Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

Review: Stories behind Songs of Christmas – Ace Collins

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (October 1, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310239265
ISBN-13: 978-0310239260
Order book here:
Order E-book here:

 Ever wonder about the meaning behind Good King Winceslas? Have you thought about where Jingle Bells came from? How about the story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

In Stories Behind the Best Loved Songs of Christmas, Author Ace Collins uncovers a lot of the stories behind the songs.  You’ll discover when Nat King Cole first heard The Christmas Song.  You’ll discover what part Judy Garland played in Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  How about what the meaning behind God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

You’ll find all those answers in this book.  The subject was well researched, and most of these stories I’d never heard before, and was quite surprised to discover the true meaning.  Some weren’t even meant as Christmas songs. 

The author does tend to go a little beyond just telling the historical story at times, and it gets a little heavy probably for some on the religious side.  However, the book is published by Zondervan, so I’d expect the religious tones. 

However, no matter your religion, if you celebrate Christmas or not, if you enjoy these songs, then I think you’d appreciate this book.  It would also make a nice stocking stuffer.

No objectionable content, and appropriate for any age group.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: The Sorcerer’s Dream – Dreamshield

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher:, Inc. (April 12, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1609101561
ISBN-13: 978-1609101565
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This autobiographical adventure is about a journalist who meets the enigmatic sorcerer, Running Deer, and her initiation into the sorcerer’s world and mastering lucid dreaming. This book, that follows in the traditions of Carlos Castaneda and others, takes the reader through the magic realms of the unknown and gives a new approach to the traditional training of women sorcerers. It takes place not in some fantasy world, but in a contemporary society, and addresses the things we face on a daily basis in our everyday lives.


I found the premise of this book interesting. Through a narrative, the author manages to take the reader on a voyage through her discovery of her abilities to master dreaming. She does this with the help of her Mentor, Vidar or Running Deer.

She shows throughout the book various ways to get in touch with your healing aspects, sexual energy, etc. She doesn’t do this in follow this step by step process, but rather by describing her own voyages through it.

This is an area I’ve always been interested in, and this book stands as a good story of one who’s gone through the process. If you are looking for a step-by-step manual, you probably won’t find it here. You have to read and study the different things she is doing in order to get the process.

If you are interested in Lucid Dreaming or in Native American shamanistic ideas, then I think you’d enjoy this book. It’s definitely an area I want to explore more in depth.

See our interview of Dreamshield here and her guest post here. Also, don’t miss our giveaway, in which we will offer one of our readers the chance to win a copy of The Sorcerer’s Dream. You can enter it by clicking here.

About: Alysa Braceau aka Dreamshield, author of The Sorcerer’s Dream

Bio:  Alysa Braceau, Dreamshield lives in the Netherlands (Europe), she is mother of a 6-year old daughter. She studied social legal studies and the last ten years she is a (freelance) journalist and publisher. Besides that she has a healing practice and gives workshops about the Art of Dreaming.

Alysa Braceau is author of The Sorcerer’s Dream. The theme of the passed years have been the sorcerers tradition and mastering conscious dreaming. She carefully recorded her personal experiences which has finally led to this first book.

A short pitch on where to buy The Sorcerer’s Dream and a second way to win a copy

The Sorcerer’s dream, an initiation into the sorcerer’s world and mastering conscious dreaming. Buy it at:


The book can be ordered on Amazon – and everywhere they sell books



Win a copy of the Sorcerer’s Dream

During my book tour you go to my website and type in ‘book giveaway’ in the question area and you will be entered in the drawing on November 15. Good luck everyone!

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Alysa Braceu and BK Walker books who provided a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Walking through Illusion – Betsy Thompson

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: O Books (January 16, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1846942926
ISBN-13: 978-1846942921
Order book here:


I wasn’t sure at first what to think of this book. It seemed to not have a pre-arranged purpose. As I got into it, I discovered, that it was, best described, as an inward, discussion with Jesus, using people within his life to explain different issues. Some examples:

Forgiveness: Saying I forgive you for the awful things you did to me, is still blaming the person, and you were still wrong, but I’m good enough to overlook it.

Conditional Love: Using John as an example, of how conditional loving, is using the person.

Death: Helping Thomas overcome the death of his wife, it’s explained as if you imagined she were on a journey, would he be happy if he knew that a reunion was inevitable.

Respect: You should give people what they need, not expect them to give you what you need.

Abuse: What you put out is what you get back. Lazarus is used, to illustrate an abusive father. Because he was abusive, he only got abuse back. To overcome it, Lazarus had to be the person he wished his father were.

