Tuesday, 6 June 2017

A Court of Mist and Fury - Sarah J Maas Review ACOTAR Series

I've literally just finished reading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas and I don't know what to say... I don't know what to feel.

I am overwhelmed by emotion. I'm happy, sad, thrilled, joyful, tearful excited, it seems every emotion under the sun has decided to accompany me.

Sarah J Maas is a wonderful writer. She has an incredible way of painting peoples feelings and thoughts in her words and the rawness of the senses oozing from the characters is divine.

The web of questions and lies that was spun throughout book 2 was intriguing and a joy to read. I never once predicted what might happen, which was a pleasant change and I was overjoyed at the growth of the characters throughout. I found myself rooting for particular characters and hoping upon hopes that the good guys where actually good ones, and bad guys where actually bad, and that I wasn't just falling into some webbed trap that Maas managed to spin me into! (Of course I did fall  - very hard!)

Another thing I fell very hard for is Rhysand. Maas has a bloody good way with words and dang, Rhys seems like a god. His carved muscles, his God-like powers marred with his soft cat like purr of a voice and his deep, violet gaze. The picture painted is a rather pretty one I must say. Even in his darkest moments I failed to not love him and later on in the book he becomes more, incredibly appealing. - if it's possible. Of course you'll have to read it to find that one out ;)

Feyre has grown particularly interesting as the story leads on. Her power as a female have taken a gigantic turn since book one.
I love how much of a female warrior presence she has. As opposite as chalk and cheese, from the the pitiful damsel in distress portrayed in Book 1 (A Court Of Thorns And Roses)
Don't get me wrong the first book of this series was good, but perhaps not good enough to really pull you into this one. Which I wholeheartedly tell you, you must read. Even if you only slightly liked the first. Thank me later.

That's really all I can muster right now, I feel like I might be able to write a whole library about how much I liked this series (especially book two) so far. But for now I have delved much too far into the lives of the Fae that I want to become Fae and its affecting my real world life.

Now that, is the sign of a good book.


Till we speak again.
J4ZZ

P.S. Book 3 Arrives tomorrow... Eeeee!!
P.P.S. This series has come in at number 2 on my top books/series list. That means it has managed to top The Hunger Games Trilog!!. That is such a great feat because I have read, and reread, those 3 beautiful books so many times that they have become part of me. It's impressive.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Mrs Toaster and the... Toaster - A Short Story

Mrs Toaster is a very well dressed lady with the air of intelligence. Little did I know, looks can be very deceiving. Although customer service is partly trying to read a person by just their body language and looks... It teaches me to judge a book by its cover.

Mrs toaster walks into the shop on a sunny Monday morning, bright and breezy. She marched straight through the shop and down to the back of the store where she was greeted by myself. A short, young faced girl, smiling invitingly.

"Good Morning! May I help you with anything in-store today?" I said with a happy tone that shouldn't be acceptable on Mondays.
Mrs Toaster seemed slightly taken back by my enthusiasm to help, which leads me to think she hasn't shopped here before — this is what we are always like.
 "Hello, umm, yes I need a new toaster" she said in a very soft voice that I wouldn't have matched to her overall appearance. But replied promptly.
"Certainly, we have all our toasters on display down this left hand side, shall we have a look?"
"Yes" she agreed.

My general impression of Mrs Toaster at this moment was that she was a well put together woman, had a bit of money to spend on herself as she had nice hair, clothing and nails and a generally decent level of intelligence judged from our conversation so far. Of course I was judging a lot on a small amount of information but in customer service you have to try work a customer out — work out how you should talk to them.... But how wrong first impressions can be.

I get full flow in to the typical exchange between the customer and I, asking specific questions to work out what she was actually looking for today. Some customers come in and have no idea what they want,  so you have to probe them with questions that make them think about it.
Others, well, they've seen and specific item somewhere on the TV or website so of course you definitely sell it (the screen said so, so it's true, and you know nothing shop worker)!

 "Were you looking for a particular colour or have a preference to a metal or plastic toaster today or looking for one to match your current kettle?" I asked expecting her to be very efficient and know exactly what she was looking for. I was surprised to get her reply.

 "Well, actually" she paused in thought for so long I think she drifted off the planet "I need a new toaster because mine is dirty."
I'm immediately stumped and my mind goes into asking itself a spiral of questions, sifting through each one trying to  decide which one wasn't a stupid reply.

I decide to go ahead with a question that popped into my mind. (Though I hoped it wouldn't offend her) I'm wondering if this lady is really dippy or just uneducated on good toaster maintenance.

"How old is the toaster?" I asked. I pushed my luck further by enquiring whether she had tried wiping it over with a damp cloth. To my surprise she almost ignored the questions but picked up on the last part and replied in a lazy-like tone
 "Well, I  haven't got as far as cleaning it yet, I just noticed a lot of crumbs in the bottom that I couldn't reach to dust out, and I wanted it clean you know?"

I'm stood here, with a customer who's had her hand inside a toaster trying to reach crumbs... In a toaster that she said she hadn't got round to cleaning yet... How did this lady make it to her mid 50's without being electrocuted? At this point I decide to take the situation in hand and describe the basics of toaster maintenance and electricity to Mrs Toaster.  She seems utterly flummoxed at the fact that toasters had removable crumb trays and that you should remove the plug from electricity if you want to do anything inside of it. Though she takes the information gratefully, she precedes to say one of the stupidest thing I think I've ever heard a customer say EVER.

" Oh really?" (About the toaster tray) " I haven't seen it before! I thought I had to run it under the tap to give it a rinse out"



Silence. Mrs toaster had resumed looking at the styles of all our toasters and I'm just stood there looking a bit thick. Is this woman having me on and I am rising to the bait... no? She is utterly confident in her answer and there is no mockery in her tone. But I just don't know. It's so hard to believe someone with 50 years of life experience could really consider WASHING a toaster a good idea. I'm struggling not to show my frustration and run my hands over my face, slapping my forehead to try and kick my brain into a new gear to deal with the stupidity that stood before me.

"Never, EVER, get water near your toaster. Never leave it plugged in when you wipe it with a DAMP (not wet) cloth and don't ever poke metal things in it to clean it" I am literally sounding like this woman's mother. And it bother me that I'm half her age and I know this. It bothers me that she never learnt it from her parents in the first place. It bothers me that she has been so sheltered that she's never HAD to learn the basic rules of electricity.

From here you might think the whole situation got better. But it got worse.

After pondering the above statement for a while Mrs Toaster arrives back on the planet and manages to let out why her toaster is so dirty... Yesterday Mrs Toaster really fancied cheese on toast. Mrs Toaster didn't know how to work the grill. So Mrs Toaster decided  the best plan of action was to turn her toaster on its side and make her cheese on toast. Which of cause was an awful idea because the cheese would go everywhere and burn and get stuck everywhere and be greasy.

Of course this is exactly what happened and I was greeted with more stupidity.

"I thought washing up liquid would be a good idea to get it nice and clean, it would, wouldn't it? I'd be able to get the grease off, I've already hung it over the sink and scrubbed the inside..."

By this time I. AM. DONE. I have reached stupidity overload by 10AM on a Monday morning and am seriously considering if its safe to let this lady purchase another toaster. Safe to say I persuaded her to throw the other one out and then follow the new instruction booklet to the very last word.

Whether she is still electrocution free today... we will never know.

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I welcome critical feedback.
The last time I studied the english language was about 10 years ago and I was always a bit rusty!

thanks!
J4ZZ

**All characters are fictional and any likeness to persons living or deceased is purely coincidental.**

Monday, 24 April 2017

Working in Retail 101 - Customers

Hello world,

I've recently been in the biggest slump of all time.
But I'm on the other side and back to reading and feeling the need to write again. =D
Excuse my lack of posts!

I have been thinking for a while now that the general public is an odd bunch of personalities and traits isn't it?

If you haven't ever worked in contact with the general public, or you are moving into the world of retail. The following is a small snippet into the world of customers. Of course don't be put off by this post, you never know if you like something until you try!


Working in retail my contact with customers is 4 to 5 solid days of endless people. Some with the most amazing stories, some with horrible manners who look down upon you as a mere shop worker, and some that are just the most genuine people I have met, for the smallest amounts of time.

You get a lot of stories. Eccentric characters,  Lots of "OMG did you hear what that customer said!" and a bit of everything in between that makes it such an interesting place to work.

Generally speaking the job description isn't very thrilling: Stocking shelves, serving at the till, putting stock away, helping customers, general house keeping etc etc. A standard, slightly boring, retail day
(Though the odd challenges and new things to learn are sometimes pretty exciting)
If it wasn't for the customers and the team I'm not sure I could cope with the repetitiveness.

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Customers in retail can make or break the day. Period.
For example, my job role (on some days) as a 'Customer Service Assistant' is to walk the shop floor and focus on customer service.
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" GOODMORNING! Can I help you with anything in store today?"
"Do you need any information on a product your looking for?"
"Afternoon. Are you looking for something in particular today?"
"Hello, are you okay there, do you need any help at all?"
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Something along those lines is what I can end up saying all day if we are busy.

Sometimes a customer will be amazing, respond as enthusiastically as I am to them (that makes a good day). Other times you are not so lucky and get a look up and down, a nose in the air or a hand held up in your face!
You never know how the day can go and one really nice - or nasty - customer can flip the whole day over and over again... One thing you really have to remember as a Customer Service Assistant. Is that all of this is just part of dealing with people and you have to take it on the chin.You absolutely CANNOT take anything to heart! If you do, then you are unfortunately in the wrong line of work.

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The purpose of my post today is to bring in perhaps a new post subject
that I have been pondering for some time.

Small snippets of the general public and their stories and the random moments I encounter in the two different retail places I work in (both at two very different ends of the spectrum).

I have thought for many years about writing stories with the characters I meet in real life.
After all J.K.Rowling based 'Hagrid' On a burly biker she met in a pub right?...
Im no J.K. but these characters are something I've felt the need to jot down for a long while.

Do you work in a customer focused environment? What's the craziest story or days you've had?

Of course no real names and nothing personal included.
A fictional character built upon many real life events.

J4ZZ
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