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review 2017-05-07 10:55
Finding Freedom- Brittany Nicole Lewis

I was expecting a book full of violence, both physical and psychological, with layers of cruel malevolence driving its agenda. This read isn’t like that. This is a quiet pastiche, a sensitive unravelling of years of mental mind-washing, the story of well-planned escape and months of gradual adjustment to life outside of a closed, controlling community.

Those that expect to read about physical violence and a dangerous escape from it, will be disappointed, unless like me they find something ‘spiritually’ rewarding. This is a book that deals with the evils of abusive control and the immense difficulty victims of such authority have adjusting to the freedoms of liberal society. The subject matter is all North American, but the psychology of it applies wherever individuals struggle to escape constraining ‘walls’. Many of the issues raised are as applicable to whole populations, nations, as they are to individual humans.

The book is well enough written, in a simple non-intrusive style, with ‘christian’ belief strongly emblazoned by Lewis’s words. The read is gentle and rewarding, quietly preaching the author’s private convictions. I feel most comfortable describing this as Christian social drama. I feel that those that have escaped, or are contemplating escape from the dominion of other’s, whether to find their own space with God, or to the most secular of lives, will find this a rewarding read. The cult isn’t defeated but, by the end, its effects on the minds of some are ameliorated. The main lesson is that it isn’t easy to take responsibility for one’s future from a long-term suppressing evil, to risk escape, but that the light at the end of the tunnel can be reached, and is worth reaching for.


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review 2016-01-15 16:39
Survivor's guilt, attitude, and plenty of laughs!
Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology - Rebecca Paley,Leah Remini

Leah Remini has been through it all and she will never let anyone walk all over her again.


In her tell-all book, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, she discusses growing up in a religion that taught her how to 'clear the planet' and how she still uses some of the positives from LRH in her life, even after splitting from the controversial religious group. 


Remini explains enough of what she and others went through to allow the reader to decide for themselves if Scientology is a cult or just a religion who request's your whole bank account when the plate is passed. 


For me, it was incredible to read how Remini grew up in this mindset, being as independent and smart-mouthed as she is. You would think someone as strong as her would have realized the atrocities happening within her own church sooner. 


That is not the case though, as she explains how tough it was to be audited every hour of every day for years and the commitment that had to be made in order to feel like she was a 'good person' by LRH standards. 


Definitely a great read with snarky comments on the people Remini thought were there for her, and how she has overcome her fear of being free. 



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text 2015-12-10 18:03
And boy is she trouble!
Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology - Rebecca Paley,Leah Remini

On chapter 5...so hilarious and eye-opening to the world of Scientology and what goes into a 'religion'- if you could even call it that!


Remini is a fast-talking girl from Brooklyn, NY and she wrote this tell-all so everyone knows what the real deal is about Scientology and their obsession with Tom Cruise. 


Can't wait to get home from working and continue reading!



Source: www.amazon.com/Troublemaker-Surviving-Scientology-Leah-Remini/dp/110188696X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449770513&sr=1-1&keywords=troublemaker
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review 2015-12-08 00:00
In Front of God and Everyone
In Front of God and Everyone - Nealy Wagner

This book surprised me on many different levels, good and bad.

The premises drwe me in this time. Two boys, grown up in a cult in the bumfuck of nowhere, have to leave their home and survive in a world they know very little about. AND they have a crush on each other. What's not to like, right?

In theory, really not much. And there were quite some things I liked. The MCs were sweet, but not overly easy. Some of their struggles felt foreign, yet understandable. The writing was good, better than I feared, because yes, I am a little wary when it comes to debut books. I'll always give them the benefit of the doubt, but I also tend to go in a little sceptical. Can't help it. But there was no reason for concern here. Some ióf it might have been a tiny bit stilted, some dialogue might have seemed somewhat artififcal, but all in all I really couldn't complain.

