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“Divine Guidance from a Celestial Source”: A Review of Do Unto Earth: It’s Not Too Late by Penelope Jean Hayes with Carole Serene Borgens, Channeler

  (Cardiff, CA: Waterside Productions, 2020). ISBN: 9781949001495. You will have already noticed, from the bibliographic information, that this book is unlike others written by a single author, or even a team of authors. Not only is it channeled from a being calling itself Pax, the Divine Wisdom Source—Pax is the uncredited author of roughly half the text. If you’re a cynic who doesn’t believe that it’s possible for a non-corporeal being to communicate with the living, you’ll still get a great deal from this book. The lead author is knowledgeable on a variety of important and sometimes complex subjects, such as alternative fuels, climate change, and nutrition. Reading this book recalled a time when I was beginning my journey as a serious paranormal investigator. A colleague gave me a book by remote viewer Ingo Swann called Penetration . After reading it over the course of a few days, enrapt, I called my colleague and said, “Do you believe this is true? Because if I believe it, t

“Now I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds”: A Review of Hannah’s War by Jan Eliasberg

    (New York, Boston, London: Back Bay Books; Little, Brown, 2020). ISBN: 978-0-316-53744-5. As one looks back on the many watershed moments in U.S. history—the result of decisions made by a small group of White men that cost at times millions of lives around the globe—the country’s role in World War II and its aftermath are perhaps the most hotly debated (with Vietnam an equally strong contender) because of the late-war actions of dropping the A-bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Operation Paperclip/the start of the Cold War. America and Russia bringing Nazi scientists—many of whom would not have faired well at Nuremberg—into the fold of the fledging military–industrial complex that Eisenhower and Kennedy tried so hard to forestall set a tone for immoral action on the global stage, the repercussions of which are still being felt. Science, and scientists, are at the heart of Hannah’s War , which is A-list historical fiction centering on a Jewish Austrian scientist named Hannah Wei

“Returning to Her Homeland”: A Review of Babushka is Homesick by Carola Schmidt.

  Illustrated by Vinicius Melo. (2019; Facebook: @MyLovelyBabushka). ISBN: 9798603382616. Babushka is Homesick is the sequel to Tell Me a Story, Babushka , which I recently reviewed (and loved!). Babushka, in the first book, tells her granddaughter Karina about how she came to America after escaping a camp in Siberia following the invasion and seizure of grain in Ukraine by the Russians. In the sequel, Babushka decides to return to Ukraine—for the first time since she was taken from her home by the soldiers—on a trip sponsored by the Ukrainian Church. While the first book centered solely on Babushka (which means “little grandmother”) and Karina, Babushka is Homesick reveals a house full of energetic grandchildren from a broad array of ethnicities and four of Babushka’s friends, who are all very unique in appearance and wonderfully, whimsically illustrated by Vinicius Melo. Speaking of Melo’s illustrations, you will want to take your time with them, especially the opening one, w

7 Days in Hell: A Halloween Vacation to Wake the Dead, by Iseult Murphy

  ISBN: 9781688400634 Right along with serial killers, Satanic cults are a cultural fascination. Going back to Hammer films like The Devil Rides Out and Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby and other demon films of the 1960s and 1970s, to the various versions of Wicker Man , to the tongue in cheek cult classic (pardon the pun) The Burbs , to last year’s very intense limited series The Third Day starring Jude Law, there is something about goat-heads, goblets full of blood, and campfire cannibalism that draws our attention and keeps it. Inspired by a real-life vacation with her sister and dog, Iseult Murphy drills deeply into the core of this zeitgeist to deliver a novel structured according to the title—with chapters broken down by each of the seven days (plus a bonus eighth), along with an illustration for each by the author. If you are a fan of Secret Window , you might find the illustration of the screwdriver as ominous as I did. The main characters are twin sisters, Irene and V

“Knowing Where Our Roots Are”: A Review of Tell Me a Story, Babushka, by Carola Schmidt

   Illustrated by Vinicius Melo. (2019; Facebook: @MyLovelyBabushka). ISBN: 9788592062729. Beautifully illustrated, with a strong sense of culture and family, Carola Schmidt’s wonderful children’s book gives us a glimpse into life for those in pre-independence Russia under the soviet communist party (the author chooses not to capitalize the scp, and I shall honor her choice). A few things to know. Babushka is Ukrainian for “little Baba” and “Baba” means Grandmother. Like many Europeans (my family’s from Sicily and southern Italy), I have experienced the primary role of grandmothers in the family. Both of my grandmothers were very strong women who dealt with countless adversities—immigrating to America, helping their families with their businesses in New Jersey, suffering losses during World War II and Vietnam, raising children, taking care of their parents, and often managing the money and, of course, cooking enough delicious food for three times the amount of people present on ho

“There isn’t just one type of genius”: A Review of Life at Hamilton: Sometimes You Throw Away Your Shot, Only to find Your Story, by Mike Anthony

   (Cardiff, CA: Waterside Productions, 2021). ISBN: 978-1-947637-57-3 We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us .           —Joseph Campbell As a writer and teacher of writing for the stage, page, and screen and avid reader and researcher, my tastes are pretty eclectic, so it’s not unusual for a book that I review to resonate with me on some very personal level. That said, the overlaps, resonances, and synergies with Mike Anthony’s Life at Hamilton are nothing short of remarkable. I believe that the Universe, if you trust it, has an intelligent design that helps us find our bliss. To connect with the people that we are supposed to in this life, so that we can fulfill our potential. Our mission. Call it Source, or God, or even your Higher Self. And that fulfillment might just be what some have termed our Soul Contract.   Regardless of what one calls it, one of the keys to not only finding, but following, our bliss (a concept b

“A Little Fact in All the Fiction”: A Review of Orange City by Lee Matthew Goldberg

   (atmospherepress.com, 2020). ISBN: 9781649218780 What a weird thirteen months it’s been for writers of dystopian fiction. Between a pandemic whose origins are heavily debated; a fractured political system and radical electorate featuring the storming of the US Capitol, outcries of false-flag ops and conspiracy theories fueled by the mysterious Q; increasing evidence that social media is more Big Brother and psychologically/economically invasive than we feared; a sizable portion of the populace dependent on prescription drugs and illegal opioids and somewhat distrustful of a rushed-to-market vaccine; and the ongoing Cult of Trump, so-called Real Life has all the makings of what used to crawl with clicking nails and crooked limbs solely from dystopian writers’ minds. So I spent a lot of time while reading Orange City —well… the entire time —whispering to myself… this could really happen… yes, it really could … Which admittedly puts more weight on the quality of the writing.