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.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Lies and Letters by Ashtyn Newbold-Blog Tour Review

{Product Details}
  • Title: Lies and Letters
  • Author: Ashtyn Newbold
  • Genre: historical, regency, romance, clean romance
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc. (July 11, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1462119840
FTC, FYI:I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

{Book Details: Lies and Letters

“That same ache I had been feeling for weeks now blossomed inside of me, bruised, bleeding, and broken. Only now did I realize it was my heart.”
After a season in London, Charlotte Lyons is still regrettably unattached. With her family’s finances in peril, she is sent away with her sister to a bleak coastal town where she is expected to pursue a wealthy earl. She is beautiful and talented, how can she possibly fail? But when her heart is captured by someone entirely unexpected, Charlotte finds herself caught up in a web of lies and intrigue. Between hardship and sorrow, she finds more than she bargained for, forced to choose between the life she once wanted and a new love she never imagined. 


The scratching of a quill did little to settle my nerves. Neither did the pattering of rain, nor the abrupt planking of the pianoforte from downstairs. In fact, all the sounds produced quite the opposite effect.
Slamming my quill down on my writing desk, I jumped from my chair, striking my knee on the underside of the desk. The inkwell tipped, splattering my gown. I froze, staring at the tear drops of black. Propelled by a new bout of anger, I rushed at the door and threw it open.
          I knew it was Clara at the pianoforte, rehearsing for a dinner party at which she was bound to humiliate us all. And as if the rain wasn't enough to upset me, my sister carried on with her horrifying display while I was trying to write a letter to my dearest friend, Alice. It had been two long months since I had visited her at Kellaway Manor, and I was itching to know if her eldest brother was still unattached.
          I gripped by stained skirts as I stomped down the stairs. It was such a relief to stomp. In public, I was only permitted to glide.
          “Clara! Quit that horrendous music and look what you have done to me!” My voice was a shriek, shrill from lack of use.
          Clara's hands stopped for a moment, suspended above the keys. Her smile was tight as she took in my dirtied dress and ink-covered hands. Without comment, she resumed her playing with renewed vigor.
“Clara!” I rushed at her and threw the music off the stand, missing the burning fireplace by inches. The sheets fell to the ground like dead petals. “Content yourself with the fact that you will never be as talented as me.” I placed my hand on her shoulder and leaned in close. “Nor will you ever be as pretty.”
Her face darkened to a shade of cherry red and her brow creased. In anger or shame, I couldn't tell.
          “A well-bred lady will always maintain and even disposition. I trust you haven't applied rouge to your entire face.
          “Charlotte, stop!” She threw my hand off her shoulder. A dark smudge of ink stained her ivory sleeve.
          I glanced at it with mock regret. “Oh, dear sister, forgive me.”
          With an animal-like grunt she leapt from her seat and charged at me. Her palms slammed into my shoulders and I faltered, gasping. Clara was sixteen, two years younger than me, but we were similar in proportion. I regained my bearings and returned the action, throwing her back several steps. It was a fair fight, to be sure.
          “I am going to sit beside Mr. Weatherby tomorrow, and you will be placed beside Mr. Connor’s belching!” I screamed.
          “Mr. Weatherby favors me!”
          I scoffed. "What has possibly implanted such a fantasy in your simple head? He certainly wasn't charmed by your musical talent.”
          She cast me a look of contempt. “Do not ever speak to me again!” She gave me one last shove before crossing her arms. “I wish to play music, and I will play music, and you cannot stop me!”
          I caught my breath, rolling my eyes. With the clean area of my hand, I brushed back my pale curls. “Very well, but you will never master the art as I have. You will never be like me.”
          She stepped closer, the light from the flames flickering over her face. I expected to see a look of hot anger, or an inadequacy. But instead I saw pity. “I have never wanted to be like you, Charlotte.”

{My Review}
I must be honest here, I instantly disliked the main character who is telling her story in first person. She is mean, conceited, snobbish, and full of herself. I believe this is exactly what the author wanted her readers to feel as we first meet Charlotte. She has been raised by a mother whom Charlotte follows in word and deed. Her main focus is to find and win a rich husband with a title. Right away things fall apart in Charlotte's and her sister Clara's life because of their father's poor choices. Clara is nothing like Charlotte and I had nothing but sympathy for Clara as she is mistreated a lot by her older sister, even though she had her moments of being childish in the beginning.

