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#NetGalley #BookReview of The Reckoning by Yrsa Sigurdardottir #Nordic Noir #TheReckoning #Mystery #Thrillers

The Reckoning

(Children’s House #2)

by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Release date: February 12th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy The Reckoning (Children’s House #2)
by Yrsa Sigurdardottir from NetGalley & St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books in order to read and give an honest review.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir the Queen of Nordic noir does it again with the dark and intricately plotted follow up to the Legacy…

Yrsa Sigurdardottir has definitely earned the nickname “Queen of Nordic noir”. True to form, Yrsa has produced yet another dark, clever, incredibly gruesome and deliciously deceptive Nordic noir novel. The Reckoning is the second book in the Children’s House series. Although this book would work as a stand-alone reading the Legacy first just adds to the story.

When a local school opens a time capsule they discover a letter spewing anger, claiming revenge and containing a list composed of just initials of those who will meet their end in 2016.  When a gruesome discovery is made that appears to have a connection to the list an investigation is launched.  In this book we have disgraced detective Huldar biding his time hoping that the events that occurred in the previous installment will soon blow over. At the beginning of the book, he is at his all-time low and relegated to boring meaningless cases.  His former partner and shunned admirer Erla is now his boss which makes for definite tension and an interesting predicament. 

When the investigation heats up and the leads point to a past case involving a murdered child, Huldar turns Freyja at the Children’s House for help.  Once connections are made involving the release of a former pedophile and murderer there is a manhunt and a race to find and save the next on the list. 
The book builds at a breakneck speed culminating in a shocking but fantastic ending. This is not recommended for those with a squeamish stomach, there are parts that are incredibly gruesome, although not bad enough for me to put down the book. The only downside for me in this book was although there is character development,  I wish there was a little bit more, especially between Freyja and Huldar, the relationship storylines fell a little flat for me. 

  All-in-all a fantastic book in a fantastic series! Yrsa Sigurdardottir “the Queen of Nordic noir” does it again with the dark and intricately plotted follow up to the Legacy. A definite must-read for fans of Nordic Noir

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#WATWB, Quotes

Inside the #Library Fighting #Homelessness #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 six co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Sylvia Stein,Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Damyanti Biswas and Simon Falk.

Our next post will be on February 22nd, 2019. If you would like to join us please click here!


“Sometimes it’s easy to walk by because we know we can’t change someone’s whole life in a single afternoon. But what we fail to realize it that simple kindness can go a long way toward encouraging someone who is stuck in a desolate place.” 
― Mike Yankoski

Who would have guessed that finding refuge in a library would lead one woman to find her purpose, help herself and others in the process?

Many communities in many countries are facing a crisis with regards to the number of people who are homeless.  Working in social services in the past I witnessed first hand the challenges many faced, be it mental health issues, escaping bad situations, substance abuse or a combination of factors, often out of their control. In many cases, I got to know, care and like so many I met. Each had a story and I learned so much from just sitting down and speaking with them.

Cuica Montoya experienced homelessness herself after her husband left her, her home went into foreclosure, she even did a stint in jail as well as having addiction issues. When living rough she would gravitate to the library, being a public place it is often a haven to many on the streets. When Cuica finally realized she couldn’t go on that way, she got help.  Cuica was approached by Elissa Hardy, a Community Resource Specialist with the Denver Library and asked to become a Peer Navigator which gave Cuica purpose and helps her effect change in her community on a daily basis.

Watch Cuica’s story here…

Books

#NetGalley #Book #Review of The Hangman’s Secret (#Victorian #Mystery No.3) by Laura Joh Rowland

 

The Hangman’s Secret

(#Victorian #Mystery No.3)

by Laura Joh Rowland

Release date: January 18th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy The Hangman’s Secret (#Victorian #Mystery No.3) by Laura Joh Rowland from NetGalley & Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

