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review 2018-06-21 20:09
Cat Ellington's review of A Life Removed by Jason Parent
A Life Removed - Jason Parent

Please consult either one of the following links to view my analysis of A Life Removed by Jason Parent.

—Cat Ellington

 

• The Review Period with Cat Ellington: https://catellington.blogspot.com/p/my-reviews_27.html

 

• Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2007831466

 

Source: catellington.blogspot.com
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review 2018-05-25 18:30
THE ROAD TO JONESTOWN by Jeff Guinn, narrated by George Newbern
The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple - Jeff Guinn

What a sad, sad, story. Even while I was listening, I was hoping for a different ending. 

 

Jeff Guinn is an excellent author of true crime. He is somehow able to relate the facts of the story without passing judgement. In this case, I learned a lot. The Peoples Church, (no apostrophe!), did a lot of work in the area of desegregation. Jim Jones and his wife even adopted a black child. In fact, they did a lot of good works together, for the elderly and for the members of their church. 

 

But as so often happens, absolute power corrupts and all that. Jim ran his church with an iron fist. He slept with many partners and somehow made it so that it was okay within his church. He began to do drugs-a lot of drugs. There was corporal punishment for those who did not follow the rules. He began to become paranoid and unbearable to be around, at times. 

 

Follow this to the end that we all knew was coming. I didn't realize how many people were involved in this mass suicide/mass murder, but I know now it was over 900. I say mass murder because children, (children!), were killed by having a syringe full of poisoned flavor-aide shot down their throats. It's one thing when your twisted beliefs cause you to kill yourself, it's another thing entirely to kill infants and children. It's just such a waste of life. 

 

Despite my attempts, I will never understand this mentality. I'm fascinated with it, I admit, but I can't understand it. Perhaps, it's just not understandable? It's certainly not sane. 

 

If you want to learn more about the Peoples Church and Jim Jones, then I highly recommend this book. I listened to it on audio, narrated by George Newbern and he was excellent. 

 

*I downloaded this audio-book from my library for free. Libraries RULE!*

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review 2018-03-12 01:25
A Darker Place
A Darker Place (Anne Waverly) - Laurie R. King

Anne Waverly, a respected University professor who specializes in alternative religious movements, goes undercover again to learn more about a community called Change that has branches in Arizona, England, and Japan. She found it easy to get into the community when a young girl, who looked a lot like her dead daughter and who hadn't been speaking took an interest in her. The young girl spoke to her and even laughed. She learned about her brother Jason and found herself determined to keep these children safe. She was slowly learning the secrets of the Change community in Arizona but not enough to call in her FBI counterpart to take over. Then she, along with the two kids and one other child were sent to the England branch for more advanced training with Jacob. They quickly realized things were not the same at the England branch and she was scared for herself and the kids and decided she needed to contact Glen with the FBI and fast! The problem was, he had no authority in England.

 

This book was slow moving but held my attention until the end but the ending was very abrupt and left me with a lot of questions.

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review 2018-01-09 00:46
Unutterably brilliant dystopian SF
Thunderhead - Neal Shusterman

Disclaimer: review based on an uncorrected digital proof via NetGalley.

 

Guys. Guys, listen. This was ridiculously good. I feel like the first time I picked up a Scott Westerfeld book (it was Uglies, btw). One for the record books.

 

Ok, yes, Scythe was brilliant and I loved it and it got one of my very rare 5 star reviews last year, but it just KEEPS GETTING BETTER. This is dystopian SF at its best; insightful, natural, emotional, relatable, engaging, stress-inducingly tense, original, shocking . . . how many more adjectives can I cram in here?

 

The technology and vision of a utopian AI-controlled future feels like a plausible extension of our current moment. And how many authors can make an entire series about death and still make it readable? The way the Thunderhead explores a Judeo-Christian vision of a personal god is also fascinating.

 

Book 1 scythe apprentices Citra and Rowan have graduated to next-generation leader and antihero respectively. I can't get over how great newcomer Greyson's progression is, too. And the way the Thunderhead AI has a character arc? What? The twists and reveals in this are gonna kill you. And if they don't, that ending just might. I CAN'T wait a year for more!! TToTT

 

Ok, so Citra is now Scythe Anastasia, and is rocking the boat by giving her (victims? gleanees? um.) time to come to terms with and define the method of their deaths. Rowan's gone rogue as an underground vigilante scythe murdering all the corrupt scythes. Greyson's an isolated loner that the Thunderhead brought up when his parents abandoned him. His dream is to become a civil servant out of appreciation for it. The Thunderhead's just trying to help everyone and keep them from destroying themselves and their world, dammit. Everyone's hopes and dreams get twisted around and undermined and melted and there's betrayal and shock and horror and lots of murder and also grand conspiracies and sacrifice and emo teen rebels and some mostly offscreen romance and the ending is brutal and I can't wait for more.

 

So pardon me while I go and binge-read everything Shusterman's ever written. BRB.

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review 2017-12-17 15:39
The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir by Maude Julian
The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir - Maude Julien,Adriana Hunter

 

THE ONLY GIRL IN THE WORLD: A MEMOIR is a powerful true story I choose to see as a triumph of the human spirit.

 

Maude's father wanted a superhuman child and set out with single minded purpose to achieve his goal. He found a young girl and adopted her. When she was old enough he married and impregnated her. When his daughter was born her training began.

 

I'm not going to go into everything Maude went through, because it's grim. Extremely grim. Also, a lot of what she went through might not seem believable at first. As I was reading though, I realized that Maude's story is altogether too possible. What a scary and depressing thought: to have every aspect of your life controlled. To have to hold a chamber pot for your father. To have any family pets used as objects to control you. The only good things in Maude's life were books and music-and even those were controlled by her father.

 

To be clear this book never descended into the area of torture porn. Everything is presented in a rather detached way, whereas you are just an observer. The things that happened were indeed horrific, but you never felt like you were a part of them. Instead, your heart just ached that these things ever happened.

 

An interesting component to this tale was the pop psychology theories the father would come up with and how he used them to devise mind controlling techniques. Seriously, I think this guy could have developed a cult of his own if he wasn't so lazy and stupid. His family were actual blood relations and unlike Manson's family could never have left even if they tried. If you can imagine what Manson could have done to a daughter, you have a good idea of what Maude's dad did to her.

 

I can't get into what happened to Maude in the end, because that would ruin everything. However, she did survive to write this book so that should tell you something.

 

Highly recommended, especially for those interested in the psychology of brainwashing.

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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