RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
- Machine Society, The
Wow, I'll just take a breath, I need to after reading this book.I loved it, I really enjoy dystopian books when they are well thought out and well written, and this one most certainly was in my opinion.I honestly thought it was one of the best dystopian books I have read in a very long time.I especially liked the references to the book of the title, a book within a book, and some of the ideas made me pause for thought,and made perfect sense.I liked the main characters and cared what happened to them, and it was a real adventure that kept me page turning to the end.I would love to read more by this author,and I really enjoyed this book. ~ Angie Thomas-Davis, NetGalley
- Firebird Chronicles, The
They say only the dead can cross a Threshold, the dead and those who have faced a Nemesis Charm. When Apprentice Adventurers, Fletcher and Scoop, discover their mother has fallen under the curse of a strange sickness, they prepare to sail for its source, a Threshold, a doorway to the world beyond the Un-Crossable Boundary. But they are not the only ones seeking to cross the Threshold. Their old enemy, Grizelda, has heard that beyond the Boundary lives a woman with the same power as the Storyteller. With the help of a monster made with an undead heart, she plans to cross the Boundary and steal that power for herself. If she succeeds, the Academy, the island and everything in Fletcher and Scoop's world will be hers.
Absolutely fantastic read with brilliant characters. I love the drawings too. I loved the ending too. Highly recommended. 5*. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book from netgalley. ~ Sue Wallace, Amazon+GoodReads
- Visitor, The
Christopher Chase Walker
This book stays with you, and it deserves more words than can be said here. But, I’ll try. The Visitor is a quick read that draws you in and leaves you longing for more. Well done. Pulse racing anticipation and detailing throughout the entire thing; not a dull moment in sight.
~ Dashauna Baynes , GoodReads
- Mediumship Within
I love this Book It came into my life and sat on my kindle long before I read it. I bought it as a friend to support Chris.
However I read it because I felt at that point in my life I needed too. I read this book when after I started Trance healing with Animals. I Am not a people person I will let others do people. I Just love this book so very informative all should read it. I love the way Chris has put things about his development in his early days. I have recommended this book to others and all the people who will Join my Circle will be asked to read this as its such a great book..Highly recommend this book. If you have a chance and are interested in any form of Mediumship this is the book for you. ~ Amazon customer, Amazon
- Beat the Rain
Nigel Jay Cooper
I had no idea what to expect... "psychological" to me tends to bring to mind a thriller or something that has you on the edge of the seat. This did not to that. That, however is not a bad thing. What it does look at is the being that is "human psychology" how and why we behave how we do.
The main character, Louise, has seen and done it all ... suffering from abandonment at an early age from her mother and used to being the apple of her father's eye ... adult life has something to live up to. However the security she thought she had always craved becomes boring and dull and unknowingly she seems intent to destroy it all only realising when it is too late what she has done.
In some ways there are elements that will make the reader uncomfortable knowing that they have behaved exactly like that. The characters are skillfully drawn and there are a few twists and turns that are unexpected. The only thing that really bugged me was the brief encounter with the Jackie O character ... could not see the point in that ...
Worth a read! ~ Helen Franks, Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1606131105
- Beat the Rain
Nigel Jay Cooper
The book is about a relationship is based on everything but love... full of wonderful insights on life, it is a very real book with very real issues .The turns and twists in the book are dramatic and unexpected...It is a very relatable read and anyone who is looking for a book that is set today and shows just how complex we make our lives will enjoy it. (Full review on Instagram and Goodreads). ~ Gazala, Customer review, Goodreads, Instagram
- Worst Generation, The
Dan P. Greaney
A very engaging novel. The changing perspective of the narrator and the subtle way that the uniqueness of each narrator is present is well done. The flow of the story and the way the reader is drawn in and then along is well executed. The conflicts and paradoxes of the characters and narrators made the story come alive. Given the current news about immigrants and hearing stories how moving from one culture to another is so difficult, this story of how the same kinds of transitions and challenges happen within the USA was both timely and well presented. How does one find a new moral compass when transplanted into a new culture that is so different? Hope the author keep exploring these kinds of stories and keeps helping us learn to see how seemingly different journeys might have surprising similarities. ~ Francis Viscount, NetGalley
- Visitor, The
Christopher Chase Walker
At the outset of this book you will rightly be a bit confused. It won't exactly be clear who is narrating, and it won't at all be clear which of the characters will become our main focus. Sometimes the narrator addresses "Belinda" in the second person, which I think is both creepy and clever if done well, (as everything in this book is done). Sometimes we just have an omniscient narrator who is clearly telling us a tale about events that have already occurred. The effect is oddly disorienting, which is, I imagine, the point.
Once Lucy, the real heroine, is introduced, you should pause and return to the two epigraphs that open the book. If you are like me you just skimmed them, especially since they are from John Milton's "Paradise Lost" and Baudelaire's "The Cat", and I have never seen anything good come from epigraphs like those. Until now. You will find that those two brief sets of lines will explain everything about the narrator, (you would have figured that out anyway), and cogently and completely summarize the theme, plot, and resolution of the entire novella. (That last insight might otherwise have come only later.)
All of the blurbs, summaries and synopses for this book, at least those I have seen, make this sound vaguely like a Christmas themed Satan/Scrooge tale wherein Satan enchants a social worker and drops off bundles of money at her charity house. That is actually technically correct, but rather misses the larger story. As John Milton tells us, Satan was initially beguiled by Eve, then consumed by self-loathing for giving in to a pleasure he was not allowed, and responded as fit his true nature. That's as close as we need come to a spoiler, but if it whets your interest, great.
I'm not sure if any of this would matter much but for the remarkable writing. Eve and the Serpent is a story that has already been told many times and in many forms. So the real question is, "What do we think of this telling?". Well, on one level the book works as an exercise in creeping dread, with dark hints and promises of doom. Fair enough. On another level, though, almost every page has a memorable line, observation, bit of dialogue or description that is of worth purely on its own. At points I thought we were over-describing things a bit, but the author always backs off at just the right time. The result is that there are hard and precise little scenes that are connected by dreamy and lyrical passages, and emphasized by bright and glittering lines and asides from our narrator. There is a place here for heartbreak, despair, amusement, and rueful wisdom. Indeed, without any story or theme at all beyond what-happens-in-Brighton-before-Christmas I would have been happy with this book and deeply admiring of the author's technical skill and finesse.
As a consequence, I felt this was an especially happy, and admittedly somewhat unexpected, find. ~ Joel Smith, GoodReads
- Executive Action
A thrilling look at the underlying power that private organizations can hold over countries, especially as it [power] pertains to causing instability amongst different religions. Read this book to challenge yourself as to whether one life is worth more than others, and if sacrifice is reserved only for "extremists". ~ Raychel Sullins, NetGalley
- Bullet Gal
In this book there is a flow of information and emotions going straight to our heart, the point of view changes continuously and we do not know much more than what the character knows in a complex world into which we get projected suddenly and inexperienced. Why it is a good read? Because it leaves a mark. ~ Delio D'Anna, The Perfumed Garden
- Art of Ritual, The
“The Art of the Ritual” by Rachel Patterson is absolutely a must-read book for anyone who is interested in learning what commonly goes into writing, planning, and performing a Pagan ritual, or someone who would like to learn more about rituals of various traditions. In the first half of the book, Patterson has carefully explained the various elements of what one should know about a ritual and the many elements that are typically included in rituals in terms that are easy to understand without any prior knowledge about witchcraft or paganism. These details are accompanied by examples from the Kitchen Witch Coven that illustrate the points being made. The second half of the book is filled with actual rituals written and used by various members of the Kitchen Witch Coven that cover most of the common occasions for which one might use a ritual. What I particularly appreciate about this book is that there are suggestions for many different paths that one might follow, and has been presented in a way that gives the reader the background information, but avoids a prescriptive “you have to do it this way” approach. The book is easy to read, well explained, and couched in humor that makes reading the book a pleasure. She gives the novice enough information to start writing rituals and the more experienced practitioner ideas for new and different approaches to writing and performing rituals. This is definitely a resource that I have turned to already on numerous occasions. This is a fantastic addition to your library, and anyone who is familiar with Patterson’s books will find the quality of this volume to be of the same high standard found in her other works. ~ Paul Miller, Amazon
Daniela I. Norris
This is a fascinating story exploring other areas of consciousness from reincarnation to far memory. It is also a gentle love story
where all the threads are brought together. Living in NewYork, our heroine, Amelia, has reached an exceedingly stressful stage in her
life, coping with divorce, two teenagers and an excessive workload to keep her head above water. Simultaneously she is trying to
complete a long-unfinished novel. A friend suggests hypnotherapy, to help at least with sleeplessness.
Tentatively Amelia ventures for therapy. The counting down method for deep relaxation used by her therapist,Tatiana, takes Amelia
into a form of regression. She slips back beyond her current life into a possible past life. She meets a young eighteenth-century
teenager on a different continent. Adele is on the verge of womanhood, choosing her future.
Leaving the therapist Amelia feels different, more alive, with enhanced awareness, being conscious of synchronicities. Strangely,she encounters a man from her past. The sudden awakening of these dormant memories overcomes Amelia’s writer’s block and she uses these characters to progress her novel with great excitement. Meantime, she still has to contend with her teenagers and ex-husband.
Having benefited,she has another session withTatiana expecting more of Adele, but this time the imagery is of an ancient shaman.
Thus we have three differing stories running concurrently, woven into a fascinating braid culminating in a climax showing how deeply
we are all a part of our roots. An intriguing read – our author knows her subject ~ Valerie Dunmore, Society of Women Writers and Journalists
- Escape from the Past: At Witches' End (Book 3)
This is the last of the Escape from the Past Novels from Annette Oppenlander and even though it came to a fabulous conclusion, it has still left me wanting more, but that's just me being greedy. This author has such a fantastic way of describing and bringing alive each character through her skillful use of narrative that it has left me feeling as though I have lost a bunch of friends. I know that this story will stay with me for a good while and for me, that's the sign of a great book. ~ Debbie - NetGalley Reviewer, Goodreads
- Beat the Rain
Nigel Jay Cooper
You can see from the synopsis what the gist of the story is however I was not expecting what I read. We are sitting in the Psychological Thriller genre with this book and I was very much right there with the characters as I read it.
Firstly, I want to point out that this is the debut novel by Nigel Jay Cooper and I was blown away! This is the second debut novel that I have reviewed and both were amazing and both very different.
I encourage you to pick up a copy today! It is available on Amazon both for Kindle and in Paperback.
Note: full review contains some spoilers, you can read it on the link below. ~ Lisa Doherty, Bookends Book Reviews (https://lisasbookreviews.wordpress.com/2016/10/14/beat-the-rain-by-nigel-jay-cooper/)
- European Union and the End of Politics, The
Synopsis: Even though Europe is in a state of social, economic, and political crisis, the European Union just gets stronger. Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland have all been told that they must submit their budgets to EU-appointed bureaucrats. The 'soft coup' that put EU officials in charge of Greece and Italy shows that the Union is opposed to democracy. Instead of weakening the European Union, the budget crisis of 2012 has ended up with the eurocrats grabbing new powers to dictate terms. Over the years the forward march of the European Union has been widely misunderstood. In "The European Union and the End of Politics" James Heartfield explains that the rise of the EU is driven by the decline in political participation. Without political contestation national parliaments have become an empty shell. Where once elites drew authority from their own people, today they draw authority from the European Union, and other summits of world leaders. The growth of the European Union runs in tandem with the decline in national politics. As national sovereignty is hollowed out, technocratic administration from Brussels fills the void. "The European Union and the End of Politics" is an account of the rise of the European Union that includes a full survey of the major schools of thought in European studies, and a valuable guide to those who want to take back control.
Critique: Very highly recommended for community and academic library Political Science collections in general, and European Union supplemental studies lists in particular, "The European Union and the End of Politics" seems prophetic with Britain's newly resolved policy of seceding from the EU. It should be noted for students and non-specialist general reading with an interest in the subject that "The European Union and the End of Politics" is also available in a Kindle format ($18.99).
~ The Political Science Shelf, Midwest Book reviews
- Meaning of David Cameron, The
Synopsis: David Cameron has been sold to the British electorate as a thoroughly modern politician, part Blair, part Thatcher, a one nation conservative with a soft spot for social democracy, the green movement, big and small business, youth, minorities, traditionalists, the armed forces and the old. Has a British politician ever been sold as so many things to so many people, at home in fashion magazines as he is at Party conferences? But despite being told, arguably more, about Cameron the man than any other politician he remains vacuous, strangely unformed, a cipher for the real interests and forces he represents. "The Meaning of David Cameron" is an unmasking of the false politics Cameron embodies, and an examination of the face the mask has eaten into.
Critique: David Cameron was the unmeaning-to-architect for the British vote to leave the European Union. Not since Nevil Chamberlain's blunder with respect to misreading Adolph Hitler has the British political system been so misled. An informed and compelling analysis of a British politician, "The Meaning of David Cameron" is very ighly recommended personal reading lists and for college and university library collections.
~ Dunford's Bookself, Midwest Bookreview
- Meeting Evil with Mercy
Once in a while a book comes along that is so profoundly out of the ordinary that it lends valuable support to a reader's spiritual quest along life's pathway. This biography outlines the absorbing story of Martin Israel, a Jewish doctor turned Christian priest, who always emphasised the sanctity of life and the sacrament of the present moment. His quietly forthright message of reconciliation, first articulated 40 years ago, still holds great relevance in today's troubled world as we face up to the dark menace of violent religious fundamentalism not just in far-off countries but in our very midst...
In Martin Israel's presence there was a feeling that he was 'fresh' in every moment - pure, clean and uncluttered - and this brought a sense of freedom of spech and open-mindedness to any conversation. His piercing blue eyes locked in and he listened without a grain of judgement, simply with a pure, open heart and with the tenderness of a new-born baby... it was all-encompassing.
How fortunate we are to have people in our midst who have dared to serch for the meaning of life... they are tose who have taken responsibility for themselves and have been curious enough to want to know that life may not be all that it might appear.
Author Philip Pegler has taken extracts from Martin's talks, which re valuable pointers and may navigate us towards understanding our essential self. How few people there are who dare to look within and go to those darkest places where there is not a trace of light but where there is a sense of uncertainty, where the pain is so immense and unknown. Pegler understood it perfectly and conveys it with strength and understanding. He too has known what it feels like to be in despair and he understood Israel, who had experienced so much pain and loneliness throughout his life...
We are all part of the conditioned mind - but Martin merged with the pain and love where the ground was neutral and nothing existed other than the moment. This book reveals profound truths that can open the mind to new understandings. By changing your mind, you can open yourself up to new horizons. This book is full of gems and treasures. ~ Marina Cowdray, Caduceus Journal
- Meeting Evil with Mercy
It would be impossible to give justice to the book under review in the space of one page. This is a book that would interest lapsed Christians for its subject: the life of a Jew born in South Africa in 1927 is revealing as to how a Christian life can be lived and what it means to be a Christian in an age where religion is openly disparaged in the West...
The bare bones of his life are unusual and he was an unusual man. He was that rare creature: a person of his convictions. He was intellectually acute and not at all naive about the world and its challenges. His integrity was unquestioned and his ability to reach out in compassionate understanding were superlative. He was a doctor of the soul.
The book is ostensibly about Israel's life and his spiritual evolution. One of the principal themes of this book is about evil, what it is and how one faces it in all its unalloyed virulence. In this modern age we ridicule the idea of evil as an independent force but recent events with the rise and imminent fall of ISIS reveal our so-called enlightened view is negligent to say the least. There is evil in the world and before we can overcome it we are obliged to recognise its potency to harm and destroy. Martin Israel does not dismiss evil but embraces it knowing that truth will prevail... For those of us who cannot quite comprehend why there is evil in the world, this book is a finely written account of one who was fearless in the face of darkness and understood its power.
~ Christopher Quilkey, Mountain Path Journal
- Emancipation of B, The
Universalist rarely carries reviews of novels but we are justified in making an exception for this work. It is a first novel by an author well known in Quaker circles for her writings on life and spirituality and it is likely to appeal to our readers for several reasons. It can be read as a psychological study, a spiritual journey or just a story about a rather unusual man lacking in many of the qualities that others take for granted. The principal character is B, always known only by the initial of his name. We are told the story of his early life, his family and forays into the world of work. His innate withdrawn character makes for difficult relationships at home, school and elsewhere. He is a misfit and feels himself to be such, even more so after an accident leaves him physically disabled. He sees people as difficult but still retains a strong desire to define himself in his own terms.
His need to seek solitude comes to dominate his life and we follow his efforts to live as an urban hermit. Life for misfits is not easy and one of book’s strengths is the description both of B’s tribulations and those of his only helper, a well-educated migrant whose appeal for asylum has been rejected and who is now living illegally on the margins. We feel for B as we follow the details of his daily life and musings. Most of us could not endure a life of total solitude and reflection. We are nevertheless fascinated by those who have chosen to follow that path. Something in the human psyche is attracted - and also repulsed - by the idea of leaving humdrum affairs for a different sort of fulfilment. We have many examples, short term such as Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, or rather longer such as the three years, three months and three days of a Tibetan retreat, and other instances of ascetics living for decades in a mountain cave. Most accounts have a religious background. Interestingly, B has no formal religion. He rejected his mother’s form of Christianity and, although he has been influenced by Buddhism and learnt to meditate, he has no formal allegiance there. His desire to be a hermit springs from an internal impulse which the author explores in an engaging and convincing way. As a good book should, it makes us reflect on the variations in human character. This is a carefully crafted story of a man who would be regarded in many circles as inadequate or even problematic. Certainly he does not score highly on social skills. But he comes vividly alive on the page as someone who suffers, who has no malice, and who engages our empathy even though at first sight he may seem unattractive. The publishers say of their books that once you pick them up you will not want to put them down. This is true! The reader identifies with B and his difficulties and is on tenterhooks to know what happens to him next. This is surely the sign of a tale successfully told. Thought-provoking and a good read! ~ Dorothy Buglass, The Universalist
- Little Book of Unknowing, A
I read Jennifer Kavanagh’s book A Little Book Of Unknowing in the course of a long train journey from Edinburgh and was so engaged by it that by the time I had reached London I had finished it in its entirety. As the title indicates it deals with our human urge to know, not just about the date of the Norman invasion or how metal expands when heated but also the deep existential questions: how did the universe come into being, how can we lead a good life, and what happens when we die? The author considers different ways of knowing, of searching for truth, and briefly looks at the relation between science and religion. She goes on to deal with the reality of not knowing the ultimate answers and not being able to control our own lives or predict the future. Kavanagh continues with some proposals about how to live in the state of unknowing and uncertainty, how to trust, how to have faith. Much of the rest of this book is about prayer, meditation, mindfulness and ‘letting go’. There is a chapter devoted to darkness, ‘the visual equivalent of silence’ and a further few pages on acceptance. The writer’s style is fluid, articulate and sensitive. Although she draws on a wide range of sources, this is by no means a purely academic treatise and she bravely draws on her own life experiences to illustrate her points. As you might expect from the title, the Bible gets little or no attention; this is written in true modern Quakerly fashion where nothing is accepted on authority and all conclusions reached are from the here and now of existential experience.
I particularly appreciated the comments on human subjectivity and the related issue about the impossibility of universal agreement about the certainty of ‘facts’. It seems that recent research (http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/365} confirms that individuals experience different physical realities at a neural level. ‘We cannot say (what individuals)… hear when they listen to a song of a thrush’. She adds (I paraphrase here) that every person forms his or her own provisional model of reality which is updated in the light of his/her own experience; she makes the obvious link with science and research, roundly doing away with the proposition that science and religion are implacably opposed. I found myself endorsing her view of prayer, which to me seems not the attempt to control the future by drawing the attention of an absent-minded or forgetful deity to a matter needing his assistance, (my words, not hers) but rather as silently orienting our attention, of opening ourselves up, of leaving room for the spirit to work. She attempts to define spirituality by quotes and this is one I preferred: Rowson and McGilchrist “Spirituality is simply a question of having an open enough mind to see that there are things in the world that transcend what we can know and fully comprehend, that are not fully accounted for in a reductionist, materialist account.” That’s socked it to Dawkins and co., I thought! Particularly challenging (personally, not theoretically) was the passage about our need to control the future, to be in charge of our own lives. “I found that the way forward was not about making decisions, but of allowing things to unfold realising that matters would become clear”. For me the most powerful passages were firstly, the account of the author’s own life; following a practical and spiritual crisis she gave up the day job, as it were, and began to follow the practice of opening herself to what might come, leading to consequences that surprised her. Secondly, I was surprised to learn that our ‘modern’ unknowing can be sited within the tradition of the via negativa dating back to the fourth century.
I’ve struggled to find any negatives in this small book. My only caveat, a small one, is that there are questions for discussion at the end of chapters. I understand that these are intended for discussion groups, but dislike them as it gives an impression of labour, duty, homework almost, instead of an intensely absorbing read that speaks to us of our condition. This is a deeply felt, deeply personal account of the author’s spirituality. It could act as a kind of position statement for many modern Quakers and I see it as a must-have for Local Quaker Meetings’ libraries.
~ Jackie Bedford, The Universalist