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Monday, February 26, 2018

ShadowFighteR I - Nostalgia Edition - Jen Archer

Erin Allen was just a normal high school student until the day a poster goes up in flames from her thoughts. Her newfound powers plunge her straight into a war that has been raging between good and evil since the beginning of time. Her connection to the ancient power that so few possess makes her a precious commodity to both sides. With those powers come memories from another time that will help her in making her decision for this life. Will she choose a life of fame and fortune promised by the Shadow or a uncertain fate of friendship that the Light offers? Either way dire consequences are sure to threaten herself and those she loves.

This story was originally conceived by the author during her teens and written for both herself and her friends to enjoy. I thoroughly enjoyed this the first time through back in the 90s. Rereading this as an adult I found myself giggling at the dramatic dialogue, but also touched by the emotional trauma the Erin and her friends must endure with their fight against the opposing side. Those who still enjoy the 90s version of Sailor Moon will find kinship in this story of good versus evil, filled with destined love, elemental powers, and even time travel.

Books in the Series:
ShadowFighteR II - Nostalgia Edition

Other Works by the Author:
Would Virgins Taste Better?

Friday, February 23, 2018

Little Flowers of Saint Francis - Saint Francis of Assisi

With animals and the environment among his patronages, Saint Francis is one of the most well-known and well-loved of the Catholic Saints even among those who do not follow religion. Besides his patronage this is likely also owed to the amazing stories attributed to Saint Francis and those among his order.

Among these stories are tales of the Saint communing with birds, healing people, and even converting a wolf. He's also said to have returned to his followers to lead them to continue his work of kindness and mercy. Among his number were both simple men and intelligent men, the highly spiritually and the earthbound, and each of them also has a lesson to teach with their tales. Among those are tales of theft, poverty, and selflessness often unseen in most people.

I've been slowly picking my way through this book for a number of years. The authenticity of these stories is often challenged, but the value remains in the lessons they teach of humility, love, kindness, and honesty. These short stories are best read individually with space between them in order to fully absorb the lessons within the pages. I recommend this for those looking for meditations to start the day.

Recommended Reads:
The Desert Fathers: Sayings of Early Christian Monks
Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

Monday, February 19, 2018

Haunted Route 66 - Richard Southall

Historic Route 66 ran 2,448 miles from Chicago, Illinois through six states until finally ending Santa Monica, California. It has many nicknames including Will Rogers Highway, the Main Street of America and the Mother Road. Most of Route 66 is gone, falling into disrepair in favor of modern highways. And many of the towns have disappeared with the disuse of the road.

Illinois, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and California all contain a plethora of disturbing stories and hauntings along the highway, but Kansas and Texas do not. Kansas only contains a mere 13 miles of the route and the towns along the route in Texas are completely gone. In order to make up for it Southall includes tales from areas that are within 3 hours distance of the highway for both Kansas and Texas.

I have mixed feelings about how the author decided to expand his search for hauntings with Kansas and Texas. I think it was a good decision to include something for those states, especially for those who may want to do a haunted road trip, but the events don't actually exist along the route which seems a bit disingenuous even with disclosure.

The tone of the book is straightforward and matter-of-fact in the telling of events and what people experience when they are haunted. They aren't in the narrative of ghost stories that I so often read. For those who want to learn more about the paranormal history of Route 66, this is a good read.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Icelandic Magic for Modern Living - Boff Konkerz

Are you tired of your wifi failing in the middle of streaming a movie? Do you need some more followers on your Instagram? Do you need to get rich? These and many other modern spells are available to you now with the combination of Icelandic magic staves and ritual words.

This amusing parody contains humorous and often convoluted spells to cure modern day problems. I giggled and often outright guffawed at what I found in these pages. A good addition for people who sometimes enjoy a little humor when it comes to spellwork and magic.

From the Publisher:
Sorceror's Screed

Monday, February 12, 2018

ChristoPaganism - River Higginbotham, Joyce Higginbotham

More and more people are combining the Christian tradition with Pagan beliefs. Why are they doing it? How do they integrate two systems that a seemingly at odds.

Part I titled The Outer Landscape explores what Paganism and Christianity are, how the "Mystery Religions" correspond with Christianity, and monotheism within the Old Testament.

Part II called The Inner Landscape Personal, Faith, and Concept developments from a psychological point of view.

Part III aptly named The Living Landscape interviews people who integrate faiths and explores the many and varied ways ChristoPagans practice.

I would caution readers to prepare to have their knowledge and beliefs challenged with this well-cited book, containing citations to well-established resources on the history and evolution of Christianity and faiths around the world. These citations are excellent for those who want to verify the authors statements or further research themselves. Many of them were works I had read previously on my own and worthwhile.

There was only one portion of the book I didn't care for was the portion on developmental colors and spiral. It seemed overly complicated compared to other systems I have seen, but I think others may find the use of colors and levels easier to identify where they are at with the visual assistance.

I like how this book compares and contrasts the faiths, explores them through a historical lens, a psychological lens, and through the personal experiences of people living their personal faith. It's an excellent resource for those who want to understand those of a different faith to a combined faith to find similarities to relate with each other.

Recommended Reads:
Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices by George Barna and Frank Viola
Shamanic Christianity: The Direct Experience of Mystical Communion by Bradford Keeney

Friday, February 9, 2018

Warrior Goddess Training Companion - HeatherAsh Amara

In the Warrior Goddess series, Amara hopes to challenge each individual woman's own views on the world and question where those ideas and ideals come from and whether or not they truly fit her as the unique woman she is.

This companion book to the first in the series provides extra exercises, both written and active, for readers to enhance their experience of the first book. It also works well as a stand-alone workbook. Each chapter contains a summary of the chapter in the primary book, followed by exercises and space to record thoughts and experiences from these exercises, and Additional Gifts which provides insights to continue living the revelations from the exercises. At the end of the book is a Questions and Answers section containing commonly asked questions with Amara's answers.

The topics women will find themselves exploring are body, mind, sexuality, and heart. She addresses the person as a whole, recognizing that there are many parts that make up our whole. For those who enjoyed the original book I would recommend this and for those who want a more interactive and in-depth experience with this series.

Books in the Series:
Warrior Goddess Training
Warrior Goddess Meditations
Warrior Goddess Way

Monday, February 5, 2018

Warrior Goddess Training - HeatherAsh Amara

After going through her divorce, Amara found herself lost, unable to remember who she was without her partner. Through both introspection and action, she learned how to be herself both inside and out.

With this book containing 10 chapters, Amara hopes to help others who may be in a similar position or even those who just want to become more in tune with themselves. Each chapter contains personal experience from herself or from others she has encountered through life or in her workshops, written exercises, and active exercises.

Through reading and these exercises, the reader will challenge ideas and ideals she's learned from others, familial, cultural, religious, and societal, as well as her own. Learning where her thoughts and feelings originate can sometimes help people change those same things in their lives. The topics include attitudes about ones body,
sexuality, heart, and mind.

When I heard a book club nearby me was reading this book I jumped on the chance to experience it again, but this time in a group setting. Perhaps the most interesting part of reading this a second time was seeing how far I've come. I wished I could find my notes from the first time I read it to have a solid comparison. Going every other week to share my own experiences and listen with others gave me even more to consider. It helped me see myself more clearly in the past, present, and possibly in the future. I will continue to recommend this book for women to learn more about themselves.

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

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

Friday, February 2, 2018

Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte - R. Andrew Chesnut

Just like Chesnut, I've seen candles and scrolls with the mysterious 'Saint Death' with her bony figure and her long robes on shelves in the store. Knowing a little bit of Spanish, I was normally able to read the instructions and prayers on these objects, which only served to pique my interest further.

In this short book, Chesnut reveals what he learned through interviewing both leaders and practitioners who look to Santa Muerte for help, as well as his his additional experience of visiting shrines and prayer groups. The book is divided into 7 chapters that correlate to the seven colors of candles that practitioners use for invocations- Brown Candle (Knowledge): History and Origins of the Cult, White: Beliefs and Practices, Black: Protection and Harm, Red: Love and Passion, Gold: Prosperity and Abundance, Purple: Healing, and Green: Law and Justice.

I feel like I got a good understanding of Santa Muerte from many different angles with this piece. The author explains the Saint's folk history and her controversial status with the Catholic Church. He talks about how she has supplicants from both criminals and from law enforcement officers. He also explains the many ways every day people enlist her help with daily troubles, whether it's money, sickness, or an estranged family member. I would recommend this for anybody with a desire to learn more about this powerful folk saint.

Related Reads:
The Santa Muerte: The Origins, History, and Secrets of the Mexican Folk Saint - Gustavo Vázquez Lozano, Charles River Editors
Grimoire of Santa Muerte: Spells and Rituals of Most Holy Death - Sophia diGregorio