Five Book Reviews: What I Read Over the Summer

Five Book Reviews: What I Read Over the Summer August 5, 2022

I am not the best at keeping up with book reviews.

I got on a roll with writing, so I went with that and got A LOT done. More on that when I know more about publication dates and the such.

But this is not about me, this is about the books I was given to review.

Photo by Irisanya Moon (cat hair by my cats, probably Moon)

Midlife Magic: The Journey of Jo Ann Richards by Jo Ann Richards

I’ve known Jo Ann for a bit (2012? 2013?) and I was honored to get a copy of her book. (It’s been out for a while and I’ve been hanging onto this for a bit. We could blame the pandemic, but really, I just got behind.)

Anywho, I love Jo Ann’s writing style and her perspective. I’m not going to give anything away if you haven’t read it yet, but she has had a life that is worthy of a book. In just the first few pages, you begin to see the foundation upon which her insights and wisdom have been built. There is a strength to Jo Ann that comes through what she is willing to share — but also a simplicity of description, a directness that says what it says without apology or over-explanation.

This book might talk about midlife and the journey there (and beyond), but it’s a story of resilience that I think many will enjoy.

The Witches of Riegersburg by Julie Ann Stratton

Truth be told, I’m not a person that reads fiction that often. My writer’s brain does too much editing and ‘why the heck did they do that’ and ‘oh my goodness, say it with fewer words.’

But Julie Ann reached out and while it’s taken me a bit to get to this, I’m glad I did.

I’m not going to tell you that this book made me a fiction reader — sorry, this seems to be an operating flaw in me. However, this book did help me remember the joy of reading and immersing myself in a magickal world.

Again, I don’t want to spoil the story, but what I will say is that this is a fast-moving book with lots of dialogue. I appreciate that immensely. It helps me stay engaged and get to know characters from how they act versus how they are described.

The journey of Sarah is one I think will resonate with a lot of readers. There is something so authentic about being committed and courageous, while still being fallible and stubborn. This is not an easy story for her, though Sarah’s history already gave a hint into that, as does the Book of Shadows.

I did not read this as a rosy story that resolves itself neatly or easily. I feel there is a story outside of this story, as well as a story that comes next. But perhaps the lack of closure is just the story of Sarah — and often the story of all of us.


Photo by Irisanya Moon (dusty scratched up desk also by me)

Dedicant Devotee Priest by Stephanie Woodfield

I’ve been a fan of Stephanie Woodfield for a while (and have a few of her art pieces/necklaces as well). This book about building relationships with deities aligns with my own experience and does so in a way that is accessible to new practitioners to seasoned ones. The natural progression from dedicant to devotee to priest allows the reader to place themselves in the journey, wherever they like. And the progression (?) also encourages the reader to see different relationships in different places.

Again, I really enjoy it when books bring in personal experience and story, as that helps me better understand the ‘why’ of the book and often the ‘how did you get here.’ Woodfield’s book is great and certainly one that will stay on my bookshelf.

from Grief to Healing by Amanda MacKenzie

First things first, the cover of this book is beautiful, and I’m a sucker for that. So I would buy this just because of what it looks like and that it’s on grief, which is a thing I like to read about.

Overall, I think this is an approach I haven’t explored, with practices related to chakras and yoga. From her personal story of the death of her husband, this book brings readers into what worked for her and what might work for others facing loss.

It’s well-organized and brings together many teachings and questions to support the reader. I’m not a person who believes in ‘healing’ grief, but I also think grief is something that is unique to each person — so this book might be just what someone needs for their own navigation of loss.

The Path of Elemental Witchcraft by Salicrow

I got a chance to be in a virtual circle with Salicrow as part of my deathcare training with Anne-Marie Keppel, so I was excited to get a chance to read this book. It’s a lengthy one, coming in at more than 500 pages, so I was a little intimidated.

But right from the start, I knew this was a book I would come back to again and again. First, there is no long introduction; the reader gets to jump right into the magick of the elements, with techniques and stories and a sort of tone that invites and inspires. I think what resonates with me the most is that this book lives the elements instead of just talking about them. I engage with magick through doing, not intellectualizing (well sometimes I do) it or trying so hard to figure it out. Let magick be what it is because it is all around, everywhere. It is you. You are not separate.

Honestly, this is such a comprehensive book that I’m sure I will refind things in it for years to come. I am grateful to have this resource in my library.


NOTE: Links to purchase books included. Most are to my Bookshop store, which means I get a VERY SMALL affiliate payment in return for buying through those links. But it also means you can support local booksellers vs. other sites if that’s interesting to you. Or buy from the authors. Chances are a quick internet search will get you to their websites and stores. 🙂 

About Irisanya Moon
I’m a Witch. I’m a writer. I’m a priestess, teacher, and initiate in the Reclaiming tradition, as well as deathcare worker. I serve the godds, my community, and the Earth. I’ve called myself a Witch for more than 20 years, and my life has been infused with magick. I am interested in shifting stories – the ones we tell ourselves and the ones that are told about us. I’m continuously inspired to engage as the storyteller and the story, the words and the spaces between. I am a devotee of Aphrodite, Hecate, the Norns, and Iris. I seek to find love and to inspire love by reminding us we are not alone, while also meeting myself at the crossroads, holding the threads of life, and bringing down messages from the godds. (I've also written some books. You can get them at my website.) You can read more about the author here.
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