Z is for Zumba

I have to admit, I had a hard time coming up with a "Z" word for this post. Then it hit me. DUH! I can talk about my new favorite way of exercise: Zumba. I absolutely LOVE Zumba! I take classes offered by my gym (24 Hour Fitness). Depending on the teacher, I get an awesome workout while having fun. I've said so many times before how I love to dance, so of course I'd like Zumba. My favorite teachers mix things up. We do Cumbia, Hip Hop, Belly Dancing, Salsa, Cha Cha Cha, Reggaeton, Dancehall, and Samba all in one class. By the end of the class (one hour), I'm sweating up a storm, breathing hard, and feeling good. I try to go 3 - 4 times a week.

I love when my teachers are extremely good dancers (as opposed to ok dancers). I have 3 favorite Zumba teachers and all 3 move soooo well. One of the teachers, a male, moves his hips better than most of the women in the class. When my teachers are awesome, it motivates me to do my best. Especially when I'm in the male teacher's class. I'm like, "I can't have a man beat me in hip-movement!"

If you've never tried Zumba before, I definitely recommend you try it! It's awesome. If you're worried about not being able to dance or not being able to keep up, don't be. I know in the classes I'm in, we have all levels - from advanced to beginners to I don't know wth I'm doing - in one class. You may be lost at first, but after a few tries you'll have a pretty good grasp of it. I'd say I'm somewhere in between beginner and advanced. And it's not only for women. There are men in the classes...especially in this one class. I think it's cos the instructor is a pretty woman with wild curly hair and a cool accent. I'm sure the men love her class. The way she moves her hips is CRAZY!! I so wanna move like her!

So, what are you waiting for? Let's go!


Y is for Yo Habla Un Poco de Español.

NOTE: I know I'd really just say "Habla un poco de espanol" but I needed a Y for my "Y" post.

I'm learning Spanish.

Well, let me rephrase that. I'm learning to speak Spanish. I understand it, but, for whatever reason, I'm having a hard time speaking it. I think it's cos I'm scared I'd say the wrong thing...or that my accent isn't right.

My sister is fluent. Like seriously. She lived in Cuernavaca (Mexico) for 2 years. She already knew it before she left for Mexico, but she wasn't confident. Oh, but after she came back? She was on a roll. I mean, she even speaks English with a Spanish accent now. Many people are surprised when she speaks it - I guess cos it's weird to see a black person speak Spanish. But after they get over their initial shock, they're amazed. When I visited her in Mexico, I felt so out of place. I mean, I kinda understood what they were saying (they spoke so fast), but I couldn't join in. Their English was limited like my Spanish was. My sister left me with her friends at times; not to be mean or anything. She did it so I'd be forced to speak the little Spanish that I knew. I even had to take a cab back to her apartment by myself. Boy was I nervous, but I did it! I held an entire convo with the cabbie. Yay me!

Maybe I need to go to a Spanish-speaking country so I can be forced to speak it, although, living in Houston, I'd probably find places here. I have help, though. My aunt, who's from Brazil, speaks Spanish (and Portuguese, for that matter). My cousin speaks it. I have Spanish-speaking friends. My sister helps me. If you all want, feel free to help also. How? By responding to me in Spanish. I'm determined to get over my fear. I will become fluent in Spanish. So, for now, hablo un poco de español, pero estoy aprendiendo.


X is for Xtra Cool

Ok, so I had to be creative for my X post. I'm posting 2 vids that I think are xtra cool.

So, we all know about the First Lady's "Let's Move" Campaign for raising healthier kids, which I think is awesome. Heck, adults need to follow along, too. Anyway, Beyonce has joined the "Let's Move" bandwagon by creating, Move Your Body, a song she wrote to the tune of her song, Get Me Bodied. The first video is the actual routine and the second one is the official video taken at a school (with Beyonce actually in it). The 2nd video is my favorite. I love how she included kids (you know I'm all about kids, right?). They were gettin it! I love it! And you know what else I love? The fact that not all girls in the first video are skinny minnies. Most of them are thick. Yeah buddy!

I LOVE to dance and let me tell you, this makes you move your body and it's a great workout. Did I mention that I love to dance? I'm so learning this routine!


