Fallen (Review)
reviews* / January 9, 2015

I heard a lot of good things about this series over the past few years, and I finally got around to reading it for myself. I didn’t really know what to expect, just that it was a teen romance and that it included fate and angels.

After Obsession (Review)
reviews* / January 8, 2015

Let’s start with the positive. I loved the alternating narrators, switching off between Aimee and Alan’s points of view. It was cool to get inside both of their heads and see the events of the story from more than one perspective, especially since so much of the conflict is internal. I also really liked the concept of the story, the attention to detail in the background of the setup – like the pieces about Aimee’s mother – and the inclusion of Native American culture. It’s really rare for YA books to include any kind of diversity, and this wasn’t just a token mention: Alan’s spirituality is a key element in After Obsession.

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape (Review)
reviews* / January 7, 2015

Title: Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape Author: Jenna Miscavige Hill Narrator: Sandy Rustin Publication Year: 2013 Pages: 416 (audio length: 12 hours) Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com From the cover: Jenna Miscavige Hill, niece of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, was raised as a Scientologist but left the controversial religion in 2005. In Beyond Belief, she shares her true story of life inside the upper ranks of the sect, details her experiences as a member Sea Org — the church’s highest ministry, speaks of her “disconnection” from family outside of the organization, and tells the story of her ultimate escape. In this tell-all memoir, complete with family photographs from her time in the Church, Jenna Miscavige Hill, a prominent critic of Scientology who now helps others leave the organization, offers an insider’s profile of the beliefs, rituals, and secrets of the religion that has captured the fascination of millions, including some of Hollywood’s brightest stars such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta. If I wasn’t already skeptical about Scientology when I started reading this book, it would have completely won me over. Beyond Belief is a terrifying story about how an…

Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist’s Wife (Review)
reviews* / January 6, 2015

Title: Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist Wife Author: Irene Spencer Narrator: Laural Merlington Publication Year: 2007 Pages: 432 (audio length: 14 hours 10 minutes) Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com From the cover: Irene Spencer did as she felt God commanded in becoming the second wife to her brother-in-law Verlan LeBaron. When the government raided their community – the Mormon village of Short Creek, Arizona – seeking to enforce the penalties for practicing polygamy, Irene and her family fled to Verlan’s family ranch in Mexico. Here they lived in squalor and desolate conditions with Verlan’s six brothers, one sister, and numerous wives and children. This appalling and astonishing tale has captured the attention of readers around the world. Irene’s inspirational story reveals how far religion can be stretched and abused and how one woman and her children found their way out, into truth and redemption. Listening to this book was painful. Not because it was poorly written, or because the narration was bad. Not at all. It was painful because I just wanted to shake the author and everyone around her throughout pretty much the entire story. It was like watching a disaster happen and not being able to stop it….

Alif the Unseen (Review)
reviews* / July 12, 2013

Title: Alif the Unseen Author: G. Willow Wilson Publication Year: 2012 Pages: 448 Genre: Fiction Source: Purchased from Kinokuniya From the cover: He calls himself Ali – few people know his real name – a young man born in a Middle Eastern city that straddles the ancient and modern worlds. When Alif meets the aristocratic Intisar, he believes he has found love. But their relationship has no future – Intisar is promised to another man and her family’s honour must be satisfied. As a remembrance, Intisar sends the heartbroken Alif a mysterious book. Entitled The Thousand and One Days, Alif discovers that this parting gift is a door to another world – a world from a very different time, when old magic was in the ascendant and the djinn walked among us. With the book in his hands, Alif finds himself drawing attention – far too much attention – from both men and djinn. Thus begins an adventure that takes him through the crumbling streets of a once-beautiful city, to uncover the long-forgotten mysteries of The Unseen. Alif is about to become a fugitive in both the corporeal and incorporeal worlds. And he is about to unleash a destructive power that…