#worldkindnessday Walking The Talk

Since today is World Kindness Day, I’ll share some of the wisdom I’ve gained. I grew up in an abusive home where kindness was rare and bitterness prevailed. My days were spent surrounded by unhappy people who passed that unhappiness onto anyone who happened to be near. I can’t count the times I listened to my own flesh and blood excuse their terrible behavior on the fact that it had and was also happening to them. 

The old, “if i have to go through it, so do you” thing. I didn’t understand it then and as I’ve gotten older, I understand it even less. Being hurt is not a rite of passage. Life does not have to be a contest of who can endure the most. 

I’ve seen this thinking translate into other aspects of life as well. One of those is the way people discipline their children. The whole “I was spanked and I turned out fine so it must work” nonsense. It never ceases to amaze me when otherwise progressive and intelligent people spout this crap at me. People who base every other belief they hold in life off evidence and sound research fall into this trap and I just don’t get it. The studies are there. The proof is there. We know it doesn’t work. What’s left to justify? 

This applies to pretty much everything. Societies cognitive dissonance has disastrous results. We see homeless people and assume they are homeless by choice. They “didn’t work hard enough” or they “don’t want to work” ect… This is a commonly held belief even in the face of cold hard facts. Facts like the minimum wage being an unlivable wage. We KNOW for a FACT that it’s not enough money to pay rent. Yet, we refuse to raise the minimum wage. We expect people to make something work that just won’t. It’s madness.

We KNOW that our healthcare system is broken and people die due to lack of coverage or access to care. We KNOW this. The proof is in our faces at every turn. 

We know that our education system has failed. Especially here in Oklahoma. We KNOW that it’s not being properly funded. We know Standardized Testing does tremendous harm. We know that rigid adherence to a “sit down, shut up and memorize” method to teaching is a failed model. We know all of these things and yet it’s defended and the cycle continues to destroy unabated. 

Think of how far we could be as a species right now if our approach to everything was kindness. If we extended our empathy passed ourselves or our immediate family. If we actually cared about others well being and success and actively worked to help everyone reach their full potential. 

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Just stop and think about what our society could achieve. Think of a world where no one goes hungry. Think of a world where no one has to sleep on the concrete under an overpass. Think of a world where each and everyone of us was cherished. 

This isn’t impossible. It doesn’t have to be hypothetical. All it takes to realize this reality is to be kind to everyone. 

Let us be the craftsman of this world. Let us stigmatize cruelty and selfishness. Let us think beyond ourselves and break this violent cycle of trial by fire.

Let every single one of us look at the hurt we’ve felt and pledge that we will not be the cause of that in another. 

Let us not live a life of endurance. Let us live a life of experiences and fulfillment. 

Let us not just survive, but actually live.

All human quote

 

 

 

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“Espionage London” John Day #BookReview

By late 1943, Hitler desperately needed a secret weapon to win WW2. Engineer & master spy Karl Strom devised a simple device that would bring Britain to its knees over night. 
This character driven story of intrigue and guile, love and revenge, tells of the suicide mission undertaken by 4 German spies. It will transport you back in time to the Channel Island of Alderney where they prepared and to the back streets of London, where they struggle to survive. 
Timing is everything in war, and a cruel twist of fate changes history. 

A super-intense John Day Thriller.

Espionage London Cover

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   In “Espionage London”, John Day delivers a fast paced thriller that may as well be glued to your hands as you read. Prepare yourself for a wild ride accompanied by German spy’s with steel resolve. As the four spy’s face trial after trial, their plight will capture your imagination, your heart and get your adrenaline pumping. It’s not every day that you find yourself cheering on the bad guys.

   John Day has written from a perspective that is rarely used. Reading from the point of view of four German’s gives a very human face to a side of WW2 that few take the time to give credit for. Just for this insight, I am adding Mr. Day to my list of favorite authors. He’s taken a risk in writing this that few pursue and I thank him for it.

“She saw them and let out a loud and unfettered scream that tailed off to a wail of abject misery. Sinking slowly to the floor, she cried like never before.”

