Sheila's Books Read

Sheila's bookshelf: read

What Would the Founding Fathers Think: A Young American's guide to understanding the mess our country is in and how we get out
Isabelle Webb: Legend of the Jewel
Captive Heart
Cobble Cavern
Caller ID
Summer of Secrets
On Little Wings
We Lived in Heaven: Spiritual Accounts of Souls Coming to Earth
Christ's gifts to women
A Woman's power: threads that bind us to god
Scary School
Hope's journey
Targets in Ties
Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island
With a Name like Love
Sean Griswold's head

Sheila's favorite books »

2022 Goodreads Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge
Sheila has read 6 books toward her goal of 90 books.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Women of the Blue and Gray: True Civil War Stories of Mothers, Medics, Soldiers, and Spies By Marianne Monson: Book Review

Product Details

  • Title: Women of the Blue and Gray: True Civil War Stories of Mothers, Medics, Soldiers, and Spies
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Shadow Mountain (August 7, 2018)
  • Genre: Historical Non-Fiction
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1629724157
  • **I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review**

Book Summary
Hidden amongst the photographs, uniforms, revolvers, and war medals of the Civil War are the remarkable stories of some of the most unlikely heroes--women.

North, South, black, white, Native American, immigrant--the women in these micro-drama biographies are wives, mothers, sisters, and friends whose purposes ranged from supporting husbands and sons during wartime to counseling President Lincoln on strategy, from tending to the wounded on the battlefield to spiriting away slaves through the Underground Railroad, from donning a uniform and fighting unrecognized alongside the men to working as spies for either side.

This book brings to light the incredible stories of women from the Civil War that remain relevant to our nation today. Each woman's experience helps us see a truer, fuller, richer version of what really happened in this country during this time period.

My Review
In college I had a minor in history. One of the classes I took was about the Civil War. I didn't learn as much about the women of this time period as I would have liked, so I was so excited to read Women of the Blue and Gray. This book does not read like a history book, but more as a novel full of very interesting and incredible stories. Monson is a fantastic storyteller. Women were doing such amazing things during the Civil War on both sides the North and the South. Some of those things were ones I had never heard about. These women were spies, soldiers, smugglers,and rebel rousers.

Some of the chapters you will find in this book are:

  • The Beardless Brigade:Civil War Soldiers
  • Tales of Smuggling, Espionage, and General Subterfuge
  • Voices From Slavery
  • Dr. Mary Walker: Civil War Surgeon and Activist
  • Anna Ella Carroll:Military Strategist and Political Advisor
The wonderful thing about this book is that women of many races are represented: black, white, and Native American. It shows the courage of women from all facets of life, rich or poor, slave or free and also immigrants. The stories are so inspiring and make you realize how much women truly contributed to the success, especially the North, in keeping our nation together.

I highly recommend this book to historians, teachers, and those that love reading of brave historical people who changed lives others along the way. This book with it's true stories, speeches, actual letters and photographs will help you see the Civil War and it's women in a new light. 

Meet Author: Marianne Monson
Marianne Monson has worked with books her whole life, as an editor, a passionate reader, and an author. She is the author of nine books and counting, including historical fiction, children's books, and young adult novels. She teaches at Portland Community College, and her two children love writing almost as much as she does.

Purchase Women of the Blue and Gray Here:

Friday, August 24, 2018

Short Investigations: A Suspense Novel By Clair M. Poulson: Blog Tour Review and Giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a Free Copy of ’Short Investigations’

Book Summary
In the sleepy town of Heber, a strange 911 call is made to report an unthinkable crime: someone has murdered a woman . . . and her body has been found in Rhett Ketchum's barn. Rhett, a well-known rodeo cowboy, is placed firmly at the top of the suspect list—the only problem is, he's innocent. As officers search tirelessly for the evidence needed to lock him up, Rhett takes matters into his own hands.

Max and Patches Fisher are the father-daughter duo behind the unconventional PI firm Short Investigations, and they agree to undertake the task of proving Rhett's innocence. Soon the list of suspects begins to grow, and Rhett feels a glimmer of hope—and an undeniable attraction to Patches. But when the officers on the case become targets themselves, it seems they may be the ones in need of protection. As events take a deadly turn, it's up to Max and Patches to uncover the truth before time runs out.

My Review
I know when I pick up a book written by Clair Poulson that I'm getting ready to read a great mystery. He always delivers an outstanding story with an intense and detailed plot that keeps you guessing until the very end. The story veers off in many different directions and several mysteries are figured out along the way; even the murder that takes place in the prologue ten years before. This author knows a lot about law enforcement since he was a police officer and Sheriff for many years. You can tell by the many details he uses in his story that he knows his stuff. This is one of the many reasons why I like to read murder mysteries by Poulson.

There are a lot of great characters in this book and I liked Max and his daughter, Patches, the PI's trying to help solve the case. Rhett or Shorty as everyone called him,is a likable character and you know that he didn't kill the woman found dead in his barn. Or did he? I'm not telling! There's a hint of a romance, but it's not the main focus in this novel and suspense truly is leading the momentum. This book is an incredibly quick read because you want to find out who's behind all of the deaths, assassination attempts, and other foul things going on in small town Heber, Utah.

I recommend this book for those looking for a small town murder mystery with a fast pace and many twists and turns.

Meet Author Clair M. Poulson
Clair M. Poulson was born and raised in Duchesne, Utah. His father was a rancher and farmer, his mother a librarian. Clair has always been an avid reader, having found his love for books as a very young boy.

He has served for forty years in the criminal justice system. Twenty years were spent in law enforcement, ending his police career with eight years as the Duchesne County Sheriff. For the past twenty years Clair has worked as a justice court judge for Duchesne County. Clair is also a veteran of the US Army where he was a military policeman. He has served on various boards and councils during his professional career, including the Justice Court Board of Judges, Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, Utah Judicial Council, Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, an FBI advisory board and others.

In addition to his criminal justice work, Clair has farmed and ranched all of his life. He has raised many kinds of animals, but his greatest interest is horses.

Clair has served in many capacities in the LDS church, including fulltime missionary (California Mission) bishop, counselor to bishop, young men president, high councilor, stake mission president, scoutmaster, High Priest group leader, etc. He currently serves as a Sunday School teacher.

Clair is married to Ruth, and together, they have five children, all of whom are married: Alan (Vicena) Poulson, Kelly Ann (Wade) Hatch, Amanda (Ben) Semadeni, Wade (Brooke) Poulson, and Mary (Tyler) Hicken. Between them they have twenty-three children. Clair and Ruth met while both were students at Snow College and were married in the Manti temple.

Clair has always loved telling his children, and later his grandchildren, make-up stories. His vast experience in life and his love of literature has always contributed to both his telling stories to children and his writing of adventure and suspense novels.

Blog Tour Schedule:
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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway Hop! Come see what you can win at my blog!

Can you believe that Summer is almost over? As a teacher, I'm feeling it even more than most people. 

I've had a great summer of reading, relaxing, and hanging out with my kids.

What are you doing during your last Lazy Days of Summer? 
I thought that the best thing I could offer people on this hop is what I like to win. 

A $10 gift card to Amazon. This way you can get whatever you want to help you enjoy your last days of summer: a book, e-books, movie, food, etc.
Make sure to enter on the Giveaway Form down below and thanks so much for visiting and following my blog. 

Anna the Prophetess: A Novel By H.B. Moore: Blog Tour Review and Giveaway for$25 Amazon Gift Card and a Free Copy of ’Anna the Prophetess’

Product Details

  • Title: Anna The Prophetess: A Novel
  • Author: H.B. Moore
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (August 1, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1524406791
  • ****I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review****

Book Summary
Anna the Prophetess is the dramatic chronicle of the only woman to be called a prophetess in the Gospels. When Anna’s great-niece Julia is exiled to Jerusalem as punishment for her refusal to marry a man old enough to be her father, Anna shares the story of her early days of courtship with her husband. Although Julia’s parents admonished her to observe firsthand how lonely Anna’s life is, Julia instead discovers that her great-aunt’s life is far from lonely—it is full of love, peace, and incredible faith. As Anna shares her unwavering testimony of the coming Messiah with her great-niece, these two faithful women are changed forever as they seek the Lord’s will in their lives and joyfully witness the long-awaited miracles of Christ’s birth.

My Review
I have loved all of the past books written by H.B. Moore about historical figures from either the Book of Mormon or the Bible. Anna the Prophetess now is one of my favorites. I started reading and was swept up into the story from the first pages. I've long wondered who Anna really was. I knew she'd been a Prophetess that worked in the temple in Jerusalem and was there when Mary and Joseph brought in the baby Jesus after his birth. I was amazed at how Moore brought to life Anna's story using true facts and fiction.

The story is told from several different viewpoints, but mainly Anna's. The novel starts when Anna is very old and her great-niece, Julia, comes to stay with her awhile. Then Anna shares the story of her life and we go into the past. This was such a wonderful way to get to know Anna and grow to love this character. There were many tender scenes between Julia, her father Phanuel, brother Michael, and her future husband Josiah. 

The main theme that I found in the story was one of patience,especially as one is going through trials in life. This is so timely in my life and many others may find it the same for them. In this novel Anna is shown as living through many trials, but her faith and patience brought many blessings to her, especially at the end of her life when she was able to meet the baby Jesus. The end of the story brought me to tears and gave me chills. Honestly, this is such a beautiful story with great characters and a setting from a wonderful part of the New Testament. If you love retellings from the scriptures, a fabulously written story, and a love story that will warm your heart, then Anna the Prophetess would be a good read for you.

Meet Author H.B. Moore:

Heather B. Moore is a four-time USA Today bestseller and award-winning author of more than a dozen historical novels which are set in Ancient Arabia and Mesoamerica. She’s not old and doesn’t remember the time period, so Google has become a great friend. Although she spent several years living in the Middle East, she prefers to forget the smells. Heather writes historicals and thrillers under H.B. Moore. She also writes women’s fiction, romance, and inspirational non-fiction under Heather B. Moore, including The Newport Ladies Book Club, and the Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthologies. Heather’s USA Today bestselling titles include Heart of the Ocean, Mail Order Bride, Mistress Grim, and Poetic Justice. Heather also writes Young Adult speculative under pen name Jane Redd, which includes the Solstice series. Foreign publications include Das Grab der Konigin (Germany), Drommen om lykke (Norway), and Sommer og kjaerlighet (Norway).
Heather graduated from Brigham Young University with a major in Fashion Merchandising and minor in Business Management–which has absolutely nothing to do with writing novels. But at least she can balance a mean checkbook and color-coordinate her kids’ school clothes.
Heather is represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret Literary Agency. Foreign rights or subsidiary rights inquiries, please contact Lauren Abramo: labramo (at) dystel (dot) com
If you’re an aspiring writer, she also manages the editing company:

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Jurassic Park By Michael Crichton: Audiobook Review

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this the first time many years ago before Goodreads was even a thing. I decided to listen to the audio version this time and liked it even better. Even though I really love the 1st Jurassic Park movie, I love this book even more! The ideas about the park and the people that ran the park are better developed in the book. I understand there's only so much you can do in a movie, but reading the book version gives you a different experience. I would even dare say that the dinosaurs are even more frightening as you read/listen to the book.

Now many people complain about the "science" in the book. You have to take into account when this book was written in 1990. Science has changed a lot since then.

I found something very interesting about how Michael Crichton came up with the idea to write this book. I'm going to quote what I read...

"The novel began as a screenplay Crichton wrote in 1983, about a graduate student who recreates a dinosaur. Eventually, given his reasoning that genetic research is expensive and "there is no pressing need to create a dinosaur", Crichton concluded that it would emerge from a "desire to entertain", leading to a wildlife park of extinct animals. Originally, the story was told from the point of view of a child, but Crichton changed it as everyone who read the draft felt it would be better if told by an adult."

I found this fascinating about it's original origins in Crichton's mind. I have to say to all the fans of the Jurassic Park/World movies, if you loved them, then you must read the books. I'm now going to start listening to the 2nd book which I never read before when it came out. Since so many things were different in the first book from the movie, it will be interesting to see where Crichton went with the plot.

Purchase the Book Here:

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Friday, August 10, 2018

As Wide as The Sky by Jessica Pack (Josi Kilpack): Book Review

Product Details

  • Title: As Wide as the Sky
  • Author: Jessica Pack
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington (July 31, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 149671816X
  • I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review

Book Summary

Five a.m.: Amanda Mallorie wakes to the knowledge that her son Robbie is gone. And a new chapter of her own life must begin. She has spent four years as her son’s only support, desperately trying to understand the actions that landed him on death row and to change his fate. Now Amanda faces an even more difficult task—finding a way, and a reason, to move forward with her own life.

