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.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Interview with Author David J. West and review of his book, "Heroes of the Fallen"

Author: David J. West

Publisher: WiDo Publishing

Published: 2010

ISBN: 978-0-9796070-3-5

Hardcover: 306 pages

Heroes of the Fallen By David J. West

Product Description:

Heroes of the Fallen is a chronicle that dramatizes the tragic end of a great civilization. That era is now lost to us, except through oral legend, myth, and a golden book of lore. Stand alongside daring heroes with swords bared against sinister villains, never knowing which will fall--Captain Amaron and his Ten Scouts, Zelph the White Lamanite, or Anathoth the Lamanite General, agonizingly loyal to the despised King of Tullan-- all must
face the chillingly evil Gadianton Master Akish-Antum and
his numerous followers. Witness the plans of mighty kings and
lowly thieves. See the dreams of Bethia, a prophet's daughter,
as she runs away from home seeking independence, only to
find confusion and wickedness in a land at war. Heroes of the Fallen
s full of tragedy and triumph. It echoes universal themes
of mankind: fear and courage, faith versus doubt, hunger for power and love, and sacrifice for the greater good. Intensely researched, Heroes of the Fallen is a literary work of art, presenting revolutionary viewpoints in a
cross-genre's ancient American landscape.

I always love to read historical fiction from Book of Mormon time. This book is like one that I have never read before. It is not very often, that I read a novel that includes the Gadianton robbers and the final days of the Nephite people. The Book of Mormon people are brought to life in this novel. David uses rich detail, in his writing, to perfectly describe each of the nations that were at war with each other.

I was impressed with the amount of research that David put into this book. As you read, you know that much of course is fictional, but also you realize that this book is full of historical facts. I am not sure that I will ever want to write a historical novel. I think that they research more than any other writers.{I could be wrong here since I have not written a novel yet.:) }

Another exciting thing about this book, it is part of a series of book about this time period. The sequel will be called, "Blood of Our Fathers" and will be released in 2011. I think that this series will eventually be looked at as a great Book of Mormon epic. There is a lot of action and intrigue throughout the novel. There are many different stories and plot lines being played out. You also need to be on your toes to keep everyone straight at the first. Even though these are names you have heard before, I had to seriously pay attention or I would have been lost. This is not a novel to pick up and read casually, you will want to focus on each of the main characters and who they are interacting with.

One thing that really made an impact on me was how truly evil the Gadiantons were. All of my life, while reading the Book of Mormon, I knew that they were evil. David brings to the forefront how truly conniving and wicked this group of people were. You could see how Satan led them in all of their dealings with others. David paints a clear picture of who the true heroes were during this time. I truly loved reading about Captain Amaron, a true leader who stuck to his values and religion.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this novel, by the very talented, new author,
David J. West. Once I started reading, it was so hard to put down; you had to read chapter after chapter to see what would happen next.Then you had to read the next chapter and then the next etc. I lost some sleep as I read well into the wee hours of the morning.As I have said before, that is a sign of a well written book. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Go visit David's blog

Here is a fun interview with David. I hope that you will enjoy reading it.

1. When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

I have always told stories. I won an award in second grade for a short about a family of wolves evading and then getting revenge on a hunter and his dog. So it's always been there though I was devoted mostly to poetry in my teens and 20's. I didn't actively start working towards being published until a couple years ago when it dawned on me that IF this is what I want to do-why aren't I really working toward it? There has to come a time when you have to quit talking about your dreams and do something about it.

2. When did the idea for your book, "Heroes of the Fallen" come to you?

I have of course always been fascinated with the visceral elements of the Book of Mormon, the battles and arm-lopping etc (what boy isn't?) and the thought of doing an action-adventure in the Book of Mormon realm was always sitting in the back of my mind-but there was nothing more there until I read about Joseph Smith during Zion's Camp and the revelation he had regarding Zelph-"the white Lamanite". That fascinated me and I wondered for several years why hadn't anyone told his story yet? So I came to a point in early 2004 when I decided I would tell it. It began with short adventure stories that all linked together until it only made sense to do a novel/series.

3. How long did it take you to write this book?

I used to write in notebooks all my ideas and roughs but honestly wrote almost nothing in 2005, I just talked about it to people while the ideas gelled. I did come up with some good ideas but I still recommend always working and not getting hung up on doing more research than story, after all I am writing fiction and even historical-fiction has to have a great story over research details.
I was building stake centers in 2006 and wrote almost all of Heroes and its sequel while out of town in Kentucky. Finished the last bits when I moved back to Utah and had virtually both books typed up in summer/fall 2007. I submitted it and third time was the charm, that was early 2009.

4. I know that you are working on the sequel to "Heroes of the Fallen", how many books
are going to be in this series?

I don't honestly know at this point but since you asked I would like to do at least 7 if not 12. I see it as having a lot in common with the big epic-fantasy's that I like to read and that's who I hope to scoop up as readers-all the saints that love reading those big epic series. Hope that's not too daunting, I try to make sure the reader is captured and NOT bored NOR overwhelmed with detail-that there is always a good clip to whats happening.

5. Are there other genre's that would like to write in the future?

I have sold some fantasy short stories to the national market and they will be in print this fall. So I write what I like to read-historical s and fantasy's. I have a number of fantasy novels that will be submitted to that market by the end of the year.

6. When is the best time for you to do your writing?

After midnight when the house is still and quiet. My children are young and its just the best time to get things done uninterrupted.

7. Was "Heroes of the Fallen" your first manuscript you ever sent out?

It was the first novel I ever sent out. An awful lot of learning curve there.

8. What advice would you give to aspiring writers like me?

If writing is what you want to do, you have to stop talking about it and just do it. (I should have said this to myself 5 years ago)
Excuses will not make a book.
Don't get so wrapped up in research that you're not writing.
And the absolute most important thing to me is make sure its a good story that makes the reader feel something.

Thanks so much David! You have a wonderful writing career ahead of you.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Having Books in the Home Helps Children Succeed in Education: From Scholastic

"Having books in the home helps children succeed in Education"; you would think this idea is a no brainer. Unfortunately, there are still many children in the United States who have very few or no books in their homes.

At one of my favorite blogs, On Our Minds @Scholastic they discussed this issue. They sited this 20 year study, “Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations,” was published in the journal, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility (online at

This is the basic conclusion of the study where it stated:

"For years, educators have thought the strongest predictor of attaining high levels of education was having parents who were highly educated. But, strikingly, this massive study showed that the difference between being raised in a bookless home compared to being raised in a home with a 500-book library has as great an effect on the level of education a child will attain as having parents who are barely literate (3 years of education) compared to having parents who have a university education (15 or 16 years of education). Both factors, having a 500-book library or having university-educated parents, propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average."

I love what the bloggers at Scholastic had to say about this study, "For those of us trying to ensure that every child has a chance at succeeding in school and in life, this is huge."

I happen to agree 100% with my friends at Scholastic. Throughout my many years in teaching, I have seen those children who were raised, from infant hood, with books. These children have been the ones reading earlier than their peers. They are more interested in the reading process. They also tend to do better in other areas of learning.

Being a sociologist,Mariah Evans was particularly interested to find that children of lesser-educated parents benefit the most from having books in the home. She has been looking for ways to help Nevada’s rural communities, in terms of economic development and education.

“What kinds of investments should we be making to help these kids get ahead?” she asked. “The results of this study indicate that getting some books into their homes is an inexpensive way that we can help these children succeed.”

I agree with the researchers, that having books in the home allows us to give ALL children an early start in learning. So what do you think? Did you grow up in a home with many books? Do you feel like this gave you a great start? I would love to hear from all of you.

The Literacy Site

Friday, May 21, 2010

My Review of "The Golden Spiral" by Lisa Mangum

His eyes. His touch. His kiss. Dante was unlike anyone Abby had ever met. Now he' s gone, and Abby will do anything to get him back . . . The hourglass door has closed behind Dante, sending him back in time to hunt down Zo, Tony, and V. Abby knows that Dante, as a Master of Time, is the only one who can stop them from destroying time itself. She also knows that he will need her help. But almost immediately, things start to change, and Abby s worst fears are realized when Zo begins targeting her past specifically. As Abby s world fractures around her, she must face a terrible truth: either Dante didn' t make it through the door, or he is lost forever. So with Dante s blueprints in hand, she begins construction on a new door, a new time machine that will either save Dante or doom him. With each new change that ripples into her present, Abby s life continues to spiral out of control. Her relationships with Jason, Natalie, and even her family are threatened to the breaking point and beyond. Zo s power is greater than Abby ever imagined, but as she struggles to free Dante, she receives help from an unexpected and unlikely ally. The bank is eroding. The barriers are thinning. And time is running out.

Wow! That is the first thing I said after reading "The Golden Spiral". It is the sequel to the very popular, "The Hourglass Door" by author Lisa Mangum, that came out last year. The third book in the trilogy, "The Forgotten Locket" will be coming out Summer 2011.

When I first started reading I was very confused. In the prologue I was desperately trying to remember all of the characters and what they had done in book one. I highly suggest that you re-read "The Hourglass Door" again before reading "The Golden Spiral". Once you get to chapter one, things start making sense again.

As in the case of most series written, I enjoyed reading the second book more. It comes down to the fact, that the first book usually establishes characters and storyline. In the following books the author can do more with the characters. You already know the characters, how they will react to something; you either really like them, such as main characters Abby and Dante, or you really hate them such as the character of Zo.

Abby carries the storyline in this book. She is strong, confident and brave. Her devotion to the man she loves makes you sigh. There is a lot of romance in the story that female readers will love! I am not sure the male readers will react as favorably to that as women, but I am glad that the romance is there. The romance shows why Abby would sacrifice everything for the man that she loves. You have to understand this in order to appreciate the lengths that Abby goes to so she can save Dante. Speaking of Dante, he is a very yummy, Italian man. You can understand why Abby would do anything and everything to have him in her life.

I love how Lisa shows time travel in her books. It is unique and believable, as far as time travel goes. The whole idea of a river of time, that controls all of our lives and how it can change when someone disrupts the flow, is brilliant to me. "The Golden Spiral" has a lot of action and mystery. You are constantly wondering, what in the world will happen next?

There is an important lesson at the end of the book that the character Zo talks about.

"I've learned lot since I've started traveling at will through the river. I've made some mistakes, sure, but I've tried to learn from them. One of the things that fascinated me about the whole process of changing events is seeing how people's choices can change what happens to them. The chain reactions are fascinating. Sometimes things work out exactly as I planned...sometimes I have to improvise."

In point #9 in the reading guide it says, "The book touches on the importance of making choices of our own free will, of shaping your own destiny and future. Are there choices you have made that have changed the course of your life?'"I think that this question applies to adults as well as the young adults who this book was mainly written for.

So, I recommend this book to all people that like speculative fiction, a nice, clean romance, lots of action and surprises thrown in throughout the "The Golden Spiral". The book ends in a way that will make you wait anxiously for next Summer and "The Forgotten Locket". Way to go Lisa Mangum! I really loved this book.

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend this book? Yes, 100%

Read it Again? You can count on it

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Blogging Blahs: A Lesson in Being Random

Someone asked me this weekend why I hadn't been blogging as much. There would be many reasons I could give such as:

1. Fatigue

2. Too busy

3. Not sure I really have anything to say

4. I just don't want to

A friend of mine made a suggestion to me. She said that I should just write down how I have been feeling and what has been on my mind. So this is for my friend, who will remain anonymous, and I warned you that this would be
VERY random.{Having no specific pattern, purpose, or objective}

A fried pickle is a snack item found commonly in the American South. It is made by deep-frying a sliced battered dill pickle.

I really hate pickles...yuck!

I wish that I had magical powers...for many various reasons.

Also, I wish that I had been the one to create Harry Potter and his world.
J.K. Rowling is a very lucky woman.

These would really make my feet hurt. I do like the color though.

I really want to go here...Venice, Italy!!!!

Yes, I will take a gondola ride with the man included!

This is my favorite dessert: cheesecake!

Thank goodness for Josh Groban and his music; it keeps me sane. I feel that he is one of the most musically gifted people in the world.

I am getting tired of correcting papers/homework. It
is truly feeling like the end of the year.

My favorite thing to do now days is sleep. Doesn't it look good to you?

I think this is where I will end for today. This is all making me very tired.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

1st Annual Brian Buttars Memorial Golf Tournament

1st Annual Brian Buttars Memorial Golf Tournament

I have a wonderful friend, Courtney Geisler. I taught her son in preschool and she was in the Primary Presidency with me. Her life forever changed last November, right after Thanksgiving. She received the phone call that we all dread in life; she heard that her brother had just been killed in a dirtbike accident. Here is what Courtney wrote on her blog:

"I never thought that I would be the one to receive "that phone call". The one that tells you that your life has just changed forever, and not in a good way. On Saturday November 28, 2009 I received "that call" telling me that my brother Brian has been in a dirt bike accident and that he did not survive. What I did next was something I never want to experience again. There are no words for the pain that I feel today as I look at my sweet little nephew Cole and my precious little niece Hallie and their mom Colette, who is due in a couple of weeks with another little boy. To think that they will not get to know my amazing brother just kills me! He loved his kids so much!"

The family decided that they wanted to find a way to honor Brian. They are doing just that with the first annual Brian Buttars Memorial Golf Tournament.I wanted to spread the word about this great event. The official announcement came out on Courtney's blog on April 23rd...

"Dear Friends and Family, In memory of the recent passing of our Son, Brother, Husband and Father Brian Buttars, the Buttars family is celebrating his life by holding the first annual Brian Buttars Memorial Golf Tournament. This event will be held June 26, 2010 at Talons Cove Golf Course in Saratoga Springs. We are extending an invitation to you to come spend a day with the Buttars family and celebrate Brian’s life. All proceeds made from this golf tournament will go towards an education fund in Brian’s name to his children, and a scholarship to a Brighton High School student athlete. Most importantly, we are excited to get everyone together to honor him, and have a fun time doing it. We will be holding a raffle and lunch at the clubhouse after the round, and there are going to be some outstanding prizes given out to the tournament winners."

I wanted to share this information with you in case you would like to help by donating towards the tournament. All of the teams are full as of now, but more slots could open up before June 26th. If you would like more detailed information about the memorial tournament, here is the official letter.

On November 28, 2009, our Brother,
Son, Friend,Husband andFather, Brian Daniel Buttars,
was killed doing what he
loved very most,riding his dirtbike.
Although the details to the
accident are still unknown,
the void left in our family will never be
Brian was a wonderful friend to everyone who knew

him, but perhaps his best quality was his extraordinary love
for his wife Colette, his son Cole and daughter Hallie. Since
Brian's death, Colette has given birth to their second son, Eli.

In a striking tribute to Brian, hundreds of people gathered for
his funeral, as family and friends paid tribute to our hero Brian.

The Buttars Family is hosting the 1st Annual Brian Buttars Golf
Tournament as a celebration of his life. All of the funds raised from the golf tournament will go towards an education fund set
up for Brian's three children, and a small donation will go to

Brighton High School where Brian attended high school.

The tournament details are as follows:

Date: June 26, 2010
Place: TalonsCove Golf Course
Address: 2220 S. TalonsCove Drive Saratoga Springs
Time: 8:00am

We are in need of sponsorships in the following areas:

Raffle Prizes (i.e. Gift Cards, Baskets, Sports memorabilia, etc.)
Hole Sponsors @ $100 (with your name or logo on the hole)
Team Sponsors @ $300 (price of 1 foursome of golfers)
Platinum Sponsor @ $1,000 (name or logo on t-shirt, scorecard)
Score card sponsor @ $1,000 (name on all score cards)
Beverage Sponsor @ $500 (credit for all beverages served)
All monetary donations are greatly appreciated!
For questions on how to donate, please contact:
Courtney Geisler @ or 801-703-1469

Presented By Zions Bank

We all have experienced loss in our lives. We all react differently to these losses.
It is how we live and remember our loved ones that is the most important.
I know that this loving memorial will be a great healing tool for the Buttars family.
Though Brian is not with them here on Earth, I like to think that he is smiling down
from Heaven pleased and excited about this golf tournament. From what I have heard about Brian, that is what kind of man he was, always loving and enjoying life.