Part of the reason so many rapists are able to offend with impunity is that our adversarial system of justice "has erected formidable procedural obstacles to conviction,"...
Driving home the point that Missoula actually has fewer sexual assaults reported than the national average for cities of comparable size and population, Jon Krakauer delves into the justice system as a whole. This part opened my eyes. Why are lawyers not required to tell the truth, just like witnesses are? Why do we have an adversarial (defense/prosecution) justice system instead of inquiry-based that would allow more facts to come to light than answerable in "yes/no" questions? Would this system likely result in fewer false convictions also?
Much more than shedding light and making the Missoula rape and sexual assault scandal, "Missoula" helped me understand the justice system and how it works. More importantly, it gave strong reasoning for why our justice system needs to change as well as obstacles to change.
Reading/listening to this book also changed how I will talk to my own children about consent and made me more aware of teaching my kids about acquaintance rape. Another struggle I am having is deciding whether or not to introduce this book into my high school library's collection. It's graphic. It's jarring. It's a world they may not be ready for. But it's a world some of them already inhabit. It's a world they may want to avoid. It may teach about consent and encourage sexual assault survivors to come forward. It may discourage them also.
It's been a long time since I've wrestled so much with a book.
It's been a long time since a book has changed my perspective on the world.
If you have or someone you love has been sexually assaulted and need help, please visit RAINN for more information.
If I've learned anything over the past two years, it's that most people struggle with those same two gremlins: fear and feeling inferior. (Gremlins are legit scary to me, by the way, dating way back to when I was about six years old.) Sometimes, you've got them under control, and sometimes you spill water on them and they screw up your life. I've taken flying leaps before. Some that worked out and some that didn't work out. I've stopped doing things I love because of fear and an inferiority complex.
Roller derby, which was the love of my life, was the most intense relationship I've ever had. It was a flying leap to get into it. I constantly was pulling myself back because I didn't want to get physically hurt or hurt others. I remember those first few months just saying I was going to make it til the end of the season, then I was going to quit. But then I fell in love with the sport and my team and my identity as a rollergirl. But I never fully gave myself over to it. I always held back. I was terrified. I wasn't good enough. And I was right. The best players are brutal, strategic, well-practiced machines. I was not.
The one area of my life that I am the most certain of is library. I know, it seems weird. My life was in chaos with transitions on multiple fronts, and I couldn't have been more thrilled. I felt like I was moving forward after being encased in stone. While my sunshine-haired boy napped, I sat on my couch chatting with an accomplished woman whose reputation preceded her to our meeting. Ice pack wrapped around my ankle, I confessed to Dr. P (a woman who would later become dear to my heart) that I didn't think I could be a school librarian. I didn't think I was good enough to make it in the Masters program. I simply couldn't risk my family's finances because I thought library "sounded neat."
She took my trembling hands in her experienced grasp, stared into my eyes, leaned forward and said with conviction, "You would make an excellent school librarian."
Still doubting myself, I signed up.
Still doubting myself, I went to my first two classes two months later.
Still doubting, I took a job as a school librarian when I had enough hours for a provisional certificate. My interview had been a hot mess of me passionately talking about what we could make the program at this school. How we could provide in new ways for their staff and students. How I was the professional librarian they needed. I cried when I was offered the job on the phone a few hours later.
Because I felt worthy.
Through the interview process something had flipped in me. The more questions they asked, the more I realized I knew the answers. I knew my profession. I knew myself. I knew the district.
And when I drove to class that night, I ran into Dr. P's office, and she pulled me into a tight hug while repeating what she had said three years prior: "You're going to be an excellent school librarian."
And that time, I felt it in my bones.
That galvanizing strength encouraged me to take more risks.
Present at a state conference. Leap.
Serve on a state organization board. Leap.
Write a book. Leap.
Put it out there for the world to see. LEAP.
And every time I've leapt, it's been with an army of supporters at my back and a human net in front of me. Bandaging my skinned knees and slapping my back. "Get back out there."
