Insanity

InsanityInsanity by Cameron Jace
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on December 19th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Pages: 254
Format: ebook
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

After accidentally killing everyone in her class, Alice Wonder is now a patient in the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum. No one doubts her insanity. Only a hookah-smoking professor believes otherwise; that he can prove her sanity by decoding Lewis Carroll's paintings, photographs, and find Wonderland's real whereabouts. Professor Caterpillar persuades the asylum that Alice can save lives and catch the wonderland monsters now reincarnated in modern day criminals. In order to do so, Alice leads a double life: an Oxford university student by day, a mad girl in an asylum by night. The line between sanity and insanity thins when she meets Jack Diamond, an arrogant college student who believes that nonsense is an actual science.

Well, I sure am glad I went into reading Cameron Jace’s Insanity, the first in the series of the same name, without reading the summary on Goodreads – had I read it, I wouldn’t have been so pleasantly surprised by the story’s plot.

I’ve been curious about Insanity for a long time, but had held off on reading it because I judged the book by its cover, which isn’t my favorite by a long shot. However, when I found the first three books in the series available for rental from the Kindle Unlimited library, I took it as a sign and checked them out virtually.

I was almost instantly sucked into Insanity, with its short and sweet chapters and quick action. As I mentioned before, since I hadn’t read the Insanity summary, I was very surprised to learn the series revolves around the maybe real Alice from none other than Lewis Carroll’s famous Alice in Wonderland.

I’ve never read Carroll’s original work, but I am aware of the basic plot points, which are touched upon by Jace in the Alice retelling.

This may be odd to some bookworms, but I very rarely go into reading a book actually knowing what it’s about. I generally don’t even read the backs of books or the insides of their jackets; I’ve read too many silly summaries, which have turned me off particular tomes.

Which leads me to a big reason I’m glad I skipped the Goodreads Insanity summary – I’m bothered that one of the major characters is referred to as ‘Professor Caterpillar.’ Granted, the character is the caterpillar of Lewis Carroll’s imagination, but in Jace’s retelling, he is NEVER referred to as ‘Professor Caterpillar’ exactly – he’s Pillar the Killer.

Anyway, despite my aggravation with the summary, the imagination that went into the writing of Insanity is incredible. Not only does Jace take the reader on a ride with Carroll’s characters in the modern world, the author delves into the personal history of Lewis Carroll himself, who also plays a role.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of the book is the guessing game played by the reader in a dance with Jace to figure out whether Alice Wonder is in fact THE Alice in Wonderland.

This is the first book in a while I’ve read decently quickly and without moving it to the back burner to start another, more exciting story. I am genuinely interested in the fates of Jace’s characters, who are those from Alice in Wonderland re-imagined, and I’m tickled that there is an upcoming eighth book.

I adored this book and am excited to continue the series. I give Insanity four stars…I would have most likely given it five, but there were a few typos I can’t let go.

For instance, the name of one of Alice’s sisters is different in one sentence – I wouldn’t have known who was being referred to had the actual name not started with the same letter as the incorrect one.

Every other facet of the book – plot, world building, character relationships, pace – fit into my reading style perfectly.

I very highly recommend Insanity, especially to those who adore retellings, as I have recently discovered I do.

Love, Maggie

The Monday Review, Vol. 1

Hey, y’all! Welcome to the inaugural installment of The Monday Review, an original weekly meme where I invite YOU to link up your favorite book reviews!

Reviews may include, but are not limited to, posts from the past week, month, year, whenever – as long as it’s a review you’re proud of and would like to share with the blogosphere! 

Simply add the direct link to your chosen review to the linky and voila! 

Thank you for your participation – I’m hoping to keep this meme going as long as y’all are willing to provide your review links! 😀

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Love, Maggie

A to Z Survey

So, I adore discovering tags and surveys, especially when I’m clueless about what exactly to write. I stumbled across The A to Z Survey, created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner, way back in 2013 and decided to give it a shot!

Author I’ve Read the Most Books By

Hmmm…I need to travel back in time for this one, as I tend to jump from one author to another quite a bit! I’d say I’ve read almost all of Ann. M. Martin’s The Baby-Sitters Club series as well as the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories by Carolyn Keene! 😀

Best Sequel Ever

I adored Leigh Bardugo’s follow-ups to Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising! The original in the Grisha series was awesome, but the sequels tied the whole story together and were very entertaining!

Currently Reading

Right now, I’m officially in the midst of reading four books! I’m reading A Batter of Life and Death, a precious cozy mystery by Ellie Alexander, for The Candid Cover’s Summer TBR Wipeout Challenge and I’m doing buddy reads of both Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley.

In addition, I’m taking a short break from reading Stephen King’s behemoth post-apocalyptic novel, The Stand. I never used to read multiple books at once, but I think I like jumping between reads!

Drink of Choice While Reading

My drink of choice is always coffee with only cream! I drink it all day, every day! 😀

E-Reader or Physical Book?

Honestly, I enjoy both my Kindle and physical books. Generally, I’ll switch back and forth between reading an ebook and a hard copy.

Fictional Character I Probably Would Have Dated in High School

OMG! I adore Rob in Kelly Oram’s retelling, Cinder & Ella! Although Rob is simply an excellent guy friend to the main character, he is too sweet for words and doesn’t pressure Ella into a romantic relationship!

Glad I Gave This Book a Chance

Insanity by Cameron Jace was a big step out of my reading comfort zone! I’m so happy I decided to read it, a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. It’s sort of overwhelming, as there are at least seven total books in the series, but I love the story and plan to read them all!

Hidden Gem Book

For this one, it has to be John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, which I read for English class in high school. I went into reading it not knowing what to expect, but it seriously pulled at my heartstrings and will forever be very special to me.

The reason this book holds such a special place in my heart is because my older brother, Bill, is autistic. One of the main characters, Lennie, is descried by Steinbeck as ‘simple-minded’ and his story really makes me think of Bill. 

Plus, with the tragic, yet merciful ending, I can’t help but put myself in the shoes of George, Lennie’s closest friend‘.

Important Moment in My Reading Life

The first thing that comes to mind is when I read Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park as a fifth grader! I read it after seeing and loving the movie and at the time, it was the fattest book I’d ever read! I’m still really proud of that accomplishment! 😀

Just Finished

The most recent book I finished reading was Cinder & Ella, quite obviously a Cinderella retelling! It’s a lovely book and I thank Delaney for highly recommending it to me!

Kinds of Books I Won’t Read

The only kind of book I’m really opposed to reading is straight-up erotica! No judgment toward people who enjoy the genre, it’s just not my cup of tea.

Longest Book I’ve Read

At the moment, the longest book I’ve read is Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, clocking in at 817 pages. When I finally finish it, hopefully by September, The Stand will bump Tolstoy’s classic out of its top spot, as it has 1153 pages!

Major Book Hangover Because of

Anna Karenina! I adored reading it SO VERY MUCH and I didn’t want it to end! I ended up reading a nonfiction book about Catherine the Great, Portrait of a Woman, by Robert K. Massie, not long after finishing Tolstoy’s work, as my mind was still in imperial Russia!

Number of Bookcases I Own

I don’t have any serious bookcases, sadly! I do have an antique curio that belonged to my great-grandmother, but I only store my babies’ books and pictures in it for the time being. Now I have my books in stacks in my walk-in closet, but one of these days, I will have my own real library!

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times

The only book I’ve reread is J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone! I actually reread it via audiobook and with Jim Dale narrating it was amazing! I’m really glad I chose to listen to the first installment in the Harry Potter series; I had forgotten a lot of the detail included in the story and I look forward to listening to the rest of the series soon.

Preferred Place to Read

I like to read anywhere I can, whether it be on the couch, curled up in my bed, nestled in a nook outside, or even in a waiting room – as long as I can read, I’m pretty happy!

Quote That Inspires Me from All the Books I’ve Read

Since it’s fresh in my mind, there is a quote from Cinder & Ella that I absolutely adore! 

“Her laugh was my new favorite sound in the whole world.”

Reading Regret

I always regret DNFing books, but sometimes it’s just necessary. For instance, I was really looking forward to reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, but I just could not get through it. I am going to try reading a manga version by Stacy King!

Series I Started and Need to Finish

I really need to finish The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer! I’ve read both Cinder and Scarlet, but need to get to CressFairest, Winterand Stars Above. While I enjoyed Cinder, Scarlet didn’t really grab me. I have a feeling I will really like Cress and Winter though!

I want to throw in the novellas, Fairest and Stars Above just to get the full effect of the series.

Three of My All-Time Favorite Books

Nothing can top Anna Karenina and Of Mice and Men!

Unapologetic Fangirl for

– a good retelling

Very Excited for This Release More Than All the Others

I love Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon novels and his latest installment, Origin, releasing October 3rd, is definitely the one I am most looking forward to getting my hands on!

Worst Bookish Habit

My worst bookish habit is judging books by their covers. I’ve come to learn that an eye-catching jacket does not necessarily mean a quality book is encased within it.

[Your] My Latest Book Purchase

I’ve been on a serious graphic novel kick, so pretty much any book in the genre must be mine! But, most recently, I bought a book in another favorite genre – the cozy mystery! I purchased Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower.

ZZZ-Snatcher Book

ANY audiobook is likely to put me to sleep! 😀

Love, Maggie

Summer TBR Wipeout Update

I can’t believe it’s already time to post the first update for the Summer TBR Wipeout challenge, hosted by Olivia at The Candid Cover! This month has zipped by, but, luckily, I’ve done decently well with working toward my challenge goal of reading ten books from my TBR list! [You can find my full challenge TBR list HERE.]

As you can see from my challenge TBR list, I chose to read mainly short-ish books and graphic novels throughout the summer wipeout. Thus far, I’ve completed three books and I’m working my way through the fourth!

The only book I foresee having an issue with is Caitlyn Jenner’s memoir, The Secrets of My Life: A History, not because of the content, but because it’s an audiobook – I always have trouble focusing and staying awake while listening! However, I LOVE celebrity memoirs and am really looking forward to reading Jenner’s, I just know it may be a struggle!

Anyhow, I’ve finished Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier, which I absolutely adored! [My review can be found HERE.] I also completed Moon Knight, Vol. 1: Lunatic by Jeff Lemire and The Clue in the Crossword Cipher by Carolyn Keene, about my favorite girl detective, Nancy Drew. I enjoyed both Lemire’s and Keene’s tales – I’m so proud of my picks for this challenge! LOL! 😀

I started Ellie Alexander’s A Batter of Life and Death, a sweet cozy mystery, yesterday and I’m making good progress on it – it’s fast-paced and fun! I’ve also listened to the introduction of Jenner’s memoir, so I’ve kind of started it too, although I haven’t continued listening to it yet.

So, I’m nearly halfway through my TBR list and with the challenge officially ending in a month, I’m pretty confident that I’ll actually finish this challenge, which will be a first for me! 😀

How are y’all doing with the Summer TBR Wipeout challenge? I hope you’re doing well and are happy with your picks! Drop me a line and let me know about your progress – I’d love to visit your update posts! Good luck to all on the rest of the readathon! I’ll be posting my next update during the week of July 29; hopefully, I’ll be well on my way to blowing out my TBR list by then!

Love, Maggie

The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye

The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone ByeThe Walking Dead, Vol. 01: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman
Series: The Walking Dead #1
Published by Image Comics on February 19th 2013
Genres: Graphic Novel, Horror
Pages: 144
Format: ebook
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble, Buy at The Book Depository
Goodreads

Illustrator: Tony Moore

How many hours are in a day when you don't spend half of them watching television?

When is the last time any of us REALLY worked to get something we wanted?

How long has it been since any of us really NEEDED something that we WANTED?

The world we knew is gone.

The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibility.

An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe causing the dead to rise and feed on the living.

In a matter of months society has crumbled.no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV.

In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start living.

Sherriff Rick Grimes wakes up in a hospital after being in a coma for a month, only to discover that the world has changed forever – dramatically. Shortly after awakening, Rick runs into exactly what has caused the virtual end of the world – an infestation of zombies of unknown origin. Rick slowly makes his way home, only to find that his neighborhood – and his hometown – have been abandoned.

Rick meets a pair of strangers, a father and son, who ultimately opt to stay behind as Rick heads off for Atlanta in search of his wife and son. After a long journey, involving both a car ride and hitching a horse, Rick finally runs into Glenn in the heart of Atlanta. Glenn shows Rick the ropes, including the importance of restraining from using gunfire when hordes of zombies are lurking.

Glenn leads Rick to his family – his wife Lori and son Carl – who are shocked to see him alive, living in a camp with other apocalypse survivors – Allen, Jim, Dale, Carol, Andrea, Sophia, Amy, Donna, Billy, and Ben. Rick meets and greets the additional survivors and slowly begins to trust them – they are one. 

While Rick and the others attempt to block out memories of the past, Rick becomes suspicious of his old friend and partner, Shane, who seems unusually close with and protective of Lori. 

Soon after Rick’s arrival, the group debates leaving the camp; however, Shane vehemently stands against doing so. Meanwhile, Rick teaches Carl to shoot, much to Lori’s dismay. Ultimately, Carl’s newly developed gun skills pay off, as he saves Rick’s life in an unlikely way.

The thing I enjoyed most about this first volume is the fact that it is similar to, yet vastly different from, the AMC TV series of the same name. For instance, Daryl is not introduced in this installment and the whole scene which involves Daryl being handcuffed to a pipe and then chops off his own hand to free himself never occurs. 

I was grateful to discover that the show does not follow the graphic novels exactly – I actually quit watching the AMC series when it became so convoluted and goofy that I didn’t know what the plot was anymore. Volume one is a great introduction to the plight of the survivors of the zombie outbreak.

Like most of the graphic novels I’ve read, Days Gone Bye is fast-paced and features amazing illustrations. With 28 total volumes to date, I look forward to following the adventures – and misadventures – of Rick and company.

Love, Maggie

Saga, Vol. 1

Saga, Vol. 1Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples
Published by Image Comics on October 23rd 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Pages: 160
Format: Paperback
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble, Buy at The Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Paper Girls, Vol. 1

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

Collecting: Saga 1-6

My first foray into the world of the graphic novel, Saga blew my mind – in an excellent way.

I did have a sneaking suspicion that I’d enjoy Saga, as it was recommended to me by a bunch of avid readers and bloggers.

Let me just say that this book very much exceeded my already lofty expectations.

Saga’s plot begins with a bang – instant action. The book opens with the all too realistic birth of a baby girl, who in turn narrates the story about the plight of her fugitive parents as well as her childhood.

The story is surprisingly inspirational – the power of love is so very strong, as is the bond between parents and child.

On the run from the wars that ravage their homelands, Marko and Alana take newborn Hazel and begin their adventures as a trio.

The first volume in this epic tale of parents and child, Saga is intriguing, suspenseful, and dramatic. Virtually everything that happens in the book took me by surprise; I certainly didn’t guess where the plot would eventually lead.

Saga features well-developed characters who are either easy to love or easy to despise. I fell in love with baby Hazel, who doesn’t speak, of course, but tells the tale from her point of view, as though she is an omniscient being.

I even liked the mercenary character, The Will, who is tracking the little family on the run. I loved the names of the characters as well, especially those beginning with ‘the’.

Fiona Staples is a wonderfully gifted artist – her drawings are flawless and lifelike. The Stalk, another mercenary character, gave me the creeps SO bad – she’s a messed up looking huge spider! The attention Staples paid to the details of The Stalk’s sickening looks is divine!

Love, Maggie

Make Me Read It!

I’m still in the midst of one reading challenge and I’m already prepping for another one, the Make Me Read It Readathon, co-hosted by Val at The Innocent Smiley and Ely at Tea and Titles! This is the third annual round of the challenge; however, this will be my first time participating and I’m beyond excited!

Perhaps the coolest thing about this particular readathon is that participants choose X number of books, create a poll, and let others vote to determine the order in which their choices are to be read! 

I’ve picked out seven books for y’all to help me decide between! I’d be SO very honored if you could take a minute to vote, regardless of your choice(s)! That’s right – you have the option of voting more than once! 😀

The Make Me Read It Readathon begins August 6 and will end on August 13, so there’s tons of time for y’all to vote and for me to get my ducks in a row, so to speak! Thanks in advance for your vote(s); I’m seriously looking forward to reading all of my picks, so any help is GREATLY appreciated! 😀

What books NEED to be read? 😀

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 4: Last Days by G. Willow Wilson
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Anna & the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Persuasion by Jane Austen

Do Quizzes

Love, Maggie

Challenges, Buddy Reads, and a Fat Book

Happy hump day! With today arrives the weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words, WWW Wednesday! The meme has a simple format, asking the three W’s:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently

I’m still on a break from Stephen King’s The Stand and I’ve put the audio edition of Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins on pause as well. Mainly, these books are on hold due to my reading like a banshee for The Summer TBR Wipeout Challenge, hosted by Olivia at The Candid Cover.

For the challenge, I’ve pledged to read a total of ten books – thank goodness the challenge lasts a little over a month! Since I’ve got a poor track record regarding completing reading challenges, I chose to pick pretty short books on my TBR to wipeout! 

My Summer TBR Wipeout Challenge list:

  1. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
  2. The Secrets of My Life by Caitlyn Jenner
  3. Creepy Susie and 13 Other Tales for Troubled Children by Angus Oblong
  4. The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
  5. The Vision, Vol. 1: Little Worse Than a Man by Tom King
  6. Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier
  7. Moon Knight, Vol. 1: Lunatic by Jeff Lemire
  8. Saga, Vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan
  9. A Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander
  10. The Clue in the Crossword Cipher by Carolyn Keene

Simultaneously, I’m still buddy reading Alan Bradley’s The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie with my pal, Lea. We’re both slacking on reading it, although it’s an awesome cozy mystery, as we keep getting distracted by other books, but, hey, at least we’re on the same page! 😀

I’m also reading Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram and I adore it! I’m so tickled that it was recommended to me! I LOVE retellings and, quite obviously, this book is a Cinderella-esque tale; SO CUTE! Finally, I started the graphic novel, Moon Knight, Vol. 1: Lunatic for the Wipeout Challenge and, though I’m not far into it, I think it’s going to be really different from anything I’ve read thus far!

Just Finished

I finished reading Ghosts a few days ago and absolutely loved it! My review can be found HERE!

Next

Upcoming reads for me include everything on my Wipeout Challenge TBR! Like I said above, I’m so grateful the challenge won’t end until early August, so I’ve got plenty of time to read my picks so long as I stick to my list!

I’ll also be getting back to The Stand, which I want to finish by September as well as The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I’ll be participating in #ARCAugust this year as well, so I’m looking forward to clearing out my NetGalley reads so I can request MORE BOOKS!

Here’s a little list of my ARCs to be read in August:

Love, Maggie

Getting Really Real

After being all but ostracized by a large portion of the book blogging community due to something I deem very personal, I feel the intense urge to write this post. I’m not only writing this for me, but for all the other bookish bloggers whom I know have experienced the same issues, but for various reasons.

Being bullied is never okay – let me just say that right now. It took me a long time to realize that I was, indeed, bullied. I thought I was wrong for having the audacity to speak my opinion. Notice I’m not stating that opinion here – if you’re one of the people who already knows what happened, well, then you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. To those of you who have zero clue about which I’m referring, feel free to contact me. I’m not hiding anymore.

I’m not writing this to call anyone out; I can’t remember the hundreds of Twitter handles who either unfollowed me, blocked me, called me out and harassed me, or even a combination of the three, to list them even if I wanted to, but I don’t.

I don’t feel welcome or heard anymore in bookish group chats, which I used to adore, but have given up on. I’m scared to death to follow someone whom I know has unfollowed me. I feel the need to hover above people’s profile pictures before liking their tweets, or entering their contests, just in case they did unfollow me. It makes me angry that I can’t see who has blocked me, but they can still see my tweets, if they have the weird urge to stalk me.

I don’t know if anyone remembers my original book blog, The Novel Orange, hence my Twitter handle, but I felt absolutely compelled to delete that site after what I experienced. I even deleted my @thenovelorange account for a bit and opened a new one, only adding the handful of people I knew hadn’t judged my opinion. Even when I announced on Twitter that I was shutting down The Novel Orange, the tweet got TONS of likes – which told me people were ecstatic to have run me out of the community, all because I disagreed with them.

I am by no means perfect, but I just can’t wrap my head around why I was so viciously attacked – all because of my personal values and beliefs. I’m even too afraid to mention exactly what I did to apparently offend SO many people, out of fear of experiencing even more backlash. But, I’ve decided, especially after receiving support from others to continue with this post, that if I do lose followers/get blocked/harassed again, then I’m better off without those people in my life and business.

