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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The future looks bleak in The Slip

27275190Two years ago I stumbled across young adult author David Estes and I’m so glad I did.  I devoured his The Dwellers series and Country Saga, which go together, now I’m hooked on The Slip Trilogy.

In the Slip, it is many years in the future where the sea levels are rising and livable land masses are shrinking causing available resources to shrink.  In order to conserve resources, the government won’t allow people to have a child unless they secure a death match certificate.  So someone can live only if someone dies.  But then some children are born who don’t have a match and those are called Slip.  Slips can’t be allowed to live so the government kills any that are found.

Michael Kelly is the head of Population Control.  He is the one who searches for the slips and has them killed.  Michael has a son who is a slip and he will do anything in his power to keep his son alive.  He hasn’t given his son a name and keeps him in seclusion so he won’t be found.  He is always watching to make sure no information about his son comes to light.

But there are others who don’t see Slips as humans and will do everything to kill them and their families.  Corrigan Mars is second in command at Pop Con and he is nothing like Michael.  Corrigan is determined to find every Slip out there and exterminate them and their families.  He employs The Destroyer who is a psychopath.  After an accident while in the military The Destroyer is half man and half machine who seems to have no feelings for anyone.  It’s all about him and if he doesn’t get what he wants, he kills.

People have all their information in their eyes and that is how the government tracks people.  Ads float around the streets scanning eyes and customizing the ads to the person.  It’s a great way for them to know where people are located and what they are doing.

David does a great job fleshing out the characters and making them real.  He makes the readers care for the Slip and his family and hate the Destroyer and Corrigan Mars.  When the book ended, I wasn’t ready because I wanted to keep reading.  I was sucked so far into the story I wasn’t ready to let the characters go.  This is one trilogy that when it’s over I will miss the characters.

Book Description:

Someone must die before another can be born…

As sea levels rise and livable landmasses shrink, the Reorganized United States of America has instituted population control measures to ensure there are sufficient resources and food to sustain the growing population.  Birth authorization must be paid for and obtained prior to having a child.  Someone must die before another can be born, keeping the country in a population neutral position at what experts consider to be the optimal population.  The new laws are enforced by a ruthless government organization known as Pop Con, responsible for terminating any children resulting from unauthorized births, and any illegals who manage to survive past their second birthday, at which point they are designated a national security threat and given the name Slip.

But what if one child slipped through the cracks?  What if someone knew all the loopholes and how to exploit them?  Would it change anything?  Would the delicate resource balance be thrown into a tailspin, threatening the lives of everyone?

And how far would the government go to find and terminate the Slip?

In a gripping story of a family torn apart by a single choice, Slip is a reminder of the sanctity of a single life and the value of the lives we so often take for granted.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

The Director is a governmental thriller

23316525I find stories about the government very interesting.  I don’t know how government works, so it’s always interesting to read what might be happening in Washington DC and the different branches of government.  The Director by David Ignatius brings the reader into the belly of the CIA and FBI.  This thriller exposes the reader to the world of hackers and what could be happening when individuals get a taste of power.

Graham Weber is the new CIA Director and on his first week on the job, he realizes there is a mole in the organization.  Weber is a businessman who thinks he will totally change the CIA and bring it into the present instead of stuck in the 1940’s.  But as the weeks go by, he is finding people don’t like change and they especially don’t like him.

Then there is James Morris.  A former hacker who Weber meets at DEF CON in Las Vegas a year before he becomes the Director.  Morris now is head of the Information Operations Center of the CIA.  He recruits other hackers to help the department.  He also wants to bring the CIA into the present like Weber.  But soon it is revealed that Morris is conducting a secret mission outside of the CIA to hack into The Bank for International Settlements.  This is a bank that was set up back in the 1940s for the Nazis.

In order to find the mole, Weber selects a handful of people who he tests to make sure they are trustworthy.  Once he has them in place, he gives them tasks to help flush out the mole.  Cyril Hoffman, Director of National Intelligence seems to be someone who is trying to block Weber from changing the CIA.  He is a character I didn’t really are about.

There is a lot going on in this book that makes you question what happens in the CIA and FBI.  It also makes you look at what happens in the cyber world and how hackers can easily slip into different organizations computer systems.  We have seen this recently with Target getting hacked and the fact they didn’t find it for days or months.  No matter all the safety and firewalls put in place, no organization is safe.  This is a great thriller and is worth the read.

