Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Coming of rage story!

Harvard and Cambridge educated Tara Westover details a lifetime of systemic abuse by survivalist parent-sibling/captors.

Ms. Westover lays bare decades of harsh physical and mental abuse particularly by one of her siblings and her father. The mother turns a blind eye or blames the victim for prompting the cruelty. Westover shows us exactly what you get in an America that normalizes and tolerates the notion that women are chattel.

There is no true way for Ms. Westover to escape. Early on you realize she can’t leave without funds and a support system of which she has neither. But I found myself repeating the mantra, “just leave, please go, just leave, you’re going to die if you don’t.”

Westover’s salvation comes in the form of education. How she goes from living in the house of evil to matriculate at Harvard and Cambridge is admirable. But on the shadow side, you see that Westover will never escape in full the hell she lived through. It is a true wonder that she wasn’t killed by her father’s lack of attention to safety and her brother’s violent temper. Frankly after this book comes out I would still be very concerned for her safety.

Educated will engage and enrage you and make you realize that evil in the name of God and religion doesn’t lurk among us – it deliberately makes itself known in the name of righteousness.


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Deadlight Jack by Mark Onspaugh

Shamans in swampland. Evil creeples snag children and a duo of shamans save the day.

You won’t get lost in the second of this series by Mark Onspaugh although it would probably be helpful to read them in sequence.

The story of Deadlight Jack takes us into Louisiana swampland and is replete with giant Albino alligators, malingering ghosts, and other gruesome nasties. The writing seems a little scattered. The dialog, especially between Jimmy (Inuit shaman) and George when they are insulting one another, never truly gels.

After saying that, the book was still good enough that I kept reading and stayed up past my bedtime to finish.

This book was an ARC via NetGalley.

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Two Awesome Hours by Josh Davis

Two Awesome Hours: Science-Based Strategies to Harness Your Best Time and Get Your Most Important Work DoneTwo Awesome Hours: Science-Based Strategies to Harness Your Best Time and Get Your Most Important Work Done by Josh Davis
My rating: 3 of 5 Tophats

Nothing revolutionary but Josh Davis from the NeuroLeadership Institute has caused me to do something that tons of other self-help books haven’t and that is to make a conscious change.

The first 69 pages made a strong enough impression that I’ve now posted a note so I am always reminded of the principles of decision points:

” *Savor each decision point.
*Plan your decision points in advance.
*Don’t start a new task without consciously deciding it’s the right one.”

Good stuff!

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The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

The Library at Mount Char
My rating: 4 of 5 Tophats

Anything but mild-mannered librarian, Carolyn, battles to save or is it destroy the world? When you get so much power your good and evil status becomes dicey.

Excellent fantasy about the end of one group of kids worlds and their training to become the lords of the next. Excellent storyline with a strong female protagonist keeps this book moving along like an express train.

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The Terrible and Wonderful Reason Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman

The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long DistancesThe Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman
My rating: 4 of 5 Top Hats

I’m not sure if this is reverse inspiration or full frontal…either way this is a great book in comic form that perfectly expresses how I’m guessing most of us feel about running.

Favorite quote:

“Running is a way of standing up to all the stupid shit in your life and saying: I don’t know how to fix you so I’ll just bend you into workable shapes….I chose not to combat my monsters, I chose to put them on a leash and take them for a walk instead.”

Definitely a winner!

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Things Half in Shadow by Alan Finn

Things Half in ShadowThings Half in Shadow by Alan Finn
My rating: 4 of 5 tophats

Journalist hired to debunk Philadelphia’s mediums in post Civil War 1869 discovers the best medium to murder mediums.

All is not as it appears to be as you’ll soon discover in this thrilling, chilling, story by Alan Finn.

Philadelphia 1869. Mediums abound after the Civil War has run its course. Most of them are charlatans some of them aren’t. Lenora Pastor is the real thing but someone doesn’t want the dead to tell tales to the living.

This is not a gore fest by any means but I found myself checking over my shoulder a couple of times when reading this…and there might have been a light left on overnight…by accident of course. You’ll enjoy the case of the heebie jeebies you’ll get from this tight tale.

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Eeny Meeny by M.J. Alridge

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace, #1)Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

My rating: 4 of 5 Tophats

Clever British set police procedural with a savvy serial killer who specializes in killing two birds with one stone.

Super competent police officer, Helen Grace, has a guilt fetish so strong she meets her master on a regular basis to get beaten till she bleeds…but she’s always in control.

If I had one complaint it would be that Helen tends to blame others before she has the full details which seems a bit screwy since she’s so kick ass in everything else.

Tension is created from the get go and you will come away from this story admiring the solid plot twist. Who will be the last to emerge from this twisted plot and will they ever really recover from having won?

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