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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 actively expressing my creativity. Both my education and work history have revolved around social services, counselling, visual arts, art therapy, coaching and channeling my creativity through writing, art, or photography.

Over the years I have been blessed to cross paths with many interesting and creative people who have been such an incredible source of inspiration.

To sum it up, 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 and by challenging them to make their creative dreams a reality. Other passions of mine include anthropology, archaeology, paleography, animal welfare 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 scheduled to be released in 2022/23. I am also a contributing writer for various mainstream websites, main writer/creator of BelindaWitzenhausen.com, WriterzBlox, a partner at Professor Owl’s Book Corner, main book reviewer at Boho & Bookish and Urban Word Nerd as well as Creativity Coach at IgniteYourCreativity.ca.


*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 Summer 2023.


© Belinda Witzenhausen, 2009-2022. 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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#Net Galley #BookReview on Spine of Death, By the Book Mysteries #2 by Tamara Berry #cozy #mystery

On Spine of Death

By the Book Mysteries #2

by Tamara Berry

Release date: November 29th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of On Spine of Death, By the Book Mysteries #2 by Tamara Berry from Net Galley and Poisoned Pen Press in order to read and give an honest review.  

… fun, fast-paced mystery, filled with crazy red herrings, quirky characters, a touch of romance and some humour …  

The second installment in Tamara Berry’s “By the Book series” continues where best-selling mystery author Tess Harrow and her teenage daughter, Gertrude leaves off in book one of the series, Buried in a Good Book. Deciding to make a permanent move to Winthrop, WA. Tess fixes up the rustic cabin she inherited from her grandfather along with his old, dilapidated hardware store. Tess decides to convert the store into Winthrop’s first bookstore despite it being in the middle of an area that the powerful and corrupt Mason wants to develop. Although the store is a disaster, the project goes ahead requiring a complete renovation which uncovers hacked human bones, decades old, not only putting the town on edge but with all fingers pointing to her dead grandfather. When the case appears to point to a thirty-year-old cold case with ties to a wildly accurate mystery novel written by an author using a pseudonym and that Tess unknowingly wrote a blurb for.  As the clues unravel an even bigger mystery that has personal ties to the local Sheriff, Victor Boyd puts pressure on Tess to get to the bottom of it to help her friend and clear her grandfather’s name.

On the Spine of Death is a fun, fast-paced mystery, filled with crazy red herrings, quirky characters, a touch of romance and some humour. On the Spine of Death in my opinion is a fantastic and fun cozy and I can’t wait to read more in the series. I highly recommend it.

Books

#NetGalley #BookReview Egypt’s Golden Couple; When Akhenaten and Nefertiti Were Gods on Earth by John and Colleen Darnell #AncientEgypt #Egyptology

Book Review

Egypt’s Golden Couple

by John & Colleen Darnell

Release date: November 1st, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Egypt’s Golden Couple; When Akhenaten and Nefertiti Were Gods on Earth by John and Colleen Darnell from Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press to read and give an honest review.

Definitely a labor of love, the authors’ passion for the subject evident in every sentence…

I’ve always been interested in Egyptology and always strive to learn more. Authors John and Colleen Darnell well established in the field, have crafted this well written and extensively researched book about Akhenaten and Nefertiti who reigned in Egypt during the Eighteenth Dynasty from 1352-1336 BCE .

Every chapter contains vignettes recreating dramatic scenes gleaned from artifacts from the time of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, offering the Darnell’s interpretations of translations in the form of fiction-like vignettes on Akhenaten’s unique place in Ancient Egyptian history. The book seems somewhat chronological, starting with the reign of Amenhotep III, Akhenaten’s father, and ends with the death of his son Tutankhamun.

All encompassing, the Darnell’s discus various aspects of Egyptian life including culture, death, rituals, religion, art and family. Akhenaten boldly changed the polytheistic Egyptian religion to a monotheistic one that making an indelible mark in Egyptian society.

I enjoyed this book and will definitely be rereading it as it was such an intensive dive into Akhenaten and Nefertiti ‘s reign. Definitely a labor of love, the authors’ passion for the subject evident in every sentence. My main issue with Egypt’s Golden Couple was that I often found the fiction like narrative a bit distracting from the archaeological evidence.

Books

#Net Galley #BookReview Treachery on Tenth Street Gilded Gotham Mystery #3 by Kate Belli #Historical #Mystery

 Review

Treachery on Tenth Street

(A Gilded Gotham Mystery #3)

by 

Kate Belli

 

Release date: October 11th, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Treachery on Tenth Street (A Gilded Gotham Mystery) by Kate Belli from Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

…An intriguing, well-written, fast-paced mystery, Belli brilliantly creates compelling characters, intriguing plotlines and rich historical details that transport you back to New York City in the late 1800’s. Treachery on Tenth is a page-turning historical mystery that keeps the reader engaged and I cannot wait to read more of Genevieve and Daniel’s adventures….

This is the third book in the A Gilded Gotham Mystery series by Kate Belli and Treachery on Tenth Street does not disappoint.  
 
After narrowly surviving the harrowing events of the previous novel, Betrayal on the Bowery, Reporter and socialite Genevieve Stewart and her friend Daniel McCaffrey are looking forward to escaping New York’s brutal summer for the coastal weather in Newport. Connecting with their dear friends Esme and her husband Rupert at a function welcoming home her brother Gavin from Egypt. At the function, a strange event occurs, when Daniel witnesses an altercation between a man and a woman on a beach below but there is no sign of them when he manages to get to the beach. Genevieve is surprised when a long-lost friend Callie returns after a self-imposed exile. Disappearing after being caught up in a scandal resulting in the loss of her family fortune, Callie is at a loss having to make ends meet and becomes an artist’s model. Callie begs for Genevieve’s assistance when her dear friend and fellow model, Bea, is found dead. Although Genevieve and Daniel’s nemesis Detective Longstreet, is calling Bea’s death a suicide Callie knows it was murder believing it difficult to slit one’s own throat. Genevieve and Daniel begin their investigation in the Tenth Street Building, which houses the artist’s studio where Bea worked. When they stumble across the body of, yet another model suffers a similar fate, her reporter’s instincts take over. In order to avoid panic, Detective Longstreet reluctantly agrees to work with Genevieve and Daniel if she keeps the rumors of Jack the Ripper on the run and hunting his victims in New York out of the papers. When they realize the models are posed like paintings, they begin chasing leads which take them all over the city and when the murder claims a third victim closer to home the race is on before another model is killed.  

An intriguing, well-written, fast-paced mystery, Belli brilliantly creates compelling characters, intriguing plotlines and rich historical details that transport you back to New York City in the late 1800’s. Treachery on Tenth is a page-turning historical mystery that keeps the reader engaged and I cannot wait to read more of Genevieve and Daniel’s adventures.

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#NetGalley #BookReview A Crime for the Books A Jane Doe Book Club Mystery #3 by Kate Young #Mystery #Cozy #CrookedLaneBooks

A Crime for the Books

A Jane Doe Book Club Mystery #3

by Kate Young

Release date: October 11th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Crime for the Books (A Jane Doe Book Club Mystery #3) by Kate Young from Net Galley 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

Having read the first two Jane Doe mysteries On Borrowed Crime and Reading Between the Crimes, I must share that by far this is my favorite for so many reasons. In A Crime for the Books an estranged relative of the Elaine is murdered at a Jane Doe book club event, an Agatha Christie Murder Mystery Party hosted at Elaine’s B&B. When another book club member, the currently acting police chief Rosa arrests Elaine, the town, PI Lyla Moody along with the rest of the book club are enraged. Lyla makes it her mission to get to the bottom of it before Elaine is falsely convicted and their Jane Doe book club family is destroyed. When rumors begin circulating about Rosa and her erratic behavior everyone turns on her, she is not only suspended, but becomes a target when an announcement similar to the book clubs current read Agatha Christie’s A Murder is Announced begins to circulate announcing another murder will take place. When a second body is found, and evidence starts to point to Rosa, Laya battles the evidence and the opinions of friends to help her. Laya’s friendships and her relationship with her law-enforcement boyfriend Brad are put to the test.  

This book really delved into the characters this time around highlighting the relationships, both friendships and romance. The author created characters with real challenges and genuine responses. The plot is clever and intricately woven filled with red herrings, suspense, heartbreak, and a touch of humor. A wonderfully complex whodunit that will keep you reading to the wee hours of the morning.  I would really recommend A Crime for the Books as well, all are fantastic reads, and I am looking forward to reading future books in this series! 

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 Crime for the Books and although it is the third in the series, it works well as a stand-alone, however, I would really recommend reading all three and I am looking forward to reading future books in this series! 

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#NetGalley #BookReview Live and Let Grind (Coffee Lover’s Mystery series #3) by Tara Lush #Cozy #Mystery

Live and Let Grind

Coffee Lover’s Mystery series #3

by Tara Lush

Release date: October 11th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Live and Let Grind (Coffee Lover’s Mystery series #3) by Tara Lush from Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

… a fun, fast-paced mystery, filled with an abundance of red herrings, quirky characters, and fun dialogue …  

In this third entry in the Coffee Lover’s Mystery series, we continue to see Lana adjust to life back in her hometown after leaving her ex-husband and high-profile journalism job in Miami. As the owner/manager of her family’s coffee shop Perkatory in Devil’s Beach, Florida, as well as a freelance reporter, Lana Lewis has been thrust into the role of amateur detective since returning home. When Lana’s ornery neighbor Gus insists on using his leaf blower excessively and at all hours, he gets into arguments with everyone in the neighborhood including Lana’s roommate and best friend Erica. When Gus is blown up by said blower after it has been rigged to explode those near and dear become suspects with Erica being a prime suspect. Her inner circle is small, other than Erica the three main loves of her life are her widowed hippy father, her boyfriend Police Chief Noah Garcia and her pup named Stanley. When Lana hopes to write a story to clear her friend’s name, Chief Garcia tries to block her from writing the story in an attempt to protect her. While her romantic relationship hits a bit of a rough patch, Lana will not back down and continues to work with Erica and find the real murderer. Gus was involved in some shady business practices and enemies seemed to be in abundance. When a second attempted murder points directly to Erica, Lana is under the gun to solve the case placing her and Erica in the cross hairs of the real murderer.

I enjoy the series as a whole and although not my favorite entry in the series to date Live and Let Grind is a fun, fast-paced mystery, filled with an abundance of red herrings, quirky characters, and fun dialogue. Live and Let Grind in my opinion is a fantastic and fun cozy mystery read which I definitely recommend.  

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#NetGalley #BookReview the Medici Murders (The Venetian Murders #1) by David Hewson #Historical #Mystery 

REVIEW

The Medici Murders

THE VENETIAN MYSTERY SERIES #1

by David Hewson

Release date: October 4th, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Medici Murders, The Venetian Murders #1 by David Hewson from NetGalley and Severn House in order to read and give an honest review.

” … Hewson’s writing is brilliant, his descriptions of Venice are rich and atmospheric, his prose beautiful, his cast of characters authentic, it has an intelligent complex plot that seamlessly blends historical fiction and fact …”

Recently widowed and retired archivist Arnold Clover keeps his recently deceased wife’s wishes to move to Venice. When his friend Luca entices him to assist with a freelance job for famed television historian Marmaduke Godolphin (Duke) his leisurely retirement becomes more than he bargained for. Arnold remembers Godolphin who once a renowned academic of his alma mater traded his ethics for the spotlight. Brash and Duke and his entourage, also known as the Gilded Circle from back in the day descend on Venice to solve of a historical mystery that Duke hopes will reinvigorate his fledging career. A mysterious benefactor has bequeathed documents that contain the secret, but nothing is as it seems. The Gilded circle consists of some of Arnold’s former classmates making it a reunion of sorts.
When the body of Godolphin is found floating in a Venice canal, the retired archivist is asked to assist the Carabinieri to offer a concise view of what happened. At the police station Capitano Valentina Fabbri questions Arnold for hours using his version as the truth to measure against the multiple suspects. The story unfolds as Arnold tells his version of events to Capitano Fabbri.

This book is somewhat difficult to review, there was so much to love about this book. Hewson’s writing is brilliant, his descriptions of Venice are rich and atmospheric, his prose beautiful, his cast of characters authentic, it has an intelligent complex plot that seamlessly blends historical fiction and fact. My one complaint is that it was marred by almost too much historical detail that could have been toned down a bit. You can tell the author is passionate about history and the book is thoroughly researched but I almost abandoned it in the beginning as it moved too slowly for me, but I am glad I did not it turned out to be an intriguing mystery with a twist at the end that makes it worth the read. I will definitely read any further books in the series, and I recommend it to lovers of classic whodunits with a historical bend.

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#NetGalley #BookReview of Fatal Rounds by Carrie Rubin #Thriller #Medical #Psychological

Review

Fatal Rounds

by Carrie Rubin

Release date: September 20, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Fatal Rounds by Carrie Rubin from NetGalley and Indigo Dot Press in order to read and give an honest review.

…Well-written, cleverly plotted with interesting and multifaceted characters, author Carrie Rubin gives you a brilliantly executed, clever, page-turning psychological medical thriller…

Being a fan of Carrie Rubin’s Dr. Benjamin Oris series I was thrilled to get to read and review the first of her new series, Fatal Rounds.

When first year medical student Liza Larkin embarks on her journey to be a pathologist, she has her reasons. Diagnosed with a schizoid personality and having her schizophrenic mother in an institution, Liza is determined not to be defined by the label. Liza also has another motive, while putting together a photo album together for her mother she sees a stranger hovering in several of her photos. Two pictures, one at her father’s funeral and another at her graduation, convince her that her family is being stalked, making her determined to get some answers. When she figures out who the stranger is she changes her residency to Titus McCall hospital where the famed trauma surgeon Sam Donavan works and thus the stalker becomes the stalked. Preferring her introverted life with a close-knit circle, Liza struggles to bond with her colleagues but she has a mission, and she will do what she can to get answers. When she starts uncovering secrets about Sam, secrets that point to her father’s death Liza is drawn into a cat and mouse game that pushes her both physically and mentally to the edge. Well-written, cleverly plotted with interesting and multifaceted characters, author Carrie Rubin gives you a brilliantly executed, clever, page-turning psychological medical thriller. I cannot wait to read the next in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it!

Books

#NetGalley #BookReview Crime Writer by Dime Sheppard #Mystery #Suspense #RomanticComedy

Crime Writer

by Dime Sheppard

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Crime Writer by Dime Sheppard from Net Galley and Ruby Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

…Quirky, charming, and all-encompassing in “the feels” department, you will laugh, and cry as you take a ride on an emotional and lively rollercoaster ride…  

When I first began reading Crime Writer by Dime Sheppard, I was expecting a mainstream mystery novel, but I was so pleasantly surprised. Brilliantly unique, fun, and completely unexpected, this mixture of mystery, thriller and romantic comedy has such a unique and engaging plot, that although I had my reservations in the first chapter, I was completely hooked minutes later.  

When Crime writer Evie Howland gets a brutal case of writer’s block on the overdue sixteenth book in her bestselling series, her confidence takes a nose-dive. Although introverted her social life has become incredibly busy, especially since she is in the midst of planning her wedding to billionaire Daniel Bradley and she wonders why she is struggling so. Desperate to finish her book Evie tries everything to get her characters NYPD detectives Carolyn Harding and Jay Ryan to speak to her, but maybe she tries a little too hard getting more than she bargained for. This is one of those books that is difficult to give a detailed review without giving away any of those plot gems that are scattered throughout the book. 

Quirky, charming, and all-encompassing in “the feels” department, you will laugh, and cry as you take a ride on an emotional and lively rollercoaster ride of a read. I highly recommend it! 
 
 

Books

#NetGalley #BookReview Bound by Murder (An Antique Bookshop Mystery #3) by Laura Gail Black #CozyMystery #CrookedLaneBooks

Bound By Murder 

An Antique Bookshop Mystery #3 

by Laura Gail Black 

Release date: September 6th, 2022 

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Bound by Murder (An Antique Bookshop Mystery #3) by Laura Gail Black from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

… is a cleverly plotted cozy mystery with complex, unique characters some of which you’ll love to hate …  

In Laura Gail Black’s third installment in the Antique Bookshop Mystery, we pick up with Jenna Quinn finally comfortable in Hokes Folly after a traumatic few years. Acquitted of murder and embezzlement charges, she finally has settled into the small town as owner of her uncle’s antiquarian bookstore and is enjoying her new life. With the bookstore doing well, new friends, a cute pup Eddie and wonderful boyfriend Keith, life is close to perfect, and she finally feels at peace. When her ex-fiancé Blake unexpectedly turns up in the store with his new fiancée Missy Plott clinging to him, her perfect peaceful life takes a turn for the worse.

The incredibly cruel and devious Missy enjoys flaunting her relationship in front of Jenna, but Jenna has happily moved on, her feelings for Blake disappeared the same as he had after her false arrest. When Blake corners Jenna a few nights before his wedding he begs her to take him back and he will not take no for an answer.
After witnessing a volatile scene with Blake, Missy, and the wedding party, a love triangle reveals itself and Jenna begins to see that all is not well in paradise. While Jenna and her best friend Rita are taking Eddie for a late-night walk, they discover Missy’s dead body, and no one is safe from being a suspect. Jenna’s relationship is put in jeopardy when boyfriend, police detective Keith Logan insists Blake is the prime suspect in Missy’s murder, but Jenna just doesn’t believe it. When Jenna keeps stumbling across information and her past reputation has inspired a vendetta against her, Jenna must get to the bottom of it before her life is once again turned upside down.

Laura Gail Black’s excellent Antique Bookshop Mystery Series keeps true to form. This is the best book in the series, in my opinion, The author does it again, Bound by Murder is a cleverly plotted cozy mystery with complex, unique characters some of which you’ll love to hate, clever red herrings leading to a very unexpected ending. A wonderful read I would highly recommend, and I am looking forward to reading future books in this series! 

Books

#NetGalley #BookReview Dewey Decimated (The Haunted Library Mysteries #6) by Allison Brook #Cozy #Mystery 

Dewey Decimated

The Haunted Library Mysteries #6

by Allison Brook

Release date: September 6th 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Dewey Decimated (The Haunted Library Mysteries #6) by Allison Brook from Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

…a fun, and intriguing, cozy mystery with a quick-witted protagonist, cleverly crafted plot, filled with red herrings, a touch of romance and a quirky cast of fun characters …  

A fan of Allison Brook’s The Haunted Library Mysteries, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review Dewey Decimated, the newest entry in the series. Dewey Decimated picks up slightly after the last book and life is looking good for Carrie Singleton. With the expansion of the Clover Ridge Library finally getting underway, Carrie is still trying to settle into her new life. Life is busy with her new fiancé Dylan, good friends, quirky family, a wonderful position at the library, a recent appointment to town councilor, a cute cat named Smokey Joe and a ghostly library dwelling friend named Evelyn.  

While the construction crew working on the library expansion begins breaking through the wall of the neighboring building, they uncover a body in the basement. No one knows the identity of the victim, but he appears to Carrie and Evelyn in his ghostly form and cannot remember anything. When it is revealed that the victim is Alec, her fiancé’s estranged uncle, Carrie and Evelyn need to find his murderer so that he can move on. Carrie, known as the town’s “Nancy Drew“, gets in the crosshairs of reporter Julie Theron who is looking to launch her career and is desperate to team up with Carrie in order to solve the murder and get the scoop of the century. Trying to juggle her job, solve a murder, evade a pushy reporter, deal with two pestering ghosts and decide on a contentious council issue, Carrie has her hands full. When Sean, a council member, friend, and the library’s contractor is murdered Carrie’s investigation goes on the front burner and once again she puts everything at risk to solve the crimes.  

 If you are looking for a fun, and intriguing, cozy mystery with a quick-witted protagonist, cleverly crafted plot, filled with red herrings, a touch of romance and a quirky cast of fun characters this book is for you.