Recent Reviews

  • Befuddled

    Philosophy teacher Birch (Pandora’s Book) delivers an entertaining illustrated survey of major ancient philosophers. From Heraclitus and Pythagoras to Buddha and Zhuangzi, Birch weaves philosophical concepts with anecdotes that bring his subjects’ intellectual journeys to life. Buddha, he writes, grew up wealthy and then pursued a life of one-grain-of-rice-a-day asceticism, only to discover neither produced meaning—it took meditating under a fig tree to grasp the “impermanence of the world.” Socrates, meanwhile, on a quest to understand wisdom, questioned politicians and wise men so thoroughly that they eventually called for his death, though not before he realized true wisdom is knowing one’s cluelessness. Birch excels in summarizing complex ideas (his breakdown of Zeno’s Paradox, which holds that a moving object never reaches its destination, is particularly impressive), though the foregrounding of colorful anecdotes sometimes dampens the philosophical substance. But for readers looking for a primer on heady philosophical concepts, this will do the trick. ~ Publishers Weekly

  • Medium and the Minister, The

    Roger Straughan
    Subtitled ‘who on earth knows about the afterlife?’, this book follows up on the author’s 2009 study in survival connected with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle reviewed in these pages. It is a timely publication which reminds me of a remark by the then Archbishop of York John Habgood at a Churches’ Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies (CFPSS) conference where we were both speaking. His opening remarks were that he was sceptical of psychical studies for two reasons: first as a scientist, and secondly as a theologian. Readers will already be familiar with mainstream scientific attitudes to survival, but here they will learn more about theologians in relation to mediumistic evidence posing a challenge to ecclesiastical authority. The author begins with eight possible attitudes to the afterlife and makes it very clear that readers must come to their own conclusions based on an assessment of the evidence on a matter that should concern us all but seldom does. Christianity deals mainly in platitudinous generalities when it comes to the afterlife, and faced the dual but very different challenges of spiritualism and psychical research in the second half of the 19th century. The pivotal figures in the book are on the one hand Sir Oliver Lodge, who lost his son Raymond in the First World War, and Conan Doyle, and on the other senior Church of England bishops and archbishops insisting on faith rather than intellectual apprehension. The war made the issue all the more poignant, and put churches on the spot; Conan Doyle suggested that their common enemy was materialism. Roger gives a vivid account of the report on spiritualism commissioned by the Church of England that should have been published in 1939, but the full text edited by Michael Perry appeared only 40 years later for political reasons. Following his own study and book, Lieutenant-Colonel Reginald Lester established the CFPSS in 1953. Even so, it has not proved easy to bridge the gap between the medium and the minister, as Roger explains. There is an interesting chapter on the heretical Bishop Jim Pike and descriptions of other work in the field of mediumship, including that of late SMN member Dr Robert Crookall. Roger wisely concludes that no ultimate proof is possible, but there is a great deal of evidence, argument and experience to consider, as I did myself in my own book Survival? There can be some convergence between psychical, religious and experiential sources, and we do have extensive descriptions of afterlife scenarios, all outlined in a balanced fashion, making the book a valuable resource. ~ David Lorimer, Paradigm Explorer

  • Woman Through the Ages

    Ann Merivale
    This fascinating book is a highly readable spiritual odyssey drawing on deep memory process over many lifetimes, and on this journey it sheds important light on the nature of human consciousness and identity. Ann herself trained with Roger Woolger as a deep-memory process therapist and she unfolds a mosaic of intertwined personality lifetimes in very varied social circumstances, with different lessons to learn. The ‘cantus firmus’ of the book is the evolution of the role and position of women, coming into the present lifetime with illustrations of prominent women from the 20th-century. The geographical scope is wide, and Ann describes related journeys to such places as Egypt, Japan, China, Italy, India, France, Switzerland and South America. The descriptions are vivid and realistic – each chapter is preceded by a contextualising prologue and followed by thoughtful reflections after the death in a particular incarnation, which is always experienced as leaving the body and meeting deceased loved ones. Some lifetimes are closely mirrored, such as a martyr in fourth century and a prostitute in the fifth century, both in Ravenna. Sometimes, Ann experiences a familiarity with a specific location, as was the case in Geneva, especially when going round Voltaire’s Castle at Ferney. Subsequently, she recalled a lifetime in his service, having already studied his work at University. Forced to seek work after her baker husband died, she relates her experiences in different residences in Voltaire's employ, before and and after Ferney, which involved a great deal of entertaining – even though Voltaire spent a good part of every day in his study. He comes across as very caring for his staff and arranged for her to have her own house when she retired. The life in Cathar France was equally fascinating if traumatic. The story tells how a small group of Cathars decided to imprint a Rose Quartz Crystal with their energy and take it to Ste Baume, Mary Magdalene’s cave. On the way back, she finds her horse dead, and the party is all burned at the stake by the Inquisition. Another extraordinary lifetime was as Johanna Carolina Bach (1737-1781), a daughter of the great composer. Again, experiences in the Leipzig Thomaskirche are vividly pictured, and she explains to her father that she sees angels listening to his music. She evokes Bach’s death and a dream thereafter where he predicts that his music will be forgotten and then known universally – his intention was ,to help everyone come close to God and to praise him’. Bach describes a creative process whereby the sublime music that was already out there flowed through his pen – Bach aficionados will know what he means. All the lifetimes in this remarkable book weave a tapestry within the overall context of
    ultimately returning to the Source. ~ David Lorimer, Paradigm Explorer

  • Before We Were Born

    Before We Were Born is a delightful and poignant story about what really does happen in the before or, in so many cases, before we were reborn back again into the life we have chosen for many and varied reasons.

    Kathleen Ready Dayan has used the concept of reincarnation as the basis for the storyline, wrapped in never-ending love, describing so beautifully through the lives of Joy and Jeremy so many of the emotions we have all experienced as we travel our own journeys.

    Beautiful, well written and heartfelt; keep a tissue box close as the final chapters are those that could be seriously considered as ‘tear jerking’ moments of reality. ~ Blue Wolf Reviews, Review

  • Soul & The Sea, The

    I know the deeply spiritual energy of Connemara, Ireland, and this book manages to capture its magic, providing the background melody for the soul-touching stories that comprise the book. Few story tellers can integrate Benig Mauger’s rich understanding of psyche and spirit. This book will take you on a journey that will enrich you forever. I loved it.

    Donna Eden
    Co-Author, The Energies of Love ~ Donna Eden

  • Travelers

    This is a novel about trust, hope, survival, understanding, the healing of the heart, mind and soul and opening yourself up to a new way of looking at life. Take the journeys with Mason and Ben into new realms, and different worlds and enter the mind and hearts of the TRAVELERS. With hope in his heart, the help of some that would never have trusted him before, the friendship of one man and the determination to bounce back author Donald Altman teaches us many life lessons, many ways of looking at our lives and the world as you too might want to become one of the TRAVELERS.

    Fran Lewis: Just reviews ~ Just Reviews, Review

  • Consciousness and Transcendence

    I read your book with great interest. It's a well-written, comprehensive, and scholarly treatment of the subject. ~ Jeff Wunder, software engineer, musician, and novelist

  • Quaker Quicks - Quaker Shaped Christianity

    Mark Russ
    Aimed at those without a significant amount of knowledge on/about Quakerism and/or, at some levels, Christianity, it is a fascinating book that (and not to give anything away, so to speak) asserts that Quakers cannot be separated from Christianity.

    The book also allows us to follow Russ back through his own life, his own upbringing, and thus shows us a direct path to this own heavily-influenced journey to Quakerism.

    What then, is the scope of their present attitudes toward this Jesus around whom they build their faith? Well, I would implore you to pick this small, yet vigorously packed with info on the subject book up, and sit down one wet afternoon, everything quiet and still around you, and just read each of the 80 pages methodically; and then, and only then, will you be able to say you are as caught up on the subject matter today as you might well have ever been. ~ Exclusive Magazine, Review

  • Anti-consumerist Druid, The

    What Townsend’s book so graciously does, is detail the problems you might be suffering from within your own shopaholicness, provide clear and reasoned insights into how to slow the roll, to get off that well-beaten path, and to teach yourself how to stay away from the addiction of shopping en mass - and all without forcing you to accept that the only path that then needs to be taken is one specifically headed toward Druidism.

    Townsend’s own journey is thoroughly engaging, her truths raw, and extremely engaging, and all seem to, at one level or another, mirror our own spending habits.

    Sure, her own path from materialism to a more defined connection with nature is, for want of a better term, spiritually guided, but overall, the book reminds us to always embrace creativity, always lift our heads up and see what is across the way, and never, ever feel compelled to wade through the mire of consumerist commercialism again; well, not without a map on how to get out and be able break free, of course.

    FULL REVIEW: ~ Exclusive Magazine, Review

  • Beginner's Guide to Ogham Divination, A

    Ceri Norman
    Filled with meditations, stories, activities, and correspondences, this easy-to-use guide introduces you to the spiritual lessons and magic of the aicme ailim vowels and the forfeda. You’ll also discover how these Celtic ceremonies fit into the Wheel of the Year so you can access tree energy year-round.

    In short, this book acts as your doorway into the sacred wisdom of not only trees but also totems, guides, and deities. Each chapter presents step-by-step instructions on preparing and performing the Ogham’s ritual as well as associated keywords, holidays, songs, chants, and more.

    From guided journeys to altar blessings, Celtic Tree Ogham’s activities help lift the spirits and realign all your stressed mantra’s, so come on in, find the magic and then bring the magic, mystery and meaning of the trees into your own life today!

    FULL REVIEW: ~ Exclusive Magazine, Review

  • Leaving the City

    What Jeffrey Tipton dives into is how all these facts come together to paint not only a picture of a happier, less stress-free living environment for those that make the move, but, importantly, showcases just how much healthier those that make a move feel themselves to have become.

    The urban environment is an important factor in determining the quality of life in urban areas and the impact of the urban area on the broader environment, with some urban environmental problems, include inadequate water and sanitation, lack of rubbish disposal, and industrial pollution, et al.

    FULL REVIEW: ~ Exclusive Magazine, Review

  • Thoughts of God


    This is an excellent way to design a course of Christian study for anyone aged from 12 to 96 in which to participate. A fascinating human story, The Man Who Knew Infinity is the inspiration for a course of discussion for any time of the year. Full preparation by the leader is needed; the film needs to be available at a cost of £7.99 to allow for the clips from it to be used in each of the five sessions.

    Projection and viewing equipment is essential. The leader needs to be very familiar with the story as it is the interplay between the two main characters, Cambridge Don G H Hardy and Srinavasa Ramanujan – a mathematics phenomenon from Madras in India - which forms the basis for exploration of Christian theology and practice in discussion.

    This unlikely way of opening up to truth is commended as the story has an immediate appeal, avoiding the expectation that “another Lent course, going over the same topics as usual”. All those intending to take part in the course are strongly advised to see the entire film, which is moving and inspiring and which lasts 1hr 48m. The book which includes the course needs also to be in the hands of participants in advance. The author is an experienced and skilful Anglican priest, Andy Colebrooke, who is committed to science and faith being partners rather than enemies.

    Chapter 1 introduces the characters of the story. Chapter 2 is a must-read and learn for group leaders in how to lead a course. Chapter 3 contains all five sessions of the course, starting with short preparatory readings including biblical material. The session process follows a common pattern with opening worship, recap on the previous week, whole group discussion, two film clips, small group work, feedback and closing worship. A short refreshment break is suggested between the two film clips so that each session benefits from two different themes.

    This approach to help Christians develop and share their understanding of the relationship between faith and life is excitingly different from many courses. It is highly commended. The postscript is an appeal by the scientist-priest author that faith and science are allies in the search for truth.

    Revd Canon Jeremy Martineau ~ The Diocese of St David's, The Church in Wales, The Diocesan Magazine (Pobl Dewi)

  • Caribbean Irish, The

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. This non-fiction book looks at the early Irish settlers in the Caribbean Islands. The book considers the effects the many of the settlers and invaders had on the Irish and their way of life, from the missionaries of Rome, Vikings, Scots, Normans and ultimately the English and the battles led by the military leader, Oliver Cromwell. War, famine and religious disharmony made Ireland not a pleasant place to be. Plenty of pull and push factors discussed: definitely a case of Irish winners and losers. This is a good study, full of dates, facts and figures indicating the amount of research Garcia has undertaken. Some of the research is a bit repetitive and the organisation of the material lacks flow, but it is easy to read. However, this remains a fairly unknown piece of history and the author suggests that this is because the Irish are a diverse and unclassifiable and not much documentation survives. Perhaps this is all of it. Fascinating stuff. ~ AJ Sefton (Reviewer) , NetGalley

  • Love Untethered

    Vanessa May gives a moving account of what she went through after the unexpected death of her son, demonstrating that it’s possible to survive such a shattering and traumatic loss, even when that might feel impossible.

    If you lost your only child, you may also feel that you have lost your identity as a parent and perhaps the possibility of grandchildren. The pain of these losses will always be a part of you.

    But here in Love Untethered: How to Live When Your Child Dies, author Vanessa May lovingly, heartwarmingly walks you through the stages, the questions, the portions of disbelief that will flood your being, ultimately making us aware that, over time, most parents find a way forward and begin to experience happiness and meaning in life once again.

    FULL REVIEW: ~ Exclusive Magazine, Review

  • Mind, Quantum, and Free Will

    Peter Ells
    In what is an extremely deeply generated, thoughtful and wholly encompassing new book, Mind, Quantum, and Free Will: The Birth of Physics in the Sensuous Cosmos by author Peter Ells may well be a deep, meaningful read, but at its core, the book should also expand your mind and generalized thinking on a, some might say, controversial subject matter.

    In conclusion, and with all that said, Ells’ new book is written in a way that, perhaps at times, is both challenging and yet refreshingly scholarly. Meaning that there will be many times, over many pages, during many chapters that you find yourself wholeheartedly agreeing one minute to a statement made and then profusely denying the existence of what then follows. Which is the way every book like this should be written.

    FULL REVIEW: ~ Exclusive Magazine, Review

  • Little Bigfoot, A: On the Hunt in Sumatra

    A Little Bigfoot: On the Hunt in Sumatra: or, How I Learned There Are Some Things That Really Do Not Taste Like Chicken is an insightful read from start to finish and wholly encapsulates his experiences in such a way that you yourself will feel and smell and sense everything he does, in this page-turner of a generous read.

    FULL REVIEW: ~ Exclusive Magazine, Review

  • Simply Be More

    Featuring self-help anecdotes drawn around (quiet literally) a ram, alpaca, hedgehog, swan, penguin, dog, fox and other non-animal entities such as a dandelion, cricketer, tuning fork and oh-so many more, Simply Be More is a well written, well drawn, self help book that proffers up bite size snippets of insightful thought in the form of cute drawings, complete with just the right-sized amount of contemplative wisdom to go with them each time.

    FULL REVIEW: ~ Exclusive Magazine, Review

  • To Sing with Bards and Angels

    In what is a thoroughly engrossing and wholly heartfelt new book, To Sing with Bards and Angels: A Journey into the Creative Heart from author Iona Jenkins is a quite wondrous collection of free-flowing prose that is both evocatively crafted and spiritually creative.

    Offered as a source of inspiration only and not intended as a substitute for any for of counseling or psychotherapy (her words, not mine), the book is intended as a signpost towards a door of possibility for anyone aspiring to explore a creative spiritual path.

    Weaving paths between both our spiritual and creative lives, within the natural world and the world of the Spirit, Jenkins proffers - through personal stories, poems, suggestions and more - that the relationships between these worlds are not only intimate, but once revealed, inseparable.

    Simply put, Jenkins’ gentle wisdom illuminates the landscape of the heart and the song of the soul in each of us, and shows through simple exercises how to align our lives with the seasons, to commune with the trees and, amongst other things, how to more embrace the world of the animal kingdom around us.

    FULL REVIEW: ~ Exclusive Magazine, Review

  • Kybalion, The

    As a whole, The Kybalion presents seven basic principles, universal laws, if you will, which will seem familiar. When mankind lost its connection to the universal consciousness, the teachings were withdrawn from this plane. These laws affect all planes of existence, from the lowest to the highest. No sentient being is exempt from these laws.

    These principles include the mental, correspondence, rhythm, polarity, cause and effect, vibration, and gender. And, aside from the more widespread interest a book such as this should generate, this book would more appeal to those seekers of truth, and should be made available to anyone who wishes to explore the depths of the the universal knowledge.

    In short, Three Initiates: The Kybalion can change your life when you realize how interrelated everything and everyone is and how perfectly designed the universe is: to connect us in Light, Love and understanding; to raise our consciousness, evolve our spiritual nature; to humble us and instill gratitude for all the gifts of life.

    FULL REVIEW: ~ Exclusive Magazine, Review

  • Be Visionary

    Informative, thoughtful, challenging, insightful, and deftly written, organized and presented, "Be Visionary: Strategic Leadership in the Age of Optimization" will have a special appeal and value to business managers, corporate leadership, and entrepreneurs. While unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, corporate, and academic library Business Management & Entrepreneurship collections, it should be noted for MBA students, academic, corporate motivational team leaders, and non-specialist general readers with interest in the subject that "Be Visionary: Strategic Leadership in the Age of Optimization" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99). ~ Midwest Book Review, Review