Books

#Review of A Mortal Likeness (#Victorian #Mystery No.2) by Laura Joh Rowland

 

A Mortal Likeness

(#Victorian #Mystery No.2)

by Laura Joh Rowland

Release date: January 9th, 2018

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A Mortal Likeness Cover


I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Mortal Likeness (#Victorian #Mystery No.2) by Laura Joh Rowland from NetGalley & Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

A fast-paced, suspenseful whodunit set in Victorian England, A Mortal Likeness, will keep you on the edge of your seat.  I read and reviewed book one, The Ripper’s Shadow last year and found this one to be just as enjoyable.

In this story, we join photographer Sarah Bain and the disgraced Lord Hugh Staunton after the fallout of solving the Jack the Ripper case. Hugh, short on cash after being disowned by his wealthy family persuades Sarah to open a detective agency. With funds running low they are at the mercy of whichever cases fall in their lap.  While working on a case investigating a philandering husband, they are thrust into a high-profile case which although paying well will throw them into peril at every turn.

The wealthy and influential Gerald Mariner frustrated with the lack of progress by the police in solving the kidnapping of his son Robin Mariner hires them to solve the crime. Broke and in need of cash they accept the case but Sir Mariner has one caveat, they are to tell no one they are working on the case. Although Hugh is nonplussed about it, Sarah is uncomfortable lying to her police constable lover who has been assigned to the case. There also may be connections to Sarah’s supposedly dead father whom she sees in the background of some surveillance photos she’s taken.  Sir Gerald, is convinced that the kidnapping is an inside job and invites them to stay on his estate to investigate. With emotions running high and a killer under the same roof, they are met with hostility and distrust. To make matters worse the other officer on the case had his career damaged on the Jack the Ripper case, partly thanks to Sarah and Hugh, has a vendetta against them and will not rest until he can pin the kidnapping on them.

I thoroughly enjoyed the twists, turns which lead up to a surprising but very satisfying ending. I would wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who loves a good mystery.

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Books

#Review of Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire #UrbanFantasy #ModernFairytale

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Review

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3)

by Seanan McGuire

Release date: January 9th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3) by Seanan McGuire from NetGalley and Tor in order to read and give an honest review.

Seanan McGuire is definitely one of my favorite fantasy authors. Her books have it all, perfect prose, masterful plots, exciting worlds and engaging characters and the same is true for her Wayward Children series. This dark and whimsical series like all of her work is so well written that it grabs hold of you and takes you twisting and turning into fascinating new worlds. McGuire addresses, race, sexuality, religion, illness, disabilities, mental health etc. and handles it with such nuance.  Her characters are multifaceted and each face personal challenges that so many can relate to.  

The series revolves around students housed at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.  The Home for Wayward Children is a safe haven for children who have traveled to different portal worlds so different from their own. The other worlds are nothing like our world, some are underwater worlds, worlds made of confection, worlds of death, some are logical ones with order and others nonsense worlds, where chaos is plenty and rules don’t apply. Often when the children return to this world they are lost or traumatized, their parents unable to help them and at a loss, send them to the home. Often, these children long to go back, biding their time waiting for the opportunity when the door back reveals itself again or actively searching looking for clues. 

In this story, we hear from characters from the previous award-winning “Every Heart a Doorway” and we get to meet Cora. Cora, overweight and insecure, came to the home from an underwater world where she enjoyed being a mermaid. Cora although worried at first, finds she fits in just fine at the home, each of the students so unique in their own way.  As Cora is getting used to the home, a girl falls from the sky looking for her mother, a former student who had passed away recently.  The group band together to help her embark on a quest to find her mother, through time and multiple worlds, the reader catches glimpses of the group’s experiences as they travel through the different doors. 

I have loved each book in this series and as a series, it is definitely 5-star.  However, I would give this story 4.5 stars only because I found that some things seemed a bit unnecessary and detracted from the story. Information on the logical, nonsense aspects of the worlds as well as Cora’s insecurities kept re-appearing a little too often for me, but reading is subjective and others might not mind it as much.   All in all, this was a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it.  

