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
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
Targets in Ties
Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island
With a Name like Love
Sean Griswold's head

Sheila's favorite books »

2022 Goodreads Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge
Sheila has read 6 books toward her goal of 90 books.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Easter Books for You and Your Family

With Easter rapidly approaching, I wanted to show you some books I recently found and that I am thinking about purchasing. As we try to share with our family about why we celebrate Easter, these books will help facilitate your endeavors. I hope that you will enjoy looking through them.

"Behold the Lamb of God": An Easter Celebration (Hard Cover Book) Edited by Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, Frank F. Judd Jr., and
Thomas A. Wayment

Followers of Jesus Christ since the beginning have referred to their Savior as the Lamb of God. While down by the river Jordan, John the Baptist was baptizing those who desired to follow the Savior.

When the Savior approached the Baptist, John declared, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). After John baptized Jesus, he bore record "that he had baptized the Lamb of God" (1 Nephi 10:10). The next day, when John and two of his disciples saw Jesus, the Baptist again proclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God!" (John 1:36). Featuring beautiful artwork, this volume celebrates the life and sacrifice of the Lamb of God.

My First Story of the First Easter (Board Book) retold by Deanna Draper Buck, illustrated by Jerry Harston

Here is a wonderful way to introduce your little ones to the real meaning of Easter.

Written in language that can be understood by young readers or read aloud to preschoolers, My First Story of the First Easter tells the stories of the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, and Christ's appearance to the Nephites, explaining the Atonement and Resurrection in simple, understandable terms.

Parents, grandparents, and teachers will welcome this newest addition to their child's gospel library.

Easter Walk: A Treasure H
unt for the Real Meaning of Easter (Hard Cover Book) Written by Deborah Race Rowley, illustrated by Dan Burr

Follow Tyler and Amy as they take a much-anticipated Easter walk with their grandpa. Using clues from the scriptures, they find six objects that symbolize specific moments in the Easter story.

For example, they find something sharp to remind them of the Savior's crown of thorns and something made of wood to remind them of the cross. As they walk, they learn important lessons about Easter and its particular message for their family, and yours.

This touching story beautifully illustrates the importance of the Savior's Atonement and Resurrection as it helps us remember the true meaning of Easter. It teaches the eternal truth that families can be together forever.

The Gift of the Atonement: Favorite Writings on the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ by Various Authors

In this unique collection, some of the most important and inspirational writings from Church leaders and other beloved writer's about Christ's great atoning sacrifice have been assembled. Each chapter increases our understanding of this extraordinary and marvelous event, offering insights on the plan of salvation, grace and repentance, and resonates with gospel truth.

Presented as a beautiful gift book to share with family and friends, the pages of this small treasure are filled with hope and reassurance. The Gift of the Atonement will urge readers to embrace the Savior's invitation to follow Him and claim the wondrous blessings of exaltation.
"In the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way." -Ether 12:11

The Gift of the Atonement includes favorite writings from:
Melvin J. Ballard, Ezra Taft Benson, Tad R. Callister, J. Reuben Clark Jr., Sheri Dew, Marie Hafen, Patricia T. Holland, Howard W. Hunter, Ardeth G. Kapp, Spencer W. Kimball, Janet Lee, Gerald N. Lund, Truman G. Madsen, W. Jeffrey Marsh, Bruce R. McConkie, Joseph Fielding McConkie, David O. McKay, Robert L. Millet, Hu
gh Nibley, Chieko N. Okazaki, Stephen E. Robinson, Marion G. Romney, James E. Talmage, John Taylor, Brent L. Top, Wendy L. Watson, Orson F. Whitney, . . . and others.

In the Garden (Hard Cover Book) by Caralyn Buhner, Illustrated by Brandon Dorman

What happened in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross are difficult things for anyone to grasp, especially children.

Did Jesus fell a lot of pain? Was he all alone? Why did he have to go through that experience? How did he die? When was he resurrected? And why is all of this important to me?

True to the sciptural accounts, this tender and inspiring book follows Jesus in his journey from the Passover to the Garden of Gethsemane and from Golgotha to the Resurrection. Beautifully written and illustrated, it will help children better comprehend the most significant events in the history of the world - the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his becoming the Savior of the World.

Though this is a very short list of Easter books that are available, these are the ones that caught my eye. If you are interested in any of them or other books about Easter, you can find them at these websites or at the actual bookstores. The most important thing is to make The Savior the center of our Easter celebration. These books are one way to help us in doing so.

