RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS



  • Play From Your F*****g Heart
    Jerry Hyde
    "Jerry's a soul-physician and writer after my own heart, and dare I say style, in his utter irreverence and lack of pretentiousness. He has a profound and unique grasp of the psyche and a genius' wit. Perfect read for the modern cynic who doesn't give a fuck but does really – it'll inject a little love in your life. Most highly Recommended”. The Barefoot Doctor ~ Stephen Russell - the Barefoot Dr



  • Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth
    Andrez Bergen
    "From Goth coming-of-age to violently gothic, Andrez wanted his own style mixed with a bit of Edgar Allan Poe and he got the recipe spot on." ~ Ani Johnson, The Bookbag



  • Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth
    Andrez Bergen
    Sixteen year old Mina lives in Nede (that's 'Needy' out loud), a suburb of the Australian state of Victoria where she's in the final throes of school. However she feels very much an outsider, especially after the recent death of her mother. Mina's alienated further by her bullying elder brother and her father's attempts to move on with his life before Mina is ready. She has friends that she spends time with in a disinterested Goth way, the friend who understands her most being Animeid. Animeid is even more different than Mina, being half-girl, half-bird, but neither of them seems to mind. It doesn't affect anyone else after all – Mina's the only person who can see her.

    Aussie born, Japan-adopted Andrez Bergen has a reputation for surprise and originality. This is only the second of his books that I've read but I'd say that reputation is founded on fact. In a single bound we've gone from murder among the super hero community in the comic fantasy noir 'Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?' to this, just as surreal but darker shocker. ('Shocker' in a good way!)

    From the beginning our hearts go out to Mina because, although she isn't someone we understand, we want to delve past all the pain and bereavement she's been through and try. (Whether she wants us to or not.) Her family (father Jim and brother Patrick) are periphery people whom we don't get to know that well as Mina won't let us. This is her story and she (along with Animeid) is the nucleus.

    Mina is someone I'm betting that most will react to strongly. Although fascinated by her, I grew to like her invisible friend more. Animeid has a great sense of irony coupled with an ability to sum up a situation in a sentence or even a word. Her ideas are a tad on the unconventional side but then so is she. Who is she? What is she? We're invited to form our own opinions around Andrez's cleverly arranged set pieces.

    Cleverly arranged? Oh definitely – Mr Bergen is a very intelligent author, much to our entertainment and delight. The cultural jokes that peppered Heropa before now give way to word play and some seemingly insignificant touches that come to mean so much.

    There are also references that draw us back to the 80s. Some (like Mina's love of Joy Division and New Order) will mean something to readers in both hemispheres. Whereas a couple (like references to Melbourne's fixed fun fair, Luna Park) encourage us to scuttle off to our favourite search engine. Having said that, we can all remember what it was to be young and we all knew a Mina on the edge of a school-aged social circle.

    The really devious thing is that, just when we feel we're coming to grips with Mina's world, we're thrown into violent mayhem and a jaw-dropping finale. Andrez may have left the laughs of Heropa behind but this dark, cynical volume isn't the sort of thing we read only once. Having got to the end I had to re-read just to pick up the clues that I'd missed. Indeed a masterly touch, Mr B! ~ Ani Johnson, The Bookbag



  • Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth
    Andrez Bergen
    'Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth' is rather different in style and tone from much of Andrez Bergen’s previous body of work. Even so, though, there’s a distinct flavor to it that, if you’re familiar with Bergen’s writing, is unmistakable. His influences and his passions always stand out, from elements of noir to classic films and comic books to music, and more. As I’ve remarked before, this tendency to wear his passions on his sleeve is part of what makes Bergen’s work so much fun to read.

    This particular novel is set in Australia in the 1980s. We follow Mina, a high school girl coming into her own amid an avalanche of problems all around her. Her mother died just a few short weeks before the story begins. Her brother beats and abuses her, and has since she was little. And, her father, while not a bad person per se, is distant and completely oblivious to her emotional state.

