Catholic School Removes ‘Harry Potter’ From Library In Case The Spells Are Real | Betches

Where my Harry Potter nerds at? According to my Twitter feed, y’all are everywhere and you’re all pissed that some online quiz sorted to you into House Hufflepuff. But you know where people aren’t feeling the Harry Potter magic? St. Edward Catholic School in Nashville, Tennessee, where the book series has been banned after the school’s pastor claimed that the spells and curses in the book are real. L-M-A-O.

Rev. Dan Reehil, a pastor on the school’s faculty, sent out an email to the school staff explaining the move. The gist:

“These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true. The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the texts.”

Ugh, don’t you just hate when you’re reading the children-friendly book Harry Potter out loud to your eight-year-old niece and then *POOF* an evil spirit conjures its ass up? So annoying.

After consulting with “exorcists” in the U.S. and Rome, the pastor asked that the books be removed from the school’s libraries, and his request was obliged. Hermoine would NOT be happy about this.

The pastor said he also felt as though the heroes of the Harry Potter series “promote a Machiavellian approach to achieving the ends they desire.” Did I have to Google what ‘Machiavellian’ means? Yes. Did what I found make me lol? Also yes. Machiavellian means ‘cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous,  especially in politics.’ Sounds more like a certain sitting president than the precious lil’ wizard who is trying to save humanity against the forces of evil, but go off, Rev.

Look, I’m no Harry Potter expert — I’ve tried to get through the series twice and each time I get to book five and get distracted by not being a virgin. (Low hanging fruit joke, but I had to sorry!!!) But from what I remember, this is a harmless book about a sweet young underdog who realizes he has the power to fight evil, hatred, and intolerance. It’s a pretty classic — if not textbook — good vs. evil story. I don’t think we need to worry about it conjuring any demons.

The school’s superintendent was not pleased with all the attention this news story got, so she publicly clarified that the book series has not been banned from the school. Kids are still allowed to bring their own copies and read it on campus, it just no longer is available in the school’s library.

And if the pastor is correct about these spells being real, someone please @ me and lmk because in that case I will actually finish the series because knowing some real curses would be cool as hell.

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Peaky Blinders: Who were the real Billy Boys?

Image copyright Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd. 2019
Image caption Tommy Shelby has been sent a warning by Glasgow gang the Billy Boys

The fifth series of Peaky Blinders has seen the arrival of the Billy Boys from Glasgow.

The gang sent a gory warning to Tommy Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy) and his family as they made their mark on the BBC TV series, which is set in 1920s Birmingham.

Who were the real Billy Boys?

Image copyright Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd. 2019
Image caption Peaky Blinders is set in Birmingham in the late 1920s

Like Birmingham, Glasgow was famous for its razor gangs.

Author Robert Jeffrey told BBC Scotland the two main gangs in the 1930s were the Billy Boys and the Norman Conks.

“It was a religious divide,” he said.

“The Billy Boys were protestants and the Conks, who centred on Norman Street, were Catholics.”

Mr Jeffrey said the main aim of the Billy Boys was to terrify the Catholic population, who were mainly Irish immigrants, and make them feel as unwelcome as possible.

Their name came from William of Orange (King Billy), whose victory at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 secured Protestant rule in England and Scotland, as well as Ireland.

The Billy Boys came from an area to the east of Glasgow city centre called Bridgeton, or Brigton as it was known.

The staunchly protestant gang was initially set up to fight against Irish immigrants but as well as the rampant sectarianism, the gang ran the entire neighbourhood, operating illegal scams, protection rackets and providing “stewards” for political meetings and open-air boxing bouts.

Who was their leader?

Image copyright Caryn Mandabach
Image caption In the TV show the Billy Boys are led by Jimmy McCavern (Brian Gleeson)

The gang took their orders from Billy Fullerton.

Former journalist Mr Jeffrey, who has written a number of books on Glasgow’s gangs, said: “Like in gangster films and TV shows, such as Peaky Blinders, you needed someone at the top who has got to have the guts and the respect and carry the troops with him.”

Fullerton always claimed he had been attacked by a gang of Irish Catholic immigrants after performing well in a football match against their team.

He regularly gave overtly sectarian speeches which aimed to inflame feelings against immigrants.

According to Mr Jeffrey, Fullerton created a well-organised unit.

“It was so disciplined, it was like a private army,” he said.

Mr Jeffrey said that at a time when there was mass unemployment, being with Fullerton and his gang gave the young men a sense of power.

The Billy Boys took a lead role in activities such as church parades and religious processions but they used them as an opportunity to march through Catholic areas goading and abusing them.

Image copyright Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd. 2019
Image caption British fascist leader Oswald Mosley is played by Sam Claflin in the series

They had a flute band and their own songs, including the infamous “Billy Boys”, which was sung in the TV show.

“The main aim was to damage the Catholic population and make them feel unwelcome,” Mr Jeffrey said.

“They would march up and down Norman Street, where the Conks came from, and sing ‘we are the Billy Boys’.

“The intention of that was to terrify the Catholic inhabitants of the area.”

With up to 800 young men involved, the police were outnumbered and intimidated.

There were violent skirmishes with other gangs, often involving knives, hammers, broken bottles and chains.

The activities of the gangs continued throughout the 1930s despite the crackdown from new police chief Percy Sillitoe, who waged war on their activities.

In the run-up to World War Two, Fullerton and the Billy Boys became involved with Oswald Mosley’s fascists, providing a bodyguard for their meetings.

The war, as well as the police crackdown, brought that chapter of Glasgow’s gang culture to an end.

Fullerton died in 1962 at the age of 56.

Related Topics

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Lesath by A. M. Kherbash

Book Summary:

Amateur journalist Greg travels to a remote mountain area to investigate rumors of a sinister building only to find himself imprisoned there. As he tries to escape, he evinces symptoms of a strange affliction, and struggles to remain conscious while maintaining an uncertain hold on reality.

Amazon Link –

Good Reads –

Advance Praise:

“Kherbash adroitly conjures an atmosphere of menacing uncertainty” — Kirkus Reviews

“An /X-Files/-esque read tinged with elements of /Shutter Island/, /Inception/, and the Agent Pendergast series by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. Every page will leave you questioning what is true and what shapes reality, what hides in the dark and what hides in our own inner depths. Are you brave enough to face Lesath? Are you brave enough to face yourself? Enter the shadowed halls of Duncastor, where dreams are reality, and reality tis but a dream.” — J. Aislynn d’Merricksson, San Francisco Book Review

Author Bio:
A. M. enjoys telling stories in one form or another. Born, and raised in Dubai, she worked as a graphic designer and art director for over ten years, during which her work was featured online and in print. Her writing desk doubles as her design studio, and when not working, she can either be found drawing, gaming, or reading. You can find more information at

I’m A Black Woman Who Traveled Asia For More Than A Year. Here’s What I Know About Anti-Blackness.

It was a tumultuous 2016 both personally and politically. My relationship of four years ended as January 2016 began. Just a year before, I had made the choice that the teaching career I built over five years was no longer what I wanted, and I was nannying with multiple families to earn a living. To top it all off, a lugubrious leech had won the presidency of the United States. It was time to go.

I booked my flight in October 2016 and in January 2017, I began a two-and-a-half-month solo trip around Southeast Asia starting in Bangkok, Thailand. During this trip, I slept in over 30 beds in a mix of hostels and hotels in countries like Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. Within three weeks, I knew this continent was where I needed to be.

I worked any and every job I could I find to get back to the far east ― I taught English online to Chinese students three days a week starting at 5 a.m. Then I’d head to my two-week hostess gig at the U.S. Open until midnight. After those two weeks were up, I snagged two part-time jobs at a cafe and a stationery store. With all that hustle, I saved enough money to return to Asia in January 2018, this time indefinitely. I kept my online teaching job.

Like most people prepping for long-term travel, I researched everything there was to know about Southeast Asia. From my research, I knew to expect the stares from locals as I’m a 5-foot-10-inch, dark-skinned curvy black woman. I also knew to expect an abundance of skin-lightening creams and to arrive prepared with products designed for my skin or go without washing my face with a cleanser or using sunscreen.

But, I pride myself on my adaptability. I was born in St. Thomas, Jamaica, and raised in New York, and both worlds shaped me. I arrogantly believed culture shock was for the less traveled. That was until I stepped off a plane in Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon), Vietnam. 

One day, as I roamed the aisles of a supermarket in the south of Vietnam in search of a new headscarf and some goodies, I couldn’t help but feel the gawkers, see the pointing, feel the sly attempts to touch my braids, and hear the giggling as I walked through the aisles. This kind of attention became old really fast so I told the hostel-mates I was with that I’d wait elsewhere for them.

I spotted a bench by the entrance, and as I sat down, a Vietnamese woman sprung from her seated position on the same bench, grabbed her toddler and ran away so fast you’d think I was Freddy Krueger. She was in such a rush to get away, she dropped his shoe and ran back to grab it, never taking her eyes off me. 

This was one of many times I scared someone by merely existing in my black body. 

As I continued to encounter similar experiences throughout the six months I spent in Vietnam, I began to wonder how anyone could be scared of me. 

How could this woman believe I would hurt a child when children are my world?”

How could anyone be scared of me when I’m a … woman?”

But it’s never about my womanhood, but instead my blackness and its perceived danger.  

On my first camel ride into the Thar Desert in India.

After living and traveling in Vietnam for months, I decided to travel to India. In a lot of ways, Vietnam prepared me for my five months in India. The staring didn’t bother me too much, though India takes staring to a level that feels criminal. 

