Recent Reviews

  • Be Nimble

    Having worked for Marty for several years, at two different companies, I can say he practices what he preaches. A great read for those looking for practical leadership principles to guide their persona and professional lives. Highly recommended reading for all levels of leadership.

    ~ Seamus Flatley Commander U.S. Navy (retired) U.S. Naval Academy Graduate Former President, Linxx Global Solutions, Inc., Former President Federal Contracting Company and retired Navy Fighter Squadron Commander

  • Healthy Fashion

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. This book was so eye opening about the world of fashion and how to be sustainable. The parts about how the system could be changed was so informative. I was really happy to read and learn more about this. ~ Laney Estel (Reviewer), NetGalley

  • Spell in the Forest, A

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. I requested a review copy of A Spell in the Forest as I am a member of an online tree appreciation and photography group and hoped to learn more about local native species. I didn’t expect to read the factual knowledge to come as part of a poetic love letter to trees. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. In particular, I was blown away by the author’s explanation within the introduction of how trees communicate with one another via a network of underground fungi. This made me look at groups of trees in a whole new light. I would have given an extra star if there had been some more tree illustrations within the book but overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have recommended it to several friends. I will be buying a couple of copies as Christmas presents. This book is a timely and crucial reminder of how critical trees are to the wellbeing of the planet and also to us as human beings.

    ~ Sophie Potter (Reviewer) , NetGalley

  • Memeing of Mark Fisher, The

    Mike Watson
    With a host of respected academics—including Matt McManus, Alfie Bown, and Conrad Hamilton—already endorsing Mike Watson’s The Memeing of Mark Fisher: How the Frankfurt School Foresaw Capitalist Realism and What To Do About It, there is little that has not been said to praise Watson’s latest work. Indeed, if with his 2019 book Can the Left Learn to Meme?: Adorno, Video Gaming, and Stranger Things Watson announced himself as a significant voice of the online left, then it is with his latest offering that he establishes his reputation as one of the most impressive analysts of our strange digital era. [...]

    Located within the framework of the Frankfurt School’s critical theory, The Memeing of Mark Fisher boldly riffs on everything from conspiracy theories and memes to economic policy and election campaigns, as it skillfully assesses the role that new media has played in the recent rise of right-wing populism. In reasoning that the perceived dichotomy between culture and political praxis is a false one, Watson identifies the memeosphere as a key marginal seat, possessing the ability to decide our social and economic futures.

    With the Right so adept at leveraging new media, The Memeing of Mark Fisher culminates as a call to arms and urges the online left to use cultural production in a rally against apathy and cynicism. ~ merion west review by Al Binns, https://merionwest.com/2021/09/17/review-the-memeing-of-mark-fisher/

  • Practically Pagan - An Alternative Guide to Magical Living

    Maria DeBlassie
    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. I'm new to practicing, so this was incredibly helpful. I loved reading ways to expand my practice and the best part is how easy everything is. It's perfect for a beginner. I'll be buying a physical copy soon! ~ Kali Thomas (Reviewer), NetGalley

  • Practically Pagan - An Alternative Guide to Gardening

    Elen Sentier
    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Quick, easy, informative, and enjoyable read! I am a pagan and a gardener. I love finding and reading books on the old, new, ways, Elen Sentier also offers insight into paganism in bite-sized, understandable portions for non-pagans. It's well-written, with lots of great gardening nature's way advice and instruction. I wish the book could have been longer with some photos. But overall, I did enjoy this book and look forward to rereading it this winter. ~ Catherine Hankins (Reviewer) , NetGalley

  • Effective Presenter, The

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Useful reminder on how to do presentation. I have been using this with my teenagers as well as for work. ~ Caroline Wright (Reviewer) , NetGalley

  • Way of the Rabbit, The

    Mark Hawthorne
    The Way of the Rabbit is an extraordinary, educational book about this ubiquitous mammal that is a popular pet, a recurring figure in mythology and folklore, and an important component of ecosystems. Written to be thoroughly accessible to lay readers and scholars alike, The Way of the Rabbit examines rabbits in literature, art, and popular culture as well as rabbit biology and the history of rabbits as pets. (The Way of the Rabbit is not intended to be a pet owner's care manual, though it does warn prospective rabbit adopters that domestic rabbits deserve better than to be cooped up in small hutches, and can live up to ten years.) The Way of the Rabbit is a fascinating browse for anyone intrigued by this resilient animal, and highly recommended for both personal and public library collections.
    http://www.midwestbookreview.com/sbw/sep_21.htm#petswildlife ~ Mark Hawthorne, Mid West Book Review

  • Where After

    Mariel Forde Clarke
    An inherently fascinating, impressively informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking read throughout, "Where After: Where Do Our Loved Ones Go After They Die?" is a unique, extraordinary, and highly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, seminary, college, and university library Metaphysical Studies collections.
    http://www.midwestbookreview.com/rbw/sep_21.htm#margaretlane ~ Margaret Lane, Mid West Book Review

  • Secrets of Angels on Earth

    Allan J. Sweeney
    Secrets of Angels on Earth: Life-Changing Clues to Liberate and Inspire is a metaphysical self-help book written both for those who are Angels-on-Earth and those who are not. Chapters discuss the stages of life, the importance of accepting and loving imperfections, impediments to free will including being too anxious, passive or rebellious, and more. Understanding the significance of angels is presented as an important key to pursuing happiness and positive relationships, in this compassionate, positive-minded guide. http://www.midwestbookreview.com/sbw/sep_21.htm#metaphysicalstudies ~ Allan J. Sweeney, Mid West Book Review

  • Gray Matters

    "Gray Matters will have you thinking What if? for quite a while after you have finished with it and will...have you re-reading it to pull together the collective warning signs that life within the story had made clear."

    FULL REVIEW

    Can the digital networks that record our footprints hold us steady when dementia threatens to push us off the path?

    This question has real stakes for data analyst Charlie Sanders. His best hope for a father succumbing to Alzheimer’s comes from assistive technology that Charlie helps design for a scrappy startup.

    Despite early successes, Charlie has growing doubts about the motives of each of his colleagues - the eccentric CEO in Seattle, the call center guru in India, and the Trump-loving Aussie transplant who keeps the books.

    His worries grow when the company takes on a clandestine client who occupies the Oval Office. Will Charlie keep his father and his country on track, or turn a whole generation into glitches?

    Verdict: As you may well be able to immediately ascertain from the title of this riveting book, author Gastil writes about our brains, or moreover, how they begin to fail us and come the end (much like the opening of the story being told) how aging has us seemingly focused only on where are youthfulness went, the upcoming pine box, and who we really were and are now.

    From the off we see things through Barry, Charlie Sanders’ fathers eyes and still-cognate, for the most part, sometimes, mind. The son works as a data analyst for his own lowbrow startup company whose internet algorithm The Loop contains a newly-created app called The Walker Talker, and which is proud to state that it can help aging people suffering from dementia.

    But trust me when I say that Gray Matters is oh-so much more than simply that, for it encompasses a collective myriad of other subject matters, that, if listed in full now, you would swear blind couldn’t ever become so connected to the throbbing nerve story line of a cure-all pill for dementia.

    But that’s the beauty of this technological and political allegory-strewn book, for Gastil leads you graciously by the hand down each and every neural pathway, stopping only to open a door into a seemingly tangential subject matter, acting as if to close it, yet leaving it tantalizingly ajar, and then moves forward with the main plot thread; always knowing that a door subplot left ajar can, most always, in books at least, provide some elegantly crafted layers of prose to the subject matter at hand.

    As we read on, we learn that so-called “smart devices” are connecting those entwinned with the startup (both receivers and suppliers) to a network that they can easily navigate through the plethora of seemingly endless choices and decisions, whilst providing acute personal guidance on what a person is supposed to do based on their medical history, of course.

    But as we quickly discover, there is a glitch in the system, let alone within one of the main components of all this new technology, a chip called The Compass and which controls those very same devices, that ends up actually performing a form of brainwashing to those who use them.

    A manmade algorithm that was built to supposed predict how people will think, act, and react, well, as they say, now has a ghost in the machine and without freedom of thinking, without self-awareness, what happens next?

    Given that we actually do have those things, currently, Gray Matters will have you thinking What if? for quite a while after you have finished with it, and will, much like it did me, have you re-reading it to pull together the collective warning signs that life within the story had made clear; and that nobody had paid heed to.

    Sure, it can be a little overwhelming at times, as Gastil goes deep within certain chapters to ensure that the reader is, quite literally, on the same page as the knowledge that he is himself trying to impart, but nonetheless, Gray Matters is a quite fascinatingly poignant read and will have you interested in reading seamlessly between chapters, the subject matter not only sweeping through you as you turn each page, but infiltrating your mind to make you yourself become more, well, self aware.

    About the Author: John Gastil is Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Communication Arts and Sciences and Political Science at Penn State University, where he also serves as Senior Scholar at the McCourtney Institute for Democracy.

    He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison but is now a loyal Nittany Lion. The National Science Foundation has supported numerous large-scale research programs in which Gastil served as a principal investigator, including work that led to the publication of Hope for Democracy (2020), The Jury and Democracy (2010), and dozens of peer-reviewed articles.

    Gastil has worked on campaigns for federal, state, and local office in California and New Mexico, but his research and writing focuses on improving democracy, not winning elections.

    In 2020, UK imprint Cosmic Egg Books published his debut novels, Gray Matters and Dungeon Party (available in all formats). Gastil resides in State College, PA. ~ Russell Trunk, Exclusive Magazine, https://annecarlini.com/ex_books.php?id=241

  • Church Going Gone

    Brian Mountford
    It is an excellent coming together of your personal story, the Christian message, the social and political context of the Church, and the mission of the University Church within the wider University. Congratulations. ~ Richard Pring, sometime Professor of Education, University of Oxford

  • Sandman

    David W. Berner
    A brief tale about mystery men on the golf links.

    Stories are circulating on the Old Elm Golf Course about a guy named Jimmy who lives in the sand trap near the 5th green, sleeps on the grounds, and survives on discarded food from the clubhouse. Regulars on the course are accustomed to seeing Jimmy cheering them on, but as the book opens, he hasn’t been seen in a couple of days. The author quickly makes it clear that Jimmy has had a long, interesting history of his own, caddying and golfing in some of the world’s renowned, far-flung courses (including the famous spots in Scotland), while also finding adventure and romance. This golf-oriented personal history takes on a greater resonance when reflected in the background of an unnamed young man who’s visiting Old Elm; he’s learning the ways of the sport and being introduced to the allure of the golfing world. As these two parallel plotlines unfold, Berner finds plenty of opportunities to include the pseudo-philosophizing that’s apparently a requirement for golf lit. “Experiences, the good and the bad, are the doors to happiness,” goes one such passage. “Heartache and joy run alongside one another. Love is found and lost, and both feed us.” Berner’s plainspoken narrative has an appealing roughness (“The boy was certain that whenever Jimmy scratched together some money, he bought booze,” the boy reflects at one point. “Everyone figured as much”). And golf enthusiasts who’ve wondered about the backstories of those odd individuals who always seem to inhabit the peripheries of old courses will appreciate the fantasy Berner has spun here.

    An effectively colorful, somewhat philosophical story of love and heartbreak on the golf links.
    ~ Kirkus Reviews

  • Effective Presenter, The

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. The author presents a simple and easy-to-follow plan for being a better presenter. If you, like me, don't have issues talking to large groups but find it hard to talk to colleagues and present at work meetings, you will find this book helpful! ~ Corrie Hermans-Webster (Reviewer), NetGalley

  • Practically Pagan - An Alternative Guide to Magical Living

    Maria DeBlassie
    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. What a beautiful book! I loved reading about enriching my witchcraft practices with solid acts of self care. ~ Sonja Kipka (Educator), NetGalley

  • Practically Pagan - An Alternative Guide to Magical Living

    Maria DeBlassie
    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend Practically Pagan for adults who are struggling with the corporate world and work-life balance trying to juggle their career and family obligations while trying to become the best version of themselves and grow their own selves through various hobbies and connecting with their inner selves more powerfully. It's a great book for introverts who want guidance and inspiration to cope with different emotional situations and life changes. The message is to not change but to be proud of themselves and live their life on their own terms making the most of their life. ~ Murtaza Kanorwala (Reviewer), NetGalley

  • Bringing God Up to Date

    John Hunt
    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. A really interesting book, that doesn’t come across as trying too hard. The style is very conversational and it is this relaxed way of giving information out that makes it all the more impactful. There is a feeling of having a chat with a very clever person at a wedding! The book is for everyone from devout believers to those who think there is something out there. It covers the history of Christianity, looks at words and the big ideas and looks at where they came from - there is even a bit of Shakespeare quoted to show there is something for us all! Bible verses are woven into the text and the history of religion and how we got to where we are now. ~ Stephanie Maurel (Reviewer) , NetGalley

  • Practically Pagan - An Alternative Guide to Magical Living

    Maria DeBlassie
    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. This guide is informative, well written, and easy to get through. I recommend it to anyone looking to get into the pagan lifestyle. ~ Amber Herbert (Reviewer), NetGalley

  • Red Dress: A Novel

    Bridget Finklaire
    A well-written fictional book with many life lessons interwoven. I found I related to so much of Katy's story. Many ah-ha moments and some interesting new perspectives. This book is for anyone who is intrigued about their life and how to make positive changes. It's witty, honest and relatable. Totally loved it! ~ Jana Jenkinns [BookishWiccan] (Reviewer), NetGalley

  • Practically Pagan - An Alternative Guide to Magical Living

    Maria DeBlassie
    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I love the way that this book weaves magic and wonder into the everyday, making paganism feel accessible to everyone. I'm going to try to reframe household chores as a form of magic! ~ Melanie Knight (Educator) , NetGalley