logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Spiritual
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-04-17 16:31
Inspired Traveller's Guide Spiritual Places by Sarah Baxter
Inspired Traveller's Guide Spiritual Places - Sarah Baxter

I love to travel but mostly I am a armchair tourist. I would love to visit everyone of the 25 places listed in this book. The 25 places listed in this book are from all over the world. They are all very spiritual places to visit. These are Spiritual not Religious. They open your spirit to the past. Some of the places are Crater Lake, Easter Island, and The Devil's Tower. There are amazing pictures of each site as well as a description  and some history. 

 

This is a short book but packed full of beauty and information. hopefully some day I will be able to see at least some of these places in person. 

 

I received this book from the Author or Publisher via Netgalley.com to read and review.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-03-28 10:51
Great characters, mind-bending twists and turns, and a fantastic ending.
The Fraud or Miracle Trilogy - Christoph Fischer

I have decided to review each story separately. So here goes…

First:

The Healer (Fraud or Miracle? Book 1)

by Christoph Fischer A psychologically astute book that will make you think about your own mortality. And what an ending!

I have read and reviewed a couple of the author’s books in the past and enjoyed them, and I was intrigued by this book when it came out, but due to my personal circumstances (my father suffered from cancer and died around the time of its publication) I didn’t feel I was in the best frame of mind for it. Now that it has been published as part of The Fraud and Miracle Trilogy, I was very pleased to receive a paperback copy and finally get to read it.

The story is deceptively simple. A woman suffering from terminal pancreatic cancer, desperate, follows the advice of her personal assistant and approaches a healer, Arpan. I am not sure if he would call himself a “faith” healer, but he insists that those he treats should be totally invested in the process, including transferring 50% of their assets to his account. Although he states all that money goes to charity, it caused suspicion and scandal years back, and he has been keeping a low profile ever since. After much insistence and a different deal, he agrees to treat Erica, who also has secrets of her own. There are strange conspiracies surrounding Arpan and his healing process but Erica’s life is changed forever. Things are not as they seem, of course.

The story is written in the third person from Erica’s point of view, and we get to share in her doubts, suspicions, paranoia, hope, and also to experience the healing with her. The book transmits a sense of claustrophobia, and although there are treks around the Welsh countryside and later we move to a different country, most of the story takes place within Arpan’s tent, and there are only a few main characters (mostly Erica (Maria), Arpan (Amesh), and Anuj) with some secondary characters that we don’t get to know very well (Hilda, Julia, Gunnar). There are no lengthy descriptions of settings or of the appearance of the characters, because we follow the point of view of a woman totally preoccupied with her health and her mortality, and that makes her not the most reliable of narrators. She describes the physical and mental effects that the illness and the healing process have on her, and we are also privy to her suspicions and doubts. The book offers fascinating psychological insights into how much our “rational” point of view can change when our life is at stake, and it is impossible to read it and not wonder what we would do in Erica’s place.

I kept thinking that the story, which relies heavily on dialogue (both between characters and also internal dialogue), would make a great play, and its intensity would be well suited to the stage. Although most of the characters are not sympathetic, to begin with, their humanity and the big questions they are forced to deal with make them intriguing and worthy subjects of our observations.

The ending brings a great twist to the story. Although I think most readers will have been suspicious and on alert due to the secrets, false information, continuous doubts, and different versions of the truth on offer, the actual ending will make them question everything and re-evaluate the story in a different light. And, considering the nature of the subject it deals with, that is a great achievement.

I recommend it to those who enjoy stories that make them think, to readers who are not searching for cheap thrills and prefer a psychologically astute book and especially to those who want to feel personally invested in the stories they read. I look forward to the rest of the books in the trilogy.

Second:

The Gamblers (Fraud or Miracle? Book 2)

My review:

This is the second book I read in the Fraud and Miracle trilogy, and its inclusion there is sure to put readers on their guard. But that is the beauty of it. You know something is going on, and you might even suspect what (although not, perhaps, in detail) but you can’t help but eagerly keep reading and follow the story, enmeshed in the same web of illusion and deceit that traps the main character, Ben.

The story is written in the third person and follows the point of view of Ben, the protagonist. He is a somewhat socially awkward young accountant who leads a modest life in London, who is not precisely streetwise, and who feels more at ease playing games in online communities than interacting socially in person. He is obsessed with numbers (in real life, I wondered if somebody with similar personality traits might fit into the very mild range of autistic spectrum disorder. He acknowledges that he is bad at reading people’s emotions and expressions, he is anxious in social situations and functions by imitating other people’s behaviour, he displays obsessive personality traits…) and does not believe in luck and chance. He is convinced that random events (like lottery or games of chance results) follow a pattern and he is determined to find it. He gets a bit lottery win (£64 million), and although he does not value money per se (at least at the beginning of the story), he decides to treat himself travelling to New York. Everything seems to change from that moment on, he makes a new friend (the glamorous and charming Mirco) and meets the girl of his dreams, Wendy.

The third person point of view suits the story perfectly. On the one hand, we follow Ben’s point of view and his thought processes. We are aware of his misgivings and doubts. He does not believe in luck, after all, and he cannot accept that all these good things are happening to him, especially as they seem to coincide with his lottery win. At the same time, the third person gives us enough distance to observe and judge Ben’s own behaviour (that does not always fit his self-proclaimed intentions and opinions) and also that of those around him. There are things that seem too good to be true, there are warnings offered by random people, there are strange behaviours (both, Mirco and Wendy, blow hot and cold at times), and there are the suspiciousness and rivalry between his new friends. We warm up to his naiveté and to his child-like wonder and enjoyment at the fabulous new life that falls on his lap, but we cannot help but chide him at times for being so easy to manipulate. 

The author reflects perfectly the process Ben goes through in his reading. Mirco keeps telling him that he should forget about methods and just “feel” the game, and despite his attachment to his theories, there is something in him that desperately wants to believe in miracles, in good luck, and, most of all, wants to believe that he deserves everything he gets: the money, the friendship, and the love. This is a book about con artists and the book implements their technique to perfection. Con-games are a big favourite of mine, and I love how well the book is designed, and how it treats its readers to a peep behind the scenes of the big players, while at the same time making them play the part of the victim. Yes, we might be shouting at Ben and telling him not to be so gullible, but what would we do in his place? Wouldn’t we just want it to be true too?

The story takes place in glamorous locations and it revolves around the world of high-stakes gambling, night-clubs, and big spenders. It might be particularly interesting to those who love casinos and betting, but that is only one aspect of the book. It can be read independently from the first book in the series, and although there are tense and emotionally difficult moments, there are no violence or extreme behaviours. And the ending… You might be more or less surprised by the big reveal, but the actual ending is likely to leave you with a smile on your face.

A book that will make you question yourself and that will keep you guessing until the end. A fun read for lovers of con-games and those who always wondered what they would do if their luck suddenly changed. I’m looking forward to the third book in the trilogy.

And third:

The Sanctuary on Cayman Brac: Key to the Truth (Fraud or Miracle? Book 3)

by Christoph Fischer Plenty of lessons to learn in a twisty mystery with a jaw-dropping ending

My review:

This is book three in the Fraud and Miracle Trilogy, and after reading it, I confess I’ll miss the characters and the twists and turns.

The series deals in subjects that seem more relevant now than ever. In a world dominated by fake news, where elections are doctored, and the future of a nation might be in the hands of people who manipulate data to benefit the highest bidder, the status of the information we take for granted, who deserves our trust and how far we would be prepared to go to learn the truth have become pressing matters we all must seriously think about.

Author Christoph Fischer brings together the cast of the two previous novels, delighting the many readers who felt, like Erica, that things were not settled and they wanted to know what would happen next. Had she really discovered the truth, and was she going to let it go at that? Like we did in The Healer, we follow Erica, who has managed to locate Arpan in Cayman Brac, and has decided to confront him, gun in hand. But, no matter how determined she is, she cannot resist the connection she felt to Arpan, and she accepts his version of the truth. Of course, that might be “his” truth, but is it what really happened? Erica once again cycles from belief to doubt and back again, and although her feelings for Arpan intensify, she needs to know if she was ever “healed” or not. Thanks to her insistence we get to meet Hilda, but like many other characters in the story, appearances can be deceptive.

Readers of the series will recognise some of the characters from The Gamblers and that will make them keep a close eye on what they do. But even with the advantage we have over Erica (we follow her and share in her clues, but have good reason to doubt some of the events, as we know who some of the students at Arpan school really are), the author once more keeps adding twists to the story, and the final reveal scene (worthy of an Agatha Christie novel) is as tense as any of the poker games in The Gamblers. I will not reveal the many bluffs, but if I had to summarise it I’d say… Wow.

I particularly enjoyed meeting Erica again. Although the nature of her healing might not be what she had initially expected, she is much more open and human, able to recognise her own limitations and weaknesses, and prepared to experiment and enjoy life. While some of the other characters might not have changed much (and continue to play for high stakes), others, like Ben, have learned their lessons and now focus on what really matters. Beyond the twists and turns of the plot, there are solid characters that grow and change throughout the series and we root for them and care for their well-being.

The island and the retreat, which we enjoy both as visitors and as participants thanks to Erica, are beautiful and inspiring and although most of us would find it difficult to cope with some of the rules and restrictions of the sanctuary, we’d all love to visit it and spend some time recovering and reenergizing. Personally, I would love to experience the inner workings of such a place and perhaps even to bear witness to some of the mind games.

A great ending to the trilogy, entertaining, satisfying, and surprising, that will leave readers feeling hopeful and confident. Sometimes the teachers are the ones who need to learn the lessons and letting go of control is the way to progress and evolve. My congratulations to the author.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-03-28 10:42
Plenty of lessons to learn in a twisty mystery with a jaw-dropping ending
The Sanctuary on Cayman Brac: Key to the Truth (Fraud or Miracle? Book 3) - Christoph Fischer

This is book three in the Fraud and Miracle Trilogy, and after reading it, I confess I’ll miss the characters and the twists and turns.

The series deals in subjects that seem more relevant now than ever. In a world dominated by fake news, where elections are doctored, and the future of a nation might be in the hands of people who manipulate data to benefit the highest bidder, the status of the information we take for granted, who deserves our trust and how far we would be prepared to go to learn the truth have become pressing matters we all must seriously think about.

Author Christoph Fischer brings together the cast of the two previous novels, delighting the many readers who felt, like Erica, that things were not settled and they wanted to know what would happen next. Had she really discovered the truth, and was she going to let it go at that? Like we did in The Healer, we follow Erica, who has managed to locate Arpan in Cayman Brac, and has decided to confront him, gun in hand. But, no matter how determined she is, she cannot resist the connection she felt to Arpan, and she accepts his version of the truth. Of course, that might be “his” truth, but is it what really happened? Erica once again cycles from belief to doubt and back again, and although her feelings for Arpan intensify, she needs to know if she was ever “healed” or not. Thanks to her insistence we get to meet Hilda, but like many other characters in the story, appearances can be deceptive.

Readers of the series will recognise some of the characters from The Gamblers and that will make them keep a close eye on what they do. But even with the advantage we have over Erica (we follow her and share in her clues, but have good reason to doubt some of the events, as we know who some of the students at Arpan school really are), the author once more keeps adding twists to the story, and the final reveal scene (worthy of an Agatha Christie novel) is as tense as any of the poker games in The Gamblers. I will not reveal the many bluffs, but if I had to summarise it I’d say… Wow.

I particularly enjoyed meeting Erica again. Although the nature of her healing might not be what she had initially expected, she is much more open and human, able to recognise her own limitations and weaknesses, and prepared to experiment and enjoy life. While some of the other characters might not have changed much (and continue to play for high stakes), others, like Ben, have learned their lessons and now focus on what really matters. Beyond the twists and turns of the plot, there are solid characters that grow and change throughout the series and we root for them and care for their well-being.

The island and the retreat, which we enjoy both as visitors and as participants thanks to Erica, are beautiful and inspiring and although most of us would find it difficult to cope with some of the rules and restrictions of the sanctuary, we’d all love to visit it and spend some time recovering and reenergizing. Personally, I would love to experience the inner workings of such a place and perhaps even to bear witness to some of the mind games.

A great ending to the trilogy, entertaining, satisfying, and surprising, that will leave readers feeling hopeful and confident. Sometimes the teachers are the ones who need to learn the lessons and letting go of control is the way to progress and evolve. My congratulations to the author.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2018-03-19 09:27
Judge the book by the cover
Spiritual Growth: Being Your Higher Self - Sanaya Roman,Elaine Ratner

Is it foolish to “judge a book by its cover” as the age-old adage cautions? This I contemplated after adding Spiritual Growth Being Your Higher Self by Sanaya Roman to my Amazon shopping cart. Being totally entranced by the geometric shapes and psychedelic colours that donned the cover, my indecision only lasted for about a second before I checked out. Have you ever started reading a book about spirituality and became so flustered by its complex stylistic elements or sociolect that you never made it past page five? Spiritual Growth Being Your Higher Self is not that book. The consistent tone and syntax coupled with short chapters and sub-headings elicit seamless page flipping. A channelled work, Spiritual Growth Being Your Higher Self is equipped with practical techniques that readers should implement to achieve exactly this.

 

© Spiritual Growth BEING YOUR HIGHER SELF by Sanaya Roman (1989).

Published by HJ Kramer Inc., California U.S.A.

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
review 2018-01-29 00:00
The Second Rescue: The Story of the Spiritual Rescue of the Willie and Martin Handcart Pioneers
The Second Rescue: The Story of the Spiritual Rescue of the Willie and Martin Handcart Pioneers - Susan Arrington Madsen A chronicle of a stake president to involve the people in his area in temple work for the Willie and Martin handcart pioneers. This research and work expanded into obtaining historic landmark areas in key places along the route. Details are given about how improvements were made and plaques were created in honor of the struggle of these early pioneers.

I like history, and this book has a bit of that. But it also contains a spin that I often see in LDS non-fiction - the "faith-promoting and testimony-building" spin of the importance of Church leadership to the lowly member.

History is romanticized as the tireless Lorimer is prompted by the spirit. He obtains computers for researching the records of the pioneers by the members of his stake and then arranges for the temple work to be completed. Throughout the narrative, difficulties arise and things look grim and desolate, only to miraculously come together perfectly and conveniently before the arrival of top LDS leaders. These examples mirror the conditions of the pioneers in their last desperate weeks, and the winter rescue that occurred.

Lorimer convinces LDS Church leaders to purchase land related to the trek and make improvements so anyone who wishes to walk in the path of the fallen may do so.

Although five other handcart companies had previously safely traveled the same route to the Salt Lake Valley, all with few problems, the Willie and Martin companies have become poster children for LDS pioneers in general. This book is a saga of modern-day humility which desires the reader feel the spirit. The details are designed to evoke an emotional response to the efforts of today's generation building upon the foundation of the truly touching story of these courageous pioneers. The message includes the importance of family history and temple work.

The "Testimonials" section includes prints of line drawings created by young children in the stake. The book provides excerpts from pioneer journals, along with photos of past pioneers and... modern-day leaders. The Riverton Stake Presidency. The Ogden Temple Presidency and wives all dressed in white. President James Foust and President Thomas Monson - because they visited the area.

One particular latter-day memorial choice described in the book reveals the poignancy felt by the author about those who were involved in the project. Lorimer arranged, with difficulty, the purchase of land at Rock Creek Hollow. This was the location where the Willie company spent two days in harsh winter conditions, having completed their forced rescue march over the treacherous Rocky Ridge and down the western slope of South Pass. Those who were still alive were in bad shape. But the site was eventually obtained and improvements and beautification completed. President Gordon B Hinckley officially dedicated Rock Creek Hollow and the mass grave for 15 pioneers in 1992. As explained in "The Second Rescue":

"A new and imposing monument at Rock Creek Hollow was dedicated on July 26, 1997, as the culminating event at the Riverton stake Pioneer Day celebration held that year. It memorialized the Second Rescue and the blessings associated with it. The inscription on the six-foot-high, eight-ton granite stone reads:

To the People of The Second Rescue
REMEMBER
Gordon B. Hinckley August 15, 1992
Thomas S. Monson July 15, 1997
James E. Faust July 25, 1992
Helaman 10:4-5

The names are those of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On August 15, 1992, Pres. Hinckley dedicated the monuments at Martin's Cove, the Willie rescue site, and Rocky Ridge and pronounced a sacred blessing on the people of the stake. On July 15, 1997, Pres. Monson spoke to over 1,400 people in a meeting held in Riverton and gave them a special blessing. And on July 25, 1992, the youth and later the entire membership of the Riverton Wyoming Stake received powerful blessings from Elder James Faust. The monument at Rock Creek Hollow stands as a mighty reminder that urges the people of the Second Rescue to REMEMBER the words, promises, and blessings of the Lord through his apostles and prophets to them."

I leave it to you, dear reader, to decide the relevance.
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?