Become the Force: 9 Lessons on Living as a Master Jedi – Daniel M. Jones

Remember when tens of thousands of people had census takers scratching their heads in 2001 by listing their religion as ‘Jedi’ or ‘Jedi Knight’? Well, in 2007, Daniel M. Jones from Wales (who was 21 at the time) founded the Church of Jediism.

I was really keen to read this book, thinking it would be the perfect Star Wars Day read. As this book claims to be the “first official book of scripture for the Church of Jediism” I was looking forward to learning how its tenets were based on specific Star Wars scenes and hopefully some Yoda wisdom. I wasn’t expecting a book of scripture to be so heavy handed in the creator’s memoir department.

Theresa Cheung has relied heavily on transcribed interviews with Daniel M. Jones. I was leery when the Theresa started telling me about her almost two decades as a bestselling author and then proceeded to include a reference from Wikipedia before the first chapter, but figured I’d keep going and hope for the best. Unfortunately this is definitely not the Star Wars Day book for me.

The nine Jediist Master lessons are:

1. The intelligence of a student

Jediism’s only prerequisite, but here ‘intelligence’ essentially means curiosity and a willingness to learn. The first sentence of the Jediist Prayer for Intelligence quotes Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata – “no less than the trees and the stars.” “The universe is as it should be” sounded suspiciously similar to this quote from Desiderata: “no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” Then, further along, “With all its confusions, routine and broken dreams, the universe is a wondrous place.” sounds eerily like this from Desiderata: “With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”

2. Personal thought control

In a nutshell, your thoughts create your reality. This chapter’s Jediist Prayer for Awareness steals from the serenity prayer. The Jediist version begins, “May the Force grant me the serenity to observe my thoughts. May the Force grant me the courage to understand my thoughts and the wisdom to know the difference”.

3. Matters of love, life and death

This chapter tells you that “when you die nobody remembers what you said or did but they will remember how you made them feel.” At what point do we call it ‘plagiarism’ and move on?! At least this chapter’s Jediist Prayer for Eternal Love acknowledges Mary Elizabeth Frye’s Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep.

4. The Force theory

“Jediism teaches us that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, not human beings having a spiritual experience.” Hey there, French philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. You’re in here too!

5. Emotional control and anger management

In which we learn of Daniel’s feelings of humiliation and victimisation at being told he had to remove his hood in a grocery store. I started skimming the book at this point because looking for quotes I already knew got boring.

6. Self-defence and martial arts

Or then again … “The sparrow never lands where the tiger roams.” This is said to be a quote by Daniel M. Jones. He may have said it but he wasn’t the first.

7. Counselling, stress management and control

This chapter has some interesting insights into Daniel’s experience with Asperger’s.

8. Healthy living and material well-being

Healthy food, moderation, balance, “Your body is a temple”, “Pray, eat, love”.

9. Peaceful communication and interaction with diplomacy

Humility, a sense of humour, inner peace, etc.

While I hope there are potential readers who’ll find a lot to love in this book, I think it’s pretty obvious at this point that I’m not one of them. My high hopes for insight dissolved into frustration with this strange blend of memoir and recycled bits and pieces from various religions and pop psychology.

Whenever I start a new book I go into it expecting to love it and look forward to telling anyone who will listen to me all of the reasons why they must stop whatever they’re doing and start reading it immediately. It breaks my heart when I can’t do that and because I was really looking forward to this one I hate this feeling even more.

Thank you to NetGalley and Watkins Publishing for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Daniel M Jones founded the Church of Jediism in 2007. It now has over 500,000 members around the world. This is the book his fans have been waiting for. In it, Daniel outlines the Jedi perspective and provides practical tools for anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of how to use the force in everyday life.

The Force is a metaphor for the universal life energy that connects us all. It can be both light and dark, good and bad. Now more than ever it is our responsibility to overcome the dark side. This book does not aim to convert but to inspire its readers to live a life of meaning and purpose according to the universal spiritual teachings from ‘The Way of the Jedi.’ 

Become the Force covers:

  • Daniel’s own fascinating spiritual journey and how overcoming personal struggles has awakened him to his purpose
  • How Jedi teachings can empower mind, body, heart and spirit
  • A comprehensive toolkit that will allow anyone to genuinely embrace ‘the way of the Jedi’
  • Compelling reasons why the spiritual teachings of Jediism are relevant today
  • A comprehensive explanation of Jediism as a spiritual movement (a universal desire for self-awareness, spiritual awakening, peace, love and harmony), rather than a religion.
  • Shows that it’s plausible that the Jedi minded among us today might usher in a new spirituality and shift in global consciousness towards peace and harmony that is more powerful than any we can possibly imagine.

The Evil Trance – Mark Dysan

If you are not convinced of the absolute necessity of hiring a stellar editor and proofreader for your manuscript prior to unleashing your book baby into the world, I’d encourage you to read The Evil Trance. I don’t know if it was poorly translated into English or if it was written in English by someone who predominantly speaks a language other than English, but in its current form it should not have made it to publication yet.

Missing words, incorrect use of words, the correct word but incorrect spelling and sentences that only make sense once you figure out the intended meaning make up a considerable percentage of this novella. I usually don’t mention these pet peeves in my reviews because I’m often reading advance copies that will likely have most of the typos cleaned up prior to publication. However, this book was released in July 2017 so the pre-publication editing ship has sailed.

The book had potential, in a Koji Suzuki Ring series rip off sort of way where the videotape is a DVD and USB, where the well doesn’t exist but a graveyard does, and where Well Girl is actually a succubus (Yakshini) hanging out in an ‘adult’ film. Watch this porno and your fate could be explained like this:

“Apparently he masturbated himself to death.”

I wanted to really enjoy this quick read, which turned out to be painfully slow for me. While it’s listed as horror I found it really funny for the first half as I was getting used to the way the sentences were worded. I then felt guilty for finding it funny before comparing it to what would be the inevitable result of me learning a second language and then trying to write a book in, say, Japanese. I expect my sentences would be pretty hilarious as well. The second half of the book dragged on for so long as the novelty wore off and I thought about what I could have been reading instead.

The Inspector in this book is quite happy to threaten to arrest people based on, um, the law?

“Delete it or I will have to arrest you for violating my private space.”

“I could arrest you for demeaning a couple’s privacy.”

Favourite Euphemisms and Sexy Chats

his vital organ was being abused

“He asked me to take time and let him know if I needed any help, in case I needed to get off with a woman, sometimes.”

“My sensuality wished I could do her too.”

“Maybe with a few drinks, and if I had a woman like this the day would come to a blasting end, but before that, a little self-foreplay won’t do any harm.”

Sort of Almost Close to Being Correct

Mitra was in the middle of folding his shirt’s handcuffs

he was about to knock the door.

Inspector Feroz and Shukla exchanged their confusion at what the doctors were up to, it was Italian to their profession.

It did smoothen him.

Wiping the tears, he said, “Why are you crying?” She smiled through her tears. “These are not tears, dumbo!”

“I am making tea just so you kick in your brain again”

It pulled her strings of heart.

There are the times where jokes are made by people who are trying to get across that they are not gay. With a renowned psychiatrist, his assistant, a private detective and Inspector as characters I would’ve expected things to be more politically correct. However the women in the book call themselves stupid more than I’d like and who seem to be there mostly to cook for the hungry men, be available for sex and astral walk (okay, that one’s pretty cool). Women are also put in their place:

“You could have had better jobs, modelling or being a film actress. Or you could have been a rich man’s wife!”

It’s a rare day when I give a book ⭐️. However, given that I don’t think it’s even ready for publication yet I couldn’t rate this any higher. This book needs to make its way into the hands of a publishing team who can make it more readable for an English as a first language audience, make the transitions between scenes less jumpy and give the characters more depth.

“There are so many things going on my mind right now”

like why they didn’t just call Ghostbusters to deal with everything.

Content warnings include a suicide attempt.

Thank you to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

A seemingly innocuous adult film grabs the attention of a young lad. But the store owner, who also finds himself drawn to it, pays the price for it, with his life.

Enter Dr Mitra, a man of science. He finds his very basic grounding in science threatened, as uncanny events around him propel him to question what he has learned and held onto so far.

Gopi, his junior, and Shukla, a private detective, hop onto the scene even as Feroz, an inspector, is busy chasing the many suspicious events from the purview of the law. Murky waters must be charted to understand the myriad ramifications of what they have stumbled upon.

And this is no mean adventure. It is, but an Evil Trance.

The Best Damn Answers to Life’s Hardest Questions: A Flowchart Book – Tess Koman

Am I a nerd? ✔️
Do I like flowcharts? ✔️
Do I like gift books? ✔️
Do I like laughing? ✔️

I found The Best Damn Answers to Life’s Hardest Questions: A Flowchart Book and thought I’d hit the quadfecta. It turns out that just because something ticks all the right boxes it doesn’t always mean you’ll find the gift book of your dreams.

I wouldn’t need a flowchart for a lot of the questions anyway:

  • Room for dessert? – Duh! Always!
  • Do I need a vacation? – See above.
  • Do I need more coffee? – Again, see above.

I’m too nerdy to fully appreciate the carefree look of these flowcharts. They don’t have different symbols for each action type and without arrows a messy flowchart can be kinda difficult to navigate in sections. Also, some of the questions don’t result in a flowchart, just a rant or a pros and cons list, which didn’t make sense to me as it’s a Flowchart Book.

Maybe we can chalk it up to the fact that this book is asking questions of millennials when I’m too old to even pretend to be one, if I actually wanted to. However, regardless of my age, I doubt this ever would’ve been the book for me.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Workman Publishing Company for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

A hilarious and utterly relatable collection of flowcharts, rants, and lists about adulting.

A humourous guide to adulthood in a collection of 54 charmingly illustrated flowcharts and pros-and-cons lists that each address an all-too-real question, from the mundane to the life-changing. Will I survive this hangover? (Probably not.) Should I cancel my plans? (YES! Cancel immediately.) Am I having a quarter-life crisis? (Probably.) Do I even like this person? (Nope, nope, nope.) This inspired book of humour disguised as invaluable advice is a gift to make anyone feel better, proving that every question, thought, and decision, no matter how ridiculous or irresponsible, is completely valid. 

The Snitch, the Witch, and the One Who Was Rich – Joe Spraga

After Dorothy learns she’s not in Kansas anymore, she follows the yellow brick road in the magical Land of Oz to find the Wizard of Oz, who she hopes will be able to help her return home. Along the way to the Emerald City she meets the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion, all of whom could also benefit from the Wizard’s help. After a long journey and some drama concerning flying monkeys and a meltable witch, the new friends are either granted their wish or learn they had the magic within them all the time.

Oh, wait. Wrong story. Let me start again.

Snitch lives in town and follows the purple moonlit trail on their way to see Father Time, who they hope to get help from. Along the way to Father Time’s place, Snitch meets the nasty old Witch. The two then form a line to wait for Father Time to open the door and help them. The One Who Was Rich then joins the line, followed by a good portion of the townsfolk, who make their needs known. While the nasty old Witch does look a lot like meltable witch from Oz, unfortunately there are no flying monkeys in this book. Finally the Wizard Father Time opens his door, offers some sage advice about the value of time and grants some their wishes. Others learn they had the magic within them all the time and make the necessary changes to their lives themselves.

So, totally different story. Sort of.

Ignoring the fact that this story is essentially a reboot of a classic that’s over a century old and wasn’t ‘broke’ in the first place, the rhymes are quite cute and the townsfolk learn valuable lessons or get what they want given to them. The Celtic font looks nice but I’m not sure it’s the most sensible choice for young readers who may have trouble with the legibility of some letters.

The clock goes backwards between the Candlestick Man arriving and the Drummer who arrives later when it’s significantly darker. There’s also a picture where the clock is missing entirely. Father Time opens his door at midnight and then he starts his speech with “It’s nearly midnight”. To emphasise this point the next illustration shows him pointing to the clock that was midnight previously and it is now almost 11:55pm. It looks as though the midnight illustration of the first half of the line up has been recycled which would have worked if the time had been changed. Harry, who was a shy guy and didn’t speak (probably because he had no mouth) is no longer a shy guy after seeing Father Time, possibly because Father Time gave him a mouth. Yes, I know I’m being picky about the attention to detail but kids pick up on stuff like that.

I was interested in this book because of the inviting cover design. I still love it, I liked the design of most of the characters and I enjoyed the rhyming. Overall though, it just wasn’t for me. There were other whinges I had as I went through the book a second time but I’m sure you get the idea by now. It did make me want to watch The Wizard of Oz for the billionth time though.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for the opportunity to read this book.

P.S. I’m in the minority with this one. There are a number of 4 and 5 star reviews for this book so please don’t just take my word for it. Check some of those out too before you decide if this book is for you or not.

Rating: 2 out of 5.


It turns out if you post a review on Amazon that this author doesn’t like they feel free to spew paragraphs of abuse at you. There was so much more I could have told you all that was negative about this book but I tried to find positives instead, like the fantastic front cover art. I guess the fact that I explicitly stated that I was in the minority and encouraged people to check out other reviews means nothing.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Welcome to Moonwood, a modern day nursery rhyme about how to use your time wisely and be a better you! 

Follow these quirky townsfolk in a beautifully illustrated picture book, as they gather outside the clock tower and seek Father Time’s wisdom on achieving personal goals, and getting along with each other in their magical community. 

What will they discover? Time is the only true commodity. This story shows both children and adults, that we must use what little time we all have to be good to each other. 

Comics for a Strange World: A Book of Poorly Drawn Lines – Reza Farazmand

I read some of the comics twice to try and figure out what I was missing. I find most things funny including things that aren’t supposed to be, yet I didn’t even feel the beginning of a smile while reading this book. I tried really hard. Sorry, this one wasn’t for me.

Thank you very much to NetGalley and Plume Books, Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Absurd comics for our absurd times, from the artist behind the wildly popular webcomic Poorly Drawn Lines.

In his follow up to the New York Times bestselling Poorly Drawn Lines, beloved webcomic artist Reza Farazmand returns with a new collection of comics that hilariously skewers our modern age. Comics for a Strange World takes readers through time, space, and alternate realities, reuniting fans with favourite characters and presenting them with even more bizarre scenarios. A child is arrested for plagiarism. A squirrel adapts to human society by purchasing a cell phone – and a gun. And an old man shares memories of the Internet with his granddaughter (“A vast network of millions of idiots. Together, the idiots created endless shitty ideas. It was a true renaissance of shit.”). In the world of Poorly Drawn Lines, nothing is too weird or too outlandish for parody.

Featuring 50% brand new content alongside some of the most popular comics of the past year, Comics for a Strange World is the perfect antidote to life’s absurdities.

Dollface Volume 2 – Dan Mendoza

Spoilers Ahead!

Disclaimer for this review: I haven’t read the first volume of Dollface and I hadn’t checked out its reviews prior to reading this graphic novel so my interest in Dollface Volume 2 was based solely on its blurb and the image on the cover.

Emily and Ivan are the students who made Lila. Emily’s girlfriend Paige attends school in California while Emily is studying at M.I.T. Emily wants to visit Paige but can’t afford the travel cost or time because of mid-terms so Ivan, a ghost, creates a portal and the three of them whoosh through the portal to L.A. Once in L.A., Lila’s witch alert system activates so she and Ivan go check it out while Emily catches up with Paige. Then all hell breaks loose.

I like the concept of a 17th century witch hunter being transported to present time into the body of a doll that a couple of students created with a 3D printer. Also I generally love all things relating to witches, ghosts, tattoos, people with brightly coloured hair and blood spatter, so I figured this was a pretty safe bet for me. This time I was mistaken. Not much offends me but I personally found this graphic novel quite disgusting and wrong on so many levels.

Had I not committed to reviewing this graphic novel I would have stopped reading as soon as I turned the page and saw the woman eating babies in the basement of a medical clinic that offers abortions.

I’m sure there’s an audience for this type of graphic novel but it’s definitely not me. I take full responsibility for not doing enough research before I requested a review copy of this one. Had I done my research I would have known I wasn’t part of the target audience. Lesson learned.

Thank you very much to NetGalley and Diamond Book Distributors for the opportunity for the opportunity to read this graphic novel.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

The adventures continue as Lila, Emily and Ivan set off to sunny California in search of the next witch on Lila’s list. In this story, Emily meets up with her long distance love, Ivan learns more about his ghostly form and Lila exhibits what she’s capable of when pushed to the limits. Get ready for California carnage in Volume 2 of Dollface: Tales of the ball jointed witch hunter!