Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Resolution #2 - The Reading List

I'm too afraid to actually count how many books are on my Unread shelf.  Best guess is about 160-170.  It stays around that number.

I've spent this year looking for the Dark Tower books.  I finally got in book 6, the last one I needed to find, recently.  I found the other six at the used bookstores and the flea market.  I couldn't find book 6 anywhere.  Giving up finding it, I just ordered a copy online.

So, next year, I plan to read all 7.  7 books in a year isn't a bad goal.  It's actually a pretty pathetic goal.

Also, I want to read One for the Money before Lacey and I hit the movies to see it.  I bought books 1-5 of the series from the flea market at a good price.

Other books would include
Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

I got them back in November, but since they're all last books, I didn't want to start them.  If they end wrong...  So many wasted years...

Anyway, I'm going to put on my big girl pants and read those.

So, that's 11.

Oh yeah, and A Game of Thrones should be in today.  That's another series I'm going to add to my reading list for next year.

Oh boy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year's Resolution #1 - Keep My Mouth Shut

“Life is fraught with opportunities to keep your mouth shut.” ― Winston S. Churchill

I have a dream to be witty.  Mostly though, I come across as being a smart aleck.

Disclaimer:  I love my mother and my older sister, but that doesn't stop me from taking jabs at them. Maybe it's middle-child angst, I don't know.  But they make it so easy.

Several months ago, my mom was running around the house (we have a small house) saying, "Where's my broom?  Where's my broom?"

I don't know why, but for some reason I was sitting in the living room.  I thought of something.  Mom considers the littlest things disrespectful, but even I knew this was out of line.  I also knew it was funny, and I thought that maybe, just maybe, she'd find it funny.

So I took a shot:  "To fly away on?"

Mom grilled me, but she laughed too.

Everyone else laughs at it, but every time I tell that story, Mom tells me to watch it.

A few days later, Mom found her broom outside.  I thought of something again.  This time, Mom was on to me.

"Vehicles go outside."

Again, I got grilled, and she laughed.

A few weeks ago, Mom put a candy red broom in the buggy at WalMart.  I kept a straight face, but every part of me was like, "Oh, you gotta think of something."

In hindsight, it didn't occur to me to resist the urge to think of something.

Eventually, I had something.  It was a sports broom instead of a sports car.   

I said nothing to Mom.  I did tweet something though.  The majority of my followers, I don't know personally, so it's not like they can tell my mom on me.

I'm a bad daughter.  I'm an even worse sister.

While Christmas shopping last year, Mom and I were in the Hat Shack getting beanies personalized.  Mom was getting one for my sister.

"Put 'maneater' on it," I said.

"We can't do that, Jadi."

I thought for a moment.  "Put 'ho ho ho' on it."

The manager and one of his clerks were right there and started laughing.  It took Mom a few seconds to get it.

I didn't get grilled though, that time.

When Lacey and I went see The Lion King in 3D, I didn't get home until nearly 2:30 the next morning.  The next time, I was in around 9.  Mom was a little upset both times.  She doesn't like the idea of me being out late because she worries.

My sister's boyfriend at the time said Mom was afraid I was going to come home pregnant like my sister had.

It was preposterous!   I don't think my sister knows that I've never dated, or maybe she'd never realized it.  I told her, "That would require me actually meeting someone." 

"Not uh, you could get artificially inseminated."

"That would take out the fun part."

Thing You Don't Say in Front of Your Mom #1.  And the look on my mom's face was priceless.  

Thing You Don't Say To Your Mom #1 was admitting I didn't like going to church.

I'm tired of getting in trouble for what I say.  Starting on the New Year (well, actually, I've already started on this one) I will keep my mouth shut.

New Year's Resolutions are about self-improvement, right?  I will be quieter.  If I think of something witty, well, I got an only half-full journal waiting for me to fill it with snarky comments.

Year End Scramble

There are four days left of this year.

I still have 10 books on my currently reading shelf.

