RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

  • Vegan Ethic, A
    Mark Hawthorne
    A very definitive body of work on animal activism and being vegan. I have been vegan for many years and always respected the work of Mark Hawthorne. In this book he extends our beliefs of being vegan to compassion for humans as well . I appreciate his content on animal torture and the meat industry. He examines why people out of ignorance and culture choose to remain meat eaters and gives them solid life affirming reasons for being vegan. As a strict vegan and animal advocate I found this book very informative and to be useful for anyone that wants to explore being vegan, acting with compassion and understanding the depravity and torture of the meat industry. This should be required reading for any animal activist. Thank you with gratitude for the ARC of this fine book. I will be purchasing several for gifts and one to remain as part of my activism library. The knowledge here is critical .
    Thank you for the ARC which did not influence my review.

    ~ Lori Read, NetGalley

  • Escape from the Past
    Annette Oppenlander
    Finally, a series from a boy's perspective - they're quite rare in young adult novels. I recommend this book to everyone. Annette Oppenlander did a good job combining the historical elements with the young adult genre.

    The novel is set in Germany. It starts with Max living his normal teenage life in present Germany, and he ends up being transported in Medieval Germany, late 1400s, same city. His best friend's dad created a video game that takes the player back in time. The novel follows Max adventure and how he deals with being a XXI century teenager living in Medieval times. The story is told from his perspective alone, in the first person.

    It is a fast-paced and grabbing read. I read it really fast. The novel is full of funny moments, as well as sad ones. There are also some battles and conflicts, which were really well written. The novel offers plenty of historical details about Medieval Germany, as well as descriptions of buildings and surroundings. It was really easy to imagine the setting and the times.

    A really good novel. I liked it a lot. I will continue to read the series. I really want to know what happens to Max and with the video game.

    What I liked:

    ツ Twists and turns. In other words, adventures.
    ツ Nice, entertaining characters.
    ツ A great story.
    ツ Easy to read.
    ツ Historical elements were not slowing down the plot.
    ツ The romance




    ~ Laura N. Enescu , Bibliofagista

  • How To Write a Chiller Thriller
    Sally Spedding
    Fun, cool exercises... entertaining and useful.

    ~ Les de Lioncourt, NetGalley/Goodreads

  • Pagan Portals - Merlin: Once and Future Wizard
    Elen Sentier
    A small book that packs in lots of information on a fascinating character! ~ Rogue Merchant, NetGalley

  • Failure of Success, The
    Jennifer Kavanagh
    My husband has pinched it first!

    I bought this book - as I buy all Jennifer Kavanagh's books - and look forward to reading it so I can give it the final star, but I can't get it out of my husband's hands! He is devoted to her writing. ~ Beth Allen, Amazon

  • Failure of Success, The
    Jennifer Kavanagh
    Marvellous. As wise on the page as she is in person. A truly all pervading sense of decency and honesty permeates the book.

    Recommended. The Quakers really have something special to share with the world and its clear that the silence is working. ~ simon, Amazon

  • Little Book of Unknowing, A
    Jennifer Kavanagh
    Well worth reading and benefiting from its Wisdom

    Jennifer Kavanagh has produced a gem here and I am very glad I purchased it. Anyone interested in the contemplative lifestyle would find this helpful. ~ Ann Taylor, Amazon

  • Little Book of Unknowing, A
    Jennifer Kavanagh
    Marvellous.

    Not as wonderful as meeting and chatting with Jennifer in person, but pretty impressive all the same. She continues in her books to nourish both the spirit and the ever inquisitive mind with ease and panache. So many of the insights ring true. Highly recommended. ~ simon, Amazon

  • Color, Facture, Art and Design
    Iona Singh
    Il a donc superposé de la peinture à l’huile sur une base blanche et épaisse, par des couches fines et des tons clairs, créant des effets de transparence. Iona Singh a d’ailleurs écrit une étude sur cette technique de Turner et la perception physique dans son livre Color, Facture, Art and Design. ~ Les œuvres en prisme de William Turner - Première rencontre avec Turner, by Agnès Tedman - Dieuxième Temps review

  • Zen for Druids
    Joanna van der Hoeven
    Zen for Druids is a guidebook on how to live one’s life according to both Zen Buddhist and Druidic values. It can be a challenge to live a syncretic Buddhist-Pagan lifestyle – they are rather different religions, after all – but Hoeven links the two religions nicely, demonstrating many clear similarities and synergies between them. The book generally handles the two religions together rather than compartmentalising them, which is good. I particularly liked the section on incorporating Zen concepts and ritual into the Pagan Wheel of the Year – this showed how well the two beliefs can be blended.

