Destroying Their God: How I Fought My Evil Half-Brother To Save My Children by Wallace Jeffs, Shauna Packer and Sherry Taylor Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

One man’s journey to escape a dangerous religious group he was born and raised in and the harrowing experience of trying to save his own children in the process comes to life in former FLDS member Wallace Jeff’s novel, Destroying Their God. The book, (written also by Shauna Packer and Sherry Taylor), shows the terrifying process of being indoctrinated into a harmful doomsday religion and how despite a lifetime of indoctrination he managed to escape the group, but not without both physical and emotional scars. Here’s the official synopsis:

In 1991, Wallace Jeffs was coerced to become an FLDS polygamist. 

In 2011, Wallace rebelled against the sect, and the FBI helped him reclaim his kidnapped children.

Then an “accident” put Wallace into a forty-five-day coma. 

Growing up as half-brother to future Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saint prophet Warren Jeffs, Wallace tried to follow FLDS teachings. After he built a successful business, the church required him to marry a second wife. Wallace fathered twenty children, but he never felt comfortable with polygamy or many other FLDS beliefs.

As his prophet-brother increasingly manipulated him, Wallace started hearing about FLDS atrocities. On the day the FBI arrested Warren Jeffs for child rape, the prophet was en route to reclaim Wallace’s second wife for himself. Wallace defied the prophet and soon ended up in a coma. Though Wallace feared FLDS sabotage caused his car crash, he kept fighting the sect.

With today’s movement against male abusers, Wallace’s story reminds us that power and position don’t corrupt all men. In 2018, Wallace found resolution by marrying an LDS woman in the Salt Lake Temple. At the same time, he renews our concern for the thousands who still live under FLDS control, including some of Wallace’s own children. 

This is one of the most tragic, heartbreaking yet important reads of 2018. This is the kind of story people can connect with on multiple levels. For me, I’ve always been angry about all of the innocent people who’s lives are destroyed by religious cults and curious how the indoctrination process claims so many lives. As a non-religious person, I was always curious how people could get so ingrained into a religion’s policies no matter how strange or ridiculous they seemed to the rest of the world. Thanks to the incredible bravery of Wallace Jeffs defying his brother and the church he spent a lifetime serving, the world at large can garner a far better understanding of indoctrination as a whole.

The book goes into incredible and tragic detail on the religion and it’s actions. From the strange laws that dictated their appearance and interactions with the rest of the world, to the inner workings of polygamy and the apocalyptic beliefs that drove people to do or allow unspeakable things to occur. The book also allows readers to get better insight into the behavior and mindset of the sick religious leader who is deemed “prophet” in this religion, and that’s Warren Jeffs. Wallace and this incredible writing team showcase the rise of this criminal, whom his brother describes as “the most evil person to walk the earth”. From his early years being groomed to be the religion’s poster boy, to his sick pleasures and the mind games he played with the followers, including his own brother.

Overall this was an amazing book to read. Definitely one of the best books of 2018, Wallace Jeffs, Shauna Packer and Sherry Taylor have brought to life an emotional, heartbreaking and yet vital tale of escaping a toxic environment. You also get to see how he learns how to integrate himself into society years later than most and the physical and emotional struggle of one father who’s love for his children gave him the strength to fight the only group he’d called family to save his kids. This is a must read book, so be sure to grab your copy in eBook, audiobook or paperback formats on June 6th, 2018!

Rating: 10/10

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Interview with Mathias B. Freese

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Never begin a sentence with “well.” [a writer should break rules.]Well, writing, for me, was characterological. It was a consequence of a repressed and depressed childhood and adulthood. It was the spume of a discontented and directionless youth, of misspent energies and unclear goals. It was the product of an outer directed self. Aimless, un-fathered and un-mothered, I was benign neglect incarnate. There is much truth in the adage that we grow old too soon and smart too late.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

All of my books are not inspired; they are made from moving trends in my own personal reflections. When my thoughts founder upon a reef, I take the wreckage and begin to make order from disorder. A writer shapes experience. This book is a second memoir; the first was youth and young adulthood, lunacy, foolishness and recklessness; a land of mischief and misbehavior. The second memoir is more reflective, an older man’s thoughts, hopefully wiser, perhaps not; we are all fools until the day we die.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

In my memoir I carry on an imaginary conversation with Thoreau; however, he says nothing as I speak to him about the issues of my life. I keep Thoreau silent, for the questions I ask and the answers I get are solely of my own creation. The latent message of this literary conceit is awareness, or the awakening of intelligence, to cite Krishnamurti. Thoreau, as I see him, was consumed by the meaning of experience, of how to live an aware existence. In many ways he was a scold, hectoring us, berating us, pushing and shoving us into assessing what we are doing as human lives from moment to moment. I have been obsessed, if that is the word, with understanding who I am, and how to deal with existence since a young man. And so my affinity for Thoreau. This is an old man’s memoir filled with a young man’s ardor and exuberance.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I am free. [“I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.”—Kazantzakis] I took an arrow from my quiver and it read memoir and I tried this genre free of whatever memoirs are supposed to be.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

