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Profile for Janet Boyer > Reviews


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Janet Boyer "Author, Honest Reviewer" RSS Feed (JanetBoyer(dot)com)

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Immi's Gift
Immi's Gift
by Karin Littlewood
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.39
60 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Cross-Cultural Exchange, September 13, 2010
This review is from: Immi's Gift (Hardcover)
"I had written her story and drawn her again and again, but this little girl I knew so well did not have a name. Then I came across the Inuit name Immi and knew it was right for her. It was only much later that I found out Immi is short for Immiayuk, meaning echo, a word that seems very fitting for this story." - Karin Littlewood, author and illustrator of Immi's Gift

Alone in a frozen white land, Immi breaks a hole in the ice to fish for her supper.

Having already caught a few fish, she thought she try to get one more--in case anyone comes around (which they hardly did).

Much to her surprise, Immi finds a painted little wooden bird at the end of her fishing line. This delightful discovery leads Immi to find more colorful items at the end of her line--a red flower, a purple feather, a green leaf and an orange starfish.

Soon, Immi's igloo was the brightest thing in the land!

Immi's Gift, written and illustrated by British watercolorist Karin Littlewood, conveys an unusual tale of a solitary girl finding a host of colorful objects through her frozen fishing hole. Inspired by these unexpected items, Immi then drops her own beloved pendant--a white bear from her necklace--into the icy water.

What results is a cross-cultural exchange--albeit a bit fantastical one--that inspires wonderment in both children and adults alike.

This book would make a delightful gift for children; rather than a straightforward tale (like most children's books), Immi's Gift (Peachtree Publishers) invites speculation and conversation, which would make it a great book for parents or caregivers and children to share together.

For example, why is Immi alone? Where are her parents? How does she survive the arctic conditions? Where might she, and the little boy, live in the world?

Beautifully painted by veteran artist (but first-time author) Littlewood, the gentle story of Immi's Gift would make a wonderful addition to any child's library.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot

Inside Out
Inside Out
by Wendy Stofan Halley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.95
34 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars We Are Spirits Having a Human Experience, September 13, 2010
This review is from: Inside Out (Hardcover)
"Karly had a magical life. Every day she laughed and played with her special friend, Natasha. They pretended to jump on clouds and walk on the moon. They bounced on the bed like kangaroos. And sometimes they even rolled around like leaves blowing in the wind." - From Inside Out

With whimsical, lavish illustrations from Roberta Collier-Morales, Inside Out by Wendy Stoffan Halley tells the story of a little girl named Karly and her spirit friend Natasha. Playing with Natasha was Karly's favorite thing in the world.

One day, Natasha helps Karly understand that she, too, is a spirit. In fact, we are all shiny spirits who decided to come to Earth to be born as a human!

Karly is amazed and excited to discover that her real self is a spirit made of love and light. Natasha tells Karly that "Your spirit helps you love yourself and everyone around you, but it's easy to be distracted by the outside world and forget who you really are."

Karly assures Natasha that she will NEVER forget who she really is, and so Natasha says it is time for her to leave and go back to her home in the stars--but promises Karly that she will come back if she ever needs her.

At first, Karly missed Natasha terribly, but then it became harder and harder to remember her invisible friend. The kids at school teased her for being quiet, and sometimes taunted her for no reason. Her heart felt heavy and the magic that once filled her life was gone.

Sobbing in her room, Karly felt a whoosh near the window: Natasha was back! They began to dance around the room, fluttering like butterflies. Karly confides that she forgot about Natasha AND her spirit...and asks how she can get it back.

Natasha holds up a mirror, and Karly realizes that her spirit is still there! As she realizes it, her spirit glows brighter and brighter. Just then, Karly gets the idea to "live inside out". She concludes, "Since my spirit lives inside my heart, I want it to always shine through to the outside." To help remember, Karly takes off her shoes and turns her socks inside out--vowing to wear her socks like this always as a visual reminder to "live inside out".

Inside Out is an extraordinary book conveying the idea that each of us chose the perfect parents (for us) to be born to, and that coming to Earth was a conscious decision on our part. This book also reminds us that our true nature is love and light, and our core Being can encourage, sustain and comfort us no matter where we are or what we encounter in life.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot

Earth Day: An Alphabet Book
Earth Day: An Alphabet Book
by Gary Kowalski
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $10.80
23 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonders All Around, September 13, 2010
"Earth Day celebrates all the life on earth, from apricots to junebugs to zebras. The wonders of nature leap from the page, reminding us that every day is a reason to say thank you and that miracles are as simple as ABC." - From the book cover

From alligators to daisies, hazelnuts to waterfalls, Earth Day: An Alphabet Book celebrates the many wonders surrounding us. Coconuts, icicles, Queen Anne's lace--even tornadoes find a place in this simple, brightly illustrated children's book.

Whether celebrating Earth Day, cultivating gratitude or introducing children to flora, fauna, food and weather from around the world, this delightful alphabet book reminds both adults and little ones that some of the best things in life are right under our feet, in the water, on a tree or swirling about us.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot

Busy Bees at Work and Play
Busy Bees at Work and Play
by M. Maitland DeLand
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.95
41 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Takes a Lot to Keep a Town Running (and Playing)!, September 13, 2010
"Mama Bee was headed out of the house,
When Bambina Bee grabbed the sleeve of her blouse.
`Momma, why do you have to work today?'
Why can't you stay home and play?'" - From Busy Bees at Work and Play

In the adorable book Busy Bees at Work and Play, author M. Maitland DeLand takes children on a rhyming tour around town, showing bees performing all kinds of work.

From Letter Carrier Bee to Farmer Bee, Chef Bee to Ferryboat Bee, the townsfolk keep the town running smoothly by doing their respective jobs.

But it's not all work in the neighborhood!

Mama points out that each of the bees--Policeman Bee, Computer Bee, Bus Driver Bee, and so on--also likes to play at the end of the day, asking Bambina if she can guess what each likes to do.

Tucked somewhere near each busy bee is a clue to how each plays at the end of the day. For example, there's a kite near Fireman Bee's truck, so we know he likes to fly kites at the end of the day. Slung over her shoulder, Zookeeper Bee's bag contains yarn and crochet needles, so we can guess she likes to knit after work!

With colorful illustrations by Lyn Martin, Busy Bees at Work and Play tells a delightful story filled with various occupations and hobbies, showing children that it takes many types of people to keep a town up and running--and that every bee enjoys different ways to relax and play after a hard day's work. The sing-song rhyming prose will no doubt keep children engaged, as will the brightly colored art and whimsically rendered bees.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot

The Great Katie Kate Tackles Questions About Cancer
The Great Katie Kate Tackles Questions About Cancer
by M. Maitland DeLand
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.95
49 used & new from $0.64

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When a Child Faces a Cancer Diagnosis, September 13, 2010
"I wrote this book to help parents and caregivers answer the questions most commonly asked by children with cancer. In my experience, a diagnosis of cancer can so overwhelm parents that they lost the ability to communicate effectively with their children...My hope is that this book will help guide parents, children and caregivers a they search for appropriate answers to questions about cancer and develop a common understanding of the challenges facing them." - M. Maitland DeLand, M.D.

When a child faces a worrisome condition, anxiety can short-circuit even the simplest forms of communication within a family--especially where the possibility of cancer looms.

With a brave, clear-headed heroine named The Great Katie Kate, author and radiation oncologist Dr. M. Maitland DeLand addresses the process of cancer diagnosis and treatment in children with her much-needed book The Great Katie Kate Tackles Questions About Cancer.

This outstanding children's book (illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin) covers everything from biopsies to blood tests, CT scans to chemotherapy, hospital stays to possible hair loss, answering questions that every child, parent or caregiver wonders about when facing a cancer diagnosis.

Young Suzy has a growth on her leg that didn't go away with the antibiotics her pediatrician gave her. Since Suzy doesn't feel well, her parents took her to see a special doctor named Dr. DeMarco, who thinks that Suzy may have cancer.

Dr. DeMarco has an amazing friend named The Great Katie Kate, who zooms into the room on a streak of bright light. While Dr. DeMarco speaks with Suzy's parents in another room, Katie Kate shows Suzy a large, furry critter named Worry Wombat. Katie Kate assures Suzy that by asking enough questions and smiling whenever she can, Suzy will shrink the Worry Wombat until it disappears entirely.

Katie Kate answers all of Suzy's questions, showing her other children in the hospital who are having or will have X-rays, surgery, radiation or other treatments. By the end of the book, Suzy makes Worry Wombat disappear with her questions and optimism, much to her parent's and doctor's delight.

Sensitive, informative and encouraging, The Great Katie Kate Tackles Questions About Cancer belongs on the shelf of every doctor's office, hospital, clinic and laboratory. Libraries should keep this book on hand, too, because it addresses such an important and potentially scary topic.

If you are a parent or caregiver facing a cancer diagnosis in a child, I urge you to get this book. Its honest, gentle message will demystify the diagnosis and treatment process, equipping you to handle the questions that you or your child will inevitably face. Dr. M. Maitland DeLand has done children, families and the medical community a wonderful service by writing this one-of-a-kind book.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot

The Tarot of Vampyres
The Tarot of Vampyres
by Ian Daniels
Edition: Cards
Price: $21.79
63 used & new from $12.73

38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Luscious Deck and Book Box Set!, September 7, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Tarot of Vampyres (Cards)
"Our mind is adept at using irrational fears to protect itself from unknown primal emotions and instincts. We become rooted in a fear of the `other'--whether it be fear of others who seem different than us, unresolved psychological issues, or fears about our place in the natural cycles of life and death, love and separation. One of our biggest fears as humans is the fear of loss, whether of the self or of a loved one. On a personal, the fear of losing the self often reveals itself when we experience romantic love. The Vampyre myth illustrates this idea with relish...Our conscious mind resists such surrender for fear of losing our identity, while our unconscious hungers for release from the tight grip of the ego, into a place of boundless love and belonging." - From Phantasmagoria, the companion book to the Vampyre Tarot by Ian Daniels

Firey crosses and bloodstained lips, pallid creatures and hairy horned beasts, purple roses and ornate skulls--this is the stuff of the Vampyre Tarot.

While the Vampyre Tarot by Ian Daniels isn't the first Gothic, vampire-themed Tarot to enter the marketplace, it's arguably the finest--thanks to both the superb card illustrations and the exceptional 301-page companion book.

A veritable (blood) feast for those who love vampires, the Vampyre Tarot box set delights the eyes with unexpected coloring (emerald roses!), painting effects (airbrush glows!), intricate details (dress fringe!) and photorealistic renderings of human, animal and beast.

In fact, the Vampyre Tarot may very well enchant those lacking interest in the vampire craze or so-called "dark" decks. I know this first-hand, because I'm now under its spell! Never expecting to be so enamored with a vampire deck, I find myself grabbing for these cards for most personal readings these days. It reads so clearly and honestly, and I admire its unusual, dynamic perspective on familiar archetypes.

Measuring approximately 4 ¾ x 2 ¾ inches, the cards of the Vampyre Tarot feature a thin black border around the illustrations and an ornate stonework banner at the bottom. The Major Arcana lacks numbering and the Minor suits follow the designation of Knives (Swords), Scepters (Wands), Grails (Cups) and Skulls (Pentacles). The almost-but-not-quite reversible backings depict thorny, intertwined branches with a red rose in the middle, and the background looks to be blood-spattered stone (a grave marker, perhaps?).

It would be enough to own this lavish deck, but the Phantasmagoria book is (far) beyond most deck companions. You'll not find fluff here, although Ian Daniels (who also wrote the book) possesses poetic prowess (say THAT three times fast!). Nor will you find a shallow understanding of Tarot and related metaphysical fields (as in many Llewellyn Tarot deck companion books--and you KNOW what I mean).

What IS remarkable about the Vampyre Tarot companion is its intelligence, insight and perspective--on both Tarot AND esoteric wisdom.
You'll find solid Kabbalistic correlations and explanations in Phantasmagoria, as well as astrological and numerological considerations.

But what I find especially impressive about Phantasmagoria is the author's spiritual and psychological understanding of the vampire mythos and how it relates to everyday life--including human longing, fears and responses. The way he correlates these profound insights with each Tarot card--weaving in numerological, Kabbalistic, astrological and Jungian considerations--truly an amazing treat.

Absorbing, profound, informative, illuminating--all these words apply to the companion book. What an incredible surprise for me! And the cards? Can bloody figures be beautiful? Can demonic creatures be beguiling? Can skulls be lovely, graveyards inviting and dead branches alluring? Can vampire cards be--dare I say it--spiritual? Yes!

If you cross hand-painted versions of Ciro Marchetti's detailed digital art (especially fabric fringing and metal work) with Will Worthington's sumptuous egg tempera pieces--and apply that to gothic creatures and landscapes--you'll get an idea of the luscious illustrations in the Vampyre Tarot.

I have only two minor criticisms of this box set: firstly, the companion book does NOT contain grayscale replications of each card. If you're like me and enjoy reading a companion book without having to lug around the actual cards (say, as your relaxing outside), then this is a bit of a pain (although Daniels does adequately describe most cards).

Also, I feel that such a fine box set deserved an ornate bag--or ANY bag, really. However, all we get is the plain white cardboard box to store the cards. Speaking of cards, make sure you check your set! Mine was missing the 9 of Scepters, but had two 10 of Scepters cards. After emailing Llewellyn Customer Service a super-friendly and competent gal named Jackie responded right back and I had a replacement card within a week (not to mention great recommends on Flux titles and some catalogues!).

Having said that, the Vampyre Tarot blows away brethren decks like Bob Place's Vampire Tarot (don't like it) and the Bohemian Gothic Tarot (can't compete with this set). However, I will say that I adore the art of the CGI Vampires Tarot of the Eternal Night just as well as the Vampyre Tarot--or maybe a bit more so, because I feel that Davide Corsi's deck displays a bit more variety than the Vampyre Tarot (for example, older vampires, half-bat creatures, coffins and range of emotion).

If you're into vampires, you must get the Vampyre Tarot ASAP (if you already haven't). The companion book is packed with card meanings, symbolism, spreads, alchemical correlations, personal card portraits and charts. Even if you're not "into" vampires (I'm not), you may find this box set a special, unexpected treasure; at the very least, it would be great for Halloween readings or to have as an art deck!

(To see 18 large, full-color cards from this deck, visit the REVIEWS--DECKS section at [...])

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 18, 2012 11:10 PM PDT

Doomed Queens: Royal Playing Cards
Doomed Queens: Royal Playing Cards
by Kris Waldherr
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.00
12 used & new from $7.67

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Playing Cards Playing Cards Have Never Been So Interesting, September 7, 2010
With Kris Waldherr's Doomed Queens Royal Playing Cards, you not only get an actual playing card deck, but also some fascinating historical tidbits on female royalty (save the Kings).

Clubs, hearts, diamonds, spades...they're all here, as are the Ace-10 cards and Jack, Queen and King. But what's different with this deck of playing cards is each features a name and image of a deceased royal, as well as the date they passed on, mode of death and a brief bio.

Several two-sided graphics key cards are also tucked inside the Doomed Queens Royal Playing Cards, so if you want to know what that crowned skull symbol means (beheaded), or caduceus (died of illness) or spider (suicide)--all you need to do is look on the handy key card.

From Jane Grey to Josephine, Thessalonike to Eva Peron, the next time you play poker, you can also get an education--IF you use the Doomed Queens Royal Playing Cards by Kris Waldherr. (And forget common playing card packs: this set comes in a handsome flip-top box! Can you say "birthday gift" or "Christmas present"?)

(To see 9 cards from this deck, visit the REVIEWS--DECKS section at [...])

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot
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Ask the Queens: Advice Card Deck
Ask the Queens: Advice Card Deck
by Kris Waldherr
Edition: Cards
Price: $15.95
15 used & new from $7.51

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What Advice Do the Queens Have for YOU?, September 7, 2010
"It's better to be alive without a crown than dead with one." - Kris Waldherr

Based on her artfully designed book Doomed Queens, the Ask the Queens Advice Card Deck delivers historical wisdom from beyond the grave in the form of deceased female royalty.

From Princess Diana to Empress Wang, Queen Zenobia to Eva Peron each ruler offers "advice" on topics from ambition and religion, to romance and career. Measuring approximately 5 ¾ x 4 ½ inches, these large cards depict an oval portrait of each queen spouting pithy advice from a talk bubble, while a brief paragraph at the bottom introduces the figure and explains her advice.

Some royal insights by Kris Waldherr as found on the Ask the Queens Advice Cards include:

Queen Caroline Matilda: "Don't Look to Your Doctor to Heal Your Disappointments" - Caroline Matilda was married by her brother, George III of England, to Christian VI of Denmark. Alas, Christian was raving mad. Caroline used the opportunity to fall in love with his hunky physician and take over the throne. The lovers were thrown into prison. Eventually Caroline was released and exiled to Germany, where she died from scarlet fever in 1775.

Diana Spencer says: "Avoid Men with Cameras and Camillas" - The marriage of Diana Spence to Charles, Prince of Wales, was doomed from the start. Though the couple divorced, Diana's popularity bloomed to absurd heights, thus making her a queen of hearts. She used her celebrity to campaign against landmines and AIDS. However, Diana was killed in a car accident in 1997 while being pursued by paparazzi.

Queen Urraca says: "Biology Can Be a Bitch" - Urraca was the queen of Castille and Leon: these two kingdoms was [sic] set in what is now Spain. Urraca was as a passionate in love as she was in war. The Historia Compostelana, a history of that era, relates that Urraca got [sic] knocked up by a love and perished in labor. At the time of her death in 1126, the queen had reached the advanced maternal age of forty-six.

At times clever (and crude), the Ask the Queens Advice Card Deck is a nice novelty deck for those interested in female royalty. As you can see from the above example, there are egregious grammatical errors, but that won't stop history buffs from enjoying this deck.

With its attractive plum-colored flip-top box, these cards would make a lovely gift for those wanting to learn more about queens. However, if you're looking for an actual oracle deck, you'll find little practical and applicable wisdom in these cards.

(To see 4 cards from this deck, visit the REVIEWS--DECKS section at [...])

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot
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The Secret of St. Nicholas
The Secret of St. Nicholas
by Ellen Nibali
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.95
28 used & new from $0.48

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Told. Historically Accurate. Gorgeously Illustrated., August 31, 2010
"Nicholas decided that God liked surprises. When Jesus grew up, he never stopped surprising people. Jesus even said, 'Do good deeds in secret.'" -- From The Secret of St. Nicholas

I just finished reading this wonderful children's book last night and, I have to tell you, it is one of the BEST (perhaps THE best) Christmas books for children I have ever read (and I read a lot!)

I was so delighted with the phrasing in this book, as well as the gentle unfolding of the true story of St. Nicholas. In fact, by the end of the book, I had tears in my eyes.

A first-class storyteller, author Ellen Nibali weaves a tender tale about Nicholas's life--from his loving parents to his orphanhood, the spiritual wisdom he lived by to his generosity towards three daughters destined to be sold as slaves by their father. Then, she ties in how Nicholas and his thrown three bags of gold (that ended up in drying stockings near a window!) ended up being the inspiration for one of the most beloved Christmas traditions we now enjoy.

When I read The Secret of St. Nicholas, I was reminded of the Veggie Tales Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving DVD that came out last year.

But you don't have to be a Christian to love this book! Nibali isn't preachy, but accurately portrays the historical actions of Nicholas--who went on to become St. Nicholas--with love and respect. Who could object to the wonderful traits of giving and selflessness?

If you love all things Christmas (as I do), you and your child will treasure The Secret of St. Nicholas by Ellen Nibali (lovely illustrations by Lon Eric Craven). I can't wait to share this with my own son, who will no doubt be inspired by the example of young Nicholas.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games)
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games)
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.02
1792 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book 2 of the Hunger Games (WOW!), August 29, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
"A visit from President Snow. Districts on the verge of uprisings. A direct death threat to Gale, with others to follow. Everyone I love doomed. And who knows who else will pay for my acions? Unless I turn things around on this tour. Quiet the discontent and put the president's mind at rest. And how? By proving to the country beyond any shadow of a doubt that I love Peeta Mellark." -- From Catching Fire

In the second installment of the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch and the stylists are headed around the country of Panem on the Victory Tour. After 75 years of the brutal, twisted Hunger Games pitting children ages 12-18 against one another, this particular Game detailed in the book Hunger Games was different: there are TWO victors instead of one.

Usually, only one victor can win the Hunger Games. But midway through the last one, the Game Makers decide to do something unprecedented: they announce that TWO can win this time. Relieved that she won't have to face attempting to kill her male counterpart from District 12 (who has professed his love for her), Katniss Everdeen yells out Peeta's name in relief.

They team up. They win. But at the last moment, the twisted Game Keepers announce that the "two can win" rule has been revoked. They now have to fight to the death. Katniss remembers the poisonous berries from earlier in the Games and hands them to Peeta. On the count of three, she says. After they pop the deadly fruit in their mouths, a horn blares and a hurried announcement broadcasts: Katniss and Peeta have BOTH won the Hunger Games!

But what Katniss doesn't realize is that her action, born of desperation, is seen as an act of defiance against the Capitol's brutality. Her decisions sets off a spark that blazes across the Districts--causing unrest and rebellion.

In the second book of the Trilogy, Catching Fire, President Snow visits Katniss right before the Victory Tour, telling her that if she doesn't convince the cameras--and the citizens of each district--that her actions were born of love for Peeta and not a political act, everyone she loves will pay.

However, what happens on the Victory Tour--what she witnesses and what her presence provokes among the citizens--is far more out of her control than she realizes.

She has become the Mockingjay. The symbol of the revolution. The last revolution that happened 75 years ago resulted in the nuclear devastation of District 13. What will happen THIS time when cruel President Snow feels like he's losing control by the minute?

As arresting as book one, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire will leave you breathless and hungering for more. I just finished book 3, Mockingjay, last night and I can honestly say that--out of thousands of books--the Hunger Games trilogy is the best I've ever read...YA OR adult fiction.

Buy it. Devour it. Treasure it. These are destined to become classics, right up there with The Lord of the Flies.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot

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