Thank goodness Charlotte is humbled by life circumstances and she starts to change. It's not an easy process as she is so set in her ways and embroiled by many lies as she tries once again to catch a suitable man for a husband. Both girls have to learn to fend for themselves. The joy in this book is watching them lean and grow and become better people as hardships come into their lives. This part of the book is very satisfying. 

The best character in the book is James. He truly was a breath of fresh air when he comes along. He does so much good for the sisters, especially Charlotte. I just wished that Charlotte had been able to see his goodness earlier on but her proud nature wouldn't allow it.

This is a book with a romance that eventually comes along and not in the way you usually see in a romance novel. I liked how all of this unfolded. Don't give up on this book and hang in there and you will be greatly rewarded with a touching story and ending. I really like the way the author writes such rich characters and settings. This book is perfect for a summer afternoon of reading.

{Purchase Lies and Letters Here}

{Meet Author Ashtyn Newbold:}

Ashtyn Newbold discovered a love of writing early in high school. Inspired by regency period romance, she wrote her first novel at the age of sixteen. Because she can’t vacation in her favorite historical time periods, she writes about them instead. When not crafting handsome historical heroes, she enjoys baking, sewing, music, and spoiling her dog. She dreams of traveling to England and Ireland. Ashtyn is currently studying English and creative writing at Utah Valley University. She lives in Lehi, Utah with her family.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Courting the Country Miss By Donna Hatch-Book Blitz and Giveaway

Donna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband). A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

Connect with the Author here: 

Cynical and broken-hearted, Leticia banishes dreams of marriage. When her childhood friend, Tristan, wagers he can find her the perfect husband, she hopes the challenge will coax him to forgo his devil-may-care lifestyle. Meanwhile, Leticia throws herself into forming her charity school but meets opposition—even from the people she’s helping.

Guilt-ridden that his past mistakes robbed Leticia of true love, Tristan vows to set it right, but match-making has its pitfalls for a repentant scoundrel. When he finds two ‘perfect’ gentlemen to court her, he discovers his own deep feelings for the lady.

Though Tristan seems to reform, Leticia doesn’t dare risk heartbreak with a notorious rake. When opposition for the school takes a deadly turn, can Tristan protect her from a madman bent on destroying their dreams and their lives?

Come check out her other books and see what's new!

And she has even more books we have not featured!

Be sure to check them out on her website!

Top Ten List:

Donna’s Top 10 Favorite Things to do in the Summer
  • Go for long walks with a friend
  • Have a tea party
  • Go to the beach
  • Build sandcastles
  • Watch the sunset
  • Visit gardens
  • Make ice cream
  • Hike with my family
  • Play miniature golf
  • Read a good book

(Actually, I love doing most of these in the winter, too.)

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Killer Retreat By Tracy Weber-Book Tour, Character casting and Giveaway!

Yogi Kate must clear her name of murder in this charming yoga mystery

When Kate Davidson gets an offer to teach yoga classes to wedding guests at the
Elysian Springs resort, she jumps at the opportunity, even though it means being forced to endure the wedding ceremony of the center's two caretakers.

Avoiding the M-word turns out to be the least of Kate's problems when a wedding guest is found floating face-down in the resort's hot tub, shortly after a loud, public
(and somewhat embarrassing) fight with Kate.

The police pick Kate as their number-one suspect, so she's forced to team up with boyfriend Michael, best friend Rene, and German shepherd sidekick Bella to find the real killer. But they'll have to solve the murder before the police arrest Kate, or her next gig may last a lifetime--behind bars."

Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon UK ~ 

Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series featuring yoga teacher Kate Davidson and her feisty German shepherd, Bella. Her first book, Murder Strikes a Pose won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and was 2015 Agatha award nominee for Best First Novel. The third book in her series, Karma's a Killer, will released January, 2016 by Midnight Ink.

Tracy and her husband live in Seattle with their challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house. 

Connect with the Author here: 

Subscribe to my newsletter and be entered to win a Downward Dog Mysteries coffee mug!

Character Casting
A Killer Retreat is a lighthearted mystery starring yoga teacher/sleuth Kate Davidson, her best friend Rene, and love interest/pet food store owner Michael. Of course the true star of the series is a German shepherd named Bella, but I don’t know of any German shepherd movie stars, so I’ll leave her casting up to the director.

As for Kate, she has a girl next-door energy. She’s pretty—though not drop-dead gorgeous—and she has a quirky, self-deprecating sense of humor. Amy Adams has a lovely, funny energy that she brings to her roles. She’d perfectly portray Kate and the embarrassing situations she finds herself in.

Paul Rudd would be my choice for Michael. Like Michael, Mr. Rudd is handsome, but in a relaxed, everyman way. A bonus is that he looks great both with and without facial hair. My only concern about Paul Rudd is that Michael is six feet tall. Mr. Rudd will have to wear heels! Still, he is wonderful in comedic roles, and you can’t help but root for him. With Kate as a love interest, he’ll need all the help he can get!

Rene is Kate’s drop-dead gorgeous best friend, sort of a brunette-haired Barbie. She has to be played by Olivia Wilde. I’ve loved Ms. Wilde since I watched her on House. I can imagine her being sophisticated, nuanced, and loyal, just like Rene. Plus, Ms. Wilde would look great portraying a woman who’s pregnant with twins! I can’t imagine her having Rene’s food addiction, but she’s such a talented actress, I’m sure she’d figure it out.

New Cast members 
Bandit:  The incorrigible Jack Russell Terrior owned by Monica Crowe.  Played by Moose, the dog that played Freddie in Frazier.  (Though he’ll have to wear makeup to get the black patch coloring around his eye!)

Dale Evans: “Goat Lawyer” and attorney that represents Kate when she’s suspected of murdering Monica, the murder victim in the book.  Played by Martin Crane.  (He played the father on Frazier.)

Monica Crowe:  Murder victim who was found drowned in resort’s hot tub shortly after a loud and very public altercation with Kate.  Played by Pamela Anderson

Bruce Crowe:  Husband of the murder victim who is also a pediatrician and the father of Emmy, the bride who’s wedding will be held at the resort.  Played by Russell Crowe.  (Last name a total coincidence)

Emmy Crowe:  Bride and owner of Elysian Springs, the resort center at the heart of the story. Played by Billie Lourd

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Indigo Bay: Sweet Romance Series: 6 Authors & 6 Sweet Romances-Book Blast and $100 Giveaway

Escape to Indigo Bay…
Six authors. Six Sweet Romances. One small South Carolina beach town.

Sweet Dreams by Stacy Claflin Ever since her twin became a singing sensation, Sky Hampton has struggled to be appreciated for who she is—apart from her sister. She wards off Aspen’s fans, who beg for autographs and selfies everywhere Sky goes. She can’t even find a guy who likes her for her. Sky flees to the small coastal town of Indigo Bay in hopes of blending in and building her blossoming career. Jace Fisher is the textbook definition of the strong silent type—nobody can break through his tough exterior. He has suffered more than his fair share of tragedies, and to protect his shattered heart, he pushes everyone away. Jace spends his days fixing the Indigo Bay cottages, and his nights… nobody really knows. He keeps to himself. When Jace shows up to fix Sky’s AC, he barely notices her and she’s distracted with settling in. It takes an emergency situation to get them talking, and when they do, the two find they have more in common than first appeared. As their attraction grows, defenses soar. Will they be able to risk love when they’ve both been burned in the past?
Sweet Matchmaker by Jean Oram Ginger McGinty hates liars. And she just married a spy. Bridal shop owner Ginger McGinty excels at matchmaking unless it’s for herself. That is, until she meets the dreamy Aussie who helps her get into an event meant for engaged couples. Logan Stone is sweet, caring, thoughtful and fun—everything she desires in a man. But it turns out, her new fake fiancĂ© could use a bit more than just a pretend engagement to get him into parties—he needs a quick marriage keep him in the country so he can be with his adopted special needs daughter. With a marriage of convenience pro-con list longer than the average wedding veil, Ginger puts her faith in romance and offers Logan her hand in return for one thing—no lies. But little does she know, almost everything she knows about her new husband is based on a lie. Everything except his kisses and the way he accidentally spills his soul whenever they meet. And that’s quickly becoming a problem for Logan Stone who depends on distance and deceit to keep civilians such as Ginger safe from his enemy’s clutches. Will the two find love in their marriage of convenience, or will everything break apart when the truth rises to the surface, shattering everything, including their trust?
Sweet Sunrise by Kay Correll Sometimes life has a way of teaching lessons whether you’re ready to learn them or not… The last place on earth Will Layton wants to be is Indigo Bay, but his younger sister needs him and he’s never been able to say no to her. But she left out a few details… like their father staying with her and the girl who dumped him years ago is living right next door. The last person Dr. Ashley Harden thought she’d see in Indigo Bay is Will Layton, but he’s back in town and just as irresistible as when they were young. Seeing Will again is a complication that isn’t on her carefully mapped out life plan. In spite of Ashley’s best intentions, she starts falling for Will again, but nothing has changed. She’s still focused on getting the townspeople to accept her and see her as more than the girl from the wrong side of town, while Will is determined to guard his heart at any cost. Not the easiest road to true love… especially when secrets from the past are revealed and history threatens to repeat itself.
Sweet Illusions by Jeanette Lewis Eva Malone was very young when her mother forced the family to join a violent doomsday cult, but she remembers a little about how normal life used to be. As a young woman, she escapes the cult and relocates to Indigo Bay, South Carolina to pursue her dream of peaceful anonymity. After several tumultuous years as a policeman in Atlanta, Ben Andrews has had enough. He returns home to Indigo Bay and joins the Indigo Bay PD, where the most exciting part of the job is getting a kitten out of a tree or rescuing tourists who lose their keys at the beach. Eva and Ben are immediately drawn to each other. But as the prophesied date of the apocalypse draws near and the cult steps up its efforts to find her, Eva realizes she can’t maintain her sweet illusion forever.
Sweet Regrets by Jennifer Peel Melanie Dixon never thought she would find herself divorced, pregnant, and living back with her parents in Indigo Bay. Not one to let misfortune get the best of her, she picks up the broken pieces of her life and bit by bit puts them back together. She’s determined to go it alone, but her loving and equally determined family and friends have another idea. Enter Declan Shaw, the boy next door from long ago. The boy she wasn’t quite ready to commit forever to at eighteen. Back in Indigo Bay due to a recent job promotion, Declan sees this as a second chance to reunite with the girl who has owned his heart since the day they met in their junior year of high school. But Melanie is a tougher sell on the idea than he thought she would be. Now it’s up to him to prove to Melanie that she can trust him with her heart and that he’s the man she and her baby deserve. Will the regret and hurt of the past win out? Or will love prevail?
Sweet Rendezvous by Danielle Stewart On her last tank of gas Elaine Mathews drives South. Spontaneity had never been her strength, but there was something about being publicly fired that had a way of changing things. An empty bank account, broken heart, and enough humiliation to last a life time was all Elaine could claim as her own. Her car choked to a stop in the quiet beach town of Indigo Bay and all she could do was sit on the curb and wait for the sun to set on her misery. Davis Mills has a routine. Wake. Work. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. It hadn’t always been that way. He’d left indigo bay once and returned a broken man. Now he kept his dreams small and his schedule tight. If there was no room in his life for anything new then he’d never repeat his mistakes. When fate has them, quite literally colliding Elaine and Davis are faced with an important question. Can you live a full life if you never take a risk? Or is life made up of every mistake, miracle and chance that comes with being in love?

amazon or paypal$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway Ends 7/17/17 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 21, 2017

Searching for Irene By Marlene Bateman-Bog Tour Review

{Product Description}
Title: Searching for Irene
Author: Marlene Bateman
Release date: July 1st 2017
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Purchase: Amazon
FTC, FYI: I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

{Book Synopsis}
What happened to Irene?

When Anna Coughlin, a modern 1920’s woman, travels to the secluded hills of Virginia to work for wealthy Lawrence Richardson, she discovers that the previous secretary, Irene, mysteriously disappeared a few weeks before. Upon arriving at the castle-like mansion to begin working, Anna finds that Lawrence’s handsome, but antagonistic son, Tyler, wants nothing more than to have her gone. And he isn’t the only one—

After Anna sets out to find the truth behind Irene’s disappearance, a series of frightening incidents ensnare her in a maze of intrigue. Anna is helped—and often hindered—by the temperamental Tyler Richardson, who—despite her best intentions—begins to steal her heart.