Deseret Book

BYU Bookstore

Seagull Book

Thursday, March 25, 2010

And the Winner Is...

I know that this is a little late in coming, but I have a winner of the book, " Love Your Body: A Diet-Free Approach to Balanced Eating by Brooke Parker. I used "The Hat" a random way to draw a winner out of a virtual hat. The winner is...L.T. Elliot! Congratulations on being the winner of this wonderful book. I know I have been reading my copy and finding it very useful. Please e-mail me your address and I will get your copy to you! Thanks to those who participated in the drawing.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Taffy's Candy: Library-Loving Blog Challenge

My friend Taffy has a fun challenge going on over at her blog. If you go and comment on her blog post, she will donate $1.00 to her local library.

Here is what she says:

"How easy could it be? You comment, I cough up the money, the library gets a gift! If you don’t know what to say in your comment, “I love libraries” will do. Note that my pledge is “per commenter”—so if a single person leaves 50 comments, that still only counts once! But you can do more by spreading the word ... please link to this post, tweet about it, and send your friends here so they can comment and raise more money. If you’re moved to make a flat-fee donation to your library, or to start your own challenge, you are quite welcome, and please leave that information in the comments."

So, please head on over to Taffy's Candy HERE and help her in her library challenge to raise money for her library.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Review of "Summer In Paris" by Michele Ashman Bell

Michele Ashman Bell, known for her wonderful, clean romances, has written a super young adult novel. The way that Michele describes it is, a riches to rags story. This is the first novel Michele has written for the new Valor Publishing Group.

Here is what "Summer in Paris" is about...

Kenzie Williams feels like she has it all; wealth, friends, popularity and talent. But when her father tells her that he has declared bankruptcy, her whole world in New York City turns upside down. Her parents' solution while they sort through their financial and marital problems is to send Kenzie to live with her relatives in Paris . . . Idaho!

Feeling like she's been sentenced to three months in Hickville Prison, Kenzie arrives in Idaho feeling like a square peg, with name brand clothes, in a round, horribly podunk, hole.

Leaving everything she loves behind, Kenzie is forced to get up at the crack of dawn, do chores, and hang out with her cousin's loser friends. She feels like she's about to die until she meets Adam White, the town outcast, whose been accused of killing his best friend and is being blamed for some trouble that's been happening around town.

Not only is Adam the best-looking guy she's ever seen, but he's also the most fascinating guy she's ever met and Kenzie is determined to get to know him and find out his secret. But, the longer she stays in Paris, the more she realizes, Adam isn't the only one keeping secrets.

I really enjoyed reading "Summer in Paris". It was especially fun to read because I have been to that area several times. I know what a small and quaint community it is. To someone like Kenzie moving there from the big city, you could see how shocking it would be.

I liked Kenzie from the beginning. She may appear bratty at first to readers, but I felt like she was a product of the way that she was raised and knew nothing else. Kenzie is thrown into a situation that she had no control over, so you can see why she probably acted the way she did when first arriving in Paris, Idaho.

Another aspect that I loved about the story is how so many of the characters truly grow into better people. Surprisingly, Kenzie has a lot to do with the growth of her new friends. Not only does Kenzie develop into a caring and thoughtful young lady, but she helps others along the way.

I know that my 12 year old daughter can't wait to read this novel. She kept peeking over my shoulder when I would start laughing about something. Even though this book was mainly written for teens, as an adult,it made me think about myself. Many times in our lives we are thrown into a situation where we have no control over what has happened to us. The critical part is how we react or respond to the events in our lives. As Kenzie was going through certain "trials" in her life, I thought of how I would have responded or have reacted in my own life. Kenzie learns ultimately what is truly important in life. This idea is presented in the novel in a good way and not preachy at all. I know that you and your kids/grand kids will enjoy reading "Summer in Paris".

I had the great privilege to interview the very sweet and kind Michele Ashman Bell. I hope that you will enjoy reading the answers that she gave to me.

1. What was your inspiration for writing, "Summer in Paris"?

I got the idea when we drove through the town of Paris, Idaho. Because of the name my imagination started going crazy with possibilities. I wanted to write a "riches to rags" story and this became the perfect venue. My favorite books are ones where the main character goes through some sort of life crisis and experiences major growth as a person. This is what happens to the Kenzie, the main character. She's not someone you love at the beginning, but hopefully by the end she's won your heart because she finally realizes what's really important in life.