I hope you have those people in your life. If you don't, please allow me to be one of them because I firmly believe that each one of you can make an impact. You have a purpose. Maybe you just need someone or something to whisper:
Leap. Success or not: I've got you.
I love reading books by new authors! It's made even better when I get to review the book as part of a blog tour. So, if you're visiting on this blog tour, welcome! Here are 51 thoughts I had while reading the Kindle edition of "Destiny's Gambit" by R.J. Wood:
1. Okay, this is a lot of description. We haven't met anyone yet. So we're gonna call it solid world building and move on.
2. There's Jake! Heeeey!
3. I love their imaginations! YES!
4. I'm officially old. My favorite character is the grandma.
5. "You weren't made with the same cookie cutter, and you don't like the shape you got? Well, I'll tell you a secret. All the cookies on the tray taste the same and that's a fact."
6. I love this woman, Jake's grandma. She's so deep, understanding, in tune, but she doesn't coddle him! I hope I grow up to be like her.
7. "Don't lock yourself in a box just because some person tells you that's where you belong. Keep your eyes, ears, and mind open for you never know what's just around the corner."
8. I'm going to try to not make this whole thing grandma quotes.
9. She speaks mostly in catch phrases, but I kind of like it. I bet younger readers find it comforting just like Jake.
10. AHHHHHHHH! Jake's dad is awesome. Why didn't my dad leave me a box with a glowing talisman?????
11. Awwwww yeah. It's about to get good.
12. A boat......is going to bring.......Jake to his parents........
13. Creepy yet intriguing. Like I feel he's either heading for certain death or joining them happily ever after. There is no middle.
14. "As it did, it took with it a large bubble of air." Handy, because if it didn't, #13 would have been already accomplished.
15. OTTOMEYER RIVERSEND - my new favorite fantasy name ever. It's ridiculous, and I LOVE IT!
16. "He was four years old and had been mesmerized by a man selling green glow sticks. The hawker had the things wrapped all around his body." That sounds pretty sweet. In my mind, the hawker is Alan Tudyk wrapped in glow sticks. And I wouldn't mind paying to see that.
17. This is starting to feel very Moby Dick-ish. Boy on a pirate adventure. But this is cooler. With talismans and magic and space.
18. I bet Moby Dick would have been way more popular if it had talismans and magic and space.
19. Starla of House Silvertree.....is very serene. Almost too serene.
20. "Experimentation is a universal teacher." At 2:58am, that was when I knew I needed to sleep. I put the Kindle down and ruminated over those five words for far too long.
21. Okay, a few hours of sleep later, I'm back in. 51% through and a whole lot of questions.
22. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I love this kid. Trying to keep it spoiler free, but Starla hits him with some big news and Jake just looks at her and says, "Uh, not to be rude, but I'm twelve." HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Okay, I'm totally back in. Jake is my kind of kid.
23. "The greatest threat is from the dark hearts amidst our own peoples." Isn't it, though?
24. I should probably stop using quotes. I mean, I hope you read it yourself. Or give it to your 10- to 12-year-old to read. They will love it.
25. The amulet is "safe". OF COURSE IT IS.
26. Can this poor kid finally just meet his parents already?
27. I mean, there's no reason (YET) why his parents can't be the ones taking him on this journey.
28. He hasn't seen them since he was an infant.
29. Come on.
30. I love the juxtaposition of the "good guys" and their ship name with the "bad guys" and their ship name. It makes it super easy to remember who is who.
31. Now I can't wait to see Aurora! What does she look like?
33. That's what she looks like?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
34. I feel simultaneously hoodwinked and like tipping my hat. Yes. I get it.
35. "You can just shut-up with your stupid little sayings!"
36. I'm dying. I'm dying.
37. Caves are always such good settings for this sort of thing. Well done.
38. Ah, someone had to touch it. See, if they had been human, they would have known from Aladdin, The Goonies, or Indiana Jones - you touch the treasure, something bad always happens! ALWAYS!
39. Starla has been the most chill character, but all of a sudden she is ROARING her words. The beast has awakened.
40. Dear dad,
How about you just tell Jake what to do instead of giving him clues? You haven't seen him since he was an infant! Now is not the time for dad jokes!!!
