Sheila's Books Read

Sheila's bookshelf: read

The Best Intentions
Scotland's Melody
The Secret Society of Salzburg
Secret of the Sonnets
20-40-60-Minute Dinners: Meals to Match the Time You Have
Through the Wilderness: My Journey of Redemption and Healing in the American Wild
Secret Santa Claus Club: A Tool to Help Parents Unwrap the Secret of Santa
Mr. Pudgins
Revenge Never Rests
The Best Mistake
Meriden Park
More Inspirational Stories for Young Women
The Great Tree: A Christmas Fable
To Capture His Heart
The Call of the Sea
Livvy and the Enchanted Woodland
Come, Gentle Night
The Bad Boy Theory
Guide To Smart Wedding Planning: What You want to know and everything you haven't thought of yet.

Sheila's favorite books »

2023 Goodreads Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Sheila has read 3 books toward her goal of 100 books.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Review of "Famous Family Nights" by Anne Bradshaw

I had the privilege of receiving and reading Anne Bradshaw's new book called, "Famous Family Nights". On the front cover it says, "Stories to make you smile, and inspire you to see the humor in our Monday night tradition from Mormons you know and love."

I don't know about you, but some Monday nights and trying to have a decent Family Home Evening, are a big joke. I was so grateful to start reading this book for some super ideas to make Monday nights better at our house. I think you will be well pleased, as I was, at what you will find in this book.

The main thing I learned from this book, is that we all are in the same boat. It is hard sometimes, for all families to have well structured, reverent and quality Family Home Evenings
every Monday Night. Maybe your family is the exception, but I think most of us struggle with the "quality" part of Family Home Evening.

Anne, interviewed many famous LDS people, asking them to send her their best ideas and favorite memories of Family Home Evenings. I can assure you , with the wide variety of people sharing ideas, you will be able to find something to fit your family's needs.

I have to say, one of my favorite sections was written by one of my favorite author friends, Josi Kilpack, called "Healthy Bodies, Healthy Spirits". It made me crack up! Josi has the best sense of humor and it shows in her contribution to this book! :) Then I really appreciated the section by, Shannon Hoffman. She also is a single parent like me. It was good to see how to have FHE's when you are having to fly solo and keeping things running in your family. I also really loved Eric Dodge, a country music singer, and his chapter called, "Nothing as Valuable as Family". I have to admit here, I could go through this whole book and tell you what I liked about each chapter. I found something worthwhile to be used with my own little family, from every contributor.

I highly recommend this book to every family out there! It doesn't matter what kind of family you are, there is something for you in this great book that Anne Bradshaw compiled. With Christmas heading our way quickly, this book would be a fabulous gift for family members.

I always love to interview authors and find out more about them and why they wrote their books. I enjoyed reading Anne's answers and I know that you will also.

1.Where did the idea for "Famous Family Nights" come from?

Several years ago, I kept hearing of families who no longer held home evening, or who never even started, so I began a small monthly post for a colleague's blog, highlighting various LDS authors' home evenings. From there, I had the idea to turn the project into a book, expanding to include prominent LDS people from the USA and other countries. I hoped these fascinating anecdotal stories and ideas would encourage others to follow the prophetic plea to embrace our families through this weekly activity.

2.How did you decide who to include in your book? There is a great mix of people that contributed to the book.

I first sent emails to every contact I could find on the website Famous If there was no email given, then I researched every avenue to find some other way of communicating - websites, Facebook, TV, and movie agencies - even friends and work associates. I also sent many letters containing stamped, addressed envelopes, but none of these ever returned to me. I wanted to include many talented people who were less well known and struggling to make their way in their chosen profession, to help them become more recognized. I love anything that is a win/win situation, and this book is just that - participants, readers, publisher, author - we all win. The entries are not only from entertainers and artists, but also from achievers in the world of sports, business, and service to the community.

3.What is your favorite FHE memory? You shared a few of them in the book. Would you share one of them with my readers?

It’s not easy to pinpoint a favorite. We had our share of disasters, of course, and those now blur in with all the others. I think pre-Christmas family nights invoked the most tender feelings that still linger in my memory. In addition to sharing the Christmas story each year, we had a “Christmas Mints” tradition. I loved the closeness and laughter we shared as the children helped make chocolate covered mint sweets (candies), which we delivered to friends and neighbors. Two of our sons still tease about being “made” to play the trumpet and violin while the rest of us sang carols. Those were fun times.

4.Why do you feel FHE's are important?

I feel they are a vital safe haven in today’s dangerous world. Nothing can replace the good feeling that settles in a child’s heart knowing someone cares enough to make time for family home evening. Children may not always recognize the benefits at the time, but later in life most have fond and grateful memories.

5.What is your favorite time to write? How long are your writing sessions?

I begin my writing day at 5:30 AM, and often continue until 5:00 PM with short breaks in between. I know several hours non-stop at the computer isn’t good for bones and joints, but sometimes, when an idea is boiling, time simply flies.

6.What are you working on now?

I’m currently marketing “Famous Family Nights.” I plan on taking a break early 2010, and then want to begin something completely different. A few ideas are in my head, but I haven’t yet decided which to follow.

7.What is your favorite thing you have written? Maybe you still hope to write your dream book some day?

Like most things, writing is a skill that grows with practice, and so I feel my best work is yet to come. I cringe now when reading my first book, “Terracotta Summer.” But we all have to start somewhere, and I hope my work is improving with each new project as I continue to learn more about the craft. I think my favorite so far is the book of short stories, “Please, No Zits.” I really enjoyed the creative process involved, and tackling the many problems facing today’s youth was a meaty challenge.

8.What are your best words of advice for aspiring writers or even established writers?

They are familiar words that will always be relevant – read, read, read, and write, write, write. I would add that reading how-to books about writing, and attending writing conferences are equally important for any aspiring writer who wants to get published.

Thank you Anne! I hope many people will buy this book to include it in their family library.

Go visit Anne at her blog. She always has such fun games and contests going on there; besides wonderful book reviews.

and at her website here:

If you would like to purchase this book go to:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Winner of "Illuminations of the Heart"...

We have a winner of the latest contest. The winner of a copy of "Illuminations of the Heart" written by Joyce DiPastena is...Shirley Bahlmann. Congratulations Shirley and thanks for entering the contest.You will be receiving a copy of this great Historical Romance novel. I know that you will enjoy it! I will get your address and get your book sent out to you! Thanks for everyone who left a comment on both blogs and participated in the contest. There will be another contest coming soon for another chance to win a book.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Review of "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins

I loved the book "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. I gave it 5 stars and could not put it down. It is now on my top 10 list of books that I love. So I was so excited get my hands on the sequel, "Catching Fire".I had heard so many varied responses to "Catching Fire"; all the way from, "Wow it was so good!" to "I can't believe it ended that way!". I knew ahead of time that the end was really going to leave you hanging. Well I am here to say, yes, it does leave you hanging... way out over the edge, screaming and desperately trying to hang on.

I really like this book, I gave it 4 stars, but I did not like it as much as "The Hunger Games". Much of "Catching Fire" does not have a lot happening, where the first book has action throughout most of the book. I was a little frustrated at this aspect of the story. I realize, that many middle books of a trilogy have transition filler to get you ready for the third book. "Catching Fire" does have many surprises for the reader, but they show up in the last 1/3 of the book. I still truly love the main female character, Katniss, and her determination to protect her loved ones. The character development was good in this second book. I felt like I grew to know and care more about Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch.

Overall, this is a very good read. There may be many of us out there that like the first book, "The Hunger Games", better. I am looking forward to the third book, hoping it will ease the pains of the killer cliffhanger Suzanne left for her readers.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"The Sister Pact" by Cami review

I always love to read a book by a new, recently found author. It is like trying a new food at a restaurant. There is some excitement and hopefulness that it will be something that you will really like. I have to say, I struck gold with this new romantic,mystery-suspense novel.

Here is a little blurb from the back of the book:

Savannah Compton is devastated when her sister and best friend, Allison, falls into a coma after a tragic accident. Or was it an accident? Even with a charming and handsome detective at her side, it seems Savannah may never discover the truth. But if she doesn’t her family could be in even more danger. And Savannah’s past holds its own secrets that could change everything.

Now she must prove her innocence to the one person who is beginning to matter most. Join Savannah as she struggles to summon faith and rely on hope, even in the darkest of circumstances, and learn how the bond between sisters can overcome anything.

This book has a great mix of Romance and mystery. Even though you know who did it...the angst comes in seeing how Savannah is able to prove her innocence. This was a quick read for me. I did not want to put it down until everything was resolved.

