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2020 Book Review: The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda

This is a review of the first book in a series of books by Castaneda on the teaching of Don Juan, a Yaqui shaman he met in Mexico. I am aware that the author was considered a con and his work a pieces of fiction instead of a non-fiction, but I always knew it as a non-fiction memoir. Whatever the case is I took from this some interesting teachings on wisdom.

I’m a firm believer whether a piece if fiction or non-fiction if you’re learning something from it that leads to you learning something to helps you how really bad can it be? I’m sure there will be many that disagree or come up with situations that would be difficult to answer when going at them with this mindset, but ultimately this work has some beautiful writing and some interesting lessons from a shaman that he may or may not have even met.

The powerful insights and lessons are often lost on the reader that go into this believing it’s fake or asking for more proof. I began reading it not knowing until later it was a possible ‘con’. I have heard this is an entire work of a ‘man tripping on drugs’. With all the hate the work has received here are my final thoughts and my review:

It’s a wonderful tale of a man on a journey. He finds enlightenment. It’s well written and has beautiful imagery. I don’t want to give too much away, but I recommend readers go into this book with the mindset it’s a memoir and enjoy the fantastic adventure you’re going to join the writer on.


This review is a part of my 2020 yearlong self-challenge to read and review. I have reread some books for the purpose of reviewing them on my website whereas I have read others for the first time. Check out Book Reviews and Recommendations to find other book reviews, book recommendations, and more information about the books I’m reading, have read, or are sharing.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Let’s have a conversation about it.


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What is Melankholia? (Cover Reveal)

I am sure upon reading the title many of you are thinking it’s a misspelling, it is not. Those that have been following me around the web awhile are probably thinking ‘she’s playing with words again’ and kind of. Melankholia is old Greek, the spelling version for melancholia.

As defined by Merriam-Webster, melancholia is –

  • 1: severe depression characterized especially by profound sadness and despair Tense, irritable, I crashed into a fit of melancholia and found myself crying over inconsequential problems.— Susan Wood A depressed Johnson was not the father figure that Boswell, himself prey to crippling bouts of melancholia and insecurity, wanted to celebrate.— Brooke Allen
  • 2: a sad quality or mood MELANCHOLY There’s a touching melancholia to his voice …— Ralph NovakLike Wallace’s breakthrough novel, “Infinite Jest,” “The Pale King” is pervaded by an air of melancholia, an acute sense of loss.— Tom McCarthy

Now, along with this Merriam-Webster also adds a ‘did you know’ section and this is where the interesting path into this post begins:

Melancholia traces back to Greek melan (“black, dark”) and cholē (“bile”). Medical practitioners once adhered to the system of humors-bodily fluids that included black bile, yellow bile, blood, and phlegm. An imbalance of these humors was thought to lead to disorders of the mind and body. One suffering from an excess of black bile (believed to be secreted by the kidneys or spleen) could become sullen and unsociable-liable to anger, irritability, brooding, and depression. Today, doctors no longer ascribe physical and mental disorders to disruptions of the four humors, but the word melancholia is still used in psychiatry (it is identified a “subtype” of clinical depression in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and as a general term for despondency.

Credit: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/melancholia#other-words

I have been open about suffering from chronic insomnia, anxiety, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder. This word seems to fit for the majority of the work that I do in the form of poetry.

With all of that out of the way, I circle back to the question at hand, what is Melankholia? Inspired by the above information I began working on another collection of poetry. It was announced around the time of the first, All of My Every Things, I planned on doing another set and that I didn’t know when I would be doing it. As this year has been a roller coaster, for everyone, and I have shared very little of what’s happened to me personally choosing instead to focus the turmoil creatively, as I tend to do anyways behind-the-scenes.

Haven’t numerous works left around after selecting them for All of My Every Things that I still wanted to publish out I needed a home for them. I also did a challenge for Napowrimo this year that created a large amount of work (check them out on the website), some great, some good, and some that could’ve been better, but writing happened nonetheless. I had, as you can see, a lot of material not to mention I had been writing a great deal with all I have had going on this year that inspired me along with past trauma and feelings I usually tap into for inspiration I decided it was time to begin collecting, polishing, and continue forward with another selection.

