Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Top 5 TV Gingers

Every time the Doctor regenerates on Doctor Who, he wants to know if he's a ginger. So in honor of Doctor Who returning to our screens on Saturday, I bring you my favorite tv gingers!

1. Lucille Ball

2. Karen Gillian 

3. Reba

4. Molly Quinn

5. Catherine Tate

Monday, March 25, 2013

Cover Reveal: Hard As It Gets - Laura Kaye

Tall, dark, and lethal...

Trouble just walked into Nicholas Rixey's tattoo parlor. Becca Merritt is warm, sexy, wholesome—pure catnip to a very jaded Nick. He's left his military life behind to become co-owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, but Becca is his ex-commander's daughter. Loyalty won't let him turn her away. Lust has plenty to do with it too.

With her brother presumed kidnapped, Becca needs Nick. She just wasn't expecting to want him so much. As their investigation turns into all-out war with an organized crime ring, only Nick can protect her. And only Becca can heal the scars no one else sees.

Desire is the easy part. Love is as hard as it gets. Good thing Nick is always up for a challenge...

About Laura Kaye: 

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nearly a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Movie Review: Les Miserables

The movie adaption of the musical version of Victor Hugo's epic novel is probably one of the best stage to screen movies in many years.

The cast is full of well known names, though some of those names you didn't realize could sing until you sat down to watch.

Hugh Jackman's portrayal of Jean Valjean is probably one of the best seen since Colm Wilkenson created the role back in the 80s. Oh and Colm? If you watch the film closely, you'll see his part and hear his remarkable voice again. It is a shame Lloyd Webber couldn't have found a place for Michael Crawford to make a cameo when he ruined his Phantom of the Opera by taking it to film. Maybe Crawford could have taught Gerard Butler to sing too..

But back to Les Miserables.

Anyone who questions Jackman's performance should only listen to "Bring Him Home" and then they should shut the hell up!

Anne Hathaway was stunning as Fantine. Her emotional and soul stirring rendition of "I Dreamed A Dream" took this song to new levels. Thanks to reality tv and many many cover versions, the true depth of this song has been lost, but not anymore. She was truly a surprising gem in this film.

There are some people that didn't know Russell Crowe could sing, this film will clear all of that up. As Javert, you have remarkably human if not still obstinate man. His performances of "Stars" and "

Probably the only vocal performance that wasn't stellar was Helena Bonham Carter's Madame Thenadier. It felt like she was holding back, rather than belting out her parts of "Master Of The House" and that was a shame, because otherwise, she along with Sasha Baron Cohen brought the comic relief via their dastardly characters. Some may think that Sasha's inclusion is a sacrilege, but you just have to watch him become Thenadier to know that he was perfect for this part.

I found this film brought some of the characters more into focus. Javert was one of those characters. He was really humanized when he laid his medal on the fallen Gavroche a street child who is part of the revolution. His part is played by Daniel Huttlestone. The other character you see in a more vivid light is Eponine.

In the stage version, you feel sorry for the poor young street girl that longs for Marius Pontemercy (played by Eddie Redmayne), but here you really get the picture of the little spoiled Thenardier girl that was well loved, as opposed to Cosette, who was used a slave to the family.

Anyone who has read the book in either its abridged form or the full 1000+ page tomb will feel Victor Hugo's story come to life in the setting that it was written in.

The movie is lengthy just like the musical and there is almost no spoken dialogue, which really keeps the integrity of the musical.

There were only minor changes made. One is the absence of Gavroche's "Little People" though the reprise of the song is used. The absence of that particular song is a bit sad, because of how wonderful Huttlestone plays the part. He's just as good as Isabelle Allen who was remarkable as the young Cosette.

Amanda Seyfried was a beautiful Cosette, but after her performance in Mamma Mia we know that she could sing and do it well.

The only disappointment was the new song "Suddenly" written for Jackman and sung about Cosette. It just didn't didn't feel right and didn't do justice to Jackman's wonderful voice.

This finely done film is a must see for anyone that loved the musical of has always wanted to see it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cover Reveal: Wolf Protector - Milly Taiden

A woman with a secret…
The Federal Paranormal Unit is an elite squad of supernaturals dedicated to solving missing persons cases. Erica’s gift allows her a special connection with the crime, but it comes at a deep personal cost… Until now, she’s kept her gift a secret, even from the other members of the team. But this case will throw her together with Agent Trent Buchanan. He’s the object of her secret desires, but he’s also a cocky womanizer. She’d rather swim in shark-infested waters with a paper cut than admit she has feelings for him.

A man with one desire…
Wolf Shifter Trent wants Erica more than he’s ever wanted any woman. He’s spent years patiently waiting for her to admit that she wants him too. Working one-on-one in a race to find a serial killer, Trent’s patience and Erica’s resolve wear thin. When Trent discovers the truth about Erica, will he accept her for who she is? And can he protect her from the horrors that her gift brings?

A case that pushes them to the edge…
Erica will have to risk it all if she wants to stop the killer, and when she does, Trent may have to put his own life on the line to make sure his mate is protected…

Author Bio:
Want to know about me? Milly Taiden (aka April Angel) was born in the prettiest part of the Caribbean known as the Dominican Republic. She grew up between New York, Florida and Massachusetts. Currently, she resides in New York City with her husband, bossy young son and their little dog Speedy.
She’s addicted to shopping for shoes, chocolate (but who isn’t?) and Dunkin Donuts coffee.
A bookworm when she can get her hands on a good story, she loves reading all Mina Carter and Dianne Duvall among others.

Contact Info.

As Milly Taiden
Caged Heat
Wynter’s Captive
Halloween Heat III – Mate Event
Fate’s Wish
Sharp Change

Coming Soon
Wolf Protector

As April Angel
Party Crasher
Wicked Valentine – Sizzling Encounters – Book 2
Stranded Temptation
Mr. Buff – Sizzling Encounters – Book 1

Coming Soon
Lucky Break – Sizzling Encounters – Book 3
A Hero’s Pride 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Album Review: Justin Hayward - Spirits Of The Western Sky

Justin Hayward returns to the music scene with his first album in yonks entitled Spirits In The Western Sky. It is a beautiful offering by the Moody Blues frontman.

To come to that conclusion you have to remember a few things about the music industry.

1. Musicians over 60 aren't supposed to make new music and if they do, it isn't supposed to be taken seriously.

2. Songs written by musicians over 60 aren't likely to be of the same caliber of the stuff they wrote 20 - 40 years ago.

That said, this is why Spirits  is worth the $15.00.

1.  Justin still has his voice, which many artists from the 60s can't say.

2. His writing is still good. No its not as good as the stuff he was writing during the days of The Core 7 (God I hate that classification of those albums)

Having given the album a listen, it can be deduced that many of these songs are throwbacks from past albums and projects.  "In Your Blue Eyes" is the lead single and the album's opener. Definitely something from the 90s.

"One Day, Someday" which is Justin at his sappy romantic best. This arrangements and the whole tone of this song scream View From The Hill. It is a strong and beautiful ballad.

"The Western Sky" is a little bit to long and more than a little bit boring.  Perhaps it is Justin's answer to fellow Moody, John Lodge's equally snoreworthy "Words You Say." The guitar is too simple. There is nothing about this song to catch your ear.

"The Eastern Sun" is exactly opposite. Again Justin delivers with a simple acoustic melody, but unlike "The Western Sky" Justin's vocal is full of emotion, and you get his full vocal range here. This song is Hayward at his best.

Jumping out of the acoustic mode is "On The Road To Love." This song is pure fun and the guitar is lively and it is co-written by Kenny Loggins. It makes you wonder if Justin is about to cut loose, footloose. Oh and don't forget these two words when you listen, EAR WORM!

The album slips back into its more adult contemporary/easy listening niche with "Lazy Afternoon." Justin is still pining for some lost love. Big sighs here. Is he trying to top "Words You Say" again?

"In The Beginning" is another gem. Every time you here a bit of electric guitar, you'll smile. Even if the songs are more than a bit slow, hearing Justin work the guitar's strings is enough.

One of the shining tracks is "Its Cold Outside Of Your Heart" done bluegrass style. This song was featured on The Moody Blue Grass Two Much Love. The original version, of course, was featured on The Present. Unlike a lot of songs that are reworked years later, the bluegrass version freshens the song up and makes it come alive again.

That's not the only song that gets reworked by Justin here, "Broken Dream" from View From The Hill however in this case, there isn't much of a change in the arrangement. The thing that you have to remember here, is that this new recording is done 17 years later, and Justin's voice is still just as good on the new version as the original.

What is most troubling on this album are the "Out There Somewhere" mixes. Techno/Dance Justin is a bit freaky and remixing this classic song and renaming it seems almost sacrilegious. The mix isn't all that interesting either and it certain isn't worth extending it to eight minutes.

"Captivated By You" is one of those songs that you won't be sure why you like it, but you will. Perhaps it has to do with Justin finding as many words that end in "ated" or maybe it is the killer guitar that seems almost out of place in this song, but whatever it is, you will like it.

"What You Resist Persists" is another bluegrass number and you have to wonder how Justin spits out those words throughout the song. It is quite the tongue twister.

Sure there are some misses on this album, but the songs that are good are very good and again, unlike some 60s artists, Justin's voice is still clear and pure. This album should be listened to and enjoyed by Moody fans and new comers to his music.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Documentary Review: Making The Monkees

Sometimes you find things on TV unexpectedly and that's what I did last night at about 11:00 PM. The Smithsonian Channel was airing their Monkees documentary and for some reason I sat down to watch.

Since Davy Jones passed away last Feb 29th, I've avoided all things Monkees.


Its depressing to watch.

Making The Monkees is really no exception. Any hard core fan will know most of the story. It has been documented in countless bios of the band, and autobiographies by the band members. One thing is for sure, they may have been the only 4 guys in the height of the 60s that seem to remember it all.

This documentary does put a lot of focus on the shows creators Bob Rafelson & Bert Scheinder as well as the guys themselves. There was also some focus of Don Kirschner who was the music director for the guys until the big rift in the Beverly Hills Hotel sent him packing.

One thing that anyone watching the documentary will likely take away is that Don Kirschner was the big butt head that the guys made him out to be.

Maybe it was editing or maybe not, but he came across as arrogant and "I think I'm Godlike" which makes it easy to understand how someone might put their fist through a wall after having a discussion with him, or pouring a Coke over his head.

The best part of the documentary was seeing the guys talk about that period in their lives. It is also the saddest part, because this special is a few years old, and Davy took part.

Of all the guys, it seems like Peter is the most at ease with things and still seems like his old self, albeit a clean and sober self.

Not sure if this is a documentary that fans need to see, unless they have a hankering to listen to the guys talk about stuff they've talked about hundreds of times before. There's nothing new here at all, but then if you are a fan of The Monkees, you might not care.

~ As an aside, this Davy fan fought back tears every time he came on the screen.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Sad Sad Ebook Library

I love ebooks and I love the fact that our library is online, but there are so many things about ebooks and lending that annoy me.

Allow me to rant about the whole sad sorry ebook mess.

1. You are almost always on a waiting list for books because there's just not enough selection.

2. No renewing your ebook lending period. If you don't finish in 14 days, jump back in the queue.

3. I've heard through the grapevine that the lending thing with most libraries isn't too friendly with Kindle, which makes me glad I own a Nook for once.

4. Poor categorization at the elibrary. I want wider genres for searching.

All in all, ebook libraries are nice, but they are lacking. It seems like they have all the books by certain authors, and none by others, and you'll seldom get any surprises which really takes away the joy of looking for books.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Welcoming Back Agnetha!

I was so excited to see that Agnetha Faltskog was going to have a new album out May 14th.

Here's the link to the video lead single When You Really Love Someone

It is really like stepping back into time.

The album entitled A is available for Pre-order on i-tunes. I have no idea why Amazon doesn't have it yet, except maybe to aggravate me.

It is great to see a classic artist putting out new music that is fantastic and it not only keeps up with a quality she was known for back in the ABBA days, while still having a modern synth pop vibe.

Welcome back Agnetha!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Album Review: Bogdan Ota - Day Of Wrath

Artist: Bogdan Ota
Album: Day of Wrath
Review by Andrea Guy

At first listen Day Of Wrath may seem like a score to an action film, or some supernatural flick where evil is out to ruin the world.

Storms seem to be brewing in the first notes of "Black Friday." It is obvious that this piece is about something more ominous than the start of the holiday shopping season. The music is a reflection of several points of history, Good Friday included where bloody acts took place on a Friday.

The music is dark and sinister sounding. It creates a mood that let's you know that death is near.

"Mourning" is the next piece. The piano and strings convey the sadness of the song. It truly brings forth the feelings of those grieving the loss of a loved one, in the case of this song, Jesus.

The title track is truly fearsome and at times soothing. "The Day Of Wrath" is about The Judgment Day. The first half of the song perfectly illustrates the destruction of the world as we know it. The melody is fierce and dark. About midway through, the music shifts to something lighter where paradise has been found and sorrow will cease.

All of the music on Day Of Wrath is emotionally driven and powerful. "The Story Of My Life" is one such piece. The brass and the percussion are so strong at times, you can feel your heartbeat quicken just listening.

"Glimpse of Happiness" is a turning point in the tone of the music. The music is a reflection of love in the course of ones life. The melody is soothing and the piano is the perfect instrument to reflect that emotion.

Perhaps after you glimpse happiness, you'll need "Solitude" to take it all in. The instrumentation on this song is very simple and very solitary to begin with. As it progresses the melody becomes more intense and complex.

"Harald's Dream" is a song that tells a story on its own. It is based on a love story between a prince of Avar and a beautiful princess with golden hair.

"Fantasy For Piano and Orchestra" is just as it sounds, a beautiful piece of music that takes the listener to a land of happily ever after. It is a dreamy sounding song full of hope and possibilities. The music seems to spill out in waves.

As much as "Fantasy" is full of hope, "Reverie" is full of reflection. It is a quieter piece, almost somber, but not quite, with the piano again in the forefront. The melody is somber, which is perfect for looking back on things that once were or could've been. Bogdan, describes it as looking at door that is forever shut.

Edgar Allen Poe's poem of the same name is the inspiration for "A Dream Within A Dream." When you think of Poe, you think of things of a darker, spookier nature, yet this song is light, with a relaxing melody. The sweeping melody speaks of a perfect love that doesn't exist

Just as the album opens a crash of thunder rolls by in the opening strains of "Sahara." This is a haunting middle eastern melody.  It is a touch of world music, on an album that is primarily orchestral.

Each piece of music found on Day of Wrath is full of emotion and tells a story. This is more than just instrumental music that can play idly in the background. Bogdan Ota has created a masterpiece of sound that fills your ears with breathtaking beauty. This is music that you can't forget once you've heard it, and once you've heard it, you'll want to play it again and again.

Rating 5 (out of 5 stars)

Buy: Amazon

Listen: Story Of My Life

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Got Food?

I love to cook. On my own terms.

What does that mean?

I like to try new recipes and I love to bake.

I didn't really start cooking until I was in my mid-thirties. I had no reason to. My mother was the Queen of the kitchen.

However, now her health isn't as it should be and we need to eat.

She always collected cookbooks and in the past few years, I've weeded through them, finding some real gems along the way.

But I have to say that the main source for finding great recipes has been the internet.

I want to share two of my favorite sites for recipes.

Six Sister's Stuff

These gals are awesome. I'm actually going to be reviewing their new cookbook on March 9, over on my book blog. I've already tried 3 recipes, 2 dinners and 1 dessert and they were fab and super easy to make.

They also have great craft ideas for the family. They make me wish I weren't just a mom to a passel of kitty cats.

 Mennonite Girls Can Cook

The Mennonite Girls share great recipes that range from easy to complex and they do it with a touch of spirituality.

I've found some fabulous recipes here and I hope to be able to buy their 2 cookbooks soon. I check out this site once a day, in case I miss something yummy.

If you love to cook, these are two sites you should seriously consider bookmarking for future reference.