Amazing true story, beautiful, horrific, courageous. I couldn't stop reading.
This book will take your breath away. From an abusive household in AlbertAmazing true story, beautiful, horrific, courageous. I couldn't stop reading.
This book will take your breath away. From an abusive household in Alberta, Canada as a child whose escape is found in old National Geographic books, Amanda has no idea how much she is learning about escaping into her mind or how much she will need this in her future. Her future as she sees it is travelling to the many countries she reads about. After she and her brothers move with her mother to a safe house, she starts planning for a future to include this travel.
Amanda Lindhout's memoir is a masterpiece of how the mind can change itself whenever it needs to, how it compensates, over-rides, and deals with the worst kinds of trauma to keep lifeblood flowing. But not to get ahead of myself, first Amanda finds a way to earn enough money to finance a trip to South America. The first of many trips interspersed with coming home to work for more money. As a cocktail waitress, she has advanced through the ranks until she is in a place to earn high tips, enough to make a trip every year. This takes her to countries in South and Central America, Asia and Africa as what she considers a beginning to many more amazing places. The writing in this stage of the book is absolutely wonderful, bringing to mind all those National Geographics, while she backpacks her way through these countries, we feel we are seeing what she is seeing, experiencing what she is experiencing. She makes us feel what she is feeling, and it is consistently beautiful. Some countries like India and Pakistan she visits more than once, but then she begins to expand her horizons: Afghanistan, Iraq, Bangladesh, Ethiopia....
Between trips she turns again to cocktail waitressing, but her need to be somewhere exotic takes over every year, and each trip she gets deeper into dangerous territory. She travels fr a time with a freelance photographer, decides that next trip she wants to show the world to everyone. She becomes a freelance photojournalist, occasionally selling photos and stories to various papers and magazines. She has teamed up with Nigel, another freelance photographer, an Australian. When she decides to head into war zones, she asks him to join her and he semi-reluctantly does. Here the book shifts dramatically. It is 2008 and she has chosen to go into Somalia.
Once in Somalia, known as the 'most dangerous country in the world,' everything changes. Although at first she and Nigel are enjoying the relatively 'safe' city of Mogadishu, on the fourth day she, Nigel, and their drivers are abducted by extremist Muslims. Assuming that all North Americans are rich, their abductors set an impossibly high ransom, which their parents are unable to even come near to paying and their respective governments have no intention of paying. Thus begins their ordeal which will last for 463 days of captivity and isolation. Kept in one room at first, they pretend they want to convert to Islam as a way of staying alive. They are visited sometimes by their captors wanting to learn English, and to teach them the Koran.
As time goes by and their captors' demands are not met, they are moved from house to house, always in the dark. Nigel and Amanda escape from one of the houses and are recaptured. From that point on, the two are completely separated and are shackled; Amanda gets the brunt of punishment as a woman, which includes rape, beatings and torture but she is able to separate herself in her mind from what is happening, a product of her childhood days. She is kept in complete darkness, later she is also bound and gagged. As fever takes over, beatings and rape continue almost daily but she is now living in her mind and guided by a calmness brought on by what seems to be a voice and is able to use different approaches to this separation of her being and her mind. Her mind's eye sees a beautiful house, one that she constructs room by room, floor by floor, until it reaches the sky. A focus for survival.
When finally rescued, neither Amanda nor Nigel are able to comprehend the fact that they are free. They can't comprehend that the food they are given is meant for them, they are fearful it will be taken away or they will be beaten. Both are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and it will take a long time to learn how to handle that. It may never be gone. But Amanda has built that inner strength from her ordeals and although the fear is always with her, she becomes forgiving of many things, including forgiving herself.
In the Epilogue, we learn that she founds a non-profit organization, the Global Enrichment Foundation to help provide and support education in Somalia, and partnering with other groups, funding scholarships to thirty-six Somalian women attending university, among other projects. This book is gut-wrenchingly real, powerful, and well-written; although the memories and fears of the atrocities are obviously very much a part of her, she has chosen to move on with her life in a positive way. ...more
Fast paced, she has only 2 days! Great cast of characters and storyline
Blockbuster beginning to this latest of the adventures of Sandy Reid. BlockedFast paced, she has only 2 days! Great cast of characters and storyline
Blockbuster beginning to this latest of the adventures of Sandy Reid. Blocked in by an SUV and a truck, her little Miata convertible doesn't have a chance, nor does Sandy. She realizes too late that this isn't just a traffic jam. She is being abducted, blindfolded and ducktaped across her mouth. Meanwhile, her law partner and boyfriend Chip, are waiting for her to celebrate winning a very large lawsuit, $400,000 in fact, half of which is coming to Sandy. On the other hand, the abductors want to relieve her of all of that money.
