Back on Track

New reviews coming soon! I'll be importing my work from the past two years, but in the meantime,
I'm reclaiming my small place on the web.

Thursday, November 29, 2001

Non-Fiction/Spirituality Review

How To Communicate With Spirit
by Elizabeth Owens
ISBN-10: 1567185304
Review by Heather Froeschl

As a student of Spirituality I have read a great deal of books on this topic, and I must say that this is by far the best that I have read. Elizabeth Owens takes the reader by the hand and leads through a wide variety of experiences. A certified medium and ordained Spiritualist minister, Ms. Owens is full of knowledge herself, however, in "How to Communicate with Spirits" she brings in the words of her peers, numerous other professional mediums, in an easy to comprehend, yet extremely interesting text.

It has been said that 60% of the population has experienced some sort of paranormal or spiritual event. I imagine that number will grow from this book's existence. It opens the eyes to sometimes subtle signs that spirit is around us, and the related stories help open the mind to seeing them. Ms. Owens explains the process of identifying and classifying our spirit guides and understanding the presence of other entities. From your first awareness of the spirit realm to the practice of meditation and communication, this practical guide will reaffirm what you may already know but it will likely help you to discover so much more.

The affirmation of my own personal beliefs was comforting, and the stories were such that I could relate to, but I think the crown jewel of this book is the final chapter, "Meditations for Communication". This chapter is a specific guide to meditation. It contains three "scripts" that the reader is encouraged to record for their personal use. Each script is thorough and well executed and has a different feel as portrayed in their titles: The Mountain, The Beach and The Castle.

For the novice to this topic, a generous glossary reveals the meanings to terms such as: Synchronicity, Chakra and Spiritualist. Whatever your interest level, I can almost assure you that you will learn something from this book. It all depends on how open your mind is.

Friday, October 19, 2001

Children's Book Review

Season's of Magic; A Girl's Journey
by Laurel Ann Reinhardt
ISBN-10: 1567185649
Review by Heather Froeschl

We all have teachers in our lives; whether we can recognize them for what they are or are thankful for them, they are there. Some teach us about life and love, some teach us about math and science and some teach us about ourselves, and our spirits. Season's of Magic is the story of a young girl's journey, with a much loved teacher, through the seasons of a year and a crash course in the seasons of life.

Erin is curious about her family's practice of celebrating the changing of the seasons. In class she listens with interest as her friend Rachel explains why Christmas is so important to her family, and Erin discovers that she isn't sure why her family celebrates the Winter Solstice. Her mother suggests that she ask Evangeline, an elderly neighbor, to teach her about the seasonal changes and the magic within them.

Through her studies in the natural world of Mother Nature Erin discovers that with each celebration and changing season, she is changing in her relationships with others and with herself. She is learning about the world and people, and her family's religious beliefs. A particularly hard lesson is one which we could all use some help in dealing with, the death of a dear friend.

This book is a wonderful guide to the seasonal holidays, for children and adults alike. It is written in a gentle tone that makes it seem as if Evangeline is there for us all, and in a way, she is. It does not put down other religious beliefs but rather encourages an exploration of the similarities and differences between religions, all in a child's point of view.

At the end of the book is a specific guide to the Wheel of the Year and all of the holidays therein. It is a workbook to help guide the reader through an exploration of the seasons and includes a glossary of terms just to make things perfectly clear. Finally, Season's of Magic is the guide book you may have been looking for to help children embrace and celebrate the magic of the seasons in a heart touching and loving tale they can relate to.

Monday, September 10, 2001

Non-Fiction/Paranormal Review

Grave's End
by Elaine Mercado
ISBN-10: 0738700037
Review by Heather Froeschl

It was supposed to be their dream house, an escape from apartment dwelling, home sweet home. It turned out to be a nightmare that didn't go away even when you slept with the lights on. In 1982 Elaine Mercado, her husband and two daughters moved into the house they had bought in Brooklyn, N.Y. With her husband's business in the upper two floors, Elaine was rarely alone in the house, but she never felt alone anyway; she had a constant feeling of being watched.

Over the course of 12 years there would be a great deal more than feelings of being watched. The house was haunted. It took Elaine quite a long time to admit that fact; admitting it would make it real. But there were dreams that she and her daughter both experienced, dreams that were suffocating in nature. In fact it felt as though something were holding them down, pressing them into the bed to such an extent that they were unable to move and at times, unable to breath. Balls of light danced about the house and small blurry shapes of shadow crept along the floorboards. A figure of mist would sometimes pass by one daughter's bedroom door and at times there would be whispering, right in their ears, of things like, "You leave us alone, and we'll leave you alone."

After years of not getting a decent night's sleep, years of feeling terrified on an almost constant basis, Elaine does some digging into the past of the house. Many stories are uncovered, but none of them are very comforting. The decision is made to call in a psychic investigator. Someone had to know what was going on and how to make it stop.

This is a true story, told by Elaine herself, a registered nurse and a woman of great strength of character. She admits her terrible fear and frustration in an effort to let people know that they are not alone in situations such as these. The lost spirits that shared her home were in great misery and pleading for help, though in ways that would scare even the bravest of people. It took an understanding to help the souls that Elaine did not posses at the time. This book is her passing on of the knowledge that even challenges such as this can be remedied.

The book goes into great detail of the haunting and the writing is such that you truly feel the hair standing up on the back of your neck. You may feel a desire to leave the lights on at bedtime, or the need to look over your shoulder for the feeling of being watched is contagious. You may even go so far as to do a great deal of research before purchasing your next home.

A foreword by the famous Parapsychologist and Author, Prof. Hans Holzer, who incidentally played a large part in the resolution of Elaine's unwanted houseguests, lends additional validity to the book, but the work is well written and most definitely believable.

Wednesday, August 8, 2001

Fiction Review

by Natalie Collins
ISBN-10: 1894942256
Review by Heather Froeschl

I have never read anything quite like Natalie R Collin's SisterWife. There is something about the subject of polygamy that made me want to remain unaware. As if not knowing the details of people who live this way would make it not exist. The tragic drama that played out in Waco, Texas some years back was something like that to me. The public was witness to this event in great detail and even then I can remember feeling like I just didn't want to know all of the gory details. Call me cruel and cold, but I was just being human. Natalie opens up the world of a fictional religious cult for all of the world to see.

Kelsey is the young mother of Tia, a seven year old girl with a spitfire soul. Kelsey is pretty strong willed herself, having run away from a life of hell, ten years past. California was not far enough away from Utah, where she had suffered the abuse and molestation her father felt was his rightful path to take. She had run when her father proclaimed that she would marry the prophet, she would be a part of God's plan, she would be sold so that her father could play an important role in the Church of the Lamb of God.

California was indeed not far enough away, and Kelsey's daughter Tia would become another victim of the prophecy. Kidnapped by the cult, under the prophet's plan, Tia became the bait to draw Kelsey back. With the help of Quinn, a police detective, Kelsey would face her past, in order to save her daughters future. Along the way we are witness to the truth that was Kelsey's nightmarish childhood, through well-executed flashbacks and then through Kelsey's confidences in Quinn. Here we are given a better understanding of how people take what they wish from religion, in this case, being Mormon, twisting and morphing those beliefs and creating what can become a dangerous cult.

SisterWife is a page turner, full of fear, suspense, appalling circumstance, a wickedly evil puzzle to figure through, a bit of pure eroticism and an amazing look at the human psyche. The author is well informed of the true Mormon religion and takes great pains to emphasize that the fictional Church of the Lamb of God is not such. She has shed light on what is sometimes ugly to look at, but is so necessary for us to understand today. Natalie has created characters that breathe and cry, hold their breath in terror, pray for an answer and sigh at the thought of loving ecstasy. Through it all we are witness to the authors deep understanding of human relationships and feelings.

The author is an excellent storyteller. I recommend this title to anyone wanting to stay up late reading. You won't be able to put it down. I look forward to reading more of this authors work.

Thursday, February 8, 2001

Non-Fiction Review

EveryBody : Preventing HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Revised Edition by Deborah Schoeberlein
ISBN-10: 0967925614
Review by Heather Froeschl

How do you teach adolescents to save their own lives? How do you reach through the ideas they have about STDs and their own omnipotence? "EveryBody" is THE curriculum for students in grades 5-9, about HIV, AIDS and STD prevention. This is a powerful guide for teachers, counselors and parents to utilize in making a difference in, and more than likely saving, the lives of today's youth.

Communication, in the fight against HIV and other communicable diseases, is essential between child and adult, teacher and student, and all individuals dealing in possibly unsafe behaviors. How is communication learned? "EveryBody" opens the doors to communication. The activities, meticulously described, spark discussions and discussions encourage empowerment in the individual.

Many lessons are shared in "EveryBody": the specifics of STDs and prevention methods, the generalities of stereotypes, risk taking, reduction and elimination, and so much more. Students will come away with a better understanding of these topics and just as important, a better understanding of themselves.

Some adults may think that "EveryBody" goes beyond what is expected for a 5th-9th grade curriculum. However, "EveryBody" is developmentally appropriate and extensive research shows that is does indeed meet the needs of today's adolescents. Every year in the U.S., half of all new HIV infections occur among people under the age of 25. One in four of new infections occur among those between the ages of 13 and 20. Isn't it best to empower our youth before they become a statistic? The fact is that the majority of American adolescents are sexually active by 12th grade. This is life threatening behavior. Addressing the factors head on is the only way to prevent fatal mistakes.

The curriculum that "EveryBody" is, is not lecture and testing, but rather it is innovative and connected to scientific theory. Students act out the lessons and in essence, become the subject matter. For example, when marker ink, representing infectious bodily fluids, makes its way from student to student, they see point blank, how easily they can become infected, and learn how to prevent that from happening. A fairly simple exercise that will hit home and, in context, will get the message across that HIV prevention is a very serious matter.

The lessons are well written, comprehensive and easily comprehended. The curriculum is one that should be mandatory in all middle schools. Our youth need to learn responsibility for their health and as a parent, I would rather these lessons not be learned the hard way.