Another fantastic book in Laura Joh Rowland’s Victorian Mystery series featuring photographer and private detective Sarah Bain. Rowland, a master at writing fast-paced, suspenseful whodunits again keeps readers on the edge of their seat with this newest entry. I have been fortunate enough to read and review her first two books in the series, the first The Ripper’s Shadow and the second A Mortal Likeness, all three fantastic mysteries I would recommend.
This time around as the story opens we see Sarah Bain has landed on her feet from the previous book A Mortal Likeness. She is working as a photographer for Sir Gerald Mariner, photographing crime scenes for his London newspaper the Daily World. Sarah, Hugh, and Mick are living and working together, her relationship with Constable Barrett is going well, life seems perfect…until a call to photograph the corpse of the decapitated body of a well-known hangman, Harry Warbrick. After initially considered suicide when Sir Gerald gets wind that it was under suspicious terms, he decides to launch a contest, a race to see whether they can beat the police and solve the crime. The contest puts Sarah in a precarious position, she will have to hide what she finds from her police officer lover after they had just survived the events of the last book, “A Mortal Likeness”. Sarah is convinced that Warbrick’s murder is somehow a result of something that occurred at the execution of Amelia Carlisle, the “Baby-Butcher,” who’d killed hundreds of infants in her care. While investigating Sarah is plagued by political cover-ups, run-ins with dangerous people and an old animosity rears it’s ugly head when a former nemesis, Inspector Reid, is back and as threatening as ever.

The case tests Sarah like none other, her life, reputation, relationship, friendships, and job are all in jeopardy and my heart breaks for her throughout the book. Just when you think it can’t get any worse Rowland throws another twist that will keep you on an emotional rollercoaster. I won’t reveal anymore but if you are a fan of clever, fast-paced, mysteries this is definitely a must read.

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#NetGalley #BookReview of #LipstickVoodoo by @kristicharish #UrbanFantasy

Review

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Lipstick Voodoo

The Kincaid Strange Series, Book Two

by Kristi Charish

Release date: January 8th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Lipstick Voodoo (The Kincaid Strange Series, Book Two) by Kristi Charish from NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada/Vintage Canada in order to read and give an honest review.

… fun fast-paced mysteries with an urban fantasy/paranormal twist and plenty of dark humour…

I am a huge fan of Kristi Charish so was thrilled to get to review the second in her Kincaid Strange Series. I really enjoy this series, it’s fun fast-paced mysteries with an urban fantasy/paranormal twist and plenty of dark humour.    

Paranormal practitioner, Kincaid Strange, is on the case again. Lipstick Voodoo picks up where The Voodoo Killings leaves off with Kincaid trying to deal with the aftermath. She is trying to help her roommate ex Grunge Rockstar Nathan Cade after his spirit was entrapped in another body which was meant for Gideon, a powerful sorcerer’s spirit. A furious Gideon blames Kincaid and forces her work for him as his apprentice until the debt is paid off. She is desperately trying to hide Nathan before Gideon finds out and god knows what, but it becomes increasingly difficult when the body begins falling apart.  Things get really “Strange” when Kincaid’s ex-lover and police detective, Aaron, asks for her help on a cold case investigation that links the murder of an old bandmate of Nate’s to a new murder of another bandmate who is found supernaturally frozen solid. Add into the mix a police chief intent on destroying Kincaid (and all paranormal practitioners and you’ve got a story that keeps you flipping the pages.
I enjoyed watching the character development throughout the book and the intricately detailed magic system Charish is so brilliant at creating. I also find I’m actually enjoying Gideon’s character and can’t wait to see what Charish has planned for him throughout the series.  

All in all a fabulous fun read I can’t wait until the next one comes out, I would definitely recommend! 

 

Books

#NetGalley #BookReview Death of an Eye by Dana Stabenow #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

Review

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Death of an Eye

by Dana Stabenow

Release date: December 6th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Death of an Eye by Dana Stabenow from NetGalley and Head of Zeus Publishing in order to read and give an honest review.

…an original, quick and entertaining read which I enjoyed…

Fans of Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak’s series set in Alaska will be surprised by her new series Eye of Isis. In her first instalment in this series Death of an Eye seems to be a more cosy mystery than historical fiction. Not quite as gritty as her Shugak series but still quite enjoyable.  

Set in 47 BCE. A pregnant Cleopatra is the ruler of Alexandria when her trusted spy or “Queen’s Eye”, Khemit, is murdered while secretly investigating the theft of a fresh mint of royal coins.  With Julius Caesar away, Cleopatra is vulnerable and needs someone she trusts to help her so she calls upon her most trusted childhood friend Tetisheri (Sheri ) to help her get to the bottom of it. Although a merchant, Sheri has left a horrible marriage and become a partner in her Uncle Neb’s importing business. Being well educated, having the ability to speak many languages and having connections allow Shari to obtain the information she requires without seeming suspicious. One of the Cleopatra’s trusted guards, Apollodorus, sets out to help Sheri as she navigates a murder investigation rife with politics, sociopaths and danger.  Sheri becomes a target for Cleopatra’s power hungry and wicked brother Ptolemy, Roman diplomats not pleased with women in power, bloodthirsty pirates and her abusive ex-husband, Hunifer all trying to thwart her every move.  

Although Stabenow’s work is set in ancient Alexandria and has historical elements this novel it is more of a clever fun mystery with a touch of romance and humour. I was expecting a perhaps darker more sinister story but her strong, educated, honourable and feisty characters mixed dangerous devious villains make this an original, quick and entertaining read which I enjoyed. 

 

Books

#NetGalley #BookReview Once Upon a River A Novel by Diane Setterfield #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

 

Review

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Once Upon a River

A Novel

by Diane Setterfield

Release date: December 4th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Once Upon a River: A Novel by Diane Setterfield from NetGalley and Atria Books in order to read and give an honest review.

…masterfully written and engaging, character-driven story…

A fairytale for adults, “Once Upon A River” by Diane Setterfield captivates you with her unique brand of atmospheric, character-driven storytelling.  Hard to categorize, Once Upon a River is a mix of folklore and historical mystery in which Setterfield manages to craft several heart-wrenching tales of death, deceit, and heartbreak. 

The story begins at The Swan Inn on the Thames when an injured man stumbles in carrying what everyone believes is a dead child. When a nurse and healer, Rita, is examining the child, she finds that although she had no pulse earlier, she suddenly comes back to life. The child does not speak and no one knows who she is although there are missing children, long missing and presumed dead that have not been seen for years. Three families arrive at the swan with hopes that this child might be their lost baby. The Vaughan’s, whose daughter Amelia, went missing two years prior; Lily White, an emotionally unstable middle-aged woman who believes this girl is her sister Ann; and lastly Robert Armstrong, who believes she is his son Robin’s missing daughter, Alice Armstrong whose mother is rumored to have drowned Alice before taking her own life.  Stories are shared and the locals are relentless in their pursuit of spreading their tale of the miracle child. There are so many well written, engaging characters who capture your interest if not your heart, Robert Armstrong being one but Rita is perhaps my favourite character. Strong, compassionate and intelligent Rita plays a detective of sorts determined to find out what happened to the little girl.  

Although the story is slow to unfold her well-crafted characters keep the reader’s curiosity piqued. There is focus on the three families enduring heartbreak and elation as well as the dark secrets that come out along the way.  It also has it’s mysterious and deceptive characters that will keep you guessing exactly who this little girl is and who was responsible for her near death. We also hear about the mysterious “ferryman” who moves up and down the Thames taking those whose time is up to the other side of the river, definitely playing into the folklore believed by the Inn’s patrons.  

If you are interested in a masterfully written and engaging, character-driven story I would definitely recommend Once Upon A River!

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#GuestPost An Attitude of #Gratitude by @LHallbrooks ~ Introducing #writer @okundayeisrael1

An Attitude of Gratitude

by

Lynn Hallbrooks

Maintaining an “attitude of gratitude” is not easy for me at times. I am inspired by those that appear to radiate genuine positivity and gratefulness. Israel O. Okundaye is one of those people. Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of working with him on The Heartbeat of African Rhythm. Of all the people he knew through social media, he allowed me to compile and publish his words of wisdom. As you read this nonfiction book you can feel the undercurrent of gratitude. As a native Nigerian, his love of country also shines through.

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To me, The Heartbeat of African Rhythm is a different type of quotations’ book. It isn’t a celebrity’s, scientist’s or philosopher’s take on life. It is a humble individual expressing his thoughts and feelings about the world around him. We are all citizens of Earth. See how much alike we all are underneath.

To experience his words and insights, you can visit Books2Read – https://www.books2read.com/Hearbeat-African-Rhythm – and see if your favorite vendor is there. If you are outside the US but prefer US Amazon then here’s the direct link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CNKF8F7

Israel O. Okundaye

About Israel O. Okundaye:

Israel Okundaye is the writer with a golden pen. His writing includes poetry, quotes, novel, and motivational literature.

He has obtained an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) and B.Sc. in Banking and Finance, University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria.

You can follow Israel O. Okundaye in the following locations:

Blog: http://www.deepthinkwriters.blogspot.com.ng

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/iokundaye/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/okundayeisrael1

Facebook: https://facebook/osarenagharu.okundaye

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/israel-okundaye-84121240/

About Lynn Hallbrooks:

Lynn Hallbrooks posing

Lynn Hallbrooks enjoyed writing short stories and poems in high school. After graduation, she joined the US Air Force where she learned a career that took her through the next 30 years of her life. Now she has self-published fiction and nonfiction works. She founded Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC, loves to read, and in her spare time, she finds ways to help others. One way she does that is by sharing tips and tricks with authors and readers.

You can follow Lynn Hallbrooks in the following locations:

Websites:

Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC: https://cswcllc.weebly.com/

Author Reader Cheerleader: https://www.authorreadercheerleader.com/

Blogs:

Call Sign Wrecking Crew on the Run: https://cswcllc.weebly.com/blog

Author Reader Cheerleader: https://www.authorreadercheerleader.com/arcblog

Twitter:

CSWCLynn: https://twitter.com/CSWCLynn

ARCLynn: https://twitter.com/LHallbrooks

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

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cswclynn/

Israel and I wish to thank Belinda for taking the time to share our words.

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the US. To everyone, we wish you all the best.

Lynn Hallbrooks

Information

#NetGalley #BookReview Body Mindful Yoga by Robert Butera & Jennifer Kreatsoulas #Books #Health #Yoga #BodyImage

Review

Body Mindful Yoga

Create a Powerful and Affirming Relationship with Your Body

by Robert Butera & Jennifer Kreatsoulas

Body Mindful Yoga Cover

 

Release date: November 8th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Body Mindful Yoga
Create a Powerful and Affirming Relationship with Your Body
by Robert Butera & Jennifer Kreatsoulas from NetGalley and Llewellyn Worldwide in order to read and give an honest review.

Body Mindful Yoga by Robert Butera and Jennifer Kreatsoulas isn’t a book of yoga poses, although there is a section that walks you through some, this is so much more. This is a book that promotes deep thought and self-introspection to help you work through what holds you back and learn that what we say to ourselves matters more than what anyone else says.  Body Mindful Yoga helps you uncover the power of words in general, everything can add to our internal dialogue from what we read, hear and even marketing slogans, changing what we tell ourselves about our own bodies.  

With the use of clever and well-designed exercises in each section, Body Mindful Yoga promotes journaling to uncover your deepest negative thoughts and helps us work through changing our harmful often overwhelmingly negative internal dialogue. The authors outline Butera’s method which involves four processes; Listen, Learn, Love, and Live. Each section offers hands-on exercises and practices designed to make the most of each lesson.  Perfect for those who are both experienced or novice develop a meaningful yoga practice which goes deeper and is a much more holistic approach than just going through asanas. 

When I was twelve, I started my first diet as I struggled to get my 5’9” frame “model thin” …never happened. I spent years living off of diet tab and OTC pills, starving myself, over-exercising and going as far as having an eating disorder for years until I realized how unhealthy I was becoming.  Nearing my 50’s now, I definitely have a much better outlook about myself but from time to time if I am honest with myself, I still find myself that twelve-year-old longing to live up to an ideal. While reading this book, I began to see that I still hold on to a bit of that negative body image. This book helped me re-examine some of those internal dialogues I thought were long buried and helped me constructively work on changing them.  After years of health issues which included weight gain, I began taking dieting and exercise seriously again this year but one thing I discovered was for the most part, that I no longer want to be model thin I just want to feel healthy. After reading Body Mindful Yoga I’ve begun putting into practice some of the suggestions given by the authors and although a work in progress I do feel encouraged.  

I wholeheartedly recommend that you read this book if you are looking to make positive changes in your life and develop a better self-image through an all-encompassing yoga practice.

Books

#NetGalley #BookReview Matters of Vital Interest by Eric Lerner #Biography #LeonardCohen #Poet #Artist #Songwriter

 

Review

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Matters of Vital Interest

 A Forty-Year Friendship with Leonard Cohen

by Eric Lerner

Release date: October 16th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Matters of Vital Interest: A Forty-Year Friendship with Leonard Cohen by Eric Lerner from NetGalley and De Capo Press in order to read and give an honest review.

I have been a fan of Leonard Cohen since my teens. Unlike most of the new wave, punk heroes of my youth, Cohen’s work somehow spoke to me on a very different level. He was not glammed up with spiked hair and eyeliner but had a cool elegance that made him and his music stand out for me. Although his work was, and still is, brilliant, poetic and fairly well known, the man himself, always seemed to remain a mystery…until now. Author Eric Lerner, a close personal friend of Cohen for over forty years shares with us an intimate and unique portrait of the man, his spirit and the creative and curious workings of his mind.   

As a fan I really enjoyed this, although bittersweet and intensely emotional at times, it gave us a glimpse inside Cohen’s life like nothing else I have watched or read. Lerner and Cohen endured a great deal throughout their friendship from trying to find spiritual meaning and weathering their creative storms, to divorce, parenting and ultimately illness. These two went through it all, offering support, kindness, wit and most importantly honesty.  We saw them search for spiritual meaning, exploring Zen Buddhism while still adhering to their Jewish faith. I giggled at the story of their existential conversation whilst watching a nature documentary about penguins. We learn about what made Cohen tick, how proud he was to be a father and the little idiosyncrasies that make us see him as perhaps a little less mysterious and if anything, the very human, honest and extremely self-aware artist he was. 

I love the fact Lerner gives us a glimpse into Cohen’s life in a respectful but very honest way, highlighting the good but also sharing the troublesome often overwhelming things that Cohen endured in his life. My only issue with the book, although it wouldn’t stop me reading it, was the fact it jumps around in spots. Some sections seemed like a meandering internal dialogue going back and forth, revisiting things as they came to Lerner’s mind but often seemed a bit repetitive in my opinion.

All in all, I really enjoyed this unique gift to Cohen fans everywhere, an honest, captivating glimpse at the man and his music, a must read in my opinion.

Books

#NetGalley #BookReview The Clockmaker’s Daughter A Novel by Kate Morton #HistoricalFiction #Mystery #Paranormal

Review

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The Clockmaker’s Daughter A Novel

by Kate Morton

Release date: October 9th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Clockmaker’s Daughter A Novel by Kate Morton from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada in order to read and give an honest review.

… intricately woven into an absorbing, entertaining and hauntingly beautiful novel…

Kate Morton skillfully creates an epic gothic tale, intricately woven into an absorbing, entertaining and hauntingly beautiful novel that in my opinion is perhaps one of her best. The Clockmaker’s Daughter is so complex it’s difficult to summarize, there are layers upon layers of historical detail, mystery, love and loss with a touch of paranormal. 

The story follows multiple characters, shifting through different periods of time spanning from the 1860’s to the present day, all intertwined and connected to Birchwood Manor by the Thames.  One thing I love about Kate Morton’s work is she creates such fascinating and multifaceted characters with atmospheric settings that draw you into the story from the beginning. Each character is unique, the female characters strong and intelligent. In The Clockmaker’s Daughter, all of the characters are brilliant but one voice stands out for me, Birdie. We learn first-hand about her traumatic life, tragic death and her thoughts and feelings on both.

The story opens with London archivist Elodie Winslow, cataloguing the archives of James Stratton when she happens across a mysterious leather satchel containing a photograph of a stunning Victorian woman and a sketch of a mysterious house by the river. Elodie instantly feels connected to the items and is compelled to discover the origins of the house which is eerily similar to a house in a bedtime story her mother used to tell her before she died. Despite being in the middle of planning a wedding Elodie is determined to see whether it is, in fact, the house contained in the stories from her childhood. During her investigation, she discovers the satchel belongs to the artist, Edward Radcliffe and the photo is of his muse and secret love Lily and Elodie becomes obsessed with uncovering their story and is driven to visit Birchwood Manor.   The Manor’s incarnations include Edward Radcliffe’s artist’s retreat, a school for young ladies, home to a widow with three young children, the inspiration for a student’s thesis and lastly a museum dedicated to the artist Edward Radcliffe. Birchwood Manor, in some ways, seems to become a character in itself, the house seems to have a distinct personality. In each of its incarnations, the house holds a special space in each of the occupants’ hearts as well as concealing secrets in its walls about tragic events that occurred during the summer of 1862 which include murder, betrayal and loss.

I absolutely loved this book, it is not for those who are looking for a fast-paced page-turner, it definitely requires patience but it is a slow but satisfying read that is worth it and one I would highly recommend!