Cami has written a story showing great love between sisters, who would do anything to help the other. It also is a love story about two people that have been hurt greatly in the past in other relationships. The romance takes awhile to unfold. It stems back to both of them learning to trust again and being willing to open their hearts up to someone else. There were times I wanted to smack Noah and tell him to "wake up and go with your feelings". You can see, I became very involved in this book and the outcome.

This novel is for fans of a good romance, with twists and turns full of suspense. I was impressed with Cami's writing and want to read more books from her in the future.

Here is my interview with Cami about her writing.

-When did you decide to become a writer?

After I had my second son I was suffering from Postpartum Depression. I slept a lot. My mother woke me up from a nap one day and said, "You need a hobby, you need to write a book." I shrugged and said, "Okay." I started writing that afternoon and haven't had time for a nap since!

-Where did you formulate the idea for "The Sister Pact"?

I had a nightmare about a man accosting my sister and as she tried to escape she fell down a flight of stairs. I adore my sister. The thought of her being hurt tore at me. I had to write about it.

-I noticed that some of the proceeds of "The Sister Pact" are being donated to a good cause. Would you please share with my readers what organization you are supporting and why?

The Child and Family Support Center is an amazing organization. Their motto is, "Strengthening families and protecting children." The women who run the organization are so strong and charitable. Most of their work is heart-breaking as they are an intervention nursery for abused children. When you see precious children hurting you want to do what you can to help. I contacted the director and told her I wanted to contribute a portion of the proceeds from my newest book. She cried. I had no idea that they are facing the worst budget crises in their history right now.
To donate please visit -

-What project are you working on next?

A murder mystery set in a retirement home. The people are hilarious, but the story is breaking my heart.

-What is your ultimate dream book that you hope to write someday?

I'd love to write a daybook for mothers with inspirational thoughts, fitness and health tips, recipes, parenting tips, etc. Accompanying the book would be a journal of sorts where mothers could record what they've accomplished. As a mom you sometimes wonder if you've done anything besides sprint from one mess to the next!
Right now I'm plenty busy with boys and fiction writing. Maybe someday when I've got some worthwhile advice I'll start the book.

-What is your best advice for up and coming writers?

Avoid time-wasters. If you want to write you need to actually get words down on your WIP. I find myself wasting so much time online with
yahoo groups, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Most writers I know are involved in a lot of these things for marketing's sake. I think that's fine, but all the marketing in the world isn't going to sell your book if the book isn't well-done. Get writing that fabulous book, then worry about the marketing.

If you would like to learn more about Cami, here are the links to
her blogs and website. They are well worth checking out.

****Please remember, if you have not entered the contest to win a copy of "Illuminations of the Heart" by Joyce DiPastena, you have until Monday, September 21st. Check the post down below to see how to enter. You can have three different entries by doing 3 simple things. I hope to see more of you taking the opportunity to try and win this great new historical romance.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Review of "Illuminations of the Heart" by Joyce DiPastena...Enter to win your own copy!

"Clothilde." He spoke her name on a breath like a prayer. Then he lowered his head and kissed her.

What a perfect scene! It truly belongs in a romance novel. The only problem is, the women being kissed is not Clothilde, her name is Siriol De Calendri. Triston, the hero in the novel, is still full of guilt because of the death of his late wife, Clothilde. Siri greatly resembles Triston's late wife, but is very different from her in personality and spirit. This is where the Historical novel begins. Can Siri win Triston's heart and help him heal from the past? Will Triston be able to keep Siri safe from the many enemies that threaten he and Siri's future together? You will need to read "Illuminations of the Heart" to have these questions answered.

I enjoy reading Joyce DiPastena's books. They are known for being "clean" romances. Now days, the idea of a clean romance is a very rare thing. This is not to say that you won't be swept away in the growing romance between Triston and Siri and the heat felt between them. They are clearly attracted to each other and their shared kisses made me yearn for a "Triston" in my life. You can safely read this book, as well as your teen-age daughter, and know that no sex will be spattered throughout the pages.

As for historical fiction lovers, this book will greatly appeal to you. Joyce does incredible research into this time period. I always feel like I learn new things when I read one of Joyce's books. She has a "Glossary of Medieval Terms" at the back of the book. For example, do you know what
"Crenellated" means? What does "Fealty" mean? Do you know what a "Hauberk" is? I found this Glossary very helpful as I read the book.

This sweet romance from Joyce is 425 pages long. It is well worth your time to read it. Hide away in a room, pull out the chocolate or popcorn, get comfortable and escape to the medieval times. I enjoyed getting lost in the romance and suspense that is interwoven in "Illuminations of the Heart."

If you would like to win your own copy of this new novel here are a few ways to enter:

-Look up one of the meanings to one of the medieval words I mentioned in this blog post. Tell me the definition to the word/s and that will count as one entry.

Post a comment telling me what is your favorite kind of Romance novel. What era appeals to you the most. This will be another entry for you.

-The third thing you can do, is to become a follower of one of my blogs, here at "Why Not Because I Said So" or at LDS Women's Book Review
If you decide to follow me at both blogs that will count as two entries.

One winner will be chosen from entries posted at both blogs. So start posting to win your own copy of this wonderful romance. You have one week to enter the contest. It will end next Monday night, Sept. 21st and the winner will be announced the next day.

Learn more about Joyce, her writing and research at:

You can purchase "Illuminations of the Heart" here at.... and

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Review of "Alma" By H.B.Moore

I have always loved the story of Alma and how he came to find the gospel after living a not so perfect life. This has always been one of my favorite parts of the Book of Mormon. So with great excitement I started reading the novel based on his life. I had already read Heather's previous novel, "Abinadi", which by the way won the 2008 Whitney Award for Historical fiction. She also won the 2007 Whitney Award in Historical Fiction for her book "Out of Jerusalem: Land of Inheritance, book#4 in a series.

I was entranced with the story of Abinadi. I kept hoping agai
nst hope that maybe just maybe he would make it in that novel, but sadly he died in the end, just as the scriptures told. "Alma" takes up where Abinadi ends. I would suggest reading Abinadi first or you may be lost about some of the characters and their story lines. With that said, "Alma" can be enjoyed on it's own, but I am a stickler for reading books in the right order when reading a series.

I know that Heather is one of the hardest working authors out there. The research she does, with her writing is similar as to what would be done while going to college. Even though she claims to get much of the information from her Father, an emeritus professor of ancient scripture at BYU,

she needs to humbly acknowledge herself here. I know that she puts in a lot of time thoroughly researching every book that she writes.

Here we (LDS Womens Book Review) are at the Whitney Awards, April, 2009: Sheila, Heather Moore, Shanda and Hillary.

Back to "Alma", let's just say... I loved it! Heather has a way of bringing the Book of Mormon people and the country they resided in to life. You can see the colors and smell the smells of the mountains and streams. I bec
ame so totally engrossed in this book, I forgot I had already read this story in the Book of Mormon. Heather is such a great writer that she brings new life to old stories. I was waiting anxiously through the whole book waiting to see what happened in the end. Don't be fooled by thinking you have already read this story because you have read the Book of Mormon 20 times. "Alma" not only gives you the details you have read before, but Heather adds the emotions these valiant people lived through as they faced great trials in their lives.

My Interview with H.B. (Heather) Moore:
I was very anxious to inter
view Heather and have her answer some questions about the novel and about herself. She sent the answers back quickly and here they are for you.

1.How did you decide on which Book of Mormon characters to put in your novels?

I looked at the prophets who I thought had a pretty tight story line, either in timeline or with a compelling set of circumstances. I chose to do the era of Abinadi and Alma because the conversion of Alma leads to the incredible conversion of so many others. And it all started with Abinadi’s willing sacrifice to preach until death.

2.Before you start writing, how much research do you do? What percent of your planning is spent on this research?

Most of the research I do before writing is actually talking to people and getting their take on a Book of Mormon figure. This helps me form the character, the age, and what others’ expectations are. I’ll add some of my own creativity—which usually comes from asking “what if” into the mix—but I do have a responsibility to stay as true to the scriptural text as possible and mesh my ideas with the readers’ vision. I, of course, closely study the scriptures I’m covering, word by word, line by line. I look up the cross references. I read commentaries written by gospel scholars on the particular verses I’ll be covering. From there, I leave a lot of highlighted questions as I write, then I go into reference books to find out the smaller details—like what a typical Mesoamerican family eats for breakfast!

3.How old were you when you gained this love for the Book of Mormon? It is clearly evident that you have a great love for this book from your writing.

