What I Believe

I believe:

That we are spiritual creatures on a human journey

That most animals are more intelligent than humans

In peace, acceptance and respect of everyone, regardless of the skin color, nationality, who you love, what gender you identify with, religion, or political party affiliation. I may not agree with your opinions, but I will defend your right to have them.

That we all are in need of love, home, comfort, food and medical care.

That when Jesus said “Love one another…” He didn’t finish the sentence with “except”.

We are all in this life together to help our brothers and sisters.

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Featured post

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Small Great Things

This is such a wonderful book that I’m reposting my review.

I was thinking today of some of my greatest influences, even as a child. Dr. King, Selma, Maya, Mahalia and Dinah Washington.  For some reason, maybe reincarnation? I have always felt a pull.  The first time I heard Dinah sing, “This Bitter Earth”, I cried. When I heard Mahalia sing, “It is No Secret”, I cried.  Maya’s “Still I Rise”, Dr King’s “I Have A Dream”, and when I learned of the events in Selma, I cried.  And recently, after reading Small Great Things.  I don’t cry easily, I really don’t.  And I can’t stand racism, bigotry and xenophobia.

Back to Small Great Things. This book moved me to tears. It is sad, poignant, though-provoking, touching, gripping and compelling.  Without a doubt, this book will be on my favorites shelf.

I have often said that I am “colorblind and a humanist”. I very much believe that everyone should be regarded equally with respect. To me, we are all God’s children. Black, white, gay, straight, Hispanic, Asian, Muslim or Mormon none of it matters to me as neither does creed or religion. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, I believe you should be able to live your life, in peace.

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?  The infant ends up dying and Ruth is charged with murder and committing a hate crime.

Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

A couple of poignant statements:

“I am not a racist, Ruth. And I understand that you’re upset, but it’s a little unfair of you to take it out on me, when I’m just trying to do my best—my professional best—to help you. For God’s sake, if I’m walking down a street and a Black man is coming toward me and I realize I’m going the wrong way, I keep going the wrong direction instead of turning around so he won’t automatically think I’m afraid of him.” “That’s overcompensating, and that’s just as bad,” I say. “You say you don’t see color…but that’s all you see. You’re so hyperaware of it, and of trying to look like you aren’t prejudiced, you can’t even understand that when you say race doesn’t matter all I hear is you dismissing what I’ve felt, what I’ve lived, what it’s like to be put down because of the color of my skin.”

“Active racism is telling a nurse supervisor that an African American nurse can’t touch your baby. It’s snickering at a black joke. But passive racism? It’s noticing there’s only one person of color in your office and not asking your boss why. It’s reading your kid’s fourth-grade curriculum and seeing that the only black history covered is slavery, and not questioning why. It’s defending a woman in court whose indictment directly resulted from her race…and glossing over that fact, like it hardly matters.”

Oh my God. I am guilty of that and I am sorry.  I would never intentionally dismiss what anyone has lived through, especially the black community.  A tweet today from the Women’s March:  “Throughout history, violence has been committed and justified in the name of white womanhood.  Terence Crutcher is no exception.”

I remember Dr. King saying “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”  And I am left with the question, what can I do to make a difference?

 

Featured post

Reclaiming Raven by Mary Holt

See this at Amazon

I was contacted by Mary to review her debut novel.

Trigger warning: abuse, stalking, extreme violence. No animals were harmed at all.

Raven is a disabled woman who is being stalked by her abusive husband.  She has been battered brutally by him and has suffered greatly at his hands.  He is powerful and mentally deranged.  She is able to finally get away from him and keeps running away until money runs out.  She has to rely on well meaning strangers for her freedom and safety.

Mary is able to bring to life a complex, intelligent, strong and fiercely independent character in Raven.  She is human with her flaws, after all though, and learns that when she is at her weakest, is when she is at her strongest.

The supporting characters are described well enough to either enjoy, root for or really dislike, like Kelsey.  Mary also paints the situations and towns with a well lived brush stroke. She should though, you see, Mary was a foster mom to two disabled girls for 20 years.

I sputtered at the ending, because it’s a bit of a powerful cliffhanger, but then realized that Mary is already working on the next novel follow up with the continuing storyline.

I do happily recommend Reclaiming Raven.  It’s gripping at times and hard to put down.  Add another one to the to be read pile!

Charlottesville ~ One Year Later.

Perfectly said by my friend Kim. I just want to add, racism is taught behavior and can be unlearned. It must be! For God’s sake, we all bleed the same blood.

By Hook Or By Book

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On August 12th, 2017, the Unite the Right rally, made up of white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-nazis, and militias, descended on the college town of Charlottesville, Virginia ostensibly to protest Confederate monuments that were being taken down or moved.

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But these were not peaceful, respectful marches. No, this was a display of hatred and intimidation. 

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Before the end of the day one man ran his car into a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters, injuring 19 people and killing 32 year-old, Heather Heyer.

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Another Unite the Right rally is set for tomorrow in Washington D.C. in front of the White House. Hopefully this one won’t end in tragedy as well. As I personally reflect upon the last year, I’m sad to say that nothing has changed as far as racism in America and is it all that surprising when we have a president who can’t bring himself to unequivocally condemn racism…

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A Personal Note from Me: Sister FOUND!

Many families keep secrets.  I hate secrets.  I was born in 1967 in Miami, as the result of an affair.  My parents later married, I THINK.  What I was told, was that my bio dad left when I was a year old.  That he moved to a different state, and remarried.

When I was roughly 17, I asked stepdad number 3 and my mom if I could look for bio dad.  That was 1984, back before computers were in everyone’s home.  I didn’t get anywhere at that time.  Jump ahead to 2001, my mom had passed and even though I bugged her all the time for information about him, she claimed ignorance.  Same with my maternal siblings, somehow, no one remembered anything about him.  Were they married?  Yes. No. Maybe.  Don’t know.  Don’t recall.

I began hiring places like 1-800-US-Search who guaranteed they could find anyone or money returned.  Well, money was returned.  I tried another outfit, who at least found many possibilities of relations, as well as possible addresses.  Some were in Miami, some in NC and some in CO.  Doing more research on my own, I saw a name of a lady who was a few years younger than me.  Same last name, at least.  Perhaps I had a sister?

I kept doing searches on the Internet.  I asked mom’s husband number 1 and 3 (same guy) what he knew.  He gave me information that possiblly bio dad was an Army Ranger.

More research…. discovered bio dad had passed away in 1992. This broke my heart, obviously.  I had so many questions and things I wanted to say.  I would never see his eyes, his smile or feel his arms around me.  After a while, I continued searching for more answers.  I began doing genealogy research on MyHeritage website in addition to Ancestry, Family Search, Family Tree, etc…  I found out he had had 2 brothers and that my grandmother buried all 3 of her sons in addition to her own husband.

I had enough information to go back to the 1500’s on my mom’s side, a direct line to me from Queen Victoria and all kinds of fun and odd history.  A city in NC named after one ancestor and yet I couldn’t find anything else on bio dad family.

July 20th I was on Find A Grave website, doing back traces and I saw that someone else kept leaving virtual flowers on my bio dad’s family graves.  Who was this person?  I sent them a message.  The next day she messaged me back.  I read it and fell back hard in my chair.  This person was related to me and wanted to know if I wanted to get in touch with a couple of cousins.  Oh. My. God. YES!  and then the most beautiful words…. would you like to contact your sister?

My sister.  MY SISTER.  I still can’t believe this is real and that I’m really in touch with her.  She’s smart and beautiful and funny and is so positive and happy.  Forty damn years apart and finally, we have connected.   SO many similarities.  She’s also a massage therapist (like me), she was born in Colorado and I was born in Miami.  She lives in Florida now and I live in Colorado.  Her first job was working in a library, and so was mine.  She loves reading, cooking, animals and the outdoors.  For fun, she races boats… ok, that I don’t do, lol.

