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.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Blog Tour Review of "Watched" by Cindy Hogan

It takes more than a school trip to Washington, D.C. to change fifteen year old, Christy’s life. It takes murder. A witness to the brutal slaying of a Senator’s aide, Christy finds herself watched not only by the killers and the FBI, but also by two hot boys. She quickly discovers that if she can’t help the FBI, who want to protect her, it will cost her and her new friends their lives.

My Review:
Christy comes from a small town where she considers herself brainy and not very popular. On a trip to Washington D.C., that she won through a scholarship, her life changes in many ways. She not only witnesses a murder (Which is written in great detail and made my stomach turn), but she also experiences the attention of two boys in her life.

I love that this story was placed in Washington D.C. I loved visiting this area many years ago. I wish that I could have gone on a school trip like this, minus the murder Christy and her friends witnessed. Cindy does an excellent job of describing the many sites found in D.C., without bogging the reader down with too many details. I appreciated this aspect of Cindy's writing.

Watched is a good combination of a thriller and teen-age romance angst. Christy and her friends are being followed throughout the story. The thing that keeps you on edge is trying to figure out who is really the good and the bad guys. The FBI agents make you wonder if they are there to truly help Christy or are they really there to harm her? Then Christy also has a problem with the two young men, Rick and Alex. They are both chasing her and being only 15, Christy is not sure how to handle them. Christy does a lot of soul searching as she is dealing with the attention from these boys. She struggles with her morals and values that she was taught back at home. There are some good lessons for teens in this book. I felt for Christy as she found herself in situations, that she knew she could have prevented, if only she had stuck to what she believed in. This character does grow and change on this school trip. It also makes me want to lock up my 13 year old daughter and never let her out of the house.

I don't want to give anymore of the plot away. I want you to read this one on your own. I liked Watched and I am looking forward to the next book in the series called Protected. Cindy is finished writing the first draft and starting on the edits. Please make sure that you read below to see how to enter to win a gift certificate from

Here is the info from Cindy's blog telling how to win a Gift certificate from by leaving your own review of Watched here and at Cindy's blog. Also, you can purchase Watched for only $2.99 as an e-book.

All week long you'll get to read reviews of Watched on some fun blogs and have chances to win prizes. Some of the blogs are even giving away signed copies of
Watched. Go visit the blogs on the list below and find out what the buzz is all about.

You could also win a $10 Amazon gift card just for writing your own review of Watched in the comment section of this blog or emailing it to cindymhogan at yahoo dot com before August 12th.

That gives you plenty of time to read it and review it. Buy an ebook (only 2.99 right now)here for Kindle or here for Nook or print books here.

Earn 5 bonus points by posting your review with a link to buy Watched, on your own blog before August 12th. Make sure you comment with a link to your site so I can give you the 5 bonus points.

Check out these fun blogs on these days and you just might win something super fun!

Monday, July 18th Lisa Ann Turner -fun stuff about me. And Sumo's Sweet Stuff
Tuesday, July 19th Canda's Inkblast
Wednesday, July 20th Teen Book Guide and

Thursday, July 21st Fire and Ice
Friday, July 22nd Star Crossed Book Reviews
Monday, July 25th Ink Drop Interviews- more fun stuff
Tuesday, July 26th Why Not Because I Said So

If you visit all the blogs on the day they post the review/interview, just leave me a comment here that you did by Wed. July 27th for the 5 bonus points to win the $10 gift card.
Have fun!


Cindy M Hogan graduated from BYU with a B.A. in education. She is inspired by the unpredictable teenagers she teaches. She loves the outdoors and spending time with her husband and two daughters. Most of all, she loves to laugh.

Where to find Cindy M. Hogan online:

Where to buy in print:

Purchase Watched for Nook. (Bargain price at $2.99!)
Purchase Watched for Kindle. (Same bargain price as above!)
Purchase a paperback copy of Watched.

I was given a free review copy of Watched. In no way did this influence the review that was given.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review of "Sleight of Hand" by Deanne Blackhurst

Summary from goodreads:

Is it possible to con your way out of hell? Fifty-two year old Daniel Cabrero thinks so and why wouldn’t he? That’s how he spent his entire life. But Jonah his spirit guide has reasons of his own for making sure Daniel pays for all the suffering and misery he’s caused others. Still sometimes people can change, even in hell. And maybe Daniel can keep his son from following the same path.

