Monday
Jul292013

I Live Here

'I don't feel like I live here.'

I kept repeating this sentiment during the first month I lived in NYC, much to the dismay of my lovely roommate, who thought that meant that I was unhappy or uncomfortable. I wish I had expressed myself more accurately. What I should have been saying was 'I can't believe I live here.'

After all, living in New York has been the dream since I was 13 years old--back when I dreamed of being a star on broadway, of lights and glitter and fame. Then when I was stufying theatre and dreamed of being a working actor, because being a star would be hard if not impossible. When I decided that I might want to be a full time actor, that maybe I wanted to both act and write. When I began to love writing and started dreaming of a potentially different kind of fame. When I decided I wanted to work in publishing. Now I'm 23. As my dreams evolved over the last ten years, the one theing that never changed was New York City. (Even when I tried to convince myself Chicago would be better, because I needed to be practical and I would never make it in NYC)

So when I'm walking down the New York streets as if it's a normal occurrence, sometimes my mind grinds to a halt, forces me to pay attention, and look around me with reverent awe. You are living your dream. I smile and keep walking, and I walk a little lighter with the realization.

There's also times when I forget, and suddenly it seems as if the time around me stands still. I'm trapped in a moment and I can almost feel the city orbiting around me, moving and breathing like a living thing, and I am in the center. Those seconds are infinite, monumental, and I know that it wouldn't happen anywhere but here.

Even though life here is tough. Even though it can be lonely. Even though finding a job may seem impossible and improbable. Even though I am stretched to my last dollar. Even though I am just one of so many million. This is New York City. This is the dream,

 

and I live here.

 

CV

Monday
Jul012013

FINDING IT Cover Reveal

So I don't know about you guys, but one of my favorite books among the New Adult trend was Cora Carmack's Losing It. Even before it got picked up by HarperCollins!

These books are fun with great, likeable characters, and did I mention how HOT these books are? Phew! You might need the torrential downpour that's happening in NYC right now just to keep you cool from these books. 

Anyway, without further ado, here's the cover for the highly-anticipated third book in the Losing It series -- Finding It.

 

 

Most girls would kill to spend months traveling around Europe after college graduation with no responsibility, no parents, and no-limit credit cards. Kelsey Summers is no exception. She's having the time of her life...or that's what she keeps telling herself.


It's a lonely business trying to find out who you are, especially when you're afraid you won't like what you discover. No amount of drinking or dancing can chase away Kelsey's loneliness, but maybe Jackson Hunt can. After a few chance meetings, he convinces her to take a journey of adventure instead of alcohol. With each new city and experience, Kelsey's mind becomes a little clearer and her heart a little less hers. Jackson helps her unravel her own dreams and desires. But the more she learns about herself, the more Kelsey realizes how little she knows about Jackson.

 

I don't know about you guys, but I'm WAY excited for this book! It's set to release October first and is available for Pre-order now. 

 

CV

Thursday
Jun202013

The Color of Rain and Sex Trafficking

Trigger Warning - Sexual assault, rape

 

This post is going to be half book review, half awareness raising. 

I just had the privelege of reading a copy of Cori McCarthy's debut The Color Of Rain, which I recieved and had signed at this year's BEA.

Cori was lovely when I got to meet her, and when ever people saw that I had her book or asked me what it was about, the pretty much universal consensus was 'Prostitutes in space? sign me up to read that!'

Here is the cover and the official blurb from Goodreads:

If there is one thing that seventeen-year-old Rain knows and knows well, it is survival. Caring for her little brother, Walker, who is "Touched," and losing the rest of her family to the same disease, Rain has long had to fend for herself on the bleak, dangerous streets of Earth City. When she looks to the stars, Rain sees escape and the only possible cure for Walker. And when a darkly handsome and mysterious captain named Johnny offers her passage to the Edge, Rain immediately boards his spaceship. Her only price: her "willingness."


The Void cloaks many secrets, and Rain quickly discovers that Johnny's ship serves as host for an underground slave trade for the Touched . . . and a prostitution ring for Johnny's girls. With hair as red as the bracelet that indicates her status on the ship, the feeling of being a marked target is not helpful in Rain's quest to escape. Even worse, Rain is unsure if she will be able to pay the costs of love, family, hope, and self-preservation.

