2018 TBR Update (3/3)

I actually did not reach my Goodreads goal of 50 this year. But I ended at 47.

  • The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult
  • Six Earlier Days by David Levithan
  • Every Day
  • Another Day
  • Someday
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • Crooked Kingdom
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
  • A Sparkle of Light by Jodi Picoult
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Posted in TBR Update | 7 Comments

Discussion: A Spark of Light & Women’s Reproductive Rights

Let me start by saying that I fully expect that the opinions left on this article will differ. Differ from my own and from some of my friends. That is okay and I encourage it. This is a place to respectfully state your opinion and tell why you believe what you believe. If I see anyone making inappropriate remarks, dishing out personal attacks and acting like a child I will block you. You’ve been warned.


One of the many reasons that I love Jodi Picoult is because she tackles topics that many people try to avoid talking about even though they are unavoidable. I always learn something from her and am always able to use her writing to spark a conversation. I also really respect the amount of research that she does for her books because it proves that authors really can cover any topic properly. Today I will be referencing her most recent work A Spark of Light (don’t worry, I won’t spoil).

Let’s start with birth control.

I personally believe that it was incredibly responsible and mature of Wren to have a conversation about sex with the guy that she planned to sleep with and to seek birth control. This does not happen often among teenagers. Partially because people are too busy trying to force abstinence instead of teaching safe sex. Sure, abstinence is ideal, but it isn’t realistic. Honestly, like with most things, if you tell kids that can’t have or do something it makes them more curious.

I understand that a lot of people have mixed feelings about birth control whether it be pills, patches or whatever. Everyone is different, so these things affect our bodies differently. However, I have an issue with people going around and saying that no woman ever should use birth control. Again, if it’s had troubling effects on your body, please share your experience with the rest of us, but don’t tell us what to do.

First and foremost, contrary to popular belief, birth control is not just used as contraceptive. I started using birth control when I was 20 years old and at that point I was still a virgin and not planning to have sex anytime soon. I started it because my cramps were awful, and I was vomiting every time I got my period which was pretty heavy and sometimes lasted up to 8 days.

*Oh, by the way, if talking about periods is grossing you out…..grow up. A post about normalizing periods will be coming soon!*

Anyway, once I started taking the pills the vomiting stopped and the flow was lighter. Sometimes it even lasted only 3 days!

Yes, now that I am older, part of the reason that I continue to take birth control (aside from the fact that at this point it would be counterproductive) is because I do not want children. If you didn’t already know that, read more about it here. I love other people’s kids, I just don’t want any of my own. I like being on my own, being able to do what I want, when I want. Aside from the addition of a pet, I don’t want that to change. Ever.

Because I attended a Catholic university, I am well aware that some religions do not support the use of birth control. I get that and if you’re a religious person I can respect that to an extent. I fully respect your religion when you are applying it to yourself, not when you are trying to force it on other people.

At the end of the day, the use of birth control should depend on the one taking it. How it affects her, what the pros and cons are, and what she decides. That’s it.

And can we stop with the “well if you don’t want kids then don’t have sex” argument please? By now you should know that the majority of people have sex for other reasons than to produce children. You don’t have to like it but it is what it is.

I’ll also go ahead and let you know that I am a supporter of Planned Parenthood. I think that the work that they do is important. If you hate PP because they perform abortions then I recommend educating yourself because that is a very small percentage of what they do. Women’s reproductive health is about much more than abortions. I wrote an article about reproductive rights in January of 2017 and at that time abortion was only 3% of their services.

As a woman who doesn’t want children I’ve received some very angry comments about how I’m making a huge mistake and that I will regret it later. News flash people: It’s not a mistake and I didn’t ask for your opinions so let it go already.

Not wanting children also plays a role in the reason that I am pro-choice. I’m tired of people trying to make decisions about my body and my life on my behalf. I shouldn’t have to fight or justify my choices because they don’t satisfy someone else. There isn’t a single person on this planet that has the right to tell me that I HAVE to have children. My ex tried to manipulate me into having children despite the fact that he knew I never wanted them. I shouldn’t have had to go through that but because so many people still want to tie a woman’s worth to whether we bear children, that asshole still somehow feels like what he did wasn’t wrong.

Even though I don’t want children, I fully support and am genuinely excited for people who do. I love when my family and friends have children. But I can be happy for them while still wanting something different for myself. It’s not that difficult. I mean, think about it: Just because I’m working towards a career in higher education, doesn’t mean I can’t support friends making different career choices. Other big life choices are no different. We don’t have to agree but I will always support them. Plus, I don’t go around telling other people that they shouldn’t or can’t have children so don’t try to tell me that I have to.

The reason that I am pro-choice is because it’s not fair, moral, or acceptable for one person to dictate what happens to another person’s body. We’re not in the 1920s anymore. We deserve to make our own choices about our own bodies. If a woman has an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, what she chooses to do about it should be up to her and her alone. If she wants to seek council on what she should do great, but she should be able to make the final decision on her own.

Despite what many people believe, pro-choice is not synonymous with pro-abortion. It’s possible for someone who is pro-choice to find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy, keep the child, and still support and understand why someone else may have an abortion. No one ever wakes up and says, “You know what? I’m gonna get myself pregnant so I can get an abortion.” If you seriously think that then I need you to really think about that because it doesn’t even make sense. Abortions – by pill or procedure – take time and money and it takes a toll on your body. Then again, so does pregnancy.

“…..With abortion, there are risks of injury to your bowel, bladder, uterus, Fallopian tubes, and ovaries; and that if you have injury to your uterus, that’s severe enough, we might have to remove your uterus…..But guess what? Those are the exact same risks that you’ll have if you give birth to a baby. In fact, you’re more likely to have those risks giving birth to a child than have an abortion.”

-Dr. Louie Ward, A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

At this point, I’m not sure if I believe that “pro-life” actually exists. I’m not saying that it can’t but I have yet to meet someone who actually cares about saving lives. “Anti-abortion” seems to be a more accurate term. I am 100% open to someone proving me wrong so if you are pro-life I have some questions for you:

  • If you’re against abortions way are you also against birth control? Most pro-life advocates argue that life starts at conception but if there’s no conception then there’s no need for an abortion right?
  • Why not teach safe sex and contraceptives when it’s clear that trying to force abstinence doesn’t really work?
  • If you’re inclined to suggest adoption, are you aware of how flawed the adoption and foster care systems are? Do you know how many children currently are without permanent homes?
  • What about cases where teenage girls are kicked out by their parents after finding out that they’re pregnant and have nowhere to go?
  • What about people are just not financially ready to support a child?
  • What about rape victims?
  • What about those who are already being physically abused but can’t get out? Should they subject their child to that abuse too?
  • What about people who are struggling with addiction?
  • How can you claim to be pro-life if carrying full term could put the mother’s life at risk?
  • Why do you feel that you have the right to control someone else’s life/future?

These questions aren’t meant to start arguments. They are genuine questions because I feel like these are all scenarios that need to be considered. Here’s a question that I pulled from A Spark of Light: If a hospital is burning down and you had to decide between saving a fertilized egg in the IVF lab or a baby in the maternity ward, which would you choose?

How would you answer that question if you believe that life begins at conception?

I will be totally upfront. If I got pregnant today I would probably have an abortion. I would never want to have that procedure, but it would feel like my best option. I’m 25, I live at home, I don’t have the money to take care of a child right now. I have student loans to pay off, way too many women in my family have suffered from multiple miscarriages and again, I just don’t want kids.

You don’t have a agree with that choice but….it’s not yours to make. Not sorry.

That’s my story, but now I want to hear yours.


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Posted in Discussion, Feminism, Health, Life | 29 Comments

Book Review: A Spark of Light

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

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*I want to note that while this review will contain spoilers, I will be posting a separate discussion post to have a conversation about abortions, reproductive rights, pro-life vs pro-choice etc.*

Synopsis:

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester disguised as a patient, who now stands in the cross hairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.


~SPOILER ALERT~


Let’s go through the characters:

I like Wren. It’s nice to actually read about a teenage character that I can find relatable. I think it’s good that she’s trying to be responsible by having a conversation about sex and going to get birth control. THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN OFTEN WITH TEENAGERS! I will save more of my opinion on that for my discussion piece.

I never liked Janine. All of the stuff she’s spewing about why she’s “pro-life” I can’t get behind. Again, more of that later but I will say that I believe she’s a hypocrite since she herself had an abortion. Of course I agree with her reason for doing so. But you don’t get excuse yourself from the rules that you try to force on other people. And fuck her for comparing abortion to slavery.

I like Joy. I hate that she was messing around with a married man though. If I’m not mistaken though that same man is the judge that was supposed to oversee Beth’s case, right?

I feel really bad for Beth. She’s young and confused. I think her choices were stupid but I also still feel for her. I wish we knew what was going to happen to her. By the sound of it though, I guess she’s going to jail which I think is ridiculous.

I find it incredibly ironic that George says that only God can give life and death but then goes to murder a bunch of people. And all because he didn’t like a decision that someone else made and he took it out on the wrong people anyway.

I was under the impression that Izzy was working at the clinic. I was so shocked to learn that she was getting an abortion. I wonder if she still went through with it. I also love how fierce she is. Probably my favorite character.

I knew that Olive had cancer. I hate that she died and she never even told Peg that she was sick.

Bex. Love her, I loved how great she is with Wren. Of course, leave it to Jodi to throw me for a fucking loop. I would have never guessed that Bex was Hugh’s mother yet it all makes so much sense.

I feel like the ending was inevitable. George had to die. And it’s so stupid because now your daughter who you claim to love so much, has no one.

Of course, I have so many more thoughts, but like I said, I will post a discussion post soon.

Stay tuned.

5 stars.


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Posted in Book Review | 5 Comments

Ringing in the New Year Book Tag!

Friends,

It’s been a hell of a year. Some of you know a lot of the details from my previous posts but if you can believe it, there’s more to it (I’ll explain another time).

Life is the reason that I am posting this so late but shit happens right?

So anyway, let’s get to it! I changed a few questions this year, hope you like 🙂


Rules:

  • Link to the person who tagged you
  • Link to the creator of the tag (Bookmark Chronicles)
  • Share the tag image (or make your own but mention the host)
  • Answer the questions below
  • Tag friends (or not if you don’t feel like it)

Best book/series that you’ve read in 2018

  • Best book: Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur – Why didn’t y’all tell me how good she was??? I thought we were friends!
  • Best series: Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo – I was surprised by how much I loved this series and I so recommend it to anyone who loves magic and good friendships.

Authors that you’ve recently found and would like to read more of in the new year

  • Adam Silvera. I was so taken away by They Both Die at the End that I absolutely have to read more.

Best book turned movie/tv show in 2018? 

  • A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell. I saw the trailer for this movie and just knew that I had to see it. When I found out that it was actually a book, I immediately bought it.

Most anticipated book turned movie/tv show for 2019?

  • I think maybe The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. Only because Yara Shahidi will be in it and I love her.

Midnight Kiss: favorite ship of the year?

  • So for this one I am going with Inej Ghafa and Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom. TBH I wanted to believe that Inej could do better (and she can) but in the end, he proved himself worthy.

What’s on you TBR for 2019? 

  • The Illuminae Files by Jay Kristoff
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass
  • The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
  • The 18th Abduction by James Patterson

How many books do you hope to read in 2019?

  • 50 as always but I did not make my goal this year 😦 Like I said, it’s been a hell of year

Will you participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge or any others (PopSugar, Down the TBR Hole, etc.?)

  • Goodreads. That’s the only one that I do but I like seeing all of the other things you all do like readathons and stuff!

Any New Year’s Resolutions? (Bookish, blogging, vlogging, and otherwise)

  • I will do a separate post for this as I am still kind of thinking it over. I do want to blog more for sure but we’ll see if that happens.

Tag, you’re it:


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Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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Synopsis:

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.


~SPOILER ALERT~


First of all let me say that it is so nice to read something by an Indian author. There are not a lot in YA and it is so needed. I loved the glimpse into the culture, the language, the family dynamics. I so appreciate all of it.

I have to admit though that I did not like Rishi at first. He was rude and arrogant and I didn’t like the way he talked about Dimple. Like, how dare a woman know what she wants and be fierce instead of a delicate little flower all the time.

I also was really rooting for this book until it went with the whole “nerdy girl wears a dress for the first time and discovers that she’s attractive” and ” girl doesn’t know that she’s beautiful until a boy tells her she is” trope. Like I can understand that girls with glasses are always made fun of (I know because I am one) but shit we’re still cute!

Another thing is that while I would have enjoyed the progression of their relationship, it was instalove. I hate instalove. 3 weeks is not a long enough time to fall in love with someone. Not sorry. Yes you can develop feelings. Yes you can care deeply for them. But no,  you cannot fall in love.

Aside from that, I do really like their relationship. A lot of times YA authors will romanticize abuse and make it seem like love (looking at you Stephanie Meyer and Sarah Dessen) and it’s nice to see a genuine relationship. The way that they support each other and even though they went behind each others backs they were really doing it to help the other reach their dreams. The way that Rishi wanted to talk about sex and make sure that Dimple really knew that that was what she wanted. Little things that seem like they are requirements of healthy relationships (because they are) but are so often dismissed and absent.

To be honest, I thought that Dimple was an idiot for breaking up with Rishi because she didn’t have a good reason. Her main reason was that he was “too right for her.” Which is the dumbest fucking thing that I have ever heard. It implies that 1. She doesn’t believe she deserves a good relationship and 2. that she is willing to settle. Nope, fuck that.

Anyway, I’m glad that it ended the way that it did and that it was a good outcome for everyone involved.

3 stars.


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#WhyIDidn’tReport: What Do You Mean ‘Innocent Until Proven Guilty’ Is Incorrect?

Things Carla Loves

— Trigger and Content Warning —

Like with the “Friendship Breakup” series, over the next few weeks, I’ll be answering commonly asked questions surrounding, specifically, Dr Ford and the entire fiasco that we just watched. 

As this topic is of a sensitive nature, and many of you may have questions or stories you’d like to share or have answered, please feel free to drop a message in my Facebook inbox or DM me on my Instagram, @thingscarlaloves. You do not have to share your story in the comment section (or anywhere else) if you do not feel comfortable. 

As always, there will be a list of helpline services added, if you need help. I strongly urge that you confide in someone you trust in order to help you heal. 

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Whenever anyone comes forward with a sexual assault and/or rape allegation, people will needlessly shout ‘IT’S INNOCENT…

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#StopBlamingWomenMakeMenTheProblem: Nicole Cartwright

Things Carla Loves

— Trigger Warning —

The other day, I read an article by Jane Gilmore, discussing that there was no national outrage or outcry, and little had been said in the media, about the fact that just the other week in Australia, six women were murdered in five days.

Yes.

Six women were murdered in five days.

As a result, I am working toward and planning to dedicate several Raising Awareness slots to the women who have sadly lost their lives in 2018, in Australia, to domestic violence. Hopefully, if we are reminded each week of their faces, their names, their lives, we will get over our compassion fatigue and start to give a damn about violence against women.

I would also like to take this opportunity to note that during this time, White Ribbon has decided that it wants to be “agnostic” when it comes to…

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