RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS



  • Color, Facture, Art and Design
    Iona Singh
    Review of "Color Facture Art & Design: Artistic Technique and the Precisions of Human Perception", a book by Iona Singh

    In the first place, this is a book written by a writer, it is 'writerly'. When Singh refers to paints and materials you can almost smell them, the concatenation of the sentences is fluid, enjoyable, prose. And this is not an easy subject, it is in fact a new approach to art, to understanding art, one that does not come from the art as narrative or art 'tells a story' side of the fence, a side of the fence that is also, superficially at least, Marxist, in the sense of social realist interpretations of art. And yet this author constantly refers to dialectical materialism as the bedrock of her development, not the one that is usually vilified and strangled-off, or ossified, but a living breathing version of the Marxist philosophy as it collides into a new context. It is, on this count, small wonder that the mainstream press has studiously ignored it and offered absolutely no reviews. Thus my intervention here. Zero books, a great new publisher, does not provide any publicity or advertising until a certain limit is reached in sales, and so for this reason things can also go unnoticed. On the other hand, the provenance of these chapters is from peer reviewed journals, the work has been tested in the field, so to speak, in "Rethinking Marxism" and in "Capitalism, Nature, Socialism" it has its scientific pedigree.

    On the other hand, this book does not ignore or set aside social history or context, or resort to mere formalism, it is Marxist, which means it is materialist. The chapters on Vermeer and Turner are remarkable in their evocative uniting of the materials and techniques of the artist, the artist as a producer, with the social history of their times, they place the materials and techniques of the artist into this maelstrom of politics and reveal their effect, and affects, their sensual reasons for being that way in their time and space, and, what is more important, their agency. This is unlike almost all art historians and critics hitherto, who are divided into the standard camps: those who set art history as a history of formal structure hermetically sealed-off from social struggle, and those who regard art (anachronistically) as always realist, a mirror or reflection of the social times.

    Iona Singh herself is an artist, and has grappled with materials and gone through the U.K. art education system, her work is also unusual that someone with this experience nevertheless is able to articulate what they have learned in those institutions, I mean in words that have a scientific resonance and validity. Often there is also a reluctance from these quarters to disclose the secrets known here, and instead we get a playing to the gallery, the well known professional artists' obfuscatory and elusive self aggrandizement and posture as a transcendental being. Yet there is no blaming of the artist here for this, she exposes the economic productive contradictions at work and always refers to the bedrock of theory in her references. This is a solid work, but it sometimes betrays the origins of the struggle she must have had to get this 'out there' into the world, noticeable at times in the text. It is a book that should be in every art college, university art department, department of design and art history faculty, but it should also appeal to the layperson who appreciates art, is not a philistine, but finds the current 'art world' mystifying. This 'world' is meant to be mystifying, and this book explains why, among many other things. ~ Amazon Custome Review, Amazon.com



  • Don't Drink and Fly
    Cathie Devitt
    This is the first novella of a trilogy so even when we reach the end of the first stage of Bernice’s journey we know there’ll be more drama waiting to unfold, and this reader, for one, is looking forward to enjoying more of the potent new voice on Scotland’s literary scene that is Cathie Devitt.” ~ Brian Whittingham , Professor in Creative Writing



  • Don't Drink and Fly
    Cathie Devitt
    “Don’t Drink & Fly!” centering on a free spirited Wicca witch Bernice O’Hanlon, deftly brings two of Scotland’s distinct and traditional cultures together; the claustrophobia of tight knit island life and the alienation of urban life. The characters are so sharply defined they feel like your own friends and relatives and Cathie Devitt hasn’t sugar coated the Gaelic culture either, choosing to present it in all its glorious darkness. ~ Des Dillon, Writer and Producer



  • Cromwell was Framed
    Tom Reilly
    Do we owe Old Ironsides an apology?: Cromwell Was Framed – Ireland 1649
    Review: Tom Reilly’s style is accessible and lively, but hero worship rather skews historical judgment
    Pádraig Lenihan
    Book Review
    Sat, Sep 13, 2014, 01:00
    First published:
    Sat, Sep 13, 2014, 01:00
    This is an angry little book. Tom Reilly lambastes three academics –John Morrill of Cambridge, Micheál Ó Siochrú of Trinity College Dublin and Jason McElligott of Marsh’s Library – because they panned his Cromwell: An Honourable Enemy (1999) out of “vested historical interests”. Cromwell Was Framed sets out an apparently more nuanced version of Reilly’s original assertion: large numbers of innocent civilians were not deliberately killed at the storming of Drogheda and Wexford in 1649.
    Reilly’s style is accessible and lively, but hero worship rather skews historical judgment, specifically in his choice of what evidence to accept and how to interpret that evidence.

