for the stone. In an international landscape of double agents, Bethany finds it impossible to tell friend from foe. The Garden, a secret group of powerful intellectuals sworn to save the Church and help Bethany, is collapsing under the rising power of the Wilderness. And an ocean separates her from her only proven ally the lone wolf Ray Fuentes, who has battles of his own to fight.

A sparse trail of breadcrumbs takes Bethany across Europe into a labyrinth of academics, art historians, and followers of a reclusive monastic order. As her quest transforms into an ever more complex and dangerous game, unlikely actors in the drama emerge. Some are ruthlessly devoted to preserving a world where faith is possible. Others aim to brutally, and finally, undermine belief.

Including her own.
Leona's Review:
 
I have read The Church Builder by A. L. Shields  so when I saw this was a book available for review, I chose it. I do think it is best to read The Church Builder first but not necessary.
 
Bethany Barclay is a lawyer and now is charged with murder with the Federal Bureau of Investigation after her. She has used a fake passport to go to London and knows she is being watched.
 
Bethany Barclay is searching for a relic, the Pilate Stone that would prove Pontius Pilate wrote that Jesus was real. The Pilate Stone may not even be exist but many are searching.
 
There are two main groups who are on opposite sides; the Garden and the Wilderness.
 
The book takes you through many twists and turns and for awhile, I was not really sure who was the bad guy or the good guy at times. It takes the reader to International places with mystery, espionage and intrigue. Lives are lost and some are in danger.

A. L. Shields has proven a great book can be written without bad language.

The book is dedicated to: Once more, to my children 
 
I received a complimentary copy of Wilderness Rising from booklookbloggers to read and review. The opinion are my own. I give this a five star rating.
The book is published by Zondervan. It si available on e-book as well as audio.
 
A. L. Shields can be found on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/ALShieldsAuthor.
 
From goodreads.com:
About this author

Stephen L. Carter is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale where he has taught since 1982. He has published seven critically acclaimed nonfiction books on topics ranging from affirmative action to religion and politics. His first novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park (2002), was an immediate national best seller. His latest novel is New England White (Knopf, 2007). A recipient of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature-Fiction, he lives near New Haven, Connecticut."

Also writes under the pen name 
A.L Shields.

Leona Olson
 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Book Review of After a Fashion by Jen Turano


  
  Book Review of After a Fashion by Jen Turano

From jenturano.com:
Miss Harriet Peabody dreams of the day she can open up a shop selling refashioned gowns to independent working women like herself. Unfortunately, when an errand for her millinery shop job goes sadly awry due to a difficult customer, she finds herself out of an income.
Mr. Oliver Addleshaw is on the verge of his biggest business deal yet when the lady he brought to town to assist him with entertaining his potential business partner reneges on their agreement. When this unreliable, and slightly deranged, lady causes the hapless Harriet to lose her job, Oliver tries to make it up to her by enlisting her help in making a good impression on his business partner.
Harriet quickly finds her love of fashion can’t make her fashionable. She’ll never truly fit into Oliver’s world, but just as she’s ready to call off the fake relationship, fancy dinners, and elegant balls, a threat from her past forces both Oliver and Harriet to discover that love can come in the most surprising packages.

Leona's Review:
This book begins in new York City in 1882 . The author takes the reader into this time era with her descriptions of the area, clothing and language.
Harriet Peabody works as a milliner in the back room of the shop. She is to deliver some hats to a customer at the home of Mr. Oliver Addleshaw. The woman who has ordered the hats is Miss Birmingham who is under the assumption she is engaged to Oliver Addleshaw. This arrangement does not go well and Oliver asks Harriet if she would a be woman who would help him with a business deal; Harriet lost her job as a result of the encounter she had with Lily Birmingham. Oliver needed a woman who would help him make a good impression of the business deal. They become engaged by word only.
I find Harriet is such a strong and feisty woman and holds her own with Oliver. Their discussions leave the reader with a smile. Harriet was raised by an aunt who never really cared for Harriet for whatever reason Harriet is not sure.
Oliver is rich and seems to care only to become richer. He leaves the running of his business for the people working for him to his managers, which are not doing the right things. We see the lower class and upper class in this book.
Many characters,  which have  their own personality, are in this book. I especially liked Buford, the dog, and was so glad Jen Turano included him.
This is the first book I have read by Jen Turano and I now have her on my TBR list of authors.
It is an easy read and since it is a Christian book,  it is a good read for anyone. I would like to see some of the characters in other books.
I received a complimentary copy of After a Fashion by Jen Turano from Bethany Books to read and review. The opinions are my own.
I give this a 5 star rating. I could even re-read this book and still enjoy it.
Leona Olson

