January 27, 2013

The Tree of Enchantment by Orion Foxwood

The Tree of Enchantment by Orion Foxwood is a book that takes the reader on a soul journey to better understand the lower, middle, and upper realms. It is not for those merely interested in it, but for those with a serious awareness about it.

Book Description
In Faery Seership the truths we seek can only be found within ourselves, within nature, and within our relationships to nature. At the center of the Faery Tradition lies the Tree of Enchantment: the symbol for these relationships and for the threefold life of humanity. At each level of the tree, there are attending spirit forces that vary from beings of light to beings of shadow, from the ancestors of humanity to the architects of form and nature, from the destiny of our planet to the creation forces of the universe. The tree's roots grow through the lower world, where all life originates and the dead travel, its trunk and lower branches reach out across the middle world, where elemental forces and the four directions guide us, and its highest branches reach the into the upper world and the Star realm. 

Weaving together folk tradition and extensive academic research, Orion Foxwood has created an accessible, beautifully written pathway into the Old Religion of Faery Seership. Based on Appalachian traditions, Wiccan studies, Celtic oral traditions, and the Craft from Western and Northern Europe, The Tree of Enchantment offers the student of Faery Tradition both introductory and advanced visionary practices and authentic tools to learn to navigate the three realms of humanity. With diligence and an open heart, the reader will learn to cross The River of Blood, pass through The Gate of Awakening, and over The River of Stars.” – The Tree of Enchantment

My Thoughts
The Tree of Enchantment is another marvelous book by Orion Foxwood. This one guides the reader to understand and then communicate with the three realms. I didn’t personally do this, but I still find the whole book and process of it highly fascinating and is something I want to venture into one day.

As I said, this type of work is not something to be taken lightly, and I personally wouldn’t do these guided visualizations or exercises without being fully grounded and in complete understanding of what I was getting myself into. I don’t feel that I am there, so for me, just being able to read and learn more about it is satisfying for me. If you are where you think you can do it, then by all means, go for it (and let me know how it went).

Foxwood’s magical way of writing is weaved throughout this book, and is truly enjoyable. If this is a subject that interests you, I highly suggest this book.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Tree of Enchantment, Weiser Books, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Queen of the Night by Sharynne Macleod Nicmhacha

Queen of the Night by Sharynne Macleod Nicmhacha is a historical and spiritual book about the ancient Celts, and how they used the moon in some of their practices. Discover how they used the moon for power, and how you can use it in your life, too.

Book Description
Queen of the Night helps readers understand the role and power of the moon in the ancient religions, folklore, and mythology of Ireland and the British isles and then discover how to tap that power in their daily lives.

Queen of the Night is a journey into the world of Celtic cosmology, shamanism, and sacred animals, as well as Celtic language, art, and culture, to discover the power and centrality of the moon. Since the earliest times, from stone circles and passage graves to the rites and customs of Druids, the moon has been the symbol of the Goddess and has played a crucial role in worship and celebration.

In 13 chapters representing the moon's monthly and annual cycles, NicMhacha tells the story of Celtic moon mythology, as well as touching upon Greek, Hindu, and Norse traditions. Each chapter sets forth the role of the moon in Celtic tradition and culture and includes poetry, quotes, or prayers honoring the moon. At the end of each chapter, she offers meditations, ceremonies, and exercises to help readers connect with the moon and apply its power to their lives.

From the world of fairies to bards, seekers, and shamans; from the moon's role in the secret meetings of women spinners to the role of sacred animals and mythic beings, Queen of the Night is a lively, informative, and transformative book for anyone who wants to understand and experience the power of the moon.” – Queen of the Night

My Thoughts
Queen of the Night is a book that I was really excited to read. I love Celtic lore and am quite interested of anything having to do with the moon and lunar cycles. This book does not disappoint. It is actually much better than I thought it would be. Sharynne Macleod Nicmhacha lays out the book magically, and I enjoyed all of it.

I enjoy learning about history and spirituality, and this book is a fantastic mixture of both. It isn’t just a basic “101” style book that covers the same information covered in a hundred other books of similar content. It goes into much more depth and you can actually tell that the author did an excellent job researching the subject. As a reader and a scholar, I appreciate this tremendously. I enjoyed reading this book and will keep it handy for future reference and use. I highly recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of Queen of the Night, Weiser Books, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 26, 2013

The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies by Ammi-Joan Paquette

The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies by Ammi-Joan Paquette is a magical book about finding fairies in your own backyard or a local park. Designed for children to be inspired to start a fairy finding adventure of their own, this beautiful book is likely to inspire the adults who read it, too!

Book Description
Could a tulip be a good place for hide-and-seek? Could a bitof dandelion fluff be a pillow? They could be, if fairies live nearby. This book invites kids to have a backyard adventure searching for the tell-tale signs of fairies who might be residing all around them. Not only can children search for fairies in the book's unique blend of art and photography, but they will also be encouraged to discover the wonder and magic in nature, whether in a backyard or a local park. The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies is a perfect title for summer!” – The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies

My Thoughts
The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies is such a delightful book for kids and adults alike. Those who love fairies will truly enjoy reading this book with a little one, and sharing with them the wonder and fantastical element of fairies. The artwork is absolutely beautiful, and enhances the book with everything fairy dust could imagine.

The author sends the kids off on a backyard adventure that will have them looking for the elusive little fairies who may be living nearby – if one only cares enough to look. This encourages them to get out in nature and also be kids and have fun.

This is a perfect children’s book about fairies, and I highly recommend it!

* Thank you to the publisher of The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies, Tanglewood Press, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Eat to Lose, Eat to Win by Rachel Beller

Eat to Lose, Eat to Win by Rachel Beller is a diet book that will change your view on “diet” foods and “healthy” foods for life. Many of the things you think are healthy actually aren’t, and Beller gives examples of this and provides healthier options instead. This book is packed with information, pictures, and much more for foods and meals that are truly healthy, and can help you to reach your goal weight.

Book Description
Every year millions of Americans vow to lose weight, but instead of approaching diets in a healthy and sustainable way, many obsess over calories, carbs, and diet fads. The result: frustration and even weight gain. Now Rachel Beller, America's get-real nutritionist, delivers the first book that combines science-based advice with step-by-step action plans for weight loss and optimal health. While most diet books focus on what you can't eat, Eat to Lose, Eat to Win emphasizes what you should eat—putting skinny solutions into shopping carts and onto plates. In her signature fun-to-read style, Rachel shows you how to do it all.

  • Flip your high-calorie meals for skinny success
  • Shop to drop pounds with handy Buy This guides
  • Discover inside secrets about your favorite foods with Food Autopsy™ alerts
  • Get rid of guesswork with recipes for every meal

From meal planning to shopping to eating, Eat to Lose, Eat to Win guides you step by step and bite by bite through the world of real, science-based nutrition.” – Eat to Lose, Eat to Win

My Thoughts
Eat to Lose, Eat to Win is an easy and fun to read book about nutrition and your food choices. If you’ve read a few diet books or watched “Dr. Oz” on TV, most of what Rachel Beller says won’t surprise you. Eat less sugar, eat more fiber, eat less carbs, eat more veggies, etc. However, how she goes about it is fun, and the full-color pictures of the foods and meals helps make you want to actually try the food and change your bad dieting ways.

The book includes guides for shopping (what to buy, what not to buy) that you can actually use easily. Nothing added in the recipes is hard to find or hard to cook. The recipes aren’t too hard, and Beller’s sassy guidance definitely helped me want to try out what she said. Boring diet books don’t work for me, but this one did help to teach me a few things and remind me of much more of what I should be doing for my body.

Overall, I think this is a great diet book for everyone. If you know a lot about nutrition, it works as a fun refresher, and if you know next to nothing, this book would be a very valuable resource for your nutritional needs.

* Thank you to the publisher of Eat to Lose, Eat to Win, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 20, 2013

Sundance 2013

Sundance 2013

What do you think of my polyvore fashion set for the Sundance Film Festival for 2013? I really like how it turned out. I'm not sure who all is going or which movies are up for it, but my favorites on any awards show usually don't win anyways. If you are following it, who do you want to win?

