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
Promises
Protected,
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
Blue
Targets in Ties
Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island
Venom
With a Name like Love
Sean Griswold's head


Sheila's favorite books »

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Great Summer Reads Countdown Blitz & Giveaway: Day 20 Aeonian Dreams By Morgan J Muir




Morgan J Muir lives in Utah with her fantastic husband, three offspring, and as many cats (but she doesn’t carry them with kits in sacks, and has never been to St. Ives). She grew up riding horses and motorcycles and listening to her grandmother read poetry. She grew up reading any sci-fi/fantasy novel she could get her hands on and so was surprised the day she discovered that she also really enjoyed historical fiction.
Morgan always loved to write and draw and her parents always liked to say that they knew she’d write a book some day.  Ever since she was small she told stories and drew pictures for her tales.  When she got old enough, all of her spare time between classes was spent writing and she always had a notebook with her.
Her first novel was originally written after her first child was born, to help her pass the long, lonely hours as a new stay-at-home mom.  As her kids got older and more came she was too busy to do much with her stories, until one year she was introduced to NaNoWriMo, which finally rekindled the spark that led her to finish what she’d started.

Morgan’s favorite authors are Brandon Sanderson, Kristen Britain and Marion Zimmer Bradley.


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Mariah has chosen to become a vampire, but she can’t remember why.

Upon waking in the labyrinthine caves of Sophus, a centuries-old vampire, Mariah can’t remember all the choices that brought her there, but she does know there are dangerous secrets hidden within her.  As she learns to control her powerful new body— and its bloodthirsty urges— Mariah discovers a unique ability to travel through a world of spirit, the key to remembering her past, and possibly the future. 


At first, it seems her path is simple: learn to control her bloodlust, find her missing husband, and return with him to raise their son. However, things are more complicated than they seem, and neither Sophus nor her husband’s captor is willing to let them go. Mariah must use whatever skills she can to find her husband and protect her still-mortal son, but will it be enough? 






Top Ten List:

10 random facts about me
1. Blue Roan is my favorite color of horse
2. I prefer off-road motorcycles to street bikes
3. I published my first book in 3rd grade
4. I can’t act worth beans
5. My favorite jersey number is 13
6. A ring inscribed with the phrase “Prone to wander” reminds me to write
7.  Despite having a cell phone for over 15 years, I still don’t have a smart phone
8.  Reading my teacher’s ratty old copy of “Birth of the Firebringer” by Meredith Ann Pierce in 4th grade is what first inspired me to start writing.
9. Horses are my favorite mammal
10. I think top 10 lists are as difficult to compile as writing a book cover blurbs





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Monday, July 30, 2018

Love at Lakewood Med By TJ Amberson: Book Blast and Giveaway

Love at Lakewood Med Book Blast

About the Book

Love at Lakewood Med
Genre:  Adult, New Adult,Conetemporary, Romance
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Publication date: March 13, 2018
Savannah Drake would be thrilled about starting her final year of medical school if it weren’t for one thing: she has to spend a month working in the emergency room with cold, aloof Dr. Wesley Kent as her mentor. When her first day in the ER proves to be a humiliating disaster, Savannah is ready to swear off emergency medicine forever. Gradually, though, she finds that the unpredictable, emotional experience of caring for patients in the emergency room is affecting her far differently than she expected – and Dr. Kent turns out to be anything but the arrogant attending physician that she assumed him to be. But just when Savannah finally admits to herself that she is falling for Dr. Kent, she learns that things at the hospital are not all what they seem. Faced with a seemingly impossible choice, Savannah must decide between her future career and everything that she has come to care so much about.

About the Author

tj-amberson-author-photo
TJ Amberson hails from the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her husband and nutty cocker spaniel. Her most recent novels include The Kingdom Of Nereth, Fusion, and Love at Lakewood Med. When she’s not writing, TJ can probably be found enjoying a hot chocolate, pretending to know how to garden, playing the piano, or surfing the Internet for cheap plane tickets.

Author Interview 

1. What does “a day in the life of TJ Amberson” look like?
A day in the life of TJ Amberson is hard to predict! Some days, I’m at home writing, doing laundry, walking the dog, and making a run to the grocery store. Other days, I am heading to my “real” job. And somewhere in there, I try to fit in yard work, riding my bike or working out on the elliptical, and helping my husband with home renovation projects (thank goodness, he knows what he’s doing!).

