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


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Sunday, January 1, 2012

20 (or so) Books I Loved Reading in 2011

 I know that 2012 is now here and I should have posted this information earlier, but I still wanted to share. I read 119 books (this does not include ALL of the children's picture books I read to my own kids and my 2nd graders) during 2011. My goal was 125 books, but I am still happy with what I did get read. In no particular order, here are at least 20 of the books I read that I enjoyed the most. Many of these book I gave 5 stars to on goodreads.com. I would like to know which of these books you also read last year. Which of these books would you like to read in 2012? Let me know!!

Here you go...



-Variant by Robison Wells


Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.
He was wrong.
Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.
Where breaking the rules equals death.
But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.


 Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan

I’m dying, I thought. This was unexpected and not at all how I envisioned my death. I was supposed to die gardening in a flowerbed as a hundred-year-old woman, not as a seventeen-year-old trapped in a lake beneath inches of ice.

Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After the Vykens killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. She can’t take any chances. But when she starts to make friends for the first time in her life, she gets careless and lets her guard down. Big mistake.

As an Aura, Llona can manipulate light and harness its energy. But if she wants to survive, Llona will have to defy the Auran Council and learn to use her power as a weapon against the Vyken whose sole desire is to take her light. Now she’s caught in something even bigger than she can understand, with a power she can’t wield, and no one she can trust, except, just maybe, a mysterious stranger.

In this breathtaking and romantic adventure, Rachel McClellan delivers a truly mesmerizing story that will keep you guessing to the very end




The Armor of Light by Karen E. Hoover

 Ember has been accepted into the mage academy, but not without cost. She has gained a new enemy, ancient and dark, whose entire purpose is to destroy all white magic and her along with it. After nearly losing her life in a brutal attack, DeMunth is assigned her guardian, and the keystone he wears, The Armor of Light, begins the transition that will make it a true power.

Kayla has lost most everything of importance to her—the people, the prestige, and all she fought for the past ten years. With nothing left to lose, she continues her search for the birthplace of The Sapphire Flute and the Wolfchild she believes to be its player. Her journey will take her to strange, foreign, and often dangerous places, and everything she had thought to be true will be proven wrong.

In a showdown full of betrayal and heroic loss, Ember and Kayla finally meet on the battlefield, fighting a war on two fronts—against C'Tan and her people, and the mysterious enemy bent on destroying all magic—the shadow weavers.

The story is full of power, betrayal, hope, and love. The elements of the universe are coming together, and none can know who will stand in the end.



 The Upside of Down by Rebecca Talley 


"Hmmm," the doctor muttered.
Natalie wrinkled her forehead, almost afraid to ask, and said, "What does that mean?"
"You do know you're pregnant, right?"
Her breath caught in her throat. "Excuse me?"
"You're pregnant."
Her heartbeat thundered in her ears. "I'm what?"


Natalie Drake certainly has her hands full raising a large family, dealing with her difficult mother, and maintaining a relationship with her rebellious teenager. Just when things seem to be going smoothly, she finds out another unexpected surprise--she's going to have a baby. Faced with so many challenges, Natalie must learn to trust in a plan that isn't what she imagined and discover that every situation has an upside.

Beloved author Rebecca Talley carefully creates this touching and heartfelt story that is sure to inspire you. With true-to-life characters and situations, The Upside of Down will reignite your faith and remind you of the importance of family.




 Rearview Mirror by Stephanie Black 



Fiona Claridge, a smart and stylish New England college professor, strives to pull herself together after a car crash kills her roommate, Mia Hardy. Yet Fiona’s guilt and grief come flooding back after opening a gift-wrapped box left outside her office that contains car keys and a malicious note.

Shaken, Fiona travels to her hometown to attend a funeral but is followed by vivid nightmares as well as her unknown enemy, who leaves another sinister gift on her doorstep. She assumes the stalker is Kimberly Bailey, a disgruntled former student, and enlists the help of fellow professor James Hampton. But when Fiona encounters an old flame at the funeral, it’s clear her student isn’t the only one with an eye for revenge. Soon, through the maneuverings of her unknown enemy, Fiona faces criminal charges as well as continuing threats. As past and present become horribly entangled, Fiona unravels the truth about a determined killer—and finds herself on the wrong end of a knife.


 Don't Fear the Reaper by Michelle Muto 


Book 1 of the Netherworld series

Grief-stricken by the murder of her twin, Keely Morrison is convinced suicide is her ticket to eternal peace and a chance to reunite with her sister. When Keely succeeds in taking her own life, she discovers death isn’t at all what she expected. Instead, she’s trapped in a netherworld on Earth and her only hope for reconnecting with her sister and navigating the afterlife is a bounty-hunting reaper and a sardonic, possibly unscrupulous, demon. But when the demon offers Keely her greatest temptation—revenge on her sister’s murderer—she must uncover his motives and determine who she can trust. Because, as Keely soon learns, both reaper and demon are keeping secrets and she fears the worst is true—that her every decision will change how, and with whom, she spends eternity





Identity by Betsy Love 

While vacationing in Mexico, two similar-looking young women find themselves caught in a chain reaction of mistaken identities. Amelia is a wealthy heiress and business owner, and Savannah is a sweet Mormon girl deciding whether or not to serve a mission. When they end up on the same flight to Phoenix, Savannah and Amelia unravel the sequence of events that wreaked havoc on their trips, and they make plans to resolve the subsequent misunderstandings. But their flight is cut short when the plane crashes, killing one of the young women and plunging the other into a world of intrigue and deceit where identity means everything.



 Ribbon of Darkness by Julie Coulter Bellon


A split-second decision could change the world’s darkest hour to one of triumph--but who is willing to pay the price? Kennedy Campbell has been running away for a long time--using her position as an international journalist to escape the ghosts of her family's past. She finds some solace working in an Afghan refugee camp, until the Taliban attacks them and Kennedy is forced to flee. She is pulled into a terrorist's realm of darkness as she fights to save those around her, but will it come at the expense of her own life? Ethan Barak leads a double life, helping MI-6 bring down arms dealers all over the world until his father is murdered by an old associate. Ethan makes his next mission a personal vendetta by tracking down the killer to Indonesia. While there, he finds himself in a position to either avenge his father or stop a terrorist attack on the Malacca Strait that will jeopardize innocent lives across the world. Can he look past his father's murder to save others? The line between justice and mercy is blurred with each passing second, and international intrigue becomes intensely personal as the age-old struggle for redemption is brought close to home.



 Bloodborne by Gregg Luke


One ordinary afternoon, research specialist Dr. Erin Cross steps into a local deli to get some lunch, and nearly takes a bullet instead. Thanks to the timely intervention of a former Marine, she walks away from the seemingly freak incident. But when she returns to find her lab under security lockdown and her apartment ransacked, she realized the attack was anything but random. Erin can’t make sense of the threat, given her low profile after a disastrous H1N1 vaccine trial. She doesn’t know her former colleague has used the virus to develop a potent bioweapon or that her recent research hold a key to his success. And she doesn’t know that his collaborators want her dead before she blows the whistle.

Fleeing for safety with her research in hand, Erin unravels the threats with the help of the timely Marine, former Special Ops agent Sean Flannery. But the closer they come to finding answers, the more questionable Sean’s behavior becomes. His erratic moods and suspicious communications are more fitting for an enemy than a friend. And as the crisis comes to a head, Erin can’t be sure who harbors more secrets—the bioterrorists pursuing her or the one man who can give her protection.



 Outer Edge of Heaven by Jaclyn M. Hawkes


Montana truly is heavenly. Especially those handsome cowboys.

Filled with colorful characters of all shapes, sizes and species, including an orphaned baby pig, most of the Langston family put the fun in dysfunctional, give or take a couple of black sheep. There's one in every family, isn't there? Add to that glorious scenery, a horse of her own, and one extremely attractive cousin rancher, Luke Lanston, and it makes for a summer Charlie will never forget. Which might not be a good thing. She has the time of her life, but her heart may never recover.













 Seers by Heather Frost


For Kate Bennett, surviving the car wreck that killed her parents means big changes — and even bigger problems. As she begins to see auras and invisible people, Kate must learn to trust Patrick O'Donnell, a handsome Guardian, or risk her life being overrun with Demons. She soon realizes that both she and her heart are in big-time trouble.







 No Angel by Theresa Sneed 


An angel with an attitude

Jonathan Stewart is not at all happy about having to return to earth
as a guardian angel, but it's required of all post-mortal spirits to
fulfill at least one angel guardianship. Fortunately, on the Guardians Unlimited application, he had the good sense to request a client with early-marked-death status, so he believes that while his stay on earth will be most unpleasant, at least it will be short. What he doesn' t know is that a spirit with EMD status can choose his or her time of death! Jonathan's client, Celeste Knight, has a mind of her own and refuses death at every turn, leaving him stuck as her
guardian angel in a place he only wanted to forget.




                                          
 
 
Count Down to LoveCountdown to Love by Julie N. Ford 
                                            

 Kelly Grace Pickens is an excited bride—until she's abandoned at the altar. Desperate, she accepts an offer to appear on a reality TV show, Count Down to Love. Her country ways are a stark contrast to the mysterious bachelor from New York. Wading through hurt and betrayal both on and off screen, Kelly discovers that being true to yourself is essential to finding happiness and love.








The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.
Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.




Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat by David Dosa M.D.

A remarkable cat. A special gift. A life-changing journey.

They thought he was just a cat.

