Monday, July 27, 2015

Click, Date, Repeat by K.J. Farnham: A story of Frogs and Prince Charming

I read this as a married woman who never had a desire to date. I married my first boyfriend at twenty five. I almost worried that I would hate Chloe, our protagonist, as we have nothing in common, and never get to the end of this book. But I told myself to keep an open mind and keep reading and hope that we get to see how she falls in love with “the one.”

Click, Date, Repeat is a story about having to kiss a lot of frogs just to get to the prince. Chloe Thompson is a twenty five year old school teacher who decided to give online dating a try after multiple failed relationships. So online dating: click on the profile you like, date the person and repeat this maddening process until you get to the Prince. Sounds simple enough, right?

The idea that you could meet someone online and potentially fall in love was such a novel concept in the early 2000s. Fast forward to the present day and I’m sure I can speak for my generation (early 1980s babies) when I say that you literally need to have some form of social media now in order to date. Or at the very least, be able to find your potential suitor and go through his photos and friends list to assess what the person is like. But that’s a different topic for a different day.

This story begins with Chloe going on a one sided, cringe worthy date. She’s polite enough, tries to look for a positive in the situation and like most passive aggressive people, hope that her silence equates to “I’m sorry but this thing is never going to happen, ever.”

So, since I never got to date around, I completely lost myself in her world and thanked the Universe that I never had to. I’m not as picky as Chloe is and chose the life I live in now, without thinking about my friends’ opinions about how relationships should go and how we’re supposed to be while we’re in them.

I’m Filipino and I laughed so hard every time she went over to her parents’ house. Yes, Asian mothers have no filter and will shout even when you’re a few feet away. It also provided some insight on what my mom would have thought had I lived closer to her during my early twenties and dating people I met online. The situation would be awkward at best, and I wouldn’t be going to her house to borrow her computer just to see who Yahoo thinks my perfect match would be. You are a twenty five year old teacher, Chloe, and should have your own computer!! There is no excuse for not having one! My college roommate was an elementary education major and she was going to Europe on her teacher salary. I’m digressing here.

The title of the book pretty much sums up the entire story but she explores how this new concept (remember this is a year into the world of The Bachelor) and how her friends’ and family’s relationship and viewpoints revolve around her love life. I like that she’s a bit whiny and unsure about who she is and what she wants and yet, puts herself out there for the Universe, anyway. That’s what happens when you want to find love. I like that some people she met online made her change her parameters of what she’s looking for and then apologetically, reaffirm the original parameters. We were all twenty five once and someone, somewhere –most likely an Asian mother – deemed that it was time to be “grown up” at that point and have a house, an established career and a family. Some of us took a leap before our friends, others kept a marriage and baby pact with friends and very few decide to take matters into our own hands, sift through an online personals ad, click, date and repeat.

Rated: 4 stars

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I'm hosting a blog tour for Click Date Repeat

Click Date Repeat coverClick Date Repeat
by K. J. Farnham

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: Adult
Release Date: 21 August, 2014

These days, finding love online is as commonplace as ordering that coveted sweater. But back in 2003, the whole concept of Internet dating was still quite new, with a stigma attached to it that meant those who were willing to test the waters faced a fair amount of skepticism from friends and family.

Such is the case for Chloe Thompson, a restless 20-something tired of the typical dating scene and curious about what she might find inside her parents’ computer. With two serious but failed relationships behind her, Chloe isn’t even entirely sure what she’s looking for. She just knows that whatever it is, she wants to find it.

Based loosely on author K. J. Farnham’s real-life online dating experiences, Chloe’s foray into online dating involves a head-first dive into a world of matches, ice breakers and the occasional offer of dick pics, all while Chloe strives to shake herself of the ex who just refuses to disappear. Will she simultaneously find herself and “the one” online, or will the ever-growing pile of humorous and downright disastrous dates only prove her friends and family right? There’s only one way to find out…
Click. Date. Repeat.

You can find Click Date Repeat on Goodreads

You can buy Click Date Repeat here:
- Amazon (Kindle)
- Amazon (Paperback)

K. J. FarnhamAbout the Author:
Born and raised in a suburb of Milwaukee, K. J. Farnham was an educator for 12 years. She holds a bachelor's degree from UW-Milwaukee and a master's degree from Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

After relocating from Milwaukee to Hudson, Wisc., in 2011, Farnham became a freelance writer and resolved to complete her first novel. The storyline for "Click Date Repeat" is a result of her experiences (and mishaps) with online dating, through which she met her husband.

Farnham lives with her husband, three young children and three cats. When she is not busy keeping up with her kids, she can be found reading or writing. A sequel to "Click Date Repeat" is in the works, and she plans to publish her next novel, "The Me I See," in the spring of 2015.

You can find and contact the author here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Goodreads

Monday, July 20, 2015

About me

I did this back in 2009 - a list of 25 things about me - click here. I thought, I'd revisit this list again today and give you 33 things about me (the Christian, the wife, the mom, the writer) that you could never find in the "About the Author" page in the back of the book.

1. I still like guys with fluffy hair - haha!
2. I have a terrible, terrible sweet tooth.
3. I think I watch more cartoons than my three year old.
4. I love reading when its completely silent.
5. But when I was a student and had to study for a test, everything has to be on. I couldn't concentrate when it's "too quiet."
6. When I chop up vegetables or prep my meals, I imagine I'm on a cook show and can hear the "people" critiquing my chopping skills.
7. Those are the only "voices" I hear. I believe I'm completely sane, otherwise.
8. I can't pass up a bookstore without looking through the cookbook section. I love cookbooks and have taken to collecting my favorites over the years.
9. I want to go sailing one day.
10. I love lists. To-do lists and check lists give me a high, especially when I cross out items.
11. Yes, I have written down something I've already accomplished before making my to-do list.
12. I've now been to Disney World three times. I'm hoping to bring my daughter next time I visit.
13. I can't write when the house is a mess.
14. I love veggies but have to force myself to eat a fruit.
15. My favorite veggies are spinach and bok choy.
16. I love road trips.
17. I break out in song every time I wake up my grumpy toddler.
18. It's only fair since she sings as I'm trying to go to sleep.
19. Playing in the rain is still the best thing in the world.
20. Audrey Hepburn is still my favorite actress.
21. I love talk radio.
22. I'm not crafty. Pinterest can suck it.
23. I have this thing with feet pictures.
Mt. Evans in Colorado
On a beach in Mexico

24. I could wear dresses all day long, all week long, all year long.
25. But I find I spend most days in "athletic wear." (Hey, at least its not pajamas).
26. I wanted to work for a magazine when I was little.
27. I can cry on cue.
28. Apparently, so can my toddler.
29. I still have a fear of heights.
30. And bikes.
31. I still have my copy of Catcher in the Rye from high school. It's the only book that's traveled with me from my parent's house to my dorm room, to my first apartment, to living with my hubs, our old house and our current home.
32. I love maps.
33. I wrote Love, Defined in 2004.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Twisting my Kaleidoscope by Shannon Love

My 1st autographed copy from a writer!

There is a writer in my neighborhood, who I met at the neighborhood book club, that I want to connect with and pick her brain about how she handled her book launch. This seemingly mild mannered, soft spoken lady messaged me back and told me she was dropping off her book on my front porch.

It sat in my kitchen for two days. It's not that I didn't want to read it - the reviews were great coming from both Amazon and the local book club - it was the subject that I generally tended to stay away from. Possibly, I am looking at this from my Asian pedestal and beliefs that tend not to talk about and see mental health as an issue. Another possibility would be that I would find some answers and familiarity in the pages about my sister's own mental state that for the past seven years, I (and along with the rest of my family) choose to ignore with the hope it "goes away on its own."

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword
Twisting my Kaleidoscope offered some uncomfortable insight into what life is like to live with these delusions and psychosis. I applaud Shannon Love on the courage to look at her mental break and fight it with words. Words she penned to find what was happening to her and around her. Words to access what was real and what was not. Words to focus on. Words to conjure up images of her loved ones and fight for them.

I could not put this book down, except of course for usual 'toddler' cravings and antics that needed my attention. I have gotten sentimental as a mother and I honestly cried at parts involving her children and those that love her. To see a person you love with depression fighting internally and rejecting those around them - as the viewer, my first instinct was to shake them. As if shaking them would somehow dislodge whatever hold their internal powers had on them and bring them back to reality. I had chosen to believe that the stronger ones are the ones that fight the war they waged themselves in head-on and the weaker ones were the ones that "tapped out" and attempt the "easy way" of death.

I know each person handling their own mental warfare is much stronger and tougher than I have ever given them credit for.

I cried for the shame and embarrassment that I know her children and husband must have felt and then cried for the helplessness you feel of seeing someone become a hollow shell of who they used to be. There was far more tears in this book than necessary and I think I may have scared the toddler.

Shannon Love took what she knew: her psychosis, how her world changed, how her family and friends changed and painted a picture of what it is like to be sick. Diseased. Seemingly separated from the "realities of life." But it is how she choose to handle the life that was suddenly different than the one she was accustomed to, that begs to be read almost as much as I'm guessing willed the writer to pen this book. I could not put this book down because I wanted to know what (and I'm going to be blunt and impolite here) a "crazy" person thought about during a delusion.

Seeing her in person and reading her words is such a powerful contradictory. This quiet, thin, beautiful woman who carries her mental illness with grace and steely determination is a stronger force than meets the eye.

And 'they lived happily ever after'
I recommend this book to anyone curious enough to see how people with psychosis and delusions look at and deal with life. To say it was an "eye opener" would be an understatement. While it certainly opened my eyes to her world, I would say I walked away with a little more knowledge and compassion for those who have to live their life at a standstill some days. I will also point out that what I loved most about this story- and where most of my tears stemmed from- was how her husband choose to love and show his love to a woman who was slipping away from him. What a beautiful testament to how married couples should be toward one another. Instead of yielding to the damsel clearly in distress, the knight fights for their marriage, their love and showers his bride with patience, courage and a brave front for the family and most of all, prayer. Like any self respecting southern damsel, she takes charge of her fight and meets her knight halfway.

And yes, I understand that there may not be "living happily every after" with people who have mental illness but there is this beautiful hope that somewhere in this kaleidoscope, one can find some semblance of happiness and I am so so thankful to have read this book. I take my own "normal realities" for granted and could not imagine what would happen if my world shifted into a "different reality."

Twisting My Kaleidoscope by Shannon Love available on Amazon.