I was in seminary when I first read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover in a relatively short time. I’d read the New Testament over and over as a youth because I had a really cool version with Olive Wood covers, and all of the words that Christ spoke were highlighted in red. So reading the Book of Mormon in a more serious light came when I was in high school. I read it off and on over the years, and when I was a young married mother, I took the “40 day” challenge and read it in 40 days. That really helped me piece together the timeline understand how the various groups of people fit together.

4.When is the best time for you to write?

This changes every season. My youngest just started “kitten-garten,” and so my writing time is 12:45-3:10. Yes—every minute counts! When my second book was “due” to the publisher, I had to really work hard to meet the deadline—which consisted of writing from 4:00-7:00 a.m. Luckily I only had to do that for about 6 weeks.

5.How long did it take you to write your first book?

How long does it take you now to write a novel?

I wrote my very first book in about 12 weeks. I wasn’t editing as I went, but just writing freely. I wrote about 2,000 words a day, which I can do in about 2 hours if I really stay focused (no emails!). That first book was historical fiction (WWII) and still isn’t published. But the Book of Mormon books are quite intensive with the research. I’d say it takes a good five months from start to the second draft stage. That is if I write 1,000-2,000 words a day/5 days a week. This does not include research time, so I have to account for that as well. Writing is only the beginning—I also have to go through the editing process before submitting and that can take about 4 weeks if my beta readers are willing to turn around an edit in 1-2 weeks.

6.What are your future goals or dreams as a writer?

I’ll continue to write for the LDS market as long as the readers support me. I also have other manuscripts that I’ve written for the national market; I hope they will see a publisher one day.

7.What is the main thing you hope your readers to gain from reading your novel, " Alma "?

Alma is really a novel about second chances and the power of redemption. Some of the characters have lived lives of iniquity and as they discover and accept the truthfulness of the gospel, they find it challenging to accept the Atonement in its entirety. Most of the characters have gone through some horrific trials, and they learn to rely on the Lord in a most complete and utter way when they are essentially living in a pit of despair. I hope the readers come away with renewed hope and comfort that we can only find in placing our whole hearts and burdens upon the altar before the Lord and trusting in Him.

8.Tell me about the next book/s that you are writi

ng now.

I recently started writing the sequel to Alma. You guessed it: Alma the Younger. This new book opens up about 20 years after Alma the Elder and his people arrive in Zarahemla. One of the questions I’m asking myself is how do I have three to four “A” names in the same scene? Alma the Younger, Alma the Elder, Ammon, Aaron . . . It gets confusing! Nicknames, anyone?

Next Spring/Summer my first non-fiction book will be released: Women of the Book of Mormon. I’m really excited about it—I’ve found 12 women to write about and the research led to some fascinating insights. My initial purpose for writing a non-fiction book was to share parts of the research that I did while researching my Out of Jerusalem series. When I get

Alma the Younger drafted to a point that I can step away for a couple of weeks, I’ll be working on edits for the non-fiction book.

9.What is your best advice for aspiring writers?

Okay, you asked for it. I’ll do a list so that it’s not too overwhelming:

  1. Writer’s write.
  2. Writers finish manuscripts.
  3. Writers educate themselves on the publishing industry (think college—yes, it’s intensive).
  4. Writers accept critiques—the good, the bad, the ugly.
  5. Writers re-write.
  6. Writers submit to agents/publishers.
  7. Writers network.
  8. Writers continually improve their craft through reading, attending writers’ conferences and workshops.
  9. Writers learn to self-promote.
  10. Writers don’t give up. Nor do they wait around, they write that 2nd manuscript.
I recommend this book to anyone who has a great love for the Book of Mormon people. I also recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading a story written by an author who writes free-flowing stories. Heather is one of those LDS authors I have been telling you about that i s very talented and a superb writer.

Heather's novel, "Abinadi" also won the 2009 Best of State in Literary Arts award.
I can clearly see that Heather has many more exciting things in her future in the literary world.

Please go visit her at her blog here:
or go directly to her website at

The book "Alma", "Abinadi" and her "Out of Jerusalem series can be purchased at:

You can also go to and listen to Episode 35 where we had Heather Moore and author Annette Lyon as our guests for a July 2009, podcast. It is a lot of fun to hear them talk about their books and writing.