What I REALLY Learned About Myself Last Semester

So…big surprise. Not really, you guys know I’m in school and I’m learning new things. I’ve always loved school. The only drawback to being in school, I thought as a kid, was that other people would be there. Sounds silly. I know. I was so shy and reserved that I never realized that it was other people that made it enjoyable. I loved to learn, loved to interact with my teachers and I loved to be in the school setting. I didn’t realize that it was the back and forth, the give and take, of the student to teacher relationship that drew me in. The constant feedback, the discussion over lecture. I just loved it.
(I’m in the year book as the teacher’s pet, by the way)

Anyway, I wasn’t one of those people who had a hurtful or sad school experience and I’m grateful. School was actually my escape. Being a foster kid, turned adopted kid living in a foster home, was pretty hard on me. I shoveled it inside and didn’t dare let anyone see my pain or what I felt on the inside. Leaving the house, and going to school, took me away from anything bad that could happen. At school, I could expand my mind, learn new things and be a different person. I wasn’t a victim at school. It was a safe haven. If only I could just learn more, I’d be free, I thought.
As I grew older, it became very apparent that I needed to bring that kind of positivity back into my life. Now, my current home life is amazing. Despite any sadness that I’ve have due to my losses, I am very happy. It wasn’t that I needed an escape. I’m in love with my soulmate and I live eighteen hours away from anything that has ever hurt me. In the grand scheme of things, I’m doing fucking fantastic! It was that I needed more. More for me. More from me. More expansion. I needed to prove to myself, not to anyone else, that I could achieve anything I set my mind to.

This last semester solidified who I am as a person…to me. It told me that when I want something, I go after it. It told me that when something is hard, like that third math exam that really kicked my ass, I flip things around. It taught me that I do have the ability to meet deadlines. It said ‘You are attentive. You are responsible. You can do this.’ Most people may think ‘Aww, you’re just now learning that?’ and to that I say YES!

I spent too much time as a kid listening to other people.  Older people. People who knew things. Whether it was my bio mom saying she didn’t want me and wished she didn’t have me. Or a sibling concocting a cockamamy story that I was so worthless that I’d actually been left in a dumpster before social services found me. Whether it was my first grade gym teacher saying that I was so angry, he wouldn’t be surprised if I became a serial killer or that one lady who said I could never be a model because I wouldn’t grow up pretty enough. Or even those who gave the statistics about kids in foster homes or the life expectancy of those coming out of ‘the system’. I spent entirely too much time thinking about how people saw me and I retreated further into my bubble.

I retreated so far into books and fiction that for a moment I forgot what was real. People asked, when I grew up, why I didn’t feel compelled or peer pressured by the stories I read. Asked why romance and passion didn’t turn me into a fairy tale loving, wide eyed, girl with too many wedding aspirations. I just didn’t believe in me or anyone wanting to be involved with me enough to think those things would ever be real. In a way, it shielded me from a life time of disappointment. Now that I know differently, I go unbiasedly into relationships, friendships and yes, heartache still.

Now, as an old soul in a twenty-five year old body (albeit creaking knees and popping elbows), I still had things to learn and discover about myself. I was terrified to start school again. I know what kind of person I was during University back at 18. I was free. I knew exactly what, and who, I wanted to be and yet I knew nothing at all. There are a ton of mistakes I made back then. I don’t regret them, because they brought me here, but I do acknowledge them. I was scared that who I was then is actually who I would be now, in school.

But I’m not.

I’m a ‘stay up late until I get the assignment done’ kind of girl. I’m a ‘create a homework planner so I always know what’s due’ kind of girl. I’m a ‘help other students with their homework and assignments because I know the material’ kind of girl. I’m a ‘stick it through even though I might fail’ kind of girl.

That is what I REALLY learned about me last semester.

I know who I am.
Do you?

Stay Safe,
Jade

DWC: Daily Writing Challenge

I am freaking excited!

I am ecstatic!

Alright, so I spent the majority of my life…procrastinating. I know it. I’ve always known it. I think it stems from when I was a child and I would read like crazy and I would put everything off. I didn’t mind not getting anything done. I just wanted to escape the woes of the world and read the rest of my life away. I believe that this greatly instilled in me an sense of timelessness. Around me, I built a wall of  ‘I can do it later, right now I’m reading‘ and no one corrected me.

Now, as an adult, I find that I can be productive and do this. I often times put off things that aren’t as important to do things that are. This is funny because recently I watched a TedTalk (I believe) that said productive procrastinators are a thing!

One thing that I’ve found I do is write very spontaneously. I get the urge to write and I can bang out 10,000 words in one sitting. Then, I wouldn’t write for days, sometimes even weeks. That’s just crazy to me.

