Looking for some Great Artwork?

 

Check out Paulette Carr’s work this Friday, June 9th from  6:30-10:00!  More info below!

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Check out the incredible display of Paulette’s work….

 

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Here’s one of her incredible paintings!

 

Here’s another awesome painting!

And one more!

 

 

Aren’t these paintings amazing? If you’re interested in seeing more of her artwork, but aren’t able to attend her showing, send me a message or leave a comment and we can work something out! 🙂

Again, her exhibit is Friday June 9th from 6:30  to 10:00 PM and the address for Great Legs Winery is: 332 E. Lakewood Blvd. Holland, MI. 

Come on down and meet Paulette! She’s as awesome as her artwork!

 

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My Thoughts on “The Keepers”

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about a difficult subject. I binge-watched the new Netflix series “The Keepers” recently, and it’s the story of a couple of women who’ve been investigating the murder of one of the nuns at the local Catholic school. This happened in Baltimore back in 1969.

 

Why we need more women like Gemma and Abbie from The Keepers

 

The murder occurred forty seven years ago and the case remains unsolved. The series follows the two women and their investigation and what they uncover.

The investigators uncover sexual abuse at the hands of Father Maskell. There is one student who claims Sister Cathy was murdered to prevent her from talking about this abuse. This student confided in Sister Cathy and told her about the abuse, naming the priest.

The real story behind Netflix's new true crime series 'The Keepers'

 

The theory is that the nun was murdered to cover up the horrific acts of Father Maskell. The investigators continued to dig and they found more victims. The first victim is still experiencing repressed memories coming back. There is one person she can’t put a face to and that’s Brother Bob. I think once she remembers who he is, all the puzzle pieces will fall into place.

It’s a heartbreaking story to watch, but you can’t tear yourself away. It reminded me of the movie, “Spotlight,” because the pattern is the same.  In both stories, as soon as complaints of abuse were raised the accused priest was relocated to another parish. However, “The Keepers” is more horrific because you’re seeing the actual victims speak, they’re not actors.

The investigators found other victims who corroborated the story. Father Maskell has since passed away and the case of the murder of Sister Cathy remains unsolved.

The question I have after watching both “The Keepers” and “Spotlight” is why isn’t the church held accountable for the acts of their priests?

 

I feel they should be. They not only covered up the abuse, they didn’t stop it. All they did was move these priests from one parish to the next allowing them access to girls so they could perpetuate the abuse.

I do know some of the victims in the “Spotlight” movie accepted a settlement from the church, but in the case of the victims of Father Maskell the case was thrown out of the system because the statute of limitations for abuse had passed.

This type of abuse is such a violation, not only of the adult-child relationship, but of the priest-student relationship. These priests are supposed to be the moral compass of our society. We’re supposed to be able to trust them. After watching “The Keepers” and listening to the stories from these victims, I realize how manipulative this priest was and it makes me angry. Angry that the church allowed this man and all the other priests who were abusing children to continue practicing. They should’ve been arrested and held accountable.

Photo via Visual Hunt

This was a difficult post to write. I urge you to watch the documentary, it’ll open your eyes to the dark side of organized religion. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How do you feel about these priests? Do you think the statute of limitations should be lifted if women come forward with repressed memories? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

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Reading Rocks in Rockford!

 

 

Photo credit: demandaj via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! This Saturday from 10:00 to 1:00 I’ll be in downtown Rockford with other amazing authors! Come on down and meet authors and get some incredible books!

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In a small town in Michigan, fifteen-year-old Sarah Cole is stuck spending the summer at her Aunt and Uncle’s with her sister, Lacey. She’s not happy with the situation until she befriends a girl named Jackie. The three girls stumble upon the ruthless murder of a reclusive neighborhood woman and what’s worse? One of the officers investigating the crime believes the girls are responsible for her death.

Fearing that this officer will frame them for the murder, the girls organize their own detective squad. They become the Super Spies and start their own investigation. The Super Spies can’t understand why anyone would want to murder the “Cat Lady” until they start digging into her past and discover a horrible crime that happened thirty years ago. They uncover a connection between the two crimes and attempt to bring this information to the police, only to be reprimanded for meddling in the investigation. Not only are the girls upset by the admonition, but they also struggle with the fact that their exuberant investigating could provide a legal loophole allowing the killer to go free. Frustrated by this turn of events, the Super Spies realize it’s up to them to snare the Cat Lady killer.

Or die trying…

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This book opens in a small town in Michigan where Sarah Cole and her sister Lacey are now living with their Aunt and Uncle. Still reeling from the fact her parents have disappeared, Sarah starts the school year with her new friend Jackie Jenkins. When Sarah learns the school has been bombed, she’s filled with dread. Uncle Walt is a teacher, and he was in the school when the bomb exploded. Taking matters into her own hands, Sarah decides to search for him. The rest of the Super Spies are right behind her. When a fireman chases them away from the school, Sarah becomes suspicious. She decides to investigate. The FBI arrives on the scene. Sarah realizes this bombing could have even bigger implications. Searching for the bombers, Sarah is introduced to the world of terrorism. She fears that the bombing and her parents’ disappearance are connected and terrorists are involved. To make matters worse, the bombers are determined to finish the job. Can the Super Spies find the bombers before it’s too late?