I began last year contacting people for possible leads into help with this projects, but when the pandemic hit much of the focus shifted, understandably, elsewhere. I took some time to readjust, focus more on projects coming up (like The Blasphemer Series: Ghosts and a short story prequel) and do what I do best when I am in situations I cannot fix…work.

The birth of Melankholia sounds easier than it really is. I have privately struggled with organization, formatting, and graphics this time. Now confident enough to make an official announcement I share introduce you to the second installment of my Dark Romanticism/Gothic Romanticism poetry collections.

This book will contain selected collected poems from All of My Every Things, poetry from my Napowrimo entries, and many previously unpublished works. What makes this collection most unique to date is I will include illustrations and images along with the poetry. Obviously, by the digital cut of the cover it will include an introduction for the reader by the wonderful poet Oliver Sheppard entitled: An Anatomy of Melankholia.

Excerpt from An Anatomy of Melankholia

But amidst Bachman’s poetic despair, amidst the doubt, amidst the references to ambiguous supernatural figures, to the brutality and the tragedy of life, and to horrors that may or may not be allegories of aspects of our human condition—amidst haunting Bachman poems that have titles like “The Horned Beasts,” “Into the Dying,” and “When You Lay My Body Down” —in Bachman’s poetry one also encounters startling flashes of hope. “A glimmer can be seen: A flame of hope,” Bachman writes in the poem “Darkest Hour Never Dies,” included in this book. “The more you focus upon it; the more it will grow.”

Perhaps this is a surprising sentiment from a woman whose thoughts traditionally run as dark Mrs. Bachman’s tend to run. But we, the readers of this collection of doomy and intriguing verse—we can also entertain hope ourselves: Hope that with Bachman’s second collection of poetry, finally available here in print, a collection that is evidence of a poetic talent growing by steady leaps and bounds—we can have hope that the fascinating journey we’re taken on by Bachman’s imagination—we can have hope that this is simply the beginning for a profound new voice in the genre of a fantastic, dark, modern, and melancholy verse.

Credit: An Anatomy of Melankholia by Oliver Sheppard/Melankholia by L. Bachman

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2020 Book Review: What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson

This is a more recent read for me. I loved the movie, in fact it’s one of my favorite movies of all time. I have to be honest, I didn’t know it was a book until I was looking into the movie, curious to what the director had to say about it and so on. Though I loved the movie very much, I wanted to enter this book like with many other books on here struggling to compare the movie and the book, but this review will be my best attempt at separating them as they need to be for their individual pieces of work.

The story is a beautiful and well-written tale of soulmates and how when one passes the other one will suffer emotionally. At least that is what I understood of it. Despite this you see every attempt that is made for the soul mates to be together again. Matheson’s writing style is very inspiring for me, as a writer. With the story to the imagery he creates is vivid and wildly illustrated with his words.

The way Heaven is describe is truly beautiful, the concepts he used, and the way everything links together. Hell, though horrifying, is in its own way beautiful as well. A dark beauty and incredibly heartbreaking. It made me think about a phrase ‘this is hell’ or ‘this feels like hell’ he really played with how our afterlife can be what we make it, which ultimately led me to wonder if that’s where the title came from for this book, ‘What Dreams May Come’. I absolutely loved how this book made me think and wonder those are key aspects to make me really love a piece.

This is easily one of my favorite books and is my favorite movie of all time.


This review is a part of my 2020 yearlong self-challenge to read and review. I have reread some books for the purpose of reviewing them on my website whereas I have read others for the first time. Check out Book Reviews and Recommendations to find other book reviews, book recommendations, and more information about the books I’m reading, have read, or are sharing.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Let’s have a conversation about it.


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2020 Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I have only read the first book of the series so this review is just that book and not the series overall. It wouldn’t be fair for me to do that now so far into the challenge, but I felt it important to explain that the following review is just on the first book of the series.

I saw the movie before reading the book, as with many of the books on this year long review challenge. It encouraged my curious brain to find out what the book could have for me and I was so happy that I went down the rabbit hole on this one.

Not only was the story wonderful, but it included along with it something that tapped into my graphic artist side, pictures. Beautiful digital renditions of the characters that really let you see the world within the world. It really engages the reader, at least it did for me.

The story itself was a roller coaster. I really could feel for the characters and was glad to see so many of them embracing their differences and accepting who they are. It’s reflective on real life individuals accepting themselves as this or that. It can be very hard on children and teenagers to come to terms with subjects like this and this book really addressed that. Made the book endearing to me.

I absolutely loved this book!


This review is a part of my 2020 yearlong self-challenge to read and review. I have reread some books for the purpose of reviewing them on my website whereas I have read others for the first time. Check out Book Reviews and Recommendations to find other book reviews, book recommendations, and more information about the books I’m reading, have read, or are sharing.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Let’s have a conversation about it.


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2020 Book Review: Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

Snow Falling on Cedars is a book I read many years ago. I came across it at a bookstore. I don’t know what came over me when I found it, but I remember feeling drawn to it. It’s not something I normally seek out at a store, but sometimes I find a little gem and take it home.

It is a well-written story about culture and prejudice in 1950s America. A Japanese-American and WWII veteran is accused of murder on an island called San Piedro. The story covers three days of the man’s trial during the wintertime. The story itself is very good and is well-written, but at times I had to force myself to read it, but was glad I did.

I really enjoyed the story despite the very, almost overly, descriptive nature it had at moments. As a writer I try not to be too hard on other writers. I understand sometimes you have to go into great detail for some items, objects, or even characters because it serves a greater service to the reader or even the story itself.

It’s a good read. Great building of suspense. You can learn a lot about the historical time period it is set because the author really did great research to create such a beautifully depicted setting. I know this only because I sometimes get curious about things I’m reading and conduct my own research and the author is accurate from what I can tell.


This review is a part of my 2020 yearlong self-challenge to read and review. I have reread some books for the purpose of reviewing them on my website whereas I have read others for the first time. Check out Book Reviews and Recommendations to find other book reviews, book recommendations, and more information about the books I’m reading, have read, or are sharing.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Let’s have a conversation about it.


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2020 Book Review: The Book of Kells by Bernard Meehan

The copy of this book that I own is considered ‘the poor man’s version’ of the original that is held in Ireland, I hope to see them one day. For those unaware of what this book is it is a religious text originally in Latin containing the four gospels. My edition has beautiful illustrations, like the original.

I came into owning this book as it was gifted to me, in a big lot of books from a mentor of mine. Many of the books I’ve for the website reviewed came to me in this big lot of gifted books and I’m in the future going to receive more (as I’ve been informed recently). I have only been gifted so many books by my mentor in their words, ‘because of the care I take of my books’. Due to this reason and this book being among the collection I treasure it.

Upon digging into the pages I became aware more so of its importance. Its original creators of The Book of Kells were monks in a town called Kells. They created illustrations to aid in the explanation of many scenes and figures from The Bible. It may not be for everyone due to its subject matter, but for a independent religion student like myself it may provide some valuable information.

Meehan, the author of this edition, provides beautiful explanations on the illustrations and what he believes them to mean. The art is very delicately created and very detailed. He points out interesting metaphors that lie within the imagery. It is said that the art must’ve been created by angels because it is considered so beautiful. The book contains information about the monks that created the illustrations and their lives day to day. I’ve seen documentaries since reading this book that helped me better understand the monk’s lives better, the history better, and what scholars feel about the original book.

Highly recommend for those that are interested in history or Biblical history. Again, this is not the original book of The Book of Kells, but a version that covers the original and helps those interested understand better. I also recommend those interested to do their own research.


