THIS WORLD IS ON FIIIYAAA

The world is somehow more on fire than it was a month ago which is terrifying, but impressive, so to throw some water on the flames I wanted to share some good things that have been going on here at Casa Angry.

First, I’ve been going to the gym on a fairly regular basis. I started while the husband was away for a week, and for the past four weeks I’ve been hitting it on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. My resting heart rate has come down from a lofty 80bpm to what seems like a more reasonable 66bpm (even though the internet assures me that anything between 60 and 100bpm is “normal”), I’m sleeping better, and I WILL GET MICHELLE OBAMA’S ARMS. My depression stays at bay better when I have a clear routine and clear expectations, so this was a welcome and helpful addition to my week.

Second, to go along with the gym thing, I’ve been eating way better. More fruits and veggies along with two cups of milk per day and 8-8oz glasses of water are all probably contributing to me feeling better too. I’m doing this to help with my depression as well as for my health. I am losing a little weight but if that’s what my body wants to do naturally then that’s okay. It’s not my overall goal. Mostly I want to discourage diabetes, heart disease, and this fucking depression.

Third: I AM WRITING A BOOK DID YOU HEAR??? As of this very evening I have a crisp 23,742 words in Google Docs which amounts to 47 pages and if I’m being super honest I don’t know if that’s good or bad for almost 30 days of work but I’m doing it. The best I can find online is that I should aim for like 60,000 to 100,000 words, with that upper end amounting to a 400ish page book. I figure I’ll write until the story is done, then as I edit I can cut or add as I see the need and the word count will fall where it will.

Fourth: I transferred to a different school in my district after I was offered the job this past Monday. The school I was at this past year was not the best fit in a lot of different ways, so while I will miss the kids I really loved there I am looking forward to taking on this new challenge. I will be responsible for Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus, International Baccalaureate (IB) maths (junior and senior levels), and one weird section of Algebra 1. I practically begged my old school to give me harder classes to teach, but the cards didn’t fall that way. I am thankful for this new opportunity and I hope I can rise to the challenge (duh, I will, I’M A FUCKING BOSS).

Lastly I am really excited about our finances. It might be tacky to mention this, but every. single. summer. before this one was an absolutely terrible and bumpy ride on the struggle bus and we often ran out of money in mid-July for one reason or another. This summer we’re going to make it all the way to when we start getting paid again without having to max out the credit cards or make a $5 Little Caesar’s pizza last for an entire week of dinners. One year it was so bad that during teacher planning week they said they had an extra two catered trays of ziti the teachers didn’t eat AND I CLAIMED THEM BOTH and brought them home and that’s what we had for lunch and dinner for like two weeks until we started getting paid again. Teachers don’t get paid until the last day of their third week back (one week of prep, two weeks with students) and honestly that’s ridiculous but this year we shouldn’t have to worry.

Last summer around this time I was frantically searching for a teaching job after “leaving” my online teaching gig. This year I took a job I wanted because I chose to go out and look for a new one and we have enough saved to be safe through the barren summer months. Security and safety are so amazing. They offer freedom an choice and room to breathe and think. Now granted, we’ll need that first paycheck right away, but there won’t be a gap and … I don’t know guys it just makes me want to cry and sob with relief.

I’m surrounded with books to read, I have words to write, there are puppers to snuggle and kitties to pet. There is enough money for food and shelter and a movie or two. These are some but not all of the lights for me right now in this very dark place, and I want to thank all of you that read and follow this blog for bringing light too. I means so much to me that my words are words you want to read. Thanks for being here. Stay strong.

Read. Be brave. Stay angry.

 

A Double Life

A Double LIfe

Expected publication: July 31, 2018

A Double Life was provided to me by the publisher in return for an honest review. 

This book is set in London. A member of the House of Lords (Parliament) has committed murder and has gone on the run to avoid prosecution. He had intended to kill his wife, but instead killed the nanny and only injured his wife before fleeing the country. The book alternates between the past and the present, showing us what happened but also showing us how his children are doing now. We see the story mainly through the eyes of his daughter Lydia, who has been searching for him since she was a little girl.

Have you ever looked up someone you used to know, or someone you used to date, online? If you have you know that little burst of adrenaline, that sense that you are able to see something you maybe shouldn’t be looking at, and the freedom to observe someone you might have mixed feelings about from afar. It’s simply a part of being a part of social media. Now imagine you could condense and bottle that feeling an then turn it into a book.

That would become this book.

It’s really an exploration of how people can come back and heal from trauma, especially trauma that seems to have been visited on us by those we are supposed to trust the most in the world. Mixed in is the idea that in this age of the internet nothing can ever really be forgotten, moving on from anything is very difficult with constant reminders just a click away, and letting go of the need to know why is hard when you can find just about anyone on the internet.

I’m hesitant to recommend this book. It was very evenly paced, but could be triggering for individuals who have social media addictions or family trauma in their past. The ending also seemed kind of convenient, almost like the book was due so *poof!* everyone gets what they need with just a little scuffle. It also shouldn’t be ignored that doing your own detective work or searching for people in real life is very dangerous, especially if the people you are looking for are violent or abusive.  There are a lot of unhealthy behaviors running amok in these pages.

It does have what I enjoy in a book, and that’s realistic human behavior. Lydia/Claire did exactly what I thought she would do given the circumstances. It wasn’t what I would have chosen to do, but her actions made sense for the most part (the ending notwithstanding).

It was an interesting read and it asks some compelling questions. I don’t think it’s a book I would have chosen to read and I’m not completely enamored with it, but I’m not going to discourage you from reading it either. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

 

Mammoth

IMG_20180625_193151.jpg

Expected publication: October 10, 2018

Mammoth was provided to me as a physical ARC by Eric Smith and Jill Baguchinsky in return for an honest review.

I am a fat woman. It is what it is. The books that I read growing up didn’t have me in them, or if they did I was the comic relief, the best friend, or the tomboy. Never the main character. In recent years books like Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy and Dairy Queen by Catherine Murdock have put girls that are larger or different on the main stage ans asked readers to understand them. Representation matters.

When I started Mammoth my initial reaction was that there was too much going on. The main character Natalie is fat, dealing with her bullying past, running a blog about vintage fashion and paleontology, and getting ready to do an internship at Austin State University. In the beginning we are treated to a lot of details about the shapers that she wears and how clammy they get as well as how she guesses the weight of everyone she meets. We’re also treated to a possible love triangle with an Iowa farmboy. It was all a bit shallow and strained and I almost put the book down.

When she arrived at her internship it got even worse. She’s wearing self-made dresses and fashion shoes to this paleontology internship where she has to know she’s going to be in the mud and dirt a lot of the time. Has this girl never dressed down for gym? She’s a self-professed paleo-geek, a fossilista, but she doesn’t know she needs a pair of cargo shorts, boots, and a sturdy tank top, flabby arms be damned? I kept reading but after she spends the first half of her internship reapplying makeup and struggling to breathe because of her wet, sweaty body shaper, I felt like the story was lacking in realism a bit.

I was ready to tear this book apart, to say that it portrays fat girls as shallow and fashion obsessed and hoping to be beautiful using makeup and clothes, but then about 60% of the way through, something happened. Natalie gets in trouble for drinking with her fellow interns and sneaking off with the farmboy to make out. She’s given a second chance and suddenly we start to see Cody as more than just the guy who gives tours at the Mammoth Welcome Center. Her paleo hero Dr. Carver steals credit for something she finds in the bone storage and forces her to reassess her worship of his work.

The layers start stripping away bit by bit, and we hear less about fashion and more about integrity. Less about hero worship and presentation and more about risking it for what matters. Less about performing for a large audience and more about brushing away the dust at the surface to find the sabercat underneath. The book that was a bit revolting to me at the start suddenly had its arms wrapped around my heart and was telling me that it was okay to not wear make up, it was okay to be comfortable, and it was okay to pursue what I really cared about.

I am glad I finished this book. If I had given up when I felt like I wanted to, my review would have been much different. I believe that this book does justice to fat girls everywhere and shows that it’s okay to be who you are, as long as you know who that is and what you want. As for knowing those things, you shouldn’t let anyone get in your way of those important discoveries. If you have a young lady in your life that is prospecting, get her this book. She might find something she’s been looking for.

Read. Be brave. Stay angry. And go get you some. 🙂

The Disruption of Civility

All right angels, we need to have a talk.

I have been screaming at the tv for a few days now ever since Sarah Sanders got kicked out of that restaurant, also since Sec. Nielsen got run out of that Mexican restaurant. The right wing media and personalities have predictably begun talking about how, regardless of their politics, these people have a right to privacy and people should just let them live their lives. They are attempting to offend our liberal sensibilities and get us to cower into our “we take the high road” identity so they can go about their business on the low road.

The left wing media has begun to take two different approaches to this. One is comparing the denial of service to these people to how Republicans favor the denial of services to LGBT+ individuals (think cakes, flowers, etc) and so somehow this is allowed because Republicans are fine with establishment owners denying service for other reasons. This is a false equivalence and should not be entertained. One is discrimination and one is a form of protest.

The second approach is to discuss whether we are entering an age where civility is dying. It’s the high road vs. the low road discussion. We must always be the better man and turn the other cheek. We can’t stoop to their level or risk being just as bad.

I want to be clear about where we here at the Angry Angel Books website stand on this issue. MAKE THESE PEOPLE MISERABLE.

These people should not have a moment’s peace BECAUSE OF THEIR POLICIES. If you see Stephen Miller at a restaurant you should gather people together and be sure that he doesn’t get his meal. Stand next to his table and recite Green Eggs and Ham on repeat until he leaves. Sarah Sanders is a liar and a mouthpiece for this horrific administration. We shouldn’t have to ask her how she sleeps at night because we should know because WE ARE OUTSIDE HER HOUSE WITH A FULL BRASS BAND PLAYING UNTIL THE COPS ESCORT US AWAY.

Every member of Trump’s cabinet, every Republican member of congress, every person in the East and West Wings all the way up to Trump himself should have zero peace outside of their jobs until these policies are reversed and we see results that restore humanity to the people that are suffering.

The very basic reason these kinds of actions have begun must be because we can’t reach these vampires at work. Sarah Sanders shuts down reporters and feeds them lies in the press room. We are denied access to the children concentration camps. The media thinks calling them concentration camps is too harsh. Congress is now more loyal to their donors than their constituents. We can call and write and petition, but ultimately on the Republican side they are going to do what keeps the money coming in.

So if they aren’t listening during business hours, we have to show what we as a society believe out in the real world. That might result in protests or marches. That might include a restaurant owner saying that they don’t serve the US Minister of Propaganda and asking them to leave their establishment. That might mean that citizens refuse to share space with someone who would not otherwise share space with them or those they care about and love.

We cannot be nice to these people. We don’t have to physically violent, but we don’t need to be nice to them. We don’t have to accept their money or their presence or their words. We live in a world where it costs nothing to prevent neo-Nazis from living comfortably in the public eye. It is our job as citizens to hold our public officials responsible.

There are children living in cages, being ripped from parents and flown around the country. Babies as old as 3 months being placed in the foster system and parents denied the return of their stolen children because they are now part of the adoption system. Refusing to give anyone even remotely involved with this or any other horrific policy that is coming out of this administration the time of day IS THE FUCKING LEAST WE CAN DO.

So kick ’em out. Don’t serve them. If they refuse to leave don’t feed them. Don’t sell them anything. Don’t talk to them. If they refuse to leave call the police and have them removed. Start a hashtag so if you spot a big name someplace people can converge there and disrupt the peace.

Flint still doesn’t have clean water.
THOUSANDS of children are being held and tortured through familial separation.
People seeking asylum legally are being illegally detained and tried.
Unarmed black men are still being murdered by cops.
There were almost more school shootings than weeks of the end of the school year in 2018.
Women are being denied birth control and health care because of religion.
And that’s just a brief sampling of what this administration has begun or allowed to happen in the first 500 days.

I’m sorry, I don’t have time to be civil. People’s lives depend on me being brave and just a little bit rude. It is my civic duty to stand and demand justice. Civil disobedience is something individual citizens and businesses alike can participate in. We have to support businesses that are willing to kick them out, because we all know that online trolls will go and drive their reviews down on Yelp and elsewhere.

It also bears mentioning that this weight should fall more heavily on white shoulders. There have been many discussions about white privilege in the past couple of years and if you walk away with one lesson from all of that it is that we run less of a chance of being arrested. GO DISRUPT THE PEACE so others don’t have to put themselves in what could be very real danger. WE HAVE TO STAND UP FOR PEOPLE WHO CANNOT STAND FOR THEMSELVES WITHOUT RISKING JAIL OR DEATH. WE HAVE TO USE OUR PRIVILEGE FOR GOOD. WE HAVE TO USE IT FOR PROGRESS. And if that means blocking the entrance to an Outback Steakhouse so Betsy DeVos can’t have a Bloomin’ Onion I WILL BE THERE WITH BELLS ON.

We. Don’t. Have. To. Give. Hate. Room.

I say any effort that stops hate, torture, murder, and destruction is very civil. Too bad fascists, you’ll have to make your own tacos at home. Now GTFO.

DISRUPT THE PEACE.

Read. Be Brave. Stay Angry.

With What You Have

I have sat down multiple times this week to write about the concentration camps on our border, about the separation of families, about how parents are deported while their children are flown as far away as New York, about how this is all policy and not law and could be stopped at any time – and I just can’t find the right words to express my horror and sadness. If you have people in your life that think this is okay or find a way to justify it, you need to get those people out of your life immediately. Family, friends, you have to draw a line, I’m sorry. There’s no more discourse to be had when we are keeping children in cages and failing to offer asylum to families already attempting to escape horrors in their own country, only to find more horror right here in the U.S. of A.

I have donated money but I don’t feel like it is nearly enough. I would volunteer to go and read to the children or something like that, but no one is allowed in. Not even the press or elected officials are being granted entry. Stories of sexual and physical abuse are already beginning to stack up, and more recently stories of children being injected with drugs and other agents are being released by leakers who have quit and want to get the word out.

The only thing to do when there is nothing to do is to volunteer your time or donate money or speak out and spread the word about the story so it stays alive. If you read this blog and you are wondering about reputable organizations to which you can donate, I have collected a few for you. You can trust that these orgs are on the up and up and are working tirelessly to not only protect families after the bullshit executive order that came out the other day, but also to reunite the children that were taken in the days leading up to the EO with their parents, some of which have already been deported without their children.

RAICES Family Reunification: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/bondfund

ActBlue, a collection of orgs: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/kidsattheborder?refcode=tweet

Pueblo Sin Frontreras: http://www.pueblosinfronteras.org/shelters.html

Border Angels: https://www.borderangels.org/

ACLU: https://action.aclu.org/give/donate-to-aclu?ms=footer_sitemap_donate&ms_aff=NAT&ms_chan=web&initms=footer_sitemap_donate&initms_aff=NAT&initms_chan=web

Also if you are wondering what some other things you can do are other than simply donating, this article from thecut.com as well as this article from refinery29.com outline some of the best ways to help.

If protesting is more your style there are several events going up nationwide for June 30th sponsored by Families Belong Together. Visit their website to locate the protest or march closest to you and plan to bring your best sign. I am still thinking about being brave and going to show my support, but my anxiety may have other plans for me.

Money, time, or vocal angry support are what we need. Oh yes, and please plan to vote and get everyone you know to vote too. I know that’s a solution, but when the last week felt like a year, November feels eons away when there is so much horror right now.

Stay focused.

Read. Be brave. Stay angry.

The Flight Attendant

The Flight Attendant

There are three major reasons I stop reading a book. Four really.

  1. I get bored.
  2. I don’t care about the characters.
  3. The story isn’t compelling.
  4. The library has a hold on the book and if I keep it any longer I have to pay money.

The Flight Attendant starts in a very promising way. It presents us with a flight attendant who makes a connection with one of the people in first class and goes with him to his hotel in Dubai. They drink A LOT, and when she wakes up the next morning she finds him dead next to her, his throat slit, and he has bled out. She wipes down everything she might have touched, showers, gathers her things, and runs back to her airline’s hotel in time to catch the van back to their returning flight to JFK.

The story asks us to feel the suspense building between Cassie’s constant fear that someone will discover she was with the murdered man, and the revelation that he was wrapped up in some kind of Russian conspiracy and was assassinated for skimming and now the assassin, Elena, who had originally decided to spare her life, now hunts her to tie up the loose end.

I made it to page 214. 60% of the way through. The story was compelling enough that I wanted to give it a chance to wow me. I was ready for some kind of twist or shocking event. What killed the book for me was that I simply didn’t care about the characters.

The main character is Cassie, who is so much of a drunk that her sister won’t leave her alone with her niece and nephew. She was so black out drunk that night that she is only 93% sure that she wasn’t the one to kill Alex in that hotel room. Every three paragraphs she’s talking about how she needs a drink, and every 4 paragraphs she’s having one. She’s very stupid and has no redeemable qualities. Half of my decision to put this book down was made when I realized that I didn’t care if that Russian assassin caught up to her and killed her. Tension lost.

Elena is the dumbest assassin I have ever heard of. She killed Alex as ordered but then left a person alive in the room? I expected it to take the turn that Cassie would then be set up and framed for the murder, leaving Elena to go unnoticed, but her stated reason was that Cassie was an innocent and just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and her daddy issues fueled her compassion. Elena believes that the assassin agency had her dad killed, and is working to get revenge once she uncovers who is responsible, but is sidetracked to go to America and murder Cassie because the agency says it’s either Cassie or her to die because they can’t be connected to Alex’s death.

I’m so fucking confused. This whole book could have been solved in the first 50 pages if Elena had either killed them both or not killed either of them at that moment, but waited for Cassie to leave and killed Alex later. I have no respect for Elena as a character, and I don’t care if Cassie lives or dies, so the book is dead for me. When I saw those patterns would not be changing I just put the book down.

It’s marketed as a thriller but I am here to tell you that it is not thrilling at all. You are given just enough hope that it might become one, but honestly don’t waste your time. It’s a no from me.

Dance of the Gods (The Circle Trilogy #2)

Dance of the Gods

Morrigan’s Cross (#1)

It’s about this time that I get bored with Nora Roberts. Her books are so predictably formulaic that if you read too many in a row you start to hate them simply because you know what’s coming next like ten pages ahead of time. Dance of the Gods takes our circle of 6 heroes (3 couples) into Moira’s realm of Geall to prepare her citizens to fight Lilith and the vampire army in the Valley of Silence on Samhain.

There are a lot of moments in this book when the group decides to flex their muscles and make a statement by poking at Lilith’s forces that are hidden in the nearby caves in Ireland, which is where they are staying as of the first book. Each time they do this ends predictably – someone learns a lesson about not going it alone and making sure to work together. The person who learns this lesson the hardest in this book is Blair, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer character that was ignored and then abandoned by her father and whose daddy issues cause her to want to always be alone. The “everyone I ever loved has left me” boo hoo pity party really makes her badass character a lot less believable, but you’ll make do I’m sure.

Roberts’s thing being a couple per book, Blair is destined to be with the shape-shifter Larkin, who is from Geall and came with his cousin Moira through the Dance of the Gods (the stone circle) to train with the other four members of Morrigan’s circle of six. He shifts into different kinds of animals and at one point he shifts into a hawk in front of Blair and she says something like “that’s so hot” and she does that a couple of times, enough to make me think she might be into bestiality, but I’m not sure.

He wants to care for her, she believes she’s meant to always be alone, and they fight through that tension to have sex a couple of times, until finally she admits she loves him after they return to his country and get ambushed by a bunch of vampires that are also preparing for the battle. I get the themes that Roberts really wants to touch on here: that you can be a tough woman and a sensitive one too, but in the way of romance novels the story doesn’t get much deeper than what gets them into bed. And that’s okay, if I hadn’t just read four other novels set up exactly the same way just before this.

After returning to Geall the group informs the country that (1) yes, women are in charge here and will be teaching you how to not die, (2) vampires are real, and (3) magic is cool and okay. I liked the way that the women dealing with other women was written here. Some women wanted to hold onto the “women’s work” but were brought to understand that anything is women’s work (small caveat: it takes Glenna asking how they might protect their babies to get them to fight, so I guess it’s not exactly 100% feminist but their lives were on the line so whatever works?).

The book ends with Blair agreeing to marry Larkin (again, I don’t understand why the ending for every couple has to be marriage) and Larkin agreeing that he will leave Geall behind to return to Earth with Blair so she can continue to be a hunter of vampires there, and they streak across the sky with a flame sword and I guess she writes an entire sentence in the air like a plane might? Again, this book is a lot of “LET’S SHOW HER WHAT WE’RE MADE OF” and a lot of it just ended with them getting their noses bent.

This is not my favorite book of the series. It makes a strong woman look weak and needy, and the actions the characters take are stupid and dangerous given the stakes. I’m going to wait a bit before beginning Valley of Silence, because it has my favorite pairing and the battle is cool, but I have to get this Nora Roberts taste out of my mouth so it doesn’t spoil it for me.