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.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Have I Been in Hiding?

I had someone drop me an e-mail asking me if I had been in hiding. The answer is "no" not hiding, it is just the end of the year round school year for me. I have been averaging grades, getting report cards ready, moving into the classroom next door for next year and taking naps. My energy has been low and I am relieved that this is the last week of school. I have many great things planned for the blog once school is out. Of course I have my list of over 50+ books I plan on reading. I hope that you come back soon!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Review of "33 Habits of a Really Good Man" By Yvonne Swinson

I just finished reading a great non-fiction book called "33 Habits of a Really Good Man" by Yvonne Swinson. This book would make a great Fathers day gift for a husband, father or grandfather. I also feel like the wisdom shared in this book is for males and females.

Yvonne wrote this book to honor her late father, Bills Wells. You can tell there was a lot of love put into the book. Here is the blurb found on the back of the book...

Bill Wells wasn't a famous man, but he left an invaluable legacy for those who knew him. He lived his life by a few simple words of wisdom, recorded in a little black notebook, and taught his children to do the same. Now, with this collection of mini-memoirs, his daughter Yvonne Swinson shares his legacy with you. 33 Habits of a Really Good Man includes Bill's favorite memories and experiences and shares ideas on how these habits can lead to a “really good” life. Available just in time for Father's Day, 33 Habits of a Really Good Man is the perfect way to show your appreciation for the most important men in your life.

The 33 habits that are listed in this book are wonderful, but simple things that will make our lives happier. Each mini-memoir includes one of Bill's favorite bits of wisdom and how making it a habit can lead to a "really good" life.

-Dream Big
-Laugh Often
-Know Where You're Going
-Don't Worry
-Change Begins with Me
-Speak Softly
-Learn to Work
-Choose to be Happy
-Lose the Stubborn Streak
-Stretch Your Mind
-Seek Truth
-Make It a Habit

You can get a taste of what great things can be found in this book. I tried to pick which one was my favorite and would help me the most. I knew I couldn't blog about the whole book so I finally chose habits #21 Don't Worry and #22 Optimism.

#21 Don't Worry: There is a quote on this page that says,"Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere."-Van Wilder. This chapter starts like this...

"Why waste time worrying? This went hand in hand with his (Bill Wells) continual optimism. I suppose he worried sometimes, but it was never evident to us. My father's approach was very practical: envision the worst case scenario, decide how you would handle it, and then move on. "

I am a constant worry-wart, so the advice here is good for me. Worry can not rule a person's life because like the quote said, it will not get you anywhere.

#22 The quote on this page says, "Every cloud has a silver lining, if we provide the sunshine."-unknown This chapter started with this...

"Along with preparing for the worst came expecting the best. My father always did. I have known of few people in my life who could match my father's optimism. He simply refused to take a gloomy view. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I heard "Well on the bright side..."

Yvonne goes on to say how with this optimism it may have contributed to her father's lack of preparation for the inevitable when he became seriously ill. He didn't show how bad he was feeling because he refused to wear it on his face. This chapter not only made me cry a little but also made me respect Bill Wells for his strength and courage.

"33 Habits of a Really Good Man" is a short book, only 79 pages long; but it is huge in the value you will receive from reading this book and applying the principles in your life. I can tell what a wonderful man he was. He reminds me a lot of my own father, Rolla Windley. He was not well schooled, but was strong in the wisdom and advice he has always shared with his children and grandchildren. I think that I will be buying a little notebook for him to write down his favorite sayings and words of wisdom.

Thank you Yvonne for sharing your father with us. I know the 33 habits your father lived by will bring hope and happiness to all who read your book.


Yvonne Swinson and her father, Bill Wells.

Yvonne Swinson was born in North Carolina and spent the rest of her childhood moving around the southeastern states. She was an avid reader from a young age and has read many thousands of books. One of her childhood dreams was to someday write her own. She now resides in sunny Southern Utah with her husband and five children (soon to be six). Her other interests include hiking, gymnastics and homeschooling.