I decided to open this blog, The Caramel Files, after rashly deleting my beloved The Novel Orange because I truly missed blogging, writing, and connecting with bookish people in general. I’m still angry with myself for succumbing to what the ‘mean people’ obviously wanted – to chase me away – especially since I deleted The Novel Orange without even backing it up. I lost a bunch of posts of which I was really proud in addition to a ton of book reviews. I even deleted my Goodreads account, which I’d had seemingly forever because I didn’t know which of my GR ‘friends’ had dumped me from Twitter.

I’m the first to admit that I did not handle being ‘verbally’ or more accurately, Twitter-attacked, very well at all. I lashed out with a few responses to bullies, some of whom I didn’t even follow nor followed me in the first place. I recall telling a particular person to basically fuck off and they were all ‘how far do you want to take this?’. I just had to stop tweeting at that point. 

I am embarrassed about some of the tweets I posted out of anger in response to tweets aimed at me, but I’m not ashamed of my PERSONAL beliefs and values. None of the people who attacked me know me in real life; they don’t know what I’m about; they don’t have a clue where I’m from or what I stand for. I don’t care about others’ PERSONAL mores or about who they voted for in the Presidential election – there – I worked up the courage to admit that I was tortured because I admitted my feelings of victory after the Republican nominee won. 

If you choose to hate me because of my vote like so many others do, then fine, good riddance; I’m sick of hiding behind the wall and putting on a nice, happy facade. I don’t get why so many people who claim to be so ‘accepting’ and ‘progressive’ don’t respect those with different opinions than theirs, just because they are considered to be conservative.

I didn’t vote Republican because I hate minorities or don’t want people to have health coverage; I voted with my heart – for the record, I’m not a believer in abortion; but I DON’T JUDGE women who choose abortion as the best choice for them. Someone very close to me had an abortion as a teenager – I still love her more than words. Her choice was her OWN DECISION; I didn’t have a say so in what she did, nor did I feel it was my place to disagree. I don’t know what I would have done had I been in her situation – everything is subjective.

Going back to the assumption that I’m against immigrants and minorities, I even had a particular follower state that they felt ‘sorry for’ my minority friends. What the hell?! Honestly, why would someone even assume I have minority friends if they’re ASSUMING I’M A RACIST?! Again, for the record, I’M NOT A RACIST. I personally know plenty of minorities who fall on the same end of the political spectrum as I do, so shove it.

I’m glad I decided to keep my original @thenovelorange Twitter account – I hope some haters see this post – instead of completely running away from doing and participating in something I absolutely love. I was just flabbergasted and INCREDIBLY DISAPPOINTED in the book blogging community when I experienced so much backlash due to MY VOTE. Oh, I want to clear something up – I DIDN’T SINGLEHANDEDLY GET DONALD TRUMP VOTED INTO OFFICE – the majority spoke and everyone hating on every move Trump makes needs to get a life. There – another piece of honesty I’ve been AFRAID to share.

Regardless of who the conservative nominee had been, I would’ve voted for him or her. I disagreed with a lot of things President Obama did, but I didn’t waste eight years of my life griping about him – I accepted reality and went on with my life. I still respected him as our President, as the person whom holds office deserves; after all, he was the candidate people voted for; it was just too bad for me that I was in the political minority at the time.

Here’s a fact that may surprise many: I HAVE VOTED DEMOCRAT IN A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION BEFORE. I vote based on who I feel is best for our country at a given time, regardless of their political party identification. Here’s another, perhaps shocking, fact: I’M A SOCIAL WORKER. I feel that a lot of people automatically assume that those in my profession are inherently liberal – not so – look at me. Like I said, I’ve voted on both sides of the aisle – I think I’m older than a lot of blog readers/Twitter followers realize. I don’t say that to patronize anyone; it’s a fact. I’ve been 18+ a lot longer than I think some people know.

Luckily, I had a few supporters at the time of my bullying experience. What’s so unfortunate is that even people who AGREED with me were also too afraid to post their support on the timeline; they felt scared enough to feel the need to express that they were with me behind the wall. I really appreciate all the kind people who did offer sympathy and support – y’all made me feel validated at the time and I know you’re still with me. 

I know I’m going on a bit of a tangent with this post, but I’ve been thinking about writing this – and what exactly to write – since November, when all of this ridiculous drama first happened. I used to regret that I admitted to standing with our now President – I don’t any more. I find it reprehensible that there are people out there in this day and age who judge and ATTACK people they don’t even REALLY KNOW. Very few online people know of my background; I’m not going to write an autobiography here, but understand that I DON’T CARE WHO YOU VOTED FOR. I DON’T KNOW YOUR REASONS FOR HOWEVER YOU DID VOTE AND IT’S NOT MY BUSINESS TO DELVE INTO YOUR PERSONAL LIFE AND DEMAND AN EXPLANATION FOR WHY YOU BELIEVE WHAT YOU BELIEVE.

Being bullied for my vote hasn’t only happened online, unfortunately. I have a few now former friends who called me out on Facebook due to my vote and pretty much seemed to need a bullet point list or PowerPoint presentation on why I voted the way in which I did. Sadly, they are no longer my friends either. 

I think it’s really sad that some people who claim to be ‘non-judgmental’ in fact are just that. I feel that it’s time to get all of this off my chest – like I mentioned, it’s been on my mind since November – that’s SEVEN MONTHS. This has all bothered me that much and has tried to rule my life and made me SCARED to stand up for what I believe in, which is America. I understand that people who voted for Hillary or even a lesser known party’s candidate are for America too, in their own, personal, ways. We all voted for who we felt would be best to hold presidential rank. I’m just sick of hiding, as I’ve probably already stated numerous times. 

In conclusion, I appreciate anyone who has taken the time to read this post in its entirety – whether or not you agree with me. I just hope someone out there reads this and feels less alone in the sea of people who hide behind their devices and bully people they don’t even know. You, the bullies, are cowards. I’m not letting myself be classified as a coward along with you anymore. There. That’s how I feel; that’s what I believe; I feel better, like a ton of bricks has been lifted off my shoulders.

If this post upset you, feel free to unfollow/block me or whatever, but DO NOT HARASS ME. I reiterate – you don’t know anything about me except for whom I voted; I don’t owe you an explanation for my vote and I don’t feel the need to explain my vote to you anymore. All I can say is good luck in 2020; maybe you’ll be happy then.

Maggie

Ghosts

GhostsGhosts by Raina Telgemeier
Published by Graphix on September 13, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade
Pages: 256
Format: ebook
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Goodreads

THERE'S SOMETHING DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS TOWN...

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister's sake -- and her own.

Raina Telgemeier has masterfully created a moving and insightful story about the power of family and friendship, and how it gives us the courage to do what we never thought possible.

I read Raina Telgemeier’s Ghosts in ALMOST a single day – it’s fast moving, the illustrations are precious and fun, the story is heartwarming, and there is just a tiny hint of romance. Centering around Cat and her little sister, Maya, the tale encompasses a variety of themes, among them cystic fibrosis and Latin American culture.

I may have mentioned before that I LOVE to learn as I read and that I did. The story focuses a lot on The Day of the Dead, which is celebrated on November 1st and, as the name suggests, honors those whom have passed away and seeks to invite spirits to be comfortable in the world.

Cystic fibrosis is a disease that I knew very little about prior to reading Ghosts. Maya, the younger sister, is very outgoing and is pretty much the total opposite of her healthy, older sister, Cat. In spite of her sickness, Maya is incredibly upbeat and adventurous.

The tale begins with the girls’ family moving to a seaside town in California, mainly for the fresher air to help with Maya’s cystic fibrosis, which affects the lungs as well as the digestive system, of which I was totally unaware.

While Maya adjusts quickly to their new home and is anxious for adventure, Cat takes a while to adjust. While out walking on one of their first days in their new town, the siblings encounter Carlos, a boy whom tells the sisters about the town’s rich history of celebrating The Day of the Dead as well as its ghostly population.

Cynical at first, Cat blows off Carlos completely, while Maya embraces him and the town’s culture immediately. However, when Maya becomes severely ill and must rest for quite some time, Cat ventures out on her own, makes friends at school, and even begins to embrace The Day of the Dead and the town’s other traditions. 

While there is a hint of sadness in the story, Ghosts left me feeling optimistic and hopeful, just like Maya. It was fun to read about Cat’s evolution and eventual adjustment to her new hometown. Cat transforms from being a negative cynic into a positive role model for Maya. Heartwarming and enjoyable, I very highly recommend this book and I cannot wait to read more of Telgemeier’s work!

Love, Maggie