cults

Jan 2, 2019

With an impressive cast,

Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Chris Hemsworth, and serious breakout star of 2018 contender, Cynthia Erivo

Bad Times at the El Royale  is the follow up to Drew Goddard's critically acclaimed directorial debut, The Cabin in the Woods...

   

   The El Royale Hotel was once a hot celebrity getaway, frequented by the likes of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.  Its days of glory are over, however, as a series of strangers check in to an otherwise empty hotel.  There's a priest (Bridges), a vacuum salesman (Hamm), a singer (Erivo), and a woman

Dec 29, 2015

Reading Brianna Karp’s memoir of losing her job, home, and family reminded me in many ways of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. Except instead of embarking on a months-long solo hike, as Strayed did, Karp faces the challenges of living in a trailer in a Walmart parking lot. With no water or electricity. Frustration at Brianna’s “unwise” choices (surrounding her involvement with a fellow homeless gent) is always followed by a heart-wrenching family story that would have left me a gelatinous blob.

Most compelling are Karp’s explorations of her own potential racism, degree of homelessness, family history

Freedom's Child

By Jax Miller
4
Rated by Katie S.
Jul 28, 2015

Freedom Oliver's past has caught up with her - or at least Nessa Delaney's past has finally found her. When Nessa's husband Mark is shot to death in their home, she is quickly convicted of the crime. Forced to choose between leaving her son and unborn daughter with her horrible in-laws or giving them up completely, she chooses the latter. After two very long years she is released and her brother-in-law is found guilty. Under the Witness Protection Program, Nessa has been Freedom Oliver for nearly twenty years. Living in Oregon, she works at a small biker bar, is the town drunk, and is always

Sep 30, 2013

Lawrence Wright’s journalistic writing is the perfect voice for the subject of Scientology. In the hands of most other writers, Scientology would float into the ether, a dark and unfathomable history left unread by sensible readers.  That said, though Wright offers Scientology an even-handed approach, his book is full of strange stories, made stranger when compared to the seemingly (sometimes) sane and healthy lives of people who are associated with Scientology. 

Wright’s aim, he tells us, is to “learn something about what might be called the process of belief.”  He describes in detail the

Aug 25, 2013

Gated by Amy Christine Parker is a high anxiety filled novel that continues to build until the very last chapter. Lyla is seventeen, and has been living in a cult called the Community, since she was 5 years old. However, to Lyla her life is ideal as she follows the words of her leader Pioneer without question.  The reader can tell that she is in a dangerous situation, that is only going to get worse, but to Lyla life is normal. Parker makes the interesting choice to use 9/11 as the reason the cult was created and why Lyla’s parents fled (in addition to a kidnapped younger sister). 9/11 proved

The Leftovers

By Tom Perrotta
3
Rated by Helen H.
Apr 4, 2013

In The Leftovers, Perrotta puts human relationships under a microscope, sometimes to chilling effect. The town of Mapleton has never stopped reeling after the Sudden Departure, when large numbers of random people simply vanished into thin air. When the smoke clears, those left behind not only grieve for their friends and family who are suddenly gone, but also wonder why they were spared (or not spared). Cults are formed, hate groups emerge, and others just try to pick up where they left off. The story focuses on Mayor Kevin Garvey. While he didn’t lose anyone directly to the Sudden Departure

Aug 13, 2012

Rebecka Martinsson is heading to her hometown in northern Sweden to help Sanna, an old–now estranged–friend, who found the body of her brother following his horrific murder.  Rebecka, an attorney, left Kiruna years ago in disgrace and has not looked back.  The author deftly weaves Rebecka’s back story with the events surrounding the murder investigation.  At the center are three pastors of a cult religious group who have made a pact of silence and refuse to answer the questions of Rebecka or the doggedly persistent–and very pregnant –policewoman (reminiscent of FARGO).  Each character is well