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.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Skyward: Claim the Stars (The Skyward Series Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson-YA Science Fiction Book Review


Product Details

  • Title: Skyward
  • Author: Brandon Sanderson
  • Series: The Skyward Series 
  • Genre: YA/Science Fiction
  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07BJLB5LY
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Delacorte Press 
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ November 6, 2018
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 9230 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 546 pages
  • ***I voluntarily reviewed a purchased copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own***

Book Summary

From Brandon Sanderson, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Reckoners series, Words of Radiance, and the internationally bestselling Mistborn series, comes the first book in an epic new series about a girl who dreams of becoming a pilot in a dangerous world at war for humanity's future.

Spensa's world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what's left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa's dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father's--a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa's chances of attending flight school at slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.

My Review
I've been wanting to read this book ever since it came out. I'm a huge Brandon Sanderson fan so I knew I'd be hooked once I started this and it was true. The great thing is, the next books in the series are done and out which is really good because I can't wait to read the next book in the series. 

This YA Science Fiction novel was interesting and engaging right from the start. Spensa (callsign: Spin) is likable and you can't help but root for her especially after what happened to her father, a former pilot who was labeled as a coward. Spensa fights everyone to prove her father wasn't a coward and that she is good enough to be a pilot like her dad. Her road is a hard one and she has to fight many "battles" to prove herself. She learns a lot and changes incredibly throughout the novel.

One of my other favorite characters is called M-Bot. I loved his humor and his great one-liners. That's all I'm going to say about M-Bot without giving some serious spoilers. I also liked Captain Cobb who truly came through with flying colors for Spensa. 

This novel is fun, exciting, fast-paced, has a wide variety of characters that add so much to the story. Of course, the world-building is done so well and the ending was the best battle sequence I'd read in a long time. I couldn't read fast enough. I know Brandon Sanderson is a fantastic Fantasy writer but this Sci-Fi was REALLY good! I've already started the second book.
This novel would be great for middle-grade and YA readers...and everyone that loves this author.

Purchase Your Own Copy of Skyward HERE:

****Meet Author Brandon Sanderson****

Brandon Sanderson was born in December 1975 in Lincoln, Nebraska. As a child, Brandon enjoyed reading, but he lost interest in the types of titles often suggested for him, and by junior high he never cracked a book if he could help it. This all changed in eighth grade when an astute teacher, Mrs. Reader, gave Brandon Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. Brandon thoroughly enjoyed this book, and went in search of anything similar. He discovered such authors as Robert Jordan, Melanie Rawn, David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey, and Orson Scott Card. Brandon continued to be an avid reader through junior high and high school. He liked epic fantasy so much that he even tried his hand at writing some. His first attempts, he says, were dreadful.

In 1994 Brandon enrolled at Brigham Young University as a biochemistry major. From 1995 to 1997 he took time away from his studies to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brandon often says that it was during this time in Seoul, Korea that he realized that he didn’t miss chemistry one bit, but he did miss writing. Upon his return to BYU, Brandon became an English major, much to the dismay of his mother, who had always hoped he would become a doctor.

Brandon began writing in earnest, taking a job as the night desk clerk at a hotel because they allowed him to write while at work. During this era he went to school full time during the day, worked nights to pay for his schooling, and wrote as much as he could. He says it made for a rather dismal social life, but he finished seven novels during his undergraduate years. Brandon submitted many manuscripts for publication . . . and accumulated quite a pile of rejection letters. In spite of this, he continued to be a dedicated writer.

Volunteering for The Leading Edge, BYU’s science fiction/fantasy magazine, was a wonderful experience for Brandon. He read many submissions, formed some lifelong friendships, and served as Editor in Chief during his senior year.

Brandon learned much about the business side of being a writer by taking a class from David Farland, author of the popular Runelords series. One piece of advice Dave gave Brandon was to attend conventions, such as WorldCon and World Fantasy, in order to connect with industry professionals. Brandon and a small group of friends who were also aspiring writers began to do so. He eventually met both his current agent and one of his editors at conventions.

It was in 2003, while Brandon was in the middle of a graduate program at BYU, that he got a call from editor Moshe Feder at Tor, who wanted to buy one of Brandon’s books. Brandon had submitted the manuscript a year and a half earlier and had almost given up on hearing anything, so he was surprised and delighted to receive the offer. In May 2005 Brandon held his first published novel, Elantris, in his hands. Over the next few years, Tor also published Brandon’s Mistborn trilogy, its followup The Alloy of LawWarbreaker, and The Way of Kings, the first in a projected ten-volume series called The Stormlight Archive. The second book in the series, Words of Radiance, was released on March 4th, 2014. Other projects continue to be in the works.

In 2004 after graduating with his Master’s degree in creative writing from Brigham Young University, Brandon was asked to teach the class he had taken as an undergraduate student from Dave Farland. In spite of his busy schedule, Brandon continues to teach this one section of creative writing focused on science fiction and fantasy because he enjoys helping aspiring writers. It also gets him out of the house, he says. Additionally, along with Howard Tayler, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Dan Wells, he hosts the doubly Hugo-nominated writing advice podcast Writing Excuses, which has twice won a Parsec Award.

In July 2006 Brandon married Emily Bushman. Emily and Brandon ran in many of the same circles at BYU during their student days, since Emily majored in English as well. They never met, however, until a mutual friend set them up on a date in 2005. Emily had spent seven years as a teacher, but chose to quit with the birth of their first child in October 2007. Emily now works from home part time as Brandon’s business manager.

Brandon’s repertoire expanded into the children’s market when Scholastic published Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, a middle-grade novel, in October 2007. Nancy Pearl gave this book a very favorable review on National Public Radio, which pleased Sanderson fans. Three more volumes of the series have been released so far. Additionally, Brandon’s novella Infinity Blade: Awakening was an ebook bestseller for Epic Games accompanying their acclaimed Infinity Blade iOS video game series.

In December 2007 Brandon was chosen by Harriet McDougal Rigney to complete Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series after his untimely passing. 2009’s The Gathering Storm and 2010’s Towers of Midnight was followed by the final volume in the series, A Memory of Light, in January 2013.

The only author to make the shortlist for the David Gemmell Legend Award eight times in seven years, Brandon won that award in 2011 for The Way of Kings. He has also won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice award for Best Epic Fantasy twice and has been nominated three other years. His novella The Emperor’s Soul won the Hugo Award in 2013. Brandon has been serving as a judge for Writers of the Future since 2016. He has hit the New York Times Best-Seller List fifteen times, most recently at #1 with Oathbringer, book three of The Stormlight Archive, which is also Audible’s most pre-ordered book of all time. DMG Entertainment optioned the rights to the Cosmere universe shared by his fantasy novels, and Fox acquired the Reckoners trilogy for Shawn Levy’s production company 21 Laps. Brandon’s books have been published in thirty-five languages.

Follow Brandon’s blogFacebook pageTwitter feedInstagram, and Google + for up-to-date information, and check out his events calendar to see where he will be appearing. Anyone who subscribes to the mailing list and indicates what city they live in will receive reminders when Brandon’s signing tours bring him nearby. For more in-depth information and preview chapters for Brandon’s books, see the book pages, and for detailed behind-the-scenes information about the writing of each chapter, see the annotations. And for those who want a larger taste of Brandon’s writing, the entire text of Warbreaker is available here.

Praise for Skyward:
Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year

"Startling revelations and stakes-raising implications...Sanderson plainly had a ball with this nonstop, high-flying opener, and readers will too."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

"With this action-packed trilogy opener, Sanderson offers up a resourceful, fearless heroine and a memorable cast...[and] as the pulse-pounding story intensifies and reveals its secrets, a cliffhanger ending sets things up for the next installment."--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"It is impossible to turn the pages fast enough."--Booklist

"Sanderson delivers a cinematic adventure that explores the defining aspects of the individual versus the society...[and] fans of [his] will not be disappointed."--SLJ

Praise for Brandon Sanderson's Reckoners series:
#1 New York Times Bestselling Series

"Another win for Sanderson . . . he's simply a brilliant writer. Period."--Patrick Rothfuss, author of the New York Times and USA Today bestseller The Name of the Wind

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Beyond the Lavender Fields by Arlem Hawks -Book Review and Trailer

                                                                          Product Details

Publication Date: 2/1/21 


ISBN: 9781629729350 

Retail Price: $26.99 

Page Count: 368 

Historical Fiction 

Cover Art: © Matilda Delves / Trevillion  

Images; / Getty Images; Daniel  

Balakov / Getty Images 

Book Design: © Shadow Mountain 

Design: Heather G. Ward 

Art Direction: Richard Erickson

                    ***I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own***

Book Summary

1792, France 

Rumors of revolution in Paris swirl in Marseille, a bustling port city in southern France. Gilles Étienne,  a clerk at the local soap factory, thrives on the news. Committed to the cause of equality, liberty, and brotherhood, he and his friends plan to march to Paris to dethrone the monarchy. His plans are halted when he meets Marie-Caroline Daubin, the beautiful daughter of the owner of the factory. 

A bourgeoise and a royalist, Marie-Caroline has been called home to Marseille to escape the unrest in  Paris. She rebuffs Gilles’s efforts to charm her and boldly expresses her view that violently imposed freedom is not really freedom for all. As Marie-Caroline takes risks to follow her beliefs, Gilles catches her in a dangerous secret that could cost her and her family their lives. As Gilles and  Marie-Caroline spend more time together, she questions her initial assumptions about Gilles and realizes that perhaps they have more in common than she thought. 

As the spirit of revolution descends on Marseille, people are killed and buildings are ransacked and burned to the ground. Gilles must choose between supporting the political change he believes in and protecting those he loves. And Marie-Caroline must battle between standing up for what she feels is  

right and risking her family’s safety. With their lives and their nation in turmoil, both Gilles and Marie Caroline wonder if a révolutionnaire and a royaliste can really be together in a world that forces people to choose sides.

Book Trailer: 

My Review
Beyond the Lavender Fields is a historical fiction novel set in 1792 France as the revolution is starting. The research done on this book is amazing. This is one era in time that is not as familiar to me. As a history lover, this was fascinating to learn so many details about the start of The French Revolution.

The novel has a slow start as characters are introduced and information is given about the state of the country. After 50 or so pages this story takes off and never lets you off for a break. Of course, my favorite character is Gilles Étienne who is pulled back and forth between both sides throughout the novel. His strength of character far surpasses those of others his same age. As soon as he meets Marie-Caroline Daubin, his life is never the same.

I liked the conflict between family members, the tests of courage and morals that the characters faced. The author does an outstanding job fleshing out her main and side characters. The villain is not only evil but very crazy too. I also grew to love the anti-hero in the story, Gilles's sea-captain father. This novel does an excellent job of showing both sides in this conflict. The romance between Gilles and Marie is not heavy but slowly blooms as the story progresses.

Beyond the Lavender Fields is a must-read for fans of Les Misérables (musical), history buffs, and anyone interested in French history. This novel is an overall good read and one I recommend you pick up.

****Meet Author Arlem Hawks****

ARLEM HAWKS began making up stories before she could write.  

Living all over the western United States and traveling around the  

the world gave her a love of cultures and people and the stories they  

have to tell. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications, with  

an emphasis in print journalism, and she lives in Arizona with her  

husband three children. 

For author interview requests, please contact Callie Hansen at 

Purchase Beyond the Lavender Fields HERE:

Advance Praise: 

“With each successive encounter, Gilles has with Marie-Caroline...makes him realize that people, like politics,  are full of complexities and nuances. Historical fiction fans will revel in Hawks' (Georgiana's Secret, 2021)  refreshingly different, perfectly evoked period setting that seamlessly captures both the drama and danger of  revolutionary-era France, while romance readers will appreciate the sweet love story the author expertly threads  through the plot.” —BOOKLIST 

“The writing was spectacular and transported me to Marseille during the French Revolution.” —ALEX C. “The rich and vivid way that Arlem Hawks presented this story stole my heart.” —RENAE S. “A well-told tale that sweeps you off your feet and through the streets of France.” —TRISTAN R. “Captivating and engaging to the very end.” —JESSICA M. 

“Well-researched and rich in historical detail.” —PATRICIA W. 

“This one has it all: history, romance, suspense, intrigue. . . . It does not disappoint.” —JULIA D. “A beautiful story! Arlem Hawks has sealed a place on my ‘best authors’ bookshelf!” —JESSICA M. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Return of the Grizzly: Sharing the Range with Yellowstone's Top Predator By Cat Urbigkit: Non-Fiction Book Review


Product Details

  • Title: Return of the Grizzly: Sharing the Range with Yellowstone's Top Predator
  • Author: Cat Urbigkit
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Skyhorse (January 1, 2019)
  • Genre: Non-Fiction, Bear Biology, Bear Conservation
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 184 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1510727477
  • ***I voluntarily reviewed a copy I received for my birthday. All opinions are my own***

Book Summary
The Yellowstone grizzly population has grown from an estimated 136 bears when first granted federal protection as a threatened species to as many as 1,000 grizzlies in a tri-state region today. No longer limited to remote wilderness areas, grizzlies now roam throughout the region—in state parks, school playgrounds, residential subdivisions, on farms and ranches, and in towns and cities throughout the region.

Return of the Grizzly tells the story of the successful effort to recover this large carnivore, the policy changes and disputes between bear managers and bear advocates, and for the first time, provides insight to what recovery means for the people who now live with grizzlies across a broad landscape. From cowboys on horseback chased by a charging grizzly, and grizzlies claiming game animals downed by human hunters, to the numerous self-defense killing of grizzlies that occur each year, the manuscript examines increases in conflicts and human fatalities caused by grizzlies in this ecosystem inhabited by humans who live there year-round. Human–bear interactions, grizzly attacks and deaths, avoiding attacks, effects on agriculture, wildlife protesters, the consequences of bear habituation, and more are all covered.

My Review
This was such an interesting book. I love bears and other wild animals. I am a big defender of animals and want to conserve and preserve them and the land where they reside. This book was published in 2018 and four years later the same problems are occurring with bear management in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Once again these states are wanting the Federal Government to delist Grizzlies' status as a federally protected animal by being on the Endangered Species list. Return of the Grizzly goes into everything that has happened in the past with this same situation. Both sides of the situation are given, from the wildlife conservationists to the ranchers. This non-fiction book does give a lot of details like a textbook, so just know that before you plow on in.

The author does a great job outlining the past history of the grizzly bear, how things were managed in the past, and things that would be helpful in the future. She is very knowledgeable and listed many sources of information that she used in writing this book. I'm hoping that more people will read this book and become active in Wildlife Conservation and find ways to help. I LOVE bears and I truly enjoyed reading this book and learning more about the grizzly in the Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Meet Author Cat Urbigkit

Cat Urbigkit is an award-winning writer and photographer based on a western Wyoming sheep ranch where she receives much inspiration for her work.

She has written and photographed seven non-fiction books for children, as well as five nonfiction titles for adults. A firm believer in the power of the written word, Cat writes for several media outlets and blogs, and honed her writing skills as a newspaper reporter for more than a decade. Cat is also the co-owner and publisher of The Shepherd, a national monthly sheep industry magazine.

Cat is the author of a Wolf Watch news blog, and is a contributing writer to Stephen Bodio's Querencia nature blog. Her photographs of ranch life and wildlife have appeared in numerous books and magazines, and her daily Facebook posts are popular.    

                                       Purchase Your Copy of Return of the Grizzly

Learn more about bears and bear management and
how you can get involved to help

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Where Her Heart Lies: A Craig Colorado Novel By Carolyn Twede Frank-Blog Tour Book Review and Giveaway


Product Details

    Title: Where Her Heart Lies
    Author: Carolyn Twede Frank
    Series: A Craig Colorado Novel
    Genre: Western Romance
  • Publisher ‏: ‎ Covenant Communications, Inc. (January 3, 2022)
  • Language : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏: ‎ 240 pages
  • ISBN-10 : ‎ 152442076X
  • ***I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own***
  •  Book Summary
  • After five years of finishing school in New York, Celeste McCurdy is ready to wash her hands of the snobbery of big-city life and be free of thoughts of Charles, the overly charming suitor who left her without a word. It's time to return home to her small Colorado town. Despite her failed relationship with Charles, Celeste yearns to marry, and she knows just the man to handle her heart with care: her childhood love, Logan. Poor and endlessly kind, he is the polar opposite of the type of men she knew in New York.

    Logan Jones has been dealt a difficult hand in life, forever fighting to make ends meet in his desperation to avoid the pitfalls of wealth that poisoned his family. But when his longtime friend returns to town, Logan finds a compelling reason to accept his unwanted inheritance. Because even as Logan and Celeste are drawn together, a complication arises: Celeste's former suitor has come for the woman he let go of—and Logan won't give her up without a fight. Torn between two men, Celeste must determine where her affections lie or risk losing a love that's true.

   My Review
This has been a great series. I was very happy to see Logan Jones finally be the center of his own novel. He was first introduced as a young boy with a disability and a father and brother that hated and abused him. Now he is a grown man, slowly gaining confidence and trying to make his way on his own.
Celeste McCurdy has just come home after five years of finishing school. She still has a crush on Logan but it's more than that now. She wants Logan for a husband and he doesn't feel worthy of the lady Celeste has become. I truly enjoyed the little dance these two characters did as they tried to figure each other out after so many years. I truly adored Logan, even when he was clueless about Celeste and her feelings. A former Beau of Celeste's from back East shows up to try and win Celeste's heart. Logan still does what he can to fight for her in his own awkward way.
This sweet, clean romance is a fun return to a small western town in the early 1900s. There's great growth for both characters as they realize their love for one another but also realize that love matters more than worldly things. You need to give this series a look, especially if you love stories from the old west.

****Meet Author Carolyn Twede Frank****

Purchase Where Her Heart Lies

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Where Her Heart Lies:

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Thursday, January 13, 2022

Choices of the Heart: A Hope Springs Story By Sarah M Eden-Novella Book Review

Product Details

  • Title: Choices of the Heart
  • Author: Sarah M Eden
  • Series: Hope Springs Series
  • Genre: Clean Western Romance
  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09FN3WYQ3
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Mirror Press (January 11, 2022)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ January 11, 2022
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 155 pages
  • Page numbers source ISBN ‏ : ‎ 1952611237
  • ***I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own***

Book Summary

The paths of life that brought them together are destined to tear them apart.

Burke Jones began his life as a nameless orphan, dreaming of one day being a renowned doctor with a home and family to call his own. Sophie Kingston, daughter of an influential East Coast family, was destined to be an important and beloved part of Baltimore Society.

Life has not gone quite as either planned.

Now living in the home of a family friend, Sophie joins the lady on a journey to the tiny town of Hope Springs in Wyoming Territory. It is unlike any place she’s ever known. And the resident doctor is a mystery as well. Burke knows he isn’t the success he’d always imagined he would be, and seeing it through the eyes of this newly arrived Society lady only drives that home.

As Hope Springs begins to weave its magic, Sophie discovers more than she’d ever imagined, in both the town and its doctor. And Burke, who has always guarded his heart, begins to wonder if there might be more to life than he has previously imagined.

Their futures, however, do not lie along the same path or in the same destinations. Fate has once again proven unkind.

Can Hope Springs work yet another miracle?

From the USA Today bestselling author of the Longing for Home series, CHOICES OF THE HEART is set in the beloved world of Hope Springs.

My Review

It's always a beautiful thing to travel back to Hope Springs, Wyoming. This series has the most wonderful, humble, brave, and lively people in its books. I have truly loved every Hope Springs book I've read.

First readers meet the quiet, refined, and sad Sophie who travels to Hope Springs with her older friend, Mrs. Archer who is visiting her family. Soon Sophie meets the reserved local doctor, Burke who hasn't allowed himself to really love anyone because of his tragic past. This sweet romance builds in a great way that any reader will just love. With the help of the friendly people of Hope Springs, Sophie and Burke find a way to meet in the middle and open their hearts.

Honestly, this novella did not feel like a shorter book. It felt so rich and full like a complete novel. This is a particular talent of this author and she does it often and very well. 

I loved this book and hope there are many more books to add to this series. Sarah Eden has once again woven her magic and has created a story full of love, awakenings, and romance. 

****Meet Author Sarah M. Eden****

Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today best-selling author of witty and charming historical romances, including 2020’s Foreword Reviews INDIE Awards Gold Winner for Romance, Forget Me Not, and 2020 Holt Medallion finalist, Healing Hearts. She is a two-time “Best of State” Gold Medal winner for fiction and a three-time Whitney Award winner. Combining her obsession with history and her affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting deep characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library. 

Sarah is represented by Pam Pho at D4EO Literary Agency.​

Purchase Choices of the Heart

Other Books in the Hope Springs Series
Longing for Home
Longing for Home: Hope Springs
My Dearest Love
Love Remains
Long Journey Home
Valley of Dreams