You can find this book at

If you would like to learn more about Yvonne and other books that she has written you can go to her blog or her website.

Review Disclaimer: Sometimes a book I review has been sent to me for free by a publisher or an author. This in no way effects my review, which is my own opinion about whether the book was a good read for me, fit my tastes, and if I would recommend it to others. Other than possibly a free book, I am not compensated in any way for posting a review. (This is borrowed from my friend Danyelle Ferguson's book review site "Queen of the Clan" because she is so much more eloquent than I am.)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Get a First Chapter Preview of Gregg Luke's New Novel, "Blink of An Eye"

Author Gregg Luke has a new thriller out July 1, 2010 called "Blink of an Eye". I love the cover of this new book. Gregg has written some fabulous mystery/suspense novels such as "Do No Harm" and "Altered State". These books are so good, that they have been finalists for a Whitney Award in the mystery/suspense category for the past two years. I don't have any doubt that "Blink of an Eye" will be a finalist again for a Whitney.

Gregg has made available the first chapter of "Blink of an Eye" to readers. You need to read this! It will definitely hook you into wanting more on July 1st!

Gregg was willing to answer a few questions for me to give us a brief look at the writing of his new book.

1-What is "
Blink of an Eye" about?
BLINK is about Joseph Ramirez, a young man who suffers a severe head trauma, and instead of it causing amnesia, it brings to mind things he had no idea he'd ever experienced. Most of these events take place in his early childhood, including an instance where he may have murdered his father. Overall, the book is about relationships and how powerfully they can influence our lives.

2-The title of this book is awesome! Did you come up with this title?
Yes, I came up with the title. It indicates not only how fast Joseph's life changes after the accident, but also how fast he repressed the horrific memories he could no longer live with.

3-How long did it take you to write "Blink of an Eye"?
I wrote BLINK in about 11 months. Then were several weeks of agonizing rehash, rewrite, and editing. Ugh!

4-Is this your favorite book you have written?
I love how BLINK turned out. It has some very intense moments and moments that stir the emotions. There's also a little humor in it. It's quite a bit different from my previous novels in that there's not much chemistry in it. The science is still accurate but it only takes a secondary role in the story.

5-Are you going to be having a book launch where people can go to buy your book and get it signed?
I don't know about an official book launch, but Covenant does schedule me for several book signings around the time of release. I love to meet fans and learn about their love of reading.

You can also learn more about Gregg Luke by going to his website.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My Long Awaited Review of, "A Time to Die" By Jeffrey S. Savage

A Time To Die A Time To Die by Jeffrey S. Savage

Here is the blurb from the back cover:

When reporter Shandra Covington finds her best friend, Bobby Richter, close to death on Shandra’s apartment floor, she knows the bullet was meant for her. Making matters worse, Bobby’s fiancée is making sure Shandra gets nowhere near the hospital room where Bobby lies in a coma. With her apartment in shambles and possibly still dangerous, Shandra is forced to stay with her tough-as-nails Harley-riding private investigator friend. In an attempt to clear her mind, Shandra agrees to do a newspaper story on the death of a prominent politician’s daughter. But what she thought was a simple overdose story soon grows into something much more sinister when she finds a common thread with the recent deaths of several young women—all thought to be overdose victims. What do the clues mean? The only person who knows for sure is the Time Keeper—a self-proclaimed true romantic who devotedly tapes a picture of each new love to the bedside wall of his ailing sister. However, the pictures are obituaries spreading across the wall like macabre wallpaper. Time to unravel the mystery is quickly ticking away as Bobby’s life hangs by a thread—and the next “girlfriend” on the Time Keeper’s list is Shandra.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
All I can say first is...I loved it!! It was well worth the LONG wait. I think it is the best in the Shandra Covington mystery series. I read this book in less than 24 hours...not consecutively, I had to sleep. The bad guy in "A Time to Die" is super creepy.You know what kind I am talking about, the kind that makes you squirm and feel nauseous. The Timekeeper is one bad guy you won't forget for a long time. I have a feeling that we may be seeing more of him in the future.

