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review 2020-04-16 13:03
Beltane: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for May Day - Melanie Marquis,Llewellyn

by Melanie Marquis


I liked that the series introduction acknowledges the differences in the northern and southern hemispheres and how they fit into the wheel of the year. There's some really good comments about various beliefs in entities that made me expect good things from the book.


This book is well researched, but a little dry and academic. Sometimes it feels like a list of historical information bytes. Before I read the author's history in the back, I had no sense of her having any personal experience or connection to ritual.


She seems unaware that traditions like Morris dancing are still widely practiced in England and much of the information was very much from an American perspective, especially the 'denominations' of Paganism that might practice Beltane. What I found most 'off' in this section was the explanation of Eclectic Witchcraft, which the author seems to connect specifically with sex magick. In my experience, sex magick is more often practiced by magicians and Eclectic Wicca is just a name for those who borrow rituals and traditions from a variety of sources.


There's a section on festivals, but none of the really well-known ones like Starwood seem to have been included.


This seems to be directed mainly at beginners. There are a few simple rituals, which are pretty elementary, and there is a section on recipes and crafts. No traditional Honey Cakes, but the 'Sun cakes', which are basically orange cookies, sound nice. There are instructions for wand and crown decorating that many may find useful.


There's a section called Prayers and Invocations which provides some rituals of celebration, but they put too much emphasis on deity for my personal taste. Also given are Correspondences for Beltane, which is basically a collection of lists.

Further reading is also suggested, which included material from Ron Hutton which I would certainly recommend.

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review 2019-09-19 22:46
"Breaking The Lore - Inspector Paris #1" by Andy Redsmith
Breaking the Lore (Inspector Paris Mystery #1) - Andy Redsmith


"Breaking The Lore" is... well really quite unusual. It's a sort of humorous supernatural detective story that is serious about world-building and providing a puzzle-to-solve-plot and keeps its tongue pushed firmly into its cheek for everything else.


Of course, any book that involves a senior police officer stumbling across the existence of large numbers of supernatural creates in Manchester is bound to be unconventional. Add in demons as the supernatural creature all the other supernaturals hate and then set up the possibility of a demon war in Manchester's leafy suburbs and you have something decidedly odd.


I was encouraged by the first two sentences of "Breaking The Lore". They're up there at the top of my "set the bar high" quotes for starting a book:


Discovering fairies at the bottom of the garden is supposed to be good luck. Except when the fairy has been crucified.


This kind of humour by juxtaposition is one of the things the book does well, constantly appearing to lead you in one direction and while really heading in another. It's also not above corny jokes, over-elaborate groan-making puns and character names that take the piss - a troll princess called Rocky - really?.


Some of the humour comes from playing off almost-clichéd characters against each other in unexpected ways. The core human team is a clever but not sociable Detective Inspector who "lubricates" his problem-solving by drinking large amounts of whiskey while alone, a Detective Sargeant who is big, strong, enthusiastic and seems too stupid ever to have passed the Sargeant's exam and a young (at least by comparison to the middle-aged Detective Inspector) Witch who is unflappable, may or may not be able to do magic but definitely gives great banter and dry wit.


The supernaturals include just about every race you can think of but the core team consists or an elf, a troll, a demon, a talking crow and a bunch of dwarfs.


"Breaking The Lore" was light, fast fun with some original twists, humour that will make you laugh or groan and some methods of combat that I've never seen used before. Probably best enjoyed on a sunny day with a beer in your hand and your favourite comfort food / snacks nearby.



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text 2019-09-15 19:30
Reading progress update: I've read 7%.
Breaking the Lore (Inspector Paris Mystery #1) - Andy Redsmith


This one is a bit of a punt. It's meant to be funny. It's about a demon war... in Manchester.


I'm encouraged by the first two sentences. They're up there at the top of my "set the bar high" quotes for starting a book:


Discovering fairies at the bottom of the garden is supposed to be good luck. Except when the fairy has been crucified.

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review 2019-05-17 05:37
Review: The Lorien Legacies, The Lost Files: The Legacies
The Legacies - Pittacus Lore

This is a collection of three novellas that fit into the world of The Lorien Legacies.  As far as reading order, they all come between books one and two, although that's not how they fit chronologically.  But none of that matters.


They are great stories.  The first two give backstory on Numbers Six and Nine respectively.  We get to see a little of their lives before/during the murders of One, Two and Three.  We meet their Cêpans and see their lives before they are turned completely upside down.  The stories really make you empathize with the characters.  They only want a small semblance of normalcy, to be regular teenagers with friends, homework, and love interests.  Instead they are on constant guard for fear of discovery by Mogadorian scouts.  They are the only hope of stopping the Mogs from destroying Earth, and rebuilding their race, their planet. 


The stories are both exciting and sad.  They live nomadic lifestyles, moving from place to place, trying their best to blend in, to not stand out.  Hiding in plain sight, but not exactly living.  They are just existing, surviving.  Their Cêpans'  only ambition is to train and prepare heir young wards for the coming war.  You can see why the young Garde have their little rebellions.  It's understandable, but it's also their downfall.


The third story is a bit of a twist.  In this one we follow the only son of an important Mogadorian General.  Adamus, or Adam, has been taught his entire life to hate the Loriens because the Loriens hate him and would happily see him dead.  He has great hopes to follow in his father's footsteps and eventually be a major player in the conquering of earth.  He believes he will be in control of his own territory and eagerly awaits the day that the nine Lorien Garde are dead and the Mogadorians can proceed with their plan to take over the planet.


Until his father takes him on a mission to follow a lead on a Garde.  Seeing Number One murdered, stabbed in the back, unnerves Adam.  His father then volunteers him for an experiment that is supposed to help him see the memories of the slain Garde.  The hope is that they will gather important intel about the remaining Garde.  What happens is the already compromised Adam is trapped in Number One's mind along with the apparent consciousness of Number One.  She has full control and takes him on a tour of her life.  If he was unsure before...


Adam is trapped with One in her memories for three years and when he awakens, he is more than a little conflicted.  His best friend has taken his place as his father's son and has virtually become his rival.  He's weaker than ever, which is very bad for a Mog, especially one who is the offspring of the most prominent Mog general.  But also, One has stayed with him and he now has no desire to hunt down the remainder of the Garde, or conquer Earth.  But he definitely can't tell his father that!


For the next few years he tries to act the model Mog all the while, plotting escape, planning ways that the Earth armies could defeat the Mog armies.  He's too late to stop Two's death, and in trying to stop Three's, he outs himself to his rival as a traitor.  


The end is a bit of a cliff hanger and I have no clue which book/novella will pick this plot line up again.  UGH!!!


Very good read.

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text 2019-05-17 02:57
Reading progress update: I've read 238 out of 351 pages.
The Legacies - Pittacus Lore

Into the final third of the book and we're being introduced to Mogadorians.  I think this is a ploy to get the reader to sympathize with them.  Perhaps seeing things from their point of view might give us pause.  Don't think it's gonna work...but we'll see...

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