Guest Post by Bradley Corbett a.k.a. Green Embers

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I had a fantastic week off and was able to finish and start some wonderful books.  Despite the fact that it’s Monday and only having around four hours of sleep last night, I’m feeling surprisingly energetic.  But that’s a good thing because today I have the pleasure of welcoming Bradley Corbett a.k.a Green Embers to Books & Such!  This busy man has three blogs very worthy of your time and attention so stop by and enjoy!  Thanks so much, Bradley, for being on Books & Such!

http://greenembers.wordpress.com/
http://greenembersrecommends.com/
http://www.romeconstructioncrew.com/

The Fun of Horror in Films!

I am very humbled and honored that Teri asked me to write a guest post for her amazing blog. (Hopefully you all don’t go running and screaming away… although thinking about it I was asked for a horror theme… so feel free to run and scream at the mere sight of me.)

I am not a huge horror fan but some of my fondest memories come from watching horror movies. There was one place where my roommates and I decided to further my horror education. The ultimate goal was to watch Freddy vs. Jason. At the time I had seen very few movies that you could classify as horror.

My horror education began with watching all the Friday the 13th movies and then moving on to watching the entire Nightmare on Elm Street films. We did this over the course of about two weeks, which turned out to be an incredibly fun activity. We would start formulating the different rules of horror while watching the show. She showed her boobs, that mean she gonna die (yup almost every time). A character being a slut (guy or girl), you know he/she is gonna die. (At the time I hadn’t seen the Scream movies but that came soon after).

I also discovered something during this run of horror. These movies weren’t scary. They were gory, yes but not really scary. If anything they were more like comedies/thrillers to me. Now these Japanese horror films, I find them scary (The Ring kept me up for days and I never view static on the television the same again). After finishing this marathon, we did watch Freddy vs Jason and it was great! Makes me sad they never did get around to making Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash (this was going to be a real thing from my understanding).

After it was over we decided to go on with our horror marathon. We watched the Child’s Play movies which started out trying to be serious but by the time Bride of Chucky came around it had morphed into Dark Comedy. (I would imagine seeing these as a kid would be pretty scary). Then after that was over we watched the Scream trilogy (the fourth one had not been made at that time) which was fantastic. It was a horror movie spoofing horror movies but in a subtle way. It was the perfect way to cap off that horror marathon run.

Several years later my good friend and I decided to go catch the Friday the 13th reboot in theaters. I would have to say that was one of the most enjoyable times that I have ever spent in the theater. It was opening night and normally I get annoyed if the crowd talks during movies but something else happened. We would scream and laugh together. The sense of the group excitement was just all around fun and seemed almost magical. The movie might not have been the best but that was one of my most fun experiences in theater and all because of the crowd.

I look at what the horror genre has become though and it makes me kind of sad. The gore and torture porn has been increased significantly and the fun has vanished. We’ve also seen the rise of more intense, psychological suspense/horror films where they try to keep a lower rating (PG-13 <- a United States thing) so they decrease the gore but up the intensity. I’m fine with this as I think these movies are truly scary. The dynamic has changed and maybe it is nostalgia speaking but I miss those corny horror movies of yesteryear.

Thanks again Teri for having me as a guest blogger!

Giveaway Winner and a Movie

Congratulations to Allura of http://teacupsandbookends.wordpress.com/ for winning a copy of Wink by Eric Trant!

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On a totally unrelated topic, my son and I saw City of Bones this weekend and, looking at the box office numbers, we were among the few who did.  I’ve been a fan of this series for several years and had high hopes for this movie, but due to some serious miscasting (Magnus Bane in particular) and less than stellar acting, I was ready to get up and leave far before the end of the movie, but we stuck it out.  A huge disappointment and I doubt there will be a second movie, but that’s just my opinion.  Anyone else see it?

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Holidays and Dysfunctional Families

If your family is a little dysfunctional, keep on reading.  If not, you may be delusional, so admit you’re wrong and still keep on reading.  When you get right down to it, whose family isn’t somewhat dysfunctional in some way?  It really makes the holidays more interesting, in my opinion.

My all time favorite dysfunctional TV family is the Bluths from Arrested Development.  If you’ve never seen the show (which was canceled far too early for reasons beyond my understanding), watch the first three   seasons and the new episodes airing in 2013, all on Netflix, before the movie comes out.  The writing is some of the best out there, as was the series, and I’ve snorted a drink through my nose more than once while watching it.  Good times.

As for movies, the Griswolds from any of the Vacation movies, but primarily Christmas Vacation, are my favorite.  Watching Christmas Vacation is a family tradition at my house.  For Mother’s Day this year, my oldest son gave me a card where he even worked in a reference to “Shi**er’s full!”  Now that’s talent, in my opinion.  The family from Little Miss Sunshine comes in a close second.  Say what you will about dysfunctional families, but when they all get up on stage to dance with the little girl at the end, that’s just good old-fashioned love and support – mixed in with a little bit of crazy.

Two books featuring dysfunctional families are on my list to read – The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson, in   which the performance artist parents use their children – child A and child B – in their performances,  and Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs, a true story about a mother who gives her son away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist, who bears a striking resemblance to Santa Claus.  I’ve heard good things about both and they look to be some entertaining reading.

I think everyone’s family is a little screwed up in some way – it’s just measured by degrees of crazy – so just let your family freak flags fly (dare you to say that fast five times).  Julia Sugarbaker of Designing Women said it best:

Julia: I’m saying this is the South. And we’re proud of our crazy people. We don’t hide them up in the attic. We bring ’em right down to the living room and show ’em off. See, Phyllis, no one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family. They just ask what side they’re on.
Phyllis: Oh? And which side are yours on Mrs. Sugarbaker?
Julia: Both

Due to the holiday next week, I won’t be posting, so everyone have a Happy Thanksgiving, dysfunctional or not!

What’s Halloween Without Vampires?

I absolutely love horror movies and books.  In my opinion, you can’t celebrate Halloween without some vampires, be they in the form of trick or treaters, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, or 30 Days of Night.  Today’s post will compare two of the most recent popular vampires, Edward Cullen of Twilight and Matthew Clairmont of A Discovery of Witches.  There are more vamps out there – don’t even get me started on the Salvatore brothers (Team Damon!) – but I’ll stick to books.

I read Twilight by mistake.  For those of you laughing, it’s true.  Right before all the hype, I picked up the    book and saw that it was about vampires and werewolves (what’s not to like?) and was hoping to get my son to read it.  Later that day, I read a few pages just to see what it was like – then was finished by the next afternoon.  Yes, I then jumped on the party boat and drank all the Kool-Aid they had to offer.  I read the other three books and have seen all the movies.  In my defense, I’ve been a vampire lover all my life, so I guess you could say I was predisposed.  I’m a huge fan of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, Anne Rice’s Interview With a Vampire Series, F. Paul Wilson’s Midnight Mass, Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse Series, and loved Chris Sarandon in the original Fright Night movie, although Colin Farrell was great considering what he had to work with.

The summer of 2011, I came across Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches and it included witches (obviously), vampires, and daemons – again, what’s not to like?  I won’t go into the whole plot in this post because I’ll probably do another about this amazing series.

Let’s start with age – Edward Cullen is 17 or over 100, depending on how you look at it.  Matthew Clairmont is mid 30’s or several hundred years old.  Both are described as extremely good-looking or even beautiful, Edward with his amber-colored eyes (animal diet and all) and bronze hair, and Matthew the physical opposite, all dark eyes and hair (with a diet of human blood, copious amounts of wine, and some actual food).  But Matthew doesn’t sparkle in the sun or read minds – a definite plus if you ask me.  Both are wealthy and well-educated, having several different degrees.  They’ve both obviously had a hell of a lot of time to accumulate wealth and pursue intellectual interests.  Somewhere in the Twilight series, it’s mentioned that Edward has been to medical school, more than once I believe.  Matthew is a geneticist, among other things, but I’ve always been a sucker for books having to do with genetics or genetic engineering.  Makes for some interesting conversations.  Neither, upon first meeting them, portrays the “typical” vampire traits you might expect – they’re not in full out attack mode or anything – but both are able to call on some superhuman strength and other abilities when needed.  Any girl could appreciate that, I think.

I won’t say which vamp I think is the better choice because I liked both these series for entirely different    reasons and they each have their own niche in the literary world.  Anyway, enjoy your Halloween – preferably with vampires included – but if not them, at least zombies, werewolves, mummies, or witches!