 

 

I had pretty much the same reaction as everyone else when I read that--'That sounds awesome! let me do it!' But what I found is that The Color of Rain is so much more than that. This book tackles some very difficult issues, ones that people don't often want to talk about, and McCarthy does it in a way that is sympathetic, engaging, and moving. 

Every person that I know has a cause that they would go to bat for if they had to, the social issue that hits home for them the most. I am no exception, and human/sex trafficking has always been mine. I actually just said to a friend a few days ago that I wished someone would write a book about it, and here it fell into my lap!

One of the great things I think The Color of Rain does is open a door for conversation on this topic. 

Some facts on sex/human trafficking in the U.S.A.

- The average age of a trafficked female is between 12 and 14 years old.

- The average age of trafficked male or transgender youth is between 11 and 13 years old.

- An estimated 239,000 American youths are in danger of being trafficked. 

I know we've all seen the movie Taken (which is undoubtedly amazing), but most people who are trafficked don't have Liam Neeson to come safe them. Most people don't get a happy ending. 

The story of the three women in Cleveland who were rescued that was in the news recently is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Not only in the U.S., but all over the world, women and men are abducted or sold by their families into slavery. They work for little or no money, and can be with up to 20 clients a day. Women are gang-raped into submission, beaten until they have no more hope, have multiple abortions due, and most die from disease. 

This is an incredibly hard topic to speak about, but it's even harder --for me-- to know that it exists and do nothing. 

Here is the link to a documentary about Human/Sex Trafficking in Asia entitled The Day My God Died. It is heavy, but it is also amazing. I encourage you to watch it. 

And here is a music video of The Killer's song Goodnight, Travel Well directed by David Slade and sponsored by UNICEF and MTV EXIT for Sex Trafficking awareness. Also an amazing watch. 

And here is the FBI's informational webstie about Sex Trafficking.

In the next week I will post a follow-up with the list of anti-trafficking agencies so you can get involved. 

I hope that you all will pick up The Color of Rain. As well as being poingnant, and importatnt, it is also incredibly entertaining and well written. I know that you'll enjoy it as much as I did. 

 

CV

 

Thursday
Jun132013

Cover Reveal: THE SOUND OF LETTING GO

Thrilled to have the cover reveal of THE SOUND OF LETTING GO by Stasia Ward Kehoe today on the blog. I know that you're not going to read anything until after I show you the cover anyway, so here you go! :)

 

 

For sixteen years, Daisy has been good.  A good daughter, helping out with her autistic younger brother uncomplainingly.  A good friend, even when her best friend makes her feel like a third wheel. When her parents announce they’re sending her brother to an institution—without consulting her—Daisy’s furious, and decides the best way to be a good sister is to start being bad.  She quits jazz band and orchestra, slacks in school, and falls for bad-boy Dave. 

But one person won’t let Daisy forget who she used to be: Irish exchange student and brilliant musician Cal.  Does she want the bad boy or the prodigy?  Should she side with her parents or protect her brother?  How do you know when to hold on and when—and how—to let go?

Stasia is on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and on her personal blog.

Isn't it pretty? In addition, we have a giveaway! Enter below. 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

That's all for now!

 

CV

Sunday
Apr212013

Unacceptable

PLEASE NOTE: TRIGGER WARNING

Hey guys,

I know that I haven't done any book reviews in a while. There'll be more soon I promise! In light of recent events, with so many rape cases hitting the news and victims speaking about sexual abuse, I wanted to talk a little about my experiences with rape culture. I reiterate a possible trigger warning. 

 

I am pretty. I'm not a supermodel, and I don't consider myself beautiful. I'm curvy and a little overweight, but I still consider myself pretty. I get noticed sometimes. That's okay, good even. It's when being noticed becomes a line being crossed, or a threat, that the problem occurrs.

I have a couple of stories from my life that I want to tell you in order to make my point. 

Story #1

The first happened my junior year of college, on the night of my Junior Senior banquet. There was a mix-up with the group of people I was going with, and I ended up having to drive to the location alone, which wasn't a big deal. However, when I got there, I got lost. I ended up parking on the wrong side of the conference center. A CONFERENCE CENTER. So...not a small building. It was dusk, and the inner city. Because I had mistakenly parked on the wrong side, I had to walk all the way around this giant building by myself. 

