Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Baby Proposal

Since I don't want to get married but I want to have children, I have asked for a baby proposal.

As you can probably guess, that means I want my partner to propose having a baby with me. Instead of getting down on one knee with a ring to ask about marriage, I want an honest and heartfelt proposition from my Mister about starting a family.


Why?


The Fun of It

Honestly, part of me really wants to have the excitement of getting a surprise proposal from my Mister. I would love a thoughtful or creative announcement that he wants to start the next adventure of our lives.

I want a proposal for something I actually want. I want the surprise. I want the bragging. I want the story. I don't want to "miss out" on that part of life. But there's more to it than that.

Everyone is Ready 
Mostly I want a baby proposal because I want to know he's ready. I know that I want kids in about two years (or less), but I don't want to push or pressure my Mister if he isn't ready. 

I don't want to nag. I don't want to argue. I don't want to beg. I don't want to say: "How about now? Or now? When?"

I want the experience to be positive from long before conception. While I'm sure Mister wouldn't regret the kids, he might end up regretting the timing. He might resent me. With a baby proposal, he gets to choose when. He gets to say he's ready for the BIG commitment. He gets to be just as excited and sure as I am.

Protection
Because he'll tell me that he's ready, he won't--with any credibility--be able to come back and say "I didn't want this" or "I wanted to wait" during a fight. While I'm sure parenting won't be what either of us expect entirely and I'm sure there will be parts we don't feel ready for, we will at least have made the decision together. 

Because he will propose, I can expect him to be involved in the baby process more than just the making.  Because I'm waiting, it means we will be more financially ready. Because the onus is now on him, he is examining what he wants in the future. If babies aren't part of it, then at least we know sooner rather than later.

I'm pretty excited though. Now that it's his decision and I've backed off, he's been the one starting conversations about "our future kids" and looking more deeply at his finances. He's on a quest to go back to school in order to earn more money for his kids and to keep his back from giving out so he can pick them up.
(I say my Mister because I'm with a great man with whom I could see raising a family. If we were to break up and I found a great woman to start a family with, then same difference. Change the pronouns. It's just not my current state of affairs. This is also where everyone gasps. She's bisexual?! Yes.)  
Sidenote: Yes, someone else "popped the question" to me before and I realized right away it wasn't what I wanted with a strong guttural sense. I wasn't excited about it. In fact, I asked to take a nap after the proposal before we told anyone. This was partly because it was the wrong person, partly because I didn't want to get married.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Travel on a Budget: Free Apps for the Road

Before you get on the highway/train/bus, make sure to fill up your phone with these free apps so stave off boredom, find hidden wonders, and get the cheapest gas.

Maps

  • Apple Maps - The default for iPhones even though they are junk
  • GoogleMaps - Reliable
  • Waze - Navigation with live (and specific) updates on traffic


Music and Radio

  • iTunes - Download/Burn CDs in case you lose cell service
  • Pandora - Has a fair amount of ads, can't rewind
  • Spotify - Can rewind and replay tracks
  • YouTube - Latest funny videos
  • Audible - For audiobook listeners


Gas and Bathrooms


Hidden Wonders

  • Yonder - Share outdoor adventures, find cool/hidden spots
  • Along the Way - Searches your route for interesting, local places


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Another Car Accident/Bad Luck Colorado


Here we are again. My blog will be put on hold due to another car accident. Third accident in 6 months and second car to be totaled within the 8 months of moving to Colorado. If you don't remember, the first accident a driver (not paying attention) blew through a red light in his Jeep and T-boned me at the intersection right in front of my apartment.

Last Sunday, a drunk driver rear-ended us a stoplight on the highway, which made our trunk disappear into the backseat. My phone flew out of my hands and I later found on the floor of the backseat. We were pushed through the red light and Boyfriend valiantly steered us away from oncoming traffic. 

Mr. DUI then pushed our car out of the way and continued westbound on Colfax Avenue. We called 911 and waited.


Poor car.

We later heard that Mr. DUI hit another vehicle and continued to run until his car gave out at which time he tried to flee on foot. Luckily, some good citizens caught him and he was arrested. 

He didn't report any insurance and we had to get Geico to do some investigative work with the VIN number. He has something called Viking Insurance, which has horrible reviews, and I'm letting Geico handle it/try to get my $1000 deductible back.

Honestly, I'm so tired. For the next few weeks, I'll be handling insurance claims, GAP coverage claims, and bus schedules; getting medical treatment and police reports; and filing for restitution among many other new responsibilities. I won't be buying a new vehicle either.

On top of all this, we were planning to move at the end of October because our lease is up. We were going to go to Austin, but I'm so burnt-out with the mainland that I'm ready to head back to Hawaii. I've still got to pack everything, sell furniture, and donate excess stuff. I might not have time to post until all this gets sorted out.

