A Rant

After six torturous weeks of watching ABC's The Bachelorette, I've come to the conclusion that this show is degrading to everyone. That's right, I said it.

I'm a reality show junkie but this season has become so shameful, that I'm embarrassed not only for the bachelorette, but the sorry men who are waiting in the wings every week, hoping for a little bit of face sucking time.

If you don't know the premise, let me sum up. A desperate, dejected girl looking for love among a group of equally desperate guys, none of whom can seem to find someone the old fashioned way (Match.com), thrown together for our viewing pleasure.

This season our lovely bachelorette (Ashley, the dental student) was forewarned that one of the bachelors (the Now Infamous Bentley who will henceforth be referred to as The NIB) had less than honorable intentions (no, not sex, they can get that during the "overnight" date portion of the competition). Apparently, The NIB was just in it for the exposure, ahem, free advertising he hoped to bring to his business.* So who do you suppose poor Ashley was particularly smitten with? Yep. The NIB.

After several weeks of pretend fawning and confiding on camera that he'd rather the bachelorette had been anyone but Ashely, The NIB decided he just "didn't give a shit about her" and hit the road, leaving her heartbroken and sobbing under a blanket in the dark.

Good riddance, I thought, until Ashley confessed two weeks later to the show's pimp host that she just couldn't move forward because she'd gotten no closure with The NIB. She even felt guilty about mentally "cheating" on the remaining guys, although making out with each of them in turn while in full view of the others never seems to weigh on her mind at all.

I've always understood the appeal of the bad boy in fiction, wanting what you can't have or know isn't good for you, it just annoys me to see it play out for real. I'm officially swearing off The Bachelorette.** I'm replacing its time slot on Monday nights with writing.

Have you ever given up a guilty pleasure for writing? Ever been obsessed with a bad boy? A bad girl?

*I wonder who taught him douchebaggery translates to sales?

**Please, please, please someone tell me who wins in the end. I might die if I don't know. Seriously.

A Rave Review

Wait...what day is it? The calendar tells me it's Thursday which means I completely missed Tuesday, blog post and all, and I apologize. 

No, I wasn't having a breakdown even though the kids are out of school, I was just absorbed in a spectacular book, The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder. I've never read a verse novel before but I found it gorgeous. I LOVED it. 

The prose is both concise and lyrical.. It reminded me of a series of flash fiction pieces all put together to create a complete story. The entire novel takes place in the span of a day. I don't do spoilers so I'll only tell you there's sorrow, happiness, love, longing and hope within its pages. I read parts of it twice. Highly recommended.

I would also like to take a moment to wish my mom a happy birthday. She is my best friend, my strength when things get tough and I don't know what the kids and I would do without her. Happy Birthday, Mom!

I will be back Tuesday with a rant of sorts regarding a certain reality show that's become a real annoyance to me. Until then, may your days be sunny and your writing go forth and multiply.

I'm IT!

Well, I've put this off longer than I should have and, truth be told, I've been tagged more than once. But the first one came from Danette, and if you haven't been to her blog, you should definitely check it out.

1.  Do you think you're hot?  Smokin'.

2. Upload a picture or wallpaper you're using at the moment.

This picture provides a view of tidal flats and channels near Sandy Cay, on the western side of Long Island, and along the eastern margin of the Great Bahama Bank, on the islands of Bahamas. The continuously exposed parts of the island are brown, a result of soil formation and vegetation growth. To the north of Sandy Cay, an off-white tidal flat composed of carbonate sediments is visible; light blue-green regions indicate shallow water on the tidal flat. I find it gorgeous.

3. When was the last time you are chicken meat? Yesterday. Moo Goo Gai Pan from my favorite Chinese restaurant. Yummy.

4. The songs you listened to recently. Stuff by Adele, the Black Eyed Peas and Pink, among others.

5. What were you thinking as you were doing this? I'm constantly running "to-do" lists through my head. Some work related, some writing related, some neither. Like right now, I'm thinking about what I have to buy at the grocery store later.

6. Do you have nicknames? What are they? Red (because of my hair color), Wonder Tech (I'm such a geek at work) and Queen of Procrastination (this one I gave myself).

7. Tag five blogger friends (I know some of you have been tagged already, so feel free to ignore. I mostly just wanted to talk about you):
    1. Madeleine
    2. Old Kitty
    3. Rogue Mutt
    4. Kari Marie
    5. Erica & Christy

Who's listed as No. 1? Madeleine, whose poetry brightens my dreariest days.
Say something about No. 5 I love them both equally and that is why I've chosen to list them together. Their blog is both informative and fun.
How do you know No. 3? I've known RM longer than any of the others on the list. We "met" several years ago on writers.net. Despite his gruff exterior (although I think bulldogs are simply adorable) he's my most loyal commenter.
How about No. 4? We met through Rach's first Writer's Crusade. Her comments and blog always make me smile.
Leave a lovey-dovey message for No. 2 You're blog pictures warm my heart. Please give Charlie a big smooch from me.

Hope you all have a wonderful and productive weekend!

Super 8 - Review

The kids and I went to our local drive-in to see Super 8 over the weekend. Knowing it was about an alien and a train wreck, the tracks that run beside the drive-in's property line added to the ambiance.

I'll admit I went in with gigantic expectations for this one after reading some of the reviews. We're talking Steven Spielberg, after all, and a movie set in an era I grew up in (Side note: the soundtrack was money).

To say I was disappointed is too harsh because the storyline about the kids making a movie to enter into a local film festival I found very entertaining. There were a couple of terrific performances by young actors I'd never seen before (Elle Fanning and Joel Courtney) and the special effects were also phenomenal.

But unlike Stand By Me, one of my all-time favorites about a group of kids the same age as those in Super 8, I didn't care what happened to anyone by the end of the movie, including the alien. I couldn't have told you one character's name after the credits rolled (Another side note: make sure to stay for the credits because the kids' movie they were filming throughout is played in its entirety).

It's as if the editors axed all the character development scenes and left them on the cutting room floor.

This was Raiders Of The Lost Ark meets E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial meets Transformers and I didn't really connect with any of it.

Now, if you asked my kids for a review, they would say they loved it. There was no “down time” and it kept their attention throughout. But with the price of movies, I wish I would have waited for the DVD.

We Have A Winner!

I would like to congratulate Alison Miller of Left Brained By Day; Write Brained - All The Time on snagging a copy of Jandy Nelson's The Sky Is Everywhere. The pay it forward campaign is still alive!

I am in the middle of a beta read that I hope to finish over the weekend for the phenomenal Ray Rhamey and I've started The Giver as part of my Award Winning Reads Challenge. For next week's posts I plan on tagging a few people and hopefully reviewing Super 8 after seeing it at the drive-in on Saturday.

Anyone else have any fun plans for the weekend?

Where I Opine

Today, I would like to say Happy Book Birthday to Possession, the wonderful novel by Elana Johnson.

I had the pleasure of reading Possession last month when I received a copy from Simon & Schuster.

The book hooked me from the first page. The premise is original and the book had an ending I didn't anticipate. I love unpredictable finishes and this one left me wondering how long I'd have to wait to find out what ultimately happens to the MCs. I don't think I can stand it. It reminded me of how I felt as a youngin' watching Han Solo, frozen in carbonite, being whisked away to God knows where, and wait...I don't get to find out what happens? It's over? That's not fair! A wonderful frustration.

Elana is one of the most generous people I've come to know through blogging and I wish her the success she deserves with this fantastic first novel.

The second thing I wanted to address is the recent Wall Street Journal 
article titled Darkness Too Visible. Today I am commenting as a parent of a thirteen-year-old avid reader. 

No two children are the same, even in the same family. What one teen reads, another may not be ready for and I don't think every YA novel is appropriate for every teen. Age alone should not be the deciding factor. I also believe that no one should be able to decide what a child reads or doesn't read except that child's parent or guardian.

Writing about the darkness in the world does not encourage it, just as removing it from books would most certainly not discourage it.

I read a lot of YA, so it's easy for me to recommend books to my son that I think would interest him. I can usually answer questions that might come up about the subject matter, but if I can't, even better, we research it. What a great way to get a dialogue going with your teen!

I know many parents don't read at all, much less YA, but there are websites out there such as readingteen.net and parentalbookreviews.com that can help them make informed decisions if they would simply take the time to check them out.

I wonder what the writer of the article would recommend as a solution. Book ratings? Who should be appointed to decide how dark is too dark?

Let's just save everyone the trouble because we already have those systems in place. They're called parents. And in the words of Forrest Gump, “That's all I have to say about that.”

Award Winning Reads Challenge

Here's the deets. The challenge is to read as many Newbery and Printz award winners or nominees as you can squeeze in between Memorial Day and Labor Day- May 30th until September 5th.

There will be 4 levels of participation-

Level 1- Underachiever: Read 3 books

Level 2- Nerd: Read 6 books

Level 3- Brainiac: Read 9 books

Level 4- Teacher's Pet: Read 12 books

No matter which level you chose to participate in, you must read at least one book from each of the award lists. You can focus primarily on one or the other, but there must be at least one Printz honor/award and one Newbery honor/award.

And there are prizes, people! This is co-sponsored by Ashley at Books From Bleh To Basically Amazing and Jacinda at The Reading Housewives so I want to thank them both for this extra incentive to clear out my TBR stack.

I've signed up at the Brainiac level and the nine books I'm planning on reading are:
  1. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
  2. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  3. Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  4. Going Bovine by Libba Bray
  5. On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
  6. The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
  7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  8. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison 
  9. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
My kids have read several of these already and they were thrilled when I showed them my list. They immediately told me which ones I should read first and how much they liked this character or that one. I love to see them get excited about books. I hope they'll end up reading the ones they haven't already read yet too.

Have you read any of these? Did any of them make your favorites list? Are there any award winners I'm missing out on that I should add to my list?
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