The Stone Gods

TheStoneGodsFor the Lincoln LGBTQ Reading Group, we selected The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson as our May title. I was unable to attend our monthly meeting to discuss the book, so I have no idea how others felt about this read. It was recommended by one of our newest members, a recommendation that I was happy to take!

Winterson is the author of several books, including Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. I’ve not read that book, but I have seen the film based on it. Rather a good watch, and based on my read of The Stone Gods, I imagine Oranges to be a rather good read as well. I will have to find out some day.

The Stone Gods is written in three parts. Almost entirely separate stories. It is science fiction and fantasy rolled into one. Parts 1 and 3 are the science fiction. Part 2 is the fantasy, though it could also be described as historical fiction or even speculative. I know, sounds confusing.

The book is somewhat confusing to read. I must admit that. It took my a little while to get into it because of Winterson’s choice of style for the book. Not having read her other works, I do not know if she uses the same style for everything. Again, I may just have to find out sometime in the future.

All three parts of the book follow the life of Billie. Billie is a reporter. Billy is a sailor. Billie is a computer programmer. Then there is Spike. Spike’s roll doesn’t change in her parts. She is a Robo sapiens. Any way that you look at the characters, whether in the future, the past, or the present, they are unique and real-ish. Spike is hard to accept as real in the present day, our science hasn’t reached that point in AI. Or have we? Billie is very real throughout the book. Even as the sailor stranded on Easter Island – perhaps where Winterson got the book’s title.

I enjoyed the read, once I got passed the disjointed manner it is written in. It was jarring at first. Not at all what I was expecting or anything close to how I write. It settled down, in my mind, into a storytelling style that put the whole book into the perspective of Billie remembering everything. Whether she was in the future (part 1), the past (part 2), or the present (part 3).

But wait. Was each part a different tense? Or were they all future, past, and present? I think that is one of the philosophical parts of the book that I enjoyed the most. When were these parts taking place in the time line of Billie and Spike? When were these parts taking place in the time line of the human race?

You’ll have to read it to decide for yourself. I don’t regret taking the time out of my otherwise busy reading schedule to enjoy this book. Can’t promise the same for any of you, but I would recommend the book.

Our June selection is Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg.

Leave a comment

Filed under LBGTQA Books, Sci-fi and Fantasy Books

Galdrakraft – Soul Magic, a music review

Rarely do I find a talented author who is also a talented musician. That has occurred with Kaedrich Olsen. Kaedrich is the author of Runes for Transformation: Using Ancient Symbols to Change Your Life. He has taken some of the concepts from that book and put them into this debut Galdrakraft CD, Soul Magic. Both works are inspiring for entirely different reasons! Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under New Age Music, Pagan Music

The Red Hill, expanded review

The Red Hill

Here’s the short review I wrote for The Red Hill on Goodreads. Below that you will find a more thorough review.

The Red Hill by David Penny

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoy reading a good mystery now and again. Reading a mystery in an historical setting is a real pleasure, especially when the author can bring that setting to life in their book. David Penny managed to do that. Crossing the lines of religion and culture, Penny takes you through a thrilling ride. Exploring the darker aspects of politics in Moorish Spain around the time of Ferdinand and Isabela, Penny’s characters of Thomas and Jorge learn a lot more about life than either one ever wanted to know. With twists and turns that will leave you wondering until the end who-done-it. I’m looking forward to reading other Thomas Berrington stories.

View all my reviews Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Crime & Mystery, Historical Fiction

Coronation by Lee F. Jordan

From time to time I find a story that is damned good, but the writing of that story isn’t at the same level. I’m afraid that was the case with Lee F. Jordan’s Coronation (2012).

An ancient evil (that’s not all that ancient), nautical themes that do make sense (but corrupt the legends of their subjects), and a mysterious ability that just isn’t really explained. Like I said, the story was pretty damned good and could have gone places, different places than it did go.

J.D. is a semi-retired special officer with the United States Navy. He has this thing that happens when he’s in danger, or someone he is close to is in danger. His nose bleeds. Okay. Why? What’s the cause? Just a couple of the questions left unanswered. It almost reads like this isn’t the first book in a series. It is not Jordan’s first book.

Ok, I can move beyond those unanswered questions. The suspense, the thrill, the horror. Those were done rather well. Jordan’s descriptions of mutilated bodies were very graphic. They didn’t leave a whole lot to the imagination, but that may have been his point. Sometimes the more graphic a description the better the horrified reaction from the reader. Personally I like to be able to draw in some of the details myself. But I do understand where Jordan was going with those descriptions. To tell you would be a spoiler.

Along with the blood and guts and the unanswered questions, there is a theme of military and government intrigue that strikes a chord for today’s reader. Does the government really have an “X-Files” unit in the Navy? If so, is the Navy the only military branch with such a unit? More unanswered questions, but maybe Jordan will write something else that will explore both this mysterious unit and J.D.’s nose bleeds.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I am sure that fans of conspiracy theories, the exploration of evil in humanity, and the horror genre will enjoy this book. All in all, I did enjoy it. I was disappointed in the unanswered questions.

Leave a comment

Filed under Horror, Thriller

Asha from AO Music

One of the joys of working in broadcast radio is getting advance copies of new releases. AO Music has sent along three CDs over the years, including this newest album from them. Asha is slated for official release on April 7, 2017. I am happy to have gotten a copy a month ahead of time. It just arrive din my mail box today!

I popped the CD into my player as I sat down to work on one of my writing projects. I was distracted a bit from writing because of the new music. It was mesmerizing in a way. A firm basis in one style with a myriad of influences from around the globe. Just a look at the track list should give you an idea of what I mean.

Starting out with what sounds like a purely Asian or Indian inspired track and moving asha tracksaround the globe into Africa and South America before winding up in the Gaelic countries, this collection of beautiful music will take you on a journey that is both inspiring and relaxing. The vocals are those of adults and children. AO Music likes to work with children’s choirs where ever they go to record.

I was a little surprised that Though We Are Here Now sounded more Gaelic than Gaelic Medley. Not that I was taken aback. Oh, no. I enjoyed both tracks. Just that it threw me for a bit of a loop. Had double-check to make sure I hadn’t gotten tracks confused. Ha!

Over all I was quite happy to add this CD to my new age music collection. Can I compare it to anything else? Can I compare it to their previous releases? Sure, I can do that. But it wouldn’t really do them justice. Comparing to their earlier releases is easier. Hokulea was the first of their albums that made it very evident to me that they enjoy working with young singers. The tracks on that CD are filled with joy and happiness. …And Love Rages On! is filled with that sense of love that the title mentions. But Asha is on its own something of beauty and inspiration. I’ll be listening to this album for a while, enjoying the moods that it stirs within my heart and soul as well as using it to relax and journey forward in my every day life.

Asha is AO Music’s first release under their new signed label Abbeywood Records. Visit their site to see more artists.

Leave a comment

Filed under New Age Music

Stolen Ink by Holly Evans

What a pleasant surprise to find Holly Evans’ first book in the Ink Born series. I recently interviewed Danielle Ackley-McPhail, one of the editors of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series and she mentioned Evans as an author she thought was going places. I’d have to agree with her on that one!

Evans takes a little bit of this and a little bit of that and tosses in a dash of this other thing over here and makes a world that is both familiar and different at the same time. In a city that could be anywhere, but most likely in England, resides Dacian. Dacian, or Dan, is a tattoo magician. He can help draw out the tattoo that his clients are meant to have. There is much more to it than that, but I don’t want to take away from the fun of discovery.

Oh, and did I mention that he has two tattoo animals, a cat named Kyra and a snake named Aris; a best friend who is his tattoo partner, former lover, and an elf; that he has dreamwalker and shapeshifter friends? Or that he is a lonely gay man in a world of magic and intrigue that seems to leave little time – or desire – for anything long-term? Or that he has a deep secret that he won’t even tell his best friend?

You’ll just have to read the book to find out about that secret!

Dacian feels compelled to get involved in a series of mysteries tattoo related magical deaths. He’s drawn to the killer through the ink. Like many a hero in fantasy he is reluctant and fights it all the way kicking and screaming. But along the way he learns something about himself, something that he is afraid to share with anyone and something that might lead to him having to flee for his life and leave everything behind that he has worked so hard to create – his tattoo business, his friends, and a budding romance that he didn’t even want.

If you like fantasy, faeries, magic, mystery, and a dash of romance this is a book for you. The love scenes are subtle and won’t even make you blush to read them on the bus or in a coffee-house. The action is intense at times and the road to self-discovery for Dacian is one that I do not envy him.

Leave a comment

Filed under Crime & Mystery, LBGTQA Books, Paranormal Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy Books, Uncategorized

Finding the Masculine in Goddess’ Spiral – a review by a contributor

Megalithica Books, an imprint of Immanion Press, is one of the newer go-to sources for a plethora of worthwhile reads in the Pagan world. January and February 2016 saw the release of two anthologies that have been long anticipated by certain segments of the Global Pagan Community. My hat is off to both the editors of these anthologies and to the contributors. Not an easy task to read, edit, read again, continue to edit, and work with a large number of authors to create as cohesive a collection of articles as possible within the two anthologies. The first to be released was Pagan Leadership Anthology edited by Shauna Aura Knight and Taylor, the second was Finding the Masculine in Goddess’ Spiral edited by Erick DuPree.

book_findingthemasculine_small

Erick set out on a grand adventure when he put out his open call for submissions for this collection of very personal essays from men in Goddess religion and spirituality. The voices vary in  many regards. Cis-gender men, transgender men, gender queer identifying (at least in part) as male. Straight, gay, bi, none-of-the-above. The one thing they all have in common is an undying love of some form of Feminine Divine.

First thing is first. I am one of the contributors to this anthology. With that in mind, I am obviously somewhat biased. My contribution to the anthology is called “One Man, Many Goddesses” and talks about my personal encounters with several Goddesses throughout my life. But that is not what this review is about.

Erick DuPree put together a wonderful collection of essays, prose, and poetry from a number of self-identified men in the Pagan community. From a lovely ode to the Mother by Robert Baggani to a heart wrenching story of Auset by Robert Alvarez, from the birth of life to the death of it. Teachers, mentors, priests, practitioners, parishoners, men (and male-identifying) from all walks within the Pagan world came together to put this collection together. Erick opened the gates, these sons of the Goddess walked through it and present to you, the reader, a plethora of visions and realities of the Goddess.

Whether you believe the Goddess to be an archetype, a single individual with multiple names, a facet of the One, or separate and distinct individual Goddesses, you will get something out this anthology. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, straight, gay, or bi. The Goddess speaks through the pages of this book. You only have to read and listen.

Contributors include:

  • Robert Baggani
  • Daniel Holmes
  • Gwion Raven
  • Roxie Babylon
  • Scott K. Smith
  • David Salisbury
  • Christopher Blackthorn
  • Dylan St. Thomas
  • Taylor Ellwood
  • Duane Danielson
  • Ian Allan
  • Blake Octavian Blair
  • Puck deCoyote
  • Matthew Sawicki
  • Ken Torres
  • Bart Everson
  • Erick DuPree
  • Robert Scott
  • Anthony Rella
  • Robert Alvarez
  • Christopher Penczak
  • Philipp Kessler
  • Devin Hunter
  • “An Elder Apprentice”
  • Storm Faerywolf
  • Sypheara
  • Gede Parma
  • Tim Titus
  • Orion Foxwood
  • David Oliver King
  • Eric Eldritch

With a preface by Yeshe Rabbit Matthews, foreward by Ivo Dominguez Jr and introduction by Erick DuPree himself.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under New Age & Pagan Books