2. Is the main character Kenzie based on someone you know? Maybe a daughter
or niece?

Kenzie is a composite of many different people, and a lot of my imagination. Her love of dance is definitely from my middle daughter, her love of name brand clothes and shoes and shopping is from my oldest daughter, and her attitude is something I picked up while working for years with young women. To be a dancer she had to have a slim build, but I wanted to make sure I promoted a healthy image.

3. I know that you have a daughter that is a wonderful dancer. Did you
consult with her on some of the scenes where Kenzie was practicing ballet?

Absolutely. She wouldn't have let me hear the end of it if I didn't get the ballet scene and references exactly right. I actually interviewed her about how a class is structured and about how it feels to dance, not just physically, but emotionally. It was cool to get inside her head and heart and feel her passion. A person doesn't achieve that level of dance if they don't love it with all of their heart.

4. Do you enjoy writing more for teenagers or for adults?

Both. I can't choose. I still feel and act like a teenager most of the time and I still vividly remember the angst and drama and excitement of being a teenager. It is not hard for me to connect with a teen character and really get inside of them. But, womens issues are very
close to my heart and I love to explore emotions and motivations for people and their actions and choices. I am such an advocate of empowering women and giving them strong characters who overcome great obstacles in life. Every one of my main characters is my hero!

5. Where do you do most of your writing? How much writing do you try to get
done each day?

The majority of my writing is done in my office in the basement. I have this little room without any windows and that is where I do my work. I get distracted so easily that I find I am more focused when I shut myself in my office and get lost in my story. I am lucky if I get one to two hours a day. Between family, church callings (I have two), book reviews, and teaching aerobics, that's about all I can squeeze in.

6. Why did you choose the Bear Lake/Paris Idaho area for your book's
setting? My Dad was born in that area and I have many ancestors buried in
the cemetery there.My ancestors were some of the first white, Mormon
settlers in the area. It was fun for me to read the book.

You are so lucky to have such a strong connection to that area that

has such a wonderful history. About seven years ago our family went
to Bear Lake on a vacation. I had never been there before and was
quite surprised at how beautiful the lake and the Bear Lake Valley
was. Someone was telling me about the area and mentioned a town
called Paris. I was shocked. I'd never heard of Paris, Idaho before.
I told my family we had to drive to Paris because I had to see this
place. It is a tiny, don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it sort of town, but
it is quaint and charming and I knew I had to use it for a setting and
take advantage of the town name.

7. Can you share the message that you hope young adults, as well as adults,
can gain from reading "Summer in Paris"?

This is such a good question! There are several themes in this story

that I hope will resonate with readers. One of the main messages is
peer pressure and having the courage to stand up for yourself and what
you believe in. Kids are bombarded with pressures from all sides and
I want them to learn to have confidence and courage to not cave into
those pressures. And to choose good friends. I also think that the
story shows that you can't always judge people based on appearance.
Some people seem harmless on the outside, then you find out they have
a dark side, and secrets. Others may look like they don't fit in and
are considered outcasts, but inside they are wonderful individuals.
Of course, one of the most tender messages is the importance of
. Holy cow . . . is there a limit to how many themes a book can

8. What book/s are you working on now?

I have about a gazillion book ideas in my head and seriously need to find more time to write. Right now I am desperately trying to finish up the third book in my Butterfly Box series. It is the final book so I have a lot of loose ends to tie up. I'm so excited about it and have loved the characters of this series. I'm going to miss them when it's done. I have a sequel to "Summer in Paris" that is percolating and will be my next project.

9. What do you enjoy the most about writing and having your books published?

I love everything about writing. Even revisions - although for me, that is the most difficult part. The creative process is so much fun and so rewarding. I absolutely love to do research and find that I get overzealous with my research and end up with tons more material than I need. I love learning! (Too bad I didn't feel like this in high school!) When it comes to being published there really is nothing more exciting than
going to the library and typing your name in and seeing your books come up. I still love doing that! But the greatest reward is when someone takes time to write to me and tell me that one of my books has touched them in some way, or even helped them in their life. Wow, that's really what it's all about.

Here is the purchase link for "Summer in Paris":

If you would like to know more about Michele and her books please go to her website here.