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review of Bella's Gift by Rick and Karen Santorum


  
Review of Bella's Gift by Rick and Karen Santorum. 
 
From:
 
 
 
On May 13, 2008, the Santorum family welcomed their eighth child into the world. Isabella Maria was born with a rare genetic condition called Trisomy 18, or Edward's Syndrome. Only 10 percent of children with Trisomy 18 are born alive, and 90 percent of those children do not make it to their first birthday. Faced with these bleak statistics, doctors told the family to prepare for Bella's death. Instead, they chose to celebrate her life.
Over the next six miraculous years, the Santorum family adjusted to life with a special needs girl—and watched her transform the lives of everyone around her. In many days of sickness and joy, she became an inspiration to her community and, ultimately, to the nation. Bella’s  Gift details the peaks and valleys, the joys and sufferings, and the incredible value of life with a special needs child. In a world that often measures worth according to usefulness, Bella’s story is a reminder that our real value lies in our capacity to love.

AUTHORS
Karen Santorum
Karen Santorum is a former neonatal intensive care nurse and attorney. She is the author of two books: Letters to Gabriel and Everyday Graces: A Child's Book of Good Manners. Karen and her husband of almost twenty-five years, Rick, are the parents of seven wonderful children: Elizabeth, John, Daniel, Sarah Maria, Peter, Patrick, and Isabella. Her greatest role and love in life is being a wife and mother.

FACEBOOKTWITTER
Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum, a native of Pennsylvania, was a candidate for the Republican nomination for president of the United States in 2012. He served in the House of Representatives from 1991 to 1995 and in the Senate from 1995 to 2007 and is the author of several books, including the 2005 New York Times bestseller It Takes a Family. Rick's most important role and love in life is being a husband and father.

FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAMPATRIOT_VOICESPATRIOTVOICESPATRIOTVOICES Contributor: Elizabeth Santorum
Elizabeth Santorum graduated magna cum laude from the University of Dallas. During the 2012 Republican presidential primary, she spent a year campaigning across the nation on behalf of her father, Senator Rick Santorum. Appearing on CNN, Fox News, NBC, and many other news outlets at twenty years old, she became one of the campaign's most requested speakers. Elizabeth has spent time doing mission work in Uganda, is currently a John Jay Fellow, and absolutely loves being a big sister.

ENDORSEMENTS
Max Lucado
pastor and best-selling author of Before Amen
Life takes sudden turns. The horizon brings unexpected storms. The road we walk is prone to go from smooth to rocky in a matter of steps. No one is spared the difficult path. Rick and Karen Santorum weren't. The birth of their daughter Bella  was a birth into a life they never asked to enter. Their faith was tested, their futures were rerouted. And, as a result of it all, they are different people. You know the Santorums as public figures in the halls of Congress and on the trails of a presidential campaign. You are about to know them as parents of a special girl. Their struggles, fears, faith, and fortitude -- it's all in these pages. I urge you to read this book. Life takes sudden turns for all of us. And we need wisdom from a family who has kept their balance and stayed on the road.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar
parents on TLC's 19 Kids & Counting
We love the Santorum family and the way they love children like God loves children. Rick championed the bill to end partial birth abortion in America. The Santorum family has tirelessly fought to return our nation back to the Christian values our country was founded upon. Bella's Gift will inspire families and marriages to draw close to God through the joys and the hard times of life.

