Five Book Reviews: What I Read Over the Summer

I’m not the best at following book reviews.

I started writing, so I went with that and did a LOT of stuff. More on that when I know more about release dates and such.

But it’s not about me, it’s about the books I was given to review.

Photo by Irisanya Moon (cat hair from my cats, probably Moon)

Quarantine Magic: The Journey of Jo Ann Richards by Jo Ann Richards

I’ve known Jo Ann for a while (2012? 2013?) and was honored to have a copy of her book. (It’s been out for a while and I’ve been hanging on to it for a while. You could blame the pandemic, but really, I just fell behind.)

Anyway, I love Jo Ann’s writing style and point of view. I won’t divulge anything if you haven’t read it yet, but she had a life worthy of a book. Only in the first few pages do you begin to see the foundation upon which his insights and wisdom were built. There’s a strength to Jo Ann that comes from what she’s willing to share – but also a simplicity of description, a candor that says what it says without apology or over-explanation.

This book might be about quarantine and the journey there (and beyond), but it’s a story of resilience that I think many will appreciate.

The Witches of Riegersburg by Julie Ann Stratton

To be honest, I’m not a person who often reads fiction. My writer’s brain does too much editing and ‘why the hell did they do that’ and ‘oh my God, say it with less words.’

But Julie Ann reached out and even though it took me a little while to get there, I’m glad I did.

I’m not going to tell you that this book made me a fiction reader – sorry, that seems to be a malfunction in me. However, this book helped me remember the joy of reading and immersing myself in a magical world.

Again, I don’t want to spoil the story, but what I will say is that this is a fast-paced book with lots of dialogue. I greatly appreciate that. It helps me stay engaged and get to know the characters from how they act versus how they’re portrayed.

Sarah’s journey is one that I think will resonate with many readers. There’s something authentic about being committed and courageous, while remaining fallible and stubborn. It’s not an easy story for her, although Sarah’s story has already given a clue, as has the Book of Shadows.

I didn’t read this as a rosy story that resolves cleanly or easily. I feel like there’s a story outside of this story, as well as a story that comes after that. But perhaps the lack of closure is just Sarah’s story — and often the story of all of us.

Photo by Irisanya Moon (dusty striped desk also by me)

Devout priest dedicating by Stephanie Woodfield

I’ve been a fan of Stephanie Woodfield for a while (and have a few of her art pieces/necklaces too). This book on building relationships with deities aligns with my own experience and does so in a way that is accessible to new and experienced practitioners alike. The natural progression from the dedicant to the devotee and then to the priest allows the reader to place himself in the course, wherever he sees fit. And the progression(?) also encourages the reader to see different relationships in different places.

Again, I really like when books bring in personal experience and story, as it helps me better understand the “why” of the book and often the “how did you get here”. Woodfield’s book is awesome and definitely one that will stay in my library.

From Grief to Healing by Amanda MacKenzie

First of all, the cover of this book is magnificent and I am delighted with it. So I would buy this just because of how it looks and it’s about heartbreak, which is something I like to read.

Overall, I think it’s an approach that I haven’t explored, with practices related to chakras and yoga. From her personal story of her husband’s death, this book leads readers to what worked for her and what might work for others dealing with loss.

It is well organized and brings together many lessons and questions to help the reader. I’m not a person who believes in “curing” grief, but I also think that grief is something unique to each person – so this book might be just what someone needs for their own navigation. in loss.

The Path of Elemental Sorcery by Salicrow

I was fortunate enough to be in a virtual circle with Salicrow as part of my death care training with Anne-Marie Keppel, so I was thrilled to have the chance to read this book. It’s long, it’s over 500 pages, so I was a bit intimidated.

But from the start, I knew this was a book I would come back to again and again. First, there is no long introduction; the reader dives straight into the magic of the elements, with techniques and stories and a kind of tone that invites and inspires. I think what resonates with me the most is that this book lives the elements instead of just talking about them. I engage in magic by doing it, not intellectualizing it (well sometimes I do) or trying so hard to understand it. Let the magic be what it is because it is all around, everywhere. It’s you. You are not separated.

Honestly, it’s such a comprehensive book that I’m sure I’ll find stuff in it for years to come. I am grateful to have this resource in my library.


NOTE: Links to purchase books included. Most are for my bookstore, which means I get a VERY SMALL affiliate payment in exchange for buying through those links. But it also means you can support local booksellers over other sites if you’re interested. Or buy from the authors. Chances are a quick internet search will bring you to their websites and stores. 🙂

Alycia R. Lindley