The best part of all, is that you finally find out what happened to Bobby! I hope in the next Shandra book we get to see and hear more from Bobby. I also could not help laughing every time Officer Dashner and Officer Wells are talking in the book. Jeff has included two of his real life author friends{James Dashner and Rob Wells} as characters in his story. Funny thing is, every time one of them says something in the story, I can see the real person saying it. Thanks for a good laugh with that.

The last thing I will say is this, PLEASE Jeff Savage, don't make us wait so long until the next Shandra book comes out. You of course, ended this book with another cliffhanger that will just keep your readers coming back for more. At least this time, I know what happened to Bobby!

View all my reviews >>

Monday, June 7, 2010

"Shiver"...What did I really think?

This past weekend I finished "Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater. I had really looked forward to reading this book. I had heard many good things from my friends who had already read "Shiver". For those of you who have not heard about "Shiver" or have not had a chance to read it, here is the blurb about it...

"For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human... until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Here is an excerpt from the book; the beginning of chapter one:

Chapter One Grace


I remember lying in the snow, a small red spot of warm going cold, surrounded by wolves. They were licking me, biting me, worrying at my body, pressing in. Their huddled bodies blocked what little heat the sun offered. Ice glistened on their ruffs and their breath made opaque shapes that hung in the air around us. The musky smell of their coats made me think of wet dog and burning leaves, pleasant and terrifying. Their tongues melted my skin; their careless teeth ripped at my sleeves and snagged through my hair, pushed against my collarbone, the pulse at my neck.

I could have screamed, but I didn't. I could have fought, but I didn't. I just lay there and let it happen, watching the winter-white sky go gray above me.

One wolf prodded his nose into my hand and against my cheek, casting a shadow across my face. His yellow eyes looked into mine while the other wolves jerked me this way and that.

I held on to those eyes for as long as I could. Yellow. And, up close, flecked brilliantly with every shade of gold and hazel. I didn't want him to look away, and he didn't. I wanted to reach out and grab a hold of his ruff, but my hands stayed curled on my chest, my arms frozen to my body.

I couldn't remember what it felt like to be warm.

Then he was gone, and without him, the other wolves closed in, too close, suffocating. Something seemed to flutter in my chest.

There was no sun; there was no light. I was dying. I couldn't remember what the sky looked like.

But I didn't die. I was lost to a sea of cold, and then I was reborn into a world of warmth.

I remember this: his yellow eyes.

I thought I'd never see them again.

As I have read reader's reviews on, I noticed most of the reviews were "I really loved it!" to "I didn't like it at all". I am truly somewhere in between. This wasn't a bad book, but it didn't leave me with that "WOW" factor that I would recommend this book to all of my friends . I was instead left with a "ho-hum" attitude. I have been trying to put my finger on how I feel about this book. The premise is great and I like how the temperature affects when a wolf changes into a human and then the human changes back into a werewolf. I just felt like more could have been put into the plot. I also didn't like the fact that the werewolf is not a supernatural being that does anything exciting; it's just a wolf. At least in the Twilight series the werewolves have incredible strength and have the same awareness that they had when they were human.

Another problem I have with this book for teens, was how easy and "right" it was for the main characters to sleep together and eventually have sex. This is not the message I want to send to my daughter or to other teens. I also hated how Grace's parents had no clue that she had Sam in her room all of those many nights/ weeks. **sigh**

I know that I will read the sequel, "Linger" when it comes out soon.{I have the book on hold at the library} I am hoping that it has more of a storyline to keep me interested. I really wanted to like this book a lot, but it truly was missing something for me; so this book gets 3 stars.

Friday, June 4, 2010

My Review of "Rebound" By Heather Justesen

"Rebound" by Heather Justesen is the second novel by this great new author. Her first book, "The Ball's In Her Court" came out last year. You can read my review of her first book here.

Here is the info about "Rebound" found on the back cover:

"Lily's life is perfect--a perfect lie. With a successful husband, a gorgeous home, and a growing family, Lily Drake has it all. But when the FBI shows up, she realizes her husband is not the man she thought he was. Meanwhile, Lily's friend Curtis is about to be drafted by the NBA, but he suddenly feels pulled to find his birth family, and no one is prepared for what he'll discover. With so many obstacles in their way, Lily and Curtis must learn to rely on each other if they're ever going to find peace and learn to love again. In this heartwarming family drama, Heather Justesen, author of The Ball's in Her Court, weaves a stirring story of hope. Reunite with your favorite characters and discover how determination, love, and faith can overcome even the toughest trials. "

Let me first say that I was very impressed with this second book by Heather. I felt that her first book was very well written, but this second book even topped her first. Once again, though, there is a clean romance hidden away in this story, but it is not the central focus of the whole book. Heather knows how to weave so much more into her novels. You will find struggles, heartache, suspense, laughter and much self-growth and awareness from her characters. Of course you will also find even more kisses that make your toes tingle, without being smutty.

The main character, Lily, is amazing! To face what she does, husband in jail, losing her home, seven months pregnant, chasing an active two year old and having to find a heart went out to this character. I am grateful that Heather makes Lily struggle a lot, because this makes the story realistic. There are no quick fixes to Lily's problems or a fast & easy highway to a new romance. We, as readers, take this ride with Lily, as she learns to move forward, gather strength and instill confidence in herself again. As someone who has gone through divorce and had/still am trying to pick up the pieces of my life, I could relate to the feelings and doubts that Lily had about her future. I can't thank Heather enough for making this character and her life situation so real. I also loved that Lily is a teacher!! Lily's teaching moments were also portrayed realistically. I sat and giggled and groaned as I read about her teaching days. Heather has got to have teacher friends to have nailed this so spot on!!

I also enjoyed revisiting the characters from "The Ball's In Her Court", Denise, Rich and Denise's siblings. One of her siblings, Curtis, is the love interest for Lily in this second book. I would love to have a Curtis around like him that babysits, helps with car problems and he even changed baby Sophie's diapers. I also like how Curtis was portrayed as kind, patient, loving and persistent. You did such a nice job on this character Heather.

There were moments when I had to grit my teeth and not scream out loud. Lily's ex-husband and her ex in-laws are just down right nasty people!!! Bleech! (Is that really a word?) In certain situations, when confronted with their mean and vindictive ways, I don't think I would have been as patient and as calm as Lily was. This again is another example of great writing from Heather, in that I was yelling at Lily what I thought she really should have said to these creepy snobs. Thank goodness my children are used to me talking to the characters of the books I am reading. {I did hear in the background one night while reading..."Mommy's crazy"}

"Rebound" needs to be on your summer reading list. I read it quickly because the story moved fast and there were no dull moments for me.

Rebound can be purchased at these locations:

-Barnes and Noble

-Deseret Book

-Heather's Website, where you can buy an autographed copy

You also need to head over to Heather's blog where she is going to have a big week of giveaways on her blog the week of
June 21st to 25th. I know that I am planning on checking it out.

I want to thank Heather and Cedar Fort publishing for my review copy of "Rebound". Receiving this free copy did not in any way influence my review of the book. I just tell it like I read it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Review of "Awakening Avery" by Laurie Lewis and Contest to Win Your Own Copy

Avery can't cope with the death of her husband and is finally convinced by her son to return to the family's Anna Maria Island vacation spot.
With the
help from some new-found friends, Avery swaps her house with a widower named Gabriel. As Avery and Gabriel step into each others lives, they begin a correspondence that leads to spiritual and emotional awakening for each of them.