I was wearing a strapless blue dress that went down to my knees, full length leggings, high-heels, and a scarf that covered pretty much all of my shoulders. But still, you could tell I was dressed up and going somewhere. While I was walking, I got 'cat called.' Not once, not twice, but three times. The third time involved the car slowing down, and the guys in it yelling in graphic detail what they wanted to do to me in my pretty dress. 

I did what all girls are trained to do: I put my head down, I walked faster, they walked away laughing. My friends were obviously upset when I told them, and (God bless them) the guys in my party all worked extra hard to make sure I had a good time, and I did. But underneath it all I was sad. I no longer felt pretty. I felt exposed. 

Someone drove me back to the garage I was parked in at the end of the night. And in the two minutes between their car and mine, it happened again. A car full of guys, drunk this time, drove by (in a now abandoned parking garage) and were yelling inappropriate things. I made it home safely, but the night will never be a 'fun' memory for me like it should be. 

Story #2

This happened last night. 

I had a very long, and not very good day yesterday. I had already planned on ordering a pizza, buying some ice cream, and just chilling. I forgot to stop for the ice cream on the way home, so I thought I'd order the pizza to make sure they'd still deliver, and then run out to the 24-hour store and grab the ice cream. I live in the suburbs, so I didn't think anything would be the problem. 

So I live across the street some poeple I'm not particularly fond of. They party, they're loud, they set off fireworks in the middle of the night. Yeah. One of the guys that lives there is like 6'5" and between 250-300 pounds. Very large man. I've always felt that he looked at me strangely, and I try to avoid him as much as possible. Luckily, he's never engaged with me. Until last night.

I had to park across the street from my house last night. The partiers, including this guy, were all outside. It was only 10:15, but I could tell he was already drunk. I was wearing a sweater, leggings and combat boots. As I was crossing the street he yelled 'HEY! How are you?' Very quietly I said, "I'm fine, thank you." I was very matter of fact. I kept walking. I didn't want to ignore him because he is my neighbor, but I didn't want to interact. Next thing out of his mouth--"You should come party with us!' I replied 'No, thank you.' as I entered my driveway. 

That pissed him off. He started yelling, 'AWWW, WHY NOT? That's F**** UP! WHAT ARE YOU TOO GOOD FOR US?" By that time I had the door unlocked, and I had the deadbolt slammed seconds later. I had been about five feet from him at the closest point. My heart was racing. 

Understand, I am not weak. I am probably physically the strongest person among my female friends. My father was in the military, I know basic defense skills. I carry pepper spray. I was so afraid of that man, that I didn't go out to get the ice cream. I barely wanted to step outside to meet the delievery guy. 

----

Those are the two stories. I know that compared to a lot of women, these stories are tame. I have never been raped, I have never been sexually abused. But what makes me sick? I have to consider myself lucky that it's never happened to me. That there are so many victims of sexual crimes now, that the status of victim is almost more common than not. 

Don't get me wrong, I am lucky. Either of those stories could have turned badly very quickly. But I don't want to be afraid. I don't want to have to think about whether I can step outside of the house to go get ice cream. I don't want to have to think about whether or not my leggings that I wear every day give the idea of 'easy access.' If these things sound selfish, they are.

On behalf of every woman--victim or not--I am angry, and I am tired. I am angry that men think it's okay to tell me they want to take me against my will, to comment on my pictures online and say they want to 'cum all over your face.' I'm tired off having 911 pre-dialed on my phone when I walk to my car at night. I'm angry that my body makes me an object. I'm tired of looking over my shoulder and reciting the 'rules' of how not to be assaulted whenever I am walking--even in the day time. 

And I am angry that if something had happened to me, most of the world would consider it my fault. 

I am a person that believes the only way things can change is if you know about it, and talk about it. So that's what this is. Rape culture isn't going to change unless we MAKE it change. This isn't a rant against men, I know that there are some great guys out there. And if you're reading this, help us. When your friends say derogatory things, say something. Set an example and look into our eyes when we talk. Say we look beautiful instead of just our bodies. 

So here's to change. Keep it going. 

CV