An engaging fanfic in which alpha Castiel and omega Dean meet in the course of an undercover federal operation.
Undoubtedly, there are complete shelves in libraries dedicated to Egypt and its enigmatic edifices with each book attesting to its own unbridled truth. However, there is none more compelling than The Temples of Light an Initiatory Journey into the Heart Teachings of the Egyptian Mystery Schools by Dannielle Rama Hoffman. Hoffman guides initiates along the path of unlocking the mysteries of Egypt using only the vibration of the open heart. These pages host the harmonic resonance that will activate the Sahu and secure a heightened connection with Consciousness. Readers will especially find the multimodal, multi-sensory approaches for achieving this most rewarding. The Temples of Light an Initiatory Journey into the Heart Teachings of the Egyptian Mystery Schools promises readers a truly unique experience as they travel to ancient Egypt through the portals of their hearts.
THE TEMPLES OF LIGHT an Initiatory Journey into the Heart Teachings of the Egyptian Mystery Schools By Danielle Rama Hoffman (2009)
Journalist Alex Buchanan has come home to the remote British Columbia town he grew up in, but only because his estranged father is dying. For Alex, the homecoming holds a mix of memories, mostly bad. The only bright spot is reconnecting with Benji Morning, the childhood friend he never truly forgot. As boys, the strength of their bond had frightened Alex. But now that he’s confident in his bisexuality, he’s drawn back to quiet, soft-spoken Ben. Ben isn’t the same boy Alex left behind, though. His life has been overshadowed by the disappearance of his sister two decades earlier, and now a new break in the case threatens to undo the peace he’s worked so hard to attain. As Alex struggles to repair the relationship with his father before it’s too late, he finds himself caught up in a twenty-year-old mystery, a story he never expected, and a shocking truth that could affect his and Ben’s future together.
Dear Chris Scully,
I never tried your books before but after Ami whose reviewing opinions I value a great deal tweeted about you being her favorite author I was curious and asked book buddies on Amazon board to borrow your newest one, because I always enjoy mystery and suspense with romantic elements.
As my grade reflects, I had a mixed impression of this story. I thought it was well written and the guys together were really sweet, but romance was just a part of what the story claimed to be. And even while I really liked them in the present and in the past, I did not buy the long interval in between. As to the mystery and suspense, I had a whole lot of different issues with that storyline.
As the blurb tells you, Alex comes back to the town where he spent his childhood after many years because his father is dying and his sister asked him to come. Alex together with his sister and mother left town when he was thirteen after their parents divorced. His sister came back, but he basically never reconnected with his father, thinking his father did not care.
Alex also parted ways with his best friend Benji a/k/a/ Ben Morning. By the way, I had never been a fan of talking names and I got that Ben was a bright spot in Alex's life even without last name "Morning." Although Alex knew about Ben's crush on him, Alex was still a bit confused. He seemed to know that he liked boys, but he also liked girls. I don't blame a thirteen year old kid for being confused by the way. In any event all they had before Alex left was one kiss and Benji kissed him. They didn't fight about it thank goodness, but neither did they have time to figure out what they really wanted and whether they wanted to be more than friends.
Twenty years passed and Alex is back. He came to see his father but he also wanted to see what happened to Benji.
And "twenty years passed" is the main problem I had with their romance. Granted, the author does pay lip service to the idea that it is ridiculous that Alex would be pining for the boy he left at thirteen no matter how good of the friends they were. And Alex says that his life was okay, he lived a relatively happy life, etc (paraphrasing here). However all of this is one short paragraph and the moment Alex sees adult Ben basically all the feelings come back rushing in.
Note that I would have had no problem with them actually getting to know each other all over again and *falling in love* now as adults. But that's not what we get here in my opinion. Alex does not just fall in love with Ben all over again. He remembers what it was for both of them at thirteen and he talks about Benji being his home at thirteen and no matter how ridiculous it is to meet his soulmate at thirteen, he did.
I am sorry, but the writer here did not get through my suspension of disbelief here at all. Twenty years, twenty years after good friendship and one kiss was not enough to convince me. Even if they were childhood sweethearts, I needed more to be convinced that these particular childhood sweethearts just needed to see each other after twenty years and boom all the feelings came back.
As I said above, I thought Alex and Ben on page were very good actually, but unfortunately they did not exist in a vacuum in the present and I just didn't buy the twenty year interval.