    One feature of Zen for Druids that makes it rather distinctive from many other books on Pagan living is its strong ethical and moral dimension. Buddhist precepts and truths form the core of the lifestyle promoted by Hoeven. This may be off-putting for Pagans who are attracted to Paganism entirely because many forms of Paganism reject classical ideas of rules and morality in religion; however, those who feel that Paganism suffers due to its lack of morals and codes will almost certainly appreciate the guidelines given in Zen for Druids. ~ Megan Manson, Patheos

  • Meeting Evil with Mercy
    Philip Pegler
    Small Outing with Big Result - Woolbeding Concert and book reading

    The 17th September saw me peddling precariously to All Hallows along the back road from Easebourne to a special afternoon event, not knowing quite what to expect. On arrival there was just a handful of people in the church, but as time passed more members of the community arrived.
    The whole experience was both profound and delightful. The music chosen was performed by two highly professional and wonderful musicians and suitably complemented the readings from Philip Pegler's 'Meeting Evil with Mercy'. Having read the book, it was not difficult to become absorbed by the proceedings and appreciate the messages contained with the writings.
    The afternoon proved to be an unexpected delight. Thank you to all concerned. ~ Jean Hicks, Envoy - Midhurst and Woolbeding Parish Magazine

  • Kitchen Witch's World of Magical Herbs & Plants, A
    Rachel Patterson
    Yet another fantastic book by Rachel Patterson. Very informative and without the fluff and padding most authors use nowadays. As a horticulturalist I found this volume very interesting and look forward to re-reading it."
    ~ Spike, Amazon

  • Beat the Rain
    Nigel Jay Cooper
    In the competitive world of contemporary women's fiction, psychological thrillers are currently topping the charts, with multi-million best-sellers including Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, and Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins among others.

    But in a field dominated, understandably, by female writers comes debut author Nigel Cooper to prove he too can compete with the best.

    And the good news is that he succeeds, rising where most male authors stumble - if they dare try at all - in the realization of a complicated, compelling female protagonist.

    His novel, Beat The Rain - a semifinalist in this year's Goodreads Choice Awards - is a gripping and twisting tale of a dysfunctional couple whose inexorable domestic disintegration is mirrored in their mental collapse with tragic consequences.

    Louise and Adam are grappling with major issues and baggage in their lives... it's not difficult to understand why this novel has been gathering glowing praise.

    Not only is it a triumph in its narrative style, alternating chapters between Louise and Adam to share differing perspectives of the same events, its prose is restrained and deeply moving, managing to elicit empathy for the characters even in light of their many flaws and frailties.

    A kitchen sink drama for the 21st century, it draws in readers into an absorbing page-turner with a simple moral: the grass isn't always greener.

    Although overlain with a sense of impending doom, Beat The Rain is also peppered with humour, buffering the heaviness with a more light-hearted tone and allowing the reader some breathing space.

    A unique love - or better, a 'fall out of love' story - set in the cracks of the grimy every day, this psychological thriller is a rollercoaster of a read. Who would have thought that the seven-year itch could become a potentially deadly disease.

    Read the full review here: http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/books/beat-the-rain-nigel-jay-cooper-1015641.html
    ~ Female First, http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/books/beat-the-rain-nigel-jay-cooper-1015641.html

  • Superstructural Berlin
    Nicolas Hausdorf
    Alexander Goller
    "Performing a "blackmagical masculine form of clairvoyance/sorcery" with strong reminiscences of a beat-generation-inflected schizogeography –what he, in other words, calls 'Sociology'– "Superstructural Berlin: A Tourist Guide for the Visitor and the New Resident" is a text that looks at Berlin's hype with the perplexity with which a psychologist would observe a monkey, exploring the darker side of Berlin's happy promises, desiring alleys and existentially-captured population, as well as the overflowing of Berlin's culture in a process, he calls the 'Berlinification of Europe'. Exquisitely written, illustrated, and full of serious humour, this book is truly worth a read."
    Martin Savranksy, Lecturer Goldsmiths University of London, Director' of the Sociology dept's Unit of Play ~ Dec 1, 2015, Martin Savransky

  • Legacy of Druids, A
    Ellen Evert Hopman


    A Legacy of Druids by Ellen Evert Hopman is a capsule held in time, with interviews by Druids from all over the world that were taken twenty years ago. It is interesting to hear their stories, especially from those people I know now, and whose perceptions have changed with the passage of time.
    It's not a book on how to be a Druid, but rather a conversation with an entire room full of them. You get to "work the room" so to speak in this volume, finding so many different personalities, histories and visions for the future. The foreward by Philip Carr-Gomm was perhaps the most interesting for me, and which coincided with my perception of Druidry as it is today. That this should be so is obvious; as a nature-based tradition, Druidry is always evolving, and here was have the proof that this is so.
    Dynamics, schisms, traits, perspectives of different Druid traditions, with a lot of American vs British is reflected in the interviewees' words. That these perceptions and their individual predictions for the future have changed over the last twenty years is, I think, a very good thing. With the popularity of the internet, dialogue has opened across vast oceans, with views being shared, references, academia, experiential gnosis and more. The divide between the two has lessened greatly, to the benefit of all.
    Of course, I did not agree or resonate with the words of every Druid (or Druid friendly person) interviewed. Like being at a party, there are some people you want to hang out with and others that you don't. But all of it is informative, in its raw, unedited state. You get real flavour of who that person was at that time, and what Druidry meant to them at that particular point in time.
    A very interesting, and original work. I would love to see a modern version of this done, with as many of the same people in the original work, as well as new voices! Joanna VanderHoeven
    http://getBook.at/DruidLegacy
    ~ Joanna VanderHoeven

  • Legacy of Druids, A
    Ellen Evert Hopman
    http://brigitssparklingflame.blogspot.ca/2016/10/review-legacy-of-druids-conversations.html

    Review of Legacy of Druids: Conversations with Druid leaders of Britain, the USA and Canada, past and present by Ellen Evert Hopman (2016) Moon Books.

    Paperback £14.99 || $25.95
    Apr 29, 2016
    978-1-78535-135-8

    e-book £6.99 || $9.99
    Apr 29, 2016
    978-1-78535-136-

    Full disclosure: I was, to my amazement then and now, interviewed for this book. That is not why I like it, though I confess it is why I wanted to read it in the first place.

    Why Review Legacy of Druids on Brigit’s Sparkling Flame?

    I wouldn’t normally review a book like this on BSF as it isn’t actually about Brigit. However, there are two reasons to:

    1) it contains an early interview of me (September 3, 1996) which discusses my own spiritual path, and of course that involves the origin of the Daughters of the Flame in 1993 and its workings till 1996 (pp 29-39).

    2) More generally, it is fascinating from a historical perspective for Neo-Pagans generally, particularly but not exclusively those who identify as Druids or follow a Celtic-based path. Many Brigidines of course are in that number.

    Self-Indulgent Moment

    It is a little weird reading the me of twenty-odd years ago. I notice I have mellowed. I want to correct two things I said in the book, and then I can forget me for the rest of this review:

    1) I was not able to carry through with my intention (a mere year ago) to stop producing the Daughters of the Flame newsletter. It is too central to the group. On, in less labour-intensive form, it goes.

    2) I say at one point, “On the way to the monastery I passed a high school called Saint Brigit's. I had been into a couple of churches with shrines to St. Brigit, in Melbourne and elsewhere, and I found myself praying to Her as Goddess more pointedly than I had in the past. When I passed the school I said to my companion that I wondered what the students would think if they knew their school was named after a Pagan Goddess? (pg 32)”

    I no longer think that is a fair question. Though Brigit to me, and to most NeoPagans, is a goddess as well as a saint, I believe now that historically this was not likely the case, that it is a much more recent fusion. I won’t get into the argument for that here, just say that I would not ask that question in the same way, now.

    Brigit in Legacy of Druids

    Apart from my interview (pg 29-39), Brigit is mentioned a couple of times by other interviewees. Lady Olivia Roberston has an amusing reference to the “silliest poem” used by Ross Nicholls (progenitor of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids) in honour of Brigit in his early Imbolc rituals.

    “It rather went like this ... ‘Ah, sure now, we invoke the golden-haired blue-eyed Brighid, the sweet Brighid who gives us the good cow’s milk.’ This ghastly image ... ”

    Synopsis: A thoughtful, chatty book—reading it is like visiting, mead in hand and cross-legged on the forest floor, or sipping tea and nibbling dainties in an overstuffed chair, one fascinating person after another as they reflect, through their spiritual history, opinion, and advice, an exciting time in the evolution of modern Druidry and Celtic Neo-Paganism. Far from giving a single self-praising paean, the subject is pondered with care, scepticism, and occasional grumpiness from a multitude of viewpoints.

    Druidism is a way of life. For some it is a religion. But either way, it is a belief system that honors the natural world in its many manifestations, a system that can work with other religious beliefs or stand just as well on its own ... No one’s perception of it is quite the same.

    TopazOwl (pg. 102)

    The interviews for Legacy of Druids were done twenty and more years ago, in pubs, at gatherings, through letters and email. One might expect they would be a little stale after so long, perhaps no longer relevant, but this isn’t so. Indeed, with updated information tucked around the interviews where needed, they are an absorbing read, all the more so with the advantage of hindsight. They are fuelled by stories of each subject’s spiritual path, their vision and practice, their concerns and hopes for the movement, and by their diverse perceptions of the history and meaning of Druidry. Hopman, herself a modern Druid, and therefore versed in much of the history and many of the issues of the movement, asks brief, broad questions and allows the interviewee to take flight.

    The text is broken into four sections: “Druidry of the Spirit”, “Druidry and Politics”, “Scholars and Writers”, and “Musicians, Artists and Poets”, with introductory materials by Hopman, John Matthews (1996), and Philip Carr-Gomm (2015). Carr-Gomm’s “Failed Predictions, Hopes and Fears” and “The Core Issues” give a useful overview for those (like me) who are not intimately acquainted with modern Druidry. Some of his comments seem a touch anti-Celtic Reconstructionist, which is unfortunate, but this is not a theme of the book.

    Elsewhere, Ronald Hutton gives a comparison of UK and American NeoPaganism, and, in greater detail, of British Druids and Wiccans, including in his observations the “interesting ironies”—or inconsistencies—found in each path.

    Erynn Rowan Laurie covers a lot of ground in her interview, offering many elements of belief and practice gleaned from the study of the ancient Celts which can be employed in our own practice. Although she is in the “Scholars and Writers” section, her views on the spiritual and social practice of poetry, her call to live out Celtic values like strength, honesty, and strong community relationships, and her final behest that we “Pursue the Salmon of Wisdom” (pg 215) struck strong chords in me in terms of my own spiritual practice.

    Idealism, hope, humour, and contemplation fill the book. I think the greatest value for me is the opportunity to see the unfolding of each individual’s spiritual path—the seeds in their young lives that led them to grow in the ways they have, and the fruits that are born of those seeds. The unselfconscious innocence of these stories is moving and often inspiring. It is fascinating to peek into the heads of such a broad array of practitioners, from the most practical to the utterly fey, to learn what they are reacting to both in the greater world and within modern Druidry and NeoPaganism, and how they and their companions have helped to shape those paths. The unique voice of each subject, expressing their intentions, their paths, how they have structured their groups and why, kept me absorbed long after I had intended to stop reading each night. They base their practice on received spirit communications, on meditations and dreams, on the teachings of friends and family, on knuckle-biting scholarly research, or on a combination of these. Some don’t identify strictly as druids, but follow a Celtic-inspired path. Portrayals of meetings between modern Druids and Catholics, of Druid groups splitting off from or working together with others, and so on lend the juice of gossip to the mix.

    I am intrigued, too, to see how various practitioners conceive of the history and meaning of Druidry, and what they choose to focus on within that understanding. Some of the ideas of ancient times and lineages read like whole cloth pseudo-history, where other histories seem grounded to greater and lesser degrees in evidence-based scholarship. I can’t help squirming when I read occasional assertions of what long dead people believed and how they behaved when I am pretty sure we can’t possibly know. But of course it’s not the purpose of this book to define for the reader the True History of Druidism. It is to learn the beliefs of modern Druids, and their views of their history are as individual and informative as their religious beliefs.

