All posts by Arwen

40 Books to Read Before You’re 40

My 40 birthday is coming up soon, so when LibraryThing tweeted out a list of 40 Books to Read Before You’re 40, I was very curious to see how I did. But I was sorely disappointed! I’d only read 1. I don’t know who the user who put this list together (aprille) is, but I have to really disagree with the choices. Most of the books on the list are one’s I’m not even interested in reading.

So I though I ought to make my own list. They are listed in the order I thought of them. I tried to be as neutral as possible towards genre, when I picked these. Frankly it would have been easy to fill the list with Science Fiction or Young Adult books, but I tired not to put too many from any one category on the list.

There are some books I absolutely love that didn’t make the list, because I just didn’t think they had broad enough appeal. Take Battlefield Earth for example, I loved it and thought it was a sweeping book with a little bit of everything in it. However, I’m pretty sure it’s appeal is mostly to science fiction readers and it’s not a book I would recommend to a wide audience. Fahrenheit 451, is also a science fiction book and I would say even if you’re normally a science fiction reader I’d still tell you to read it. Which is why one made the list and the other didn’t.

You also won’t find my very favorite book of all time on this list. Why? Because it’s too niche. But if you’re curious, Dream Thief is the book and I’ve read it more than 8 times. I love the sci-fi setting, the dream elements and the Indian folklore.

Quite frankly, I don’t love every book on this list. They are on the list because I think they are important or true classics or they are books that helped shape me in some way.

40 Books to Read Before You’re 40

  1. Holy Bible
  2. Fahrenheit 451
  3. Hatchet
  4. The Hobbit or There and Back Again
  5. The Lord of the Rings
  6. Holes
  7. The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States
  8. Night
  9. Ender’s Game
  10. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  11. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  12. The Cross and the Switchblade
  13. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  14. Jurassic Park
  15. The Outsiders
  16. Pilgrim’s Progress
  17. Winnie-the-Pooh
  18. This Present Darkness
  19. Hamlet
  20. Tom Sawyer
  21. Heart of Darkness
  22. Nineteen Eighty-Four
  23. A Christmas Carol
  24. Of Mice And Men
  25. Frankenstein
  26. The Call of the Wild
  27. Rendezvous with Rama
  28. I Saw Three Ships
  29. A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
  30. The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury
  31. Uncle’s John’s Bathroom Reader
  32. God, Money and You
  33. Your Life, God’s Home
  34. Clod Makes A Friend
  35. The Odyssey &
  36. The Women of Troy
  37. On Writing Well
  38. How to Clean Practically Anything
  39. A Biography of someone you admire, my choice would be Our Daily Bread; The Essential Norman Borlaug
  40. A poetry book by your favorite poet mine is Elizabeth Barret Browning, but if you don’t have a favorite poet I would suggest reading 101 Famous Poems.

Whew! What a list to try to create! I went over and over my book reviews, my shelves and got lots of suggestions from friends and family. Next up the books the suggested books for reading before you’re 40… I’m not going to be able to read all of them before my birthday but it was really interesting to see what everyone suggested.

How many of these books have you read? Got in books you’d suggest? Let me know in the comments.

Mythical Me: Book Blitz

Mythical Me: Finding Freedom from Constant Comparison
by Richella Parham
Publication Date : October 22nd 2019
Publish by: IVP Books

Meet A New Book


I just received my ARC copy of this book by my friend Richella Parham and I’m so excited! Richella and I met when I was working with the Renovare group and we even did a panel together at one of the Renovare gatherings on social media. That makes the book even that much more special. I think what Richella has to say is something that we all need to hear.


Do you ever find yourself stuck in the comparison trap?

Speaker and author Richella Parham knows what this feels like. “I couldn’t break free from admiring one person’s achievements, someone else’s personality, another’s skills, yet another’s relationships. And don’t get me started on how I looked at other people’s appearances,” she writes. “I was haunted by the admirable attributes of other people, certain that I could never match their worthiness. No matter how well-intentioned the teaching or pithy the advice, I found that most of it didn’t help me change my thoughts, feelings, or actions.”

While there are no easy answers, Parham has identified cultural and spiritual myths about others, God, and ourselves that keep us trapped. From there the journey is a spiritual one. We can pick up practices that help us walk in the freedom of Christ with confidence in ourselves. If you’ve ever suffered from tortured moments of comparison on Facebook, in the office, or in the hallway at church, you’ll benefit from this fresh perspective.

Goodreads / Amazon



The Necromancer’s Bride: Review

The Necromancer’s Bride CoverThe Necromancer’s Bride (Gaslamp Gothic, #4)
by Kat Ross
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: May 31st 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling

LoBook Reviews - Loved Itved It


Content Rating: Adult content including sexually explicit content and violence.

Forgiveness is not Gabriel D’Ange’s strong suit.

A self-appointed soldier of God with a penchant for ruthlessly punishing his enemies, he vanished after Anne Lawrence stabbed him with his own dagger.

The smart thing would be to let him go.

Unfortunately, Anne’s life isn’t just lonely without Gabriel. It’s insufferably boring.

Determined to heal the rift between them, she goes in search of her tempestuous former lover, black parasol in hand and daeva magic crackling at her fingertips. But Gabriel has his own plans afoot and Anne finds herself drawn into one of his tangled webs, much against her better judgment.

Gabriel’s nemesis has reappeared in Brussels, a vile slaver who’s plundering the Congo Free State with the blessing of King Leopold. Gabriel might be willing to give Anne a second chance, but not until Jorin Bekker’s head is lying at his feet.

Back in London, the quasi-reformed necromancer Balthazar sets his sights on the same quarry. He holds a very personal grudge against Bekker — and killing him might be the only way to keep Gabriel D’Ange from Balthazar’s own throat.

When the hunters collide at a lavish gala thrown by the king, Anne learns just how far she’ll go to save the man she loves.

Note: The Necromancer’s Bride is the sequel to A Bad Breed (read my review), which should be read first.


First of all a big “Thank You!” and shout out to Kat Ross, who over the course of reviewing her ten other books has become like a friend, for giving me a heads up on the graphic sex scenes in this book so that I could skip them. I’m not into erotic scenes… at all, so knowing where to skip really helps my enjoyment of a book. If you are wondering, the scenes to skip are the wedding night, which is the middle of Chapter 12 and a few pages into chapter 14 after the opera.

A little extra note for Kat Ross: “the next book returns to Harry & John in New York so it will be quite clean 🙂 I went the somewhat more explicit direction for the last two books, but it’s not a trend for the series in general.” Which is good news indeed!

Now, on to the review!

The Necromancers Bride is an absolutely satisfying conclusion to the story from A Bad Breed.

Doesn’t the cover just scream gothic moodiness? The inside doesn’t disappoint either. For those who love a good moody gothic book this is for you.

For those who love mad necromancers and revenge this book is for you.

It’s also for those who love super powered women who don’t need a man, but fall in love with one anyway.

Or for those who always knew that the strings of power in Victorian Europe were being pulled by evil immortal billionaires.

I almost feel like I’ve run out of good things to say about Kat Ross’s writing.

She does a great job writing deep complex characters. So many of the characters here are multilayered, adult characters (as in mature not YA type characters.) Balthazar has been a great character to watch evolve over the millennia from a villainous necromancer to a man willing to sacrifice himself for redemption. (Read more about Balthazar here. He’s so cool he gets his own blog post!)

She writes great world building. You feel like you are in the jungles of Bermuda, or the sewers of Brussels, or a Necromancer’s dungeon (one place you do not actually want to find yourself.)

She write compelling plots. After about halfway through this book I couldn’t put it down. I needed to know how it was all going to work out. I probably drove my husband crazy talking to him every night about the characters doing this and that. Good necromancers this, evil necromancers that… blah, blah, blah. I couldn’t get enough!

She write satisfying endings. I have been disappointed so many times. After spending volumes with characters and stories I’ve come out of it feeling majorly let down (I’m looking at you the Dark Tower 🤮 and at you Rendezvous with Rama 🤬.) The Necromancer Bride wrapped up the story line in a way that was just gratifying. I may not have been able to guess at all the outcomes, but I enjoyed them. I felt the same way about how the Forth Talisman series wrapped up.

Bottom Line:

Kat Ross is a instant read for me because of all the thing I mentioned above. I just can’t recommend her books enough, the Necromancer’s Bride included.

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

“You won’t be laughing so hard when my wife get here,” Gabriel said…

Gabriel waited, stone-faced, until their breathless wheezing subsided.

“You haven’t met her yet.” His smile made the hair on Balthazar’s neck rise up. “But you will.”

Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore: Book Blitz

Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore (A Twisted Fairy Tale: A Young Adult Fantasy)
by Birgitte Märgen
Publication date: January 4th 2019
Genres: Southern Gothic, Horror, Fantasy, YA, Coming of Age

Meet A New Book


A trailer park Alice. A hole that traps souls. The white rabbit’s a tricky hare. And the world is upside down. This fairy tale just got twisty . . .

Rule One: Don’t eat or drink.
Rule Two: Never, ever tell anyone your name.
If ya do – your soul will be lost there forever.

How do I know? I been there myself. This is my story.

There was a full moon brimmin’ that night, and that meant strange things could happen. As I walked through the woods, I reckon I shoulda known by the way my hair stood up on end like Uncle Red’s toupee —that I shoulda coulda stayed home. I call it the willies, but grandpappy calls it premonition. One thing I can tell ya as a girl from the wrong side of the tracks: If you’re fix’n to wander way over yonder —it’s important to know the right direction.

What direction ya ask? Well, ya have to read the story to find that one out.

AFTER FALLING INTO a dark hole when she was running through the forest, Evie finds herself trapped in a strange new world that mirrors our own. Her only guide is a compass stick given to her by an angry gnome who lives in an ancient knobby tree. As she travels through the lands of this upside-down world she happens upon creatures that are twisted versions of fairytale folklore. A place where fairies bite, unicorns charge, mermaids are menacing, and nightmares are more than dreams. A world where the souls of those who could not follow the unspoken rules are trapped forever.

As a southern girl born on the wrong side of the tracks, Evie relies on the wisdom passed down by her grandpappy and the haunting memories of her mama to teach her perseverance of the soul. She learns that things are rarely what they seem as her world is turned upside down.

Amazon / Goodreads