Review: The Witches’ Almanac Spring 2016-17

The Witches’ Almanac

My review of “Air: The Breath of Life” Issue 35, Spring 2016-2017
I want to thank The Witches’ Almanac and Weiser Books for this free review copy.

Founded in 1971, The Witches’ Almanac is a witty, literate, and sophisticated publication that appeals to general readers as well as hard-core Wiccans. At one level, it is a pop reference that will fascinate anyone interested in folklore, mythology, and culture, but at another, it is the most sophisticated and wide-ranging annual guide available today for the mystic enthusiast.

Modeled after the Old Farmers’ Almanac, it includes information related to the annual moon calendar (weather forecasts and horoscopes), as well as legends, rituals, herbal secrets, mystic incantations, interviews, and many a curious tale of good and evil. Although it is an annual publication with about 15 percent of the content specific to the date range of each issue, there are pages and pages of interesting and timeless articles about Witchcraft/Wicca, magic, herbalism, charms, spells, and related topics.

The theme of Issue 35 (Spring 2016 – Spring 2017) is air: the breath of life. Also included are articles on Lithuanian Day of the Dead, Nine Elements of the Druids, Tomb Sweeping Day, Kohl, and the Akashic Records.


In my mailbox: Our Lady of the Ice

“Our Lady of the Ice” by Cassandra Rose Clarke and published by Sara Press.
I want to thank Saga Press, Simon & Schuster for providing me with a free review copy.

The Yiddish Policeman’s Union meets The Windup Girl when a female PI goes up against a ruthless gangster—just as both humans and robots agitate for independence in an Argentinian colony in Antarctica.

In Argentine Antarctica, Eliana Gomez is the only female PI in Hope City—a domed colony dependent on electricity (and maintenance robots) for heat, light, and survival in the icy deserts of the continent. At the center is an old amusement park—now home only to the androids once programmed to entertain—but Hope City’s days as a tourist destination are long over. Now the City produces atomic power for the mainland while local factions agitate for independence and a local mobster, Ignacio Cabrera, runs a brisk black-market trade in illegally imported food.

Eliana doesn’t care about politics. She doesn’t even care—much—that her boyfriend, Diego, works as muscle for Cabrera. She just wants to save enough money to escape Hope City. But when an aristocrat hires Eliana to protect an explosive personal secret, Eliana finds herself caught up in the political tensions threatening to tear Hope City apart. In the clash of backstabbing politicians, violent freedom fighters, a gangster who will stop at nothing to protect his interests, and a newly sentient robot underclass intent on a very different independence, Eliana finds her job coming into deadly conflict with Diego’s, just as the electricity that keeps Hope City from freezing begins to fail…

From the inner workings of the mob to the story of a revolution to the amazing settings, this story has got it all. Ultimately, however,Our Lady of the Ice questions what it means to be human, what it means to be free, and whether we’re ever able to transcend our pasts and our programming to find true independence.

Peppermint 6 Linux: Monsterz

tarazan-count-dratux-10124Yes, it is that time of the year when I enjoy the chill in the air (and living in Florida that’s saying something), creepy TV, spooky books, and all things Halloween. When I am not munching on candy that is supposed to be reserved for the Trick-or-Treat folks, I am toying around with decorations and other Halloween pursuits.

As you no doubt know, I love Peppermint Linux and I thought that my linux box needed a little touch of Halloween. In this case, I have added a new wallpaper and a Halloween-themed game called “Monsterz”. BTW … you Windows folks can play it also.

In my mailbox: October 2nd

Here is my book-haul for this week.

I want to thank the people at Pyr, Weiser Books (The Witches’ Almanac), and New Page Books for the free review copies. I really do appreciate it, you guys are awesome.

Webcam1We are no longer just looking at strange flying objects in the
skies; now we are beginning to interact with the actual pilots, crew, and passengers!

Do aliens exist? In 2013, one poll showed that nearly half of all Americans (48 percent) believe UFOs may be a sign of extraterrestrial visitation; another found that 10 percent of Americans claim to have actually witnessed an actual UFO; and yet another showed that 2.9 million Americans believe they had actually been abducted by aliens.

If aliens exist and are visiting us, we need to talk!

Who will speak to them on behalf of planet Earth? Who can translate their intentions—good or evil—toward the human race? How can we learn about their advanced technologies? Can aliens speak human languages?

These and even more fascinating questions are all addressed in How to Talk to an Alien.

The Witches’ Almanac (2016-2017)

Webcam2The theme of Issue 35 (Spring 2016—Spring 2017) is Air: The Breath of Life, and among our lineup of obscurities is The Zodiac and Cell Salts, Sidonia Von Bork, Sorceress, Deosil and Widdershins — Celestial power from the Sun’s path, The Nine Elements and Sonics and the Magic of Sound.

Rising Tide

Ben Gold sacrificed his ship in an effort to prevent pirates from attacking the hidden city of Tamoanchan. Now Malik, an old friend turned enemy, has captured Ben and Miranda—the scientist Ben loves. With Miranda held hostage, Ben has to do Malik’s dirty work.

Miranda has plans of her own, though. She has developed a test for the virus that turned most of the population into little more than beasts called Ferals two generations ago. She needs Ben’s help to rescue a group of her colleagues to perfect the test—but first they must rescue themselves.

When a terrible new disease starts spreading across Tamoanchan and people start dying, it seems there’s something more sinister afoot. Then an old enemy attacks. Can Ben fight off the invaders? And will it be in time to save anyone from the disease?


Book Review: H.P. Lovecraft & The Black Magickal Tradition


Explore Lovecraft’s Deep Connections to the Dark Arts

Modern practicing occultists have argued that renowned horror writer H. P. Lovecraft was in possession of in-depth knowledge of black magick. Literary scholars claim that he was a master of his genre and craft, and his findings are purely psychological, nothing more. Was Lovecraft a practitioner of the dark arts himself? Was he privileged to knowledge that cannot be otherwise explained?

Weaving the life story of Lovecraft in and out of an analysis of various modern magickal systems, scholar John L. Steadman has found direct and concrete examples that demonstrate that Lovecraft’s works and specifically his Cthulhu Mythos and his creation of the Necronomicon are a legitimate basis for a working magickal system.

Whether you believe Lovecraft had supernatural powers or not, no one can argue against Lovecraft’s profound influence on many modern black arts and the darker currents of western occultism.

Tuesday’s child is …

It’s a rainy gloomy Tuesday, although the weather man predicts that the skies will clear. I am tinkering around with my Peppermint 6 Linux system and I have to say that I am enjoying the experience. That isn’t to say that everything has been perfect, but I am well pleased with this OS.

linux_circuit_board_penguin_avatar_by_duradcell-d6gzwwuI have been using Peppermint for almost a month at this point. Recently, I have experienced some crashes (about the time of the Peppermint respin) and I was afraid that Peppermint was going to let me down. I decided to “bite the bullet” and install the Nvidia drivers.  Now, my Linux box is working perfectly.

This is my Peppermint Linux desktop …


Does that mean that I have abandoned my beautiful Elvira — Mistress of the Dark? Oh No! I just couldn’t use her as my wallpaper while shooting my booktubes. Yes, it only takes a couple of clicks to change everything back to “Peppermix dark” and reset the wallpaper. How cool is that?

Changes I made …

Aside of a few cosmetic changes made for my book review videos and the Nvidia drivers, I’ve added Steam for a little gaming. That being said, I wont really game on this old computer. I plan to use it to surf, read ebooks, make videos, edit graphics, in short — everything other than gaming.

My Peppermint 6 Linux tip for the week … changing your digital clock. Peppermint 6, like many Linux distributions, has a clock set in a 24 hour mode. As an Air Force brat, I called it military time. I wanted my clock set in a 12 hour mode as you can see in the right corner of my wallpaper pic (above). Simply right click the clock and change the settings.

Here is a cool web page to help you build your own digital clock settings Copy, paste, and BAM, you are done! It is just that simple. Okay, that’s enough for today. Please check out my videos on Youtube (link) and see what I am doing with an old computer and Peppermint 6.

Book Review: Strange West Virginia Monsters

I’m giving Strange West Virginia Monsters 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for your “cryptid” home library.

Webcam090515Join the search to examine reports of unidentified and misplaced creatures—known as “cryptids”—throughout the Mountain State, from its earliest history to present day. Included are such famous unknowns as Bigfoot; Mothman, harbinger of disaster; giant birds and snakes unrecognized by modern science; anomalous huge human remains unearthed statewide since the 19th century; “extinct” cougars that refuse to die; animals alien to North America, including lions, tigers, black panthers, kangaroos, and piranha; the ferocious “Dogman” and woolly, horned “Sheepsquatch”; freshwater cephalopods; and other creatures that defy classification. Wherever you reside or visit in West Virginia, phantom cryptids have been seen near your location—terrifying witnesses, baffling investigators, and monsters sometimes leave evidence behind to mark their passing through our world. Happy hunting!

In my mailbox: September 2015

It’s a blah rainy Sunday. Recently I mowed the lawn so, to be perfectly honest, I’m glad to see it rain. This kind of day is perfect for TV, video games, and books. Of course, I would say books. This week I received a free review copy of “Gold Throne in Shadow” by M.C. Planck courtesy of Pyr, and a free review copy of Forgotten Origins by J. Douglas Kenyon courtesy of Atlantis Rising — Weiser.

I’ll catch you up soon on my Guild Wars 2 gaming progress and my Peppermint Linux experience later. Take care everyone …

Book Review: Paranormal Petersburg

Book Review: Paranormal Petersburg
by Pamela K Kinney and published by Schiffer publishing

I was provided with a free review copy by the Author and Publisher. My score 5 stars out of 5.

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Travel to Petersburg, Virginia, and the surrounding areas of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Prince George, Dinwiddie, and nearby Ettrick-Matoaca, Enon, and Chester to discover what spirits, monsters, UFOs, and legends await the unwary. Why are the Union and Confederate spirits still fighting the Civil War in the battlefields? Who is the lady in blue who haunts Weston Plantation House? Learn what the phantoms at Peter Jones Trading Post will do to keep from being photographed. Drink tea with runaway slaves still hiding on the top floor above the Blue Willow Tea Room. Are Edgar Allan Poe and his bride still on their honeymoon at Hiram Haines Coffee and Ale House? Why does the Goatman stalk young lovers? Meet the ghosts of Violet Bank Museum that greet guests at the house. Hauntingly active as they share space with the living, the dead refuse to give up their undead residency.