When Did Princesses Become The Villains?

I don’t often indulge in debates about feminism and whether Disney Princesses, Barbie and other “Girly” type things are bad for little girls self-image. People are going to think what they want just as I have my opinion and that’s great. But today I saw this video and I couldn’t help responding.

Here’s the thing: I think some of what they are singing is true. As girls, women we do have to love our selves, rescue ourselves and follow our dreams. What I disagree with is that you have to give up on love to have that. Why can’t we as women have both? Why must we chose?

I agree that no one should ever give up everything they are for another person. It doesn’t matter if that person is a parent, a friend, or a lover. In life and love one must compromise certainly but if someone truly loves you they should love all of you even the parts and bits they don’t understand or agree with.

These are my beliefs, the beliefs of a 42 year old single woman who grew up playing Barbies and watching (loving) Disney Princess movies. To this day Sleeping Beauty and Little Mermaid remain two of my all time favourite movies. So do the Sound of Music, Gone With The Wind and Meet Me in St. Louis. All movies where the women give up everything for the men they love. Yet none of these things have ever made me act that way.

I had/have friends who give up everything for the new men in their lives. Whenever the relationship ends they have to reconnect with all their female friends all over again. You hear all the time, “We haven’t hung out like this in forever.” or “When did -big life event- happen? Do I get annoyed with these friends? Absolutely but that is who they are and who am I to tell them to live their lives differently? Do I agree with it? Hell no but most people don’t understand why I don’t want to be married or have children either. Yet we are still friends because we accept and respect these differences in each other.

What I do want to say about this is that maybe it’s time to stop worrying about it all so much. If you are a good parent and have raised your child (female or male) to be strong, brave independent individuals, if they are surrounded by well rounded people in real life then there is a good chance that none of this is truly going to influence anything more then a desire to dress a certain way and sing songs until they outgrow that stage and move on to the next phase.

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3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

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Josie Byrne lives a relatively normal life. She has a boyfriend she’s crazy about and a best friend that’s like a sister to her. Her physics teacher has it in for her and her parents are divorcing, still a normal life because into every life a little stress must fall. The thing is that Josie’s normal life is about to fall apart.

Recently Josie’s Mom has started to act strangely, Josie is betrayed and then loses her job so when she starts having strange dreams at 3:59 everyday it’s just one more thing to deal with. She is not even sure if they are dreams as they seem almost like memories. One night she wakes up to an image in her mirror that reveals Jo to her. Jo is Josie’s doppelgänger, living her life in a universe parallel to Josie’s.

Josie realizes that what she has been experiencing is glimpses into Jo’s life. She desperately wants to experience what to her seems like the perfect life and she steps through the mirror to change places with Jo.

Josie quickly learns that all is not what it seems and that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It’s a dangerous world she has stepped into and now has to figure out not just how to get home but also how to save those she cares about in both world’s.

Ok so it’s not a great synopsis but it is an interesting story. The writing flows well and it’s not completely predictable which was nice. I am looking forward to reading the next one.

For fans of The Maze Runner.

I give it 3 and 1/2 reads out of 5.

Reading Open Minds

open minds

Open Minds is an interesting story about a girl who is an outcast within her community because of her inability to share thoughts. She is dreading going back to school with out her big brother to run interference and her fears prove to be valid as she runs into some bullies on her first day.

Little does Kira know that everything is about to change in a really big way. She is about to learn things that she never believed were possible and she is about to change the world.

This book has several things going for it. Interesting and relatable characters. Adventure, mystery and romance. It asks intriguing questions like: how much do you really want people to know about you?

I would recommend Open Minds to fans of stories like Delirium, Starters, The Elementals Series and the usual big name books in this genre.

I give it 4 out of 5 because it kept me interested through the story and because I want to read the next one.

Black History And The Things We Don’t Know

oilandwater

I was born in Toronto and lived there until I was 9. I went to Daycare on Danforth Avenue and was lucky enough to grow up amongst great mutli-cultrual diversity. I had friends who were Black, White, Greek, Italian, Pilipino and so on. I was lucky enough to grow up liking people based on how they treated me as a person and not based on the colour of their skin or what language they spoke. I was also lucky enough to grow up being able to openly ask questions about the differences in our cultures and to experience new things because of it.

That’s not to say I didn’t do wrong. It was the 70’s and I was a kid, a white one. I remember doing the pick who’s turn it is by singing the rhyme “Eeney Meeny Miney Moe. Catch a _______ by the toe. Etc.” One of the wrongs I did was use a completely inappropriate word on that line. That is until one of my friends (Naderia) told me that it was a bad word. And explained why. I must have been 7 or 8 at the time, which would have made it 1978/79 and I never used that word again. From then on I sang the rhyme with the word tiger on that line.

