Top Twelve Books I Read in 2016 (Top Ten Tuesday)

Let’s Get Our Read On with Top Ten Tuesday!


A year of reading comes to a close and it’s time for me to share with you my favorite books that I read in 2016! These books don’t necessarily have a published date of 2016; I’ve just read them and absolutely loved them. This is a meme started by The Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten Tuesday. Ten is a suggested # of books to list, I picked twelve books for my Top Ten Tuesday post because I had so much more than ten. My favorite 2016 books will be listed in no particular order. Unfortunately, I haven’t reviewed Without further ado, I present to you those twelve favorite books of 2016:


My Top Ten Tuesday begins with this book I purchased at a signing with the author. I devoured the series within a week.


This was a chilling book that was far too realistic. That’s why I loved it so much.


All I remember about this book is that I loved it from the first chapter through the end of the series.


This was a sad but beautiful story of the connection between a mythical beast and a human. I wish it was a series.


I read this graphic novel series in two days. Breast feeding on the cover? LOVE.


A re-telling of one of my favorite Brother’s Grimm’s stories. This was twisted in the same way.











I read a lot of non-fiction and this not only had the most beautiful cover of all the non-fiction I read, but also went into more detail than others I’ve read of the same topic.


I loved how The Infernal Devices trilogy took place in between The Mortal Instruments series. I was fortunate enough to find out that it was written this way before I got to the third book so I could read it as the author intended.














I read this series in a week. For some reason it took longer than the two books should but I read them and that’s all that matters.












A terrifying read that entertained me throughout the book.


I won this book through The Novl and couldn’t sleep without my Himalayan Salt lamp on the brightest setting.


A young woman was created to protect another. Their devotion to each other is beautiful.

Oceanic Tarot Deck – A Beginner Friendly Deck

Oceanic Tarot Book Cover Oceanic Tarot
Jayne Wallace
Cico Books
Card deck
Publisher (Cico Books)

Explore the past, present, and future with Oceanic Tarot.

Discover the ancient art of tarot with this beautiful ocean-themed set of 78 cards and an accompanying book, stunningly illustrated by Jane Delaford-Taylor. The traditional major and minor arcana are translated into a magical world of mermen, mermaids, and sea creatures. The book reveals the interpretations for each card, as well as explaining how to lay the cards out for different types of reading, so you will easily learn how to draw out meaning from the past, gain insight into the present, and predict the future.

Uh, because, mermaids. Duh.

I was given the Oceanic Tarot deck to review from Cico books and, therefore, *squeee*. The Oceanic Tarot deck is how it sounds: ocean themed. The author scuba dives and their work reflects their love for the ocean. It’s no surprise that this is the theme of the deck. Her love for the ocean shines through the cards.

The deck comes in a very sturdy box, made to be proudly displayed. The box opens from the side, a cute feature that I haven’t come across yet. I still can’t get over how cool the box is. It now lives beside my Beautiful Creatures deck.

Let’s talk about the book

The booklet that comes with the Oceanic Tarot deck is more than a LWB (little white booklet). It’s just as much a work of art as the deck is. A female mermaid reaching up to the sky is displayed on the matte cover: “Oceanic Tarot: Discover the Secrets and Wisdom of the Sea.” The Oceanic Tarot LWB is in full color and the size of a small, square book.

Each card, the author explains, has both an “easy meaning” and a “quick advice.” Those two features make the deck ideal for a beginner and a one-card drawing. Practical tips are included, covering imprinting your energy to reading the cards.

How one begins to read the cards follows in the next section. That part of the book goes step-by-step to guide the beginner through the cards. For instance, the Oceanic Tarot book suggests that you start by setting your intention, and addresses the idea that no one else is to touch your cards. Following that, the author outlines some simple spreads, and then spreads that are more complicated. I, personally, won’t be at the point where I can do those anytime soon.

How the book makes reading so simple

The LWB follows other decks in the sense that it gives the basics generally in the same order as others. However, the author adds not only the basic introduction for Tarot, but also suggestions on how to read the cards. You’ll find in the next section that there is a basic something or other that the author includes in the cards.

For the ease of the reader, the author lays out the Oceanic symbols for each suit in a chart. She also goes on to give a one word key term from Ace through Ten by the numbers. I found this incredibly beneficial for the beginner because it’s a guide through the cards that still allows your intuition to prosper through the reading.  Another feature of the Oceanic Tarot in the LWB for the minor arcana is that there are meanings for “you” cards. Those cards are the o=positions of a spread that reveal you and your current situation.