Books

#Book #Review – Daily #Writing Resilience 365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers by Bryan Robinson

 

Review

Daily Writing Resilience

365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers

by Bryan Robinson

Release date: January 8th, 2018

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Daily Writing Resilence


I received a complimentary ARC copy of   Daily Writing Resilience ~ 365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers by Bryan Robinson PhD from NetGalley & Llewellyn Publications in order to read and give an honest review.

I loved this book and found it to be incredibly motivational. Bryan Robinson’s inspirational book is a daily devotional for writers. Daily Writing Resilience offers a writer 365 days of prompts and advice, sure to help get their creativity flowing. The book is dated containing daily quotes, valuable snippets of wisdom and what the author calls “Today’s Takeaway” which are tips to help any writer be the best they can be.  It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned writer, battling writer’s block or just starting to get your feet wet, I would definitely recommend Daily Writing Resilience to anyone looking for motivation.

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Making the Most of 2018! #AmWriting #CreativityCoaching #Studying #BookReviews

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” ~ Albert Camus
 January 2018

Finally, 2018 is here and with it a renewed sense of spirit. 2017 had more than it’s share of challenges, sadness and loss but it’s time to move forward into a bright and shiny New Year.

I decided although I have goals to some degree I wasn’t going to make all of the usual resolutions which in all likelihood would fizzle out when more pressing things popped up.  I decided on one simple focus: to just be a better person than I was last year.  I hope to be healthier, more at peace, more creative, more positive, more knowledgeable…just more. No constraints, no competition, no self-doubt…no stressing about where I am. If last year taught me anything it’s that life is too short to spend it trying to be perfect, I just want to be me, a better version, not perfect…just unapologetically me.

I have already resumed studying, reading, volunteering, creating and writing. In the next few months, I will be working on some new programs and packages at IgniteYourCreativity.net.   Both of my coaching programs:“Ignite Your Core Creativity” & “Art As Therapy”  will be relaunching in February and I will be adding several new e-courses in the Spring. 

Over at Professor Owl’s Book Corner, we will be publishing our January Newsletter this week. This month, as usual, we will share some great book recommendations, literacy tutoring information and writing inspiration for our young writers. 

Also be on the lookout for new book reviews, guest posts and articles on BelindaWitzenhausen.com.

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We will also be resuming our  “We Are The World Blogfest” #WATWB on January 26th .  We are so thrilled about the fantastic response we are getting and send out a huge thank you to all those who have participated. If you are tired of all of the negativity online please join us and help be the change.  🙂

Wondering what #WATWB is all about? 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 positive stories led by five co-hosts. If you are interested in learning more about this or to join us please click here for details. Again, #WATWB is back on January 26th, 2018!

Wishing everyone a fantastic January!

Wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you are living in and loving the moment.

Live, laugh & love!

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” ~ Maya Angelou 

#amwriting #researching #urbanfantasy #CelticMythology #mystery #historicalfiction #learning #studying #archaeology #egyptology #manuscriptstudies #palaeography  #codicology #history #journaling #yoga #meditation #arttherapy #coaching #WATWB #bookreviews #art #volunteering #transcribing #amreading  #blogging #authorinterviews

My Spotify Playlist ~#AmWriting #UrbanFantasy ~ Moon of Morrigan Trilogy

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A New Year is Coming, What Are Your Goals? via @LynnHallbrooks

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Calendar year 2017 is coming to a close. Many people make goals for the New Year. Some want to lose weight. Others just want to be healthier. Some want to be more organized or clutter-free. Lynn Hallbrooks’s book, Helpful Household Hints for the Harried Human, may not help you lose weight but there are a few tips in there for staying healthy while cooking and cleaning. As for organizing, there are some thoughts on that too.

For only 99 cents USD and equivalent around the globe, from now until 1 January 2018, why not get it for yourself or share it with a loved one.

Direct link to Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Helpful-Household-Hints-Harried-Human-ebook/dp/B01H68UEW2/

Here’s a link that can take you to the Amazon Marketplace closest to you: myBook.to/HHH4HH

Don’t know how to share an ebook via Amazon, try this link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201964280

Lynn Hallbrooks wishes everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year.