Another story involves a Rabbi and Lazarus. Lazarus left the Rabbi, because the Rabbi was intent on being right, and if he could prove Lazarus’s beliefs wrong, his own beliefs would be justified.

Politics: “To the government, heaven on Earth, meant control of the Earth. Control of the Earth meant power. Power to the people meant less power to the government. To the government, less was unacceptable”.

Many of these thoughts, I could apply to situations in my own life, and I think that’s where the value in this book lies. I think it would be a good gift book for people who are struggling through some of the many hardships we face in life, divorce, handicaps, etc.

About the Author:

Betsy’s work has always gravitated toward the media. A native Philadelphian with a B.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, Betsy worked as an account executive for WFIL radio in Philadelphia, and from there went to radio stations WPEN and WFLN. After that, she became a commercial print model and acted in television commercials in New York and Philadelphia. For seventeen years, she worked in Los Angeles at the motion picture and television company Castle Rock Entertainment as the Assistant to the Chairman and CEO. In August ’99, she followed her boss to Warner Bros. as he took a new position there as President and COO, and became his Executive Assistant. She is now writing full time. Betsy’s writing began unexpectedly while going through an especially difficult time in her life. She believes that her books were the answer to her prayers.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Ms. Thompson for an electronic copy of this book for a review. It in no way influenced my review.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Heaven Speaks – Pamela Bloom & Carla Flack

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Paperback: 156 pages
Publisher: Soul Connections (March 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1885499000
ISBN-13: 978-1885499004
Order book here:
Order E-book here:

This book contains interviews of many famous celebrities. Among them are Walter Cronkite, Albert Einstein, Paul Newman, Michael Jackson, Amelia Earhart, Walt Disney, Abe Lincoln, and John Lennon. The catch is each of these celebrites were talked to after they’d died. Pamela Bloom and Carla Flack have the ability to channel the dead. In this situation they’ve channeled many celebrities. Things such as how the person’s passing was, and what lessons the person learned while on Earth are discussed.

I was a little skeptic at first, and still am to some extent. I keep an open mind though on all issues, and would like to explore this issue further. I thought each vision of the passing over was as unique as the person speaking. For example, Michael Jackson’s experience was one of Music. Albert Einstein seemed to regret that he had no real emotional connections. My favorite ones were Abraham Lincoln, and John Lennon who gave his views on world peace.

Some great quotes from the book:

Walt Disney: “Even in the worst of times, don’t let the children lose their sense of awe and wonder. It is that which keeps the human spirit alive.”

John Lennon: “Dark must become white. There is no other way to say it. What is hidden must be revealed. What is closed must be opened. What is rejected must be embraced. A starving child must become beautiful in our eyes so that we will embrace it. An abused mother calls for us to put our arm around her, not shun her, not walk away. A homeless person must call out to our compassion, not our ignorance. We must open our eyes and see in a new way.”

I found the book very interesting, and it presented very beautiful, alternative views of the tunnel with the bright light at the end. Anyone interested in beliefs that are outside the box, I think would probably like this book. I know I’m looking forward to seeing the next volume and who shows up for it.

About the Authors:

PAMELA BLOOM is an award-winning writer, intuitive spiritual counselor and the author of 7 books, including Buddhist Acts of Compassion and On the Wings of Angels. A former music critic and travel writer, she twice won the prestigious Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award for her guidebooks on Brazil and the Amazon. As a healer and intuitive, she has worked closely with all kinds of people, especially those with lifethreatening diseases, and was on the counseling staff of Marianne Williamson’s Manhattan Center for Living. Her newest book is The Power of Compassion: Stories that Open the Heart, Heal the Soul, and Change the World (Hampton Roads, May 2010). She lives in New York City.

CARLA FLACK has been an intuitive counselor and spiritual coach for over 35 years. Her client list includes celebrities, artists, authors, executives and ordinary people from all walks of life. Curiosity set her on a course of study through various esoteric arts such as astrology, numerology, meditation and expanding consciousness until she eventually settled into a focus on the two disciplines that held her interest the most: tarot and angels. For years, Carla was a featured reader in AOL’s Crystal Ball Room, which led toher being CEO of an independent internet website of highly praised intuitive counselors from around the world. Over the past 20 years, Carla has been a published author of numerous articles, newsletters and books on a variety of metaphysical topics and continues her passionate journey into understanding consciousness and the soul’s evolution.

You can visit there website at and download a sample chapter, order the book, and read more about the whole thing.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Pamela for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

God and Sex – Michael Coogan

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Twelve (October 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446545252
ISBN-13: 978-0446545259
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Order E-book here:


Have you ever thought about all the sex that goes on in the Bible. Have you wondered what The bible actually had to say on topics such as adultery, incest, and other taboo topics. In God & Sex, Michael Coogan attempts to explain those things. Mr. Coogan is a professor of Religious Studies at Stonehill College, and has taught Hebrew Scriptures at Harvard, Wellesley College, Boston College, and Stonehill. The basic premise for this book is taken from some of those lectures.

He puts some interesting, and some might consider blasphemous spins on some of the taboos spelled out in Leviticus. One example is on the subject of Incest. The Bible says not to have intercourse with your sister, aunt, father’s wife (not necessarily mother), etc. He points out some facts regarding this issue. One, It doesn’t tell women not to have sexual relations with the corresponding family members. In fact, he points out, the bible is full of cases of sisters and brothers marrying. Two, he argues that one of the primary reasons, is that women were property. A man sleeping with his sister, deprives his father of the income that she would bring as a virgin bride.

A lot of the hangups towards sex we seem to have actually tie back to the male dominance within the bible according to this book. He points out areas where there are contradictions in things, and where some times a sexual connotation is being given, but we aren’t aware of it, such as mentioning of uncovering feet, wherein feet is a euphemism for genitalia. I’d never considered that, but his explanation does make sense, in the situations he brings up.

While I’m not 100% certain he’s correct in his interpretations, they do seem to make sense and fit his overall logic. I’m not sure I’d recommend this book for those who read the bible literally, but for those who tend to read things, and want to see things in their historical context, I think you’d find Mr. Coogan’s spin on these issues to be quite though provoking.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Valerie at Hachette Book Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Jesus Outside the Box – Mark Townsend

Saturday, September 25th, 2010



Paperback: 80 pages
Publisher: O Books; Reprint edition (September 16, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1846943264
ISBN-13: 978-1846943263
Order from here:

This is my second time being able to review one of Rev. Townsend’s books. And I wasn’t disappointed. While the book was rather short, it was effective. The basic premise of the book is to take many of the Jesus stories and present them from a different angle. For example, there is the story of the 5 loaves and fishes, presented from the view of the young boy who provided the food.

It reminded me of books such as 1001 Arabian Nights, or books I’ve read where they take a particular event, and show it through the eyes/emotions of those around the event.

I think anyone who has heard thes stories will like this book. I don’t think you necessarily have to be Christian to appreciate it. There are a few strong words, so it might not be for the younger children, but for older teens and adults I think it would be appropriate.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Mark for a review copy of this book, it in no way influenced my review.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

The Big Book of Christian Mysticism – Carl McColman

Monday, September 20th, 2010



Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing (August 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1571746242
ISBN-13: 978-1571746245
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What is Christian Mysticism? It’s described as an experiential relationship with God, meaning actually experiencing God. Non Mystical religion, according to this book, is most often a behavioral religion, ie. if you behave in this manner, you are doing what’s right. Mysticism on the other hand is having a personal relationship with god, and not always as tied into the behavior or rules.

I thought the book was very interesting in showing Christian Mysticism, and how it relates to other religious Mysticisms such as Kabbalah within Judaism, Sufism within Islam, Vedanta and Kashmir Shaivism within Hinduism. They covered a lot of the more famous Mystics such as St. Francis of Assisi and St. Paul. The other included a very good bibliography for further reading, suggested books, and a listing of the more historical mystics.

While I found the book very informative, I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t meet what I thought it was going to be. That was actually beginning steps in mysticism. But it did pique my interest enough that I plan to further prusue it as an interest, and learn more about it.

If you are interested in Mysticism, or just want a beginner’s guide, than pick this up. I think you’d find it a good starting place.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Bonni at Red Wheel Weiser for a review copy of this book.  It in no way influenced my review.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

God and Dog – Wendy Francisco

Sunday, September 19th, 2010
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Center Street (September 20, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 159995379X
ISBN-13: 978-1599953793
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There was very little to this book. It took all of 5 minutes to read and enjoy the pictures. But good things come in small packages, and in this package is what amounts to the lyrics to a song about the love of God and the love of Dog. The author makes many comparisons to the two, and in the end it becomes a very sweet little book. There is no strong language, no adult content, so it’s appropriate for any age. I think it would make a nice gift book, especially for a dog lover.

This book is simply a printed version of the Youtube Video. I’ve included the video here for your enjoyment.

YouTube Preview Image

About the Author:

From the author’s Website:

Wendy was born in 1955 in Boston, Mass. She grew up in Del Mar, California and graduated from San Diego State University.