But even as Anna begins to uncover dark secrets in a troubled household, she must continue to hide a significant one of her own. When her life is threatened, Anna is left to wonder if she’ll be able to unravel the mystery before she disappears as mysteriously as the unfortunate Irene


The tallest parts of the mansion—fanciful turrets and a circular tower—were visible only in glimpses Anna caught between lofty oaks and towering pines as her cab wound through the knolls and hills of eastern Virginia.

When the cab turned up the long driveway lined with dogwood trees in full bloom, Anna Coughlin reached for her handbag, gripping it with a tension that had knotted her muscles ever since getting on the train.

The vast estate stood on a hilltop, like a castle—and she craned her neck to better view the starkly impressive gray-stone mansion of Ashton Hall—where she hoped to be hired. With its arched, leaded windows and slate roof with numerous chimneys, the house rivaled pictures she’d seen of castles in Europe.
Instructing the driver to wait, she climbed out, patted her hat in case it was askew, then smoothed her gray suit with gloved hands in hopes of presenting a professional appearance. Anna had no confidence she was clever enough or bold enough to pull this off, but she had to try.

Her eye was drawn by a tall man—more than six feet—who came from the side of the house. Since the man was striding toward her so purposefully, Anna stopped and waited. As he drew near, Anna noted his deep-set eyes were as black as his hair. His skin was tanned, his thin, long-fingered hands brown and strong.

“Miss Coughlin?” He stretched out a hand and shook hers, but there was no warmth for her in his eyes. “I’m Tyler Richardson. Unfortunately, your services are not needed after all.” A touch of arrogance marked his manner, as though he was long accustomed to command those around him.

“Your father called only last week to have someone come out,” Anna blurted in dismay. “May I ask what caused him to change his mind?”

A fleeting glimpse of discomfiture crossed Mr. Richardson’s face. “I wasn’t consulted about his hiring another secretary to replace the one who left so suddenly. My father isn’t in good health, and the last thing we need is someone coming in and upsetting him by making a muddle of things.”

His words kindled a fire that glinted in Anna’s eyes. How dare he make such an assumption? It was difficult to hang on to her temper, but there was too much at stake to let his boorishness sidetrack her. “Since I’m here, I’m sure you won’t mind if I keep my appointment. After all, your father is the one who requested my services. I’m sure he’s expecting me.”

Her words hit home.It took a few bitter seconds, but he finally acquiesced. “Come in, then,” he muttered ungraciously before leading the way up the steps and opening the door.

Following his rigid back down the narrow hall, Anna’s brows furrowed as doubts crept in. How wise had she been to come to this remote place? Especially when the previous secretary had disappeared so mysteriously? Even her employer thought it odd that no one in this mansion seemed to know where Irene had gone or where she was now. It was as if Irene had vanished into thin air.

{My Review}
"Searching for Irene" is a Mystery Suspense with some romance. The beginning of the book is full of too many details describing everyday things.I felt like it took a few chapters before the story really started rolling where we got to know the main characters and what was happening at the castle-like mansion. Once we realize why Anna really took a job working for wealthy Lawrence Richardson it gets truly interesting. I'm not going to give this information away in a review because it was a huge reveal in the book. You also are never sure who Anna can trust. The author sets the story up where you are always wondering who committed a terrible crime. Don't be too sure you have it figured out because something else will happen where it will change your mind and send you in another direction. 

This novel will be enjoyed by anyone who loves a good mystery with a surprise ending. Maybe you will figure out the clues before I did but there is a great buildup towards the end. This book can be enjoyed by teens and up. 

About the author:

Marlene Bateman Sullivan grew up in Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's degree in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they live in North Salt Lake, Utah with their two dogs and four cats. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and wrote the best-selling romance/suspense novel, Light on Fire Island. She has written three other cozy mysteries; Motive for Murder, A Death in the Family, and Crooked House, as well as the romance, For Sale by Owner.

Marlene has also written a number of non-fiction, LDS books: Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s from Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, Heroes of Faith, Gaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits; Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die.


Marlene’s website: