The Universe Speaks

“On the love and pain of 2012 – 2025” by Roar Sheppard (Kima Global Publishers) ISBN 978-1-920533-05-2 



Roar Sheppard takes a bold step in addressing the damage we humans have wrought on our planet. From a spiritual and theological perspective, Sheppard discusses the way forward from 2012 both physically and spiritually. The Earth is running out of resources to support an ever-growing human population. Sheppard asks very specific questions and addresses things like disposable products, recycling and localizing our economy. 

He talks about the changes to occur when we pass through the photon belt, natural disasters, and he discusses our necessary spiritual growth. Having spent 15 years in South Korea focusing on meditation and spiritual development, Sheppard applies a deep method of meditation to communicate with spiritual entities to get answers to his questions. Sheppard explains how the coming trials and changes provide us with an opportunity to grow and connect with one another, in a way that may have been lost in a materially focused world. 

With such a dense amount of information the Q and A format works perfectly. At times the book seemed full of doom and gloom, but the opportunity for us to grow and overcome was reinforced throughout. I found the book inspiring and informative. 

Victoria Malakou
4/5

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Snow White Must Die

by Nele Neuhaus (MacMillan) ISBN 978-1-4472-2708-3

 

Snow White must Die is the fourth in Neuhaus’ series of murder mysteries following Detective Pia Kirchhoff in her investigations. The novel ties together a murder mystery from the past and one from the present.

 

Set in a seemingly idyllic town, young pretty girls are not safe. Eleven years previously two seventeen-year-old girls vanish without a trace. Tobias Sartorius is convicted for their murders. When he returns to the village after serving his time in prison the residents are filled with fear and hatred.

 

Then another pretty girl vanishes. Detectives are thrown into an investigation into the past, and the dynamic of a terrified village determined to take matters into their own hands. It becomes clear that things run deeper in this village, and there is far more to the crimes than meets the eye.

 

This is a gripping mystery that is very well plotted and executed. The story deviates at times, but the suspense and intrigue will definitely hold your attention. Crime and mystery lovers will definitely enjoy this.

 

Victoria Malakou

3/5

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The Glimpse

by Claire Merle (Faber & Faber) ISBN 978-0-571-28053-7

 

Set in a post-apocalyptic earth in the not so distant future, the population is divided into the privileged, Pures, and the outcast, Crazies.

 

When Ana discovers that she is not truly a Pure, she believes that Jasper is the only one who can save her, by joining with her before her 18th birthday. When Jasper goes missing, she enters the world of the Crazies to find out what has happened to him. Soon, everything she believes about the world is challenged. She joins with Cole and his family as they try to expose the truth, and in the end her love must carry her through.

 

This young adult novel has just the right blend of love and suspense to keep you intrigued. The love story is at the center, but Merle has created a truly layered world, with some very original elements in this very popular dystopian genre.

 

An entertaining and enjoyable read.

 

Victoria Malakou

3.5/5

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Mateship With Birds

by Carrie Tiffany (Picador) ISBN 978-1-4472-1986-6

 

Set on a dusty farm in the rural town of Cohuna, Australia in the 1950s, this novel is really a reflection on what makes a family.

 

Harry is a dairy farmer with a keen love of birds. He keeps a journal on a family of Kookaburra that he observes on his farm. Carrie Tiffany uses this to parallel Harry’s experience of the family he has with Betty, a single mother and her two children.

 

Sex, lust and desire are firmly meshed into this book. It is heavily present within the language and direct descriptions of the characters’ sexual desires. Sexual desires which never seem to be fully realized.

 

If elegant prose and intricate description comes first over plot for you, you will enjoy this novel. The strength of the book lies in the language and description. The parallels drawn between the human characters and the birds create a fragmented storyline, which can be confusing. The same subtlety in the descriptions creates characters that feel one-dimensional. Harry’s poetry about his bird family is well written, but does slow down an already slow story.

 

The book could be interpreted as brilliant or boring. I found it a bit of both.

 

Victoria Malakou

2.5/5

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A Monster Calls

by Patrick Ness (Walker Books) ISBN 978-1-4063-3651-1

 

Patrick Ness has created an emotional story of innocence and acceptance.

 

Ten-year-old Conor is struggling to come to terms with his mother’s cancer. One night a monster appears to him, but it is not the monster he is expecting. It is not the monster from his nightmare. The nightmare so terrible, he can’t talk about it.

 

As the monster continues to visit, he tells Conor three stories meant to hold clues to help Conor understand his pain. Instead the stories confuse and anger Conor as the monster tries to convey the complexity of our human emotions. Conor is taken on a powerful journey of acceptance. He is finally forced to face the real monster, the scariest monster of all – the truth.

 

This novel will have you wiping away the tears. The characters are close to home and the loneliness of this little boy is heart breaking. There is a child-like innocence and a gentle humour elegantly woven into this story that makes it endearing.

 

Though A Monster Calls is described as a children’s book, it is so timeless and touching I would recommend it for young and old. The simplicity is masterful. A lovely read.

 

Victoria Malakou

5/5

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