Book Description:

Graham Weber has been the director of the CIA for less than a week when a Swiss kid in a dirty T-shirt walks into the American consulate in Hamburg and says the agency has been hacked, and he has a list of agents’ names to prove it.  This is the moment a CIA director most dreads.  Like the new world of cyber-espionage from which it’s drawn, The Director is a maze of double dealing, about a world where everything is written in zeroes and ones—and nothing can be trusted.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

Many ways to be enslaved in Enslavement

23585287“One world.  One currency.  One bright future.”  That is what the world has become in Enslavement by Melinda Friesen.  Now people have a chip in their hands from OneEarth Bank and there is no longer physical cash.  When you get paid it is loaded into your chip.  You walk into a store, select what you want and walk out.  As you walk out the chip records what you purchased.

Some people have resisted getting the chip like main character Rielle’s parents.  Without the chip there are no longer jobs to have and no money for food and supplies.  But as resistors, Rielle’s parents are taken and she is separated from her big brother and little sister.  She is soon sold into slavery and sent from Minneapolis to Texas where she is abused by the “Banker,” her owner.  She now has a chip but it’s a tracker chip that will alert the Banker if she tries to escape.

The slaves are all kids who are sold and shipped to different parts of the country to work mainly as domestic help.  Majority of the kids have parents who are rebels, who refuse to get the chip.  The Banker is a mean sonofabitch who abuses his slaves.  Then his nephew comes to stay and takes a liking to Rielle.  Taking her on horseback rides and showing her things she shouldn’t see.  Is he helping her or setting her up?

This is an interesting way to think about how our future world could become.  Melinda does a great job with the characters and making the reader care for some and not others.  She made me late back to work from lunch because I didn’t want to put the book away.  I kept thinking about the characters even when I wasn’t reading.  This is an interesting take on what would happen if one government or organization controlled everything about our lives.  This is really worth the time.  I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.

Book description:

“One world. One currency. One bright future.”  That’s the promise made by OneEarth Bank after a global economic collapse–but only for those who accept the insertion of a commerce chip.  When Rielle’s parents refuse to comply, government officials tear her family apart. As punishment for her parent’s crimes, Rielle is forced into a Community Service Contract–a legalized form of slavery–and sold to a wealthy, abusive banker.

The Banker’s secrets hold the key to Rielle’s freedom, but will she risk prison or even death to escape and search for her family?

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

Genetic purity is the future in Vagabond

22143978Vagabond by J.D. Brewer is a wonderfully written story.  I really got sucked into this one and got lost in the characters.  Vagabond is the distant future where society as we know it no longer exists.  The world now revolves around genetics and the Genetic Engineering Guild dictates your entire life by your genetics; where you live, who you marry, whether you can have children and how many.  The colonies live by a strict set of rules and anyone who goes against the rules and live outside of the colonies, is known as vagabonds and rebels.

The main character Niko is first introduced after she’s been dumped by her best friend and mentor Xavi who has ditched her for a random girl with a nice pair of legs.  Niko’s heart is broken and she is traveling alone when she bumps into a new guy fresh out of the colonies and reluctantly ends up teaching him the ways of the Tracks.

The story weaves back and forth through the past and present where we learn about Niko’s life before she became a Vagabond.  We learn about a major tragedy that forced her to flee the only life she knew, how she met and was left by Xavi, and the present, where she’s learning so much about herself and the world.

Vagabond is an interesting concept of what our world could look like in several hundred years from now as the government tries to make the human race perfect by manipulating genetics.  The Genetic Engineering Guild is trying to eliminate all illnesses and making people as perfect as possible and they are worried the Vagabonds will bring illnesses back into society.

It was also sad with the way people were being treated and how government was trying to get rid of what makes people unique.  I really wanted the Vagabonds to succeed and avoid the people hunting them.  There is quite a twist that was very shocking.  Vagabond is a very good read that was well worth my time.  I want to know more about the characters and can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Book description:

When Niko’s parents are brutally murdered by the Republic for being Genetic Terrorists, she must learn how to survive in the wild, in life, and in love. With nothing but her pack for a home, she travels the fringes of the Colonies by train and by foot, and collects memories of the Vagabonds who teach her how to live with her new freedom. She first encounters Xavi, the boy who heals her heart before he breaks it. He simply leaves her for a nice pair of Legs, and Niko must learn how to move past unexplainable heartbreak. She soon discovers the Tracks are no place for love, because everything moves a little too fast. Before Niko has time to mourn her rejection, she encounters a different kind of pain— a pain in the rear named Flea. Niko’s subsequent adventures cause her to question her beliefs about the Genetic Engineering Guild, the Republic, the Revolution, and her heart. In this unconventional science fiction novel, a coming of age story is set against a utopian backdrop, and Niko just happens to be on the wrong side of perfection. Her tale is propelled by non-stop action while her past is never far behind to fill in the gaps. It’s a twist-driven page turner that’s incredibly difficult to put down once you pick it up.

Read, enjoy, and share.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat