Monday, March 30, 2015

Cut me loose

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Nan A. Talese (January 21, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385538091
  • Author: Leah Vincent
  • Cover art: I love the contrast with the torn stockings.
  • Obtained: Purchased
  • Overall rating: *** out of 5 stars

Cut me loose by Leah Vincent
Reviewed by Moirae the fates book reviews

Leah Vincent was born into the Yeshivish community, a fundamentalist sect of ultra-Orthodox Judaism. As the daughter of an influential rabbi, Leah and her ten siblings were raised to worship two things: God and the men who ruled their world. But the tradition-bound future Leah envisioned for herself was cut short when, at sixteen, she was caught exchanging letters with a male friend, a violation of religious law that forbids contact between members of the opposite sex. Leah's parents were unforgiving. Afraid, in part, that her behavior would affect the marriage prospects of their other children, they put her on a plane and cut off ties. Cast out in New York City, without a father or husband tethering her to the Orthodox community, Leah was unprepared to navigate the freedoms of secular life. She spent the next few years using her sexuality as a way of attracting the male approval she had been conditioned to seek out as a child, while becoming increasingly unfaithful to the religious dogma of her past. Fast-paced, mesmerizing, and brutally honest, Cut Me Loose tells the story of one woman's harrowing struggle to define herself as an individual. Through Leah's eyes, we confront not only the oppressive world of religious fundamentalism, but also the broader issues that face even the most secular young women as they grapple with sexuality and identity. (Synopsis provided by goodreads)

After reading Debroah Feldmans book, I wanted to read more stories of women in a different sect of Judaism then I am familiar with. Vincent's book was about the Yeshivish community, that is one I am not familiar with, so I promptly ordered the book and eagerly awaited it's arrival hoping to learn about this sect of Judaism.

I was left wanting more. I wish she would have told the readers more about her childhood and her background and why she was sent away. Honestly, this was more about her sexual experiences after leaving, which at times for me felt a little like over sharing, but that is just me and could be partly due to my upbringing and my own religious views. (It's just not spoken of that bluntly in my circles.)

Yes, I know it's said right in the description about the sexual aspect of the book, but I was not expecting it to be that blunt.

Aside from that, I did enjoy the book well enough, and I felt that she had a unique voice and I did learn a little about a new sect of Judaism.

If you are uncomfortable with blunt speak about sexuality, this book may not be for you, if that doesn't bother you and you want to learn about a lesser known sect of Judaism, then this may be the book for you. I would however pick up another book by Vincent.

So say we all!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

I'll meet you there

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (February 3, 2015)
  • ISBN-10: 0805097953
  • Author: Heather Demetrios
  • Cover art: Simple, but I like it.
  • Obtained: Purchased.
  • Overall rating: ***** out of 5 stars

I'll meet you there by Heather Demetrios
Reviewed by Moirae the fates book reviews

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.
(Synopsis provided by Goodreads)

I hadn't heard of this book to be honest. I only found out about it from fellow blogger Sarah at Novel Novice. She had a review and author guest post for the book and after reading the guest post I immediately drove to the book store and picked this one up.

I am so glad I did. This book was amazing. And amazing does't even seem to be the right word to describe this book. It was beautiful, it was funny, it was moving it was heart breaking. I actually hugged this book when I was done. It touched me that deeply. The only other book I've ever been moved by in the same way was Personal Effects by E.M Kokie.

I have a love of books about the military. I wish there were more YA novels that told their stories, but sadly at this time there are only a small handful.

During the few days I spent reading this book, I fell in love with Josh. His character is someone who's actions (in how he treats others) honestly if I knew a guy like that I'd probably want to smack him. However, and that is a huge however. His charm more then makes up for it and I know I would end up being friends with him and not smacking him.

The way Demetrios wrote this book was nothing short of phenomenal.  Told mostly through Skylars POV, we do get a few short chapters in Josh's POV. Which were more of him talking in his mind to his friends from the military. It was a unique view into his mind and in a way it explains why he treats people the way he does and I think that is why I can forgive his actions.

I know it's still early in the year, but I think this book is easily going to be my favorite of the year, I honestly don't see another book coming close to this one, if there was a higher rating then five stars this would take it.

So say we all!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


It's Purim! Was ill most of the day and the past week. But thankfully I am well enough to read the Megillah and I had a small cup of wine to celebrate Purim. I don't feel well enough to go to the various parties, but I have more time to read a few things and have more posts up soon!
Happy Purim to all who are celebrating!

So say we all!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Mystics, Mavericks and Merrymakers

  • Paperback: 255 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (August 6, 2004)
  • ISBN-10: 0814751970
  • Author: Stephanie Wellen Levine
  • Cover art: I like the simplicity.
  • Obtained: Bought
  • Overall rating: **** out of 5 stars

Mystics, Mavericks and Merrymakers by Stephanie Wellen Levine
Reviewed by Moirae the fates book reviews

  • From the ardently religious young woman who longs for the life of a male scholar to the young rebel who visits a strip club, smokes pot, and agonizes over her loss of faith to the proud Lubavitcher with a desire for a high-powered career, Stephanie Wellen Levine provides a rare glimpse into the inner worlds and daily lives of these Hasidic girls.
    Lubavitcher Hasidim are famous for their efforts to inspire secular Jews to become more observant and for their messianic fervor. Strict followers of Orthodox Judaism, they maintain sharp gender-role distinctions.
    Levine spent a year living in the Lubavitch community of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, participating in the rhythms of Hasidic girlhood. Drawing on many intimate hours among Hasidim and over 30 in-depth interviews, Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers offers rich portraits of individual Hasidic young women and how they deal with the conflicts between the regimented society in which they live and the pull of mainstream American life.
    This superbly crafted book offers intimate stories from Hasidic teenagers' lives, providing an intriguing twist to a universal theme: the struggle to grow up and define who we are within the context of culture, family, and life-driving beliefs. (Synopsis provided by Amazon)

    I read this one as I have a friend who is Chabad Lubavitch and she is from Crown Heights. I wanted to learn more about her community as Chabad is very different from Messianic. 

    While reading this book I learned that the extreame  kindness is an attribute for the whole group. I have met a few others who are Chabad and every single one of them has been such a genuine and kind person. This book shows how that is a staple in that community. 

    Each of the ladies in that were interviewed in this book were very different. There was one girl who questioned her community and her religion, I found her story to be the most interesting in its own way, I wanted to know why she had questions why no one would answer the questions. I didn't get all the answers to her story that I wanted sadly. 

    I did enjoy how Levine describes how she went back to talk to one of the girls to get her to sign a release so that her story could be used. I was interested to see how the more "free" girls of the book had changed so much.

    Of course all of the girls are not called by their actual names in the book to protect their identities. 
    If you are interested in the Chabad community and want to know more I would encourage you to read this book.

    So say we all!

Friday, February 13, 2015

No Falling Behind this week

Hey y'all I know I didn't post a review or a FBOF this week. I had midterms this week and I am getting ready for Shabbos which starts in 2 minutes. Just wanted to let y'all know what was going on. I will have a review up on Monday. Have a great Saturday! If you observe Shabbos I wish you a Shabbat Shalom!

So say we all!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Falling Behind on Friday 9

Falling Behind on Friday is a weekly meme hosted by me. In this one, we all pick a book that has been on on TBR pile for a long time. (At least one month.) That we just haven't gotten to yet. Or a book we have been meaning to buy and haven't picked up. I know most of us have massive TBR piles and this is a great way to single out one to share with others.
To be clear the book must already be published. I am sure we all find many that we either didn't know about or that we have forgotten about.
So, to participate, simply grab the "Falling behind on Friday" graphic above, post  the cover art to the book you have fallen behind on and leave a comment linking me to your post so I can stop by and see it. Also, be sure to add the instructions in your post so others can play too!

This week I am falling behind on

Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world's most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan's only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it's too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?

Half Bad is an international sensation and the start of a brilliant trilogy: a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive.

What are you falling behind on?

So say we all!

Monday, February 2, 2015


  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (February 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • Author: Deborah Feldman
  • Cover Art: Love it
  • Obtained: Bought
  • Overall rating:**** out of 5 stars

Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman
Reviewed by Moirae the fates book reviews

The child of a mentally disabled father and a mother who abandoned the community while her daughter was still a toddler, Deborah was raised by her strictly religious grandparents, Bubby and Zeidy. Along with a rotating cast of aunts and uncles, they enforced customs with a relentless emphasis on rules that governed everything from what Deborah could wear and to whom she could speak, to what she was allowed to read. As she grew from an inquisitive little girl to an independent-minded young woman, stolen moments reading about the empowered literary characters of Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott helped her to imagine an alternative way of life. She had no idea how to seize this dream that seemed to beckon to her from the skyscrapers of Manhattan, but she was determined to find a way. The tension between Deborah’s desires and her responsibilities as a good Satmar girl grew more explosive until, at the age of seventeen, she found herself trapped in a sexually and emotionally dysfunctional marriage to a man she had met for only thirty minutes before they became engaged. As a result, she experienced debilitating anxiety that was exacerbated by the public shame of having failed to immediately consummate her marriage and thus serve her husband. But it wasn’t until she had a child at nineteen that Deborah realized more than just her own future was at stake, and that, regardless of the obstacles, she would have to forge a path—for herself and her son—to happiness and freedom. (Synopsis provided by Amazon)

As a Messianic woman, I was interested in learning more about a different sect of Judaism. I must say that the sect Feldman is from is very different from how I was raised and how I live. Not different in a bad way, just different. 
These types of books can be hard to review as I feel like I am reviewing the authors personal life. Instead of talking about what I liked and didn't like about the book, I'm going to talk about what happened in the book and the writing style.

I think it's safe to say that Feldman had a difficult childhood. She grew up in a very strict religious family. She doesn't tell a lot about the laws of Judaism so if you aren't very familiar with the laws and customs you may find yourself doing internet searches for terms used in the book.

I did love how she described Sukkot. Which is one of my personal favorite holidays. Her descriptions of the holiday and of her life in general, were very vivid. They make the reader feel as if they were there in the room with Feldman, which is always a wonderful experience for a reader.

Some of the scenes were painful to read. The way Feldman writes is so powerful that the emotions almost leap off the page and we can feel what Feldman felt.

I do think that she was brave to leave everything she knew behind and to move out into the secular world, that is something that many people could never do. I know I would never be able to leave all that I knew for  a world foreign to me.

If you are interested in learning about the Orthodox Jewish community or if you like to read stories of strong women, I would highly recommend this book.

So say we all!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Falling Behind on Friday 8

Falling Behind on Friday is a weekly meme hosted by me. In this one, we all pick a book that has been on on TBR pile for a long time. (At least one month.) That we just haven't gotten to yet. Or a book we have been meaning to buy and haven't picked up. I know most of us have massive TBR piles and this is a great way to single out one to share with others.
To be clear the book must already be published. I am sure we all find many that we either didn't know about or that we have forgotten about.
So, to participate, simply grab the "Falling behind on Friday" graphic above, post  the cover art to the book you have fallen behind on and leave a comment linking me to your post so I can stop by and see it. Also, be sure to add the instructions in your post so others can play too!

The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper

A Shakespeare type story! I love those there has only been one that I truly hated. That one I put in the recycle bin. It was awful! I have had this one in my TBR Pile for a long time. I need to pick it up and give it a read. 
What book have you fallen behind on? Leave me a comment and let me know. I'll be sure to stop by.

So say we all!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Heaven is for real mini review

  • Paperback: 163 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Original edition (November 2, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 0849946158
  • Author: Todd Burpo
  • Cover art: Simple, but less is more sometimes.
  • Obtained: Bought
  • Overall rating: **** out of 5 stars.

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
Reviewed by Moirae the fates book reviews.

When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren't expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed--a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy's trip to heaven and back.

Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery-and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.

With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how "really, really big" God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton's uniquely simple words, "Heaven Is for Real" offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, "Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses."

"Heaven Is for Real" will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child. (Synopsis provided by goodreads.)

This book was a very quick read. The writing is more simple, but I think that due to the nature of it, that actually helps the book. I think 12 year olds could easily read this and be able to understand what Burpo wanted to communicate. I do think however, that it's a book that needs to be discussed. It is a conversation starter.

I was intrigued by Colton Burpo's descriptions of Heaven. As a Messianic, I believe in Christ, and Heaven. Yes, this book is "aimed" to believers, but it's not preachy, and non-believers can enjoy it as well of course.

I found it interesting how the child knew a ton of things that no one had ever told him. 
I would recommend this book if you liked the movie (which is super close to the book) or if you want to know what a boy saw when he went to Heaven.