Find Your Goddess

Skye Alexander, author of “Find Your Goddess: How to Manifest the Power and Wisdom of the Ancient Goddesses in Your Everyday Life”, unsurprisingly wants you to find and work with a goddess or two. In her latest book she doesn’t spend loads of time convincing you of this, instead she lets the goddesses themselves do the talking and the teaching.

“Find Your Goddess” offers a diverse selection of profiles for approximately 75 goddesses. Each entry gives a brief overview of the history and mythology and her virtues. Then Alexander discusses how you can manifest their power. With a variety of female deities ranging from Persephone to Mama Quilla you’re bound to find at least one, if not many goddesses that resonate with you. “Find Your Goddess” is a great jumping off point to find goddesses you want to research, but it also is great for those just looking to explore a wider variety of female deities.

Learn more here.

Due to some confusion over shipping I ended up with two copies of this little gem, so I’ll be giving one away to you! We’re doing the Rafflecopter thing again! Contest is open October 15, 2018 until 11:59 P.M. Eastern Saturday, October 20, 2018. Must be 16 years or older to enter. Open internationally. Not sponsored by any social media service including Facebook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Teenage Slasher Movie Book

I don’t know if you’ll find this surprising or not, but I do not watch horror movies. I just can’t handle it, they stick with me way too long. That said, I love reading about horror movies. I go online and read plot summaries, analysis, and reviews for tons of horror movies. Weird, right? I just feel the genre has a lot to offer. That’s why I agreed to read and review the 2nd revised and expanded edition of “The Teenage Slasher Movie Book” by J.A. Kerswell. I will admit that I don’t normally look into the slasher subgenre, but just like the rest of the horror genre, the author showed me there are surprises to be found there.

Have you heard of the gory, Italian, thrillers known as giallos? I hadn’t, but it turns out they played a huge role in the eventual teenage slasher film. I had no idea that many popular slasher movies came from Canada! Sure, now it seems all movies come from Canada, but the late 70’s, I had no clue. Also, I didn’t realize that Britain had previewed and censored all videos being released in the country. This delayed the release of many slasher movies in the country.

Kerswell does an excellent job condensing the history and works of the genre into a fast paced read. He succeeds in striking the balance of treating the subject matter seriously while acknowledging how silly it can all be.

With Kerswell’s authoritative writing and a dizzying amount of full color photos from films and movie posters, I can safely say “The Teenage Slasher Movie Book” is a great resource for anyone interested in horror films.

You can learn more here.

Zen Bunnies!

Who doesn’t love cute bunnies? Seriously, does anyone ever think, I have no interest in adorable bunnies? Since one of my favorite things to do online is look at cute animals, when I was offered a chance to check out “Zen Bunnies: Meditations for the Wise Minds of Bunny Lovers” I was all in. Talk about truth in advertising, it is a whole book of photos of little bunnies paired with assorted Buddhist and mindfulness type quotes. The author credit on the cover is “Gautama Buddha and the editors of Mango Publishing”.

Is this a scholarly work for practitioners of Buddhism? No. But is it the perfect gift for any occasion? Absolutely. The combination of cute bunnies and thoughtful quotes make it an excellent gift for just about anyone, for any reason. Perhaps even for yourself to enjoy.

To learn more about “Zen Bunnies”, visit here.

Good news! Mango Publishing was nice enough to provide a copy of “Zen Bunnies” to give away to one lucky reader! I’m using my usual Rafflecopter option, so see how to enter below. Contest ends Saturday, Sept. 29th at 11:59 PM eastern. No social media platforms are sponsoring this contest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oops He Did It Again!

It may seem weird to use a Britney Spear’s song title for a book review about Zen Buddhism. However, we’re talking about Brad Warner’s latest book “It Came from Beyond Zen! More Practical Advice from Dogen, Japan’s Greatest Zen Master”. Warner is well known for dropping some popular cultural throughout his books. (Full disclosure, I doubt he’s a Britney fan.)

As for truth in advertising, the title fits the reality. Again, Warner goes through the teachings of Dogen and breaks it down so us non-Japanese speaking, non-Chinese speaking, non-practicing Buddhists can understand the frequent twists and turns that Zen writings can take. First Warner translates the texts into a layman’s translation, then follows that with some information about other English translations and explains his personal interpretations on what each writing means. Therefore, Warner is one of my favorite writers when it comes to Zen Buddhism. He works hard so it’s accessible for everyone.

I know it’s a short review, but what more can I say? Researched, thought provoking writings presented in an accessible, fun manner.

Learn more about “It Came from Beyond Zen!” here.

Tarot Made Simple

Prepare yourselves for what you are about to see! There are loads of books on the subject of tarot and how to do tarot readings, but I think I may have come across one of the best for beginners or people with horrible memories (like me). Let me introduce you to “Tarot Made Simple” by Liz Dean.

“Tarot Made Simple” has this fantastic split page design that allows you to choose your tarot spread, leave that page open to follow along, but also lets you look up individual card meanings without losing the page the spread is on! Watch this short video of the book in action!

What more is there to say? I think it’s a great resource, particularly with its unique format.

You can learn more here.

The Green Burial Guidebook

Not to be morbid, but we’re all going to die. We generally learn this at a young age, which gives you (hopefully) plenty of time to ponder that fact. For as long as I can remember I told people that when I died to donate any parts of my body that could help others, cremate me, and toss the ashes in the garbage because they don’t really matter. I found the idea of my body being around in an urn, or with a headstone somewhere, to be kind of a burden on those left behind. Why bother? I’ll be dead so who cares what happens?

Then, thanks to the internet I started seeing articles about having your ashes put in a seed pod to grow a tree. Suddenly there seemed like there was a way for my body to still be useful! Of course that was the stuff of essentially internet legend, right?

This all brings us to the fascinating book “The Green Burial Guidebook: Everything You Need to Plan an Affordable, Environmentally Friendly Burial” by Elizabeth Fournier. What an amazing resource! I got to learn about the impact our deaths have on the environment. Embalming, caskets, even cremation all have different impacts on the environment. Fournier expertly explains all these differences and how you can choose to lessen the environmental impact of your burial. Better still, she takes you step by step through the funeral process. Different types of funerals, various laws to consider, figuring out what to be buried in, cremations, and more are clearly outlined. Once you’re loaded with all this information and feel ready to act on your new knowledge, Fournier offers a bunch of resources.

“The Green Burial Guidebook” is a helpful book to read to just to learn about the after death process of legally burying someone and honoring the deceased wishes. Essentially if you, or anyone you know, is planning on dying one day, you should read this book.

You can learn more here.

Lunar Nomad Oracle

If you follow me on social media and/or have been a long-time reader you know I have a big tarot/oracle deck addiction. To me there really isn’t such a thing as a bad deck, but after a while you start to seek out things that stand apart from the crowd and I have found something truly unique in “The Lunar Nomad Oracle” by Shaheen Miro.

It’s rare to find an oracle deck with so much intense thought put into its construction. “The Lunar Nomad Oracle” starts on the skeleton of the Lenormand deck, a 36-card deck of symbols that most likely evolved from a card game towards the end of the 18th century. Miro’s deck is expanded to 43 cards but holds firm to its Lenormand beginnings. The art for the deck and the design were both done by Miro, which I feel lends a grounding cohesiveness to the dream-like nature of the oracle. Miro indicates that there are three levels of symbolism in each card: archetypal, general, and personal. Personally, I feel that checks out.

All this work is to help you get in touch with your “Lunar” self, which I would sum up as your creative, magical self. Will it work for you? If it doesn’t, it certainly isn’t for Miro’s lack of trying. “The Lunar Nomad Oracle” truly stands apart from its peers.

Learn more here.

Loves Me, Loves Me Not

I keep hearing that this strange season called spring is approaching. Flowers will be blooming and markets everywhere will be selling all kinds of arrangements for Mother’s Day. However, before you pick a flower based on its looks, wouldn’t it be cool to know what that flower represents? Enter “Loves Me, Loves Me Not: The Hidden Language of Flowers” by Peter Loewer.

If you read my review of the “Botanical Inspirations” deck then you already know that global culture and folklore has always attributed special meanings for flowers based on their appearance or practical applications. Peter Loewer specifically takes a look at the Victorian era and their love of the language of flowers. “Loves Me, Loves Me Not” profiles 50 flowers and better yet each entry is paired with a beautiful, full color illustration by Loewer.

Obviously this book is great for nature and flower lovers. Now I don’t want to tell you how to live your life, but if I was considering getting flowers for someone as a gift, I would absolutely buy this book, pick the flowers based on their meanings, and then give the flowers AND this book as a gift. But you know, you do you. “Loves Me, Loves Me Not” is a delightful and informative read that is made for sharing!

You can learn more here.

Witches, Sluts, Feminists

So this book has been out for nearly a year. I didn’t get to it right away, and the next thing you know, here we are, nearly a year later. However, no matter how long it sat in my “to do” pile I knew I would eventually get to it. I mean, the book is called “ Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive”, how could I resist? And although almost a year old, this book is more relevant than ever.

Kristen J. Sollee’s book is a fascinating exploration of the way non-conformist women have been treated by society historically and in modern times. There is an intricate web woven with the threads of sexuality and gender identity and the label witch that examined in great depth utilizing extensive research and interesting first person interviews. All of this makes “Witches, Sluts, Feminists” a must read for anyone woman who considers herself a witch and/or part of “the resistance” we’re seeing today.

If you want an informative, eye-opening read, Sollee’s “Witches, Sluts, Feminists” should go to the top of your “to do” pile!

To learn more, click here.

Batman: Gotham By Gaslight

At the end of January “Batman: Gotham by Gaslight” was released direct to video. It’s an animated feature based on the stand alone comic of the same name. I never read the comic, so when I learned the movie was out on DVD I picked it up, and well, I have feelings to share.

Let’s start with the film’s description from the back of the case:

It’s the Bat against the Butcher!
Gotham City, at the turn of the century, is experiencing a golden era of discovery and industry as showcased by affluent businessman Bruce Wayne’s World Fair. Down in the darkest alleys, however, there is a killer on the loose. Preying on the city’s women, this killer is precise as he is cruel. As Commissioner James Gordon tries to calm the fears of Gotham’s citizens over the butcher named Jack the Ripper, masked vigilante Batman does some detective work of his own, with the help of the sultry and surefooted Selina Kyle. Witness a world in flames as the killer’s controlled savagery meets the calculated stealth of the Dark Knight!

That relays the gist of the film quite nicely. Seriously, who can resist a dark, Victorian era version of Batman? Not this gal. However there is the weird feeling that they couldn’t convey the era without beating you over the head with it. For comic book folks, it’s generally believed that Gotham is a stand in for New York City (and Superman’s Metropolis is Chicago). Yet not only did they drop Chicago’s World Fair, complete with ferris wheel into NYC, but Batman is pursuing Jack the Ripper who we all know was a British problem. I get that this is a whole alternative universe thing, but it did feel kind of wonky.

Now let’s discuss the star of the show, Selina Kyle. This a fantastic version of the character. A shrewd business woman, a badass brawler, and a sexy show girl. Way cooler than Bruce Wayne or Batman. In the film she invents the Bat Signal and alternate universe or not, I’ve decided it is canon and that’s that.

The story, which I assume at least this part matches the comic, takes a surprise twist at the end, which I found pretty daring and well done. I won’t say more for fear of spoiling it.

The film is rated R for violence, but compared to many Jack the Ripper stories, the violence if fairly tame and never feels gratuitous.

Yes I had some petty gripes, but the good definitely outweighs the bad. If you dig Batman and the whole Victorian Era Steampunk thing, “Gotham by Gaslight” is worth checking out.