Sheila's Books Read

Sheila's bookshelf: read

What Would the Founding Fathers Think: A Young American's guide to understanding the mess our country is in and how we get out
Isabelle Webb: Legend of the Jewel
Captive Heart
Cobble Cavern
Caller ID
Promises
Protected,
Summer of Secrets
On Little Wings
We Lived in Heaven: Spiritual Accounts of Souls Coming to Earth
Christ's gifts to women
A Woman's power: threads that bind us to god
Scary School
Hope's journey
Blue
Targets in Ties
Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island
Venom
With a Name like Love
Sean Griswold's head


Sheila's favorite books »

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Irresistible Groom by Cami Checketts: New Release-Today Only July 18th- get for 99 cents!



Check out this new release by one of my favorite authors. The Irresistible Groom is on sale for 
just 99 cents today! 
 
  The Irresistible Groom by Cami Checketts A vivacious sports agent loses her memory and her safe, perfectly-planned life. The only hope is a tough security specialist who for some reason she’s never allowed herself to fall for. Claire Tucker is a feisty and successful sports agent. When she wakes up with amnesia she has to rely on a handsome security specialist, which doesn't seem too bad ... until she learns she's known him for years and has repeatedly turned him down. When Brig proves irresistible to her, she realizes she needs to guard her heart until she gets some answers or her past will catch up to her. Brig Hunsaker has everything he needs, except the sassy lady he’s had a crush on for years. When Claire is injured, and the hospital staff believe he’s her fiancĂ©, he finally gets the chance to protect her and prove he’s worth taking a chance on.
Get it now on AMAZON
Add to GOODREADS

Great Summer Reads Countdown Blitz & Giveaway: Day 9-Raven's Eye By Adam Gowans



Adam Gowans is the youngest of five Air Force brats, out of which his siblings have voted him the weirdest. He loves anything that deals with stories, including movies, novels, television dramas, music, video games, manga/manhwa, and webtoons.

In his mid-twenties, he lived and taught English in South Korea for four years before returning to the States to live, like many LDS authors, in Utah.

His first novel is On Angelic Wings, which has a planned sequel, but the sequel will be released after two other novels that are calling for his attention.





Ever since magic caused his mother's death, Ha-Neul, crown prince of Balhae, hates witches and the magic they wield. He has instituted harsh laws against all magic users.


Lisa is a young witch working undercover as a servant in his palace, hoping to gain freedom for her people. The last thing the two expect is to fall in love. But when Ha-Neul learns that Lisa is not only a witch, but the daughter of the Prince of Vires, land of witches, he banishes her. Distracted by heartbreak, he is caught off-guard by a military coup.

In hiding and on the run, Ha-Neul swallows his pride and travels with his siblings to Vires, planning to beg Lisa's aid, only to learn that she has mysteriously vanished.

Now his only hope in reclaiming his kingdom and reuniting with Lisa lies in the remote Northern Mountains, a country no one has ever penetrated and rumored home of a powerful magic source. There, Ha-Neul learns that a being powerful beyond comprehension has been carefully guiding his destiny. But if Ha-Neul can't let go of his hatred of all things magic, and accept the new path offered to him, it will mean the destruction of his entire world.




Author Interview:

1.     What is your favorite book that is not yours?
Pride and Prejudice. I read it once every year.
2.     Do you write in multiple genres? Which genre is your favorite to write?
I don’t. I’m not sure why, but I prefer to write stories with science fiction and fantasy elements, though I do have ideas for an alternate history novel and others that take place here on Earth.
3.     How young were you when you started writing?
I started writing in the 8th grade, so I was fourteen.
4.     If you could meet any author, past or present, who would it be and why?
I have three, two present and one past. J.K. Rowling, Rainbow Rowell, and Jane Austen
5.     How long does it take you to write a book, and what was your fastest book to write?
At least a year or more. Raven’s Eye took me less than a year to write though.
6.     What is your favorite thing to do in the summertime?

Stay indoors as much as possible. I’m a bit of a homebody, and introvert. I also don’t like the summer temperatures of Utah.





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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

My Israel Trail: Finding Peace in the Promised Land By Aryeh Green: Blog Tour Review and Book Giveaway

My Israel Trail.png

About the Book

My Israel
Genre:  Contemporary, Historical, Inspirational, Non-Fic, Memoir, Self-help, Religious
Publisher: Plain Sight/Cedar Fort
Publication date: May 1, 2018
Mayim Bialik calls the book a “fascinating journey” and “beautiful exploration of self and identity”. Natan Sharansky celebrates Aryeh’s “engaging passion and persistence”.
After his devastating divorce, which rocked his world and confounded his deeply-held optimism, Aryeh Green’s goal was to get his life back on track. His hike along The Israel National Trail enabled the discovery of a number of universal truths for living based on Jewish tradition.
In a uniquely moving and uplifting book, Aryeh invites you to join him on his trek, as he shares with you both a new perspective on Israel – the land, the country, its history and people – and illuminating insights from the experience.

About the Author

Green.png
Aryeh Green is a passionate lover of Israel – the people, the land, the country, and the idea. Residing in or around Jerusalem for the past three decades, Aryeh lives and breathes a vibrant and living Judaism, which affects all he does – including serving as Chief Strategy Officer of EnergiyaGlobal, a Jerusalem-based renewable energy platform for Africa; as Director Emeritus of MediaCentral, providing services for the foreign press in the region; formerly as a senior advisor to Israel’s deputy prime minister Natan Sharansky; as a backyard vintner; and as a writer, activist, husband and father.

Author Interview via SLB

1. What inspired the idea to write My Israel Trail?
I thought others might enjoy vicariously joining me on a walk through the Land of Milk & Honey. And more, I thought others might perhaps benefit from the personal growth I experienced on the hike, the lessons learned which helped me complete the trek and meet and overcome the personal challenges I was facing (recovering from my devastating divorce).
2. What did you as an author take away from writing My Israel Trail?
It was almost harder (certainly longer!) than the actual hike. The writing consolidated my thinking, and certainly reinforced, and planted even more deeply with my consciousness, the lessons I learned and wrote about. I find myself more patient, tolerant, optimistic and focused as a result of the writing (as well as the trek itself.)
3. What type of research did you to so you could write My Israel Trail?
Well… I walked the entire length of the Land of Israel – that’s sort of a ‘practical research’ aspect, no? Otherwise, I did look up sources for the quotes and historical references I made in the book (to assure accuracy). But it’s a memoir, so not really relevant imho….
What did your writing process for writing My Israel Trial look like?
Went through many phases. I tried to dedicate 8 hours a day for a few months; then 4 hours every morning as I completed and re-edited the work. I ‘borrowed’ a room in a neighbor friend’s home and disconnected from the Internet to reduce home/house-related distractions, and took a week’s writing retreat on the Golan at friends who own a B&B. And I periodically took long walks in the countryside to re-kindle the feeling of the trek and remind myself of the pace and feel of the hike.
4. What is your current WIP? What can you tell us about this project?
The lessons I learned on the Trail and which helped me move on with my life are incredibly applicable to our conflict here in the Middle East. I had originally included these applications to develop a radically new approach to resolving the Arab-Israel conflict, but my publisher (rightly) suggested we leave this to another book. So… When My Israel Trail becomes a bestseller (!) I expect to publish a companion, or follow-on, applying the themes of the book to our situation. (I published an article along these lines a year ago – see here.)

