Tag Archive | religion

Hounded… a Book Review

From a light Australian romance to a humourous and super interesting first in a chronicles book about an extremely (try 2,100 years) long lived Druid in modern day USA. This book is full of wonderful characters, action, humour, paranormal, magic, did I mention humour, because I really LOVED that part of this book.

Hounded by Kevin Hearne is the first in The Iron Druid Chronicles and most certainly will NOT be the last one I read in this series. From the main character (and our narrator and view point the whole story through) the Druid Atticus O’Sullivan (at least that is the name he goes by now) to his dog Oberon (who is beyond a hoot and a half) to his werewolf and vampire legal team… oh I could just go on and on… a human widow (Irish and long lived) who made me laugh from the first meeting on… gods that you are not sure if you should love or hate… OH and everyone hates Thor… I mean EVERYONE! (not the same as movie Thor, apparently the different versions/incarnations of the gods etc exist in different places… belief/power/etc determines that)

All for the want of a sword… that is that everyone has a different opinion as to whether or not Atticus should keep hold of the one he has. With old adversaries blending with new and those on his side at times even questionable, Atticus is constantly sharing a bit of his past here, a thought there, a joke always and his love for his pet Oberon… eternal.

I don’t know that I can sing the praises of this story loudly enough. There is lively discussion about various deities… a lovely bit of a history lesson, characters that seem so real you feel like you just need to get to the place and meet them for yourself. Granted, there is some sexuality (goddesses are traditionally quite naked it seems and so many of the pantheons are full of sex and gore), definitely a bit of gore (for really a Celtic Druid with an insanely important sword… duh), but so much humour and such a well told story! I cannot wait to get my hands on the second one! hounded-9781441870001-lg

Beyond Belief… A Second Look into Scientology…

Totally boned this one… this review has been sitting in my drafts for too long! OOPS! Well, here goes.

In a not too long ago review entry I took a look at the book Going Clear HERE. This book was a rather indepth look at not only the history of Scientology and its current status but at the history and life of its creator – L Ron Hubbard. I have to admit, not only did I find this book educational and interesting but at times humourous. Especially when the author documented many questionable remarks and accomplishments shared by Hubbard to his “church” and the world at large. It was common to read about some honour he claimed only to have it follow up with… and the US army showed that he was … not there, somewhere else, absolutely unable to do such a thing. I found Going Clear to be an amazing introduction to something I had only had prior knowledge of in connection to stars and some comment about aliens…

Now the autobiography Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill was a completely different sort of read for me. I warn you now this is a PERSONAL recount of life inside the organization that is considered under law a church starting at childhood. In the beginning you get the eyes of a child who is wanting to enjoy and please everyone. A child seeing adventure slowly moving into loneliness, confusion and coercion. Then a teenager full of questions, hormones and loneliness and finally the adult she was and then the woman she became.

I found it hard at times to remember how young Jenna was. So much occurred as she grew up and the expectations of behaviour and understanding were so out of whack with what I would consider my own children capable of that you would be shocked when the author reminded you of her age at one point or another.

As a parent the idea of following a religion or organization that demanded you leave your children behind to be raised and molded to fit a specific ideal is repugnant. Jenna and her brother were for all intents and purposes abandoned to be raised by the church… this is where I honestly had to slow down and take breaks in my reading (something I have rarely had to do with a non fiction book).

Beyond Belief allows you to see the process of indoctrination and acceptance of something that seems (to me) almost ludicrous and infantile. The author brings you along through it all… through her childhood, the lack of freedom and the lack of family… through the teenage years with confusing regulations and absolutely no soft place to land, through love and loss and romance and marriage (and a firm understanding that she had to fight for it all against belief, family and regulation) and finally to escape.

Jenna’s story is even more intriguing when you look at her maiden name – Micavige is the name of the current head of Scientology and her blood connection to the man she calls uncle. The actual level of control and manipulation due simply to who she was born as is not clear until the ending. But what is clear is that Jenna has worked hard to become what she is today… a brilliant mother, spouse and advocate.

Once you have made your way through this book please do check out her website that is run with help of other past Scientology kids… www.exscientologykids.com. There is something to be said for hearing about a community from the inside as well as the outside looking in. I think that these two books together – Going Clear and Beyond Belief are a wonderful way to get a good grasp not only on what Scientology is but on how it can keep people so enthralled.

As always I would love to hear the opinions of others on the books I have read… so do comment if you are familiar with the books or have something to share to better my understanding!15827066

Blowing on Dandelions… a Book Review

Blowing on Dandelions by Miralee Ferrell is the first in the Love Blossoms in Oregon Series. A historical romance, this story deals with the emotional pain that can be the difficult and strained relationship with one’s mother. The need for faith and trust and a love of God to renew and build anew torn relationships and broken hearts.

Love and a faith in God and a willingness to simply lay down your problems and worries at God’s feet help our main character, widow Katherine to not only mend her relationship with her mother who has traveled to Oregon to join her and her two daughters but to see the chance for love with Micah. A God fearing widower with a young son.

I love that not only do you follow Katherine and Micah’s story but two of their children as well, Lucy and Zachary as they all come to understand not only their own hearts and minds but how love can bloom in another’s after loss. Life is not simple in the 1880’s and loss of spouse or child common. Faith becomes difficult to hold onto when you are constantly attempting to stay strong in the face of adversity.

There is a boardinghouse full of characters with minor stories of their own to read about as well. Katherine is a woman in need of strength while at the same time trying to find a way to give all to the Lord and be weak in His eyes. The imagery of a dandelion blowing in the wind is so beautiful.

“Katherine Galloway’s soft exhales sent the dandelion fluff dancing on the warm current of air, but it didn’t bring the anticipated relief. Gripping the stem, she sat in the grassy field with her eyes closed and waited. Why didn’t it come? It had always appeared years ago when she needed it. How long had it been since her mind had drifted away to a place where nothing could hurt her? Fifteen years? Twenty?

She shook her head and an errant curl tickled her cheek.

More. Many more. But always her memory returned to those times when the dandelion fluff had carried her away to a place where mothers were loving and kind, and little girls didn’t need to be afraid of cutting words or sharp voices.”

A Christian Historical Romance, this is a lovely book of heartfelt characters and redemption. For ALL characters there is a chance for peace and love, acceptance and joy…

Blowing on Dandelions

Blowing on Dandelions