Tagged: Contemporary

Swords: An Artist’s Devotion – Book Review

Buy a copy of this book here.

About the book:

Be smitten by the sword! An extraordinary young artist brings the history of this noble weapon — and its skillful masters — into stunningly sharp relief.Brave men and women have taken up the sword since ages of old, and a fascination with this formidable weapon grips dedicated followers to this day. Here is a celebration of swords and swordsmen that spans time and place — from ancient warriors such as Beowulf to medieval knights; from stealthy ninja and samurai to legendary maidens of war. Illustrated with breathtaking intricacy, SWORDS reflects the passion of a true devotee, offering lavish background details on design and use as well as exquisite spreads showcasing specimens in all their shining glory.
Back matter includes a bibliography.

Brian’s Review:

This is a fun book filled with some interesting information on one of man’s most oldest and deadliest weapons ever created.  With great illustrations and fun facts this is a book any enthusiast will enjoy.  Thumb through and look at the pictures, or take the time to read the words.  Either way this book is a winner.

You can also buy this book from Amazon in either Hardcover or Paperback editions here. [affiliate link]

Hard to Handle – Book Review

Admittedly, I’ve only read two of the books in this series (Book 2 and Book 5 – this one being book 5), but I am in absolute love with Ms. Warren’s storytelling once more in Hard to Handle, A Beauty and Beast, Gargoyles novel. [Note: This post contains an affiliate link to Amazon.com. When you purchase something after clicking on this link, I receive a small percentage of the total purchase as commission from Amazon, at no additional cost to you, the buyer. I thank you in advance for supporting us in this way.] 

When the world is coming to a Dark and nasty end, Guardians are summoned to hold back the evil that threatens to end life as we know it. It seems, though, that this time, things are not going according to plan or tradition, and as Guardians (hidden away around the world in the form of the ghastly gargoyles a la Notre Dame) awaken to stop this most recent threat brought on by the Noctorni and the Demons they serve, the Guardians discover a world much changed.

Not only have a few hundred years passed, but the Guild that supports and serves the Guardians has been effectively wiped out by the Noctorni. To confuse matters further, each of the awakened gargoyles to this point are male, and must overcome both a lack of information and a change in tradition as they find themselves partnered, one by one, to women of power (those with paranormal abilities) rather than to the men of the Guild they are used to working with.

Ash is brought into sudden waking by recent events, but her very existence shakes the foundations of all that the Guardians have ever been. Never has a Guardian been summoned without a Guild member, and never has a Guardian been… female. Ash has no idea what the implications are for herself, let alone the world she was summoned to protect, but time is short as the Noctorni gain in strength and advantage. 

Her only option is to partner up with a decidedly reluctant and stubborn Michael “Drum” Drummond and his youngest sister Maeve. Drum is content being a Dublin publican, and has no interest in getting caught up in the struggle or the politics of the Light’s battle against Darkness, yet he finds himself thrust into the very heart of it as events unfold and he and Ash discover that he is her Warden – a magic user assigned to a Guardian should one need to be summoned. 

His younger sister, Maeve, manages to track down another Guardian/Warden pair in America, but when Kylie and Dag arrive, things take a decided turn for the worst as Maeve is abducted to be used as a human sacrifice to summon one of the seven Demons that will bring human life as we know it to a brutal end.

Can Drum and Ash overcome the unusual nature of their relationship to work with other Guardians and Wardens, to hold back the Darkness and free Ash from her lonely existence?

Christine Warren tackles this story with her signature style of wit and creative storytelling, and for fans of paranormal romance, this is a tale not to be missed. As mentioned, I have only read 2 of the books in the series, and unlike some series, this one might be better experienced in order. 

This book can be purchased in either mass market paperback or Kindle format from Amazon here.

Happy Reading!

Homemade Magick – Book Review

I have not had the privilege of reading any of Mr. DuQuette’s other works, however I picked up Homemade Magick: The Musings and Mischief of a Do-It-Yourself Magus while doing some research for a novel I’m working on, and I was not disappointed. (This post contains an affiliate link)

Through witty anecdotes and references to much larger bodies of work by renowned experts in the field of mysticism and magick, Lon Milo DuQuette relates his own journey with magick, mysticism and spirituality, much of which is relate-able to a vast array of readers. From the beginning of the book, Mr. Duquette relates such things as initiation rites, how to work with the Tarot (there are far more uses for these cards than just delving into the psyche, apparently!), and how to approach learning to practice your own magick craft.

The author also relates how magick can and should be approached when there are little ones about (If you feel there is nothing to hide, then why hide it from your children? His own son was raised as part and parcel of as much of the goings-on as any member of the DuQuettes’ social circle) and how magick has intertwined with his 47 year marriage to another magician.

Included as well, are a variety of elemental prayers and a full script for one of the rites that the DuQuette’s regularly host every year. (Shakespeare with a kick)

My one complaint in this (and it is a very minor complaint), is that Mr. DuQuette refers to those who practice paganism and Magick as “magicians”, which carries an entirely different meaning for me; this seems to confuse spiritual practice with the art of illusion practiced for the entertainment of others. While Mr. DuQuette and his wife do put on rites that are both spiritual and entertaining at the same time, I harbor the belief that calling himself (and other practitioners of the old ways) a magician diminishes the spiritual side of what he is actually offering discourse on. On one hand, this seems to be a petty complaint, however, in the interest of full disclosure as a book reviewer, I feel it’s only honest to point this out. 

This is not a book on performing illusory magic. It is a rather compact yet thorough manual on finding the spiritual magick in the everyday world. 

You can purchase the book on Amazon in Kindle or paperback format here.

Inside the Miracle – Book Review

I mentioned this book a week or so ago in another of my blog threads, but having finished the book, I’d like to give it some more thorough attention. (This post contains an affiliate link)

Mark Nepo wrote Inside the Miracle: Enduring Suffering, Approaching Wholeness as a reflective work, looking back over his journey through two rounds of cancer, divorce, the deaths of close family and friends and finding his way back to a different surface of life to fully embrace vulnerability, living, loving and the suffering that is part and parcel of a life fully lived and experienced. 

It is a collection of essays, poems and short, reflective stories about his life and the emotions and revelations he encountered during this journey and includes reflective writing exercises for the reader to dive deeper if they so choose.

In order to fully experience Life, we must be open to all it offers. It’s easy to harden oneself to the harder emotions; broken hearts, loving another through separation or illness, and loss are all far more difficult to handle than joy, pleasure and new love. Yet Nepo posits that Life will break one open through suffering, and those that embrace the less pleasant alongside the joys are the ones that truly live. 

This book was deeply touching, and some parts were more relevant than others. Some passages brought to mind difficult days that are long in the past for me, and others seemed to touch me right where I am in this moment. I would recommend it to anyone on a spiritual path of discovering themselves more deeply, whether you use the journal prompts or not (though, for a deeper experience, I recommend using the prompts).

Inside the Miracle is available in a variety of formats, including hardback and Kindle. You can check it out here:

Needful Things – Book Review

About the book:

Leland Gaunt is a stranger in Castle Rock–and he calls his new shop Needful Things, where there is something for everyone. Mr. Gaunt takes pleasure in seeing how much people will pay for their most secret dreams and desires, and he knows that almost everything is for sale: love, hope, even the human soul. (From Amazon.com product listing.)

Brian’s Review:

Needful Things is another masterful work from Stephen King. It will have you scratching your head and on the edge of your seat as you read.  It may not keep you up at night with nightmares, but it sure will hook you as a Stephen King reader.

Buy the book:

Thrice Read Books has a used hardback edition available here.

You can also purchase this in Kindle, hardcover, paperback and audible editions from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Book Review

About the Book: 

What did Harry Potter know about magic? He was stuck living with the decidedly un-magical Dursleys, who hated him. He slept in a closet and ate their leftovers. But an owl messenger changes all that, with an invitation to attend the Hogwarts School for Wizards and Witches, where it turns out Harry is already famous… (From Amazon.com product listing.)

Brian’s Review: 

The Sorcerer’s Stone, is a brilliant start to a brilliant story. Rowling’s first book is geared towards the age of maybe 10 or 11, which happens be to the very age of Harry Potter himself at the start of this.  Her later books in this series though grow up with the characters.  Masterfully written, and have lead to the love of reading for countless children world wide. If you have a child, around the age, this is a great book.  I do give a fair warning though.  If you attempt to read this book before your child, you too will be hooked. So if you aren’t looking to start a series you won’t put down until the end of book 7 do not attempt to enjoy this book with your child.  You will fall in love with the characters. If you have seen the movies, I suggest you read the books, you won’t be disappointed.

Sam’s Review:

Hey, and I am back just as I promised, and today  we are doing the first Harry Potter book, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. For those of you who haven’t seen the other two Harry Potter reviews, it’s best that you start here, since I’ve been doing them backwards, I guess. If you have seen one or both of the other Harry Potter reviews, and are a little confused, that’s okay. Now, let’s get on with the review. Harry is the boy who survived Lord Voldemort’s killing spree, removing so much of the dark lord’s magic that Voldemort was forced into hiding. Harry, his parents dead, was given to his aunt and uncle, who were determined to take away Harry’s magic, if only they could. Now eleven years old, he gets the invitation for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and learns that he is the boy who lived. While at his new school, he makes two new friends, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger. Together, they learn that Voldemort is somewhere in the castle, and that if he isn’t stopped in time, Hogwarts might be no more. No pressure on them or anything, right? Wrong. Since they are the only ones that know about it, they take it upon themselves to stop the dark lord. Can they do it? Read the book to find out. I hope that you have a great weekend, and please don’t forget to check out the store link, subscribe, like, and enable notifications. See you next Friday. Bye!

Buy the book:

Thrice Read Books has a paperback edition of this book for sale here.

You can also purchase this book from Amazon in illustrated form in Kindle, paperback, hardcover, audiobook or mass market paperback here. [affiliate link]

Beast – Book Review

About the book:

I thought I was no good.

I thought I was a monster.

But in the end, her love was what I needed to redeem me, to save my blackened soul.

I let her slip through my fingers but, I still need her. 

Will my ugly, twisted love be enough to win her back?

Hurt and dejected, Jasmine wants answers when she crosses paths with Liam nearly two years after their unforgettable one-night stand. But Liam’s walls are up and his heart is closed. That is, until another man enters the picture and threatens to steal Jasmine away forever. 

Now, Liam must decide – will he stand by and watch Jasmine fall for someone else or will he fight for the love he doesn’t even think he deserves?

Jenn’s Review:

Beast is a creative, modern retelling of the classic fairy tale, right down to the heroine of the story running away (or trying to). Jasmine is extremely attracted to her former one-night-stand turned managing partner of the law firm she works for, but Liam pushes her away, convinced that he doesn’t deserve her, is unworthy of her, is too ugly to have someone so beautiful in his life. To further complicate the situation, enter “Chess,” wealthy, handsome presidential candidate who wants Jasmine to be his, wants her to be his First Lady; yet something seems off about Chess, both to Jasmine and to Liam.

Well developed characters and a driving plot kept me turning pages to get through this book; had me cheering for both Jasmine and Liam, as well as giving me a few moments of wanting to shake them both to make them stop being dorks. Definitely worthwhile reading for lovers of romance.

Buy the Book:

You can buy this title from Amazon in Kindle format here. [affiliate link]

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Book Review

About the book:

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Contains Affiliate Link)

The Industrialist

Henrik Vanger, head of the dynastic Vanger Corporation, is tormented by the loss of a child decades earlier and convinced that a member of his family has committed murder.

The Journalist

Mikael Blomkvist delves deep into the Vangers’ past to uncover the truth behind the unsolved mystery. But someone else wants the past to remain a secret and will go to any lengths to keep it that way.

The girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Lisbeth Salander, the enigmatic, delinquent and dangerous security specialist, assists in the investigation. A genius computer hacker, she tolerates no restrictions placed upon her by individuals, society or the law.  (From back cover of book)

Brian’s Review:

This is book one to a great trilogy.  I highly recommend reading this book before you endeavor on seeing the film.  Filled with twists suspense action and all out making you cheer for the underdog, the Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo will have you cheering and fearing page after page.  Word of warning, once you open this book you will not want to stop reading until you have read all 3 books in the series.  If you love books, if you love words, you love justice, then you undoubtedly love this book.

Buy the Book:

Thrice Read Books has a copy of this book for sale here.

You can also purchase this title from Amazon in Kindle, paperback, hardcover, audiobook and mass market paperback here. [affiliate link]

Eat Pray Love – Book Review

About the book:

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (Contains Affiliate Link)

This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali. By turns rapturous and rueful, this wise and funny author (whom Booklist calls “Anne Lamott’s hip, yoga- practicing, footloose younger sister”) is poised to garner yet more adoring fans. 

Jenn’s Review:

Admittedly, I saw the movie before reading the book. (I was beyond thrilled to discover that it was a book, and snatched it up when I found it) The book, by far, is the better time investment. Gilbert is an incredible, intense story teller, and this book has touched so many lives, in so many deep ways (my life included). It catalyzed the spiritual journey that I began about 6 years ago, and helped me to figure out that I did indeed need to answer some of the deeper questions that I’d put off for years. Utterly relate-able to any woman who has been through divorce, depression, yearning or longing of any kind, this is in my top 10 books that I want my daughter to read someday.

Buy the book:

Thrice Read Books has one copy of this book in inventory. Buy it here.

You can also buy this book (10th Anniversary edition) from Amazon in paperback, kindle, hardcover, audible, or audio CD here. [affiliate link]

The Butterfly Garden – Book Review

About the book:

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…

Jenn’s Review:

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison (contains affiliate link)

Okay, I am generally not one for psychological thrillers, but this one had me hooked from the go. “Maya” is one of several young women (girls? They’re all between 16 and 20, with one exception) who have been rescued from a serial abductor’s clutches, but she isn’t exactly forthcoming with the information the FBI needs to wrap up the investigation.

Instead, Maya takes readers, and her FBI interrogators, on a roundabout meander through the garden prison and the lives and deaths of her fellow “Butterflies” that have been her life for the last 2 years.

An amazingly spun tale of intrigue, broken lives, psychopaths and the deep inner strength that defines survivors of trauma. If you enjoy thrillers, don’t miss this wonderfully written story told in three parts.

**Warning: While most of the scenes are glossed over, there are a couple of dicey places that could trigger those with their own childhood sexual traumas, or those who are sensitive to violence.

Buy the book:

This book is available through Amazon as a Kindle, paperback, hardback, audio CD or MP3 CD here. [affiliate link]