I also really love to go and visit Michele's blog here. She has done some of the best author interviews I have read.

You can follow Michele on facebook or twitter.


I also want to remind all of you, that the drawing is still open to win a copy of "Love Your Body". Please go to the post below this one to find out how to enter to win the book. The drawing will end this Saturday at midnight. Then the winner will be announced on Monday.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My 2010 Reading Challenges Update: 3-13-10/ Taking Chances AND enter to win a free book!

Here is my most recent update on my reading challenges for 2010. One challenge is moving ahead faster than the other.

Young Adult Reading Challenge:

I have read seven Young Adult books so far in 2010. My goal is to read 75 Young Adults books by the end of the year. I know that I will be inching ahead in this challenge as the year progresses. Many of the books that I want to read in 2010 are Young Adult books. Most of them are just starting to come out starting this month. I still have plenty of time to reach this goal.

2010 100+ Reading Challenge:

I have read 23 books so far for this reading challenge. I am doing better in this challenge because of all of the books I have been reading for the Whitney Awards. I need to have the 5 finalists read in each category by April 3rd, when the voting needs to be done. I have been reading like a crazy women and enjoying it along the way. The thing that I have enjoyed the most is the wide variety of books that I have been able to read.I know that there are some books that I never would have read if not having to read them for the Whitneys.

I think that this is a lesson for all of us. Sometimes we need to take more chances in life. Maybe one small area this can be done is in our reading selections. We tend at times to stick with the safe, normal things that we are used to. How often do we step outside of the box and take a chance on something new? Many times as these new opportunities come along, we are surprised and enriched by the new things.
My challenge for you readers is this, go peruse your local book store. Carefully sail past the section you normally drift to and hang out. (Yes, hanging out at a book store IS great fun for me!) Wander off to a section you only glance at and actually go and stand there and look at the covers. When a cover catches your eyes take the book and read the back cover. Then here is where the fun starts, actually go and sit down somewhere and read the first chapter. This experience is called, "Taking Chances". The good things is, it is not life threatening, is not expensive and doesn't make you gain weight. It also can help you discover something new and interesting about yourself and your interests.

Now after you have done this activity, please come back here and share about your experience. Reading a new genre of book is not the only way to take chances. If you try anything new, maybe a new food, recipe, etc. you also can come back here to share about that. Those who share about this experience get one entry in the drawing for a chance to win a copy of "Love Your Body: A Diet-Free Approach to Balanced Eating" By Brooke Parker. I blogged about this book last week.

So how can you enter to win this book? Here you go....

#1-Share here on my blog how you took a chance on something new and how it went.

#2-Become a follower on my blog. If you are already a follower, you already have one entry in the drawing. If you have one of your friends come follow my blog, let me know and you get 2 entries.

#3-Tell about this blog about taking chances and the drawing on your blog. Let me know here that you placed this on your blog with a link.

#4- Tell others about the drawing on facebook and twitter and then you get 2 more entries.

OK Ready, Set, Go...Take Some Chances!

Friday, March 12, 2010

My Review of "Once Upon a Time An Adoption Story" By Ashley Hansen Bigler and Amy Hintze

I received a very beautiful childrens book to review. Not only does it have a great story, but the illustrations are realistic and so well done. Even better, this story made me cry while I read it to my kids.

Here is the premise of the book

"A mother tells her young adopted daughter how, through the love of her birth mother and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, she came to be a part of her forever family
.Filled with beautiful illustrations by Amy Hintze, it is a sweet tale of a child's journey to her forever family. Written by Ashley Bigler."

My life has always
been surrounded by the miracle of adoption. My two older siblings, as well as myself, were all adopted as babies. I still remember the day that we all went to the Idaho Falls temple to be sealed together as an Eternal family. When my husband and I had trouble conceiving a child, of course the first thing that went through my mind was adoption. That was just the best and right thing to do. We were blessed by the gift of adoption when our daughter was sent to us. It was the happiest day of my life! I was finally a mom and it was because of the selfless gift of a precious birth mom.

Even though my daughter is now 12, I still wanted to sit and read it with her. As I read the book, I felt like the words were coming straight from my heart. All of the feelings that had been in my heart, as we went through each step of the adoption process, were being expressed in print.
The excitement we felt when we found that we had been chosen and had to call everyone to tell them.Some of the pages that truly made me cry were about meeting the birth mother. "I was even able to feel you move in her tummy. I couldn't believe how much I loved you without even seeing you." I can still remember that moment when I met my daughter's birth mother. I couldn't believe,that my soon-to- be little girl, was moving and kicking.

