Tomorrow Will be Different is a story of strength and courage

36452276The first time I was introduced to Sarah McBride was when she spoke at the Democratic National Convention.  I already knew about transgender people since my daughter had a friend in high school who was transgender.  She would come stay at our house and our daughter would go to her house for overnight stays. I never had an issue with the sleepovers.  My husband only asked once if we should be worried and allow it.  Once I explained why someone is transgender, he got it.

In Tomorrow Will Be Different, Sarah does a great job explaining what she went through all her life knowing deep down she was a girl in a boy’s body.  She also does a great job explaining the struggles that transgender people go through just to have basic rights.  There are a lot of misconceptions about the transgender.  So many people and politicians have the idea that transgender people say they are the wrong sex so they can assault someone.  That is so far from the truth.  Transgender people just want to live their life as the person they always thought they should be.

Sarah talks about all the many people who have been fighting for years to change state and federal laws.  She shows just how hard it is to change those laws.  Then once a law has been changed, the fight continues because of another politician who circles back and tries to reverse the law almost immediately after it passes.

Two years ago, the nonprofit organization where I work, fought the Missouri Government against SJR39, a bathroom bill.  Luckily it was defeated at the committee level but now there is yet another bill on the docket.  Once again, our office is taking up the fight.

Before I met my daughter’s friend, I didn’t know what transgender meant.  I thought it was the same as transvestite.  Which even though different, neither one is a danger to society.  It saddens me to see how transgender people are treated and misunderstood.  Just because someone is different from us doesn’t mean it is evil or wrong.

The way I explain transgender to people quickly is a soul was put in a body by mistake.  I know Sarah has opened my eyes further in the transgender world and I think if people aren’t sure what it’s like for someone to struggle to live their authentic self, they need to read Sarah’s book.  My heart breaks for transgender people and how they are being treated out in the world.  They just want to live their lives to the fullest and feel safe.  I’m so glad I read Tomorrow Will Be Different and I thank Sarah for being brave enough to share her story.

Book Description:
A captivating memoir that will change the way we look at identity and equality in this country
 
Before she became the first transgender person to speak at a national political convention in 2016 at the age of twenty-six, Sarah McBride struggled with the decision to come out—not just to her family but to the students of American University, where she was serving as student body president. She’d known she was a girl from her earliest memories, but it wasn’t until the Facebook post announcing her truth went viral that she realized just how much impact her story could have on the country.

Four years later, McBride was one of the nation’s most prominent transgender activists, walking the halls of the White House, advocating inclusive legislation, and addressing the country in the midst of a heated presidential election. She had also found her first love and future husband, Andy, a trans man and fellow activist, who complemented her in every way . . . until cancer tragically intervened.

Informative, heartbreaking, and profoundly empowering, Tomorrow Will Be Different is McBride’s story of love and loss and a powerful entry point into the LGBTQ community’s battle for equal rights and what it means to be openly transgender. From issues like bathroom access to health care to gender in America, McBride weaves the important political and cultural milestones into a personal journey that will open hearts and change minds.

As McBride urges: “We must never be a country that says there’s only one way to love, only one way to look, and only one way to live.”

The fight for equality and freedom has only just begun.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger side

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Mileva is The Other Einstein

28389305I’ve always known about Albert Einstein, but since I wasn’t very good at science or very interested in science, he was just a blip in my life.  So when I received the book The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict, I was pretty excited to learn more.  Plus, I really liked the cover artwork.

The Other Einstein tells the story about Mileva Maric, the only female in 1896 to study physics at Polytechnic University in Zurich and was one of the first women to study science in Europe.  Her father recognized that Mileva was smart and wanted her to have a life outside of the house so he worked hard to make sure she received the right education.  He had to petition to get her into the program at Polytechnic University.

Mileva first meets Albert in the program at the university.  She wanted to concentrate on her studies and was not looking to fall in love so she ignored her feelings for Albert.  Mileva had a birth defect that left her with a limp.  Growing up she always overheard people talking about how she would never find love, leaving her alone the rest of her life.  She took that to heart and wouldn’t believe someone like Albert would like her.

The Other Einstein introduces the theory that Mileva was a better physicist than Albert.  They collaborated on several projects and papers making for a great collaboration team.  They collaborated on many of his published papers.  She came up with the Theory of Relativity while traveling on a train and seeing the clock at the train station.  The same theory that won Albert the Noble Peace Prize.  He refused to put her name on the published papers.  He refused to give her credit for the Theory of Relativity. He refused to put her name on a patent he filed for machinery that they also collaborated on.

Told from Mileva’s point-of-view, this historical novel is about the difficulties she encountered all her life, but mainly while married to Einstein.  He was a selfish man and became abusive after their marriage, neglecting her, and pretty much ignoring the existence of their first child born out of wedlock.  He expected her to stay home, catering to his and the family’s needs instead of using her intelligence.  He treated her like the hired help.

Over time, Mileva started living in Albert’s shadow, losing a little bit of herself.  Luckily she realized if she wanted to be happy, she needed to leave him and get back to her science.  Mileva was a ground-breaking and intelligent woman who I think would have been very famous had she lived a hundred years later.  I’m glad a light is finally being shined on her and what she accomplished.

Book Description:
A vivid and mesmerizing novel about the extraordinary woman who married and worked with one of the greatest scientists in history.

What secrets may have lurked in the shadows of Albert Einstein’s fame? His first wife, Mileva “Mitza” Marić, was more than the devoted mother of their three children—she was also a brilliant physicist in her own right, and her contributions to the special theory of relativity have been hotly debated for more than a century.

In 1896, the extraordinarily gifted Mileva is the only woman studying physics at an elite school in Zürich. There, she falls for charismatic fellow student Albert Einstein, who promises to treat her as an equal in both love and science. But as Albert’s fame grows, so too does Mileva’s worry that her light will be lost in her husband’s shadow forever.

A literary historical in the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. PoeThe Other Einstein reveals a complicated partnership that is as fascinating as it is troubling.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

Hemingway and Gillhorn are all about Love and Ruin

36529552Growing up I was a huge Hemingway fan and read several of his books.  Now that I’m an adult, I’m not sure why I was slightly obsessed with him.  It was probably the stories instead of the actual man. Then I read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain about Hemingway and his first wife Hadley.  This book exposed me to the young Hemingway’s private life.  Recently I read Love and Ruin by McLain about Hemingway and his third wife Martha (Marty) Gillhorn, one of the great war correspondents of the 20th century.

The book opens with Marty as a teenager on vacation with her mom and brother in Key West.  They meet Hemingway at a restaurant/bar where they strike up a conversation.  Marty is intrigued and impressed with Hemingway and starts to correspond, sharing her writing, asking for his advice.  He encourages Marty to join him in Europe where she can get experience reporting about what is happening as World War II approaches.  In order to travel, she must secure the backing by a magazine.

Marty jumps at the opportunity to travel to Europe and secures a byline with Collier’s Weekly, hoping to use her friendship with Hemingway to help open doors for her career.  But while in Spain, the couple have an attraction and she soon becomes involved in a romantic relationship with Hemingway while he is still married to his second wife Pauline.  Marty and Hemingway eventually move to Havana as Marty waits for Hemingway to divorce Pauline and marry her.  I feel like this was a pattern for him.

This book is mainly about Marty and her time with Hemingway.  This really exposes how very selfish a man Hemingway was and how he didn’t really care about other people’s feelings.  He always got bored and restless in his marriages and became critical of his wives and a mean bully.   It was sad to see how he treated Marty when she wanted to go back and cover the war.

How insecure and threatened her felt by Marty’s success.  She was someone who couldn’t stay away from the war and became restless, itching to get back to the action.  She took many risks to report what was happening and is the only woman to land at Normandy on D-Day when she hid in a hospital ship bathroom and impersonated a stretcher bearer.

Love and Ruin brought Marty and Hemingway to life.  Some of my favorite times were in Havana.  I was curious to see what the house looked like, which you can see on the internet.  I was disappointed that Marty so freely gave the Havana house away to Hemingway when they broke up.  She was the one that purchased it and she was the one that did all the renovations even though Hemingway thought the house was a bad investment.  I felt like it was more her house and that she should have put her foot down and not allowed him to return with his next mistress/wife.

Book Description:
The bestselling author of The Paris Wife returns to the subject of Ernest Hemingway in a novel about his passionate, stormy marriage to Martha Gellhorn—a fiercely independent, ambitious young woman who would become one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century

In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in devastating conflict. She also finds herself unexpectedly—and uncontrollably—falling in love with Hemingway, a man already on his way to becoming a legend. In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the tumultuous backdrops of Madrid, Finland, China, Key West, and especially Cuba, where Martha and Ernest make their home, their relationship and professional careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man’s wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that will force her to break his heart, and her own.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

The Girl I used to Be is a roller coaster of a ride

37563646Lately I have been reading a lot of psychological thrillers.  Each one has been slightly different, but all of them have been heart-pounding reads.  Psychological thrillers tend to stay with me.  I dream about the characters and what is happening to them.  I find this is a genre I have a hard time putting down and getting back to real life and I also have a hard time letting go of the characters for days, sometimes weeks.

In The Girl I Used to Be by Mary Torjussen, Gemma Brogman is a real estate agent and her husband, Joe, stays home with their little boy Rory.  Gemma works long hours, seven days a week, not leaving Joe much time to have adult time outside of the house.  One day Gemma shows a nice looking man (David) several apartments as he waits for money from the sale of his house to hit the bank.

A few days later Gemma heads to London for a conference.  She decided to go a day early to have alone time away from her busy schedule and her family.  Instead of taking a bath and going to bed with a book, she decides to eat at the hotel restaurant.  While talking to other real estate agents, she sees her client David across the room.  To avoid an annoying acquaintance, Gemma decides to have dinner with David.

After dinner, they both head to their rooms located on different floors.  While on the elevator, Gemma is super tipsy and stumbles all over.  She doesn’t remember drinking that much so David helps Gemma to her room where he kisses her.  Gemma wakes in the morning with a horrible hangover and doesn’t remember the night after the kiss.

Now back home, Gemma starts to receive weird messages and photos that she doesn’t remember being taken while at the conference about situations she doesn’t remember.  Each photo is more horrible than the next.  Who is blackmailing her? And who is David who she can no longer contact?

Part one of the book moves along smoothly, slowly building the story.  We learn about Gemma and her husband and we meet her co-workers.  We learn that Gemma is not happy that Joe stays home all the time instead of going back to work so she can cut back on her work schedule and spend more time with Rory.  She’s jealous of Joe and how Rory goes to him first instead of her.

We learn that Joe wants to get out more with his friends and have more of an adult life. I think he secretly is jealous of Gemma with her work schedule keeping her away from the home all the time.  But Joe doesn’t seem like he wants to go back to work.  He’s almost a little annoying.  Part two really kicks up the psychological warfare.  We quickly learn who is involved with the blackmail and what is really happening.

Think about riding a roller coaster.  The first hill is super big.  It’s a slow climb to the top, making the riders’ nerves increase on what could be on the other side of the crest of the hill.  That’s part one.  Then think of what happens when you go over the crest of the hill and you pick up speed heading down the hill, hair blowing behind you, stomach dropping and you are probably screaming.  That is part two.

I had a really hard time putting this book down.  It was a good thing I had an ebook copy or I probably would have flipped to the back of the book because I couldn’t read fast enough to find out the who and why.  A good stormy day would have been nice so I could have curled up on the couch and read it in one sitting.  If my friends and family ask for a book recommendation, The Girl I Used to Be will be one of the first books I recommend.  Make sure you block off time because you will want to read The Girl I Used to Be in one sitting.

Book Description:
The acclaimed author of Gone Without a Trace returns with a new novel of twisting psychological suspense in which a woman is forced to face down her blackmailer.

Someone’s been sending Gemma compromising photos. Photos she doesn’t remember. She can’t recall much about that night during a work conference–she’d written off her headache the next morning as the result of too much drinking at the hotel bar. But then increasingly disturbing photos start appearing in her email, along with bills and other items she can’t account for. As the blackmailer grows bolder and events start to escalate beyond her control, Gemma fears for her already shaky marriage and worries that the truth of what really happened that night must be more twisted than she imagines.

Unable to go to the police for fear that she will lose her family, Gemma resolves to hunt down the blackmailer on her own. But not everyone in Gemma’s life is who they seem, and as she gets closer to the truth, she discovers just how far the shadows from her past can reach.

Until Next Time, enjoy the view from your passenger seat

Who is the woman in cabin 10

28187230The Woman in Cabin 10 is the second Ruth Ware book I have read and I enjoyed both of them.  Laura Blacklock (call her Lo) suffers from extreme anxiety and takes medicine to keep it under control.  Lo works at a travel magazine and for the first time she has been given the assignment to spend a week on a ship for a new super-luxury cruise line. Lo needs this assignment to get the promotion she wants and to put the small travel magazine, Velocity, on the map.

A few days before her departure date, while asleep in her apartment, a strange man breaks in, sending her anxiety to an all-time high.  Then the night before she leaves on assignment, Lo has a huge fight with her boyfriend and leaves with the relationship on shaky ground.

The Aurora has only 10 cabins with a maximum of 20 passengers and will travel around the Norwegian fjords for a week.  The passengers include several reporters including Lo’s ex-boyfriend.  Lo is assigned Cabin 9 at the end of the hallway.  The first night on board, before dinner, Lo borrows a mascara from the woman in Cabin 10.  She looks for Cabin 10 woman at dinner but never spots her.  Later that night she passes out drunk on her bed.  A scream and a splash coming from Cabin 10 soon wake her from a dead sleep.  On the veranda she sees blood on the neighboring balcony.

Lo calls security and quickly learns that the guest who was supposed to be in cabin 10 didn’t make the cruise.  There are no passengers missing, staff is all accounted for and nothing is amiss other than Lo’s report of what she saw.  Is her anxiety medicine mixed with the lack of sleep and the abundance of alcohol playing tricks on her?  She insists she saw something but no one believes her.

This book has a Murder on the Orient Express feel to it along with Girl on the Train and Gone Girl.  It’s a great psychological thriller that takes the reader on such a roller coaster ride I had no clue what was really going on.  Who is the woman in Cabin 10?  Was there ever a woman in Cabin 10 and what is really going on.

Ruth Ware took me on a journey that made my heart pound, made me second guess myself on what is happening and second guess who is doing it. Was it a mind blowing, nothing can top it book? No, was it entertaining, taking the reader away from their lives and taking them on a journey of murder? Yes. So I enjoyed this book, I recommend it and I can’t wait for Ruth’s next story. She can keep entertaining me as long as she wants.

Book Description:
Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

The Woman in the Window is a great psychological thriller

34848682When I first read the description for The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn, it said if you liked Gone Girl you would like this book.  But I think if you liked The Girl on the Train you would like this book.

The main character, Anna Fox, is a child therapist who suffers from agoraphobia and has not left her house for the past ten months.  She spends her days watching old black and white thrillers, on the internet in an agoraphobia group giving advice, drinking lots of wine, taking her meds that are not to be mixed with alcohol and spying on her neighbors.  She knows all about her neighbors and their schedules.

Then a new family moves in across the way and she starts watching them.  She meets the teenage son who comes to visit, and she meets his mom who stops by.  Then she witnesses something horrible take place with the new family.  That is where the story turns into a psychological thriller.