W is for Writing and Weight Loss Journey

Writing. I am a writer. I've been in love with writing, ever since the first time my parents put a pen in my hand and taught me to write. Journal entries, plays, stories, name it, I wrote it. I no longer write songs or plays, though, if I really wanted to, I can. I still journal and write stories.

Writing, for me, is therapeutic. Having a bad day? I write. Someone pissed me off? I write. Something awesome happened? I write. After I'm done, I usually feel so much better. It wasn't until about 6 years ago that I decided to write professionally. That was about when my first character started talking to me. SIDE NOTE: For all you non-writers, talking characters in my head doesn't mean I'm crazy, it just means I'm a writer. Anyway, when I sat down and listened to my character, I ended up with a book idea and my first page. Since then, I've never looked back.

Even after 6 years, I'm still not published, but I refuse to give up. I will become a published author. Of that I'm sure. Not only that, I'm sure kids/teens/adults will like my books. I don't say this out of arrogance; I say this out of confidence in God, who gave me this talent. I've asked Him to bless my let it give whoever reads it the same kind of enjoyment I got when I read as a child (and even now, as an adult). God gave me this talent and I know He wants me to share it, not keep it to myself.

We writers - or any creative person, for that matter - are a special breed and it takes special people to deal with us. My family is special. My parents; my brother; my sister; me; we're all a creative bunch, whether we're writing stories, drawing pictures, coming up with ways to make lessons fun, thinking of creative marketing strategies, or writing songs. My family so gets me! They're my biggest cheerleaders. They encourage my creativity. As a kid, I wrote plays for ever special occasion. They were long; very long (maybe a hint that novel-writing was in my future, perhaps?). And my parents, bless their hearts, sat through them all. I absolutely adore them for that. When I said I wanted to have a career in writing, my parents didn't shun it as an "unsuitable" career. In fact, they're cheering me on. When I do become published, and my books do as well as I'm praying they would, my family will be the first to benefit.

Weight Loss Journey. I am on a mission...a mission to lose weight. I've been going back and forth with my weight and I am tired. I'm ready to lose weight for good.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love being curvaceous. I love my hips. I love my big butt. I have no problem being "plus size." In fact, I don't want to lose my curves. My journey to lose weight has nothing to do with what society says I should look like. I could care less what others think of me. You may think I'm fat. So what? I'm trying to lose weight so I can lead a healthier life. I have high blood pressure and I HATE taking medicine. I hate how my ankles and feet swell up. I hate how I get so many HBP-inspired headaches. I hate having HBP period. Besides high blood pressure, my family also have history of diabetes, heart problems, cancer, etc. I'm not trying to check out of here earlier than I'm supposed to. Besides, I have little brothers and sisters, nephews and future nieces, future kids, and the youth that I work with. I want to be able to run around with them without having to feel like I'm hyperventilating.

I want to be in shape. I want to be in the best shape of my life, for the rest of my life. Though I do feel better now, at almost 35, than I did 20 years ago, there's still more work to be done. Therefore, I must do what I gotta do. I love working out...walking, Zumba, strength training, volleyball, I love it. Suprisingly, my problem is not eating too much. It's not eating enough. I tend to only eat once a day, which actually starves my body. That's no bueno at all. So, I'm slowly learning to eat 4 - 5 times a day. Old habits die hard, though, and I sometimes go back to the one-a-day meals. I'm a work in progress, though. I joined Weight Watchers about 7 weeks ago. I don't always count points like I should, but it has helped me with portion control.

So, here's the deal: I'm trying to lose 85 pounds. I'm not trying to lose my curvaceousness, so after the 85, I'll see if I want to lose more. So far, I've lost 5 pounds. I'll post updates here, just to hold me accountable. Think I can do it? I know I can.


V is for Vacation

I'm so in need of a vacation...a time to get away from it all to relax and forget about life's worries. This summer, I'll be working at a summer camp, but I'm thinking about getting away if only for a little while. I love the beach. Like seriously. When I become this big time, best-selling author/entrepreneur, I'm going to buy me a vacation house on the beach. Heck, I may even live on the beach. Or at least near it. It's something about the water. Hearing the waves crash and watching the seagulls peaceful. I'm a beach bum at heart. So, here are my top choices for places to vacation. These are only a few of the places on my "Places to Visit" list.


I want to go to Puerto Rico. Every time I get close to being able to go, something comes up and I end up not going. GRRRR! But this summer. I'm going. I'm gonna make sure of that. I've been wanting to go since high school. It's funny cos it was a cutie that made me wanna go. I don't even remember his name or where I saw him. I just remember he was (a) from Puerto Rico and (b) GORGEOUS. I've heard that Puerto Rico is gorgeous. I mean, look at the pics. I can imagine the beaches, the peace, the music, the cuties...I wanna go. So. Bad.


I've been to South Beach with my cousins and sister. We took a girls' trip out there and LOVED it! Sadly, we had to cut the trip short cos my grandfather died. I do plan on going back there.


Look at that water. Look at those mountains. *sigh* Need I say more? I think not.



I've been wanting to go here since the 5th grade. Why? Cos I had a friend named Natasha from here. I loved her accent.



I've been to the Bahamas during a cruise I took years ago. Beautiful! Of course, I wanna go again!



I've never been to Rio, but I soooo wanna go. I even have an in - my aunt is from there. It's only a matter of having the money to go the next time the family goes to visit.



Gorgeous beaches, gorgeous hotels. Who wouldn't wanna go? And I have an opportunity to go teach in Abu Dhabi? If it's in God's will, I'm so there!


U is for Unthinkable

Author: Shirley Duke
Release: October 2010
Genre: Fiction, YA, Horror, Thriller
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 3/5

Descrption: Omar Phillips is Bridgewater High's favorite local teen author. His Facebook fans can't wait for his next horror story. But lately Omar's imagination has turned against him. Horrifying visions of death and destruction come over him with wide-screen intensity. The only way to stop the visions is to write them down. Until they start coming true... Enter Sophie Minax, the mysterious Goth girl who's been following Omar at school. "I'm one of you," Sophie says. She tells Omar how to end the visionsbut the only thing worse than Sophie's cure may be what happens if he ignores it.

Review: Omar dreams of becoming a published horror writer. Until that day comes, he's satisfied with using his Facebook page to share his writings. What his fans don't know is, Omar's stories come from his dreams. As soon as he has them, he's compelled to write it down. But when his stories become reality, police zero in on Omar is a possible suspect. Realizing what's happening, Omar tries to find ways to fight the urge to write his dreams down. All seems lost until he meets Sophie, a Goth girl who claims to be just like him. The problem is, Sophie may not be who she says she is...

  • The story was too short. The book is just under 100 pages and it felt rushed.

  • Because the book was short, the characters were not developed properly. Had Ms. Duke made the book longer, the characters would've had more depth.


  • Despite the fact that it felt rushed, it was a fast read. There wasn't a moment of boredom while I read it and I finished it in one reading. It caught my attention from the beginning and held it til the end.

  • It had an awesome creepy feeling to it...had horror without being gory

If you're into good horror stories, Ms. Duke's, Unthinkable, is the story for you.


T is for A Transcendental Story

Transcendental: being beyond ordinary or common experience, thought, or belief; supernatural.

When I was a few months old, my great-grandmother saved my life. I know what you're thinking, "There's nothing supernatural about that. That's normal." Well, what made it abnormal is the fact that my great-grandmother died before I was born.

My great grandmother, GaGa, was a victim of a robbery gone wrong...shot and killed while enjoying a night out. I don't even think she got the chance to find out that my mom was pregnant with me. Seven months later, I made my quiet appearance into this world (remember, I was stillborn). I guess it was kinda bittersweet for my mom. I mean, her daughter was born, but her grandmother, who she was extremely close to, was not around to see the baby.

One night, five months later, my parents were sleeping in their bed while I slept in my crib next to them. Mama tells me that GaGa appeared to her...not in the flesh, but as real as if she were. Mama was so excited, wanting GaGa to meet he new baby girl. She wanted to tell GaGa all about the baby and her new life, but GaGa told her to, "Check the baby." Mama kept begging her to wait and spend time with her, but all GaGa said was, "Check the baby." She started fading away, much to Mama's dismay. Mama begged her not to go, begged her to look at her baby, begged her to stay, but GaGa said, "Check the baby," then she was gone.

Daddy, who didn't see GaGa but heard Mama talking to her, had to shake her awake. After telling him what happened, they decided to do what GaGa had been telling them to do the whole time: check the baby. When they looked in my crib, they saw that I was blue in the face...not breathing. They rushed me to the hospital, where the doctor told them they'd made it just in time. Had they waited any longer, I would've died; I would've been a victim of SIDS, or crib death.

Some people question the existence of angels, spirits (good and bad), ghosts, whatever. I don't. As a Christian, I know the supernatural exists cos they existed in the Bible. During Jesus's time here on earth, He encountered demonic spirits (fallen angels) who possessed non believers. God even used angels to tell of the good news of Jesus's birth as well as His resurrection. I believe that there are angels, both heavenly and fallen, roaming the earth; so many things happening in the spiritual realm that we can't see. And I think it's more...powerful, awesome, and maybe even horrifying, than any book or Hollywood movie can ever be.

In my "R" post, I mentioned collecting angels. This is why. God used one to save my life. I've never met GaGa, but I can feel her spirit with me...almost like she's my guardian angel. I'm told that I'm like her in certain ways, especially when it comes to baking. Mama tells me that GaGa loved to bake. So do I. When I'm in the kitchen, creating some sugary concoction of sweetness, I feel at home. If I'm stressing, and reading/writing doesn't take the stress away, I can always count on baking to relax me. That's when I feel GaGa's spirit the most - when I'm baking. I wish I'd known her in life here, but I will know her in Heaven. If I could use my imagination for a moment, I think after I've worshipped God for being God, praised Jesus for His sacrifice, and marveled at the beauty that is Heaven, I can imagine GaGa being my next stop. I probably won't remember why she's special - for when we get to Heaven, our earthly life will fade away - but I'd like to think I'd be inexplicably drawn to her.

I believe God sends His angels to guard His children, not only cos He said He does (Psalm 91:11), but also because He sent one in the form of my great-grandmother to save me. He knew Mama wouldn't trip about seeing GaGa nor would she be scared. I don't personally know what happened that night, but I do know that I wouldn't be here if not for God. So if you ask me if I believe in the existence of angels, ghosts, spirits, my answer is a resounding YES!


Just Wanted to Say...

Happy Easter Color clipart
Thank God for a risen Savior! Hope you're enjoying your day!


S is for Spam Emails

Today's post is dedicated to those dreadful spam emails. I can not stand them and I know I'm not the only one. They're annoying. They're unwanted. They're hated.

I've had emails about my email winning the online lottery. Or emails from people overseas telling me if I just give them my bank account info, they'd deposit millions of dollars in it. Ha! Yeah, I'm giving my info to a bunch of strangers. NOT! And the troubling thing is people really fall for this! What about the emails mentioning the spam email victim compensation? That's hilarious to me. Spam email targeting spam emails. HAHAHA!

And I can't forget the emails that have women who want to cheat on their hubbies or women who want men with know what I'm talking about. Or the ones with the penis growth pills. It would probably sound tempting...IF I WERE A MAN! Ugh!

Remember the Jack Prelutsky poem, Homework! Oh Homework? Well, in honor of the annoyance that is the spam email, I present to you, Spam Mail! Oh Spam Mail.

Spam Mail! Oh, Spam Mail!
I hate you! You stink!
I refuse to read those annoying, dumb links.
If only a spam bomb
would explode you to bits.
Spam Mail! Oh, spam mail!
You're giving me fits.

I'd rather take baths
with a man-eating shark,
or wrestle a lion
alone in the dark,
eat spinach and liver,
pet ten porcupines,
than tackle the spam mail,
those spammers design.

Spam Mail! Oh, spam mail!
you're last on my list,
I simple can't see
why you even exist,
if you just disappeared
it would tickle me pink.
Spam Mail! Oh, Spam Mail!
I hate you! You stink!


R is for Rae

You know I couldn't go through the challenge without having a post all about me, right? I mean this is my blog. So, here are 25 random facts about me...

25 Random Facts You May Not Know About Me

1. I was a stillborn baby. I came about one month early and because of that, I was born dead. The doctors had to work to save my life. God has something special planned for me cos here I am.

2. I'm the oldest of 10+ kids. No, my parents didn't take God's command to "be fruitful and multiply" to heart. They only have 3 biological kids. Through the years, they've "adopted" others into the family, including the 6 recent foster children they have now, ages 5 - 14.

3. I'm Chi-Town born, H-Town bred. Lived in Chicago the first 8 years of my life, but have lived here in Houston for the rest. Although I'm more Houstonian than I am Chicagoan, there are some Chicago things I remember and prefer. I still say pop instead of soda, Lake Michigan and the Navy Pier is absolutely gorgeous and  I LOVE KarmelKorn and White Castle. If you're ever in Chicago, it would do you well to visit Garrett Popcorn Shop. The popcorn there is DEE-liscious!

4. My favorite color is pink. I loved pink as a little girl. Then I got older and figured I was too old for it. Now, I realize you're never too old for pink.

5. I write with my left hand. There are some things I can do better with my right hand than my left, but overall, I'm a lefty and proud of it!

6. My favorite singer of all time is Sade. No one compares to her in my mind. NO ONE. Her music is timeless and classic. And she's beautiful.

7. I'm a virgin. May be TMI for y'all, but it's something I'm proud of. A 35-yr old virgin in the flesh. Made a vow to God 20 years ago and I plan to keep it.

8. I'm claustrophobic. Like seriously. I mean, I'm able to handle it...a little. I don't like elevators, but I can get on them as long as they're not full. I'm not a fan of crowds. I can't even watch movies/tv shows with people being buried alive cos I start panicking. I need rooms with windows cos I'll feel closed in.

9. I can sing. My dad is a former singer so I guess it's fitting his singing abilities be passed on to his kids. When we were little, my bro, sis, and I used to sing in a trio for church talent shows. Then, my sis & I seriously considered singing professionally as a duet. We still sing, but not with dreams of being on stage. The pic below is from my dad's album. He's the one at the top.

10. I'm obsessed with I'm infatuated with I have a crush on both Adam Rodriguez and Laz Alonso. Have you seen them? They're GORGEOUS! Look at the pics. I rest my case.

11. I'm a very sarcastic person. Actually, my whole family is sarcastic. It takes special people to hang with us. If you don't get our sarcasm, your feelings just may get hurt.

12. I have an irrational fear of cockroaches. Especially huge FLYING cockroaches like the ones we see here in Houston. My sis is the one who kills them if we have the misfortune of seeing one in the house. I. Can't. Stand. Them. At. All.

13. Mulan is my favorite kiddie movie. I loved everything about it. The soundtrack. The characters. The storyline. EVERYTHING. Mulan is a perfect example of a strong, yet vulnerable female character.

14. I'm slightly obsessive compulsive. An example: When I eat hard candy like Werther's or something like that, I have to have two pieces in my mouth to even things out. It's the same for gum. I can go through some of my compulsiveness, but I don't want to bore you.

15. My favorite animal is the white tiger. I LOVE white tigers. They're beautiful and rare...just like me. I have a pet one named Sasha. Well, not a real one. She's my cutie pie stuffed animal. Oh and I love butterflies.

16. I collect angels. Anything that has to do with angels. I've got angel figurines, angel pillows, angel hats, etc. You'll find out why in my "T" post.

17. I love to bake. It's actually a stress reliever for me. Cookies, cakes, name it. I get in that kitchen and all my worries/stress melts away.

18. I'm a closet adrenaline junkie. Bungee jumping. Cliff diving. Sky diving. I SO want to do it all. I just don't have the money nor the time. They're on my list, though, so I get to do some. I think that's why I'm addicted to action movies. Gets the adrenaline pumping through my veins.

19. I'm a 5th generation female first-born. My great great grandmother, great grandmother, grandmother, mother, and I are all the oldest child in our families. You know the pressure's on for my first-born to be a girl, right? Like I have a say in what the sex of my kids will be.

20. I hate clowns. I've never liked those suckers - especially Ronald McDonald - but ever since Stephen King's It? I can't stand them. My children will not be having clowns at any of their parties. If so, Mommy's gonna have to retreat to her bedroom til they leave. Not that I'm scared of them or anything. Cos I'm not. Really, I'm not.

21. I'm a vampire. HAHA! Not really. But, like a vampire, I can't stay out in the sun for long. If I'm out in the sun for hours, I get sick (migraine, hard time breathing, hives). It drains me of energy. On days I go to the beach or chill at the park, when I get home, I'm done for. That's it. I'm no good afterwards.

22. I'm allergic to seafood. I know, terrible, right? I LOVE seafood and it kills me that I can't eat it. I mean, there are a few that I can eat like tilapia, but for the most part, I have some kind of allergic reaction if I eat it. Most just makes me nauseous, puke, or my throat itch. Perch fish, though, can send me to my grave. My face swells and my airways close in. Remember that scene in Hitch where he eats seafood? Yeah. That's me if I eat perch.

23. I love sports. Although I'm not what you'd call an athlete, I still love watching sports. Football, basketball, and volleyball are my faves. Now volleyball is my favorite sport to play. The funny thing is, I'm better at playing volleyball now, at almost 35, than I was 20 years ago. Weird, right? And my love of sports stem from a father and brother who both played football and who are sports fanatics.

24. I have a serious sweet tooth. Cheescake, chocolate, Sugar Daddy and banana Now Laters/Laffy Taffy are my weaknesses.

25. I want to research my ancestry. Of course, I want to hear about my ancestors who were slaves and even before that. But, I also want to research my Native American ancestry as well as my French ancestors. Two of my great-great grandmothers were full blooded Native American while another had a parent who was originally from France. I want to know my history so bad...the African American/Africans, Native Americans, and French ancestry.



My R, S, and T post will be here tomorrow and Sunday. I'm behind, I know.


Blog Award

My "R" post is coming, I promise. It may come a day late, tho. Anyway, I just wanted to thank Nicole at The Madlab Post for giving me the Stylish Blogger Award.

Awards,A to Z Challenge
It's a "pay-it-forward" kind of award, so there are rules.

To accept the award, you have to do the following:
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 10-15 blogs who you think deserve this award.
4. Contact these bloggers and let them know about the award.

Since today's A to Z Challenge post is all about me, you'll see the facts about me in my next post. I have LOTS of blogs I enjoy visiting. I just don't know whether the ones I pick would mind or not. Some blogs aren't really into blog awards. I don't know, BUT, never hurts to let them know, right? So, blogs I think deserve this award...

Secrets About Secrets
Raquel Writes
Blush of Dawn
Traci's Mixed Bag
This Journey Called Life
The Pinkk Zebraa
Pearls of Amicus
Musings of a Steel Magnolia
Adventures in Amberland
The Ending Unplanned


Q is for Quick (Children Are)

This one's late, I know. Better late than never, though, right? I'm posting a cute email sent to me.

Children Are Quick
TEACHER: Maria, go to the map and find North America .
MARIA: Here it is.
TEACHER: Correct. Now class, who discovered America ?
CLASS: Maria.

TEACHER: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
JOHN: You told me to do it without using tables.

TEACHER: Glenn, how do you spell 'crocodile?'
TEACHER: No, that's wrong.
GLENN: Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.

TEACHER: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
TEACHER: What are you talking about?
DONALD: Yesterday you said it's H to O.

TEACHER: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.

TEACHER: Glen, why do you always get so dirty?
GLEN: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are.

TEACHER: Millie, give me a sentence starting with 'I.'
MILLIE: I is...
TEACHER: No, Millie... Always say, 'I am.'
MILLIE: All right, "I am the ninth letter of the alphabet."

TEACHER: George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him?
LOUIS: Because George still had the axe in his hand?

TEACHER: Now, Simon , tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?
SIMON: No sir, I don't have to, my Mom is a good cook.

TEACHER: Clyde , your composition on 'My Dog' is exactly the same as your brother's. Did you copy his?
CLYDE: No, sir. It's the same dog.

TEACHER: Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?
HAROLD: A teacher.


P is for The Paris Secret

Author: Angela Henry
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Mystery
Release January, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 4.5/5

Description:Less than twenty-four hours after fleeing to Paris, Maya Sinclair is the prime suspect in a brutal murder—and targeted by the real killer. When she's viciously attacked in the gardens of Versailles, Maya barely escapes with her life thanks to sexy French journalist Simon Girard.

Simon has been investigating the mysterious death of his brother, an art forger with ties to the woman Maya is suspected of killing. Still healing from heartbreak of his own, Simon reluctantly joins forces with Maya, who has awakened feelings within him he thought long dead.

Their search for answers uncovers the existence of a secret society, and puts them on a quest to find a missing crucifix rumored to hold the key to everlasting life. Together, Maya and Simon race through Paris one step ahead of a killer who will do anything to ensure some secrets remain buried forever...

Review: Ok, can I just say that I love Angela Henry? Cos I do. She's such an awesome writer. I got The Paris Secret expecting awesomeness and I'm glad to say Ms. Henry delivers.


  • While wearing the ring that supposedly belonged to the Black Nun of Moret, a 17th century nun, Maya has flashbacks of the nun's life. This would've been cool if this were a paranormal/fantasy/mystified book, but it's not. It's a romantic suspense. The flashbacks kind of came out of nowhere. Ms. Henry really didn't need them. With that being said, it didn't take away from the awesomeness that is this book.


  • I LOVE the character of Maya. She's feisty and strong. Her boyfriend broke her heart, but instead of staying home an wallowing in self-pity, she flies off to Paris to mend her broken heart. What she goes through didn't break her.

  • I like the fact that Maya's a librarian, but not a stereotypical librarian.

  • The action. I've mentioned it so many times before, but I love action. The Paris Secret had it. It kind of reminds me of something like The Da Vinci Code with secret societies and the "whodunit" factor.

  • Simon is a worthy hero for Maya. He's sexy and passionate. He's masculine, but not too masculine enough where you don't see his emotions as he tries to solve his brother's murder. The romance between Simon and Maya is HAWT!

  • Through Ms. Henry's descriptions, I can "see" Paris. Her descriptions are vivid.

If you like romance, mystery, and suspense, The Paris Secret is definitely the book to get!


O is for Old School

In five months, I'll be 35 years old. I keep thinking, "Gah! Already?" Twenty years ago, at 15, I thought I had a loooong time before my 35th birthday. Ha! It's here and it arrived faster than I thought it would. But I'm not tripping though. I look forward to 35 and beyond. So, in honor of my approaching 35, I've decided to take a walk down memory lane...reminisce about some of my favorite things as a child and teen. It would take forever for me to post all of my favorite things, so I only posted some. Care to join me?

During the 80s, I went from 4yrs old - 13yrs old. I had a wonderful childhood, so thankfully, I can look back at the 80s with a smile. Well, besides the fashion. I can't smile too much on the fashion. I was so into Cyndi Lauper and Punky Brewster, that I wanted to dress like them. Problem was, I didn't have their money nor their stylists to make my outfits look as good as theirs. I don't even wanna think about my fashion sense in middle school. *shudder*

During the 90s, I went from 14yrs old - 23yrs old. I have to say. My teen/early adulthood years were pretty good, but I wouldn't wanna go back. I love being an adult, despite the bills/real life thing I have to deal with. In the 90s, Will Smith came into his own. I loved his show, Fresh Prince of Bel Air - watched it faithfully - but I didn't think he had cutie status til towards the end of the show...during his box office reign (Independence Day, Bad Boys, Men in Black, etc). Other shows I watched faithfully were Saved By The Bell (I mean, come on...SLATER with those dimples), Martin (HILARIOUS show I still love), and Caliente, a show that introduced me to Puerto Rican cutie, Ricky Martin and Spanish musica.

Here are a few of my favorite things of the 80s and 90s...

NOTE: The pic on the left is of The Last Dragon, one of my favorie movies. Yes it was corny, but I still loved it...especially Bruce Leroy. I had SUCH a crush on him. Taimak, the actor who played Bruce Leroy, was a cutie then and he's definitely a cutie now. He's aged soooo beautifully, as you can see in the pic on the right *swoon*


NOTE: Tupac gets a big pic cos I heart him. RIP

Thanks for taking the trip with me!


N is for Never Wave My Flag

Life can get so hard, sometimes.

Seriously.It's sunny days and tranquility one day, then thunderstorms and chaos the next. On those sunny, tranquil days, life is good. Everything's going your way. You're happy. All's well in your world. Oh, but those stormy, chaotic days. Sometimes you feel like you're in a pit. Sometimes you're drowning. Life is bad. All's definitely not well in your world.

I've so been there. Felt weary...out of energy...asked when will I see the light at the end of the tunnel...the silver lining in the cloud. But there is something within me that keeps me from giving up...from saying forget it. Some call it "will power." I call it "God power." Because of the Holy Spirit within me, I can't give up. Surrendering is just not in me. I may come out of a situation beaten and bruised, but I will come out.

The gospel group, Mary Mary - one of my favorite artists - has a song on their new album called "Never Wave My Flag" that's so awesome. It has a never-give-up vibe to it...a great song that gets your body moving, dancing for God. Let me tell you, their whole album, Something Big, is AWESOME! This song is on it. They don't have an official video, but I'm posting the song on it, so you can hear it.

"I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13). Yeah, life gets hard, so hard sometimes I don't think I can bear it. But I can. And I keep fighting.


M is for Mad Crushes

Top Ten Ways To Know You Have a Crush (Article Here)
  • You go out of your way to see or hang out with that person.
  • You are starting to worry more about your appearance.
  • When writing a list of positives and negatives about that person, the positives a landslide.
  • You find yourself being clumsy or awkward around them.
  • You find yourself getting tunnel vision (you can't focus on anything but this person).
  • They are not around and you find yourself smiling.
  • You start asking his friends about him.
  • Your friends are getting sick of you talking about her.
  • For some reason, you can not stop teasing this person.
  • You hate going to your Physics class but lately you don't seem to mind.

Crush: an intense but usually short-lived infatuation (

Ahhh! The crush. Books have been written on it. Songs have been sung about it.
Of course, growing up, I had celeb crushes. There was Kirk Camron, Michael J. Fox, Al. B. Sure, Christopher Williams, and Michael Jackson (during his Thriller days...actually, I LOVED him in Smooth Criminal). My biggest celeb crush was Wanye (pronounced Wahn-yay) Morris of Boyz II Men (pictured below in the red cap). Wanye, of the gorgeous smile and the smooth voice (I've always loved guys who can sing). I just knew I'd meet him and we'd fall madly in love, get married and have cute little babies with gorgeous smiles and beautiful voices. Ha!

I remember my first real crush, though. At 15, I had a mad crush on an older guy. He was about 2-3yrs older than me, cute, tall, went to church...what more could I ask for, right? The only thing going against him was he rooted for the Lakers in the '91 NBA Finals. I was a Bulls girl at heart. Of course, the Bulls won. But I digress. I was so willing to look over the fact that he didn't root for my beloved Michael Jordan (another celeb crush of mine). I was shy, especially around cutie pies, so the fact that he actually paid attention to me made me crush even harder. Those top ten ways? Yeah, that was me. Except, I was already clumsy, so it wasn't just him. I didn't tease him cos I was too shy to talk to him, although we did have a few conversations. I didn't ask his friends about him (again cos of my shyness). And he wasn't in any of my classes. We didn't even attend the same school.

My diary, the only diary I have left, is filled with his name. "____ smiled at me today!" "He looked soooo good!" "Does he like me?" I'm sure both my bffs (I had a church bff and a high school bff) got tired of hearing about him, though they never said anything, bless their hearts. My high school bff and I wrote letters to each other (before the days of texting) since we only had one class together. I still have the letters she wrote back to me. And guess whose name is in some of them? Yep. My crush. It was all about _____. When he talked to me...flirted with me? He so made my day! The times he hugged me? OMG, I was done for! I even got a nice slow dance out of it. I went home that night on cloud nine. Sadly, nothing ever came of my crush (much to my poor little teenage heart).

I read those letters and my diary now and think, "Gah! I was soooo....ugh!" I can't even think of the word. Can't believe I was so obsessed about him. At that time, I thought I was being inconspicuous about it. Surely he didn't know how much I crushed on him? Clearly now, I know I wasn't so good at hiding my infatuation with this dude. He knew. I'm turning red with embarrassment now just thinking about it.

As a writer, not only do I use today's teens to help with my characters, but I also go back to my teen days. The times have changed, but those teenage problems and emotions are still the same. It's all apart of being a teen. In the YA I'm writing, Treasure, my main character, has a crush on one of her classmates. She, like me, is shy around this guy. I'm going back to my 15 year-old self...remembering those feelings, the embarrassment, the heartbreak...I'm having so much fun with this, it should be a crime. I'm not the first and only female who's crushed on someone. Nor will I be the last one. I think it's safe to say that "the crush" is a normal part of growing up.

So, tell me. Do you remember your first crush?