2. Who are some of your favorite authors?  Do these authors inspire your own writing?
This question is a meaningful one to me. I’m deeply indebted to numerous authors for inspiring me both as a reader and as a writer over the years: L.M. Montgomery, Victor Hugo, Beverly Cleary, Jane Austen, Alexandre Dumas, Sophie Kinsella, Dan Brown, Charlotte Bronte, C.S. Lewis, Norton Juster, and Chris Van Allsburg, to name just a few. Since I was a child, a wide array of authors’ works have captivated and taught me, made me laugh and cry, and inspired my writing. And authors both new and old continue to entertain and enlighten me now.
3. What period of history interests you the most?  Does this influence your own writing?
Cool question! I don’t think there’s one period of history that captivates me more than all others. So if I could go back in time somehow, I would be in trouble because I don’t think I could choose! Thankfully, as an author who loves writing in several genres and voices, I get the chance to explore many different time periods, cultures, and settings, which is about the best of all worlds!
4. How many books have you written and in what genres?
My first published novel, THE KINGDOM OF NERETH, is a young adult medieval historical fantasy – I am in the process of finishing its sequel, THE COUNCIL OF NERETH, which I am very excited to publish at the end of this year, and then the final novel of the trilogy should be out in 2019. My second published novel, FUSION, is a contemporary, YA lite sci-fi action story, which is one of my favorites! My third published book was LOVE AT LAKEWOOD MED, a contemporary romantic comedy that centers around an emergency department. Meanwhile, I’m working on another romantic comedy, THE BEST MAN, and I’m polishing a manuscript that I wrote years ago, a YA paranormal romance, BETWEEN.
5. How important are the names of the characters in your novels?  How do you choose the names for your characters?  Do you have any name resources you would recommend?
For me, characters’ names are extremely important – I think that a name conveys so much about the “feel” of a character! I enjoy the process of choosing names, even though it can be an arduous task at times! I first research names that are appropriate for the novel’s setting and time period. I then do research to make sure that the name isn’t too common and that there isn’t already a famous person or character with the same name. I also like to make sure that the characters’ names in a book start with different letters of the alphabet, to add subtle variety.
6. When you are not writing, what other “hats” do you wear?
When I’m not wearing my author hat, I might be pretending to know how to garden, working in the emergency department, riding my bike, or hoping to find cheap plane tickets on the Internet.

Snippet 

 “The patient thinks she’s a hiccup,” I announce.
   Doctor Kent scratches his chin. “She has hiccups?”
   “No. She believes that she is a hiccup, and she states that she has been a hiccup for a long time. Oh, and she would like to go home.”
   He arches an eyebrow. “I see. Does she have any signs and symptoms of someone who is a hiccup?”
   I’m hit with a pulse of alarm. Doctor Kent isn’t kidding. Did I miss a class about patients being hiccups? Or is there a different meaning of ‘hiccup’ that I’m not thinking of? How—
   “I’m only messing with you.” Doctor Kent gets to his feet.
   “What?” I’m not sure whether to laugh or kill him. “You . . . you were . . .”
   “I’ll go give her my blessing so she can go home.”
   Doctor Kent heads off to Room Seven. I gaze after him. I have to admit that what he did was kind of funny. Actually, it was really funny.

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Great Summer Reads Countdown Blitz & Giveaway: Day 19: Dark Days of Promise BY Shaunna Gonzales




Shaunna Gonzales currently resides with her family in the greater Seattle area. Married
over thirty years, her role as wife and mother of four continue to be her priorities.

A storyteller in her youth, she endevored to extend her love of stories to the written word and in 2005 began to write her first novel. Though that manuscript will remain buried, she has continued to learn.
Once told by her doctors that she would never leave her wheelchair -- due to her Multiple sclerosis. It has been tucked in a closet while she continues on. (In other words muddles on.)

Shaunna has worked as a professional reviewer for InD'Tales eMagazine for three years. In 2012 she also served as the vice president of Moonwriters, the on-line chapter of American Night Writers Association (ANWA She prefers to write romantic fiction and has ventured into the romantic suspense, and time-travel genres. Her debut novel, Dark Day s of Promise was released by Desert Breeze Publishing in 2012 re-released 2015.

Although she prefers to spend her days writing, she is willing to share what she has learned from the school of life and is often found "giving back." 



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Thirty-four year old Vicki Laramie must learn to trust before she can love, but she might die trying.


While Vicki’s children grapple with the death of their father -- a man whom she’s successfully fabricated as loving, a lie her rebellious teenager recognizes -- she must find a way to support her family and find a role model for her boys. 

She never intends to fall for Staff Sergeant Chase, her best friend’s son, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She’d much rather choose a safer man to love, but her children have a voice in the decision she makes. 

With two deaths to deal with, a suitor after her money, a rebellious son, and Sergeant Chase’s repeated attacks, she can only hope to survive the danger she faces. If she doesn’t, her children will be left without either parent.

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Top Ten List:

10 favorite actors in no specific order.

1.     Hugh Jackman
2.     Matthew McConaughey
3.     Tom Cruise
4.     George Clooney
5.      Sean Connery
6.     Harrison Ford
7.     Daniel Craig
8.     Pierce Brosnan
9.     Robert Downey Jr.
10.Brent Spinner





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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Great Summer Reads Countdown Blitz & Giveaway: Day 18:The Dragons of Alsace Farm By Laurie Lewis





Laurie (L.C.) Lewis will always be a Marylander at heart—a weather-whining lover of crabs, American history, and the sea. She admits to being craft-challenged, particularly lethal with a glue gun, and a devotee of sappy movies. Her ninth published novel, her first romance novella, Sweet Water, was inspired by a visit to Oregon’s magnificent coastline, and time spent with Mother Eugenie, upon whom the character Mother Thomasine is based. 

Laurie’s women’s fiction novels include The Dragons of Alsace Farm (2016), Awakening Avery (2010), and Unspoken (2004), written as Laurie Lewis. 

Using the pen name L.C. Lewis, she wrote the five volumes of her award-winning FREE MEN and DREAMERS historical fiction series, set against the backdrop of the War of 1812: Dark Sky at Dawn (2007), Twilight’s Last Gleaming (2008), Dawn’s Early Light (2009), Oh, Say Can You See? (2010), and In God is Our Trust, (2011).

She is currently completing a political suspense novel planned for a summer 2017 release, a re -release of a romantic comedy, and she’s working on another historical fiction novel for a 2018 release. She loves to hear from readers.






Fears and secrets are the dragons we each must face. . . 

In need of his own redemption, Noah Carter finally confronts his childhood hero, the once-beloved uncle who betrayed him. Instead of vengeance, he offers forgiveness, also granting Uncle John a most curious request—for Noah to work on the ramshackle farm of Agnes Deveraux Keller, a French WWII survivor with dementia.

Despite all Agnes has lost, she still has much to teach Noah. But the pair’s unique friendship is threatened when Tayte, Agnes’s estranged granddaughter, arrives to claim a woman whose circumstances and abilities are far different from those of the grandmother she once knew.

Items hidden in Agnes’s attic raise painful questions about Tayte’s dead parents, steeling Tayte’s determination to save Agnes, even if it requires her to betray the very woman she came to save, and the secret her proud grandmother has guarded for seventy years.


The issue strains the fragile trust between Tayte and Noah, who now realizes Tayte is fighting her own secrets, her own dragons. Weighed down by past guilt and failures, he feels ill-equipped to help either woman, until he remembers Agnes’s lessons about courage and love. In order to save Agnes, the student must now become the teacher, helping Tayte heal—for Agnes’s sake, and for his. 




Top Ten List:

1. I have a bunion that should get it's own zip code.
2. I'm a kidney donor
3. I once eyed a singing career
4. My mom was told I'd never have children. Four kids later. . . . . LOL!
5. I met my hubbie over a CB radio when I was 15 and pretending to be a British exchange student
6. I ran a lab and raised organisms for elementary children to study in their Hands-on Science curriculum. Over Christmas, I'd bring the creatures home. We had frogs and crayfish in our bathtub over Christmas!
7.  I have a weakness for twinkle lights, nesting boxes, and anything sung by Groban or Bocelli
8.  I never met a plate of fried chicken I didn't love
9.  Favorite saying: "Everything's better with sound effects."
10. I keep a little lighted Christmas tree up all year long.





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Friday, July 27, 2018

Great Summer Reads Countdown Blitz & Giveaway: Day 17: The Guise of a Gentleman By Donna Hatch





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.



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The widowed Elise is a perfect English lady living within the confines of society for the sake of her impressionable young son. Her quiet world is shattered when she meets the impulsive and scandalous Jared Amesbury. His roguish charm awakens her yearning for adventure. But his irrepressible grin and sea-green eyes hide a secret.


A gentleman by day, a pirate by night, Jared must complete one last assignment from the Secret Service before he can be truly free. Elise gives him hope that he, too, can find love and belonging. His hopes are crushed when his best laid plans go awry and Elise is dragged into his world of violence and deceit. She may not survive the revelation of Jared's past...or still love him when the truth is revealed.

The Guise of a Gentleman is a clean and wholesome Regency Romance, a.k.a. "clean" that explores finding one's true self, loyalty, honor, and trusting loved ones. With plenty of swashbuckling action, it provides a several good twists that play off of familiar situations and proudly proclaims the redemptive power of love.




Top Ten List:

Donna’s Top 10 Favorite Things to do in the Summer

1.     Go for long walks with a friend
2.     Have a tea party
3.     Go to the beach
4.     Build sandcastles
5.     Watch the sunset
6.     Visit gardens
7.     Make ice cream
8.     Hike with my family
9.     Play miniature golf
10.Read a good book

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





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Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Secret of Haversham House By Julie Matern: Blog Tour Review, Author Interview and Giveaway

The Secret of Haversham House Tour

About the Book

The Secret of Haversham House
Genre:  Christian, Fiction, Historical, Regency, Romance
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Publication date: June 12, 2018
Francesca Haversham is eighteen years old and about to step into a glittering future – all she has to do is secure her wealth with an advantageous marriage. Then she learns the truth:her entire identity is a lie. Now Francesca faces a horrible choice. Will she give up all she knows or continue to lie about her past and risk everything, including her heart?

About the Author

MATERN Julie_author photo
Julie Matern is a resident of Utah. She attended the University of Exeter in Exeter, England, and graduated with a double major in French and Education. She was born and raised in England, moving to America after her marriage and is the mother of six children. She has served in the PTA for over 20 years, taught tap dance, and enjoys amateur photography. She is the author of ‘British War Children’ ( for which she received a “Recommended Read” award from the League of Utah Writers) and ‘British War Children 2: An Enemy Among Us’.
Hometown: Highland, UT

Author Interview

1. If you could go to tea with any of the characters in The Secret of Haversham House, who would you go with and why?
Lady Augusta Haversham firstly, though she might refuse the invitation as I am a social ‘nobody’! I would ask her if she is lonely and whether her pride is worth the price of exclusion from her family. I would also ask her if she has any regrets about her own behavior.
Secondly, I would be very interested to talk to Antonio, Francesca’s birth father, about how he felt when he learned that he had a daughter and all the emotions it stirred up and if he was angry about the contract they made him sign.
I think I might also like to go to tea with Mario and ask what he really thought of Giorgio’s revelation about a secret granddaughter and the search for her.
2. Did you travel to gather research for The Secret of Haversham House?  If so, where did you go? If not, what did you do to gather your research for this story?
I travel to England frequently to visit family and I have lived in France twice and often pop over when I am in England. So my research has been conducted over a lifetime. I have been to Italy once but a daughter spent time there on a study abroad and shared her love of it. In terms of research of the language style, I read Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskill and watch lots of period dramas.
3. What did your writing process look like for The Secret of Haversham House?
This was my first book for adults and though I was careful not to write down to the middle grade readers obviously, the language for an adult regency book needed to be of a higher level. Also, the number of characters was much greater (necessitating some family group sheets and family trees to keep it all straight!) and the plot was more complex. I am not an extensive planner when I write (though many authors are). I know the end and perhaps the middle but then I let the story write itself. It can surprise me and is an exciting way to write. The characters are like this to some extent too. I write a bio of each character for reference at the beginning but they often change during the course of the novel and I have to go back and edit the bio. I also often write amidst lots of noise and activity. I am drawn into the writing so much that I am able to block the disturbance out, fortunately, which means I can be in the middle of my family while writing and not closeted away.
4. What inspired the idea for The Secret of Haversham House?
Social class. It is still alive and well in England but not to the extent it was in this period. One day I wondered what would happen to a person who discovered that they were actually from a much lower class. Would it change the way friends and family treated them? I decided it would and thus a main character with a secret past was born.
5. What did you as a writer take away from writing The Secret of Haversham House?
When I started the novel I did not know that Phillip was going to experience an emotional crisis. His reaction to Francesca’s heritage showed me that we all might have hidden prejudices that we only discover when circumstances tease them out. I also firmly believe that through Christ we can overcome all and any prejudices.
6. What is your current WIP?  What can you share with us about this project?
Arranged marriage was obviously the standard during this period. Jane Austen’s writings show us that marrying for love was an often unattainable wish. It is a concept so foreign to our culture that I wanted to examine it. In order to do this, I created a character who is thrust into different households as a governess. She experiences the difficulties of arranged marriage as an observer. I plan on writing a third novel from the viewpoint of the bride of an arranged marriage.​

