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M. Brett "MaryBrett" (Manchester, England)
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Witch
Witch
by Elizabeth Peters
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.37

3.0 out of 5 stars Okay for Light Reading, But Far Too Slow In Pace & The Thrills Are A Bit Damp & Unfascinating, 29 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Witch (Mass Market Paperback)
My title says most of my opinion of this really. I'm a vintage gothic mystery and romance fan, and had high hopes for this novel as I love the puritans and witches as ghosts meme. It was okay and that's it. Also, the characters were often unlikeable when not meant to be seen that way, (for example, a love interest who threatens to break a woman's teenage daughters's arm - even as a joke - doesn't come across well). The ghosts and paranormal theme also wasn't developed as much as I hoped - it was more romance.


The Cathars and Arthur Guirdham
The Cathars and Arthur Guirdham
by Lynda Harris
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting But A Bit Disappointing, 29 Oct. 2014
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Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Arthur Guirdham's books, this book appealed to me because I've often wondered about the real identities of the alleged reincarnated Cathars he describes under pseudonyms; what their real names and backgrounds were, if further information about them could be found, if some or one of them could possibly still be alive, and, not least, if any of them apart from Miss Mills, Mr Mills and Mrs Smith ever actually existed, as Guirdham - who strikes as honestly intentioned - says in his books that his only personal contact with any of the others was via phone calls made to him in the absence of Miss Mills, and, that all of the women sounded like Miss Mills, and one male who rang him sounded very feminine.

I also was interested to read this because it does seem to me that Guirdham didn't have the proof that he was in contact with psychic forces, that he alleges, and I wondered how his version of the alleged previous lives really talllied with historical evidence of the time, from the point of view of others.

Going into all of this, the book is interesting in providing some background information to the claims, but there isn't a great deal of information, and while the author seems to conclude that Miss Mills duped Arthur Guirdham about the existence of the Cathars he didn't meet, and, that he was in some ways deluded in his own imaginings about his own past life, I don't think there's any more evidence of that than there is evidence for the reality of his experiences.

I hoped for far more information about the other "Cathars". However it is an interesting read.


Sea jade
Sea jade
by Phyllis A Whitney
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Gothic Read, 15 May 2014
This review is from: Sea jade (Paperback)
I thought this was a good read - it kept me guessing, and has nice romantic touches and some stirring drama!


The Vampyre Of Moura / Return to Moura
The Vampyre Of Moura / Return to Moura
by Virginia Coffman
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Ploddy But Good Bits, 28 Nov. 2013
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The pace of the novel was far too slow for me in parts but it was excellent in other parts, with good atmospheric and sensationalist details.


When Marnie Was There (Collins Modern Classics)
When Marnie Was There (Collins Modern Classics)
by Joan G. Robinson
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Spell-binding, So-Moving & Beautiful -My Favourite Book When I was 13/14, 28 Nov. 2013
I was a huge reader all through my childhood, and this was my favourite book when I was 13 and 14. I was a little obsessed with it, re-read it many times, and have kept my copy of it to this day. I loved the fact that it seemed to hint at time travel, and a friendship with a ghost, which echoed the theme of lots of other novels I read at the time, and my other favourite childhood book - Come Back Lucy - which I read when I was 11. In parts, it was very very sad, and left me with a lingering low mood - it made me cry many times - but the unexpected ending was so heartwarming. The background of Norfolk seascapes was so beautiful and haunting. An unforgettable exceptional book.


The Node Book
The Node Book
by Zipporah Pottenger Dobyns
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.61

3.0 out of 5 stars Good Addition To An Astrologer's Library, 14 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The Node Book (Paperback)
This wasn't as detailed and comprehensive as I'd have liked, but it was still good, so I have given it four stars.


A Touch Of The Witch
A Touch Of The Witch
by June Wetherell
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars An Okay Read For The Genre, 14 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: A Touch Of The Witch (Paperback)
I found this an okay read for the genre. It kept me wanting to read on, but I thought it would have benefitted from more atmospheric background description, especially as it has what seemed to me a particularly good & interesting spooky setting, (witchy, and not overused), which was what attracted me to buy it in the first place. Instead of the physical descriptions and atmospheric background details I'd have liked, there was rather too much conversation for me. Also, at times the pace seemed too slow, and at times it seemed too quick. But, on the whole it had a good story and was not too badly written, so I would say it was satisfying enough. By the way it wasn't totally bare of background atmospheric; I just like a lot.


Outing Yourself: How to Come Out As Lesbian or Gay to Your Family, Friends, and Coworkers
Outing Yourself: How to Come Out As Lesbian or Gay to Your Family, Friends, and Coworkers
by Michelangelo Signorile
Edition: Hardcover

1.0 out of 5 stars Out Of Date, Unsafe Suggestions & Too Political!, 13 Nov. 2013
This book was first published 17 years ago, and it's observations of how society is for gay & lesbian people, (which incidentally are North-American-centric, and so not catered to a British readership), are I'd say mostly out of date now. For example, it says most heterosexual people are not aware that they know any gay and lesbian people, or that gay and lesbian people mostly lead ordinary lives. I think we have reached the stage now where on the whole that's not so.