    Mina refuses to talk about any of the awful things going on in her life, and when confronted about them, she shrugs it off and pretends that they don’t bother her. Instead, to deal with these problems, she retreats into fantasy. Her outlet is a typewriter, with which she turns the people and events in her life into fantastical stories, ranging from sci-fi to adventure to (of course) noir. The action of the novel itself is frequently broken up by bits of these stories—several of which the keen observer may recognize, particularly if they’ve read the anthology Bergen published last year, 'The Condimental Op'.

    Writing can be a good and healthy way of dealing with emotional trauma; however, Mina also retreats into fantasy in another, somewhat darker way: a large, black-feathered bird-woman named Animeid, her sometime rescuer, sometime tormenter, who wreaks merry havoc in Mina’s life and is, of course, invisible to everyone but Mina.

    I found myself identifying with Mina rather more than I expected to, especially considering that I was never a teenage girl, nor did I grow up in Australia in the 1980s. But, certain events in her life parallel my own, and, in particular, her reactions to these events are rather more familiar than I’m comfortable with. In that way she’s identifiable, yes, but not always easy to like. That’s not a criticism, but merely an observation—Mina in fact doesn’t always like herself either. But, as she comes into her own, both she and we begin to like her and root for her more and more.

    This is not your typical coming-of-age story, though. It starts out that way, but eventually encompasses a variety of different styles and genres, from sci-fi to mystery, and more—even apart from the stories-within-a-story that we glimpse from Mina’s writings. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like this one. It’s odd and unique, at times funny, at times poignant, but always compelling. If you’re looking for something outside the norm, you should definitely give this one a read.
    ~ Steven W. Alloway, Fanboy



  • Working the Aisles: A Life in Consumption
    Robert Appelbaum
    This book sticks in your head well after you put it it down. The author is a great story teller. His personal journey is both funny and profoundly sad. This was a great read for anyone anyone who enjoys a good book. ~ Dale Ridge, Amazon.com



  • Spirits of the Sacred Grove
    Emma Restall Orr
    5 Star review for the first edition published 1998:
    "The most beautiful, inspirational book I have ever read."
    When I first began reading 'Spirits' (now re-titled 'A Druid Priestess') I was recovering from a major operation and so had the time, at last, to consider in depth, my spirituality, something I'd been attempting to do for a long time. Although raised a Roman Catholic I had always been drawn to nature, and the nature-based religions, and found the Pagan way of living was becoming more and more interesting and important to me. Although, I WOULD say that you don't have to be interested in following a pagan pathway, to delight in the pages of this wonderful book. Anyone, following any religion or spirituality, will find something within these pages which touches them deeply. It does not aim to convert. Many of my non-pagan friends have read it, and have found solace in its words.
    It is a book based on a very personal journey in the life of a very beautiful Priestess. Completely enthralling, weaving knowledge with inspiration, and sharing many personal moments, 'Spirits' allows the reader to truly 'be' there, to walk alongside Bobcat, to wander about in her world and touch her reality, as she treads her own, unique path throughout the wheel of the year.
    I was feeling particularly low in my own spirit and soul when someone recommended I read 'Spirits', stating "it'll blow your head off Ri", and it did! From the very first page I was captivated. From the very first page I soared. 'Spirits' is one of those books which is difficult to put down once you start reading, yet at other times I became so overwhelmed, so fuelled with emotion, that I just had to, either to merely wipe my tears of sadness or elation, or actively work with the spirits of place, to share what I was experiencing ...
    'Spirits of The Sacred Grove' is a very powerful insight, into a very beautiful native spirituality. I knew from the moment I began reading it that the path of Druidry was the one I'd been walking in secret all of my life. I felt as if I'd 'come home'. And now, almost 4 years after first reading it, I feel that even more strongly. I'm still walking my path, with deeper and deeper reverance each day, and still delighting in my now well-read, dog-eared book of 'Spirits of The Sacred Grove'... ~ Mouse, Amazon Customer Review