Another part of the book that made the tears flow was about meeting the baby for the first time, "That was the best day of all. You were the most beautiful baby. When I held you for the first time. it felt like I had known you forever. I never wanted to let you go, but I knew I had to share you with your Daddy."

Ashley and Amy have done such an amazing job with this book. You can feel the inspiration from above as you read this book. It makes you feel, how truly blessed everyone is who is touched by the miracle of adoption.

I highly recommend this book for all families who have been blessed to adopt their precious children. I also recommend this book, to give as a gift, for someone who may be struggling whether or not to adopt. You can see and feel, the pure joy and happiness, that comes from the miracle of adoption while reading this book.

The release date for Once Upon a Time: An Adoption Story is set for
April 2010
At that time, the book will be available from the publisher at If you would like a copy of the book before that, you can get it here on sale for 9.99. This is the website for Ashley Bigler where you can learn more about the book and the author.

If you are on facebook you can go join the group,
Once Upon a Time: An Adoption Story.

Thank you Ashley and Amy for sharing your talents. Also, thank you for all of the lives that you will bless when people read this book. I know as an adopted child, it made me feel very special.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Review of "Tribunal" by Sandra Grey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars I loved this sequel to Traitor; in fact I liked the sequel better than the first book. I wish that I could give this book 4 1/2 stars.

I was able to jump into this novel faster than the first one, mainly because I "knew" the characters from the 1st book. It was good to find out what happened to Rolf, after he was left in such a precarious position in Traitor. I absolutely love the character of Hans Brenner. He is a true, selfless hero.

I like Sandra Grey's writing style; it clicks with me. The way that the history is written is very interesting. The time period in this book takes place after WW2 has ended.

Overall, this was a quick read for me and was very enjoyable. Congratulations Sandra on writing another fabulous novel!

Tribunal is one of the 5 Whitney Awards Finalists in the Best Historical Fiction category. It is a very tough category, with many wonderful books up against Tribunal. Go to to read about the other books that are nominated along with Tribunal.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Review of "The Sapphire Flute" By Karen Hoover

I am very excited to tell you about a new Young Adult fantasy series that is starting. Book one in the Wolfchild Saga is called, "The Sapphire Flute" and is being released on March 16th, 2010. The Sapphire Flute was written by first time author, Karen E. Hoover.

Here is what the blurb says on the back cover:

"It has been 3,000 years since a white mage has been seen upon Rasann.In the midst of a volcanic eruption miles outside of her village, Ember discovers she can see magic and change the appearance of things at will. Against her mother's wishes, she leaves for the mage trials only to be kidnapped before arriving. In trying to escape, she discovers she has inherited her father's secret--a secret that places her in direct conflict with her father's greatest enemy.

At the same time, Kayla is given guardianship of the sapphire flute and told not to play it. The evil mage C'Tan has been searching for it for decades and the sound alone is enough to call her. For the flute to be truly safe, Kayla must f ind its birthplace in the mountains high above Javak. The girls' paths are set on a collision course...a course that C'Tan is determined to prevent at all costs."

Karen has done a wonderful job at creating this new world of Rasann and the magic system used in this world. This is always a big thing for me when I read a fantasy book. The more creative and exciting for me, the more believable it is. Magic in this world is woven together like a prism of colors. Karen writes with such wisdom, that superbly flows from her characters as they experience life. One quote that has stayed with me is something that was told to Kayla when she was doubting herself and how she had no choice with the way things happened in her life:

"There ye be wrong Kayla. Ye always have a choice. Ye just need the courage to take the chances when they come." I find that so inspiring I am going to type it up and hang it somewhere I can read it every day.

The story found in "The Sapphire Flute" is told from three different perspectives Ember, the misunderstood, young woman experiencing magic for the first time and who discovers many new things about herself along the way. Kayla, a talented young lady who only wants to be recognized for who she is,to save her family and keep The Sapphire Flute safe. Then of course there is the villain C'Tan, who wants desperately to destroy both of the girls lives on her way to ultimate power.