"Sleight of Hand" is the story of a man named Daniel who did not lead a very good life. He made many wrong choices along the way. In fact, at the beginning of the book he is in the middle of a con when he dies of a heart attack. Then the story takes place in the next life in a place called "Wasteland". There Danny meets his guide, Jonah, who tries to help him along the way. In the "Wasteland" Danny learns he needs to pay for all of his sins and develop a change of heart. With this process he "relives" or watches all of the evil things he did in his life. He also feels the pain that he caused others. Jonah tells him that " “Wasteland isn’t a punishment,” Jonah said, as though there had been no break in their conversation. “It’s more of a holding area until you are ready to view your life honestly and satisfy the requirements of justice.”

Throughout the story we learn why Danny is in "Wasteland" and why many people don't make it to Providence right from the beginning. Jonah explains...
“Every mortal who ever lived in the world has made choices in their lives
both right and wrong. It’s expected. Growth can’t happen without failure.” Jonah’s
eyes remained fixed on the tiny sphere. “Because of this, each man, woman and
child is given the opportunity to correct these mistakes over the course of their
life time. When someone errs and then resolves that error, a process occurs that
not only satisfy’s the demands of justice, but also allows the individual to become
better and more deserving. You had your whole life to settle these things, and
you did nothing. ”

I have to be honest I really never grew to like the main character Daniel. His viewpoint of life was that life wasn't fair and how he wasn't going to do anything to try and change himself. This attitude at first made me crazy. Even with knowing about his hard childhood, I had a hard time feeling empathy for him. But, the journey you take with Danny in this book could be any of us. He slowly starts seeing the light, so to speak. It also makes you take a second look at your life and how you are living your life. This book is a non-denominational story, but anyone that believes in the next life and redemption and justice, will enjoy this book. Even though Daniel will never be a memorable character for me, it was satisfying to see him try to grow and change in this novel.

As far as recommending "Sleight of Hand", this is a dark and sometimes depressing book. It is full of terrible things that Danny did to other people. If you are looking for a quick, uplifting book, this is not it. If you want to read a very deep, and compelling book that makes you think about life, then you will enjoy the book. Deanne knows how to write with much emotion. You can't help but be moved by what you read.

Get to know Deanne: This is what she has to say about her life and her writing...

. I’m Deanne Blackhurst, the author of Turning Hearts andSleight of Hand. I was born in Oakland, California and grew up all over the California Bay Area with a few two year stint in New Providence, New Jersey. I went to BYU and majored in drama, communications, creative writing and family sciences in that order.
I spent a year and a half in Paraguay before returning home and marrying my long time friend turned sweetheart Kent Blackhurst. We have three biological children, one adopted from Mexico and two from Haiti, a son-in-law and will be adding a daughter-in-law in a few months
Over the years I’ve always had a great love for writing. I’ve written for Newspapers, magazines, newsletters, web pages… just about anything you can think of. I’ve addressed topics as widely varied as raising credit scores and alpine horn enthusiasts. However, given the choice, I always enjoyed writing humors articles in the style of my hero Erma Brombeck. I currently write a weekly blog called The Book of Deanne that features short humorous insights into the life of a writer/mom.

In 2002 I began what would be an eight year journey to write my first novel. It was accepted by a publisher in 2008 and released a year and a half later. Turning Hearts is the story of a young female LDS missionary searching for a family she’s been dreaming of.
In the mean time I began work on a second novel with a somewhat unique premise. Daniel, a seasoned con man dies unexpectedly and finds himself in the afterlife. His spirit guide Jonah leads him to a beautiful cabin in the woods and Daniel believes that he has conned his way into heaven. But hell isn’t necessarily a burning landscape with devils and pitch forks and sometimes the worst punishment a man must suffer comes from the depth of his own conscience. Sleight of Hand was released as an eBook on July 15, 2010.
On the horizon is a romantic thriller, and contemporary fantasy.
I am also the author of Exploring the eBook Jungle, a blog about my experiences publishing and marketing an eBook.

When I’m not writing, I like to read (of course), eat chocolate, explore international cuisines, design on-line graphics, play with my grandson and shop for dangling earrings. I’m forever trying to drop a few pounds and get out to the gym more often. I love watching Psych and Castle on TV and the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice.

Sleight of Hand can be purchased at Smashwords.

Special Offer:
Until August 31, 2011, you can buy this book for just $1.99 by entering the code
MX73D. It is available in all e-book formats.