    Just as definitions of Druidry vary, ideas of who is a Celt, or who is entitled to follow such a path, are disparate. For instance, Kaledon Naddair in his rough and righteous rant warns against the misguided appropriation of Celtic culture: “ ... the only people that have an automatic entitlement to the riches of the Keltic cultural tradition are Kelts! Kelts by race, birth, language and cultural upbringing in Keltic homelands! (pg 198)” Equally firm about the need to steer away from cultural appropriation and support the struggles of Celtic peoples is Erynn Rowan Laurie. “Respect for modern Celtic communities and languages [is] essential. The Celtic people are still under siege in all their remaining lands. Languages are dying, as are traditional practices, songs and stories. Going about trying to recreate something 2000 years old while ignoring the plight of those people’s descendants is nothing short of arrogant and disrespectful (pg 204)”. However, her view of who might legitimately follow a Celtic Pagan path differs from Naddair. “I think that inclusiveness is important. We can’t rely on genealogy or geography to determine who is ‘Celtic’. The historical Celts roamed all over Europe, and lands beyond. Anyone worthy might be taken into the tribe through marriage or adoption (pg 205)”.

    In the end, I’m not sure what percentage of what is represented here is very closely linked to the ancient Celtic world-view—or what little we actually understand of it—though of course this varies from interview to interview. But what it does undoubtedly contain is a modern world-view that is lively, thoughtful, and filled with insights, which does indeed have elements of the ancestors’ ways, or at the very least a reverence for those ancestors, a reverence for the earth we are born of, and a joie de vivre that must ensure its continuation into the future. How we may see modern Druidry in another twenty years is a tantalizing question indeed.

    Summary

    I am delighted to have read this book. It is interesting, it is useful, and it helps to set a framework to our endeavours and remind us of what we are as Celtic-inspired NeoPagans: what we aspire to, what our responsibility is to ourselves and to our world. If our practice as NeoPagans of any stripe does what so many of these practitioners are in part attempting to do—change our relationship to self and others and shift our impact on the earth and her children for the better—then it is far more than a self-rooted exercise, however pleasant or helpful, it is a gift of healing to the world. For it to be such, we need to live up to the ideals we put forward in interviews like these, and leave factionalism and self-interest behind.



    ~ Brigit’s Sparkling Flame

  • Legacy of Druids, A
    Ellen Evert Hopman


    Review in “Oak Leaves” journal of the ADF Druid Order

    This book is a new look at interviews that were done in the late 1990's with the leaders of some of the Druid organizations, and other prominent members of the Druid community. Included in the book are interviews with several ADF members, including our founder, Rev. Isaac Bonewits, as well as Archdruid Emeritus, Rev. John Adelmann (Fox), Ceisiwr Serith, and Rev. Bryan Perrin. In these interviews, we learn some of the history of the individuals, what they feel had been accomplished at that point in time, and what they wanted to see for the future.
    I feel it is important to know where our church, along with other Druid organizations, comes from. This book gives us part of that history in a very easy to read format. I found the most interesting part was looking at what the individuals felt would happen in their future, and comparing that with what has happened. I see some of the advances talked about have happened, just not on the scale that was hoped for. And other "wishes" are still to be realized in the future.
    Overall, I would definitely recommend this book as a good resource for modern Druid history, and consider it a great addition to any library, including university libraries. Any student of comparative religion should read it to get a "Druid" perspective!
    Rev. Robert ''Skip''Ellison is an Archdruid Emeritus of ADF He was elected Archdruid in 2001 and served
    for nine years, until 2010. He is also past Senior Druid of Muin Mound Grove, one of ADF's oldest Groves.
    http://getBook.at/DruidLegacy
    ~ ADF

  • Legacy of Druids, A
    Ellen Evert Hopman
    Review in “Green Egg” Samhain 2016 edition
    http://www.greeneggemagazine.com/samhain-2016-170.html
    A Legacy of Druids By Ellen Evert Hopman, along with a forward by Phillip Carr-Gomm. This book is a compilation of interviews done by Ms. Hopman with prominent Druids over the course of the last twenty years. Interviewees include Phillip Carr-Gomm, Isaac Bonewits, and Arthur Uther Pendragon, along with Practitioners in Spirit such as Olivia Robertson and Susan Henssler ,as well as many scholars such as Ronald Hutton.
    This book shows a unique perspective of the history and development of Modern Druidry. This is indeed a must-read book by anyone following the Druid path, as well as anyone interested in Magickal history. One of my personal favorite quotes from the book is by an Anishinaabe, Elder of the Ojibwa:
    “It is time for the old Earth spirituality of the Europeans to start coming back. We are in real trouble if it doesn’t. People really need to start turning to their own ancestors for help. This is what needs to happen. Some people will be afraid of this. Why else would they burn everyone over there? If you’re following the lead of the Old Ones and people are afraid or critical of you, you know you are doing something right”.
    Once again, I give Legacy of Druids my highest recommendation and certainly hope there is a second edition coming, re-interviewing the same people who are available.
    ~ Green Egg Magazine

  • Escape from the Past: At Witches' End (Book 3)
    Annette Oppenlander
    When Max is approached by Karl in present day 2015 to travel back in time to 1473 in the Middle Ages again by playing a computer game Max is really against playing again until he learns that he owes Karl a favor from the first time he played the game. With Karl’s help and against his better judgement Max decides to travel back in time once more to return the favor he owes Karl. Besides he will get to visit his old friend Bero and his sister Juliana who Max has a crush on.

    But Max runs into a little trouble upon his arrival that may cause him to have to stay in the game for ever or better yet lose his life. Max is always on the run and hiding from someone in the game for one reason or another. He is not sure who exactly he can trust well except for the exception of Bero and Juliana.

    Max has to complete his missions and find somethings that were taken from him before he can return home again that is if he can stay out of trouble and alive along enough.

    Bero and Juliana’s sister is taken by Ott and Max feels as if it is his fault so he has to rescue her before it is too late. Every time he tries to rescue Adela he ends up in trouble or in a dungeon somewhere and needs someone to bail him out.

    Can Max complete his mission; find all of his belongings and save his friends before it is too late? Will Max every see his home again?

    The Escape from the Past novels is like a bottle of wine they just get better with time. I fell in love with Max, Bero, Juliana and all the other characters in the first book Escape from the Past: The Dukes Wrath. Then I enjoyed meeting up with Max on his next journey when he met Billy The Kid in book two of Escape from the Past: The Kid and in the third book Escape from the Past: At Witches’ End we get to go with Max to see Bero and Juliana again. Although I have loved traveling with Max on all of his journeys through the past I think that his last journey in Escape from the Past: At Witches’ End is my favorite.


    Would I recommend Escape from the Past: At Witches’ End? You bet I would to anyone who loves a good book and likes to travel back in time with a great historical fiction novel.
    ~ The Avid Reader, Blog

  • Escape from the Past: At Witches' End (Book 3)
    Annette Oppenlander
    At Witches' End is the third and final book in the Escape From The Past series! When Max learns that Karl, a former gamer had help him escape from the dungeon the first time that Max had played the game, Max feels the need to return the favor to go back and rescue Karl from his fate within the game. With Karl's help, Max returns to the game but having two years pass since the last time he was in the Middle Ages, nothing is what it seems anymore.

    As Max soon discovers that nobody really wants him around but soon discovers an old enemy is still hunting for his capture. With secrets coming out about what had happened in those two years and discovering that a friend isn't what she claims she is, it all leads to an epic showdown between good and evil. As Max gets out of the game for the last time, it's up to everyone that had their life turn upside down to put an end to the game once and for all!

    This book was perfect in the sense that it wrapped up everything that had happened in this series that lead to this book. It was awesome to see what some of the characters have been up to since the first book and to have certain things happen, was perfect for how it needed to end. You don't see many books with a theme like this one very often but if you ever get a chance to read this book or series, you would be glad that you did. Now if we can only get a TV series going for this series, that would be perfect just to see everything happen on the big screen!!

    Thank You to Annette Oppenlander for writing a pretty good finale to a series that I love!! ~ Country Girl Bookaholic, Blog

©2016 John Hunt Publishing Ltd.