Book Review: Skinny Bitch in Love

The book starts with Clementine getting fired from her vegan chef job for adding BUTTER to a dish.  She was sabotaged and now no one wants to risk hiring her at their vegan restaurant – not even vegan food trucks!  Instead of sitting around and doing nothing, she decides to start her own cooking class to try and pay the bills.  There is a place across the street that she wants to rent, but on the first day of her cooking class and giant STEER HEAD goes up in the space and is staring at her through the window.  She confronts the restaurant owner and asks him to take it down – but he refuses.  She ends up developing a bit of an interesting relationship with him – he is a millionaire AND he eats meat!  He enrolls in her cooking class and asks her to make a few items that he can see about adding to his menu.

Clementine doesn’t really like that Zach (the millionaire restaurant owner) is kissing her but then seems to be meeting up with other girls all the time too.   He sees other people and she’s not sure she’s ok with that.  Except that she is kind of sort of seeing other people too – well, one at least, named Alexander.

After sending out press releases promoting herself and getting an interview with the LA Times, her recipes go MISSING after a party in the apartment.  Would someone really have stolen them? You’ll never believe who she sees out and about while she is trying to get ingredients to re-create her recipes!  I know I didn’t, my jaw dropped.

Would the missing recipes cause a set back in all the progress she had been making? Would her dreams come true to open her own restaurant? And would she fall in love? Find out lal this and more – in Skinny Bitch In Love.

A quick and fun read!

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

About the Book

In this new novel based on the #1 bestselling Skinny Bitch books, a twenty-something chef loses her dream job—only to find happiness after she launches a vegan cooking school and falls for a sexy carnivore.

Twenty-six-year-old Clementine Cooper is an ambitious sous chef at a hot vegan restaurant in Santa Monica. When an important food critic visits the restaurant, a backstabbing coworker sabotages her vegan dish by adding butter. Fired from her job and blackballed in L.A., Clementine has hit rock bottom. Not one to wallow, she decides to launch her own cooking school and personal chef business called Skinny Bitch.

Every day, Clementine passes a space for lease in her neighborhood and fantasizes about opening her own restaurant. Fifteen tables. A juice bar. Cali-meets-Moroccan décor. She plans to work hard, save money, and buy the space. But on the first day of her cooking classes, she discovers that millionaire restaurateur Zach Jeffries is opening a steakhouse in the same space!

Zach is the antithesis of everything she stands for, but she’s incredibly attracted to him. And it seems like he might be attracted to her too, since he immediately enrolls in her cooking school. Can two people who are so fundamentally different actually find love? As Clementine rebuilds her life with new friendships, romance, and recipes, she finds that there are healthy choices to make both in and out of the kitchen.

Aaron Carter After Party Tour


Thursday night Aaron Carter brought his “Afterparty Tour” to my favorite venue.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect  because typically at these shows everyone sits and is respectful and I think I’ve stood for like 2 songs there, ever.  I knew with Aaron that there would be standing at least for the whole show but I wasn’t prepared (and I don’t think the venue was either) for the insanity that went on once Aaron took the stage. (But more on that later)  I also noticed that these girls there to see Aaron were not very observant.  When I first arrived I saw Aaron at the front of his van. Later when I got in line the girls behind me asked “I wonder where he is right now!” and her friend said “Probably backstage!” As if on cue, Aaron jumped out of the van shirtless and no one seemed to notice.  In between openers Aaron was peaking out from the curtain from backstage and the girls next to me waved to him but everyone else seemed to be oblivious. He even stuck his whole head out the curtain at one point!

First up was Justin Levinson – I was not a fan.  His music comes across as a temper tantrum. He stomps his feet, he bangs on the keyboard… it was a bit all over the place and all the songs seemed to melt into one.  But he did play a kazoo on his last song so, bonus points for that.

Alexis Babini was the second opening act and I really enjoyed his set! His stage presence seems like he is playing in a huge arena, but I think that just added to his appeal. His set seemed to go over much better with the crowd as well. I was totally in love until he decided to throw in Katy Perry into a medley. Instant turn off! 😉

Brandon Walden was the last to take the stage – he is Aaron’s sound manager and said he was asked to do a couple songs.  He did an Ed Sheeran song as well as an original song (and one other I think as well) and tried to get everyone to do an “Aaron, Aaron” chant as he was leaving the stage.  Which worked for a little bit but set up took so long, it fizzled out fast.

Aaron came out in a tank top with himself on it – from 12 years ago (or more!).  I guess that is one way to promote the merch you are selling.  All the girls started jumping over the seats and made a GA pit in the front row and then girls were standing on chairs and falling all over the place. It was absolutely nuts.  And here I was just concerned I’d have to stand the whole set, I never expected that girls would be falling on me too! He stared with I Want Candy (our setlist was a lot different than anything I was able to find online) and went into Another Earthquake and even took a moment to call me out for not jumping.  Sorry, Aaron, I can’t jump! I shook my head no at him and he wasn’t happy but I was not about to attempt to tell him my life story, in the middle of the show. (Nor was I going to pay $70 to meet him to explain. I sent a brief tweet though)  And I’m getting kind of sick of being called out for these things.  If you tell people to do something and they don’t do it, that’s their loss, just move on. They may have a legitimate reason for not doing it…

Because there was a piano backstage, Aaron asked them to bring it on stage and decided to show off a bit since he is a trained pianist.  He did a song about why he would never drink again and then another song on the piano too but I didn’t catch what it was.  Meanwhile, he had a girl sitting up on the stage that he was going to serenade which was kind of awkward because her back was to him.  But the next song was I’m All About You and well, he certainly did serenade her.

Then he talked a bit about how he loved the 90s – CatDog and Dunkaroos… and if anyone knew where to find Dunkaroos to get him some. (Do they even make them anymore? They are damn near impossible to find!) and then he did a cover of Vertical Horizon’s Everything You Want.

He did a couple other songs – one being a new one that I’m not sure if it’s called This is the Life or not but that is the lines he had the crowd sing back.  and Not Too Young, Not To Old before taking off his shirt and putting on, of course, an ONeal jersey. Of course then it was time for How I Beat Shaq.  A bit weird for a 25 year old to be singing it, but at least he’s not embarrassed about his past and knows that if he didn’t do it we’d have all been pretty pissed.

Then it was time for the encore – which was of course – Aaron’s Party.

Overall the show was very high energy, a lot of dancing and flips (he had 2 back up dancers) and it was a lot of fun.  And then we got a HUGE thunderstorm which started approximately 1 second after I got in my car.

(I’ll see if I can maybe add a few photos later! I’m in the process of moving and still getting everything set up)


I Want Candy
Another Earthquake
America A O
Bounce / I Would / Iko Iko / To All The Girls
I’ll Never Drink Again
? (another song on piano)
I’m All About You
Everything You Want (Vertical Horizon)
Tuning It Out
This is the Life
Not Too Young, Not Too Old
That’s How I Beat Shaq

Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)

I met the Backstreet Boys!

Ok, I met 2/5 of the Backstreet Boys.  Howie had tweeted saying that they were in Philly and the next day would be in Boston and Hartford on their radio tour.  A while later, BSB tweeted with the details of the radio tour and that Nick and Howie would be at TIC at 12:30 and KISS at 3pm. As far as leaving work early went, I was trying to get someone to go with me at 3pm but my fellow Nick Carter lover got in a car accident and is laid up 🙁  (Get better soon!)  But my friend Christine who lives around the corner from TIC said she could go with me at 12:30.  So I left work, drove to Christine’s and we got to TIC’s parking lot.  We weren’t sure if they were already inside or what was going on – but the tweet from TIC to listen in the 12 o’clock hour from the boys had been deleted and we were nervous they either canceled or were in traffic.  We sat in the car with the AC on (too hot to wait out front!) and listened for some sort of “coming up – the backstreet boys!” that would let us know if they were inside or not. And it never came…

