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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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#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! 

#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. 

 

 

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.

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.

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

Review

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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.

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

Review

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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!

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

 Review

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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.

Book #Review of Your First Novel: Revised and Expanded Edition by Ann Rittenberg, Laura Whitcomb and Camille Goldin (#NetGalley)

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Your First Novel: Revised and Expanded Edition

by Ann Rittenberg, Laura Whitcomb and Camille Goldin

Release date: February 16th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Your First Novel: Revised and Expanded Edition by Ann Rittenberg, Laura Whitcomb and Camille Goldin from NetGalley and F+W Media/Writer’s Digest Books in order to read and give an honest review.

If you are an aspiring writer who wants to publish your first book, Your First Novel: Revised and Expanded Edition is a perfect guidebook for you.  Some of the biggest challenges a writer faces often just boils down to a lack of knowledge.  This book is a very comprehensive how-to guide that which walks you through every step of the writing process. From creating a positive mindset, idea creation, POV and dialogue to finding an agent and publishing.  I loved the tone of the book, it was easy to read and comprehend.  The authors offer examples from well known published books to illustrate each section as well as reading lists of other books that focus on that specific aspect of writing. I don’t think they leave any aspect of the writing process out.  Although it leans primarily towards traditional publishing it does feature an informative chapter on self-publishing.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book which I know will become a reference that I will refer to time and again.

Book #Review of #ShadowHunt (Disrupted Magic # 3) by Melissa F. Olson (#NetGalley)

Shadow Hunt (Disrupted Magic #3)

by Melissa F. Olson

Release date: February 13th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Shadow Hunt (Disrupted Magic #3) by Melissa F. Olson from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

The last book of the Disrupted Trilogy and the end of Scarlett’s second series picks up immediately after the second book, Blood Gamble left off. Weeks after the events in Las Vegas and the death of Jamieson, another Null she finds out she is pregnant with his child. A rare occurrence, Scarlett is dealing with the aftermath of finding out that after years of believing it was impossible she is, in fact, going to have a baby, the baby of two very powerful Nulls.  Scarlett tries to keep the pregnancy under wraps until she learns more about her options and the consequences of having a null child.  Not knowing who to turn to she sneaks out of town to consult with Maven, an ancient Vampire she feels might be able to give her advice.  Leaving her bargest, Shadow, at home and in the care of Jesse she is on her way, not knowing the danger she is leaving them to face.  Jesse opens the door to an innocent looking visitor which launches an evil plot by Shadow’s former owners, the Luparii who come to retrieve what’s theirs and put their plan into motion. The Luparrii’s see Scarlett as a threat and will do everything in their power to see her destroyed. After her secret is outted, Scarlett teams up with werewolves, vamps, witches and humans to stand with against the magical Wild Hunt which that would ultimately end the world as they know it.

I really enjoyed Shadow Hunt. It gives us a character-driven, fast-paced and complex storyline that you’ll want to devour in one sitting.  I think this, in my opinion, was the best of the trilogy and even though it’s the end of this trilogy I hope we hear from Scarlet and Jesse in the future.

My book Review of Midnight Curse (Disrupted Magic #1) by Melissa F. Olson found here.

#Review of  The King of Bones and Ashes (Witches of New Orleans) by J.D. Horn #UrbanFantasy #Gothic

Book Cover King of Bone and Ashes

Review

 The King of Bones and Ashes (Witches of New Orleans) 

by J.D. Horn

Release date: January 23rd, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The King of Bones and Ashes (Witches of New Orleans) by J.D. Horn from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

The King of Bones and Ashes was the first in a new series from Author J.D. Horn.  Although I haven’t read his first series “Witching Savannah” I have heard good things and was intrigued when I read the description of his new book

The King of Bones and Ashes is a fascinating and suspenseful supernatural story set in New Orleans. This novel has a bit of everything, it is a combination family drama, southern gothic and urban fantasy which although slow to build, keeps you captivated from page one to the very end.  J.D. Horn has graced us with such strong, unique and multifaceted characters you connect with them within the first few chapters.

The story opens during Katrina, then jumps to modern day where we meet three unique and interesting women, three witches to be exact, all of whom are from different families yet connected through their family’s magic. We meet Alice, a girl who has been locked in an asylum for years, Evangeline an owner of a strip club who once dated Alice’s now deceased brother and Lisette the daughter of a famous Voodoo practitioner who has taken over the family’s voodoo shop.  We also meet a great deal of other interesting characters both good and evil (and even feline) who come alive on the page and leave a definite impression on the reader. Perhaps the most mysterious and disturbing character is the creature who haunts Alice, Babau Jean (“the boogeyman”), a childhood legend who becomes very, very real.   When magic appears to be dying and many elder witches are losing their powers these three witches remain as strong as ever. Each of them remains low key and try to hide their abilities but everyone suspects they are more than capable. When Alice’s grandfather, the main patriarch, and head of most powerful coven dies, there is a desperate attempt from the elder witches to usurp his magic.  Murder, mayhem, and secrets come to the surface putting everyone in danger, especially Alice, Evangeline, and Lisette.  Add that to sacred texts, warring witches, feisty felines, bitchy birds and hidden realms and you’re faced with a book to be read with the lights on.

I recommend this to anyone looking for something a little different, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. I’m looking forward to reading the next in this series and now more than ever I’m motivated to check out his Witching Savannah series.

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