This review is a part of my 2020 yearlong self-challenge to read and review. I have reread some books for the purpose of reviewing them on my website whereas I have read others for the first time. Check out Book Reviews and Recommendations to find other book reviews, book recommendations, and more information about the books I’m reading, have read, or are sharing.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Let’s have a conversation about it.


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A Charitable Book Offer: Echoes by J. Lavelle

All proceeds from this book sale will go to the charity group Feed the Movement, a Charlotte, NC based “small group of individuals based in Charlotte who provide hot meals, snacks, and drinks to all our people fighting for justice.” You can find them on Facebook at Feed the Movement CLT if you want to learn more about them.

Echoes drift not just backwards, but forwards as well.

Following the funeral of her husband, Yvonne takes a walk as she reflects on her life, her decisions, her joys and sorrows, and her legacy. Like echoes across the water, each step causes a ripple, moving forward and back but always changing, and diminishing.

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2020 Book Review: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

This is a very short story, less than thirty pages. It’s a quick read and recommended for those with some time to spare. The version I read is just the short story, I have discovered there is a version with the same title that has multiple short stories in it by Irving. I haven’t read the collection of shorts just the short story and with that said this review is only of the story.

Sleepy Hollow is a small town best described in the story itself:

A pleasing land of drowsy head it was,
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
Forever flushing round a summer sky.
CASTLE OF INDOLENCE.

This town, though sleepy, is full of legends and tales. A school teacher named Ichabod Crane is one of the residents that is most obsessed with these stories. He’s described as a bit of a softhearted foolish nerd and definitely not the most handsome of characters. He is in love with one of the more beautiful women,Katrina, of the town, but she’s spoken for by a man named Brom Bones.

One of the more famous legends in the the town is of the specter of a Hessian trooper that lost his head ‘when a cannonball carried it away’ and can still be seen riding his horse around the town at night looking for his head. Crane finds himself apart of this legend as he is chased down by the ghost one night and is never heard of again.

This is a classic Halloween tale, one I’ve read to my own child. It’s timeless and wonderfully written. Highly recommend for any time of the year. Not often does a story really make me wanna live in it, but the town seems so romantically gothic in its description.


This review is a part of my 2020 yearlong self-challenge to read and review. I have reread some books for the purpose of reviewing them on my website whereas I have read others for the first time. Check out Book Reviews and Recommendations to find other book reviews, book recommendations, and more information about the books I’m reading, have read, or are sharing.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Let’s have a conversation about it.


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2020 Book Review: The Sleeping Prophet by Jess Stearn

This is one of the several biographies on Edgar Cayce you can find on the market. I read this a few years back. I became interested in Mr. Cayce after watching a documentary about him. This may not be a book for everyone, it’s a biography and deals with psychic abilities. The title of the book comes from what Edgar Cayce became known for, his method of trance in which he made his prophecies.

Cayce accurately the death of John F. Kennedy, two world wars (including the years they began and ended), racial strife in America, and hundreds of other recorded events. He was also able to ‘travel time and space to treat the ill’. Doing this he was able to give accurate information that led to a number of cures when traditional medicine at that time wasn’t advanced enough. He also was the first on record to introduce Americans to the concept of reincarnation. If I remember correctly he even predicted he would be reborn in the year 2020 because of a great awakening would be occurring.

I have loved learning about this man and his life, this book taught me a lot about him. It’s interesting to reflect back on when he was doing his work and all the things he predicted, even now as I write this I can’t help think of some of his predictions. I’m usually a skeptic with things, but even I have a hard time denying some things I learned in this book after all I’ve learned, even heard of his recordings.

Highly recommend if someone is interested in learning about Edgar Cayce. Great for entertainment purposes.


This review is a part of my 2020 yearlong self-challenge to read and review. I have reread some books for the purpose of reviewing them on my website whereas I have read others for the first time. Check out Book Reviews and Recommendations to find other book reviews, book recommendations, and more information about the books I’m reading, have read, or are sharing.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Let’s have a conversation about it.


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