RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    The Nemesis Charm's target audience is probably young teenagers but I still found it an enjoyable and easy read as an adult. It follows the characters of Scoop and Fletcher in the fictional world of Mortale where they study as Apprentice Adventurers at Blotting's Academy. Simultaneously we have Libby, a young girl in Leeds who is determined to continue her missing Mother's story; the story of Scoop, Fletcher and the Storyteller. The real strengths of the book are in the world Ingram-Brown has created and in the characters of Fletcher and Scoop. Fullstop Island and the Oceans of Rhyme are part of a rich tapestry of which we see only a little. The world clearly has a great deal of depth to it, and we have only glimpsed the surface. Hints of far off lands and traditions demonstrate the richness of the world, and I'm looking forward to learning more about it as the Firebird Chronicles continue.

    Fletcher and Scoop themselves are well written, both with sufficient flaws and individual motivations that lend the story realism. Libby is a wonderful character, as her grief is increasingly evident throughout the book. She clings ever more tightly to the world of Fletcher and Scoop we begin to truly understand her loss and desperation, evoking real sympathy in the reader.

    The book is slightly let down by the pacing, as although the plot is sound, it takes too long for anything much to happen, and then everything happens at once. I enjoyed the sense of forboding that builds in the middle of the book, and heightens until the climax, but the ending itself was disappointing. While several of the plotlines are clearly going to be tied up in the next book, which I have no problem with, what this book did wrap up felt very rushed. A little more build up to the resolution would have been welcome; as it is, I was left thinking 'wait, was that it?'

    One of the best things about this book for me is the confusion between fact and fiction. I couldn't quite tell for some time whether or not the world of Mortale was solely in the stories of Libby and her Mother, or whether it had gained a life of its own. Libby is the source of this confusion, as she knows that she is writing the story, but Mortale and its inhabitants seem as real as Northern England; her fear that she is slowly losing her grip on reality is a constant worry.


    I haven't read the first book in the Firebird Chronicles, Rise of the Shadow Stealers, but I really want to. There were lots of little references to it that I think would make my inevitable reread of The Nemesis Charm even more enjoyable. I suspect that the finale that I was so disappointed in would have been better had I known more about the character involved, and I know they are a bigger character in the previous book.

    If you like your stories with a dash of pirates, adventure and just a touch of blood magic (and who doesn't?) then you should definitely give this a read.

    The Nemesis Charm will be available on the 27th May in both hardcopy and eBook. There's also a launch event at Waterstones in Leeds. If audiobooks are more your thing the first book in the series, Rise of the Shadow Stealers has just been released. The author's website has details of all of the above.



    ~ Bethany, www.wardrobespareoom.blogspot.co.uk

  • Beat the Rain
    Nigel Jay Cooper
    Wow!!!!!!This book is amazing!!!This book gripped my attention from the very beginning. I love the different twists , and couldn't believe the surprise ending!!! Just amazing!!! I am looking forward to the next book by this author. This is a must read! I will be referring all of my friends and family!!!! ~ Ilissa Nelsen, Net Galley www.netgalley.com

  • Beat the Rain
    Nigel Jay Cooper
    What did I think? I think I really enjoyed this read. Nigel has the words that's for sure, and he has stories too. No-one but Adam was likeable to me but I still rooted for them all, I wanted a happy ending..please,please sugar coat this ending for me Nigel, I thought..Obviously i cant say here whether he did or not, but ether way nothing is a disappointment.

    A few things that brought it down a star for me..I felt it a good bit to long and the lives as they unfolded to separated, I kept thinking that, wowsa, Mr. Nigel could have got 3 good books out of this one story: I want to read all about Tom and Louise and the ending would have been where Adam came in. A book about Louise, her background and what then happens when she meets Jarvis. A book about Adam and his marriage to Louise and then meeting Jarvis.

    Well worth a read though this one and I will no doubt read his next one. ~ Malou Schött, Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1625721685?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1

  • Getting Right
    Gary D. Wilson
    RECOMMENDED
    This family saga, Gary D. Wilson’s second novel, centers around three middle-aged siblings from Kansas. In “Getting Right,” the youngest, Connie, develops terminal lung cancer. She requests her unnamed middle sibling, a writer who left Kansas for Chicago and beyond, to record her life story. Ostensibly, that’s what he sets about doing, along with the life of their elder, stroke-stricken brother Len along the way, but at the heart of the novel is the narrator’s own story, of his departure from Kansas and his separation from the people he once called family.