Lynn Hallbrooks posing
Lynn Hallbrooks

Lynn Hallbrooks wrote short stories for fun during her High School years. After serving in the U.S. Air Force she continued her Health Information Management (formerly known as Medical Records) career into civilian life. In late 2009, she and her writing partner, David McKoy began the Call Sign: Wrecking Crew series. In 2010, they founded Call Sign: Wrecking Crew, LLC which Lynn runs. Along the way, she has stayed with some friends and earned her keep by doing household duties such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry. She realized she might be able to help others with a few pieces of advice, thus Helpful Household Hints for the Harried Human was conceived.

Below are some locations where you can follow Ms. Hallbrooks:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Hallbrooks/e/B0050ZOGAA

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LynnHallbrooks

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lynn-hallbrooks-39207934/

Twitter: @LynnHallbrooks: https://twitter.com/LynnHallbrooks

Website: http://cswcllc.weebly.com/

#WATWB, Information, ProfessorOwlsBookCorner, Writing

Wrapping up 2017! #AmWriting #Coaching #Studying #BookReviews

 

“No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.” ~ Maya Angelou
December

Hard to believe that 2018 is just around the corner.  This past year has definitely had some huge challenges on all fronts, as well as having to say goodbye to some dear friends and loved family members.  There have been days that have seemed darker than others, but there comes a point where you have to take what you’ve learned, pick yourself up and do your best to make your own happiness.  Personally, I am looking forward to 2018 and I am hopeful for what it brings.  Although this year saw some plans change or be delayed,  I have found that challenges often provide windows of opportunity and I am so thankful for those.  I am setting goals and will be exploring those opportunities in 2018!

In the new year, I hope to resume studying, volunteering and writing as well as launching some new coaching programs over at  IgniteYourCreativity.net.   Both of my coaching programs:“Ignite Your Core Creativity” & “Art As Therapy”  will be relaunching and I will be adding several new e-courses in the Spring. 

This year I also beat my 2017 Goodreads Challenge of reading 125 books in the year. I don’t know if anyone else finds reading fantastic therapy, but it definitely helped this year. I also began doing more book reviews for NetGalley and I plan to continue. 🙂

Over at Professor Owl’s Book Corner, we recently published our December 2017 NewsletterThis month features some great book recommendations, literacy tutoring and writing inspiration for our young writers. 

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On November 24th, we celebrated our ninth instalment of the “We Are The World Blogfest” #WATWB.  We are so thrilled about the fantastic response we are getting and send out a huge thank you to all those who have participated.  

My November post was titled It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.”~W. Mitchell #WATWB”  about an inspirational man who overcame two back-to-back tragedies with grace and humour became a motivation speaker helping others.

Wondering what #WATWB is all about? 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 positive stories led by five co-hosts. If you are interested in learning more about this or to join us please click here for details. #WATWB is taking a break this month but we’ll be back on January 26th, 2018!

I would like to thank all those who have been so supportive this year, your love and kindness mean the world to me (you all know who you are).

Wishing everyone a wonderful December and Happy Holidays!

Cherish your loved ones and may you make some new and heartwarming memories! Wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you are making each and every moment count.

Live, laugh & love!

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” ~ Christopher Reeve

#amwriting #researching #urbanfantasy #CelticMythology #mystery #historicalfiction #learning #studying #archaeology #egyptology #manuscriptstudies #palaeography  #codicology #history #arttherapy #coaching #WATWB #bookreviews #art #volunteering #transcribing #amreading  #blogging #authorinterviews #journaling

My Spotify Playlist ~#AmWriting #UrbanFantasy ~ Moon of Morrigan Trilogy

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Cover Reveal~Battered Mind by Sylvia Stein (@sylvia_stein07)

Hello, my name is Sylvia Stein and I am an Indie Author.   I have exciting news.  This week I am doing the cover reveal of my book which I hope will be released in late 2018.  I have been working with this book for awhile.  It is a story I have been doing extensive research one and because of the topic I am covering, I want to be sure I do it justice.  It is a work of fiction and for today I will be revealing the book cover which was designed by the very talented and amazing Michael Dangremond and his title of his artwork the cost of love.   When I saw this portrait I immediately saw what I was looking for for my main character of Sadie Martin Carlyle.   The title of this my first thriller is Battered Mind and I hope you all enjoy the cover reveal.   I absolutely was blown away by it.  I hope you are too! 

Thank you so much,
Sylvia Stein

Cover Battered Mind

Synopsis: 

Sadie Martin Carlyle is on trial for the murder of her husband Dante Caryle. She claims she killed him in self-defense and that he was a monster. She was a battered woman and if she had not defended herself he would have killed both their young daughter and her.  In short, She feared for their lives.

However, there is more to this case than meets the eye. Sadie Martin is not your typical woman. Her family consists of her Criminal lawyer father Jackson Martin from Atlanta and her mother Barbara Reece Martin is one of the main leaders of the Southern Belles of Atlanta. From the very start, there are secrets that are hidden that no one will see coming. Sadie’s story will take the reader through a very emotional journey throughout. Once the case begins, everything you think you know about what happened between Sadie and Dante Carlyle will have you asking many questions and is everything being said the truth?

Excerpt from Battered Mind:

“As I lie here holding on to my sanity.  I have to say never in a million years would I have thought all would turn out the way it did. You see for most of my life I had been searching and hoping that one day I would find the one and be able to finally lead “the normal life.” However, nothing could be farther from the truth.  My name is Sadie Martin Carlyle and on May 27, 2010, I was charged with the murder of my husband Dante Carlyle. 

The thing that makes this so horrific is that I do not even remember committing the crime.  

All I know is that when I awoke the next morning, My husband Dante was dead and I was found next to his body and the murder weapon.  As of now all I can do is await my trial which will not be for a few months. 

Sadly because of the circumstance of the crime, I will have to sit in a jail cell until my trial.

You must be wondering why I seem to know so much about the law in particular.  One second, “Can you please let me finish talking.” Sorry being locked away in this cell has made me a bit paranoid. Well in any case as I was saying.  The reason I know so much was that my beloved husband was a lawyer and before I got married.  We both met in law school. Oh, it was so simple back then. If only I could go back to the beginning. Things were easier.  At least I thought they were.   However maybe if I can just go back to the beginning I can try to salvage a bit of my dignity. Besides, I was born and raised to be a good girl. But right now I am really placing a damper on all the years my parents spent trying to make me something I never wanted to be.   

You see I was born and raised in Atlanta Georgia. It’s too damn bad I was never able to lead a normal life.  Thanks to my dear parents! My mother was born to parents of money and my father was no different.  However, he was known for being one of the best criminal defense attorneys in all of the state of Georgia. He was deeply admired for his hardcore antics.  My father was never one to give up on his client and he is both loved and hated throughout the community. On the other hand, my dear mother Barbara Reece Martin has always been in the public eye.  

As a child, her parents owned several wineries all over the state of Georgia and North Carolina and she was left with a trust fund and decided to invest in stock and has done pretty well.  She is now the CEO of The Reece Winery and overlooks them along with my father and she is also one of the main members of the Women of Atlanta social club.  All in all, she is always busy and thinks that I am just spoiled.   My mother and I are not close. She was always gone when I needed her.  The only person that seemed to care and worry about me was my father Jackson. 

He always made time to see me and for that, I am very grateful.  My father has always said I was his everything.   At the time I thought I was but then I discovered it was all lies.  I will get to that later. As I was saying my mother was never around as a kid.  She was always out and busy with all her numerous work and charitable events. “I hated her, and I still do!” As you can see I get a bit angry being cooped up in here.  I mean there are many criminals in here and I know they are women like me. But I am not one of them. I am different and I want to do is start over again. 

Let me outta here.”

About the Author:

Sylvia Stein Bio Pic

 Sylvia Stein is a published author with several anthologies with her Writer’s group 750 on LinkedIn.  Stein obtained a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University this past July 2015.   She is a mother of three beautiful children Paul 10, Michael 9 and Consuelo 6.   She resides in the city of Fuquay Varina with her amazing husband Jeremy.  Stein has also published two solo books one was her first novella Closure which she worked on while attending SNHU and published in July of 2014 and the other her first YA Chasing Clarity was published this past October 2015 and it was created during National Novel Month (Nano) in 2013.  Her latest book is entitled, The Diary of a Broken Father that came Out in February 2017.  Her new thriller that she has been working on since 2014 will be out late 2018 and is entitled Battered Mind.

