RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
I have a thing for crime novels set in the rural South. You can blame the likes of William Gay, Tom Franklin and the sublime Daniel Woodrell for that. So when Phillip Thompson described his new novel, DEEP BLOOD as “Southern-fried noir” I was all in. Shall we take a look?
Sheriff Colt Harper is a product of his environment and also of his family history. Both weigh heavy on him when the son of his high school sweetheart is murdered on the same day that his alcoholic father is arrested for DUI.
Colt has sworn to up hold the law, but it is never just about right and wrong, not when it comes to friends and family. The Sheriff of Lowndes County has has to come to terms with his own past sins as his hunt for the boy's murderer uncovers another long forgotten crime, buried deep within the racial prejudices of rural Mississippi.
DEEP BLOOD unfolds at a leisurely pace, with plenty of time being devoted to the study of its damaged protagonist and beautifully flawed supporting cast. The highlight of which is the wonderfully flaky Lydia, Colt Harper’s weed smoking, ex-stripper girlfriend.
Thompson's prose is a solid and reliable story telling vehicle. He weaves the murder / mystery elements of the plot around his characters by the clever use of alternating points of view. Although it is Colt Harper's perspective that holds sway and pulls these threads together as Harper himself slowly unravels.
Phillip Thompson has produced a gripping and thoughtful southern noir novel with plenty of atmosphere and a real sense of place. DEEP BLOOD is a winner. It shines like morning dew on the Kudzu.
~ Chris Leek, Out Of The Gutter
100 Years of Vicissitude
"100 Years of Vicissitude is as far removed from Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat as you can get without going into full-fledged fantasy. It is neither dirty, noir or gritty. It is a ghost story with a very etherial feel to it.The descriptions of an afterlife, the vistas and Japan itself is stunning, the narrative spans a hundred years or more and there is an actual connection to Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat. Also, 100 Years of Vicissitude tells a story by not saying things. A lot of what is going on is left to the reader and I speculate that every subsequent re-reading of the novel will lead to very different reading experience."
9/10 ~ Marcus R. Gilman, Daily Steampunk
Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?
"Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa is a wacky, funny and surprisingly philosophical tale that leaves you wondering if super heroes are actually any good, if non-heroes are worthless and if you should choose virtual reality if the real world gets to unbearable. This novel entertains you immensely and makes you think!" ~ , Daily Steampunk
Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?
After two excellent novels by Andrez, I was delighted to find Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa in my inbox one day and devoured it. It is set in the same world as Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat (I think), and people flee their harsh reality to a virtual place called Heropa, where some play superheroes, others are normal people, Blandos is what they are called by the heroes.Heropa is Gotham and New York of Silver Age Comics, a gleaming metropolis, somewhere and somewhen between 1920 and 1950. The perfect habitat for a masked and caped hero. But all is also not well in Heropa, the heroes are being killed off one by one although according to some rules, this should not happen. Something is wrong in Heropa.
Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa is a wacky, funny and surprisingly philosophical tale that leaves you wondering if super heroes are actually any good, if non-heroes are worthless and if you should choose virtual reality if the real world gets to unbearable. This novel entertains you immensely and makes you think!
10/10 ~ Marcus R. Gilman, Daily Steampunk
Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?
Andrez Bergen’s book Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? is a nice twist on the superhero genre, giving it a ‘noir’ twist’ with nods to the style of Marvel’s style of comic-books between the 1940s-1960s. ~ , Impact Magazine
Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?
"Andrez Bergen’s book Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? is a nice twist on the superhero genre, giving it a ‘noir’ twist’ with nods to the style of Marvel’s style of comic-books between the 1940s-1960s." ~ , Impact Magazine
Pagan Portals - Hoodoo
It's just like Rachel is sat next to me having a chat and teaching all things 'Hoodoo', such a relaxing read and full of loads of practical projects and things to make and do. A fascinating subject and one I'm loving learning about :)
There's nothing 'Voodoo' about 'Hoodoo'! x ~ CM Perez Del Pulgar Cole, Amazon
Grimoire of a Kitchen Witch
This is a friendly, fun and easy to read book. It contains lots of information for the budding Witch or for somone wanting to read another persons ideas on Rituals and Wiccan life. I really enjoyed reading it and will definately be buying more of Rachaels work. Definately worth buying. ~ Aquarianali, Amazon
Pagan Portals - Kitchen Witchcraft
Any book that I can use in my kitchen to get the mystical energies flowing is good. This is a small, handy book which contains simple ideas. ~ Heather Jane Dewhurst, Amazon
Twilight of the Wolves
edward j rathke
Like a Terrence Mallick film set in a universe as rich as Game of Thrones, Twilight of the Wolves is a different kind of fantasy novel: endlessly inventive, thoughtful, and almost painfully beautiful.