   It’s clear through the entire book that John Day has put his heart into every word. His characters are extremely well developed. Each trial they face is explored from multiple angles and thought provoking. It gives tribute to the saying “No one is fully evil. Nothing is as simple as black and white. We are all grey areas”.

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   After completing the story, I found myself very conflicted. This is high praise for an author. Think about the skill it takes to put such a human face on people who have for decades been portrayed as pure evil. After reading “Espionage London”, I feel that I have a deeper understanding of the plight of Germans and their motivations for fighting. That is not to say that I condone their actions or the murder of millions. For that reason, the German’s are complicit in an unthinkable evil.

“She decided he had the cold detachment of a venomous snake about to strike.”

   Being American, it took me a bit to fall into the different use of language, punctuation and spelling, but this didn’t take away from the brilliance of the story in the slightest. John Day is from the UK and it’s expected that he writes the way he does. To be honest, I actually prefer authors to write with their native version of English. It helps the reader with a worldview perspective as well as being fun to imagine the narration with an accent. Before you ask, I also added a German accent to the characters as well. John Day’s writing makes it easy to do this and it added another layer to the story that I greatly enjoyed.

“When face to face with your enemy, if you show fear, you’re done for”

John Day does a good job of tying up loose ends and serving up justice where justice is due. As Peter, (one of the main characters) so eloquently puts it…..Revenge is a dish best served cold. I greatly enjoyed his success in exacting that particular revenge. I literally gave a cheerfully loud “Hell yes!” after reading that passage. Some people deserve their fate and trust me on this, that particular person absolutely got what was coming to him. You’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when you read it.  

“Espionage London” is very quotable and filled with interesting insights. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and will be adding his other books to my TBR list.

5 stars!!

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: Espionage London – A WW2 Thriller | Series: N/A  |  Author(s): John Day  |Publisher: John Day / Self Published / Publication Date: 9-30-2017 |Pages: 379 (Print) |ISBN/ASIN: B07635MHM5 |Genre(s):  Action / Thriller / Suspense / Historical / Espionage |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 11-06-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

John Day photo

John Day lives in the Channel Islands, on Alderney, in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Much of what happens in Espionage – London takes place there.

Retired from his own businesses, building designer and accredited energy consultant about 10 years ago. He tends to spend much of the year travelling the world. He has a keen interest in photography and the Alderney Island Tourism marketing team use his photos in their publications and notice boards around the island. He is a qualified open water, wreck and cave diver. Many locations abroad and under water are used in his other books.

In the past, he has developed advanced software and has a detailed knowledge of electronics.

He holds the family crest with direct lineage back to King Charles 2nd.

 

 

 

WW2 Thriller “Espionage London” John Day

By late 1943, Hitler desperately needed a secret weapon to win WW2. Engineer & master spy Karl Strom devised a simple device that would bring Britain to its knees over night. 
  This character driven story of intrigue and guile, love and revenge, tells of the suicide mission undertaken by 4 German spies. It will transport you back in time to the Channel Island of Alderney where they prepared and to the back streets of London, where they struggle to survive. 
Timing is everything in war, and a cruel twist of fate changes history. 
A super-intense John Day Thriller.

Espionage London Cover

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“Great reading at a fast pace with believable characters. Great portrayal of human emotions and failings during a dangerous time. The story is exciting and full of spine tingling adventure along with romance and betrayal. It is set against the beauty of Alderney and the danger of the back streets of London.”  – Shirley McAllister (Amazon Review)

Espionage London Quote 1

John Day photo

John Day lives in the Channel Islands, on Alderney, in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Much of what happens in Espionage – London takes place there.

Retired from his own businesses, building designer and accredited energy consultant about 10 years ago. He tends to spend much of the year travelling the world. He has a keen interest in photography and the Alderney Island Tourism marketing team use his photos in their publications and notice boards around the island. He is a qualified open water, wreck and cave diver. Many locations abroad and under water are used in his other books.

In the past, he has developed advanced software and has a detailed knowledge of electronics.

He holds the family crest with direct lineage back to King Charles 2nd.

