Sunday Review: Have Bags, Will Travel by D. G. Kaye

Have Bags, Will Travel

by D. G. Kaye

Rating: 4 stars

Quick, Light Read of Travel Memories

The opening sections had me nodding my head and smiling. Germs. While I’m not as obsessive about them as D. G. Kaye, I am a faithful hand-washer. Years ago, I began using my shirt, jacket or the paper towel I dried my hands with to open public washroom doors. I thought I was the only one who did this until I read Johnny Depp also did. And now I read Kaye does the same.

Kaye explains how air travel has changed over the years with new regulations, restrictions and lack of comfort. It’s not for the better but if you’re like Kaye, you keep travelling and apply humour to the wounds.

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Sunday Review: Wren in the Mist by Beth Hammond

Wren in the Mist: An Orphan, a Thief, Magic, and a Search for Home

by Beth Hammond

Rating: 3 stars

A short story, not a novel.

The first three scenes of the story were a little disjointed for me. The short opening scene is one far into the future. The next scene delivered me to a time when the main character, Thomas, was twelve. Tragedy strikes. After that short scene, we are thrust into the future again, but not as far as the first scene. Since the time-shift is not made obvious, I read as if Thomas was still 12. Once I realised it was in the future, I had to rethink the first few paragraphs.

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WITHOUT MACHINE GUN TO CAMBRAI

Book Review: A Fool In France, by Christina Keith. Part One: The Daintiest of Tan Suede Shoes.

A publisher told me once: books come in two categories; those for men and those for women. Men buy books about Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill and war; women buy novels. Apart from books about cookery and cats, that’s the English market. Writers of men’s books saw the 2014 centenary of the Great War approaching well in time but, so far, few of their books have captured the public imagination, perhaps because too many of them hit the market in one go and too many of them look the same. Most publishers are not mavericks in the herd. Instead of giving us interesting new stories they prefer re-garnishing the old ones. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend every time. Lions led by donkeys; mud, blood and self-sacrifice; in Flanders fields the poppies grow, in industrially homogenised formats.

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My Library of Books for Writing Fantasy

5x5 fantasy bookA short time ago, Ernesto San Giacomo posted his 2015 Reading List. In the list was Writing About Magic by Rayne Hall.

I commented, saying I had several books about magic, herbs and stones to help me with writing my fantasy stories, but I hadn’t read that one. A list was requested, but I hadn’t gotten around to making it until tonight.

Some of these books are one-time reads, but others I keep on the shelf as references. I can’t remember all the properties of stones and herbs, and I can’t recall all the spells (though I make up a lot myself), so these are keepers for me.

Natural Magic – Spells, Enchantments & Self-development by Pamela J. Ball: This book provides insight to magic and how a sorceress might work her spells. Not every magic-user is the same, so you can take a little of this and a little of that to create a character. This book was okay, worth buying, but not my favourite.

The back cover states: Before there was formal religion there was magic, and to this day there are people who purport to perform ‘miracles’ with the aid of magical powers derived from nature or the spirit realm. These powers are still out there to be tapped into by us. All you need is the knowledge and know-how contained in Natural Magic.

This book reveals: How to become a natural magician, using knowledge gathered over thousands of years by magician and mystic alike. Techniques employing plants, trees, crystals and incense along with meditation, ritual, chanting and dreams. The tools to give expression to your creativity and beliefs. A wide range of methods to bring about positive changes in your life.

The Druid Magic Handbook – Ritual Magic Rooted in the Living Earth by John Michael Greer: This book speaks of Life Force, the alphabet of magic, the elements, enchantment and Ogham writing. It gives a great history on the druids, which I thoroughly enjoyed and ‘connected’ with. I discovered many potential story lines by reading it.

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Review: Flying with a Broken Wing by Laura Best

Book ReviewFlying with a Broken Wing by Laura Best

Nimbus Publishing; September 2013

Paperback; 216 pages; 7.75 x 5.25 inches

ISBN: 9781771080385

When I first read the title—Flying with a Broken Wing—I instantly thought of the robin my friends and I had found when we were kids. It couldn’t fly, and we thought its wing was broken. For days we kept it in our tent and brought it food and water. One day when we opened the flap of the tent, it flew out. We watched it fly around the yard then disappear in the distance, heading for the forests that surrounded our community.

I recall the joy of watching something as wild as a robin fly away, knowing I had helped it to regain its ability to live. I thought Laura Best’s story might hold the same joyous feeling. In a way, I wasn’t disappointed.

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Book Review: MACLEAN by Allan Donaldson

Maclean - Allan DonaldsonMACLEAN by Allan Donaldson

Publisher: Vagrant Press (imprint of Nimbus Publishing, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)

Published: 2005

ISBN: 1-55109-550-5

Price: $14.99 (paperback; 162 pages)

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the Author: Donaldson was born in Taber, Alberta, and at a young age, moved to Woodstock, New Brunswick where his mother’s Irish family had lived for generations. His published work includes a short story collection titled Paradise Siding (1984) and two novels, MACLEAN and The Case About Owen Williams. He currently lives in Fredericton, NB.

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