Sheila's Books Read

Sheila's bookshelf: read

The Best Intentions
Scotland's Melody
The Secret Society of Salzburg
Secret of the Sonnets
20-40-60-Minute Dinners: Meals to Match the Time You Have
Through the Wilderness: My Journey of Redemption and Healing in the American Wild
Secret Santa Claus Club: A Tool to Help Parents Unwrap the Secret of Santa
Mr. Pudgins
Revenge Never Rests
The Best Mistake
Meriden Park
More Inspirational Stories for Young Women
The Great Tree: A Christmas Fable
To Capture His Heart
The Call of the Sea
Livvy and the Enchanted Woodland
Come, Gentle Night
The Bad Boy Theory
Guide To Smart Wedding Planning: What You want to know and everything you haven't thought of yet.

Sheila's favorite books »

2024 Goodreads Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Sheila has read 4 books toward her goal of 100 books.

Friday, April 28, 2023

A Waltz With Traitors: A Novel By A.L. Sowards-Christian Historical Fiction Book Review


Book Summary

Sometimes the road to freedom is a six-thousand-mile-long railroad track. Sometimes the road to love is even longer.

The Former Russian Empire, 1918

Czech soldier Filip Sedlák never wanted to fight for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. So at the first opportunity, he defected to the Russians. Now he and others like him have formed the Czechoslovak Legion. Their goal: leave the chaos of Russia, sail to France, and help the Allies defeat the Central Powers, thereby toppling a hated empire and winning an independent Czechoslovakia.

With the fall of the tsar, Nadia Linskaya’s life is in ruins. Her family is dead, her lands are confiscated, and her aristocratic world is gone forever. But Nadia is determined to elude the Bolshevik agent who destroyed her family and find a way to survive in this changed world.

When Nadia takes refuge with the Czechoslovak Legion, the last thing she expects is an ally. But when Filip proposes a sham marriage to ensure her safe passage across Siberia, she takes it. Neither Filip nor Nadia expect real love, not when the legion has to take over the longest railroad in the world—and then hold it against Bolshevik counterattacks, partisan sabotage, Allied intrigue, and a set of brutal Siberian winters. At risk is the future of Czechoslovakia, the fate of Russia—and their hearts.

Book Details

Title: A Waltz with Traitors

Author: A. L. Sowards

Release Day: March 14, 2023

Publisher: Covenant Communications

Formats: Print, ebook, audio

Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Historical Fiction, War Fiction

****I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, NetGalley,book tours, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.****

My Review

A Waltz With Traitors is a history lover's delight. The rich history and setting of this book were not familiar to me but I found it so interesting and learned a lot. A.L. Sowards is such a wonderful storyteller with her colorful descriptions and engaging characters that you quickly bond with. 

The setting is Russia where the Czechoslovak Legion is fighting the Bolshevik army during the time period of the Great War of WWI. Filip and Nadia come together because of tragic circumstances and their love develops in a slow, and unusual way. Amongst so much hurt and scars they learn to trust one another.

There is violence in this book as this is about a war, but nothing is described too graphically. At times there was a lot going on as you try to understand the many groups of people fighting and trying to stay alive. I'm always amazed at the amount of research that goes into Soward's writing. I usually am led off into my own research about the topic once I finish the novel. 

The ugliness of war is shown in this book and your emotions ride high during the story. Nadia describes war like this, "It is danger and chaos and misery," and you see all of this throughout the pages. This novel is gritty, with brief accounts of violence and assault. 

Filip and Nadia's love goes through so many ups and downs but as a reader you are there rooting for them all the way. Their love and devotion feel real.

I enjoyed having the maps, the vocabulary guides, and the beginning and ending author notes. You need to read them all. Overall, historical fiction readers will love this epic and fascinating novel as the characters make their way across frozen Siberia in the thick of war.  

***Meet Author A.L. Sowards***

A. L. Sowards is the author of multiple historical fiction novels, with settings spanning the globe from the fourteenth to twentieth centuries. Her stories have earned multiple awards and nominations, including a Whitney Award and a Readers’ Favorite gold medal. Sowards grew up in Washington State, spent a few decades in Utah, and now resides in Alaska with her husband, three children, and ever-growing library. She enjoys hiking and swimming, usually manages to keep up with the laundry, and loves it when someone else cooks dinner.

Learn more about A.L. Sowards and her books


~*~*~*~*Purchase A Waltz With Traitors~*~*~*~*



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Monday, April 24, 2023

Under the Cover of Mercy By Rebecca Connolly-Historical Fiction Book Review

 Book Summary

”Christian-and historical-fiction readers alike will devour this fast-paced novel of faith and bravery.”―Booklist

Can one nurse on a mission of mercy and rebellion turn the tide of WWI?

November 1914

The Great War has come to Brussels, and Edith Cavell, Head Nurse at Berkendael Medical Institute, faces an impossible situation. She has sworn an oath to help any who are wounded, under whatever flag they are found. But Governor von Lüttwitz, the ranking German officer, has ordered her and her nurses to also stand guard over the wounded Allied prisoners of war and prevent them from escaping.

Edith feels that God called her to be a healer, not a jailer. How can she heal these broken boys, only to see them returned to the hands of their oppressors to be beaten again?

So when members of the Belgian resistance, desperate for help, bring two wounded British soldiers to her hospital in secret, she decides she will heal the soldiers, and then help smuggle them out of the hospital to freedom.

With her loyal friend and fellow nurse, Lizzie, by her side, Edith establishes her hospital as a safe house for the resistance, laboring tirelessly to save as many soldiers as she can. Working under the watchful eyes of the German army, Edith faces challenging odds as she fights to bring hope to her small corner of a war-torn world.

Based on a true story, Under the Cover of Mercy is the remarkable account of one woman who defied an entire nation in order to heal those who needed her help the most.

Book Details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Shadow Mountain (April 11, 2023)
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1639931058
  • ****I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, NetGalley,book tours, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.****

My Review

This is a part of history I hadn't read about before. This novel is based on the life of Edith Cavell who saved many lives during World War One. Edith was the head nurse at the Berkendael Medical Institute in Brussels. This brave woman defied the Germans who had taken over the city and ordered the institute to heal the wounded resistance soldiers only to hand them back to their enemy. Edith vowed not to do this and fully defied the Germans by healing and helping the Allied soldiers and resistance members to escape. 

This novel is heavy on history and doesn't go into a lot of character development. Knowing the real outcome of the story gave me a sense of dread knowing how it would end. The nurses were put into a terrible situation but Edith, her nurses, and her students chose to help those in need of healing and hope. I'm not sure I would have had that much courage to continue with the work while the Germans were breathing down their necks.

This dual POV book was worth the read and I know it truly will be enjoyed by history enthusiasts. It's not always an exciting read but does give readers a good insight into people who made a difference in helping saves the lives of those who otherwise would have been lost.

****Meet Author Rebecca Connolly****

Rebecca Connolly is the author of more than two dozen novels. She calls herself a Midwest girl, having lived in Ohio and Indiana. She's always been a bookworm, and her grandma would send her books almost every month so she would never run out. Book Fairs were her carnival, and libraries are her happy place. She has been creating stories since childhood, and there are home videos to prove it! She received a master's degree from West Virginia University, spends every spare moment away from her day job absorbed in her writing, and is a hot cocoa addict.

~*~*~*~*Purchase Under the Cover of Mercy~*~*~*~*




Saturday, April 22, 2023

Carnival Quest: The Candy Shop Wars Book 3: By Brandon Mull-Middle Grade Fantasy Book Review


Book Summary

The long-awaited finale of the best-selling series! 

The Blue Falcons is a secret kid’s club that fights against a family of villainous magicians. Using an impressive arsenal of magical candy, Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon defeated Belinda White, a sinister candy shop owner who almost seized control of their town, and her brother, Jonas White, a maniacal arcade operator who tried to turn the planet into his personal puppet. Now, the Blue Falcons believe they must battle the third sibling—Camilla, who has brought the Dreams and Screams International Carnival to their town of Colson, California. Rumors are spreading about the new carnival. Those who visit feel compelled to return. Some who enter the labyrinthine Fun House disappear for days. And the Big Top is said to bewitch audience members. The Blue Falcons think they know who is responsible and are ready to fight, but the carnival blocks any outside magic. Without their favorite enchanted treats, how can the kids save their town? When weird dreams start to plague everyone who has visited the carnival, the worlds of magic and reality collide. With the help of a new magical enforcer, the Blue Falcons will need to learn to use the magic of the carnival against itself, including a host of new magical carnival candies, and tap into the power of their own dreams to battle their greatest adversary yet.

Book Details

The Candy Shop War: Carnival Quest by Brandon Mull 

Publication Date: 3/14/23 

Hardcover ISBN: 9781639930883 

Retail Price: $19.99 

Page Count: 400 

Middle Grade, Fantasy 

Cover illustration: Brandon Dorman 

Book design: © Shadow Mountain 

Art Direction: Richard Erickson Design: Sheryl Dickert Smith

****I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, NetGalley,book tours, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.****

My Review

I always love when I read the final book in a series and things are wrapped up well. It had been a few years since I'd read the second Candy Shop Wars series book. Carnival Quest was just as colorful, bright, and exciting as the first two books. After a few chapters, it all came back and I remembered why I loved this series and the characters found within the pages. 

There were more fantastical mysteries and adventures to be found within the walls of the new carnival aptly named "The Dreams and Screams Carnival" that came to the town of Colson, California. I loved all of the various places you could visit at the carnival. Of course, the magical candy is back propelling Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon into more shocking and creepy (Way too many clowns in this book LOL!) situations as they explore why the "Dreams and Screams" carnival got its name.

Fans of Brandon Mull and this series will enjoy reading this adventure book. Mull has a magical way of bringing to life his imaginary worlds where you become fully immersed in his dream world of great adventure and fun. 

****Meet Author Brandon Mull****

BRANDON MULL is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Fablehaven, Beyonders, and Five Kingdoms series. A kinetic thinker, Brandon enjoys bouncy balls, squeezable stress toys, and popping bubble wrap. He lives in a happy little valley in Utah with his wife, Erlyn, their eleven children, and a dog named Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Brandon loves meeting his readers and hearing about their experiences with his books. For author interview requests, please contact Callie Hansen at

~*~*~*~*Purchase Carnival Quest~*~*~*~*




Other Books By Brandon Mull

       The Candy Shop War Series 

The Candy Shop War, The Candy Shop War: Arcade Catastrophe and Carnival Quest. 

Fablehaven Series 

Fablehaven, Rise of the Evening Star, Grip of the Shadow Plague, Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, and Keys to the Demon Prison. 

Dragonwatch Series

 Dragonwatch, Wrath of the Dragon King, Master of the Phantom Isle, Champion of the Titan Games, and Return of the Dragon Slayers.

Five Kingdoms Series

Sky Raiders, Rogue Knight, Crystal Keepers, Death Weavers, and Time Jumpers.

Beyonders Series

A World Without Heroes, Seeds of Rebellion, and

 Chasing the Prophecy.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Royal Rebel: Fate of Eyrinthia Book 4 By Heather Frost-YA Fantasy Romance Book Review & Excerpt and Book 1 Royal Decoy Kindle Sale


Book Summary

A PRINCE fighting to save a princess

A SERJAH torn between duty and desire

A PRINCESS willing to sacrifice everything

A DECOY with nothing to lose

A WORLD about to be torn apart


After his father’s latest punishment, Grayson isn’t at his full strength. Trapped in Ryden and surrounded by enemies, he knows escaping with Mia will be more complicated than anticipated. Tyrell is determined to claim Mia for himself, and Henri’s plans for the rest of Eyrinthia are more horrific than Grayson ever imagined. Despite the increased danger, he and Mia must return to Mortise and warn Desfan of what’s coming—even though it may already be too late.


In Mortise, the palace is still reeling from the brutal attack that left many dead and even more wounded. Regardless of the chaos, Desfan is determined to continue with his coronation. As serjan, he hopes to bring stability to his country and solidify the peace with Devendra. But things in Eyrinthia are always complicated. When Prince Liam reveals they may be facing dangers from old enemies, Desfan will have to decide what kind of ruler he will be.


Devastating news from home has left Clare broken. Despite her heartache, she must once again be Serene’s decoy when a terrifying report sends the princess on an unexpected mission to Zennor. Left at the palace, Clare helps Desfan build trust with the elite in Mortise while guarding a treasonous secret. Because as her grief transforms into a burning desire for vengeance, she is finally ready to embrace a new role—rebel.


Eyrinthia is consumed by uncertainty. Duty. Desire. Sacrifice. Every rebellion has its cost.

Book Details

Title: Royal Rebel

Author: Heather Frost

Genre: YA Fantasy Romance

Series: Fate of Eyrinthia Book 4

Release Date: April 21, 2023

****I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, NetGalley, book tours, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.****

My Review

Let me say first, I just love this series! Every book gets better and better. This book brings many of the characters together who've been at the forefront in the first three books. So when I say, please read the first three books before this fourth book, you will be glad that you did. There are a lot of characters in this series from many different lands and kingdoms. 

Author Heather Frost has done an amazing job with the world-building in the Fate of Eyrinthia series and because of that, you'll want to know how everyone fits into this huge puzzle of characters and kingdoms. Speaking of characters, there is a lot of romance in this novel. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of action throughout the book but there is also a great amount of breath-taking kisses between characters you've been rooting for in the previous books. It is hard to pick out my absolute favorite couple but Grayson and Mia were at the top of my list along with Desfan and Imara. 

Between the political intrigue, the action full of sword fighting, nighttime escapes, assassination attempts, and secret romantic trists, there is also a bucket load of cliffhangers! Oh man, I couldn't breathe the last part of the book. This author is good at writing cliffhangers and knows how to bring her readers back for more. You are always in for an exciting read when a book is penned by Heather Frost and Book #5 can't get here fast enough.

If you are new to this series, check out the great deal on the first book, Royal Decoy, down below!!!

***Meet Author Heather Frost***

Heather Frost is a #1 Amazon bestselling author who writes magical stories with breath-stealing romance. She is the author of the Seers trilogy, the Fate of Eyrinthia series, and Esperance. Her books have been Whitney Award and Swoony Award Finalists. She has a BS in Creative Writing and a minor in Folklore, which means she got to read fairy tales and call it homework. When she’s not writing, Heather likes to read, travel, and re-watch Lord of the Rings. She lives in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains in northern Utah. To learn more about Heather and her books, visit her website:



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~*~*~*~*Purchase Royal Rebel~*~*~*~*






Barnes & Noble:


Indie Bound:



Royal Decoy Kindle Sale Details:

New to Eyrinthia? You can start this romantasy series now for .99! Royal Decoy is on sale April 17-21 (US and UK Kindle stores)




Royal Decoy Blurb:

Clare made a mistake when she saved the princess’s life . . .


In one horrible night, Clare is forced to give up her life as a kitchen maid to become the princess’s decoy. Thrust into a dangerous new world of royals and deadly politics, she must learn how to be the princess’s perfect double to ensure her betrothal to an enemy prince. Desperate to survive, Clare throws herself into self-defense training, taught by her distractingly attractive bodyguard, Bennick. The spark between them is undeniable, though a relationship is forbidden. When a ruthless assassin begins stalking her, it becomes frighteningly clear that some will stop at nothing to end the tenuous peace—and Clare’s life.


Across the northern mountains, Prince Grayson is his father’s ultimate weapon. His name inspires fear in all who hear it, but no one knows his heavily guarded secret. He carries out every brutal order only because his father holds power over the one person he cares about. Grayson’s silent obedience is tested, however, when his father reveals plans to exploit the marriage alliance between two of their greatest enemies. If Grayson submits, the blood of thousands will spill. If he resists, the girl who means everything to him will die.


The fate of Eyrinthia hangs in the balance. Some want peace. Some want war. All will be thrown into chaos.


Royal Decoy is book 1 in the Fate of Eyrinthia YA fantasy romance series told from multiple POVs. If you like swoon-worthy romance, complex characters, and non-stop action with epic twists, then you’ll love the captivating world of Eyrinthia.



~*~*~*Excerpt from Royal Rebel, by Heather Frost~*~*~*~


The garden might have been beautiful, if Mia didn’t know who it belonged to. Or that everything she looked at could probably cause pain or death. As it was, walking through the well-tended space lifted every hair on her body.

The queen waited in the back corner of the walled courtyard, seated at a wrought-iron table. Though Mia had never seen Grayson’s mother, there was no mistaking her.

The queen’s posture was exact and her dress was immaculately white. A pale lavender sash encircled her waist, and her long brown hair was gathered into a braid that trailed over one shoulder. Silver hair touched her temples, and there were a few fine lines around her eyes, but she was surprisingly pretty. Nothing like the horrible crone Mia had pictured when Grayson spoke of his mother. She wondered if the queen’s beauty was what had fascinated Henri first, or if he’d been drawn to Iris for another reason. She couldn’t imagine those two awful people felt love, even for each other.

Iris’s gray eyes were an echo of Grayson’s, and they were trained on Mia’s approach. Her expression was smooth, revealing nothing.

Mia fought to keep her own emotions from showing, but those falcon eyes surely caught the slight hitch in her step as she hesitated beside the table.

She refused to bow to this woman.

Queen Iris’s slender eyebrows lifted slightly. “Do sit down, girl.” Her voice was cool and precise, and brooked no arguments.

Mia sat in the empty chair across from the queen. The table between them was far too small; she was careful to tuck her feet slightly under her chair, so they would have no chance of brushing Iris’s. A steaming teapot sat on a tray with cups and saucers. The bright pink flower arrangement on the table did nothing to make the scene less threatening.

Mia kept her hands in her lap, unwilling to touch anything at the table.

Iris glanced at the hovering boy. “Leave us.”

He eagerly darted away.

The Poison Queen studied Mia in silence. The hum of insects was the only sound, other than the rustle of leaves as a cold breeze teased the trees around them. Beneath the table, Mia’s fingers twisted together, but she kept her back straight as she stared at the queen. It was unnerving to look into her cold eyes—so strikingly familiar, yet horribly foreign at the same time.

It was a relief when Iris looked away, her attention falling to the teapot. “Do you like anything with your tea?” she asked, lifting the steaming kettle.

“I don’t want tea.” Her voice only wavered a little, and she was proud of that.

Iris glanced up as she poured her own cup. “Are you sure?”


The corner of the queen’s mouth lifted slightly, but the flatness in her expression belied any show of amusement. “Grayson has told you all about me, I suppose. Or perhaps Tyrell did that?”

Mia didn’t respond. She watched as the dark liquid streamed into the white porcelain cup, her heart beating too fast.

“You’re not what I expected,” Iris said, watching the tea fall and the steam rise. When she set the teapot aside, she deftly lifted the small pot of honey. “You’re passingly pretty, but I really can’t understand how you’ve managed to bewitch two of my sons.”

Mia said nothing. The queen’s jab was petty and needed no response.

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