All posts by Arwen

Guest Post: Your Personality Impacts Your Life

By Gigi Vorgan and Gary Small, MD –

Our friend Mindy told us about some real estate she and her husband bought after retirement, and used the phrase, “location, location, location.”  She said it had a gorgeous view and was close by so family and friends would come and visit.

We weren’t talking a scaled-down house, or condo.  We were talking about the kind of real estate you buy and keep for later.  Hopefully, much later.  We‘re talking cemetery plots.  Mindy said they’d gotten bunk-beds in Simi Valley.  We asked what bunk-bed plots in Simi Valley were selling for these days, and hoped they were dirt-cheap.  Mindy told us that they had already been approached to sell the plots to another party.

We’d never realized there was a market for this type of final-resting place real estate – people buying and selling cemetery plots like timeshares in Palm Springs, until this conversation.  We had never really thought about cemetery plots at all.  What if you change your mind and get cremated? Do your kids inherit your plot like a condo in Boca Raton?

Mindy’s personality would likely score very high on the conscientiousness scale.  She was the type of person who always thinks ahead and plans carefully for the future.

Conscientiousness is one of the five personality domains which have been shown to predict overall success in life.  Conscientious individuals are organized, punctual, thorough and trustworthy.  They also tend to have better relationships and lower divorce rates.

People who score high in conscientiousness are not only more resilient, they also enjoy better health.  These individuals are more likely to take their medicines and visit their doctors on a regular basis.  They tend to consume healthier foods, exercise on a regular basis, and not smoke.

Clearly, conscientiousness is a personality trait that helps people accomplish their goals.  But sometimes too much of a positive trait can become a negative attribute.  For instance, conscientiousness taken to the extreme can be seen in obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD.  People with OCD are often extreme perfectionists, unusually rigid and stubborn, and not much fun to be around.  Thankfully only about 2% of the population have full-blown OCD, and effective treatments are available.

SNAP! Change Your Personality in 30 DaysThe good news is that most people can become more conscientious if they set their minds to it.  In our new book, SNAP! Change Your Personality in 30 Days, we provide readers with the strategies and tools to change their personality in just one month.

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Humanix Books / Add to Goodreads

Learn more about SNAP! Change Your Personality in 30 Days, and enter a giveaway to win a free copy here.

Book Blitz: SNAP! Change Your Personality in 30 Days

SNAP! Change Your Personality in 30 DaysSNAP! Change Your Personality in 30 Days
Authors: Gary Small, MD, Director UCLA Longevity Center and Gigi Vorgan
Genre: Self-Help / Personality / Health, Mind & Body
Publisher: Humanix Books
Release date: January 9, 2018

Meet A New Book


New York Times bestselling author Dr. Gary Small’s breakthrough plan to improve your personality for a better life!

Experts in psychiatry and psychology have long believed that our personalities are essentially set from early childhood and remain consistent throughout life. However, the latest scientific research contradicts this long-held assumption. New compelling evidence indicates that we can change our personalities – either on our own, with the help of a therapist, or a combination of the two – and meaningful personality change can be achieved in a snap! – as quickly as 30 days. These groundbreaking findings have shattered the false belief that we are locked into our negative personality traits – no matter how much they hinder our potential happiness and success.

As you read SNAP! you will gain a better understanding of who you are now, how others see you, and which aspects of yourself you’d like to change. You will acquire the tools you need to change your personality in just one month – it won’t take years of psychotherapy, self-exploration or re-hashing every single bad thing that’s ever happened to you. If you are committed to change, this book will provide a roadmap to achieving your goals and becoming a better you.

From New York Times bestselling author, head of the UCLA Longevity Center, and expert in neuroscience and human behavior, Dr. Gary Small, a practical look at the key components of personality development and tools and techniques for bringing the positive aspects of your personality to the forefront so you can become more successful, attractive, happier, and psychologically healthier.

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Humanix Books / Add to Goodreads

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends March 3, 2018

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Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

By Stephanie Oakes
Pages: 400
Date Finished: 8/30/17

LoBook Reviews - Loved Itved It


The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself.


I made the mistake of reading a free sample of this book. After devouring the first few chapters I had to buy the book so I could keep reading. This book hooks you and then doesn’t let go.

Minnow is a character of contradictions, a survivor who has gone through hell and yet she’s innocent and completely  ignorant of worldly things.  As the story of Minnow unfolds it’s layers, told mostly through flashbacks, I was at times intrigued, horrified, mesmerized and disturbed. Minnow is a puzzle, what happened to her is a puzzle, but why it happened is pretty clear. The mad cult leader, it all comes back to him.

Like her narrative, Minnows mind is twisted. You can’t trust her, but you can’t help but want to trust her. You want her to tell her tale, to share with you the TRUTH behind it all, but you don’t know who Minnow can trust (including herself) and you really don’t want her story ending up in the wrong hands or worse being used against her.

It’s so hard to describe the book without giving away spoilers! (So I’m going to stop here.)

The one thing I’m going to be nit-picky about is the cover. For a book that starts off telling us it’s about a girl who had her hands cut off, it’s pretty weird to see those hands on the cover. It just doesn’t fit the story or the mood of the book.

Bottom Line:

Wow! Wow! Wow! Even for someone like myself who doesn’t usually love psychological thrillers this was a great read. Highly recommended!

Amazon / Goodreads

Review: Nocturne

By Kat Ross
(Fourth Talisman, #1)
Publication date: October 15th 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Book Reviews - Loved ItLoved It


Nocturne, a wilderness of eternal night. Solis, a wasteland of endless day.

Nazafareen is a Breaker, a mortal who has the rare ability to shatter spell magic—although her power carries a high price. With the memories of her former self erased and nowhere else to turn, she comes to Nocturne hoping to start a new life under the triple moons of the darklands.

But when an assassin forces Nazafareen to flee to the sunlit mortal city of Delphi, she finds herself embroiled in a deeper mystery whose origins lie far in the past. Why was the continent sundered into light and dark a thousand years before? And what really happened to the elegant but ruthless creatures who nearly reduced the world to ashes? The new Oracle might know, but she’s outlawed magic and executes anyone caught practicing it. Nazafareen must hide her powers and find a way out of the city—before it’s too late.

As the net slowly tightens, something ancient and vengeful begins to stir in the arid death zone called the Kiln. A dashing daeva named Darius is pursuing Nazafareen, but so are a multitude of enemies. War is brewing again. Can she stay alive long enough to stop it?

So begins the first installment in an epic new fantasy series from the author of the Fourth Element Trilogy!


The Fourth Talisman series picks up the story of Nazafareen and Darius from the Fourth Element trilogy (See my reviews of books 1 & 2 here and book 3 here.) While it’s not necessary to have read them first, I recommend doing so because Nocturne will have a much bigger emotional impact.

Nazafareen has lost her memory and her homeland. Coming to the strange world of Nocturne, a place in perpetual twilight. Sharing this strange world is Solis, a place in perpetual sunlight. In between the two is the formidable Umbra, a place of unpredictable storms and harsh terrain.

Nazafareen is an odd duck in the community of immortal, elemental working Danai. Her relationship with Darius is strained because of his reluctance to tell her of their past together. As the saying goes, “secrets have a price.” In this book the secrets pile up and the price keeps rising.

Along side the story of Nazafareen and Darius is the story of Culach. Once the handsome prince of the Valkirins, this dashing leader has been reduced to a pitiful state after his run-in with Nazafereen. The Valkirin army was decimated and Culach returned to his mountain top home defeated, blinded and crippled. To top off this disgrace he may be loosing his mind, and his father’s attempts at vengeance aren’t going well.

All of the characters are so rich, with deep motivations, real conflicts (both internal and external) and complicated relationships. Set in a world of magic and mystery that feels lived in, but is foreign to the reader and strangely familiar at the same time, add to it the layers of secrets and intrigue all of which make Nocturne a fantastic fantasy read.

This story started out much slower than some of the other Kat Ross books, but then when it picks up steam… watch out! I couldn’t put it down for the last half of the book, and then it left off at an impossible place or at least the characters seemed to be in impossible situations. It couldn’t have left off there. Could it?

(Luckily for me I had already signed up for the ARC tour of Solis, the next book in the series, and I knew it would be coming shortly.)

Bottom Line:

BINGE WORTHY! I suggest reading the Forth Element trilogy and then picking up both Nocturne and Solis at the same time. Trust me at the end of Nocturne you won’t want to stop, you’ll NEED to read on.

Sidenote: Kat Ross is one of the awesome authors on Twitter who will respond to you. Follow her @katrossauthor . 


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December 2017 & January 2018 Book Pick Ups

December book pick upsThe Deliberate ReaderIt’s been a crazy January, which is why I haven’t posted my December pick ups yet. So you’re getting a two-for-one deal with BOTH December and January Pick Ups. Also I’ve been reading like crazy since I decided to fill up my February with ARC deadlines.

For Kindle:

Warning Call: A Novel of the Black Pages
Why I got it: The first book Empty Threat was fantastic (see my review here), and as soon as this book came out I snatched it up. I haven’t had the time to read it yet however.

NeverSea: Echoes of the Lost
Why I got it: It was on my list for Santa, and luckily my husband reads my blog from time to time and bought it as a Christmas present. It’s the Little Mermaid meets Peter Pan on a sci-fi world. Can’t wait to read this one!

The Blood King (Red Proxy Book 1)
Why I got it: 99 Days (Red Proxy Book 2)  is probably going to be my pick for book of the year for 2017. It had such an unusual and powerful message, without being preachy or over the top. Just characters who question the accepted morality of their culture and battle to do what is right. So when I got an unexpected Kindle credit I had to go back and pick up book 1.

The Maze Runner (The Maze Runner, Book 1)
Why I got it: I’ve been wanting to read this book forever and since I had some Kindle credit left over after purchasing The Blood King, I bought the Maze Runner too. It’s actually been recommended by a friend whose a sci-fi fan and not a YA fan, so I’ve taken that as a good sign (because I am a fan of both.)

When Gargoyles Rise
Why I got it: Author Freebie. I’m on the authors list and got a notice that I had won one of her contests and attached was the book as my prize, but I see it’s free in both KU and the price in Amazon is just set to $0.00. Sooooo, not much of a prize I guess.

Six Queens – Short Story Collection
Why I got it: Author Freebie. I’m on the email list for several author who decided to combine efforts and mailing lists into one called Six Queens. As a thank you to their subscribers they put together this collection.


Nocturne: Fourth Talisman #1
Why I got it: Kat Ross is Awesome! She’s become an auto-read author for me. Nocturne continues the story of Nazafareen and Darius from the Forth Element Series (read my review of the first two books here and of the third book here.) It’s a fantastic fantasy world with some interesting new twists. Look for my review of Nocturne coming Feb 8th.)


Ready Player One
Why I got it: My husband bought this one for me for a Christmas gift. 1. Because he already read it on audio book and 2. Because he thinks I need to read it before the movie comes out.

Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation
Why I got it: Actually I bought this one for my husband for Christmas. He (we) collect retro video games and this book has a lot of retro gaming history in it.

Heart and Brain: Body Language
Why I got it: My husband loves me. 🙂 And I love the Awkward Yeti (and my husband, mostly my husband.) Every year for Christmas and my birthday I get a big book of comics. I pretty told him that there wasn’t even a choice this year, I wanted the new Awkward Yeti collection. Being the awesome husband that he is, he got me a signed copy.

Owl Wonders Color Art for Everyone
Why I got it: It was a Christmas gift from my goddaughter. She combined two things I love, owls and coloring. She’s an awesome kid.

The Pings
Why I got it: I kickstarted this book after seeing it on Instagram. I wanted to back it because it promised to be a diverse children’s book with a Chinese-American story, and it had great pictures. However, they delivers waaay late and never gave the backers any updates during that time, then when I did read the book I was disappointed. Maybe before you write a book it would be a good idea to take a look at the concept of storytelling. The narrative is one of the most confusing I ever read in a children’s book. *sigh*

Ordinary Days: Family Life In A Farmhouse
Why I got it: I actually bought this for my Grandmother for Christmas, but after she read it she gave it back (I kinda knew that would happen.) At 92 she reads about 3 books a week and she doesn’t really like to reread books. She’s basically the perfect library user.

January book pick ups

For Kindle:

Sirens and Scales: a Limited Edition Urban Fantasy Collection
Why I got it: I finally gave in and bought this .99 collection. I pretty knew I would buy it when I first saw it, but I knew it was the last thing my already over stuffed TBR needed.

Sin of Mages
Why I got it: Author Freebie. I’ve been on the authors list for a while, but hadn’t read anything of his yet. So when an offer came up to get the first book free I took it. Sounds like a good fantasy story.

Twist of Faith
Why I got it: Kindle First. I don’t know what’s been up with Kindle First lately, but they haven’t had much to interest me. Still I feel like I have to choose a book, and so I choose this one and will probably never read it.

Legend: A Dragon Rising Novella
Why I got it: Author Freebie. The author K.N. Lee offed this book up for review and so I took it. Although, I’m not so sure about the reverse harem situation. In fact, I’m not sure about harems in any situation, but we’ll see how it plays out.

Court of Shadows: Forbidden Magic Book One
Why I got it: Author Freebie. Another K.N. Lee title.

The Buried Symbol (Runes of Issalia Book 1)
Why I got it: Author Freebie. An author whose list I just joined offered this for free to new readers. It’s a interesting magic school concept where, of course, the new pupil finds a new kind of magic and long buried secrets. Good be good, but again we’ll see.


Why I got it: It’s the sequel to Nocturne. Trust me you’ll want to get both of these book at the same time. Nocturne left me breathless with anticipation, and I could not get my hands on Solis fast enough.

Why I got it: Ever since watching Anastasia as a child I’ve had a thing for retellings/re-imagings of the fact of the famed Russian monarcy. This one brings it into the modern era as a urban fantasy story.

Kids Books:

Quest for the Heart (Disney Moana) (Step into Reading)
Why I got it: I had my goddaughter pick out a Step Into Reading level 3 book with her Christmas money and this is the one she choose.


Every Landlord’s Legal Guide
Why I got it: Every few Years you’ve got to brush up on the new rules and regulations. We try to keep on top of it, and these guide definitely help.

From the Library:

How Food Works: The Facts Visually Explained
Why I got it: I was interested to see what kind of information this book had and how balanced it was. It pretends to be balanced, but still has a lot of food myths in it, esp where it comes to animal agriculture. Even on the front cover it says that 75% of farm land is used to raise feed for animals. What it fails to mention is that is often the highest and best use of land that can’t be used to grow other crops. Want real facts about agriculture? Check out Common Ground.

How to raise an amazing child the Montessori way
Why I got it:  I’ve always been a fan of the Montessori method and I checked out this book because I was going to be teaching kids church ( the 4-7 year old group.) I wanted to see if it had any fresh ideas for me in it. I skimmed through it, but would really recommend this to any parents out there who want a better approach to parenting, one that is positive and proactive.

Book Blitz: Heroines & Hellions

Heroines & Hellions: An Urban Fantasy and Fantasy Collection
Publication date: January 2nd 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Meet A New Book

These 99 cent Kindle collections can really wreck a persons TBR, meaning you have to have them ALL. There’s nothing like adding 22 books to your TBR at a time. AND THEN you discover new author’s and new series and you have to go get more books. 😉 Seriously, though it’s a great deal and you should get it while it’s hot.

Heroines & Hellions



22 Kickass Heroines.
22 Exclusive, Full-length Urban Fantasy and Fantasy Novels.
0 Damsels in Distress.

Do you like your leading ladies to save the day…or raze it?

No matter which you prefer, this set is brimming with 20 magical stories (many BRAND NEW) told by some of the leading voices of urban fantasy and fantasy in the industry, including several New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors!

If you want strong female leads who strike back against the captivating worlds of vampires, elementals, fiends, and paranormal monsters, then you’re ready to charge into the adventures of HEROINES & HELLIONS, a pure Urban Fantasy/Fantasy collection!

Grab your stake, silver bullets, and your limited edition copy of HEROINES & HELLIONS today!

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Google Play

This killer line up includes:

New York Times bestselling authors Margo Bond Collins & Erin Hayes
New York Times bestselling author Monica Corwin
New York Times bestselling author Melanie Karsak
Award-Winning author Bec McMaster
USA Today bestselling author Heather Marie Adkins
USA Today bestselling author Jade Kerrion
USA Today bestselling author SJ Davis
Award-Winning author Rene Folsom
USA Today bestselling author Michelle Hercules
LJ Andrews
Louisa Klein
USA Today Bestselling Author Melle Amade
Award-Winning author Ashley C. Harris
Award-Winning author Kim Cleary
Maria Monroe
Christina Walker
USA Today bestselling author Alex Owens
Award-Winning author D.D. Miers
Gina A. Watson
USA Today bestselling author Ash Krafton
Elise Marion
Award-Winning author Carly Fall

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Top 10 Books I'm Looking Forward to Reading in 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #37: What I’m Looking Forward to Reading in 2018

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Top 10 Books I'm Looking Forward to Reading in 2018December 26, 2017: Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to In 2018 (These could be new releases, or books you resolve to read, ten debuts we are looking forward to, etc.)

Two lists today. One for the books I’ve agreed to read and review in 2018 and one for book I hope to read with Miss S in 2018. Now that she is 7 and her reading skill are blooming and growing like crazy we can enjoy a wider range of book together. We recently finished the Illustrated Classic Edition of Heidi and are currently reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

5 Books To Read & Review in 2018:

  1. Nocturne (The Fourth Talisman Book 1) – I am so excited for this one! I love Kat Ross and can’t wait to see what’s next in the imaginative fantasy world she’s created.
  2. Solis (The Fourth Talisman Book 2) – I haven’t received confirmation on this one yet, but I am hoping that I’ll get to read and review Solus, the book that follows Nocturne, for the blog tour.
  3. Romanov – Another blog tour I’ve signed up for is Romanov, a fantasy story featuring the famed royal family of Russia. I admit I have a weakness for re-imaginings of the fate of this family, ever since I watched Anastasia as a kid.
  4. The King of Eiselorn – I posted a book blitz about this book and agreed to also read and review it early in 2018. It sounds like an interesting fantasy story and I’m always looking for fantasy by people outside of the USA/UK/Canada.
  5. Something by KN Lee – I’ve received several books since signing up as a reviewer for KN Lee. And they all look great! Perhaps I’ll dig into Goddess of War or The Red Queen: A Flipped Fairy-Tale or maybe The Chronicles of Koa Boxed Set. It’s so hard to choose.

5 Books to Read With Miss S in 2018:

  1. Illustrated Classic Editions Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn – I know that these books are abridged, but its a good way to introduce her to the classics. And also I’ve collected stacks and stacks of them.
  2. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – It’s time. 7 is old enough and I think her attention span is now long enough that she can handle this book.
  3. Redwall – If I can figure out where they went after our move we’ll begin this great series this year.
  4. The Mouse and the Motorcycle – My husband and I brought this book up the other night and came to realize that she had never heard of it. Time to correct that overlook in our literary parenting.
  5. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing – This laugh-out-load book will be a good chapter book for her. And frankly I’m looking forward to reading it again.

So those are some book we’ll be reading in the new year. What about you? Let me know what you are looking forward to reading in 2018 in the comments.




I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purpose.

Besides getting books to review occasionally I received other free samples so that I can share my option on them too. I recently I received a #HarvestVoxBox of samples and coupons from Influenster.

Inside the box:

  • Tree Hut Shea Body Butter – Product I already use and love!
  • Gain Botanicals – We normally use unscented laundry soap but these were not bad.
  • Vera Wang Embrace – I don’t wear a lot of perfume these days, but I did enjoy the soft and subtle scent of Embrace.
  • Coupon for free Country Crock – Again we already enjoy this product, so “Score!” on the freebie.
  • Two Coupons for Middles – Which I cannot find at any of our grocery stores and therefore can’t redeem.
  • Eva NYC – I don’t like such heavily scented things in my hair, but it did untangle and make my hair soft like it promised.

Thanks for the goodies Influenster! Looking forward to reviewing more Vox Boxes in the future.

Top 10 Books I Hope Santa Brings

Top Ten Tuesday #36: I Hope Santa Brings. . .

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Top 10 Books I Hope Santa BringsDecember 19, 2017: Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

Well there are a lot of books I hope Santa brings. 😉 Like any good bookworm I have lists and lists of books. What I really need is for Santa to bring me the time to read everything on my TBR.

Here are 10 of them. (And except for number one they are in no particular order.)

I Hope Santa Brings. . .

  1. Heart and Brain: Body Language: An Awkward Yeti Collection – Heart and Brain: Body Language continues the adventures of the loveably conflicted sentimental Heart and rational Brain, as well as other bodily inhabitants like Gallbladder, Muscle, and Tongue. Warm-hearted and laugh-out-loud funny, these comics bring our inner struggles to vibrant, humorous life.
  2. Firefly: A Celebration (Anniversary Edition) – Titan’s three bestselling Firefly titles collected together at last, just in time for the 10th anniversary of Joss Whedon’s beloved series. This huge, 544 page full colour volume is simply one of the most lavish books ever produced for a TV show, and is presented in a foil-stamped leather-effect binding. Plus, as an exclusive bonus for this edition, a pocket at the back of the book contains 9 frameable photo prints of the cast, featuring rare and previously unseen images, and a facsimile of one of the prop banknotes used in the show.
  3. 10 Things Jesus Never Said: And Why You Should Stop Believing Them – Popular author and pastor helps Christians stop trying to live up to standards Jesus never set for us and embrace the life giving things he did say.
  4. NeverSea: Echoes of the Lost – Arya thrives under the limitless blue waters of the NeverSea while Peter soars in the clouds high above—both perfectly designed for this harsh new world. Stolen from their families, Arya and Peter were experimented on as young kids. Pushed to their breaking points, they escaped, but at a heavy price—Peter abandoned Arya when she needed him the most. Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid meets Peter Pan in this science fiction retelling of two beloved classics. Readers who enjoyed The Lunar Chronicles will love this epic, young adult series.
  5. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content – Finally a go-to guide to creating and publishing the kind of content that will make your business thrive. Everybody Writes is a go-to guide to attracting and retaining customers through stellar online communication, because in our content-driven world, every one of us is, in fact, a writer. If you have a web site, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means that we are all relying on our words to carry our marketing messages. We are all writers.
  6. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles Book 1) – Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .
  7. Lady of Sherwood –  Robin of Lockesly was neither the son her father wanted, nor the daughter her mother expected. When she refuses an arranged marriage to a harsh and cruel knight, the deadly events that follow change her destiny forever. After a night of tragedy, Robin and the few remaining survivors flee to Nottingham. With a newfound anonymity, they start to live different lives. There, she and her band make mischief, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. But charity isn’t the only thing she wants―she wants revenge.
  8. What to Do When Words Get Ugly – Practical Strategies for Responding Biblically to Gossip, Criticism, and Negative Words. Communication expert Michael Sedler gives readers practical strategies for identifying, counteracting, and responding graciously to gossip, criticism, and negative words. Our words can profoundly hurt–or heal. All of us can learn to build one another up–and stop words that hurt.
  9. The Blood King (Red Proxy Book 1) – Lord Fathim is 278 years old. In that time, he’s learned a thing or two about conquest. He’s going to put that knowledge to good use. He’s ruled his country for centuries, and his plot to take over the rest of the world is ripening. He has one small problem, though: he’s going insane. The Proxy system which has lengthened his life is also breaking his mind.
  10. The Neverland Wars – Magic can do a lot―give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That’s what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home. However, Gwen doesn’t know this. She’s just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn’t know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe.

Bonus: I have to have a least one kids book on my wishlist. (Actually I have a whole separate list for those, but here’s one I wouldn’t mind finding under the tree Christmas morning.)

  • Mousetronaut: Based on a (Partially) True Story – Astronaut Mark Kelly flew with “mice-tronauts” on his first spaceflight aboard space shuttle Endeavour in 2001. Mousetronaut tells the story of a small mouse that wants nothing more than to travel to outer space. The little mouse works as hard as the bigger mice to show readiness for the mission . . . and is chosen for the flight! While in space, the astronauts are busy with their mission when disaster strikes—and only the smallest member of the crew can save the day. With lively illustrations by award-winning artist C. F. Payne, Mousetronaut is a charming tale of perseverance, courage, and the importance of the small!


What books do you hope to find under the tree come Christmas morning? Leave me a comment to let me know.

Pocket 2017: The Other 1,233,920 Words I Read This Year

Congratulations, Arwen!

You’re a top reader in Pocket for 2017, and you should be proud! Not only did you make it into the top 1%, you’ve also exercised your brain and undoubtedly learned a ton in the process.

Pocket 2017

Yippie! Wahoo! *Does a happy dance*

I’ve been using the Pocket app for a long time and this year it the first time I’ve made it into the top 1%. (Previous years have all been the top 5% see here and here.) I made getting into the top 1% of readers an unofficial goal in 2017, making much more of a conscious effort. I tried to read around 4 articles a day. Not that I always managed to keep up that average, but the effort paid off. 26 books worth of reading! That’s on top of all the other books I read (both kids) and adults.

Want to take a look at my stats? Here you go. 

These were the most popular articles I read in 2017:

One of the things I do to help me with saving articles is that I use IFTTT to automatically send me articles from the feeds of blogs I follow. This means that the latest blogs from, Hubspot and others are always right at my finger tips. I also add the Pocket tab to my browser opening/ home pages. These two little changes helped a lot. (And don’t forget the Pocket applet for your browser, which makes it super easy to add articles to your list for reading later.)

Do you use Pocket or another app to save articles? I’d love to hear about your experience. Leave it in the comments.