At 12:50 we were beginning to think that this was just going to be another chapter in the “Katie and Christine do dumb things” book and not one in the “This is really awesome!” book.  A large car with tinted windows pulled into the parking lot and I was like oh now what is this? and then the door opened… and sure enough – Howie popped out!  So I jumped out of the car in record speed (Christine kept saying she didn’t know how I got out of the car so fast!) and waved and both Howie and Nick said hi.  Howie asked if we wanted pics and I said yes so we walked over and he introduced himself.  Howie talked to us more and we took pics.  Nick must’ve been tired because he didn’t say much at all (or maybe he had nothing to include in the convo Howie and I were having) but I won’t hold it against him – I am sure he had a long day and a loooong car ride.  So we took our photos (Howie is holding my hand in Christine’s pic so I could balance – so sweet!) said thank you and goodbye and that was that!

I listened to TIC for the whole ride back to work (an hour!) and never once heard them mention BSB so I don’t know when the interview aired or if it even did!

Book Review: Piece of My Heart

Piece of My Heart is the story of Marisol who gets the chance to fulfill her dreams of being a singer while still in High School.  It takes place in New York – more specifically – East Harlem.  This makes life tough for Marisol, but she is convinced that she will make it in the business and become a real singer.

The story also shows Marisol’s relationship with her friends and how that changes as Marisol’s career starts to take off. This was an interesting side story and makes sense as I think this is something that up and coming “stars” tend to struggle with.  She also has a relationship with Lola, who is her stepmother.  Her father has passed away and her mother has not been in the picture since Marisol was a baby. Lola could easily have been written as an evil stepmother character, but instead she has a great relationship with Marisol even though they aren’t blood related. I really liked this aspect of the story.

When a hot singer asks her out twice in a row, she is ecstatic, but he just doesn’t seem to be into her. Is it something she did? All at the same time she finds out that the boy she loves seems to be dating another one of her friends. How could her world turn so upside down in just a couple of days?

This was a great book and a great story and obviously I loved that it revolved around music. (And the title of each chapter is a song title! I think so anyway, some I didn’t recognize)

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Still in high school, Marisol Reyes gets the chance of a lifetime to be a real singer, and she leaps at it. After all, this is the dream she held on to, all the days and nights she spent growing up on means streets of East Harlem. Marisol never gave in–no matter what her boyfriend or her best friend had to say. Who cares if only one in a hundred pretty, talented girls make it? She will be the one. In her rush to fame, Marisol tramples on the heart of her loyal best friend, and Julian, the boy she loves. But will it be worth it?

One night at a private gig in the Hamptons, the little Latino girl with the big voice from East Harlem gets a severe reality check. A famous rapper who claims to be interested in her talents turns out to be interested in something else, threatening not only Marisol’s dreams but her body and soul. Will the realities of the gritty New York music scene put out the stars in Marisol’s eyes forever?

Lynn Maddalena Mena, a former teacher, saw the beauty, talent, and radiant hopes of so many students like her character Marisol, and was inspired by wondering where those hopes would go in ten years. A magazine journalist and essayist, she lives in New Jersey with her husband, Prospero. Piece of My Heart is her first novel.

Book Review: How I Got Him To Marry Me: 50 True Stories

How I Got Him To Marry me is 50 true (or so we think) stories about how women got their men to marry them.  All of them were married after 1990, when it was more common to just move in with your boyfriend and start having kids than it was to be married.  The author has talked to many women and compiled 50 stories about what they did to try and get their boyfriend to propose.  Some offered an ultimatum, others realized after a near death situation that they couldn’t be without them, and some used what I would consider to potentially be trickery.  All very interesting stories!

I love reading true story books like this, they are always interesting.  And I don’t think the stories were that out there that people would have made them up (the author asked for them all on the internet and they had certain things they needed to answer in their stories so that they would fit in the book.)  A lot seemed to have guys who were previously married that were then scared to make the commitment again.  Definitely interesting!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

According to the US Census Bureau’s 2012 report on America’s Families and Living Arrangements, less than half of marriage-aged Americans are married: 49.3%. The percentage goes up once we turn 30, but only to 53.6%. At 35, it goes up to 61.6%.

Boyfriends make excuses like “Marriage is just a piece of paper,” and “Living together is just as good as being married.” Many women who value the commitment of marriage and/or the stability it affords for raising children have a hard time getting him to marry us in this environment. This book is written for the woman in this predicament. Her boyfriend has proposed not marriage, but living together.

You don’t have to interview 50 married women to find out how they managed to get that ring on their finger. The author has done that for you. All 50 were married after 1990, so this is modern information for our changing times. Read and find out how you can get him to marry you and not just live together!

Sandy’s boyfriend Jack wouldn’t even bring up the ‘m’ word. She started leaving her things in his apartment, including some tampons in his bathroom. It worked! Too off guard to make excuses like “Living together is just as good as being married,” Jack said, “People will start to think you’re my wife!” “Well, how about it?” Sandy asked Jack.

Crystal got Paul to skip just living together by refusing to move across the country until she had a marriage license, signed and dated.

Read these full stories plus 48 more, ranging from the heartwarming to the hilarious!

Book Review: Rock Island Rock

Rock Island Rock is the second book in a series and I did not read the first one.  I am not sure that I actually missed anything by not reading the first one though as it seemed like everything was well explained and it didn’t seem to have any gaps that I was confused about. (I’m assuming it was the same characters in a totally different story.)

A rock n roll superstar has been killed and Daniel, Vicki and Moog are on the case!

The book takes place in New York – Queens – and any book that mentions Shea Stadium in the first couple of paragraphs is guaranteed to have my attention for a while.  The book moves fast – there are a lot of chapters but they’re only a couple of pages each and I quickly found myself very deep in the book and very interested in the story.  However, about halfway through I lost my interest. A lot of new characters were introduced and it made things a bit harder to follow.  Even the music aspect of the book wasn’t enough to keep my attention once it got to this point.  I did stick it out though because I was interested to see how it would end and if I’d be ok with the ending or not. (It was ok, but nothing spectacular)

Ultimately I think that the book was a good idea, but a bit poorly executed.  From what I read of reviews of the first book, it seems like I may enjoy that one more, but I’m not sure I’ll have the time to give it a chance. If you like action and drama and mystery and don’t mind a bunch of additional characters being thrown at you, I think you will enjoy it.

Also interesting and worth noting at the end of the book there are lyrics to songs that Taco Shot released as Greatest Hits.

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

About the Book

ROCK ISLAND ROCK is the pulse-pounding second act in the the evolution of the Crossroads series, which began with Blues Highway Blues, voted Best Blues Book of 2012 by

Owing a debt to the mysterious bluesman, Mr. Atibon, reluctant hero Daniel Erickson finds himself back on the run with his lady love, Vicki Bean, and hitman friend, Moog Turner. Now the three are racing to track down the killer of a rock and roll superstar. They travel a violent and dangerous road, littered with obsessive FBI agents, vengeful Russian mobsters, brutal cartel assassins, and psychotic biker gangs. But no matter how fast and far Daniel and company run, there’s no escaping the blood they’ve spilled—and an unspeakable evil waiting for them.

Book Review: Animated Life

Animated Life is a look at Animation and some Disney history written by a guy who observed it all firsthand.  I love Disney and my brother went to school for Animation so that is why I was drawn (ha) to this book. The book also has a lot of neat pictures which I always love because it adds to the story – but it’s also less words for me to read. (i kid, i kid)

This book is a really fun and different perspective into Disney and animation and the sketches throughout the book are really neat too.  It is full of great stories and information on other great animators that Floyd worked with throughout his career.

The second part of the book talks a bit about Tips, Techniques and Animated Observations.  This is an area of the book where Floyd talks a bit about what he learned and gives those who might be interested in becoming an Animator a bit of perspective on things that they can do to better themselves and things that Floyd learned while on the job.  There’s a bit of an interview with him as well with some questions that you may have for him that I think gave a lot of insight to the field.

If you love Disney Animation or are just interested in Animation in general, then I think you should check out this book.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Since Steamboat Mickey, animators have been creating characters and films that are charming, warm and humorous, allowing people to connect with the animated medium. Animation fans love the characters for a lifetime. This is the legacy of the countless animators and artists who created the classic characters and fun stories, and it is the legacy of Disney Legend, Floyd Norman. Written with wit and verve, Animated Life is a guided tour through an entire lifetime of techniques, practical hands-on advice and insight into an entire industry. This is a vital tutorial in animation’s past, present and future for students who are now poised to be part of another new generation in the art form. Apply artistic magic to your own projects and garner valuable insight and inspiration from a True Disney legend. Animated Life is a classic in the making with completely relevant techniques and tools for the contemporary animation or fine arts professional.

Book Review: Hollywood Lies

Hollywood Lies is a novel with split perspectives – chapters alternate between Devon Maddox – and up and coming actor and Collette Stroud, a hollywood star and child prodigy.  Their two lives meet when Devon auditions for a roll in a movie that Cole is directing.

At first, Devon starts a relationship of sorts with Cole’s assistant, but when he moves on to Cole, the assistant is not happy.  She gets fired – but will she spill all and ruin Cole’s plans to have a hidden relationship and keep her private life private?

Devon, against Cole’s wishes, signs a contract for a couple more movies in the series with his costar Lili.  Neither of them read the contracts and see that as part of the promotion, Lili and Devon are supposed to be having a secret relationship to help promote the movies. But will their relationship turn in to something more?

Something the blurb for this book does not mention is that it is pretty much all sex all the time between everyone in the book. If you’re in to that sort of thing – you’ll love it.  I don’t mind it, but I did find it to be overwhelming at times and had to put the book down. If that sort of thing makes you uncomfortable, it might not be the book for you.

Underneath all the relationships, there is a fun story about Hollywood and how the business works (at least in this world.)  Who will Devon end up with? Will his fake relationship with Lili become real? Will Cole ever decide to come out in public as being with Devon or will his spending time with Lili throw a wrench in the works? Will Cole’s ex-assistant tell all and ruin both their careers?

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

In a world where make believe is a multibillion dollar industry, it’s hard to know where the fantasy ends and real life begins. When Collette Stroud, an influential Hollywood actor and director, takes a chance on two young actors for her romantic teen movie, three lives converge in a complicated web of publicity, passion, lust, and lies.

The web is cast when Stroud, a woman with a few skeletons in her closet, hires two young artists in her low-budget film. She handpicks Liliana Addison and Devon Maddox to be Hollywood’s next big stars. Former child star Liliana has had limited success with her previous roles but hopes to take the world by storm under Collette’s tutelage. While Devon is an out of work actor, he never stops dreaming about making it big. The director’s interest in him assures Devon his dreams are about to become reality.

Sparks between Collette and Devon set their lives ablaze, but the studio has other plans. Executives concoct a fictitious romance in order to drive box office sales and launch careers between Devon and Liliana. When the studio offers to make the young actors into bona fide stars, will the price be too high to pay, or will the deal be too sweet to pass up?

Can the trio handle the pressure of a hidden romance coupled with a phony public relationship? Will love be enough to conquer the promise of fame, fortune, and a lasting legacy, or will it be an easy sacrifice?

All three will tread the thin line of Hollywood Lies and genuine passion on the most important red carpet walk of their lives.

Harry Connick Jr at Simsbury Meadows

When I went on my tear of winning 3 sets of tickets in 2 days, one pair was to see Harry Connick Jr in Simsbury.  I didn’t even realize such a venue existed.  We found the place and handicapped parking, only to be told that Will-Call was on the complete other side of the place and we couldn’t cut across because the buses and everything were there. So we had to drive around, park, walk to the ticket booth then go BACK to the handicapped parking (after being told we weren’t supposed to drive out of the handicapped area either!)  Only to then find out that our seats were lawn and we weren’t thinking and didn’t bring any sorts of chairs or anything.  Fortunately my mom had her beach chair and blanket in the back of her car so we made due with that after our epic journey to retrieve the tickets.

Around 8pm an announcement came on saying there would be no intermission during the show.  A little after 8, Harry took the stage.  He talked a lot… a woman had come up to give him a shirt and he gave her a hug and then was saying how she already had too much attention.  He brought a 9 year old girl up on stage with him for a bit to talk to her about her hat and where she was from. Before most of the songs he talked a bit about them – one was his wifes favorites, one he did for the movie when harry met sally, etc.

I was not really a fan going in to the show and I don’t know if I’d say I am a fan now but it was a highly entertaining show and New Orleans is on my bucket list and I’d love to visit – but for now – hearing some of his New Orleans jams will have to tide me over until I can make it there.

It was an interesting mix of genres and he said that he didnt like to stick to just one.  Some were more jazzy some where just as you would expect if you were out in New Orleans which was kind of cool along with a mix of some ballads and more up beat songs.  I tried to keep track of the setlist but since I don’t know much of his stuff… some are just some lyrics I wrote down. If you can figure out the titles let me know and I’ll just keep googling too 😉

With a Song In My Heart
Bourbon Street Parade
Without a Song
It Had To Be You
On a Clear Day
Didn’t He Ramble
Drink your Troubles Away (?)
Jesus on the Main Line
I Love Her
Time To Go
Come By Me
Love Wins
This Light of Mine
One Fine Thing
Come See About Me
The Way You Look Tonight

Every Man Should Know

Hanson ANTHEM Release Party

Night 2 of the New York City shows was the ANTHEM Release party.  The album was finally released that day.  They said that this show would focus more on the new album, and although there were rumors that they would play it in its entirety, they did skip playing 2 of the songs.  My “goal” is always to hear every song of the album at least once.  This is a fun thing to do – and it was “ruined” by 5 of 5 the last time they released an album because they did Shout It Out top to bottom before it was released during that week.  Going to several more shows on their upcoming fall tour I was hoping to have some rarities to look forward to and going into the show there were 3 songs I had yet to hear live.  They ended up doing all 3. I’ll have to come up with some new goal now, but I am also fairly certain I was at the first show they performed each of the songs at from Jamaica in January til now.  I’ll have to double check to be sure.

Much like the first night, around 8pm they started piping in the new album over the PA system and the guys hit the stage at about 9:15.  This show was also being aired on AXS TV (and apparently went an hour over and of course I didn’t think to set the DVR longer!)

They kicked off the set with the first song off the album – Fired Up.  (This works great as an opening number and not so great as a closing number like they did in Delaware a few weeks back) Then they went in to In The City which was appropriate because we were after all, in the city.  They did a really good job of mixing up the new and the old I thought as well, kind of alternating but not really messing with the overall flow of the show.  They kept commenting about now that they have 6 albums putting set lists together is a lot harder.  I hope they mix things up a LOT on tour.  It’ll keep me on my toes with my Hanson site and it’ll also make things more fun since we’re going to so many shows.

They pulled out a couple of rare songs – Save Me which aside from 5 of 5 and Saturday’s show I’d only heard once before.  On and On from the Members EP was back and quite a treat (though I’d kind of rather they do anything but that song from the EP because that one is probably my least favorite of them haha)  They also did Change In My Life acapella – which was great except for the fact that everyone kept “sshhhing” everyone around them and at one point even Taylor put a finger to his mouth to shush people.  You can’t settle down for ONE song people?

All of Taylor’s kids were up in the balcony rocking out during the show (with the exception of his youngest son who fell asleep early on on grandma’s lap, and baby daughter who was probably also off somewhere sleeping) and they were incredibly entertaining and adorable.

Despite the drama, a fun 2 days, but let’s just hope they never play that venue again.

Fired Up
In The City
I’ve Got Soul
Where’s The Love
This Time Around
Scream and Be Free
You Can’t Stop Us
Save Me
On and On
Change in My Life
Watch Over Me
Lost Without You
Minute Without You
Waiting For This
Penny and Me
Something Going Round
Thinking Bout Somethin
Cut Right Through Me
Give a Little
If Only
Get The Girl Back
For Your Love
Crazy Beautiful
Already Home

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