Category Archives: Uncategorized
(Hogarth Shakespeare Project)
by Jo Nesbø
Release date: April 10th, 2018
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 A Glimmer of Hope (The Avalon Chronicles #1) by Steve McHugh (@StevejMchugh) (#NetGalley)
A Glimmer of Hope
(The Avalon Chronicles #1)
by Steve McHugh
Release date: April 1st, 2018
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.
#Review of #EgyptianEnigma (Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth Book 3) by L.J.M. Owen #Mystery #Archaeology #NetGalley
(Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth Book 3)
by L.J.M. Owen
Release date: March 1st, 2018
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)
by Ann Rittenberg, Laura Whitcomb and Camille Goldin
Release date: February 16th, 2018
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.
by J.D. Horn
Release date: January 23rd, 2018
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.
by Genevieve Cogman
Release date: January 9th, 2018
I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman (The Invisible Library #4) from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.
This is the fourth book in Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series and I have to say it was perhaps my favourite. Travelling through time and dimensions librarian Irene along with her assistant Kai find themselves in New York City during the 1920’s a time of prohibition, gangsters, and guns. This time they face their toughest assignment yet, walking a fine line between dragon and fae politics. When the Minister of the dragons dies a contest to fill the spot requires them to find a rare book. The challenge issued will give the winner power over the land and the contenders both approach Irene for assistance. Dragon politics is contentious at best, and the library has always maintained a neutral stance but when evidence points to the involvement of a librarian breaching that rule, Irene and Kai must find this rogue librarian. They are given carte blanche to investigate but must do so covertly and without the official backing of the library. If they are discovered, the library will deny all knowledge of the mission, leaving Irene and Kai alone to suffer the consequences. When murder and mayhem ensue, raising tensions place Irene and Kai right in the middle as well as putting the library in jeopardy.
I really enjoyed this entry in the Invisible Library series and would highly recommend it. In my opinion, it had it all, wonderful character development, intriguing plot lines and fast-paced action. My one complaint was a lack of one of my favorite characters, Vale, hoping to see more of him in the next installment. The Lost Plot also ended with a game-changing situation that has me curious as to where the next book in the series will go.😊
by Seanan McGuire
Release date: January 9th, 2018
I received a complimentary ARC copy of Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3) by Seanan McGuire from NetGalley and Tor in order to read and give an honest review.
Seanan McGuire is definitely one of my favorite fantasy authors. Her books have it all, perfect prose, masterful plots, exciting worlds and engaging characters and the same is true for her Wayward Children series. This dark and whimsical series like all of her work is so well written that it grabs hold of you and takes you twisting and turning into fascinating new worlds. McGuire addresses, race, sexuality, religion, illness, disabilities, mental health etc. and handles it with such nuance. Her characters are multifaceted and each face personal challenges that so many can relate to.
The series revolves around students housed at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. The Home for Wayward Children is a safe haven for children who have traveled to different portal worlds so different from their own. The other worlds are nothing like our world, some are underwater worlds, worlds made of confection, worlds of death, some are logical ones with order and others nonsense worlds, where chaos is plenty and rules don’t apply. Often when the children return to this world they are lost or traumatized, their parents unable to help them and at a loss, send them to the home. Often, these children long to go back, biding their time waiting for the opportunity when the door back reveals itself again or actively searching looking for clues.
In this story, we hear from characters from the previous award-winning “Every Heart a Doorway” and we get to meet Cora. Cora, overweight and insecure, came to the home from an underwater world where she enjoyed being a mermaid. Cora although worried at first, finds she fits in just fine at the home, each of the students so unique in their own way. As Cora is getting used to the home, a girl falls from the sky looking for her mother, a former student who had passed away recently. The group band together to help her embark on a quest to find her mother, through time and multiple worlds, the reader catches glimpses of the group’s experiences as they travel through the different doors.
I have loved each book in this series and as a series, it is definitely 5-star. However, I would give this story 4.5 stars only because I found that some things seemed a bit unnecessary and detracted from the story. Information on the logical, nonsense aspects of the worlds as well as Cora’s insecurities kept re-appearing a little too often for me, but reading is subjective and others might not mind it as much. All in all, this was a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it.
#Book #Review – Daily #Writing Resilience 365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers by Bryan Robinson
Daily Writing Resilience
365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers
by Bryan Robinson
Release date: January 8th, 2018
I received a complimentary ARC copy of Daily Writing Resilience ~ 365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers by Bryan Robinson PhD from NetGalley & Llewellyn Publications in order to read and give an honest review.
I loved this book and found it to be incredibly motivational. Bryan Robinson’s inspirational book is a daily devotional for writers. Daily Writing Resilience offers a writer 365 days of prompts and advice, sure to help get their creativity flowing. The book is dated containing daily quotes, valuable snippets of wisdom and what the author calls “Today’s Takeaway” which are tips to help any writer be the best they can be. It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned writer, battling writer’s block or just starting to get your feet wet, I would definitely recommend Daily Writing Resilience to anyone looking for motivation.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” ~ Albert Camus
Finally, 2018 is here and with it a renewed sense of spirit. 2017 had more than it’s share of challenges, sadness and loss but it’s time to move forward into a bright and shiny New Year.
I decided although I have goals to some degree I wasn’t going to make all of the usual resolutions which in all likelihood would fizzle out when more pressing things popped up. I decided on one simple focus: to just be a better person than I was last year. I hope to be healthier, more at peace, more creative, more positive, more knowledgeable…just more. No constraints, no competition, no self-doubt…no stressing about where I am. If last year taught me anything it’s that life is too short to spend it trying to be perfect, I just want to be me, a better version, not perfect…just unapologetically me.
I have already resumed studying, reading, volunteering, creating and writing. In the next few months, I will be working on some new programs and packages at IgniteYourCreativity.net. Both of my coaching programs:“Ignite Your Core Creativity” & “Art As Therapy” will be relaunching in February and I will be adding several new e-courses in the Spring.
Over at Professor Owl’s Book Corner, we will be publishing our January Newsletter this week. This month, as usual, we will share some great book recommendations, literacy tutoring information and writing inspiration for our young writers.
Also be on the lookout for new book reviews, guest posts and articles on BelindaWitzenhausen.com.
We will also be resuming our “We Are The World Blogfest” #WATWB on January 26th . We are so thrilled about the fantastic response we are getting and send out a huge thank you to all those who have participated. If you are tired of all of the negativity online please join us and help be the change. 🙂
Wondering what #WATWB is all about? The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their positive stories led by five co-hosts. If you are interested in learning more about this or to join us please click here for details. Again, #WATWB is back on January 26th, 2018!
Wishing everyone a fantastic January!
Wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you are living in and loving the moment.
Live, laugh & love! ❤
“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” ~ Maya Angelou
#amwriting #researching #urbanfantasy #CelticMythology #mystery #historicalfiction #learning #studying #archaeology #egyptology #manuscriptstudies #palaeography #codicology #history #journaling #yoga #meditation #arttherapy #coaching #WATWB #bookreviews #art #volunteering #transcribing #amreading #blogging #authorinterviews
My Spotify Playlist ~#AmWriting #UrbanFantasy ~ Moon of Morrigan Trilogy
Calendar year 2017 is coming to a close. Many people make goals for the New Year. Some want to lose weight. Others just want to be healthier. Some want to be more organized or clutter-free. Lynn Hallbrooks’s book, Helpful Household Hints for the Harried Human, may not help you lose weight but there are a few tips in there for staying healthy while cooking and cleaning. As for organizing, there are some thoughts on that too.
For only 99 cents USD and equivalent around the globe, from now until 1 January 2018, why not get it for yourself or share it with a loved one.
Direct link to Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Helpful-Household-Hints-Harried-Human-ebook/dp/B01H68UEW2/
Here’s a link that can take you to the Amazon Marketplace closest to you: myBook.to/HHH4HH
Don’t know how to share an ebook via Amazon, try this link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201964280
Lynn Hallbrooks wishes everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year.
Lynn Hallbrooks wrote short stories for fun during her High School years. After serving in the U.S. Air Force she continued her Health Information Management (formerly known as Medical Records) career into civilian life. In late 2009, she and her writing partner, David McKoy began the Call Sign: Wrecking Crew series. In 2010, they founded Call Sign: Wrecking Crew, LLC which Lynn runs. Along the way, she has stayed with some friends and earned her keep by doing household duties such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry. She realized she might be able to help others with a few pieces of advice, thus Helpful Household Hints for the Harried Human was conceived.
Below are some locations where you can follow Ms. Hallbrooks:
Twitter: @LynnHallbrooks: https://twitter.com/LynnHallbrooks