RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
- Beat the Rain
Nigel Jay Cooper
A wonderful read, compelling, heartbreaking and at times uncomfortable to read, as the author digs deep into the failings and psyches of his two main characters. It is in some way, a cautionary tale on the choices we make and the lives we lead, Beat the Rain is a psychological drama rather than a thriller, which has you hooked the further into the book you read, combing a page-turning plot with brilliant characterisation and raw emotion. I could barely put it down by the time I was half way through, and by the end was pretty wrung out. Nigel Jay Cooper is undoubtedly a name to watch if his debut is anything to go by. I thoroughly recommend this little find. Five stars. ~ Emma S, Amazon Customer Review
- Writing on the Wall, The
The Writing on the Wall: On the Decomposition of Capitalism and Its Critics by Anselm Jappe and translated by Alastair Hemmens is a study of capitalism and its future failure. Jappe grew up in Cologne and in the Périgord. He studied in Paris and Rome where he obtained, respectively, a master’s and then a doctorate degree in philosophy. In his writings, he has attempted to revive critical theory through a new interpretation of the work of Karl Marx. His book Guy Debord was an intellectual biography of Guy Debord, the prime mover of the Situationist International.
Marx’s specter did put a fright into Europe in the late 19th century. Industries treated employees better. The work week was limited. The industrial worker now enjoyed something new called leisure time. The specter seemed satisfied and a new era of growing wealth and security that lasted until the out break of WWI. Unions and socialists still kept the pressure on governments and industries, but failed to keep workers from fighting other workers who lived under a different flag. After the war and the Russian revolution, governments and industry struggled to prevent socialists from rising to governmental power. There was a rise in anti-socialism backed by industry and wealth. This was best seen in Germany and Italy. In the US, socialism was controlled by laws, especially the espionage acts that put Eugene Debs in jail. There was also violence against unions.
Marx predicted that Capitalism would fail. It was a beast that consumed everything in front of it and would eventually devour itself. Workers were the first to get eaten and spit out broken. When they fought back the jobs left or they were replaced. Now, it is resources and our planet, in general, that is suffering. Industrialization and consumerism have upset the environment from climate change to pollution, to the giant island of floating plastic in the Pacific Ocean. Wages of workers remain stagnant while the top percentage of white collar workers see increases in earnings. Industrial jobs are moved overseas for the cheap labor and lack of regulation. Countries like China and India benefit only because they were so far behind the Western World. Workers there are paid low and are worked long almost like the industrialized revolution here. Some benefit greatly the vast majority do not.
Jappe leads the reader through his thinking with ten, very well documented, essays. One point that particularly stuck in my mind was behavior. We have four taste senses; sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. A child will only ask for sweet and salty. We learn to like the other tastes and develop an appreciation for them with time. Cut out the learning and what we have left is basically McDonald’s — salty food and sugary drinks. Cut out the education, or dumb it down, and we have people whose only qualifications are unskilled labor, the so-called McJobs. What is needed to pass high school today is a lot less than fifty or seventy years ago. An associates degree that would secure a tech job in the past carries much less weight today. Jobs that used to have insurance, vacations, pensions, and holidays don’t anymore.
We are in an era of “Bread and Circuses.” The system is starting to consume itself and we are told not to worry. We have cable television, cell phones that are used for mindless games rather than talking. Social media that helps pit one side against another. In America, our political system is split into only two sides an “us versus them” scenario. Realistically the parties are not that far apart on the political spectrum. It is not socialism versus fascism. The rich still benefit no matter who is in control. The system encourages people to vote against their own interests with sound bites and catch phrases rather than thoughtful discussion. The idea of capitalism trumps the idea of democracy.
The fear that capitalism will fall to socialism is not one that is based in reality. Capitalism will destroy itself and it will not be a workers revolt that will rise but rather barbarism. Much like a building crumbling to the ground and new better building will not arise unless there is the organization, skilled labor, and a popular willingness to build a new, better building. That is what is missing and the system, in order to protect itself, the system works to undermine that organization. Society is not going to fall into socialism when capitalism fails. Mankind will enter a Hobbesian state of nature. Jappe explains to the reader that the writing is on the wall and it is up to us to first notice and then react. ~ Evil Cyclist, https://evilcyclist.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/book-review-the-writing-on-the-wall-on-the-decomposition-of-capitalism-and-its-critics/
- Shaken Path, The
As a pagan, I was interested in reading this book, but I had serious reservations. I was raised in a Roman Catholic family, and my beliefs haven't always been met with open minds or hearts. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this book was written by a very open-minded priest, and instead of deriding pagan beliefs, simply discussed them in a Christian context.