Wendy has been involved with music, art, writing, photography, nature and animals since she was a kid. Her mother graduated from Boston School of Fine Arts and her father was a graduate of Harvard and worked as an electrical enginneer. He was also a brilliant musician. Wendy spent summers as a dude ranch wrangler throughout her jr high, high school and college years.

Wendy’s involvement with music began at a young age. She learned guitar at age 8 and began to write her own songs. She was asked to perform often and in 1979, was signed to Sparrow Records. Wendy has since traveled all over the United States and beyond doing concerts. You may remember her voice at the front of the NBC sitcom “Dear John” with Jud Hersh.

In 1973, Wendy had an experience which ignited a lifelong passion. Much of her music and writings center around the belief that there is a loving God who created the universe. She struggles with modern religion which limits many people and women in particular, but feels that God Himself is real and loves people.

In 2008, Wendy was asked to participate in the editing of a book, “Wesley The Owl” by author Stacey O’ Brien. It was published by Simon and Schuster and became a New York Times and Los Angeles Times best seller.

Most recently, Wendy created the You Tube video, GoD and Dog. Her first animation, the video received a million views in it’s first 40 days. GoD and DoG will be released as a book in the fall of 2010.

Wendy has a married daughter, recording artist Annie Brooks. Wendy resides with her husband, singer/songwriter Don Francisco, in the mountains of Colorado where she has many animals, and continues to produce art, writings, and music.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Anna at Hachette Book Groups for a review copy. It in no way influenced my review.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

The Hole in Our Gospel Richard Stearns

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010



Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1ST edition (March 10, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0785229183
ISBN-13: 978-0785229186
Order from here:

Richard Stearns was living what a lot of people consider the American Dream. A big House, big salary, a jag for a company car. Then he started getting calls to join World Harvest. He tried to run from it, but everywhere he turned something new would happen to make him think he had to take the job. Finally he gave up everything he’d worked for, and flew his family across the country for a 75% cut in salary to become CEO of World Vision U.S.

This is a must read book, whether you are Christian or not, but particularly if you are Christian. It was at times disturbing, and made me realize that despite what I think, I don’t do enough to help others. That is the premise for this book.

The Bible commands that we help out the least among us. His whole point throughout this, is that people have failed in this assignment. He packs the book with statistics, and heartbreaking stories of his visits to other countries, some overran with AIDs suffering.

He begins by usin the illustration that if you out every sentence in the bible that dealt with how we were to treat the poor, the hungry, the needy, that the bible would be nothing but shreds. There would be so many holes you wouldn’t recognize it, yet that’s what a lot of people do all the time. He admits that he has a tendency to really get excited and help when he first returns from a mission, but then things die off, and he falls back into a rut.

One scenario he imagines is that of two churches. One is a church in Africa that has nothing, but is happy. The other is a church here, that has everything it needs, but the people are too busy with their own lives. The man from the African church is transported here, and sees the church, and is astonished, he thinks he will be able to tell them all the stuff he needs help with but as soon as the service is over, they flock out without ever listening to him.

A Shock TV/Radio jock has recently said The Bible had nothing to say about Social Justice, and others have spoken out about community service, yet this whole book is about Social Justice and serving your community, and how it’s commanded by God. I think regardless of your views, and no matter how much you think you are contributing, you should pick it up and read it. I think you’ll find it very eye opening.

About the Author

Richard Stearns has been president of World Vision U.S. since June 1998. As a spokeperson for World Vision he has appeared on CNN, Fix, ABC, NBC, and PBS.
*Disclaimer* A copy of this book was provided for review purposes through Thomas Nelson’s Book Sneeze program. It in no way influenced my review.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

The Power of Compassion – Compiled by Pamela Bloom

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010



Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing (May 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1571746293
ISBN-13: 978-1571746290
Order from here:

This is a collection, of mostly Budddhist writings regarding compassion. Ms. Bloom compiles stories from many different spiritual leaders and how they exhibited the nature of compassion. One example was of a man who had no blank to sleep outside, someone gave him a blanket, but while he was sleeping someone took it. His reaction was happiness for the person who needed the blanket.

Another story is that of Yeshe Tsogyal. This story say’s that Yeshe was traveling along one day and came across some men carrying a man on a stretcher. When she inquired they told her the man had been punished by having his kneecaps removed. They were told that only the kneecaps of a woman could help him. She volunteered to give up her kneecaps in order to help this man.

I found the stories to be very inspiring, and touching. They cover things from how animals can be affected by compassion, to how it can change people. I think for anyone whose trying to lead a more open, compassionate life would find a great deal to like about this book.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Bonni at Red Wheel Weiser for a review copy of this book. 

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.