Laurie Le
wis, well known as L.C. Lewis, author of the "Free Men and Dreamers" historical fiction series, has written a heart warming and very emotionally driven book. There are many feelings that are brought up in the reader as this novel progresses. I was hooked from the very first page.

"Everyone knew it was inevitable-everyone but Avery Elkins Thompson herself. She smashed the television first, though she hadn't intended to. She had fumbled with the remote for ten minutes, trying to figure out how to record an NBC special, and when the TiVo brought up the screen with the list of programs to record-his list...she lost it. She hurled the remote across the room, not intending for it to hit the center of the screen, but it did."

Right after you read this first paragraph, you want to know more about Avery. Why is she so angry? Why did she lose it? What happened to her to lead to this point in her life? As a reader you are drawn in so quickly to the emotions of Avery and her heartache. She is someone that is flawed, but you choose to cheer for her from the start.

Avery is turning 50, so she is not a young female that is usually seen in many novels. Avery is a woman who has loved and lost. She is being pulled in so many directions, from her grown-up children and their problems to dealing with the loss of her beloved husband. In "Awakening Avery" we go on a journey of healing with her. I found the characters to be so real, with emotions seen in all of us. The grief was portrayed realistically, as was the loneliness and pain of being single again.

In the book, Avery is a famous author. She sets forth to write another novel. As she tries to find the muse to jump start her writing career again, she remembers what her Grandfather told her many years ago.

" 'D
on't just tell a story, Avery Xandra. Take me somewhere. Teach me something.' The challenge had always seemed so daunting at first. 'What could I possibly teach you Grandfather?' She still remembered his soft, encouraging rebuke, delivered with a cock of his head and a rapid click of his tongue, 'Has anyone else dreamed your dreams? Asked your questions? Seen inside your heart? Show me those things-teach me about those things.'
Avery thought again about her life. She
had seen, lived, loved, and lost much. What have I learned from these things?' "

This was my favorite part of the whole book. I felt like Laurie was talking to me, an aspiring author. I am going to keep these words somewhere close to me as I write. This was a lesson for me from a master storyteller. My heart also loved the character of George, Avery's fellow LDS friend. She learned many lessons from this wise, older friend. I wish that more of the relationship had been played out between Gabriel and Avery, but the way it was presented, was clever and it worked in the long run.

Laurie truly knows how to draw the reader in and never let you go until the very last page. "Awakening Avery" is a story that will stay with you for a very long time. You can visit Laurie at her blog here.
This book can be purchased at

Summer's here and what better way to kick it off than with a blog tour for
Awakening Avery by Laurie Lewis as Awakening Avery
is the perfect poolside read.

Walnut Springs press is giving away
3 fabulous prizes.
Two readers will win their own copy of
Awakening Avery! Yeah. There will be one lucky grand prize winner who will the beautiful necklace below. The contest opens June 2 and
will close June 13 at midnight MST.

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June 1 Sheila Staley
Why Not? Because I
Said So!

LDS Women's Book Review

June 2 Alison Palmer
Tangled Words and Dreams

June 3 Kimberly Jobs
Scribbled Scraps

June 4 Nichole Giles
Random-ish by Nichole

June 7 Deanne Blackhurst
The Book of Deanne

June 8 Tristi Pinkston
*Tristi Pinkston, LDS

June 9 C.S. Bezas
For the Love of the Written Word

June 10 Joan Sowards
Joan Sowards

June 11 Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen
The Write Blocks

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

Follow our reviewers blogs.
(1 entry for each blog you follow.)

2. Leave a
comment on a
(1 entry for each review you comment on.)

Blog about Awakening Avery, the contest, or a review. (3 entries
for each blog post.)

Follow us on twitter. (1 entry
for each person you follow.)
Walnut Springs Press

Nichole Giles

LDS Women's Book Review

Sheila Staley

Kimberly Job

Joan Sowards

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entries for each tweet.)

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about the contest.)

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