Believe me, it's not that I don't want to finish all of the books, but I doubt I will.  All the books I have bookmarks in are the types of books that take me forever.  They'll all probably get good ratings because if there was something I didn't like about them when I first started them, chances are, I won't remember it by the time I get to the end.

And we know how I am about endings.  If the ending's good, all is forgiven (or mostly).  If it ends wrong, it doesn't matter how good the rest of the book was, it'll get a one-star.

I took a break from the books I had.  On Christmas Day, I started a Candice Hern romance (it was calling to me), and then yesterday, the new High Heels Mystery came out, so I read it in a few hours, and then went back to the Candice Hern, and finished it.

But that still leaves me with 10 books on my shelf.  4 on my Kindle, 2 hardbacks, 3 mass market paperbacks, and 1 trade paperback.

2 of them, I want to quit.  One of them, I probably shouldn't have started right away.  But it was just sitting there, "Jadi, Jadi, read me, read me."

I don't make it a habit to buy authors I haven't read before off Amazon.  I usually get those for my Kindle, after I've read excerpts from Amazon and reviews from Goodreads.

This was one of those books by an author I hadn't read before.  I'd read an excerpt, but it was cheaper to buy a used hardback in great condition than to buy the Kindle format.  So that's what I did.

I've read Chapter 1, and am SO about to shelve it.  I don't want to get rid of it, but I don't want to read it at the moment.  Who knows though?

I know last year, I posted a favorite book of the year.  I honestly don't know what it was this year.  I mean, I've read so many...

We'll see, we'll see.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


We wish you a merry Christmas.
We wish you a merry Christmas.
We wish you a merry Christmas.
And a happy new year!

We're spending Christmas with my mom's mom.  Something about Christmas at Maw Maw's...  

Quite frankly, it doesn't feel like Christmas.  Dad told Mom they're just buying for their kids (me, my siblings), the grandkids, my grandmas, and like two friends.  So, we did very little running around this season.

And it was great.  I keep telling Mom we need to skip Christmas and just go on vacation.

I mean, there was so little stress.  I feel bad for all the other people that were running around for gifts for people who may not even appreciate them or get rid of them discreetly a few months later anyway. O.o

Yeah, I'm a real Grinchy Scrooge.  Although, I think I said earlier this year, that I think I like Easter more.

Christmas, a time of peace and goodwill.  Like any holiday, my crazy family gets together and we joke about going to group therapy someday to drain all of the insanity.  We eat really good food (Cajun--yummy!).  Good food is heaven on earth.

This is one of my favorite Christmas songs, "All I Have to Give" by Todd Agnew:

And here's the singer talking about it, which really puts the song in perspective.

Merry Christmas.

“There has been only one Christmas -- the rest are anniversaries.” ― W. J. Cameron

Friday, December 23, 2011

Obscure Fairy Tales "The Traveling Companion"

 “The fairy tale speaks to us all; that is its particular charm.  The beggar and the prince pause in the marketplace to hear the storyteller, and for a moment, they are merely men, subject to the passions that rule us all.”  -Erik Haugaard, Hans Christian Andersen:  The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories 
Since there seems to be a horrible lack of knowledge about Hans Christian Andersen's "The Traveling Companion," I've decided to talk about it here here.  (And, not to mention, I want to do a good re-telling of this tale.)

I pulled this straight from my paper with a correction:
The first fairy tale to ever leap off Andersen’s pen was “The Spectre.”  It was published in 1829.  The tradition of the fairy tale had great potential, and Andersen realized it shortly after penning “The Spectre.”  Later, in [1835], it was re-written, and would be forever known as “The Traveling Companion.”  Hans Christian Andersen is known as the father of the modern fairy tale, and is considered the first great fantasy storyteller. [emphasis new]

Some further research later showed that this was based off an older folk tale that he'd heard as a child.

So, for those of you that are curious about this fairy tale, here's a pdf of the Erik Haugaard translation.

Now for the short version:  John's father dies and he goes out into the world to seek his fortune.  When stopping by in a church one night, he sees two men who want to throw one of the bodies out of the church because the man died before he could pay his debts to them.  Wanting the man to be left alone, John uses his inheritance to pay them.

Shortly after, he meets a stranger on the road, the traveling companion.  They travel together and the stranger acquires some switches, a sword, and a pair of swan wings.  They come to the capital city (or I'm assuming it is) where they hear tales of a horrible princess.  Anybody can propose, they just have to answer her questions correctly.  If they guess wrong, they are beheaded or hanged.

When John hears this, he says that if that were his daughter, he'd beat her with a switch until he drew blood.  When he sees her, however, he falls in love with her.  So he makes his proposal and starts the game.  Well, if you can call it a game.

The first night, the traveling companion takes the swan's wings and follows the princess (and beats her with the switches the entire way) to a troll's cave.  The troll tells her what question to ask and the answer, and then she leaves.

The traveling companion goes back to John and tells him the answer.  This proves successful, and the traveling companion does it again the second night.

On the third night, the traveling companion beats her harder with the switches.  The troll tells the princess that the answer should be his head.  After the princess leaves, the traveling companion cuts the troll's head off, sticks it in a sack, and goes back to John.  He gives the sack to John to give to the princess.

So, John wins the game, but the princess is still evil.  (Now that I think about it, usually when you kill the magic-user, all the spells unravel.  Apparently, this is a new trope, because she was still wicked after the troll died, and it does say she was bewitched.)  The traveling companion tells John how to make the princess good again.

Anyway, you find out at the end of the story that the traveling companion was the dead man that John had paid his debts.  John gets everything all because of one good deed.

I looked around for adaptations of "The Traveling Companion."  There's some kind of musical based off of it.  There's an animated movie (which is a horrible adaptation).

I found two porn stories in eroticized fairy tale re-telling collections.  And then, I didn't even see the books, I just read reviews of these collections online where they mentioned "The Traveling Companion."  So, it has been retold, but in a rated R way.

Also, I found a storybook on Amazon that I just had to have.  I got it in today, and it's a great translation from the Danish.  

There's no new tropes in the story, though.

A man comes back because he's not done, or thinks he's not done.  OR, turns out he has to do something before he can move on to the next life.  Toothless, Heaven Can Wait, Over Her Dead Body.

And the princess?  What fairy tale is complete without a princess?  Well, plenty are, but it's indicative of fairy tales.  And this princess really, really needed rescuing.

Another big element here is John's debt-paying.  Perhaps not the fact that he'd paid the debt, but the kindness behind it.  All over literature, you see heroes who were kind to people, and then that person did them a kindness in return.  If not for their good deeds to the people they met, they would have never received help from them, and they would never had attained their goal.  Simple as that.

It's a good story, even if it is a little gruesome.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Gifts

I hate picking out gifts.  Not because I don't like giving gifts, but I never have any idea what to get people.

Several years ago, for Mother's Day, my mom had said she wanted a hisbiscus.  My mom's horrible with plants, so I didn't want to get her one.

But then I found a really, really pretty one.  And I got it for her.

"But Jadi, I wanted a red hibiscus."

I was pissed.  She'd been saying she wanted a hibiscus, not once did she specify a color.  And besides, the color I got her was gorgeous!

"But Jadi, I wanted a red hibiscus."  

Never mind that it did live for a while, but did she have to say that?  I at least pretend to like a gift, even if I don't.  I'll get rid of it discreetly after a few months when it's forgotten.  Of course, with the exception of some creepy dolls from when I was little, I seldom got gifts I didn't like.

Mom always tells me I should get over this, and I have, but I like to think I learned a lesson there.  

I didn't get my mom any gifts for a long time after that.  

Now, if she asks for a CD or something from Amazon while I have access to money to spend on there, I order it for her.  That's the closest thing to gifts I get her now.  I mean, I don't work (except on her farm), and asking for money to get her a gift...  Anyway.

This year, I had another "hibiscus incident" for Cole's birthday.  I picked out a remote-control car.  It was a "Gator."  It could go in gravel, water, sand.  It was nice, and sturdily built too.

"But Nanny, I wanted a racecar."

"Crap like that is why I don't buy your maw maw gifts anymore," I told him.  My sister or Cole went back to Mom and told her what I'd said.

"Get over it, Jadi."

I tell people, tell me exactly what you want.  Or, we get together but spend our money on ourselves.  It's not about the gifts anyway.  How's that sound?

I love Christmas.  I really do.  I hate picking out gifts for any holiday or special occasion.

Monday, December 19, 2011

What Makes You Stop

The year's drawing to a close.  I have fourteen books bookmarked.  Two of them, I'm really tempted to quit.  One was from one of my mom's friend's book refuse bag, and the other from the Flea Market.

They're both romances, both by an authors I've known about since I've been reading Victoria Alexander (and nobody writes like she does!).  One of them I had only heard of.  The other one, I'm quite familiar with her books.  This would be the first of her books that I quit, and once I quit an author, I almost never pick them up again in other books.

I love me so good romance books.  However, a lot has happened in both of them, and I'm not even halfway through with them.  You know, where so much happens, but when you see where the puppy ear is and where it was last time, you've barely made progress in the book and it doesn't seem like you're any closer to finishing.

Translation:  These are those long, drawn-out, painful to read books that, by the time you're done, you're ready to throw them across the room.  Or perhaps before you're done.

I've started to skim.  I never skim.  I like to read every sentence carefully, because I'm prone to miss things.  And, even if I do read it carefully, I still may forget it later.

The small print should've been a clue.  Victoria Alexander's mass market paperbacks still have what must be 12-point size, and they're not considered large print.  And a lot happens, but you're also halfway through the book too.

Let's see, what else makes me quit a book?

1 - Reading the last page and not liking how it ended (only once, I promise--I think).

2 - Inability to care about the story, characters, et cetera.

Same reasons other people quit, I guess.

What makes you quit?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Why Books Win

According to my My Books database, I have 580 books nesting somewhere in the deep recesses of my bedroom, and then some I have borrowed out.  I have 66 Kindle books.

The only problem with everything going to e-readers is that, well, I have an issue with being completely dependent on gadgets for everything.

I love my Kindle.  Some of the books are cheaper, and all of the authors on my Kindle are all new authors to me...

However, right now, there is still one thing the book has over the e-reader:

Who reads in the bathtub?  Who lights some scented candles, runs some bubbles, and just relaxes and reads in the bathtub?

It's great to have a billion books at your disposal, but would you really risk losing all of them if you accidentally dropped your e-reader it in the water?

I wouldn't.

I would rather risk losing one book than risk losing the 66 on my Kindle.  I would rather not risk losing my Kindle itself.  Books are easier to replace.  If something happened to my Kindle, I'd have to go through the trouble of replacing it.  My parents got me that Kindle for my birthday.  They'd kill me if I was so careless with it.

They think I got enough books, so they probably wouldn't care if I dropped just one book.  That would be a lot easier to replace.  But still, even if you did drop a book in the water, there is still a chance the book can be salvaged with a blow-dryer.  I've gotten apple juice on one of my favorite books, and it came out okay.  Lacey was borrowing one of my books and it got wet by a pool, but it survived it and the book is sitting on my shelf, safe and kinda sound.

Can you say that about an e-reader?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Final Grades, part 3

Fall 2010
  • Art Appreciation - A
  • English Comp. I - A
  • World Civilizations I - A
  • General Psychology - B
  • College Algebra - C
GPA: 3.4

Spring 2011
  • General Biology Lec/Lab - A
  • English Comp. II - A
  • World Civilizations II - A
  • Intro to Sociology - B
GPA: 3.76

Fall 2011

  • Computer Applications - A
  • General Biology II Lec/Lab - A
  • Honors Forum - A
  • World Literature I - A
  • Walking - A
  • Public Speaking - C 
GPA:  3.6

Cumulative GPA:  3.58

Bright Empires--So Far

So, I read The Skin Map last year.  I just finished reading The Bone House today.  I started it back in September.

Yes, Stephen R. Lawhead is my favorite author BUT his books do usually take me a while.  Don't be alarmed, this is normal.

So, his new series is BRIGHT EMPIRES.  King Raven was an awesome series, and although I had my reservations about this series, because I'm not big into time/dimension travel, I do love this series too.

But then, look who's writing it...

So, because works speak for themselves, I pulled two videos from YouTube.

Check it out:

Roller coaster?  Wow factor?  Yes, I do believe he has succeeded.  When I was done reading the first one, trying not to scream in agony at the cut-off ending, that we have to wait another year for the rest of the story, I was really excited about what I was getting into.

The Bone House ends much better than The Skin Map did, to my mind.  The ending, while still cut-off and annoying, was still very satisfying.

I can't wait until next year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Slayers by C. J. Hill

4 stars

Goodreads Description:  Dragons exist. They’re ferocious. And they’re smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it – these “Slayers” are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator’s daughter who didn’t sign up to save the world.

The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive?

I wanted to throw this book across the room when I finished it. There's a cliffhanger ending. If not for that, I would've given it a 5-star rating. Growl, growl, hiss, hiss.

Other than that, I loved it. It was a great way to lose a few hours...

...And because of the cliffhanger ending, I'm SO getting the next book when it comes out.

End Goodreads review.

I'm not familiar with the Percy Jackson books. I've heard of them, and my parents bought me the movie that I never watched, but somebody compared it to that. Which, from what I know, it's probably true.

Also, C. J. Hill is Janette Rallison's pseudonym. Just a thought for you.  She wrote the My Fair Godmother books, which I love, so I had to check this one out.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Finally Finals, Part 3

After this semester, I have one semester left (hopefully) at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Today, finals for Fall 2011 begin.  My first final isn't until 10, and then I have 2 on Wednesday.

Let's see.  What did I learn?

1 - Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is about how Morgan le Fay wanted to one-up Gwenevere.  I liked the story up till that point.

2 - A lot of people want me to be a teacher.  I don't know if I want me to be a teacher.

3 - Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play (I think), and Hamlet's actor has to memorize over 1/3 of the play for his lines.  (However, I didn't learn this in class.)

4 - I am not good at public speaking and hope to God I don't have to do it often.  If I do, not like the script-version my prof had us do.  It was called an outline.  It was a script.

5 - I learned more about Creation theory because of DinoPaper.

6 - I learned way more than I wanted to about Andersen because of the "The Traveling Companion" paper.

7 - While on that subject, I never really gave that much thought to the interpretations of "The Traveling Companion."  I wanted to do my NaNoWriMo on a retelling of the fairy tale.  I quit NaNo, but I picked the project up again.  Now, I have a few other things to add to my story too.

8 - I think every writer has something untoward attached to them.  But then again, I think all "normal" people do too.  It's just the writers that get remembered for them.

9 - Dragons wanting maiden sacrfices took on a whole new meaning.  

10 - Psychologists analyze everything and totally ruined the animal-bridegroom trope in fairy tales for me.  Not really, but...anyway...

I hate when the "Big People" are right.  You learn more in college out the classroom than you ever do inside it.  Two of these I learned in the classroom.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Miss Lacey's Last Fling by Candice Hern

Miss Lacey's Last Fling
Kindle cover (mine)

4 stars (or, since it's a romance, 4 kisses or roses)

I'm not entirely sure why I chose this book, other than the fact I read another Candice Hern book and I liked it enough try her books again.  It may have been that my best friend's name is Lacey.  It could have been the purple on the cover.  Whatever it was, I loved it, and just finished re-reading it.

Meet Rosie Lacey:  Oldest of six children  Raised the other five and has been running the house. Twenty-six years old.  She suspected she developed the same disease as her mother, and the doctor confirms it.  So, with whatever time she has left, she is going to London to cram a lifetime into a few short months.  She makes a list of all the things she wants to do and enlists the help of her scandal-laden aunt Fanny, who then gets the help of her late lover's son:

Miss Lacey's Last Fling
Print Cover
Max Davenant:  Rake extraordinaire.  Handsome.  You know the type.  Thirty-six.  His best friend had committed suicide, and he's considering following in his footsteps.  With Fanny's niece in town, the Season doesn't look like it's going to be so boring after all. 

The story:  Our dear dependable Rosie becomes the the fair Rosalind.  All the men are vying for her affections.  The stiff-necked matrons hate her.  Rosalind raced some curricles, waltzed without permission at Almack's, made tabloid covers, flirted dangerously with a rake (well, more than one), attended a masquerade, and even went inside a gaming hell and learned to play hazard.

Read no farther if you're interested in reading this because I'm about to ruin the book.

Rosie finds out she's not dying.  Rosie tries to kill Rosalind though.  She heads back to the country, leaving a very broken-hearted Max in her wake.

So, Fanny feigns illness and Rosie comes rushing back to London.  

The worst part of the whole book was when Max's friend's suicide note drops out of his pocket and Rosie picks it up.  She doesn't know what it is and later reads it.

Thinking Max wrote it, she rushes to his house to find him holding a razor to his neck...

"Don't do it, Max!"

When Max realizes what she thinks, he goes along with it.  This is one of those situations, had he told the truth, she would've slapped him for worrying her and the reader would've thought, "You should've just went with it, man."

So Max goes with it and convinces her to marry him.  The book does imply though that he does tell her the truth. Later.  Much later.  And then, after the couple plans this big fancy wedding with all the stops and all the guests have arrived, they elope.

Okay, you can look now.  

All in all, it's a pretty good story.

“All romantic novels end the same way, but it's the process of getting there that provides all the enjoyment.”
― Candice Hern, A Proper Companion

A Proper Companion was the first book I'd read by Candice Hern.  Most of her books (or all) are available on Kindle for really cheap.

Candice Hern is usually compared to Georgette Heyer.  Her website is considered one of the best for Regency information.

I don't make it a habit to review romances on here, I usually just worry about the fantasy and most of the YA, but since I re-read this one within a month of reading it the first time, I decided to review it.  It's the kind of book I want to talk about.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When Writing's Magic

Lately, writing's been that one thing.  It makes everything okay.  Gosh, I pick up a pen and I start to feel better.  It's been that great lately.

How great, you ask?

1 - I've talked about names before.  When I was working on my that short story (that I marked up, but still haven't done any real work on), I was looking through my baby naming book and just wrote down names that I liked.

I found a lot of female names that I liked, but nothing was good enough for my female lead.  Eventually, I found a name.  Hesper.

Yeah, I know, it's not that interesting.  It may even be considered ugly or weird.  But when I saw it, I knew.  I just knew.  That's who she was.  She was a Hesper.  The meaning would eventually suit her story, in hindsight.  Does our subconscious do that or is it just coincidence?

2 - Speaking of a writer's subconscious, when I was actually working on my NaNoWriMo, it made me address some things I'd been struggling with.  I hadn't intended for that to pop up in the story, but it did.  And it's been doing it pretty often.

OR, sometimes I write down a statement (that never makes the computer draft), and then I stop.  Whoa there, girl.  Where did this come from?  Where was this truth to the world and why didn't I know it before and how did it come out this way?  Lacey says it's happened to her too.

3 - This is going to sound really weird from me, since I'm a writer and all, but I don't believe the pen's mightier than the sword.  It cancels out "Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words can never hurt me."  I think it depends on the situation.  No amount of words was going to stop Hitler.  Stones don't snuff a martyr's fire as it does his life.  It makes it burn brighter.

Anyway, the pen pulled through for me last night.  Yeah, I'm surprised too.  I wrote a pledge to myself about writing.  Not that I'd get published.  Not that I'd be the next Lloyd Alexander.  Come to think of it, that didn't enter the piece.  Just some deep crazy girl stuff that I won't go into.

It's my contract with myself.  And I got it in writing.  Today, it came back to bite me in the butt.  I wrote it down.  And somehow I felt like I was bound to the contract.

Funny because I've written things to others before, and some things I never saw through.  Prayers, diary-entries, here on the blog...

So what made this one stick?