Category: book review

Marvellous Macey, The Delightful Days

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Can you va va voom? Do you light up the room? Marvellous Macey does! 

About Marvellous Macey, The Delightful Days

Can you va va voom? Do you light up the room? Marvellous Macey does! She may not quite fit the mould, but she is living delightful days. Embrace Macey’s world of imagination and ability to love and accept everyone. Life may not be perfect and some things might be hard, but Macey shows us how to live in the moment and find the delight! Be inspired by Macey to make everyday the BEST day.

Our Thoughts

Marvellous Macey is a wonderful, feel good story about Macey. Macey is full of joy and light and loves sharing her happiness with the world. From the simple things like saying please and thank you, to spreading kindness and love and even having an incredible memory of people and names. She is full of happiness and love, ready to share it with the world. But her happiness does not mean that she has not dealt with her share of sadness and struggles. We do learn that she has had some difficulties at school and has had her own battles to fight. But this has not taken away from the love and joy she shares with others.

This was a beautiful story from start to finish, with great attention to detail. I love the font and the illustrations and the way it matched the wording and flow of the story. It helped to bring Macey to life for us. Macey has a very important message for young children (and some adults too!) about the importance of sharing our joy and happiness with others. It is important for us to live each day to the fullest and to bring joy to others. I would have loved to learn a little bit more about Macey’s struggles but it does not take away from the story as the focus is on living in the moment. Marvellous Macey is a feel good, inspirational book for young children that you will enjoy reading together.

You can purchase a copy of this book on the author’s website and Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Caitlin Bangsund is the author of Marvellous Macey, The Delightful Days. It is the first in a series based on true life. Caitlin knows the trial and trauma of childhood cancer, childhood disability, and the fear of almost losing her daughter — the star of the series — Macey. She encourages readers to look for the treasures that hide in the rubble and gloom. Life is beautiful chaos and her message is to press on and conquer. Read her stories and help create a world that is full of kindness and acceptance.

You can connect with her on her website, Facebook and Instagram.

The Giveaway

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

You have to make the most of that time, so make her laugh, tell funny stories, ask https://vibragame.net/en/private-sex-webcast.html what she has been up to, and make her think you think she is special. She should feel that you are the person to talk to. In general, these conversations should make her want to see you even more.
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Eternally Artemisia Book Review

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With Artemisia never far from her side, she proves that when we dare to take control of our lives and find the “thing” we are most passionate about, we are limitless and can touch the stars.

About Eternally Artemisia

They say some loves travel through time and are fated to meet over and over again. For Maddie, an art therapist, who wrestles with the “peculiar feeling” she has lived previous lives and is being called to Italy by voices that have left imprints on her soul, this idea is intriguing. Despite her best efforts, however, proof of this has always eluded her. That is, until one illuminating summer in Italy when Maddie’s previous existences start to bleed through into her current reality. When she is introduced to the Crociani family—a noble clan with ties to the seventeenth-century Medici court that boasts of ancestors with colorful pasts—she finally meets the loves of her life. One is a romantic love, and another is a special kind of passion that only women share, strong amongst those who have suffered greatly yet have triumphed despite it. As Maddie’s relationship develops with Artemisia Gentileschi—an artist who in a time when it was unheard of to denounce a man for the crime of rape, did just that—Maddie discovers a kindred spirit and a role model, and just what women are capable of when united together. In a journey that arcs back to biblical days and moves forward in time, Maddie encounters artists, dukes, designers, and movie stars as well as baser and ignoble men. With Artemisia never far from her side, she proves that when we dare to take control of our lives and find the “thing” we are most passionate about, we are limitless and can touch the stars.

Book Trailer

My Thoughts

“This painting…is for myself, for you- for my daughter- for all the women who are vulnerable and powerless. It is for those who haven’t had their voices heard…I create an alterative and promising world in which women take control” – Eternally Artemisia

Eternally Artemisia is a powerful story of the power of women, love, healing and the strength in standing up for oneself. Artemisia is an incredibly gifted painter but one whom many will never know of simply as she was a woman born in a time when woman were viewed as nothing more than a wife and vessel to bear children. She was full of light but held her own pain and struggles after being raped and forced to go through a humiliating trial to convict her rapist.