It is not very often to find three strong female leads in a book. I really think that women, young and old, will enjoy seeing this aspect in a fantasy book. Now, don't get me wrong, there are some wonderful male characters in this book such a Ember's Uncle Shad, who is described so deliciously, I could see him clearly in my mind from head to toe. Then there are Ember's strong and lively stepbrothers who would do anything to protect their younger sister. Truly, there are characters for all readers to relate to. The only male character that I was not sure about was Kayla's boyfriend, Brant. He appears good, but with seven books in the series, who knows what still may be revealed.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Karen on Friday night. This is one of the most fun and pleasant interviews I have ever done. I hope that you will get to know Karen better and also get more of a feeling of "The Sapphire Flute" and why it was written.

When did the idea for the Sapphire Flute come to you?
Actually, I was a missionary at the time, believe it or not. I was in West Hartford, Connecticut and had a dream of a girl standing outside of a little pup tent. She pulled a flute from a bag at her side and began to play it beneath the full moon.
A white wolf with glowing green eyes padded to the river and sat and watched her, then cocked his head and began to sing with her. The melody created between them was so beautiful, I just had to write about it.

Wow! That sounds so wonderful. I know that you really play the flute, how long have you played? Can you also tell me about your "real" Sapphire Flute?
I do play the flute. I started when I was eleven. Originally I wanted to play the viola, but the little town we lived in didn't offer orchestra, only band, so I had to choose between the flute and the french horn, and obviously chose the flute. Mom told me she wasn't going to pay $400 for an instrument and then not have me want to play it, so she asked her friend to give me private lessons. I owe Nancy so much for pushing me to play my best. It got me three scholarship offers when the time came to head off to college.
As for MY "sapphire flute," I've been looking for something like it for years. I was hoping for something made of glass or crystal, but have had no such luck, then one day I just googled "blue flute" and found a blue enameled flute with silver keys and a mouthpiece. I couldn't help myself. I bought it as soon as I had the money and it plays like a dream.

You have two female lead characters in the Sapphire Flute. Are you more like Ember or Kayla?
Well, at least you didn't ask me if I was like C'Tan. lol
You are so not like C'Tan. Is she based on someone that you really know?

I think that they both have bits of me. Kayla's passion for music is definitely a big piece of me, and her devotion to her family. But, honestly, the strong willed, stubborn, yet family conscious Ember is more me. She was actually my hardest character to write BECAUSE she was so much a part of me. It was hard to open up that much.

No worries. LOL! No, C'Tan is a figment of my imagination. I tell everyone she's the part of me that I never let out, I only imagine when I'm really, really mad.

I also seemed to relate more to Ember's fiery spirit.
It has been fascinating to me to see how people seem to pick one or the other they identify with. Very few people love both Ember and Kayla equally, and yet they are both pieces of me. I don't take offense, I just find it interesting.

Is fantasy your favorite genre? Are there other genres that you would like to write someday?

Fantasy is definitely my favorite. It's my niche. I love mysteries as well and grew up reading Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys and eventually moved on to J.A. Jance and Mary Higgins Clark. I have a mystery in mind, but my overactive fantasy imagination has turned my detective into a werewolf already, and not just any werewolf, but a part poodle werewolf with curly hair. People call her Medusa behind her back. LOL! I just can't help myself.I was born to be a fantasy writer.
I think you were!! Funny, we grew up reading the same books.

The Sapphire Flute is going to be a 7 book series. Do you have a basic outline for all 7 books and know how the series will end? Will Kayla and Ember be in all 7 books or have you not decided yet?

Kayla and Ember will be in all seven books, yes. The closer the book is to my writing it, the more I know about it. I have a general idea of where the series is going, I know the big moments, or at least most of them, but I don't outline much. It takes the fun out of writing for me. I outline sparsely, then just jump in.
I thought I knew how it was going to end, but writing book two has brought in an entirely new element that changes book 7 all the way through. So, I sort of know what happens at the end, but not entirely. We'll see where it takes me.

Do you have authors that have influenced you in your writing?

David Eddings has probably influenced me more than about anyone. I've read his books over and over and over again. Anne McCaffrey is another. Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series. Mercedes Lackey. J.A. Jance and J.V. Jones. Hmmm, who else. C.S. Lewis, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Madeline Llengle. Orson Scott Card. Those are the main ones.

Can you tell me a little about your book cover?