Taken to the swamps of Florida, kneeling in muck still unable to see or speak, with a gun against the back of her head, Sandy is just waiting for the final moment. But it isn't her that will be killed if she doesn't get them the money, it is Chip and it is within two days. Rod Hoisington certainly knows how to get the reader's attention.
On her release from her captors it's off and running for Sandy as she frantically tries to round up the money with her law partner, co-recipient of the award, while at the same time trying to solve who "Dick and Jane", who take great care to not be seen, are. Of course, Sandy is one tough cookie, and she is determined to solve the crimes of abduction and extortion, but finds herself blocked in every direction. But getting the money and placing it in almost plain view is not the best plan in her mind, and soon it is clear it was the worst possible plan. Because there is now a dead body and the money is gone.
Warned off from investigating as usual, of course she will not leave it up to the law! This is too important, if "Dick and Jane" didn't get the money, Chip has only hours to live. Where first there seem to be no leads, soon she racks up too many in her panic. With her lawyer partner and friend Martin trying to keep her safe, he has his hands mighty full.
Rod Hoisington knows how to keep us on the edge of our seats. A unexpected and sudden loss, some hilarious confusion, dead bodies, and a little help from the police, all are packaged into a bundle of too many strings, but with her cop friends, Martin her professional partner, almost diametrically different in character, and her own out-of-the-box methods, one finally pulls the right string. Great surprise ending! Are there changes in store? I couldn't put the book down, and it's not often that I will read a book at one go. Intriguing 5th installment of the Sandy Reid series, one of the best....more
A bizarre and fascinating fantasy, it kept me wondering what would be the next surprise. Kensington Roth has a writLexi Spiderwoman by Kensington Roth
A bizarre and fascinating fantasy, it kept me wondering what would be the next surprise. Kensington Roth has a writing style all his own. A slow start that had me wondering what the point was, soon became clear it was setting the stage. Kensington's writing in this stage reads much like a screenplay in the way it describes thoughts, his character's perceptions and the perceptions her colleagues have of Alexandra Fine. For instance, you can quickly tell that Alex has been at the receiving end of bullying in the past, and a form of it in the present. Though smart and beautiful, she has low self-esteem. The importance of this as to her character becomes a pivotal point when the story really gets rolling. Scene settings are also written in the same descriptive yet abrupt sentences. Once set, the flow changes into story-telling mode.
Keeping a black widow spider as a pet may seem ludicrous to some people, but then some people keep poisonous snakes for pets. No one can doubt that Lexi has found a pastime that she enjoys, feeding her pet with insects and watching in fascination how the spider reacts, even to the point of the spider learning tricks such as pushing one insect aside for Lexi to give to her personally at which time the spider gives her a little "love nip". This little game is quite important to the story as it goes along.
Lexi works as executive secretary for the president at an oil trading company, an influential and coveted job that includes assisting at house parties and even hobnobbing with the rich and famous occasionally. She is also the single mother of a teenage daughter, Lindsey, who is absorbed with chat rooms on the internet, much to the consternation and worry of her mother. When she falls prey to one of the cyber-predators and disappears, Lexi understandably becomes distraught, and perhaps this trauma also acts as a trigger to the changes in her character. Whatever she has connected to with Ophelia, the black widow spider with her beautiful red hourglass marking, comes even more to the fore. The black widow spider is notably sexy and draws every male widow to her. So, when Lexi suddenly shows her sexiness, we begin to notice why the details of the spider are important. She also begins to be amazingly strong and develops into a superwoman. The changes in the character are exciting and fun and progress throughout the book.
I have no intentions of ruining the plot for prospective readers, so I will leave these hints and suggest reading the book. What has happened to Lindsey? Is she still alive? Will they find her in time? Who could have taken her? There are several twists and turns, and surprising suspects. The antics of Ophelia and the tragicomic storyline make this a stand-out plot, especially with the timely subject of cyber-crime, a terrible crime against young people that needs to be brought out such as the author has done with this entertaining book. I am happy to give it a good review because the potential for a future featuring this comic but human superhero is fantastic....more
I went into this book thinking it might be lighter reading, somewhat like a fascinating cosy, but immediately found out how wrong I was. Fascinating, yes, but this plot is much more sinister, a significant, fast-paced thriller. This story has a deadline which must be beat! An arrogant, self-centered sensational reporter, Suzanne, with her own show, Judgment Day, is about to find out she has taken on more than she can handle. Somebody wants her to meet her own judgment day.
Teens are disappearing, most of them runaways who presumably won't be discovered as missing. Is there any connection? Her boyfriend has just been killed while driving her car. They traded cars for the day because he was worried she would have an accident, and he wanted to take it in to be checked out. Somebody is trying to kill her.
Who wants her dead? The father of her boyfriend? The senator she has been investigating? The Reverend she has accused of building his mansion with church funds? The District Attorney who is in such a hurry to prosecute her? Or maybe it's the widow of the school principle her allegations caused to commit suicide. Suzanne has been arrested for a murder she didn't commit. Her rich father has posted bond and she is back on the prowl for information.
Only one thing is sure, she is onto something, but since she hasn't been doing her homework, sensationalizing her accusations to boost her ratings without proper authentication of her facts, she doesn't realize what she has. Her lawyer knows he needs good investigation if he is going to win her case. Enter her ex-fiance, now a private investigator, and his suspicious female partner who knows their romantic history from the college they all attended. Marcos and Alexandria (Alex) suddenly find themselves baby-sitters, while trying to learn what is happening to the missing teens and if they are truly missing or just hiding. Their assistant Razz, a technical whiz who can achieve amazing results, starts digging to find out why the D.A. is in such a rush to get the murder to trial.
Everyone involved is fighting demons of their own, but somehow they must keep Suzanne safe and find out who is framing her. She certainly does not understand what she has done, how much damage she does with her lack of attention to the details of truth. She constantly takes chances as though she is immortal.
Lots of action in this book, and with so many possibilities for suspects, there are lots of red herrings, but are they really? Or is every one of them involved? This is a good storyline, up-to-date, and a fast read. I found the book intriguing and the more I read, the more I needed to. My attention was held all the way through. It is not just a case of who and why, but how many are involved. The character of Suzanne is pretty straightforward. We do get to learn what drives her, though, which gives the reader a different perspective from that which runs all through the book. Razz is a likeable character even while dealing with the death of his wife. Marcos and Alex are great characters I'd like to meet again. They work very well together.
Wanda L. Dyson has produced a great plot, involving a totally unexpected crime that is current, and delivers it with aplomb. There is in this atrocity more than the usual known facts about the dangers to teen-age runaways, and a lot more money can be made. This is a plausible, newer hazard, and profitable to people with the right connections and lack of principles.
A very entertaining treasure hunt and thriller, somewhat reminiscent of the "Sisterhood" series by Fern Michaels with its mixed group of heroes. JeanA very entertaining treasure hunt and thriller, somewhat reminiscent of the "Sisterhood" series by Fern Michaels with its mixed group of heroes. Jean Sheldon has written an adventure based on legend and history from the invasion of the Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s and the discovery of a journal presumably dated from 1539.
The reader is brought into the story very quickly with the abduction of Jacqueline Tracy, who has unwittingly purchased this journal at a book auction because she liked the carved leather cover. She has a tendency to forget about auction purchases until they are delivered and so is unable to tell her kidnappers where the journal is.
Jackie's friends, almost all middle-aged including Jackie, soon realize she is missing. The police won't do anything until there is more information, so the women turn to Jackie's friend Nicole, an ex-cop and now private investigator. Little do they know the abuse Jackie is going through, nor the kindness of one of her captors, a giant of a man.
Her group of merry girls manages to rescue her, but they are incredulous when Jackie hires Chuck, the captor's 7'4" assistant, to be her bodyguard, and she won't take "no" for an answer. She is sure he is a good man and didn’t want any part in the kidnapping but had his own reasons for being involved. What impressed her was his kindness and his assistance in helping with her escape. Their group now numbering six including Jackie's Aunt Beth and Chuck, starts trying to sort out what the kidnapping was all about. While Jackie was away, a parcel that had been overlooked in a delivery truck finally made its arrival, and of course, it is the journal being sought after by somebody pulling the strings in the background regarding Jackie's kidnapping. Someone with a great deal of money and a ruthless greed.
Gwen, a psychiatrist in their close-knit group of friends, is able to translate most of the ancient Spanish, touching off a decision to go to New Mexico. Several things happen that hurry them on their way. Our modern group sets off on a vacation which, though exciting, is not at all the kind of excitement they expected or wanted.
There are several interesting characters in this book, not all in a good way. Our motley but hardy crew is made up with Jackie and her adventurous aunt Beth. Beth Tracy has raised Jackie in Chicago from childhood, the city where all their friends live, but still maintains the house in New Mexico where Jackie lived before her parents died. Pat, whose partner recently died, lives with her cat Zodiac above the bookstore Jackie owns. Nicole, the P.I., Gwen, the psychiatrist, and Chuck, Jackie's new friend, bodyguard and excellent cook. Then there are the "bad" guys under the thumb and threat of one psychotic "Conquistador".
This book surprised me. I learned some history along the way, the legend of the "streets paved with gold" as understood from the journal, that middle-age can be exciting, loyal friendship is a wonderful thing to have, and when you are being chased by a madman always watch your back! Ms. Sheldon has mixed adventure, terror, history, and the beauty of New Mexico into a story I didn't want to put down. The characters, even the worst of them, molded a certain fascination into the story. I feel with these characters she has the makings of a series, though I have no idea if that is in the author's future. She has written a variety of books and possibly prefers stand-alone stories. I want to keep my eye on this author's output, I'm sure it will be interesting....more