"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hung Over, But Not in the Traditional Sense

Sorry this post is a little late, but I've had a really great week so far. Sunday, my husband convinced me to go see the new Wolverine movie. I'd resisted at first, as I figured it'd probably be horrible and I hate watching my favourite fictional character of all time get ruined on the big screen. (Not due to Hugh Jackman, I think he's a fantastic actor, but due to terrible script and plot choices). But I'd heard on the radio that it was actually a good movie so we went. And it was. I refuse to give spoilers but it was fantastic. Definitely go see it if you're a fan, or if you're not. It's that good.

Unfortunately, Wolverine has a rather strong effect on me, leaving me feeling buzzy and distracted for days after an encounter, whether it be cartoon, book, comic book or movie. There's something about him, always has been, that just gets under my skin and crawls around. It's pleasant and unpleasant at the same time, and I always want more even though I know it will just prolong the feeling. So, I texted a girlfriend and asked if she'd seen it, and volunteered to see it again with her. Which is what I did last night. And it was fantastic again.

But, I'm also buzzy and distracted again, unable to push him from my thoughts or concentrate on anything else. It's irritating and lovely and I'm already itchy to go back to the movies and visit him again. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, sorry this post is a little late and he's all I can talk about, and does anyone feel like going to the movies?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Book Review - Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World

Welcome to Monday and this week's book recommendation!



I picked this book up because of the title. I mean, come on! That's a great title. Who could resist a book that combined breakfast food and the apocalypse in just the title? I didn't even read the back, just picked it up and started reading. And it. Was. Fabulous. I read it within the span of two days, just couldn't put it down. It was exactly the kind of book I love. The kind you're willing to cancel plans for. So, what's it about? Not the apocalypse, at least in the traditional sense. It's about a boy named Stephen and the fateful day he realized he was in love with his best friend. A boy. It's a coming of age story in a tiny Nova Scotia town with a unique cast of characters, both past and present, that decorate Stephen's life. 

What did I love about this book? EVERYTHING. No, really. I did. The main character is so real and complicated, you feel for him with every ounce of your once high school angst ridden self. It's also kind of funny and strange and nerve wracking, as you root for him, longing with every page to see it all work out fine in the end. And does it? Well, I'm not one to spoil the ending. Just pick it up.

You can tell how well written it is by how real it is. I forgot all the time that it was written by a woman, I had just assumed it was largely autobiographical because the character's voice felt so real. The setting felt real. All the characters felt real. The writing is just... I loved it. What a lovely book. You simply must pick it up. It's too good to leave this one unread. Add it to your list, read it and then come back here and tell me your thoughts. Although I think we're going to be of the same opinion.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Limitless

Welcome to Friday and this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction! This week's prompt is limitlesss. If you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

Every time you think it's over, it just begins again. 
At first, it was a relief, the idea of eternity. But heaven or hell, it just goes on forever until finally, you realize they're one and the same. But there's no escape. It's what you signed up for, and now you have a very long time to contemplate your decision.

Okay, this one may have been a little dark, but it's the image that popped into my head at the word limitless. And you can't fight an idea that won't let go. So, I hoped you enjoyed it. If you'd like to read more Five Sentence Fiction, just follow the links below to read past editions. Don't forget to follow this blog and come find me on twitter, @MelanieKCole.

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Wisdom
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Locked
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Flight
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - View

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Getting Back on the Ball

For some people, traveling to Europe can really screw up their internal clock. Normally, I'd say I was the same, but I will admit that my recent trip to Paris did nothing of the sort. I was entirely jet lag free the whole time and returned to my home time zone with ease. (Amazing, I know. But it's true.)

No, what has been weirdly difficult is getting back on the ball. I can't seem to get blog posts done on time (aside from today's, finally!), I haven't managed to get my manuscript off to the editor when I'm practically jumping out of my skin I'm so excited to have her look at it and getting back on track at work has been an arduous undertaking. Sure, some of that was due to the usual work of laundry and such after a vacation, and true, my water heater did crap out on me as soon as we got home and leaked all over our basement, leaving me without water and an additional large expense when I really didn't need it. But I never post late on my blog! It's a point of pride for me. And not getting my manuscript off to the editor immediately? Say it ain't so! I should be wading around my basement in rubber boots, unshowered as I reread my final draft before stuffing it in an envelope and putting it in the mail.

The only explanation I can come up with, is that I'm still in vacation mode. You know what I mean. That head space where you sleep in, take life slow and stop for a three hour coffee/lunch whenever the mood pleases you. God, I love that head space! And it wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have a day job. But I've got to get back to it! So, even though I can't stand to let go of my Parisian attitude, I've got to buck up and get back to work. Because what I really want, (even more than a three hour lunch) is to see my book in print. And posting this on time is my first step.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Book Review - Allison Hewitt is Trapped

Welcome to Monday and this week's book recommendation!



I read this book a while ago (may have even mentioned it on this blog on one of my book lists) but I thought it deserved its own stand alone recommendation. To be honest, I love zombie things. I don't know why, I just do. I like zombie movies, video games, board games, books (obviously). The only problem is, they give me nightmares. (I know, I know, I'm like a nine year old that can't have sugar before bed time). So, my enjoyment of zombie flavoured entertainment is usually limited to broad daylight, well before nightfall, and usually with a few Disney movies thrown in afterwards for good measure. But even with my zombie handicap, I could not put this book down well before dark like I was supposed to. It was addicting, you just have to keep reading to find out what happens to Allison Hewitt and her comrades.

Okay, I better back up. Usually, I do the synopsis first. Here's all you need to know. The book centers around a girl named Allison Hewitt who, up until the zombie apocalypse, works in a bookstore where (after said zombie apocalypse) she and her coworkers get trapped. The book is written through a series of blog posts she sends out into the void in the hopes of rescue, as she and her friends battle for survival in their new zombie infested world. It's brilliant, very tongue in cheek, clever and doesn't take itself too seriously. Just the way I like it. 

As I mentioned at the start, the writing is fantastic. You're pulled in from page one and childish nightmares be damned, you'll keep reading until the end. The blog post idea gives the zombie genre a fun twist and the cast of characters is lovable, hate-able and very relatable. Even if you're not a zombie lover, I encourage you to give this one a try. It's funny, ridiculous and the perfect antidote to reality.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Wisdom

Welcome to Five Sentence Fiction Friday! This week's prompt is wisdom. If you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

The snake warned me not to do it. 
"What good is wisdom anyway? Stay here, in the garden, in paradise."
He made an appealing argument to my simple mind, but there was a pull inside, a need for freedom, a tingling of curiosity for that big red apple that was impossible to ignore.
My children often ask if I regret it, but I just look at the spark of intelligence in their eyes, smile and shake my head no.

I hope you've enjoyed this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. If you have, please share it with friends. If you're still hankering for more, just follow the links below to previous editions. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Locked
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Flight
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - View
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Blades

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


On Sunday night my husband and I returned from our trip to Paris. It was an amazing vacation. Obviously we didn't see it all (I think that's impossible in Paris), but we saw a lot. We wandered through side streets, hit the tourist hot spots, tried out what little French I'd managed to master before we left, and had a wonderful time in each others company. It was the best anniversary a couple could ask for.

There's just something about Paris. Its every avenue drips with history, every building, alley and doorway is something special. I did a lot of research before we left, which helped a lot when it came to understanding the etiquette of going into shops, ordering at restaurants and so forth. I've heard a lot of people say the French are rude or snobby but in my experience this couldn't have been further from the truth. Everyone I interacted with had impeccable manners. The French conduct themselves in a way that is just all together more classy. From the way they dress (no booty shorts or too tight tops or jeans, skank is not an embraced fashion choice there) to the way they talk in restaurants. In a tiny crowded bistro you never had to shout to be heard by your dinner companion. No one tried to talk over anyone else, there was a polite consideration for your fellow diners that you just don't see in North America. The difference was so pronounced that while we waited to board one of several flights home in Canada, I leaned over to my husband and whispered, "I miss the French." I'm a very proud Canadian so that tells you something.

Of course, the real star of Paris (after the history) is the food. Oh. My. God. The food. Everything was so fresh, with so much consideration put into the dishes, while at the same time being so startlingly simple. Being there for just that short time has taught me a lot about eating, about really enjoying my food and not settling for prepackaged garbage. Why have Doritos when you can have Pain au Chocolat? After such an extraordinary trip for my tastebuds I'm looking forward to simplifying, but also going for a slightly higher quality. And if I can find a bakery with good Pain au Chocolat, then I'll really be set.

Of course, our vacation curse struck again when we got home. (Every time we go on vacation, we come home and are struck by some kind of financial grenade). This time our water heater went kaput and leaked water all over our basement floor. So, that's getting replaced by the end of the week and we've been busy cleaning up and getting rid of the dank in our basement. (Which is also why this post is late). It's a financial expense we really don't need after a pricier vacation, but I'm not going to let it get me down. These things happen and this vacation was worth it!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Book Review - Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Welcome to Monday and this week's book recommendation!



Yes, I know! I know! The last horse finally crosses the finish line. People have been going on and on about this book for a while, and I finally had the chance to sit down and read it. And truthfully, I almost stopped after a few pages. You see, it employs a form of story telling that I generally hate. It tells most of the story through letters. So, when I saw that I almost put it down again. But, because everyone was so gaga for it I decided to soldier on and I'm so glad I did. It was fantastic.

This the story of Bee and the disappearance of her fantastically zany mother, Bernadette. It unravels the story through correspondence, as well as Bee's input, all the events leading up to and then following her mother's disappearance. It features a cast of crazy characters, secrets and honestly holds your attention right to the end. It's so juicy, it's like reading someone's diary. A very, very interesting someone. Even though I questioned the style at the start, I came to adore it after just a few pages. You'll see what I mean when you read it.

So, I'm glad I put my initial distaste aside and gave the book a real chance, because I loved it. It's just so damn clever! Pick it up yourself and give it a read, then come back and let me know what you thought of it. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Locked

Welcome to Friday and this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. This week's prompt is locked. If you'd like to find out what Five Sentence Fiction is all about, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

I pulled at the door, heaving on it with all of my body weight. I screamed and clawed at it, giving it one last hopeful rattle before sinking to the ground. It was all over now.
"Oh dear, was it locked?"
He was moving slowly, patiently, taking long enough that I looked down, noticed the glimmer of a broken bottle and picked it up. I smiled, maybe it wasn't over yet after all. 

Thus concludes another edition of Five Sentence Fiction. I hope you enjoyed this one, and if you did, let me know in the comments section, or share it with other people you think might enjoy it. If you're still hankering for more Five Sentence Fiction, just follow the links below to read previous week's editions. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - View
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Blades
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Home

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Beating the Heat - Old School

Lately we've had a string of gorgeous, sunny and very hot weather. And I've loved it. While a lot of people complain about the heat and retreat into the air conditioning, I relish it. We have such ridiculously long, cold winters, I love the chance to be too hot. I hold the memory dear to me throughout the winter, remembering that hot, sticky feeling, when the air waves around you like a warm bath. It's beautiful. Because I know that in just a few very short months it will be winter again.

I always shake my head when people complain about the heat, because more often than not those people have air conditioning, and they have it cranked. I'm sure they feel the same way about me in the winter, when I complain about the cold and keep the heat cranked, but such is life. I don't have air conditioning, and I wouldn't use it if I had it. I prefer to beat the heat the old fashioned way, with ice cream, electric fans and partial nudity. Yes, I find it much more fun to stand in front of a fan in my underpants eating a fudgsicle than have my house feel like the frozen foods section in the grocery store.

I realize, of course, that I'm strange. I know I'm not the norm, but I highly suggest that one day you just give it a try. See if you can appreciate the heat, store it in your bones for that icy cold day in winter when all hope seems lost. Maybe you'll find your own fun new way to beat the heat. Who doesn't remember those blissful days of childhood running screaming through the sprinklers? Do you remember how exhilarating that was? Why not try it again?

What about you? How do you beat the heat the old fashioned way?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday Book Review - Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Welcome to Monday and this week's book recommendation!



This is the story of Major Pettigrew, a retired major who's living a quiet existence in the village of Edgecomb St. Mary when he gets news of his brother's death. The loss of his brother brings two things: sorrow, and the hope that his father's guns will finally be reunited. On his father's death bed he separated his pair of antique hunting rifles between the two brothers, with the condition that they be reunited upon one or the others death. Major Pettigrew is determined to see his father's wish through, despite his sister in law and her family, as well as his own son's desire to sell the pair and reap the rewards. The death of his brother has yet another curious effect on the Major's life, it sparks a new friendship with Mrs. Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper in the village. Each of these new developments bring their own challenges and force him to question his own beliefs and morals.

I could go on and on about how much I loved this book. First of all, the main character, Major Pettigrew is the perfect, lovable old English gentleman. He has a rigid code of honour and good manners while remaining warm and tenderhearted. Not to mention the blossoming relationship between the major and Mrs. Ali will warm your heart. It remains throughout a lovable romp, a book I never wanted to end.

It's a wonderful story, filled with warm and social complexity with a cast of characters that make you never want it to end. If you're looking for a truly lovely read, you've found it.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Flight

Welcome to Friday! It's time for this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. Are you excited? I'm excited. This week's prompt is flight. If you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

So, it had come to this. There was only one way to be sure if they were real. No one else seemed to see them but her, and if they were right, if it was all in her head, then she didn't much care if she hit the pavement. 
She took a deep breath and stepped off the roof, screaming with terror at what she'd just done as she plummeted toward the ground. She threw her hands in front of her face and that's when the wings that no one else could see unfurled and stretched, caught the wind and lifted her into flight. 

Voila! I hope you liked it! I want to note right now, that this is just a story. It's not meant to be symbolic of depression, suicide or anything like that. Instead, it's merely a flight of fancy, of our imaginations being much more real than we realize. That said, I hope you enjoyed it and it inspires your own imagination to take flight. (Sorry to hit you over the head with it, but I've had a few previous stories really misinterpreted). If you'd like to read more Five Sentence Fiction, just follow the links below to read past editions. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - View
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Blades
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Home
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Oops

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Difference Between a Crappy Workplace and a Good One

The difference between a great place to work and a not so great place to work is pretty simple. Take this example from last week. Where my husband works, people are often condescending, insulting and there's a lot of yelling about not working hard enough or fast enough, none of which is great for an employee's morale. And then, there's where I work.

Last week, I was at my desk when I received a call. The man on the other end of the line abruptly started snarling about an invoice going to the wrong company, a mistake that was made by him when he ordered, not by us. I reminded him to always be clear about who he was ordering for when he called and... he lost his freaking mind. I sat in my chair, rigid with fury as he swore and insulted me. I asked him if there was anything else, and when he said no I promptly hung up on him.

Later, I was recalling the incident for my boss, mostly just to commiserate over what an ass he was, but something wonderful happened. Her face went white and her eyes got big as fury filled her features. She looked at me and said, "he said what to you?" I was touched that my boss could be so outraged at an asshole contractor screaming at me and went about my work feeling appreciated and generally pretty satisfied with the situation. But apparently, my boss wasn't.

Not long after I heard her on the phone with the same contractor, in a conversation that started like this: "Hi, yes I understand you talked to Melanie today and you weren't very nice..."

I listened from my desk with my mouth hanging open as my boss (very politely) informed him that no such thing had better happen again. Ever. Anyway, I think she made him feel pretty bad because within an hour flowers were delivered to our office for me from him with an apology note.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what makes a great workplace.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Monday Book Review - Sailor Twain

Welcome to Monday! A day made less painful by a weekly book recommendation by yours truly. Enjoy!

SAILOR TWAIN by Mark Siegel


I bring you this week, something a little different. This is a graphic novel. And it's brilliant. It really is. It's the story of Captain Twain and his encounter with a mermaid. I promise you, you'll never find a more imaginative and spell binding story of man, the sea and all the mysteries in between. I loved it. It was beautifully told and as I said before, seemed to be made of pure imagination. So mysterious, dark and enchanting. 

What I loved most about this book is not just the fantastic story, but the way Mark Siegel chose to tell it. I'm not usually a graphic novel sort of person (although I definitely dabble), but it was just the perfect format for this story. The drawing are simple, but beautiful, and I think it's because of this format that the story really leaps to that higher level. It haunts you (but don't worry, not in a bad way), not to mention becomes completely impossible to put down. I read it in a day, unable to stop even when I really should have put it down to get my work done. 

So, pick it up. That's all I have to say. It's a lovely book, definitely one of the best stories I've read in a while. Read it yourself and then comment below and let me know your own thoughts. Don't forget, if any of my suggestions remind you of another great book you think I, or others, would enjoy, let us know! I love getting book recommendations!