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 »

2024 Goodreads Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Sheila has read 4 books toward her goal of 100 books.

Monday, November 30, 2009

My review of "An Angel on Main Street" by Kathi Oram Peterson

Micah Conners promised his mother he would be good in his new town. But with Christmas being only three days away, being escorted home by the sheriff does not bode well. Can the towering office be trusted not to tell what happened? Perhaps the ramshackle stable that has appeared on Main Street will side track him from spilling the day's events--or maybe his interest in Micah's widowed mother would do the trick. The last thing Dawn Conners needs is to hear her son is in trouble. She has enough to worry about with her husband gone and her daughter, Annie, ill.
Even though Micah has told his sister the rustic structure in the middle of town is simply part of the town's decorations, Annie is sure that unseen angels are building the crude stable--which means baby Jesus is coming, and He can make her better. Terrified that his little sister might die, Micah vows to find the baby Jesus for Annie, even if it is only a plastic doll. But as Micah gets nearer to his goal he finds that angels are closer than he ever would have believed.

I am always looking for some new Christmas stories to get me in the Christmas spirit. When I was asked to review Kathi Oram Peterson's new book, "An Angel on Main Street", I jumped at the chance. I had read Kathi's first book and I know what a good writer she is. I was not disappointed at all in this book. The book is a short, quick read. My Mom also read the book and enjoyed the story.

This book is full of emotion and yes, I was in tears at the end. Even though the story is centered around a troubled youth, he has had to mature in ways most teens never do. With a widowed mother and a very sick little sister, Annie, Micah has to learn how to "take care" of the family. Micah struggles throughout much of the book. He learns how to open up his heart to others. Micah also learns a great lesson in unselfishness.

The miracles of Christmas are also at the forefront of this book. This time of year we all want to have more faith and hope in our lives. Kathi brings this message out so beautifully in the book. One of my favorite characters in the book, besides Micah, is the town's Sheriff who befriends Micah and helps him along his journey of healing and growth.

I really don't want to say more, because it would give too much away. I want you to read this 100 page book from Covenant Communications and be touched as I was at the ending. This book would make a great Christmas gift for others or a great gift to yourself.

Kathi is hosting a contest through December 15th.

“To enter, write about an experience you’ve had with someone who became an angel in your life. This contest celebrates the selfless, kind acts performed daily, many times unnoticed. If you are like me, many people have helped you through times of trouble. Let’s face it, small acts of kindness shown to us by others needs to be remembered and celebrated especially during the holidays. Christmas brings out the best in people and I wanted to give others the opportunity to thank those who have touched their lives in a profound way. Hopefully this contest will remind us of the angels in our lives” (Kathi Oram Peterson.)
You can enter by emailing Kathi here. The winner will be announced on Kathi’s blog, and both the winner and their “Angel” will be awarded a gift certificate to either Seagull Book or Deseret Book.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Review of "The Ball's In Her Court"

She's got a great job, a loving group of family and friends and basketball skills like you wouldn't believe, but Denise DeWalt's life is far from perfect, and she's about to come face-to-face with a past she hoped to leave behind forever.

Twenty-six-year-old Denise thinks she's come to terms with her childhood in the foster care system, but when her old nightmares return, Denise realizes that she must deal with her past once and for all if she ever wants to move on to a brighter future with Rich, the only man who can see past her former life. As Denise's search leads her closer and closer to the one person she hoped she'd never have to face again, she begins to realize that her future depends on just one person--herself.

This emotional and inspirational love story proves that life is full of unexpected twists and turns--especially when it comes to facing your demons, fighting for love, and finding happiness for the future.

I was so happy to receive a review copy of "The Ball's In Her Court". At first glance you think that this is going to be another lighthearted LDS Romance. I am here to say, nothing could be further from the truth. This story is one that tugs at your heart strings and also makes you take a second look at the foster care system.

This novel also explores how hard it is to heal from traumatizing events in our lives. It not only can take many years of love and support from those around you, but it also requires you to turn it over to the Lord. Denise struggles throughout the novel allowing others to love her. Denise also faces the hard task of forgiving her birth mother. Many of us have a hard time with forgiving others for small things; just imagine trying to forgive your birth mother for the abuse she allowed to happen to you as a small child.

