Insider Gossip
  Monthly Hot Picks
  Book Reviews
  CD Reviews
  Concert Reviews
  DVD Reviews
  Game Reviews
  Movie Reviews
  The Home of WAXEN WARES Candles!
  Check Out Anne Carlini Productions Now!!
  NEW! Crystal Gayle
  NEW! Chez Kane
  MTU Hypnosis
  NEW! Ellen Foley
  NEW! Doogie White
  Turning Red (Director: Domee Shi)
  Licorice Pizza (Alana Haim/Paul Thomas Anderson)
  The Lost Daughter (Director: Maggie Gyllenhaal)
  Elise Krentzel (Author, Under My Skin)
  Sony Legacy Record Store Day [June 2022]
  Nicolas Cage [The Unbearable Weight ...]
  Michigan Siding Company for ALL Your Outdoor Needs


Book Reviews
A Colourful Dose of Optimism
By: Jules Standish - O-Books, $16.95

Description: If we could write ourselves a prescription today, would it be for instant happiness and joy, optimism and hope?

In the current climate of anxiety and uncertainty, let’s take control of the things that we can change in a positive way.

Verdict: Within the gloriously written pages of A Colourful Dose of Optimism: Prescribe your own Happy Colours to Feel Good NOW (which, sadly, are not colorful, and just your basic black and white presentation - I was really hoping for splashes of color within it, sorry!), author Jules Standish notably understands what we are all going through in today’s world re: human feelings, and thus reminds us all that that we can enhance our mood, our day, our week (personally and professionally) by simply embracing the power of color and positivity!

Brought forth within seven (7) highly engrossing chapters - The Joy of Colour and its impact on you; The Perfect Plan for positive change; Discover your Happy Colours for ultimate well-being; Give your Wardrobe a raise; Put the Wow into your workwear; Comfort and Convenience -dressing; and finally Welcome to Your Colourful Home - makes us aware that we all probably want to wear more colorful items, but that we have just been too scared into thinking that we would be making an awkward mistake.

Well, that stops now, for Jules (whose favorite color is Orange, which sums up her sunny disposition, radiating warmth and complete internal and external glow of joy, encouragement and positivity) clearly lays out a plan where no matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter what you do for a living, if you follow her guidelines you can also, and easily, seamlessly even find your own colorful comfort zone just by following her simple (and highly effective) steps.

A book most definitely to look on the bright side of life with, most all our lives have shifted and they now, much as the world does, look different, less happy, less joyful, more gray and darker overall, but here in A Colourful Dose of Optimism: Prescribe your own Happy Colours to Feel Good NOW, Standish’s positive prescription for a more colorful existence, and how to get it really is one of the most heartwarmingly honest outreaches that I have had the pleasure to read in a long time.

About the Author - Jules is The Colour Counsellor: a Professional Colour Consultant and Stylist, passionate about getting people into their true colours.

She puts forward a new approach to looking younger, healthier and happier through colour and style analysis, achieving powerful results. She lives in West Sussex, UK.

Official Book Purchase Link

Sumer Is Icumen In ...
By: Mélusine Draco - Moon Books, $10.95

Description: In Sumer is Icumen we discover new and exciting ways of surviving (and enjoying) the truly pagan excesses of the Midsummer Festival. Here we can establish and instigate a new smorgasbord of traditions of our own for the purpose of celebration and observance and, in time, even though we must never lose sight of our authentic history, they may even be integrated into future pagan revels.

Verdict: Dedicated entirely to the Midsummer Festival whilst being perfectly crammed chock full of folklore celebrations culled from around the world, Pagan Portals - Sumer Is Icumen In: How to Survive (and Enjoy) the Mid-Summer Festival by Mélusine Draco is a How-To book to enable the reader to go away and build their own traditions or incorporate various practices into their own various activities, festivals and gatherings.

For those unaware, Midsummer takes place in June and is a celebration of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. It is one of the most celebrated holidays in Sweden. A maypole is created and raised during the day, which people gather around to dance and sing.

Traditionally, Midsummer us celebrated by incorporating everything from flowers to folk costumes, making a Midsummer festival a truly visual feast.

As we learn from both its very own folklore and throughout this short, yet fascinating book, colorful tablecloths, dishware, and food will all enhance the festive atmosphere. A color scheme of white, blue and yellow brings a traditional touch to the day although flowers are very prominent in Swedish Midsummer celebrations.

With that being the traditional, historical even, aspect of the Midsummer festivals, this one is more orientated toward the subtitle of the book, Pagan Portals. For it is here that traditional witch Mélusine show us how to integrate our celebrations with those of our ancestors.

Observing how solstice was brought forth in ancient times, she delves into the history of why megalithic monuments were first created on through to the depiction of so many festivals that took place all over the world in its honor. The book also includes solitary activities and coven-based rites, as well as covering summer customs from May Eve onwards in many different pagan traditions.

About the Author - Mélusine Draco is an Initiate of traditional British Old Craft and originally trained in the magical arts of traditional British Old Craft with Bob and Mériém Clay-Egerton.

She has been a magical and spiritual instructor for over 20 years with Arcanum and the Temple of Khem, and writer of numerous popular books. She now lives in Ireland near the Galtee Mountains.

Official Book Purchase Link

Naming the God
By: Trevor Greenfield - Moon Books, $18.95

Description: Naming the God is a companion volume to the landmark anthology Naming the Goddess.

It presents a series of critical essays discussing many of the aspects of male deity and offers a spiritual gazetteer of over fifty gods.

Verdict: In what is a veritable smorgasbord of wide ranging essays on approaching the deities as a modern pagan, Naming the God (edited by Trevor Greenfield) is a compelling, though-provoking and highly informative work of written art that is a must have for anyone and everyone who is either a part of paganism or is looking to delve deeper into it.

For, as I am sure you all already know, in paganism the gods are at the very heart, the very center of their magick. They are their parents, their friends, and even their children at times. They connect them to the energies of the Universe that ultimately transforms all those who reach out.

Indeed, pagans usually have a polytheistic belief in many gods but only one, which represents the chief god and supreme godhead, is chosen to worship. Furthermore, the Renaissance of the 1500s reintroduced the ancient Greek concepts of Paganism. Pagan symbols and traditions entered European art, music, literature, and ethics.

In ancient pagan world, the gods could be conceived of as standing in a kind of pyramid of power. The greatest god, say Zeus, or Jupiter, or some unknown god would be at the very pinnacle, at the very top of this pyramid.

Below that god, in the popular imagination, there were others of unimaginable power—for example, the gods of Mount Olympus, known from Greek and Roman mythology. Below that god and the other gods were other divinities who were far beyond human capacities; gods of various places and gods of various functions, who were superhuman.

And below them were lesser divinities, sometimes called daimonia. This is where we get the word ‘demons’ from, but these were not demons necessarily—some were good, while some were bad. They were simply low-level divinities. They were not as powerful as the Olympian gods, but they were far more powerful than humans and able to affect people for good or evil.

Below the daimonia was another level of divinity. This comprised beings who were partly divine and partly human. Ancient people realized that there were some people who were far more powerful than others, far more intelligent, and far better looking. This was because they had a part of divine within them.

Thus, if you yourself have been wanting to connect, to discover how to create a solid, working relationship with the old Gods, the Ancient ones and such, Naming the God is the most perfect book for you, as it will provide you with both personal experiences and well informed directives to ensure you have an inspired search thereafter; you have my word.

About the Author - Trevor Greenfield is an author and is the Publisher and Publicist for Moon Books. Trevor holds MA degrees in Religious Studies and English Literature, and he is and an Associate Lecturer in Religious Studies with the Open University. He lives in Worthing, West Sussex.

Official Book Purchase Link

Healing Plants of Greek Myth
By: Angela Paine - Moon Books, $24.95

Description: Greek myth is part of our background, the names of many of the gods and goddesses known to us all.

Within the myths are numerous references to plants used by goddesses and gods to heal or enchant, and the names of many of these plants have been incorporated into the Latin binomials that are used to identify them.

Verdict: Funnily enough, in ancient Greek medicine illness was initially regarded as a divine punishment and healing as, quite literally, a gift from the gods. However, by the 5th century BCE, there were attempts to identify the material causes for illnesses rather than spiritual ones and this led to a move away from superstition towards scientific enquiry, although, in reality, the two would never be wholly separated.

Greek medical practitioners, then, began to take a greater interest in the body itself and to explore the connection between cause and effect, the relation of symptoms to the illness itself and the success or failure of various treatments.

Indeed, by half a millennium BCE the physician god Asclepius entered into the mythology and temples were built to him called Asclepiaea, where the sick came to worship him and sleep with serpents in dormitories, hoping to experience miracle cures.

At around the same time the first actual physicians began to practice within the Asclepiaea, using herbs, surgery and dietary advice. From these remote beginnings Greek medicine and botany evolved and were recorded, first in the Hypocratic Corpus, then by many other famous Greek physicians including Theophrastus, Dioscorides and Galen, who recorded the medicinal plants they used.

Healing Plants of Greek Myth: The Origins of Western Medicine and Its Original Plant Remedies Derived from Greek Myth (by Angela Paine) traces the evolution of Greek medicine, the source of Western medicine, and looks at a selection of plants with healing properties, including a large number of trees which were both sacred and medicinal.

Furthermore, textual sources on Greek medical practice begin with scenes from Homer’s Iliad where the wounded in the Trojan War are treated, for example, Patroclus cleaning Eurypylus’ wound with warm water. Medical matters and doctors are also frequently mentioned in other types of Greek literature such as comedy plays but the most detailed sources come from around 60 treatises often attributed to Hippocrates (5th to 4th century BCE), the most famous doctor of all.

However, none of these medical treatises can be confidently ascribed to Hippocrates and next to nothing is known about him for certain.

Interestingly, the Hippocratic texts deal with all manner of medical topics but can be grouped into the main categories of diagnosis, biology, treatment and general advice for doctors. Another source is the fragmentary texts from the Greek natural philosophy corpus dating from the 6th to 5th century BCE.

Philosophers in general, seeing the benefits of good health on the mind and soul, were frequently concerned either directly or indirectly with the human body and medicine. These thinkers include Plato (especially in Timaeus), Empedocles of Acragas, Philistion of Locri and Anaxagoras.

About the Author - Angela Paine has a BSc in Human Physiology and PhD from the School of Pharmacy, London University, in medicinal plant chemistry. Immersed in the Celtic tradition, she runs workshops on Celtic medicinal plants and is the author of Healing Power of Celtic Plants. Angela lives in Stroud, Gloucestershire, and splits her time between the UK and India.

Official Book Purchase Link

Bag Lady
By: Lisa D. Foster - Changemakers Books, $20.95

Description: An inspiring account of the transformative power of purpose-driven entrepreneurship, Bag Lady is a masterful case study in how to start up a company and use the tools of business to promote a better world.

Verdict: A billion plastic bags a day. That’s how many bags Americans were throwing away in 2005 when Lisa D. Foster first switched to reusable bags. The impacts of all those bags on our environment and our taxes kept her up at night.

It was wrong. Morally wrong. She believed that if American shoppers knew what she knew, they would switch to reusable bags too. So, she did what any good English teacher would do. She took the facts about bags and turned them into a story.

Over the next 12 years, that story transformed Lisa into the Bag Lady, an eco-entrepreneur on a mission to save the world one reusable bag at a time. Because she was driven by purpose, she did a lot of things right.

She sold a quarter of a million reusable bags her first year, 2 million her second year, and 8 million her third year. Each reusable bag had the potential to replace a thousand single-use bags, collectively eliminating billions of plastic bags.

Lisa also did a lot of things wrong. One out of ten startups fail, and odds are worse for people like her with no business experience or training. In the end, she built a thriving company, disrupted the plastic bag industry and changed the way America shops. It was a wild ride.

Here in Bag Lady: How I Started a Business for a Greener World and Changed the Way America Shops, it is very clear that something as simple as a passionate desire to do good can drive small or even large miracles; as Lisa Foster herself discovered when she had one of those life changing moment at a supermarket in Melbourne, almost twenty years ago.

As the aforementioned English teacher with a Ph. D, she had no idea about business at all, but her inert passion to simply see something was horribly wrong within the world she lived and then the self-propelled push to get up and do something about it re: introduce reusable bags into the American markets and the world thereafter, has made this Bag Lady one of the most talked about, and thanked people on the planet!

At its heart a compelling, irresistible, personal exploration and wholly revealing look at a woman who knew enough was enough, the book is also - in and unto itself - a valuable read of practical tools and tips that will help any business leader launch and run a business that is fully committed to making the world a better place.

About the Author - Lisa D. Foster, Ph. D., ACC is a business coach, speaker and author whose mission is to help managers become better leaders by using emotional intelligence to create the conditions for high performance. In 2005, she founded 1 Bag at a Time, Inc., a first-to-market reusable grocery bag company. She lives in Chilmark, MA.

Official Book Purchase Link

The Music Therapy Studio
By: Rick Soshensky - Rowman & Littlefield, $37.95

Description: Rick Soshensky presents a groundbreaking introduction to music’s power to heal and transform, weaving a collection of uplifting case studies from his music therapy practice with ideas from spiritual traditions, philosophies, psychological theorists, and music therapy researchers.

Verdict: Going beyond just theoretical and clinical information, The Music Therapy Studio: Empowering the Soul’s Truth centers on the stories and experiences of people with disabilities—marginalized people for whom the world allows little time or place but whose extraordinary musical journeys teach us about the unseen depths and indomitability of the human spirit.

Furthermore, Soshensky investigates core concepts of a music-centered approach—the experience of music as a creative art with clients that has intrinsic value and supersedes diagnostic labeling and behavioral goal setting.

The result is unique and inspirational text that leads us towards a deeper understanding and appreciation of music therapy and music’s spiritual benefits.

As for the meat and potatoes of that very same result, well, from the off we learn how music therapy plays a key role in healing, whilst at the same time we follow along our graciously ordained textual path to further note how it also enriches the spiritual aspects out our lives too.

This is all learnt within the first chapter, The Music Therapy Studio: Foundation, where Soshensky tells us how it all began and importantly, what actually makes what he does actually therapy.

Now this is where my eye was caught the most as Soshensky explains that it is important to differentiate between the words Therapeutic and Therapy for a great concert or a camp-fire singalong will most assuredly lift the spirits, lighten the mood and therefore be classed as therapeutic but the effects would be short-term and the problematic mood or behavior problems would ultimately return.

However, successful therapy would require something more long-lasting, where positive developments obtained in therapy session transfer to everyday life.

Chock full of extraordinary tales of genuine love, devotion and heartfelt adoration for all that Soshensky does, The Music Therapy Studio is most beautifully, and artfully showcased here as an aid to perfectly illustrate the way music can sooth the soul and allow a person to reveal a whole other side of themselves that wasn’t there before.

In closing, Rick Soshensky has lovingly dedicated his life to shining a light on some of the most feared and expressively uncovered areas of the human condition.

Simply put, his desires for a better narrative on the subject have since created a compelling, and from beginning to end, most heartwarmingly genuine showcase in this book that perfectly outlines his undying dedication to freely showing what’s possible when we hold another person’s value as equal to our own.

About the Author - Rick Soshensky, MA, LCAT, MT-BC, NRMT, is a nationally known music therapist. His work has been featured in The New York Times, National Public Radio, and Fox Radio. He operates Hudson Valley Creative Arts Therapy Studio and teaches in the music therapy departments at SUNY New Paltz and Molloy College.

Amazon Book Purchase Link

Pantheon - The Norse
By: Morgan Daimler - Moon Books, $13.95

Description: Pantheon - The Norse explores the beliefs and practices found within Heathenry including a look at cosmology and various celebrations.

It also discusses the gods and spirits that are acknowledged within the belief system giving brief descriptions of each and how they were and are understood.

Designed as an introduction to the Norse pantheon, this book will guide beginners into a basic understanding of the beliefs and offer further suggested resources for those who want to dive deeper.

Verdict: For me, and going in cold to the whole subject matter, so to speak, I found this book to be excellent, highly insightful and wholeheartedly genuine with regard the way it made its points, revealed its beliefs and yet at no point tried to rope you into something that you yourself might find not to your eventual liking.

Fundamentally, the book will get you nicely on the path of learning about Norse gods, rituals and ceremonies. Add to that you will also become aware of the various cultures within and how each concept of God is how they actually live their lives according to those beliefs.

I mean, at its core it is a book about Heathenry, so the learning curve will obviously be steep for all newcomers, but once you begin to delve into the pages written by Morgan Daimler, you will quickly see that modern Heathen communities are all around us.

But all that said, Pantheon - The Norse is much more than a simple list of Gods and Goddesses and who worships them and why. No, for it is a well researched, vividly captivating and precisely worded books that embraces its subject matter from A-Z.

In Part One, the first chapter explains the History of Heathenry, the second the Mythology, the third the Cosmology, the fourth the various Rituals, the fifth the varying Celebrations & Prayers, the sixth Norse Magic and the seventh explains how you may have perceived the information provided thus far and that no matter what you choose to do, it was solely provided to serve as a basis for understanding Heathenry and potentially applying that understanding to one’s own spirituality.

Part Two of the book only has two chapters, the first being a rather comprehensive deep dive into Gods & Goddesses and the second being Other Spirits; and which explains that often there is a fine line between the Gods and some of these other spirits.

About the Author - Morgan Daimler is a blogger, poet, teacher of esoteric subjects, witch, and priestess of the Daoine Maithe. Morgan is a prolific pagan writer, having published more than a dozen books under Moon Books alone, and she is one of the world’s foremost experts on all things Fairy. She lives in CT.

Official Book Purchase Link

Under My Skin: Drama, Trauma, and Rock ’n’ Roll
By: Elise Krentzel - Kumi Books, $29.98

Description: In her new memoir, authoress Elise Krentzel details the first several steps of an exciting journey, one that takes her from an abusive upbringing in 1950s and 1960s New York City, to a young-adulthood spent discovering the allure of Europe and ultimately, alongside KISS in Japan as a rock and roll journalist.

A true tale of survival and skill, Under My Skin: Drama, Trauma, and Rock ’n’ Roll offers a compelling look inside the world of rock and roll, from a perspective not often told: A woman as part of the media.

Verdict: Once you pick up Elise Krentzel’s Under My Skin: Drama, Trauma, and Rock ’n’ Roll, it is nearly impossible to put it down. Being only 190 pages means that the story is fast-paced, moving seamlessly through various times and locations. But the other aspect that makes the story so irresistible is how palpable the emotion is. Krentzel spares no detail in describing the often lonely, often loveless childhood she experienced.

And while the emotion within the first thirty pages may have the potential to be suffocating, this is ultimately a story about freedom. We are along for the ride as Krentzel proves to be the most reliable of narrators, taking us on a city-by-city Euro-trip full of adventure, sex, and substance, each encapsulated by its own bolded subheadings. But none this information is related in a way that is altogether too edgy or graphic; in fact, it’s the opposite, setting the scenes with just the right amount of detail — the sort of casual story that your coolest aunt might tell at a party. It’s all simply enough.

The book’s third act is where many might be tempted to feel the meat of the story is, beginning with a chapter entitled, “I’m Gonna Be a Rock ’n’ Roll Journalist.” The spoiler alert, of course, is that Krentzel makes good on her promise to become exactly that, shipping off at age nineteen to tour Japan with KISS as one of only ten journalists invited on the junket.

It’s a feat well worth the admiration and twinge of jealousy the book’s closing chapters inflict upon readers who wish we had such chances.

And in many ways, that’s ultimately the great lesson of Elise Krentzel’s story: We make our own chances in life; damn rejection, with enough self confidence and self love, we can be whatever we want to be.

If the pitfall of this book is that it’s just a touch too short, we’re all in luck, for Under My Skin is the first volume in the author’s planned trilogy. And I, for one, couldn’t be happier to know it, for Under My Skin: Drama, Trauma, and Rock and Roll and its authoress have firmly entrenched themselves not only under my skin, but inside my wannabe-rock-journalist soul.

About the Author - Elise Krentzel is a multiglot: author, ghostwriter, mentor, public speaker, and communications entrepreneur who has lived in five countries for over twenty-five years. Starting in Japan from 1977 to 1984, she owned a talent and booking agency, introduced punk rock, was a DJ and, music journalist. As Tokyo Bureau Chief for Billboard Magazine, Elise introduced the Sony Walkman and Laserdisc technology to a western audience during her stint.

After twenty years in digital travel publishing, lifestyle marketing, and public relations in Europe, she returned to the States and to her first love of writing. She has a soft spot for people (like herself) who were brought up in toxic households and brings the “fun” back into dysfunction. Elise is currently working on book two, Moving From Wound to Wound. of her memoir trilogy; she is the mother of one son and currently resides in Austin, Texas, the sixth country she’s lived in.

“I used to be a drama queen, but now I’m just a queen.” - from Under My Skin

Amazon Purchase Link

Follow Elise Krentzel on Social Media:

Official Website

Elise Krentzel @ Facebook

Elise Krentzel @ Twitter

Elise Krentzel @ Instagram

Sylvia Kristel: From Emmanuelle to Chabrol
By: Jeremy R. Richey - Cult Epics, $69.95

Description: Cult Epics presents Sylvia Kristel: From Emmanuelle to Chabrol Hardcover Book and Deluxe Box Set.

The books is a recollection of Sylvia Kristel’s most exciting period as an actress. Beginning with her early Dutch film roles in Frank & Eva, Because of the Cats, and Naked over the Fence, this book covers all 22 movies Sylvia starred in between 1973 and 1981, also including all her European films.

Verdict: A trailblazing figure in film and popular culture, Netherlands native Sylvia Kristel became one of the biggest stars in the world as Emmanuelle in 1974. Alongside her most famous role, directed by Just Jaeckin, a little-known fact is that Sylvia Kristel also appeared in over 20 films between 1973 and 1981 featuring work with some of the greatest directors in film history including Walerian Borowczyk, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Roger Vadim and Claude Chabrol.

Now the story of Sylvia’s astonishing career in the ’70s is told in Sylvia Kristel: From Emmanuelle to Chabrol, written by Jeremy Richey. Featured are new interviews with Just Jaeckin, Pim de la Parra, Robert Fraisse, Joe Dallesandro and Francis Lai among others.

Sylvia Kristel: From Emmanuelle to Chabrol is a film-by-film guide (up to a point) of one of the most distinctive and uncompromising careers in modern cinema, and a celebration of a most remarkable woman in a fully illustrated coffee-table book written by author Jeremy Richey.

A recollection of Sylvia Kristel’s most exciting period as an actress. Beginning with her early Dutch film roles in Frank & Eva, Because of the Cats, and Naked over the Fence, this book covers all 22 movies Sylvia starred in between 1973 and 1981 including the European films Emmanuelle, Julia, No Pockets in a Shroud, Playing with Fire, Emmanuelle II, Une Femme fidèle, La Marge, and Alice.

Other films include: Rene the Cane, Goodbye Emmanuelle, Pastorale 1943, Mysteries, Tigers in Lipstick, The Fifth Musketeer, Love in First Class, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and the American films The Concorde…. Airport ’79, The Nude Bomb, Private Lessons, plus the book features a chapter on the unmade films, dozens of iconic roles that she was offered but declined written with in-depth detail by Jeremy R. Richey.

For my money, Sylvia Kristel: From Emmanuelle to Chabrol is the kind of book that if you are of a certain age you always wanted. Not for the smutty, old-lensed, at times sepia in tone once lurid photographs perceived to be within, but moreover for a heartfelt, yet admittedly still mildly flirtatious visual trip back down memory lane.

For what we have here is the full on, no holds barred story of Sylvia’s astonishing career in the ’70s (written by Jeremy R. Richey) which not only features a whole host of new interviews (with Just Jaeckin, the director of Emmanuelle, Pim de la Parra, Robert Fraisse, Joe Dallesandro and Francis Lai, amongst others), but expertly documents Sylvia Kristel’s film-by-film experiences.

But Sylvia Kristel: From Emmanuelle to Chabrol is way more than just a lazy hazy photograph visual daydream back to days of pornographic folklore, for it also brings forth a sharp lesson in what it was, and what it took (for her to be who she was and what it took from her in equal measure) to be the object of seemingly all men’s desires back then.

The hardback cover book itself, at 340 pages and weighing 6lb is one of the heaviest I have had the pleasure to read in many a decade and as you open it, that new book scent lovingly wafts up to your nostrils, as you read the opening dedication: In Memory Of Sylvia Kristel 1952-2012.

Broken up into seven (7) sections, the book opens on some Publisher and Author notes (Nico B and Jeremy R. Richey, respectively), along with an Introduction (that opens on the day Sylvia Kristel passed) and then brings us a few pages of Dutch Cinema from the Fifties to the Early Seventies, before we get to the first section, The Flame.

That is in turn followed by The Phoenix, Tornado, Velocity, Avalanche, The Moth and then after the final section the Unmade Films, the book rounds out on a complete Filmography, a Selected Bibliography, a nod to all the selected sources, and then a more than gracious thanks closes the reading.

The book fully admits it is not a complete guide to Sylvia Kristel’s career, adding that if anyone was interested in her later cult oddities like Dracula’s Widow (1988) that they would undoubtedly be disappointed, but instead strives to focus this massively impressive tome on a specific time in her career and life; that brief period from her debut in the early ’70s up to her misguided attempt to remake herself in Hollywood in the early ’80s.

As you would imagine, the book is chock full of wondrous photographs from that very same time period, black and white to color, movie posters to set stills, and ok, yes there is obviously some nudity thrown about here and there, but at no time is it anything less than a quite remarkable, loving glimpse behind the curtain at one of the most iconic women oF the ’70s and ’80s.

“Hello, this is Nico B of Cult Epics. Being born in the Netherlands, I am very excited to announce (the) release (of) a fully illustrated coffee-table book on Dutch cult icon Sylvia Kristel and her 1970s films.”

“An homage to her incredible artistry and work, often neglected or reviled by critics, (we aim for) this book to put her film career (back) into a new light.”

WEBSITE EXCLUSIVE! Special Features:
Housed in a custom designed Deluxe Box with golden foil stamp and silk pull ribbon, in an edition of 190 copies made (100 Available)
Hardcover Book
340 Pages
Over 200 Poster & Lobbycard & Photos images
Exclusive 16×20 Sylvia Kristel Poster
Exclusive Dust-Jacket Signed by Writer Jeremy Richey
Box Set dimensions 11 x 13 x 4 inches
4 Disc Blu-ray (limited numbered edition of first 500 copies) + Exclusive Bonus DVD
40-page Illustrated Booklet
16×20 Fold-out Poster with Art by Gilles Vranckx

Hardcover Book: Special Features:
340 Pages
Over 200 Poster & Lobbycard & Photos images
Exclusive 16”x20” Sylvia Kristel Poster
Exclusive Dust-Jacket
Signed by Jeremy Richey
Book dimensions 10 x 12 x 1 inches

Box Set only to house the HC book with dust-jacket and Blu-ray set
Box Set dimensions 11 x 13 x 4 inches

About the Author: Jeremy R. Richey is a film and music historian and writer originally from Kentucky. The creator of the long-running blogs Moon in the Gutter and Fascination: The Jean Rollin Experience, Richey was also the publisher of the print-only journals Art Decades and Soledad. His work has appeared in a variety of books and magazines as well as on various home video supplements, including audio commentaries for Cult epics releases Madame Claude and the upcoming Julia and Mysteries. Richey currently resides in Bremerton, WA with his beloved dog Ziggy.

Actress and artist Sylvia Kristel was born in Utrecht, Netherlands on September 28th, 1952. Her film career began in 1973 with small but memorable roles in three important Dutch productions. Sylvia became one of the biggest stars of the ’70s after her role in Emmanuelle (1974), and she would spend the rest of the decade working with some of the finest filmmakers of the period. Sylvia’s starring roles in films like Borowczyk’s La Marge (1976), Vadim’s Une Femme fidele (1976), Robbe-Grillet’s Playing with Fire and Chabrol’s Alice (1977) are among the most memorable performances of the period.

Nico B is the founder of the legendary Amsterdam video store Cult Videoheek, and started Cult Epics in 1991. Moving to the US in 1998, he continued to release arthouse, horror and erotica films in North America, specializing in the works of directors such as Walerian Borowczyk, Tinto Brass, Fernando Arrabal, Radley Metzger, Jorg Buttgereit, Agusti Villaronga, Pim de la Parra & Wim Verstappen. As of recently Cult Epics has started publishing illustrated hardcover books including Cult Epics: Comprehensive Guide to Cult Cinema and Women of the Sun: Bunny Yeager in Mexico, among others.

Official Book Purchase Link

Official Trailer

Plus 1 Atlanta
By: Henry H. Owings - Chunklet Industries, $60.00

Description: Plus 1 Atlanta is a 214-page, full-color love letter to the city I’ve called home for over half my life. Spanning the years 1962 to 2003, the flyers, posters, handbills, ticket stubs, and other junk that make up this book show a city ahead of its time - Henry H. Owings.

Verdict: In what is an incredible flashback insight into both a concert going journey along with the visual memorabilia from those very same days to help aid the readers enjoyment, among the venues documented here within the mighty array of pages of Plus 1 Atlanta are I Defy, the Duke Tire Company Warehouse, PJ’s Nest, 688, the Metroplex, the International Ballroom, the Great Southeast Music Hall and Richards, The Point and the White Dot, TV Dinner, the Nitery, the Celebrity Club, C. W. Shaw’s, the Bistro, Whisk ’a Go-Go, Jennings Rose Room, Bedrock Café … and then there are the places you’ve never heard of!

Author and collator Henry H. Owings has also included a handy two-page index listing the addresses of all of the venues, should you not quite recall their locations, or better still, wish to check them out today (should they still be standing, of course).

But lest we forget about the bands and artists that Owings took the time to go see, to breathe in their collective musical air, for along with a formidable line up of musical talent to behold here, what really stands out are the genuine, and some times artistically created on a dime early show posters and listings for some of Georgia’s finest.

And that list includes but is most definitely not the whole sum of the bands and artists such as: the Black Crowes, the Hampton Grease Band, Ru Paul and the U-Hauls, Mastodon, et al.

Oh, and there’s also unearthed material meticulously scanned from the likes of the Brains, the Fans, Darryl Rhoades and the Hahavishnu Orchestra, Thermos Greenwood, EQT, Nasty Bucks, the Razor Boys, Keith and the Satellites (later to become the Georgia Satellites), Baby and the Pacifiers, Glenn Phillips, the Restraints, and man oh man, so many others that it practically boggles the mind!

Indeed, and with material culled from over 300 individual collections (and even a few from the author’s own personal garbage, thank you very much, kind sir), Plus 1 Atlanta is a beastly group effort, and it shows.

Along with a foreword by David Cross (Mr. Show, Arrested Development), an introduction by publisher Henry H. Owings himself, and an afterword by Bill Kelliher of Mastodon, the book features essays from some of Atlanta’s finest and bravest.

In closing, Plus 1 Atlanta is the kind of book that you wish, as an average concert goer for the past 30+ years or as a journalist sent to view shows for a living (hence the Plus 1 of the title), that you yourself had thought of putting together for your own keepsake memories!

Arcana Books Purchase Link

Bandcamp Purchase Link

Plus 1 Athens
By: Henry H. Owings - Chunklet Industries, $49.99

Description: Athens, Georgia. Home to the Bulldogs, but also home to one of the most legendary music scenes in the world. For the first time, the city’s legacy is studied.

From 1967 all the way to 2002 and everywhere in between, name the Athens band and they’re in it.

Over 130 flyers are shown in full color along with essays, and even a map to show where all the fun was in Athens.

Published by Chunklet Industries and helmed by Henry H. Owings, this is love letter to an important music scene.

Verdict: In what is an incredible flashback insight into both a concert going journey along with the visual memorabilia from those very same days to help aid the readers enjoyment, among the venues documented here within the mighty array of pages of Plus 1 Athens are 40 Watt Club, Between the Hedges, Legion Field, The Last Resort, Sparky’s, Rockfish Palace, Middle Earth, Allen’s Hamburgers, The Exsirience, The High Hat, The Grit, The Globe, and amongst others both the Georgia Theatre and O’Malleys … and then there are the places you’ve never heard of!

Author and collator Henry H. Owings has also included a handy two-page index listing the addresses of all of the venues, should you not quite recall their locations, or better still, wish to check them out today (should they still be standing, of course).

But lest we forget about the bands and artists that Owings took the time to go see, to breathe in their collective musical air, for along with a formidable line up of musical talent to behold here, what really stands out are the genuine, and some times artistically created on a dime early show posters and listings for some of Georgia’s finest.

And that list includes but is most definitely not the whole sum of the bands and artists such as: The Police, Guided By Voices, the B-52’s, R.E.M., Pillars of Talent, The Drastics, The Pigs, et al.

Oh, and there’s also unearthed material meticulously scanned from the likes of Lamb Putty, The Fabulous Jesters, Little Tigers, The Side Effects, Beekeeper, Space Cookie, Dr. Cup-N-Dirt, Chainsaw Mudd Puppies, Descendents Crack, and man oh man, so many others that it practically boggles the mind!

Indeed, and with material culled from over 300 individual collections (and even a few from the author’s own personal garbage, thank you very much, kind sir), Plus 1 Athens is a beastly group effort, and it shows.

Along with a foreword by Dave Schools of Widespread Panic, an introduction by publisher Henry H. Owings himself, and an afterword by Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers, the book features essays from Michael Lachowski and Vanessa Hay of Pylon, and Arthur Johnson from the Bar-B-Q Killers.

In closing, Plus 1 Athens is the kind of book that you wish, as an average concert goer for the past 30+ years or as a journalist sent to view shows for a living (hence the Plus 1 of the title), that you yourself had thought of putting together for your own keepsake memories!

Bandcamp Purchase Link

Welcome to Harmonyville
By: Jon Damian - Yo! Publications, $20.00

Description: Harmonyville is a generally good natured town whose residents are chord symbols, infused with life from Jon Damian’s illustrations and narrative.

Gino and Dee seem like a perfect couple. But as the story unfolds, they have their ups and downs.

Their lives are intertwined with a bevy of entertaining characters who bring humor, drama, romance, and intrigue into the scenes of this comedic play.

Verdict: In his new book, Berklee Professor Emeritus Jon Damian of Local 9-535 (Boston, MA) — who has always blended his love of music with art — creates an illustrative guide to expand our understanding of harmony.

It won’t come as a surprise that a G7 and D Minor 7 chord make beautiful music, but what would it look like? In Welcome to Harmonyville 01625, we meet a reporter and cartoonist for the Harmonyville Times as he takes the reader on a journey with the Dominante family, friends, and neighbors in a town built around a G Clef roundabout.

Take E Street to the B Natural Bookstore, then up to D and Fifth streets to the psychordiatrist and finally, the reader reaches the Glossarium. A chord progression comes to life on the page as Damian follows the characters through good times, some discord, but ultimately a revelation—and education — in perfect harmony. [Theresa Litz at International Musician Magazine September 2021].

I couldn’t have put it better myself, and inclusive of a foreword by Bill Frisell of Local 802 (New York City), once you know what you are in for and open the book, you are instantly transported to a parallel universe where our earthly physics are replaced by the forces of harmonic enchantment.

You are then taken on what can only be described as an incredibly thought out, designed and constructed, and eloquently jigsawed together journey (one without end) in search of, well, harmony!

From start to finish, the originality of Welcome to Harmonyville seeps through within its pages full of deeply informative, and yet always explanatory, creatively whimsical and at all times highly, and almost tantalizingly readable.

Inclusive of some wondrous graphics, a multitude of well-timed puns, and seemingly never ending insights, Jon directs the guitarist (and any musician, really) towards achieving the harmony that makes music soulful and emotional.

Along the way we get to meet main characters such as Gino Dominante, a portly G7 chord symbol, and his subdominant other, Dee Mineur Septième, a petite D Minor 7 chord symbol.

For in the world of music, a chord symbol is a form of notation that uses letters and numbers to indicate a particular chord. Each chord symbol has a unique personality, so to speak. Some sound beautiful, some are mild-mannered, some are aggressive, and some are just middle-of-the-road kinds of characters.

Like homo sapiens, chord symbols live in families and so, just for fun, Jon thinks of these chord symbols as Harmono Sapiens! The inter-relationships between chord symbols, as between humans, can be harmonious or not harmonious for harmony consists of a series of notes, piled vertifcally (think of it like the vertebrae of a human skeleton).

His language, love for his subject matter and sheer creative personality shine throughout the prose and the parable like lessons. Hand-drawn graphics add to the relaxed feel and give the book a warmth that draws the reader into the universe of chords and the ways they mingle, conjoin and enhance one another. Truly great stuff.

Oh, and on one final note (all pun intended), for fun, Jon made Harmonyville’s zip code 01625, since it indicates the roots or bottom notes of the chords of an oft-used progression of chords; a 1 6 2 5 progression. Hundreds of popular tunes use it as a harmonic foundation to build their melodies on, for example, Blue Moon.

About the Author - JON DAMIAN is an active international performer, composer, lecturer, clinician and author. Jon spent 45 years as a professor at The Berklee College of Music. His varied performances have ranged from Luciano Pavarotti to Bill Frisell and from the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa to Johnny Cash with the Boston Pops under John Williams.

Jon Damian has recorded in a wide range of settings including The Boston Modern Orchestra Project, The Boston Pops Orchestra under Keith Lock- hart and John Williams, Bill Frisell, Bob Nieske’s Wolf Soup, The Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa, Collage, and for NOVA.

He is also the author of The Guitarists Guide to Composing and Improvising and The Chord Factory: Build Your Own Guitar Chord Dictionary available through Berklee Press and Hal Leonard Publications and Fresh Music: Explorations with the Creative Workshop Ensemble for Musicians, Artists, and Teachers, published by YO! Publications.

Official Book Purchase Link

Pagan Portals - The Art of Lithomancy
By: Jessica Howard - Moon Books, $10.95

Description: Lithomancy is a form of divination which many people are aware of, although they may not know it by name. Using nothing more than stones from the garden or your favorite crystals, you can uncover the secrets of your subconscious, understand the past, and divine the future.

Verdict: As noted, Lithomancy is the practice of performing divination by reading stones. In some cultures, the casting of stones was believed to be fairly common – a bit like checking one’s daily horoscope in the morning paper.

However, because our ancient ancestors didn’t leave us a lot of information about how to read the stones, many of the specific aspects of the practice have been lost forever.

One thing that is certainly clear, though, is that the use of stones for divination has been around for a long while. Archaeologists have found colored stones, likely used for foretelling political outcomes, in the ruins of a fallen Bronze-age city at Gegharot, in what is now central Armenia.

Furthermore, researchers suggest that these, along with bones and other ritual items, indicate divinatory practices were critical to the emergent principles of regional sovereignty.

It is generally believed by scholars that early forms of Lithomancy included stones which were polished and inscribed with symbols – perhaps these were the precursors to the rune stones we see in some of the Scandinavian religions.

Indeed, in modern forms of Lithomancy, stones are typically assigned symbols connected to the planets, as well as to aspects of personal events, such as luck, love, happiness, etc.

Here in Jessica Howard’s fascinating read Pagan Portals - The Art of Lithomancy: Divination with stones, crystals, and charms, she describes, and in such great detail that you immediately know that she is wholly dedicated to her cause, how anyone can create their very own set of Lithomancy stones, how to go about collecting and choosing the right ones and, importantly, how to keep them magical.

Inclusive of the chapters: What is Lithomancy, Getting Started, Preparing for a Reading, Performing a Reading, The Chakra Stone Set for Healing and Final Word, Howard expertly, and in layman’s terms throughout, details guides the newcomer into her world, initially through divining, but most assuredly into Lithomancy soon thereafter.

About the Author - Jessica Howard has been a practicing witch for twenty years. Her craft is an eclectic mixture of Celtic and water witchcraft, with a dash of kitchen witchcraft thrown into the mix. She lives in Potters Bar, UK.

Official Book Purchase Link

Pagan Portals - Magic for Hedge Witches
By: Harmonia Saille - Moon Books, $10.95

Description: If you are a witch interested in folk magic with a connection to the natural world, you will find suggestions on how to source ingredients and connect with them, sourcing old spells, witch bottles, magical sachets, familiars, how to put a spell together, and for hedge witches, how to use magic in hedge riding.

With useful correspondences, and sprinkled throughout and practical exercises and spells, Magic for Hedge Witches offers something for every witch to help you on your journey.

Verdict: So, I hear you asking, What exactly is a Hedge Witch? Well, there are a lot of different belief systems in modern Paganism, and one that is seeing a resurgence in popularity is the path of the hedge witch.

Although there are a lot of different definitions of what a hedge witch is and does, you will find that for the most part, there is a lot of work with herbal magic, as well as an emphasis on nature.

Indeed, a hedge witch might work with gods or goddesses, perform healing and shamanic actions, or perhaps work with the changing seasons. In other words, the path of the hedge witch is as eclectic as those who practice it.

Here in Harmonia Saille’s immaculately written Pagan Portals - Magic for Hedge Witches: Sourcing Ingredients, Connection, Spell Building, she not only teaches the magical side of the Hedge Witch’s Craft, but moreover brings with it a history lesson that, when all put together, becomes a quite wonderful, and wholly encapsulating resource for any witch (new or old) to embody (although, in truth, it’s prose tends to be more for the experienced practitioner).

Broken into many sections, such as The Rudiments of Hedge Magic, On Sourcing Old Spells, Other Magical Ingredients Found in Nature, Runes, Candle and Color Magic, and amongst others both Magic Bottles and Charm Sachets and Magic Bunches, and inclusive of inner chapters such as Putting a Spell Together, Connecting with Trees, How to Use Runes in a Spell, various Spell examples, A Quick Guide to Animal Symbolism, and amongst others both Ritual Preparation and Hedge Riding Incense, the blending of traditional practices and those from folklore with more modern day beliefs and rituals, makes for a most wonderful sowing of magical seeds throughout the book for the reader to find.

About the Author - Harmonia Saille is a Hedge Witch of more than two decades. She holds workshops on spirituality, divination and other subjects both locally and at international spiritual events. She is the author of The Spiritual Runes, and Pagan Portals - Hedge Witchcraft and Hedge Riding. She lives near the River Severn at the edge of the Cotswolds, UK.

Official Book Purchase Link

Eco-Spirituality and Human-Animal Relationships
By: Mark Hawthorne - Moon Books, $10.95

Description: In Eco-Spirituality and Human-Animal Relationships Mark Hawthorne examines the all-too-often difficult and exploitative relationship between animals and humans.

Eco-spirituality seeks to reassess our relationship with the environment, where humans are understood as not morally superior but rather equal to the life forms with whom we share this planet.

Our kinship with animals has perhaps always been fragmented, but it’s not too late to embrace a new paradigm. For us, for them, and for all life on Earth.

Verdict: For those unaware, Eco-Spirituality is a manifestation of the spiritual connection between human beings and the environment. Indeed, Eco-Spirituality incorporates an intuitive and embodied awareness of all life and engages a relational view of person to planet, inner to outer landscape, and soul to soil; whilst, and especially here in this new book Earth Spirit: Eco-Spirituality and Human-Animal Relationships, our kinship with animals is brought into the mix also.

For those living in the United States, there is a good chance that waking up each morning includes small paws walking across the bed or a cold, wet nose to the hand. According to a 2017–18 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 68 percent of US households own a pet; this equates to 84.6 million homes. And, while dogs and cats remain the most popular choices, horses, birds, fish, reptiles, and other animals are on the charts, too.

Americans cherish their pets. The APPA estimates that in the United States, $72.1 billion will be spent on pet expenditures this year (up from $69.5 billion in 2017). These expenses include food, supplies, over-the-counter medicine, veterinary care, live animal purchases, and other services.

This bond between pets and their owners was not always so similar to the relationships humans have with each other. According to Bayer, a life science company, the human-animal bond has evolved for more than 15,000 years, and it began as a working relationship.

Animals provided protection and service to people; this could have been while hunting, farming, or performing other tasks necessary for day-to-day life. Dogs would track and herd. Cats usually lived outside, and would hunt and kill rodents that, otherwise, could spread disease and damage food or other materials.

Animals also served people during wartime. The United States Army Medical Department Journal (AMDJ) mentions cavalry horses, sentry dogs, carrier pigeons, and even mascots as common historical military roles for animals. According to AMDJ, these animals not only provided protection; they also could offer stress relief and a sense of pride to their human counterparts.

It is easy to overlook the human-animal bond as a one-way street. Pets need their owners to meet their basic needs of food, water, shelter, and welfare. But, humans can gain a different kind of well being from their companion animals. Research shows that pets can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, raise blood oxytocin levels, and, in some cases, may reduce direct pain. According to Bayer, people living with dogs are 15 percent less likely to die from heart disease.

Pets also can offer benefits for other human health challenges. The elderly respond well to companion animals. According to Bayer, diseases like depression, coronary conditions, and dementia can be exacerbated by loneliness. By interacting with companion animals, elderly people can experience positive mental and physical effects. Similar results can occur in children during emotional, cognitive, social, and behavioral development.

Inclusive of six chapters relevant to the subject matter - such as Animals Used For Food, In Captivity, In Labs, For Sport, For Labor, and Animals We Revere, Mark Hawthorne’s thoroughly engrossing new book Earth Spirit: Eco-Spirituality and Human–Animal Relationships provides vital information, perspectives, poetry and wisdom to guide and support [the reader] through the most complex of environmental, climate and biodiversity challenges and crisis facing us all [Sarah Kerr, Pagan Federation President].

About the Author - Mark Hawthorne is the author of several animal advocacy books, including The Way of the Rabbit, A Vegan Ethic: Embracing a Life of Compassion Toward All, and Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism, whose 10th-anniversary edition was published by Changemakers Books in 2018.

Mark stopped eating meat after an encounter with one of India’s many cows in 1992 and became an ethical vegan a decade later. He and his wife, Lauren, live in Northern California.

Official Book Purchase Link

Religion and Generation Z
By: Brian Mountford - Christian Alternative Books, $17.95

Description: In 2017 NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey published statistics that 53% of the people in Britain say they have ‘no religion’ and that of those 70% of the 18-24 age-group claim to have ‘no religion’.

These essays attempt to say why, and are individual responses rather than a systematic examination of the question. Atheist, Agnostic, Irish, Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim views are represented.

Verdict: As is made clear from the off, the purpose of these noted essays was to explain a social trend but, in the process of writing, several of the contributors have, as if by chance, produced material which is richly meditative and can be read both for information and as spiritual reflection.

The Editor, Brian Mountford, is concerned that, too often, the religious views of the young are discussed by older clergy and writers but rarely heard first hand. Therefore, this book is a partial remedy for Mountford has written opening and closing chapters, setting the scene and finally asking what future there is for religion.

From the off, Religion and Generation Z: Why Seventy Per Cent of Young People Say They Have No Religion opens our collective eyes to two important, and perhaps lesser unveiled facts: The biggest junkyard in history is the one marked Abandoned Religion, abandoned because they are incapable of adapting to the flowing currents of human history [Richard Holloway], and To be rationally sustainable, religions must ally with the best modern science and with textural criticism; they must accept that ancient moral rules must often be adapted to new circumstances and that they should be conducive to universal human flourishing [Keith Ward].

Ergo, both statements go a long way to show that millennials and their like have had a dramatic, if not wholly negative (for the most part) impact on American religious life. That said, and playing Devil’s Advocate, ok, sure, millennials have also earned a reputation for reshaping industries and institutions — shaking up the workplace, transforming dating culture, and rethinking parenthood, but still, the question remains: Why do they not adhere to any of the known religions (publicly or privately?)

For a long time, though, it wasn’t clear whether this youthful defection from religion would be temporary or permanent. It seemed possible that as millennials grew older, at least some would return to a more traditional religious life. But there’s mounting evidence that today’s younger generations may be leaving religion for good.

Some of the reasoning explored within these essays cover bases such as, well, for one thing, many millennials never had strong ties to religion to begin with, which means they were less likely to develop habits or associations that make it easier to return to a religious community.

Also, young adults are also increasingly likely to have a spouse who is nonreligious, which may help reinforce their secular worldview. And changing views about the relationship between morality and religion also appear to have convinced many young parents that religious institutions are simply irrelevant or unnecessary for their children.

But, whatever the true reasoning is behind this seventy per cent figure, Editor Brian Mountford’s collected essays that make up Religion and Generation Z: Why Seventy Per Cent of Young People Say They Have No Religion showcase a deep dive into the topic, and one that ultimately may not just have you understanding more about the reasons why, but have you wanting to ask more questions (which is always a good thing with a book, don’t you agree?)

About the Author - Interested in the clash between traditional religious faith and the challenge of secularism, Brian Mountford is a Fellow of St Hilda’s College and an established speaker on contemporary religious issues, leadership and literature.

He is Publisher-at-Large for John Hunt Publishing’s Christian Alternative imprint and writer of the best-selling Christian Atheist - belonging without believing and the anthology, Friday’s Child - poems of suffering and redemption. He lives in Islip, UK.

Official Book Purchase Link

Looking for the Magic
By: Mitchell Cohen - Trouser Press Books, $20.00

Description: Looking for the Magic is a cultural-historical remix, a fresh perspective on how Arista Records reflected its place and time, New York in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Through interviews with dozens of artists and executives, music journalist Mitchell Cohen goes inside the business of making and marketing music during this vibrant and diverse period.

Under Clive Davis, rock, pop, punk, jazz, R&B, disco, cabaret and Broadway were all represented on Arista. The label sounded like the city it was at the geographical center of.

Verdict: As author Mitchell Cohen himself freely admits, “This is a story about the music business in New York City, and specifically how Arista Records evolved from the direction of Larry Uttal at Bell Records into Clive Davis’ creative vision for a multi-faceted label.”

“Beyond that, what compelled me to write this was the opportunity to discuss the mechanics of being a successful independently-distributed record company, and to direct the spotlight beyond the usual musical suspects to some less-heralded Arista artists that I’d hope readers would check out.”

Chock full of all of those promises along with a whole smorgasbord more of quite wondrous stories, tales and heightened bouts of flashback reminiscing, we quickly learn that from its inception as a new entity built on the pop and soul foundation of Bell Records, to groundbreaking artists like Gil Scott-Heron and Patti Smith, to revitalized legends like the Kinks and Aretha Franklin, up to its launching of its biggest star, Whitney Houston, Arista Records’ story has never been told quite like this ever before.

Thus, Looking for the Magic: New York City, the ’70s and the Rise of Arista Records covers the wide scope of the label’s roster: its giant pop successes (Barry Manilow), its dedication to cutting-edge jazz (Anthony Braxton) and its embrace of rock royalty (Lou Reed, the Grateful Dead), and trust me when I say, nearly everything in-between.

Looking for the Magic (named after a song by Arista group the Dwight Twilley Band) takes the reader behind the scenes, to the Kinks’ backstage fights, Lou Reed’s on-stage diatribes, and to CBGB’s, Kenny’s Castaways and the Continental Baths.

We find out how “Because the Night” made its way from Bruce Springsteen to Patti Smith; how Barry Manilow went from obscurity to stardom; how MTV ushered in a second British Invasion for bands like the Thompson Twins and Haircut One Hundred; and how Arista formed alliances with adventurous labels like Stiff and Ze Records.

As for author Mitchell Cohen himself, well, he has written about music and film for Creem, High Fidelity, Film Comment, the Village Voice, Musician and Phonograph Record. He actually began working at Arista Records in the late ’70s as a publicity and advertising copywriter and then as one of the label’s A&R executives.

Furthermore, he himself was also nominated for a Grammy, won a Clio Award and is the co-author of All These Things That I’ve Done (with Matt Pinfield) and The White Label Promo Preservation Society (with Sal Maida).

In summary, if you are a genuine, bonafide lover of all-things music, especially from the ’70s through to the mid-’80s and you have always, and willingly opened your ears, heart and record player up to any kind of music that your soul felt like listening to, then the aforementioned smorgasbord of musical talent Arista put out in that time period must have not only filled your bedroom with joy, but also your record collections!

For that alone, this magnificently cultured, and wholly heartfelt new publication Looking for the Magic: New York City, the ’70s and the Rise of Arista Records by Mitchell Cohen is a veritable must-have for you now, my friends, as it not only contains a slew of lovely of-the-day photos, but will also not only make you realize just how much great Arista music you have in your collection, but perhaps also make you aware of one or two sounds that escaped your attention back in the day!

About the Author - Mitchell Cohen is a well-known music journalist who has served as an A&R executive at Arista and other record labels.

Official Book Purchase Link

Sandman - A Golf Tale
By: David W. Berner - Roundfire Books, $10.95

Description: A young boy is in love with the game of golf, but he doesn’t understand why. He has a natural talent and an enviable swing but playing the game well is not enough. There’s something missing.

Verdict: When Jimmy, the homeless man who spends his days cheering on golfers from his usual sitting spot just off the 5th green at Old Elm Municipal Golf course goes missing, the young boy becomes curious.

His quest uncovers Jimmy’s mysterious link to the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland and reveals a life in golf that not only fascinates but sends the boy on a personal journey to discover the magic of an ancient game and its deeper meaning for a young man doing his best to find his path in the world.

In what is a simply magnificent, wholly riveting, and yet gently told book from Berner, Sandman - A Golf Tale is chock full with surprisingly intuitive, and soothingly insightful notations - about life, friendships, and generalized perceptions, et al - that ensure the reader is hard pressed to put it down once their literary journey has begun.

Sure, it is made all the more easier to binge read this book, given that it is only 79 pages long, but that doesn’t mean that it is thin on anything that makes for a splendidly mesmerizing read.

Indeed, quite the opposite, for as our inquisitive young boy begins his curious quest into the disappearance of Jimmy, the pleasing rabbit hole that we are taken down is one we go willingly, and at all times intriguingly into.

Hard to put down, and even harder not to devour in the one sitting, Sandman - A Golf Tale is way more than a simple golfing story (so you really don’t need to know all that much about the game to enjoy this book), having its prose instead entangled within external things, such as amiable secondary characters from the greens and clubhouse, the caddies, the human desire for either aid or refrain, et al.

About the Author - David W. Berner is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist, whose career honors include the position of Writer-in-Residence at the Jack Kerouac Project and the Ernest Hemingway Foundation. He lives outside Chicago, Illinois.

Official Book Purchase Link

The Protector: The Fall & Rise Of Oliver Cromwell
By: Tom Reilly - Tophat Books, $16.95

Description: The Protector: The Fall and Rise Of Oliver Cromwell - A Novel is a distinctively realistic all killer - no filler fictional biography that bristles with controversy, sex, love, civil war, slaughter, intrigue, redemption and - perhaps the ultimate crime of all - regicide.

Verdict: Here in Reilly’s brand new book The Protector: The Fall and Rise Of Oliver Cromwell - A Novel, every effort has been made to accurately weave real people around a narrative of historical precision.

Meticulously biographical in its substance, the plot is predetermined by a landscape of true events that both enthrall and educate. Perhaps controversially, the subject is credibly portrayed as a tender father, an admirable man and a reluctant overachiever.

And yet at all times the unrelenting pace of the action truly reflects Cromwell’s compelling life story. As they say, If you think you know Oliver Cromwell ... think again, which is why this book is just so intriguing to me personally (and, I hope, will be to you also).

To provide a quick slice of (actual_ history, Oliver Cromwell was an English general and statesman who, first as a subordinate and later as Commander-in-Chief, led armies of the Parliament of England against King Charles I during the English Civil War, subsequently ruling the British Isles as Lord Protector (hence the book title) from 1653 until his death in 1658.

As you begin your literary journey within this book, one of the pages you pass by showcases another linked Reilly-written book, this one entitled Cromwell was Framed (where the author digs deep and provides evidence suggesting that monarchists then, and nationalists more recently, have been wrong in accusing republican Oliver Cromwell of a massacre of non-combatants at Drogheda in 1649) and then we are into the first of twenty-seven chapters, this one titled as 1599.

In what is a completely - to my mind - left of center opening page that brings forth the vividly captured story of how a monkey named Caesar swiped a five-month-old baby from the Cromwell stately home, built on the site of a former nunnery, all whilst down below a tranquil social gathering helmed by mother Elizabeth Cromwell (née Bourchier) was ongoing, the book thereafter never lets the reader down and keeps a wickedly vibrant pace throughout.

Oh, and for the record, and based on the premise that this whole monkey exploit was indeed an actual noted fact and not simply a myth embellished through time, it was subsequently discovered that the monkey was playing with baby Oliver on the roof, but even though beds and blankets were brought out and placed on the ground, to catch the baby, in case the monkey should drop or throw him down, Caesar was very careful, and presently he brought Oliver safely to the ground again.

Moving on, and with the book, as a whole, created and cultivated based on the more known, and accepted of facts, albeit perhaps a rather more utilization view taken of the historical rhetoric, shall we perhaps say, The Protector reveals a new take on the controversial figure of Oliver Cromwell, presenting him as not a tyrant, but instead a man unjustly tarnished by his aggressors and circumstances in tangent to his political leanings.

Running at 229 pages, The Protector: The Fall and Rise Of Oliver Cromwell - A Novel is easily enthralling enough to have you binge read it in two enjoyable sittings, which I humbly suggest you do, as it will have you second guessing all you thought you knew about the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, of that have no doubt.

About the Author - Amateur historian Tom Reilly has almost single-handedly taken on the might of academia with regard to Cromwell. He has appeared on national TV and radio in both the UK and Ireland in both documentaries and chat shows. He lives in County Louth, Ireland.

Official Book Purchase Link

God, Who On Earth Are You?
By: Stephen McCarthy - Christian Alternative, $15.95

Description: The mysterious ‘Other’ that many of us sense and that Christianity - drawing on the life of Jesus - calls God, is the starting point of this book.

But, the Christian Churches are no longer conveying the wonder of the Christian mystery, the challenging nature of Jesus’ message for the world but also God’s deep, merciful love for us and the invitation into a relationship with him through prayer or through other spiritual practices including pilgrimage.

Verdict: Church teaching has become tired and routine. It should be fundamentally renewed and their institutional structures reformed for today’s world.

Thus the book’s final chapters consider how Christians should engage with the seemingly intractable problems - from environmental destruction to the inhuman exploitation of many people and the obscene levels of inequality - that characterize society today.

An autobiographical thread runs through the text as the author, a committed Catholic Christian, draws on experiences and vignettes from his own life. The final conclusion is one of hope; God will not abandon us or his world, though we do not know how the future will unfold.

In this eye-opening, and ultimately enthralling four part book, McCarthy first ponders the age-old question Who Is God? before bringing us Having a Relationship with God, Jesus’ Teaching as Religion, and finally Christianity in the World.

In what is a most profound and at its core honest deep dive into a subject matter that can not only create boundaries between discussions, let alone alienate people due to their lifelong beliefs, God, Who On Earth Are You?: Mystery and Meaning in Christianity today is also a highly intriguing rhetoric from author Stephen McCarthy (a deeply Catholic, physics-trained economist).

For as we know, even away from a real sanctuary, the church, made up of God’s people, is to teach biblical doctrine so we all can be grounded in our faith. The church is to promote fellowship, trust, faith and hope, especially in this pandemic season.

Therein, and at its ultimate core, The church is to be a place where believers can observe the Lord’s Supper, remembering Christ’s death and shed blood on our behalf (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

What McCarthy does is provide us an autobiographical thread of informative conscience that allows him to not only draw on his own experiences and personally offer up some of his own vignettes within, but also manages (in amongst all the to and fro of the subject matter) to draw a conclusional promise to all that no matter what, God will never abandon us or his world; something we can all take to heart and be embraced within the warmth of, I think you will agree.

About the Author - Stephen McCarthy is a cradle Catholic who studied physics in Oxford and then moved on to development economics. Taking early retirement to deepen his understanding of theology and spirituality, he walked the Camino de Santiago and followed the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. He lives in Schrassig, Luxembourg.

Official Book Purchase Link

The Not so Subtle Art of Caring
By: Phillip Kane - JHP Business Books, $26.95

Description: Virgin’s Richard Branson, Zappos’ Tony Hsieh, and Tesla’s Elon Musk, apart from their obvious success, all share another thing in common. Each utilizes storytelling to maximize their effectiveness as leaders.

Many of the most influential leaders of our and all time, including arguably the most influential leader in history, used storytelling whenever they had a particularly important point to make.

Verdict: Encouraged by these influences, a father who was a known storyteller and a Nigerian priest who used stories to bridge a language barrier, author, and successful businessperson, Phillip Kane used stories each Friday throughout his career to help business associates relate to key issues facing the organizations he had the privilege to lead.

These weekly letters had less to do with what was going on in the business than how people thought about what was going on in the business. By helping shift and align his teams’ point of view, Kane and the teams he led were able to accomplish more and win more often. All because of the stories he told.

Many of them are assembled here in one place for the first time. Organized around key themes like encouragement, trust, and gratitude, Kane also provides additional insights for existing or aspiring leaders looking for a different, better way to appeal to those who should be following them.

Featured twice in Kouzes’ & Posner’s, The Leadership Challenge (Wiley), first-time author, Phillip Kane’s storytelling technique and the leadership lessons he imparts are key for any leader seeking to create winning teams built on a fundamental foundation of caring and service to others.

A 2022 Hoffer Award finalist, Phillip Kane, is a husband, father, and businessman, has had a successful career of more than 30 years in some of the world’s best-known corporations and amongst a storied account of many other reputable excerpts from his life, is therefore one of the finest examples we have in providing us this caring, leadership-styled book.

Broken down into six chapters, along with some sub-chapters (Foreword, Preface, Introduction, and Afterword), Kane opens on a startling statement of both warning and subsequently-profound fact: Most people believe that getting a leadership position is an acknowledgment for the hard work performed until then. A sort of celebration for a good career. This is exactly the starting point of any leadership failure.

In this 293 page book, his subtitled Letters on Leadership are just that, a collective of first-hand, real life outreaches within his own personal experiences that culminate in a sturdy prose brought together to elegantly provide those inquiring about formulating a principle-based leadership model of their own.

As we soon learn early on in the book, Kane explains that winning within the marketplace is completely compatible with, and even at times solely dependent on, caring about others (both personally and professionally).

Trust me when I say that this book can and will provide the reader, and one who takes on board everything said and follows the guidelines to perfection, with the tools to formulate a better and more focused way to lead a team and progress successfully onward.

For as the author himself freely admits There’s no education in a second kick from a mule, so please allow this books’ teachings to not only generously waft around your mind, but hopefully permeate and therefore soon thereafter open up a whole new way for you to approach leadership, and, of course, your work colleagues as a whole.

About the Author - Phillip Kane is a husband, father, and businessman. He has had a successful career of more than 30 years in some of the world’s best-known corporations. Working for brands like Goodyear, Pirelli, and NAPA, Kane has had the privilege to lead thousands of individuals and has managed billions of dollars in value for stakeholders. Kane lives in Ohio with his wife and three children.

Official Book Purchase Link

So Very Mental: A Novel
By: C.C. Howard - Roundfire Books, $15.95

Description: What do you get when you cross a music snob, a football fan, a star-gazer and a tragi-romantic loser-in-love? You get Howie!

Verdict: Howie lives with his brother, Ben, who has autism. Ben is funny and utterly lovable. More than anything, Ben wants a girlfriend.

So when the TV show Love is Mental (a dating show for people with disabilities) is aired, Ben decides to participate. And this is where life starts to unhinge for Howie.

You see, Howie wants romance too. So when he falls for one of Ben’s dates, it sets him off on a rollicking journey into deception that will ultimately reveal to him that he is much more like Ben than he could ever have imagined.

In this debut novel from C.C. Howard, and one which runs at a tasty 177 pages, well, firstly, I love that one of my all-time favorite musicians Richard Jobson (The Skids) is quoted as saying that the warmth of the book wraps itself around you like the best Hornby or Doyle and that he was hooked with all the music, football, love and kindness!

I mean, seriously, just that kudos alone is a massive go-to for me having read this new novel and I hope will also be for everyone else out there a fan of Jobson and his works.

But, and getting smartly back on track, So Very Mental as a whole, as a sit down, get comfy and read entity is one of those books where you become engaged with the characters from the off, in their individual and collective humor and thus find it hard to break away from (hence the ease of a two-day binge read through these 177 pages).

Cleverly and oh-so incisively written, So Very Mental: A Novel is told in three parts, three chapters if you will, and thus the story line is brought forth with near perfect timing from start to finish.

In conclusion, So Very Mental is a warm, quirky and inclusive story, and one which shows us that when it comes to this crazy thing we call life, we’re all in it together.

About the Author - C.C. Howard grew up on the sunny beaches of Australia. After several years of travel he landed in Stockholm, Sweden, where he now resides with his family. He works as a creative film-exec and teacher, and has a passion for film, music, football and books.

Official Book Purchase Link

Long Live King Kobe
By: Spencer Ostrander, Paul Auster, Sherma Chambers - ZE Books, $40.00

Description: This book is an intimate portrait of grief, a chronicle that charts the devastation visited upon a large, multi-generational family in the wake of the senseless, random murder of twenty-one-year-old Tyler Kobe Nichols on December 23rd, 2020.

With the cooperation and full participation of the Nichols-Chambers family, photographer Spencer Ostrander was granted privileged access to the household.

Over the course of the next several months, he conducted one-on-one interviews with each member of that household along with Tyler’s closest friends and, in the natural light of those settings, compiled a large dossier of photographic portraits of each person involved in the story.

Verdict: One of the great things about true crime documentaries is the ability to clearly see the effect of the crime on the people closet to the victim.

With the book Long Live King Kobe, photographer Spencer Ostrander has managed to even more comprehensively capture the aftermath of the senseless murder of Tyler Kobe Nichols through.a series of photographs and interviews with Tyler’s friends and family.

The details of the tragic knife attack that took the life of a promising young man just before Christmas 2020 are left to the beginning of the story, with a heartfelt foreword by Sherma Chambers, Tyler’s mother, and an additional section by Paul Auster that discusses Tyler’s life, and the foundation founded in his memory, the Long Live King Kobe foundation.

The majority of the book operates under a “less is more” dynamic, with the story of Tyler’s bereaved family and friends told in pictures and the simple descriptions thereof, sometimes accompanying. These photos are absolutely haunting, from the faraway stares of men and women left without a certain light in their lives, to the various ways they have chosen to remember their beloved Tyler.

One of the more striking images comes from the personal effects of Tyler’s girlfriend, Ashley: A lock of his hair positioned against an open Bible. This photo alone amazingly juxtaposes the difficulty of loss with hope of not only spiritual healing but of perseverance; the physical mementos are eternal reminders for as long as they are kept.

Similarly, much is made of the candlelight vigil set up outside the Nichols-Chambers residence, spelling out Kobe. The communal healing is as important as the singular healing. And that is what the Long Live King Kobe foundation is all about. And that is the idea that this book so simply and clearly encapsulates.

Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte

About the Contributors - Paul Auster is the author of Burning Boy, 4 3 2 1, Sunset Park, The Book of Illusions, Moon Palace, Winter Journal, The invention of Solitude and the New York Trilogy among many other works. In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Liturature.

Among his other honors are the Prix Médicis Etranger for Leviathan, the Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke, and The Premio Napoli for Sunset Park. He has also been a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions), the Pen/Faulkner Award (The Music of Chance), and the Man Booker Prize (4 3 2 1).

He is a member of the The American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Commandeur de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. His work has been translated into more than 40 languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Spencer Ostrander is a photographer based in Brooklyn. He was born in Seattle, Washington in 1984. The year he turned 21 several people close to him died, one after the other, and he realized he had no tangible images of them to fix in his memory. He began to think about the meaning of photographs.

While studying psychology in San Francisco, Ostrander received a Nikkormat 35mm as a gift from a family friend and his interest in the art became an active obsession.

He transferred to Parsons School of Design in New York City, from which he graduated in 2010. He went on to assist freelance for a variety of portrait and documentary photographers.

Although he abandoned the formal study of psychology, Ostrander’s work is deeply informed by a desire to observe closely, to forge human connections, and to intimately understand the world around him. He has recently completed two other books, Time Square in the Rain and Bloodbath Nation (in collaboration with Paul Auster).

Sherma Chambers was born on the Island of St, Vincent. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 15 and has lived in Brooklyn ever since.

Sherma is the mother of three sons, Shomari, 29, Shayne, 24, and Tyler, who was murdered at age 21 on December 23, 2020. Following Tyler’s death, she became the founder and director of Long Live King Kobe, a New York State nonprofit organization.

The goals of LLKK are to support the families and friends of victims of violence and to fund outreach programs for troubled youth.

Official Book Purchase Link

LLKK Go Fund Me

LLKK @ Instagram

Thoughts of God
By: C.C. Howard - Roundfire Books, $15.95

Description: What do you get when you cross a music snob, a football fan, a star-gazer and a tragi-romantic loser-in-love? You get Howie!

Verdict: Howie lives with his brother, Ben, who has autism. Ben is funny and utterly lovable. More than anything, Ben wants a girlfriend.

So when the TV show Love is Mental (a dating show for people with disabilities) is aired, Ben decides to participate. And this is where life starts to unhinge for Howie.

You see, Howie wants romance too. So when he falls for one of Ben’s dates, it sets him off on a rollicking journey into deception that will ultimately reveal to him that he is much more like Ben than he could ever have imagined.

In this debut novel from C.C. Howard, and one which runs at a tasty 177 pages, well, firstly, I love that one of my all-time favorite musicians Richard Jobson (The Skids) is quoted as saying that the warmth of the book wraps itself around you like the best Hornby or Doyle and that he was hooked with all the music, football, love and kindness!

I mean, seriously, just that kudos alone is a massive go-to for me having read this new novel and I hope will also be for everyone else out there a fan of Jobson and his works.

But, and getting smartly back on track, So Very Mental as a whole, as a sit down, get comfy and read entity is one of those books where you become engaged with the characters from the off, in their individual and collective humor and thus find it hard to break away from (hence the ease of a two-day binge read through these 177 pages).

Cleverly and oh-so incisively written, So Very Mental: A Novel is told in three parts, three chapters if you will, and thus the story line is brought forth with near perfect timing from start to finish.

In conclusion, So Very Mental is a warm, quirky and inclusive story, and one which shows us that when it comes to this crazy thing we call life, we’re all in it together.

About the Author - C.C. Howard grew up on the sunny beaches of Australia. After several years of travel he landed in Stockholm, Sweden, where he now resides with his family. He works as a creative film-exec and teacher, and has a passion for film, music, football and books.

Official Book Purchase Link

Dynamic Interactive Astrology: Level One
By: Lyn Birkbeck - O-Books, $22.95

Description: Dynamic Interactive Astrology uses a comprehensive and sophisticated set of keywords, and subsequent key phrases created by the user, that provide immediate access to the meanings in one’s birth chart of the Planets, Signs, Houses and Aspects - the stuff of astrology.

Verdict: Specific questions that are addressed to the key phrases that the reader/seeker has created initiate a process of dynamic interaction and are based on the idea that the reader/seeker already has the answers to these questions inside them.

This idea is akin to the basic psycho therapeutic premise that the practitioner never tells their client what they are like or what to do, but asks questions that elicit the client’s innate self-awareness. This is known as clean psychology as it avoids the practitioner’s own personal agenda getting in the way.

Having utilized these two methods the user can then apply them, safely, to other individuals and their birth charts.

In this quite wondrous new book, Dynamic Interactive Astrology: Level One - The Planets in Signs and Houses, simply put, author Lyn Birkbeck makes the study of astrology not only easy to understand, to take in, but highly accessible to those wishing to know more, to dive in a little deeper, shall we say.

If you will give me a moment to explain the bigger picture for a second, if you’ve ever looked up your birth chart, you’ve likely been met with the image of a zodiac wheel divided into twelve sections. Because all the glyphs and aspect lines are confusing, you probably just scrolled down to a list version of your placements.

But the zodiac wheel is the actual birth chart. It’s where you find all the juiciest information. Those 12 sections of the chart are the 12 astrological houses, each representing different topics in your life.

Houses are determined based on the exact time and location of your birth. In modern times, house systems were developed to divide the zodiac from east to west on the horizon line, symbolically depicting the sun’s journey through the sky each day.

Your rising sign is always found on the left-hand side of the zodiac wheel. It represents the eastern horizon, or quite literally where the sun rises each morning.

No matter what house system you’re using, the rising sign always falls in the first house (or, the house of the self). The houses are then identified moving counterclockwise on the wheel from the second house all the way to the twelfth house.

It might be helpful to think of a birth chart like a tarot spread. The houses—like the position of the cards—provide the form. The time of your birth—and therefore which planets and signs fall within each house—provides the content. The houses ground the planets and signs into a lived experience, allowing for interpretation.

And so throughout Dynamic Interactive Astrology: Level One - The Planets in Signs and Houses, Lyn equips the reader with the simplistic knowledge that even a novice can examine a chart, garner the correct knowledge, and then even allow themselves to unlock a whole new universe of insights and understandings about them, their families, their friends, that they could have never dreamt possible.

About the Author - Lyn Birkbeck began his working life as a musician and record producer and has now been a widely-consulted astrologer for over 20 years. He is the best-selling author of Do It Yourself Astrology, The Astrological Oracle, The Instant Astrologer, and Astro-Wisdom, and lives in the Lake District, England.

Official Book Purchase Link

Woman Through the Ages
By: Ann Merivale - O-Books, $43.95

Description: Woman Through the Ages is a Life (vs!) story with a difference, showing from personal experience the varied and contrasting roles, and attitudes towards, women.

Verdict: Did you know that the first named piece of writing was the work of a Sumerian woman in approximately 2085 BC, while the world’s first novel was written by a Japanese woman in the eleventh century?

Or that Hildegard of Bingen, the great twelfth century Abbess, writer, and composer, defied the Church’s traditions by viewing feminine sexuality as a gift of God?

Or that one of China’s most powerful Emperors was a woman?

These are but a few examples of the facts in this autobiography with a difference, Woman Through the Ages. Author Ann Merivale, a deep-memory process therapist, has used previous lifetimes in her own history to illustrate the roles we all play in preparation for returning to the source whence we’ve come.

Skillfully weaving her personal story into each area and time period covered, author Ann Merivale highlights the injustices wrought on women for centuries, as well as their many achievements.

Throughout history, women have had very different experiences at different times. Some past societies had women who were warriors, powerful priestesses, and political leaders. At other times strict expectations have been placed on women, with (male) writers portraying them as inferior to men.

Looking at how a society treats its women can be very enlightening. Thus, this highly relatable and wholly spiritual odyssey from Merivale opens a poignant investigation, if you will, into the position of women at different points in history, thus showing us how our society has grown and changed (for better and for worse).

Surprisingly perhaps, ancient history records many strong female figures - rulers and warriors who did deeds the history-writers thought worthy of recording. Cleopatra, Boudicca, Esther. Their names echo down history to the present day.

As aforementioned, the first poem written down, which has survived to the present day, was written by a women called Enheduanna. She was a priestess in Sumerian civilization and her poem is a prayer of praise to a female deity called Innana.

So, the first known author was a woman - very interesting given that in later times women were discouraged from writing and even from learning to read!

Recollecting her very own past lives, allowing us to join her reflections on journeys taken, let alone evoking within us out own personal thoughts over the nature of consciousness and the identity within our spiritual world connectivities, with each passing recollection it raises more and more profound questions.

For what Ann also does well is keep an open mind about her various reincarnations, also called transmigration or metempsychosis, in religion and philosophy; a rebirth of the aspect of an individual that persists after bodily death — whether it be consciousness, mind, the soul, or some other entity — in one or more successive existences.

Also discussed is Hildegard of Bingen, also known as Saint Hildegard and the Sibyl of the Rhine, who was a German Benedictine abbess and polymath active as a writer, composer, philosopher, mystic, visionary, and as a medical writer and practitioner during the High Middle Ages.

As noted, the great twelfth century Abbess, writer, and composer, defied the Church’s traditions by viewing feminine sexuality as a gift of God. Hence, she has been considered by many in Europe to be the founder of scientific natural history in Germany.

In closing, Woman Through the Ages gives a fascinating and comprehensive picture of womanhood through the ages and concludes that the time for equality and greater respect for feminine energy is finally arriving.

For at the end of the day what is important is that women have a choice about how they want to be, and behave and how they spend their time. Women through history have not always had that choice - often society has placed strict controls on them. Ergo, we owe a debt of gratitude the women who went before us and changed the rules forever.

About the Author - Ann Merivale is a Woolger-trained Deep Memory Process therapist. She lives in Worcestershire but also works at the Ripon Natural Health Centre in N. Yorks.

Official Book Purchase Link

Mindfulness Meditation and The Art of Reiki
By: Steve Gooch - Ayni Books, $22.95

Description: Beyond the concept of energy healing, the system of Reiki was engineered as a powerful spiritual development practice built on the bedrock of mindfulness meditation.

Unpacking the esoteric Buddhist heart of the practice, this book will guide you to a more fulfilling, healthy and spiritually dynamic life by showing you how to approach the system from a mindfulness perspective.

Verdict: Simply put, new information and insights into the methods, mechanics and philosophy of Reiki make this an essential read for anyone interested in the system’s original purpose.

As Reiki comes under increasing scrutiny over its health-supportive characteristics, now is the time to shine a light on its symbiotic relationship with mindfulness practice in helping to alleviate the suffering of the human condition.

Taking it back to its origin, Buddhist monk Mikao Usui introduced the energy-healing therapy of Reiki in 1920 in Japan before it came to the United States in the 1940s, and then Europe in the 1980s.

The aim of the practice? To provide for improved physical, mental, and emotional well-being via meditation, mindfulness, hands-on healing, attunements, and the use of symbols and mantras.

Thus Mindfulness Meditation and The Art of Reiki: The Road to Liberation by Steve Gooch is a 204 page text that explains clearly how these new insights can aid the discoverer of Reiki in such a way that they will conclusively now be taught this universal healing art.

The book is chock full of fascinating information for everyone choosing to understand more the relationship between mindfulness, meditation and the system of Reiki.

Indeed, foremost entwined within these Reiki pages, and a fundamental pillar of Buddhist practice (and other religious /spiritual traditions), is mindfulness mediation, which brings a clear insight into one’s life; which thusly provides a way for the mind, body and soul to become harmonized within.

One thing to keep in mind is that this is not a comprehensive Reiki text, but moreover a way that, and when we truly need it, the universe will always bring us opportunities to grow, to evolve, and to become our individual highest potential.

And therein lies the beauty of Reiki’s highest potential, as a whole, for the energy healing with it - which many of us experience on a daily basis, such as from a parent’s kiss, a friend’s embrace, or even sitting alone in nature feeling at one with the trees, et al. - enables us to heal using it as a tool (a method to be practiced, moreover) and which can effectively cleanse energy blocks which cause dis-ease and imbalance within our physical, mental, emotional and energy/spiritual bodies.

A book that will most definitely enable the reader to find great benefit in how they engage with their own practice, whether that be in Reiki and/or mindfulness meditation, Mindfulness Meditation and The Art of Reiki will also motivate one to explore mindfulness meditation further; to deepen their connection to the origins of Reiki and want to really explore How, What and Why this system has the relatively unexplored potential that it has - and then to feel freer within themselves thereafter, of course.

About the Author - Author, freelance writer, artist, mindfulness meditation teacher and Reiki/Buddho Master, Steve has been writing about spirituality, health, and wellbeing (and food) for a number of years. He is currently living in Egypt, where he is teaching Reiki and Buddho, and freelancing for a variety of magazines and websites.

Official Book Purchase Link

WhatsApps from Heaven
By: Louise Hamlin - O-Books, $12.95

Description: This is a book about bereavement and also about the many extraordinary happenings and signs from the afterlife that then followed.

Author Louise Hamlin talks about her personal experience of grief, in all its facets, and in a way that will resonate with readers who are bereaved.

Verdict: Louise Hamlin also details, in careful and precise language, the succession of signs that she received, apparently from her husband after his death.

She describes how to start with she was very skeptical and looked for all sorts of other explanations, but eventually, she came to accept that the signs, including WhatsApps and dematerializations, must have come from her husband’s spirit in the afterlife.

She further explains how these signs have completely changed her understanding of life and death and that it has now become a moving love story to her; a continuance of what they physically had that has become something completely different.

Running at just 86 pages long, WhatsApps from Heaven: Bereavement in the Twenty-first Century is a truly fascinating book that can quite easily be read in the one sitting, and fully deserves to be so.

As Louise herself relates, “Slowly, very slowly, the grief became shot through with threads of joy because, against all expectation, I started to receive signs and messages from my deceased husband; signs which built to become totally irrefutable in my eyes.”

“I say against all expectation, because I have no religious faith, and had no fixed belief in an afterlife. Patrick and I spoke about dying, because either there was nothing at all, and that was nothing to fear, or, if there were something, he felt that he had led a good enough life for it to be all right with him.” “This was typical of the man - he was stoic in the extreme.”

“Everything I write here - however extraordinary it may seem - is true; the only things I have done is to change names, to protect people’s privacy.”

“I hope that my story gives you hope and reassurance.”

In closing, and as is the hope of Louise herself, this book should indeed bring comfort to the bereaved, and will encourage those left behind to recognize signs that are sent to them by their loved ones.

About the Author - Louise was a solicitor and then a law fellow and lecturer at Cambridge University. In 2006, she moved down to Dorset to start a new life, but suddenly and unexpectedly her husband died.

In her immense grief, she started to recognize signs that her husband was sending her that could only have come from him. She now lives in Beaminster, Dorset with her spaniel.

Official Book Purchase Link

An Exploration of Trance Mediumship
By: Chris Ratter - 6th Books, $16.95

Description: When psychic surgeon Chris Ratter was starting out on his own path of unfolding trance mediumship, he found there was very little information available to clarify certain points or answer questions he had.

His desire to ensure others did not feel the same isolation and confusion became his main motivation for writing An Exploration of Trance Mediumship.

Verdict: Here in the deeply thoughtful, highly revealing, and ultimately heartfelt prose that comes forth as An Exploration of Trance Mediumship, author Chris Ratter takes the reader on a touching quest to find greater understanding of the bridge between our world and the world of spirit.

Explaining key aspects of trance mediumship along the way, as well as introducing the reader to his spirit team and providing insight as to how he came to know his individual guides, the chapters within delve into Trust, What Is A Guide, Sitting In The Power, Trance, Developing On Your Own, Spirit Children, Spirit Helpers, Teaching The Altered State of Trance, Séance Cabinet Work, What Is A Title?, Working With The Public, Trance Healing, Healing Online, Elementals In Healing, Angels Within Healing, Spirit Inventions, and both Healing Testimonies and Perception Of The Spirit World.

As we quickly discover, all mediumship is healing, and an accurate, perceptive verbal communication from a loved one in spirit has the power to mend a metaphorical broken heart. When it comes to the physical body, however, Chris’s psychic surgery, which goes hand-in-hand with his trance mediumship, has the power to heal across the spectrum of psychological and physiological conditions.

In the section donated to Trance, something I myself have experienced just a few short months ago, it is, at its core, explained as something that happens when, through the induction of an altered state of consciousness, we allow the spirit world to ‘capture our attention’ or even place a ‘hold’ on our minds, enabling a closer blending with the spirit world; and the degree of ‘hold’ on the medium’s mind will determine the quality and depth of trance.

Trance is a very refined aspect of mediumship, which influences our spirituality, as well as our messages in mediumship. The blending of energy between spirit control and medium can be so strong that the medium can lose awareness but does not fall asleep!

The process of trance occurs when we subdue our conscious minds, slowing down our thinking so that the spirit world can impinge their minds on ours, in order that to establish their presence. In this state, we can be in touch and at one with minds that influence, educate, uplift and inspire.

In order to achieve the trance state, we must withdraw our awareness from the ‘here and now’ and move our minds into that aspect of stillness. Then, losing our awareness so we become subdued and passive, the spirit world moves closer and closer to the medium until they come to the fore of the medium’s mind until there is very little awareness/consciousness within the medium.

One’s thoughts become very passive – yes, even detached – almost like one is not thinking at all. But in that stillness of mind is an inner knowing that, although we are not aware of where we are, the spoken word, or perhaps that an audience is watching us, we are still focused on keeping our minds out of the way.

That said, and as Chris himself freely admits, there are many different points of view and debates within the spiritual community regarding what trance mediumship is or should be.

But, and from my own standpoint, trance is mental mediumship, not physical. That means it’s a process of mind to mind. When we understand how the spirit controls impinge with their thoughts on the mediums’ mind, the greater the co-operation between the medium and spirit, the more control they have.

Basically, when you achieve trance it’s because you have got out of the way of your own thinking and allowed a collective mind to blend with yours and take control of your thinking processes.

When the blending between spirit and medium is so close and at-one through many years of co-operation on both sides, then the spirit world almost take over the mind (with the medium’s) consent and the motor control (through the nervous system) can make it possible to move around to show the relationship and trust between medium and spirit.

Trance mediumship comprises a special relationship with the spirit controls that work with us. This relationship helps us to build a closer rapport and can bring a sharper, more specific and accurate flow of information in all areas of healing, mediumship, philosophy and teaching.

So, if any of this interests you, or you yourself have already looked into it, or are on the verge of considering knowing more about Trance Mediumship, I would humbly suggest you use this book as your guide. “I have written this book with the intention of passing my knowledge and experiences on to those who are seeking to further their spiritual path into mediumship and healing,” Chris says. “My hope is that others may benefit from the understanding and guidance given to me through my own spiritual journey.”

About the Author - Chris Ratter is a spiritualist medium working within a specialist branch of trance healing known as psychic surgery. He is currently the only psychic surgeon residing in Scotland. He runs healing clinics, holds trance-mediumship and healing workshops, and delivers talks and demonstrations on these subjects in Scotland, England and the Republic of Ireland. More detail is available on his website at

Official Book Purchase Link

Life, Slightly
By: Nigel Jay Cooper - Roundfire Books, $18.95

Description: When Gavin meets Jackie on a bench in the local park, he thinks she’s a stranger. She knows better. She’s connected to him in ways he can’t yet imagine. She swore she wouldn’t do this again but it’s real this time. So real, she might do something reckless and tell him everything. He’ll understand. It wasn’t her fault, not really. Perhaps he’ll forgive her, even if she can never forgive herself.

Verdict: In all truth, after reading the tagline - Two strangers, one bench. Two lives, one lie - I just knew there was no way I was going to be able not to just open the book and start reading ... which I did, for just over an hour and without coming up for breath once!

For that is what this book does to you from the very off. It compels you to investigate further that tagline, to read (and listen) to all that is said on the pages, whilst at the same time try to pick up on all the subtle nuances and subtext (and lies, of course) that are being woven between the lines of this highly relatable story of second chances.

Another thing that helps bond the reader with what is being brought forth from the pages of this easy-to-read book is that there never comes a point where what is being portrayed isn’t grounded, isn’t relatable to the average human being.

Yes, I get that we, as average human beings, like to lose ourselves in otherwordly prose to escape for a while (much like we do at the movies), but in books, I tend to think we like to be drawn into something that could easily be as real a scenario as the pages we are oh-so fondly turning (if not only to give us all hope, one way or another).

Ergo, Cooper’s prose is amazingly just that, grounded and hopeful (especially given it was obviously written with Covid abounding), fleet of foot and yet sturdy, and importantly throughout, resonating with well-sculptured and three-dimensional characters.

Heartwarming and soul invigorating, I simply cannot recommend highly enough that every average human being pick this book up today, find a quiet park bench and settle in for a quite wonderful afternoon’s reading.

About the Author - Nigel is an author, father, businessman, ginger-dog owner and sometime runner. Not always in that order.

Official Book Purchase Link

The Hero of Our Story
By: Edward Faust - Mantra Books, $14.95

Description: When we know who we truly are, rather than who we take ourselves to be, we will realize that we are indeed the hero of our story and that we need not look to others or the world to find our heart’s desire.

The Hero of Our Story is intended to be a simple and accessible entry point for those interested in Ramana and the teachings of Vedanta -- one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy.

A commentary on Ramana’s Sat Darshanam, each of the 42 verses from the text is presented and followed by commentary and discussion by the author.

Verdict: In all truth, I knew not one jot about Ramana’s Sat Darshanam and thus, I was immediately intrigued about something unknown to me soon becoming known, and so sat down in my back yard with it, opened it up, and before nightfall I had read the entire book!

For those also not in the immediate know, and to give you a much more rounded picture, Ramana’s Sat Darshanam is a most sacred work and is full of the most profound revelations of Self-Knowledge.

An essential text for all interested in Nonduality and the Maharshi’s teachings (The Truth is silent. He is silent. He is the Silence. A name was given to him: Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi), Saddarsanam consists of verses selected from among over eighty verses. This larger body of verses consists of both verses composed by the Maharshi and verses derived from other texts that were translated into Tamil from their Sanskrit originals.

The verses selected for the text of Ulladu Narpadu (Saddarsanam) were composed by the Maharshi. Those verses not selected for Ulladu Narpadu (The Forty on What Is) were compiled into the Anubandham, or Supplement. Now, as much as I could go on, go deeper, go wider, and yes, of course, go higher, I will revert my gaze (and thoughts therein) back to Edwin Faust’s book and I have to say that from start to finish it was simply captivating.

The author really knows his stuff, his 42 chapters (well, 41 actually, as 41 and 42 are combined) all bite size, never over bearing, always plied with enough truth, love, light and optimism that you simply cannot put this book down and not feel like your feelings on oh-so many earthly subjects have all remained the same.

About the Author - Edwin Faust is a retired journalist, spiritual writer and lifelong seeker who shares the fruit of his study and earnest inquiry into the nature of the Self with all who have a similar yearning to know and live the truth. He lives in Jasper, Georgia.

Official Book Purchase Link

The Sacred Gathas of Zarathushtra
By: Pablo Vazquez - Mantra Books, $10.95

Description: Zarathushtra’s Gathas & the Old Avestan canon are the central texts of Zoroastrianism, one of the oldest continuously practiced religions in the world that has had a vast influence on the development of many other religions, philosophies, global ethics and more.

Composed more than 3000 years ago, they remain surprisingly evergreen in their relevance. With this new and innovative translation, Pablo Vazquez, a Zoroastrian scholar and convert, sheds new light on these sacred texts of eternal wisdom in a way that makes them accessible to a modern audience.

Verdict: In all truth, I knew next to nothing about this subject matter to hand, but seeing that it was only 60 pages long, sat down to explore ... and once read, did so again and again and again!

Taking it from the top, and thus giving all newcomers a firm starting point to then evolve from, The Gathas (Hymns) of Zarathushtra consist of seventeen hymns composed by the great poet-prophet Zarathushtra around 1200 BC and they are arranged into five groups based on their meter:

Ahunavaiti Gatha (Y28, Y29, Y30, Y31, Y32, Y33, Y34)
Ushtavaiti Gatha (Y43, Y44, Y45, Y46)
Spentamainyush Gatha (Y47, Y48, Y49, Y50)
Vohukhshathra Gatha (Y51)
Vahishtoishti Gatha (Y53)

The importance of the Gathas to Zoroastrianism cannot be emphasized enough. They are the centerpiece of scripture and inspiration, like the Tao Te Ching is to Taoism. The Gathas are also quite enigmatic and obscure, and other scriptures contain lengthy commentaries.

As we learn, Zarathushtra did not compose the Gathas to teach people, but to invoke and glorify Ahura Mazda in a predominantly psalmodic way, very far from any dogmatic systematizing. Thus we must look to the rest of scripture for help in understanding both the Gathas and Zarathushtras teachings in general.

But, I digress, for what we have here in Pablo Vazquez’s diligently written, wholly enthralling, and easy to follow and understand new book The Sacred Gathas of Zarathushtra & the Old Avestan Canon: A Modern Translation of Ancient Wisdom, is a veritable guide to all those who want to understand the primary message of Zarathushtra as recited within the Gathas.

With the Preface, and on through to the Foreword, Vazquez details the foundation of what he is not only about to bring forth to us, but the spiritual context as to how it was originally formulated and why it came to be such a strong entity, still today, without our given societies.

Amongst other things, we learn that Gathas are also filled with word plays and deliberate ambiguities, and they were likely intended to be used by initiates as meditative instruments to enlightenment (an example of such being an analysis of the parallel clusters of lexic, semantic, and phonic data which occur in concentric rings), but moreover, and to which I am myself calmly being embraced by, their ancient poetic form traces back (through Norse parallels) to Indo-European times (where it most likely seems to have been linked with a mantic tradition, that is, to have been cultivated by priestly seers who sought to express in lofty words their personal apprehension of the divine).

Perhaps even righting a few misconceptions along the way, Pablo Vazquez’s The Sacred Gathas of Zarathushtra & the Old Avestan Canon: A Modern Translation of Ancient Wisdom is a book that, for better or for worse, is as needed today in our lives as Zarathushtra’s Gathas were back when they were first conceived.

About the Author - Pablo Vazquez, born in Panama and now living in Texas, is a scholar, author, translator, game writer, lecturer, and essayist. Currently working on their second graduate degree, Pablo’s first degree was a MA in Religions of Asia and Africa from SOAS University of London.

While there, they were affiliated with the Shapoorji Pallonji Institute of Zoroastrian Studies where they learned Zoroastrian history, theology, and the Avestan language. Pablo is also unique as an officially accepted convert into Zoroastrianism.

Official Book Purchase Link

CEO From Home
By: Jennifer Morehead, Heather Salee - JHP Business Books, $23.95

Description: CEO From Home: Run a Successful Business on Your Terms is an essential guide to starting, acquiring, or continuing to run a business on your own terms while working from home. Aspiring and current CEOs can learn from these pages how to successfully run a virtual business.

Verdict: Given that for the past two plus years a fair chunk of the working people out there have had to either swivel to working from home for their companies, or have been let go from said same companies and have created their very own start-ups from home, CEO From Home: Run a Successful Business on Your Terms is just what the doctor ordered for those wishing to take it up a notch on their own terms.

At its core, what you will learn from this book are informational strategies and vastly educational nuggets such as:

• Your CEO type
• Key HR strategies for the best team and culture in a virtual environment
• Running a business working as little as five hours per week
• Quickly and easily growing your customer base and business
• Countless tools and shortcuts to save time and money

Furthermore, CEO From Home is a timely response and guide for working virtually in a post-COVID business environment. Authored by two professionals with real-world experience in virtually running a marketing and human resources outsourcing business, CEO From Home provides practical, easy-to-implement strategies to run a business on your terms from your home.

Jennifer Morehead is the founder of Salesboxer, a company that works to create compelling social media content for businesses and along with two co-authors for this book who, along with her, have extensive knowledge and experience in social media for businesses, they have brought forth one of the best Do-It-Yourself books on the subject matter to hand that I have had the pleasure to read in, perhaps, a decade.

So, if you are like me and a Curious George about where things begin, let alone how much has to go into something to sustain it, my very first thought was What is success in terms of business?

I mean, a successful business uses assets, such as human capital, finances, inventory and plant and equipment efficiently and effectively while being environmentally sustainable. The successful business is a vibrant, growing organism that is sustainable and adds to the quality of life and wealth of all involved.

But to get that ball as off and running as easily, as fluidly as that all sounds, well, this is where CEO From Home comes into play. As Morehead acknowledges, wanting to start or acquire a business that you can run from home is always the starting point, but knowing the massive benefits, including flexibility over your time and an ability to stay in the game on your own terms, might just be what propels you further than you even gave yourself initial credit for.

Another factor that Morehead fully acknowledges is that the book was written during the beginning of the Covid pandemic, where the lines between many types of work were greatly blurred.

This is when people started to reconsider their own productivity at home as they removed the commute and time at the work water cooler and when discovering connection tools afforded by technology suddenly became not only life (job) saving, but a little like Christmas had come early!

In short, what CEO From Home: Run a Successful Business on Your Terms offers is insights for all kinds of CEOs from home, from those who want to start the next technology unicorn to those running a commercial real estate empire, to those dominating the gig economy, and oh-so many more.

About the Author - Jennifer Morehead is the founder of Salesboxer, a company that works to create compelling social media content for businesses. Jennifer received her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern and has been a speaker at various tech events.

Jennifer has two co-authors for this book who, along with her, have extensive knowledge and experience in social media for businesses. She lives in Winnetka, Illinois.

Official Book Purchase Link

Pagan Portals: The Temple Priestessess ...
By: Lady Haight-Ashton - Moon Books, $12.95

Description: The Temple Priestesses of Antiquity tells the story of the Oracles and Sibyls, Seers, Psychics, Sacred Dancers and Healers of ancient civilizations.

They were empowered women who enthralled those who sought their advice and served the Goddess they revered. Tales about ancient Priestesses and the Sacred Temples where they lived, prayed and worked thousands of years ago, have fascinated archaeologists and historians for decades.

Living in complex temple structures above ground and in underground cavernous tunnels, they shared vows of chastity and lived a dutiful and respected life.

The Temple Priestesses of Antiquity is a story of these women, some well known and others forgotten to the centuries.

Verdict: As I am sure we are all more then well aware by now, female practitioners of the medical arts were active in the ancient world. Worship of Isis, the great goddess of medicine, was universal among ancient Egyptians; magnificent temples were built in her honor and priestesses of Isis were regarded as physician-healers who obtained their healing powers from the goddess.

At Sais, a city at the mouth of the Nile, women were both students and teachers at a women’s school specializing in child-bearing issues. Egyptian records also show that women studied at the royal medical school at Heliopolis as early as 1500 BC.

Indeed, illustrations of women performing surgery were common on tombs and temples throughout Egypt, suggesting that female physicians were widely accepted by the general population.

In ancient Greece, the goddesses Athena, who cured blindness; Hera, the chief healing deity; and Leto, the surgeon, were worshiped for their healing skills. Hygeia and Panacea, like their father Aesculapius, were sainted mortals who probably also had been independently practicing physicians.

And, of course, Witch-hunting swept through much of Europe as the Middle Ages waned. Because women were not allowed to study medicine, skill in healing was assumed to have been obtained from the devil.

Spinsters, widows, and other women who refused to conform to the expectations of their low social status, including female healers and midwives, were frequent targets of witch-hunts. Scant evidence was required to convict though.

I could go on, but you get the point and thus what Lady Haight-Ashton has brought forth here is a chance to be inspired, to be more informed and to be schooled, if you will, through her reporting of the hidden and often purposely misrepresented (and, for the most part) much misunderstood Herstory inside the life of Temple Priestesses of Antiquity.

As we enter the third millennium, women have made spectacular advances. Women now comprise nearly half of incoming medical students and will represent a third of all practicing physicians by 2025.

The roles of women in medicine have ranged from healers with skills derived from deities, to respected colleagues, to alleged witches, to intruders into the male medical establishment, to respected peers once again.

Alternately aided and hindered by education and by opportunities to practice, women have persisted throughout time and shifting social, religious, and scientific ideologies to make strides in medicine.

And so Ashton, who reveals herself to be a modern Oracle and Sibyl, who does not live in a temple complex or underground cavern, instead has a Coven and teaches and works within the confines of her historic 18th century home in a little village in Maine, brings forth a clear, concise and veritably understandable (to all who choose to enter) doctrine where the language is not only descriptive, but the visions created within her prose ones that clearly reveal the mysteries of this Sacred Calling and its legacy for the today’s Modern Temple Priestess.

About the Author - Lady Haight-Ashton is a Third Degree Gardnerian High Priestess, a Third Degree Cabot Witch within the Cabot Hermetic Temple and a Priestess of Selket within the Fellowship of Isis, where she was also honored with an Adepthood in Sacred Healing Dance.

She is the High Priestess of Sacred Moon Coven and the Iseum of the Graceful Goddess, member of the Crossroads Lyceum and an elder within the Temple of Nine Wells in Salem, MA. She regularly publishes magazine articles Sacred Dance, The Goddess and Witchcraft. She lives in Maine, USA.

Official Book Purchase Link

The Mysteries of The 12th Astrological House
By: Carmen Turner-Schott, MSW, LISW - O-Books, $17.95

Description: The twelfth house is the most spiritual and mystical house in astrology. It rules cosmic consciousness, compassion, service to others, spiritual gifts, addiction, imagination and much more. Having planets placed in this house blesses you with imagination, intuition, empathy and mystical experiences.

In The Mysteries of the Twelfth Astrological House we will discuss a basic overview of the key issues and practical ways to overcome the more challenging twelfth house planet placements, sharing stories and words of wisdom.

This book will benefit anyone who wants to learn more about the basics of the twelfth house while providing skills in counseling clients with these placements.

Verdict: For those unaware, in astrology, there are twelve houses that represent different areas of life. The most spiritual house in the birth chart is the twelfth house. The twelfth house is associated with the astrological sign Pisces and the planet Neptune.

Traditionally, it is known as the house of loss, sorrow, suffering, secret enemies and escapism. There are also positive influences that impact people with twelfth house planets. When planets are placed in the twelfth house the individual has a special mission. The individual will have karmic lessons to learn and balance out.

The lessons that need to be learned will depend on which planet is placed in this area of life. Traditionally there are ten planets that astrologers focus on and they are the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

Here in her new book, The Mysteries of the Twelfth Astrological House: Fallen Angels, author Carmen Turner-Schott discusses positive tips for how to navigate twelfth house placements; commonly referred to as the House of the Unconscious, and inclusive of the unseen realm of sorrow, of shadow, and of invisible enemies.

As those of us following along already know, the unconscious state can help engender our successes, as well as assist us in coping with our failures and, for the most part, most twelfth house people believe in something greater than themselves.

Indeed, it is impossible to convince them that there is not a spiritual purpose in life and that there is a connection between people with twelfth house planets because they share similar spiritual experiences.

What this book magnificently highlights is five positive things about having planets in the twelfth house: Spiritual Gifts, Imagination, Compassion, Solitude and the titular Fallen Angels.

For me personally,the twelfth house rules my/our dreams, the dream world and the how we sleep and rest. Likewise, mystical phenomenon, intuitive insight and a considerable measure of spiritual activity are also ruled by this house; even though these aspects are for the most part things that are not controlled by the individual.

I could go on, but this really is a most fascinating book that not only helps guide those somewhat lost within its realms, but at the same time helps those learning more about things to get a better grasp on them.

As noted, the twelfth house is the most mystical house in the astrological chart. Learning more about this house can help you understand yourself and others better. Ergo in her new book, The Mysteries of the Twelfth Astrological House: Fallen Angels, personal stories are shared from twelfth house people from all over the world.

In short, this quite wondrous book is a beginner’s guide that focuses on understanding others on a deeper level and is perfect for everyone interested or even by now heavily invested within its mystical web to mine their own psyche depths.

About the Author - Carmen Turner-Schott, MSW, LISW is an author, licensed clinical social worker, psychological astrologer and teacher with national and international clientele. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1997. She completed her Master of Social Work degree at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 1999.

She is a published author and has written seven books. Her two newest books are Sun Signs, Houses & Healing: Build Resilience & Transform Your Life Through Astrology and The Mysteries of the Twelfth Astrological House: Fallen Angels.

Carmen has been researching the eighth and twelfth astrological houses and trauma, healing, and transformation for the past 25 years.

Carmen began her astrological work at 16 after an experience with a glowing ball of light in her doorway and began studying religion, metaphysics and the Edgar Cayce material at that time.

She has presented astrology workshops for the Association of Research & Enlightenment (A.R.E.) throughout the years and teaches a variety of spiritual development classes. She founded Deep Soul Divers Astrology and is the admin of several Facebook astrology groups.

Official Book Purchase Link

Pagan Portals - Polytheism: A Platonic Approach
By: Steven Dillon - Moon Books, $12.95

Description: Scattered articles, impenetrable vocabularies; until now there has yet to be a single volume that shows what all things look like in the big picture from a polytheist perspective.

Pagan Portals - Polytheism: A Platonic Approach fills that gap. Drawing on the wisdom of the Platonist’s, this book gives the reader a comprehensive, unified and accessible tour of reality, from the rather innocuous assumption that something is beyond Nature to the profound and thunderous unraveling of all things from the Gods.

Verdict: For those unaware, Polytheism is the belief in multiple deities, which are usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religious sects and rituals. Polytheism is a type of theism. Within theism, it contrasts with monotheism, the belief in a singular God, in most cases transcendent.

Though Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are monotheistic (see monotheism), most other religions throughout history have been polytheistic. The numerous gods may be dominated by a supreme god or by a small group of powerful gods.

The gods originated as abstractions of the forces of nature such as the sky or the sea and of human and social functions such as love, war, marriage, or the arts.

In many religions the sky god is powerful and all-knowing (ie: Dievs), and the earth goddess is maternal and associated with fertility. Gods of death and the underworld (ie: Osiris and Hel) are also important. In addition to many gods, polytheistic religions generally also include malevolent or benevolent spiritual forces or powers.

Ergo, Steven Dillon’s new book Pagan Portals - Polytheism: A Platonic Approach, is a rather wondrous work of heartfelt prose that takes on the big questions about the Gods and the world in a way that will be useful to polytheists in any tradition; or to seekers just trying to understand a polytheistic worldview.

Simply put, this is the kind of book that those interested at an early age would have killed for when they had begun looking into polytheism ie: a pithy and informal presentation of the gist of a polytheist worldview, what it all looks like in the big picture: the Gods, the world and us.

Running at less than 80 pages, it may well be a brisk read, and one that is wholly not a presentation of its history or the practices and beliefs of this or that polytheist religion, but of the idea of polytheism itself and what it implies about everything else, but it is most definitely one that keeps the reader enthralled from start to finish.

Whether they be of the mind of the author or someone just popping in to see what all the noise is about, each and every reader will most assuredly leave with a clearer mind on the subject and, hopefully, some questions that still need answering.

About the Author - Steven Dillon has been a practicing polytheist and a pagan author and philosopher for over 10 years.

Official Book Purchase Link

Pagan Portals - Aos Sidhe
By: Morgan Daimler - Moon Books, $12.95

Description: An introduction to the Aos Sidhe, the People of the fairy mounds, and to Irish fairy beliefs, this book takes readers on a journey to understand the place that fairies have had in Ireland across the millennia and into today.

Verdict: So we are all on the same footing here, Aos sí (pronounced [iːsˠ ˈʃiː]; older form: aes sídhe [eːsˠ ˈʃiːə]) is the Irish name for a supernatural race in Celtic mythology – spelled sìth by the Scots, but pronounced the same – comparable to fairies or elves.

They are said to descend from either fallen angels or the Tuatha Dé Danann, meaning the People of Danu, depending on the Abrahamic or pagan tradition.

The aos sí are said to live underground in fairy forts, across the Western sea, or in an invisible world that co-exists with the world of humans. This world is described in the Lebor Gabála Érenn as a parallel universe in which the aos sí walk among the living.

In modern Irish the people of the mounds are also called daoine sí; in Scottish Gaelic they are called daoine sìth (in both cases, it means people of the fairy mound). Indeed, they are variously said to be the ancestors, the spirits of nature, or goddesses and gods.

Furthermore, these beings can be found playing roles both significant and subtle in folk belief and their stories are part of the land itself, making them an intrinsic aspect of Ireland. And yet for those who haven’t grown up with these beliefs there can be many misunderstandings and confusion surrounding who they are, and what they can do.

And so Pagan Portals - Aos Sidhe: Meeting the Irish Fair Folk by Morgan Daimler will help people new to the subject, as well as those with a wider knowledge, to understand the range and depth of the folk beliefs. Covering everything from myth and folklore to modern anecdotes and specific types of Irish fairies, this book provides a solid understanding of what can be a difficult subject.

In short, Pagan Portals - Aos Sidhe is a very well-researched and timeless guide to understanding the Aos Sidhe, stripping away the modern folklore of common parlance to find the rubies and emeralds within.

Opening with Who are the Aos Sidhe, Morgan then brings us the more expansive Across Belief into the Changelings chapter, into the highly in-depth Types of Fair Folk, before concluding with sections on Safe Dealings, Popular Misconceptions and a beautiful Conclusion.

So yes, for all of you inquiring, Daimler’s respected research and voice has burst lovingly forth once again, but as he freely admits, he primarily wrote the book because of an aisling, a vision, he had and because he felt like this book was a necessary thing to help people sort out Irish folk belief from pop culture and fiction.

That said, and no matter the inspiration, he has again presented his beliefs as objectively and as honestly as possible for all to read and for that alone, trust me when I say that this book is most assuredly going to be referenced in future works of this ilk for years to come.

About the Author - Morgan Daimler is a blogger, poet, teacher of esoteric subjects, witch, and priestess of the Daoine Maithe. Morgan is a prolific pagan writer, having published more than a dozen books under Moon Books alone, and she is one of the world’s foremost experts on all things Fairy. She lives in Connecticut, US.

Official Book Purchase Link

Wisdom from the Spirit World
By: Carole J. Obley - 6th Books, $18.95

Description: In Wisdom from the Spirit World: Life Teachings on Love, Forgiveness, Purpose and Finding Peace, professional psychic medium Carole J. Obley shares teachings about these topics and others from her case files of thousands of sessions.

Verdict: In this quite breathtakingly organic new book we also get to read the stories of a mother who is confronted with forgiving her son’s death from opioid addiction, a father whose gay estranged daughter in spirit implores him to open his heart, and a deceased husband’s loving reassurance of continued commitment to his grieving wife.

You will also get to explore, enhance and expand your consciousness through the exercises in the book’s final section, which features tips to raise the vibration of your thoughts, mindful meditations to instill peace and resources to fortify and expand your spiritual awareness.

Written with compassion, simplicity and honesty, this book is a compelling testament to the fortitude and brilliance of our own soul, of that have no doubt.

In short, if you are a fan of the spirit world, then Wisdom from the Spirit World is for you, but if you are not, but are in the phase of looking for proof, Wisdom is going to help you on your journey, please believe that.

For the readings that Carole has done over the course of her life are wonderful and inspiring examples of proof of loved ones on the other side.

And for your own spiritual understanding, Carole shares how important it is to nurture your own spirit, as that is all you can take with you to the other side.

She also exudes strong compassion for all life and is especially passionate towards animals. She clearly explains the afterlife and provides documentation that it exists. We have the choice to believe or not. Her book is an enlightening and encouraging read for those who grieve deeply over the loss of loved ones, be it human or pets.

I think anyone with even the slightest curiosity for what Carole is advocating will enjoy this book as it explores the lasting bonds of love, the power of forgiveness, and a way of living that will allow you to leave a spiritual legacy.

In closing, Wisdom from the Spirit World gives fantastic explanations of the afterlife, and how to look for signs as well as what to do and not to do to as far as you moving through your grief. It goes on to explain that any act of holding on to anger, bitterness and regret keeps departed loved ones from moving on as well; something I personally was not aware of.

As I read I was sincerely calmed and could almost hear her voice and loving tone bringing peace to those in sorrow. She brings so much comfort to those grieving by contacting their loved ones and letting them know that life and love and their personality does not end with the illusion of death, but their consciousness continues through spirit.

About the Author - Carole J. Obley is the author of Embracing the Ties That Bind, I’m Still with You and Soul to Soul Connections. She has communicated with souls who have crossed into the spirit world through thousands of private and group sessions.

She has earned a reputation in her geographical area as the real deal among psychic mediums. She travels nationally to speak and teach workshops as well as maintaining a practice in mediumship based near Pittsburgh, PA.

Official Book Purchase Link

Diary of a Death Doula
By: Debra Diamond, PhD - O-Books, $18.95

Description: Sooner or later, everyone eventually asks questions about end of life. What happens to me when my physical body dies? Is there an afterlife? If so, where do I go? Do my loved ones meet me? Will they usher me to the next plane of existence?

Verdict: In Diary of a Death Doula: 25 Lessons the Dying Teach Us About the Afterlife, psychic medium, and near-death experience researcher Debra Diamond presents the story of life as a hospice Death Doula, revealing 25 critical life lessons from those at the threshold of the afterlife, and those who have already crossed over, ultimately revealing a new way of understanding death.

In all honesty, I can say that I knew nothing of this position in life, but having now finished the book in two easy sittings, I have to say that it is, without a shadow of a doubt, a very helpful book for all who want to be prepared for their own end-of-life or for that of their loved ones.

This would be great long before knowing about our dying process. Oh, and it is a good resource for those wanting to become a death doula, which is about helping to escort others to a peaceful end-of-life experience.

For those curious, but now wholly knowledgeable, much like myself, a death doula’s work ranges from logistical planning for the time before, during and after of death; conducting rituals or comforting practices; helping the dying person reflect on their life and values; and explaining the bodily functions of dying to caregivers.

When people say someone had “a good death,” they usually mean that someone was comfortable and not in pain. But what if you could help their final days include the things they treasure - like their favorite song playing, who is at their bedside, even the scent of a candle in the room - so they feel at peace.

That’s why some people turn to end-of-life doula’s. They are among the professionals who can help someone prepare for their death and reflect on their life: their greatest joys and regrets, any fears or worries on their mind, and how they want to be remembered

. It’s work that many people don’t want to think about, let alone be present for, but here in Diary of a Death Doula, Debra provides a unique perspective on dying and death, topics we tend to fear but that each of us needs to understand.

And believe me, Diary of a Death Doula is not only a story of Debra’s own personal experiences, but also a guide, a general oversight to help families and loved ones understand the processes involved in the death of the physical body.

With the unique perspective of both a caregiver and a medium, the end of physical life is presented with an insight and detail that includes both the physical and spiritual connections between the patient, their families, caregivers and non-physical beings who join in to facilitate the transition.

About the Author - Debra Diamond, Ph.D. is a psychic/medium, author and death doula. A former Wall Street money manager, CNBC commentator and Johns Hopkins University professor, life took a turn in 2008 when a transformational experience left Debra with unconventional powers as a clairvoyant.

She has a Ph.D. in Metaphysics from the Esoteric Interfaith Theological Seminary, an MBA from The George Washington University. Debra lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Official Book Purchase Link

Rock And Roll Warrior
By: David Libert - Sunset Blvd Books, $21.95)

Description: David Libert shares the unvarnished, absolutely true tales from the Inner circle of the music industry from Alice Cooper to Prince; on the road, backstage, on private jets and inside the notorious after-parties with music legends in the era of free-spirit, hard-driving rock ’n’ roll and R&B.

It’s life on the road in technicolor and a rollercoaster ride quite like none other!

Verdict: Straight from the off you’re in the trenches as “Dyno Dave” engages with his hilarious, edgy, and sarcastic wit. As Tour Manager for Alice Cooper, running the first large-scale, theatrical, international rock tour to Manager of Parliament-Funkadelic Libert leads the charges with wisdom, ingenuity, dexterity, psychology, and arm-twisting galore!

As much as it is the story of rock superstars, it is a tale of David’s journey from being the singer in the hit ‘60s pop group the Happenings (See You In September) through his days as a drug dealer on Sunset Strip.

Opening on his memory of being crouched down behind a wall of speakers at Woodstock 1999 and wondering to himself, What’s with Bootsy?, given that the musician had been hiding behind a stage prop for twenty minutes, still fiddling with his rig, and with the orange light on and signalling that there was only ten minutes left of the uproarious Parliament Funkadelic set, was losing more and more rarefied daylight stage time, Bootsy then coolly looked him in the eye, winked, and kicking the stage prop out of the way, abounded on stage and as the crowd, let along George Clinton, all drink in the man’s arrival, the live sounds of the day just quadruple right there and then!

While there are endless rock and roll memoirs written by musicians, songwriters, producers and even engineers, sometimes the most entertaining come from the fringe. Not meaning that word as superfluous or crazy, but denoting tomes penned by those who circle around the music like roadies, managers, or ex-wives/groupies.

Author Libert freely acknowledges around the time of that now infamous Woodstock 1999 moment that he had an epiphany: How did I get here? How did all this happen? And the possible answers that came back included hard work (sure), dedication (sure), some dumb luck (sure), it all contributes, but if his mother hadn’t insisted that he continue with his piano lessons, it is noted that, most likely, none of what is to come would have ever happened!

But it turned out that it was those very same piano lessons along with inheriting his father’s musical talents that pretty much scripted the outcome of his life. Indeed, in his words, it was all just destiny.

OK, sure, Libert has spent most of his 50+ year career in music as a booking agent and manager, but he got his start as a performer and founding member of vocal harmony group The Happenings. As noted, they scored several hits in the mid-‘60s including “See You in September,” “I Got Rhythm” and “Go Away Little Girl,” but not content with just singing, Libert worked to teach himself guitar and write as well.

But as things began to wain with that regard, Alice Cooper’s booking agent Jonny Podell suggested that Libert become their road manager and thus despite not having any real experience, Libert excitedly started his second act.

In truth, and as a fan of Alice Cooper, this is not a bad thing, trust me, but the overall heft of the prose contained within this 250+ page book, most all distills down from Libert’s experiences on three Cooper tours: for the Killers, School’s Out, and Billion Dollar Babies albums.

So, here’s a little known fact for you all, my little fiends, with the group already known for their theatrical stage presence and overall imagery, and with each tour coming complete with better album sales and more chart recognition, each tour subsequently needed to become more and more involved re: props, costumes dancers, effects, and the still-in-his-show today guillotine that beheaded the headliner every night!

And yes, you are correct, David Libert had to coordinate it all along with hotel rooms, women and acquisition and delivery of certain substances! But he was not alone and says he learned a lot about the business watching Cooper’s manager, Shep Gordon (aka “Supermensch”) along the way, especially recounting the one tale where Gordon arranged for popular DJ Wolfman Jack to introduce Cooper at one show arriving atop a real camel!

Other stories included comprise of tasty tidbits such as Alice Cooper’s much-publicized love for Budweiser beer, his devotion to his live touring stage snake (dubbed “Eva Marie Snake”), and how it also also needed to be kept wrapped in warm blankets while accompanying the band on airplanes, the infamous photo shoot for the interior of Billion Dollar Babies (where the group were all clad in white complete with $100,000 in $100 bills), and even recants stories of himself, partying hard with his new friends when cocaine was king in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

In closing, this book has all that and more lovingly stockpiled within it and also inclusive of anecdotes about the other artists mentioned in the title that Libert came into contact with through his own booking agency (Prince, Living Colour, The Runaways, et al.), there is just no justifiable reason why you shouldn’t pick up your copy today and lose yourself in a time capsule of all the good, bad and ugly that went on back then - and which David Libert survived and lived to tell his story, just for you!

About the Author - Rock Star. Songwriter. Road Manager. Producer. Agent. Drug Dealer. Convict. From harmonizing in the parking lot with his buddies, to knocking on doors in Tin Pan Alley, David Libert’s career has traversed generations of legendary music artists and genres-from rock to pop, from funk to punk. Off the road, he’s a passionate animal rights activist. Personally rescuing dogs helping to find happy homes for others.

Official Book Purchase Link

The Way of Reiki: Inner Teachings of Mikao Usui
By: Frans Stiene - O Books, $19.95

Description: The Way of Reiki guides us on the path to becoming a better human being, softening our anger and worry so that we can live in a world of compassion and kindness.

It is a must read for any Reiki practitioner or teacher who wants to bring more love into their practice, teachings and the world.

Verdict: Taking it back to its origin, Buddhist monk Mikao Usui introduced the energy-healing therapy of Reiki in 1920 in Japan before it came to the United States in the 1940s, and then Europe in the 1980s.

The aim of the practice? To provide for improved physical, mental, and emotional well-being via meditation, mindfulness, hands-on healing, attunements, and the use of symbols and mantras.

Thus The Way of Reiki: The Inner Teachings of Mikao Usui by Frans Stiene is a near 200 page text that explains clearly how the new discoverer of Reiki will be taught this universal healing art.

One thing to keep in mind is that this is not a comprehensive Reiki text, but moreover a way that, and when we truly need it, the universe will always bring us opportunities to grow, to evolve, and to become our individual highest potential.

And therein lies the beauty of Reiki’s highest potential, as a whole, for the energy healing with it - which many of us experience on a daily basis, such as from a parent’s kiss, a friend’s embrace, or even sitting alone in nature feeling at one with the trees, et al. - enables us to heal using it as a tool (a method to be practiced, moreover) and which can effectively cleanse energy blocks which cause dis-ease and imbalance within our physical, mental, emotional and energy/spiritual bodies.

There are actually only two parts to this book, all be they uniformed into 16 chapters, those two being Preparation and Practicing, with the 16 chapters within encompassing such learned studies as Reiki, in and unto itself, how it can improve the mind and body, some helpful practice tips, Shoden Reiki I (which includes hands on/off healing of both yourself and others), and both Okuden Reiki II, Shinpiden Reiki III, and, to culminate, a history of Reiki.

Having now read it twice through, I can honestly say that all be they many books out there on the very same subject, newly published and/or aged throughout time, what Steine captures here is the pure spirit, the wisp-like essence of Reiki, in an much as he has masterly synthesized - with clarity and simplicity - the system of Reiki as a path of self-cultivation toward self-realization.

On a personal note, and as a polite outreach, I would hope we all know by now, and as a form of journalistic side bar, while Reiki is not meant to replace scientifically backed strategies prescribed by medical professionals, it can most definitely be called upon to complement other healing practices.

Thus, in closing, and as with any tool for transformation, the growth happens in consistently showing up for the practice and so we highly recommend you visit this book (regularly) to learn more about Reiki and its possible benefits for your very own (let alone all the help it can provide, through you, to others around you) mind, body and soul.

About the Author - Bestselling author Frans Stiene has been a major influence on global research into the system of Reiki since the early 2000s. His practical understanding of the Japanese influences on the system has allowed students around the world to connect deeply with this practice. He lives in Haarlem, Netherlands.

Official Book Purchase Link

Silver Butterfly Wings
By: Wendy Willow - O Books, $29.95

Description: Silver Butterfly Wings is my story. It’s a story of transformation, of the many paths and decisions I faced while going through the process of grief. At first I was skeptical. How could my dearly departed be sending signs and messages from across the veil? Over time I learned to trust these signs, these gifts from Spirit.

There was a reason I was still here. I was meant to go on, to live my life with passion. I was to figure out who I was becoming in this totally different world and trust that life was taking me where I was meant to be.

In short, I was to transform - like a butterfly.

Verdict: Incorporating a certain amount of genuine, heartfelt, raw grief, as any book attempting to relate such a subject matter could only dare to mine, the topic of grief is definitely one who pages are open here for all to read and so, politely, I make you aware that going in, if not initially, but definitely as you traverse the saddened ground laid before you, some of what author Wendy Willow has outlined may become triggering for you.

But that, in an unto itself, shouldn’t be wholly unexpected, for this is a beautifully written, heartfelt and yes, at times, joyfully ascribed book that oh-so powerfully brings forth a most personal account of human loss, complete here with a transformation that veritably sweeps the pages onward for you, showcasing that from the cruel reality of death can come a pure, unadulterated strength of love, hope, devotion, all brought forth by what the heart and soul perceive as signs and messages of life from the after-life.

Whether these signs and messages are justly or unjustly received, for that is all down to the individual, of course, this book is not only dedicated to all those people who have lost someone, but to those lost in the sea of a mental fog with regard what they actually believe; nay, what they have not believed in before but agonizingly wish to start to unfurl now.

As aforementioned, this book stems from the author losing her own husband and how she initially dealt with daily grief until different signs and messages started to begin to give her hope that there is life after death; even though true love never dies, of course.

Running at a solid 400 pages, Silver Butterfly Wings is one of those books that you inquiringly pick up at the store, glance through, but still decide to start from the beginning and then, out of nowhere, you are four hours in, have unknowingly cried way more than you knew, but have now also mentally opened up a hopeful shaft of light within you that an after-life connection with your own departed loved one could also now be searched for. For this book is just that good.

About the Author - Wendy has always believed in magic. Oh to pull a rabbit out of a hat! To wave a magic wand and transform a gloomy day into bright sunshine, a twig into a luscious strawberry plant, a murky puddle of water into the ocean! What fun that would be!

Palm reading beckoned, drawing her in with its intuitive aspect, it’s bang-on accuracy as she learned to interpret lines while feeling each person’s unique energy in their hands. Numerology soon followed as the vibration of numbers in one’s date of birth pulls at the subconscious, offering a key to the eternal question of Why are we here?

Writing began naturally as well; first as an outlet for feelings and emotions, but soon blossomed into a passion. Her articles appeared in Everchanging Magazine, The Journal of Alternative Therapies and various on-line blogs, publications and newsletters.

Reading Between The Lines is her first published book. As grandmother of 11 children, I think I can call myself an Elder at this point and hopefully share some wisdom with all of you!

Wendy lives in Tulsa, OK, where her second book Silver Butterfly Wings is getting ready to fly!

Official Book Purchase Link

Dawn of the Construct: Book 1
By: Eric Lard - Cosmic Egg, $18.95

Description: Earth is a prison and you’re living in it. It’s called The Construct and its keepers carefully manage the rise and fall of humanity in order to extract soul energy to fuel the galactic expansion of an alien race ... but we’ll get to that!

Verdict: When an enigmatic magic known as the Astrig Ka’a turns D’avry’s life upside down, he finds himself in a struggle to save humanity, not only in his own time and place but throughout Earth’s untold histories as well - histories replete with mechanized armor, steampunk airships, wolf-borne goblins, and creatures crafted from the very void between worlds.

Now D’avry’s dreams have become a playground for this world-bending chaos. When he saves the girl of his dreams, in one of his dreams, he inadvertently brings her back and must figure out what the Astrig Ka’a is trying to tell him and why the keepers of the Construct want so badly to kill a crippled girl from the future.

The answer to these questions may be the only hope that humanity has, not just to escape its prison, but to survive as a species.

My dear friends, simply put, if you are looking for a fresh new take on an already deeply purged genre (whether it be on TV or on paper), Eric Lard’s rather wondrous Dawn of the Construct: Book 1 of the Soul Machine Saga is a fantasy/sci-fi amalgamation that not only features reluctant heroes, dreams within dreams, monstrous bad guys, magic upon magic, and fully fleshed out and colorful characters of all sorts, but comes complete with a setting that features deep dives into three different timelines!

A beast to have put together, one assumes, Lard has tamed it, controlled it and now unleashed it unto the awaiting public, and boy, it is a might fine, side-winding, twisting and turning, magical treat worth waiting for, of that you have my word.

Running at just under 300 pages, once you get into it, there is simply no stopping as Lard cleverly constructs each closing chapter with a pinch of curiosity for what is to come and thus you just have no option but to keep reading!

Complete with a well-paced story line, and one, even given its three dimensions, that doesn’t come off the rails or lose you at any juncture, this is very much a high stakes story complete with pulsatingly-induced, accelerated moments of action, and thus Dawn of the Construct: Book 1 not only promises to be an action-packed saga, but here in its opening works, delivers upon it in spades.

About the Author - Eric’s base camp is at the foot of the oft-smoldering Sierra Nevada in NorCal where he surfs, snowboards, and mountain bikes with his wife and three adult sons. You can check out excerpts, upcoming projects, and short stories on his author page.

Official Book Purchase Link

Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara
By: Emily Zemler & Jodi Benson - Epic Ink - $36.00

Description: Featuring concept art, memorabilia, and original interviews, Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara - The Stories. The Influence. The Legacy explores the legacies of the princesses and what they represent today.

Verdict: Everyone knows the Disney Princess characters, but how did they become the cultural icons we know today? From the Princesses Walt Disney and his artists brought to the screen in the twentieth century, such as Snow White and Aurora, to the recent additions such as Moana, Tiana, and Rapunzel, each Disney Princess character’s influence has expanded beyond their original film.

Each of their unique, individual stories create a fabric with the power to inspire our imaginations, spark social conversations, and empower us.

Organized by themes of origins and inspirations, re-imaginings, toys and collectibles, fashion, music, parks, fandom, and more, Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara features memorabilia and interviews with Disney historians, directors, voice talent, and fans.

Explore the different eras, influences, and legacies of the Princesses with Disney Legends such as Jodi Benson (voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid and author of the book’s foreword), Lea Salonga (the singing voice behind two Princesses, Jasmine and Mulan) and composer Alan Menken.

What is it that has made these characters resonate through so many generations and cultures? How have they become a reflection of pop culture as we know it? Delve into these indelible characters and find the Disney Princess within you!

OK, from the off I can tell you that just holding this amazing book is a joy all of, and unto itself! The pure weight of this hardback alone is rather wondrous, but the front cover, let alone all the colorful and informative pages within make this a MUST HAVE for all those Disney fans (Princesses or otherwise) out there!

A simply beautiful hardback book from start to glorious finish, it most assurdly appeals to both adults and children for the veritable tome is sprinkled throughout with interesting behind the scenes stories, drawings and merchandise along with an array of photos of celebrities who have portrayed various princesses and the fashion their characters have influenced.

Phew! Indeed, the cultural analysis of the far-reaching impact Disney princesses have had on our society is truly eye opening and this magnificent and wholly encapsulating new hardcover book (the size of which will impress you also, as it is HUGE) is just a really enjoyable read, with great visuals.

Opening with a lovely foreword from Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel, amongst other things, she might well have also been the very first Princess we were all introduced to, within this genre, and her love for the character continues on today.

She details how she “never expected the lasting impact the role would have” on her or had no idea the magnitude that The Little Mermaid would touch viewers back then and how it continues to with new generations.

The book then continues onward with the backstory for how the Disney princesses came to be. As we all know by now, it was the brain of the late, great Walt Disney and thus a lot of time is spent within the book showing how, and importantly why Walt Disney decided to tell the stories of his chosen princesses in his own unique, and now memorable ways.

Indeed, this was a good starting point that set the foundation for what is to come within the book, and so we are taken through his, and the studio’s magnificent history, one step, one princess at a time.

Oh, and please don’t let the cover fool you, for as much as it is subtitled Princess, it is much more than a book about them - it is an all-singing, all-dancing book about Walt Disney’s wonderful creations and all that went into their construction.

Featured Disney Princesses include:
Merida, Brave
Rapunzel, Tangled
Tiana, The Princess and the Frog
Jasmine, Aladdin
Ariel, The Little Mermaid
Aurora, Sleeping Beauty
Snow White

About the Author - Emily Zemler is a writer and journalist based in London. She is a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone, among other prestigious outlets. Emily is the co-author of A Sick Life, with TLC’s Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, and the author of The Art and Making of Aladdin.

Jodi Benson is best known as the voice of Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. She has a long list of stage, film, video game, and television credits, and was named a Disney Legend in 2011.

Official Book Purchase Link

Buy Disney Books Here!