RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
“Squaring Circles” is a rich and delicious slice of modern British life, topped off with an intriguing dollop of paranormal whipped cream. This brilliant novel captivated me from the black-humor filled opening scene until the last sizzling paragraph. The writing is masterful throughout, each sentence thumping with energy and flowing with great momentum, with sparkles of humor sprinkled generously throughout. This is a sequel to Carolyn Mathews’ “Transforming Pandora,” and like the first installment, this is a novel of many characters and almost non-stop conversation, delightfully narrated by the protagonist, Pandora, an author dabbling in sound healing. Most interestingly, she has a supernatural friend, Enoch, with whom she occasionally communicates via automatic writing. Pandora’s beautifully complicated modern family is depicted with such realism that the plethora of characters comes fully to life, and we feel happily included in the family.
At her mother’s funeral, Pandora meets her dreadlocked half-brother – whom she never previously knew existed. Her mother’s grave is mysteriously vandalized soon after the funeral, and the only witness to the crime was a donkey! The new girlfriend of Pandora’s son has an uncanny skill for communicating with animals, and with her help Pandora is able to access what the donkey had seen. So now we know who done it, but still have no idea why! As the mysterious drama progresses, high spirituality is woven in like golden thread in a homespun tapestry. We learn of secret methods with ancient roots for healing the body, mind and spirit, that give us “a heightened experience of unity with nature, the inner self, and God.” Enoch teaches Pandora about the potency of the Violet Flame of Saint Germaine as a transformational tool, and shows her ways to increase the vibratory level of the atoms within the human body. Pandora believes that “our spirits are part of a great Divine Body…. So in that sense, we’re all God.”
“Squaring Circles” walks us so gently into the core of the spiritual labyrinth that we hardly realize what kind of journey we’re on until suddenly it’s clear that we’ve been initiated into a new level of divine knowledge. Carolyn Mathews’ rare literary artistry will leave readers blessed and uplifted, not to mention highly entertained. This is a delightful book!
~ Ram Das Batchelder, author of “Rising in Love: My Wild and Crazy Ride to Here and Now, with Amma, the Hugging Saint”
Reggie & Me
'Reggie & Me is an extremely inspiring ‘must read’ for any young person. The book offers a contemplation of the trials of teenage life, as the positive story carries its reader through the struggle of mastering them. We see the main character, Dani, turn to Taekwondo as a means of personal development. Her courageous choices and resilience in grappling with some difficult challenges is a brilliant reflection of the many strengths that Taekwondo aims to teach. We hope that Dani will inspire many other young people to take up our sport and improve their mental and physical wellbeing.' ~ British Taekwondo
49th Day, The
After escaping a disastrous marriage, Katherine Walsh travels to an island retreat in Wales in order to pick up the pieces of her life, relax and decide future direction. However, rest and recreation isn't all she discovers. During therapy sessions her ancient past is unlocked and odd happenings that have haunted her for years start to make sense. Katherine also realises that it may be to her benefit to learn how to trust a man again but the chance of love isn't her biggest surprise. She appears to be pregnant so any decisions she makes about her future must include the new life within her.
Lawyer, psychologist and author Helen Noble wowed us with her debut novel Tears of a Phoenix which sympathetically examined a lad's slide into criminality. Now in this, her second novel, she steps away from her legal system day job completely.
Actually The 49th Day is a complete leap away from the legal profession. It's also deftly seasoned with New Age spirituality but in a way that isn't intrusive, ensuring that even Reiki avoiders like me can enjoy it. There's just enough to form a framework and an ethereal feeling (assisted by Welsh mythological sprinkles and the mysticism of the Irish) as Katherine escapes a dangerously demanding husband and tries to come to terms with the imprints that the past has left on her present.
This is Helen's cue to provide us with some fascinating historical vignettes as Katherine is regressed back to her Celt/Norman roots. Again, Helen has been clever concentrating on Katherine's past stories rather than the regression itself so, once more, unbelief doesn't obstruct the suspension of disbelief. In this way we're thrown back to the middle ages to answer a query raised in our minds during the prologue (skip it at your peril!) and then, by quirk of oddity, even thrown forward for an enticing glimpse of Katherine's future. She's a highly likeable lass so we empathise and engage with gusto.
The romantic element isn't a surprise, the suspense based around how it will turn out rather than who it's with. That doesn't matter though as Fin is an Irish charmer with a twinkle despite facing problems of his own. Will the family feud with his brother wreck everything he's been working for? He also learns that there are inherent dangers and unexpectedly unfinished business linked with going home.
Helen isn't only able to rattle off an affable character; she has a great eye for detail that made me somewhat curious at one stage. There's talk of the renovation of a Wexford Engineering Drill Plough with double moulding boards. Why the specificity? I'm sure if we'd just been told that it was a drill plough we'd have been just as happy but I appreciate the above-and-beyond conviction with which Helen approaches her task. (Of course, it may have a significance that will be revealed later?)
For those who are drawn by spirituality, you won't be disappointed. The novel's structure is divided into Katherine's first seven weeks of pregnancy. (Yes, we're the first to know!) This means that the book finishes on the 49th day as per the title which has an even greater meaning. This is the day in Buddhist tradition on which the soul leaves the body after death. I'm not going to spoil the end so we'll just say that this has various connotations.
Having said that, the end isn't really the end. No, I'm not going all philosophical; this is indeed just the beginning as Katherine's story will develop into a trilogy. The idea of tandem-ing a love story and the desire to escape the past with reincarnation and regression is intriguing. I'm guessing that escape under these circumstances will be a little more difficult than usual for one thing. Indeed Helen seems to have set herself a challenge and I for one am eager to see how it all turns out.
(Thank you to Soul Rocks for providing us with a copy for review.)
Further Reading: It goes without saying we're going to recommend Helen's Tears of a Phoenix. ~ Ani Johnson, TheBookbag.co.uk
Good Pussy Bad Pussy
Rachel’s tale is all about how our bodies react physically to sex and delves into serious themes of consent as Rachel wonders why she enjoys some of her sexual encounters even though she didn’t desire them. Is she free because she gives into her lusts? And if she is free, why does she feel so dirty? She struggles with good pussy, bad pussy, with being faithful and wanting to give into her desires. Sex drives us all, and as she searches for happiness and a life, she realizes she can’t do that and not fall for her desires.
Amy Aimee rights hot sex, from romantic to dubious consent BDSM. Rachel’s mercurial passions are conveyed with skill, and romance fans will find a lot to sink their teeth in as they journey with Rachel to find what she’s searching for.
I give it 4 out 5 stars. It’s very well written romance and if you’re a fan of the genre, I’m sure you’ll love it more than me (I do confess to being male). But the themes in this novel are well worth reading and reflecting on. I doubt there’s a lot of romance out there that can make you reflect on the hold your desires have over you and the choices, often hasty and regrettable, you make while gripped by them. So check out Good Pussy, Bad Pussy!
~ Reed James , Naugthy Ladies Publications Blog & Goodreads
That Old Devil Called God Again
Archbishop Jonathan Blake
Jonathan's first book, For God's Sake, Don't go to Church was written with a vision, this book draws on that vision in action. I received my copy via Kindle as it was released and have devoted today to reading it. Don't expect an easy ride- it challenges to our very core, and it would be easy in the early chapters to give up on it finding Jonathan's reflections to be TOO much to bear. However, all that is needed is an open mind and Jonathan concludes his damning thesis on religion with a challenge to experience re birth. Far from dismantling my own belief system, Jonathan has enriched it through this book. It is both one of the most controversial but also the most inspirational works of the 21st century, a timely and urgent message for all. It is a must read for all. ~ Natasha Morgan, Amazon
That Old Devil Called God Again
Archbishop Jonathan Blake
Revd Fr Christopher Morgan is a parish priest and has been a psychiatric Chaplain. He writes:
Just finished reading this- amazing, challenging, hard hitting (occasionally I wanted to scream), but I persevered, and have found it the most inspirational piece of work I have ever read. ~ Reverend Fr Christopher Morgan
Where is Lonely?
A really excellent read. If you want to broach issues such as friendship and being lonely within a positive and creative story, this is the children's book for you . The main characters of Chelsea and the ogre are beautifully delineated and the plot moves us on with some delightful illustrations and twists. This would be great to use with children of all abilities and suitable for either home or classroom use.,the teaching notes at the end are both open and useful, giving plenty of scope for further exploration. If you liked the gruffalo you will love this little tome!
On the other hand, should you just want to delight in the tale and enjoy the experience without an agenda for teaching, it is a touching read without being sentimental or cliched.
Highly recommended. ~ Andrea Davies Miller, English Teacher and Freelance Editor
Where is Lonely?