When Oscar arrived at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rhode Island he was a cute little guy with attitude. He loved to stretch out in a puddle of sunlight and chase his tail until he was dizzy. Occasionally he consented to a scratch behind the ears, but only when it suited him. In other words, he was a typical cat. Or so it seemed. It wasn't long before Oscar had created something of a stir.

Apparently, this ordinary cat possesses an extraordinary gift: he knows instinctively when the end of life is near.

Oscar is a welcome distraction for the residents of Steere House, many of whom are living with Alzheimer's. But he never spends much time with them--until they are in their last hours. Then, as if this were his job, Oscar strides purposely into a patient's room, curls up on the bed, and begins his vigil. Oscar provides comfort and companionship when people need him most. And his presence lets caregivers and loved ones know that it's time to say good-bye.
Oscar's gift is a tender mercy. He teaches by example: embracing moments of life that so many of us shy away from.

Making Rounds with Oscar is the story of an unusual cat, the patients he serves, their caregivers, and of one doctor who learned how to listen. Heartfelt, inspiring, and full of humor and pathos, this book allows readers to take a walk into a world rarely seen from the outside, a world we often misunderstand.


 The Cross Gardner by Jason F. Wright



Married and the father of a young daughter, John Bevan had finally found the traditional family he lacked as an orphaned child. But all that disappears when a fatal car accident steals away his wife-and the unborn child she carried.

Filled with sorrow, John withdraws from life and love. He erects a small cross at the scene of his wife's accident and visits daily, grieving. Then one morning he encounters a young man kneeling before the cross, touching it up with white paint. John's conversations and travels with this mysterious man-known to him only as the Cross Gardener-will forever change his world.

From Jason F. Wright comes a timeless tale that explores the questions we ask when our lives are touched by loss: How do we carry on? And who will show us the way? The answers John Bevan finds illuminate the hope that even in our darkest hours we are not alone.


 Unwind by Neal Shusterman


Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.




 Wolves, Boys & Other things that might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler


KJ Carson lives an outdoor lover's dream. The only daughter of a fishing and wildlife guide, KJ can hold her own on the water or in the mountains near her hometown outside Yellowstone National Park. But when she meets the shaggy-haired, intensely appealing Virgil, KJ loses all self-possession. And she's not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing that they're assigned to work together on a school newspaper article about the famous wolves of Yellowstone. As KJ spends time with Virgil, she also spends more time getting to know a part of her world that she always took for granted . . . and she begins to see herself and her town in a whole new light.




 The Third by Abel Keogh


In this stark and haunting look at the not-so-distant future, an environmentally minded society elects to limit the number of children couples can have, enforcing dire consequences for lawbreakers. But when his wife gets pregnant with a forbidden third child, Ransom Lawe is forced to choose between the government who's trying to save the world from ecological disaster and the family he loves dearly.






 Bound by C.K. Bryant 


When a photo shoot ends in tragedy, Kira discovers her best friend, Lydia, has been keeping a secret. Knowing the truth, and accepting it, will change Kira’s life forever and thrust her into a world of ancient curses, magical objects, and savage enemies. What happens next will challenge everything Kira knows about her world, herself and the shape-shifting warrior she’s falling in love with. No longer the timid mouse her mother accused her of being, but a woman who finds the mental and physical strength to endure and survive.

BOUND is a heroic tale of true friendship, infinite sacrifice and untamed love





 Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans


My name is Michael Vey, and the story I’m about to tell you is strange. Very strange. It’s my story.
To everyone at Meridian High School, Michael Vey is an ordinary fourteen-year-old. In fact, the only thing that seems to set him apart is the fact that he has Tourette’s syndrome. But Michael is anything but ordinary. Michael has special powers. Electric powers.

Michael thinks he's unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor also has special powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up this way, but their investigation brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric children – and through them the world. Michael will have to rely on his wits, powers, and friends if he’s to survive



Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card


A powerful secret. A dangerous path.

Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. Only his father knows the truth about Rigg's strange talent for seeing the paths of people's pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him--secrets about Rigg's own past, his identity, and his destiny. And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain.
Rigg’s birthright sets him on a path that leaves him caught between two factions, one that wants him crowned and one that wants him dead. He will be forced to question everything he thinks he knows, choose who to trust, and push the limits of his talent…or forfeit control of his destiny.




Slayers by C. J. Hill 

Dragons exist. They’re ferocious. And they’re smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it – these “Slayers” are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator’s daughter who didn’t sign up to save the world.

The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive?



I could go on and on about great books I read in 2011, but I need to stop. These books are just some of the most memorable books that I truly enjoyed reading. To read my full list of books I've read, head on over to goodreads.com for more of my book suggestions. If you have made it this far, thanks for hanging in there with me for this long post. ;)



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