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Sarah Cole and her sister Lacey are at it once again when they learn their missing parents’ cell phone has been traced to Alden, Michigan. When the FBI declines to continue the in-vestigation, Sarah takes matters into her own hands. She calls upon the Super Spies and they delve into the situation. Suddenly, the teens find themselves immersed in small town intrigue and mystery involving a menacing stranger, who Sarah dubs “The Stalker.” But when Sarah learns he’s connected to her parents’ disappearance, she’s determined to find out what that connection is. The Super Spies embark on a journey that leads them into a web of corporate corruption at its highest level that leaves innocent victims in its wake. Can they find the proof they need to stop the greedy corporation before it’s too late?

Lark Singer is seventeen years old and already on the way to a brilliant music career. But as she and her band, Starlight, gear up for a competition, life seems to be throwing her a few curve balls. The mysteries of her past seem to be unraveling, and she’s no longer certain she wants to know those answers or how knowing about her past will affect her difficult relationship with her mother. And when her best friend, Bean, changes things between them, all her plans for a musical future are placed in jeopardy. How can she balance her complicated personal life to keep her musical goals on track?

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Book Review: “The Luckiest Girl Alive”

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. Summer’s coming and I’m looking forward to doing a lot of reading so I’m putting together a Summer Reading List. I’ll post that one at a later date. Today, I’ve got a book review for you. The cover and blurb are below.

 

Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel by [Knoll, Jessica]

**AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER***

Fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train will thrill at “the perfect page-turner to start your summer” (People, Book of the Week): Luckiest Girl Alive—described by Reese Witherspoon as “one of those reads you just can’t put down!”

Loved Gone Girl? We promise [Luckiest Girl Alive is] just as addictive.”
Good Housekeeping

“Jessica Knoll introduces you to your new best frenemy, and you’re going to love it. . . .Destined to become one of the summer’s most gripping reads.”
—Bustle.com

“With the cunning and verve of Gillian Flynn but an intensity all its own, Luckiest Girl Alive is a debut you won’t want to miss.”
—Megan Abbott, author of Dare Me and The Fever

Luckiest Girl Alive is Gone Girl meets Cosmo meets Sex and the City. . . . Knoll hits it out of the park.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

HER PERFECT LIFE IS A PERFECT LIE.

As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s

hing else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that’s bigger than it first appears.

The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

My Thoughts:

This is the well-written story of Tifani before she became Ani, a girl who has achieved success and is about to marry the guy of her dreams, but something isn’t quite right, and as we progress through the story, we find out how damaged and broken Tifani is on the inside.

We go back to her high school days and learn about the group she desperately wanted to fit in with, and the boy she had a crush on. The story takes us back to the pivotal point where Tifani breaks. It’s a party and she gets so drunk she passes out. The boys at the party take advantage of the situation and have sex with her without her consent. She doesn’t remember everything that happened and she learns the hard way that belonging to this popular group may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

One boy in the group belongs to a powerful family in the city. His name is Dean Barton, and he has always gotten away with things because of his family money because of this he has entitlement issues and there’s a history of his abusive behavior. There’s another character, Ben, who Dean victimized so badly he ended up in a mental hospital and has never returned to the school. He seems like a minor character, but he becomes a major one as one of the instigators of the tragic event that blows the cover off the abuse in this school.

I won’t tell you anymore of the story, but it’s a sad tale that’s beautifully weaved together so all the threads and pieces fit. You don’t realize the important elements until the end, and that’s how a master story-teller works.

I loved how the story fit together and how I didn’t see the tragic event coming toward the end. The story shows the transformation of Tifani from an insecure girl who has everything to the strong survivor who pushes away things that aren’t good for her.

If you liked “Gone Girl,” you’ll like this story. It’s a great summer read.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and reading my post. Do you have any books you’d like to recommend? I’m planning on doing a ton of reading this summer so I’m looking for some good recommendations! Leave a comment, I love hearing from you!

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Teens: Beware the Blue Whale

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you and that you all had a Happy Mother’s Day. I’m back today and I’m talking about something called the Blue Whale Suicide Game. Have you heard of it?

Photo credit: Benjamin Lehman via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

No?

Well let me fill you in. It is a game that encourages teens to commit suicide. It’s name is derived from the fact Blue Whales sometimes beach themselves to die.

According to this article, http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/blue-whale-challenge

at least one hundred and thirty Russian teen suicides have been linked to this game. This is how it works. An administrator assigns tasks to the teens who sign up to play. The tasks range from waking up at an odd time, watching a horror movie, to self-harm. The teen has fifty days to complete the tasks and they have to post proof for the administrator to validate. At the end of the fifty days, they’re encouraged to commit suicide.