Espionage London Cover

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“Starry Messenger” Ethan Howard #BookReview

Good vs. Evil

      Two sides of the same coin deadlocked for centuries. A victor in this ultimate struggle has finally emerged on Earth. Or so it seems. In 2018, mankind has been seduced by the promise of paradise. For most, life is good and even better days remain ahead. Unknown to the population at large, the third and final great evil has absolute authority over the world’s economy, politics, religion and media. Insidious forces are everywhere, lurking, unseen. Nothing is what it appears to be. Earth is headed for dark times. Then a powerful and enigmatic stranger arrives from the stars. He will either save the human race or accelerate a series of events that will lead Earth inexorably to its destruction.

Starry Messenger Cover

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In “Starry Messenger”, our world among many others is but a puppet on the strings of the ‘Collective’, the Degans and the God of all God’s, Yar. Quentin awakens and is directed by the Synod to observe Earth’s status. Why haven’t the humans conquered the stars? For centuries humans have been given a leg up and it seems to all be for naught. Quentin’s meetings with others like him leave him reeling in his convictions. What exactly is the end game for the Synod and is the way of Yar all Quentin had believed it to be? Will the chance meeting of a human woman and her son change everything for Quentin?  

  A few things I want to bring attention to first. Thank you Mr. Howard for such a compelling list of characters. Thank you a ton for having a male lead who is a POC and a grown adult. Too many of these stories are based around teens and do not reflect the diversity of humanity. 

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Quentin is still a bit of a mystery to me. He’s thousands of years old and a very intriguing man. He is introspective and open minded even when all he knows is being questioned. His character is stoic and endearing. It was a treat to watch as he discovered his human forms feelings and desires. How conflicting that must have been.

Regina and her son are an integral part of what made this story so good. I would like to see both of them fleshed out a bit more. The same can be said for Quentin. I’m hoping that in later books they come to understand the world together and our journey with them delves a bit deeper than this book seemed to. 

There was a lot of world building in “Starry Messenger” but I didn’t feel like it was too much at once. I would of liked the book to be a bit longer, as it stands it’s a good toe into this new world and it’s mechanisms. 

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My only criticism is the withdrawn feel to both Regina and Quentin. I would like to see them fleshed out a bit more intimately since this is an introduction to the series. The language is a bit formal and could use to be loosened up a bit.

4 stars!

 4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: Starry Messenger | Series: Opportvnvs Adest  |  Author(s): Ethan Howard  |Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing / Publication Date: 3-15-2017 |Pages: 144 (Print) |ISBN/ASIN: 978-1544661582 |Genre(s): Fantasy / Fables / Mythology / Fairy Tales / Science Fiction / Action |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 10-30-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

“Starry Messenger” Ethan Howard – Book Spotlight

Good vs. evil.

Two sides of the same coin deadlocked for centuries. A victor in this ultimate struggle has finally emerged on Earth. Or so it seems. In 2018, mankind has been seduced by the promise of paradise. For most, life is good and even better days remain ahead. Unknown to the population at large, the third and final great evil has absolute authority over the world’s economy, politics, religion and media.

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Insidious forces are everywhere, lurking, unseen. Nothing is what it appears to be. Earth is headed for dark times. Then a powerful and enigmatic stranger arrives from the stars. He will either save the human race or accelerate a series of events that will lead Earth inexorably to its destruction.

Starry Messenger Cover

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Starry quote 1

 

The Booklist – Historical Thrillers

      Historical Thrillers are one my favorite genre’s. It’s the best of both worlds. The characters were/are real people and reading about them brings history alive in a way that textbooks just can’t. The fiction bit allows the author some room for speculation. It’s fun to see each authors take on the same historical characters. I think this genre keeps the past in the present and encourages people to look back and learn. The Thriller bit digs into the reader, blows the dust off the past and rips a hole through time to keep the story fresh. It’s easy to forget the past when you don’t feel connected to it. Historical Thrillers allow it’s readers to connect with those long dead and breeds empathy for those who survived (or didn’t) some of the worst periods of our history. If we have no empathy for the horrors of the past are we bound to repeat them?

I hope you enjoy my selections! Never stop reading!

♥♥♥♥

The Pursuit of Pearls CoverIn the spring of 1939, the drums of war beat throughout Europe, but nowhere more ferociously than in Berlin. The film studio where Clara Vine works is churning out movies, but each day that she stays in Germany is more dangerous than the last. Spying on the private life of the Third Reich, passing secrets to contacts in British intelligence, falling into a passionate affair—any of these risky moves could get Clara shot. So she is wholly shaken when someone close to her is murdered instead. The victim is Lottie Franke, an aspiring costume designer and student at the prestigious Faith and Beauty finishing school that trains young women to become the wives of the Nazi elite. While the press considers Lottie’s death in the Grunewald forest the act of a lone madman, Clara uncovers deeper threads, tangled lines that seem to reach into the darkest depths of the Reich—and to a precious discovery that Hitler and his ruthless cohorts would kill for.

Freinds and Traitors CoverLondon, 1958. Chief Superintendent Frederick Troy of Scotland Yard, newly promoted after good service during Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to Britain, is not looking forward to a European trip with his older brother, Rod. Rod has decided to take his entire family on “the Grand Tour” for his fifty-first birthday: a whirlwind of restaurants, galleries, and concert halls from Paris to Florence to Vienna to Amsterdam. But Frederick Troy only gets as far as Vienna. It is there that he crosses paths with an old acquaintance, a man who always seems to be followed by trouble: British spy turned Soviet agent Guy Burgess. Suffice it to say that Troy is more than surprised when Burgess, who has escaped from the bosom of Moscow for a quick visit to Vienna, tells him something extraordinary: “I want to come home.” Troy knows this news will cause a ruckus in London―but even Troy doesn’t expect an MI5 man to be gunned down as a result, and Troy himself suspected of doing the deed. As he fights to prove his innocence, Troy is haunted by more than just Burgess’s past liaisons―there is a scandal that goes up to the highest ranks of Westminster, affecting spooks and politicians alike. And the stakes become all the higher for Troy when he reencounters a woman he first met in the Ritz hotel during a blackout―falling in love is a handicap when playing the game of spies.

The girl in the picture cover

Two women. One house. Centuries of secrets.

East Sussex Coast, 1855 – Violet Hargreaves is the lonely daughter of a widowed industrialist, and an aspiring Pre-Raphaelite painter. One day, the naïve eighteen-year-old meets Edwin; a mysterious and handsome man on the beach, who promises her a world beyond the small costal village she’s trapped in. But after ignoring warning about Edwin, a chain of terrible events begins to unfold for Violet…

East Sussex Coast, 2016 – For thriller-writer Ella Daniels, the house on the cliff is the perfect place to overcome writer’s block, where she decides to move with her small family. But there’s a strange atmosphere that settles once they move in – and rumours of historical murders next door begin to emerge. One night, Ella uncovers a portrait of a beautiful young girl named Violet Hargreaves, who went missing at the same time as the horrific crimes, and Ella becomes determined to find out what happened there 160 years ago. And in trying to lay Violet’s ghost to rest, Ella must face ghosts of her own…

Book list

The “Alt-Left”

It’s funny that the whole “Alt – Left” thing is even a thing. I mean, it’s like a Twilight Zone episode.

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Imagine, if you will, a group of people who care about others so much they don’t want people to starve or be homeless or tortured and imprisoned for who they love. Imagine a world where those carers dare to claim that all people should have healthcare regardless of if they have money!

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I mean, how are we at a place as a species where that’s demonized? How are we at a place where we think it’s totes fine to deport a child immediately after she’s had surgery even though she’s been here since she was a toddler? How are we at a place where we value each other so little that we dehumanize anyone who was born on another piece of the planet than you?

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Sometimes I feel like I was born at the wrong time or maybe in the wrong country. I don’t know which. Something is definitely amiss though. I’m so far left I don’t even think we should have borders. I literally don’t get why people are so territorial. I mean, it blows my mind that people deny other people the basic necessities of life if they don’t have money. Your life’s worth is directly connected to money. It blows my mind that anyone anywhere is absolutely alright with this. 

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I’m so far left I think that if we just have to use a monetary system (which I’m not really convinced is the right path) everyone should have a basic income. I also think that any education should be free and available to anyone. I honestly believe that people should work at what they have a passion and aptitude for and not just to make the most money. 

