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Search tags: Reviewed-for-Netgalley
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review 2018-07-21 13:06
Haunted Castles of England
Haunted Castles of England - J.G. Montgomery

by L.M. Montgomery

 

Non-fiction

 

This started out with a dramatic scenario description, written in second person, sort of guiding the reader through a ghost encounter situation. After that, to my surprise, it actually explained ghost stories as only having life as stories and nothing real behind them. After that it gets into individual castles that are known for ghost stories and I was amused to find seven of them that I have been to.

 

Most of the book is a series of blurbs about each of the castles, giving a little history and relating what stories have been told about ghost sightings in them and any speculation about who these ghosts might be. The approach is refreshingly objective, though the author does admit to seeing three ghosts first hand at the end.

 

I expect to refer back to this book as a reference whenever I travel, to see what stories have been told about castles in the areas I visit. Though the individual entries are short, they are sufficiently descriptive to be a good travel guide for the castles themselves, with or without the ghosts.

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review 2018-07-19 10:53
Ghost Boy
Ghost Boy - Stafford Betty

by Stafford Betty

 

Sometimes a book starts a little awkwardly, like the author was trying too hard to make a start and to get too many things in too soon or to make a special effort to mention some 'agenda'. I had to make a few allowances for this one because the story I was expecting to read, about a protagonist who sees ghosts, was worked into that crucial first chapter smoothly enough to hope for some good flow to the rest of the story.

 

It did flow well after, though I felt the narrative was 'young' for my taste, but it's targeted at YA and middle grade and I would say appropriate for the middle grade age group, apart from the diversions into conversations about 'God' that don't quite fit in and come across as if the author is laying ground to push young readers towards religious beliefs.

 

Ben Conover is a boy from a religious family, but he sees ghosts, especially a girl ghost who he calls Abby. His parents don't believe what he sees is real of course and try to get him to stop making comments about it. The story covers interactions with other kids, both friends and foes, as well as family members. There are a few lessons about following the lead of older kids, especially relatives, who do things you know aren't smart and about dealing with life in general from a 12-13 year old's perspective.

 

Overall I did enjoy the story, but it didn't really progress in a central theme and I thought the ending left some inconclusive loose ends. I liked Ben as a character, but I did think some of the situations could have been better developed or followed up.

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review 2018-07-18 10:37
Llewellyn's Little Book of Life Between Lives
Llewellyn's Little Book of Life Between Lives - The Newton Institute

The Newton Institute

 

I have to admit that the first few chapters of this put far too much emphasis on belief. Maybe it's because I've read other books on this subject matter but I feel that someone who takes the trouble to read about it has already become at least open to belief and the 'exercises' in the first few chapters seem redundant and amount to quiet contemplation of the sort of things that will have already led the reader to pick up the book, like being attracted to certain places or eras.

 

As the chapters went on I had hoped for something more, but the 'exercises' continued to be more suggestions for things to think about rather than guidance for self-hypnosis as I've seen in other books. There were references for going between lives but no real instruction about how to accomplish that.

 

All of the 'evidence' presented was completely subjective accounts. No examples of evidence that got confirmed by historical records or surviving relatives of the previous person as I've seen elsewhere.

 

When it began talking about a council of elders, the book pretty much lost me and it went further into new age territory after that. To be quite honest, if this were the only book I had ever read on reincarnation, I would be writing the topic off as total fantasy. The writing itself is good, but there is nothing to convince the questioning reader that any of it is any more than imagination.

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review 2018-07-17 13:55
Woven in Wire
Woven in Wire - Sarah Thompson

by Sarah Thompson

 

The cover picture of this book is enough to see that it's for the more intricate and polished end of wire jewellery making. This is not one for beginners!

 

Having said that, the basics are still covered. Tools, Materials and Techniques are the first chapters, followed by Weaving and Sculpting before it gets into Symmetry and Transformation.

 

There are a lot of full color pictures of some very impressive jewellery pieces. The chapter on tools is straightforward enough and would be useful at any level of experience. It goes into more detail than I've seen in other books on wire weaving. Materials is slanted towards working in silver, though other craft wires are mentioned.

 

The chapter on techniques seems short, yet it's mind boggling. How can something look easy and complicated at the same time? As I said, this one isn't for the beginners. Weaving and sculpting are similarly simple yet complicated. Then instructions for the pictures pieces give the reader a chance to apply the information and find out just how easy/complicated putting it all into practice can be!

 

I'll be honest, this book scares me. It also intrigues me! I want to be able to make the sort of amazing jewellery that is shown but I know it's not as easy as it looks. I think practice is in order, but I'm not ready to invest in silver to the extent that making the really cool pieces would require.

 

The pieces are gorgeous though and the instructions are clear and detailed, so maybe someday.

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review 2018-07-06 10:00
Herbal Formularies for Health Professionals Vol. 2
Herbal Formularies for Health Professionals, Volume 2 - Jill Stansbury

by Dr. Jill Stansbury, ND

 

This is the second of a five volume set of herbal formularies, this one focusing on respiration and circulation. It starts with an introduction about honoring traditional knowledge, remembering that modern pharmacology came out of folkloric herbal medicine and most medicines are still refined from the same plants our ancestors used in raw form.

 

The book is well presented and reads like a serious book on medicine rather than the sort of airy-fairy new age stuff you often see about herbalism. There are three chapters within 184 pages of fascinating information, partially laid out in encyclopedic form. The first chapter is The Art of Herbal Formulation. This covers diagnosis, symptoms, and basically how to determine what herbs to use for a problem.

 

There is preventative advice like how to support vitality instead of opposing disease. The second chapter goes into creating formulas for the circulatory system. This includes what nutrients will support various biological processes and parts of the system. Some of the information like using cardio glycosides makes me think that a doctor's advice would be needed rather than self-treatment, but as a reference volume for someone in the medical profession it would be brilliant.

 

The drawing of various herbal plants add visual interest and are very well done. A lot of the herbal names are full Latin rather than common names, though the common names are included in the encyclopedic lists, so this is a book for serious study. Even if it gives me mental images of shelves lined with arcane bottles and a wisened old man with a long beard as apothocary!

 

The third chapter is on formulas for respiratory conditions. Like the second chapter, it explains the processes and follows with an encyclopedic list of relevant herbs. There is an appendix to compare scientific names to common names followed by another one to translate the common names to the Latin, then a glossary of therapeutic terms.

 

Unlike a lot of reference books, I think this one would be worth reading all through to familiarize the reader with the material, after which it would sit well on the shelf of a medical reference library. Someone with a formal medical education would probably already be familiar with most of the terms, but I found it all rather interesting.

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