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Welcome!

Ignite Your Creativity…adding spark to your creative life! 

More and more people are becoming aware of the healing powers of creativity.  Human nature makes people want to strive to feel good, and keep their bodies free from illness and dysfunction.  Two goals most people hope for are to be creative and to improve/maintain health.  Taking our cue from physics, the first law of thermodynamics states that energy is neither created nor destroyed but is changed from one form into another. Expressing your creative energy means the energy within you is given an outlet; it is redirected into a more positive energy.  Everyone is inheritably born with the potential for creativity.  Drawing, painting, writing, acting, sculpting, knitting, dancing, cooking and playing an instrument are all creative activities that can ignite that creative spark.  Many people already embrace their creativity while others are in the realm of “I am just not creative”.  The key to being creative is taking action!

“Another word for creativity is courage”  ~ George Prince


© Belinda Witzenhausen, 2009-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Belinda Witzenhausen with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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#Review of The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg (@CNHolmberg )#UrbanFantasy #NetGalley

 

Review

The Plastic Magician

(The Paper Magician Series #4)

by Charlie N. Holmberg

Release date: May 15th, 2018

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Plastic Magician by CN Holmberg Cover


I received a complimentary ARC copy of  The Plastic Magician (The Paper Magician #4 Spin-Off) by Charlie N. Holmberg from NetGalley and 47th North

New to the world of Charlie N. Holmberg I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by The Plastic Magician. This book although a spin-off of the popular YA Paper Magician Series (which I have yet to read) this book definitely works as a stand-alone.

The Plastic Magician treats us to twenty-year-old Polymaker (Plastic Magician) Alvie Brechenmacher’s adventures apprenticing abroad.  Down to earth, intelligent and highly enthusiastic, Alvie leaves her German-American family in the states to apprentice for the world-renowned inventor and Polymaker, Magician Praff in London England. 

Enroute she meets a rather rude gentleman who causes her to get off at the wrong train station and this is where her adventure begins. Along her journey, Alvie meets wonderful friends, a kind-hearted love interest and a mentor who respects and believes in her.  Magician Praff and Alvie work on a life-changing invention to not only help a friend but to present at a world-famous convention(contest) for Magicians.  Magician Praff has already won the elite contest and it helped establish him as one of the best Polymakers in the world.  When word gets out to rivals that they are presenting a groundbreaking device that will help many people,  their work and lives are put in peril.  

Holmberg does a fantastic job crafting this fantastical cozy mystery. She creates a unique, fun magic system and her characters are interesting, quirky and downright loveable. Although the mystery is fairly predictable, I really didn’t mind because I liked the sweet story that unfolded along the way.  There is a bit of adventure, a bit of romance and a great story that keeps you interested in Alvie’s journey.  

All in all a fantastic, fun read that I would highly recommend for young and old alike. 

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Owl and the Tiger Thieves (The Adventures of Owl #4) by Kristi Charish (@kristicharish)#NetGalley #BookReview #Urban Fantasy

 

Review

Owl & The Tiger Thieves Cover

 Owl and the Tiger Thieves

(The Adventures of Owl #4)

by Kristi Charish

Release date: May 8th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of  Owl and the Tiger Thieves (The Adventures of Owl #4) by Kristi Charish from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada in order to read and give an honest review.

4.5 Stars…multifaceted characters, fantastic worldbuilding, action-packed plot with twists and turns… 

Being a fan of Kristi Charish’s The Adventure of Owl series, I can say this fourth instalment doesn’t disappoint. The Owl series is best described as Indiana Jane but with a paranormal/urban fantasy twist.

Owl aka Alix Hiboux our illustrious anti-hero, antiquities thief, and ex-archaeologist begins a new mission, to rescue her possessed boyfriend Rynn after the events of the last book. The only way Owl can accomplish this is to collect medallions to enlist the assistance of the Tiger Thieves. She also gets the unwelcome assistance of Rynn’s cousin and antagonist through the series, Artemis. In previous books, I loathed Artemis but oddly enough found myself actually…liking him? Charish has done a fantastic job helping her characters evolve, even Artemis which I really didn’t see happening.

