Tag Archives: life and death

Come One, Come All by E. Gilliland (Book Review)

The Pied Piper Circus lures in the lost, the lonely, people who wish to be stronger or faster or prettier…but once you join, you can never leave. 

Louisa knows the dangers of the traveling carnival, but she cannot afford to stay away. Not if she wants to get rid of the white owl that’s been haunting her, invading her dreams. Not if she wants to know about the dark, sinister mark in her eyes that convinces people to follow her every whim, no matter how terrible. Not when she fears what she might do with that power.

Ringmaster Amos Cain has the answers Louisa seeks, but like everything else in the Pied Piper Circus, they won’t come without a price. And there’s something hungry living in the heart of the carnival that will never be satiated, no matter how many lost souls She consumes.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from R&R Book Tours.
I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Years and years ago, I grew up in a tiny town. Every fourth of July weekend, a carnival would be set up less than a block from my house. During the day, the carnival didn’t look scary. At night, I had the opposite feeling regarding the place. I’m sure the carnie workers were friendly enough, but at night, I was afraid of them and who might grab me on the way back to my house. This story made me remember all those uneasy feelings from years past. 

The Pied Piper Circus had an acrobat, clown, a strong man, and a tiger that entertained the visitors. The circus also housed a very dark secret – a monster that feasted on the souls of the lost and lonely. When hunger struck or anger boiled over, the monster, referred to as “Lady,” would peel the skin off her victim’s flesh. She was the stuff of nightmares! 

Amos was the circus’s ringmaster, but he also helped corral the Lady when she awoke. It was no easy task keeping the Lady pleased; she was a jealous and heartless beast. 

The book’s summary was an attention-grabber. The cover and title are perfect! The story itself left me with mixed feelings. The story’s plot was unique. However, the first half often gave off a sequel vibe. For instance: It was written as if I should know who certain characters are, their past interactions, and why they behaved or reacted in certain ways. I looked up the book to verify this was not a sequel in a series. 

Since this book is labeled “horror,” I craved more Lady feasting scenes. Her hunger wasn’t capitalized on enough to make this a typical horror book. This story was more supernatural in nature. 

I was pleasantly surprised who came out of nowhere to help Louisa when we saw Lady’s anger unleashed. I thought they were gone forever. (No spoilers.)

With the superbly written book summary, I was ready to be blown away by the contents. Unfortunately, I wasn’t. It felt incomplete. Even though I had mixed feelings regarding the story, I recommend you read it. It was a nice supernatural read, and the ending opened it for a sequel. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 1/2

 

 

About the Author

Writer Elizabeth Gilliland was photographed in Mobile, Alabama.

Elizabeth Gilliland mostly believes in ghosts and other supernatural spooks, but she has a standing agreement with them to keep a respectful distance. When she isn’t writing, she is most likely sneaking classic Gothic novels into her class curriculum, or arguing why we need to value adaptations as art. She is also the author of the Austen University Mysteries, and she lives in Alabama with her husband and son.

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Hope . . . and the Hedgehog: Life? Death? And then what? Our personal quest… by Tom Vaughan (Book Review)


Hope…. And The Hedgehog is a ‘pocketbook philosophy for the present age’, a digestible exploration of the meaning of life which aims to unpick the big questions most of us spend our lives avoiding: how did life begin, how does it end, and what happens to us after we die?

Is there life after death? Is there a higher power? Or, is life one big cosmic accident; a clash of particles and atoms and one big bang? Tom looks instead at the power of faith and spirituality which he separates from religion. While he does not attempt to present any definitive argument, he looks at all sides, gathering thoughts from history’s most influential philosophers and scientists.

He makes the proposition that, between only two possible explanations for the existence of life, there is a greater likelihood of the one over the other. He believes in the importance of opening up our minds and finding more of a sense of purpose and direction in life – a view that, as we look towards a post-lockdown future, will resonate with many people.

“I chose the book’s title Hope … and the Hedgehog because hope is one of the principal drivers we resort to as human beings when confronted with a challenge to which there is no obvious solution. In the case of this book, that challenge is a very prickly issue: how we came into existence. It is an issue that we are all drawn to, but at the same time we do not want to handle or investigate too closely. Like the proverbial elephant in the room, we know that little hedgehog is there, we just prefer to leave it be – even if, in the end, there is no avoiding it.”  – Tom Vaughan, May 2022. 

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 

If you read the book’s summary, you’ll recall the author states this is not a religious book. That’s the truth. They do not support one religion over another. However, they don’t push religion under the rug either. Tom Vaughan states, “…we cannot ignore that religion of every creed is embedded in human society that it forms an integral part of our lives.” Also, another truth. Even our government seems to be run by faith, which goes against the Constitution. The first amendment to the US Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” 

Tom Vaughan also informs readers they have “no scientific, philosophical, or theological training of any kind.” That made this book more personal – less like I was getting schooled on a subject. 

Tom Vaughan gave insight into many areas and posed questions to his audience. “Why are we born?” “Why are we here?” “Purpose of life?” “What happens after I die?” These questions have been on the minds of many scholars and non-scholars for many, many years.

Tom Vaughan made one remark that is 100% true: “Rich or poor, we all carry the same chronic illness.” Money might change your type of dwelling, but at the end of the day, we all get sick. We all die. Your cash and acquisitions will hole zero value to you when your body gives out. Speaking of wealthy people, I had no idea how much a person would pay to have their head frozen ($80,000) or their entire body put on “ice” ($200,000). Seriously, that money would be put to better use elsewhere. Instead of freezing all or parts of oneself, how about leaving your money to a charity? 

You can’t discuss life and death without throwing in some science. Don’t worry, it’s not super complex information—just cool facts. You might find the answer to a clue on Jeopardy. 

I could go on and on with my thoughts on Hope . . . and the Hedgehog: Life? Death? And then what? Our personal quest… by Tom Vaughan, but I think you can sense I liked it. I wasn’t expecting the colorful images scattered throughout the book. The drawings fit perfectly with the surrounding text/thoughts. Nice work. 

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author Tom Vaughan

 
Tom’s life has come full circle from his first career as co-founder of the successful chain of Juliana’s discotheques, which he started in the 60’s and grew to be the world’s largest entertainment group of its type at the time, with offices in London, New York, Singapore and Sidney. With no scientific, philosophical or theological training and few school qualifications but armed with heaps of life experience as an entrepreneur, Tom switches gear with his latest work Hope…And The Hedgehog to take on the role of ‘everyman philosopher’, creating a new book that makes people stop and think. 

connect with the author: website twitter facebook

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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