But you will ask me what about suspense storyline? Here is the set up. Ben's sister Misty supposedly ran away twenty years ago and only very recently her abandoned car was found. Their mother always thought that her daughter had died, but now she's asking questions again. Ben thinks the past should stay buried and that answers will only bring her more grief.
Reluctantly Alex starts to investigate on his own especially since his dying dad seems to bring up Misty's name several times in the hospital.
I will not tell you what happened of course. However I will say that suspense really was not that suspenseful to me - maybe because of such small cast of characters or such very obvious hinting which was done very early in the narrative.
There's a melancholy undertone to this book, and it permeates everything that happens within. Set in a small town along the Canadian Highway of Tears, a stretch of road where women and young girl mysteriously disappeared over a period of about 40 years, there's a certain kind of dread that sits in the pit of your stomach from the get-go.
Alex/Alexander/Sandy Buchanan, a journalist, returns to the town where he grew up after leaving with his mother 20 years earlier upon his parents divorce. He returns, reluctantly, because his estranged father's drinking has finally caught up with him and the old man is expected to die soon. Alex has no expectations of a happy reunion as he still resents his father, but hopes to get a story out of his visit.
The story is told entirely from Alex's first-person POV, which naturally lets the reader see only what Alex chooses to see. We don't get a whole lot of insight to Ben or what makes him tick, except of what we're allowed to see through Alex somewhat self-absorbed eyes. There's a moment when Ben lays it all out, and Alex finally... well, you read this for yourself.
Alex's older sister Janet lives close by, having returned to be closer to their father some years ago, and their relationship is equally strained, with Janet blaming Alex for never even trying to have a relationship with his father after the divorce, and Alex resenting Janet for continuing to ask him to. Their relationship is complex, and it was clear from the start that Janet was troubled.
The only thing that Alex looks forward to as he drives up to the small town is seeing his childhood friend Ben/Benji Morning, who's now an artist. Back when they were in their early teens, Alex had strong feelings for Benji that confused and scared him, and when Alex and his mom moved away, he quickly forgot all about Benji. In the years since, he's never been able to recapture the feelings from their one innocent kiss, not in the one-night-stands, the failed relationships, or even his relatively short marriage.
Additionally, shortly before Alex's mother left with him and his sister, Benji's older sister Misty mysteriously vanished one day. Alex's father was the last one to talk to her, and Alex and Benji observed her car driving down the highway the day she disappeared. She's never been found, and her and Benji's mother has never stopped looking, obsessed with finding out what happened to her daughter. In all those years, she's never had any emotional energy left for Ben, and he basically had to raise himself after his sister's disappearance. Now living in a small studio above the garage, Benji has worked hard to find a bit of peace while still keeping an eye on his mother, a peace that is threatened by Alex showing up on his doorstep. He's teaching free art classes to special needs kids and others, and has carved out a quiet albeit lonely existence for himself. He longs to move on, but realizes that his mother will continue to stagnate in her quest for finding his sister.
Just about the time Alex arrives in town, Misty's car is found in a nearby lake on the outskirts of town, and the investigation is given a second wind.
The mystery about what happened to Misty is deeply intertwined with Alex's relationship with his father and sister, and basically drives the story. The romance and rekindled feelings between Alex and Ben take second place, really, and theirs is not an easy road.
The book is full of poignant moments, but it's more suspenseful mystery than romance. Alex learns that what he believes to be the truth might not be after all, and that the dying man in the hospital bed has perhaps similar trouble in expressing his feelings, and that Alex is his father's son after all.
The truth about Misty's disappearance does eventually come out, though it wasn't a huge surprise to me. There were hints along the way, in what people said, hints that Alex either didn't understand or was too busy avoiding. Truth is a double-edged sword, as Alex surely finds out.
This isn't an easy read, and with the focus not on the second-chance romance but the mystery and suspense, it's not a book that would appeal to readers who look for fluffy M/M romances. They'd miss out, of course, as this book showcases this author's exquisite ability to set the stage and draw images with her words, transporting the reader into the story and giving him or her a unique experience. The writing is exceptional in creating the perfect atmosphere and evoking just the right emotions while reading. As with Until September, the author also doesn't shy away from making statements about the social issues behind the Highway of Tears.
I was fascinated from the start, and couldn't stop reading. A true page-turner, this book delivered on everything it promised and more.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return. **