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

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

 

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

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.

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

 

#Music and Memories~Helping #Dementia patients find #Joy #WATWB

Belinda Witzenhausen

banner-650-x150-whiteWelcome 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 areSimon 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…

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Springing into April!

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”~ Christopher Reeve

March came in like a lamb and definitely went out like a lion.  Last month saw some huge steps forward in a few projects. We relaunched ProfessorOwlsBookCorner.com  keeping our mission the same but slightly shifting the focus to also promote literacy and creativity. We have a certified literacy tutor sharing tips and exercises to help others with their reading skills and I will be sharing some exercises from my Creativity Coaching Programs which I will specifically design for young adults.

I’m also so proud to announce the launch of the “We Are The World Blogfest” #WATWB on March 31st 

The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation with writer, Damyanti Biswas about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference Damyanti, myself, and a group of amazing bloggers decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. Our mission is to share stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming 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 #WATWB bloggers will share their stories and we invite all bloggers interested, to join us. To learn more about #WATWB and to sign up click here.

Moving forward at IgniteYourCreativity.net I’m working on two new programs to launch in May & July; “Ignite Your Core Creativity” and “Art as Therapy” both designed to help you embrace your passion, heal, and ignite your creativity. To make sure I stay out of trouble this month, I’ll also be taking archaeology,  forensic anthropology, history and palaeography courses, as well as working on copy-writing, book reviews, my current works in progress and volunteering.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t send a huge THANK YOU to all of my family and friends who’ve been constantly helpful, kind, enthusiastic and supportive especially this past month.  A special THANK YOU to  Mike Witzenhausen, Sylvia McGrath, Lynn Hallbrooks & Damyanti Biswas ~ You are rockstars!!!

“Life’s truest happiness is found in friendships we make along the way.”~Unknown

Time for me to sign off…wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you’re living with passion and purpose!

Live, laugh & love! ❤

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

My Spotify Playlist ~WIP Catacombs #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

Review of The Girl from Rawblood by Catriona Ward via @sourcebooks

Review

The Girl from Rawblood

by Catriona Ward

Release date: March 7th, 2017


I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Girl from Rawblood by Catriona Ward from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

To start off I must say that this book is unlike anything I’ve ever read and incredibly challenging to review. It is incredibly well written, unique and complex. It seems to pull from Gothic horror but it also is on the fringe of literary fiction in my opinion.  It has moments that can only be described as tragic and heartbreaking.  It does have some disturbing scenes that might make some squeamish but the story is much more than those scenes.

Set in 1910 in an old mansion, Rawblood, in Dartmoor, England, the premise rides on a family curse that is generations old. A bulk of the story is told by a young girl named Iris Villarcas, the “Girl from Rawblood”. Iris and her father are the only two left of their bloodline, most had fallen victim to the curse. They live isolated at Rawblood except for a helper and a young boy named Tom. The curse itself is initiated by falling in love and the feelings that it brings out. Iris’s father goes to all ends to protect her and establishes “the Rules” which she is told she must obey. When she is young and to a point, Iris follows “The Rules” until in her teenage years when she begins to have feelings for her only friend Tom and begins to rebel. Throughout the book, the point of view changes telling the story of those family members who came before. It takes a while to adjust to each narrator but the story does unfold in an interesting way.

I did enjoy this book but it is not something you read if you’re looking for a “quick and easy” read it is something you savour and let unravel in front of you.  I loved the author’s style but did find it a bit difficult to lose myself in at parts. I have to say for a début novel The Girl from Rawblood is outstanding.

Review of Alice and the Assassin by R.J. Koreto via @crookedlanebks

 

Review

Alice the Assassin

by R.J. Koreto

Release date: April 11, 2017


I received a complimentary ARC copy of Alice and the Assassin by R.J. Koreto from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

Set New York in 1902, protagonist 17-year-old Alice Roosevelt, the daughter of President Roosevelt is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

Alice and Mr St.Clair, a former soldier, rancher and at present Alice’s assigned Secret Service Agent are drawn into solving the conspiracy of former President McKinley’s death. Spunky, strong willed and opinionated, Alice drags Mr St. Clair throughout New York trying to get to the bottom of the crime, facing murder mayhem and a few interesting leads on their way. Infatuated with the much older Mr St. Clair and desperate to be part of an adventure, Alice jumps at any opportunity to impress him.

I really liked this book, from the first page it was a fun, well paced and quirky mystery. The author did a good job of mixing history and fiction and managed to add a little suspense and humour into the mix.  Alice is a great character, a little larger than life but fun, however, I doubt in real life a client would be able to push around a secret service agent to quite that extent (at least I hope not).

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