Kyle Muntz, author of Green Lights ~ Kyle Muntz
“In this, the second book in a planned trilogy, Swaim (The Death of Judeo-Christianity, 2012) outlines a theory for understanding evil . . . However, the aggression that is the root of all evil behavior doesn’t spring up randomly, Swaim says. Rather, it is learned through a process called trauma bonding, which happens on both an individual level (e.g., the abused child who turns into a violent adult) and a societal level, as with exploited or victimized groups that go on to oppress other groups. Trauma bonds are incredibly strong and involve the victim identifying with aggression, internalizing the aggression and eventually turning into an aggressor himself.” ~ , Kirkus Reviews
“Lawrence Swaim presents collective data from films, historical events like the Holocaust and slavery, military observations and basic trainings, news minutiae, political movements (Communist, Fascism, Zionism and Nationalism, etc.), case studies like Stockholm Syndrome and psychological experiments like Milgram’s ‘Obedience Study,’ and brilliant, spot-on literary references like the great Stephen King; he even goes as far as discussing gender and patriarchal worldviews that are usually unmentionables in the mainstream equation…” ~ , San Francisco Book Review
“As a child in a parochial school I was required to memorize Exodus 20:5, in which God promises to visit the “iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generations of them that hate me.” I appreciate coming to an even greater understanding of human failures through reading Lawrence Swaim’s Trauma Bond: An Inquiry into the Nature of Evil. This book explains concretely in strictly human terms what causes aggression to replicate itself, and how aggression—when rationalized, concealed or dissembled—can become evil. (Swaim even explains how evil, in the form of intergenerational trauma, can be communicated from one generation to another.)” ~ Marilyn Glaim, PhD, Tikkun
“…a REALLY splendid book!” ~ Patricia S. Churchland PhD, Author, Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality
“Why do we humans cling to those who treat us with cruelty and contempt? Whether evil is banal or diabolical, it has the power to captivate. In his remarkable volume, Trauma Bond: An Inquiry into the Nature of Evil, Lawrence Swaim explains this phenomenon with clarity, wit and wisdom. I recommend the book and commend the author.” ~ Frank Ochberg MD, Post-traumatic Therapy and Victims of Violence, editor (1988, Brunner Mazel)
Blue Sky God
Blue Sky God is an interesting combination of new science with New Age Christian theology. Its adventurous thinking 'outside the box' is a helpful attempt to rewrite traditional views of God, Jesus, and liturgies, to be more relevant and meaningful to the contemporary world, and more inclusive of other faiths.
The titles of the first four chapters might appear daunting to non-scientists: Quantum reality and God as Consciousness; Epigenetics, healing and prayer; Morphic fields and the works of Christ; The Quantum sea of light. But MacGregor is good at explaining difficult concepts in straightforward language, whether it is mainstream or often more speculative science. He stresses the primacy of consciousness in new physics where "we observe things into being". For him, "consciousness is what holds everything in being...through energy fields. Everything consists of energy fields not matter...each of us emits energy at a certain wave length".
He advocates "panentheism, meaning all is held in God but it is not the same as God. The concept of God as the compassionate consciousness that holds all in being is therefore panentheistic". His beliefs are summarised in his own short "Creed of Consciousness" in which God "dwells in us and all creation and...Jesus...was a son of God, a fully human being who reached the depths of God-consciousness to become fully divine, and forged a path for the rest of humanity through the way of self-emptying and compassion". For MacGregor, there was no literal virgin birth and incarnation but he retains the resurrection of Jesus in some elusive physical form.
Jesus, the Saviour, effected " a change in the morphic field of all humanity" and this was a "major evolutionary step in human consciousness. He becomes a receptor for the love of God". His Jesus "was able to raise his vibrational energy levels to bring healing to those around him...by enabling their bodies to sort themselves out". He supports complementary medicine and composes a service of prayers for healing in an appendix but his book omits incurable children, born so handicapped as to be beyond the reach of medicine, which surely requires explanation to justify his compassionate God.
Most of the time MacGregor wisely succeeds in avoiding an "anthropomorphic, person-like 'God made in our image' " and rejects "the duality of God 'up there' and we 'down here' ". His God is "Unitive Consciousness", "Oneness", "the Sacred Unity in which the whole universe exists",
and "the Ground of our Being".
To break free of some "restrictive" thinking by the Church, MacGregor offers his own "Consciousness Eucharist" as an appendix. But he writes with optimism and passion about the future, helped by contemplative prayer and by ethics based on the Golden Rule of "reciprocity". "The spiritual journey is to be transformed by love, letting go of the selfish nature, and entering into the compassionate consciousness that is God." So 'deification' from St Athanasius and others is taken literally so our "human destiny is to attain the consciousness of God, the unitive state, or wholeness, which is salvation".
Readers willing to accept a little repetitiveness and embrace some mystical terminology, will be handsomely rewarded in these 270 pages. MacGregor is strong on illuminating assertions about the nature of God but weaker on argument for the existence of God. We are beneficiaries of his wide reading and extensive bibliography, though it surprisingly omits Freeman Dyson and Roger Blomquist.
~ Dr John Morris, Author of Contemporary Creed
Bird Without Wings
I enjoyed this book. It reminded me a lot of the Twilight trilogy but a fairy version of it. Loved how the girls won at the end of the day! It was like they learned about their own strength and were able to appreciate their struggles to get where they got to because of it.
~ Lisa, Goodreads
Bird Without Wings
Faebles...how can I ever leave a review about this book. I am so conflicted. It was freaking amazing. I just might have to read it again.
~ Kali Pintor, Goodreads
Bird Without Wings
Bird Without Wings is one of the most imaginative stories I have read for some time. It may be the story of a sixteen year old girl, with all the troubles that that age brings, but the Fae world to which Scarlett is drawn will appeal to young and old alike. We first meet Scarlett at a time of very gritty reality - her supposed best friend has turned against her, and the best friend's brother has turned very nasty after she fended off his advances. Add to this the fact that Scarlett knows something very unusual is in the air, and the scene is set for an exciting and magical tale.
I have only one niggle with Bird Without Wings, and it's purely down to personal preference - I dislike reading books written in the first person, present tense. First person is fine and I like to see events unfold from the main character's viewpoint. Add in the present tense, though, and it becomes more like a list of actions and I find that annoying. But as I say, this is only a matter of my own taste.
Cally Pepper writes at a good pace and the story moves along in such a way as to keep the reader interested and engaged. I really wanted to know what was coming next and what would happen to Scarlett. A very enjoyable read.
(I was provided with a copy of Bird Without Wings by the author in return for a fair and honest review.) ~ Grace Rostoker, Amazon.com
Last Observer, The
Dr. G. Michael Vasey
The Last Observer is one of those wonderful novels that can be read in an afternoon and discussed with your friends for weeks afterward. Since the release of Dan Brown's DaVinci Code and subsequent best-seller sequels the world has been awash in books dabbling in the occult but like Brown, never truly crossing the line, or worse yet, taking the leap and the reader wishes they had stayed in place. It is not that there is anything wrong with magic in novels specifically dealing with the occult, it is instead in the way most authors write about it. Best selling authors like Brown titillate us with it only to give us a rationalized ending after 600 pages or so. Authors who have practical knowledge of magic and occultism often find out after the horse has left the barn, that while they know magic, fiction writing is not their calling. In short, all to often the reader is left wanting.
Not so with The Last Observer, if anything, we are left wanting more. Just like the novels by my good friend Dr. Joseph Lisiewski, I was pleasantly surprised with what I found here, for both its insight into occultism, but also reality itself.
The thrust of the story is simple: our hero is drawn into the conflict between two powerful magicians, along with the usual murder and mind twisting mayhem that accompanies battles between good and evil. It is here that Vasey shows us his stuff as a writer and a practicing magician. You see, Dr. Vasey is a scientist as well as a novelist. His keen awareness of the subtleties between the objective and subjective realms of existence are the real treat that the reader is given. The power of imagination, quantum physics, and ethical struggle that makes up magic on a very real level.
Maybe it is no surprise that as I went to write this review at my favorite coffee shop, that I remember the words of one of my teachers as I stood in-line waiting for my order to be taken, it was, “See everyone around you as an enlightened being. See the men as the God of Wisdom, and the women as his consort Truth. This is how they really are. Treat them each as a god and goddess.” This is a difficult task in the best of time, let alone on Black Friday. It is too easy to lapse into a lame New Age 'namaste' either mentally or verbally with people. But to hold onto the irate woman taking your order late in the day as a goddess, well, that just takes effort.
And that is what Vasey's work, The Last Observer is all about – effort. The effort it takes to get and stay 'awake' and to see reality as it is, not as we believe it to be. The dedication of this book contains the following: To the seekers of hidden knowledge everywhere, the way is long and hard. Don't cut corners! Yet, Vasey also addresses that age old question, raise so eloquently in the novel and movie Jurassic Park, about what happens when power is obtained without the discipline required to either understand or wield it properly?
Vasey is swift and clean in his writing, both in the scene descriptions and dialogue, making The Last Observer a book that comes in at under 120 pages and can be read in an hour or two. That said, a small part of me would love to see the dialogue in Chapter Twenty – Zeltan Speaks performed by Al Pacino just as he did his famous defense of the human condition as Satan in the movie version of The Devil's Advocate. If you liked that scene, you'll enjoy this strikingly honest appraisal of modern magic. ~ Mark Stavish, Institute for Hermetic Studies, Amazon.com