What Unbreakable Looks Like: Blog Tour/ Review

What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin

TW: Sexual Abuse, Rape, Sex Trafficking, Abuse, Drug Addiction, grooming.

My Rating: 5 stars!

Cover Rating: 7/10 it’s a really great cover! The poppy on the front represents Lex’s name while she was being Trafficked. The cover i think also shows the strength of character Lex has. It’s really great for this book!

Publisher: St. Martins Press

Publish Date: June 23rd, 2020

Number of Pages: 336 pages

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis: “Raw, unflinching, and authentic, Kate McLaughlin’s thoughtful What Unbreakable Looks Like carefully crafts a story exposing the vulnerability of underage trafficked girls and what it takes to begin the process of healing from sexual trauma.”–Christa Desir, author, advocate, and founding member of The Voices and Faces Project

Lex was taken–trafficked–and now she’s Poppy. Kept in a hotel with other girls, her old life is a distant memory. But when the girls are rescued, she doesn’t quite know how to be Lex again. 

After she moves in with her aunt and uncle, for the first time in a long time, she knows what it is to feel truly safe. Except, she doesn’t trust it. Doesn’t trust her new home. Doesn’t trust her new friend. Doesn’t trust her new life. Instead she trusts what she shouldn’t because that’s what feels right. She doesn’t deserve good things. 

But when she is sexually assaulted by her so-called boyfriend and his friends, Lex is forced to reckon with what happened to her and that just because she is used to it, doesn’t mean it is okay. She’s thrust into the limelight and realizes she has the power to help others. But first she’ll have to confront the monsters of her past with the help of her family, friends, and a new love.

Kate McLaughlin’s What Unbreakable Looks Like is a gritty, ultimately hopeful novel about human trafficking through the lens of a girl who has escaped the life and learned to trust, not only others, but in herself.”

Opening Sentence: “Clean sheets. That’s what I’m dreaming about when something wakes me up.”

Musings:

First of all I am honored to have read a book like this one. It’s a hard hitter and I was in tears at so many points and yet it tells a truth of what goes on far too often. Yet, reading through it I never once feel like Lex is truly a victim. She comes out after everything standing tall and starts to figure out the kind of person she wants to grow up to be. Yet, the truth is she was given away to endure countless times of pure assaults to her person. What she went through. What so many young teens go through is an atrocity so foul I could never imagine what being in their shoes would be like. Reading through this book you can tell how much love went into it. How much research and care to write not only a story of a teen going through one of the worst things anyone could go through, but to also make it a story of hope.

I was in tears at the acknowledgments. Where Kate talks about the girl she’d spoken with who had gone through human Trafficking. Even re-reading it just now gets me teary eyed. No human being should have to go through this. Yet, I love that there is no brokenness to be found there. It truly is ‘What Unbreakable Looks Like’.

What I Loved:

The Friendship. Lex finds herself two amazing friends who support her and love her for all that she is. They don’t shy away from what she went through and they stand by her through it. They stay by her side and fight with her (and not just for her) to keep her safe and to lift her up.

The puppy! The part of the book that made me cry the most was when Lex gets a little Pitbull puppy. It’s one of the sweetest most hopeful moments and yet Lex feeling like she didn’t know if she deserved the love that that little one gave her broke my heart.

Lex’s Aunt. Lex’s aunt is such a wonderful soul. She fights for Lex and loves her truly for who she is. She’s gentle approaching her and talks with her openly. She is the kind of woman I think every child deserves to have in their lives. As their relationship grew closer it made my heart soar.

It’s difficult to read at times. With all the hope and the soaring highs this book has it is not without the dark parts. Knowing with detail at times some of the things she went through. How she was groomed. The drugs given to numb them out and keep them complacent. The awful condition the girls lived in. The pain inflicted upon them. Then the truth that many are killed and will never make it out. In a lot of ways this book is as educational as it is difficult. So much I didn’t realize about human trafficking. The weight of it is something no human being should bear. Let alone teens and children.

All in all:

This book is a must read. It’s unflinching and full of love and yet shows what true darkness looks like. The writing of which was handled with grace and with so much love. It is a book I will never forget.

About the Author

KATE McLAUGHLIN likes people, so much so that she spends her days making up her own. She likes writing about characters who are bent, but not broken – people who find their internal strength through friends, strife and sometimes humor. When she’s not writing, she likes studying people, both real and fictional. She also likes playing board games with friends, talking and discovering new music. A proud Nova Scotian, she’ll gladly tell you all about the highest tides in the world, the magical creation known as a donair, and people who have sofas in their kitchens. Currently, she lives in Connecticut with her husband and four cats. What Unbreakable Looks Like is her debut novel.

Places to donate to Trans communities:

Trans Equality 

The Trevor Project

Transgender Law Center 

Some BLM resources: 

Link to bail funds to donate to!

Link to petitions to sign! 

Link to a video to watch if you can’t donate!

Check out my Instagram and Twitter

Check out The Book Raven Poetry website

Checkout The Book Raven Poetry Instagramand Twitter

Check out the Sisters of Twilight website.

If you love my content and wish to offer me extra support by me a Kofi on my donation page!

Standing With the Trans Community

This has been a month of learning. A month of listening and gathering and it is something I will continue to be doing throughout the rest of my life.

It’s now becoming common knowledge that J.K. Rowling is transphobic. Her words have caused immense harm for the trans community. Her works both under J.K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith further her ideals against Trans people. It’s disgusting and I cannot support her.

Trans rights are a human rights issue. They matter. They are beautiful, valid, and incredible human beings. And not only does narratives that Jk Rowling/Robert Galbraith promotes hurt trans lives, but non-binary lives too.

The narrative of trans people being predatory is despicable and plane out false. It is that fear that makes people think it’s ok to kill and commit violence against trans people and it needs to be stopped. I also feel the need to say that as in the terms of young people being tricked into being trans. Which again is a disgusting narrative that is not ok.

I ask every single person reading this to educated yourselves. Listen, learn, and amplify trans voices. Take the money you’d use to buy one of Rowling’s/Galbraith’s books and put it towards supporting the trans community. Buy books by trans authors. Donate to the Trevor Project.

Trans people deserve to be loved. To be accepted as the men and women that they are. Non-Binary people deserve to be loved and accepted for the wonderful human beings that they are.

Check your twitter. Do you follow Jk Rowling and/or Robert Galbraith… unfollow them and follow instead trans authors like Akwaeke Emezi, Aiden Thomas, and non-binary author Anna-Marie McLemore. Support the voices of those who have been targeted by hate. Lift them up. Show them support. Show them that your space is a safe space for them.

This isn’t the time for silence. It is the time for change. To stand up for human rights and equality for all.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!

Places to donate to Trans communities:

Trans Equality

The Trevor Project

Transgender Law Center

Some BLM resources: 

Link to bail funds to donate to!

Link to petitions to sign! 

Link to a video to watch if you can’t donate!

Check out my Instagram and Twitter

Check out The Book Raven Poetry website

Checkout The Book Raven Poetry Instagramand Twitter

Check out the Sisters of Twilight website.

If you love my content and wish to offer me extra support by me a Kofi on my donation page!

I’m Ok With Being Uncomfortable

I have learned so much in the past few days about myself, about racism, about what it means to be Anti-racist and what it means to be white and have that kind of privilege in America. Black lives matter. That’s a truth that no one can argue. They matter. They deserve so much more then this country has ever been able to give them and justice needs to be served.

I had made a statement on a twitter thread that received backlash. I was discussing wanting peace and did not understand the privilege I had in saying that. Didn’t understand the negative impact I had saying that under a thread full of hurting and oppressed Black people that are tired of people like me saying they should be peaceful. Getting back lash of that kind is something I’ve never experienced. Yet, thinking on it I realized I was wrong and started to look around and understand the reasons why and what I should be doing and who I should be telling to be peaceful. To tell white people to stop inciting violence by killing Black people for being Black. To tell police officers to stop using excessive force. To tell our government that the way this whole system is built is a knee on Black people’s necks every single day.

Realizing that I have biases and ideals that are part of the problem were eye opening to me. At the end of the day I believe in equality. I believe everyone should have equal opportunity. Seeing the protests and the actions of police and hearing the presidents awful rhetoric opened my eyes to see that this system isn’t going to get better by being complacent. There needs to be change and to start I needed to face a hard truth. That as much as I desire and want to be good and to have everyone have the right to live good and joyful lives with equal opportunity that I needed to take a closer look at my biases and the places where I am part of the problem. To continue to look and learn and educate myself, because my complacency that has helped no one. I need to do the work. To be uncomfortable. To embrace the discomfort and change.

In the past few days I’ve consumed so much information from Black people on twitter and looking at resources to start my journey to help dismantle racism. Starting with me. Starting with the miscro-transgressions I commit without even realizing it. I am ok with being uncomfortable. This is something I could easily turn away from and forget all about and nothing would change, but it’s damn time for change. Black people deserve better. They deserve better from our government. They deserve better from police. They deserve better from white people whose whole society was built on Black peoples backs. They deserve better from me.

I am angry. I am angry at the police who are using mace on children and kicking pregnant women’s bellies and purposefully inciting violence and not listening to the cries for peace. I am angry that every single day there’s another Black man killed by police officer when they’re compliant and unarmed and even if they weren’t completely compliant cause god damn having an officer in your face is terrifying.

I am demanding better from myself. Demanding that I stop pretending that I am free from racist ideals. I am not. But, I will make damn sure that I do better. Because the injustice is too much. The injustice can never be righted, but I want to be part of that amazing group of people that works to make it better for future generations.

That means that I am going to do the wrong thing sometimes and I have to face that. I have to listen when someone from the Black person tells me that there’s something wrong with the way I’m expressing my advocacy and ideas. Enough is enough.

Fuck racism!

BLACK LIVES MATTER!

It’s time for change. Injustice has been perpetuated for far too long.

Thank you all for reading!

Link to bail funds to donate to!

Link to petitions to sign!

Link to a video to watch if you can’t donate!

Watching: Self Made

Just a few days ago me and my family sat down together to watch the amazingness that is Self Made. It’s funny, smart, full of A+ characters and incredible acting and I adored every moment of it.

The show follows a woman named Madame C.J. Walker and her pursuit in a buzzing enterprise of her own making. Based on the real life woman. It tells of her journey to success and being the first female millionaire in the United States.

This show is phenomenal! Me, my mom, and my sister we’re laughing and having a blast with it. Octavia like always was a blessing to watch! Her acting is always impeccable and everything I’ve watched with her in it has been pure gold. She sure did shine in Self Made. What a powerful and incredible woman she is. Her character was strong, determined, and whole in herself. She moved forward and empowered so many women to make something more of themselves. It was so incredible.

By far my favorite character was A’lelia Walker. Her free spirited and joyful nature was a delight to watch! Plus, her reaction to having good reason to divorce her husband had me cackling. It was sooo good.

I loved her relationship with Esther it was so cute and so much fun! They have this genuine connection you can feel and there was a freedom in it that Leia could have never found in her husband.

Another great character Addie who was at odds with Madame C.J. Walker the whole of the story is pretty much the reason for the Walker’s success. As Madame Walker stole Addie’s hair care recipes for herself. Addie’s personality was a bit manipulative at times, but also I understood her too. I both liked and didn’t like her. Having a grey character like her was really interesting.

All in all this show is something that is an absolute must watch. I can’t praise it enough. It was amazing beginning to end!

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

Check out my Instagram and Twitter

Check out The Book Raven Poetry website

Checkout The Book Raven Poetry Instagramand Twitter

Check out the Sisters of Twilight website.

If you love my content and wish to offer me extra support by me a Kofi on my donation page!

I Need Some Positivity

Today has been a particularly rough day today. I don’t really care to discuss it, but I’d love if you guys could share either a positive story or video you like or links to some cute animal pics I’d very much appreciate.

If you don’t mind let me know and I’ll put a post together of all the messages, videos, stories, and pictures as a pick me up post for anyone who needs it.

That’s all I got for today. I’m pretty exhausted.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

Check out my Instagram and Twitter

Check out The Book Raven Poetry website

Checkout The Book Raven Poetry Instagramand Twitter

Check out the Sisters of Twilight website.

Watching: The Mandalorian: Season 1

I decided to watch The Mandalorian solely for the love of baby Yoda memes. I wanted to watch the cuteness in action!

I loved making that decision! The Mandalorian was action packed and full of the cute that I was looking forward to. It’s such a quiet series, but I kinda liked just enjoying the universe it’s set in. I only watched one or two star wars films in my time and all way back when I was small, but being able to watch this was a ton of fun!

What a badass looking team! All for the protection of our special little one baby Yoda! I love that that’s basically what the whole story is. The Mandalorian protecting and caring for baby yoda. It’s a simple story, but great and very effective!

There’s the cutie! Such a mischievous little one! I am among the many who would die to protect him! I love him so much!

Some great baby yoda memes:

All I really care about in the Mandalorian is that it’s an adorable family taking care of the worlds oldest baby and it’s the best! I have nothing else to say except I love baby yoda and I will die on that hill.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

Check out my Instagram and Twitter

Check out The Book Raven Poetry website

Checkout The Book Raven Poetry Instagramand Twitter

Check out the Sisters of Twilight website.

Mini Disney Binge: Onward, Frozen 2, & Wreck-it Ralph 1 & 2

A long while back I did a Disney Binge and watched all four of these in a day! They were all fun and cute to watch and I thought it’d be cute to do a little post on them.

What I Enjoyed about Onward

Two brothers go on a quest of magic to get the change to see their dead father in the flesh for a day, but their time is running out. There’s growth in this film, true friendship, and some tear-jerking moments. It’s a really well made film and I loved every moment of it!

What I Enjoyed about Frozen 2

Frozen was definitely better then Frozen 2, but I did very much enjoy Frozen 2 as it all went along. What I took from it was the idea of doing the next right thing one at a time. It’s become a motto for me. Also, I did cry at the end of it quite a lot, so it was good in that way too.

I loved both of these! They were so much fun. I love Vanellope has such an adorable personality and I loved her so much! She’s such a sweetheart. The first film was better then the second, but both were great! I loved the friendship in both and seeing Vanellope go for what she wants for herself. Both films were a lot of fun!

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

Check out my Instagram and Twitter

Check out The Book Raven Poetry website

Checkout The Book Raven Poetry Instagramand Twitter

Check out the Sisters of Twilight website.

Watching: The Harley Quinn Show: Season 1

I watched The Harley Quinn Show season 1 a while back and enjoyed the hell out of it. It’s fun and dark, but also a bit crazy in a good way. I adored every moment of watching it!

The trailer for your viewing pleasure:

https://youtu.be/mT7A5-oxR3o

What I love most about The Harley Quinn show is that even with the bit of gore that it has it has this humor that is based in very mundane day to day things. Harley and Ivy argue over stupid little things about living together while beating the hell out of people. The contrast along with the gorgeous art made me smile the whole way through!

What I’ve enjoyed so much about the show is that it’s really about Harley getting over a sucky relationship with The Joker who doesn’t care about her or her well-being whatsoever. Harley had been drawn to him again and again and it’s only when she realizes that she’s the one who created herself and gets to create herself everyday that she sets herself free. It’s this awesome storyline that follows the entire season. She learns to build her own friendships and her own unique empire and strength and it’s amazing! It was super awesome!

I’m so in love with this Walt little family that works together to help Harley claim her personal power. I felt so strong and joyful watching it. I just remember how happy it made me with every episode. I highly recommend it!

I also greatly loved Kite Man. He has this humor and sense of clumsiness that made me laugh every moment he was on screen. He was hilarious. I think this photo alone tells you all you need to know about him.

All in all, I love this show. It was a delight to watch and raised my mood immensely. It’s one of those things that I feel I’ll love to go back and watch just to feel good. It’s so great!

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

Check out my Instagram and Twitter

Check out The Book Raven Poetry website

Checkout The Book Raven Poetry Instagramand Twitter

Check out the Sisters of Twilight website.

365 days of Blogging: Can I Do it?

I asked this question to myself the other day and got started on it. I was curious? What would it do to my blog if I posted everyday? What would my stats end up looking like? Would it help me to do so. In some of my darker moments blogging and writing out what was going on and how I was feeling helped me to feel sane. It grounded me and gave me something to focus on that was good.

This community has been the kindest most welcoming and powerful communities I’ve ever been a part of. It became more then about writing about books and sharing that passion. It became a place where I could be myself and say what was on my mind regardless of the day. If I needed to talk about something I could here and that’s one of my favorite parts of blogging.

So I wonder, if starting today I blogged every single day for a year, how would it change me? What would change for me because of it? What relationships would I build and what people would I get to know through doing this? How much would I get to discuss? What stories would I get to share? In what ways would I challenge myself?

That is my motivation for wanting to try. Ultimately, I know I could. I could see myself sitting down and writing a blog post every single day. So that’s what I’m going to do. To all of you reading. Thank you for coming on this journey with me. It’ll be a hell of a ride!

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

Check out my Instagram and Twitter

Check out The Book Raven Poetry website

Checkout The Book Raven Poetry Instagramand Twitter

Check out the Sisters of Twilight website.

Watching: Bojack Horseman: Season 6

So I watched season 6 a while ago and it’s taken me a while to get around to discussing the masterpiece that is the ending of the show.

From the very opening I was hooked and every episode beautifully lead into one of the most satisfying endings to a tv series I’ve seen in ages.

When I started watching I kept pausing to talk about it with my bf and it was basically me being in awe of how detailed the series is.

Pretty much everything I could say about the beginning I wrote just being super excited in the texts above.

I don’t really know how else to discuss the ending of this series other then saying just each and every episode was masterfully created. Honestly, I’m just going to say right now that nothing I can say about the show will be enough to do it justice so I’m just going to write about some of what I loved and leave you all with the thought to watch the show if you haven’t already. It’s incredible!

In season 6 Bojack becomes an acting professor and finds himself in a place of doing what he loves after being sober and out of rehab. I love this for Bojack. It’s a arc of hope and even though it doesn’t last. Even though the past comes back and Bojack must answer for it, it still was the beautiful and perfect thing that I know Bojack will remember in a good way for the rest of his life.

Holly Hawk goes to a college party and has an panic attack and a boy talks to her and she finds out one of the darkest things Bojack has done. after this her relationship with Bojack strains and she distances herself from him. The person Bojack actually values before himself is the one person who shows that she values herself before him.

In diane’s life she finds happiness with a guy named “Guy”. He encourages her to do what she needs to to get her depression under control. Tells her that it’s ok to write something fun if she wants. I think it’s finally the kind of relationship she deserves.

Then there’s Princess Caroline and just thinking about writing about her brought tears to my eyes. She’s my favorite character and she got the best ending and she deserved it so much. She got a man that’s amazing for her. A child to care for. She runs her own empire and she’s just incredible and after everything she’s been through and how she responded in every moment she so deserved it. She’s a queen. I’m so happy for all she comes to enjoy in season 6.

Mr. peanutbutter becomes the face of depression. His relationship with his girlfriend ends and he finds himself alone for the first time in his life. It’s one thing he never learned how to be and somehow it all oddly fits for him.

Todd finds himself taking care of Princess Caroline’s child and somehow everything he does ends up working out. His friendship with Bojack May never be repaired, but he’s living a happy life of his own and I love that for him.

The second to last episode is Bojack’s fever dream near-death experience. It’s a trip. It’s one of the most hard hitting episodes in the whole series and I felt semi ok only because I knew it wasn’t his death. That whole episode like the rest of Bojack could have a post all it’s own.

Then the ending. This perfect sorta awkward moment of wondering what’s next. There is so so much between these two. Diane spent a lot of time writing about Bojack. There looked like there was so much more they could have said in those last moments and yet really there wasn’t anything left to say. It was time to move on. It’s hard to write about without tears welling up. It was beautiful.

Bojack Horseman is such a beautiful show. I know it’s something I’ll rewatch and always think about as one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. It shows horrible things, but also give a sense of accountability. It’s depressing, but also hopeful. Every piece of it means something. I adore it.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

Check out my Instagram and Twitter

Check out The Book Raven Poetry website

Checkout The Book Raven Poetry Instagramand Twitter

Check out the Sisters of Twilight website.