This book was an interesting read for me for one huge reason, I was adopt
ed after I was born. It made me think of many things such as my own birth mother and whether I have half siblings out there somewhere. Personally, I have never felt the desire to search for my birth parents. I have been blessed with the most wonderful parents in the world and they are my best friends. The only reason I would pursue contact with my birth family would be to acquire a medical background. This novel still brought so many feelings to the surface for me. I was very happy for Denise as she found members of her birth family, but I realized this needed to happen for her as she pursued her journey of healing.

The Romance in this story...Oh my! Yes, the romance is fantastic! Rich is a man that any woman would love to have in their life. One other reviewer of this book mentioned, that Heather really knows how to write a great kissing scene. I want to also add that YES she does! Rich truly hangs in there and fights for Denise. How many men would do that? Hopefully there are men out there that have done that.

I also wanted you to know, that Heather is very qualified to write this story about the foster care system. Heather and her husband have foster parented fifteen children. What loving people they are to so unselfishly help and love these children. One more thing, this is Heather's first published novel and she has done a very fine job.

If you would like to learn more about Heather and her books she is now working on,visit her blog or website at...

I want to thank Cedar Fort Publishing for sending me this free copy of "The Ball's In Her Court". You can purchase this book at their website at

Friday, November 20, 2009

Winner of the Contest, New Moon and Fablehaven 4

Sorry about the lateness of announcing the winner of "Women of Virtue". I ended up having an unplanned root canal this week and it threw me off my schedule. Now that I am out of pain and out of money, I knew that it was time to blog.

Let's start with the winner of the contest. The person who won the copy of "Women of Virtue" is...
JoAnn Arnold. Congratulations to JoAnn you will receive your copy soon. Please e-mail me your address so I can send you your book.

Last night, along with 100's of other people, mainly young and older women, went to see the movie "New Moon" What an experience! There were so many people there at the District, you could hardly breathe. It was a fun night that I was able to share with my daughter and my friends. The movie was good and much better than the first movie, Twilight. The new director really made a difference in the quality of film that was made. I also think that they were given a lot more money because the special effects were outstanding.
Twilight - New Moon Poster
The downside to all of this, we didn't get home until almost 3:00 in the morning. It is amazing, having only had 3 1/2 hours of sleep, I have done very well today. I taught today and wasn't as tired as thought I would be. By the way...I am on Team Edward, though Jacob looked pretty darn good last night. Go see New Moon, even if you haven't read the book. It is worth the price of a ticket.

I just recently finished reading "Fablehaven 4: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary". Once again I was taken in with the magic found in a Fablehaven book. This book is another wonderful addition to the series. Now that Kendra and Seth have grown up so much, they both are becoming incredible and powerful characters. I know that the recommended reading age for this book is 9-12, but seriously folks, this is an exciting read for all ages. It sucks you in until the very last page. Speaking of the last page, in fact the last sentence, it ends with a huge shocker! There are many things that take you completely by surprise. This is a series that has continually gotten better and better with each installment. It is exciting, it has great bad guys and monsters, wonderful dangerous places the characters visit etc. If you have not taken the opportunity to read the Fablehaven books, you should. I have read them by myself and also with my kids. I give "Fablehaven 4: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary" 5 stars.
Cover Image

Coming soon on my blog, an interview with the wife of a fantastic writer, Book tour reviews for Kathi Orem Peterson's new Christmas book, "An Angel on Main Street", and "The Ball's in Her Court" by Heather Justesen. I also will be giving you my suggestions for your Christmas Book giving. I will try and give you some ideas for people of all ages and genres. There were so many great books released this past year, this list may be a long one. So please come back again, because there are many fun things planned for the next several months on my blog. Happy Reading!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Review of "Dragon Spear" by Jessica Day George

Wonderful ending to a great series; I just wish that there were more. I do feel that Jessica left everyone, including the dragons, in a good place. Anyone that has read "Dragon Slippers", must read "Dragon Flight" and "Dragon Spear". It is a fun journey, reading the trilogy, watching Creel grow up and fall in love. It also is satisfying getting to know the dragons better throughout the course of the series. Personally, Shardas has been my favorite from the beginning. I think that if I had been Creel, I also would have grown the closest to Shardas. I grew to love Velika more in this third book.

This book is a must read for dragon lovers and readers who yearn for happy endings. Jessica is such a talented writer. I love the way she weaves so much excitement into her stories. I have also enjoyed, how these books, have created a strong bond between me and my daughter. We both have loved reading these books together.