The game is now spreading across the UK via social media. http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/806384/Blue-Whale-Game-Suicide-Challenge-UK

 

Photo via VisualHunt.com

Now, it hasn’t been proven beyond a reasonable doubt the Blue Whale game is responsible for those one hundred and thirty suicides, but those teens were all part of the same group. Besides, do we need to prove it? Isn’t the fact that the game exists at all a major red flag for anyone?

I hate to say this because I’m not one for a great deal of regulation, but apparently we need some sort of guidelines for the internet. First of all, this game shouldn’t even exist. It needs to be removed from the web. We need some sort of committee to regulate apps so kids can’t access these games.

Of course, creating a regulating body takes time. So what do we do in the meantime? We must warn our kids against this game. Tell them in no uncertain terms not to play. Even if all their friends are doing it. Give them the tools they need to deal with peer pressure because that is how the Blue Whale hooks these kids. Here’s a great article on dealing with peer pressure. http://www.yourlifecounts.org/blog/20-ways-avoid-peer-pressure

 

The man behind this game claims he’s cleansing society. Isn’t this kind of thinking considered a mental illness? If it’s not, it should be. This guy reminds me of Hitler and we all know where his thinking got us, don’t we?

Photo credit: ksablan via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! Do you have any ideas on how to stop this insidious game? Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Parenting, raising kids, Teen | Tagged , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’m back today to wish everyone a Happy Mother’s Day! Now get off the internet and enjoy your day! 🙂 I’ll be back next week with our regularly scheduled post! 🙂

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It Takes a Village…

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the book and the Netflix series “Thirteen Reasons Why.” This week our school sent us a letter regarding the content of this show. They were concerned about how teens might be reacting to the strong issues the show addresses.

 

Thirteen Reasons Why by [Asher, Jay]

Now, I haven’t read the book or watched the series. I’ve got to find a time when my boys aren’t around to watch it, and right now they’re around a lot. I like that. 🙂 So I’m willing to make the sacrifice.

I agree with the concerns of the school district. The book and the show deal with a lot of teen issues like rape, slut-shaming, and suicide. The letter I received voiced the concern that the issues the show addressed might be possible triggers for some teens who are struggling with these problems themselves.

The school did a great service to bring these concerns to the attention of the parents. I was impressed the district was so in tune with what is happening among the student body. I work in the library and I know that book has been very popular.

Photo via Visualhunt.com

So the question arises, who is responsible for the message our kids receive, is it the author of the book? The producers of the show? The school district? Or the Parents? How about when the kids take this behavior to social media, who’s responsible then? My take on the whole situation is that we all are. Remember that old saying it takes a village to raise a child? This particular example is what the quote is talking about.

Our responsibility as authors is to make sure our stories are authentic and our message is a positive one. I feel, even though I haven’t read the book yet, that when Jay Asher wrote the story, he was attempting to show what could happen to a teen who was experiencing these problems. So teens who were slut-shaming or bullying would know the consequences of their actions before it was too late. It was a cautionary tale. Kudos to the author for sending such a powerful message.

There are differences between the show and the book, mainly for dramatic effect. The show is much longer than the book and the reason is because the producers wanted to make thirteen episodes to make the mini-series a two week event. Because of this, they had to make changes to the story itself. The administrators at the school were concerned the show presented suicide as a viable option to solving the issues in the story, and again, the possibility of this show as a trigger for teens experiencing some of the issues.

Suicide is never an option. We need to communicate with our kids and tell them help is available. There are professionals who can help them deal with their strong emotions and there are authority figures who can step in if they’re being shamed in any way. This is where the school took responsibility and warned the parents. Now the responsibility falls on the parents to get involved and either watch or read the book with their child and have an open dialogue with them. Could the producers of the series have done a better job of showing how Hannah could’ve gotten help? Probably. And I feel they should have. I’ve heard the show presented suicide as a viable option and like I said before, suicide is never an option.

But what happens when the teens take this behavior to social media? Who’s the authority there? Is it the school’s responsibility to make sure students behave? In my opinion, social media is out of the school’s control. The school can’t police all their students’ social media accounts.

Photo credit: Mark Kens via Visual Hunt / CC BY

How about the parents. Yeah. I agree in a perfect world, the parents are responsible for their child’s behavior, but we all know our world is far from perfect, and most kids don’t tell their parents when they’re going through something like slut-shaming. So how do we nip this behavior in the bud before it reaches that critical point?

We need the creators of these social media sites to be vigilant and look for this type of behavior among their users. They’re the only ones who can do this. And they need to take a strong stance against this behavior. Accounts should be suspended or deleted as soon as bullying appears. I know they can’t catch everyone, but they may be able to save a life.

I know some students will be up in arms about privacy issues and freedom of speech. But social media has never been private and freedom of speech doesn’t apply to bullying. We as parents need to teach our kids this behavior is never okay. We have to make sure we don’t inadvertently model this behavior in our own lives as well. So ultimately, every single one of us is responsible and it really does take a village to raise a child.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What are your thoughts? I’d love to read them, so leave a comment! I love hearing from you!

 

 

Posted in Parenting, raising kids, Reading, Teen | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments