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#NetGalley #BookReview of The Once and Future Witches Alix E. Harrow #Fantasy #Witches

Review

The Once and Future Witches

by Alix E. Harrow

Release date: October 13th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Once and Future Witches
by Alix E. Harrow from NetGalley and Redhook Books in order to read and give an honest review.

…a well-written, character driven story that is brilliant…

Set in New Salem in 1893, The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow follows the journey of the three Eastwood sisters: Beatrice Belladonna, Agnes Amaranth, and James Juniper. Years after their mother dies due to complications after childbirth, the sisters are separated by their monster of a Father but not before their relationship with each other had been damaged.  The sisters before being separated grew up hearing fairytales and stories of magic and witches from their grandmother Mags. After Mags dies an invisible force draws the three sisters together. An angry, bold and bitter Juniper is drawn to New Salem where the eldest sister Beatrice Belladonna, timid librarian and the unwed, strong and pregnant middle sister Agnes Amaranth are pulled to the middle of town where the three end up in the middle of a Suffragette protest. When a magical storm hits, a dark tower briefly appears, the three sisters realize that Mags’s fairytales and stories about witches might have had some truth to them, a truth which becomes their mission in life.  The sisters realize that they are not alone on their mission, uncovering powerful enemies, reforging bonds, and embracing a way of life long forgotten. 
 
I really enjoyed the novel, but it felt quite different from Ms. Harrow’s previous novel The Ten Thousand Doors of January. Although a well-written, character driven story that is brilliant in its way of tackling subject matter such as abuse, sexuality, racism, misogyny etc. with captivating, emotional, and heartbreaking moments (keeps tissues handy) I found some of it was hard to get through, some sections long-winded and cliché although the book still held my interest. An interesting read for those who love character driven, witchy stories with a powerful sense of sisterhood. 
 
 

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#NetGalley #BookReview Deception by Gaslight by Kate Belli (A Gilded Gotham Mystery) #Historical #Mystery

 

Review

Deception by Gaslight

(A Gilded Gotham Mystery)

by 

Kate Belli

Release date: October 6th, 2020

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

…the mystery plot itself although slow to build, definitely does not disappoint…

Set in New York in 1888, journalist Genevieve Stewart is desperately looking to make a name for herself at her current paper the Globe. Genevieve relegated to writing about Baby Shows and the minor events of high society, she just can’t seem to get taken seriously as a journalist when an elusive jewel thief dubbed “Robin Hood” starts making an appearance, robbing from the ‘Astor 400’, the cream of the crop of New York society seems to be just the story she has been looking for. 

Although herself on the outskirts of the Astor 400 after her activist Mother creates a stir and a planned marriage to another member ends, she has found herself often ignored and pitied among high society.  Trying to make a name for herself she begins to use her connections to try and get the ‘Robin Hood’ story, the scoop of the century.  While in a seedy area of the city pursuing a lead, she is accosted by ruffians and rescued begrudgingly by a handsome stranger, Danny, only to learn Daniel McCaffrey is part of the Astor 400. Convinced that Daniel is in fact Robin Hood she sets her sites to get to the truth, but instead gets herself in the middle of murder, mayhem, and corruption at the highest levels.

Clever, complex, and very well-written, this book keeps the reader turning the pages. The author creates interesting, dynamic, and real characters who although flawed, are likeable and well developed.  I loved Genevieve’s strong and intelligent personality, as well as the clever banter that occurs between her and Daniel. The mystery plot itself although slow to build, definitely does not disappoint.  With twists and turns, this book keeps you guessing to the very satisfying end although it does leave a cliffhanger in the epilogue. I’m now a fan of Kate Belli and certainly looking forward to reading future books in this series!

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Following Your Dreams at Any Age #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 five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Eric Lahti, Peter Nena, Shilpa Garg, Roshan Radhakrishnan, and Sylvia Stein. To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


“There is nothing better in life than being a late bloomer. Success can happen at any time and at any age. You can have a spiritual awakening and discover a new side of yourself. And best of all, love can happen at any age.” ~ Salma Hayek, actress

Where is the unwritten law that says if you’re past “XX” years old it’s too late for you to reach your goals or do what you love? I’ve been blessed to have people in my life who haven’t let anything stop them from following their dreams, especially not their age.  One thing I have learned from them is if you want something badly enough you will find a way to make it happen, you may have to approach it differently, but with age comes wisdom that can help you along your journey!

