Top 10 Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Today’s Topic: TOP 10 FAVOURITE TV SHOWS

I’ve been meaning to start doing these for a few weeks now, and considering this week is actually a departure from books is an ironic note to start on. I’m starting, nonetheless. Here’s my list! (in no particular order)

UnknownSHERLOCK

The casting is clever, the dialogue quick and full of wit. I hate that the seasons are so short but I can’t wait to see the return of Moriarty. My favourite relationship in this one is between Sherlock and Mycroft. I agree that Elementary is good at showcasing the stories of Sherlock Holmes as well, but the actors, music and fast-paced stories win me over every time (in case I was forced to choose). Benedict Cumberbatch wins. Every time.

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THE WALKING DEAD

Sunday nights, this is what I’m doing. October cannot come soon enough. The stories, the people, the tragedy, the themes. The show is so well done. We’re getting down to people that I’m afraid to lose now, though. And I can’t wait to see how they get out of that train car.

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HOMELAND

I’m not even caught up with this one…waiting for season three to come out on Netflix. I can’t wait to see Brody die. I keep watching so intently because I know that it’s coming. I just wonder what’s going to drive Carrie as nutty afterwards…I’m interested to find out though.

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ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK

I am a binge watcher. After the new season got released, I was through it within three days. I convinced myself that I was watching while working, but not much got done those days. The characters are interesting and troubled (of course, they are incarcerated), based in truth, and as much as you hate some of them (still not a fan of Alex), there are elements that redeem them enough to invest in their story. The end of season two was so fantastic, all of the emotion pent up from Rosa’s news was balanced with the karma put upon Vee…fan-tas-tic.

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SUITS

This show fills the void left from Boston Legal. It’s smart and interesting. Shows the darkness of people – high stress, thinking outside the box. Intelligence is cool and I love that.

Donna and Louis Litt – love, love, love.

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FRANKLIN & BASH

Another law-based drama. Perhaps I have a type? This one is funny, the supporting characters add so much to the focus of the show. And the throwback to my generation of Saved by the Bell and Clueless – these boys are still cute.

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REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER

Again, with the smart. Bill Maher is intelligent, opinionated and I love watching his show. (I fall asleep to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Monday through Thursdays too).

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MODERN FAMILY

Al Bundy as a put upon step dad.
Phil Dunphy.
Cameron Tucker.
no more words.

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THE BIG BANG THEORY

One of the only two sitcoms on the list. I have a fondness for Sheldon because I have a small Mr. Cooper living with me. The Nerdy version of Friends, in lots of ways, I enjoy the interactions and the personality quirks and the trouble, embarrassment and muddling through.

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DOWNTON ABBEY

I watch this one when it comes out on Netflix. I watch it for the stories. I love reading historical fiction, and I assume that’s why I enjoy this one. It’s the quiet humour, the ‘way things are’, the conventions, the scheming and the terribly tragedies that result in heartbreak, upset and then, the ability to carry on.

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CRIMINAL MINDS

Spencer Reed. Penelope Garcia. The awkwardness and the raw ability.
And, the words at the beginning and end. I’m a sucker for those as well.

THE ONES I MISS THE MOST:
These are the shows that I loved so much when they were on and missed them when they left.

Boston Legal. Denny. Denny Crane.
Friday Night Lights. Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose.
The Big C. So much emotion.
Breaking Bad. ‘yo. (at least Better Call Saul is coming)
House. Everybody lies.

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Ask the Passengers

It feels good to love a thing and not expect anything back.

Ask-the-PassengersAsk the Passengers  by A.S. King

How it begins: Every airplane, no matter how far it is up there, I send love to it.

This is a story about a teenager unsure about herself, unsure about her family, unsure about her friends – who finds strength in laying down on a picnic table she and her pot-smoking dad built, staring at the planes flying overhead and sending them love. Conjuring up goodness and setting it free into the universe. I loved the action, and believed in the intentions of poor, scared, confused, different Astrid. I found the story so empowering, considering this closeted teenage lesbian, facing a difficult, uncontrolled public outing, and a family so self-absorbed that they could hardly offer any help or the love that certainly could have cushioned the mess that took over – but dear Astrid still found love to send away. It is later revealed that her actions were guided by her feeling that her love was not needed in her life directly, and what a shame to waste it, so she sent it away. The sentiment is beautiful. The action is important. If nothing more is taken from this story than the goodness that comes from having the strength to wish others well, the ability to channel goodness and silently offer it to the universe and the patience to wait and see who you really are – that’s enough. A few appearances from Socrates spoke to my own heart…there is great growth that comes from questions and conversations and considering how your beliefs find you placed in the world.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

The most random things get her way too full of love.

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Where’d you go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

How it begins: The first annothing thing is when I ask Dad what he things happened to Mom, he always says, “What’s most important is for you to understand it’s not your fault.”

This book sat on my reader for a long time before I started reading it and after finishing it, I had wished I had read it sooner. Although the cover doesn’t necessarily suggest Young Adult in genre, the story fits there, I think. With themes of family and independence, fitting in and standing out, the characters face typical growing up challenges with atypical actions. Crazy comes out of the woodwork and through the blackberry vines. Antarctica helps Bernadette remember her purpose, her importance and her own possibilities that have not passed her by. Bee knows to never give up on the mother who stays inside, hates everyone and would do anything for her daughter.

The set up of the story is interesting, the delivery is engaging and the characters are laugh-out-loud funny. There were a few developments that I would have rather done without, but they made sense and they made the entire story even more real.

This is a read that will make you feel, make you laugh, make you connect and make you want to savour the words, the message and the little bit of crazy we all carry that tends to make the world go ’round.

So proud of him

If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing. — Coco Chanel

photoIn a past life, Michael was a chef. He was so good…he still is, but that lifestyle was not one that we really wanted to continue to embrace. Too many hours, a lot of stress, too much missing out on things that kept going on when he wasn’t here. It was fun, it was the atmosphere we met in. And like I said…he is talented. I think part of that was natural talent, and the other part is his insane ability to think about so many things at the same time.

We got older and priorities changed. The family grew and it was more important to be home on weekends and at night.

He went back to school. We were so proud to watch him get his degree last week. I was taking pictures and Jack was clapping, even when he wasn’t supposed to. He gives our boys someone to look up to. And although we do not believe that formal education is the most essential element in a successful life, we do believe that you should aim yourself towards something that interests you, work hard for the things you want to achieve and never let anyone tell you you can’t do it.

As the four of us sat in the drizzle, right up at the front to watch the most important man in our lives walk across the stage for a piece of paper that represented hard work and a journey towards something better, something more fulfilling, something meaningful to him and to us, we were so excited to watch and proud to have just been there.

He has already started with new classes, onto the next goal of a Masters…from Harvard. Yep, that Harvard. Can’t wait for that graduation ceremony!

Mortal Instruments [Series]

That which was new was almost always temporary. And that which was temporary broke your heart.

instrumentsCity of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

I read the first five books in this series about a year ago. It took me about five days to finish the final book. That’s because it’s a busy time and it’s a long book, not because I didn’t like it.

This book tied up so many story lines from the previous instalments and incorporated the characters from the Infernal Devices series by Clare. I loved the subtle tie-ins, probably because I enjoyed the other series so much (maybe even better than this one). My biggest problem reading this book was having my thoughts drift back to the movie that came out last summer about the first movie. I found it to be a complete disappointment. It’s not that I dislike any of the actors in it per say, but I didn’t think that any one of them, except maybe Simon, were cast well, and while reading, I kept thinking about these actors in these situations and it became muddled and difficult. I wish I had never watched the movie because the pictures in my head were so much different.

City of Heavenly Fire was a lovely closer to the series. Love and loss, family and friendship — the themes are enjoyably woven together with the hardships and the sacrifices the story takes. The characters come to an end with a sense of hope and thoughts of keeping on.

Perhaps when I get through my TBR pile, I’ll revisit the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders. For now, I’m ready to leave them behind. Perhaps I’ll start again with the next series coming from Clare, with some of the characters introduced in the final book of this one. I’m eagerly awaiting the dramatic death of the Seelie Queen. I hope it’s coming. She is wicked and terrible and needs to die….don’t you agree?

Love Letters to the Dead

I think a lot of people want to be someone, but we are scared that if we try, we won’t be as good as everyone imagines we could be.

18140047Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

How it begins: Dear Kurt Cobain,
Mrs. Buster gave us our first assignment in English today, to write a letter to a dead person.

Quick read. I found a number of passages came with particular impact, on the high side for typical YA reads. The story was cute, but kind of typical and not that difficult to predict. There were a lot of similarities to both The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Sky is Everywhere. Both books I loved, so that’s ok, but I found myself spending too much time comparing the stories, the characters, the styles. I love letters and I think telling a story with them is interesting and carries great potential. I write them in my head all the time. The dead people who Laurel write to represent great things in history which adds depth and interest to the storyline.

Overall, a cute read, but if you’ve already read the the other two books I mentioned you may find yourself thinking you’ve read parts of it before.

his idea

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My biggest boy (now eight and a half) is not what I would call a feeling kinda guy. He is rational, fact-based and analytical. Yes, think Sheldon Cooper. Books and math and science and puzzles and building stuff are his thing. People and new stuff and spontaneous actions, not so much.

When Jump Rope for Heart stuff came home, it was Jack who decided that the three boys should pool their efforts and fundraise as a team. These days kids can earn prizes for raising different levels of money. Alex is into the prizes. Jack is into the numbers. The idea was embraced by all three of them. Jump rope is on Thursday at school and so far, going door to door the boys have gathered $425 in pledges. Our social butterfly goes to the door behind his big brother and dares not communicate with the strangers who open the door. Charlie rings the bells or knocks on the door and then loses interest. Jack, my normally reserved boy stands up straight, says his piece about the Heart and Stroke, and has come leaps and bounds towards meeting the target. His dad and I have been so surprised and feel so very proud of our boy, who gives us worry with his lack of interest in social ways for his whole life.

When Jack found out that one of his friends since junior kindergarten had cancer, he was very introspective. We talked about it a lot and I could always see the wheels turning. Every couple of days he would have a new few questions that I would answer as best as I could and he seemed to be satisfied. I knew, however, that he was worried about his friend. He felt her absence in the classroom.

Recently he explained to me that hospitals and doctors have made great advances since the days of Terry Fox. I told him he was right. He told me he was still worried about his friend. I told him that I was too.

Different events and fundraisers have been started to help Grace’s family, so I’m guessing that is what gave Jack reason to keep at developing his own plan. My determined and smart little boy decided that he was going to raise money on his own (he would let his brothers help) for Grace. He is going to sell cotton candy. He has me on making tags, his dad will be on cotton candy making duty and we’ll all be going door to door to see how we can help his friend and her family in this difficult time.

Kids are strange little creatures. Every day comes with new discoveries – about them, about you. Today I’m a proud mom. And as much as I worry about him, I hope the world has good things in store for him because he has such good things to offer the world.

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He’s started a blog. Adventures with Jack. Who knows where he’s going to go with that.

thirty days in one

if i try to stretch it out over a month, it will never get done, so here’s the 30 day book challenge in one.

01: Best book read last year
A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

02: Book you’ve read more than three times
The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran

03: Favourite Series
Harry Potter – JK Rowling

04: Favourite book of series
Prisoner of Askaban

05: Book that makes you happy
Bird by Bird – Anne Lammott

06: Book that makes you sad
Have a Little Faith – Mitch Albom

07: Book that makes you laugh
Dad is Fat – Jim Gaffigan

08: Most overrated book
Room – Emma Donogue

09: Book you thought you wouldn’t like but did
A Reliable Wife – Robert Goolrick

10: Book that reminds you of home
House Rules – Rachel Sontag

11: Book you hated
Can’t answer; if I hate them, don’t finish them

12: Book you love and hate at same time
Looking for Alaska – John Green

13: Favourite Writer
Anne Lammott

14: Book turned movie – completely desecrated
Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen

15: Favourite Male Character
Charlie – Perks of Being a Wallflower

16: Favourite Female Character
Lennie – The Sky is Everywhere – Jandy Nelson

17: Favourite Quote from a favourite book
“Rivers know this– there is no hurry, we will get there someday” Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
(I could go on for a day with this category)

18: Book that Disappointed
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

19: Favourite book turned movie
Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
I almost never like movies made from books, this one I hated least.

20: Favourite romance
Crossfire Series – Sylvia Day

21: First novel you remember reading
Charlotte’s Web – EB White

22: Book that makes you cry
We were the Mulvaneys – Joan Carol Oates

23: Book you’ve wanted to read for a long time, still haven’t
Where’d you go, Bernadette – Maria Semple

24: A book you wish more would have read
When God was a Rabbit – Sarah Winman

25: A character you can relate to the most
I don’t read to relate, so this one is hard…

26: Book that changed your opinion about something
This is How – Augusten Burroughs

27: Most surprising plot twist/ending
The Giver – Lois Lowry

28: Favourite title
It’s not usually the title that gets me, it’s the dedication or the first line.

29: A book everyone hated but you liked
I don’t know…who is everyone and what book did they hate?

30: Favourite book of all time
There are so many favourites…
Oh! The Places You’ll Go – Dr Seuss
Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott
This is How – Augusten Burroughs
The Sky is Everywhere – Jandy Nelson
The Beginning of Everything –  Robyn Schneider
A Visit from the Good Squad – Jennifer Egan
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
….

Under the Never Sky [series]

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UNDER THE NEVER SKY series by Veronica Rossi

3 novels, 2 novellas

Roar and Liv (novella)
How it begins: I make my move when the tribe is asleep.

Under the Never Sky
How it begins:
 They called the world beyond the walls of the Pod “the Heath Shop.”

Through the Ever Night
How it begins: Aria was here.

Brooke (novella)
How it begins: The breeze that wafts by me is deceptive.

Into the Still Blue
How it begins: 
Aria lurched upright, the echo of gunshots ringing in her ears.

A world has been devastated by electrical storms and divided into communities, those who have heightened senses and live outside and those who live in pods and experience nothing first hand, rather through an interactive glass that allows them to learn about the world in basic isolation, in the drab pods they call home, and at the same time in the vivid environments they have created in the cyber-real.

I finished this series in six days. A relationship a little more heated than the typical YA pairing, Perry and Aria are fighting for their own survival, and the survival of their friends while experiencing loss at the highest levels.

If you enjoyed Hunger Games or Divergent, you’ll like this one. Just like the ‘Birthmarked’ series, this one is a little less known but just as good, as far as I’m concerned.

CW Challenge : Day 21

A COUPLE

for she, who loved this garden
from he, who loved her so
carved out words on a worn out bench
that echo of long ago

the flowers grow without her care
the weeds now share the space
the garden’s changed without her there
the bench reserves her place

he used to come and breathe them in
with memories of then
he made the bench to busy his hands
and to help him remember when

they used to sit, she used to read
he used to touch her hair
she left this world before he did
they knew it wasn’t fair

he built the bench to sit with her
because she loved it so
and when he followed her back home
the garden continued to grow

and the spots they sat stayed empty
and the blooms they tended passed
and the garden missed them when they went
and their time went all too fast

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge