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.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

About Me...


About Me

BIO: I am a very busy, single Mom to my two great kids. I work full time teaching 2nd grade. I love to read and met my goal of reading 100+ books last year. I love to write and enjoy attending writing conferences. I am seriously working on a romance novel. I have a YA fantasy and a mystery suspense in the beginning stages. I have been a member of LDS Women's Book Review for five years. I love podcasting with the ladies of LDSWBR. I also love to do book reviews on my own personal book review blog and at the LDSWBR site. For fun, besides reading, I love to play games with my kids (especially Harry Potter Scene-It), go camping, scrapbook, and play the piano and sing. My quote to live by in 2011..."Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same. " ~Francesca Reigler

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Review of "The Musician's Daughter" by Susanne Dunlop

Murder and love—from the halls of Vienna’s imperial family to a perilous gypsy camp

Amid the glamor of Prince Nicholas Esterhazy’s court in 18th-century Vienna, murder is afoot. Or so fifteen-year-old Theresa Maria is convinced when her musician father turns up dead on Christmas Eve, his valuable violin missing, and the only clue to his death a strange gold pendant around his neck. Then her father’s mentor, the acclaimed composer Franz Joseph Haydn, helps her through a difficult time by making her his copyist and giving her insight in to her father’s secret life. It’s there that Theresa begins to uncover a trail of blackmail and extortion, even as she discovers honor—and the possibility of a first, tentative love. Thrumming with the weeping strains of violins, as well as danger and deception, this is an engrossing tale of murder, romance, and music that readers will find hard to forget.

This book is promoted as a young adult/ historical fiction. It was a wonderful read for any adult who loves historical fiction, a budding romance and a lot of mystery. I was surprised to read on, that many people did not like this book as much as I did. I have found this to be happening with many books I have read lately. I will either like a book more than others or will not like a book as much as other readers do. I really am not trying to be contrary, it just seems to be happening.

The beginning of this book hooked me from the moment I started reading it. Here is an excerpt from the beginning of the book which I found on the author's website.

The night it all began, I dreamt that Papa returned from the concert with a new violin for me. I lifted it out of its wooden case, so excited to play it, but it slipped from my hands to the floor and smashed into splinters. I still remember how desperately sad I was, holding the one thing I wanted more than anything in the world—my own violin—and before I knew it I’d broken it beyond repair. My father’s dream face looked more sad than angry. I reached out to cling to him and ask his forgiveness, but he, too, slipped through my grasp, becoming a column of mist drawn out through my open window by the wind that banged the shutters against the house.

I woke up suddenly with my mouth open wide, the word “Papa!” in my throat. It took a moment before I realized that the knocking I heard was not the shutter from my dream, but someone at the door. A voice yelled “Machen-Sie auf! Open up!”

At first I was relieved. No treasured violin had been broken. Then I wondered who would make such a noise in the middle of the night. I pulled back the curtains around my bed, threw off the comforter, leapt up and ran in my bare feet to the door, dashing past my mother who had also been awakened but could only hobble slowly because she was very pregnant. “Theresa Maria! Get away from there. You’ll be seen by God knows who in your night shift!” I didn’t pause, not caring how I was dressed.

When I reached the door I drew the bolt and yanked it open. I hoped it was Papa, knocking because he had forgotten his key. We had all stayed up late waiting for him to return from playing the violin at a concert in Prince Esterhazy’s winter palace, on the other side of Vienna. But he didn’t come, which wasn’t so very unusual on a Christmas eve when there would be much merrymaking after his work was done, so at last we went to bed. Mama had looked a bit worried, but I was certain Papa had simply gone drinking with his friends. The musicians would have received their annual bonuses from my godfather, Kapellmeister Haydn.

The next few moments were very confusing. Three men wearing cloaks with hoods drawn over their faces pushed into our apartment, struggling with a large, black sack between them. They laid the sack gently on the floor, and then one of them—I still can’t remember which—took a small dagger and split it open down its middle.

“Maybe you shouldn’t look,” said a voice I recognized as Heinrich’s. He spoke with a rich baritone that reminded me of the horn he played.

“No, they will have to see him,” said another of them, who I later realized was Jakob, the timpanist.

My mother stood next to me holding the lamp up high with one hand and clutching her shawl closed at her throat with the other. My little brother Tobias was still asleep, Greta, the cook, hadn’t stirred—nothing woke them. Mama and I were frozen to our spots like the icicles hanging from the eaves of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Just thinking about them made me shiver.

Or maybe I was shivering because of what the sack contained.
Even though I was several paces away and the light flickered in the wind that whooshed through the still open door, I could see that it was my father. I recognized his slender face with its high forehead, pronounced cheekbones and the tiny dent in his chin. But why wasn’t he moving? And why was his mouth so dark?

I crept closer, fascinated and repelled at the same time, until I could see that the strange color was from the dried blood that had caked on his lips and frozen in a trail out of one corner of his mouth and down his cheek.
My mother had inched forward with me, her hand on my shoulder. I felt her grip loosening and I turned, catching hold of the oil lamp just as she crumbled into a heap on the floor.

The men, who had stood around breathing heavily after their exertion sprang into action, two of them rushing over to help Mama. I don’t know what made me do it exactly then, but I threw up all over the boots of one of them, realizing as I did so that it was poor Heinrich, and noticing that his boots were covered with sandy mud.

The 15 year old girl, Theresa is brave, courageous and very vulnerable at times. I liked her because of how she took charge of the family after her father died. Her very pregnant Mother shuts down and is no help to the family. It is up to Theresa to look for her father's murderers and get a job to earn money for her family to live on. This story is told so well, first person, from Theresa.

I related so well to her because of her great love of music, which she and her father had shared. The glamorous city of Vienna came to life, and the hardships of the 18th century became more realistic. I loved the excitement and intrigue that came as Theresa visited the Gypsy (Romanian) camps for clues. There she learns of their plight during this time period and how they were ill-treated by the higher gentry and politicians. We also get to go into the very glittering palace of Prince Nicholas Esterhazy's and experience the life of nobility. I particularly loved when Theresa, for the first time in her life, was fitted for a gown for a ball. As a "girl" I loved the idea of dressing up in finery. A warning, there is also a creepy Uncle in the background tormenting Theresa.

I do know that a sequel to this book is being written. It truly was left open for a sequel. I think that more romance will be found in the next book. I enjoyed Susanne's fast paced writing style and the wonderful details that she included that swept me away to 18th Century Vienna.

If you would like to learn more about Susanne Dunlap, her other historical fiction novels and the history behind this book, go to her website

This book receives 4 stars from me. I will probably end up purchasing this book. I want to read it again.

Just for fun, I found the book trailer for this book.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Karlene's Contest at InkSplasher: Enter to Win a Free Book

My fellow blogger, Karlene Wells Browning has a fun contest going on at her blog. She blogs at many places, is a writer and publisher and Entrepreneur. I guess that she has been teased about using the same photo for years. She also claims that people don't recognize her in person because of her old photo. Well, Karlene had new photos taken and they turned out wonderful!! She looks great in all of them but wants people to come and vote for their favorite photo. You also can enter to win a free Josi Kilpack book by helping Karlene out.

Go to her blog InkSplasher here to view her great new photos.
Here is her old photo:

Here is the new photo, out of the 10 she has up, that I really, really like.

So head over to InkSplasher and help my friend out. Also sign up to follow her blog. She always has fun things to read there and great contests.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Review of "The Overton Window" By Glenn Beck

The Overton Window
A Thriller by Glenn Beck

A plan to destroy America, a hundred years in the making, is about to be unleashed . . . can it be stopped?

There is a powerful technique called the Overton Window that can shape our lives, our laws and our future. It works by manipulating public perception so that ideas previously thought of as radical begin to seem acceptable over time. Move the Window and you change the debate. Change the debate and you change the country.

For Noah Gardner, a twenty something public relations executive, it's safe to say that political theory is the furthest thing from his mind. Smart, single, handsome and insulated from the world's problems by the wealth and power of his father, Noah is far more concerned about the future of his social life than the future of his country.

But all of that changes when Noah meets Molly Ross, a woman who is consumed by the knowledge that the America we know is about to be lost forever. She and her group of patriots have vowed to remember the past and fight for the future—but Noah, convinced they're just a bunch of freaky conspiracy-theorists, isn't interested in lending his considerable skills to their cause.

And then the world changes.

An unprecedented attack on U.S. soil shakes the country to the core and puts into motion a frightening plan, decades in the making, to transform America and demonize all those who stand in the way. Amidst the chaos, many don't know the difference between conspiracy theory and conspiracy fact—or, more importantly, which side to fight for.

But for Noah, the choice is clear: Exposing the plan, and revealing the conspirators behind it, is the only way to save both the woman he loves and the individual freedoms he once took for granted.

I was on the waiting list at the library for what seemed a long time. There were many people that also wanted to read "The Overton Window" by Glenn Beck. I know many people out there don't like Glenn Beck. Personally, I like to listen to him and tend to agree with many things he discusses. I want you to know though, despite who wrote this book, it is a very suspenseful thriller. You are sitting there on the edge waiting to see who will live and die by the end of the book.

In this review, I feel I also need to tell you, that this book is a "Political Thriller". This term means that there are many political things talked about, discussed, and throughly picked apart during the course of this book. I have to admit, there were some chapters I felt like I was listening to one of Glenn's radio programs. To me this is not a bad thing, but to others they may not like to read about this type of political ideology. The book is a work of 'faction' Beck explains... a work of fiction with plots rooted in facts.

As a reviewer, I want to say the characterization left much to be desired. I never really felt like I connected truly with the main characters. I also found the "romance" in the story to be weak and hard to believe. The first part of the book moved slowly, but hang onto your seats with the second half. I almost felt like another writer took over half way through the book. The thriller aspect was great and this is when I could not put the book down. You will be amazed at some of the things that happen in this second half.

The best part about "The Overton Window", is that it makes you think about our country and what is really happening out there. I believe that this is the main reason that Glenn Beck
wrote this book. He really wants Americans to think about our past history and also the future of our great country. This book is worth a read. It is worth your time, to get you thinking beyond your own street and family. We all need to stay active in what is going on around us and be part of the political process; regardless of which political party we support.

"The Overton Window" is the ninth published book by Glenn Beck. If you want to learn more about this book and other books by Glenn Beck go here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How to Raise a Non-Reader

I found this today and knew I had to share it with everyone I know and even those I don't know. There is so much truth in everything said here. I hope that this makes you think about what you are doing with your own kids/grandkids at home.

Thirteen Ways to Raise a Non reader


1.Never read where your children

can see you.

2.Put a TV or computer in

every room. Don’t neglect the bedrooms

and kitchen.

3.Correct your child every time she mispronounces a word.

4.Schedule activities every

day after school so your child will never be bored.

5.Once your child can read independently, throw out the picture books. They’re for babies.

6.Don’t play board games together.Too dull.

7.Give little rewards for reading.Stickers and plastic toys are nice. Money is even better.

8. Don’t expect your children to enjoy reading. Kids’ books are for teaching vocabulary, proper study habits, and good morals.

9.Buy only 40-watt bulbs for your lamps.

10.Under no circumstances read your child the same book over and over. She heard it once, she should remember it.

11.Never allow your child to listen to

books on tape; that’s cheating.

12. Make sure your kids only read books that

are “challenging.” Easy books are a

complete waste of time. That

goes double for comic books and Mad


13.Absolutely, positively

no reading in bed.

I can see why I became a voracious reader, my parents didn't follow any of these suggestions. I am not using any of these methods with my children either. Please pass this on to others, so we can raise a world full of readers.

Friday, September 3, 2010

What I Thought About "Linger" by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press (July 13, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0545123283

I read the first book in the series, "Shiver" several months ago. Unlike almost every reader out there, it was just an OK book for me. It was good enough though to want to read the next book in the series. I looked forward to reading the second book in the series, "Linger".

If you don't know anything about this series let me give you a little back ground on the first book, "Shiver"....

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.

Shiver begins the story of the wolves of Mercy Falls.

"Linger" continues on with Grace and Sam's story. The thing I liked more about the second book is that Maggie brings in two new voices, Isabel and Cole. The book goes back and forth between the four characters. I found that this made the story more interesting and more complex.

In an interview, Maggie explains the challenges of writing a book with four distinct voices.

Q: In Shiver, the narration alternates between Sam and Grace. In Linger, you add two more voices—Isabel and Cole St. Clair. What were the challenges (and joys!) of doing so?

Stiefvater: Oh, it was insane. The hard bit was keeping everyone’s voices straight and consistent of course. They had to sound distinct while still sounding like they belonged in the same book. Each had a distinct vocabulary. Sam, for instance, says “amongst.” The others can’t say amongst. Isabel has her own particular brand of swear words. Cole has his own way of describing the world. Grace sees action in a particular way. The challenge was picking which character narrated each scene; who saw what I needed the reader to see? They were all so different. Of course, that was the joy as well. Hard to get bored that way . . .

Here is more about "Linger"...

In Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love—the light and the dark, the warm and the cold—in a way you will never forget.

