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review 2017-09-07 16:16
Conclusion to this tale of the rise of Christianity in the frozen North
Black Road Volume 2: A Pagan Death - Bri... Black Road Volume 2: A Pagan Death - Brian Wood

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This comic collection deals with Magnus, a fierce warrior, out to defeat a renegade Bishop who plans to establish his own Christian rule in the North of Scandinavia. Alongside him is Kitta, a smith, and ahead of him is Jessica, a Jewess also possibly out to kill the bishop. Flashbacks, betrayal, battles, bloodshed and death of loved ones are all part of the plot.

 

Well-illustrated and interesting, this is worth a look. It all arrives at a satisfactory conclusion and it's recommended to lovers of tales about barbarians or history.

 

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review 2017-06-07 22:27
Forever Is The Worst Long Time
Forever is the Worst Long Time: A Novel - Camille Pagán

Title:  Forever Is The Worst Long Time

Author:  Camille Pagan

Publisher:  Lake Union Publishing

Reviewed By:  Arlena Dean

Rating: Four

Review:

 

"Forever Is The Worst Long Time" by Camille Pagan

 

My Thoughts....

 

This was a read of emotions, love, friendship, betrayal, tragic, loss,regret, forgiveness with three main characters: James, Lou and Rob who were all far from perfect.  With their stupid mistakes they made, along with some crazy decisions will they ever be able to stop all of the hurting that is going on among these friends? This author gives the reader quite a complex plot that is well developed with surprises that goes in unexpected ways with surprises, celebrations as well as disappointments that will have you at some time shaking your head.  By the end  of this story the reader gets quite a heart breaking, wrenching story that will also be very thought provoking and also engaging read from 'lack of closeness in relations, ruined friendships, death and loss'.  What else can be said about this story is the choices that one makes in there life can turn out to be short and or long term consequences.  'Life is short and it is what you make of it... for one must make it count.'

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review 2017-03-03 20:17
Review: Animal Magic
Pagan Portals - Animal Magic: Working With Spirit Animal Guides - Rachel Patterson

I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Although I've always been interested in spiritualism and it's various practices, this was the first time I've read an actual book about it. Coming from a complete newbie, but I think this was a great introduction, if not to witchcraft and wicca, to spiritualism and working with animal familiars and spirits.

As a species, humans tend to think we're better than animals and completely ignore what they can teach us, but I've never agreed with that assessment. This guide did a really great job of sharing what you can learn from animals, and what they can symbolize when appearing in your life or even your dreams. I actually had an interesting dream while reading this that tied in nicely with the author's narrative.

While the author had a good go at making a comprehensive list of the animals, some that I were interested in were unfortunately left out. Understandable, as obviously it would have been much longer if she had listed every single animal... and then it would have been more of an index than a guide. There are also very practical and easy to follow exercises and meditations to find your own spirit guides, which I'm looking forward to try myself. This book left me with a working knowledge on how to find my animal guides and a sparking curiosity to learn more.

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review 2017-02-09 18:52
Confessions of a Pagan Nun
Confessions of a Pagan Nun - Kate Horsley

Ireland, c500 AD

 

Giannon's home was a configuration of branches, stones, and mud. A dome and a shed of these materials leaned against one another like old drunken warriors at a banquet. All around these structures was a variety of grasses, blossoms, and bushes that I had never seen before. Drying herbs, jars on tethers, and staffs of yew and oak hung on the sides of his dwelling so that it reminded me of Giannon himself when he travelled beneath a tangle of druidic accessories. The clearing with its gardens and dwelling was empty of human life, though a ragged gray wolf scampered into the woods from there. Some might say that the wolf was Giannon transformed, but I only had the sense that the wolf was hungry and weak, for the past winter had been fiercely cold.

 

I entered the dwelling and found the inside also strung with dried plants, jars, and staffs. There were shelves on which a chaos of boxes and jars sat along with feathers and scrolls and dust. The only furnishings were a table, a small bench, and a bed made of straw covered with the skins of bear and fox. More scrolls, codices, and tablets sat upon these furnishings, as though the originals had multiplied in some orgy when their master was away.

 

I walked carefully through this strange chamber, afraid that all of Giannon's belongings and the dwelling itself were capable of collapsing into a dusty pile of rubble. And I believed that a druid's dwelling could likely be set with spells from which I would emerge transformed into a beetle or a bee. I waited for Giannon outside, until the world grew dim and I could see wolves running along the tree line beyond the small clearing in which Giannon's home nested. Finally I saw Giannon approach …

 

This book has as its setting the period when the Church moved in and took over Ireland. It is the story of Gwynneve, who trains as a Ban-druí (druidess) under a surly and disillusioned druid watching his order pass into history as the tonsured monks and priests swarm over the land.

 

But two stories run concurrently, in alternate chapters. Gwynneve's story of her childhood with her wonderful mother -

 

My father accused my mother of starving me by filling me up with stories instead of food. Everyone in my túath was hungry, especially during the months of thick frost. But I did not want food as much as I craved her stories, which soothed me. I listened to my mother weave words together and create worlds, as though she were a goddess. Words came from her mouth and dispelled my loneliness, even when she was not with me. She began every story with the phrase "It was given to me that …"

 

- and then, when her mother died, her story of her life with Giannon the druid. Meanwhile, in the other chapters, we learn about the life she leads now as a nun among other Christian nuns who are drifting helplessly under the authority of a monk, Brother Adrianus, one of a small band who joined the nuns at the shrine of St Brigit and who has assumed the title and dignity of Abbot.

 

It is, let me say at once, depressing in parts. How could it not be? But as Gwynneve the nun, in the convent that is becoming daily more like a prison (and longing for her druid lover) writes her story on her treasured parchments, it is also very moving and uplifting.

 

Take some of Gwynneve's views and comments (recorded in the secret diary). Faced with unbelievable ignorance and stupidity, she writes: "I admonish myself and all who read this not to be ignorant on any matters of which knowledge is available. Do not be afraid of the truth …"

 

And later: "For we both both were weak in doctrine and strong in questions. But we both loved effort and knowledge, though I saw Giannon become weary in his eyes. I do not understand a man who does not want to know all that he can know."

 

On the loneliness of incarnation: "Among all the wisdom and facts I learned from Giannon, I also learned the loneliness of incarnation, in which there is inevitably a separation of souls because of the uniqueness of our faces and our experiences."

 

On God and nature: "I cannot see that any religion is true that does not recognize its gods in the green wave of trees on a mountainside or the echo of a bird's song that makes ripple on a shadowed pool […] This land is full of holiness that I cannot describe.  Brigit knows this. Brigit to me is the wisest of all the saints. She knows the value of ale and the comfort of poetry."

 

On Christ and kindness: "That Christ fed fish and bread to the poor and spoke to the outcast whore makes me want his company on this dark night. The world is full of immortals but sorely lacking in kindness."

 

It is indeed. And the end is truly shocking. Not depressing, no, on second thoughts. Tragic.

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review 2017-02-08 14:26
Forever is the Worst Long Time/Camille Pagán
Forever is the Worst Long Time: A Novel - Camille Pagán

When struggling novelist James Hernandez meets poet Louisa “Lou” Bell, he’s sure he’s just found the love of his life. There’s just one problem: she’s engaged to his oldest friend, Rob. So James toasts their union and swallows his desire.

As the years pass, James’s dreams always seem just out of reach—he can’t finish that novel, can’t mend his relationship with his father, can’t fully commit to a romantic relationship. He just can’t move on. But after betrayal fractures Lou’s once-solid marriage, she turns to James for comfort.

When Lou and James act on their long-standing mutual attraction, the consequences are more heartbreaking—and miraculous—than either of them could have ever anticipated. Then life throws James one more curveball, and he, Rob, and Lou are forced to come to terms with the unexpected ways in which love and loss are intertwined.

 

This book didn't go the way that I expected it to, but instead it was incredibly touching, leaving me in a bundle of emotions and tears.

 

Incredibly well written, this book actually made me go back several times to check that it was indeed a work of fiction and not a memoir. I enjoyed the occasional use of second person, which made me feel involved in the story and gave me another lens through which to read the story.

 

I can't say I was terribly fond of James as a character, but seeing him grow was nonetheless an intriguing experience. The way that he interacted with his dreams was so terribly realistic and very telling of what real people go through, but the way he ultimately chose an unexpected path was really sweet.

 

Lou, also, kind of irked me, but I think that's because of how James portrayed her. I appreciated her reality check when it came to the idea of love and how it lasts, endures, and changes throughout time, but in general James made her seem too perfect for no apparent reasons.

 

The way this dealt with death felt very poignant and realistic--from a scene early in the book to one near the end, I felt like characters dealt with death in a way that I could relate to, and the scenes were touching. James makes a lot of poignant observations about how humans grieve.

 

As long as you don't mind crying, I recommend this book.

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