Review: Storytelling Alchemy

Storytelling Alchemy: Write Your Own Happy EndingStorytelling Alchemy: Write Your Own Happy Ending by Renee Damoiselle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All in all, I thought it was an excellent book. I liked the writing style of the author and more importantly I came away liking the author. That being said, at first, I was uncomfortable with her and her definition of alchemy “a magickal term for transforming lead into gold” page 9. I thought that her definition was too simple and fru fru. I was prepared to dislike the book and found myself quibbling about everything she said. I was letting her words and my ego get in the way of what she was trying to say. Eventually, I decided to give the book a fair chance and I came away really liking it.
I guess, at some point, I felt that I heard her voice.
If you give “Storytelling Alchemy” a chance, I think you’ll turn your lead into gold.
*Disclaimer* I want to thank Weiser Books for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.

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My thoughts of Devon O’Day’s “My Southern Food”

I was digging around in my Twitter notifications and I noticed a retweet and a thank you from Devon O’Day. I had tweeted that I was reading her book “My Southern Food: A Celebration of the Flavors of the South” ( My thoughts … it’s a keeper. This is the sort of book that will be passed down in the family for some time … an heirloom.

51pv8molzplThere are tons of recipes ( I didn’t count them ), wonderful pictures and anecdotes. I loved every minute of it. I suppose that the one that stuck with me the most was the picture of a little girl waiting for the home made ice cream to finish. I can remember cranking our ice cream ( I think it was their way of keeping me out of trouble ) on the back porch until my arms failed.

As you might imagine, I give “My Southern Food” 5 stars out of 5.

Old-Fashioned Very Vanilla
Homemade Ice Cream

This recipe is older than I am. Do not do the math.

1½ cups sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

½ teaspoon salt

1 quart milk

4 large eggs

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

4 cups heavy cream

In a double boiler over boiling water (to avoid scorching), stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt, and then gradually add the milk. Continue to stir until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove the custard from the heat. In a separate large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Stir a small amount of the custard into the eggs slowly. Blend it completely. Continue adding custard in small amounts, stirring to integrate the custard with the eggs completely after each addition, until all the custard and eggs are blended and creamy. Add the entire mixture back to the double boiler and cook the custard for 5 minutes. Pour the liquid into a storage container, cover, and chill overnight or for at least 6 hours in the refrigerator. Add the vanilla and cream to the ice-cream mixture and blend well. Transfer to a 1-gallon ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes 1 gallon

Book Review: Varla Ventura’s Paranormal Parlor

My thoughts of Varla Ventura’s Paranormal Parlor: Ghosts, Seances, and Tales of True Hauntings.

Picture 28From shimmering specters to mysterious tricks, Varla Ventura’s Paranormal Parlor includes original supernatural tales, classic ghost stories, legends, hauntings, séances, superstitions, and death customs. This book showcases a chilling collection of startling ghost stories as told to the author as well as legendary ghosts and haunted locations and an overview of the paranormal parlor games that rose to popularity in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. It also includes hidden history such as the story of Mark Twain’s ghost, and the quiet horror writings of the architect who started the Gothic Revival movement (Ralph Adams Cram).

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Weiser Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: The Master Mason: The Reason of Being by Gregory B. Stewart

The Master Mason: The Reason of Being - A Treatise on the Third Degree of FreemasonryThe Master Mason: The Reason of Being – A Treatise on the Third Degree of Freemasonry by Gregory B. Stewart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As is my habit, I jumped to the back of the book and read the Appendix and Footnotes first. If you do not come away inspired by the quotations in the Appendix, I fear that there is little hope for you. Simply put, the back of the book is as brilliant as the book itself.

Stewart had me hooked from the start when he quoted Pike and Mary Shelley (Frankenstein) on the same page. Trust me, it works. The treatise covers the symbolic lodge, the Master Mason, Living as a Mason, Didactics, and so much more. I have to say that, while everything was interesting, I enjoyed the section on the Tracing Board the most.

His artwork is eye-popping gorgeous and I’ve returned to the illustrations several times. By the way, there is an excellent Index for the book, and the illustrations are indexed as well. In short, this is everything that I like in an esoteric book and I strongly suggest adding this one to your home library.

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Review: Saints & Angels: A Guide to Heavenly Help for Comfort, Support, and Inspiration

51s5pmcsoil-_sx336_bo1204203200_Saints & Angels: A Guide to Heavenly Help for Comfort, Support, and Inspiration
by Doreen Virtue
Hardcover: 248 pages
Publisher: Hay House, Inc. (March 6, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1401955401
ISBN-13: 978-1401955403

Product description:
In this comforting reference guide, Doreen Virtue introduces you to the various ministering spirits of heaven and 42 inspirational figures who walked the earth. As you read this fascinating, thoroughly researched three-part book, you’ll come to understand the exact roles that different beings of God fulfill both in the Bible and in our lives and how they can help you today:

Part I: By getting to know each living and loving Person of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Spirit—you’ll be prepared to answer the questions you have about faith and purpose, as well as accept their spiritual gifts of wisdom, healing, miracles, and prophecy, among many others.

Part II: You’ll learn how God uses angels—full of his grace, power, and majesty—throughout the Bible to do his work in the heavens and in the earthly realm. Whether it’s to draw you closer to him, protect you from danger, lend you a helping hand, or simply accompany you on your journey, God has a host of angels he will lovingly dispatch to your side.

Part III: You’ll be touched by the amazing stories of endurance, commitment, and miracles of the saints. Through the inspiring examples of these ordinary men and women who acted in extraordinary ways because of their faith, you can begin to find the strength you need to likewise face and overcome hardships.

Doreen also offers a comprehensive list of prayers you can use to start a conversation with God about any situation in your life, from career advice and relationships to soothing your fears. You’ll see just how simple it is to deepen your relationship with heaven through everyday prayer and contemplation—and understand that heavenly help is always here for you.

My thoughts:
To be honest, I expected to hate this book. I took an immediate dislike of the fru-fru cover and expected it to be just another new age angel-worship book. That being said, I wanted to be open minded and listen to Doreen Virtue’s voice.

Before any of that, I, as is my habit, flipped to the back of the book. I was rewarded with an excellent Bibliography. If you are interested in the Saints or Angels in the book, you have an excellent resource with this Bibliography to start your own research. However, I think an Index would have been a benefit. The Appendix was filled with prayer examples and I think less would have been more —  if you know what I mean.

Virtue begins with a testimony in which she saw a vision ” […]  a bigger-than-life vision of Jesus.” By the conclusion of her Introduction, I was hooked. I have to admit that I expected to write a snarky review but I enjoyed the book.

As you can tell from the title, the meat of the book covers Saints and Angels. The Angels section could have, and should have, been larger and more detailed. I was satisfied with the Saints, each got about 5 or 6 pages and they felt fleshed out.

All in all, I enjoyed the book and I recommend it. I give it 4 stars out of 5.

Review of the Lunar Nomad Oracle

The Lunar Nomad Oracle: 43 Cards to Unlock Your Creativity and Awaken Your Intuition. By Shaheen Miro

The Lunar Nomad Oracle is inspired by the traditional Lenormand system, but unlike the Lenormand, this deck comprises 43 cards and additional significator cards that are multiracial and multiethnic. The Lunar Nomad Oracle cards are rich with layers, colors, and imagery, all designed to speak to the intuitive self.

The book and deck allow users to explore their inner depths, looking for clues and prompts to activate their lunar side—their creativity, intuition, and inner wisdom. The symbolism of the cards helps the user formulate a story or reading.

The process will be familiar to followers of tarot, but because The Lunar Nomad Oracle does not have suits or a linear structure, readers have the freedom and fluidity to really explore the deck and add their own insights and interpretations.

51zp-asefxl-_sx354_bo1204203200_Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Weiser Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: The Elements of Spellcrafting: 21 Keys to Successful Sorcery

The Elements of Spellcrafting: 21 Keys to Successful SorceryThe Elements of Spellcrafting: 21 Keys to Successful Sorcery by Jason Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All in all, I really enjoyed “The Elements of Spellcrafting”. I like Miller’s writing style, he seems to be a person that you could have a beer with and argue the evening away. My favorite line in the book: “There is no Magic Magic.” Trust me, you’ll have to read that section.
Of course, as I usually do, I jumped to the back of the book. I found a nice Appendix and Notes section. The Notes section makes for a nice starting point for your own research.
One the downside, I hated the interior art. The cartoons looked like jokes from an old 1970s era D&D magazine. They just didn’t work for me.
That being said, I give the book 4 stars out of 5 and strongly encourage you to add this one to your esoteric home library.

Product description:

51bx2bbjt6elThere is no shortage of spells out there. Some books highlight thousands of spells, but do any of them actually work? And how well do they work? I don’t mean just getting a result—I mean getting a result that matters, a result that will impact your life or the lives of those you work for. The Elements of Spellcrafting provides the most effective and efficient ways to get things done with magic.

The Elements of Spellcrafting identifies and explains 21 keys to successful sorcery—a best practices of sorcery—in three sections:

  • Principals and strategies for how best to apply magic before you begin.
  • Methods and tactics that will ensure a positive outcome.

How to take spells to the next level—building a life of spiritual accomplishment and material success beyond the basics.

If you have ever cast a spell that didn’t work, The Elements of Spellcrafting will help you figure out why.

If you regularly cast spells that seem to work but you still wind up in the same circumstances, this book will definitely help you chart a new course for victorious spellcrafting.

Picture 22Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from New Page Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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