    Reilly fully accepts only eyewitness accounts of what happened at Drogheda and Wexford published shortly after the events they describe. This blanket ban privileges accounts emanating from the winners, as competing narratives took longer and more circuitous routes into print. Reilly boasts, for example, that in Cromwell: An Honourable Enemy he already demolished a shockingly graphic account by a perpetrator of how he and his comrades killed women and children at St Peter’s Church in Drogheda.

    In fact Reilly’s critique betrayed an inadequate grasp of contemporary idiom and context. A “most handsome virgin” was “arrayed in costly and gorgeous apparel”, the perpetrator said. How, scoffed Reilly, could the soldier tell she was a virgin? Was it not ridiculous to suppose she would dress up and carry jewels in such dire circumstances? (The author can get it badly wrong when he tries to set a context. To take just one example: the “entire Pale community” did not face off against the native Irish in the 1641 rising. Had the Palesmen done so, the insurrection would have been a short-lived affair.) Reilly now relies essentially on the grounds that the confession did not find its way into print for over a century and the perpetrator’s brother, who wrote the account, may have been a closet Catholic.
    Disputed slaughter

    Indeed, accounts by Catholics, especially clergymen, are to be distrusted because their motives “could only have been disreputable”. Eight months after Wexford the archbishop of Dublin wrote that “many priests, some regular clergy” – other clerical sources name seven Franciscans and gives details of their deaths – “a great many citizens and two thousand soldiers were slaughtered”.

    Here is a clear unadorned and contemporaneous statement that noncombatants were killed: Reilly ignores it. Reilly is rightly sceptical of a post-Restoration petition from “ancient natives” of Wexford but seems, unjustifiably, to omit a statement by the bishop of Ferns, who recalled that English soldiers “murdered” three servants and a chaplain in his palace.

    Royalist news books are described as scurrilous – and, to be fair, often are. John Crouch’s The Man in the Moon includes the doggerel “For Noll (alack and alas for wo) / Has lost Lust’s Instrument / Which Makes his Wife to wail and sob.” I am not sure why Reilly includes a report that Cromwell had his penis shot off at Drogheda. But I am glad he did. Incidentally, Crouch and John Wharton are the two royalist hacks who “framed” Cromwell.

    Tom Reilly strains too hard to deflect blame from Cromwell in reading each document he does include. Each reading is, in isolation, credible, but the unrelenting cumulative effect is one of special pleading.

    Consider the three words at the end of a list of the dead at Drogheda appended to Cromwell’s letter of September 27th from Drogheda: “Two thousand Five Hundred Foot Soldiers, besides Staff-Officers, Chyrurgeons, & c. and many inhabitants”. On the basis of stylistic differences, Reilly insists that “it’s impossible to conclude” that Cromwell “definitely” wrote the appendix. Semantically, he has a point, but so what? If not written by Cromwell, the appendix was written by a secretary or officer and forms part of a single officially sanctioned publication associated with him and not repudiated by him.
    Armed civilians

    There is no dispute that it is Cromwell who admitted that “many inhabitants” of Wexford were “killed in the storm”, but Reilly insinuates the claim that the “inhabitants” of Wexford and indeed Drogheda (like the 70-year-old alderman Mortimer) “could have” been armed civilians. Almost anything “could have been”: Reilly does not supply positive proof that either or both towns raised trained bands to reinforce the defence.

    Hugh Peters, Cromwell’s chaplain and war correspondent, exulted in 3,552 “of the enemies slain” at Drogheda. If one subtracts 2,500 “foot soldiers” from 3,552, one is left with perhaps 1,000 massacred “inhabitants”. Reilly is having none of it: Peters “says nothing of inhabitants or civilians. The enemy were the enemy.” Would that it were so simple and that writers like this fiery cleric never used collective terms like “enemy”, “rebel” or “rogue” loosely.