    “Getting Right” is one of those books where much of what makes it a compelling read isn’t what is being told, but rather how. Wilson’s sprawling prose is reminiscent of a novel like “All the King’s Men,” and similarly features a conversational narrator who strings us along for the ride. The charms of the narrator are undeniable, but they badly mask his core and fascinating unreliability. The language is such that the novel lacks any quoted dialogue, our narrator going quite so far as to paraphrase a letter from his sister in his own words rather than reproducing it into the text. The choice in language says as much about our character as does the content: that our narrator has a desperate need to tell his version of events above all others.
    What this aside about language might reveal is the extent to which “Getting Right” is a meaty book. It’s a book that gets better to the extent that you read it closely. There are passages throughout whose deeper meaning might elude at a first glance, but gain it in relation to another passage on perhaps the other side of the book. It’s a thematically rich novel, dealing not only with ideas about death and familial abandonment, but also the craft of stories themselves.
    “Getting Right”
    By Gary D. Wilson
    Roundfire Books, 241 pages, $16.95
    ~ Brendan Buck, New City (Chicago) Lit

  • Pagan Portals - Celtic Witchcraft
    Mabh Savage
    This book left me feeling refreshed rather like a spring shower. This short book is part of the very readable Pagan Portal, which is filled with bite-sized chunks of Pagan history and mythology. It's an easy read for the novice. Author Mabh Savage also includes ways to incorporate ancient practices into modern day life.
    ~ Rayna Noire, http://raynanoire.weebly.com/blog/pagan-book-reviews

  • Beat the Rain
    Nigel Jay Cooper
    This book takes you on Louise’s journey after the death of her lover. How does she survive? How can life go on? Even going outside on a trip to the post office is so very gut-wrenching for her. Tom, her lover, her best friend, her confidant is dead.

    What can she do without him to make her feel whole and happy? She decides to marry, not just any man, but Tom’s twin. Don’t want to give to much away. Suffice it to say this book will make you laugh, cry, and reflect on what life really is all about. ~ Annette Bjorkman, NetGalley: www.netgalley.com

  • Way of the Druid
    Graeme Talboys
    Recommended reading in the Sisterhood of Avalon's Druidism category. ~ The Sisterhood of Avalon, http://www.sisterhoodofavalon.org/5-reference-materials.htm

  • Hummingbird's Journey to God, The
    Ross Heaven
    Ross looks at both healing and ceremonial usage, and presents interviews and case studies from shamans and participants, who offer stories of cures and spiritual insights. ~ Cygnus Review, http://cygnusreview.com/products/the-hummingbirds-journey-to-god-ross-heaven

  • Druid Way Made Easy, The
    Graeme Talboys
    I was impressed by the quality of the book – the author has managed to explain all relevant concepts in a simple (but not simplistic manner) and to share the inspiration of the druids themselves. ~ Martin Beltov, http://codices.info/2016/04/review-the-druid-way-made-easy/

  • Druid Way Made Easy, The
    Graeme Talboys
    As a complete novice regarding Druidry I found The Druid Way to be an excellent introduction and overview.

    Talboys looks initially at the background of Druidry through the Celts and Celtic metaphysics before looking specifically at what the 'Inner World', 'Outer World' and Other World' mean from the perspective of a Druid. Finally he writes about what he calls the Druid Way i.e Druidism in the modern world, and the purpose of ceremony and ritual.

    I really appreciated the fact that the author dealt with the whole area of modern day Druidry with a light touch rather than go into great depth about any specific area or a Druids life or beliefs. This is balanced by a comprehensive reading list which then allows the reader to follow up anything that is of particular interest.

    In particular I enjoyed the final section of the book which is devoted to practical ways of incorporating Druidry into every day life. When looking at any belief system it is important to look not only at the history of any way of being but how it applies to and can be lived now. The Druid Way does this.

    I would certainly recommend this to anyone interested in starting to look at Druidry or who is looking for an introduction or overview without having to plough through reams of possibly unnecessary information to get it. ~ Yvonne Ryves

  • Defiance: Greece and Europe
    Roger Silverman
    Roger Silverman’s book is the only one I have found which answers the fundamental questions I wanted answered about the tragedy of the Greek people. Nothing happens without reasons, but there are few writers who know how far back to go to provide a clear, honest and readable analysis of the corruption and mismanagement which led to a whole country being pauperised. Clearly written and with hair-raising details of the crisis which has brought Europe close to disintegration, this is a book to learn from. ~ Bill Boyle, Editor, DatacenterDynamics

  • Defiance: Greece and Europe
    Roger Silverman
    Roger Silverman’s excellent and most accessible book engages with the exciting advances and the devastating setbacks of Greek popular movements facing down the powerful and vindictive forces of international finance over the last five years. His analysis of the real possibilities in the first year of the SYRIZA Government is developed from a much needed popular history of the resistance of the Greek people from the War of Independence in 1821 to the present, and from an appreciation of similar developments across the world today. ~ Paul Mackney, Co-chair, Greece Solidarity Campaign

