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Review: Tarot Tales Presents – Diamond Dust Blues

Tarot Tales Presents –
Diamond Dust Blues

Author: Tidal Ashburn
Edited by: Cindy Dooley
December, 2015

Diamond Dust Blues cover

 

I feel very blessed to have had this work cross my path. “Diamond Dust Blues” is an incredible story that I would place in the cozy mystery genre. It revolves around the character Ruby Perkins – a struggling actress who lives in the “mother-in-law” cottage on her Aunt Jenna’s property. It opens with Ruby baking her famous orange raisin scones for her Aunt Jenna’s birthday.  (Probably good to mention ahead of time that Aunt Jenna is transgender.)

Ruby takes her scones over to her Aunt Jenna’s house, and has a wonderful breakfast of tea, scones, and animated conversation with her. Aunt Jenna has somehow manufactured a reason for an eligible bachelor (eligible in her eyes, that is) to come over that evening to fix a non-existent problem in the plumbing, and to have dinner and meet Ruby. Ruby is not too happy with all of this, but agrees to come over, have dinner, and meet him.

On her way out the door she gets a call from a business friend that has an urgent need for her to do two singing telegrams for him. She agrees – and the next thing she knows she is waking up in a hospital, in great pain, with no memory of what happened. More than that – she has no memory of anything, including who she is!

Things go steadily downhill – she was shot while delivering the second singing telegram, as were several other people. The man who shot her is wanted by the FBI, and there is a question of whether he died in the shootout or not. Then there is her male nurse, who may or may not be a nurse, Aunt Jenna staying in the next hospital room so that she can be protected too from the people that the shooter was working for, and a female doctor that has an agenda of her own.

Ruby is offered the witness protection program, but balks when Aunt Jenna is not to be included. Oh, and there is a pipe bomb that goes off in her hospital room. Ruby digs her heels in, and Aunt Jenna is included in the witness protection program. Her male nurse (who she finds out is a U.S. Marshall) and one other marshal are to be responsible for relocating Ruby and her aunt, which results in quite an interesting cross country journey!

I did not want to put this book down! (Okay – I am reading the digital version, in which case I did not want to walk away!) The story is fast paced, with well defined characters and a nice dose of humor. There is depth in a multitude of areas – baking, cooking, cloths (I loved the marabou feathered poofs on Aunt Jenna’s slippers!), the art world, the world of the hospital, the world of the U.S. Marshals, the witness protection program, the world of smuggling jewels, and so much more. Intertwined are the personal relationships between the characters, which contain many levels of reality.

I loved the small details – such as the “painted lady” Victorian houses in Tennessee. A great deal of research and caring went into the writing of this book – I hope to see many more by this author!

© February 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2016 in fiction books

 

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Review – The World

The World

Author: Robin Wildt Hansen
Kindle
2015
ASIN #B00Q20ZC7I

The World Cover

“I stand in front of my desk, feeling five pairs of eyes watching me
in the candle light. I point one hand upwards towards the sky,
and the other down towards the earth.”
~ Robin Wildt Hansen

When I sat down to write this review, I knew that I was going to use the term “Tarot sci-fi”. Even though I have since come to know that the “real” term for this type of writing would be “magical realism”, Tarot sci-fi certainly fits. Hansen has taken the Tarot Major Arcana, and used them as a background for writing about the initiatory process. The reader is taken into magical worlds, which contain magical elements, with the aid of a protagonist that inhabits the real world.

We are introduced to Hansen’s protagonist, Arkin, who is a high school age boy whose mental state borders on schizophrenia. His touchstone is numbers – everything around him must be in even numbers – the instability of the odd number having the potential to create danger. His books in his room at home are all placed in piles of eight – this is how it should be.

Arkin experiences a breakdown while at a party with his friends from school. When he wakes up, he finds himself still at his friend’s house, being addressed by his friend’s father, John Francis, who is a psychiatrist. He is offered help, if he is willing to be admitted to the psychiatric ward where Dr. Francis practices. In the end, Arkin decides to agree to be admitted. Here he meets another doctor, Dr. Memphis, who wants to put Arkin on traditional therapy.

Arkin is admitted for observation, and makes the choice to work with Dr. Francis, in his spiritual healing program. Dr. Memphis, however, insists on the stipulation that if Arkin dies within the next five years, his brain goes to Dr. Memphis for study.

The scenarios that follow present the path of initiation through the Major Arcana of the Tarot. The reader moves in and out of the physical world, into spiritual/magical worlds where wisdom comes at a price. The reader’s perception of what is real and what is not is tested, sometimes in very surreal ways. Anyone who has journeyed, or who has worked on personal initiation, understands that letting go of reality, and being willing to experience alternate realities (madness, if you will) is necessary for personal empowerment.

Tarot per se is not referred to in this book, except as the basis for each chapter. It would be helpful if the reader had a strong background in the Tarot, and some idea about the initiatory process, before they read this book. Otherwise, the story, as good as it is, is simply a story.

This is an excellent novel, very well written, with a solid basis in the Tarot, and with a solid understanding of the initiatory process. It will expand the thinking of the reader, and perhaps help them to see both the Tarot and themselves in a little different light.

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2015 in fiction books, Tarot

 

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Tarot In Literary Form

 

Sepulchre cover

This week I am going to talk a bit about Tarot used as a back drop for literary fiction. The first book I am going to address is “Sepulchre”, by Kate Mosse. What an incredible read! At heart, it is a mystery, with a historical background. Chance encounters in Paris, Tarot readings, a mysterious Tarot deck … they are all woven into a wonderfully written story cover the same energy in two different time periods. Mosse blends French vocabulary, architecture, and the French way of life into a highly believable Dan Brown piece of fiction  My review can be seen here.

theaterofkarmacover1-cover

The next story takes place in modern times – “Theater of Karma”, by Kooch Daniels. It carries the same qualities of Tarot, mystery, the esoteric, and romance, but in a very different format. The intent of this book was to move the Tarot out from under academia and bring it into the real world. Daniels succeeded! The twenty-two chapters in this book represent the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana, their keywords and themes. The characters in the story, and their issues, reflect the world of a Tarot reader, and what that reader might be dealing with on any given day. While the Tarot is a spiritual journey, that journey takes place in the physical world, the world of reality. My review of “Theater of Karma” can be found here.

The Lovers Path cover

“The Lovers’ Path”, by Kris Waldherr, is an elegantly illustrated presentation of forbidden love. It is not a Tarot story at all, but is a book that is well worth reading. Set in sixteenth century Venice, it is all about the famous courtesan Tullia Ziani, and her talented younger sister Filomena.

Through well written words, stunning graphics, maps and letters – we enter another world, one of beauty and grace, but one that is also inhabited by sorrow and tragedy. As for those letters – in a very unique device, Waldherr presents us with several envelopes containing the letters referred to in her story, as part of the book. The reader is also gifted with the cards drawn for Filomena in a Tarot reading.

Awesome doesn’t begin to say anything about this book!

(c) 2000 – 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction in any venue prohibited without the written permission of the author.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2013 in fiction books

 

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Come Hell Or High Water – Part 3: Deluge

Come Hell Or High Water

Part 3: Deluge

Author: Stephen Morris
Independently Published
2013
ISBN #978-0-9847731-6-9

Come Hell Or High Water Part 3 - Deluge cover

“Part 3: Deluge” is the third book in the paranormal trilogy “Come Hell Or High Water”, by Stephen Morris. In Part 1: Well Spring, we met Magdalena, a secretary at Charles University in Prague. Through a strange set of circumstances she ends up helping Fen’ka, a wise woman who was lynched by a mob for witchcraft in  1356. With her dying breath Fen’ka cursed the city and its people. In searching for help for Fen’ka, Magdalena brings two very dangerous people to Prague: Elizabeth, a beautiful Irish mythologist who is in actuality the Dearg-due (an Irish vampire figure that does not have to play by the same rules as the vampires that we all know and love!), and George. a New York based Jesuit priest who is also head of a coven. What Magdalena does not realize is that George and Elizabeth are set on destroying the city of Prague!

In “Part 2: Rising” the focus changes to Magdalena’s friend Victoria, and the alliance she forms with several of the visiting professors at the conference on “Evil and Human Wickedness” that Magdalena’s boss is hosting. Together they go head to head against Magdalena, George, and Elizabeth to locate the four magical tools that are protecting Prague – Chalice, Sword, Staff, and Pentacle.

In “Part 3: Deluge”, the very existence of Prague is threatened by a flood that will wash away the Charles Bridge and its magical protection of the city. (Remember, Fen’ka’s curse was on the city and all of  its people.) George and Magdalena rush to carry out the curse by weakening the bridge with the flood, which will allow them to enlist the help of the devil Svetovit to destroy the city.

The book begins with the story of Nadezda, in the winter of 1356-1357. Her husband, a baker, was in the square when Fen’ka was burned, as was her brother, who ran home with a burning branch from the fire, throwing it into the family fireplace. Nadezda is forced to go into the Jewish section of town to consult with an elderly rabbi, after she faces the shadow of Lilith, who is trying to steal her baby. She confronts Lilith to discover the secret of the witch’s curse, only to find that it lies very close to home!

I love the way that the chapters alternate between past and present, weaving the web that all of the story’s characters are caught up in. Everything that happens in this story is for a reason – the present becomes the past – a past that lays the foundation for a new present, and a new future. There is excellent use made of mythology, of the environment and history of the city of Prague itself, and of the elements that make up the esoteric world. All of this unfolds through the lives of the characters in the story.

Being a Tarot reader myself, and a student of esoteric magic, I was riveted at the use both factions (George and Magdalena, and Victoria and her professors) made of the Tarot itself, of the qualities of the four elements (Fire, Water, Air, and Earth), and of simple things like salt and herbs. Morris shows a thorough understanding of religion, myth, and basic human nature, bringing everything together in a final showdown between George, Magdalena (who is beginning to realize that she has been duped), the devil Svetovit, Victoria, and the professors.

This is quite a compelling series – one that you want to read again and again!

© 2000 – 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction in any venue prohibited without the written permission of the author.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2013 in fiction books

 

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Come Hell Or HIgh Water – Part 2: Rising

Come Hell Or High Water

Part 2: Rising

Author: Stephen Morris

Independently Published

2012

ISBN #978-0-9847731-3-8

Come Hell Or High Water Rising cover

“Part 2: Rising” is the second book in a paranormal trilogy by Stephen Morris. In Part 1: Well Spring, we met Magdalena, a secretary at Charles University in Prague. Through a strange set of circumstances she ends up helping Fen’ka, a wise woman who was lynched by a mob for witchcraft in  1356. With her dying breath Fen’ka cursed the city and its people. In searching for help for Fen’ka, Magdalena brings two very dangerous people to Prague: Elizabeth, a beautiful Irish mythologist who is in actuality the Dearg-due (an Irish vampire figure that does not have to play by the same rules as the vampires that we all know and love!), and George. a New York based Jesuit priest who is also head of a coven. What Magdalena does not realize is that George and Elizabeth are set on destroying the city of Prague!

Amazing things happen in this book! Magdalena takes something of a back seat, while her best friend, Victoria, begins to work with a group of professors at the conference that Charles University is hosting on folklore, myths, and monsters. The two groups – Victoria and her professor allies, and Magdalena, Elizabeth, and George – face off against each other to find the four magical tools that protect Prague (a Chalice, Sword, Staff, and Pentacle).

Morris does an excellent job of presenting Prague, its people and its mythology. He also does a nice job with presenting actual ritual, and with using the energy of the Tarot in some of his chapter titles. (My one little issue here is the presentation of the Tarot Court Cards. While they are a part of the Minor Arcana, they are the people cards, and should be honored as such.)

The story line and characters are very well presented. I am looking forward to reading Part 3!

© 2000 – 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

All material on this site is copyright by Bonnie Cehovet, and may not be reproduced in any format without written permission.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in fiction books

 

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