Snippet

I’m scared, standing on a thin ledge on the side of a cliff. To my left is a sheer rough wall; to my right, a drop of 30 feet or so to the river bed below. But directly ahead an angry tree blocks the way. (How does it hold to the side of the rock?) It seems threatening as it jumps in the hot wind. With about 50 pounds on my back, I’m too afraid of falling to turn around. Turn to the right and my backpack hits the rock face; turn to the left and the weight of the pack puts me off balance. And the boulders down below aren’t very welcoming.
What to do?
The trail leads into an abyss. Literally. I guess I’ve lost the path, which, while it’s happened before, has never been such a problem. Usually you just retrace your steps, find the last trail marker, and then pay a bit more attention to discover where you missed the next one. But here, on a cliff in Nachal Amud, the Stream of the Pillar connecting the holy city of Tzfat (Safed) with the Kinneret, the Sea of
Galilee, it’s just not that easy. Even with the backpack on (including the small guitar hanging from its side), just a minute or so ago I pretty nonchalantly leapt over a three-foot gap in the ledge a few paces back. But I just know—with all my casual confidence built up over the preceding weeks of hiking through Israel’s desert mountains and northern reaches—I can’t do it again.
That is, if I can even turn around on this one-foot-wide ledge.
It may be the perfect metaphor.
Sometimes you reach an impasse. Not only is it unclear what the next step is, but you’re also not sure how the heck you got there and are too scared to move. All the alternatives you can imagine are dangerous, or unpalatable, or frightening. You’re stuck, and the panic starts to rise.
Times of personal hardship, relationships, work situations, and other challenges we face test our mettle. Rabbi Herschel Schachter taught that the biblical “value” of a person in Vayikra, the Book of Leviticus, is calculated by his or her response to suffering and adversity. Elie Weisel and Victor Frankl took the personal and national horror of the Shoah/Holocaust and translated their experiences into timeless lessons for humanity. In Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl stresses the importance of having a goal to strive for, pushing us to move ahead, to take the next step, and the next.
My goal that day was to get to the Kinneret by nightfall (and not to plunge down the cliff face onto the rocks below). My grander goal was to finish what I’d started, hiking the Israel National Trail (“Shvil Yisrael”) from one end of our tiny country to the other. (It’s not that tiny—the Shvil runs some 1000 kilometers or 600 miles from the Red Sea in the South to the border with Lebanon in the North.) And after my devastating divorce, my ultimate goal was to get my life back on track, or to find a new track for myself.
I take three deep breaths—thank you, Thomas Crum—to calm down, focus, and discover the possibilities open before me; then I make a decision. Not moving my feet an inch, I lower the pack slowly to the ground, managing to lean it against the rock. Freed from the weight of the bag, I turn carefully and retrace my steps along the narrow path on the side of the cliff—jumping over the breach—and yes!—find the trail-marking high up on the rock face above an almost invisible foothold carved into the cliff. I did that ledge once with the pack, I know that; all I have to do now is convince myself I can do it again, this time in the opposite direction.
Retracing my steps, it’s funny, but when I (carefully!) heft the pack on my back, it seems somehow lighter, more manageable. It hasn’t changed; I have changed. Or rather, my attitude, my sense of self and sense of direction and purpose, my confidence and belief in my ability to walk the path, has changed.
It’s not that I’m no longer afraid; I just know I have it in me to keep going.
Sometimes we need to set aside our baggage and re-evaluate. My hike along the
Israel Trail—or my Israel Trail as I’m calling it—enabled the discovery, or rediscovery, of a number of essential truths for living. All come from the ancient wisdom of the
Torah and the rest of the Hebrew Bible and Jewish tradition, but at the same time they are universal and universally relevant for anyone seeking inner peace.
I was overwhelmed by the daunting challenges facing me—on the Trail, in my life, and at the national level. Every day brought a new difficulty, from scorching heat and impossible inclines to aching loneliness and crises of confidence, from news of family problems to news of terror attacks. I meditated on mountaintops and cried in dry creek beds; I wrote anguished journal entries and composed songs to lift my spirits. I looked back, and inward, and up to the night sky, and over the valley to the next mountain range, and down at the ants in the dirt, and back along the trail to see how far I’d come.
What I discovered on the Shvil was a sense of self, a sense of personal and national history…and a perspective of sorts on the human condition. These are my reflections, a meditation as it were on existence, relationships, happiness, challenges, and hope.

Review

First off, I was amazed that this man even wanted to hike the Israel Trail, a 600- mile hike all on his own. Aryeh was in his early 50's and his wife had asked for a divorce. His whole life had changed suddenly. He wanted to go on this trek looking for answers to the turmoil in his life. This is why I wanted to read his story. I'm not much of a hiker like this, even though his accounts along the trail are very interesting, the good and the bad. I wanted to read about how his experiences helped him through a hard time in his life. Some of the main things he learned about on his adventure were:
  1. Humility: And an understanding of our place in the universe. Humbly recognize how little we really control in our lives.
  2. Acceptance: Of the reality of the world as it is and not as we'd like it to be.
  3. Gratitude: Appreciation for what we have and what the world offers us.
  4. Forgiveness: Of those who have hurt us or are perceived to have harmed us.
  5. Purpose: A sense of meaning and direction. 

I want to admit I did something as I read this book. When I read something that I felt inspired me, I underlined it and highlighted it in my book. I'm not one to advocate defacing any book, but my copy of this book now looks like one of my textbooks from my college days. I took notes along the sides of the pages, so if I wanted to come back and read something again it would be easy to find. As I got into the book, I felt myself seeking answers along with Aryeh as journeyed in the desert and through the mountains. 

I wanted to point out some of the things that really got my attention in the book. I've felt like I've been at a standstill in my life since my divorce 10 years ago. Life has been hard. The teachings (that's what I'm calling them) in this book have really opened my eyes to changes I need to make mentally, physically, and emotionally. 
  • Choose Life: Take Life as it comes, not passively but actively choosing to look on the bright side and to focus on the wonders and beauty, on the "Trail" and always...
  • Stay positive. Keep your thoughts LIGHT. 
  • Accept things I cannot change in order to free myself to heal.
  • If humility is the basis for a healthy approach to challenges, then acceptance builds the foundation for looking forward.
  • Pray for strength: strength to carry on; strength to know,to understand, to perceive, strength to forgive; strength to give, to love, to survive...the ability to hold on.
  • {This next one I know he was talking a lot about him hiking the trail and how hard it was, but it still was very impactful} "I'm thinking of the strength needed to persevere...Every hardship, every thought,brings me back to the reason I'm here...You find a solution; you push yourself harder,you take a break,you adjust your gear,you step carefully slowly. Sometimes through using the markers as a guide you have to choose your own way which is comfortable or best for you. But you don't just give up! Not without a fight."

This book reads like a self-help book, a travelogue, and an adventure book. There are so many other things I wish I could share with you but I really want you to explore this book on your own. I learned many new things about the land and the people of Israel. It made me only want even more to go visit and walk some of the trails that Aryeh did. This book is not one I read in one or even two sittings. I would read a chapter, close the book, and then contemplate about what I had read and written in my notes. This fascinating account of Aryeh Green on his journey of hiking and healing is one I recommend to those seeking answers in life, nature lovers, and those wanting to understand things from a religious perspective. 

Giveaway
MIT Giveaway
Enter the giveaway HERE.  Giveaway ends 11:59pm MT on July 21st.
Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.
Tour Schedule
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Great Summer Reads Countdown Blitz & Giveaway: Day 8-The Seeds of Dissolution By William C. Tracy




William C. Tracy is a North Carolina native and a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy. He has a master’s in mechanical engineering, and has both designed and operated heavy construction machinery. He has also trained in Wado-Ryu karate since 2003, and runs his own dojo. He is an avid video and board gamer, a reader, and of course, a writer.


In his spare time, he wrangles three cats. He and his wife enjoy putting their pets in cute little costumes and making them cosplay for the annual Christmas card.

You can visit him at williamctracy.com.




On a bright August day, the sun disappears.

Sam van Oen barely escapes freezing to death in his house, as his watch stops and fire ceases to burn. He is pulled into the Nether—a nexus between ten diverse alien cultures—where he meets two maji who can control the musical foundation of the universe. While coping with anxiety attacks prompted by his new surroundings, Sam must learn to hear and change the Symphony, and thus reality, in order to discover what happened to his home.

Sam is surrounded by aliens, both strange and familiar. Soon, he meets sister and brother twins, also new to the Nether, who support him during his anxiety attacks. Sam finds he is attracted to both of them, and does not want to choose.

But more freezing voids like the one that started his journey are appearing, and Sam’s chances of getting back are fading. The Assembly of Species is threatening to dissolve and the maji are being attacked by those they protect, while rumors grow of an ancient, shape-changing species of assassins, returning to wage war.

The Dissolution is coming.