Several people don't like the cover, but I think they're just so used to modern day YA covers that they've forgotten what color looks like. To me the cover is a throwback to the early days of fantasy. I think it's stunning.
Want to know something special about the cover I don't tell many people?
What is that? Is this off the books ?
You can use it if you want, I don't mind. You know, my mom passed away a year and a half ago and writing was her dream too, so she really encouraged me in this dream. I read all my early works to her and read to her. We brainstormed together and she always told me how proud she was of me.
Well, her favorite color was turquoise. Mine is sapphire blue. And if you look at the title of the book, it is a blending of those two colors together. Cash(Valor Publishing's art director) never knew that, but it makes me think of her every time I look at the cover because those are her colors merged with mine.

What is your greatest dream as a writer?

My greatest dream as a writer? To reach people. That's all I want really, is to reach somebody when they need a friend and realize they aren't alone.
You don't have to write non- fiction true- to- life stories to reach people. The people I read about as a kid were my friends and helped to shape me into the person I am today. I just want to pay that back, even just a little.

What do you feel is the greatest message/feeling you want your readers to gain from reading The Sapphire Flute?

To follow your heart, wherever it may lead. To stand for right and fight for what's most important to you.

What advice would give aspiring writers like me?

My favorite quote comes from a Christian author I know by the name of Virginia Smith. I posted it above my writing space and read it frequently.
She said "God has plans for your writing, and they're better than any plans you have for yourself. Let HIM be in charge and let HIM delight you with what He has in store." I live by that. God is in charge of my writing. I am but the pen in his hand, and I have found that when I put it in His hands my writing is better and comes more easily than it ever does when I sit and try to force it.

Can I borrow that? I love what it says. That is very inspiring.

You certainly may! It has inspired me more times than I can say. The only other advice I can offer is to believe in yourself. You have this passion to write for a reason. Trust it. Learn all you can and believe in yourself.

I want to thank Karen for talking to me and sharing so much about herself and her writing. If you would like to learn more about Karen and follow her blog you can find it here.

Karen's book can be found at or you can order it directly from Valor Publishing Group.

I wish to thank Valor Publishing Group and Tristi Pinkston for my free review copy of "The Sapphire Flute". I have received no compensation for writing this review.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Kreativ Blogger Award

My fellow blogger and writer, Connie Hall (C.LaRene Hall) chose me to be one of seven people to receive the "Kreativ Blogger" award. Thank you so much!

The recipient of this award (me) is challenged to list 7 things about them that readers may not know and then pass the Kreativ Blogger award on to 7 other blogs (YOU) the person enjoys reading.

Here are the seven things about me:

1. I was adopted at birth. My biological heritage is Italian.

2. My greatest "travel" destination is to someday travel to Europe,

especially Italy.

3. I have always loved to write poetry.

4. I am more reserved and shy than most people think I am.

5. I really do enjoy quiet time by myself. This clears my head and helps me organize what I need to do.

6. I have always wanted to sky dive, just once. (Even though the thought of doing this scares me to death! Go figure.)

7. Even though reading is my favorite thing to do, I also love to go and sing and play the piano when stressed.

The lucky seven bloggers that I am choosing
to win this award next are:

1.Karen Hoover

2.Melissa Cunningham

3.Kimberly Job

4.Tristi Pinkston

5.Josi Kilpack

6.Danyelle Ferguson

7.Rebecca Talley

I look forward to seeing what my seven chosen bloggers have to say about themselves

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Review of "Love Your Body" A Diet-Free Approach to Balanced Eating by Brooke Parker, R.D.

I was very excited to read my review copy of "Love Your Body: A Diet -Free Approach to Balanced Eating, by Brooke Parker, R.D. I will admit, I have had problems with controlling my weight all of my life. Sometimes my body image has been good and other times I have had serious problems with how I have felt about myself. I have struggled to find that happy balance where I am content with how I look and how I feel about myself. This was on my mind as I started to read," Love Your Body."

I was pulled in and enlightened as I read the introduction. This statement hit home, "The Purpose of this life and our soul's journey through it should not be hampered by any kind of obsession with our bodies" (page 11) Wow, is that what I have been doing all of these years as I have been on the dieting Yo-Yo bandwagon? How much harm have I been doing to my soul as I have been hating and belittling myself as my weight has gone up and down? For those of you that have never had a "weight problem", I applaud you and say you are very lucky. I feel that there are more of us that have had issues with our weight than those who haven't. This is the one battle in my life that has always been there and doesn't seem to want to go away. This is why I am grateful to be reading Brooke's book.