Sean Hannity
television and radio host, author, and political commentator
I have gotten to know Rick, Karen, and their family really, really well over the years. This book is a love story from two parents who walk the walk as husband and wife, father and mother. In typical Santorum style, they pull no punches, but they will also pull at your heart and your soul.

Greta Van Susteren
Fox News Channel personality
Bella’s  father was a Fox News Contributor so I have known about this little child since the day she was born. She is nothing short of amazing—she has beaten all odds! This book is a touching love story about how this very challenged child enriched her family . . . and anyone who meets her. You will be enriched—and inspired—by reading her story.

Archbishop Charles Chaput
One of the joys of being alive is to see love in action and the indelible mark it leaves on the world. Karen and Rick Santorum have written the kind of extraordinary book about their daughter with special needs that moves the heart and stays in the memory.

Michael G. Lamb M.D. and Kathleen G. Lamb M.D
Bella Santorum's  story is one that all medical professionals should read and profit from. Her and her family's struggle, besides being inspiring, is also medically enlightening. Too many members of her medical team assumed that her situation was hopeless. This was not so much from a lack of caring as it was a lack of knowing. A detailed, careful reading of the medical literature on children with Trisomy 18 reveals that these children do not have the dismal outcomes that some so-called experts claim. In rare disorders like Bella's, there really are no experts. The ideal professional will yearn to become the expert, seek the truth, know the facts, and assess the entire situation. He or she needs to know in detail all about the child, the medical condition, and the family situation. Only then is one able to really offer good care. Unfortunately, the tendency to 'write off' children like Bella  is all too common in modern American medicine with its bottom line, dollars and cents, mentality. Hopefully this book will help to change some of that.

Mark Levin
lawyer, author, and host of The Mark Levin Show
Bella’s  Gift is a must read. I've had the privilege of enjoying family dinners at the Santorum’s  home with the entire family, including Bella. I've witnessed the love that she has for her family and they for her. Bella’s story reminds us that love requires sacrifice, an idea that is becoming increasingly lost in our selfish society. Read it. You’ll be moved, inspired, and encouraged by the story of this little girl and her heroic family

George F. Will
syndicated columnist
The radiant truth about special-needs children, such as the Santorums’  Bella, is that they give to those around them something that we all need. This gift, that suffuses every page of this marvelous book, is the reminder that every life is sanctified by the capacity to receive and respond to love.
 

MEDIA INQUIRIES For press inquiries regarding Bella's Gift please contact
Emily Lineberger at emily.lineberger@harpercollins.com
Copyright © 2014 HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Use

 
Leona's Review:
 
First, no matter what your political views are, this will touch the hearts of all. A moving book about a little girl that has stolen the hearts of those who meet her and the ones who have seen her on TV or read her story.
I knew that little Bella had this disease as she was in the news when her father was running for president. He quit the race for his family.
I lost my husband of almost 57 years of marriage in January and maybe this is one reason this book touched me so deeply. Life is precious at any stage of life, before and after birth.
The descriptions of Bella giggling and her smile was visual. The reader follows the struggle and tears of the family as well as the family fun times. The Santorum have much faith in God even with the trials they have with a child who needs constant care.
Every other chapter is written by the parents of Bella. When reading, you want to reach out and give them a hug. Each chapter begins with the word LOVE.
There are pictures in the book which add to the feelings of the book.
The other children play an important part in the lives of their parents, each other and Bella.
I saw this book offered to read and review on booklookbloggers. I almost did not read it because of my stress at this time but I am so glad I did. I really made the decision after I saw the Santorums and Bella on FOX more than once. I had to read a chapter of at a time but that Is OK. It is a good family read.
This would make a wonderful gift for parents who have a special need child. 
I received a complimentary copy of Bella's Gift to read and review. The opinions are my own.
 
