Strange V-Day Gift (Book Review/Spoilers)

This year the husband and I didn’t do too much for the holiday, but we did make a trip to the local bookstore. I love the place and it’s not overrun by hipsters. We have this little tradition where we go every so often after we’ve saved some money and splurge on reading material and I am never disappointed. This time I came across a book in the fantasy section.

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The name Krampus caught my attention. Now if you don’t know who Krampus is, let me educate you. ­čÖé

Krampus is the “anti-Santa” in today’s culture. He’s been known to have originated before Christian traditions and is claimed to be associated with the Pagan Horned God. I’ve always known him to be the guy to take naughty children and beat them with Birch limbs during the Christmas season. He is still celebrated today in Europe.

Now this book is by an author named Brom. Yes, the same Brom who does those amazing pieces of art. I was excited that he was a writer (having no previous knowledge of his written works). I’m glad he doesn’t write series or I would have been way late to the game. So, Jesse got me the book and I delved into this amazing adventure.

THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS  SOME SPOILERS SO SKIP TO BOTTOM TO AVOID

The book opens up with a prologue about Krampus. He’s chained somewhere dark and he’s a right mess. You read through his hatred and pain of this place and the person who put him there. It’s so well written and it pulls you right in and you know you won’t be able to put the book down.

We are introduced to Jesse, the protagonist. Like most heroes, he has a little back story filled with sadness and despair. An aspiring country singer, Jesse’s habits lost him his wife and daughter to the local sheriff. Now he lives in a run down trailer at the end of a trailer park. ┬áJust as you learn of Krampus’ woes, you learn of Jesse’s and you feel what he feels as he contemplates suicide by bullet. ┬áBrom takes you into this man’s life and you can’t help but feel that sorrow he’s feeling in the loss he’s experienced.

END OF SPOILERS

Jesse by Brom

Jesse by Brom

 From this point you are taken on an insane adventure with Jesse as he discovers Belsnickles, who Santa really is, and just how crazy his life can be. It has a consistent plot that keeps you enthralled throughout. The humor is dark and there are places where I found myself chuckling. Brom takes the myth of Krampus and Norse mythology and sculpts it into something absolutely wonderful. This author places you in situations with the protagonist and makes you feel every single emotion to the tee.

Makwa the Belsnickle

Makwa the Belsnickle

Not only can Brom create beautiful artwork, he can weave stories that make you crave more. You cling to every word and keep turning page after page. This is my first Brom novel and I look forward to reading more.

If you’re looking for related material I highly suggest reading Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett for a similar reading experience.

The Greatness

What is one thing I wish I were great at? Honestly, I have no idea. I’m good at hundreds of things, but not great. I can’t pick just one. If I HAD to pick one, I think I’d go with the easiest: playing the piano.

I’m okay at it. I’m no Tori Amos or Kyle Landry (youtube him…..AMAZING!), but I would love to be great at it. I’ve played at the 4H congress shindig or whatever. In front of hundreds of people. I did talent shows in middle school. I even directed the Advance Choir when Mrs. D was out on maternity leave. That was simple stuff. I want to be able to play Final Fantasy difficulty stuff. Lol. Imagine me playing “One Winged Angel” or “Those Who Fight.”

I’ve recently gotten to the point where I can sing and play at the same time. I used to be able to do “All I Ask of You” from Phantom of the Opera. Time hasn’t allowed me to play that much anymore. When we move into a new house, I will make it a point to keep playing.

Here’s a video of awesome piano playing by Kyle Landry!

Achievement Unlocked

At 23 years old, you’d think that I haven’t accomplished much in my life. If you’re counting huge, life changing things, then no. Everyone needs to count the little things too.

I think my first greatest accomplishment was actually graduating high school. I’m the only one out of three children to walk across the stage and receive my diploma. Best night of my life considering that’s when Jesse proposed.

My next accomplishment is making one of the top students in the country. I really don’t remember what is was for but I was put in a book.

In eighth grade I wrote a poem that went into a book. It was called “The Soul’s Maze”. I was so proud of that.

Making Advanced Choir in high school.

This is the Community Choir I was in after high school. Mrs. D, in the very front, was my teacher through all of it. I love her so. I’m in the front row, fifth from the left…..ya know, with the red hair.

Lastly, not having children before the age of 18. I consider that something to be proud of in this little town. There’s something in the water.

The Influence of Others

Day Nine is about influence or people who influence. I am listing ten people who have influenced me and how. This will probably be one of the trickier posts I have to write. To me, an influence is something that another person is or does that affects the way I live, love, and learn life. If these people weren’t in my life I’m not quite sure what kind of person I would be right now.

1. Pam

Pam is my mother’s older sister. She’s an independent and strong woman who raised three boys and went on to being the Lab Tech in Vanderbilt hospital. There are people who say they support me, but Aunt Pam has been the one who has given me courage to do the things I’ve done. In my younger years I would go visit and play her piano, talk about books, and watch her paint. I’ve always admired her for her intelligence and beauty. She’s just got this personality about her that is magnetic and I wish I could spend more time with her. Granted most of my immediate family doesn’t get along with her, she’s proud of me and what I’ve accomplished in life. In that, I am grateful.

2. Jesse

Now this post would probably be pointless if I didn’t have him in it. Jesse has helped mold me into a more sadistic smartass than I ever was. He’s taught me not to take shit from people who aren’t worth a second glance. He holds firm in his beliefs that humans are stupid and I completely agree with him. Though he does like to go off into extremely long rants about anything that pushes his asshole button, I still love him.

3. Sky

My best friend, my soul mate, my sister. We’ve been close for so long that we’ve developed that kind of relationship where we don’t have to speak to one another for months and just pick back up right where we left off. She has her life and I have mine, but that doesn’t mean we grow apart. That’s what I love about us. Amber has taught me about a different part of life that I know I can’t live. She’s so grounded and peaceful I think sometimes my negative chaos sends her world asunder when we’re together. Her main influence on me has been mostly music. I don’t listen to half the things I do if she hasn’t found it first. From Concrete Blonde to Tori Amos, she has given me the best routes to the music that moves my soul. And for that, I thank you my Caroline.

4. Tori Amos

(Thank you, Amber, for putting this woman in my life. Lol) Tori is a goddess on a higher level than any other woman I know of. She’s beautiful, talented, intelligent, and crazy as fuck and I love that. She has mainly influenced my musical abilities in life. If it weren’t for her I wouldn’t be as dedicated to the piano as I am now.

5. My Dad

My father has attributed to my attitude as I have grown. Granted, Jesse has helped with that, but not compared to my dad. He’s always being a complete asshole. He takes pride in being so sarcastic and douchey, but he’s funny when he does it. If one of his children mess up he tells us, “Stop fuckin’ up! What the hell is wrong with your common sense?” On top of being a truck driver for twenty three years, he supports my sister and her babies though he doesn’t have to. Thanks to him, I’m not afraid to tell people how it really is. If you’re being a dumbass, I will MORE than gladly tell you so.

6. My Mom

Who said influence had to be completely good? Okay, my mother is not a bad person at all. She just has her quirks that I’ve inherited. She’s always the first to think of something bad. Imagine doing something good or getting excited news, now imagine someone saying,” Oh, you’re not gonna like that. It’s too dangerous. No one will like that if you go.” Yeah, she’s THAT person. I know she’s gonna read this someday, but I’m an honest person. She’s taught me that too. Now I’m not the first to kill the mood, my mind is. I NEVER say anything aloud without thinking about it first.

7. JK Rowling

Now come on. Did you think I could write this post without putting this amazing woman in here? Of course not. She’s the reason I write. She’s the reason I have the courage to be who I am today by writing those wonderful adventures of Harry.

8. Johnette Napolitano

This woman is known for being the singer for Concrete Blonde, also her silky alto voice. Good Goddess, this woman can make you just melt with the melodies that emanate from her lips. Johnette has influenced my singing more than anything. All those years in choir I was a soprano 1 (that’s pretty much the highest not hitters in a choir), so I was sad that I couldn’t sing JUST like her. Nonetheless I wouldn’t be deterred and I kept singing with her music. There’s one song that Sky and I sing together and I actually doesn’t sound like we’re doing whatever: Mexican Moon. Thank you, Johnette, for helping me get over my fear of singing in front of others and using emotion where it’s due.

9. Laurell K. Hamilton

If two things go together in my mind, it’s Concrete Blonde and Laurell K. Hamilton. I don’t know what it is, but I started reading Laurell’s books when I first discovered Concrete Blonde’s Bloodletting album. The two seemed to fit perfectly. So take this little bit of advice: If you’re gonna read any of her books, listen to Concrete Blonde while you do it. Anywho, this influence is also about my writing. I really learned how to write a good sex scene thanks to her. Lol. She has written the Anita Blake series and the Merry Gentry series along with a few books and short stories on the side. She’s a good person in general when it comes to her fans. She listens and talks to them like they’re good friends. I can only hope to be as kind as her one day.

10. Mother Nature

Yes, I know Mother Nature isn’t a person. I…..don’t really care. People put a personality to something and it turns into what they believe it is. Like God. Anyway, Nature has influenced who I am entirely when it comes to my soul. I want to be strong like the Oak roots, light as the air, fierce as the fire, and quick as the stream. I try my best to be like those things. I want my life to be a balance. You can’t have the good without the bad really, and we all know this. We have to accept it and I found it easier to accept with the help of the earth.

So there are my influences. I’ve actually written this over the course of a few days so I don’t really know if it makes sense to many, but, eh, I don’t care.

)0(

Passions Passions Passions

Number 8 on my list is 5 passions that I have. One of the definitions of Passion is “a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept.” Other than that, the definitions get a little too extreme for what this post is about. There are many factors in my life that make me a very passionate person. If you ever meet me, I am known for my “out there” attitude toward many subjects that may be brought up in conversation. I usually wear my heart on my sleeve and let my emotions pour out like a fountain. Some people may say that it’s not healthy to do so, but why bottle it up and hide who you are if you don’t show people what gets your gears going?

1. Writing

Of course I’m sure you could have figured that out by now if you’ve read this far. Explanation in previous post.

2. Music

All my life I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t listening to music. I thrive on it. There’s something about it that makes my soul move and dance around. It is proven that music can do wondrous things to people like manipulate emotions, put them into a trance like state, and even help them heal spiritual, emotionally and physically. In middle school I learned how to read music and picked up playing the piano. Sky also taught me how to play a couple of things on guitar. Nonetheless, hearing the music is my love out of all of it.

3. Video Games

This comic certainly holds true as to what a “gamer girl” is. I don’t usually like to put gender to gamers, but hey, it’s a title I’m extremely proud of (and so is Jesse). You can blame him for most of my gaming. I used to play when I was younger. Dad got me a few consoles growing up, but when I got with Jesse he introduced me to new games and I was wholeheartedly hooked. Damn him. I guess it’s the whole idea of being drawn into a fantasy world like writing or reading. Only I get to be the character….muahahahaha!

4. Harry Potter

Yeah, I know. Criticize all you want, but I do not give a flying fuck. Lol. When people hear that I am a Potter fan they assume I’ll go all fangirl on them and shriek and whoop about it. No. Just no. I’m not one of those Beiber girls or Twitards. Growing up was hard for me. My parents split when I was fifteen. All I had was books, mainly the works of Ms. Rowling. The characters became my friends and they taught me a lot about life and how to live it. No, I don’t think I’m a wizard and I sure as hell am not a satanist. The books were a big part of my life and I owe most of who I am today to that series. I even got tats!

Also our wedding will be styled after the world created by JK Rowling.

5. Penguins

Anyone who knows me knows that I like penguins. Okay, I LOVE them. It’s hard to explain why but I just do. I admit that I wouldn’t have one as a pet but I would actually fangirlgasm if I got to work at the aquarium with them. It’s always for my friends to see me geek out when we go see them in Chattanooga. AAAHHH I LOVE PENGUINS!

Aw, look at the little Gentoos!

5 Happy Things

Today the question is: what are five things that make you happy right now? Taking this into consideration, does this mean right at this moment or this time of my life or this day? Who knows but I’m going with this time of my life. People are made happy by many many things. Here are my five and the reasons.

1. Jesse

Of course he is number one. My life, light, rock, and total annoyance unto all things I do. I can’t go a day without telling him I love him.

2. Mass Effect!!

You can thank Jesse for this one. I bought ME3 for him as a birthday gift and he talked me into playing from ME1. Damn him. It happens every time.

3. Penguins!

These animals will always be my favorite. One reason being that once a penguin finds a mate they stay together for life. Jesse and I see ourselves in penguins because of this.

4. My Kindle Fire

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IT’S AMAZING! I got mine for the Winter Solstice and it’s been my best friend since. Amazingly enough, this pic has all the books I read.

5. My Belief

It’s not just Paganism that makes me happy but Atheism as well. It’s really a long story about it and can wait another day.

Aaand there’s my five things that make me happy right now.