Religion and beliefs

The Ruin of All Witches

The Ruin of All Witches

Author: Malcolm Gaskill Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/11/2021

Oh my, The Ruin of All Witches is absolutely fascinating! Detailing the witch-hunting that took place in a frontier town in Massachusetts during 1651, this is a darkly enthralling read. The author describes it as a historical reconstruction rather than a novel. Written using historical documentation including court records, sermons, letters, diaries, deeds, and wills, this dual sense of story and history ensures a deeper awareness. It begins almost as a fairytale would, the style of writing placed me in time and location. I was able to look around and soak up the atmosphere. I felt a connection to the place and people, could reach a level of appreciation for thoughts and feelings. Examining small details, looking behind fears, beyond survival, makes this an accessible and thought-provoking read. The maps help plant the location, the Sources and Methods detailed at the back confirm the thought process behind this book. Malcolm Gaskill is a leading expert in the history of witchcraft and his knowledge and research shows. The Ruin of All Witches is a vivid, captivating and intriguing walk into the past and I’ve chosen it as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month.

Star Books
Vow of Silence

Vow of Silence

Author: Suzanne Walsh Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/09/2021

“Nuns being abusive? How could they? They were servants of God. They were revered and feared in equal measure by the community. But behind the doors of the church they were simply just feared by the children they ruled over”. So author Suzanne Walsh shares in the opening pages of Vow of Silence, breaking her silence in the hope “it will help other victims come to terms with what happened”. This also sets the style and tone for the rest of this affecting memoir, beginning with the first terror Walsh and her siblings experienced when they were left with nuns as a result of their daddy dying and Mammy having to leave Ireland to find work in London. What follows is a harrowing, unflinching account of daily beatings, neglect and starvation to the point that “we were in our own hell every single day with no one to tell or turn to.” Though their mother returned after four years, the abuse the siblings’ experienced remained a secret - “We never told anyone what happened - certainly not our mother - after we were constantly threatened by the nuns. It was a secret we kept as children and had kept with us for more than 50 years – until the Ryan Commission was introduced by the Irish Government in 1999”. Through the author’s story we are afforded insights into the post-WWII poverty that forced working class families to entrust their children to orphanages, making it both a powerful personal memoir and a poignant record of horrific chapters in British social history.

Big Panda and Tiny Dragon

Big Panda and Tiny Dragon

Author: James Norbury Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/09/2021

A guiding light in the darker months, Big Panda and Tiny Dragon is the beautifully illustrated and mindful journey of two friends through the seasons, inspired by Buddhist philosophy Lost in the swirling mists they fall asleep under glittering stars. It is spring by the time they emerge and while they sit watching a warm sunrise, it dawns on them that another magnificent adventure awaits . . .  'Which is more important,' asked Big Panda, 'the journey or the destination?' 'The company,' said Tiny Dragon. Friends Big Panda and Tiny Dragon journey through the seasons of the year together, day and night, in rain and in sun. Travelling through nature, they find hope and inspiration in the world around them, realising that even in the darkest of days, Spring will always return. Feel the calming influence of Big Panda, who reminds us of the bigger picture while appreciating the simplicity of small moments. Explore your surroundings with the inquisitive eye of Tiny Dragon, our friend who is big in heart if not in stature. And on their journey through the ever-changing seasons, join these two friends as they learn how to live in the moment, be at peace with uncertainty, and find the strength to overcome life's obstacles, together. Inspired by Buddhist philosophy and spirituality, James Norbury has captured in these whimsical characters the ideas that have helped him through his most difficult times.

Minarets in the Mountains

Minarets in the Mountains

Author: Tharik Hussain Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/07/2021

A magical, eye-opening account of a journey into a Europe that rarely makes the news and is in danger of being erased altogether. Another Europe. A Europe few people believe exists and many wish didn't. Muslim Europe. Longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2021. Londoner Tharik Hussain sets off with his wife and young daughters around the Western Balkans, home to the largest indigenous Muslim population in Europe, and explores the regions of Eastern Europe where Islam has shaped places and people for more than half a millennium. Encountering blonde-haired, blue-eyed Muslims, visiting mystical Islamic lodges clinging to the side of mountains, and praying in mosques older than the Sistine Chapel, he paints a picture of a hidden Muslim Europe, a vibrant place with a breathtaking history, spellbinding culture and unique identity. Minarets in The Mountains, the first English travel narrative by a Muslim writer on this subject, also explores the historical roots of European Islamophobia. Tharik and his family learn lessons about themselves and their own identity as Britons, Europeans and Muslims. Following in the footsteps of renowned Ottoman traveller Evliya Celebi, they remind us that Europe is as Muslim as it is Christian, Jewish or pagan. Like William Dalrymple's In Xanadu, this is a vivid reimagining of a region's cultural heritage, unveiling forgotten Muslim communities, empires and their rulers; and like Kapka Kassabova's Border, it is a quest that forces us to consider what makes up our own identities, and more importantly, who decides?

Pelagia Between the Stars and the Abyss

Pelagia Between the Stars and the Abyss

Author: Steve Holloway Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/06/2021

An interesting and challenging speculative science fiction novel that begins in 2066. Covering a number of years and several time frames, Ben Holden is on the run after being targeted for his scientific research. It really does feel as though this world could be our future, enough is relatable and touchable to allow you to easily slip into what could be. Author Steve Holloway has a degree in Aquatic Biology and has worked around the world in marine science, it means that the scientific and oceanic world Ben finds himself in teems with possibilities and I particularly enjoyed these sections. The frequent moves in time and locations are clearly marked, which allowed me to flick between the different timelines in the plot with ease. Faith plays a part here, in terms of what is on offer in the future, and the main character’s transformation. I’m not in the slightest bit religious and found that this element, rather than overpowering proceedings, slotted into the story with ease. There is also enough action to keep the plot moving along at a good pace. Pelagia: Between the Stars and the Abyss makes for a refreshing and thought-provoking read.

Debut Books of the Month
The Thorn of Truth

The Thorn of Truth

Author: S. L. Russell Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/05/2021

A thought-provoking and compassionate story that builds from a murder case, yet at its heart centres around the consequences of decisions made in trying times. Barrister Anna Milburn takes on the defence of a local drug lord who is accused of murdering a police officer. As the case evolves she has to balance home, her own values, and most importantly the safety of her child when she is threatened. This tale links with The Healing Knife  though you can definitely read it as a standalone. S L Russell writes with a realistic pen, it feels as though a slice of real life is on the page. Elements of faith enter the picture yet don’t dominate, faith is a part of the story not the whole. The Thorn of Truth is a sensitive and engaging story about one woman’s struggle to balance her life and her job in the most demanding of circumstances.

Soundtracks

Soundtracks

Author: Jon Acuff Format: Audiobook Release Date: 06/04/2021

Overthinking isn't a personality trait. It's the sneakiest form of fear. It steals time, creativity, and goals. It's the most expensive, least productive thing companies invest in without even knowing it. And it's an epidemic. In Soundtracks, New York Times bestselling author Jon Acuff offers a proven plan to change overthinking from a super problem into a superpower. If you want to tap into the surprising power of overthinking and give your dreams more time and creativity, learn how to DJ the soundtracks that define you. If you can worry, you can wonder. If you can doubt, you can dominate. If you can spin, you can soar.

Audiobooks of the Month
Winning the War in Your Mind

Winning the War in Your Mind

Author: Craig Groeschel Format: Audiobook Release Date: 16/02/2021

Are your thoughts out of control--just like your life? Do you long to break free from the spiral of destructive thinking? Let God's truth become your battle plan to win the war in your mind! We've all tried to think our way out of bad habits and unhealthy thought patterns, only to find ourselves stuck with an out-of-control mind and off-track daily life. Pastor and New York Times bestselling author Craig Groeschel understands deeply this daily battle against self-doubt and negative thinking, and in this powerful new book he reveals the strategies he's discovered to change your mind and your life for the long-term. Drawing upon Scripture and the latest findings of brain science, Groeschel lays out practical strategies that will free you from the grip of harmful, destructive thinking and enable you to live the life of joy and peace that God intends you to live. Winning the War in Your Mind will help you: Learn how your brain works and see how to rewire it Identify the lies your enemy wants you to believe Recognize and short-circuit your mental triggers for destructive thinking See how prayer and praise will transform your mind Develop practices that allow God's thoughts to become your thoughts God has something better for your life than your old ways of thinking. It's time to change your mind so God can change your life. Exercises and appendix are available in the audiobook companion PDF download.

Audiobooks of the Month
Gene Keys

Gene Keys

Author: Richard Rudd Format: Audiobook Release Date: 24/07/2018

Is our destiny written inside our very DNA? Richard Rudd suggests that humanity is on the verge of a major shift in consciousness rooted in a new understanding of how our genes operate. He introduces this fantastic possibility, showing how the 'gene keys' are an inner language designed to transform our core beliefs about ourselves and raise us to a higher level of awareness. The book works alongside state-of-the-art online profiling software that provides instantaneous free 'Hologenetic Profiles,' based on astrological data and revealing the underlying genetic patterns governing relationships, finances, and health.

Audiobooks of the Month