' Where is Lonely? is an enchanting book. A fantastic teaching tool for PSHE & Circle time.
It would sit well in both a group or 1 to 1 situation. The illustrations are stimulating and would encourage
even a reluctant child to participate. The formate keeps your interest throughout the story.
I would highly recommended this book to the primary age range.'
Joy White, Primary School Headteacher.' ~ Joy White, Primary Head Teacher
Gawain Legacy, The
Are you looking for something a little different to read this summer? If so, there are worse ideas than to pick up The Gawain Legacy.
Lara is running from her past littered with tragedy and a loveless marriage. As she is preparing to write a new chapter in her own life, she meet Will, whose attempted suicide pulls her into a journey seven centuries in the making. Will has in his possession a manuscript with clues left by a fourteenth century poet, which brings with it a complex and enigmatic trail across the country and into France. But Will and Lara, are not the only ones interested in the secrets at the end of the trail.
Being chased by unknown adversaries, Lara and Will must not only follow the clues, but evade capture by Will’s pursuers. The chase brings treachery, betrayal, and secrets not only hidden in the manuscript, but in Lara’s own past.
The Author uses in depth knowledge of Arthurian legends and ancient language, bringing history to life as each page turns. The landscapes are authentic, and the idea is original, and the tale snakes in and out of history almost seamlessly. But like any good snake, there is a twist in the tail.
The story has a sci-fi element that seems to come out of nowhere. Leaving the fourteenth century poet and his work, a drug that is designed to unfold the fabric of time itself raises the stakes and changes the story. Just as the plot reaches its thinnest point, the revelation resuscitates the readers interest in the plot, and the novel begins to almost read itself. The Author’s prowess is slick, intelligent, and startling. Although the reader is energised by the plot and the novels pace, it is not entirely flawless.
The story is perhaps too complex for the small size of the novel, with so much in it, there are times when the reader is still confused by the methods that lift each curtain. Perhaps in places the story is too intelligent. Furthermore your empathy for Lara is tested by her almost inhuman infallibility. Her character is tested consistently, and yet she never seems to waver from her angelic moral code. All in all the novel could have been longer, allowing not only for better description of the code breaking, but to allow for more comprehensive characterisation.
With this said, you are never compelled to put the novel down and forget it. The reader must complete the quest, this will not go unfinished, and it will definitely leave your bookshelf more than once. If you like Dan Brown, and if you like Daniel Keyes, then you will adore The Gawain Legacy. From amazon, at just over six pounds, there are fewer books of such calibre at such a low price. Perhaps you could also check out his library of other works that have flown beneath the radar for too long.
I rate this book 3.5/5 ~ Adam Ward, http://www.mystudentstyle.co.uk/2014/08/26/gawain-legacy-review/
Gawain Legacy, The
A story that runs at a breakneck pace from the first page. It keeps you guessing right up to the breathless finale. This has the mystery of The Da Vinci Code along with echoes of Kate Mosse and Barbara Erskine. The mysterious Will has uncovered a series of clues in a stolen manuscript of Gawain and the Green Knight. Lara is vulnerable and desperate having just left her husband and she follows him to Chester to uncover the first clue. But whatever treasure lies at the end of the trail is also being sought by another group. There are twists and turns throughout. I promised myself I’d only read “one more” chapter and stayed up halfway through the night. ~ Mayflower
Gawain Legacy, The
I think this is Mackley's best novel yet. First of all, I think the title itself draws you into it, and it excited me to read it as well. It was a really great read and very enjoyable.
Definitely a recommended read. ~ Denisa, Amazon.co.uk
Gawain Legacy, The
You feel submerged within the plot from the first page and will be unable to put the book down until you finish it. The characters are believable, the twists and turns are unexpected, you can’t predict what will happen next, although you try and the ending will play on your mind weeks after. A truly enthralling read! ~ Natasha, Amazon.co.uk
Gawain Legacy, The
A really good read, this is a well paced and strong story. The characters are three dimensional, the dialogue is 'real' and flows well and the sense of place is excellent. The story keeps you guessing right to the end with lots of twists and turns changing what you were confident you had figured out into - well, I didn't see that coming. ~ Sara Geller, Amazon.co.uk
Gawain Legacy, The
Absolutely loved this book. Fast paced and exciting from the very beginning. I read it in 2 evenings because i couldn't put it down. You can really see the author's enthusiasm for medieval literature shine through, he makes Gawain even more interesting and exciting. A few reviews have compared this book to Dan Brown, I disagree, The Gawain Legacy is well written and much less predictable. I would recommend it to anyone. ~ Holly Cook, Goodreads and Amazon
Pagan Portals: The Morrigan
"Morgan has created a fascinating and endlessly useful volume for anyone who has either been called by or is seeking the Morrigan. I have honoured the Morrigan for many years and was pleased to see so many of her different aspects explored; her different names, her personality, her creatures and her 'darker' aspects. Most importantly, Morgan uses her own experiences to show how relevant the Morrigan is in the modern world, and how to find her power, magic and majesty. This book combines serious academic research with deeply personal experience to build a balanced yet evocative image of this Irish goddess. A brilliant read for anyone interested in Celtic spirituality but absolutely essential for anyone studying the Morrigan and her sisters."
~ Mabh Savage, author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors
Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth
Andrez Bergen has done it again. In Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth, Bergen weaves a story that is both unique and nostalgic. Set in 80s era Australia, Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth uses pop culture references to root a surreal story in a way that many writers envy.
Mina is a quiet senior girl in Australia. The reserved member of her friend group, Mina has little difficulty blending into the background of her own life. She has a distant father, an abusive brother, and a dead mother. Mina retreats into her own world, reading comic books and writing stories.
And interacting with a bird-like woman named Animeid.
As Mina deals with an abusive environment, her mental state gradually declines. Things around her fall apart. Close friends become distant. A beacon in the form of a strange girl shines in Mina’s life. Angelika’s presence rocks Mina’s life and spurs her to make some major changes. Additionally, a force beyond Mina’s control sets her on path that explores the depths of her mind.
Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth walks a fine line between a traditional coming-of-age story and surreal fantasy. Bergen draws in the reader with a protagonist that fosters compassion and identification, than flips the switch and drags the reader into a swirling nest of emotions. The mystery behind Mina’s life emerges, adding another layer to the story. As we learn more about Mina and her emotional health, the book becomes harder and harder to put down.
Bergen’s latest novel keys into popular events of the 80s, especially references pertaining to the goth movement. From music to hair to makeup, Mina and other character embrace goth culture. Further, Bergen pays homage to comic books through Mina’s own love for the medium. Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth is a great read for those who love the music of the 80s, comics of the 70s, and classic films of the 60s as well as addictive coming-of-age stories. Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth is available in print and digital formats from Perfect Edge Books. ~ Mara Wood, NerdSpan
Witchcraft Today - 60 Years On
As its title suggest this is an anthology of modern articles on Wicca, it brings together a range of authors and various modern practitioners writing about modern neo-pagan witchcraft or describing how they personally came to the subject.
In the introduction Rachel Patterson makes rather generalised comments that not everyone will agree with that there are no 'secrets' left in witchcraft and that we all have the power within us to work magic.
It also examines the evolution of Alexandrian Wicca and how it developed in Australia, also the creation of Seax Wica in the United States and articles on other home-grown American traditions such as Eclectic Wicca.
There are also articles on 'hedge witchcraft'. solitary witches, 'nature witches', 'male witchcraft' and witchcraft in the future.
The anthology concludes with a section called 'Journeys on the Crooked Path' this features short pieces by various people recounting their own spiritual journey to wherever they are now in the neo-pagan witchcraft scene. ~ BM Cauldron, TC 153 Summer 2014
Don't Drink and Fly
Moving between an unpolished Glasgow and a complex island community Devitt’s magical mayhem conceals shadowy family secrets. Bernice and Maggie, amidst spells and betrayals uncover a multitude of duplicities which tests and ultimately cements the bonds of their friendship. Sad and funny in equal measure Cathie Devitt’s debut "novella" Don’t Drink And Fly is the first of what I hope will be many adventures for Bernice. Looking forward to the sequels.. ~ Laura Marney, Aothor & Creative Writing Lecturer
Open Book Theater Management
A powerful insight into a straight-from-the-hip method of shooting down the stars and capturing your theatrical dreams. A great balance of practical wisdom, clear methodology, and space for artistic expression ~ Max Lewendel, Artistic Director, Icarus Theatre Collective
I am in the middle of reading your book, and couldn't wait to tell you how good it is! Not only is really well written and you just want keep reading, but it is like I am reading my own story! There are so many parallels. And more than that, I think it tells the story of many, many women, and it is good to know, that we are not alone, but that we have many sisters on this planet. Thank you for sharing your experiences. ~ Shivapriya, letter to author