The Oceanic Tarot cards

The cards are meant to stimulate your intuition. I’ve heard that the proper way to read Tarot is by using your intuition rather than memorizing the meanings. I appreciate the simplicity of the cards. The Oceanic Tarot deck, much like the Under the Roses Lenormand deck, has little else going on in the background of the major arcana. I mention only the major Arcana because the minor arcana are simply the number of the suit with a generic background.

The Oceanic Tarot deck’s Minor Arcana at first disappointed me. I wanted to see more artwork than what it was giving me but I quickly learned that the lack of unique pictures didn’t detract from the cards. At the bottom of every card, both major arcana and minor arcana, have a keyword. I absolutely love that. For instance, the King of Cups’ keyword is “understanding.” The book goes on to say that the King can be distant sometimes. By the look on his face I could tell that he was out of focus, transfixed by some thought he had.

The illustrations of the cards is simple water-works, unlike the Tarot of the Night or Tarot Gothica. This is simple and doesn’t try to make the pictures seem realistic. The artist embraces what she’s good at and it works well with the cards. In fact, I don’t think more “realistic” (for lack of a better word) illustrations would look as good as this. Whereas Tarot Gothica looks like a picture taken on a camera, the Oceanic Tarot doesn’t try to pretend to be something it’s not.


The Crystal Healer – Crystal Magic-

The Crystal Healer: Crystal Prescriptions that Will Change Your Life Forever Book Cover The Crystal Healer: Crystal Prescriptions that Will Change Your Life Forever
Philip Permutt
New Age
Cico Books
2007, 2016
Physical paperback
Publisher (Cico Books)

Crystal therapy has long been used as a gentle system of holistic healing. By drawing on the unique qualities of crystals such as quartz and amethyst, you can balance the energy fields around your body, home and office to bring well-being, and gain health benefits. Crystals can help soothe emotional problems such as anxiety, mood swings, or shyness, as well as physical symptoms such as migraines and allergies. In addition, crystals can act as natural energy boosters and aid in detoxifying our systems. With crystal remedies for more than 250 common ailments and a directory of 250 crystals, as well as detailed explanations of the most effective healing methods, this book is the ultimate guide to healing with crystals. Illustrated with color photographs, and supplemented with practical exercises and case studies, The Crystal Healer is the ultimate practical reference from a highly respected healer and teacher.

Let’s start healing!

I have many, many books on crystals. Some of them are simply books on the different types of crystals and their healing properties, that only brush on different ways to use them. Others, however, like The Crystal Healer by Philip Permutt go into extensive detail on how to use those crystals to heal different ailments. Many people say that crystals emit vibrations that can affect the human body in positive ways. However, something that I admired greatly is that The Crystal Healer admits that science has not proven the assertions many people make. That being said, it’s my belief that crystals can have healing properties and so, too, does the author.

How the book is set up

The first section prepares you for crystal work. The next section guides you through using them. Then, partway through the book the different types of crystals are presented with their healing properties. The different crystals are organized by color, starting with Quartz because of how easy it is to obtain and how many different uses it has. I was thrilled at how “The Crystal Finder” was organized because it helped me identify the many crystals that I have. Other crystals books simply organize the different rocks by their most commonly known names, which makes it incredibly difficult to find the crystal I’m looking for.

There isn’t just one way to work with crystals

The Crystal Healer provides a blueprint for different ways of working with the crystals. One I was very excited to come across was working with the crystals and your Chakras. It’s something I have yet to do, because I’ve been waiting to use them with another person. The book, however, said that instead of placing the crystals on your body, it’s possible to put the crystals around your body and experience the same healing vibrations as if they were laying on your body.

All the crystal books I’ve read so far touch on the idea of making crystal elixir. While I haven’t had a strong inclination to do so, I’m considering making them for myself. I was glad to see that Philip Permutt gives you less invasive ways to make the crystal-charged water. For instance, he says that instead of placing the crystal directly into the water you intend to charge with your crystal, you can put it in a container holding the crystal inside of the water which you will be drinking.

It kept going!

I was pleased to find that The Crystal Healer didn’t end with the Crystal finder. Rather, it ended with a chapter providing more crystal remedies for the reader to try. Philip Permutt suggests crystals for various ailments of both the body and the mind, and offers different ways to work with the crystals. For instance, if you’re trying to combat the mental and emotional symptoms associated with aging, you could place rose quartz crystals into a normal bath.

Who would this book suit?

The Crystal Healer is a book that goes more in depth than simply naming the crystals and their various uses. Philip Permutt’s book on crystals gives you instructions on how to use the crystals and helps you build a connection with them. This is an excellent book for a beginner and a step-by-step guide on different ways to work with your crystals. Although this is not the first book I’ve read on crystals, and I feel rather confident that I know how to use them, I will be referring back to The Crystal Healer throughout my life.

Here’s How I’m Going to Protest Trump

When I saw the election results I was crushed…

For me and my friends and all the POC and LGBTQIA, the Muslims and the women. I don’t like feeling like I’m not in control. I think that’s true for most of us. I thought that there was nothing I can do about this situation, that the worst has come and there’s no bouncing back from this. Then I thought about it.

There is something I can doMany things I can do. I found an article on this topic so I picked a few things out that I can commit to that mean a lot to me.

  • I will volunteer with Planned Parenthood. Above pretty much all else, a woman’s right to her body, and I believe that abortion and birth control has helped give women back their lives. Before both, women were baby-makers and housewives. Birth  control gave us power. Abortion isn’t new. It’s been around for a long-ass time and our older women fought tooth-and-nail to give us that control. No man should ever have the right to take that away from me.I don’t know what I’ll be doing there. Ideally I’d be escorting women through protesters but we shall see! Trump and Pence want to do away not only with abortion but with Planned Parenthood. No. No freaking way.


  • I’m going to donate to food banks and when I can’t do that I’m going to work at the soup kitchen. Right now all my food goes to me or my pets but I’d love to give as much as I can. Right now, that means that I will give my time and service. Trump doesn’t care about people living in poverty. I’m going to care for them since our new president won’t.


  • When I’m able, I’ll support journalism by buying print magazines/newspapers. For now I will read news on the internet, particularly news on Muslim-Americans and Islam. I don’t want to read the Q’uaran, it looks super boring (terrible reason, I know) but I do want to be more knowledgable on the matter so I can defend and educate people who hate on/attack Muslims.

    As you’ve heard, Trump wants to sue journalists and create a total and complete ban of Muslims in the US. That includes refugees.


  • Trump doesn’t believe in climate change, so I’m going to do my part. I’m going to change how I use energy and renew, recycle, reuse and do fuller loads of laundry and dishes, and take shorter showers.I

I’ve got this shit, guys. I’m not going down without a fight. This is me protesting Trump. I will never call Donald my president and I won’t let him take America down with him.

NaNoWriMo and TBR

I’m a bit of a rebel. I haven’t been feeling very creative lately but I very much wanted to be a part of NaNoWriMo, as usual. So, I found something that works for me: blogging. I have several blogs so I’m trying to write about 1,450 words a day; some days I focus on this one and my Tarot blog, other days on just one.

Part of my reason for blogging as my NaNo project is that I have waaaayyy too many things out for review now, and I take pleasure in every review that I write. I want to keep that going, keep feeling good, in November that works for me. So, I’ll be reviewing things daily, if not all on the same blog at once. The goal is to get 15 reviews out in the month of November, on any of my blogs combined. So far I’ve posted 4 reviews with another on the way. And I’ve blogged 8 or 9 days so far, my goal was every day. One of the ways to accomplish this goal is by giving you updates.

So, I have a LOT to review, both physical books and Tarot decks, and e-books from netgalley so I’m hoping to crank one out a day. Let’s see how it goes!

Under the Roses Lenormand

Under the Roses Lenormand Book Cover Under the Roses Lenormand
Divination deck
Kendra Hurteau and Katrina Hill
U.S. Games Systems
April 18th 2014
Deck of cards
39 cards (alternative multiples for three traditional cards)
U.S. Games Systems for review


I’ve wanted this deck since like ever

Under the Roses Lenormand deck was the first one I found as soon as I started looking for Lenormand decks. I’m relatively new to Lenormand but I’m catching on quickly. U.S. Games System sent me this deck for review and I can’t tell you how excited I was to get Under the Roses Lenormand. I just couldn’t wait. While I impatiently and obsessively checked the mail for this deck, I procured my first deck, Maybe Lenormand. I couldn’t wait for Under the Roses because as soon as I learned about Lenormand, I ordered The Essential Lenormand: Your Guide to Precise and Practical Fortunetelling. I absolutely had to get started ASAP, just like this review. Let’s get the ball rollin’ so I can tell you all about Under the Roses.

Why this deck rocks

There are many reasons I like this deck, but there’s one that trumps all the others: there are keywords written in cursive in the backdrop of the art. The keywords are so light that they’re almost unnoticeable, but once you see them, it’s easy to read. I found that this was actually a nearly perfect starter deck. When I first started doing Lenormand I was told to get an easy deck. I chose Under the Roses Lenormand because it was beautiful. I didn’t regard the advice my coworker gave me when she told me about Lenormand but, once I received the deck from U.S. Games System I was pleased to discover that I made the best decision for learning my craft. I did a sample spread with Under the Roses and I was able to pick the keywords that fit that drawing that I wanted to use with those cards in the future with the aid of the faint letters in the background of the card.

What makes Under the Roses Lenormand worthy of praise:

Maybe Lenormand has a small cutout of the playing card that is associated with the Lenormand card. Under the Roses Lenormand also has the number corresponding to the playing card but a smaller cutout with simply the suit noted by the number. These cards are significantly smaller than Tarot cards, though not much smaller than the Halloween Tarot. As I noted in my review of The Halloween Tarot, however, those Tarot cards are unusually small.

Color concentration: red and green

Under the Roses is printed on thick card stock of high quality (think the opposite of Tarot Gothica) and, though the theme is rather dark, the colors of the rose are very vibrant. That being said, even the darker colors that are common with this deck are vibrant. A reoccurring color is, obviously red, but also green. The whip, for instance, depicts a woman with red hair and a green bodice. Aside from the colors that are necessary to depict those of all races, you’ll find that there are no other colors besides parchment, green, and red.

Three cards have alter-egos of a sort: the child, the lady, and the gentleman. Each of those cards either depict a person of color or a white person.  I am pleased at the diversity. In YA fiction you’ll find that there isn’t much diversity in race so I was happy to find that this deck was inclusive. None of the other decks I own, of both Tarot and Lenormand, have anyone other than white people. I hope that this deck feels more inclusive to people of any race. As a white person, I can’t comment on the effect the diversity of people of color in these cards. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Under the Roses Lenormand comes in a small, card stock box of paper that isn’t as sturdy as the cards themselves. But that doesn’t detract from the quality of this deck. Because I’ve had these cards with me at all times since I got them in the mail, the box is a mess. However, the box doesn’t matter as long as it protects the cards from the damage that my purse and book bag. It holds up well enough to shelter the cards.

My pleasure

It was my pleasure reviewing this deck for U.S. Games System. Under the Roses Lenormand is an absolutely beautiful deck of Lenormand cards but that’s not the only reason to get this deck. The keywords subtly printed within the card makes this deck perfect for beginners while the color themes and the well-drawn figures of the traditional Lenormand cards make this deck a pleasure to read.

The Halloween Tarot Book and Deck

The Halloween Tarot
Karin Lee
New Age
U.S. Games Systems
1996, 2006
U.S. Games Systems for review

Black cats, ghosts, and jack o'lanterns offer enchantment and light-hearted perspectives in this lively Halloween Tarot Book.

The Halloween Tarot deck comes in a tin with a companion book sold separately.

The Halloween Tarot deck comes in a tin with a companion book sold separately.

U.S. Cards Games System sent me the Halloween Tarot deck and companion book …

for review. I love absolutely love Halloween! My goal was to post The Halloween Tarot before the spooky holiday. However, the Halloween Tarot doesn’t have to be restricted to Halloween.  A few days later I started reading The Easiest Way to the Learn Tarot-Ever!! and I was stunned. In The Easiest Way to Learn Tarot Ever!!, the author suggests that, as a starter deck, you use a Rider-Waite deck and/or the Halloween Tarot created by Kipling West. I was surprised because the deck appears to be a novelty deck but Dusty White, the author of The Easiest Way to Learn the Tarot, held it as high esteem as the Rider-Waite decks. (I also received the deck and book set of Exploring Tarot Using Radiant Rider-Waite.)

 As soon as I saw the Halloween deck mentioned in that book, as a semi-equal deck to the Rider-Waite, I realized the treasure I now owned. I have two of the few decks that The Easiest Way to Learn Tarot-Ever!! suggests that a Tarot user buy and I’m honored that U.S. Games System, Inc. was kind enough to add these two to my collection. 

