#SorryNotSorry

Yes! It is I! After a month and a half of AFK I have returned! I know, I know, how could I have left you this long? I’m sure you nearly died without my completely sporadic posts. What else could you have possibly had to read? I mean, besides the entire internet, which we all know is mostly cat pictures, thank goodness.

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Gratuitous Cat Picture! Follow him @alex_p_kitten (#itsnotmycat #butIlovehimanyways)

But now I have returned! Let’s get the Jammin’ Jade low down. Here’s what I did while I was ignoring you!

  • Left my job in NYC
  • Enjoyed some time doing nothing but art
  • Went on some fun road trips with the man
  • Got a job in Upstate New York
  • Got engaged!
  • Celebrated like a mad woman with my NYC peeps
  • Packed up all my stuff and relocated to Ithaca NY
  • Started my awesome new job!
  • Partied madly with my fam and my soon to be fam
  • Riiiiiiiiiiibfest
  • Joined a kickball team AND a trivia team

And if you’re not exhausted just reading that list, let me tell you, I’ve been sleeping just fine thanks very much! But now I’m going to try and work my way through my stack of book reviews, get back on social media, and hopefully start updating with adventures from my new hometown.

Reader Review: Shattering the Ley

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Book number two this week is “Shattering the Ley” by Joshua Palmatier (Book One of the Ley). Before I get to my review, I’d like to quote Kari Sperring, author of Living with Ghosts, as I think she summed it up well.

Intricate world building, engaging and complex characters, and a fresh sharp take on magic and politics. Shattering The Ley proves that Joshua Palmatier is definitely a key new voice in original fantasy.

I have to agree with her. I enjoyed the combination and conflict of a world where magic was common and every day. So often the genre just rolls with it, assuming that everything would be fine in a world where magic was common, except for that one bad evil seed of course. But Palmatier highlights the conflict between those who can and those who can’t, and the power struggle that ensues. Not only are the lines drawn between those with magic abilities and those with none, but you also see the division between the wealthy and poor, and the extravagant over use of magic by those who have the money to afford it.

*SPOILER ALERT*
Don’t read this if you’re planning on reading the book!

I also enjoyed that in the end, Palmatier doesn’t go with “and the hero saved the day and they all lived happily ever after”. While you rejoice at those who survived, you also see the burden that they must carry, for those that they failed, and the home they have to leave behind. It’s a bittersweet ending, but leaves you feeling hopeful for those who lived, and craving more about how they carry on afterwards.

Reader Review: Tomorrow and Tomorrow

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Be prepared for book review overload! I’m three books behind!! First up “Tomorrow and Tomorrow” by Thomas Sweterlitsch, a SciFi futuristic thriller. It’s a thoroughly engaging read that’s both captivating and terrifying. The story is based in a world where almost everything is documented, and after a major attack on a city, many are left addicted to the past, reliving the lives of loved ones they lost.

Overall, I enjoyed the story, it was engaging and interesting, and a terrifying look at the effects of technology and the dangers of addiction. Combine that with a beautiful red headed runaway and a murder mystery, and you know you have to finish the story just to see what happens. For those of you who love a tragic broken hero, this is the book for you. John Dominic Blaxton spends the book wrestling with his demons, grieving the loss of his wife, and struggling to save the life of a woman he has only just met.

I gave this book a solid three stars. I enjoyed reading it for sure. Will I keep the book and read it over and over? No, probably not. But I definitely don’t regret reading, and recommend it for anyone who’s looking for a dark scifi book to read.

Reader Review: The Word Exchange

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I have to admit, the only reason that this didn’t get a one star rating is because I did actually finish the book (see my rating system here). And for a long while in the book, I couldn’t decide if I didn’t like it, or if I was just frustrated with struggling to read it. You know that feeling you have, when you read a book you KNOW you should like, but it’s just written in a style that’s hard to read? Whether it’s with big words, or a boring tone of voice, but in the end, you’re like “yeah, I read it. Worked my butt off doing it, but tots worth it.” That was not the feeling I got with this book.

While I did enjoy the concept of the book, and I could see the point that Graedon was trying to make, I just couldn’t connect with it. It took me a month to finish this book, and this coming from a girl who usually finishes a book in under a week. I did like that a lot of the vocabulary in the book sent me scrambling for a dictionary (I appreciate writers who don’t assume all their readers are dumb), but in the end I felt mildly confused about the story, and not particularly satisfied. I understood what was happening, but the why never really got explained in a satisfying way. It basically boiled down to [SPOILER] big evil corporation, doing big evil corporation things to make more money, using China/Russia as a scapegoat, then, as usual, things get out of control, people die, cover ups ensue, but cures/solutions are found, and the world begins to heal. Everyone learns their lesson.

I did enjoy all the emphasis on the importance and value of language, writing, and books. but in the end, it’s not a book that I’d recommend, nor one that I’d read again.

Reader Review: A Vision of Fire

I know, I know, talk about a book review delay. I totally finished this book WEEKS ago, just haven’t had the time to write a review. This was book #2 from my brand new book subscription (still looooooving it). And while it wasn’t a dud, it didn’t knock my socks off the way Rachel Bach’s book did.

A Vision of Fire by Gillian Anderson falls very much into the X-files genre. Unexplained wild mystery that borders on possible religious connotations at times. I finished the book, but although it is a series, I don’t see myself reading the rest of the series.

The main character of the story, Dr. Caitlin O’Hara was a pretty cool character, and committed to solving the mystery of the sick kids, but there was just something about the book that didn’t click with me. It felt a bit like the premise was so far fetched that any development in the book that was unveiling it had to be explained in detail. This meant there was a lot of dialogue where the characters explained to each other what was going on.

Overall I gave it a 2 out of 5 stars. I finished it, and I didn’t feel like I’d wasted my time, but it wasn’t a keeper for me.

Live at the Lincoln Center

Thursday night after a long day of work, I hoofed it up to the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center for one of their weekly free concerts. This one featured the 2015  Independent Music Award winner Bent Knee, and the ever famous Johnny Dowd Band.

As a personal stalker… I mean fan… of Johnny, I knew what I was getting into with this portion of the performance. Grunge Americana Rock, with a heavy dose of LSD, haunting female back up vocals, and an Alice in Wonderland trip into poetry land. As for 95% of the people showing up for the free show, I think this was a new, mind altering experience.

Johnny Dowd is definitely not for the weak of heart. It’s a wild ride into the depths of surreal lyrics, intentional off key notes to keep you uncomfortable, paired with rockin’ chords to keep you hooked. But the virginal audience held on through the whole ride, through the poetry about life in a Rat’s A**, past the wild guitar solos, and even went along with the sing along crowd participation. In the end, they came out with a new appreciation for a genre they might not have even known existed. And they all seemed to have enjoyed the process.

After Johnny, came the other end of the spectrum. The fresh faced and upbeat to Johnny’s seasoned darkness. Bent Knee, based in Boston, MA, Bent Knee had its beginnings at Berklee College of Music. As their website describes them, they are a “genre-defying art-rock collective”. They’re young, enthusiastic, and ready to rock. Their tunes even got some people out of their seats and dancing. I think the thing I loved best about this band was just the raw energy they had on stage. From the guitar player who looked like he was about to leap off stage, to the female bass player rocking out, everyone on stage just seemed to be having a genuinely great time. Pair that with some great tunes, and who could resist?

To learn more about the event and see photos and videos, check out the Johnny Dowd Fan Club Blog!

 

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COMMUTER CHRONICLES: Helpful Stranger

Hello and happy Sunday! I just wanted to stop by and share this conversation I had last week. I’ll just leave it right here. Enjoy!

Scene: I am sitting on the stairs outside of my yoga studio, browsing Instagram on my iPhone, waiting for class to start.

Random Man [stopping in front of me]: Excuse me, are you one of those homeless people?
Me: What?
RM: Are you homeless? Do you have a home?
Me: No…. I’m not, yes I do…
RM: Do you need a ride to a shelter? Do you have a safe place to stay tonight?
Me: I uh, what? No, I mean yes? I’m ok.
RM: Do you need any food or money?
Me [pointing at the door]: No, I’m just waiting for my yoga class to start.
RM: Oh, she’s a really great teacher isn’t she?
Me: Yeah, she is.
RM: Have a nice night.
Random Man walks away

I’m not sure why he thought I was homeless, I was wearing a nice Columbia jacket, was plugged into an iPhone, and had my yoga mat and teal fake leather purse sitting next to me, but I appreciate his desire to assist someone he thought might be in need.

Thank you random man in Hoboken, NJ. If I ever become homeless, and need a ride to a shelter or safe place, it’s good to know there are people like you out there, waiting to help.