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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 2016-06-29 17:17
Druids Lodge - Kelly Clemmons

***DNF 29%***

Oh dear…



I felt I was reading a mandatory list of typical M/M scenes. It’s as if the author wrote a shopping list and she has to follow it no matter how unsuitable the items are by themselves and also by the order in which they are displayed in the story. Everything is so blunt, so unnatural and predictable I was struggling with the book since the very first word.



It’s like one of those old clocks that work smoothly. But sometimes they don’t, and every cog makes a big effort to find its place in the next wheel, creating an unpleasant squeak every time it moves a bit forward. It needs oil but sometimes it also needs a new mechanism. A total reparation of the pieces and replacement. That’s the feeling I had here, every cog was an item in the following list, and the squeak they produced was very annoying and, each passing cog was beginning to grate on my nerves. I got stuck again and again in order to roll my eyes.



These are the issues I had in this book:

Shirt tearing in a “passionate” moment
Shifting demonstration and wow-you-are-indeed-a-shifter moment
Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine
Smart-ass-y characters that are not funny at all
Man made a mistake and you hate him for it and as expiation he goes to an hospice acompanying people to their death, now I feel like crying because he is such-a-good-person-I-cannot-bear-it
You don’t want him but now you do want him but now you regret wanting him, male menstruation at its best
You fucked and now he claimed you but you are mad because you didn’t want this
You googled and found out he has schizophrenia and the guy knows you googled it
You try to quietly escape but he was there expecting you to do so so he stood there with arms and legs crossed and a smug expression on his face, ruining your plan
He was evil but then he only wanted to protect you so that’s why he had stayed away from the house you lived in all this years but in truth he wanted you since the very first moment he set his eyes upon you
You are marked and claimed now but you refuse to acknowledge that fact and deny everything for the sake of it
You faint and he grabs you and pulls you against his chest and then he undresses you to your bed
Oh, he has something on his face, you try to rub it and now your finger is in his mouth
A dog pack attacked you because they wanted to claim you and the panther guy came out of the blue and killed them, that’s so heroic-wait-a-moment-I-put-my-hand-on-my-forehead
Continuous possessive sex scenes that are in fact not that hot but tiresome instead because they are obviously following a studied agenda

There is only one thing the author didn’t fulfill: personality. The characters are basically made out of papier mâché: stereotypical, full of holes and terribly bidimensional.



So I’m sorry but I’m afraid this book is not for me and it was becoming so frustrating I had to DNF it. I recommend reading other reviews before deciding to dismiss it.

*****



***Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.***

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review 2016-05-08 08:34
The Magical Year
The Magical Year - Danu Forest

by Danu Forest

 

I'm always a little sceptical when a magical author gives themselves a lot of titles, but apparently this one is a member of OBOD, the respected British Order of Druids.

 

As books of the Pagan festivals go, this one is very informative and well written. It gives an overview of the eight annual holidays that are common to both Wicca and modern Druidism, followed by chapters on each of the festivals individually.

 

There's nothing new here, but familiar folklore is presented well and the rituals offered are straightforward and simple. Not too much airy-fairy new age posturing. There are rituals, spells, recipes and crafts to go with each festival.

 

It explains where some holiday traditions come from, like decorating eggs at Easter (Eostre) and symbols and such that experienced Pagans will already know, but it would be a good choice for new Pagans who have yet to learn the significance of these holidays.

 

Best of all it's from a British perspective, so closer to the original cultural references without getting watered down by popularist adaptations, although there are some concessions to choosing your own words or which way you prefer to believe that tries to cater to everyone on a commercial level.

 

Still a good choice for a beginner.

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review 2016-04-28 00:00
Druids Lodge
Druids Lodge - Kelly Clemmons Book – Druids Lodge
Author – Kelly Clemmons
Star rating - ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 214

Cover – Gorgeous!
POV – 3rd person, past tense, three POV's
Would I read it again – Yes!

Genre – LGBT, Paranormal, Cat-Shifter, Werecat


** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **
Reviewed for Divine Magazine


This was a breath of fresh air. Romance. Paranormal. Shifters. And one feisty human.

This book started off brilliantly. Right away, it hit my pet peeve of the first two words being the character's full name, but since it seems to be becoming a trend in the MM market, I'll excuse it. Because, immediately after that, we were dunked into Luke's like and I wanted to weep for him. I could feel his pain and grief, over losing Henry. Then his confusion over Finn.

Then, as the story progresses, it becomes fun, playful and with an undercurrent of deep hurt and confusion. There were so many emotions in play, primarily divided into three sections – grief, playfulness, strength to survive – that it really brought home the constant struggle. When grief took over, there were brief bouts of relief and humour; when playfulness took hold, there were some really tender, meaningful, argumentative moments.

