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Welcome

 

Hello, I’m Belinda (McGrath) Witzenhausen and in a nutshell; I am a Writer, Creativity Coach, Artist, Student, Bookworm, History Geek, Armchair Archaeologist, Amateur Photographer, Coffee Connoisseur & Hubby’s Grossly Under-Paid Bass Roadie. 😉

I have always enjoyed helping others, as well as being creative. Both my education and work history have revolved around social services, counselling, art therapy, coaching and expressing my creativity be it through writing, art or photography.

Over the years I have been blessed to cross paths with many interesting and creative people who have been a source of inspiration. I love life and try to make sure that each of my days is touched by the creative process. I make it my mission to help others heal by igniting their creativity, as well as acting as an advocate for children and young adults with special needs and learning challenges.

Currently, I am working on an Urban Fantasy novel to be released 2019 and am a contributing writer for various mainstream websites, main writer/creator/coach at www.IgniteYourCreativity.netwww.WriterzBlox.net, a partner at Professor Owl’s Book Corner, main reviewer at www.bohoandbookish.wordpress.com and www.UrbanWordNerd.wordpress.com.


© Belinda Witzenhausen, 2009-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Belinda Witzenhausen with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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#NetGalley #Review of How To Write A Page-Turner Craft a Story Your Readers Can’t Put Down by Jordan Rosenfeld via #amwriting #writing

Review

How to Write A Page Turner Cover

How To Write A Page-Turner

Craft a Story Your Readers Can’t Put Down

by Jordan Rosenfeld

Release date: March 19th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of How To Write A Page-Turner,
Craft a Story Your Readers Can’t Put Down by Jordan Rosenfeld from Net Galley and F+W Media/Writer’s Digest Books.

If you are a novice or seasoned writer who wants to publish dynamic and interesting novels… How To Write A Page-Turner is the perfect book for you.
There are novels that keep you riveted, you know the ones, the stories that keep you flipping pages into the wee hours of the morning? How To Write A Page-Turner teaches you all about keeping the tension in your story high, creating a story that is innovative as well as riveting and leaving your readers glued to the page.

I have quite a few writing books (okay, approx half my office) and I have to say this will definitely be in my writing library as a go-to book for a long time. Filled with excellent tips on creating and maintaining tension in your writing,  HTWPT feels different from the plethora of “how-to” books already out there. 

Jordan divides her book into four parts: Essential Tension Elements, Tension with Characters, Plot Tension, and Tension in Exposition. Each part breaks it down even further, covering everything from character development, writing effective dialogue, plotting your tension at just the right spots in your novel as well as word usage, sentence structure and writing imagery.  She also gives a review at the end of each chapter as well as exercises/tips for you to implement in your own writing, to help you appraise and polish your WIP to until it’s a page-turner fraught with tension!   

I really enjoyed this book and  I highly recommend it to all writers looking to take their writing to the next level.

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#Review of The All Seeing Digital Eyes by Neville J Kattakayam #InternetSafety #SocialMedia #Parents #Children

 

The All Seeing Digital Eyes

All Seeing Digital Eyes Cover

Release date: September 20th, 2018

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I received a complimentary copy of  The All Seeing Digital Eyes
by Neville J Kattakayam from the author and AshNel Inc in order to read and give an honest review.

… the author had done an incredible job showing us what is happening to our information and what we can do to prevent our privacy from being compromised…

Whether you are an internet veteran from the days of bulletin boards and WebCrawler (I know dating myself) to a novice just dipping their toes into the cyber water this book is for you. Neville J. Kattkayam’s initial inspiration was to write a book to help his 13-year-old daughter navigate the information age when everyone is utilizing smartphones, smart televisions, tablets and even appliances.  With the advance of technology when most of our lives are controlled by the transmission of electronic information so is our personal information.  The author has done an incredible job showing us what is happening to our information and what we can do to prevent our privacy from being compromised.  If you have already experienced problems it’s not too late, Mr Kattkayam also includes a section to get your information secured and tips on how to proceed moving forward.

Even though this book is inspired by a 13-year old I feel this is a great guide for everyone who is on the grid, definitely a five-star in my opinion.

 

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#Book #Review of Animals, Acrobatics, Attitude, and Amore by @LynnHallbrooks #cozy #fantasy #shortstory # SCCA4

Review

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Animals, Acrobatics, Attitude, and Amore

Release date: February 11th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Animals, Acrobatics, Attitude, and Amore by Lynn Hallbrooks & Author, Reader, Cheerleader in order to read and give an honest review.

Incredibly fun and quirky, there is definitely something for everyone…

I am not a huge fan of short stories but found Animals, Acrobatics, Attitude, and Amore to be incredibly fun and quirky,  definitely something for everyone. Initially, a collection of stories written for a contest requiring various elements present, the author has taken up the challenge in brilliant and unique ways. Lynn’s stories range from talking animals and fantasy to cute chick lit. Taking it a step further the author also writes follow up stories to catch up with her unique and inventive characters.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to all ages but especially for anyone looking for a fun, quick read.

The eBook is available in various locations and these links should take you there.
Amazon US link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N6C2FB3
Amazon global link: mybook.to/SCCA4
Multiple vendor link: https://books2read.com/SSCA4

Author biography:
Lynn Hallbrooks enjoyed writing poetry and short stories as a teenager. After high school, she served her country in the US Air Force. While there she learned a career that spanned 30 years. In 2010 she switched to the writing business where she has learned a lot while reading books by and working with fellow authors. More recently she started a website to provide resources for authors and readers known as Author Reader Cheerleader.

You are invited to visit either of her websites.
Books and Business: https://cswcllc.weebly.com/
Author and Readers: https://www.authorreadercheerleader.com/

You can follow her on Twitter:
ARCLynn: https://twitter.com/LHallbrooks
CSWCLynn: https://twitter.com/CSWCLynn
LynnHallbrooks: https://twitter.com/LynnHallbrooks

If you visit BookBub for book discounts and recommendations, you can follow her here: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lynn-hallbrooks

Or if BookGorilla is your favorite book discounter then follow her here: https://www.bookgorilla.com/author/B0050ZOGAA/lynn-hallbrooks/kcc

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#NetGalley #BookReview The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt och Dag ‏ #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

Review

Wolf and the Watchman Cover

The Wolf and the Watchman

by Niklas Natt och Dag

Release date: March 5th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Wolf and the Watchman
by Niklas Natt och Dag from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada in order to read and give an honest review.

Niklas Natt och Dag doesn’t hold back. Dark, gritty and brutally honest, the author doesn’t hesitate to show the bleakness of the times, the poverty…. “

When I came across this book I was intrigued and it didn’t disappoint. Well-written, clever, intricately plotted with well rounded, characters it kept me immersed in the story…. however, I issue a word of caution to sensitive readers… this book is graphic 

For his debut novel, Niklas Natt och Dag doesn’t hold back. Dark, gritty and brutally honest, the author doesn’t hesitate to show the bleakness of the times, the poverty, the distention between the classes and the depravity of the seedy underbelly of a divided Stockholm in 1793. 

Mickel Cardell a watchman and ex-soldier, is haunted by his past and learning to deal with the loss of his arm. When Mickel is called upon to fish a body out of the water he is overwhelmed by what he finds. An unknown young male, missing all four limbs, his tongue and eyes appear to all removed surgically prior to his death. When Cecil Winge, an attorney and consultant for the Swedish Police asks for his assistance, being an amputee himself Cardell cannot help but feel a connection to this poor victim and agrees.   

Winge and Cardell are just two of the characters we meet along the way. There are two others, Kristofer Blix and Anna-Stina Knapp who we watch struggle and survive.  

Kristof, a teen and former medic’s assistant from the country heads to Stockholm with hopes of becoming an elite and attending medical schoolWhen he finds it’s a lot harder than he thought he makes errs in judgement and in desperation he gets caught up in something so depraved it will haunt him for the rest of his life. A fatherless teen Anna-Stina raise in poverty and forced to struggle most of her life, loses the one person who means the most to her and is abandoned to a corrupt system. When she is falsely convicted of a crime and thrown into prison her situation becomes more perilous.
 

As the story unfolds and we get to the bottom of this horrendous crime the lives of these four become intertwined and we follow along on their journeys. The author’s portrayals are unique and add such depth to the story as does his descriptions of Stockholm which is written so vividly it almost becomes a character in its own right.  

I have to say that this is perhaps the most difficult review I have had to write, I really feel the book was well-written and clever but it definitely had a darkness that at the end of it left you with a queasy feeling or as I call it the “Ich” factor. It kept me engrossed which in my mind is what reading is all about.  Not for the faint of heart but I recommend it! 

Books

#NetGalley #Review of The Sound of Suffering by Darin C. Brown #Sci Fi & #Fantasy #Teens #YA

Review

Sound of Suffering Cover

The Sound of Suffering

by Darin C. Brown

Release date: February 21st, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Sound of Suffering by Darin C. Brown from NetGalley and Doc Squared Publishing/Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members’ in order to read and give an honest review.

Hunter is on a quest to find out what the aura’s, scents and sounds he experiences around people mean.  This is the second book in the Masters of Perceptions series, the first I have not read but feel it didn’t hamper my ability to enjoy the story.  Young Hunter is autistic and suffers from overwhelming stimuli when he comes in contact with others. At this point, he is learning a little bit about himself and his abilities.  While excelling at school and working his way through earning his Karate belts he still struggles with learning how to handle his gift and how to interact with those around him.  He has people to help him though, a few friends, one of which has a dubious reputation, his desk mate and his Sensei all help him but he finds his biggest confidant to be his grandfather who lives across the country.  When he gets strange sensations indicating one of his teachers is in trouble he can’t ignore the feeling and becomes determined to help her.  His friends by his side he sets out on a dangerous adventure that is much bigger than just helping his teacher. I won’t give any more away the plot takes an interesting turn you need to read!

The characters are well-written and as mentioned the story takes an unexpected and interesting path. I would give this story 4.5 stars only because I found that some things seemed a bit unnecessary and they detracted from the story. Although I appreciate that the author is trying to teach the reader through the process of reading, sometimes the “info dumps” distracted me from the flow of the story, it felt hard to stay connected.  It’s really is an ingenious story with interesting characters but many of the lessons seem repetitive. All in all, though I think it’s worth reading and would definitely recommend it!

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#NetGalley #Book #Review The Woman in the Lake by @NicolaCornick ‏#HistoricalFiction #Mystery #Magic

Review

The Woman in the Lake Cover

The Woman in the Lake
by Nicola Cornick

Release date: February 26th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick from NetGalley and Graydon House Books (U.S. & Canada) in order to read and give an honest review.

“Murder, mayhem and mysticism all crafted into a spellbinding tale…. “

I have become a huge fan of Nicola Cornick‘s work in recent months. I love her style!  She has an incredible ability to immerse the reader into whatever historical period she is writing about. Cornick intricately weaves details within her stories so seamlessly that the reader is automatically transported without forcing the reader to endure the dreaded “info dump”. The Woman in the Lake is no different. 

Set in present-day Swindon the reader travels back and forth from 1765.  The story is told from three viewpoints.  In 1765 we hear from Lady Isabella Gerard and her personal maid Constance. Both women are very different from the other women of their time. Lady Isabella is stuck in an abusive marriage to a corrupt businessman and smuggler. Always living in extreme danger from her husband she finds solace in another man‘s arms.  Her husband gives her a gift of a beautiful but deadly silk golden gown, a gown which leaves devastation in its wake.  Constance learns the secret behind the gown and wants to expose it but what will it cost her?

We also meet college design teacher, vintage item dealer and reformed kleptomaniac, Fenella Brightwell. 

On a school trip as a teenagerFenella steals the golden gown from a small historical museum. Once in her possessionFenella‘s life spirals out of control.  Present day Fenella now an adult is struggling to start a new life after escaping from an abusive marriage, bad divorce and the death of her grandmother. Her sister sorting through their Grandmother’s home discovers the gown with cryptic handwritten notes from their grandmother with the word danger written on them. The gown then mysteriously finds its way back to Fenella. Once the gown is returned back to Fenella, her life begins to spiral out of control again and her past comes back to haunt her. 

Murder, mayhem and mysticism all crafted into a spellbinding tale sure to keep you engaged into the wee hours of the morning. I would highly recommend The Woman in the Lake. 

Books

#NetGalley #Book #Review The Homecoming by Andrew Pyper ( @andrewpyper ) #Mystery #Thriller #Psychological

 

Review

The Homecoming Cover

The Homecoming

by Andrew Pyper

Release date: February 26th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Homecoming by Andrew Pyper via NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada in order to read and give an honest review.

… this book is clever, complex and thrilling…taking the reader on a rollercoaster ride fraught with psychological twists and turns…

Already a fan of Andrew Pyper’s work I was thrilled to be afforded the opportunity to read and review his latest book The Homecoming.  Like most of his novels, this book is clever, complex and thrilling…taking the reader on a rollercoaster ride fraught with psychological twists and turns.

When Ray Quinlan dies his family is summoned to the Pacific west coast to attend Belfountain, a secluded rainforest estate to discuss his last will and testament. Ray’s widow, son Aaron and two daughters, Franny and Bridge. Delivered by limos they are dropped off and forced to surrender their cellphones.  It is explained to them their eccentric father left them an extortionate sum of money, but there is a catch. They must spend thirty days at Belfountain without phones, television, the internet, food delivery drop off and absolutely no contact from the outside world.

As always, Pyper excels at crafting brilliant psychological and incredibly creative plotlines but also does an outstanding job creating unique and cleverly multifaceted characters. Each character is so well written he manages to create an incredibly realistic and dysfunctional Quinlan family, each battling their own demons and coping with painful, traumatic pasts.

When another set of limos deposits four more mysterious individuals Belfountain is thrown into chaos unleashing family secrets, challenging family loyalty and causing the estate to become deadly prison.

This book is so unique, unlike any other book I have read, which, being an avid reader is a rarity for me! Another great read from Andrew Pyper that definitely won’t disappoint!

 

#WATWB, Quotes

“Magic table” helps patients with #dementia #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Sylvia McGrath, Peter Nena, Shilpa Garg, Inderpreet Uppal, and myself, Belinda WitzenhausenTo learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


Working in social services and having had dementia touch my family, I am aware of the path this dreaded disease takes.  Watching a loved one waste away, lose all joy and become apathetic disengaging from life can be incredibly heartbreaking.  Thanks to a Dutch invention, the “magic table” or Tovertafel currently in over 500 nursing homes in the UK  is helping dementia patients engage again with their minds and bodies. Hoping that these become a staple in many long term care facilities and like most technology perhaps eventually a smaller and more affordable option will be available for caregivers everywhere.

Watch here to learn more about Tovertafel:

&

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/stories-45642031/magic

Poem by Stacey Cirillo via Alzheimers.net

Alzheimer's ~ As She Sits

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#NetGalley #Book #Review The Psychology of Time Travel A Novel by Kate Mascarenhas #Mystery #TimeTravel #Fantasy

Review

Psychology of Time Travel Cover

The Psychology of Time Travel

by Kate Mascarenhas

Release date: February 12th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Psychology of Time Travel
by Kate Mascarenhas NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

… A unique and interesting entry in the time travel genre. 

I have always been a huge fan of time travel stories. Kate Mascarenhas’s debut The Psychology of Time Travel focuses on what happens to people’s psyche when they travel back and forth in time. What would happen if you could go back in time whenever you wanted and spend a day with loved ones who have passed away? Would it change how you view death? Would you take life for granted? The Psychology Of Time Travel answers these questions.

When four women discover time travel in 1960’s they launch an empire for themselves called “The Conclave” When one of the pioneers, Barbara suffers from a very public psychotic episode she is removed from the team and ostracized. The beginning of the book lays the groundwork for each of their personal journeys and how they adjust to the ability to travel and to meet their future or “silver” selves. Some flourish, some flounder, except for Barbara who is not allowed back and not only loses her purpose but her friends too.

The book picks up in the modern day when Barbara receives a cryptic clue of a death notice about an elderly woman who is murdered in the future. Barbara and her psychologist granddaughter Ruby begin trying to unravel the pieces. There is also a suspicious and puzzling murder of a woman in a small museum which occurs in a locked room with no way in or out. The body is damaged beyond recognition, no one is certain who it is, why they were there or how it happened. When a young museum worker Odette finds the body, she is traumatized, ends up seeking counsel from Ruby and can’t rest until she finds out what happened. Odette follows her suspicions and even goes undercover at the Conclave to get to the bottom of it. How could she solve a murder where the murderer could slip in an out of time?

Told from various viewpoints and throughout various time periods, this book tracks multiple characters jumping back and forth in time, some even meeting their future selves in the same room. It takes a while to catch onto which “version” of the character is present.

A unique and interesting entry in the time travel genre. Mascarenhas has created a very character driven novel with multifaceted characters who you grow to care about.

Definitely, an emotional roller coaster filled with mystery and fantasy. I look forward to reading more from this author. Highly recommend!

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New Release Announcement for Animals, Acrobatics, Attitude, and Amore by @LynnHallbrooks #cozy #fantasy #shortstory # SCCA4


Have you ever wanted to know more when a short story ended? Sometimes a story is written to certain stipulations and when it’s finished it leaves more questions than answers. Lynn Hallbrooks has paired up some of her earlier short story works with companion pieces. She allowed her imagination to blend talented animals, mythical beings, and real-life happenings in a relative clean, cozy fantasy short story collection she named, Animals, Acrobatics, Attitude, and Amore. Come for the cat and stay for the attitude. There is something for everyone at all ages.
The publication date of February 11, 2019, allows readers time to enjoy it for Valentine’s Day (February 14th) or any other day they choose.
The eBook is available in various locations and these links should take you there.
Amazon US link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N6C2FB3
Amazon global link: mybook.to/SCCA4
Multiple vendor link: https://books2read.com/SSCA4

Author biography:
Lynn Hallbrooks enjoyed writing poetry and short stories as a teenager. After high school, she served her country in the US Air Force. While there she learned a career that spanned 30 years. In 2010 she switched to the writing business where she has learned a lot while reading books by and working with fellow authors. More recently she started a website to provide resources for authors and readers known as Author Reader Cheerleader.

You are invited to visit either of her websites.
Books and Business: https://www.authorreadercheerleader.com/
Author and Readers: https://cswcllc.weebly.com/

You can follow her on Twitter:
ARCLynn: https://twitter.com/LHallbrooks
CSWCLynn: https://twitter.com/CSWCLynn
LynnHallbrooks: https://twitter.com/LynnHallbrooks

If you visit BookBub for book discounts and recommendations, you can follow her there: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lynn-hallbrooks

Or if BookGorilla is your favorite book discounter then follow her here: https://www.bookgorilla.com/author/B0050ZOGAA/lynn-hallbrooks/kcc