  • Spirits of the Sacred Grove
    Emma Restall Orr
    5 star review for the first edition published1998:
    "A wonderful guide to the spirit and passion of druidry."
    I have read many texts giving in more or less detail the practical aspects of druidic practice. They are informative and interesting, but few have engaged my imagination and my spirit as this one has. I have seldom, if ever, come across such a vivid and beautiful description of what it is to actually live as a priestess (or priest). Emma takes us along with her on her spiritual journey through the year, allowing us to experience the laughter and the fears, the doubt and the joy of modern druidry. A truly moving book for anyone with an interest in the spiritual side of life, no matter what religious background they hail from. ~ Craig Cartmell, Amazon Customer Review



  • Starlight in the Ring
    H. N. Quinnen
    5.0 out of 5 stars STARLIGHT IN THE RING: A MUST READ STORY 25 Jun 2014
    By Dr S Kachilele
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    A well written novel covering a remarkable historical period in South Africa.
    A very interesting book, with unpredictable plot.
    The story revolves around families living in South Africa, South West Africa and England. In each chapter, Betty Baker takes the reader through her adventurous life. We learn about her family aspirations, setbacks and inspirations.
    In her writing, Quinnen is very good at painting pictures in the mind of a reader. I did feel sorry for both Betty and Jimmie’s families. They had a very strong relationship, helping and caring for each other in every possible way, yet trapped and limited by the laws. I had mixed emotions, as I turned the pages, unable to put it down. I enjoyed the love triangle, and kept wondering who was Betty marrying in chapter 1 – I wished it was Mark.
    I loved reading about South Africa from this positive point of view – certainly the book is not anti- Europeans or anti-Natives.
    A brilliantly entertaining and inspirational story of hope that left me with more questions about what happened to Jimmie and Betty’s family in the end. ~ Dr S Kachilele, Amazon.co.uk



  • Reggie & Me
    Marie Yates
    This book is a fantastic and brilliant read from cover to cover and will appeal to both teenagers and adults who have been through a traumatic experience in their life time but found that what did not kill them infact made them stronger.

    First time author, Marie Yates, writes in a beautiful & captivating manner and I found I was gripped throughout the book wanting to find out what happened next. I could not put the book down and read the whole book cover to cover in one session!

    I felt I could really relate to Dani’s character as she expressed her innermost thoughts about growing up and facing the pressures & challenges that school can bring any normal teenager. For Dani though it was different as she had the extra pressure of starting a new school mid- term and right before her exams. Not only that but she had the pressure of keeping her rape ordeal a secret and overcoming the victim mentality, guilt and shame she was feeling about it all.

    Jane was one of my most favourite characters in the book as she was a true guide and mentor for Dani and taught her how to use her mind to overcome the challenges she was facing. Jane teaches Dani valuable life lessons of how to change negative thinking into positive thinking and actions which was what helped Dani to get through her challenges the most and achieve the goals she set herself.

    I could also personally relate to how important it is to have a dog as your best friend throughout your teenage years and Reggie came into Dani’s life at exactly the right time and for the right reasons.

    Reggie who is half Rottweiler and half German shepherd is the most delightful dog, who through his innate wisdom, shared, what I felt were the most important lessons and teachings for Dani after her ordeal.

    Reggie helps Dani to learn how to trust again and feel respect, unconditional love, acceptance and complete loyalty. Reggie’s important teachings result in them both forming a very deep and mutual bond in their relationship with one another and proving that dogs really are our best friends.

    There is a great twist at the end which made me smile and laugh out loud and made me feel on a high and left me wanting to read more.

    I would highly recommend this book to everyone to read as I feel there are parts in Dani’s story that we can all relate to. The book made me smile, laugh and at times brought tears to my eyes as it took me back down memory lane in my own life and helped me realise that indeed what does not kill you does make your stronger!