About the Artist:

Artist Michael Dangremond Bio Picture
Artist Michael Dangremond and his lovely wife Alanna.

My name is Michael Dangremond and I am mostly a self-taught artist. My professional Media is tattooing. I’ve been involved in art for the better span of my life. I grew up in a small town called Hopkins in the state of Michigan. Growing up had its challenges and equally; it’s lessons. After high school I lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan to begin a career in the culinary arts. After bouncing from kitchen to kitchen and climbing the ladder, I decided to reinvest myself in the art my heart called me to pursue. I am happily married to my wife, Alanna and I am blessed with my daughter, Sophia. This story of mine continues as I continue growing in my passion to my brand of art.

 

Books

#Book #Review of The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross (The Curious Affair Of #2) by Lisa Tuttle #Victorian #Mystery #Paranormal

 

Review

The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross

(The Curious Affair Of #2) 

by Lisa Tuttle

Release date: November 28th, 2017

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Book Cover The Witch at Wayside Cross


I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross (The Curious Affair Of #2) by Lisa Tuttle from NetGalley & Random House Publishing Group – Hydra in order to read and give an honest review.

This is the second entry in the “Jesperson and Lane Casebook/Curious Affair of ” series by Lisa Tuttle. Although I haven’t read the first book, this book works well as a stand-alone and I have added the first, The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief (The Curious Affair Of #1) to my TBR pile.  Personally, I  thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was a fast-paced, and fun Victorian mystery, reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes but with a touch of the paranormal.

The book opens with Charles Manning, a disciple of Felix Ott’s British School of Wisdom collapsing and dying in the London home of colleagues and private detectives, Jesperson and Lane.  Manning arrives at the house just after 1am in a state and before his death declared that he was being hunted by witches which with his last breath he accuses Miss Lane of being.  His death at first appears to be of natural causes but as with most good mysteries, that of course, is not the case.  Jesperson and Lane convince Mr. Manning’s brother that not all is as it seems, and they are hired to find out who or what truly killed his brother.  Manning’s research of the “Shriek pits, a phenomenon prevalent in folklore had him staying in Aylmerton, Norfolk. The Author Lisa Tuttle manages to create interesting well-developed characters who drive the plot forward and keep you entertained.  Following Manning’s timeline before his death, Jesperson and Lane travel to Norfolk to retrace his steps in the process meet some interesting characters, including the Ringer family and the infamous Buslstrode sisters at Wayside Cross.  The three unmarried sisters are wise-women or healers, but some are convinced they are witches. The story is full of twists and turns, from uncovering previous murders to a stolen baby and the curious disappearance of the distraught mother. There are clever red herrings and plotlines that whisper of magic, fairies, poison rings and an undecipherable grimoire all of which culminate in a fantastic twist at the end.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a well-written, cleverly crafted, quirky and fun mystery. If you enjoy Sir Conan Arthur Doyle or Agatha Christie I would recommend giving this a try.

#WATWB, Quotes

“It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.”~W. Mitchell #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 Stein, Susan Scott, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Andrea Michaels and Damyanti Biswas.


Meet W. Mitchell a former US Marine, San Francisco cable-car gripman, small-town mayor and now a well-respected keynote speaker. W. Mitchell has endured a great deal in his life but lives and breaths his motto: “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.”

In 1971 he had a horrific motorcycle accident, the first of two life-altering and tragic events. While driving home he was involved in a blazing motorcycle accident leaving him to cope with devastating burns to over 65% of his body. After a painful rehabilitation, a plane crash four years later left him with a spinal injury, unable to use his legs and confined to a wheelchair.

W. Mitchell didn’t let his challenges stop him, he was determined to gain control, adapt to his new situation, and thrive. Since his accidents, he has become an internationally acclaimed mayor, responsible for saving a mountain, a successful businessman, a highly respected environmentalist, an author and an international keynote speaker. He even continued to be a commercial pilot and a whitewater rafting enthusiast. Today, through humour and compassion his message empowers others to accept challenges, embrace change and take action and is living proof that life is what you make it.

Check out W. Mitchell on YouTube:


You can also visit his website: http://www.wmitchell.com