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Welcome

Belinda Witzenhausen

Belle Sketch

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 young adults with special needs and learning challenges.

Currently, I am working on novels inspired by my love of archaeology and mythology set to be released in 2021/22. I am also a contributing writer for various mainstream websites, main writer/creator  of  BelindaWitzenhausen.com  and WriterzBlox.net, a partner at Professor Owl’s Book Corner, main reviewer at Boho & Bookish and Urban Word Nerd as well as Creativity Coach at IgniteYourCreativity.net.


*Updates*

Due to courses and writing I will be taking a brief hiatus.  Please be advised I am fully booked (pardon the pun) and unavailable to accept further book review requests until  Spring 2022.


© Belinda Witzenhausen, 2009-2021. 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 #BookReview How to Book a Murder (Starlit Bookshop Mystery #1) by Cynthia Kuhn #Mystery #Cozy #CrookedLaneBooks

How to Book a Murder

Starlit Bookshop Mystery #1

by Cynthia Kuhn

Release date: December 7th, 2021  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of How to Book a Murder, Starlit Bookshop Mystery #1 by Cynthia Kuhn from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

Filled with literary references I really loved this series debut; it offered a cozy mystery with a touch of dark academia, as well as a cast of quirky interesting and dynamic characters that made this an entertaining and intriguing

How to Book a Murder, the first book of the Starlit Bookshop Series, begins when Emma hears that her sister Lucy is struggling to keep the family business, Starlit Books in business after the death of their parents, she returns home to Silvercrest, Colorado to help. After earning a PhD, Emma sacrifices a teaching position which could have led to a tenured position and begins planning events for the bookstore hoping to bring in more business. Along with their Aunt Nora, a professor at the local college and well-known mystery author, what is left of their family is together again.

When her old high school nemesis and Silvercrest’s resident “Mean Girl” Tabitha, drops by the store for her husband’s birthday gift panicked that her event planner for a murder mystery themed party had to take an emergency leave Emma bites the bullet and offers the stores event planning services. When the party results in the actual murder of Tabitha’s University Dean husband, life imitates art, and they are faced with their very own murder mystery. When an old rivalry kicks up Tabitha starts accusing Emma and her family of being the guilty murderers, in order to save the store and their reputation Emma has no choice but to solve the murder and clear their names.

Filled with literary references I really loved this series debut; it offered a cozy mystery with a touch of dark academia, as well as a cast of quirky interesting and dynamic characters that made this an entertaining and intriguing read. I look forward to reading more from this author.

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#NetGalley #BookReview of A Murder Like No Author (Main Street Book Club Mysteries #3) by Amy Lillard #CozyMystery

Review

A Murder Like No Author

(Main Street Book Club Mysteries #3)

by Amy Lillard

Release date: November 30th, 2021

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Murder Like No Author by Amy Lillard from NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press in order to read and give an honest review.

“…a cute and quick read but has a solid mystery, quirky characters, just enough action and a touch of romance…all the hallmarks of a good cozy…”

With the success of the book Missing Girl from deceased author and Sugar Springs native Wally Harrison it was only fitting that the Missing Girl movie be premiered in little old Sugar Springs. The whole town is abuzz, including bookstore owner Arlo and her notoriously inquisitive book club. The town is going crazy preparing for its big day, especially the historical Coliseum Theater which they are attempting to restore to its former glory. It is time for Sugar Springs to shine in the spotlight, but they are face with a major snag. When a stranger is intent on exposing that Wally Harrison did not really write the bestseller is silenced, the town is put under a different kind of scrutiny and puts the premiere in jeopardy. When the body is found in the Coliseum and freak accidents began to occur many are to ready to accept that the haunted reputation of the theatre is responsible, but Arlo and her book club featuring, three octogenarians are not completely convinced. As usual the book club goes into snoop mode with Arlo desperately trying to keep the reigns on the feisty trio and let the police do their job…without interference.

In reading the series a part of me admires these feisty women but I also feel Arlo’s frustration, I am sure in so many ways baptizing a cat would be easier than keeping the book club trio out of trouble. Especially after Arlo is injured and is pulled in so many different directions, I was actually getting annoyed for the character, which is unquestionably a testament to the author.

A Murder Like No Author, is a cute and quick read but has a solid mystery, quirky characters, just enough action and a touch of romance…all the hallmarks of a good cozy. which I would definitely recommend.

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Trees for Jane! #WATWB #TreesforJane #Environment #ClimateChange #BringBackOurForests

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. #WATWB was started in 2017, this month marks our fifty-second opportunity to share positive uplifting stories to inspire, give hope and motivate others. The last Friday of every month bloggers share their stories led by two co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Eric Lahti and Sylvia Stein. Due to the upcoming holidays, we will be taking the month of December off, resuming the last Friday of January 2022. To learn more about #WATWB or to join us please click here!


“Trees exhale for us so that we can inhale them to stay alive. Can we ever forget that? Let us love trees with every breath we take until we perish.” ~Munia Khan

I love nature and living in a condominium in the city I really miss being surrounded by trees and wildlife…okay not spiders, I hate spiders😝 lol, but I do miss trees the most.  When I noticed a post about Jane Goodall’s “Trees for Jane” campaign I knew that it would be perfect for me to share for this month’s #WATWB. Often we don’t think about trees but perhaps we should. Trees provide food, water, shelter, medicines and even the oxygen we breathe by absorbing and converting carbon dioxide which threatens our climate. However, trees and entire forests are at risk, destruction of our forests which are cleared in massive numbers is slowly killing our planet which has already lost a staggering three trillion trees, meaning approximately half of all our forests are now gone. If we keep up this rate of destruction, by the end of the century little will be left, and we will tragically lose nature’s most effective climate change solution. 

 Jane Goodall offers a quite simple practical solution which everyone can take part and we can all do our part by simply planting a tree or two or supporting people who do. If we protect forests and plant trees it will help de-escalate the climate crisis, it’s that simple.  

So, here’s Jane’s challenge:   

Jane asks that we work together to plant a trillion trees by the end of this decade, but she needs everyone’s help…that means governments, companies, organizations, communities…all of us not just for the sake of climate but for the sake of all living creatures and especially for the sake of future generations. There is no time to lose our natural resources are vanishing and it’s up to us to properly restore our fragile ecosystems, let ‘s work to make planet earth whole again. 

 To learn more about Trees for Jane or to join the trillion-tree challenge please check out the video and links below. 

Learn more about Jane’s initiative on her site here: https://www.treesforjane.org/ and on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/treesforjane

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#NetGalley #BookReview The Return of the Pharaoh, From the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. by Nicholas Meyer #Mystery #Egyptology #SherlockHolmes

Review

The Return of the Pharaoh

From the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D.

by Nicholas Meyer

 

The Return Of The Pharaoh Cover

 

Release date: November 9th, 2021

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Return of the Pharaoh, From the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. by Nicholas Meyer from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books in order to read and give an honest review.

” …I found it an interesting and intriguing read that I would definitely recommend …”

I have always been a fan of author Arthur Conan Doyle and have always loved stories that bring the brilliant duo of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson back to life. I previously reviewed The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols by Nicholas Meyer and thoroughly enjoyed it and I am glad to say that The Return of the Pharaoh did not disappoint. Studying Egyptology, I am always drawn to fiction that pays homage to the topic I love. The author did brilliantly, intertwining ancient Egyptian history with a well written complex mystery true to the Sherlock Holmes legacy.

Nicholas Meyer’s The Return of the Pharaoh takes Sherlock to Egypt in 1911, hired by a Duchess to find her missing husband the Duke of Uxbridge who was hunting down the undiscovered tomb of Thutmose V. While not immediately on the case Dr. John Watson also happens to be in Egypt with his wife while she is receiving treatment for her damaged lungs. Watson joins Sherlock on the case and as always, the game is afoot. The story is full of twists, turns and double crosses as the plot builds at a slow (albeit at times too slow) rate but with a brilliant pulse-pounding ending. Meyer gives the readers a dynamic cast of characters one of which is the infamous Egyptologist, Howard Carter who becomes a central character in the book and Holmes is rendered a more “human” and multifaceted character than we’ve seen him before.

I have to say, although as I mentioned it was slow to get into at first, I enjoyed it and found it an interesting and intriguing read that I would definitely recommend!

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Meet Giuseppe Paternò, Italy’s Oldest Student to Graduate at 96 Years Old #WATWB

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. #WATWB was started in 2017, this month marks our fifty first opportunity to share positive uplifting stories to inspire, give hope and motivate others. The last Friday of every month bloggers share their stories led by two co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Sylvia McGrath and myself, Belinda Witzenhausen. You can find us on social media on our Facebook Page and on Twitter under @WATWB.


