Book Review: He Stopped Loving Her Today by Jack Isenhour

He Stopped Loving Her Today by Jack Isenhour is subtitled – George Jones, Billy Sherrill, and the pretty-much totallt true story of the making of the greatest country record of all time.  In all the biographies about George Jones previously, none focused on the music, more were about George’s life.  This book focuses on the music.  It is broken down in to 6 parts:

Part One – George Jones Live
Part Two – Authenticity AKA The Real Deal
Part Three – The Nashville Sound
Part Four – Music Makers
Part Five – George Glenn
Part Six – The Making of “He Stopped Loving Her Today”

I particularly enjoyed the last part, which talked about the creation of the song.  There were several disputes over how long it took – some said from 1978-1980 and others said it took just a month.  Kind of crazy to have such discrepancies.  The tapes were even pulled from the recording and it is believed that the 2/79 dates on things may actually have been done in 2/80 and someone still wasn’t used to writing 1980 on things.  February seems like an awful long time to still be writing the wrong dates on t hings (usually it takes me a couple of weeks to get in the groove of a new year) but who knows!

Quite a fascinating book about an artist and song I knew nothing about. (I don’t follow countrry. I use to say I don’t like it, but that’s not true, because I do like some of it, just not all of it. And it’s not my go-to genre either.) I also liked the fonts and layout used for the front cover as well as each of the parts.  Like a concert poster!

I received a free e-copy of this book through NetGalley.  All opinions are mine and I was not compensated for this review.

About the Book

When George Jones recorded “He Stopped Loving Her Today” more than thirty years ago, he was a walking disaster. Twin addictions to drugs and alcohol had him drinking Jim Beam by the case and snorting cocaine as long as he was awake. Before it was over, Jones would be bankrupt, homeless, and an unwilling patient at an Alabama mental institution. In the midst of all this chaos, über producer Billy Sherrill-the man who discovered Tammy Wynette and co-wrote “Stand by Your Man”-would somehow coax the performance of a lifetime out of the mercurial Jones. The result was a country masterpiece.

In He Stopped Loving Her Today, the story behind the making of the song often voted the best country song ever by both critics and fans, offers an overview of country music’s origins and a search for the music’s illusive Holy Grail: authenticity. The schizoid bottom line-even though country music is undeniably a branch of the make-believe world of show biz, to fans and scholars alike, authenticity remains the ultimate measure of the music’s power.

Jack Isenhour, Nashville, Tennessee, is the author of Same Knight, Different Channel: Basketball Legend Bob Knight at West Point and Today and co-author, with Dennis Rodman, of the basketball star’s memoir, I Should Be Dead by Now.

Extreme Flash Giveaway!

Welcome to the Extreme Flash Giveaway! We will be giving away:

(3) $60 Amazon gift certificates

(1) $50 Live Nation gift code

So be sure to bookmark this page and keep your fingers crossed when we announce the winners on March 3rd. It might just be you!

Giveaway starts on Feb. 29th and ends on Mar. 2nd at 11:59 PM EST.

Good luck!

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The Voice – Final Blind Auditions

It is the last week of the blind auditions on The Voice! Adam, Blake and Christina need 2 contestants more on their team and Cee Lo needs 3.

Whitney – I like this girl, she has a nice tone to her voice. All 4 turn around for her.  She chose Adam.

David – The crowd really seems to like him! I’m not completely sold on him, and I guess the coaches weren’t either. No one turns around for David.  Back to work as an engineer I guess!

The Shields Brothers – Cee Lo seems in to this group – singing along and then turning around… and still singing along haha

Cheesa – She definitely has an interesting voice and I think that Cee Lo will be a great coach for her.

Preston – What a great artist Preston is! Rockin’ that guitar. Unfortunately, the coaches didn’t think so.

Lex – definitely an interesting voice. I think Adam and CeeLo realized this in no time. And both of them need just one more person so they will definitely need to duke it out. If Blake doesn’t sneak in and snag her for himself!  And that is exactly what happened. Now all 3 guys need just 1 more and Christina needs 2!