I loved how sceptical Luke was, to believe everything Finn was telling him. He displayed a completely normal reaction to the situation, while Finn attempted to be patient, fighting his inner cat instincts when he could. Sure, sometimes he was sneaky about it, but their chemistry helped ease any fears I had about Luke being forced into a situation. They made a really cute couple.

When it comes to the characters, I have to say that I loved Luke way more than Finn. Finne was fine, but despite his obvious advantages, Luke was much stronger as a character and as a personality. Finn couldn't control TC, but even after everything Luke went through, he held himself together, somehow. What Max did to him broke my heart, but ti was worse when it was obvious to me what had happened, but Finn was too blind to see sense.

For me, there's some disconnect with Finn. I can't explain it. Luke is always a great character to read and hang out with, but Finn became a little predictable and frustrating far too often. Especially when he told Luke he was okay with the distance between them and the no sex, while at the time groping him and practically undressing him with his eyes. It was a little much.

On the negative side, there were a few quotation marks missing, which got confusing at times. And sometimes the transitions are off. Between the end of one sentence and the start of another, three more actions are needed, but ever mentioned. Example; on the stairs, then suddenly in the kitchen. It happens a few times and gets a little confusing, where I wonder if I've missed something.

~

Overall, it was a great story. I haven't read about panther shifters in a really long time, so it was nice to return to the cat-like tendencies. The relationship, the romance, the difficulties and the drama were all very nicely handled. Nothing was thrown in our face, unrealistic or out of place.

A fantastic paranormal romance.

~

Favourite Quote

“Why-oh-why wasn't there an idiot's guide to werecat and human relationships?”

“The groans and sighs of pleasure Luke made while he ate were akin to watching porn.”

“Luke might not be a cat, but he certainly had claws.”
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review 2016-04-28 00:00
Druids Lodge
Druids Lodge - Kelly Clemmons Book – Druids Lodge
Author – Kelly Clemmons
Star rating - ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 214

Cover – Gorgeous!
POV – 3rd person, past tense, three POV's
Would I read it again – Yes!

Genre – LGBT, Paranormal, Cat-Shifter, Werecat


** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **
Reviewed for Divine Magazine


This was a breath of fresh air. Romance. Paranormal. Shifters. And one feisty human.

This book started off brilliantly. Right away, it hit my pet peeve of the first two words being the character's full name, but since it seems to be becoming a trend in the MM market, I'll excuse it. Because, immediately after that, we were dunked into Luke's like and I wanted to weep for him. I could feel his pain and grief, over losing Henry. Then his confusion over Finn.

Then, as the story progresses, it becomes fun, playful and with an undercurrent of deep hurt and confusion. There were so many emotions in play, primarily divided into three sections – grief, playfulness, strength to survive – that it really brought home the constant struggle. When grief took over, there were brief bouts of relief and humour; when playfulness took hold, there were some really tender, meaningful, argumentative moments.

I loved how sceptical Luke was, to believe everything Finn was telling him. He displayed a completely normal reaction to the situation, while Finn attempted to be patient, fighting his inner cat instincts when he could. Sure, sometimes he was sneaky about it, but their chemistry helped ease any fears I had about Luke being forced into a situation. They made a really cute couple.

When it comes to the characters, I have to say that I loved Luke way more than Finn. Finne was fine, but despite his obvious advantages, Luke was much stronger as a character and as a personality. Finn couldn't control TC, but even after everything Luke went through, he held himself together, somehow. What Max did to him broke my heart, but ti was worse when it was obvious to me what had happened, but Finn was too blind to see sense.

For me, there's some disconnect with Finn. I can't explain it. Luke is always a great character to read and hang out with, but Finn became a little predictable and frustrating far too often. Especially when he told Luke he was okay with the distance between them and the no sex, while at the time groping him and practically undressing him with his eyes. It was a little much.

On the negative side, there were a few quotation marks missing, which got confusing at times. And sometimes the transitions are off. Between the end of one sentence and the start of another, three more actions are needed, but ever mentioned. Example; on the stairs, then suddenly in the kitchen. It happens a few times and gets a little confusing, where I wonder if I've missed something.

~

Overall, it was a great story. I haven't read about panther shifters in a really long time, so it was nice to return to the cat-like tendencies. The relationship, the romance, the difficulties and the drama were all very nicely handled. Nothing was thrown in our face, unrealistic or out of place.

A fantastic paranormal romance.

~

Favourite Quote

“Why-oh-why wasn't there an idiot's guide to werecat and human relationships?”

“The groans and sighs of pleasure Luke made while he ate were akin to watching porn.”

“Luke might not be a cat, but he certainly had claws.”
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