January 19, 2013

Unglued Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst

Unglued Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst is a devotional that is a companion to the author’s bestselling book “Unglued.” It can be used with the book or alone. Personally, I only read the devotional, and didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. It is a fantastic daily devotional that can be used to help anyone with struggles along life’s bumpy roads.

Book Description
This companion devotional to the bestselling book Unglued provides encouragement to help readers handle emotional struggles. Including a daily opening Scripture, Thought for the Day, devotion, and closing prayer, this book helps readers begin a 60-day journey in learning to positively process raw emotions, such as fear, anger, and regret.” – Unglued Devotional

My Thoughts
Unglued Devotional is a really great devotional, and one that I got a lot out of from reading. I am a girl that loves daily devotionals, and this is one I would definitely recommend others to read. I think that her focus on not being perfect, and even making “imperfect progress” towards something is still progress really does help me. I am the type that wants to be perfect in things I do, so when that doesn’t happen, I get frustrated. This helped me to see that it is okay to not be perfect and to not always be perfect in things. If this sounds like you too, I highly suggest reading this devotional!

The sixty devotionals are short and can easily be read and focused on by anyone who wants to use it. The key is that you have to use it to get anything out of it. I would think that is an obvious statement, but sometimes people just read devotionals and don’t actually think on it and reflect what it really means.

This is a fantastic devotional, and I highly recommend it to anyone who feels they are coming unglued and need some help with life’s struggles.

* Thank you to the publisher of Unglued Devotional, Zondervan, for providing me with a copy of this book for review as part of the Thomas Nelson “Book Sneeze” program. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 12, 2013

An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer

An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer is a beautiful coming of age story. Naomi Feinstein is a young woman who decided early in life that she was going to dedicate her life to becoming a doctor, primarily to save her parents from dying young. Although she was never a girl with many friends, she thought college would be the time for her and everything would change. Does it? Well, sort of…

Book Description
Afraid of losing her parents at a young age, Naomi Feinstein prepares single-mindedly for a prestigious future as a doctor. But when her only friend and confidant abruptly departs from her life, Naomi isn't sure she will ever recover, even after a long-awaited acceptance letter to Wellesley arrives.

Yet Naomi soon learns that college isn't the bastion of solidarity and security she had imagined. Amid hundreds of other young women, she is consumed by loneliness—until the day she sees a girl fall into the freezing waters of a lake.

The event marks Naomi's introduction to Wellesley's oldest honor society, the mysterious Shakespeare Society, defined by secret rituals and filled with unconventional, passionate students. As Naomi immerses herself in this exciting and liberating world, her happiness is soon compromised by a scandal that brings devastating consequences. Naomi has always tried to save the ones she loves, but sometimes saving others is a matter of saving yourself.

An Uncommon Education is a compelling portrait of a quest for greatness and the grace of human limitations. Poignant and wise, it artfully captures the complicated ties of family, the bittersweet inevitability of loss, and the importance of learning to let go.” – An Uncommon Education

My Thoughts
An Uncommon Education is the type of book about a social outcast that I enjoy reading. Naomi’s struggle to find herself is heartbreaking at times, and I really want to just give her a big hug and tips on making friends like a big sister. She thinks (like so many of us) that once she does something or is accepted into something, that everything will change. Often it doesn’t, and the problems we had are still there. This is what happens to her as well.

Naomi’s chance heroic braveness saving the girl who fell into the lake does change her life forever, and finally begins to open her up to the world around her so she can finally find herself.

This is a truly great book by an author I definitely want to read more of in the future. I highly recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of An Uncommon Education, Harper Perennial, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

The History of Us by Leah Stewart

The History of Us by Leah Stewart is a gripping novel about family dynamics, and the ways people deal with the grief of loved ones. Filled with smart and well-crafted characters, this is domestic fiction at its finest.

Book Description
Sometimes home is the hardest place to go.

In the newest novel by the celebrated author of The Myth of You and Me(which Claire Messud called “poignant, fierce, and compelling”), three grown siblings return to their childhood home and face a family secret that forces them to reexamine their relationships to each other—and to the aunt who took them in as children.

Eloise Hempel is on her way to teach a class at Harvard when she receives a devastating phone call. Her sister and her husband have been killed in a tragic accident, and Eloise must return home to Cincinnati to take their three children, Theodora, Josh, and Claire, out of the hands of her own incapable mother. She moves back into her mother’s century-old house and, after her mother leaves, pours her own money into its upkeep.

Nearly two decades later, Eloise is still in that house with now-grown Theo, Josh, and Claire, still thinking about the career and life she left behind, even as she pushes the kids to get a move on. With Claire leaving for New York City for a promising ballet career, Eloise has plans to finally sell the house and start a life that’s hers alone. But when her mother creates a competition for which of them gets the house and Claire turns out to have a life-changing secret, their makeshift family begins to fall apart.

The History of Us is a heartrending story of loss, sibling relationships, and the life you make in the path not taken. ” – The History of Us

My Thoughts
The History of Us is a story with characters that you truly end up caring for. They are broken, but she creates ways for them to have hope and begin to heal, even if it does take a very long time for them to do so. The family dynamic is the main dish in this story, and it isn’t a simple one. It is a complex storyline with complex characters that will stick with you after you finish the last page.

This book will make you laugh, cry, and cherish the story for what it is: an excellent novel. I highly recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of The History of Us, Touchstone, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon

The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon is a mystery thriller that focuses on the life of Reggie, a girl whose mom was taken (and never found) by a serial killer nicknamed Neptune. The story goes back and forth over a period of 25 years uncovering a disturbing web of secrets, and murder.

Book Description
The summer of 1985 changes Reggie’s life. An awkward thirteen-year-old, she finds herself mixed up with the school outcasts. That same summer, a serial killer called Neptune begins kidnapping women. He leaves their severed hands on the police department steps and, five days later, displays their bodies around town. Just when Reggie needs her mother, Vera, the most, Vera’s hand is found on the steps. But after five days, there’s no body and Neptune disappears.

Now, twenty-five years later, Reggie is a successful architect who has left her hometown and the horrific memories of that summer behind. But when she gets a call revealing that her mother has been found alive, Reggie must confront the ghosts of her past and find Neptune before he kills again.” – The One I Left Behind

My Thoughts
The One I Left Behind is a mystery thriller that involves a thirteen year old who finds herself mixed up in some trouble. The most troubling of all is the serial killer who has been kidnapping women, and leaving their body parts and corpses around her town. The serial killer, nicknamed “Neptune” then takes her mother and leaves her hand to be found, but her body is never found. Twenty-five years go by, and she gets a call that her mother is alive, and her past memories and experiences suddenly start coming back to haunt her.

The chapters alternate between 1985 and 2010. When authors do this to their books, it sometimes works out nicely (such as with this one), and oftentimes it bombs. I’m glad to say that Jennifer McMahon makes it work!

The main character, Reggie is likeable and seeing her point of view from the age of thirteen to thirty-eight is so interesting. It really shows how much a person changes over a period of twenty-five years!

There are many twists and surprising moments in the book. I don’t want to give anything away and spoil it for anyone who wants to read it for themselves, so I’ll just say that this is an excellent book and will hold your attention up to the very end! I highly recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of The One I Left Behind, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Gospel of Thomas by Rev. Daniel Chesbro

The Gospel of Thomas by Rev. Daniel Chesbro with Rev. James Erickson is a helpful guide that took the original “Gospel of Thomas” and interpreted it to make it more relevant to people’s lives today. This gospel was only found in 1945, so many people don’t even know about it until reading this book (or possibly this review). If you want to explore this gospel further, and make it impactful for your life, this could be the perfect book for you to do so.

Book Description
“The Gospel of Thomas is one of the earliest texts containing the teachings of Jesus and offers profound and inspiring insights into his sayings. The Gospel is attributed to Didymos Judas Thomas, a member of Jesus’s inner circle who received his deeper teachings. The original text of the Gospel was discovered with the Nag Hammadi library in 1945 in Egypt and this interpretation of the Gospel brings Thomas’s message into today’s world and emerging consciousness. Through a unique combination of artistic renderings and a spiritually inspired interpretation of each of the 114 sayings of St. Thomas, this guide offers fresh perspectives into the teachings of Jesus and their relevance for today. From “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds” to “I have cast fire upon the world, and see, I am guarding it until it blazes,” this narrative links the intentions of the original text with modern day prophets such as P.M.H. Atwater and Stephen Hawking and the sparks behind the Arab Spring uprising and the Occupy Movement for those searching for divinity in the current moment and climate.” – The Gospel of Thomas

My Thoughts
The Gospel of Thomas is a spiritual text that interprets the 114 sayings in this gospel. It uses the author’s interpretations of the teachings to make it relevant to us in modern times. You do not have to agree with their interpretations, you could have it mean something else to you, but still be just as impactful. I love books and teachings that do this, because they are really a guide and you can find your own meaning in them if you choose to do so.

I personally enjoyed reading through these teachings and then reading the author’s interpretations on them. As I said, sometimes I came up with a little different meaning for myself – and that is okay! I suspect everyone does, and that is what makes it so special. I think this is an excellent book and I’m glad to have found these teachings. I highly recommend it!

* Thank you to the publisher of The Gospel of Thomas, Findhorn Press, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 11, 2013

Sisters in Faith Holy Bible

Sisters in Faith Holy Bible is the King James version edited by Michele Clark Jenkins and Stephanie Perry Moore. In this version you will discover devotionals to help you apply the Bible to your life, answer questions about life and faith, and read creative articles from women in the Bible.

Book Description
The Sisters in Faith Holy Bible is a sister-to-sister guide through the Word of God. It demonstrates how His Word is active and will impact ever interaction of life in a practical way for the African-American woman. Where can a woman go to find help with life's struggles? Executive editors Michele Clark Jenkins and Stephanie Perry Moore believe the answers to life’s problems can be found in the Bible. The Sisters in Faith Holy Bible seeks to highlight where the Bible speaks to the five major areas of life: God, Family, Others, Self, and Career. Additional contributors include recording artist Joann Rosario Condrey, novelists Kim Cash Tate, Vanessa Davis Griggs, and other scholars and artists committed to encouraging and empowering African-American women with God’s truth.

Features include:
·         Arise—devotionals that teach how to apply the Bible
·         Quest and Discovery—notes that use scripture to answer common questions about life and faith
·         She Speaks—creative articles written from the perspective of women in the Bible
·         Authorized King James Version text
·         Center-column References
·         Concordance

My Thoughts
Sisters in Faith Holy Bible is a version of the Bible that isn’t just for women of color. It is really written for any woman in mind. As you can tell from my picture in the corner over there, I am not colored (and am usually quite pale). However, I really do enjoy this version of the Bible. It is a nicely formatted Bible that looks great and holds up very well – even if you throw it into your bag often, or are the type that lets it sit nicely on your bedside table or shelf most of the time. The pages are formatted to make it appealing for women to read as well. The fonts are in a deep purple and pink, with softer white pages.

My favorite part of the Sisters in Faith Holy Bible is the “Quest and Discovery” portions that answer questions about life and faith. I also really enjoyed the “She Speaks” part which are creative articles that were written in the perspective of different women in the Bible.

* Thank you to the publisher of Sisters in Faith Holy Bible, Thomas Nelson, for providing me with a copy of this book for review as part of their “Booksneeze” program. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 5, 2013

Real Wifeys Hustle Hard by Meesha Mink

Real Wifeys Hustle Hard by Meesha Mink is the third and final book in the “Real Wifeys” trilogy. It is full of drama, scandal, and sassiness like you’ve never read in a novel before.

Book Description
Sophie “Suga” Alvarez is all about two things: loving her man and making her money.

Suga is the wifey of Dane, a man whose criminal lifestyle as a loan shark is in total contrast to her successful career in business. Dane swears he will go legit before they get married, but when their house is raided, Suga has to decide to avoid jail time by turning on him or standing by the man she loves. Things get more complicated when she steps in to run Dane’s business and has to use her book and street smarts to stay ahead of the game and out of the line of fire.

Meanwhile, when Suga learns the terrible truth about her father’s criminal past, she uncovers a secret that will change her relationship with her former best friend, Luscious, forever. Real Wifeys: Hustle Hard is the third and most explosive installment in a fierce and gritty series from one of today’s boldest voices in street lit.” – Real Wifeys Hustle Hard

My Thoughts
I’ll start out by saying that Real Wifeys Hustle Hard is the first book in the trilogy that I read. From what I read about the first two books in the series, On the Grind and Get Money, I thought that this was going to be an excellent and new type of story for me to read. I’ll admit, I haven’t ventured into reading too many urban tales. The author, Meesha Mink, co-authored the Hoodwives series as well, so I thought this would be the perfect book for me to start out with.

Unfortunately, I think that the third book in this series should be read third. Some series are just like that. The plot line was a bit too predictable for me (even though I never read the first two books), and had too much of the badly written “romance” (a.k.a. sex) scenes in. Maybe that floats some people’s boat, but not mine. I just had a hard time getting into this book, and didn’t enjoy it.

* Thank you to the publisher of Real Wifeys Hustle Hard, Touchstone, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Turquoise and Orange

What do you think of turquoise and orange together? I really like it and want to try it out in real life instead of just my Polyvore fashion sets.

Turquoise and Orange

January 3, 2013

The Candle and the Crossroads by Orion Foxwood

The Candle and the Crossroads by Orion Foxwood is a magical book that explains the ways of magic from Appalachian conjure and Southern root magic. You can learn about spirit sight, candle magic, use of herbs, roots, stones, blessings, healing, and much more. If you want to learn more about this type of magic, or practice it yourself, this is a book you want to read!

Book Description
Learn the ways of magic and healing from the living, oral tradition of Appalachian Conjure in The Candle and the Crossroads. Orion Foxwood offers a primer on the real magic and techniques of Southern root magic, knowledge he learned first-hand growing up in rural Appalachia.

Foxwood explains magical techniques including:

  • Spirit Sight
  • Working by the Signs (the ability to synchronize work such as farming, fertility of humans and animals, orcharding)
  • Conjuring
  • Faith Healing
  • Settling the Light (candle magic)
  • Doctoring the Root (the ability to use herbs, roots, stones, or animal parts—bones, claws, fur, etc. for magic or the clearing, cleansing, and blessing of the spirit of a person, also known as his or her root)
  • Praying or Dreaming True (Blessings of spirit/God to a person, place, or thing as well as prophetic or predictive dreaming)
  • Blessing or Cursing

The Candle and the Crossroads shows how to create magic in today’s world with the old ways and traditions of Appalachia.” – The Candle and the Crossroads

My Thoughts
The Candle and the Crossroads is a fantastic introduction style book to the mystical and passed down traditions of Appalachian conjure and southern root work. Orion Foxwood writes in an easy to read and follow way, which makes the subject matter not difficult to follow along with. He writes from the heart, offering the readers stories, personal accounts, and his wisdom and experience of practicing in this field for most of his life.

In life there is both good and bad, and such is the same with magic. Foxwood explains the nature of both, and how there are benefits and very real dangers of both. Your spirit attracts which type, so staying in the light so to speak, is the way to go.

You don’t have to try everything or anything in this book for yourself. If you just enjoy learning more about it, such as myself, you can simply just learn about it. However, if you want to explore this realm of magic, this is a very good book to do so. I definitely recommend it to those curious about it, and those wanting to try it out for themselves.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Candle and the Crossroads, Weiser Books, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

January 1, 2013

New Year's Style Resolution for 2013: More Color

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that this year is fantastic for everyone and better than last!

What are your style resolutions for 2013? One of mine is to add in more color.

New Year's Style Resolution for 2013