Bald is Beautiful: A Letter for a Fabulous Girl

“An Inspiring Story for Us All”

Review by Joey Madia

Carola Schmidt, a pediatric oncology pharmacist and author of several children’s books, including others on cancer, brings hope and passion to all of her works. She has been on the front lines and has used both her expertise in the field (she also writes nonfiction for the scientific mega-publisher Springer) and her big heart to craft stories that inspire confidence and positive action.

Bald is Beautiful: A Letter for a Fabulous Girl reinforces the positive feedback and support that everyone needs—most especially youth battling cancer. Since the biblical story of Samson and Delilah, power and identity have been associated with hair. And, as we know from personal experience and film/TV, cancer treatment often leads to hair loss.

When the heroine of the story is faced with losing her hair, it is an opportunity, not to mourn loss, but to have a Hat and Scarf Shower to celebrate creativity and self-expression. Many of us have hat and scarf collections. They help to express our identity and can open wide the doors of possibility for the imagination. Continue reading

An Angel Told Me So (Volume 1)

“Divine Guidance”

Review by Joey Madia

Over the past eight months, I have reviewed several books produced in conjunction with a higher energy. Celestial beings, spirit guides, aliens, the Brotherhood, God… they go by different names, depending on the channeler or medium’s worldview and belief system. You’ll notice that what the receiver calls themselves also changes.

I am married to an acknowledged and publicly tested psychic medium, so I have a deep interest in this subject. I have studied Esther Hicks/Abraham, Darryl Bashar/Anka, and many others from the lens of my lifelong training in theatre. I study voice, mannerisms, vocabulary, syntax, and gesture. I mention Esther and Darryl because I believe they are true to their word. Many others are easily outed as frauds. Because I believe she has done much more harm than good, I’ll name one—JZ Knight, who professes to be channeling an entity called Ramtha. She isn’t.

It’s much harder to make a judgment—to apply the tools of the healthy skeptic—to those who channel by means of automatic writing (psychography) or typing. Is it the subconscious, and if so, how is that defined? Is it a form of mental illness? Perhaps only in a very low percentage of cases. Is it fraud? Again, it happens, although I do not believe it is often so. Continue reading

Rise of the Undead

“Attention Zombie Fans”

Review by Joey Madia

I will be the first to admit, I am not a fan of zombies. I do like Zombieland, got a few laughs out of Return of the Living Dead recently, and enjoyed the third through fifth seasons of The Walking Dead. I was even a lead actor in a remake of White Zombie several years ago, although the Haitian-type zombies are another thing altogether. This is my first review, out of more than 230, to engage with the subject of this unique brand of monster, and I have made a commitment to get to know this subgenre better. I have another zombie book on my to-be-read list, so expect another review on the subject before the end of the year.

As to Infection, it is a quick, action-filled read, which operates squarely in the zombie subgenre of horror/adventure, offering plenty of violence, gore, and all the tropes zombie fans love. It lies somewhere between The Walking Dead and Shaun of the Dead, the latter solely because good mates with everyday lives suddenly are faced with a zombie invasion and learn as they go. It is not at all a comedy.

Although it never states so, the novel seems to take place in the present, with no leaps in technology or other indicators of the future. It takes place in Kirkintilloch, just outside Glasgow, giving it a slightly different tone than typical American zombie novels. Continue reading

Alien Intelligence

“The Matrix is Real and Nothing Is What it Seems”

Review by Joey Madia

Every so often, a book comes along that requires me to assess just where I am on the healthy skeptic continuum. Being a healthy skeptic is crucial to being a good paranormal investigator and researcher. It is not to be confused with being a cynic—a person for whom no amount of evidence will change their position that we live in a predictable, mechanistic universe where one lives and dies and is forever gone.

I’m a mix of Mulder and Scully. I “want to believe” and know “the truth is out there,” but I also know we’re bombarded with false flag ops and disinformation, while some people are just looking for attention, memory is stunningly unreliable when tested, and there are mostly mundane explanations for what is initially termed paranormal or supernatural.

I also believe that, one day, as science catches up to experience, there will only be the normal and the natural. We are getting there, slowly but surely.

About a decade ago, when I was only a few years into my decade-long mentorship in paranormal investigation and research with Rosemary Ellen Guiley, I read Ingo Swann’s Penetration. I devoured it in a couple of days. I could not believe what I was reading, although I wanted to. After I finished, I went right to the phone and called the trusted colleague who had given me the book. I asked him, not even saying hello, “Do you believe this? Because if you do, I do, and it CHANGES EVERYTHING.” Continue reading

When a Brave Bear Fights Cancer

“Making it All Seem Better”

Review by Joey Madia

It is a joy when two authors you admire for their positive messaging and high level of craft join forces—especially for a cause as worthwhile as childhood cancer.

Carola Schmidt is a pediatric oncology pharmacist and author of several children’s books, two of which are about her Ukrainian grandmother and her experiences leaving Ukraine and coming to American to escape the atrocities being committed by the Russian army, and then returning to Ukraine decades later. She is also the author of Bald is Beautiful, which is a letter to a young person with cancer.

When a Brave Bear Fights Cancer is filled with photographs by Mark O’Dwyer, the author of the Mawson the Bear children’s series. Mawson—sort of a Winnie the Pooh, especially when considered through the lens of books like The Tao of Pooh—is a dreamer and seeker who is a big fan of naps and working with his equally inquisitive friends to explore just what it is that drives and fulfills us.

The cover advertises this beautiful collaboration as a “Get Well Soon Gift,” appropriate for those five years old to 100+. It truly is generation spanning and a perfect opportunity for all the members of one’s family—and friends—to sit together and learn about the cancer treatment journey. Written in simple, effective language, the book starts at initial diagnosis and goes through the various treatments one many encounter. The text and photographs work together to demystify complex ideas, soften the edge of what can be a scary idea through use of adorable bears, and to provide visuals of the doctor’s office and other venues. Continue reading