#WATWB

Five #Positive Stories:#CommunitiesComingTogether & #ActsofKindness! #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, heart-warming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by six co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Sylvia McGrath, Susan Scott , Shilpa Garg, Damyanti Biswas, and myself, Belinda Witzenhausen To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” ~ Unknown

With the events of the past few months it may seem there are very few positive stories out there. What better way for us to warm our hearts than to hear about five incredible tales of human kindness… communities and people doing what they can to make other’s lives a bit easier! Click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFq5drCBXOA

Books, Information

#NetGalley #BookReview of A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians A Novel by H. G. Parry #Fantasy #Historical

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians

A Novel

by H. G. Parry

A Declaration of Rights for Magicians

Release date: June 23rd, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians
A Novel by H. G. Parry from NetGalley and Redhook Books in order to read and give an honest review.

Clever plot lines, interesting characters, well written and researched,I loved everything about this book.

This book is unlike anything else I have read, this dark epic historical fantasy was complex and took a while to get into but was definitely worth it.   

Set in the 18th century, A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is an alternate history of the times including the infamous French Revolution. The story features three interconnecting plot lines set in the Caribbean, Paris and London. There are multiple political events driven by a dark powerful entity whose endgame is shocking.  It’s thought provoking in so many ways as the characters are challenged with moral dilemmas surrounding issues such as slavery, classism, to what end are they willing to go to succeed and at what cost. 

To get to the basics of the story, we are witness to the alternate version of history where magic is strictly regulated. Commoners are forbidden to use it and are given magic dampening bracelets that burn if their powers are used and face imprisonment or execution for breaking the law.  Even to save a life, magic is forbidden to commoners, only aristocrats and nobility are allowed to wield their power without consequence.  The three plot lines were equally compelling reminding me of a game of chess with the characters being pieces moved along the board with a singular purpose invisible to the reader until the end.  

H.G. Parry introduces us to Fina a slave working on a sugar plantation under British rule in Jamaica. The slaves are mistreated, their powers bound by a potion so that they are under the plantation managers  complete control. In a brief period when her magic seeps through Fina hears a voice telling her to flee Jamaica in order to save her fellow slaves and join a slave rebellion on Santa Domingo.  Meanwhile in France, Robespierre is fighting for the rights of the commoners and their ability to use magic for the betterment of their lives and in London, a trio of politicians are working for the abolition of slavery despite it being heavily debated. Each character is well developed and deals with unique obstacles and the consequences of their actions.  There is so much going on in this book it’s difficult to capture it all in this review without spoilers. Bottom line I loved the book although, ending on a cliffhanger of sorts was surprising and I certainly hope we get a second in the series from H.G. Parry. 

Clever plot lines, interesting characters, well written and researched, I loved everything about this book. This book is for you if you enjoy compelling, thought provoking historical fantasy with a twist!

Information

#NetGalley #BookReview of The Indigo Ghosts by Alys Clare #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

 

The Indigo Ghosts

by Alys Clare

Indigo Ghosts Cover

Release date: June 2nd, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Indigo Ghosts by Alys Clare from NetGalley and Severn House Publishers in order to read and give an honest review.

intricately woven and well written plot contains twists and turns with intriguing historical details and authentic, multifaceted characters which make this a thoroughly enjoyable read

This is my first time reading Alys Clare’s work and I have to say I loved it! The Indigo Ghosts is different as it mixes mystery and history with a touch of the supernatural and teeters on the edge of being in the vein of Gothic literature. Although the third book in the series, having not read the first two I found nothing lacking in it as a stand-alone and found it quite enjoyable. 

Set in Plymouth in the 1600’s When his former Captain, Captain Colt calls Dr. Gabriel Taverner in to investigate strange occurrences aboard the ship he used to serve on. Sailors have been experiencing strange things such as blue ghosts and whispers from a malicious spirit. The crew are terrified when it appears stowaways had once resided in a small hold on the ship and left something behind, and as Taverner and Captain Colt explore the holds they find a small hiding space in which a small desiccated adult body is found nailed through the chest to the ship’s ribs.  When another body is found hidden in a waste barrel on the ship with his hands died blue the mystery takes off. There are intelligent arguments for and against the paranormal events melding science and mysticism and we go on a twisting journey with touches on vodou, trade routes, slavery and the Caribbean. 

The intricately woven and well written plot contains twists and turns with intriguing historical details and authentic, multifaceted characters which make this a thoroughly enjoyable read.  I will definitely be reading more of Alys Clare’s work! Entertaining read that I would highly recommend. 

Information

Meet Sassy! An incredibly cuddly girl looking for her “furever” home! #Toronto #Ontario #Cat #AdoptDontShop #ScarboroughBluffsCatRelief

Meet Sassy

Sassy


Scarborough Bluffs Cat Relief is looking for a loving, forever home for adorable Sassy, a three year old tabby. She needs a home with no other pets as she is terrified of dogs and not happy to share her human with another cat.  Sassy has been vet checked, vaccinated and spayed. Super affectionate, she will be your best friend! She loves to just be around people and spend time with you. Like any cat when she wants your attention she will go out of her way to get it! She loves to show off how absolutely adorable she is by rolling around, especially if you’ve just gotten home from a long day she’s a cat who will definitely show you how much she’s missed your love during time away!

Sassy

Playful, she loves to play! Laser pointer, teaser toy or just noisy little ball toys that she can pat around! She loves them all! I think as long as you’re taking some time to just play and show her you’re there she’ll enjoy just about any toy you throw her way!

Please note that an adoption fee applies. For further information or to meet her, please contact scarboroughbluffscatrelief@gmail.com

***Please note: GTA/Toronto adoptions preferred***

 

#WATWB, Quotes

A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way #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  Susan Scott, Lizbeth Hartz, Shilpa Garg, Mary J. Giese and Damyanti Biswas.   To learn more about WATWB or to join us click here. For updates, news and monthly reminder notifications please join us on our FB page here and follow us on our Twitter account: @WATWB


“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” ~ Bob Kerrey

We are living through very trying times and for many of us our lives have changed so vastly and so quickly we are learning that many of the things we often took for granted mean the world to us. Often an act of kindness can make a huge impact to someone’s life.

Recently there has been a lot mentioned about a certain act of kindness that helped a woman reconnect with her family during this trying time.  A woman in her 90’s from the Rexdale area of Toronto had been desperately trying to access the library’s free Wi-Fi which she relied on to contact her family . She kept trying to access the signal from the parking lot after her branch closed due to COVID but to no avail. When Toronto Public Library (TPL) employee Young Lark Jin, Library Service Manager for the York Woods District heard about the issue he went above and beyond to make sure the woman could communicate with her family once again. Once learning of the issue, Jin said he contacted multiple library departments, including IT, to see if the Wi-Fi at those branches was working. When Jin got the confirmation that the wireless network was in service, he informed the woman.

“She was using her iPad to connect with her family members because I believe she didn’t have an internet connection at home. She was coming to the local library to get an Internet connection,” Jin said.

However, Jin said the woman called him back to let him know that she went back to the library and still couldn’t access the Internet.

At that time, I realized that she might have some issues with connecting her device to our Wi-Fi. So, I went to Albion and Rexdale and checked our Wi-Fi signals. They were strong, and I was able to connect.”

So, Jin offered to meet the woman at the library to help her resolve the problem. He said they met at the library parking lot while maintaining physical distancing.

“We rolled our windows down, and she passed her iPad to me, and I cleaned it with a hand sanitizer and then I tried to help her. In the end, she was able to connect to the Wi-Fi at the Rexdale branch so she will be able to connect with her family members,” Jin said.

 

To see video on the story,  please click here….

https://www.cp24.com/news/toronto-public-library-employee-praised-for-helping-elderly-woman-connect-with-family-1.4952523

 

“Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle.” – Charles Glassman

Information

#NetGalley #BookReview Sea Change by Nancy Kress #ScienceFiction #Ecology #GMO

 

Sea Change

by Nancy Kress

Release date: May 22nd, 2020

Sea Change Cover

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(3.5) Rounded Up


I received a complimentary ARC copy Sea Change by Nancy Kress from NetGalleyTachyon Publications in order to read and give an honest review.

To give her credit, the book is well-written, clever and the author does write realistic, multifaceted and mature characters …

This was the first work of fiction I have read from Nancy Kress. In the past I had read her non-fiction books on writing as part of a workshop I had taken and really enjoyed them.  I was really looking forward to reading this novella and although well-written in many ways, it just wasn’t what I expected.

Coined a bio-thriller, although interesting wasn’t as dynamic or “thrilling” as advertised.  The author bases an espionage story around the benefits of GMO’s over traditional agriculture but much of it felt like a huge info dump interspersed with an interesting mystery and very character driven story.  To give her credit, the book is well-written, clever and the author does write realistic, multifaceted and mature characters.

The Protagonist, Renata Black is driven by her beliefs, all her life she has been championing for good, always looking for a cause even to the point of ruining her marriage to her Hollywood bound husband.   When her son dies because of a water issue attributed to agricultural run-off she makes promoting GMO’s her new mission.

Set in the future, an incident ten years prior involving an bio-pharmaceutical incident resulting the deaths of children causes major GMO companies to disappear and agriculture with pesticides and fertilizers to become the norm.  Looking for a cause to help her deal with her grief  of losing her son she joins “The Org” as operative Caroline Denton. The Org, a pro-GMO, ultra-secretive , underground organization is working to bring back GMO’s to reduce starvation and ecological disasters around the world. When not working as an operative as Renata she works as a paralegal for a lawyer prosecuting rape cases for the Quinault reservation, where her son passed away.

The story opens with Caroline getting to investigate a runaway  self-driving house blocking traffic and its operator/owner believed to be an Org operative is missing, and it appears to be the result of a mole in “The Org”. When a splinter cell gets raided and her name becomes known, Caroline/Renata is hunted by the government and labelled a terrorist.

The hunt for the missing operator, a case involving the rape of a Quinault teenager and her grief over losing her son are the plot-lines running through this novella, but they all felt overshadowed by too many info dumps revolving around GMO’s which in my opinion took away from the story of this short novella.  Reading is subjective and although I found Sea Change hard to immerse myself in, doesn’t mean it won’t be appreciated by someone else.

 

Information, Scarborough Bluffs Cat Relief

Urgent: Experienced #Foster Families needed for #Kittens & #Pregnant #Cats #Toronto #Ontario #ScarboroughBluffsCatRelief

Porsha and kittens

Sadly, it’s that time of year and with the current climate many cats are in dire need of foster homes.
Scarborough Bluffs Cat Relief needs experienced fosters for pregnant moms or moms with kittens, preferably in the Scarborough area or close by.
We have one mom, Porsha, with 7 four week old babies and another mom expecting very soon.
Kittens need special care and a very vigilant foster, as kittens may be unable to nurse properly or mom may not have enough milk. In that case, bottle feeding may be needed.
For further information or to foster, please contact Katherine at getset2001@gmail.com.

***Please note: East end GTA/Toronto fosters/adoptions preferred***

 

#WATWB

#Creativity & Coming Together in Quarantine #WATWB #Covid19

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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 Eric Lahti,
Susan Scott, Inderpreet Kaur Uppal ,Damyanti Biswas, and Dan Antion,

To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


“Appreciation is a wonderful thing: it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” ~Voltaire

Almost every nation in the world has been touched by COVID19. Globally most people are on lockdown unless you are one of the brave individuals caring for the masses whether it’s medically or keeping our supply chains moving so that we can have our necessities and you have my heartfelt appreciation.

Unlike previous plagues, we have so much more to keep us connected to each other and so many things to be thankful for. For many, putting your lives on hold, living indoors and cut off from friends and families can be lonely and extremely boring.  But the old adage “where there is a will, there is a way” is ringing true for so many. Below is a collection of how some are finding creative ways to keep occupied and keep families together.

Whether or not we want to, we need to #stayhome and be diligent about #socialdistancing that is the only way we will beat this.

~Stay safe and Be Well~

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Say Hello to Moggie, a tiny little girl with a big personality looking for her “furever” home! #Toronto #Ontario #Cat #AdoptDontShop #ScarboroughBluffsCatRelief

Meet Moggie

Moggie


Scarborough Bluffs Cat Relief is looking for a single home for Moggie, a tiny little girl with a big personality.
She is friendly, seeks out attention and loves her head and neck petted. We’re not exactly sure of her age but guessing around 5. She was found roaming the streets for some time, even in the coldest winter. A concerned neighbour asked us to help her when he saw that she was hurt. Moggie was in a cat fight and sustained injuries and developed an abscess but she is fine now.
She was vet checked, chipped, vaccinated and tested for FeLV and FIV and tests came back negative. She is declawed, so at one point she did have a family that we were unable to trace. Like many declawed cats, it takes some time to reassure her that she is in no danger and to make her feel comfortable.
For further information on Moggie or to meet her, please contact Katherine at getset2001@gmail.com.

***Please note: East end GTA/Toronto adoptions preferred***

Information

#NetGalley #BookReview of The Age of Witches by Louisa Morgan #HistoricalFiction #MagicRealism

 

The Age of Witches

by Louisa Morgan

Age of Witches Cover

Release date: April 7th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Age of Witches by Louisa Morgan from NetGalley and Redhook Books in order to read and give an honest review.

Although slow to get into it is a well-written, engaging tale that once you are into it is well worth the read

The third in an unconnected series from Louisa Morgan Age of Witches is brilliant as a standalone.  Following the interconnected lives of three descendants of Bridget Bishop, a witch executed during the Salem Witch trials we see the good, the bad and the ugly of the craft.  Set in the late 1800’s we are introduced to Harriet the kindhearted elder of the group who as a healer has set up shop in New York. She prefers to use the craft to help others. We also meet Frances, who grew up in poverty and was deprived of her power only learning of it when her mother passes away.  Angry with her station in life she uses her power to elevate herself in society, by bewitching a young widower and finally getting the finances and respect never afforded to her before. We also meet Annis, the young stepdaughter of Frances who fights against her stepmothers controlling ways, preferring her horses to shopping and socials. Annis, not a “proper young lady” wishes to become the “unthinkable” for a young woman, a horse breeder, hoping to build an empire of her own.  Frances has plans of her own, wishing to obtain the one thing that would elevate her in society, a royal title and will use her powers to ensure that it happens.    Harriet who has watched over Annis through the years after her mother, another Bishop descendant passes away, steps in to ensure Frances doesn’t get away with the unthinkable.  

When the opportunity to arrange a marriage with a young Lord in England in financial straits arises Frances begins to bewitch those around her to meet her goal.  Harriet follows them overseas knowing Annis is at risk and is still unaware of her powers.  When the young Lord James finally meets Annis, he finds it difficult to accept Annis’s unorthodox behaviour Frances becomes desperate and her power, perverse. 

 Although slow to get into it is a well-written, engaging tale that once you are into it is well worth the read.  Louisa Morgan does an excellent job and creating brilliant multifaceted characters each with their own strengths and weaknesses, showing kindness and compassion in the name of family which is the one thing I found prevalent in this book. All in all a brilliant book I would definitely recommend.