This past year, I’ve made some connections that have really made me think about my goals as a writer. I knew that if I ever wanted to achieve my dreams, especially within my time line, I would have to start taking things seriously. I know that I want to pitch my current WIP during PitchWars this August. In order to do that, I need to make some changes over the next few months and also for the future. I came up with DWC, logically named, the Daily Writing Challenge. Heehee.

I planned to do it for 30 days, to start. I’m currently in day 17. I am not just counting words written for my current WIP, Phoenix, though. I am also counting things that I write that are not so creative. Speeches, reviews, reports for school, etc. If I am using my brain to write, at all, I am counting the words.

To me, this helps keep the momentum going, especially on days that I can’t write creatively. It’s worked beautifully. Using Google Sheets, I’ve created a worksheet grid that shows how much I am writing every day. I have it filtered to add the sum of words everyday and also the average. I have written 20,805 words (that I’ve logged) so far and I have an average of 1,300 words a day. I know that to a seasoned writer, this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal but to me it’s amazing. Without NaNoWriMo in November (wrote 50k+) and CampNaNo in April (Wrote 15k+), I don’t usually get in that many words in a month.

So yes, I plan to write every single day and let the majority of words be on my current WIP. I plan to update more, write reviews more and to also update you all on DWC!

Good Writtance,

Jade

Book Review: Dare to Run by Jen McLaughlin

Lucas Donahue is not ashamed of his criminal past, but after a brief stint in prison, he’s ready to go legit and live a normal life. The problem is, no one leaves the gang without permission—even if he is one of the boss’s top men. Plus someone’s placed a hit on him. And then there’s that feisty little bartender who’s going to cause him even more trouble.
 
Heidi Greene knows to keep her distance from a ladies’ man like Lucas—even if she can’t keep her eyes off him. When he rescues her from an attack in the alley outside her bar, she’s forced to stay by his side for safety. But the longer she spends time with him, the greater her chances are for getting hurt in more ways than one.

I listened to this book! Yes! I have been trying to utilize my Overdrive account more. I don’t know if you guys have heard of it but it’s absolutely amazing! It’s an app that allows you to connect to your local library system. All you need is a valid library card and you can read books, and listen to audio books, for free! Ya’ll know that I love a good deal! Free is the best deal ever! Anyway, so I have been trying to discover new gems and I have. In Jen McLaughlin.

dare to run comps_final.indd

I’ve very happy with the way this book turned out. I actually searched like crazy for info on the next book in the series because I really wanted to see where she was going to take the story line. Some crazy things happen and I wasn’t sure how she was going to turn it around. From my research, and no spoilers here, it works!!

So the thing that made me really love this book is that the main character male, Lucas, is a real badass. And I don’t mean just because he is tough, fierce and uses a gritty Boston accent. He is actually not a good guy. EEK!!

He’s on the bad side of the law, just recently released from jail after serving time doing as his family does. I love it. Usually you get this character who is the anti-hero with some saving attributes, and I guess he is to some extent, but there’s no real saving grace for this kid. He has killed, he deals with guns and he doesn’t take ish from anyone! The fact that Heidi, who has dealt with some evil characters in her own past, falls in love with this guy is amazing.

I’m definitely down happy that I listened to this one instead of reading it. I could really see the scenes in my head. So thanks, whoever told me that audio books are amazing, I’m sorry if i doubted you.

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readance,
Jade

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Dating the Undead by Juliet Lyon

V-Date.com. It’s the vampire dating site. And if you’re a mortal who’s getting a little too close to learning our secrets, I’m the guy who swoops in to make you forget. But don’t worry: I only bite sometimes.

I was great at my job until I met Silver—sarcastic, sexy, spunky Silver. I can’t bring myself to make her forget about our kind. About me. It’s all I can do not to throw her down on the kitchen counter and have my way with her, fangs and all.

She says she’s just looking for a good time, and I’m just the vampire to give it to her—over and over again. I went into this looking for a good tumble, but even I have to admit that things are changing between us. Good god, I want to hold her hand. In public.

So lately I’ve been getting more and more into audio books and I love it! Recently my sister and her friend went on a cruise. They flew down the day before they were supposed to leave and I drove down to meet them. The drive was almost five hours and I absolutely loved it. During this time I was still working at my old job and the long nights cleaning allowed me to plug into my head phones and listen for hours. This book was only about 9 hours of listening time.

dating the undead
I was pleasantly surprised that I loved this novel so much. There were two readers, which I didn’t know was a thing, and they both used accents that really fit their characters. I know I’m probably just behind on the times but I really enjoyed it.

