Book Review – Sweet Girl by Travis Mulhauser…

A fiercely compelling debut about a sixteen-year old girl whose search for her missing mother leads to a life-or-death struggle
Percy is sixteen and used to her mama disappointing her. But this time her mama’s been gone for nine days and she’s been seen up at Shelton Potter’s farmhouse. Which can only mean she’s strung out on meth again, and who knows when she’ll be back.
A blizzard rolls in and Percy jumps in her pickup and sets off for the farmhouse. She finds Shelton and a woman passed out on the floor, sleeping off the latest binge. But no sign of her mama.
Percy heads upstairs and finds a neglected baby girl, in urgent need of care and attention. Percy knows she has no choice. She has to take the baby and get her to a hospital as soon as she can.
But the blizzard shows no sign of stopping and soon her pickup is snowed in. Now she’s on foot and before long two-bit criminal Shelton wakes up and heads out with four of his associates, on the hunt for whoever has taken the baby . . .
Taut, darkly humorous and told in Percy’s unflinching voice, Sweetgirl is a moving exploration of courage and sacrifice that is horrifying, tender, and hopeful.
I have been given an ARC by Netflix in exchange for a fair and honest review.
This book started out being slightly difficult to read. Percy is looking for her mother and instead ends up finding a very neglected baby. She makes the decision to take the baby and get her the medical help that she desperately needs.
I’m not sure why the book is described as darkly humorous. I don’t find any of it funny. There are some very sad parts.
The book is a portrayal of what drugs can do to a life. It also demonstrates the power of human determination when fighting to protect a child.
I found it quite difficult to read in places, but I’m so glad that I stuck with it.
A four out of five star read.
I am eternally grateful to NetGalley and HarperCollins UK, 4th Estate for my copy.

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Using Bigotry to Defend Theft and Killing — Well Done, PETA

Words fail me again. #PeopleEuthaniseThousandsofAnimals

mom2nomads

Yesterday I spent a few hours reading through the latest court documents in the lawsuit against PETA (you know the one I mean, the one against them because they stole and killed a little girl’s dog). Predictably, it’s full of lies and half truths and, man, are PETA’s lawyers snarky. But what really got under my skin is PETA’s attempt to smear Maya’s family. This is typical PETA behavior — they’re bullies and anyone who dares stand up to them becomes a target, which I know from personal experience. But what is especially heinous about this particular smearing is the not so subtle racism and xenophobia they’re employing. I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised, since PETA supporters also employ bigotry in order to try to silence truth tellers, and PETA never steps in to put a stop to it. But, holy hell, it’s low.

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Get a grip! Prioritise what you freak out over…

After having been online this morning, I have noticed the world seems to have its collective panties in a bunch over the break up of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Are you kidding me here people? Get a grip!How can you possibly be so het up about the state of a marriage of two people that you never did and never will know? It has nothing to do with you! With everything that is going on in this world, even papers like The Guardian are glorifying the separation of a family. They also bring up Jennifer Anniston and rehash a decade old feud. This is so wrong!

People really need to reprioritise. The current crisis in Syria is enough with anything else.

Calm yourself people and worry about something that might actually affect you and that matters!

Book Review – Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg…

A chilling, compulsive debut about group mentality, superstition and betrayal – and a utopian commune gone badly wrong.We were the Family, and Foxlowe was our home. There was me – my name is Green – and my little sister, Blue. There was October, who we called Toby, and Ellensia, Dylan, Liberty, Pet and Egg. There was Richard, of course, who was one of the Founders. And there was Freya.

We were the Family, but we weren’t just an ordinary family. We were a new, better kind of family. We didn’t need to go to school, because we had a new, better kind of education. We shared everything. We were close to the ancient way of living and the ancient landscape. We knew the moors, and the standing stones. We celebrated the solstice in the correct way, with honey and fruit and garlands of fresh flowers. We knew the Bad and we knew how to keep it away. And we had Foxlowe, our home. Where we were free.

There really was no reason for anyone to want to leave.
I was given an ARC by Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
This story portrays the life within a sinister utopian commune. Green, our protagonist is being abused at the start of the book by something called the “spike walk”. None of the members of the family commune seem to see a problem with that at all. It seems to be a normal part of daily life within Foxlowe.
The way that this book has been written is quite unlike anything I have ever read before. There is a total lack of punctuation when characters speak which makes the story ludicrously difficult to follow.
I’m a huge fan of dark, Gothic style fiction. This book started off with so much promise but half way through, it became a little difficult to follow. The breakdown of the commune was never explored properly and the end of the story did leave me wanting to know more about the other characters involved.
A three out of five star read.
I am profoundly grateful to Netgalley and HarperCollins for my copy.

Vaccinations: No, Thimerosal Does Not Cause Autism Spectrum Disorder.

SkeptiQuest

Since the 1980s autism rates in the US have gone from 1 in 10,000 to 2014 where it has reached 1 in 68 according to the CDC. During this time, Thimerosal doses received by children have also increased, leading some people to believe there was a connection. Remember, though, the fundamental tenant of science and critical thinking: correlation does not equal causation. The overwhelming scientific consensus shows that vaccines do not cause autism, but that doesn’t stop a few vocal scientists from continuing to give the perspective a semblance of validity. Conspiracy theories and misinformation perpetuate the appearance of a controversy and that alone is sufficient to fuel fear of vaccines.

The father of the anti-vaccine movement, Andrew Wakefield, is known for his now-discredited 1998 research paper in Lancet describing a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. After scientists failed to reproduce his findings, the General Medical Council…

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Book Review – The Loving Husband by Christobel Kent…

Fran Hall and her husband Nathan live in a farmhouse on the edge of the Fens with their two children. One February night, when Fran is woken by her baby, she finds the bed empty beside her and Nathan gone. Searching the house for him she makes a devastating discovery.As Fran finds herself under intense police scrutiny, she and her two small children become more isolated as she starts to doubt whether or not she really knew Nathan. Was he really the loving husband that Fran had trusted him to be? 
As police suspicion grows the questions for Fran begin to mount. Is there something that she is hiding from them – something that she has kept hidden from everyone, including her husband.
I was given an ARC by Netgalley in return for a fair and honest review…
The story began a little slowly but within pages, the drama and the fear had began to unfold. These types of books are my absolute favourite and I’m really enjoying this one so far. The way that Fran’s background story unfolds is well portrayed.
The book was cleverly written and I enjoyed it. The suspense kept me held within the pages and made it well worth reading.
A four out of five star read.
I am profoundly grateful to Netgalley and to The Little Brown Book Group for my copy.

Book Review – Orphans Of The Carnival by Carol Birch…

A life in the spotlight will keep anyone hiddenJulia Pastrana is the singing and dancing marvel from Mexico, heralded on tours across nineteenth-century Europe as much for her talent as for her rather unusual appearance. Yet few can see past the thick hair that covers her: she is both the fascinating toast of a Governor’s ball and the shunned, revolting, unnatural beast, to be hidden from children and pregnant women. 

But what is her wonderful and terrible link to Rose, collector of lost treasures in an attic room in modern-day south London? In this haunting tale of identity, love and independence, these two lives will connect in unforgettable ways.
I was given an ARC by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review…
I was surprised to realise that Julia was a real person. I did some research on the story after I finished the book.
The book hilights the abuse and exploitation that Miss Pastrana endured and it’s heartbreaking to read that human beings can do this to one another. Julia was seduced by the words of a man who told her she would make so much money by travelling to America and allowing him to manage her career.
In reality, her money was mainly sucked up by the various people who ran her life. Had it not been for the advice of some women she performed with, Julia would never have asked for a contract.
She had several “managers”, before she married Theo Lent. He claimed he married her for love but I think it’s fairly sure that he married her to protect his investment and his bank balance. Yet another abuser in a long line. It was never about Julia. It was all about what she could bring to other people.
Even though the main body of the book is fictional, the basic facts are the same. I thank the author for making me aware of Julia Pastrana’s incredible story.
A five out of five star read.
I am profoundly grateful to Netgalley and Canongate Books for my copy.