Cub Scout Den Banishes 11 Year Old For Daring To Ask Legislator About Gun Control

There is something seriously wrong when an 11-year-old is kicked out of the Cub Scouts simply for completing an assignment. No matter what your opinion is on gun control, all of us should be outraged at the treatment of young Ames. Thank you for sharing this Gronda!

Gronda Morin

AMES MAYFIELD

A precocious 11 year old Cub  Scout, Ames Mayfield dared to ask his Colorado State Senator Vickie Marble, some tough but pertinent questions. He is involved in his school politics because this has become a passion for him. He did an outstanding job but the questions were critical. As a consequence, he was kicked out of his cub scout den.

Here is the rest of the story… 

On October 20, 2017, Samantha Schmidt of the Washington Post penned the following report, “A Cub Scout pressed a lawmaker about gun control. Then his den kicked him out, his mother said.”

Excerpts:

“When Ames Mayfield’s Cub Scout den met with a Colorado state senator last week, the 11-year-old came prepared with a long list of typed-up questions. He excitedly raised his hand to ask his first one.”

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“Ames pressed the Republican state senator, Vicki Marble, on an issue he…

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Alone, by Cyn Balog ~ 3.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: November 1st, 2017

288 Pages

Synopsis: When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda’s almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it’s fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they’re not going back to the city…or Seda’s friends and school.

As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They’re about to be cut off from the outside world, and she’s not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her.

Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality…

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Welcome to the Bismarck-Chisholm House—where murder is only the beginning of the fun! Stay in one of eighteen comfortable guest rooms. You’ll sleep like the dead. We guarantee it…

How bone-chillingly cool is that opening? If you think the premise sounds vaguely familiar, you’d be right. Alone pays homage to The Shining , even mentioning it during one scene, yet it has several unique twists of its own. 

Seda is an unreliable narrator and her actions kept me off guard throughout the story. She’s isolated in a creepy rundown mansion that used to be a hotel that held themed murder mysteries for their guests. Except for a general store twenty miles away there’s no other contact with the outside world as they have no cell phone service or landline. And to top things off, the father, fed up with his wife’s insistence that the house only be sold to someone who will stay true to its history, deserts the family. After four months of this, Seda seemingly goes from a once popular sixteen-year-old girl, to a socially awkward one who has a difficult time with even the most basic conversations. Part of this is explained by the secret she’s been keeping from everyone for years. I’d be sympathizing with her one moment, and left scratching my head at her puzzling actions the next. Every time I thought I had a handle on who she was, something would happen and I’d be right back at the beginning. It was infuriating yet mesmerizing at the same time. 

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The rest of the characters didn’t stand out all that much, although I thought Seda’s younger siblings (two sets of twins), were adorable. The mother was a little out there and I wound up disliking her intensely. I thought her actions were selfish, neglectful and uncaring. She supposedly loved Seda and her siblings but aside from inventing entertaining games to keep them distracted, she seemed otherwise disengaged. The stranded teens pretty much fit the standard roles: romantic lead, mean girl, loner, etc. and didn’t add all that much until the end of the book.

The descriptive setting was the best part of the story. You can feel the eeriness and claustrophobic atmosphere creep off the pages and surround you. Each chapter begins with a heading that ties the crumbling ruin back to its heyday of being a popular hotel, which was an imaginative touch. The pace though, was extremely slow for about 70% of the book, and at times, I was ready to tear out my hair waiting for something, ANYTHING to happen! And then it finally did, and yikes! What a rollercoaster ride! There’s a huge twist at the end that I still can’t make up my mind as to whether I loved or hated it. Either way, I’m still thinking about it two days after I finished the book, which makes it a success in my mind. 

While Alone didn’t quite live up to my admittedly high expectations, I still enjoyed it and I think it’s a good read for teens, especially this time of year. It’s creepy and unsettling and I guarantee the ending will give you goosebumps!

 

*🎂Awesome Bookish Cakes💖📚*

How Exquisite Are These? The Question Is, Would You Actually Be Able To Eat One?

Thank You To The Marvelous Dani For Sharing These!

Touch My Spine Book Reviews

Good morning fellow book nerdigans! I wanted to share with you these fantastic book inspired CAKES! These make me hungry but also fall in love! A book lovers dream wedding cake or birthday cake! I hope you enjoy and have a fantatic day! Happy Reading!📚💖🎂

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Well This Was Unexpected

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Two former presidents: Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama both re-entered the political maelstrom today with strongly worded messages to Mr. Trump, although they never mentioned his name. At the Spirit of Liberty conference he convened in New York at the George W. Bush Institute and Freedom House, part of Mr. Bush’s speech included these words of wisdom:

We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America. We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade, forgetting that conflict, instability and poverty follow in the way of protectionism. We’ve seen the return of isolationist sentiments, forgetting that American security is directly threatened by chaos and despair of distant places.

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We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone and provides permission for cruelty and bigotry. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.

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We become the heirs of Martin Luther King Jr. by recognizing one another not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. This means people of every race, ethnicity and religion can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemous against the American creed. It means the very identity of our nation depends on the passing of civic ideals to the next generation.

And Mr. Obama led rallies for not one, but two Democrats running for office: Phil Murphy who’s running for governor in New Jersey, and Ralph Northam, who’s the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, and is hoping to be governor. Now, I realize that not everyone is a fan of our former president, but I don’t think the majority of people can deny what an inspiring and eloquent orator he is. Here are a few takeaways from his speeches today.

What we can’t have is the same old politics of division that we’ve seen so many times before that dates back centuries. Some of the things we see now, we thought we put that to bed. That’s folks looking 50 years back. It’s the 21st century, not the 19th century.

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If you have to win a campaign by dividing people, you’re not going to be able to govern them.

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We are at our best not when we are trying to put people down, but when we are trying to lift everybody up.

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Instead of our politics reflecting our values, we’ve got politics infecting our communities. Instead of looking for ways to work together and get things done in a practical way, we’ve got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonize people who have different ideas, to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage.

For those who follow politics in the U.S., you know how unusual speeches like these are. It’s unheard of for former presidents to direct even implied criticism at their successors. Yet here we have two leaders from opposite ends of the political spectrum, who obviously feel strongly that some of our basic democratic principles that have long been adhered to are in jeopardy. Now the question is, will people listen?

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe, by Melissa de la Cruz ~ 4.0 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Available Now

240 Pages

Synopsis: Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant(just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her dad and little brother.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennett, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32 and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after one too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking about Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe takes the original classic and gives it a contemporary setting with a few extra twists like switching the genders of the two main characters. It’s a fun, fluffy read that’s perfect for this time of year.

I’ve read a few retellings of Pride and Prejudice over the years but this is the first one where the two main characters had their genders swapped. In the beginning, Darcy is pretty unlikable, and that’s okay in the beginning because she’s supposed to be. Although she’s a brilliant and successful business woman, she’s a bit immature and totally self-involved. Several times throughout the story she defends herself by explaining she’s just very confident and ambitious. I wasn’t able to buy into this “I’m misunderstood” defense though. I did like her a little more near the end, but I wish her character had been developed more.

I loved Luke, but he’s not as much a part of the story, which was a little disappointing. The premise describes him as a slacker but he isn’t at all. He’s not ambitious in the business sense like Darcy, but he’s hardworking and loves what he does. There’s actually very little time spent setting up the relationship between Darcy and Luke, and I thought the romance was a bit rushed. But in the latter half of the book they are together more often, which I loved because they’re such a likable couple.

I think the few issues I had with Pride Prejudice and Mistletoe, would have been addressed if the book had been a little longer. But honestly, even with them, I still thoroughly enjoyed this and read it in one sitting. This is the first adult fiction book I’ve read by Melissa de la Cruz, but she makes the transition from YA fiction to adult quite successfully. I recommend this to anyone who’s interested in a light contemporary romance set at Christmas.

Me too

This cannot be shared enough. Thank you Plot Monster!

Plot Monster

So on a serious note, I have seen the following post floating around on facebook for a few days:

Me too.

If all the people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too.” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.

Some of the posters choose to share their story while others simply post “Me too.”  In some ways I think this is a wonderful thing.  After all, it can only help to bring awareness to such a massive problem in our society.  On the other hand, it saddens me that there is such a need.

I think it is important to talk about this with young people.  Sexual predators look for people they can manipulate.  They look for people who won’t speak up.  The victims need to know that is not their fault.  They need to know that they are the…

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Protected, by Claire Zorn ~ 4.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Available Now

276 Pages

Synopsis: I have three months left to call Katie my older sister. Then the gap will close and I will pass her I will get older. But Katie will always be fifteen, eleven months and twenty-one days old.

Hannah’s world is in pieces and she doesn’t need the school counsellor to tell her she has deep-seated psychological issues. With a seriously depressed mum, an injured dad and a dead sister, who wouldn’t have problems?

Hannah should feel terrible but for the first time in ages, she feels a glimmer of hope and isn’t afraid anymore. Is it because the elusive Josh is taking an interest in her? Or does it run deeper than that?

In a family torn apart by grief and guilt, one girl’s struggle to come to terms with years of torment shows just how long old wounds can take to heal.

Australian author Claire Zorn’s Protected has been nominated for and won several awards, and after reading it, it’s easy to see why. With the many issues it brings up it’s a difficult read at times, especially as it’s so believable, but take my word for it, this is a book worth picking up.

The story begins in the present day, with the one year anniversary of the death of Hannah’s sister, Katie, approaching. The family is in crisis, with the mother being severely depressed and the father being under investigation as he was driving the girls at the the time of the accident. Complicating things further is that he has amnesia due to his injuries. Hannah also claims to have amnesia, and is now facing a meeting with investigators. 

As the story unfolds, you see that fifteen-year-old Hannah’s trauma started long before the accident. She has been a victim of a vicious and frankly, depraved campaign of bullying since her first year in high school. Despite a caring teacher and school counsellor, the adults here are oblivious to what’s been happening until after the accident. Hannah’s well-meaning parents discover how much their youngest daughter is suffering, but with Katie’s untimely death, the bullying is forgotten. If there’s a silver lining in all this, it’s that now, Hannah’s tormentors have somewhat grown a conscience and leave her alone. 

Hannah is such a relatable character, and my heart ached for her. Her grief is palpable and as the story goes back and forth between the present day and the past events which lead up to the fateful day, it’s obvious that this young girl is a lot stronger than she appears. Her first person narrative is full of raw emotion and I honestly found myself stunned at times at the way she was able to push through the trauma and grief and guilt. 

The reader also sees the difficult relationship that existed between the sisters. Katie knew about the the bullying, but as the popular older sister, not only didn’t want to get involved, but actually blamed Hannah. The quintessential party girl, Katie was completely self-absorbed and viewed Hannah with a mixture of scorn and bitterness. I found myself wondering if she had lived, if their relationship could have been saved once they reached adulthood. My one criticism is that I thought Katie was a little too one dimensional. Sibling relationships can be complicated, but there was nothing likable about Katie whatsoever, and I wish she had been fleshed out a little more.

Hannah’s mother and father are both loving parents, but since the accident, her mother has completely withdrawn from the world and only shows emotion when she’s bitterly blaming her husband for Katie’s death. There is a family support system in place of sorts, with grandparents trying to help, but I found it hard to believe that no one brought up the idea of professional counseling for her. The father and Hannah have a closer relationship and I appreciated how even facing the possibility of legal repercussions, he urged her to tell the truth. 

The two people who ultimately help Hannah get past what has happened though is Anne, the quirky school counsellor and Josh, a fellow classmate. Both of them determinedly set out on bringing Hannah out of her shell and showing her what a wonderful person she is, and that she did not ask for or deserve anything that’s happened to her. I enjoyed the burgeoning relationship between Josh and Hannah. He made me laugh out loud more than once, and he’s exactly what Hannah needs as he patiently coaxes her back into the world, The ending is bittersweet but filled with hope as you can see that Hannah is going to be alright. 

Claire Zorn’s writing is incredibly vivid, from her descriptions of the Blue Mountains of Australia, to the bullying and the consequences that result from it. Hannah is such a sympathetic character that I think she’s going to stay with me for a long time. Protected is a perfect book for classrooms and book discussion groups and I highly recommend it. It’s the first book I’ve read by this author, but it certainly won’t be the last.

Hell On Earth

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Hi everyone. I’m going to be taking a break from WordPress for the next couple of days, but before I sign off I wanted to say my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone effected by the Northern California wildfires. After six days, there are still more than 22 not contained, and with windy conditions expected this weekend it’s uncertain when they will be. So far the death toll stands at 32, with hundreds more missing. For any of my blogging friends who live in the area, please, PLEASE stay safe. Material things can be replaced. YOU cannot!

Below are just a few of the more startling images coming out of this disaster.

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The remains of a car near the Fountaingrove Inn Hotel, Santa Rosa, CA ~ Jeff Chiu/AP

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The Coffey Park neighborhood in Santa Rosa, before and after ~ Google Earth/Reuters

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Main building Paras Vineyards, Napa CA ~ Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

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 A hollow tree burning from within in Schellville, CA ~ CNN