Posted in Pop Culture

MTM: Mud

If you haven’t seen Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter, SHAME ON YOU. If you would like to earn my forgiveness, please consider his new film, Mud. It is the tale of Mud, played by Matthew McConaughey.  He is a criminal who is on the run from the law. He meets two young boys, Ellis and Neckbone, and tells them his story and that he is looking for his love, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). After hearing his story, the boys decide to help Mud.

I have heard nothing but awesome reviews of Mud. I have always had a soft spot for Mr. McConaughey and even more so after his performance in Magic Mike last year (I love Mr. Tatum but Matthew stole the show). And I think we can all agree that we are a little more curious about Reese after her recent arrest. Here is the trailer for Mud. Have a great week!  

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Posted in Pop Culture

Why you should be reading young adult novels

I have mentioned before that I predominantly read young adult books. From The Hunger Games to the Matched trilogy that I just finished, I can’t get enough of them. I think that I am satisfying my inner teenager that feels cheated because these books weren’t out when I was their target audience.

With the successful box office numbers that Twilight and The Hunger Games have produced, all of Hollywood is getting in line to make some money with the teen reading demographic. Below are upcoming movies (and a television show!) that are based on novels of the same name:

  • Divergent-an ongoing trilogy by author Veronica Roth. The movie comes out next year and it stars Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) as Tris.

  • Delirium-another futuristic trilogy where you are cured of love (referred to as “Delirium”) at the age of 18. The television show will air this fall and stars Emma Roberts (Scream 4) as the lead.

  • The Maze Runner-James Dashner tells the story of a boy who wakes up in a box with no memory and becomes a part of a group of male teens that are trying to run their way out of a maze. This movie will come out next February and stars Dylan O’Brien (MTV’s Teen Wolf).

  • The Mortal Instruments-Cassandra Clare has written 5 Mortal Instruments stories involving the world of Shadowhunters Clary, Jace, and their friends. She has also written a prequel trilogy to this world, The Infernal Devices. The first Mortal Instruments tale, City of Bones, will be released this August in theaters. And it was just announced that The Infernal Devices will be made into films.

I am extremely excited about each and every one of these films. Warm Bodies succeeded earlier this year by being sweet and funny. But Beautiful Creatures and The Host both bombed. Let’s hope these filmmakers do justice to these deep and rich stories so that young readers will continue to read.

Posted in Pop Culture

MTM: Eden Lake

This weekend hubby and I watched Eden Lake. Eden Lake is a thriller about a couple who go away for a romantic weekend and encounter a gang of thug teenagers who end up terrorizing them. It is a movie that I had read about while searching for new horror films to watch. It was on a couple of top 10 lists and Rotten Tomatoes has it at 83% among critics (a very high rating for them). Nothing else was out that we wanted to see so we decided to take a chance on this film that stars Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class) and Kelly Reilly (Flight).

It was dark material and that turned hubby off. I understood why he didn’t like it but I appreciated how far the director and the story went. It is not a happy movie by any means but if you are looking for a suspenseful film that will keep you breathless in it’s entirety, Eden Lake is a good choice. Here is the trailer. Have a good week!  

Posted in Good Things

Lovely Day

 This year I decided to jump on the band wagon of doing good deeds for my 38th birthday. I have been depressed for a few years now and wallowing in my self pity has not only become a hobby, it became a part of me. I have always been somebody that didn’t want to be the victim but I let people and events bring me down. It has been hard to stay motivated and to let hope even enter my mind.

When I first read this blogger’s post about her doing 38 random acts of kindness for her 38th birthday, I was inspired. It warmed my heart that somebody would take a day where they are to be celebrated and turned it into showing others acts of kindness. The post became so popular that she created a website.

I also did some research on depression and found that many said that doing for others will help you feel better. I saw it as taking yourself out of your own troubles and helping others. At this point I was getting tired of my pity party of one and wanted to do something about it.

The first thing I did was to make a list of things I wanted to do that day. I had read another blogger who had also done the acts of kindness for her birthday and spent $1000. As lovely as that would be, that wasn’t going to happen for a stay at home mom who is on a budget. Below is what I did:

  1. Returned shopping carts at my local grocery store: Something so simple and only takes a minute

  2. Offered to help somebody with their groceries

  3. Gave a lady I came across a Redbox code for a free movie

  4. Gave a $5 gift card to pay for the person behind me in the Starbucks drive thru

  5. Gave a $5 gift card to the person behind me in line at my grocery store: The cashier guessed that is was my birthday-it thrilled me that I am not the only one doing something like this right in my own town

  6. Donated flowers to my local cemetery

  7. Donated dog and cat treats to an animal shelter

  8. Left some tennis balls at the dog park

  9. Cleaned up the bathroom (picked up trash off the floor) at my kids’ favorite park

  10. Picked up dog poop at same park (Yep, got down and dirty for my birthday)

  11. Gave each of my kids 3 quarters to hide in the playground area for other children to find

  12. Left a case of water at a busy basketball court

  13. Gave a bag of soda cans to somebody in line at the recycling center that I had collected for two months

  14. Left a free milkshake coupon at Del Taco

  15. Made cookies for Curls’ class

  16. Took laundry detergent to a laundromat

  17. Gave $2 in quarters to a man in need at the same laundromat

  18. Donated books to the library

  19. Left a bag of change to cover library dues

  20. Took the daily newspaper into Coco’s for patrons to read

  21. Left coupon for a free slice of pie at Coco’s

  22. Gave a bag of hand me downs to a friend

  23. Hid $1 bills throughout the dollar section in Target

  24. Gave somebody a $5 Target gift card

  25. Left coupons at Target and Winco: This was Curls’ favorite good deed. She treated it like a treasure hunt, trying to find the item in the store and placing the coupon so somebody could find it. She asked if we could do it every week.

  26. Returned shopping carts @ Target

  27. Took cookies to my neighbor

  28. Also brought in her trash cans

  29. Complimented a stranger:

    So easy and I loved leaving people with a smile on their faces!

  30. Picked up trash: Curls helped me with this

  31. Let kids eat what they want

  32. Let kids listen to what they want to in the car on the way to pick up their Dad from the airport (a 45 minute drive): I was rewarded by being told they wanted to listen to Imagine Dragons and fun.-HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! 

  33. Left a generous tip at dinner

  34. Let somebody go in front of us in line

  35. Bought Curls her own pack of gum to keep in her purse: Anybody who is a parent knows what a good deed this is-especially when said child is five

  36. Red chose where to go to lunch.  Which considering that he loves Taco Hell makes for a really good deed.

  37. Opened the door for others
  38. Told everyone I encountered, “Have a good day!”

At the end of the day I was mentally and physically exhausted. But I also had a smile on my face. I found myself feeling happier and lighter.  My interaction with strangers throughout the day was positive.  I told my kids “yes” more than “no.” I smiled at others without thinking about it. So at the end of the day I have to say that I have taken one step away from depression and one step closer to enjoying my life, no matter what is thrown at me.

I will leave you with “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers.  Hope you have a good one.

Posted in Pop Culture

MTM: Catching Fire

     If you haven’t bought a ticket to ride the train of awesome known as The Hunger Games series, here is my advice: DO IT NOW. Suzanne Collins’ world of teens fighting for their lives in a game formed by a dystopian government will grab you in a way where you will be hiding just trying to finish the trilogy of books. When you are done go out and rent The Hunger Games starring Jennifer Lawrence as heroine Katniss. She is perfect as the rebellious but unselfish girl who becomes a symbol for the revolution. The sequel to The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, comes out this November and 7 months never seemed so far away. I don’t have hope that the movie will be just as good as the first, I know it will be. Here is the trailer that premiered last night on the MTV Movie awards. Have a great week!

Posted in Word Therapy

Anatomy of a story

When I was a movie critic I tried not to read other reviews of a movie because it almost always ended up skewing my opinion of a film. As much as I would have my own views on a movie after I watched it, that voice from a review would always worm it’s way in.

Now that I am writing a book, I find that I am taking traits from other characters that I love from stories that I have read and inserting them into my creations. I will either catch it right from the beginning or a day or two later. They say that nothing is original is these days and now I understand why. It is not my intention to do this, but when you read as much as I do and become thoroughly attached to these characters, they stick around long after I have finished a book.

I am more aware of this now that I have caught myself a few times. I adjust my world and the people who live in it. The characters that I hold near and dear to my heart now sit on my shoulders and guide me as I write. They are asking what are the motivations, are they good or bad, so on and so on. They will always be there and new ones will continue to join them. Because one thing I have found as a writer, the minute I stop reading is the minute I lose inspiration.