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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. 

 

 

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Book #Review of Everyday Gratitude: Inspiration for Living Life by A Network for Grateful Living, David Steindl-Rast (Foreword), Kristi Nelson (Introduction) (#NetGalley)

REVIEW

Everyday Gratitude

Everyday Gratitude: Inspiration for Living Life

by A Network for Grateful Living, David Steindl-Rast (Foreword), Kristi Nelson (Introduction)

Release date: April 3rd, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Everyday Gratitude: Inspiration for Living Life by A Network for Grateful Living, David Steindl-Rast (Foreword), Kristi Nelson (Introduction) from NetGalley and Storey Publishing in order to read and give an honest review.

~A great reminder when things become overwhelming, Everyday Gratitude guides us to find the small treasures of positivity in our everyday lives.~

Everyday Gratitude: Inspiration for Living Life as a Gift is not a how-to book per se but a great reminder when feeling overwhelmed to find something to be grateful for each and every day. Each page has a colourful image, an inspiring quote from everyone from Helen Keller to Dalai Lama, as well as a question which prompts you to think about how that quote can be applied to your life.  If you journal these would make excellent journal prompts to help you find the positives in your lives

All in all, not an in-depth heavy read but a nice reminder to help gain clarity and perspective when things might not necessarily be going well for you. I personally found it to be the little boost to get my focus going in the right direction, especially on the trying days.

I really enjoyed this book which I know will become one that I will refer to time and again.

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Book #Review of A Glimmer of Hope (The Avalon Chronicles #1) by Steve McHugh (@StevejMchugh) (#NetGalley)

Review

Glimmer of Hope Cover

A Glimmer of Hope

(The Avalon Chronicles #1)

by Steve McHugh

Release date: April 1st, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Glimmer of Hope (The Avalon Chronicles #1) by Steve McHugh from NetGalley and 47North in order to read and give an honest review.

…a well written, unique and fast-paced #urbanfantasy novel!

 Layla Cassidy, daughter of an infamous serial killer, spent her life running away from her old life and the possibility of turning into her father.  She changes her name, hides her past and settles into a routine of night clerk at a train depot and student of metallurgy during the day. One night while at work she is kidnapped and her friends slaughtered in an attempt to gain information on her father’s secret prison. She is kidnapped and held captive in a secret compound underground guarded by vile supernatural creatures. She manages to escape but not before activating secret scrolls which bind her with three spirits and a demon, all of which now residing in her head and giving her powers outside of her realm of understanding.
Now she must learn to cope with them all talking to her, control her new powers and tame the demon inside her head threatening to turn her into the murderer. After her escape, she learns she is not alone, there are others just like her who will help protect and guide her.

I enjoyed A Glimmer of hope, although slow to start it is well worth the wait. A caution to those squeamish about violence, there are some gory scenes but on the whole, the book has well-developed characters, a unique and interesting plot culminating in a heart-stopping conclusion.  If you want to a well written, unique and fast-paced #urbanfantasy novel, this is for you.

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#Review of #EgyptianEnigma (Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth Book 3) by L.J.M. Owen #Mystery #Archaeology #NetGalley

 Review

Egyptian Enigma Cover

Egyptian Enigma

(Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth Book 3)

by L.J.M. Owen

Release date: March 1st, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of  Egyptian Enigma (Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth Book 3) by L.J.M. Owen from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

As a mystery lover and student of archaeology and Egyptology, I was intrigued when I heard about this book. There are so many things I thoroughly enjoyed about this book, but some that left me very disappointed. I would rate this a 3.5 at this moment.

The main plot was fantastic, rich in historical and forensic details. Our protagonist, Dr Elizabeth Pimms decides after a trip to Cairo to investigate and determine the name of an unknown mummy on display from the Golden Tomb. With the help of her friends, a 3D printer and a brilliant mind, Elizabeth realizes the mummy on display is too large for the sarcophagus and the hunt to find the original occupant is on. We jump back to 1192 BCE as a mystery unfolds which ties to the Golden Tomb.

As I mentioned there was so much I enjoyed, the main plot was intriguing, the historical plot and forensics were informative but as much as I enjoyed those aspects, I found it hard to stay engaged. The biggest issue for me was the protagonist, she seemed interesting, but I didn’t feel like I really connected with her until much later in the book. In all fairness, this is the third book in the series and I haven’t read the previous two, which, most likely gave her regular readers a better idea of who she is.

My second issue is that the author has a feminist theme that weaves through the book, and although I consider myself to be a feminist, there were sections that seem unnecessary and a distraction from the plot. The historical aspect that was addressed worked but there were minor incidents such as an innocuous conversation and a scene at a café, which just didn’t add to the story in any way.   I am curious to read her previous two books to see if I warm up to Elizabeth and of course I would read them for the archaeological aspect as well.

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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

helpfulhints-cover

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. 

watw-turquoise-badge-275-x-241-black

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.

 

#WATWB, Information, ProfessorOwlsBookCorner, Writing

Making it a November to Remember! #AmWriting #Coaching #Studying #BookReviews

“Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.” 
~ Gilda Radner

November Collage

 

November is here, and in Toronto, we are finally getting some crisp autumn weather. Although I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo my main focus will be writing this month. As usual, November also brings with it more, studying, coaching, blogging and books to review but also a few new projects in the works.

Things are busy at IgniteYourCreativity.net both of my coaching programs:“Ignite Your Core Creativity” & “Art As Therapy” are available this month. Both of these programs are designed to help you embrace your passion, put your dreams into action, and ignite your creativity!

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

On October 27th, we celebrated our eighth 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 October post was titledMagic Wheelchair, Putting a Smile on Children’s Faces! #WATWB about an incredible organization that creates fabulous Halloween costumes for kids in wheelchairs.

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. Next post is November 24th, 2017!

Wishing everyone a wonderful November and may you make some new and exciting memories! Wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you are living in and loving the moment.

Live, laugh & love! ❤

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” 

~Groucho Marx

#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