Parkland by Dave Cullen


Nineteen years ago, Dave Cullen was among the first to arrive at Columbine High, even before most of the SWAT teams went in. While writing his acclaimed account of the tragedy, he suffered two bouts of secondary PTSD. He covered all the later tragedies from a distance, working with a cadre of experts cultivated from academia and the FBI, but swore he would never return to the scene of a ghastly crime.

But in March 2018, Cullen went to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School because something radically different was happening. In nearly twenty years witnessing the mass shootings epidemic escalate, he was stunned and awed by the courage, anger, and conviction of the high school’s students. Refusing to allow adults and the media to shape their story, these remarkable adolescents took control, using their grief as a catalyst for change, transforming tragedy into a movement of astonishing hope that has galvanized a nation.

Cullen unfolds the story of Parkland through the voices of key participants whose diverse personalities and outlooks comprise every facet of the movement. Instead of taking us into the minds of the killer, he takes us into the hearts of the Douglas students as they cope with the common concerns of high school students everywhere—awaiting college acceptance letters, studying for mid-term exams, competing against their athletic rivals, putting together the yearbook, staging the musical Spring Awakening, enjoying prom and graduation—while moving forward from a horrific event that has altered them forever.

Deeply researched and beautifully told, Parkland is an in-depth examination of this pivotal moment in American culture—and an up-close portrait that reveals what these extraordinary young people are like as kids. As it celebrates the passion of these astonishing students who are making history, this spellbinding book is an inspiring call to action for lasting change.

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Over a year ago, I remember going on Twitter and seeing tweets about the CNN Townhall. Curious I tuned in and the townhall was about gun control and had students from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  I couldn’t believe what I was watching. A month after their school shooting, they were up on stage and speaking to the NRA, Florida’s U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio. The students were clear and concise with their arguments and were asking the big name players the hard questions. It was inspiring.

Journalist, Dave Cullen, follows the Parkland students as they go across America and organize the March for Our Lives. I really enjoyed the writing style that Cullen uses. He describes the students so that you feel you know who they are and you want to fight for what they are fighting for.

I’m not American, so I’m not going to pretend that I understand the gun control issues that Americans are debating about. Parkland is not about taking guns away. It’s about a horrific event that has students standing up for what they believe in. It’s about a movement that has both sides talking. This is just the beginning that we are hearing about Parkland students.

4 calculators out of a potential 5. An inspiring read. #neveragain


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I can’t wait for… The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton (Can’t-Wait Wednesday)


Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a meme hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we are excited about that we have yet to read. The book I can’t wait to read is this week is:

the perfect girlfriend

Juliette loves Nate. She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him. They are meant to be. The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing. Because Juliette has a plan to win him back. She is the perfect girlfriend. And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants. True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain…

Juliette has everything going for her: she’s young, pretty, and driven, and she’s training for an exciting new career as a flight attendant.

The darkness in her past doesn’t matter, because she’s moved beyond all that, and she’s building a great new life for herself-one that will impress her ex-boyfriend, Nate, who left her in a foolish moment of commitment-phobia, one that he surely regrets now. But he’ll be so proud of her once he sees how much she’s grown. And he will see her. After all, he’s a pilot at the very same airline where Juliette is training.

What kind of man wouldn’t appreciate the effort Juliette has taken to win Nate back? She cleans his apartment when he’s not there, and makes sure to leave all his favorite foods in the fridge. It’s only a matter of time before he leaves his airheaded new girlfriend and realizes Juliette is the only one for him.

He will realize it. Juliette will make sure of it. After all, she is the perfect girlfriend.

What novel are you excited to read? Let me know in the comments below!

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How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

How to Walk Away

Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment. 

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect. 

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“When you don’t know what to do for yourself, do something for somebody else.”

How to Walk Away was totally different than I thought it would be and I loved everything about it! It was funny (as funny as a novel about life changing events can be), heart warming and touching.

The best thing about this novel is the characters. Front and centre, you have Margaret. Margaret is a go getting and doesn’t fail at anything and will tell you exactly what is on her mind. I loved her. Then you have Kitty, Margaret’s sister, who is just a ball of energy and also doesn’t take no for an answer. Throw in physical therapist Ian with his thick Scottish accent and you have an amazing cast of characters!

4 calculators out of a potential 5. I don’t want to give away any of the plot, it’s best going in blind and seeing for yourself what a beautiful, heart warming story this is.


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Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

where'd you go, bernadette

Bernadette Fox has vanished.

When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown. And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces–which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades.

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I’m torn on Where’d You Go, Bernadette. It was a different type of novel. I did like it’s uniqueness, but I can’t say that I enjoyed it.

I really liked the first half of the novel. You know that Bee’s mother, Bernadette, goes missing 2 days before Christmas. The novels jumps back in time and you read about different emails, letters and memos that got sent by different characters. I loved all of the emails and just the craziness that went on with Bernadette and the parents at Bee’s school.

Then the novel goes into Bernadette’s background and catches up real time as Bee and her father try to hunt down Bernadette. I didn’t love this part. I feel that the novel lost some of it’s uniqueness that it had in the first half and the characters didn’t seem as endearing. Also the ending was open ended (which I always hate) and didn’t wrap up all of the story lines, especially with Bernadette and her husband, Elgie.

3 calculators out of a potential 5. A quick read that was different then my normal novels, but sadly didn’t hold my attention all the way through.


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