In the book there are three main sections:
-Section One: Finding A New relationship with Food
-Section Two: Tackling Anxiety
-Section Three: Your Body Is a Gift

Brooke has provided such basic and smart information. In the beginning of Section 1 this is what she had to say about her plan outlined in her book.

"My plan has NONE of the negative consequences of most popular diets. And I can guarantee you will find more peace with food, continue to eat all kinds of foods, learn how to listen to your body's signals,and customize your own balanced eating plan that will last for a lifetime...finally focusing on life, not food"

That sounds so good to me, something that will last for a lifetime. For the past several years I have tried to tell myself that I am not needing to diet, but make a lifestyle change.

There are many wonderful chapters but the ones that I will go back and re-read are

-Emotional Eating
- Finding Your Own Healthy Balance
-Simple Steps to Head Off Negativity
-The Inner Dialogue
-Body-Image Tests (these are REALLY Good and eye opening!!)
-ABC Exercise
-Body Gratitude

Oh, there was one more very important chapter(#15), that goes along with "The Inner Dialogue" that teaches you about corrective thinking; how we need to learn to say positive things about ourselves. We need to train our brains to say nice things about our bodies and then practice this. We need to practice this until it becomes a real part of our thinking. Instead of saying, "I am so fat", say instead, "I am alive and have this great body. Instead of saying, "I hate my body" say "I love who I am."

I wish I could write more, but can you tell I really like this book? I have read so many "Diet Books" in my life and I own many of those books. This is one of the few books out there that truly helps you towards making that mind, body, and soul connection. You need all three aligned in order to be balanced. I feel that by reading and studying this book you will be able to achieve this peace in your life. Great job Brooke, on writing such a valuable book that is so necessary in our world today.

You can buy a copy or try to win a copy of this book. read the information down below. :)


The publisher of
Love Your Body is doing a blog tour giveaway. For more information, keep reading!

We will be giving away
5 copies of
Love Your Body: A
Diet-Free Approach to Balanced Eating
as part of the online book book
tour. The contest starts February 17th and will close on March 5th at
midnight, MST.

Entering the contest is easy--all you have to do is blog, tweet, follow, or
comment and then fill out this little form

So exactly how do you blog, tweet, follow, etc. Here's how.

Become a follower of our reviewers
You can follow one of our reviewers or you can follow all of
them. Remember that each blog you follow gives you another chance to win, so
why wouldn't you choose to follow them all? But what if we are already
following a them ask? Well lucky you because you get an entry for that too.

Walnut Springs Press
Brooke Parker RD
Of Writerly Things
Random-ish by Nichole
Queen of the Clan
Rachelle Writes
The Write Blocks Ronda
Gibb Hinrichsen
Tangled Words and Dreams
*Tristi Pinkston, LDS

Why Not? Because I Said

LDS Women's Book Review

Cami's Book

Post a comment on the reviews. .

Blog about the contest or one of the
Spread the word. Just remember that the blog post either
needs to link to the contest or to one of the reviews.

Follow us on twitter. Maybe you
use twitter, maybe you don't. But if you do, you should follow us.

5. Tweet about the contest or one
(or all) of the reviews.
Yep, 144 characters or less is all it takes
to enter.

Become a fan of Love Your Body
on facebook. Brooke is constantly
updating her fanpage with articles, recipes, and helpful hints.

Post about the contest on

Anything else you can think of that will
spread the word.
If you mention it on goodreads, shelfari, google
buzz, or any other social media site, or make it your status on gmail chat,
MSN or yahoo messenger let us know. We want to reward your creativity with
an entry.

Also, here is the blog tour schedule, so you can find the reviews on the correct days.

February 22 Valerie Ipson
Of Writerly Things

February 23 Nichole Giles
Random-ish by Nichole

February 24 Danyelle Ferguson
Queen of the Clan

February 25 Rachelle Christensen
Rachelle Writes

March 1 Ronda Hinrichsen
The Write Blocks

March 2
Tangled Words and Dreams
Alison Palmer

March 3
*Tristi Pinkston, LDS
Tristi Pinkston

March 4
Why Not? Because I Said
Sheila Staley
LDS Women's Book Review

March 5
Cami's Book Cami