  • Defiance: Greece and Europe
    Roger Silverman
    In the last 4-5 years, I have been asked many times by friends from Europe and even Latin America to recommend them a book
    on postwar Greece. Unfortunately, I always had to answer that there is no such book, not at least in the major European languages, and that there is an enormous gap in the international bibliography of modern Greece. Now Roger Silverman’s book not only fills this gap but goes even further, by covering Greece’s recent political and economic turmoil with up-to-date first-hand information. But this is not its only virtue. Silverman prefers to give the floor to the protagonists and actors in these cataclysmic Greek events, leaving the reader free to judge and draw the lessons of this emblematic modern Greek tragedy. It goes without saying that such a book, written not only for specialists but accessible to almost anyone with an interest in the recent Greek crisis, needs to be translated into other languages as soon as possible. ~ Yorgos Mitralias, Athens. Journalist and member of the Greek Debt Truth Commission

  • Defiance: Greece and Europe
    Roger Silverman
    If Europe gets torn apart, it will start at the bottom corner. Greece, the first country in modern times to elect a radical leftwing government, faces economic war from Brussels and a tide of refugees from collapsing states to its east. At this critical moment Roger Silverman’s book views the origins of the Greek crisis using the lens missing from most media coverage: class, class conflict and the problems of a democratic system balanced on deep corruption and oligarchic power. ~ Paul Mason, Economics Editor of Channel 4 News, author of Postcapitalism: A Guide To Our Future and Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere

  • Why the Gospel of Thomas Matters
    Gethin Abraham-Williams
    This book can be appreciated as a refreshing study of ambiguity in spirituality. ~ Dr John Court , Church Times

  • Art of Ritual, The
    Rachel Patterson
    Written by a self-described “Kitchen Witch,” The Art of Ritual is a simple handbook for the concept and practice of Pagan rites. It’s perhaps one of the most satisfying books I’ve read on ritual thus far in terms of how much is covered. Patterson has thought of everything: Typical altar tools, how to prepare for ritual, working with deities, spellwork, and of course a selection of ritual scripts for the reader themselves to use.
    What I found particularly impressive about The Art of Ritual was the wide range of rituals and celebrations included. In addition to the usual Wheel of the Year celebrations and handfastings, there are other rituals covered that aren’t particularly common in Pagan ritual books, such as male/female coming-of-age ceremonies, croning/sagings, and, something I’d never heard of before, Hand Partings (the Pagan equivalent of an annulment). Unashamedly eclectic, Patterson goes into rituals for a variety of different Pagan paths, including Hellenic, Celtic and Asatru. I especially liked her “Faery Ritual” for midsummer, incorporating bubbles and a lovely guided meditation; I can imagine this creating a really magical atmosphere.
    Patterson writes in a chatty, laid-back style, which is somehow fitting for a Kitchen Witch. More scholarly Pagans may find this not to their taste, but for the novice Pagan (which I feel is the intended audience) it’s friendly and welcoming. This down-to-earth approach, together with the breadth of practical information presented and the easy-to-understand explanations, makes The Art of Ritual a great choice for beginners getting into the basics of ritual, before progressing on to more formal works. ~ Megan Manson, Patheos.com

  • Beat the Rain
    Nigel Jay Cooper
    Just finished Beat the Rain by Nigel Cooper and can safely say I absolutely loved it...had that dilemma with all great books of wanting to find out what happens but not wanting to finish reading it, all the main characters flawed but identifiable with and some real twists and turns of fate which didn't see coming..themes of loss, love and betrayal and some quotes which really rang true.Recommended for book clubs everywhere as plenty to discuss.. Pre order on Amazon now, you won't regret it. ~ Katie MacFarlane, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1622482057?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

  • Colloquium: Sound Art and Music
    Thomas Gardner
    Salomé Voegelin
    “Of course we need this book! Why? Because we take too much for granted about the relationship between sound art and music. Because we need incisive, creative thinkers, like the ones gathered in these pages, to help us separate the conjoined twins of sonic practice, such that they might – via their independence – contrive a more salubrious kinship.” ~ Seth Kim-Cohen, Assistant Professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

  • Colloquium: Sound Art and Music
    Thomas Gardner
    Salomé Voegelin
    “The act of listening is a complex web of interconnected behaviour and mental manoeuvring between music, pure sound and historical context. This book is an important tool to negotiate the gap between the history of music and the wider panorama of sonic art.” ~ Anne Hilde Neset, writer, broadcaster and artistic director, nyMusikk, Oslo

  • World of Failing Machines, The
    Grant Hamilton
    “What kind of existence do objects have, separate from our subjective interpretations of them? This is the provocative and controversial question posed by OOO and speculative realism, and in this book Grant Hamilton is the first to apply it to the most powerful and captivating of all objects: the book. What kind of object is a literary text and what existence can it have, independent of our subjective readings? Hamilton’s analysis is as fascinating as this question and the powerful little object that is this book takes on a life of its own, throwing open existing ideas of reader and text and re-interrogating theories of meaning.” ~ Hong Kong Review of Books

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