    The definitive study of these events was written by James Burke more than 20 years ago, and academic scholars have moved on to other questions. Was Cromwell responsible for dragging out the war of conquest, with its cataclysmic human cost, by offering unattractive peace terms? Can more radical subordinates be blamed for a harsh postwar land settlement?

    I question the common assumption (not just by Reilly) that it was entirely acceptable to slaughter soldiers who surrendered without securing a promise to spare their lives during a storm. James Turner, a Scottish veteran of the Thirty Years War considered this “cruel inhumanity”. The royalist commander Ormond preened himself for sparing the lives of parliamentary troops taken at Baggotrath Castle (modern Baggot Street perpetuates the name) just a few months before the sack of Drogheda. That said, the following year another royalist commander, the Catholic bishop Éimhear Mac Mahon, slaughtered the English garrison of Dungiven. Practice varied.

    The author is to be commended for highlighting a subject that academic historians neglect but piques public interest: the publisher of Cromwell Was Framed asserts on its website that “the Irish nation owes Oliver Cromwell a huge posthumous apology for wrongly convicting him of civilian atrocities”. They shouldn’t hold their breath.



    ~ Padraig Lenehan, The Irish Times



  • Leadingship
    Arnold Timmerman
    An honor to 'Like'... great work! ~ Dr Glen Hepker, USA, Authr and Owner Mason City Wellness Center



  • Leadingship
    Arnold Timmerman
    This book is amazing good stuff you HAVE to read it all ! ~ Henriette Koks, The Netherlands, Owner Centre of Complementary Medicine Apeldoorn



  • Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living
    Melusine Draco
    Have reached the magic 10+ customer reviews on both amazon sites for this title SR 18/9 ~ Customer reviews, amazon.com and amazon.co.uk



  • Magic Crystals, Sacred Stones
    Melusine Draco
    Have reached the magic 10+ customer reviews on both amazon sites for this title. SR 18/9 ~ Customer reviews, amazon.com and amazon.co.uk



  • Pagan Portals - Kitchen Witchcraft
    Rachel Patterson
    The only issue I have with this book is that I wish there were more of it :) Great writing and great recipes. ~ By Me'urramya Cederstromon, Amazon



  • Grimoire of a Kitchen Witch
    Rachel Patterson
    Excellent. ~ Narelle Hancock, Amazon



  • Pagan Portals - Moon Magic
    Rachel Patterson
    Awesome and very informative ~ Brenda Z, Amazon



  • Pagan Portals - Moon Magic
    Rachel Patterson
    This book is fantastic. Purchased this alongside the kitchen witch book by the same author. I love this and used eagerly during the recent supermoon Esbat. It is clear and concise and full of excellent tips and advice to use. Great for beginners bed new insight for the seasoned witch. ~ Hayley0711, Amazon



  • Pagan Portals - Moon Magic
    Rachel Patterson
    I love all Rachel Patterson publications however this is by far my personal favourite , well written , with depth and knowledge a inspirational Author . ~ Amazon customer, Amazon



  • At Ganapati's Feet
    David Dillard-Wright
    This is an interesting little book, about a big subject, Ganesha the elephant-headed deity. It details the adoption of daily Hindu practice by a man who describes himself as a Christian, and is also a professor of philosophy. His handling of the topic is open, honest, straight-forward and thoughtful. It is well worth the short time it takes to read and raises many interesting topics in integrative religion and spirituality. ~ David R Kopacz, MD., Author of Re-humanising Medicine



  • Greta and Boris
    Sian Norris
    “It was really good hearing her inspirations for her book and how it was written and then illustrated. ” said Ben

    “Her book sounds very emotional and heart warming. If I had made this book, I would be very proud of myself.” said Emily

    “Meeting Sian Norris was amazing because she went to Backwell School and then became an author.” said Imogen. ~ Backwell School students, https://booksatbackwell.wordpress.com/tag/writing-workshops/



  • Where is Lonely?
    Eva McIntyre
    A gentle, thoughtful book, perfect to open discussions with young children about life and friendship ~ Susanne Atherton, Author and Social Work Expert



  • That Old Devil Called God Again
    Archbishop Jonathan Blake
    WARNING ! ! ! If you're religious beliefs are built on a House of Cards, then I strongly suggest that you find yourself a lighter read because you are not ready for this book. However, if you ARE ready to challenge your paradigm, strap yourself in and prepare to find out what your beliefs are made of. ~ Andy Cross, Amazon



  • Toxic World, Toxic People
    Anna Victoria Rodgers
    Toxic World Toxic People is essential reading for anyone wanting to live their life with their eyes wide open. This massive tome is also an extensive parenting guide that broaches parents and mums to be some very important topics to ensure the long-term health and happiness of their children. Anna’s book covers almost every aspect of health and mental wellbeing for both mother and child. Anna has condensed many vitally important subjects into this one fascinating place, and makes difficult subjects very easy to digest. I think any reader willing to open their mind, would benefit from this book.