I always look forward to the next book from Jessica!

Don't forget to enter the drawing for a chance to win a copy of the book, "Women of Virtue" by Jodi Marie Robinson. This will be a great addition to any family library and to those who are raising daughters or are involved in the Young Women's Program. You have until Tuesday night to enter the drawing. For more information, read the post below.

View all my reviews >>

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Review of "Women of Virtue" by Jodi Marie Robinson. Enter to win a copy of this book.

On the front cover of this book it says, "True beauty is felt more than it is seen." This is a message that too few women/girls hear or believe in.

Jodi quotes President Gordon B. Hinckley:

"Of all the creatures of the almighty there is none more beautiful, none more inspiring than a lovely daughter of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so."

Jodi has written a book that we should share with our children; especially our daughters. Today, more than any time in history, we need to spread the word why virtue should be something that we strive for in our lives. I love that this book outlines the many facets of virtue; much more than just sexual purity. For example, here are some of the chapter titles...

-In the World But Not of the World
-The Virtue of God's Word
-The Beauty of Purity, Not Perfectionism
-The Greatest Virtue is Charity
-A Modest Women is Beautiful
-The Body is Sacred and Divine
-Walking Away From Vanity
-The Beauty of Working Together as Sisters in Christ

I wish that I could share with you the many things I felt were written for me to specifically read. Every time I turned the page, something jumped out that made me stop and ponder, "Be happy living your not-so-fairy-tale life." Sad, but I do need that reminder some days to try to be happy while I am "enduring" my trials. I also learned a fabulous new idea, to put together a "Scripture Basket", to help my family try to do a better job with scripture reading.

Believe me when I say, that whatever you are looking for concerning any of the principles related to virtue, it can be found here. I wish that this book could be a companion piece to the Young Women's' manual, now that "Virtue" has been added to the Young Women Theme. This can be found on

A Return to Virtue
"Now is the time for a return to virtue!"

The attribute and value of Virtue has been added to the Young Women theme. "Virtue is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards. It encompasses chastity and moral purity."

The time has come for the young women of the Church to lead the world in a return to virtue. This is the time to be pure and to qualify for the guidance of the Holy Ghost. In the coming year, it is our desire that all young women and their leaders focus on the meaning of virtue, what young women can do to accept and act upon this value, and how this attribute can strengthen young women as they prepare to be worthy to make and keep sacred covenants and receive temple ordinances.

This all means more to me now that my daughter will be turning 12 soon. I want so much for her to have a happy life and I know that the road to the future is not an easy one. I want her to learn to believe in herself. I want her to learn to love herself. I want her to learn the value of living a good life. I know that I will be using this book for many future discussions that we will be having as Mother and daughter.

I hope that you will read "Women of Virtue". This book is written so you can pick it up and read any chapter that you want, in any order. Jodi's style of writing is easy and free flowing. I also loved how many personal stories she shared throughout the book.

As you read this book, you will feel as I did, that Jodi was inspired from above in writing every page of this book. Jodi Marie Robinson

Feel free to go visit Jodi's blog at

Her book can be purchased at and at .

This book would make a great Christmas present for any women that you know. If you would like a copy of this book before Christmas, enter the drawing to win a copy at "Why Not Because I Said So" blog spot or at "LDS Womens Book Review" blog spot. There is only one copy available and the name will be drawn from the entries placed at both blogs. All that you need to do is comment on this post and you will be entered into the drawing. Good luck! You will have a week to enter the drawing and a winner will be chosen next Tuesday, November 17, 2009.

I want to thank Cedar Fort publishing for sending the free copies of "Women of Virtue" for me and the one lucky winner.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Review of "Am I Not A Man" by Mark Shurtleff

I have heard of and knew the basic story of Dred Scott. Now, after reading "Am I Not A Man?", a historical novel, by Mark Shurtleff, I know the man behind the name. Dred Scott was more than a black slave from the 1800's, who wanted his freedom. If we left that definition to the name, we would be missing tremendously on who this man truly was. He was a man of courage, great faith, loyalty and love. Dred Scott fought for the things that we take for granted these days; the fact that we are free to be who we want to be and live like we want to live in a free land.

For those, who are not familiar with Dred Scott and his historic court battle, here is a summary found on the back of the book.