Author Interview:

1.     What is your favorite book that is not yours?
a.     That’s a hard one. It changes because I keep coming across really great new books. If I have to pick one I come back to again and again, I’d go with Sir Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods, with Pyramids being a close second.
2.     Do you write in multiple genres? Which genre is your favorite to write?
a.     Yes and no. I generally write Science Fiction and Fantasy (which I consider to be the same genre) but within that umbrella, I’ve written a space opera, an epic fantasy, a coming-of-age adventure, a political thriller, a mystery, a superhero story, a time travel story, a collection of alternate reality short stories, and a mid-grade adventure. My favorite genre is probably the adventure-style stories. They flow a lot easier, and I enjoy the sense of wonder while I write.
3.     How young were you when you started writing?
a.     About 14. I noodled around with creative writing, then didn’t do much in college, then picked it back up after I started my day job.
4.     If you could meet any author, past or present, who would it be and why?
a.     Sir Terry Pratchett, because by all accounts he was a very kind, genuinely witty man, and Jules Verne, because I’d love to know how he came up with his ideas.
5.     How long does it take you to write a book, and what was your fastest book to write?
a.     This depends on size and topic. I wrote The Seeds of Dissolution in almost exactly one year, from start to publication date. However one of the other books I have out to agents has taken about 2 years, on and off, and I’m still not sure it’s right. They’re both similar in length.
6.     What is your favorite thing to do in the summertime?

a.     Tend my garden, and harvest and eat the different fruits I grow (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, grapes, and pears). I also enjoy the summer con schedule. I’ll be attending 5-6 cons this year between June and September.




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Monday, July 16, 2018

Great Summer Reads Countdown Blitz & Giveaway: Day 7- Awaken: Shadows of a Forgotten Past By Marcia Maidana



Marcia was born and raised in Argentina during the military regime which ended with the loss of many young lives in the invasion of the Falkland Islands. Amidst the devastating effects of military government and war, reading and writing became a passion which expanded and transported her imagination with the possibility of a brighter future.

At the age of eighteen, she moved to the United States, where she studied English and started her own family. She soon discovered that the love she has for her husband and children would naturally unfold towards her European roots, leading her to become a genealogist and family historian. A decade of searching, compiling, and learning the stories of thousands of people has instilled in her a profound gratitude for the strong ties that can be achieved in families through personal sacrifice.

So it is that through fiction, Awaken explores and exposes the characteristics of true love and loyalty in times of fear, war, and finally, death. But perhaps the most captivating element in the story is the battle within the souls of the main characters as they search to know who they really are and how they are connected.

~ Facebook



Could there exist a love powerful enough to overcome the grave?

Hard times during the Great Depression force nineteen-year-old Florence to leave her service at the monastery and seek employment. Fate brings her to work for a wealthy recluse, General Alexander Sterling. Despite many daunting events and a meddling housekeeper with dark secrets of her own, Florence and the General find themselves falling deeply in love.

What she doesn’t know is that General Sterling has left his native country escaping a painful past, one he yearns to forget. Destiny won’t allow it as he meets Florence, whose resemblance to his deceased wife is unbearable. Could Florence actually be the same woman who still owns his heart and haunts his dreams?

When their blossoming romance is shattered by an explosive truth, a mysterious stranger gives her an opportunity to go back in time to unlock the secret to her existence. Florence must strive to return to the present time to save their relationship from the imminent
 danger that awaits them.



Top Ten List:

Fun Facts:
1.     I was born and raised in Argentina among a mixed culture of Spaniards and Italians.

2.     I got my first library card when I was eight years old. It meant so much to me that after more than three decades, I still have it in my possession.

3.     The library allowed patrons to check out two books per week, which wasn’t enough for me. I then decided that I’d volunteer at the library so I could read books during breaks.

4.     I learned a little British English in Argentina.

5.     When I arrived in the United States, I had no idea what language was being spoken. J

6.     I’m an International Genealogist specializing in the countries of France, Italy, and Spain.

7.     I love to plant flowers and see them grow. I love mint, so I grow it in my garden as well.

8.     My grandmother was Italian. She made her pasta from scratch and it was delicious. Very rarely do I eat store-bought pasta since its taste is so different.

9.     My childhood home is located a block away from a Catholic convent. I was fascinated with the nuns and priests; hence, there are nuns and priests in Awaken.


10.My children laugh when I tell them who the most influential women in my life are (of course they aren’t the most influential, but I do appreciate them very much), they are: Agatha Christie, for her incredible stories which inspire me to be a better writer; Denise Austin, who has kept me in shape through her workout videos without having to leave the house; Mary Kay, whose make-up products I can’t live without.





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