Reading Fanatic Reviews

New Age

Empath Awakening by Kara Lawrence

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Empath Awakening*

Information and Self-Care for Empaths

Have you ever thought that you were an empath? The author states in the subtitle that this book will help you with the negative aspects that that (though more is covered). The first chapters of this book explore the typical traits that empaths possess as well as the different types. Next, she looks at what empathic abilities are and how empaths can avoid negative energy so they don’t feel overwhelmed. But as empathy is not something that can be switched off, she next offers ways of self-healing. Chapter 6 has the same title as the book and discusses how to grow as an empath and learn to read energy. The next chapter is an interesting look at the different types of alternative healing like reiki and reflexology. Not all healers are empaths nor are all empaths healers, but I found this to be an interesting look at how empathy can relate to a variety of healing modalities. The end chapters look at energy shielding, the possibilities of forming toxic relationships with narcissists, and other pitfalls.

I think the book is basically well organized, though I might have put energy shielding along with the earlier chapter on negative energy and self-healing with energy healing. The author has a friendly and accessible style. She identifies as an empath, so the information she shares has a ring of personal authenticity, not just a repackaging of topics gleaned from other sources on the internet—which, unfortunately, books like these often are. The chapter on empaths and narcissists correlates to another book of hers, Toxic Magnetism, and a section within that chapter also reflects another of the author’s books on codependency. If you believe you might be an empath, you might find this helpful read so that you can protect yourself even if you align with others on a variety of levels.

Energy Healing for Relationships by Keith Sherwood and Sabine Wittman

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Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Scribd, Mondadori, Angus & Robertson, and Indigo (Chapters).

Energy Healing for Relationships*

Good Book for Energy Work

I was surprised at the depth and breadth of the information in this book. I myself have worked with subtle energies for a long time as a Reiki practitioner. While this book is specifically looking at energy as it relates to couples and families, the authors actually give an excellent grounding in the concepts of chakras and the five elements. In fact, if you are drawn to this book but fear you don’t have much of a background, I would say go ahead and get it because the authors educate you as well as give you exercises in energy work and energy healing. You’ll come away much more knowledgeable and grounded.

The book has a logical organization, which I always appreciate. The book starts discussing what subtle energy fields are and gets the reader working with them. The book moves on to talking about you as an individual and specifically discusses energy work to help find a partner that resonates with your energy. Once we have a handle on our own energy, the book then guides how to approach expanding energy consciousness to include a partner. The natural progression then moves on to the partners preparing to welcome children into the family and then into energy work for healthy children and family structures. A final chapter at the end looks at some contemporary difficulties that one could face in the real world and how we can heal our energy if they impact us. The book is brimming with exercises. Every chapter has at least several, and some chapters have quite a few. I found the exercises to be simple, for the most part, but able to lend insight into self, other, and the family as a unit. Not all of the exercises truly have to do with healing, though many of them do. However, one could argue that any energy work done well has a healing aspect. If energy work interests you at all, or you have an interest in alternative methods for better relationships, you may very well enjoy this book.

Find Your Mantra by Aysel Gunar

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Find Your Mantra*

Not Truly New Mantras, but Mantra Actions are Good

In this book, you will find 75 mantras along with suggested actions for you to take to fully embody or embrace what the mantra is about. The book is divided into 5 core topics: peace, love, happiness, strength, and journey. I was surprised as I was flipping through the book at how common these mantras are. A few of them might be original to the author, but most are short, commonplace sayings–commonplace, at least, if you’ve done much reading in self-help or self-development. What does make this book interesting are the suggested mantra actions, though some are a bit general. After all, it is one thing to say a mantra and another thing to try fully practice, embrace, or get to know it more deeply. I think that’s what this book’s strength is. The writing is a little awkward, as if the writer is not a native English speaker or has been translated from another language. If you have an interest in positive thinking or translating positive thinking into action, this book could be for you.

Life and the After-Life by Laura Powers

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Life and the After-Life*

Fascinating Look into the Life and Mind of a Medium

I have read other books by this author, so I was curious about her background and further glimpses at her take on the world outside of the standard five senses. This book is divided precisely in half, the first half being a brief memoir while the second half gives her thoughts and opinions on occult topics like ghosts, spirit guides, angels, and the other side. The book ends with a glossary of sorts, a list of terms that you might have heard if you read many metaphysical or occult books. I found the memoir section interesting, to see how the awareness began for her and how that manifested in her life. Part two is not only about straight-up information on the topics; she also gives you tips if you are, say, dealing with ghosts. Having read some of her other books, I found the glossary to be helpful because she does have some precise definitions of terms. If you have any interest in the afterlife, mediums, or otherworldly beings, you might find this book to be a fascinating read.

Open Your Akashic Records by Cheryl Marlene

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Open Your Akashic Records*

A Deep, Ethical Dive into Your Akashic Records

What a fascinating book! I have been a student of metaphysics and the occult for a very long time, since I was a teenager, as my mother was interested in the topics and passed that on to her children. I vaguely remember hearing about the akashic records but had never explored the concept in depth. This is just the book to let someone do so. I will admit that the topic is a little hard to pin down precisely, and that was echoed somewhat in the earlier portions of the book. But within the lessons of the book, the author slowly unwinds what this is all about and how we can be enriched by working with these records in an ethical, intensely personal way. After setting you up for good, ritualized practice in the early lessons, the book gets interesting further on when she shows you how to access the records to answer questions, get support, and reveal more to you about your life’s purpose and journey. If you have any interest in metaphysics or the akashic records, this book will scratch an itch you may not have known you had.

Wicca: A Beginner’s Guide by Melissa Smith

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Wicca: A Beginner's Guide*

Some Confusion May Not Help True Beginners

This book purports to be a beginner’s guide to Wicca. By some measures, it is that. Wicca is a hard term and practice to define, especially the further and further we get away from Gardiner, and I think this fact is reflected in the book. The author attempts to define it and related terms right in the first chapter, but I think the author got a few things confused. She stated in several places that paganism falls under Wicca; I see Wicca and other earth-based religions as falling under the broader umbrella of paganism. Paganism is another word that is hard to define; some use the word to describe any religion outside of the big three while others say that any pagan religion’s tenets must come from a pre-Christian form of religion. Honestly, I don’t think the definitions really matter to the individual; it’s what’s in your heart and what resonates with you. I found it odd that the author discusses shamanism and druidism in the section where she defined Wicca. I don’t believe that shamanism relates in any way to Wicca (although it might be a part of a particular Wiccans spiritual reality), and druidism is what I might call a sister path to Wicca with deep roots in pre-Christian Celtic religion. On the chapter about the benefits of Wicca, the author also included a brief writing about dealing with others who might not accept you. Considering that this is meant to be an introduction to Wicca (perhaps for people who are not practitioners), I think this would have been better put in a separate chapter perhaps later in the book; there, it would make sense to have this information if once one has decided to go on this path.

The book is full of general information that can form a foundation of knowledge for someone interested in Wicca, but it is not detailed enough for someone who really wanted to start practicing. There are brief chapters on deities, holidays, and different types of witches as well as more practical aspects like rituals and spells. The book is potentially dangerous, giving simple spells for readers who haven’t been given enough background to know what they are doing. I think the book definitely could have been better organized; for instance, the “different types of witches” chapter might have been better if it were a part of the definitions chapter. I didn’t like that the author interrupted the book asking for reviews. I get why authors want reviews, but just put it at the end; don’t interrupt your book as it does ruin the flow of a book. Throughout the book, the author does talk about the different flavors of Wicca and modern paganism. I would have loved to have seen a Suggested Resources section at the back that an interested reader could follow up with if he or she wanted to know more about one of the branches of paganism discussed. Instead, there’s an oddly styled reference section of blog articles and websites that seem more general. All told, if you want to learn more about Wicca, you might be better off looking at books that have been around a long time, like the ones by Scott Cunningham.

Diary of a Ghost Whisperer by Laura Power

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Diary of a Ghost Whisperer*

Otherworldly Realm from Psychic’s Perspective

While the blurb of the book makes you think that it may give a fair amount of information about working with ghosts or otherworldly entities yourself (or what to do if you encounter one), it is more of a reflection of the title as it is mostly about the author’s own ghost stories. She even has some pictures! I found this book to be an interesting glimpse into the world of a psychic medium. There is a small amount of information at the start of the book about the different types of otherworldly beings that one could encounter (and that the author has). There is a very brief section at the end with the author’s recommendations and tips if you want to try to work with the lighter end of the spirit spectrum yourself. She doesn’t recommend actually interacting with ghosts (whom she distinguishes from spirits). If you like ghost stories, you will most likely enjoy the ones shared by this author as well as her personal take on the otherworldly realm.

Intuitive Tarot Reading by Melissa Smith

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Intuitive Tarot Reading*

Nonintuitive Rehash of Familiar Tarot Information

The title states that this book will look at intuitive tarot reading, and the blurb further suggests that the tarot is a pathway into the subconscious. While I agree with the latter as a long-time tarot reader, I do not believe that either promise was actually delivered in this book. Instead, the book seems to be a compilation of some common themes in tarot books or on tarot websites–like how to pick a deck, how to attune your deck, and how to get ready for a reading as well as some very basic spreads or draws–but is mostly taken up with a brief description of each of the 78 cards of the tarot along with its upright and reversed readings and its possible meanings if it comes up in a spread about finances, love, or work. I found these sections on each card to be little more than what you read in the little white book for each deck; nothing in particular is added to help improve intuitive reading. There’s a brief section about how the cards work that follows these descriptions of the cards; for structural purposes, I think this would have been better put with the beginning background information.

Some of the tips in the general section seem a little fussy and pedantic to me as someone who has been tarot practitioner for a long time; I suggest using your intuition to see if her suggestions feel right to you. I did think, though, that the information about asking the right questions what’s a good one.

The table of contents is a hot mess, and I actually don’t think it is terribly helpful for navigation around the text. Why is this? The author has made a clickable link for not only every chapter but every heading and subheading in each chapter. So in my Kindle, the table of contents goes on for screens and screens, especially when you hit the section on the card descriptions. Not only is the card name a clickable link, but the three sections that the author has written for each card are also clickable links– for each and every card.

There are also some formatting issues within the main text itself. I did receive an advance review copy, so I hope these formatting issues will be taken care of in the published version of the book. For instance, within the card description section, sometimes what should have been separate paragraphs all ran together. This is beyond the first 10% of the book at Amazon, so I couldn’t see if these had been fixed. There are definitely issues with grammar, punctuation, and usage. The reference section was formatted oddly, vaguely reminiscent of college paper reference sections. There was another odd thing as well. The author put out a call for reviews in the middle of the book—with a graphic and everything—and that was rather distracting and offputting.

For all of these issues, I would say that you could find better books on tarot in general, and you will certainly want to look for a different book if you truly want one that is about intuitive tarot reading.

The Lost Book of the Grail by Caitlin Matthews and John Matthews

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The Lost Book of the Grail*

Excellent Blend of Scholarship and Spirituality

I’ve long been a fan of John and Caitlin Matthews’ writings on pagan topics (some 20 years). They have an excellent way of combining scholarship and spirituality that appeals to both my head and heart. This book is no exception. It is about a recently discovered text called the Elucidation, which is an early medieval version of the Grail myth. This version of the story shows the ties of the story to the pre-Christian world. The authors not only present the text itself, but give the context for it within the greater body of Grail literature. They analyze the text and also further look at the themes brought up within the text, giving insight into how its ideas can resonate with personal spiritual practice. This adds so much to what we think of as the Grail story. Another thought-provoking look at the Celtic roots of culture and spirituality by these authors.

Be Love by Pete Brigham

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Be Love*

One Man’s Spiritual Journey and Insights

I typically find books about people’s individual spiritual quests to be fascinating, and this book was no exception. In this book, the author weaves in both his understanding of A Course of Miracles and his insights gained through life-between-lives hypnotherapy. He states that a voice who called itself Phaedron and its Council of Elders passed on insights from the spiritual realm to him. The first section of the book goes into more detail about the hypnotherapy aspect as well as A Course in Miracles. The longer second section details the wisdom that the author believes he has gained from both of these, mostly about an all-encompassing love for humanity and oneness. This is not a quick or easy read, but it does provide interesting food for thought if you’re on your own spiritual journey.



The asterisks (*) by the book title denote the source of the book copy.

One star = I received it as a free advance/review copy or directly from the author.

Two stars = I borrowed it through my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Three stars = I purchased the book outright (sometimes for free).

The Amazon book links on this site are affiliate links, which means I make a tiny percentage if you choose to buy a book linked from this site.

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