Before the tragedy that unfolded in a South Dakota mall, Robbie was just like other people’s sons or daughters. Sometimes troubled, but sweet and full of goodness too. That’s the little boy Amanda remembers as she packs up his childhood treasures and progress reports, and discovers a class ring she’s never seen before. Who does it belong to and why did Robbie have it in his possession? So begins a journey that will remind her not only of who Robbie used to be, but of a time when she wasn’t afraid—to talk to strangers, to help those in need, to reach out. Robbie’s choices can never be unmade, but there may still be time for forgiveness and trust to grow again. For a future as wide as the sky.

My Review
As Wide as The Sky is the compelling story of a mother's journey through grief, pain, and finding a way to live again. The story starts with Amanda waking up, thinking of her son that died in the night. Right off you are shocked by the feelings and emotions this mother is going through. Soon, you learn that her son was a convicted murderer who died from lethal injection. This novel is a train ride of various emotions that will take you from highs to lows in a matter of seconds. This book will also be a lesson in reflection for the reader. You will be thinking of your own life and how big and small decisions we make along the way affect so many other lives.

I'll be honest, this book is not always a pleasant read because it may mess with your emotions and beliefs, but I had to keep reading. I actually cried through many of the chapters I read of Amanda, a single mom, who had tried her hardest to raise her two kids to be good people. I ached at her sorry and loneliness as other's judged her by her son's actions of shooting and killing people in a mall. 

The writing in this book is beautiful and gripping at the same time. This author has written in the past as Josi Kilpack, so I've read a lot of her books. This book is up there  right along with the best ones I've ever read from her. The story told from Amanda's and other's viewpoints gives you insight to those affected by Robbie's actions. Some gut wrenching scenes, such as when Amanda was cleaning out Robbie's room and looking through the only things she had left of her son made me hurt emotionally and physically. She finds a class ring that didn't belong to Robbie and from there a new storyline opens. Amanda is determined to find out why Robbie had a class ring that belonged to someone close to her age. Her final act of closure in laying Robbie to rest is to return the ring to it's owner and find out why Robbie had it.

This book touches on some hard subjects of mental illness, violence (the mass shooting), abuse, alcoholism, and death. The realities of life shown here truly make this novel strong but fascinating until the last page. The surprising last part of the book brings satisfying closure to Amanda's journey of self examination, forgiveness, healing, and second chances. 

Purchase the book Here:

Meet the Author: Jessica Pack(Josi Kilpack)
Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and credits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and has written twenty-five novels, one cookbook, and been part of multiple collaborations since then. She is a four-time Whitney Award winner and Best of State winner in Fiction. Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her husband and children.

When Kensington Press picked up her first national women's fiction novel, As Wide as the Sky, Josi was in need of a pen name to differentiate between her other genres. For years, Josi has been called Jessica Pack by people who hear her name but don't know her. It made her new pen name easy to choose. As Wide as the Sky will be released in paperback sometime in 2018.

For more information about Josi or her books, please visit her blog, What is a Sundial In the Shade?

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Great Summer Reads Countdown Blitz & Giveaway: Day 24-Love on a Limb 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.

Matthew Grayken is young, successful, and dying, which is why he’s about to propose to a total stranger. He isn’t interested in love. He needs a caregiver, a companion, and someone to be his legal voice when he can no longer speak for himself.

Lonely, compassionate nurse Mikaela Compton is intrigued by Matt Grayken’s tender request, but when their friendly marriage turns into love, she rejects the inevitability of Matt’s death and prays for a miracle instead.

Mikaela succeeds in reigniting Matt’s will to fight, but his body is losing the battle, and her determination to save him causes her to betray the fundamental promise she made him--to help him die peaceably.

Their last hope at saving Matt's life will require a sacrifice from each of them, and force them to decide how far out on a limb they're willing to go for love.

Top Ten List:
Ten fun facts
1. I love all things Maryland crab-based--crab cakes, crab soup, and just eating them right from the steamer.
2. I am a kidney donor.
3. I once recorded a demo single.
4. I was a shot put thrower in high school.
5. I love twinkle lights. I hang them inside, outside, stuff them into jars. They make me happy.
6. I have a crazy love for Christmas nesting boxes. I use them every Christmas to wrap gifts, but it's a family joke that you have to return the box. Lol!
7. My husband and I met on a CB radio when I was 15. (Don't ask . . .  LOL.
8. I break into accents with little provocation. My favorites are Irish and British. 
9. I like to write characters with accents, and when I read through my work, I narrate their parts using their accents. (see 8 above.)

10. When I'm sitting at a light with my blinker on, I hear the beat and break into the song, "Sleigh Ride." Try it! It's the perfect rhythm!

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