These seniors are living proof that it’s never too late to learn, to grow and to succeed!

At 80 years young, Ernestine Shepherd defies the stereotype of what it is to be a body builder. Ernestine after making a promise to her sister has dedicated her days to bodybuilding, setting records and empowering other women of all ages to get into the gym. Spending more than 30 hours each week training she has earned the nickname “Granny Six-Pack”.

At 81, Masako Wakamiya from Kanagawa, Japan, was frustrated by the lack of game apps for senior citizens. She decided to take matters into her own hands, taught herself how to code and created her own game app called Hinadan, inspired by a traditional Japanese doll festival. Now at 84, self-described “IT evangelist and digital creator” is empowering other senior citizens to make the most of technology. Goes to show that you’re never too old to learn technology!

From CNN: How an 83-year-old found a new lease on life developing mobile apps

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~George Eliot, novelist

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#NetGalley #BookReview of Piranesi by Susanna Clarke #Fantasy #MagicRealism

 

Piranesi

by Susanna Clarke

Release date: September 15th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Piranesi
by Susanna Clarke from NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing in order to read and give an honest review.

…so exquisitely unique and brilliant that it takes on a life of its own…

Every once in a while, a book comes along that is so exquisitely unique and brilliant that it takes on a life of its own, and for me Piranesi is just such a book. I loved Susanna Clarke’s last book “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” and was thrilled to see Piranesi listed on NetGalley.  I love everything about Piranesi it is so vastly different and beautifully written I could not put it down. From beginning to end the book is so quirky and complex it is almost impossible to summarize in a way that doesn’t ruin the unfolding story for the reader.

Our narrator, Piranesi lives in the halls of a massive labyrinth, he does not remember anything other than living in the Labyrinth and his only human company is “The Other,” whom he meets with regularly but does not know which part of the Labyrinth he comes from only that he is a scientist of sorts and he asks Piranesi collects data about the Labyrinth for him. Other than his research, Piranesi lives a simple life, he roams the statue lined corridors fishing and scavenging from the flooded levels of the labyrinth during high tide. He communes with the sea birds and cares for the skeletons that reside in the alcoves.  He eagerly listens to the messages the labyrinth sends him looking for wisdom of who he is while flashes from a life lost long ago make him question his reality.   Such a complex novel with a brilliant unfolding story filled with intrigue, ancient magic, victories and tragedies. I highly recommend.

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Meet #LateBloomer, Lynn Ruth Miller, the World’s “Oldest Performing #Comedienne”#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 five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Lizbeth Hartz, Peter Nena Shilpa Garg, Roshan Radhakrishnan, and Sylvia Stein. To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


“It’s never too late to give up what you are doing and start doing what you realize you love.”~ Hans Rosling

With the events of this year still playing out, I thought we could all use a good laugh. What better way for us to warm our hearts than to hear about a woman defying the stereotypes of  what it is to be a “little old lady”. Lynn Ruth Miller approaches life with zest and humour sharing her comedic talents on both tv and the stage.  Getting into comedy at the age of 71 she has defied the odds and gained recognition throughout the world. Lynn Ruth Miller dubbed the “new Joan Rivers” has won The Time Out and Soho Theatre (TO&ST) Award in 2014; 2015 Old Comedian finalist; made the top 100 in the UK in Britain’s Got Talent, won People’s Choice in 2009; 2015 Liberty Award Leicester Comedy Festival; semi-finals in the SF International Comedy Competition and Star of the Brighton Fringe Festival in 2009 and the finals in Bill Word’s Funniest Female Contest 2009. At 86 Lynn Ruth Miller does not look like she is slowing down and hopes to inspire and pave the way for the older generation to be able to pursue a new life or a new career and know it’s never too late.  Check out her story Here!

Here are links to Lynn Ruth Miller’s social media and website, check her out!

http://www.lynnruthmiller.net/

Instagram:@lynnruth82

Twitter:@lynnruth

 

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Moggie and Dublin: #Cats looking to find their “Furever” families! #Toronto #Ontario #ScarboroughBluffsCatRelief #Adoptdontshop


Scarborough Bluffs Cat Relief is looking for two separate loving “furever” families for these two adorable fur-babies.

Meet Moggie

moggie

Moggie is a tiny little girl with a big personality. We’re not exactly sure of her age but guessing around 5. She was found roaming the streets for some time. Moggie was in a cat fight and sustained injuries and developed an abscess but she is fine now. We did test her 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.

Meet Dublin

 

Dublin

Dublin, a big boy looking for a kingdom to rule, with servants. He is about 3 1/2, vet checked, neutered, vaccinated and he’s also had dental work done. He is one of many that an elderly, frail couple had surrendered as they can no longer look after them. Dublin developed an abscess from a cat fight which resulted in a pretty large wound on his head, which is still healing. Very affectionate, he prefers the company of people over cats, so a single home would be ideal. Of course, with a proper, slow introduction he would adjust to a home with another cat, preferably female.

If you’re in the Toronto/GTA area and one of those people who would love to have one of these sweethearts join their family please contact Katherine of Scarborough Bluffs Cat relief at 647-476-4797 or via email at scarboroughbluffscatrelief@gmail.com

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

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#Netgalley #BookReview 27 Essential Principles of Story by Daniel Joshua Rubin #Writing #Plot #Characters #Non-Fiction

Review

27 Essential Principles of Story

Master the Secrets of Great Storytelling, from Shakespeare to South Park

by Daniel Joshua Rubin

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of “27 Essential Principles of Story Master the Secrets of Great Storytelling, from Shakespeare to South Park” by Daniel Joshua Rubin from Netgalley and Workman Publishing, in order to read and give an honest review.

… Well-written, informative and down to earth, Mr. Rubin gives us wonderful tools to help writers fully develop and expand their storytelling…

Multi-Media Writer, Playwright and Yale graduate, Daniel Joshua Rubin, gives us a masterclass in his book 27 Essential Principles of Story. Reading this I knew that it would be one of those books I would constantly refer to time and again. Well-written, informative and down to earth, Mr. Rubin gives us wonderful tools to help writers fully develop and expand their storytelling.

The book is divided into three sections Plot, Characterization and Setting, Dialogue, Theme.  The author teaches us 27 valuable tools by dissecting scenes that reference many popular books, comic books, tv series and movies everything from Shakespeare and Finding Nemo, to Breaking Bad and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies. Mr. Rubin illustrates each principle and follows up with exercises as well as mini quizzes to help writers master each example and really understand the core of each principle.

As I mentioned previously, this is a book, I will be referring to time and again. Recently challenged with a character in a current work in progress, I particularly loved and needed his principle “Peel the onion” about approaching creating characters in a more holistic manner and it has really helped. I can’t say enough about this book and would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to learn the nitty gritty of successful storytelling.

 

 

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#NetGalley #BookReview of The Bone Hunger (Benjamin Oris #2) by Carrie Rubin #Thriller #Medical # Psychological

 

Review

The Bone Hunger

(Benjamin Oris #2)

by Carrie Rubin

Release date: August 11th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Bone Hunger (Benjamin Oris, Book 2) by Carrie Rubin from NetGalley and Indigo Dot Press in order to read and give an honest review.

…in this brilliantly executed, clever, page turning psychological medical thriller…

Having read and reviewed the Author’s first book Bone Curse I was thrilled to get to read and review her second entry in the Dr. Benjamin Oris series. I am pleased to say Bone Hunger definitely did not disappoint. This is an excellent follow up but is also a perfect stand alone.

The Bone Hunger takes place three years after the horrifying events which occurred in the Bone Curse. Ben Otis has worked hard to get his professional life back on track. Working as a second year orthopedic surgical resident who is brought in to be part of a tightly knit surgical team run by the prestigious Dr. Lock. The team endured a horrific trauma and although the odd man out Ben is earning the respect of Dr. Lock and his colleagues. When a patient dies post op Ben is upset, but events take a gruesome turn. While out jogging with his family they find a severed leg with the implant Ben himself put in which Ben recognizes as his deceased patient’s lying in the morgue. When another patient goes missing and their amputated limb is found this time harvested from a once living patient Ben’s past reputation puts him on the detective’s radar. Without giving away too much this book takes surprising twists and turns when the body count goes up. When an old friend, Laurette, introduces Ben to a well-respected forensic psychologist the race is on to catch the killer, clear Ben’s name and save his loved ones.

Being a physician, author Carrie Rubin gives you the goods in this brilliantly executed, clever, page turning psychological medical thriller. Cannot wait to read the next in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend!