Book reviews

Dying Well by Susan Ducharme Hoben

Dying Well: Our Journey of Love and Loss

Dying Well is not just a story about a husband and wife who learn how to celebrate life while facing impending death. This book is an inspiring love story of two people who go through good times and bad times, and in the end, face death with dignity and grace. The author thoughtfully relays their plan to celebrate life, not have regrets and face death peacefully, without fear. In this nine month journey, Susan shares the lessons learned as their family came to accept her husband’s imminent death. The family found many ways to make the last stage of his life as warmhearted and happy as possible. Even though this book is about death and end of life, it is very uplifting, thought-provoking and offers different perspectives on dying. This book has the power to help anyone who is facing death and those they love realize what is most important at the end of life.

As a retired hospice nurse, I have seen many families struggle with accepting a loved one’s terminal illness diagnosis. Even more difficult, once the diagnosis has been accepted, figuring out what needs to be done before death, which usually comes sooner than one would expect. Each family member has their own ideas of what should be done. Typically these family members are very verbal and push their own fears, desires and needs upon the dying family member. This creates extra stress for the person who is terminally ill. Ultimately, the patient’s wishes should be respected and followed as closely as possible.

[ad name=”AdSense Responsive”]

I really appreciated Susan’s approach in this difficult situation. She was completely supportive to all family members, especially her husband. Different options were discussed with the family. When Susan and Bruce finally decided they had enough treatment and wanted to live life with dignity to the end, not every family member agreed with them. The family did end up agreeing to honor Bruce’s wishes. Bruce went into hospice care and the family helped him celebrate his life and wrap up loose ends along the way.

Hospice is not some big scary word. it is a care philosophy. This care can be provided wherever the patient resides: home, apartment, hotel, group home, nursing home or inpatient hospice facility. Hospice is really a type of care that focuses on the palliation of a chronically ill, terminally ill or seriously ill patient’s pain and symptoms, and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs. Family involvement is always encouraged. The hospice team, which consists of a nurse, social worker, chaplain and hospice aide, provides care for the patient and family. This care continues even after the patient has died. The pre-bereavement and bereavement support is phenomenal and can help families cope and thrive after the death of a loved one.

Planning for death is not an easy thing for most people. Just like planning for a birth, planning for death is just as important, if not more important. Even if you are not ill, it is a great idea to make your wishes known in writing and select a healthcare power of attorney to make decisions for you if you are ever incapacitated. This book presents many different practical options for end of life care and decision making. Susan did an excellent job in sharing end of life information in a non threatening way. I feel like she took the ‘scary’ out of death planning. In the end, it is truly the person’s life that should be celebrated.

Dying Well: Our Journey of Love and Loss

About the Author:
Susan Ducharme Hoben is a former executive consultant with IBM’s Strategy and Change Consulting practice. She put her mathematics degree from Cornell University and graduate studies at Georgia Institute of Technology to good use in a thirty-five year career in information technology that began with systems engineering with IBM and ended with consulting. Upon retirement, Sue founded a travel journal about luxury barging in Europe.

After a lifetime of watching people die, and just as importantly, watching people live, Sue feels passionately that we Americans do not die well, taking a terrible toll on us, emotionally and financially. She hopes that her experience with an uplifting end-of life journey can contribute a valuable perspective to the growing interest in exploring how we die.

About the Reviewer:
Leigh Ann Tatnall is a retired RN who specialized in geriatrics, hospice and wellness. She has completed a Doctorates in Naturopathy and is a Certified Wellness Counselor. When not reviewing books, you can find Leigh Ann researching lyme disease, cooking, exercising, teaching wellness or crafting therapeutic essential oils. For more info, you can visit her on her website: Purfume Essentials or Leigh Ann’s Lyme


Divining with Animal Guides Book Review

Among the thick books I have read, “Divining with Animal Guides: Answers from the World at Hand,” by Hearth Moon Rising, is on my top ten. I had to fight and use my willpower to keep reading many sections of it.

Despite the proposal and the level of research invested in the book, the style of Hearth Moon Rising gets heavy and thick more often than I could handle. Hence the long time it took me to finish it, almost three months.

I must admit that the first chapter, which explains a lot of the cat’s mythology and correspondences, along with diverse encounters the author had with this animal, was a delight and a great reading. I wouldn’t mind going through it again in. You don’t find such a juicy text that often.

[ad name=”AdSense Responsive”]

However, the rest of Divining with Animal Guides is hard to follow, and there even entire sections that made no sense to me. I couldn’t follow the ideas no matter how hard I tried, and I had to let them be and remain with a vague, general understanding of the idea.

There were parts, mostly the encounters explained by the author, that caught my attention and made it an easier reading process to deal with, however, the dense and the large amount of details were still an issue for me.

The fact that the author used only feminine pronouns, assuming all of the animals and the myths described were intended for women, also bothered me at some point, making me feel excluded from the narrative. I acknowledge the feminine side of divinity and spirituality, but just as I dislike the feminine side being suppressed, I dislike it happening to the masculine side as well.

Despite the fact that it is perhaps the heaviest book I’ve read so far, at least on Pagan matters, the amount of research and information offered by Hearth Moon Rising on Divining with Animal Guides is invaluable, making it the right choice for those who want to deepen their knowledge on the matter.

One of the reasons for this is the inclusion of animals easy to be found, but also that of mor exotic, unusual species that add information usually not included due to the lack of knowledge or how popular said animals are. That’s information you will not find so easily if not in Moon Rising’s book.

One could say that including uncommon animals would be a bad idea, but I always celebrate those options that expand knowledge on any topic out of well-known limits. There’s a lot of information about cats and horses, but seems like no one has cared about bees or woodpeckers, for example, until now. Divining with Animal Guides breaks with this, offering an organized and interesting approach at these species.

You will also discover that each animal serves as a link to a specific topic that widens the information and signs to take into account when diving by animals, such as sounds, marks, direction, numbers, among others. Despite the intention is good, it could make this a more complicated reading.

I would only recommend that readers get the author’s previous work before getting this, her second book, in order to have a better idea of what they will find, get familiar with her style, have a first approach and understanding of the topic and get the most of this book.

Divining with Animal Guides: Answers from the World at Hand

Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Moon Books; Reprint edition (February 23, 2018)
Publication Date: February 23, 2018
ISBN-10: 178535597X
ISBN-13: 978-1785355974

About the author:

Hearth Moon Rising lives in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, where she practices a nature-based craft. Hearth’s first book, Invoking Animal Magic, was hailed for its innovative approach to connecting with animal spirits. She is an ordained priestess in two traditions, and has taught magic for over twenty-five years.

About the reviewer:

Bader Saab is a digital journalist and self-published writer; a solitary, eclectic wiccan interested in the darker side of magic and divination; a gothic guy that tries to educate whenever he cans. Hopefully, someday he will succeed in one of them.


Rising Star: New Book Empowers Readers to Master Art of Living Life of “Enlightened Wellness”

In her four decades of life, Sarah B Elisabeth has refused to become complacent; she’s a brave maverick who knows no boundaries when it comes to pursuing true peace, freedom and fulfilment.

This lifelong journey now culminates in ‘Rising Star: A curriculum of true self’, Sarah Elisabeth’s ground-breaking, core-cutting new book. It’s a beacon of light that will urge anyone to dig deeper and, along the way, discover more about their true self than they ever thought possible.


A journey to “Finding home” – the Zen place of peace, freedom, and fulfilment. In Sarah B Elisabeth’s forty years of life on earth, she has come to the realisation that many are plagued by a vague sense of quiet desperation, a fraught awareness of something being missing; adrift in a perpetual and seemingly never-ending search for the ultimate meaning of life. In our generation, this search has taken on the form of the ‘pursuit of happiness’, and at its heart is an unshakable need to address the five mutually dependant questions that most trouble the human race. Who am I? Where am I from? Why am I here? What am I capable of achieving? And what is my purpose?

[ad name=”AdSense Responsive”]

Wellness advocate Sarah B Elisabeth uttered the words “I want to sleep and never wake up” at the tender age of five. This was a startling declaration to her bewildered mother. She sincerely believes that it was at this point her very own search began for that place of peace, freedom, and fulfilment, for which she coined the phrase “Finding Home.” Sarah B Elisabeth argues that many people are heavily influenced by the drumbeat of popular culture and do not arrive at their worldview from rigorous investigation or indeed any deep sense of conviction. At a time when the standard of truth for so many is relative, seeing the big picture of life is of pivotal importance.

From the outset the book seeks to position readers at a vantage starting point – their standard for truth so to speak. For surely it is an individual’s level of vision that colours their outlook on life which, in turn, determines how they live and experience that life. Thereafter, the book guides the reader to go beyond merely having an awareness of self, but to live in the consciousness of what that means. The underpinning wisdom leads readers to confront humanity’s ultimate age-old search for God, as the expression of divine beings longing for completeness by re-connecting to their true source to fill the God-shaped hole within. Building on that groundwork the book drives home the necessity of anchoring fundamental practical matters of life such as purpose, success, happiness, relationship and lifestyle to the wisdom gained by addressing the five questions that most disturb the human race. Subsequently, this helps to cultivate a conducive life-long Personal, Emotional, Physical, Social and Spiritual development. When we begin to live in the consciousness of the fundamental truth, and the overarching implications of who and what we really are – tri-une, infinite spiritual beings possessing impressionable souls housed in perishable, physical bodies that are having a temporary human experience here on earth – it is a life-changing awakening.

“We all have a pathway to “finding home”, and it’s different for each of us,” explains the author. “My book will help readers discover where their “home” is and chart a course for getting there. It’s a mix of my own wisdom, life lessons and direction to further resources. One thing is for sure, readers will form firm convictions on life’s most important issues, and learn how to master the art of living in a state of enlightened wellness.”

Continuing, “My autobiographical style is interspersed with deep theological doctrine and offset with a broad range of humanitarian viewpoints. The goal was to produce something anyone could read; a timeless and boundless resource for helping anyone change their life for the better. I don’t believe there’s anything else like it on the market.”

With the volume expected to be in high demand, readers are urged to secure their copies as soon as possible.

Rising Star: A curriculum of true self’ is released week beginning 29th April.

About the Author:

Sarah B Elisabeth is an author, childhood education consultant and coach whose enduring tenacity to meet the challenges of that age-old quest to find the meaning of life has created her wellness operation, building from an eight-year Financial services career with top tier corporations. Sarah has been a long standing member of the London Wildlife Conservation and The Woodland Trust. She routinely publishes articles on social media and now her own website, unveiling life-reforming truths for conscious living.


Everything Is Here to Help You by Matt Kahn

Everything Is Here to Help You offers an emotionally supportive way to shift into the enlightenment of your soul. The author redefines the spiritual journey for those looking to become enlightened. This book is written from the point of view of the soul. The author explains avant-garde methods to resolve fear, untangle judgments, and learn how to view life from a clear, relaxed, friendlier perspective.

The book is divided into three main sections. The first section, Making Sense of Your Soul’s Journey, breaks down essentially what the soul journey actually is. The four foundations of love and the golden question, amplify the power of consciousness. The author gives a fresh new perspective on all aspects of a healing journey and offers a revolutionary and passionate approach to individual growth.

Section Two provides clearings, activations and integrations for the soul. The clearings are well written, easy to understand and follow. By performing the clearings, we can learn to create an authentic connection to the higher source. The activations, known as Starseed Activations, help activate and awaken heart centered consciousness throughout all aspects of the physical body. Finally, the integrations provide the most transformative experiences. All of these steps must be completed in order to undergo the most complete awakening journey.

[ad name=”AdSense Responsive”]

Section Three, Creating a New Reality, gives insight as to why we are here. What is our purpose? Everyone’s purpose is the same, yet we all take different paths and experience different events along the way. Daily practices are provided to strengthen us as we go through life. Our lives are truly a gift, and this book can help us awaken our soul in physical form.

I feel that most of the information in the book was helpful. I, however, did not agree with the author’s stance on empaths. He feels that there are only two types of empaths: those who are empathic and do not understand how to harness their power and those who do not realize their empathic powers. I identify with being an empath. I recognize my gifts. I also, after many years of practice, know how to control my empathic power. His scope on empaths seems to be very limited. It would have been nice to see him expand upon that topic a bit more since it is so important in soul development.

One of my favorite parts in this book is when the author presented an equation to help expand consciousness, WE ARE ONE.

Word Embodied (WE)

Awareness + Resolution = Expansion (ARE)

Openness Never Excludes (ONE)

This is an interesting and simple way to remember that we are all one.

This book definitely offers a straightforward road map to explore the magic, mysteries, and miracles that reside in every heart. We can all gain some clarity on our journey through life by reading this and practicing gratitude, non-judgement, forgiveness and love.

About the Author:

Matt Kahn is the author of Everything Is Here to Help You: A Loving Guide to Your Soul’s Evolution. A spiritual teacher, and highly-attuned empathic healer, his spontaneous awakening arose out of an out-of-body experience at the age of 8, and through his direct experiences with Ascended Masters and Archangels throughout his life. Using his intuitive abilities of seeing, hearing, feeling, and direct knowing, as an empath, Matt feels the emotions of others and is able to pinpoint what blocks any heart from opening. As a result, he brings forth revolutionary teachings through both the written and spoken word that assist energetically-sensitive beings in healing the body, awakening the soul, and transforming reality through the power of love. He is a bridge between the mystical realms and the path of awakening who inspires profound spiritual growth and life-changing energetic expansion to audiences worldwide through a spoken transmission of presence. Through the words Matt is intuitively guided to share, an energy shift occurs to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain, rewrite the subconscious mind, and unravel the overstimulated nervous system. The result of this transmission ranges from a more balanced emotional body, the elimination of stress, fear, doubt, and despair, greater connection with the Universe, the activation of intuitive gifts, spontaneous remission, deeper intimacy in relationships, as well as direct experiences of self-realization. Many spiritual seekers have experienced amazing, unexplainable physical and emotional healings, and have awakened to their true nature through Matt’s profound and loving teachings, and transmission of sacred heart wisdom.

About the Reviewer:

Leigh Ann Tatnall is a retired RN who specialized in geriatrics, hospice and wellness. She has completed a Doctorates in Naturopathy and is a Certified Wellness Counselor. When not reviewing books, you can find Leigh Ann researching lyme disease, cooking, exercising, teaching wellness or crafting therapeutic essential oils. For more info, you can visit her on her website: Purfume Essentials or Leigh Ann’s Lyme