The Halloween Tarot was created by…

Kipling West, whose favorite holiday is Halloween (I wasn’t too surprised by that revelation). There is a book that is a companion to this Tarot deck that is sold separately, but I do have it for review in this post as well. The deck comes with the traditional little white book, but it doesn’t go as far in depth as the Halloween Tarot book does. I’ve gone over my first reactions to the Halloween Tarot deck in theory but as soon as I opened the tin the cards came in, I was caught in lust.

This deck compared to Lenormand…

The cards are only slightly larger than the Maybe Lenormand and Under the Roses Lenormand that I own. While I love the large, weighty Tarot cards that are so common in most of the decks that are produced, this meant that The Halloween Tarot deck fits comfortably and significantly less weightier in my purse. Because I’m able to tote these cards around comfortably in whatever book bag I’m using that day, I had more opportunities to use these cards. In fact, this is most likely going to be my go-to Tarot deck when I’m away from my desk.

In The Halloween Tarot companion book it goes into further depth about the possible meanings of the cards but it let’s you come up with how they relate to the specific situation.

Let’s look at the cards…

They are printed on sturdy paper that won’t be easily damaged (especially considering that the cards came in a brightly colored tin). The graphics are well printed, you can’t see the many dots that litter the page to create the drawings that are so creative and dark. And, for that matter, when I say “dark” I literally mean that these cards are dark. Each card depicts a creature–usually a humanoid–with a black background that has several stars and, always, a black cat.

The black cat:

The black cat is explained in The Halloween Tarot as a touchstone, a companion that will lead you along through the Tarot. The book also goes on to say that “Sometimes he reflects the meaning of  the card, but sometimes he’s just a casual observer.”

The cat in the Halloween Tarot deck is displayed in every single one of the cards. I noticed something about the cat. It was always looking at the main player in the deck, which drew my eyes to the most important figure that I should be paying attention to. In that respect, it was like a shortcut in my reading. If I was stuck, as it occasionally happens, I was able to follow the cats gaze to see what I should be looking at. There is one card that drew my attention: the Two of Imps, the equivalent of the Two of Wands in the traditional decks. The cat in the Two of Imps was looking at the massive figure holding the two Imps. My eyes were drawn to the two figures fighting but the cat was looking at the main dish. When I looked at the figure I felt the commanding presence and saw that it was in a position of power where it could resolve conflict.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the review, I was also sent the companion book.

This book provides a background of Halloween and the authors special connection to it. Then, the author informs the reader how the tradition of Halloween developed through time and how the Tarot came to be connected to Halloween. I found out, through the Halloween book, that the tradition of Halloween began with the Celts and warped through decades to create the modern Halloween. While the Halloween book is longer than the LWB (little white book) gives you plenty of information, that information is expressed through three or so sentences about what the card could mean.

The Halloween Tarot book goes into incredible depth and explores the art of the card, the possible meanings, and the “divinatory meanings.” I was quite pleased with the latter, in that it helped the reader come out of a bind if their intuition isn’t all that up to par in the moment.

A typical reading leads you through chapter 3 of The Halloween Tarot, presenting an example routine to follow when reading. It’s as specific as telling you to unwrap your tarot from “its silk or cotton cloth (keeping it unscathed by outside influences) and gives you the deck to shuffle so that your essence will somehow rub off on the cards” (pg 21). This is something that is not often addressed and I was pleased to find that The Halloween Tarot companion book goes into such detail. While it does suggest specific things to do while reading/how to read, it doesn’t limit you to that.

As is true with every Tarot book I’ve read (and, trust me, I’ve read a lot) the book offers a few different card spreads to get you started. The rest of the book is sorted into the Major Arcana and their meanings and then it goes through the four suites, aptly named “Imps”, “Pumpkins”, “Ghosts” and “Bats” to match the theme of the deck. The book dedicates a whole page to introducing each of the suits as you read and practice.

Then, at the end of the book, are several pages for “notes” though it was much too few for me. (I opted to take notes in my Tarot journal.) I found that the section “More books about Halloween and Tarot” was very clever, addressing both children and adults.

Who would like this deck and/or companion book?

  • Those looking for a unique deck
  • a smaller deck
  • a deck that’s easy to tote around
  • a book that delves into the history of this great craft
  • someone who is looking for a brief history of Tarot and Halloween
  • those looking to understand the Tarot in regards to this spooky holiday
You can see my review cross-posted on my spirituality blog where I review mostly divination books and decks.