So if I’m not on here and I’m late with book reviews, I will get to them, I’m still reading, I’m just, wow, mind freakin’ boggled. And happy, thank God, I have found my sister!

 

Sold On A Monday by Kristina McMorris

Based on a stunning photograph in depression era America, the story is about two people who work to reunite a family. It’s 1931, and a reporter who is out on an assignment, takes a photograph of two boys playing in front of an old farmhouse. He is stunned when he sees a sign that reads “2 children for sale”. His intention was not for publication, but for personal, a reminder of the younger brother he lost as a child. Lillian, who also works at the paper, finds the photograph and includes it in with the other pictures to be published.

The photograph is published nationwide and leads to Ellis’ big break, but a mistake has been made and he and Lillian race against the clock to right the wrong.

The story was thrilling, well written and a very enjoyable read. Lillian is strong and protective and is a good balance against Ellis, a woe begotten misfit,

It’s sad to know how often this happened during those dark times in American history, but be sure to read the authors note following the story.

Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks for the ARC

The Delivery Girl by Tony McAndrew

The Delivery Girl

When I read this book, I was blown away by the imagery the author is able to portray.  Gritty, dark, emotional and powerful.  Honest to God, I thought I was reading something by John Grisham.  He’s that good.  I thought there’s no way this is the first novel.  I receive a lot of requests to review new authors and it’s something I enjoy doing.  Sometimes I get clunkers, sometimes, pretty good, but wow, this is one of the BEST books by a new author I’ve read.

Anna Ramanova is a 9 year old girl who is abused by all of the kids at school on a daily basis.  She is bullied, beaten up and emotionally abused at school.  She’s very smart and has a photographic mind.  Her home life is even worse.  Her mother was murdered by her stepfather but the police believe it to be an accident.  Her step father and step brothers are all part of a large drug operation.  Anna’s job is to deliver drugs via her bicycle all over town and during all hours of the night.

Her life is bleak and she keeps wanting to kill herself but can’t make her body do what is needed.  One day she is at her mom’s grave when she sees a statue of archangel Michael.  She climbs up, hugs it and prays for help.  The next day, a stranger is there to help her when the school bullies are trying to force feed her dog feces.  His name is Mikhail and they soon become fast friends.

My friends, I could not put this book down.  I finished it a week ago and it has stayed with me, every day.  As someone who has survived child abuse, mentally, physically, sexually, emotionally, abandonment and neglect, I love a story when there is someone there to rescue someone like little me.  I am at a point in my healing where it is safe for me to do so.  But for those of you who are not, or are sensitive to such tragic issues, this may be a difficult story for you to read,  Also, there is an incident of dog fighting.  When I realized what was about to happen, I skimmed ahead a few pages for I’m very sensitive and triggered by animal abuse.

This is a terrifically written story, it is meaty, edgy, and wonderful.  Thanks to Tony for writing such a fantastic novel.

 

Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts

I live in a state which has had 2 tragic, terrible mass shootings: one in a high school and the other in a movie theatre.  So I was a bit startled when I started reading Shelter in Place which begins with a mass shooting in a theater and mall.  Once I could catch my breath again, I was drawn in the story.  For fans of her “In Death” series, you’d probably enjoy this book.  If you tend to enjoy more of Nora’s lighter books, not so much.  We’re taken into the mind of a killer, a definite narcissistic psychopathic bitch from hell.  She’s hunting down the survivors of the mall and/or their family, one by one throughout the country.

The characters are strong, I love CiCi, a self-proclaimed hippie artist and Essie, a present day Eve Dallas.  I grew tired of the villain and her thoughts but really enjoyed Simone and CiCi’s conversations.  I could definitely see a series starring Essie, a detective who was on-site at the shooting.  The story continues from the day of the shooting to about 10 years later.

As typical of Nora’s stories, there are some funny moments, some to shed tears and no weak females.  I love a great thriller and this is definitely one that was hard to put down.

 

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