    Shazzie, TV Presenter & Author
    Shazzie.com
    ~ Shazzie



  • Shaman Pathways - Trees of the Goddess
    Elen Sentier
    September 13, 2014
    TREES OF THE GODDESS: BOOK REVIEW
    http://contemplativeinquiry.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/

    Highly recommended. ‘Trees of the Goddess’ is the latest in a series of books written by Elen Sentier for Shaman Pathways. It is both deeply traditional and highly innovative – very much this author’s note. It goes with her championship of the way of the awenyddion, standing for the ever-renewing indigenous seership of Britain.

    The innovation is simple yet profound. This book directly concerns our relationship with the trees, rather than letters or divination. That relationship, like everything on the planet, has a context of cycles and seasons. Our life-world, and that of the trees, is defined by the dance of earth, moon and sun. We have this in common with our ancestors, attested by their lore and stories, and it establishes our continuity with them. The book is a reflective celebration of these simple truths and their archetypal resonance. The framework of the ogham tree alphabet provides a strong and focused conceptual foundation, in service to direct experience. The suggested activities at the end – in sections on ways to work with the trees, moon bath, allies, making your ogham staves and spirit keeping, are an invitation to experiential exploration.

    The book is traditional in its use of the ogham tree alphabet and largely faithful to Robert Graves’ ‘The White Goddess’. The author endorses his linking of 13 of the trees to Ogham consonants as they move through the 13 months of the lunar year from the winter solstice; and the linking of the 5 Ogham vowels to 5 stations of the solar year (the solstices, equinoxes and Samhain). She largely follows Graves’ trees, in his order, though there are some exceptions – the vine is banished, leaving bramble to take the full weight of Muinn; and there are some changes of terminology, like guelder rose instead of ‘dwarf elder’. I realise that many people today are highly sceptical of Graves’ work, but its problems are for me not relevant to this book. For ‘Trees of the Goddess’ is not much concerned with the history of ogham, its specific cultural origin, or its use as an alphabet. It is about here-and-now relationship with the trees, honouring the Goddess and aware that our ancestors had some such relationship too.
    ~ James Nichol, editior, Contmeplative Inquiry



  • Your True Voice
    Dielle Ciesco
    This book is an experiential journey. Everyone will experience it in differing ways; all I can do is to give you some feedback from my own journey. Trying to free my throat chakra has been an ongoing, genetically influenced challenge for me, so I was grateful to receive it to review, as I might not have chosen to work with it otherwise.

    Some of the ground covered in 'Your True Voice' might seem at first glance to be familiar. I thought I would have a basic working knowledge of some of the tools, but putting the methods together with the attunements made everything totally new. Experiencing my own arrogance was humbling, but it was a good exchange for such an increase in understanding.

    I found the concept of a written attunement difficult to accept at first, and was surprised when I felt the energy shifting as I read the text out loud. Dielle Ciesco knows what she is doing.

    The programme of successive attunements followed by the teaching contained within the exercises is a powerful combination, and led me towards dissolving blocks to developing my own expressive power in a gentle, profound way. Exercises are enhanced by further links to internet video clips.

    There is a lot of variety in the activities suggested, they are deceptively simple and well presented. Physical exercises for tongue and throat release. Breathwork. Listening. Playing with the alphabet, discovering the energy contained within letters and word. Sigils.

    Rewriting the Story - a fantastic tool to work with. The reference to the Toltec was new to me, and I give grateful thanks for the internet for further information on this.

    There is a lot of powerful information in this useful manual. I have found it easy to work with and profoundly transforming, and look forward to continuing to work, and rework with it.
    ~ Bridget Enever, Healer and Musician, for The Guild of Professional Healers