The drama, the kissing, the tension. It was fantastic! I do think the synopsis is really weird. It’s not the one that I read when I first chose to read the book. It’s weird, right? Anyway, the book is based after vampires have integrated into society. Silver meets a hot vampire on New Years Eve and later decides to join a dating website that caters to the mix of the species. Love, murder and crazy dates fill the pages. I love it!

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readance,
Jade

World Book Day!!

Yes! Yes! Yes!

I always felt like we needed a day to celebrate books! This should become a holiday! (Shhh…don’t tell Fahrenheit 451!) So Amazon is doing a deal for free kindle books and I just got them all. Below is the list of books that I got!

What are you reading lately? What’s on your wish list? Mystery, Romance, Psychological Thriller…what!?!! Tell me all about it!
Don’t forget to read today!

Go forth and celebrate books! Read more books! Think about books! Dream about books!

Books I got from Amazon written from authors all around the world:
Ten Women by Marcela Serrano

The Light of the Fireflies by Paula Pen

The Question of Red by Laksmi Pamuntjak

The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan

Last Train to Istanbul: A Novel by Ayse Kulin

The Great Passage by Shion Miura

Still Waters (Sandhamm Murders Book 1) by Viveca Sten

The House by the River by Lena Manta

A River in Darkeness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa

Good Readance,
Jade

College Semester Spring 2018

Wow!

That’s going to be my word for today. Wow! Making the decision to finish my degree was one of the hardest I had to make this year. I knew that it would be very time consuming, that trying to find another job that works with my school schedule would be next to impossible and it’d cut into my reading time! But who cares! I’m so glad that I did it! I have learned so much in the last few months and it really makes my inner nerd jump with joy.

This semester I took three courses, all flex. I knew that I had a shorter amount of time during this semester (10 weeks vs the normal 16 weeks) and everything would be a bit tight. Due to that, I wanted to take a smaller amount of classes as this is my first semester back in 6 years.

I took a math course, new student course and intro to philosophy. I had one of the best math professors ever! He spent 30 years (if I remember correctly) teaching young students and used the techniques he learned to help us grasp mathematical concepts. He was so funny, honest and understanding. I wish I could take my next math course with him but he only teaches that one level. Darn!

New Student Experience is one course I can gladly say is over. It wasn’t hard and I didn’t hate it, it was just pointless. The New Student course is the one where you ‘discover yourself’ or learn about the campus amenities. This is something I could’ve learned in orientation. The fact that I had to take an entire semester of this is ridiculous. It didn’t teach me anything and was just another one of those courses that eats your money.

My Philosophy course was fantastic! My professor was great and it taught me a ton of new things. I learned to ask all sorts of questions, about God, society and impressions of others. I loved it! A few of my posts I’ve written here were directly because of my excitement! I’m actually taking more philosophy courses and believe it’ll help me hone my writing! Yes!!

So this is finals week and I only have a math exam left. Last week! But then the next semester literally starts in two weeks. I will be taking my last math course, general psychology and fundamentals of speech. I went on rate my professor and researched all of my professors first. Who knows? Hopefully they are as good as I read! Will update when school starts back up!

Happy Readance,

Jade

P.S. I’m getting a degree in English and Philosophy

 

Book Review: A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

 

Heya!

Here is another book written by a black author! I absolutely loved it! I have always been a big fan of the Disney princess stories being modernized and re-written. Although the Cinderella story is age old, I really love to see the way new writers can add plot twists and small but impactful changes to create a beautiful narrative. Yes, Cole, Yes! This story is based on an African History and the author really shined a beautiful light on the culture. The way family came together and the people gathered around in support really made you wish this was a place you could go with people from the story you could meet. The story has funny moments and sad parts and all make you proud.  There are big twists and turns that flow with the story line and don’t cause friction with the riches to rags and back to riches ideal.

 

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The main character is so relatable, honest and everything we want to portray. She’s a black woman who is smart, beautiful and she has a great sense of responsibility and self awareness. Thabiso, the prince, is handsome and hilarious in his own royal right. He really cracked me up with his inability to do normal every day activities on his own and his lack of knowledge about American diction. Cole really did a great job bringing these characters to life without making them over the top or extra. I can’t wait to read more books by her!

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readance,
Jade

 

#BlackAuthorsUnite!

Modernizing Required Readings for Students

Heya!

So I have been thinking long and hard about what I want to achieve in the world of literature. My want to go back to college and finish my degree was more about accomplishing my own goals and learning new things. I hadn’t yet figured out what I wanted to do with my degree, specifically, besides writing bestsellers. I’ve been reading, writing books and creating new stories since I was a young child, since before I could remember. Despite my detours in life, I always knew this is where I would land.