What stuck with me most, though, is the massive potential of the story, all lying idle. Because there were so many moments that should have been more suspenseful, but were resolves too easily. The inner struggles and the fights with real life were there, but almost always had a superficial feeling to them. I was hoping for more every-day problems - like language, like issues of faith and guilt and self-discovery. It wasn't that it wasn't all there. But it wasn't enough, at least not for me. And it left me with a sense of dissapointment that I wasn't really able to shake. Even the conflict between the MCs wasn't what I was hoping for. The resolution, again, cam too easy, too fast, for me. And not all of my questions were answered.

All in all, I enjoyed this one, but I can't say that it blew me away. My issues might be my own, but because of them I can't give it more than 3.5 stars. I liked it, it was okay, but I was hoping for a lot more.

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review 2015-08-05 02:35
Coming of Age at the End of Days
Coming of Age at the End of Days - Alice LaPlante
ISBN: 9780802121653
Publisher: Grove Atlantic
Publication Date: 8/4/2015 
Format: Hardcover
My Rating:  4 Stars
A special thank you to Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

COMING OF AGE AT THE END OF DAYS by Alice LaPlante is a quirky dark look inside a troubled girl’s mind, spiraling out of control, and her search for a higher purpose and meaning— with a dystopian, apocalyptic twist, highly charged psychological suspense, and haunting exploration of family, cause, faith, and relationships.

Following a desperate search for meaning in life, a depressed teenager turns to a doomsday cult for answers and support.

Anna a teen, living in Sunnyvale, California in a sixties housing development subdivision, she is sixteen when the darkness descends. She has had hints it was coming with interludes of deep sadness over the past twelve months. Mourning, triggered by the smallest things. Depression. She feels her body is the true enemy. She is awaiting for the expiration date to be released from the pain.

Her mom begins reading her the Bible (literature purposes), which once belonged to Anna’s grandmother, giving them some time together. Anna is fascinated. Dismayed as much by Anna’s fixation on death found in Revelation as by her depression, Anna’s parents and her therapist try to trace Anna’s current state back to its roots. She was a loner and had trouble sleeping. She never really fit in. She has a therapist, Dr. Cummings. They continue feeding her pills and she is terrified when her therapist mentions hooking her to a machine and shooting her with electricity.

Her parents remove everything in her closet, and razors, afraid of suicide. She is in love with death. Her therapist tells her to go through the motions. Her mother enjoyed music and her dad loved charting and graphing geological seismic activity. They are running out of options to help their daughter. Have they already lost her?

In February of Anna’s junior year of high school, the Goldschmidts move in next door, active members of a religious cult and there is Jim, as well and teachers in her life. Anna is drawn in by their prophecies and beliefs as well as their fifteen year old son, son, Lars. Anna and Lars are both outcasts at school. Anna is drawn to something and grabs hold and she is content hearing about the Tribulation. The earthquakes, the Antichrist, the evil, corrupt, the armies – exciting to her. The church members are stockpiling, goods, saving money, preparing for the end.

After Anna begins dreaming of a cryptic Red Heifer, she is even more excited about the Rapture, and is no longer in her depressed stage. The religious community is a breath of fresh air for her, with her cold parents – offering her a real connection.

Her parents are atheists, and liberal-minded, and have no clue how to handle their daughter’s new found obsession. She feels she is part of the prophecy. However her new beliefs may push her over the edge. However, she now has found a purpose, she is driven, and alive.

An intimate story of destruction, loss, death, love, sacrifice, and renewal--a dark, and haunting exploration into complex relationships. Having read Alice LaPlante’s previous books, a gifted writer --deep and psychological.

Even though the book was dark and deals with religious cults, many young teens are drawn to a cause, and can get caught up and mislead in dangerous ways. Even adults have a purpose as the mother loved music and the dad science--Anna needed a connection. I did not enjoy this topic as much as LaPlante's other books; however, Anna’s character was well-developed, as we get to experience her journey.

A thought-provoking and entertaining novel, and an ideal choice for book clubs or discussions with a variety of perspectives. May also have a strong appeal for the YA audience.

Turn of Mind
Circle of Wives



Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!Coming-of-Age-at-the-End-of-Days/cmoa/558ddc880cf2bba695389643
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