Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blog Tour: Section 132 - Zeiner

Lillian is only 13 when her parents marry her to a middle-aged Bishop of a fundamentalist sect who practices polygamy. She is forced to live with her new husband’s many wives and children on his compound tucked away in the Canadian wilderness. The hardships of poverty and isolation have crushed the will of just about everybody in his flock. They suffer in silent submissiveness, trying to please their despotic leader. He justifies the humiliating treatment of his dependents by citing ‘Section 132 of the Doctrine & Covenants’ of his fundamentalist religion.

Until, one day, Lillian had enough. But it is dangerous to try and escape the Bishop’s iron rule. He practices blood-atonement, which is quietly sanctioned by the ‘Gatekeepers’, an American secret society within the Fundamentalist Mormon Church. Lillian must find outside help if she ever wants to leave the Bishop’s compound – but how can she do this if she is locked up without any means of communication? Lillian doesn’t know how life outside a compound functions. She only knows that she can not live like this much longer. Many questions plaque her troubled mind. Why do her sister-wives put up with this hardship, knowing only a bleak future lies ahead of them? Where do the child-brides come from, the Bishop keeps adding to his family? Where do some of his daughters disappear to, once they come of age? Lillian’s defiance grows with every injustice she witnesses – until she can’t hide her rebellion any longer. Her desperate struggle to escape draws the reader into a very dark, very dangerous place.

But not all is hopeless. When land developer Richard Bergman buys the neighboring property, Lillian’s luck seems to be changing … 

MY OPINION: You never know what to expect with some books, but I really enjoyed this read. 

When I finally sat down to read it, I quickly realized that I had totally forgotten what the book was about and could not wrap my head around the surprise ending of the Prologue. So, I went back and read the description.  Then I got it! I reread the Prologue, loved it, and dug into the rest.

I'm not a polygamist myself but, based on my reading, this book seemed very researched. The ending seemed far fetched, but we are talking about intentionally private folks in the hills of Canada, so...maybe.

Overall though, it was a great read! Give it a shot.

LINKS: Amazon B&N


A different tale ‘Sister-wives’

Thank you for inviting me to this “Shannonsbookbag’ showcase

I was born in Germany and left my home country when I was only eighteen. After spending the next 20 years working in exciting and exotic places like Sydney and Hong Kong, I eventually settled in Canada.

Leaving my family home as a very young, single girl proves that I have been quite adventurous. I have also always been fiercely independent. So the notion of a girl becoming the youngest sister-wife to one of her father’s friends seemed ludicrous when I heard about such a case for the first time. After researching into it, I discovered that this sensational story was true. I researched even more, found out a lot about the family dynamics inside a polygamous community – and eventually wrote my novel ‘Section 132’ using the true case as a basic anchor point.

I have to admit, while researching and writing this story, I found out things that went way beyond what my usually vivid imagination dreams up. What goes on behind the closed doors of those polygamous sects has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the contrived and construed productions of TV reality shows like ‘Sister-wives’ or ‘Big Love’. Don’t believe for one second that sister-wives are a happy bunch of equals.

Although my novel is fictional, I have been told by many polygamy insiders who have read it, that my research has been impeccable and that I have managed to capture the twisted world of this cult in all its horrid decadence.

I have also been told by readers outside of this life-style that the novel is a page-turner.

That makes me happy. As a writer of suspense novel, it is the biggest compliment when people tell you that they were exhausted because they couldn’t stop reading all night.

I very much hope you too will soon belong to my wonderful circle of sleepless readers.

Helga Zeiner
Author of
Section 132
‘Imprisoned In A Polygamous Sect’
-Thrilling, fact-based page-turner –
June 2012

AUTHOR BIO: Helga Zeiner is a Canadian and German citize.  At the age of 18, Helga completed her arts degree at the Art School of Bavaria and then left Germany. She lived and worked for two years in Australia, and twelve years in Hong Kong.

Since 2004 she has lived with her husband Manfred in the wilderness of British Columbia, about 5 hours north of Vancouver. There they own over 500 acres which they have developed into a gated cabin community, the Rainbow Country Estate.

For as long as she can remember, Helga has been writing novels, usually in her spare time. Today most of her time is devoted to writing, but she also manages a land development company, is politically active, enjoys outdoor sports and loves smoking cigars.

AUTHOR SITES: Website, Facebook, Twitter


Martha knew the Bishop was coming for her. His boots stomped toward the office, and when he unlocked the door, she moved back to the opposite wall, trying to melt into it. The room was only about ten feet deep, and he was threateningly close as soon as he had entered. She saw the gun strap slung over his shoulder. Marion was beside him, her face still wet from crying, but already setting into a mask of acceptance and denial. Empty eyes buried in a stone hard expression. With only minimal movement of her body, she looked like a motionless statue, placed there only as an accessory to her husband, an extension of his wrath, coming alive only to cater to his demands. For the moment, he needed nothing of her except to observe him in all his glory as the executor of the faith. Martha was not scared of him, but she was terrified of the unknown. What cruelty had he planned for her? Would she have to suffer long? It would be easier to bear if she knew what to expect. She didn’t have to wait long. “Get out of here, you worthless piece of shit!” he snapped at her. He slipped the gun strap off his shoulder and casually swung the hunting rifle in front of his massive torso like a trophy. “Here, see this! Fear this! It is the Lord’s instrument of vengeance. He has appointed me to be his executioner. Commanded me to exterminate filthy vermin like you. Get out, you slut, so I can punish you for your sins!” He came closer, lowered the weapon and prodded her thigh with the tip of the rifle. Martha jumped sideways and was forced to move forward and slide past him to the door. He directed her with his weapon. “Bitch! Out with you! Outside! We don’t want a mess in here. Out you go, you miserable creature! I’ll show you who your master is. Move it, bitch, don’t drag your feet.” Martha moved a little faster. She was numb, didn’t even feel herself walking past Marion who remained grotesquely frozen in her stance. The Bishop kept pushing her forward, down the hallway, to the back entrance of the house. “Go, go, go. Let’s have a little target practise. You’d better move a bit faster, or it won’t be fun at all. Outside you go.” He pushed her through the back door and out into the yard. “When I count to three, you run. If you make it over there, I’ll let you live. The Lord will decide.” The distance from the house to the trees was much larger than she remembered. But it didn’t matter; he would get her anyway. Best to go slow, otherwise he might miss and only injure her. “One!” Martha took a deep breath. He slammed his rifle painfully into her back. She nearly lost her balance. “Two!” She forgot her resolution to be an easy target and instinctively started to run. “Threeeee….” She ran as fast as she could, trying to get away from his horrible ‘eeeee’. She practically flew over the ground, driven by her survival instinct, until she stumbled, lost her balance and fell face down on the ground. A sharp slash whipped viciously through her whole body, ripping her insides apart. She was surprised to hear herself groaning, although the excruciating pain of a moment ago subsided into shocked numbness. He had not finished her! Mixed into her total confusion of being shot at, lying on the ground and not feeling any pain, was the realization that something did not fit into the whole scenario. Something did not make sense. She had heard him counting and his final endless, blood curling “eeeeeeeee” still rang in her ears. She was on her knees now, slumped forward to steady herself with her hands, and turning sideways to look behind her. He was also on the ground, holding his side with one hand, the rifle lying next to him. His “eeeeee” had evaporated into a whimper. At the same instant Martha saw the shape of a woman running away from him. Nothing but billowing skirts in a hasty retreat, impetuously heading for the protection of the trees. Anna! Already she had reached the trees. A safe haven for the fleeing Anna; as it would be for her, if she could reach it before he recovered from the injury Anna had inflicted on him. He was already shaking his head like a wounded bear, groaning in an effort to get the nasty foreign object that incapacitated him out of his flank. Martha did not see what had injured him so badly that the air had been knocked out of his lungs, but it must have weakened him considerably. He was wheezing, coughing and gurgling in his angry attempts to regain his stability and was slowly steadying himself. If only she had not been hurt – if only she could reach the cover of the forest before he recovered from the surprise attack. She forced herself to try and scramble to her feet, surprised that she was still in one piece and not cut into two like she had thought. Where did it hurt? Even more surprised, she realized that she was not hurting at all. Her brain finally solved the mystery that had puzzled her before. No shot had been fired! On his last count she had only heard his scream but no shot - no bullet had been flying in her direction. She had stumbled and fallen, that was all. The pain had been imaginary. By now her legs were firmly on the ground, holding her weight, and she started to run. She looked back once and increased her efforts to reach the tree line when she saw that he was already on his knees, groping blindly for his weapon. She literally flew across the yard, her skirt bunched up high, with her feet barely touching the ground. The forest. The trees. There they were. She ran past the first few trees, getting deeper into the woods before she pressed herself behind one wide trunk, panting heavily. She dared to look back. He was nowhere to be seen. He had moved. Where to? She knew her panting was too loud, but she could not stop it, her lungs were screaming for oxygen. It was mercifully dark in the forest, but he only needed to follow the wheezing sounds she made to find her. Anger welled up inside her. She wanted to live! Why hadn’t Anna finished him! She must have been too weak. If only she had a weapon. The frustration of being so helpless made her even more angry. I will fight him, she thought. This time, I will scratch his eyes out before he can hurt me again. Martha slid down the tree trunk until she cowered on the wet cold ground, making herself as small a target as possible. She concentrated on the sounds of the night. He was injured and furious, he would not approach like a seasoned hunter but would storm through the darkness in search of her. When she heard him coming, she could hide or run away from him. She wasn’t quite sure what she would do, but this time she would not make it easy for him.

Every eBook received for review on the tours for Partners In Crime are given in exchange for an honest review. The eBooks are sole property (copyrighted) of the author and should not be sold, distributed to, or exchanged among other people not part of the tours, nor should they be listed on file sharing sites. Failure to comply with this disclaimer, will result in removal from all future tours. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ninety Days - Clegg

Bill Clegg's Ninety Days, a follow up to his memoir Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man, is a voyeur's peek into the life of a newly recovering addict.

Having recently completed a stint in rehab, Clegg is faced with returning to "normal" life, or the life he lived before drug abuse. Clegg is told by his new sponsor that if he can last just ninety days, the period of time during which without a strong support system many addicts relapse and return to using drugs, he will have a better chance of succeeding in sobriety.  Success is more likely during this time if he makes smart decisions like staying away from triggers (areas or people where/with whom he used to use, stressful situations, opportunities to purchase drugs) and if he fills his time with meetings and new friends who are also recovering themselves and can help show him the way.

Clegg attacks this period of his recovery with as much effort and positivity as he can. During his journey, he meets a cast of characters who both aide and impede his progress. And, though he fails on more than one occasion, he keeps getting back up on the proverbial wagon until finally he reaches the ninety day mark and the realization that perhaps, just maybe, this is possible.

This memoir was an interesting look into what happens in an addict's life after he has hit rock bottom and after the safety and security of rehab has been removed. You can not help but feel for Clegg's struggle and root for his success. A very good read...though I wish I had read his Portrait of an Addict... first. 

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.
Confessions of a Psychotic Housewife 
The Jagreview

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

50 Shades of Hilarious!

With all the hype around the net regarding 50 Shades of Grey, I just haven't found the interest in reading it.

Not that I have anything against erotica...I've just heard that it's not written very well. I mean, if you're going to read something like that, it better at least be GOOD, right?!

Anyway, I saw this over at Under My Apple Tree and found it utterly hilarious! Take a peek:

I love Ellen!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Sunday Salon - 07/08/12

If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links.

Outside my window: Another lovely summer day, nice breeze...sucks being stuck indoors!

I am listening to: The radio and the a/c unit.

I am reading: I Got This by Jennifer Hudson, a good, easy read so far.

I am going to read: ...as much as I can this summer!

On the Blog: Been discovering that finding time to blog does not, in fact, get any easier. Another Sunday Salon on Monday...need I really say any more?!

Around the Book Blogosphere: Living vicariously through blogger-friends' children-pictures!

I am thinking: Less than one week until vacation...during which I have way too much to accomplish:
1. Start visa process for Ireland visit
2. Painting living room, dining room and as many other rooms as possible
3. Removing as much baby-diarrhea-green-carpet as possible
4. Yard sale/donations to get rid of years of crap, which will finally open up the porch for summer enjoyment!
5. Set up of crafts area in basement
6. Two Purely Vocals performances in one day this coming weekend
7. Final prep and planning for the first two weeks of August, which includes a BIG performance (possibly thousands of viewers) for Purely Vocals...
8. ...and another little thing, my Wedding-Reception-Cookout! Doh!
9. Hopefully some reading and ice tea on newly clean porch...

I am grateful for: My amaze-balls stepmother who is being so helpful getting this reception-cookout to happen, while she simultaneously helps plan and put on a huge hometown event the weekend before. I did say she was Amaze-Balls!

Around the house: See above...

In the kitchen: Boxes for the yard sale.

High of the Week: Friends over for dinner last night.

Low of the Week:  Hubby was not feeling well yesterday.

Family Matters: Everyone is busy!

The coming week: Crazy work week to prepare everyone for my two week vacation!

Words of Wisdom: 

"Good Lord, take a break every once in a while!" 

Have a great week, everyone!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

June 2012 ReCap...

Source: http://www.chaoticcompendiums.com/

June 2012 Update

June seemed to be a better month reading wise. I feel like I read books that were easier to get through. I still have a long way to go to meet my Challenges, but if I can keep this up I may just get there!

This month I read:
Total Read: 13
Adult: 6
YA/children's: 7
Abandoned: 1

YTD - 46

The Big Snow - Berta Hader
Sam and Lucy - Harriet Ziefert
Go Dog, Go - Phillip Eastman
The Wonder Book of Cottontails
Clara Joins the Circus - Michael Pellowski
Wild Animals from Aligator to Zebra
Miss Rumphius - Barbara Cooney
F in Exams - Richard Benson
Diary of a Player - Brad Paisley
Ninety Days - Bill Clegg
What Teachers Make - Taylor Mal
Up - Patricia Ellis Her

This Beautiful Life - Helen Schulman (may try again later)

Favorite Book(s) of the Month:
Diary of a Player (Brad Paisley)

Challenges Update:
Memorable Memoirs = 10 of 10+ - SUCCESS!!!
Support Your Local Library Challenge = 19 of 37+
Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge = 23 of 50 (2011) + 15
E-Book Reading Challenge = 1 of 5 (one in works)
A-Z Book Challenge 2012 = 18 of 26
What's in a Name Challenge = 4 of 6

This entry was posted in

Teaser Tuesday - 07/03/12

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
-Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 


My Teaser:

"She did not understand the meaning of what was being said. The concept that there were sins that could only be forgiven through the
shedding of the sinner’s blood was foreign to her simple mind. As foreign as the notion that a covenant was everlasting. Everlasting, she had sometimes pondered, was a very frightening word. Nothing lasted for ever; there had to be a beginning and an end to everything. She could not understand it.
What she did understand, however, was the grave danger she was in..." 

Section 132 (Helga Zeiner) - pg. 12-13 (pdf)

Trauma: My Life in the ER - Cole

I tend to enjoy memoirs about things that I could never do myself, particularly medical memoirs. I am enthralled by the medicine, but could not ever imagine putting in the years of study and work required to become a doctor. Trauma: My Life as an Emergency Surgeon by James Cole is exactly that, a very interesting accounting of life as an active ER surgeon. 

Starting with his residency through his time served in various military units, Cole offers stories of saving lives (for the most part) and dealing with the many personalities and struggles that you face in the medical profession.

Cole writes in a very well written, intellectual way and his stories are quite exciting. However, this book seemed to me to really be two separate books: the doctor in the hospital story and the doctor in the field story.  It was clear that Cole had much more to say; and I was waiting anxiously on the edge of my seat to hear it!  I felt cheated that he cut each of those amazing portions of his life down in order to make it one book. But something is better than nothing, I suppose, so I enjoyed what I got. 

A very interesting read if you enjoy the genre. A bit graphic if not.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

What Teachers Make - Mali

At a dinner party one night, Taylor Mali was asked what he "makes" as a teacher. His response was a wonderful poem, which he eventually turned into a performance piece that went viral. He was even asked to perform it at various notable events.

Now, it should be pointed out that I had never heard the poem before and it was only after I finished this book that I went online and watched his performance, which is actaully quite wonderful!  

Check it out: What Teachers Make

In praise of Mali, he does write with a real understanding of teachers' goals and passion for education. He offers several really great chapters that address some major concerns and issues in education today. They are quite good and I really wish he'd taken the time to expand on them.  Additionally, he has used his unique opportunity to inspire new teachers and to support education reform.

Perhaps, had I watched the performance first, I may have felt Mali's passion and love of education when I read his book What Teachers Make, a mix between "how to" and motivational guide for teachers.  Sadly, that was not the case.  For me, the book came off as more boastful than motivational.  He tells great classroom stories, how he got his students to succeed, used technology in the classroom, inspired his students...but offers little to guide teachers toward doing the same themselves. This may be a result of trying to keep the book short and sweet. Not a productive choice in my opinion.

As well, it seems that several of the chapters were written solely for the purpose of displaying Mali's poetry (he is a poet turned teacher turned motivational speaker/poet). With such an engaging personality and such strong writing skills, I would have expected more.

It is my understanding that he has several other books out and I welcome the opportunity to read more. For this book, however, I'll pass and watch the YouTube video instead.

2/5- Just okay.  Choose with extreme prejudice.