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Book Reviews
A Colourful Dose of Optimism
By: Jules Standish - O-Books, $16.95

Description: If we could write ourselves a prescription today, would it be for instant happiness and joy, optimism and hope?

In the current climate of anxiety and uncertainty, let’s take control of the things that we can change in a positive way.

Verdict: Within the gloriously written pages of A Colourful Dose of Optimism: Prescribe your own Happy Colours to Feel Good NOW (which, sadly, are not colorful, and just your basic black and white presentation - I was really hoping for splashes of color within it, sorry!), author Jules Standish notably understands what we are all going through in today’s world re: human feelings, and thus reminds us all that that we can enhance our mood, our day, our week (personally and professionally) by simply embracing the power of color and positivity!

Brought forth within seven (7) highly engrossing chapters - The Joy of Colour and its impact on you; The Perfect Plan for positive change; Discover your Happy Colours for ultimate well-being; Give your Wardrobe a raise; Put the Wow into your workwear; Comfort and Convenience -dressing; and finally Welcome to Your Colourful Home - makes us aware that we all probably want to wear more colorful items, but that we have just been too scared into thinking that we would be making an awkward mistake.

Well, that stops now, for Jules (whose favorite color is Orange, which sums up her sunny disposition, radiating warmth and complete internal and external glow of joy, encouragement and positivity) clearly lays out a plan where no matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter what you do for a living, if you follow her guidelines you can also, and easily, seamlessly even find your own colorful comfort zone just by following her simple (and highly effective) steps.

A book most definitely to look on the bright side of life with, most all our lives have shifted and they now, much as the world does, look different, less happy, less joyful, more gray and darker overall, but here in A Colourful Dose of Optimism: Prescribe your own Happy Colours to Feel Good NOW, Standish’s positive prescription for a more colorful existence, and how to get it really is one of the most heartwarmingly honest outreaches that I have had the pleasure to read in a long time.

About the Author - Jules is The Colour Counsellor: a Professional Colour Consultant and Stylist, passionate about getting people into their true colours.

She puts forward a new approach to looking younger, healthier and happier through colour and style analysis, achieving powerful results. She lives in West Sussex, UK.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.JohnHuntPublishing.com





Sumer Is Icumen In ...
By: Mélusine Draco - Moon Books, $10.95

Description: In Sumer is Icumen we discover new and exciting ways of surviving (and enjoying) the truly pagan excesses of the Midsummer Festival. Here we can establish and instigate a new smorgasbord of traditions of our own for the purpose of celebration and observance and, in time, even though we must never lose sight of our authentic history, they may even be integrated into future pagan revels.

Verdict: Dedicated entirely to the Midsummer Festival whilst being perfectly crammed chock full of folklore celebrations culled from around the world, Pagan Portals - Sumer Is Icumen In: How to Survive (and Enjoy) the Mid-Summer Festival by Mélusine Draco is a How-To book to enable the reader to go away and build their own traditions or incorporate various practices into their own various activities, festivals and gatherings.

For those unaware, Midsummer takes place in June and is a celebration of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. It is one of the most celebrated holidays in Sweden. A maypole is created and raised during the day, which people gather around to dance and sing.

Traditionally, Midsummer us celebrated by incorporating everything from flowers to folk costumes, making a Midsummer festival a truly visual feast.

As we learn from both its very own folklore and throughout this short, yet fascinating book, colorful tablecloths, dishware, and food will all enhance the festive atmosphere. A color scheme of white, blue and yellow brings a traditional touch to the day although flowers are very prominent in Swedish Midsummer celebrations.

With that being the traditional, historical even, aspect of the Midsummer festivals, this one is more orientated toward the subtitle of the book, Pagan Portals. For it is here that traditional witch Mélusine show us how to integrate our celebrations with those of our ancestors.

Observing how solstice was brought forth in ancient times, she delves into the history of why megalithic monuments were first created on through to the depiction of so many festivals that took place all over the world in its honor. The book also includes solitary activities and coven-based rites, as well as covering summer customs from May Eve onwards in many different pagan traditions.

About the Author - Mélusine Draco is an Initiate of traditional British Old Craft and originally trained in the magical arts of traditional British Old Craft with Bob and Mériém Clay-Egerton.

She has been a magical and spiritual instructor for over 20 years with Arcanum and the Temple of Khem, and writer of numerous popular books. She now lives in Ireland near the Galtee Mountains.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.JohnHuntPublishing.com





Naming the God
By: Trevor Greenfield - Moon Books, $18.95

Description: Naming the God is a companion volume to the landmark anthology Naming the Goddess.

It presents a series of critical essays discussing many of the aspects of male deity and offers a spiritual gazetteer of over fifty gods.

Verdict: In what is a veritable smorgasbord of wide ranging essays on approaching the deities as a modern pagan, Naming the God (edited by Trevor Greenfield) is a compelling, though-provoking and highly informative work of written art that is a must have for anyone and everyone who is either a part of paganism or is looking to delve deeper into it.

For, as I am sure you all already know, in paganism the gods are at the very heart, the very center of their magick. They are their parents, their friends, and even their children at times. They connect them to the energies of the Universe that ultimately transforms all those who reach out.

Indeed, pagans usually have a polytheistic belief in many gods but only one, which represents the chief god and supreme godhead, is chosen to worship. Furthermore, the Renaissance of the 1500s reintroduced the ancient Greek concepts of Paganism. Pagan symbols and traditions entered European art, music, literature, and ethics.

In ancient pagan world, the gods could be conceived of as standing in a kind of pyramid of power. The greatest god, say Zeus, or Jupiter, or some unknown god would be at the very pinnacle, at the very top of this pyramid.

Below that god, in the popular imagination, there were others of unimaginable power—for example, the gods of Mount Olympus, known from Greek and Roman mythology. Below that god and the other gods were other divinities who were far beyond human capacities; gods of various places and gods of various functions, who were superhuman.

And below them were lesser divinities, sometimes called daimonia. This is where we get the word ‘demons’ from, but these were not demons necessarily—some were good, while some were bad. They were simply low-level divinities. They were not as powerful as the Olympian gods, but they were far more powerful than humans and able to affect people for good or evil.

Below the daimonia was another level of divinity. This comprised beings who were partly divine and partly human. Ancient people realized that there were some people who were far more powerful than others, far more intelligent, and far better looking. This was because they had a part of divine within them.

Thus, if you yourself have been wanting to connect, to discover how to create a solid, working relationship with the old Gods, the Ancient ones and such, Naming the God is the most perfect book for you, as it will provide you with both personal experiences and well informed directives to ensure you have an inspired search thereafter; you have my word.

About the Author - Trevor Greenfield is an author and is the Publisher and Publicist for Moon Books. Trevor holds MA degrees in Religious Studies and English Literature, and he is and an Associate Lecturer in Religious Studies with the Open University. He lives in Worthing, West Sussex.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.JohnHuntPublishing.com





Healing Plants of Greek Myth
By: Angela Paine - Moon Books, $24.95

Description: Greek myth is part of our background, the names of many of the gods and goddesses known to us all.

Within the myths are numerous references to plants used by goddesses and gods to heal or enchant, and the names of many of these plants have been incorporated into the Latin binomials that are used to identify them.

Verdict: Funnily enough, in ancient Greek medicine illness was initially regarded as a divine punishment and healing as, quite literally, a gift from the gods. However, by the 5th century BCE, there were attempts to identify the material causes for illnesses rather than spiritual ones and this led to a move away from superstition towards scientific enquiry, although, in reality, the two would never be wholly separated.

Greek medical practitioners, then, began to take a greater interest in the body itself and to explore the connection between cause and effect, the relation of symptoms to the illness itself and the success or failure of various treatments.

Indeed, by half a millennium BCE the physician god Asclepius entered into the mythology and temples were built to him called Asclepiaea, where the sick came to worship him and sleep with serpents in dormitories, hoping to experience miracle cures.

At around the same time the first actual physicians began to practice within the Asclepiaea, using herbs, surgery and dietary advice. From these remote beginnings Greek medicine and botany evolved and were recorded, first in the Hypocratic Corpus, then by many other famous Greek physicians including Theophrastus, Dioscorides and Galen, who recorded the medicinal plants they used.

Healing Plants of Greek Myth: The Origins of Western Medicine and Its Original Plant Remedies Derived from Greek Myth (by Angela Paine) traces the evolution of Greek medicine, the source of Western medicine, and looks at a selection of plants with healing properties, including a large number of trees which were both sacred and medicinal.

Furthermore, textual sources on Greek medical practice begin with scenes from Homer’s Iliad where the wounded in the Trojan War are treated, for example, Patroclus cleaning Eurypylus’ wound with warm water. Medical matters and doctors are also frequently mentioned in other types of Greek literature such as comedy plays but the most detailed sources come from around 60 treatises often attributed to Hippocrates (5th to 4th century BCE), the most famous doctor of all.

However, none of these medical treatises can be confidently ascribed to Hippocrates and next to nothing is known about him for certain.

Interestingly, the Hippocratic texts deal with all manner of medical topics but can be grouped into the main categories of diagnosis, biology, treatment and general advice for doctors. Another source is the fragmentary texts from the Greek natural philosophy corpus dating from the 6th to 5th century BCE.

Philosophers in general, seeing the benefits of good health on the mind and soul, were frequently concerned either directly or indirectly with the human body and medicine. These thinkers include Plato (especially in Timaeus), Empedocles of Acragas, Philistion of Locri and Anaxagoras.

About the Author - Angela Paine has a BSc in Human Physiology and PhD from the School of Pharmacy, London University, in medicinal plant chemistry. Immersed in the Celtic tradition, she runs workshops on Celtic medicinal plants and is the author of Healing Power of Celtic Plants. Angela lives in Stroud, Gloucestershire, and splits her time between the UK and India.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.JohnHuntPublishing.com





Bag Lady
By: Lisa D. Foster - Changemakers Books, $20.95

Description: An inspiring account of the transformative power of purpose-driven entrepreneurship, Bag Lady is a masterful case study in how to start up a company and use the tools of business to promote a better world.

Verdict: A billion plastic bags a day. That’s how many bags Americans were throwing away in 2005 when Lisa D. Foster first switched to reusable bags. The impacts of all those bags on our environment and our taxes kept her up at night.

It was wrong. Morally wrong. She believed that if American shoppers knew what she knew, they would switch to reusable bags too. So, she did what any good English teacher would do. She took the facts about bags and turned them into a story.

Over the next 12 years, that story transformed Lisa into the Bag Lady, an eco-entrepreneur on a mission to save the world one reusable bag at a time. Because she was driven by purpose, she did a lot of things right.

She sold a quarter of a million reusable bags her first year, 2 million her second year, and 8 million her third year. Each reusable bag had the potential to replace a thousand single-use bags, collectively eliminating billions of plastic bags.

Lisa also did a lot of things wrong. One out of ten startups fail, and odds are worse for people like her with no business experience or training. In the end, she built a thriving company, disrupted the plastic bag industry and changed the way America shops. It was a wild ride.

Here in Bag Lady: How I Started a Business for a Greener World and Changed the Way America Shops, it is very clear that something as simple as a passionate desire to do good can drive small or even large miracles; as Lisa Foster herself discovered when she had one of those life changing moment at a supermarket in Melbourne, almost twenty years ago.

As the aforementioned English teacher with a Ph. D, she had no idea about business at all, but her inert passion to simply see something was horribly wrong within the world she lived and then the self-propelled push to get up and do something about it re: introduce reusable bags into the American markets and the world thereafter, has made this Bag Lady one of the most talked about, and thanked people on the planet!

At its heart a compelling, irresistible, personal exploration and wholly revealing look at a woman who knew enough was enough, the book is also - in and unto itself - a valuable read of practical tools and tips that will help any business leader launch and run a business that is fully committed to making the world a better place.

About the Author - Lisa D. Foster, Ph. D., ACC is a business coach, speaker and author whose mission is to help managers become better leaders by using emotional intelligence to create the conditions for high performance. In 2005, she founded 1 Bag at a Time, Inc., a first-to-market reusable grocery bag company. She lives in Chilmark, MA.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.JohnHuntPublishing.com





The Music Therapy Studio
By: Rick Soshensky - Rowman & Littlefield, $37.95

Description: Rick Soshensky presents a groundbreaking introduction to music’s power to heal and transform, weaving a collection of uplifting case studies from his music therapy practice with ideas from spiritual traditions, philosophies, psychological theorists, and music therapy researchers.

Verdict: Going beyond just theoretical and clinical information, The Music Therapy Studio: Empowering the Soul’s Truth centers on the stories and experiences of people with disabilities—marginalized people for whom the world allows little time or place but whose extraordinary musical journeys teach us about the unseen depths and indomitability of the human spirit.

Furthermore, Soshensky investigates core concepts of a music-centered approach—the experience of music as a creative art with clients that has intrinsic value and supersedes diagnostic labeling and behavioral goal setting.

The result is unique and inspirational text that leads us towards a deeper understanding and appreciation of music therapy and music’s spiritual benefits.

As for the meat and potatoes of that very same result, well, from the off we learn how music therapy plays a key role in healing, whilst at the same time we follow along our graciously ordained textual path to further note how it also enriches the spiritual aspects out our lives too.

This is all learnt within the first chapter, The Music Therapy Studio: Foundation, where Soshensky tells us how it all began and importantly, what actually makes what he does actually therapy.

Now this is where my eye was caught the most as Soshensky explains that it is important to differentiate between the words Therapeutic and Therapy for a great concert or a camp-fire singalong will most assuredly lift the spirits, lighten the mood and therefore be classed as therapeutic but the effects would be short-term and the problematic mood or behavior problems would ultimately return.

However, successful therapy would require something more long-lasting, where positive developments obtained in therapy session transfer to everyday life.

Chock full of extraordinary tales of genuine love, devotion and heartfelt adoration for all that Soshensky does, The Music Therapy Studio is most beautifully, and artfully showcased here as an aid to perfectly illustrate the way music can sooth the soul and allow a person to reveal a whole other side of themselves that wasn’t there before.

In closing, Rick Soshensky has lovingly dedicated his life to shining a light on some of the most feared and expressively uncovered areas of the human condition.

Simply put, his desires for a better narrative on the subject have since created a compelling, and from beginning to end, most heartwarmingly genuine showcase in this book that perfectly outlines his undying dedication to freely showing what’s possible when we hold another person’s value as equal to our own.

About the Author - Rick Soshensky, MA, LCAT, MT-BC, NRMT, is a nationally known music therapist. His work has been featured in The New York Times, National Public Radio, and Fox Radio. He operates Hudson Valley Creative Arts Therapy Studio and teaches in the music therapy departments at SUNY New Paltz and Molloy College.

Amazon Book Purchase Link

www.rowman.com





Pantheon - The Norse
By: Morgan Daimler - Moon Books, $13.95

Description: Pantheon - The Norse explores the beliefs and practices found within Heathenry including a look at cosmology and various celebrations.

It also discusses the gods and spirits that are acknowledged within the belief system giving brief descriptions of each and how they were and are understood.

Designed as an introduction to the Norse pantheon, this book will guide beginners into a basic understanding of the beliefs and offer further suggested resources for those who want to dive deeper.

Verdict: For me, and going in cold to the whole subject matter, so to speak, I found this book to be excellent, highly insightful and wholeheartedly genuine with regard the way it made its points, revealed its beliefs and yet at no point tried to rope you into something that you yourself might find not to your eventual liking.

Fundamentally, the book will get you nicely on the path of learning about Norse gods, rituals and ceremonies. Add to that you will also become aware of the various cultures within and how each concept of God is how they actually live their lives according to those beliefs.

I mean, at its core it is a book about Heathenry, so the learning curve will obviously be steep for all newcomers, but once you begin to delve into the pages written by Morgan Daimler, you will quickly see that modern Heathen communities are all around us.

But all that said, Pantheon - The Norse is much more than a simple list of Gods and Goddesses and who worships them and why. No, for it is a well researched, vividly captivating and precisely worded books that embraces its subject matter from A-Z.

In Part One, the first chapter explains the History of Heathenry, the second the Mythology, the third the Cosmology, the fourth the various Rituals, the fifth the varying Celebrations & Prayers, the sixth Norse Magic and the seventh explains how you may have perceived the information provided thus far and that no matter what you choose to do, it was solely provided to serve as a basis for understanding Heathenry and potentially applying that understanding to one’s own spirituality.

Part Two of the book only has two chapters, the first being a rather comprehensive deep dive into Gods & Goddesses and the second being Other Spirits; and which explains that often there is a fine line between the Gods and some of these other spirits.

About the Author - Morgan Daimler is a blogger, poet, teacher of esoteric subjects, witch, and priestess of the Daoine Maithe. Morgan is a prolific pagan writer, having published more than a dozen books under Moon Books alone, and she is one of the world’s foremost experts on all things Fairy. She lives in CT.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.JohnHuntPublishing.com





Under My Skin: Drama, Trauma, and Rock ’n’ Roll
By: Elise Krentzel - Kumi Books, $29.98

Description: In her new memoir, authoress Elise Krentzel details the first several steps of an exciting journey, one that takes her from an abusive upbringing in 1950s and 1960s New York City, to a young-adulthood spent discovering the allure of Europe and ultimately, alongside KISS in Japan as a rock and roll journalist.

A true tale of survival and skill, Under My Skin: Drama, Trauma, and Rock ’n’ Roll offers a compelling look inside the world of rock and roll, from a perspective not often told: A woman as part of the media.

Verdict: Once you pick up Elise Krentzel’s Under My Skin: Drama, Trauma, and Rock ’n’ Roll, it is nearly impossible to put it down. Being only 190 pages means that the story is fast-paced, moving seamlessly through various times and locations. But the other aspect that makes the story so irresistible is how palpable the emotion is. Krentzel spares no detail in describing the often lonely, often loveless childhood she experienced.

And while the emotion within the first thirty pages may have the potential to be suffocating, this is ultimately a story about freedom. We are along for the ride as Krentzel proves to be the most reliable of narrators, taking us on a city-by-city Euro-trip full of adventure, sex, and substance, each encapsulated by its own bolded subheadings. But none this information is related in a way that is altogether too edgy or graphic; in fact, it’s the opposite, setting the scenes with just the right amount of detail — the sort of casual story that your coolest aunt might tell at a party. It’s all simply enough.

The book’s third act is where many might be tempted to feel the meat of the story is, beginning with a chapter entitled, “I’m Gonna Be a Rock ’n’ Roll Journalist.” The spoiler alert, of course, is that Krentzel makes good on her promise to become exactly that, shipping off at age nineteen to tour Japan with KISS as one of only ten journalists invited on the junket.

It’s a feat well worth the admiration and twinge of jealousy the book’s closing chapters inflict upon readers who wish we had such chances.

And in many ways, that’s ultimately the great lesson of Elise Krentzel’s story: We make our own chances in life; damn rejection, with enough self confidence and self love, we can be whatever we want to be.

If the pitfall of this book is that it’s just a touch too short, we’re all in luck, for Under My Skin is the first volume in the author’s planned trilogy. And I, for one, couldn’t be happier to know it, for Under My Skin: Drama, Trauma, and Rock and Roll and its authoress have firmly entrenched themselves not only under my skin, but inside my wannabe-rock-journalist soul.

About the Author - Elise Krentzel is a multiglot: author, ghostwriter, mentor, public speaker, and communications entrepreneur who has lived in five countries for over twenty-five years. Starting in Japan from 1977 to 1984, she owned a talent and booking agency, introduced punk rock, was a DJ and, music journalist. As Tokyo Bureau Chief for Billboard Magazine, Elise introduced the Sony Walkman and Laserdisc technology to a western audience during her stint.

After twenty years in digital travel publishing, lifestyle marketing, and public relations in Europe, she returned to the States and to her first love of writing. She has a soft spot for people (like herself) who were brought up in toxic households and brings the “fun” back into dysfunction. Elise is currently working on book two, Moving From Wound to Wound. of her memoir trilogy; she is the mother of one son and currently resides in Austin, Texas, the sixth country she’s lived in.

“I used to be a drama queen, but now I’m just a queen.” - from Under My Skin

Amazon Purchase Link

Follow Elise Krentzel on Social Media:

Official Website

Elise Krentzel @ Facebook

Elise Krentzel @ Twitter

Elise Krentzel @ Instagram





Sylvia Kristel: From Emmanuelle to Chabrol
By: Jeremy R. Richey - Cult Epics, $69.95

Description: Cult Epics presents Sylvia Kristel: From Emmanuelle to Chabrol Hardcover Book and Deluxe Box Set.

The books is a recollection of Sylvia Kristel’s most exciting period as an actress. Beginning with her early Dutch film roles in Frank & Eva, Because of the Cats, and Naked over the Fence, this book covers all 22 movies Sylvia starred in between 1973 and 1981, also including all her European films.

Verdict: A trailblazing figure in film and popular culture, Netherlands native Sylvia Kristel became one of the biggest stars in the world as Emmanuelle in 1974. Alongside her most famous role, directed by Just Jaeckin, a little-known fact is that Sylvia Kristel also appeared in over 20 films between 1973 and 1981 featuring work with some of the greatest directors in film history including Walerian Borowczyk, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Roger Vadim and Claude Chabrol.

Now the story of Sylvia’s astonishing career in the ’70s is told in Sylvia Kristel: From Emmanuelle to Chabrol, written by Jeremy Richey. Featured are new interviews with Just Jaeckin, Pim de la Parra, Robert Fraisse, Joe Dallesandro and Francis Lai among others.

Sylvia Kristel: From Emmanuelle to Chabrol is a film-by-film guide (up to a point) of one of the most distinctive and uncompromising careers in modern cinema, and a celebration of a most remarkable woman in a fully illustrated coffee-table book written by author Jeremy Richey.

A recollection of Sylvia Kristel’s most exciting period as an actress. Beginning with her early Dutch film roles in Frank & Eva, Because of the Cats, and Naked over the Fence, this book covers all 22 movies Sylvia starred in between 1973 and 1981 including the European films Emmanuelle, Julia, No Pockets in a Shroud, Playing with Fire, Emmanuelle II, Une Femme fidèle, La Marge, and Alice.

Other films include: Rene the Cane, Goodbye Emmanuelle, Pastorale 1943, Mysteries, Tigers in Lipstick, The Fifth Musketeer, Love in First Class, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and the American films The Concorde…. Airport ’79, The Nude Bomb, Private Lessons, plus the book features a chapter on the unmade films, dozens of iconic roles that she was offered but declined written with in-depth detail by Jeremy R. Richey.

For my money, Sylvia Kristel: From Emmanuelle to Chabrol is the kind of book that if you are of a certain age you always wanted. Not for the smutty, old-lensed, at times sepia in tone once lurid photographs perceived to be within, but moreover for a heartfelt, yet admittedly still mildly flirtatious visual trip back down memory lane.

For what we have here is the full on, no holds barred story of Sylvia’s astonishing career in the ’70s (written by Jeremy R. Richey) which not only features a whole host of new interviews (with Just Jaeckin, the director of Emmanuelle, Pim de la Parra, Robert Fraisse, Joe Dallesandro and Francis Lai, amongst others), but expertly documents Sylvia Kristel’s film-by-film experiences.

But Sylvia Kristel: From Emmanuelle to Chabrol is way more than just a lazy hazy photograph visual daydream back to days of pornographic folklore, for it also brings forth a sharp lesson in what it was, and what it took (for her to be who she was and what it took from her in equal measure) to be the object of seemingly all men’s desires back then.

The hardback cover book itself, at 340 pages and weighing 6lb is one of the heaviest I have had the pleasure to read in many a decade and as you open it, that new book scent lovingly wafts up to your nostrils, as you read the opening dedication: In Memory Of Sylvia Kristel 1952-2012.

Broken up into seven (7) sections, the book opens on some Publisher and Author notes (Nico B and Jeremy R. Richey, respectively), along with an Introduction (that opens on the day Sylvia Kristel passed) and then brings us a few pages of Dutch Cinema from the Fifties to the Early Seventies, before we get to the first section, The Flame.

That is in turn followed by The Phoenix, Tornado, Velocity, Avalanche, The Moth and then after the final section the Unmade Films, the book rounds out on a complete Filmography, a Selected Bibliography, a nod to all the selected sources, and then a more than gracious thanks closes the reading.

The book fully admits it is not a complete guide to Sylvia Kristel’s career, adding that if anyone was interested in her later cult oddities like Dracula’s Widow (1988) that they would undoubtedly be disappointed, but instead strives to focus this massively impressive tome on a specific time in her career and life; that brief period from her debut in the early ’70s up to her misguided attempt to remake herself in Hollywood in the early ’80s.

As you would imagine, the book is chock full of wondrous photographs from that very same time period, black and white to color, movie posters to set stills, and ok, yes there is obviously some nudity thrown about here and there, but at no time is it anything less than a quite remarkable, loving glimpse behind the curtain at one of the most iconic women oF the ’70s and ’80s.

“Hello, this is Nico B of Cult Epics. Being born in the Netherlands, I am very excited to announce (the) release (of) a fully illustrated coffee-table book on Dutch cult icon Sylvia Kristel and her 1970s films.”

“An homage to her incredible artistry and work, often neglected or reviled by critics, (we aim for) this book to put her film career (back) into a new light.”

WEBSITE EXCLUSIVE! Special Features:
Housed in a custom designed Deluxe Box with golden foil stamp and silk pull ribbon, in an edition of 190 copies made (100 Available)
Hardcover Book
340 Pages
Over 200 Poster & Lobbycard & Photos images
Exclusive 16×20 Sylvia Kristel Poster
Exclusive Dust-Jacket Signed by Writer Jeremy Richey
Box Set dimensions 11 x 13 x 4 inches
4 Disc Blu-ray (limited numbered edition of first 500 copies) + Exclusive Bonus DVD
40-page Illustrated Booklet
16×20 Fold-out Poster with Art by Gilles Vranckx
11lb

Hardcover Book: Special Features:
340 Pages
Over 200 Poster & Lobbycard & Photos images
Exclusive 16”x20” Sylvia Kristel Poster
Exclusive Dust-Jacket
Signed by Jeremy Richey
Book dimensions 10 x 12 x 1 inches
6lb

Box Set only to house the HC book with dust-jacket and Blu-ray set
Box Set dimensions 11 x 13 x 4 inches

About the Author: Jeremy R. Richey is a film and music historian and writer originally from Kentucky. The creator of the long-running blogs Moon in the Gutter and Fascination: The Jean Rollin Experience, Richey was also the publisher of the print-only journals Art Decades and Soledad. His work has appeared in a variety of books and magazines as well as on various home video supplements, including audio commentaries for Cult epics releases Madame Claude and the upcoming Julia and Mysteries. Richey currently resides in Bremerton, WA with his beloved dog Ziggy.