Life always offers you a second chance. It’s called tomorrow. ” ~Stephen King

I’m one of those people who has an extremely inquisitive mind and loves learning new things. For as long as I can remember I have always taken courses and workshops in order to learn, enrich and understand this journey called life. I love it when I see people passionately pursue learning no matter what their age or circumstances and succeed. Giuseppe Paternò is one of those people, he has become Italy’s oldest graduate at the age of ninety-six and has been awarded first-class honours in philosophy from the University of Palermo in Sicily. “It’s one of the happiest days of my entire life,” said Paternò on graduating. Due to the war and poverty Giuseppe was unable to fulfill his dream to attend university in his youth, serving in WWII and working on the railroad until his retirement. Giuseppe still passionate to learn started off on his dream in 2017 when he finally enrolled in university. “Neighbours used to ask, ‘why all this trouble at your age?’. They couldn’t understand the importance of fulfilling a dream, regardless of my age,” says Paternò. Giuseppe worked hard and still has plans to write a book in the near future. Giuseppe is a role-model who certainly helps us realize it’s never too late to pursue our dreams, no matter our age! To learn more about Giuseppe check out the video below:

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#NetGalley #BookReview Betrayal on the Bowery by Kate Belli (A Gilded Gotham Mystery) #Historical #Mystery

 Review

Betrayal on the Bowery

(A Gilded Gotham Mystery)

by 

Kate Belli

 

Release date: October 12th, 2021

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Betrayal on the Bowery (A Gilded Gotham Mystery) by Kate Belli from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

…Belli does a brilliant job with her compelling characters, intriguing plotlines and with rich historical details that transport you back to New York City in the late 1880’s…

Picking up where Author Kate Belli left us in Deception by Gaslight, her first book in the A Gilded Gotham Mystery series, Betrayal on the Bowery continues throwing Daniel and Genevieve into yet another set of mysteries to solve. The book opens with Genevieve and Daniel seeing off their newlywed friends, Rupert and Esmie’s off on their honeymoon cruise to Europe. When a blood curdling scream follows as Esmie goes below deck, Daniel and Genevieve know that something is terribly wrong with their friends. Racing aboard they find the body a young man who had burst into their stateroom deathly ill, rambling warnings to Esmie about demons before collapsing at her feet. Trying to check for signs of life Daniel rolls him over but he has died. While searching his pockets looking for identification, he finds what he believes to be a coin before absentmindedly pocketing it as the help arrives. It is later realized that he was a former hopeful suiter from Esmie’s past making Rupert a prime suspect in the suspicious death.

Once off the ship Daniel realizes the coin is not a coin but a medallion from a bar called Boyle’s Suicide Tavern a brothel with a deadly reputation. With the lead detective, seeking revenge after the events of Deception of Gaslight, his sights focused on Rupert, Genevieve and Daniel must fight to prove Rupert’s innocence. When a second young man dies in the same manner and with the disappearance of a socialite it appears that they may all be connected. When the clues add up to something much larger than they thought they realize they’re in for the fight of their lives. There are so many twists and turns with clues leading them to haunted mansions, seedy brothels, and dark alleys, they risk it all to save the missing heiress, and clear their friend of murder.

Kate Belli does a brilliant job with her compelling characters, intriguing plotlines and with her rich historical details she transports you back to New York City in the late 1880’s. I love this series and cannot wait to read more of Genevieve and Daniel’s adventures.

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#NetGalley #BookReview Chapter and Curse (Cambridge Bookshop Series #1) by Elizabeth Penney #Cozy #Mystery

Chapter and Curse

Cambridge Bookshop Series #1 

by Elizabeth Penney

Release date: September 28th, 2021  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Chapter and Curse (Cambridge Bookshop Series #1) by Elizabeth Penney from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in order to read and give an honest review.  

… “I really enjoyed Chapter and Curse and found it entertaining”…”It’s a quick fun read”…  

Chapter and Curse by Elizabeth Penney is the first in the new Cambridge Bookshop Series and introduces us to Molly Kimball and her Mother Nina who respond to Aunt Violet’s plea for assistance with her struggling bookshop, Thomas Marlowe—Manuscripts and Folios. Uprooting their life in Vermont and moving to Cambridge, England opens a world of opportunities for Molly but when a poetry reading at the bookshop becomes a murder scene, her new life becomes more than she bargained for.  

The victim, an old school mate of Violet’s, as well as a habitual blackmailer is murdered using Violet’s knitting needles ensuring that Violet becomes prime suspect in her murder. Molly is now on a mission to save both her aunt and their livelihood but needs to look to the past to unlock secrets and save the day.  

Elizabeth Penney has done an incredible job creating a cast of characters that include a former spy, a handsome neighbor as well as new friends and foes for Molly.  For me, although I really enjoyed Chapter and Curse and found it entertaining it was somewhat predictable and I guessed the perpetrator and motive fairly early. It’s a quick fun read if that’s what you are looking for and I am looking forward to reading future books in this series! 

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#Netgalley #BookReview ~ #Writing Down the Bones Deck 60 Cards to Free the #Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg #Creativity #Non-Fiction

Review

Writing Down the Bones Deck

60 Cards to Free the Writer Within

by Natalie Goldberg

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Writing Down the Bones Deck 60 Cards to Free the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg from Netgalley and Shambala Publications, in order to read and give an honest review.

… a continuation of Goldberg’s wonderful process and as always, are insightful, interesting, and engaging….

I remember picking up a copy of Writing Down the Bones about twenty years ago and it was one of the books that helped me fall in love with writing again. Anyone who has worked through any of Natalie Goldberg’s books will know that her approach is unique as it challenges you to think about writing in a unique way and these cards are no different. Through these sixty cards, Goldberg inspires and motivates, offering sage advice and proposing challenges which you set yourself allowing you choose how deep you delve into your writing.

These are great for anyone looking to ignite their creativity, whether you’re looking for inspiration, drafting a novel or keeping a daily journal, these cards are a brilliant addition to your writing/creativity library. Writing Down the Bones Deck 60 Cards to Free the Writer Within are a continuation of Goldberg’s wonderful process and as always, are insightful, interesting, and engaging, I would highly recommend.

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#NetGalley #BookReview Ancient Egypt: The Cradle of Civilization by Peter Mavrikis #AncientEgypt #Egyptology #Photography

Book Review

Ancient Egypt: The Cradle of Civilization

by Peter Mavrikis

Release date: September 14th, 2021

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Ancient Egypt: The Cradle of Civilization by Peter Mavrikis from NetGalley and Amber Books to read and give an honest review.

…Ancient Egypt: The Cradle of Civilization truly is a captivatingly beautiful journey through Egyptian history…

I have been fascinated with Ancient Egypt since I was a child and recently have started taking courses in Archaeology, in particular Egyptology. I was thrilled to be afforded the opportunity to read and review Ancient Egypt: The Cradle of Civilization and I loved this book.

Ancient Egypt: The Cradle of Civilization is a stunning collection of photographs of Ancient Egyptian relics, covering items from the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, New Kingdom, Late Period, and Greco-Roman Period, revealing recent finds amongst its collection. Accompanying each photograph are brief captions by author Peter Mavrikis that discusses concisely the relevance of each photograph and its significance in history.  

They say, A picture is worth a thousand words….” and in this case Peter Mavrikis has shared volumes, Ancient Egypt: The Cradle of Civilization truly is a captivatingly beautiful journey through Egyptian history.  

This would be perfect gift with anyone who is fascinated by Ancient Egypt and its amazing wonders, I would highly recommend it.   

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#NetGalley #BookReview Reading Between the Crimes A Jane Doe Book Club Mystery #2 by Kate Young #Mystery #Cozy #CrookedLaneBooks

Reading Between the Crimes

A Jane Doe Book Club Mystery #2

by Kate Young

Release date: September 7th, 2021  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Reading Between the Crimes (A Jane Doe Book Club Mystery #2) by Kate Young from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

brilliantly crafted characters and intriguing clever plotlines that will keep you turning pages

Reading Between the Crimes, the second in the Jane Doe Book Club Mysteries begins a year or so after the events of book one, On Borrowed Crime. Lyla Moody has established herself at her Uncle Calvin’s Private Investigations Agency, has settled into a comfortable relationship with her agent boyfriend and seems that her family has become a bit more understanding of her life choices. When a local librarian and friend of the true crime book club the Jane Doe’s, Harper Richardson, seems to be under duress and confides in her, Lyla steps up as a friend, agreeing to help her find her missing aunt. Things deteriorate when Lyla and her beloved Gran stumble across the body of Harper’s husband Leonard Richardson at a fundraiser hosted by Lyla’s parents. While waiting for the police to arrive a key piece of evidence goes missing and everyone becomes a suspect. When the case takes a turn and Lyla becomes a target, taunted with clues that coincide with their book club pick, Agatha Christie’s the Crooked House along with her friends Lyla begins to put the pieces together and a strange connection to Lyla’s Mother and Uncle Calvin’s past makes this even more chaotic.

Author, Kate Young has done it again, brilliantly crafted characters and intriguing clever plotlines that will keep you turning pages and if you’re like me…losing sleep. I really enjoyed Reading Between the Crimes, although the second in the series it works well as a stand-alone, but I would really recommend On Borrowed Crime as well, both are fantastic reads, and I am looking forward to reading future books in this series!