    Fantastic Read: 10/10!
    ~ Nikki Brown - The UK's Natural Dog Whisperer



  • Shaman Pathways - Trees of the Goddess
    Elen Sentier
    Trees of the Goddess presents the Ogham Tree Alphabet in a new and exciting way, clearly linking the wheel of the year to the trees. Even if you already know the Ogham you will find something new in this easily readable book. If you are studying the Ogham as part of a spiritual course this is a very necessary companion. Elen also presents simple techniques for getting in touch with the tree spirits and making Ogham staves and all in less than 100 pages. Another triumph for the Shaman pathways series and Elen herself
    ~ Dr. B. J. Howlin, Moon Books author



  • Shaman Pathways - Trees of the Goddess
    Elen Sentier
    My own approach to tree lore and the Ogham is entirely traditional so I found Elen Sentier's book a fascinating look into an entirely different approach to the subject. Elen weaves together the older material with a wide array of modern material, including insight's from Robert Graves' book the White Goddess, moon lore, metal associations, and spiritual concepts. She also includes a lot of tree and plant lore and some different deity related material. She covers the 20 Ogham by breaking them up into the 12 months of the year, each month with a chapter which contains 1 or 2 Ogham. Towards the end she also discusses mistletoe and how to connect to the energies of the trees and plants as well as how to make your own Ogham staves. Ultimately this book is not about the academic history of the Ogham or the historic beliefs and practices associated with them, but is about the author's vision of the living symbols of the trees and how they can be connected to and worked with today.
    ~ Morgan Daimler, Moon Books Author



  • SPLANX
    Peter Magliocco
    Christopher Obert, publisher of Pear Tree Publishing, for the New England Authors Expo ...
    www.facebook.com/NewEnglandAuthorsExpo

    ~ Christopher Obert, New England Authors Expo



  • Open Book Theater Management
    Rafe Beckley
    Practical, moral, fair and inspired. Small-scale and fringe theatre has been waiting a long time for Open Book - we should embrace it with open arms. ~ Ivor Benjamin, Directors Guild of Great Britain



  • Eve and Mary: The Search for Lost Beauty and Sensuality
    Frank Shapiro
    5 Star Review: This review is from: Eve and Mary: The Search for Lost Beauty and Sensuality (Paperback)

    Certainly worth a look see. The feminine strengths and presence in early Christian history have been so overlooked and repressed, that all attempts to shed some light on this area of history or possible history, even, is opening oneself to a much more balanced view of what we all could be in a more balanced society-with the roles of men and women in harmony. ~ Edward Huff, Amazon.com



  • Your Simple Path
    Ian Tucker
    Read and absorb this book and take action to live "Your Simple Path", and your life will never be the same! Brilliant book, I really enjoyed reading it and I can’t wait for the next one. ~ Mrs S Squires, Amazon UK



  • Your Simple Path
    Ian Tucker
    Sometimes, overthinking life and your role in it can completely overwhelm you and drain you, its sometimes easy to feel stuck and start to believe you cant change anything. But the simple reality is, you can change everything with just one thought, one realisation. This is why Ian's book is so special. It is a down to earth gentle look in the mirror at the core of what makes us all tick. It is a subtle reminder of what we are all about, of how we are the ones responsible for how we think and feel. Our happiness is our responsibility, not anyone elses. This book helps you to realise that we are the sole creator of all of our thoughts, actions and ultimately our pathway in life. I read this book siting on a beach in Cornwall and found myself feeling uplifted, motivated and light after the first few pages. His down to earth way of writing makes it easy for you to explore and understand your own thought processes. He helps you to realise how simple it is to regain some calm and peace into your life simply by changing how you choose to perceive and think about things. You realise that the more healthy wholesome helpful thoughts you create, the better you are going to feel. As soon as I closed the book, I was smiling and will felt uplifted and inspired . Thank you Ian for sharing your words. Looking forward to more. Inspiring, encouraging, comforting and uplifting. Highly recommend ! ~ Lisa, Amazon UK



  • Your Simple Path
    Ian Tucker
    I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing this 117 page enlightening how-to on the finer points of awakening to who we really are, and celebrating it every step of the way. The author's relaxed cozy style just pulled me right into such a secure place that I could breathe and look freely at the questions in each chapter that helped me understand and enjoy just being me.

    I also found the personal stories to help me to gain insight and trust the process. I truly believe that simple is the best approach and that was proven to me over and over again. I would recommend this great teacher to anyone who wants to reclaim the treasure of life. Thanks Ian, I so get this. ~ Riki Frahmann, Mystic living magazine



  • Your Simple Path
    Ian Tucker
    Your Simple Path is a must read. Its a simple easy,gentle, and honest approach to sorting things out. Getting things into prospective. I found it very emotional in parts as it really touched my soul. A truly wonderful self help book. One that you will want to recommend to others. ~ Janine Doidge, Amazon UK



  • Good Pussy Bad Pussy
    A. Aimee
    Sincerely Unforgettable - 4 Stars
    I was so torn on this book. Good Pussy Bad Pussy started off kinda weird. This chic Rachel leaves her husband and son to run off with some hot guy she just met. Is she desperate? Maybe. It was so easy to hate her. I can’t identify with this chic. I couldn’t stop thinking about this girl Rachel. Why did she do that? I had to pick the book back up and see where the author lead me. As it turns out, Rachel doesn’t really know either. She is just another dysfunctional soul trying to figure out how to get happy. I wanted to just say, I don’t like this girl. But then something happened in the story and I felt bad for her. I even found myself rooting for her to have a happy ever after. Although, throughout most of the story it didn’t seem possible.

    Rachel is a female lead with a promiscuous nature. She is what my grandparents would call a damaged girl. She is not good in the sense that is popular. She is trying to be something, trying to have an adventurous life. She wants to live with no regrets, but of course there are consequences to her behavior. She is tortured, raped, and abused. She has some real problems. She finds ways to cope. I agreed she should have left her husband. It wasn’t the right way, but when you have a small child no way is right. Her parenting is not her number one objective. How refreshing it is to see a story that doesn’t focus entirely on child rearing. This chic is trying to have a life, but she is doing it wrong. Good thing for karma. She is so careless she gets what she deserves and the story shifts. Some people are not that good at making the right choices. Rachel is a perfect example of how you can completely be wrong and still end up doing the right thing.

    Because this book disturbed me. I want to give it only 3 stars. The sex in this book was hot, but knowing she left her little boy to get it made me feel guilty. Rachel’s relationship with her mother actually saved her from being completely despised by me. Because of that, and other redeeming qualities, I have to give this 4 stars. The title drew me in but the sincerity of the character of Rachel made this a book that I won’t soon forget.
    ~ Karen Blue , Goodreads, Amazon and her blog



  • Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth
    Andrez Bergen
    What’s it about?:
    Andrez Bergen’s latest novel follows a sixteen year old misfit named Mina who currently is facing some major problems. Namely, that her mother just died, that her older brother physically and emotionally abuses her - not to mention all the school drama that regularly dogs a teenage girl’s life. Throw into the mix that she has an invisible, bird-like friend named Animeid and her life grows even more complicated. Despite this smorgasbord of emotional chaos Mina is more disturbed by her lack of feeling towards it all and she aims to find out why that is so. Set in Australia during 1986, and brimming with pop culture references to constantly remind us of its historical setting, this is a story about growing up and realising who it is you are and want to be. Also, it’s a murder mystery.

    Is it any good?:
    Kudos must be given to Bergen for skilfully depicting an actually believable teenage girl on page; Mina’s mannerisms, her speech, her dynamic with her friends are all spot on and highlight the writer’s ability to really get inside the minds of his characters. The plot itself blurs the line between the sci-fi/fantasy and Bildungsroman genres for the most part successfully, but there’s an abrupt tonal shift about halfway through the novel that takes the reader in a whole other different direction and it is definitely a bit jarring. Characters who you thought you had sussed out reveal themselves to be vastly (even horrifyingly) different. Once one can overcome the initial shock, however, the second half of the story turns out to be just as intriguing as the first. Fans of Bergen’s previous work will no doubt be used this anyhow. What saves the novel’s structure from complete collapse under the weight of all its elements is Mina, whose narration is sharp, likeable, and keeps the reader at an even pace. There’s a lot going on in this novel (though what would one expect with a title that long), and at times it can feel a bit overstuffed, but Bergen always manages to keep his head above water; everything has its purpose and everything has its place. It’s a slow burner but the reader is rewarded with a great pay off after so much build up.

    In 2 words:
    Read it. ~ , ComicBuzz