I really think that government policies should be solely based on evidence. 

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If you’re wondering what got me on this rant it was of course the comment section on Facebook. I guess I like to torture myself or something but I did a real stupid thing and I clicked on the comments on a post that a local Fox News station had about that little girl who is being deported after her surgery. One guy compared this sweet little girl to rats. It made me cry to read that. My husband just shook his head and told me I shouldn’t read those since I get so upset every time I do. 

I kinda feel like I have to read those comments sometimes though. It’s like I have to call these people out. I know it doesn’t really do any good but I do it anyway. At least I’ve done something.

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Book Spotlight “CrossRoads: Women Coming of Age in Today’s Uganda”

They are rooted in their culture’s rich traditions, yet they stand at the cutting edge of change. This is the crossroads where many Ugandan women find themselves today. With dignity and grace, they play a complex social role, balancing worldly sophistication with reverence for the values of their upbringing.

        In Crossroads, a group of these women explore the past that shaped them and the future they hope to build, telling varied stories about a rapidly changing society where they serve both as guardians of culture and harbingers of reform.

While one woman examines the cultural implications of Ugandan names, another describes being tortured in a secret prison, and a third traces the mix of African and imported religions that shaped her. One mocks girls’ traditional sex education, while another voices her love of sports and a third reflects on her struggle to overcome a legacy of growing up in a war zone. All challenge social expectations, yet many view “modernization” with ambivalence.

Crossroads Cover

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    Covering topics from sex roles to western ideas of “development,” this compelling picture of the lives of women in today’s Uganda, sometimes funny and sometimes tragic, provides powerful testimony to the strength of the human spirit.

I’m Going To Talk About Inequality – Die Mad About It

I’ve spent the better part of my life being belittled for having the audacity to have actual feelings and….get this…showing them. I know, how dare I inconvenience the world with my empathy. How dare I think it’s ok to cry at a sad part in a book in public. I mean, what if someones kid sees me. I might ruin someones $5 coffee for god sakes. I MIGHT BREAK THROUGH THEIR EVERYTHING IS FINE FACADE IF I DARE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE HOMELESS PERSON ASKING FOR CHANGE OUTSIDE THE STARBUCKS. How could I be so insensitive?

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I know you’re all sick of hearing about inequality and how some people can’t afford food or a house to live. I mean, do we really have to talk about it so much? It’s only children going hungry. If they really wanted food they’d go get a damn job. They would work hard for what they want just like the rest of us…..wait…oh yeah, you went to a posh private school and had college paid for by your folks. So, other than that you earned…oh yeah, don’t forget that down payment your folks gave you for your first house. Oh, and the car they gave you and and and the phone bill they still foot or the insurance they still pay. Let us not forget the healthcare your folks have had covered since you were but a bright spot on an ultrasound. 

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Turns out you didn’t gain your rank in life off your own merit. Have the balls to admit it and the rest of us won’t have to keep shoving your face in it. MMMMkay.

Check out this link to see how your privilege gives you a head start in the race of life.

RACE OF LIFE

 

“Teach Us All” – You Should Watch It.

I’m pretty sure that most of us in the US have heard at least something about the segregation issues we have with our public school systems. I remember my step-father telling me about it when I was a kid. My mother in law was in school in Pine Bluff, Arkansas when they desegregated. She told me of the outright violence those poor kids suffered. She told me of her silence and of the silence of her friends. I remember feeling pretty damn superior to her at that moment because I just knew in my heart of hearts that I would not of been silent. Oh to be young, stupid and naive. I would love to think that I would of stood up for those kids. I would love to think that today things are different and my generation is getting it right. Truth is, while I would now stand up and support their right to an equal education….I don’t know if that would be true of myself as a child. I’m almost thirty years old and while I believe that millennials are doing better….we haven’t got it fixed. Our public school systems are as broke as ever and I applaud shows like this for bringing attention to an issue that desperately needs repaired. Our kids really are the future and we need to be innovative in our education efforts. “Teach Us All” goes deep into education inequality and should be a required watch for politicians and parents alike. I encourage you to watch it and raise your voice for change.