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Friday, October 20, 2017

A Quest of Heroes - Morgan Rice

Thorgrin has always been the least loved of the four boys. Perhaps it is because his birth meant the passing of his mother. Or maybe his father is just unhappy with his attitude. Either way he's left to watch the sheep, while his brothers are doted upon. On the day the army comes to recruit his father insists he watch the sheep, refusing to send a servant to take the charge, even though Thor is old enough and qualified to attend the assessment.

This one time Thor decides to disobey his father. The only reasons he succeeds in joining the army is his stubborn persistence and disobedience even in the face of his superiors. So starts his journey as a squire, who faces the wrath of his fellow recruits who are jealous of the attention his forthright attitude has gotten him.

Thor soon finds the charmed circumstances that brought him to his lofty circumstances are only the beginning of the magic around him

Thor is a simple-minded character with his heart set on heroics, whose story is driven by chance and circumstance. The way the story moves reminds me of Anne McCaffrey's Harper Hall trilogy, which was one of my favorite series in Junior High. This first book in The Sorcerer's Ring series isn't special, but it has potential to become much bigger. I'll be moving on to the next in the series with an expectation of a fun and simple read.

Books in the Series:
A March of Kings
A Fate of Dragons
A Cry of Honor

Similar Reads
Harper Hall Trilogy - Anne McCaffrey

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Sorcerer's Screed - Jochum magnus Eggertsson

Originally published in Icelandic in 1940, this collection of magic spells was first made available in English in 2015.

This collection contains some of the most popular spells, like gaining prosperity, winning the love of your life, and protection from evil. But there are also more unusual and gruesome spells for catching a liar and raising the dead.

Each page contains a single spell starting with the illustrated stave using
runes and symbols at the top in red, followed by the spell and operation written in Runes and then below that in English, both in black.

If you are a reader who is simply curious to learn about different forms of magic, you're appetite will surely be satiated. If you are reader hoping to cast some of these spells you will find the directions easy to follow, though drawing the staves and performing the operations may be a bit tricky in some cases

From the Publisher:
Icelandic Magic for Modern Living

Related Reading:
The Sacred Formulas of the Cherokee

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Warrior Goddess Way - HeatherAsh Amara

Amara continues to show readers how to become more true to themselves in her newest addition to the Warrior Goddess series.

Part I imparts Wisdom concerning four different topics. The first is the gift Of Presence and being truly in oneself during even difficult situations. Of Stories seeks to remind the reader that the event itself may not be as important is how the story we tell ourselves of that event is. The importance Of Forgiveness to the victim or survivor is emphasized in the third chapter. Of Apology expresses the importance of extending an apology not just to the wronged but also to the wrong-doer, who can often be ourselves.

Part II speaks of the gift of Authenticity to ourselves and those around us. The importance of Respecting ourselves, being able to sit with ourselves in Stillness, and how these two things can bring us more Awareness
of who we are and what we should do to be true to ourselves.

Part III is all about saying Yes! to yourself by Cleaning and Maintaining the Home of You by knowing when to continue healthy Relationships with people, events, or organizations, and Opening to the Endings of things when the time comes.

Although this book is meant to build on the previous books in the series, it isn't necessary to read them before diving into this book. It stands well on its own. Any reference to previous books is explained so the reader won't need to pull out the book oneself.

Having read her previous book in the series, Warrior Goddess Training, I often felt myself recalling items I had read there. There wasn't anything new in this book, but it serves as an excellent extension for the reader to dive a bit deeper into the self and continue to maintain a healthy relationship with oneself and the world around. A worthwhile read for those both new and returning readers.

Books in the Series:
Warrior Goddess Training
Warrior Goddess Training Companion Book
Warrior Goddess Meditations

Recommended Reads:
The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz
The Artist's Way - Julia Cameron
Archetypes - Caroline Myss

Friday, September 29, 2017

Earth Mother - Ellen Jackson

In this gorgeously illustrated full color book, Earth Mother awakens and creates the world and its creatures. She creates the land, the water, the wind. She creates all creatures from the plants to hawks.

Demonstrating the ecosystem mosquito, frog, and human all tell Earth Mother about each other, praising or complaining about each respectively. At the end of the day, Earth Mother is satisfied with her work and chooses to keep things as they are, seeing the necessity in each life.

Earth Mother is illustrated as a beautiful young African woman with a gorgeous afro and her people are shown in assorted traditional dress. The bold lines and certain stature of the characters seem stagnant, but the colors are vibrant and the faces expressive. Parents and children will enjoy watching the world come to life in this lovely book.

More by the Author:
The Precious Gift: A Navaho Creation Myth
The Summer Solstice
The Tree Of Life: The Wonders Of Evolution

More by the Illustrators:
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale
The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales
Honey, I Love and Other Love Poems

Friday, September 22, 2017

Tales Untold - Kevin Focke

This collection contains tales from a variety of genres from Kevin Focke, a man with a unique writing style. Readers will experience some unsettling and horrifying tales in the Reflection Collection, a mix of sci-fi psychedelic tales written in an unreliable narrative. Seasons of Love contains a full range of emotions, including both love and forlorness. The Zoobadoo Zoo reveals the horror that awaits the human race if they were to be wiped out and kept by aliens for their entertainment and observation. A cringey vampire reveals his life in The Fernando Bellisa Chronicles. The Most Epic Tale of All recounts the never-ending story that repeats lifetime after lifetime in a series of three short poems. And finally Tales Untold contains a collection of absurdest poems and short stories.

Like any collection, I enjoyed some stories and poems and disliked others. Seasons of Love was probably my favorite with the range of emotions in the stories. The illustrations that accompanied each story were also great to set the mood. The captivity of humans in The Zoobadoo Zoo brought to mind the Planet of the Apes series and the aliens reminded me a bit of the Vogons from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but the story itself was unique. And The Fernando Bellisa Chronicles amused me as a satire of the typical posh vampire life portrayed in most books and movies. For me this was an enjoyable read with a variety of stories to choose from.

*I received a free pre-sale copy in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Many, Many, Many Gods of Hinduism - Swami Achuthananda

In three parts, Achuthananda hopes to familiarize readers with the Culture, Concepts, and Controversies of Hinduism. In part one, readers will learn the essentials of Hinduism, like when and how it started, who Hindus are, and how other religions influenced the religion. Part two explains the core concepts of Hinduism, including the most referred to texts in Hinduism and how they are used, who the most popular deities are, and about the world view of the religion. Part three contains controversies from those outside of Hinduism and especially the conjectures of those in academia who analyze the religion.

The cover photo of a Hindu deity with blue skin makes it easy to identify the book's subject matter. His casual, simple, and sometimes humorous style makes this piece an enjoyable read. Humorous remarks were typically offset with a ☺ (smiley face), making it easy to distinguish when he makes them. The short chapters run between two to five pages and the information is short and concise,
making the topics easily digestible. I have a passing familiarity with Hinduism, but found a lot of new information provided here. I think that the last part may have been my favorite as it pointed out issues with outsiders giving their opinions on topics within Hinduism. My only complaint is that while the last chapter made a kind-of 'Hinduism is here to stay' comment at the end, it wasn't written in a way that made it feel the book had come to a close.

For those who already have a good understanding of Hinduism there won't be anything new, but for those of us who would like to learn more or know very little this is a great piece.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Blue Unicorn's Journey to Osm - Sybrina Durant

In the Tribe of Metal Horned Unicorns there is a prophecy that tells of a unicorn who will save them from the evil sorceress Magh who uses their horns and hooves for spells, but when he is finally born the Blue Unicorn has no metal in his horn. Without a metal horn the Blue Unicorn has no magic, but he still must find a way to save his people or they will all be doomed.

Along his way on the perilous journey he has the help of many friends, like Gaiso the Stag and Girasol the Firebird. With the help of both forest friends and magical friends alike, Blue Unicorn must battle his way through the magical land of MarBryn to get his tribe back to Unimaise or face extinction.

The cover art caught my eye as soon as I saw it and I was delighted to find that the same vibrant and detailed illustrations are found throughout the entire book. A map in the beginning of the book make it easy for readers to follow both the Blue Unicorn's journey and the separate trek of his Tribe as they make their way to Muzika Woods. Each section has a small black and white illustration and is only two pages of text, making it easy to pick up and put down. Following each section is a full-color 2 page spread version of the black and white picture on the text page. The formatting in the e-book great, but is best enjoyed on a color tablet or computer screen to get the full color illustrations.

Seeing each of the unicorns special abilities corresponding to each unicorns unique metal horn is creative. Although Blue is without magic, he certainly isn't helpless and his ability to stay positive throughout the book definitely helps him on the way. The writing style is appropriate for the age category. The story moves at a steady pace and kept me hooked from beginning to end. Readers should be warned of the inclusion of death near that end, which may be too dark for younger readers.

This coming-of-age story is sure to delight fantasy and unicorn enthusiasts.

Author's Related Books:
Coloring Book - Blue Unicorn's Journey to Osm
Art Book and Character Descriptions - Blue Unicorn's Journey to Osm