~ Liliyana Shadowlyn, NetGalley
- Awakening Child
Heather Grace MacKenzie
The Awakening Child is a great book for parents who want to raise their child more spiritually and awakened. I enjoyed this book and think it should be read by every spiritual seeker with children. ~ Rose Pettit , NetGalley
- Crystal Prescriptions volume 6
The perfect book to read on the cusp of a solar eclipse. This book of prescriptions gives the reader an excellent alternative to Western medicine with that being a holistic soul cleansing. Starting off with an introduction section to give the reader an extensive background into chakras, auras and some common mental illnesses, as well as some useful ways to find a person's particular prescription, she then delves further into the universe of karma and the soul and ends with a reminder on ancestral healing. The way each part compounds onto the other mimics the ascension we, as energy beings attempt to reach. We start as soul's with karmic debt and lessons, and once we have overcome those we transcend to become ancestors. The very end of the book gives an exhaustive list of the various crystals and how they can be used for healing purposes. For those new or old to the practice, or want to know more about it, I would definitely recommend this book.
~ Bianca Tenney, GoodReads/NetGal
- Find and Follow Your Inner Compass
Wow, I really needed to hear this message at this time! I so appreciated the conversational style of this book. Barbara Berger doesnt lecture, she facilitates. The premise of the book is so relateable. We ARE constantly bombarded by opinion, good and bad, by advice, well-meaning or not. Social media has only increased the pressure upon us to know our true selves and to make choices that align with our character and goals. I appreciated the tone of the book, and I will be gifting a few people with copies, as I think it will resonate with them, as well. I think it would make an excellent book discussion selection as I find myself bringing it up in conversation quite often. ~ Janet Kinsella, Amazon
- Catherine of Braganza
Catherine of Braganza was the wife of Charles II. She is known for making tea popular in England. She was often very unpopular and was believed to be the neglected wife of Charles II. However, in this biography of Queen Catherine, she is portrayed as a loyal and loving wife to King Charles. While she was often in background at the merry monarch’s court, King Charles never really considered replacing her. He ended up being her most staunch supporter. This biography also shows that Catherine had the makings of being a great queen when she became regent for her nephew in Portugal.
Catherine of Braganza was a princess of Portugal. She was a devoted Catholic throughout her life. Charles II secured his marriage with Catherine in exchange for a large dowry, which he never received. Catherine arrived in England, but she didn’t speak any English. She was immediately unpopular because of her Catholic faith. Charles also did not meet her upon arrival because he was with his mistress. Yet, despite these setbacks, Charles still decided to marry her anyway, both in a secret Catholic ceremony and in a Protestant one.
The beginning of their marriage became tumultuous. Charles wanted to make his mistress serve his wife. Catherine refused. This biography showed that Catherine was temperamental, stubborn, and passionate. It also showed that Charles was also hot-headed and stubborn, and that both the king and queen were used to getting their own way. This became a strained marriage, and Catherine became neglected. It wasn’t until after she relented and treated Charles’s mistresses with respect that Charles began to pay more attention to her.
Throughout her marriage, Catherine had to tolerate Charles’s mistresses. She also had to deal with the failure that she never produced an heir and the king’s counselors advising the king to replace her. Despite these problems, Charles never divorced his wife. He supported her. When the Popish Plot of 1678 threatened her, Charles stood by her side and declared he wouldn’t impeach her. Their relationship became closer. Charles spent more time with her and gave her more attention.
After Charles’s death, she lived in seclusion in Somerset House and witnessed the reigns of James II and William and Mary. Eventually, she returned to Portugal and was appointed regent for her nephew. She was a successful regent, but her time was short. She died in December.
Overall, this biography portrays Catherine in a sympathetic light. Her life was a series of tribulations. I felt sorry for Catherine and her difficulties. Yet, she managed to overcome them with the help of her husband Charles II. This biography also shows a more complex portrait of Catherine. She is portrayed as temperamental, stubborn, loyal, and politically adept. Because we see how capable Catherine is as regent, we only wonder how good of a queen she would be if Charles relied on her more often. This biography was short and it is very readable to the general reader. Those who have never heard of Catherine will find her story compelling and will want to learn more about her. Thus, Catherine of Braganza: Charles II’s Restoration Queen shows Catherine to be a woman who had the potential to be a great queen, but was never given the chance during her marriage to Charles II. ~ Lauralee Jacks, History From A Woman's Perspective http://www.historywomanperspective.com/2017/08/catherine-of-braganza-charles-iis.html
- Rise of the Shadow Stealers
I really enjoyed reading this book. I think those who enjoy the Harry Potter or Percy Jackson books will greatly enjoy this magical adventure. Fletcher and Scoop are loveable heroes you can't help but root for!
~ Lily Greer, NetGalley
- David and the Philistine Woman
This is a fascinating twist of the story of David and Goliath, giving the Philistine point of view. Although it's fictional, it's based on archeological and cultural data. It's a great story and if you know the Biblical account of David's life, it will give you some food for thought. The characters are well developed and I connected with them. I got an insight into the ancient Philistine culture. ~ Cynthia Trotter, Missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators since 1996 M.A.
- 7 Myths about Love...Actually! The
This book is a beautiful reminder that we are love and how to break the walls we have out you to reclaim our true identity. Broken into several parts each part is a component to the next. This book should be read slowly so as to take in everything it has to remind us of. I loved this beautiful reminder. ~ Rose Pettit, NetGalley
- Beat the Rain
Nigel Jay Cooper
A well-written heartrending book which held my interest throughout. Keep the tissues handy!! ~ Pat Cavill, Goodreads Review
- Beat the Rain
Nigel Jay Cooper
Five stars - I simply loved this book. I'm a very hard to please reader, I lose interest quickly and my attention span is appalling but this had me from the first chapter and stayed with me until I could bury myself in it again. It's beautifully written, and is about life and love and mistakes. The characters are compelling yet flawed. You can't decide if you love them or hate them, in the end I gave up trying to judge them and just let myself get absorbed in their tale. If the author had another out I'd buy it in a heart beat. Loved it. ~ Poetry Fan, Amazon Customer Review
- Witchcraft...into the wilds
Whether you are experienced in the ways of the Craft, new, or somewhere in between, Rachel Patterson’s Witchcraft into the Wilds is for you! If you are a regular reader of Patterson’s works, you know that her style is very personable, presenting her ideas in a very conversational, approachable manner, and this volume is no exception. She does not take a prescriptive approach to sharing her knowledge, but instead presents her suggestions in a way that encourages the reader to trust in her or his own intuition. This book is packed full of wonderful, practical information, ideas, and suggestions that will help the reader make stronger connections to all that nature has to offer the practicing Pagan. Another feature of this book that I truly appreciate is that Patterson has made it interactive with the reader, offering journal prompts throughout the chapters that encourage the reader to explore her or his thoughts about information in the book while reading it, but also to continue the journaling throughout their personal journey with the Craft. If you are drawn to working more with nature, or you are interested in learning more about nature’s role in magic, this is a must-have book for your collection. ~ Paul Chamness Miller
- Time Sphere
As a lover of history and mythology, I really liked the time travel aspect of the novel. Morrison was able to incorporate educational information in a fun adventure for preteens. I noticed another reviewer mentioned that they had issues with the constant shifting of time however, I did not and I was able to keep up with which time I was in while reading. To say this is his first novel, I am highly impressed by his abilities to juggle time travel and keeping in mind the tone for his readers and intended audience. I cannot wait to see where Rhory's next leap will take him. ~ Bianca Tenney, GoodReads/NetGalley
- Modern Machiavelli
I found it engrossing. I could see the different personality types I work with and provided good examples of how to deal with different situations both at work and in everyday life. I have already put the advice to use and feel better for it. Definitely recommended. ~ Peter Diggins , NetGalley
- Acts of Kindness from Your Armchair
Loved the book, especially the title which is so appropriate. Changing the world you live in from your armchair with thoughts of kindness, compassion and creativity, with words, actions thoughts. Embracing the word with kindness to ourselves and others. ~ Pam Thomas, NetGalley
- Acts of Kindness from Your Armchair
The book flows well and is worth every penny and every read. If you cannot get a look, you owe it to yourself to search it out once it (hopefully) hits the libraries. Just an outstanding read!
~ Ginae B. McDonald, Ginae Reviews http://www.ginaereviews.com/2017/07/acts-of-kindness-from-your-armchair.html
- Hospital High
This had me completely hooked by the first page! this is well written, the pace is consistent, it's humorous and fun and has great characters! there were some dramatic and shocking events that left me kind of shocked, like, how could that happen?! And the friendship between kim and coco is so heart warming, and heart-wrenching too. not once did i feel like it was dragged on. everything was at the perfect pace. i enjoyed this so so much, and would recommend this to anyone who is looking for an emotional read! ~ Mymy Pham , NetGalley
- Hospital High
This is one of my must reads for this year. The story of a young girl and her fight to regain her voice after a car accident is truly amazing. The author grabs your attention and doesn't let go. I read it in less than two days and still find myself thinking about the tale, which is based on a true story. Highly recommended for teen readers. ~ Margaret Pemberton, Librarian at Growing the School Library, NetGalley
- Hospital High
The first line is a corker and it just carries on... I loved the trueness of the characters - they weren't mawkish or being the 'inspiring hero' but made mistakes and fumbled along to somehow come out the other end in style. ~ Karin Celestine, Instagram