An illiterate slave, Dred Scott trusted in an all-white, slave-owning jury to declare him free. But after briefly experiencing the glory of freedom and manhood, a new state Supreme Court ordered the cold steel of the shackles to be closed again around his wrists and ankles. Falling to his knees, Dred cried, "Ain't I a man?" Dred answered his own question by rising and taking his fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dred ultimately lost his epic battle when the Chief Justice declared that a black man was so inferior that he had "no rights a white man was bound to respect."

Dred died not knowing that his undying courage led directly to the election of President Abraham Lincoln and the emancipation proclamation.

Dred Scott's inspiring and compelling true story of adventure, courage, love, hatred, and friendship parallels the history of this nation from the long night of slavery to the narrow crack in the door that would ultimately lead to freedom and equality for all men.

For those who are not familiar with this famous case here are the facts (found on this site at


In 1846, Dred Scott, a slave, sued in a Missouri court for his freedom from his master. Scott argued that his service for Dr. Emerson in Illinois, a state from which slavery has been excluded by the Missouri Compromise, made him a free man. Eventually, the case reached the Supreme Court made of nine judges who interpreted the Constitution in regards to cases. At that time the court reflected the attitudes of the time and in a 7-2 decision ruled against Scott. The most important point in this case was that blacks were not considered people but property and since they were property they could not petition for rights. Chief Justice Taney wrote that it was "too clear to dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended" by the men that signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 to be included as citizens of the nation they sought to establish.

Scott lost the case but this further separated the northern and southern states. Slavery was the foundation of southern economy and society. The north was effected by the growing abolitionist and universal movement against slavery. The Dred Scott case only added to the growing anti-slavery movement and divisions between the two regions of the United

I need to say right here,before telling you more about the book, even though this book is told in narrative form, it is still a book chock full of history. For someone like me who loves to read about historical events, ( I did take 40 hours of history classes in college) this book was very satisfying. If you have never been a fan of history, this book might not be your favorite read. After stating this fact: everyone should read this book. It brings to the forefront of our minds the importance of fighting for something that we believe in. It shows how man's spirit, even when beaten down, can still rise and fight another day. There were many people, not only Dred Scott fighting for the freedom of the slaves, but Dred's friends, the Blows, all the way up to President Abraham Lincoln.

Another fact about this book, it is very well written. Even though it is his first published book, Mark Shurtleff did an amazing job! Throughout the telling of Dred's story, you become emotionally involved as you read of the heartbreak of this man's life. You can't help but feel great sorrow about how families were broken up because of slavery. Mark Shurtleff not only told an important story, but he was able to write the emotion into the story that changed our nation.

Dred Scott died, having never won his freedom; but his heroic fight forever changed our nation. With this historic case, it led to the election of another great man, President Abraham Lincoln. The American Civil War eventually led to the end of slavery.

Quoting Jordan McCollum, from her wonderful blog post/review on this book she reminds us:

Ultimately, the Supreme Court reversed this decision, relegating the African Americans to the status of property, not human before the law in 1857. Although later freed (because his widowed owner remarried to a prominent abolitionist Congressman), Dred died before the beginning of the bloodiest war in American history, the 13th Amendment (which abolished slavery—not the Emancipation Proclamation, folks!), and the 14th Amendment (which made former slaves full citizens—well, the men, anyway. While the 15th Amendment gave freed slaves the right to vote, women would wait another 60 years for the vote.).

Let's just say,
as I am needing to end this post, I am grateful to have received a free copy of this book from Valor Publishing to review. This book, once again, made me stop and think about myself and this great country that I love. It reminded me, that all of us must continually fight, for the freedoms that have been ours. It also reminded me of the great people that have and continue to make, The United States of America, the greatest country on Earth.

Read this book and I promise you, that something inside of you will forever be changed. Thank you Mark Shurtleff, for writing such a compelling book!

You can purchase this book at and Barnes and Noble.


Mark L. Shurtleff attended Brigham Young University, University of Utah College of Law and University of San Diego School of Law. He lived in Peru for two years, absorbing the culture and living amongst the Peruvian people.

Mark began his legal career by serving four years in the United States Navy Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG), then was a lawyer in Southern California.

Mark was a Deputy County Attorney and a Commissioner of Salt Lake County. He then became an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Utah. He was elected Attorney General in November 2000, and was re-elected in November 2004 and again in November 2008. He is the first Attorney General in Utah to win re-election for a third term.

Mark is married with five children. He is an Eagle Scout, fluent in Spanish and this is his first novel.