To translate that into academics, I want to delve deeper into the literary requirements of our youth. I remember being a young girl, inspired by big works like Shakespeare and George Orwell and also the smaller works like Summer of my German Soldier (Bette Greene) and Melusine. I always found it fascinating to read works by authors who lived long ago but realized that my fellow classmates did not. They were disinterested, flighty and annoyed. This made me really think about the works that we were required and what I could do to make reading more appealing.

So I’ve realized the best way to go about this is to modernize our required readings. I am a firm believer that the best writers weren’t only born 200 plus years ago. Yes, we can learn great things from our past but we can also learn a multitude of things from the present. We have hundreds of amazing writers here in this century and we need to recognize them. Do not take this as I am wanting to replace the genius works of the past. I want to give an alternative modernized literary option for teaching those students who squirm and fuss at the thought of reading outside of a text message. These are students who normally hate reading. I want them to be able to pick up a book they can relate to, learn the same skills of tension, mystery and cultural appreciation.

Over the next few years, I am going to compile a list of required readings and find comparisons in the modern world of literature. I want to develop a list of books that will still teach life lessons, broaden horizons and open the minds of our youth. I will be blogging my path with this and will eventually make a static post of the comparisons that I’ve done so that you guys are updated!

I would really like some suggestions that could help me on this journey. I found a really great one on GoodReads but it’s 500 books long! That’s a great start but I am going to break them apart, following a specific criteria, and choose The ones I think can really transform literature. If you’ve read a modern or contemporary book that you think could rival the literature of old please feel free to let me know! Also, tell me the book that you think it parallels. This is going to be a great journey!

P.S. To make a clear distinction, I am talking about new and original stories, plays and novels written now, not revisions or rewrites of old ones.

Good Readance,

Jade

Reviewing Ready Player One- The Movie!

 

I know, I know! I already did a review on the book and I said I would not be doing movie reviews with the blog reboot but I couldn’t help it. DID YOU GUYS SEE THE MOVIE!?!?! Alright, alright. I actually really loved it. I read the book in about two days in January and then I found out that the movie was coming out and I got so excited.

After watching a few of the trailers I realized that the movie would be completely different than the book. I mean, the tone is different, the characters are different and even the methods of gaining the keys are different. In the book, and I won’t spoil it, the deaths of certain characters hit you harder than what actually happens in the movie. It’s very light hearted with more a comedic release than the distress of the main character in the book.

BUT WHO CARES?

1

The movie was great. I absolutely loved it. One person on twitter said they hated that it became more of a love story and I disagree. I think the fact that you see the two physically together you see the romance more but they were just as ‘together’ in the book, just online. Sounds weird but it’s true. I loved the imagery, the CGI, the move back and forth between real and animated was so smooth. The music was spot on, character development was amazing. You didn’t NEED to read the book in order to follow the movie or to really fall in love with the characters and that is huge coming from an avid reader like me.

2

I am usually a hard critic when it comes to book to movie adaptions because I am just another reader, like you. I find it hard to see what I’d only imagined in my head, done incorrectly. This is definitely a change I will accept. I think that Steven Spielberg did amazing and I can’t wait to see more films by him.

3

Yaaas! The excitement is real! Let me know what you thought of the movie! Did you like the changes they made? Were you on board with the fact that he spends more time in the ‘real world’ as opposed to how he spent most of the book in his trailer? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Good Readance,
Jade

 

 

Book Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

Jazz Bashara is a criminal.
Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.
Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

I really loved this book! It took me a little longer to read it because I am going through midterms right now but I’m excited to say that I am a big fan of Andy Weir. Jazz is relatable, intelligent, unassuming and daring. I love the characters ability to think quick on her feet and to be ready for anything that comes her way. I definitely love this ‘living on the moon’ theme that Andy Weir has started. It gives you a sense of hope for humanity and inspiration for the future of science.

I would not mind at all seeing a movie adaption of this book. I’d like to see what city they would create, how they would form the hubs and what they would use as a basis for the Moon’s surface. I definitely recommend this book to anyone, even those who are not interested in science and discovery.

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I need to find other books written by Andy Weir, I have a feeling he might soon become one of my favorite authors. I was actually talking to a fellow reader the other day and they mentioned the comparisons with Artemis and The Martian. I hadn’t even noticed they were written by the same author, Artemis was recommended to me.

They actually said they didn’t like this book as much as they liked the other. I can say that the way the books are written is completely different. Jazz Bashara is very different than Mark Watney. First of all, she’s a criminal and he’s a genius who recognized his intelligence and used it. Jazz did not. She is very flippant and squirrely in comparison to Mark’s character. The pace of the book is different as in the Martian you spend most of the book following one character who is unable to talk to anyone else but himself. It’s a great comparison and I love to see writers switch up their voice and still draw the reader in.

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

 

Good Readance,
Jade