Terrorism In Portland By White Supremacist And Acts Of Heroism On 5/26/17

Another Bigoted Hate Crime, In Which Two Heroes Lost Their Lives And Another Was Severely Injured. Response From Mr. Trump…Silence.

*Update: Late this morning Mr. Trump finally addressed this, three days after the attack and only after much urging from others. Interestingly, his response isn’t on his personal Twitter account, but his official POTUS one which begs the question of whether the tweet was even written by him.

Gronda Morin

Fatal Stabbing Portland Standing up to hate. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

The horrific act on 5/26/17 by a White Supremacist’s brutal knife-stabbing attack against three brave men who came to the rescue of two young Muslim women on a Portland, Oregon train ride was no less an act of terrorism than what the republican President Donald Trump has been warning Americans to be fearful of, from Muslim refugees seeking asylum in the USA.

There were two men killed in this hate-filled act of terrorism and a third man has been hospitalized due to knife wounds.

I WOULD EXPECT PRESIDENT TRUMP to speak out personally against this rising tide of Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry and racism in our country that he has inadvertently provoked through his numerous statements and policies that have had a negative impact on minority communities.

As per a 5/28/17 Quartz report by Selina Cheng, “Two men were killed this week…

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The Suffering Tree, by Elle Cosimano ~ 2.0 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: June 13th, 2017

368 Pages

Synopsis: Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family–it’s their generations-old land that the Burns have “stolen”. But none of that seems to matter after Tori witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grand v e under the gnarled oak in her new backyard.

Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it’s clear to Tori t h at he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events–including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter’s cousin–that seem to point to back to Nathaniel.

As Tori digs for the truth–and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel–she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the centuries-old curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family’s oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried…at any cost.

The Suffering Tree is a tough book to review. There are some good things about it, but it also has many weaknesses. First, it should definitely come with a trigger warning concerning self-harm. Tori is a cutter, and this is brought up repeatedly, yet there’s nothing in the book’s summary about this. Making matters worse is the way in which Cosimano uses Tori’s illness as the way Nathaniel is brought back to life. So, right from the beginning I was frankly appalled. In addition, no one in Tori’s life ever makes a serious effort to stop her harmful behavior. There’s no resolution and it seems to me that the only reason why it’s included in the story is to bring in Nathaniel. The book is told from three perspectives: the present, the past through Tori’s visions, and the past from Nathaniel’s POV and it was jarring to move back and forth between them. While I found Nathaniel and his historical ties to the Slaughters to be the most interesting part of the story, the rest of the characters including Tori, come across as being generally under-developed which makes it difficult to become emotionally invested in them. The mystery is interesting, and the writing itself is beautiful and at times almost poetic but these aren’t enough to save the story. To be honest, even without the issue of cutting being magically glorified, The Suffering Tree would have been just an okay read for me, but the cavalier way Cosimano treats the issue of depression, anxiety and self-harm has left me concerned for the teens that will be reading this. 

Full Wolf Moon (Jeremy Logan #5), by Lincoln Child ~ 3.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Doubleday Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Available Now

256 Pages

Synopsis: Legends, no matter how outlandish, are often grounded in reality. This has been the guiding principle behind the exhilarating career of Jeremy Logan, the “enigmologist” –an investigator who specializes in analyzing phenomena that have no obvious explanation–previously seen in The Forgotten Room, The Third Gate, and Deep Storm. Logan has often found himself in situations where keeping an open mind could mean the difference between life and death, and that has never been more true than now.

Logan travels to an isolated writer’s retreat deep in the Adirondacks to finally work on his book when the remote community is rocked by the grisly discovery of a dead hiker on Desolation Mountain. The body has been severely mauled, but the unusual savagery of the bite and claw marks call into question the initial suspicions of a wild bear attack. When Logan is asked to help investigate, he discovers no shortage of suspects capable of such an attack–and no shortage of locals willing to point the finger and spread incredible rumors. One rumor, too impossible to believe, has even the forest ranger believing in werewolves. As Logan gets to know the remote deep-woods landscape, including a respected woman scientist still struggling with the violent loss of her father in these very woods, Logan realizes he’s up against something he has never seen before.