Before visiting India, I read several articles about the struggles of African students from countries like Nigeria and Tanzania, who were targeted by police and locals as drug dealers, prostitutes and cannibals. 

It’s one thing to read it, but it was another thing to witness. 

Imagine being a student in a new country and more times than not being asked: “You got that stuff?” because of the color of your skin. Imagine being silently beckoned by a man in a restaurant while having breakfast with a key in hand signaling with his eyes to go upstairs because he assumes you’re a prostitute. The latter happened to me three months into my stay in the South Indian state Goa. I felt disgusted and it took everything I had in me not to resort to physical violence against this man. 

The false narratives of innate promiscuity and hypersexuality that white supremacy and the global media have perpetuated about black women leads to this kind of objectification and sexual violence which also includes the widespread sex trafficking of West African women. 

There were many times I felt invisible while traveling as a black woman. Of course, I was seen for my physical appearance and the preconceived notions that come with that, but my humanity was invisible. This was made clear the night I was aggressively searched without cause on a sleeper bus in the north of India.

I was aggressively woken up by the bus driver to find three police officers standing over my 40-pound backpack silently demanding that I open and empty its contents. As I stood in the middle of the narrow aisle, trying to remain calm, I felt many pairs of eyes burning into my skin. I had an audience. No one else was being searched, including the two white girls from France I had met earlier during the rest stop.  

“It’s just clothes,” I repeated in a low, sleepy tone, being careful not to sound taut. 

As one officer flipped through my books and journals, another intensely watched as I fumbled for a place to put my clothing, refusing to put them on the filthy floor. The third was so close behind me I could feel him. 

Eventually, I stopped speaking because they were set on giving me the silent treatment.  

It didn’t matter what I said was in my bag because they were determined to find something. Once they checked and rummaged every pocket and compartment, satisfying themselves, I was only left with the words “theek hai,” which is Hindi for “fine.”

They brushed past me to exit the bus, never meeting my eyes and never giving me a reason why. 

And for the first time in two years of travel, I was scared.

There was a part of me that felt like I couldn’t complain or express the legitimate anxiety I felt after this situation because “I put myself in this position” by choosing a nomadic lifestyle. When I read old journal entries from my first solo trip and the first few months of the second, I often used words like “just deal” and “staying strong” refusing to acknowledge the real pain I was feeling.

I was humiliated and traumatized in a way that not only changed the way I traveled the rest of India, but it forced me to become so hyperaware of my blackness that I couldn’t be my full authentic self. I refused to smile or engage in small talk with anyone, especially men, afraid to give the wrong idea. I was always careful and always “on,” and found myself shrinking in order to accommodate those around me. 

On a 3-day motorbike journey across the Ha Giang Loop in the north of Vietnam.

There is undeniable loneliness that accompanies solo travel as a black woman. 

Sometimes I would will the universe to have me cross paths with another black human, even momentarily, so I could dwell in our connectedness. I would sometimes ask family members to speak patois (Jamaican dialect) on the phone, so I could bask in something only I could understand.

Malcolm X said: “The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman.” 

Throughout my adventures in Asia, I’ve learned there is almost nowhere on this beautiful planet that any person of the African diaspora can step foot without witnessing white supremacy holding reign. 

But I also know this: Escapism in a black body is an act of defiance. 

It is an act of resistance to the systems that aim to diminish our personhood worldwide, and it is essential to show up and explore every corner if our circumstances allow.  

To answer the cliché travel question “Why do you travel?”: I travel because I’m free. I travel to be seen. I travel to be heard. It’s my hope that with every flight, ferry, bus and train I board, every conversation I have, and every word I publish that people; locals and other travelers, not only see my blackness, but my power, joy and magic.

Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on HuffPost? Find out what we’re looking for here and send us a pitch!

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Unsealed documents show allegations against Jeffrey Epstein and his inner circle

New York (CNN)Hundreds of pages of court documents unsealed Friday in New York federal court allege new details of sexual abuse claims against multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein and several associates.

Epstein pleaded not guilty in July to charges from New York federal prosecutors after an indictment accused him of sex trafficking dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14 years old. Maxwell hasn’t been charged.
An attorney for Maxwell did not respond to CNN’s request for comment Friday. Maxwell and her representatives have previously denied she engaged in sexual abuse or sex trafficking.
    The documents unsealed Friday were produced as a result of a lawsuit Giuffre filed against Maxwell, nearly two decades after her alleged abuse. They include new allegations by Giuffre that she was instructed by Maxwell to have sex with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former US Sen. George Mitchell, among others.
    In a statement Friday, Mitchell called the claim false, adding: “I have never met, spoken with or had any contact with Ms. Giuffre.”
    A spokeswoman for Richardson called Giuffre’s allegation “completely false.”
    “To be clear, in Governor Richardson’s limited interactions with Mr. Epstein, he never saw him in the presence of young or underage girls,” spokeswoman Madeleine Mahony said. “Governor Richardson has never been to Mr. Epstein’s residence in the Virgin Islands. Governor Richardson has never met Ms. Giuffre.”
    The documents also include an Amazon receipt recovered from the trash at Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion for books ordered in his name, including “SM 101: A Realistic Introduction,” “SlaveCraft: Roadmaps for Erotic Servitude” and “Training with Miss Abernathy: A Workbook for Erotic Slaves and their Owners.”
    The documents disclose Giuffre’s 2001 medical records from a hospital that she said Epstein and Maxwell took her to during a period of sexual abuse. The records show Giuffre had complained of irregular vaginal bleeding for three weeks; had fainted two days prior, falling and hitting her head; and had lost seven pounds in the past month.
    CNN has reached out to the hospital to ask whether it flagged the incident to authorities.
    Other documents show testimony from another woman who has alleged abuse at the hands of Epstein and Maxwell, and claimed in a deposition that Epstein told her that “in his opinion, he needed to have three orgasms a day. It was biological. Like eating.”
    The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit unsealed the documents, ruling that the judge in the defamation case had improperly sealed hundreds of filings. That judge has since died.
    The defamation case was settled in 2017, after the judge had ruled against a motion for summary judgment filed by Maxwell.
    An attorney for Epstein, Reid Weingarten, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday, nor did an attorney for Maxwell. In the court filings, Maxwell and her attorney portray Giuffre as an unreliable narrator, pointing to errors in certain dates and figures she provided.
    Giuffre has said the errors were mistakes.
    David Boies, an attorney for Giuffre, said Friday that her lawsuit “exposed for prosecutors, and now the public, the scope and scale and ugliness of the Epstein/Maxwell sex trafficking ring.”
    The charges in the July indictment of Epstein share similarities with Giuffre’s account, but it’s not clear whether she is among any of the unnamed victims in that indictment.
    But Giuffre is arguably the best-known of Epstein’s alleged victims because she has claimed that Epstein forced her as part of her servitude to perform sex acts with a number of prominent men, including Prince Andrew, Duke of York, in 2001. She has also made claims of being sexually abused by lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
    Dershowitz, who was part of the legal team that negotiated a controversial 2007 deal that allowed Epstein to avoid federal prosecution for sex trafficking in Florida and instead plead guilty to lesser state charges, has denied her claims and accused her of fabricating the allegations against him.
    Friday, he said in a statement that the fresh batch of documents “categorically proves that Virginia Roberts never had sex with me.”
    In April, she filed a separate defamation lawsuit against him. That case is ongoing; Dershowitz has filed a motion to dismiss.
    In the documents unsealed Friday, the other woman who alleged abuse at the hands of Epstein and Maxwell also claims she was forced into sexual acts with Prince Andrew at Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion, where, she said, Giuffre participated as well.
    In response, a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said: “This relates to proceedings in the United States, to which The Duke of York is not a party. Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”
    In a statement to CNN last month, the spokesperson said, “The Duke of York accepts it was unwise to have met Mr Epstein in December 2010. The Duke has not met with Mr Epstein since.”
    With regard to President Donald Trump, who socialized with Epstein in the 1990s and once described him as a “terrific guy” before the two, in Trump’s recollection, had a falling out 15 years ago, Giuffre distances Trump from Epstein’s alleged affairs.
    According to a transcript of a video deposition Giuffre gave in 2016, she disputed aspects of a 2011 story in the Daily Mail that was based on a series of interviews Giuffre had given to one of the reporters, Sharon Churcher.
    The story quotes Giuffre as saying: “Donald Trump was also a good friend of Jeffrey’s. He didn’t partake in sex with any of us but he flirted with me. He’d laugh and tell Jeffrey, ‘You’ve got the life.'”
    In the deposition, Giuffre says “it’s true that he didn’t partake in any sex with us, (but) it’s not true that he flirted with me. Donald Trump never flirted with me.” She also says her only basis for stating that Trump was a “good friend” was Epstein’s own description of his relationship with Trump.
    Asked whether she ever saw the two men together, Giuffre replies, “No, not that I can actually remember.” She also says she can’t recall ever having seen Trump at Epstein’s homes in the US Virgin Islands, New Mexico or New York.
      But she did not refute other details of the Daily Mail story, including that Epstein hosted a dinner on his Caribbean island for President Bill Clinton shortly after Clinton left office.
      Asked for comment, a spokesman for Clinton said he had never been to Little St. James, the island Epstein owns in the Caribbean. In July, in the wake of the indictment against Epstein, the spokesman, Angel Urena, acknowledged that Clinton had taken a handful of trips on Epstein’s plane, but said that “President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York.”

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      A Peach For Big Jim by Lisa Belmont

      Book Summary:

      In 1947 racially-charged Mills Hollow, South Carolina, Chloe Mason knows not to go near the Negroes who live in the river shacks, especially sixteen-year-old Big Jim. He’s something of a myth, a big black boy known for eating opossums and howling at the moon. At least that’s what Chloe’s brother, Caleb, and her Pa, a fiddle-playing Southerner who waves a Confederate flag, tell her. Yet when Chloe slips into Foxhole Swamp, it’s Big Jim who saves her from an alligator. She secretly befriends Big Jim and takes it upon herself to teach him to read, even bringing him a forbidden peach from Widow Jones’ tree. Chloe meets Big Jim in a tree fort he constructs in the woods, and together they endure the injustices Big Jim suffers – like being whipped by Chloe’s father for trespassing. But once her father discovers their secret meetings and is ready to lynch Big Jim, Chloe’s loyalty is tested to the breaking point, calling into question everything she’s come to believe about herself, her family, and what truly matters most.

      Lisa Belmont’s debut novel is a vividly imagined tale set in the Lowcountry swamps of South Carolina; a poignant story of enduring hope, relentless determination and coming-of-age at a time when innocence is all but gone.

      Amazon Link –
      Book Releases July 31, 2019


      A Peach for Big Jim is a tale about a girl who pursues a forbidden love. The protagonist, Chloe, dares to befriend a black man at a time when many people are still openly racist in the South. Their friendship begins when Jim saves Chloe’s life on a chance meeting by the river. Out of gratitude, Chloe befriends Jim and starts to teach him how to read. This is a great risk because Jim is well known and much hated by Chloe’s father and brother. How long can their secret meetings remain undiscovered?

      This is a riveting tale with many twists and turns. Chloe starts teaching Jim out of gratitude but soon discovers a deep connection between them that compels her to protect him. Many would have her believe that Jim is dull and unable to learn, but she has no trouble teaching him. Their meetings are a joy to them both.

      Not long after, Jim’s mother finds out that Chloe is teaching Jim. She is on their side but also wary of her son’s safety. There is a popular tale in town about a girl who tried to run away with a black boy; their story was tragic, and she thinks Jim and Chloe will suffer a similar fate. It turns out that Chloe and Jim aren’t the only ones keeping a secret. Someone else harbors a dangerous secret for which he would be willing to kill. In a town like Mills Hollow, Jim would be the obvious scapegoat for a murder. His race and physique set him apart. Theirs is a dangerous friendship, but they remain true to each other and to their principles.

      I rate this book highly. The story was rich and its twists and turns were pleasant and unexpected. I also gained some insight into how Jim Crow laws impacted black people’s lives. I recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction and thriller genres. The story might be about a girl and a boy, but don’t expect a fiery romance. A Peach for Big Jim is suitable for adults and young adults, too.

      The build-up to the climax of the story is intriguing and full of suspense. Tolerance will fail the town’s people, friendships will be betrayed, secrets will be exposed, and a murder and a cover-up will ensue. I loved every moment of the story, and I couldn’t have hoped for a better ending.

      Reviewed By: Esther Wairimu

      Author Bio:

      I drew much of my inspiration for A PEACH FOR BIG JIM from my mom’s childhood tales. A gifted writer in her own right, my mother grew up in a rural town, much like the fictional Mills Hollow where the story takes place. Some of the more humorous elements of the story were inspired by stories of my mom’s younger brother, Harold, who was known to run around the woods and bring home wild animals. Once he brought home a snake and it disappeared inside the house. How they found it, I’m not sure, but I know it was pretty nerve-wracking while they were looking for it.

      My grandpa was born in Mississippi and one of my earliest memories is of him chopping down a tree with my father. I remember him as a kindly older gentleman who loved God and was good to people. Thankfully, he was nothing like the patriarch in my novel. My grandma mirrors Chloe’s mother in the novel in that she had a great sense of hospitality. She could make a gourmet meal for a dozen people at the drop of a hat. How she did it, I still wonder. I like to think it’s a Southern gift, but whatever it is, there’s an indescribable joy that surrounds a table filled with food and made with love.

      I currently live in Seattle with my family and a cute little bichon named Frosty.

      Find more info about Lisa Belmont at –

      The Misogynist by Steve Jackowski

      Book Info:

      George Gray, San Francisco-based reporter for the New York Sentinel, receives two similar emails an hour apart. One offers to expose well-known individuals who have criminally perverted use of the internet to enrich themselves. The other promises to murder women who have ruined the lives of technologists who were changing the world. Could they be the same person? Mike McKenzie, San Francisco homicide detective was frustrated by his last major case. He never caught the serial killer who targeted the clients of prostitutes in the Tenderloin. He’s hoping that this time, he’ll be more successful. Samantha Louis, unmarried psychiatrist who has finally decided to find a life partner, takes on a new patient, a technologist suffering from late-onset schizophrenia who was hospitalized after a psychotic episode. Could he or one of her other patients be the killer? George, Mike, and Sam are about to embark on missions that will disrupt their careers and their lives as they race to identify The Misogynist.

      Amazon Link –



      George Gray receives a tip on a groundbreaking story. Coincidentally, he is also contacted by a serial killer alerting him to his plan to kill his first victim in a week’s time. George hands this information over to the police, and this marks the beginning of a joint effort to catch the killer.

      The Misogynist is an exciting, fast-paced crime thriller cast in Silicon Valley. It kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. The storyline is well developed and has no wasted characters. Everyone has a role to play, and they play it well.

      My favorite character in the book is Janey, George Gray’s girlfriend. She is witty, funny, and extremely resourceful. The serial killer goes after women, and Janey is the exact opposite of the kind of woman the serial killer preys on. Not only does Janey help catch the killer, but she also brings balance to a narrative that portrays some women as selfish and opportunistic.

      Author Steve Jackowski does a good job concealing the identity of the killer until the story reaches its climax. He does provide a few clues here and there, but you will never guess who the true killer is.

      From the way he writes, you can tell that Jackowski has worked in technology and is familiar with Silicon Valley. In some ways, this book is an inside look into the lives of tech executives, if you were ever curious about them.

      Dr. Louis is another one of my favorite characters. I found her most relatable among all the characters. She, too, has some theories on who the killer might be. Often, I found myself viewing things from her vantage point.

      This is one of the best crime thrillers I have read this year. It had mystery and a good dose of suspense. I recommend it to anyone who loves mystery, crime, and thriller genres. The plotline is like no other, and the characters are well-rounded and believable.

      If you find explicit language distasteful, you will enjoy this book. It steers clear of explicit language and is minimal in its description of explicit scenes, making it suitable for young adults.

      The Misogynist isn’t just another crime thriller. It explores many themes that are relevant to this current cultural moment. Notably, it explores the misuse of the internet by actors who use it to make unfair gains while exploiting others. It also discusses the vast extent of modern-day slavery. You would be wrong to think that only the poor and destitute are vulnerable.

      Reviewed By: Esther Wairimu


      Author Bio:

      Born into a military family, Steve traveled extensively throughout the US and overseas, attending fifteen schools before graduating from High School. After studying mathematics, computer science, comparative literature and French at the University of California, Steve began his career with IBM as a software engineer. He later founded three successful high-tech start-ups.

      A former competition hang glider pilot, Steve continues to surf, ski, kayak whitewater, and dance Salsa with his wife Karen whenever possible.

      Steve divides his time between Santa Cruz, California and the Basque Region of France.

