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review 2018-01-01 23:12
Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill
Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape - Jenna Miscavige Hill

When I got to the 50% mark, it dawned on me that I was definitely reading this book due to the story unfolding and not for the writing quality. Much like Leah Remini's Troublemaker, the writing can come off as juvenile or amateurish due to Hill's sketchy educational background (best guess is she has an 8th grad education). Just something to keep in mind if you want to read this book.

 

Mrs. Hill is the niece of David Miscavige, the leader of the Church of Scientology after the death of L. Ron Hubbard. She was raised deep into the religion, as her parents decided to re-join the Sea Org when she was 2 and her brother(s) was 9. As the niece of the most powerful person in the religion, you would think she had it easy, but she was treated with such abuse and mind-fucking. By the end of the book, most of the Miscaviges had left the church, leaving David and his estranged wife/missing person Shelly the only ones left in the religion. Mrs. Hill was a third generation Scientologist on both sides of her family, so that is a lot of people leaving a sinking ship.

 

Speaking of Shelly Miscavige - in Remini's book Shelly was portrayed in a much more favorable light than she is here. Seems Aunt Shelly is/was a grade A manipulative bitch who made Hill's life unbearable until her disappearance.

 

The celebrity name-dropping was kept to a minimum, mostly people that everyone knows or is public with Scientology is mentioned in passing except for Tom Cruise. Fuck Tom Cruise.

 

A decent coming of age story in such a cult was worth my time.

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text 2017-12-31 12:49
December 2017 Wrap Up
Bad Feminist: Essays - Roxane Gay
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race - Margot Lee Shetterly
Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape - Jenna Miscavige Hill,Sandy Rustin,Lisa Pulitzer

Last monthly wrap up of 2017. So many DNFs.....

 

Challenges

BL/GR: 166/150 Complete!

Pop Sugar: 52/52 Complete!

Library Love: 2; 54/36 Complete!

16 Tasks: 32 points total

 

Books Read:

1. Saga Volumes 2-4 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples - 4 stars to each volume

 

2. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterley - 5 stars (Recommend especially to the Flat Earth Society reading group, but I am going to be recommending this book to EVERY DAMN BODY in 2018)

 

3. Let Us Dream (from the anthology Daughters of a Nation) by Alyssa Cole - 2.5 stars

 

4. Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected by Kelle Hampton - 0 stars

 

5. Selected Poems of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes - 2 stars

 

6. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang - 3.5 stars

 

7. I Know What I Am, But What Are You? by Samantha Bee - 3 stars

 

8. Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxanne Gay - 4 stars

 

Books Re-Read:

9. Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

 

Currently Reading: Beyond Belief: My Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill (50% completed)

 

 

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review 2017-12-25 00:00
Barreled Over
Barreled Over - Jenna Sutton

Jenna Sutton has never been one to hold back her views and heart from any storyline. So why start now? Barreled Over keeps that take charge tradition going with a little less talk and a lot more action. Sassy women, saucy music and sexy men equal out to a down home good time. Ava has the talent that could take her far, but her heart may lay elsewhere. What happens when the promising country star meets the mesmerizing bourbon maker? Romance with panache.

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review 2017-12-03 13:00
Eve: The Awakening by Jenna Moreci
Eve: The Awakening - Jenna Moreci

This was a self published book. I admit, that I have not read many self pub books, mainly because I have had bad experiences and funds are low, so if I get a book, I want to be sure I will really like it.

 

I picked up this book through Amazon Unlimited, and really could not put it down. It changed my whole view on self pub books. There are good books out there, you just have to know where to look!

 

The reason I picked this one up because I stumbled across the author's YouTube page, looking for writing related videos. Jenna Moreci is very fun to watch and most of her info is very useful. I got her book, hoping so bad that the book would be good.

It was! I read it almost in one sitting, staying up all night. I had to finally put it down and finish the last 10% later because I was really sleep deprived.

Want a good book? Pick this one. Trust me. This is supposed to be a series, but the first book ended in a way where it could also be read as a stand-alone, in my opinion. I really want more though!

 

Now I am very willing to read self published books when I find ones I think sound good.

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review 2017-10-29 21:23
Dark Wine at Midnight (Hill Vampire #1) by Jenna Barwin
Dark Wine at Midnight (A Hill Vampire No... Dark Wine at Midnight (A Hill Vampire Novel) (Volume 1) - Jenna Barwin
This book as some excellently original concept. Cerissa is our protagonist and member of a species which either angelic or alien or both - I think both - with arcane powers and technology tasked with investigating the vampires. With her own quest of wanting freedom - because her people are not allowed to live their own lives. It’s an interesting conflict and throws in her playing as a double or triple agent with all the conflicting emotions that come with that, especially as she goes more native

 

There’s vampire society which has other interesting elements - like a recent war that has heavily divided them, a possible resistance movement, a strict population control, blood rationing and other tension building within

 

Throw in some deaths and apparently someone attacking them and the ongoing difficulties and tensions caused by the very restrictive treaty after the last vampire war that sets strict limits on vampire behaviour.

 

So let’s use this to tell the story of… a hot guy disliking a hot woman (for not apparent reason but love stories need to begin with instadislike) but finding her surprisingly compelling and he just can’t resist her and within the space of like, what, two, three weeks he suddenly is deeply and eternally in love with her and she with him. Only he can’t because Tragic Past and he is Unsafe for her to be with. And now there are people trying to keep them apart for Reasons which don’t quite make sense but OBSTACLE is needed.

 

Oh and she may be an alien angel thing that may destroy all of them but he spends like 5 minutes questioning her motives before focusing more on this romance which is trying to hit bingo of shallow, rather pointless tropes. These tropes aren’t even especially well developed - Henry is sad and self-hating because of a past jealous rage which he just… gets over? I mean this has apparently shaped him and his behaviour for years.

 

But most glaring is just how quickly Henry mehs Cerissa’s shapeshifting alien/angel woo-wooness. Or how his business, the community, his friends all come to be so much less important to him compared to said shapeshifting alien/angel. Even when he becomes aware that, at least on some level, she has a mandate to investigate vampires (and, one would hope, realises that it’s a step from “investigating” to doing something once you have the results) he seems relatively indifferent. We opened with quite a lot of detail looking at wine since this is Henry’s business… and that just vanishes. We discuss Cerissa‘s plan to open a lab and why this is important to her and for her plans for vampires and her own freedom… or the very nature of the low blood supply the vampires are dealing with: and then we just lose all of it.



This is my overwhelming, all consuming issue with this book - it creates a really original concept, it creates a very original character. It introduces excellent additions like an actual business (a business! Yes, supernatural beings that don’t just have money appear from nowhere or aren’t private investigators!) science, ethics of cloning and a whole lot more of interesting unique elements. And then what does it do? Pretty much neglect all of these excellent elements and focus on a romance that is a collection of rather tiresome tropes, few of them really developed or actually gelling well with the characters or showing them in a great light.

 

We also have some good diversity with more interesting potential from there: including Cerissa being South Asian and having a very different viewpoint from the rest of her species because she has been so influenced by her human father (which is why I’m a little disappointed we didn’t look at more of how her culture influenced and shaped her). Tig, the chief of police is a Black woman whose human life as a Massai shaped her culture and attitudes (honestly, I’m not even remotely informed enough to comment here because I don’t know the culture. There is a sense that it shapes her considerably but equally there is a little sense of “noble savage” and exoticism as well). She also has a complex and interesting, meaningful relationship with her deputy, Jayden, a Black man. She plays an excellent role in investigating the attacks and oh how I wish the focus on this had been greater.

 

Henry is latino, Mexican who mentions his history during Conquistador Mexico as a man of mixed indigenous and Spanish ancestry which also affected his history and attitudes. There’s a lot of racial diversity here among several prominent characters.
 
 
 
 
 
Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/10/dark-wine-at-midnight-hill-vampire-1-by.html
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