Recently a friend posted an article about what we don’t know about Black History in Canada. How we like to think of ourselves as saviours and above the ugliness of that sort of racism. The article points out that that wasn’t always the case. Here is a link to that article.
http://metronews.ca/voices/mom-and-pop-shops/935648/canadian-secret-slave-past/

Last week I went to a play at Neptune Theatre that is based on this same area but a little bit more on the positive side.

The play is called Oil and Water and is based on the true story of Lanier Phillips an African American man in the US Navy who finds himself overwhelmed by the generosity of the people in St. Lawrence Newfoundland after the sinking of USS Truxton in 1942. Lanier is the first Black man the people of St Lawrence have ever seen and yet they treat him with the same compassion and dignity as the rest of the sailors. This is a kindness that Lanier has never experienced before and it is one he shares with his daughter as she struggles with the newness of attending a white school and the racism that goes with that in 1974.

The story is told in bits and pieces from different characters point of view. It has the underlining story of what the miners in St. Lawrence are struggling with as well but the gist of the story is Lanier’s and his daughter Vonzia. How they have to deal with the everyday ugliness forced on them by people they don’t even know. Not whether or not they should fight back or fight for what is right but how they should fight this battle without violence.

I was moved to tears by both the ugly truths and beautiful realities portrayed in this version of a story I had not heard before. The actors and actresses did such a magnificent job bringing these characters to life that I am still thinking about them 4 days after witnessing their amazing performances.

Bravo to Neptune for bringing this story to us and educating us on this (for me and many others) unknown event in our countries history. It is a nice reminder that for all our mistakes and ongoing atrocities towards our fellow humans there may be hope for us all yet. We can do better. We can change and make those differences when we except each other for who and what we are.

Panic by Lauren Oliver

bookcover_home_panic

In the small town of Carp, a town of only 12,000 people, a game was born out of boredom. A dangerous game with a huge payoff if you make it to the end.

Only seniors can play and it’s kept top secret though everyone knows about it. Those who participate do so for their own reasons but mostly these reasons seem to be to get the prize money and get out of town.

Heather had no plans to enter the race and play the game but the night it begins circumstances propel her to join in and different circumstances compel her to make it to the end.

Throughout the game new friendships are made, old ones are betrayed, love is lost and found while our players are facing numerous and varied fears, not just within the game but also within their individual lives.

This is one of those stories you read late into the night, savouring each morsel, wanting to know how it ends while not actually wanting it to end.

Lauren Oliver has several titles to her name and her delirium Trilogy is a favourite of mine though Panic would now be my second favourite. If you ever have the chance to visit with Lauren at a signing I would suggest you go as she is a dynamic and vivacious story teller in person as well as on the page. Listen as she reads the first chapter of Panic and tell me you disagree,

Give Panic a try, if you dare.

I give Panic 4 and a 1/2 Reads out of 5.

S.E.C.R.E.T by L. Marie Adeline

secret
As someone who is NOT a fan of 50 Shades but a fan and long time reader of erotic fiction I was hesitant to read S.E.C.R.E.T because of the hoopla surrounding it. Popular does not always equate with good and since I found the so called steamy sex scenes in 50 Shades to be very clinical and unsexy, I was expecting much of the same from this story.

My friend Andrea messaged me one day to say that I HAD to read it! It had blown her away. Now, mostly Andrea and I have different tastes in everything from reading material to music but occasionally we come together on something and when we do….. oh boy! Thus was the case with S.E.C.R.E.T. I am so glad she recommended it to me, I only regret that I didn’t read it months ago when I first got it.

Set in New Orleans, S.E.C.R.E.T tells the story of Cassie Robichaud, a widow who has fallen into the rut of going to work and going home and having the hots for her boss. One day she discovers a secret group run by some very passionate women. This group believes that all women should be comfortable in their own skin, confident in their strength and beauty as well as in charge of their own sexual experiences. Because most women aren’t comfortable with all of that, this group helps women to gain it all through secret meetings that fulfill their wildest dreams and desires.

When I started reading this book I wasn’t sure I liked the heroine (Cassie) by the end I still wasn’t sure if I did or not. Mostly because she reminded me a lot of myself I’m guessing. But over all I really enjoyed the story. The sex scenes may be short but they are definitely tantalizing, hot and steamy. The story takes place in New Orleans which becomes as much a character as the people are. It certainly has given me several ideas of restaurants and places to visit when I travel there in May.

I had this book sitting in my TBR pile for months but after reading it I had to order the second one immediately and am now anxiously awaiting the third installment. Was I excited to hear that I don’t have to wait until 2015 for it!

If you’re looking for a sexy beach read for your winter vacation or to escape the snow outside then I highly recommend giving this one a try.
And if you happen to know of such a club existing………

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 Reads.