Leona Olson

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Review of You Have a Brain by Dr. Ben Carson

You Have a Brain by Dr. Ben Carson.
This is the second book I have read by Dr. Carson and I have found both inspirational and informative. I was glad to see a chapter devoted to his mother, Sonya Carson. This mother is one who cared for her children and was the biggest influence in their lives as far as I was concerned.
Dr. Carson was a world-known neurosurgeon who worked hard to get to his position. He proves it can be done and it is up to you to do what is necessary to make your goal in life.
The chapters are:
Chapter 1: The Amazing Brain
Chapter 2: Think Beyond the Can
Chapter 3: Gone
Chapter 4: How We Got Smart
Chapter 5: Bookworm
Chapter 6: Taming my Temper
Chapter 7: Expanding My Options
Chapter 8: The Smartest Choice
Chapter 9: Off to College
Chapter 10: The Challenge-Medical School
Chapter 11 : Becoming a Neurosurgeon
Chapter 12: More Twins
Chapter 13: Mother's Influence
Chapter 14: Talent
Chapter 15: Honesty
Chapter 16: Insight
Chapter 17: Nice
Chapter 18: Knowledge
Chapter 19: Books
Chapter 20: In-depth Learning
Chapter 21 : God
Chapter 22: Think Big
The chapters are short and I personally think this should be a classroom study book. It can be done in 20 minutes a day with reading and a discussion. It is also a good family book to read and discuss.
Sonya Carson kept telling her sons, Ben and Curtis, they have a brain that God gave them so use it.  One became an engineer and the other a doctor.
Dr. Carson tells about his childhood, his jobs, his surgeries, his temper and his family. He is a very religious man and talks about God. He encourages young people to T.H.I.N.K.B.I.G.  These are chapters 14-21.
One of my granddaughters asked me what was my pet peeve and I said "telling a lie" because one forgets what they said in a lie but remembers the truth; something I always told my sons and daughter as I raised them. The next day, I see that Dr. Carson said the same thing in his book.
I will give this a 5 star rating. I also read Gifted Hands after I saw the movie.
I received a complimentary copy to read and review from booklookbloggers to read and review. The opinions are my own.
Leona Olson
 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review of Home for Christmas-Stories for Young and Old

 
 
Home for Christmas -Stories for Young and Old
This book has 20 short stories for the Christmas season. I felt  some books were not for the very young but an older child of 10 or more could read this with the family and discuss the contents. The stories could be read one or two at a time. Before each story, there is a woodcut illustration in black and white which helps identify the story. Some of the stories are European so many I have not heard. I especially liked the Miraculous Staircase and I slightly recall reading this years ago.
 
The list of stories are:
Brother Robber by Helene Christaller
Three Young Kings by Gorge Summer Albee
Transfiguration by Madeleine L' Engle
The Cribmaker's Trip to Heaven by Reimmichl
The Guest by Nikolai S. Lesskov
Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck
The Other Wise Man by Henry van Dyke
The Miraculous Staircase by Arthur Gordon
No Room at the Inn by Katherine Peterson
The Chess Player by Ger Koopman
The Christmas Lie by Dorothy Thomas
The Riders of St. Nicholas by Jack Schaefer
Grandfather's Stories by Ernst  Wiechert
The Vexation of Barney Hatch by B. J. Chute
The Empty Cup by Opal Menius
The Well of the Star by Elizabeth Goudge
A Certain Small Shepherd by Rebecca Caudill
The Carpenter's Christmas by Peter K. Rosegger
What the King's Brought by Ruth Sawyer
The Christmas Rose by Selma Lagerlof
On page 335 there is a page of acknowledgements for the stories and when they were published. This is also a great way for the children and adults to learn about authors together.
 
The book was published by Plough Publishing House.
Complied by Miriam Le Blanc
Illustrated by David G. Klein
 
David G Klein is an illustrator for advertising, institutional, editorial and books whose work has appeared for Grey Advertising, Saatchi and Saatchi, NYT, WSJ, Business Week, Forbes, DC Comics, Marvel, Random House Books, Tor Books, Franklin Press
He is acknowledged through such awards as:
Society of Illustrators
Society of Newspaper Designers
Society of Publication Designers
He has Authored:
"The Paper Shtetl"
"The Golem's Voice"

www.dgklein.com
I received a complimentary copy from Plough Publishers to read and review. The opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Review of A Thing of Beauty






A Thing of Beauty by Lisa Samson

From the back of the book:

Former child star Fiona Hume deserted the movie biz a decade ago--right after she left rehab. She landed in Baltimore, bought a dilapidated old mansion downtown, and hatched dreams of restoring it into a masterpiece, complete with a studio for herself. She would disappear from public view and live an artist’s life.
That was the plan.
Ten years later, Fiona’s huge house is filled with junk purchased at thrift stores, haggled over at yard sales, or picked up from the side of the road. Each piece was destined for an art project . . . but all she’s got so far is a piece of twine with some




A Thing of Beauty by Lisa Samson

From the back of the book:

Former child star Fiona Hume deserted the movie biz a decade ago--right after she left rehab. She landed in Baltimore, bought a dilapidated old mansion downtown, and hatched dreams of restoring it into a masterpiece, complete with a studio for herself. She would disappear from public view and live an artist’s life.
That was the plan.
Ten years later, Fiona’s huge house is filled with junk purchased at thrift stores, haggled over at yard sales, or picked up from the side of the road. Each piece was destined for an art project . . . but all she’s got so far is a piece of twine with some antique buttons threaded down its length.
She’s thirty-two years old and still recognizable, but Fiona’s money has finally run out. She’s gotten pretty desperate, too, and in her desperation she’s willing to do almost anything for money. Almost. So it is that she comes to rent out the maid’s quarters to a local blacksmith named Josia Yeu.
Josia is everything Fiona isn’t: gregarious, peaceful, in control without controlling . . . in short, happy. As the light from the maid’s quarters begins to permeate the dank rooms of Fiona’s world, something else begins to transform as well—something inside Fiona. Something even she can see is beautiful.

Leona's Review:
Sorry, this was not a great or even a good read. I was disappointed that this was published by a Christian publisher. The language was not to my standard and I tired of a disorganized and a pessimist Fiona.
The cover really did not do the book justice.
At one point Fiona said " I really am my own worst enemy".
I like to say that a book that one does not like does not mean everyone does not like it; this book has received a number of 5 stars so keep that in mind when considering reading it.
I received a complimentary copy from booklookbloggers.com to read and review. The opinions are my own.
Leona Olson
www.mnleona.blogspot.com antique buttons threaded down its length.
She’s thirty-two years old and still recognizable, but Fiona’s money has finally run out. She’s gotten pretty desperate, too, and in her desperation she’s willing to do almost anything for money. Almost. So it is that she comes to rent out the maid’s quarters to a local blacksmith named Josia Yeu.
Josia is everything Fiona isn’t: gregarious, peaceful, in control without controlling . . . in short, happy. As the light from the maid’s quarters begins to permeate the dank rooms of Fiona’s world, something else begins to transform as well—something inside Fiona. Something even she can see is beautiful.

Leona's Review:
Sorry, this was not a great or even a good read. I was disappointed that this was published by a Christian publisher. The language was not to my standard and I tired of a disorganized and a pessimist Fiona.
The cover really did not do the book justice.
At one point Fiona said " I really am my own worst enemy".
I like to say that a book that one does not like does not mean everyone does not like it; this book has received a number of 5 stars so keep that in mind when considering reading it.
I received a complimentary copy from booklookbloggers.com to read and review. The opinions are my own.
I will give it a 2 star for the effort of writing the book.
Leona Olson

Monday, December 29, 2014

Review of Antony & Cleopatra by William Shakespeare


   
From amazon.com:

In this extraordinary play, one of Shakespeare's finest tragedies, a once-great general finds himself torn between his duty to the Roman Empire and his passionate attachment to Cleopatra, the alluring "Queen of the Nile." In depicting the collision of two contrasting cultures — Antony's world of political conniving and the hedonistic pleasures of Cleopatra's court — the playwright portrays a timeless paradox of human nature, the quest for seemingly irreconcilable goals.
The action of the play ranges from Alexandria and Rome to Syria and Athens, from the rugged quarters of military camps to the luxurious atmosphere of the Egyptian court. In the latter milieu Antony lingers, shamed by his overwhelming passion for Cleopatra yet irresistibly drawn toward love as a source of vitality and renewal. After ignoring increasingly urgent demands by his co-ruler, Octavius Caesar, for his return to Rome, Antony reluctantly obeys at last, marrying Octavius's sister and forming a fragile political alliance. This bond shatters when he returns to Cleopatra's side. Octavius declares war on the lovers, forcing them into a battle for world domination with dramatic and unforgettable consequences.
Brimming with Shakespeare's matchless poetry, Antony and Cleopatra is one of the world's great plays. In this inexpensive edition, it will enthrall students of drama and literature, poetry lovers, and all who appreciate Shakespeare's art.

Leona's Review:
I have not read Shakespeare for years and so decided to read Antony & Cleopatra. As usual it is hard to understand Shakespeare but I imagined Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra and Richard Burton as Antony.
It was an interesting read of a play. I will read it again in the future.  There are five acts and scenes in each act.
There is the cast of characters at the front of the book which helps the reader identify the people in the play. There is also an explanation of words such as "Nay if an oily palm" is a sweaty palm (page 5) and "Be a child o' the time" which is comply with the humor of the minute. (page 43).
The publication is Dover Publications. www.DOVERPUBLICATIONS.COM.  The cost is reasonable and 115 pages.
For those interested in the history of Antony and Cleopatra, this is a good read. I will have to give William Shakespeare a 5 star rating.
I won this book frpm goodreads.com and the opinions are my own.
Leona  Olson

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Book Review of 52 Little Lessons from Les Miserables by Bob Welch


   
 
 
52 Little Lessons from Les Miserables by Bob Welch
From goodreads.com
Gold Medallion Award-winner Bob Welch crafts 52 nuggets of Bible-based wisdom from one of the most popular novels, musicals, and films of all time: "Les Miserables." In "52 Little Lessons from Les Miserables," Bob Welch walks readers through Hugo's masterpiece, extracting dozens of uniquely spiritual reflections from this enduring portrait of poverty, social injustice, mercy, and redemption. Welch reminds us that Jean Valjean's life provides the truest example of why real love is found in the grittiest places, and that hearts are made whole beneath the crush of mercy. Most important, though, Welch keeps returning to the intersections of faith and reality throughout Hugo's writing--those places where mercy becomes an inroad to the heart, and where love is only truly received when it is given without condition. Discover again why life's purpose is found not in attending to personal needs and desires, but in responding to the hearts of others.
Leona's Review:
It has been a  long time since I have watched the movie, Les Miserables and after reading 52 Little Lessons from Les Miserables, I now want to read the book. I did not realize Victor Hugo had written the book in 1862. There is also information about Victor Hugo;  I knew a little of him but now encouraged to read more.
Bob Welch has written an inspirational book using the characters as key points in messages. The book has love, hate, misery, death, suffering but I also read hope .
The first part of the book has the characters and places listed and how to pronounce the words which helps the reader. The chapters are short and have a message.
Chapter 8, "It's Not About "The Stuff". "They confuse heaven's radiance stars with a duck's footprint left in the mud" from Les Miserables which "being the solution begins with the perspective." (page 28). I understood the message was we worry too much about what we have. The author uses a man's BMW car as an example.
Chapter 29, "Wisdom Can Come From Weird Places" "God has his own ways" from Les Miserables. "God sends us life lessons on pleasant breezes and on ill winds. It is up to us to raise our sails". (page 99) I understand it is up to us to make the decisions.
There is a chapter for book clubs to use for discussions. Question number 4: "How were Jean Valjean and Avert similar? How were they different?"
I read this book in a few days but as one reviewer wrote, this is good for inspirational reading for one time a week.
The author has done a great job of making the reader think about the messages. I give it a 5 star raring.
I received a complimentary copy to read and review from booklookbloggers.com. The opinions are my own.
This is a Thomas Nelson Publisher book. It would make a wonderful gift for a friend or family member.
Bob Welch is a goodreads.com author. You may reach Bob Welch at www.bobwelch.net. He is an inspirational speaker as well a writer.
Leona Olson

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Review of Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig



Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig

Fully authorized by the Margaret Mitchell estate, Rhett Butler's People is the astonishing and long-awaited novel that parallels the Great American Novel, Gone With The Wind. Twelve years in the making, the publication of Rhett Butler's People marks a major and historic cultural event.

Through the storytelling mastery of award-winning writer Donald McCaig, the life and times of the dashing Rhett Butler unfolds.  Through Rhett's eyes we meet the people who shaped his larger than life personality as it sprang from Margaret Mitchell's unforgettable pages: Langston Butler, Rhett's unyielding father; Rosemary his steadfast sister; Tunis Bonneau, Rhett's best friend and a onetime slave; Belle Watling, the woman for whom Rhett cared long before he met Scarlett O'Hara at Twelve Oaks Plantation, on the fateful eve of the Civil War.

Of course there is Scarlett.  Katie Scarlett O'Hara, the headstrong, passionate woman whose life is inextricably entwined with Rhett's: more like him than she cares to admit; more in love with him than she'll ever know…

Brought to vivid and authentic life by the hand of a master, Rhett Butler's People fulfills the dreams of those whose imaginations have been indelibly marked by Gone With The Wind. 


Leona's Review:

I won this book from goodreads.com. I have always liked the movie Gone With the Wind and since this was authorized by the Margaret Mitchell estate I thought it would be a good book to read.
There is some history that was changed as the author admits but it did not change my opinion of the book.
Rhett Butler's People is about the people, friends, enemies and family of Rhett Butler. It is not always about Rhett Butler and Scarlett.  There is the history of the Civil War and how it changed so many lives. Like Gone With the Wind, it had hard times and sad times; it also shows people can and will come through hardships.
A lot of Gone With the Wind is in Rhett Butler's People and I thought it was well done.
The movie happened to be on while I was reading this book and it helped me picture the characters.  It kept the main characters as they were in the movie; Melanie is still sweet and Scarlett is still demanding.
I have never read Gone With the Wind but have watched the movie many times. I see I need to read the book now.
I give it a 5 star rating. I did like it and will read it again.
Donald MaCaig is on facebook.

Leona Olson

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Review of Get to Know Apostls Paul by Nancy I.Sanders


   
Book review of Get to Know Apostle Paul by Nancy I. Sanders

From amazon.com:
Apostle Paul—part of the Get to Know series—is a unique biography about Paul. Focusing on the life and character of this Biblical hero, using color photographs, maps, and other visual resources to tell the whole story, young biography fans will come to learn more about this man of the God, his writings, his impact on the early church, and the role he plays in history.
Featuring a bibliography and scriptural references throughout, this is sure to become a favorite for young readers and for first book reports.

Leona's Review:
This is the fourth book of the Get to Know Series. They are Get to Know Jesus, Get to Know Mary, Get to Know King Saul and Get to Know Apostle Paul.

The author, Nancy I. Sanders has written wonderful books that are for the children but as an adult, I learned a lot.
These are great Christmas gifts and also gifts for Jewish children. The books are reasonably priced so one can get the four Get to Know Series for a child. Read the books with them a chapter at a time and let them do further studies on the subjects.

This book focuses on the Apostle Paul and the book begins with the young boy, Saul.
There are maps and also symbols such a Sandal for a Biblical Hero, an Eye for Eyewitness Account, a Clay Jar for Did You Know? and a Scroll for a word bank.

Table of Contents:

A boy Named Saul  (page 11)
A Hebrew of Hebrews (page 19)
Destroy the Church! (page 27)
The Road to Damascus (page 35)
Preaching in the Synagogues (page 43)
Christians: Followers of Christ (page 51)
The First Missionary Journey (page 57)
The Jerusalem Council (page 65)
The Second missionary Journey (page 73)
The Third Missionary Council (page 81)
Appeal to Caesar (page 91)
From Paul in Rome (page 99)
Timeline of Paul (page 106)
Glossary (page 109)
Selected Bibliography (page 113)
Source notes (page 115)
Student Resources (page 119)
About the Author (page 121)
The book is dedicated to:
Dan-It's amazing to think that you were walking in the footsteps of Paul as I was writing this book. What an awesome journey God provided you to take! Dad and I thank God for you. We pray God will complete the good work He's begun in your life.
I recieved a complimantary copy to read and review from booklookbloggers.com The opinions are my own.

Nancy I. Sanders may be found at www.nancyisanders.com
Leona Olson

Review of Get to Know Jesus by Nancy I. Sanders

Book review of Get to Know Mary by Nancy I. Sanders

From booklooks.com:
Book Description
Jesus - part of the Get to Know series - is a unique biography about Jesus, the son of God. Focusing on the life and character of this Biblical hero, using color photographs, maps, and other visual resources to tell the whole story, young biography fans will come to learn more about this man of the God and the role he plays in history. Featuring a bibliography and scriptural references throughout, this is sure to become a favorite for young readers and for first book reports.

Leona's Review:

Get to Know Jesus is part of the Get To Know series. Jesus, Mary, King David and Apostle Paul. These are children's book but as an adult I learned a lot.

Get to Know Jesus begins the story of Jesus at His birth. It has the many stages of His life as a child and as an adult.

There are symbols for features throughout the book: Scripture, look for an oil lamp to read a Scripture from the Bible; Bible Hero, look for a sandal for information about a Bible hero; Eyewitness Account, look for a picture of an eye each time someone who saw what happened tells about it; Did You Know?, look for a clay jar to learn fun facts; and Word Bank, look for a scroll to learn the meanings of new words.

Page 31 has a family tree of Jesus. Using something like this can help a child understand that like them, Jesus also had a family.

There are maps, pictures and drawings which are always appreciated for a learning tool.

Table of Contents:

The Important Plan

A Special Birth

Childhood and Youth

The Teacher

Stories and Parables

The Son of God

Miracles

Preparing for Passover

A Sad Day

Unexpected News

A New Purpose

The Future

Timeline of Jesus

Glossary

Selected Bibliography

Source Notes

Student Resources

About the Author

The book is dedicated to Jon and Linda, and the next generation of believers you've raised to be followers of the Truth.

Visit Nancy I. Sanders at her site: www.nancyisanders.com

I give this a 5 star rating. I received a complimentary copy from Booklookbloggers.com; HarperCollins Christian Publishing. ( booksneeze.com) to read and review. The opinions are my own.

I recommend one buy this series for a Christmas present for a child. I would think a child of 10 or so could read with help and one could read to a younger child. These books can be read over and over and make good conversations for a family get together.

Leona Olson

www.mnleona.blogspot.com

Leona's review on Get to Know Mary: http://mnleona.blogspot.com/2014/07/get-to-know-mary-by-nancy-i-sanders.html

Friday, November 14, 2014

Review of Widows of Eastwick


   

 

From amazon.com:

Book Description

 October 14, 2008
More than three decades after the events described in The Witches of Eastwick, Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie—widowed, aging, and with their occult powers fading—return for the summer to the Rhode Island town where they once made piquant scandal and sometimes deadly mischief. But what was then a center of license and liberation is now a “haven of wholesomeness” populated by hockey moms and househusbands primly rebelling against their absent, reckless, self-involved parents. With spirits still free but energy waning, the three women reconstitute their coven to confront not only this youthful counterspell of propriety but also the enmity of those longtime townsfolk who, through their youthful witchery, they irreparably harmed. In this wise and wicked satire on the way we make peace with our pasts, John Updike proves himself a wizard on every page.
Leona's Review:
I found this book at my local library.  I actually needed an author that last name began with U so I chose this one.
I have not read the first book or seen the movie; it happened to be on TV as I was reading the book but to be honest, it did not hold my attention so I did not watch all of it.
The book was about three ageing women/ witches trying to go back to Eastwick. Things have  changed as one finds when they return to the past.
The book was OK and maybe because I am in my 70s, it was somewhat  a little depressing. I did like the characters.
I felt there were too many happenings in the book but I did enjoy the travels and descriptions. I never got to Egypt but have been to China to see the Great Wall and Terra Cotta Warriors.
I will give it a 3 star for my rating.
Leona Olson