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 »

2023 Goodreads Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Sheila has read 3 books toward her goal of 100 books.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

The Demon Tide (Book #4 Black Witch Chronicles) by Laurie Forest-Audiobook Fantasy Book Review

 Book Summary

Nothing can stop the demon tide. Don't miss the epic fourth book in The Black Witch Chronicles by critically acclaimed fantasy author Laurie Forest.

Newly exposed as the Black Witch of Prophecy, Elloren Gardner Grey is on the run, not knowing if she’ll find friends or foes. With her fastmate, Lukas Grey, either dead or in the hands of High Mage Marcus Vogel, Elloren knows the only chance of turning the tide of the coming war is to seek allies who will listen long enough not to kill her on sight.

In the Eastern Realm, Water Fae Tierney Calix and Elloren’s brother Trystan have joined the Wyvernguard to prepare for Vogel’s attack. But Trystan is fighting on two fronts, as the most despised and least trusted member of the guard. And Tierney’s bond with Erthia’s most powerful river has exposed a danger even more terrifying than the looming war.

The Black Witch is back, and the Prophecy is at hand. It’s time to fight. But Vogel has one more earth-shattering revelation for them all.

Book Details

My Review

First, I have to talk about how I've listened to all of this series by Audiobook. I absolutely love the narrator Julia Whelan. She is one of those narrators that you don't even remember you're listening to a story. She has a pleasant speaking voice and does all characters very well. 

I've loved all of the books in the Black Witch Chronicles. Book 4, The Demon Tide had the most characters and POVs than any of the other books. I really didn't have a problem following along and I actually loved knowing what was happening to everyone in the kingdoms.  

There are many shocking things that happen in this book, especially between Elloren and Lukas. There is no way I can go into all of them without spoiling things for other readers. Just know that your heart will be broken, you'll be cheering a lot, and your emotions will be all over the place. Seriously, The Demon Tide moved the whole plot of the series along in ways I didn't see coming.  

Even though this book is longer, you need to read it if you are a fan of the series. The Demon Tide is an important book and it's leading up to the exciting last book in the series coming out next year.

Books in The Black Witch Chronicles:

The Black Witch
The Iron Flower
The Shadow Wand
The Demon Tide
The Dryad Storm
 (ebook novella)*
Light Mage (ebook novella)*

****Meet Author Laurie Forest****

Laurie Forest lives deep in the backwoods of Vermont, where she sits in front of a wood stove drinking strong tea and dreaming up tales full of dryads, dragons and wands.

She is the NY Times bestselling author of The Black Witch Chronicles, including The Black WitchThe Iron FlowerThe Shadow WandThe Demon Tide, and the prequel e-novellas, Wandfasted and Light Mage, which are also available in print as The Rebel Mages anthology.

Go to her website to learn more about her and her books.

~*~*~*~*Purchase The Demon Tide~*~*~*~*






Tuesday, June 27, 2023

An Uncharted Devotion A Royal Navy Regency by Amanda Taylor-Book Review

 Book Summary

Lady Sarah Whitfield becomes the newest member of English nobility when her husband, Lord James Whitfield, inherits the family estate and title. It would seem her life is one of comfort and ease, but things are not always how they appear.

After a five-year post in the navy, James has returned from war a very different man: cold, stoic, and tortured by an unresolved past. How can he carry on with a life of wedded bliss when his oldest friend in the world is starving in a French prison?

Heartbroken by the changes in her husband, who seems to have lost both his love for life and for her, Sarah leaves for London. James, haunted by the war and the loss of his wife, cannot make sense of his pain and regret. He knows one thing, however: he cannot let the woman he loves slip through his fingers. But when he receives news of his friend, he is forced to decide whether he can face the horrors of his past to save his friend and reclaim a future with Sarah or whether he must sacrifice one for the other.

Book Details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Covenant Communications (June 6, 2023)
  • Genre: A Royal Navy Regency Romance
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 216 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1524421553
  • ****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

First, I have to say kudos to this new author for tackling such a different plot in a Regency Romance. I just had a few problems with the very slow pace and gloomy feel throughout much of the book.

I didn't like the main male character, James Whitfield in the first half of the book. Even when he starts to redeem himself, by then, it was too late for me. I know he'd been at war and seen terrible things, but it wasn't his wife's fault and she didn't deserve to be treated that way. I didn't care if he wooed Sarah back. This made me really sad too. 

I had more empathy for Sarah and was hoping for her to find happiness because she was so sad in the first half of the book. She waited five years for her husband to return from war to only be treated badly and ignored. I actually was hoping she'd get with the local widower who was kind and charming. I also loved Sarah's friends Lord and Lady Ramsey. I would love a novel just based on their early life and how they got together. They were terrific characters!  

I know this book had many things characters were coping with in their lives such as grief, PTSD, depression, and guilt. So many heavy things to cover in one novel. There were many things the author chose to weave into the plot: romance, intrigue, adventure, and redemption. It was a huge job and I was amazed at how well she pulled it all together at the end. 

I loved the writing and would read another book by this author, especially if there is a sequel. I'd love to give these characters and this world a second chance. 

****Meet Author Amanda Taylor****

Amanda Taylor is a lover of all things story, whether it be books, movies, theatre—musical and otherwise, art, music, or people. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Utah which only fueled her passion for classical literature. She also loves to travel and explore new places with her husband and four teenagers. Though a self-proclaimed city girl, Amanda loves to spend time in nature, preferably the mountains or the ocean—or anywhere that sparks her imagination. She can be found most days driving carpool, singing her heart out to her favorite tunes. It only took her forty-three years to sit down long enough to write a story of her own, but now she is hooked. Writing is her jam!

~*~*~*~*Purchase An Uncharted Devotion~*~*~*~*




Monday, June 26, 2023

Fleur de Lis (The Gents, #3) by Sarah M. Eden-Georgian Romance Book Review & Excerpt

 Book Summary

Thirteen years ago, Henri Fortier left a tumultuous life in France to begin anew in England. His adopted country has become home, and his dearest friends, the Gents, are family. Unfortunately, ties to the past still plague him, and he’s forced to live in near destitution. Henri secretly publishes his poetry to supplement his meager income, but it is both insufficient and risky. A house party with the Gents promises a welcome distraction until he realizes that one of the guests is none other than Nicolette Beaulieu, the woman who stole―and broke―his heart years ago. Nicolette has traveled to England for reasons far more pressing than a house party. As part of the Marquis de Lafayette’s secret network, she has been tasked with preparing for revolution. Though she has a pristine track record with the organization, her romantic history is far from perfect. This is particularly evident when she is reunited with Henri, the man who once declared his love for her. Drawn together through adventures the Gents have devised, the couple begins to tiptoe toward more tender feelings. But as sinister threats loom from all quarters, it may be too late for Henri and Nicolette’s second chance at love.

Book Details

  • Title: Fleur de Lis
  • AuthorL Sarah M. Eden
  • Series: The Gents, #3
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Covenant Communications; First Edition (June 20, 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 284 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1524423165
  • ****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 book was perfection! Really, I mean it. I love this author and her books, and I truly love this series. I was so looking forward to Henri's story. He's been one of my favorite "Gents" for a while. This second chance romance bloomed in such a beautiful and sweet way. The chemistry was strong between Henri and Nicolette. Reading their romance does crazy things to your heart.

I also have to say how much it feels like coming home when all of The Gents gather. Sarah Eden has created such distinct and unique characters that you grow to love them easily. They are as close or closer than a family. They help each other through life's trials and stand up for each other. Here is a quote from the book that really explains this fun group of men and women,

   {He nodded, “The Gents are the very best sort of people. They try very hard to be fair-minded. And they are deeply loyal. And they have good hearts.”}

I also love how Lady Jonquil called The Gents "An Endless Puzzle."

Here is where I say PLEASE read the previous books before this one. Yes, it could be enjoyed as a stand-alone but why do that to yourself? The experience is more rich and warm when you know the characters and a little about their pasts. 

Things I loved in Fleur de Lis: Henri coming into his own by believing in and standing up for himself and others, Nicolette showing courage with the help of her new friends, and Aldric getting something he so rightly deserved.

I love this author's eloquent writing. There is something that Henri remembers their friend Stanley once said to him about forgiving ourselves. The powerful words hit me strongly and I'm grateful for Sarah Eden sharing these words at just the right moment for me to hear.

“We too often wrongly think forgiveness looks like absolution,” Stanley had once said. “But I think forgiveness is becoming the person the one who hurt us would have prevented us from being. Forgiveness is never about the one who inflicted the pain but rather is the gift we give ourselves: permission not to be the proof of their hateful prophecies.”

Fleur de Lis is a solid 5-star read for me. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*My Favorite Excerpt~*~*~*~*~*~*

“And what precisely is the meaning of this, Aldric?” He motioned subtly at the group. “You know that I am the host of this house party, not you. Activities involving the guests should be, if not decided by me, at least approved of by me.” Lord Aldric stood stern, stony, and silent, his eyes not leaving his brother, but nothing in his posture indicated he was the least cowed by him. 

It was Lord Jonquil who answered Lord Mowbary’s complaint. “Lord Aldric is not the organizer of this afternoon’s gathering; I am. When playing host, do you always insult your guests by demanding they do nothing without your approval, or is this a new approach you are trying?” Lord Mowbary sputtered a bit—not in a theatrical way but in what appeared to be a very real struggle to think of a response.

Lord Jonquil looked out over the group. With overdone sadness, he said, “My deepest apologies to you all. Lord Mowbary has declared that pleasant pastimes will not be permitted so long as he is the host of this gathering.” 

“That was not at all what I said,” Lord Mowbary blustered, clearly trying to disavow his objections despite the abundance of witnesses. 

“Then what is it you are saying?” CĂ©leste, of all people, asked. “You have cast into doubt my understanding of English, for I thought Lord Jonquil’s recounting of all you declared quite accurate.” 

For the first time, Lord Mowbary truly looked at them all. He must have realized his guests did not view him favorably. His expression turned softer, and when he spoke again, his tone was more conciliatory. “I, of course, did not wish to keep you from enjoying yourselves. Not all the guests seem to have realized that something is planned for this afternoon.” 

“Everyone I invited to participate is here,” Lord Jonquil said. “Plus one extra,” Mr. Layton added dryly. Lord Mowbary looked around for an ally. If he thought he would find one in his brother, anyone watching that gentleman’s expression could have disabused him of the notion. He caught the eye of Lady Jonquil. “You feel the activity being planned is an appropriate one, my lady?” “I have never known my husband to undertake anything at a house party at which ladies were present that would not meet with the approval of anyone in possession of a reasonable and discerning evaluative ability.” 

Nicolette couldn’t help but be impressed. This group knew precisely how to put their host in his place without offering direct insults. Violet Barrington moved to stand beside Lady Jonquil and addressed Lord Mowbary with an innocent expression. “Surely you do not think a future earl would propose a scandalous activity at a gathering with such fine and respected people.” Assuming a look of innocent inquiry to match those of Lady Jonquil and Mrs. Barrington, Nicolette set her eyes on Lord Mowbary as well. In what she suspected was a rare thing, Lord Mowbary relented without further argument and left them in peace.

****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 three-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 Steven Literary Agency.​

Awards & Recognitions

  • Seeking Persephone, 2008 Whitney Award finalist, Romance

  • Courting Miss Lancaster, 2010 Whitney Award finalist, Romance

  • The Kiss of a Stranger, USA Today bestseller

  • Longing for Home, 2013 Foreword Reviews IndieFab “Book of the Year” Gold Medalist, Romance

  • Longing for Home, 2013 AML winner “Novel of the Year”

  • Longing for Home, 2013 Whitney Award finalist, Romance

  • Longing for Home: Hope Springs, 2014 Whitney Award winner, "Best Novel of the Year"

  • Longing for Home: Hope Springs, 2014 Whitney Award winner, "Best Romance"

  • Longing for Home: Hope Springs, 2014 Foreword Reviews INDIE Award finalist

  • The Sheriffs of Savage Wells, 2016 Foreword Reviews INDIE Award finalist

  • The Sheriffs of Savage Wells, 2016 Whitney Award finalist

  • Sarah M. Eden, 2017 Best of State, Gold Medal winner, Fiction

  • Love Remains, 2017 Whitney Award winner, “Best Romance”

  • Sarah M. Eden, 2018 Best of State, Gold Medal winner, Short Story

  • Ashes on the Moor, 2018 Foreword Reviews INDIE Award, Silver Medalist, Romance

  • The Heart of a Vicar, 2019 Foreword Reviews INDIE Award finalist

  • The Lady and the Highwayman, 2019 Foreword Reviews INDIE Award, Gold Medalist, Romance

  • Healing Hearts, 2019 Holt Medallion finalist

  • Forget Me Not, 2020 Whitney Award finalist

  • The Gentleman and the Thief, 2020 Foreword Reviews INDIE Award finalist

  • Forget Me Not, 2020 Foreword Reviews INDIE Award, Gold Medalist, Romance

  • Charming Artemis, 2021 Swoony Award winner, "Best Regency Romance"

  • The Best-Laid Plans, 2021 Swoony Award winner, "Best Novella"

  • The Merchant and the Rogue, 2021 Swoony Award winner, "Best Mystery"

  • Lily of the Valley, 2022 Readers' Favorite Book Awards, Silver Medalist, Historical Romance

  • Lily of the Valley, 2022 Swoony Award winner, "Best Historical Romance"

  • Sarah M. Eden, 2023 Best of State, Gold Medal winner, Fiction

~*~*~*~*Purchase Fleur de Lis ~*~*~*~*