It’s been fun seeing the character of Jeremy Logan be developed from a secondary character to the starring role in The Forgotten Room and now Full Wolf Moon. While I’m not as fond of him as I am of Pendergast in the series Lincoln Child co-writes with Douglas Preston, he’s still a likable character. In his latest adventure, a little more of his backstory is revealed, which makes him more relatable then I found him in the previous books.. As for the story, well I enjoyed it, but found some parts a little formulaic. I guessed who was behind the grisly attacks a little past halfway through the book which took some of the excitement away. The secondary characters could have been a little more well-developed, but I think the relatively short length of the book made this impossible. The setting is very atmospheric and has reaffirmed my determination to never go camping! The ending also neatly ties everything up. Despite my issues with Full Wolf Moon, it’s still a fun and quick read that combines science and the supernatural which results in an interesting take on werewolves. It can definitely be read as a standalone, although I suggest reading at least The Forgotten Room before picking this up, just to get a better sense of Logan. It’s a good book to take to the beach or on vacation. I’m looking forward to Jeremy Logan’s next adventure.

 

 

One Of Us Is Lying, by Karen McManus ~ 4.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: May 30th, 2017

368 Pages

Synopsis: Pay close attention and you might solve this. 

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, “the brain”, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, “the beauty”, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, “the criminal”, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, “the athlete”, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, “the outcast”, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or, are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

I requested One of Us Is Lying because the mystery was appealing and it sort of reminded me of The Breakfast Club and Pretty Little Liars. To my surprise though this wildly exceeded my expectations. The story is related from the POVs of the four main characters. While at first Bronwyn, Nate, Addy and Cooper seem to fit the ubiquitous high school stereotypes, they are so, so much more. They all have secrets and issues they’re trying to deal with and they come across relatable and sympathetic. I liked every single one of them, even while it was constantly in the back of my head that one of them may be a murderer. Karen McManus does a fantastic job at capturing what modern-day high school life is like, especially with the use of social media. With this realistic setting and likable characters, I completely got distracted in regards to the actual mystery, so it wasn’t until the last couple of chapters that all the puzzle pieces began coming together for me and I guessed who the person was behind Simon’s death. The ending is perfect, but not in the way where everyone rides off happily into the sunset. While there are some positive moments, there are others where certain people have to face the consequences of their actions and there were some plot lines that were purposely left open. I was fine with all of it, because like the rest of the story, it made everything messily real. There’s just one aspect that prevents me from giving this a perfect rating, and I’m sorry that I have to be vague. I can’t really go into it too much because that would involve unveiling a major spoiler. All I can say is that it involved mental illness and I thought it was glossed over a bit. Otherwise, this book is bound to be a phenomenal hit with teens and adults who enjoy YA fiction. It would also make a terrific movie or even tv series. I honestly can’t wait to see what Karen McManus comes out with next!

 

 

Manchester Arena Bombing

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As undoubtedly everyone’s heard last night a cowardly, despicable and evil act of terror was perpetrated against concert goers out for an evening of fun and music at the Ariana Grande concert. As of this morning 22 people have been reported deceased including an eight-year-old girl, and 120 injured. Among the 59 casualties taken to area hospitals were 12 children under the age of 16. In addition there are 15 people listed as missing. While not confirmed, unsurprisingly ISIS has claimed responsibility, boasting that more than 100 “crusaders” were killed or wounded at the “shameless” concert. Really? An arena filled with children, teens and families deserved this? Against this one act of evil though there were stories of taxi drivers (including Muslims) heading to the Arena to offer free rides to survivors, and hotels and Manchester residents offering rooms. You see, this is what the majority of people do in the face of adversity. We open our hearts and do what we can to help. For every evil act there will always be countless ones of courage, generosity, and compassion. As with so many people around the world, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as with Manchester and England as a whole. I’m going finish this post by sharing a quote that really jumped out at me.

The terrible thing about terrorism is that it ultimately destroys those who practice it. Slowly but surely, as they try to extinguish life in others, the light within them dies.

~ Terry Waite ~

*Update: Thanks to https://theorangutanlibrarian.wordpress.com for providing the link to the confounding site that’s been set up to help victims and their families. If you’d like to donate please visit

http://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/westandtogethermanchester