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My booktube review of The Witches’ Almanac issue 37

My booktube review of the Witches’ Almanac issue 37

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Weiser Books and The Witches’ Almanac. 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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Posted by on September 29, 2017 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

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My review of The Magical Art of Crafting Charm Bags by Elhoim Leafar

My review of The Magical Art of Crafting Charm Bags by Elhoim Leafar.

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.”

SAM_0044Charm bags, also known as mojo bags and gris-gris bags, may be the most popular style of amulet or talisman in the world today. Around the globe, they are crafted by people from many cultures and spiritual traditions and are created for many purposes. Until now there has been no definitive guide to the art of creating these magical power objects. The Magical Art of Crafting Charm Bags remedies this situation.

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2017 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

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Review: Tarot Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need

Tarot Plain & Simple: The Only Book You'll Ever NeedTarot Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need by Leanna Greenaway

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I guess at this point I have read about 4 of Greenaway’s books. For the most part, I have enjoyed them and I’ve scored them in the 3 to 4 star range. As you can guess from the title, the book introduces the reader to the basics of Tarot.
I think that Greenaway covered the subject very well but I would like to have seen more. It was as if all of the tools were there but Greenaway came up just short of turning the key. For my money, I’d suggest Sasha Fenton’s “Fortune Telling by Tarot Cards” also published by Hampton Roads. I think Fenton gives you a little more bang for the buck.
That being said, “Tarot Plain & Simple” is a fine introduction to Tarot.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Hampton Roads Publishing. 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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Posted by on September 15, 2017 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

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Review: Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the ’70s and ’80s

Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the '70s and '80sPaperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the ’70s and ’80s by Grady Hendrix
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a wonderful book. Packed with book covers from the 70’s and 80’s, “Paperbacks from Hell” takes you on a nostalgic trip of horror. I loved every minute of it.
Hendrix strikes the right cord of horror, nostalgia, and humor, as he walks us through the bizarre tales of my youth. This book really brought back some memories of splurges made with allowance money.
In addition to being a fun read, “Paperbacks from Hell” is a beautiful book. I intend to leave this one of the coffee table through Halloween.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Quirk 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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Posted by on September 6, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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Review: Odin: Ecstasy, Runes, & Norse Magic

Odin: Ecstasy, Runes, & Norse MagicOdin: Ecstasy, Runes, & Norse Magic by Diana L. Paxson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“A turkey-and-cheese sandwich completed the process of linking spirit and body again.” Read as I was eating a turkey and cheese sandwich. Okay Diana, you got my attention.
Sometimes a book falls into your hands at just the right moment — so it was for me with this one. I was ready to explore someone’s Norse-based spiritual system. I enjoyed reading about Odin, there is just so much more to Odin than I knew. While I enjoyed reading Bullfinch’s Mythology, I want and need more. I plan to try some of the books in Paxson’s “suggested reading”.
I also enjoyed reading about Odin’s myths and Paxson’s rituals. On the downside, the music didn’t really do anything for me. I also didn’t care for the interior artwork.
That being said, the book is excellent. While Paxson shared her Odin with us, she shared a lot more of herself and that is the real magic of any book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Red Wheel/Weiser. 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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Posted by on September 5, 2017 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

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Review: Witches and Wizards

Witches and Wizards: Astonishing Real Life Stories Behind the Occult's Greatest Legends, Myths and Mysteries (The Supernatural Series, #1)Witches and Wizards: Astonishing Real Life Stories Behind the Occult’s Greatest Legends, Myths and Mysteries by Lucy Cavendish

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Witches and Wizards” by Lucy Cavendish is a quick, enjoyable read targeted at an audience who would like a quick, down and dirty, introduction to the legendary characters and events in the esoteric community. As you might imagine at 146 pages, the book does not go into any depth.
I loved the artwork and little extras like the bookmarker. The book itself is beautiful and I intend to keep it on display on an end table.
It’s certainly a keeper. I want to thank Rockpool Publishing and Red Wheel/Weiser for the free review copy.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Red Wheel/Weiser. 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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Full of astonishing real life stories behind the occult’s greatest legends, myths, and mysteries, Witches and Wizards reveals the real-life stories of the most notorious and powerful occult personalities of all time. Within its pages you’ll discover the amazing stories behind the legends: from King Arthur’s Merlin to the infamous Aleister Crowley, right through to the modern icons of Witchcraft. Shining light on the Salem witch trials, the Burning Times, the Magickal Battle of Britain, and beyond, Witches and Wizards is a thrilling read for anyone who loves the mysterious, the true, and the strange. Written by renowned Witch and author Lucy Cavendish, Witches and Wizards is an unforgettable read brimming with Magick, myth, and mystery.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2017 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

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Review: Fairies, Pookas, and Changelings

61ddqw1iahl-_sx355_bo1204203200_Fairies, Pookas, and Changelings: A Complete Guide to the Wild and Wicked Enchanted Realm
by Varla Ventura
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Weiser Books
ISBN-10: 1578636116
ISBN-13: 978-1578636112

Product description:

While it’s true that fairy folk love a good garden and take great pleasure in a tulip, there are dozens of beasties who fall under the fairy domain that are not quite as delightful as the quintessential flower fairy. This book is an exploration of the many things that go bump in the night near the fairy mound. Along with an exploration of folklore and historical literature, readers will delight in fairy tales that demonstrate everything from striking a bargain with a fairy to staving off changelings to laughing with the dwarves.

Included are fairy tales and myths from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Scandinavia plus classic stories by Thomas Crofton Croker, Joseph Jacobs, Clara Stroebe, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Yei Theodora Ozaki, and others on goblins, trolls, gnomes, pookas, changelings, banshees, and more!

Chapters include:

  • A Fear of Little Men: Elves, Trolls, Leprechauns, Tree Spirits, Brownies, Coblyns, Dwarves, Goblins, Bonga, Trolls and Other Fairy Folk of Glen, Forests and Hearth
  • The Hand That Rocks the Cradle: Changelings and Other Greedy Kidnappers of the Fairy Kingdom
  • I’m Not Drunk, It’s Just My Pooka: Tales of the Trickster Fairy and Its Wild Counterpart
  • Is That All There Is? Faries Who Give, or The Barter System
  • Whoops, There It Is: How to Enter the Fairy Kingdom (or How Not To)

If you think fairies are merely delicate beings who follow you about on gossamer wings, you are in for quite a shock: the kingdom of the fairy is one of vengeance, thievery, trickery, and wild creatures. Consider yourself warned!

SAM_0028My Thoughts:

I loved it. Fairies, Pookas, and Changelings is packed with folklore of the Fairyfolk. You might be reading about a pooka one minute or a troll statue under a bridge the next. Everything Varla covered was interesting and my only complaint was that I wanted more.

I won this book in a contest that Varla held and she has added a fan for life to her list. Along with Among the Mermaids and Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires and Other Creatures of the Night, Varla has added another must-have title for your esoteric home library.

5 out of 5 stars!

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2017 in Esoteric Book Reviews

 

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Review: The Castle in Cassiopeia

51jpctosuql-_sx331_bo1204203200_The Castle in Cassiopeia
by Mike Resnick
http://amzn.to/2uZF9R4
Series: DEAD ENDERS
Paperback: 285 pages
Publisher: Pyr (August 22, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1633882314
ISBN-13: 978-1633882317

My thoughts:
Space opera at it’s best. I enjoyed the previous books in the series The Fortress in Orion, and The Prison in Antares. I gave them 4 stars out of 5 and I’d give this book the same score.

SAM_0027As with the other books in the series, The Castle in Cassiopeia gets a little dialogue heavy and I hated the cover art but the book is excellent. It has an awesome pace and an entertaining story. If you can say anything about Resnick, you have to admit that he’s a great storyteller.

If you are new to the series, I think that you can jump straight into this book. Resnick sets up the story nicely. That being said, I think you’d get more out of it by starting with The Fortress in Orion.

It’s a fun summertime read. 4 stars out of 5.

Product description:
A crisis has arisen. On their first mission as a team, Pretorius and his Dead Enders kidnapped the real General Michkag and substituted a clone who had been raised and trained in the Democracy. But now they find that the clone likes being the most powerful man in the hundred-world Traanskei Coalititon—and having been raised on Earth, he knows how humans think and react.

This becomes a many-layered problem for Pretorius and what is left of his Dead Enders. As the only humans on a totally militarized alien world, they must first find where the best-guarded member of the enemy’s military – Michkag – is hiding and how many aliens, or regiments, or divisions, are guarding him, and then they must find a way past all his lines of defense to kill or capture him.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Pyr. 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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Posted by on August 15, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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Review: Among the Mermaids

6109movm9vl-_sx355_bo1204203200_Among the Mermaids Facts, Myths, and Enchantments from the Sirens of the Sea
http://amzn.to/2v0HHjy
by Varla Ventura
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Weiser Books
ISBN-10: 1578635454
ISBN-13: 978-1578635450
Barry’s score 5 out of 5 stars.

Product description:
From Homer’s Odyssey to Pirates of the Caribbean, Mermaids have fascinated popular culture for centuries.

Among the Mermaids is an enchanting collection of classic stories, facts, and tales of mermaids from around the world that will thrill every lover of this romanticized mythological creature.

Compiled by Book of the Bizarre author and Magical Creature devotee Varla Ventura, Among the Mermaids includes turn of the century tales of merfolk from Bret Harte, T. Crofton Croker, and W.B. Yeats, along with tantalizing trivia, facts, first-hand accounts, and speculations about mermaids in popular culture.

Some facts about the fluid and the fair from the book:

  • Many people believe today that early explorer sightings of mermaids were manatees. (Scurvy + many days away from your lady = a blubbery creature looking supple and bodacious.)
  • Blackbeard, the fierce and terrible pirate, was afraid of his crew being lured into a watery grave by mermaids, so he ordered his ships to avoid certain areas reputed to have a high number of mermaid sightings.
  • Since 2009, the town of Kiryat Yam, Israel has offered a prize of $1 million dollars to anyone who can prove the mermaid off their coast is real. The prize remains unclaimed.

My thoughts:
I was lucky enough to win a set of Varla Ventura’s work and I consider myself to be one of the luckiest men in the world. Ventura’s book Among the Mermaids is superb! I loved every minute of it.

As many of you know, I am a guy that looks at the back of the book first. Among the Mermaids has a nice recommended reading, Bibliography section, and other things for the mer-minded. This can come in handy for those who want to do their own mer-research.

The stories are quick and short, the clipart is delightful, and the book is a real pageturner. I went through the entire book pretty quickly only to return to reread some of my favorite parts.

All in all, I give Varla Ventura’s Among the Mermaids 5 stars out of 5 and I believe that it is a must-have for your home library.

Tell me, lady of the lake, do you sit bere in this unconventional fashion with gentlemen callers? The Mermaid of Druid Lake by Charles Weathers Bump

 

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Review: Nebula Awards Showcase 2017

61bbdvzoual-_sx331_bo1204203200_Nebula Awards Showcase 2017
by Julie E. Czerneda
http://amzn.to/2sw0iSB
Series: Nebula Awards Showcase
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Pyr
ISBN-10: 1633882713
ISBN-13: 978-1633882713

Product description:
The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories of the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). This year’s editor, selected by SFWA’s anthology Committee (chaired by Mike Resnick), is Canadian science fiction and fantasy writer and editor Julie Czerneda. This year’s Nebula Award winners are Naomi Novik, Nnedi Okorafor, Sarah Pinsker, and Alyssa Wong, with Fran Wilde winning the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book. Also included in this volume are works by N. K. Jemisin and Ann Leckie.

My thoughts:
WIN_20170429_08_21_16_ProThe Nebula Awards Showcase is an excellent opportunity to read top-notch short stories, novellas, and poems in the Science fiction genre. I hopscotched through the book hitting the stories that interested me until, with the exception of the Novel excerpts, I finished the book.

I suppose that my favorite part would be the “From the Author” introductions that precede each story. It’s really cool to get a little background from the author. All in all, this is a nice collection of stories and I give Nebula Showcase 2017 5 stars out of 5.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Pyr. 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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Posted by on June 5, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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