This book opens with Owl’s self-imposed imprisonment in St. Albinus of Angers, an ancient pirate jail, then sends her on a quest to Venice where we meet an undead DaVinci. In Venice, she not only picks up a medallion, but an ancient weapon built by DaVinci thought to steal supernatural power.  We then travel to deserts and jungles while trying to find the other medallions.  Along the journey, she is being hunted by a new enemy, one who she loves, Rynn. A possessed Rynn is out for blood, Alix’s, and will stop at nothing to get it.

This instalment is true to form and everything we expect from Kristi Charish, multifaceted characters, fantastic worldbuilding, action-packed plot with twists and turns which leaves us with an unexpected twist at the end.

Urban fantasy and archaeology, two of my favourite things in one series and Owl & the Tiger Thieves is a fantastic entry that I would definitely recommend!

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#Review of Motherland (Captain Natalya Ivanova #1) by G. D. Abson (@garry_abson) via #NetGalley #Thriller

Review

Motherland GDAbson Cover

Motherland

(Captain Natalya Ivanova #1)

by G. D. Abson

Release date: April 26th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Motherland (Captain Natalya Ivanova #1) by G. D. Abson from NetGalley and Mirror Books in order to read and give an honest review.

“Incredible characters, intriguing plot and oh, so clever…”

First in a new series by author G.D. Abson, this thriller is the start of something very promising. Fast-paced and gritty, Motherland hooks the reader early on forcing them to hold on for dear life through the twists and turns of this brilliant story.  

Set in modern-day St. Petersburg, Captain Natalya Ivanova of the Criminal Investigations Directorate investigates the disappearance of Zena Dahl, the adopted daughter of Swedish billionaire Thorsen Dahl. As lead investigator Natalya faces one obstacle after another trying to find Zena before it’s too late. When a body is found the kidnapping turns into a homicide investigation and someone wielding a great deal of power will do anything to keep her from finding the truth.  Natalya has to fight it all: political intrigue, corruption, misogyny, marital issues, threats to her family, false accusations, betrayal from those she trusts, mobsters and threats from the FSB (formerly KGB) all to piece together what happened to Zena.  

Abson’s ability to create very real multifaceted characters is brilliant. Natalya, the protagonist, in my opinion, is well written, she is portrayed as down to earth, intelligent, strong, honest, yet flawed and comes across as very real. Married to her co-worker Mikhail, they live a believable family life with her step-son Anton. Through marital strife and threats to her family, she handles it with courage, conviction and a touch of humor. For me, almost every character comes to life on the page, the good, the bad and the well…disgusting.  

Incredible characters, intriguing plot, and a twist at the end that was truly unexpected. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to future books in the Captain Natalya Ivanova series.  If you are looking for a clever fast-paced thriller, I would highly recommend reading Motherland.  

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#Book Review of The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook by Laura McLively via #Vegetarian #NetGalley

Review

Berkeley Bowl Cover

The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook

Recipes Inspired by the Extraordinary Produce of California’s Most Iconic Market

by Laura McLively

Release date: April 17th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook
Recipes Inspired by the Extraordinary Produce of California’s Most Iconic Market
by Laura McLively from NetGalley and Parallax Press in order to read and give an honest review.

Loved this cookbook! It’s nice to bring Californian cuisine to Toronto Canada.  This book was full of amazing vegetarian recipes with unique ingredients, easy to follow instructions, beautiful coloured photographs, and creative seasonal menus.

Although some of the ingredients aren’t found in your average grocery store I was able to find them at a local Asian grocery store. Even if you can’t obtain the ingredients easily, one of the things that impressed me about this book was the fact it gave you a few suitable and easily available substitutions. I was also fond of the fact it categorized the recipes by the type of vegetable you’re using I.e. Leaves; Flower, Seeds and Pods; Spores and Succulents; Stems; Roots and Tubers; and Sweet and Savory Fruit instead of the appetizers, entrees etc.

I recommend this to anyone looking for a culinary adventure! It has something to suit every vegetarians’ taste. With dishes such as Sweet & Sour Tofu with Gooseberries, Indian Stuffed Eggplant and my new favorite dessert, Lemongrass Coconut Ice Cream you can’t go wrong! 

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#Review of Macbeth (Hogarth Shakespeare Project) by Jo Nesbø (#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 The Wolf (Under the Northern Sky #1) by Leo Carew (@leocarew1) (#NetGalley)

Review

The Wolf Cover

The Wolf

(Under the Northern Sky #1)

by Leo Carew

Release date: April 1st, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Wolf (Under the Northern Sky #1) by Leo Carew from NetGalley and Orbit/Hatchette Book Group in order to read and give an honest review.

Intense, gripping and an adventure not to be missed.  

When young Roper, son of the Anakim’s Black Lord watches his father slaughtered in battle, he is thrust into the role of leader of the Black Kingdom’s Army and new Black Lord of the Kingdom. When forced to retreat or lose thousands of soldiers he becomes a disappointment and is mocked by everyone in the kingdom.  Their opponents, the Sutherners, after the death of their commander, are left in the hands of Bellamus, referred to by the kingdom as an “upstart” or “nobody”. Both sides fates being left to men who are sorely underestimated and who must prove their worth’s to their kingdoms.

Roper faces opposition at every turn by the Black Kingdom’s fiercest and most decorated soldier,  Uvoren.  Uvoren, feels the kingdoms should be rightfully his and will go to any length to obtain it.  After basic posturing, humiliation and a smear campaign by Uvoren, Roper must find a way to become a hero to his people and gain confidence in himself.  He does everything in his power to not only become a great warrior but to become a great and fair leader to his people.

In his debut novel, Carew does an impeccable job of creating a foreboding frozen northern landscape along with masterfully depicting the lifestyle and culture of the Anakim people who live there. His characters feel genuine, flawed and incredibly believable. Fraught with intriguing political twists and battle scenes that are as vivid as they are powerful this book will keep you engaged in Carew’s world right to the end. The end leaves not on a cliffhanger but open to the next instalment which I for one will be eagerly waiting for.

Although I read urban fantasy and am not a regular reader of Epic Fantasy I loved The Wolf, I found it intense and captivating.  If you enjoy epic fantasy such as George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones this series might appeal to you.

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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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Book #Review of The Bone Curse (Benjamin Oris #1) by Carrie Rubin (@carrie_rubin) (#NetGalley)

Review

Bone Curse Cover

The Bone Curse

(Benjamin Oris #1)

by Carrie Rubin

Release date: March 27th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Bone Curse (Benjamin Oris #1) by Carrie Rubin from NetGalley and ScienceThrillers Media in order to read and give an honest review.

Part thriller, part paranormal mystery, this is a fast-paced, well-crafted and brilliantly original novel!

Pragmatic medical student, Ben Oris, is on vacation with his best friend Laurette, a Haitian medical student, when an injury occurs while visiting the Catacombs. Ben possessed by unseen forces accidentally cuts his hand on a centuries-old bone, a cut that puts Ben and all those he holds dear in a life and death battle with evil forces too irrational for his rational mind to believe. Laurette knows that something evil is following Ben but it challenges his logical, scientific mind putting their friendship and lives in peril.

The book weaves a tale through medical anomalies, Haitian Vodou and the bonds of family and friendship which culminates in a heart-stopping conclusion. The characters are interesting, quirky and believable which when combined with an intriguing plot will keep you turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I found this to be unique and captivating and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good thriller with an occult twist. I’m definitely looking forward to reading Carrie Rubin’s next Benjamin Oris book!

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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.