      Find more info and his other books at

      Karen Wasylowski – Journey to Healing Interview Questions

      1. Which inspired you to write this book?
        After spending the past 30 years treating patients and teaching doctors Applied Kinesiology I realized that it was time for the general public to know that there was a healing specialty that might be the answer to their health problems. Additionally, I became increasing frustrated that people did not a) know that there was an alternative therapy to drugs and surgery and b) to clear up misconceptions about Applied Kinesiology (AK)—mostly from Wikipedia who refused to listen to me when I told them that the person who wrote about AK was biased against it and had no right to be considered an authority. So, I decided it was time to write a book to educate people so they can decide for themselves if the muscle testing and natural therapies used in AK could help them in their personal, “Journey To Healing.”
      2. What’s one (3, 5) thing(s) that you learned while writing your book?
        I learned that writing and doctoring are two different skill. It took me longer to effectively write about the treatment than to perform them on the patient. I worked with a content editor for 4 years and feel like I have earned a college degree in writing.
      3. After this book, are you writing anything new?
        Yes. Journey To Healing is about opening your eyes to a form of healing that is available, makes total sense and gives you hope. I will be working on The Power To Heal which gives you things that you can do.Where are you in the process? Just beginning to create the big bang out of chaos. It is probably another 4 years from completion. In the meantime, it is imperative that you work with a healthcare practitioner first—as pointed out in JTH—before you start “playing doctor” yourself.
      4. Describe your writing routine.
        Get up in the morning, go outside and take a few moments to collect my thoughts. Then I get to work before my wife wakes up.
      5. Do you outline?
        Yes. I like to draw the lines and then color them in later Edit as you go? No. It slows the creative process for me.
      6. What do you do when you’re not writing?
        I am still teaching Applied Kinesiology. I have online and DVD courses for anyone who wants to learn. I recently started a consultation service for doctors who can email me questions.
      7. How do you combat/cure writer’s block?
        I write in short intense bursts. I work better in consistent sprints than a long drawn out marathon. I find playing uplifting music like classical music especially Mozart, Wagner and Verdi; as well as the Beatles and Jimmy Durante songs help clear the cobwebs from my head.
      8. What advice would you give an aspiring writer who doesn’t know where to start?
        Start! Don’t wait. It’s like an exercise program. There is NEVER a perfect time. So, make this the perfect time and do a little and do it consistently.
      9. What was the most challenging thing about writing your book?
        Trying to take a topic—Applied Kinesiology and muscle testing—that most doctors do not understand, and make it an entertaining and educational journey for the general public. I see why it has never been done before.
      10. Are you part of any writer’s groups or guilds? Which one(s)?
      11. Do you have a social media presence?
        Yes, but not much. I am a relatively quiet person, even with social media. I like to communicate by putting my heart into a well constructed book, which I hope comes through when you read Journey To Healing. Where can people find you online? The best way would be to go to and sign up for the newsletter, blog and You tube videos. If someone mentions your blog and shows a receipt that they purchased a copy of Journey To Healing they will get a FREE copy of a very helpful book I wrote— Antidotes For Indiscretions emailed to them in PDF.
      12. How has writing this book affected your career?
        I have basically retired from seeing new patients and have gotten into the world of a writer—like I am doing here with you Karen right now. I talk more about writing than treating and after 35 years I find it incredibly exciting and refreshing.
      13. What is the most satisfying thing about being an author?
        Developing a book, a chapter, a paragraph and a sentence to where you look at it and breathe a sigh of satisfaction that you gave life to something that you hope will benefit someone. It feels very satisfying that you pulled something deeply personal out from inside of you and are now sharing it with the world. It is satisfying and scary.
      14. How do you think your book can help people?
        I believe people will learn about their bodies, their physiology and become empowered to ask questions and take control of their health. What do you hope people will take away/learn from your book? That ignorance is not bliss; ignorance can hurt you a whole lot—take the current opioid epidemic, for example. You must be in the driver’s seat regarding your health otherwise, you can be taken for a ride. You will take away how amazing your body truly is; how it wants to be healthy and when you work with a doctor trained in AK you will be amazed how good and strong you feel!
      15. If your audience more aimed at professionals or the layperson?
        Layperson. However, there is enough research in the back and explanation within the text that a professional can read this and say, “Wow, this makes sense. I have to learn this for my patients.”
      16. Have you been getting good reviews?Yes. Reviewers have really grasped the essence of the book. As one said, “Now that I know about it, I would personally be happy to see an AK practitioner in the future if I have any serious conditions.”
      17. What places have you used to promote your book?
        Right now predominately through the Applied Kinesiologists and their patients throughout the world. Over the past 30 years that I have been treating patients and teaching AK, doctors (including myself) wished that there was a book that explained what we do so that people could get excited about understanding their muscles and bodies better. I am pleased that now there is!

      Thank you Karen. I appreciate you having me here.

      Karen Wasylowski Questions

      Which books/authors inspired your work?
      The books in the Vale Investigation series draw a lot from various mythologies. Hostile Takeover features monsters from the Old Norse and Ancient Egypt. Book two draws from the Old Arabian Mythology, while book three features creatures from the Japanese lore.

      So I had to get books on each mythology beforehand. It felt like going back to school and having homework to do. But it was a lot of fun too; I love learning about new cultures.

      What’s one thing that you learned while writing your book?
      One of the first big surprises was discovering just how many different mythologies there are. We’ve all heard about Greek or Egyptian, but there are hundreds of them… and they all have a plethora of monsters and creatures to draw inspiration from. Africa alone has several dozens.

      To help spread that knowledge, I decided to try and focus on a new mythology for each book.

      After this book, are you writing anything new? Where are you in the process?
      Hostile Takeover is the first book in the Vale Investigation series. The second book Evil Embers was published earlier this year. I’m currently editing the third and working on the outline of the fourth.

      Describe your writing routine. Do you outline? Edit as you go?
      I outline everything ahead in details; it’s an important part of my writing process. For me, it simplifies the writing process. I start editing after the first draft is complete.

      What do you do when you’re not writing?
      I have a day job that keeps me busy a lot. In my spare time, I enjoy watching TV or listening to music while going on a walk.

      How do you combat/cure writer’s block?
      Outlining really helps fight that. If you carefully plan out your novel before you start writing, then you don’t really get stuck anymore.

      What advice would you give an aspiring writer who doesn’t know where to start?
      Step one is defining your characters. Figure out who they are, and where you want to take them. For me, a story is a character’s emotional journey. If your character is identical on page 1 and on page 300 than you’ve failed somewhere. Once you have your characters figures out, you can start plotting. Create a detailed outline (which includes the ending) so you know where you’re going and you can start to check the consistency of pacing and look for plot-holes. And then you can start writing.

      Do you have a social media presence? Where can people find you online?
      There’s the official website: and I’m also on Twitter (@Cristelle). All of my books are available on Amazon; additional reviews can be found on Goodreads.

      Talk about your main character. What are they like and what inspired their personality?
      The hero of the story is PI Bellamy Vale. He struck a bargain with Death herself a few years ago and agreed to become her envoy on Earth in exchange of a favor. He’s a tortured man, seeking redemption for past mistakes. He tries to do the right thing and help people, but Death doesn’t really have the same moral values.

      How does your main character change throughout the story?
      Being Lady McDeath’s foot soldier does have its perks: near immortality and a few boons which Vale has to learn how to use. At the start of the story, he doesn’t know yet what he’s capable of. He’s also making friends and allies along the way.

      What made you choose the time/place in which your book was set?
      It’s set in the present times, but in a fictitious American town. The first series of books I worked on, The Neve & Egan Cases, was set in London and I spend an incredible amount of times looking up street names and Underground stations, to make sure that I was accurate. So I decided to make things easier on myself this time… everything’s made up.

      What type of person do you think would most enjoy your book?
      Well these novels are a good mesh of classic detective noir and urban fantasy. So any fans of Jim Butcher, for example should enjoy the hell out of it.

      How do you organize your book collection, if at all?
      It’s not organized at all. I have a small shelf and a lot of books, so trying to make everything fit is a bit like a game of Tetris.

      If you could invite your favorite fictional hero/heroine over to your house for dinner, who would it be and what would you talk about?
      I’d like to invite Dr Who… so long as we can squeeze in a few trips between the main course and the dessert.

      What’s the best book, other than yours, that no one has ever heard of?
      Something under the radar… hum, I guess one would be Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman. It’s a short novel that is partly a biography of Einstein’s life and partly a poetic study of the structure of time—I really love it. Another one would be The Portrait by Iain Pears—a 200+ pages monologue. From a writer’s point-of-view, what he did is quite the tour-de-force. For casual readers, it may be a little hard to get into it, but once you’ve adjusted to the unusual style you’ll find a really gripping story (try the audiobook, if it’s too hard to get into it).

      Supermarket cat holds ‘book signing’

      Image copyright Book Guild
      Image caption Garfield, now 12, has been visiting the supermarket since 2012

      A cat that gained 5,000 Facebook followers after making a supermarket his second home has been “signing” copies of a book about his adventures.

      Ginger tom Garfield took a liking to Sainsbury’s in Ely, Cambridgeshire, after the store was built on his old stomping ground.

      The co-author Cate Caruth said copies of the book – What’s THAT doing There? – sold out in half an hour.

      Garfield “signed” his book in Ely Library with a paw-print stamp.

      It was modelled on his real paw.

      Garfield, now 12, first started visiting the store after it was built in 2012 on a meadow opposite the flat where he lives with owner David Willers.

      Image copyright Tali Iserles
      Image caption Garfield was “banned” from using the escalator to get to the rest of the supermarket

      His favourite spot was a sofa in the Virgin travel shop in Sainsbury’s lobby, and he often tries to get into people’s cars outside the store.

      Fans of the cat posted photos of him at the supermarket and at one point his owner had to ask people to stop feeding him as he was becoming fat.

      A Facebook page set up with photos of the cat in the supermarket has a following of more than 5,500 fans from places as far away as the United States, Canada, Australia and Russia.

      Image copyright Ginny Phillips
      Image caption A second print-run had to be done after the book sold out “within hours”, owner David Willers said

      A book of his adventures and misadventures has now been written by Mr Willers with Suffolk author Cate Caruth.

      The title – What’s THAT Doing There – refers to Garfield’s reaction when a fence was erected across his favourite meadow ahead of the supermarket being built.

      Image copyright Ginny Phillips
      Image caption Garfield was not happy when a shop was built on his favourite stomping ground
      Image copyright Ginny Phillips
      Image caption The book fictionalises a number of the cat’s adventures in the store
      Image copyright Cate Caruth
      Image caption A paw-print stamp was made for the book signing

      The book tells how Garfield was once banned from the store for scratching a customer who became a little too familiar – and many of his other adventures.

      In the book he is called Garfield Abercrombie Reginald Fergusson, but as that was “far too much like hard work… everyone just called him Garfy”.

      “It is a little familiar of people,” Garfy would always think, “but I suppose I can live with it,” he says in the first chapter.

      Image copyright Cate Caruth#
      Image caption Garfield took the book signing in “his stride” said co-author Cate Caruth
      Image copyright Cate Caruth
      Image caption Garfield was very relaxed during the book signing and “lapped up” the attention

      Speaking after the book signing on Saturday, author Ms Caruth said it was a “big hit.”

      “Garfield took it all in his stride, posing for photos with his fans and inspecting the library services with great care.

      “It was non-stop for two hours and we sold out of books in half an hour” she said.

      Image copyright David Willers
      Image caption Garfield’s proud owner has had a tattoo of his cat on his leg

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