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 »

2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
Sheila has read 9 books toward her goal of 80 books.

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Transparency Tonic: Potion Masters Book 2 By Frank L. Cole-Book Review

Product Details

  • The Transparency Tonic: Potion Masters Book 2
  • Author: Frank L. Cole
  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 6
  • Series: Potion Masters (Book 2)
  • Genre:  fantasy, middle-grade, adventure
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Shadow Mountain (January 16, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1629724882
  • ***I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review***

Book Summary
It has been nine months since Gordy and his friends, Max and Adilene, Saved B.R.E.W. (the Board of Ruling Elixirists Worldwide) and the Vessel—the power source for the secret society of potion masters. Now, Gordy is starting the eighth grade, and has been trying new potion brewing techniques, but when he starts zoning out during practice, he knows something is wrong.

Gordy and his friends continue to work on their potions, but when Gordy chooses Max as his lab partner, Adilene starts to wonder if she still has a place with her old friends. She turns to a new friend, Cadence, who might know a way to help Adilene become a potion master on her own.

And in Greenland, Mezzarix has a chance to escape his Forbidden Zone—as long as he agrees to work with the mysterious Ms. Bimini and replicate an unusual solution known as “Silt.” It could be just the weapon Mezzarix needs to destroy B.R.E.W. forever.

With both B.R.E.W. and the Vessel in danger, and with the potion world in chaos, it’s up to Gordy, Max, and Adilene to rally the remaining Potion Masters before it’s too late.

Interview With Author Frank L. Cole 
About His Potion Masters Series

My Review
Woo hoo!! Book two in the Potion Masters Series: The Transparency Tonic was even better than the first book. I liked how main character Gordy has grown up after all of his crazy experiences in the first book. He still is bold and taking chances. The way he does things shows he's starting to be more brave and allow himself to grow as an Elixirist. I like how his best friends Max and Adilene are still here to help Gordy with the problems that 
B.R.E.W. (the Board of Ruling Elixirists Worldwide) have caused him and his family. In this book more villains are out and about trying to bring down B.R.E.W., Gordy, and his mom. 

Gordy's grandfather Mezzarix, a world famous Elixirist, joins forces with other banned Elixirists' to cause havoc and mayhem. I liked the addition of new 8th grader Sasha who is also an Elixirist in training and giving Gordy a run for his money. 

This novel is exciting, mysterious, and full of adventures that will keep any kid reading this book as fast as they can. It has all of the right elements that kids now days are looking for in a book. It's a perfect fit for kids that I teach(2nd graders), but older kids and adults will love this one too. Frank Cole keeps spreading his wings as an author and gets better and better with every book he writes. This novel can be read as a stand alone...but I don't recommend it! :) 
If you want the best experience while reading The Transparency Tonic, I highly recommend reading the first book in the series. You won't regret it.

Here is my review of the first book in the series: HERE

Purchase The Transparency Tonic at these sites:

Meet Author Frank L. Cole
Frank L. Cole was born into a family of southern storytellers and wrote his first book at age eight. Highly superstitious and gullible to a fault, Frank will believe in any creepy story you tell him, especially ones involving ghosts and Big Foot. Currently, along with his wife and three children, he resides in the shadow of a majestic western mountain range, which is most likely haunted. Potion Masters The Transparency Tonic is Frank’s 11th published book.

"I’m an active promoter of reading and using imagination and have been to more than 200 schools presenting to kids."

Learn more about Frank and his book at his website HERE!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Sanctuary: A Guardian Novel By Traci Hunter Abramson-Blog Tour Review and $25 Amazon Gift Card and a Free Copy of ’Sanctuary’

Purchase Details

  • Title: Sanctuary: A Guardian Novel
  • Author: Traci Hunter Abramson
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. 
  • (March 1, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • Genre: Mystery/Suspense
  • ISBN-10: 1524407380
  • ***I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review***

    Book Summary

    Kristi Hartinger has come to terms with her life as a single, thirty-something woman. She was in love . . . once. But following her boyfriend's tragic death, no one else could capture her heart. And nothing else could fill that void, though the serenity of the ocean came close. Two years ago, Kristi left the craziness of her Wall Street career behind and embraced a simpler life on her family's private island off the coast of Maine. As a resident of the small beach community, she anticipates a quiet future—until she comes face-to-face with her past.

