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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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?

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Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris

This is bound to be another best-seller from Heather Morris, after her highly successful The Tattooist of Auschwitz. Profound, heart breaking, gut wrenching. Cilka broke my heart but also made me proud of her incredible strength.

16 year old Cilka Klein was taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, close to death for 3 years. Commander Schwarzhuber decides to take her as his mistress, and this is a way for her to survive. Call it what you will, rape is rape. After she is released by the Russians, she is charged with colluding with the enemy.. Despite everything she has already been through, she is sent to the Gulag for 15 years! But she finds love and friendship there in the hospital ward.

Fantastic historical fiction story, Heather Morris explains In a note at the end, what is fact and what is fiction. Powerful read! I had a friend visit Germany with her family recently.  They had stopped at the Auschwitz camp and were moved beyond words.  I can’t imagine the strength, courage and bravery of all those in the concentration camps.  God forgive us for letting it happen.

Flies in the Punch Bowl by Erika Simms

Flies in the Punch Bowl by new author Erika Simms is a delight!  Taking place in Seattle, valuable art has been taken by unknown thieves in a string of robberies from the uber rich.  Annabelle Riley, a fearless and savvy art lover, convinces two friends, Evan and Lyla to help her solve the mystery.  Cleverly written, colorful characters, entertaining whodunit, and laugh out loud wittiness abound in this amusing and wonderful cozy mystery tale.

Simm’s writing clearly shows her wit and talent.  It’s hard to believe this is her first novel as it is extremely well written.  Great flow, amusing characters and vivid details capture the reader and it’s easy to get lost in the story.  Did I mention there’s a historic prohibition speakeasy linked in to the thefts as well?

Lots of twists and clever banter throughout the story and I hope Ms. Simms is already writing a sequel.  Fans of James J. Cudney and Janet Evanovich will definitely enjoy.

Thanks to Erika Simms for sending me an ARC and for your never ending patience. You are a true storyteller.

Breathe by Cari Hunter

This is the first book of Cari Hunter’s I’ve read and I love her. I love her writing, her characters, her storyline, the humor, the creativity. Cari! You’re my new favorite LGBTQ Author!

Breathe is about a Jemima, a sort of ne’er do well with a huge heart of compassion and kindness. She’s an absolute clutz but fantastically lovable. She meets Police Officer Rosie Jones and sparks fly, in many ways. Rosie is strong, opinionated, and funny as all get out. They run into each other upon crime scenes and friendship develops. The story is fun, intriguing and hard to put down. It takes place in Manchester England. My ONLY complaint with the book is that it ends needs a page of frequently used British to American translation. Having to stop and google a word is a pain in the patookas. Albeit, a learning experience.

I definitely recommend reading this sweet and fun lesbian romance published by Bold Strokes Books. Thanks to them and NetGalley for the opportunity to read the book in exchange for a fair review,

Where the Lies Hide by Renee Roman

This story I think is relevant to current affairs with discovering family. Last year, I personally found a sister I didn’t know I had and the author does cover all the “what if’s” very well ie: what if she’s an asshole? what if she’s a close-minded racist twit? what if she’s a professor and thinks I’m an idiot? what if we just don’t get along?

The story and characters were enjoyable and relatable. Cam is such a softy underneath the tough exterior. Sarah was a bit annoying, and I didn’t really care for them as a couple. They didn’t have that spark. I enjoyed the author’s writing and her use of metaphors and analogies. She expresses her character’s emotions very well. Certainly I will read more of hers in the future.

Thanks to NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for providing an Advanced Readers Copy in exchange for an honest review!

Chasing Sunset by Missouri Vaun

Missouri Vaun’s latest lesbian romance novel “Chasing Sunset” is a fun and enjoyable ride off into the sunset. Colorful characters, laughs and a sweet romance blend together to make a tasty read. Two main characters: Taylor Finn, a limo driver who has dreams of becoming a stunt car driver and aspiring actress Iris Fleming who is in Georgia to read for a part. After the audition with a hands-on creep in what could have been a sexual assault, she decides to stay in a cabin that the studio did not pay for, just in case he comes looking for her. In the cabin next door is Taylor, who comes to her rescue when a black bear comes calling. Long road trip to California, the two fall in love along the way. The only critique I have is immediately after the would-be attack, why the hell didn’t she warn the next actress who was walking into the room with the creep?

Thanks to Bold Strokes Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Beautiful Dreamer by Melissa Brayden

Bold Strokes Books has a winner in Melissa Brayden. Beautiful Dreamer, (to be) published July 16, 2019, is fabulous! I love the characters and the story lines. Elizabeth is a sweet, gullible and extremely intelligent, positive and fun small town girl. She runs her own small business and looks at everyday life with a smile and gusto. Devyn grew up in different circles in the same small town but ran off to make her fortune in the big city as soon as she was able. Devyn’s sister Jill is in a terrible car accident which brings Dev back home to the small town where she and Elizabeth form a friendship.  Dev is so wrapped up in her career that she has zero personal life and well, has forgotten the things in life that truly matter.

Brayden has won me over with her writing and I am looking forward to the next story by her. Actually she has quite a few of them already that I need to read! Highly recommend this sweet and fun lesbian romance!

Thanks to NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

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