Actress and artist Sylvia Kristel was born in Utrecht, Netherlands on September 28th, 1952. Her film career began in 1973 with small but memorable roles in three important Dutch productions. Sylvia became one of the biggest stars of the ’70s after her role in Emmanuelle (1974), and she would spend the rest of the decade working with some of the finest filmmakers of the period. Sylvia’s starring roles in films like Borowczyk’s La Marge (1976), Vadim’s Une Femme fidele (1976), Robbe-Grillet’s Playing with Fire and Chabrol’s Alice (1977) are among the most memorable performances of the period.

Nico B is the founder of the legendary Amsterdam video store Cult Videoheek, and started Cult Epics in 1991. Moving to the US in 1998, he continued to release arthouse, horror and erotica films in North America, specializing in the works of directors such as Walerian Borowczyk, Tinto Brass, Fernando Arrabal, Radley Metzger, Jorg Buttgereit, Agusti Villaronga, Pim de la Parra & Wim Verstappen. As of recently Cult Epics has started publishing illustrated hardcover books including Cult Epics: Comprehensive Guide to Cult Cinema and Women of the Sun: Bunny Yeager in Mexico, among others.

Official Book Purchase Link

Official Trailer

www.cultepics.com





Plus 1 Atlanta
By: Henry H. Owings - Chunklet Industries, $60.00

Description: Plus 1 Atlanta is a 214-page, full-color love letter to the city I’ve called home for over half my life. Spanning the years 1962 to 2003, the flyers, posters, handbills, ticket stubs, and other junk that make up this book show a city ahead of its time - Henry H. Owings.

Verdict: In what is an incredible flashback insight into both a concert going journey along with the visual memorabilia from those very same days to help aid the readers enjoyment, among the venues documented here within the mighty array of pages of Plus 1 Atlanta are I Defy, the Duke Tire Company Warehouse, PJ’s Nest, 688, the Metroplex, the International Ballroom, the Great Southeast Music Hall and Richards, The Point and the White Dot, TV Dinner, the Nitery, the Celebrity Club, C. W. Shaw’s, the Bistro, Whisk ’a Go-Go, Jennings Rose Room, Bedrock Café … and then there are the places you’ve never heard of!

Author and collator Henry H. Owings has also included a handy two-page index listing the addresses of all of the venues, should you not quite recall their locations, or better still, wish to check them out today (should they still be standing, of course).

But lest we forget about the bands and artists that Owings took the time to go see, to breathe in their collective musical air, for along with a formidable line up of musical talent to behold here, what really stands out are the genuine, and some times artistically created on a dime early show posters and listings for some of Georgia’s finest.

And that list includes but is most definitely not the whole sum of the bands and artists such as: the Black Crowes, the Hampton Grease Band, Ru Paul and the U-Hauls, Mastodon, et al.

Oh, and there’s also unearthed material meticulously scanned from the likes of the Brains, the Fans, Darryl Rhoades and the Hahavishnu Orchestra, Thermos Greenwood, EQT, Nasty Bucks, the Razor Boys, Keith and the Satellites (later to become the Georgia Satellites), Baby and the Pacifiers, Glenn Phillips, the Restraints, and man oh man, so many others that it practically boggles the mind!

Indeed, and with material culled from over 300 individual collections (and even a few from the author’s own personal garbage, thank you very much, kind sir), Plus 1 Atlanta is a beastly group effort, and it shows.

Along with a foreword by David Cross (Mr. Show, Arrested Development), an introduction by publisher Henry H. Owings himself, and an afterword by Bill Kelliher of Mastodon, the book features essays from some of Atlanta’s finest and bravest.

In closing, Plus 1 Atlanta is the kind of book that you wish, as an average concert goer for the past 30+ years or as a journalist sent to view shows for a living (hence the Plus 1 of the title), that you yourself had thought of putting together for your own keepsake memories!

Arcana Books Purchase Link

Bandcamp Purchase Link





Plus 1 Athens
By: Henry H. Owings - Chunklet Industries, $49.99

Description: Athens, Georgia. Home to the Bulldogs, but also home to one of the most legendary music scenes in the world. For the first time, the city’s legacy is studied.

From 1967 all the way to 2002 and everywhere in between, name the Athens band and they’re in it.

Over 130 flyers are shown in full color along with essays, and even a map to show where all the fun was in Athens.

Published by Chunklet Industries and helmed by Henry H. Owings, this is love letter to an important music scene.

Verdict: In what is an incredible flashback insight into both a concert going journey along with the visual memorabilia from those very same days to help aid the readers enjoyment, among the venues documented here within the mighty array of pages of Plus 1 Athens are 40 Watt Club, Between the Hedges, Legion Field, The Last Resort, Sparky’s, Rockfish Palace, Middle Earth, Allen’s Hamburgers, The Exsirience, The High Hat, The Grit, The Globe, and amongst others both the Georgia Theatre and O’Malleys … and then there are the places you’ve never heard of!

Author and collator Henry H. Owings has also included a handy two-page index listing the addresses of all of the venues, should you not quite recall their locations, or better still, wish to check them out today (should they still be standing, of course).

But lest we forget about the bands and artists that Owings took the time to go see, to breathe in their collective musical air, for along with a formidable line up of musical talent to behold here, what really stands out are the genuine, and some times artistically created on a dime early show posters and listings for some of Georgia’s finest.

And that list includes but is most definitely not the whole sum of the bands and artists such as: The Police, Guided By Voices, the B-52’s, R.E.M., Pillars of Talent, The Drastics, The Pigs, et al.

Oh, and there’s also unearthed material meticulously scanned from the likes of Lamb Putty, The Fabulous Jesters, Little Tigers, The Side Effects, Beekeeper, Space Cookie, Dr. Cup-N-Dirt, Chainsaw Mudd Puppies, Descendents Crack, and man oh man, so many others that it practically boggles the mind!

Indeed, and with material culled from over 300 individual collections (and even a few from the author’s own personal garbage, thank you very much, kind sir), Plus 1 Athens is a beastly group effort, and it shows.

Along with a foreword by Dave Schools of Widespread Panic, an introduction by publisher Henry H. Owings himself, and an afterword by Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers, the book features essays from Michael Lachowski and Vanessa Hay of Pylon, and Arthur Johnson from the Bar-B-Q Killers.

In closing, Plus 1 Athens is the kind of book that you wish, as an average concert goer for the past 30+ years or as a journalist sent to view shows for a living (hence the Plus 1 of the title), that you yourself had thought of putting together for your own keepsake memories!

Bandcamp Purchase Link





Welcome to Harmonyville
By: Jon Damian - Yo! Publications, $20.00

Description: Harmonyville is a generally good natured town whose residents are chord symbols, infused with life from Jon Damian’s illustrations and narrative.

Gino and Dee seem like a perfect couple. But as the story unfolds, they have their ups and downs.

Their lives are intertwined with a bevy of entertaining characters who bring humor, drama, romance, and intrigue into the scenes of this comedic play.

Verdict: In his new book, Berklee Professor Emeritus Jon Damian of Local 9-535 (Boston, MA) — who has always blended his love of music with art — creates an illustrative guide to expand our understanding of harmony.

It won’t come as a surprise that a G7 and D Minor 7 chord make beautiful music, but what would it look like? In Welcome to Harmonyville 01625, we meet a reporter and cartoonist for the Harmonyville Times as he takes the reader on a journey with the Dominante family, friends, and neighbors in a town built around a G Clef roundabout.

Take E Street to the B Natural Bookstore, then up to D and Fifth streets to the psychordiatrist and finally, the reader reaches the Glossarium. A chord progression comes to life on the page as Damian follows the characters through good times, some discord, but ultimately a revelation—and education — in perfect harmony. [Theresa Litz at International Musician Magazine September 2021].

I couldn’t have put it better myself, and inclusive of a foreword by Bill Frisell of Local 802 (New York City), once you know what you are in for and open the book, you are instantly transported to a parallel universe where our earthly physics are replaced by the forces of harmonic enchantment.

You are then taken on what can only be described as an incredibly thought out, designed and constructed, and eloquently jigsawed together journey (one without end) in search of, well, harmony!

From start to finish, the originality of Welcome to Harmonyville seeps through within its pages full of deeply informative, and yet always explanatory, creatively whimsical and at all times highly, and almost tantalizingly readable.

Inclusive of some wondrous graphics, a multitude of well-timed puns, and seemingly never ending insights, Jon directs the guitarist (and any musician, really) towards achieving the harmony that makes music soulful and emotional.

Along the way we get to meet main characters such as Gino Dominante, a portly G7 chord symbol, and his subdominant other, Dee Mineur Septième, a petite D Minor 7 chord symbol.

For in the world of music, a chord symbol is a form of notation that uses letters and numbers to indicate a particular chord. Each chord symbol has a unique personality, so to speak. Some sound beautiful, some are mild-mannered, some are aggressive, and some are just middle-of-the-road kinds of characters.

Like homo sapiens, chord symbols live in families and so, just for fun, Jon thinks of these chord symbols as Harmono Sapiens! The inter-relationships between chord symbols, as between humans, can be harmonious or not harmonious for harmony consists of a series of notes, piled vertifcally (think of it like the vertebrae of a human skeleton).

His language, love for his subject matter and sheer creative personality shine throughout the prose and the parable like lessons. Hand-drawn graphics add to the relaxed feel and give the book a warmth that draws the reader into the universe of chords and the ways they mingle, conjoin and enhance one another. Truly great stuff.

Oh, and on one final note (all pun intended), for fun, Jon made Harmonyville’s zip code 01625, since it indicates the roots or bottom notes of the chords of an oft-used progression of chords; a 1 6 2 5 progression. Hundreds of popular tunes use it as a harmonic foundation to build their melodies on, for example, Blue Moon.

About the Author - JON DAMIAN is an active international performer, composer, lecturer, clinician and author. Jon spent 45 years as a professor at The Berklee College of Music. His varied performances have ranged from Luciano Pavarotti to Bill Frisell and from the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa to Johnny Cash with the Boston Pops under John Williams.

Jon Damian has recorded in a wide range of settings including The Boston Modern Orchestra Project, The Boston Pops Orchestra under Keith Lock- hart and John Williams, Bill Frisell, Bob Nieske’s Wolf Soup, The Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa, Collage, and for NOVA.

He is also the author of The Guitarists Guide to Composing and Improvising and The Chord Factory: Build Your Own Guitar Chord Dictionary available through Berklee Press and Hal Leonard Publications and Fresh Music: Explorations with the Creative Workshop Ensemble for Musicians, Artists, and Teachers, published by YO! Publications.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.jondamian.com





Pagan Portals - The Art of Lithomancy
By: Jessica Howard - Moon Books, $10.95

Description: Lithomancy is a form of divination which many people are aware of, although they may not know it by name. Using nothing more than stones from the garden or your favorite crystals, you can uncover the secrets of your subconscious, understand the past, and divine the future.

Verdict: As noted, Lithomancy is the practice of performing divination by reading stones. In some cultures, the casting of stones was believed to be fairly common – a bit like checking one’s daily horoscope in the morning paper.

However, because our ancient ancestors didn’t leave us a lot of information about how to read the stones, many of the specific aspects of the practice have been lost forever.

One thing that is certainly clear, though, is that the use of stones for divination has been around for a long while. Archaeologists have found colored stones, likely used for foretelling political outcomes, in the ruins of a fallen Bronze-age city at Gegharot, in what is now central Armenia.

Furthermore, researchers suggest that these, along with bones and other ritual items, indicate divinatory practices were critical to the emergent principles of regional sovereignty.

It is generally believed by scholars that early forms of Lithomancy included stones which were polished and inscribed with symbols – perhaps these were the precursors to the rune stones we see in some of the Scandinavian religions.

Indeed, in modern forms of Lithomancy, stones are typically assigned symbols connected to the planets, as well as to aspects of personal events, such as luck, love, happiness, etc.

Here in Jessica Howard’s fascinating read Pagan Portals - The Art of Lithomancy: Divination with stones, crystals, and charms, she describes, and in such great detail that you immediately know that she is wholly dedicated to her cause, how anyone can create their very own set of Lithomancy stones, how to go about collecting and choosing the right ones and, importantly, how to keep them magical.

Inclusive of the chapters: What is Lithomancy, Getting Started, Preparing for a Reading, Performing a Reading, The Chakra Stone Set for Healing and Final Word, Howard expertly, and in layman’s terms throughout, details guides the newcomer into her world, initially through divining, but most assuredly into Lithomancy soon thereafter.

About the Author - Jessica Howard has been a practicing witch for twenty years. Her craft is an eclectic mixture of Celtic and water witchcraft, with a dash of kitchen witchcraft thrown into the mix. She lives in Potters Bar, UK.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.JohnHuntPublishing.com





Pagan Portals - Magic for Hedge Witches
By: Harmonia Saille - Moon Books, $10.95

Description: If you are a witch interested in folk magic with a connection to the natural world, you will find suggestions on how to source ingredients and connect with them, sourcing old spells, witch bottles, magical sachets, familiars, how to put a spell together, and for hedge witches, how to use magic in hedge riding.

With useful correspondences, and sprinkled throughout and practical exercises and spells, Magic for Hedge Witches offers something for every witch to help you on your journey.

Verdict: So, I hear you asking, What exactly is a Hedge Witch? Well, there are a lot of different belief systems in modern Paganism, and one that is seeing a resurgence in popularity is the path of the hedge witch.

Although there are a lot of different definitions of what a hedge witch is and does, you will find that for the most part, there is a lot of work with herbal magic, as well as an emphasis on nature.

Indeed, a hedge witch might work with gods or goddesses, perform healing and shamanic actions, or perhaps work with the changing seasons. In other words, the path of the hedge witch is as eclectic as those who practice it.

Here in Harmonia Saille’s immaculately written Pagan Portals - Magic for Hedge Witches: Sourcing Ingredients, Connection, Spell Building, she not only teaches the magical side of the Hedge Witch’s Craft, but moreover brings with it a history lesson that, when all put together, becomes a quite wonderful, and wholly encapsulating resource for any witch (new or old) to embody (although, in truth, it’s prose tends to be more for the experienced practitioner).

Broken into many sections, such as The Rudiments of Hedge Magic, On Sourcing Old Spells, Other Magical Ingredients Found in Nature, Runes, Candle and Color Magic, and amongst others both Magic Bottles and Charm Sachets and Magic Bunches, and inclusive of inner chapters such as Putting a Spell Together, Connecting with Trees, How to Use Runes in a Spell, various Spell examples, A Quick Guide to Animal Symbolism, and amongst others both Ritual Preparation and Hedge Riding Incense, the blending of traditional practices and those from folklore with more modern day beliefs and rituals, makes for a most wonderful sowing of magical seeds throughout the book for the reader to find.

About the Author - Harmonia Saille is a Hedge Witch of more than two decades. She holds workshops on spirituality, divination and other subjects both locally and at international spiritual events. She is the author of The Spiritual Runes, and Pagan Portals - Hedge Witchcraft and Hedge Riding. She lives near the River Severn at the edge of the Cotswolds, UK.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.JohnHuntPublishing.com





Eco-Spirituality and Human-Animal Relationships
By: Mark Hawthorne - Moon Books, $10.95

Description: In Eco-Spirituality and Human-Animal Relationships Mark Hawthorne examines the all-too-often difficult and exploitative relationship between animals and humans.

Eco-spirituality seeks to reassess our relationship with the environment, where humans are understood as not morally superior but rather equal to the life forms with whom we share this planet.

Our kinship with animals has perhaps always been fragmented, but it’s not too late to embrace a new paradigm. For us, for them, and for all life on Earth.

Verdict: For those unaware, Eco-Spirituality is a manifestation of the spiritual connection between human beings and the environment. Indeed, Eco-Spirituality incorporates an intuitive and embodied awareness of all life and engages a relational view of person to planet, inner to outer landscape, and soul to soil; whilst, and especially here in this new book Earth Spirit: Eco-Spirituality and Human-Animal Relationships, our kinship with animals is brought into the mix also.

For those living in the United States, there is a good chance that waking up each morning includes small paws walking across the bed or a cold, wet nose to the hand. According to a 2017–18 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 68 percent of US households own a pet; this equates to 84.6 million homes. And, while dogs and cats remain the most popular choices, horses, birds, fish, reptiles, and other animals are on the charts, too.

Americans cherish their pets. The APPA estimates that in the United States, $72.1 billion will be spent on pet expenditures this year (up from $69.5 billion in 2017). These expenses include food, supplies, over-the-counter medicine, veterinary care, live animal purchases, and other services.

This bond between pets and their owners was not always so similar to the relationships humans have with each other. According to Bayer, a life science company, the human-animal bond has evolved for more than 15,000 years, and it began as a working relationship.

Animals provided protection and service to people; this could have been while hunting, farming, or performing other tasks necessary for day-to-day life. Dogs would track and herd. Cats usually lived outside, and would hunt and kill rodents that, otherwise, could spread disease and damage food or other materials.

Animals also served people during wartime. The United States Army Medical Department Journal (AMDJ) mentions cavalry horses, sentry dogs, carrier pigeons, and even mascots as common historical military roles for animals. According to AMDJ, these animals not only provided protection; they also could offer stress relief and a sense of pride to their human counterparts.

It is easy to overlook the human-animal bond as a one-way street. Pets need their owners to meet their basic needs of food, water, shelter, and welfare. But, humans can gain a different kind of well being from their companion animals. Research shows that pets can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, raise blood oxytocin levels, and, in some cases, may reduce direct pain. According to Bayer, people living with dogs are 15 percent less likely to die from heart disease.

Pets also can offer benefits for other human health challenges. The elderly respond well to companion animals. According to Bayer, diseases like depression, coronary conditions, and dementia can be exacerbated by loneliness. By interacting with companion animals, elderly people can experience positive mental and physical effects. Similar results can occur in children during emotional, cognitive, social, and behavioral development.

Inclusive of six chapters relevant to the subject matter - such as Animals Used For Food, In Captivity, In Labs, For Sport, For Labor, and Animals We Revere, Mark Hawthorne’s thoroughly engrossing new book Earth Spirit: Eco-Spirituality and Human–Animal Relationships provides vital information, perspectives, poetry and wisdom to guide and support [the reader] through the most complex of environmental, climate and biodiversity challenges and crisis facing us all [Sarah Kerr, Pagan Federation President].

About the Author - Mark Hawthorne is the author of several animal advocacy books, including The Way of the Rabbit, A Vegan Ethic: Embracing a Life of Compassion Toward All, and Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism, whose 10th-anniversary edition was published by Changemakers Books in 2018.

Mark stopped eating meat after an encounter with one of India’s many cows in 1992 and became an ethical vegan a decade later. He and his wife, Lauren, live in Northern California.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.JohnHuntPublishing.com





Religion and Generation Z
By: Brian Mountford - Christian Alternative Books, $17.95

Description: In 2017 NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey published statistics that 53% of the people in Britain say they have ‘no religion’ and that of those 70% of the 18-24 age-group claim to have ‘no religion’.

These essays attempt to say why, and are individual responses rather than a systematic examination of the question. Atheist, Agnostic, Irish, Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim views are represented.

Verdict: As is made clear from the off, the purpose of these noted essays was to explain a social trend but, in the process of writing, several of the contributors have, as if by chance, produced material which is richly meditative and can be read both for information and as spiritual reflection.

The Editor, Brian Mountford, is concerned that, too often, the religious views of the young are discussed by older clergy and writers but rarely heard first hand. Therefore, this book is a partial remedy for Mountford has written opening and closing chapters, setting the scene and finally asking what future there is for religion.

From the off, Religion and Generation Z: Why Seventy Per Cent of Young People Say They Have No Religion opens our collective eyes to two important, and perhaps lesser unveiled facts: The biggest junkyard in history is the one marked Abandoned Religion, abandoned because they are incapable of adapting to the flowing currents of human history [Richard Holloway], and To be rationally sustainable, religions must ally with the best modern science and with textural criticism; they must accept that ancient moral rules must often be adapted to new circumstances and that they should be conducive to universal human flourishing [Keith Ward].

Ergo, both statements go a long way to show that millennials and their like have had a dramatic, if not wholly negative (for the most part) impact on American religious life. That said, and playing Devil’s Advocate, ok, sure, millennials have also earned a reputation for reshaping industries and institutions — shaking up the workplace, transforming dating culture, and rethinking parenthood, but still, the question remains: Why do they not adhere to any of the known religions (publicly or privately?)

For a long time, though, it wasn’t clear whether this youthful defection from religion would be temporary or permanent. It seemed possible that as millennials grew older, at least some would return to a more traditional religious life. But there’s mounting evidence that today’s younger generations may be leaving religion for good.

Some of the reasoning explored within these essays cover bases such as, well, for one thing, many millennials never had strong ties to religion to begin with, which means they were less likely to develop habits or associations that make it easier to return to a religious community.

Also, young adults are also increasingly likely to have a spouse who is nonreligious, which may help reinforce their secular worldview. And changing views about the relationship between morality and religion also appear to have convinced many young parents that religious institutions are simply irrelevant or unnecessary for their children.

But, whatever the true reasoning is behind this seventy per cent figure, Editor Brian Mountford’s collected essays that make up Religion and Generation Z: Why Seventy Per Cent of Young People Say They Have No Religion showcase a deep dive into the topic, and one that ultimately may not just have you understanding more about the reasons why, but have you wanting to ask more questions (which is always a good thing with a book, don’t you agree?)

About the Author - Interested in the clash between traditional religious faith and the challenge of secularism, Brian Mountford is a Fellow of St Hilda’s College and an established speaker on contemporary religious issues, leadership and literature.

He is Publisher-at-Large for John Hunt Publishing’s Christian Alternative imprint and writer of the best-selling Christian Atheist - belonging without believing and the anthology, Friday’s Child - poems of suffering and redemption. He lives in Islip, UK.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.JohnHuntPublishing.com





Looking for the Magic
By: Mitchell Cohen - Trouser Press Books, $20.00

Description: Looking for the Magic is a cultural-historical remix, a fresh perspective on how Arista Records reflected its place and time, New York in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Through interviews with dozens of artists and executives, music journalist Mitchell Cohen goes inside the business of making and marketing music during this vibrant and diverse period.

Under Clive Davis, rock, pop, punk, jazz, R&B, disco, cabaret and Broadway were all represented on Arista. The label sounded like the city it was at the geographical center of.

Verdict: As author Mitchell Cohen himself freely admits, “This is a story about the music business in New York City, and specifically how Arista Records evolved from the direction of Larry Uttal at Bell Records into Clive Davis’ creative vision for a multi-faceted label.”

“Beyond that, what compelled me to write this was the opportunity to discuss the mechanics of being a successful independently-distributed record company, and to direct the spotlight beyond the usual musical suspects to some less-heralded Arista artists that I’d hope readers would check out.”

Chock full of all of those promises along with a whole smorgasbord more of quite wondrous stories, tales and heightened bouts of flashback reminiscing, we quickly learn that from its inception as a new entity built on the pop and soul foundation of Bell Records, to groundbreaking artists like Gil Scott-Heron and Patti Smith, to revitalized legends like the Kinks and Aretha Franklin, up to its launching of its biggest star, Whitney Houston, Arista Records’ story has never been told quite like this ever before.

Thus, Looking for the Magic: New York City, the ’70s and the Rise of Arista Records covers the wide scope of the label’s roster: its giant pop successes (Barry Manilow), its dedication to cutting-edge jazz (Anthony Braxton) and its embrace of rock royalty (Lou Reed, the Grateful Dead), and trust me when I say, nearly everything in-between.

Looking for the Magic (named after a song by Arista group the Dwight Twilley Band) takes the reader behind the scenes, to the Kinks’ backstage fights, Lou Reed’s on-stage diatribes, and to CBGB’s, Kenny’s Castaways and the Continental Baths.

We find out how “Because the Night” made its way from Bruce Springsteen to Patti Smith; how Barry Manilow went from obscurity to stardom; how MTV ushered in a second British Invasion for bands like the Thompson Twins and Haircut One Hundred; and how Arista formed alliances with adventurous labels like Stiff and Ze Records.

As for author Mitchell Cohen himself, well, he has written about music and film for Creem, High Fidelity, Film Comment, the Village Voice, Musician and Phonograph Record. He actually began working at Arista Records in the late ’70s as a publicity and advertising copywriter and then as one of the label’s A&R executives.

Furthermore, he himself was also nominated for a Grammy, won a Clio Award and is the co-author of All These Things That I’ve Done (with Matt Pinfield) and The White Label Promo Preservation Society (with Sal Maida).

In summary, if you are a genuine, bonafide lover of all-things music, especially from the ’70s through to the mid-’80s and you have always, and willingly opened your ears, heart and record player up to any kind of music that your soul felt like listening to, then the aforementioned smorgasbord of musical talent Arista put out in that time period must have not only filled your bedroom with joy, but also your record collections!

For that alone, this magnificently cultured, and wholly heartfelt new publication Looking for the Magic: New York City, the ’70s and the Rise of Arista Records by Mitchell Cohen is a veritable must-have for you now, my friends, as it not only contains a slew of lovely of-the-day photos, but will also not only make you realize just how much great Arista music you have in your collection, but perhaps also make you aware of one or two sounds that escaped your attention back in the day!

About the Author - Mitchell Cohen is a well-known music journalist who has served as an A&R executive at Arista and other record labels.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.trouserpressbooks.com





Sandman - A Golf Tale
By: David W. Berner - Roundfire Books, $10.95

Description: A young boy is in love with the game of golf, but he doesn’t understand why. He has a natural talent and an enviable swing but playing the game well is not enough. There’s something missing.

Verdict: When Jimmy, the homeless man who spends his days cheering on golfers from his usual sitting spot just off the 5th green at Old Elm Municipal Golf course goes missing, the young boy becomes curious.

His quest uncovers Jimmy’s mysterious link to the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland and reveals a life in golf that not only fascinates but sends the boy on a personal journey to discover the magic of an ancient game and its deeper meaning for a young man doing his best to find his path in the world.

In what is a simply magnificent, wholly riveting, and yet gently told book from Berner, Sandman - A Golf Tale is chock full with surprisingly intuitive, and soothingly insightful notations - about life, friendships, and generalized perceptions, et al - that ensure the reader is hard pressed to put it down once their literary journey has begun.

Sure, it is made all the more easier to binge read this book, given that it is only 79 pages long, but that doesn’t mean that it is thin on anything that makes for a splendidly mesmerizing read.

Indeed, quite the opposite, for as our inquisitive young boy begins his curious quest into the disappearance of Jimmy, the pleasing rabbit hole that we are taken down is one we go willingly, and at all times intriguingly into.

Hard to put down, and even harder not to devour in the one sitting, Sandman - A Golf Tale is way more than a simple golfing story (so you really don’t need to know all that much about the game to enjoy this book), having its prose instead entangled within external things, such as amiable secondary characters from the greens and clubhouse, the caddies, the human desire for either aid or refrain, et al.

About the Author - David W. Berner is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist, whose career honors include the position of Writer-in-Residence at the Jack Kerouac Project and the Ernest Hemingway Foundation. He lives outside Chicago, Illinois.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.JohnHuntPublishing.com





The Protector: The Fall & Rise Of Oliver Cromwell
By: Tom Reilly - Tophat Books, $16.95

Description: The Protector: The Fall and Rise Of Oliver Cromwell - A Novel is a distinctively realistic all killer - no filler fictional biography that bristles with controversy, sex, love, civil war, slaughter, intrigue, redemption and - perhaps the ultimate crime of all - regicide.

Verdict: Here in Reilly’s brand new book The Protector: The Fall and Rise Of Oliver Cromwell - A Novel, every effort has been made to accurately weave real people around a narrative of historical precision.

Meticulously biographical in its substance, the plot is predetermined by a landscape of true events that both enthrall and educate. Perhaps controversially, the subject is credibly portrayed as a tender father, an admirable man and a reluctant overachiever.

And yet at all times the unrelenting pace of the action truly reflects Cromwell’s compelling life story. As they say, If you think you know Oliver Cromwell ... think again, which is why this book is just so intriguing to me personally (and, I hope, will be to you also).

To provide a quick slice of (actual_ history, Oliver Cromwell was an English general and statesman who, first as a subordinate and later as Commander-in-Chief, led armies of the Parliament of England against King Charles I during the English Civil War, subsequently ruling the British Isles as Lord Protector (hence the book title) from 1653 until his death in 1658.

As you begin your literary journey within this book, one of the pages you pass by showcases another linked Reilly-written book, this one entitled Cromwell was Framed (where the author digs deep and provides evidence suggesting that monarchists then, and nationalists more recently, have been wrong in accusing republican Oliver Cromwell of a massacre of non-combatants at Drogheda in 1649) and then we are into the first of twenty-seven chapters, this one titled as 1599.

In what is a completely - to my mind - left of center opening page that brings forth the vividly captured story of how a monkey named Caesar swiped a five-month-old baby from the Cromwell stately home, built on the site of a former nunnery, all whilst down below a tranquil social gathering helmed by mother Elizabeth Cromwell (née Bourchier) was ongoing, the book thereafter never lets the reader down and keeps a wickedly vibrant pace throughout.

Oh, and for the record, and based on the premise that this whole monkey exploit was indeed an actual noted fact and not simply a myth embellished through time, it was subsequently discovered that the monkey was playing with baby Oliver on the roof, but even though beds and blankets were brought out and placed on the ground, to catch the baby, in case the monkey should drop or throw him down, Caesar was very careful, and presently he brought Oliver safely to the ground again.

Moving on, and with the book, as a whole, created and cultivated based on the more known, and accepted of facts, albeit perhaps a rather more utilization view taken of the historical rhetoric, shall we perhaps say, The Protector reveals a new take on the controversial figure of Oliver Cromwell, presenting him as not a tyrant, but instead a man unjustly tarnished by his aggressors and circumstances in tangent to his political leanings.

Running at 229 pages, The Protector: The Fall and Rise Of Oliver Cromwell - A Novel is easily enthralling enough to have you binge read it in two enjoyable sittings, which I humbly suggest you do, as it will have you second guessing all you thought you knew about the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, of that have no doubt.

About the Author - Amateur historian Tom Reilly has almost single-handedly taken on the might of academia with regard to Cromwell. He has appeared on national TV and radio in both the UK and Ireland in both documentaries and chat shows. He lives in County Louth, Ireland.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.JohnHuntPublishing.com





God, Who On Earth Are You?
By: Stephen McCarthy - Christian Alternative, $15.95

Description: The mysterious ‘Other’ that many of us sense and that Christianity - drawing on the life of Jesus - calls God, is the starting point of this book.

But, the Christian Churches are no longer conveying the wonder of the Christian mystery, the challenging nature of Jesus’ message for the world but also God’s deep, merciful love for us and the invitation into a relationship with him through prayer or through other spiritual practices including pilgrimage.

Verdict: Church teaching has become tired and routine. It should be fundamentally renewed and their institutional structures reformed for today’s world.

Thus the book’s final chapters consider how Christians should engage with the seemingly intractable problems - from environmental destruction to the inhuman exploitation of many people and the obscene levels of inequality - that characterize society today.

An autobiographical thread runs through the text as the author, a committed Catholic Christian, draws on experiences and vignettes from his own life. The final conclusion is one of hope; God will not abandon us or his world, though we do not know how the future will unfold.

In this eye-opening, and ultimately enthralling four part book, McCarthy first ponders the age-old question Who Is God? before bringing us Having a Relationship with God, Jesus’ Teaching as Religion, and finally Christianity in the World.

In what is a most profound and at its core honest deep dive into a subject matter that can not only create boundaries between discussions, let alone alienate people due to their lifelong beliefs, God, Who On Earth Are You?: Mystery and Meaning in Christianity today is also a highly intriguing rhetoric from author Stephen McCarthy (a deeply Catholic, physics-trained economist).

For as we know, even away from a real sanctuary, the church, made up of God’s people, is to teach biblical doctrine so we all can be grounded in our faith. The church is to promote fellowship, trust, faith and hope, especially in this pandemic season.

Therein, and at its ultimate core, The church is to be a place where believers can observe the Lord’s Supper, remembering Christ’s death and shed blood on our behalf (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

What McCarthy does is provide us an autobiographical thread of informative conscience that allows him to not only draw on his own experiences and personally offer up some of his own vignettes within, but also manages (in amongst all the to and fro of the subject matter) to draw a conclusional promise to all that no matter what, God will never abandon us or his world; something we can all take to heart and be embraced within the warmth of, I think you will agree.

About the Author - Stephen McCarthy is a cradle Catholic who studied physics in Oxford and then moved on to development economics. Taking early retirement to deepen his understanding of theology and spirituality, he walked the Camino de Santiago and followed the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. He lives in Schrassig, Luxembourg.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.JohnHuntPublishing.com





The Not so Subtle Art of Caring
By: Phillip Kane - JHP Business Books, $26.95

Description: Virgin’s Richard Branson, Zappos’ Tony Hsieh, and Tesla’s Elon Musk, apart from their obvious success, all share another thing in common. Each utilizes storytelling to maximize their effectiveness as leaders.

Many of the most influential leaders of our and all time, including arguably the most influential leader in history, used storytelling whenever they had a particularly important point to make.

Verdict: Encouraged by these influences, a father who was a known storyteller and a Nigerian priest who used stories to bridge a language barrier, author, and successful businessperson, Phillip Kane used stories each Friday throughout his career to help business associates relate to key issues facing the organizations he had the privilege to lead.

These weekly letters had less to do with what was going on in the business than how people thought about what was going on in the business. By helping shift and align his teams’ point of view, Kane and the teams he led were able to accomplish more and win more often. All because of the stories he told.

Many of them are assembled here in one place for the first time. Organized around key themes like encouragement, trust, and gratitude, Kane also provides additional insights for existing or aspiring leaders looking for a different, better way to appeal to those who should be following them.

Featured twice in Kouzes’ & Posner’s, The Leadership Challenge (Wiley), first-time author, Phillip Kane’s storytelling technique and the leadership lessons he imparts are key for any leader seeking to create winning teams built on a fundamental foundation of caring and service to others.

A 2022 Hoffer Award finalist, Phillip Kane, is a husband, father, and businessman, has had a successful career of more than 30 years in some of the world’s best-known corporations and amongst a storied account of many other reputable excerpts from his life, is therefore one of the finest examples we have in providing us this caring, leadership-styled book.

Broken down into six chapters, along with some sub-chapters (Foreword, Preface, Introduction, and Afterword), Kane opens on a startling statement of both warning and subsequently-profound fact: Most people believe that getting a leadership position is an acknowledgment for the hard work performed until then. A sort of celebration for a good career. This is exactly the starting point of any leadership failure.

In this 293 page book, his subtitled Letters on Leadership are just that, a collective of first-hand, real life outreaches within his own personal experiences that culminate in a sturdy prose brought together to elegantly provide those inquiring about formulating a principle-based leadership model of their own.

As we soon learn early on in the book, Kane explains that winning within the marketplace is completely compatible with, and even at times solely dependent on, caring about others (both personally and professionally).

Trust me when I say that this book can and will provide the reader, and one who takes on board everything said and follows the guidelines to perfection, with the tools to formulate a better and more focused way to lead a team and progress successfully onward.

For as the author himself freely admits There’s no education in a second kick from a mule, so please allow this books’ teachings to not only generously waft around your mind, but hopefully permeate and therefore soon thereafter open up a whole new way for you to approach leadership, and, of course, your work colleagues as a whole.

About the Author - Phillip Kane is a husband, father, and businessman. He has had a successful career of more than 30 years in some of the world’s best-known corporations. Working for brands like Goodyear, Pirelli, and NAPA, Kane has had the privilege to lead thousands of individuals and has managed billions of dollars in value for stakeholders. Kane lives in Ohio with his wife and three children.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.JohnHuntPublishing.com





So Very Mental: A Novel
By: C.C. Howard - Roundfire Books, $15.95

Description: What do you get when you cross a music snob, a football fan, a star-gazer and a tragi-romantic loser-in-love? You get Howie!

Verdict: Howie lives with his brother, Ben, who has autism. Ben is funny and utterly lovable. More than anything, Ben wants a girlfriend.

So when the TV show Love is Mental (a dating show for people with disabilities) is aired, Ben decides to participate. And this is where life starts to unhinge for Howie.

You see, Howie wants romance too. So when he falls for one of Ben’s dates, it sets him off on a rollicking journey into deception that will ultimately reveal to him that he is much more like Ben than he could ever have imagined.

In this debut novel from C.C. Howard, and one which runs at a tasty 177 pages, well, firstly, I love that one of my all-time favorite musicians Richard Jobson (The Skids) is quoted as saying that the warmth of the book wraps itself around you like the best Hornby or Doyle and that he was hooked with all the music, football, love and kindness!

I mean, seriously, just that kudos alone is a massive go-to for me having read this new novel and I hope will also be for everyone else out there a fan of Jobson and his works.

But, and getting smartly back on track, So Very Mental as a whole, as a sit down, get comfy and read entity is one of those books where you become engaged with the characters from the off, in their individual and collective humor and thus find it hard to break away from (hence the ease of a two-day binge read through these 177 pages).

Cleverly and oh-so incisively written, So Very Mental: A Novel is told in three parts, three chapters if you will, and thus the story line is brought forth with near perfect timing from start to finish.

In conclusion, So Very Mental is a warm, quirky and inclusive story, and one which shows us that when it comes to this crazy thing we call life, we’re all in it together.

About the Author - C.C. Howard grew up on the sunny beaches of Australia. After several years of travel he landed in Stockholm, Sweden, where he now resides with his family. He works as a creative film-exec and teacher, and has a passion for film, music, football and books.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.JohnHuntPublishing.com





Long Live King Kobe
By: Spencer Ostrander, Paul Auster, Sherma Chambers - ZE Books, $40.00

Description: This book is an intimate portrait of grief, a chronicle that charts the devastation visited upon a large, multi-generational family in the wake of the senseless, random murder of twenty-one-year-old Tyler Kobe Nichols on December 23rd, 2020.

With the cooperation and full participation of the Nichols-Chambers family, photographer Spencer Ostrander was granted privileged access to the household.

Over the course of the next several months, he conducted one-on-one interviews with each member of that household along with Tyler’s closest friends and, in the natural light of those settings, compiled a large dossier of photographic portraits of each person involved in the story.

Verdict: One of the great things about true crime documentaries is the ability to clearly see the effect of the crime on the people closet to the victim.

With the book Long Live King Kobe, photographer Spencer Ostrander has managed to even more comprehensively capture the aftermath of the senseless murder of Tyler Kobe Nichols through.a series of photographs and interviews with Tyler’s friends and family.

The details of the tragic knife attack that took the life of a promising young man just before Christmas 2020 are left to the beginning of the story, with a heartfelt foreword by Sherma Chambers, Tyler’s mother, and an additional section by Paul Auster that discusses Tyler’s life, and the foundation founded in his memory, the Long Live King Kobe foundation.

The majority of the book operates under a “less is more” dynamic, with the story of Tyler’s bereaved family and friends told in pictures and the simple descriptions thereof, sometimes accompanying. These photos are absolutely haunting, from the faraway stares of men and women left without a certain light in their lives, to the various ways they have chosen to remember their beloved Tyler.

One of the more striking images comes from the personal effects of Tyler’s girlfriend, Ashley: A lock of his hair positioned against an open Bible. This photo alone amazingly juxtaposes the difficulty of loss with hope of not only spiritual healing but of perseverance; the physical mementos are eternal reminders for as long as they are kept.

Similarly, much is made of the candlelight vigil set up outside the Nichols-Chambers residence, spelling out Kobe. The communal healing is as important as the singular healing. And that is what the Long Live King Kobe foundation is all about. And that is the idea that this book so simply and clearly encapsulates.

Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte

About the Contributors - Paul Auster is the author of Burning Boy, 4 3 2 1, Sunset Park, The Book of Illusions, Moon Palace, Winter Journal, The invention of Solitude and the New York Trilogy among many other works. In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Liturature.

Among his other honors are the Prix Médicis Etranger for Leviathan, the Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke, and The Premio Napoli for Sunset Park. He has also been a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions), the Pen/Faulkner Award (The Music of Chance), and the Man Booker Prize (4 3 2 1).

He is a member of the The American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Commandeur de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. His work has been translated into more than 40 languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Spencer Ostrander is a photographer based in Brooklyn. He was born in Seattle, Washington in 1984. The year he turned 21 several people close to him died, one after the other, and he realized he had no tangible images of them to fix in his memory. He began to think about the meaning of photographs.

While studying psychology in San Francisco, Ostrander received a Nikkormat 35mm as a gift from a family friend and his interest in the art became an active obsession.

He transferred to Parsons School of Design in New York City, from which he graduated in 2010. He went on to assist freelance for a variety of portrait and documentary photographers.

Although he abandoned the formal study of psychology, Ostrander’s work is deeply informed by a desire to observe closely, to forge human connections, and to intimately understand the world around him. He has recently completed two other books, Time Square in the Rain and Bloodbath Nation (in collaboration with Paul Auster).

Sherma Chambers was born on the Island of St, Vincent. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 15 and has lived in Brooklyn ever since.

Sherma is the mother of three sons, Shomari, 29, Shayne, 24, and Tyler, who was murdered at age 21 on December 23, 2020. Following Tyler’s death, she became the founder and director of Long Live King Kobe, a New York State nonprofit organization.

The goals of LLKK are to support the families and friends of victims of violence and to fund outreach programs for troubled youth.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.longlivekingkobe.org

LLKK Go Fund Me

LLKK @ Instagram





Thoughts of God
By: C.C. Howard - Roundfire Books, $15.95

Description: What do you get when you cross a music snob, a football fan, a star-gazer and a tragi-romantic loser-in-love? You get Howie!

Verdict: Howie lives with his brother, Ben, who has autism. Ben is funny and utterly lovable. More than anything, Ben wants a girlfriend.

So when the TV show Love is Mental (a dating show for people with disabilities) is aired, Ben decides to participate. And this is where life starts to unhinge for Howie.

You see, Howie wants romance too. So when he falls for one of Ben’s dates, it sets him off on a rollicking journey into deception that will ultimately reveal to him that he is much more like Ben than he could ever have imagined.

In this debut novel from C.C. Howard, and one which runs at a tasty 177 pages, well, firstly, I love that one of my all-time favorite musicians Richard Jobson (The Skids) is quoted as saying that the warmth of the book wraps itself around you like the best Hornby or Doyle and that he was hooked with all the music, football, love and kindness!

I mean, seriously, just that kudos alone is a massive go-to for me having read this new novel and I hope will also be for everyone else out there a fan of Jobson and his works.

But, and getting smartly back on track, So Very Mental as a whole, as a sit down, get comfy and read entity is one of those books where you become engaged with the characters from the off, in their individual and collective humor and thus find it hard to break away from (hence the ease of a two-day binge read through these 177 pages).

Cleverly and oh-so incisively written, So Very Mental: A Novel is told in three parts, three chapters if you will, and thus the story line is brought forth with near perfect timing from start to finish.

In conclusion, So Very Mental is a warm, quirky and inclusive story, and one which shows us that when it comes to this crazy thing we call life, we’re all in it together.

About the Author - C.C. Howard grew up on the sunny beaches of Australia. After several years of travel he landed in Stockholm, Sweden, where he now resides with his family. He works as a creative film-exec and teacher, and has a passion for film, music, football and books.

Official Book Purchase Link

www.JohnHuntPublishing.com





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