    Ace Samson is dead, or so the world believes. As a member of a secret organization known as the guardians, he was forced to fake his death years ago, leaving everything behind when he became an agent. So when he is selected to offer a potential new recruit a job with the organization, Ace braces himself: for the first time in more than a decade, he must face the woman he loved—and left.

    Kristi's world is rocked by Ace's sudden reappearance, and she's soon drawn into his world of danger and cover-up. But when Kristi herself becomes a target, Ace will do whatever it takes to protect the only woman he has ever loved.

    My Review
    I always get so excited when I get to read a new Traci Hunter Abramson book. Her books are the kind that I wander around reading at all times during the day; say at the lunch table in my faculty lounge for example. They are always so hard to put down. 

    This new novel is part of The Guardian Series: Book #3. I know people will say that this book can be read without reading the other books, but I'm pretty particular about reading the books that come first. You always "see" former characters show up and I like to have a background on them. 

    Main characters Kristi and Ace were supposed to get married twenty years ago until Ace was killed in a car accident. Kristi is shocked when Ace shows up, alive and with an unbelievable story about his current occupation. The Guardians are a secret government organization that do super secret things. With bad guys wanting to steal Kristi's land and Ace and his colleagues having their own problems this causes the intense, non-stop action scenes in this novel. I loved that Kade and Renee from the last Guardian Novel, Safe House, play a big part in this novel too. I especially loved Kristi and Ace and how after twenty years they stepped right back into the comfort and ease of their former relationship. It still takes awhile to completely get together, but what a great ride along the way.  I also truly loved Kristi's dog Samson. 

    Anyone that loves a great mystery/suspense will be hooked once you start reading this novel. The ups and downs of trying to figure out who is behind everything that's going on is more than half the fun of this book. I highly recommend Sanctuary and can say if you've never read Traci's books before, you've been missing out. This is one writer that knows what's she doing as she builds great plots, fabulous characters, and inserts twists and turns that will leave you reeling in your seat. 

    ***Purchase Sanctuary at these Locations***

    Meet Author Traci Hunter Abramson
    Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas as well as the skills needed to survive her children's teenage years. She has gone on to write more than twenty bestselling novels that have consistently been nominated as Whitney Award finalists and five-time Whitney Award winner. When she’s not writing, Traci enjoys spending time with her husband and five children, preferably on a nice quiet beach somewhere. She also enjoys sports, travel, writing, and coaching high school swimming.

    Find out more about Traci and her 
    books at these sites:

    Enter the Giveaway to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card 
    and a Free Copy of ’Sanctuary’

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Blog Tour Schedule:

    *March 11th:

    *March 12th:

    *March 13th:

    *March 14th:

    *March 15th:

    Wednesday, March 13, 2019

    Romance is in the Air: A Celebration of Clean Romance & $25 Giveaway -Showcasing Author Kimberley Montpetit "The Fiance's Secret"

      The Fiance's Secret by Kimberley Montpetit
     He's a successful entrepreneur who almost has it all. She's the long-ago crush—the girl who got away. When they meet again, fireworks explode once more. But will a buried secret steal their second chance at a happy ending? Troy Thurlow let the girl of his dreams get away fourteen years ago, back when he was a high school football star. Now he’s a highly successful executive with a life most people only dream of. Still, he's never stopped thinking about Jasmine, and wondering what would have happened if he'd ever had the courage to ask her on a date. When he meets her by chance on a New York business trip, he's determined to take this second opportunity and run with it. That is, if his past doesn't catch up with him first . . . Jasmine Cervantes does “happily ever after” for a living, arranging dream-destination honeymoons for the fabulously rich and famous. But, so far, her own fairy-tale ending has eluded her. That is, until the boy she couldn’t stop dreaming about in high school barges unexpectedly into her office one day. When the two start a whirlwind romance they begin to see that fate is giving them a helping hand. Until Jasmine ends up on Italy’s most romantic coast without him. Missing him desperately, she begins to believe that Troy is truly “the one.” But he's hiding something that could change everything . . .

      “I have a confession to make,” she said, kicking up the sand with her toes. “You—confessions?” Troy teased, but he seemed to tense as if unsure what she was about to tell him. “I heard rumors that you were living out of the country. I figured I’d never see you again.” “So why didn’t you come to our ten-year reunion?” “I was on an important honeymoon trip right then. With Standing Ovation,” she quickly added with a laugh. “Not my own.” Troy chuckled, but she thought she saw his jaw clench a little. “I figured that’s what you meant.” “October in the South Pacific is very nice. That’s when the reunion was, right? At that point, the couple who wanted to honeymoon in Bali was our biggest client we’d ever had so I couldn’t tell my VP no.” “I guess our lives weren’t meant to cross right then. Extended business trips that sometimes kept me away for a few months. Especially at the beginning of the founding of DREAMS. We were hustling like crazy. All of us keeping insane schedules.” “That makes sense. Assumptions are often not true. Isn’t that human nature?” They paused at the shoreline, warm waves tickling Jasmine’s ankles. She wrapped her other arm around Troy’s waist, snuggling into him tighter while he put his other arm around her, while they stood staring out at the Atlantic. “You feel fantastic, Jasmine,” Troy whispered, brushing his lips against her hair. “I was just thinking the same thing about you,” she whispered in return, her voice barely above the sound of the rushing ocean. The water was black, but under the starlight, the waves were a soft, frothy white breaking along the shore. Troy turned so that they faced each other, and Jasmine snuggled into his chest, his body warming hers in a perfect fit. She was dizzy with his closeness, longing for more. “I can hear your heart pounding,” she told him, gazing up into his face. “My heart’s going crazy because I’m overcome by the most beautiful woman in the world. If I go into cardiac arrest, just kiss me and I’ll come right back.” “Like Sleeping Beauty kissing the prince instead of the other way around?”  
    The Executive's Secret is Free starting tomorrow Friday, March 8th
      5 stars! LOVED THIS ONE! I ended up binge reading it until I could barely keep my eyes open but it was totally worth it! This book pulled at my heartstrings. I loved how the characters were developed so that I could clearly feel their emotions. This book was clean but still involved passion and I appreciate that. I loved every second. Love, love, loved this book!!!!! If you want a book that will leave you feeling happy, satisfied, and so much more then read this book.

        Author Kimberley Montpetit When she was in Paris, Kimberley Montpetit spent most of her souvenir money at the La Patisserie shops with their beautiful and delicious pastries. She grew up in the fabulous city of San Francisco, loves all things chocolate, and now lives in a small town along the Rio Grande with her engineer husband and three sons. She once stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland and didn't sleep a wink, sailed the Seine in Paris, rode a camel in the ancient world wonder of Petra, shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. Kimberley also writes Award-winning Middle-Grade novels with Scholastic and epic Young Adult novels with Harpercollins under the name, Kimberley Griffiths Little.   Giveaway Details $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway Ends 3/28/19 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. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from Clean Wholesome Romance and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway Inspired Kathy

    $50 Jane and Emma DVD: Blog Tour and $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

    Movie Synopsis: 
    JANE & EMMA is based on the life of Sister Jane Manning, one of the first black Mormons. She returns to Nauvoo to find that Joseph Smith, her prophet and friend, has been assassinated. Jane spends a ceaseless night with his widow, Emma Smith, sitting watch over the body of the prophet as a whirlwind of loss and confusion leaves them wondering how either one of them will be able to move forward. Through the long night, Jane wonders if the prophet’s promise to extend the blessings of eternity to her has died along with him. The film explores the possible events of that night, including Jane’s endeavor to remain amongst the Mormon people and Emma’s struggle to cope with her heartbreaking loss. Poignant issues of racism and polygamy threaten to break their bond of friendship. In the end, will Jane and Emma have the courage to follow the path each believes they must take? 

    Movie Trailer
    Movie Review
    This is a part of LDS history I had never heard about before.This is a very emotional movie especially because much of it takes place after the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith. This movie is not a light movie and has a sad tone to it. I felt very moved as I watched it because of the hard trials that both women went through in their lives. There were many times I was brought to tears while watching this film. This movie will bring some great information for families to discuss after watching the film together. This is a beautiful story of friendship, acceptance, faith, and strength of two women who supported one another through major happenings in both of their lives. It's hard not to be moved by their story.

    Jane Manning James was a free black woman who
    converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and lived in the home of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his wife Emma Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois.

    For a detailed biographical sketch visit The University of Utah.  

    Director's Statement
    This is a story of faith. In spite of all the hardships these women encounter, one of the things I love the most about this story is how deeply both women want to love God and obey him, even when what he is asking them to do seems impossible. Both women find their own strength, wisdom and answers as they strive to remain true and faithful to his word, and follow the revelations they have been given. For both Jane and Emma, their situations are less than ideal, their trial of faith seems never ending, but their hope in something beyond the darkness that surrounds them is what allows the Lord to carry them and help them find the will to keep moving forward. I am honored and thrilled to direct this film and tell the story of these two incredible women.
    My reasons for telling the story of Jane Manning James and Emma Smith reach beyond the historical events and compelling drama that are in this script. I personally have gone through some very difficult trials in my own life that have shaped me into the person that I now love being, but almost shattered me and my will to keep moving forward. It was during this time, in what I refer to as being in my “tunnel of thorns” that I gained an unshakeable witness of the saving grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, as I finally allowed Him to carry me through that tunnel. The witness of faith I gained from that experience was worth every tear shed. In this film, we are with these two women as they are in the middle of their own tunnel of thorns, trying desperately to understand what it is they have faith in, who they really are in their own eyes and in the eyes of God, and how they can possibly endure the trials they are faced with. Jane and Emma deal with a number of issues, including marital struggles, being a single mom, racial persecution, violence against women, social injustice and even questions of faith and religion. Their love for God and desire to do his will amidst all of the hardships brings the power of the atonement to the screen in a way that is unique, powerful and important. I personally believe that by being honest with the struggles of these women, and by telling their story sincerely and unflinchingly, we can be honest with our own story, and come to love these women as well as God, our Savior and ourselves more fully.         

    Purchase The DVD HERE: 

    Enter the Giveaway Today: 
    Jane and Emma Blog Tour Giveaway - $50 Amazon Gift Card
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Monday, March 11, 2019

    Romance is in the Air: A Celebration of Clean Romance & $25 Giveaway -Showcasing Author Crystal Walton "Begin Again"

      Begin Again by Crystal Walton
    A 2017 Readers' Favorite Gold Award Winner & Kindle Book Review Award Semi-finalist. Escape to the beach and enjoy a laugh-out-loud clean romance. What happens when a free-spirited artist from big-city New York collides with an uptight business owner from small-town Ocracoke? Fireworks. The kind neither saw coming. A single call is all it takes to drive artist Ti Russo into what she does best. Run. But hey, lying low in a beach town for a while isn’t so bad. Thanks to the distraction of playing consultant to a guy she’s determined to crack, she can almost forget about the past stalking her back home. But she never counted on the real danger being a picket-fenced life she has no business falling for. Focus and self-preservation have gotten single dad Drew Anderson through the last nine years. With the threat of his shop’s foreclosure jeopardizing his daughter’s health care, the last thing he needs is a distracting hippie chick swooping in to shake up what he’s fought to protect. Including himself. The bank’s deadline adds enough pressure without re-risking feelings better left buried. But as sparks flare and secrets escalate, the race against time propels Ti and Drew into a choice neither’s ready to make: Find the faith to surrender their past or forfeit their only chance to begin again. Download Begin Again and escape into a sparks-flying, opposites-attract contemporary clean romance full of small-town charm, broken characters, and deep undertones of grace that’ll win your heart. For fans of Gilmore Girls, you’ll love Drew and Ti’s sparring relationship, along with Begin Again’s small-town setting, quirky characters, and family bonds.  

      A 2017 Readers' Favorite Gold Award Winner & Kindle Book Review Award Semi-finalist. "Love, Love, Loved spunky Ti and the banter between her and Drew. I didn't want to stop reading. Great character development and the characters are engaging and interesting." - Amazon Review "This book was well written, the characters were relatable and refreshing and the plot flowed quickly...Grab this book and her others and be prepared to be wowed! You will quickly discover that you have found a hidden gem of an author!" - Nerd Girl Official "The prose is excellent and her narrative voice so powerful and clear that it will have readers hooked throughout the entire ride. This is a character-driven story that will have you entertained, reminding you of some of the finest emotions you have experienced." - Readers' Favorite Inside, conversations coming from a small den to the right competed with laughter and music trailing in from a sliding door leading to a pool. Drew took one look at both options and headed into the kitchen instead. Other than the faint sound of a girl singing nearby, only the churn of the ice maker filled the quiet room. He leaned against the counter, closed his eyes, and massaged his temples. “You shouldn’t try so hard.” From behind a cute pair of glasses, blue eyes met his. A blonde in an off-the-shoulder, white cotton dress and an unabashed gaze stood in front of him. Where’d she come from? Drew glanced behind him. To what, the wall? Of course she was talking to him. When his vocal cords caught up, he cleared his throat. “Excuse me?” A lot of good unclogging his voice did. If it got any more pubescent, he’d take that windpipe right out and knock some sense into himself with it. She reached for his hand and lowered it from his throbbing temple. “De-stressing. You’re trying too hard.” Drew stared at her warm fingers against his. “I’m sorry, and you are?” “Ti Russo.” A series of bracelets jingled down her arm. “Pleasure.” He’d never met a girl who went by an initial. Looking down, she ran the back of her bare foot along her calf. Waiting. Now would be the appropriate moment for southern hospitality. Or at a minimum, basic manners in returning the introduction. Yet Drew just stood there like a washed-up piece of seaweed languishing under a sunrise he couldn’t look away from. She was probably a few years younger than him. Twenty-eight at best. But her eyes carried the experiences of someone twice her age, along with an artistic flair he knew better than to entertain. “Thanks, but I’m fine.” He strode to the opposite counter. “If you really want to work on something, you might try honing your lying skills.” Drew turned, jaw slack. If the girl’s accent wasn’t enough confirmation she was from the Big Apple, her lack of a filter just eliminated any doubt. Unbidden, thoughts of New York triggered memories that’d been festering beneath the surface all day. He tamped them back down where they belonged. Ti dipped her head in front of his, brow raised as if waiting for him to divulge his inner thoughts. Like that was happening. “Don’t you have a hot yoga class to go to or something?” He scanned the kitchen for a drink. Or maybe a pail of ice to dump over his head. “What do you know about hot yoga?" Way to open himself up for that one.  

    Author Crystal Walton
    Crystal received her bachelor of arts from Messiah College in PA, married her exact opposite in upstate NY, and earned her master of arts from Regent University in VA, where she currently resides with her husband, David and son, Ryder. She writes modern clean romances with humor, broken characters, and emotional plots full of grace and hope. Her popular Home In You series includes Write Me Home, a 2017 RONE Award finalist, and Begin Again, a 2017 Readers' Favorite Gold Award winner. When her hands aren't full with her very active, little blue-eyed hero, she's delving into the wonder of words, supporting her Starbucks habit, or laughing over movie quotes with her husband.
      Giveaway Details $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway Ends 3/27/19 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. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from Clean Wholesome Romance and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway Inspired Kathy

    Sunday, March 10, 2019

    A Monster Like Me By Wendy S. Swore-Blog Tour Book Review & Author's Note

    Product Details

    • Title: A Monster Like Me
    • Author: Wendy S. Swore
    • Age Range: 8 - 11 years
    • Grade Level: 3 - 6
    • Hardcover: 304 pages
    • Publisher: Shadow Mountain (March 5, 2019)
    • Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1629725552
    • ***I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review***

    Book Summary
    “In the vein of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder, this debut allows readers to step inside Sophie’s thoughts and to understand and emphasize with her.” –Booklist, starred review

    Sophie is a monster expert. Thanks to her Big Book of Monsters and her vivid imagination, Sophie can identify the monsters in her school and neighborhood. Clearly, the bullies are trolls and goblins. Her nice neighbor must be a good witch, and Sophie's new best friend is obviously a fairy. But what about Sophie? She’s convinced she is definitely a monster because of the monster mark on her face. At least that's what she calls it. The doctors call it a blood tumor. Sophie tries to hide it but it covers almost half her face. And if she’s a monster on the outside, then she must be a monster on the inside, too.
    Being the new kid at school is hard. Being called a monster is even harder. Sophie knows that it’s only a matter of time before the other kids, the doctors, and even her mom figure it out. And then her mom will probably leave just like her dad did.
    Because who would want to live with a real monster?
    Inspired by real events in the author's life, A Monster Like Me teaches the importance of believing in oneself, accepting change, and the power of friendship.

    Book Trailer

    My Review
    A Monster Like Me is a truly unique and charming book. This book is based on real life experiences from the author in fiction form. 

    Main character Sophie has a hemangioma on her face that makes her feel like a monster. Readers find out from the first that she feels she was cursed by a witch. Sophie retreats in her own world as she reads her book, The Big Book of Monsters. As she goes throughout her life she identifies the people around her as monsters and fairies. This is a coping mechanism for her as she deals with bullies at school and out in public. Sophie's single mom tries hard to bring her out of her shell but often doesn't know how to help her child. This book told from Sophie's child-like perspective deals with huge human issues of bullying, anxiety, and a deadly disease; but it also shows the beauty of friendship and acceptance and learning to love yourself despite what's going on inside or outside of ones self. 

    This novel would be a great book to read out-loud to children in the home where good discussions could take place. My other favorite characters were Autumn, Sophie's "fairy-like" friend, her grandmother the "good witch" Mrs. Barrett, and her mother's boyfriend Kelsi who taught her a lot about self acceptance. This book is a well written first novel by the author which is brimming with good messages. This novel is bound to teach many children about hard to talk about issues within the pages of a sweet story. 

    Purchase Here at Amazon: 

    Author: Wendy S. Swore

    Wendy S. Swore farms on the Sho-Ban reservation where her corn maze and pumpkin patch is home to her five kids, two dogs, two geese, seven peacocks, eleven ducks, nineteen cats, and two hundred thirty seven chickens. She farms in the summers, writes in the winters, and would rather chew her leg off than eat something spicy.

    A Note From The Author

    Sophie’s story is dear to my heart because I know how it feels to be bullied because I looked different from everyone else. When I was a child, I
    had a hemangioma on my forehead that stuck out so far my bangs couldn’t cover it, no matter how hard my mother tried. Because the tumor was made up of blood vessels, I could feel my heart beating inside it when I was playing hard or really upset.
    The incident at the grocery store where the hydra lady says, “Hey, look kids! That girl doesn’t need a Halloween costume. She’s already got one!” is an exact quote of what a woman once said to my mother and me. Another woman told a classroom full of kids that I had the mark of the devil. Kids asked if it was a goose bump, or hamburger, or if my brains had leaked out. My dad had to chase away some bullies who had followed me home, called me names, and pushed me into the street. Sometimes, after a bad day of bullying, I wished I could just rip the mark off my face and be like everyone else—but it was a part of me, and wishing didn’t change that.
    My parents decided to take an active role in educating the people around me so they would know what a hemangioma was and understand that it wasn’t icky, or gross, or contagious. Whenever we moved to a new place, my dad would go with me to the elementary school and talk to the kids about my mark and let them ask questions. After those talks, kids befriended me and noticed when bullies came around. Like Autumn, my school friends would speak up when they saw someone being mean to me, and sometimes they would stand between me and the bullies until they left me alone. I didn’t let the bullies stop me from doing what I wanted to do. I climbed trees, went swimming, wrote poetry, brought my tarantula and snakes to show-and-tell, and played in the tide pools.
    This is my message to anyone who experiences bullying: Don’t let the bullies define you! I’ve been there, I know it hurts to be teased, but don’t let it stop you from doing what you want. Find something you enjoy—a hobby, talent, or challenge—and practice that skill. Know that someone out there, maybe even someone in your same school, needs a friend as much as you do. Be that friend. Stand up for each other. And know that you are not alone.

    You can always find me at, and I would love to hear your stories and what you thought of the book.