This is a non-denominational spiritual development book written by a Druid priest. Rev. Smith provides some insightful quotations, some guided meditations, and some prayers to help the reader's attunement to the forces of the world in all their glory.
The major value of this work is its non-denominational approach. Unfortunately, the English language lacks a 'value neutral' word for the force behind the universe ' Creator, God, Deity, Divinity, and Creative Force all come with their own baggage and preconceptions attached and therefore Rev. Smith's choice to use 'God' will probably offend some readers. Try to move beyond that, however, and hear what is truly being said.
Naturally (considering the author's neo-Pagan, Druid orientation), he places a larger emphasis on seasonal observances than others might, but certain biases are to be expected on the part of each individual. As he tells the reader 'Take what you will from these pages and leave the rest.' And 'Do what feels right to you and what fits with your personal belief system.' Regardless what your personal religious orientation (if any) there is inspiration to be found in these pages.
Rev. Smith's inspirations are pleasingly diverse, from Chinese philosophy (Lau Tzu), to environmental (John Muir); from Western religion (The King James Bible) to Oriental religo0n (The Bagavad Gita); and the inspirational (The Ultimate Happiness Prescription by Deepak Chopra) to the practical (It's Easy Being Green by Chrissy Trask). Add in a few ideas from his Holiness the Dalai Lama and you have a rich cultural and environmental stew.
While this is an enjoyable, easy-to-read book, there is nothing particularly new or revelatory in it. Everything here has been said before in any number of self-help books published in the last half-century. Its utility lies in its compiling of numerous approaches into a single source. It is an excellent value for the price and, with its non-denominational approach; it should be usable by anyone looking for inspiration in their quest for Spiritual awakening.
Werewolf Smackdown by Mario Acevedo © 2010 EUS Books (a division of Harper Collins) ISBN 978-0-06-156718-6 Paperback 406 pages $14.99 (U.S.) www.harpercollins.com
I really hate starting reviews part of the way into
a series. As soon as I can scrape together some spare cash I intend
to pick up the first four books in this series (Jailbait Zombie, The
Undead Kama Sutra, X Rated Bloodsuckers, and The Nymphos of Rocky
Ms. Collins starts this book with an unusual premise
' the land of fairie is endangered. No, that's not the unusual feature,
the cause of the danger, however, is. Interracial battles are to be
expected, after all goblins and fairies tend to disagree about most
things. It's the other danger which no one has previously considered
(to the best of my knowledge) ' inbreeding. When you have a relatively
small and stable population, everyone tends to be related to at least
some degree, and that is not a biologically good thing.
A Witch's Lament by Catherine Anne Collins © 2009 Crescent Moon ISBN: 978-0-981848471 Paperback 268 pages $14.99 (U.S.)
Confession time ' I requested this book for purely selfish reasons ' I reside in the next town over from Salem and always like to see how that city is portrayed in novels. I like the fact that Ms. Collins made the effort to actually visit Salem and talk to local residents rather than simply relying on images and imagination.
Of course, this is a novel so imagination plays a big part in the story and the descriptions are not exact, but that makes it all the more enjoyable. Part of the fun (at least on the most superficial level) of reading about an area you know is trying to find the inspiration for the places and people portrayed.
I find a few simple errors early on in the book, one of which should have been caught (Phips was governor of Massachusetts Colony, not of Salem); another less likely to be caught ('Harm none, do as ye will. Be ever mindful of the Rule of Three'' could not date to the 17th century, as it wasn't written until the mid-20th century). Describing the practices of 17th century witches as 'the nature-based belief of Wicca' is also inappropriate. But, as I said in an earlier review, the purpose of a novel is to entertain, not educate.
Skye Temple has bought a house in Salem, Massachusetts. The house is reputedly haunted. A murder occurred there 30 years ago which increased the unease associated with the house. The murder victim's son, now a Salem police officer and a non-practicing (unaware) Witch is the one to discover his mother's skeleton and all of that is before things start to get interesting.
Is this story reality' ' Not by any means. Is it possible' It is more than possible. The particulars are fiction, but they have played out thousands of time and in myriad places. People allow themselves to be subverted by desires of power every day. People are killed for apparently senseless reasons all the time. Crimes are covered up and come to light through unexpected means.
This book is fun to read and could set things up for a sequel or two, if the author wants to pursue it.