Now for the ironic thing, I am one of the few people out there that liked "Linger" better than "Shiver". Some have said that it is slow moving and think Grace has turned into a whiner like Bella in "Twilight". I have to disagree with the "Others" and say that I like "Linger" better than it's predecessor. It was an intriguing read and very exciting at the end. I also love Maggie's writing, so beautiful and poetic. The story just seems to flow, not choppy at all.

Another telling sign for me, was that I was almost done with "Linger" when my copy of "Mockingjay" came in the mail. I tried to start reading "Mockingjay" but could not get "Linger" out of my mind. So I finished "Linger" first and then I picked up "Mockingjay".

If you are someone who likes this kind of book filled with teenage angst and falling in love with non-human creatures, give this series a try. The final book in the trilogy, "Forever" will be coming out in 2011.

One more thing, I would recommend this book for older teens and adults. My twelve year old daughter will not be reading this series for many years. There are many adult things that happen that tweens should not be reading about. Read it first and use your own judgment here, but this is what I will be doing with my daughter.

If you want to learn more about this author and her other books she has written go to her website here. You can also visit her blog for more interesting things that Maggie has to say. After reading many interviews with Maggie, I found that she has a fun personality and a great sense of humor.

I will be reading this book again next year before the third book comes out. I do not own my own copies and have borrowed them from the public library.

Here is a pretty cool book trailer for "Linger". If you get motion sickness you may not like it, but it is still good and has pretty music.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Review of "The Stone Traveler" by Kathi Oram Peterson

Sixteen-year-old Tag can’t believe he’s in this much trouble. He’s n
ot actually a member of the gang known as the Primes — all he did was spray paint some graffiti that caught their attention. In all honesty, ever since his dad and brother left, Tag just wants to be alone. And it’s certainly not his fault that the Primes nearly beat up his goofy cousin, Ethan. But his mom is furious about these gang-related activities and insists that Tag spend the whole summer at his grandpa’s lakeside cabin, which is not Tag’s idea of a good time. So he does what any self-respecting teenager would do: run away. But he doesn’t get far before he encounters three strange men carrying an even stranger object — a stone that glows with radiant light as bright as a thousand sparklers. Tag doesn’t steal the stone — not exactly. He feels like he is supposed to take it. But he doesn’t expect the stone to transport him through space and time to a place he’s never seen before — a place that looks an awful lot like the ancient lands described in the Book of Mormon. And he definitely doesn’t expect to join Sabirah, the entrancing daughter of Samuel the Lamanite, on a quest t
o rescue her father and brother from the evil King Jacob. And he absolutely doesn’t expect to be captured by Jacob’s minions and prepared as a sacrifice to the evil idol of the city. But just as Tag faces his death, a terrible storm begins to break, and the ground cracks into jagged pieces. And he’s not sure which event will impact his life more: his captor’s knife coming at his body, the violent tempest sweeping the land . . . or the men who later appear, glowing even more brightly than the traveler’s stone.

The Stone Traveler is an enjoyable read, but it is also a very moving experience. It has so many things that readers of the Book of Mormon will enjoy. I have come to love novels that bring the Book of Mormon people to life. Kathi also combines something I also love to read about, time travel! I also was impressed with the way Kathi used the stone as the means of time traveler; hence the name of the book.

I also want to mention that "The Stone Traveler" is well written. I have enjoyed all of Kathi's previous books, but she has outdone herself with this novel. Kathi switches back and forth between the viewpoint of her two main characters. This is very effective, as Tag and Sabirah have very distinctive voices. I also want to mention how Sabirah is a very strong female character. I enjoyed reading about her and her struggles to save her family and friends.

Some of the themes in this book center on loyalty, trust, service and forgiveness. Tag is sixteen and he learns so much along the way. It is the kind of growth that we all need to do sometime in our life. Great characters, lots of excitement and a satisfying ending; what more could you want?

I wanted you to see what Kathi posted on her blog today:

I thought I might give you this stone to help you on The Stone Traveler's blog tour. It's very much like the one Tag, the sixteen-year-old protagonist in my story, was given that sent him back through time.

Might I suggest that you take good care of it.

If the stone starts to glow and becomes warm in your hand you might find yourself in a different place and time. You never know where the stone might take you.

Remember: Kathi is hosting a HUGE contest for her blog tour. Read the post below for details of the prizes you could win(including a chance to win a KINDLE) if you comment on this post and other reviewers of this book.

Visit Kathi's blog at....