While I've had some good times in Colorado, many other things have gone wrong and it looks like it's just a bad luck area so Boyfriend and I will be leaving Colorado on October 31st. Money is tight but we will make it back to Hawaii soon and settle down for good.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Black Man's Radio: The Breakfast Club

Photo from iHeartRadio app
Since I've stopped listening to The Kane Show in the mornings, I've been looking for a new station and recently I came across The Breakfast Club, based in NYC. The cast includes DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God (who was very funny on the show Guy Code).

My initial thought: "Yes! My new morning show!"
Second thought: "Maybe."

I have been listening regularly for a few weeks now. I like it for the most part--hearing established black people in the industry talk about black issues and black success is an amazing change. But I have some serious problems with the way they talk women, especially since I stopped listening to the Kane Show for similar reasons.

I have made a pro/con list for The Breakfast Club as a possible replacement. What do you think?

PROS

Speaks on issues of consequence
The three co-hosts address real world topics of real consequence. Whereas The Kane Show wouldn't even mention politics, The Breakfast Club cast updates listeners on the election, the BLM Movement, and global issues. Their political views are obviously biased and it's a relief to hear. I know their opinions and there's no false screen of impartiality.

Focused on the Black community
From media to sports to worldwide news  this morning show covers the bases in the black community. They catch listeners up on rising black artists in Brooklyn and Atlanta, the latest movies made by black people, political policies and potential effects on the community, leaders in black communities, and established black celebrities.

Some of it is pop fluff but much of it is educational. Before listening to this show, I didn't know many of the people of color in the industry, especially ones unconnected to scandal. Now I've got lists of new books, movies, and albums.

Married Men
I don't believe in marriage, but these men break the no-good black man stereotype (for the most part). Each man has been with his wife for at least 10 years, sticking with the relationship through the ups and downs. These men also have children whose lives they are actively involved in. They work hard to make their money and support their families. They are forthcoming about their shortcomings and strive to be better whether its nutritionally, physically, spiritually, whatever.

The Interviews
When a guest comes in, the cast (of course) talks about the product being promoted and maybe some recent scandal. But, damn, they all get involved, asking pointed questions about real life: struggles with suicide or depression, death in the family, and interactions with police.

LGBT Friendly
These people don't discriminate when it comes to playing music, holding interviews with artists, or relating a news story. It's out in the open and it's supported. They also grill the LGBT interviewees just as hard of a time as anyone they would interview. It's all equal.


CONS

Hoes and Sidechicks
Living up to its tagline, The Breakfast Club is "the show you love to hate." I get that Charlamagne, as a character on the show, is supposed to be the wild card. Still, Charlamagne seems to say an awful lot of positive stuff about sidechicks for a married man. I don't like cheaters and I don't like that men disrespect their women this way. If a woman were to cheat, she would be the  It pushes the idea that a woman (and a black woman's body) is less important than a man.

I don't think either of the show's men would want their daughters referred to as hoes. A woman is not a "hoe" because she likes sex, takes Plan B, gets an abortion, sleeps with more than one man, and/or anything else about her sexuality. Now Angela Yee does speak up and say her part about these things. She will call the guys out when they are getting reckless, but she gets talked over sometimes.

To Charlamagne and DJ Envy (if they ever read this): Don't put the women in your community down. Build them up.

Perpetuating Stereotypes
Honestly, the men on the show can so ignorant! To his credit, sometimes DJ Envy asks for clarification, like in the instance of the Plan B pill being an "abortion pill" but other times the guys latch hard onto a topic and blow it out of the water with incorrect information. This especially happens concerning women and sex. As a woman of color, this concerns me. These men are in a position of power and authority, talking to the masses--men and women looking up to them. If they spread misinformation--like a woman is hoe if she takes Plan B more than twice--then they are feeding into negative stereotypes in the community.

A woman who won't take the Plan B pill because she doesn't want to be a "hoe" will have to pay hundreds for an abortion or thousands for a child. Men will end up with children they don't want and continue to blame women for "trapping" them. Money that could be used to build black businesses, support communities, and further educate POC will end up going to child support payments, day cares, and diapers.

Don't oppress women with misinformation that was first fed to you in order to keep you and your community down. You don't hear white men on the radio calling their white women loose or sluts. Have more class. Do your research. Don't make women feel ashamed for taking control of their own reproductive rights.

In fact, she's taking responsibility where her man failed. Why aren't DJ Envy and Charlamagne getting on the men for not wearing a condom? Why isn't that man drug through the dirt right alongside his woman?

Homophobic?
The Breakfast Club isn't homophobic, as noted above, but they do get kind of giggly and weird about rumors involving closeted gay rappers or famous people having trans relations. If it's someone they are interviewing, they ask about the rumors and that's cool. It's just sometimes you can feel that negative vibe like having trans relations is taboo. It's got to be denied or the guy had to have been tricked into it. But, maybe, that's just them still getting used to this out and open world.

Light-Skin Talk
Charlamagne jokes a lot about DJ Envy having a light-skin brain or light-skin tendencies, similar to how someone would say "Oh, she's such a blonde!" I know a lot of the banter on the show is teasing, but that doesn't make it less wrong. This is where someone might get on me for being too PC or easily offended. I'm all for free speech. Maybe I just don't get the joke. Maybe I think the joke is dated.

I'm not saying Charlamagne should cut it out. I am saying there is already such division in America between the races. Why add an extra lines between the light-skin and dark-skin people?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Travel on a Budget: Stop Fighting in the Car

Boyfriend and I have been traveling nearly every weekend this summer/fall visiting the National Parks and we've created a pretty good system. But, that doesn't mean we don't want to kill each other sometimes.

In my last blog, I mentioned that it's almost necessary to have a partner. Still, that's a different person with different tastes and feelings. And you're trapped in a car with them and their farts for hours and sometimes days.

How do you do it?

The Stereo
One of the earliest and easiest fights to solve is control of the stereo. Now, most issues default to the driver's choice. They are on the road. They don't need distractions. They need to stay awake. Many people use this rule to cover the CD player/radio/AUX cord issue. This is fine if you switch off driving evenly, but if you're partner is like mine, it means listening to his songs and CDs the majority of the trip.

And that just won't do.

Instead, Boyfriend and I found common ground. We both like comedy and, when there is reception, we play different comedy channels through Pandora. When our phones have no service, we switch to music. He gets to play a song or even a whole CD. Then I get one.

Feed the Driver
Bring lots of extra snacks and water because you're not you when you're hungry, apparently. Make sure it's in an easy to reach place so you can also feed the driver when they request.

Farting
It's going to happen. Do the courteous thing and roll down the windows closest to you. This means put down the driver's side window and the driver's side backseat window if you're the one driving. Opening all the windows tends to blow the smell around rather than suck it out.

Go to the Bathroom
Speaking of bodily functions, go to the bathroom at every stop. If you're getting gas or a snack or someone else is using the bathroom, go. Like your parents would say: just try. Because no one wants to stop in 30 minutes when it finally hits you to go.

Pull Over
Similar to the last one: take a breather when you need to. Stop at scenic overlooks or parks. Stretch your legs and back. A little, unhurried walk can revive you.

Awake or Asleep?
If your partner needs you to be awake, do your best to stay that way. Tell them stories, read the latest news articles from Yahoo or what have you. Talk about controversial topics (e.g. politics, religion, the news) only if you know it's a topic you both AGREE on. This way the discussion will still be passionate but not lead to long silences or someone doing the drop and roll out of the vehicle. Play games. See the list below.

Sometimes, your partner will want you to sleep so they can listen to their music, have the road to themselves (i.e. no backseat driving), or so you can take over in a few hours. In those instances, curl up in the back with a blanket. The driver should always have control over the A/C.

Games
If you're all out of music or cell service or stories, then to the past to play childhood games.

  • I Spy
  • License Plate Game
  • 20 Questions
  • Hangman
  • Alphabet Game
  • Never Have I Ever
  • Would You Rather
  • Madlibs
  • MASH (Mansion Apartment Shack House)

Compromise
Remember that the other person is stuck with you just as much as you are stuck with them so make it easy. Ask if your partner needs anything. Keep complaining to a minimum. Find mutual ground when it comes to things like speed limits or bathroom breaks or convenience store snacks. Your road trip is an adventure so have fun.

What complaints do you have about your driving with your partner?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How to Move with Nothing: Furnishing Your Apartment


Almost a year ago, I moved across the country with almost nothing. No job. No home. One boyfriend. Very few possessions. Within a month, I found a place to live and a job.

Now, I want to document how you can furnish your new place for cheap. You sold your possessions. You just barely got a job and have little leeway money to go out and buy furniture. You don't want to continue sleeping on the floor. You'd like a toaster and chair in the kitchen. What to do?

*The only downside to these options is that, if you can't carry it yourself and you don't have a pick up, you'll have to find a friend to transport the bigger items home.

Secondhand Stores
This may seem obvious, but many times people forget about their options. You're in Walmart or Target buying food and you pass the kitchen wares section. The toaster oven is on sale and you needed one anyway. Might as well get it while you're here.
No!

You have other cheaper options. People donate many types of electronics and kitchen utensils still in good working condition. Some are still even in the box! Just check them over for rust or too much wear and tear. Usually there's some test outlets to plug it in.

The list of secondhand stores goes beyond the usual Salvation Army and Goodwill too so comparison shop. ReStore, a Habitat for Humanity company, has gently used furniture at super low prices. ARC Thrift Stores usually have clothes and furniture. Then, there's all the local small thrift stores that a quick Google search can bring up in your area.

Craigslist Free 
If thrift stores are still too expensive, you'll probably also check out Craigslist furniture. If you look closely, there's also a FREE stuff section where people are literally giving away their possessions.

Before you buy or pick up any items, check to make sure they are sturdy and free of pests. Make sure wood doesn't have rot or signs of termites, cloth furniture is free of bed bugs, and there are no large holes where small rodents or cats could have stowed away.

Give it a sniff test for pesky odors like pet urine, cigarette smoke, or mold and mildew especially if it has been sitting outside for any length of time.


Dumpster Diving
Ew! But, really? In many large apartment complexes you'll find that neighbors will "throw away" good pieces of furniture when they move because it won't fit in their vehicle or it's slightly damaged.

I say "throw away" here because the furniture won't actually be in the dumpsters, but beside them. They'll lean up mattresses, roll out chairs or tables, or set dressers and bookshelves out on the curb at the end of their lease. Even old boxy TVs lounge forlornly in the heat. (If the electronics don't work, usually a YouTube video can tell you how to fix it.)

A quick drive around the complex at the end of the month can set you up with a full living room or at least a place to sit other than the floor. However, I recommend checking your local law on what's trash and what's not.

Dumpster Diving is a grey area in the law so take precaution.

  • Do a dry run and take note of the things you see that you might want.
  • Only take things that are clearly abandoned. Don't go into a dumpster. Usually there's all kinds of precautions and warning signs posted telling you not to get into a dumpster. 
  • If the furniture fits in the car, grab it and put it in. Assess its damage at home in your own parking spot. 
  • Stick to your stomping grounds. Local colleges can have great finds but you don't want to be caught for trespassing.

Whenever you bring a new item home, give it a through wipe down with antibacterial wipes or sprays depending on the material it's made of. Whenever you move again, most of these things can be donated, sold, or left out on the curb for other people. Remember to pay it forward.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Travel on a Budget: How To See the U.S.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park 
It just so happens this is also the 100 year anniversary for the National Parks Service. One of the best ways to tour America is through it's national parks and monuments. From the deserts to the mountains and through the ages of American history, these parks embody America.

Even during the travel to the destinations, you'll get to see the topography of America change, the most powerful cities grow out of the surrounding landscape, and the diversity of people and American accents.

Trail Ridge Road, Estes Park, CO
Throughout this summer, Boyfriend and I have been traveling to different national parks almost every weekend and we've gotten quite good at it.

How do we do that with very little money?

I can tell you to save up, but it's a hard economic climate and saving takes years. Instead, I save what I need for gas and prepare the rest at home.

Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO
Buy the Annual Pass
While there are some free days you can visit the National Parks, entrance fees for the parks can very wildly. Per vehicle, Antietam National Battlefield is $5 for three days while the cheapest pass for the Grand Canyon is $30 for seven days.

The annual park pass is $80 and it includes access to more than 2,000 recreation areas across five agencies. This means it doesn't just include the national parks and monuments but it also covers sites that charge entry fees for the Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Army Corp of Engineers.

The pass can be bought at federal recreation sites or online and it's good for a full year from the date of purchase. So a pass bought September 15, 2016 will be good until September 15, 2017. For more information or to order a pass, visit this USGS site.

Plan Your Route
 Many times when you buy a pass it comes with a map of the national parks and monuments like this one. Calculate how long it will take to get to your destination and then check surrounding areas of interest that you might be able to stop at on the way back.


Living in Colorado, Boyfriend and I are close to some of the major parks. We plot day trips, leaving at six or seven in the morning, and return late in the evening. For weekend trips, we try to hit more than one destination.

Pack Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks
Before your trip, pack all the food and water that you can. If you have a cooler or even a lunchbox and ice pack, use it! The more variety in food you have, the less you'll crave something else. Choose finger foods which won't spoil easy and place them in resealable and accessible containers so you don't have to stop the car every time you want to ear.

I've found these foods work best:
  • Tea and caffine drinks
  • Peeled hard-boiled eggs
  • Peanut butter sandwiches - PB&J, PB and Nutella, PB and bananas
  • Bananas, cut apples, grapes, and orange slices
  • Homemade burritos - chicken, sausage, bacon, cheese, diced onions, green peppers, and really anything you can think of wrapped in a tortilla
  • Trail mix or M&Ms
  • Granola
  • Nuts
  • Jerky
  • Pretzels
  • Crackers
  • Water and Extra Bottles
Gas Stations 
In a few weeks, I'll have a post on the best apps for travel, which will include iExit and GasBuddy to help find cheap gas prices. Before you use those, fill up at point stations like Safeway, King Soopers, or Sam's Club to save even more on gas.

Be Prepared for Anything
Obviously, I keep insurance information and emergency numbers in the vehicle in case of an accident, but I also keep a credit card with me for unexpected necessities. If my lovely car breaks down, it's covered under my insurance and can go rest in a shop. But, where would I go? If I need to stay overnight somewhere, I have the funds to do that.

I usually also bring an extra blanket or sleeping bag, swimsuits, a towel, and wet wipes or napkins.

In the trunk, I keep a prepacked bag in the backseat with first aid materials in case of emergency. This bag is also light enough to be brought on any day hikes.

First Aid Bag contains:
  • Warm clothes
  • Extra pair of socks
  • Band-aids
  • Athletic Tape
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Anti-itch ointment
  • Painkillers
  • Gauze
  • Extra Birth Control
  • Tweezers
  • Knife
  • Space Blanket
  • Maps - in case of no cell service
Get a Partner/Sleep in the Car
Despite horrible farts and fights to control of the AUX cord, a partner is essential for those long road trips. Besides splitting the cost, this fellow road tripper will keep you awake when you're driving or can take over driving so you can continue through the night. You can sleep in the backseat or even use one of these fun air mattresses while your partner drives their shift.

I love to travel and I have more posts coming out like this so like my Facebook Fanpage for updates!

Monday, August 15, 2016

I Loved the Kane Show. Now I Refuse to Listen.

This post has been a long time coming.

For most of my adult life, I listened to Kane Show. I listened since it first debuted in late 2006, when I went to college in Pennsylvania, when I went to work for a summer in Estes Park, Colorado and when I moved to Hawaii.

But then, something started to feel funny. For a longer breakdown and more links, see the Wikipedia's Kane Show section.

When Sarah and Sammy left, I thought: "Well Sarah seemed kind of like a bitch anyway and she never wanted to share anything personal in her life."

(At this time, I did not think she deserved to keep parts of her life. In fact, I was on Kane's side when he would push her for more information about her sex or dating life because I wanted to know the drama.)

Then Melanie left. I thought: "Well, I never liked her anyway." She was replaced with Rose, who is pretty awesome.

For a time, things seemed to float on pretty well. I was grateful when Kane spoke about his OCD because I have an anxiety disorder and it can be paralyzing.

I loved my radio show. I felt connected.

Then, things started to come to light. At first, everyone on the show stopped mentioning Natasha's name. Then podcasts/snippets featuring her were taken down. I wasn't a die hard Natasha fan and technically she wasn't really part of the show, but I did take note because Kane was supposedly a "family man."

When Kane announced his divorce, it fell in line with the idea of sharing their whole lives on the air. I also understood that relationships end sometimes even though you try hard to make it work.

Still, something started to stink. The women in Kane's life had a habit of leaving.

But it wasn't until Danni left--straight up disappeared--that I was like: "Something has to be going on." Danni and Kane obviously had their differences but it had looked like Danni was in this gig for the long haul. So I did all the research I could, read posts from former employees, listened to old clips, and read all the trashy online articles.

I understand that, because of contract, most parties can't talk about what happened or why people left. But Danni just disappeared. The show acted like one of their "family members" never existed in the first place. When Kane did address her absence, he said he "didn't know" or that she was super busy when clearly she wasn't.

A lot has unraveled since then, including the lies Kane tells to his listeners about why he's not on air. I realized I can no longer trust this man. Once he pretended to be stuck in an elevator when he was really in court for the divorce until the Washington Post called him out on it. Recently, he was arrested for assault on his estranged wife, made bail, and then the charges were dropped.

From pressuring Sarah to talk about her sex life on air to lying about where Danni was to reading his wife's versions of what happened, I started to get another picture of this man. A picture that eerily reminded me of my own father, who has one face for the world and another face seen only by his family.

While I have a lot more I could say on this matter, I'll just summarize it like this:

Kane does not treat the women in his life respectfully. When things do not go his way, Kane (like many men in powerful positions) silences these women using their contracts and taking away the platform on which they could speak out.

I didn't like it. So I stopped listening.



Monday, July 25, 2016

Want to Know What I Write?

I've finally completed my list of current publications! It's up with it's own link/tab on the homepage. Please check it out. Articles are linked to their online publications, but many of them were printed as well.

If you want a hard copy of one of them, let me know and I'll try to get it for you!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Is It Just Me? 5 Thoughts That I've Had While High

Pot is legal in Colorado. Moving forward.

Is it just me? 5 Thoughts I've Had While High: 

  • When you're high and eating snacks and then you forget you're eating. It always comes as a pleasant surprise when I remember this repetitive motion (hand to mouth) isn't for naught and--BEST PART--then tastes of greatness come back into my mouth.
  • Is it just me? Sometimes (all the time) I eat Top Ramen and I put sliced onions in it so it feels like I'm eating healthy. I feel so accomplished.
  • If I'm baking and I've just taken my first hit, I set the timer because I know I'll forget the cookies/brownies/pizza because time moves oddly when you're high because I forget to check the time on my phone.
  • Is it just me or does it like you're rising up to the top of your head as the buzz kicks in. Or is that why they call it high? Or do I only feel like I'm rising up because it's called "getting high" and I subconscious-will that ingrained association into my mind?
  • Why do kisses feel like work you don't get paid for?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Giveaway: The Neverland Wars


The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse came out on May 9th has a giveaway with four days left. I'm excited because it's based on Peter Pan, one of those alternate universe stories. 

Synopsis:
Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That’s what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.

However, Gwen doesn’t know this. She’s just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn’t know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she’ll discover she’s in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.

She’ll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won’t be the only one. Peter Pan’s constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she’s going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she’s going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.

Author Bio:
Audrey Greathouse is a lost child in a perpetual and footloose quest for her own post-adolescent Neverland. Originally from Seattle, she earned her English B.A. from Southern New Hampshire University's online program while backpacking around the west coast and pretending to be a student at Stanford. A pianist, circus artist, fire-eater, street mime, swing dancer, and novelist, Audrey wears many hats wherever she is. She has grand hopes for the future which include publishing more books and owning a crockpot.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Cover Reveal - In Black & White by Catherine Lavender,

 


In Black & White by Catherine Lavender comes out this spring and I want to read it because of the mixed main character. You don't see many minority main characters to start with and it will be enjoyable to read about a character I can identify with in that way.

Synopsis:
Micah Winters always knew that she was different. It was the pigment of her skin and the texture of her hair that revealed that she was a woman from biracial parents. For five decades, Micah’s African American mother has remained silent about Micah’s estranged father (Sidney Irving). It is not until after Sidney Irving’s death that Micah learns that she is the daughter of the legendary novelist and screenwriter. Now with her mother’s memory fading away from Alzheimer’s disease, Micah can only rely on a novel that was written from her father years ago to understand her parents past during the time of segregation in the United States. Micah’s once simple life is not so simple anymore as she tries to make sense of an unfamiliar world as she inherits her father’s wealth and private past. With an abandoned heart, Micah must forgive the past in order to discover who she really is.

Author Bio:
Catherine Lavender is from Baltimore, Maryland but now resides in Tampa, Florida with her miniature schnauzer name Ripken. She is an animal activist, as well as a supporter of the organization First Book which helps supply literature for underprivileged children. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys reading classic literature and playing the acoustic guitar.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Car Accident & Also Life

As you all have probably noticed, I haven't had any original content in this past month. Several things have gone awry and/or unexpected life events have frustrated and preoccupied me.

Aside from nearly constant health issues, I had a major car accident at the end of March. Some asshat ran a red light and T-boned my car on the driver's side less than a block away from my home. A hole was punched clean-through the driver's door and the airbags deployed. The impact caved in the driver's door too so I had to climb over the passenger seat to get out.

The guy (aka asshat) had a Jeep and it only received a broken headlight. I call this guy as asshat not because he made a mistake/wasn't paying attention. No, he's an ass because he didn't seem to care at all. Even though he hit me (and clearly totaled my car), he didn't try to help me out of the wreck once we came to a stop. Nor did he ask if I was okay or apologize. Instead, he stayed on his phone and stuck around just long enough for the police to show and swap info before running off to wherever he was going in such a hurry. 
Luckily (and thanks to the safety features on my car), I only bruised my shoulder. Still, these last three weeks have been almost nonstop with doctor's appointments, phone calls to both (mine and his) insurance companies, inquiries to the police department, filling out legal paperwork, evaluating and pricing the worth of my vehicle, phone calls to more doctors, filling out release forms, shopping for a new vehicle, cleaning out my old car, financing a new vehicle, switching rental cars, and trying to make up the hours I missed at work among many other things.

I'm exhausted.

All I've been able to do is keep up with the obligatory blog tours I had scheduled. I'm hoping to get back into the loop soon.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Cover Reveal: A Reason to Stay

I'm pretty excited about this book because it doesn't seem to be the typical romance. This time it's the girl that can't commit. Also, my BF has the same name as the male lead!

Synopsis:
Elise Newton has it all—a dream job, a house that’s all hers, and a boyfriend who’s a cardiologist. Darren has been carrying an engagement ring in his pocket for two months, waiting for the perfect time to ask her to be his wife. He has no idea Elise has been waiting for the perfect time as well—to break up.

You see, Elise has a fatal flaw. She cannot commit to love.

An early-morning call from her sister gives Elise hope. She’s needed back home in Kentucky, to care for their mother who’s recovering from surgery. It’s the break Elise has been searching for, a reprieve from the strain of ducking Darren’s declarations of love.

But along with Kentucky comes seeing Ben—her first love, the one who came closest to being her happily ever after. Now a single dad, Ben has moved on with his life. But has his love for her moved on as well?

When Elise discovers a long-hidden truth about her family—and the reason why she can’t commit—she must decide which man will give her a reason to stay.


A Reason to Stay by Julieann Dove comes out on June 1st so check it out the upcoming reviews on Goodreads.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Julieann Dove lives in Virginia, yet longs to live everywhere else. It doesn’t come as a surprise that along with her gypsy soul, comes an active imagination. That’s why she loves to write and invent worlds and people, so that she can formulate their happily ever after. Hobbies include cooking new recipes, sewing, and spending time with her cute boyfriend/husband and five fabulous children. Vacations happen in Nantucket or the Carolina beaches—anywhere there is inspiration for her next book. One day she hopes to travel to Italy, drive one of those little cars around the countryside, and speak the language fluently!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Dragon Scale Lute giveaway



The Dragon Scale Lute by JC Kang has just come out and it's making the blog tour circuit. For excerpts, reviews, and guest posts by the author, check out the tour page powered by CBB Book Promotions.

There's also a raffle/giveaway to go with it ending on April 20th so get your name in soon.

One (1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card (INTERNATIONAL)
One (1) winner will receive a paperback copy of The Dragon Scale Lute (US)


About the Book: 
Kaiya’s voice could charm a dragon. Had she lived when the power of music could still summon typhoons and rout armies, perhaps Cathay’s imperial court would see the awkward, gangly princess as more than a singing fool. With alliances to build and ambitious lords to placate, they care more about her marriage prospects than her unique abilities. Only the handsome Prince Hardeep, a foreign martial mystic, recognizes her potential. 

Convinced Kaiya will rediscover the legendary but perilous art of invoking magic through music, he suggests her voice, not her marriage, might better serve the realm. When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan-- Kaiya’s childhood friend and his half-elf sidekick (or maybe he’s her sidekick?)-- discover mere discontent boiling over into full-scale rebellion, Kaiya must choose. Obediently wedding the depraved ringleader means giving up her music. Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.

Buy it today via Amazon for only 99 cents.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Review: Cross the Stars by Venessa Kimball

Cross the Stars came out earlier this week and let me start with saying I'm happy more books are being published with characters of color holding higher profile roles. (The male lead is a Muslim from Jordan.) This is initially what pulled me to sign up to review this book. I value the effort put in to the Arabic script is illustrated in the background of some of the pages. It was also refreshing to read about different parts of a culture with the appropriate language (for the most part) in regards to native food, clothing, etc.

I'm not going to get any more political than that.

For complete transparency, I was given a free copy of this book by Xpresso Book Tours via PDF in order to write a review. However, I'm not going to compromise my review in light of that. Also, it should be said that I have an eye for detail and, even though I may like a book okay, I will still critique the hell out of it.

Before I get down to the nitty gritty negatives, I'm going to go over the positives. Aside from the people of color thing I pointed out earlier, the description of the volunteer work that the main character does in Jordan is purposeful and inspiring. I have a thousand questions for the author, including if she ever volunteered abroad.

Also, once you get past page 159 (more on that below), the story really seems to take off and, while the author's storytelling skills are still developing, the plot can be consuming. The story also has romance smut, always fun, and she writes the sex scenes pretty well.

The rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Action and Opening
The story itself was a good idea. Kind of like a modern The King and I with some twists. But, it wasn't executed well enough for me. The action doesn't start until page 159 and the only reason I got to that page was because I signed up for this review.

The opening is just an information dump that doesn't seem realistic at all. (This info dump problem continues throughout the beginning and middle of the story.)

Cursing in Novels
It's just too much. While this may be an accurate amount in real life, at times, it feels like it's just thrown in and loses its impact. It also doesn't seem to fit some of the characters or scenes, as if the word "fuck" is just thrown in to artificially heighten the argument rather than weaving a captive scene that shows me the character's anger.

Main Character is NOT Likable
Also, the main character is just so whiny. There are a lot of remarkable and good things about her, but they are all smothered by her condescending, complaining mouth. The first time she talks to a man who has saved her life (who is also the male lead and romantic interest), she is unbelievably snotty and sulky. Her attitude comes out of nowhere, inexplicable. She also gets an attitude on page 63 with her interviewer and future employer when he worries that she wouldn't be comfortable in a foreign country. She tells him that he doesn't know her life and blah blah. It's like: whoa, what a brat. (I could go list all of these moments, but that would lengthen the review.)

The End?
The book ends on a cliffhanger and, god, I'm so tired of trilogies. It's not even a good cliffhanger, where everything is mostly wrapped up, but you still figure there is something more to come. No, it's just cut off with the main character being kidnapped. (Not a spoiler because the intro alludes to this happening.)

Miscellaneous Complaints
Amidst all of these issues, there are simple grammar and punctuation mistakes.  At one point, the main character remarks about wearing a halter and feeling the hair brush her navel. Clearly, here the author meant "air" so, yeah. 

There are two main characters which trade off every chapter to tell the story. Good idea, but their individual voices are not distinct enough. Scenes are missing bits of action so it'll seem like a character is sitting at a table and then the next minute they are across the room. The text switches from past to present tense sometimes, and no this isn't during a flashback.

Honestly, it's not a bad book and my review would probably be up at four stars if a professional editor had gone over it a few more times. Oh, well.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Cover Reveal: Twelve Hours in Paradise by Kathryn Berla

I've got another cover reveal for you! Coming out April 19th, Twelve Hours in Paradise by Kathryn Berla is a young adult romance. I haven't read it but it has Hawaii in it!
Synopsis: 
Twelve hours, thirty-six questions, and a chance to fall in love…

It’s the last day of Dorothy Patmont’s family vacation. Soon, she must head back to Reno, where all that waits for her is the cold and the snow. To top it all off, her brother, Chester, acted like a little jerk and ate one too many cookies from the sample jar in the cookie store. But his antics have an unexpected benefit—attracting the attention of an intriguing boy who could change her life forever.

Treats can be sweet, but love is sweeter still…

Arash Atkinson, fluent in four languages and an adventurous soul, is in Waikiki for a high school band competition. When he meets Dorothy, he realizes their time together is limited.  
“Come out and play,” he texts her. A night of romantic adventure ensues, and Arash discovers an app that claims it can make people fall in love after answering thirty-six questions in each other’s presence.

With each question asked, their stories and feelings continue to unfold. But with every hour that passes they’re more at risk of being found out—Dorothy, by her parents; Arash by his school chaperone. And then Arash gets the dreaded phone call—he has been discovered missing from his room, and must return immediately. Can they finish the questions before facing their consequences?

When time is running out, true love cannot wait. What Arash and Dorothy have is beyond special, something that comes along once in a lifetime, and begins with Twelve Hours In Paradise…but can it survive the trials of the real world?


Author Bio:
Kathryn Berla graduated from the University of California at Berkeley as an English major. She has lived in many different countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. She currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Cover Reveal for Painting Sky by Rita Branches

Today, I am working with Xpresso Book Tours and I get to reveal a cover! Coming out on April 25th, Painting Sky is part of the emerging genre, New Adult.


Synopsis:
Nobody ever said life was easy...

People pleaser, Jane Skylar wants nothing more than to earn her art degree, start her life, and bask in the bliss of living with her boyfriend.

But things don't always go as planned...

Struggling with her creative side, Jane finds herself in turmoil, often confiding in her roommate - another, more talented art student, Keith Hale. Keith just so happens to be her boyfriend's older, brooding brother. After a devastat ing breakup, Jane turns to Keith for comfort. But when the lines blur between roommate and lover, Jane's life becomes more complicated than ever before.

When Keith's past comes back to haunt him, their lives all get turned upside down, forcing the truth to surface. Now Jane must fight for what she wants--even if it hurts everyone she loves.


Author Bio:
Rita Branches is an independent YA (young adult) author who enjoys spending every free moment (when she´s not reading) writing emotional stories

Saturday, February 27, 2016

What Happens During a Root Canal

I went in to get my Root Canal last Friday morning because that's how I like to start my weekend.

First, let me say: I signed up for Medicaid right after I found out in needed a root canal. Fresh off my dad's insurance plan, at the age of  26, I didn't have health insurance and I had no income.

Yeah, I'm living the life. That adult responsible life.

I know.

Anyway, on Friday, they had to numb me three times before they could start. Not only could I not feel anything around that tooth, but I couldn't feel anything on the whole left side of my face either. Including my left eye. 

I became one of those awkward one-eye-and-then-the-other blinker for the procedure and then some hours afterward. Thank God I don't know anyone yet.

When I was finally all numbed up, Dentist brings out the buzz saw and, I swear, I could see little white tooth bits flying through the air. And this machine screamed with the worst, metal on chalkboard screeching sound.  

Apparently, I started shaking because the dentist asked if he needed to stop and to schedule me at an office where they can put me fully under anesthesia. You could tell he was so done with me. Like that weary "Are you fucking kidding me?" look is just painted on his face.

So, I roughed it out because I'm an adult. A root canal, by the way, feels nothing like getting a cavity filled. After sawing into the tooth, this wriggly drill is pushed in and it pulls out all of your tooth root.  

Then, Dentist said he had to take measurements and grabs this string looking thing, but--MAN--it felt like a screw was pushed into my tooth where the root was. He tugged on it too and honestly I thought he was trying to pull my tooth out.

Fast forward from there, he takes out the screw-things and stuffs something different into my rootless tooth, puts putty stuff on top, and then leaves so that the lady dentist can add the filling. 

After she finishes, I'm done! (Kind of)

P.S. your tooth will still hurt for about a week afterward and you can't eat anything hard on that side of your mouth until you get a crown put on otherwise your newly sawed-in-half tooth might crack.

Also, I'm not sure how to end this post, but I do know that I switched between past and present tenses. I'm tired so suck it.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Cover Reveal for Black Water Tales: The Unwanted


This book is out at the last day of March and it sounds pretty cool. It's adult horror so be warned. I might get to review it so stay tuned.
 
Synopsis:
In the remote, eastern European town of Borslav there is St. Sebastian orphanage, a place where people discard their unwanted children. For the American, Blaire Baker, it’s the perfect place to volunteer her services. Paired with a cheerful volunteer nurse, Blaire is enthusiastic about the possibilities, but is quickly discouraged when she encounters the nefarious nature of the staff and the deplorable conditions of the facility and the children.

Upon arrival, one of the children informs Blaire, “There’s something in the basement.” It isn’t long before strange things begin happening, including Blaire’s flashbacks of the accident that killed her parents. The children soon suffer injuries that Blaire, first, fears may be the deeds of the callous workers but she soon thinks the abuse may originate from a source that is less than human, something unwanted.

The unwanted is coming but in order for Blaire to fight it, she must dig into St. Sebastian and herself in search of truth. Blaire wants nothing more than to help the children, but when discovers the tragedy that happened in the basement and learns that the same evil forces are still at work, it will be Blaire who needs help… There’s something in the basement.


She was born in the tiny, but lovable town of Centralia, IL which has a two screen movie theatre, one high school and still celebrates May Fete. She has been writing since childhood and Black Water Tales: The Secret Keepers is her first novel and the first book.