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review 2018-01-18 14:52
Occulture
Occulture: The Unseen Forces That Drive Culture Forward - Carl Abrahamsson,Gary Valentine Lachman

by Carl Abrahamsson

 

Non-fiction

 

One of the first things I noticed with this book is that the chapter headings have notes below the titles that say each of them was first given at a lecture or printed as an article someplace, so it soon became clear that this is a collection of several years' writings collected by the author into book form for presentation to a new audience. The subject matter is sufficiently different in each to create a nicely balanced volume on occult influence in society and particularly in art.

 

This is not a book for learning to do magic(k), but is more about modern cultural influences and symbols that enter mainstream consciousness through various mediums of artistic expression. In the Forword written by Gary Lachman, he explains the term 'occulture', occult + culture, coined by Genesis-P-Orridge, a cult figure in certain circles of modern day magicians, then goes on to point out connections between art and the occult and the significance of interpreting one through the other.

 

The lectures and articles cover a fascinating variety of loosely related topics. They include commentaries on alternative lifestyles and the rise of occult culture through significant periods like the 1960s and 1980s and the British and German groups and personalities who shaped much of modern occult culture.

 

The reader gets the benefit of a perspective by someone who 'was there' and understands the significance of a variety of cultural influences that still affect the culture today. He speaks of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth as well as about Aleister Crowley and Anton LaVey and what he feels were the relevant contributions by controversial groups and personalities.

 

The perspective is very much about the intellectual side of the occult. No new age or airy-fairy crystal hugging comes into it. As occult history goes, this is an excellent reflection of the later twentieth century developments that built on the legacy of earlier magical Orders and traditions and the effects of an expanding cultural awareness that would shake the foundations of pre-twentieth century European occult study.

 

The significance of art and creativity is emphasised as is the freedom of social mores from the staid, limiting celibacy of groups like the early Golden Dawn and the cautions required by Medieval magicians to avoid any sniff of scandal that might lead to charges of heresy.

 

The history of Nazi involvement in the occult is detailed in one of the lectures and makes for interesting reading from a historical perspective as well. That lecture somehow moves from this to beatniks in California, which gives the reader an idea of the broad scope of some of the topics discussed.

 

This book would be of interest to anyone interested in occult history or in cultural development and the influence of art. It fills in the recent gaps in documented history for those of us who are too young to have been there for the changes in the 1980s and before as these periods are often not addressed in earlier books on the subject.

 

It also goes into everything from philosophy to conspiracy theories in recent decades and even Pokemon Go! I found all of the articles interesting for different reasons. A real treasure for anyone with interest in magick or the occult.

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review 2018-01-18 06:28
Loving a Fairy Godmother by Danielle Monsch
Loving a Fairy Godmother - Danielle Monsch

Tiernan is in trouble. His Fairy Godmother led him to the dragon all right, but said dragon caused him a mortal injury and the Fairy Godmother cannot stop feeling sorry for herself instead of helping him...So he makes a wish to be just like her, and he ends up being the only Fairy Godfather in the Faerie Realm, and in love with a fellow Fairy Godmother who'd rather see him gone.

Thirty years later, Reina just might get her wish, since Tiernan is the only FG without a HEA on file. He also got an ultimatum—get a HEA or go back to where he was before his wish was granted. Which means dying. They cannot have that, so Reina is tasked with assisting him in getting Cinderella her HEA...And the girl might not be the only one.


I absolutely loved this story. It had it all, wonderful characters, dimples, humor, magic, a little bit of drama, some conflict, and romance.

Cinderella's was a given (with a little twist), but Tiernan and Reina's held all my attention.
They had the smolder, the attraction, the UST, and the angst and drama, yet the conflict, though not easily and quickly resolved, worked both in creating tension and offering character development and growth, while also serving as additional background for the two characters.

Despite the diminutive length of the story, the plot had depth, the characters were developed nicely, the conflict was resolved at a reasonable speed, there was no rush to/for anything, and yes, the romance was adorable. I was rooting for the two idiots from the get-go, and I'm glad my hunch about FG Sara proved to be right.

A truly lovely little story.

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review 2018-01-18 06:24
Kiss That Frog by Cate Rowan
Kiss That Frog: A Modern Fairy Tale - Cate Rowan

***available in the Once Upon A Fairy Tale collection***

Sofia is frogsitting for her niece and developing quite a good rapport with Toad. Then, one day on a whim, she kisses Toad...And half an hour later, there's a strange man sitting in her apartment.


This story made me smile. It was super short, resulting in a feeling everything was resolved in quite a rush (they only knew each other—as humans—one afternoon), but it was super cute, and it didn't turn to the cultural-shock, time-travelling-hero-too-out-of-his-depth trope to keep things going.

Loved it.
  

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review 2018-01-18 06:22
A Happily Ever After of Her Own by Nadia Lee
A Happily Ever After of Her Own - Nadia Lee

***available in the Once Upon A Fairy Tale collection***

Melinda Lightfoot has the ability of travelling between our and the fairy tale realm. But one day she is caught trespassing in The Beauty and the Beast fairy tale and charged with kidnapping Beauty as the heroine disappears.

In order to overthrow her conviction as a Fairy Tale Killer, Melinda must return to the real world and find Beauty. She has three days to do it, and to make things even more complicated, Beast (in his studly princely form) decides to tag along.


This one was a hoot to read with Edward (Beast) experiencing cultural shock as he accompanied Melinda to the real world.

I liked both protagonists, though I wish the romance would've been developed a little bit better, but I guess the author was pressed for time.
The final resolution also felt a bit rushed, but "they all lived happily ever after".
  

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review 2018-01-17 21:26
Ambition and Destiny
Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution - Nathaniel Philbrick

The war for Independence has long been glorified in our history books. However, Nathaniel Philbrick looks through the layers and brings us a untarnished view on the history of the war.

George Washington and Benedict Arnold were two men that became legend during the war. While the war raged on, the two men could not have been more different. Washington worried about the army as the whole and suffered from indecision. Arnold thought of himself and what he could gain from the war. Two men who had greatness before them, but who could not have been more different in their mindsets and goals.
Benedict Arnold became one of the greatest traitors in the history of the United States, and his defection could have demoralized the entire army. However, Washington had been turning the war around, and those who had once been detractors of the Commander in Chief were realizing that he was the only one who could effectively lead the army. Arnold wanted to enrich himself, and come out of the war as a hero, but his actions can speak to anything but. Instead of working toward the betterment of his country, he became a turncoat, and began to work with the enemy, with the urging of his second wife, Peggy.

This is one of the best books on the American Revolution that I have read. While Benedict Arnold and George Washington are the two main characters, there is so much more present. The highs and lows, the good and the bad are all played out on the pages, and no one is spared. From the Continental Congress, to the French allies - every leaf is overturned to give a comprehensive view and greater understanding of what lead to the defection of Benedict Arnold.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the war, and the men who's names have become entwined in history.

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