41. Wait, what?
42. Whaaaaaaaat is happening?!?
43. hehe Of course. Why are bad guys always so quick to declare a victory without any actual evidence?
44. Celia Sable is kind of amazing. Let the Captain think whatever he wants. She knows.
45. I suspect that the Favored One will be dead by Celia's hand before the series ends. She doesn't seem to want to put up with his stuff.
46. No rest for the wounded.
47. The Hardy Hole.... hehe Trying to not think about the Hardy boys.
48. Oooooh, shiny!
49. I love when a book's title comes up in the reading!
50. WHY ARE HIS PARENTS NOT THERE?!?!?!?!?!?
51. Celia!!!!! So hardcore!!!! I love it!
Okay, so overall, I liked "Destiny's Gambit". While I thought the details were bogging down the reading at first, it came in handy later to keep the action fast paced. So, it was a worthwhile trade off. The characters are fantastic and fun to read. The plot is solid and keeps with familiar beats while managing to feel fresh. The writing itself was accessible without being over-simplified. It didn't feel like the author was dragging anything out for page count - which I sincerely appreciate. So, if you like a new fantasy/pirate/space adventure, give this one a shot.
The one thing that makes me sad is that the book itself was published in 2015 and no #2 in the series has been published yet. I hope the author releases another one soon!
This is my stop during the book blitz for Destiny’s Gambit by R.J. Wood. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 5 till 11 February. See the tour schedule here. Destiny’s Gambit (The Voyages of Jake Flynn #1) By R.J. Wood Genre: Fantasy/ Science Fiction/ Sword and Space/ Space Fantasy Age category: Middle Grade/ Young Adult Release Date: January 24, 2015
Blurb: Jake Flynn’s parents disappeared when he was a baby. On his twelfth birthday, the mystery of why his parents disappeared begins to unravel when he discovers a glowing talisman with a message from his father. Jake is directed to a derelict sailboat in a field. He watches in awe as the talisman knits ropes and sails for it out of golden energy. Awash in light, the boat sails up into space, and the voyages of Jake Flynn begin. During the quest to find his parents, Jake encounters space pirates in tall sailing ships, channelers that can wield energy like magic, and evil cabalists led by a sinister snake-woman. Assisted by a young healer and her aged protector, a spirited cabin girl, and a salty space captain, Jake learns that he too can channel, and that he is central to stopping the cabalists from resurrecting a long-dead evil. Puzzles, a pirate asteroid, walking the plank, fantastic magic, traps, treasure caves, multiple planets and great ship battles – Jake must experience them all on this epic sword and space adventure. By the end, Jake will discover the truth about his destiny, realize that family can transcend blood lines, and understand that his own needs are sometimes less important than those of others.You can find Destiny’s Gambit on Goodreads You can buy Destiny’s Gambit here: - Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Kobo - Smashwords About the Author: R. J. Wood has been creating stories and adventures for others since 1979. A bard at heart, he trained in Drama (BA) and History (MA) while at university. He currently lives near Snoqualmie Falls in Washington State with his wife and children. There he does a little fishing, some adventuring, and of course, his writing. Like everyone of my generation and beyond I have been heavily influenced by film. I like to think of my books as movies in my mind. I developed my creative writing through fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal RPGs. My degree in drama helps me with story, characters, and especially dialogue. Having an advanced history degree is excellent for plots and characters, but it also helps me with world building. You can find and contact R.J. Wood here: - Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads - Amazon - Instagram Giveaway There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Destiny’s Gambit. One winner will win a $10 Amazon Gift card. For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway
Following my post in which I created a 2018 vision board, I began reading a copy of N.N. Light's Book of Daily Inspiration that I acquired through an awesome book promoter (Lola's Blog Tours). If you know me, I am not one for daily devotional type books. Honestly, the time each day tends to slip away from me and another concern is that I have been in somewhat of a fluctuating faith over the last few years. So any religious based enrichment has been iffy for me.
Enter what I call the Light Book.
I have read the daily inspirations via Kindle every day for a month, and I plan to get a paperback copy to keep this up. (The paperback is a little costly at nearly $30 as of this publishing. However, you can read it free in Kindle Unlimited!) The inspirations are basically about being a good human. Reminders of the importance of kindness, believing in yourself, and encouragement abound. Perfectly timed reminders to help keep me sane and at the top of my game have kept me positive this month. (Mostly.)
Are there religious quotes? Yes.
Bible verses? Yes.
But there are also quotes from Batman, Steve Jobs, and Henry Ford.
If I could send two requests to the author, they would be:
1. Purse-sized print edition. I tend to read on the go and the 6x9 inch format is a wee bit big for shoving in my bag.
2. A teen version. My daughter would like this type of thing, but she won't pay attention to my copy because it "looks adult" and the quotes are from older people. If they could retool and do a teen edition too, that would be awesome.
Here's more info about the book:
N. N. Light’s Book of Daily Inspiration by N. N. Light Genre: Non-fiction, Inspirational, Motivational, Self-Improvement, Personal Growth Release Date: November 21, 2017
Blurb: "Spread the Light and inspire others to do the same." -- N. N. Light In 2013, we wrote a mission statement and started the Princess of the Light (POTL) blog. We wanted to test a theory. Could one person (or in our case, one couple) use uplifting words to create change? The answer is a resounding yes! People from all over the world responded to our short inspirational thoughts of the day, and our following grew. What started out as a few people promoting kindness and goodwill turned into a movement. In every city, there are Light-Bearers making a difference and we want you to join us. Everyone needs inspiration. It doesn’t matter what spiritual belief you hold dear, you have the Light inside you. Kindness, compassion, empathy, encouragement are all attributes of the Light. In this book, you’ll find a ninety second inspirational thought for each day of the year. You’ll be inspiring people to spread the Light daily with our collection of inspirational thoughts. From giving of yourself to simply smiling, these are easy concepts for anyone to apply!You can find N. N. Light’s Book of Daily Inspiration on Goodreads You can buy N. N. Light’s Book of Daily Inspiration here: - Amazon - Amazon UK - Amazon Canada About the Author: N. N. Light is the award-winning husband-wife writing team, commonly known as Mr. N and Mrs. N. Mrs. N. has been creating stories ever since she was little. Her grandfather remembers when she was two years old, she would stand at the top of the stairs and tell him a story filled with emotion (and in a language foreign to him) with her hands on her hips. Let’s just say she was a born storyteller. Sign up for their author newsletter to get exclusive content, sales and be entered to win a $5 Amazon US Gift Card every month: https://t.co/6B7trIIph6 They’re blissfully happy and loves all things chocolate, books, music, movies, art, sports, trains, history, cooking and baking. Their mantra is to spread the Light. Most of the time you can find them on Twitter or getting new ideas on how to spread the Light on Pinterest. They’re a proud member of ASMSG and Independent Author Network. In addition to being authors, they’re also book promoters/reviewers, social media marketers/influencers and the owners of N. N. Light Author Promotions. They both love books, have ever since they were young. Matching up books and readers is something that gives them great pleasure. You can find and contact N. N. Light here: - Website - Blog - Twitter - Newsletter - Goodreads - Bookbub - Pinterest - LinkedIn - Google+ - Amazon Author Page - Independent Author Network
Due to circumstances beyond her control, she finds herself attracted to these other guys who are pursuing her with gusto. She feels guilty, even though she's never done anything with any of them. Her boyfriend feels betrayed. However, there is never a moment where her rebuffing the advances of these guys leads to them shaming her or saying that she's been sexually active in the past so why not with them? There is a character who talks like that, but well, he's not quite himself either. So I'm finding this reverse harem theme really empowering for females without stripping anything from males. I'm excited to see how it progresses.
3. PARENTS THAT ROCK. For a moment, I just want to chat as a parent. I love Tori's parents. They gave me so many emotions through this book. Their love and support was a constant. Their ability to accept the crazy stole my heart, and the pancake scene had me all in. When my daughter wants to read "The Lost Savior", I hope she sees that Tori is able to tell her parents all kinds of things, and they support her.
4. EXCITING, SOLID, and WELL-CRAFTED. I know, I just chucked three reasons into number four. Sorry! I just keep coming back to those words though. It's an exciting kick-off to a series including solid world-building and plot with well-crafted writing. Every time I put it down, I picked it right back up again. I'm pretty hopeful for this series!
1. Forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness.
This is a theme often missing from young adult/new adult novels. The freedom of forgiveness is the ultimate redemption in this book in every single relationship model. It's a notion that folks need more experience with in this harsh world: forgiveness doesn't "fix" things, but it does give you a place to go from there.
2. Healthy relationships vs. unhealthy relationships.
Both kinds of relationships abound in this book, with a stressor on the fact that there are no perfect relationships. Many relationship flaws are profiled as well as possible solutions or, in the case of habitual abuse, presenting the difficulties of walking away from unhealthy relationships. While Drix and Elle -the main characters- acknowledge that their relationship is not without its issues, they navigate a plethora of situations and model an overall healthy relationship. Familial relationships are also a point of focus - including that sometimes your family isn't the people you grew up in the same house with.
3. Steam but responsibly and with a side of consent. Yes, please!
I'm not normally a romance reader (someday, I will have to quit saying that!), but who doesn't enjoy a little steam now and again? This book was great for me because I could read it without feeling old and creepy and uncomfortable. It's also one I'd let my twelve year old daughter read. It's steamy and realistic and passionate while Elle makes if very clear that she doesn't want to go farther. Drix is exactly what a reader would hope. He understands and respects her decisions. He also makes it clear that, when they are both ready, it's on. It's a great example of a positive relationship and how to voice how far you want things to go.
4. It's just fun.
I know, it's not a deep takeaway. There were so many deep things to choose from in this book, but when I step back and look at the overall picture, what resonates and fills my reader soul is that it was really fun to read. I'm kind of sad it's over! I found myself excited to snuggle in my warm bed and open the book again.
"Say You'll Remember Me" was a bit of a dark horse for me. I'm normally exclusively fantasy and science fiction, but the popularity of Katie McGarry in my library had me curious. I'm glad I stepped away from my norm, and I'm insanely happy that I looooooved it.
I encourage you to take a chance and read something you normally wouldn't. Who knows? I may try a historical fiction next!
How did I get here?
I went from watching funny SNL sketches on YouTube to watching videos about vision boards within ten minutes. I've never been a big resolution maker. Frankly, I've disappointed myself one too many times on those. Life often provides opportunities that do not align with what I think my goals should be. So, I break resolutions all the time. Years ago, I decided to not make them anymore.
Vision boards always made me giggle. I know. I'm evil. I don't know how a poster of pictures and quotes is supposed to make me a better human. But...
Seeing the vision boards on these videos made sense. I have some very abstract goals. Really. I wrote them down. Are you ready to be impressed? Scrawled on the back of one of my seven-year-old son's pencil drawings proclaiming our home as a "Sasquatch-Free Zone", the following list lives:
(No editing on that one.)
Then I poked my long-neglected Pinterest account and created a new board, creatively titled "2018 vision board". I typed in each of my goals, found pins meaningful to me, and there you have it. 16 pins to maybe keep me on track towards these five goals.
Vision boards are pretty personal. It reveals things you perceive to be weaknesses about yourself in a way a cute little list doesn't. I'm not always confident in how effective I am at putting my ideas into words. I look at both of my drafts sitting on my computer right now and feel strongly that they are the best things I've ever written. Yet I lose steam as I write them. I struggle. I realize that I'm developing and that I need to keep myself motivated. So it's a huge part of my vision board for next year. Here is what my vision board looks like:
Your goals may not be the same as mine.
They may be very similar.
They may be way cooler (like the friend of mine who wants to learn belly dancing this year)!
You have one thing that feels like a struggle. One thing that keeps you up at night and wakes you up in the morning because you're so excited to do it and yet you may doubt. Something that maybe you have never told anyone else. (Perhaps on a "secret" Pinterest board...)
My friend, dear reader, you. can. do. it.
You may be scared. It's going to be hard. But you can do it.
I believe in you!
Maybe making a vision board will help you bring those goals into focus. I think it is worth exploring - at least for me.
Maybe you need someone to whisper your goals to. "I want to..."
I'm here. I'd love to hear your goal. I'll hold it close to my heart and help you reach it however I can.
You can do it.
And so can I.
3. Seda - weird name. Second time I've said that in a few pages on my phone.
4. August 31 is three days before the official start of school?!? Where do these people go to school?!?! My school started on August 9th! I feel a greater sense of injustice than I did when last year's school calendar came out. <insert pouting here>
5. So. Many. Kids. To. Keep. Straight. Seriously, 2 sets of twins and Seda absorbed Sawyer in the womb. This is a lot to get used to. Honestly, I'm not sure if I will ever keep them straight.
6. This mom is eerily like me. TOO cheery. A writer. Loves movies. I hope she doesn't snap.
7. I really like the openings to each chapter being historical plaques and pamphlets for the house. Really adds some interest. (Added later: it totally comes back into the story too! YAY!)
8. Okay, new guests. More names. More people to keep straight. I can do this!
9. "Pop you over the head" may be the cutest thing Seda has said so far. I love it.
10. Heath has me feeling torn. He's so affectionate and obviously pursuing Seda... but that also creeps me out, given the circumstances. Maybe I'm just creeped out in general. Maybe it's not Heath's fault.
11. "Please tell me you didn't show them the intestines." HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Seda, I love you.
12. Okay, now I KNOW Heath has to be a bad guy. What boy says he wants to write snail mail to a girl?!?!
13. Oh, no. Did mom snap?
14. Where are all the kids?!?
15. Adam! What did that poor baby see?!? Definitely going to need some counseling in the future. Poor guy. I mean, this is NOT okay.
18. Well, now we know about dad. I kind of feel bad for Seda. Like everything in her life has lead up to this point.
19. What?!? WHAT?!?! This ending goes a little too fast for me. I wish I could slow it down.
20. So....... I'm not sure.... I'm trying really hard to not put any spoilers in this. I have some lingering questions for the author. Mostly one. ONE lingering question.
Overall, I think it's a worthwhile read. It would have gone faster if I hadn't kept putting it down to read something else so I could sleep. There's a good portion of world building and character get-to-know time before the action really picks up. I recommend it to anyone who has a couple of hours and enjoys a twisty-turny read.
*I don't make any money off the Amazon links, my reviews, etc. It's seriously just one reader to another.*
I do a lot of reading. A LOT of reading. Recently, I began to wonder why I wasn't sharing that with you. Since reading is so important to my life, I decided to throw in some posts about books I'm reading too! This is the first of many posts to come. I'll give you the link to each book on Amazon too. I don't make any money from these sales. They're just to help you find it easier.
Now, on to the 4 Reasons Why You Should Read "Ashen"!
1. It is in a series.... but not. You don't have to read the first two books to understand this book.
I've read all the books in this series in order, including the novellas. I'm a total Warshard junkie. (Partially thanks to being on the author's Advanced Copy list.)
One thing I've been so impressed with is that I could have picked up any book and read them in any order and still understood the series. Sure, they DO have a chronological order (Savages, Fyre, Haven, Ashen), and they weren't released that way for a reason. However, if you happen to pick up "Ashen" and then want to read the other stories, nothing is ruined by reading #3 ahead of #1.
2. Bogle is a master of bad-ass heroines.
I love a strong female lead. Every single one of Katherine Bogle's books has this as a central point. It's not forced or overdone. It's strong females in various leadership roles, changing the world around them. Every single one of these females is someone who I want my daughter to look up to.
(My personal favorite is Breen from "Savages", but Adni from "Ashen" is a close second.)
3. Romantic tension will leave you satisfied.
Mandy Peterson is the author of "Before I Shatter". She is also a mother, wife, librarian, book reviewer, and self-proclaimed chocolate connoisseur.