Review: Walking in Beauty by Phoenix LaFae

Walking in Beauty: Using the Magick of the Pentacle to Bring Harmony in Your Life by Phoenix LaFae

Published: July 8, 2020 by Llewellyn Publications

Buy this book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Rating:

Synopsis: Using the pentacle and its five points as a magickal framework, this inspiring book presents techniques and exercises that help you manifest joy, discover your inner and outer beauty, recognize blessings, and bring balance to your life. Phoenix LeFae presents a revolutionary approach based on the five points of the pentacle–Beauty, Devotion, Desire, Creativity, and Expression.

Walking in Beauty awakens you to the magnificence of the world; it is both a meditation tool and a key to greater awareness. Through exercises, rituals, affirmations, and beauty acts you can take out into the world, this marvelous guide shows you how to run the energy of the pentacle through your body and clear any blocks that keep you from living a fully engaged and beautiful life. 

Review: ***Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and Llewellyn!***

The concept of this book was really appealing to me. One of the first ideas that you learn in paganism and witchcraft is that the points of the pentacle symbolize the five elements and the circle represents all of those elements working together in harmony, toward a greater goal. LaFae takes this concept and applies it to the concept of beauty. Beauty of the self, beauty of the soul, beauty of the world. Our society is severely lacking in an appreciation of the small things and that is what this book is about. Everyone gets too busy to notice small, beautiful things in the world but this is ultimately detrimental to your magick and to your soul.

I loved the layout of this book. It has sections where it asks you to journal all of your feelings or revelations about the portion that you previously read. Some of the assignments are to find a beautiful thing and add it to your beauty notebook. This book is definitely going to be added to my personal collection. Reading it for the purpose of a review, I didn’t get a chance to work through some of the assignments but I want to. So I will be going through this more thoroughly later.

The rituals were also pretty good. They are not beginner rituals (as the books points out it is not a beginner’s guide to magick) in that it doesn’t cover the basics like grounding, casting a circle, releasing a circle, setting up an altar, that kind of thing. The rituals are beautiful in their own way and I can’t wait to try them out.

The ultimate goal of the beauty pentacle is to use the newly positive view that you develop and spread that beauty outward. To use small acts in your community to spread the power of the pentacle ever wider. I love that idea. If everyone did that the world would be a much more positive place.

Review: Terminal Island by Walter Greatshell

terminal islandTerminal Island by Walter Greatshell

Published December 4th, 2012 by Night Shade Books

Cover and synopsis provided by the publisher.

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository

Synopsis:

Henry Cadmus grew up on Catalina Island, a scenic vacationland off the Southern California coast. But Henry’s experiences were far from idyllic. Today, even though Henry has seen firsthand the horrors of war, the ghastly images that haunt his dreams is one he associates with his childhood… and the island: a snarling pig-man holding a cleaver; a jackal-headed woman on a high balcony, dripping blood; strange occult rituals… and worse. If it was up to Henry, he would avoid the island entirely.

But Henry is returning to Catalina Island. At his wife Ruby’s insistence, Henry, Ruby, and their infant daughter are coming to Avalon, so that Henry can face his fears, exorcise his demons, and reconcile with the one he fears most… his mother.

From Walter Greatshell, author of Xombies comes Terminal Island, a novel of cosmic horror.

Rating (out of 5): 3 star

Review:

This book was…strange, there really is no other word for it.  I have postponed writing this review for a few days to find a better word to describe it but I can’t find one.  Parts of this story had me clutching my ereader in a death grip with fear for the characters.  Parts of this story just left me scratching my head as I thought “Wait, what?”  The basic premise is that Henry lived the life of a wanderer when he was growing up, his mother moving him from place to place with regularity.  When his mother decided to move him to Catalina Island he fell in love with the place.  Shortly after, however, he begs his mother to leave and she complies.  Now that he is married and has a child, his mother has dropped off the map.  They were never close, but now he hears that she has moved to Catalina Island and is returning his letters. His wife, Ruby, suggests that they go find his mother and sort this out.  Henry is overcome with apprehension at returning to the place of his childhood nightmares but agrees.

This novel jumps between Henry’s perspective of the island in the present and flashbacks of his time on the island as a child.  This is very disconcerting and pulls the reader out of their comfort zone, I thought this was a very good tactic.  This is supposed to be a horror type novel, I shouldn’t have a comfort zone!  And with this novel I never did and I liked it.  While reading, you are never quite sure what is real and what isn’t.  Henry has memories of the girls at his school chasing him down and trying to kill him and stumbling into a butcher shop where the butcher is wearing the head of a pig and brandishing a cleaver.  He has dreams about nearly drowning and finding himself face to face with a monster that lived under the ocean and tried to hold him underwater.  Part of me wanted these things to be real because the descriptions were fascinating.

The writing of this book and the plot were all very good.  The pacing was also good but it got a big slow at the end.  As the pieces of this story began to unravel I found myself growing more intrigued with this story than I was at the beginning.  But I have to admit I wasn’t thrilled with everything.  There was a large section of time when I kept thinking to myself “Wait, is X in on this or not?  And if they are, how long has this been going on?”  Then there is a part when Henry is trying to protect his daughter, who was just barely yelling and calling for him, and the ending of that part was just weird and it didn’t feel genuine to me.  Similarly the occult ritual that takes place was very long and I started to skim it to get to the interesting parts.  I was still not totally aware at the end what was real and what wasn’t and that annoyed me.  But also at the end it just started to get cheesy.  For example, this line: “They killed the sheriff.  But they did not kill the deputy.”  I swear to God that’s actually in there.  That was so corny and dumb it just pulled me right out of the story.  When we reached the ending I was so ready for it to just be over that I started skimming again.  Because of that, there was never a big monumental moment of “Oh my God!” about the ending.  It was just over.

This was a good book in its entirety.  It was intriguing and entertaining but I felt like the unraveling of the mystery could have been done better.  And the ending was pretty lengthy and it started to drag which effected my enjoyment of the conclusion of the plot.  If you are a big fan of mysteries and horror novels then this is one that you should give a read.  But if you are not deeply interested in these genres then I would suggest you give this one a miss.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.  Thank you Night Shade Books!