Books

#Review of A Little History of Archaeology (Little Histories) by Brian Fagan #NetGalley #Archaeology

 

Review

A Litte History Cover

A Little History of Archaeology

(Little Histories)

by Brian Fagan

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Little History of Archaeology by Brian Fagan from NetGalley and Yale University Press in order to read and give an honest review.

I have been a fan of Brian Fagan for a long time. His books are always enjoyable, packed with information and written in a way that is entertaining yet educational. In A Little History of Archaeology, Dr. Fagan does it again.

In A Little History of Archaeology, he walks us through history, showing us the humble beginnings and evolution of archaeology. His style is that of a person who loves his subject matter and he takes a subject which to some may seem complex and tedious and breaths life into it.

Dr. Fagan takes us along a journey traveling through time and visiting the far reaches of the earth. We begin with Napoleon’s scientists aka “donkeys” in Egypt before “archaeology” had really begun. The “donkeys” who were a collection of experts in agriculture, art, engineering, and botany although methods somewhat crude were one of the first to explore with curiosity.  We meet the likes of Darwin, Clark, Kenyon, and Kelso, all of whom have paved the way to the advent of archaeology.

We get introductions to carbon dating, travel far a wide and learn so much along the way. Whether you are an armchair archaeologist or in the field, there is something in A Little History of Archaeology for everyone.

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#WATWB, Art, Chronic Illness

Giving Artists with Disabilities a Place to Thrive! #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 Shilpa Garg, Inderpreet Kaur Uppal, Peter Nena, Andrea Michaels and Damyanti Biswas.
To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


Although, due to health and personal reasons I had been taking a brief hiatus from #WATWB this video passed through my feeds and I just had to share.

As many are aware I am a huge advocate for art as therapy. Art can help us make sense of our lives and ourselves, can uplift us on the darkest of days, can be healing and transformative but most importantly it can give us a voice. At Creative Growth Art Center a non-profit in Oakland, California it does just that. Since opening their doors in 1974 the centre has worked with hundreds of artists with developmental, mental and physical disabilities providing them with tools, space, inspiration and support to thrive as artists. Serving approximately 162 artists a week they cater to a multiple of mediums from painting and drawing to wordworking and fashion. Although many of the clients are non-verbal, here, art is the common language.

Today, artists represented by Creative Growth have been invited to the Venice Biennale, have had their works acquired by MoMA, and remain are making a wonderful name for themselves among collectors around the world.

To learn more about the centre and their programs click here: http://www.creativegrowth.org/category/news/

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#BookReview of #Outbreak (A Nightshades Novel #3) by @MelissaFOlson #UrbanFantasy #NetGalley

Review

Outbreak by Melissa Olson Cover

Outbreak

(A Nightshades Novel #3)

by Melissa F. Olson

Release date: June 5th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Outbreak (Nightshades #3) by Melissa F. Olson from NetGalley and Macmillan/Tor in order to read and give an honest review.

Fast-paced, this book chills and thrills…

Being a fan of Melissa Olson and in particular this series, I enjoyed this latest entry in the Nightshades series.

Dealing with the aftermath of the events of Switchback, Hector is on the loose and both Alex and Lindy’s reputations and lives are in jeopardy. The BPI looking to imprison Lindy, both Alex and Lindy go into hiding while trying to find a way to put an end to Hector’s freedom. Hector’s ego drives him as he seeks to hunt down Lindy trying to gain adoration, respect and ultimately become ruler of the shades.

As always Olson’s plotting keeps you on the edge of your seat but she also does a fantastic job of creating multifaceted characters, strong, fierce, intelligent yet with a touch of humour and compassion.

In this book, we learn a bit more about the dynamic between Lindy and her brother Hector as their pasts come back to haunt them.

Fast-paced, this book chills and thrills culminating in a perfect ending. The end introduces new possibilities for Lindy and Alex and I can’t wait to see where Olson takes us next.

 

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Attention All Book Lovers: May is #MilitaryAppreciationMonth in the US via @CSWCLynn

CSWCLLC logo by Grindhouse Media

Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC is made up of former US military as such we tend to honor Active, Reserve, Retired, and Veteran military. In the US on Memorial Day, we have paid tribute to those that “gave all” in a ceremony or two. We have also made it an annual thing to reduce the price of our books. This year, Call Sign: Wrecking Crew Storm Warning, the first book in the series will be available via Amazon Kindle to all for free from 25 May 2018 through 29 May 2018. The Kindle version is also available via Kindle Unlimited, meaning if you are a member of this program you can get it virtually free at any time.

CSWCSW via Amazon

Here is the US link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004INHK2G

Here is the Global link:myBook.to/CSWCSW

By all means feel free to download the complete three book series.

 

Authors Supporting Authors

Lynn Hallbrooks

Recently, Lynn Hallbrooks connected with the author/owner of the Diabolic Shrimp website – https://diabolicshrimp.com/ – and along with the Call Sign: Wrecking Crew series, she included her non-fiction work, Helpful Household Hints for the Harried Human. Because Diabolic Shrimp is about sharing authors’ work with readers, they have a waiting list for books being displayed in the footer of each page. It so happens that her book will be featured in one of the slots. Because of this, the upcoming two year anniversary, and the multitude of graduations, she will be lowering the price of the book from now through the whole month of June. Whether you are an author or reader, check out Diabolic Shrimp’s sign up here: https://diabolicshrimp.com/avid4/

Cover for Helpful Household Hints

If you would rather go directly to Amazon Kindle or Kindle Unlimited, here is the US link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H68UEW2

Here is the Global link: myBook.to/HHH4HH

Latest Release

In case you missed it on social media, there is a new book in the Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC line-up. It is a collection of quotations compiled by Lynn Hallbrooks and written by Israel O. Okundaye. The title is The Heartbeat of African Rhythm and is available for various eReaders (i.e., Nook, Kindle, and Kobo) through Books2Read here:

The Heartbeat of African Rhythm via Amazon

https://www.books2read.com/u/b5MdGA

Appreciation

If you want to learn more about Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC you can always visit their website:

https://cswcllc.weebly.com/

Let it be known that the founders of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC appreciate Belinda Witzenhausen sharing about our work and the work of other authors. We hope that as you read the various books that you have seen on her website, that you will take a moment or two to reach out to the authors with some positively written feedback.

Books

#NetGalley #Review of The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg (@CNHolmberg )#UrbanFantasy

 

Review

The Plastic Magician

(The Paper Magician Series #4)

by Charlie N. Holmberg

Release date: May 15th, 2018

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Plastic Magician by CN Holmberg Cover


I received a complimentary ARC copy of  The Plastic Magician (The Paper Magician #4 Spin-Off) by Charlie N. Holmberg from NetGalley and 47th North

New to the world of Charlie N. Holmberg I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by The Plastic Magician. This book although a spin-off of the popular YA Paper Magician Series (which I have yet to read) this book definitely works as a stand-alone.

The Plastic Magician treats us to twenty-year-old Polymaker (Plastic Magician) Alvie Brechenmacher’s adventures apprenticing abroad.  Down to earth, intelligent and highly enthusiastic, Alvie leaves her German-American family in the states to apprentice for the world-renowned inventor and Polymaker, Magician Praff in London England.

Enroute she meets a rather rude gentleman who causes her to get off at the wrong train station and this is where her adventure begins. Along her journey, Alvie meets wonderful friends, a kind-hearted love interest and a mentor who respects and believes in her.  Magician Praff and Alvie work on a life-changing invention to not only help a friend but to present at a world-famous convention(contest) for Magicians.  Magician Praff has already won the elite contest and it helped establish him as one of the best Polymakers in the world.  When word gets out to rivals that they are presenting a groundbreaking device that will help many people,  their work and lives are put in peril.

Holmberg does a fantastic job crafting this fantastical cozy mystery. She creates a unique, fun magic system and her characters are interesting, quirky and downright loveable. Although the mystery is fairly predictable, I really didn’t mind because I liked the sweet story that unfolded along the way.  There is a bit of adventure, a bit of romance and a great story that keeps you interested in Alvie’s journey.  

All in all a fantastic, fun read that I would highly recommend for young and old alike.

Books

#BookReview of Owl and the Tiger Thieves (The Adventures of Owl #4) by Kristi Charish (@kristicharish) via #NetGalley #Urban Fantasy

 

Review

Owl & The Tiger Thieves Cover

 Owl and the Tiger Thieves

(The Adventures of Owl #4)

by Kristi Charish

Release date: May 8th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of  Owl and the Tiger Thieves (The Adventures of Owl #4) by Kristi Charish from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada in order to read and give an honest review.

4.5 Stars…multifaceted characters, fantastic worldbuilding, action-packed plot with twists and turns… 

Being a fan of Kristi Charish’s The Adventure of Owl series, I can say this fourth instalment doesn’t disappoint. The Owl series is best described as Indiana Jane but with a paranormal/urban fantasy twist.

Owl aka Alix Hiboux our illustrious anti-hero, antiquities thief, and ex-archaeologist begins a new mission, to rescue her possessed boyfriend Rynn after the events of the last book. The only way Owl can accomplish this is to collect medallions to enlist the assistance of the Tiger Thieves. She also gets the unwelcome assistance of Rynn’s cousin and antagonist through the series, Artemis. In previous books, I loathed Artemis but oddly enough found myself actually…liking him? Charish has done a fantastic job helping her characters evolve, even Artemis which I really didn’t see happening.

This book opens with Owl’s self-imposed imprisonment in St. Albinus of Angers, an ancient pirate jail, then sends her on a quest to Venice where we meet an undead DaVinci. In Venice, she not only picks up a medallion, but an ancient weapon built by DaVinci thought to steal supernatural power.  We then travel to deserts and jungles while trying to find the other medallions.  Along the journey, she is being hunted by a new enemy, one who she loves, Rynn. A possessed Rynn is out for blood, Alix’s, and will stop at nothing to get it.

This instalment is true to form and everything we expect from Kristi Charish, multifaceted characters, fantastic worldbuilding, action-packed plot with twists and turns which leaves us with an unexpected twist at the end.

Urban fantasy and archaeology, two of my favourite things in one series and Owl & the Tiger Thieves is a fantastic entry that I would definitely recommend!

Books

#BookReview of Motherland (Captain Natalya Ivanova #1) by G. D. Abson (@garry_abson) via #NetGalley #Thriller

 

Review

Motherland GDAbson Cover

Motherland

(Captain Natalya Ivanova #1)

by G. D. Abson

Release date: April 26th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Motherland (Captain Natalya Ivanova #1) by G. D. Abson from NetGalley and Mirror Books in order to read and give an honest review.

“Incredible characters, intriguing plot and oh, so clever…”

First in a new series by author G.D. Abson, this thriller is the start of something very promising. Fast-paced and gritty, Motherland hooks the reader early on forcing them to hold on for dear life through the twists and turns of this brilliant story.  

Set in modern-day St. Petersburg, Captain Natalya Ivanova of the Criminal Investigations Directorate investigates the disappearance of Zena Dahl, the adopted daughter of Swedish billionaire Thorsen Dahl. As lead investigator Natalya faces one obstacle after another trying to find Zena before it’s too late. When a body is found the kidnapping turns into a homicide investigation and someone wielding a great deal of power will do anything to keep her from finding the truth.  Natalya has to fight it all: political intrigue, corruption, misogyny, marital issues, threats to her family, false accusations, betrayal from those she trusts, mobsters and threats from the FSB (formerly KGB) all to piece together what happened to Zena.  

Abson’s ability to create very real multifaceted characters is brilliant. Natalya, the protagonist, in my opinion, is well written, she is portrayed as down to earth, intelligent, strong, honest, yet flawed and comes across as very real. Married to her co-worker Mikhail, they live a believable family life with her step-son Anton. Through marital strife and threats to her family, she handles it with courage, conviction and a touch of humor. For me, almost every character comes to life on the page, the good, the bad and the well…disgusting.  

Incredible characters, intriguing plot, and a twist at the end that was truly unexpected. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to future books in the Captain Natalya Ivanova series.  If you are looking for a clever fast-paced thriller, I would highly recommend reading Motherland.  

Books

The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook by Laura McLively via #NetGalley #Review #Vegetarian

 

Review

Berkeley Bowl Cover

The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook

Recipes Inspired by the Extraordinary Produce of California’s Most Iconic Market

by Laura McLively

Release date: April 17th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook
Recipes Inspired by the Extraordinary Produce of California’s Most Iconic Market
by Laura McLively from NetGalley and Parallax Press in order to read and give an honest review.

Loved this cookbook! It’s nice to bring Californian cuisine to Toronto Canada.  This book was full of amazing vegetarian recipes with unique ingredients, easy to follow instructions, beautiful coloured photographs, and creative seasonal menus.

