The Hart Home│Religious Freedom is Under Attack in NJ

This Thursday, December 12th, the assembly in NJ will be making a decision concerning religious exemptions in New Jersey for families who do not vaccinate their children due to deeply held religious beliefs but send them to public school. Until now, we have had the freedoms to make the choice to protect our religious beliefs by not vaccinating our children and we were able to send out children to public schools. Schools that we fund with our ever-growing property taxes.

Now, NJ democrats are trying to get this in around the holidays hoping that people will be too distracted to notice that they want 35,000 of NJ families who are currently using a religious exemption (about 2.5% of the population in NJ) to have their children removed from public education.

This disgusts me on so may levels. First, as a public educator, it is my job to ensure that my students receive an education that is free from discrimination. However, this will not be the case for many families who refuse to vaccinate their children. They will be forced to home school, but I am sure, much like California, once this passes they will be moving towards forcing even homeschoolers to vaccinate and submit documentation.

As a catholic woman, this further disgusts me because I live in the United States of America where I have constitutional rights to practice my religion freely. Further, as a catholic I am completely pro-life and I do not believe in the killing of anyone, but in this instance I do not believe it is God’s law that babies are aborted, killed, so that these scientists can get immortal cell lines to grow these vaccines to then inject my son with fragmented DNA from dead children. This violates God’s law in that he shall not murder and it also violates his word that we must keep our blood pure. Vaccines are biologics. You are injecting your children with much more than just a weakened infection.

And as a mother, this disgusts me because it makes big government dictate to me how I am to raise the child that God has given me. It violates my deeply held beliefs and seeks to put me against my God. It is disgusting that NJ government can even entertain the idea that they have any right to do so.

This bill is just the beginning of what they want to do to New Jersey. Up next? A bill that would mandate the HPV vaccine which is killing, paralyzing and sterilizing kids for NINE YEAR OLDS. Why does a 9-year-old need to be vaccinated for a disease that is only spread through sex? There is no logic behind it and I could go on about the deep seeded corruption in government and how their hands are deep in the Big Pharma pockets, but I won’t because this week, that is not at issue.

This week is about how NJ wants to strip me and my son of our constitutional rights to practice our religion freely and to not inject ourselves with DNA from dead babies. By doing so we are complicit to the murder of innocent lives and we are not right with our God. I am praying hard for NJ.

Call to Action:

IF you are just as appalled by all of this, like I am, you need to contact your senator and really, any NJ senator and express your concerns about your religious freedoms. You need to show up at the state house annex in Trenton on Thursday and express your disgust for this totalitarian bill. YOU need to FIGHT for YOUR RIGHTS. You can not be complicit. This is not about being pro or anti, it’s about keeping YOUR RIGHTS to YOUR KIDS.

Sponsored: Lucy Darling BOGO Wall Art

Lucy Darling is a website that markets itself as “simple keepsakes and gifts for busy moms.” Their stuff is super cute! They have things for girls, boys and special gifts such as memory books, wall art, children’s books and even adorable loveys. This link will take you to their BOGO wall art sale and if you haven’t already, you can sign up with your email to get an additional 10% off on your first order!

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Sponsored: Harry Potter Look and See Box

I am just about winding down Christmas shopping for our little man. Toynk Toys has a great selection of fun and nerdy gifts and it’s where I found a few things to order for my husband to geek out to while our son losing his mind on Christmas Eve.

You can snag your box of Harry Potter goodies here —>
Harry Potter Slytherin House LookSee Box Contains 7 Harry Potter Themed Gifts

Each box comes with SEVEN THEMED items that are house specific. I definitely won’t complain if a Ravenclaw box finds me this Christmas….;)

Book Review│The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters

cover165462-medium I recently got really into Marianne on Netflix. I binged the entire series in a weekend and was superbly creeped out the entire time. I loved the idea of a centuries old demonic witch having controlled a young writer into telling the world of her stories so that she could use the magic of influence to continue to kill and mame through brutal accidents each time the woman wrote a book. It was really well done and if you have a weekend where you just want to binge something creepy, I highly recommend it.

Similarly, Damien Angelica Walters takes us on a journey through the past and present to bring to life the story of a decades old murder and the tale of The Red Lady. Years ago, Heather was part of a club with her friends. They called it The Dead Girls Club because they would sit around and tell stories about death, the macabre and serial killers. Somewhere along the line, one of the girls, Becca, introduces the story of The Red Lady, who is a witch that was killed centuries ago.

After the story is shared, strange things start happening to the girls and ultimately tragedy strikes that summer when one of the girls is killed. Was it really The Red Lady or was it just hysteria among a group of 12-year-old girls? Years later, Heather is bent on finding the answer as she takes us back through her story and we weave into the past and present trying to put the pieces together. As Heather gets closer to the truth, mysterious threats and clues arrive, bringing Heather into a panic…who could really know what happened that summer? Who would know and why are they coming forward now? Heather becomes lost in a sea of time and regret, unable to distinguish between what is real and what is not, leaving us readers in just as panicked a state as we try to reach our own conclusions on whether or not Heather had killed Becca 30 years ago or if The Red Lady is, in fact, very real.

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters is the kind of horror thriller that will keep you reading until the early hours of the morning. This is a book that will keep you on your toes and won’t let you go until it’s done. Walters crafted a solid plot that immediately pulls you in and drives you through a roller coaster of events and moments before reaching it’s inevitable end. Just be sure to read this one with your lights on and your husband near by because you will feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and little noises will send  your book flying across the room– a wonderfully written thriller.

Book Information

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters is scheduled to be released on December 10, 2019, from Crooked Lane Books with ISBN 9781643851631. This review corresponds to an advanced electronic galley that was supplied by the publisher in exchange for this review.

Book Review│The Third Rainbow Girl by Emma Copley Eisenberg

cover163695-mediumDid you ever find that you have something that constantly pops into your life? For me, that is West Virginia. When I was little, my dad’s company would often send him to WV for work and those were the longest weeks, waiting for him to come home. When I got older, my first real-world love was from West Virginia and ironically, worked for that same company. Now, I have to laugh when our new principal talks about her life growing up in West Virginia and our other vice principal walks around the halls with a WVU alumni mug. Last week, I had one of my students tell me that he was going to be missing class this afternoon because he was leaving to head on down to…West Virginia…to see the WVU game. West Virginia…I feel like it finds me everywhere.

When I was offered the chance to review Emma Copley Eisenberg’s The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia I knew that it was kismet and therefore, had to be reviewed here on my blog. Because? Well, West Virginia of course!

“Misogny is in the groundwater of every American city and every American town, but for me, it was done here.”

– Emma Copley Eisenberg

If you aren’t familiar with Eisenberg’s book, then you should know that it is a true crime novel centered around the events that occurred on the evening of June 25, 1980 when three girls were traveling to the Rainbow Gathering in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. Two of the women, Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19 were killed in a clearing while the third woman lived. In 1993, a local farmer was convicted of the crimes, but was ultimately cleared of the charges when a known serial killer and diagnosed schizophrenic named Joseph Paul Franklin claimed responsibility.

West Virginia is a mixed bag of extremely rural, mountains and small city life once you edge into Charleston or to Morgantown. Where the murders occurred, the area is still extremely rural and most view it as being an area filled with people who are poor, uneducated and backward– capable of extreme measures.

Eisenberg lived in Pocahontas County for a few years and the novel that she writes weaves together pieces of her memoir, facts about the case and the uniting thread that brings together the ideas about the case with a way through the haze of the passage and time and grief that has seemingly buried this cold case into local lore. Eisenberg takes facts from documentaries, local accounts and documents which do become lost and almost overwhelmed by her own opinions and thoughts on the murders and her views on life overall.

At points in the novel, I felt as though I was reading an extremely condescending view of West Virginia and everything that transpired because there was such a focus on the writer being “woke” as opposed to focusing on what the novel was ultimately about: true crime and the murder of these two women in a clearing. I would be interested to read more from Eisenberg as she finds her voice as a true crime writer. What really could not allow me to pick my own jaw off the floor as I read, was the pervading misogyny throughout the investigation and evidence files that Eisenberg presented. I couldn’t believe how many hands that were involved in this felt in some way that the two women almost deserved what they got because of the hippie lifestyle that they chose to live. Overall, a very interesting case and a solid start for an emerging new true crime writer.

Book Information

The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia by Emma Copley Eisenberg is a true crime novel that is scheduled to be released on January 21, 2020 from Hachette Books with ISBN 9780316449236. This review corresponds to an advanced electronic galley that was supplied by the publisher in exchange for this review.

Book Review│Raven Lane by Amber Cowie

raven laneI originally requested a galley of this novel because I was most interested in the author. Amber Cowie has most definitely lived the writerly life. She has worked as a smalltown newspaper reporter, as a front desk person for a remote hotel between England and France and served hot chocolate in Scotland’s only ski resort. It’s safe to say she has many more stories to tell us. What I also loved so much about her is that she is also a wife and a mother now which gave me hope, especially after my last post.

I found the premise of the book to be interesting, in that, so many of us leave the flightly world of being young for the more settled version of life on a cul-de-sac with our partners and families. For some of us, that life is idyllic and it means that we have made it. For others like,  Esme Werner, she struggles with life on the cul-de-sac. She is haunted by old ghosts, including the fact that she had been raped and she still questions the paternity of the daughter that she loves so much. This also leads her to question her love or lack of love for her husband, Benedict.  Everything begins to culminate when Torn, the street’s omni-sexual and local best-selling author, is the victim of a hit and run. His voice continues throughout the book as there is also a story within a story as we are taken through the events juxtaposed with Torn’s book, The Call.

Through the use of Torn’s novel, we get a deeper look at the monsters that are fictionalized within the story and those “real-world” monsters that are living every day on Raven Lane. Benedict and Esme had been celebrating Benedict’s new contract at work, sharing some wine and enjoying each other’s company when he decides to go to the liquor store for more wine. While backing out of his driveway, he hits and kills Torn. At first, this looks like a horrible accident, but upon further investigation, the police uncover that not only had Benedict been drinking, but that there were also drugs in his system. This propels the novel forward, creating a rich narrative that takes us from past and present and unleashes many of the dark secrets that Esme and Benedict held as well as the secrets that suburbia overall likes to hide behind white picket fences.

In the same breath as Big, Little Lies, Cowie’s Raven Lane takes the reader on a spiral down past the glittery images of suburbia and deep into the lives and lies of the people who live on the cul-de-sac. Overall, a quick and enjoyable read that will leave you with a few surprises and an understandable ending–a solid weekend kind of read.

Book Information

Raven Lane by Amber Cowie is scheduled to be released on November 12, 2019, from Lake Union Publishing with ISBN 9781542003728. This review corresponds to an advanced electronic galley that was supplied by the publisher in exchange for this review.

 

Book Review│Don’t Keep Your Day Job by Cathy Heller

day jobI am in a really weird phase of my life. I have a job that I have loved for years, but now I had my doctorate and the job that I do have really only requires a bachelors. I find myself growing bored with my day to day life and I feel resentment building when it comes to being unable to stay home with my son and write books all day and teach college classes. It’s a sore spot in my marriage lately and we both feel my overall frustration in feeling stuck in a job that in many ways I have mastered. I am stuck between wanting more and less at the same time.

It’s a weird phase in my life like I said. I also feel really stifled creatively and sometimes when I daydream lately I find myself thinking back to that time in my life when I was newly graduated from college and maybe if I hadn’t pursued this life, maybe if I had just struggled even harder than I did, maybe I would be doing something more along the lines of writing full time and teaching college part-time. I don’t know for sure and I definitely don’t regret the life I have built, but I think I am just at a point where I want to see a change in my professional life that would allow me to be home with my baby more and would challenge me in new ways than teaching hs been lately.

I was excited to receive a galley of Don’t Keep Your Day Job because I thought that it might give me some great advice or some great push towards pursuing something new and exciting in my life. However, there was no great secret to how the author got to where they were and I also found that there was a profound lack of gratitude for the luck and support she received in abandoning the every day 9 to 5 life for the creative life.

I think many of us would like to quit our jobs today and pursue a life that we are passionate about, but with real-life responsibilities like kids, families, mortgages and paying for health insurance…I just didn’t see how I would ever be able to take that leap like so many described in this book. It’s a well-written book and if you like her podcast, this would seem to be a new way to look at it, but for me, I was just disappointed that there wasn’t some magical answer about how I could change my life today. Unlike those that have been able to make careers out of their passions, I do not have a support system…I am my own support system nor do I have the funds to pin together finances while I fight to make a living like I do through teaching. The basis of the book, seemed completely unrealistic to me unless you were someone much younger with access to parents who could financially help you and few to none responsbilities.

Which, I suppose, is more reflective of me than it is of this book. Overall, though, I will stick to listening to the podcast.

Book Information

Don’t Keep Your Day Jobs by Cathy Heller will be released on November 12, 2019, from St. Martin’s Press with ISBN  9781250193605. This review corresponds to an advanced electronic galley that was supplied by the publisher in exchange for this review.