Cameron – He came off a bit cocky and seemed to have a few off notes as well… And I don’t think the coaches knew what to expect from him as well. I think they thought he was a girl!

Orlando  – Definitely put his own twist on this song, and he has a great voice. He will be the final addition to Team Adam.

Lee – This guy has a pretty good voice, but I guess that none of the coaches are sold on it. Oh wait, Christina was sold on the Harmonica.  1 more to go for Team XTina!

Wade – interesting song choice. Welcome to Team CeeLo!

Now it’s down to just Christina and Blake finishing out their teams!

Adley – I love Carrie, so I was not really into this rendition of her song. Christina and Blake duke it out and Adley becomes the final member of team blake.

Now it comes down to only Christina.  She gets her pick of all the voices that are left to audition.  She passes on several artist before choosing Sera as the final member of her team. Then she joins her on stage!


Next week it is time for the battle rounds!  Team members go head to head with one of their teammates.  One will go home, as decided by the coaches.  We also get to see the advisors!  Lots and lots of advisors it looks like this season!  Then each team will be down to 6 for the live shows! I can’t wait.

Book Review: The Planet of Junior Brown

I have to say, The Planet of Junior Brown by Virginia Hamilton is a book I just couldn’t really get in to.  It was short, only 7 chapters, and I read the whole thing, but I just didn’t “get” it.  The story revolves around middle schooler Junior Brown and his pal, Buddy Clark.  Junior is apparently a pretty good piano player, but his teacher keeps telling him that she ruined her piano and so he has to take his lessons patting out the notes on a chair.  It turns out she doesn’t want him playing piano because she has a relative staying with her.  Meanwhile, Buddy and Junior keep skipping classes and eventually get caught.  There wasn’t any real action in the story for me.  It is a Young Adult / Juvenile novel, which I do usually enjoy, but I don’t know, this book didn’t just really do much for me.

I received a free review e-copy of this book in order to write my review from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Junior Brown is a musical prodigy losing touch with reality and everyone around him—except for one important friend

Junior Brown is different than the other kids in his eighth-grade class. For one, he weighs three hundred pounds. He’s also a talented musician with a serious future as a professional pianist—if he survives middle school. With an overbearing mom, disappointed teachers, and fellow students who tease him mercilessly, Junior starts to slip away into his own mind. His last hope may be his only friend, Buddy Clark, a boy in his class without a home or family who has already learned some of life’s toughest lessons.


Book Review: The Priest and the Peaches by Larry Peterson

The Priest and the Peaches by Larry Peterson tells the story of the Peach family.  The book starts out with their father, whom they call Pops, falling ill.  Pops ends up passing away leaving the 5 Peach children homeless (their mother had passed away a few years back.)   A local priest, Father Sullivan, kind of comes to the kids rescue and tells them to pray and look for acts of God to make it through this difficult time.

We go to the funeral with the kids and while things don’t always go right, the little things that go wrong help them realize that God is looking out for them.  The oldest of the Peaches, Teddy, must grow up quickly and try to get the power and telephone connected again after everything is turned off due to late payments.  When the kids aren’t sure how they are going to pay their bills, offerings from those who attended the funeral end up being almost the exact amount they need to pay off their dad’s debts.

The younger peaches, 14 and younger, get in to some trouble as well which ends up making them think they will be taken away from their older siblings.  However, God and Father Sullivan somehow come to the rescue when another series of happy coincidences happen.

The book teaches you to “L-Y-N”, or “Love Your Neighbor”, a motto that pops often told friends and family.

It is a really sweet book about the power of prayer and god, set in the mid-60s in the Bronx, NY.

The Priest and the Peaches Book Summary

Historical fiction novel set in the Bronx in the mid-1960sTake a seven day journey with the five, newly orphaned Peach kids, as they begin their struggle to remain a family while planning their dad’s funeral.

They find an ally in the local parish priest, Father Tim Sullivan, who tries his best to guide them through the strange, unchartered and turbulent waters of “grown-up world.” A story that is sad, funny, and inspiring as it shows how the power of family love and faith can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Larry Peterson’s Bio:

Larry Peterson was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. A former Metal Lather/Reinforcing Iron-worker, he left that business after coming down with MS. He, his wife and three kids moved to Florida 30 years ago. Larry began doing freelance newspaper commentary after graduating from Tampa College in 1984.His first children’s picture book, Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes was published in 2011. In 2012, his full length novel, The Priest and the Peacheswas released and he is presently working on the sequel.

He also has a blog ( where he posts weekly commentary. He lives in Pinellas Park, Florida and his kids and six grandchildren all live within three miles of each other.

Book Review: How to Get Anything You Want – Just Like That!

How To Get Anything You Want – Just Like That! Is a book by Janet Poole.  At its core, the book is a self help and positive thinking book.  Each chapter begins with a quote related to that chapter.  Then you have some thought provoking words placed in front of you.  Each chapter ends with a summary of what you just learned as well as at least one exercise to help yourself achieve the message the chapter is putting forward.  Some chapters even have some “real world” situations between couples or just with a person to help and make the topic really hit home.

In order to get what you want – you must first be happy with yourself.  If you’re not happy, then no one around you will be happy. You will project your unhappiness upon others and no one will want to help you meet your goals and achieve your dreams.  Once you are in the right mindset and truly are yourself – you can then be free to be you and you will have a purpose.

This book is definitely very motivating and I bookmarked a couple of the exercises for me to try over the next few days, weeks and months to start feeling better about myself and gaining the confidence I need in order to get what I want!  (Interestingly enough, before I started the book I was at work and didn’t really want to do what I was working on.  I went to see another coworker about it and was told that I was being moved to some different duties – ones that would be much easier for me – something that I actually WANT to do.  Apparently just looking at this book had it start working for me!)

You can find out more about the author at her website,

About the Book

Self-Help Ancient Wisdom in Today’s Language

You are entited to get what you want and be happy. You’re worth it. It’s time you had what is rightfully yours. Find out why and how.

Stop trying to be what you are not. Love what you are, do what you love and become a light to  the world, in turn leading the way for others to do the same.

This book breaks with the traditions of today and reveals the hidden truth of ancient wisdom; that you are the most important person in your life.

Just like That! reveals for you:

-the hidden pressures of life keeping you too distracted to get what you want

-the easy-to-remove stumbling blocks that only exist in your mind

-how one powerful thought catapults you into extraordinary new life

-how to use the power supply already within you to be joyful everyday

-how to stop waiting for others to give you what you want

-loads of easy techniques to have an awesome day everyday

Idol – Top 24

It is time to reveal the top 24! I feel like there are very few contestants I have any sort of connection to.  Usually by now I have a few favorites…

I was going to start by making a list of potential favorites  – starting with Lauren Gray – and then they said she didn’t make the cut.  Oh, judges… you are really making me wonder if I should even bother watching this season!

Actually, there are quite a few from their clips I am thinking are good that aren’t making it through – so this group better be better than those and not just filling a quota!

And one… whom I CAN. NOT. STAND. going through. Heejun.  Argh.

Thursday night was more of the same.  In fact, when David Leathers didn’t make it through at the end, I tweeted that I wondered if I’d even watch this season now.  The only one I care about is Phillip Phillips, and even him I’m not all that sold on.

THEN… came the twist.

One of 4 guys is going to be coming back on Tuesday making it a top 13 boys.  Who is one of the choices?! JOHNNY.  I seriously squealed when his picture popped up on the screen.  My mom loves Jermaine Jones but she conceded that she thinks it’ll be “my guy” coming back.

Let’s hope so.  At least then I’ll have a reason to watch! (Who am I kidding, I’m going to watch either way, but I’ll be a lot more happy about it if Johnny is back)



Voice Blind Auditions

Time for more blind auditions! Going in to the night, Team Adam had 7/12, Blake 6/12, Cee Lo 6/12 and Christina 6/12.  Still a ways to go before we are out of the blind auditions, I guess!

Ducky – While I don’t think he was phenomenal, I was surprised a couple of chairs didn’t turn around for him!

Jonathas – I thought that no one was going to turn around again for him!  Glad that he got 2 turns and is now on Team Christina!

Monique – I thought she was good and I’m kind of surprised it took Blake telling Christina to turn to get her to turn! I don’t know what is with the picky-ness but remember last year when they had to bring people back to audition again? I hope that doesn’t happen again this season.

Naia – I really like her voice. It kind of reminds me of Xenia’s from last season. (And I will say that I had this sentence written out BEFORE Christina said the same thing!) And in a bit of a shocking move, she chooses Blake!

Erick – Another one I thought was decent hat no on turned for. And Blake was SO CLOSE to hitting it. What the heck?

Charlotte – her last name is Sometimes? That’s pretty cool. She sounds like she has an accent when she sings, which is not something Ive heard before. And all 4 turns around… not sure that I would have though. We’ll have to see how she does in later rounds with Team Blake!

So at the halfway point, 2 more for Christina and 2 more for Blake puts us at Adam 7/12, Blake 8/12, Cee Lo 6/12, and Christina 8/12.

Tony Vincent – one of my friends LOVES him, so I of course want him to do well. Glad he is on team Cee Lo!

Anthony – I thought he was good – but again they all try to get each other to turn around… if you like it, turn around yourself, don’t try to get someone else to! But I am glad Christina squeaked in there at the last second.

Jamie – He has a nice voice – definitely not one I was expecting to come out of his body! He joins Team Cee Lo.

Dylan – I think with some work and age, he’ll get a lot better.

Justin – I looove this song… I like his voice and it looks like he will be team Cee Lo!

Nicolle – I wasn’t that in to her, and I could tell that she kind of lost it once Adam turned around – but hopefully later on when she learns to get over her nerves she’ll be better.

Then we get a medley of Christina, Blake, Adam, Blake, adding to their teams without seeing the whole audition.

Eric – awesome! Except… I was the only one that thought so?

Mathai – Wow Adam turned before I even had an opinion on the girl.  And she picked him too over the others!

And the episode ends with the teams – Adam 10/12, Blake 10/12, Cee Lo 9/12, Christina 10/12.


Book Review: JD Salinger A Life by Kenneth Slawenski

J.D. Salinger A Life is a biography by Kenneth Slawenski.  I am not sure why I chose to read this book, as I have not read any of Salinger’s books (although after reading the biography, I will be trying to fit in a few of his books into my reading list this year!).  Slawenski ran a website for Salinger, which I imagine is what got him most of his information on the author.  Although, he writes that Salinger often changed small details that he didn’t want the public knowing, so it could not have been an easy job to compile all the information he had into a book.

The book is long, over 400 pages, but unlike some biographies I have read, it didn’t get boring and difficult to read because of too many facts being thrown at me.  It talks about Salinger’s entire life, his time in the service, his marriages and children, his book characters, his relationship with the New York Post and much more.  If you have read any of Salinger’s books or are just interested in learning more about an interesting author, then I definitely recommend this book.  Salinger himself is quite an interesting character and I enjoyed reading about him.

I received a free e-book of this book in order to write my review. I was not asked to write a positive review and I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book 

One of the most popular and mysterious figures in American literary history, author of the classic Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger eluded fans and journalists for most of his life. Now comes a new biography that Peter Ackroyd in The Times of London calls “energetic and magnificently researched”-a book from which “a true picture of Salinger emerges.” Filled with new information and revelations-garnered from countless interviews, letters, and public records-J. D. Salinger presents an extraordinary life that spanned nearly the entire twentieth century.

Kenneth Slawenski explores Salinger’s privileged youth, long obscured by misrepresentation and rumor, revealing the brilliant, sarcastic, vulnerable son of a disapproving father and doting mother and his entrance into a social world where Gloria Vanderbilt dismissively referred to him as “a Jewish boy from New York.” Here too are accounts of Salinger’s first broken heart-Eugene O’Neill’s daughter, Oona, left him for the much older Charlie Chaplin-and the devastating World War II service (“a living hell”) of which he never spoke and which haunted him forever.

J. D. Salinger features all the dazzle of this author’s early writing successes, his dramatic encounters with luminaries from Ernest Hemingway to Laurence Olivier to Elia Kazan, his surprising office intrigues with famousNew Yorker editors and writers, and the stunning triumph of The Catcher in the Rye, which would both make him world-famous and hasten his retreat into the hills of New Hampshire.

Whether it’s revealing the facts of his hasty, short-lived first marriage or his lifelong commitment to Eastern religion, which would dictate his attitudes toward sex, nutrition, solitude, and creativity, J. D. Salinger is this unique author’s unforgettable story in full-one that no lover of literature can afford to miss.

Kenneth Slawenski is the creator of, a website founded in 2004 and recommended by The New York Times. He has been working on this biography for eight years. Slawenski was born in New Jersey, and has lived there all his life.

Book Review: Kurt Vonnegut The Last Interview

When I was in highschool, we had to do a biography on an author.  The names were chosen out of a hat.  I ended up with Vonnegut.  When I saw that a book with his last interview (as well as several other interviews) was available to review – I jumped at the chance to read it.

The Last Interview actually contains much more than that – it starts out with Kurt Vonnegut, The Art of Fiction where he was intereviewed by David Hayman, David Michaelis, George Plimpton & Richard Rhodes which was done in Spring 1977 for The Paris Review.  The second interview “There Must Be More To Love Than Death” was done by Robert K Musil in August 1980 for The Nation.  The Joe and Kurt show is a converation with Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller with Carole Mallory done in May 1992 for Playboy (probably my favorite of all the included interviews.)  The Melancholia of Everything Completeld an interview by J.C. Gabel was done in August 2006 for Stop Smiling.  God Bless You Mr Vonnegut and interview by J. Rentilly for U.S. Airways Magazine in June 2007 and finally – The Last Interview by Heather Augustyn May 9, 2007 for In These Times online.

The interviews go over a range of topics – his writing, his time served in the war, schooling, politics, sex, tons and tons of different topics.  Kurt had incredibly interesting insight on many of these topics and it was interesting to read his view on politics from 1992 – many of the topics he touched on are still major political issues now – in 2012.

If you have any interest in Vonnegut at all, or perhaps enjoy learning more about great American writers, then I would suggest The Last Interview to you to read.  It is a short book, only 85 pages, and is read easily as it is set up in interview form with back and forth between those present.

I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not asked to write a  favorable review nor was I otherwise compensated. All opinions are mine.

About the Book

One of the great American iconoclasts holds forth on politics, war, books and writers, and his personal life in a series of interviews, including his last published interview.

Born November 11, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana, KURT VONNEGUT’s black humor, satiric voice, and incomparable imagination first captured America’s attention in The Sirens of Titan in 1959 and established him as “a true artist” (The New York Times) with Cat’s Cradle in 1963. he was, as Graham Greene declared, “one of the best living American writers.” Vonnegut died on April 11, 2007.

CAROLE MALLORY is an American author, actress and former model who appeared in the films Looking for Mr Goodbar and The Stepford Wives.

J.C. GABEL is the founding editor and publisher of Stop Smiling magainze. He edits and publishes Stop Smiling Books.

JOSEPH HELLER was born in Brooklyn in 1923. In 1961, he published Catch-22, which became a bestseller, and in 1970, a film. He went on to write such novels as Good as Gold, God Knows, Picture This, Clsoing Time (the sequel to Catch-22), and Potrait of an Artist, as an Old Man. Heller died in December 1999.

ROBERT K. MUSIL is a scholar-in-residence and adjunct professor in the School of International Studies at American University where he teaches in the Program on Global enviromental Policitics and Nuclear Studies Institute.

J. RENTILLY is a Los Angeles- based journalist who writes about film, music, literature, and pop culture for a variety of national and international publications.

HEATHER AUGUSTYN is a corrsposndent for The Times of Northwest Indiana and a contributing editor for Shore Magazine. She has written for The Village Voice and E! The Envioronmental Magazine and is an avid reader of Vonnegut’s works.

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