Although some of the ingredients aren’t found in your average grocery store I was able to find them at a local Asian grocery store. Even if you can’t obtain the ingredients easily, one of the things that impressed me about this book was the fact it gave you a few suitable and easily available substitutions. I was also fond of the fact it categorized the recipes by the type of vegetable you’re using I.e. Leaves; Flower, Seeds and Pods; Spores and Succulents; Stems; Roots and Tubers; and Sweet and Savory Fruit instead of the appetizers, entrees etc.

I recommend this to anyone looking for a culinary adventure! It has something to suit every vegetarians’ taste. With dishes such as Sweet & Sour Tofu with Gooseberries, Indian Stuffed Eggplant and my new favorite dessert, Lemongrass Coconut Ice Cream you can’t go wrong! 

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#BookReview of Macbeth (Hogarth Shakespeare Project) by Jo Nesbø via #NetGalley

Review

Macbeth cover Jo Nesbo

Macbeth

(Hogarth Shakespeare Project)

by Jo Nesbø

Release date: April 10th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Macbeth (Hogarth Shakespeare Project) by Jo Nesbø from NetGalley and Crown Publishing/Penguin Random House in order to read and give an honest review.

As part of the Hogarth Shakespeare Project, this retelling of perhaps one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, Macbeth, Jo Nesbø has done it in a way only he can…brilliantly. 

The story set in the 70’s, opens with a drug bust of a biker gang gone wrong, hostage taking and SWAT commander Macbeth coming to the rescue of his childhood friend and fellow officer Duff.  Macbeth receives praise and accolades after saving the day which starts him on a path of personal and political ambition that will lead to his downfall. Growing up as a drug-addicted orphan who gets his life together after being raised by Banquo, Macbeth is what is considered a principled man.  After being coerced by Lady, the love of his life, to murder his boss Duncan in order to move his way up in the department, Macbeth’s life takes a dark turn. When he descends into addiction with drugs called “brew” and then the much stronger ”Power” his principles become corrupted and he becomes fraught with paranoia.  Friends become enemies, and enemies, friends to the point that you don’t know who to root for.  

If you have read Macbeth you’ll see where the story is going, and Nesbø follows the storyline pretty well (from what I remember) but it is entertaining nonetheless. Although very slow to start it does pick up and takes you on a journey you’ll never forget. This book has it all political intrigue, police corruption, addiction, murder, mayhem, organized crime, adultery…basically the things that show the worst of humanity, but all told with Nesbø’s unique and interesting voice. 

 

 

Books

Book #Review of The Wolf (Under the Northern Sky #1) by Leo Carew (@leocarew1) (#NetGalley)

Review

The Wolf Cover

The Wolf

(Under the Northern Sky #1)

by Leo Carew

Release date: April 1st, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Wolf (Under the Northern Sky #1) by Leo Carew from NetGalley and Orbit/Hatchette Book Group in order to read and give an honest review.

Intense, gripping and an adventure not to be missed.  

When young Roper, son of the Anakim’s Black Lord watches his father slaughtered in battle, he is thrust into the role of leader of the Black Kingdom’s Army and new Black Lord of the Kingdom. When forced to retreat or lose thousands of soldiers he becomes a disappointment and is mocked by everyone in the kingdom.  Their opponents, the Sutherners, after the death of their commander, are left in the hands of Bellamus, referred to by the kingdom as an “upstart” or “nobody”. Both sides fates being left to men who are sorely underestimated and who must prove their worth’s to their kingdoms.

Roper faces opposition at every turn by the Black Kingdom’s fiercest and most decorated soldier,  Uvoren.  Uvoren, feels the kingdoms should be rightfully his and will go to any length to obtain it.  After basic posturing, humiliation and a smear campaign by Uvoren, Roper must find a way to become a hero to his people and gain confidence in himself.  He does everything in his power to not only become a great warrior but to become a great and fair leader to his people.

In his debut novel, Carew does an impeccable job of creating a foreboding frozen northern landscape along with masterfully depicting the lifestyle and culture of the Anakim people who live there. His characters feel genuine, flawed and incredibly believable. Fraught with intriguing political twists and battle scenes that are as vivid as they are powerful this book will keep you engaged in Carew’s world right to the end. The end leaves not on a cliffhanger but open to the next instalment which I for one will be eagerly waiting for.

Although I read urban fantasy and am not a regular reader of Epic Fantasy I loved The Wolf, I found it intense and captivating.  If you enjoy epic fantasy such as George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones this series might appeal to you.