Review of Karma, Deception And A Pair Of Red Ferraris.

Karma, Deception And A Pair Of Red Ferraris was an enjoyable read right from the beginning.  Elaine, the protagonist tells her story of her quest fro true love.  The book follows her on her quest to find her soul mate, and she’s already been married three times!

Elaine is successful, she doesn’t need a man in her life to take care of her.  She doesn’t need a man in her life to define her.  She wants a man in her life to enjoy spending time with.  But as she has found out the hard way it isn’t always as easy as meeting someone and hitting it off.

The main bulk of the book deals with Elaine’s relationship with Jake, an OBGYN.  Jake seems perfect for Elaine and she embarks on the relationship with high hopes that he is the much desired “one”.  Her psychic tells her that she is about to embark on a wonderful relationship and Elaine firmly believes this must be with Jake.  Jake has issues.  He has also been involved with a few women and has a complicated relationship with his ex, whom he still sees from time to time.  He hasn’t gotten over his dad wife either.

Throughout the book we get to share the ups and downs of Elaine’s life, especially the downs.  Her beloved dog, Graeble, is diagnosed with cancer.  At first the vet is able to treat her and Elaine appreciates and values the time she gets to spend with Graeble.  But just as her relationship with Jake is becoming a little more established Graeble’s cancer returns and there is nothing to do be done for.  Elaine decides to go with the most humane option and takes her beloved dog to the vet to have her put to sleep.  Quite clearly she needs someone to talk to but Jake is absent, spending time with his adult kids instead.  This is when Elaine begins to realise that he is never going to be all she wants him to be.

They eventually go their separate ways and Elaine slips into a depression caused by the break-up and the grief of losing Graeble.  Her life feels hollow and she almost ends it at one point.  Thankfully her doctor prescribes anti-depressants and HRT – Elaine is hitting the menopause – and she is able to slowly lift herself out of her depression.  She becomes a volunteer for a homeless charity and begins to appreciate her life once more, even without Jake in it.  She finally bumps into him again and is shocked to learn that he has an aggressive form of cancer.  She offers to be a companion to him until the end.

This book contains an awful lot of emotional stuff and you may need a box of tissues when you read it.  It was a love story but not the whole hearts and flowers, which was unexpected.  Elaine goes through a huge personal transformation and it is really emotional for her.

Very well written.  Thought provoking.  Often emotional.  Witty.  I loved it.

5 stars *****

Center of Gravity, a review.

Before I begin, oh my word, you MUST go out and buy this book.

What a read!

The story is told from a couple of points of view, mainly Ava Carson and her step-son, Jack Carson.  Occasionally there is another point of view in the book, namely Mitchell Carson’s and lawyer, Graham Thomas.  The story starts with Jack, an eight year old boy who wishes more than anything that he was a superhero.  He gets into a lot of scrapes, often ending with him having to attend the emergency room.  It is on one of these occasions where we are introduced to Ava.  Ava comes across as kind and sweet, the impression is that she has a perfect life and if you don’t really read the blurb then you can be forgiven for thinking that this sweet lady has it all.

However, her husband, Mitchell Carson is so jealous of her popularity and it soon becomes apparent that he is quite controlling.  Pretty soon Ava’s world is turned upside down by Mitchell’s callous and controlling behaviour and she goes from having the perfect life to having everything ripped away from her.  After having a few issues Mitchell decides that he should move out for a while and one day tricks Ava into thinking he wants to spend time with Jack, who Ava has adopted, and his baby brother, Sam.  Mitchell does not take the boys back when he is supposed to and everything spirals out of control for Ava from that point on.  Mitchell hires a top lawyer and then rings around other lawyers preventing them from helping Ava.  There is a glimmer of hope though in the form of Graham Thomas, a lawyer who is trying to rebuild his reputation after a drug scandal saw him suspended from practicing for a time.  Between the them Ava and Graham manage to rustle up a defence, but not before Mitchell manages to restrict Ava’s access to the kids to one hour per week and lies his way to getting a restraining order against his wife.

This book deals with the issue of domestic abuse and there may be many triggers in it for anyone who has been a victim of this kind of abuse, or knows someone who has been.  It is quite shocking to read about Mitchell’s manipulation and how he goes all out to get the boys off Ava for good.  The book also delves into how divorce and abuse affect children and some readers may find this quite harrowing.

That said, I was hooked right from the beginning of this book.  I just could not put it down and read it in one sitting.  There were times in the book that I was sad, then I would find myself become so angry on Ava’s behalf.  I hated Mitchell and really hoped he would meet a nasty ending, although how things turn out for him left me feeling satisfied that he would feel tormented.

This book is a gripping tale of how abusive people manipulate others into believing their truth and how their victims are left helpless and often feel like they have no one to turn to.  I felt Laura McNeill dealt with these issues really well, as well as giving us the view point of a child who is also suffering at the hands of such a manipulator.  Throughout the pain and suffering you do get a hint of hope and you find yourself clinging to that hope, just as Ava does, as the story progresses. Dealing with such topics can often be difficult to get right but I feel the author has got the blend just right.

You MUST buy this book, it is sad, disturbing, beautiful and happy and it WILL move you, I promise.

Highly recommended!  ***** 5 stars.

Review Of One More Day

When I first started reading this book I had no idea what was happening.  It felt very disjointed and confusing. It started out like a load of jumbled up musings that made no sense to me at all.  I considered giving up with the book but figured I would give it one more chapter before making a final decision.  I am very glad that I did stick it out because once I got to chapter three the story finally began to make sense to me.  My interest was piqued and although the story is a little on the chaotic side it actually works.

The story is about Giacomo and Michaela and is set in Italy and America.  They commute on the same train each morning and one morning they catch each other’s eye.  This sets the pattern for the next few months until one morning Michaela suggests they meet up.  Giacomo has never been able to commit to any woman before but he loves women and is interested and intrigued by the beautiful Michaela.  When they meet up Giacomo is disappointed to learn that Michaela has not asked him to join her because she wants to arrange a date, but because she is about to move to America to live and work there.

Without really trying to make a real connection with Michaela, Giacomo finds that his life just is not the same without her on the commute each morning.  He decides to go and spend a couple of weeks in America, to find her  – after his best friend Sylvia finds out where Michaela is working.  A series of mishaps at the airport mean that his phone is rendered useless and so he has no way of contacting Michaela to warn her that he is about to arrive in New York.  Again, Sylvia comes to his rescue and Giacomo sets off to Michaela’s workplace.  Before he sees her he worries that she will think he is a stalker, but she is happy to see him.  She agrees to meet him after work and gives him her journals from when she was commuting back in Italy.  In the journals she has written about him and he is happy to learn that she is as intrigued about him as he is about her.  Over the next couple of weeks they have a relationship, knowing that it will have an expiry date – something they both agreed to.

The idea of the relationship with an expiry date seemed a little cold, but the author made sure there was plenty of romance for the two characters.  Michaela is a lovely character, Giacomo on the other hand comes across as quite shallow.  He has, however, met his match in Michaela and he can’t get over her once he returns to his normal life.  I did think that the story was going to end in a disappointing way, but I am happy to say it ended rather lovely.

Some reviews have scoffed at this story for being too far-fetched, but in my opinion it is fiction and the ideas the author explores are quite romantic.  The story is written from Giacomo’s point of view which may explain why I found him shallow – a man’s point of view.  It was well written and after I had gotten a handle on the confusing plot I did enjoy the book.

Recommended for anyone who loves a romantic adventure.

4 stars ****

Review of Traditional Witchcraft Series

The review I am writing is for the complete series of the Traditional Witchcraft books.  These books can be read as stand alone books – they do kind of fit together but are not essential to read in order.  If you are interested in witchcraft and paganism these books offer you information on the basics, not so much as a “how to”,  but more of  a “lifestyle” type of book.

The first book – Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living – gives you a good, broad look at all aspects of pagan life.  It really focuses on living as a pagan in the city.  I did love this because most books of this genre focus mostly on being at one with nature and assuming we all have instant access to nature.  This is not the case for many of us and most of these books are lacking in life in the city as a pagan.  The author, Melusine Draco, does a fabulous job of bringing the craft to city dwellers and the book is geared towards people who live in the city.  There are plenty of tips, exercises, and practical advice which is given as good, old-fashioned common sense.

The second book – Traditional Witchcraft for the Seashore – is just as beautifully written as the first book.  Again, it is very descriptive book.  There are a lot of facts and information on tides and cloud descriptions.  The book is aimed at those wanting to harness the energies of the sea for their craft.

The third book – Traditional Witchcraft for Fields and Hedgerows – is again aimed at people who are wishing to learn the basics of this tradition.  There is quite a bit of interesting information about trees and their properties and  a lot of very interesting information relating to Wild Herb Lore.  The author talks about what is happening within nature month by month and I felt this was a really useful tool to include, especially for city dwellers.  As with the first two books the author is very informative and writes beautifully.

The fourth book – Traditional Witchcraft for the Woods and Forests – is aimed at those with a broader understanding of the craft.  Although, that said, it could easily be read by a beginner as there is nothing really complicated in there.  This book again discusses trees and takes the reader on a magical journey through meditations.

Book five – Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival – is again aimed at those who already have some knowledge, but as with the fourth book I see no reason why any beginner to the craft could not easily read and understand this book.  This book concentrates on the craft throughout history.  In it, the author focuses on our ancestors and the gods they would have worshiped, detailing historical facts that have been documented elsewhere.  I have to say, this for was a very interesting read and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.  If you have no idea about Britain’s history and belief system pre- Christianity then this book is very informative and will definitely help you to understand your ancestors better.

Book six – Traditional Witchcraft and the Path to the Mysteries – felt like the author had taken lots of bits from her previous work and put it into this book.  If you had not read any of the previous books in this series then this would not be a problem.  For those who have read the other books you are going to find a lot of what is said in this book quite repetitive.  It is aimed at the advanced seeker but I felt it was patronising to those who have been around the craft for a long time.  Whilst that is just my viewpoint I do think the book is worth a read for someone who is looking for something more than the usual beginner books.  It does make a nice leap from beginner to the next level but I don’t feel it is as advanced as we are led to believe.  As a standalone book I would rate this highly, especially for anyone who is not as long in the tooth as those of us who have been practicing for many years.  The author has some great ideas and tips, as with all of the books in this series.

All in all I would purchase these books for family and/or friends who are interested in this way of life, although book 6 would only be bought for those who are less experienced.  Very informative books and well worth the read.

5 stars overall. *****