Book Review: Yule: A Celebration of Light & Warmth by Dorothy Morrison – 4/5

Yule: A Celebration of Light & Warmth by Dorothy Morrison

4/5 – You should be reading this [TCC review guide]

Warnings: Glossing over history, slight Christian passive-aggression, lots of world traditions shared without a mention of cultural appropriation but no cultural appropriation within the book itself.

This book was an extreme surprise for me. Save for the prettied up history and the rest of the warnings, it was actually a solid book. Full of DIYs, recipes, and spells, it’s a good addition to a magical household.

I picked this up in the holiday section of my public library (call # 394.268 Mor) along with another  pagan holiday book. The book was published in 2000 by Llewellyn. You can probably find this in any large bookstore, new age shop, Llewellyn themselves, or online such as Amazon.

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Book Review: The Magick of Aromatherapy by Gwydion O’Hara 4/5

The Magick of Aromatherapy by Gwydion O’Hara – 4/5 You should be reading this

Warnings: Binary discussion, weird printing choices, possible cultural appropriation?

This is a great little tome to pick up if you’re into aromatherapy and have a magical or spiritual practice. I can’t vouch for every single aromatherapy usage but I was impressed with the book and the few flaws I found probably won’t bother most people. But the flaws are there.

The recipes are useful and plentiful and the discussions are worth reading. Basics of aromatherapy are also covered so you don’t need to be an expert to read the book. Worth checking out and worth buying if you’re interested in the subject.

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Book Review: Magical Fashionista by Tess Whitehurst – 4/5

You should be reading this:4/5 – There’s binary discussion, some questionable and unintentional cultural appropriation and fetishing. Learn more about how I rate books here.

The book read much more like a lifestyle book for most of it rather than a magic or metaphysical book but that’s OK because the metaphysical stuff is there in later chapters. It’s going to be very much a topic book. If you’re interested in this topic, then you’ll likely enjoy the book. If you aren’t, then skip it. You won’t gain much from the book if this isn’t a topic that you’re interested in.

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Book Review: A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming: Mastering the Art of Oneironautics 4/5


A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming: Mastering the Art of Oneironautics
by Dylan Tuccillo, Jared Zeizel, & Thomas Peisel

4/5 – You should be reading this [TCC review guide]

Warnings: Glossed over science and history

Overall, this book was pretty good and I’ll be looking to add it to my personal library. It’s a great how-to guide to lucid dreaming and many of the techniques can be used for astral travel as well.

You can pick up this book over on Amazon.

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Book Review: The Teen Witch Spell Book by Jamie Wood 2/5

2/5 – It’s OK. You can read more about my rating system here.

Things to watch for: Bad or vague history, binary thinking, sexism, Wicca = witchcraft, grab and go gods and goddesses, cultural appropriation, Harm None Rede and Threefold Law every three pages, “ancient (matriarchal) religions”, generalization and weird witchy folklore, and not really a good beginner book.

I picked up The Teen Witch Spell Book – Magick for Young Witches by Jaime Wood from the library. It was one of a dozen books I grabbed and one of two magic related books. I knew before even opening the book that I probably wasn’t going to like it. I was unpleasantly correct.

As said, this isn’t what I’d call a beginner’s book and the spells are pretty much the only thing worth reading in it. Still, the spells are certainly good for inspiration for people of all ages and that’s largely the redeeming quality of the book.

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Book Review: “The Witch’s Handbook” by Malcolm Bird – 4/5

4/5 – You should be reading this

An excellent children’s book that will double as a fun source of information and craft ideas for practitioners.The only thing that kept this from being a 5/5 is that it’s clearly a children’s book and written about your stereotypical Halloween style witches. (Which is the point of the book after all.)

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The Goddess is in the Details by Deborah Blake Book Review 3/5

3/5 – Meh.

Total review length: ~2500 words. See more about my review system here.

Warnings for casual religion and Christian bashing, Wiccan=Witch=Pagan, “we all revere nature/the God/Goddess/divine”, inconsistency, slight misunderstanding/shaming on lesser known subjects such as BDSM and satanism, generalization for all pagans/wiccans/witches, “the gods know what’s best for us” thinking, slight victim shaming, and in one stance flat-out false information with the word “cowan” (likely unintentional but still false)

The book has a lot of good ideas but nothing new is being shared here that hasn’t been said before. Blake isn’t quoting the Rede for you but is decidedly in the neo Wicca camp. Advanced practitioners may find the second half of the book an interesting read but many ideas could be fleshed out further. The book was a quick read for me (four hours give or take) and is 227 pages. My copy was from the library and is the 2011 printing. The book’s marketed for intermediate or advanced practitioners so I think much of the beginning information is kind of unnecessary but nice to know where Blake is coming from. The “something to try” at the end of each chapter is interesting but the real bonus is the sourced footnotes within the material, although it is somewhat inconsistent. (Not every idea is sourced but there’s a bibliography in the back).

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Crown’s Book Review Guide

When I review books I look for the following: 
  • Author’s stating that their opinions and personal definitions are just that.
  • Author’s actual handle on writing and the editing process. Few to no grammatical errors, misspellings, off wording, or typos
  • Consistency in the material. Hypocrisy will be pointed out at once.
  • Flat-out misinformation or false or revised history.
  • Sourced material. Original material should be noted as well but if something is from elsewhere, it should be sourced or explained.
  • Privileged bullshit
  • Shaming of any sort in any way.
  • -Phobic and ableist language. Homophobic, trans*phobic, and other like phobias.
  • Hate speech, racism, sexism, ageism, and misogyny,
  • Cultural appropriation and fetishism.

I rank 0/5 to 5/5. I have never given a book a 0 or 5. I likely never will. The rankings are as follows.

0/5 – Absolute shit. There is literally nothing about this book that is good. It has every error listed above and issues may have been created for this book. The review likely consists of caps lock screaming and fire. It may have made me physically ill. I quite possibly contacted the Doctor and the TARDIS to get back my time.

1/5 – Crap. While the author may have managed basic writing skills, it still has a whole host of problems it at least provided information of some sort of made a point. You may wish to flip through the book if it was given to you or you find it at the library but don’t pay money or spend a great deal of time on it. I likely only threw the book a few times and set it on fire once.

2/5 – It’s OK. It has its issues but it also has some aspects to that that’s worth reading. Pay a low price for the book or pick it up at the library. Look carefully at the review before reading. I may have thrown the book or resorted to cussing in every language I can speak to verbalize any distaste for the book. If owned, this book levels out tables and chairs because it’s *just* the right size and you won’t really mind if it’s damaged along the way.

3/5 – Meh. This is a decent book. Still has its issues but most of them aren’t going to bother most people. The issues may be few in number and the book’s worth spending a bit of time on. It may not bring out brandy-new ideas, but it has a solid basic understanding on how shit works. Or, it may have a bunch of clever ideas but has some other shady shit going on in it. The book has some worth. While I still wouldn’t pay full price, if I spend a few bucks then I wouldn’t be sad and will have a nice, safe home behind a clutter of random bottles and crystals on a bookshelf where it can be referenced or reread on occasion. This book is to be recommended occasionally for specific topics. You may find yourself thinking “Whatever happened to X book? I think I loaned it to Billy but he never gave it back. Now he’s left for Mars so I guess it’s gone for good. Oh well.”

4/5 – You should be reading this. It may have an issue or two here and there but it likely has so much good shit in it that the few issues can be ignored or put aside. Paying full price wouldn’t bother me. This book sits securely on a clear shelf where I can reference it often and with glee. This book will be commonly recommended and may serve as a pillow in times of emergencies or while passing out during research. The kind of book that you ensure your friends return to you, even to the point where you text them at odd hours to annoy them enough to return it to you.

5/5 – The Preciousssssss. There are absolutely in no way any flaws.This book glows golden in my hands and whispers sweetly to me. Not only would I pay full price but I likely pre-ordered it and maybe even showed up for the midnight launch or signing if that was available. This book is never far from my hand, protected as if made of glass, has is graced only by satin or silk bookmarks. Not only will it be referenced daily, it will never touch a bookshelf but may sit in a special place of prominence, like a book stand or on a particular shelf dedicated to other excellent books. I would fight Gollum for this book and win.

Obviously, all reviews are mine own opinions and should be viewed as such. Furthermore, I write the reviews as I read the books so they tend to be long-winded and can be used as a walkthrough of sorts. If you have a book you want to suggest to me, feel free to drop an email. I can’t guarantee I’ll read them but I’ll consider it.

 

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