10 Behind the Scenes Facts About the Book

  1. The view from the villa in Grasse, France is the view from my apartment when I worked there one summer. I pulled back the shutters ( all French homes have them) and just gasped. 
  2. Septimus Sladden is an actual ancestor of mine. It was such a delicious name I had to use it. Although the actual man was not a vicar the name seemed to suggest that profession to me. 
  3. I have been to Italy but only to Rome. The movie, ‘A Room with a view’ was my inspiration for Giorgio’s empire. 
  4. The first manuscript was full of dates. Then one day I realized that the French Revolution might prevent some of my events and after further research I took out all the dates so that the timeline was more vague. 
  5. My first two books were historical fiction for ages 8-13. There was a small cast of characters so keeping track of them was easy. Not so with this book. Every new event seemed to call for new characters and in the end I had to put them on a genealogical tree and fill out family group sheets for each family to keep them straight. I also had a bio sheet for each character for reference. 
  6. Many of my ancestors are from Wiltshire which made it a good choice for Haversham House. Having been raised in London myself and taking every opportunity to visit the places of interest I think I’ll have to set a future novel there. 
  7. The idea of arranged marriage is a very foreign notion to our culture but quite standard for the upper classes of that period. I am fascinated by it. Francesca’s paternal grandparents, though both selfish and egotistical have managed to build a workable relationship when we first meet them. It makes me wonder how many people were able to be happy in such forced unions? It is a topic I will continue to prod in future novels. 
  8. I do not need a quiet place to write and I am able write in snippets if that’s all the time I have. This year I opened a fortune cookie and this was inside: (picture) ( I’ll send it in a separate email as I can’t figure out how to insert it here on my phone. Hopefully you can make that magic happen!)
  9. I thought perhaps Augusta Haversham was too unrealistically awful and that no one would treat their granddaughter that badly but I am part of a closed FB group and not long after I created Augusta someone shared a true story about how awful her mother was to her and I decided perhaps Augusta wasn’t unrealistic but that I was just blessed to be part of a great family!
  10. I must confess that I have never dated anyone as heartless as Mr Ashbourne. My husband is definitely a Phillip!

Snippet

Francesca stopped breathing as Mr. Ashbourne gently took her gloved hand in his and expertly spun her around the room, leaving her former partner spluttering at the lack of manners, in the center of the dance floor. She became dizzy at the realization that Mr. Ashbourne was actually dancing with her. After several turns, he lowered his head and whispered into her ear, his nose tickling her skin and sending a thrill up her spine, causing a delicious sensation in her midriff. “Are you unwell?” he asked. “You look faint.” She recovered herself and observed that he had a playful smile on his lips, fully aware of the power his presence had on young ladies. Not wanting to appear as inexperienced as she really was, she blurted out, “Oh no, you merely surprised me, that is all.” “Then I shall take pleasure in surprising you whenever I can as it only serves to heighten your beauty!” Francesca’s cheeks burned under his scrutiny and she bent her neck to avoid his piercing gaze and gather her confused thoughts.

Review

I truly loved this novel. The main character Francesca is so likable, but she is not perfect, but very endearing. I loved her attitude about life and when unseen circumstances came to light, she accepted things with grace and dignity. I also loved the character of Phillip, her good friend who was secretly in love with Francesca. I loved and admired Francesca's loving parents. My heart also couldn't help but love the Italian grandfather Giorgio. Two un-named characters I disliked greatly for different reasons and one is related to Francesca. Her behavior was appalling. 

The idea that society rules in England overruled heart and smart thinking was so true. It plays a huge part in this story. I'm happy to say, the people who appeared to be the biggest snobs gained their just rewards. Even though the readers knows about the big reveal that will happen in the book this doesn't take away at all from the slight angst you go through wondering how it all will be revealed. 

I highly recommend this Pure Romance book that's clean, well written,and has wonderful characters both good and evil. This novel would be enjoyed by older teens and adults. 

This book is my next recommendation for your Summer Reading! Don't forget to enter the giveaway to try and win your own copy.

Giveaway

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