Book Review: 18 Steps to Own Your Life: Simple Powers for a Healthier, Happier You


I had the pleasure of reading Keith McArthur’s 18 Steps to Own Your Life in exchange for a fair and honest review.

18 Steps for Your Own Life has to be one of the most practical self-help books I’ve had the pleasure to read.

It’s a short but compact read, filled with nuggets of common sense, practical life tips that will make your life easier, happier and healthier. No gimmicks, no guff, just solid advice that makes sense.

Author Keith McArthur breaks life down to 18 important categories where we can make vast improvements in our lives with small changes. He draws from his own life experience and also references the writings of other well known self help writers, compiling the best information out there into one practical resource.

He does not present himself as a guru, but as a human who has struggled with his own battles, both internal and external. He presents what he has learned from those experiences, what has worked for him and chose to share it with the world in the hopes of helping others.

Each of the 18 steps are presented, expanded upon and followed by a list of the key takeaways at the end of each section. My personal favourite section was on sanctifying your space.

Worksheets for the book will also be available, an absolutely fantastic way to stop and think about your goals and choices instead of skipping over to the next section.

18 Steps to Your Own Life is an excellent resource for anyone looking to change their life through their choices, habits, healthy mental and physical health and using your time more effectively.

18 Steps to Own Your Life is on sale at Amazon. Here is the link to get your own copy.

To view this book on Goodreads, go here.


41afkwdo9zl-_sy200_Keith McArthur got a second chance at life in 2017 when his little sister donated one of her kidneys to him. Now, he writes and podcasts about his journey to becoming happier and healthier. Keith is the creator of — a website, podcast, and book series providing high-quality personal-development content.


Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Blurb from Goodread:  Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty – especially if they learn of her Sight – and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention.
But it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost — regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr’s stunning twenty-first-century faery tale.

As soon as I found this book on another blog and read the premise, I knew I had to get my hand on it!

Aislynn, her mother and her grandmother were all born with the Sight. That means that they see faeries. Everywhere.

The average human is oblivious to their existence and the tricks that they play. 

These are not the cute, magical, Tinkerbell fairies that sprinkle dust to give good luck. These faeries are dark and mischievous. They can be glamorous or frightening. They are not creatures that you want to have hanging around.

Aislynn must pretend that she cannot see the faeries. If they become aware they she can see them, she risks being killed or at the very least, blinded.

The Summer King has chosen to court Aislynn. Most girls who are courted by him fall head over heels, but Aislynn sees through his glamour, and her fear of faeries demands that she stay as far away from him as possible.

She is unwillingly pulled into the Faery world, conflicting with her friendship and the beginnings of romance with Seth. Aislynn was a strong character who stands up for herself even when she is afraid to.

I absolutely loved the way the relationship between Seth and Aislynn grew. Aislynn fought any romance with him for fear of jeopardizing their amazing friendship. It developed as a slow burn that I found it touching and warm.

I would liked to have seen more background on Aislynn’s mother and her role in the story. It was a great start, but then the reader was left hanging about what happened, her connection with the Summer King and why she died.

I enjoyed the writing, though it was a bit confusing at times and I had to go back and reread. I did like the way it was written with multiple POVs. I enjoy getting into the heads of the other characters.

I was completely captivated by the story and wouldn’t put the book down until I found out how it ended. What was going to happen to Aislynn? To Seth and the Summer King? 

I enjoyed the ending, but I wonder if it wouldn’t have been more interesting if it things hadn’t worked out quite so perfectly.




Review: Shadow Girl by Misty Mount

Blurb from Goodreads: Zylia looks like your typical teenager, with one small exception…she’s disappearing. Everyone has felt unnoticed or unseen, but for Zylia it’s very real. In her search for answers, she uncovers an old family mystery. Zylia must discover the truth before she vanishes from this world forever.

I was excited to be a lucky winner of this book! My thanks go out to the author, Misty Mount for the opportunity to win this exceptional book! As soon as I read the blurb, I was hooked!

The Shadow Girl is a Young Adult novel with Zylia as the main character. She is a lovely girl, thoughtful, compassionate and kindhearted. She struggles with being noticed, or for that matter being seen at all. With the exception of very few people, she feels invisible. 

The surprise of the story is they actually do not see her. She gets passed over at meals when she’s home and quizzes when she’s at school. She gets bumped into and trampled on. To make matters worse, the only time she does get noticed is at the most awkward, worst possible times. If you are an introvert, you get it, right?

Zylia wonders and worries that she is quite literally disappearing.

I was drawn into her character and there were times when my heart broke for her.

When her grandmother who has dementia takes a strange interest in her, we realize there is more going on here than a teen who simply feels down and alone. Her grandmother begins calling her by her sister’s name, Angelica. She becomes agitated and attacks her. It is interesting to note that Angelica had disappeared many years ago, when she was about the same age as Zylia.

Zylia appeals to her new friend Terra to help her solve the mystery of her grandmother’s long lost sister and she learns that she and her great-aunt have more in common than their looks.

The Shadow Girl is a very unique and fascinating read. On a whole it is written beautifully, with lovely imagery. At times, particularly in the beginning, I found the story was a bit slow moving. The author’s writing style makes up for that however. This book is a pleasure to read and shares a beautiful message that we should all strive to live by.

What are your thoughts? Is this a book that you would like to read?

Thanks for stopping by!





Review: Search for Maylee

From Goodreads: Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her. It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead. She moves across the country to find him. Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee? It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be. Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do what ever it takes.

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I love a good suspense and Search for Maylee did not disappoint! I just finished reading the last page and all I can say is WOW! The author kept me on the edge of my seat. I blew through this novel because I could not wait to find out what was going to happening next. The story begins slowly, building tension and background information.

Although the main theme is about finding Maylee, the main character of they story is Autumn. She is devastated that her niece has been abducted and for three years, she waits for her to be found, feeling frustrated by the lack of action on the part of police. When she finally gets her hands on a clue, she decides to take matters into her own hands. She sells everything she owns and moves from her home in California to Denver, Colorado in the desperate hope of finding Maylee on her own.

I had no idea what Autumn expected to find or how she was going to find her niece, but I could feel her stubbornness and determination. First, she meets a motley crew who help her to get settled in. Didi Oviatt did an amazing job with her character arc, showing her fear but at the same time her refusal to give in to it. She continued to grow in strength as the story progressed, pushing herself to do some pretty risky things. Daily runs in the bad area of town had me sitting on the edge of my seat, and breaking into the house of a known criminal had my palms sweaty!

In the midst of the suspense, a hot, steamy romance adds flavour and spices things up! Great job on that–not too much, just enough to leave the reader wanting more. I loved these two as a couple!

There was also enough information left out of the story to make the reader question who was the good guy and who was bad. Dirty cops, and undercover agents, anybody could have put Autumn, at risk.

I highly recommend this book if you love suspense and a good mystery. If you’d like to learn more about the author, please visit her blog at

Thanks for reading!


Review: Rise of the Mudmen

Rise of the Mudmen by James FW Thompson

Excerpt from Amazon: Alex used to believe that bad things didn’t happen on sunny days…but now he knows better. On an otherwise normal October day, his neighborhood becomes a place of horror. Missing parents, a chaotic evacuation and a school in flames are only the beginning of a nightmarish world overrun by bloodthirsty creatures–creatures who were once neighbours, friends, and family. Thrown together by chance with no adults coming to their rescue, Alex, Nicole, David and Kaitlyn must rely on themselves and each other to survive. As they struggle to defend themselves, create a safe haven, and learn to work together, they discover that there’s more than one kind of enemy…and that sometimes the worst ones come from within… Set in Cape Breton in 1986, Rise of the Mudmen will take you back to a time that never was.



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I’ve mentioned before how excited I was to read this book! It is set in the year a graduated from high school, in the city I grew up in.

In last Friday’s post, I gave a little introduction to Rise of the Mudmen by James FW Thompson with a few excerpts. You can see that post here if you’d like to check it out.

Rise of the Mudmen is a well-written debut novel with a YA flavour. The story is based around Alex, fifteen years old and his dog, Shadow. The setting is 1986, Sydney, Cape Breton. A virus is spreading. Alex, along with hundreds of school kids and adults gets lost in mass chaos as zombies, or mudmen as Alex like to call them. They spread and attack, killing friends and family and turning them into mudmen. There is some gore and carnage.

Alex joins up with others seeking refuge and they eventually create a safe haven for themselves. Foraging for food and supplies is a dangerous adventure into the unknown. They learn to work together to survive and protect one another. Unfortunately, in this new, uncertain world, they must also learn who they can and cannot trust.

Each of the characters involved have unique personalities, all with something to offer. The story moves quickly, with unexpected, dramatic events that kept me turning the pages. The story was entertaining and suspenseful and I have to say that I loved all the references to local places of interest.

Thanks for reading!



The Suspenseful Collection

Congratulations to Didi Oviatt and Kim Knight on the release of their compilation book of short stories!  

Click to be taken to
The Suspenseful Collection by Kim Knight and Didi Oviatt

These two very talented and lovely suspense authors have the most interesting way of putting their stories together.  One author starts the tale, the other finishes it.  How cool is that?  They live on opposite sides of the Atlantic, which makes it even more fun.


I’ve been intrigued by these stories since before they released it.  Confession: I did try to preorder but my Amazon account was all wonky that day and because well, life’s distractions, I just never got back to it.

I did enter their Rafflecopter contest however, and guess what!  I won a copy and I’m so excited to read this!  I’m mean…look at that cover.  It’s gorgeous!

Thank you so very much, Didi and Kim for the opportunity to win this and read your book!

I will be posting my review soon but I do hope everyone will go ahead and check this book out for yourself.  It’s already gotten some great feedback!

Here is the blurb from Amazon with a little summary of each of the short stories:

For Mature Readers Only:

A suspenseful novel with a twist. Eight short stories, by two suspense authors, from diverse backgrounds. From opposite sides of the Atlantic these stories have been created. One author started the tale and the other ended it. No discussion, no pre-planning, but yet their stories are seamless. With just creativity and the use of writing prompts, to craft one tale, with two different writers. This anthology of suspenseful, fast paced and engaging tales covers multiple genres. From heart felt romance, crime, fantasy, and steamy historical fiction. There is a story for everyone!

Steamy Historical Crime Fiction: It was The First Time I Killed A Man.

It’s 1972 and New York’s first female serial killer Lisa Vanacilli is in the hot seat again, ten years after her conviction of murder to the first degree and innocent plea. The ruthless but sexy reporter Tiffany Low cracks Lisa for a confession… at a price. Lisa is strong, courageous and says it how it is. This story has been extended due to reader’s demand. And is only for adult readers.

Psychological Fiction: Every Time I Hear That Voice From The Basement.

George appears to be harmless. The local neighbourhood geek on the outside, married to Jolene. In reality, he’s a very disturbed man. His path crosses with Dana, the local check out girl. This is a psychological suspense story with a twist.

Crime Fiction: The Entrance To The Tunnel Is His Only Way Out.

Juan is a wanted man, and an ex-gang member on the run from Atlanta to Mexico. With a hundred grand in cash stolen from his ex-boss, he meets an unlikely fate in Mexico. A fast-paced crime fiction story.

Contemporary Romance: When His Hands Run Up My Thighs I…

Love has no time limit, age limit or use by date. Sarah now in her fifties is reunited with her long-lost love Joshua. They last had contact in 1961. In the present day, thanks to the advancement of technology their paths cross. A heart-warming and modern tale, about long distance love, that will leave you warm inside.

Suspense: We Only Said Goodbye With Words, I Died A Hundred Times:

In 1963 Russian Femme Fatale Mila Petrov is London’s top Madam. Her entertainment house is booming, she has a team of London’s strongest women behind her. Unfinished business from her past creeps up and haunts her. It’s nothing she can’t handle. A suspenseful historical tale, with a strong femme fatale.

Fantasy: The Ones Who Live At The Bottom Of The Ocean, Come To The Surface.

A beautiful coming of age story, featuring sixteen year old Zoe and her mother May-Li. Myth becomes reality, as Zoe finds out who and what she really is. Her mixed descent reveals more than what meets the eye. This fantasy story is set against the backdrop of a Greek island and Hong Kong, China.

Suspenseful Crime Fiction: Guilty As Charged, In Self-Defence

California’s sassy, tough, and likeable defence lawyer Catherine has taken on a case so high profile, if she wins she’ll become a partner of Martin Law Firm. Defending forty six year old Mrs. Chevelle. An ex Las Vegas show girl, now a Hollywood wife, on trial for the murder of her high-profile husband. She claims she’s innocent. Readers are taken on a fast -paced journey on a mission to seek the truth.

Contemporary Fiction: It’s A Man’s Man’s World:

A beautiful modern tale showing the love and appreciation of a woman. James Brown said it right when he said, “it’s a man’s man’s world, but it would mean nothing without a woman or a girl.”The Suspenseful Collection by Didi Oviatt and Kim Knight

Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I’ve seen the Six of Crows on so many book review blogs, it had so many great reviews and avid fans, I was curious to read it, too.  The title certainly helped… I love crows!  They’re gorgeous birds!

The Six of Crows is first of a duology, followed by the Crooked Kingdom.

So, when I started reading Six of Crows, I found it a bit slow going.  Not because there wasn’t enough action…there was.  I was unfamiliar with the world itself.  

The Six of Crows is preceded by the Grisha Trilogy and I’m thinking that, had I read it would have explained the world much better.  That being said, it can still be read as a standalone, it just took me a bit longer to process what was happening.

Kaz as a main character started out as arrogant and somewhat unlikeable to me. He always has everything planned umpteen steps ahead of everyone else, almost too good to be true.  I found myself disappointed that he was to be such a major character, that is until I found out there was much more to Kaz than what meets the eye.

Each chapter toggles from the perspective of multiple characters, their personalities developing nicely as we learn more about each one, their history and their unique abilities.

Kaz and his crew head out on a mission, that by all standards is considered impossible.  On top of the difficulties they expect to encounter, they are hit by snag after snag.


I really got into the story and enjoyed the twisty turny plot and the whole ‘what could possibly go wrong next’ of this book.  There was lots of drama, plot twists and storylines that I didn’t see coming.

Here’s the Goodreads blurb:

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

Have you read any of Leigh Bardugo’s work?  Did you read the Grisha Series first and if so, how did it help reading the Six of Crows?

Review: Feel Me Fall by James Morris

My thanks to James Morris for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Was it hard to put down?  Oh, yes. I was drawn into the story hook, line and sinker and didn’t want to stop reading.  It was absolutely brilliant.

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads.

Secrets and survival in the Amazon

Emily Duran is the sole survivor of a plane crash that left her and her teenage friends stranded and alone in the jungles of the Amazon. Lost and losing hope, they struggle against the elements, and each other. With their familiar pecking order no longer in place, a new order emerges, filled with power struggles, betrayals, secrets and lies. Emily must explain why she’s the last left alive.

But can she carry the burden of the past?

Discover the gripping new adventure novel that explores who we are when no one is watching, and how far we’ll go in order to survive.

My review:

Emily Duran is a student from California on a high school field trip to South America. The plane crashes in Amazon rainforest, leaving only a handful of survivors.  Besides Emily, there is her best friend Viv, Mean Molly, Derek the boy scout survivalist extraordinaire, Ryan the smart ass amputee and Nico, Viv’s boyfriend.

The story is told in the first person from the perspective of Emily. The author did an excellent job of fleshing out the other characters to round everything out.

The story toggles between several scenes: when the plane crashes in the Amazon, before they left on the school trip, and after her rescue when she is in the hospital.

The book is very well written and suspenseful.  The challenges they experience and the true personalities that emerge in this new environment kept me reading and wanting more. Secrets were slowly revealed, drama unfolded and people died.

A quote from the book:

Events don’t change you; they reveal you.

What I loved even more than waiting for Emily to be rescued was the ending…Lets just say that things aren’t always as they seem.



Review: Deadly Cargo by Hal Archer

I finished reading Deadly Cargo this weekend! As promised, here is my review.

The blurb from Goodreads:

Deadly Cargo (Jake Mudd Adventures #1)
by Hal Archer (Goodreads Author)

Sometimes you need to get muddy.

Former mercenary Jake Mudd travels the galaxy transporting goods to out of the way places. He operates under the radar to avoid enemies hellbent on settling old scores.

When a lucrative delivery gets hijacked, he goes after the package for the payoff he desperately needs.

With the help of his trusty blaster and an alien woman who stirs memories he’s traveled light years to forget, he sets out across a strange and treacherous world.

Tracking the cargo turns from difficult to perilous when he falls into the thick of a planetary struggle.

With more at stake than his life and the safety of his beloved ship, Jake fights to outrun and outgun the growing threats. But the worst threat of all may be the one he brought with him.

Deadly Cargo.

My thoughts:

Jake Mudd is tall, well built and knows how to handle himself.  The first chapter opens with Jake in recovery from  a prior adventure, and on his way to deliver a valuable cargo.  It seems that no matter where he goes in the galaxy and as much as he tries to avoid it, trouble finds him.

Jake is going to be paid good money to make a cargo delivery on the planet Daedalon.  He finds himself involved with one of the races that inhabit the planet, and fighting for more than just his own life.

The story is well paced and well written, with lots of action.  I enjoyed the dialogue between Jake and his ship’s AI, Sarah.  There was a sense of mystery about Jake that was just hinted at, leaving the reader wanting to know more about this bad boy delivery guy.  At times the plot might have been a bit predictable, but overall, I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next in the series.

Friday Post: Seventh Son (The Last Apprentice)

Book Beginnings on Fridays

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

My opening sentences for this week is from Seventh Son by Joseph Delaney.  I just happened to pick this book up one day, not even knowing anything about it. I fell in love with the story and then when I found out there was a whole series of thirteen books I thought I’d died and gone to heaven!  My son and I read the whole series together.  He was around eleven at the time and he loved them, too.

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When the Spook arrived, the light was already beginning to fail.  It had been a long, hard day, and I was ready for my supper.

“You’re sure he’s a seventh son?” he asked.  He was looking down at me and shaking his head doubtfully.


Friday 56

Every Friday, there is also the Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s voice.


*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post to the Linky on Freda’s blog. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

From Page 56:

I’d have liked to know more but had the sense not to question him further.  It seemed to me that there was a lot to learn about the Spook and his past, but I had a feeling they were things he’d only tell me when he was good and ready.

So I just followed him south, carrying his heavy bag and thinking about what my mam had written in the letter.  She was never one to boast or make wild statements.  Mam only said what had to be said, so she’d meant every single word.  Usually she just got on with things and did what was necessary.  The Spook had told me there was nothing much could be done about ghasts, but Mam had once silenced the ghasts on Hangman’s Hill.

Being a seventh son of a seventh son was nothing that special in this line of work — you needed that just to be taken on as the Spook’s apprentice.  But I knew there was something else that made me different.

I was my mam’s son, too.

My Thoughts…

Loved these books…all thirteen of them!  They revolve around a world where witches, ghosts, ghasts and boggarts are alive(well not alive, technically!) and well.  People depend on their local Spook to drive off these pesky and sometimes dangerous beings.  Spooks will take on an apprentice, a seventh son from a seventh son being the basic requirement.  That’s where Tom Ward comes in.  The Spook is getting old and the dark is getting more powerful.

There is a hint of romance in these books, too.  It is something that is frowned upon by the Spook, especially when it comes to girls ‘who wear pointy shoes’.  Will Tom’s friend be lured to the dark?

The first two books in the series were actually made into a movie.  It had a great cast with Jeff Bridges, Kit Harrington and Julianne Moore.  Unfortunately, it was a huge departure from the books and didn’t do too well a the box office.  It was quite awful, in fact.

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Book 1 and Book 2 of the best-selling fantasy adventure series that inspired the forthcoming major motion picture Seventh Son! Read Book 1, Revenge of the Witch, and Book 2, Curse of the Bane, in one volume! A major motion picture phenomenon and an international bestseller, The Last Apprentice will haunt you—and terrify you—and keep you coming back for more.

This volume includes Book 1, Revenge of the Witch, and Book 2, Curse of the Bane, of the Last Apprentice series. Only the Spook has the knowledge and skill to face ghosts, bind witches, and bargain with boggarts. Now he needs an apprentice—Tom Ward, who is the seventh son of a seventh son. Other apprentices have come before. All have failed, or fled, or died. Will Tom learn what they could not? Can he trust anyone, even his one true love? He will find out—and soon, for the dark is getting powerful, and the Spook’s time has come. Will Tom survive to carry on his master’s battle? Will he be the Last Apprentice?