Maddie loves her art and finds healing in her work, something I can relate to. There is nothing more releasing and healing than becoming lost in your art – whether sketching, doodling, painting and even creating collages. We find ourselves in these moments, learning more about ourselves and allowing ourselves to truly show how we feeling. Maddie has always felt a tug to the past, and I loved how through this novel we see her ties to not only Artemisia but also to Matteo.

The story is full of love and healing – both the bond and love between women but also the enduring love between a husband and wife. I loved how the story tied together characters that were born centuries apart and how the love between Matteo and Maddie was eternal. Their souls finding each other centuries apart, a love that is born of respect, strength and honesty which makes your heart swell with hope and love.

Eternally Artemisia is a rich, well written novel full of history, art, strength, love and so much more. It is a novel that you cannot put down as you need to know more about not only the artist but Maddie and her own ties to her. It is a novel of hope and strength, that shows the power of a woman – that she can conquer anything set in her path and when she puts her mind to it, she can reach the stars. It is a definite must read novel.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble and Bookshop.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Melissa Muldoon is the author of four novels set in Italy: Dreaming Sophia, Waking Isabella, Eternally Artemisia, and The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola. All four books tell the stories of women and their journeys of self-discovery to find love, uncover hidden truths, and follow their destinies to shape a better future for themselves. Melissa is also the author of the Studentessa Matta website, where she promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog written in Italian and English (studentessamatta.com). Studentessa Matta means the “crazy linguist” and has grown to include a podcast, Tutti Matti per l’Italiano and the Studentessa Matta, YouTube channel, Facebook page and Instagram feed. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Programs, which she co-leads with Italian schools in Italy to learn Italian in Italy. Through her website, she also offers the opportunities to live and study in Italy through Homestay programs. Melissa has a B.A. in fine arts, art history, and European history from Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, as well as a master’s degree in art history from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She has also studied painting and art history in Florence. She is an artist, designer, and illustrated the cover art for all four of her books. Melissa is the managing director of Matta Press.

You can connect with her on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

The Giveaway!

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Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Love Book Review

“Love connects us, no matter how far apart we are.” – Love

About Love

Everyone loves everyone in Tess’s house. When Tess has to leave for school for the very first time, she is worried that her family’s love might not stretch that far. Her Mom explains that love is like a string, that it connects people together even when they are far away. At school Tess notices that all the children have strings. Some are new, some are old, some stretch a long way, and some even stretch right up into the sky! But what happens when a string breaks?

Our Thoughts

We fell in love with this beautiful story about relationships and the power of love between families, friends and even teachers. Big events can be scary for children, especially when they have spent their lives surrounded only by their immediate family and loved ones. The thought of being separated from this love and comfort zone is scary for children. This book did an amazing job of showing children that we are still connected to our family and loved ones through a very special bond (in this story a string) that stretches and bends over long distances but no matter what is always there. All of us have strings to our loved ones and each string is just a little bit different. Tess learns about these strings and how they are connected with a big new adventure for her – school!

This book does an incredible job of making a tough topic easy to understand, full of compassion, and understanding. It made my heart melt as we read the story together. The words flow nicely and have a great rhythm to them. The illustrations feel soft and tender, matching the tone of the story and help pull the story together. Love is a beautiful story for young children as they set out for preschool and school for the first time (and even for older children as they deal with separation and anxiety). It helps to tackle those big feelings in a way that young children can break down and understand.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author and Illustrator

Corrinne Averiss is the author of My Pet Star, winner of the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book of the Year, the Stockport Children’s Book Awards and in over 450,000 homes as part of Booktrust’s Pyjamarama campaign. Her first book, A Dot in the Snow, illustrated by Fiona Woodcock, was shortlisted for the CILIP Greenaway award, featured on CBeebies’ Bedtime Stories and in The Sunday Times’ Books of the Year. She is the author of Joy, Hope, Sorrel and the Sleepover, The Boy on the Bench, and Floss the Playground Boss. She is drawn to themes of identity and belonging in her books and aims to deliver big feelings with humour and tenderness.

Kirsti Beautyman works from her studio in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK, using a range of mediums to build layers of texture and detail which are combined digitally to create her illustrations. She finds inspiration within mundane observations and is often staring vacantly into the distance thinking up narratives and ideas. Kirsti won Picture Hooks Illustrator of the Year Award in 2017.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola Book Review

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Set in the sixteenth-century, The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola tells the story of a woman’s passion for painting and adventure.

About The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola

Set in the sixteenth-century, The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola tells the story of a woman’s passion for painting and adventure. In a world where women painters had little to no acknowledgment, she was singled out by Michelangelo and Vasari who recognized and praised her talent. Gaining the Milanese elite’s acclaim, she went on to become court painter to Spanish King Philip II and taught his queen to paint. One can’t live such an extraordinary life without having stories to tell, and tell them Sofonisba does to Sir Anthony Van Dyke, who comes to visit her toward the end of her life. During their meeting, she agrees to reveal her secrets but first challenges the younger painter to find the one lie hidden in her tale. In a saga filled with intrigue, jealousy, buried treasure, unrequited love, espionage, and murder, Sofonisba’s story is played out against the backdrop of Italy, Spain, and Sicily. Throughout her life, she encounters talented artists, authoritative dukes, mad princes, religious kings, spying queens, vivacious viscounts, and dashing sea captains—even a Barbary pirate. But of all the people who fell in love with Sofonisba, only one captured her heart. The painter may have many secrets but the truth of her life is crystal clear from the beginning. Always a strong, passionate woman with a dream, she was an intelligent artist who knew her self-worth and in the end, as Michelangelo had done for her, Sofonisba passed her brush to a new generation.

My Thoughts

Sofonisba is a painter and a master story creator. This novel paints a vibrant story of an incredible, strong, independent woman as she navigates a male dominated field and time.

Sofonisba was born in the 1500s to a noble family who were rich in love, family and the belief of the power of a woman. Sofonisba and her sisters were each born with different gifts – hers being the gift of art and painting. Her portraits and paintings come to life with the way she captures the spirit of the moment and the individual. Her parents supported her love of art and ensured that she studied under the greats, both locally and in Rome. She quickly captures the eyes of some powerful people and she travels to the Spanish court, where her life takes some ups and downs. She led a life of passion, love and no regrets, full of adventure and danger.

Her story is one of mystery, adventure and inspiration. She was born during a time when women were not encouraged to paint and express themselves, and although she faced discrimination (she was not allowed to further her studies and paint bodies in the nude) she excelled in her paintings. She threw concepts of marriage and motherhood out the window – she decided who and when to love, although ultimately she ended in an arranged marriage at the ago of 40! She kept us on our toes throughout the novel with her sharp wit, sense of humour and adventure. She was and still is, an inspiration to female artists, she knew exactly what her self-worth was and did not accept any less from others around her. This is a definite must read novel, full of passion, history and mystery.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Bookshop.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Melissa Muldoon is the author of four novels set in Italy: Dreaming Sophia, Waking Isabella, Eternally Artemisia, and The Secret Life of Sofonisba Anguissola. All four books tell the stories of women and their journeys of self-discovery to find love, uncover hidden truths, and follow their destinies to shape a better future for themselves. Melissa is also the author of the Studentessa Matta website, where she promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog written in Italian and English (studentessamatta.com). Studentessa Matta means the “crazy linguist” and has grown to include a podcast, Tutti Matti per l’Italiano and the Studentessa Matta, YouTube channel, Facebook page and Instagram feed. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Programs, which she co-leads with Italian schools in Italy to learn Italian in Italy. Through her website, she also offers the opportunities to live and study in Italy through Homestay programs. Melissa has a B.A. in fine arts, art history, and European history from Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, as well as a master’s degree in art history from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She has also studied painting and art history in Florence. She is an artist, designer, and illustrated the cover art for all four of her books. Melissa is the managing director of Matta Press

You can connect with her on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

Book Trailer

The Giveaway!

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Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed are my own.

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The Secret Diaries Of Juan Luis Vives Book Review

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The Secret Diaries Of Juan Luis Vives chronicles the epoch-making adventures of Spanish humanist Juan Luis Vives.

About The Secret Diaries Of Juan Luis Vives

The Secret Diaries Of Juan Luis Vives chronicles the epoch-making adventures of Spanish humanist Juan Luis Vives. The novel begins as Vives writes in self-imposed exile in Bruges, Spanish Netherlands in 1522. He is on the run from the Spanish Inquisition which has devastated his Jewish family in Valencia. Later, Thomas More invites Vives to the English court to tutor princess Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. The plot reaches its climax as Vives navigates the murky world of English politics during the reign of King Henry VIII, ever trying to negotiate an escape from Spain for his family, and for the Jewish people. The early modern period in Europe was a time of incredible instability. Economic depressions were the norm in Northern Italy, the Holy Roman Empire, and large swaths of England and France. Wars were endemic, with power politics and religion playing leading roles in massive bloodletting. Despite the darkness, great men and women of courage and intellectual curiosity also defined the age as one of scientific discovery, humanism, and scholarship. One of the great titans of the early modern period was Spanish scholar Juan Luis Vives. In the novel, Vives is the embodiment of the cosmopolitanism of the intellectual elite during the Renaissance. As a secret follower of Judaism, and thus a major outlaw according to the thinking of his own Catholic monarch, Vives walks a swaying tightrope. He was a genius and a philosopher who had a lot to say (he has since been dubbed ‘The Godfather of Psychoanalysis,’ Zilboorg 1941, and the ‘Father of Psychology,’ Watson, 1915), however, if he speaks too loudly not only his survival but that of his entire people hangs in the balance. Along the way, the reader is given close up and intimate and unique views of well-known figures such as Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas More and his devoted daughter, Margaret Roper.

My Thoughts

I love historical novels that encourages me to research and learn more and that tells an important story. This book was all of that and more.

This book follows the scholar Juan Luis Vives, whom when I looked up he has been noted as the father of modern psychology and was one of the first to shed light on key psychology ideas. He was born to a family that had converted from Judaism to Christianity and this has impacted his whole life. I never fully appreciated how persecuted those of Jewish faith were in this time until after this novel and looking further into this. They were forced to convert to Christianity, forced out of their homes and even executed (this is just a small picture of their history and I would strongly recommend researching it as many of the history courses I have taken at school have never covered these topics). Reading his account of the horrors his family faced – his father’s murder and his mother being exhumed and ‘murdered twice’, was horrifying and you could feel the pain from the writings.

What I loved the most was his fight for his people, and those who lived in poverty. He wanted to find a place for his people to find freedom from the fear of persecution and from the burnings. He felt strongly that the state should provide relief for those living in poverty, which was not being done – the poor were constantly punished for being poor and looking for hunger relief. Several times in the story, we encounter the murder of a criminal who in fact was an individual living in poverty looking for food.

This novel is a wonderful and powerful story, that is well written. I could not stop turning the pages, I had to know what was next in this man’s life. Would he be able to see his dreams envisioned? Will he be captured and killed for his beliefs? What would the fate of his people be? This novel does not disappoint you – a definite must read!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Tim Darcy Ellis (BA BSc, MHSc) is a writer, physiotherapy business owner and formerly a professional archaeologist. Tim studied Archaeology at the University of York (BA Hons 1988) and as a professional archaeologist, worked on sites throughout England and Wales. He held posts at the Museum of London and the British Museum’s medieval galleries. Tim is currently Managing Director and Principal Physiotherapist of Excel Physiotherapy and Wellness. He qualified as a physiotherapist at the University of East London in 1998. He moved to Sydney in 2000 where he completed his master’s degree in 2002. Tim is chief writer of Excel Life magazine: writing and teaching extensively on health and wellness and specializing in the treatment of complex hip and pelvic pain.

You can connect with him on his website, Twitter and Facebook.

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