Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book with a View June 2011

Book Title: Love From the Other Side
Author: Carol Shimp
ISBN: 978-1432767907
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Reviewer: Vonnie Faroqui

Searching for Answers

At some point, most of us find ourselves searching for answers to the question of what comes after this life. We all have our own reasons for the search and it is in these times when books such as Carol Shimp’s, Love from the Other Side: a Search for Answers, find their way to us. Sometimes a friend will recommend we read, other times it will be through a review that our attention is caught. We may not always agree with what we read, but the need to understand drives us and so we turn the first page hoping to find peace and a sense of knowing.

Carol has given the gift of her story in, Love from the Other Side, a memoir recounting her spiritual exploration, paranormal experiences, and quest to balance daily life with experiences of the spirit world, precognitive dreams and other worldly messages. Through this book, the reader will discover hidden groups of spiritual seekers, spiritual teachings, and have an opportunity to encounter teachings that are often obscured for the protection of the innocent. In a world that has grown skeptical of anything that cannot be scientifically weighed and measured, psychic and paranormal experiences remain a taboo subject in most homes, or a matter of ridicule and scorn. As I read, I found myself drawn into the memoir by the sincerity of the author.

The quality of writing is pleasing; the chapters are well constructed, making the story easy to follow. Great care is given in the treatment of spiritual beliefs and matters of faith. Carol does not denounce or espouse any particular faith, although she does share that her background and religious path is Catholic. She receives assistance from a group of spiritual seekers and eventually undergoes a non-Catholic exorcism of energies that were detrimental to her spiritual and mental health.

This is a marvelous book for the curious and for spiritual seekers. There are wonderful spiritual truths within the folds of Love from the Other Side that will enrich the unfamiliar and gratify those initiated in the practices and teachings of spiritualists and mediums. Rather than portraying the sensational, Carol’s style and message are without guile. In the end what is revealed comes from a place of love and is offered without condition.


Book Title: Shee Willow
Author: Claudy Conn
ISBN: 978-1613099933
Publisher: Wings ePress
Reviewer: Vonnie Faroqui

Claudy Conn’s Shee Willow, carries us deep into the world of fae intrigue and danger . . . exciting and fast paced, this is a novel with plenty of plot twists and surprises to support the romance. This tale can stand on its own but Conn brings back the cast of faery characters we fell in love with from Spellbound-Legend, deepening the Seelie intrigues, romance, and dangers in part two of the series.

Once again Conn ignites the page with hunk madness, as every which way Willow turns brings hot potential for love and misdirection. A Conn story is always full of rich layers and like dark chocolate cake waiting to be licked from sticky fingers; she tempts even the most discriminating reader to escapism. I can’t help but pout a little when she tortures us with characters that we want for ourselves only to find out later that our hunk of hotness is just no good for us or our heroine.

In Shee Willow, Conn writes from the first person perspective of each of her main characters, giving a different feel to the book than you will have encountered in reading Spellbound–Legend. If you like to imagine yourself in the role of the characters, this perspective and writing style might challenge you at first. It won’t matter past the first chapter, because once you get reading you will find that Conn is a master of the craft and the story is a pleaser.

I didn’t think the series could get better but Conn is developing the magical and political intrigue of the underlying plot connecting the books, as well as the romantic drama. Additional characters open the scope for rising action and she continues to weave in future romances and danger.

Conn is in high form and never shorts her heroine or her reader. It is pure torture deciding which of the men or fae to fantasize over, and I do so love the bad ones!

You got me again, Claudy!


Book Title: I Am Going Where I Belong
Author: Hans Lindor
ISBN: 978-1592322657
Publisher: Enaz Publications
Reviewer: Vonnie Faroqui

I Am Going Where I Belong relates a fictionalized and tragic tale of life for Haiti native Hans Leger. Born into the ruling class of Haiti and a life of privilege, Hans Leger discovers a side of his homeland that is both shocking and horrifying. The narrative carries the reader through a chance encounter with a child prostitute and her son, to the murder of Han’s father, and his family’s flight to and life in the USA as political refugees. This story reflects deeply on the living conditions, mental attitudes and struggles of the Haitian people. The narrative voice of the book relates and reflects upon issues of personal safety, survival, self loathing, racial and economic discrimination and political despotism.

Insightfully written, I Am Going Where I Belong is loosely built around aspects of the author’s personal experiences, and offers a perspective and a vision of the Haitian people that have until now been given little or no voice. Author Hans Lindor eloquently weaves his personal experiences of life in Haiti and beyond into this fictionalized account, successfully capturing for his audience truths that can only be felt when shared by one who has lived and breathed them. Lindor has lifted his pen on behalf of Haiti and his native people.

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Hans Lindor after having read his book, I Am Gong Where I Belong. Lindor will tell you that the book is about a fictional character and that it is not about his life. After having interviewed the author, I can see why he would assert this. Many aspects of the character Hans’s life are fictionalized and differ from events that played out Lindor’s own story. However, the book also contains events, losses, and incidents that the author has drawn directly from his personal experience. The road of circumstance traveled may differ for the character, Hans, but when you read about Marie and her son, or when a beloved character is gunned down and must be left untended in the streets, there is an aspect of reality being shared that is heartrendingly real. These are elements of the author's own story which are retold using the vehicle of fiction to soften the impact for both the author and the reader. It is in these moments that Lindor’s ability to write is at its best. He transmits into words the incredible horror, loss and grief that has been his own and shares with all of us a tale of Haiti's children.

If you are at all interested in the lost boys of Haiti or in the politics and struggles surrounding this nation, you will benefit by reading I Am Gong Where I Belong. Well written and easy to understand, this book will open your eyes to realities and difficulties faced every day by the Haitian people. The author digs deep and offers up a piece of his soul in, I Am Gong Where I Belong.

Book Title: The Quetzal Skull
Author: Margaret Gill
ISBN: 978-1432768669
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Reviewer: Vonnie Faroqui

Superb from beginning to end!

There is much good to be said about Margaret Gill's writing and The Quetzal Skull in particular. To begin, Margaret knows how to weave a delicious story that will captivate her youthful audience as well as those adults that enjoy reading the Young Adult Fiction genre of books. The Quetzal Skull follows, Narwhal, as part two in a series and is superbly written.

The Quetzal Skull relates the continuing tale of Gray, a young man on the verge of discovering his deepening psychic gifts and his place in the world as a shaman. After his brush with death, in Narwhal, Gray goes to the mainland to attend art school. He intends to study art that is, but it seems once again fate and prophecy have a plan for Gray which is outside of his understanding and control. Kidnapping is the least of the lengths his enemies will go in their efforts to maintain their drive for power and control. They perceive Gray as a threat to their plans and won't stop coming after him until they have eliminated the threat he poses, permanently. Follow Gray around the globe into the heart of myth and mystery, as he strives to solve secrets locked in the distant past and fulfill his destiny.

Margaret does an excellent job of depicting and explaining concepts of psychic energy work and shamanism that accurately portray the teachings, methods and practices of modern and historic shamanic practitioners. She is able to capture in words and through story telling the atmosphere of time and place, which combine to create a flavor of danger and increased tension. Her research and insight into traditional shamanic roles and practices, as well as into the healing or mystical properties of certain herbs and the political intrigue used in her story, is to be commended. There is much to be learned, about our world and its societies, which she has cleverly revealed in the story or used as a device to develop her plot.

Exciting and enlightening, full of physical and spiritual dangers, The Quetzal Skull takes Gray and the reader on an adventure of thrilling proportions. Discover wonder and mystery in the crystal skull of Quetzal. A cast of memorable characters waits for you. You will not want to put this book down.

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