This book has a feel like Hitchcock’s Rear Window.  As Finn slowly reveals what really happened in the house across the way, I found my heart pounding just a little faster.  As you get deeper into the story there is twist after twist after twist with shocks at every turn.  I thought I knew what was going on and then – nope.  Along with the incident at the neighbor’s house, Anna’s life slowly is revealed.  Why doesn’t her husband and daughter live with her anymore?  And why did she turn into an agoraphobia ten months ago?

If you like psychological thrillers, you will enjoy The Woman in the Window.  This is a very quick read, because you will not want to put it down.  Make sure to carve out a good chunk of time where you won’t get distracted because you will not want to put this down.

Book Description:
For readers of Gillian Flynn and Tana French comes one of the decade’s most anticipated debuts, to be published in thirty-five languages around the world and already in development as a major film from Fox: a twisty, powerful Hithcockian thriller about an agoraphobic woman who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house.

It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening . . .

Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble, and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

Twisty and powerful, ingenious, and moving, The Woman in the Window is a smart, sophisticated novel of psychological suspense that recalls the best of Hitchcock.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

Take flight with the women who were pioneers of the airline industry

26154388Growing up, I struggled in history class.  Everything just seemed so boring.  Some of it I think was the teachers who didn’t make it interesting.  Who sat at their desks and just had us read from the text book.  But now that I’m an adult, I enjoy learning about historical events.  I especially enjoy history that involves women who have accomplished incredible things.  In Crossing the Horizon by Laurie Notaro, we learn about the wonderful and fascinating story about women who were brave and determined to make history.

The women in this book are pioneers of our airline industry.  They had no fear of dying and were determined to be the first female to cross the Atlantic Ocean.  Before Amelia Earhart, Anne Lindbergh, and Beryl Markham burst upon the aviation scene, three other women were vying to be the first.  The main characters of In Crossing the Horizon are Mabel, a glamorous society girl, Elsie McKay, daughter of an Earl and Ruth Elder “America’s girl” and pageant queen.  Mabel and Elsie are trying to cross the Atlantic from Europe to America and Ruth are trying to cross the Atlantic from America to Europe.

Laurie tells each woman’s story with such passion and detail that I became invested in all of them.  I was rooting for some and wishing other would give it up, like Mabel.  She was very desperate and annoying.  Even though Mabel, Elsie, Ruth and the other women who tried to cross the Atlantic are real people, this fictional telling of their lives is full of rich dialog that brings them to life.

Laurie’s excellent research on these women allowed her to stay very close to the correct historical facts in a way that I didn’t feel like this was a history book.  Before I was even finished reading In Crossing the Horizon, I was looking up more information about each woman and the people in their lives.  This story is a must for anyone who loves historical fiction.

Book Description:
Soar back to the fearless 1920s with #1 New York Times bestselling writer Laurie Notaro—beloved author of The Idiot Girls’ Action Adventure Club—in a stunning historical novel that tells the true, little-known story of three aviatrixes in a race to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic.

Ten thousand feet in the sky, flipping and twirling through the air, aviatrixes from London to Paris to New York—fueled by determination and courage—have their eyes on the century’s biggest prize. The year is 1927, and Amelia Earhart has not yet made her record-breaking cross-Atlantic flight. Who will follow in Charles Lindbergh’s footsteps and make her own history?

Three women’s names are splashed daily across the front page: Elsie Mackay, daughter of an Earl, is the first Englishwoman to get her pilot’s license. Mabel Boll, a glamorous society darling and former cigar girl, is ardent to make the historic flight. Beauty pageant contestant Ruth Elder uses her winnings for flying lessons and becomes the preeminent American girl of the sky.

Inspired by true events and real people, Notaro vividly evokes this exciting time as her determined heroines vie for the record. Through striking photos, meticulous research, and atmospheric prose, Notaro brings Elsie, Mabel, and Ruth to life, pulling us back in time as the pilots collide, struggle, and literally crash in the chase for fame and a place in aviation history.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat