Books

Review of Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

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Review

Two Nights

by Kathy Reichs

Release date: July 11th, 2017

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Two Nights by Kathy Reichs from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada in order to read and give an honest review.

Kathy Reichs, famous for her Temperance Brennan, Forensic Anthropologist series has created a new stand-alone book; “Two Nights” a huge departure from her previous books.  The protagonist in “Two Nights” is Sunday “Sunnie” Night, a former soldier and police officer who, after being injured in the line of duty, has decided to start a new life for herself, isolated from others.  When Sunnie gets called upon by her old friend and mentor Beau to help locate a missing teenager, she is about to embark on a journey she didn’t expect.

Beau introduces Sunnie to elderly socialite Opaline Drucker who hires Sunnie to locate her granddaughter Stella. Stella was kidnapped after her mother and brother were both killed in a terrorist bombing and no one is sure whether she is still alive. Although hesitant Sunnie reluctantly leaves her isolated island home to rescue Stella and travels to Chicago to follow her trail.  The more Sunnie discovers about Stella’s situation the more it stirs up trauma she thought she buried years ago and she makes it her mission to rescue her at all costs. After several close calls and a race against time, Sunnie enlists the help of Gus, one of the few she can trust and ends up placing them both in peril.

I really enjoyed Two Nights, it is an action-packed, engaging, fast-paced thriller that won’t disappoint.  Sunnie is a multi-faceted character who carries a lot of baggage with much to overcome, yet is strong, sassy and sarcastic.  Although it took me a while to warm up to her by the end I found myself rooting for Sunnie. This book was a brave departure from Reichs’s usual novels in both story and style and I really do hope Reichs continues to share Sunnie’s story.

My recommendation to fans new and old to go into this with an open mind, you won’t be disappointed.

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Books

Review of Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Cover Down Among the Sticks and Bones

Review

Down Among the Sticks and Bones

by Seanan McGuire

Release date: June 13, 2017

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire  from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

Seanan McGuire is definitely one of my favourite fantasy authors. Her books have it all, perfect prose, masterful plots, exciting worlds and engaging characters and the same is true with her Wayward Children series.
Among the Stick and Bones is the second story and a prequel to Every Heart A Doorway. Among the Sticks and Bones shares the events that led sisters Jack and Jill to Miss West’s Home for Wayward Children.

We first meet parents Chester and Selena Wolcott, more concerned with social status and proper appearances than raising twins Jacqueline (Jack) and Jillian (Jill). To them, the twins are nothing more than accessories which they form and mold into their “perfect children”.  Seanan McGuire is never shy in addressing tough themes such as emotional abuse and gender equality, I for one applaud her for that and in this book she tackles them head on. As Jack and Jill get older they begin to get resentful and frustrated with the other. Jack molded to assume the “girly girl” role and Jill the “tom boy” begin to become overwhelmingly jealous of the other.

When a rainy day forces the twins to spend time together, out of boredom they decide to play in an attic where a mysterious staircase appears. When the girls descend the staircase, they enter into another world filled with conflict, creatures and danger. Upon arriving in the new world, they soon learn that things are not as they seem. The story follows both girls in the “new world” for a period of five years. Jill living as a princess in the castle with “the Master” while Jack takes on the difficult and often gruesome work as the Doctor’s apprentice. We begin to see the girls evolve away from their “formed” personalities and through a bizarre occurrence of events, they transform into their new roles.

I read both books out of order but enjoyed them both. I’m not sure whether reading them out of order would matter but I personally found that by reading the prequel first, I viewed Jack and Jill with a bit more empathy in Every Heart. I also think there was more of a surprise and sense of urgency, I needed to read Every Heart a Doorway to find out what happened to the girls.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone wanting to go on an adventure.

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Summer Sun and Lots of #Writing! #amwriting #studying #coaching #bookreviews

The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” ~Neil Gaiman

Summer is in full swing and my days are full with creative projects! 🙂

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Although the next few months my focus will be primarily on writing, I will also be busy studying, coaching, doing book reviews and working on a few personal art projects.  As a result I will be taking a social media hiatus for a few weeks. I will still be checking in, but not to the same extent. 🙂

At the end of August, I will be launching a new program at IgniteYourCreativity.net~“Art as Therapy” which is designed to help you embrace your passion, heal, and ignite your creativity. We will still be doing book reviews at ProfessorOwlsBookCorner.com. Stay tuned for our back-to-school newsletter in August.

Over at the “We Are The World Blogfest” #WATWB we just had a fourth successful month. A huge thank you to everyone who participated.  Currently we are looking for co-hosts to help share the love! 🙂 If you are interested in being a co-host please contact us here!

What is #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 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 July 28th, 2017!

Wishing everyone a safe and happy summer…wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you have the courage and conviction to follow your dreams!

Live, laugh & love! ❤

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

My Spotify Playlist ~WIP Catacombs #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

Chronic Illness, Information, Writing

Writer/Director Doesn’t Let ALS Stop Him #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 Lynn Hallbrooks, Michelle Wallace, Sylvia Stein, Sylvia McGrath, and myself. We are also looking for bloggers to help co-host. If you are interested in joining our team please contact me here!


Those who know me can tell you how passionate I am about living a creative life.  I believe any creative art form has the power to heal, motivate and empower us.  Having the power to lose ourselves in our creative world and to have the ability to make meaning is a gift that so many overlook.  When my husband shared an interview about Simon Fitzmaurice, I was so inspired.  Many of us make excuses for not following our passions, our lives get in the way, we don’t have the time, money, ability etc.,  and we push it to the back of our minds.   Simon despite his challenges decided he needed to pursue his passions and is not letting anything stop him from reaching his dreams.

In 2008, writer and director Simon Fitzmaurice had a perfect life; a wonderful wife, supportive family and was rising star in a promising career his film premiering at Sundance.  The same day Simon and his wife found out they would be expecting their third child they received devastating news about Simon’s health. Simon was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease (ALS/Lou Gehrig’s) and was told he would probably only have four years to live.

Simon could have done what so many of us might have done…given up, accepted our fate, surrendered, but he wouldn’t. Simon loved life too much to just let go and it was important for him to share with his children the importance of never giving up.  Simon lost so much but he chose to take something back, to follow his creativity and live his life to the fullest.  Simon with the support of his family decided to keep pursuing his passion for writing and filmmaking.  Simon lost his mobility, speech and ability to breathe without a respirator but he refused to surrender his creative dream. Simon wrote and directed his movie  “My Name is Emily” which has won worldwide acclaim.

Trailer for My Name Is Emily

In addition to the film, he has written numerous short stories and penned a memoir called “It’s Not Yet Dark” which was made into a documentary, narrated by Colin Farrell and shown at Sundance this year.  With passion, determination and using a Tobii eye gaze software which allowed him to use his eye movements to communicate via voice and writing.

Although life is a constant challenge for Simon he has not let anything stop him from living and loving his life.

Trailer for It’s Not Yet Dark

“Although the world is full of suffering, it also full of overcoming it” ~ Helen Keller

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Juggling in June! #amwriting #studying #coaching

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” ~Helen Keller

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Busy month ahead, I have a funny feeling I’m going to need a lot of #coffee!☕ 😉  

June will find me juggling a full schedule of creative, academic, business and personal projects and in order to fit it all in I will be cutting back on social media for a few months. I will still be around but not to the same extent I have been, often in life we have to strive to find balance. 🙂  

In May I launched a new program,  “Ignite Your Core Creativity”  at IgniteYourCreativity.net  and stay tuned in July for the launch of  “Art as Therapy”. Both programs are designed to help you embrace your passion, heal, and ignite your creativity.  We are continuing our Literacy tutoring and book reviews at ProfessorOwlsBookCorner.com

Last Friday was also our third successful month of our “We Are The World Blogfest” #WATWB. A huge thank you to everyone who participated.

What is #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 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 June 30th, 2017!

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” ~Andrew Carnegie

Wishing everyone a wonderful June…wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you’re creating a life you love! 

Live, laugh & love! ❤

#WATWB #amwriting #researching #mystery #historicalfiction #urbanfantasy #learning #studying #archaeology #forensicanthropology #manuscriptstudies #history #arttherapy #coaching  #reiki #art #volunteering  #palaeography #transcribing #amreading #photography #blogging #authorinterviews #journaling

My Spotify Playlist ~WIP Catacombs #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

 

Chronic Illness, Information

A Reason To Never Give Up #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 Peter Nena, Eric LahtiInderpreet Kaur Uppal Roshan Radhakrishnan , Emerald Barnes and Lynn Hallbrooks

Many people who face physical challenges often lose hope and accept that where they are at in their life is where they will always stay.

Arthur Boorman, a disabled veteran of the Gulf War was told by his doctors for 15 years that he would never be able to walk on his own again. Arthur had all but given up hope when one day while surfing the internet he came across a yoga site and decided to contact them. Although I have watched this many times, it never fails to amaze me. To me, this is a perfect example of the amazing resilience of the human spirit. Through perseverance and believing in himself, Arthur changed his life.

Check out Arthur’s inspirational transformation.

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” ~Henry Ford

Books

Call Sign: Wrecking Crew Storm Warning & U.S. Armed Forces Week 2017 ( @CSWCLynn )

CSWCSW via Amazon

Synopsis: A team of CIA Special Operators, known by their call sign: Wrecking Crew, were assigned a special overseas mission that did not go as planned. Before they even arrived back to the Forward Operating Base, they had become disavowed. The active duty military assigned to that region were wary of this group. However, once they saw them in action, things began to change.

Dedication and appreciation: David McKoy and Lynn Hallbrooks are military veterans. They appreciate not only fellow veterans but those who are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Because of that and the interaction of team Wrecking Crew with active duty forces in Call Sign: Wrecking Crew Storm Warning, they have put the book on sale for only 99 cents USD throughout U.S. Armed Forces week. It is available to all Amazon marketplaces and can be accessed via this link: myBook.to/CSWCSW

CSWCLLC logo by Grindhouse Media

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Review of The Thirst (Harry Hole #11) by Jo Nesbo via @RandomHouseCA

I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Thirst (Harry Hole #11) by Jo Nesbo from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

Jo Nesbo returns with The Thirst, the eleventh instalment of the legendary Harry Hole series.

Three years after retiring from the police force Harry is leading a seemingly “normal life”.  He is now happily married with a family and is a professor at the local police academy. For once Harry is content with his life and finally feels a sense of belonging.  When a horrendous murder draws Harry back to his former profession it ends up putting his new life is at risk.  A female user of the popular dating app Tinder is found dead in her apartment, her body drained of blood.  When more bodies appear, the police fear the worse. When Harry realises that the perpetrator is “the one that got away” he is determined to put an end to the murderer’s reign of terror and pursues his white whale.

I loved The Thirst, although somewhat gruesome, there is an intensity to the plot that leaves you on the edge of your seat and guessing to the very end.  Well written it draws the reader in, taking them on one roller coaster of a read. Nesbo has created characters that are complex yet relatable on some levels, and you instantly root for them to pull through.  Considering this is the eleventh book in the series, I liked the fact that the backstory is given without it overwhelming the reader.

In my opinion, The Thirst is a book you want to read with the lights on and I’m sure it will be enjoyed by both new readers and long-time fans of Nesbo.

 

 

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More in May! #amwriting #studying

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.” ~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Writing

Looking forward to what May brings! The busier I am the better I like it and in May it looks like I will be busy.  In May I will be continuing my studies, working on a few ongoing projects and as usual, I will be busy with copywriting, book reviews, writing my novel and volunteering.   On May 15th I will be launching a new program at  IgniteYourCreativity.net This month I am offering “Ignite Your Core Creativity” and stay tuned in July for the launch of  “Art as Therapy”. Both programs are designed to help you embrace your passion, heal, and ignite your creativity. 


We also had a second successful month for our  “We Are The World Blogfest” #WATWB on April 28th and our numbers are growing. A huge thank you to all who have participated. 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. If you are interested in learning more about this or to join us please click here for details. Next post is May 26th, 2017!

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.”~Andrew Carnegie

Wishing everyone a wonderful May…wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you’re working hard to make your fondest dreams your reality! 

Live, laugh & love! ❤

#WATWB #amwriting #researching #mystery #historicalfiction #urbanfantasy #learning #studying #archaeology #forensicanthropology #manuscriptstudies #history #arttherapy #coaching  #reiki #art #volunteering  #palaeography #transcribing #amreading #photography #blogging #authorinterviews #journaling

My Spotify Playlist ~WIP Catacombs #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

 

Art, Creativity, Information, Writing

#Music and Memories~Helping #Dementia patients find #Joy #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 Simon Falk, Inderpreet Kaur Uppal, Mary J. Giese, Peter Nena and myself.

I am a firm believer in the healing power of creativity whether it’s in the form of art, writing or music.  Music has always been a part of my life, although I am totally tone deaf and can’t play or sing a note, I grew up with music in my home and it’s still a big part of my life. Growing up I had musicians in my family and our weekends were often filled with friends, family and music. My Grandmother lived with us and although deceased, stories of my Grandad’s musical endeavours were a told with gusto. Now I’m married to a musician and true to tradition most of our get-togethers revolve around music. Although listening to music is very different from playing music, I think music triggers something in us, it has power, it brings alive memories and transforms us.


I came across this video a while back and it resonated with me.  My Grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s twenty years ago.  She lived through WWII in London, married my Grandad, the love of her life and had two beautiful daughters.  Although I never met Grandad, through her stories I felt like I knew and loved him. Some of my earliest memories of my Grandmother revolved around music, she would dig out her old vinyl records to play the songs my Grandad performed and she would always end up singing and dancing.  By 2003 the Alzheimer’s had progressed and our family had no choice but to place her in a nursing home. Most days my grandmother would be non-responsive and no longer recognised us.  We would visit regularly and often the home would host a music night for patients where an oldies band would come to entertain. We would often visit on these nights. As soon as the first note was played my grandmother sat straighter, took notice and for the first time in a long time…smiled. Then when the singer would start, my grandmother would jump right in and sing along. She was happy, she still wouldn’t remember us or even my grandad’s passing, but remembered the lyrics to almost every song. It brought her back to those days listening to the love of her life on stage. As family members, we mourn the loss of our loved one’s memories; they forget almost everything and everyone, both the good and the bad. Throughout life she had endured more than her fair share of tragedies but what rang true to me that day was perhaps this disease was a blessing in disguise. Gone were the losses and hardships and her good memories were accessed by something as simple as a song.  Although she passed nine months ago, seeing her smile those nights was perhaps the best gift I could have ever received, it reaffirms that sometimes during difficult times there are always hidden blessings if you look for them.

 For more on how Music and Memory helps elderly residents and facility patients, to volunteer or to donate iPods, please visit www.MusicandMemory.org Get FREE resources on the project! Volunteer an iPod drive! Find a local facility you can help!

For more information or to join our #WATWB please click here!