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Friday, July 31, 2009

Elemental Shaman - Omar. S. Rosales

Well, this just brings a whole new meaning to "chasing your dreams".

Traveler Omar Rosales writes of his adventures into the countless facets of shamanism in "Elemental Shaman", following his explorations from Guatemala to Bhutan to seek answers and spiritual guidance. Rosales' experiences with various beliefs and shamans within those beliefs take the essence of spirituality to a whole new level.

To note, shamans are healers that utilize Altered States of Consciousness (ASCs) to basically manipulate the energy in or around their patient. Kind of weird to think about, but the many instances Rosales experiences with these ASCs are quite fascinating and can make the reader curious about them. But these guys are only a small part of what Rosales experiences in his travels. Any skeptic of the supernatural will have a heyday with this book, as Rosales talks about a time shift he went through coming down a dirt trail (the time differentiation between going up the trail and coming down it borders on impossible, unless you're Lance Armstrong with a jet-fueled bicycle); the many healers and religious temple keepers who pretty much foresaw Rosales' arrival even before he hopped on a plane; and the retrieval of several pieces of his soul lost from times past.

Like many others, I too saw some of the things recorded in the book to have been a little bit on the odd side, but it is an enthralling read nonetheless. Just keep an open mind...and if some creepy guy in your dreams asks you to wear a mask, don't take it. You'll know what I mean.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

End of Grace - K. Thomas Murphy

Of all the letters the Post Office could, and often does, lose, it couldn't be these multiple thousands, now could it?

Assistant Kay Summers works for the Mormon Church...even if her belief is a little wary. Hey, it's a job, and a relatively easy one until an influx of letters spouting religious conversions of deceased Mormons drives her to Portland, the locale from which the letters are mailed. Oddly enough, little is found, except the name of a publishing company that maintains the website of the church in question, dubbed the Disciples of Moroni.

The two guys behind the company, computer-happy Rick Macey and pal Clay Adams, are the only connections available between the Church of the Latter-Day Saints and the Disciples of Moroni, and negotiations between the churches to stop the conversions seem to be working well (in the latter's favor)...until the assassination attempts start. It then becomes a race against time to find a civil solution to the matter before Kay, Rick, Clay, or even the Mormon higher-ups are placed before the crosshairs.

Thrilling and riveting, End of Grace presents a series of tribulations intertwined well into a heavily religious, but non-preachy, read. The deep motive behind Rick and Clay's actions give the story a multi-faceted perspective on overall religion and beliefs. A fascinating tale with twists and turns to satisfy almost every group of reader.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut - Paul Nowak

Who said ending up in the wrong city was a mistake?

Every place gives millions of opportunities to learn something new, according to 20th centry writer G. K. Chesterton, a. k. a. "Uncle Chestnut". Many short stories possessing nuggets of common sense and good advice decorate this story in the forms of unintended adventure and subtle humor. Tales such as the boy seeking the giant in the mountains and Uncle Chestnut and young lad Jack's misguided adventures to the seaside are both adorable and clever, providing snippets of insight that even adults should consider closely.

The end of the short read provides a quick term legend and a hilarious quote dictionary, deriving sayings from Chesterton's myriad of works. The author's note concludes the book and very successful attempt at bringing Chesterton's perceptive work to the people of the 21st century.