All the characters in my stories and essays and novel and memoirs emanate from me., at the very least are projections of myself. The essential questions I ask are ones of meaning, intention and purpose in life. In the last essay of my memoir I ask all the questions I have ever asked of myself to an imaginary Thoreau. I would hope the reader attaches his kite to mine and sets flight.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I am not interested in my readership. I have deconditioned myself from that. I have no interest in twitter and all the rest. I try to get my books reviewed or seen without going nuts over it. I write for my pleasure, to divine who I am. I write for no one else. To write for others is a kind of emptiness, or outer-directedness. Who said I had to have readers? Who said I have to be read? What is it I want is all that matters. I sell a smattering of books and engage a few people in literary discussion such as this piece, but that is all. I march to a different drummer.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Advice is generally used or secondhand; use it sparingly. It must always be questioned. With that caveat, I’ll say the following. Constantly reference yourself; look up quaquaversal which appears in my memoir. It is the source from which other things emanate. Trust yourself. Techniques can be learned and schools can teach that; but since you are the last of your kind, and no one will be like you ever again, it’s best to discover all you can about yourself through mentors, philosophers, therapists and most importantly the awakening of intelligence. Continually decondition yourself of state, religion and authorities of any kind. When you are free, your writing will be a song.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I may have written my last book. I am not sure. I hear fragments in my mind that may turn out to be stories. To wit, “It is here. Oh my…Oh my….” Strikes me ominously. I’ll see. I have no future. I have the moment, so why waste time on a future tense.

 

And Then I Am Gone: A Walk with Thoreau tells the Story of a New York City
man who becomes an Alabama man. Despite his radical migration to simpler
living and a late-life marriage to a saint of sorts, his persistent pet anxieties and
unanswerable questions follow him. Mathias Freese wants his retreat from the
societal “it” to be a brave safari for the self rather than cowardly avoidance, so
who better to guide him but Henry David Thoreau, the self-aware philosopher
who retreated to Walden Pond “to live deliberately” and cease “the hurry and
waste of life”? In this memoir, Freese wishes to share how and why he came to
Harvest, Alabama (both literally and figuratively), to impart his existential
impressions and concerns, and to leave his mark before he is gone.

Book Awards:
• The i Tetralogy: Allbooks Review Editor’s Choice Award 2007
• Down to a Sunless Sea: National Indie Excellence finalist Book Awards 2007 &
• Allbooks Reviews Editor’s Choice Award 2007.
• This Mobius Strip of Ifs: National Indie (Winner) Book Awards, 2012 & Global
Ebook Award finalist, 2012.
• I Truly Lament: Working Through the Holocaust: Finalist in the 2012 Leapfrog Press
Fiction Contest out of 424 submissions, Beverly Hills Book Awards, Winner;
• Readers’ Favorites, Five Stars; Indie Excellence Book Awards, Finalist; Readers’
• Favorite, Book Award Winner – Bronze medal
• Tesserae: A Memoir of Two Summers: 2016 Los Angeles Book Festival Honorable
Mention, Great Northwest Book Festival Winner in Biography/Autobiography
• Category, Runner-up in General Non-Fiction Category in the San Francisco Book
Festival, Winner for General Non-Fiction in The Beach Book Festival & Runner-Up
in General Non-Fiction in the Paris Book Festival

 

MATHIAS B. FREESE
is a multi-published,
award-winning author,
writer, teacher and
psychotherapist.

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And Then I’m Gone: A Walk With Thoreau by Mathias B. Freese Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

One of the most thought provoking memoirs in recent years challenges readers to examine not only the world around them but how they are living their lives in author Mathias B. Freese’s novel And Then I Am Gone: A Walk With Thoreau. Here’s the full synopsis:

And Then I Am Gone: A Walk with Thoreau tells the story of a New York City man who becomes an Alabama man. Despite his radical migration to simpler living and a late-life marriage to a saint of sorts, his persistent pet anxieties and unanswerable questions follow him. Mathias Freese wants his retreat from the societal “it” to be a brave safari for the self rather than cowardly avoidance, so who better to guide him but Henry David Thoreau, the self-aware philosopher who retreated to Walden Pond “to live deliberately” and cease “the hurry and waste of life”? In this memoir, Freese wishes to share how and why he came to Harvest, Alabama (both literally and figuratively), to impart his existential impressions and concerns, and to leave his mark before he is gone.

 

This was one of the most unique and creative memoirs I’ve read in recent years. The story of the author’s journey in his later years in life allow us as readers to take the time to appreciate not only our own lives, but challenges us to think critically and take the time to find meaning in our lives. It does a marvelous job of using past life experiences, history, humor and classic pop culture references to contemplate the current state of our world. From the rise of Donald Trump as the United States President and what it says about the mentality of the nation as a whole to the hours spent on subjects like religion and life views that end up dividing us when there’s no need for it, this book is a perfect read for anyone looking to find meaning and purpose.

Written almost like a diary entry or an actual conversation between the author and the philospher Henry David Thoreau himself, this story exudes insight, psychology and honesty. It shows the power of hope in tumultous times, while also showing the history of the world and the threat of being doomed to repeat it in our modern times. It’s as much a reflection on our society as it is on himself, and despite the title’s ominous overtones, this story is not one of loss and hopelessness but one of learning from our own pasts and finding the will to reflect on our lives and come to terms with it. It’s a story of love, loss and life itself, and deserves to be read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copies of And Then I Am Gone: A Walk With Thoreau by Mathias B. Freese today!

Rating: 10/10

 

About the Author

Mathias B. Freese is a writer, teacher, and psychotherapist who has authored six books. His I Truly Lament: Working Through the Holocaust won the Beverly Hills Book Awards and the Reader’s Favorite Book Award, and it was a finalist in the Indie Excellence Book Awards, the Paris Book Festival, and the Amsterdam Book Festival. In 2016 Tesserae: A Memoir of Two Summers, his first memoir, received seven awards.

 

Torn 2: The Continued Story of an Undeserving Wallaby Drowning in a Septic Tank by Simon Williams Review

The complicated story of a father trying to reunite with his son continues in author Simon Williams Torn 2: The Continued Story of an Undeserving Wallaby Drowning in a Septic Tank. Here’s the synopsis:

What is the only thing that could inspire someone to willingly walk through hell on earth? When we are prepared to die we stop apologizing for who we are, what we have done, and what we go through.

For Simon Williams, his bizarre journey through life found him looking over his balcony in his mid-forties contemplating the end. What happens next is a heartbreaking, gritty and remarkable tale told with sardonic wit, frank honesty, and a unique perspective on life as Simon struggles to rediscover the meaning of happiness.

The second book in an eye-opening series about what it means to savor every day of your existence and believe in yourself to overcome all odds. An inspirational story for anyone who faces tough times. After reading what this man goes through you will know what facing up to fear is and realize you have the power to do whatever it takes to tackle any issue in life head on.

Book two of this often humorous but constantly heartbreaking tale focuses on the continued fight to regain custody of a son from another country that refuses to recognize the rights of a parent not from that country. Using unfiltered and honest language and a blend of funny life stories, common sense fails from the world around him and emotional struggles to reunite with a son he hasn’t seen in years, the book does a great job of connecting the reader with the narrative. The novel does a great job of continuing to showcase the vast differences between the United States and the rest of the world, from the tragedy of the US healthcare system to the reality of politics and the politicians that represent us. It also shows the continued struggle for equal representation in the eyes of the law in various nations and the physical and emotional toll of a father fighting to hold his son in his arms once more.

Overall this was a wonderful read. Full of wit, honesty and a small glimmer of hope for book three in the series, Torn 2 does a great job of bridging the continued story of a passionate father trying to bring back his son and using his life experiences to connect to his present reality. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Torn: The Story of an Undeserving Wallaby Drowning in a Septic Tank by Simon Williams Review

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warning: This book deals with the subjects of suicide, mental health and more. It also features strong language.

Torn: The Story of an Undeserving Wallaby Drowning in a Septic Tank is the story of Simon Williams. The author himself writes about the troubling circumstances that led him to contemplate the end of his life, and the struggles of life in general. From adjusting to a life in America much different than the one he grew up with in Australia to the pitfalls of the American Healthcare System and the heartbreaking realization that the person you love can be the ultimate source of betrayal. Here’s the synopsis:

Ever wonder what could drive a young man to suicide? Mental health is very much a taboo subject. Who wants to admit to the world that they are struggling with it?

For Simon Williams, his bizarre journey through life found him looking over his balcony in his mid-forties contemplating the end. What happens next is a heartbreaking, gritty and remarkable tale told with sardonic wit, frank honesty, and a unique perspective on life as Simon struggles to rediscover the meaning of happiness. He realizes that only when we are prepared to die do we stop apologizing for who we are, what we have done, and what we go through.

The first book in an eye-opening trilogy about what it means to savor every day of your existence and believe in yourself to overcome all odds. An inspirational story for anyone who faces tough times. After reading what this man goes through you will know what facing up to fear is and realize you have the power to do what it takes to tackle any issue in life head on.

This was definitely one of the most creative and unique memoir style tell-all that I’ve ever read. Filled with rich imagery, humorous and sometimes perilous stories that relate to the main story of the author, and a unique outlook on life many in America would never recognize. The book does a great job of showing how people from around the world adjust to life in America, which is not always an easy thing. It also showcases the mindset and outlook of an Australian native thrown into the chaos that is the United States. Delving into subjects like US Healthcare, US Immigration and the hardship of marriage, this book is a powerful insight into the struggles of everyday life, and finding meaning when your life seems meaningless.

Overall this was a great read. Filled with heart, humor and passion, the story was well written and deserves to be read. With two more books in the series, the story of one man’s struggle to reunite with family and find a purpose in his life is a must read. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up book one of Torn by Simon Williams today!

Rating: 8/10

 

HEY DOORMAN: The 5th True Tales of an Uncommon Bouncer in Los Angeles (and the short film HUMOR) by Haji Outlaw

The acclaimed writer of The Eric Andre show Haji Outlaw (otherwise known as John P. Kildemm, has brought together a brand new entry in the acclaimed book series true tales of an uncommon bouncer in Los Angeles, as well as a fantastic short film titled HUMOR. Here is the synopsis for both:

WHAT HAPPENED DURING A DRUNKEN NIGHT WITH HARRISON FORD?
HOW DO WE SOLVE SEXUAL MISCONDUCT?

The answers are a click away!!!

Acclaimed writer, Haji Outlaw, goes under his pen name of John P. Kildemm in the fifth installment of the hit Amazon short-read, Hey Doorman.

HUMOR: A deathly charismatic bear tells the unknown Russian tale of Humor Gredanko. The funniest boy in the history of time. From a brutal winter forest, to an erection, to ravenous boars, comes a darkly comedic story from Haji Outlaw. The acclaimed writer for The Eric Andre show and author of the bestselling amazon ebook series, Hey Doorman.

First off, the book was a fantastic new story that showcases the weird side of the LA bar scene. From idiots who have a problem with used socks to a modern commentary on the sexual assault allegations coming out of Hollywood, this book is an honest, brutal yet humorous look into the modern world and is told with a fresh voice that deserves to be heard.

Meanwhile, HUMOR was a truly unique and original film that was shot beautifully. The funny yet dark tale of Humor Gredanko is a twisted story from start to finish, and the narration and cinematic storytelling was what made this film shine. It’s definitely worth a watch if you are into dark comedies and truly artistic visuals.

Overall Haji Outlaw has brought 2017 to a resounding close. A 5th book filled with humorous and real tales from Los Angeles and a short film that is like no other, the acclaimed writer has done a marvelous job of capturing the modern world in both film and book formats, and if these are any indication then the names Haji Outlaw and John P. Kildemm should be imprinted on your brains as we head into 2018! Be sure to pick up your copies of this incredible book today and follow the author on his social media sites!

Ratings

Book: 10/10
Film: 10/10

Facebook: @hs.outlaw
Twitter: @outlawhaji
Instagram: @outlawhaji

Uber Diva by Charles St. Anthony Review

Sometimes a quick read can be the best read. Rather than going through a few hundred pages of the same story, some authors chose to delve into a shorter narrative that gets the message across in fun new ways. One book that accomplished that this year was Uber Diva by Charles St. Anthony. The story is fun, humorous and informative for both anyone looking to become an Uber driver or passengers in an Uber. Here is the synopsis:

She’s sitting on a secret. The Uber Diva teaches drivers tricks of the trade while instructing passengers on how to avoid getting slapped with a 1 Star rating. Meet the freaks, learn the equipment, and see how this diva survived when a drunk driver T-Boned her car. Based on true rideshare experiences in the San Francisco Bay Area.

This was a fantastic read. Sitting at less than 100 pages, the combination memoir and how-to guide on all things ride-share does a great job of hitting some very real topics. Whether it’s the sad state of our country’s health insurance to the lack of manners or straight up politeness in our society, this book does a great job of calling out the ridiculous situations and behavior that can arise in general, let alone in the life of an Uber driver. It also does a great job of giving a first hand account of an Uber driver, from the strange passengers they pick up to the economic value of the job itself and the inner politics of the companies.

Overall this was a great read that anyone interested in the ride-share culture should get their hands on. A funny, honest and incredible read, author Charles St. Anthony does a wonderful job of bringing a real world and human quality to the culture. If you are going to buy any quick read books this holiday season, be sure to include author Charles St. Anthony’s Uber Diva today!

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Rating: 10/10