I was given a free e-copy of this book. In no way did this influence the review that was given.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Review of "Count Down to Love" and an Interview with Author Julie Ford


Abandoned at the altar, Kelly Grace Pickens finds herself left holding not only the bouquet but also the exorbitant bill for an A-list wedding. Homeless, a once promising singing career floundering, and her life bearing an uncanny resemblance to one of her country music ballads, she reluctantly accepts a last minute offer to appear on a reality TV show akin to the bachelor. Pitted against silicon-enhanced supermodels in four-inch heals, Kelly feels confident that she will be among the first would-be fianc├ęs to be excused. Only, when the mysterious bachelor from New York City, Dillon Black, invites her to stay, Kelly finds herself thrust into the vortex of a game she doesn’t have the first idea how to play. Nursing her hopelessly broken heart while avoiding the foils of her fellow contestants, Kelly is oblivious to Dillon’s affections as she wades through hurt and betrayal to discover, in the end, that she has landed firmly on both feet.

Leaving behind Nashville’s Music Row for the majestic Grand Teton mountains, Count Down To Love takes readers on a journey from duplicity to sincerity as Kelly discovers that being true to oneself is the first step in finding happiness and everlasting love.

I loved this book! Yes, I know that I am getting straight to the point, but I really did! I have to admit I watch the Bachelor, but it is like being drawn to a train wreck and not being able to take my eyes off of it. This book is not a train wreck by any means. I gave it five stars on It is a book that has Christian values. The main characters' father is a preacher who runs his own country church. Here are some of the many reasons I loved this book.

-It is a very funny book. I was LOL through most of the book. My children kept asking me why/what I was laughing at. This is a sign of a good book to me. I am calling this book the "Must Read" romance of the Summer!!!

-This book is engaging from the start; from the beginning where Kelly is dumped at the alter, to the end where you are wondering if she will end up with the Bachelor. I never once lost my interest in the story. In fact, I stayed up until almost 3:00 a.m. to finish the book because I HAD to see how it ended.

-Great Characters: I really liked the main characters of Kelly and Dillon. You can't help but love Kelly from the beginning. She is cute, down-to-earth, and very believable. I was cheering her on from the start. In some ways she can be very gullible, trusting some people too much. I am not going to bash her for that though, it is how the reader can relate to Kelly. It will take a few chapters before you fall for Dillon. The reader gets to know Dillon at the same time Kelly does. It didn't take even half way through the book before I really loved Dillon.

-This is a clean romance. There is no sex, but plenty of toe-tingling kisses. The main character is a virgin and proudly lets others know about it. This is a great message for today's youth. Though this isn't a YA book, I think that Mothers would feel very good about reading this book with their teen daughters.

After reading this fun book, I wanted to interview the author, Julie N. Ford. I hope that you will enjoy reading it.

Q: I know where you got the idea to write Count Down to Love, but describe the moment you realized this book needed to be written?

A: It was the summer before last and I had been toying with the idea in my mind. One day I was swimming at a friend’s pool and talking to my sister-in-law. She asked me what I was working on and I started telling her about the idea I had for Count Down to Love. She seemed really interested so I kept talking. The more I talked about it, the more excited I got, and then the ideas just flowing. I went home and started writing.

Q: Who were the inspirations for your main characters Kelly and Dillon?

A: For Kelly, I interviewed a few aspiring country artists here in Nashville about what it was like to write a song and perform, and then looked to music artist like Kelly Pickler and Carrie Underwood for her physical description. Her last name, Pickens, came from James Pickens. I have no idea who the man is but when we first moved to Nashville we used to get calls for him all the time.

Dillon’s character sprung from my secret affinity for cowboys. Then, reality dating shows always choose handsome men with money, someone they think women will swoon over like that’s all we care about—as if. So, I made him a self-made millionaire with a mysterious past that would also give him some depth and an upbringing similar to Kelly’s.

Q: Did you do some research behind how a reality show, like the Bachelor, works?

A: Yes. Luckily a season of the Bachelorette was airing at the time. Much to my husband’s chagrin, I never missed a show including, the “behind the scenes” and “after the final rose” episodes. In addition, I read every tabloid article about the contestants (something I don’t normally do), watched a documentary on the making of a reality show and searched the Internet for interviews from former contestants.

Q: Count Down to Love is the first book I have ever read of yours. Is this your first Romance? What other books have you written?

A: Count Down to Love is the only one that is primarily a romance. My first novel, The Woman He Married, was a women’s fiction with elements of romance. The second, No Holly for Christmas, was more of a romantic/suspense. Although No Holly for Christmas was my second novel, it hasn’t been released yet. It comes out in November.

Q: I was impressed with the humor found in your novel. I was LOL so many times as I read. How did you decide on your characters and which women would be in the house? There were many that were written humorously. How hard was it writing so many different characters?

A: First, thank you for that incredible compliment. I’m so glad my characters seemed real enough to have you laughing.

Actually, I only had to reach back to my junior high school days to come up with the individual women in the house. There always seems to be one who places herself at the top of the heap (Jessica) and every vixen needs an evil accomplice (Zhan). I started with those two and then worked my way down. Being a social worker/therapist means I’m used to watching people—analyzing their idiosyncrasies—and after forty-something years of living, I have a lot of material to draw from. Plus, we tend to laugh a lot in our house and pretty much every subject is far game.

Q: What book do you have coming out next? What are you working on right now?

A: I have a romantic/suspense coming out in November titled, No Holly for Christmas. I took one of the sub-characters, Brian, from the first novel and built the plot around him. Then, I added an atypical heroine and topped it off with a nice dose of the holidays. Essentially, all my favorite genres rolled together in one novel.

Right now I’m working on a novel titled, The Cadaver Ball. It’s sort of a sci-fi/women’s fiction/suspense about a woman who meets the man of her dreams at—you guessed it—Vanderbilt Medical School’s, Cadaver Ball. Two weeks later she finds herself saying, “I do,” in a room full of strangers to a man she barely knows. From there she gets caught up in the mystery of what really happened to her husband’s late wife. Throw in a few evil clones and maybe some end of the world stuff, and we’ll have to see what happens. Wink, wink.

Q: What is your best advice for aspiring writers? How can they keep up the excitement amidst disappointments along the way?

A: Write because you love it, because the voices in your head won’t let you rest until you free them onto the page (or computer screen), because to stop is not an option. Keep writing when you get discouraged because, even if you never make a dime off your work, the journey was well worth the effort.

Sheila, I would like to say one thing if I may regarding the banter between Kelly and Patrice in this novel. I want everyone to know that I sincerely meant no disrespect. I was simply having a little fun at the expense of silly modern stereotypes. Just because Kelly wears a Confederate Flag doesn’t make her a bigot. Likewise, because Patrice is African American doesn’t necessarily mean she’s good at sports and knows how to fry chicken. They were both equally wrong in their misguided assumptions just as many of us are at times.

Thank you for allowing me to do this interview!

There you have it! I know that this has been a long book review, but I hoped that I have hooked you into reading this book. I know that I will go back and re-read this book. If you go to Julie's website, you can enter(Before July 31, 2011) to win a copy of this book. So don't delay and go and enter to win a copy or go and purchase a copy of the book. Happy reading friends!!

Here is the purchase link:

About the Author:

Julie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in English Literature from San Diego State University. In addition, she earned a Masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama. She has worked in teaching, childbirth education and family therapy. Besides writing, she spends many hours working along side her husband at their UPS Store franchise, but hopes to re-enter the Social Work field someday.

She is the author of three womens' fiction novels, the first two due out in March and November 2011, published by Whiskey Creek Press. The third due for release in May 2011, published by Cedar Fort Inc.

Currently, she lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, two daughters and one very feisty fish.


Web Site:

And here is the author’s blog:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Today is the Day I Finally Get to See It: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

I have been anxiously awaiting the day when I would finally see the last installment of the Harry Potter movies. I have been watching the trailer's every time one would come out. I gathered my kids around the computer as we watched them over and over again. We have had our Harry Potter Movie Marathon...several times!!

I am experiencing the same feelings that I had when the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out. I was so excited to read the book, but also sad knowing that it was the last book. The good thing back then was that there were a few more Harry Potter movies to come out. Now this will really be the end. I hope I love it as much as I have built it up in my mind. Here are the official movie posters that were released from Warner brothers Studio. I have been looking at them a lot since they first came out. Enjoy!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Review of "Voice Across Time" by Linda Todd Bush

Voice Across TimeVoice Across Time by Linda Todd Bush

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Voice Across Time is a romance book full of spirituality, a small pioneer story and a young women torn between two men and two very different lifestyles.

The story has a slow start, but about 90 pages in the story picks up. Abigail (Abby) goes to her Grandmother's home in St.George, Utah to prepare the home for sale. Her Grandmother's recent passing is hard on Abby as she goes through the things in the home that remind her so much of her childhood. Abby has not been active in her Mormon faith for a long time. She is finding her life changing as she associates with past friends that remind her what the gospel truly means to her. Abby gains a new testimony of the gospel and wants to become active in her church again. This causes problems in her life, especially with her serious, non-LDS boyfriend Scott, back in Denver. As Abby grows closer to her old acquaintance Blake Matthews, a young Mormon Dr. in St. George, she is finding she is going to have to make a very important decision. Finding an old pioneer journal of one of her ancestors helps her in this decision.

This book is full of many moments when Abby is touched by the spirit where her testimony grows. It is a very religious book and I enjoyed it very much. It is not an action packed book, but is full of characters growing and changing and learning to love again. Even if you are not LDS, I still feel that you will enjoy reading about Abby's journey of "finding" her true self again. If you like reading Christian or LDS fiction you will certainly love "Voice Across Time".

FTC FYI: I was given a review copy of Voice Across Time by Covenant Publishing. In no way did this influence the review that was given.

View all my reviews

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Meet James Duckett and Enter To Win Sweet Things at his Blog!

James is a fellow writer who is trying to increase his followers on his blog. He is having a sweet contest where he is giving away a $20.00 gift certificate to and a $5.00 gift certificate to Cold Stone Creamery. There are some very easy things you need to do to enter.
Here is what he said on his blog....

Entering is easy. Just follow this blog and tell everybody how wonderful I am! I'll go with the point system.

1) Mention this blog and contest on Twitter with the following: "Follow James Duckett's writing blog and you could win a gift card." That is worth one drawing per tweet.

2) Throw it on Facebook. I think that is worth two drawings. But because I may not be Facebook friends with you you may need to leave a comment. I'm trusting everybody will be honest.

3) Mention it on your blog. Again, comment below so I don't miss it and so I can follow your blog if I'm not doing so already. I'll give five points for that!

Each point represents an entry into the drawing. I'll first draw for the Amazon gift card and then for the Cold Stone gift certificate. If you win, I'll stalk you until I find out how to get it to you.

I'll let this run through the weekend and tally everything up Tuesday night (July 12th) around 9pm and hold the random drawing. The winner will be announced on this blog Tuesday night.

Here is some information about James that I found on his blog.

About Me

I was born. Since then I've accomplished some interesting things.

1) I married Julie, the girl of my dreams who somehow still seems to like me despite knowing me.
2) I have a teenage son. He's reached the age where he thinks he knows more than me. I'm waiting for him to turn about 25 when he'll learn that I was right all along.
3) I have an Associate's Degree from UVSC (now UVU) in Business Management and a Bachelor's Degree from UNLV (still UNLV) in Business Management with an emphasis in Management of Information Systems.
4) I'm the IT Director for the City of St. George, a job that keeps me out of trouble and keeps things challenging enough to make me want to stick around.
5) I live in, what I believe to be, the best city on earth: St. George, UT
6) I enjoy reading, running, swimming, biking, baseball (Go Dodgers!!), and most sports.
7) I've wanted to be a writer since the 2nd grade. Now that I've got a lot of things out of the way I needed to do before I could focus on this goal, I'm finally getting serious.
8) English is my second language. My first is sarcasm. PLEASE try to keep that in mind while reading anything I write.
9) I love exclamation points!!!!! I'm REEEEAALLLYYYYY trying to work on that.

So...what are you waiting for? Head on over to Jame's blog to enter to win some fun prizes!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Review of "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett

The HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is so much to love and admire about this book. "The Help" is the story of three women experiencing life in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962. The Civil Rights Movement is storming the country and the South is in the spotlight.

In “The Help” we get to know twenty-two year old Skeeter, a college graduate of Ole’ Miss. She doesn’t fit the mold of the Southern, white, gentile woman who marries young, has babies and employs black maids in her home. Skeeter is looking for more in her life and wants to change things in her closed, privileged Southern town.

We also meet Aibeleen, a black maid, who has spent her life raising white children. She is still grieving the loss of her only child, who died while his white bosses looked the other way. Aibeleen has a chance to tell her story about her life and knows that this could endanger her and her friends. This is the moment that Aibeleen has waited for all of her life. She is determined that nothing will stop her from telling the world the truth about what goes on behind closed doors in white Southern homes.

The last main character is the spunky Minny. She has a hard time keeping a job, mainly because of saying something she shouldn't have to her white employer. Minny is living a hard life, married to an abusive drunk,mother of five children and trying to deal with the way she is treated by the white women she works for. Minny is tested as she gains courage to join Aibeleen and share with the world about her life.

The writing in this novel is so compelling and Stockett knows how to bring her characters to life; not one of them falls flat.You start caring about them from the very beginning. At 451 pages this story never lost my attention. Every woman should read this story, and I know that many men would also enjoy this book. There will be someone there within the story that all people will be able to relate to. This book truly deserves a five star rating. It is a haunting, but much needed look at the lives of Black Americans and how they courageously stood up for change.

If you have not experienced "The Help" yet, then I highly recommend that you do.

View all my reviews