Apart from that, I feel this book gives unwise, potentially very unsafe, and biased suggestions for coming out. For a start, it suggests that a rejecting family can be replaced by a family of friends, which apart from being hideously unsympathetic, (would the author suggest that to anyone who was about to loose their loving parents, grandparents, etc, to *death*?), seems potentially very unsafe advice for many probable readers. Potentially very unsafe, because it could cause an inexperienced or vulnerable person to be too trusting of new acquaintances who are being excessively generous and flattering towards them, new acquaintances who are being like that for sinister reasons because the person seems alone in the world and is homeless, (heard of vice rings, pimping anyone?). I should imagine that a large proportion of readers struggling to know how to come out will be young, and they therefore may not be wordly-wise, and so this suggestion is the opposite of a good one for the reasons just mentioned and other abusive scenarios that a mixture of loneliness and inexperience or vulnerability can set a person up for. Regarding the latter, the friends can become family idea is also I think an *emotionally* unsafe one for readers who are, or become, emotionally fragile due to being rejected by homophobic family or friends, as it could cause them to hope for or expect too much from new friends, leading to them being further traumatised when they are let down by those friends who quite naturally may not want to be, and cannot anyway be, truly like those readers' mothers or fathers or so on.

The book also assumes every reader should be an activist about being gay/lesbian, and constantly educate everyone about it. This is a distinctly unsafe idea because there simply are areas, neighbourhoods and social mileus which will never accept gay and lesbian people, and are dangerously hostile to them, and again, some readers may be inexperienced and not savvy to this. Also, it should be a personal choice for everyone to be an activist or not, in my opinion, and also in my opinion, if a person is turning to a book for advice on how to come out, most probably they have more than enough to deal with regarding their own emotional health, and their own issues, without being pressured to feel that they should be concerned with and working for the well being of all other gay and lesbian people as well.

So what can I say to conclude? The author greatly neglects the question of how to keep safe & seems to assume that the readership will already know how to keep safe, when because the book is likely to be read by an adolescent readership, this is an unfair assumption. Not recommended!


Outing Yourself: How to Come Out as Lesbian or Gay to Your Family, Friends and Colleagues
Outing Yourself: How to Come Out as Lesbian or Gay to Your Family, Friends and Colleagues
by Michelangelo Signorile
Edition: Paperback

1.0 out of 5 stars Out Of Date, Unsafe Suggestions & Too Political, 13 Nov. 2013
This book was first published 17 years ago, and it's observations of how society is for gay & lesbian people, (which incidentally are North-American-centric, and so not catered to a British readership), are I'd say mostly out of date now. For example, it says most heterosexual people are not aware that they know any gay and lesbian people, or that gay and lesbian people mostly lead ordinary lives. I think we have reached the stage now where on the whole that's not so.

Apart from that, I feel this book gives unwise, potentially very unsafe, and biased suggestions for coming out. For a start, it suggests that a rejecting family can be replaced by a family of friends, which apart from being hideously unsympathetic, (would the author suggest that to anyone who was about to loose their loving parents, grandparents, etc, to *death*?), seems potentially very unsafe advice for many probable readers. Potentially very unsafe, because it could cause an inexperienced or vulnerable person to be too trusting of new acquaintances who are being excessively generous and flattering towards them, new acquaintances who are being like that for sinister reasons because the person seems alone in the world and is homeless, (heard of vice rings, pimping anyone?). I should imagine that a large proportion of readers struggling to know how to come out will be young, and they therefore may not be wordly-wise, and so this suggestion is the opposite of a good one for the reasons just mentioned and other abusive scenarios that a mixture of loneliness and inexperience or vulnerability can set a person up for. Regarding the latter, the friends can become family idea is also I think an *emotionally* unsafe one for readers who are, or become, emotionally fragile due to being rejected by homophobic family or friends, as it could cause them to hope for or expect too much from new friends, leading to them being further traumatised when they are let down by those friends who quite naturally may not want to be, and cannot anyway be, truly like those readers' mothers or fathers or so on.

The book also assumes every reader should be an activist about being gay/lesbian, and constantly educate everyone about it. This is a distinctly unsafe idea because there simply are areas, neighbourhoods and social mileus which will never accept gay and lesbian people, and are dangerously hostile to them, and again, some readers may be inexperienced and not savvy to this. Also, it should be a personal choice for everyone to be an activist or not, in my opinion, and also in my opinion, if a person is turning to a book for advice on how to come out, most probably they have more than enough to deal with regarding their own emotional health, and their own issues, without being pressured to feel that they should be concerned with and working for the well being of all other gay and lesbian people as well.

So what can I say to conclude? The author greatly neglects the question of how to keep safe and seems to assume that the readership will already know how to keep safe, when because this book is likely to be read by adolescent readership, that is not a fair assumption. Not recommended!


"Come, thick night"
"Come, thick night"
by Margot Neville
Edition: Unknown Binding

3.0 out of 5 stars Good Australian Mystery/Thriller of Vintage, 12 Nov. 2013
This review is from: "Come, thick night"
this was a good page-turner, a mystery thriller which kept me moved, guessing & curious until the end. It's set in Australia, and although an Australian environment doesn't feature very heavily in the writing, it still comes across as the setting for the story.


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