Learning Stuff from A&E Reality TV

I hooked my cable into my internet to get a clear picture since I don’t have cable. Instead of the three free channels I expected to see  I receive a weird mix of various channels which is nicer than only having three channels I will say.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been watching Storage Wars, Storage Wars Texas, Cajun Justice, and more recently Duck Dynasty and American Hoggers. The thing I love about these shows is seeing how other people live. The things they eat that I would never consider eating. The things they do for fun.

But even more I love that despite all the very strange differences there are still so many similarities. Working to support our families. Loving  family and friends even when we are arguing with them. Having fun and  living life.

The treasures and trash that they find on the Storage Wars shows is so fascinating but man could I do without Dave. I am sorry but I don’t believe you have to be that much of a jack ass to get ahead and be the best. I often try to find a worthwhile  quality in him but I haven’t been able to.  Darrell and Brandon make me laugh.  Darrell talks about Brandon being negative and not taking the wheel but really the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And Barry just makes me laugh, he finds some of the most interesting things. The Texas version is almost the same. Victor is a jerk.  Moe is the crazy collector. But the ladies who up-cycle their finds make it interesting to see what they will make.

And then there is Krystal “Pistol” on American Hoggers.  She is determined to prove that anything boys can do girls can do better. Though I don’t care who does it better I admire her ability to do it just as well (and yes, most times, better) than her brother. All while being “girly” in pink fringe chaps, wearing makeup and touting a pink rifle.  Krystal and Lea prove that women can handle the tough stuff! You go girls!

The funny thing is that I never thought these shows would hold any interest for me. It just goes to show that there’s always something new to learn.

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Carnival of Souls

Melissa Marr has created a wonderful world in her new YA novel Carnival of Souls.

Mallory has spent her whole life moving from city to city as her father attempts to keep them from being found by the Daimons he stole from.  Mallory is about to turn 17 and is tired of running, especially now that she has meet Kaleb.

Though she has trained to fight the Daimons from The City she has never met any or so she believes. Mallory believes that the witches like her father have fled the city in fear of their lives which is only a small part of the story. She is unaware of the large role she has to play in the future of the witches and the city alike.

Carnival of Souls is an incredible blend of fantasy mixed with mystery wrapped in romance and sprinkled with action. So many characters working alone, together as well as unknowingly against or with each other makes for an intriguing story that could easily have been dizzily confusing but isn’t.

Flowing smoothly through different worlds while seamlessly blending each new characters story into the fold Melissa Marr has created in a world the I look forward to visiting again in the future. What will happen to Kaleb and Zevi? Will they be able to work with Aya?  Will Belias and Aya ever work through their issues?

Of course the biggest question is what will happen when Mallory learns the truth of it all? I can’t wait to find out.

This is the first book by Melissa Marr that I have read though her Wicked Lovely series  have been out for a few years and she released her first novel in general fiction entitled Graveminders. She also recently released Fairy Tales & Nightmares which I am now even more intrigued to read.

 

 

Peruse her website to learn all about Melissa Marr.

http://www.melissa-marr.com

I can’t wait to meet her in at The Smart Chicks Kick It Tour on September 16, 2012 at Chapters Dartmouth. I hope she’ll sign my Carnival of Souls ARC and my copy of Enthralled.

Movie Mania…..Two Weekends In A Row

The weekend of August 11, 12, and I’m including the 13th because I had the day off I saw a movie a day.

On Saturday I saw The Campaign. I was babysitting and we thought we would go see The Watch starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and others. Sadly J was not old enough as the movie is rated 18A. You have to be 14 to see this movie with an adult, under that you can’t go in at all even with an adult. So we saw The Campaign starring Will Farrell and Zach Galifianakis which is rated 14A. The Campaign was very funny and we both enjoy it but it left us wondering how the ratings system works and what is in The Watch that is worse then The Campaign. The conclusion was that there must be full frontal nudity since The Campaign has; partial nudity,  two people having sex (though you only see their faces while it’s happening), sex words, swearing, violence, etc. I can’t imagine that there is anything worse in The Watch. Guess we’ll have to wait for the video to see.

Normally these types of comedies are not my cup of tea. Occasionally one tickles my funny bone (Bridesmaids, The Hangover and Get Him To the Greek come to mind) and I buy the DVD to watch them again.  For me this movie does not fall into that category. While I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the movie was quite entertaining I don’t see myself wanting to watch it again.

On Sunday a friend and I went to see Hope Springs starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell. This dramedy was beautifully done. The story of a marriage that has stagnated after many years and the couples struggle to learn to communicate with each other again is told in just the right amount of serious and funny moments. It also doesn’t show all of the funniest moments in the trailers which is a good thing.

On Monday  I took the boy I Nanny and his friend to get his school supplies bought and out of the way. Afterwards we went to see The Bourne Legacy. Now none of us had seen any of the previous Bourne movies but luckily it didn’t seem to matter much to the story line. You’ve got an agent and a doctor on the run from the government trying to shut down the program they were part of. Lots of chase scenes, fighting and the indicated promise of another Jason Bourne movie if this one does well. Honestly I was just glad to be able to look at Jeremy Renner for a couple of hours. For me that was what this movie was all about.

 

This weekend rolled around and J’s mom had to work all night Friday so she needed a chance to sleep Saturday and she had another on call day on Sunday (which was rainy) so she asked me again to take J to the movies. This time we were excited to see The Expendables 2.We both love the first one and had been told that part 2 was restricted so we thought we would have to wait for the DVD. We were very happy to find that to be untrue. You might wonder why we love these movies and for me it’s seeing all the 80’s action stars back in action along with some new faces. It’s the fact that they are all out action movies and don’t pretend to be anything else. I love when the big stars throw those one liner digs at each other causing the audience to laugh.  We enjoyed it so much that when we went back on Sunday (this time with one of J’s friends) he choose to see the same movie so his friend could see it and they could talk about it. While these movies are second after second of some pretty extreme violence, heads blowing off, knife fights,  with body parts and pieces flying here and there in quite a gruesome manner, it’s what makes The Expendables one of the ultimate Action Genre movies.

So there you have my two weekend movie mania. What movies have you seen recently?

Books For Boys

On Monday night I attended a Road Show put on by Random House to let us know about the books that will be hot for the fall season. Some are out now and some will be in demand items at Christmas. I am generally very genre specific in my reading so I find these types of events extremely useful during the crazy busy Christmas season when customers need book recommendations.

What excited me most last night was seeing two of my favourite reads for boys being promoted. I often hear that the choice for boy books is very limited. Stop for a minute the next time you are in the teen section and just look at the shelves. I guarantee you will see many facings of books from the teen paranormal genre looking appropriately dark and dramatic. This makes it seem as though the boys have been left out. Where are the books that will appeal to them?

I could tell you that publishers make (and that book stores buy) what sells and that what sells is primarily books for girls because you start to lose male readers around the age of 9 and all kids around the age of 12. To some degree there is a lot of truth in that but what I want to concentrate on is what is out there.  Believe me, it’s there, if you know where to look.

One of the things you hear as a book seller is that boys don’t want to read books where the lead character is a girl. This is especially true in middle school however a well written story is a well written story no matter the main characters gender.

You also hear that the kids want to read about kids like them. Meaning that a lot of white parents think their kids don’t want to read books about kids who are Asian, Muslim, African or anything else. This is not completely true. We all want to read things we can identify with, sure, absolutely,  but we also learn many  life lessons through reading about different cultures, different places and people who live differently then we do, even if that means living in the country instead of the city or vice versa.

Ok I got off track there for a moment. What I was trying to say is that there are some really great reads for boys of all ages and in all genres out there if you know what to look for. A couple of authors want to help you in your search and have made websites specifically dedicated to helping find books that boys will WANT to read.

http://www.guysread.com/

Guys Read was started by author Jon Scieska to help make reluctant boys into lifelong readers. You can search book by group  or age. You can suggest books, check out different authors or download and print bookmarks and bookplates as well.

http://www.readkiddoread.com/home/

Read Kiddo Read came about because author James Patterson had a reluctant reader of his own at home. This is an extremely well laid out website with tips for parents as well as amazing suggestions for all ages and reading levels. If you are looking for books that will interest boys in your home, check out these two incredible websites for information. Or talk to your local librarian or bookseller, by asking the right questions we can often find a great match for any reader.

As to the books I was excited to hear about last night may I present:

Both of these books are for teens 13 and up. The Kill Order by James Dashner is the prequel to The Maze Runner Trilogy, a fantastic journey through a devastated world while Call The Shots is the third book by Don Calame which tell the tales of three teen boys dealing with their struggles and triumphs in everyday life. I often equate it to the life lessons girls learn in Judy Blume books.

Some other great boy reads  are:

All of these books I’ve listed are located in the teen section of our store but some of them would be appropriate for younger readers as well.

Do you have a favourite book to recommend to boys?

Stumble Onto The Elemental Series….. You’ll Be Glad You Did

While shelving in the Teen Section one day I stumbled upon The Storm by Brigid Keemerer. After reading the back I was intrigued so I took it home with me that night.

Am I glad I did!! It seems I’ve stumbled on something that is sure to be a new favourite series in the Teen Paranormal Genre. I read it within two days and on the third day sold a copy to one of my regulars. She messaged me later to tell me how much she also LOVED IT!!!!  Like me, she is anxiously waiting for Spark.  Unlike me she has already read both novella’s , I have only read  Elemental, I plan on purchasing Fearless this weekend and enjoying it on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

I mentioned this series earlier in a general review of my week but enjoyed it so much I thought it needed more attention.

Is the novella that shows us a different side of Michael. I read it after reading Storm which meant I already knew some of where the story would go but was unprepared for how it would change the way I viewed Michael as a character.

Storm is the story of Chris who is the youngest of four brothers who have the ability to control different elements. Chris has the ability to control water, something Becca Chandler is unaware of when she rescues him from being attacked by a couple of bullies.  She gives him water in an attempt to revise him thus changing her life in ways she could never have expected.

Chris and his brothers aren’t just Elementals they are powerful enough to make other Elementals consider them dangerous and therefore want them dead.

This story is beautifully told in a manner guaranteed to keep you turning pages well into the night. It is both simple and direct but at the same time complex and magical. The characters are easy to identify with and the witty banter is so natural you feel as though you are hanging out with old friends.

Fearless is Hunter’s story. A novella I am so excited to read. Hunter is strong in mind as well as body. In Storm he teaches Becca about different stones and how their energies can help. An area I’ve always been very interested in. He also teaches her some self defense moves. I look forward to seeing where his story takes him.

Spark brings us the story of  Gabriel, a boy who is hot in more ways than you can imagine. Gabriel has an affinity with fire. Sometimes he can control it, sometimes he can’t, either way he is as combustible as the Element he is linked to.  Finding out what kind of heat he’ll have to endure is something I can’t wait to do!

The Elementals series may not be anything new but it is told in such a fresh new way that you can’t help wanting to know more about Becca Chandler and the 5 hot Elemental boys whose lives she has become entwined in.

Brigid Keemerer has a fantastic website you can visit to learn more about her amazing series.

http://www.brigidkemmerer.com/p/elemental_23.html

or become an Elementalist on her facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Elementalists/191477454272478

After reading some of the comments on her website it seems that many of her readers are people such as myself who happen to stumble across Storm. We all seem to be in agreement that we’re glad we did.

Maybe you will be too.

 

 

 

Pretty Little Liars Makes My Head Hurt

A few weeks ago I started watching the third season of Pretty Little Liars basically because I don’t have cable and it’s on Much Music which is one of the channels I get by some weird chance.  It’s one that a couple of co-workers love and talk about often so I thought why not but honestly I wasn’t paying much attention. Couldn’t even name the main characters, I had to describe them, The Girl Who Swims, The Girl Who’s Mom was On Charmed, etc..

One of the girls lent me the first two seasons on DVD. I Love TV on DVD. No commercials, pause, rewind and the chance to catch everything you missed. It’s great. I am currently in a love/ hate relationship with PLL. I spent the long weekend just past watching season one and part of season two. My head hurts from trying to decipher who’s who, what’s what and what really is going on not to mention the long  hours of watching tv.

I love the music on this show. I love discovering new to me music and this show is introducing me to a lot of new songs.  I love that there are some favourite actors on the show,  the fashion, the pop culture references and some of the story line. I love how it can teach kids about treating everybody with honesty, integrity and the way you want to be treated just like the John Hughes movies I used to watch as a teen.

At the same time there is much I hate about it. Like so many books we read these days it is so repetitive. That is annoying and frustrating.  I Hate when the girls constantly let -A tell them what to do and it hurts their friends, then the friend gets mad forgetting they did the same thing themselves when A told them too. I hate that it seems like a clone of  Veronica Mars. I love Veronica Mars and the fact that so many of the same plot lines are being used drives me crazy. I hate the teacher dating a student line. And the constantly rotating love interests.

Having said all that I get why they do all the things I hate so, I grudgingly  admit that I love it and can’t wait to find out where it goes, providing they don’t drag it on to long, I may even read the books.

Discovering New Movies

I love to buy movies. I especially love to buy ones that I’ve never heard of. I do not however love to pay more than $20 for them, particularly when I’ve never heard of them.

I can spend a lot of time in stores like HMV, BestBuy and Walmart browsing through the racks of DVD’s under $10.

Yesterday I spent sometime in HMV and bought two old favourites that I haven’t watched in years.  St. Elmo’s Fire and Say Anything, I just couldn’t pass them up at $5 each but I also bought The Accidental Husband starring Uma Thurman, Colin Firth and Jeffery Dean Morgan. The cast alone is the reason I picked it up the fact that it was a romantic comedy cinched it for me. I love Uma in The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Colin in everything he does and Jeffery Dean Morgan in PS I Love You.

I watched it today and quite enjoyed it.  Admittedly not  one that I will watch as often as many of the movies I own but not one of the worst  I’ve ever purchased either.  At the same time I’m glad it was only $5. It’s  a cute little story. Uma plays a Dr with a radio show and self help book coming out who unkowingly throws Jeffery Dean Morgan’s life into upheaval when she tells his fiancee not to go through with the wedding, Colin Firth plays Uma’s fiancee and publisher.

The fun starts when JDM manages to make it look like he and Uma are married. Quaint fun little movie. Not Love Actually not even August Rush but enjoyable none the less.

I also love TV on DVD. I have just started watching Pretty Little Liars. I am in fact watching the very first episode at this moment thanks to my friend who lent me the first two seasons. I had sort of falling into watching episodes of the new season on Musch Music and finally decided I needed to see the first seasons to really know what’s going on.  There is a lot going on in this show and I find it similar to Veronica Mars (though I personally think that VM is MUCH better) and I am definitely not the demographic the show is aimed at, I do enjoy it.